Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 400


Picture of Willis BlandH. Willis Bland, President Judge of the Orphans' Court of Berks county, was born August 20, 1845, at Blandon, that county, a village which derives its name from his paternal ancestors. He attended the public schools of Birdsboro until he was thirteen years of age. On August 31, 1861, when he had barely reached the age of sixteen, he enlisted at Philadelphia as a private in Company H, 82nd Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, and in the following year was promoted successively to corporal and first sergeant. He served throughout the three years' term of his enlistment, being mustered out September 16, 1864. The regiment was engaged principally in the campaigns in Virginia, participating in a number of the severest battles of the war, including those of Fair Oaks, Malvern Hill, Antietam, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. After his army service, being thrown entirely upon his own resources, he became a clerk in the office of the Phoenix Iron Company at Phoenixville, Pa. He also acquired some training as a machinist, and worked for a time as an apprentice to that trade in Philadelphia, meanwhile studying in the evenings at a polytechnic school. Feeling himself physically unfitted for hard manual labor, and choosing a professional calling, he came to Reading in February, 1867, and commenced the study of the law in the office of J. Howard Jacobs, Esq., a widely known and extensive practitioner, and after the necessary two years' course was admitted to the Bar on April 12, 1869. Energetic and ambitious, he acquired a substantial practice in both the criminal and civil courts. Before and after his admission he participated actively in politics, at first as a Republican, and subsequently to 1872, when Horace Greeley was the candidate of the Democratic party for President, as a Democrat.

A separate Orphans' court for the county of Berks was created by the Act of June 13, 1883, and at the general election in the fall of that year Hiram H. Schwartz, Esq., who had been the temporary appointee, was elected judge for the term of ten years. Judge Schwartz having died on August 25, 1891, Judge Bland was on the 16th of the following month appointed by Governor Pattison to fill the vacancy, and in 1892 was elected for the full term of ten years, beginning on the first Monday of January, 1893. At the end of that period he was re-elected for the term expiring in January, 1913

During his practice at the Bar Judge Bland acquired a reputation as an advocate of unusual eloquence and marked ability. He was a close student, and his success was due not alone to forensic talent, but to thorough legal equipment as well. As a judge he was hot disappointed the promise of his career as a lawyer. The Orphans' court, though a forum concerned solely with the estates of decedents, and attracting a less degree of public attention and spectacular interest than the co-ordinate tribunals attended with trials by jury, is nevertheless, in the end, of vital importance to every member of the community. The duties and responsibilities of its presiding officer are commensurate with the significance of the trusts committed to his care. The office of chancellor is on of the highest dignity and consequence. In his judicial career Judge Bland endeavors to measure up to the high standard set by the historical shining lights of the Bench whom he consistently emulates, and has abundantly justified the confidence which his constituency have reposed in him by repeated elections. As a citizen he is deservedly held in universal public respect and esteem.

Outside of his official position he is connected with various civic organizations for the uplifting of humanity. His oratorical gifts are frequently called into service upon public occasions; and on whatever topic he may be designated to speak, his rhetoric is always scholarly and forceful. In the cause of the surviving soldiers of the Civil war he naturally takes a deep personal interest, and in their most notable gatherings is usually selected as their principal spokesman. He is affiliated with the Grand Army of the Republic, being a member of McLean Post, No. 16, of Reading.


p. 1324


Robert Bland, a highly esteemed, retired citizen of Reading, was born at Blandon, Berks county, son of Robert and Mary (Minker) Bland, after the former of whom the town of Blandon was named. It was first called Blandtown, but after the advent of the East Pennsylvania Railroad, the name was changed to Blandon Station, and eventually to Blandon.

Mr. Bland's father was a blacksmith by trade, an occupation which he followed all of his life. In his younger days he removed to Blandon, and there, died in April 1836, aged fifty-three years. His wife, a daughter of Henry Minker, was born at Glasgow Forge, and bore her husband ten children, as follows: Henry; William; Robert, our subject; Hannah, married Peter Gift and has two children, Mary and Catherine; Mary married (first) William Hughes, by whom she had four children, Sarah, Jane, Hannah and Samuel L., and married (second) John Noll; Rachel married (first) Amos Lightfoot, and had one son, Amos, and married (second) Daniel S. Fox, having four children, Harry, Sarah, Mary and Emma: Hannah, deceased, married D. R. Smucker and had one child, Wilber B., of Chicago, Ill.; Elizabeth died single; Jane married Samuel Field and had two children, Mary and Belle; and Sarah died single.

