Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 1083


John T. Drayer, who is now living retired at his home at No. 700 North Sixth street, Reading, PA., was born in 1850, in Berks county, PA., son of Samuel and Mary (Thomas) Drayer. Samuel Drayer, who was a substantial citizen and practical agriculturist in Temple township, Berks county, died in 1881, the father of ten children, five of whom are now living: Charles; Susan, m. to Alonzo Rapp, deceased; Anna, m. to Jacob Flicker; Margaret, m. to George Shadle, deceased; Esther, deceased, m. to Clinton Margerum, also deceased; Lucy, m. to Henry Becker, both deceased; Sarah, Jeremiah and William all deceased; and John T. In religious belief the family were Lutherans. Mr. Drayer was first a Whig and later a Republican in political matters.

John T. Drayer received his education in the schools of Muhlenberg township, and then engaged in work at the woolen mill of John Shadle, his father-in-law, with whom he continued for twelve years, his next employment being with the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company, as fireman, from which position he was promoted to engineer and served in the latter capacity for four years, being in all sixteen years in the service of the road. In 1891 Mr. Drayer resigned his position to engage in the grocery business at Sixth and Oley streets, and this he sold out in 1901, since which time he has lived retired. Mr. Drayer is independent in political matters, but takes great interest in the public affairs of the city. Fraternally he is connected with the P. O. S. of A. Mr. Drayer was married to Edwina Schadle, daughter of John Shadle, and to this union there were born two children; Minnie, deceased; and Sally, who married Curtis C. Shoptaugh and has one child, John Drayer.


p. 1162


Charles E. Dreas, of No. 1811 Perkiomen avenue, Reading, Pa., second oldest conductor in point of service on the Reading Traction Company's lines, was born in the Sixteenth ward, Reading, Jan 6, 1871, son of John and Elizabeth (Levan) Dreas. John Dreas, great-grandfather of Charles E., followed farming in Maiden-creek township, Berks county, where he owned land, and there died about 1853, when past eighty years of age.

He married Catherine (Levan) Dreas, daughter of Peter Fink, and among their children were: David, of Maiden-creek township; Daniel, of Evansville, Pa.; Jacob; Elizabeth, m. to Daniel Barndt; Catherine, m. to William Beil; and Lydia, m. to Daniel Saul.

Jacob Dreas, son of John and grandfather of Charles E., was born in 1810 in Richmond township, and was a resident of that section, owning a small farm near Evansville. He died in 1887, and was buried at Bechtel's Church. Mr. Dreas married Anna Moll, daughter of John Moll, and she died in 1901, aged nearly ninety years, having lived in her latter years with her son, Jacob, at Pricetown. Mr. and Mrs. Dreas had these children: Eliza, who died young; John; Sally, m. to George Boyer; Lydia, m. to Amos Rauzahn; Simon, m. to Malina Wanner; Isabella, m. to Jacob Anshenbranner; Caroline, m. to F. M. Betz; Amelia, m. to James Phillips; Ephraim, m. to a Miss Keller; Katie, who died young; Jacob, m. to Henrietta Rhoads; and Mary, m. to Wilson Strasser.

John Dreas, father of Charles E., was born Dec. 9, 1835, in Richmond township, and was reared on his father's farm, working thereon until 1877, when he came to Reading and entered the employ of the Reading City Passenger Railway Company, where he worked fifteen years. For the next five years he was employed with the National Nut & Bolt Works, and since 1902 he has been stable boss for the American Iron & Steel Company. In politics Mr. Dreas is a Democrat; and he and his wife attend Blandon Lutheran Church. In 1850 Mr. Dreas was married to Elizabeth Levan, daughter of Daniel and Angelina (Breiner) Levan, of Alsace township, and to this union there were born ten children, as follows: Amelia, who died in infancy; William, who also died in infancy; John, m. to Susan Focht; Daniel, m. to Margaret Leaderer, deceased; Charles E.; Own, m. to Jennie Brubaker; Luther, who died in childhood; Decosta, who is a salesman with Dives, Pomeroy & Stewart, Reading; Clara, m. to Harry Rapp; and Dora, who died in childhood.

Charles Elwood Dreas was educated in the Reading public schools, which he left at the age of fourteen years to become a horse-car driver for the Reading Traction Company, one year later becoming conductor. When the electric cars were installed on this line Mr. Dreas became a conductor thereon, and this position he had held to the present time, being very popular with passengers and one of the company's most trusted employes. Socially he is connected with Vigilance Lodge No. 194, I. O. O. F., of Reading, to which he has belonged since reaching his majority; the Odd Fellows Brotherhood of Boston, Mass.; and is a charter member of the United Traction Company Beneficial Association. In politics he is a Democrat. Mr. Dreas and his wife are members of St. Paul's Lutheran Church of Reading.

On May 11, 1898, Mr. Dreas married Emily A. Merz, born in Reading, Jan 2, 1879, daughter of Albert and Catherine (Dilker) Merz, the former a butcher of Reading. To this union there have been born no children. To Mrs. Dreas' parents there were born six children, as follows: Charles; Catherine; Albert; Henry and Rosa, deceased; and Emily, m. to Mr. Dreas.


p. 1006


Alfred S. Dreibelbis, a highly esteemed citizen of Reading, engaged in the nursery business, is a direct descendant of Daniel Dreibelbis, the pioneer of the family in this section, who came from Holland to Berks county between 1680 and 1690, and received a land grant of from 2,000 to 3,000 acres from William Penn.

The father of Alfred S. Dreibelbis was Simon Dreibelbis, a farmer of Richmond and Perry townships, who died in 1890, leaving a large estate. He married Leah Strasser and they had a family of four sons.

Alfred S. Dreibelbis was born Sept. 25, 1843, in Windsor township, in the same house in which his mother had been born. He was educated in his native township, and worked on his father's farm from the time he was nine years old, when he plowed an eight-acre field, his father being away on a jury. He was in the milling business at Shoemakersville in his father's name from April 1869, for some time, the first year doing a business that netted a profit of $6000. This was placed in the banking house of Bushong Brothers, at Reading, and the father was greatly elated at the success. Mr. Dreibelbis started a sawmill in 1884, and continued to operate it until 1889. He gave his services to his father for eighteen years after he attained his majority without pay. After discontinuing the sawmill he engaged in the nursery business, and in this he has successfully continued ever since. Unfortunate conditions deprived him of his inheritance, and he has been obliged to carve out his own fortune. Mr. Dreibelbis is the inventor of a railroad tie and fastener for road beds, which is the best safe-guard for travelers ever invented. This he patented Dec. 8, 1903, and Sept 5, 1905. Mr. Dreibelbis is a widower, and has one daughter, Ellen S., wife of a Mr. Bair, of Kutztown. Mr. Dreibelbis is very highly regarded in this locality, where his many sterling traits of character are known and appreciated.


p. 496


Dreibelbis - Driebelbies. The early home of this family was in Southeastern Switzerland, in the part originally a portion of the German Empire.

(I) John Jacob Dreibelbis (Dreibelbies) came to America from Nannesthal, Switzerland, crossing the ocean on the ship "Mary" from London, and landing at Philadelphia Oct. 26, 1732. Its passenger list showed sixty-nine male passengers over sixteen years of age, and one hundred and twenty-two women and children. It is probable that John Jacob was single. He used to say in the spring of the year, "now the Rhine is overflowing, because of the snow melting on the Alps". The exact date that he settled in Berks county is uncertain, but in 1743 he settled on the farm located about a quarter of a mile east of Fleetwood, now the property of Milton Shollenberger. This farm originally consisted of 157 acres, but it has since been divided into two farms, one now owned by Charles Leibelsberger. On the part owned by Mr. Shollenberger John Jacob Dreibelbis built the first set of buildings near a spring of fine water, which the Indians named "Dreibelbis spring." This spring and the streams in that vicinity were alive with brook trout until some time before the Civil war. John Jacob Dreibelbis was a farmer and became a very extensive land owner. In 1759 he was the largest tax payer in Richmond township, paying a federal tax of thirty pounds. On April 11, 1752 he obtained by warrant from the State two tracts of land located in Richmond township, Berks county, one being for fifty acres and the other for one hundred. On Feb. 3, 1753, he obtained a warrant for one hundred acres, and on April 12, 1753, for five hundred acres.

