Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 1448


John A. Fahrbach, whose death occurred April 15, 1908, at his home, No. 32 South Eighth street, Reading, was a man well known, having been dancing-master in the city for or many years.

Picture of John A. FahrbachJohn M. Fahrbach, father of John A. Fahrbach, was born in Germany in the year 1810. There he studied music and learned the trade of upholstering and coach trimming. He came to America in 1837, landing at New York City. He then became connected with a traveling show as leader of the orchestra, and finally settled in Reading, which at that time was a small town or borough. He was the organizer and leader of the first band in the city and also instructed bands in different parts of the country. Few men were better known in musical circles. At this time he also worked at his trade at the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company's shops, where he was employed for a period of fifteen years; then engaged in the hotel business, first on North Eighth street, afterward at Seventh and Franklin streets, in which business he continued until 1880, at which time he died at the age of seventy years.

Mr. Fahrbach married Mary E. Gerber, born in Germany, and they were the parents of ten children, four of whom lived to maturity as follows: Mary A. Block died June 2, 1908, at Orange, N. J.; John A. died April 15, 1908; Francis J. died Aug. 18, 1903; Amelia died Aug. 26, 1893.

John A. Fahrbach was born in the city of Reading Nov. 15, 1844, and lived there all his life. He became interested in music at the age of six years, and after a course of study at the Reading common and high schools took up the study of music under the capable instruction of his father. He learned the boiler-making trade and followed this for some six years, but gave it up to give his entire attention to music. The violin was his chief instrument, and he was a master performer on it. He played in orchestras for over forty years, gave instructions to many people, and at the time of his death was a member of the Philharmonic Band. He organized the Fahrbach orchestra in 1861. In the year 1871 he began giving instructions in dancing, having studied the art under Philadelphia instructors. He never kept an account of his pupils, but it is estimated that he taught upward of fifteen thousand people. Mr. Fahrbach was known far and wide as an excellent dancing-master, having taught men and women years ago who are now grandfathers and grandmothers, and whose children and grandchildren have also been his pupils. His public class was held at Academy Hall, and his private class at Sixth and Walnut streets, in the East Pennsylvania Railroad building.

Mr. Fahrbach had an enviable reputation for his strict honesty and genial nature. He was a private in the State militia and was one of the few members of that body who saw active service. Mr. Fahrbach was a member of the Second Reformed Church. Fraternally he was connected with the National American Association of Dancing Masters; American Federation of Musicians, Local No. 135; Keim Post, No. 76, G. A. R.; Mt. Penn Castle, No. 51, Knights of the Golden Eagle; Camp No. 89, P. O. S. of A.; Lexington Commandery, No. 2, and the Junior Fire Company.

Mr. Fahrbach married Emma Hummel, who died March 16, 1905. The following children survive: Harry E. is mentioned below; Annie E. is a fine musician, both vocal and instrumental; Christian E. has traveled very extensively, and is now located in Reading, being trap drummer in the Academy Orchestra; he is a member of Washington Camp, No. 89, P. O. S. of A.; Local No. 135, A. F. of M.; Reading Hose Fire Company, and Reading Hose Volunteer Association.

Prof. Harry E. Fahrbach, son of John A., was born June 8, 1871, and at the age of five years commenced the study of music under his grandfather, John M. Fahrbach, and finished his violin studies under Henry Lambert, at the New York College of Music; pipe-organ under Dr. Austin Pearce; theory of music under Dr. Austin Pearce and Theodore Kolb; piano under Albert Ritter; trombone under John W. Row. He is now director of the Academy of Music Orchestra. He is a member of the examining board of local No. 135, A. F. of M., and has served for the past six years as director of the Philharmonic Band. Mr. Harry E. Fahrbach conducted the Opera House Orchestra for seventeen years, Temple Orchestra for one year, and was organist of St. Paul's Memorial Reformed Church for fourteen years. He is a member of Reading Lodge, No. 549, F. & A. M.; Reading Chapter, No. 152, R. A. M.; DeMolay Commandery, No. 9, K. T.; Reading Hose Fire Company, and Reading Hose Volunteer Association.


p. 580


George Dell Fahrenbach, who makes his home in Penn township, Berks county, was born Aug. 15, 1846, in Hesse.Cassel, Germany, but has lived in this country from boyhood.