Robert Bland, our subject, was educated in the common schools of Blandon, and remained at home until about twenty years old. He clerked for several years in a general store conducted by L. D. Hoffman, and was then engaged in the iron industry of George Merkel, and Hunter & Kauffman. He later engaged in that business with Jacob K. Spang, George Merkel and William M. Kauffman for five years, and for six years with the Grubbs in Dauphin county. Mr. Bland then went into business with J. K. Spang, conducting the Union Forge, Lebanon county, for one year. He then served one year as treasurer of the Lerch Hardware Company, and was also connected with the Allendale Forge, Bland, Kauffman & Co. The firm then became Spang & Bland, having a furnace in Franklin county for five years. In 1888 Mr. Bland purchased George R. Frill's interest in the Angelica Ice Company, and was treasurer and superintendent for twelve years, and he is still a stockholder in this concern, which has been merged into the combine.

Mr. Bland married Nov. 12, 1861, Miss Elizabeth A. Jones, daughter of Alderman Ezekiel and Sarah B. (Pyle) Jones. and one child was born to this union, Laura, who married Charles A. Brown, a confectioner of No. 607 Penn street, and has one child, Elizabeth, at school. Mr. Bland is a member of the Masonic fraternity. In politics he is a Republican.


p. 1320


William Bland, deceased, for many years, a prominent citizen of Reading, was born Dec. 16, 1825, at Blandon, Pa. (a town named in honor of the family), a son of Robert and Polly Bland.

Robert Bland was at one time a large landowner, in the vicinity of Blandon. By trade he was a blacksmith and was well and favorably known in all the surrounding country. His children were: Jane, widow of Samuel Fields, of Pittston, Pa.: Robert, of Reading; Rachel, died in Iowa; Mary, deceased, wife of John Noll; and William. Others died in infancy. In their earlier life, Mr. Bland's parents were Quakers, but later they united with the M. E. Church.

The late William Bland learned the blacksmith trade under the direction of his father and worked at the same form many years and then came to Reading and established himself in the mercantile line. He was first at Third and Franklin streets and later at Ninth and Penn, and carried on business there until within a few years of his death. He stood at the head of the city's reliable, honorable business men and when he died, in 1894, there were many outside the circle of his family and personal friends to regret that so useful and upright a life had closed.

William Bland was married (first) to Mary Dickinson, who died July 7, 1877, aged fifty-nine years. They had one child who died in infancy. His second union was to Esther (Goodhart) Bechtel, widow of James B. Bechtel, the latter of whom was once a very prominent attorney of Reading. Mrs. Bechtel had three children, namely: Walter G., deceased: William B., an attorney at Reading; and Howard L., who died in 1869, aged six years. No children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Bland.

Politically he was a Republican. He was a leading member of St. Peter's M. E. Church and held a number of church offices.


p. 1603 & 1604


The firm of Blankenbiller Brothers in West Reading is a most popular and successful one, and is composed of Daniel B. and Harry B. Blankenbiller, sons of Elias W. and Amanda (Brunner) Blankenbiller.

The progenitor of this old and honored family in America was Johan Georg Blanckenbiller, whose date of emigration is given in the Pennsylvania Archives as Oct. 7, 1755, when he landed at Philadelphia and took the oath of allegiance. He made the journey to the New World on the good ship "Neptune," George Smith, captain.

Jacob Blankenbiller, son of Johan Georg, was a farmer in Cumru township, Berks county and belonged to the Lutheran congregation of the Allegheny Church, of which his wife, Dolley (Fitterling) Blankenbiller, was also a member. They had these children: George, who died unmarried; Jacob; David, who had sons, William, Samuel and Joseph; Dolly, m. to John Rathman; Elizabeth, m. to Dietrich Heitzman; Peter, the father of John R., deceased; Catherine, m. to William Remp; Polly, m. to Solomon Weidman; Isaac, who settled at Flat Rock, Ohio; and Susan, m. to Jacob Artz.

Jacob Blankenbiller, son of Jacob and grandfather of Daniel B., was born in Cumru township, April 23, 1803, and died, March 19, 1895, aged ninety-one years, ten months, twenty-six days. He was a lifelong farmer, and owned a 225-acre farm in Spring township, which is now divided into three tracts. He was a member of the United Brethren Church of Sinking Spring (where he is buried), and was a church official and a good man of his community. He married Anna Maria Weidman, born Jan. 18, 1805, who died March 3, 1888, aged eighty-three years, one month, fifteen days, and they had the following children: Elias W.; Maria, born Oct. 24, 1835, m. Henry Mosser, of Reading; Katharine, born in 1838, died unmarried in 1870; Elizabeth m. Isaac Moyer, of Reading; and Jacob, a farmer of Mohn's Hill, m. Emma Hinnershitz, and has three children, Eulalia, Cordelia and Pruella.

