Morton L. (Morton Luther) Montgomery.

Historical and biographical annals of Berks County, Pennsylvania, embracing a concise history of the county and a genealogical and biographical record of representative families, comp. by Morton L. Montgomery .. online

. (page 89 of 227)
Online LibraryMorton L. (Morton Luther) MontgomeryHistorical and biographical annals of Berks County, Pennsylvania, embracing a concise history of the county and a genealogical and biographical record of representative families, comp. by Morton L. Montgomery .. → online text (page 89 of 227)
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Tilghman Clymer and Maria Catherine Hiester, was born
at the Clymer homestead in Caernarvon township, near
Morgantown, Berks county, Pa., Oct. 9, 1830. His father
dying while the children were all small, the subject of
this sketch was. placed in the charge of his uncle, William
Hiester, of New Holland, Lancaster county, where he
was in his unck William's store for a short time, and
subsequently sent to Lititz to school. He afterward came
to Reading and he and his brother, Daniel R. Clymer,
opened a dry-goods store at No. 518 Penn street. Later
they moved their store to the building on the southwest
corner of Fifth and Penn streets, which property they
bought. Some years after William Clymer sold out his
interest in the store to his brother Daniel, and in 1846 he
and his brother Edward M. Clymer purchased the charcoal
furnace at Mt. Laurel, Berks county, where he — ^William
H. Clymer — resided until 1882, with the exception of
about two years, from 1864 to 1866, when he lived in
Reading. In 1860 he and his brother purchased the old
Oley CTiarcoal Furnace near Friedensburg, one of the
oldest charcoal furnaces in the United States, and com-
menced mining iron ore extensively. The Temple Fur-
nace, a large and perfectly equipped anthracite furnace
situated at Temple, five miles north of Reading, was
built by William H. Clymer & Co., and operated by them
until 1870, when the Temple Iron Company was organ-
ized with William H. Clymer as its president. About 1880
th* Clymer brothers had the Mt. Laurel Furnace changed
from a charcoal to an anthracite furnace, and a railroad,
one and a half miles in length, was built from the East
Pennsylvania railroad at Temple to the furnace. After
these improvements were made the brothers organized
the Clymer Iron Company, a corporation which included
in its operations the Mt. Laurel Furnace, Oley Furnace,
extensive limestone quarries at Bower's Station, iron ore
mines near Pricetown, and a number of mines along the
East Pennsylvania railroad. This corporation, of which
William H. Clymer was president, was entirely independ-
ent of the Temple Iron Company, of which he was also
the president. About a year before his death Mr. Clymer
resigned the presidency of the Clymar Iron Company
on account of ill health and was succeeded by his brother,
Hiester Clymer. He, however, retained the presidency of
the First National Bank of Reading, which he held from
1876 until his death, and the presidency of the Ternple
Iron Company. He removed with his family to Reading,
Pa., in September, 1882, and died there July 26, 1883.
He had a large acquaintance and was greatly respected
for his sterling character; was a man of excellent judg-
ment, and his advice was fr"6quently sought upon many
important matters. He was brought up an Episcopalian
and was a member of Christ Church, Reading, at the
time of his death.

On June 12. 1855, Mr. Clymer married Valeria, eldest
daughter of Levi B. Smith. She wafe born March 14,
1828, and died Aug. 17, 1901. . Their family consisted of
six children: Emily Smith, born July 16, 1856; Edward
Tilghman, born Aug. 8,^ 1857; William Hiester, born
March 21, 1860; Levi Smith, born April 2, 1863; Valeria
Elizabeth, ''born April 29, 1865 ; and Frederick Hiester,
born May 2, 1869.