In appearance Mr. Dreibelbis was small and of dark complexion, with black eyes and hair, indicating that he was of Jewish extraction, as were the Kelchners, Wanners, Biebers and one family of Merkles in the same vicinity. He died in 1761. He married either a Merkle or a Rothermel probably the first mentioned and daughter of Georg Merkle, and his six children, three sons and three daughters, were: Abraham; Martin; Jacob; Mary Elizabeth m. John Wanner; Mary Magdalena m. (second) Martin Wanner; and Philibena, who went with her brother Martin to Schuylkill Haven, m. William Koch, and her three daughters married, respectively, a Huntzinger, a Rausch and a Holler. The last will and testament of John Jacob Dreibelbis, made Feb. 5, 1761, and probated Feb. 21, 1761, is written in good English and is on record in Will Book 1, p. 94. To each of his three sons he gave a farm, and to each of his daughters 150 pounds in lawful money. "My oldest son Abraham shall have all that tract in Richmond township, 157 acres," "My executors shall build a house for my son Martin on land given him lying on the Mesilm (Moselem) Road. The house must be 30 feet long and 24 feet wide." My executors shall also build a house for my son Jacob, on land bequested to him near the road leading from Eastown to Reading." And lastly I will and do order that my younger children shall be taught to read and write." The will is signed by the testator in good legible German. The executors were Abraham Dreibelbis and "my loving and trusty friend George Merkel." John Jacob Dreibelbis was buried in a private graveyard on the Shollenberger farm. He has no tombstone, but his grandson Daniel who is also buried there has a marble tombstone. A number of the early members of the family are buried in this neglected spot.

(II) Abraham Dreibelbis, eldest son of John Jacob, was born about 1749, and died in December, 1803 and is buried in the same cemetery as his father. He was engaged in farming on the homestead, and at his death left a large estate. By his wife, Anna Margaret, he had six children: Daniel obtained the homestead; Abraham obtained the grist mill; Peter received 300 pounds gold and silver money; Maria Barbara married John Haak; Isaac and Joseph. The last three-Maria Barbara, Isaac and Joseph? were each bequeathed 900 pounds of money.

(III) Joseph Dreibelbis, son of Abraham and Anna Margaret, lived in the hills about Fleetwood. He died at Fleetwood, and is buried in the Dreibelbis private burial ground. His children were: Daniel, Abraham, Reuben, Isaac, Rebecca, Susan, Stephen and Mary.

(IV) Daniel Dreibelbis, son of Joseph, had a small farm in Ruscombmanor township, on which he lived. He is buried at Friedensburg. He married Sarah Heater, who bore him nine sons and two daughters, as follows: Joel, Isaac, James, Orlando, Jonathan, Daniel, Ephraim, Solomon, Samuel, Luzetta and Lizzie.

(V) Isaac Dreibelbis, son of Daniel and Sarah, was born Jan. 9, 1839. He is a farmer by occupation, and lives in Rockland township, Berks country, near where Oley, Ruscombmanor and Rockland townships meet. In 1859 he married Hannah Heck, and their children were: Isaac H., Katie, Mary, Lydia, Annie, Louisa and four that died young.

(VI) Isaac H. Dreibelbis, son of Isaac and Hannah, was born at Fleetwood, Oct. 10, 1864, and is now a successful business man in Reading. In 1895 he married Mary Kate Bernhard, widow of Thomas Leinbach, and they have one son, Isaac Franklin.

(II) Martin Dreibelbis, second son of John Jacob, was born in "Mosselem" in Richmond Township, Oct. 5, 1751, and died at Schuykill Haven, Pa., in 1799. In 1775 he moved to Manheim township across the Blue Mountains in Schuykill county (then Berks), where he was the founder of Schuykill Haven. He opened up many enterprises and became very prominent. He married Catharine, daughter of George Markel (Merkel), of Richmond township, and their children were: Jacob m. Margaret Mush; Daniel m. Christina Leise; George m. Mary Magdalena Weber; Mary m. Jeremiah Reed; Elizabeth m. John Hughes; Catharine m. Michael Moser; Rebecca never married; and Christina m. Benjamin Pott, founder of Pottsville, Pennsylvania.

(III) George Dreibelbies, son of Martin, married Mary Magdalena Weber (or Weaver), who lived to the age of eighty-eight years. He is thought to have died in young manhood, and it is probable that both are buried at Friedens Reformed Church, on the banks of the Little Schuykill, where many of their descendants are also buried. Among their children was a son George.

(IV) George Dreibelbies, son of George and Mary Magdalena, was born June 1, 1808. He married Anna Heisler (also spelled Heysler) a sister of Rev. Daniel Yost Heisler, D. D. (the latter an intimate friend of Dr. Henry Harbaugh). Mrs. Dreibelbies was born March 20, 1810, and she became the mother of fifteen children: The eldest died at birth Jan. 10, 1829; the second born Oct 7, 1830, lived but three hours; George Washington, born Oct. 6, 1831; Maria Carolina, Aug. 28, 1833; Sarah, May 2, 1835; Daniel, Feb 10, 1837 (lived in Kansas); Rebecca, Aug 1, 1838 (m. Daniel Freeman, of New Ringgold); Jacob Edward, Feb. 15, 1840; Lewis Martin, Sept 7, 1841; Catharine Maria, Oct. 7, 1843; William H., Oct. 1, 1844; Benjamin F., March 25, 1846; Joseph, April 17, 1848; Alfred H., July 12, 1850; and Sarah Louise, Oct. 24, 1851.

(V) George Washington Dreibelbies, son of George and Anna, born Oct. 6, 1831 married Rebecca Sassaman, of East Brunswick township, Schuykill county. They had three children: Henry, of New Ringgold, Pa.; Cordilia (Nester), of Geneva, N. Y.; and Mary (Bachman).

(V) Jacob Edward Dreibelbies, son of George and Anna, born Feb. 15, 1840, now lives at Lehighton, Pa., to which place he removed after the death of his wife, March 7, 1872. He is a tanner by trade, and his apprenticeship was served at New Ringgold. When the Rebellion broke out he enlisted from or near there. On his return from the service he married, and settled at Tamaqua, Pa., working in what is known as the Anderline tannery. His wife was Catherine Bankes, daughter of Andrew and Katharine (Paul) Bankes, of what was popularly called "Es Rothe Thal" -- the Red Valley -- below New Ringgold. The branch of the Lehigh Valley Railroad leading from Lizard Creek Junction to Pottsville goes through the old home. They had children as follows: Rev. George A.; Ambrose Eldrid, of Lehighton, Pa.; Carrie Joanna, a foreign missionary; Lewis Daniel, of Perth Amboy, N. J.; and Mary Elizabeth, who married Thomas C. Catelle, of Wilmington, Delaware. (VI) Rev. George A. Dreibelbies, son of Jacob Edward and Catherine, was born at Tamaqua, Pa., Oct. 14, 1862, and is now located at Shanesville, Tuscarawas Co., Ohio. His early boyhood was passed in his native place, and there he received his first schooling. He was but nine when his mother died and was buried at New Ringgold, and his father removed to Lehighton. Young George was placed with the David Wertman family for board and clothing, and they sent him to a neighboring school taught by teachers Greenawald, Reedy, Steigerwald, the first two coming from the south side of Blue Mountains, Heidelberg and Stein's Corner. He remembers his benefactors with gratitude, and he called them always "Father" and "Mother." Mr. Dreibelbies worked for the Lehigh Valley Railroad three years, and then returned to the Wertman home and began teaching school and preparing for college. His first select school was Myerstown Academy, during the presidency of Dr. William C. Schaeffer, and he then entered Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, graduating in June 1890. The following year he entered the Theological Seminary at Lancaster, and was graduated therefrom in May, 1893. That spring he was licensed and examined by the Lehigh Classis, which convened in Lehighton. Immediately after he was licensed he received a call to the Caroline Charge, Heidelberg Classis, Central Synod of the Reformed Church. He served this charge with great satisfaction twenty-three months when the Board of Home Missions commissioned him to go to the Paulding Mission in Paudling country, Ohio. In June, 1895, he moved there and on Sept. 9, 1896, his wife Amanda died. She was a daughter of Thomas Wehr, of Sittlers, Schuykill Co., Pa. About two years later he married (second) Orpha Arwilda Klingler, daughter of Adam F. Klingler, of South Whitley, Ind., and they have had children; Louisa Henrietta, Adam Jacob, Helen Matilda, and George Michael (born Nov. 16, 1906, died March 23, 1908). Since 1899 the Rev. Mr. Dreibelbies has been pastor of the Shanesville, Ohio charge, of St. John's Classis, Central Synod. He is a broad minded, Christian gentleman, and is kindly and benevolent.

(VI) Ambrose Eldrid Dreibelbies, second son of Jacob E. and Catherine (Bankes) Dreibelbies, was born in New Ringgold, Schuykill county, July 16, 1864. His boyhood days were spent at Tamaqua and Lehighton. When but a lad of ten years he left home, and secured employment with Thomas Wehr, a farmer in West Penn township, Schuykill county, where he attended the township school, and this with the public schools of Tamaqua and Lehighton afforded him his educational privileges. In September, 1880, he left the farm and secured a position as clerk with William Kemerer in the general store business at Lehighton, which position he held for eight years, at the end of that time being compelled to leave on account of failing health. Next he secured a position with the Lehigh Valley Railroad company in their coal forwarding offices at Packerton, where he held a responsible position for a period of twelve years, again leaving on account of ill health. In September, 1900, he accepted a position as traveling salesman for the wholesale fruit and produce house of O. J. Saeger, Lehighton, and this position he holds at present writing. Politically Mr. Dreibelbies is a Prohibitionist, and has been nominated by his party for sheriff, member of the State Legislature and of Congress.

