Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery

BRADLEY, JOHN C.

p. 1363

Surnames: BRADLEY, BELL, BROOKE, UMSTEAD, MOGEL, DIETRICH, SASSAMAN, GILMER, SMITH, WERLEY

John C. Bradley, one of the best known citizens of Birdsboro, Pa., has been connected with public affairs in Berks county for many years, is a prominent factor in Democratic politics, and is now serving as high sheriff of Berks county, to which office he was elected Nov. 5, 1907. He was born Aug. 30, 1857, at Birdsboro, Pa., and is a son of James and Charlotte (Bell) Bradley.

James Bradley, his father, was born in 1814, in County Donegal, Ireland, and in 1844 came to America, settling at Spring Grove, Lancaster county, Pa. Some years later he removed to Birdsboro, Berks county, where for twenty-six year he served as gardener for Edward Brooke, and through industry and economy succeeded in accumulating some means and property. He died April 6, 1875, and was buried in the St. Paul's Catholic cemetery, Douglasville, Pa., of which church the town until the day of his death. He married Charlotte Bell, born Feb. 14, 1825, who survives her husband preserved in mind and body, notwithstanding her advanced age, enjoys good health, and is able to read and sew without the aid of glasses. There were born to Mr. and Mrs. James Bradley five children: Clara, who married L. B. Umstead, a coal merchant of Birdsboro, Pa.; James, who died at the age of seven years; Edward, a foreman car inspector for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company at Wilmington, Del.; John C., the subject of this sketch, and Thomas, who died in infancy.

John C. Bradley was educated in the common schools of Birdsboro, Pa., and early in life began working at the E. & G. Brooke Iron Company mills in his native borough. After some years employment at various occupations with this company, he became a nailer in their cut nail factory, a vocation which he pursued for many years. He was in the continuous service of the Brooke concern for a period of twenty-seven years.

In the year 1890 he engaged in the coal business in Birdsboro, Pa., conducting it for seven years and then disposing of it to his brother in law, L. B. Umstead.

In politics Sheriff Bradley is a stanch Democrat, and has for many years been active in the ranks of his party. His first political office was that of committeeman, which he held without interruption from 1881 until 1907 and at the time of his withdrawal therefrom, held the committee in point of service. In the year 1892 he was appointed deputy coroner of Birdsboro, and served acceptably until 1908, when he resigned owing to press of other duties. Sheriff Mogel, in 1901 appointed him a deputy sheriff, and three years later he was reappointed to the same position by Sheriff Jacob Sassaman. On June 1, 1907, after a spirited contest, he was made the nominee of the Democratic party of Berks county, for the office of sheriff receiving at the primaries 3,995 votes, while his next highest opponent, Thomas G. Werley received 2,655 votes. On Nov. 5th, of the same year, he was elected over his Republican opponent, George R. Dietrich, by a majority of 4, 011 votes.

Mr. Bradley is very popular throughout the county, and is well known in many parts of the State. He is honest, intelligent, kind-hearted, companionable and has many warm friends. In society organizations he maintains membership in but one, the Fraternal Order of Eagles, and is in good standing in Aerie No. 66, of Reading. He was reared in the Catholic Faith and was a member of St. Paul's Church, Douglasville, until the services there were discontinued some years ago, when he transferred his membership to St. Peter's Church, South Fifth street, Reading.

In the administration of the office of sheriff he has shown marked ability, characterized by fairness to all parties concerned and thus far has given great satisfaction to his superiors in State and County and received the praise of all with whom he has had business relations in the performance of his duties.

On Feb. 28, 1880, Mr. Bradley was married to Serena F. Smith, who was born in 1864, a daughter of Joseph and Barbara (Gilmer) Smith, farming people of Caernarvon township, Berks county, Pa. These children have been born to the couple: Isabelle F., Clara H., Joseph S. (who died young), Mary A., Katharine H., John, Jr., Agnes L., Alice F., Serena F. (who died young).


BRANT, IRVIN S.

p. 1056

Surnames: BRANT, STETTLER, BOOS, LINDMAN, TRUCKMILLER, SCHEFFEY, AHRENS, RICHARDS, GEIST

Irvin S. Brant, a prosperous produce commission merchant of Reading, Pa., was born in Sanatoga, Montgomery Co., Pa., Dec. 9, 1869, son of Washington R. and Sarah (Stettler) Brant.

As far as is known, the family is of German descent. The grandfather of Irvin S. Brant was Samuel M. Brant, a farmer of Montgomery county, the farm on which he operated still being in possession of the family, as it has been for one hundred years. The children of Samuel M. Brant and his wife were: Elizabeth m. Henry Boos; Susannah m. Henry Lindman; Mary m. Isaac Truckmiller; Hannah became Mr. Truckmiller's second wife; Joseph; Nathan; Frederick; Samuel, Jr.; and Washington R. In religious belief the family were members of the Dutch Reformed Church.

Washington R. Brant received his education in the schools of Montgomery county, and when a youth learned the milling business. With his brother, Nathan, he conducted a general store for several years, later selling out his interest to engage in farming on the old homestead. Mr. Brant was very prominently connected in Sanatoga, Montgomery county. He and his wife became the parents of eight children, six living; Mary and Rebecca died at ages of nine and eleven years, respectively; Frank is secretary of the North American, Philadelphia; Samuel S. is a farmer of Sanatoga; Newton C. is at home, engaged in farming; Irvin S.; Annie m. Edward Scheffey; and Kate is at home. The family are members of the Reformed Church, although the mother is a Lutheran. Washington R. Brant died in February, 1909, the last of the family of his generation.

Irvin S. Brant left home when twenty-one years of age, having received his education in the common schools of his native locality, and started out first as a salesman for the Philadelphia Press, with which concern he remained but a short time. He then secured a clerkship in a grocery store in Philadelphia, but on account of failing health returned to his home, remaining one year. In 1893 he came to Reading, accepting a position a clerk with the Reading Cold Storage Company, and, after being with the firm for one year, was promoted to the position of bookkeeper the second year. He then became public circulating agent of the Public Ledger, bur, after remaining with that organization three years, returned to Reading, being elected Secretary and superintendent of the Reading Cold Storage Company. Fifteen months later, Mr. Brant resigned this position and formed a partnership with Ahrens & Richards, commission merchants, and after one year purchased the two partners interest in the business. He has been successful in his venture, handling eggs and butter principally, and he distributes about two tons of the latter and fifty crates of the former per week. Mr. Brant buys the entire output of two creameries and the partial product of five others, this being in addition to what he purchases from the farmers.

In 1899 Mr. Brant married Miss Elizabeth Geist, of Pottstown, Pa., and the one child born to this union died in August 1908. In political matters, Mr. Brant is a Democrat.


