Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 581


Ammon L. Hafer, member of the firm of Hafer Bros., commission merchants at Reading and prominent factors in the city's business life, was born June 3, 1866, in Exeter township, Berks county, Pa., son of Samuel R. and Elizabeth G. (Lincoln) Hafer.

John Hafer, great-grandfather of the Hafer brothers, was a native of Berks county, Pa., and for many years resided on his farm in Exeter township, which he cultivated in addition to working at his trade of stone mason. He assisted in the erection of the old Schwartzwald stone church and of Spies's church in Alsace township. He is recalled as a man of robust appearance. His first marriage was to Gertrude Kline. When she died she was interred at the Reformed Church cemetery, at Sixth and Washington streets, Reading, Pa., but later she was reinterred, by the side of her husband, at the Schwartzwald Church. His second wife was Mrs. Diehl (widow), by whom he had no children. To the first marriage were born: George m. Ellen Heller, and had children, William, Phebe, Daniel and Amanda; Daniel m. Charlot Egelman, and had children, Charles E., Maryetta, John E., Rosetta, Daniel E., Wilhelmina, Edward E. and Anna; John was twice married, and by his first wife, Rebecca Esterly, he had four children - George, John, Mary and Amanda - and by his second wife, Sarah Moyer, he had - Henry, Westley, and three daughters; Sarah m. Abraham Wien, and had children, John, Rebecca, Sarah and Samuel; William m. a Miss Lerch, and had two children, William and Margaret; Mathias m. Rachel Romig, daughter of Jacob Romig, and had four children, Samuel R., Amelia (wife of Daniel Yergey), Susan (died in infancy) and Anna (widow of Henry L. Gilbert); Henry m. Julia Egelman, and had children, Henry, Heryetta, William, Mary, Augustus, John and Cyrus; Levi m. a Miss Hoffa, and had children, Adam, Emelia, Louisa and another daughter; and Anna m. Samuel Romich, and had one son, Franklin. All the family are deceased.

Mathias Hafer, son of John, was born in Alsace township, Berks county, and died on his farm in Exeter township, in 1898, aged eighty-two years. He was a life-long farmer and owned a tract of ten acres of land on which he lived. Both he and his wife belonged to the Reformed Church, and they lie buried in the Schwartzwald cemetery. He married Rachel Romig, daughter of Jacob Romig, and they had four children, namely, Samuel R.; Amelia, wife of Daniel Yergey, residing in Exeter township; Susan, who died in infancy; and Anna, widow of Henry L. Gilbert.

Samuel R. Hafer, only son of Mathias Hafer, was born July 9, 1840, in Exeter township, Berks Co., Pa., and he attended the old subscription schools when his parents paid three cents a day for his tuition, his teacher at that time being Jonathan Moyer. He attended from twenty to sixty days a season and continued until he was twenty-one years of age. According to the habit of the times he was hired out to neighboring farmers during his youth. When eighteen years of age he came to Exeter Station, where he later became station agent and embarked also in a general store and hotel business, which he continued for eight years. He then moved to Birdsboro, where, for five years, he engaged in clerking in George W. Hain's general store and assisted also in the lumber and coal yard. For eight years thereafter he conducted the Co-operative Association store, and during President Cleveland's first administration he served as postmaster at that point. In 1888 he came to Reading and since May, 1905, he has been bookkeeper for the commission house of Hafer Brothers, his sons. For some years after his location at Reading, Mr. Hafer conducted a grocery store, for John F. Reifsnyder, whom he later bought out. In 1864, he married Elizabeth G. Lincoln, daughter of John D. Lincoln, a distant relative of the great President. They have five children, namely: Ammon L.; Adelle, wife of John Seigfried; Samuel L.; Matthias L., a grocery merchant at Reading; and Rachel, wife of Harry McKinney, a furniture merchant at Reading. Samuel R. Hafer is a member of the Reformed Church.