Edward Myers Clymer, third son df Edward Tilghman
Clymer and Maria Catherine Hiester, was born at the Cly-
mer homestead in Caernarvon township, Berks Co., Pa.,
July 16, 1822. He went to the local schools in his early youth
and afterward to the Abbeville Academy, in Lancaster
county, and to the academy of Joshua H'oopes, at West
Chester. He then selected the law as his profession, and

after pursuing his legal studies for a while under William
Strong, Esq., he entered the Harvard Law School, from
which he was graduated in 1845. Upon his return to
Reading he was admitted to the Bar on Aug. 4, 1845.
He then opened a law office and soon acquired a lucrative,
business, which he continued until 1857, at which time
he became thoroughly interested in projecting the East
Pennsylvania railroad, from Reading to Allentown. His
efforts in this enterprise were entirely successful and he
became the first president of the company, and continued
in this office until the road was leased to the Philadelphia
& Reading Railroad Company. In 1874 he was chosen
president of the Coal Company belonging to the New
York, Lake Erie & Western Railroad Company, which
it owned and operated in Pennsylvania, and he held this
position until his death, which occurred in New York
City, May 25, 1883. He was popular in social and busi-
ness circles and united to a more than common husiness ,
sagacity an abundance of well-directed energy, a quality
which received marked development in building the East
Pennsylvania railroad, and the proposed continuation of a
system' of underground railway under Broadway, New
York. He was married, Jan. 27, 1864, to Ella Maria Dietz,
daughter of William H. Dietz, of New York City. They
had but one child, a son, Edward Myers Qymer, born
May 6, 1869, who survived him, as did also his widow.

Mary Hiester Clymer, only daughter of Edward
Tilghman and Maria Catherine Hiester, was born at the
Clymer homestead, Caernarvon township, Berks Co., Pa.,
July 19, 1825. She was married Aug. 10, 1852, in Christ
Church, Reading, Pa., by the Rev. Milton Lightner, rec-
tor, to her cousin, William Bingham Clymer, the eldest
son of Henry Clymer and grandson of George Clymer,
one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
Mr. Clymer was born at the homestead, near Trenton,
Bucks Co., Pa., his mother having been Mary Willing. He
received a liberal education, graduating with credit at
Princeton College, -and studied law but never practised.
When quite young he assumed the management of the
Bingham estate. In 1842 he was appointed agent for the
northern counties of Pennsylvania, and in 1845 established
the general office of the estate at Wellsboro. His man-
agement of the large property was highly successful,
so that in 1867 he was appointed a trustee. He ever
carefully considered the rights and interests of all, and
enjoyed the confidence of the trustees, while his courtesy,
kindness and perfect integrity commanded the respect of
the tenants and others on the estate. Mr. and Mrs.
Clymer resided for a time at Wellsboro, Tioga Co., Pa.,
where all their children were born with the exception
of the third, who was born in Philadelphia. The chil-
dren were all baptized by Rev. Mr. Marple, rector of
Christ Church, Wellsboro; In July, 1869, they sailed for
Europe, taking all their children for the advantages of
education; and while abroad, on the 28th of May, 1873,
Mr. Clymer died of apoplexy in Florence, Italy. The
family then returned to Philadelphia in the autumn. Mr.
Clymer's remains were sent home and are interred in
Charles Evans cemetery, near Reading, Pa. In Novem-
ber, 1878, Mrs. Clymer and her children left America
with the intention of settling on the Continent, but she
and two of her children, Richard and Maria, were
drowned in the English Channel before they reached their
destination, the vessel in which they took passage having
been lost Nov. 26, 1878. The following children were
born to Mary Hiester Clymer and William Bingham
Clymer: Henry, born June 10, 1853; Mary, Dec. 13, 1854;
Ellen S.. Dec. 9, 1856; Richard Willing, April 10, 1858;
Maria Hiester, Feb. 11, 1862; and Rose Nicolls, Sept. 19,

Hiester Clymer, fifth son of Edward Tilghman Clymer
and Maria Catherine Hiester, was born at the Clymier
homestead, Caernarvon township, Berks Co., Pa., Nov.
3, 1837. He received a liberal education, graduating
from the College of New Jersey in 1847, and taking
up the study of law was admiitted to the Bar of
Berks counity, April 6, 1849, after which he practised in



