John W. (John Woolf) Jordan.

Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania biography : illustrated (Volume 3) online

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his advertisements did not exaggerate or
state anything but the truth, and if he found
a play had deteriorated after he had booked

it to appear at the academy he would pub-
lish the fact in the papers, that his patrons
might be fully protected. He often gave
the use of the academy for charitable and
religious purposes, and on December 25,
1892, gave a special performance of "Lost
in New York" to more than two thousand
poor children who were his guests. He
often gave the Reading newsboys an even-
ing's entertainment, having them attend in
a body. Indeed, to provide poor children
with unexpected pleasure was and is one
of his greatest delights. On June 11. 1873,
he took at his own expense and entertained
for the day at Heilman's Dale, Lebanon,
thirteen hundred poor children, and on
Christmas Day, 1872, gave a dinner at the
City Hotel to two hundred and sixty poor
children. His public charitable work has
been unceasing, giving mncli of his own
money and a great deal of time in sohcit-
ing from others aid for charitable institu-
tions. In 1887 he inaugurated the idea of
an annual Christmas ofTering to all Read-
ing's charitable institutions, by placing con-
tribution boxes in the hotels, saloons, stores
and factories, realizing the first year over
$500. He was general secretary of the
Associated Charities for seven years from
its organization in 1902.

An enthusiast in everything that enlisted
his attention, he found ample opportunity
for needed reforms. On April 2, 1891, he
organized the Berks County Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and was
its president for five years, thoroughly plac-
ing the fear of consequences before human
brutes whom only fear of tlie law could
deter from overworking and underfeeding
their horses. He was a member of the citi-
zens committee in the introduction of the
"Pingree Potato Plan" to aid the poor of
Reading to help themselves.

As early as April, 1875. '"^ ''^^J ^ draw-
ing made of the then Fair Grounds, now
Penn Common, illustrated in the "New
York Graphic," and advocated their aban-
donment for a public park, distributing



thousands of copies of the "Graphic" to
leading people in the city and county. He
had a drawing made by William H. Dechant,
February 2, 1893, showing a public drive
along the slope of Mt. Penn to McKnight's
Gap and return. In 1896-97 he was chair-
man of the executive committee for Read-
ing's Floral and Chrysanthemum Show, the
profits of these successful exhibitions being
divided among the hospitals. In May, 1895,
he was chairman of the finance committee
for the Forty-second Annual Conclave,
Pennsylvania Knights Templar, held at
Reading, May 27-29. All bills were paid a
week after the conclave, and a pro rata of
the surplus returned to the subscribers. He
was again chairman of the finance commit-
tee for the conclave, May 27-29, 1901, with
the same financial result. He was the treas-
urer of the finance committee for the Thirty-
ninth Annual Encampment, Pennsylvania
Grand Army of the Republic, held at Read-
ing, June 6-7-8, 1905. After all bills were
paid, the balance in the treasury, added to
by donations, was given to the Charles
Evans Cemetery Company to keep in good
condition, for all time, the soldiers' monu-
ment, the graves and the ground surround-

His enthusiasm and helpful efiforts have
extended into other channels, not for gain,
not for popularity, simply that he is best
satisfied when employed, and if not for
himself, for others. He was a member of the
committee of the Board of Trade to solicit
subscriptions for an armory in Reading in
1907 ; was active in securing a loan of $500,-
000 for a filtration plant in Reading in Oc-
tober, 1907; has made repeated efiforts to
build a modern hotel for the city, that
dream now being realized; has done much
effective work for the Board of Trade, and
is a member of the present Chamber of
Commerce ; was a member of the commit-
tee that collected $5,000 for the relief of
sufferers from the Boyertown theatre fire in
January, 1908, and in other ways has lab-
ored for the good of humanity. That he is

