Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 1280


The first ancestor of whom there is definite record is (1) John Gable, who was probably from Switzerland, and he died on board the ship,

which was bringing him to America. His widow landed at Philadelphia about 1735, with Heinrich and an elder daughter who later married a man by the name of Moyer. The widow Gabel lived at Philadelphia a year or so, when a man Jacob Latshaw, of Colebrookdale township, Berks county, came to Philadelphia to find a housekeeper. He was pleased with Mrs. Gabel and took her, as well as her children, back home with him. At first she was his housekeeper, but later they were married. They moved to Chester county and had a family. Heinrich Gable married in Colebrookdale township, and became a large land owner.

George Gable, head of another branch of the Gable family, and a man of substance was a Hessian soldier who remained in this country after the Revolution. He located here at a very early day, before records were kept of realty transactions in Ruscombmanor township, where he died in 1825. His relationship to the Boyertown Gabels, if any, was very remote. He made his last will and testament Feb. 16, 1815, died Oct. 7, 1825 and the will was placed on record in Will Book D, page 463. He and his wife had these children: Henry, Adam, George, Sarah, Christiana and Susanna.

Henry Gabel, son of George Gabel, married Catherine Hill. They lived in Earl township, and had issue as follows: Polly (m. Jonathan Heist); Jacob (died at Reading); George (m. Susanna Brumbach, 1816-1883); Catherine (lived in Amity township); Henry (died unmarried); Sally (m. Samuel Brumbach), and William (was deaf and died unmarried).

(II) Heinrich Gabel, son of John Gabel and the Widow Gabel, and the direct American ancestor of the Gabel family to which Ephraim G. Gabel belongs, was born in Alsace, Germany, May 16, 1734, and died March 9, 1828, aged ninety-three years, nine months and twenty-three days. He is buried at Boyertown in the Mennonite graveyard. He located in Colebrookdale township in 1736, having been brought to this locality by the man who afterwards became his step-father. Here he was reared, and in early life worked upon the farm, in the employ of Rutter Bros., pioneer ironmasters of Berks county. They bought 1000 acres of land from the Penns, and some of this came into the possession of Heinrich Gabel, Jacob and John Baer, William Eddinger, and the Stauffer and Bechtel farms. Heinrich Gabel was a large property owner, and was probably a member of the Mennonite Church. He came with his mother to Colebrookdale township when only two years old, and spent his life in the same locality. He made his will April 5, 1815, and this was probated March 22, 1828, and is on record in Will Book 6, page 182. He married Elizabeth Brownback, who was born in 1741, died in 1817, aged seventy-five years, eleven months and nineteen days. They had children as follows: (1) Jacob, born May 9, 1774, died Sept. 29, 1823, aged forty-nine years, four months and twenty days; his wife was Catharine, daughter of John and Magdalene Hoch. She was born Dec. 19, 1784, and died May 24, 1886, aged 101 years, five months and five days. Both are buried in the Mennonite graveyard, Boyertown. Jacob was a farmer and owned the farm now owned by Daniel Gable in Colebrookdale township. (2) John. (3) Elizabeth married Jacob Bechtel. (4) Hannah married John Schants, of Lehigh county. (5) Maria married Jacob Kepner. (6) Magdalena married Jacob Hoch. (7) Catharine married John Gehman. (8) Susanna married a Mr. Kunsenhauser.

(III) John Gabel, son of Heinrich and grandfather of Ephraim, was born on the homestead July 25, 1766, and died Aug. 21, 1830, aged sixty-four years and twenty-six days, and is buried in the Mennonite burying ground at Boyertown. By occupation he was a farmer, and owned a large property, which is now cut up into a number of farms, it having consisted of more than 400 acres. John Gabel was a very large man, weighing more than 400 pounds at the time of his death. In height he was over six feet and was of fine proportions, and possessed magnificent strength. He had a very kind heart, and was a very liberal man and good citizen. He married Elizabeth Schantz, who was born in Lehigh county, in 1772, and died in 1855. She and her husband had children as follows: Henry married his cousin, Elizabeth Gabel, and settled in Pottsgrove township; Susan married Joshua Bechtel; Catharine married Daniel Bertolet; Elizabeth married John Shanaman; Jacob settled in Canada, and married and died there; Abraham (born Oct. 11, 1709, died Oct. 23, 1885, aged eighty-six years and twelve days) conducted the store, oil mill and farm at Gabelsville, becoming worth over $100,000, married Elizabeth Ludy (1805-1855); David; Peter, born in 1805, died the same year; Maria (1814-1869), married Levi Koch, who bought his father-in-law's farm and lived upon it; Rebecca died after attaining maturity; Frank settled in Indiana; John went with his brother, Jacob to Canada; and Daniel.

