Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


pp. 1159 & 1160


Augustus Belz, a representative citizen of Reading, Berks Co., Pa., who holds the responsible position of foreman of the braiding machine department of the Textile Machine Co., located at Wyomissing, was born Nov. 2, 1874, at Neihoff, Hessen-Cassel, Germany, son of Primus and Pauline (Schmitt) Belz.

Primus Belz was born in 1841, at Neihoff, Hessen-Cassel, Germany, and was a blacksmith by trade. He was married to Pauline Schmitt, who was born at Neihoff in 1843, and they had a family of seven children, namely: Franceska, Robert, Libba, Augustus, Martha, Joseph and Carl (who is in the African army), Augustus being the only one of the family to come to America to this date.

Augustus Belz was educated in the schools of his native country, when fourteen years of age commenced to learn the trade of machinist, which he completed when seventeen years of age. This he followed in Germany until 1892, when he came to America, landing at New York on May 1st of that year. He went immediately to Philadelphia, where he remained until July 8th, and at that time came to Reading, being employed at Remppis Ornamental iron Works for a short period. Since 1894 he has been in the service of the Textile Machine Company at Wyomissing, and he has held his present position since 1902. He is a very efficient mechanic, and has twenty-two skilled laborers in his charge. Since April, 1903, he has occupied his own home. He is a member of the Holy Cross and Bonifacius Beneficial Association, and his religious connection is with St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church. In politics he is a Democrat.

Mr. Belz was married in 1900 to Mary T. Kohler, daughter of Bernhard and Theresa (Maurer) Kohler, natives of Germany. Mrs. Belz was born April 5, 1882, and died July 20, 1906, survived by her husband and one son: Joseph B., born at Reading, Feb. 15, 1903. In 1908 Mr. Belz married : (second) Maria Dihl, a native of France.


p. 1572


James A. Benade, a distinguished artist at Reading from 1840 to 1853, was the son of Dr. Andrew Benade, a Moravian Bishop at Bethlehem. He was born in 1823 and was educated in the schools of Bethlehem, having taken lessons under a noted Moravian artist named Grd for a time, and afterward continued his studies in Philadelphia. At the age of seventeen he located at Reading where his active mind and busy brush soon won a high place in the esteem and appreciation of cultured people. He painted many pictures possessing artistic excellence, but unfortunately he was stricken with paralysis in the midst of his encouraging prospects and died Feb. 2, 1853. He married Sarah Nagle Moers, of Reading, by who he had four children: James, Henry, Esther and Sarah.


p. 625


James C. Benade, who for a number of years was well known to the citizens of Reading, Pa., as an artist, was born in Lititz, son of Bishop Andrew and Maria (Henry) Benade, the latter a daughter of Judge Henry of Lancaster.

Bishop Andrew Benade was of the Moravian denomination, and was a very prominent man in his day. His death occurred in 1859, at the age of ninety-two years, his wife having passed away several years prior to this. They were the parents of: William, deceased, who was bishop at Philadelphia; Charles, an inventor; James C. Bishop Benade had two daughters, Lucia and Mary, by a former marriage.

James C. Benade was taken to Salem, N. C., when a child, but when ten years of age was brought back to Lititz by his parents, and received his education at Nazareth Hall, Nazareth, Pa. Even at this early age he showed remarkable talent, and when a youth took up oil and water color painting, becoming a noted artist. He settled in Reading in 1837. His death occurred in 1853, at the age of thirty-two years, and he was interred in the Charles Evans cemetery. In 1845 he married Miss Sarah Moers, daughter of Daniel and Henrietta (Nagle) Moers. To this union there were born children as follows: James A., deceased; Patrick H., of Jefferson county, Pa.; Esther H., who conducts a private preparatory school, and Sarah M., both of Reading. In religious belief, Mr. Benade was a Moravian.


p. 1265


The family historian of the Benfields has traced his name back to the time of William the Conqueror in his conquest of England, 1066. In his army was General John Benfield, from Normandy, who after the conquest moved his family to England and became a man of prominence in the circles of the court of William the Conqueror, then ruler of England. After his death he was buried in Westminster Abbey, where there is a tablet to his memory. The family in the course of time spread into Scotland and Ireland, and from the Scotland family, so far as the historian is able to discover, came two brothers, which no doubt is correct. These two brothers were Thomas Benfield and John Benfield. The former is the head of the Benfields of this section as well as those of the Central and Western States. The latter is the head of the Benfield family in North and South Carolina as well as Georgia, whither he emigrated from Union Township, Berks county, about 1760, with the Boone family. These two persons came to America about 1712, so far as can be learned from records. The said brothers then located west of Pottstown several miles, in Union township, where both owned tracts of land.

