John W. (John Woolf) Jordan.

Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania biography : illustrated (Volume 3) online

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five months six days, who married Eleanor
Stewart, born January 6. 1766, of Stewarts-
ville, Warren county. New Jersey. The
Mellick family were direct descendants of



pioneers who settled in Plainfield, New Jer-
sey, in 1700.

James Stewart Shick was born in Lower
Saucon township, Northampton county,
Pennsylvania, April 9, 1843. He was edu-
cated in the public schools of that section
of the country. From the time he was a
lad of ten years he commenced supporting
himself. In 1853 he obtained a position on
a river boat, and was identified with a river
occupation in various capacities until 1861.
For some years he followed other occupa-
tions, resuming boating in 1865 and continu-
ing in it until 1885. In that year he estab-
lished himself in the hotel business, which
he conducted very successfully until 1893,
and then retired from business responsi-
bilities until 1899. At that time he was
appointed an assignee to settle up the affairs
of the Freemansburg Building and Loan
Association, which important and respon-
sible position he held until 1905, when he
had wound up the affairs of this concern
to the satisfaction of all connected with it.
He is a man of much public spirit, and
served as chief burgess of Freemansburg
from October, 1912, until the first Monday
in January, 1914. Intensely patriotic, he
served his country bravely during the try-
ing time of the Civil War as a member of
Company H, Fifty-fourth Regiment Penn-
sylvania Volunteer Infantry, under Jacob
M. Campbell, and was wounded at Win-
chester, Virginia, September 19, 1864. His
religious affiliation is with Christ Evan-
gelical Lutheran Church.

Mr. Shick married, in Allentown, Penn-
sylvania, in July, 1867, Eliza Smith, born in
Allentown, April 24, 1846, daughter of
Innis and Sarah (Gross) Smith. The lead-
ing characteristic of Mr. Shick may per-
haps be stated as indomitable perseverance,
which has enabled him to overcome diffi-
culties which would have overwhelmed a
less energetic man; his self reliance has
never failed him.

HOUCK, Henry, A. M., D. L.,

Educator, Public Ofadal.

The Hon. Henry Houck, Secretary of In-
ternal Affairs for the State of Pennsylvania,
and one of the prominent and influential
citizens of Lebanon, was born March 6,
1836, in Palmyra, Lebanon county, Penn-
sylvania, son of Samuel and Rosanna
(Jontz) Houck.

The early education of Henry Houck was
that of most of the country boys of the
neighborhood, a few months each year at
the district school, later he was sent to the
Annville Academy, and he also attended for
a term the Arcadian Institute at Orwigs-
burg. Not satisfied with the work he had
accomplished at these schools Mr. Houck,
who had an ambition for that knowledge
of the classics which always accompanies, if
it cannot be said to be the foundation of
the highest culture, took lessons privately
in Greek and Latin from tutors and pre-
pared for college. This was at a time when
he himself was teaching and his leisure was
scanty. He began, indeed, to teach when
he was hardly more than a boy, being only
sixteen at the time. But he had that mag-
netic gift of arousing interest and enthusi-
asm which is so large a part of the teacher's
equipment and from the outset his work in
that direction was highly successful. His
interest in educational work begun at that
time has continued ever since, identified as
he has been with the work of a lifetime in
that field. In 1869 he was appointed Deputy
State Superintendent of Education for the
State of Pennsylvania, a position which he
filled for nearly forty years, after serving
nine years as county superintendent of Leb-
anon county. He has always been a lead-
ing spirit in every movement for educational

Being in great demand as a public speaker
he has lectured in nearly every city and
town in Pennsylvania and in many other
States. When Dr. M. G. Brumbaugh was


Commissioner of Education in Porto Rico
he assisted him in conducting a series of
educational meetings, which were held in
the principal cities and towns on the island.

Appreciation was shown of his work in
the educational department of Pennsylvania
by the gift from the teachers of a trip to
foreign lands a few years ago. The degree
of Master of Arts was conferred upon him
by Franklin and Marshall College, and that
of Doctor of Literature by Pennsylvania

Dr. Houck married, April lo, 1856, Susan
Margaret, daughter of Dr. Christian Bucher,
and they have had seven children : Harvey
Bucher, Mary Valentine, Rosa Jontz, Eliz-
abeth Heister, Paul Winters, Alfred Rhodes
and Susan Alargaret.

Mr. Houck was elected to his present
office in 1906 and was reelected in 1910.

MUHLENBERG, William F., M. D.,

Saccessful Physician.

