Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 874


Amandon Lamm Bickel, one of the prominent teachers of Lower Heidelberg, was born in North Heidelberg township, Berks county, Oct. 15, 1857.

Tobias Bickel, or Bl as the name was then spelled, was born in Karlstadt, Bavaria, Germany, son of John Gotthard and Anna Sybilla (Gostenberger) Bl. In the fall of 1736-37 (records differ), accompanied by his sister Maria Margaret and brother Frederick, he emigrated from Durkheim, Bavaria, to Pennsylvania. Tobias settled in North Heidelberg township, Berks county, south of Tulpehocken creek, on a farm that in 1768 had 120 acres; and Frederick in Bern township, on the Schuylkill, afterward moving to North Heidelberg, and in 1747 to Bethlehem, where he became farmer-general of the Bethlehem Economy. Maria Margaret married John Meyer, of North Heidelberg township. The farm belonging to Tobias passed to his son Anthony, then to Joseph, next to Elias, thus remaining in the Bickel family for a century and a quarter, but it is now owned by Peter Ruth.

The original Bls were of the Reformed faith, but were converted to Moravianism. The two brothers and some of their neighbors listened to the preaching of Zinendorf, the Moravian missionary, and were deeply affected thereby. They requested a preacher be sent them, and, as they had been of the Reformed faith, he sent them Jacob Lischy, who preached in private houses until September, 1743. He was succeeded in January, 1744, by Anthony Wagner, who at first resided with Tobias Bl. In the summer of 1744, on land donated by Mr. Bl, the North Heidelberg Church and parsonage were erected by the Moravians, and on Nov. 4th, of that year, the church was dedicated to the service of God in the opening sessions of a Synod presided over by Henry Antes. Later the church became Union-Reformed and Lutheran-and the members, it seems, returned to their original faith, the living descendants of Tobias Bl being Reformed. The descendants of Frederick, in Bethlehem, still adhere to the Moravian faith. On Palm Sunday, 1734, Tobias Bl married Christina Kuester, born May 6, 1714, daughter of Jacob Kuester and his wife, Elizabeth Dilkle. Two children were born of this union before the emigration to America. The wife and mother died in February, 1775, and Mr. Bl married (second) in 1779 Widow Mary Elizabeth Glat, nee Tock, of Heidelberg. She died in 1790, when nearly eighty years of age. The tombstone of Christina was found in the North Heidelberg churchyard, lying flat on the ground in Moravian fashion, but those of Tobias and his second wife have never been found. The names and dates of birth of the fourteen children of Tobias are on record in the Moravian Archives at Bethlehem, and the names of those living in 1789 appear in his will, made that year and on record in the Berks county courthouse.

Anthony Bl, one of the sons of Tobias, lived on the old homestead, but his burial place is uncertain, as his tombstone has not been found. He married Magdalena Romig, and was the father of twelve children.

Joseph Bl, son of Anthony, was born, May 11, 1785, and he died March 18. 1853. He was a blacksmith and farmer on the old home. He married Catharine Sohl. About this time the spelling of the name was changed from Bl to Bickel, but the Bethlehem branch spell it Beckel. Joseph and Catharine had twelve children.

Jared Bickel, son of Joseph, was born March 1, 1837. He lived on a farm between Klopp's store and Robesonia, and was a prominent citizen of North Heidelberg, taking a great interest in political and religious affairs. For a time he was a member of the township school board. In 1884 he moved to Bluffton, Ind., and carried on farming there. He died Jan. 16, 1892. He married Leah Lamm, daughter of Daniel Lamm, and granddaughter of Peter Lamm. Both Daniel and Peter Lamm are buried at Hain's church. Daniel Lamm married Catharine Stoudt, daughter of Matthias Stoudt, son of Matthias, Sr., and both are buried at Bern Church. To Jared and Leah Bickel were born four children: Lewis, who died in infancy; Wilson and Catharine, who died in Indiana; and Amandon Lamm.

Amandon Lamm Bickel, son of Jared and Leah, attended the public schools of North Heidelberg in the winter and worked on his father's farm in the summer. During the spring and summer of 1878 he attended Oley Academy, then the leading school of its kind in county. It was under the principalship of Dr. D. E. Schoedler at that time. The school term of 1878-79 he spent studying at the Bernville grammar school, presided over by Prof. G. A. Sellers; and in the spring and summer terms he went to the Bernville Select School, presided over by Michael A. Gruber, A. M. He then passed the teacher's examination under Prof. S. A. Baer, and began his career by teaching, a profession he has since followed with great success. He continued his studies in the spring and summer terms of 1883 at Oley Academy, and later he studied under private tutors. He has acquired a permanent certificate, and has taught in all thirty terms in Lower Heidelberg, giving excellent satisfaction not only to the trustees but to the patrons of the schools. In his long service he has witnessed the lengthening of the school term from five to seven months, the freeing of text-books, the introduction of school libraries and modern equipment and the doubling of the teachers' salaries. He is an active member of the Berks County Teachers' Reading Union, and has received a diploma for following out the course of reading recommended, since its organization by County Superintendent Zechman.

Mr. Bickel was formerly a member of the North Heidelberg Church, where he was confirmed by Rev. Thomas Leinbach. When he changed his residence to Lower Heidelberg he became a member of Hain's Reformed church. He has served in the consistory as deacon and elder, and for a number of years he has been superintendent of the Marsh Sunday-school.