In 1728 Thomas Benfield bought a tract of land in Oley township, Berks county, but sold it to Abijah Sands in 1733, he having lived there all that time. The next year he received a patent for land (100 acres) in District township, Berks Co., Pa. This tract is now owned by Israel Weller and his brother. In 1744 another patent was granted to him for a tract of fifty-two acres, adjoining the 100-acre tract. This then for years became the home of the family, and there he raised a family of two sons and four daughters. This same Thomas Benfield while he lived here purchased several other tracts in Union and Amity townships. Two tracts were sold by him in 1762 to John Wanger, of the same township; these two tracts are located near Port Union and still in the Wanger family name. From the tax lists in the possession of the Berks County Historical Society we find that he paid taxes at different dates, showing that he either lived in these townships or at least owned property and paid tax. In 1759 he paid 8 tax in District township. And from 1761 to 1769 he paid tax in that township, where he died and where his son Samuel was executor of his will and filed his statement in 1771.

The son Samuel was a taxable in East District (now District) township in 1790. He and his wife Anna lived in District up to 1792, when he moved to Northampton (now Lehigh) county, but returned in 1811, to Albany township, Berks county, where he died. His will was probated in 1813, John Benfield and George Greenwald, executors. In his family were two sons and five daughters, all mentioned in the will, namely; John, Catharine, Margaret, Susanna, Elizabeth, Maria and Jacob. The sons, moving to western Pennsylvania, left one grandson of this Samuel, Henry Benfield, who had just married and did not live in the above locality, but moved to District township with a man by the name of Gluck, by whom he was employed.

John Benfield, brother of Samuel, left no issue. He also had moved to Lynn township, Northampton (now Lehigh) Co., Pa., but moved into West Penn, Schuylkill county, where he died. Three of the daughters (sisters of John and Samuel) were married, as follows: Catherine to a Mr. Ulrich, Mary to a Mr. Harp, Elizabeth to a Mr. Updegrove, and Susanna remained single. Of these persons very little is known by the historian.

Of Samuel's two sons, John, as before intimated, moved to Montour county, where his descendants now live and are prominent. And of Jacob, who moved to central Pennsylvania, where he died, it may be said that he and his wife, whose maiden name was Keck, raised a family of five sons and one daughter, who all but one left for the West, George locating in Illinois, Jacob and Daniel in Crawford county, Pa., John in Michigan and Maria (Mrs. Schlosser) in Crawford county, Pa., thus leaving one, Henry, behind.

Henry Benfield raised eight sons and one daughter, all the sons becoming prominent farmers and business men. On Aug. 20, 1906, his descendants held a reunion at Huff's Church, the first gathering of this family, and six of his sons, as well as many grandchildren, were present on the occasion. Henry Benfield was born in Lynn township, Lehigh Co., Pa., Sept. 3, 1803, and in 1824 came to Hereford township, Berks county, where he worked one year for a Mr. Gluck, on the farm later owned by his son George and now the property of his grandson, Henry W. Benfield. He then learned the blacksmith's trade from Jacob Heydt, following that trade for several years, until he commenced farming on his own account. The rest of his active years he spent in agricultural work, from which he retired, however, many years before his death, which occurred Jan. 21, 1891, at the ripe age of eighty-seven years, four months, eighteen days. In hi early years he was a teamster, hauling for different forges. He bought a farm of seventy-five acres above Bechtelsville, in Washington township, which is now the property of his grandson, William Benfield. Mr. Benfield was a Reformed member of the Hill Church, where he is buried. He was a tall man, with black hair and dark complexion. Henry Benfield married Sarah Becker, born July 4, 1806, died Feb. 22, 1886, aged seventy-nine years, seven months, eighteen days. Of their nine children, (1) David, born March 26, 1827, died Nov. 27, 1903; his wife, Anna Maria, born in 1830, died in 1904. David was in his younger years a teacher and later a very prosperous farmer in Washington township, and the possessor of considerable real estate, being the owner of the house of his father, Henry Benfield. (2) Abraham and (3) Daniel both became farmers and contractors and lumbermen, and are the owners of oil land in Ontario, Canada, where Daniel had lived many years, pumping oil from their wells. Both reside near Huff's Church, and live retired. (4) Henry was a shoemaker by trade, but started farming, and still later became interested in iron ore mining, in Longswamp township, Berks county, and neighboring localities. This was his vocation for many years. Later he also became a lumberman, in which line of business he continued up to his death. (5) Jacob and (6) Aaron both worked at their trades, but later became tillers of the soil, and both are still living, Jacob in Washington township, near Bechtelsville, and Aaron near Huff's Church. (7) George B. also was a farmer all his life, living near Bechtelsville. (8) Samuel, also a farmer, finally drifted into the hotel business, living in Lehigh county, having hotels at Wanamakers, Kempton and Emaus. All these brothers have been very industrious and are men of means and stand high in social circles. Their descendants are scattered far and wide, and have engaged in various vocations, being farmers, mechanics, educators, doctors, prominent business men, etc. Henry Benfield's only daughter, Elizabeth, now deceased, was the wife of Joseph Dotterer.

