John W. (John Woolf) Jordan.

Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania biography : illustrated (Volume 3) online

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Among the eminent representatives of
the medical profession in Lebanon county,
Pennsylvania, none are held in higher
esteem than Dr. Harvey Landis Gerberich,
of Lebanon, Pennsylvania. He is of Ger-
man extraction, his great-great-grandfather,
Andrew Gerberich, who was born in West-
ern Germany, having come to this country
in 1727 and settled in Lancaster county,
Pennsylvania. He was a farmer, as was
his son Henry, who attained the advanced
age of eighty-three years. Longevity has
been a marked characteristic of this family
in numerous generations.

Daniel U. Gerberich, father of Dr. Ger-
berich, was born in East Hanover township,
Lebanon county, and died there in 1898,
having spent the active years of his life in
farming. He married Catherine Boeshore,
who died in 1896, aged sixty-four years.

She was a daughter of Thomas Boeshore,
a direct descendant of an old Huguenot
family which migrated to Germany at the
time of the revocation of the Edict of
Nantes, and later made their home in Amer-
ica. Of the twelve children of Mr. Ger-
berich and his wife we have record of: Al-
fred, who at the time of his death at the
age of twenty-three years was a physician
and medical preceptor in Annville, Lebanon
county; Daniel Philip, a well known physi-
cian and instructor in Lebanon ; Morris B.,
a physician in Lebanon ; Grant, superintend-
ent of the public schools of Greeneville,
Pennsylvania ; Edwin and Francis, engaged
in agriculture in Union township, Lebanon
county; Harvey Landis, whose name heads
this sketch ; Kate, married Harvey Loser,
a merchant in Progress, Dauphin county,

Dr. Harvey Landis Gerberich was bom
in East Hanover township, Lebanon county,
Pennsylvania, August 20, 1872. He at-
tended the public schools of his native town-
ship, being graduated from the district high
school with the highest honors. What was
characteristic of the boy remained character-
istic of the man, and his ambition always
enabled him to complete his studies with
credit to himself as well as to his instructors.
Three spring terms of eight weeks each
were spent in attendance at the Annville
Normal School, after which he was engaged
in teaching for five consecutive years. Dur-
ing this time he continued his own studies
in his spare time, in this manner preparing
himself for the study of medicine, which he
had determined to take up in the near
future. He matriculated in due course at
the Hahnemann Medical College, Philadel-
phia, from which institution he was gradu-
ated in 1906 with high honors. He at once
established himself in general practice in
Lebanon, and during the comparatively few
years he has been thus engaged has won
the confidence and esteem of a large num-
ber of patients, as well as the respect and
admiration of his medical brethren.


C^/ ^^^^C-tW^ %/^


Dr. Gerberich is a man of many-sided
ability, and does not confine his efforts for
the betterment of his fellow beings sole to
their physical welfare. The improvement
of general conditions in the community, in
social and political matters, has engaged a
large share of his attention, and in connec-
tion with this, as a representative of Re-
publican principles, he is now serving his
third term as a common councilman of the
Fourth Ward of Lebanon, and he has served
as a member of various committees in the
interests of municipal government. His re-
ligious affiliation is with the Lutheran
church of Lebanon, and he is a member of
the following named organizations: State
Homoeopathic Medical Society, Lebanon
Club, Benevolent and Protective Order of
Elks, Patriotic Order Sons of America, and
Royal Fellowship.

Dr. Gerberich married, April 12, 1909,
Nellie M., a daughter of Daniel and Emma
Sharp, and this union has been blessed with
the following children : Christine Emeline,
born February 18, 1910; Daniel Sharp, born
March i, 191 1; and Alfred Bashore, born
April 12, 1913. Dr. Gerberich keeps well
abreast of the times, and is well fitted by
nature and acquired knowledge to cope with
disease and physical infirmities of all kinds.
He is a public-spirited man, and a generous
supporter of all projects which tend to the
improvement of existing conditions, whether
connected with his profession or in other


Physician, Surgeon, Public Official.

Five generations of the Walter family
have been residents of Lebanon county,
Pennsylvania, where the name is an hon-
ored one. Usually tillers of the soil, in the
earlier generations, they were ever indus-
trious, upright, substantial citizens, and
loyal supporters of church and State. The
present representative of the family in Leb-
anon, Dr. John Walter, has been an honoretl

medical practitioner of that city for many
years, displaying the qualities of good citi-
zenship which have always characterized
the family.

