Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


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The Baer family of Pennsylvania has an interesting history. It is of German origin. The name is common both in Europe and America and the colonial records show that over forty immigrants of the name came to America prior to 1750. Those of the family of Eastern Pennsylvania have their origin in three distinct branches or families; those of John, Melchior and Christophel, or Stoffel, as he was familiarly called. These three men of the name of Baer, with other immigrants, crossed the ocean in the ship "Phoenix," and landed at Philadelphia, Sept. 30, 1743. Their descendants are many, as the family is prolific. The name in German was spelled B?and is variously written in different sections at the present day: Baer, Baehr, Bahr, Bair, Bare, Bear and Barr. The larger number of the family in Berks and Lehigh counties claim John, or Hans, Baer as their American ancestor.

(I) John Baer, after landing at Philadelphia, settled for a few years at Germantown, but prior to 1750, he settled in Weisenburg township, now Lehigh county, and the Kerschner farm of the present was his old property. His name is on the Ziegel's Church record in 1750, as one of the builders of the first church. Hans Baer had four children, namely: John, Adam, Jacob and Barbara. The latter married Henry Fetler and they lived at Allentown. The sons all married and their descendants are among the substantial citizens of their various communities. John Baer moved to Windsor township and his descendants live in Hamburg, Perry and Bern townships. Adam Baer settled a few miles northwest of the old Hans Baer home, reared twelve children. Jacob Baer obtained the old farm and acquired other land, owning over 500 acres, and was able to give each of his six sons a farm, the names of four being: Jacob of Weisenburg township; Daniel, also of that township has sixteen children; Henry, of Luzerne county, Pa.; and John Adam, of Maxatawny township. Adam Baer had also six daughters.

(II) John Baer, Hans Baer's oldest son, was the great-grandfather of Moses W. Baer, of Bern township.

(III) Abraham Baer, son of John and grandfather of Moses W., was born July 6, 1790, and died Jan. 25, 1866, aged over sixty-four years. He married Rachel Miller, born Dec. 18, 1792, who died Dec. 6, 1861, aged almost sixty-nine years. They had four sons and three daughters, as follows: Abraham; John; Isaac; Joseph; Mrs. Albright; Sarah (m. Jared Snyder); all of Bern township, and a daughter who lived and died in Philadelphia. Abraham Baer came to Bern from Windsor township and acquired a farm of sixty acres.

(IV) Joseph Baer, father of Moses W., moved from Bern to Heidelberg township in 1857, and there owned and cultivated a farm of 160 acres. He was born in Bern township, April 17, 1820, and died in Heidelberg township, Nov. 29 1871, aged fifty-one years, seven months and twelve days. He was a worthy member of the Bern Reformed Church, and was buried in its shadow. His life had been one of industry, and he was able to leave a large estate to his family. He was married July 13, 1844 to Polly Maria Wert, daughter of Daniel Wert of Upper Bern township and they had the following children: Catherine (deceased m. Henry Rice); Lavina (m. Henry Rill, of Heidelberg); Adam died young; Joseph resided in Penn township; Mahlon resided at Reading; Moses W. and Aaron were twins, the latter residing in Berkley; Mary (m. Morris Althouse of Temple); Seleca (m. the late John Pauch of Reading); Sallie (m. Benjamin Kline); Henry died aged six years.

(V) Moses W. Baer was born in Bern township, Berks county, Pa., June 11, 1854, and was sixteen years of age when his father died. He had been reared to agricultural pursuits and continued to work as a farmer, beginning for himself in the spring of 1890, on the Frank Unger farm in Centre township, where he lived two years. From there he went to Lower Heidelberg township, settling on the William Kalbach farm, which he operated for six years. Later he moved to the William Mervine farm near Shoemakersville, and engaged there in farming for six years, and in the spring of 1904 he came to his present place. This farm is the property of the widow of Harrison Kalbach, and contains forty-five acres of excellent land which, under Mr. Baer's careful management, proves wonderfully productive. He owns valuable stock having fine horses and cattle and modern farm implements and machinery. He is one of this section's most progressive farmers.

On Sept. 13, 1875, Mr. Baer was married to Ellen Dunkelberger, daughter of John and Polly (Zimmerman) Dunkelberger of Centreport. Her grandfather was John Dunkelberger and her mother's father was Daniel Zimmerman. Mr. and Mrs. Baer have four sons, namely: Charles, a painter; William, a carpenter; Irwin, a painter; and John who is a cigar-maker, all of Reading. In his political opinions Mr. Baer is a Democrat. The family belong to the Bern Reformed Church.

(IV) Abraham Baer, the father of Abraham G. Barr seems to have changed to the former spelling. He was born in Bern township, April 25, 1824, and died April 30, 1905. He was buried at Bern Church, of which he had latterly served as elder. In early life he had been a member of Epler's Church. As a young man he had followed fence making (which was a recognized trade then), in both Berks and Lehigh counties, but later he bought and operated a farm of seventy acres located near Bern Church. His property now belongs to Mrs. Jacob Weivel, and the house is still left as Mr. Baer remodeled it. In person Mr. Baer was of pleasing appearance, of medium height and well built, with black hair. He married Sarah, daughter of Daniel and Catherine (Himmelberger) Gicker, and granddaughter of Daniel and Catherine Gicker, pioneer settlers. Mrs. Baer's father lived from 1801 to 1872, and her mother from 1805 to 1874. Sixteen children were born to Abraham and Sarah Baer as follows: John, of Philadelphia; Sarah Barr (m. Henry Brossman and died in 1907, aged fifty-seven); Reuben, of Womelsdorf; Frank, of Iowa; James, of West Leesport, Pa.; Amelia (deceased, m. Henry Dickenson, of Brecknock township); Henrietta (deceased, m. Amandon Bender, of Mount Pleasant); Ellen (m. Henry Stoudt); Abraham G.; Isabella, unmarried; Samuel, a farmer of Bern township; Maria, unmarried; George, a farmer in Bern township; Emma, who died aged twelve years; and Milton, who lived only eleven months.