Reading and Pottsville. He married April 3, 1856, Eliza-
beth M. Brooke, daughter of Matthew Brooke, of Birds-
boro, Pa. They resided in Reading, where their two chil-
dren were born and died, and where Mrs. Clymer died
Oct. 9, 1870. He was a delegate to the Democratic Con-
vention at Charleston, in 1860, and in the same year was
one of the Revenue commissioners; served as State sen-
ator from 1860 to 1866; became the Democratic candi-
date for governor in the latter year, but was defeated
by Governor Geary. In 1870 he was appointed by the
governor a member of the Board of Public Charities,
then just organized. In 1873 he was elected a repre-
sentative to the XLIIId Congress from Berks county, as
a Democrat; and served on the committee on the Re-
vision of the Laws, on Public Lands and on the Library.
He was re-elected, to the XLIVth Congress, and was
placed on the committee on Expenditures of the War De-
partment, and the Joint Standing Committee on- the Li-
brary; also re-elected to Congress in 1876 and 1878. In
1880 Mr. Clymer was succeeded in Congress from the
Berks District by the Hon. Daniel Ermentrout, and from
that time until his death resided in Reading. His discus-
sion with State Senator A. K. McClure, in February, 1861,
in the State Senate, on the repeal of the tonnage tax
on the traffic of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company,
brought him prominently before the public. The crowning
act of his Congressional life was his presentation to Con-
gress of the special committee report touching the ras-
calities of William W. Belknap, President Grant's Sec-
retary of War, which created a great sensation throughout
the land. His career in the Senate of Pennsylvania was
distinguished for dignity and courtesy of demeanor, force
and eloquence in debate, and steadfast devotion to the
best interests of the Commonwealth. He was interested
in the iron business, and at the time of his death was
president of the Clymer Iron Company.

Mr. Clymer married April 26, 1883, Mrs. J. B. Clemens
(nee Von Schrader), of St. Louis, Missouri.

Mr. Clymer died June 12, 1884, at which time he was
vice-president of the Union Trust Company, Philadelphia;
president of the Clymer Iron Company, which operated
the Mt. Laurel and Oley Furnaces; a director of the
Reading Fire Insurance and Trust Company from the time
of its organization, and a trustee of the Charles Evans

Hiester Clymer and Elizabeth M. Brooke had two chil-
dren: Elizabeth M., born Jan. 20, 1857; and Edward
Brooke, born March 18, 1859.

George Edward Clymes, youngest child of Edward
Tilghman Clymer and Maria Catherine Hiester, was born
at the Clymer homestead, in Caernarvon township, Berks
Co., Pa., Jan. 8, 1830. He was sent to the Reading Acad-
emy and from there to Princeton College, from which
institution he graduated in 1849. He then became asso-
ciated with his brothers, William, Edward and Hiester, in
the iron business in eastern Pennsylvania, owning the Mt.
Laurel and Oley Furnaces and other property connected
with the iron business. In 1858 he went to Mexico and
joined a party who surveyed the route for a railroad
from Vera Cruz to the City of Mexico. In the summer
of 1861 Mr. Clymer raised a company of cavalry which
became attached to the 6th Pennsylvania Regiment, Col.
R. H. Rush, of which 'Mr. Clymer was made major in
March, 1862. During 1865-68 he was occupied in mining
in Nevada and Chihuahua, Mexico. In 1870 Mr. Clymer
severed his connection with his brothers in the iron busi-
ness and removed to Cincinnati, where he became inter-
ested in the Swift Iron & Steel Works of Newport, Ky.,
of which his father-in-law was president. Mr. Clymer was
elected vice-president in 1874 and removed with his family
to Newport. In 1884 he returned to Reading and again
became interested in the iron business, and after the death
of his brother Hiester bought the Mt. Laurel Furnace
property and operated the furnace until two years before
his death, when he retired from active business and
settled in Reading.

Major Clymer married June 29, 1868, Alice Gary Swift,
daughter of Alexander Swift, of Cincinnati. She died in

Jacksonville, Fla., Feb. 14, 1873, leaving two children.
Mr. Clymer died in Reading July 7, 1895. He was the
worshipful master of Lodge No. 62, F. & A. M., during
the years 1855 and 1856, and was also a member of the
Sons of the Revolution and of the Loyal Legion. The
children of George Edward Clymer and Alice Gary Swift
were as follows : Edwin Swift, born June 16, 1871 ; and
George Alexander, born July 25, 1872.

