Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 1620


Samuel S. Hebner, a well-known resident of Windsor township, who is living retired on the old Hebner homestead, was born Feb. 8, 1838, on this farm, son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Steiger) Hebner, and grandson of Christian Hebner, the first of the name to settle in the Windsor township. When Samuel S. Hebner was a youth attending school in an old stone building that stood opposite the St. John's Church in Hamburg, the teacher convinced him that his name, if changed to Hepner, would be more easily pronounced. The boy therefore substituted the "p" for the "b", and persuaded his father also to adopt it, so that on the death of his grandfather, the tombstone cutter spelled the name Hepner. In later years, however, Samuel S. recognized the error, and has gone back to the old German way of spelling the name.

Christian Hebner was born Sept. 16, 1775, and died May 25, 1856. He married Anna Maria Hoffman, born Sept. 5, 1781, who died Nov. 9, 1861, and to them were born these children: William m. Hannah Steiger; Jacob; Samuel m. Sally Borkey; and Eliza m. Samuel Hamscher. Christian Hebner was a farmer all of his life, and a most highly esteemed and prominent citizen of his district.

Jacob Hebner was born March 28, 1814, and died March 2, 1890, having spent all of his life in Windsor township. When a youth he was employed on the farm, later learning the trade of stone mason, at which he worked for the railroad company for about forty years, building the breastworks of the large Blue Mountain dam, which has stood the storms and freshets of more than a quarter of a century. He was an excellent mechanic and a man of very good judgment. In politics he was a democrat, and served his district as school director. In 1837 Mr. Hebner was married to Elizabeth Steiger (or Stoyer), daughter of Samuel, and to this union there were born Samuel S., Jacob, Alfred, Christian, Henry, and Joseph, who is a prominent man of Hamburg, Pa. Jacob, Alfred, Christian and Henry all died of cholera morbus within a period of six weeks. The mother of these children, who was born Oct. 25, 1817, died aged eighty years, five months, twenty-five days.

Samuel S. Hebner worked on the farm of his father until twenty-three years old, and then for a time hired out to other farmers of the district. In the spring of 1863 he began tending the Five Locks, below Hamburg, remaining there for five years, when he began operations on his father's farm. In later years he purchased this property, which consists of ninety-five acres of good land. On it he built, in 1890, a substantial Swiss barn 40 x 76 feet, to replace a smaller barn built by his grandfather in 1814. Mr. Hebner also owns another tract of eighty acres, known as the Major Miller farm, this property being tenanted. The old homestead, on which Mr. Hebner resides, is now tenanted by his son-in-law, Melvin R. Merkel. Mr. Hebner and his family are members of Zion's Union Church. Politically he is independent.

Mr. Hebner was married to Hettie Behler, daughter of Jacob and Addie (Croll) Behler, and to this union there were born two daughters: Lillie L., born in Topeka, Kans., Sept. 27, 1880, married Irwin Schlenker, and they have three children, - Hettie A., Ralph E., and Samuel I.; and Lizzie S., born, born Dec. 16, 1883, married Melvin R. Merkel, by whom she has had three children, - Samuel W. and George Kermit, both of whom died in infancy, and Adam.

Mr. Hebner is fond of travel, and in 1880 he and his wife took a trip through the West, visiting various places of interest, and remaining one and one-half years. In his latter years Mr. Hebner has done much reading, and his library is an extensive one. He is a pleasing conversationalist, and can recollect many interesting reminiscences of earlier days in the township. He has a number of valuable old heirlooms of the family, one of these being the table knife of his grandfather, which he uses daily. At the time of his daughters' marriages, he presented each with a twenty-dollar gold piece, a complete line of household goods, and a farm stock worth $1,300. He is highly esteemed in his community, and may be recorded among the good, substantial residents of Berks county.


p. 428


William F, Hechler, one of the leading citizens of West Reading, Pa., who is serving as one of the first councilmen of the new borough, was born Aug. 22, 1850, in Penn township, Berks county, son of Amos and Elizabeth (Kissling) Hechler.

Rudolph Heckler (Hechler), the founder of this numerous family in America, came to this country from the Fatherland prior to 1741, and settled in Exeter township, where he became the owner of considerable land. In 1759 he was one of the heaviest tax payers of the district, paying twenty-two pounds, and he was considered a leading citizen of his locality.

