Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 574


One of the best known of Reading's citizens, who was for many years identified with the construction work of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad, was Daniel H. Christian, who died December 22, 1903. Mr. Christian was born Oct. 17, 1849, on the old Christian homestead in Exeter township, Berks county, son of Edward and Catherine (Hoffmaster) Christian.

Henry Christian, the great-grandfather of Daniel H., was a carpenter in Switzerland, and died in that country in his fortieth year, his death being caused by a fall from a ladder, when he broke his back in two places. His wife, Frenna, was a seamstress and midwife, and died in her eighty ninth year, much beloved in the village where she had lived so long. She and her husband had three children: one son who settled in Virginia; John, the grandfather of Daniel H.; and a daughter who remained in Switzerland.

John Christian was born in the village of Frenkendorf, Basel Landschaft, Switzerland, Jan. 20, 1786, and was baptized and confirmed in the Reformed Church in Frenkendorf. He attended the village school during the winter, this school being attended most of the time by over 100 children. Later be went to a school at Liestell for three months, but his schooling came to an abrupt end when Napoleon marched into the town with his army of 200,000. Until sixteen years of age young Christian was engaged in agricultural pursuits and wine culture. The Napoleonic army having brought hardship upon the Basel Landschaft, there was no money with which to pay the heavy taxes, and times became very hard, this causing nearly 400 families to depart from the wharves of the city, Mr. Christian being one and the youngest of four single men. He started from the Rhine waters April 10, 1804, and seventeen days later the Swiss emigrants arrived at Amsterdam, whence they took passage on the ship "Rebecca," bound for Philadelphia, the contract price being sixty-five dollars per person over seventeen years of age, and one meal per day. After some difficulty the ship glided into the English Channel from the Texel Sea, and then to the ocean, and after a very stormy voyage, during which sea-sickness, hunger and thirst caused the death of sixty-four of the 374 passengers, the ship landed on a Sunday morning, Aug. 17, 1804, at the Lazaretto, below Philadelphia. After suffering from fever for some time, Mr. Christian escaped from the overcrowded hospital and through the friendly services of acquaintances was directed to Philadelphia. Three young friends, and many others who had escaped the terrible journey went to Ohio, and Mr. Christian finally settled at Reading in 1807, where he was married Oct. 11, 1808, to Margarete Deem, daughter of Christopher Deem, and wife (whose maiden name was Settly), of Reading, the former of whose parents had come to America from Germany. After living near Lancaster for one and one-half years with his wife and her sister Elizabeth, Mr. Christian returned to Reading and built a still house on a lot he had bought before his marriage from one David Bright. Then Mr. Christian formed a partnership with Michael Bright, this connection however being of short duration, he taking into partnership John Birkenbine, whose share Mr. Christian bought later. In 1822 Mr. Christian sold his interests for $2,450, $1,600 in cash and the residue in two equal payments, and in the spring of 1823 he bought thirty two acres of land in Exeter township, along the Schuylkill, where he moved his family in the fall of that year. His children were: John, born in 1810, a railroader, who lived in Lebanon, Pa., and died Oct. 12, 1875; Edward, born March 13, 1817; Frenna, born 1821, who died of a prevailing fever when she was nearly two years old; and a son, born Feb. 12, 1824. John Christian was a man of more than ordinary education, and in 1865 wrote a forty-eight page booklet, which he named "An Autobiography of John Christian," in which he gave a graphic account of his journey from the land of his nativity to the land of his adoption, his trials and hardships, and his subsequent prosperity. One of these booklets is now in the possession of Edward Christian's family, of Reading.

Edward Christian, father of Daniel H., was born March 13, 1817, at the corner of Front and Franklin streets, Reading, where his father, John Christian, carried on distilling until 1822, when he removed his household effects on a boat which was propelled by six hand oars, and landed near the locks of the Big Dam. Here they built a house at a point now called Neversink Station, and young Christian helped his father to cultivate five or six acres of land, cut down trees and stack the wood in cords in different parts of Exeter. Later he attended school about two miles below the Black Bear, where he learned his first lessons, and subsequently a pay school was started by Gustavus Lewis, where young Christian attended. This school was fitted up in a single room in a private house and there were but eight pupils. Many years later a large schoolhouse was built at the Black Bear, which he also attended. In 1830 he assisted his father to join shingles for the barn of George de B. Keim, about half a mile below the Neversink Station, and later in squaring logs for Seyfert & McManus' furnace. In 1838 he went at his trade, that of milling, with Amos Esterly, at Hertzog's mill, on the Perkiomen turnpike, and he remained here three years, polling his first vote in 1839 at Stonersville, when he voted the Democratic ticket, which was his custom to the time of his death, missing but one election; he voted at fifteen Presidential elections. In 1839 he and his father built the old Sunday schoolhouse situated on the road leading from Black Bear to the Schuylkill river, and the building is still standing in a good state of preservation, being called "All Sorts" school house, on account of the different kinds of stones used in its construction. Mr. Christian was superintendent of the Sunday-school for ten years, and taught a class of young men.

