Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 486


Howard E. Harbster, who makes his home at No. 138 West Oley street, Reading, is a representative of one of the city's oldest families. He was born March 2, 1861, in Reading, son of William and Ellen (Matthews) Harbster, the former the founder of the Reading Hardware Company.

Mr. Harbster received his education in the schools of his native city, and when a boy entered the employ of the Reading Hardware Works, known as "Harbster's." In the fall of 1877 he entered a preparatory school to make himself ready to enter Yale College and remained there for two and one-half years, but before completing the course left to enter Eastman's Business College, after graduating from which, in 1881, he again found employment with the Reading Hardware Company, working in the various departments of this great enterprise until after his father's death, in June, 1885. In 1886, in company with his brother, Frank, he engaged in the brass foundry business at the old Keystone Hardware Works, Tenth and Muhlenberg streets. There he continued for a short time, when he purchased his brother's interest, and conducted the enterprise alone until 1889, when he took as partners Miller M. Deem and George Tyson, the firm continuing under the firm name of Harbster & Co. The plant was then removed to Ninth and Bingaman streets, where the company added the manufacture of novelties and specialties and in 1890, Mr. Harbster organized the National Brass Works with H. K. Getz, president; H. E. Harbster, vice-president and general manager; Charles Peacock, treasurer; Miller M. Deem, superintendent of the manufacturing department; and Joseph S. McConnell, bookkeeper. The company continued on the old grounds until 1892, when the site of the present plant was purchased and the buildings erected. Mr. Harbster continued with the company until 1893, when he sold his interest and engaged in the brass foundry business with William Kline at Second and Beech streets. This they continued until 1897, and in this year Mr. Harbster engaged in business for himself on South Front street. Later, in company with George Miller, Mr. Harbster started the plant now occupied by Dick Brothers, but sold this to engage in the foundry and platers' supplies business. Mr. Harbster is considered one of the substantial business men of Reading, and he is possessed of much executive ability. He is a member of Reading Lodge No. 549, F. & A. M., and Wyomissing Council, Royal Arcanum.

Mr. Harbster married Mary A. Kline, of Reading, and to them have been born two children: William H. and E. Marguerite. Mr. Harbster is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, while Mrs. Harbster attends the Reformed Church.


p. 1384


John E. Harbster, one of the prominent business men of Reading, Pa., is a son of Matthan and Susan (Bingham) Harbster. He was educated in the schools of Reading, and then entered the employ of the Reading Hardware Company. Starting at the very bottom, he rose rapidly from one position to another until he reached the head of the great industry, the second largest in its line in the United States. He started as special order clerk, to which he was appointed in 1884, and was then promoted to the position of superintendent of the pattern department. Shortly afterward he was advanced to superintendent of the lock department, and, still later, of the cost department of the entire plant. He was then made assistant superintendent of the works, then superintendent, and finally, in 1904, elected president. This establishment manufactures all kinds of light and builders' hardware, and employs upward of 2000 mechanics beside a large clerical force.

Mr. Harbster was chief marshal of the great Fireman's parade on Labor Day. He is an active member of the Liberty Fire Company.


p. 536


Matthan Harbster, former president of the Reading Hardware Company, and a business man who has been prominently identified with some of Reading's most successful enterprises, was born May 18, 1831, in Lehigh county, Pa., son of Henry and Mary (Bucher) Harbster.

The Harbster family originated in Germany and was founded in Pennsylvania by John Harbster, grandfather of Matthan. At an early age he came to Berks county, later resided in Montgomery and still later in Lehigh, where he died.

Henry Harbster, son of John, was born in Berks county. His trade was that of blacksmith, but he was also something of a machinist and realized an ample fortune from the manufacture and sale of coffee-mills. He married Mary Bucher, and they had seven children, Matthan being the fourth in the order of birth. The parents both died in 1860.

Picture of Matthan HarbsterMatthan Harbster had what might be termed meager educational opportunities, as he was but a lad when he began to contribute to his own support, engaging in boating on the Schuylkill and Juniata canals. After several years' experience in this hard life, his brother William took him into his blacksmith shop, at Hamburg, to learn the trade, where he also learned coach-making. When he had completed the necessary apprenticeship, he worked as a journeyman, as was the custom then, until 1851, when the three brothers, Matthan, William and John, became associated in business, and in a little shop at the foot of South Sixth street, the firm name of Harbster Brothers, was founded the immense business which is now known all over the United States as the Reading Hardware Company. All three brothers were practical business men, energetic and industrious, and the business was profitable from the start. Its expansion soon made larger accommodations necessary, and in 1858 the concern was re-organized, William M. Griscom coming into the partnership and the firm name becoming then Harbster Brothers & Co., which continued until 1862, when the present name was adopted. Of the original partners only Matthan remains, the other two brothers being deceased.