In 1884 Mr. Bickel was married to Ellen Magdalena Matz, born June 17, 1860, daughter of John and Susanna (Fisher) Matz, both of whom are buried at Epler's Church. Two children have blessed this union: Harvey Cleveland, born Feb. 6, 1885, private secretary to United States Commissioner of Navigation Chamberlain, at Washington, D. C.; and Paul Jared, born April 1, 1886, a graduate of Franklin and Marshall College, and now an instructor in mathematics at Mercersburg Academy.


p 809


Cornelius Bickel, assistant superintendent of the Keystone Furnace, a branch of the Reading IronCompany, one of the largest industries of Berks county, Pa., was born in 1854, in Lower Heidelberg township, Berks county, son of. Daniel and Rebecca (Gruber) Bickel, farming people of Lower Heidelberg township.

Cornelius Bickel was one of a family of thirteen children, of whom but he and his brother Gesson are now living. He received a common school education in Cumru township, and worked on a farm until twenty-two years of age, when he came to Reading and accepted a position with Seifert. McManus & Co., continuing with that firm through all of its changes, until it was merged with the Reading Iron Company. Mr. Bickel started in at the old tube works, being promoted to foreman. In 1887 he came to the Keystone Furnace as a laborer, when the Bushings operated the plant, and two years later was appointed to the position of foreman, in 1896 being made assistant superintendent, a capacity in which he has served to the present time. Mr. Bickel has from 140 to 150 workmen under his supervision, and he is popular with the employees and is considered a valuable man by his employers. He is a skilled mechanic, and it has been through his own ability and faithfulness to duty that he has reached his present position.

Mr. Bickel married Miss Emma Huffert, a native of Cumru township, Berks county, and to them have been born these children: Agnes m. John Bare; James; Lillie m. Milton Bonham; Florence m. John Doerman; and Regina m. Charles Stott. Mr. Bickel is a member of the P. 0. S. of A., and the Jr. 0. U. A. M. In political matters he is independent, casting his vote rather for the man than the party.


p. 461


In the death of J. Isaac Bickel, Bern township lost one of her best and most respected citizens. He was born Nov. 2, 1838, in North Heidelberg township, Berks Co., Pa., son of Jonathan and Magdalena (Wenrich) Bickel.

The Bickel family has long been on of importance in upper Berks county. Anthony Bickel, son of the ancestor, was a farmer in North Heidelberg township, where he owned a farm of 160 acres, which is now the property of Peter Ruth. A barn that he built is yet standing. He was a member of Herrnhooder (now North Heidelberg) Union Church, where his remains were laid to rest. After his death his oldest son, Joseph, obtained the farm and after Joseph's death, his oldest son, Elias, became its owner. Elias Bickel sold it to Peter Ruth and moved to Reading, where he was in a hotel business on the site where the post-office now stands. Anthony Bickel married a Miss Romick, and they had six children, namely: Joseph (had children - Elias, John, Jesse, Moses, Joseph, Jared, Leah, Matilda, Mauline and Catherine); Anthony, who lived in North Heidelberg township, a blacksmith (had children - William, Benjamin - residing at Mt. Pleasant, John, Sallie and Eliza); Jonathan; Daniel; Mrs. Mordecai Lengel, who lived beyond Bernville; and Mrs. Henry Troutman, of Mount Etna.

Jonathan Bickel, born April 18, 1800, died July 21, 1874, aged seventy-four years, three months, three days, and was buried in the North Heidelberg Church graveyard. He was a farmer in North Heidelberg township, where he owned eighty acres of land. His wife was Magdalena Wenrich, daughter of Johannes Wenrich. They had the following children: (1) Daniel, (2) Jonathan, a farmer, who lived in Iowa, later in Ohio, was buried by the side of his wife in Iowa. His children were: Elias, Isaac and a daughter, (3) Frank resides at Mohnton, (4) James resides in Reading, (5) Molly married John Faust (deceased) and moved to Nebraska, but later lived at Milton, Pa., where she died, (6) J. Isaac.

Daniel Bickel, son of Jonathan, was born in North Heidelberg township, Feb. 20, 1823, and owned the homestead farm in North Heidelberg township, which he conducted until 1882. He resides with his son, Gasson Bickel, in Lower Heidelberg, near Wernersville. His physical health is remarkably good notwithstanding his years and he hauls the milk from the farm to the neighboring creamery. Formerly he served as school director in Lower Heidelberg township. He and family are members of the North Heidelberg Church, where the family have their burying plot. He has identified himself with the religious bodies where he has lived, and during a residence of eleven years in Cumru township was an elder in the Gouglersville Church. He is also a contributing member of Hain's Reformed Church. His wife, Rebecca Gruber, died in Cumru township, April 7, 1873, aged forty-six years. They had sixteen children all of whom are dead except Cornelius, residing in Reading, and Gasson, who is a farmer in Lower Heidelberg township and has one son, James.

Daniel Bickel, son of Anthony, moved to Fairfield county, Ohio, and settled two miles from Basil, where he followed farming and blacksmithing. Of his two sons, Ephraim and William, the latter still survives.

J. Isaac Bickel attended the public schools during his boyhood and was trained to farming on the home place. He engaged later in that occupation in Cumru, Muhlenbrg and Bern townships, locating in the latter in 1892, when he bought the old Jack Adams farm of 163 acres. This is very valuable land, being also favorably located midway between the Van Reed paper-mill and the Bern church. He was a most worthy member of Hain's Reformed Church, and at the time of his death was valued in that connection. He was a man of excellent business ability, was a director of the school board of Bern, and took a deep interest in educational affairs, and in the welfare of his community. At one time he was the Democratic nominee for Poor director. He had been identified with the Berks County Agricultural Society from its inception, and was keenly interested in its work. During the Berks County Fair in the year prior to his death, he was one of the superintendents of stock. His judgment on all agricultural matters was considered reliable. He was widely known, visiting the Reading market daily where he served a large milk route for twenty-eight years.

