Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 947


Mrs. Anna Eliza Becker, of Womelsdorf, widow of Willoughby Becker, is a daughter of John and Amelia (Hain) Miller, born in Heidelberg township, Berks Co., Pa., on the same farm where the pioneer, John Miller, settled and where all of her ancestry in America were born and raised. She lived with her parents on this farm for some time, until they moved to Wernersville, Pa. She was married to Willoughby Becker, son of John and Carolina (Stump) Becker, and moved to Millbach, Lebanon Co., Pa., on what was known as the Holstein farm, which Mr. Becker then purchased. They resided peacefully together on this farm until Mr. Becker's death. Mrs. Becker has always been highly esteemed and respected by her friends and neighbors. In the spring of 1904 she and her two step-daughters, Mary C. and Sallie A. Becker, purchased a fine residence on High street in Womelsdorf, Berks Co., Pa., in which they moved together and are now residing.

Mrs. Becker's ancestry is as follows: John Miller emigrated from Metz, Germany, sometime between 1732 and 1734. He settled in Heidelberg township, Berks Co., Pa., on a farm now (1908) owned by Lewis Spohn. He had one son, John Michael, born in Metz, Germany, A.D. 1731.

John Michael Miller was married to Susanna Hecker, and they lived together for forty-four years and were the parents of one son and two daughters. Susanna Miller died Feb. 6, 1804, aged seventy-six years. John Michael Miller died Jan. 6, 1807, aged seventy-six years.

John Miller, son of John Michael Miller, was born in Heidelberg township, Berks Co., Pa., March 18 1757, and married Elizabeth Eckert Jan. 16, 1781. He died March 13, 1824, aged sixty-six years, eleven months, twenty six days. Elizabeth Miller, born April 26, 1764, died May 15, 1842. They had two sons, named Michael and Jonas. Michael Miller, son of John Miller, born in Heidelberg township, Berks Co., Pa., Jan. 16, 1782, died Dec. 26, 1843. He was married to Anna Maria Gaul, of Spring township, Berks Co., Pa., born in Spring township Nov. 2, 1777, died Feb. 4, 1858, aged eighty years, three months, two days. They had three children, one son and two daughters, namely: John; Eliza, married to Daniel Fidler; and Maria, married to David Klopp.

John Miller, son of Michael Miller, was born in Heidelberg township, Berks Co., Pa., Jan 22, 1815, and died in 1888. He was married to Amelia Hain, (daughter of Benjamin and Elizabeth (Hain) Hain), born Oct. 4, 1814, died Jan. 22, 1872, aged fifty-seven years, three months, eighteen days. They were the parents of six children, two sons and four daughter, namely: Levi, Anna Eliza, Adam H., Sarah, Mary H., and Ellen. Adam H. Miller, son of John Miller, was born Feb. 3, 1845, in Heidelberg township, Berks Co., Pa. and was married to Mary Anna Leiss, Oct. 8, 1868. They are the parents of three children, one son and two daughters: John Harry, Anna Helen, and Millie Elizabeth. Levi Miller died in his youth. Sarah Miller died in infancy. Mary H. Miller is residing in Womelsdorf. Ellen Miller was married to William Binkley and they lived a happy life together in Wernersville, Pa., until her death. Anna Eliza Miller was married to Willoughby Becker.

All of the Miller ancestry were members of the Reformed Church and all the dead are buried at the Hain's Church burial grounds.

Willoughby Becker, who died at Millbach, Lebanon Co., Pa., April 29, 1903, was a retired agriculturalist and for more than forty years had been one of the prominent men of his locality. The Beckers for many generations had been successful tillers of the soil.

Jacob Becker, the founder of the American branch of the family, came from Germany before 1734 and settled in Lebanon county, Pa., where in 1734 he was granted land by John, Thomas and Richard Penn. The deed, written on parchment, is still in the family. Jacob Becker's sons were John, George, and others.

John Becker became the father of seven children, Michael, John Adam, Catherine, Elizabeth, Barbara, Anna, Amelia and Margaret.

John Adam Becker, son of John, was born in Mill Creek township, and there grew to manhood, engaging in agriculture, the pursuit for which his early training had best prepared him. Success attended his efforts and he made a good home for his family. His four children were John, Michael, Sarah (who married Captain Tice, a soldier of the Civil War) and Elizabeth (who married George Moyer).

John Becker, son of John Adam, was born in Mill Creek township in 1813 and early showed his inherent industry and self-reliance. He, too, became a farmer in Mill Creek township, Lebanon Co., Pa., making many improvements on his place, and there in 1884 he died. He was a Democrat in politics and was independent in religious views. He became quite wealthy and was a large stockholder in the Lebanon National Bank, in which for a quarter of a century he had been a director.

About 1833 he married Carolina Stump, daughter of Leonard Stump, and a member of a pioneer family. To this union were born children as follows: Willoughby; John Adam, of South Lebanon township; Mary, deceased wife of Henry J. Bennetch, a farmer in Mill Creek township; Elizabeth, wife of J. M. Zimmerman, of Mill Creek township; Emma, who married Aaron Bollinger, both deceased; Amanda, who married the late George U. Seibert, of Richland; Thomas L., of Millbach; Ida, deceased; and Agnes, deceased, who was married to Levi Bollinger, of Richland.

Willoughby Becker was born on the old Mill Creek township homestead, March 10, 1836. After reaching manhood he followed farming a while on the home farm. In 1863 he came to Berks county, and for twenty-four years engaged in farming here. In 1887 he returned to Mill Creek township, Lebanon county, and purchased the Holstein farm of 195 acres. He directed the work of this valuable farm with great ability and then purchased the old Zeller farm of 152 acres at Newmanstown. On the latter farm was an old stone house erected as a fort in 1745. Mr. Becker added other valuable real estate to his possessions. He was a man of marked integrity. He was a good manager and was uniformly successful in his undertakings. He was an ideal husband and father. He was a member of St. Daniel's (Corner) Lutheran Church at Robesonia where he is buried.

In 1860 Mr. Becker married Sarah Kahl, daughter of David and Maria (Moyer) Kahl and granddaughter of Leonard Kahl, father and grandfather in turn being owners of the Livingood farm in Heidelberg township.

The ancestor of the Kahl family was Jacob Kahl, who died in 1767 and was buried at the St. Daniel's (Corner) Church, Robesonia, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Sarah (Kahl) Becker died in 1878, the mother of six children: Monroe K., John D., Henry S., George K., Mary C., and Sallie A. John, Henry and George are all deceased. Sarah (Kahl) Becker had the following sisters: Maria, deceased, who was married to Uriah Stewert, Millbach, Pa.,; Eliza, married to Jacob Bechtel, Reading, Pa.,; and Ellen, deceased. Mr. Becker married second, Anna Eliza Miller, daughter of John and Amelia (Hain) Miller.


p. 679


Joseph S. Becker, of Reading, is a scion of a family whose long residence in the State of Pennsylvania is indicated by the fact that the name has been perpetuated in the town of Beckersville, in Berks county.

