Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 392


William Morris Griscom, president of the Reading Hardware Company, one of the leading business enterprises of its kind in the country, of which he was the principal organizer in 1851, is now residing at Bryn Mawr, near Philadelphia, in comfortable retirement from active pursuits. He was born Oct. 14, 1823, at Oxford, Chester Co., Pa., son of Samuel and Ann (Powell) Griscom.

Andrew Griscom, the great-great-great-grandfather of William M., emigrated to the New World from England in 1680, and settled at Philadelphia, residing on Second street, opposite the home of William Penn. He built the first brick house at Philadelphia, served as one of the city's first grand jurors, and died in 1694. He married Sarah Dale, and by her had four children: Samuel, David, Tobias and Sarah.

Tobias Griscom, son of Andrew, was a farmer, and settled between Philadelphia, Pa., and Gloucester, N. J. He married Deborah Gabitas, and they had five children, namely: William, Tobias, Mary, Andrew and Samuel.

Of this family, Andrew Griscom, born in 1711, died in 1773, was the great-grandfather of William M. He married (first) Susanna Hancock, by whom he had three children: Sarah, Everett and William; and after her death married (second) Mary Bacon, by whom he also had three children: Mary, Andrew and Deborah.

William Griscom, the grandfather of William M., a farmer of Mannington, Salem Co., N. J., was born in 1747 and died in 1813. He married Rachel Denn, born in 1745, who died in 1808, and they had a family of seven children: John, William, Samuel (died in infancy), Everett, Rachel, Samuel (2) and David.

Samuel Griscom, the father of William M., was connected for upward of twenty-three years with the Schuylkill canal management. He was born at Salem, N. J., in 1787, and was reared on a farm. Upon reaching manhood he determined to become a builder, and in this behalf learned the trade of brickmason. Developing an aptitude for building operations, he located at Philadelphia, where he was engaged in erecting dwelling-houses for ten years. While so engaged he came to know some of the directors of the Schuylkill Navigation Company, and they, appreciating his abilities and success as a builder, employed him to fill the position of civil engineer and manager of the canal, to look after the construction department. Immediately after his appointment to this position, in 1826, he fixed his residence at Reading, which was the central point of the canal between Pottsville and Philadelphia. In the performance of his duties, he distinguished himself by the construction of dams, locks and viaducts, and the maintenance of the artificial channel; which is evidenced by his retention for twenty-three years.

While filling this important position he discovered a bed of cement rock along the eastern bank of the Schuylkill near the Shepp Dam, three miles above Reading, and, building the necessary oven, manufactured large quantities of superior cement, which was profitably used in construction work along the canal. He also developed a large business for the company in the transportation of lime for agricultural purposes, thereby becoming the first person in this section of the country to manufacture and supply lime as a fertilizer. In 1844 it became necessary for him to locate at Pottsville in the management of the canal, and he continued in the employ of the company until 1848, when he resigned to superintend boating interests on the canal. This position he held until his death, in 1849, when, in the report of the company, his efficiency was recognized.

Mr. Griscom married Ann Powell, daughter of Jeremiah Powell, a farmer of Salem county, N. J., and there were twelve children born to this union: Rachel D., David P., Sarah P., Powell, Elizabeth, Samuel Everett, Edwin Atlee, Chalkley, William M., Horace, Anna and Emeline. The mother died in 1860, aged seventy-two years, at Reading, to which place she had removed after Mr. Griscom's decease.

William M. Griscom was three years old when his parents removed to Reading, and there he pursued his preparatory education until he was twelve years old, when he entered the Clermont Academy, situated in the vicinity of Frankford, near Philadelphia; he remained in that institution for two years. Being inclined to mechanics, his father secured an apprenticeship for him in the famous "Norris" Locomotive Works" at Philadelphia, where 125 apprentices were at that time learning the trade of machinist, but after he had been there less then two years the prevailing panic throughout the State caused the works to suspend operations, and he was obliged to return home.

Mr. Griscom then entered the hardware store of Keim & Miller, at the southeast corner of Third and Penn streets, Reading, as a clerk, and by so doing started a career in the hardware business which has been continued very successfully until the present time, covering altogether a period of seventy years. He served in this store for about three years, but wishing to fill a similar place with better prospects for advancement he went to Philadelphia, and there obtained employment in the large and prosperous hardware store of R. & W. C. Biddle. In three years he succeeded in developing such a large and profitable trade in the Schuylkill Valley and the territory beyond the Broad Mountains, through the assistance and influence of his father, that he was invited to become a member of the firm. Appreciating this honor, he secured an interest in the business and continued as a member of the firm for five years. An opportunity was then presented for him to engage in the manufacture of charcoal iron in Centre county, and withdrawing from the firm he directed all his efforts to the successful operation of the furnace for the next three years. The plant was called the Howard Iron Works. While operating this plant, Mr. Griscom became interested with his brothers-in-law, William and Matthan Harbster, whose sister Ellen he had married, in establishing a foundry at Reading for the manufacture of all kinds of building hardware and he advancing the necessary capital they together put up a small plant and then started an enterprise which was the foundation of the Reading Hardware Works. This was in 1851. In a short time the prospects for a large and profitable business became so encouraging that he disposed of his interest in the iron works mentioned and devoted all of his time to the development of the hardware business. His extended acquaintance and large experience in the hardware trade, which he had acquired by his connection with the Biddle firm, gave him unusual advantages in building up the trade and influence of the new enterprise, and thereby he was enabled to supply orders from different sections of the country, which kept the plant busy and required constant enlargements year after year, until in a quarter century the enterprise so modestly begun was on of the largest and most prosperous industries in Pennsylvania.

In 1878 Mr. Griscom went to Europe in behalf of the works, and he there succeeded in gradually developing a very large trade. A special exhibit of their articles was made at the Paris Exposition of 1878, which proved highly creditable and beneficial, and for which they received a bronze medal. In the countries of Europe, as well as in the United States, they came to supply the building hardware for the finest and largest structures, thereby showing that their plant at Reading was recognized as the equal, if not the superior, of any similar plant. While abroad, Mr. Griscom returned annually to Reading to make necessary arrangements for filling his orders, and in so doing he traveled across the Atlantic ocean about fifty times. Finally, in 1904, on account of his age, he was obliged to discontinue his residence abroad, and returned to Pennsylvania he purchased a property at Bryn Mawr, near Philadelphia, which he improved according to his ideas of a home for himself and family, and he is now enjoying its well-deserved comforts. In the reorganization of the hardware works, in the spring of 1907, he was elected president of the corporation.

On May 23, 1847, Mr. Griscom married Ellen Harbster, who was born at Hamburg, Pa., July 5, 1828, daughter of Henry Harbster, of Hamburg, and died April 22, 1864. To this union there was born one daughter, Annie. On May 10, 1882, Mr. Griscom was married at Zurich, Switzerland, by U. S. (vice) Consul John Syz, to Annie Lydia Miller, who was born at Hamburg, Pa., Aug. 9, 1859, daughter of Girard Miller, also of Hamburg, and by her he had four sons and two daughters, as follows: Andrew, William M., Jr., Frederick G., Edgar DeWare, Ethel L. and Grace Millicent, all of whom were born in Germany, which Mr. Griscom was living at Berlin.

Rachel Denn Griscom (sister of William M., and daughter of Samuel Griscom) was the founder of the "Widows' Home" at Reading, and one of the noblest characters in Berks county, having been known for her humane and charitable spirit in the community for seventy-five years--a period extending from the dawn of her womanhood until she went to her eternal rest at the age of ninety-two; and the board of managers, with which she had been intimately associated for twenty-five years, truly said of her at the end of her remarkable career: "Her life is a noble example of womanly power through the life of the highest feminine virtues."

Miss Griscom was born at Salem, N. J., Nov. 5, 1808. While she was an infant, not a year old, her parents removed to Philadelphia, and there she was brought up and educated under the superior influence of the Society of Friends until she became seventeen years of age. With a natural inclination to carry on the vocation of a teacher, she secured a school at Hancock Bridge, N. J., near her birthplace, for her initiatory experience, and after teaching there for a season was employed to teach in the "Friends' School," at Philadelphia, in 1826, but she was there only a few months when her parents removed to Reading and she went with them.

There was a large settlement of Friends in Maidencreek township, eight miles north of Reading, and learning of Miss Griscom's success as a teacher, they employed her to carry on their school. She continued teaching this school until the common school system was accepted by Reading in 1835l, and then she started as a teacher in the public school there; and from that time for about twenty-five years she was engaged at teaching either in the public schools, or in private female seminaries, or on her own account. Soon after beginning at Reading, in 1837, she reported a school attendance of 116 pupils, fifty-eight in the first class, twenty-sic in the second and thirty-two in the third. Her salary was then only thirteen dollars a month. The last school which she taught was in the Exeter meeting house in 1860.