(IV) David Gabel, son of John and father of Ephraim, was born in Colebrookdale township, on the same farm, in August, 1808, and died in February, 1889, aged seventy-two years. He was a farmer and owned the homestead, which consisted of about 150 acres of good land. He built an addition to the barn and remodeled the house, and through his tireless industry became a wealthy man. He was an excellent mechanic and did all his own iron work, sharpened his plows and other tools. Mr. Gabel was also a good woodworker, and was always kept busy. Later he sold the upper farm property in 1856, and bought the adjoining farm of 104 acres; still later he bought another tract of forty-nine acres from Henry Gabel, his first cousin, and on this tract he erected the mill, replacing a stone and frame mill property standing to the north of the mill now in use. He also put up the house and barn standing by the mill. This property he sold to his sons, Ephraim and Henry, before his death, and it is now owned by Daniel, the youngest, who bought it in 1904 from Henry. He married Mary A. Gabel, his first cousin, daughter of Jacob and Catharine (Hoch) Gabel, and they became the parents of children as follows: Ephraim G.; Hannah; William died in 1865; Lavina died in 1886, unmarried, and she and her grandmother were buried at the same time, having died a day apart; Elizabeth married John H. Boyer, a farmer of Amity township; Kate married Horace Harbold, of Amity township; Henry G., living at Larned, Kans., is a miller by trade, his mill having a capacity of 200 barrels of flour per day; David is of Morysville, Colebrookdale township; Jacob is a well known cattle dealer of Boyertown; Daniel G. conducts the Gabel mill at Gabelsville; and a daughter and a son died in infancy. Mr. and Mrs. Gabel were members of the Mennonite Church, and are buried in the graveyard of that denomination at Boyertown.

Ephraim G. Gabel, a son of David and now a retired farmer of Boyertown, was born in Colebrookdale township, Berks county, on the farm owned by Aaron Houck, which was one of the old Gabel farms, Sept. 10, 1835. He obtained his education in the subscription schools of his neighborhood, where the teacher was paid two and one-half to three cents per day for each pupil. Mr. Gabel only attended public school fifteen days, Colebrookdale township being the last to adopt free schools. He was reared upon the farm, and when seventeen he began learning the miller's trade at Gabel's mill, which he followed until he was twenty-one. He was in the business with his father for three years, and with his brother Henry three years more. In 1873 he moved to Boyertown, where he has since resided. When he located here he and his brother David engaged in the coal, flour, feed and hardware business and continued in it until 1884, when he sold his interests to Benjamin Yost, and has since lived retired. He is a man of substance, and resides in a large brick house at Third and Chestnut streets. He owns a house in Boyertown, one at Pottstown and one at Engelsville. Since 1895, Mr. Gabel has been a director in the Lead & Zinc Mining Company, of Joplin, Mo., a very flourishing industry.

In his religious belief Mr. Gabel is a Mennonite. He has always refused public office, preferring to attend to his own affairs. In 1864 Mr. Gabel was married to Sarah Schaffer, born in May, 1834, daughter of John and Esther (Hoch) Schaffer. They have one daughter, Miss Amanda, who is at home with her parents. She is an artist of rare genius both with her pencil and in oils. Not only has she produced some canvases that are very valuable, but she has done some excellent work in dry point etching and her china painting is beautifully artistic. Miss Gabel was educated in the Boyertown high school, and she is a young lady of exceptional talents.

(V) Daniel G. Gabel, manufacturer and dealer in high grade flour, feed and grain and prominent in the affairs of Colebrookdale township, residing near Boyertown, was born in the vicinity, Oct. 26, 1855. He obtained his education in the district schools, and when eighteen began to learn the milling business with his brother Henry G., with whom he was employed for seven years. In 1881 Mr. Gabel rented the mill property from William K. Grim in Colebrookdale township, and this he operated one year, when he began farming on the Gabel homestead, and there remained until 1902. Two years later (1904) he bought the milling business from his brother Henry G. This mill was built in 1860 by David Gabel, his father. It is located one-half mile northwest of Boyertown, and is the center of considerable milling business. Mr. Gabel is a successful business man, and has an up-to-date mill. He has a full roller process and gives employment to three men, and enjoys a large local trade, selling his flour at Boyertown and Pottstown, and throughout Chester county. He makes three brands of flour, the leader being the "Violet," which is a patent process flour. The other brands are the "Mayflower" and the "White Rose," and he also handles one of his brother's products, "Kansas Patent." In addition to his flour trade, Mr. Gabel has a large trade in bran, middling, maizeline, cottonseed meal, linseed meal, cakemeal, rye, corn and oats, etc. He owns the old original homestead of the Gabel family where Heinrich Gabel lived and died. The property now consists of 111 acres, although it was originally larger in extent. On the old homestead is a historic home built early in the eighteenth century by the Rutters who were the first settles on it. The present barn was built by John Ehst, in 1840.

