Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 952


The Geehr family of Kutztown, Berks county. is one of the old and very prominent families of this section of Pennsylvania, the ancestry being easily traced is far back as Conrad Geehr, of Germantown. Pa., whose children were: Philip; Balzer; Hannah, born in 1743, m. DeWalt Bast; Margaret married Michael Croll; and Samuel.

Balzer Geehr was born at Germantown, Pa., Jan. 22, 1740, and when a young man removed to Amity township, Berks county. In 1767 he was living in Oley township, where he married Catherine, daughter of Anthony Hunter, and sister of Col. Daniel Hunter, of Revolutionary fame. In 1771 he purchased a large plantation of 500 acres in Bern township, several miles south of the Blue Mountains, and moved upon it in 1772. When the war of the Revolution began he was a man of large influence, in the northern section of the county, and upon the selection of a standing committee in 1774, for a proper guidance of a popular sentiment in its behalf, he was naturally chosen to represent that section in this important committee. In the formation of the Associators of Pennsylvania, Balzer Geehr was one of the five delegates who attended the meeting at Philadelphia in August, 1775. These delegates were known as "The Colonels of the Associated Battalions." He also took an active part in the county militia. In 1775 and 1776 he was lieutenant Colonel of the fourth battalion, and in September, 1776, his battalion participated in the campaign about Yew York. He officiated continuously as a judge of the county courts from 1775 to 1784. and represented the county in the General Assembly for the years 1782 and 1786, and from 1792 to 1799. Balzer Geehr carried on farming extensively on the Bern plantation until 1796, when he removed to a farm of 231 acres, in Maxatawny township, several miles north of Kutztown, which he had purchased shortly before. He died June 19, 1801, and his remains were interred in a private burial ground on his last mentioned plantation. By his decease without a last will, and the decease of two sons, John and Jacob, also, and his two granddaughters, the children of Jacob dying intestate without issue, the Maxatawny farm became involved in a very tedious and costly ejectment litigation, covering a period of fifteen years. One of the cases involving the trial is reported in Outerbridge report (Pennsylvania State), Vol. 9, page 577, 1884, and another in Crumrine report (Pennsylvania State), Vol. 28, page 311, 1891. The trials excited general interest in the legal profession, and the cases reported are regarded as leading cases on the subject to title of land by descent.

Philip Geehr, son of Conrad, was born in Germantown, Pa., and died in 1817 in Kutztown. He attended the schools of Philadelphia, later taught school for two or three years in Maxatawny, and also served as justice of the peace in Kutztown. Philip Geehr married Catherine Levan, widow of Jacob Levan, who already had these children: John, Jacob, Daniel and Maria (m. a Deisher), To Philip and Catherine Geehr were born: Benjamin, Susannah (m. Jacob Kutz), Hannah (m. Joseph Hurst) and Kittie (m. John Gettich).

Benjamin Geehr was born in Maxatawny, Oct. 22, 1785, and died in 1847. He was active in public affairs and served as justice of the peace. He was organist of the old Union Church of Kutztown, which position was also filled by his sons Jacob and James, the family having musical gifts, He married, Nov. 25, 1813, Catherine von Schmull, born in North Whitehall township, Northampton Co., Pa., March 13, 1793, died April 19, 1865, daughter of George and Susanna (Le Van) von Schmull. She is represented as having been a woman of energy and ambition, and of infusing the same spirit into those with whom she came in contact. Her brothers and sisters were: Peter, born Oct. 11, 1794; Maria, Aug. 18, 1796 (Sept. 20, 1813); John, May 27, 1798 (m. Harriet Pauli, and died Aug. 20, 1841); Charles, Feb. 3, 1800; Susanna, May 21, 1802; Lydia, Dec. 3. 1803; Sarah, Sept. 19, 1805; Thomas, Aug. 20, 1806; George, Sept. 11, 1808; and Joanna, Dec. 5, 1810.

The father of this family, George von Schmull, or to give him his proper title, George, Count von Schmull, was born July 22, 1764, at the ancient country seat of the family, near Yodesburg, on the Rhine. To escape religious persecution in the Old World he came to America at the close of the Revolutionary war. His estate, bearing the title of Von Plosh, was confiscated by the Government, and the castle was converted into a convent. Von Schmull settled near Germantown, Pa., where he was married June 22, 1792, to Susanna Le Van, born March 12, 1770, died Aug. 18, 1826, daughter of Abraham and Catherine Le Van, a Huguenot family. He died Oct. 5, 1815, at Germantown, and was there buried.