Distinguished in the social and profes-
sional life of Pennsylvania, the Muhlenbergs,
now widely dispersed throughout the State
were originally a Lancaster family. Dr.
William F. Muhlenberg, one of the eminent
physicians of Reading, is a lineal descend-
ant of Rev. Henry Melchoir Muhlenberg,
the recognized founder of the Lutheran
church in America, a paternal great-grand-
son of Dr. Henry Ernest Muhlenberg, of
Lancaster, and a maternal great-grandson
of General Pater Muhlenberg, the Revolu-
tionary officer.

Dr. Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg,
father of Dr. William F. Muhlenberg, was
born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1818,
and died in Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1901.
He was a man of highest culture, and for
sixty years was connected with different
Pennsylvania colleges as professor of lan-
guages and other departments of higher
education. The last important chair he filled
was that of Professor of Greek at the L^ni-
versity of Pennsylvania. He married Cath-

erine Muhlenberg, who died in 1894, aged
si.xty-seven years, daughter of Major Peter
Muhlenberg, of Reading, Pennsylvania.
Four sons were born to Dr. Frederick A.
Muhlenberg: Ernest A., Henry M., Francis
B., William F.

Dr. William F. Muhlenberg, the young-
est son, was born at (jcttysburg, Pennsyl-
vania, November i8, 1852, his father at that
time being Professor of Greek at Pennsyl-
vania College. Here he obtained his early
and preparatory education, later entering
Aluhlenberg College at Allentown, Pennsyl-
vania, an institution which owes its being
to the Muhlenberg family. Dr. Frederick
A. Muhlenberg was for several years presi-
dent of the college, and was filling that high
position when his son, William F., was
graduated in 1868. After completing his
classical course at Muhlenberg, the young
man entered the medical department of the
University of Pennsylvania, whence he was
graduated M. D., class of 1872. He located
in Reading soon after obtaining his degree
and he has won his way upward in public
esteem until he is among the recognized
leaders of his profession in that city. His
practice is very large and honorable, em-
bracing both medicine and surgery, his skill
as a surgeon equalling his medical ability.
Since 1884 he has been the regularly ap-
I)ointed surgeon for the Schuylkill Valley
Railroad Company for Reading and the
vicinity, and during the same period has
been surgeon at the Reading Hospital. For
many years Dr. Muhlenberg has been an
active member of the Berks County Medical
Society and the Reading Medical Society,
serving as president of both and furthering
the usefulness of both societies. He has the
highest esteem of his professional brethren
and the entire confidence of the people with
whom he has labored for the past forty
years. He is a member of Trinity Lutheran
Church. Besides membership in profes-
sional and other organizations. Dr. Muhlen-
berg is a member of several clubs, social and
others furnishing open air diversion and



healthful exercises, including the Wyomis-
sing and Berkshire of Reading, and the
University and Country of Philadelphia.

Dr. Muhlenberg married, in 1884, Au-
gusta Muhlenberg, who died in 1890, daugh-
ter of Pliester H. and Katherine (Hunter)
Muhlenberg, the former named the cashier
of the Farmers' Bank of Reading from 1842
until his death in 1886. Dr. Aluhlenberg
has three children: i. Hiester, a graduate
of the University of Pennsylvania, class of
1908. 2. Frederick Augustus, graduate of
the Reading high school, 1904, and of Penn-
sylvania College, class of 1908. 3. Au-

HAAK, George E.,

Bepresentative Citizen.

In Mr. Haak there is a fine blending of
practical business ability and social quality
that attracts and holds. Better known to the
building trade, perhaps, than any man in
Reading, he numbers every customer his
friend, while in fraternal circles his influ-
ence, popularity and acquaintances are well
sustained, particularly in the Masonic order.
Efficiency in ritualistic work is quickly
recognized in that order and when to inter-
est and efficiency there is added social qual-
ity, such as Mr. Haak possesses, honors fall
bountifully to the fortunate possessor. Thus
we find that to his name, Mr. Haak can
attach the titles, "Past Master," "Past High
Priest," "Past Eminent Commander" and
"Past Potentate," as well as titles showing
important service in other orders.

Mr. Haak's ancestors were engaged in
agricultural pursuits from the date of the
arrival of his great-grandfather, John Jacob
Haak, the founder of the family in Amer-
ica, and Berks county, Pennsylvania, their
home since 1728. John Jacob Haak sailed
from Deal, England, on the ship "Morton-
house," June 15, 1728, arrived August 24
of that year, and is recorded later in the
same year as a member of the Lutheran
church at Tulpehocken, Berks county, Penn-

sylvania. His son, John Haak, was a
farmer and large landowner in Alsace town-
ship, Berks county; married Elizabeth
Krause, born in Berks county, and reared a
family. They were Lutherans in religious
faith, and he was a supporter of the Whig
party politically, later a Republican.