John Walter, great-grandfather of Dr.
John Walter, was a farmer of North Leb-
anon township for many years, where he
was succeeded by his son John, born in the
same township. The son followed the same
calling as the father, and in turn was fol-
lowed by his son Daniel, who was born in
Union township, in 1824, followed the mill-
ing business as well as farming, and died
in 1880. His wife Elizabeth, born in Read-
ing, Pennsylvania, in 1819, died in 1899,
was a daughter of Peter Good, of Berks
county. Daniel and Elizabeth Walter were
the parents of the following children:
Henry G. ; Dr. William G. ; Adam ; Eliza-
beth ; and John, of whom further.

Dr. John Walter, youngest child of Dan-
iel Walter, was born near Lick Dale, Union
township, Lebanon county, Pennsylvania,
August 9, 1858. He was reared on the
home farm, and obtained a good practical
education in the public schools. He taught
school for several years, in the meantime
pursuing courses of private study. In 1885
he entered the Cumberland V'^alley State
Normal School at Shippensburg, whence he
was graduated in 1886. He then pursued
a course of medical reading under the direc-
tion of Dr. V. H. Allweine, of Lebanon, and
subsequently entered Jefferson Medical Col-
lege, Philadelphia, from which, after a thor-
ough three years course, he was graduated
Doctor of Medicine, with the class of 1889.

Soon after obtaining his degree, he located
in Lebanon, where for the past quarter of
a century he has been engaged in the prac-
tice of his profession, usefully and suc-
cessfully. These have been fruitful years,
and have brought Dr. Walter to a com-
manding position in his profession, and de-
served recognition as a citizen. In 1890 he
was appointed on the Board of Health, and
served for the long period of nine years,
and as president of the board during the



last five years. In 1893 he was appointed
on the United States Board of Pension Ex-
aminers, of which he is and has been presi-
dent. He was also appointed attending sur-
geon of the Good Samaritan Hospital, and
took an active interest in the Lebanon Nurs-
ing School. He is a member of the Leb-
anon County Medical Society, the Pennsyl-
vania State Medical Association, and the
American Medical Association. He is presi-
dent of the Rescue Hose Company, and has
been for the past seventeen years. He is
also actively identified with numerous other
interests and activities of the city. He holds
fraternal relations with the Patriotic Order
of Sons of America, the Independent Order
of Odd Fellows, the Benevolent and Pro-
tective Order of Elks, the Knights of Malta,
and the Brotherhood. Politically he is an
active Democrat, and has rendered to his
party most intelligent service. He was
elected chairman of the Democratic County
Committee, April 2, 1900, and served in that
capacity for six terms, and from 1904 to
1908 he was a member of the Democratic
State Executive Committee. He never
sought public office. In 1906 declining re-
election as county chairman, and in 1908
declined reelection as a member of the State
Executive Committee. He is a strong and
capable party leader, and a trusted adviser
in the councils of his county and the State.

Dr. Walter married, in 1891, Nellie A.,
daughter of Edwin F. Waller, of Smethport,
Pennsylvania. Children: John Allen, born
February 27. 1894, now a student at Leb-
anon Valley College, class of 1914; Daniel
E., born August 29, 1896, a student in Leb-
anon High School, class of 1914.

Henry G. Walter, brother of Dr. John
Walter, was postmaster of Lebanon for
many years, and in 1889-90 was a member
of the Pennsylvania House of Assembly.

LEIBERT, Oviren F.,

Manufacturer, Financier.

Genius may or may not be an inheritance,
but in the case of Owen F. Leibert, so long

and prominently connected with the Beth-
lehem Iron and Steel Company, there is no
doubt that from the many generations of
machinists and millwrights of his family,
came his mechanical genius and skill.

The founder of the family in Pennsyl-
vania was Michael Leibert, born at Rhein-
pfalz, Germany, who when a young man
came to Pennsylvania, settling in German-
town (Philadelphia). His son Martin,
born in Germantown, was a manufacturer
of spinning wheels. His son Henry was a
millwright, miller and distiller. Henry
Miller married Catharine Knauss, who bore
him a son John, the father of Owen F.

John Leibert was born at Leibert's Gap,
Mil ford township, Lehigh county, Pennsyl-
vania, and died in 1845, i" his thirty-eighth
year. He was a millwright and miller in
Catasauqua, starting in business there in
1839. He was later chief engineer of the
. City Water Works and Power Company.
He married Catherine Owens Tice, who
lived to the great age of ninety years less
three weeks.