LEWIS CRATER, Secretary and Treasurer of the
Reading Steam Heat and Power Company, and Secretary
and Treasurer of the Warren County Traction Company,
is one of the representative citizens of Reading, and he
is descended from one of those sturdy emigrants from the
Palatinate, who sought religious freedom in the New

The name Crater was originally "Greter,"' as is evi-
denced in the original oath of allegiance to the King of
Great Britain, signed by the emigrant ancestor when he
landed at Philadelphia. This paper is on file in Harris-
burg. The different branches of the family have adopted
various spellings — Greder, Grader, Grater, Krater and Crat-
er. The change from "G" to "C" was originally through
an accident. On May 28, 1793, John Grater bought proper-
ty of George Heebner, and the papers were made out by one
Thomas Richards in the name of John Craiter. The error
was not discovered until about 1800, when the property was
sold, and in order to save trouble, the new papers were
signed "John Crater." The family records show the great
majority of its members to have been tillers of the soil,
and they have been law-abiding, hard-working, honest,
upright and strictly conscientious.

Religious persecution in Germany broke out with re-
newed frenzy in 1732, and about 30,000 Protestants were
driven from the country in the middle of winter. Among
these fugitives were (l) Jacob Greter and his family.
From Colonial Records, Vol. HI, p. 515, it is found that
Jacob Greter was one of 291 "Palatines" arriving at Phila-
delphia, Pa., in "the ship Samuel of London, Hugh Percy,
master, from Rotterdam, but last from Deal, on the 17th
day of August, 1733." By occupation he was a weaver,
but after coming to Pennsylvania, he purchased a tract of
land along the Perkiomen river, at or near what is known
as Grater's Ford, and there he also carried on farming.
That he was not among those who sold themselves for a
term of years to pay for his passage, but was able at once
to purchase land, goes to prove he was a man of some
means. Later records show his wealth increasing, as in
the census report of Perkiomen or Van Bebbers township,
Montgomery county, June, 1756, there is this entry : "Jacob
Kreter, weaver, owner of 220 acres of land." Again, in the
history of PerkionTen township, that same year is
found "Jacob Kreter, owner of 220 acres of farm land
at Grater's Ford, also a saw and grist mill." Records in
his own handwriting indicate more education than was
common in those times. In his religious faith he was a
follower of Menno Simons, and it is not clear whether he
was a preacher at the time of his arrival in Pennsylvania,
but from the earliest entry in the minute-book of the
Skippack Church it is shown that he was one of the most
active members, and the general opinion is that he was a
bishop. His descendants for several generations clung
to the Mennonite faith, but as the country grew and educa-
tion became more general, the younger members of the
family joined more progressive denominations, and adopted
the dress and customs of the times. In the old family
record of Jacob Greter the names of three of his children
have been lost owing to a corner of the leaf being torn
off, the date of birth however being left. Otje of these
three was undoubtedly "Lewis." Jacob Greter's children
were: Jacob, born May 25, 1729; Maria, April 18 1731-
Johannes, April 10, 1734; Elizabeth, Feb. 29, 1736; Paulus'
July 8, 17.38; Barbara, Sept. 21, 1740 (married Frederick

Hubler) ; Christian, Jan. 30, 1743; — , born July 17.

1745; . born June S, 1750; , born Mav

2, 1753; and iSIichael, in 1758.

(II) Johannes Greter, son of Jacob, was born .\pril



10, 1734. His children were: Maria, born Oct. 19, 1760;
Jacob, Oct. 1, 1763 (died May 27, 1764) ; Johannes, July
13, 1765; Abraham, April 19, 1768; Cadarina, May 23,
1771; Ludwig, Jan. 5, 1775; Elizabeth, April 6, 1779 (mar-
ried Henry Hallman).