He is a member of the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Lehighton, which he joined when a young man seventeen years of age, and has been a zealous member ever since. He is a popular local preacher, and has served his church in official capacity for many years, on the board of trustees, of which he was Secretary and Treasurer; and has served on the board of stewards for twenty-one years consecutively and is the recording steward. He is serving his eighth year as superintendent of the Sunday school.

On March 14, 1855, Mr. Dreibelbies married Miss Emma Amelia Kemerer, daughter of Nathan and Lucinda Kemerer of Lehighton. Six children have been born to them, two sons and four daughters. Wilmer Clayton, a student at Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia; Warren Hilbert, a salesman in the large dry goods store of C. A. Rex at Mauch Chunk, Pa.; May Ethel, deceased; Martin Loraine; Bertha Katherine and Carrie Evelyn.

(VI) Carrie J. Dreibelbies, daughter of Jacob Edward and Catherine (Bankes), was born in New Ringgold, Schuykill county. After the removal of the family to Lehighton, Carbon Co., Pa., she there attended public school. In 1890 she entered upon home mission work in Philadelphia and other cities; and in 1895 entered the Union Missionary Training Institute, in Brooklyn, N. Y., where she took a four years course, and graduated in the spring of 1899. In the autumn of the same year she sailed for China to enter the foreign missionary work, being appointed by the Womans Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist church to go to Kiukiang, China. In the summer of 1900 with other missionaries she was driven out by the Boxer uprising, and went to Nagasaki for seven months, at the end of that time returning to Kiukiang. In 1902 she adopted a Chinese baby girl, eight days old, according to Chinese laws. In the spring of 1905, she returned to American on furlough and brought the little girl with her, and the next year (1906) secured papers of adoption for her in the court of common pleas of Carbon county, Pa., naming her Mary Elizabeth Dreibelbies. In August, 1906, Miss Dreibelbies was appointed by the Board of Foreign Missions of the Reformed Church in the United States to return to China, and take up work at Yochow, in the Province of Hunan. She sailed in the autumn and lived there one year, when failing health obliged her to return to America.

(VI) Lewis Daniel Dreibelbies, son of Jacob Edward and Catherine, was born at Tamaqua, Pa., July 6, 1868. He married Florence Koons, of Lehighton, Pa., and they had one son, Edward Thomas, born at Lehighton, Pa., Sept. 28, 1894. Mr. Dreibelbies moved to Perth Amboy, N. J., Nov. 1, 1898. His wife died April 29, 1907.

(V) William H. Dreibelbies, son of George Dreibelbies and Anna (Heisler), was born at New Ringgold, Pa., Oct. 1, 1844. His youthful years were spent around his native place. When the Rebellion born out he enlisted in 1861 in Company H, 48th Pa. V. I., and came home in 1865 at the close of the war. He worked in New Ringgold until 1869, when he went to Cleveland, Ohio, where he obtained work with the Standard Oil Company, continuing with that company twenty-eight years. He is now living retired in Cleveland. On Oct. 29, 1870 he married Mary McNannie. Five children were born to them; William, July 29, 1871 (deceased); Mabel, June 26, 1874; Emma, July 21, 1876 (deceased); Isabel, Jan. 22, 1879; George, Dec 3, 1880 (deceased). Mabel m. George Stebner; and Isabell m. Sylvester Hubbell.

(V) Alfred H. Dreibelbies, son of George and Anna (Heisler), was born at Ringgold, Schuykill Co., Pa., July 12, 1850. He received his education in the common schools at that place. His first work was carrying water for the Philadelphia and Reading Railway Co. at Ringgold. He then learned the blacksmith's trade with the same company, and this trade he followed for twelve years. For four years he was engaged in bridge building for the same company and one and one-half years was brakeman. For a period of thirty-five years he was employed by this same company, part of the time as special police. In 1871 he came to Reading, and in 1876 was followed by his family. In 1894 he became an employe of the United Traction Company, as a motorman, on the Perkiomen division, and this position he continues to hold. In 1871 he married Molly A. Slouch, daughter of Thomas and Caroline (Boyer) Slouch, of Ringgold. She died Aug. 27, 1900, and is buried in the family lot in the Charles Evans cemetery, Reading. Their children were: Esther, born Nov. 15, 1872, died young; Louis M. C., born Jan 11, 1874, died young; Annie L. E., born March 2, 1876, keeps house for her father; Bessie M., born Jun 15, 1879 died young; Barbara R., born July 31, 1880 died young; and Amos A., born July 19, 1882. Harry S. Brobst, a nephew of Mr. Dreibelbies, also makes his home with this family; he too, is an employe of the United Traction Company. Mr. Dreibelbies is a member of the Salome Lodge, No. 105, I. O. O. F., of Reading; Encampment No. 52 of the same order; Castle No. 63 K. G. E.; Lodge No. 301, Red Men; and the Relief Association of the United Traction Company. His religious connection is with St. Luke's Lutheran Church of Reading.

(II) Jacob Dreibelbis, son of John Jacob, was born in Richmond township, on the original Dreibelbis homestead, May 9, 1754, and died April 19, 1831. He was reared to manhood on the farm near Fleetwood, and lived there until his marriage. On Oct. 2, 1778, he bought a farm from his father-in-law. George Merkel, located at Virginville, on the east bank of the Ontelaunee, which Mr. Merkel had purchased because of the heavy timber upon it. This tract then consisted of 247 acres of land, and it is now owned by his grandson, Joel Dreibelbis. Here in 1787 he built a log house, and this served three generations of the family. It was torn down in 1868, and its site is now occupied by the large brick residence built in that year by Joel Dreibelbis. In 1809 the barn was destroyed by lightning, and the one that was erected in its stead stood until 1884, when it was replaced by a modern barn. This new barn was destroyed by fire Aug. 3, 1908, with all the year's crops, causing a heavy loss. A modern barn was rebuilt the same year. The heavy timber was bought along the southern Atlantic coast. The land that George Merkel sold in 1778 to his son-in-law Jacob Dreibelbis, he bought in 1760 from William, Joshua, Jeremiah and Hezekiah Boone, sons and executors of George Boone. George Boone on Jan. 4, 1734, obtained from the lawful heirs of William Penn - John, Thomas and Richard Penn - a track of 800 1/2 acres on the Ontelaunee, and the land purchased by Jacob Dreibelbis from George Merkel was a part of this tract. In 1809 Jack Dreibelbis built the large stone store building in Virginville. This building is 35 x 45 feet, two and one-half stories high. The land on which Virginville is built was all embraced in the Dreibelbis acreage, which included also part of the land now owned by the Aug. Dreibelbis estate, Jacob Dreibelbis (of the Fifth generation) and part of the land of Orlando Dreibelbis. The Virginville store building is the only building built by Jacob that is still standing, and it has always been used as a mercantile house, and it has never been out of the family name, being now owned by George A. Dreibelbis, son of Joel. In 1777 Jacob

Dreibelbis married Mary Magdalena Merkel, born Nov. 22, 1759, daughter of George and Christina Merkel, and died July 3, 1832, after a married life of fifty-four years. They had eleven children, forty-five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Their children were: Hannah, born Aug. 23, 1778, m. Jacob Dunkel, and died March 27, 1845; Esther, born Dec 24, 1779 m. Michael Dunkel, brother of Jacob, and died Jan. 21, 1875; Jacob, born Feb. 23, 1785, died May 6, 1857; John, born July 22, 1787, died Oct. 8, 1847; Molly, born Sept. 27, 1789, m. John Berned, and died Sept. 17, 1873; Samuel, born 1792, died 1876; William, born Nov. 14, 1793, died Sept. 18, 1869; Elizabeth, born Nov 7, 1797, died May 3, 1861; David, born March 14, 1802, died Nov 9, 1886; and two died young. Jacob Dreibelbis and his children were members of the German Reformed congregation of Richmond township, and he is buried in the cemetery adjoining St. Peter's Church. He was a foremost member of this church, and served as an official. In 1809 he was a member of the building committee and erected the third building at that place. In 1815 he served in the General Assembly from Berks county, and in 1780 he was a soldier in the Revolution. He was one of the early residents along the Ontelaunee, purchasing his land for the excellent timber and very fine water there.

(III) Jacob Dreibelbis, son of Jacob, was born in Richmond township, on the old homestead, Feb. 23, 1785, and died May 6, 1857. He was a life long farmer, and was a very prominent man. He was tall, well built and very strong. When but eighteen years old he was elected a captain in the State Militia, an office he filled very efficiently for twenty-seven years, when he became disqualified by age. He was a member of St. Peter's German Reformed congregation, and did substantial service in the erection of the church in 1809. The remains of both himself and wife rest in the cemetery adjoining this church. For many years he served as township supervisor, and during the war of 1812 rendered valuable service to his government.

