Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


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Hon. Daniel Ermentrout, late of Reading, has left a record of devotion to the interests of that place which has been equalled by few of its citizens, in any day. He was a descendant of the old German stock to which this portion of Pennsylvania owes its principal development, and which is still represented here in large numbers by the posterity of the early settlers. As a lawyer of ability he stood at the head of his chosen profession; as a public official he performed services which will be felt for many years to come; as a gentleman of brilliant mental gifts and winning personality he was sought and welcomed in circles where the highest ideals of social intercourse prevailed. His memory is cherished by many in Reading, for though his life lines broadened until they touched other communities and embraced many interests, yet his home city always had first place in his heart and received the benefit of the best efforts of his mind. The fellow-citizens who encouraged his earlier endeavors were the same who applauded the achievements of his mature years, and, augmented by the vast array of sincere friends he made in his journey through life, were the same who mourned most deeply his sudden taking away. Mr. Ermentrout was distinctly an American citizen, his family having been settled in this country for a hundred years before his birth, but nevertheless he owed many of his most characteristic qualities to the race from which he sprang, and some reference to his ancestors will be of interest.

The family is of German noble origin. The head of the house in Europe was living, in 1899, at Monersasztiska, in Galicia, near the Russian border. Carl Friederich, Baron von Irmtraut, as the name is now found in Austria, was born at Stuttgart Dec. 19, 1810, was lieutenant-colonel in the Imperial Austrian army, and Knight of the Military Order of Merit, and had long lived in retirement. He married a relative, Anna, Baroness von Irmtraut, and there were no children.

The recorded history of the family begins in 1339, when it was already among the oldest members of the German nobility, forming part of the old "tournament ring of Franconia." To belong to any one of the four tournament circles of those days it was necessary to prove descent from four noble families, all eligible, on both paternal and maternal sides. In other words, the Knight had to prove his "quarterings." Several Ermtrauts took part in a tournament, at Frankfort, as well as in the celebrated Nurnberg tournament of 1433, during the first year of the reign of the Emperor Sigismund. These proofs of eligibility are still preserved.

In ancient documents and old genealogical notes the name is spelled Ehrendraud, Ehrentraud, Ermentraut, Ermtraut, Irmentraut, Irmtraut, just as it sounded at the moment to the clerks who wrote these papers, as the Knights of those early days were indifferent spellers and usually signed their documents with the imprint of their armorial bearings embossed on signet rings or sword pommels.

The earliest known seat of the family was located in Hadamar, Nassau, where the name is still perpetuated in the little village of Irmtraut, situated on the outskirts of the Westerwald. There they had their feudal holdings and manor house, and in accordance with the customs of the day the family name was given to the place. A great stone barn carved with the Irmtraut coat of arms was all that remained in 1864. The castle was but a mass of ruins. They intermarried with other great families in their own and neighboring counties, Nassau, Franconia, Suabia, the Palatinate, etc., and present-day descendants of these marriages include the Counts of Bassenheim in Bavaria, the Princes and Counts of Metternich in Austria, the Counts of Schwarzenburg in Austria, the Hatzfelds in Prussia, the Schoenborns in Austria, the Barons von Stein on the Rhine and in Prussia, and others of equal importance.

In religion the Ermtrauts at present are Protestants, probably becoming such at the time of the Reformation, as in earlier days members of the family served as Abbots and Abbesses, in "noble knightly abbeys" and convents. In the service of the Crown, the Irmtrauts made their reputation as military men. Some seem to have been inclined to adventure, as it is recorded that two, who were in the Spanish Moorish wars, were killed by the Moors in Spain. One of them was intrusted with a diplomatic mission to the Duke of Burgundy, in the sixteenth century, and succeeded so well that he was rewarded by his sovereign with the augmentation of his "arms."

Taking up the line in America, we find the same superior ideals of civic duty and manly achievement prevailing in every generation. From its foundation here, the family has been among the most influential and notable in Berks county. Representatives of the name have borne their full share of the burden of public duties and lived up to the most intelligent standards in private life.

John Ermentrout, the first of the name on this side of the Atlantic, came hither from his home in the Palatinate in 1739, and permanently settled in what is now Berks county, Pa., where the family remained until 1829.

Christopher Ermentrout, son of John, was born Feb. 8, 1754, in the family home, near Womelsdorf. His son, John, the grandfather of Hon. Daniel Ermentrout, was born April 27, 1777, and was a Jefferson Democrat. William Ermentrout, son of John, was born Dec. 12, 1799, near Womelsdorf, and died at Reading Jan. 21, 1880, to which city he had removed in 1829. He was active in the local municipal service, as well as a successful merchant, holding the office of county treasurer from 1851 to 1853, and serving for many years as a member of the board of controllers of the public schools of the city, and was treasurer of the board from 1869 to 1877. His religious connection was with the Reformed Church brought by his ancestors from the Old World.

William Ermentrout married Justina Silvis, and to them were born ten children, namely: John Silvis, William C., Benjamin F., Philip M., Daniel, Joseph C., Dr. Samuel C., James Nevin, Ellen (m. H. C. Ritter) and Elizabeth (m. de Benneville Bertolette).

Daniel Ermentrout, fifth son of William and Justina (Silvis) Ermentrout, was born Jan. 24, 1837, in Reading, at the homestead, No. 52 North Fifth street, and was identified with the city throughout his life. He began his education in the public schools, prepared for college in the classical schools and received his higher literary training in Franklin and Marshall College, at Lancaster, Pa., and in Elwood Institute, Norristown, this State. Meantime he had followed intermittently in the profession which has been the stepping-stone for many an ambitious student, teaching for several years, in Reading, Conshohocken and Norristown. Further, he had commenced the study of law, under the able direction of No. David F. Gordon, who had served as president judge of the Berks district from 1849 to 1851, and who then had a law office in Reading. On Aug. 3, 1859, Mr. Ermentrout was admitted to the Bar, and thus formally launched upon his life work began a career which made his name one of the most honored among the native sons of Pennsylvania.Even at the outset of his independent practice Mr. Ermentrout had more patronage than falls to the lot of the average young lawyer. Success seemed to be his portion, the people gave him their confidence intuitively. But he was a young man of sincere purpose, an indefatigable worker, and a diligent student, and though his honors came fast none grudged him his reward, for it was fairly earned. He soon entered public life by the professional road. Just three years after his admission to the Bar, in 1862, he was elected district attorney of Berks county, for a term of three years, and during that time not only formed a wide acquaintance in the legal fraternity of this section of the State, but also found ample exercise for all of his talents, the diversified demands of the work bringing into practical use many acquirements for which there is little call in ordinary practice. Moreover, some of the most important public services he performed in his later years, as a legislator may be traced directly to his experiences in the discharge of his first public office. Having proved his ability and public spirit, he was again and again called to services of responsibility for his community, being almost continuously in office until his death. In 1867 he was chosen city solicitor and was twice re-elected, serving until 1870. In 1873 he was elected to the State Senate, for a term of three years. Meantime, in 1874, the term was lengthened by a year, and when he was re-elected, in 1876, it was a four-year term. At the close of that period, in 1880, he was chosen to represent this district in the National Congress, and, by re-election, was a member of that body for four successive terms, 1881 to 1889. In 1896 he was again elected, and at the end of his term was chosen to succeed himself in 1898, so that he was a member of the LVIth Congress, at the time of his sudden death.