(V) Abraham G. Barr, a prosperous farmer located near Leisz' bridge, in Bern township, was born in this township, Oct. 19, 1860, a son of Abraham Baer, or Barr, as the name may be spelled. Abraham G. Barr was reared on a farm, but when twenty-one years of age he learned the carpenter trade from Hiram Hartman, of Alsace township, and followed it for about three years, working for a year and nine months with his instructor, and the rest of the time at Reading. He followed fence-making for about three years, and is considered a good mechanic. In 1888 he began farming in Bern township, taking the Henry H. Jackson farm of sixty-five acres and there Mr. Barr lived for fifteen years. From there he moved to the Daniel Rothenberger farm in Bern township, one-half mile above Leisz bridge, which contains seventy-six acres and 127 rods. It is a fertile farm, and is improved with excellent buildings. In 1906 Mr. Barr built a wagon shed, 24X36 feet in dimensions, doing all the carpenter work himself and making a very good job. He has four horses and twelve head of cattle. Once a week he attends the street market at Reading.

On Nov. 4, 1882, Mr. Barr was married to Miss Maria Kramer, daughter of Daniel F. and Lavina (Lash) Kramer of Bern township, and they have one son, Harvey M. The latter married Rosa Geshwindt and they have a little daughter whom they have named Annie. Harvey assists his father in farming and resides at home. In politics Mr. Barr is a Democrat, and he has held local office. He is a member of the Reformed congregation, while Mrs. Barr and their son are Lutherans. Both attend services at Epler's Union Church.


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Most of the Baers of Berks and Lehigh counties, Pa., are descended from John, or Hans, Baer, who after landing at Philadelphia lived for a few years at Germantown. Before 1750 he settled in Weisenberg township, Lehigh county. His farm today is pointed out as the Kerschner farm, and lies about a mile south of Claussville. In 1750 the name of Hans Baer appears on the record of Ziegel's Church, as one of the builders of the first church edifice for that congregation. Hans Baer had four children: (1) John moved to Windsor township, Berks county, and his descendants live in Hamburg, Windsor, Perry and Bern townships. (2) Adam went a few miles northwest of his father's place, and in 1773 settled on a farm which has since been in the family name ? over 130 years. He had twelve children, seven sons and five daughters. Of these Jonathan, the youngest, went to Whitehall, and had three sons ? Jonas, John and Abraham (the father of Osville Baer, of Schwenkville). Peter, eldest son of Adam, was familiarly known as "Red Peter" or "Peter the Red," and lived on the old homestead; he had six children ? Benjamin; Joseph; David; Solomon; Polly and Hannah. Solomon had four children, and Joseph eight, and their descendants live in Lehigh county. David became a prosperous tanner and lived and died in Oley township, Berks county; he had ten children, of whom Benjamin the eldest obtained the homestead, and became the father of twelve children ? William; Jonas; Levi; Edwin; Phaon; Peter; Charles; Eli; Julia; Sarah; Caroline and Eliza. William, eldest son of Benjamin, obtained the homestead, and in turn gave it to his son Peter, the present owner. This farm is known as Baer's Valley. William died about 1905, aged seventy-seven years. (3) Jacob. (4) Barbara married Henry Fetter, and lived in Allentown.

Jacob Baer, third son of Hans, obtained his father's farm, and also acquired several large tracts east of the Adam Baer farm. He was the owner of over 500 acres in all. He was the father of six sons and six daughters, and to each of the sons he gave a farm. These sons were: Jacob, who lived and died in Weisenburg township, Lehigh county; Daniel, who died in Weisenburg township, and was the father of John, of Rockland township, Berks county (who in turn had sixteen children); Henry, who moved to Luzerne county; John (or Hans) Adam; and two other sons.

John Adam Baer, son of Jacob, moved in 1812 to Maxatawny township, Berks county, on what is now known as the Hartman farm about a mile northeast of Kutztown. He was the father of ten children, namely: Jonathan, John; Peter; Charles; Solomon; Eva; Lydia; Betsy; Susanna, and Polly.

Jonathan Baer, son of John Adam, was born in Weisenburg township in 1796, and accompanied his father to Berks county, settling first in Maxatawny township. He then went to Albany township, Berks county, and lived at New Jerusalem Church, where he died in 1878, and is buried at Grimville Church. He was a farmer by occupation. He was six feet tall, and was very strong. For thirty-five years he held the office of constable. He married Catharine Mattern, who died advanced in years. They had four children: Eliza m. Levi Reppert; Charles; Henry lived in Greenwich, then Albany, and died in Windsor township; and Hettie (Esther) m. George Haring.

Charles Baer, son of Jonathan, was born Jan. 25, 1825, in Maxatawny township, and died on his farm in Albany township, near New Jerusalem Church, on Sept. 14, 1907, and was buried there, being a member of the Reformed Congregation, and an elder for more than twenty years. He was a farmer by occupation, and owned a farm of sixty-two acres on which he made his home after 1869. He had many bees, and was very successful as an apiarist. In his young manhood he was of very fine appearance, standing six feet two inches in height, but in his later years he became stooped. His farm is now the property of his son, Jonathan. In 1886 he built the present good barn, and in 1895 the wagon shed. He learned the carpenter's trade, and followed it some five years, but farming proved more attractive, and he began in Greenwich township, near Krumsville, and from there went to Kistler's Valley in 1860, and nine years later to his farm in Albany, where he died. In politics he was a Democrat. He married Judith Greenawalt, daughter of Peter and Elizabeth (Hummel) Greenawalt. She was born April 4, 1829, and died April 26, 1903. They had but one child, Jonathan.

Jonathan Baer, son of Charles and Judith, was born in Greenwich township, Berks county, Oct. 4, 1850, and was educated in the common schools and in the Normal school at Kutztown. He was licensed to teach when fifteen years old, and taught his first two terms in Schuylkill county. Later he was examined in Berks county, by the late Prof. D. B. Brunner and Dr. S. A. Baer, county superintendents. He taught Fetterolf's school in Albany township for nine winters, in succession, and was very successful, relinquishing the school at the end of that time on account of ill health. In politics he is a well known Democrat. In 1871 he was elected assessor of Albany township, and served in that office for six years, after which he was out for six years, and again elected serving twelve years in succession, and he became familiarly known as Assessor Baer. He was twice tax collector. He assisted his father on the farm, and studied at night, becoming one of the best educated men of the township. After his father's death the farm came into his possession, and it now consists of seventy-three acres. He raises annually about fifteen acres of potatoes.