The Reading Hardware Company conducts one of the largest manufacturing enterprises in the United States and employs 2,500 men in turning out the various products and attending to the vigorous pushing of the business at different points. The works, which cover an area exceeding five acres, comprise substantial brick buildings, three and four stories in height, all especially constructed for the operations carried on in them, and all equipped with all the modern conveniences known in the business. The buildings include large storage warehouses for the completed articles of manufacture, shops where the artistic finishing is done by expert workmen, a japanning building, lock and general hardware buildings, shops for drilling, plating, bronzing and finishing, machine shop, butt and screw factories, and all of these have been completely furnished with the best mechanical appliances, serving to reduce expense while turning out better and better products each year. The Reading Hardware Company has branch stores in such centers as New York, Philadelphia and Chicago. Its traveling representatives cover the whole country and are welcomed wherever the excellence of the products of this concern has been tested. The firm makes a specialty of all kinds of builder's hardware, and special hardware furnishings for the most up-to date buildings.

In addition to his important duties in connection with this immense industry, Mr. Harbster for a time was president of the Reading Screw Company, whose works were located in Norristown; was formerly president of the Montello Brick and Clay Company, and is also president of the Reading Land and Improvement Company. He is on the directing boards of the following institutions: Farmers' National Bank, Reading; Reading City Passenger Railroad; and Reading and Columbia Railroad. In former years he was connected with a number of the city's infant industries and his sound advice and financial backing have done much to make many of them the successful enterprises they are today. For sixteen years he served as water commissioner of Reading, and for several years was a member of the school board.

Mr. Harbster married Aug. 12, 1856, Susan Bingham, who died in 1900. She was survived by four children, namely: Ida C., John E., Ellen Kate and Nellie G. Mr. Harbster was married (second) in 1904 to Mrs. Mary Hetrich.

In political sentiment Mr. Harbster is a stanch Republican. He has never accepted office outside of the city, but as a member of the council at various times has demonstrated his public spirit and shown his interest in the welfare of his fellow- citizens. He is a Mason of long standing, and for many years has been a member of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church.


p. 528


William Harbster (deceased), for many years one of the leading spirits of the manufacturing interests of Reading, Pa., was born Oct. 20, 1823, in Albany township, Berks county, son of Henry and Mary (Bucher) Harbster.

John Harbster, grandfather of William, emigrated to America from Germany, settling in Albany township, Berks county, and later lived in Montgomery and Lehigh counties, following farming in the several localities.

Henry Harbster, son of John, was born in Berks county and educated in the subscription schools. In early life he learned the blacksmith's trade, which he followed some years. He also invented and manufactured coffee mills in Berks, Montgomery and Lehigh counties, in which he met with more than ordinary success. He was a Democrat in political belief, but only took a voting interest in politics. He married a daughter of Sebastian Bucher, and their children were: Matilda, wife of Casper Aman; Hannah, whose third husband was Jacob Newkirk; Ellen, deceased wife of William M. Griscom; Henry; Samuel, who died in youth; Matthan, of Reading; and William. Of this family in 1906 were still living Hannah and Matthan.

Picture of William HarbsterWilliam Harbster received his education in the common and subscription schools of Albany township, after which he removed to Boyertown, where he apprenticed himself to learn the blacksmith's trade, remaining in that locality seven years. After his apprenticeship had been served he worked as a journeyman, and then removed to Reading, where he engaged in work in a foundry and was subsequently employed with the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company. Not liking the change, he decided to commence operations in the northern part of the county, and, locating in Hamburg, he opened a smithy, manufacturing the iron work for carriages, etc. After remaining here two years, he returned to Reading, and with the assistance of his brother-in-law, William M. Griscom, he founded the Reading Hardware Works. Beginning under very humble circumstances, and at first manufacturing but a few articles, by his incessant energy, excellent management and skilled workmanship the business increased and far exceeded the fondest hopes of its originator and founder. He found it necessary to admit more help, subsequently admitting Matthan and John, his younger brothers, as partners, under the style of Harbster Bros. The business continued to prosper under the new management and the brothers succeeded in building up one of the most extensive plants in the world, the Reading Hardware Company.