Miss Griscom will be principally remembered, however, as one of the organizers of the "Home for Widows and Single Women of Reading," indeed as the very first person to suggest the propriety and necessity of establishing a charitable institution of this kind at Reading. She and a number of other Christian ladies assembled repeatedly in the law offices of the author of this history, at No. 546 Court street, during the year 1875, and formulated the plans which culminated in the incorporated body in January, 1876. The petitioners signed the application for a charter in this office. As the secretary, she was most active and zealous, always hopeful and determined and her great perseverance was eventually rewarded by the recognition of the community and the establishment of the "Home." Her indomitable spirit in the noble cause kept her at the head of all the movements of the society until her physical strength became too weak to permit her to continue any longer active in its management and so, in 1891, at the age of eighty-three years, after a continuous service of fifteen years as the secretary, she declined a re-election. Upon the announcement of her purpose, the board of managers passed the following highly appropriate and laudatory resolution, Jan. 15, 1891: "No mere words of sorrow or resolutions of regret can convey an idea of the loss the Board of Managers sustained in the resignation of Miss Griscom as secretary. From her labors of philanthropy this charity had its origin; to her praiseworthy industry much of its systematic arrangement is due; to her influence among the people, who accepted what she approved, much of its success is due. Her faith in the benevolence of her neighbors often enabled this Board to undertake work that at first sight seemed impossible. May her example of untiring industry and Christian philanthropy have a lasting influence on the members of this Board."

The retiring secretary addressed this reply to the Board, Feb. 12, 1891: "Accept my heartfelt thanks for your kind resolution in regard to my past services as secretary. Those services were made and well repaid by your unvarying consideration, indulgence, aid and cheerful, helpful gifts. We have journeyed together in harmony and prospered. May the future bring to you, to the Association and to my successor the same progress, prosperity and grateful consciousness of Divine aid and appreciation."

During Miss Griscom's declining years, the author of this history called to see her a number of times socially at her home, No. 227 South Fourth street, and to him her noble spirit was always inexpressibly beautiful and inspiring. She died at Reading Jan. 8, 1901, at the age of ninety-two years, two months, three days, and all who had come to know here and to appreciate her worth to the community mourned her departure. The managers of the Widows' Home felt their loss particularly, and on the 10th of January following passed an appropriate resolution of regret.


p. 1340


Frederick W. E. Grohman, who is engaged in pattern-making at No. 1053 Mulberry street, Reading, is conducting an independent business in his line, and has met with much success. Mr. Grohman was born in 1872, in Brandenburg, Prussia, German Empire, son of William and Bertha (Wonneberger) Grohman, the latter a sister of the noted Professor Wonneberger.

In his native country, Mr. Grohman served in a military school from the age of eight until fourteen years old, and learned the pattern and cabinet making business, which he followed at the Scott works, Reading, after coming to America in 1890. Later he became connected with the Penn Hardware Co., and spent three years at brass pattern making with the Berks foundry. He then took a complete mechanical course in the correspondence school of Scranton, Pa., and went to Lancaster county, where he was employed as pattern maker and foreman of a machine shop. From Lancaster

county Mr. Grohman went to Philadelphia, working for the Pen Coyd Iron Company for two years, and in 1900 returned to Reading, entering the employ of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad. In 1907 Mr. Grohman resigned his position and opened an independent shop, which he has equipped with all modern machinery, and here he is carrying on a large and lucrative business. He is a first-class mechanic, and makes a specialty of designing artistic furniture, both mission and modern. While living in Lancaster county, in 1897, Mr. Grohman received his naturalization papers, and since that time he has been allied with the Republican party. He and his wife attend the Lutheran Church. Fraternally Mr. Grohman is connected with the K. G. E., the Foresters, Manchester Unity, I. O. O. F., the Twentieth Century Quakers and the I. O. R. M.

In 1895 Mr. Grohman was united in marriage with Miss Emma Huntzinger, a cousin of Rev. F. K. Huntzinger, and to this union there were born four children: William, George, and two who died in infancy.


p. 645


Israel Groman, a resident of Reading, was born in Bern township, Berks county, Nov. 8, 1838. The family, which is of German descent, has lived in that county for several generations.

George Groman, grandfather of Israel, was a farmer in Bucks county, and his son Charles, father of Israel, worked as a stone mason all his life, both quarrying the stone and doing contract work. He and his wife, Elizabeth (Kissinger) Groman, had three children, viz.: Fietta, m. to Soloman Kissinger; Israel; and Catherine, m. to John Lasch. The family were Lutherans in religious faith.

Israel Groman went to school till he was about sixteen, acquiring as good an education as the township schools offered, and then for three years drove mules along the canal route. For his permanent occupation he decided on carpentry and learned that trade, but before he was fairly established in business, the war broke out and in 1861 he enlisted in Company H, 88th Pa. V. I., and served for three years. During that time he participated in twenty-one engagements and was wounded in the battle of Gettysburg, the others being Cedar Mountain, Rappahannock Station, Thoroughfare Gap, Second Bull Run, Chantilly, South Mountain, Antietam, Mine Run, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness (two days), Cold Harbor, North Anna River, South Anna Forks, front of Petersburg, Weldon Railroad, charge on Fort Hill, Explosion of Rebel Fort, Five Forks, and cavalry charge prior to Five Forks. After his discharge, he returned to his native county, located at Reading and secured a place as carpenter for the Schuylkill Navigation Company. He left that company to work for the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company, and after some time with that corporation he took up house carpentering. In 1904 a position with the Reading Iron Company was offered him and he has since been with them.

In 1865, Mr. Groman married Barbara, daughter of William Douglass. There is a stepson, the child of Mrs. Groman's former husband, William Thompson. Mr. Groman has adhered to the faith in which he was brought up and is a member of the Lutheran Church. His political views are those of the Democratic party. He is an enthusiastic advocate of lodge work and is connected with a number of fraternal bodies, including F. & A. M. Lodge No. 62; Reading Commandery No. 42; Excelsior Chapter No. 237; the P. O. S. of A.; and the I. O. O. F., while he also belongs to the Carpenters' Union and for many years maintained his connection with the G. A. R. The family resides at No. 34 Schuylkill avenue.


p. 1313


David Gross died in Reading May 14, 1891. For many years he was xtensively engaged in the lumber business.

Mr. Gross, who was a native of Berks county, was educated in the schools of his native locality, and in early life learned the trade of carpenter, which he followed for many years, some of the structures erected by him still standing in Reading and the vicinity. Later he accepted a position at the shops of the Philadelphia & Reading company, and it was while in this company's employ that he received an injury which caused his retirement from active work, although later he engaged in the lumber business. He was an upright citizen, and had many friends. He was a Republican in politics, but later became independent, choosing the right to vote for the man he thought best suited to the office.

Mr. Gross married Christiana Rolland, daughter of George and Catherine (Arnold) Rolland. She died July 15, 1909, aged eighty-three years, six months and twenty days. She is buried in Aulenbach cemetery. To them were born these children: Rosie E., Albert, Emma, William, James, Clara, Kate, David L., and Harry.


p. 868


David G. Gross, an enterprising business man of Monocacy, Berks county, who is engaged in business as a dealer in lumber, coal, agricultural implements, farm supplies and vehicles, was born Sept. 12, 1862, in Exeter township, Berks county, son of Alfred and Sophia Henrietta (Guldin) Gross.

John Gross, grandfather of David G., was born Feb. 19, 1801. He became a farmer in Earl township, and he died Oct. 15, 1836. He married Catharine Clouser, daughter of David Clouser, and among their children was a son, Alfred.

Alfred Gross, son of John, was born in Earl township, Aug. 8, 1827, and died Feb. 24, 1896, and is buried at Amityville. He was a blacksmith in early life, and later a farmer and cattle dealer in Exeter township, where he owned 104 acres of land. In 1885 he built thereon a substantial barn 45 x 90 feet. He married Sophia Henrietta Guldin, born in Amity Feb. 24, 1828, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth (Yeager) Guldin. She died Oct. 2, 1893. They had nine children, as follows: John Alfred; Samuel; James; Elizabeth; Isaac; David G.; Charles G., born Aug. 10, 1864; Simon Peter, who lives in Reading; and Guldin, a resident of Earl township.

David G. Gross attended the public schools of his native township, and later the Reading Scientific Academy, taught by Prof. D. B. Brunner, and the Eastman Business College, Poughkeepsie, N. Y., from which institution he graduated. For a year and a half after leaving school, he traveled east of Reading and throughout the state of New Jersey, for a Zanesville, Ohio, queensware firm, and then assisted his father on the farm for a time. In 1886 he went to Monocacy, and engaged in the coal business, succeeding Samuel Shirey, and in 1888 he added farm implements and vehicles of all kinds, and in 1892, lumber. He has a steady business, employing three assistants all the year, and extra help during the busy seasons. In 1903 he built a two-story warehouse, 40 x 80 feet.

On March 10, 1887, Mr. Gross was married to Miss Mary A. Bertolette (born in Jan. 1859, who died May 30, 1900), daughter of Jeremiah Bertolette. She is buried at Oley Church. Four children were born to this union, of whom Miss Anna B., born in 1896, is the only survivor. The others Helen and the twins, died in infancy. Mr. Gross was married (second), in August, 1905, to Lenora K. Wise, nee Kauffman, of Leesport.

