Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 921


William H. From. As far back as the family history can be traced there were two brothers, William and John Fromm, who came to this country from Germany and settled in Upper Bern township where they were engaged in farming all their lives. The name was originally spelled Fromm, but Mr. John B. From adopted the shorter form, though some members of the family retain the double "m."

The one brother, John Fromm, was the grandfather of William H., and he became the father of four children, namely: Joseph, Jacob, Rebecca and John B., the first three dying young. John Fromm served as a captain in the war of 1812, and was stationed in Baltimore.

John B. From, son of John Fromm and father of William H., was born in Upper Bern township, and learned the shoe-making trade, following it many years. He was also track foreman for the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad. In 1849 he married Eliza Hemmig, who was born in Cumru township, March 5, 1827, daughter of Benjamin and Anna Mary (Fritz) Hemmig; the former was a carpenter and died in 1831 at the age of twenty-five. Benjamin Hemmig was captain of the Light Horse Company under General High, and this company took charge of his funeral. To Mr. and Mrs. John B. From were born seven children, namely: (1) Emmaline R. m. Hiram Gottshall, who conducted a shoe store at Sixth and Bingaman streets, Reading, and they had three children: Mary E. and F. Walter, who both died young; and J. William, who is married and resides at Reading. Mr. Gottshall was very prominent in secret orders, belonging to quite a number, and was a Mason and Knight Templar. He was killed in a wreck at Rose Glen, Pa., on the Philadelphia & Reading Railway in 1893. (2) Mary E. m. Oliver F. Horning, an ice dealer, at Wyomissing, Pa., and their only child, Effie Naoma, died at the age of fourteen. (3) William H. was born in Reading, Nov. 7, 1854. (4) Lizzie H. m. John A. Elliott, W. & R. tobacco, formerly of Pottstown, now of Philadelphia. Mr. Elliott was a color bearer in the Civil war and was wounded in a battle in front of Richmond. (5) Thomas H., a hatter by trade but now engaged in the shoe business at Shillington, Pa., m. Anna F. Eshelam, and has one child, E. Earl. (6) John S. died at the age of twenty. (7) Annie C. died young.

William H. From, son of John B., received a liberal education in the schools of Reading and also in Cumru township. He worked on the farm until the age of twenty when he learned the carpenter's trade, and also that of wood pattern maker. The latter trade he followed for twenty years. In 1889 he came to Sinking Spring where he purchased a valuable tract of eight acres of land. Upon this land he erected a house and the following year the barn and necessary outbuildings. He then engaged in trucking and fruit raising, to which he has devoted his entire tract. He also later built a number of forcing houses. Mr. From retails his product at Stalls Nos. 60-61 Opera House Market, Reading. He makes specialties of horse-radish and asparagus, and owns one of the largest and finest asparagus beds in this section. Mr. From is a man of progressive ideas and is keenly interested in the incorporation of Sinking Spring into a borough. He is a member of St. John's Lutheran Church and his wife is a member of St. John's Reformed Church of Sinking Spring. He is also a fine musician.

On Aug. 16, 1883, Mr. From married Miss Mary Moyer LeVan, daughter of Wellington R. and Kate (Seitzinger) LeVan, of No. 114 South Fourth street, Reading. Three daughters and one son blessed this union: Mayme L. m. Charles E. Stott, who is connected with the Reading Eagle, and they have two children, Ruth Geraldine and John William; and Geraldine L., John Wellington and Anna Dorothy.


p. 1242


Thomas H. Fromm, of Cumru township, was born Jan. 29, 1864, at Gouglersville, son of John B. and Eliza (Hennig) Fromm.

The family is descended from Frederick Fromm, who emigrated from Germany and in 1749 is on record as paying seven pounds tax in Bern township, Berks county. Of his posterity, John Fromm, the grandfather of Thomas H., was born in Upper Bern township, and spent his entire life there, engaged in agricultural pursuits. He and his wife had four children: Joseph and Jacob, who died young; John B.; and Rebecca, who died young.

