Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery

BEARD, ELMER H.

p. 1516

Surnames: BEARD, WARREN, HIPPLE, ENDLICH, LIVINGOOD, HARTMAN

ELMER H. BEARD, city engineer of Reading, is one of the busiest men in the busy, bustling city of Reading, for, with the fifty-one men in his charge, he is carrying out the enormous amount of work consequent upon the expenditure of more than a million and a half dollars for improvements to the city.

Mr. Beard's paternal grandfather, Henry Beard, was born in Robeson township, Berks county, and married Catherine Warren, who was descended from General Warren, of Bunker Hill fame. Our subject's father Amos H. Beard, was master carpenter for the Reading division of the Philadelphia & Reading railroad, served as a member of the 196th P.V. I., during the War of the Rebellion, serving a nine-months term and veteranizing, and was a member of the select council for twenty-two years. Amos H, Beard married Catherine Hipple, daughter of Adam Hipple, of Montgomery county, master carpenter of the Philadelphia & Reading railroad. The following children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Beard: William, an insurance broker of Reading; Harry, city chemist of Reading; Elizabeth, who died March 6, 1904, aged twenty-two years, two days; and Elmer H.

Elmer H. Beard was born on the old homestead in Robeson township, Sept. 7, 1865, and was educated in Reading, graduating from the high school in 1881, and then joined the engineering corps of the Philadelphia & Reading railroad, being advanced, in 1888, to the position of assistant engineer of the Reading division. He was made supervisor in 1890, and left the service the following year to become resident engineer of construction, at Hurley, Wis., for the Milwaukee, Lake Shore &Western railroad, in which position he remained until 1896. He then became assistant supervisor of the Philadelphia and Reading railroad, at Pottsville. Mr. Beard became assistant engineer of the city of Reading in 1897, and in April,1900, became engaged in the contracting and building business, erected many of the fine buildings and homes in the city, including those of Judge Endlich and Frank S. Livingood, Esq. In three years Mr. Beard built 285 houses, and in one of these years the record reached 103 buildings built by him, which exceeded the record of any other builder up to that time. In April, 1903, Mr. Beard was elected city engineer of Reading.

Mr. Beard was married Sept. 26, 1889, to Lottie E. Hartman, daughter of Harrison S. Hartman, in the Traction Company's service in Reading, and one child was born to this union -- Helen, at school. Mr. Beard is a thirty second degree Mason, belonging to Rajah Temple of the Mystic Shrine and is a member of the Sons of Veterans and the Elks.

He is a stanch Democrat, and belongs to St. Barnabas Episcopal Church. He is a whole-souled, intelligent, genial gentleman in every walk of life.


BEARD, SAMUEL

p. 650
BEARD, GODFREY, YEAR, REED, EASTBOUND, SKEEN

Samuel Beard, one of the oldest citizens of Reading, Pa., and an honored veteran of the great Civil war, was born in 1840, in Shoemakersville, Berks county, son of Herman Beard and, grandson of Samuel Beard.

Samuel Beard, the grandfather, was for some years engaged in the hotel business in Berks and Schuylkill counties, being at one time proprietor of the well-known hotel at Fifth and Washington streets, Reading, now owned by Mr. H. Godfrey. He died at the age of seventy-five years.

Herman Beard, son of Samuel, was born in Berks county, and for a number of years was engaged in the mercantile business at Shoemakersville, Berks county, also conducting a hotel business at that place. Coming to Reading, Mr. Beard engaged in the hotel business at Fifth and Washington streets, but later went to Pottsville where he was in business for three years. He later returned to Reading, where he died in 1882, aged seventy-six years. He was a Mason of high standing. Mr. Beard married Annetta Yerger, and their children were: Samuel, Sallie and William.

Samuel Beard attended the public schools of Reading, after leaving which he learned the machinist's trade, which he followed from 1854 to 1861, at which time he enlisted in Company H, 25th Pa. V. I., for three months service. After his discharge he veteranized in Company I, 118th Pa. V. I., for three years, and served with his regiment until he was wounded in the battle of Antietam, Sept. 21, 1862, being shot in the muscle of the right arm, from the effects of which he has never fully recovered. On receiving his honorable discharge he returned to Reading, and tried to go to work at his trade, but his arm could not stand the strain, and he secured a position as clerk in a hotel at Pottsville, where he remained until 1881. Mr. Beard then went to Nebraska, and for some time was employed in clerking there, but again returned to Reading and engaged with the Reading Iron Company, in the tube works department, where he has been employed to the present time, something over twenty-five years of faithful service. Mr. Beard resides at No. 414 Walnut street.

Mr. Beard married Helen S. Reed, daughter of Jacob Reed, of Pottsville. Schuylkill county, and to this union were born: George R., a printer of Philadelphia, in. Emma Skeen; William L.. employed at the tube works, is single and resides at home; Nellie, m. Lewis Eastburn, of Reading; and Emma is at home. Mr. Beard is a Republican in politics, and while a resident of Schuylkill county, he assisted in taking the census there. The family are members of the Lutheran Church. Fraternally Mr. Beard is a Mason, and has been a member of Pulaski Lodge, No. 246, Pottsville, since 1873.