He married, Aug. 21, 1842, Catherine Hoffman, daughter of Christian and Ellen Hoffman, of Stony Creek, the former of whom was the proprietor of a grist mill and the first owner of a wool factory in that district. In the spring of 1842 Mr. Christian moved back to the old homestead at Neversink, where he engaged in farming. When the Civil war broke out he was very active in securing recruits. He was well preserved to the time of his demise. He was five feet, eleven inches tall, and very erect, but during the last few years of his life his eyesight failed very rapidly. He was a school director for six years, aiding in the establishment of many schools, and was appointed by the court to appraise damages and lay out new roads in Berks, and in various ways he was a very useful citizen. He was the last of his family, and at the time of his death had sixteen grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. His own children were: Mrs. George Esterly; Jacob H., of Reading; Daniel H.; Edward H., of Mt. Penn., Pa.; and Solomon H., of Reading. Mr. Christian lived in retirement from 1883, at No. 1216 Chestnut street. In religious belief he was a Lutheran, and attended Grace Church of that denomination, in the faith of which his estimable wife died Feb. 19, 1907, aged eighty three years. Fraternally Mr. Christian was connected with Salome Lodge No. 105, I. O. O. F., in which he was very popular.

Daniel H. Christian attended the schools of his township and was reared on his father's farm, assisting in its cultivation until 1862. He then secured employment with the repairing gang of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad, where he worked for some years, and in 1874 was sent to Lancaster to superintend the laying of tracks on a new branch of the Philadelphia & Reading, extending from Lancaster to Quarryville, about fourteen and one-half miles. In the spring of 1876 he returned to Reading and took charge of the West Reading branch, remaining until 1878, when he was sent to Shamokin as superintendent of track repairs of the Mahanoy division. In 1883 he was appointed general supervisor of the Division, with headquarters at Mahanoy Plane, but in 1888 he resigned to become coal and iron policeman of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company at Nescopeck and Wilkes Barre. After a short time he resigned this position and returned to the Reading, in whose employ he was, all told, twenty one years. He was superintendent of the work of changing the tracks in the Manayunk tunnel and was an expert at finishing and laying rails for large curves, being in later years frequently consulted as to how tracks should be laid to insure safety and easy riding. After the completion of the tunnel Mr. Christian came back to Reading and took charge of the erection of the electric power plant at the Big Dam, for the Neversink Mountain Railroad Company, and later he was appointed superintendent of the road, which was built around the mountain under his supervision. He rendered valuable service to the company, and while thus employed made a number of important inventions, among which are a brake shoe and fender, the former being used on all Neversink cars. His car fender was adopted by the Philadelphia Traction Company. One of his most important inventions was the automatic block signal, which is used on the Neversink and other lines, and he also invented an automatic switch, catch and lock, which is used on many portions of the Philadelphia & Reading road at present. For the last few years of his life lie was employed as electrician by the United Traction Company of Reading, and was an expert in this line. He had charge of all of the electric work on the Neversink road, including overhead work, wires, motors and repairs and rewinding of armatures. While working around the controllers of summer cars at the North Tenth street barn, removing an incandescent lamp from its socket, being in the act of replacing it with a search light, Mr. Christian received a shock, and soon afterward he expired in the arms of a fellow workman, where he had fallen. Mr. Christian was held in high esteem by his employers, and was a great favorite among the employes, the general declaration among whom was: "I never worked for a better man." Mr. Christian died Dec. 22, 1903, aged fifty-four years.

Daniel H. Christian married Aug. 8, 1868, to Mary Catherine Houck, born Aug. 8, 1849, daughter of Henry G. and Hannah (Gilbert) Houck, and granddaughter of John Houck, of Chester County. To Mr. and Mrs. Christian were born these children: Oliver W., an electrician who took his father's place with the Reading Traction Company, m. Bertie Templin; Permilla m. Robert Hardy, a draughtsman at the Acme Motor Works, Reading; Harry is an electrician and car inspector at the Wilson avenue car barn, Cleveland, O.; and Daniel resides at home with his mother at No. 230 South Thirteenth street, Reading.


p. 889


Edward H. Christian, a substantial citizen of Mount Penn, superintendent of erection for the monument manufacturing firm of P. F. Eisenbrown Sons & Co., was born March 12, 1859, near Neversink Station, Exeter township, Berks county, son of Edward D. and Catherine (Hoffmaster) Christian. John Christian, his grandfather, was born in 1786 in Switzerland, and came to this country when seventeen years of age, first locating in Reading, where he married a Miss Deem. He was a distiller by trade, and this vocation he followed for some years in Reading, but later purchased a farm in Exeter township, where he died at the age of eighty five years. He was a member of the Lutheran Church of Schwartzwald. He was the father of three children: Henry, a contractor on the erection of the Philadelphia & Reading railroad, and later superintendent of the company's wharves at Port Richmond, Philadelphia, married Mary Esterly, and died in the company's service; Edward D. is mentioned below; John, a railroad contractor in the erection of the Philadelphia & Reading railroad, and later appointed roadmaster of the Lebanon Valley division, married Mary Ann Goodhart.