BRAUCHER, ALBERT C.

p. 1424

Surnames: BRAUCHER, POH, ALBRIGHT, KESSLER, DITZIUS, ZIMMERMAN, LEIBY, SPOHN, WILDTRAUT, SEAMAN, BARTHOLOMEW, KREMER, DIETRICH, SMITH, REINHART, SCHWOYER, LUTZ, ERNST, GREENAWALD, SCHLENKER, BAER, ZETTELMOYER, HAMM, SECHLER, FAUST

Christian Braucher, the ancestor of the Brauchers in Berks and Lehigh counties, settled in Berks county about the time of the founding of the county, in 1752. The records have it that he was assessed as "a poor man," which meant that he paid but three shillings tax. Information concerning the filing of his will indicates that by thrift and economy he changed conditions somewhat during his life. On the date of making his will, June 13, 1792, he disposed of a large estate, among other items bequeathing to his wife Margaret, bonds and a hotel, "as long as she remains a widow." The will was signed in legible German, "Stoffel Braucher," and was witnessed by George Poh and George Braucher, the latter a brother of the testator. He and his wife are buried in the New Bethel churchyard, two sandstones, with almost illegible inscriptions, marking their graves. It appears he was born in 1729 and died in 1793, while his wife's birth is noted as December 22, 1732, and her death 1797, aged sixty-five years. Their children numbered thirteen, as follows: Christian; Jacob; John; Peter; Conrad; Michael; Anna Maria, who married Michael Albright; Barbara, who married George Kessler; Catherine (left an heir Jacob Ditzius); Anna Elizabeth; Anna Magdalena, who married Jacob Zimmerman; Christina; and Frederick.

Christian Braucher, next in line, date of birth not given, died in 1804, his will being on record in Book A, page 486. He bequeathed to his wife the plantation on which they lived. Peter Braucher and Frederick Leiby were the executors, and the witnesses were Conrad Braucher and Conrad Spohn. The children were named as follows; Catharine, married Peter Zimmerman; Johannes; Christine, married Jacob Wildtraut; Jacob; Magdalene; Peter; Daniel; and Conrad.

Peter Braucher, grandson of the pioneer, and the great-grandfather of Albert C. Braucher, was born and died in Albany, buying in 1815, and through life cultivation, the farm on which his great-grandson now resides. This farm passed from Peter to his son Christian in 1838, then to his son Daniel in 1864. In 1886 Albert C. bought it from his father. Peter Braucher's wife's first name was Maria, and their issue was as follows; Mary, married Wm. Seaman, and lived at Milton, Pa.; Annie Bartholomew; Christian; Abraham (1796-1828), died in Albany from smallpox. (His children were -- Jacob, of Philadelphia, Michael, of Lockport, N. Y., and William, of Philadelphia); Reuben, settled near Moselem, Pa., where his descendants and those of his son, Peter, still reside.

Christian Braucher's Bible record reads: "Born November 27, 1800, died October 31, 1874, aged seventy-three years, eleven months, and four days." He tilled the old homestead, and was a man of parts in his time, was a Democrat, and held local township and school offices. He and his family were Lutherans, with membership at New Bethel Church. His wife was Catherine Kremer, daughter of Henry, her record showing that she was born April 15, 1804, and died March 5, 1875, aged seventy years, ten months, and twenty days. There were but three children; Matilda, who married Benneville Dietrich; Priscilla, married Benneville Smith; and Daniel.

Daniel Braucher, father of Albert C., passed his life of seventy-nine years on the old homestead, having been born April 7, 1829, and died January 24, 1909. He was twice married. His widow, who was Mrs. Sarah (Reinhart) Schwoyer, now resides near New Bethel Church. Mr. Braucher's first wife was Maria Magdalena Lutz. She was born October 26, 1828, and died November 7, 1871, and to her were born nine children; Cornelia married Charles Ernst; Mary married William Greenawald; James, of Wanamaker, Pa.; Sarah married Daniel Schlenker; Amanda married William Baer; William, of Kutztown; Albert C.; Kate married George Zettelmoyer; Emma (deceased) married Chas. Hamm.

Albert C. Bauscher, the representative of the family holding the old homestead, was born July 7, 1862. He was reared on the farm of his father, and came into its possession in 1886, since which time he has continued its cultivation. The old homestead, familiarly referred to as "Braucher's Dale," consists of 111 acres of land near New Bethel Church, Albany township. The present house was built in 1808 by Peter Braucher. It was of the substantial "loghouse" variety, built to withstand the elements, and did service without change until Daniel's time. That member of the family remodeled it, making it a two-story house. Since Albert C.'s incumbency it has been again remodeled. A large Swiss barn was built in 1877, and other improvements have been made until the old place presents an appearance of thrift and neatness.

Mrs. Braucher, prior to their marriage, April 22, 1882, was Miss Jane L., daughter of Joel and Maria Magdalena (Lutz) Sechler. To her were born five children, four of whom died in infancy.

Harvey M. Braucher, the son, born August 27, 1883, graduated from the township schools at thirteen years of age. Entering the Keystone State Normal School some time later, he was graduated at nineteen, having won class and society honors during that period. He then taught the home school acceptably for two years, studying mean time, and in 1904, was awarded "Master's Diploma." In the fall of 1904 he entered Pennsylvania State College, where for four years he pursued the course of electrical engineering, taking his degree of B. S. in E. E. in 1908. Here especially distinguishing himself in public speaking and debate, he there became a Phi Kappa Phi man, a great honor in itself. In 1905 he married Miss Gertrude Hattie Faust. They have a daughter, Pela Fay. Harvey M. Braucher is now assistant principal of the Boyertown, Pa., schools and lives in Boyertown.


BRECHT FAMILY

p. 674

Surnames: BRECHT, BRIGHT, DUNDORE, HIMMELBERGER, STRAUSS, RIEGEL, GEISS, WENRICH, FILBERT, REBER, BUCKS, KLAHR, STAMM, MOSER, LEISS, KALBACH, FAUST, STAUDT, DUNDORE, GRETH, KLOPP, KOENIG, GRIME, HAINE, BORDNE, HINE, SCHAEFFER, GRUBER, YEICH, KILMER, MOYER, YOCUM, ZELLERS, KETNER, ROHRBACH, SCHLOCK, STICHTER, DANIELS, KANTNER

The ancestor of this old and numerous family of Berks county was Stephen Brecht, a native of Germany, where he was born Feb. 17, 1692. He was one of the emigrants from the Palatinate who landed at New York about 1720. These emigrants first settled at Schoharie, N. Y., but because of the unbearable treatment they received at the hands of Governor Hunter, of the Province of New York, sought refuge elsewhere. Hearing of the justice accorded the settlers in Penn's Province, by the proprietors, and the fertility of the soil, excellent water and other advantages, many of them came into this district. Among them was (I) Stephen Brecht, who desired a tract of good land for himself and three sons. His land was granted him by John, Thomas and Richard Penn, lawful heirs of William Penn, on Nov. 27, 1745 [Recorded in Patent Book A., Vol. 12, page 349]. On this tract he made his home and died Sept. 24, 1747. His remains were interred in the North Heidelberg cemetery among the Moravians. His grave stone lies flat upon the ground, and is the oldest stone that can be found there. The inscription is in good condition. His will was made Jan. 6, 1746, by which his land was divided among his three sons: David, Hans Wendel and George Adam. To George Adam was given the homestead (now owned by Adam Dundore, of Obold), and the division of land between David and Hans Wendel was made soon after this date, and is recorded at Reading April 17, 1754, in Book A. Vol. 1, page 68.