Mr. Harbster was also head of the Reading Nickel Plating Works. His advice was much sought after on account of his being so successful in his own business, and he later became officially connected with banks and other business organizations. In fact, if any new enterprise was founded in which he was not interested, investors seemed to lose confidence, such was the esteem in which he was held. He was a man of noble character, honest and upright in all of his dealings, and a great friend of the poor and needy. He gave liberally to any and every just cause and the extent of his philanthropy will never be known to the outside world. Through his death Reading lost one of its most prominent citizens.

Mr. Harbster married June 15, 1848, Ellen Matthews, daughter of George Matthews, a native of Lebanon county, Pa. He was of Irish descent, and belonged to a family, the descendants of which figured conspicuously in the affairs of the State. To Mr. and Mrs. Harbster the following children were born: Emma R. m. William Kensel; Cecelia m. John G. Mohn; John F.; Morris G. is deceased; Annie R. m. John Goodman; Howard E.; and Mary Margaret m. J. Wilhelm Hartmann, native of Germany, and a graduate of the Hamburg Conservatory of Music and that of Munich, from which institutions he received the highest honors, and he has become a composer of much note.

Mr. Harbster was a Republican in his political belief, but never aspired to public preferment. He was a member of Chandler Lodge of Masons No. 227; Reading Chapter No. 152; Creigh Council No. 16; and De Molay Commandery No. 9. He was a consistent member and liberal supporter of Trinity Lutheran Church for many years. Mr. Harbster died June 16, 1885.


p. 1197


Daniel E. Haring, an undertaker at Friedensburg, was born in Ruscombmanor township, May 30, 1847, a son of Philip, a resident of Earl township.

Georg Haring (Hering or Herring), the pioneer ancestor of this family, settled in Greenwich township, Berks county, prior to 1756, in which year his name first appears on the list of taxables published in Rupp's History of Berks county. This was probably the same John. Georg Christoph Haring, who emigrated to America on the ship "Edinburgh," which qualified at Philadelphia, Oct. 2, 1753. He was then twenty-five years of age. The tax list in Greenwich township in 1775 records both George Haring and John Haring. In 1778 appear George Haring and Widow Haring, but no John. In 1799 are recorded the names of George John Haring and Jno. George Haring. After 1803 John Haring disappears from the Greenwich tax list , as he had then located in Earl. He was probably a son of George and grandson of the pioneer ancestor.

George Haring died in Greenwich in 1885 at an advanced age. He lived below Grimville, on the upper floor of the old mill (which since his death has been unoccupied), and his reputation for psychic powers was wide spread. George Haring married Hannah Georg, and they had two sons: George, who located in Maxatawny township, and has a son, George; and Charles.

Charles Haring, son of George, lived on farm at the line of Maxatawny township, Berks county, and Weisenburg township, Lehigh county, the line passing between the house and barn, the former being in Berks county and the latter in Lehigh. Mr. Haring married Rebecca Leiby, and they had seven children: Mary, Abbie, Addison L., George (of Siegersville), Penrose M. and Henry and John (both of Topeka, Kans.).

Addison L. Haring, son of Charles, resides in Greenwich township. For five terms he taught school. In 1883 he moved to Kansas, and remained there seven years. On his return to Berks county he bought Dietrich's Mill, at Dreibelbis, on the Ontelaunee, and has since operated it. He married Susanna Dietrich, daughter of Venus Dietrich, of Greenwich, and their children are: William, George, Charles, Alice and Calvin.

Penrose M. Haring, son of Charles, was born in Greenwich township, March 2, 1858, and taught school twelve terms in Albany, Greenwich and Maxatawny townships. In 1882 he began farming in Maxatawny township, and has since continued. In 1881 he married Amelia S. Komp, daughter of Benjamin and Elizabeth (Wisser) Komp, and they have two children: Cora and Ambrose B. C.

John Haring, grandfather of Daniel E., was born in Greenwich township, and lived there until about 1800, when he went to Earl township, and there he died advanced in years. He married Christina Delp, and among their children was a son, Philip.