Edward D. Christian was born March 12, 1817, in Reading, Pa., and there spent his boyhood, receiving his education in the public schools, which he left at the age of sixteen years. He then went to the Hertzog mill, and after serving his apprenticeship to the business went to the mill at Antietam Lake, in Alsace township, operating there several years. Mr. Christian then turned his attention to farming, and for the next forty one years carried on operations on the old homestead in Exeter township, which he purchased of the estate after his father's death, the property consisting of forty acres. He was a Democrat in politics, and was very active in the ranks of his party holding numerous positions of honor and trust, among them those of school director and supervisor of his township. He was also a director in the Allenbaugh Cemetery Association. Being a man of keen judgment and knowledge of law, he was as a consequence entrusted with the settlement of many estates. He was a member of the I. O. O. F. and of the Encampment at Reading. Mr. Christian lived for the last twenty or twenty one years of his life at No. 1216 Chestnut street, Reading, where he died Oct. 6, 1901. He was married to Catherine Hoffmaster, born Feb. 12, 1824, who died Feb. 19, 1907, and to them were born these children: Ellen, the widow of George Esterly, lives at Reading; Jacob H., a machinist with the Philadelphia & Reading Company, Reading, married Emma Haas; Daniel, superintendent of the Neversink Mountain railroad, who was killed by an electric shock, married Catherine Houck; Edward H. is mentioned below; Solomon, a hardware merchant of Reading, married Ella Althouse.

Edward H. Christian was educated in the public schools of Exeter township, Berks county, and at the age of fifteen years went to Shamokin, Pa., and engaged in railroad work as a section hand. He continued thus until nineteen years old, when he was promoted to section foreman on the Philadelphia & Reading line, and was employed in that capacity for four or five years. He was then given charge of a gang of twenty five men on construction work during the summer months and in the winter seasons returned to the section, continuing at this line of work until 1890, when he returned to Berks county and took charge of a section in Reading for some eighteen months. He then retired from railroad work, and entered the employ of P. F. Eisenbrown Sons & Co., the monument manufacturers, as an all round man. During recent years he has been superintendent of erection for this company, a line of work which necessitates his traveling over the entire United States, in the setting of valuable shafts. Fraternally Mr. Christian is connected with the P. O. S. of A., in which order he is very popular. He and Mrs. Christian are consistent members of the Lutheran Church. In 1906 they erected a fine residence on Twenty third street, in Mount Penn, which has been their home ever since, and in which community they have a large social circle.

On June 16, 1881, Mr. Christian was married to Miss Catherine Holpp, of Shamokin (born at Minersville), daughter of Daniel and Mary Holpp, natives of Baden, Germany. She died Feb. 6, 1885, leaving two children, one of whom, the infant son George L., followed her to the grave a few days later. The eldest, Willard Arthur, born Aug. 23, 1883, is residing with his uncle, William E. Martz, of Shamokin, Pa., and is paymaster for the Penn Coal Company. The second marriage of Mr. Edward H. Christian, on Oct. 8, 1889, was to Miss Alice C. Eisenbrown, daughter of Penrose F. and Sarah S. (Smith) Eisenbrown, of Reading. Six children have been born to this union Sarah May and Anna, deceased; George Edward; Penrose Frederick; John Franklin; and one who died in infancy.


p. 1429


A. G. Christman, of Reading, who was engaged in dealing in laundry supplies at No. 347 Penn street, was born in 1836, in Richmond township, Berks county, son of Michael and Kate (Christ) Christman, and died July 3, 1908, aged seventy-one years and eleven months.

Michael Christman, father of A. G., was a tailor by trade, but in middle life engaged in farming in Jefferson township, where his death occurred in 1865, at the age of sixty-five years, His wife, Kate Christ, died in 1878, when sixty-seven years of age, the mother of ten children, all of whom grew to maturity, namely: Esther M., Elizabeth, B. Franklin, A. G., James M., Catherine, Daniel, Sarah, Charles and Aquilla. In religious belief Mr. Christman was Reformed, while his wife belonged to the Lutheran denomination. He was a Democrat in politics.

A. G. Christman was educated in the schools of Richmond and Jefferson townships, and the Millersville Normal school, after which he taught school for eight terms, and then spent some time on the home farm. He first engaged in the general merchandise business as a clerk, but later operated a store at New Shaefferstown, where he continued in business for four years. His next venture was in the lumber business at Powell's Creek, where he remained for four years, after which he removed to Sheridan, Lebanon county, and carried on the coal and lumber business for another four years. Subsequently Mr. Christman removed to Lititz, Lancaster county, and spent four years in superintending his inventions in an agricultural implement factory. In 1884 he located in Reading and entered upon the manufacture of agricultural implements, which he continued to engage in until 1892. In that year he invented the "Star" washing machine, which with others associated with him, he started to manufacture. Shortly thereafter he invented the "Daisy" washer, and in 1895, the "Royal" washing machine, the premier machine on the market today, all others being offshoots from the original "Star" and "Daisy" machines. Mr. Christman was very successful in the sale of his "Royal" and "Success" machines, and there are more than 25,000 of them in use at this time. In 1901 his son, H. Herbert Christman, became manager of this large business.