(II) David Brecht, son of Stephen, was born Sept. 8, 1719. He was a resident of Bern (now Penn) township long before the organization of the county in 1752. He was the owner of valuable land near Bernville and exercised no small influence among the people of his neighborhood. In 1771 he was elected county commissioner, and served as such until 1774. By his will on file in the Register's office, after providing for his wife Sarah, and the slave to whom he had given freedom, he devises to his only son John his large plantation of 500 acres. He also gives to each of his seven daughters the sum of 900 pounds, which was almost a fortune in that early day. This amount was, however, to be paid by his son John, in part, as well as a copper kettle to each sister. Sarah, wife of David Brecht, was born Jan. 8, 1727, and died Jan. 22, 1798. They were the parents of eleven children, three of whom died in infancy or childhood. The names of those reaching mature years were: John; Margaret m. Philip Himmelberger; Elizabeth m. Jacob Strauss; Catharine m. Philip Adam Riegel; Barbara m. John Michael Geiss; Susanna m. John Wenrich; Magdalena and Sarah. David Brecht and wife, as also their son John and his wife are buried in the private burial ground on the original Bright farm. The inscriptions are difficult to read after the action of the elements upon the sandstones. Hier Ruhet Der Leib von David Brecht erist geboren D 8 Sep 1719 er zeuchte mit Sei ner liben ebrfrau Sain 11 Kinder un nach 8 bei leben 1 Sohn U 7 Tochter u Starb D 22 Sept 1783 Heir ruhet eine die Storbne und Schwester Na Sara Brecht un sie ist geborh D 8 Jan 1727 sie zeigte mit ihren ehr man David Brecht 11 Kinder u 8 bei leben ein Sohn u 7 Dochter u Starb De 2 Jan. 1796

(III) John Brecht, only son of David that grew to manhood, passed his entire life in farming on the homestead. His resting place was found on the farm. Hier ruhet die gebeine von Johannes Brecht Er wurde geboren den 2 Junius im Yahr 1747 und ist gestorben den 9 Februar in Yahr 1834 brachte sein Alter aui 86 Yahre 8 Monate und 7 Tage. Hier ruhet Anna Marie Brecht Ehrgattin fon Joh. Brecht Sie war geboren Den 15 ten Januar 1757 und is gestorben den 24 sten. Mai 1842 im altern fon 85 Yahren 4 Monate und 9 Tagen

John and Anna Maria Brecht were the parents of eleven children -- seven girls and four boys. The girls were named after their seven aunts: Susanna m. George Geiss; Catharine m. Philip Filbert; Barbara m. Phillip Filbert; Magdalena m. Conrad Reber; Mary m. Joseph Bucks. John (m. Hannah Klahr) and David (m. Susanna Reber) settled near Basil, Fairfield Co., Ohio, and their children are in possession of the land that was bought about 1800 by the first John Brecht and is considered among the best in the community. Peter married Maria Magdalena Stamm and lived near Bernville where some of the descendants now live. Jacob is mentioned below.

(IV) Jacob Brecht, son of John and Anna Maria, was born March 23, 1791, and died Aug. 26, 1876, at the age of eighty-five years, five months and three days. He was married to Anna Maria Moser. By the will of his father he was to receive the homestead, but was to give certain amounts to each one of his sisters, and the records show that he was faithful in the discharge of this provision. From this union we find thirteen children; eleven grew to maturity while twins died in infancy. The children were: Anna Maria. David Leiss; Henrietta m. Isaac Leiss; Sarah m. (first) John Kalbach and (second) Daniel Faust; Elizabeth m. Isaac Kalbach; Catharine m. Elias Staudt; Rachel m. Adam Dundore; Rebecca m. (first) Jonathan Dundore and (second) Joseph I. Greth; Isabella m. William Klopp; John M. m. (first) Lydia Koenig and (second) Lydia Anna Grime; Aaron M. and Amendon.

(V) Amendon Bright, son of Jacob, was born Jan. 15, 1830. His entire active life was devoted to farming. He lived upon and owned the old Bright homestead of 234 acres of the most fertile section of Penn township, and at death owned several other farms in neighboring townships as well as in Penn. He was very prominent in public affairs, and took an active interest in the success of the Democratic party. He was school director of his township, for many years committeeman of his district, for three years prison inspector in Berks county. In 1894 he was elected treasurer of the county, conducting the business of the office most satisfactorily for three years. He married Clara Hain, born March 3, 1833, daughter of John D. Hain. Their children were: Ellen, m. to Jacob M. Bordner, of Bernville, who is now county commissioner; William, a small farmer near Bernville, m. to Mary Hine; Sallie, m. to Frank Schaeffer, of Tulpehocken; Harry, a druggist, who died aged twenty-four years; Annie, m. to Jacob Gruber, of Obold; Albert H.; Rev. Edwin D., pastor of the Reformed Church at Derry, Pa, who is also engaged as a genealogist and historian, having in preparation a complete record of the descendants of Stephen Brecht; and three who died young. Amendon Bright passed away May 21, 1897, respected by all who knew him.

(VI) Albert H. Bright, son of Amendon Bright, is a prosperous young plumber and gas fitter at West Reading. He was born on the old Bright homestead in Penn township Aug. 25, 1872. He received a good education in the country school and the Bernville high school. Until he was twenty-four years of age he was engaged in work on his father's farm. He then learned the plumbing trade under the careful tuition of Benjamin Yeich, of Reading. having mastered the trade he established himself in business in 1900, at West Reading. He was thus the first qualified plumber in West Reading. He has now built up a good trade and satisfies his customers. He also has a Reading license, and does much work in the city.

In his political principles Mr. Bright is an active and firm Democrat, and is keenly interested in the success of his party. His social connections are with Unamis Tribe of Red Men, No. 330, of Reading; and the Royal Arcanum. He is a member of the Reformed Church at Bernville.

Mr. Bright married Cora S. Riegel, daughter of John Riegel. She was born May 18, 1876, and died Dec. 29, 1902. Two children were born of this union, namely: Roy Amendon, born April 18, 1897, and died Jan. 14, 1902; and Charles Adam, born Aug. 19, 1900.

