Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 402


Amandus N. Fegley, M. D., who has carried on the practice of medicine at Oley Church, in Oley township, Berks county, since 1871, was born Sept. 16, 1842, in Douglass township, Montgomery Co., Pa., son of Jonas and Anna (Nyce) Fegley.

George Fegley, his grandfather, was born in Douglass township, where his father also lived, and there passed all his life, engaged in farming. He was a member of the Lutheran Church. His wife's maiden name was Fox, and among their children were: Jonas, John, Daniel, Sallie, and a daughter whose name is not recalled.

Jonas Fegley, born in June 1800, died in May 1861, in the faith of the Lutheran Church. He was a farmer by occupation, and owned 100 acres of good land. He was a Democrat and interested in local affairs, serving many years as school director. Mr. Fegley married Anna Nyce, born in October 1800, died in November 1869, daughter of George Nyce, a farmer and tanner of Frederick township, Montgomery county. Mr. and Mrs. Fegley are buried at the Sassamansville Church, in Montgomery county. They had a family of ten children, namely: Hannah is deceased; Mary is the widow of John Dotts; Edward is deceased; Leanna m. Levi Sassaman; Miss Fietta lives in Philadelphia; William is deceased; Charlotte m. Frederick Weis; Eliza m. Abner Wilt; Amandus N.; and Miss Sarah lives at Pottstown.

Amandus N. Fegley was reared on the farm, and received his early education in the local public schools. Later he attended the academics at Frederick and Trappe, and afterward taught school for three years in Douglass township before taking up the study of medicine. He began to read with Dr. Francis Knipe, of Frederick, and attended lectures at Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, graduating from that institution in the spring of 1870. For a few months he was located at Balliettsville, in Lehigh county, Pa., in the fall of 1870 returning to Jefferson Medical College, where he continued to study until the following spring. He has since been located at Oley Church, in Oley township, Berks county, where he has acquired an extensive practice. He has not only been a successful medical practitioner, but has also proved to be a most useful member of the community in other relations, everything which affects the general welfare receiving his influence and support. He was one of the organizers of the Oley National Bank and became a member of its first board of director s. He was trustee and secretary of the Oley Cemetery for many years; is a member of the Berks County Historical Society; and a member of Griesemersville Lodge, No. 1109, I. O. O. F., of which he is a past grand. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church, and has served since 1892 as treasurer of his church. He is a Democrat in political sentiment.

Dr. Fegley married Sarah Koch, daughter of the late Tobias Koch, who was a retired farmer of Gilbertsville, Montgomery county, and six children have been born to this union, four of whom are deceased. The survivors are Sallie and Walton. Walton, who is engaged as knitter at Dr. L. K. Francis & Son's Knitting Mills, married Lila Haas.


p. 1211


George Fegley, who lived in Berks county for a number of years before his death, was born in 1806 in Douglass township, Montgomery county, where his family has long been located.

Bernhard Fegley, the first of the name in this country, came from Switzerland and settled in this section of Pennsylvania in its early days. He first located in Montgomery county, near East Greenville, but died in Longswamp township, Berks county, in 1782. Little is known of his son, Peter Fegley, the grandfather of George Fegley, except that he was born in Montgomery county and settled in Douglass township, that county, induced by the fact that his uncle (a brother of Bernhard) had made a permanent settlement there. Some members of the family write the name Bird, the English version of the original name; there are descendants of Peter Fegley living in New Jersey who use the English form.

Peter Fegley, father of George Fegley, was born in Douglass township, Montgomery county, and like his father passed all his life there, engaged in farming. He owned the Fegley homestead, containing about one hundred acres, and is buried at Sassamansville, in Douglass township. He married Elizabeth Low, and they became the parents of fifteen children, two of whom died young, the others being: Henry; George; Hattie, m. to George Hillegas; Sarah, who died unmarried; Maria, who married four times (she had no children); Hannah, who died unmarried; Peter, m. to Rebecca Gottshall (their son was Lewis P. G. Fegley, who is mentioned elsewhere); Juliann, m. to Jacob Schnell; Mary Ann (twin to Juliann), who died unmarried; Jacob, who died unmarried, in California; William, who lived at Catasauqua, Lehigh Co., Pa.; Eliza, m. to William Reinert (both are buried at Lobachsville, Berks county); and Jesse, who died on the homestead, unmarried.

George Fegley learned the trade of wheelwright, which he followed at Congo, in Douglass township, Montgomery county, in his earlier life. He operated the Douglass, paper-mill for a period of twenty-six years, and upon moving to Berks county lived at Boyertown for three and a half years, in 1868 moving thence to Hereford township, where he owned a thirty-eight-acre farm and the store property. He cultivated the land himself, but rented the store to his son, E. G. Fegley, who carried it on for thirty-nine years in all. It is now owned by Frederick W. Huber, a grandson of George Fegley, who has been in possession since 1905. Mr. Fegley died at Hereford, Hereford township, in 1886, and was buried at Huber's Church, Niantic, Montgomery county; he was a member of the Reformed congregation of that church, while his wife was a Lutheran.