In politics, Mr. Gross is a stanch Republican, and he has held the office of supervisor. He is a member of the Lutheran Church, and for the past ten years has been president of the vestry. He lives in Monocacy, just across the Schuylkill river from his place of business, and his home is an elegant one, well cared for, and showing indications of energy and thrift. Mr. Gross is highly respected in this community, and is a popular member of Union Lodge, No. 479, F. &. A. M., of Birdsboro; Reading Chapter, No. 152, R. A. M.; De Molay Commandery, No. 9, K. T.; Philadelphia Lodge of Perfection; and Philadelphia Consistory.


p. 1072 Surnames: GRUBE, WANNER, MARTIN, CLARK

John Grube, who has for eleven years been engaged in the milling business at Hartz's Mills, near Morgantown, Pa., was born in Caernarvon township, Lancaster county, in 1867, son of Elias and Anna (Wanner) Grube.

Elias Grube was born at New Holland, Lancaster county, in 1842, and died in 1877. He married Anna Wanner, born in Salisbury township, Lancaster county, in 1835, who now lives in Salisbury township. To this union there were born four children: Elam, born in 1864, lives with his mother; John; Amos, born in 1870, lives near Christiana, Chester county; and Clara, born in 1873, married Frank Martin, of Lancaster county.

John Grube obtained a good common school education, and at the age of sixteen years learned the milling trade at Grube's Mill, whence he went to Morgantown, being employed at Hartz's Mills for two years. The next eight years were spent at Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, but subsequently he returned to Hartz's Mills, where he has continued ever since. Mr. Grube is a staunch supporter of the principles of the Republican party, and for some years he has been a township supervisor. He attends the Methodist church at Morgantown, of which he is a trustee and steward.

On March 14, 1896, Mr. Grube married Miss Emma Clark, daughter of John Clark, of Caernarvon township, Lancaster county. One child, Ethel, was born to this union in 1899.


p. 863


Adam R. Gruber, who met an accidental death Nov. 25, 1903, will be well remembered by a large circle of friends as one of the good citizens and enterprising business men of Mt. Pleasant, Pa. He was born Feb. 29, 1864, in Penn township, Berks county, son of Franklin H. and Matilda (Himmelberger) Gruber.

Franklin H. Gruber was born Sept. 14, 1835, near Robesonia, Pa., where he spent his early life. When a young man he was apprenticed to his cousin, John Henry, to learn the millwright's trade, and after his married in 1858, he located at Mt. Pleasant and established himself in business. After the Civil war he engaged in farming, but later returned to his old business, and conducted two large shops on his farm about one mile south of Mr. Pleasant until 1883, in which year he bought the William Penn Hotel property and the Eyrich Estate at the foot of the hill at Mt. Pleasant, and there established a large wheelwright shop, where he build up a fine business. He died July 3, 1898, and is buried at Bern Church, of which he was a member. Mr. Gruber married Matilda, daughter of John Himmelberger, and they had the following children: Amelia M., born Sept. 20, 1859, died Dec. 8, 1859; John W., born Oct. 4, 1860, m. Clara A. Staudt; James, born May 30. 1862, is deceased; Adam R.; Jacob H., born July 14, 1865, m. Annie Bright; Katie A., born Sept. 18, 1866, died March 22, 1871; George P., born Dec. 1, 1867, m. Kate Schrack; and Rev. Levi Franklin m. Amelia L. Hahn, of Rochester, N.Y. John W., Jacob H. and George P. Gruber are continuing the business founded by their father.

Adam R. Gruber learned the wagon manufacturing business with his father, and at the time of his death had charge of the paint shop department of the works. While on a return trip from Reading, while passing Blue Marsh, the horse which he was driving ran away, and he was killed. His death was a severe shock to the community where he had numerous friends and acquaintances. Mr. Gruber was buried at Bern Church, of which he was a consistent member. Fraternally he was connected with the K. G. E.

In 1884 Mr. Gruber was married to Rosa I. Hiester, who is now conducting a fine twenty-four-acre farm in Penn township near Mt. Pleasant. They had two children: Lizzie m. Calvin Lando, who now conducts his mother-in-law1s farm, and has one daughter, Erma H.; and Katie H. m. Elias H. Phillips, of Reading, and has one son, Elias H.


p. 1462


Alandon J. Gruber, of North Heidelberg township, was born Feb 18, 1854, in that township, son of Israel S. and Rebecca (Ernst) Gruber.

Henry Gruber was one of the early settlers of Heidelberg township, and is very likely the Heinrich Gruber who came to this country from Germany on the ship "Dragon," and landed at Philadelphia, Sept. 10, 1761. His will was admitted for probate June 17, 1777. His wife's given name was Maria Eva Rosina, but the name of her parentage is not known. Mr. Gruber was a Lutheran, and for many years was a member of the Little Tulpehocken Church, but in about 1750, when the St. Daniel's (Corner) Church was founded he became a member of it. About fifty of his descendants rest in the burial ground of that church. He owned about 300 acres of land, which has since been divided, the original tract, however, remaining in the Gruber name to this day. The first warrant was dated June 17, 1737. Mr. Gruber had these children: John Adam; Elizabeth, born Feb. 6, 1737; Maria Eva Rosina, Dec. 3, 1738; Christian, Feb. 18, 1740; Henry, Aug. 19, 1747; Christopher and Elizabeth, twins, Oct. 10, 1749.

John Adam Gruber, the great-great-grandfather of Alandon J., was born in 1735 and died in 1807, on the homestead, where he spent all of his life.

He married (first) Elizabeth Shower, and (second) Sarah, whose family name is not known, and all three are buried at St. Daniel's Church. Eight sons and four daughters were born to the first marriage, of whom two sons died in childhood, the ten remaining being: Maria Elizabeth, born in 1762; John George, 1764, deceased 1841; Maria Christina, 1766-1825; John; John Jacob, 1771-1849; Henry, 1773; John Peter, 1775-1828; Catherine; Anna Maria; and Philip, who moved from Berks county between 1814 and 1820.

John Gruber, the great-grandfather of Alandon J., was born in 1769, and died in 1840. He owned the homestead from 1807 until his death, and at times other farms, bur for twenty-seven years lived on Governor Joseph Hiester's farm near the "Blue Marsh," in Bern township. He married Anna Maria Lash, who is buried at Hain's Church, and they had six children: John, George, Daniel, Maria Barbara, Michael and William.

Daniel Gruber, grandfather of Alandon J., was born in 1795, and died in 1867, on the homestead, which he owned and cultivated from 1841 until his death. He was married (first) to Christina, daughter of Michael Seidel, and (second) to Sarah Fidler, all of whom are buried at St. Daniel's (Corner) Church. Daniel Gruber had six children: Catherine, Israel S., Matilda, Elizabeth, Mary and Rebecca.

Israel S. Gruber was born July 9, 1827, on the old Gruber homestead, and was reared to agricultural pursuits, becoming later the owner of the property, which he farmed all of his life with the exception of two years when he lived in Marion township on the Major Seibert farm. His property consisted of 139 acres, and thereon he built in 1844 a substantial house, the barn not being erected until 1884. He was a prominent Democrat of his section, and held many offices, being a school director of the township for fifteen years and a supervisor for some time. He was well-known throughout this section of the county, and was respected and esteemed by all who knew him. Mr. Gruber was a deacon, elder and member of the cemetery board of St. Daniel's (Corner) Church, in the faith of which Church he died Aug. 2, 1907. During the Civil was Israel S. Gruber served as a soldier in the Union army. He was a member of the Robesonia Grange.

On Jan. 12, 1853, Mr. Gruber was married to Rebecca Ernst, born Aug. 5, 1833, daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth (Wenrich) Ernst, and granddaughter of Johannes and Catherine (Boyer) Ernst, of Heidelberg township. To this union the following children were born: Alandon J.; Levi E., born Nov. 16, 1855, m. Vilanda Horn, lives near Wernersville, and has two children,--Charles and Robert; Joseph S., born Aug. 26, 1857, m. Amanda Potts, and lives in North Heidelberg township; Ebilia Sarah E., born Jan. 22, 1859, m. Isaac Horn, a farmer of Heidelberg township, and has two children,--Willie C. and Annie A.; Pierce M., born May 16, 1860, m. Mary Werner, a sister of Emma, who is the wife of Alandon J., and they live on the Ernst homestead in North Heidelberg township; Calvin J., born Nov. 17, 1861, m. Lillie Himmelberger, lives near Sinking Spring, and has two children,--Charles I. and Mabel; Arabella R., born May 9, 1864, m. Daniel Schneider, of Jefferson township, and has one son,--Clarence; Daniel H., born March 24, 1867, m. Ella Potteiger, lives in Centre township, and has two children,--Herbert W. and Esther; Lillia M., born April 24, 1869, m. Charles Speicher, lives at North Kill, and they have four children,--Calvin, Harry, Jennie and Florence; and Milton R., born Feb. 17, 1876, m. Annie Blatt, is farming in North Heidelberg township, and has these children, Laura, Alberta, Peter, Harry and Maggie.

Alandon J. Gruber obtained his education in the common schools of North Heidelberg and Marion townships, and until he reached the age of twenty-seven years worked for his parents. He was then married, and worked as a laborer for thirteen years, but in the spring of 1894 commenced farming on his own account on a tract of 102 acres, which he had purchased the year previous, the William Werner farm. Here has since resided, being engaged in general farming. His operations have proved successful, and he is now ranked among the substantial men of his community. He is a Democrat in politics, and has held several precinct offices. He and his family are members of St. Daniel's Lutheran (Corner) Church, of which he was a deacon for two years, elder since January, 1903, and since 1905 a member of the cemetery board.