BECHTEL, CHARLES W.

p. 651
BECHTEL, RINGLE, STOUT, MILLER, GEHO, TAYLOR, DIVES, POMEROY, STEWART

Charles W. Bechtel, , general inspector of the city of Reading, was born in that place, son of John R. Bechtel, and grandson of David Bechtel. The latter was a farmer of Douglassville, Berks county.

John R. Bechtel was a real estate dealer and builder in Reading. He married Sophia Ringle, daughter of Jacob Ringle, a boat builder of that same city, and to this union were born seven children, namely: Sarah, Mrs. Stout; Susan, and Minnie, wife of George E. Miller, an employe at the city hall; Rena, at home; George I., a clothier; Ernest V., who represents the Fourteenth ward in the common council; and Charles W.

Charles W. Bechtel was born Jan. 25, 1856, and after attending the public schools, completed his education in Palatinate College, graduating with the class of 1875. For two years he was in the grocery business for himself, but at the end of that time he went into his father's merchant tailoring establishment, then the largest concern of its kind in Reading. He worked for his father fifteen years, and for the next eight years was employed at building for his father. He finally gave up the building business, as he was in 1900 appointed general inspector of all city manufacturing plants, and as he fills the office with great efficiency, he has been reappointed each succeeding year.

Mr. Bechtel was married July 4, 1880, to Miss Mina Geho, daughter of Nicodemus Geho, shoe dealer at Reading. One daughter has been born to them, Amy, now the wife of Walter G. Taylor, an employee of Dives, Pomeroy & Stewart.

In politics Mr. Bechtel is a Republican, and is an active worker for his party, which in turn has made him its representative in various official positions. He was a member of the common council from the Fourteenth ward in 1888-89-90, and was also ward assessor for twelve years. He has been chairman of the Sixth ward for some time, is frequently a delegate to Republican conventions, and holds a prominent place on the board of public works. Fraternally Mr. Bechtel belongs to the B. P. 0. E., and in religion he is a member of the Memorial Reformed Church.


BECHTEL, DANIEL R.

p. 463

Surnames: BECHTEL, RAUCH, KAUFMAN, ZIMMERMAN, NOLL, RAUCH, HUFF, MENSCH, MOYER, HEISTAND, BENFIELD, ROHRBACH, GERNAND, GERY, BERKEY, BIDDENBENDER, YOUNG

Daniel Bechtel, merchant at Huff's Church, in Hereford township, was born at Bechtel's Mill, in District township, the original Bechtel homestead, March 9, 1846.

Peter Bechtel, great-grandfather of Daniel R., was an early settler of East District township, in Berks county. Prior to 1774 he had settled there, and in 1790 he was the owner of much land. He died about 1794, and is buried in the cemetery on the farm now owned by David B. Rauch. This was a private burial ground where many Mennonites were buried. It is now in a dilapidated condition, but some of the tombstones are still standing. The Kaufman, Zimmerman, Noll, and Johan Friedrich Huff and wife graves are in good condition. Most of the burials here took place prior to 1812 when Huff's church and its cemetery were established. Peter Bechtel had a number of children.

Jacob Bechtel, son of Peter, was born during the war of the Revolution. He was a man of more than ordinary intelligence and enterprise, and was the owner of considerable land. He and his wife attended the Mennonite church at what is now Bally. They are buried in the cemetery on the Rauch farm. They had four children: Polly m. Abraham Mensch; Susanna m. Henry Moyer; Elizabeth m. Jonas Heistand; and John.

John Bechtel, son of Jacob, was born at the Bechtel Mill homestead in District township, April 29, 1805, and he died May 10, 1876. He became a farmer and miller. The property contains about 200 acres of land. The present frame mill was built in 1769, and is still in good condition, and used for milling purposes. The sawmill attached to the property is now operated by Frank Benfield. The present barn was built by John Bechtel in 1860, and the stone house by Jacob Bechtel. John Bechtel was a man very well known in his section, and he was always active for the best interests of the community. He and his family were Lutheran members of Huff's Church. John Bechtel married Maria Rohrbach, born June 17, 1813, daughter of George Rohrbach, and she died April 18, 1865. Their children were: Henry, John, Annie, Betzy, Sarah, Susanna, Maria, Catharine, George and Daniel R.

Daniel R. Bechtel was educated in the township schools and his home training was along agricultural lines. In 1871 he began clerking in the general store of William Gernand, of Breinigsville, Pa., where he remained one year. In 1872 he went to Zionsville, in Lehigh county, where he bought out Frank N. Gery, and he conducted the store four years. In 1876 he located at Huff's Church, in Berks county, where he has built up a fine business, carrying on a general store to the present time, a period of thirty-two years. His stock is good and his customers are always well pleased. He resides in a large brick residence which he built in 1890. The well kept lawn adds to the attractive appearance of this, one of the finest places in the township.

In politics Mr. Bechtel is a Republican, and from 1876 to 1890 he was postmaster at Huff's Church. He and his family are Lutheran members of Huff's Church. Mr. Bechtel married Sally Ann Biddenbender, daughter of Samuel and Catharine (Berkey) Biddenbender, and granddaughter of Jacob and Susanna (Young) Biddenbender.