In 1867 Mr. Christman married Ellen R. Althouse, daughter of Adam Althouse, and three children have been born to this union: H. Herbert (who has a son, H. Stanley, by his first marriage, and by his marriage with Anna Eisenbise, has had two children--Irwin Adam, deceased at three months; and John Kenneth); one that died in infancy; and G. Linton, an electrician of Pittsburg (m. to Mary Bristol, and father of one child).

In religious belief Mr. Christman is Reformed. Politically he holds the views of the Democratic party.


p. 1461


Among the old and highly honored families of Maxatawny township is that bearing the name of Christman. (I) Peter Christman was the first of the family to locate there, making his home southeast of Kutztown. He owned a large and valuable farm and became a very rich man of his day. He made his will Dec. 30, 1811, and it was entered for probate May 26, 1812. In it he mentions his wife Elizabeth Christman, stating that she is to have the cattle and sheep, and 800 pounds of lawful money of Pennsylvania. His son Peter obtained his share during the father's lifetime. The amounts bequeathed the others are as follows: Elizabeth, 300 pounds; Marie 500 pounds; Leah, 500 pounds; Jonas, 1200 pounds; Jonathan 500 pounds; and Rachel, 500 pounds. Maria, Leah and Jonas were not of age when their father died, and Jonathan and Rachel (the will says) were "non compos mentis."

(II) Peter Christman was a farmer, located along the Sacony, between Bowers and Kutztown. He was buried in a private cemetery upon the homestead in Maxatawny. His wife was a member of the Barto family, and they had these children: Isaac; John B.; Elizabeth; Anna m. Daniel Dietrich; and Kate m. Charles Detweiler.

(III) Isaac Christman, who was born in 1817 and died in 1894, was a native of Maxatawny, and became a farmer, residing near "Kemps Hotel" in that township. He is buried in Fairview cemetery, Kutztown. His wife was Esther, a daughter of Peter Deisher, and she was born in 1822, and died in 1880. They had children as follows: William; Deisher, born Aug. 25, 1844; Tobias; Peter; Jerome; Louisa; Helena; Wilhemina; Esther and Caroline.

(III) John B. Christman, also a son of Peter Christ man, was born on the homestead in Maxatawny town ship. He was a successful farmer and owned a good farm of 100 acres. During his last years he lived retired in Kutztown, and for six years served as school director. For many years he was an official member of St. John's Reformed church. He married Susanna Geary, a daughter of John and Catherine (Glasser) Geary, and their children were: Fianna; Jemima; Mary; John; Charles I. G., born Feb. 19, 1866, a merchant of Kutztown. In 1896 he married Lucy Scheirer, of Lehigh county, a daughter of David Scheirer. Their children are: Marion, John and Carl.

Michael Christman, grandfather of Charles H. Christman, belongs to one branch of this early family. He resided in Rockland township, and is buried at New Jerusalem church, of which he was a member. He was a farmer and at one time kept an inn. Among his children are these: Daniel; John; Philip; and Susanna, m. to Benjamin Mertz.

Daniel Christman, son of Michael and father of Charles H. Christman, was born in Falkner Swamp in 1815, and he died in the spring of 1883, aged sixty-six years, eleven months and twenty two days. He is buried at New Jerusalem Church, of which he was a member and elder. By trade he was a stone mason. His wife was Elizabeth Gruber, daughter of Michael Gruber, of Maxatawny. She died Feb. 1, 1853, aged thirty-one years. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Christman had these children: Charles H.; Sarah m. Daniel Mayer; Cassie m. Willoughby Eck; Daniel S. died aged seven years; and Frank resides in Kutztown. Charles H. Cristman, residing at Topton, Pa., was born in Maxatawny, July 5, 1841. He was reared on the farm and when only nine years of age was hired out among the farmers in Maxatawny and Greenwich townships. This continued for fifteen years. He married in 1864 and one year later commenced farming for himself in Upper Macungie township, Lehigh county, on a fifty-acre farm. Here he lived three years, and then removed to a farm of one hundred acres in the same township. For two years he worked hard upon his land and then removed to Maxatawny township, where be lived another two years. His next farm was in the upper part of Macungie township and consisted of 130 acres. This he cultivated for eight years, when he bought another farm in Maxatawny township, consisting of one hundred acres. After improving it, he located at Longswamp, near Hancock, and for four years lived retired. However, at the end of that time he once more engaged in farming in Longswamp and continued there for eleven years. In 1899 he removed to Topton where he has since made his home, employing himself by doing a little contracting and looking after his lot of seven or eight acres. In addition to other interests, Mr. Christman owns real estate in Topton and is a man of substance, highly respected by a wide circle of friends and associates.

During the late Civil war Mr. Christman enlisted in October 1862, as a private in Co. I, 167th P. V. I., Capt. J. M. Schollenberger commanding, under Col. Knoderer. The latter was shot Jan. 30, 1863, at Deserted Farm. Mr. Christman served nearly ten months, and was honorably discharged Aug. 12, 1863. In March 1864, Mr. Christman again went to the front, this time as a citizen teamster for three months service.