Ammon L. Hafer was educated in the public schools at Birdsboro, where his boyhood was spent, and at an early age he commenced to work as a clerk in a store in that town, and later went to work in the Brooke Nail Factory, at Birdsboro. In 1887 he came to Reading, and for two years he drove a team for Daniel S. Esterly, wholesale grocer. In 1889, he entered the employ of John F. Reifsnyder, commission and produce merchant, at Reading. Both he and his brother, Samuel L., becoming silent partners of this house for seventeen years (wording correction by JP not affecting content). In March, 1905, Mr. Reifsnyder died, and on May 1st, following, Hafer Brothers became sole owners, purchasing the good will, stock and fixtures, as per agreement.

In 1895 Ammon L. Hafer married Nellie Lebkicher, daughter of Alfred Lebkicher, of Reading, and they have one son, Lloyd A. Mr. Hafer belongs to Progressive Lodge, No. 470, I. O. O. F., Reading. He is a member of the Second Reformed Church, and was an official of the Birdsboro Reformed Church, prior to coming to Reading.

Samuel L. Hafer, member of the firm of Hafer Brothers, the largest wholesale commission merchants at Reading, was born Sept. 20, 1870, in Exeter township, Berks Co., Pa. His schooling was obtained at Birdsboro, and when sixteen years of age he became a clerk for J. H. Brindley, of that place, with whom he remained for three years. When nineteen years of age he became a salesman for John F. Reifsnyder, commission merchant at Reading, with whom he continued two years and then took service with M. B. Slichter & Co., at No. 6 South Sixth street. One year after, he became a salesman for still another commission firm, Claus & Silvas, where he remained for two years, when both he and his brother Ammon L. became silent partners with the late John F. Reifsnyder-a partnership which continued until May 1, 1905. On that date the firm of Hafer Brothers became sole owners, Mr. Reifsnyder having died in the previous March. The members of the firm are successful business men of high repute, and they do the largest produce business in Berks county. They employ fifteen men, and have six teams in constant use. They have established trade relations which make them the leaders in the wholesale commission line at Reading.

In 1890 Samuel L. Hafer married Ida M. Endy, and they have three children: Earl E., Paul E., and Nellie M. The eldest son is a graduate of the Interstate Business College at Reading, of the class of 1906, and he now fills a lucrative position as clerk for the Reading Iron Works. The other son and the daughter are still at school. Mr. Hafer and family are members of the Second Reformed Church at Reading, a religious body to which the family has been faithful for generations. He is an Odd Fellow, and belongs to Progressive Lodge. No. 470, at Reading.


p. 1176


Picture of Edward E. HaferEdward Egelman Hafer, engaged as a photographer at Reading for upward of thirty years, was born in 1843, near Belleman's Church, in Centre township, Berks county, and when a year old his parents removed to near Reading where they resided until 1853. And after the death of the father the family removed to Reading. Edward E. Hafer was given a common school education in the local schools and then placed in the drug store of his uncle, H. W. Bergner, at No. 834 Penn street, where he continued for sixteen years. Having become inclined towards portrait painting in this time, he engaged in painting portraits for two years, and secured a position in the photographic studio of Capt. F. M. Yeager, where he carried on the study of photography in connection with painting. After spending two years, 1872-1874, in this studio, he purchased the business, and has since conducted it in a very successful manner. During this time he has painted portraits on special orders, among the last having been the portrait of "Kuechler at his Roost," for which he was given much praise.

Mr. Hafer was married to Amanda Nagel, daughter of William Nagel, of Pottstown, and they had six children: Minerva (m. Samuel S. Finley, who is conducting a large photographic studio at Chicago, Ill.); Bess Mable; Carl Egelman; and three died in infancy.

His father, Daniel Hafer, was born in 1803 in Alsace township, and brought up on a farm. He then carried on farming in the township named, and in Centre township. He died in 1853. He was married to Charlotte Egelman, daughter of Charles F. Egelman, of Reading, who was recognized as one of the greatest astronomical calculators of the United States in his day. She died in 1886, aged seventy-six years. They had eleven children: Charles (m. Helena Heckman); Mary Etta (m. John Herflicker); John (m. Susan Armpriester); Rosetta (m. Edward Muench); Daniel (m. Susan Dusen); Wilhelmina (m. Jacob Schwalb); Edward Egelman; Anna (m. Charles Fisher); and three died young.