appreciated by his townsmen is fully shown
in many ways. On January 9, 1908, at a
Board of Trade dinner, he was chosen to
respond to the toast "Our City's Special
Needs" ; in May, 1908, he was given a din-
ner at the Mineral Spring Hotel by the
Board of Trade, as "A Reading Booster";
he delivered an address at the eighteenth
annual commencement exercises of the
Reading Hospital, advocating State legis-
lation for the protection of graduate nurses;
was on the reception committee when Gov-
ernor Stuart addressed the Christian En-
deavor Convention in Penn Common, July
9, 1908; in 1908 he visited Ireland with his
wife, and for the benefit of the "folks at
home" wrote many interesting letters to the
"Reading Eagle." On their return, Mr. and
Mrs. Mishler were given a "home-coming
dinner" at the Mineral Spring Hotel, Sep-
tember 10, 1908, by more than one hun-
dred men and women, and on September
24 the Reading Press Club gave him a
"Welcome Home" reception, the club hav-
ing made him their first associate member
many years before. During the campaign
of 1908 he presided at a Republican mass
meeting held in the Academy of Music, Oc-
tober 30; presided at a Christian Science
public meeting, October 13, 1908; was fore-
most in the advocacy of State roads; was
made chairman of the general relief com-
mittee for the needy families during the
typhoid fever epidemic, in 1908 ; assisted in
raising funds for a gymnasium for the
Young Women's Christian Association;
took active part in Reading's Sesqui-cen-
tennial Celebration, was chairman of the
finance committee, and, in fact, has borne
a prominent part in nearly all public enter-
prises in Reading during the past half cen-
tury. He retired from the theatrical busi-
ness in Reading, May 11, 1907, and agree-
ably surprised some of his friends, "each
one of whom he remembers for their partici-
pation in a specific incident of his life,"
with a copy of "Mishler's Memoirs," a
handsomely illustrated volume of two hun-



dred pages, telling the story of his life from
1847 to 1907. The edition, limited to one
hundred copies, tells the story of his varied
useful life for a period of sixty years as
business man, newspaper advertiser, his
connection with the drama, his public bene-
factions, with most interesting detail of his
career. He continues his residence in Read-
ing вАФ a useful, loyal citizen, wide-awake
business man, public spirited, never weary
of well doing, active in the discharge of
whatever he is called upon to do that may
inure to the welfare of his city, his friends,
and his neighbors.

In politics he is a Republican, a confirmed
member of Trinity Lutheran Church ; lib-
eral in his religious views, fraternizing with
all creeds. He is a member of the Masonic
order, holding all degrees of the York and
Scottish Rites up to and including the thirty-
second degree, Ancient Accepted Scottish
Rite, and is a Shriner and an Elk.

Mr. Mishler married, September 7, 1871,
Louisa C, daughter of Augustus Halbach,
of Philadelphia, their home in 417 Green
Terrace being at all times open to their
friends who are most cordially welcomed
and hospitably entertained. Children : Re-
becca Marie, married H. Hurd Hillegas, a
paper bag manufacturer of Reading; Maud
Viola, married Harry E. Bell, of the Read-
ing Poster Advertising Company, with
which Mr. Mishler is also connected ; J.
Boyd, of Reading, is a son, and expert sign
painter in outdoor publicity.

KERN, Martin Edward,

Manufacturer, Financier.

In every branch of business it is the few
and not the many who rise to eminence, and
it is these few who give tone and character
to our society, and shape the destinies of
the communities in which they reside. This
is especially true of Martin Edward Kern,
of Allentown, Pennsylvania, who holds
official position in a number of very impor-
tant business enterprises, and who has made

his mark in the business and social world
since his arrival in this country. His par-
ents are Edward Carl and Marie Catherine
(Hediger) Kern, both natives of Freiburg,
in the mother nation of Switzerland.

Martin Edward Kern was born in Frei-
burg, Switzerland, October 6, 1871, and
after an excellent preliminary education
matriculated at the University of Heidel-
berg, from which he was graduated in the
class of 1889. In the same year he came
to the United States, making the city of
New York his first abiding place. While
there he was engaged in the life insurance
business, and after a time removed to Eas-
ton, Northampton county, Pennsylvania,
and finally decided to make his permanent
home in Allentown, Pennsylvania. In that
city he became associated with the conduct
of the Daeufer Brewing Company, and the
executive ability he displayed in the man-
agement of this concern was recognized by
the other owners of the plant, which result-
ed in the election of j\Ir. Kern to the presi-
dency of the corporation in 1910, an office
he is still filling. Mr. Kern was one of the
organizers and promoters of the Penn
Counties Trust Company, at Allentown, a
banking institution which promises to be-
come one of the foremost of its kind in that
section of the State. He was elected first
vice-president and is still in this office. He
was also vice-president of the Mack
Brothers Motor Car Company prior to its
purchase by the International Motor Com-
pany. His accurate estimate of men en-
ables him to fill the many branches of the
enterprises under his control with men who
rarely fail to meet his expectations, as he
has an unusual capacity for judging the
merits and motives of men.