Most of the history given in the foregoing was contributed by Mr. Harry N. Benfield, son of Aaron Benfield, and now located at Pottstown, Pa. He is more fully mentioned later, in the paragraphs concerning his father.

Abraham Benfield, son of Henry, was born June 21, 1830. He learned the shoemaker's trade, which he followed at Norristown some years. He next engaged in lime burning in Washington township, and later hauled ore. In 1869 he bought 169 acres of land in District township, upon which was an old saw and grist mill, built in 1769. He remodeled the mill and put it in operation. He owns another farm in Washington township and a small tract in Hereford, and a limestone quarry in Upper Milford township, Lehigh county. Since 1900 he has lived retired in a tenant house on the old home farm. Though past fourscore years he is well preserved and active, still interested in all that goes on. For many years he was superintendent of the Sunday-school of the Reformed Church. In politics he is a Democrat. He married Lucinda Rohrbach, daughter of Nathan Rohrbach, a farmer of District township. They had ten children: Sarah, wife of Reuben Moll, of Hereford township; Mary Ann, deceased wife of Alfred M. Fisher, general store clerk; Andora, who became the second wife of Alfred M. Fisher; Amanda, wife of John D. Reifsnyder, a teacher then residing in District township, but now in Colebrookdale township; Ida, wife of Milton Gerhard, who operated a creamery at Womelsdorf, but is now farming his own farm in Washington township; Abraham R., in Allentown, Pa.; and James and Alfred, who both died in infancy.

Franklin N. Benfield, justice of the peace of District township, and director of the Farmers National Bank at Pennsburg, is a native of the borough of Bechtelsville, Washington township, born April 16, 1862. He attended the public schools of District township, a subscription school in Hereford township, and the Keystone State Normal School at Kutztown. He worked for his father on the farm until he twenty-one, and the next year he became the manager of Huff's Church creamery for W. H. Young, and he conducted it for five years. In 1891 he rented the Benfield Mill, formerly Bechtel's Mill, a gristmill located in the northeast part of District township, near the Hereford township line. This mill he carried on for ten years. On March 8, 1901, he lost his right foot while clearing ice from the water wheel. In 1905 he purchased his father's farm and mill property, now having 136 acres of fine land. He has since then successfully operated both mill and farm, employing besides his own two sons two other men. He also has twenty-eight acres of wood and pasture land in the same township. In partnership with his father he owns one hundred acres of woodland in District township, and with Frank R. Meck a tract of twenty acres of woodland. With his uncle, Henry Benfield, he conducts a portable sawmill in the lower end of the county. In 1898 in partnership with Jonas Weiler he formed the Royal Dynamite Company, and for one year they manufactured dynamite, but since then Mr. Benfield has abandoned its manufacture, though he continues to buy and sell it. In the spring of 1908 he rented the mill to his son Claude E., who now operates it.

Franklin N. Benfield is an active Democrat, and in the spring of 1885 was made justice of the peace of his township, since which time he has been four times re-elected. For ten years he was committeeman of the township, and then declined to serve longer, but in 1908 he was again elected to the office. He is one of the political powers of his and surrounding districts. He and his family are Reformed members of Huff's Church, of which he was for four years treasurer for both denominations. He served four years each as deacon and elder of the church.

Since 1898 Mr. Benfield has been a director of the Farmers National Bank of Pennsburg, and since 1902 he has been secretary of the board. He is a director of the Windsor Mutual Accident and Fire Insurance Company, of Berks county, and is agent for the following companies; Steelton Mutual Fire Insurance Company; Manatawny Mutual Fire & Storm Insurance Company; Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Lehigh County; Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Berks County; Boyertown Fire Insurance Company; Farmers Mutual Assistance and Fire Insurance Company of Berks County; Tulpehocken Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Berks County.