Jacob Becker, grandfather of Joseph S., established the post office in the community and the place was named for him. He was for many years engaged in hotel keeping, and both the old hotel and the "Sorrel Horse Hotel" were built and managed by him. Each place had farming land attached to it, and Mr. Becker operated the farms as well as the hotels. He died at the age of eighty, leaving a large family, viz.: Eli; Mrs. Samuel Frey; Mrs. Daniel Brown; Mrs. Lizzie Gabel; Mrs. G. N. Frey, deceased; Jacob, deceased; Frank, of Doe Run, Chester county; Samuel, deceased; and Mrs. John Lutro.

Eli Becker, father of Joseph S., was born in Berks county, and received a common school education. He learned the trade of a butcher and followed that for a few years in Chester county. From there he removed to Maiden-creek township, Berks county, and went into the business so long followed by his father, hotel keeping, continuing there eight years. Both there and in Chester county he also acted as auctioneer, and was well known in that capacity for a long time. After leaving the hotel Mr. Becker came to Reading and established himself here in the nursery business, which engrossed his attention up to the time of his death. He is buried in the Charles Evans cemetery. Mr. Becker married B. A. Landis, born March 21, 1824, daughter of E. W. Landis, and a family of eight children was born to them: Catherine m. Henry M. De Turck, of Temple, Berks county; Jacob H. is a blacksmith; William H. is in the West; Joseph S.; Samuel H. is a resident and ex-mayor of Cheyenne, Wyo.; E. H. is editor of the Billings Gazette in Billings, Mont.; Franklin is a painter in Reading; and Clara died aged twenty-eight years. The mother died at the age of sixty-five years.

Joseph S. Becker was born in Chester county, Pa., June 11, 1852. He was sent to the public schools there and in Berks county, and until he was nineteen was employed at farming. He then learned the trade of a carriage blacksmith, and for eight years followed it in and near Kutztown. He removed next to Reading and there took up horseshoeing instead of his carriage work, learning it under ex-mayor Rowe with whom he remained eleven years. At the end of that time, in 1878, he established a shop of his own at No. 418 Court street, and remained there till May 19, 1904, when he changed to his present location, Nos. 116-118 Madison avenue. There he has built a shop that will compare favorably with any in the State. It is 30x70 feet and has a three-horse power motor to run his drill, etc. There is also a gas pipe running along the side of the shop which with the aid of a reflector enables him to do shoeing by night as well as by day. He uses only special hand made shoes and has a reputation for good work that has brought him the largest trade in the city. He is also district agent for the well known Harrold's Hoof Ointment, and has introduced that very widely.

Mr. Becker married Miss Caroline Wagner, daughter of Henry B. Wagner, of Schuylkill county. She and her husband both belong to the First Reformed Church. Mr. Becker is a very prominent Mason, belonging to Chandler lodge, No. 227, F. & A. M.; Excelsior Chapter No. 237, R. A. M.; Reading Commandery, No. 42, K. T.; and Rajah Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S. He is also a member of Vigilance Lodge, I. O. O. F.


p. 1012


Simson Becker, one of the most prominent business men of Muhlenberg township, Berks county, whose name has been closely associated for a number of years with large and important business enterprises, is president of the Temple Lime & Fertilizer Company and of the Muhlenberg Brewing Company. Mr. Becker was born in 1835, in Alsace township, Berks county, son of Daniel and Magdaline (Schmehl) Becker.

The paternal grandfather of Simson Becker was a son of the German progenitor of his family. He was a farmer in Alsace township, where he became very prosperous. He married a Miss Messersmith, and to them there were born the following children: Daniel, Jacob, David, John, Caroline (m. John Cook), and Fietta (m. John Hillegas). The family were Lutherans in their religious belief.

Daniel Becker, the father of Simson, was a farmer all of his active period in Alsace township, where he died in 1862, at the age of sixty-two years. He and his wife were the parents of the following children: Amos, Henry, Simson, Daniel, John, David, Elizabeth (m. Isaac Glass), Hannah (m. Frederick Picker), Magdalena (m. Franklin Wertz), Amelia (died single) and Catherine (m. Peter Weidner). In religious belief the family were Lutherans. Mr. Becker was a Democrat in politics.

Simson Becker was educated in the schools of Alsace and Ontelaunee townships, and until nineteen years of age worked on a farm. He then learned the carpenter's trade, which he followed for a quarter of a century. In 1891-92-93 he served as recorder of Berks county, and in 1895, with Nicholas Rothermel, Samuel Schmehl, William M. Becker and Henry J. Seidel, built the Muhlenberg Brewery, of which he served as a manager and collector in 1896, manager in 1897, and collector in 1899-1900-01-02, since which time he has been president of the company. From 1899 until 1904 he worked at his trade, and in 1905, with Irvin and Daniel Bechtel, established the Temple Lime & Fertilizer Company, at Moselem, of which he is president.

Mr. Becker married Amelia Marks and to this union there were born fourteen children, of whom ten survive: Emma m. (first) David Bennetham and (second) Jeremiah Rothermel; Sallie m. Charles Curran, deceased; Annie m. William Shadler; Lillie m. Edward Parker; Minnie m. William Brunner; Morris m. Alice Hawkins; William M. is single; Edwin m. Katie Rickenbach; Wellington m. Maggie Snyder; Harry married a Keller; and four others died young. The family are Lutherans. Mr. Becker is a Democrat in politics, and fraternally is connected with Washington Camp No. 107, P.O.S. of A.


p. 1070


Walter Yoder Becker, deputy-warden of the Berks county jail since 1895, was born in Centre township, Berks county, in September, 1850. He was educated in the township school and at Brunner's Business College, after which he taught public school for twenty-three terms until 1895 (nineteen in Centre township, three in Ontelaunee, and one in Exeter), when he received the appointment of deputy-warden at the county prison, and he has continued to fill this position in a very satisfactory manner by re-appointment by the board of inspectors. He has been prominently identified with the P. O. S. of A. and the K. G. E. for many years. He is a Democrat in politics and has filled the local offices of assessor and auditor of Centre township. He continues to reside in Centre township though employed in Reading. He owns the mill property which was owned by his father, and also a farm in the township which he is cultivating.

Mr. Becker married Emeline Dunkelberger, daughter of Samuel and Mary (Hafer) Dunkelberger, of Bern township, and they have three children: Howard (m. Katie Gromis); Adam (m. Mamie Kamp; and Charles (m. Katie Williams).

Mr. Becker's father, John Becker, was born in Albany township, in 1820. He learned the trade of carpenter which he carried on for some years, then purchased a grist-mill in Centre township near Centreport, which he operated until his decease in 1900. He married Mary Yoder (daughter of John Yoder, of Centre township), by whom he had nine children: Walter, Elmira, John (who lives on the homestead, m. Katie Christ), Amanda (m. Howard Phillips), and five who died young.