Elias W. Blankenbiller, father of Daniel B., was born in Cumru township, Sept. 23, 1833, and died April 12, 1898. He was a lifelong farmer, but two years prior to his death retired and spent the rest of his days in his residence at Mohnton. He was a faithful member of the United Brethren Church of Sinking Spring, where he was an exhorter for many years, and later became connected with Salem Evangelical Church of Mohnton, of which he was a liberal supporter until his death.

Mr. Blankenbiller was married to Amanda Brunner, born Aug. 11, 1840, daughter of Henry Brunner, of Reinhold's Station, Lancaster county, and to them were born seven children, namely: Harry B.; Emma, m. to Levi Miller, of Mohnton; Ezra; Daniel B. ; Edwin; Ella, who is unmarried and lives with her mother; and William B., who m. Martha Von Neida, has three children, Carrie, Stella and William, and resides at West Reading, being in the employ, of Blankenbiller Brothers.

Harry B. Blankenbiller, eldest son of Elias W. Blankenbiller, was born at Sinking Spring, Berks county, Jan. 30, 1864. He spent his boyhood days there and at Reinhold's Station, Lancaster county, where his parents lived for some time, and attended public school at both places, beginning his education in his native place. When eighteen years old he commenced to learn the cigar maker's trade, which he followed for sixteen years at what was formerly Mohnsville, now Mohnton. In November, 1901, Mr. Blankenbiller formed a partnership with his brother Daniel B., under the firm name of Blankenbiller Brothers, and settling in West Reading they have since carried on a general merchandise business there, at the corner of Penn avenue and Fifth street. They carry staple and fancy groceries, dry goods, shoes, notions; etc. The brothers enjoy an extensive patronage in West Reading, Reading and Mohnton, making a specialty of groceries. In 1908 they enlarged their store, equipped it with Walker bins and made it strictly up-to-date in every respect. They have stands at the Kissinger market-house and at the Crystal Palace market-house, both in Reading, which they attend every market day. The business has prospered from the start and five people are employed in the store. Since May 20, 1904, Mr. Harry B. Blankenbiller has been postmaster at West Reading, and his brother Daniel serves as assistant post-master.

On Feb. 9, 1901, Mr. Blankenbiller married Sallie Burley, daughter of the late Daniel and Emma (Davis) Burley, of Reading, and they reside in a comfortable home at No. 444 Penn avenue, West Reading, which Mr. Blankenbiller owns. He is a member of Camp No. 211, P. 0. S. of A., of Mohnton, and he is a Republican in political connection.

Daniel B. Blankenbiller was born at Sinking Spring June 1, 1871, son of Elias W., and spent his boyhood days under the parental roof and worked for his father until twenty-one years of age. When sixteen years old he learned the cigar making business at Reinhold's Station, and this occupation he followed for about three years, in 1888 learning the hatting trade with J. H. Spatz & Co., in whose employ he continued for thirteen years, the last eight years of which he had charge of the packing and shipping departments. In 1901, with his brother Harry B., he formed the firm of Blankenbiller Brothers, and engaged in a general merchandise business in a small way at the corner of Fifth and Penn Avenue, West Reading, and since that time by strict attention to business and honest dealing, the firm has increased the business manifold and become one of the leading establishments of the borough. Mr. Blankenbiller owns his own residence at No. 508 Penn avenue, which he purchased in the fall of 1903. In politics lie is a Republican. He and his family are consistent members of Ebenezer Evangelical Church, of Reading, he having been formerly an official member of Salem Evangelical Church, at Mohnton.

On Aug. 17, 1895, Mr. Blankenbiller was married to Debbie S. Krick, born Aug. 3, 1874, daughter of Harrison and Elizabeth (Spatz.) Krick, the former a son of Jonathan Krick, of Kricktown, in Spring township. Three sons have been born to this union, namely: Paul P., born Nov. 25, 1896; Harold C., Jan. 23, 1901; and Norman H.. Jan. 30, 1906.

Daniel Burley, father of Mrs. Harry B. Blankenbiller, was born Jan. 26, 1832, in Eastington, Gloucestershire, England, son of William and Harriet Burley, of that place. On Oct. 12, 1852, he married Emma Davis, daughter of Job Davis, of Eastington, England, who died in 1834-35, and four days later, on Oct. 16th, the young couple embarked for America. They settled in Berks county, Pa., and there passed the remainder of their lives. In his native land Daniel Burley had been a woolen worker in the woolen mills, and his wife followed the same occupation before her marriage, but for many years Mr. Burley was the agent and manager at Mertztown, this county, for the Allentown Iron company. He and his family long made their home at that place, where Mrs. Burley died Oct. 19, 1891, in her sixty-second year, after which Mr. Burley moved to Shillington to live with his son John, who is now, however, a resident of Reading. He died Jan. 19, 1908, when only seven days less than seventy-six years old, and with his wife is buried at Mertztown. In her native country Mrs. Burley was a member of the Wesleyan Church, and Mr. Burley belonged to the Established Church of England, but after settling in Berks county they became Lutherans.