George Fegley married in 1839, Hannah Daub, of Frederick township, Montgomery Co., Pa., born in 1816, died in 1885. They were the parents of five children, namely: Edward G. who was the owner of the property from the time of his father's death in 1886 until his own in 1905 (He left a son, H. Winslow, of Reading); and Emma S., Mary A., Elisa M. and Hannah A. (m. Ambrose Huber, and died March 20, 1909).

Miss Emma S. Fegley, daughter of the late George Fegley, makes her home at Hereford, Hereford township, living at the homestead. She is an active, intelligent woman, interested in the life of the day, and spends much of her time in reading. She is a member of St. John's Lutheran church at Boyertown.


p. 1357


Louis P. Fegley, of Boyertown, was born Aug. 15,1851, on the Jacob Gottshall farm at New Berlinville, in Colebrookdale township, Berks county, son of Peter and Rebecca (Gottshall) Fegley. The family is an old one, Bernhard Fegley, the first of the name in this country, coming from Switzerland and settling in this section of Pennsylvania in its early days. He first located in Montgomery county, near East Greenville, but died in Longswamp township, Berks county, in 1782. Little is known of his son, Peter Fegley, the great-grandfather of Lewis P. G. Fegley, except that he was born in Montgomery county and settled in Douglass township, that county, induced by the fact that his uncle (a brother of Bernhard) had made a permanent settlement there. Some members of the Fegley families write the name "Bird," the English version of the original name, and others "Vogel" or "Fogel." There are descendants of Peter Fegley living in New Jersey who use the English form.

Peter Fegley, grandfather of Lewis P. G., was born in Montgomery county, and there, like his father, passed all his life, engaged in farming at a small village called Cedarville, now Congo.

Peter Fegley, father of Lewis P. G., was born in Douglass township, Montgomery county, Aug. 14, 1815, and was one of a family of thirteen children. He died Feb. 23, 1905, in his ninetieth year. He was a man of regular habits and was never ill. He followed the millwright's trade for a short time, in 1843 moving upon the farm of his father-in-law, Jacob Gottshall, at New Berlin (now called New Berlinville) in Colebrookdale township, where he continued farming until 1870. He then retired to the village, and afterward oversaw the cultivation on his farm. He was a Democrat in politics and a member of the Reformed Church of the Good Shepherd at Boyertown, in the work of which he was active. He married Rebecca Gottshall, and they had four children, namely: Mary G., Lewis P. G., Rebecca (wife of B. F. Ackerman, of Reading) and Caroline (who died in youth).

Lewis P. G. Fegley received his early education in the common schools of his native township, later attending the Mount Pleasant Seminary, which was located at Boyertown; the home farm where he passed his youth was a mile northeast of that borough. At Boyertown he was under the instruction of Profs. Hankey and Koons, two noted educators in their day, and he completed his schooling in the fall of 1870. Meantime, however, he had commenced teaching, having been licensed by Prof. James N. Ermentraut, then deputy county superintendent under his brother, Prof. John Ermentrout, in 1869. In the fall of 1868 he began teaching among the Mennonites in Butter Valley, his first experience being in Hereford township, where he taught for two terms, in 1869 being engaged in Treichlersville, and for the succeeding four terms in New Berlin, at the grammar school. Then for three terms he was in the Boyertown high school, and he was awarded professional certificates by Profs. D. B. Brunner, S. A. Baer and David S. Keck. His last experience as a teacher was in 1881, when he taught the Colebrookdale grammar school, but meantime he had been otherwise engaged. In 1878 he had been appointed by the heirs of a deceased uncle, Jacob Fegley, to go to California to look up their interest in the estate, and he made a most successful trip, this being only the first of a long series of similar trusts, for he has become quite noted in his satisfactory settlement of estates.

During the eight years he was engaged in teaching school Mr. Fegley assisted his father on the farm at New Berlinville, and in 1874, when only a little over twenty-one years old, he was elected a justice of the peace, serving continuously until Dec. 1, 1884, when he resigned after his election to the State Legislature. On Jan. 6, 1885, he took his seat in the State House of Representatives, and he never missed a single session nor a single vote either for or against a bill as the Legislative record will show, during his first term of service in that body. He served four years. In 1887 he was a member of the committee appointed by the Legislature, with Governor Beaver as president, to view the Gettysburg battlefield and report on the advisability of erecting monuments in honor of Pennsylvania's fallen heroes, and he voted for the $81,000 appropriated for the erection of eighty-one monuments, one for each Pennsylvania regiment represented in that famous battle. Since his retirement from the Legislature, at the end of 1888, he has filled a number of important public offices. He took a notary's commission at the close of his legislative experience and has held it ever since, finding it most convenient in the class of business which has occupied his attention.