On Jan. 31, 1813, he married Elizabeth Heffner, born July 7, 1792, daughter of George and Magdalena (Hummel) Heffner, of Greenwich township, and she died March 11, 1873. To this union were born five sons and five daughters; Mary, born in 1813, died June 12, 1886, m. Samuel Heinly, and had children Marie E., Florenda, Catharine, Esther, Amelia, Theresa and Enoch J.; George, born July 20, 1815, died Jan 13, 1835, unmarried; Jacob, born May 1, 1817, died Jan 8, 1841, m. Elizabeth Fegley, and had a son - Samuel; Simon, born May 1, 1819, died May 30, 1890, is mentioned below; Peter, born March 12, 1821, died April 28, 1869, m. Elizabeth Lesher (still living), and had children-Sarah and Rev. Emanuel L. (a Lutheran minister at Melrose, N. Y.); Elizabeth born Aug. 8, 1824, died aged forty-five years, m. Henry Sunday, of Tilden township, and had children - John, William and Henry; Joel is mentioned below; Esther, born Nov. 24, 1829, died Oct. 29, 1871, m. Joseph Raubenhold, of Hamburg, and had children-Peter, Amanda, Amelia, George, Mary, Alice and William; Salome, born 1832, died 1907, m. Charles Levan of Maxatawny township, and had children - Susan, Jacob, Salome, Nicholas and Henry; and Hannah, born July 6, 1834, died Sept. 9, 1855, m. William Heinly, of Greenwich township, and had one son - Jefferson. (IV) Simon Dreibelbis, son of Jacob and Elizabeth, was born in Richmond township May 1, 1819, and died May 30, 1890. He married Leah Strasser, daughter of Conrad and Rosina (Hummel) Strasser, and they had four children: Alfred, born Sept. 25, 1843; Cleophas S.; Rolandus, born June 16, 1849, m. (first) Elizabeth Dietrich, and (second) Nora Luckenbill; and Simon P., born March 9, 1856, m. Rosa Kramer. Simon Dreibelbis the father worked for his father for a number of years, and later from 1840 until 1890, kept a hotel in Virginville, Perry township, continuing to conduct his 136-acre farm in conjunction therewith.

(V) Cleophas S. Dreibelbis, a successful business man of Berks Co., Pa., who is engaged in milling and farming near Shoemakersville, in Perry township, was born March 2, 1846, in Richmond township, on one of the Dreibelbis homesteads, son of Simon and Leah (Strasser) Dreibelbis. His educational advantages were rather limited, being confined to public schools of his district, and but a few terms there. At the age of seventeen years he commenced to help his father on the home farm, and this he faithfully continued until thirty years old. For a number of years he hauled mine ore in dull seasons, and in the winter months would go butchering among the farmers. His territory covered a large radius of miles and his services were always at a premium. In 1884 Mr. Dreibelbis began farming for himself on his father's farm consisting of 141 acres of land near Shoemakersville, Pa. This farm he purchased from his father, and some years later added twenty adjoining acres, and this large property he has greatly improved by fertilizing the soil and by rebuilding the large Swiss barn, which was struck by lightning and damaged in 1897; by renovating and enlarging the house, and by enlarging the mill and supplying it with improved machinery. He is the manufacturer of the 'Straight Winter' and 'Blended 20 per cent Spring' flour, which are superior brands and are sold in all the large cities in the eastern part of the country. He also manufactures a superior brand of corn meal and buckwheat flour, which he sends into all of the populous places of the East and to Canada. Mr. Dreibelbis is an ideal farmer and has made his business a paying industry. He has applied in practice the valuable hints and advice of that great agriculturist, the Rev. J. D. Dietrich of Montgomery Co., Pa., and has been materially benefited by the latter's lectures. Mr. Dreibelbis has a fine dairy of thirty-five cows. He understands cattle and the feeding of them, having two silos which he fills annually with cut corn with the stalks. His milk is shipped daily to Pottsville, Schuykill county, and his milk receipts amount annually to more than $2,500; before he had silos the receipts were only about $800 annually. Mr. Dreibelbis is an enthusiast on the modern methods and principles of farming. Since 1873 he has been a member of the Industrial Grange No. 29, of Shoemakersville, and has been delegate to many State conventions of that body. In politics Mr. Dreibelbis is a Jeffersonian Democrat. He was elected school director of his township for twelve successive terms and eleven years was secretary of the board, materially benefiting the schools of his district by faithful and efficient service, but refused re-election, feeling that he had done his full duty in that line. He was country committeeman for one year in his township, and has attended a number of conventions in the capacity of delegate. He is a thoroughly honest man, who by hard, incessant labor has accumulated a comfortable fortune, and his many acts of neighborly kindness have made him esteemed by all who know him. He is a member of Zion's Union Church of Perry township, belonging to the Reformed denomination, and has served as deacon and trustee thereof.

Mr. Dreibelbis has been twice married. On Dec. 21, 1867, he m. Catherine Anna Wartzenluft, by whom he had children: J. Carolus, born Feb. 28, 1869, m. Mary Egolf; Samuel M., born May 30, 1870, died in infancy; Ellen S., born Feb. 22, 1872, m. Henry Miller; Simon D., born, March 1, 1874, died an accidental death aged eighteen years, eight months three days; Catherine R., born Sept 26, 1876, m. Chester Bauer; and Daniel C., born Dec. 11, 1877, m. in St. Louis, Mo., after returning from the Cuban and Philippine wars. Mrs. Dreibelbis died of typhoid fever Aug. 31, 1878, aged thirty-one years. Mr. Dreibelbis m. (second) March 16, 1880, Martha Anna Noll, daughter of Henry Noll, and they have these children; William H., born Dec. 2, 1880, m. Dina Rothermel; Israel W., born May 14, 1883, died in infancy; and Charles B., born Oct. 14, 1884, Sarah A., born Feb. 7, 1887, and John J., born June 14, 1889, are at home.

(IV) Joel Dreibelbis, son of Jacob, was born Dec. 22, 1826 at Virginville, and is one of the representative men of northern Berks county, and despite his advanced years is still active in mind and body. He is well posted on religion, politics and public events. He has given a great deal of attention to archaeological studies, and has one of the finest complete collections of Indian relics in the county, consisting of arrow heads, spear heads, drills, axes, tomahawks, jasper blades, knives, beads, pestles, spades, badges, turtlebacks and all kinds of working implements for sowing, boring, cutting, etc. This valuable collection consists of about 15,000 specimens, of which 800 are hammers. This collection is especially interesting to its owner because he and other members of his own family collected all on his own property. The country about Virginville was a densely populated Indian settlement and the home of the chief of the Sacunk tribe. Since Mr. Dreibelbis became interested in the relics more than 40,000 have been gathered on his farm. The more valuable specimens in his collection his daughter, Miss Hannah Blandina, has neatly arranged in drawers and cabinets, while the small ones repose in frames which decorate Mr. Dreibelbis study. During 1907 and 1908 the local and metropolitan press wrote and published descriptions and photographs of the collection.

Mr. Dreibelbis was reared upon his father's farm, obtaining his early education in the German and English pay schools of his vicinity. In 1847 his father sent him to near Lewisburg, in Union country, to become proficient in the English language. There he remained for two and one-half years, living with a relative of his mother. Returning then to Berks county he worked on his father's farm in the summer, and taught school. In 1850 when the public school system was established in Greenwich township, he was one of its first teachers, serving there three years with high efficiency. In 1853 when his own township adopted the free school system, he became a teacher at Kerchner's where he taught two terms. In 1855 Mr. Dreibelbis began farming on his father's farm, continuing it two years as a tenant when his father died. At the appraisement of his father's estate he took the homestead, and continued farming successfully until 1890. He has been on of the first farmers to adopt new machinery, and his mower and reaper were among the first seen in this locality. His farm is located one-quarter mile south of Virginville, and consists of 180 acres. His premises are supplied with an abundance of fruit and grapes, excellent spring and well water, twelve substantial buildings, etc. The farm forms almost a perfect square, the western side of which is bounded by the Ontelaunee. Thirty-two acres of the original tract lie on the west side of the Ontelaunee. This tract is now owned by John Schnucker, a son-in-law of Joel Dreibelbis. On this farm is "Dreibelbis Cave" which was discovered in 1873, and in 1907 was explored to the depth of 340 feet, by William J. Dietrich, who recorded a full description of it in a paper read before the Berks County Historical Society in 1907. The 100-foot Swiss barn built in 1884, was destroyed by fire Aug. 3, 1908 with all its contents, and was rebuilt the same years. One of Mr. Dreibelbis's favorite pastimes is fishing, and he spends many hours during the season along the Ontelaunee and Maiden creek. His daughter, Miss Hannah Blandina, has saved the jaws of 1000 chubs and suckers, and by a process cleaned them, and has tastefully arranged them in various designs on velvet, making frames of different sizes, and these have been much admired by the many visitors to her home.

Mr. Dreibelbis and his family are members of St. Peter's German Reformed Congregation of Richmond township, and the family burial lot is in the cemetery adjoining. During the erection of the present church edifice in 1890, no one contributed more liberally of time and means than Mr. Dreibelbis. He was deacon and trustee of the church, and served on the building committee. For more than a quarter of a century he was an elder. The large bell in the steeple of the church bears the following inscription: "Donated by Joel Dreibelbis to the German Reformed Congregation of St. Peter's Church in Richmond township, in 1904." Mr. Dreibelbis has also been liberal in his contributions to the United Evangelical Church in Virginville.