Charles William Fahrenbach, his father, was also born in Hesse.Cassel, where he learned the trade of wheelwright, but he was best known as a musician.

He taught music, being a master of many instruments, and was also engaged as orchestra leader in opera houses in his native land. He was a bugler in the German cavalry, and after coming to this country served in the same capacity in the Pennsylvania State militia.

In 1851 Mr. Fahrenbach came to this country, bringing his wife and family, which then consisted of five children, and locating on a farm in Penn township, Berks Co., Pa., he followed farming and wagon-making, finding his trade very useful in the new world. He became a member of the Reformed Church in Penn township, in which both he and his wife were active workers, and he was known as a devoted student of the Scriptures, concerning which he was very well informed. Mr. Fahrenbach married Christiana Dell, a native of Rhein-Sachsen, Germany, and they became the parents of six children, five born in the old country and the youngest born in America, viz.: John, who is deceased; George Dell; Adam, who has been blacksmith at the Berks County Almshouse for twenty seven years, being elected each year by the board of directors; Hannah, deceased, who was the wife of Dr. O. C. Collins; Maria, married to Christian Bohringer, of St. Louis, Mo.; and Caroline, wife of Monroe Strouse, of Clearfield county, Pa. The mother of this family died in 1891, at the age of seventy-five years, and the father preceded her to the grave in March 1883, at the age of seventy-four years. George Dell Fahrenbach grew to manhood upon a farm in Penn township. He had few educational advantages, and began work early, when only nine years old, earning seventy-five cents a month in addition to his board and clothing. After the second year his wages were three dollars a month, and later he was paid seven dollars a month. Though little more than a boy when the Civil war broke out he enlisted in the Union service, entering Company G, 151st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, for nine months, serving two months overtime on that enlistment. Re-enlisting, he became a member of Company B, 55th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, for three years, and after his discharge from that command, in February 1864, he again enlisted, serving to the end of the war. The list of important engagements in which he participated with his regiment is a long one: Fredericksburg, Dec. 13, 1862; Gettysburg, July 1.3, 1863; Oldtown Creek, May 9, 1864; Proctor's Creek, May 13, 1864; Drury's Bluff, May 12.16, 1864; Cold Harbor, June 1.3, 1864; Petersburg, June 15.18, 1864; Cemetery Hill, July 30, 1864; Chapin's Farm, Sept. 29, 1864; Signal Hill, Dec. 10, 1864; Hatcher's Run, March 30, 1865; Petersburg and Richmond, April 2.9, 1865; Rice's Station, April 6, 1865; and Rappahannock Court House, April 9, 1865. On April 15, 1865, for meritorious conduct, Mr. Fahrenbach was promoted to corporal. He had many thrilling experiences during his service. At the battle of Chancellorsville he was taken prisoner while out sharpshooting, but fortunately escaped soon afterward. At the battle of Gettysburg be was wounded three times the first day, in the arm, the abdomen and the head, his skull being severely fractured. But he continued in active service through the three days of the engagement. He was sent on a dangerous mission within the Rebel lines, and in the Confederate uniform made his way into the enemy's camp between Petersburg and Richmond, at Bermuda Hundred, finding out their numbers, plan of campaign and other things of importance, which be reported to Generals Butler, Gilmore and Smith, upon his return, three days later. He subsequently made a similar trip, at Petersburg, and obtained the desired information without going into the enemy's lines.