In October, 1877, while a member of the State Senate, the Governor appointed him a member of the Pennsylvania Statuary Commission, authorized by the State Legislature to select the two Pennsylvanians to be represented in Statuary Hall, at the National Capitol. A contemporary says of this: "Governor Hartranft was a Republican but he saw Daniel Ermentrout was the man for the place." Mr. Ermentrout used his influence to the utmost in securing the choice of General Muhlenberg and was particularly gratified in the selection, inasmuch as the General was an ancestor of the family of the same name in Berks county, as well as one of the most notable representatives of the early German stock. Afterward, when he became a member of the National House of Representatives, he proved his lasting interest in the matter by delivering a brilliant address on the Muhlenberg and Fulton statues; by offering resolutions presenting the thanks of Congress for the statues, and by introducing a bill to authorize the printing of the proceedings of Congress in accepting them.

During his first term in Congress Mr. Ermentrout, besides looking after various minor affairs of local interest, accomplished an object which has given him a permanent place among the public benefactors of Reading. Although for twenty years the Congressional representative of this district had tried in vain to get an appropriation for a public building in Reading, Mr. Ermentrout, a Democrat in a Republican House, tactfully overcame every obstacle and succeeded in obtaining the amount necessary to put up the handsome post-office which Reading has since enjoyed. It was typical of him that the victory was not won by aggressive methods, but by the exercise of his comprehensive understanding of parliamentary rules, together with a fine discrimination and bonhomie, that won friends for himself as well as for his pet project. His success had wider results than were originally anticipated, for, with the Reading building as a precedent, many other Pennsylvania towns have since been likewise favored. Mr. Ermentrout's efforts in behalf of his home city, directly and indirectly, gained many benefits for Reading, but none, perhaps, gave him more pleasure in the doing than this, and the Reading post-office stands as his best monument - the work by which he is best remembered.

In 1882-83 he also presented bills to change the name and location of the Kutztown National Bank; to furnish condemned cannon to McLean Post, No. 16, G. A. R.; petitions and papers from the citizens of Pennsylvania for the passage of a bill to establish a Superior court; for an appropriation to American steamships for ocean mail service, and for medals for the Ringgold Battery, First Defenders; in recognition of their services during the Civil war. He took a strong position in favor of the restriction of Chinese immigration, making several speeches on that subject; also in favor of the extension of the National bank charters, and against the appointment of a tariff commission. His succeeding terms were marked by similar activity. He introduced a number of private pension claims which were afterward successfully established, offered petitions and papers to increase the pay of the Capitol police; petitions and papers from the citizens of his State for the enforcement of the eight-hour labor law, and for the establishment of penny postage; from the Berks County Medical Society for a building for a medical museum; from the Reading Druggists' Association for free alcohol, and from the Reading Typographical Union, No. 86, for the Chance-Breckinridge currency bill. While in the Lth Congress he was honored with a place on the committee which had charge of the inaugural ceremonies of President Harrison, and was a teller in the count of the electoral vote. It was he who offered the motions and resolutions to admit ladies to the floor of the House; to reserve portions of the House gallery; and to appoint a committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.

It was his boast on one notable occasion that he "stood shoulder to shoulder with 'Sam' Randall in defense and support of the tariff interests of Pennsylvania, until his party in National and State conventions decided upon a new policy, and then," said Mr. Ermentrout, with solemn uplifted hand, "I go with my party, and if necessary will go out of Congress for so acting and voting." His vote for the "Mills bill," which was made a party question, in the Lth Congress, lost him the Democratic nomination for the next (List) Congress, but he was amply vindicated by his nomination and election to the LVth and LVIth Congresses. He insisted that a loyal Democrat he must follow his party flag, and that its National platform, under the leadership of a Democratic President, was binding on him until a new policy was decided upon. "He was the only man in Berks county that ever survived a defeat and again by native force forged to the front and gained a personal victory."

When he resumed his work in the LVth Congress, it was evident that this public spirit had suffered no abatement. He presented a bill and joint resolutions donating cannon to the G. A. R., at Allentown; for the relief of Herman Van Marsdorf; also papers and petitions from the Reading Cigarmakers' Union against increase in the tariff on tobacco; from Freedom Circle, Reading, relative to alien ownership of land; from the Penn Hardware Company of Reading, against duty on emery ore; from the Reading Tinplate Company, relative to placing tariff on tinplate; from St. Lawrence congregation, against placing church goods on the free list. He used his good offices to obtain all the Government appointments possible for his constituents, secured pensions for numerous families and was instrumental in obtaining flowers and plants for the improvement of the public park at the head of Penn street. It was also through his influence, during this term, that Henry May Keim was appointed consul to Prince Edward Island.

In Reading Mr. Ermentrout was particularly active on the question of public education and was a member, from the Seventh ward, on the board of school controllers for a number of years.

In politics Mr. Ermentrout was a local leader in the Democratic party from the time he made his first campaign, as candidate for the office of district attorney. He had decided taste and acknowledged talent for the contests of the political arena, served several years as chairman of the Berks county committee, and never missed a State convention of his party. In 1880 he was a delegate to the National convention that was held at Cincinnati, where he supported Samuel J. Tilden as long as that gentleman was a candidate. When the hope of nominating him was abandoned Mr. Ermentrout had the honor of presenting General Hancock's name to the convention for nomination.

Though his official duties were multitudinous Mr. Ermentrout continued the practice of law throughout his life, and made a reputation in the profession which would have been notable had it not been overshadowed by the more conspicuous results of his public service. He was engaged as counsel in important trials from an early stage in his career, both in the local and in the State Supreme Courts, and his term as district attorney, covering three years of the Civil war period, was filled with interesting and important work. In addition to the usual criminal cases he conducted a number of trials which were the center of wide interest at the time, with the ability which won him much valuable patronage upon his return to private practice.

These are the plain facts regarding Mr. Ermentrout's life and work. They give some indication of his devoted services and of the achievement of his dearest ambitions. But, unqualified by any reference to the other side of his nature, they give a totally inadequate idea of the man. His gifts as an orator, his literary attainments, his social qualities, were appreciable factors in the success of many of his undertakings. During the Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia in 1876, while a member of the State Senate, he made a memorable address on "The Pennsylvania Germans in History." Though he made no pretense of oratorical skill he had a reputation throughout his Congressional life as a clever and able speaker with that personal magnetism which has power over an audience, when combined with the faculty of saying things well, and he was often called upon for speeches and addresses, in the most distinguished gatherings.