In October, 1853, Mr. Dreibelbis married Elizabeth Deisher, daughter of Jacob and Annie (Schwoyer) Deisher, and to this union was blessed with the following children: Jefferson m. Ella Miller; Jacob D. m. Hettie A. Leiby; Maria m. Lewis Adam; Lovina m. John Schucker; Stella m. Lewis Gehret; Louisa died in 1879, aged thirteen years; George A.; and Miss Hannah Blandina, who ministers to the comfort and happiness of her aged father. In politics Mr. Dreibelbis is a Democrat, and has seldom missed an election. He served Richmond township as an auditor, school director, supervisor, and justice of the peace. In the latter office he served twenty-five years, and was relieved by his son, George A., who was elected to the office. Mr. Joel Dreibelbis was a real peace-maker, and settled many estates. He was frequently called upon to act as guardian, assignee, administrator, executor and trustee. He is a most valued and esteemed citizen of his township.

(V) Jacob D. Dreibelbis was born Oct. 1, 1855 in Richmond township, near Virginville, son of Joel Dreibelbis. He spent his boyhood days on his father's farm, and his education was obtained in the schools of his native township, which he attended until attaining the age of eighteen years. On April 8, 1882, Mr. Dreibelbis married Hettie Ann Leiby, daughter of Isaac and Elizabeth (Mengel) Leiby, the former a stone cutter and farmer in Perry township. To this union were born children as follows: a son died in infancy; and Joel P. Mr. Dreibelbis is the owner of the well-known summer resort, "Ontelaunee House," which he built in 1902 on the banks of the Ontelaunee river, opposite Virginville. The hotel is located on an elevation, this affording a grand view of the adjoining country. The Ontelaunee is met at Virginville by Sacony Creek, and the best fishing in this part of the State is to be found at this place-black bass, trout, suckers, cat-fish, sun-fish and eels abounding. The fresh pure air, the fine fishing and boating and the restful quiet are very beneficial, and afford great inducement to residents of cities in the eastern part of the State. The hotel is large and commodious and the building modern and substantial. Mr. Dreibelbis lives retired with his family on one of his farms near Virginville, which he bought at public sale in 1893, and which was formerly owned by his uncle Simon, deceased. In his dealings with his fellow men he is upright and honorable, and as a citizen he is public-spirited. In politics Mr. Dreibelbis is a Democrat. He and his family attend St. Peter's Reformed Church, of which he has served as trustee.

(VI) Joel P. Dreibelbis, son of Jacob D., was born Nov. 7, 1882, on his grandfather's homestead. He assisted his father in farming till 1901-1902, when he attended the Keystone State Normal School at Kutztown, Pa. In 1903 he attended Schissler's College of Business at Norristown, Pa. In 1908 he bought the Kutztown Bottling Works, and moving to Kutztown has since been engaged in their operation. On Oct. 1, 1904 he married Hattie S. Moyer, daughter of William Moyer, of Greenwich township, and they have one daughter Helen Annie.

(V) George A. Dreibelbis, son of Joel, was born on the Richmond township homestead Oct. 13, 1868. He was reared upon the farm and educated in the public schools of his native township and later in the Keystone State Normal school at Kutztown. He began farming on the homestead in the spring of 1891, and has since pursued that vocation with much success. He has a valuable collection of farm machinery, and is thoroughly up-to-date in his methods. On Aug. 3, 1908, he suffered a severe loss in the burning of his barn with the year's crops. He owns the Virginville store property, which he purchased at public sale in the fall of 1907. He was one of the organizers of the Kutztown Fair Association in 1905, and has since served as a director. In 1909 he was elected a director of the First National Bank of Kutztown. He has been prominently identified with the Democratic party, and since 1904 has been a justice of the peace, being re-elected in the spring of 1909 without opposition. He was school director of Richmond township three years, and was secretary of the board; and he has been delegate to a number of county conventions. He attends the Reading market once a week having stand No. 112 in the Penn street market.

Mr. Dreibelbis married Clara E. Dreibelbis, daughter of Dr. David and Emma (Schultz) Dreibelbis, Jr. To this union have been born children as follows: David S. born May 17, 1890; Daniel P., Dec 14, 1891; Stella E., May 6, 1894; Simon J., Jan. 24, 1896; Paul J., Dec 21, 1897 (died April 23, 1898); Sallie H., Feb. 21, 1901; George P., Sept 25, 1904; Anna Blandina, June 26, 1906; and William J., July 22, 1908. Mr. And Mrs. Dreibelbis have also an adopted daughter, Maude Bucks Dreibelbis, who has been with them since she was seven years old.

(III) John Dreibelbis, son of Jacob, was born July 22, 1787 and died Oct. 8, 1847. He was a farmer in Greenwich township, owning the farm now the property of his grandson, Dr. Perry K. Dreibelbis, of Dreibelbis Station, along the Berks & Lehigh Railroad. He married Susanna Kershner, born Feb. 27, 1789, died March 29, 1866, and both are buried at the New Jerusalem (Dunkel's) Church near Dreibelbis Station. Their children were: Hannah, born April 12, 1812, died April 17, 1894, m. John Heinly, and had a daughter-Susan; Manasses, born May 30, 1813, is mentioned below; Ephraim, born Feb. 1, 1815, died April 6, 1887, m. Mary Fisher, and had two children - George and Sophia; Diana, born Jan. 14, 1817, died Oct. 5, 1877, m. Peter Fisher, and had children - David, Peter, Annie and Susan; Susan, born June 22, 1818, died March 22, 1889, m. Benjamin Hager, and had two children - Lucy Ann and Henry; Elizabeth, born Nov. 15, 1820, died Oct. 10, 1828; Catherine (Kate), born Aug. 24, 1823, died March 30, 1903, m. Jeremiah Dietrich, and had children - John, Susan, Mary, Joel, Perry, Jeremiah and Catherine (twins) and Samuel; Esther, born May 8, 1826, died July 1, 1822, m. Daniel Kershner, and had children - Conrad, Daniel, Franklin, Susan and Maria; and Anna, born Aug. 8, 1827, died Nov. 8, 1896, m. Moses P. Dietrich and had children - Wilson, D. Elenious, Henrietta, Cyrus and Maria.

(IV) Manasses Dreibelbis, son of John, was born, May 30, 1813, and died Dec 15, 1876. He married Christiana Kline, born Nov. 16, 1817, died Feb. 2, 1901. To them were born children as follows: Solomon, born Dec. 2, 1841, died in December, 1900, m. Issabella Balthaser, and had children -Monroe, Cyrus, Callamanna, Emma, Mary, Calvin, Aaron, Anson and Franklin; Susan Elizabeth born Aug. 13, 1843, m. Amos Heinly, and had children - George, Manasses, Cyrus, Richard, Annie, Florenda, Mary, Elwood, Elmer, Hannah and Angelina; John P., born May 19, 1848, died Sept. 10, 1880, m. Lucy Ann Waxwood, and had children - Elenious, Amandus, Florenda and Alice Christina; Jacob, born Dec. 23, 1850, died unmarried Aug. 24, 1868; Hannah Sophia born May 15, 1854, died unmarried June 30, 1860; Perry K. is mentioned below; Tilna Christina, born April 29, 1860, died May 26, 1861; Franklin Manasses (twin to Tilna Christina), born April 29, 1860, died May 27, 1861; Catherine, born June 1, 1861, m. George P. Dietrich, and had children - Samuel, Carrie and Willie. The parents and their children are buried at the New Jerusalem (Dunkel's) Church. Mrs. Manasses Dreibelbis was a daughter of Peter Kline, born Aug 16, 1784, died Aug. 6, 1809. He married Elizabeth Altenderfer, born May 3, 1791, died Oct. 15, 1844. Her grandfather, Peter Kline, Esq., was born Feb. 15, 1760, and died Nov. 27, 1836. He married Eva Margaret Lichty, born Jan. 21, 1765, died May 9, 1831. All these ancestors are buried at the New Jerusalem (Dunkel's) Church.

(V) Perry K. Dreibelbis, son of Manassess, was born in Greenwich township, Feb. 7, 1858. He completed the course in the public schools of his native township, and took his course in veterinary surgery at the Ontario Veterinary College, Toronto, Canada, from which he was graduated March 27, 1885. Returning to his native township, he opened an office and began practice, which he has since followed, having built up a large practice over an extensive territory. In addition he is interested in farming, owning a fine place of ninety fertile acres, upon which substantial and commodious buildings have been erected. The farm was formerly the property of his father and grandfather. He is a man of high standing in his section, respected throughout the neighborhood, and for nineteen and one-half years served as postmaster at Dreibelbis Station, which was named after his father. The postoffice was discontinued, and an R. F. D. route was established from Virginville in 1905. He is a member of the Reformed Church, and has for many years been secretary of the consistory. On Dec. 28, 1878, Dr. Dreibelbis married Miss Louisa A. Seip, daughter of John B. and Maria (Reigelman) Seip, of Lenhartsville. They have no children.