BECHTEL, FREDERICK REESE

p. 836

Surnames: BECHTEL, REESE, ROTHERMEL, HIGH

Among the well-known citizens of Cumru township, Berks county, may be mentioned Mr. Frederick R. Bechtel, who now lives retired on the farm upon which he was born, Sept. 17, 1830, son of Christian and Julia (Reese) Bechtel, Christian Bechtel was born on the old homestead in Cumru township, Feb. 11, 1786, and died April 11, 1839, having been a successful farmer throughout his life. He was an old-line Whig in politics, and was very patriotic and public-spirited. Mr. Bechtel married Julia Reese, daughter of a Revolutionary soldier, and to them were born three children: Benneville, who died in childhood; Charles, who died when eleven years old; and Frederick R.

Frederick R. Bechtel obtained his primary education in the common schools of his native locality, and later attended select schools in Reading. His youthful days were spent on the farm, where in 1858 he commenced operations on his own account, continuing there with much success until his retirement in 1885. Since that time he has lived at the homestead, which had been built by his grandfather, Christian Bechtel, the house, being in excellent condition and apparently good for another century. The homestead, which includes 127 acres, is one of the best in the county, and has been in the possession of the Bechtel family since before the Revolutionary war. In politics, Mr. Bechtel is a Republican, and for three years he served his township as school director. He is a member and regular attendant of Trinity Lutheran Church, of Reading.

On May 24, 1857, Mr. Bechtel was married to Esther R. High, born Sept. 7, 1833, daughter of Daniel and Esther (Rothermel) High. To Mr. and Mrs. Bechtel four children have been born: Miss Emma, at home; Charles H., living at Lake, Idaho; John H., one of the proprietors of the Neversink Planing Mill of Reading; and Miss Sarah Esther, at home.


BECHTEL, HIRAM C.

p. 1643

Surnames: BECHTEL, ESHBACH, NOLL, BAER, ROTH, STAUFFER, LATSHAW, DOTTERER, HUBER, HELLER, BRUNNER, BITZ, REIF, JOHNSON, HOCH, BARTO, SASSAMAN, KEHL, OBERHOLTZER, SPRINGER, ERDMAN, PENNEPACKER, FRONHEISER, CLEAVER, KOCH, FRY, ZUBER, MOYER, HEMS, RENNINGER

Hiram C. Bechtel, a resident of Washington township, Berks county, living near Eshbach Crossing was born April 24, 1851, on the old farm of his grandfather, Gerhard S. Eshbach. He is a descendant of the old Bechtel family which came to America from the German Palatinate.

On Aug. 24, A. D. 1728, eighty Palatinates with their families, in all 205 persons, who shortly before, after a seventy days' voyage, had arrived with the ship "Mortonhouse," from Deal, Captain John Coultas, in the harbor of Philadelphia, appeared in the halls of justice in Philadelphia to render the oath of allegiance to the Crown of England, declaring it to be their intention to settle themselves in Pennsylvania. The company consisted of eighty men, and sixty-nine women over sixteen years of age, and fifty-six children. Among the names of the adults belonging to this company of immigrants we find the name of (I) George Bechtel, the presumable father of Isaac and Gerhard Bechtel, heading the list. Tradition tells us he came from Weinheim, Germany.

The large German family Bible of George Bechtel is yet in existence. The Bible came into the hands of Gerhard Bechtel and is now in the possession of one of his descendants. On the fly-leaf of the Bible is written this note in German: "Diese Biebel ist gedruckt in Deutschland im Jahr 1720. Im Jahr 1730 ist sic George Bechtel von seinem Vater von Deutschland nach Amerika geschickt worden. Zwischen den Jahren 1750 und 1760 bekam sic Gerhard Bechtel."

In the course of time the early history of the family has been so much effaced and is so much obscured in the mists of the past that a clear conception and an unerring presentation of the facts are now wellnigh impossible. It would give us much satisfaction if our ancestors, from the time they immigrated into this country, had kept a record of their family and church affairs. On the list of immigrants who came in the same ship with George Bechtel we find the names of Noll, Baer, Roth, Stauffer, Latshaw, Dotterer, Huber, Heller, Brunner, all familiar names to us and whose descendants in part reside with us here in Eastern Pennsylvania.

(II) Isaac Bechtel was a farmer and miller, and had his home in and near Bechtelsville, now in Washington township, Berks county, Pa. Bechtelsville was laid out by his son John S. Bechtel. Isaac Bechtel and his two wives are buried in the old Hereford Mennonite graveyard near Bally, Washington township, Berks county. His tombstone bears the following inscription:

Hier ruhen die gebeine des verstorbenen Isaac' Bechtel's er wurde geboren den 23ten tag Jany, A. D. 1751, und ist gestorben den 3ten tag April im Jahr, 1820, er brachte sein alter auf 68 Jahre, 9 monat und 10 tage. Selig sind die toden die im Herren sterben.

Isaac Bechtel was twice married, his first marriage being to Esther Stauffer (1757-1805), and his second Barbara Bitz. There were no children by the latter union. By his first wife he had a family of fourteen: Jacob S., born Oct. 9, 1774 (married Anna W. Bechtel); S.. born Sept. 22, 1776 (married Abraham Eshbach); Elizabeth S., born Nov. 14, 1778 (married Peter Eshbach); Nancy S., born Nov. 2, 1780 (married Joseph Reif); Susan S., born Oct. 6. 1782 (married William Johnson); Catherine S., born Oct. 5, 1784 (married John Bahr): John S. born Feb. 21, 1786 (married Maria Hoch); George S., born Feb. 22, 1788 (married Miss Barto); Sally S., born Dec. 25, 1789 (married Henry Sassaman); Isaac S., born Oct. 18, 1791 married (first) Polly Sassaman and (second) Betzy Kehl); Polly S., born Aug. 30, 1793, (married Henry Oberholtzer); Abraham S., born July 20, 1795 (married (first) Nancy Bechtel and (second) Hettie Springer); Gerhard S., born May 3, 1797, is mentioned farther on; David S., born Sept. 14, 1799, died Feb. 28, 1800.