Mr. and Mrs. Burley had a family of thirteen children, including two pairs of twins: Joseph is deceased; Eliza H. m. Dr. A. A. Stamm, of Mohnton; John H.; Sallie m. Harry B. Blankenbiller; Elizabeth m. Daniel Long; Charles m (first) Alice M. Kline, and after her death (second) Lizzie Shugar; Alfred and Albert, twins, make their home with Dr. A. A. Stamm in Mohnton; Fannie died in infancy; Frank died when young; twins died in infancy; Wilson died when four years old.


p. 1488


Andrew Blankinhorn, who is now living retired on his fine property of seventy-one acres in Cumru township, is a survivor of the Civil war, through which he served as a member of the Army of the Potomac. Mr. Blankinhorn was born Aug. 19, 1839 in New York City, N. Y., son of John Blankinhorn, and grandson of Joseph Blankinhorn, who died in Wurtemberg, Germany, after a life spent in agricultural pursuits.

John Blankinhorn was born in Wurtemberg, Germany, and after completing his education learned the blacksmith trade. In 1839 he came to America, landing at New York City, where he remained for about one year, then removing to Reading, Pa., where he secured employment in the old car shops, working at his trade until his retirement, seven years prior to his death at the age of eighty-eight years. John Blankinhorn's wife's first name was Elizabeth. She died in 1849 at the age of forty-five years, and to them were born three children: Andrew, John and Augustus.

Andrew Blankinhorn accompanied his father to Reading when a child, and in this city secured his education. After leaving school he worked in the cotton factory for one and one-half years, spent one year at the Brumbach factory, and then went to the Conestoga valley, Lancaster county, where he engaged in farming for five years. He enlisted in Co. G, 2d Pa. Vol. Inf., March 13, 1861, to serve three years or during the war, and was discharged March 13, 1864, re-enlisting the following day as a member of Company B, 191st Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, for three years service, his final honorable discharge coming at the end of the war, June 28, 1865. His service was with the Army of the Potomac, and he participated in many bloody engagements, including Fredericksburg, Antietam, Gettysburg, Petersburg and Weldon Railroad, at which latter place he was taken prisoner and later confined in Libby Prison, and Belle Isle. At the battle of Fredericksburg he was wounded in the fleshy part of the left leg, and this wound still gives him a great deal of trouble. Faithful and cheerful, he was ever an efficient and gallant soldier, and won the respect of his officers and the esteem and friendship of his comrades.

After the completion of his services to his country, Mr. Blankinhorn went to Highland township, Chester county, and was there engaged in farming for a period of thirty-seven years. In 1903 he purchased his present fine property of seventy-one acres, at Angelica, and this he has made into one of the best farms of the township, supplying it with the latest and most highly improved machinery, and erecting large, substantial buildings.

On April 27, 1869, Mr. Blankinhorn was married to Phoebe Harper, daughter of Jacob and Rachel (Dickinson) Harper, of Lancaster county, Pa., and to them have been born children as follows: Minnie, who married George Watson, of No. 1045 A North Tenth street, Reading; John, of Newtown Square, married Addie Gordon; Howard, of Chester Co., Pa., married Bertha Mellinger; Harry, of Chester county, married Elsie Mellinger; Levina, married Robert Riday, of Philadelphia; Roscoe, who operates his father's farm, married Lillian Conway; Charles, married Annie Lesher, of Cumru township; and Dora, married Percy Bailey, of Oakbrook.

In politics Mr. Blankinhorn is a Republican, and be is connected fraternally with G. A. R. Post No. 76, Reading. He is a member of the Lutheran Church, while Mrs. Blankinhorn is Presbyterian.


p. 1181


The Blatt family of Berks county has long been classed among those whose representatives are useful and substantial citizens. At the present time, the brothers, Cornelius F. Blatt, a former director of the poor of Berks county, and an extensive and successful farmer of Marion township, and Darius M. Blatt, of Reading, jury commissioner of Berks county, sons of Abraham G. and Elizabeth (Gerhart) Blatt, are worthily bearing the family name.