Mr. Hafer's grandfather was John Hafer, a stone mason and farmer who carried on business in Alsace and Exeter townships. He died in 1853. He was married to Gertrude Kline, daughter of Henry Kline of Alsace township, and they had nine children: George, Daniel, William, Sarah (m. Abraham Wean), John, Matthias, Henry, Anna (m. Samuel Romig) and Levi.

His great-grandfather was Matthias Hafer, who emigrated in 1773, from Alsace, on the borders of the Rhine in Germany, and settled in Alsace township, Berks county, one mile east of Reading, where he carried on farming until his decease. He was married to Julia Schmid, and they had eight children, seven sons and one daughter: John, Matthias, George, Benjamin, Isaac, Daniel, Henry and Maria (m. to Jacob Hill). Charles Frederick Egelman, the maternal grandfather of Mr. Hafer, was born at Osnabrck, in Hanover, May 12, 1782, and emigrated to this country in 1802, landing at Baltimore. He learned the trade of coach making, and remained there for a time, when he removed to Berks county, Pa. His last piece of work executed there was the body of a coach for Jerome Bonaparte. He was afterward engaged at teaching for a number of years, officiating in this time also as organist for several German Churches in country districts. About 1830 he settled at Reading and assisted in the publication of a German newspaper, entitled Der Readinger Democrat. He was recognized as a man of great scientific attainments, having been particularly accomplished in astronomy. His ability in this branch of learning was utilized for the period of forty-three years in furnishing astronomical calculations for the principal almanacs published in the United States. The study of perpetual motion received his earnest attention for a number of years, he having devised and constructed various machines in his efforts towards accomplishing this object, regarded as impossible. In the matter of copper-plate engraving he was a skilled artist, and executed a number of superior designs, one of them being a view of Reading. He died at Reading, Nov. 30, 1860, aged nearly seventy-nine years. His residence was at the northwest corner of Ninth and Penn streets. He left to survive him seven children: Ferdinand, Edward, Charlotte (m. Daniel Hafer), Julia (m. Henry Hafer), Wilhelmina (m. Solomon Seidel), Catharine (m. John Brissel) and Amelia (m. Dr. H. W. Bergner); and two children, Solomon and Lydia, of a deceased daughter, Henrietta, who had been married to Solomon Seidel.


p. 839


During the early history of this country - the exact date is not known -(I) Mattias Hafer, the founder of the extensive Hafer family in America, emigrated from Germany and settled in Ruscombmanor township, Berks county, Pa., where he purchased a farm and lived the remainder of his life. Among his children were George, Samuel and Henry.

(II) George Hafer, son of Mattias, married Dianah Weiser, and their children were: Henry; John; Benjamin; Isaac; George; Samuel (from whom descends James W. Hafer mentioned below); Anna, who married Peter Hauck; and Sarah, who married Samuel Marbarger. Of the sons, John married and moved to the West, where he died; his daughter, Mrs. Vetter, lives at Sterling, Ill. All of the children of George Hafer are now deceased, but they left descendants, among them the children of Benjamin, namely: Charles, Benjamin, Israel, Anna, Catherine and Mary. Isaac had children as follows: David, Isaac, Hettie, Sallie, Louisa and Emma.

(III) George Hafer, son of (II) George and grandson of (I) Mattias, was born Nov. 13, 1815, and died April 17, 1889, aged seventy-three years, five months, four days. He is buried at Friedensburg. By trade he was a stone-mason, and followed this occupation until he was fifty years of age. He also engaged in farming on a small scale in Ruscombmanor township. His wife, Esther Moyer, daughter of Mattias Moyer, was born in 1814, and died at the age of thirty-nine years. Her last resting-place is at Spies Church.