Mr. Christman was married July 24, 1864, to Sarah A. Koch, a daughter of Charles and Maria (Clauser) Koch, and granddaughter of Carl Koch, who married a Miss Dottery. Mr. and Mrs. Christman have had these children: Mary E. m. Moses Newbold, of Topton; Daniel S. lives at Allentown; Henry E. who died at the age of six years; William A. resides in Maxatawny; Sallie E., deceased, m. Wallace Fry; Oscar E. died at the age of four years; and Charles H. resides in Topton.

Mr. Christman is a member of the Reformed Church of Maxatawny, while Mrs. Christman is a member of the Lutheran Church of the same place, the two congregations holding service in the Zion's Union Church. There two of their children are buried.


p. 1017


Nathan G. Christman, one of the prosperous residents of Oley township, was born in Frederick township, Montgomery county, Pa., Sept. 11, 1841, a son of Nathan and grandson of Henry Christman. (I) Henry Christman was one of four brothers, the others being, John, Daniel and Jacob. He lived in Macungie township on the homestead property. A heavy land owner, he possessed three farms of large extent, a gristmill conducted by his son Jacob, and was a man of prominence in his community. His wife was a member of the Radler family. Their children were: Jonas; Ephraim; Jacob; Samuel; Nathan; Mrs. John Kerchner; Mrs. George Geiger, and Mrs. William Geiger, the last two marrying brothers.

(II) Nathan Christman, son of Henry, was born in Macungie township, Lehigh county, in 1815, and died at Zieglersville, Montgomery county, in 1887, aged over seventy two years. He was reared on the home property, but after his marriage he went to Frederick, where he purchased a good farm of 124 acres. Later he retired, bought a small farm of fifteen acres, and there lived until within six years of his death, when he purchased a pleasant modern house. At the time of his death he was a very wealthy man. Mr. Christman was married twice. His first wife was Esther Garman, who died in 1863, the mother of: Matilda (died young); Lucinda; Nathan G.; James; Wilson; Jonathan and Henry. His second wife was Elizabeth Huber of Falkner Swamp, Montgomery county, who died in 1892, the mother of three children: Lizzie (m. Edwin Erdman); Civilla (m. Hiram Hartzel) and Augustus.

(III) Nathan G. Christman spent his early days upon the homestead, and when twenty years of age learned the milling trade which he followed five years, In 1866 he removed to Oley township, and resided upon the farm of his father in law until 1891, when he sold his farm stock and located in Friedensburg, and there, in 1867, he embarked in his present lumber business. He now owns sixteen acres in Oley, on the main street, south of Friedensburg, on which there is a tenant's house; and he also owns thirty acres in Exeter township, of woodland, and four acres in Earl township. Mr. Christman conducts the old Herbein's sawmill, and owns the old Herbein homestead of 125 acres of excellent farm land which came into his possession through his wife. The house upon it was built by Peter Herbein, and the barn was standing when Jonas Herbein came into possession. The original set of buildings stood north of the present ones in one of the meadows. Mr. Christman is a large stockholder in the First National Bank of Oley, and is a man of large interests and much public spirit. His present commodious home was built by him in 1894, and is on Main street near Friedensburg. In politics he is a Democrat. He and his family are members of the Reformed Church of Friedensburg, although they were formerly connected with the Schwartzwald Church. Mr. Christman is an elder and has been since 1895. His daughter sang in the choir for many years in both churches. On Oct. 28, 1866, Mr. Christman married Rachel Herbein, daughter of Jonas and Lydia (Herbein) Herbein, of Oley township, and their children were: Lydia H., born in 1869, died in 1901, m. Gideon A. D. Hoch, and had children, Gideon, Maud, Thermuthis, Webster, Edna and Elwood; Olivia m. Sylvanius Mertz, of Exeter township, and has children, Carrie, Nathan, Jacob, Maggie, Helen, Mabel and Sue; Jonas, born Aug. 18, 1871 (lives in Oley township, he assisting his father at the sawmill), m. Mary Bush, and has children, Harvey, Florence, Nathan, William, Edna and Cora; Ella L. m. William Deagler, of Friedensburg (where he has a R. F. D. route) and has had children, Blanche, Harvey, John, Ella and Sara, living, and Catherine and James, deceased; Edwin M., born in 1879, died in 1880; Stella M. is unmarried and at home, keeping house for her father.