His grandfather was also named John. He was born in Maiden-creek township and learned the trade of shoemaker which he followed for some years, then directed his attention to the hotel business at Wessnersville for six years and at Tripoli, in Lehigh county, for one year. In 1834 he bought a plantation in Centre township, near Centreport, and this he then cultivated until his decease in 1873, aged seventy-nine years. He also bought the Yoder grist-mill which is now the property of his grandson Walter. He married Rebecca Zimmerman, daughter of John Zimmerman, of Centre township, and they had fourteen children, eleven sons and three daughters, twelve reaching maturity. The eldest son, William Z., is still living aged over eighty-one years.

And his great-grandfather was also named John, born in Richmond township, and brought up to farming, which he carried on for some years and then located in Northumberland county, where he was engaged in the same vocation.


p. 1053


William Zimmerman Becker, a highly esteemed retired citizen of Reading, Pa., whose pleasant home is situated at No. 1657 North Tenth street, was for many years engaged in various business enterprises in the city. He was born March 8, 1828, in Centre (then Upper Bern) township, son of John and Rebecca (Zimmerman) Becker.

John Becker, grandfather of William Z., was born in Maiden-creek township. He followed agricultural pursuits throughout his active life in Muncy Valley, in Union county, Pa. The name of his second wife was Gottshall.

John Becker, son of John and father if William Z., was a hotel keeper and shoemaker in early life, but in later years engaged in farming, at which the rest of his life was spent, his death occurring in his seventy-ninth year. He and his wife, Rebecca Zimmerman, had twelve children, of whom five survive: William Z., Augustus, Henry, Joseph and Nathan.

William Z. Becker was educated in the common schools of his native locality, and also spent one year at Fremont Academy, after leaving which he taught school for one winter. At the age of sixteen years he apprenticed himself to the tailor's trade, which he followed for nine years, and then engaged in farming in Maiden-creek township. After eight years spent in agricultural pursuits, Mr. Becker sold out and removed to Reading, where in 1864 he started carpentering in the Philadelphia & Reading shops, where he remained two years leaving when he was elected tax collector and assessor of the Second Ward. After serving five years in this official position, Mr. Becker engaged in the manufacture of cigars, in which he continued for seven years, and then returned to the employ of the Philadelphia & Reading Company. After eleven more years in the company's employ Mr. Becker engaged in building, in which he continued until his retirement. Mr. Becker owns three valuable properties in the vicinity of his home, in which community he is well known and highly respected.

Mr. Becker married Rebecca Nunnemacher in 1855, and to this union there were born three children, one of whom survives: John N. Becker, M.D. In politics Mr. Becker is a Democrat, and in 1878-79 he was a member of the city council. He and Mrs. Becker attend the Lutheran church.


p. 853


William L. Beecher, who is the incumbent of an important position in the United States Custom House at Philadelphia, Pa., is a descendant of the well-known Beecher family in America, and traces his ancestors to the Beechers in England. They were noted as "blacksmith-preachers", and Nathaniel Beecher, the first of the family in America, had his anvil set on the stump of a wide-spreading elm under which the famous John Davenport preached his first sermon before the New Haven Colony in Connecticut; and in a direct line the trade was followed by each succeeding generation in this family until 1903, when William L. Beecher's father retired in Berks county.

William Beecher, the grandfather of William L., who was a son of George Beecher who settled in Berks county about 1800, was a blacksmith by trade, and married Sarah Reifsnyder, by whom he had four children, the only survivor of whom is Levi R. Beecher, the father of William L.

Levi R. Beecher, who was for many years a blacksmith of Heidelberg township, where he is now living retired, married Ellen Louise Lake, a native of London, England, where her father carried on the business of a contractor for a time and whence he emigrated to America when she was a young girl. Mr. and Mrs. Beecher became the parents of four children: William L.; John A. m. Elsie Dundor; Katie E. m. Isaac Luckenbill; Howard died young.

William L. Beecher was born Oct. 1, 1870, in Lower Heidelberg township, Berks Co., Pa., about three miles north of Wernersville. He received his early education in the township schools, and then attended the Keystone State Normal School at Kutztown, Pott's Shorthand College at Williamsport, and the Reading Business College. When fifteen years old, he entered the Reading Hardware Works to learn the trade of molder, and while following this trade was licensed to teach public school. This was in 1889, and he taught for twelve terms, in West Reading, and Perry and Cumru townships, nine terms being in the last named, and during the summer months he worked at his trade.

In the summer of 1900, Mr. Beecher passed a very creditable examination for a position in the Philadelphia Custom House, and May 1, 1901, received an appointment as messenger. After serving in this position several months he was promoted to a clerkship and detailed for duty in the Custodian's office, where he has continued to the present time. His spare time is devoted to photography, entomology and painting. During the past five years, he has visited many battle-fields of the Army of the Potomac in the Civil war, photographing prominent places for the purpose of illustrating a book entitled "From Bull Run to Appomattox," of which he is to be the compiler. He has a fine collection of butterflies at his home, which he secured in his travels and mounted. Mr. Beecher took an active part in the Pennsylvania National Guard for a number of years, having been a sergeant of the Reading Artillerists, and serving as company clerk. He participated in the suppression of the labor troubles in the coal regions in 1900, having been summoned from his school in Cumru township, and was engaged in this service for forty days.

In 1891 Mr. Beecher married Clara S. Moyer, daughter of the late Elias Moyer of Robesonia. One child has been born to this union: Lew Wallace, who is now attending the high school in Philadelphia, preparatory to taking up the study of medicine. He is quite an athlete, has participated in a number of cross-country runs, and at one time, in company with his father, walked from Philadelphia to Reading in less than twelve hours. The father and son have a great fondness for music, both playing the cornet very efficiently, and the son assisting in the orchestras attached to the high school, and Palatinate Reformed Church.


p. 1036


George Beggs, superintendent of the machine shop of the Scott foundry in Reading, Pa., is a Scotchman, and spent the earlier years of his life in his native land. He was born in Ayrshire, June 15, 1849, son of William and Margaret (Breckenridge) Beggs, farming people, who lived and died in Scotland.

As a boy George Beggs was engaged in farm work until he was fourteen years old, but at that age he entered upon a five years' apprenticeship as a machinist. When this preparatory period was over, he was employed for some years as a journeyman, and had become the head of a large machine shop at the time he finally left Scotland for America. Going directly to Reading he arrived there July 22, 1873, and he has ever since been in the employ of the Scott foundry. Beginning as an erective engineer, he spent twenty years traveling through the South and Southwest, engaged for the most part in putting up cotton mills. About 1893 her gave up traveling and returned to the shops until 1903, when he was made general foreman of the machine department, a position he still holds, with about sixty men under him. Mr. Beggs has established a reputation as a skilled mechanic of the highest order, and all his work is of a character that speaks fir itself.