Children as follows were born of this marriage: George M., of Reading; Catherine, who married Tobias Shane, deceased; Dianna, deceased; Esther, who married Daniel R. Hunter; Lewis M.; Susan, deceased, who married Maberry Focht; and Sarah, who married Harry Scheffey.

The second wife of George Hafer was Mary Faust, born Nov. 18, 1822, who died Oct. 29, 1890, aged sixty-seven years, eleven months, eleven days. The children of this marriage were: Mary, who married Ammon Spohn; of Oley; John, of Reading; and Hannah (deceased), who married Milton Schmehl.

(IV) Lewis M. Hafer of Oley, Oley township, Berks county, Pa., was born in Alsace township, this county, Nov. 3, 1846, and was early trained to farm work. His mother dying when he was but seven years old, he lived with his relatives until he was sixteen, and then began to learn the trade of shoemaker which he followed for seven years. Owing to ill health he was obliged to turn his attention to something else, and returned to farm work, hiring out for nine years, and in 1880, he began farming for himself in Oley township on the Daniel G. Bertolet farm, where he remained for seventeen years. The farm then being sold, he engaged as farmer for Mrs. Jeremiah Weaver, widow of Colonel Weaver, whose property was located in Oley township. After seven years, in the spring of 1904, he sold his stock and removed to Friedensburg, where he now resides, retired from active labor. His very pleasant home was erected by him in 1899 and is a substantial brick residence on Main street. Mr. Hafer also owns the Lee farm, which belonged to the Lee family (Quakers) for over 130 years. This is a very good property and is rented by his son-in-law, Aaron Enoch.

In 1871 Mr. Hafer married Anna Manmiller, a daughter of Amos and Julianna (Breish) Manmiller, of Oley township. To them these children have been born: William, Sallie, Charles, James, Lewis, Amos, Howard, Eva, and Ida, living; and John, Emily, George and Annie (who died at Reading), all deceased.

Mr. Hafer is one of the roadmasters of Oley, and is a very efficient official, one who has the best interests of the community at heart. He and his family are consistent members of the United Evangelical Church, with which he has been connected since 1867, and in which he has filled a number of the offices.

(III) Samuel Hafer, son of (II) George and grandson of (I) Mattias Hafer, was a native of Pricetown, Berks county, born Sept. 30, 1819. He died Dec. 2, 1897, aged seventy-eight years, two months, two days, and is buried at Friedensburg. By trade he was a stone-mason, and he also engaged in farming, becoming a substantial man of Ruscombmanor township, which he served as supervisor. Samuel Hafer married Elizabeth Reider, born Aug. 1, 1816, a daughter of John Reider. John Reider was blind for a number of years. He had a son named after him, John Reider. Mrs. Hafer died Dec. 20, 1899, aged eighty-three years, four months, nineteen days. These children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Hafer: George, Frank, Reuben and Samuel.

(IV) Frank Hafer, son of Samuel, was born Dec. 17, 1813, in Oley township, where he still resides, his home being in the vicinity of the Oley furnace. By trade he is a carpenter, and at the age of fifty-five is an energetic man and excellent workman. In politics, Mr. Hafer is a Democrat, but he has never taken an active part in party matters. His religious opinions have made him a member of the Friedensburg Reformed Church.

On May 30, 1868, Frank Hafer married Susanna W. Weidner, daughter of David Weidner, and they had children as follows: William, who died in childhood; James W.; Sallie W., born May 15, 1874, who married William Wentzel, of Oley township; Viola, who died in childhood; Mary W., born Aug. 16, 1876, who married Henry Noll, of Pricetown; and Luella W., born June 12, 1892, who is unmarried and residing at home.

(V) James W. Hafer, son of Frank Hafer, and great-great-grandson of Mattias, the founder of the family in America, was born in Oley township, May 17, 1871. During his boyhood he attended the public schools of Oley and Ruscombmanor townships, and at the same time learned farming. In 1893 he began farming the old Yoder farm below Pleasantville, formerly known as Yodersville. This farm consists of ninety-five acres of excellent farming property and is a portion of the original Yoder farm of 300 acres. Mr. Hafer has his farm well stocked, having five head of cattle, and eighteen to twenty cows, his dairy being one of the best in the neighborhood; he markets his milk daily in Reading. In addition to other improvements Mr. Hafer has some excellent machinery and applies scientific methods in farming, his success proving the wisdom of his actions.