(HI) Johannes Grater (3), son of Johannes Greter,
was born July 13, 1765. He married and became the father
of a large family (all of whom adopted the spelling of
the name. Crater), as follows: Abraham, born March 2,
1792; Jacob, Dec. 28, 1793 (died single); Phillip, Jan.

21, 1796; John, Nov. 26, 1797; David, Feb. 15, 1800 (died
in 1893) ; Catharine, Oct. 19, 1802 (married John Young) ;
Elizabeth, Feb. 3, 1805 (died Aug. 27, 1805) ; Henry, March

22, 1808 (died in December, 1815) ; and Israel, Feb. 18, 1812
(died single).

(IV) Abraham Crater, son of Johannes Grater, was
born March 2, 1792. He married a daughter of Rev.
Henry Pennypacker, great-aunt of former Governor
Pennypacker, of the State of Pennsylvania. To their mar-
riage were born six children, namely : Ephraim, born
May 1, 1814, is mentioned below; Elizabeth, born May 20,
1817, died Dec. 7, 1834; Margaret and Christianna, born
Sept. 10, 1818, both died unmarried; Jacob, born July 1,
1820, moved to Indiana, and died Nov. 17, 1893 ; and John,
born Feb. 22, 1822.

(V) Ephraim Crater, son of Abraham, was born May
1, 1814. His education was obtained in the district schools.
He grew nip on the farm, and made farming his life work.
He married Dec. 18, 1836, Susan Longacre, and they be-
came the parents of eight children: Henry L., born Oct.
7, 1837, died Oct. 17, 1872; Lavina, born Aug. 21, 1839,
married Joseph Lukens ; Anna, born Sept. 10, 1841, mar-
ried Jacob Nyman; Lewis, born Aug. 9, 1843; Catharine
Elizabeth, born Jan. 3, 1845, married Josiah Nyman; Jacob
L., born Feb. 10, 1847, lives in Pottstown; David L., born
Nov. 28, 1850; and Abraham L., born Sept. 18, 1853, died
Nov. 9, 1873. Ephraim Crater, the father, was a stanch
old-line Whig in politics, but at the formation of the
Republican party, joined its ranks, and ever afterward
was one of its active workers. He was a strong Abolition-
ist, and was one of the workers in the old underground
railway. His good wife died May 3, 1878, aged sixty-four
years, eight months, fifteen days. They were beHevers in
the Mennonite faith.

(VI) Lewis Crater, son of Ephraim, born Aug. 9, 1843,
received a good substantial education ^in the common
schools of Chester county. Reared in the atmosphere of
patriotism, the outbreak of the Civil war afforded him an
opportunity to show his loyalty, and on Sept. 10, 1861,
he became a member of Company H, 50th P. V. I., and
participated in thirty-three engagements besides a number
of skirmishes. He was once slightly wounded, had his
sword cut from his side, and 'he was promoted from ser-
geant to first lieutenant for gallant conduct in action, clos-
ing his service as adjutant of the regiment. He was hon-
orably discharged July 31, 1865.

After the war, Mr. Crater returned to Pennsylvania, and
entered Bryant and Stratton's Business College at Phila-
delphia. For some time he taught penmanship in the
schools of ■ Philadelphia, but failing health necessitated a
change of employment. He moved to Reading, and ac-
cepted a position in Philip Albright's grocery, later be-
coming a clerk in the dry goods establishment of H. A.
Hofif, where he remained one year. He then became an
accountant in Earl's Banking House, and continued there
until it closed its doors in 1867. His next position was
as chief clerk and bookkeeper for William Mcllvaine &
Sons in the Reading Rolling Mill, until that concern sus-
pended operations in 1897. Since that time Mr. Crater
has been a public accountant, and is considered an expert
in that line. In 1888 he was elected Secretary and Treas-
urer of the Reading Steam Heat and Power Company,
and has since held that office. He was a member of the
Mt. Penn Paper Box Company, Ltd., in which he held
the office of secretary, until 1908, when the company dis-

Mr. Crater is a writer of considerable ability, especially
on historical subjects, for which he has a decided fondness.