At one of the many Washington dinners, where he was usually the life and soul of the party, the brilliant Blackburn of Kentucky, then just elected to the Senate, in speaking of the contest on the Mills' bill and of the division of the House thereon, said: "Mr. Chairman, it was once said that the Pennsylvania Democracy was divided into three factions, the Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson Democrats and the Pennsylvania Dutch - thousands of votes being cast in that State every four years directly for Andrew Jackson, who was still thought to be very much alive. But, Mr. Chairman, I want to add to that list. I would class them as the Pennsylvania Democrats, the Pennsylvania Dutch, the Randall Democrats and Daniel Ermentrout." This sally created great laughter, and quick as a flash Mr. Ermentrout was on his feet. "Mr. Chairman, I thank the distinguished gentleman from Kentucky, for the compliment he has sought to pay me, by making me 'flock by myself.' But Mr. Chairman, I want him and everybody present to know that on that occasion I 'flocked' with the Democratic President of the United States, the Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives, and, with five exceptions, the entire democratic membership of the House of Representatives; and I want to say that, when the time comes, I shall always be found 'flocking' with my party and standing on its last National platform, if I have to 'flock by myself' in the Pennsylvania Democratic delegation. I prefer to be an humble private citizen of Pennsylvania and retain my self-respect, through fealty to my party, than cast a vote to curry local and temporary favor. Legislation, whether State or National, is, after all, but a compromise; but I shall always be found following the party leader and the party flag." Three rousing cheers and a tiger were given for Mr. Ermentrout.

It was said of him, by his contemporaries in Congress, that "he had all the nerve, courage and stubbornness of his race, and an iron will, which fought to the bitter end. He hated intrigue and despised all shams. He was open, frank, honest and manly to his opponents. He wore no mask. He has as positive convictions as any man who ever held a seat upon this floor, and he was always loyal to his convictions. On non-essential questions, where men might honestly differ, he was as generous and kindly-tempered as a woman."

During the visit to Nashville, Tenn., of a large Congressional party at the invitation of the Managers of their Centennial Exposition, in 1896, Mr. Ermentrout so won the hearts of the people that they sent him word they would give him the greatest office in their gift, governor or United States senator, if he would make his home among them. It was then said of him: "He was the center of attraction wherever he went, whether in a circle of distinguished ladies and gentlemen, or with the very humblest of the immense throngs that visited our Centennial. He was liked by all. He loved to make everybody happy. He was a champion of the cause of pleasure-making, adding always refinement and zest to each and every occasion. He was the joy of the party."

Throughout his busy life he continued to be a close student, finding his most delightful recreation in his books, into which he delved with characteristic earnestness. His taste was discriminating and he acquired an astonishing intimacy with the best in the classics and general literature. His linguistic attainments were also unusual, including proficiency in French and German, which he spoke and wrote with ease, and a familiar knowledge of Italian and Spanish, sufficient for ordinary conversation. He was a profound Latin scholar. Undoubtedly Mr. Ermentrout received his first impulse in this direction while a pupil in the classical school under Mr. Kelly, who was born in France, of Irish parentage, and whose influence had a lasting effect upon his researches and studies. He wrote fluently and convincingly, his wide experience giving him an outlook both broad and generous. His practical, intelligent views of life, gained in so many different ways, tempered by the kindliness of disposition admired by all, and augmented by study and travel, both in his own country and Europe, gave his spoken and written thoughts a permanent value. This fact is apparent today whenever his opinions or advice are recalled.

Mr. Ermentrout's last appearance at any public affair was at a dinner given by the Reading Press Club, a few days before his death upon which occasion he was an honored guest and made his last speech. He was an associate member of this club, a member and one of the founders of the Historical Society of Berks County, a member of the Pennsylvania German Society, of the Pennsylvania Historical Society and of the Americus Club. In 1862 he was a member of Company G, Second Regiment, Pennsylvania Militia.

As may be judged from his connection with the local historical societieshe was deeply interested in the settlement of Pennsylvania and the history of his own county, and his researches along this line made him one of the most thoroughly informed men in the State. But in this, as in everything else, he made no pretense of being an authority. His natural modesty and refinement made him chary of exploiting his attainments and he never won ill-will by undue display of his gifts or knowledge.

Mr. Ermentrout passed away at six o'clock, on the morning of Sunday, Sept. 17, 1899, at his beautiful home, Graustein, on the slope of Mt. Penn, after a day's illness. In death, as in life, he was honored as few citizens of Reading have ever been. His remains were interred in the Charles Evans cemetery, at Reading, on Sept. 21st, with Congressional honors. The funeral committee selected by the clerk of the House was representative, its members being: Congressman A. C. Harmer, H. H. Bingham, William McAleer, Philadelphia, Pa.; J. W. Ryan, Pottsville, Pa.; Galusha A. Grow, Glenwood, Pa.; William Alden Smith, Michigan; C. F. Joy, Missouri; W. P. Hepburn, Iowa; J. S. Salmon, Boonton, N. J.; W. D. Daly, Hoboken, N. J.; J. J. Gardner, Atlantic City, N. J.; James A. Norton, Ohio; Amos Cummings, New York City; James L. Sherman, Utica, N. Y.; M. Brossius, Lancaster, Pa.; Senator Boies Penrose, Pennsylvania; Kean, New Jersey; Kenny, Connecticut; Wellington, Maryland; Vest, Missouri; and Morgan, Alabama; J. H. Hollingsworth, clerk.

The honorary pall-bearers were members of the Reading Bar Association, namely: Hon. H. W. Bland, Charles H. Schaeffer, Esq., Richmond L. Jones, Esq., and C. H. Ruhl, esq. Numerous letters of condolence were received by the family, from the Governor and other distinguished citizens of the State, members of Congress from all over the country, and social acquaintances and friends. The local and State papers paid glowing tributes to his life and work; and resolutions of sympathy were passed by the Bar Association of Berks County, by McLean Post, G. A. R., and by various Democratic organizations.

The following interesting paragraph appears at the close of a memorial pamphlet issues shortly after Mr. Ermentrout's death: "As a matter of historical interest in Mr. Ermentrout's career, it may be mentioned that up to the time of his death he was the last one remaining of a party of six who were gathered in his committee room at Washington, discussing civil service reform. They were John F. Andrews, of Massachusetts; ex-Governor Curtin, of Pennsylvania; Secretary Gresham, of Illinois; Arnott, of New York; Mutchler, of Pennsylvania; and himself. At the death of Congressman Andrews, which took place in June, 1895, Mr. Ermentrout wrote in his diary the following quotation from Whittier on the death of Longfellow; 'Who next shall fall and disappear? I await the answer with awe and solemnity, and yet with unshaken trust in the mercy of the All-Merciful.' Alas! The dread summons came to our friend and fellow-member all to soon!"

Mr. Ermentrout was united in marriage with Adelaide Louse Metzger, daughter of John Metzger, Jr. of Lancaster, Pa., and to them were born two children, Fitz-Daniel and Adelaide Louise Washington, the former now a practising attorney in Reading. Mrs. Ermentrout's culture and superior accomplishments enabled her to fulfill fittingly the social obligations imposed by her husband's conspicuous position. In Washington they enjoyed the best that that delightfully cosmopolitan society could give them, meeting representative people from all quarters of the globe. One of the most noteworthy functions in which they participated was the grand historic ball given at Reading, in 1879, which surpassed anything of the kind ever attempted in this section and which drew guests of prominence from all over Pennsylvania, the Governor, with his family and entire staff, making a special trip to Reading to honor the assemblage with their presence. The ball was planned and arranged by Mrs. Ermentrout, as Vice Regent of the Valley Forge Association, in aid of the Valley Forge Fund, and was a memorable success socially and financially. Mrs. Ermentrout founded the first Chapter in the United States of the Children of the American Revolution, although the idea originated with Mrs. Lathrop, of Concord, Mass., - the writer of children's stories. The Conrad Weiser Chapter of Reading, Pa., is the name of this historic society.