On Nov. 13, 1880, Mr. Gruber was married to Emma C. Werner, born Jan. 19, 1861, daughter of William and Catherine (Miller) Werner, and granddaughter of William and Elizabeth (Lamm) Werner, of North Heidelberg township. Her maternal grandfather was Matthias Miller. One daughter has been born to Mr. and Mrs. Gruber: Ellenora Rebecca, who married John Brown, of Robesonia, and has one daughter,--Laura Emma.


p. 1000


Michael Alvin Gruber (son of Richard Michael, of Michael, of John, of John Adam, of Henry), the author of this article, was born April 24, 1855, in North Heidelberg township, on the farm where his mother and mother's father were born and raised. He grew up on his father's farm and assisted in performing the varied labors and duties connected therewith, among which were certain kinds of work once quite common but now almost extinct as farm labor in Berks county, viz., breaking flax, threshing rye with the flail, making thatches and thatching roofs. His education, up to the age of fifteen years, was under the direct and careful supervision of his father, and for five years thereafter he attended the Womelsdorf Academy, taught by that proficient teacher and mathematician, Prof.. John S. Krumbine, where he prepared for college. In the fall of 1875 he entered the junior class of Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pa., from which institution he graduated in June, 1877, at the head of his class, and three years later received the degree of Master of Arts.

He chose teaching as his profession, which he followed for fourteen years (1877-1891), during eight of which he was principal of the high school at Bernville, Pa., where, in addition to thorough instruction in the branches of the regular school course, he prepared young men and women for teaching and for admission to higher institutions of learning. His pupils are found in the various occupations and professions of life and are numbered among the graduates of Princeton, Muhlenberg, Franklin and Marshall, and Pennsylvania Colleges and of the Normal Schools at Kutztown and West Chester. During the school term of 1890-91, forty of his pupils were teachers in Berks county.

In March, 1891, he passed the civil service examination and, in May of that year, was appointed to a clerkship in the War Department at Washington D. C., where he is still employed. His leisure time is occupied in mathematical and genealogical research and in writing an occasional article for "The Pennsylvania-German." In mathematics he has made a special study of integral, rational triangles, solutions by continued fractions, and Diophantine Analysis in general. A number of his problems and solutions are published in the "American Mathematical Monthly," Vols. I to IX. In genealogy he is compiling the Gruber family history, and has made a translation and transcript of the old baptismal record of St. Daniel's church in Heidelberg, in Berks county, to which is added information pertaining to the early history of that church and the pastors thereof.

In his early career as a teacher he devoted considerable time to the study of botany. He also invented a trisector of plane angles.

In 1877 he married Amelia Margaret Petree, daughter of John F. Petree and wife Rosanna (Fidler) and granddaughter of William Witman Petree and wife Margaret (Kantner) and of Daniel M. Fidler and wife Amelia (Reedy). The union resulted in nine children, of whom five are living, as follows: (1) Ralph Arthur, married to Lousia E. Eckert; (2) Grace Evangeline; (3) Ella Florence, married to Harry E. Betz; (4) Anna May; and (5) Mary Amelia. Ralph A. and Anna M. are graduates of the Keystone State Normal School at Kutztown, and Mary A. of the Inter-State Commercial College, Reading.

Calvin Luther Gruber, brother of Michael Alvin, was born April 8, 1864, in North Heidelberg township, where he grew up on his father's farm a student and admirer of nature. For the first sixteen years of life, his father was his principal teacher, and, with the exception of one year during that period, his studies and recitations were conducted under the parental roof. For about three years thereafter (1881-84) he attended the high school at Bernville taught by his brother, Michael A., where his recitations were models of thoroughness and where he studied Latin, Greek, and the higher mathematics. In 1886 he graduated from the Keystone State Normal School at Kutztown and was honored by being appointed one of the speakers on the commencement programme. Since 1889 he has held the position of professor of arithmetic and civil government in that institution and, since 1891, also the secretaryship of the faculty.

Prior to his connection, as teacher, with the Keystone State Normal School, he taught school for three terms in Marion township, two terms in the West Leesport grammar school, and one term at the "Forge school," North Heidelberg township, where his father had taught eleven terms.

He made botany a study from the time he was ten years of age, and later added the specialty of trees, shrubs, and woody vines, having collected specimens of wood of about four hundred and fifty species, with fruits, seeds, and leaves to most of them. Since 1901 he has also been assisting Prof. W. W. Ashe, of Raleigh, N. C., and Dr. C. S. Sargent, director of the Arnold Arboretum, of Harvard University, in determining the species of Hawthorns (Crataegus) of the eastern United States. His labors in this field have been rewarded by the discovery of a number of new species and the naming after him of one of them (Crataegus Gruberi, Ashe). He has published several brochures on the Hawthorns of Berks county, has contributed a number of articles to educational journals, is the author of "Recreation Queries in United States History" (1890), and "The Government of the United States and of the State of Pennsylvania" (1909), and has in preparation an excellent treatise on arithmetic. He has also devoted considerable time to the study of birds and insects.

In 1890 he married Sallie G., daughter of Joseph P. Belleman and wife Sarah Isabella (Gicker) and granddaughter of Joseph K. Belleman and wife Christina (Phillips) and of Daniel H. Gicker and wife Elizabeth (Seidel). They have one child, a bright and studious daughter, Florence May, who at the age of eleven years was admitted to the normal course of the Keystone State Normal School, graduating in 1908, and continuing in the post-graduate course of that school.

The Grubers of Berks county are principally descendants of Henry, Christian (brother of Henry), and Simon Gruber, those of the Heidelbergs, Penn, Marion and Bethel descending from Henry; those of Perry and Windsor chiefly from Christian; and those of Greenwich and Albany mostly from Simon. Descendants of these branches are also living in Reading; and besides, there are in that city several Grubers--descendants of Joseph Gruber, who was naturalized in 1872 and who came from Bavaria, Germany, about six years earlier.

LINE OF HENRY GRUBER. (I) Henry Gruber was one of the early settlers of the Heidelbergs and is very likely the Henrich Gruber who is shown as having come to this country in the ship "Dragon" and landed (qualified) at Philadelphia Sept. 30, 1732. He appears to have been naturalized April 10 or 11, 1761. No records have been found of his birth or death; but the period of his life can be pretty closely approximated from the fact that his will was admitted to probate on June 17, 1777, and that his brother Christian, who is considered the younger of the two, was born Oct. 18, 1712.

His wife's name was Maria Eva Rosina, or, as the "learned" writer of his will put it, Maria Euphrosina, but nothing has been found as to her parentage.

He belonged to the Lutheran Church, which has been, as a rule, the religious faith of his descendants. For a tine he was a member of the "Little Tulpehocken Church," near Bernville; but when, about 1750, the "Lutheran Congregation in Heidelberg," now known as St. Daniel's Church or "Corner Church," was founded, he was one of the original members, and he and his wife are, no doubt, buried in the old graveyard at that place, although no tombstones to that effect have been found. The remains of fully fifty of his descendants, named Gruber, rest in the burial-grounds of that church.

He took up, at different times, about three hundred acres of adjoining land in what is now North Heidelberg township, the survey of the first tract being dated June 17, 1737. In 1761 this land was patented to him by the Penns, and in 1769 he divided it into two almost equal parts, giving, for a certain consideration, the eastern portion to his oldest son, John Adam, and the western to his youngest son, Henry. In the same year John Adam added a patent of thirty-nine acres to his portion, and the greater part of his farm is still in the Gruber name, the owners being as follows: (1) Henry Gruber, 1737 to March 1769; (2) his son John Adam, March, 1769, to March, 1807; (3) John Adam's son George, March to June, 1807; (4) George's brother John, June, 1807, to 1840; (5) John's son Daniel, 1841 to 1867; (6) Daniel's son Israel, 1868 to 1907; and (7) the estate of Israel Gruber since 1907.

Henry, Jr., sold his farm, in 1785, to John Deppen, and by intermarriage it passed through Scheetz to the present owner, Nathaniel P. Lengel.

In the old baptismal record of the "Little Tulpehocken Church" are found the names of seven children of Henry Gruber, as follows: (1) John Adam, born Oct. 19, 1735; (2) Catharine Elizabeth, born Feb. 6, 1737; (3) Maria Eva Rosina, born Dec. 3, 1738; (4) Christian, born Feb. 18, 1740; (5) Christopher, born Dec. 11, 1741; (6) Henry, born Aug. 19, 1747; and (7) Elizabeth, born Oct. 10, 1749. These children, excepting Christopher, are also mentioned in his will, which was made Feb. 10, 1773.

Of his daughters and son Christopher no further information has been found, excepting that certain records might warrant the statement that Maria Eva Rosina Gruber was the wife of John Nicholas Knobb. As Christopher is not mentioned in the will, he probably died young.