(III) Gerhard S. Bechtel, son of Isaac Bechtel, was born May 3, 1797, and died Oct. 8, 1881. By occupation he first learned the milling trade, and afterward was a carpenter, undertaker and farmer. As undertaker he had charge of hundreds of funerals in his time in the lower end of the county. He and his assistants made the coffins by hand as needed. For many years he was landlord of the "Washington Hotel" at Eshbach. He was a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and worshipped at St. Joseph's Church, commonly known as Hill Church, in Pike township, Berks county. He is buried in the family lot in the cemetery near the church. Gerhard S. Bechtel was three times married. By his first wife, Maria Erdman, he had four children: Lydia E., born April 2, 1818, died Aug. 2, 1852 (married John M. Stauffer, who was sheriff of Montgomery county from 1859 to 1862, and they had children, Elvina, Jacob B.. Mary and Wesley B. Of these, Jacob B. was a soldier in. the Civil war and is now a clerk in the adjutant-general's office at Harrisburg, Pa.); Mary E., born Oct. 23, 1821, died Feb. 19, 1878 (married Jesse B. Pennepacker, and had one child, Amos B.); Elizabeth E., born Aug. 4, 1826, died March 15, 1871, married George M. Eshbach, and had children, Mary, Henry, Amanda, Emma, Peter, Jeremiah, Diana, George, Lovina, Jesse and Kate B.; Levi E. is mentioned farther on.

By his second marriage, to Mary H. Fronheiser, Mr. Bechtel had one child, Jesse F. Bechtel, who is fully mentioned elsewhere in this work. To his third marriage, with Christian Gruber, were born three children, Abraham, Amanda and Catharine G., all of whom are deceased.

(IV) Levi E. Bechtel, son of Gerhard S. and Maria (Erdman) Bechtel, was born at Eshbach, Berks county, Dec. 24, 1823, and died Dec. 26, 1905, aged eighty- two years, two days. He is buried at Boyertown, Pa. He was a prosperous man, engaging in several lines of business besides farming, in which he was also successful. He bought an excellent 109 acre farm in Washington township, one mile east of Eshbach, from the William Stauffer estate, and there lived and farmed until 1898, when he retired to a tract which he had improved, along the Schultzville road. He built a stone house on this place in 1887 and occupied it until his death. Mr. Bechtel also owned a forty-one acre place adjoining his large farm. He conducted undertaking establishments at Eshbach and Gabelsville, and was also in the wood and lumber business, cutting down trees; he gave employment to about eight men in this line.

In 1850 Mr. Bechtel married Catharine Cleaver, daughter of Daniel and Susanna (Koch) Cleaver, and granddaughter of Isaac Cleaver. Mrs. Bechtel is now living near her son Hiram, on the Schultzville road, in Washington township. Eleven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Bechtel: Hiram C.; Amos, who died young; Lovina (married Edward Stauffer, of Bechtelsville); Amanda (married John Fry, of Washington township); Sarah (married John Zuber, of Reading Mary; Lizzie (married William Moyer, of Reading Catharine, who died young; Olivia (married to Horace Hems, of Eshbach); Frank, of Philadelphia, where he is engaged as a mechanic (married Emma Renninger); and Edwin C., also a mechanic of Philadelphia, who married Mary Bechtel (not a near relative). Mr. Bechtel and his family were members of the Lutheran Church at Boyertown, of which he served as trustee for some years, being prominent in the church as he was in everything else which interested him.

(V) Hiram C. Bechtel began his education in the Oberholtzer public school, where he attended for two winters. His parents then moved to the Gerhard Bechtel farm at Gablesville, where the family lived for seven years, during which time Hiram C. Bechtel attended school in that neighborhood and went two terms to Isaac B Hankey's Kallynean Academy, Boyertown. The Bechtels then moved to the adjoining farm owned by Jacob Bechtel. And after a six years' residence at that place moved to the 109- acre farm in Washington township which Levi F. Bechtel purchased from the William Stauffer estate. When he was eighteen years old, Hiram C. Bechtel commenced to learn the millwright's trade, serving his apprenticeship under Frederick Glaes. He was employed at such work for eight years, when he began farming on his father's forty-one acre tract, cultivating that place for three years at the end of which time he bought the Jacob Latshaw homestead, which is located on the Schultzville road, near Eshbach. The place consists of six acres of valuable land and a comfortable dwelling, which Mr. Bechtel remodeled in 1893. He has a very attractive home, nicely located.

Mr. Bechtel has, worked at his trade for many years, having followed it for seventeen years in the employ of the Wolf Company, of Chambersburg, Pa., his work taking him into New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana. Since 1903 he has been building mills on his own account, commanding the greater share of the patronage in Macungie and the adjacent portions of Lehigh county.