The children of Benjamin and Catherine (von Schmull) Geehr were: Mary Ann, born Dec. 24, 1815, m. Jonathan Grim,, and died Sept. 27, 1836; Samuel Philip. born Dec. 25, 1817, m. Letitia Kline; John Balzer, born in Kutztown, Jan. 18, 1820, m. Lizzie Ross; Jacob Conrad, born March 25, 1822; Charles Herman, born June 8, 1824, m. Martha Thompson; and James Monroe, born Oct. 22, 1826, m. Mary Le Van. All this family have passed away.

Jacob Conrad Geehr, late of Kutztown, was born there March 25, 1822, and died Sept. 4, 1896. He was a man of fine personal appearance, extraordinary memory and agreeable manner. During the progress of the Civil war he spent a time in the army. He was one of the principal figures of the famous Kitty Geehr law suit, which occupied the attention of the people some years ago. On July 8, 1849, he married Mary Elizabeth Hoch, daughter of David and Leah Hoch, who was noted for her warmhearted hospitality. Mrs. Mary Elizabeth (Hoch) Geehr was born in Maxatawny township, Nov. 19, 1832, and died at Kutztown, March 2, 1905. She was of retiring manner in the presence of strangers, but with her own kindred she was particularly pleasant and cordial, and was admired for her wit and humor. During the whole of her long life she was an earnest Christian, and was ever ready to comfort the distressed, on many occasions offering a prayer or singing a hymn in a manner which invariably moved the hearts of the listeners. The children of this marriage were as follows: Titus E., Mary Martha, Thomas Benjamin, Florence Mabel and Katie L.

Titus E. Geehr was born July 20, 1850, at Kutztown, and died Dec. 24, 1901. At the age of fourteen he enlisted in the Civil war, surviving to return, and he had the unusual record of never having touched a cent of the money so hardly earned in his country's service, generously giving it all to his mother, to whom he was intensely devoted. During his whole life it has been said he never entertained a selfish thought, living only for others. It seemed as if all his ambition was that he might bring happiness into the lives of those that were near to him. He graduated from Eastman Business College, and subsequently went into the hide and leather trade, in which he continued until his fatal illness. Those who were his associates in business had this to say of him: "Whose many good qualities of mind and heart endeared him to all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance. Possessing a happy and always cheerful disposition, his presence was welcome, and invariably left a pleasant remembrance. In business matters integrity was his motto, and no one enjoyed a greater degree of respect among his associates. His long illness was endured with that fortitude which comes to those whose abiding faith is placed in the promises of our Saviour."

Mary Martha Geehr was born at Kutztown, and like her brother is of a sunny disposition, unselfish, devoted, generous and self-sacrificing. She was married Dec. 1, 1896, to Stanly J. Kirby, of Maiden-creek.

Thomas Benjamin Geehr was born at Kutztown, Nov. 15, 1866, and died Sept. 6, 1870.

Florence Mabel Geehr was born at Brooklyn, N. Y., Nov. 20, 1875. She was baptized, May 4, 1876, by Henry Ward Beecher. At the age of sixteen she graduated from the Keystone State Normal School, and taught school for two years. On Feb. 25, 1897, she married Edward Young Miller, of Bloomington, Ill. Mr. Miller is a man of unusual mental equipment, and has made a distinguished name for himself in military life. During the Cuban campaign, he served as captain of the 30th Inf., N. G., entering the regular army at the close of his former service. He was commissioned first lieutenant of the 29th Infantry, at Fort Sheridan, Ill. From this military post his regiment was ordered to the Philippines, and later he was appointed to his present position of governor of the province of Palawan. Mrs. Miller has accompanied her husband throughout the whole of his military career. They have one son, Gordon Geehr, born Sept. 29, 1898.

Katie L. Geehr was born at Kutztown, where she completed the public school course, later continuing her studies at Brooklyn, N. Y. Subsequently she took a special course in music and literature at the Keystone State Normal school. For several years she was an acceptable teacher. Miss Geehr is a very talented lady, an ardent student, and a gifted writer, and occupies a very high social position at Kutztown. She is a devoted Christian, conscientiously discharging her duties in all departments of church work.


p. 1023


The Gehman family, one of the earliest in this part of the State, is well represented in the present generation by Peter B. and Samuel B. Gehman, brothers, both of whom are engaged in farming and trucking and are highly esteemed as honorable business men and useful citizens.

The Gehmans are of Swiss origin. On Aug. 11, 1732, the good ship "Samuel" from Rotterdam, Holland, brought to Philadelphia one hundred and two natives of Switzerland, and of these a large number settled in what is now Brecknock township, Berks county, formerly a part of Lancaster. Among these emigrants were the ancestors of many of the well-known Berks county families, namely: the Gehmans, Hornings, Kachels. Kramers, Behlers, Zieglers, Millers, Kieffers, Brendels, Gerhards and others. Tradition says that three Gehman brothers (also spelled Gayman and Geeman) came to America together. and that their names were Christian, Benedict (or Bentz) and Hans. The Pennsylvania archives record the names of but two: "Christian, aged twenty-four years; and Benedict (Bentz), aged twenty years." Mention is also made of "Anna Geeman. aged twenty-three years."