(II) John Adam Gruber (1735-1807), son of Henry, lived and died on the old homestead; married (first) Elizabeth, tradition giving maiden name as Schauer [Shower], and (second) Sarah, maiden name not known; the three buried at St. Daniel's church; eight sons and four daughters, by first wife, two sons dying in childhood, the ten surviving being: (1) Maria Elizabeth, born in 1762, married George Knobb; (2) John George (1764-1841), blacksmith and wheelwright, married Elizabeth Bressler, both buried at St. Daniel's church (no children); (3) Maria Christina, (1766-1825) married John Adam Wilhelm, both buried at Host church (seven children,--John, Jacob, Adam, Catherine, Maria, Barbara, and Elizabeth; numerous descendants with surnames Wilhelm, Smith, Christ, Lengel, Moyer, Himmelberger, Kuehner [Keener], Zeller, Groff, Potteiger, Rauch, Miller, etc.); (4) John (1769-1840), buried at St. Daniel's church, owned the old homestead (1807-40) and at times other farms, but for twenty-seven years (1803-29) lived on Gov. Joseph Hiester's farm near the "Blue Marsh" in Bern township, married Anna Maria Lasch, who is buried at Hain's church (six children,--John, George, Daniel, Maria Barbara, Michael, and William); (5) Henry (1771-1849), buried at Rehrersburg, married Mary Werheim (five children,--David, Joseph, Nellie, Catharine, and Elizabeth); (6) John Peter, born 1773, removed from Berks county about 1811 (St. Daniel's Church record shows a son, Henry, born in 1807); (7) John Jacob (1775-1828) married Eva Moyer, both buried at St. Daniel's church, (thirteen children,--Elizabeth (1) and Catherine, twins, John Adam, Sarah, Jacob, Rebecca, Hannah, "Poll," Isaac, John, Elizabeth (2), Juliann, and Mary, of whom Elizabeth (1) died young; the other twelve grew up and had families); (8) Catherine married John Keller (a son, John, and a daughter, Margaret, wife of John Zerbe); (9) Anna Maria [Mary], died in 1859, married William Fiehl [Field], both buried at St. Daniel's church (nine children,--William, George, Elias, Reuben, Isaac, "Poll," Elizabeth, Lovina, and Margaret; numerous descendants); and (10) Philip married, in 1812, Elizabeth Werheim, and removed from Berks county between 1814 and 1820.

Tradition has it that the team of John Adam Gruber, with himself as teamster, was impressed into the service during the Revolutionary war, and that he returned with a pair of traces, the horses having died from want of forage. In 1778 and 1779 orders were issued for about two hundred wagons from Berks county to carry provisions and supplies.

(II) Christian Gruber, born in 1740, son of Henry, married Susanna Maria, daughter of the immigrant Andrew Beyer [Boyer]; resident at different times during 1767-84 of Cumru, Heidelberg, and Bern; removed from Berks county about 1785, and a taxable, in 1786, of Penn's township, Northumberland (now Union) county; ten children shown on records of St. Daniel's Church and the church at Bernville, of whom five are known to have died young, the others being: Susanna Maria, born in 1766; Christian, born in 1771; Philip, born in 1777; Anna Engel, born in 1779; and Philippina, born in 1783, and married in 1801 to George Zubler, a son David, 1806-09, being buried at St. Daniel's Church.

On a return of militia officers of Berks county for May 27, 1780, there is shown a Christian Gruber with rank of ensign, commissioned May 10, 1780, as of the 6th Company (Capt. Philip Filbert), 2d Battalion (Col. Henry Spycker), Berks County Militia.

(II) Henry Gruber, born in 1747, son of Henry, sold his farm in 1785, and, as tradition has it, removed to Lancaster and later to York county; married Anna Margaret (probably Klopp); two children shown on St. Daniel's Church record: Peter, born in 1768, and Anna Margaret, born in 1785.

(IV) John Gruber (1791-1861), son of John, of John Adam, married (first) Catharine (1791-1850), daughter of Michael Seidel, and (second) Widow Maria M. Sloat (nee Stiely), the three buried at Hain's church; nine children, by first wife: (1) Daniel (1819-55) married Hannah Krick, and had children, Benneville K. (of Reading), Kittie Ann, Emmeline, Levi, and Ella, Benneville K. having served as private in Company I, 128th Pa. Inf., nine months, in the Civil war; (2) Maria (1820-78) married Samuel Ohnmacht (1814-99); (3) Catharine (1823-64) married Joseph Seitzinger; (4) Susanna (1824-54); (5) Margaret (1826-73) (known as Peggy) married Daniel Bickel; (6) Sarah (1828-47); (7) Anna, born in 1830; (8) Lovina (1832-87) married William Franklin Umbenhower; and (9) Matilda (1835-67) married Aaron T. Dundor.

(IV) George Gruber (1793-1876), son of John, of John Adam, married Anna Maria Lash (1801-75), both buried at St. Daniel's church, no children. From about 1841 until his death he resided about a mile east of Womelsdorf, along the Berks and Dauphin turnpike.

(IV) Daniel Gruber (1795-1867), son of John, of John Adam, resided on the old homestead, which he owned from 1841 to his death; married (first) Christina (1795-1846), daughter of Michael Seidel, and (second) Sarah Fidler (1814-72); the three buried at St. Daniel's church; six children by first wife: (1) Catherine (1825-65) married Gabriel Gerhart (1816-91), both buried at North Heidelberg church (descendants with surnames, Gerhart, Royer, Zerbe, Stump, etc.); (2) Israel S., 1827-1907, resided on the oldhomestead and owner thereof from 1868; married Rebecca, daughter of Joseph Ernst (ten children,--Alandon John Israel, married to Emma K. Werner; Levi Ephraim, married to Vilanda M. Horne; Joseph Samuel, married to Sallie A. Potts; Etillia Sarah Elizabeth, married to Isaac H. Horne; Pierce Emanuel, married to Mary Jane Werner; Calvin Jeremiah, married to Lillie A. Himmelberger; Arabella Rebecca, married to Daniel A. Snyder; Daniel Henry, married to Ellen L. Potteiger; Lillie Mary, married to Charles G. Speicher; and Milton Reuben, married to Annie A. Blatt); (3) Matilda (1830-96), and (4) Elizabeth (1833-54) were the second and first wives, respectively, of Ephraim Klopp (1830-78), the three buried at St. Daniel's church (descendants with surnames, Klopp, Miller, etc.); (5) Mary married Jeremiah Horne (descendants with surnames Horne, Helm, Schmehl, Grimes, Reifsnyder, etc.); and (6) Rebecca (1839-73) married James H. Stoudt, buried at Bern Church (descendants with surnames Stoudt, Ernst, Katzeman, etc.).

(IV) Maria Barbara (known as "Poll") Gruber (1798-1873), daughter of John, of John Adam, buried at St. Daniel's church, married John Lash, five children: Benneville, Adam, John, Sarah (wife of Daniel Glass), and Mary (wife of Eli Yonson).

(IV) Michael Gruber (1802-74), son of John, of John Adam, was a man of sterling qualities and fine physique; in 1834 he bought and removed to a farm in Heidelberg where he lived the remainder of his life; married Eva (1806-1890), daughter of George Bohn and wife Maria (Kissinger) and granddaughter of Frederick Bohn and wife Catharine Elizabeth (Wummer); both buried at St. Daniel's church; five children, the youngest of whom, Emma Maria, died in childhood, the others being: (1) Emanuel B. (1826-1909), resided on and owned (from 1866) his father's farm, married Mary Elizabeth (1834-1908), daughter of Daniel Fidler and wife Elizabeth (Miller) and granddaughter of Henry and Catharine Fidler; one child, a daughter Diana, wife of Albert, son of Levi Gaul and wife Rebecca (Wenrich) (Albert Gaul and wife have one child, a daughter Maggie, wife of Charles Blatt, son of Cornelius L. Blatt and wife Amanda Gruber); (2) John (1827-70), crushed to death on his birthday anniversary (July 14th) by earth and stones caving in on him while working in a stone-quarry in his yard, buried at St. Daniel's church, married Elmira, daughter of John Smaltz, had a daughter who died in youth; (3) Henrietta Matilda (1832-68), buried at Womelsdorf, married Reuben Althouse, three daughters, Emma (wife of Thomas J. Brossman), Mary (wife of Ezra Hettinger), and Clara Matilda (wife of Adam G. Stump); (4) Richard Michael (1834-1909), a progressive farmer and school teacher and, for forty-eight years, a resident of North Heidelberg, forty-two years of which he lived on one farm; in education and intelligence he was decidedly in advance of the majority of the people in his township; he believed, with Burke and Horace Mann, that school-houses and education are the chief defense of nations, and personally attended to the instruction and education of his children; he was a farmer for forty-four years, from 1856 to his retirement in 1900, during which time he also taught thirteen consecutive terms of school in North Heidelberg (1862-75), eleven of them being spent in school No. 5, then known at the "Forge School"; he had previously (1854-57) taught three successive terms in Penn township; in 1849-50 he learned tailoring with William Kunkelman, but worked at the trade only about three years; he married, in 1854, Mary Ann (1833-1904), daughter of John Schaeffer and wife Susanna (Staudt) and granddaughter of John Schaeffer and wife Magdalene (Richard) and of Daniel Staudt and wife Susanna (Ulrich); after her death he had made his home with his sons, Calvin L. and H. Wayne; there are four sons, as follows: (1) Michael Alvin [see sketch at beginning of this article]. (2) John Emanuel, born March 13, 1857, in North Heidelberg, grew up on his father's farm and worked thereon till forty-three years of age, taught school eleven terms, made a collection of 458 kinds of wood arranged in a fine cabinet constructed by himself of 803 pieces and about 100 kinds of wood, has a collection of eggs of fifty species of birds, for several years has been setting up all kinds of farm implements, wind-towers, fencing, etc., for Klopp & Kalbach of North Heidelberg, besides clerking a number of sales during the winter, is still single. (3) Calvin Luther [see sketch at beginning of this article]. (4) Horace Wayne, born Jan. 26, 1871, in North Heidelberg, grew up and worked on his father's farm; taught school three terms; clerked for several years in different kinds of stores; since 1901 employed by the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company in their Reading shops; resides in Reading; married in 1897 Sarah Susanna, daughter of Abraham R. Gruber (son of Christian of John Adam of Christian of Christian) has one son, Raymond Abraham Richard. These four sons and their father enjoy a remarkable record as school teachers; the father taught sixteen terms and each of his sons attended his school; the oldest son taught fourteen terms and had as pupils his two younger brothers; the second son taught eleven terms and had as pupil his youngest brother; the third son has been teaching since 1883 and had as pupil his youngest brother; the youngest son taught three terms; and in the same school where the father had taught eleven terms, the second and third sons each taught one term and the youngest son two terms.