Frederick Blatt, the great-grandfather of Cornelius F. and Darius M., was a pioneer farmer of Bern township, owning the large farm which is now the property of Levi Rentschler, and lived in a stone house, which was situated near the present Philadelphia & Reading railroad depot, near Mohrsville. He was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, being a member of Captain Shartle's company, and was a man of adventurous spirit. In 1800, with his son Matthias, he rode on horseback to Reading to vote for Thomas Jefferson for President. On one occasion, while he and his brother were hunting in the Blue Mountains, he entered a cave to secure a number of bear cubs, but the return of the mother bear interrupted him, and the warning cry of his brother who was on the outside enabled him to squeeze past the old bear in the opening of the cave and to escape with his life. He is buried at either Belleman's or St. Michael's Church. Mr. Blatt had these children: Adam, who went to Ohio in either 1836 or 1839, his descendants living in the vicinity of Sandusky; David and John, who were residents of Centre; Matthias; and Jeremiah, of Centre, who had four children--Aaron, Reuben, Caroline (m. Adam Bohn and Malinda (m. George Snyder).

Matthias Blatt, the grandfather of Cornelius F., was born in Bern township in 1777, and died during the winter of 1859, having been a lifelong farmer of Bern (now Centre) township, where he owned a property of about 100 acres, now the property of his grandson, John B. Blatt. He was a member of the German Reformed Church, and is buried at Belleman's Church. He married Rosanna Gerhard, a native of Germany, who came to this country with her parents when nine years of age, and they became the parents of the following children: Adam, who had--Adam, Davilla H., Catherine, Mary and Harry (who lives in Kansas); John, whose children were--Jacob, Levi (of Dauphin county), John, William (who was killed during the Civil war), Sarah, Maria and Catherine; Polly (Mary), who died unmarried; Rebecca, who m. (first) Nathan Hafer and (second) Daniel Stepp; George, who had an only daughter, Hettie, who is the widow of Adam Koch; Abraham G.; and Elizabeth, who m. Samuel Billman, a prosperous citizen of Stark county, Ohio.

Abraham G. Blatt, father of Cornelius F., was born in Centre township (then Bern) in 1815, and died on his farm in the same township in March, 1892. He was reared to farming, and when a young man learned the milling trade, which he followed for 25 years in Centre and Jefferson townships, the last mill operated by him being the old Miller Mill, above Bernville, which he conducted for five years in addition to farming a 200 acre property. Mr. Blatt was a very robust man, and was never sick a day in his life, with the exception of his last illness, which was of short duration, being caused by a stroke of apoplexy, which he suffered while on a visit to his brother, George, near Robesonia. His brother passed away eight days later, aged 88 years. Abraham G. Blatt was buried at Belleman's Church in Centre township, and George at the Corner Church in North Heidelberg township.

In 1839 Abraham G. Blatt was married to Elizabeth Gerhart, who was born Oct. 17, 1825, and died in December, 1893, daughter of a well-known musician and the composer of a book of hymns long used by the Lutheran and Reformed churches of Berks county. To Mr. and Mrs. Blatt there were born 13 children, as follows: Cyrus G., of Bernville; Isabella, who married John L. Boltz; Cornelius F.; Catherine, the widow of William Hain, of Williamsport; Joanna, m. to Abner Hain, Jr. of Lower Heidelberg township; Emanuel, deceased, who is buried at St. Michael's Church, Tilden township; Sophia, m. to Samuel Keim, of Reading; Seth, a farmer of Lower Heidelberg township; Darius M.; Wellington, who met his death in a railroad accident at West Leesport; Charles, a farmer of North Heidelberg township; Benjamin, of Reading; and one child that died in infancy.

Cornelius F. Blatt was born in Centre township, Berks county, May 21, 1847, and was reared to farming. In 1882 he began operating the Madeira farm in Heidelberg township on his own account, continuing there for five years. He then became the tenant upon the Reed farm of 200 acres, located in Marion township, which he has operated since 1887, in connection with a 56 acre property adjoining, which he purchased in 1901. He is a progressive, up-to-date agriculturist, and the fine condition of his property bears evidence to his ability in this line. He keeps 35 head of cattle and 22 horses.

Mr. Blatt is prominently known throughout Berks county. He has been active in the ranks of the Democratic party, and on different occasions has held positions of honor and trust. He was first a school director in Heidelberg township, and later held a like position in Tulpehocken township, where, during his term of office, the board established the Rehrersburg high school and in 1889 erected a four-story building, which is a credit to the community. Mr. Blatt is an able exponent of the cause of education, and has rendered valuable services in this line to his county. In 1899 he was elected a director of the poor of Berks county, and while a member of this board displayed ability, sound judgment and honesty of principle. He and his family are members of St. Paul's Reformed Church of Robesonia.

Mr. Blatt was married to Amanda Gruber, who was born in 1848, and died Sept. 29, 1904, aged 56 years. To this union there were born four children: James, of Millbach, Lebanon county; Frank, who resides at home and assists his father in farming; Maggie, who also resides at home; and Charles, a farmer of Heidelberg township, who married Maggie Gaul.