On Nov. 17, 1883, Mr. Benfield was married to Mary Y. Siesholtz, daughter of David and Sarah (Yeakel) Siesholtz. She died Oct. 12, 1898, aged thirty-five years, nine months, twenty-two days. They had seven children, as follows: Eliza A., a highly educated young lady, who kept house for her father for several years, and who was organist of the church and Sunday-school, m., Jan 20, 1909, James S. Shankweiler, who is conducting a dry goods store at Kutztown; Claude E., conducting the mill, m. Mary, daughter of Augustus Reinert, of Hereford township; Minnie S. m. Marvin Ledger, of Reading; and Irwin S., Mary A., Frank S. and Lillie S. are all in school. On Jan. 20, 1909, Mr. Benfield m. (second) Amanda Siesholtz, sister to his first wife.

George B. Benfield, Son of Henry, was born Jan 21, 1834, in the section of Hereford township now embraced in Washington township, and died on his farm at Forgedale July 19 1898, aged sixty-four years, five months twenty-eight days. He was a lifelong successful farmer, and owned the large place which his son Henry now owns. He was a highly respected man, a member of the Reformed congregation of the Hill Church, of which he served both as deacon and elder. Mr. Benfield married Mary Weller, born May 10, 1840, daughter of Philip and Mary (Heydt) Weller, of District township, died Aug. 20, 1904, aged sixty-four years, three months, ten days. Twelve children were born to this union: Ephraim died unmarried; Amanda m. Fred Weller; Rebecca m. Elijah Nester; Adam W. and Henry W. are mentioned farther on; Daniel is a resident of Hereford township; Jonathan lives in Pike township; Elam lives in Washington township; four died in infancy.

Adam W. Benfield, son of George B., was born Dec. 27, 1868, in Washington township, Berks county, and received a good education, beginning in the public schools of his native township. Later he attended the Longswamp high school and the Keystone State Normal School at Kutztown, where he was a student for two terms. Meantime, assisting his father at home, he had gained a thorough knowledge of farming, and he continued to help at home until he was nineteen years old, attending school in the winter until he began to teach. He received his license in 1887, from Prof. D. S. Keck, and began his experience in Washington township, where he was engaged for eight terms. After that for five terms he was in District township, before he commenced farming, which he has followed on his own place in District township since the spring of 1909. His tract comprises seventy-eight acres of good land, which the present owner bought from Isaac Heydt, who was preceded in its ownership by David Heydt, and he in turn by a Mr. Reichert. There are good buildings in the property, from which Mr. Benfield makes a good living.

On June 1, 1895, Mr. Benfield was married to Ellen R. Hoffman, daughter of Jonathan and Elizabeth (Reitenauer) Hoffman, of Forgedale. They have had four children: Elmer C., Edna M., Cora V. and Ambrose J. Mr. and Mrs. Benfield are Reformed members of the historic Hill Church in Pike township, and he has served five years as deacon of that congregation. In politics he is a Democrat, and he has served in local offices. He has been treasurer and trustee of Council No. 1007, Order of Independent Americans, at Landisville, being one of the prominent members of that body.

Henry W. Benfield was born Feb. 24, 1871, in Washington township, Berks county, on the old homestead of his father and grandfather. Most of his life has been passed in farming. He attended the common schools of the home district, and worked for his parents on the farm until twenty-one years old, after which he was engaged as a clerk, serving in that capacity in stores at Huff's Church, Bechtelsville and South Bethlehem, one year in each place. Returning home, he hired out to his father for one year, in the spring of 1894 commencing to farm on his own account on his father's farm at Forgedale, in Washington township. He was a tenant for eleven years in September, 1905, buying the place, which consists of eighty-nine acres in good condition and very fertile. The present barn was built in 1854 by Adam Boyer, and the house was built in 1881 by Mr. Benfield's father. Mr. Benfield keeps three horses and fourteen head of cattle, having a good dairy business in addition to his general farming interests. In politics he is a Democrat, and in 1908 served as school director in Washington township.

On Nov. 11, 1893, Mr. Benfield was married to Lillie G. Reitenauer, daughter of Benjamin and Mary (Gery) Reitenauer, and they have had four children, Mary A., Ida M., Eva S. and Lloyd B. Mr. Benfield and his family are Reformed members of the Hill Church, where he has served three years as deacon.