On Jan. 24, 1874. Mr. Bechtel was married to Catharine Funk, daughter of Samuel and Judith (Conrath) Funk, of New Jerusalem, Berks county, and they are the parents of five children Agnes F., wife of Harry B. Becker, of Fagleysville, Montgomery Co, Pa.; Amos F., unmarried, who follows millwrighting, traveling all over the United States; Annie F.; Alice F., married to Samuel H. Moser, son of Henry Z. Moser; and Ammon F., at home. This family are members of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church at Boyertown. Mr. Bechtel is a Republican in politics, and in fraternal connection a member of Columbus Lodge, No. 75, I. O. 0. F.. of Chambersburg.


BECHTEL, IRWIN H.

p. 515

Surnames: BECHTEL, HIMMELWRIGHT, KIEL, KECK, LATSHAW, RUSSELL

Irwin H. Bechtel, a successful and progressive merchant at Bally, in Washington township, Berks county, was born Jan. 7, 1866, son of William B. Bechtel, and he died May 16, 1902.

William B. Bechtel was born June 20, 1835. He was the first merchant to open a general store in Bally, and after carrying on the business until 1898, sold it and the premises to his son, while he himself engaged in the manufacture of paper, under the name of the West Branch Paper Mill, in a mill located three miles east of the town, and this he continued until his death, July 15, 1903. He established the postoffice at Bally; it has continued in the store until the present time. He was active in church life, belonging to the New Mennonite Church, which he served officially many years. He married Elizabeth Himmelwright daughter of John and Maria (Kiel) Himmelwright, of near Bally, and they had One son, Irwin H. Bechtel.

Irwin H. Bechtel was educated in the public schools and in the Keystone State Normal School at Kutztown. He was licensed to teach by Prof. D. S. Keck, county superintendent, and he taught two terms in Washington township-one term at Dale and the other at Bally. His father then took him into the store, where he gained practical knowledge of the mercantile business under his father's guidance, and in 1898 became the purchaser of the business, conducting it until his death.

Mr. Bechtel and his family were members of the New Mennonite Church at Bally. For some years he was assistant superintendent of the Sunday-school, and then became superintendent, which position he filled in a most satisfactory manner until his decease, ably assisted by his wife.

On Oct. 3, 1893, Mr. Bechtel married Mary Latshaw, daughter of Samuel B. Latshaw, and two children were born of this union, Stanley Latshaw and Irwin Russell. Since her husband's decease, Mrs. Bechtel has carried on the business in a most satisfactory manner, serving also as Postmistress.


BECHTEL, JESSE F.

pp. 523 & 524

Surnames: BECHTEL, NOLL, BAER, ROTH, STAUFFER, LATSHAW, DOTTERER, HUBER, HELLER, BRUNNER, ESCHBACH, REIF, JOHNSON, HOCH, BAHR, BARTO, SASSAMAN, KEHL, SPRINGER, FRONHEISER, GRUBER, BITZ, PENNEPACKER, CLEAVER, WIEAND, GANSZ, RENNINGER, HANKEY, BRUNNER, KECK, ZECHMAN, RAPP

Jesse F. Bechtel, of Colebrookdale township, Berks county, has long held an honored place in the educational world as a teacher, his enthusiasm and magnetic personality winning his pupils and carrying them bravely forward along the path to knowledge.

The Bechtel family came to America from the German Palatinate. "On Aug. 24, 1728, eighty Palatines with their families, in all 205 persons, who shortly before, after a seventy days' voyage had arrived in the ship 'Mortonhouse' from Deal, Capt. John Coultas, in the harbor of Philadelphia, appeared in the Halls of Justice in Philadelphia to render the oath of allegiance to the Crown of England, declaring it to be their intention 'to settle themselves in Pennsylvania.' The company consisted of eighty males and sixty-nine females upward of sixteen years of age, and fifty-six children. Among the names of the adults belonging to this company of emigrants we find the name of (I) George Bechtel, presumably the father of Isaac and Gerhard Bechtel, heading the list." Tradition says he came from Weinheim, Germany.

The large German family Bible of George Bechtel is yet in existence. The Bible came into the hands of Gerhard Bechtel, and is now in the possession of one of his descendants. On the fly-leaf is written this note in German: "Diese Biebel ist gedruckt in Deutschland im Jahr 1720. Im Jahr 1730 ist sie George Bechtel von Seinem Vater von Deutschland nach Amerika geschickt worden. Zwischen den Jahren 1750 und 1760 bekam sic Gerhard Bechtel."

"In the course of time the early history of the family has been so obscured in the mists of the past that a clear conception and an unerring presentation of the facts are well-nigh impossible. Among the lists of emigrants who came over in the same ship with George Bechtel are found the names of Noll, Baer, Roth, Stauffer, Latshaw, Dotterer, Huber, Heller, Brunner, many of whose descendants still reside in eastern Pennsylvania."

(II) Isaac Bechtel became a farmer and miller, and had his home in and near Bechtelsville, now in Washington Township. Pa. Bechtelsville was laid out by his son, John S. Bechtel. Isaac Bechtel and both of his wives are buried in the old Hereford Mennonite graveyard near Bally, Washington township, Berks county, Pennsylvania. His tombstone bears the following inscription:

Hier ruhen die gebeine des verstorbenen isaac Bechtel's er wurde geboren den 23ten tag Juny A. D. 1751, und ist gestorben den 3ten tag April im Jahr 1820, er brachte sein alter auf 68 Jahre, 9 monat und 10 tage. Selig sind die toden die im Herren sterben.