Mr. Fegley was the principal organizer of the Boyertown Mutual Fire Insurance Company, which was chartered Jan. 2, 1886, under the General Incorporation Act of 1874, and he has served ever since as secretary of the company, which now has net assets of $4,000,000. During its existence of over twenty-three years the company has levied nineteen assessments, the latest on June 1, 1908, with all its losses paid up to date and a satisfactory surplus. On Jan. 2, 1883, Mr. Fegley was appointed acting cashier of the National Bank of Boyertown, to fill a vacancy for a short time. He has assisted in the organization of a number of business concerns in Boyertown, and his services as secretary of various bodies, and in the settlement of estates, have made him particularly well known. In fact there are few citizens of Boyertown who have been more intimately connected with the fortunes of its residents. Since 1874 he has at various times been assignee, executor, trustee, and administrator of estates in lower Berks and Upper Montgomery counties, his ripe experience and trustworthy disposition making him particularly valuable. At the time of the Boyertown opera house holocaust, Jan. 13, 1908, Mr. Fegley lost records of little intrinsic value to others, but greatly prized by him, representing the accumulation of thirty years. Fortunately his most valuable books and papers were in a fireproof vault. He took temporary office in Dr. Rhoads' residence, Philadelphia avenue and Chestnut street, and Nov. 20, 1908, located in Room 2, second floor, Farmers National Bank, in the new fireproof building, where he has a large vault. He devotes himself now exclusively to insurance and the settlement of estates. For over fifteen years he has been an active member of the Lehigh County Agricultural Society, serving as judge of periodicals, public records and relics, and he is also a member of the Berks County Historical Society.

Mr. Fegley has often refused public honors, such as nominations for the offices of burgess and councilman of his town, but he has taken a prominent part in the administration of various organizations with which he has been connected, particularly religious associations. He has been secretary of seven different institutions, including a church body; was secretary of the council of the Reformed Church of the Good Shepherd, of Boyertown, and has been secretary of the congregation from Sept. 24, 1882; was superintendent or assistant superintendent of the Sunday-school of that church from 1882; and was deacon of the church for six years. He is a Democrat in political opinion, has always been active in the councils of his party, and filled a number of minor local offices before his extensive business interests demanded so much of his time. In addition to the insurance business he does in connection with the Boyertown Mutual Company, Mr. Fegley represents several strong old-line insurance companies.

On April 5, 1891, Mr. Fegley married Miss Emma G. Leidy, daughter of Daniel and Hannah (Gabel) Leidy, of Boyertown, and they have a beautiful home on North Reading avenue, beyond Fourth street, which Mr. Fegley erected in 1890. It is in the most desirable residential district of the borough. Mr. and Mrs. Fegley had one child, Lulu L., born Oct. 29, 1895, who perished Jan. 13, 1908, in the terrible theatre catastrophe which brought sorrow to so many homes in and around Boyertown.


p. 1174


Thomas J. R. Fegley, who is successfully conducting a general hardware store at Riverside, was born in Colebrookdale township, Berks county, May 1, 1879, son of John F. Fegley, and grandson of John Fegley, both natives of Montgomery county, Pennsylvania.

John Fegley, the grandfather, was born near Gilbertsville, Montgomery county, Feb. 8, 1797, and died July 17, 1874, aged seventy-seven years, five months and nine days. He was a farmer for the greater part of his active life near Swamp, Montgomery county, and he rests in the cemetery at Sassamansville, at the Union church. He was a Lutheran member of the Swamp Church. He married Mary Fillman, who is buried in the same cemetery. Their children were: Rebecca, m. to Nathan Gilbert; Sophia m. to Frederick Emery; Annie, m. to Rudolph Stettler; Reuben; Josiah, who died in Schuylkill county; and John F.

John F. Fegley, son of John, was born in Douglass township, Montgomery county, April 3, 1834. He obtained a common school education, and in his boyhood learned the blacksmith's trade. This he followed all his life, first at Pennsburg, then at Pottstown with the Pennsylvania railroad, and later with the Pottstown Iron Company. His last employment was with the Colebrookdale Iron Company, at Colebrookdale. After that he came to Reading, and lived with his daughter Mrs. Elmira Coleman. He died March 10, 1905, and is buried in the Fairview cemetery, Boyertown. He was a member of St. John's Lutheran Church at Boyertown, and served as elder and deacon, and he was also a great worker in the Sunday-school. He married Elizabeth Royer, daughter of George and Rebecca (Dotterer). She was born April 2, 1840, and died May 20, 1879, and is buried in Fairview cemetery. The children born to John F. Fegley and wife were: Elmira m. William Coleman, a tinsmith at Reading, and has a daughter Elizabeth, now the wife of William F. Dentzer, Jr.; Benjamin F. died at the age of eighteen years; John H., a traveling salesman for the Bard Hardware Company, is unmarried and residing in Reading; Mary J. m. Fred Yoder, of Friedensburg, Pa., and Thomas J. R.

Thomas J. R. Fegley, who conducts a general hardware business and is rated as one of the successful business men of Riverside, Reading, Pa., received his education in the common schools of Colebrookdale and in the Boyertown high school. He then became a clerk in the hardware department in J. & H. K. Boyer's general store, where he remained two years, becoming thoroughly acquainted with his particular line, and as well becoming familiar with business principles. In 1896 he went to the Bard Hardware Company, where he remained until in the fall of 1907, and on Dec. 2, 1907, he opened his present store at Riverside. He erected a fine brick building, 20 x 40 feet, two stories high, at No. 1733 Centre avenue, and there he has established a fine trade.