It is further stated that Bentz or Benedict Gehman (born in 1711-12) settled in Brecknock township, in the vicinity of the present location of Gehman's Meeting House, and there took up land, and there to this day are found many of his descendants. Christian settled in Montgomery county, and there today is a large Gehman settlement. The oldest members now living recall hearing their parents and grandparents talk of the relationship through the original emigrants.

Daniel Gehman, the great-grandfather of Peter B. and Samuel B., was a son of the emigrant Benedict. He lived near Adamstown, at German's Meeting House (so named in his honor), which was built on his land. He owned considerable property, which is now cut up into a number of farms, some of which are still in the family. On the farm of Solomon Gehman is the old private burying ground of the family. Daniel Gehman had four sons, namely: (1) Christian, born July 20, 1775, died March 26, 1856, the father of five children: Samuel, who had a daughter Salome; Daniel, who went West; John, who died unmarried; Elias, who reared a large family, in which was a son John; and Christian, born Sept. 17, 1817, who had a family of four children. Reuben, Samuel, Elijah and Anna. (2) Daniel married a Bowman, and had eleven children: Benjamin, born Feb. 15, 1808, died Sept. 5, 1882, had eleven children, Lovina, Solomon (born Jan. 15, 1835, m. in 1861, Barbara, daughter of Bishop Jacob Moseman, a native of Germany. and had children, Jacob, Samuel, Manno, Isaac and Amos), Fannie, Lydia, Maria, Israel (1836-1862), Joseph, Elizabeth, Benjamin, John and Noah; Joseph, born June 10, 1810, died Nov. 17, 1894, had three children, Henry, Lydia and Annie; Samuel, born Aug. 25, 1812, m. Elizabeth Messner, and died Dec. 23, 1891, the father of five children. Hannah, Eliza, Sarah. Daniel, (born Nov. 5, 1845, has five Sons and two daughters) and Richard; Judith m. Isaac Bowman; Lydia m. Jonas Bowman; Leah m. Isaac Bowman; Mary died unmarried; Susan m. Jacob Leinbach; Nancy m. Henry Eberly; Hettie m. Jonas Leinbach and they moved to Michigan; and Elizabeth died unmarried. (3) Johan, born 1783, m. Betsy Brendel, and died in 1838. They had no children. (4) Samuel became the grandfather of Samuel B. and Peter B., and is mentioned below.

Samuel Gehman, son of Daniel, was born near Adamstown, and he died at the advanced age of eighty-four years, eight months and twenty-six days. He was a wheelwright by trade, and carried on that occupation at his home near Adamstown, together with the cultivation of his small farm, and also did some work at carpentering. He was active in the Mennonite Church, and is buried at Allegheny Meeting House. His wife, Fannie Bowman, died aged seventy-two years, three months, twenty-six days. Of their children the first two were twins, one of whom died in infancy, and the other, Lydia m. Jonathan Good; and John was the third child.

John Gehman, son of Samuel, was born near Adamstown, Lancaster county, Jan. 6, 1821, and he died Nov. 29, 1885, in his sixty-fifth year. He made his home in the vicinity of his birthplace until 1852, when he bought the old Simon Kohl farm in Cumru township. This property is now in the possession of his son, Peter B. John Gehman devoted his entire life to farming, and prospered greatly in his undertakings. He was honest and industrious, and was esteemed by all. In his religious faith he was a Mennonite. He married Lydia A. Bowman, who was born Nov. 10, 1821, daughter of John Bowman. She died March 25, 1895, in the seventy-fourth year of her age. Ten children were born to them, as follows: Joshua; born March 15, 1847, is unmarried, and lives with his brother; Abraham, a minister of the Mennonite Church, m. (first) Nancy Bowman, and (second) Elizabeth Leinbach; Miss Susan lives with her brothers; Fannie died in childhood; Peter B.; Jonathan, a minister at the old Wissler Mennonite Church, died in Michigan, where he had a large family; Hannah m. Noah Gehman, and lives in Lancaster county; Samuel B.; John, a mute, died aged nineteen years; and Lydia died in youth.

Peter B. Gehman, son of John, was born July 19, 1853. His education was obtained in the township schools, and he was early trained to the duties of the farm On this farm he has spent his entire life with the exception of about five years, four of which he worked on a farm in Lancaster county, and one for a relative in Canada. In 1879 he came into possession of the homestead, which consists of 120 acres including woodland. He pays especial attention to trucking, and attends the Reading market, having had stands Nos. 219-220 at the Bingaman street market house since 1879. He is very successful in his work, being thorough in all that he undertakes. In politics Mr. Gehman is strictly independent, and in 1892 he was elected a school director of Cumru township, serving in the office with credit three years, and being president of the board for one year. He and his family are members of the Mennonite congregation located in Brecknock township.