In 1873 Mr. Baer married Catharine Greenawalt, daughter of Samuel and Lillian (Stump) Greenawalt, and they have one son, Charles A. Charles A. Baer, son of Jonathan and Catharine, was born in Albany township, and received his education in the township schools and in the Keystone State Normal School at Kutztown, graduating in 1901. He has taught school in Albany township since 1899. During the summer he works on his father's farm. In 1903 he married Mary Krause, daughter of Jacob Krause, of Albany township, and they have two daughters, Mabel J. and Helen C.


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George Frederick Baer, President of the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company since 1901, and the leading attorney at Reading for the thirty years preceding, was born Sept. 26, 1842, in Somerset county, Pa.

Picture of George BearWhen six years old, his parents removed to the county-seat from a farm situated three miles distant. He received his preliminary education at the Somerset Institute. When thirteen years old, he manifested an interest in the printing business, and entering the office of the Somerset Democrat worked at setting type for upward of two years. Appreciating then the importance of a better education, he resumed his studies in an earnest manner at the Somerset Academy; but he continued there only a year when he accepted the position of chief clerk and bookkeeper of the Ashtola Mills, a large lumber manufacturing establishment located ten miles from Johnstown, a position he filled for about a year, when his ambition for a more thorough education again asserted itself, and he entered the Sophomore class of Franklin and Marshall College at Lancaster, Pa. This was in the fall of 1860, but his course there was terminated by the breaking out of the Civil war. He and his brother Harry then purchased the newspaper mentioned and they conducted the publication in a successful manner until the following September, when Harry enlisted in the Union army, becoming an officer of Company B, 54th Regt., P. V. I., and he was left in sole charge of the newspaper. He worked assiduously at the case during the daytime, and edited the paper at night, having been frequently so pressed for time as to be compelled to compose the editorials and set them up in type while standing before the case. During this interesting period of his life, he continued a private course of studies with the expectation of returning to college which he had left so abruptly, and it was this course, with the earnest and persistent exercise of his concentrative powers before the printer's case, which unwittingly prepared him so thoroughly for the arduous labors of professional and business life. He edited and published the Democrat until August, 1862, when his patriotic spirit also asserted itself for suppressing the Rebellion, with the enemy approaching the border of his own county, and he raised a company of volunteers from Somerset and vicinity, which was mustered into the national service as Company E, 133d Regt., P. V. I., and of this company he was commissioned captain, though not yet twenty years old. He served for the period of his enlistment (nine months), and was mustered out of service with his company on May 26, 1863. For part of the time, he acted by detail as Adjutant-General of the 2d Brigade, in Humphrey's Division. His regiment joined the Army of the Potomac at the second battle of Bull Run, and his company participated in the battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. Its most distinguished service was in forming the advance line of the army in the famous charge on Fredericksburg Heights, Dec. 13, 1862.

Upon returning home from the army, Mr. Baer selected the law as his profession, and after pursuing a regular course of legal studies in the office of his brothers William and Herman (both attorneys at the Somerset Bar), he was admitted to practice at the April term, 1864. He began immediately the practice of his profession, and under the guidance of his brothers for the following four years was made thoroughly familiar with the intricacies of the profession in all its branches, more especially in the department which related to pleading and the trial of cases. He then removed to Reading for the purpose of locating there, having visited the place several months before, and on Jan. 22, 1868, was admitted to the Berks county Bar. In a few years after his location at Reading, his practice began to increase rapidly, and each succeeding year found him more successful. The trial of cases gradually became the prominent part of his practice, and within a decade his services were engaged in every important case in the local courts. This is shown on the records in the prothonotary's office, and in the published reports of cases taken to the Supreme court of Pennsylvania. This extensive and highly remunerative practice before the courts, local and Supreme, both State and national, continued for thirty years, when his important services as solicitor to the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company during this period eventually resulted in his selection as president of the re-organized corporation, and he has been re-elected annually for the past eight years, evidencing the highly satisfactory character of his services in management. During the same time (since 1901) he has officiated as president of the Central Railroad of New Jersey.

On account of his prominent connection with the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company, Mr. Baer quite naturally became an important factor in the management of the Reading Iron Company, the largest industrial enterprise at Reading next to the shops of the railway company, and after having advised this great corporation (whose costly establishments are situated in different parts of Pennsylvania, and give employment to thousands of men) during the same period of time while acting as solicitor of the railway company, he became its president and directed its extensive business affairs in a most successful manner for twelve years. On account of his labors in connection with the Philadelphia & Reading and other railroads, he retired as president, but he has been officiating since as the chairman of its board of directors.

His management resulted in making the corporation one of the largest producers of wrought-iron pipe of all sizes, bar-iron, sheet-iron, etc., in Pennsylvania, with large trading relations extending all over the world. He has also been prominently identified with the management of the Temple Iron Company, the Pennsylvania Steel Company, and the Cambria Steel Company, for a number of years as a director, acting as president of the first named since Jan. 1, 1901.

In 1886, Mr. Baer organized and established the Reading Paper Mills, and since then has operated them in a most successful manner. The corporation comprises three plants (one at the foot of Bingaman street, one at the foot of Court street, Reading, and the third opposite Reading at the mouth of the Tulpehocken creek), all equipped with the best machinery for the production of the finest book and manilla papers, which are in constant demand. They employ three hundred hands and constitute one of Reading's most important industries.

Mr. Baer co-operated with other public-spirited men of Reading in establishing the Penn National Bank in 1883; the Reading Hospital in 1884; the Reading Trust Company in 1886; the Penn Common in 1887; the Wyomissing Club in 1890; the Reading Free Library in 1898; the Berkshire Club in 1899; and he has continued to take an active part in the management of all of them excepting the Penn Bank. His services were particularly important in securing Penn Common as the property of Reading from the possession of the County of Berks, and he has officiated as president of the Board of Park Commissioners since its creation by the City Council. Since 1895, he has served as one of the board of trustees of the Charles Evans Cemetery.