(III) Samuel Dreibelbis, son of Jacob, was born in Richmond township in 1792, and died in Venango county, Pa., where he is buried, in 1876. He was twice married, first to a Close, and second to a Rahn of Leesport. Before his removal from Berks county he conducted a mercantile and feed store along the canal at Shoemakersville. Sometime after his marriage to Miss Rahn, who had relatives and acquaintances in Venango county, he moved to that place and there carried on farming. He held the office of justice of the peace for some years. Six of his children were born of his first marriage. His children were: Moses, Esther, Sarah, Charles, Samuel, Jacob and Catharine.

(III) William Dreibelbis, son of Jacob and Mary Magdalena, was born Nov. 14, 1793, and died Sept. 18, 1869. He was a merchant at the old stand in Virginville for thirteen years. Later he removed to his farm, which consisted of eighty acres, and he lived thereon until 1839, in the latter year purchasing the tract which is now owned by his son Gustavus, and there engaged in the hotel business, in connection with farming, until his death. He married Susanna Miller, daughter of George Miller, and their children were: Stephen; Susanna m. William Seidel; William; Hannah m. John Wanner; Jacob; George; Mary m. William Merkel; Charles J.; Eliza m. William Hottenstein; and Gustavus.

(IV) Gustavus Dreibelbis, son of William and Susanna, was born March 27, 1846, on the premises he occupied at the time of his death, March 12, 1909. He spent his early days in Virginville, and was educated in the schools there. In 1867 he purchased the seventy-nine acres of excellent land from his father, and there he made his home. On this farm is located Dragon's Cave, a natural curiosity, which has been explored several hundred feet, and which is supposed to be a continuation of Crystal Cave, several miles away, which is visited by many each year, having been explored for several miles. He was a director in the Windsor Mutual Fire Insurance Company, and from 1894 was secretary of this well-known institution. He conducted the "Virginville Hotel," which has been a hotel stand since the American Revolution, and was an able business man, honest in his dealings and highly esteemed.

In 1871 he married Mary, daughter of William S. and Esther (Dunkel) Merkel, of Richmond township, and their children are: William, of Reading; Howard; Harry; Alice m. William J. Hein, of Virginville; Annie m. Maurice Mertz, of Fleetwood; John, of Moselem; Frederick M., of Virginville; Sallie; and George Logan, of Kutztown.

(III) Dr. David Dreibelbis, son of Jacob, was born on his father's farm in Richmond township March 14, 1802, and died Nov. 9, 1886. He was a member of the Evangelical Association. In February, 1825, Mr. Dreibelbis married Sarah Lesher, born in Greenwich township, April 11, 1806, daughter of Isaac and Maria Lesher. She died May 9, 1872, the mother of the following family: (1) Esther (1825-1902) m. Reuben Ely. (2) Sarah (1829-1878) m. John Kutz. (3) Reuben (1833-1874) was a minister of the Evangelical Association at Brownstown from 1867 until his death. He m. Mary Fisher, and had children: Andora, Magdalena and Dr. David F. (Practising at Lehighton). (4) Dr. David L. (1842-1872) graduated from Hahnemann Medical College in 1865, and had a large practice in Reading. He m. Emma Shultz, and their daughter Clara E. m. George A. Dreibelbis. He m. (second) Annie Ely and their daughter, Luella, is the widow of Prof. H. C. Mohn, who died in 1908. (5) Eva Ruffina (1843-1873) died single. (6) Dr. Samuel L. (7) Elizabeth (1852-1904) m. (first) Albert Miller, and (second) Alfred Schappell.

(IV) Dr. Samuel L. Dreibelbis, of Reading, son of David and Sarah (Lesher), was born March 25, 1848. He was educated in the common schools and later at Union Seminary at New Berlin, in Union country, from which he was graduated in 1868. After that he attended the Lebanon Valley College, Annville, one year, and then entered Hahnemann Medical College, Philadelphia, from which he graduated in 1871. He has since been practicing very successfully in Reading. The Doctor is a Republican in politics. He has been prominently identified with the First United Evangelical Church at Reading, and was the superintendent of the Sunday-school eighteen years, and class leader fourteen years. He has been president of the Berks County Sabbath-school Association six years, and has done excellent work in church and school. He was actively interested in the organization of the Homeopathic Hospital in 1891, and has since then been its obstetrician.

On Nov. 28, 1872, Dr. Dreibelbis married Louisa Ely, daughter of Rev. Solomon and Elizabeth (Merkel) Ely, and to this union were born four children: Lloyd died in infancy; Laura m. Dr. Robert E. Strasser, of Reading; Bertha m. Howard A. Lewis; Dr. S. Leon, who graduated from Reading high school, class of 1903 and in 1907 from Hahnemann Medical College, Philadelphia, assist his father in his large practice in Reading, and makes a specialty of surgery, and is most successful.


p. 1533


John S. Dreibelbis, one of the well-known hotel proprietors of Berks county, who is now conducting the Washington House, midway between Rehrersburg and Womelsdorf, at Host, was born July 6, 1851, at Virginville, Pa., son of William and Hettie (Stoudt) Dreibelbis.

William Dreibelbis, grandfather of John S., was a son of Jacob, and in early life engaged in farming, but later was for over thirty years a merchant and hotel keeper at Virginville, were his death occurred at the age of sixty-five years. He was married to Elizabeth Miller, and to them these children were born; Reuben, who resided on the homestead and conducted a general store, had three children, -- Winfield, Zeth and one daughter who died young; William was the father of John S.; Charles is engaged in farming in Missouri; Jacob, who was twice married, with seven children by his first wife, died in Virginville, aged about sixty-nine years; Augustus, who carried on farming and also conducts a hotel, is married and has eight children, four boys and four girls; Susanna, the widow of William Seidel, who died in Virginville in 1904, has nine children, all living; Hannah m. John Wanner, a farmer of between Hamburg and Virginville, Windsor township, and has eleven children; and Elizabeth, the widow of William Hottenstein, who died in 1904, resides in Ontelaunee township, and has one daughter.

William Dreibelbis, father of John S., was born in Virginville, Pa., Oct. 12, 1827. He conducted a hotel there for five years, but after his marriage engaged in farming, and also continued until his retirement in 1904, at which time he went to live with his son in Host. He died March 12, 1906. He was married to Hettie Stoudt, by whom he had one son, John S., and after her death married Kate Keim, who also preceded him in death, there being no children to the second union.

John S. Dreibelbis was educated in the common schools of his native town and assisted his father in work upon the farm until he was nineteen years old, when he took charge of the place on his own account. Two years later he purchased a farm which he operated for twenty years. The next three years were spent in conducting a creamery, and he then engaged in farming for another three years. After giving up agricultural pursuits Mr. Dreibelbis spent four years in the lime and quarrying business, and at the end of that time purchased his present well-known hostelry, the 'Washington House' at Host. In 1869 Mr. Dreibelbis was married to Sarah Yoder, daughter of John and Sarah (Baar) Yoder, and three children have been born to this union; Alice m. Emanuel Saul, son of John and Maria Saul, of Richland, Lebanon county, who is farming near Strausstown, son of Wilson and Mary Strausser, resides on a farm near Shoemakersville, Perry township, and has nine children; and William Y., who conducts the farm connected with the hotel, m. Cora Guildin, but has no children. The family are members of the German Reformed Church, where Mr. Dreibelbis served for a number of years as deacon and member of the building committee. He is a Republican in politics, but votes rather for the man than the party.


p. 1038


The first Dreshers in America, evidently the ancestors of John Dresher, and others of the same name, were George and Christopher Dresher, Jr. They with 261 other passengers arrived at Philadelphia, Sept. 12, 1734, in the ship "St. Andrew," John Stedman, master from Rotterdam, last from Cowes. These settled Berks, Lehigh and Montgomery counties. Many of the passengers were Schwenkfelders, but among them were Lutherans, Reformed, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Catholics, Quakers, Dunkards, Mennonites, and representatives of other denominations, so that a varied religious complexion was not lacking in the new communities founded in spite of many disadvantages and hardships.

Lawrence Dresher and a brother Philip resided on adjoining farms, where they worked and lived. These farms were originally over 300 acres in area, and situated in Longswamp township, near Mertztown. Lawrence Dresher married a Miss Fegley, and they had two sons, Samuel and John.

Samuel Dresher, son of Lawrence, was born on the old homestead in Longswamp township, and he married a Miss Catherine Keiser. They had two children: John and Marietta (m. Reuben Butz). Samuel Dresher and his wife resided in Longswamp township, Berks country until his death.

John Dresher, son of Samuel, was born on the old homestead, Sept. 21, 1804, and died March 12, 1852, aged forty-seven years, five months and twenty-one days. He was a prosperous farmer all his life, and a worthy and well-known citizen. He married Diana Grim, who was born June 5, 1805, in Maxatawny township, and died Feb. 11, 1885. They had five children; Samuel, who died May 19, 1906, m. Sarah Leibensperger, and one son survives him, Alfred D. Dresher; John; Nathan, a resident of Reading, m. Catherine Trexler, who died in 1892, the mother of John, Nathan, Edward, James and Ella (deceased); Elizabeth m. Walter J. Grim, of Allentown, and they have two children, Charles and Ida; Charles m. Mariella Butz, who died leaving children George, Henry, Florence and Annie.