In religious belief, Mr. Gabel is a member of the Mennonite Church. He was twice married. On Jan. 24, 1880, he married (first) Emma Bechtel, born Nov. 1, 1853, and died April 22, 1882, aged twenty-eight years, five months and twenty-one days, daughter of Jacob and Catherine (Ehst) Bechtel. Two children were born of the first marriage: Elmer, born Dec. 27, 1880, died Jan. 29, 1902, aged twenty-one years; and Emma died in infancy. On Nov. 5, 1887, Mr. Gabel married (second) Hettie Bertolet, daughter of Daniel and Esther (Bertolet) Bertolet, of Oley township. To this union were born two children: Edna B.; and Daniel B. (died in infancy). Miss Edna graduated from the Sternberg School of Music at Philadelphia, June 27, 1908. She is a fine musician and a charming young lady. Mr. and Mrs. Gabel reside in a fine, large house, which is beautifully and artistically furnished, and surrounded by grounds that are well laid out. Mr. Gabel is a man who is very liberal in his convictions and is willing to allow others to hold their own opinions even if they are not the same as his own. Among other heirlooms much prized is an old fashioned china closet filled with china much of which is almost priceless and has descended to him from long dead ancestors.

(IV) Abraham Gabel, son of John and Elizabeth (Schantz) Gabel, was born Oct. 11, 1799, and died Oct. 23, 1885, aged eighty-six years, twelve days. He conducted the store, oil mill and farm at Gabelsville, and at his death left an estate of $100,000. He was a Mennonite in religious faith, and his remains rest in the Mennonite cemetery at Boyertown. He married Elizabeth Ludy (1805-1855) and they had seven children: Mary married Jonathan Dottery; Daniel L., John died at Gabelsville; Frank lived at Amityville; Amos died at Gabelsville; Elizabeth married Jacob Gabel (her first cousin), son of John Gabel; and Josiah lived at Lehighton.

(V) Daniel L. Gabel, son of Abraham, was born at Gabelsville, Colebrookdale township, Feb. 5, 1836, and died July 29, 1904, aged sixty eight years. When a young man he worked in a mill at Pottstown, Pa., but later became a clerk in his father's store. When only twenty-six, he engaged in a general merchandise business at Pikesville, where he had a store for three years. He then came to Kutztown, where he kept a store for three years, and then went to Philadelphia, in 1866, and embarked in a queensware business. This he conducted for several years and eventually took two partners and enlarged his business, which was located at Third and Arch streets. Several years later the property burned, and he then became a traveling salesman following his line for twenty-seven years, and was very successful. At the end of that time he purchased and for three years conducted the "St. Almo Hotel," at Philadelphia, when he retired to Lyons, in Berks county, where he lived until his death. His widow then sold her home at Lyons and came to Kutztown, where she now resides on White Oak street. In addition to this property she owns her father's farm near Bowers in Maxatawny township, which consists of 150 acres, and is one of the best farms in the county.

Mr. Gabel was reared in the Mennonite faith, but when he and his wife went to Lyons they united with St. John's Lutheran Church of Kutztown.

In 1861 Mr. Gabel married Mary A. Sell, a daughter of John and Susanna (Swoyer) Sell, of Maxatawny. Her paternal grandfather and great-grandfather were both named George, and they both owned the homestead that is now her property. Mr. and Mrs. Gabel had children as follows: Annie died unmarried at the age of forty-one years; Edwin died in infancy; and George died at the age of eighteen years.

The Gabel family is one of the oldest, as well as most substantial of those who have done so much to make Berks county what it is today. Members of it may be found all over the country, and wherever they are there is prosperity, substance and integrity. The virtues, which distinguished the forebears, have descended to the younger generations and make them very desirable residents of the several communities where they are not located. It is to such men as Heinrich Gabel that the country owes so much, and his name is revered not only by his descendants, but other who appreciate the part he took in the development of Berks county.


p. 397


Rev. Zenas H. Gable, a prominent clergyman of the Lutheran Church, who came to Reading Aug. 17, 1873, having accepted a call to six different congregations, is one of the most highly esteemed and beloved ministers of his denomination in this section of the State. The Rev. Mr. Gable was born Aug. 13, 1842, in Northampton county, Pa., son of Daniel and Elizabeth (Livingood) Gable, and grandson of Jacob and Elizabeth (Freese) Gable. The Gable family originated in Germany, and its founder in America was Peter Gable, who with his wife Christiana came to Bucks county in 1702.