(IV) William Gruber (1806-83), son of John, of John Adam, married (first) Lydia Stamm (1810-46) and (second) Maria Catharine German (1810-88), widow of Levi Mease; twelve children, a son and a daughter by first wife dying in infancy; ten surviving children, one son and four daughters by first wife and five daughters by second wife: (1) Angeline married Henry Kissinger (three sons, Frank, Henry and William); (2) Lovina married Benneville Adams; (3) Lydia married Herman Berndt; (4) Rebecca married Joel Haas; (5) William married Catharine Matz, two daughters--Anna Maria (wife of Howard U. Klein), and Kate Elizabeth (wife of Calvin Leinbach), residents of West Reading; (6) Maria Catharine married Henry Heckaman; (7) Emma Elizabeth married Calvin Homan; (8) Susan Amelia married John H. Stamm; (9) Amanda Rosa married Willard Kerryhart; and (10) Sarah Ann married Elias L. Garverich.

(IV) David Gruber (1794-1872), son of Henry, of John Adam, married Elizabeth Lieb; four children: (1) William married Catharine Reed (no children); (2) Moses married Caroline Burkholder (seven children, John--died unmarried, Franklin--married Fianna Paffenberger, two sons, Samuel and William H., Mary Emmeline--wife of John M. Schaum, Sarah Elizabeth--wife of C. Wesley Ketterer, George--unmarried, Adeline Emilia--wife of Peter Ludwig, and Agnes Elmira--wife of Rev. John Walker Klingler); (3) Nathan married Elizabeth Achenbach; and (4) Mary married John Madern or Madden.

(IV) Joseph Gruber (1800-72), son of Henry, of John Adam, married Catharine Hollinger; eleven children: (1) Maria married Valentine Wagner; (2) Malinda married John Kahl [Kehl], removed to Alabama (numerous descendants with surnames Edwards, Counts, Saunders, etc., living in Alabama); (3) Elizabeth Anna married Jacob Bricker, of Christian Bricker and wife Hannah Gruber; (4) Joseph married Eliza Fernsler (six children, Emery, Albert, Alice, Ida, Ella and Charles); (5) Moses married (first) Caroline Hummel and (second) Lizzie Wilson (three children, William, Alice and Ida); (6) Lovina married Cyrus M. Neff; (7) William H. married Maria C. Feeg (a son Claudius J. F. and several daughters), residents of West Reading; (8) Catharine married Edward B. Shultz; (9) Rebecca married John McConnell; (10) John A., residing in Kansas, married Caroline Bross (five children, Ida Mae, John Cleveland, Frances Amelia, Joseph Jacob, and Walter Clifton); (11) Emma married John Adam Hess.

(IV) Nellie Gruber (1805-69), of Henry, of John Adam, married (first) Peter Lamm and (second) Isaac Scholl; three children by first husband: Nathan Lamm married Rebecca Klopp; Elmira Lamm married (first) David Wenrich and (second) Levi M. Gerhart; and Lovina Lamm married Samuel Filbert.

(IV) Catharine Gruber (1808-89), of Henry, of John Adam, married Daniel Miller, descendants with surnames Miller, Bordner, etc.

(IV) Elizabeth Gruber, of Henry, of John Adam, married Joel Seitzinger.

(IV) Catharine Gruber (1797- ? ), of John Jacob, John Adam, married John Schaeffer; descendants with surnames Schaeffer, Stoudt, Dundor, Klopp, Yost, etc.

(IV) John Adam Gruber (1798-1876), of John Jacob, of John Adam, married Maria Riedy; nine surviving children: (1) Philip R. (1815-91) married Elizabeth Klinger (eight children--Emma, wife of Peter Noecker; Harrison, married to Harriet German, children--Amelia, Kate, Elizabeth, and George F.; Isabella, wife of Ephraim German, who belonged to Company K, 55th Regt., Pa. Vols., Civil war; Rebecca, wife of (first) Albert Rhein and (second) Emanuel Kintzer; John Adam, married to Henrietta Foltz; Agnes, wife of William Bechtel; Ellen, wife of Nathan Leitner; and George, married to Mary Koch); (2) Emanuel R. (1817-1903) married Justina Reber (seven surviving children--Amelia, wife of John B. Stump; Malinda, wife of Simon Kreitz; Sarah, first wife of John K. Fidler; Henrietta, wife of John Machemer; Amanda, wife of Cornelius J. Blatt; Jonathan, married to Emma Simon, several children; and Mary, wife of Cornelius Himmelberger); (3) Catharine (1821) married Michael Koenig, removed to Ohio; (4) Sarah (1824-99) married Daniel Fisher, one of the sons being John William Fisher, a well known teacher, justice of the peace, and farmer of North Heidelberg township, who with Richard M. Gruber and Adam Minnich formed a noted trio of teachers in that township for ten or more years; (5) Jacob (1826-1902) married Catharine Fidler (children--Jacob, Sarah, and Amelia); (6) Elizabeth (born in 1828) married William Lash, removed to Ohio; (7) Lovina (1830-92) married Jacob Leininger; (8) Adam R., born in 1833, married Catharine Schaeffer (several sons and daughters); (9) Caroline, born in 1835, married Christian Schutter.

(IV) Sarah Gruber (1801-92), of John Jacob, of John Adam, married Jacob Werner; six surviving children: Pauline Werner married John Mountz; William Werner married Lydia Matthews; Adam Werner married Amanda Anspach; Maria Werner married William Machemer; Malinda Werner married William Diehl; Jacob Werner married Janette Spears.

(IV) Jacob Gruber (1803-77), of John Jacob, of John Adam, m. Sarah Henrich [Henry]; eight children: (1) Mary (1829-1909) married Samuel Bickel, 1817-79 (a daughter Elizabeth S., wife of Dr. I. W. Newcomer, of Stouchburg), (2) Sarah (1830-70) married Israel Ernst (four sons and five daughters: descendants with surnames Ernst, Wagner, Kalbach, Fies, Seidel, etc.). (3) Amelia (1831-62) married Jacob Kreider (descendants with surnames Kreider, Weber, etc.). (4) Isaac H. (1833-1906) married (first) Sarah Ann Strunk and (second) Mary Ann Deppen; six surviving children, a son and two daughters by each of his wives, William E. (married to Salome M. Dietrich; children--Sarah Margaret, Howard Dietrich and Jessie Louisa), Catharine Elizabeth (wife of Edwin J. Klopp), Sarah Margaret, Helen Regina (wife of Lewis Reese Davis), Charles Daniel (the veterinary surgeon of Bernville, Pa., married to Mary Martha Burkhart; children--Maye Katharine and Anna Laura) and Emily Maye (wife of Harry J. Lambert). Isaac H. Gruber in 1855 founded the carriage factory located in Mount Pleasant (Obold), Berks county, and carried on that business until his death, when the property was bought by his son, William E., who erected, across the street from the old factory, a large and commodious three-story structure in which the business is successfully continued. (5) Franklin H. (1835-1898) married Matilda H. Himmelberger; eight children, three dying in childhood, the others (five sons) being: John William (married to Clara A. Stoudt; children--Franklin Pierce, Annie Lydia, Aetna Amelia and Mary Matilda); Adam Rufusal (married to Rosabella K. Hiester; children--Lizzie E. and Katie H.); Jacob Henry (married to Annie Bright; children--Sallie Irene, Paul Levi and John Adam); George Pierce (married to Kate Schrock; no children); and Levi Franklin (a graduate with first honors of Muhlenberg College and a prominent Lutheran minister of Minneapolis, Minn., married to Amelia Louisa Hoehn, of Rochester, N. Y.). Franklin H. Gruber founded, about 1883, the well-known wheelwright establishment, the Gruber Wagon Works, located at the foot of the hill below Mount Pleasant (Obold), Berks county, having for some years previously followed that trade on his farm about a mile south of that place. After his death his four oldest sons continued the business until the death of Adam Rufusal, in 1903, since which time it has been very successfully conducted by the three brothers, John W., Jacob H. and George P., each an expert in his special trade connected with the business, which is noted for thorough, reliable and conscientious workmanship and the use of up-to-date machinery. (6) Erasmus H., born in 1838, married Rebecca Deppen; children: Annie Mary first married Charles V. R. Addams and second Cyrenius F. Haag; and Daniel Francis married Ellenora Ruth. Erasmus H. Gruber was a private in Company G, 151st Regiment (nine months), Pennsylvania Infantry, Civil war, and was wounded with loss of arm at Gettysburg, Pa., on July 1, 1863. (7) Henrietta, born in 1840, married Nicholas Albright, of Reading. (8) John H. (1843-1901) married Elizabeth Yoder; four children, George Milton, John Calvin, Mary Elizabeth and William Martin.