In 1867 when Col. Bates was gathering data for the history
of the troops of the State of Pennsylvania Mr. Crater
furnished very much of the data relating to the 50th regi-
ment, and some years after wrote and published a history
of the 50th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.
He wrote the "History of the Grater Family" and the
"History of St. Peter's M. E. Church."

In his fraternal relations, Mr. Crater is a member of
the G. ,A. R., in which he has served as Post commander ;
a companion of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion,
Commandery of Pennsylvania; and a member of the Union
Veteran Legion ; the P. O. S. of A. ; Vigilance Lodge, No.
194, I. O. O. F.; Veteran Castle, No. 481, K. G. E.; So-
ciety Army of the Potomac; Army of the Cumberland and
Army of the Tennessee.

On Sept. 30, 1865, Mr. Crater wedded Miss Rosie C.
Lowe, daughter of Peter Lowe, of Lebanon, Pa. Four
children blessed this union : Emma May, born Jan. 9, 1867,
m. Arthur E. Suter, of Zurich, Switzerland; Mary Min-
erva, b9rn June 20, 1868; Annie Lulu, born Sept. 21, 1870,
died Jan. 15, 1875; and Morton Murray, born Jan. 14,

THOMAS C. ZIMMERMAN, known all over Berks
county as the talented editor of The Reading Times, is an
enterprising and aggressive newspaper man, a clear-headed
thinker, and an able and versatile writer. His best works,
by which he has achieved distinction as a literary genius,
have been his translations of German poetical masterpieces
into English, and his rendering of English poems into
the Pennsylvania German vernacular. In these two fields
of work he is acknowledged by the best authorities to be
without an equal. He is a poet by natural instinct, self-
training being the means by which he has developed his
native powers of expression, In presenting, through the
columns of The Reading Times, his translations of English
poems into Pennsylvania German, he has proved himself
entitled to the highest regard of the class of worthy citizens
of the Keystone State allied with him by race, in whose
interests he has ever bten an earnest and indefatigable

The only school education Mr. Zimmerman ever enjoyed
was the public school training he received during the
years of his boyhood in Lebanon, Pa., where his birth
occurred Jan. 23, 1838. Thus he never had the advantages
of a classical education, and therefore all the more credit
is due him for making such splendid use of his talents and
opportunities. When thirteen years of age he was ap-
prenticed to the printing trade, in the newspaper establish-
ment of the Lebanon Courier. Upon the completion of
his term of service he went to Philadelphia, and worked on
the Philadelphia Inquirer a short time, until Jan. 8, 1856,'
when he entered the office of The Berks and Schuylkill
Journal, in Reading, as a journeyman printer. In 1859 Mr.
Zimmerman removed to Columbia, S. C, where he worked
on the State laws, in the printing establishment of Dr.
Robert Gibbs, who afterward became surgeon-general of
the Confederate Army. In March, 1860, Mr. Zimmerman
returned to Reading, as the anti-Northern sentiment had
become so intense and virulent in South Carolina, the hot-
bed of secession, that his life was endangered, though he
never openly opposed the course of the Secessionists while
in that section. Upon his return to Reading he once more
entered the employ of The Berks and Schuylkill Journal.
Under its proprietor, Jacob Knabb, who became postmaster
of ' Reading in May, 1860, he acted as clerk until the
close of his superior's term of office, in July, 1865. During
this period Mr. Zimmerman contributed some striking
articles on postal reform to the United States Mail and
other journals, which called out a correspondence with the
then postmaster-general, Mr. Dennison, and some of the
suggestions solicited were incorporated into that official's

When he finished his connection with the post-office he
resumed his work in the Journal office, and in January,
1866, became co-proprietor and associate editor of the
paper. Up to the year 1869 the firm bore the name of



J. Knabb & Co.; in that year they also became the pro-
prietors of the Daily Times, which, in 1871, was consoli-

Online LibraryMorton L. (Morton Luther) MontgomeryHistorical and biographical annals of Berks County, Pennsylvania, embracing a concise history of the county and a genealogical and biographical record of representative families, comp. by Morton L. Montgomery .. → online text (page 89 of 227)