The children of Jacob and Elizabeth (Freese) Gable were: Daniel, Mary, Sophia, Aaron, Tobias and Lucy A. Jacob Gable died March 8, 1842, aged sixty-eight years, and his wife Feb. 24, 1856, aged seventy-eight years.

Daniel Gable was born in Bucks county, Pa., Sept 18, 1805, and was a farmer and carpenter, which occupations he followed all of his active period, dying Aug. 26, 1886, aged eighty-one years: His wife passed away July 1, 1897, when eighty-seven years old. Their children were: Edwin, Charles and James, deceased; Sally A.; Thomas M., and Zenas H.

Zenas H. Gable was educated in the common schools and at Gettysburg (Pa.) College, from which he was graduated in 1865, subsequently attending the Mt. Airy Seminary, and graduating in Theology in 1868. He was ordained June 10, 1868, his first charge being at Scenery Hill, where he was located from 1868 to 1873. He came to Reading Aug. 17, 1873, and took charge of the following congregations, which he has faithfully served to the present time: St. John's, Gibraltar; St. Mark's, of Birdsboro; St. James, of Geigertown; Allegheny, of Alleghenyville; Wyomissing, of Gouglersville; and Robeson, of Plowville. New churches have been built in each of his parishes during his pastorate. He also organized a congregation at Shillington and a church was built in 1876. He celebrated his quarto-centennial in 1898, in each of his churches. The Rev. Mr. Gable is a man whose earnestness and piety have made him a power in the community. Not only is he a clear and convincing preacher and spiritual teacher, but he is also an able administrator, as the material prosperity of his congregations shows.

Rev. Mr. Gable was married Dec. 24, 1868, to Thusnelda, daughter of Rev. Jacob Vogelbach, of Philadelphia, and six children blessed this union, as follows: Matilda E.; Rev. Charles Jacob; Sue A.; Rev. Luther D.; Edmund J., a druggist; and Dr. Frank J., who attended Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia, graduating in the class of 1906. Mrs. Gable died April 2, 1903. In political matters Rev. Mr. Gable is independent, voting rather for the man than the party.


p. 577


John Gaenzle, of the firm of Gaenzle & Leippe, proprietors of the Reading Knitting Mills, is one of a large family of children born to George and Margaret (Sweitzer) Gaenzle.

George Gaenzle came from Omden, Wittenberg, Germany, to America in 1864, and settled in Reading where he followed the business of cloth weaving, at which he was an expert. Since 1889, however, he has been engaged in farming in the vicinity of Reading. He married Margaret Sweitzer, also of Wittenberg, and the following children were born to this union: Frederick, who is connected with a cold storage plant at Lancaster, Pa., as an engineer; John, senior proprietor of the Reading Knitting Mills; Henry, connected with the firm of Curtis Jones; William and Frank, in Hamburg; Kate, m. to Daniel Rhodes in the Philadelphia & Reading service; Mary, m. to John Zeiber, also in the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad service; Lena; Rosa, m. to Albert Snyder, connected with Curtis & Jones in the shoe trade; and Annie, who is housekeeper in her father's home. It is somewhat unusual to find a family as large as this into which Death has never entered. John Gaenzle was born in Omden, Germany, July 27, 1860, and when his parents brought him to Reading he was yet a child. He went to school until he was ten years old, and then went to work in a cotton mill, from which he went into a photograph gallery, learned the business and followed it for himself for twelve years. Retiring from this work he visited California for eight months, and on his return to Reading bought the Reading Knitting Mills. The business was first conducted under the firm name of Gaenzle & Co., Luther E. Gable being the Company.

In 1896, after Mr. Gable's death, Charles E. Leippe became a partner and the firm name became as at present. This industry carries the name of Reading to as many distant points, perhaps, as any other in Berks County. The company justifiably claims to manufacture the best 84-needle stockings in the United States, and ship goods all over this country and to Australia. They are the third largest manufacturers of this class of goods in the United States, and give constant employment to 300 people and more than these at times. In addition to the business above mentioned, our subject is a director of the Reading Pure Milk Company, and has other important interests. From 1895 to 1898 he was one of the owners and directors of the Lancaster Cold Storage plant, but disposed of the interest.