John Dresher, son of John, was born on the old homestead, in 1837, and here he has spent his life. Receiving a good education, he had the privilege of attending the Freeland Seminary at the Trappe, after completing his common school course, and then he settled down to farming, like his people before him. He is now retired from active business life. Mr. Dresher, has never married, remaining at home with his mother, whose last days he greatly cheered. After her demise, he lived with his brother Samuel, and still has his home with some of his relatives, by whom he is greatly beloved. Mr. Dresher is a consistent member of the Mertztown Lutheran Church, and enjoys the confidence and esteem of a wide circle of friends.


p. 1695


George W. Drexel, a retired citizen of Reading, formerly a leading manufacturer of brick, now resides in his comfortable home at No. 422 North Second street. He was born in the old home on Sixth street, Reading, Aug. 12, 1842, son of John and Susan (Schlaback) Drexel.

John Drexel, the father, was born in Wurtemberg, Germany, in 1790. He served under Napoleon Bonaparte at the battle of Moscow, and with the other soldiers suffered from the rigors of that awful winter campaign, when they were obliged to kill their horses for food. On coming to America, about 1817, Mr. Drexel settled at Reading, where he died. By trade he was a stone cutter, and he helped to build the pillars of the Berks county court house, and also the abutments on the old Schuykill canal. He married Susan Schlabach, and they had ten children, namely Reuben; Jacob, who was killed in the army; John; Catherine, m. to Barney Dreyfus; Henry, living at Exeter Station; Susan, deceased, m. to Henry Wagner; George W.; Rose, deceased, m. to Cornelius Rothenberger; and Samuel and Anna, both deceased. The family belonged to the Lutheran Church. The father was a stanch Democrat.

George W. Drexel was educated in the schools of Codorus township, York county, and was reared on a farm there. Later he lived in Gibraltar, and later at West Reading, both in Berks county. In the last named place he purchased his brother's brick plant on Tulpehocken street, and carried on the manufacture of brick there for two years. He then bought a plant at Birdsboro, which he operated in connection with the West Reading plant. His business prospects then became so good that he leased land on the Leitzinger turnpike and carried on operations there until 1904, when he sold out to Simon Kline, since which time he has lived retired. During his active years his brick was in general demand, and he furnished it for many fine residences, for the Pear and Buttonwood school buildings and other substantial and imposing structures.

In 1872 Mr. Drexel married Melissa Hain; and they had ten children, as follows: Frederick, m. to Susan Miller, Lettie, m. to Charles W. Griesemer; Catherine, m. to Nelson R. Crisman; Mary, m. to Heber Yohn; George; Rose; Raymond; Susan; Geneva and Jacob (deceased). In politics Mr. Drexel is a Democrat.

During the Civil war he enlisted on the Duke of Argyle under Capt. Greenleaf, but was discharged on account of disability. He is a member of the order of Golden Eagles. With his family he belongs to the Lutheran Church.

On his mother's side Mr. Drexel is of American descent through at least three generations. His grandfather and great-grandfather Mountz both fought under General Washington, and while they were engaged in the service of their country, the women of the family carried on the farm, doing the plowing, threshing, seeding, even to the chopping down of trees for fuel. Mr. Drexel's grandmother was a plucky pioneer woman, and able to defend herself with a rifle if necessary. On one occasion she heard the dog tree a bear, and immediately followed them, but just as she took aim her father called her to stop, and he shot the bear. The Indians were frequent visitors at their home, making signs when they wanted food. They were always treated kindly, and on one occasion were given the privilege of the house, whereupon they built a fire and roasted terrapin. The Indian children would suck the meat out, as well as the older persons, and were then given bread and milk to finish their meal. The white settlers were always afraid the Indians would steal their children, and Mr. Drexel's mother recalls one occasion when she was hidden under a kettle until the Indians had taken their departure.


p. 1046


Howard L. Drexel, the proprietor of Drexel's Cafe, has conducted that establishment since 1898. He has led an active life, spent for the most part in and around Reading, and was variously engaged before he settled down to his present business, in which he has been very successful.

Mr. Drexel was born Feb. 12, 1961, in Spring township, Berks county, son of John Drexel and grandson of John Drexel. The latter was a native of Wurtemberg, Germany, born 1790, and coming to America, settled in Reading, where he died. He married Susan Schlabach, who died on the old Drexel homestead in Spring township, and they had a family of ten children, namely: Reuben; Jacob, who was killed in the army; John; Catherine, wife of Barney Dreyfus; Henry, who lives at Exeter Station; Susan, deceased, wife of Henry Wagner; George W., a retired citizen of Reading, living on North Second street; Rose, deceased, wife of Cornelius Rothenberger; Samuel, who died in middle life; and Anna also deceased. The father was a stone-cutter by trade, and he helped to build the pillars of the Berks county court-house and the abutments on the old Schuylkill canal. He was a Democrat in politics, and he and his family belonged to the Lutheran Church.

John Drexel, father of Howard L., was born Sept. 11, 1824, in Boyertown, Berks county, and passed his entire life in this country. He was educated in the common schools. During his youth he was employed as a day laborer until he reached the age of eighteen, after which he learned the trade of bricklayer, in time commencing the manufacture of bricks on his own account. Many years ago he moved to West Reading, and he was the first brick manufacturer in that place, continuing in that line and conducting a stone quarry until his retirement twenty-eight years before his death, Feb. 11, 1897. In middle age Mr. Drexel had both his legs broken, and this injury caused him much trouble in his later years. His death, in fact, was due directly to his falling down-stairs. He prospered in his business undertakings, acquiring considerable property, including that at No. 853 Penn street, a large place on South Ninth street, and holdings in various other sections of Reading.

John Drexel married Maria Krick, who died June 30, 1906, aged seventy-four years. To them were born nine Children, eight of whom are still living: William K., Emma (m. Isaac Robinson, who was accidentally killed at the Reading Hardware Co., in 1882), John K., George K., Adam K., Clara (deceased), Howard L., Charles K. and Kate (m. Howard Goodhart). In religious connection Mr. Drexel was a Lutheran, and he was a Democrat in politics.

Howard L. Drexel was but seven years old when brought from his native township to Reading, where he received his education in the public schools. He commenced work as errand boy for a shoe store on Penn street, above Eighth, and later for several years was employed in the hardware establishment of Drexel & Rapp, located at Ninth and Bingaman streets. In this connection he learned nickel plating and polishing, at which he was engaged at Reading for some time in Reading at the Chantrell Tool Works, and also in Allentown. During 1880 he worked with the civil engineering corps of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, at Tyrone, Pa., and the following spring went to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he entered the employ of W. C. Davis & Co., stove manufacturers, of the Favorite Stove Works, now located at Piqua, Ohio. With this firm he continued until 1885, doing nickel plating and polishing, and upon his return to Reading in that year he engaged at the hatter's trade, a knowledge of which he had acquired before going west, during a period of employment in a hat store in this city. He never took it up regularly, however, until he came back from Cincinnati, when he found a position with I. N. Levan, remaining with him for about two years. In 1886-87 he managed a hat and men's furnishings store at Pottsville, Pa., for W. A. Boas, then returning to Reading, where he was again connected with the Chantrell Tool Company, working for them for about twelve years, 1887-1898, until he resigned to embark in his present enterprise. He had charge of the nickel department, and being an excellent mechanic as well as a competent manager his services were considered very valuable.

On Feb. 2, 1898, Mr. Drexel took charge of the property at No. 150 Penn street then known as the Pennsylvania House, which he purchased and remodeled, and where he continued to do a successful business until 1908, when he changed to his present location, at the corner of Fifth and Cherry streets. In 1902 he changed the name of his establishment to the Drexel Cafe, by which name it has since been known. Mr. Drexel does both a hotel and restaurant business, having nineteen rooms, equipped with every modern convenience, steam heat, hot and cold water, electricity and gas, lacking nothing for the comfort and convenience of the guests. The restaurant, up-to-date and attractive, draws a fine class of patrons, who appreciate the excellent service and the uniformly high quality of the food. Mr. Drexel also carries a complete stock of choice wines and liquors, and domestic and imported cigars, etc. He is a thorough business man, with a keen understanding of the conditions essential to make his establishment popular with the public and profitable as an investment. On Oct. 25, 1907, he came into possession of the property he now occupies, and proceeded to make every improvement of advantage to the enterprising business man before occupying the premises, on April 1, 1908. This stand is well known and one of the most popular in the city.

