Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 727


David Campbell, who at the time of his death was superintendent of the Henry Clay furnaces of Reading, Pa., was a son of James and Sophia Campbell, the former one of the early ironmasters of the vicinity of Dauphin county and a very prominent man of his day. He died in 1851, and his wife in 1876, both in the faith of the Church of God. They were the parents of these children: John, Joseph, David, Joseph (2), Sophia, Porter, Benjamin, Isabel and Simon.

David Campbell was born at Middletown, Dauphin county, Dec. 30, 1832, and in youth attended the schools of his native home. When a young man he engaged in the contracting business, his specialty being the erection of blast furnaces, and he built many plans throughout the South and West. His familiarity with the iron business secured for him recognition among the prominent iron masters of the country, and in 1878 he was offered, and accepted a lucrative position as superintendent of the Henry Clay furnaces in this city, a position he held up to the time of his death.

Mr. Campbell was a veteran of the Civil war, having served in the 127th and 200th Pa. V.I. His first enlistment was in Company H, 127th Pa. V.I. He was later promoted to quartermaster-sergeant, and in this capacity he served with his command until it was mustered out, May 29, 1863. On Dec. 1, 1864, Mr. Campbell received a lieutenant's commission in Company G, 200th Pa. V.I., and served until mustered out, May 30, 1865.

Mr. Campbell was a member of Chandler Lodge, No. 227, F.&A.M., and Simon Cameron Post, G. A. R. of Middletown. Besides his wife, Addie J. Zimmerman, daughter of Philip and Mary (Vogel) Zimmerman, he is survived by a son, Harry E., and three daughters, Mrs. Jacob Bauder, of Chicago; Misses Elizabeth McVey and Helen Meigs, at home; and four brothers, Joseph J. and Porter, of Middletown; Benjamin, of Harrisburg; and John, residing in Illinois. During his residence in Reading Mr. Campbell was an attendant at the First Baptist Church.


p. 743


Mrs. William Campbell, residing in Reading, was born in Douglassville, Pa., and on her mother's side is descended from Scotch ancestry. Her parents were George L. Leaf and Amelia Douglass, the former a merchant of Pottstown.

The first Douglass to leave Scotland and settle in Pennsylvania was George, great-grandfather to Mrs. Campbell, who founded the town of Douglassville. His son George was a farmer and merchant in the same place and it was his daughter Amelia who became Mrs. Leaf. She died aged eighty-three. The original Douglass homestead at Douglassville has never passed out of the family, interests being still held by Mrs. Campbell. Through a marriage of Miss Mary May, a niece of George Douglass (2), to George de B. Keim, Mrs. Campbell is also connected with another old Pennsylvania family.

She is a member of Christ Church and has always been active in the various departments of church work. She is also prominent in the ladies auxiliary of the Reading Hospital, where she has served on the housekeeping committee.

The demands upon her time and strength are, however becoming a little too heavy, and she is gradually retiring from many of her activities, a necessity which is greatly to be regretted. R.T. Leaf, brother of Mrs. W.L. Campbell, is the only other member of the family living.


p. 1511


John Carlance, of Reading. was born in Caserta, Italy, Oct. 12, 1856, and until he came to America was a day laborer.

Mr. Carlance's first experience was anything but encouraging. Landing at Castle Garden in 1883, he was at once employed by a railroad contractor and sent to Philadelphia, where he worked for seventeen days with out receiving any pay for it, and with very little food. But he had the courage of youth, and, undismayed, sought other work, which he soon secured on public works. He was thus engaged for several years, and being both industrious and provident, he accumulated some money and was able to take life a little more easily. Meantime he had become quite familiar with the English language and had no difficulty in getting employment as a foreman of a construction gang. His first months, after leaving Philadelphia, were spent at Limerick and Pottsville, Pa., but since 1884 he has remained permanently in Reading. He became in time an agent for furnishing laborers to the contractors of the different railroads, and at present supplies men for Nolan & Bros., general contractors on railroad work. He has charge of from fifty to five hundred men. He furnishes shelter and provisions for the men, as well as providing medical attendance when needed and being very well adapted for his work, has produced unusually good results.