On April 1, 1883, Mr. Gaenzle was united in marriage with Ellen Esther Gable, daughter of Amos Gable, the retired artist, whose portraits and landscapes enjoy a reputation not only in Pennsylvania, but all over the United States. To this union was born a son Lester E. Gaenzle, Nov. 1, 1885, who is one of the bright young men of this city, a graduate of the Reading high school and of the mechanical engineering department of the Drexel Institute, class of 1905.

Fraternally Mr. Gaenzle is a 32nd degree Mason. He is a member of the Lutheran Church. He is one of the best types of self-made men that the prosperous city of Reading contains and it has numbers of them. He resides in a handsome home at No. 45 North Fourth street, where his friends are always received in the most hospitable manner. He is in the enjoyment of the fruits of honorable business methods and persevering industry.


p. 1715


George Alexander Gailey, who has been successful in the cultivation of the soil in Amity township, Berks county, was born Nov. 25, 1864, at Altoona, Pa., son of William and Nancy (Kelso) Gailey.

The Gaileys and Kelsos in both this country and in Ireland have intermarried. William Gailey was born in 1825 in County Donegal, Ireland, and was twenty-five years of age when he came to the United States, locating at Altoona, Pa., where he found work in the car shops as a machinist. He was twice married, his first wife being Mary Arrabal, who died young leaving a daughter, Margaret, now the wife of William H. Jones, who lives on a farm adjoining the Gailey tract in Amity township. In 1861, he married (second) Nancy Kelso, daughter of John Kelso, of Douglassville, but formerly of County Donegal, Ireland. With his young bride William Gailey went to Altoona, whence after eighteen months they went to Union township, Berks county, where Mrs. Gailey's father had a large farm. Mr. Gailey assisted in its cultivation for six years, and in 1867 he bought a valuable tract in Amity township, above Douglassville, consisting of seventy-five acres, and this has since been the family home. Mr. Gailey died Aug. 23, 1898, aged seventy-three years, and is buried at Douglassville. To him and his wife was born one son, George Alexander, who resided with his mother on the farm. William Gailey was of sturdy Scotch-Irish stock, and a consistent member of the Presbyterian Church, joining the church of that denomination at Pottstown (This church was organized with only nine members).

John Kelso, father of Mrs. Gailey, was born in County Donegal, Ireland in 1779. In 1851 he came to America, and settled in Union township, Berks county, where he engaged in farming and prospered. He had a brother George who came to this country unmarried in 1850, and the greater part of his life had his home with his brother John. George Kelso died May 19, 1870, aged seventy years. John and George Kelso had a sister Catharine Allison, who in her widowhood came to America with her brother George. She was born in 1789, and died in 1883, in her ninety-fourth year. John Kelso died Nov. 6, 1877, in the ninety-eighth year of his age. He married Isabella Kelso, in Ireland, a distant relative. She was born Feb. 2, 1804, and died May 13, 1886. They were the parents of five children: Joseph is a well known resident and school director in Union township; Nancy became Mrs. Gailey; John is a contractor in California; George died at his home in Philadelphia Feb. 19, 1909, aged sixty-nine years; and Jane is the widow of Aaron M. Yocum (1835-1878). The Kelsos were Scotch-Irish Presbyterians and their burial plot is at Douglassville.

George Alexander Gailey accompanied his parents to Berks county when he was very young, and he was educated in the public schools of Union and Amity townships. He was reared to farming, and in 1893, five years before his father died, he became the farmer on the home farm. Like his father he has been very successful in agricultural pursuits, and he has a dairy of fine cows. He has also been making a specialty of fattening steers for market.

Mr. Gailey is a Republican in political principle, and a Presbyterian in religious faith. He married Jane Morgan, of Douglassville, and their only child, Helen, is attending school. Mr. and Mrs. Gailey are very highly esteemed by all who have the pleasure of their acquaintance.


p. 664


George P. Ganger, a prominent builder and contractor of Reading, bears a reputation which is the fruit of years of earnest, conscientious and conservative work.

From the form of the name it is thought that the Ganger family originated in Germany, or France. but since settling in Pennsylvania, mainly in Chester county, it has been very closely allied to the Scotch and Irish, and practically nothing is known of the earlier generations. Mr. George P. Ganger and Mr. J. Benton Ganger are, with one exception, the only persons of this line living who bear the name. The grandfather was a prosperous farmer of Chester county, but little is known of him save that he married a Miss Evans and had two sons, Levi and David. He died young. The family were members of the Reformed Church, and it is supposed that the grandfather was a Whig in his political views. The maternal grandparents were German.