In 1870 Mr. Beggs married, in Scotland, Miss Martha Linton, daughter of William Linton, and a native of Glasgow. Mrs. Beggs is a member of the Methodist Church, while her husband belongs to the Presbyterian denomination. Fraternally he is a member of the Red Men. To the union of George and Martha Beggs, six sons have been born, three of whom died at early ages; the survivors are all young men of marked ability. The oldest, William, who was born in Glasgow, is foreman of a machine shop in Auburn, Schuylkill county. George, after graduation from the Reading high school, went to Lehigh University, and there was prominent in athletics, playing on the first team in base-ball. From 1900 to 1903 he was assistant city engineer at Reading, and between 1903 to present head of Department of Mathematics in the Boys' High School, of Reading. Harry, the youngest son, was graduated from the high school, attended Lehigh University for a year and then went to Ursinus College, Collegeville. He was also prominent as an athlete both at Lehigh and Ursinus, playing base-ball, basket-ball and foot-ball.


p 943


Reuben F. Behm, proprietor of the St. Lawrence, Berks Co., Pa., meat market, and dealer in fresh and smoked meats, who in 1902 became the successor of Darius Weidner, is a business man of ability and enterprise. Mr. Behm was born in Oley township, Berks county, Oct. 3, 1853, son of Jacob and Lydia (Fulmer) Behm.

George Behm, grandfather of Reuben F., was a native of Rockland township, where he spent his entire life in agricultural pursuits. He was a large powerfully built man of fine appearance, and lived to the advanced age of seventy-eight years, dying in the faith of the Lutheran Church. He married Mary Walb, also of Rockland township, and they were the parents of these children: Reuben; William; Benjamin; Polly and Susan, who died single; Sarah, who married Samuel Endy, and Jacob.

Jacob Behm, father of Reuben F., who has reached the age of eighty-one years, is still strong and hearty, and continues to work at butchering and post fence making in Friedensburg, Oley township. His wife died Dec. 20, 1906, when seventy-six years of age. In politics he is a Democrat, and has held the offices of supervisor and constable. He and his wife were members of the Lutheran Church. They had sixteen children, of whom eight grew to maturity: Reuben F.; George, a butcher of Reading; Jacob, a cook at Norristown, Pa.;. Sarah, who married Elmer Angsted, of Friedensburg,Pa.; Rebecca, who married Arthur Barckle of Reading, Pa.; Emma, who married (first) Isaac Boyer, deceased; Kate, who married John Moyer, of Rockland township; and Miss Mary, who resides at home.

Reuben F. Behm was reared in Oley township, where he attended the public schools. When twenty-one years of age he started to learn the trade of butcher, having previously learned the house painter's trade, and these two occupations he followed as a journeyman until 1902. In this year, seeing an opportunity for establishing a good business, Mr. Behm purchased the meat market of Darius Weidner, at St. Lawrence, who was then doing but an indifferent business. He rebuilt and remodeled the entire plant, installing modern and up-to-date machinery, making this establishment one of the leading shops of Berks county. He slaughters all of his own cattle, hogs and sheep, which are selected stock fattened in Berks and Lancaster counties, and he prepares and smokes all of his own meats, consequently controlling one of the best trades in this section. Enterprising and energetic, Mr. Behm has always been thrifty, and as a consequence is rapidly amassing a competence. He may be found at No. 36 Kissinger Market, Reading. Since coming to St. Lawrence he has erected a fine residence property.

In politics Mr. Behm is a Republican. He is a member of the K. P., and the K. G., in both of which he is a member of the Grand Lodge, and Mystic Star Commandery, Knights of Malta.

In September, 1872, Mr. Behm was married to Miss Susan Sheetz, daughter of John Sheetz, and she died June 10, 1889, the mother of seven children: Edwin, a partner of his father in the meat business, who married Laura Ibach, and has two children, Arthur and Stewart; Charles, a machinist, who entered the army for service in the Spanish-American war, serving one year in the South and two years in the Philippines, as a member of Company M, 12th U.S. Regular Infantry, and was mustered out as corporal; William, a bar tender of Reading; John, a butcher; Walter, a weaver in the woolen mills; Vesta, who married Morris Beck, an employee of the Philadelphia & Reading Railway; and Beulah, who married John Schwambach, of Reading. Mr. Behm married (second) April 12, 1890, Rosie Long, daughter of Daniel and Rachel Long, of Exeter township. Mr. and Mrs. Behm are members of Schwartzwald Lutheran Church.


p. 712


Gustavus Augustus Behn?a distinguished artist, whose widow has made her home in her native city of Reading since his death, was himself well known there, both because of his own attainments and as a son of the beloved Dr. John Henry Behn?

Dr. John Henry Behn?as born in Nordhausen, Prussia, in the year 1800, and attended different German universities, graduating in medicine at Wurzburg, Bavaria. Coming to America in 1840, he located in Reading the same year, and continued to practise his profession there from that time until his death, Aug. 1, 1876. Dr. Behn?egan his medical career as an allopath in Nordhausen, Prussia. In studying the works of Hahnemann, the pioneer of homeopathy, he changed to the new school. He met with opposition and this opposition was the cause of his coming to America. He settled in Reading and was one of the first practitioners of that school in the city. Dr. Behn?as not only a skilled physician, but a cultured gentleman, and his fine personal appearance and courteous manners clothed gracefully a character fine and strong, which won him numerous friends aside from the professional popularity he attained. He was particularly well liked among those of his own nationality, but the circle of his friendship and patronage was not by any means confined to the German residents of Reading, and he enjoyed an extensive practice, numbering among his regular patients many of the most influential and well-to-do families of the city. People often came to him from different parts of the State for medical treatment. The Doctor became an enthusiastic American citizen, taking a deep and intelligent interest in the progress of his adopted country. He was an Odd Fellow, for many years an active member and secretary of Germania Lodge, No. 53. He was twice married, the first time in Germany, to the daughter of a Prussian officer, a lady of much ability. She died in Reading soon after they settled here, the mother of one child, Gustavus Augustus. Rather late in life the Doctor married for his second wife a Miss Zabel, of New York, and by that marriage there are two sons, Albert and Paul Behn?who reside in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Picture of Gustavus BehneGustavus Augustus Behn?as born in 1828 in Nordhausen, Prussia. Like his father he was a man of fine personal appearance, and he was remarkably gifted in many ways, his natural endowments being supplemented by training in the best universities in Europe. His mind was highly cultivated, and he was a fine linguist and talented musician. But his artistic nature showed itself most strongly in his painting, and he was thoroughly prepared for his artistic career in the Dusseldorf school, and later in the Munich galleries. He took a special course in portrait painting under Sully at Philadelphia.

In 1856 Mr. Behn?arried Julia Mayer Keim, who was born in Reading, daughter of Gen. George May and Julia C. (Mayer) Keim. She was thoroughly educated in the Reading Academy, which was located on the present site of the Girls' high school, and was also taught by a private tutor at Philadelphia, while her father was officiating there as United States marshal for the Eastern district of Pennsylvania. In 1857 Mr. and Mrs. Behn?ent to Texas, Mr. Behn?aving received a commission to paint the portrait of General Sam Houston, for which the State paid him $1, 200 in gold. They spent some time there, Mr. Behn?ainting afterward the portraits of Governor Burnett and other distinguished men. On account of the Rebellion they went to Havana, remaining there until 1867, when they went to Munich. While there Mr. Behn?roduced a number of superior paintings, for which he received high praise from German critics, and Mrs. Behn?ook up the study of foreign languages and music, becoming proficient in Continental literature, and learning to speak fluently the German, French, Spanish and Italian tongues. She gave special attention to music, both vocal and instrumental, in which line her accomplishments are particularly noteworthy, a source of the deepest pleasure to herself and her friends through many years.