C^wen F. Leibert, second son of John and
Catherine O. (Tice) Leibert, was born in
Hanover township, Lehigh county, August
27, 1836. He attended public schools in
Catasauqua until eleven years of age, then
became a worker. His father died when
he was eight years of age, David Thomas,
superintendent of the Crane Iron Works be-
coming the lad's guardian. From the age
of eleven years until he was of legal age he
worked under either Mr. Thomas or his
sons. At the age of thirteen years he was
placed in the blacksmith department to learn
that trade, and in the course of time became
foreman of the shop. Pie later engaged in
manufacturing at Norristown, Pennsyl-
vania, in partnership with Daniel Milson.
On January 16, 1863, Mr. Leibert entered
the employ of the Bethlehem Iron Com-
pany as blacksmith, later working as a ma-
chinist under his brother Henry Leibert,
who was in charge of the machine shop of

u^^-t'-t^v*/ pZ c>^ ii^^^^'^^t^C-^


the company. He later returned to his boy-
hood home, Catasauqua, where for eighteen
months he leased and operated the car
works. He then again entered the employ
of the Bethlehem Iron Company, first as
draftsman, later as foreman in the steel de-
partment, continuing for twelve years. He
then spent nine months in Wheeling, West
Virginia, at the Riverside Iron Works. He
then returned to the Bethlehem Iron Com-
pany, where from 1863 until 1893 ^^ served
under John Fritz, general superintendent
and chief engineer of the Bethlehem Iron
Company. In 1866 Mr. Fritz appointed M>.
Leibert assistant engineer, and for many
years these two men were closely associated
in business and warm persona! friends.
After the completing of the Ordnance
Works of the company, Mr. Leibert became
assistant superintendent until January,
1S93, when he was appointed general super-
intendent of the company. He was a thor-
ough mechanic, and a wise and efficient
manager, thoroughly furnished in every de-
tail of the business, and thoroughly re-
spected by those over whom he had author-
ity. He prospered in material things ; was
interested financially in the Bethlehem Iron
and Steel Works ; the Leibert Engineering
Works, in which he was a director; the
First National Bank, and other Bethlehem
interests. He was a Republican in politics,
interested in party success, but not an ofiice-
seeker. He took a great interest in the wel-
fare and ambitions of young men, and many
revere his memory as an advisor and helper.
Mr. Leibert married, January 28, 1864,
Mary N., daughter of Benjamin and Emma
Burkhart Warner. Mr. Leibert died at
Bethlehem, March 25, 191 1, and is survived
by his wife.

BROOKE, Edward,

lieading Ironmaster, Slan of Affairs.

Edward Brooke, bom at Birdsboro, F'cb-
ruary 28, 1816, was the elder of the two
sons of Matthew and Elizabeth (Barde)

Brooke, who are mentioned in the following
article on George Brooke, the younger
brother of Edward, the article also contain-
ing the previous history of the Brooke fam-
ily in Birdsboro and of the development of
the town. Matthew Brooke died in 1821,
and during the long minority of his chil-
dren, the works at Birdsboro, owned by
him, were rented.

In 1837 Edward Brooke, on reaching
twenty-one years of age, having had the
advantages of a good school education and
of some training in the iron business by em-
ployment at the Hibernia Iron Works, in
Chester county, owned by his uncle, Charles
Brooke, came to Birdsboro, and with his
brother George took the management of the
property under the name of E. & G. Brooke.
As senior partner and leading spirit of the
firm of E. & G. Brooke until his death in
1878, at the age of sixty-two, his very un-
usual business career is briefly noted.

The Iron Works proper, of which the
brothers, E. & G. Brooke, came into pos-
session in 1837, in addition to a large acre-
age of farm and woodland property, con-
sisted of two forges вАФ one a finery forge,
where pig iron was converted into blooms
and anconies (a bloom with part of it
drawn into a bar for convenience in hand-
ling it), and the other a chafcry forge,
where the anconies were heated and ham-
mered into bar iron and saw plates. The
total production of the works at that time
was only about two hundred tons of iron
in a year. After putting the property into
better repair and building a residence, a
large flour mill and a barn on one of the
farms, E. & G. Brooke turned their atten-
tion to increasing the production of iron.
In 1846 they built Hampton Furnace, on
the site of an old forge of that name. It
produced about twenty tpns of cold blast
charcoal iron a week, but was part of the
time run witii anthracite coal with hot blast,
when it made about forty tons a week. In
1848 they built a rolling mill, producing
puddle bars and nail plate, driven by steam