The numerous business interests of Mr.
Kern do not deprive him of all interests in
social life, and his amiable disposition has
endeared him to a host of friends. His
fraternal afliliations are with Jordan Lodge,
Free and .Xccepted Masons ; the Livingston
Club of Allentown; Pomfret Club of Eas-



ton; Lehigh Country Club; Northampton
Country Club; Union League Club of Phil-
adelphia, and a number of others. Mr.
Kern married Jane, daughter of Gouver-
neur Embree, of Augusta, Georgia, and they
live at No. 45 South Sixteenth street, Allen-
town, Pennsylvania. Mr. Kern is a man
of upright character and strict integrity, and
carries out to the letter every agreement,
whether verbal or in writing, which he


Fromiiient Journalist.

On May 27, in the year 1848, there ap-
peared in the city of Philadelphia the first
number of a German newspaper called "Die
Freie Presse," by F. W. Thomas, 105 Cal-
lowhill street. The editor was a young
Prussian who had been in the United States
but one year, but by his frequent public
appearances had already attracted favor-
able attention among the Germans of Phila-
delphia. This young man, destined to be-
come famous among Pennsylvania editors,
was Wilhelm Rosenthal, then aged twenty-
four years. The quality of the young editor
is plainly indicated in his first editorial en-
titled "What We Aim At." He said in part:

We wish to assist in protecting against abuse,
selfishness and destruction, the eternally true
principles of Democracy, by exercising the priv-
ileges of the free press. The principles enum-
erated by the great fathers of our glorious Re-
public and laid down in the Constitution of the
United States, and the Declaration of Independ-
ence we recognize as our own principles. We
will try to do justice to the wants of our age,
by supporting all fair measures intended for the
benefit of the people. We respect all that is old
and tried and on the other hand do not condemn
all that is new. We should blend the two to-
gether, and by adopting what is good in the new
strengthen the old. We recognize universal hap-
piness as the object and purpose of the entire
human life. To assist in that direction we will
labor for recognition of truth, for truth is the
foundation of all happiness. We will, free from
all prejudice, uphold truth and justice, liberty

and equality, before the law, and when they
are assailed or abused we will, without regard
to party affiliation, rise against such treason to
the people.

To these idealistic principles he always
remained true, as he also did to the princi-
ples of Democracy, which he also clearly
set forth in the first number. He ever up-
held them in the newspapers he later edited,
in the publication he founded, and in his
daily intercourse. He spoke in later years
in about every town and hamlet in Berks
county, in the interest of the Democratic
party, and through his newspapers spoke to
about every German family in the county.
For forty-five years "Die Reading Post"
appeared with the following announcement
at the head of its first column : "The Read-
ing Post is the oldest German daily paper
in the State of Pennsylvania outside of
Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Its circula-
tion extends to all classes of the German
population, by whom it is regarded as the
acknowledged public medium of communi-
cation." From 1847, the date of his arrival
in the United States, until his death, nearly
sixty-six years later, Mr. Rosenthal was
connected with the newspaper and publish-
ing business, over half a century of his use-
ful life being spent in Reading, Pennsyl-
vania, where he died full of years and
honors. New Year's Day, January i, 1914.

Wilhelm Rosenthal was born in 1823, at
Nordhauser, Prussia, in the Hartz moun-
tains. At the age of seventeen he was grad-
uated from the Gymnasium at Nordhauser,
then entered the employ of the publishing
house of Dr. Philip Phoebus, where he con-
tinued five years, adding largely to his
mental equipment and gaining a practical
knowledge of the publishing business. In
December, 1846, he came to the United
States, arriving on the sailing vessel "Biene"
at New York in May, 1847. He worked
for a few months in Ludwig's Publishing
House, then in September, 1847, located in
Philadelphia, where he opened a book store.