On Nov. 12, 1859, Mr. Bickel married Angeline F. Werner, daughter of Thomas and Kate (Fidler) Werner, and a history of the representative Werner family will be found elsewhere. The children born to Mr. And Mrs. Bickel were: Henrietta m. William Henning; Thomas Wellington resides at Shillington; Ellen lives in Toledo, Ohio; Mary m. Evan P. Christ; Moses A., who farms for his mother and looks after his late father's estate, m. Hannah Boyer, and they have had two sons, Paul I. And Raymond (died aged ten months); Jonathan died aged two years; Eva m. Thomas R. Gring; Charles a most exemplary young man, met death with his father; and Millie K., Ulysses Werner and Agnes E. reside at home.

On Oct. 8, 1904, Mr. J. Isaac Bickel and his son Charles were driving home from Reading. They occupied a spring wagon, to which two horses were attached. At Leiss' Crossing, on the Pennsylvania Railroad, the north-bound express train struck the team, killing one of the horses, and throwing the occupants out. Charles Bickel was killed instantly, but the father was brought to Reading Hospital, where he was able to give his name before lapsing into the unconsciousness from which he never awoke. Both father and son were laid to rest in the cemetery of Hain's Church. The double funeral was the largest ever held at this church, 368 vehicles being in the funeral procession.


p. 836


Napoleon Bickelman, now living retired from active work in Wyomissing borough, Berks county, devoted many years of his life to the building profession, and evidences of his constructive skill are found in many States of the Union. He was born in Tremont township, Schuylkill Co., Pa., Nov. 8, 1844, son of Jacob and grandson of Valentine Bickelman.

Valentine Bickelman was a soldier of France under Napoleon I., and served through the Spanish and Russian campaigns. He was not present at the battle of Waterloo, and was always glad that he was not there to witness the defeat of his beloved General. He came to America, bringing his son Jacob, and settled in Schuylkill county, Pa., dying at Pottsville, in 1862-63, in the ninety-sixth year of his age. His remains rest in the cemetery there. He was a man of small stature, though strong and courageous, and was very proud of his military career.

Jacob Bickelman, son of Valentine, was born in Alsace-Lorraine, France, in 1800, and his death occurred in 1894, when he was aged ninety-four years, and he was buried in Cedar county, Iowa. In November, 1833, he came to America, landing at Castle Garden, N. Y., thence coming by way of the canal to Pottsville, Pa. By trade he was a blacksmith, and he also worked in the coal mines. In 1848 he settled in Tremont township, Schuylkill county, where he owned his own home. In 1868 he and a daughter went West, and settled in Mechanicsville, Cedar Co., Iowa, where he died and is buried. He reared his family in the Lutheran faith. His wife, Ellenora Diehl, was born in Bavaria, Germany, in 1808, daughter of Henry Diehl, a Bavarian miner, and she died in 1900, aged ninety-two years. To Jacob and Ellenora Bickelman were born ten children.

Napoleon Bickelman, son of Jacob, began learning the carpenter's trade at the age of fourteen, from his brother-in-law, Adam Wolf. This he followed through all the western States, and in Clearfield, Philadelphia and Schuylkill counties in Pennsylvania. For many years he followed contracting, and during 1868 and 1869 he worked for the Union Pacific railroad in Nebraska, Wyoming and Iowa. In 1867 he worked for the Sioux City & Pacific Railroad Company. In 1877 and 1878 he built St. Peter's Catholic Church at Ellinwood, Kans., and he rebuilt the Catholic Church at Tremont, Schuylkill Co., Pa. In 1893 he erected the "Hotel Penn" at Pine Grove, a three-story brick structure containing thirty-three rooms. He employed mechanics all the time. In 1902 he retired, and disposed of his fine farm of 116 acres in Pine-Grove township on which he lived. He also owned a 160-acre farm in Neosho county, Kans., which he cultivated in connection with carpentering until selling it in 1900. Upon his retirement in 1902 he came to Berks county, and now lives in his comfortable home on Penn avenue, Wyomissing.

In 1871 Mr. Bickelman was married to Anna McDonough, daughter of Joseph and Annie (Bergman) McDonough, of Lower Heidelberg township. Six children were born of this union; Napoleon died young; Roy died aged twenty years; Blanche m. Thomas Lehr, of Philadelphia; Martha died young; Marguerite m. David Batdorf, of Reading; and William died young. In politics Mr. Bickelman is independent but usually casts his ballot in support of the Democratic party. He is well posted on current events. He is an artist, working chiefly in oils, and among the works of his brush may be mentioned a war scene, depicting an engagement between the First Vermont Cavalry and the Mosby guerillas; and portraits of himself and wife. He is a self-educated taxidermist, and has numerous specimens of his skill.