Darius M. Blatt was born in Jefferson township, Nov. 4, 1858, and was reared to farming, which he followed until 16 years of age, at which time he commenced teaching public school, and continued at that profession for 14 consecutive years. He subsequently became associated with the 'Reading Eagle' as collector, and continued in that capacity for 16 years, when he took charge of the livery stable attached to the "United States Hotel," Reading, and is also engaged in school teaching. In 1909 he was elected jury commissioner of Berks county, and is a competent and pleasing official. In 1877 he was married to Sallie A. Kleinginni, and they have seven children: Julia; Maud; Dallas M., who has two children, Clara and Dallas; Anna M.; Wilhelmina; Bunting; and Darius L.


p. 1329


Isaac C. Blatt, former proprietor of the "Hotel Blatt," on North Sixth street, Reading, Pa., comes of a family that has lived in Berks county almost 200 years.

Frederick Blatt, the first of the name in direct line to Isaac G., of whom we have authentic record, was a pioneer farmer of Bern township, where he owned the large farm now the property of Levi Rentschler, and he lived in a stone house which was situated near the present Philadelphia & Reading depot near Mohrsville. It is supposed he was the Frederick Blatt who was a taxable in Maidencreek township in 1757-58-59. He was a soldier in the Revolution, being a member of Captain Shartle's company, and he was a man of adventurous spirit. In 1800, with his son Matthias, he rode on horseback to Reading to vote for Thomas Jefferson for President. On one occasion, while he and his brother were hunting in the Blue Mountains, he entered a cave to secure a number of bear cubs, but the return of the mother bear interrupted him, and the warning cry of his brother who was on the outside enabled him to squeeze past the old bear in the opening of the cave and to escape with his life. As many of the old pioneers of that locality were Friends, it is supposed that Frederick Blatt also belonged to that faith, though his service in the Revolution seems on the other hand to discredit it. He is buried at either Belleman's or St. Michael's Church. Mr. Blatt had children: Adam, who went to Ohio in either 1838 or 1839, his descendants still living in the vicinity of Sandusky; David and John, who were residents of Centre; Matthias; and Jeremiah, of Centre, who had four children--Aaron, Reuben, Caroline (m. Adam Bohn) and Malinda (m. George Snyder).

Matthias BLATT, son of Frederick, was born in Bern township in 1777, and died during the winter of 1859. He was a lifelong farmer of Bern (now Centre) township, where he owned a farm of 100 acres now the property of his grandson, John B. Blatt. He was a member of the German Reformed Church, and is buried at Belleman's Church. He married Rosanna Gerhard, a native of Germany, who came to this country with her parents when nine years of age. They became the parents of children as follows: Adam; John; Polly died unmarried; Rebecca m. (first) Nathan Hafer, and (second) Daniel Stepp; George (his only daughter, Hettie, is the widow of Adam Koch); Abraham G. died in March, 1892; and Elizabeth m. Samuel Billman, a prosperous citizen of Stark county, Ohio.

John Blatt, son of Matthias, was born in Bern township, and there married. His children were: Jacob; Levi, of Dauphin county; John; William, who was killed during the Civil war; Sarah; Maria; and Catharine.

Jacob Blatt son of John, was born on the homestead in Bern (now Centre) township. He died near Host in July, 1883, aged 67 years, and is buried at Tulpehocken Lutheran Church. He married Anna Greth who died in 1877. They were the parents of nine children: Levi, of Logansport, Ind.; Isaac G.; Lovina, deceased; Moural of Strausstown; Rebecca and Darius, both deceased; Emma, deceased; Celeca who married Samuel Schell, of North Heidelberg; and Katie, who married Charles Biehl, of Reading.

Isaac G. Blatt, son of Jacob, was born in Centre township, Jan. 5, 1857, and worked upon the home farm until he was 16 years of age, when he came to Reading, which city has since been his abiding place with the exception of two years when he conducted the "Mt. Pleasant Hotel" at Obold, in Penn township. In 1872 when he came to Reading he entered the employ of William Call, contractor for the Berks & Lehigh Railroad Co. One year later he became hostler and bar clerk at the "North Reading Hotel," now called "Riverside." A year later he became bar clerk at the "Farmers & Drovers Hotel" of which George Dreibelbis was proprietor. He then worked at huckstering and at various other vocations for some time. In 1876 he became bar clerk at the "Mishler House," and in 1878 proprietor of the Bernville stage, which he ran for one year. In this he was succeeded by J. M. Bordner, the present driver. When he gave up the stage, he entered the confectionary business on North Fifth street, and in 1881 he moved to No. 423 Penn street, and in addition also drove a confectionary wagon for several years. His genial personality brought him to the atttention of business men, and the Orwigsburg Shoe Manufacturing Company offered him a position as their traveling salesman. He accepted and remained with them until he became associated with Walp & Co., shoe manufacturers. For eight years he was employed by Isaac Keim, and then he returned to the hotel business, becoming proprietor of the "Mt. Pleasant Hotel." Returning to Reading at the end of two years he sold insurance for the Metropolitan, and in 1897 he became proprietor of the "Hotel Blatt" at the corner of Locust and Oley streets, which he conducted until 1900. In the latter year he became proprietor of the "Berkshire Hotel," which he conducted three years and four months. He then retired to private life for a year, but at the end of that time returned to the hotel business, taking charge of the "Hotel Blatt," at No. 338 North Sixth street. This he conducted until he again retired to private life.