After the close of his military service Mr. Fahrenbach returned to Penn township, Berks county, where he worked upon a farm for a year before moving to Luzerne county. There he operated a sawmill for three years, in 1869 returning to Penn township, where he began farming on his own account, renting two farms, comprising 200 acres, of Daniel Strouse. These he cultivated until 1892, and in the meantime he had accumulated considerable property, having bought a farm of 167 acres in 1887. Later he purchased others, one of 231 acres and another of 114 acres all in Penn township, cultivating the two larger tracts and renting the smaller one. He has continued to add to his possessions, being at present one of the largest landowners in his end of Berks county, his holdings now including 630 acres of valuable land. In 1893 he moved to Reading, though he did not give up his farming operations, and in 1905 he put up a fine brick residence on the place where he now lives in Penn township, and which is also improved with up-to-date farm buildings. Mr. Fahrenbach has very valuable limestone quarries on his land, and burns as many as 30,000 to 35,000 bushels of lime a year.

As an active member of the Democratic party Mr. Fahrenbach has been prominent in the local councils, frequently serving as a delegate to county conventions, and he has also held various public offices. For eleven years he was a member of the Penn township school board and for six years served as president of the board. He was president of the Bernville Cemetery Association for nine years. In 1893 he was elected sheriff of Berks county, and served one term of three years, during which time the Italian murderer, Pietro Buccieri, was hung, in 1893.

Mr. Fahrenbach has taken especial interest in old home week at Bernville, and was one of the leaders in that movement, to which he has given much of his time and attention. In 1907 and 1908 he acted as chief marshal. He is a prominent member of the Reformed Church at Bernville, and served as chairman of the building committee that built the present St. Thomas Union (Reformed and Lutheran) Church at Bernville in 1897, though he was still living in Reading at that time. Sunday-school work has always received his particular attention, and he served as superintendent of the Penn Valley for a period of twenty-five years. In fraternal societies he is also very well known, belonging to Williamson Lodge, No. 307, F. & A. M., of Womelsdorf; Excelsior Chapter, No. 237, R. A. M.; Reading Commandery, No. 42, and Rajah Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S.--being a thirty-second-degree Mason; he also belongs to the Knights of the Golden Eagle, the Odd Fellows, the Grange, the Grand Army of the Republic and Star of Welcome Lodge, No. 60, Shepherds of Bethlehem. In spite of his many interests and activities Mr. Fahrenbach has found time to do considerable traveling, having visited every State in the Union.

In 1866 Mr. Fahrenbach married Mary Ziebach, of Bernville, and seven children were born to them, five of whom survive, namely: Sallie, who taught school ten years, married Rev. W. B. Werner, a minister of the Reformed Church, of Schwenkville, Montgomery county, and they have two children, Helen and Emily; Frank, who attended Stoner's Business College, taught eight terms of school, and is now a pure food inspector for the Government at Cleveland, Ohio (he is married to Cora Haag, of Williamsport, and has one son Frank); George W. is mentioned below; Mary taught school before her marriage to Charles Bender, and is now living in Penn township (she has one child, George Frank); John H. received his early education in Reading, and is a member of the class of 1909 at Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster.

George W. Fahrenbach, M. D., son of George D., was born in Penn township April 16, 1873, and received his early education in the public schools and Bernville high school. Before taking his professional course he taught school for six terms, in Robeson, Lower Alsace and Spring townships, Berks county, and West Cocalico township, Lancaster county. He then entered the Baltimore Medical College, graduating from that institution in 1900, magna cum laude. Immediately afterward he located at Bernville, which he has since made his field of practice, having a large clientele in and around the borough. He is a member of the Berks County Medical Society, the Pennsylvania State Medical Society and the American Medical Association. Socially he is connected with the Sons of Veterans and the I. O. O. F., and he is a member of St. Thomas Church at Bernville, belonging to the Reformed congregation.

Dr. Fahrenbach married Miss Maggie B. Mertz, daughter of Jacob Mertz, of Reading, and two children have been born to this union, Margaret and Charles.


p. 547


Bertrand H. Farr, of Farr's Music House, No. 809 Penn street, Reading, is a member of a very old family in America, the early New World home being in Stowe, Mass., where the family was established for over one hundred years, having come over from England in the early part of the Puritan movement. Abraham Farr died at Stowe in 1689.

Abraham Farr, the second of the name of whom we have definite record, was a resident of Stowe, Mass. He married Rachel Fasket, and they became the parents of a son, Abraham.