Mrs. Christman was born April 4, 1843, and died Feb. 8, 1907, aged sixty three years, ten months and four days. Mr. Christman is a fair example of the representative men of Berks county, who have helped so materially to develop the resources and maintain the prestige of the commonwealth. Although no longer a young man he is active and deeply interested in his many affairs, while in his church he is a power.


p. 1153


Robert B. Church, one of the best known passenger locomotive engineers on the Schuylkill Valley branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad, was born in August 1851, across the river from Harrisburg, in the vicinity of Wormleysburg, Cumberland county, son of Robert R. and Louisa (Phillips) Church. Mr. Church received his education at White Hill Seminary and in Wormleysburg, and came to Reading in 1868, apprenticing himself to the carpenter's trade with George W. Garst, a well known contractor and builder, with whom he remained until 1871. In the following year he removed to Reynoldsville, Pa., and after a short period there went to Harrisburg and thence to Baltimore, Md., engaging in work for the Northern Central Railroad, as firemen, Aug. 20, 1872. In 1875 he resigned his position and resumed carpentering, returning to Reading, where he worked for his former employer, Mr. Garst. Mr. Church followed carpentering until 1879, and in this year re-engaged in firing, and continued in the service of the Northern Central Railroad until Oct. 27, 1886, when he was transferred to the Schuylkill division of the Pennsylvania Railroad and in October 1889, was given a passenger run, which he has continued to hold to the present time.

In 1872 Mr. Church was married to Sophia A. Artz. He joined King David Lodge, F. & A. M., of Baltimore, Md., and was transferred therefrom, in 1895, to Reading Lodge No. 549, F. & A. M. He also belongs to the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, being a delegate to the conventions held in Chicago in 1887 and at Atlanta, Ga., in 1892, representing divisions No. 90 of Pottsville, and No. 75 of Reading. Mr. Church has hosts of friends in Reading, where he is well and favorably known.


p. 973


The Clauser or Klauser family of Berks county is descended from four brothers of the name -- Heinrich, George, Peter and John. The branch represented by Simon B. Clauser of Earl township, and Mahlon B. Clauser of Oley township, claim George as their ancestor. The family records are, however, quite complete, and a brief outline of the other branches is also given herewith: Heinrich Clauser, one of the four brothers, died in 1808, in Earl township. His will is on record in Will Book 5, p. 56, and his wife Ottillia (Babb), and son George were his executors. The children of Heinrich were: George, Abraham and Heinrich.

George Clauser, son of Heinrich and Ottillia, lived and died in Earl township, where he carried on farming. He died in 1884, when over eighty years old, and is buried at Oley churches. He was twice married. By his first wife he had an only son, Charles, born in 1826, who now lives near Shanesville, in Earl township. George Clauser's second wife, Maria Moser, bore him six children, namely: Henry, Hannah, Maria, Caroline, William and Catharine.

Abraham Clauser, son of Heinrich and Ottillia, passed the greater part of his life in Earl township, but his last years were spent in Reading, where he died aged eighty-four years. His trade was that of a linen weaver. He married Kate Levengood, of Douglass township, and their children were: John; Elijah; Enoch; Mary; Aaron; Matthias; Henry L., born April 10, 1826 (m. in 1850, Lavinah Leh, and had children -- Franklin, Henry L., Jr., and Jacob); Elizabeth; Daniel; and Sarah. Of these Henry L., Daniel, and Sarah are still living, and Henry L.'s son, Henry L., Jr., is supervisor of Earl township.

Heinrich Clauser, son of Heinrich and Ottillia, was a shoemaker and hatter, and lived at Reading. He married Elizabeth Yerger, and their children were: Augustus, Henry, Catharine and Mrs. Frank Boyer.

John Clauser, one of the four brothers, lived in Robeson township, Berks county, where in 1836 he made his last will and testament. By occupation he was a farmer. He died in 1837, and was survived by his wife, Catharine. His children were: Lydia, Sarah (m. Henry Moyer), Daniel, John, Benjamin and Samuel.

George Clauser, brother of Heinrich, John and Peter, lived in Earl township. In 1782 when Earl township was erected his name and that of his son, George, Jr., appear on the tax list. In 1788 and also in 1806 the names of George, Peter and David Clauser appear on the tax list. Tradition says the Clausers of eastern and western Berks county were of the Same branch. George Clauser's will was made Sept. 14, 1812, and probated May 14, 1814, and is recorded in Will Book D, p. 94. His children were: David, Jacob, Edward, George, Henry, Hannah (m. Samuel High), Peter and Mary (m. George Miller).

Peter Clauser, grandfather of Simon B. and Mahlon B., lived at Shanesville, where he died on his son's farm in February 1857, in his eighty-sixth year. In his earlier life he worked as a blacksmith in Friedensburg, where in 1832 he built the stone house now owned and occupied by his grandson, Simon B. He kept a hotel for a number of years. He built the first barn at Hill Church, and in this church he was an active member and official of the Lutheran congregation. He was tall and strong, and had an abundance of dark hair. He married Anna Maria Moyer, who died aged thirty-five years. Their children were: Tobias, born April 17, 1802, died Feb. 9, 1868, was a drover and a justice of the peace at Leesport, Pa.; Samuel, born Oct. 9, 1807, died April 19, 1864, was a splader, farmer and fall butcher, and lived near Shanesville and later at Friedensburg; Daniel is mentioned below; Esther m. John Brumbach, of Earl township; Polly m. David Koch, of Earl township; Sally m. Samuel Bahr, of Oley township; Mrs. Daniel Acker moved to Ohio before 1848; and Hannah m. Samuel Brumbach.