In 1848 the German Revolution awakened
his sympathy, and with other German citi-
zens of Philadelphia he organized the "Ger-
man Workingmen's Association," designed
to interest the Germans in the Revolution,
and to secure greater freedom for working-
men. He was elected the first president of
the association, serving as such five years,
the association gaining a larger membership
and erecting Mechanics' Hall, on Third
street. It was his frequent public appear-
ances and strong speeches that attracted F.
W. Thomas, then about to begin the pub-
lication of a new German daily, "Die Freie
Presse," and induced him to offer the young
man the responsible position of editor. He
remained editor of "Die Freie Presse" for
seven years, resigning in 1855 to begin the
publication of his own newspaper, a German
weekly, "Die Wockenblatt." He continued
this publication three years, then sold out
to Hoffman & Morwitz, who consolidated
it with their own paper, "Die Neue Welts,"
retaining Mr. Rosenthal as editor of the
consolidated papers. He remained in that
position until i860, occupying at the same
time a position on the editorial staff of the
"Philadelphia Democrat." In May, 1848,
he surrendered his connection with Phila-
delphia newspapers, and located in Reading,
Pennsylvania, having accepted the editorial
management of the "Readinger Adler,"
owned by Charles Kessler. From the year
i860 dates Mr. Rosenthal's long and promi-
nent connection with the German press of
Reading and with other vital interests of
that city.

He was an ardent Democrat, as were the
owners of the "Adler," and with all his
youthful powers of tongue and pen he en-
tered the political arena in Berks county,
ever a hotbed of political contention. The
"Adler" supported Breckenridge for Presi-
dent with all the eloquence and logic at the
command of the editor, but in the Civil
\\'ar, 1861-65, advocated the preservation
of the Union, although denouncing the ex-
treme measures that caused the war. In

1864 he was a delegate to the National
Democratic Convention held in Chicago that
nominated General George B. McClellan for
President, and in the campaign that follow-
ed "stumped" the Eastern States for the
Democratic candidate. In the fall of 1864
he retired from the editorship of the
"Adler," that paper having changed owners,
and soon afterward he began the publica-
tion of a German weekly newspaper, "Die
Banner Von Berks." This paper he pub-
lished as a weekly until 1867, then began
the publication of a Sunday edition, which
he named "Die Biene," after the vessel that
brought him to the United States. In 1868
he issued the first number of the "Die Read-
ing Post," the first German daily newspaper
in Pennsylvania outside of Philadelphia and
Pittsburgh. After securing a sure footing
for the "Post," the "Banner Von Berks"
was continued as a weekly edition of the
"Post," and "Die Biene" as an illustrated
Sunday paper, all being under the editorial
management of Wilhelm Rosenthal, and all
prosperous, well appreciated by a large num-
ber of subscribers. In addition to tliese he
founded in 1869 a German paper, "Die
Deutsche Eische," devoted to the interests
of the German Order of Harugari, which
became the official organ of that society in
the United States.

Mr. Rosenthal was an untiring worker
and was devoted to his profession. His
papers were ardent advocates of Democratic
principles, and their editor one of the ablest
and most useful party workers, both as a
campaign orator and political writer. Me
continued as editor and publisher of the
"Post" and allied journals until well past
eighty years of age, then retired with regret
from the profession he honored. He was a
frequent delegate to party, county and State
conventions, and in 1864 to the National
Convention. He was not an office-seeker,
and never accepted political preferment, his
labors all being for love of the cause, and
in the interest of his friends. He was a
power in his chosen field, and one of the



ablest German editors of the State, known
and valued for his fearless advocacy of
principles and his loyal self-sacrificing de-
votion to the doctrines of Democracy.

He became a member of the German
Order of Harugari in i860, and rose to
great distinction in that order, holding its
highest offices for many years ; was editor
of its official organ, and on all important
questions his opinion and advice were al-
ways sought. On May 28, 1898, the fiftieth
anniversary of Air. Rosenthal's entrance on
his career as a journalist was celebrated by
a complimentary banquet, provided by his
many friends and admirers; among those
in attendance were Berks county judges,
the mayor, heads of city departments, ex-
mayors and many business and professional
men of the city. The occasion developed
into such a spontaneous, enthusiastic out-
burst of kindly feeling and recognition of
the services of Mr. Rosenthal as has seldom
been witnessed on similar occasions.

Burdened as he was with editorial re-
sponsibilities, he always had some time to
spare for the general welfare and public
good of Reading, and few men of the city
did more to advance the interests of his
adopted city. He was connected with sev-
eral building and savings societies, erected
many buildings himself, was an active and
interested member of several musical and
literary societies, and in many ways mani-
fested his public spirit. He retained his
intellectual vigor to the last, dying in 1914,
aged ninety years.