In 1890 Mr. Hafer married Mary Schaeffer, daughter of Nathan and Catherine (Yoder) Schaeffer, of Fleetwood, Pa. The following children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Hafer: Edith, who married Paul Reminger, a student in a veterinary college, and has a daughter, Marguarite; Webster; Lottie; Bertha; Howard; Esther; Walter, and Arthur. Mr. Hafer and his family are members in good standing of the Friedensburg Reformed Church. Socially he is connected with several secret societies and is secretary of Manatawny Castle No. 461, K. G. E.

The Hafer family is one of the oldest in Berks county and its members are all respected, honorable and successful residents of the several communities where they are to be found, possessing the sterling virtues that made their founder, Mattias Hafer, so welcome a settler in the new country more than a century ago.


p. 902


Howard M. Hafer the popular proprietor of the "Seltzer House," and a leading citizen and councilman of Womelsdorf, Berks Co., Pa., was born in Reading, Oct. 1, 1864, son of William H. and Elizabeth (Miller) Hafer.

Henry Hafer the progenitor of this family in America, was a native of Mensen, Germany, whence he came to this country and settled in eastern Berks county. He was a redemptioner and had been in bondage for several years Henry Hafer, great-grandfather of Howard M., was a farmer in Ruscombmanor township, Berks county. He died in Muhlenberg, and was buried at Alsace Church. His wife was a Lorah, and they had the following children: Matthias; Jacob m. Anna Mee and had a son, Jonathan; Henry m. Harriet Snyder, and resided in Muhlenberg township, and had a son Romanus; Katie m. John Moyer, and moved by team to Indiana; and Julia m. George Mee, a miller of Tulpehocken township.

Matthias Hafer, son of Henry was born in Ruscombmanor township, Nov. 28, 1811, and died in Reading, Feb. 28, 1891, aged eighty years. He was a tailor and farmer by occupation, and in about 1832 removed to Muhlenberg township, where he carried on agricultural pursuits on a small scale and did rough tailoring for the people of his vicinity. He married Hannah Himmelreich, born May 10, 1811, who died July 22, 1875, aged sixty-four years, and to them there were born two children: (1) James H., born in Alsace township in 1835, resides in Philadelphia, where he is a tailor and clerk in a clothing store; he married Hettie Foos, and they had children Frank, Kate, Tyson, and Alice (deceased). (2) William H. is the father of Howard M.

William H. Hafer was born Feb. 13, 1840, in Alsace (now Muhlenberg) township, and was brought up on the farm, on which he worked until twenty-one years old. He came to Reading, in 1861, where he has since made his home, with the exception of four years when he carried on farming in Exeter township. Mr. Hafer was the proprietor of the "City Hotel" from 1889 to 1895, and from 1896 to 1898 conducted the "Hotel Penn," both of Reading, and made himself well known as a hotel keeper to the traveling public. In politics he is a Democrat, and is much interested in public affairs. He and his family are members of Trinity Lutheran Church.

On Jan. 10, 1864, Mr. Hafer was married to Elizabeth Miller, born Dec. 4, 1840, daughter of Daniel and Elizabeth (Goodman) Miller, the former a blacksmith of Reading, and granddaughter of Jacob and Mary Miller who resided at the old Miller homestead at the northwest corner of Eighth and Franklin streets. Mr. and Mrs. Hafer have been the parents of four sons: Howard M.; Allen H., a carpet store proprietor at Pottsville, Pa., m. Clara Herr, of Philadelphia, and had four children - -Elwood (deceased), Claude, Ralph and Allen J.; William, Jr., died in childhood; and Edwin L., who resides at Reading. m. Helen Ott, and has one son, Earle R.