Abraham Farr, son of Abraham and Rachel, was born in Stowe, March 22, 1761. He moved to Chesterfield, N. H., and there died April 29, 1840. He married Polly Harris, who died in her one hundredth year while sitting at her spinning wheel. Their children were: Rufus, born March 23, 1783, died May 7, 1858; Amy, born June 15, 1785, m. a Mr. Miller, and died in Vermont; Jerusha, born Dec. 7, 1787, m. a Mr. Miller of Putney, Vt.; Polly, born July 7, 1790, m. Ezra Pierce, of South Windham, Vt., and died Oct. 13, 1856; Clarissa, born Jan. 21, 1793, m. a Mr. Estabrook, settled in Dummerston, Vt., and died May 11, 1839; Sally, born Aug. 8, 1796, m. Eli Hitchcock; Ira, born Dec. 1, 1797, m. Florinda Stowell, and died March 6, 1870.

Rufus Farr, son of Abraham, was born March 23, 1783, in Chesterfield. N. H., and he died at Windham, Vt., May 7, 1858. On Oct. 21, 1810, he married Susan Stone, who was born Nov. 21, 1789, in Groton, Mass., daughter of Asa and Polly Stone, and died at Rochester, Wis., Nov. 16, 1872. To Rufus and Susan Farr were born children as follows: Lurency, born Nov. 11, 1811; Eli, born July 15, 1814, died Oct. 8, 1890; Aurilla, born April 11, 1817; Philesta, born June 9, 1820, died aged eighteen years; Rufus, born Aug. 16, 1823; Merrill H., born April 16, 1827; and Orlando.

Orlando Farr, son of Rufus, was born Dec. 9, 1832, at Windham, Vt., at the homestead where his father settled on the Glebe Mountain, succeeding him in the business of sheep raising, and maple sugaring. In 1868 he went to Illinois, and located at Shannon, where he was engaged in the grain and lumber business until 1871, when he moved to Kamrar, Iowa, where he is the owner of a large amount of land and is now living retired. He married Pauline C. Holton, a native of North Walcott, Vt., and they had a family of seven children: Frank died aged four years; Bertrand H.; Nellie; Stella died in Iowa in 1903; Florence and Leslie died young; and Edward M. is in Iowa with his father.

Bertrand H. Farr was born Oct. 14, 1863, at Windham, Vt., and was six years old when he accompanied his parents to Illinois. He attended the public schools in that State, and at Webster City, Iowa. At the age of seventeen he began teaching school, and followed that calling three years. In the fall of 1883 he went to Boston, and entered the New England Conservatory of Music, studying piano and vocal music and also the tuning of pianos. Returning to Webster City, he spent three years in the music business, and then sold out with the intention of finishing his education at Boston, but upon his arrival at the "Hub," he received a flattering offer to go to Philadelphia, to a Chestnut street music house. This offer he accepted, and he remained in Philadelphia five years, at the end of that time coming to Reading (1891) as a piano tuner. He had his office in the store of C. W. Edwards for fourteen years. He opened a store in Lancaster, in 1900, in the new Y. M. C. A. building, but later sold this to the Weaver Organ Company. In 1904 he formed a partnership with H. E. Gerhardt, in Reading, and under the firm name of Farr & Gerhardt carried on an extensive business in pianos, organs, talking machines, musical merchandise, etc. In March, 1909, Mr. Farr purchased Mr. Gerhardt's interest in the firm, and is now carrying on the business alone.

. Farr is active in the ranks of the Republican party, and is very public spirited. He was one of those instrumental in organizing the borough of Wyomissing, and in September 1906, he was elected its first chief burgess and shortly after his term of office expired he was appointed a member of Council to fill a vacancy in that body. He built the first house in the borough. Besides his music business he has devoted considerable time to floriculture making a specialty of hardy plants, such as irises, peonies, phloxes, devoting about fifteen acres to his nursery, and he issued his first catalogue in 1908. It is said to be the most complete catalogue of peonies and irises ever published in this country. He was elected president of the American Peony Society, at the last meeting, at Queens, L. I.