In 1901 Mr. Carlance was united in marriage to Mary, daughter of Joseph Rosline, and two children have been born to them, as follows; Nicholas, Sept. 19, 1902; and Lucy, Jan. 8, 1905. Both parents belong to the Catholic Church. Mr. Carlance took out his naturalization papers in 1904, and joined the ranks of the Republican party.


p. 847


Ellis L. Castor, superintendent of the Reading Cotton Mills, is a native of Berks county, and his entire life has been identified with that immediate locality. His birth occurred in Exeter township, Feb. 15, 1857, son of William L. and Louisa A. (Dorsey) Castor.

The parents were both natives of Philadelphia. William L. Castor was a shoemaker and tailor by trade, but was at one period in business as a merchant, and also gave considerable attention to farming. He died in Reading in 1893, aged seventy-eight, his wife passing away in 1888, aged sixty-six. Of their children - six sons - George W. was drowned at Pigeon Rocks, in the Schuylkill river; Edward, M., deceased, was foreman in the blacksmith department for J. H. Sternbergh (m. Miss Mary Martin); William D., deceased, was for many years in partnership with his father in a clothing business, but for a considerable period prior to his death had been a salesman for Curtis, Jones & Co., shoe manufacturers (m. Miss Josephine Reller); Jesse M. is a blacksmith at the Scott Works, of Reading (m. Miss Hannah Homan) ; Ellis L. is the subject of this sketch; and Thomas D. is in the clothing department of G. M. Britton & Co., of Reading (m. Miss Margaret Davis). The family were all brought up in the Baptist faith, while in politics father and sons were for years loyal Democrats.

Ellis L. Castor began his business career at an early age as a clerk in a dry goods and grocery store, but was there only a short time. When hardly more than a boy, only fifteen years of age, he was taken into the office of the Reading Cotton Mills as a book-keeper, and from that time, in 1872, he has been regularly promoted. On Aug. 2, 1900, Mr. Smith, who had held the position of superintendent, died, and Mr. Castor was put in his place, which he has ever since filled with the greatest success.

In 1902 the company was incorporated as the Garner & Co. Mills, though still known as the Reading Cotton Mills. A new power plant had been installed in 1897, with a 750-horse-power Wetherell-Corliss engine, while there are also three 200-horse-power Berry boilers. A cooling pond was built for these, at the same time, and the total cost of the improvements amounted to $25,000. The mills employ about 300 hands and have a large output, having 415-40 plain looms with 17,216 spindles (ring spinning), with a production of about 120,000 yards of cloth weekly.

Mr. Castor was married in 1876 to Miss Matilda Reich, a native of Reading. Of the six children born to this union, only two are living, namely: Emma L., Mrs. Frederick Thurow; and Ellis R., who is employed by the William S. Cooper Brass Works, with offices at No. 816 Chestnut street, Reading; he is a member and liberal supporter of the Memorial Church of the Holy Cross (M. E.). Mr.. Castor is a member of Reading Council No. 1104, Royal Arcanum; Grand Fraternity, No. 72; charter member of Isaac Hiester Lodge No. 660, F. and A. M.; Reading Castle, No. 49, K. G. E.; Camp No. 329, P. O. S. of A.; Reading Chamber, No. 26, Knights of Friendship; and Reading Consultory No. 3, Knights of Friendship. In politics he is now independent. He is a man of real power and highly esteemed in both business and social circles.


p. 1037


John Chelius, who is successfully engaged in the grocery business at the corner of Marion and Moss streets, Reading, Pa., was born Dec. 29, 1860, at Boyertown, Pa., son of Nicholas and Catherine (Gleser) Chelius.

Daniel Chelius, grandfather of John, arrived in America in 1855. He became a farmer in Iowa, where he had settled in 1862. He and his wife, Elizabeth German, had children: Nicholas, Frank, Peter, Mary, Elizabeth and Emma.

Nicholas Chelius, son of Daniel, was a resident of Berks county all of his life. He was first engaged as a miner at Barto, being made foreman, a position which he held for fifteen years, and later he had charge of mines at Siesholtzville, where he continued for six years. He then removed to Palm, where in 1879 he purchased 120 acres of land, and in 1889 he removed to Norristown. He died in Reading in 1893, while his widow, Catherine Gleser, still survives, and makes her home at No. 944 North Tenth street, Reading. They were the parents of children as follows: Emma, Frank, John, Elizabeth, Nicholas, William, Rita, Mary, George, Edwin L., Catherine and Rose, all of whom except William are living.