David Ganger was born in 1809 and grew up in Chester county, receiving his education in the public and pay schools of that region. After leaving school he learned stone masonry, but as he did not like the work he soon turned his attention to farming instead, and spent the rest of his life in that occupation. He married Miss Eliza Nyse and they became the parents of a family, three of whom lived to maturity. The daughter, Sarah, died, however, in early womanhood. The surviving sons were George P. and Levi.

George P. Ganger was born in Chester county, Sept. 10, 1843. He was brought up to farm work, in the meantime attending the public schools also, until he was nineteen, when he entered upon a four years' apprenticeship to the stone mason's trade. Having mastered thoroughly his business he went at the age of twenty-three to Reading, and settled there permanently as a mason and builder. He has steadily increased the scope of his operations, and is now one of the foremost builders in the city. He has done a great deal to make Reading one of the desirable residence cities in the State. He has on his own account built over 200 houses, ranging in value from $2500 to $3000, besides a large number under contract for friends and patrons. His work is always first class and done in the most conscientious manner. During his first fifteen years in Reading Mr. Ganger was employed by the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad, and helped to construct many of the bridges and depots along that well known line. A number of the handsomest structures in the city are Mr. Ganger's work, among the most notable being the city hall, St. Peter's Methodist Church, and the Evangelical Church, Mr. Eckert's home, and a great number of other residences.

Mr. Ganger married, in 1871, Miss Christie Low, daughter of James Low, of Lebanon county, and four children have been born to them, namely: David, who died in infancy; Sarah, m. to Albert Folk; Mary, m. (first) to Charles Spangler, had one daughter, Mabel, and (second) to John Newil; and Lulu, m. to H. M. Eldridge. Mr. Ganger and is family are members of the M. E. Church. In politics a Republican, he takes. however, no active part in public affairs. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and also of a number of other organizations.


p. 1157


Ed. C. Ganster, proprietor of the "Hotel Ganster," No. 200 Schuylkill avenue, Reading, Pa., was born in this city, Oct. 30, 1867, son of Jacob and Catherine (Rebholtz) Ganster.

Peter Ganster, the emigrant ancestor of the family in this country, came from Bavaria, Germany, to Reading in the early part of the eighteenth (?) century. He was a forgeman and expert iron-worker and owned and operated an iron foundry in his native country. On coming to the United States he lived retired until his death, which occurred about the year 1860. He and his wife, who bore the maiden name of Christina Libbert, were the parents of: Joseph, of Reading, m. to Margaret Klos; Margaret, m. to Anthony Seubert, of Lebanon, Pa.; George P., deceased; Catherine, deceased, m. to Anthony Kronise; Jacob; and John, deceased. In religious belief the family were devout members of the Catholic Church. Politically Mr. Ganster was a Democrat.

Early in life Jacob Ganster learned the machinist's trade, and followed that occupation for several years. During the Civil war he enlisted in Company A., 3d Pa. V. I., June 4, 1861, and was honorably discharged Feb. 13, 1863, on account of disability, having been wounded in battle in Virginia. After returning home he resumed his trade, and subsequently engaged in the flour and feed business at Franklin and Orange streets, Reading. On Dec. 30, 1870, he was accidentally killed, while making a heroic effort to stop a run-away horse, which was drawing a wagon containing a man, woman and child. The occupants of the vehicle were saved, but Mr. Ganster died of his injuries. He left his widow with three children: Ed. C.; Charles; and August. Mrs. Ganster died July 5, 1894, aged sixty-three years, in the faith of the Roman Catholic Church, of which her husband had also been a member.

Ed. C. Ganster received his education in the schools of Reading, as well as the parochial schools, and later business college. His first employment was for the Harbsters of Reading, in the hardware store, and at the Johnston foundry. At the age of thirteen years he began clerking for Conrad Kaltenbach, remaining with that gentleman for ten years, when he purchased the stock of his employer and carried on a general store until 1905, in this year closing out his business to engage as a hotel keeper. Locating at No. 200 Schuylkill avenue, Mr. Ganster proceeded to improve the property, and has now one of the most modern little hotels in the city. It has fifteen finely-furnished rooms, supplied with electric lights, steam heat, and other modern conveniences, and he always carries on hand a full line of the choicest cigars, liquors, etc. Mr. Ganster has been very successful in this venture, his hotel proving one of the most popular of its size in the city.

In 1890 in Reading, Mr. Ganster married Miss Mary Schlegmilch, a native of Lancaster county, and to this union one child has been born, Leo, a stenographer in the employ of the Reading Hardware Company. Mr. Ganster is a member of the Knights of St. John, being first vice supreme president of the Order, and is also connected with the Bonifacious Brotherhood. In political matters he is a Democrat. He is religiously connected with St. Paul's Catholic Church.