He married in Germany, and by his
first wife had six children, of whom all
died in infancy except Ida, who became the
wife of Philip Bissinger. His first wife
died in 1861 and in 1876 he married Miss
Sarah Jane Numemacher, daughter of
Michel H. and Mariah Numemacher, all
natives of Berks county.


Manufacturer, Financier.

Since the year i860 the Barbeys, father
and son, have been continuously connected

with the brewing business in Reading, a
business the elder Barbey learned in the
brewing establishments of Switzerland,
France and Germany. To his son he trans-
mitted his expert knowledge and under the
able management of the latter, the business
has expanded until in 1906 it had distanced
all competitors in size and output. John,
the son, has also risen to prominence in the
financial world, and as president of the Key-
stone National Bank of Reading holds a
leading position.

Peter Barbey, founder of the family in
the United States, was born in Dierbach,
Canton of Beigzabern, Rhinepfalz, Bavaria,
November 9, 1825, and died in Reading,
Pennsylvania, in 1897, son of Christian Bar-
bey. He attended school until fourteen
years of age, then began his half century
connection with the brewing business by
entering the employ of his uncle, Peter Bar-
bey. He remained in the latter's brewery
three years, and having learned every detail
of the business as then conducted, followed
the German custom and obtained employ-
ment in similar establishments located in
other countries. He employed four years in
this manner working in Switzerland and in
France, thus combining the brewing knowl-
edge and methods of three nations. He re-
turned to Germany, and having attained
legal age was "called to the colors" and
spent four years in a cavalry regiment of
the German army. Then in 1850, at the
age of twenty-five years, he came to the
United States, settling in Philadelphia,
where he worked several years, imbibing a
knowledge of brewing methods as there
conducted. He then came to Reading,
entering the employ of Frederick Lauer, a
fellow German, engaged in the brewing
business. In i860, having acquired both
American experience and sufficient capital,
he began business for himself and founded
Barbey's Brewing Company, a concern that
under his son has advanced to the front
rank of Reading's brewing establishments.
Peter Barbey continued the capable head
until his death in 1897. He was a Democrat

rf:^ /'t^uu^/'/.



in politics, a past master of Teutonia Lodge,
No. 368, Free and Accepted Masons ; mem-
ber of Germania Lodge, Independent Order
of Odd Fellows ; a director of the Keystone
National Bank from its organization (in
which he assisted) in 1863 until his death,
and a useful citizen of his adopted city. He
married Rosina, daughter of PhiHp Kuntz,
of Rhenish Bavaria. Children : Katrina,
died in infancy; and John, the only son.

John Barbey was born in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, October 19, 1850, and when
four years of age was brought to Reading
by his parents. He was educated in the
public schools of Reading and in business
college, beginning business life with his
father, who taught him the brewing methods
that he had acquired in the old and in the
new world. He was his father's trusted busi-
ness associate until 1880, when he was admit-
ted a partner, the firm trading as P. Barbey
& Son. Seventeen years later the founder
and senior partner died, leaving to the son
the entire control and ownership of their
well established business. To the plant as
it then existed, many additions and improve-
ments have been made, and in 1906 it had
taken rank as the largest manufactory of
malt liquors in Reading. Its prosperity has
kept pace with its size, and is a testimonial
to the business sagacity and executive abil-
ity of its owner and manager.

Mr. Barbey has also aided in the estab-
lishment of new financial and industrial
enterprises in Reading, particularly the
Keystone and Farmer's National Bank, and
the Colonial Trust Company, serving as
director in several of the more important
institutions or concerns in which he is inter-
ested, and was elected president of the Key-
stone National Bank. He was made a Ma-
son in 1876 in Chandler Lodge, No. 227; is
a companion of Reading Chapter, Royal
Arch Masons ; a sir knight of Reading Com-
mandcry. No. 42, Knights Templar, past
eminent commander, elected in 1886: and
has attained the thirty-second degree in the
Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite.

Mr. Barbey married Mary Ellen, daugh-
ter of George W. Garst, of Reading, a
prominent contractor and builder for many
years. The family consists of an only son,
John liarbey, and six daughters.

THUN, Ferdinand.

Large Mannfacturer.

In the development and uiibuilding of

Online LibraryJohn W. (John Woolf) JordanEncyclopedia of Pennsylvania biography : illustrated (Volume 3) → online text (page 52 of 58)