Isaac Bechtel married (first) Esther Stauffer (1757-1805), and to this marriage were born fourteen children: Jacob S., born Oct. 9, 1774, in. Anna W. Bechtel; Mary S., born Sept. 22, 1776, m. Abraham Eschbach; Elizabeth S., born Nov. 14, 1778, m. Peter Eschbach; Nancy S., born Nov. 2, 1780, m. Joseph Reif; Susan S., born Oct.. 6, 1782, m. William Johnson; Catherine S., born Oct. 15, 1784 m. John Bahr; John S., born Feb. 21, 1788, m. Maria Hoch; George S., born Feb. 22, 1788, m. (first) Miss Barto, and (second) - ; Sally S., born Dec. 25, 1789, m. Henry Sassaman; Isaac S., born Oct. 18, 1791, m. (first) Polly Sassaman, and (second) Betzy Kehl; Polly S., born Aug. 30, 1793, m. Henry Oberholtzer; Abraham S., born July 20, 1795, m. (first) Nancy Bechtel, and (second) Hettie Springer; Gerhard S., born May 3, 1797, in. (first) Maria Erdman, (second) Mary H. Fronheiser, and (third) Christina Gruber; and David S., born Sept. 14, 1799, died Feb. 28, 1800. Isaac Bechtel M. (second) Barbara Bits. To this union no children were born.

(III) Gerhard S. Bechtel, son of Isaac, born May 3, 1797, died Oct. 8, 1881. By occupation he was a carpenter, undertaker and farmer. As undertaker he had charge of hundreds of funerals in his time in the lower end of the county. He and his assistants made the coffins by hand as needed. For many years he was landlord of the "Washington Hotel" at Eschbachs. He was a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and worshipped at St. Joseph's Church, commonly known as Hill Church, Pike township, Berks county, and he is buried in the family lot in the cemetery near the church. He married Maria Erdman, and they had four children, as follows: (1) Lydia E., born April 2, 1818, died Aug. 2, 1852, m. John M. Stauffer, sheriff of Montgomery county from 1859-62, and their children were: Elvina, Jacob B. (a soldier in the Civil war and now a clerk in the Adjutant General's office, Harrisburg, Pa.), Mary and Wesley B. (2) Mary E., born Oct. 23, 1821, died Feb. 19, 1878, m. Jesse B. Pennepacker, and they had one child, Amos B. (3) Elizabeth E., born Aug. 4, 1826, died March 15, 1871, in. George M. Eschbach. and had children: Mary, Henry, Amanda, Emma, Peter, Jeremiah, Diana, George, Lovina, Jesse and Kate B. (4) Levi E., born Dec. 23, 1823, died Dec. 25, 1905, m. Catharine Cleaver, and became the father of Hiram, Amos, Lovina, Amanda, Mary, Catharine, Sarah, Lizzie, Olivia, Frank and Edwin C. Gerhard S. Bechtel m. (second) Mary H. Fronheiser, and the only child of this union is Jesse F. Bechtel, born Sept. 16, 1852. Gerhard S. Bechtel m. (third) Christina Gruber, and their three children, Abraham, Amanda and Catharine G., are all deceased.

(IV) Jesse F. Bechtel, son of Gerhard S. and Mary H. (Fronheiser), born Sept. 116 1852, at Eschbachs, in Washington township, married, Sept. 23, 1876, Mary A. W. Pennepacker, born June 19, 1856, daughter of Eli and Sarah (Wieand) Pennepacker, a distant relative of ex-Gov. Samuel Pennypacker. Four children have blessed this union: (1) Marie Cordelia P., born July 8, 1877, is at home. (2) Jesse Luther P., born Dec. 30, 1878, graduated from the Philadelphia Business College and College of Commerce, and is now employed by the Boyertown Casket Company, in their store at Philadelphia. He married Anna C. Gansz. (3) Grace Agnes P., born Dec. 17, 1880, married Harry B. Renninger, and has one child, Mae B. Renninger. (4) Abram Grant P., born March 2, 1887, is a graduate of the Pottstown Business College, and is now at home.

Jesse F. Bechtel has resided at Gabelsville, in Colebrookdale township, since 1880, in which year he built his present home. At about the age of seven years he came to Colebrookdale township to live with his uncle Jesse B. Pennepacker, with whom he made his home for ten or twelve years, working on the farm in summer and attending the public schools in winter. During the fall of 1870 he attended the Kallynean Academy at Boyertown, Prof. I. B. Hankey, principal. The same year he was licensed to teach, receiving his first certificate from the late D B. Brunner, the Superintendent of Public Schools of Berks county. He taught his first term 1870-71 in Pike township near Hill Church. During the summer of 1871 he again attended the Academy. He has taught in all thirty-six terms, all with the exception of the first term, in Colebrookdale township, having been engaged at the Cleaver's, Gabelsville and Weisstown schools, and in several families he has taught three generations. He has taught under the following county superintendents: Brunner, Baer, Keck, Zechman and Rapp. Since 1887 he has held a Permanent Certificate, and since 1893 he has been a member of the Berks county Teachers' Reading Union. For three years, 1872-75, he was a clerk in a general store--one year at Pikeville and two years at Gabelsville.