She was also appointed to take charge of Woman's Day, during Reading's Sesqui-Centennial, in 1907, and had a notable gathering on the morning of that day, at the Academy of Music, addressed by the President of the Colonial Dames, the President of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the President of the Women's Clubs of Pennsylvania. This was followed in the afternoon by a reception to the women of Reading, by these distinguished visitors, who assisted Mrs. Ermentrout in receiving them, at her home, Graustein, on the Hill Road.

After the death of her husband Mrs. Ermentrout spent four years in Europe, with her daughter, the latter completing her education in England and France. During the school vacations and for one entire year they traveled, and upon their return to this country toured the United States for a year and a half, visiting numerous places of interest. They still maintain their pleasant home at Wyomissing, a suburb of Reading, passing the summer and autumn there and wintering in one of the large cities.

Miss Ermentrout has had unusual social and educational opportunities. While still pursuing her studies in Paris she was presented, with her mother, at the first Court of King Edward VII, and Queen Alexandra, held at Buckingham Palace, London, Friday evening, March 14, 1902. They were also presented to President and Madame Loubet, at a ball given at the Elysee Palace, the official Paris residence of the Presidents of France. In 1900 Mrs. Ermentrout was granted an interesting interview with Cardinal Satolli, at his residence in one of the old Roman palaces. During an earlier visit to Rome, in 1888, she was the fortunate recipient of three distinct attentions from the Vatican, during the Jubilee year, when the Holy city was thronged with visitors, thousands of whom were unable to obtain even a glimpse of the Holy Father. Her extensive travels, in the United States, Cuba and Europe, have been diversified with various other unique and interesting experiences and privileges.

The Metzger family, to which Mrs. Ermentrout belongs, is German and of noble extraction, residing at Dornik for several hundred years, until the death of Sigismund von Metzger, in 1590. He was appointed military architect and later colonel of artillery, by Charles V, of Spain and Austria, and accompanied that monarch in all of his war-like expeditions, in Europe and Africa, dying at a very advanced age. He left two sons, Cornelius and Gustave, brave and expert warriors, whose descendants are still to be found in the Netherlands, Westphalia and North Germany. Mrs. Ermentrout is a descendant of the Netherlands branch. On her mother's side she is descended from the first white settlers in Lancaster county, Pa., in 1709, who, being relentlessly persecuted for their religious beliefs, fled from Switzerland -some of them French refugees - and found safety and peace in the New World. She numbers among these two of the first clergymen and the first physician ever known in Lancaster county.


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James Nevin Ermentrout, fourth elected President Judge of Berks county, from 1889 to 1908, youngest son of William and Justina (Silvis) Ermentrout, was born at Reading, Oct. 25, 1846. After a preparatory education in the common schools he was graduated from the high school in 1862, first in his class. He then taught school for several terms, and assisted his brother (Prof. J. S. Ermentrout, County Superintendent of public schools) until 1868. While deputy superintendent, he conducted a course of reading and study, under his brother, Daniel Ermentrout, Esq., a practicing attorney at Reading till Nov. 27, 1867, when he was admitted to the Bar. He then directed his earnest attention to the legal profession and soon became actively engaged in practice. In 1869 he formed a law partnership with his brother, under the firm name of Daniel & James N. Ermentrout. Their law business increased rapidly and embraced a general practice, including important litigation and the settlement of numerous valuable estates. In 1874 his brother was elected State Senator from this district, and re-elected for three successive terms till 1880; and then he was chosen a member of Congress. During this period the practice of the firm was conducted almost entirely by the junior partner; and this constant engagement in legal business gave him a large and valuable experience. When the term of the additional law judge of the county was about to expire, the members of the Bar directed their attention toward Mr. Ermentrout, and in April, 1885, a letter was addressed to him subscribed by eighty attorneys, without regard to political party, requesting him to permit the use of his name as a proper person to fill this office. This proceeding created a strong public sentiment in his behalf, and when the Democratic convention assembled he was nominated by an acclamation, and afterward elected at the ensuing county election. He was re-elected in 1895, and in 1905. He died Aug. 19, 1908, after having served as a judge of the courts of the county twenty-two years.


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John Silvis Ermentrout, second County Superintendent of Public Schools of Berks county ( eldest son of William and Justina Silvis Ermentrout ), was born at Womelsdorf, Berks county, Sept. 27, 1827. When he was two years old his parents removed to Reading, and there he was reared. Developing a great aptitude for study, he was sent to Marshall College, Mercersburg, Pa., from which he was graduated in 1845, the first honor man of his class, though not yet eighteen years of age. He remained in the college as a tutor, teaching the languages and lecturing on history. At the same time he was a student of the Theological Seminary connected with the institution, and from this seminary, he was graduated in 1848, and then ordained as a minister of the Reformed Church.

For a time he was editor of the Reformed Messenger. In 1852 he was installed pastor of the Reformed Church at Norristown, Pa. , where he served for six years. He returned to Reading in 1859, and opened a select school. One year afterward he was elected superintendent of the common schools, and he was twice re-elected, serving from 1860 to 1869. In 1865 he was active in founding the Keystone State Normal School at Kutztown, became its first principal, and continued as such until 1871, when he resigned, preparatory to making a public profession of his faith in the Roman Catholic Church, and removed to Baltimore, where he edited a Catholic journal. Subsequently he taught in the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary at Overbrook, near Philadelphia.

In 1873, by the unanimous action of the board of trustees of Keystone State Normal School, he was recalled to that institution, and he filled the chair of Mental and Moral Science and English Literature, until his death in 1881. The vast influence he exerted in educational matters can hardly be overestimated, and the institution which he promoted at Kutztown will always constitute an enduring monument to his memory.


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William Herbert Ermentrout, manager of the mill department of Bright & Company's Hardware Store, Reading, Pa., was born in that city Sept. 28, 1858, son of William C. and Elenora (Leize) Ermentrout.

The early home of the Ermentrout family was in Nassau, and the line can be traced in the old country back to the days of the dark ages. The early home of the first American emigrant of the name was in the Palatinate, whence in 1739 he, John Ermentrout, emigrated to the New World, and located in Berks county, Pennsylvania.

Christopher Ermentrout, son of the emigrant John, was born Feb. 8, 1754, in Berks county, and passed his entire life engaged in farming.

John Ermentrout, son of Christopher, was born in Berks county April 27, 1777, and farmed and manufactured hats until about twenty years before his death, when he retired in comfortable circumstances. He was a member of the Reformed Church, and in politics was a firm believer in the principles of Thomas Jefferson. His home was in the vicinity of Womelsdorf.

William Ermentrout, son of John, was born Dec. 12, 1799, and died Jan. 21, 1880. For many years he was engaged in the mercantile business at Reading, and he was very prominent in public affairs in that city, serving as a member of the board of control of its public schools, as school treasurer and as county treasurer. He was the father of: John S.; Daniel; James N.; William C.; Benjamin F.; Philip M.; Joseph C. and Samuel C. William C. Ermentrout, son of William, was born Sept. 29, 1829, and died Jan. 17, 1887. He was a substantial citizen of Reading, and lived retired a number of years. For many years he was the leader of the Reading Ringgold Band, writing most of their music in his day. He was a gifted musician, thoroughly understanding harmony and composition. His home was at No. 141 North Fifth Street. He married Elenora Leize, daughter of Adam Leize for whom the bridge known as Leize's bridge was named. To William Ermentrout and his wife were born: Gertrude (m. G. Benton Beaver, of Reading); W. Herbert; and Miriam, Alice and Eugene, who died young.