John B. Fromm was also born in Upper Bern township, and his death, at the age of sixty-seven, occurred June 29, 1892, at Shillington, interment being made at the Wyomissing cemetery, Gouglersville. A shoemaker by trade, Mr. Fromm engaged in that occupation many years and was also employed by the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad as track foreman of the repair gang. In 1849 he was married to Eliza Hennig, born March 5, 1827, in Cumru township, daughter of Benjamin and Mary Ann (Fritz) Hennig. Benjamin Hennig was a well known carpenter of Cumru township where he died in 1831 at the age of twenty-five years; his widow married for her second husband William White, who died aged eighty-two years, while she passed away when seventy-three years old. To Mr. and Mrs. Fromm there were born seven children: (1) Emaline R. m. Hiram Gottshall, a shoemaker, and had three children ? Mary E., William and Walter; (2) Mary E. m. Oliver Horning, resides at Wyomissing, and has one daughter ? Effie N.; (3) William m. Mary Levan, resides at Sinking Spring, and has four children ? Mamie, Jared D., Wellington and Dorothy; (4) Lizzie m. John Elliott and now lives with her sister, Mrs. Horning; (5) Thomas H.; (6) Annie C. died young; (7) John S. died at the age of twenty. Mrs. Fromm, the mother of Thomas H., resides with her daughter, Mrs. Gottshall at No. 1380 Perkiomen avenue, Reading, and is in the best of health.

Thomas H. Fromm was reared in Shillington, where he spent his boyhood days, and received his education in the public schools of Cumru township. At the age of fourteen years he learned the hatting trade from George Hendel & Son, Edison, which he followed for about twenty years, becoming very proficient in the entire process of hat-making. Failing health caused Mr. Fromm to retire from that business and engage in shoemaking at Edison, now Shillington, and this has been his occupation ever since. In 1907 he erected a fine brick residence on Madison street, where he now resides with his family. In politics he is an independent voter, although he is very public-spirited and is found in the front ranks of all movements calculated to be of benefit to the community. Socially he is connected with the Mohnton Lodge, No. 485, K. P.; the K. G. E., No. 137, of which he is past chief; and the P. O. S. of A., No. 211, of which he is past president. He is a charter member of Keystone Fire Co. No. 1, and has served on the investigating committee thereof. He and his family are members of Grace United Evangelical Church, of Edison, and he is an active worker therein, a member of the Sunday school and of the K. L. C. E. Society of the church.

In 1889 Mr. Fromm was married to Annie F. Eshelman, born in 1869, daughter of Franklin R. and Catherine (Fisher) Eshelman; and one son was born to this union, Earl E., Nov. 3, 1895.


p. 1380


Charles Y. Fronheiser, a farmer in Washington township, Berks county, is a descendant of George Fronheiser, a farmer, who is given in the federal census list of 1790 as the head of a large family. His early home was in the part of Colebrookdale township now embraced in Washington township, and he died in 1820, when very old. His will is on record in Book C, page 186, and the witnesses were Isaac Kummerer and William Stapleton. The executor was his son "Georg" (pronounced Jurick). His wife Elizabeth bore him eleven children, viz.: Georg; Johannes; Daniel; Joseph; Jacob (1799-1854) who married Rebecca Derr (1804-1866); Samuel; Henry; Abraham; Molly, who married Jacob Herb; Catherine, who married Conrad Kister; and Elizabeth who never married.

Georg Fronheiser, previously mentioned as the executor of his father's will, was born Jan. 20, 1783, in Pike township, Berks county, on the farm now owned by Elmer Fronheiser, and died May 3, 1863, aged eighty years, three months, thirteen days. He was twice married, first to a Miss Herb, by whom he had a family of seven children: George; Samuel; Daniel; Jacob; Catharine married Samuel Watter; Betzy married George Dierolf; Polly married (first) Abraham Dotterer and (second) Gehret Bechtel. For his second wife Georg Fronheiser married Betzy (Elizabeth) Derr, born in 1781, died in 1846, and with whom he had a married life of nearly forty-four years. By her he had three sons, as follows: Abraham, Henry, and William, all of whom are deceased.