(IV) Rebecca Gruber, of John Jacob, of John Adam, married Daniel Fessler.

(IV) Hannah Gruber (1807-65), of John Jacob, of John Adam, m. Christian Bricker (1801-72); six children, Jonathan, Jacob, John, Catharine, David, and Daniel; numerous descendants with surnames Bricker, Cox, Kepley, Barlett, Wagner, Batdorf, Shepp, Fidler, Boyer, Lengel, Hetrich, Bright, Parson, Bennett, etc.

(IV) Isaac Gruber (1810-45), of John Jacob, of John Adam, married Elizabeth Groby; three surviving children: (1) Melinda (born in 1838) married Levi J. Kline, of Ohio; (2) Adam (writes name Gruver), of Miamisburg, Ohio, born in 1843, married Sarah Gebhart (three sons and four daughters); (3) Miranda (1845-82) married H. B. Shade.

(IV) John Gruber (1813-38), of John Jacob, of John Adam, married (first) Mary Batdorf and (second) Angeline Rhiel; by first wife four sons, and by second wife one son, namely: (1) Percival, born in 1832, removed to one of the Western States. (2) Levi, born in 1832 (a twin brother of Percival), married (first) Catharine Riegart, and (second) Catharine Fisher; no living children; a resident of Kansas. (3) Rufus, born in 1834, married Jane Ford; three sons and two daughters; a resident of Miami county, Ohio. (4) Ishmael, a resident of Schuylkill county, Pa. (5) John Adam, born in 1856, married Sallie Zeller; children, George David, John Edwin, Samuel and Phoebe Estella.

(IV) Elizabeth Gruber (1815-92), of John Jacob, of John Adam, married William W. Smith; three sons and one daughter; descendants with surnames Smith, Degler, etc.

(IV) Juliann Gruber (1817-1907), of John Jacob, of John Adam, married Peter Behney; four daughters, each married to a Peiffer; numerous descendants with surnames Peiffer, Kline, Klopp, Seidel, Ruth, etc.

(IV) Mary Gruber, of John Jacob, of John Adam, married a Mr. Carver.


(I) Christian Gruber (Oct. 18, 1712-Nov. 14, 1781) was one of the early settlers of what was then known as Tulpehocken, and owned a farm in what is now Jefferson township. No record has been found of his immigration, but he appears to have been naturalized April 10, 1760. He married Jan. 26, 1742, Anna Kunigunde Stup (1721-1799), daughter of Martin Stup and wife Anna Catharine (Schultz), and he, his wife, and three of his children are buried in the old graveyard at Bernville, Pennsylvania.

In the old German family Bible (printed in 1736), in the possession of Josiah Gruber, a great-grandson, living near Summit Point, W. Va., are recorded his seven children: (1) John George, born Feb. 16, 1743; (2) Christian, born Jan. 5, 1745; (3) Susanna, born Aug. 22, 1746; (4) Maria Catharine, born Dec. 24, 1749; (5) John Adam, born April 11, 1752; (6) John Albrecht, born May 9, 1754; and (7) Anna Margaret, born April 2, 1759. All the names, except Christian, are also found in Rev. John Casper Stoever's record of baptisms and marriages, 1730-79. The family record in the Bible referred to contains the evidence in two of the baptismal entries that Christian Gruber was a brother of Henry Gruber, the immigrant, who settled in the Heidelbergs.

(II) John George Gruber (1743-1792), son of Christian, married April 16, 1776, Elizabeth, daughter of Lenhart (Leonard) Emrich, of Bethel township; about 1789 he removed from Berks county to what is now Lower Mahanoy township, Northumberland Co., Pa., where he owned a farm on which he died. He had five children: (1) Catharine Elizabeth, born in 1777, married Frederick Itzweyler; (2) Susanna, born in 1779, married Arthur Rogers; (3) Rosina Elizabeth, born in 1780, married Jonas Wolfgang; (4) Henry, in 1813, got full possession of his father's farm, and shortly afterward appears to have removed to Franklin county, Ind. (descendants are residing in Indiana, Ohio, California and other States); (5) Elizabeth, born in 1785, married Peter Wetzel.

(II) Christian Gruber (1745-1822), son of Christian, married Susanna (maiden name said to be Sligher), owned about 250 acres of land in Windsor (now Perry) township, and from him have descended the Perry township Grubers; he had six children: (1) Susanna (1770-1849) married George Bodey; (2) Christina (1773-1857) married Frederick Bailey; (3) John George (1778-1866) married Hannah Savage (two children--Susanna, 1805-90, wife of Solomon Mengel, and John S.); (4) Barbara (1780-1854) married John Hoffman; (5) John Adam (1786-1871) married Susanna Rieser (six children--Benjamin; Elizabeth, wife of George Adams; Susanna, wife of Jacob Diehl; Catharine, wife of Thomas Mengel; Christian, and John Adam); (6) Elizabeth (1788-1868) married Christian Berger.

(II) Susanna Gruber (1746-1808), daughter of Christian married Matthias Schmidt [Smith]; three sons and two daughters, the youngest son, John Henry Schmidt (1784-1848), being married to Catharine Wilhelm, daughter of John Adam Wilhelm and wife Maria Christina (Gruber) in the line of Henry Gruber.

(II) Maria Catharine Gruber (1749-1796), daughter of Christian, married a Mr. Zuber.

(II) John Adam Gruber (1752-1781), son of Christian, died unmarried; buried with his parents and sisters, Mrs. Schmidt and Mrs. Zuber, in the old graveyard at Bernville, Pennsylvania.

(II) John Albrecht (known also as Albright) Gruber (1754-1825), son of Christian, married Susanna Vilbina [Philippina], daughter of Henry Knobb and wife Maria Catharine (Fidler), of Heidelberg township; removed in 1806 to what is now Jefferson county, W. Va., about two miles from Summit Point, where he owned a farm of about 250 acres on which he died; eight children, all born in Berks county, Pa., namely: (1) Catharine Elizabeth married John Custer; (2) Christian, buried at Marion, Ohio (three sons and three daughters; numerous descendants in Ohio and other Western States); (3) Susanna Vilbina married John Zerbe [the miller], the mill now known as Sunday's mill, along the Tulpehocken, being built by him (both buried at the "Little Tulpehocken Church"; numerous descendants); (4) John Adam married Barbara Bachman (six sons and three daughters; descendants in Virginia, West Virginia, and the West); (5) John Jacob married Martha (or Magdalene) Bachman (four sons and five daughters, descendants principally in Virginia and West Virginia, one of the sons being Josiah Gruber, who has the old family Bible of his great-grandfather, Christian, in which Bible are also recorded the children of his grandfather, John Albrecht, as well as those of his great-grandfather); (6) John had one daughter; (7) Elizabeth married John Bachman (ten children; descendants living in Ohio and other States of the West); and (8) Anna Maria. Albrecht Gruber is shown to have served as a private in the Revolutionary war from Aug. 10 to Sept. 9, 1780, in Capt. Conrad Sherman's Company, 6th Battalion of Berks County Militia, commanded by Lieut. Col. Joseph Hiester, but it has not been ascertained whether this company had service outside of Berks county. Albrecht's sons, John Adam and John Jacob, served in the war of 1812, as privates in (first) Capt. Thomas Cockrell's Company of Infantry, 57th Regiment, Virginia Militia, from Aug. 26 to Oct. 6, 1814; and (second) Capt. John Lyle's Company of Infantry, 1st Regiment, Virginia Militia, from Oct. 6 to Nov. 24, 1814.

(II) Anna Margaret Gruber, daughter of Christian, married William Gieseman, who died in 1843, a resident of Mifflin township, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania.

(IV) John S. Gruber (1807-1889), son of John George of (II) Christian, married Elizabeth Baer; three children: (1) Hannah was twice married; (2) Elizabeth married Israel M. Becker; and (3) George B., living about two miles east of Shoemakersville, married Tilaria Hamsher, and raised a family of eight sons and six daughters.

(IV) Benjamin Gruber (1809-1870), son of John Adam, of (II) Christian, married Elizabeth Mengel; five children: (1) Daniel M. married Sarah Ann Lesher (a son and a daughter); (2) Susanna remained unmarried; (3) Elizabeth married Joel Stetzler; (4) Amanda married F. Leonard Reber; and (5) Benjamin M., a well known justice of the peace and clerk in the court-house offices, married Louisa M. Hill (a son).