William Herbert Ermentrout received his education in the public schools, going as far as the high school, after which he was a student in Palatinate College at Myerstown for four years. At the age of eighteen he entered the machine shops of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad, and served his full apprenticeship, after which he had charge of the engines for three years. When he left the company it was to engage in the machine business for himself, and in this he continued until 1897, when he sold out to Boyer & Brother. In that year he began to work for Davis, Printz & Company, and turned shells for the government until the close of the Spanish-American war. In the fall of 1898 Mr. Ermentrout entered the service of the Bright & Company hardware store, as manager of the mill department, and this responsible position he has since filled with credit.

Socially Mr. Ermentrout is a member of Mount Penn Council, Royal Arcanum, of Reading, and a member of the Board of trade. He and his family are members of St. Paul's Reformed Church, and he and his wife take an active part in the Sunday-school, Mrs. Ermentrout having been the treasurer and Mr. Ermentrout the librarian for many years.

In November, 1884, Mr. Ermentrout married Miss Laura Shoemaker, daughter of Dr. Charles and Marietta (Wertz) Shoemaker, and they have one son, Charles B., who graduated form the Law School of the University of Pennsylvania in the class of 1909. The family home is at No. 514 Elm street, Reading.


p. 1376


Aaron S. Eschbach, a venerable citizen of Barto, Berks county, and a veteran of the Civil war, was born April 13, 1832, in Washington township, where the family has been located for several generations.

There is a tradition that three Eschbach brothers came to America from Switzerland before the middle of the eighteenth century, and it is said that they first located in Berks county, Pa., but that two of them later settled in other parts, one supposedly in the vicinity of Millersburg, Lancaster county, where Eschbachs are still living. Where the other settled is unknown.

Two Andrew Eshenbachs came to America (according to the Pennsylvania Archives), one in 1740, the other in 1744. The former, a native of Germany, came in the ship "Friendship," landing at Philadelphia, Sept. 23, 1740, and made a settlement in Colebrookdale township, Berks county, where it is known as Andrew Eshenbach was located in 1752. In 1759 he was an assessed taxable there, paying L9 tax that year. However, he is said to have left these parts.

In 1737 one Peter Eshbach (Espacher) and his son Christophel (also Christopher) came to this country on the ship "St. Andrew." In 1752 Christopher Eshbach (Ashbach) was assessed as a single man in Hereford township. The ship "St. Andrew" in 1749 brought two Christian Eschbachers (Eschbach) to America, undoubtedly father and son. In the graveyard at the Hereford (Bally) Mennonite meeting-house is a tombstone bearing the following inscription: "Christian Eschbach, born 1737, died April 27, 1809, aged 71 years, 11 months." This Christian Eschbach was presumably the son of Christian Eschbach (er), who emigrated in 1749. Abraham Ehst, born in 1816, at present a resident of Barto, Berks county, Pa., and who has a most remarkable memory, gives the children of Christian Eschbach (1737-1809) as follows: John, Christian, Heinrich, Abraham, Peter, Martin and Elizabeth. We have the following account of this family.

Johannes (John) Eschbach, born Oct. 24, 1764, died Feb. 28, 1826, and is buried at the Hereford Mennonite meeting-house. He owned the large farm at Barto, which is now the property of William C. Barto, of Reading, and lived and died there. He married Elizabeth Latschaw, born in May, 1765, died in September, 1844, and they had children as follows: Abraham, Peter, Christian, Henry, John, Barbara (married John Bliem) and Catharine (married Jacob Fox).

Christian Eschbach, born June 3, 1766, in what is now Washington township, died Oct. 31, 1838. He was a carpenter and cabinet maker, and besides building many houses in his district followed undertaking. His home was at Barto, in Colebrookdale township. He married Froene Moyer, born July 30, 1777, died Sept. 13, 1838, and both were Mennonites and are buried at the Hereford (Bally) meeting-house, where they belonged. They had the following children: William; Henry; Jesse, born Nov. 24, 1810, who died Aug. 28, 1838; Nancy, who married Jacob Yoder; and Betzy, who died unmarried. Of these children, William was the father of Aaron S. Eschbach, whose name introduces this sketch.

Heinrich Eschbach, born Jan. 4, 1771, made his will in 1732, and died March 11, 1841. He lived and conducted a sawmill which stood where the country cement bridge is now located at Barto. His wife, Maria Anna (Moyer), born May 4, 1765, died July 21, 1851. Their children were: Elijah, Mrs. Koch, Mrs. Haas and Elizabeth, the last named dying unmarried. Another account gives the children as Catharine, Rebecca, Elizabeth, Molly, Barbara and Elijah. The son Elijah and Andres Koch, a son-in-law, were named as executors of the will.

Abraham Eschbach, the next mentioned in the family of Christian, owned the farm near Hoffmans, in the upper part of Montgomery county, where Yerkers clover mill now stands. He was twice married, first to Mary Bechtel, by whom he had these four sons. Abraham, David, Joseph and John. By his second wife, who was from Montgomery county, he had three sons.

Peter Eschbach, son of Christian, lived above Grim's Mill, in Colebrookdale township, and followed farming, owning his 100-acre farm, which is now the property of Elam Moyer. He was a thrifty farmer and useful citizen, serving as supervisor, tax collector and in other local offices. He was a Republican in politics. He is buried at the Hill Church, of which he was a member. Peter Eschbach was twice married, his first wife being Elizabeth Bechtel, by whom he had four children: Christian, who married Anna Ritter; Isaac, who married Susan Moyer; Susan, who married John Roland and lived in Hereford township; and William, who was much younger that his brothers and sister. To the second marriage was born one son, John, who lived back of Clayton, Berks county.

Martin Eschbach, son of Christian, was married and had one daughter, Jane, who became the wife of Daniel Bobb, from near Barto. In later years Martin made his home with his brother, Christian.

Elizabeth Eschbach, daughter of Christian, is buried at the Hereford Mennonite meeting-house. The following inscription is on her tombstone:

Der Hier Ruhenden
Gebeine des Weyland
Elizabetha Eschbachin
Gebohren den 1 Maey
1773 Gestorbed den
24 April 1792 Altern
19 yahren 7 tage.

There is another tombstone inscription, which probably refers to a daughter of the elder Christian or the wife of the son, Christian, and which reads as follows: "Catharine Eschbach, died July 17, 1787, aged 57 years."

William Eschbach, son of Christian (1766-1838), was born in Washington township March 2, 1805, and died May 2, 1878, aged seventy-three years, two months. He is buried in the Bally Mennonite graveyard. He lived at Barto and engaged in weaving, making all kinds of homespun articles, such as table-cloths, bed-spreads, and other household linens. He married Esther Stauffer, born Sept. 13, 1808, daughter of Jacob Stauffer, died May 7, 1870, aged sixty-one years, seven months, twenty-four days. Mr. and Mrs. Eschbach had a married life of forty-four years. They had a family of four children: (1) Edward, born Nov. 26, 1826, died Aug. 5, 1883, aged fifty-six yeas, eight months, nine days. He lived near Pleasant Run, Montgomery county, and followed the tailor's trade. He had two sons, Addison and William. (2) Eliza married a Mr. Stahler. (3) Reuben was for a time a shoemaker at Barto, later in life owning and operating a large farm at Barto, where he died. He married Mary Gehman, and they had six children. Prof. Dilworth (of Vineland, N.J.) Allen (of St. Louis, Mo.), Annie (Mrs. Longacker), Lydia, Daniel (of Lancaster, Pa.) and Frank (of California). (4) Aaron S. is mentioned below.