(V) Aaron M. Bright, son of Jacob and Anna Maria, was born in Penn township, Berks county, March 21, 1832, and died at Bernville Aug. 29, 1869, and is buried there. He conducted a general store at Bernville from the time of his marriage until his death. He was active in church life and like all his family belonged to the Reformed denomination. In 1854 he married Mary Kilmer, daughter of John and Catharine (Leiss) Kilmer, of Marion township. Five children were born to this union: Darius K., of Mahanoy City, Pa., m. to Julia Catharine Moyer; Emma K., deceased wife of William Yocum, of Reading; Lehman I; Albert R., of Reading; and Lizzie B. wife of George M. Zellers, of Stouchburg, Pennsylvania.

(VI) Lehman I. Bright, treasurer of Yocum Brothers, cigar manufacturers, Reading is a native of Bernville, where he was born May 6, 1859, son of Aaron M. and Mary (Kilmer). He was educated in the township schools, the Bernville high school, and later in the Keystone State Normal School, at Kutztown, graduating from the latter institution in 1881. He taught school when only eighteen years of age in Penn township, and after his graduation he taught five terms, two at Myerstown and three in the grammar school at West Leesport. In 1886 he came to Reading, and accepted the position of bookkeeper with Yocum Brother, cigar manufacturers, which position he faithfully filled for seventeen years, when James Yocum a member of the firm died, and the company was incorporated under the name of Yocum Brothers. Mr. Bright became its treasurer, an office he has since filled. He is a director of the corporation, and was also for one year its secretary. He has given his work great attention, and has devoted his energies to making the corporation a success. They employ on an average 400 people, and their product is know all over the country. Mr. Bright is very prominent in fraternal organizations. He is a member of Progressive Lodge, No. 470, I.O.O.F., and was its efficient secretary for fifteen consecutive years, declining further service on the ground of ill health. He has been an active member of the lodge and served as degree master on the staff for many years. He also belongs to Isaac Hiester Lodge, No. 660, F. & A. M., of Reading; Camp No. 113, P.O.S. of A. of Bernville; Castle No. 51, K.G.E. of Reading; Mount Penn Encampment, No. 152, I.O.O.F.; Canton Patriarchs Militant No. 2, I.O.O.F.

On May 14, 1889, Mr. Bright married Emma Madora Ketner, daughter of Charles and Susan (Rohrbach) Ketner, of Leesport, and they have two children: Harry, born Feb. 5, 1890; and Helen, Sept. 25, 1893. They reside in their own home. No. 122 South Tenth street, Reading. Mr. Bright and his family attend the Reformed Church.

(VI) Albert R. Bright, of Reading, was born at Bernville Aug. 24, 1861, son of Aaron M. and Mary (Kilmer). He was educated in the public schools of his town, and the Bernville high school, then under the able supervision of Prof. M. A. Gruber. In the spring of 1882 he entered the State Normal School at Kutztown, and attended the spring session of 1882. He taught school two terms in Bright's school house in Penn township, during the terms of 1881 and 1882. He was very successful as a teacher. He was early trained to farm work, and at the age of thirteen had gone to live with his uncle, John M. Bright, in Penn township. He worked on the farm about ten years. In April 1883, he became a clerk in the general store of A. F. Schock, of Bernville, Pa., and worked there for a year, when he went back to the farm for three years. In 1887 he became a clerk in the general store of J. L. Klopp & Son, at North Heidelberg, remaining there with his family until the spring of 1890, when he came to Reading and since May 5, 1890, he has been in the employ of the Stitchter Hardware Company, Ltd., Reading. This is the oldest established hardware business house in Reading. Mr. Bright holds the responsible position of assistant buyer in the general hardware department and besides this he assists in the clerical work of the firm. Until 1874 Mr. Bright lived in Bernville, where he went to live with his uncle. Since 1894 he has live in his own comfortable residence at No. 524 Douglass street, Reading. Fraternally Mr. Bright is an active member of Progressive Lodge, No. 470, I.O.O.F., Reading, of which he is past grand; Camp No. 113, P.O.S. of A., of Bernville; Reading Castle No. 49, I.G.E. of Reading. He and his family worship at Calvary Reformed Church, Reading.

On May 21, 1887, Mr. Bright married Celesa Daniels, daughter of Elias and Sarah (Kantner) Daniels, originally of Rehrsburg but later of Bernville. Mr. and Mrs. Bright have two children: Raymond A. and Harold E.


BREEDY, GEORGE J.

p. 1342

Surnames: KEEN, MANEGOLD, YOUNG, MOYER, PETREE, ROWE, HOLCOMBE, IMGRUND, GRAY, HOUCK, HERBEIN, OBOLD, ROWE, HOLCOMBE

George John Breedy, of No. 235 South Twelfth street, who is known to the people of Reading, Pa., as a professional musician and teacher of music, was born in this city, May 4, 1878, son of Theodore and Mary E. (Moyer) Breedy.

John Breedy, the grandfather of George J., was born in 1803, was a native of Antwerp, Belgium, and founded the family in this country in 1836. After coming to America the rest of his life was spent in Reading, where he died at the age of eighty-three years. Mr. Breedy was a stone mason by trade, and was a gifted musician, teaching all of his children music. He married Emma Keen, who was also born in his Fatherland, and to them were born children as follows: Theodore; John, a bricklayer of reading; Mary, single, resides in Reading; Emma, deceased, was the wife of Charles Manegold of Reading; and Lizzie, who married George Young of this city. Of these children Emma and Barbara were talented vocalists, and sang in church choirs throughout Reading.

Theodore Breedy was born Jan. 8, 1855, in reading, where he was educated in the public schools, and then learned the upholstering trade at Herbein's furniture store, which he followed until Mr. Herbein's death. From his youth he had shown remarkable talent in music, and at the age of eighteen years played with the celebrated old Ringgold Band of Reading, with which he was connected until the organization of the Germania Band, when he became a member of that body. This was later reorganized and again took the name of the Ringgold Band. Mr. Breedy also played at the Academy of Music for a number of years. In political matters he is a Democrat. Mr. Breedy married Mary E. Moyer, born in February, 1855, daughter of George M. and Amanda (Petree) Moyer, and to this union there were born four children: George J.; Charles and Edward, who died in boyhood; and Paul J., a student at the High School.

George John Breedy obtained his education in the public schools of Reading, leaving after the completion of his grammar school course, and when fourteen years of age secured a position as clerk, in J. H. Obold & Company's hardware store. There he remained for a period of two years, and in 1894 he began the study of music under Professors Joseph Rowe and George Holcombe of New York. For one year he played the drums at the Academy of Music, Reading, and in 1899 with his father joined the famous Ringling Brothers' Shows, with which organization they traveled in every State and territory in the Union. Their pleasant stay in California and the exciting times experienced by them throughout the Southern States will be events ever clear in their memories. After the close of the show season in 1900, Mr. George J. Breedy returned to Reading, and was for some years a member of the Bijou Theatre orchestra, and is now at the Orpheum Theatre, also teaching music to a large class of pupils. Professor Breedy has been very successful, residing in his own home at No. 235 South Twelfth street. He is genial and companionable and has many warm friends. He and his wife are members of St. Paul's Catholic Church of Reading.