Michael Haak, son of John and Elizabeth
(Krause) Haak, was born in 1803, in Berks
county, Pennsylvania. He grew to man-
hood upon the home farm, and engaged in
farming all his life, becoming owner of
valuable farm property. He followed in
his father's footsteps politically and spirit-
ually and was a man thoroughly respected.
He married Sarah Addams, who bore him
three daughters and a son.

George E. Haak, only son of Michael and
Sarah (Addams) Haak, was born in Lees-
port, Berks county, Pennsylvania, October
3, 1842. He was educated in the public
schools of Alsace township, Lititz and
Reading, spending his earlier years engaged
in various activities. In 1874, in partner-
ship with Francis Keffer, he established a
glass and queensware retail store at 520
Penn street, Reading, continuing in associa-
tion with Mr. Keflfer for three and one-
half years. They then dissolved partner-
ship, Mr. Haak continuing in the same busi-
ness alone at 312 Penn street for ten years,
being successful in his operations. He then
became manager of the estate left by his
father, who had named him in his will as
executor. The landed estate left by Michael
Haak comprised two hundred and twenty-
nine acres in East Reading and was at that
time considered one of the most valuable
tracts in Berks county. Its great value
arose from the fact that the finest deposit
of kaolin and sienna in the United States
was located thereon, also a valuable sand
deposit. These sources of wealth have beer*
developed by Mr. Haak and the amount of
business transacted by the Sienna Paint,
Kaolin and Sand Works has for several
years been very large. The sand is particu-
larly valuable for building purposes, its pur-




ity and sharpness being unsurpassed. Many
of the prnicipal buildings of Reading have
been furnished with the sand used in their
construction, from the Haak farm, and the
school board of Reading will allow no other
to be used in the buildings constructed by
them. Mr. Haak was one of the organizers
of the Schuylkill Valley Bank and for five
years was a member of the board of direc-

Dating from early manhood Mr. Haak
has taken a deep interest and active part in
fraternal organizations. His social and
benevolent nature is in full sympathy with
the fraternal idea and in the Masonic order
he found full scope for energy. He was
made a Mason in August, 1871, and in due
season passed through chapter, of which he
was thrice illustrious grand master, council
and commandery, filling many chairs in
each, including the highest honors each
could bestow. He is a past master of Lodge
No. 62 ; past high priest of Excelsior Chap-
ter, No. 237, Royal Arch Masons, and past
eminent commander of Reading Command-
ery, No. 42, Knights Templar. When the
Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic
Shrine became an adjunct of the Masonic
order, Mr. Haak became an interested mem-
ber and when the need for a temple in Read-
ing became urgent, he led in the movement
to secure a charter, and was elected the first
potentate of Rajah Temple, the then newly
created body. His long years of active par-
ticipation in the various bodies have brought
him the friendship of the leading Masons
of Pennsylvania, while at the tri-ennial con-
claves of "Knights" and "Shriners," he has
become well known to the Masons of the
entire country. While enthusiasm departs
with age, Mr. Haak retains a deep interest
in the order he served so long and well and
has the profound respect and loving regard
of his brethren. He also was a leader and
the first man in Reading to join the local
lodges of Knights of the Golden Eagle, and
the Royal Arcanum ; was captain of the
first fully equipped company in Philadel-

phia, and rose to the rank of major of a
battalion, being the first man to hold that

In business circles, Mr. Haak has ever
maintained high stamiing, and among his
warmest friends are those with whom he
has held the closest business relations for
many years.

NEFF, Isaac Ambrose,

Iron W^orks Official.

The Neffs first appear in Pennsylvania
about the year 1717. The early arrivals
were Swiss emigrants and were recorded as
Neiflf, Naef, Neyf, Nef and Neflf. They
subsequently all became Neff. The earliest
record is of Francis Neff, banished from
Switzerland on account of his religious
opinions (a Mennonite), and was among
the earliest settlers of Lancaster county;
about the year 1717 he was naturalized, and
in 1729 settled in what is now Manor town-
ship, Lancaster county, Pennsylvania. From
Lancaster the name spread to adjoining
counties, and now is found in all States of
the Union. It is from Francis Neiflf, the
Swiss emigrant, that Isaac Ambrose Neflf,
of the police department of Lebanon, I'enn-
sylvania, traces his descent.

