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 95 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 95 of 227)
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milling business Mr. Wertz is interested in other lines, be-
ing an extensive dealer in farm products and having the
largest hay storage plant in the city of Reading. Dur-
ing the year 1905 he handled 185 carloads of grain, hay,
etc., and his business is steadily on the increase. In this
line he gives employment to eight men. He is one of the
directors of the Pennsylvania State Millers' Association.

Mr. Wertz was married Sept. 11, 1873, to Miss Sarah
Kercher, daughter of William Kercher, of Bern township.
They have had no children of their own, but have reared
two : Emma Gerhart, who is now married and resides in
Schuylkill county; and Hannah Malburn, wife of Harry
Focht, Mr. Wertz's able assistant in his milling operations.
With all his extensive business cares Mr. Wertz finds
time to take a public-spirited interest in local afifairs, and
to devote to benevolent and charitable objects. He is
secretary and treasurer of Kissinger's Church, of which



he has been a member for many years, and in September,
1908, he was elected an elder. He served as superintendent
of the Sunday school for a period of thirty-eight years.
He is a member of the board of trustees of the Topton
Orphans' Home, and a member of the school board of
Reading. Fraternally he is a Mason, holding membership
in Lodge No. 62, F. & A. M.; Excelsior Chapter, R. A. M.;
Reading Commandery, K. T. ; and Rajah Temple, A. A. O.
N. M. S.

A. ELLSWORTH LEINBACH, vice-president of the J.
G. Leinbach Company of Reading, was born Oct. 24, 1862,
in the city with which his whole business career has been
identified. His parents were Mahlon A. and Mary E.
(Adam) Leinbach.

Mahlon A. Leinbach was born April 14, 1840, in Bern
township, Berks county, but while he was a small child
his father removed to Exeter township, and the boy at-
tended school there. He has always been engaged in the
manufacture of pants and woolen goods, and gained his
first insight into the details of that work under William
Brumbach, with whom he remained a> number of years.
From there he went to the Reading Mills, of which his
brother J. G. was one of the owners and was given an
interest in the firm, being one of fhe organizers of this
large plant. He was active in its management till July,
1904, when he retired from the firm, although he still re-
tains' stock and is one of the directors. He is also a direct-
or of the Mt. Penn Gravity Railroad, of the Reading Cold
Storage Company and of the Black Bear Railroad. Mr.
Leinbach married Miss Mary E. Adam, of Berks county,
and they had a family of seven children, only two of
whom are living, A. Ellsworth and Charles E. The latter
resides at home and is foreman of the spinning department
in the Reading Mills. The family residence is at No.
311 North Fourth street, where Mr. Leinbach built a home
specially adapted to his own needs and ideas'. With his
wife and sons he is a member of the First Reformed
Church.

A. Ellsworth Leinbach during his boyhood attended the
Reading schools, and then entered the Reading Mills. He
advanced steadily through different positions, becoming
familiar with the various departments of the factory, and
is now in charge of the weaving departments. His of-
ficial position, since the incorporation of the company,,
has been vice-president, and he has proved himself a most
efficient, capable and wide-awake business man. He has
also been active in politics, a strong supporter of Republi-
can principles, and has done much service for his party,
as delegate to county and State conventions, as. secretary
of the county committee, and as chairman of the Seventh
Ward Republicans, while he has also been a member of
the school board of Reading for several years.

In 1884 A. Ellsworth Leinbach married Miss M. Alice
Lotz, daughter of Caspar and Rebecca (Nagle) Lotz, of
Reading. Two children have been born to them, viz. :
Ada L., who was graduated from Marshall Seminary,
at Oak Lane, Philadelphia, in 1904, married William A.
Heizmann, a young business man of Reading; and Caspar
L. died Feb. 20, 1905, aged fifteen years, three months and
twenty-two days. The family residence is at No. 314 Oley
street. Socially Mr. Leinbach is a member of Isaac
Hiester Lodge No. 660, F. & A. M.; Reading Lodge of
Perfection, 14th degree; Harrisburg Consistory, 32d de-
gree; Rajah Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S.; and Reading
Lodge, No. 115, B. P. O. Elks.