On Oct. 30, 1901, Professor Breedy was married to Amelia Imgrund, born Jan. 18, 1878, daughter of John and Louisa (Gray) Imgrund. No children have been born to them.


BRENEISER, CHARLES

p. 736

Surnames: BRENEISER, NEIHART, GOODMAN, HARMAN, DAUTH, GRIM, BROTEVANT, SPANG, LENHART, UMBLE, SWARTZ, CALL, MADEIRA, EILER, MELLERT, DRENKEL, DERR

Picture of Charles BreneisnerCharles Breneiser, Sr., manufacturer of cigars and tobacco at Reading for sixty years, was born at Reading March 24, 1828. He attended one of the first public schools opened at Reading in 1834, but he was not permitted to obtain more than a limited common education, because he was obliged to turn his attention, while still a boy, toward assisting in the support of the family. He first engaged as a helper in laying bricks and then gradually learned the trade, but after some years in this laborious employment he changed to cigar-making, and after serving a regular apprenticeship followed the trade until he was twenty years of age, when he engaged in the business of cigar-making for himself. This was in 1847, and he continued at the business with increasing success in the vicinity of Seventh and Penn streets until his death, a period covering more than sixty years. At first he was in partnership with William Harman for several years. He engaged in the manufacture of cigars exclusively until 1861, and then became a manufacturer and dealer in smoking and chewing tobacco, both wholesale and retail; and he ever afterward carried on the two together. As his sons grew to manhood they were led to learn and follow the same business, each being admitted to partnership with him. In this way he had four sons associated in the firm (Thomas, Charles, Jr., Edgar and Milton), and trading under the name of Charles Breneiser & Sons. The two sons last named retired from the firm in 1898 to engage in the cigar and tobacco business, wholesale and retail, for themselves, and since then they have traded under the name of Breneiser Brothers, locating on the northeast corner of Eighth and Penn streets in April, 1907. The father's firm manufactures many superior and popular brands of cigars which have a large sale throughout the country. This firm has fitted up the most costly and attractive cigar stand in Reading.

Mr. Breneiser, in connection with his increasing business and property interests, assisted in organizing the Union Bank in 1857, and the Reading Trust Company in 1886, and he served as a director of these two prominent institutions until his death. He represented the Southeast ward of Reading in the common branch of the city councils in 1862 and 1863; and the Eighth ward in the select branch from 1869 to 1872. He also assisted in organizing the Oley Turnpike Company in 1862, and the Maxatawny Mutual Fire & Storm Insurance Company in 1893, serving as a director and also officiating as the president of each for many years.

As a humanitarian Mr. Breneiser was prominently before the community for many years. Soon after the local board of public charities was established in 1874 he was selected by the State authorities as one of the three commissioners, and he filled the appointment until he died. His duties required him to visit the public institutions of the county and to make report of their management and condition to the State. He was one of the first subscribers of the stock in the establishment of the Reading Library Company in 1868, and he always continued to show a practical interest in the library. In 1897 he was one of a party of liberal citizens who raised a fund to extinguish the debt on the library building and make the institution free to the public. He was actively identified with the Reading Benevolent Society from 1870, and with the Reading relief Society and the Reading Hospital from their inception. He was one of the few public-spirited individuals of the Third and Eighth wards who took the first steps toward converting the open commons at the head of Penn street, and along Perkiomen avenue to Hill road, from an offensive depository for all kinds of objectionable materials to an attractive park, by contributing annually toward the expenses for a number of years before 1887, when it came to be recognized as a park and a part of the park system of Reading. He was selected one of the board of trustees of the Charles Evans Cemetery Company in 1893, and served in that capacity until his death.

In 1848 Mr. Breneiser married Mary Ann Neihart, daughter of Jacob and Catherine (Goodman) Neihart, of Reading, and by her had twelve children; Emma m. George W. Dauth; Adaline m. Chester Grim; Thomas m. Mary F. Brotevant; Charles m. Fannie K. Spang; Edgar m. Sarah Lenhart; Robert Milton m. Eva Umble; Harry died in 1904, aged thirty-seven years; five other died in infancy. The mother died in 1897. Mr. Breneiser died June 30, 1909.

Emmanuel Breneiser, the father of Charles Breneiser, Sr., was born in 1874, in Lancaster, Pa., and there learned the trade of saddler. Locating at Reading about the time he became of age, he carried on this business for about fifty years, and then lived in retirement until his death, in 1865, on the day Lee surrendered to Grant in the Civil war. He m. Christina Swartz, daughter of George Swartz, of Oley, who removed to Reading when a young man, and became the proprietor of a hotel on the northwest corner of Seventh and Penn streets, which he conducted for forty years. Emmanuel Breneiser was the father of eleven children: Benneville m. Lovina Drenkel; Charles is mentioned above; George was drowned while a youth driving a boat term on the Schuylkill canal; Sarah m. Samuel Derr; Angeline m. John Call; Catharine m. Peter B. Maderia; Emma m. Peter Eiler; Caroline m. Otto Melert; three daughters died young. The mother died in 1849, aged fifty-six years.

Valentine Breneiser, the grandfather, emigrated from Germany about 1730. He conducted an inn at Lancaster for a number of years and died there in 1786. In his last will he devises his property to his wife Salome, and nine sons, Christian, Valentine, Jacob, Simon, Benjamin, Joseph, John, George and Emmanuel.


BRESSLER, F. F.

p. 604

Surnames: BRESSLER, HETTINGER, BRYAN, ESTERLY

F. F. Bressler, a well known marble and granite dealer, of Reading, PA., and ex-recorder of Berks county, died Oct. 22, 1908. he was born in Spring township, this county, in 1856, son of Darius Bressler, a stone mason, who was born near Adamstown, Lancaster county, and died in Berks county at the age of sixty-two years.

Mr. Bressler attended the public schools of Berks county, after leaving which he spent one year with H. H. Hettinger at Sinking Spring, at the stone cutter's trade. In 1876 he located in Reading, being employed with the Eisenbrown Marble Company, of this city, in whose employ he remained for three years. At the end of this time Mr. Bressler went to New York, where he was employed on the State Capitol at Albany, in 1880-81, from there going to Coatesville, Chester county, where he was engaged in business a short time. Returning to reading in 1882 Mr. Bressler engaged in business with Amos Esterly, under the firm name of Bressler & Esterly, they continuing as partners until 1877, when Mr. Bressler engaged in work by himself on Washington street, opposite the post-office. Here Mr. Bressler continued until 1904, when he removed to his late location, at Center avenue and Spring streets his place of business being fitted with the latest improved machinery. He employed from ten to fifteen skilled mechanics. His shop was frame structure, 60 x 100 feet in dimensions, and in one of the most desirable locations that could be found for such a business.

