John W. (John Woolf) Jordan.

Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania biography : illustrated (Volume 3) online

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light under a bushel and there is enough
known of his commercial and religious char-
acter and educational work to stamp him as
one of the notable useful men of his day.
Nor is the record closed, for as business
success has given him increased resources in
time and means, he has given to his brethren
of both in a corresponding ratio.

Jeremiah Gerner Mohn, fifth son of Wil-
liam and Polly (Gerner) Mohn, and a de-
scendant of Johannes Mohn, the German
immigrant, who came to Pennsylvania in
1733. settling in Berks county, as related in
the preceding sketch, was born at Mohn's
Hill, Berks county, Pennsylvania, near
Adamstown, and there grew to youthful
manhood. He attended school in both
Berks and Lancaster counties, beginning
business life at the age of eighteen years as
clerk in a general store at Mohnsville, his
cousin, S. K. Mohn, being proprietor. After
three years' experience there he transferred
his services to the general store kept by
Mohn & Spatz, at Gouglersville, remaining
there one year. For the ten succeeding
years he was employed in stores at Rein-
holdsville, Adamstown and Reamstown, the
last four years being manager of the J. R.
Redding store at Reamstown. In 1870 he
became bookkeeper and shipping clerk in
the hat factory of his brother-in-law, George
Hendel, at Reading, and in 1871 joined his
brothers in the purchase of the George
Hendel factory and its subsequent opera-
tion as Mohn Brothers, later J. G. Mohn
& Brothers, yet one of the important indus-
tries of Reading. Mr. Mohn has always
been and is yet intimately connected with
the firm as senior partner and to him as
well as to his capable brothers is merit to
be awarded for the development of an in-
dustry and a plant among the greatest in
the Pennsylvania wool hat factory trade.

Other business enterprises of Reading
have benefitted by Mr. Mohn's energy and
progressiveness. He has been vice-presi-



dent and director of the Penn National
Bank since its incorporation in 1883; sec-
ond vice-president of the Reading Trust
Company and director since its organization
in 1886; and in 1905 and 1906 was presi-
dent of the Reading Board of Trade. In
political faith a Republican. It is one of the
pleasant recollections of his life that his
first vote was cast for that great American
statesman and martyr, Abraham Lincoln,
the first and greatest of all presidents elected
by the Republican party. This vote was
cast November i, i860, and from that date
he has loyally supported his first choice of
a party. From 1888 to 1892 he represented
the Third Ward of Reading in Select

Inherited from his honored parents a
strong religious nature he early became a
member of the Evangelical church, uniting,
however, with the United Evangelical
church, on its inception in 1894. He was a
generous supporter of the building fund of
the First United Evangelical Church at
Eighth and Court streets, Reading, and
chairman of the building committee. For
forty years he has served as member of the
board of trustees and for many years has
been president of the board and treasurer of
the Missionary Society of the church. He
was a delegate to the first general confer-
ence of his church, held in Naperville, Illi-
nois, November, 1894, and has been a dele-
gate to the East Pennsylvania conference
from its first meeting in 1894 until the pres-
ent, and to all conferences including the
conference in 1914. In honor of his par-
ents he purchased the ground and church
established by his father at Mohn's Hill,
presenting it to the congregation there wor-
shipping, and since known as Mohn Memo-
rial Church.

In educational affairs Mr. Mohn has taken
a deep and active interest. For over thirty-
five years he has been treasurer of Albright
Collegiate Institute (now college) and a
member of its board of trustees since its
foundation. In 1908 he purchased the

Behne mansion at Myerstown, a three-story
building with six acres of ground and pre-
sented it to the college in appreciation of
the work they were doing for higher educa-
tional advantages. The trustees of Albright
College accepted this noble gift gladly, set-
ting it apart for the use of the young women
students and dedicating it Jeremiah Ger-
ner Mohn Hall. He is also a member of
the church publication board at Harrisburg,
a member and has served on the board of
managers of the Lebanon Chautauqua Asso-
ciation, and for many years has been a de-
voted and liberal friend of Reading's Young
Men's Christian Association, serving as
president of the board of trustees, and also
was chairman of finance committee to raise
the funds for a new building and equip-
ment. The success achieved may be gather-
ed from results of over $200,000, and Mr.
Mohn served as chairman of the building
committee. The building is now completed
and was dedicated May 24, 1914. So in busi-
ness, civic, religious or educational work he
has ever borne his part, the record herein but
imperfectly traced justifying the opening
assertions that his career marked him one of
the "Notable useful men of his day."