Howard M. Hafer obtained his education in the Reading public schools, after leaving which he learned the coachmaker's trade, and for some time was engaged with George W. Biehl, whose employ he left to enter that of D. S. Esterly, wholesale grocer of Reading, where he remained six years. He then assisted his father in conducting the "City Hotel" for about four years, and Jan. 1, 1893, he purchased the well-known "Seltzer Hotel" at Womelsdorf, Berks county, one of the oldest hostelries in the county which has had the patronage of the traveling public and the town trade for many years. This hotel, which is still in good condition, was erected in 1798, and is situated on the Dauphin turnpike, midway between Reading and Lebanon. In early days it was the changing place for horses, and President Martin Van Buren stopped at this hotel in 1838. Mr. Hafer keeps a fine house, and has the reputation of keeping one of the best tables of any hotel in Berks county.

In politics Mr. Hafer is an influential Democrat, and has been honored by his townsmen by election to the council since 1899, by overwhelming majorities. He has also been a delegate to numerous county conventions. He was the organizer of the Womelsdorf Volunteer Fire company, of which he has been chief since its organization in 1895. He is fraternally connected with Williamson Lodge No. 307, F. & A. M., Excelsior Chapter No. 237, R. A. M., Reading; Reading Commandery, No. 42 K. T.; and Rajah Temple, A. A. O. S. N. M. S.; Golden Rule Lodge No. 159, I. O. O. F., of Womelsdorf; Washington Camp, No. 89, P. 0. S. of A., of Reading; and the K. G. E., of Womelsdorf. He and his family are members of Trinity Lutheran Church of Reading.

In 1890 Mr. Hafer married Miss Jennie Shulley, born on Nov. 7, 1863, daughter of Frederick and Lucretia (Riley) Shulley, farming people of Fairfield, Adams Co., Pa. Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Hafer, namely: Marie E., a student at school; and a son, who died in infancy.


p. 1147


William B. Hafer one of the prominent agriculturists and dairymen of Muhlenberg township, Berks county, who is conducting an excellent farm of seventy-one acres, was born July 31, 1858 in Muhlenberg township, son of Abraham and Fietta (Berstler) Hafer.

Abraham Hafer was a blacksmith by trade, but spent the major portion of his life as a farmer, dying on a tenant farm in 1891, when fifty-six years of age. His wife still survives and makes her home in Reading. Of their children there is the following record: Catherine, deceased. m. Adam Keller, and had one child, Deborah (m. to Thomas Rismiller); William B. is mentioned below; Francis was killed by a fall in which he was impaled on the handle of a garden rake; Isabella, deceased, m. Daniel Glass, and had two sons, William and Elmer; Rebecca m. James Berstler, and had five children, Gertrude, Robert, Alva, Elsie and Warren; and Laura m. William Gass, and had one child, Leroy (died in infancy). In religious belief the family were Reformed. Mr. Hafer was a Democrat in politics, and for some years served as school director.

William B. Hafer received his primary education in the public schools of Muhlenberg township, but his subsequent training was in the school of experience. For several years he was engaged in farm work for his father, and he then learned the butcher's trade with William K. Leitheiser, of Reading, an occupation which he followed for about three years, and later went to Louisville, Ky., where he also engaged in butchering. Mr. Hafer then enlisted in Company D, 8th U. S. Regulars, in which he served five years, being promoted to first sergeant. His enlistment occurred in 1882, in Cincinnati, Ohio, whence he was transferred to Columbus, where he was stationed about six months, and then to Angel Island, San Francisco, Cal., where about fourteen months were spent. At the end of this time Mr. Hafer's company was transferred to San Diego. Cal., where they were stationed for fifteen months, and then sent to the frontier in Arizona to quell the Apache raids, instigated by the Indian warriors under the wily Chief Geronimo. After eleven months of frontier fighting the regiment was transferred to Fort Bridger, Wyo., and after eight months to Fort Robinson, Nebr., where the balance of Mr. Hafer's term of enlistment was spent. After his discharge he returned East, and accepted a position in the tube works of the Reading Iron Company where he remained eight years, and in 1896 he located on the old Fisher homestead, owned at that time by Edward Medler. This he purchased in 1902, and since that time he has made many improvements on this fertile, seventy-one acre tract. In addition to carrying on experimental work in agricultural lines, in which he has been very successful, he is conducting a dairy and keeps from seventeen to twenty head of Holsteins to furnish the people of his vicinity with milk, his product also finding a ready market in Reading.