John Chelius was educated in the schools of Bally, Pa., and his first work was in the mines, where he continued for ten years. He learned the cigar-making trade at East Greenville, and worked at that occupation for about ten years. In 1889 he came to Reading and engaged in his present business, in which he has had much success.

In political matters Mr. Chelius is a Democrat, and he has served as tax collector of the Thirteenth ward for three terms. He is a member of St. Joseph's Catholic Church, and has been very active in church work, serving as a member of the building committee of St. Joseph's Parochial school, and as Sunday-school teacher for sixteen years. Fraternally he is connected with the Knights of Columbus.

On Sept. 17, 1888, at Bally, Mr. Chelius was married in the church of the Blessed Sacrament by the Rev. Father Renold to Mary Melchers, daughter of Bennet Melchers, and they have had children as follows: Paul and Joseph, both deceased; Luke; Mark; Hanna; Daniel; Mary; and John and Rose, both deceased.


p. 1089


Evan P. Christ a well known and successful educator residing in Reading, now in the railway mail service, is a representative of one of Berks County's old and honored families.

John Christ, Sr., great-grandfather to Evan P., was a farmer in Tulpehocken township, this county. He was the father of the following children: John; Daniel had children - Mrs. William Burkey, Mrs. William Rishel, and Mrs. Ritter; Jacob had children - William, Adam, Charles, Frank, Mrs. Joel Stump, Mrs. Henry Potteiger, Mrs. Frank Mengel, Mrs. William Himmelreich, Mrs. George Wann and Mrs. Henry Haag; Benjamin had -Mrs. Lizzie Himmelberger-Gerhart, Mrs. Catherine Burkey-Feich-White and Mrs. Sarah Feich; David had - John, Wellington, Thomas, Mrs. Lizzie Schaeffer, Mrs. Kate Becker, and Mary; Elizabeth m. Jacob S. Haag and had three children - Israel, Garean, and Kate (m. Aaron Kline; Mary (Polly) m. John Stoudt and had a son, John, now living in Reading; Margaret m John Seaman, whose children were - John (of near Hamburg), Mrs. Mary Schock and Mrs. John Dunkel.

John Christ, son of John, Sr., was born March 9, 1809, and died Jan. 19, 1887, on the old Christ Homestead, a tract of land that had been in the Christ name for more than a hundred years. He was a farmer all his life. By his wife whose maiden name was Dundore, he had ten children: Louisa m. Levi Staley ; Levi died age five years; Jonathan D. had - Thomas, Mrs. Joseph Leinbach, and Clara; Harrison D. had children -Mary, Alice and Howard; Kate; Aaron D. Had - Monroe, Minerva and Oscar; Sarah; Henry D. has - Helen and Rosa; James D.; and Levi D. had - Verna, Willard and Norma.

James D. Christ, son of John and father of Evan P., was born in Penn township Nov.18, 1848, and was reared upon the farm, following that vocation until 1896, when he moved to Reading, now residing at No. 200 West Greenwich street, that city. He is a builder and contractor and has a high reputation for doing thorough and substantial work. In politics he is a Democrat and for some years he was assessor of Penn Township. With his family he belongs to St. Mark's Reformed Church, Reading. Mr. Christ has been twice married. His first wife, Mary A. E. Obold was born April 26, 1847, in Penn Township, daughter of Joseph and Caroline (Billman) Obold She died March 1, 1897, the mother of Evan P. and Samuel J. (born Oct. 30, 1886). Mr. Christ married (second) Ellen Albert, of Bern Township, and they have one daughter, Anna.

Evan P. Christ, the subject of this sketch, was born in Penn Township Jan. 27, 1873. His early education was obtained in the public schools of his district, and later he attended a subscription school taught by Prof. Michael A. Gruber, at Bernville. In the spring of 1890 he was licensed to teach by Prof. W. M. Zechman superintendent of public schools. He taught his first term at Snyder's school in Penn Township. In the spring of 1891 he attended the Schuylkill Seminary, at Fredericksburg, Lebanon county. In the fall of that same year he entered the Keystone State Normal School at Kutztown, and continued there until his graduation in the class of 1893. He then taught in Muhlenberg and Penn Townships at an advanced salary for three years. In 1896 he came to Reading, and this city has since been his home. For four terms he taught the same school at Oakbrook, in Cumru Township, and from 1904 to 1908 was one of the teachers in the Reading night school. In politics he is a democrat, and he has always been an active worker for his party's welfare. He served a clerkship in the Engineering Department at the city hall. His fraternal connections are with Wyomissing Council, Royal Arcanum, and Railway Mail Association. On April 7, 1908, he was appointed a railway postal clerk by the Post Office Department of the U.S. Government.