Mr. Blatt is a member of Bernville Lodge, No. 122, I.O.O.F.; Wyanet Tribe, No. 30, I.O.R.M.; Camp No. 550, P.O.S. of A.; and Esther Lodge, No. 4, Rebekah degree, I.O.O.F. With his family he belongs to the First Reformed Church.

On July 8, 1882, Mr. Blatt married Clara Stricker, daughter of John Stricker, of Heidelberg township. Their children are: George, who died in infancy; Jennie, m. to Morris Stoudt, and died July 25, 1906; Irwin, a tailor in Reading, m. to Lottie Moyer; Minnie, m. to George Hincy, of Lancaster county; and Miss Eva, at home.


p. 1560


Sebastian Blimline, deceased, who was for or a number of years engaged in the carriage and automobile business at Sinking Spring, was born June 28, 1858, in Brecknock township, Berks county, son of Frederick D. and grandson of John and Margaret Blimline.

Frederick D. Blimline, born in Batavia, Germany, in 1829, died in Brecknock township, Berks county, in 1899, aged seventy years. In his native land he had been brought up to farming, and that occupation he followed in the New World. He came over in 1853, landing at Castle Garden, N. Y., and after he had traveled somewhat, and lived at the Swamp for a short time, he settled in Brecknock township, near Adamstown, in Berks county. Here he acquired a tract of about sixty acres of land, which he cultivated and on which he passed the remainder of his days and died. This farm is now owned by his son John. Mr. Blimline was a Republican in politics. He and his family belonged to the United Evangelical Church at Mohn's Hill and there he and his wife sleep their last sleep. On June 12, 1853, he married Barbara Deane, who was born in Germany in 1822, and who accompanied her husband to seek a new home in the new land. She died in 1884. Their children were: (1) Lydia (deceased) m. Thomas Shellenhammer, and had two children, Maria (unmarried) and George. (2) George m. Savilla Lutz, and had children-Homer, Maggie, Harry, Callia, Ella, Dorphey and Anna. (3) Maggie m. Henry D. Young, of Mohnton, and died in 1899, aged forty-three years. They had children as follows: Mamie, Benjamin, Adam, Fred, Daniel, Bertha, Stephen, Norma and Henry. (4) Sebastian. (5) John lives on the homestead. He m. Sarah Matz, and they have had children-Laura, Walter, Mary, Estella, Bessie, Bunding, Clarence, Edna, Elmer, Charles, Luella May, Alvertia, Norman and Florence and Keith. (6) Frederick D., born Aug. 13, 1863, learned the hatting trade when sixteen years old, and this he has followed ever since. During the winters for about ten years he manufactured brooms at Mohnton. In 1905 he went to Bowmansville, where for two years he manufactured shirts, and in 1907 he moved to Reading, where he worked at his trade. He m. Emma Hartman, and has children- Carrie, Esther, Edwin and Stanley. (7) Annie m. Charles Clark, of Reading, and has three children, Stella, Jennie and William.

George Blimline, brother of Frederick D., and uncle of Sebastian, came to America in 1858, and also settled in Brecknock township, Berks county, where he owns several farms. He has reared a large family, and is one of the substantial men of his locality.