power, and a nail factory, at first driven by
water power, and starting with eighteen
nail machines. The mill was later enlarged
and more steam equipment installed to run
the nail factory, the capacity of which was
increased to one hundred and twenty ma-
chines, capable of producing 250,000 to
300,000 kegs of nails per annum. In 1852
the firm built No. i anthracite blast furnace,
No. 2 furnace in 1871, and No. 3 in 1873.
The ores for the blast furnaces were largely
obtained from nearby deposits, such as
French Creek, Jones' Mine and Warwick,
lying ten to fifteen miles south of Birdsboro,
in which mines the firm had obtained a half
interest, and managed and financed their
operation. In 1864, in connection with Sey-
fert, McManus & Company and Samuel E.
Griscom, they opened the William Penn
Colliery, near Shenandoah, Schuylkill coun-
ty, which afterwards came into full posses-
sion of E. & G. Brooke. It was and still is
one of the best mines in the coal region,
both for quality of coal and large produc-
tion, and made a valuable source of fuel
supply for the blast furnaces. In 1887,
after coke had begun to replace anthracite
as blast furnace fuel in the East, the E. &
G. Brooke Iron Company sold the colliery
to interests identified with the Pennsylvania
railroad, which had recently extended its
Schuylkill division from Philadelphia to

At the time of the United States Centen-
nial Exposition in 1876, the pig iron capac-
ity of the plant had reached about 30,000
tons a year, a large percentage of which was
used at the rolling mill and turned into pud-
dle bars and nail plate. E. & G. Brooke
had therefore built up an iron manufactur-
ing concern, almost "self-contained," with
respect to the ownership of its raw materials
and one of the largest in size then existing
in the United States.

Mr. Brooke was concerned in the incep-
tion and promotion of many important busi-
ness enterprises of his day, outside of those
connected with his firm. The Wilmington

and Reading (now the Wilmington and
Northern) railroad was projected and built
largely through his efforts, and he was its
first president. He was also one of the
organizers of the First National Bank of
Reading, and a director of that institution
until his death.

Ever advocating and carrying out an ag-
gressive business policy, the senior partner
of E. & G. Brooke had contemplated and
planned further improvements and addi-
tions to the firm's equipment and extensions
of its business, when, after a brief illness,
his career was cut short by his death on
Christmas Day, 1878. His death, which
occurred after a two weeks' attack of pneu-
monia, brought on by severe exposure at
No. 3 Blast Furnace, following an accident
to the blowing engine, was indeed the occa-
sion for general mourning throughout the
community in which his life had been spent.
The people of Birdsboro greatly felt his loss,
well realizing that their welfare had always
been a matter of importance to him and
that, in cooperation with his brother, he had
been wise and liberal in devising and effecft-
ing the advancement of the town. He was
by nature kind and genial, honorable in all
his dealings and generous to everyone in
word and deed. Naturally friendly and ap-
proachable, his men came to him in their
diflSculties, and many an employee was
helped by him, not only with money in time
of need, but also by kindly personal interest
and wise counsel.

To his success in life, his extended scien-
tific knowledge largely contributed, and in
all business affairs, he manifested great in-
dustry, perseverance and sound judgment.
His temperament was a fortunate one in his
work, for knowing well the vicissitudes of
the iron business, he was not dismayed by
the "Pauper" periods, but had the courage
and foresight to prepare in such times of
depression for the better conditions which
were to follow. His progressive mind and
penetrating judgment enabled him to enter
confidently into many fields where men of


less strength would have hesitated to ven-
ture, yet his prudence in management kept
his undertakings always within conservative
bounds and made him trusted among all his
business associates.

In politics he was a Republican, and a
firm believer in the policy of a protective
tariff. He was a broad-gauged man in all
his tastes and sympathies, fond of travel
and interested in literature. A reader of
books on a wide range of subjects, he ac-
cumulated a valuable library. He was a
member of the Protestant Episcopal church
and, with his brother, planned and built St.
Michael's Church, Birdsboro, in which he
served as a vestryman for many years, and
until his death. His lifelong friend the rec-
tor. Rev. Edmund Leaf, in the memorial
sermon preached on the Sunday succeed-
ing the death of Mr. Brooke, thus summed
up his character: "He was an able man of
business, especially well qualified for the
management of his large and important
interests ; a man of principle, living by the
rule of right and duty ; a man of kindly
heart, ^valuing his success because of the
capacity it gave him for enlarging the field
of labor and filling the community with
happy and prosperous people; a man of
marked humility, free from false pride and
self exaltation, and a humble Christian in
character, conduct and example."