Daniel Clauser, son of Peter, was born at Shanesville, in Earl township, May 10, 1812, and died April 26, 1878, and is buried at Friedensville Church, Northampton county. He was a foremost farmer in his district, and in his earlier life was proprietor of the Shanesville hotel, conducting it until 1852. In 1872 he moved to Northampton county, where his death occurred. Here he conducted a farm, limestone quarry and store, later renting the store to his son Levi. He was also interested in the furnace business. He was a stanch Democrat, for several years served as township auditor, and for more than forty years he was justice of the peace in Earl township. While in Berks county he attended St. John's Lutheran Church at Hill Church, but after going to Northampton county became connected with Friedensville church. On Sept. 22, 1833, he married Susanna Brumbach, born in Earl township, daughter of George Brumbach. She died Sept. 11, 1887, and is buried at Hill Church. To Daniel and Susanna Clauser were born eight sons and six daughters, namely: Caroline m. Reuben Updegrove (both deceased); Simon B.; Peter died aged two years; Levi lives at Bethlehem, Pa.; Elizabeth m. (first) Hiram Brumbach, and (second) Ephraim Weidner; Rebecca m. Frank F. Cleaver (both deceased); Orlando lives in Northampton county; Amelia m. Albert Snyder, of Oley township; Hannah m. Frank Y. Kauffman, of Oley township; Mahlon B.; Mary Ann m. Elam Rhoads, of Earl township; Cyrus lives at Bethlehem, Pa.; Tobias lives in Northampton county; and Daniel B. makes his home in Reading. Daniel Clauser, the father, was a major in the old State militia for a number of years. He served as assignee and administrator many times, and was a man of considerable prominence in the county.

Simon B. Clauser, son of Daniel and Susanna, was born July 17, 1837, and for more than a third of a century has conducted a hotel in Shanesville, Berks county. He was brought up on his father's farm, and attended the district school and the Boyertown and Mt. Pleasant Academies. At the age of nineteen he began teaching, and taught for four winters, after which he took the hotel at Shanesville. Later he moved to a farm, and carried on agricultural pursuits until 1866, when he entered the commercial world. In 1871 he sold out and purchased the hotel built by his grandfather, and that he conducted until 1894, when he bought his present place. Farming and stock raising took up part of his time and attention. He bought and sold all kinds of cattle, sheep, hogs and calves, until April 1, 1909, when he sold all his stock to his son Peter.

In politics Mr. Clauser is a Democrat, and for many years was auditor of Earl township, finally declining reelection. He was postmaster at Shanesville from 1866 to 1873, and was urged to accept the office of justice of the peace, but steadfastly refused, although he frequently settled up estates and acted as guardian for many children. In stature he was of medium size. On April 20, 1861, he enlisted in Company D, 7th Pa. V. I., under Capt. George S. Herbst. He is a member of Glenn Crooks Post, No. 597, G. A. R., of which he has been chaplain since its organization.

On Nov. 20, 1858, Mr. Clauser married Hannah Mathias, daughter of Jacob and Hannah (Moatz) Mathias, and granddaughter of Michael Moatz. On Nov. 20, 1908, they celebrated their golden wedding. Their children were: Susan m. William Yerger, a merchant at Friedensburg; Kate m. James Ruppert, a farmer, thresher and sawyer in Oley township; Miss Alice is a dressmaker at home; Peter has farmed the homestead since early in 1909; and three died in infancy.

Mahlon B. Clauser, son of Daniel and Susanna, was born in the old "Clauser Hotel" at Shanesville, Feb. 24, 1851. His education was received in the Boyertown and Mt. Pleasant Academies, and he was but eighteen years old when he began huckstering, buying and selling produce to Philadelphia. He made the trip five times by team himself. For seventeen years he continued this line of work, and then sold out to his brother, Daniel B. Clauser, of Reading. He then engaged in the store and tavern business at Griesemersville, in Oley township. This property he bought in 1890, and until May 1, 1908, he conducted the store and hotel jointly. He then sold out the store to John C. Rothenberger, and continued in the hotel business. Since 1902 he has also conducted a creamery. He disposes of all his butter in Pottstown and Reading, retailing on an average 900 pounds a week. Mr. Clauser has twenty-four acres of fertile land, which he cultivates. The store and hotel building is a large four story brick, of which the third floor is used as a lodge room, Lodge No. 1109, I. O. O. F., having met there since 1902. Mr. Clauser is a member of that lodge, and also of Oley Castle, K. G. E., which he joined in 1876. He and his family are members of Oley Lutheran Church, in which he is an elder, and since 1902 president. He was also deacon for some years, and a member of the building committee, having charge of the erection of the new church in 1908.