In February 1897, Mr. Christ was married to Mary C. Bickel, daughter of the late Isaac and Angeline F. (Werner) Bickel, and granddaughter of Jonathan and Magdalene (Wenrich) Bickel, of North Heidelberg. Four sons have blessed this union: Harold J., E. Isaac, George B. and Richard U. Mr. and Mrs. Christ are members of the Second Reformed Church of Reading.


p. 735


Henry D. Christ, farmer, of Penn township, was born there Dec. 31, 1845, son of John and Elizabeth (Dundore) Christ, also natives of Penn township.

John Christ was born on the old Christ homestead, where he himself later engaged in farming, and where he died in 1887, aged seventy-eight years: his wife died in 1884, when seventy-three years old. They had nine children, namely: Jonathan, Harrison, Aaron, Henry D., James D., Levi, Louisa, Catharine and Sarah. Mr. and Mrs. Christ were members of the German Reformed Church. In politics he was a Democrat.

Henry D. Christ attended pay school in his youth, and from the time he was able to do any work has been familiar with farming, which occupation he has always followed. He remained at home with his father until eighteen years old, when he went out West, living at Naperville, Ill., thirty miles west of Chicago, where he was employed at farm work for two years. Returning home, he was with his father for another year, and after his marriage he engaged in farming on the Peter Phillips place in Centre township, Berks county, where he resided for two years. He has since lived on the old homestead in Penn township, which he farmed for eight years before his father's death, buying the place in 1888. It contains 106 acres of good land, which he has been improving steadily ever since he took the management. The dwelling on this property is one of the landmarks of the vicinity, and is a fine stone house built over a hundred years ago. The farm has been in the possession of the family ever since it was owned by Johannes Christ, the great-grandfather of Henry D. Christ. It is located one mile east of the borough of Bernville, and the land is fertile and valuable, with an unusually good water supply.

In 1871, Mr. Christ married Mary A. Phillips, daughter of Henry Phillips, of Mohrsville, Pa., and they have two children, Helen and Rosa Jane, both of whom are with their parents.

Mr. Christ has long been active in the educational affairs of the township, having served as school director for fifteen years and for ten years as treasurer of the school board. He is a Democrat in politics, and has done local work for the party, having been a member of the township election board. He is a member of St. Thomas' Reformed Church and has served as deacon and elder; when younger he was a regular attendant of the Sunday-school.

NOTE:The underlined name above is an error and should read Franklin K. Staley (Franklin and Louisa had eight children, one whose name was Levi Staley).


p. 1164


Howard L. Christ, one of the highly esteemed young citizens of Reading, Pa., is at present occupied with the duties attendant upon the position of Common Pleas court stenographer. Mr. Christ is of German descent, his ancestors having come from Germany some generations ago, and his grandfather, John Christ, was a farmer of Penn township.

Harrison D. Christ, father of Howard L., died in Philadelphia in 1903, aged sixty-five years, and he and his wife, who was Mary Reber (daughter of Samuel Reber, a farmer of Berks county), had four children, as follows: J. Morris, who died in Aurora, Ill.. in 1886, aged twenty-five years; Alice, m. to George Albert, with the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company; Mary, m. to A. H. Dundore, residing at Bernville; and Howard L.

Howard L. Christ was born in Fredericksburg, Pa., Sept. 14, 1876, but received his education in the public schools of Reading. After graduating at the Reading high school in 1895, he became a stenographer, and worked for several prominent concerns for a short time, when he became employed by the court stenographer. In 1899 the latter gentleman was elected city clerk of Reading, and Mr. Christ succeeded him as court stenographer. Mr. Christ's work is considered the best and most accurate.

In 1906 Mr. Christ married Mary, daughter of E. A. Schenck, cigar manufacturer, of Womelsdorf. Mr. Christ is politically a Democrat,and Evangelical in his religious belief.


p. 1361


James D. Christ, senior member of the well known contracting and building firm of Christ & Albert, of Reading, Pa., was born Nov. 18, 1848, in Penn township, Berks county, son of John and Elizabeth (Dundore) Christ, natives of that township.