Mr. and Mrs. Behn?emained abroad until 1874, when they returned to Reading because of Mr. Behn? illness, staying there until his death in 1876. In that same year, while at Bar Harbor, Maine, where they went to procure marine views (for which he had orders), Mr. Behn?ell from the rocks and injured his back so severely that he never recovered from the effects of the accident. He was obliged to abandon all idea of carrying on his work there, and he and his wife returned to Germany, and made their home in the village of Furstenfeld Bruck, near Munich, where Mr. Behn?as finally released from suffering in 1895. He was the last of his family for a long time, until his father's second marriage.

Mrs. Behn?ook up her residence at Reading after her husband's death, and has been residing there ever since. From her girlhood she has been a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church. Having always appreciated history and literature, she quite naturally became interested in the welfare of the Reading Free Library and the Berks County Historical Society, and besides giving them financial assistance, presented to each of these worthy institutions a number of her husband's valuable paintings, which are highly prized for their artistic merit. Many of his productions have an honored place in Reading homes.


p. 369


Alpheus S. Behney, a director of the Penn National Bank, of Reading, and one of the most substantial citizens of Womelsdorf, Berks county, was born Nov. 17, 1843 at Fredericksburg, Lebanon Co., Pa., son of Samuel and Sarah Jane (Bashore) Behney.

This family is one of the oldest in Pennsylvania, and the name has been variously spelled Beni, Baney, Behne and Behney. The founder of the family in the Lebanon Valley was Peter Beany, of Heidelberg township, who died in January, 1784, leaving a wife, Catherine, and children: George Peter, Jr., Jacob, Melchior, Eva, Elizabeth, Christina, Barbara, Magdalena, John and Anna Elizabeth. It is also shown in the Pennsylvania Archives that in 1723 a family of Beni emigrated to this country and located in Lebanon county. Prior to 1750 the ancestor of this numerous family located near Fredericksburg, Lebanon county, where he took up about 1,000 acres of land, and there spent the rest of his life, dying at an advanced age. Up to the time of his death, Peter Beany (or Behney) wore no garb other than in Continental style. Several of his sons, including Melchior, served in the Revolutionary war.

Melchior Behney, son of the ancestor, and great-grandfather of Alpheus S., was born in Lebanon county, and spent his life there, being buried at Fredericksburg. He was a farmer by occupation, and one of the early horse dealers of this part of Pennsylvania, the first of the family to follow that line, in which so many of the name have become famous, in fact, one Jacob Behne, of Myerstown, was the largest horse dealer of the United States in his day. He always had on hand from 200 to 500 head, sold horses to Barnum & Bailey, the showmen, to the Brewers, and to horse dealers all over the country.

Melchior Behney was twice married, his first wife bearing him two children, sons, and his second wife, a Miss Fisher, bearing him one son and two daughters. Mr. Behney's second wife was the sister of the wives of his sons by his first marriage. He was a leading citizen of his day, and did much toward promoting movements for the public good.

Martin Behney, grandfather of Alpheus S., was a farmer, and spent his life in the vicinity of his birthplace, was a public-spirited and influential citizen, and died at an advanced age. He married a Miss Fisher, a sister of his step-mother, and she bore him seven children: John; Jacob; David lost his life in the Civil war; Samuel (father of Alpheus S.); Kate m. a Snavely; Sallie m. William Bohr; and Rebekah died unmarried.

Samuel Behney, father of Alpheus S., was born on the old homestead in 1806, and died at Myerstown, in 1885, at the age of seventy-nine years. He learned distilling in his youth with his father-in-law, an occupation which he followed for several years, and then engaged in the manufacture of brick, at Fredericksburg and later in Myerstown, continuing in this line of business for some fifty years, and furnishing the material for hundreds of houses and buildings in the vicinity of these places. He was a captain of the militia at Jonestown in the days of the old battalions, and upon his removal to Myerstown was succeeded by a Mr. Long. He was one of the public-spirited and progressive men of his day and locality, and was a pillar of the Reformed Church. Samuel Behney was married to Sarah Jane Bashore, daughter of John and Catherine (Fauber) Bashore, and to this union there were born nine children: (1) Edward, who died in Denver, Colo., in the fall of 1905, aged seventy-two years, was a veteran of the Civil war, serving three years, during part of which time he was a prisoner at Andersonville. He was a brickmaker and builder by trade. (2) William, of Pittsburg, was also in the three-years' service during the Civil war, and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. (3) Milton, deceased, one of the first cigar makers, and later a brick manufacturer at Womelsdorf. (4) Melchior, an extensive contractor and builder and one of the most prominent citizens of Kansas City, was in the three-years' service, and was wounded in battle. (5) Alpheus S. (6) Sarah J. married Harry Wise, formerly of Harrisburg, but now of Philadelphia. (7) Samuel is engaged in real estate dealings in Womelsdorf, where he is treasurer of the Y. M. C. A., and is a man of importance. (8) Levi is deceased. (9) One died in infancy.

Alpheus S. Behney was educated in the Myerstown public schools, obtaining a fair education, which was supplemented by years of practical business experience. He began working as a youth in the brick factory of his father, where he continued until sixteen years old, and when but seventeen enlisted in Company I, 7th P. V. I., being sworn in the U. S. army July 21, 1861, and was in service in that regiment for upward of a year. He then enlisted for a year on the transports, assisting the sick and wounded until the transports went out of commission, when he enlisted a third time, becoming a private in Company H, 186th P. V. I., in which he served until the close of the war. He was in the Great Army of the Potomac, participating in some of its fiercest engagements, and was mustered out of service at Philadelphia, in 1865. After his discharge Mr. Behney came to Womelsdorf, where he was engaged in the brick business until 1895, supplying all the brick for houses built in Womelsdorf during that thirty years. His brick was considered the best in the market, and he shipped to Robesonia, and into Lebanon and the surrounding counties. Since 1895 Mr. Behney has lived a semi-retired life. In 1907 he erected two large double brick dwelling houses on Second street, Womelsdorf, although his own home is located on High street, and was erected in 1867. In politics Mr. Behney is a Democrat, and was a councilman for nine consecutive years, rendering valuable service to his fellow citizens and receiving a renomination which he refused. He has various large business interests, owning eight other residences and a large building in which a hosiery factory is conducted; is a director of the Penn National Bank of Reading, being also on the auditing committee; and he helped to organize the Union Bank of Womelsdorf in 1903, being one of its first directors. Fraternally he is connected with Williamson Lodge, No. 307, F. & A. M., of Womelsdorf; Excelsior Chapter No. 237, R. A. M., of Reading; Reading Commandery, No. 42, K. T., and Rajah Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S., being formerly a child of the Lu Lu, of Philadelphia, the mother of Rajah. He made a tour with the Knights Templars to California in 1883. Mr. Behney is also a member of the P. O. S. of A., No. 670, Womelsdorf, having been treasurer of this camp ever since holding membership, more than twenty years. He is a Lutheran member of Zion's Union Church of Womelsdorf, Pa., while his wife adheres to the Reformed belief.