Philip Haring, son of John, was born Sept. 15, 1824, and died in 1909. He owned a farm in Earl township, which he cultivated. He married Matilda Eckert, born Nov. 16, 1828, and died Sept. 6, 1884. They had twelve children: Daniel E., born May 30, 1847; Isaac, Jan. 22, 1849 (died Jan. 5, 1881); Peter, 1850; William, 1853; James, 1856; John, 1859; Mary, 1862; Samuel, 1863; Joseph, Nov. 22, 1865 (died Sept. 29, 1884); Anna Matilda, 1871; Katie; and Sarah (1868-1869).

On March 20, 1865, Daniel E. Haring enlisted in Company I, 105th Pa. V. I. He participated in the battle of Petersburg, and was present at the surrender of Gen. Robert E. Lee. At the close of the war he was mustered out. Coming back home he learned cabinetmaking and undertaking at Pikeville, in Pike township, with Henry Yerger. After remaining with him twenty months, Mr. Haring embarked in business for himself in Earl township, where he had a home and twelve acres of land. There he remained for thirty-five years and then removed to Oley township, which since the spring of 1893 has been his home. His undertaking establishment is in South Friedensburg, in the old public school building. He graduated from the Massachusetts College of Embalming, Oct. 8, 1897. Mr. Haring has been called upon to prepare 450 people for their last resting place, and he is not only a skilled operator, but his sympathy and reliability have proven very comforting to the afflicted.

In politics Mr. Haring is a Democrat, and for five years served as constable of Earl township. He is an industrious, honest and highly respected man, and one who has through thoroughness of business methods built up a large patronage and firmly established himself in the confidence of the community. He and his family are members of Oley Reformed Church, of which he was deacon for three years, and elder for four years.

In 1870 Mr. Haring married Catharine Hartline, daughter of Benjamin and Anna (Bierman) Hartline, of Earl township. They have had children as follows: Amanda m. Calvin Kline, of Oley; Sallie m. Charles Weiser, of Spring Forge, Earl township; Anna m. Thomas Gift, of Jacksonwald; Daniel is in the navy; George died at the age of seventeen; and Calvin died at the age of nine months.


p. 428


Augustus Harner, one of the venerable residents of Berks county, Pa., who until 1896 was engaged in agricultural pursuits in Heidelberg township, is now living retired near Shaver's schoolhouse, and has the respect and esteem of the entire community. Mr. Harner was born Jan. 20, 1827, in Cumru township, Berks county, son of Jacob and Susanna (Wann) Harner.

Daniel Harner, grandfather of Augustus, was a tobacco dealer at Rehrersburg, a substantial business man of his locality, and one of the first to engage in that line in his section. He is buried at Rehrersburg church, in Bethel township. Daniel Harner's children were: Jacob; George, whose son Horace worked in a bank in Reading; Frederick, a legislator of Berks county from 1865 to 1867; Abraham; a daughter; and Daniel.

Jacob Harner, father of Augustus, was a resident of Cumru township, and being in humble circumstances, worked on the old Seitzinger farm where the State Constabulary has been situated for many years. He married Susanna Wann, and both are buried at Aulenbach cemetery in Reading. Jacob Harner passed his last days at the home of his son, Jacob, Jr. To Mr. and Mrs. Harner were born these children: Augustus; Amelia m. John Kachel; Margaret m. Albert Cleaver; Jacob, of Reading, m. Louisa Koch; Mary Ann m. George Strunk, of Reading; and James, a boiler-maker of Palmyra, died in Reading.

Augustus Harner obtained his education in the pay schools near where he lived in Cumru township, and he was reared on the farm on which his father worked. In 1857, he purchased the old Shower homestead in Heidelberg township, and here he has since resided, being actively engaged in agricultural pursuits until 1896, since which time the farm has been rented to his son-in-law, Mr. Noll. On this property of seventy-five acres, Mr. Harner erected all of the present buildings, the house being built in 1874, as well as the substantial 80 x 40 barn.

He has always been industrious and hard-working and now in the evening of his life he feels that he can afford to enjoy some of the fruits of his hard labor. Mr. Harner is very well read, the Bible being one of his favorite works. He can speak both English and German fluently, and in spite of his eighty years is very well preserved, both in mind and body, and is an excellent conversationalist. In political matters he is a Democrat, and his popularity in this section has been attested by his election to various offices of trust and responsibility in his township. Mr. Harner is a Reformed member of Hain's Church, of which he was deacon and elder, while his family attend the Corner Church.