In 1900, Mr. Baer erected the first large modern fire-proof office-building in Reading, situated at the corner of Court and Church streets, seven stories high, and embracing eighty rooms, adjoining the rear of his office building on Washington street. The first two floors are occupied by the business offices of the Reading Iron Company.

During this long period of time, the services of Mr. Baer as a public speaker were in constant demand. Many of his more important addresses have been published in pamphlet form. They display the great scope of his learning, the forcible and precise character of his rhetoric, and the boldness of his convictions. His diction is clear; his manner of speaking straightforward, always extemporaneous, void of dramatic flourish, and it commands the close attention of his audience from start to finish; and his logic leads to an inevitable conclusion which wins admiration if not approval. His numerous paper-books in carrying on litigation before the higher courts, both State and national, show great care, thorough preparation, and complete knowledge of the respective cases; and they evidence in a high degree his superior literary culture as well as his comprehensive legal attainments. Among the numerous addresses and lectures delivered by him, the following may be mentioned: LAND TENURE ? Before the Law Department of the University of Pennsylvania, Oct. 25, 1887. RELATION OF TARIFF TO WAGES ? Before Single Tax Society of Reading, Jan. 19, 1891. ADDRESS OF WELCOME ? Formation of Pennsylvania German Society at Lancaster (of which he was elected the first president), April 15, 1891.

INFLUENCE OF REFORMED CHURCH ON CIVIL GOVERNMENT ? At dedication of new Theological Seminary of Franklin and Marshall College at Lancaster, May 10, 1894. GERMANS IN PENNSYLVANIA ? Before Teachers' Institute of Berks county at Reading on Sept. 26, 1895. BECHSTEIN GERMANIC LIBRARY ? At opening of it for University of Pennsylvania, March 21, 1896 (being first of four addresses on that occasion). APPEAL TO DEMOCRATS ? Issued in summer of 1896, which resulted in organization of the "Gold Democrats" and aided materially in the defeat of the "Silver Democrats" who controlled the National Convention and nominated Bryan for President of the United States. ORATION ? Unveiling of Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in Allentown Oct. 19, 1899. WORK IS WORSHIP ? Before the Y. M. C. A. of Reading, on Jan. 1, 1900, and amplified and delivered before Franklin and Marshall College, on Jan. 16, 1902 (Mr. Baer having been then, and is still, president of the Board of Trustees). ADDRESS ? Laying of corner-stone for new science building of Franklin and Marshall College, June 13, 1900. PENNSYLVANIA THEORIES OF GOVERNMENT ? Before Pennsylvania Society of New York Dec. 12, 1902. ARGUMENT before the Anthracite Coal Strike Commission ? made at Philadelphia April 8, 1904. MINING OF COAL ? Last lecture of a popular course of eighteen lectures delivered at different places in Schuylkill county, at Pottsville, April 8, 1905. DEDICATION OF BOYS' HIGH SCHOOL ? Reading, Thanksgiving Day, 1906. RAILROAD LEGISLATION ? Open letter to Pennsylvania Legislature, issued Feb. 7, 1907.

Mr. Baer has been prominently identified with Franklin and Marshall College since 1872, as a member of the board of trustees, officiating as president of the board since 1894. During this time he has labored efficiently for the advancement of the institution and contributed liberally toward its financial support. In 1886, the College conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws, and the Alumni Association, at its annual meeting in 1895, elected him as its vice-president.

Mr. Baer was brought up as a firm believer in the sterling principles of the Democratic party, and he has shown himself to be their fearless advocate. Upon locating at Reading, he interested himself in local politics, and gave party welfare much of his time; but he was never ambitious to fill any public office because he was too busily engaged with his large legal practice and business enterprises. He has at all times been a generous contributor toward the campaign expenses, and he has exerted a powerful influence in national politics, as well as in the county and State.

Immediately after coming to Reading Mr. Baer and his wife identified themselves with the Second Reformed Church, and they and their children have been devoted members. When the church was rebuilt they were generous contributors. On all special occasions, the auditorium is profusely decorated with costly flowers from their conservatory, which elicit much praise and admiration.

In 1866, Mr. Baer was married to Emily Kimmel, daughter of John O. Kimmel, attorney at Somerset, and Mary Parker, his wife. To this union have come five children: Marion married William N. Appel, an attorney at Lancaster; Helen married William Griscom Coxe, of Wilmington, Del.; Mary married Isaac Hiester, an attorney at Reading; Emily married Frank L. Connard, at Reading (he dying Jan. 21, 1908); Nellie married Heber L. Smith, of Philadelphia.

Mrs. Baer has taken a very active part in local charities, more especially in the successful management of the Widows' Home, from its foundation in 1876. She has also taken much interest in the Women's Club, the Book Club, and the Needle-Work Guild, serving each society as president. In social affairs she has been the acknowledged leader for many years. Her receptions in their costly and beautiful home "Hawthorne," on Mineral Spring road, have been superb; and it was there, during the popular demonstrations in the historical celebration of the "Sesqui-Centennial of Reading," June, 1898, that she and her husband "displayed a remarkable spirit of liberality in welcoming and entertaining distinguished visitors, and affording them unusual opportunities of seeing and knowing the social, industrial and municipal affairs of Reading, and of realizing its growth, wealth and importance as a promising centre of population." When Mr. Baer became president of the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company in 1901, he secured a home in Philadelphia, and he and his family have occupied it since, during the winter and spring of each year. Their home is embellished with a rare collection of books and paintings.

Mr. Baer's father was Major Solomon Baer. He was born in 1794, in Northampton (now Lehigh) county, near Unionville, and when six years old he accompanied his parents in their removal to a farm in Maryland, near Cumberland. They remained there sixteen years, then settled on a farm in Somerset county, Pa., about twenty-five miles farther west. He died in 1882, aged eighty-eight years, having lived in Somerset from 1848.

His grandfather was John Jacob Baer, of Northampton county, where he was born on the homestead in 1761. He was brought up on a farm, and followed farming there until 1800, when he removed with his family to Maryland, and there carried on farming until his decease in 1823.