Mr. Fegley is a member of Bohemond Commandery, No. 277, Knights of Malta. He and his family attend Hope Lutheran Church in Reading. In 1901 Mr. Fegley was married to Miss Stella Yerger, daughter of Henry B. and Clara (Brower) Yerger, of Reading. This union has been blessed with one son, John Y. The family home is at No. 1742 North Third Street.


p. 637


George H. Felix has been a resident of the city Reading. Pa. since January, 1874. He was born in Elizabethtown, Lancaster Co., Pa., Dec. 29, 1853. His father, still living in this city at the age of ninety-five years is Jacob Felix, son of Henry Felix.

Stephen Felix, his great-grandfather, was born in Alsace Germany, in 1741, emigrated to this country when a young man and settled near Hummelstown in Dauphin county, where he engaged in farming and followed it through life. He died Oct. 21, 1821, aged eighty years. He married Mary Magdelena Eckenroth, of Elizabethtown, who died Feb. 19,1819. Stephen Felix was prominently identified with the early history of Pennsylvania and was one of the pioneer members of the Catholic Church, worshipping in the Mission Church in Elizabethtown, which was erected in 1779.

Henry Felix, son of Stephen, was born and resided all his life on a farm in Dauphin county, Pa., near Elizabethtown, Pa., where his son Jacob was born. His wife was Rosanna Lawrence, born in Goshenhoppen, now Bally. Pa. who died Nov. 9, 1857.

Jacob Felix, son of Henry, married Mary Elizabeth Gross, who was born near Middletown, Dauphin county, and died in Reading. Pa., in July, 1883, at the age of sixty-three years. She was the daughter of Adam and Elizabeth (Mackey) Gross. The former, Adam Gross, was a son of Andrew Gross, who died Sept. 19. 1829, aged seventy-nine years, and his wife, Anna Maria Gross, who died March 25, 1819, aged sixty-six years. The Gross family in their earlier years were engaged principally in mercantile pursuits and were also among the early Catholic settlers in this State.

The ancestors on both sides of the family of George H. Felix were honorable and progressive citizens, some of whom took prominent part in public affairs in the first half of the nineteenth century.

Mr. George H. Felix passed his early years in Elizabethtown, where he received but a common school education until sixteen years of age, when be began an apprenticeship at the cabinet-making trade with his father, who was then engaged in the furniture manufacturing business in that place. He completed his trade when nineteen years of age, after which he was employed as a cabinet-maker in a furniture factory in Middletown, Pa. In 1872 he secured employment in the cabinet department in the Pennsylvania Railway shops in Philadelphia, which continued for about one and one-half years.

During his stay in Philadelphia he secured a business training in the night school of the Bryant Stratton Business College, which latter served him well, when, with his father, in 1874 he engaged in the retail furniture and undertaking business in Reading. In 1876 the furniture part of the business was discontinued, and their sole attention was given to the undertaking business. This partnership was continued until January, 1897, when the father retired, and the son continued the business until May, 1906. From July, 1889, to January, 1897, he was also engaged in the manufacture of bank and office fixtures hotel bars, and interior house finishings.

Soon after locating in Reading, and when still a young man Mr. Felix became associated with some of the leaders of the Democratic party, and winning their favor soon became popular in the party. In April, 1880, he was chosen clerk of common council of the city, which position he held for three one-year terms. Declining a renomination to this office in 1883, he became a candidate for clerk of select council and ex-officio city clerk, and received the caucus nomination over his opponent. Factional differences among councilmen prevented an election. In April 1884, Mr. Felix was again the caucus nominee and was elected and re-elected for four succeeding terms, thus serving with great credit five years as city clerk. The clerk of select council was also ex-officio secretary of the board of water commissioners. The business of the Water Department attracted Mr. Felix's attention more particularly, and he made a close study of its affairs. In February, 1891, Mr. Felix was elected by city councils a member of the board of water commissioners for the Fourth district for a term of four years, an honorary position to which he was re-elected for three additional successive terms. In March, 1892, he was chosen by his colleagues president of the board, and continued the directing head of the Department for a period of ten years, during which time he took the initiative in making and executing plans for the future development and growth of the water works system, so as to meet the demands of a rapidly growing city population. In the board one of his special desires was to preserve harmonious relations with his colleagues, thus securing united action in his recommendations for the betterment of the system.

His progressive spirit, indomitable energy, and careful judgment, together with the prestige he obtained among the city councilmen, were influences which induced the city fathers to support him and the water board in almost any legislation recommended for the extension, maintenance and financial benefit of the Water Department. The one improvement to the water works system which Mr. Felix most persistently urged for many years, and the one most stubbornly resisted by the people of the city, was the purification of the whole water supply by some system of filtration, a work thoroughly practical, economical and necessary to the health and happiness of the citizens. His agitation of this question began in 1895, and securing the concurrence of his colleagues in his views, was continued for years until in 1902 he secured authority for a sample filter plant for the Egelman supply. The success of this plant proved a strong recommendation for authority, granted later, to build at Twentieth street and Perkiomen avenue a plant of the same type for the Antietam supply, the most objectionable drinking water in summer furnished to the citizens. So successful and satisfactory have been the results attained by this improvement, that the citizens generally withdrew their antagonism to the filtration of the water supply, and conceded that Mr. Felix together with the other members of the board had really done a great work, and deserved the commendation of every citizen. That this was true is proved by the fact that a few years later a loan of $500,000 was voted by the people for the purification of the remaining sources of supply, viz.: the Maiden Creek and the Bernhart Creek, by the same system of filtration.