During the Civil war Mr. Bickelman enlisted Aug. 23, 1861, at Pottsville, being a private in Company H, 96th P. V. I., and participated in all the engagements of the Army of the Potomac, among these being the Peninsular Campaign; Second Battle of Bull Run; Crampton Gap, Md.; Antietam; Fredericksburg, Va. (first and second battles, receiving a bullet wound in the leg at the latter, May 3, 1863); Gettysburg; pursuit of Lee to the Rappahannock, and the battle there; Mine Run Campaign, 1863-64; Spottsylvania Court House, where he was wounded in the hand; Cold Harbor; and Sheridan's Campaign in the Shenandoah Valley. He was honorably discharged at Philadelphia Oct. 21, 1864. When the regiment was mustered in at Pottsville, 1,050 men answered the roll call, but at Philadelphia only 120 were mustered out, and of these a number had been wounded. On Aug. 20, 1870, Mr. Bickelman was commissioned by Gov. John W. Geary as first lieutenant of the Jefferson Rifles of the National Guard of Pennsylvania, in the Sixth Division, composed of the Uniformed Militia of the counties of Schuylkill, Monroe, Carbon and Pike, his rank to date from Aug. 13, 1870.


p. 701


John H. Bickley, Jr., chief draughtsman at the Scott foundry (Reading Iron Company), and one of the cities substantial citizens, was born in October 1864, at Pottsville, Pa., son of John H. and Maria (Stine) Bickley. John H. Bickley was born in Boonton, N. J., and early in life was a rolling mill engineer. At one time he was superintendent of the Haywood Rolling mill at Palo Alto, a suburb of Pottsville, and he built, and was one of the proprietors of, the Hamburg rolling mill, and also built a rolling mil at Schuylkill Haven and constructed the machinery for the Sternbergh Mill, now a part of the American Steel & Iron Company, at Reading. He retired in 1905, just prior to this having been superintendent of the Ulster Iron Works. Mr. and Mrs. John H. Bickley had three children: Alice m. A. E. Brown; Minnie m. Conrad Mann; and John H. Mr. Bickley was formerly connected with the I. O. O. F. He and his wife are members of the M. E. Church. John H. Bickley, Jr., was educated in the schools of Milldale, after leaving which his father had intended that he should take a law course. This plan did not suit the young man, however, who had decided on becoming a mechanic, and seeing that he was set in his intentions, his father gave him a trial in his shops. He proved to be a good mechanic, and his next employment was with the Phoenix Iron Company, as assistant master mechanic, later with Jones & Lauchlin, proprietors of the American Iron & Steel Company, as assistant to the chief draughtsman with the Pennsylvania Steel Company, at Steelton, Pa., then being made superintendent of the mechanical department at the Sparrow Point Mill. In 1901 he accepted a position with the Reading Iron Company, as draughtsman, and during the same year was made chief of his department, a position in which he has continued to the present time, having seven men in his employ. In 1903 he had charge of the designing of the brown segmental wire wound gun, which proved such a success to its inventors, and he has also had charge of the reconstruction of the Scott Foundry Department, Reading Iron Company. Mr. Bickley is a skilled mechanic, and a man of much ability. His ancestors were considered the most prominent rolling mill engineers in the early nineteenth century, and the first T rail made was made in 1845 by his uncles in Danville, Pa., at which is now the Montour Rolling Mill Department of the Reading Iron Company, but which mill was designed and then managed by one of Mr. Bickley's uncles. Mr. Bickley is a member of Acacia Lodge, No. 20, A. F. & A. M. of Dover, N. J.; Harrisburg Consistory, and Rajah Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S. He is independent in political matters, and he and Mrs. Bickley attend the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Bickley married Ida M. Miller, and to them has been born one son, John H.


p. 326


Edward Biddle, representative from Berks county in the First Congress, was born in 1732. He was the fourth son of William Biddle, a native of New Jersey, whose grandfather was one of the original proprietors of that State, having left England with his father in 1681. His mother was Mary Scull, the daughter of Nicholas Scull, Surveyor-General of Pennsylvania from 1748 to 1761. James, Nicholas, and Charles Biddle were three of his brothers.

In 1758, Edward Biddle was commissioned an ensign in the Provincial Army of Pennsylvania, and was present at the taking of Fort Niagara in the French and Indian War. In 1759 he was promoted to lieutenant, and in 1760 commissioned as a captain, after which he resigned from the army and received 5,000 acres of land for his services. He then selected the law as his profession, and after the usual course of study at Philadelphia in the office of his eldest brother, he located at Reading, where he soon established himself as a lawyer. In 1767, he represented Berks county in the Provincial Assembly, and he was annually re-elected until 1775, and again elected in 1778. In 1774 and 1775, he officiated as speaker, having previously been placed upon the most important committees, and having taken an active part in all the current business.

When the citizens of Reading held a public meeting on July 2, 1774, to take initiatory steps in behalf of the Revolution, they selected him to preside over their deliberations, and the resolutions adopted by them were doubtless drafted by him. His patriotic utterances won their admiration, and they unanimously gave him a vote of thanks and appreciation of his efforts in the cause of the rights and liberties of America. On the same day, while presiding at this meeting, the Assembly of Pennsylvania was in session and elected eight delegates as representatives to the First Continental Congress, and among them was Edward Biddle of Reading. He was again elected as one of the delegates to the new Congress, which was held in May, 1775; and he was elected the third time. The first two terms extended from Sept. 5, 1774, to Dec. 12, 1776, and the last from 1778 to 1779. The public records in the county offices, especially in the prothonotary's office, disclose a large and lucrative practice by him as an attorney-at-law, and this extended from 1760 to the time of his decease in 1779. It seems to have been as much as, if not more than, that of all the other attorneys taken together.

He died Sept. 5, 1779, at Baltimore, Md., whither he had gone for medical treatment. He married Elizabeth Ross, daughter of Rev. George Ross, of New Castle, Del., by whom he had two daughters, Catherine (m. George Lux, Esq., of Baltimore); and Abigail (m. Capt. Peter Scull of Reading). We conclude this article with Mr. Biddle's autograph.


p. 415


Benjamin E. Bieber, chief burgess and prominent citizen of Topton, where he is the owner and proprietor of a general store, was born on the old Bieber homestead, in Longswamp township, Berks Co., Pa., son of Jonas and Annie (Eck) Bieber.