On Dec. 17, 1874, Mr. Clauser married Catharine Frohneiser, daughter of the late Abraham and Catharine (Keene) Frohneiser, of near Bechtelsville. Their children are: Elizabeth m. Thomas Kiefer, of Oley township; Charles F., is of Reading; Sallie m. Charles P. DeTurck, a farmer of Oley township; and Dr. Monroe F. was formerly resident physician in Easton Hospital, but is now practising his profession in Oley township. In his political principles Mahlon B. Clauser is a Democrat, and for many years has served ably as a school director.


p. 1458


Henry S. Clauser, justice of the peace and public school teacher at Sinking Spring, was born May 28, 1864, near St. Michael's Church, in Upper Bern (now Tilden) township, Berks Co., Pa. He was brought up on his father's farm, and educated in the public schools. When sixteen years old he began teaching school and continued to do so for three terms. At the end of the school terms he attended the Keystone State Normal School to acquire greater proficiency in the profession of teaching, and in 1883, having been appointed as a teacher in Spring township, he located at Sinking Spring, and from that time until now he has been teaching in the public schools of the township, the last eighteen years as teacher of the grammar school with the exception of one year, at the beginning, when be taught in Lancaster county. Mr. Clauser has filled various township offices, and since 1903 has acted as local agent for five different fire insurance companies. In 1895 he was elected a justice of the peace, and he was re-elected twice, serving now in his third term; in 1905 he was elected secretary and treasurer of the Sinking Spring Water Company, and has been officiating until now. He is affiliated with several secret and social societies, serving as secretary of the Sons of America, and of the Odd Fellows, and as treasurer of the American Mechanics.

'Squire Clauser married Anna M. Hull, a daughter of Hiram R. Hull, a prosperous merchant of Sinking Spring for upwards of thirty years, and they have one child, Robert R. Clauser.

Harrison K. Clauser, father of the 'Squire, was a farmer of Upper Bern township. He died in 1904 at the age of seventy-eight years. He married Rebecca Snyder, daughter of William Snyder, of Centre township, near Belleman's Church, and they had seven children: Elmira, Mrs. George Reinsel; Mary, Mrs. O. F. Berger; Harrison S., who married Emmaline Kauffman; Rebecca, Mrs. M. B. Seaman; Daniel S., who married Mary Haag; Henry; and one who died in infancy.

Wilhelm Clauser, the grandfather, was a farmer of Upper Bern township. He married Elizabeth Kauffman, by whom he had seven children: William, who married a Miss Sauser; Daniel, who married Catharine Lindenmuth; Simon, who married Mary Kline; Kate, Mrs. Joseph Savage; Harrison; Adam, who married a Miss Nunnemacher; and Jacob, who married Sarah Long.


p. 1342


John H. Clauser, a representative agriculturist of Berks county, Pa., who is carrying on operations in Robeson township, was born in that same township May 10, 1836, son of Samuel and Hannah (Hertzel) Clauser.

John Clauser, grandfather of John H., came from Oley township to Robeson many years ago, and bought the old George Moore farm, now owned by one of his grandsons, Simon Clauser. He followed farming and lime burning for the remainder of his life, also owning and operating canal boats on the Schuylkill canal, which he used to carry his lime to market. Mr. Clauser died about 1841 or 1842, in the faith of the Lutheran Church, of which his wife, Catherine Feigle, was also a member. Their children were: Daniel, John, Benjamin, Samuel , Lydia (who married Henry Moyer) and Sarah (who married Isaac Moore).

Samuel Clauser, son of John and Catherine, was born in Oley township, but early in life came to Robeson with his parents, and most of his life was spent working for the Seyfert forge at Gibraltar. He was active in the work of the Lutheran Church, where he held numerous positions, and also was much interested in Sunday school work. His death occurred in his fifty-third year, and his wife passed away when about sixty-two or sixty-three years old. Their children were: John H.; Samuel, deceased; Daniel, a grocer at Seyferts; Albert, a blacksmith of Philadelphia; Kittie, deceased; Malinda, who married Peter Neidich; and Hannah and Susan, deceased.

John H. Clauser was educated in the schools of Robeson township and until fifteen years of age worked on a farm, at that time beginning to learn the blacksmith's trade with John Schaeffer, at Beckersville, Robeson township, and he continued with him for two and one-half years. He then went to Bucyrus, Crawford county, Ohio, and thence to Fort Wayne, Ind. Returning to Berks county by way of Bucyrus, after one winter at school, Mr. Clauser went to Reading, and there engaged at his trade and after a short time purchased the blacksmith shop at the Junction in Robeson township, which he operated three years. He next purchased a shop in Philadelphia, which he carried on for one year, when he sold out, married and returned to Robeson township, purchasing the "Naomi Hotel" at Seyferts. He conducted this hotel for some thirty years, and then purchased the Hettie Dick farm, which he still owns a one-hundred acre tract of some of the finest land in the county. Mr. Clauser has brought this property to a fine state of cultivation, has improved it with good, substantial buildings, and in connection therewith operates a dairy of eight cows. In politics he is a Democrat. He is public-spirited and progressive, and is always found in the front rank of any movement tending toward the public welfare.

In 1856 Mr. Clauser was married to Miss Mary Kennedy, daughter of Thomas Kennedy, and seven children have blessed this union: William, deceased; Heber, of Reading; John K., proprietor of the "Naomi Hotel"; Annie, wife of Reuben Redcay; Ida; Sallie, wife of Henry Eshelman; and Bessie, who married Walter Rickey.

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

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