DR. CHRISTIAN NICHOLAS HOFFMAN, physician
at Sinking Spring for forty-five years, was born in North-
ampton county, Pa., Aug. 11, 1833. He received his pre-
liminary education in the township schools and at Naza-
reth Academy. Later he attended the Jefferson Medical
College, at Philadelphia, from which he was graduated
in 1862. He immediately located at Sinking Spring and
continued in active practice forty-five years, retiring in
June, 1906, on account of illness. He died July 6, 1907.
He built up a large practice which reached out into the
country for ten and even twenty miles, which evidences-



380



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



his great success and the confidence the people had in hhn.
His devotion to his profession was extraordinary, he hardly
ever taking any vacation, and this burden was shared vyith
great fidelity by his devoted wife. He was recognized
as an able physician, and was highly respected among his
fellow townsmen. In politics he was a Republican, and in
religion a member of the Reformed Church in North-
ampton county. For some years he took an interest in the
Order of American Mechanics. Dr. Hoffman was the
last of his family, which had boasted of seven doctors in
two generations, including himself and his brother, his
uncles and cousins.

In 1870 Dr. Hoffman married Ellen Ann Jones, daugh-
ter of John H. and Margaret (Seitzinger) Jones, and they
had two daughters : Katherine Jones, who married W. W.
Webber, and has two children — Harold Hoffman and
Christian Hoffman; and Margaret Adelia.

Paul Hoffman, father of the Doctor, was a farmer of
Northampton county and was born in ISOi, and died in
1866. He married Catherine Peysher, and they had four
sons : Paul J., Christian N., Rev. Philip P. A., and Dr.
James.

Michael Hoffman, the grandfather, was also of North-
ampton county.

Mrs. Hoffman's grandfather was Samuel Jones, who
married Elizabeth Huey, and was the father of four child-
ren, John H., Thomas H., Mary (m. Jacob Van Reed)
and Margaret (m.. Dr. Darrah). Her maternal grand-
father was Jacob W. Seitzinger.

LEVI E. LEFEVER, chief burgess of the borough of
Boyertown, who, since 1907, has resided in his comfor-
table and attractive home at No. 112 Reading avenue, has
been long identified with the agricultural and business in-
terests of this section of Berks county. He is a representa-
tive of one of the old established families, and was born
April 5, 1857, in this borough, son of William and Rachel
(Eshbach) Lefever.

Anthony Lefever, great-grandfather of Levi E., was
born May 12, 1767, and died May 36, 1833, aged sixty-five
years, fourteen days. The family records tell that his
wife was accidentally burned to death from sparks from
the old-fashioned fireplace. Their children were : Anthony,
Levi, Mrs. Charles Keller and Mrs. Jonas Schmehl, all of
whom reared families of their own.

Levi Lefever, son of Anthony and grandfather of Levi
E., was born June 4, 1795, and died an accidental death,
Dec. 27, 1833, aged thirty-seven years, six months, twenty-
three days, and was buried at Pricetown. Berks Co., Pa.
His wife Mary, born Aug. 6, 1796, died Sept 10, 1839. He
was a tanner and owned and conducted a business of this
kind at Pricetown, where he had other property. He had
two sons : William and Levi H.

William Lefever, father of Levi E., was born Oct. 36,
1830, at Pricetown, Pa,, and resides at Sassamansville,
in Douglass township, Montgomery Co., Pa., a well pre-
served man. In his early years he worked as a stone
jTiason, later coming to Boyertown, where he conducted a
farm for his father-in-law, Joseph Eshbach, for a time.
He afterward entered into partnership with his brother,
Levi H. Lefever, and they conducted a general store at
Sassamansville for a number of years, after which they
sold out, Levi H. coming to Boyertown, where he con-
ducts a general store, but William remained at the old
place and continued storekeeping for a time, and then
began cigar manufacturing together with farming. He
did a large business and continued active in it until 1905,
when he retired. He married Rachel Eshbach, and to
them were born twelve children, as follows : Minerva m.
John Reaminger, of Boyertown ; Levi E. ; Mary m. Harry
Hoffman, of Reading ; Irwin, deceased, m. Maria Gerhart,
and they had three children, Eaton, John and Lottie ;
Amandus resides at East Greenville, Pa.; Amanda m, Rev.
Harrison Moyer, a minister in Carbon county; Kate m.
Rev. Amandus Herbst, of York county. Pa. ; Dr. Rufus E.
is engaged in medical practice in Reading; Emma died



young; and three died in infancy. Mr. Lefever has long
been a leading citizen of his community, and he has been
frequently appointed administrator to settle up estates.

Levi E. Lefever attended the public schools 6i Boyer-
town and Mount Pleasant Seminary, and when sixteen
years of age learned the tinsmith's trade, serving an ap-
prenticeship of four years. He worked at this trade at
Boyertown until 1878, and then embarked in a business of
his own as a tinsmith and handler of stoves, etc., which he
continued for twenty-eight years. His whole attention,
however, was not claimed by this enterprise for he owns
a fine farm of ninety-nine acres, situated in Earl town-
ship, three and one-half miles northeast of Boyertown,
the work on which he superintends personally. He has
it well stocked and it is a remunerative piece of property.
In 1905 he erected the present frame house which replaced
a log house that had stood since the days of the Revolu-
tionary War. Mr. Lefever is treasurer of the Electric
Light Company, of which he was one of the organizers and
which was chartered in July, 1908. Since 1906 he has been
president of the Keystone Fire Insurance Company and
to all these important business interests he gives due at-
tention.