Jacob Bieber, grandfather of Benjamin E., was a farmer and laborer in Longswamp township, and was very well known. He married Susan Keim, who was born in Oley township, Berks Co, Pa., and they had six children, namely: Jonas; Jacob; Susan (m. Samuel Warmkessel); Elizabeth (m. Jacob Long); Hettie (m. a Mr. Weiser) and Mrs. Reuben Walb.

Jonas Bieber followed farming and shoemaking all his active life. He was married in early manhood to Annie Eck, daughter of Daniel Eck, and they had the following children: William E.; Benjamin E.; George E. (m. to Annie Geist); Emma (m. to Charles A. Fegley); Elizabeth (m. to Alvin Dunkel); Mary (unmarried); Louisa, twin sister of Benjamin (m. William Weil, who survives her); Susan (m. Henry Slicher); and Lillie (m. Jonas O. Weiler.

Benjamin E. Bieber was reared in the neighborhood of his place of birth and he attended the local schools. His first work was done around the iron ore mines, but later he became a clerk in the general store at Topton, of which he is now proprietor. He carries an excellent stock and does a very satisfactory business. He has been active in the public affairs of the community and enjoys the confidence of his fellow citizens to a very large extent. As chief burgess of the town, he fills the highest office in their gift.

In 1886, Mr. Bieber married Montana Gerhart, daughter of John and Sarah (Romig) Gerhart, the latter of whom was a daughter of John and Sallie (Frederick) Romig. Mr. And Mrs. Bieber have one son, Lloyd J., born Oct. 7, 1887. He is a graduate of the Topton high school, and is now learning business methods as his father's assistant in the general store. The family belong to the Topton Lutheran Church, in which Mr. Bieber has served as a deacon for about sixteen years. He is a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles.


p. 815


The founder of the Bieber family in America was (I) Johanes Bieber, a native of Switzerland, who in young manhood came to America with a number of others, landing at Philadelphia, as a redemptioner, before the Revolution. He first settled near Allentown, Lehigh Co., Pa., but later came to Oley township, in Berks county, where his son Jacob married Susanna Lescher, a daughter of Nicholas and Barbara Lescher, of Oley township. She was a wealthy woman and gave her husband and his father an excellent start in the new home. Johanes acquired a tract of 400 acres, located adjacent to the Peters mill, in the northern end of the township. On this farm he is buried in a private burial ground, which is kept in good repair, he having provided for this in his will. Many members of the family are interred there. A number of very interesting inscriptions are to be found over the old graves, some of which are here given: "William Bieber, Born Sept. 9 1794, Died Dec. 11, 1878, Aged eighty-four years, three months, and two days." "Jacob Bieber, Born Oct. 13, 1761, Died Nov. 8, 1835, Aged seventy-four years and twenty-six days." "Esther Bieber, Born Jan. 25, 1767, Died Feb. 25, 1856, Aged eighty-nine years and one month. She was married to Jacob Bieber in 1786." "Sarah Bieber, Born Aug. 6, 1808, Died Jan. 20, 1877, Aged sixty-eight years, five months and fourteen days. She was a daughter of Jacob and Esther Bieber." "Miaria Hess, Born Dec. 25, 1792, Died Dec. 20, 1863, Aged seventy years, eleven months and twenty-six days. She was the wife of Daniel Hess." "Susanna Lescher, Born Oct. 25, 1756, Died May 10, 1841, Aged eighty-four years, six months and fifteen days. She was the daughter of Nicholas and Barbara Lescher." "Barbara Lescher, Born Jan. 15, 1735, Died Feb. 1, 1818. She was married in 1752." "Nicholas Lescher, Born April 18, 1726, Died March 25, 1795, Aged sixty-eight years, eleven months and eight days. He was married to Barbara Lescher in 1752." "Elizabeth Lescher, Born Nov. 16, 1771, Died May 28, 1806, Aged thirty-four years, six months and twelve days. She was a daughter of Nicholas and Barbara Lescher."

There are three graves without tombstones and one stone from which all inscriptions are effaced; it is among the Lescher graves. The unmarked graves are those of children who probably died in infancy. Miaria Hess was the housekeeper for William Bieber, who never married.

II) Jacob Bieber was reared on the old homestead and is buried in the private graveyard. He was a farmer and carpenter of more than usual ability, being a master of the wood-working craft. In 1792 he made a clothes closet which is now a valued possession of John Bieber of Oley Line. His wife was Susanna Lescher, and their children were: Sally never married; Susan married a Mr. Meck; Mary married Abraham Bover; Samuel settled in Northumberland county, Pa.; David settled in Ohio and there married; Daniel settled in Rockland township; William lived on the homestead where he is buried; Dewold, born in 1792, died aged eighty-five years and nine months.

(III) Dewold Bieber was a soldier in the war of 1812 and was one of the pensioners of that war. During the greater portion of his life he was a resident of Oley township, where he died. He is buried at Friedensburg. In his young manhood he spent some time in Rockland. His wife was Mary Angstadt, daughter of Jacob and Caroline (Yoder) Angstadt, and the had these children: Jacob settled in Rockland township; Kate married Jacob Miller; William settled in Rockland township; Betsy married Levi Angstadt; Esther married John Schaeffer; Samuel never married, and lived at home; Mary married Benjamin Houck; Nathan settled in Rockland township; Abraham settled in Rockland township, but later came to Oley, where he died; Magdalena married Augustus Redcay.