Aaron S. Eschbach learned tailoring in early manhood and followed that trade for many years, in fact throughout his active life. He is now living retired in Barto, where he owns a nice home, and although advanced in years is well preserved and able to enjoy life. Mr. Eschbach served as a Union soldier during the Civil war, on Oct. 27, 1862, becoming a member of Company G, 167th Pennsylvania Regiment, with which he served nine and a half months, receiving his honorable discharge at Reading Aug. 12, 1863. He served as sergeant of his company, and his certificate states that he was five feet, seven inches tall, had dark complexion and dark eyes. He has a new $1 greenback note which he received in his pay upon his discharge from the service and which he prizes highly. He has a number of other valuable relics, of various kinds. Mr. Eschbach receives a substantial pension.

True to the faith of his forefathers, Mr. Eschbach is a Mennonite, attending the meeting-house near his home. He is unmarried.

On the Colebrookdale railroad, running from Pottstown to Barto, is Eschbach Station, named for George Eschbach, now deceased, and there is a post-office of the same name at that point. The town of Eschbach has about twenty-five houses.


p. 1104


J. Howard Eschelman, merchant and postmaster at White Bear station on the Wilmington & Northern Railroad for twenty years, was born May 18, 1853, in Caernarvon township, Berks county, near Morgantown, and when a year old his parents moved to Robeson township at Plowville, where his father had purchased a plantation. He attended the schools of the township, the Keystone State Norman School, and Ursinus College, until 1874, assisting his father on the farm while school was closed. In 1871 he became a teacher and taught public school in the township for eight terms. He served as a school director for three terms, officiating as treasurer of the board for two terms. In 1887 he purchased the general store at White Bear station along the Wilmington & Northern Railroad, and located there with his family; and since then he has been carrying on business at that place. He has also been serving as postmaster at Scarlets Mill, a post office established in 1869.

In 1890, he was elected as a justice of the peace of the township, and he filled the office for one term of five years. In 1898, Mr. Eschelman purchased the Scarlet farm, situated a short distance from the store on the road to Birdsboro, and he has since been cultivating this farm in connection with the store business. In 1897 he officiated as mercantile appraiser of the county. In politics he has been a Democrat from the time he became of age.

In 1875, Mr. Eschelman married Elizabeth Ann Kurtz, daughter of Jacob Kurtz. She was educated in the local schools and the Keystone State Normal School, and taught public school in Robeson township for six terms. Mr. And Mrs. Eschelman have seven children: Annie Minerva (m. to William S. Westley); Laura Susan (educated at Keystone State Normal School, taught public school in the township seven terms, and m. to Harvey H. Riegner); Nora Priscilla (m. to Allen H. Schmehl); Jacob Howard (educated in local schools and Stoner's Business College; Mary Florence (educated in Reading Collegiate Institute, taught public school in township two terms, and m. to George A. Cosgrave); Lizzie Kurtz (educated in Reading Collegiate Institute); and Harvey Hiester (attending the Keystone State Normal School, in class of 1909). The family are members of the Reformed Church at the Plow.

Mr. Eschelman's father was Moses Eschelman. He was born in Brecknock township, Berks county, m. 1828 and brought up to farming which he followed until 1856, when he moved to the "Green Tree Hotel," in Cumru township, several miles south of Reading, and he carried on the hotel business at this place about ten years. In the settlement of his father's estate in 1866, he took the farm, store and hotel at the "Plow", in Robeson township and cultivated the farm until his decease in 1885, having sold the store and hotel. He was married in 1851 to Priscilla Steffey, daughter of Jacob Steffey, farmer of Brecknock; by whom he had six children: Jacob Howard (above); Annie Elizabeth (m. to William R. Freese); John Jefferson (m. to Annie Wolf); Moses Hiester (m. to Alice Messner); and two died in infancy.

His grandfather was Absalom Eschelman, born in 1803 in Brecknock township, Lancaster county, where he carried on farming, and droving until 1852, when he removed to the "Plow Hotel" in Robeson township, Berks county, and becoming the owner of the hotel, store and farm of 128 acres in 1854, he carried on the business there combined until his decease in 1865. He married Sarah Burkhart (born 1813, died 1846), and they had seven children: Moses (above); Augustus (m. to Catharine Bitler); Christina (m. to William S. Duchman); Elizabeth (m. to Benjamin F. Becker); Justina (m. to John Fry); Sarah (m. to Jacob Fry; and Rose (m. to Wilson Sweitzer). They were members of the Reformed Church.

Mr. Eschelman's great-grand-father was Christian Eschelman, who settled in Brecknock township some years after the erection of Berks county, where he secured a farm and carried on farming. He died in 1851, aged eighty-four years. He had the following children; Samuel, John, Joel, Absalom, Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Foreman.

Mrs. Eschelman's father, Jacob Kurtz, was born in Robeson township in 1824, and besides being brought up on his fathers' farm learned the trade of miller which he followed until his decease in 1901, aged seventy-six years. He took much interest in local politics as a democrat for many years, and exerted great influence at county conventions in behalf of candidates for office. He served as school director of the township for several terms. He married Susanna Bitler, daughter of Michael Bitler (died in 1876, aged seventy-four years). Jacob Kurtz and wife had three children: Elizabeth Ann (above); Mary Etta (m. to Israel Fry); and Henry Kauffman (m. to Susan Westley, and upon her decease to Harriet Fritz). Jacob Kurtz's father was also named Jacob, and he was married to Ann Shingle.


p. 723


Dr. A. Esenwein, the well- known druggist and pharmacist of Reading, and proprietor and manufacturer of Kura- Derma, was born in the city of Philadelphia, in 1834, son of Frederick and Mary ( Babb ) Esenwein, whose other three children are deceased.

Dr. Esenwein was educated in the schools of Reading and Philadelphia, and as a boy found employment as clerk in a dry goods store. He followed this line of business until sixteen years of age and then apprenticed himself to the drug business with Augney & Dixon, remaining with that firm four years. During his stay with that firm he attended lectures at the Philadelphia College of Medicine, and was later graduated therefrom with the degree of M.D. Dr. Esenwein then engaged in the practice of his profession, but later opened a drug store at Ninth and Poplar streets, Philadelphia, where he carried on business for several years. He was appointed assistant paymaster in the United States Navy in 1861, and served as such for three years, nine months, at the end of which time he removed to the oil regions of Pennsylvania, and continued there until 1869. He then came to Reading as a clerk in S. S. Steven's drug store and continued with that gentleman for several years, then opening a drug store on his own account which business he has continued to the present time. Dr. Esenwein has been a manufacturing pharmacist for some years, among his remedies being : Kura- Derma, the great scalp and skin remedy, Esenwein's Pectoral and Aromatic Balsam, and numerous others.