On Dec. 26, 1878, Peter B. Gehman married Susanna Longnecker, born Nov. 28, 1850, daughter of John and Nancy (Martin) Longnecker, of Lancaster county. They have become the parents of seven children, namely: Lydia A.; Maria; Emma and John, twins, of whom John died aged six months and eight days; David died in childhood; Peter was born Oct. 22, 1887: Samuel died in infancy.

Samuel B. Gehman, son of John and brother of Peter B., was born on his father's farm in Cumru township Sept. 7, 1860. He was reared upon the farm, and began for himself in the same line of work in 1887, on a farm be longing to his mother-in-law, Mrs. Mary Ann Good (widow of Jacob Good), and there he has continued to make his home. He is progressive in his methods, and as a truck farmer he has proved himself one of the very best. He raises all kinds of vegetables, fruits and berries, and attends the Reading market three times a week in the summer and twice in the winter, having stands Nos. 19-20 in the Crystal Palace market, and Nos. 114-115 at Kissinger's market. His farm of forty-seven acres has a rich, black sandy soil, well adapted for profitable trucking. He has a large hot house in which he raises his early vegetables. He and his family belong to the Mennonite Church, attending the Allegheny Meeting House.

In 1886 Samuel B. Gehman was married to Elizabeth Good, born June 1, 1867, daughter of Jacob B. and Mary Ann (Donehower) Good. Four children have blessed this marriage, namely: Edwin, born Aug. 6, 1888; Edith, born in 1904, died aged twenty days; Marie, born April 8, 1905; and. Samuel, born March 21, 1907.

Jacob B. Good, father of Mrs. Gehman, was born Sept. 10, 1817, and died May 19, 1879. aged sixty-one years, eight months, nine days. He was a son of Jacob Good, a native of Brecknock township, grandson of Jacob Good, Sr., and great-great-grandson of Christal Good, a native of Switzerland. Mrs. Mary Ann (Donehower) Good, mother of Mrs. Gehman, was born July 30, 1837, and is still living making her home with Mrs. Gehman, her only daughter.


p. 1039


The early home of the Gehman family was in the Palatinate on the Rhine. The early members of the family to come to America were Christian and Benedict Geeman, and a brother who located in Brecknock township, Lancaster county. They landed at Philadelphia Aug. 11, 1732, like many others seeking the land of civil and religious liberty. They were Mennonites in religious faith. One Christopher Geeman (also spelled Gehman) settled in Hereford township, Berks county, prior to 1737, and became the owner of 300 acres of land. This tract has since been divided into three farms, all owned by his descendants. In 1759 Christopher Gehman paid a federal tax of ten pounds in Hereford township. The Gehman who located in Brecknock township in a part now belonging to Berks county, was, without doubt, Christian Gehman, as his name appears in the tax list of 1759. It seems that the one who located in Hereford was Christopher, not Christian. The names are very near alike, and the same abbreviation is often used for both. The name Gehman is spelled on the records Geman, Geeman, Geyman, and in Bucks county it appears Gayman. (I) The pioneer who located in Hereford township had three Sons and several daughters. His eldest son, Abraham, bought a farm near Telford, Bucks county, occupied by the late Rev. Abel Horning.

(II) Rev. Johannes Gehman, second son of "Christ" of Hereford township, was a Mennonite minister. In 1767 he purchased a tract of land in Hereford, from Andrew Maurer, and this tract included the present farms of the Jacob Greiss estate, John B: Gehman estate and Sylvester Shuler (formerly Jacob Gehman) and eighty-six acres of Joel M. Gehman. Rev. Johannes Gehman married Anna Stauffer, of Colebrookdale township, and she died young. Both she and her husband are buried at the Mennonite Meeting House at Zionsville, Lehigh county. Their children were: David, of the Hosensack; Lydia. m. to Samuel Weinberger; Elizabeth, m. to Jacob Stauffer; Heinrich and Johannes.

(III) Heinrich Gehman, son of Rev. Johannes, was born in Hereford township, and he became a farmer, owning an eighty-six acre tract on which his father erected the present large barn in 1824. There is also a small stone house, which is very old. Mr. Gehman was a Mennonite, and is buried at the Meeting House in Upper Milford. He married Elizabeth Bechtel, and their children were: Lydia m. Isaac Oberholtzer; John B.; Susan m. (first) Joseph Kriebel, and (second) Lewis Taylor Snyder); Elizabeth m. Joseph Romig; Bevvy died small; and Cassie m. Abraham Musselman.