Abraham Fronheiser, son of Georg, born March 25, 1819, died Feb. 8, 1900, aged eighty years, ten months, thirteen days. He was a farmer, owning the place of 140 acres in Pike township where he died, and which is now owned by his grandson, Elmer Fronheiser, though it is now included in Washington township. His land line bounded the Washington township line, and his grandson, Charles Y. Fronheiser, owned land in Washington township which in his grandfather's day belonged to Pike. Abraham Fronheiser put up the present set of buildings upon Elmer Fronheiser's farm. He was a prominent man in his day, and very influential in the affairs of his locality. He was a stanch Jeffersonian Democrat, and served many years as a school director of Pike township. He married Elizabeth Gries, an Englishwoman, daughter of Jacob Gries, a blacksmith from above Reading. Mrs. Fronheiser died in August, 1873, at the age of fifty-five years, the mother of six children, as follows: Sarah, who married Henry Gilbert, of Bechtelsville; Mahlon; Jefferson; Elizabeth, deceased, who married Jacob Zwoyer; Catharine, who married Mahlon Clauser, of Griesemersville; and Sybilla, who married Thomas Rohrbach, of Ohio.

Jefferson Fronheiser, son of Abraham, was born in 1851, in Pike township, where he is at present employed, working also in the surrounding townships. His home is at Bechtelsville. For some years he worked at Hyde Park, in Muhlenberg township. Mr. Fronheiser married Mary Ann Yoder, daughter of George S. and Catharine Yoder, of Oley township, and they had one child, Charles Y., whose name introduces this sketch. Mrs. Fronheiser died in September, 1869. She is buried at Oley Churches.

Charles Y. Fronheiser was born Dec. 7, 1868, on the Abraham Fronheiser homestead in Pike township, where he was reared, making his home with his grandfather during his boyhood and youth. He was trained to farm there, and also worked on the neighboring farms, and from 1888 to 1891 was engaged in driving the mail from Shanesville to Reading. He then became the proprietor of the "Keystone House," at Bechtelsville, which he conducted for three years, and in the spring of 1894 he began farming on one of the old Dotterer homesteads, where he has ever since lived. This farm consists of seventy-one acres, and was originally owned jointly by him and his uncle, Mahlon Fronheiser, Charles Fronheiser purchasing his uncle's interest in the property in the winter of 1893. The place was formerly owned by Joseph Dotterer, and before him by D. Dotterer, a pioneer, and the old stone house, built during Revolutionary days, is one of the landmarks of this district. The present barn, however, is modern, having been built by Mr. Fronheiser and his uncle in 1891. Many improvements have been made by Mr. Fronheiser during his residence on the place, which is very productive and yields him a good income. He is a progressive farmer and also engages in dairying, keeping from twelve to fifteen milch cows.

Mr. Fronheiser has served his fellow citizens in various capacities, and he has been constable of Pike township ever since 1896. He was fire warden of Berks county for three months, and on different occasions has acted as tipstaff in the court-house corridor at Reading. In politics he is identified with the Democratic party, in which he has been a good worker. He is a member of the Junior Order of American Mechanics, belonging to Council No. 1019, of Eshbach.

On March 7, 1890, Mr. Fronheiser was married to Rosa Weller, daughter of William and Hettie (Fronheiser) Weller, of Pike township, later of Boyertown, and granddaughter of Gideon Weller and his wife, who was a Miss Hartline. Five children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Fronheiser, namely: Verna W., Sallie W., Herbert W., Leroy M. and Elmer C. Mr. and Mrs. Fronheiser are both members of the Hill Church, Mr. Fronheiser belonging to the Lutheran congregation and Mrs. Fronheiser to the Reformed congregation.


p. 442


Henry H. Fry, former county treasurer of Berks county, and a prominent lumber dealer of Oley township, was born July 12, 1863, in Ruscombmanor township, near Pricetown, where he was educated in the public schools. He was reared on the home farm where he remained until he was sixteen years old, when he entered the country store of Daniel Brown, at Pricetown, and he remained there two years, when he became a clerk in the store of B. A. Glase, Son & Co., at Friedensburg. After continuing there a year the senior partner died, and his son, Peter L. Glase, purchasing the Baer general store at the same place, persuaded Mr. Fry to work for him. He acted as clerk for seven years in that store, and then became a partner, and under the firm name of P. L. Glase & Co. they have carried on the business together from 1889 until the present time. In 1894 Mr. Fry began purchasing tracts of timber, converting the trees into lumber, railroad ties and telegraph, telephone and trolley poles, and he has been very successful. He officiated as a school director in Oley township for three terms. In November, 1905, he was elected county treasurer, and served his term of three years, which expired in January, 1909.