His great-grandfather was Christophel Baer, who emigrated from Zweibruecken in 1743. Upon his arrival at Philadelphia, September 30th, he immediately proceeded to Northampton county, where he had purchased several tracts of land. The original patent issued to him describes one of the tracts as "Bruin's Choice," a free translation of the name of his ancestral home.


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Henry C. Baer, one of the highly esteemed and venerable citizens of Rosedale, Muhlenberg township, Berks county, who is an honored veteran of the Civil war, was born Oct. 7, 1839, about one and one-half miles from Topton, Longswamp township, son of Charles and Anna (Carl) Baer.

Jacob Baer, great-grandfather of Henry C., settled in Lehigh county at an early date, and there became a prosperous farmer and the father of a large family, to each of whom he gave a farm. He died at an advanced age. He and his wife were members of the Reformed Church, in which they were very active. In political matters Jacob Baer was a Democrat, but it is not known whether or not he ever held political office. Among his children was a son, John.

John Baer, grandfather of Henry C., also carried on agricultural operations, having received a farm from his father, but later he sold his farm in Berks county, and removed to Mercer county, Pa., where he became a prosperous farmer, and his death occurred between 1840 and 1850, when he was in his eightieth year. His wife also attained advanced age. They had children as follows: Charles; Jonas lived and died in Berks county, Pa.; John also spent his life in Berks county; Peter married and removed to Michigan, where he died; Solomon; Eva married Jacob Shellenberger; Susan m. Samuel Smith; Lydia m. a Mr. Stoyer, and removed to Mercer county. The parents of these children were members of the Reformed Church. Mr. Baer was a Democrat.

Charles Baer, father of Henry C., was born in Lehigh county, where in early life he engaged in farming. As a youth he learned the stone mason's trade, which he followed in connection with farming practically until his retirement, and his death occurred in 1894, at the age of eighty-eight years. His wife died in 1889, when eighty-two years of age. They were the parents of the following children: (1) James married Sarah Anna Merkel, and had thirteen children, John, Sarah, James, Kate and Mary (twins, the latter dying aged fifteen years), Henry (died aged one year), Hettie, Susan, Ella, Lydia, William and Samuel (twins) and Daniel. James, the father, died Nov. 7, 1906, at the age of seventy-seven years, five months and fifteen days. His wife is still living. (2) Caroline m. John Frock, and has three children, Martin, Katie and Elizabeth. (3) Sally m. Reuben Geist, and had children, George, David, Henry, William, Melcina, Annie (deceased), Richard (who was killed in an accident), and Frank and Louisa (both died young). (4) Jonathan m. (first) Caroline Mogel, by whom he had a child that died in infancy, and (second) Hettie Buck. (5) Benjamin m. Catherine Bucher, and had seven children, Charles, Frank, George, John, Frederick, Katie and Carrie. (6) Henry C. (7) William m. Fianna Fry, and had one son Charles H., who died in infancy. They adopted three children, J. W. Kauffman, M.D., J. D. George and Lillian Morgan. (8) George m. Amanda Newbold, and had five children, Annie, Albert, Naomi, Margaret and Herman. (9) Elizabeth m. William Kercher, and died in 1889, the mother of five children, - Frank, Harry, Thomas, Eddie and Emma. (10) Hettie m. Moses Sheirer, and has two children, Jennie and Carrie. (11) Amanda m. John Stout, and had six children, Henry, John, George, Jacob, Annie and Fred.

In religious belief the parents were Reformed, and the father was elder in the church for many years. They were highly esteemed in the community in which they spent the major portion of their lives, had many warm friends, and were considered God-fearing, Christian people.

Henry C. Baer was educated in the common schools of Longswamp township, and as a boy he assisted his father on the home farm, later learning the trade of a carpenter. On completing his apprenticeship to this trade, Mr. Baer went to New Jersey, where in 1862, he enlisted in Company F, 31st New Jersey V. I., and served until his term of enlistment expired in 1863, when he returned to New Jersey and resumed his occupation. On Jan. 1, 1864, Mr. Baer returned to Topton, Pa., where he accepted a position as clerk for P. L. Deener & Co., in the coal, lumber and grain business, but in 1865 he resumed his trade, which he followed in Philadelphia until 1867. He then returned to Topton, where he remained until 1882, at which time he went to Lyons, remaining about one year, and subsequently located in Reading, accepting a position at Fink & Huyett's planing mill, where he remained for about eighteen years. He then resigned to accept a position with the Excelsior planing mill, where he remained until 1906, and in this year connected himself with the Riverside Planing Mill Company. Mr. Baer built a nice residence in Rosedale, Muhlenberg township, and also owns several valuable lots there, where he is highly esteemed and respected. Like his honored ancestors, he has always been a firm believer in Reformation, and during his younger years was very active in Church and Sunday-school work, serving for many years as a choir leader. In his political views he is a stanch Democrat, and he was formerly connected with several fraternal organizations.

Mr. Henry C. Baer was married (first) in 1865, to Mary A. Bobst and to this union there were born two children: John H., died at the age of eight weeks; and Ella L., m. Einar Barfod, by whom she has two children, ? Maria and Laura. Mr. Baer married (second) April 10, 1872, Lucy A. Lasher, daughter of Jacob and Lucena (Dietrich) Lasher, and to this union there were born five children, namely; William F., m. Ella Machamer, and has three children living, Charles E., Stanley L. and A. Marguerite; Anna L. m. G. A. Crotto, and has three children, George H. A., Frank B. and Charles A.; Naomi m. William S. Burg, and has one child, A. Ruth B.; Hannah m. Capt. Al. B. Risley, of New Jersey; and George makes his home with his father in Rosedale.


p. 1180


Samuel A. Baer was born Nov. 28, 1846, in Greenwich township, Berks county, in a small one-story log house, two miles west of Kutztown. The parents were poor, and when Samuel was about three years of age, they moved to Albany township, where he attended the public schools of the district. He was but ten years old when his father died, and he worked for four years on the farm of Eli Lutz for board and clothes. At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to learn the tailor's trade, at which he made satisfactory progress, but he always felt that he ought to be educated, and so at the end of the first year of his apprenticeship he made arrangements through his sister Kittie to attend the Maxatawny Seminary. Here he at once showed marked talent, and through the kind encouragement of Prof. Henry R. Nicks, the principal of the school, he was enabled to fit himself for the teacher's profession. He taught in the public schools of Maxatawny township from 1864 to 1867, when he entered Franklin and Marshall College, from which he graduated in 1869. In 1872 his Alma Mater conferred on him the degree of A. M. and in 1884 Ursinus College conferred on him the degree of Ph. D.