Mr. Bressler was before the public as an official having been elected recorder of deeds of Berks county in 1901, on t he Democratic ticket, in which office he served faithfully for three years. He was a resident of the Seventh ward, and during 1890-91 he served in the select council. He served as a delegate to various conventions, among them the convention which nominated William Jennings Bryan for the presidency, at Chicago. Mr. Bressler was a member of the election board in his ward.

Mr. Bressler was married to Mary Esterly, daughter of the late Amos S. Esterly, of Reading, who was a well-known hotel proprietor of the city, and tow children were born to his union, Mabel and Alice. Mr. Bressler was fraternally connected with the Elks Lodge of Reading, No. 115.


BREYFOGEL, SYLVANUS (REV.)

p. 1719

Surnames: BREYFOGEL, BREYFOGLE, BREYVOGEL, ELY, WILSON, DRIEBELBIS, GROSS, HINTERLEITER, BALDY, LAUTENSLAGER, CUTLER, REYNOLDS, DIXON, JOHNSON, COCHRAN, LEMMON

Rev. Sylvanus Charles Breyfogel, D. D., L. L. D., one of the four bishops of the Evangelical Association is a member of an early settled Berks county family, and was born July 20, 1851, near Pleasantville, Oley township, son of Rev. Seneca and Sarah (Ely) Breyfogel.

The Breyfogel (sometimes Breyfogle and Breyvogel) family history has not been definitely traced beyond the shores of the New World. There are two traditions concerning the origin of the family--one giving the early home in France, and the other in Holland. The general appearance of the family, with the dark complexion black hair and eyes of the Latin races, gives great weight to the former, for the blue eyes and flaxen hair of the Dutch are noticeably lacking. The two traditions can be reconciled, however, and both, to a certain extent, be considered correct, as at the time of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes many from France fled for refuge into Holland. Breyfogles living in Germany state that from Holland one branch went to America and one to Germany. Of the latter branch representatives are found in Goppingen and in Worms, and also one family in Westhofen. These families, however on investigation, are unaware of any relationship with, or direct knowledge of, each other. Of the Westhofen Breyvogels was Wilhelm Immanuel Breyvogel, who in 1843, was sent to Wisconsin as a Roman Catholic (the religion of this branch) missionary, and there died in January, 1907.

(I) Among the passengers on the ship "Phoenix," from Rotterdam, William Wilson, master, qualified at Philadelphia Oct. 20, 1744, was one John Peter Breyvogel, who must have been at that time over sixteen years of age, passengers under that age not being obliged to qualify. he had no family with him. On the Breyvogel farm near Kutztown was once the grave of Peter Breyvogel, marked by a headstone, but the land has been put under the plow, and the waving fields of grain cover the once hallowed spot. At the court-house in Reading is the record of Jacob Breyvogel, administrator of Peter Breyvogel, June 17, 1789, by bond of George Breyvogel, 50, filed Oct. 17, 1796. As near as can be gleaned from early records the children of John Peter Breyvogel were: George, mentioned below; Peter, born Dec. 5, 1746, who died Dec. 7, 1819; Jacob, who had two children, Charles and Joshua; Solomon; and a daughter who married a Row. Some records indicate a son John in place of Solomon, but as there is nothing recorded other then the name he probably died young.

(II) George Breyvogel, son of John Peter, was born Feb. 4, 1747, and died Oct. 6, 1827. He married Catharine (Dreibelbeis) Ely, born Dec. 5, 1745, died Dec. 7, 1819. By her first husband Catharine had two children, a son and a daughter, who both went West. To George and Catharine were born children as follows: Jacob D.; Solomon, born Jan. 22, 1780; died Nov. 11, 1817; George, born Sept. 2, 1782, died May 5, 1875; Catharine, born Oct. 20, 1784, m. Jacob Gross,* and died Oct. 21, 1881; Esther m. Jacob Hinterleiter. George Breyvogel's will made June 25, 1822, was probated Oct. 26, 1827. He mentions his sons Jacob D. and George, gives 350 to be divided equally among the children of his deceased son Solomon, gives 500 to daughter Catharine, and 373 to daughter Esther.

[*Note: Per Judy, Catharine m. Joseph Gross, not Jacob Gross.]

(III) Jacob D. Breyvogel, son of George and Catharine, married Susanne Baldy, who for her second husband married a Lautenslager, a relative of her daughter's husband. They lived at Lockport, N.Y. To Jacob and Susanne Breyvogel was born: Catharine, who m. a Lautenslager (on May 18, 1901, he was still living, then over ninety years of age), and their daughter, Mrs. Cutler, lives at Waterloo, Iowa; Joshua D., born Sept. 17, 1806; Charles, who went to California in 1849, and found and lost the "Breyfogel Mine," still searched for (his wife's name was Hannah); Mariah, m. to John Lemmon; Harriet, who died unmarried; Jacob (no heirs); Josiah, formerly of Lockport, N. Y., who died in Chicago and Lucas C. formerly of Lockport.

(IV) Joshua D. Breyvogel, son of Jacob D. and Susanne, was born at Lockport, N. Y., Sept. 17, 1806, and moved to Delaware, Ohio. He died Jan. 28, 1868. On July 28, 1838, he married Mary Reynolds who made her home at No. 582 South Limestone street, Springfield, Ohio. Their children were: Imogene, born May 6, 1839, died April 16, 1866; Roland C. born Sept. 16, 1842, was a captain in the Union army in he Civil war, and died from the effects of wounds July 28, 1870; William D., Born Feb. 26, 1845, died April 30, 1865, from wounds received in he Civil War (he was thanked by General Hancock for conspicuous bravery at the battle of Gettysburg); Joshua, born May 12, 1848, is mentioned below; Arthur R. born June 11, 1849, died Dec. 1, 1861, Mary R., born Oct. 24, 1853, died Jan. 16, 1907.

(V) Joshua Breyvogel, son of Joshua D. was born May 12, 1848. He served three years in the Civil war. On Jan. 17, 1870, he married Mary E. Dixon and they became the parents of six children, namely: William R. born June 2, 1872, m. Aug. 5, 1901, Mary E. Johnson, and has a son Robert, born Oct. 21, 1902; Nellie, born April 3, 1875, m. June 19, 1901; Harry Cochran, and has a son John A. born Aug. 26, 1903; Alice, born in 1878, died in Kansas in 1879; Jessie R. was born Jan. 31, 1880; Arthur, born Feb. 5, 1894; lives at No. 77 York street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; William also lives at No. 77 York street, Toronto.