In 1851 Mr. Harner married Mary Ann Shower, born Jan. 24, 1829, who died Nov. 24, 1898, daughter of Isaac and Mary (Wenrich) Shower, and to this union one child has been born: S. Agnes m. William Noll, and of their two children, a son and a daughter, their daughter married Ulysses Lamm and has two sons: Paul Augustus and Charles Alfred.


p. 1475


Daniel Z. Harner, of Amity township, Berks county, was born there Oct. 5, 1870, a member of a family long settled in Pennsylvania.

The Harner, or Herner, family had its early home in Exeter township, Berks county, where in 1752 at the erection of Berks county, lived Henry, Nicholas and Frederick Herner. On the Exeter tax list of 1759 Henry Herner is assessed eight pounds, Nicholas three pounds and Frederick as a single man. Henry Herner, it would appear from the records, was the oldest of the trio of pioneers. He made his last will and testament in 1782, and this was admitted to probate Aug. 23, 1785, soon after his death. It is recorded in Will Book B, page 133. He left a very large estate, and was a man of considerable prominence. At the time of his death he was living in Amity township. His eldest son Jacob obtained the old plantation, and was the executor of his father's will. Nicholas, Frederick and Mathias, sons, received 600 pounds each in lawful money of Pennsylvania. "Henry Herner, my grandson and son of my son Frederick, shall have the sum of five pounds because he bears my name." The daughters were: Magdalena Conrad, Catharine Sleich, Elizabeth Ritter, Margaret Cock and Judith Neil. This is probably the Henry Herner who served in the Revolution. Tradition says he was the progenitor of all of the name in the eastern and western ends of the county.

Frederick Herner, son of Henry, died in 1788, in Exeter township. His will, made Jan. 4, 1788, was probated on June 2d following. His wife Mary survived him. Their children, all daughters, were: Elizabeth, Susanna, Mary, Rachel, Eleanor and Mary. Jacob Herner, brother of Frederick, was the executor of the will, as recorded in Book B, page 218.

Nicholas Herner died intestate. In 1790 he lived in Exeter township, and had one son above sixteen years, and two under, and two daughters. Tradition states that he and his family settled in the western part of Berks county about 1794. One John Harner, in 1825, died in Tulpehocken township, leaving his wife Barbara and two sons, Harrison and Benneville, over the latter of whom he, John Harner, appointed his brother George as guardian. In 1829 Daniel Harner died in Heidelberg township, leaving a wife Susanna and nine children to mourn his loss. Two of the sons were George and Frederick. It is said that this Daniel Harner was a brother of John and George and that the three were sons of Nicholas, this branch having changed the spelling of the name from Herner to Harner. In 1879 Frederick Harner, son of Daniel, died at Millersburg, in western Berks county, and was survived by his widow Hannah, and three daughters - Loranna Sarah, Mary Casia and Emma Susan.

Jacob Harner, great-grandfather of Daniel Z., was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, and took part in the battle of Germantown. He also at one time during the war drove a provisional team. After the term of his enlistment had expired he returned home and bought a farm on the eastern slope of Monocacy Hill, and about one mile south of Amityville, on which his nephew Frank Harner now lives. This farm was paid for with Continental money received for his services in war. Others of the neighborhood held their money and after the close of the war the money valueless. After the war he married Elizabeth Baum, of Baumstown, for whose family the village was named. They had ten children, as follows: Daniel, of Amity, m. Susan Rhoads; Henry, of Amity, m. Elizabeth Kirling; Anna m. William Holloway; Susan m. William Reider; Mary m. Jacob Reider; Elizabeth m. Jacob Geiger; Lena m. Jacob Greiner; Nellie m. Jacob or Samuel Romig; Sallie never married; and John lived at Roaring Creek. Of these, the children born to Daniel and Susan (Rhoads) were: Charles, m. to Mary Miller; Frank , m. to a Rhoads; Nathaniel, m. to Anna Miller; Sarah, m. to Uriah Weis; and Delila, unmarried. To William and Anna (Harner) Holloway was born a son Jacob, whose sons are Rev. Clayton and Calvin, the latter in the Penn National bank. To William and Susan (Harner) Reider was born a son Cyrus. To Jacob and Elizabeth (Harner) Geiger came Mahlon, John, Leah and Sarah.