Mr. Brooke married Annie M. Clymer,
daughter of Daniel R. Clymer, of Reading,
and four children survived him: Anne
Clymer, who married Blair Lee, of Wash-
ington, D. C, and died in 1903 ; Robert Ed-
ward, who married Cornelia L. Ewing, of
Philadelphia; George Clymer, who married
Rhoda F. Morris, of Philadelphia; and
Frederick Hiester, who married Henrietta
Bates McKee, of Washington, D. C.

BROOKE, George,

Man of I.arge Affairs.

A history of the Brooke family of recent
generations would be also a nearly com-

plete history of the borough of Birdsboro,
Pennsylvania, and no history of the bor-
ough for the last century or more could be
written without a frecjuent reference to tiic
achievements of the Brookes, in every phase
of its evolution from a mere settlement to
one of the finest of Berks county boroughs.
Filled with an unselfish public spirit, the
means and influence of the family have
always been given liberally to the promotion
of all movements tending to the public good,
while their wise administration of their own
affairs has been reflected in the material
welfare of Birdsboro. To George Brooke
and his brother, Edward, especially, the bor-
ough is indebted for many of its greater ad-

(I) John Brooke, and his wife I'rances,
of Hogg, in the township of Henley and
parish of Almonbury, in Yorkshire, Eng-
land, with their two youngest sons, James
and Matthew, sailed from Liverpool on the
ship "Britannia," Richard Nicholas, com-
mander, in the year 1698, arriving in the
early part of 1699 to take up land he had
purchased. In consequence of a contagious
disease on board the vessel, the passengers
were not permitted to land at Philadelphia,
but landed lower down the river on the N'cw
Jersey side, about where Gloucester now
stands. They at once went to stojj at the
house of William Cooper, Cooper's Point.
New Jersey, a friend of theirs, and in a very
short time both died, and were buried at
Newton Creek Friends' Meeting House
Cemetery, at Iladdonfield, New Jersey.
John Brooke is known to have belonged,
and was an active member, of tiie Society
of Friends, and it was probably the severe
persecution on that point that obliged his
leaving England. The vicar of Kirburton
parish, which adjoined Almonbury, the Rev.
Joseph Briggs, was a stern upholder of the
Established Church opinions, and was most
active in the persecution of the Quakers of
that section. The estate purchased by John
Brooke from William Penn, before leaving
England, consisted of 2,500 acres of land



to be taken up anywhere between the Dela-
ware and Susquehanna rivers, where vacant
land should be found. After the death of
their parents, James and Matthew Brooke
took up this land in Limerick township,
county of Philadelphia, now Montgomery
county, Pennsylvania, where they settled.
They divided the land between them.

(II) Matthew, son of John and Frances
Brooke, was born in Hogg, Yorkshire, Eng-
land, January i, 1680; baptized at Holm-
firth Chapel, January 30, of the same year ;
died at his residence in Limerick, Pennsyl-
vania, June 18, 1720, and is buried in the
old graveyard in that place. He appears to
have prospered, as the records show that
he added more land to his original estate
and built in 17 16 the first stone house in all
that country. It was situated on the Mana-
tawney road, was a large house of colonial
design, and was torn down in 1878. He
was an influential citizen, lived on his estate
quietly as an English gentleman, yet had so
greatly enlarged it that, at his death, he
was able to leave all of his sons with large
tracts of land and comfortably off. He
married. May 18, 1712, Ann Evans, at
Christ Church, Philadelphia, and they had
four sons.

(III) Matthew, son of Matthew and Ann
(Evans) Brooke, was born at Limerick,
1719, and died at Birdsboro, in October,
1806. Some years prior to his death he had
removed to Birdsboro, as he and his son,
also Matthew, had purchased in 1788 a part
of the iron works of the Bird family at that
place. He married, March 29, 1744, Sarah,
a daughter of Thomas Reese, Esq., and they
had five sons and four daughters.

(IV) Matthew, son of Matthew and
Sarah (Reese) Brooke, was born in Lim-
erick township, February 9, 1761, and died
in Birdsboro, in 1822. In 1786 the Bird
family, who owned extensive iron works
and great tracts of land situated at and
about Birdsboro, became financially in-
volved, and in 1788 began selling off cer-
tain tracts, forges, etc., and a short time

Online LibraryJohn W. (John Woolf) JordanEncyclopedia of Pennsylvania biography : illustrated (Volume 3) → online text (page 46 of 58)