BRICKEL, PETER F.

p. 1159

Surnames: BALL, DEISHER, FALTER, FRY, GRAVY, HEILMAN, REICH, SCHULTZ, SEIDEL

Peter F. Brickel, a highly esteemed resident of Reading, Pa., who lives in his own home at No. 1037 Washington Street, has been an employee of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company for nearly thirty years. Mr. Brickel was born Sept. 24, 1862, in Reading, son of Francis (Falter) Brickel.

Francis Brickel was born in Bavaria, Germany, Oct. 9, 1809, and came to America in 1849, locating at Eleventh and Penn Streets, Reading, where he died May 1, 1890. By occupation he was a laborer. He was a member of St. Paul, Church, and was buried at the Catholic cemetery. Mr. Brickel married Mary Falter, who was born in 1826, and died Jan. 5, 1890, four months prior to the death of her husband. They had a family of seven children: Kate, m (first) William Schultz and (second) Andrew Gravy; Helen m. Marks Heilman, of Pottstown; Mary m. Cyrus Schultz, who is a teller in the National Union Bank, of Reading; Rose m. Calvin Fry, deceased; Frank lives at Reading; Peter F.; and Thresa m. Harry Ball, of Reading. Peter F. Brickel was educated in St. Paul's parochial school, Reading and when sixteen years of age learned the trade of machinist in the shops of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad, for which company he has worked ever since 1879, having never been employed by any other firm. He is a skilled machinist, and one of the company's most trusted employees. Mr. Brickel is connected with the St. Boniface and Holy Cross Beneficial Associations, and with Reading Aerie No. 66, F. O. E. He is religiously identified with St. Paul's Catholic Church, of Reading.

In 1892, Mr. Brickel married Mary Elizabeth Seidel, daughter of Philip and Mary Elizabeth (Reich) Seidel, of Stony Creek, and granddaughter of Jacob and Lydia (Deisher) Seidel. To Mr. And Mrs. Brickel there have been born these children: Francis, who died aged fourteen months, fourteen days; Mary E., who died in infancy; Leon Philip, and Paul Peter.


BRICKER, EDWARD L.

p. 1426

Surnames: BRICKER, BECKER, SEITZINGER, MOLL, MCKENTLEY, SCHMEHL, KISSINGER, KERCHOFF, SHALTER, BAKER, BUTZ, CLYMER, HOMAN, SWAVELY, MILLER

Edwin L. Bricker, of Reading, PA., proprietor of the "Excelsior Hotel," located at the corner of Tenth and Perry streets, was born in Muhlenberg township, Berks county, Nov. 18, 1860, son of Frederick S. and Hannah (Becker) Bricker.

Jacob Bricker, the grandfather, was a native of Pottsville, where he carried on carpentering until his death in young manhood. He married Harriet Seitzinger, and they had the following children: Albert, who lived at Fleetwood, Henry, who died at Reading; and Frederick S. After the death of her first husband, Mrs. Bricker m. (second) Henry Moll of Berkley, and they had two children: John; and Sallie, who married Henry McKentley.

Frederick S. Bricker was born July 24, 1830, and died March 23, 1897. As a young man he removed from Pottsville to Alsace township, where for sixteen years he was engaged in railroading and assisted in the construction of the East Penn Railroad in 1857. He owned a tract of forty-seven acres in Alsace township, but this he sold in later years and came to Reading, where he worked in the car shops until his death. He was a Lutheran member of Alsace Church, and was buried at Shalters Church. Mr. Bricker was married to Hannah Becker, who was born Jan 1, 1833, in Alsace township, daughter of Daniel and Magdalena (Schmehl) Becker. She now resides with her daughter, Mrs. Annie Kissinger, on North Ninth Street, Reading. To Mr. and Mrs. Bricker the following children were born: Emma, widow of Amos Kerchoff; Rebecca, m. to Washing Shalter; William of Reading; Edwin L.; Irvin, John and Charles of Reading; Alice, m. to Samuel Baker, deceased; Annie, m. to Amos Kissinger; Katie, m. to William Butz; Howard, a resident of Reading; and Laura, who died in infancy.

Edwin L. Bricker was reared in Alsace township, where he attended the public schools. After leaving school he commenced working for Clymer & Co., at the Mount Laurel furnace, following the iron business until 1898. He then became proprietor of the "Excelsior Hotel," which he has conducted to the present time. His house has seventeen large rooms, and he has made a success of the business, possessing his share of the traveling public.

Mr. Bricker is a member of Aerie No. 66, F. O. E.; Muhlenberg Lodge, No. 1085, I. O. O. F.; Berks County Liquor Dealers Association, and the Eagles' Mountain Home Association. He is a Republican in politics. Mr. Bricker and his family are connected with Shalters Lutheran Church of Alsace township.

On Dec. 23, 1882, Mr. Bricker was married to Debora Homan, daughter of John and Lydia (Swavely) Homan, of Muhlenberg township, and granddaughter of Matthias Swavely. Seven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Bricker, as follows: Harry, born Oct. 14, 1833 (m. Herma Miller, and has one daughter, Pearl I.); Edwin Weston; Edna; Clayton, who died young; Elma; Eva, and Lida.


BRICKER, THOMAS C.

p. 1098

Surnames: BRICKER, MOYER, HOYER, POTTS, BOSLER, HETRICH, GRUBER, HERB, BROCKWAY, HETTINGER, COX, REBER, RUMBLE, MILLER, FISHER, DEPPEN, GERNANT, DUNBAR, BRIGHT, HAHN, SEENLEY, KAUDIG, SELTZER, DERR, ALDRICH

Thomas C. Bricker, floorman in the large department store of Lord & Gage, Reading, was born near Womelsdorf, in Heidelberg township, and received his education in the common schools and at the Palatinate College. He then taught public school for three terms, assisting the railway agent at Wernersville during the summer season. From 1877 to 1879, he acted as the assistant agent and operator at Boyertown, and from 1879 to 1884, as station agent at Langhorne, on the New York Division of the Philadelphia & Reading railroad. He was then transferred to Wernersville, where he continued until 1890, excepting a brief service as agent on the Bulson Street Wharf, at Camden, New Jersey.

In 1890 Mr. Bricker formed a partnership with his brother for carrying on the hardware business in Reading. They purchased the store of Jackson & Obold, and carried it on for four years under the name of Bricker Bros. The Wernersville State Asylum having been completed about this time, the steward's clerk was offered him, and he accepting it, the firm sold their stock and discontinued their business. Mr. Bricker filled this position in a satisfactory manner for two years, when the board of managers advanced him to store-keeper. After serving for a year as store-keeper, his services and efficiency were so highly appreciated by the board that he was promoted to the responsible position of steward, Dec. 1, 1896, and this he filled up to August 15, 1908, when, on account of ill health, he resigned. His residence is at Wernersville, where he erected a very attractive home for himself and his wife. He assisted in organization and building the Trinity Lutheran Church of Wernersville, in 1896, and officiated as secretary of the congregation and superintendent of the Sunday-school from its organization. He also assisted in organizing the public library, and the water company of the village, becoming president of the former, and one of the directors of the latter. Soon after his resignation as steward of the Asylum, Mr. Bricker came to Reading, where he is employed as floorman in the large department store of Lord & Gage. He travels to and from Wernersville.