Daniel Hechler, the grandfather of William F., was a cabinet-maker by trade, an occupation which he followed in Exeter township, where he died at the age of eighty-seven years. He married a Miss Ritter, who reached the age of seventy-three years, the latter being buried in the Ritter cemetery in Exeter township, and Mr. Hechler at Alsace Church. They had children as follows: Elam, a hatter, settled in Reading; Amos; Laurence died in Schuylkill county; Elizabeth died single; and Mrs. Joseph Snyder.

Amos Hechler, father of William F., was born in Exeter township, but as a young man removed to Penn township, where he worked first at farm work, and later at blacksmithing. He also learned the carpenter's trade, which he followed for upward of thirty years, then engaging in the saw mill business in Luzerne county, Pa., and later at Reading. He next went to Caroline county, Md., where he died in 1873. at the age of forty-eight years. Mr. Hechler was married to Elizabeth Kissling, daughter of John and Catherine (Spayd) Kissling, of Penn township. She died in Caroline county, Md. at the age of forty-four years, seven weeks after the death of her husband. Both are buried at Bern Church in Penn township. Mr. and Mrs. Hechler had these children: William F.; Leander m, M. H. Cohee, of Caroline county, Md., and died in 1875; Charles W. is of Wilmington, Del.; and Rosanna m. Irwin D. Klopp, of West Reading, Pennsylvania.

William F. Hechler attended the schools of Penn township and his first work was on the farm, where he continued until nineteen years of age. He then learned the cabinet-making trade, which he followed for nine years, after which he took, up carpentering, an occupation at which he was engaged for a like period, after which he was for sixteen years employed at the old West Reading Planing Mill. In 1902 Mr. Hechler engaged with Schrader & Kline, of Penn street, working at cabinet making. Mr. Hechler came to West Reading in 1889, and in 1895 built his home at No. 516 Penn avenue. He is a Democrat in politics and has become very prominent in public matters, for three years he served as a member of the school board of Spring township, and while in office, in 1899, assisted in building the large schoolhouse now located in the borough of West Reading. On May 7, 1907, he was elected to the council of West Reading, as one of the first members of that body. He is a member of St. James Reformed Church of West Reading, for three years served in the consistory, and for several years was also a teacher in the Sunday-school. Fraternally he is connected with the Royal Arcanum, the Brotherhood of America, and the Sr. 0. U. A. M.

Mr. Hechler married Rebecca Rishel, daughter of William and Maria (Wenrich) Rishel. To them there have been born children as follows: Annie m. William H. Mattes; Evan W. m. Annie Hunter; Paul H., of Coatesville, Pa., m. Annie Sunday; Rosie m. Morris Wagner; Katie m. Edward Adams; William, single: Miss Sallie and Adam, twins, of whom the latter died at the age of eight months; and May Edna died when twenty-three days old.


p. 950


One of the leading industries of Reading, Pa., is that of paint manufacturing and in this connection may be mentioned the late Edward C. Hecht, a prominent business man of the city, whose death occurred Dec. 21, 1893. Mr. Hecht was born in January 1831, in Easton, Pa., son of Rev. John Peter and Mary (Ziegler) Hecht.

"Rev. John Peter Hecht was born in Bucks county, Pa., Feb. 28, 1790. Bereft of his father in infancy, he was taken charge of by kind friends connected with the German Lutheran Church in Philadelphia, who perceiving the germ that sparkled in the little casket, began the process of development, with the view of making a preacher out of him. So successful were they that at three years of age he began to read, and the promise of a Bible, to be all his own, if at the end of two more years he would read any chapter that might be designated, operated as it was intended to do, upon him, and the years that should have been spent in getting his little hands and face dirty with mud pies and kindred employments were passed in hard laborious study. He gained the Bible and the applause of his admiring friends, but sealed his own fate against any physical culture or mental rest. Forthwith began uninterrupted schooling and drilling. At ten years of age he had advanced in mathematics to surveying, and the boy of sixteen stood up on Sabbath in the church, corner Fourth and Cherry streets, in Philadelphia, to preach. Tremblingly he turned to his preceptors, Drs. Helmuth and Schmidt, and said: "I cannot preach to-night." Without a sign of the pity they felt for him, they both said: "you must." Knowing that it would be useless to offer further resistance, he stammered through a few sentences, but found his fearfulness passing away as he proceeded, until towards the close he was perfectly calm. He was well repaid when those who had carefully watched him so many years, congratulated him and bade him God-speed in his studies.