Mr. Bechtel is a member of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, at Boyertown, where for more than ten years he has served as elder, and since 1897 as secretary of the Church council. He has represented his church as lay delegate to the meetings of the Ministerium of Pennsylvania and adjacent States at Lancaster in 1897, Easton. 1902, Philadelphia, 1903, and Allentown, 1908. For nineteen years he has been superintendent of the Sunday-school (Union) at Gabelsville. In politics he is a Republican, and he has been a delegate to a number of County conventions, twice a State delegate, and for twenty-four years committeeman for Colebrookdale township. From 1894 to 1899 he served as justice of the peace, and in 1880, 1890 and 1900 he was census enumerator. Mr. Bechtel has a fine collection of Indian relics, numbering some 1,600 specimens, and most of these were found in the immediate vicinity of his home in what is known as the Popodickon Valley (named for the Indian chief who once lived there). He also possesses a unique Washington button, made many years ago. It bears the motto "Long live the President"; along the outside are the initials of the thirteen colonies. In the inner circle are the initials G. W. He finds great pleasure in his well chosen library, and takes a great interest in local history.

The first, Bechtel Reunion was held Sept. 23, 1897, in the old Hereford Mennonite Meeting-house (since then replaced by a new structure). The original meeting house there was built in 1755, and its quaint appearance indicated its great age. It was a low wooden building a little larger than an ordinary school house. The joists upon which the roof rested extended far over the sides of the building. This venerable building was occupied by the Old Mennonites, who held services there over 140 years. Many of the descendants of the first Bechtels worshipped there. Among the ministers who served this congregation are a number named Bechtel; in fact, the family has supplied a minister from almost every generation.


BECHTEL, OLIVER KOCH

p. 1674

Surnames: BECHTEL, KOCH, FRANCIS, BAUSHER, NEWELL

Oliver Koch Bechtel, who has been successfully engaged in the ice business in Reading since 1895, was born July 22, 1857, in Pike township, Berks county Pa., son of George and Barbara (Koch) Bechtel, and grandson of Abraham Bechtel, of Pike township.

George Bechtel, who was a lifelong farmer of Berks county, died in August, 1899, at the age of seventy-two years, while his widow, who survives him, is now in her eighty-fourth year. They were the parents of five children: Frank, William, Oliver K., Amelia, deceased, who married Mahlon Francis, and Mary, deceased. In religious belief the family were all connected with the Reformed Church. Mr. Bechtel was a Democrat in political matters.

Oliver K. Bechtel received his education in the public schools of his native locality, and was reared upon his father's farm, on which he worked until 1889, on March 29th of which year he came to Reading and found employment in the brick yard of Thomas B. Bausher, where he continued six years. In 1895 Mr. Bechtel engaged in the ice business, starting work with two wagons, and to such an extent has his business grown that he now has six two-horse and one single-horse wagons, and employs seven men. Mr. Bechtel is a thorough business man.

Mr. Bechtel was united in marriage with Sarah Newell, daughter of the late Henry Newell and to them were born four children: Charles, a professional baseball player; Henry, connected with the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company; Archie, who is engaged in assisting his father; and Eddie, also connected with the Pennsylvania & Reading Railroad Company. Religiously the family are members of the Reformed Church. Mr. Bechtel is a Democrat in politics, and a member of the Knights of Friendship.


BECHTEL, RICHARD D.

p. 1204

Surnames: BECHTEL, ADDAMS, HOCH, KRICK, HECK, SIEDEL, REESER, OYSTER, LORAH, TRATE, DAVIS, BRUNNER, HEINZ, HELLER, FICHTHORN, HELLER, LUTZ

Richard D. Bechtel, a real estate dealer of Oakbrook, Cumru township, Berks county, is of the fifth generation of a family that has lived in that immediate vicinity continuously since 1771, and that has always been found in the forefront of progressive movements for the community.

Of Dutch origin, the progenitor of the American branch, John George Freid Bechtel, came from Holland on the "Pennsylvania Packet," landing at Philadelphia June 17, 1771. He soon chose Cumru township as his location, and his descendants have remained there ever since. Four sons were born to him, namely: John; Jacob, of Cumru township; Daniel, of the same locality, father of Thomas, Lydia, Catherine, Anna and Elmira; and Christian, also of Cumru township, father of one son Fred, who is still living on some of the original Bechtel land, at Brookside.

John Bechtel was born Nov. 3, 1779, and died Jan. 17, 1847, aged sixty-seven years, two months and fourteen days. He was the owner of considerable land, most of it now covered with modern residences. He married Dec. 13, 1801, Magdalena Addams, daughter of the founder of Adamstown. She was born July 4, 1778, and lived to an advanced age. She bore her husband children as follows: Susan, born April 24, 1804, m. A. Hoch; Richard A.; Catherine, born Oct. 18, 1807, m. Jacob Krick, a Spring township farmer; Elizabeth, born March 7, 1809, m. John Heck, a farmer in Cumberland county: John, born June 29, 1810, m. Miss Amelia Siedel, of Gibraltar, Pa.; Sarah, born March 26, 1812, m. John Reeser, a farmer at Milltown, Cumberland county; and Hannah. born Feb. 22, 1814, m. David Oyster, a farmer at Whitehall, Cumberland county.