Mr. Hafer was married to Kate Medler, daughter of Edward and Mary Ann (Gaul) Medler. and three children have been born to this union: Guy, Ray and Fay, who attend the high school at Leesport. In religious belief Mr. Hafer is Reformed and he has been active in Sunday school work. He is a member of Washington Camp, No. 68,P. O. S. of A., and in politics is independent, having held the office of supervisor under the new road law passed by the Legislature in 1905.


p. 333


Jeremiah Hagenman, third elected President Judge of Berks county, from 1875 to 1889, was born at Phoenixville, Pa., Feb. 6, 1820. He obtained a preparatory education in the schools of that town, and when sixteen years of age engaged in teaching; then he removed to Reading, where he entered the public schools and prose.cuted higher branches of study till he was nineteen years old. He then began the study of law under Peter Filbert, Esq., teaching occasionally while pursuing his legal studies, and was admitted to the Bar on April 7, 1842. He opened an office, and soon entered upon an active prac.tice, which he conducted successfully for seventeen years, when he was elected additional law judge of Berks county. In 1875, upon the elevation of the Hon. Warren J. Woodward to the Supreme Bench of the State, he was promoted to the office of president judge, and in 1879 he was re.elected for another term of ten years. The attorneys always appreciated his courtesy on the Bench, and the younger attorneys found him possessed of a kindly spirit and great indulgence. He became interested in politics soon after his admission to the Bar, and was prominently identified with the movements, of the Demo.cratic party from 1850 till 1869. He attended many State Conventions as a delegate; and in 1868 was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. In 1850 he was elected the first district attorney (under the act then passed creating the office), and after serving three years was elected for a second term. The public school affairs of Reading received his earnest attention for nearly forty years, he having first become a director about 1846. He advocated the erection of more commodious and attrac.tive school buildings; and in 1865 he first suggested the practicability of heating the buildings by heaters in the cellars. He served the county commissioners as solicitor for a number of years. About 1860 he was instrumental in having them to allow half of the court fines to be appropriated toward establishing a Law Library for the Bench and Bar in the John S. Richards, Esq., an attorney at the Bar, suggested the idea. Sub.sequently legislation was obtained allowing this to be done, and a Law Library Association became incorporated.

In 1850 Judge Hagenman married Louisa A. Boyer, daughter of George Boyer, who was a descendant of one of the first families in the county and a prominent mem.ber of Trinity Lutheran congregation, having taken an active part in the erection of its church building in 1791. They had one son, George F. Hagenman, a practicing attorney at the Reading Bar, who was killed in the Honda wreck, in California, May 11, 1907. Judge died March 6, 1904, and his wife in190_. They were buried in Charles Evans Cemetery.


p. 1175


Bennewell Hagy, resident of Reading, who for many years was engaged at the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company's shops as boiler-maker. He was born Sept. 21, 1833, in Lancaster Co., Pa., and died in Reading in 1900.

J. Hagy, grandfather of Bennewell, lived near Schoeneck, Lancaster county. To him and his wife Elizabeth were born children as follows: George, Jacob, Henry, David, Samuel and Elizabeth (m. to Bernhard Byerle).

Samuel Hagy, father of Bennewell, was born in 1796 in Lancaster county, and his death occurred in 1851. He married Elizabeth Wildt, and to them were born eleven children, as follows: Sarah, m. to Jacob Barr; Catherine, m. to Isaac Hiester; Harriet m. to G. W. Hantsch; Edward; Adam; Obed; Lydia, who died young; Bennewell; Abraham; Mary, m. to Joseph Masseno; and Benjamin F. In religious belief Mr. Hagy was a Lutheran, while his wife was a member of the Methodist faith.