Mr. Mohn married (first) January 28,
1865, Annie Shirk, who died June 4, 1867,
leaving a son, Charles Ellsworth, who mar-
ried Eutalia Blankenville and has a son,
Winfield H. She was a daughter of Henry
and Hannah (Zell) Shirk, of Adamstown.
Mr. Mohn married (second) October 7,
1869, Susanna, daughter of Daniel and
Mary (Lutz) Royer, of Lancaster county,
Pennsylvania. She died August 29, 1883,
leaving children: i. Ada M., a graduate in
music from Albright College ; married Her-
bert Landis, special agent of the North-
western Mutual Life Insurance Company.
2. Harry Scott, died young. 3. Howard R.,
died in his twenty-first year. 4. Elmer E.,
married and resides in Philadelphia; a
wholesale coal merchant. Mr. Mohn mar-
ried (third) November 10, 1885, Emma S.,
daughter of John H. Spartz, of Mohnton.




Children : Maud, died in childhood ; Luella
Faith, a graduate of Albright College. The
sons of Jeremiah G. Mohn, Charles Ells-
worth and Elmer E., are both business men.

DORNEY, Oliver Charles, C. P. A.,

Prominent Business Edncator.

The man who trains young- men and
young women to become useful citizens and
able to perform their part in helping the
world forward, is doing a work which lies
at the very foundations of the prosperity
and permanence of the commonwealth.
Among the foremost of those now engaged
in rendering this incalculable service to
mankind is Oliver Charles Dorney, founder
and president of the American Commercial
School, Allentown, Pennsylvania. ?^Ir.
Dorney has, for over a quarter of a cen-
tury, occupied a prominent position among
the business educators of the country.

Solomon Dorney, father of Oliver Charles
Dorney, was a farmer, and at one time en-
gaged extensively in the manufacture of
carriages and sleighs. For fifteen or twenty
years he held the office of postmaster of
Cedarville, Lehigh county, Pennsylvania.
He married Elmina, daughter of Jonas and
Lydia (Jones) Faust, and their children
were : Ellen R., widow of H. O. Weaver ;
Franklin T. ; Oliver Charles, the subject of
this sketch; Albert H., and Edward J. Mrs.
Dorney was a woman of unusual intelli-
gence and energy, and assisted her husband
in his duties as postmaster and in the con-
duct of a general store.

Oliver Charles, son of Solomon and El-
mina (Faust) Dorney, was born March i8,
1862, in South Whitehall township, Lehigh
county, Pennsylvania. He received his
early education in the district schools, from
which he graduated at the age of fifteen.
Upon the completion of his public school
education in 1878, he entered business col-
lege in the city of Allentown, where he
completed the course and, having been a
first honor graduate, was at once retained as

a teacher of these subjects, teaching during
the winter months and helping his parents
in their business during the summer months.

After having definitely determined to
make the teaching of business his life work,
and realizing the need of expert and special
training along these fines he, in 1884, enter-
ed Kibbe's Writing Parlors and Gallery of
Pen Art, Utica, New York, placing himselt
under the direct and personal supervision
of II. W. Kibbe (the proprietor), that
famous pen artist, who, as a critic and all-
around penman in every branch of the art,
had no superior and few if any equals.

L^pon the completion of this professional
course he returned to assume the manage-
ment of the local business college, until the
spring of 1889, when he resigned his posi-
tion to establish the American Commercial
School, of which he is still president. In
1895 his institution was incorporated and
chartered under the laws of the State of
Pennsylvania, with a capital stock of $30,-
000, which represents the cost of its equip-
ments, and there are few schools in Amer-
ica that compare with it in appointments and
facilities for the successful training of
young men and women for business pur-

During the early '80s, in addition to the
practical training in his father's large manu-
facturing plant, general store and postoffice,
he acquired broad and valuable experience
as general manager of the famous Dorney
Park and Trout Hatchery, which was estab-
lished by his father, and which remained in
the family not only as the family home-
stead but also as the most popular summer
resort in Eastern Pennsylvania, visited
annually by several hundred thousand peo-
ple, including sportsmen who were attracted
from all sections of the country for the
angling of "speckled beauties" in season.
After his father's death, the old homestead
and park was sold to the Allentown and
Reading Traction Company, on whose lines
it is located. Owing to his wide and prac-
tical experience as a business man and ac-



countant, he, through his uncle, C. A. Dor-
ney, who financed this road and who held
its controlling interest, was appointed to the
position of chief accountant, which afforded
him an opportunity to become familiar with
the details of the electric railroad business,
and which soon lead to the promotion to the
position of general manager, and which he
held for a number of years. Upon the
death of his uncle, however, he resigned his
position with the electric railroad company
to devote his entire time to the school
founded by him.