Mr. Behney was married (first) in 1865 to Lizzie Wenrich, born in 1841, who died in 1879, aged thirty-eight years, daughter of Isaac Wenrich. His second marriage was to Permelia Dondor, widow of Horace Hillegass.

The seven Behney brothers closely resembled each other in size, weight and height, could wear the same size of coat and shoes, and have often been mistaken for one another. They are all reliable business men, and worthy representatives of one of Berks' county's oldest and most honored families.




John A. Behney, foreman of the gas furnaces and gas processes of the Carpenter Steel Company at Reading, was born Oct. 15, 1858, at Monroe, Lebanon Co., Pa., a son of John and grandson of Michael.

(I) Michael Behney was a cooper by trade and owned a fine farm which he cultivated. On it were two houses. His death occurred about 1868, and was occasioned by his falling from the barn, when he was nearly eighty years old. He is buried at Fredericksburg, in Lebanon county. His wife was Sarah Bashore, who died after the Civil war, an old lady. Their children were: John; Lydia who married John Hoch; Sallie who married Augustus Belleman; Ephraim of Lebanon; Emanuel of Elwood; Lewis of Johnstown; Jeremiah who was a soldier in the Civil war, and met his death through starvation in Libby prison three days before the wretched prisoners were released.

(II) John Behney, son of Michael and father of John A., died Aug. 13, 1894, aged sixty-five years, his birth having occurred in Lebanon county about 1829. He was an iron worker and was employed in a forge owned by the Weidman family for about forty years. He resided in the neighborhood of Orion, now Lickdale, in Lebanon county. Religiously he was a Lutheran and is buried at Pottstown, where he spent the last dozen years of his life, and where he died. His wife was Kate Anspach, born June 7, 1835, daughter of the late Henry and Sallie (Leininger) Anspach of Monroe, and granddaughter of Leonard Anspach. Mrs. John Behney has a family picture of herself surrounded by her nine grown sons, which is prized very highly by them all. She now resides at No. 332 Hollenbach street, Reading, and is much beloved.

The children born to Mr. and Mrs. John Behney were: Henry, an iron worker of Reading; Mary, who married Samuel Simon Hoch of Jonestown; Sallie married Dr. Harry Miley of Mount Nebo; John A.; George of Pottstown; Richard of Reading, an iron heater; Charles of Reading who lives with his mother; William of No. 335 Hollenbach street, Reading; Harper L. of Norristown; Joseph at Norristown; and James A. G. at Pottstown.

(III) John A. Behney was reared at Lickdale and Monroe and learned iron working. When he was sixteen he commenced working in the iron works, and has never changed his occupation. In 1895 he came to Reading from Harrisburg and after working at the Carpenter Steel Plant for five years he was made superintendent of the department. At Harrisburg he was in the employ of Charles L. Bailey as a heater in his iron industry. In April, 1903, Mr. Behney purchased his present cozy and pleasant home at No. 636 Schuylkill avenue, where he resides. In politics he is a Republican; fraternally he is a member of the Modern Woodmen and P.O.S. of A. Camp No. 212 of Reading. He and his family are members of St. Mark's Reformed church of Reading.

In 1879 Mr. Behney married Mary Ellen Gonder, of Dauphin county, a daughter of John and Mary Gonder, also of Dauphin county. Mr. and Mrs. Behney had one daughter, Minnie, who died at the age of sixteen years.


p. 856


Picture of Isaac BeidlerIsaac Y. Beidler, one of the venerable citizens of Sinking Spring, Berks county, and a veteran of the Civil war, was born Jan. 21, 1826, in Cumru township, son of John and Magdalena (Yost) Beidler.

Conrad Beidler, his great-grandfather, was an extensive landowner and farmer of Cumru township, where he died in 1800, at a ripe old age. Two children are mentioned in his will: John and Peter, the latter the grandfather of Isaac Y.

Peter Beidler was born in Cumru township Oct. 3, 1768, and died June 12, 1805; he was buried at Hain's Church. On March 6, 1792, he married Barbara Spohn, and to them were born five sons and one daughter: (1) Wilhelm, born Dec. 12, 1792, died Nov. 20, 1795. (2) John was a farmer in Cumru township. (3) Henry, born May 13, 1798, died Feb. 22, 1869. He lived near Sinking Spring, where he is buried. On June 2, 1817, he married Maria Biehl (born May 16, 1799, died Oct. 13, 1859) and they had seven sons and three daughters, John Christian (1822-1871) being one of them. (4) Conrad was the owner of land at Poplar Neck, in Cumru township. (5) Rebecca was the wife of Jacob Biehl, of Kutztown, Pa. (6) Christian.

John Beidler, father of Isaac Y., was born in Cumru township May 18, 1794, and died Aug. 18, 1870. He was a farmer for about forty years in his native township, but in later life removed to Reading, where he died. He was a man of considerable means and was well known and very influential in his day. He married Magdalena Yost, who died in 1888, in her ninety-sixth year, daughter of Abraham and Mary (Hershey) Yost, of Cumru township. Mr. and Mrs. Beidler had these children: Jeremiah; Conrad Y., born June 17, 1820, died June 14, 1883, who married in 1844 Catherine Spohn, and they had one daughter, Sarah Ann, who married William P. High; Isaac Y., Mary Ann, who married Samuel Brobst of Hamburg, Pa., and Abraham, who in early life was a farmer and like his father removed to Reading where he died.

Isaac Y. Beidler attended school in the old academy at Seventh and Chestnut streets, Reading, and among those who studied with him under Professor Middlemiss may be mentioned Henry Felix, Peter Schearer, the late Judge George Bruckman and John Fredericks. He was reared to agricultural pursuits, working on his father's farm until eighteen years of age, at which time he engaged in driving a cart in Reading, whither his parents had moved. In 1848, with George Breiner, Mr. Beidler formed a partnership under the firm name of Breiner & Beidler, engaging in the shoe business at the present site of Whitner's large department store for a period of five years. At the end of that time Mr. Beidler resumed farming, taking up a tract of ninety acres at the Cacoosing Mill, which he cultivated for five years. He then removed to Sinking Spring, where he conducted a shoe store until 1862, when he was drafted into the Union army.

Mr. Beidler was a sergeant in the 167th Pa. V.I., Colonel Knoderer, and served nine months and two weeks, during which time he participated in the siege of Richmond, and the various engagements of the Army of the Potomac, being mustered out of the service Aug. 12, 1863. He has an excellent army record, and was always known as a faithful and willing soldier.