Mr. Farr married Annie Willis, of Farmington, Maine, a member of a very old New England family.


p. 1228


Allen E. Faust, one of Muhlenberg township's enterprising citizens, who is engaged in a grain and feed business at Temple, was born Aug. 17, 1864, in Schuylkill county, Pa., son of Charles W. and Emeline (Teter) Faust.

Daniel Faust, the grandfather of Allen E., settled in Schuylkill county, where he engaged in his trade of miller for the rest of his active period, owning a mill near Orwigsburg, Pa. His son, Charles W., who was born in Schuylkill county, followed in his father's footsteps and also became a miller, owning what was known as Faust's Mill, on Maiden creek, at Berkley, Muhlenberg township, and in addition to this carried on farming. He is now living retired at Temple, with his son, his wife having died in 1886. They were members of the Reformed Church, and the parents of these children: Elizabeth; Allen E.; Ambrose; Frank, m. to Lizzie Brown; and Carrie, deceased. Mr. Faust is a member of the Washington Camp, P. O. S. of A. of Leesport. He has served efficiently in several township offices.

Allen E. Faust was educated in the schools of Berks county, after which he worked in his father's flouring mill, and for one term taught school. The next sixteen years he operated the mill on his own account, and in 1904 he located in Temple, where he established its first feed and grain store, which he has been successfully operating to the present time.

Mr. Faust married Rebecca Haas, daughter of Augustus Haas and three children were born to this union: Mabel, Warren and Leon, the latter two of whom met their death in a railroad accident.

Mr. Faust is a member of the Reformed Church, of which he has been a deacon and elder, while his wife is a Lutheran. In politics he is a Democrat, and he has held the offices of school director, tax collector and delegate to numerous county conventions. Fraternally Mr. Faust is connected with Washington Camp, No. 169, P. O. S. of A.; Leesport Lodge, I. O. O. F., and K. G. E., of the same place.


p. 1118


John K. Faust, a representative citizen and well known business man of Reading, engaged extensively in paving contracting, was born in Lower Heidelberg township, Berks Co., Pa., Jan. 16, 1859, son of Jacob and Lydia (Kline) Faust.

Philip Faust, grandfather of J. K., settled in Upper Bern township, where he was engaged in agricultural pursuits all of his active period. He died about 1850, aged about sixty-five years, while his wife, who bore the maiden name, of Christiana Lehr, died in 1870, aged eighty-three years. They had these children: Daniel, deceased; Mary, m. to William Hinckel; and Jacob, father of J. K. Philip Faust was a Jeffersonian Democrat, and he and his wife were attendants of the Reformed Church.

Jacob Faust, son of Philip, was a carpenter by trade, also owning and operating a farm, first in Lower Heidelberg township, and later in Jefferson township, and being a very thrifty man was considered very well-to-do at the time of his death, in 1892, when in his seventy-fourth year. His wife, Lydia Kline, died in 1888, aged sixty-five years, in the faith of the Lutheran Church, while he was connected with the Reformed denomination. In politics he was a Democrat. Eleven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Faust, ten of whom lived to maturity: Samuel, of Penn township; Sarah, m. to Daniel Shade; Amelia, m. to Levi Reber; Daniel; Kate; Catherine, m. to Frank Hollenbach; John K.; Franklin; Matilda, m. to Alvin Rehn; and Allen K., a missionary of the Reformed Church in Japan. In religious belief Mr. Faust was Reformed.

Philip Faust, grandfather of J. K., settled in Upper Bern township, where he was engaged in agricultural pursuits all of his active period. He died about 1850, aged about sixty-five years, while his wife, who bore the maiden name, of Christiana Lehr, died in 1870, aged eighty-three years. They had these children: Daniel, deceased; Mary, m. to William Hinckel; and Jacob, father of J. K. Philip Faust was a Jeffersonian Democrat, and he and his wife were attendants of the Reformed Church.