(IV) John B. Gehman, son of Heinrich, was born on his father's farm Dec. 18, 1829, and he died July 4. 1901, and is buried at Upper Milford Mennonite Meeting House, of which he was- a member. He was a farmer all of his life except for six years, which he spent in partnership with his cousin, Solomon Gehman, in conducting Kriebel's mill in Hereford. In 1861 he married Mary Oberholtzer, and they have had seven children: Alvin 0., of Coopersburg; Charles J, of Allentown: Henry A., born Nov. 18, 1868. a carpenter at Allentown (m. Rosa Wendling, and has children-John B., Anna M.. Arthur R., Bertha W., Willard F., Marie W., and Robert W.) ; Anna, who died in her second year; John 0., of Pennsburg; Katie (m. Francis Hoffman, of Reading); and Franklin B.

(V) FRANKLIN B. GEHMAN, son of John B., was born on the homestead whereon he now lives Nov. 20, 1878. He married Annie Mensch, of Hereford, and they have four children: Florence, Ada, Elsie and Ralph.

(III) Johannes Gehman, son of Rev. Johannes, was a lifelong farmer and distiller. He burned much applejack, which he hauled in barrels in big Conestoga wagons to Philadelphia, where he received twenty-five cents a gallon. The distillery on his farm was one of the first in this part of the State, and the old building, which is still standing, was erected long before the American Revolution. He built the barn that stands on the present Joel M. Gehman farm in 1806, and the house before 1800. He was a Mennonite, and is buried at Zionsville. He married Lydia Moyer, daughter of Conrad Moyer, and they had twelve children: Sarah, Joel M., Solomon, Lydia. Ambrose, William, David, Allen, Rebecca, Elmira, and Abraham and John, who both died young.

(IV) Joel M. Gehman, son of Johannes, was born Dec. 15, 1834. He lives on the old homestead, which came into his possession after his father's death in 1869. His whole life has been devoted to farming. He is a trustee of the Mennonite church at Zionsville, In 1867 he married Hannah Schantz, and they have four children: Theodore, Elenora, John and Mary.


p. 811


Rev. William Gehman, founder of the Mennonite Brethren in Christ, though now living near Vera Cruz, in Lehigh county, Pa.. is a native of Berks county, and has been such a factor in the strengthening of the spiritual life of so many of this county's people, to say nothing of his belonging to one of the oldest families, that this book would be incomplete without mention of him. The Rev. Mr. Gehman was born in Hereford township, Berks county, Jan. 22, 1827, son of George and Sarah (Schwartz) Gehman.

Three brothers named Gehman came from Switzerland during the time of religious persecution in the Old World, and on reaching Pennsylvania, one of them settled in Lancaster county, one in Bucks county, and one in Berks county. From the last named descended Jacob Gehman, grandfather of the Rev. William, who married a Lahr. He became the father of four children, two sons and two daughters, namely: George, Jacob, Mollie and Katherine.

George Gehman, son of Jacob, married Sarah Schwartz, and they became the parents of six children, five Sons and one daughter, as follows: Nathan, Samuel, George, Rev. William, Charles and Mary Anna, of whom George and Rev. William are the only survivors.

Rev. William Gehman received a common school education, and was brought up in the industrious habits that have characterized his long and useful life. At the age of eighteen he learned the trade of custom miller at the mill now owned and conducted by Newhard Brothers, near Vera Cruz, but after completing his apprenticeship he went to farming in the capacity of farm hand for two years. At the end of that time his marriage took place, and he moved to the farm that has since been his home. Though now well past four score years he is strong and vigorous, and still takes his place in the field in harvest time, putting to shame many a young man by his strength and energy.

The Rev. Mr. Gehman has taken an active part in advancing the cause of religion all his life. His early home training turned his thoughts toward his own soul's salvation, and he consecrated his life to the Master's cause. He began preaching in October, 1849, and still preaches in various Mennonite churches.

On June 17, 1848, the Rev. William Gehman was united in marriage with Anna Musselman, born in Lehigh county, only daughter of Jacob Musselman. Nine children came to bless this union, all of whom grew to maturity, married and had families. These were: Manno, Henry, Francis, Allen, William, Amanda, Sarah, Mary and Hannah. The mother's death in 1904 was the first break in this happy family, and since then Manno and Sarah have also entered into life eternal.


p. 1341


Benton Reiff Gehret, a well known resident of Reading, Pa., who is engaged in the paper hanging business at No. 1264 North Tenth street, was born Jan. 28, 1862, in Alsace township, Berks county, son of Israel and Malinda Reiff Gehret.