In 1859 the Doctor was married to Louisa Leibrandt, and to them were born three children, two of whom are deceased, the other being Richard C. , a manufacturer of Philadelphia. Mr. Esenwein was married ( second ) in 1864 to Kate A. Daniels, and one child was born to this union, J. Berg, who is with "Lippincott's Magazine." Dr. Esenwein is a member of the Sixth and Elm Street United Evangelical Church, Reading. His politics are independent.


p. 795


There is a tradition that three Eschbach brothers came to America from Switzerland before the middle of the eighteenth century, and it is said that they first located in Berks county, Pa., but that two of them later settled in other parts, one supposedly in the vicinity of Millersburg, Lancaster county, where Eschbachs are still living. Where the other settled is unknown.

Two Andrew Eshenbachs came to America (according to the Pennsylvania Archives), one in 1740, the other in 1744. The former, a native of Germany, came in the ship "Friendship," landing at Philadelphia Sept. 23, 1740, and made a settlement in Colebrookdale township, Berks county, where it is known an Andrew Eshenbach was located in 1752. In 1759 he was an assessed taxable there, paying 9 tax that year. However, he is said to have left these parts.

In 1737 one Peter Eshbach (Espacher) and his son Christophel (also Christopher) came to this country on the "St. Andrew Galley." In 1732 Christopher Eshbach (Ashbach) was assessed as a single man in Hereford township. The ship "St. Andrew" in 1749 brought two Christian Eschbachers (Eschbach) to America, undoubtedly father and son. In the graveyard at the Hereford (Bally) Mennonite meeting-house is a tombstone bearing the following inscription: "Christian Eschbach, born 1737, died April 27, 1809, aged 71 years, 11 months." This Christian Eschbach was presumably the son of Christian Eschbach(er), who emigrated in 1749. He made his last will and testament April 20, 1809, at which time his home was in Hereford township. In this document, which is on record in Will Book 5, page 226, he provided amply for his wife Catharine, the following children receiving share and share alike: John, Christian, Abraham, Martin, Henry and Peter. Abraham Ehst, born in 1816, at present a resident of Barto, Berks Co., Pa., and who has a most remarkable memory, gives the children of Christian Eschbach (173'7-1809) as follows: John, Christian, Heinrich, Abraham, Peter, Martin and Elizabeth.

Henry Eschbach, son of Christian, born Jan. 4, 1771, made his will in 1832, and died March 11, 1841. He lived and conducted a sawmill, which stood where the county cement bridge is now located, at Barto. His wife, Maria Anna (Moyer), born May 4, 1765, died July 21, 1851. Their children were: Catharine, Rebecca, Elizabeth, Molly, Barbara and Elijah. The son Elijah and Andrew Koch, a son-in-law, were named as executors of the will. [Another account gives children as Elijah, Mrs. Koch, Mrs. Haas and Elizabeth, the last named dying unmarried.]

Peter Eshbach, son of Christian, lived in Colebrookdale township, above Grim's Mill, owning his 100-acre farm, which place is now the property of Elam Moyer. He was a thrifty farmer and useful citizen, serving as supervisor, tax collector and in other local offices. He was a Republican in politics. He is buried at the Hill Church, of which he was a member. Peter Eshbach was twice married, his first wife being Elizabeth Bechtel. By her he had four children, Christian (mentioned below), Isaac (mentioned below), William, and Betzy (or Susan) (m. John Roland and lived in Hereford township). To the second marriage was born one son, John, who lived back of Clayton, Berks county.

Christian Eshbach, son of Peter, was born June 20,1800, in Colebrookdale township and died Jan. 16, 1887; he is buried at the Hill Church. He was a farmer all his life, and prospered in that calling, owning a tract of 133 acres in Colebrookdale township, now the property of Alfred Seisholtz. His wife, Hannah Ritter, daughter of Matthew Ritter, was born Oct. 21, 1309, and died Oct. 10, 1891, when only a few days less than eighty-two years old. Sixteen children were born to this worthy couple, namely: Daniel (deceased), William (deceased), Maria (deceased), Sarah (deceased), Anna, Kate (Catharine) (deceased), Henry (deceased), David, Abraham, Levi R., John, Aaron, Mary (deceased), Carolina (deceased), Hannah (deceased), and Peter.

Levi R. Eshbach, son of Christian, was born Dec. 17.1841, in Colebrookdale township, and was reared on the farm. He was twelve years old at the time the free schools were established, and he attended for a period of two months a year for four years. Until nineteen he continued to work for his parents, and after his marriage he settled upon the farm near Bechtelsville where he has since lived. It comprises twenty-eight acres in excellent condition, with a good barn, which Mr. Eshbach built in 1886. The barn which formerly stood upon the place was destroyed by fire.

In 1871 Mr. Eshbach married Sarah Matthias, daughter of John and Maria (Spohn) Matthias, and grand-daughter of Elijah and Magdalena (Swope) Matthias. Mr. and Mrs. Eshbach had one daughter, Annie, who died when but seven months old. They attend the Hill Church, belonging to the Reformed congregation, and are respected throughout the community where they have lived so many years.

Isaac Eshbach, son of Peter, and grandfather of Peter B. Eshbach, of Boyertown, was born Nov. 22, 1803, and died Sept. 21, 1860. He lived one mile from what is now known as Eshbach Crossing, in Washington township, owning the homestead which is now the property of his grandson, Henry Miller. He married Maria (Mary) Moyer, who died a few years before him, and they are buried at the Hill Church. They were the parents of five sons and two daughters, but we have mention of only three: George M., the father of Peter B. Eshbach; Peter, born in 1829. who died in 1861; and Sarah, who married Augustus Miller and lived where their son is now located, on the Eshbach homestead.

George M. Eshbach, son of Isaac, was born Jan. 24,1828, in Washington township, where he owned a farm. He lived at Eshbach Crossing, which was named after him, and he followed various occupations, being especially well known as a dealer in horses, which business he carried on on an extensive scale during the greater part of his life. When the old horse cars were in use he supplied the Reading Traction Company with horses. For some years he was the local mail carrier, and he also conducted "Eshbach's Hotel." Mr. Eshbach married Elizabeth Bechtel, who was born Aug. 24, 1826, and died March 15, 1871. Mr. Eshbach long survived her, passing away Nov. 30,1894, and he is buried at the Hill Church, in Pike township, where a large monument marks his last resting place. Mr. and Mrs. Eshbach had children as follows: Harry, who lives in Aledo, Ill.; George, of Pottstown, Pa.; Peter B.: Jesse, of Boyertown: Mary, who is unmarried and lives at Reading. Pa.; Emma, wife of Jeremiah H. Moyer, who is mentioned elsewhere; and Annie, m. to John Hinkel, of Philadelphia.

Peter B Eshbach, who has been engaged in the livery business at Boyertown since 1891, has been familiar with that line from boyhood, having early begun to assist his father. He was also trained to farming, but his attention has always been mainly directed to dealing in and handling horses. During his young manhood, when buying for his father, he made as many as fourteen trips a year from Eshbach, Pa., out to Iowa, where he obtained horses to sell at the home market. In 1891 he started the livery business at Boyertown which he has since conducted. His establishment, which is located at the west end of Reading avenue, is well equipped, for in addition to hiring out horses and carriages he does considerable carting, heavy hauling and moving, employing an average of twelve people and keeping as many as fifty horses, including heavy draft teams. His shedding accommodations are ample.