John K. Faust was educated in the district schools of Lower Heidelberg township, and followed farming until his twenty-ninth year, when he came to Reading and engaged in the paving and cement business. He enlarged his operations from time to time, and is now one of the largest contractors in cement and flag stone paving in the city of Reading. Since 1902 he has done considerable building in the northwestern section of the city of Reading, these houses being for sale, and like in his other business he has been very successful in this new venture.

Mr. Faust was married in 1882 to Harriet Hassler, daughter of John and Anna (Moyer) Hassler, and two children were born to this union: Charles Floyd (deceased) and Howard Calvin, a graduate of Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster; the latter married Elenora Brossman, daughter of James Brossman and wife (nee Kissling, of Reading). Mr. Faust is a member of the P. O. S. of A., and the Knights of Malta. In politics he is a Democrat, and has served as a member of the school committee of the Sixth ward. Mr. Faust owns a beautiful residence at the corner of West Greenwich and McKnight streets.


p. 1305


M. S. Feather, a well-to-do young business man of Reading, Pa., who is conducting a flourishing drug business on Chestnut street, was born in the city in 1877, son of Milton G. and Louisa (Schmidt) Feather.

Mr. Feather's education was secured in the schools of Reading, after leaving which he clerked for two years in Sanderson's drug store, and then went to Philadelphia and four and one-half years later to Schuylkill Haven. At the latter place he clerked for three years, at the end of which time he returned to Reading, working for Mr. Troop for two years. In 1901 he entered his present place of business, formerly owned and conducted by R. D. Lengel, and now carries a full line of drugs, medicines, perfumes, candies and toilet articles, and manufactures the famous "E. E. E. E. (Four E's) Corn Cure," "Dewey's Headache Cure" and several proprietary medicines. He lived at No. 1010 Chestnut street until 1908, when he purchased the property at No. 1016 Chestnut street, where he is now located. He has won the confidence of the people in his community, and his trade, already large, is rapidly increasing.

Mr. Feather married Miss Nellie Binkley, of Schuylkill Haven, and to them has been born one child, Lauretta. Mr. and Mrs. Feather are members of the Lutheran Church. He is connected fraternally with the F. O. E., the M. W. A., and the B. P. O. E., in all of which organizations he is very popular.


p. 1035


William C. Feather, manufacturer of building materials and undertaker at Wernersville since 1896, was born in North Heidelberg township, May 29, 1864, son of Joseph and Isabella (Moyer) Feather. His grandfather was William Feather, of Bernville, who was constable for many years of Bernville Borough. Mrs. Isabella Feather was the daughter of William and Annie (Lamm) Moyer, of North Heidelberg, but her mother dying when she was but a year and a half old, she was reared by Mr. and Mrs. John Lamm (nee Klopp), of North Heidelberg township. Her father served three years and nine months in the Civil war. Mrs. Feather died in 1901 aged fifty-seven years.

William C. Feather came to Wernersville when he was a boy four years old, and received his education in the local schools. When eighteen years old he entered the cabinet-making shop of George Wolfensberger, and, learning the trade, continued in his employ until his decease in 1896. One of his sons, Richard A. Wolfensberger, and Mr. Feather then formed a co-partnership for the purpose of continuing the well-established business of cabinet-making and undertaking, together with running a planing mill, and under the name of Wolfensberger & Feather they have carried on the plant in a very successful manner until the present time. All the mill work for the buildings in the surrounding community for many miles, both large and small, particularly of dwellings, has been supplied by them; and they also conduct the funerals for a considerable distance around Wernersville, the junior partner, Mr. Feather, attending to this branch of the business in connection with superintending at the planing mill. Their supplies give entire satisfaction, and quite naturally their factory is always busy. Mr. Feather took great interest in establishing a hose company at Wernersville for protecting the inhabitants against fire, and in the erection of the building he was one of the building committee.

In 1884 Mr. Feather married Mary Wolfensberger, a daughter of his employer. They have no children of their own, but they adopted a boy four years old by the name of Clarence N. Lamm, now eighteen years of age; he was educated in the Wernersville school, after which he took two courses in Stoner's Business College, of Reading, and is a bookkeeper for Wolfensberger & Feather.

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