Mr. Felix continued as a water commissioner until September, 1904, when he resigned and was chosen by the board general manager of the Water Department, pursuant to an ordinance unanimously passed by councils creating that office and prescribing duties. He served in this capacity for a period of seventeen months, when the legality of the ordinance creating the position was raised by a few citizens, and a suit in court begun to decide it. Not desiring to hold an office of doubtful legality he resigned it Feb. 1, 1906, before the case was tried, thus ending an honorable career in public life of about twenty-two years, thirteen of which were served gratuitously. Mr. Felix enjoys the confidence of the best people in the city, many whom regard his efforts in behalf of the city Water Department as laying the foundation for the present excellent water works system. He continues his interest in the water works and takes pleasure in seeing that many of the improvements now being made are along the lines he favored in years gone by. He retains his membership in the American Water Works Association, which connection has now covered a period of sixteen years, served five years on its executive committee, and was chosen its president in 1907, and presided in the City of Washington in 1908 at the largest convention it ever held. He is also a member of the New England Water Works Association, and was chosen a member of the Pennsylvania Water Works Association in 1908, and was immediately chosen its second vice-president. He was director of the Second National Bank, and president of the Reading Suburban Water Company for several years. He is at present engaged in real estate operations, the building and development of real estate on his own account and for others, and is the manager of the West Reading Realty Company.

Mr. Felix has enjoyed twenty-five years of married life. On Feb. 6. 1884, he wedded Katharine V., daughter of Francis J. and Catharine P. Obert, of Reading. Mr. Obert, who was proprietor of the Union Boiler Works of Reading, was born in Baden, Germany, but came to this country when still in his minority. Mrs. Obert, whose maiden name was Winter, was born in Reading of German parentage. Her father was Joseph Winter who for many years was proprietor of a tannery at Second and Chestnut streets, Reading. Mrs. Felix has two sisters, Mary and Anna, residing in Reading with the father. To Mr. and Mrs. Felix have been born two daughters, Gertrude Loyola and Mary Katharine. Gertrude L. graduated from the Reading high school in 1904, and took a post-graduate course of two years in preparation for a course in Wellesley College which, unfortunately, ill health compelled her to relinquish after a short stay at the college. M. Katharine after leaving the city grammar school completed her education by a three years' course at Mt. Aloysius Academy, Cresson, Pa., and two years at Eden Hall, Academy of the Sacred Heart, Torresdale, Pennsylvania. Mr. Felix and his family are consistent members of St. Peter's Catholic Church. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus and of the Beneficial Brotherhood of the Holy Cross, of which he has been treasurer for the past sixteen years. He has a large acquaintance in the business and social circles of the city.


p. 1460


The Fenstermacher family of Longswamp township, Berks county, has its origin in (I) Matthias Fenstermacher, who was a native of the German Palatinate. He crossed the sea on the good ship "Glasgow," which landed at Philadelphia Sept 9, 1738. On the original list of passengers his age is given as sixty years, and he was born in 1678. He was accompanied to America by his two sons: Jacob, who was then twenty-nine years old, and Wilhelm, twenty-five years old. These three were preceded to the New World by a third son, Philip, who qualified at Philadelphia Aug. 30, 1737. He was then twenty years of age. He settled in Longswamp township, Berks county, and in 1759 he paid a federal tax of 10 in that district. His father and two brothers also lived in Longswamp township for some time. Tradition holds that one of the sons, probably Jacob, located near Philadelphia. The name is also spelled Fenstermaker.

(II) Philip Fenstermacher was a large property owner in Longswamp township and owned valuable land on which in later years was found iron ore in large quantities. Some of this land is still in possession of his progeny. He died in 1790, aged eighty-seven years. This is a long-lived family, a number living to be more than ninety years of age. His will was probated July 9, 1790, and of it his widow Elizabeth was the executor. The names of his sons John and Christopher were mentioned in his last will. He also had a son Philip, Jr., and one named Joseph. The latter was the great-grandfather of B. Henry, and great-great-grandfather of Edwin R.

(III) Joseph Fenstermacher was a native of Longswamp township, and is buried at the Longswamp Church. He was a large landowner, and left considerable property. His will is on record in Berks Courthouse in Vol. 4, page 363. It was made in 1805, and probated Aug. 4, 1806. His wife, Anna Margaret Hoak, bore him these children: Joseph; Rebecca (m. John Ran), Catherine, Magdalene (called Molly), John and Elizabeth.

(IV) John Fenstermacher, son of Joseph, was born in Longswamp township, near Topton. He was a farmer and owned several valuable pieces of farming property in that township. His remains were interred at Longswamp Church. The wife of John Fenstermacher was Dorothy Fisher, daughter of Heinrich and Catherine (Bastius) Fisher. Dorothy Fenstermacher died in 1858, aged sixty-seven years. She and her husband had eight children: (1) Reuben. (2) Leon m. Sallie Knappenberger, and these children, Emeline, Henry, James, Sarah and Elmira. (3) Hettie m. John Henning, and they had a daughter, Marie J. (4) Benjamin m. Sarah Conrath, and had these children, Elvina, Cecelia, Mary, Victoria, James, Henry, Maria and Mary. (5) Angelina m. William Hamscher. (6) John, of Ohio, had eight children. (7) Jacob m. Hannah Bortz and had these children, Oliver, Eliza, Chester, Milton, Kate, Agnes, Kate, Lillie and Jacob. (8) Sally Ann, born Dec. 5, 1832, m. Frank Fisher, deceased, and had a son, Garion.