With such able leadership, the growth of
the school was so rapid that three times it
outgrew its quarters, compelling it to seek
larger and better accommodations until it
finally had built for its own convenience and
requirements, according to the plans and
specifications of its founder, an entire floor
in the Young Men's Christian Association
building located on the southeast corner of
Centre Square, a structure costing, with its
equipments a quarter million of dollars, and
where it is still located.

The object, however, of locating in the
Young Men's Christian Association building
was three-fold: First, to secure the needed
accommodation in floor space ; secondly, to
throw around every student the highly
moral and spiritual influences such as the
Young Men's Christian Association only
could afford ; thirdly, to conduct the edu-
cational classes of the Young Men's Chris-
tian Association, affording its members all
the advantages and facilities of every de-
partment of the institution.

Hence, the advantages of both institu-
tions have become affiliated, and in this con-
nection it should be said that since President
Domey foresaw the incalculable benefits to
be derived by the members of both institu-
tions through the consolidation of interests
as indicated, to him belongs the honor of
effecting the first arrangement of this nature
ever made in this country between any
purely business educational institution and
a Young Men's Christian Association.

The crowning feature of this educational
institution, however, is its employment
service, which, Hke the school, is regularly
incorporated, and has been in successful
operation since the organization of the
school in 1889. Through it upwards of
12,000 young men and women have been
placed in positions of responsibility and

The dominant influence and guiding force
of this great institution have been, from its
inception, those of its founder and presi-
dent. Ably seconded as he has been by a
large staff of others, Mr. Dorney has, with
the genius of true leadership, supplied his
coadjutors with his own unfailing energy
and enthusiasm, and the school is to-day a
monument alike to his public-spirited zeal
and to his administrative ability and un-
wearied concentration of purpose.

In 1895 he erected the Dorney building,
the first apartment building in the city. In
this building he organized "The O. C. Dor-
ney Co.," for the purpose of conducting a
general designing, engraving and printing
business. The first two floors were equip-
ped with all the latest and best electric ma-
chinery, all of which was electrically con-
trolled by the mere pressing of a button
and was considered the most modern and
up-to-date plant of its kind in America.

In 1900 Mr. Dorney was commissioned
by the State Board of Examiners and char-
tered by the Governor of the State of Penn-
sylvania, conferring upon him the degree of
C. P. A. (Certified or Chartered Public
Accountant). For years, however, before
as well as after this commission was con-
ferred upon him, he devoted much of his
time to the adjustment of partnership, manu-
facturing and corporation affairs, as well
as doing auditing and public accounting
work of every variety, the planning and in-
stalling of office systems, preparing and
supervising advertising campaigns for many
of the largest concerns in this section of the
country. As an expert penman, he has also
for many years been consulted by and fre-



quently figured in the local courts as a wit-
ness and expert on forged or questioned

In 1905 he drew up his own plans for and
immediately started in the building of
twenty modern three-story nine-room houses
consisting of brick, stone and cement, in one
of the most desirable sections in the city of
Allentown, involving an investment of up-
wards of $100,000, making a most valuable
addition to one of the city's most important

Mr. Dorney as an Inventor. — Not only of
an intensely practical but also of an inven-
tive turn of mind, he devotes what spare
hours he has at his command to the develop-
ment of practical and useful devices. He
has invented and holds letters patent and
copyrights on the following: Adjustable
school desks; adjustable school, office and
typewriter chairs ; adjustable typewriter and
reading tables; adjustable artists and draft-
ing tables ; adjustable copyholders and de-
vices for teaching touch typewriting; elec-
tric signal clock ; adjustable necktie guard ;
the Dorneyrian system of spelling; the Dor-
neyrian card system for roll-call; the safe
guard check and banking system. An en-
tirely new, novel and effective system for
indexing records for the various makes of
talking machines, as well as numerous other
time and labor-saving office systems and de-

He is a prominent and active member of
the following organizations: The National
Commercial Teacher's Federation; the Pri-
vate Commercial School Managers Associa-
tion ; the Eastern Commercial Teacher's
Association; the National Association of
Accountants and Bookkeepers ; the Book-
keepers Literary Club ; the National League
of Business Educators ; the National Asso-
ciation of Accredited Commercial Schools ;
the Allentown Chamber of Commerce. In
the last named organization he has served
on the committee of statistics, publication
and advertising for many years.