(IV) Daniel A. Bieber was born in Rockland township Nov. 24, 1832, and remained with his father until he was eighteen years of age, when he commenced to learn the miller's trade with Isaac Bertolet of Oley. After learning the trade he worked for his father, who owned the old Knabb mill in Rockland, remaining there for four years. He then removed to Exeter township, where he remained a year, and then bought a small farm above Friedensburg, which he traded for the Yeager mill above Friedensburg one year later. For two years he conducted this mill, and then sold it to Israel Leinbach, and bought another small farm, upon which he lived for three years. He then went to Alsace township, where he bought a farm above "Blind" Hartman's tavern, but after a year he removed to Reading, and purchasing land erected store property at 900 North Ninth street, corner of Ninth and Windsor, where he conducted a general store for two years. In conjunction he also ran a huckster's wagon and stood at market for some years. When the property at 900 North Ninth street was ready for the roof it was leveled to the ground one night during a terrible electric storm. Mr. Bieber sustained a severe loss, as all of the work had to be done over. Later he traded this store for a farm at Baumstown, in Exeter township, consisting of forty-eight acres, to which he added until he had seventy acres. By constantly improving the property Mr. Bieber made it very valuable, and he raised large crops there. One year he cleared $1,200. Here he prospered and continued to reside for eight years, when he traded the place for the farm at East Reading Toll Gate House. Two years later he sold the latter property, and bought the Knabb mill in Oley from Wellington Griesemer for $10,000. This mill now bears his name. The trolley line passes near it, and the crossing and station in the vicinity is known as "Bieber's Crossing." Mr. Bieber conducted the mill for twelve years, finally disposing of it to his son John for $6,000. He then retired, leaving his son to operate the mill.

Mr. Bieber owns a large farm in Oley at Friedensburg, which he rents. A good deal of grass is raised on that place. He has a plantation of sixty-six acres in North Carolina, near Littleton Station, which he also rents. Gold has been found on this property and some mining is carried on. It is in the vicinity of the famous Porter gold mine of North Carolina. The family residence in Oley is a very pleasant and substantial one and is also on of Mr. Bieber's holding.

Mr. Bieber has traveled all over the United States and Canada and talks enjoyably of what he has seen. He is well read, and takes a deep interest in current events. It is his boast that he was never sick in his life. He is a member of the Lutheran Church at Friedensburg, which he helped to build, has served as deacon and elder and has always been a very liberal contributor to its support. He has also contributed generously toward the building of the New Jerusalem, Schwartzwald and Friedensburg churches in lower Berks county, and toward the Topton Orphans?ome.

In 1858 Mr. Bieber was married at Friedensburg to Mary Ann Dotterer, born in 1834, a daughter of Cain Dotterer, of Hill Church. Ten children were born of this marriage: Caroline married Jacob Fritz, who is deceased; Daniel died at the age of twelve years; Katie married Jefferson Hartman of Friedensburg; John D. conducts the Bieber mill; Charles died at the age of twelve years; Elizabeth married Benjamin Hill, of Ruscombmanor township; Mary married Lewis Angstadt, of Rockland township; Samuel, of Oley township, owns a small farm; Benneville is a resident of Friedensburg; Violetta married Charles Conrad, a farmer of Amity township.




Dr. Ulysses S. G. Bieber, veterinary surgeon of Kutztown, Pa., was born April 12, 1865, in Maxatawny township, on the old Bieber farm, son of Jonathan and Brigitta (Schwoyer) Bieber, and a member of an old and honored family of this section.

Dewalt Bieber, the great-great-great-grandfather of the Doctor, emigrated from Germany in 1742, with his son and two brothers, John and George, and settled near Valley Forge, Chester county, his farm being still known. Ex-Governor Beaver of Bellefonte, Pa., is one of his descendants. John died in the American army at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-78. One of his sons, John by name, moved to Maxatawny township about 1770, becoming the progenitor of a numerous posterity, of whom the late Captain Bieber and Walter B. Bieber are descendants. Dewalt Bieber, the emigrant, settled on the old Bieber farm about 1770 or before, and here he died, being buried in the private burial ground on the farm.

Dewalt Bieber (2), son of the emigrant Dewalt, was born in Germany, Oct. 26, 1729, and died Jan. 26, 1808. On Jan. 24, 1750, he married Sybilla Steinbunner, and they had ten sons and two daughters. He was known as the "Barra Bieber," because he successfully fought with a bear one evening on his farm. He was a very powerful man, being able to lift a barrel of cider to his lips and drink from the bung-hole. After the battle of Germantown a part of Washington's baggage-train had retired to the country north of Reading and several battalions rested on the Bieber farm. The women baked bread and cakes for the soldiers, and later the giant, Dewalt Bieber, regaled them with hard cider. After they had emptied several barrels they became troublesome, and undertook to help themselves, and when they refused to listen to Mr. Bieber's request, he took a single-tree and drove them from the premises. The soldiers retaliated by injuring some of his cattle.

John Bieber, son of Dewalt (2), was born in December, 1766, and died Aug. 15, 1845. He was twice married, his first wife being a Miss Wentz, by whom he had children: Elizabeth, m. to Solomon Christ; Sallie, m. to Peter Neff; Dewalt, m. to a Miss Yeager; John, m. (first) to a Miss Siegfried and (second) a Miss Fetherolf. John Bieber m. (second) a Miss Siegfried, and to them were born: Jonathan S.; George, who lived in Ohio, m. Polly Rahn; Susanna m. Jonathan Christ; and Mary m. John H. Siegfried.