In 1878, Mr. Lefever was married to Rosa Ann Ritter,
daughter of Lewis Ritter, of Colebrookdale township, and
to this marriage have been born the following children :
Charles resides at Boyertown ; Addie M., who perished
in the Boyertown fire, Jan. 13, 1908, was the beloved wife
of Harry Leinbach, and she left two children, Florence
and Paul; Edgar resides at Boyertown; Maggie also per-
ished in the Boyertown disaster, aged twenty-one years;
Joseph died in 1904, aged twelve years; and Florence re-
sides at home. Mr. Lefever and family are members of St.
John's Lutheran Church, at Boyertown.

Mr. Lefever has been active for many years in fraternal
organizations, and on various occasions has been elevated
to offices of trust and responsibility in the same. He is a
member of Salah Castle, No. 78, Knights of the Mystic
Chain, in which he has held all the offices. Since 1900 he
has been chaplain of Popodickon Tribe, No. 388, Order
of Red Men, is district deputy, and has held all the offices
in the organization. He is the degree master of the staff,
is past grand and also degree master of Boyertown Lodge,
No. 708, I. O. O. F. ; and belongs also to the order of
Eagles, at Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

In his political affiliations Mr. Lefever is frankly and
unequivocally a Republican, and has frequently served as
a delegate to county and State conventions and for twelve
years served as inspector of elections and committeeman
at Boyertown. For three years he served as a school
director and has always been interested in public education.
When only twenty-three years old, Mr. Lefever was elected
a member of the borough council and served through one
year, which was the length of term at that time. In 1901
he was again elected to the council and served his term
of three years, and in February, 1909, was elected chief
burgess for a term of three years. He stands as a repre-
sentative of the best citizenship of his community.

HARRISON LANDIS, successful manufacturer of lum-
ber and boxes at Philadelphia, was born in Washington
township, Berks county, near Ballv, Dec. 33, 1852. He re-
ceived his preliminary education 'in the township school,
and at Boyertown (in Mt. Pleasant Seminary and Hankey's
Academy), and then attended the Mennonite Educational
Institute at Wadsworth, Ohio, for two years. Upon his
return home he taught public school at Niantic near by for
one term, and then assisted in clerking in the country store
of his uncle, Jacob Oberholtzer (which was situated on
the premises adjoining his father's), for two years. He
then took a regular course in the business college of
Bryant & Stratton at Philadelphia, and entered the office
of the paint works of Ziegler & Smith, where he was en-
gaged as a clerk for five vears; and was next in the well-
known steam-shipping office of Peter Wright & Sons for
three years.

With^ this preparation for a business life, Mr. Henry
H. Sheip (his brother-in-law, manufacturer of cigar-boxes



BIOGRAPHICAL



381



since 1876) formed a partnership with him in 1881, and
under the firn:. name of Henry H. Sheip & Co. they de-
veloped a constantly increasing trade until 1899, when
they organized a corporation entitled "Henry H. Sheip
Manufacturing Co." Since then, the corporation has been
carried on successfully, with Mr. Landis as secretary and
treasurer. They started with twenty hands, but now have
over 800, notwithstanding the introduction of many costly
labor-saving machines. Their annual volume of business
exceeds a million and a half of dollars; and their trading
relations have been developed to extend throughout the
United States and into many foreign countries; and from
the manufacture of cigar-boxes they have gradually
branched out until their product includes small wooden
boxes of every variety, veneered boxing lumber, and cas-
ing for electric wiring of buildings; they also deal in all
kinds of lumber for manufacturing and building purposes.
It is the only large plant of the kind at Philadelphia,
and has been kept running constantly from 1881 until
the present time.

In 1876 Mr. Landis was married to Emma Louisa Sheip,
daughter of Levinus and Lucy Ann (Hangen) Sheip, of
Bucks county, and sister of his partner in business. By
her -he had three children : Stanley Winfield and George
Clarence (both of whom are engaged in the financial de-
partment of the works mentioned), and Mabel (m. How-
ard G. Moyer). His wife dying in 1883, he in 1893 mar-
ried Mary A. Gyger, only child of John and Sarah (Night-
linger) Gyger of Philadelphia, by whom he has two child-
ren: Mary Esther and Mildred.