From 1869 to 1872 Prof. Baer was instructor of Latin and History in the Keystone State Normal School. Later he was principal of Oley Academy, and in 1875 was elected county superintendent of the public schools in Berks county, which position he filled for six years with great ability. He was, so to say, to the manner born, and knew the wants of his people. He gave special attention to the language problem, and formulated suggestions along this line that are still followed extensively in his own and other counties of the State. He was a leader in the interests of the Pennsylvania Germans, and in 1875 organized at Womelsdorf the Conrad Weiser Memorial Association. In 1877 he read a report before the Pennsylvania State Teachers' Association on "The Educational Problem among the German Element," which was extensively published and so favorably received by the public that it secured for him membership in the Pennsylvania Historical Society. He was one of the founders of the Pennsylvania German Society, and is the historian of the Baer family in America.

He was always prominent at educational meetings, particularly at the meetings of the Pennsylvania State Teachers'Association, and in 1884 was its president. He was superintendent of the schools of Reading from 1881 to 1884, after which he was appointed assistant state librarian by Gov. Pattison. In September, 1889, he was again elected city superintendent of the schools of Reading, and served with great efficiency until 1896. He was regarded specially strong as an organizer and as an authority in practical common-sense methods. He was a hard worker, and serious, and left an impress for good in the schools that will be felt for years to come. From 1897 to 1904 he was principal of the Harrisburg high school, and made an enviable reputation for himself and the school, especially for good order and thoroughness. This school was never in a more flourishing condition than during this period. He had the tact to inspire his students and sent annually to college and other higher institutions of learning at least fifty per cent of its graduates. Through sickness Prof. Baer was incapacitated for work for several years, but in 1907 he again took up regular school work by accepting the position of instructor in Pedagogics and English in Eastern College, Front Royal, Va. Here he regained his health and worked with his usual zeal, gaining great reputation as an able instructor. In 1908 he was elected President of Graham College, Va., which position he filled very acceptably to all parties. But in August, 1909, he resigned this position and accepted the chair of Psychology and Pedagogics in the State Normal School at Frostburg, Md., where he is happy in his specialty, and doing good work in helping to train the teachers of his adopted State.

In 1872 Prof. Baer was married to Clara Hartman, a graduate of Dickinson Seminary, and a lady of high culture and intelligence. She is the daughter of Joseph Hartman, son of the well-known printer Hartman, of Lebanon. Her mother was Wilhelmina Stoever, a lineal descendant of the Rev. John Casper Stoever, the distinguished Lutheran pioneer minister of Eastern Pennsylvania. Of this union there were born five children as follows: (1) Mary Pauline died in infancy. (2) Stella Margaret, a graduate of the Reading high school, and a teacher in the public schools of Harrisburg, Pa., was married to Fred G. Hamlin, in 1905, and left a widow in 1908. She resides in Harrisburg, Pa. (3) Joseph Augustus graduated from the Reading high school in 1895, and was appointed through a competitive examination to West Point Military Academy in 1896. He graduated in 1900, and was assigned to the 6th Cavalry, U. S. A. He relinquished his furlough to engage in the Boxer war in China, and entered Peking with the relief expedition. After serving two years in the Philippines he was stationed in 1903 at West Point as instructor in mathematics. In the spring of 1907 he was married to Lelia Lee, of Baltimore, and in the fall of the same year was again stationed in the Philippines, in Mindanao Island, where on July 5, 1909, he distinguished himself by shooting the Moro bandit, Jikiri, and three other Moros. (4) Jerome Jefferson died in infancy. (5) Carl Ambrose was born in Florence, S. C., during a temporary residence in that state. He graduated from the Harrisburg high school in 1904, and from Lehigh University in 1908. He is an electrical engineer and lives in Harrisburg.

John Baer, father of Prof. Samuel A., was born in 1801, in Weisenburg township, Lehigh county, but lived during the greater part of his life in Berks county. He was a carpenter by trade. He was married to Katharine Adam, daughter of Henry Adam. Of Huguenot descent, and they had children as follows: Solomon, a soldier of the Civil war, who lived and died in Kansas; Sarah, who m. John Smith, and died near Kutztown, in Maxatawny township; Peter, a master mechanic and a soldier of the Civil war, who died in Mercer county, Pa.; Henry, a carpenter by trade, who died in Lawrenceville, Ind.; Nathan, a merchant in Hamburg, Pa., who had a family of ten children, and who died in Wilmington, Del.; Katharine, m. to Henry Williams, and died in Kutztown, Pa.; Joel, a carpenter and millwright by trade, and living in Hamburg, Pa.; John, a carpenter and farmer, who lives in Albany township; Lucy, m. to Harry Weil, and living in Maxatawny township; and Samuel Adam, the subject of this sketch.

John Adam Baer, grandfather of Prof. Samuel A., was born in Weisenburg township, Lehigh county, but in 1812 he sold his Lehigh county farm, and moved to Maxatawny township, Berks county, on what is now known as Hartman's farm. He was married to Susanna Knerr, a daughter of Abraham Knerr, who was a soldier of the Revolutionary war, and had a brilliant war record. Of this union the following children were born: Jonathan, born in 1796, in Lehigh county, died in 1878, in Greenwich township, Berks county; John, mentioned above; Peter, born in Lehigh county, died near Raisin Center, Mich., leaving many descendants; Eva m. Reubin Schollenberger, of Greenwich township, where she died at a ripe old age; Lydia m. R. Beak, and died at Lockport, N. Y.; Betsy m. Solomon Stoyer, and died in Mercer county, Pa.; Charles, a stone mason and hotel keeper, died near Topton, having raised a large family; Solomon, who lived near Dayton, Ohio, died leaving valuable property; Susanna m. Samuel Smith, had eleven children, and died in Greenwich township; and Polly m. Chas. Harrington, of Lockport, N. Y., where she died leaving three children.