(V) Reuben Fenstermacher, grandfather of Edwin R., was born in Longswamp township, Aug. 1, 1811, and died Feb. 27, 1870, aged fifty-eight years, four months and twenty-six days. He was a farmer, residing between Hancock and Mertztown in Longswamp township, where he owned a good farm of fifty acres. Iron ore was found upon this land and many thousands of tons were mined, while the mine is still in operation. He was a substantial citizen and his estate was appraised at $16,000 at the time of his death. As he was a man of prominence, well and favorably known, his death was mourned by many and his remains are now resting at Longswamp Church, of which he was an official member. His wife was Mary (known as Polly) Mensch, of Bath, Pa., and these children were born to them: Frank, of Topton; Eliza, who died young; Amelia, who died young; Amanda, m. to Jonas Trexler; Sarah, who died young; Mary, m. to Frank Conrath; Eliza, who died young; Angelina, m. to Tilghman De Long; B. Henry; Joseph, m. to Catherine Geist; Charles, who is unmarried and lives at Topton; George, who died young.

(VI) B. Henry Fenstermacher was born in Longswamp township, June 12, 1844, and he was reared to farm life. When sixteen years of age he commenced working in the ore mines at Topton, and followed this line for sixteen years. On Feb. 6, 1875, Mr. Fenstermacher was married to Isabella Dietrich, daughter of Heinrich (Harry) Dietrich, of Maxatawny, and they had two children: Edwin R. and Bella J. After his marriage, about 1877, he came to Maxatawny township and there engaged in agricultural pursuits, which he followed with success until his death. In the seventies he purchased the Heinrich Dietrich farm from Kline & Weiss, which is located in the northeastern end of Maxatawny township, at Greenwich township line. It consists of 104 acres of good land. On this property he erected in 1894 a Swiss barn, 84x40 feet, and in 1901 a large pig sty. In that same year he bought an adjoining tract of forty-three acres, which was the Heinrich Dietrich homestead, and is recognized as being one of the best pieces of property in the State.

Mr. Fenstermacher was a Republican, as is his son, Edwin R., and was loyal to his party, although not an office-seeker. He and his wife early connected themselves with the Reformed congregation of Longswamp Church, the building of which was erected in 1773.

The demise of B. Henry Fenstermacher occurred June 23, 1907, at the age of sixty-three years and eleven days. As a gentleman he was honored and respected by all who met him. Possessing as he did those fine natural abilities and qualities which constitute the true man and valuable citizen, it was not difficult for him to win the esteem and admiration of those about him, and his memory is tenderly cherished by those who remain behind.

(VII) Edwin R. Fenstermacher, a prosperous young farmer of Maxatawny township, near the Greenwich township line, was born there June 30, 1875. After a course in the township schools, in 1891 he commenced attending the State Normal School at Kutztown, but when he was in the junior class he was obliged to leave, owing to the increased work upon the farm, which required his presence. Since 1897 he has devoted all of his time to farming and has made a success of his work. Like his father before him he is a stalwart Republican and has held a number of the local offices. He and his sister are Reformed members of the Grimville Church, of which he has been a deacon since 1905. Miss Fenstermacher assists in church work and has been a member of the choir for some years, and both are much beloved not only in the church, but throughout the community.

Miss Bella J. Fenstermacher was born Oct. 3, 1876, in Maxatawny township. She obtained an excellent education in the public schools, and later attended the Normal school at Kutztown for four terms. Since her father's death she has assisted her brother in the management of their fine 148-acre farm and in extending the family hospitality to their many friends.


p. 1550


John Daniel Fenstermacher, late a well-known business man of Fleetwood borough, Berks county, carrying on a flourishing mercantile business, was born in Lynn township, Lehigh Co., Pa., Jan. 14, 1861, son of Daniel S. and Maria (Dietrich) Fenstermacher, residents of that locality.

The great-grandfather of John D. Fenstermacher was Michael Fenstermacher of Longswamp township, who was born in 1717, son of Philip Fenstermacher, who came from the Fatherland. When twenty years of age the latter crossed the ocean of the ship, "Samuel," landing at Philadelphia, Aug. 30, 1737, and in 1759 he was a resident of Longswamp township, paying there ten pounds tax. One year after Philip Fenstermacher's arrival, one Matthias Fenstermacher came to this country, landing at Philadelphia Sept. 9, 1738, and also settled in Longswamp township, he being then sixty years of age. On the ship on which he came was one Jacob and one William Fenstermacher, the former twenty-nine years old, and the latter twenty-five. It is traditional and also substantiated by record that an elderly Fenstermacher with three sons came to this country from Germany, and this Philip was probably the third son.