Israel Gehret, who was a wheelwright by trade, followed that occupation practically all of his life in Alsace township, where he died October 8th, 1900, at the age of seventy-six years. He married Malinda Reiff who bore him twelve children, nine of whom still survive: John, James, Daniel, Henry, Samuel, Benton R., Eli, Augustus, Ellen, who married William Hoffman. In religious belief the family are connected with the Reformed Church. Mr. Gehret was a stanch Democrat.

Benton R. Gehret was educated in the common schools of Alsace township, and until seventeen years of age worked on a farm near his home. He then came to Reading, securing employment in the old Reading Rail mill, and worked for the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company for Live years. He then learned the painter's trade with Henry Wertz, of Reading, an occupation which he followed from 1889 until 1904, in the latter year adding paper hanging to his business. Mr. Gehret has one of the best appointed places of business for this kind of work in the city, and he commands Reading's best trade. He also does graining, decorating, etc., and employs from nine to fifteen skilled workmen.

December 17, 1881, Mr. Gehret was married to Miss Ida Noll, daughter of Daniel and Catherine (Gift) Noll, representative Berks county people, and to this union there was born one child: Debbie, who died at the age of five years. They adopted two children, one of whom is dead. Mr. and Mrs. Gehret attend the Reformed Church. He is a member of the Knights of Malta, the P. 0. S. of A., Wyomissing Council, Royal Arcanum, and the Wyomissing Association, a beneficial Order. In politics he is a Democrat. Mr. Gehret is widely known throughout his section of the city, and his fairness in business matters has gained for him an enviable reputation for honesty and integrity. He is public-spirited in a high degree, and any movement, which has for its object the welfare of the city, finds in him a staunch supporter.


p. 1228


John Gehret, who was for many years engaged in business enterprises in Reading, Pa., and who since July, 1907, has been proprietor of the well known Center Square Hotel in Muhlenberg township, Berks county, was born Dec. 13, 1851, in Muhlenberg township, son of Israel and Malinda (Reiff) Gehret.

Israel Gehret was born in 1824 in Muhlenberg township, and received his education in the common schools, after leaving which he learned the carpenter's trade, an occupation which he followed for several years. He then entered the employ of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad, where for fifty-seven years he was a faithful and trusted employe, dying while in the service of that company in October, 1900. Israel Gehret married Malinda Reiff born in 1828, who died Sept. 25, 1904, having been the mother of twelve children, as follows: Henry (1), deceased; John; James; Daniel; Israel; Samuel; Henry (2); Benton; William, deceased; Eli; Augustus; and Ellen, m. to William Hoffman. In religious belief the family was Reformed. Mr. Gehret was a Democrat in politics, and was fraternally connected with the I. 0. 0. F. and the P. & R. Relief Association.

John Gehret was educated in the schools of Muhlenberg township and Reading, after leaving which he worked for some time at Printz & Sands' brick yard. At the age of nineteen years, up to which time he had been engaged in common laboring, he learned the butcher's trade, which he followed for thirty-seven years in Reading, and was very successful thereat. On July 10, 1907, he decided to enter the hotel field, and leased the Center Square Hotel, which he has since been conducting.

On April 3, 1880, Mr. Gehret was married to Annie C. Weber daughter of John and Annie E. (Mohning) Weber, the former of Hesse Darmstadt, Germany, and the latter of Wurtemberg, that country. To Mr. and Mrs. Gehret have been born these children: Anna E., who married Thomas Gresinger and has two children -- Helen and John; Louisa C.; John W.; Anna Marie; and Paul W., who is deceased.

Mr. Gehret owns a valuable property at No. 1260 North Tenth street, Reading. He is a member of the Reformed Church, and was confirmed at the age of twenty in the Alsace church by Rev. William Renley, while his wife and family are Lutherans, the former confirmed March 24, 1872, by Rev. J. J. Kuenidig. Fraternally he is connected with the K. G. E. and the American Protestants, while in politics he is a Democrat, and was auditor of Muhlenberg township for three years. He is a member of the Junior Fire Company, of Reading.


p. 1597


Joseph Linington Gehris, a leading citizen of Reading, PA., who is now serving in the position of school controller of the Tenth ward of the city, was born March 27, 1868, in Reading, son of James and Martha (Moyer) Gehris.

James Gehris (Garis), father of Joseph L., was born in 1826, in the Falkner Swamp, near Pottstown, Pa., and came to Reading prior to the Civil war. When a young man he learned the carpenter trade, and this occupation he followed the major portion of his life in Berks and Schuylkill counties, residing at Frackville from 1869 to 1892, and from the latter year until his death in November, 1895, in the First ward, Reading. While a resident of Frackville Mr. Gehris acted as foreman of bridge construction for the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad, was an excellent mechanic, and taught many carpenters the trade. At the outbreak of the Civil war Mr. Gehris went to the front in the defense of his country, enlisting as a private in Company F, First Pennsylvania Reserves. After the war Mr. Gehris took a great deal of interest in Grand Army affairs, being a member of Shenandoah Post until his death, and was also connected with the Union Veteran Legion.