His father was George Oberholtzer Landis, retired farm-
er of Washington township, Berks county, who was mar-
ried to Mary Mohr, daughter of Andrew Mohr of Mac-
ungie, Lehigh County, by whom he had seven children :
Harrison, above mentioned; Emma; Henry m. Emma
Stiefler, and is now in Japan, where he has been con-
nected with the Meiji Gakuin, a Presbyterian College;
Evan m. (first) Emily Hamer and (second) Mabel Prouty;
Sarah m. Clement Bechtel ; Irwin m. Sophie Hammell ;
and Oliver m. Clara Stoudt. The mother died in 1906,
aged seventy-six years. The father died Oct. 29, 1908,
aged eighty-two years.

His grandfather was Henry H. Landis, born in 1798, died

in 1860; m. in 1823 to SusannTTTberholtzer, daughter of

Jtjacob, and after her decease to Elizabeth Knetz in 1856 ,

and he had seven children : George, above mentioned, Jacob,

David, Aaron, Susanna, Esther and Amanda. u^

The Landis family was founded in America by Iig,as
Landis, a native of Holland , who left his native land dur-
ing the early half of the eighteenth century. , lQQating_jn
D ouglass Township, Mon tgomery County, Pai .jHe was the
owner of a tract of land located near Congo, which he dis-
posed of to members of the Bauer farnilv in 1773 for six



pounds and seven and one-halt bushels ot wheat as part
payment on the property. Among the descendants was
Henry H. Landis, the grandfather of the subject of the
above sketch.

A. M. HIGH, postmaster of Reading, Pa., and the most
potential force in the Republican party of that city, is a
son of Joel and Marie (Merkel) High, and was born in
Richmond township, Berks county, Dec. 19, 1849.

The High family is of Ge'rman descent, but generations
ago settled in Pennsylvania. Solomon High, grandfather
of A. M., was born in Richmond township, where he fol-
lowed the occupation of a farmer. In politics he was a
Whig, but during the latter years of his life he belonged
to the Republican party. He was a member of the Re-
formed Church, and was a captain in the old State Militia.
He was the father of three children, one son and two
daughters, and passed away in 1874, his wife surviving him
many years, and dying in 1891.

Joel High, father of A. M. High, was also a native of
Richmond township, and after obtaining an education in
the public schools of his district, turned his attention to
agricultural pursuits. He became one of the most sub-
stantial farmers of that section, and died in 1872. His wife
died in 1866. The latter, whose maiden name was Marie



Merkel, bore him eleven children as follows : James ; Joel ;
A. M. ; Jacob ; Solomon ; Daniel ; Samuel ; Charles ; and
Wilson, Emma and Mary, all three deceased.

A. M. High, who is a man of liberal education and wide
information, attended the common schools in his youth,
and afterward took a course in the Keystone State Normal
of Kutztown. He then taught school for two terms, after
which he clerked in a general store at Fleetwood, Berks
county. After remaining there for one year, in 1868 he
removed to Reading, accepting a position in the dry goods
store of B. H. Brown, continuing there for one year, and
then holding a similar position for a year and a half in
a general store. He next embarked in business for himself,
establishing a tailor shop and general store at No. 824
Penn street, where he was successfully engaged for nine-
teen years. He was then associated with John Rieger, in
the same line of business, but after a period of three
years the latter was succeeded by Mr. High's son. Mr. High
and his son conduct a high class tailoring business, having
a large patronage. Although giving the closest attention
to business Mr. High's eminent qualifications for a po-
litical force and influence in his party, brought him' to the
fore many years ago, and for twenty-three years he has
been the recognized leader of the Republican party in
Berks county, the Philadelphia. Record, of Aug. 30, 1903,
in an exhaustive article on his political career, dubbing him
the "Regent of Berks." Recognizing his invaluable ser-
vices to the party, he was made postmaster of Reading,
in 1899, reappointed in 1903 and- again in 1907. He has
been four times a delegate to the Republican National
Convention, having been the first delegate chosen in the
United States for the successive conventions of 1888, 1892,
1896 and the third one chosen for 1904. His services at
the head of the organization were invaluable to the cause,
and by his honest and energetic methods of conducting
campaigns he strengthened the hold of the Republican
party in Berks county, even gaining friends in opposing
factions. A man of magnetic presence and fine chara!cter,
he has a large following, and is a "to^er of strength"
politically and socially.

Mr. High married Miss Lizzie Delp, and they have had
three children : Harry S. ; Howard J., deceased ; and
Wayne M. The family is one of the best known and most
popular in Reading.