Daniel Fenstermacher, son of Michael, was born in Longswamp township, Berks county, but at an early age settled in Lynn township, Lehigh county, on the farm now owned by his son Daniel S. He was an extensive land owner and a prominent man of his day. Daniel Fenstermacher married Polly Snyder, and the became the parents of these children: Lydia, Polly, Mary, Daniel S. and Peter.

Daniel S. Fenstermacher, father of John D., was born sometime during the second decade of the last century, and has spent all his life in Lynnville, Lehigh county. For the past fifteen years he has lived retired. He owns considerable land, having an excellent 100 acre farm, on which he lives, it also being tenanted by his son, Daniel, who is an extensive potato farmer. He has another farm of 100 acres in the same county, near Stein's corner, and a large farm at Greenawalt, in Albany township, Berks county, consisting of 218 acres, also belongs to him, besides tracts of woodland in both Berks and Lehigh counties. He and his family are active members of the Reformed denomination of the Lynnville, Church, and he donated the land on which the church is built, as well as several acres for a burial ground. Mr. Fenstermacher married Maria Dietrich, who died May 30, 1905, aged seventy-nine years, two months, twenty-nine days. She was the daughter of Johannes and Catherine (Kunkel) Dietrich, and granddaughter of the John Adam Dietrich whose father Adam, emigrated from Southern Germany to Pennsylvania. Mr. and Mrs. Fenstermacher had these children: Mary; Sarah died aged about ten years; Polly m. Joseph Tyson; Daniel D. lives on the old homestead; William D. is unmarried and is a carriagemaker by trade; Eliza m. James Knerr; Louis; Ella m. Richard Bond; and John D.

John D. Fenstermacher worked on his father's farm until he became of age, when he was given a license and conducted a hotel at Greenawalt Station, Greenwich township, Berks county, for a period of six years. He then engaged in the mercantile business at Albany, Berks county, but sold out after two years to begin farming in Hamburg. He also conducted a daily milk route in Hamburg for five years, when he sold out and removed to the borough in order to work in a factory there of which he was a heavy stockholder. After several years he re-purchased his milk route and farmed for two years longer, at the end of which time he again entered the hotel field. For three years he conducted the "Windsor Castle Hotel," later the "Union House," at Fleetwood, for two years, and from the latter place came to Liscum, three miles northwest of Kutztown, where he conducted the "Three Mile House" up to the time of his death. In this he was very successful. In 1906 he built a large new store on Washington street, Fleetwood, which he equipped with all modern appliances for the carrying on of up-to-date mercantile business. He was popular in his community, and considered a good and reliable citizen. Like all of the Fenstermachers, he was a staunch Democrat, and took a great interest in his party's welfare, although he never found time to engage actively in politics. He was a pillar of the Reformed Church, which his wife also attends.

In 1882 John D. Fenstermacher was married to Ella M. Hardinger, daughter of Isaac and Anna (Schappell) Hardinger, farming people of Albany township. No children were born to them. Mr. Fenstermacher died Oct. 28, 1908, after an illness of many months, and his remains were interred in St. John's cemetery.


p. 478


On Sept. 9, 1738, the ship "Glasgow," Walter Sterling, master, arrived at the port of Philadelphia from Rotterdam. Among the emigrants on board were Mathias Fenstermacher, aged sixty years; Jacob Fenstermacher, aged twenty-nine years; and Wilhelm Fenstermacher, aged twenty-five years. Where these three Germans settled is not definitely known, but it is probable it was in Longswamp, Berks county, for in 1756 there appeared upon the tax list of that township three Fenstermachers, Mathias, Jacob and Philip. As near as can be ascertained one of these early taxables-probably Jacob -- had a son John who married Elizabeth Kutz, and settled in the vicinity of Orwigsburg, Schuylkill county. John Fenstermacher and Elizabeth Kutz, his wife, were the parents of fifteen children, thirteen of whom grew to maturity. Four of their sons, Daniel, Hugh, John and Jacob, lived all their days in Schuylkill county, and many of their descendants are yet residing there. Daniel and John were married twice. A daughter Elizabeth married a man named Aughinbaugh and lived at Lebanon; Lidy married a man named Ducer, and Barbara married a man named Dietrich. Lidy and Barbara are still living, the former in Pottsville, and the latter in Tower City. Two other daughters, Sarah and Rebecca, were also married and they lived in Schuylkill county, but further information concerning them is lacking.

A son named William, who was the ninth child of this large family, married and settled at Shippensburg. He died in June, 1898, in the seventy-fourth year of his age, and his descendants are still living in that town.