Bennewell Hagy received his education in the schools of Lancaster county, and in his youth worked on a farm for several years. Locating in Reading, he entered the employ of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company, with which concern he was connected the remainder of his life. Mr. Hagy was married (first) to Sarah Eisenbise, and to them were born thirteen children, six of whom are now living; Warren m. Sarah Miller, of Reading; Sadie m. Edward Keen, of Philadelphia; Jennie m. Robert Thompson and resides at Philadelphia; Harriet is a dressmaker at Whitners; Mary m. Cyrus Kissling, of West Catasaqua; and George, of Philadelphia, m. Ella Cressman. After the death of his first wife Mr. Hagy was married (second) to Sally Ann Ebling, born in 1831 in Longswamp township, Berks county, daughter of David and Polly (Taller) Ebling, and widow of David Francis. No children were born to the second union. In religious belief Mr. Hagy was a Methodist, while his widow is a member of the Reformed Church.


p. 693


William Hagy, a venerable resident of the city of Reading, who is now spending the autumn of life in the enjoyment of the fruits of his earlier years of toil, was born in West Cocalico township, Lancaster county, Pa., Dec. 12, 1825, and represents a family long identified with that part of the country.

Henry Hagy, his paternal grandfather, is supposed to have been a native of Lancaster county, and certainly all his active life was passed there, operating a farm which he owned near Schoeneck. He was also an expert weaver, and according to the custom of those Revolutionary days, spent much time during the winter months in weaving into cloth the flax that had been raised on his own farm and then spun. He married Miss Catherine Stover, and both lived to advanced age, his death occurring in 1844, and hers in 1837. They were members of the Lutheran Church. Their nine children were: Henry, John, George, Samuel, David, Catherine, Elizabeth, Jacob and Eve.

Jacob Hagy, father of William, was born in 1795, and lived only to the age of thirty-five. He owned a small farm, which he had operated, and his family were left in straightened circumstances. His wife was Miss Catherine Trich, and they had three children, namely: William; Lydia m. George Sindel; and Elizabeth, who lives at Reamstown, is the widow of the late Joseph Bechtel. Mrs. Hagy survived her husband until Nov. 4, 1867, when she died aged sixty-nine years, one month and eighteen days. In her latter years she was a member of the Mennonite church.

William Hagy was sent to the schools of Lancaster county, but his father's untimely death compelled him to shift for himself at an early age, and he was hardly more than a boy when he became an apprentice to a tailor to learn the trade. After four years' service he was released in 1844, and the following year came to Reading, where he has ever since resided. He found employment at first with James Jameson, and worked with him till 1853, when he started in business with William Donahower, the partnership lasting eighteen months. He then went to Eighth and Penn streets, but at the end of three months moved to North Fifth street, remaining one year. In the spring of 1867 he located at No. 701 Penn street, where he remained till his retirement in 1892. Mr. Hagy still owns the property and retains an office on the premises, spending some time there each day looking after his affairs. He was always industrious, upright in his dealings and wide awake to every opportunity, so that his success was justly due.

On May 10, 1849, Mr. Hagy married Miss Sarah Ann Bitler, daughter of Elisha Bitler, of Robeson township, Berks county. A family of nine children were born to them, of whom seven lived to mature years, viz.: William D.; Harry B. is treasurer of the Pennsylvania Trust Company, of Reading; Irwin A. resides at Philadelphia; Mary E. m. (first) Henry A. Hetrick, son of John Hetrick, of Reading, and (second) Matthan Harbster, of Reading; Emma C. m. Thomas Shaneman, of Lebanon; Anna E. m. Park John, of Reading; and Sarah J. m. A. J. Geiger, a shoe merchant of Reading. The wife and mother died Jan. 16, 1907, aged eighty years and eleven months. Mr. Hagy has been for years a Methodist in his religious faith, having united with that denomination when a young man, and he now holds membership in St. Peter's M.E. Church. In politics he is a Republican.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:54:23 EDT

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