Mr. Eshbach was born Oct. 14, 1859, at Eshbach Crossing, on the Boyertown & Colebrookdale railroad, and he was married in 1889 to Alice Richard, daughter of Abner Richard. of Montgomery county, Pa. They have had three children, Warren, Norman (who died in his fourth year) and Helen. Socially Mr. Eshbach is a member of Boyertown Castle, No. 228, Knights of the Golden Eagle.


p. 662


Henry R. Eshelman, in whose death the city of Reading, Pa., lost one of its good citizens, was known throughout musical and church circles as an organist of rare talent. Mr. Eshelman was born at Sinking Spring, Berks county, April 5, 1845.

Martin Eshelman, grandfather of Henry R. , made his home in Cumru township, Berks county, where he died.

Isaac Eshelman, son of Martin, was born in Cumru township, Berks county, Jan. 19, 1817, and died Nov. 6 , 1852. By trade he was a tailor, following that business at Sinking Spring for several years after which he went to Centre county, Pa. , where he engaged in huckstering until his death. He was a member of the Lutheran Church, and a Republican in politics. He married Eliza Rollman born Sept. 24, 1817, daughter of John and Maria Rollman. She died aged seventy-six years. There children were: Wendell, of Illinois; Louisa, who died young; Josiah, m. to Emma Fisher; Henry R., m. to Emeline Gougler; Sarah, m., to George Smith; and Franklin R. , born April 2, 1849.

Franklin R. Eshelman, son of Isaac, is a shoemaker by trade at Shillington. He married Catharine Fisher, and their children are: Annie F., m. to Thomas Fromm, a hatter and shoemaker, at Shillington, Pa.; Agnes F.; William R., m. to Ella Plank; Frank H., m. to Elizabeth Snyder; Emma E., m. to Andrew S. Long; Katie F., m. to Rev. William L. Meckstroth; Jennie F. , m. to Joseph Rolland; Isaac, unmarried; Mamie F., m. to James M. Bitler; and Martha, who died young.

In his native locality Henry R. Eshelman secured his education, and when a lad he learned the trade of cutter, in which capacity he later served for twenty-two years, four months, eighteen days with the Leinbach Clothing Company, of Reading. From early youth he showed marked ability as a musician, the organ being his favorite instrument, and for nine years he served as organist in St. John's Reformed Church, later acting in the same capacity at St. Mark's Lutheran Church, where he remained for twelve years. Mr. Eshelman was highly respected by all who knew him, and his acquaintance was large. He was married Sept. 6, 1868, to Miss Emeline B. Gougler, daughter of John and Maria (Bamberger ) Gougler, and to them there were born two children: Charles m. Emma Kerner, and lives at Franklin, Venango county, Pa., and has one child, Helen R.; and Paul died at the age of eight years.


p. 1678


John J. Eshelman, cigar manufacturer of Mohnton, Pa., and one of the best known citizens of that place, was born in Cumru township, Berks county, April 30, 1859, son of Samuel Eshelman, and grandson of Jacob.

Martin Eshelman, the great-grandfather of John J. lived in Brecknock township near the Allegheny church where he owned a small farm which he cultivated. His wife was a Miss Eckert, and they had the following children: (1) Daniel born Nov. 21, 1808, died July 4, 1887 in his seventy-ninth year, m. Lydia Heveiling (1808-1865). He lived near Gouglersville, Pa. (2) John settled out West. (3) Martin m. Mary Rollman. He lived at Sinking Spring, Pa. (4) Jacob m. Magdalena Snyder. (5) Catharine m. John Steffey of Brecknock. (6) Isaac m. Eliza Rollman. He resided at Sinking Spring, Pa. (7) Lydia m. John Stafford of Brecknock township.

Jacob Eshelman, grandfather of John J., was a farmer and charcoal burner in Brecknock township, where he was born. His charcoal product supplied many of the large furnaces of the county, in which he was a man of some prominence. He was a Democrat, and a Lutheran member of the Allegheny church, where he is buried. He married Magdalena, daughter of Christophel Snyder, and they had five children, as follows: Samuel; Susan, born Feb. 8, 1827, who lives in Mohnton, Pa., is the widow of Richard Remp; Eliza and Katie, aged nine and seven years respectively, both died of diphtheria and were buried in one grave; and Catharine m. Daniel Musser, and lives in Cumru.

Samuel Eshelman, son of Jacob, was born Feb. 28, 1824, in Brecknock township, and he died there March 11, 1886, aged sixty-two years, and eleven days. He attended the local schools of his native township, and remained with his father on the farm all of his active life. In politics he was a Democrat, and in religion a Lutheran, belonging to the church of that denomination in Allegheny. He is buried at the Mohnton Cemetery. He married Margaret Lutz, daughter of Adam and Catherine Lutz, the former a soldier in the Continental Line from Berks county, for which service he drew a pension from the government. Mrs. Eshelman is still living in Mohnton. To this union was born a family of children as follows: Nathaniel m. Louisa Kerchner, and resides in Reading; John J.; Martha m. Aaron S. Hornberger; Katie m. Charles U. Grimes, a barber of Auburn, Pa.; Tillie m. Rev. Charles H. Hess, a minister of the Evangelical Association now stationed at Buffalo, N.Y.

John J. Eshelman received his education in Lancaster county, and at Charlestown, attending the Academy at the latter place for two terms. He learned the trade of cigar maker with George Leininger, of Mohnton, after which he spent three years at the Van Reed Paper Mill, afterward learning the hat finisher's trade at Mohnton with John H. Spatz, with whom he remained three years. The next two years he spent with the Philadelphia & Reading Company at Reading, in the car shops. By this time he had acquired means to start in business on his own account, on June 13, 1886, with W. G. Leininger as a partner, under the firm name of Eshelman & Leininger. They built a factory at Mohnton. This partnership continued until Jan. 1, 1890, when Mr. Eshelman bought out Mr. Leininger's interest, and has since continued alone. He built the present factory, No. 118, First District of Pennsylvania, in 1901 ? a substantial three story building 30 x 42 feet. Seventy-five skilled workmen are employed the whole year round, and the product is shipped to all parts of the United States, especially to the western States. Among his special brands are the well known " M. A.," a fine ten cent cigar, and the "Prince Otto," "La Empress" and "General Banks" in the five-cent class. He also manufacturers others and his trade is one of the best in that line in all this part of the State. He pays strict attention to his large and constantly increasing business, and is always to be found at his post, pleasant, genial but essentially business-like. On Sept. 12, 1885, Mr. Eshelman married Arabella G. Leininger, daughter of James and Lydia (Grill) Leininger, and this union has been blessed with the following children: Maggie L., born Dec. 14, 1887; William L., born Nov. 12, 1891; Albert L., Nov. 14, 1893; Lydia L., March 20, 1899; and Victor L., June 4, 1901. In politics Mr. Eshelman is a true Republican, and while never active in party work he keeps thoroughly posted on public events, and is an entertaining talker. He is a member of Zion United Evangelical Church of Mohnton. In both public and private life he is highly respected. His social connections are with P. O. S. of A. Camp No. 61, of Reading; and with the Modern Woodmen of America.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:53:11 EDT

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