Aaron Benfield, son of Henry, was born June 14, 1842, in Pike township, in that section now included in Washington township. He attended the old pay school for one term, until the public school was established, after which he received the benefits of free education. When seventeen years old he went to learn the blacksmith's trade which he followed for eight years in all -- two years in Frederick township, Montgomery county, and about half a year at the Black Bear, in Berks county, thence returning to Frederick township. In 1877 he began farming in Washington township, where he was thus engaged for eleven years, at the end of that time removing to Hereford township, where he has since made his home. In 1894 he purchased the farm of eight-four acres upon which he has since lived, and which was the old Jacob Hoffman homestead. The present barn on the place was built in 1872, but many of the improvements were made by Mr. Benfield, who was known as a successful farmer throughout his active years. He retired from arduous labor in 1907, but his son Oscar had previously taken charge of the home place, which he has cultivated since 1895. Mr. Benfield owns another tract, of twenty-eight acres, near Oberholtzer's schoolhouse. Before settling at his present home he lived for fifteen years at Huff's Church, cultivating a twenty-three-acre tract in that location. His neighbors have shown their confidence in his business ability by electing him township treasurer. He is a Republican in politics. During the Civil war he enlisted at Norristown, April 7, 1865, for service in the Union army, becoming a private in Company D, 215th Pa. V. I., for one year or during the war, and served until after its close, being mustered out July 31, 1865, at Fort Delaware.

Mr. Benfield was married Oct. 2, 1866, to Maria Elizabeth Kepler, born Oct. 2, 1839, daughter of Copeland and Margaretha (Binder) Kepler, farming people of Upper Hanover township, Montgomery Co., Pa. Mrs. Benfield died Nov. 8, 1906, the mother of three children, Oscar, Harry N. and Elmer. All this family are Reformed members of Huff's Church.

Oscar Benfield, oldest son of Aaron, is farming on his father's place in Hereford township. He is married to Mary Gehris, and they have had children as follows: Gertie, Grace, Webster, Nevin, Mabel, Florence and Erma.

Harry N. Benfield, second son of Aaron, was born in 1871, in Washington township, Berks county, and received his early education in the township schools, later going to the schools of Hereford, where he finished the course. In the fall of 1890 he entered the Keystone State Normal School at Kutztown, but left the same year to begin teaching, which profession he has followed ever since, having filled positions in Berks, Lehigh and Montgomery counties before taking his present position in Chester county, in the fall of 1908. He is now supervising principal of Coventry township, Chester county. Mr. Benfield has never neglected his studies in spite of his work, having taken a preparatory course in Schuylkill Seminary, at Fredericksburg, Lebanon county, and in 1900 he graduated from the Keystone State Normal School. He is now doing post-graduate work at a college.

He married Elizabeth Kemp, of District township, Berks county. They have no children. Mr. Benfield is the historian of the Benfield family, of which he is preparing a history.

Elmer Benfield, now engaged as a carpenter at Morysville, worked at his trade in car shops in Philadelphia for ten years, being employed as a car inspector. He has been twice married, his first wife being Maleira Wetzel, who died in 1903. They had no children. In 1905 Mr. Benfield married Maggie Rohrbach, by whom he has one daughter, Myrtle.


p. 1454


Moses Bennecoff, of Maxatawny township, was born Sept. 4, 1851, in Greenwich township, Berks county, son of Benjamin and Sarah (Spohn) Bennecoff.

Philip Benighoff was the ancestor of this family. He was born in the Old World, and came to America about the time of the Revolutionary war. In 1800 he was a taxpayer in Albany township, Berks county, his assessment being a county tax of twelve shillings. There is a record that in 1815 a William Benighoff paid a county tax of seven shillings in the same district. He was probably a son of Philip and brother of Peter.

Peter Bennecoff, grandfather of Moses, was a resident of Greenwich township. He married Polly Haring, and his immediate descendants were: Joel, who had Charles, Jeremiah and Austin; Levi, living at Allentown; William; Benjamin; Peter; and Abby, m. to Charles Eck.

There is another family record of about the same date. John Benighoff (1816-1886) and Lydia Benighoff (1830-1906) were brother and sister. Lydia married William Schick (1828-1890), and they owned a small farm in Millcreek, Maxatawny township. In 1889 they retired and moved to Monterey, where Mr. Schick died the following year. He had two brothers, Henry and Nathan.

Benjamin Bennecoff, father of Moses, was born Jan. 23, 1818, and died April 28, 1884. He was a farmer and also carried on carpet weaving. His farm of seventy acres was located near the Roth school house, in Greenwich township. He married Sarah Spohn, born July 25, 1822, who died April 16, 1892. They had nine children, as follows: Noah, who died Feb. 2, 1907, aged sixty-five years, was supervisor of Maxatawny township for twenty-one years; Mary m. Abraham Geist; Sarah m. Henry Derr; Benjamin lived in Claussville, Pa.; Moses; William is a farmer near Krumsville, Pa.; Emma died aged twenty-one years; and two died young.