Henry Harner, second son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Baum), made his home in Amity township. He married Elizabeth Kirling, and their children were: Benneville K.; Amos; Jeremiah m. Lucetta Happel; Jacob; Maberry; Sarah m. William Shirey, and is now (1909) in her ninety-seventh year, well preserved, and bright and cheerful, and is living at her home on Monocacy Hill; Lucetta m. Isaac Levengood; and Catharine m. a Stoudt.

Benneville K. Harner, son of Henry and Elizabeth, was born on the Harner homestead in Amity township Jan. 21, 1820, and died Sept. 24, 1900. He was a wheelwright by trade and traveled with a carpenter crew through the lower end of Berks county assisting in the erection of many houses and barns, being in the employ of William B. Brunner. For one year he worked for the Reading Railway Company. He died on the old farm where he was born, on the north side of Monocacy Hill, a tract fifty-one acres now owned by John Lange. In politics he was a Democrat, and was always interested in his party's success. He is buried at Amityville church, of which he was a Reformed member. He married Mary Ann Zimmerman, daughter of Henry Zimmerman of Amity township. She was born Feb. 16, 1833, and is now making her home with her son William Z., of Amity. To this union were born William Z.; Daniel Z., of Amity township; John Z., of Kutztown (born Aug. 4, 1872, m. April 2, 1898, Eva Katie M. Breitensteine, daughter of Martin, of Monocacy).

Daniel Z. Harner grew to manhood on his father's farm, obtaining his education in the township school and later in Amity Seminary under Prof. Calvin Holloway. He was licensed to teach by Prof. D. S. Keck, county superintendent, and taught eleven terms in the district - eight terms in the Mimby's schools, two in the Leopard school and one in Amityville. Since he gave up teaching he has devoted himself to farming, and since 1905 has been one of the roadmasters of the township. He resides in the western section of Amity, on the road from Baumstown to Weaverstown. He and his family belong to the Reformed Church at Amityville. In politics he is a Democrat, and for three years served as auditor.

On Sept. 28, 1901, Mr. Harner married Matilda H. Deeter, daughter of Amos R. and Mary (Herflicker) Deeter, of Exeter township.


p. 1061


Frank Harner, a well known young business man of Reading, a member of the firm of Vogel & Harner, conducting a first-class restaurant at No. 661 Penn street, was born at Reading, June 12, 1874, son of Aaron and Sarah (Maurer) Harner.

The grandfather of Mr. Harner was William Harner, who was born in Exeter township, Berks Co., Pa. By trade he was a plasterer. He married Anna Moyer and two of their children still survive, namely: Aaron and Henry, the latter of whom follows the trade of bricklayer at Reading (m. Minnie Kline).

Aaron Harner, father of Frank, was born Sept. 22, 1844, in Muhlenberg township, Berks Co., Pa. He learned the shoemaking trade, and has been in this ever since November, 1858. For a quarter of a century he has had his shop at No. 51 South Sixth street, Reading, and is one of the oldest workmen in the city. He married Sarah Maurer, who died in February, 1896, and is buried in the Charles Evans Cemetery. They had the following children: Charles died aged twenty-one years; Aaron died aged nine months; John died aged twenty-eight years; Emma m. James Gilmore and died aged thirty-six years; Lillie m. Lewis Bachofer and died aged twenty-six years; Harry died aged twenty-seven years; Frank; Samuel is employed by his brother Frank; Walter is also in Frank's employ; and James. The father of this family is a member of the Second Reformed Church. He belongs to Emblematic Lodge, No. 169, I. O. O. F.

Frank Harner attended the public schools in boyhood, and when he went to work it was as an employe of E. B. Slicter, who conducted an oyster business at Sixth and Cherry streets, Reading, and remained there for five years. After this he worked for a time for Frederick Peck, and in July, 1888, entered the employ of Mr. Vogel. In recognition of his years of faithful service, Mr. Vogel invited Mr. Harner in January, 1904, to become his partner and since then the business has been conducted under the firm name of Vogel & Harner.

Mr. Harner married Miss Carrie L. Luigard and they have one son, Theodore Franklin. Mr. Harner and family reside at No. 656 Penn street. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, belonging to Lodge No. 227, F. & A. M., Reading.


p. 967


Martin Harnish operates a fine tract of farming land in Marion township, Berks county, where he is a well known and popular resident. He was born Feb. 21, 1864, in Jackson township, Lebanon Co., Pa., son of Christian Harnish, of Mount Aetna.