Picture of Sebastian BlimlineSebastian Blimline attended the public schools of his native township and worked upon his father's farm until he was fourteen years old, when he learned the black smith's trade with Daniel Peifer, working at same as a journeyman for several years. He then engaged in business for himself near Adamstown, Berks county, and later at Slate Hill, subsequently removing to Brownsville where he continued for thirteen years. In 1890 Mr. Blimline came to Sinking Spring, erecting the building now owned and occupied by Mr. Steffie, the well-known cigar manufacturer, but later built a large factory which he occupied for seven years, 45x90 feet in dimensions, with an annex, at the corner of Main and Railroad streets. In 1908 Mr. Blimline purchased from Isaac S. Spatz the oldest blacksmith stand in the vicinity of Sinking Spring. This includes one-half of the "Spring," which is famous throughout the county, the other half being owned by Mr. Joel Heinly. Together with Mr. Heinly he beautified the surroundings of the spring, and Mr. Blimline erected a two-story frame factory with cement floor, 24x106 feet in dimensions, on his property. There he also erected a fine residence complete with all the latest improvements which tend to make a home comfortable. Mr. Blimline employed from eight to ten workmen, all skilled mechanics, and he did a large business, not only in the manufacture of carriages and wagons, but in all kinds of automobile repairing, trimming and painting, and also dealt in gasoline engines and automobile tires, automobile supplies and harness. His establishment was equipped with the most modern and up-to-date machinery, power and electric lights. Mr. Blimline built the first automobile in the county, which he drove through the roads of the county and the streets of Sinking Spring, and it was the object of much admiration. He was one of the first automobile men in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Blimline married Mary Kershner, daughter of George and Elizabeth (Gabel) Kershner, and to them these children were born: John (m. Cora Clay), Nora (m. Andrew Reed), Albert (m. Sadie Hornberger), Lillian (m. Thomas Wenner), Frederick and Star, living, and six others who died young. In politics Mr. Blimline was a Republican. With his family he attended the United Brethren Church of Sinking Spring, of which he was steward and trustee, and for eight years he was tenor in the choir, in which he always took an active interest. He died at his home in Sinking Spring in May, 1909.


p. 874


Lew Bloom, who now makes his home in the village of Mount Penn, Berks county, is a man of versatile talents, having been actor, musician and artist. He was born in Philadelphia on the site where Penn made his famous treaty with the Indians, Aug. 8, 1859, son of Lewis and Louisa (Moyer) Bloom, the latter a sister of George Moyer, who was a central figure for so many years in Phoenixville, Pa., and who was the draftsman for the great bridge works at that place.

Lewis Bloom was born at Umpden, Germany, Oct. 5, 1823, and his wife at Wilheim, and they both came to America in youth. They were married at the old "Barto Hotel" in Reading, now the "Penn Hotel". Lewis Bloom had learned the carpenter's and cooper's trades in his native land, and was brought to Reading from Philadelphia by Frederick K. Lauer, the brewer of Reading, to make barrels and casks for the brewery. He was the first cooper in Reading, and the first in this country to erect the large vats for breweries, building these at different places all over the country, including Brooklyn and New York City. Well-buckets and wash-tubs which he made over fifty years ago are still in use in this country. He was engaged in business on his own account at different times, and is now living retired at the age of eighty-five years, his home being in Reading. Mrs. Bloom died in November 1901. She was the mother of six children: Susannah, Deborah, unmarried, at home; Louisa, wife of Fred Bartels, of Mount Penn; Lew; Charles, deceased, who was a trainer of harness horses and later connected with the Pittsburg fire department as assistant veterinarian; Adolph, who died in childhood; and Edward, a member of the Pittsburg Fire Department, who died Aug. 16, 1906, from the effects of injuries received at a fire when a falling wall struck him.

Lew Bloom was reared in Reading and was educated in the public schools and the academy at Williamsport, Pa. At the age of thirteen years he began riding as a jockey in running races for Peter Hurdick and "Kentucky" Schettler, of Reading. When still a youth he had a tendency for all kinds of show business, and was only a boy when he ran away and joined a circus, but was brought back home. He again ran away and found employment as a driver on a canal boat, the "Letitia King," on the old Pennsylvania canal. He started in the show business as a gymnast, for which he had trained while working as an oyster opener in a restaurant. He would practice on the horizontal bar in the back yard, with a neighbor's boy, Howard Cantner, who aspired to be a juggler, and who became his "side-partner" in the beginning of his stage career. Mr. Bloom's first venture which proved a financial success was acting the "wild man" at country fairs, his cage being an old crockery crate, and his acting was so perfect that even the most learned were deceived. The impersonation in which Mr. Bloom has won his most notable success, however, was that of the tramp, he being the originator of this "act." He was one of the "headliners" when Keith presented his first big "star" vaudeville bill in Boston and he has appeared at nearly every big vaudeville house in the United States and Canada, being recognized as one of the foremost and most popular comedians on the vaudeville stage.

In 1886 Mr. Bloom began the breeding of fine dogs, and since that time has developed one of the finest kennels in the country. In 1879 he was presented a fine English bull terrier, a white dog, named facetiously "Bloom's Blackberry" by Mr. Bloom, the giver being Colonel Snowden, president of the United States Mint. His kennels are made up of black and tan and Boston terriers, the head of his stud being "Champion Boney Boy," Manchester black and tan, the only champion dog ever owned in Berks county, which has taken prizes at many bench shows in this country and Canada. Mr. Bloom's kennels are the leading black and tan kennels of the world. He is a fraternally connected with the B. P. O. E., Lodge No. 1, New York City.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:52:39 EDT

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