Moses Bennecoff was reared on his father's farm and when eighteen years of age he learned the stone mason's trade, which he followed six years. In 1874 he began farming in Maxatawny township and after being a tenant for twelve years, he bought a farm of fifty acres, to which he has since added twelve acres. In 1900 he built a house on his farm, and in may ways has improved his property.

On Nov. 18, 1876, Mr. Bennecoff married Sarah Amelia Bausher, daughter of Jacob Bausher, of Windsor Castle, and they have had six children, namely: William, born in 1879, died in 1896; Charles, a farmer in Maxatawny township, m. Amy Krick; Edwin; James; Mamie, and Irwin. Mr. Bennecoff and family are Lutherans, and are members of Maxatawny Zion Church.


p. 1542


In northwestern Berks county is located the Bennetch family, which bears a name noted in French Huguenot history. Many were scattered by religious persecution through Switzerland the Palatinate and England, and of those who came to America, Simon Bennetch located in Heidelberg township, Berks Co., Pa., where he died in 1757, leaving a posterity of which Morris Bennetch, one of Heidelberg township's substantial citizens, is a member of one of the youngest generations. The family arrived in 1732, at which time Simon Bennetch was thirteen years of age. Inasmuch as the father's name does not appear on the list with the family upon its arrival, it is probable that he died on the voyage to America.

John Bennetch, the grandfather of Morris, was a native of Lancaster county, Pa.. and lived at the Swamp, where he owned a tract of land. His wife was Anna Ham, and both are buried at the Schaefferstown cemetery. They were the parents of these children: John, who lived near Myerstown, m. Valeria Becker and, had three children-Henry, Mary Ann and Jacob; Benneville, a farmer, who died near Myerstown in 1899, aged eighty-four years, had five children-Benneville, George, Frank, Kate and Laura; Polly, who was born in 1818, m. Joseph Kindig. who lived on the Bennetch homestead; Annie m. Christian Wiest; Catherine m. William Stoner and lives at Avon, Pa.; Henry; Frederick, who died at the Swamp, July 3, 1906, m. Priscilla Brubaker, and had seven children-Katie, Benjamin, Priscilla, Polly, Susan. Henry and John; and Eliza is unmarried.

Henry Bennetch, father of Morris, was born in Cocalico township, Lancaster county, in August. 1830, and died Dec. 13, 1901, being buried at Schaefferstown, where for many years he had been a member of the Lutheran Church. He was the owner of 171 acres of land in Heidelberg township, now the property of Henry Schappell, and was a man of influence in his community. Mr. Bennetch was married to Kate Laccer, who was born in 1840 and now resides in her own home at West Reading. She was a daughter of Joseph Laccer, of Schaefferstown. Mr. and Mrs. Henry Bennetch had these children: John died in infancy; Jacob, born in August, 1864, now lives with his brother Morris, was married and has a daughter -Bertha; Catherine, born Dec. 26, 1866, m. Henry Reedy; Lizzie, who died in May, 1901, m. Matthias Speicher, whom she bore these children,-Willie, Beulah, Paul, Mabel, Ella and Erma; Morris; Rosa m. Milert Staudt, a moulder at Sinking Spring; and Amelia m. James Eyrich, of Wyomissing.

Morris Bennetch obtained only a limited schooling in his native district, having given up his studies early in order to engage in work on his father's farm. For four years he farmed as a tenant on his father's property, and in 1903 he purchased the Benjamin Blatt farm of thirty-three acres, a fertile tract of land located about three miles north of Robesonia, near the Sowers School house, on which Mr. Bennetch carries on truck farming, giving special attention to potato growing. He is a Democrat in politics, as was his father, and he and his wife are prominent members of Hain's Reformed Church.

Mr. Bennetch was married to Carrie Hassler, daughter of William and Catherine (Fisher) Hassler, the former a farmer and painter of Wernersville, Pa. Mr. and Mrs. Bennetch have no children. Mrs. Bennetch was one of a family of five children, namely: Lewis, Sallie, Harry, Emma and Carrie.


p. 688


The late Dr. Benson was known in the latter part of his life as one of Reading's successful businessmen, but as a young man he had studied and practised medicine. His life covered the greater part of the nineteenth century, and its long record was that of a useful and venerable citizen, who had merited and won the respect and esteem of all who knew him.