Jonathan S. Bieber, grandfather of the Doctor, was born in 1808. He was reared on the old homestead, became a well known farmer and was a highly esteemed citizen. For twelve years he was postmaster of Kutztown. He was an active Republican, and was frequently delegate to the conventions of his party. He was married to Katherine Schlouch, daughter of Christian Schlouch, and their children were: Daniel, m. to Caroline Lichtenwahn; Jonathan; and William, m. (first) to Caroline Frey and (second) to Clara Bailey.

Jonathan Bieber, son of Jonathan S. and father of Dr. Bieber, was a well known farmer of Maxatawny township and owned the old Bieber farm, which has been in the possession of the family for 130 years. He was an influential citizen, was interested in many enterprises, and was successful in all of his undertakings. He was a stockholder of the Keystone State Normal school, of the Kutztown Agricultural Fair and of the Kutztown Furnace. He established one of the first milk routes in Kutztown, conducting it for twenty-six years, and was known as the "Milk Bieber." He was a consistent member of St. John's Lutheran Church, filling many offices of importance therein. In politics a stanch Republican, he was an active worker in the ranks of his party, attending every Republican county convention in Reading in his time, and being frequently delegate to both county and State conventions. Jonathan Bieber married Brigitta Schwoyer, daughter of Samuel Schwoyer, a prominent citizen of Maxatawny township, and children as follows were born to this union: (1) Clara m. Allen Butz, of Allentown, Pa. (2) Rev. Milton, a graduate of the Keystone State Normal school, of Muhlenberg College, and of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Mt. Airy, Philadelphia, taught the Bernville high school and the Kutztown high school, and has been a minister of the Gospel for a number of years, serving with great success charges at Mt. Joy, Pa., and Binghamton, N. Y., at present serving his church as field missionary for New England, being located at Worcester, Mass. (3) Ulysses S. G. (4) Robert S., who is a scientist and has charge of electrical machines in Brooklyn, is deaf and dumb, and is a graduate of the school for the Deaf and Dumb in Philadelphia. (5) Anna m. Peter Schwoyer, and lives in Richmond township. (6) Jonathan E., single, who is a graduate of the Allentown Business College, is in business in Cleveland, Ohio.

Dr. Ulysses S. G. Bieber spent his boyhood days on the farm and attended the schools of his district, later going to the Keystone State Normal school. In 1888 he graduated from Eastman's Business College, Poughkeepsie, N. Y., and in 1892 from the American Veterinary College of New York. He then located at Kutztown, where he soon established a large and lucrative practice. His services are constantly in demand, and he is busy at all hours. The Doctor is a Republican, and a regular member of the Lutheran Church. Along with his extensive practice he finds time to attend to many business interests. He is known as an extensive builder, being one of the owners of the ten new houses recently erected on Park avenue by Bieber, Heffner & Co. In all he has built twenty-five houses. He is a stockholder in and treasurer of the Kutztown Agricultural Fair Company; secretary of the Schuylkill Valley Veterinary Association; and has for a number of years been secretary of the Pennsylvania State Veterinary Association. Since 1898 the Doctor has been the Berks County Veterinarian. He is a stockholder in the Blue Mountain Telephone Company, a stockholder and director of the Saucony Shoe Factory and a stockholder of the Kutztown Park Association.

Dr. Bieber was married Oct. 18, 1888, to Maria E. Sharadin, only child of Henry and Abbie (Deisher) Sharadin, of Maxatawny township. To this union have born two children: John Henry, born Aug. 9, 1889, a graduate of the Keystone State Normal School, class 1908, and now a student at Muhlenberg College, is also an expert motor cyclist, and has won several prizes; Edgar William, born April 10, 1894, a student at the Keystone State Normal School, does all the wiring for his father in his new buildings.

Mrs. Sharadin, mother of Mrs. Bieber, is the owner of the well known John Deisher farm of 150 acres, located North West of the borough of Kutztown, and adjoining the Kutztown fair ground.


p. 538


George W. Biehl, senior partner of Biehl's Carriage & Wagon Works at Reading, and actively identified with the business for thirty years, was born in Allentown, Feb. 5, 1854. He received his education in the common schools of Reading. At the age of thirteen years he entered the employ of Conrad Krebs as a helper to his father (who was employed there as a coach trimmer), Mr. Krebs having been then the leading carriage manufacturer in Reading. He mastered the trimming trade and started in business on his own account in 1877, locating his shop on Cherry street below Sixth, where he remained until 1880. He then moved his establishment to his present factory on Pearl street, between Cherry and Franklin, with show room at No. 31 South Fifth street. Every department is equipped with modern machinery, and expert mechanics are kept busy in turning out special products, which comprise light carriages, transfer and express wagons, ambulances, embalmers' wagons, hearses, speed-sleighs, etc. Anything in the carriage manufacturer's line can be furnished by this large and well-know establishment; all kinds of harness can also be procured there.

In 1903, Mr. Biehl admitted as a partner, Wilson H. Eisenbrown, then proprietor of the Eagle Wagon Works, and the two plants were consolidated; and in 1904, on account of the large increase in business, Thomas DeMoss was admitted as a second partner, the firm name becoming Biehl's Carriage & Wagon Works; and since then this enterprising firm has been very successful. In 1907 they incorporated the Berk Auto Garage Company for selling, repairing and storing automobiles.