Isaac Ambrose Neflf is a son of Isaac
Neff, who was born July 27, 1842, and is
now living in Reading, Pennsylvania. He
enlisted in the Union army, and fought with
the Army of the Potomac until the battle
of Chancellorsville, where he received a
severe disabling wound. His wife, Henri-
etta McAllister, was born in Berks county,
Pennsylvania, in 1846.

Isaac Ambrose NefF was born in Heidel-
burg township, Berks county, Pennsylvania.
He was educated in the public schools and
grew to manhood in Berks county. About
1890 he located in Lebanon, Pennsylvania,
where he was appointed policeman by
Mayor Hess, and by a faithful performance
of his duties he rose to the rank of day ser-
geant, resigning this office October 15, 1912.


He was also interested in private business Philadelphia, 1826-36, Lancaster and Lititz,

enterprises of Lebanon, entirely separate
from his official position. He is a Repub-
lican in politics, and with his wife a mem-
ber of the Evangelical Lutheran church. In
1912 he accepted a position as puddle boss
in the Reading Iron Works, at Danville,
Pennsylvania, and removed to that town.
He is a member of the fraternal societies.
Patriot Sons of America, and Brotherhood
of the Union.

He married. May 16, 1894, Agnes, daugh-
ter of Elias Houtz. Children : Norma
Amanda, born October 24, 1895; Henrietta
Alvena, November 12, 1896; Bessie Valeria,
February 11, 1899; Isaac Ambrose Jr., April
5, 1901.

WOLLE, John Frederick, Mus. D.,

Organist, Conductor, Composer.

To the musical genius and enterprise of
Dr. John Frederick Wolle, Bethlehem owes
its characterization as the American Bay-
reuth, the Bach Festivals there conducted
by Dr. Wolle creating a strong resemblance
to that German town, particularly when the
quartette of trombones summons the music
lovers to the performances. Features of
these festivals are Dr. Wolle's able interpre-
tation of the great master, the employment
of a separate chorus of boys and a numer-
ous orchestra, all natives of Bethlehem, ex-
cept the leading vocal and instrumental
soloist. As a master of the pipe organ, as
a conductor of large choruses, and as an
interpreter of the rich harmony and rhyth-
mic melody of Bach's compositions, Dr.
Wolle has acquired high reputation both in
his own country and in Europe.

The Wolle family has for many years
been prominent in the Moravian commun-
ities of Eastern Pennsylvania, eminent in
the church and in the cause of education.
Bishop Peter Wolle was one of the first
students entered at the Aloravian Theo-
logical School at Nazareth Hall in 1807,
was a teacher at Nazareth Hall, preacher in

made a bishop in 1845 and served with fidel-
ity until his death in Bethlehem, November
14, 1871. During his middle hfe he pro-
vided his church with a new tune book.
Other members of the family in the same
generation and in later generations also
served the church and the cause of edu-
cation. Rev. Francis Wolle being a minister,
a noted botanist, and also a man of inven-
tive genius, the first machine for making
paper bags being a child of his brain,
patented in the United States and Europe
in 1852. There is an hereditary strain of
musical genius prevading all the descend-
ants of the Polish ancestor, John Frederick
(i) Wolle, that culminating in John Fred-
crick (3) Wolle, of Bethlehem, has pro-
duced one of the foremost organists and
exponents of the music of that great com-
poser. Bach, that Pennsylvania has ever

John Frederick Wolle was born in Posen,
Poland, and among his children was Peter
Wolle, born in Posen, November 6, 1745.
From Poland he moved to Herrnhut, Ger-
many, became a member of "The Brethren"
and was sent as a missionary to the Danish
West Indies. A wife being necessary, one
was chosen by lot, Rosena Geyer, to whom
he was married, July 21, 1783. They at
once began their journey to the missionary
station, arriving at St. Croix, January 20,
1784. They spent twenty-nine years in
missionary work on the islands of St. Croix,
St. Thomas and St. John, and on April 12,
1812, sailed for the United States, estab-
lishing their home at Nazareth, Pennsyl-
vania, November 20, 1813. From this de-
voted Polish ancestor and his German wife
sprang Bishop Peter Wolle, Sylvester
Wolle, the educator. Rev. Francis Wolle,
botanist, minister and inventor, the latter
the father of John Frederick Wolle. the
well-known and talented music master,
organist and conductor.