At eighteen years of age he had charge of two congregations near the Trappe, Montgomery Co., Pa. His mother and sister were to live with him, and having completed the arrangements of the parsonage on the Saturday afternoon before his regular services were to begin, these three were resting under the shade trees in front of the house. Reluctantly the mother said, after considerable anxiety about it: " Well, John, our house is now all ready and very comfortable, but there is not a thing in the house to eat." Without a moment's hesitation, her son answered: "Mother, the Lord will provide."

But a few minutes afterwards a carriage was before the gate and a man asked where the "new preacher" was. The preacher approaching and announcing himself met with the salutation: "Why you are only a boy." "Well," said the preacher, " I can't help that; I was sent here, and I suppose I am the one you mean." The man studied a minute, and then blurted out: "Well, well, come Betsy. We want to be married, and if you are the new preacher, why I guess you can marry us." The fee provided for them over their first Sabbath. It was during his stay at the Trappe that he became acquainted with the school teacher, Francis R. Shunk, and a friendship formed between them that continued during life.

"From the Trappe he was called to Carlisle, Pa. Here he became acquainted with Mary Ziegler of Harrisburg, Pa., whom he married, and in whom he had a faithful wife through all his pastoral labors. Removing to Easton, Pa., with their infant daughter, Eliza (later the wife of Judge W. L. Sebring), Mr. Hecht commenced his labors in St. John's Lutheran and Reformed congregations jointly owned and worshipped in the present Reformed Church on North Third street. Did our space permit, a volume of incidents and personals might be written, which would illustrate the pains and pleasures of a thirty-year´s pastorate. Let it suffice, for the present, to say that Mr. Hecht´s labors were perhaps more severe than any other pastor in Easton has even been called upon to perform. Preaching in German and English three sermons each Sabbath, one German and one English lecture during the week, and attending innumerable funerals, sometimes as many as fifteen in a week, at all of which custom demanded a sermon and regular service in the church. For many years St. James Church in Phillipsburg, N. J., was attached to St. John's Easton. This church is now under Rev. S. Henry's charge. "Mr. Hecht's reputation as a scholar and pulpit orator induced many young men to place themselves under his instruction during his earlier years. Among these was the world´s greatest surgeon, Prof. Samuel D. Gross, M. D., LL. D., D. C. L. Oxon. Rev. Joseph B. Gross, a brother of the learned professor, was also a pupil of Mr. Hecht's. He studied theology with him, was many years a faithful and successful pastor, and is spending the declining years of his life in writing and publishing the results of careful and sanctified meditation upon the great truths of our holy religion. The Rev. Henry S. Miller, one of his earlier disciples, still lives in peaceful retirement at Phoenixville, Pa. "Some have fallen asleep" who fed their minds from John P. Hecht's instructions, not however before they had faithfully imparted to others that which they had received. Among these were Rev. W. B. Kemerer, Rev. Richard Collier and Rev. Nathan Yaeger.

"Mr. Hecht's interest in the public schools induced him to accept the office of director, at a time when such a position was by no means as popular as at present. The board at one time elected him superintendent of the schools in the hope that order might be brought out of confusion and want of system prevailing. This, however, required too much of his time and attention, and he had to resign. "During all these years the records of the grand "old mother Synod" of Pennsylvania (Luther Church) show that either as secretary or president, or chairman of the talents and qualifications were in constant requisition, and while in the Synod of New York, to which he appears to have been frequently delegated, he was always received with distinguishing marks of respect and esteem. "Notwithstanding all these duties, his work among the poor, the sick and prisoners, received his most cheerful attention. Often when he found that fear of contagion deprived some one of proper care, Mr. Hecht became almost nurse and physician to him, always manifesting the same faith in Diving Providence for himself and his own numerous family that he exhibited when as a boy (in years) he began his ministry. Busy "in season and out of season" with his Master's work, he yet found time for much study and research. He was especially fond of the languages, and his Hebrew Bible, in the possession of his son, is a monument of his diligence and patient toil. Rabbi Cohen, himself a distinguished linguist, pronounced him the best Hebrew scholar he ever knew. The late Hon. Washington McCartney and he would often study their Latin and Greek together. He was completely "at home" with the German, and his sermons and addresses in that language often started the inquiry as to his fatherland. He was for some time professor in German in Lafayette College. Of this institution he was also a trustee.