John Christ, father of James D., was born March 9, 1809, on the old Christ homestead in Penn township, son of John, Sr., and there he carried on agricultural pursuits, and died Jan. 19, 1887, at the age of seventy-eight years. His wife, Elizabeth Dundore, died when seventy-three years old. They had ten children, as follows: Louisa, m. to Levi Staley; Levi, who died aged five years; Jonathan D. (had Thomas, Mrs. Joseph Leinbach and Clara); Harrison D. (had Mary, Alice and Howard); Kate; Aaron D. (has Monroe, Minerva and Oscar); Sarah; Henry D. (has Helen and Rosa); James D.; and Levi D. (has Verna, Willard and Norma). Mr. and Mrs. Christ were members of the German Reformed Church. and in politics he was a stanch Democrat.

James D. Christ was educated in the schools of his native township, and as a boy was reared on the home farm, on which he continued to work until 1896. In this year he sold his farm, and in company with Morris Kuehn he engaged in the contracting business for one year, when the partnership was dissolved and Mr. Christ carried on building operations alone until 1905. In this year he associated with Willover and Wagner, under the firm name of Christ, Willover & Wagner, but in the spring of 1906 he withdrew from this firm, and with Henry S. Albert, his brother-in-law, founded the firm of Christ & Albert, which has been very successful. Charles F. Denlinger, a young man of much ability, is associated with the firm. Altogether, Mr. Christ has erected about 175 first-class buildings, and has never had the slightest trouble in disposing of them. He has an enviable reputation for honest dealings, and is known to be a man to live up to the letter of his contracts. He is at present engaged in the erection of twelve houses.

Mr. Christ was married (first) to Mary A. E. Obold, by whom he had two sons. Evan P. and Samuel J. Mrs. Christ died March 1, 1897, and he m. (second) Ellen Albert, daughter of Isaac Albert, and sister of his business partner, and to them one child was born: Anna E. In religions belief the family are members of St. Mark's Reformed Church. Mr. Christ is a Democrat in politics.


p. 1477


Samuel T. Christ, who owns and conducts the Central Hotel, at Strausstown, Berks county, has been engaged in the hotel business, since 1903, and is a popular host of his locality. He has passed most of his life in Strausstown, but he is a native of Bethel township, this county, born Oct. 11, 1876. His grandfather, Jonathan Christ, was a farmer of Bethel township. He died at the age of. ninety-three years, and is buried at Host.

John Christ, father of Samuel T., was born in Bethel township, June 29, 1834, and died April 20, 1887; aged fifty-two years, nine months, twenty-one days. He followed farming in Bethel township until his death and is buried at Strausstown. He married Mary P. Zechman, who is still living at Strausstown, now (1909)aged seventy-three years. Of the nine children born to John and Mary P. (Zechman) Christ, only two are living. Samuel T. and Martha; the latter is the widow of Edwin M. Himmelberger, who was a teacher at Strausstown, and died in 1902. Mrs. Himmelberger makes her home in Strausstown.

Samuel T. Christ received his education in the public schools at Strausstown, where he was brought by his parents when six years old. He then learned the tinsmith's trade, which he followed for about twelve years, until he entered his present business in 1903. The Central Hotel has nineteen rooms, comfortably furnished and well cared for, and the house has the reputation of being the best conducted in the town enjoying a steady patronage. Mr. Christ is interested in other business enterprises outside of his hotel, being known as one of the most progressive citizens of Strausstown, and he is a director of the Bell Local and Long Distance Telephone Company, to which office he was elected in 1908. He is well known in social organizations, belonging to Camp No. 66, P. 0 S. of A., at Strausstown; the I. 0. 0. F. Lodge No 77, at Strausstown; the Loyal Protective Association and other fraternal organizations. In church connection he is a Lutheran.

Mr. Christ has always been an ardent devotee of outdoor sports, and is himself one of the best marksmen in the county, also holding the Schuylkill County championship. He deals in line horses, and usually has several in his possession.

Mr. Christ married Miss Kate Shade, a daughter of Michael Shade, of Strausstown. and they have one son Walter, who is attending school.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:52:51 EDT

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