Rev. Francis Wolle was born in Jacobs-
burg, near Nazareth, Pennsylvania, Decem-


ber 17, 1817, died F"ebruary 10, 1893. He
was educated for a business career, but his
tastes were professional and he became a
teacher. He taught at Nazareth Hall, the
parochial school of Bethlehem, and in 1861
succeeded his brother Sylvester as a prin-
cipal of the Young Ladies' Seminary at
Bethlehem, also the same year entering the
ministry of the Moravian church. He won
note as a botanist, scientist, educator and in-
ventor, his principal invention being the first
machine to successfully make paper bags.
He was the author of many papers pub-
lished in the scientific journals and in 1884
published an illustrated work, "Desmids of
the United States and List of Pediastrums
Algae." This was followed in 1887 by a
two-volume illustrated work, "Fresh Water
Algae." He resigned as head of the Young
Ladies' Seminary in 1881 and lived a re-
tired life engrossed in scientific investiga-
tion until his death in 1893 вАҐ'^ Bethlehem.
He married Elizabeth Caroline, daughter of
Jedediah and Mary Weiss.

John Frederick Wolle, youngest and sev-
enth child of Rev. Francis and Elizabeth
Caroline (Weiss) Wolle, was born in Beth-
lehem, Pennsylvania, April 4, 1863. He
was well educated in the Moravian parochial
school, specializing in music, and was grad-
uated in 1879. He at once began his musical
career as a teacher, and taught in Bethle-
hem and was organist of Trinity Protestant
Episcopal Church from 1881 to 1884, then
for one year studied organ and counterpoint
in Munich, Germany, under the great teacher.
Professor Rheinberger. In 1885 he re-
turned from Europe, becoming organist of
the Bethlehem Moravian Church, succeed-
ing his cousin, Theodore F. Wolle, who had
also been his instructor in earlier years.
This position he held continuously from
1885 until 1905. In 1887 he also became
organist of Packer Memorial Church at
Lehigh University, a position he also filled
until 1905. In the latter year his fame as
an organist, conductor and teacher brought
him the appointment as Professor of Music

from the University of California. In 1882
Professor Wolle organized Bethlehem
Choral Union for the production of ora-
torios and in 1883 organized Easton Choral
Society. As conductor of these societies he
won fame, giving many of the best works
of noted composers, and in 1893 gave organ
concerts at the Chicago E.xposition and in
1904 at the Louisiana Purchase E.xposition
at St. Louis. In 1898 he organized the Bach
Choir for the study and rendition of the
compositions of John Sebastian Bach. He
brought this choir to a high state of effi-
ciency, and on March 27, 1900, conducted
the first Bach festival, which was one of
the musical events of the season. In May,
1901, he conducted a second Bach festival
of three days' duration and in 1903 a third
festival, the program covering a period of
six days. Following this he conducted a
Bach Cycle, requiring nine days to complete.
This comprised a Christmas, Lenten, Easter
and .'\scension Day Festival, each requiring
three days. These concerts firmly establish-
ed Professor Wolle as one of the greatest
exponents of Bach, and in 1904 Moravian
College and Theological Seminary conferred
upon him the degree of Doctor of Music.
In August, 1905, he was elected to the Chair
of Music at the University of California,
where in 1908 he organized a Bach Choir,
and in April. 1909. conducted the first Cali-
fornia Bach Festival followed by a similar
festival in May, 1910. Dr. Wolle conducted
the first American performances of the St.
John Passion, the Mass in B Minor, the
Christmas Oratorio and many of the Bach
Cantatas. In May, 191 1, he reestablished the
Bach Festivals in Bethlehem, and is the
leader of musical culture in that section of
Pennsylvania. He occupies a high position
in the music world, his genius combining
with a rare love of his art.

He was one of the founders of the Amer-
ican Guild of Organists, is a member of the
International Music Society, Neue Bach
Gesellschaft; was general vice-president of
the California Music Teachers' Association



in 191 1 ; member of the executive board of
the National Music Teachers' Association ;
member of the Council of the National So-
ciety for the Promotion of Grand Opera in
English, and State president of the National
Association of Organists.

Dr. Wolle has devoted his life to his art,
his inherited talent furnishing him his first
incentive. Constant study and devotion to
the truest principles of art has developed
one of the great organists and conductors
of his day, while his passion for the sublime
vi'orks of the great Bach places him among
the foremost exponents of that immortal
composer's work. His reputation is inter-
national, and he enjoys the personal friend-
ship of the leading conductors and artists
of the country. He is an honored citizen of
Bethlehem and everywhere held in high
esteem as artist and man.

Dr. Wolle married, July 21, 1886, Jennie
C. Stryker, daughter of Henry Polman and
Mary Elizabeth (Creveling) Stryker, of
Hackettstown, New Jersey. Child, Gretchen.

GERBERICH, Harvey Landis,
Physician, Public Official.

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