WARREN L. DAVIS, son of James and Anna (Great-
rake) Davis, was born at Birdsboro, Berks county, Oct.
34, 1868. After receiving a common school education in
the local schools, he, while yet a boy, established a mes-
senger service between Birdsboro and Reading, which he
carried on successfully for a year and a half. Then he
located at Reading and learned printing, but not being
satisfied with this occupation he entered the employ of
George S. Herbein, dealer in furniture and carpets, and
continued with him' six years. During this time he quali-
fied himself thoroughly for accounting, and entered the
hardware house of Bright & Lerch. Appreciating his ef-
ficiency, they in 1895 selected him as their chief clerk
and treasurer, which position he held until the death of
Mr. Lerch in 1898, when the firm changed to Bright
Company, In the new firm he performed the same duties as
Mr. Lerch and also remained their treasurer until July,
1901, having been in their employ for thirteen years.

In 1901 he was offered the responsible position of gen-
eral bookkeeper of the Farmers National Bank, of Reading,
the oldest and strongest bank in Reading. He accepted
this position and his proficiency was so great that in
August, 1903, he was promoted to be cashier, and this
position he has held most creditably until the present.

Mr. Davis married, Dec. 25, 1895, Laura M. Dillon,
daughter of Moses Dillon, of Reading. They have two
children, Stewart and Anna Louise. They belong to St.
Barnabas Protestant Episcopal Church.

WILLIAM K. GRIM was a very prominent and in-
fluential citizen at Boyertown, and his death Aug. 14,
1905, was greatly deplored. The Grim ' family is one of
the oldest in the county, and owes its residence here to



382



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



the emigration from Germany of Jolian Egidius Grim.
The home of the family was originally in Normandy, and
the lineage is traced back to a Baron there in the time of
William the Conqueror. One branch of the family went
to Alsace, and to that branch the Berks county Grims be-
long.

(I) Johan Egidius Grim came to America in 1728 with
the Rev. John Casper Stoever, and he settled first in Weisen-
burg township, Northampton (now Lehigh) county, but it
appears he later came to Maxatawny township, Berks
county, and secured a large tract of land. His house was
a most substantial one, and to it other settlers fled for re-
fuge in time of Indian disturbances. Two of his sons
served in the war of the Revolution, and most of his de-
scendants are members of the Lutheran Church. The will
of "Gitti, alias Gideon" Grim was made Jan. 28, 1760, and
was probated Oct. 1, 1761, when Jacob and Henry Grim,
his sons, were appointed as executors. In this will he gave
his land to his sons Jacob and Henry; fifty pounds to his
daughter Cattarina ; fifty pounds to his daughter Elizabeth
(who married Casper iVIerker) ; thirty pounds to Francis
Roth "son of my daughter Margreth."

(H) Henry Grim, son of Gitti, was born in Maxatawny
township in 1733, and died in 1804, He married and had
three children : Jacob, Jonathan and Gideon.

(HI) Gideoti Grim, son of Henry, was born in Maxa-
tawny township, where he became an extensive and suc-
cessful farmer. His death occurred in 1823, when he was
aged sixty-three years. By his wife, Elizabeth Kirby, an
Englishwoman, he became the father of five sons and two
daughters, namely : David, who died unmarried ; Nathan,
who settled at farming in Columbia county, Pa. ; Gideon
and Benjamin, millers at Weisenburg, in Lehigh county;
Joshua, a farmer on the homestead; Hannah (m. John
Seigfried) ; and Dinah (m. John Dresher).

(IV) Gideon Grim, son of Gideon and Elizabeth, was
born on the old homestead in Maxatawny township Aug.
31, 1792. He carried on milling and farming for many
years in Exeter township at the home of his father-in-
law, Henry Knouse. In 1830 he purchased in Colebrook-
dale township two farms of about ninety acres each, with
a tan yard, and these he operated until his death April 27,
1848. He was buried in the Boyertown cemetery. He
hauled the product of his farm and tannery to market in
Philadelphia by team, and was well known throughout the
county. He was an official member of the Lutheran
Church. He married Esther Knouse, and had two child-
ren : William K. ; and Levi, who died at the age of
eighteen.

(V) William K. Grim was a son of Gideon and Esther,
and was born in Exeter township May 28, 1S25. He early
learned the tanner's trade from his father, and often used
to accompany the latter on his trips to Philadelphia, and
at the age of sixteen William K. began making these trips
alone. He operated the tan yard until 1874, when that
enterprise was abandoned on account of the scarcity of tan
bark. A flour and grist mill was then built on the property,



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 95 of 227)