"In the effort to summarize the business of thirty-nine years, we are amazed at the magnitude and diversity of labors performed by this man. And when it is remembered that not one year of his life was given to the strengthening of his physical being, but for over fifty years his mind and brains were on a continued strain, the wonder is that the whole man did not give way before. Loved and respected by his people, as well as the entire community, many of whom he had married, whose bereaved hearts he had comforted with the promises of a loving Saviour, whom he baptized and laid his hands upon in confirmation, with the most confiding nature in all mankind that anyone ever possessed, he moved in a sort of home circle everywhere, with a kind word for everyone, and receiving from all the affectionate tribute of love and respect.

"As if jealous of such a peaceful relationship, some evil spirit suddenly injected the question of party politics into the congregation of St. John's, and is a very short time the worst passions ruled, and the one quiet and contented became mad and unreasonable. The shock that the pastor then experienced utterly overcame him, and in May 1845, he resigned his charge. In vain did his people beg of him to recall his resignation. Other and more zealous counsels prevailed with him, and from his life of toil and constant employment he fell into one of listless melancholy. The "heart bowed down" he would gather his children about him on the Sabbath and expound some portion of the Holy Word, when the old familiar hymns would be sung, passers-by would stop to listen, and at last asked permission to unite in these services. The doors opened, the house was crowded with those who had not lost their love for the enfeebled pastor. The young men made benches and placed them where they could be distributed through the house, in order to seat the throngs who came. At length it was proposed to rent the Armory on Second street and hold services there. This Mr. Hecht thought might look like an effort to form a new congregation. Indeed it was already charged that such was his purpose, but very unjustly. He decided that he would lecture on Sabbath afternoons to a congregation of Christian worshippers, which was to be independent of all denominations. Such services were held for a few weeks, at which Mr. Hecht repeated some of the sermons he had formerly delivered at St. John's and other churches. These manuscripts are in the hands of his son, and are marked by the author in a trembling hand. These services were very abruptly brought to a close, however, when Mr. Hecht learned that they were to be perverted from their original purpose. This closed his attempts at a public ministry. The infirmities of a premature old age were crowding fast upon him; the unwise course pursued with him in his early live was bearing its bitter fruit now. The precocious preacher, at the age when mind and body ought to be, and is when properly educated, at its perfection, was a feeble, decrepit old man, and to-day there are men who saw him in the last years of his life, who can scarcely believe that he was but fifty-eight years old. "In less than three years after his resignation of St. John's, Mr. Hecht was taken away to "rest from his labors". The month of January 1849, saw him wasting away very fast. Repeated attacks of paralysis prevented distinct articulation, while his helpless body relied upon kind hands that never wearied in administering to him. His last night on earth, however, saw a remarkable change. Awakening from what was feared was his death sleep; he asked to be helped to his chair. His family gathered around and hung tenderly upon his words, now to their surprise as clear as when he proudly stood up before his audience to preach Christ crucified. Once again he was permitted to testify for his Lord and Master, and for an hour and a half, perhaps, he spoke to each one present in such tender, loving words as only a pure, true Christian, and a tender, loving father knows to utter. Many circumstances he recalled that some of the family had forgotten, showing the complete return of all his faculties, it may be, for the opportunity of confessing his Saviour once more. Acknowledging his own sins, he had yet only joy in the assurance that all were borne away by the sacrifice on Calvary. With a final farewell and a loving message to three of his daughters absent, he calmly asked to be helped to bed. Having fallen into the last heavy sleep of the dying, one of his daughters vainly attempted to arouse him. She had just reached his bedside, and in her agony she declared that she wanted but a word of recognition before he died. She whispered in his ear, "Jesus," and instantly the heavy breathing ceased and raising his hands he said: "O yes! I know Him and I love Him." Only this, and he at once relapsed into the same comatose condition until he ceased to breathe. This state lasted for several hours, and many kind friends visited the chamber where their old pastor was dying. Chief among the mourners was the Rev. Thomas Reardon, pastor of St. Bernard's Catholic Church. He, too, wished to look once again in the face of the man who had met him as a Christian brother, and when a stranger in Easton had called upon and encouraged him. Mr. Reardon said, in speaking of the death of his friend: "That solemn deathbed scene is indelibly impressed on my memory. I retain a vivid recollection of the sacred stillness of that supreme hour in which amidst the tears and prayers of all the members of his numerous and most affectionately attached family and a few steadfast and devoted friends, he calmly yielded up his spirit to that Divine Master to whose services he had consecrated the best years of his life, and through whose atoning mercy he humbly hoped to be admitted to the enjoyment of a blissful immortality."