John and Elizabeth (Kutz) Fenstermacher had a son named Joseph who was born at Orwigsburg, Schuylkill county, Feb. 10, 1816. He grew to young manhood at Orwigsburg, then went to Reading, and learned carriage building. Shortly after completing his trade, he located permanently at Lebanon, where he followed his trade during most of his active years, and always bore the reputation of being a skilled and satisfactory workman. Later in life he engaged in the restaurant business, and fifteen years was also a tipstaff in the courts. He was a person of fine physique, measuring six feet in height. He was good-natured and generous, and participated freely in politics, which along with his character and duties of his several occupations, made him one of the best known and most popular men in Lebanon county. Joseph Fenstermacher married Mrs. Louisa Goshert, widow of Henry Goshert, and daughter of Col. Jacob and Elizabeth (Leisenring) Shindel, a descendant of brilliant ancestry. In 1678 there lived in Gemmelsbach, Providence of Erbach, Germany, Conrad von Schindel, and his wife Barbara. On Oct. 16, 1678 there was born to them a son, whom they named Johann Conrad. This Johann Conrad von Schindel, on Jan. 10, 1710 married Susanna Trexler, and by her had ten children, the youngest of whom was a son named Johann Peter, who was born in Euerlebach, Germany, Feb. 28, 1732. In 1751 this Johann Peter von Schindel came to America in the ship "Neptune," landing at Philadelphia Sept. 24, 1751. He settled where now is the city of Lebanon, Pa., and long afterward was engaged on the side of the colonies in the Revolutionary war. He died in Lebanon May 29, 1784. In America most of his descendants have omitted the letter "c" from Schindel, preferring to spell it Shindel, and the title "von" has been dropped by all of them. Johann Peter Shindel married Anna Margretta Gephart, and had eight children, the eldest of whom was a son, John Peter, born Aug. 21, 1766. He also was a soldier of the Revolution, afterward served as a member of the State Legislature, as justice of the peace for many years, and from 1823 to 1826, chief burgess of Lebanon. This John Peter Shindel was generally known as Peter Shindel, and so always signed his name. He died Sept. 17, 1829. He married Anna Maria Mengas, of Snyder county, and by her had eleven children. The third of these eleven children was a son Jacob, who was a soldier in the war of 1812, and afterward a colonel of militia, known to history as Colonel Jacob Shindel. He married Elizabeth Leisenring, of Sunbury, and by her had six children, of whom Louisa, for her second husband, married Joseph Fenstermacher.

To Joseph Fenstermacher and Louisa, his wife, the following children came: Elmira T., born Oct. 9, 1842, m. Hiram W. Hess, of Lebanon, Pa., deceased; Jacob A., born April, 1844, died in Jan., 1845; Winfield Scott, born Oct. 6, 1846, m. Rebecca Hultzeizer, of Finesville, N. J., deceased; Emma Catharine, born Dec. 30, 1948, died March 16, 1858; John P. S.; Joseph S., born April 11, 1850, died in Jan., 1851; Rebecca, born Feb. 6, 1856, died Feb. 9, 1856; Anna L., born Feb. 11, 1858, m. Aaron B. Fry, of Lebanon, Pennsylvania.

John P. S. Fenstermacher was born in Lebanon March 30, 1853, and grew to manhood in that city. His education was obtained in the public schools of his native town and was limited, as he early had to apply himself to the earning of a livelihood. At the age of fourteen he became a railway news agent, running between Lebanon and Philadelphia, and by his pleasing ways became very popular with the patrons of the trains. Franklin B. Gowan, then president of the Philadelphia & Reading Company, learned to know and like him, and had him promoted to the position of brakeman when yet but seventeen years of age. From brakeman he rose to baggage master, and from that on Jan. 15, 1885, to passenger conductor on the Kutztown branch, a place he held continuously till 1909, a period of twenty-four years.

Mr. Fenstermacher has long been active and prominent in secret societies. He is a member and was an officer of Huguenot Lodge, No. 377, F. &A. M.; a member of the Jr. O. U. A. M., and a member and was trustee of Camp No. 383, P. O. S. of A. He is also a member of the K. G. E. and organized Adonai Castle, No. 70, of that order in Kutztown, and was its master of records for thirteen years. He is a member of the F. O. E., Aerie No. 939, of Kutztown, and at this writing its treasurer. For many years he has been active in Republican politics, doing much hard and efficient party work, frequently representing his party in county and State conventions. He has always been in close touch with county and State leaders, and long recognized by them as a faithful and trusted lieutenant. These relations naturally brought him to the front for political preferment, and in 1898 he was made postmaster of Kutztown. Immediately upon assuming the duties of the position he set himself to work improving the office and succeeded so well that in 1902, and again in 1906, he was re-appointed without opposition. He is an attentive and obliging official, ever on the watch to improve the efficiency of the office and the rural, deliveries that radiate from it, and he has won high praise both from the Department at Washington and from the patrons he has served.

In the year 1870 Mr. Fenstermacher married Emma Heilig, of Lebanon, Pa., daughter of John G. and Harriett Hanley Heilig. To them were born children as follows: Elizabeth Shindel, born Jan. 25, 1871 (m. (first) to George Fisher, deceased, and (second) to Lynn J. Koch, of Fleetwood, Pa.); Sarah Jane, Sept. 2, 1872 (m. to Harry J. Reiff, of Reading); Rebecca Hultzeizer, Nov. 5, 1874 (m. to Frederick A. Marx, Esq., of Kutztown); Edwin Hutter.

April 25, 1877 (m. to Emma Fridy, of Lancaster); Charlotte Ely, July 10, 1879 (m. to George Gensemer, of Reading); Louise Shindel, April 29, 1886; Ella Hess, June 21, 1888 (who died Aug. 31, 1888); Mabel Helen, Sept. 15, 1889; Marguerite May, June 18, 1892; and Jay Dee Barnes, Nov. 27, 1893. (Nancy M.)

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:53:13 EDT

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