In 1887, Mr. Fry was married to Anna L. Stitzer, daughter of Daniel Stitzer, and Annetta Ahrens, his wife, of Oley township, by whom he had four children: A. Paxton, Sadie, Arthur and Roger.

William Frey, father of Henry H., was engaged in farming in Ruscombmanor township until his decease in 1882, when he was aged sixty-three years. He officiated as a county commissioner from 1873 to 1876, having been elected on the Democratic ticket. He married Annie L. Haas (1824-1894), daughter of George Haas, of the same township. They had eight children: James (m. Hannah Brown); Nathaniel (m. Clara Haas); Sarah (m. Mayberry Angstadt); Caroline (m. Thomas Leinbach); Amos (m. Isabella Fox); Lewis (m. Mary Brown); Henry H.; Augustus (m. Annie Jarrett).

George Frey, father of William and grandfather of Henry H., was of the same township. He married Catharine Rothrock, by whom he had eight children: George (m. a Reinheimer); Charles; William; Julia (unmarried); Catharine (m. John Wahl); Maria (m. Henry Keller); Sallie (m. Nicodemus Noll); Margaret (m. Jacob Krick).


p. 800


Keyser Fry, trade factor and jobber of bicycles, motor cycles and supplies, auto accessories and sporting goods, located at Nos. 723-725 Chestnut street, is one of Reading's successful young business men. He was born in 1873, in Reading, son of Daniel S. and Angelina (Keyser) Fry.

Mr. Fry secured his education in the common schools of Reading, graduating from the high school in 1891. At this time he became identified with the Reading Rolling Mill Company, as time-keeper, remaining three years, and was then with the Penn Hardware Company for a short period. He next became office manager for the Relay Manufacturing Company, of which he was later made secretary and general manager, until, in 1899, when the Relay Company discontinued the making of bicycles and sold their plant, he embarked in his present business, which from a small beginning has grown to a very extensive merchandising enterprise. Simultaneously with the starting of this business, the Penn Cigar Company was formed, and in 1905 was incorporated and Mr. Fry was elected president, an office he has since filled. He is also connected with the Fry-Geary Live Stock Company of Casper, Wyoming, and from its incorporation has been president.

Mr. Fry was married in 1901 to Lorena M. Ruth, and they reside on Mineral Spring road. He is prominently identified with the Masonic bodies of this city, being a past master of Reading Lodge No. 549, F. & A. M.




John Frymire, deceased, who during a long and active life spent in Reading gained a widespread reputation as a stair-builder, was one of Berks county's representative men, and a veteran of the Mexican war. Mr. Frymire was born Aug. 30, 1835, in Milton, Northumberland Co., Pa., son of John and Barbara (Rapp) Frymire.

John Frymire the elder was also a native of Northumberland county, where in early life he engaged in freighting, and later his team of six white horses became a familiar sight traveling between Milton and Philadelphia. Mr. Frymire was a powerfully built man, but died in the prime of life, his wife also having died when young. They were the parents of four children: Adam, Jackson, Sarah and John. Mr. Frymire was a Democrat in political belief, but it is not known that he took any active interest in public matters. He and his wife were members of the Lutheran church.

John Frymire, son of John, was bound out when a youth to learn the cabinet making and stair building trades, and while thus engaged enlisted in the Mexican war, which had just then broken out. Upon his return from the war, Mr. Frymire completed his apprenticeship, and for many years engaged in stair building, being considered an expert in this line. Many of Reading's finest residences bear evidence of his skill and workmanship, and he continued to work at this trade until his retirement in 1885. He had built, in 1876, a large twenty-room hotel, now in possession of his heirs, but it was left in care of his wife and children, leaving Mr. Frymire free for his regular calling.

Mr. Frymire married Hannah Adams, daughter of John and Hannah (Coller) Adams, and to this union there were born these children: (1) Amanda m. David Hinkle, and had three children, J. Elwood, who m. Carrie Seidel and had two children, Emily and Mary; and one who died in infancy. (2) Katie m. Martin Reddig and had a daughter, Bessie F., who m. Edward Deem and had two children, Robert and Catherine. (3) John F. is single. (4) George died at the age of six years.

In religious belief both parents were Lutherans, in the faith of which church Mrs. Frymire died Feb. 16, 1895, at the age of fifty-nine years. Mr. Frymire was a member of the I. O. O. F., and was a stanch Democrat in politics.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:53:21 EDT

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