Mr. Gehris was married to Martha Moyer, daughter of Michael and Catherine (Hartline) Moyer, the former a hotel keeper of Reading. To Mr. and Mrs. Gehris were born these children: Henry A., foreman of the Reading Brass Foundry, a department of the Reading Railway, married Katie Reifsnyder; John, a machinist in the employ of the Government at the Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Va., married Lizzie Humma, who is now deceased; James, a machinist of Reading; Joseph L.; George, who conducts a restaurant at Johnstown, Pa.; Elizabeth, who married Noah Rissmiller of Sacramento, Cal.; and Martha, who married E. Fred Davis, a merchant of Hampton, Va.

Joseph Linington Gehris was taken when one year old to Frackville, Schuylkill county, by his parents, and there he obtained his preliminary education, later attending the late Prof. D. B. Brunner's business college at Reading. After his school days were over he worked in the coal mines for two years, and at the age of seventeen years he learned the machinist's trade with the Philadelphia & Reading R. R. Co., serving a full apprenticeship with this company. In 1891 he entered the employ of the Diamond Drill & Machine Company, Birdsboro, where through industry and ability he has worked his way to the position of master mechanic. In politics Mr. Gehris is a Democrat, and in the spring of 1904 he was elected a school controller of the Tenth ward, being interested in educational matters, in the advancement of which he has been very active. Mr. Gehris is a thirty-second degree Mason, served as master of Lodge No. 62, of Reading, was later a charter member of Isaac Hiester Lodge No. 660, and is a presiding officer, a charter member of Reading Lodge of Perfection, of which he is orator, and a member of Bloomsburg Consistory and Rajah Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S., of which he is High Priest. He is also a member of Camp No. 611, P. O. S. of A., and has been a contributing member of the Ringgold Band for a number of years. Since the spring of 1905 Mr. Gehris and his family have lived at No. 1216 Spruce street.

On Dec. 10, 1891, Mr. Gehris was married to Elizabeth R. Hahn, born June 18, 1873, daughter of Ezra E. and Annie (Moyer) Hahn and granddaughter of Daniel M. Hahn, and to this union there have been born eight children, as follows: Annie E., born Dec. 18, 1892; Helen N., born Nov. 20, 1894, Florence J., born Sept. 27, 1896, died March 26, 1898; Joseph L., Jr., born April 20, 1898; Martha C., born Dec. 30, 1900; Thomas P., born July 24, 1903, died Sept. 27, 1903; John P., born Feb. 9, 1905; and Emma Jane, born March 9, 1907. Mr. Gehris and family are members of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Reading, Pa. He is a vestryman and treasurer at the present time.


p. 537


L. Howard Gehris, an enterprising and energetic young business man of Reading, Pa., was born in 1877, in Fleetwood, Berks county, son of Nathan Henry and Mary A. (Spang) Gehris, a full sketch of whom will be found elsewhere.

Mr. Gehris attended the common schools of his native borough, and on coming to Reading, entered the Carroll Institute, after leaving which he went to New York City. Here he entered the law office of Alexander Thain, with whom he remained three years, later taking a course at the New York University Night School. On completing his studies, Mr. Gehris secured a position as traveling representative for the New York house of The Purdue, Frederick & Co., having his headquarters at Boston, and covering the Eastern States. Later, he engaged with another large New York house, traveling throughout the Middle Atlantic States, after which he engaged with the well-known Mellin's Food Co., being, representative.

At the end of this time Mr. Gehris embarked in the stove business on Fulton street, New York, continuing there until his return to Reading, when he engaged with A. B. Sausser in the stove and tinning business, at No. 326 North Sixth street, under the firm name of A. B. Sausser & Co., which partnership continued from August 1, 1901, until March 30, 1906. After the later date Mr. Gehris was in business on his own account until April 15, 1907, when the Gehris-Herbine Company at Nos. 45-47 Reed street was incorporated for the manufacture of fancy hosiery, of which company Mr. Gehris is secretary and treasurer. He resides at No. 216 North Sixth street, Reading.