Picture of Lot BensonDr. Benson was born in Reading Oct. 1, 1802, and after attending the Reading Academy he began his preparation for the medical profession. He took the course offered in the Jefferson Medical College, at Philadelphia, and after receiving his degree practised for some years in Reading, meeting with considerable success. He found, however, that his tastes inclined him more to the commercial world than to the professional, and a few years later relinquished the practice of medicine and turned his attention to mercantile pursuits. For a number of years he was so engaged at Womelsdorf. In 1845 he came to Reading, and was in the iron business with Eckert & Bro., continuing with them for the remainder of his active life, but his last few years he spent retired from active responsibilities and cares. He died in 1882.
Picture of David BensonIn 1829 Dr. Benson married Miss Eliza Eckert, daughter of Peter Eckert, of Womelsdorf, a member of one of the early families of that district. Four children were born of this union, namely: (1) David E., a well-known ironmaster connected with the Donegal Furnace, at Marietta, Lancaster county, Pa., died June 17, 1901. He was a man of high standing, and was much interested in all philanthropic work. He gave the ground for the Hope Rescue Mission, and proved his interest in many ways. (2) Susan E. (3) Mary C. died in 1872. (4) Rebecca H. died in 1848. The wife and mother passed away in 1869, at the age of sixty-two years. Both she and the Doctor were members of the Presbyterian Church, in which for forty years he served efficiently as elder. A staunch Republican in principle, he nevertheless concerned himself with public affairs only as a good citizen, never as a politician. The family was one highly respected in Reading, and active in various fields.


p. 646


Theodore Benz, now living retired from active work at his home at Mineral Spring Park, Reading, is a native of Germany, born in Baden, Saalbach, Nov. 9, 1835, and he is the only survivor of the seven children born to George Benz, a locksmith, whose entire life was passed in his native country.

Before coming to America Mr. Benz was employed with his brother, but in the fall of 1850 he set sail for the New World, the voyage lasting thirty-two days. He landed at New York City, but went at once to Philadelphia, where with his brother Charles he was employed at the Norris Machine Shop. After some time there he learned the baker's trade, and this he followed steadily until 1859, when he engaged in the oyster business at Reading, to which city he came in 1856. He was located at a corner on Penn Street, and for a time was a partner of Capt. Michael Walters. This business was carried on most successfully until the time of the first draft for the Federal Army in the Civil War. He served nine months in the Company known as the Hounds-Ward Company, and later was cook for Colonels Knoderer, Wert and Davis. In 1865 he began in the baking business at Reading, having his establishment at No. 814 Walnut Street. This he continued for nine years, and then until 1892 he was engaged in the hotel business on Seventh Street, between Penn and Franklin Streets. That year he moved to No. 928 Penn Street, from which place in 1892 he moved to his present location. In 1891 he built his home in Lower Alsace Township, or Mt. Penn, on the Old Hessian Camp Ground. He has about eight acres of land, five of which are devoted to grapes and other fruit.

Mr. Benz married Barbara Mohring, who came to America from Germany when five years old. She died in 1890, aged fifty-two years, ten months, fifteen days,, and is buried in the German Lutheran Cemetery. Eight children were born to them, two of whom are deceased. The survivors are: Charles W., who has been a clerk in the Penn National Bank since its organization; John G., a plumber in business with his brother William, under the firm name of Benz & Bro.; Edward, who is in the employ of the United Traction Company; William, a member of the plumbing firm of Benz & Bro.; Annie C., m. to Joseph C. Flatt, of Reading; and Miss Lillie, at home. In his religious faith Mr. Benz is a Lutheran. He is a member of Germania Lodge, O. O. O. F., and also of Reading Encampment. In 1900, just fifty years after his leaving the old home in Germany, Mr. Benz revisited the scenes of his youth, and also attended the Paris Exposition, spending four months in travel abroad.


p. 1018


Charles W. Berg, an agriculturist, dairyman and prominent citizen of near Shillington, Pa., who is serving as school director of Cumru township, Berks county, was born Jan. 23, 1857, near Leesport, Ontelaunee township, son of Isaac and Maria (Noll) Berg.

Henry and Ludwig Berg (also spelled Berck and Berk), brothers, came from the Palatinate, Germany, about 1751, and settled in Greenwich township, Berks county, Pa., where they became farmers and owned land. In 1759 Henry Berg paid four pounds tax and Ludwig paid three pounds. The Berg family is numerous in Pennsylvania, and descendants of these pioneers reside in Greenwich and Albany townships to this day, in the latter township Daniel P. and his cousin, Alfred Berk, being prominent men, and in Maxatawny township, in 1907, resided Cyrus and Cornelius Berg.

John Berg, son of Henry and great-grandfather of Charles W., was an early resident of Greenwich township, where he was a tiller of the soil. He cleared land and erected a log cabin and this was his home to the time of his death. He was twice married, and had by his first wife the following children: David; Charles; Jonathan; Henry; Peter, who had sons, Samuel, Charles and John, and daughter, Sarah; and Polly, who married Jesse Sterner, who was killed while serving the war of the Rebellion.