The great-grandfather of Prof. Baer was Jacob Baer, who was born in Weisenburg township, Lehigh county, and was a private in Captain Edelman's Company, 4th Battalion, Northampton County Militia. He had twelve children ? six sons and six daughters, and gave to each of his six sons a farm. His sons were as follows: Jacob, John Adam, John, Henry, Peter and Daniel. Of the daughters, one died young; the others were: Mrs. Jonathan Seiberling, Mrs. Holwig, Mrs. Gockenbach, Mrs. Kistler and Mrs. Hartman.

The great-great-grandfather was Hans (John) Baer, who was the immigrant. Having landed at Philadelphia on Sept. 30, 1743, he remained for several years near Germantown, after which he settled permanently in Weisenburg township, Lehigh county. The old home is now the Kerschner farm, and is located about a mile south of Knerr's store. He has these children: Barbara m. Henry Feather, and lived in Allentown; Jacob is mentioned above; Adam lived west of the old home, and was the progenitor of most of the Lehigh county Baers; and John moved to Windsor township, Berks county, and is the progenitor of Baers of the Northwestern part of Berks county.


p. 911


Solomon E. Baer, a highly esteemed retired citizen of Hamburg, Pa., where for a number of years he was engaged in agricultural operations, was born Aug. 9, 1856, on the old Jacob Baer farm in Perry township, Berks county, son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Lesher) Baer.

John (Hans) Baer, founder of the family in America, came from Zweibr cken, Germany, on the ship Phoenix, landing at Philadelphia, Pa., Sept. 30, 1743. He spent a few years at Germantown, but before 1750 settled in Weisenburg, Lehigh county on what is now the Kersher's farm, about one mile south of Claussville. He was an influential citizen and one of the builders of Ziegel's Church in 1750. He had these children: John; Jacob, progenitor of the Baers of Eastern Berks; Adam, progenitor of the Baers of Lehigh county; and Barbara, who married Henry Fetter, and lived in Allentown.

John Baer, son of John (Hans) was born in Weisenburg township, Lehigh county, about 1750, and removed to Windsor township, Berks county, soon after the Revolutionary War, at which time his oldest daughter, Elizabeth, had already married and remained in Lehigh county. He lived on the David Baer farm, dying in the old home, full of years and with a comfortable competence. He married Katherine Rieser, and to them were born: John Jacob; John lived near Muncy, Lycoming county; Elizabeth m. a Mr. Schneck; Maria m. Henry Becker; Bevy m. John Seltzer; Katharine m. David Phillips; Susan m. Jacob Stertzler; Magdalena m. John Reber; Margaret m. Jacob Reber; and Lizzie m. John Brensinger.

John Jacob (Hon. Jacob) Baer, son of John and grandfather of Solomon E., was a farmer on the Baer homestead, and owned a valuable property consisting of over 300 acres. He married Katharine Fink,daughter of John Fink, and to them were born the following children:Jacob; Katharine m. John Balthaser; John m. (first) Betsy Baltzer and(second) Betsy Zettelmoyer; Susanna m. Henry Engel; Mollie m. Jacob Boyer; and David m. Sarah Miller.

Jacob Baer, father of Solomon E., was a farmer in Perry township,and owned the old Baer homestead on the pike, one and one-half miles north of Shoemakersville, consisting of 180 acres. He married Elizabeth Lesher, daughter of William Lesher and wife (whose maiden name was Heffner), and to this union were born the following children: Catharine m. Daniel Lenhart; Elias m. Amena Strasser; Henry m. Lizzie Lenhart; J. William m. Nora Tobias; Hettie m. Zeth Klein; Solomon E.; Jacob m. Amanda Jacobi; Daniel, born May 10, 1862, died young; and Frank m. Lillie E. Heckman.

Solomon E. Baer obtained his education in the local schools and at Prof. R. G. Unger's academy at Shoemakersville, Pa. He worked on his father's farm until 1872, when the father died, and Mr. Baer conducted the farm for his mother for three years. After a short residence at Virginville, he moved in 1878 to Windsor township to a farm he had purchased about one and a half miles northeast of Hamburg, and this he farmed until the spring of 1904. This was part of the Benneville Krick farm and consisted of twenty-five acres. He greatly improved it, erecting a barn, a summer home, a wagon shed, and outbuildings. In 1882 he planted an orchard of apples and peaches, which have yielded abundantly ever since. He used a part of the farm for trucking purposes, and raised all kinds of garden products for the market, which he sold in different towns in the coal regions. He has been thrifty, and has prospered accordingly. In politics Mr. Baer is a stanch Democrat, but he has never held office. He and his family are connected with St. Paul's Reformed Church in Windsor township. In 1904 Mr. Baer was a very heavy stockholder and director of the McConnellsburg, Fulton County Water Company, also a stockholder in the Windsor Water Company of Hamburg. At the present time he is a stockholder of the First National Bank of Hamburg.

On April 7, 1876, Mr. Baer married Elizabeth Krick, daughter of Benneville and Catharine (Shraer) Krick, and granddaughter of William Krick, whose wife was a Ziegenthaler. To Mr. and Mrs. Baer have been born children as follows: Wilson H. is single and lives at home; Eugene M. m. Cora Adam; Miss Minnie A. resides at home; and Elva E.


p. 614


William J. Baer, one of the leading citizens of Kutztown, Pa., and superintendent of the Allentown & Reading Traction Company, was born at Breinigsville, Lehigh county, Sept. 11, 1869. As a boy he worked on his father's farm and attended the public schools of his district. When young man he found employment in the ore mines not far from his home, and he proved himself such a faithful and painstaking workman that he found favor in the eyes of his employers, who made him superintendent of the ore beds at Breinigsville and Guth stations. Later he became superintendent of a paint mill for the Pennsylvania Paint & Ore Company, and was stationed for some time at Cartersville, Ga. His faithfulness to duty and his efficiency as an engineer secured for him due recognition, and he ran the engines at these ore beds for some years.