Mr. Drexel is one of the best known in Reading among the fraternal orders. He is a member of the Knights of the Golden Eagle; the Port Royal Club in Juniata county, Pa., where they have an acre of ground; the Independent Gunning and Sporting Club; the Commercial Club (which he founded in 1889); the West End Club; the Casino Amusement Company; and the Maennerchor. He was the first charter member of the local Aerie No. 66, of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, and was the original founder of the Eagles' Mountain Home Association, in which he was one of the heaviest stockholders. He is a member of the Keystone Hook & Ladder Company, and of the Veteran Firemen's Association, and is a contributing member of the Friendship Fire Company. He is a member of and stockholder in the Casino Amusement Association, which conducts Carsonia Park. He is a member of the Cold Spring Association, being interested as a stockholder in the "Cold Springs" at the corner of Berks and Lebanon counties, on the line of the Little Schuylkill railroad. The association has a tract of eighty-seven acres there. It is a matter of history that this place was originally founded by a community of monks during the early days of the Tulpehocken settlement. Conrad Weiser, with others of the settlement, was at one time interested in it, but the daughter of Peter Klapp was the only one to continue steadfast in the faith. Mr. Drexel is also a charter member of the Lake View Club, whose grounds overlook Antietam Lake in Alsace township; this club was organized in 1909, and owns five acres of land with fine buildings and the best springs.

On June 6, 1896, Mr. Drexel married Annie L. Reeser, daughter of Jacob H. and Mary A. (Boyer) Reeser, of Amity township, Berks county. They have one child, Mayetta.


p. 1435


Reuben Drexel, (deceased), for many years an esteemed resident of Reading, Pa., and an honored veterans of the Civil war, was born at Boyertown, Berks county.

His parents were natives of Germany, and for a time resided in England. Reuben's father was a brick-layer by trade, and on coming to Reading located at Ninth and Chestnut streets, where his death occurred. His mother also died in this city, and both were buried in the Lutheran cemetery. Five children were born to this couple, the only daughter dying in England, while the others, who all died in this country, were: John, William, Jacob and Reuben.

Reuben Drexel attended the public schools of Reading, having come to that city when a boy. After leaving school he became an apprentice to the bricklayer's trade, which he followed throughout life, dying in Reading in 1890; he is buried in the Lutheran cemetery. Mr. Drexel married Anna A. Swartz, daughter of Owen S. and Julian Collins Swartz, the former a well-known contractor in brick in Reading, where he died. Mrs. Swartz died in Churchville, Berks county. To Mr. And Mrs. Drexel were born these children: George W., a hatter by trade, married (first) Lulu Brubaker, and (second) Stella Herr, resides in Reading; and Julian, single, resides at home. Mr. Drexel was a veteran of the Civil war. Enlisting first in the three months' service, he was honorably discharged and veteranized in Co. H, 88th P.V.I., serving in every engagement in which that company participated. He was a gallant solider, was wounded in the neck (from which he always bore a scar), served his country faithfully, and had a war record of which any man might feel proud. His death was a distinct loss to the community in which he resided.



p. 1063


Worths A. Dries, the genial proprietor of the "Keystone House," the leading hotel at Kutztown, Pa., was born Feb. 18, 1875, at Blandon, in Maiden-creek township, Berks Co., Pa., son of Daniel A. and Mary Jane (Hawkins) Dries.

The Dries family in America can be traced to the landing of what was probably the one and only Dries family of the country, at Philadelphia, on Sept. 29, 1733. The members of the family were listed as follows: Cornelius Dries; Johan Adam Dries; Andreas Dries; Barbara Elizabeth, aged twenty-four years; Maria Barbara, aged thirteen years; and Ann Maria, aged eleven years.

John Dries, great-grandfather of Worths A., was a farmer in Maiden-creek township and his remains lie buried at Moslem Church. He had these children: John, David, Daniel, Jacob, Elizabeth (m. Daniel Berndt), Lydia (died single) and Kate (m. John O'Beil).

David Dries, stone-mason and farmer, of Maiden-creek township, later of Perry township, was the grandfather of Worths A. He was born in 1816, and died in 1895 in his seventy-ninth year. He married Elizabeth Komp, and they had children as follows: Harriet m. Daniel G. Herbster; Cyrus, of Reading, is the father of nine sons and seven daughters (of whom three sons and one daughter died in youth; one son, Wirt, is a Lutheran minister, and one son, Charles is a physician); George died suddenly at Lyons, in 1887, aged about thirty-five years; Daniel A. resides at Kutztown; David died aged twenty-one years; John is at Font, Chester Co., Pa.; William lives in Maiden-creek; Elizabeth m. Robert Andrews; and James is of Oley, Pennsylvania.

Daniel A. Dries, son of David, was born May 30, 1849, and is a retired citizen of Kutztown. For some years he engaged in farming in Maiden-creek township, but for twenty-five years he was engaged in the hotel business. He married Mary Jane, daughter of Samuel Hawkins, and they had children: Worths A.; Norman C. died in youth; Samuel J. is in the grocery business at Kutztown; William D. is a clerk at Kutztown; and Florence M. died in infancy.

Worths A. Dries was reared on the home farm, and was thirteen years of age when his father moved to Moselem Furnace, where he went into the hotel business. Mr. Dries was educated in the local schools in Maiden-creek and Richmond townships. For many years he was engaged with his father in the hotel business, and when his father retired, in the spring of 1906, he took charge of the "Keystone House," his previous training making him well acquainted with the demands of the public in this line. He has made this hostelry the leading one of the place.

On Jan. 13, 1906, Mr. Dries married Katie F. Dengler, daughter of Jacob G. and Sarah Ann (Diehl) Dengler and granddaughter of Henry Dengler, on the paternal side, and of Daniel Diehl, on the maternal side. Mr. and Mrs. Dries have one daughter, Mary Sarah. The family belong to the Lutheran Church. Fraternally Mr. Dries belongs to Castle No. 374, K. G. E., of Fleetwood, and Camp No. 103, P. O. S. of A., of the same place. He is president of the Dries Family Reunion, an association organized in July, 1906, for the purpose of bringing all of the kindred into communication, and the first united meeting was held at that time, proving one of great Enjoyment.


. p. 567


Daniel J. Driscoll, manufacturer of seamless steel tubing, was born at Reading Dec 25, 1862. He received his education in the schools of the city and in the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md. Resigning from the navy he entered the employ of the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company as a clerk in the office of the superintendent of motive power. After serving there several years he secured a position in the large establishment of J. H. Sternbergh, manufacturer of nuts and bolts, for the purpose of learning the business and he continued with Mr. Sternbergh until 1887, when he established a plant of his own at Auburn, in Schuykill county, along the Schuykill river, twenty-five miles north of Reading. Mr. Driscoll operated this plant in a successful manner until 1896, when he abandoned the further manufacture of nuts, bolts, rivets and bar-iron, and substituted machinery for the manufacture of seamless steel tubes, his establishment being the first plant of the kind in the United States to manufacture seamless tubing from American steel. His product was highly appreciated by the Navy Department of the National government, and he came to supply a considerable proportion of the seamless steel tubes in the building of the monster war-ships for the new navy. He continued to operate the plant until 1902, when it was absorbed and abandoned by the United State Steel Corporation. However, in one year, Mr. Driscoll succeeded in re-purchasing the plant, and after installing new machinery resumed the manufacture of seamless steel tubes. Since then he has carried on a large business under the name of Delaware Seamless Tube Company. In 1888 Mr. Driscoll married Laura B. May, daughter of Isaac May, and Mary Sterling, his wife, of Shamokin, Pa., and they have four children: Marie, James, Caroline and Elizabeth. They are members of St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church. Mr. Driscoll has established a superb country home 'Doneraile' in Bern township, on a bluff along the west bank of the Schuykill river, a short distance beyond the Berkshire Club, which commands a fine view of the river and the surrounding country. He is a director of the Keystone National Bank, and a trustee of St. Joseph's Hospital, both of Reading. Daniel Driscoll, his father was born in 1824 in County Cork, Ireland, and was an infant about a year old when his parents emigrated to America, locating at Pottsville, in Schuykill county, Pa. He learned the trade of machinist in the large works of Haywood & Snyder, and continued with them until 1848, when he removed to Reading and entered the machine shop of the Philadelphia and Reading Railway Company. He worked continuously for this company in the same shop for nearly thirty-five years before his decease, in 1894. He married Elizabeth Grady (who died in 1905, aged eighty years), daughter of Patrick Grady and Margaret (Hayes), his wife, who also emigrated from County Cork (Doneraile), Ireland in 1840, and settled at Philadelphia. They had thirteen children, of whom the following reached maturity: Catharine, who became a sister in the Notre Dame Convent at Cincinnati, Ohio; Agnes, a graduate of the Reading Girls' high school and teacher in the public schools; Johanna, m. to Matthew J. Buckley, a mechanical superintendent of the U.S. Mint at Philadelphia; Daniel J.; and another son, John A., who was educated for the priesthood in St. Charles Seminary at Overbrook, Pa., ordained as a priest in 1892, and stationed at St. Mark's Church, in Bristol, Pa., but died four years afterward. (See succeeding sketch.) Mr. Driscoll's grandfather, also named Daniel was born and brought up in County Cork. He was married to Mary Conway, of the same county. Their families were prominent in that section of Ireland. Mr. Driscoll's wife Eliz's father was born in Cornwall, England, emigrated to America when a young man, and settled in Schuykill county, afterward removing to Shamokin, where he became a prominent mine operator.

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