Since his return from the war Mr. Beidler has led a partly retired life, occasionally doing contract work. He has a little over two acres of ground, which he cultivates and which serves to keep him busy and give him exercise. During a long life of thrift and usefulness he has accumulated a handsome competence, and is considered one of the substantial men of Spring township. He owns considerable real estate, including two houses in Reading and nine residences in addition to the old homestead in Sinking Spring, the latter being his home; he purchased the house in which he lives from David Mc Knight and Nicholas Jones, men well known in the early history of Berks county. He and his estimable wife have seen many changes during their long residence in Berks county, the latter often remarking on the great changes time will bring, especially when she remembers making linen from flax which was brought in from the field, and which she broke and dried herself. Mr. Beidler is a man of fine presence and careful of his personal appearance, and is very well preserved for his age. He has traveled to quite an extent, one of his many trips being to Florida. He and Mrs. Beidler are well known in their community, where they are respected and esteemed by all. They are Reformed members of St. John's Church, of Sinking Spring, which Mr. Beidler joined in 1845, and of which he had been a deacon. In politics he is a stanch Democrat, was assessor of Spring township in 1866, and from 1875 to 1878 was a poor director of the county, his associates in office being Jonathan Herbein and George Heckman. He holds membership in Lodge No. 660, I.O.O.F., at Sinking Spring, having been formerly a member of Salome Lodge, No. 105, I.O.O.F., at Reading, which he joined in 1850.

On Aug. 31, 1847, Mr. Beidler was married to Katie Ann Houder, born Sept. 11, 1830, daughter of Daniel and Catherine (Ruth) Houder, of Heidelberg township, and granddaughter of Solomon and Catherine (Potteiger) Houder.


p. 1011


Levi Beiler, who has prospered in agricultural pursuits in the Conestoga Valley, having his home in Caernarvon township, Berks county, was born Jan. 15, 1868, at Intercourse, Lancaster county, son of David S. and Rebecca (Esh) Beiler.

Jacob Beiler, the emigrant ancestor of this family, and the only Beiler known to have come to America, was born in Switzerland, and emigrated to this country to find freedom from religious persecution, making the voyage on the ship "Charming Polly", which landed at Philadelphia Oct. 8, 1737. With his family he located at Myerstown, Lebanon county. Among his children were sons Christian and Christopher S.

Christian Beiler, son of Jacob, was nine years old when the family located at Myerstown. He became the father of a son, Christian. Christian Beiler, son of Christian, was born in 1752, in Lebanon county.

In 1800 he moved to near Strasburg, Lancaster county. He died in 1804. He was the father of three sons: Jacob, who settled in Berks county, near Elverson, Chester county, and whose descendants live in Berks and Chester counties; John, who settled in Mifflin county, and whose descendants live in Mifflin and Lawrence counties, Pa., and in Western States; and David.

David Beiler, son of Christian, was born in Lebanon county in 1786, and he died in Lancaster county in 1871, and is buried at Rancks burying ground in East Lampeter township, that county. He was an able bishop of the Amish Church. His five sons were: Christian, David, John, Samuel and Benjamin.

Christian Beiler, son of David and grandfather of Levi was born Sept. 21, 1811, and died March 15, 1888. He married Rebecca Stoltzfus. born in 1816, died April 28, 1902, a direct descendant of Nicholas Stoltzfus, who in 1766 came from Zweibrucken, Germany, to America, with his children, settling on a farm near Reading. To Christian Beiler and wife were born twelve children, all but one reaching mature years. The descendants live chiefly in Lancaster, Berks, and Chester counties.

David S. Beiler, eldest son of Christian, was born Dec. 25, 1834, and now lives near Morgantown, Berks county. He married Rebecca Esh, of Juniata county, Pa., born May 25, 1838, died Jan. 28, 1904. Their children were: Malinda. born Oct. 26, 1861, m. Jacob Hartz; Emma, born Oct. 7, 1863, lives with her father; Christian, born Dec. 21, 1865, m. Fannie King, and died Dec. 21, 1897; Levi, born Jan. 15, 1868; Mary, born May 9, 1870, m. Mast Stoltzfus; Jacob, born Dec. 17, 1872, died 1875; Katie, born June 17, 1875, m. Elam M. Stoltzfus; and Susie, born July 3, 1879, m. Jacob Z. Yoder.

Levi Beiler was sixteen at the time he removed from Lancaster to Berks county. He was reared to farming, and in 1899 he purchased his present farm, one of the finest in the locality, consisting of 136 acres of limestone land in Caernarvon township.

On Jan. 17, 1892, Mr. Beiler married Sarah Stoltzfus, of Lancaster county, daughter of Isaac K. Stoltzfus, a descendant of the German emigrant Nicholas Stoltzfus. The following children have been born of this union; Rebecca, born Dec. 10, 1892; Mary S., July 4, 1894; Carrie S., July 8, 1896; Lydia, Nov. 27, 1897 (died Sept. 23, 1898); Martha S., July 16, 1899; Fannie S., Aug. 11, 1900; Levi S., Sept. 9, 1902; David S., Oct. 21, 1903; Isaac K., Oct. 31,1904; Amos R., Jan. 3, 1906; Christian E., July 3, 1907; and Stephen M., Aug 25, 1908. Mr. Beiler is a member of the Amish Church, as are nearly all of the name in America. He is a thoroughly upright and industrious man, and his success in life is well merited.


p. 704


George H. Bell (son of Dr. William P. Bell), partner of Jonathan Mould since 1887, was born in 1862 at Fishkill-on-the-Hudson, N. Y., and was educated in the local schools. He entered the department store of Mr. Mould, his brother-in-law, at Reading in 1877, as a salesman, and in several years showed so much proficiency that he was placed in charge of one of the departments. In 1887 he became a partner, and since then the business has been conducted under the name of J. Mould & Co.

In 1894 Mr. Bell married Alice Bryson (daughter of Allen Bryson, of Orange county, N. Y., and Emma F. Mould, his wife, a sister of Mr. Mould). They have three children: Jonathan Mould, Helen, and George Allen. They are members of Trinity Lutheran Church; and Mrs. Bell is a member of the D. A. R. at Reading, Conrad Weiser Chapter.


p. 349


Samuel Bell, clerk of the United States Circuit court at Philadelphia, for thirty-seven years, was born at Reading, Berks county, April 25, 1827. He was educated in private schools and at Yale College until his eighteenth year, when he went to Philadelphia to engage in the wholesale dry goods business. He served as a salesman until 1851, and then became a partner of Knight & Bell, for a number of years.

When the Civil war broke out, Mr. Bell enlisted and served three months. Afterward he acted as one of the commissioners to conduct the draft at Philadelphia; and he served as paymaster in the United States Regular Army by the appointment of President Lincoln. In February, 1865, he was elected a member of the Union League and he has been prominently identified with this influential organization until the present time. He became a member of the Meade Post, G. A. R., at Philadelphia, in 1868, and of the Loyal Legion in 1874, retaining his membership until now. He was elected as a member of the First City Troop of Cavalry at Philadelphia in 1851, and he is now the oldest surviving member of this popular and historic military society.