In 1883 he was married to Jennie Clapp

Reynolds Wood, daughter of a prominent
contractor and builder of Providence,
Rhode Island, who has been actively en-
gaged and deeply interested in her hus-
band's welfare not only in the founding of
the American Commercial School but also
by filling the important position of matron
and instructor in moral and business ethics.

Mrs. Dorney — a woman of exceptional
talent and energy, joined to a most attrac-
tive personality — is of English descent, and
the great-great-granddaughter of Samuel
Gorton, one of the founders of American
liberties; twice president judge; one of the
authors of the fine political code adopted by
the first Assembly of the United Colonies
of the Providence (Rhode Island) Planta-
tion; the writer of a statute against negro
slavery, and the first edict adopted in Amer-
ica; a noted author and writer and whose
writings and works have been recognized
and recently commented upon by the lead-
ing newspapers and magazines of the coun-
try, notably among which "The Christian
Science Monitor," published in Boston,

Mrs. Dorney is a Colonial Dame, and a
member of the Daughters of the American
Revolution on five direct lines ; and her hus-
band's success in educational, as well as in
every one of his other business and pro-
fessional enterprises, is largely due to her
influence and indomitable efforts to be the
greatest possible service to him.

The work to which Mr. Dorney has thus
far devoted his life is far-reaching, the
knowledge and training acquired in the in-
stitution on which he has stamped the im-
press of his personality being carried by his
pupils to every part of our own land and
to every quarter of the globe. It is also
enduring, in that its influence will not cease
with his own life or with the lives of those
whose characters and destinies he has helped
to mould. It will animate the generations
of the future. His influence is always ex-
erted on the side of reform and good gov-
ernment, and no project which, in his judg-



ment, tends to further the welfare and prog-
ress of Allentown, ever lacks his coopera-
tion and support. In politics he is a Pro-
gressive Republican.

SCHALL, Capt. William A.,

Soldier, Retired Merchant.

Of ancient German lineage and of a fam-
ily distinguished in Pennsylvania annals
from the time of the American ancestor,
Lieutenant Tobias Schall, who came to
America in 1748, Captain William A. Schall,
of Reading, a veteran of the Civil War, and
a retired merchant, has in his own right
earned recognition among the "men of
mark" in his native State.

The Schall family, first represented in
America by Tobias Schall, of which family
William A. Schall, of Reading, and his
brothers, D. Horace Schall, of Philadelphia,
and General John W. Schall, of Morris-
town, are representatives, traces descent to
one of the noble families of the Rhine coun-
try, Germany. Originally von Schall was
the name, but late in the fourteenth cen-
tury, "Bell," the name of the family manor
in Gladbach, was added, the name being
written Schall von Bell. The ancient fam-
ily history is authenticated by ancestral rec-
ords, from which it further appears that in
the sixteenth century members of the fam-
ily settled in Livonia, where the office of
hereditary marshal was obtained. In the
eighteenth century the family appeared in
Bavaria. During the first half of that cen-
tury the rank of Baron was conferred upon
Ferdinand Schall von Bell, and in 1747 he
was admitted to the Knighthood of Bergen.
The name Robert Schalls is found as far
back as 1150 and a Johann Schall von Bell
later was rewarded for valiant service with
the Manor of Thurnhof at Freedsdorf. Of
the Bavarian branch Count Carl Theodor,
son of Baron Ferdinand (previously men-
tioned) was privy councilor of the Electoral
Palatinate and ambassador to the Court of
Saxony. He married, in 1777, Countess

von Reaucour, heiress of Andreas, Count
von Reaucour, minister of Saxony, who
dying without male issue in 1794, directed
that his son-in-law. Count Carl Theodor von
Schall, should add the von Reaucour name
and arms to his own. The estates of Putz-
kau, Gansig and Croslato also came to him,
that branch being continued as Counts von
Schall Reaucour.