Martin Harnish was educated in the schools of Bethel township, and remained at home with his father until twenty-one, when he went to West Lebanon, Lebanon county, and was there employed at the furnace for a period of three years. He returned to Bethel township for one year, when he removed to Tulpehocken township, and remained there fourteen years, at the end of which time he located on his present place in Marion township, where he has since carried on successful agricultural operations.

In 1886 Mr. Harnish married Catherine Walborn, daughter of Henry and S. (Kohr) Walborn, and to this union the following children have been born: Sallie L.; Bertha M., who is now the teacher of Moyer's school in Marion township; Carrie M.; Thomas M.; Christian H., and Paul C.

Mr. Harnish is a Democrat in his political affiliations, and in 1895, while a resident of Tulpehocken township, he served as a member of the school board. He and his family attend Tulpehocken Reformed Church, where he has served as deacon. Mr. Harnish is fraternally connected with the Jr. O. U. A. M., of Myerstown.


p. 1677


George W. Harrison was born June 8, 1833, on the Harrison homestead in Union township, now a part of the borough of Birdsboro. He was brought up on the homestead farm, and pursued his education in the local schools until he was fifteen years old, when he became a clerk in the store of Mr. John Bland in the village of Mt. Airy. After working in the store but a year, he was placed in charge of a store at Birdsboro which Mr. Bland had purchased, evidencing the confidence which Mr. Bland had in him. After continuing in this store for sixteen years he became a partner. They traded under the name of Bland & Harrison for five years, when Mr. Harrison purchased his partner's interest in the business. He then carried on the store for two years, until 1862, when he became the chief clerk to Major Henry S. Kupp, who was appointed commissioner for the district of Berks county in drafting men for the Civil war. In 1863, Major Kupp was appointed provost marshal of the district, and Mr. Harrison was continued as chief clerk at Reading until 1865, when the Secretary of War (Edwin M. Stanton) appointed him commissioner of drafts, and he filled this honorable and responsible position in a most creditable manner until the close of the war.

At the close of the war Mr. Harrison was appointed freight agent and assistant ticket agent of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company at Birdsboro which position he served until 1869, when he became the bookkeeper and cashier of E. & G. Brooke, manufacturers of iron at Birdsboro, and he filled this position until the company was incorporated in 1880 under the name of E. & G. Brooke Iron Co., when he became a director and its treasurer, and he held this office until his retirement a few years before his death.

Mr. Harrison was a devoted member of St. Michael's Episcopal Church, of Birdsboro, and served as vestryman for a number of years. He assisted in establishing the St. Michael's cemetery, and served as its superintendent, besides officiating as secretary and treasurer. From the time of reaching his majority, he was prominently identified with the Republican party. He took an active part in the erection of the borough of Birdsboro, of which he became one of the first councilmen. He assisted in establishing the First National Bank at Birdsboro in 1888, and served as vice-president until his decease. He was also identified with the Pennsylvania Diamond Drill & Machine Company, of Birdsboro, and with the Reading Foundry, serving each as a director. He was a member of Chandler Lodge, F. & M., at Reading, for many years. He died Feb. 22, 1903, survived by his widow and two sons, Ward and Henry K.

Mr. Harrison traced his ancestry back to Gen. John Harrison, who was publicly concerned with the execution of Charles I, for which offense King Charles II, upon his accession to the throne, caused him to be beheaded. His three sons then fled to America, locating in Virginia. One of them was John Harrison, who emigrated to Pennsylvania and became employed in the office of the surveyor-general, serving as one of the surveyors. In 1732, he took up a large tract of land, which was situated along the southerly bank of the Schuylkill river in Union township, and extended from Hay creek eastwardly for two miles, and southwardly from the river one mile. On this tract he erected a large stone building and carried on farming until his decease, when he was succeeded by his son John, who also carried on farming until his decease. Caleb Harrison, a grandson of the original owner and father of the subject of this sketch, became the next successor. Besides cultivating the farm, he officiated as justice of the peace for thirty years and took an active interest in local affairs, more especially relating to education, serving for many years as one of the school directors of the township. He was identified with establishing the Philomathean Academy on the Henry S. Kupp farm in 1855, and co-operated earnestly with Mr. Kupp and others in its successful management for ten years. In his earlier life he was brought up as a member of the Society of Friends, which was quite prominent in the vicinity at that time, but later in life became a member of St. Michael's Protestant Episcopal Church at Birdsboro.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:54:25 EDT

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