In 1870 Mr. Bell was appointed by Judge McKenna as the clerk of the United States Circuit court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and he filled this important office with great success for thirty-seven years, resigning Jan. 1, 1907, on account of his age. He was appointed United States Commissioner at Philadelphia in 1874, and is still serving in this office, notwithstanding his advanced years. He was elected a member of the board of school controllers, and filled the position by re-election for twenty-seven years, officiating as president of the board for twenty-two years.

His father was the Hon. Samuel Bell, merchant at Reading and associate judge of the courts of Berks county. He was born at Reading in 1797. For many years until his decease in 1863 he was a prominent member of the First Presbyterian Church. He married Louisa Bowman, daughter of Jacob Bowman, of Brownsville, Pa., and their children were: Mary Greer, Jacob B., Samuel (above), Sterling, Goodloe B., Arthur G., James Lowrie, Mary Louisa and William Arthur.

His grandfather was William Bell, born in Ireland in 1763. He emigrated in 1791, and settled at Reading, Pa., where he was successfully engaged in the dry goods business and the manufacture of flour in several gristmills for many years, until his decease in 1838. He married Mary Greer, also born in Ireland, daughter of Arthur Greer, and they had an only child, Samuel.


p. 1015


Samuel H. Bell, druggist, located at No. 817 Penn street, Reading, Pa., was born at West Leesport, Berks county, in 1867, son of Samuel and Emma (Himmelreich) Bell, and a descendant of James Bell, who emigrated from Belfast, Ireland.

James Bell was one of three brothers who came to America from Belfast in their young manhood. One of the brothers was a miller, and built a grist mill which afterward became Bushong's paper mill, but was for a long time known as Bell's mill. Samuel, one of the three brothers, settled in Schuylkill county, and had a son Samuel, and among his descendants is the Hon. James M. Bell, of Philadelphia.

James Bell, son of James, the emigrant, was born in Reading in 1812, and there he died Feb. 3, 1879. He was a clerk in the court house for eighteen years, though in his earlier life worked at the tailor's trade. He was a member of the First Reformed Church of Reading, and was its treasurer at the time the church was rebuilt. His remains rest in the Charles Evans cemetery. He married Sarah Dunkelberger, daughter of Peter and Magdalena (Bohn) Dunkelberger, and their children were: Thomas J. and William both died in infancy; Mary Jane m. the late James Phillips, and resides in Philadelphia; James, a soldier in the 93d P. V. I., was killed in the second battle of Chancellorsville at Salem Heights, in the Civil War; Samuel; Sarah Ann m. Isaac Ritter, and died in Philadelphia; Volney is buried in the Charles Evans cemetery; Robert Bruce is also buried in the Charles Evans cemetery; Rebecca died unmarried; Emma m. Conneberd Leibel of Reading; and Charles is a stationary engineer for the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company, at Reading.

Samuel Bell, son of James, and now a successful stove and tinware merchant at West Leesport, was born Sept. 2, 1841, in Maiden-creek, (now Ontelaunee) township. His first work was in a brick yard at Leesport, where he remained one season, and then he drove mules on the towpath on the Schuylkill canal during the seasons of 1857, 1858 and 1859. In 1860 he went to Reading and learned the tinsmith's trade with Henry Bennethum, then located at the corner of Fifth and Court streets, and this trade he has followed ever since, still doing repairing, tin-roofing and spouting. In 1863 he opened his present shop at West Leesport, and this he has carried on continuously. He has a full line of tinware, ranges, heaters, etc. In September, 1862, he enlisted at Reading in Co. G, Capt. Charles Bickel's Company, and saw active service at Hagerstown, Md., where they were shelled by Gen. Imboden, who was stationed on the opposite side of the Potomac river. He enlisted again in June, 1863, in Company G, 42d Pennsylvania regiment, for the three months' service. He was at the old Walnut school-house in 1863, and stood at Sixth and Walnut streets, when the soldiers were receiving their pay. Mr. Bell is a member of the United Evangelical Church, which he joined in 1873. He is one of the most active workers of Bethany congregation at West Leesport, where for many years he was class leader, and has been exhorter and trustee. For a quarter of a century he has been superintendent of the Sunday-school, and is present at his post every Sunday. Mr. Bell's residence is on Main street. On Feb. 2, 1862, he married Emma Himmelreich, daughter of Amos D. and Elizabeth (Moyer) Himmelreich, and they have become the parents of seven sons and five daughters, as follows: William H., of West Leesport; Carrie, m. to Jacob Kirby, of Paulsboro, N. J.; Samuel H.; James R., of No. 1005 Oley street, Reading; Rebecca L., unmarried; George, who died in 1907; Emma, m. to Edward Landis, of Reading; Amos H., m. to Ida M. Dietrich, daughter of Charles Dietrich, of Kutztown, and they have a son, Lincoln; Mary, deceased; Laura M. and Edward A., unmarried; and Robert, deceased.

Samuel H. Bell was educated in the West Leesport schools and in Stoner's Business College, Reading, graduating in 1887. He learned telegraphy at the age of fourteen, and followed that profession as an operator and special agent for the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company, for eleven years, doing duty at different points. In 1892 he went to New Jersey and accepted a position with the South Amboy Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad, where he remained more than a year. From this position he entered the store of the great merchant John Wanamaker at Philadelphia, with whom he continued for three years in the capacity of bookkeeper. From there he entered the employ of the Adams Express Company as bill clerk, in their offices at Seventeenth and Market streets, but failing health caused him to resign and in February, 1894, he came to Reading. Here Mr. Bell became floor walker with the large firm of Dives, Pomeroy & Stewart, where he remained two years.

Mr. Bell then entered the drug business, and was associated with Clarence T. Stubbs, No. 751 Penn street, for eight years, during this time having full charge of the store. On Dec. 13, 1902, he engaged in the drug business on his own account, establishing his drug and prescription store at its present location, No. 817 Penn street.

Mr. Bell is one of Reading's promising business men, having the largest exclusive retail drug store in the City, and in connection has one of the most complete prescription departments, Mr. Charles S. Lebo, a graduate in pharmacy, with first honors in his class at Medico-Chirurgical College, Philadelphia, being the manager of this department.

Mr. Bell married Lillie M. Kershner, daughter of John S. Kershner, of Shoemakersville, Berks county. They are members of St. Paul's United Evangelical Church, O. U. A. M.; Fraternity Castle, No 302, I. G. E.; Mystic Star Commandery, No. 47, A. and I. O. Knights of Malta; Lodge No. 115, B. P. O. Elks, Reading, and the Modern Woodmen of America.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:52:34 EDT

Previous       Home Page       Index       Next
404 - Error: 404


Category not found

The Page you are looking for doesn't exist or an other error occurred. Go back, or head over to Home Page to choose a new direction.

You may not be able to visit this page because of:

  1. an out-of-date bookmark/favourite
  2. a search engine that has an out-of-date listing for this site
  3. a mistyped address
  4. you have no access to this page
  5. The requested resource was not found.
  6. An error has occurred while processing your request.