, p. 993


George A. Ganster, who died Oct. 8, 1901, was for many years a well-known resident of Reading, and the last five years of his life were spent in the shops of the Philadelphia & Reading R. R. Co. Mr. Ganster was born in 1851 in Berks county, son of Joseph and Sophia (Hasslett) Ganster, whose other children were: William, deceased; Lewis, a dairyman of Chestnut street, Reading; Joseph, a merchant of Thirteenth and Cottonwood streets; Henry, a farmer of the county; Frederick, an iron-worker; John, a paper-hanger; Jacob, in the employ of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company; Mrs. Catherine Quinter; and Mary and Sophia, deceased.

George A. Ganster received a common school education and in youth entered the employ of the William McElwaine Rolling Mill, remaining in the same employ until five years before his death when he engaged as a helper in the shops of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company at Reading. Although a steady industrious worker, Mr. Ganster found time to do much hunting and fishing, in which recreations he found much pleasure. In his religious belief he was a Lutheran. He was independent in local political matters, although in national issues he was a stanch Republican. Fraternally he was connected with the Washington Fire Company, as was also his son, William H.

In 1868 Mr. Ganster married Miss Emma R. Reeser, daughter of Abraham and Senara Reeser, and to this union there were born: William H., deceased; Emma M., who married Edward Snyder, of Reading; Charles I. and Carrie, deceased; Hattie E., at home; and Howard, who died in infancy. Mrs. Ganster, who survives her husband, is an active worker in St. John's Reformed Church, being especially interested in missionary work. She owns some valuable real estate in Reading, having two properties in the Sixteenth ward and five in the Tenth ward.


p. 1708


Joseph Ganster who is conducting a flourishing grocery business at Thirteenth and Cotton streets, Reading, was born May 28, 1856, son of Joseph and Sophia (Schmeck) Ganster.

Joseph Ganster received his education in the schools of Exeter township, also attending night school at Reading while engaged in the shops of the Philadelphia & Reading Company, learning the trade of blacksmith. This he followed for nineteen years with this company, and then resigned to accept a position as policeman under the administration of Mayor James R. Kenney, serving three years, one month, twenty-eight days. During this time he attended the Chester N. Farris night school, and he then returned to the employ of the Philadelphia and Reading Company, for ten months, having previously purchased his present stand. On April 9, 1891, he left the employ of the railroad company, to engage in business for himself, and his grocery store is one of the leading business enterprises of his locality. He carried a full and complete line of fancy and staple groceries, and his fine quality of goods, coupled with Mr. Ganster's obliging and courteous manner, have won him much trade. He is a member of Grace Lutheran Church, where he has been deacon. In political matters he is independent. His fraternal connections are with the Royal Arcanum and the Maccabees.

Mr. Ganster was married to Miss Lillie O'Reilly, and to them have been born three children, all attending school: U. Joseph, Hazel S. and William. Mr. Ganster is a good, reliable citizen in every respect, and is considered one of the substantial men of his community.


p. 1516


Lewis Ganster, now living retired at his home on Chestnut street, Reading, was for many years known to the citizens of the city as a retail milk dealer. Mr. Ganster is a native of Germany, born in Alsace April 4, 1849, son of Joseph and Sophia (Aldman) Ganster, also natives of the Fatherland.

In 1849 Joseph Ganster came to America, being sixty-three days on the ocean. With his wife and three children, Willie, Catherine and Lewis, he came at once to Reading, and here became well known as the builder of all the French forges for the manufacture of charcoal iron in this section of the State. Mr. Ganster died at the age of eighty years, eleven months, while his wife passed away in her seventy-second year. Eight children were born to Joseph and Mrs. Ganster in America: George, Mary, John, Joseph, Henry, Sophia, Frederick and Jacob.

In religious belief Mr. Ganster was a Catholic, while his wife was an adherent of the faith of the Lutheran Church. Lewis Ganster received his education in the schools of Reading, and when still a boy learned the forge man's trade. He was employed in a rolling mill until 1873, when he engaged in engineering at Lauer's Brewery, leaving this position in 1881 to engage in the milk business, this enterprise being continued until 1901, when he sold out. Mr. Ganster is still the owner of a dairy but engages only in a wholesale trade. Mr. Ganster has been prominently identified with various other business enterprises, and was for some years president of the Ringgold Building Association and director in the Mechanics and William Penn Building Associations. He is a large real estate owner, having five properties in the Tenth ward, one in the Sixteenth and one in the Second. He is a Republican in political matters, while he and his family worship in the Lutheran Church.