Richard A. Bechtel was one of the large landowners and prominent men of Cumru township, his life there covering the period between April 10, 1805 and July 25, 1861. A portion of his property was the section now known as Oakbrook. He was married to Miss Rachel Lorah, who lived to the age of sixty-six years. They had two children only, George L. and John L., the latter of whom was born March 1, 1841, and married Miss Catherine Trate.

George L Bechtel was born Jan. 20, 1839, and lived only to the age of thirty- one years, dying Nov. 26, 1810. He was a man of standing in the community, much liked and esteemed, and his premature death was felt to be a general loss. A farmer by calling, he owned a place of fifty-seven acres, twenty of which was still woodland. He married in 1862 Catherine Janette, daughter of Rufus Davis, and they had four children, namely: Sallie, born July 17, 1863, died Sept. 25, 1891; Jennie, March 31, 1863 died Jan. 29, 1890; Laura, Aug. 10, 1867, died April 1, 1895; and Richard D.

Richard D. Bechtel has already made himself a place of importance among his fellow-townsmen, although still comparatively young, the date of his birth being Nov. 1, 1869. He was given a good education, attending first the public schools and then an academy in Reading conducted by Prof. D. B. Brunner. He began to work early and chose the trade of painter and paperhanger, at which he was engaged for some years, but in 1891 he gave that up in order to enter upon the real estate business. He and Henry B. Heinz formed the firm of Bechtel & Heinz, with offices at No. 518 Washington street, Reading. and for eleven years did a large amount of business in Reading real estate. But in 1902 Mr. Bechtel withdrew from the firm and gave his attention almost wholly to developing the suburb of Oakbrook, where he himself now resides. He owned a tract of thirty-seven acres there, of great value, lying along the trolley line of the Mohnton and Adamstown road. He cut this into building lots and most of them are now occupied by good residences. Mr. Bechtel is a splendid business man, progressive in his methods, and has done remarkably well.

Mr. Bechtel married, Oct. 9, 1896, Miss Catherine Fichthorn, daughter of James and Mary (Heller) Fichthorn, and a granddaughter of George and Hannah (Lutz) Fichthorn. Mr. and Mrs. Bechtel have three children. May R., Catherine M. and George R. Mr. Bechtel. with his wife, is a member of Yocomus Union Church. Politically he is a Republican, active in his district and with considerable influence. He has served his district officially as registry assessor, and in 1909 was elected tax collector of Cumru township.


BECK, GEORGE SLATER

p. 840

Surnames: BECK, SIMMONS, JOHNSON, WORLEY

George Slater Beck, a well-known and popular resident of Reading, Pa., was born in Armagh township, Mifflin Co., Pa., May 13, 1854. His education, and it is liberal, has been acquired mostly in the great school of the world, he having run away from home and gone into the United States Marine Corps when only seventeen years of age. During his enlistments, covering four years, a portion of which time he served as paymaster's steward of the U. S. S. "Richmond", he circumnavigated the globe twice, and returned to the "Land of the Free" fully as well equipped to cope with the world as any of his boy friends who had remained at home attending school.

Picture of George BeckHe has always been a student of men and things, cause and effect, and, developing into a writer of great force and strong descriptive power, he was not long in drifting into newspaper circles, where his reportorial work was of such character and his "scoops" so frequent that he is generally known as "Cyclone Beck", among newspaper reporters, to this day. In 1883 he engaged in the business of promoting industrial editions of newspapers all over the United States, doing his first work in that line on the Steubenville, Ohio, Gazette and Bulletin. He has issued magnificent illustrated editions for 123 papers, including both the Herald and the Times, in Reading, Pa., the Canton, Ohio, Repository, the Cincinnati Inquirer, the San Francisco Examiner and the New York World. His work in this line attracted so much attention that he was called to manage the advertising department of a syndicate of leading Western papers, with offices in New York City, where he became noted as one of the most successful advertising managers and publicity boomers in the country.

Between 1898 and 1907 Mr. Beck made a snug fortune in the medicine business, and in 1908 he became interested in the Aguacate Gold Mine in company with Messrs. J. G. and W. F. White, of New York City, and Don Rafael Yglesias, ex- president of Costa Rica. This mine is located in Monte Del Aguacate, Costa Rica, and is fast developing into one of the greatest gold mines the world has ever known.

Success has not swelled Mr. Beck's head nor hardened his heart. Since his return to Reading in 1902 to end his days in the city where he wooed and won his present wife (nee Anna Simmons, daughter of John Simmons, deceased) his hand has always been out and his purse open to assist the worthy poor and unfortunate. Most prominent among his benefactions have been those to St. Joseph's, the Reading and the Homeopathic Hospitals, and the orphans' homes of Reading, among which will be found nearly fifty beds and furnishings for the free use of the poor, sterilizing devices, wheel chairs and other paraphernalia, all of the very best quality and most modern type, and all the free gifts of this open-hearted man. The sisters and nurses all call him "Uncle George", and hundreds who have profited by his kindness of heart call him blessed.

Mr. Beck is the father of two daughters: Lillie, the wife of J. Elwood Johnson, of Columbus, Ohio; and Ethel, living at home, of whom his first wife, Mary Jane Worley, of Milroy, Pa., was the mother. He belongs to but one club, the Reading Press Club, of which he is a charter member. First, last and all the time he is a family man, devoted to his wife and daughters. His commodious home is his club, where with his family, amid his books, paintings and art treasures, it is his delight to receive and entertain his many friends.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:52:33 EDT

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