Such was the family from which sprang
the later day Tobias Schall, who with his
wife Magdaline left his home in Germany,
near the French border, in 174S, sailed for
America and landed at Charleston, South
Carolina. With him came his son George,
the progenitor of William A. Schall, of

George Schall was born in 1735 in the
Pfalz, middle Shefflentz Moshbower Ampt,
Germany, was baptized in Upper Shefflentz
Evangelical Church, but confirmed in the
Middle Shefflentz Reformed Church. In
1757 he married Catharine Newhard, born
in Northampton (now Lehigh) county,
Pennsylvania, and after his marriage set-
tled in Pike township, Berks county, Penn-
sylvania, where he followed the peaceful
occupation of a farmer, until the War for
Independence took him from the plow to
the field of action. He enlisted in Colonel
Daniel Hunter's regiment, became a lieu-
tenant and faithfully served the Revolu-
tionary cause until peace was restored. He
then returned to Pike township, where he
sowed, tilled and reaped until his death, De-
cember 5, 1802. His widow survived him
five months, dying May 5, 1803, and lies by
his side in Hill Church Graveyard.

Hon. George (2) Schall, son of Lieuten-
ant George (i) Schall and grandson of the
emigrant, Tobias Schall, was born at the
Pike township farm, December 26, 1768.
He vi^as a farmer and blacksmith, and in
1796 built at the old homestead a grist and
saw mill, which he also operated. He was
a Democrat in politics and in 1825 was
elected State Senator, serving three years.
His journeys to Harrisburg were made on



horseback, Lebanon being his stopping place
for the night, finishing the trip the second
day. He was a member of the Reformed
church, devout and useful. He married,
November lo, i/Sg, Catherine Oyster, born
August 7, 1/86, died July lo, 1846, who
bore him nine children, David, of further
mention, being the sixth.

Judge David Schall, son of Hon. George
(2) and Catherine (Oyster) Schall, was
born at the Pike township homestead, Berks
county, Pennsylvania, May 25, 1801. and
there grew to manhood, his father's assist-
ant at the forge, becoming familiar with
the uses, qualities and working of iron. In
early manhood (1825) he began the opera-
tion of the Dale Forge in Washington town-
ship, manufacturing bar iron and blooms,
continuing in the iron business for over half
a century. He also owned and operated a
large farm, and by careful management,
energy and industry was able to retire with
a fortune in 1870. Having made iron prior
to his taking the Dale Forge in 1825, his
connection with the iron manufacturing
business covered as stated over fifty years.
He became prominent in the Democratic
party, like his honored father, was county
auditor, 1842-45, associate judge of Berks
county, 1856 to i856, and was a captain in
the old State militia organization. He mar-
ried Catharine Endy, born May 9, 1805,
died August 24, 1873, the mother of four
sons and five daughters. Judge Schall died
January 22, 1877. Children: i. George,
died in his sixty-fifth year,' having been a
farmer on the Dale Forge farm and for
twelve years steward of the Montgomery
county prison. 2. Amelia, deceased ; mar-
ried William Trexler, of Longswamp. 3.
Emmeline, resides in Philadelphia. 4.
General John W., a veteran officer of the
Civil War, in which he served as colonel of
the Eighty-seventh Regiment Pennsylvania
Volunteer Infantry, served four years as
postmaster at Norristown, Pennsylvania,
seven years as recorder of deeds of Mont-
gomery county, and is a general of the

Pennsylvania National Guard, residing at
Norristown. 5. Hannah, died 1896. 6.
Captain William A., of whom further. 7.
D. Horace, an official of the United States
Custom House at Philadelphia. 8. Alfred,
resides in Philadelphia. 9. Mary, also a
resident of Philadelphia.

Captain William A. Schall, third son of
Judge David and Catharine (Endy) Schall,
was born in Berks county, Pennsylvania.
He obtained his education at Elmvvood In-
stitute, Norristown, and private schools in
Reading. He enlisted when the call for nine
months' men was made by President Lin-
coln, and on October 20, 1862, was mus-
tered into the service as captain of Com-
pany G, One Hundred and Sixty-seventh
Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.

Online LibraryJohn W. (John Woolf) JordanEncyclopedia of Pennsylvania biography : illustrated (Volume 3) → online text (page 43 of 58)