Mr. Ganster was married to Emma Tyson, daughter of Jacob Tyson, and to this union there have been born five children: Frances is deceased; Mary m. George Stichter, of Reading; Emma is unmarried; Louis J. m. Anna Bupp; and Edward.


p. 1586


Joseph B. Ganter, a well known and respected citizen of Reading, Pa., who is now living in a beautiful home that he erected in Mt. Penn, a suburb of the city, was born in Reading, in Jan., 1864, son of Joseph A. and Theresa (Bucher) Ganter.

Philip Ganter, grandfather of Joseph B., was born in Thannheim, Baden, Germany, married Mary Fahrenbach, of the same place, and they became the parents of the following children: Francis Zavier m. to Farranar Bucher; Joseph A., m. to Theresa Bucher; Barbara, m. to John Balbach; Carolina, m. to John Impink; and Philip, m. to Henrietta Morris. Weary of the tyranny of the Old World governments, Mr. and Mrs. Ganter came to this country in 1850, bringing with them all their children and also the daughter of Francis Zavier. All are now deceased with the exemption of the son Philip and the daughter Carolina.

Joseph A. Ganter, son of Philip, was born in Thannheim, Baden, Germany. When he came to this country, he first worked in a furnace in Marietta, Pa. His wife followed a year later, and they located in Reading, Berks county, he working at laboring and securing employment with the McIlvaine Iron Company. Later he became a driver for the firm. He purchased property on the installment plan, this property being one of the old landmarks of the city, located on North Eighth street, near the junction. He continued faithfully in the employ of the Iron Company, until he was compelled on account of failing health to secure lighter work, and he removed to No. 40 Hamilton street, a story and a half brick house in that portion of the city known as Ricktown, being one of the first to locate there. For some time it was a question with the people whether it should be called Ricktown or Gantertown. He opened a hotel at No. 38 Hamilton street, the only one in that section for number of years. The business increased to such an extent that he removed to the corner of Schuylkill avenue, Front and Hamilton streets, and his place was known as the "Hamilton House" until his retirement. He then removed to No. 213 North Ninth street, where he resided until his death. He was a man of great enterprise and energy, and was successful, adding greatly to the development of the city in the line of building. His success was attributed to close attention to business, and although he came to America without means, he accumulated a fortune, and gave each of his children a good start in life. He manifested a special interest in his family, aiding them in business during his own lifetime, that he might enjoy the pleasure of seeing them prosper. At different times he would call his children together and give them liberally of his estate, at the same time advising them how to use it. ? one of the last things he did was to present each child with a thousand dollars.

To Joseph A. Ganter and wife, were born six sons and three daughters: Benjamin; Lena; Francis X.; Franklin; Rosa; Joseph B.; Theresa; Edward now deceased; and Charles. The two eldest, Francis and Lena, were married upon the same day, and the three youngest, Theresa, Edward and Charles, were likewise married at the same hour of the same day, and had single, double, and triple weddings. Mr. Ganter in company with Gregory Heine went over in 1872 to the old country to repair a small chapel or shrine, that the father, Philip, who was very wealthy for his day, had built in Thannheim.

Joseph B. Ganter's education was secured in the schools of Reading. When he started out in life he worked for as little as seventy-five cents per week, changing from one occupation to the other until he began an apprenticeship with Henry C. Geissler, where he learned the tinsmithing trade. He then started in business for himself at No. 201 Schuylkill avenue, and in addition opened a hardware store, with house-furnishing goods, which he carried on for a period of twenty years. Previous to this he had carried on the cigar business in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1884 he retired and began building operations with Adolph Eichner, and April 5, 1904, the firm became Ganter, Davis & Eichner. At the end of one year, the original firm started again and are still doing business. Mr. Ganter is the original organizer of the Schuylkill Fire Company, and is one of the two original members still living.

Mr. Ganter's success is due to his perseverance and strict attention to business, and just dealing. In politics he is a Democrat. He is connected with the Roman Catholic Church. He is also associated with the Northwestern Beneficial Association; Aerie No. 66, F. O. E.; and Harmonia Beneficial Association.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:54:09 EDT

Previous       Home Page       Index       Next
404 - Error: 404


Category not found

The Page you are looking for doesn't exist or an other error occurred. Go back, or head over to Home Page to choose a new direction.

You may not be able to visit this page because of:

  1. an out-of-date bookmark/favourite
  2. a search engine that has an out-of-date listing for this site
  3. a mistyped address
  4. you have no access to this page
  5. The requested resource was not found.
  6. An error has occurred while processing your request.