In 1871 Mr. Biehl married Emma Morgan, daughter of Thomas Morgan of Reading, and they have five children: George M. (married Julia Pougel), Bessie (widow of Charles F. Worrell, residing at Wayne, Pa.) Alvin J. (married Sophia Skinner), Herbert T. and Earl. Mr. Biehl is a member of St. John's Lodge No. 135, F. & A. M., of Reading, of the Scottish Rite, 32d degree, and Rajah Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S., of Reading.

George Biehl, the paternal grandfather of Mr. Biehl, was brought up and educated in the schools of Kutztown, and while a young man learned the blacksmith's trade, which he followed for many years. He died at Kutztown in 1861, aged forth-eight years. He married Mary Bobst and she survived him two years, dying in 1863, aged forth-eight years. They had the following children: William, John A., Henry, Jane (m. Thomas Hemmig), and Emeline (m. Henry Essen). In religious belief they were Lutherans.

John A. Biehl, the father of Mr. Biehl, was born in the vicinity of Kutztown, Nov. 17, 1831, and his education was secured in the advanced schools of that town. His first work was as helper in his father's blacksmith shop, and after working thus for a short period he apprenticed himself to the carriage trimmer's trade at Allentown, Pa., which he learned thoroughly in all its branches. He then worked as a journeyman in Allentown, Hamburg, Reading and other cities, and was considered a superior workman. He continued working at his trade until in 1902, when he retired, making his home with his son until his decease in 1908. In 1853 he married Matilda Wetherhold, daughter of George Wetherhold, of Allentown, and they had one son, George W., the subject of this sketch. Mrs. Biehl died in 1905, when in her seventy-fifth year.


p. 1162


Joel Foster Straub Biehl was born Oct. 26, 1875, near Fleetwood, in Richmond township, Berks county, Pa., son of Daniel K. and Arlinda (Straub) Biehl.

Daniel K. Biehl was born in Richmond township on the old homestead. He was reared on the farm and obtained his education in the local schools, at an early age learning the trade of blacksmith, which he followed first in Richmond township, then at Fleetwood, and since 1885 in Reading. He married Arlinda Straub, of Richmond township, and to this union were born: Heber S., Jacob S., and Harrison S., all of whom learned the blacksmith's trade; and Joel Foster Straub.

Joel Foster Straub Biehl was eight years of age when his parents moved to Fleetwood, and there spent two years, he attending the public school of that place. On locating in Reading in 1885 he attended school regularly, and was graduated from the high school in 1894. While attending high school he also clerked in the law office of W. Kerper Stevens, and when the firm of Stevens and Stevens was formed, he was employed by these gentlemen, whom he left Nov. 18, 1894, to connect himself with the law firm of Rourke & Heinly, later engaging with Mr. Rourke, which whom he has continued ever since, and who has offices at No. 44 North Sixth street. In 1900 Mr. Biehl was admitted to practice before the courts of Berks county.

Mr. Biehl was married Feb. 18, 1903, to Grace W. Hoover, daughter of Albert R. and Elizabeth W. (Wright) Hoover, of Reading, Pa. Mr. Biehl is a member of St. Luke's Lutheran Church. His political views make him a Democrat.


p. 1069


John E. Biehl, a highly respected citizen of Reading, Pa., who resides at No. 136 West Douglass street, and is employed in the manufacture of hats at the John Hendel's Sons hat factory, was born in 1857, in Exeter township, Berks county, son if Isaac Y. and Susanna (Eidel) Biehl.

Daniel Biehl, grandfather of John E., was a tinsmith by trade, and for many years lived in Oley township, where his death occurred. He married Catherine Yoder, and to them were born children as follows: Abraham Y.; Isaac Y.; Daniel; Elizabeth (m. Joseph Kissling); Catherine (m. John Stapleton). In religious belief the family were Lutherans.

Isaac Y. Biehl was born in Kutztown, Pa., and after completing a common school course learned the blacksmith's trade, which he followed practically all of his life, being employed in the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad shops. In 1898 he resigned from this position and removed to Exeter township, locating on a small farm, on which he died in 1901, aged seventy-six years, his widow still surviving. To Mr. and Mrs. Biehl were born these children: Catherine m. (first) John Lincoln, by whom she had four children -- Howard, Isaac W., Permilla and Harrison T. -- and (second) Charles Leinbach, by whom two children have been born --Warren and Catherine; Daniel m. Mary Lincoln and has four children -- Sallie, Susan, Martha and Mary; Emma m. Jacob Esterly, and has six children -- Harry, Catherine, Susan, Jacob, Franklin and Mary; Isaac m. Amanda Hiester, and has four children -- Elizabeth, John, Edward and Florence; James m. Catherine High, and has five children -- Percival, Laura, Charles, Warren and Helen; John E.; and Susan is deceased. In religious belief the family are Lutherans. Mr. Biehl was a Democrat.

John E. Biehl was educated in the common schools of Exeter and Alsace townships, after leaving which he learned the trade of hatter with the company by which he is now employed, and with which he has been associated since 1874. During his long term of service with this well-known concern, Mr. Biehl has become regarded as a most faithful and valued employe, and he is highly esteemed by his fellow citizens. In 1880 he married Sarah Young, daughter of Adam Young, of Muhlenberg township, and to this union there have been born four children, as follows: Miss Anna M.; Frank (married Eva Angstadt, and has one child, Wilson); George (m. Lillian Dieffenderfer, and has three children, LeRoy, Beulah and Robert), and Charles H. (attending school).

Mr. Biehl is a member of the P. O. S. of A., and of the Trinity Brotherhood. He is a member of St. Luke's Lutheran Church, in which he has filled the office of deacon.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:52:37 EDT

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