David Bricker, father of Thomas C., lived retired for some years in Wernersville, after having been a farmer for some thirty years in Heidelberg township. He was born in 1836 and died in 1904. His wife was Caroline Moyer, a daughter of William and Hannah (Hoyer) Moyer, of Womelsdorf, and they had five children; Martin, who died when a young man; Daniel M., now deceased, m. to Lizzie Potts; Thomas C.; Ella C., m. to John Bosler; and Emma C., m. to Eugene Hetrich.

Mr. Bricker's grandfather was Christian Bricker, a farmer of Heidelberg. He m. Hannah Gruber, and they had five children; Jonathan m. to Mary Herb; Jacob, m. to Annie Gruber; John m. to Elmeda Brockway; Daniel, m. to Rebecca Hettinger; and Kate, m. to David Cox. Christian Bricker's antecedents came from Cocalico township, Lancaster county, in the vicinity of Brickerville.

Thomas C. Bricker m. Luneta E. Reber, daughter of Levi F. Reber, of Wernersville. Her father, a native of Penn township, m. Mary A. Rumble, of Ringtown, Schuylkill county, by whom he had five children; Luneta; Theresa, m. to Elijah H. Miller; Sarah; John H.; and Robert, who died young. Mrs. Bricker's grandfather, John B. Reber, was of Penn township, where he carried on a large gristmill and farm, and he also became interested in coal operations in Schuylkill county. He was born in 1818, and died in 1894. He was married three times. His first wife was Sarah Fisher, of Heidelberg township, by whom he had two children; Mary A., m. to Dr. James Deppen; and Levi F. His second wife was Mary Gernant, daughter of John Gernant. His third wife was Montana Dunbar. Her great-grandfather was Conrad Reber, born in 1788, and died in 1854. He was married to Susanna Bright of Bernville, and by her had ten children. His father, Thomas Reber, born in 1746 and died in 1821; and his grandfather, Johann Bernhard Reber, emigrated from Langenselbold, Germany, in 1738, landing at Philadelphia; naturalized in 1768; m. Johanna Magdalena Hahn, who whom he had five children, John, Ludwig, Thomas (above named), Valentine and Peter.

Mrs. Bricker's grandfather on the mother's side was Henry Rumble, whose wife was Salome, and they had six children besides Mrs. Reber, mother of Mrs. Bricker, namely; Henry m. Elizabeth Seenley; Rebecca m. William Kaudig; Daniel m. Sarah Seltzer; Joshua m. three times (first) Lucy Seenley, (second) Hannah Derr, and (third) Jennie Aldrich; John P., and Jacob.


BRIDEGAM, WILLIAM

p. 606

Surnames: BRIDEGAM, BECKER, HERBINE, SHADLE, MESSERSMITH, HASSLER, BELLS, HOBART, WALTZ, HARTMAN, HUNSICKER, FINK

William Bridegam, one of Reading's highly esteemed citizens and retired business men, is a native of Berks county, born June 10, 1826, in Alsace township, son of David and Catherine (Becker) Bridegam, also natives of this county.

David Bridegam was educated in the common schools of his day, and when a boy learned the weaver's trade. This, in connection with farming a small property, occupied his time during his short life. He died at the age of thirty years, having been married but eight years, and having four children: Louisa m. Philip Herbine, and had eight children, John (deceased), William, Lucy, Mahlon, Louisa, Katie, Amanda and James; William; Augustus died single; and Lewis m. Mary Ann Shadle and had three children, Augustus, Katie and James. Mr. Bridegam died in 1832, while his widow survived him fifty-five years and died aged eighty-six years. The maternal grandfather was David Becker, who married Susan Messersmith. They were very prominent farming people of Alsace township, and he was an extensive land owner. He, however, disposed of his interests in Berks county and with a large family removed to Ohio, where some of his descendants still reside.

William Bridegam was but five years old when his father died, and his mother not being in affluent circumstances, he was taken to raise by, Susan Hassler, with whom he remained until eighteen years of age, receiving, however, but a limited education. While yet in his teens, he was apprenticed to the tinsmith's trade, and this he followed for fifty-four years. Through honest endeavor and perseverance he has accumulated a competency and now in the evening of his life is living quietly, enjoying the fruits of early labor. Mr. Bridegam has been twice married, his first wife being Rebecca Bells, by whom two children were born: Caroline, deceased; and Susan, who became the wife of William Hobart. Mr. Bridegam m. (second) Cynthia Waltz (now also deceased), and six children were born to this union, as follows: Clara, m. Samuel Hartman; Sarah, is a widow; Kate, m. John E. Hunsicker of Los Angeles, Cal.; William E., is an electrician of Reading; Mary, is deceased; and Florence, m. John Fink, of Schuylkill Haven.

In religion the family are members of St. James Lutheran Church. Mr. Bridegam was formerly a member of the I. O. O. F., and belongs to Reading Council, No. 46, O. U. A. M. He is a very active man for his years, and is most highly esteemed in Reading.


BRIDEGAM, WILLIAM K.

p. 1448

Surnames: BRIDEGAM, KERLING, AUER, HAGY, FRITZ, LEWIS, SCHAEFFER

William K. Bridegam, of Reading, PA., whose plumbing establishment is situated at No. 552 North Front street, corner of Greenwich, was born Sept. 23, 1875 in Temple, Berks county, son of James and Isabella (Kerling) Bridegam, the former of whom, a retired locomotive engineer, has been living in Reading since 1881.

William K. Bridegam was educated in the grammar schools of Reading, from which he received his diploma in 1891. After leaving school he drove a bakery wagon for a few months for Charles Auer, and during this time learned telegraphy in the evenings. After eighteen months with Mr. Auer, Mr. Bridegam resigned and apprenticed himself to the plumber's trade with G. A. Hagy, with whom he continued for about five years, then engaging with S. E. Fritz and H. A. Lewis until 1901. In this year Mr. Bridegam engaged in business on his own account at No. 129 West Oley street, continuing there until October 1905, since which time he has been at his present place of business, where he employes sixteen men, as well as office help. He carries the most complete line of samples in the city and does a large and profitable business, giving special attention to gas, steam and hot water fittings.

In October 1898, Mr. Bridegam was married to Gertrude Schaeffer, daughter of the late William D. and Rebecca Schaeffer, and to this union have been born one child,--Warren J. In religious belief Mr. Bridegam is connected with the Reformed Church, and is financial secretary of the Sunday school. He is a member of the K. G. E., the K. of F., and the A. O. U. W. He votes independently.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:52:45 EDT

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