Charles Berg, grandfather of Charles W., was born in Greenwich township, Berks county, and settled in Ontelaunee township, where he conducted the old Gernand farm for many years, and where he died a fairly prosperous man. He married Catharine Sittler, of Greenwich township, and both are buried at Gernand's Church, of which they were member. Mr. and Mrs. Berg had ten children, as follows: David died in 1906, in his eightieth year; Isaac spent his life in Cumru township; Sallie, born May 27, 1830, m. Harry Gauker, of Leesport, Pa.; Jacob lives in Ontelaunee township; Hettie, m. Jesse Long, of Leesport; Kate m. Daniel Gicker, of Bern township; Eliza died at the age of sixteen years; Maria m. Benjamin Dutt, of Lenhartsville; John died young; and Charles lived at Temple and died from the effects of being kicked by a horse.

Isaac Berg was a farmer in Ontelaunee township, and served on the school board for twelve years. He was an earnest and active church worker, serving as deacon and elder of Gernand's Church in Ontelaunee township. Leaving Ontelaunee township he settled in Cumru and was a farmer in the township for many years and there he died, though his remains were interred in Ontelaunee. He married Maria Noll, and to them were born children as follows: Charles W.; Isaac J., of Reading; Clara, who married Henry F. Fritz, proprietor of the "Mountain View Hotel," in Cumru township; Irwin H. of Oakbrook; and George L., who died at the age of sixteen years.

Charles W. Berg was reared upon his father's farm and obtained his education in the public schools, which he left at an early age. In 1874 he journeyed westward and for two years was employed as a clerk in Stillwater, Minn., by a well-known merchant, banker and business man of that place. After spending some time in St. Paul, Minn., he returned East and engaged in butchering in Reading, Pa. On March 24, 1878, he again left for the West, this time going to St. Cloud, Minn., where he engaged for a number of years as a locomotive engineer, and for about one year was a government surveyor in Montana. He returned to Cumru township in 1888, and here he has since resided, and has been conducting the old Huyett property since 1892. Mr. Berg has done considerable traveling, having been in twenty-eight States in his own country, and having visited in Canada. He is now a prosperous agriculturist, and has an excellent dairy farm. He is a member of the Oley Lodge, I. O. O. F., and Reading Tent, No. 431, K. O. T. M., both of Reading. In politics he is a stalwart Republican, and efficiently served on the school board since 1902, receiving at the time of his re-election, in 1905, the largest vote ever given a candidate for the office of school director in Berks county. Mr. Berg is very enthusiastic in the cause of education, and was instrumental in establishing the township high school at Shillington, which is regarded as the leading township high school in the county. In addition to this high school there are now thirty public schools in the township. Mr. Berg and his family are consistent attendants and liberal supporters of Yocom's (Christ's) Union Church, of Cumru township, of which he was a deacon for three years.

On March 4, 1888, Mr. Berg married Mary Ann Bitting, daughter of John Bitting (mentioned elsewhere), and three children have been born to this union: Carrie E., a graduate of the township high school, class of 1907; Elenora M.; and Charles I.


p. 1075

Surnames: BERG, WORLEY, ZIMMERMAN I. Henry Berg, who is residing in his fine brick residence at Grace and Fern streets, Oakbrook, Pa., is a moulder by trade, and is now employed at the Reading Stove Works.

Mr. Berg was born June 18, 1870, in Ontelaunee township, Berks county. After attending the public schools of his native township, he entered the Reading Business College, and in 1888 began his trade at the well-known Mellert foundry, where he remained a period of four years. He has since been connected with several of the leading companies of Berks county, and at present is employed at the Reading Stove Works, where his services are highly valued. He is a steady workman and skilled mechanic, and has won the esteem and regard of his employers and fellow employes. Mr. Berg has been prominent in the ranks of the Republican party, serving Cumru township as register assessor for four years, and as clerk of the election board. In 1909 he was appointed supervisor of the first precinct of Cumru township. He is a popular member of Heptasophs Conclave No. 31, and the Iron Workers Union No. 35. In 1892 he purchased a fine brick residence at Grace and Fern streets, and he is well known and highly esteemed that community.

On June 23, 1893, Mr. Berg married Miss Emma Worley, daughter of Obediah and Catherine (Zimmerman) Worley. To this union one son has been born: George O., Dec. 17, 1896, who is now attending school at Reading.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:52:35 EDT

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