Mr. Gehris married Edith V. R. Leinbach, daughter of the late Joseph A. Leinbach, senior member of the well-known firm of Leinbach & Bros., clothiers of Reading. Mr. and Mrs. Gehris have two daughters, Madeline Louise and Mary Alice. In politics Mr. Gehris is a member of the Republican party. At the present time, he is representing his ward in the lower branch of councils. His religious faith makes him a member of St. Paul's Memorial Reformed Church. Mr. Gehris' rise in the business world has been very rapid. He is honest and reliable and has the gift of business ability that has made his success assured. He and his wife are greatly esteemed in their community.


p. 1142


Mahlon E. Gehris, an enterprising young business man of Muhlenberg township, Berks county, who is engaged in butchering and the manufacture of smoked meats and sausages, was born in Muhlenberg township, Oct. 4, 1878, son of Mahlon and Emma (Yerger) Gehris.

Mahlon Gehris, Sr., who is also a native of Muhlenberg township, is a laborer and is employed at the Carpenter Steel Co., Inc. He is a Democrat in politics, and is fraternally connected with the P. 0. S. of A. His religious belief is that of the Reformed Church. Mr. Gehris married (first), Emma Yerger, by whom he had seven children: John m. Katie Hill: Charles m. Jennie Yoder; William m. Ellen Lando; Mahlon E.; Edwin: Lizzie m. Irvin Hinnershitz; and George. He m. (second) Laura Nixon, and one child, Lillie (m. to Morris Kline), was born to this union.

Mahlon E. Gehris was educated in the schools of Muhlenberg township, and until twenty-three years of age worked on a farm, He then learned the butchering business with Rothermel & Mercinger, with whom he remained three years, and in 1904 he purchased the H. F. Kramer stand, where he has since successfully continued to the present time, manufacturing bologna, summer and fresh sausages, hams, etc. He kills on an average four steers, eight hogs and nine calves per week. Since engaging in the business he has attended the Tenth and Windsor market, occupying stalls Nos. 144 and 145.

In 1903 Mr. Gehris was married to Mary Weber, daughter of Henry Weber, and two children, Clarence N. and Harry Mahlon have been born to this union. Mr. Gehris is fraternally connected with the K. G. E. and in political matters is a Democrat. He and Mrs. Gehris attend the Reformed Church.


p. 1541


Dr. Oscar Thompson Gehris, a prominent medical practitioner of Fleetwood, Pa., was born Aug. 24, 1870, near Lyons, in Richmond township, Berks county, son of N. Henry and Mary (Spang) Gehris who live retired in Fleetwood.

Peter Gehris, the grandfather of the Doctor, son of Peter and Polly (Imboden) Gehris, of Hereford township, was a resident of that section himself, and lived to be nearly ninety years of age, dying a member of the Huff's Reformed Church. His remains were interred in the burial ground adjoining the church. He Married Mary Herb, the widow of William Thompson, and to this marriage were born: N. Henry; Peter H., a dentist of Reading; and Daniel H., who lived on the old homestead near Lyons.

N. Henry Gehris was born Nov. 8, 1832, and was a farmer for many years. He then became a salesman for Schaeffer, Merkel & Company, implement dealers of Fleetwood, and he remained in the employ of this firm until it went out of business, when he retired from active work. Politically Mr. Gehris is a Republican. He was married June 9, 1856, to Mary Spang, and these children were born to them: Lou A.; Peter S., a druggist of Brooklyn, N. Y.; Mary m. John Haas, of Lancaster, Pa.; Annie J., who taught school for seven terms and now holds the position of assistant postmaster of Fleetwood; Dr. Oscar T,; and Lewis H., of Reading. Mr. and Mrs. N. Henry Gehris celebrated their Golden Wedding in June, 1906, at which all their children attended. The family are members of the United Evangelical Church.

When Dr. Oscar T. Gehris was two years old his parents removed to Fleetwood, and there his boyhood days were spent. His last teacher in the schools was Professor William M. Zechman, the well known ex-county superintendent of Berks county. In the spring of 1885 Mr. Gehris began attending the Keystone State Normal School at Kutztown, and prepared for college, entering Williams College at Williamstown, Mass., in the fall of 1887, taking the full course of study, and graduating "with praise" and with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1892. He located in Brooklyn, L. I., and accepted a position as bookkeeper with Cushman Brothers, New York, who were manufacturers' agents. In the fall of 1893 he entered the medical department of the University of the City of New York, where he studied for one year. During the summer of 1894 he worked for a drug house, afterward doing detail work among physicians and traveling until the fall of 1896. During this time he traveled throughout the New England States, New York and New Jersey. He then entered the second class of medical department of Tufts University, of Boston, Mass., and graduated from that institution in 1898. Owing to poor health, however, he did not begin practice until 1902, when he chose the town of Fleetwood as his field of practice, and there he has continued to the present time. He is a successful young man, is very popular, and is an exemplary citizen. He is an adherent of the principles of the Republican party. Recently he was appointed by State Commission of Health Dixon as registrar of Vital Statistics for the borough of Fleetwood, and Maiden-creek and Ruscombmanor townships.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:54:11 EDT

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