In 1900 Mr. Baer became conductor on the Allentown & Reading Traction Company line, and when the company erected new power houses at Kutztown he took charge of the engines, and soon thereafter became chief engineer for the company. Later he was given general charge of the station and the power house, and in 1902 was appointed assistant superintendent of the company, a position he has very ably filled to the present time.

In June, 1890, Mr. Baer was married to Ellen Siegfried, daughter of Reuben and Amanda (Grim) Siegfried, and to this union there have been born these children ? Clara Victoria and Arthur William.

His father was Jonathan S. Baer, who was married to Fannie Burkey, daughter of Daniel Burkey, of England. They had children: Charles, who died young; William J., subject of this sketch; George F., m. to Kate Levan, and living in Allentown; Frank F., m. to Tillie Houser, and living at North Hill; Alice, m. to J. Thomas Smith, and living in Scranton; Ida, m. to James Sup, and living in Allentown and Harvey, who died in youth.

His grandfather was Philip Baer, who was a shoemaker by trade, and was well known in the vicinity of Breinigsville and Fogelsville. He died at the advanced age of eighty-five years, in 1901, and is buried at (Ziegel's) Church. In his younger years he had moved with his father to Mercer county, Pa., but he did not like his new home, so he returned to his native county, of Lehigh. He was married to Catharine Schaeffer and had twelve children. When he died he had fifty-nine grandchildren and thirty-five great-grandchildren. Among his children were these: Charles, of Ohio; Mrs. Thomas Burky, of Allentown; Jonathan S., of Breinigsville; Peter L., of Hamilton, Ohio; and Mrs. Rebecca Billig, of Mercer county, Pennsylvania.

His great-grandfather was Daniel Baer, who was born in Weisenburg township, Lehigh county, where he lived until he moved to Mercer county, Pa. Among his children were John, Daniel, David, Benjamin, Phillip, above named, and Catharine.

His great-grandfather was Jacob Baer, who was the son of the immigrant, Hans Baer, and is well known in the history of the Baer family. He was the father of twelve children, six sons and six daughters, and he gave to each of his six sons a farm. His son Daniel sold his Weisenburg Township farm, and moved to Mercer county, where he raised his family and lived to the end of his life.


p. 1083


William S. Baer, who is extensively engaged in agricultural operations in Windsor township, where he owns an excellent farm of sixty-one acres of fertile land, was born May 28, 1854, in Greenwich township, Berks county, son of Henry and Catherine (Schollenberger) Baer.

The immigrant ancestor of the Baers of Berks county, Pa., was Hans Baer, who after landing at Philadelphia spent a few years in the vicinity of Germantown, but before 1750 settled in Weisenburg township, now in Lehigh county. The old Hans Baer farm is pointed out to this day as the Kershner farm, and is located near Claussville. Hans Baer had four children, namely: John, Adam, Jacob and Barbara. Barbara married Henry Fetter; John removed to Windsor township, Berks county, his descendants residing in Hamburg and in Windsor, Perry and Bern townships; and Adam took up land near the old Hans Baer farm in 1773, this property still being in the possession of his descendants. He had a family of twelve children, seven sons and five daughters.

Jacob Baer, great-great-grandfather of William S., was the third son of the ancestor. He inherited the old farm and also acquired several other large tracts, having in all over 500 acres of land. He had twelve children, six daughters and six sons, and to each of the latter, namely Jacob, Daniel, John, Henry, John Adam and Hans Adam, he gave a farm.

John Adam Baer, son of Jacob, residing in Weisenburg township, Northampton (now Lehigh) county, until 1812, when he removed to Maxatawny township, Berks county, settling on what is known as the Hartman farm, about one mile northeast of Kutztown. His wife was Susanna Knerr, and to them were born ten children: Jonathan, John, Peter, Charles, Solomon, Eva, Lydia, Betsy, Susanna and Polly.

Jonathan Baer, grandfather of William S., was a weaver and a farmer of Greenwich township. He was born in Northampton (now Lehigh) county, Aug. 10, 1796, and died in 1878, having been a township officer for thirty-five years. He was married to Catherine Mattern, born June 19, 1798, daughter of Johannes and Maria (Levan) Mattern, and to them were born these children: Eliza, who married Levi Reppert; Henry, born Jan. 25, 1823; Charles, born Jan. 25, 1825; and Hettie, who married George Herring.

Henry Baer was born Jan. 25, 1823, in Maxatawny township, and died in 1899 in Windsor township. For many years he engaged in carpentering, but gave up that occupation to engage in farming in Greenwich township. Later he removed to Albany township, near Jerusalem Church, continuing in that locality for three years, when, in 1880, he removed to Lynn township, Lehigh county, where the next five years were spent. At the end of this time Mr. Baer purchased the sixty-one-acre farm east of Hamburg, which is now in the possession of his son, William S., and here he continued to operate until his death in 1899. Mr. Baer married Miss Catherine Schollenberger, born June 18, 1822, who died in 1888, and to them were born two children: William S.; and Hettie, born June 18, 1858, who died in her fourteenth year of her age.

William S. Baer acquired a good education in the public schools and later attended the Keystone State Normal School at Kutztown, Pa. He was reared on the farm, working for his father until twenty-two years of age, and in 1886 purchased his father? farm upon which he has resided to the present time. Excellent buildings adorn this property, the large brick residence with double porch in front presenting a fine appearance, while the old barn, which was destroyed by lightning in 1886 was replaced by Mr. Baer in the same year by a new Swiss barn, seventy feet in length. Mr. Baer is a progressive and enterprising agriculturalist, taking advantage of all the latest modern machinery, and he also has an up-to-date dairy, shipping his milk to Coaldale, Schuylkill county.

Mr. William S. Baer was united in marriage with Miss Amanda Brancher, born Aug. 27, 1858, daughter of Daniel and Polly (Lutz) Brancher, and granddaughter of Christian and Catherine (Kramer) Brancher. No children have been born of this union. Mr. Baer and his wife are consistent attendants of Zion's Union Church or Perry township, being Reformed members thereof, and they contribute liberally to its support. They are one of the most highly esteemed couples in the community, and have many warm friends. In political matters Mr. Baer is a stanch adherent of the principles of the Democratic party, and has refused steadfastly to accept public office.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:52:29 EDT

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