(IV) Christian Gruber (1818-1904), son of John Adam of (II) Christian, married Sarah Rothermel; three children: (1) Abraham R. married Emeline Swoyer (five sons and five daughters, the oldest daughter, Sarah Susanna, being the wife of Horace Wayne Gruber in the line of Henry Gruber); (2) Susanna married Jonathan Trexler; and (3) Sarah married Benneville A. Althouse.

(IV) John Adam Gruber (1823-1862), son of John Adam, of (II) Christian, married Anna Shearer; six children: (1) Samuel S., of Moselem; (2) Amos S., who died in Douglas county, Kans.; (3) David S., drowned in the Susquehanna river; (4) John Adam, of Grimville; (5) Joel S., of Lehigh county; and (6) Mary S., wife of John M. Kutz.


(1) Simon Gruber is said to have emigrated from Germany and settled in Greenwich township, Berks county, some time prior to 1790, he and his family, consisting of three males and five females, being shown in the census of 1790. He had five sons, Jacob, Andrew, John, Michael, and Samuel, and several daughters, Samuel being the father of Morgan Gruber of Albany township, from whom this information was obtained. There are numerous descendants, some of whom are living in Mercer county, Pa. A number of this line are buried at Grimville.


There are several Grubers and Gruber descendants in Berks county whose line of descent has not been traced to any of the sources herein-before described, although in some instances, if sufficient data could be secured, connection might be made.

1. At Mt. Aetna is buried a Catharine Gruber (1830-80), wife of Levi Wolfersberger. She was the daughter of Jacob Gruber and wife Elizabeth (Imboden), buried at Annville, Lebanon Co., Pa., and granddaughter of Christian Gruber (1761-1814), buried in a private burial-ground about one and a half miles south of Annville.

2. In Maxatawny township there died, in 1843, a Michael Gruber who, it is said, emigrated from Germany. He served in the war of 1812 from Sept. 1 to Dec. 4, 1814, as a private in Capt. George Ritter's Company of the 1st Regiment of Pennsylvania Militia, commanded by Lieut.-Col. Jeremiah Shapell. From his will, made in 1840, are taken the names of his children, Samuel, Daniel, Jacob, Catharine (wife of William Staudt), Susan, Anna, Lydia, and Elizabeth.

3. In Bern township resided an Adam S. Gruber, 1834-1907, married to Rebecca Fessler, who raised a large family of children, namely: Benneville U. (died unmarried), George F. (died unmarried), Isabella R. (wife of Levi Clay), Elizabeth (wife of Abraham Sweitzer), Sarah F. (wife of James Sell), Ellen F. (wife of Daniel F. Baer), Hettie A. (wife of James Reeser), Rosa F. (wife of Charles Dunkelberger), Mary Emma (wife of Daniel Laucks), Clara C. (wife of John Maderia), Adam F. and Minnie F. His father was George Gruber, who died it is said in 1836, residing at the time in Cumru township; he was married to Elizabeth Seitzinger, and besides the son Adam S. had a daughter, Rebecca, first wife of John A. Weitzel. It is said that George Gruber came to Berks from one of the counties near the confluence of the two branches of the Susquehanna, and it is believed that he is connected with the line of Henry or that of Christian.

The surname Gruber is found written in a variety of ways. The more common forms are Gruber, Gruver, and Groover; and among the occasional spellings may be mentioned Groober, Grouber, Kruber, Kruver, Cruver, and Croober.

The name appears to have originated in Upper Germany and is derived from the German word Grube, meaning a mine, quarry, pit or ditch; and, no doubt, when surnames were being introduced, it was applied to persons who worked in mines, quarries or pits, or who dug pits or ditches, or, perhaps, who lived at or near such places. The name may also have been given to owners of mines, quarries or pits; but it is more likely that the owners thereof received the name Grube (omitting the final "r"), now frequently written Grubb or Grubbe.

The proper spelling of the name would, therefore, be Gruber, and that appears to be the form used in Berks county. The name is exclusively spelled in that way in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, and is very common in some sections of those countries, the writer having been informed that the surname Gruber appears about three hundred times in the Address Book (Directory) of Munich, Bavaria.

The form Gruver came about principally in two ways: (1) Gruber is frequently pronounced as if spelled Gruver, whence the adoption of the latter form in a number of instances; (2) in some English speaking localities a German form of name is disliked, and the change of "b" to "v" was the result. This form has been generally adopted by the descendants of the immigrant Nicholas Gruber, residing in Bucks and Lehigh counties, Pa., and is also found in other parts of the State as well as in some localities of the West.

Groover is the form of the name frequently met with in the South, especially in Georgia, which State bears the same relation to the early Grubers of the South that Pennsylvania bears to the Grubers of the North. The Georgia Groovers are descendants of the Grubers who were among the Salzburgers, German Protestants (largely Lutherans) that settled, in 1734 to 1741, at Ebenezer, Georgia.

Gruber is found also compounded with other names, as, Baumgruber, Frauengruber, Hartmannsgruber, Holzgruber, Kalchgruber, Obergruber, Sassamansgruber, Steingruber, and Wolfsgruber.

A similar name, Grueber, appears to be common to parts of Austria.


p. 917


George B. Gruber, who is engaged in farming and huckstering in Perry township, Berks county, was born March 29, 1843, in the district in which he still resides, son of John S. and Elizabeth (Baer) Gruber.

Christian Gruber, the great-great-grandfather of George B. Gruber, was the first American ancestor of this family. He was born Oct. 12, 1712 and died Nov. 11, 1781. His home was in Heidelberg township, Berks county. He married Anna Kunigard Shep, by whom he had children as follows: John m. Elizabeth Emerich and went West; Christian; Mary Catherine and John Adam died single; John Albrecht left Berks county in 1806, settling in West Virginia (he m. Susanna Knapp); and Anna Margaret m. William Grisman.

Christian Gruber, son of Christian, was born Jan 5, 1745, and settled in Windsor township after the Revolutionary war. He married Susanna Sliger and their children were: Christina m. Frederick Bailey; Barbara m. John Hoffman; John George; Susannah m. George Body; John Adam. M. Susannah Reeser; and Elizabeth m. Christian Berger.

John George Gruber, grandfather of George B., was born Aug. 9, 1778, and died Jan. 26, 1866. He was a blacksmith by trade, and lived on his farm of twenty-seven acres of land near Virginville. He was a remarkably strong man, standing six feet and two inches, and weighing about 225 pounds, could manage any horse, and by main force could throw it to the ground. He never met the man who dared fight him, and was feared by those who boasted of their physical powers. He was an uncompromising Democrat, and was county poor director in his district for fifteen years. Mr. Gruber married Hannah Savage, daughter of John Savage, born Jan. 16, 1786 and she died Oct. 13, 1846. Their children were: Susanna (m. Solomon Mengel, of Shartlesville, Pa.) and John S.

John S. Gruber, father of George B., was born Feb. 4, 1807, and was a farmer near Virginville, Berks county, and died Oct. 11, 1889. He was a carpenter by trade and followed that occupation for many years, also carrying on operations on his 164-acre farm. He also conducted a blacksmith shop, and did all work of that kind in his neighborhood. Mr. Gruber was greatly interested in educational matters, serving as school director for several terms. He is buried at Zion's Union Church, of which he was a regular member. Mr. Gruber married Elizabeth Baer, daughter of John and Susannah (Reeser) Baer, and to this union there were born: Hannah m. (first) William Ramer, and (second) William Morgan; Elizabeth m. Israel M. Becker; and George B.

George B. Gruber secured a good education in the common schools of his native township, which he left at the age of nineteen years, and his boyhood was spent on his father's farm, on which he has lived all of his life. In 1888 he embarked in business as a huckster, buying butter and eggs from the farmers of his district and in Windsor, Greenwich and Richmond townships, and has an extensive weekly route. In 1873 he purchased part of the Daniel Becker estate, consisting of thirty-eight acres of good land, which Mr. Gruber was greatly improved. He rebuilt the wagon shed and other buildings, remodeled the house and beautified the property in many ways. He now has a fine little home, there being few places that are kept in better repair. As a citizen Mr. Gruber stand high in his community, being intelligent and progressive. He enjoys the respect and esteem of his fellow-men. In political matters, like all of the Grubers, he votes the straight Democratic ticket. He and his wife attend the Shoemakersville Church, he being a Lutheran member, while she clings to the Reformed faith.

On Feb. 20, 1869, Mr. Gruber was married to Tillarah F. Hamscher, daughter of William and Angelina (Fenstermacher) Hamscher, and to this union there have been born children as follows: Ada E. m. R. E. Clevenstine, of Spring City, Pa.; Ella M. m. J. Edward Tyson, also of Spring City, Pa.; John M., unmarried is manager of a large grocery store in Philadelphia; George M. m. Marguerite Saul; William M. m. Lavada Seidel; Harvey M. m. Laura Baver; Cora H. m. Thomas Naftzinger; Joseph I. W. m. Anna Latshaw, and is living at Spring City, Pa., where he is a manager of a large factory; Norman I. m. Lydia Boyer; Robert C. m. Fannie Kurtz, and is assistant manager with his brothers in Spring City, Pa.; and Virgil M., Wilmer A., Sallie T. and Katie A. are all at home with their parents.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:54:21 EDT

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