"The funeral services were conducted by the Rev. George Diehl, then pastor of Christ Lutheran Church. The body was laid in St. John's graveyard, whence it was removed to the Easton cemetery, then just begun. His widow, whose memory is enshrined in the hearts of all the older members of community, died in 1858. Their eleven children were: Eliza, Sophia, Louisa, Henrietta, Caroline, Anna, Amanda, Emma, Matilda, Edward and Mary Z."

Edward C. Hecht was educated in the schools of Easton, and at an early age entered the dry goods store of his cousin, Mr. Gross, with whom he remained for some time, and then returned to his home place and clerked in a dry goods store until he engaged in the drug business, continuing therein for some years, and then turning his attention to the manufacture of paint at Easton, where he continued until 1881. He then came to Reading and for four years was identified with A. Wilhelm in the same business. From that time until his death, in company with B. Frank Ruth, he conducted the Lehicton Paint Mills, located on the Bushkill Creek, which furnished ample water-power for many factories in the district. Their structure, a substantial three-story building, 30 x 50 feet, had a capacity of 1000 tons of paint annually, these being of all varieties, colors and grades. The specialties of these mills were the "French Parlor Paint," which became very popular on account of its superior glossy appearance and snowy whiteness, and a special paint used for railroad cars, made from the best mineral colors. A fine article of coach and car "filling" was also manufactured, this being for the purpose of filling the pores of the wood, to create a high polish. In addition to these mills, Mr. Hecht was the proprietor of a large talc or soapstone quarry, covering about sixty-five acres. He was a shrewd and capable business man, and any enterprise with which he was connected was bound to prove successful. A consistent member of the Lutheran Church, he was active in church work, and was a director of the Lutheran cemetery at Gettysburg, Pa. In politics he was a Republican, and while at Easton served as a notary. Fraternally he was a thirty-second degree Mason and a member of Mt. Penn Council, Royal Arcanum.

In 1855 Mr. Hecht married Matilda Evans, daughter of Lewis and Margaret (Davis) Evans, and to them were born these children: John P., M.D., of Summerville, N. J.; Leila, wife of Joseph A. Byers, of Reading, Pa.; Herbert T., superintendent of the Reading Iron Company´s mill at Danville, Pa.; Edward C. of Massachusetts; and Mary Z., who married Charles W. Haug, and has one child Charles Edward.


p. 1464


Charles T. Heckler, late of Reading, was born June 29, 1872, in West Reading, son of William A. and Emma (Miller) Heckler, and grandson of Jacob Heckler.

Jacob Heckler was of Scottish descent. When a young man he came to Berks county from Chester county, Pa. He had learned the milling business, and upon locating to this locality he opened the old Schwartz mill, near the Pennsylvania bridge on the Schuylkill river. He operated the mill for several years, and later removed to Spring township, where he operated a farm for some time, dying in that township. His wife's maiden name was Adams. They were the parents of the following children: Charles, Augustus, William A., Henry, Anna, Thomas, and one that died in infancy. They were members of the Reformed Church.

William A. Heckler was born in West Reading, but received his education in the schools of Spring township. He followed farming practically all his life, although in young manhood he had learned the cigar-maker's trade. His farm was located where Wyomissing is now situated. Mr. Heckler now lives retired, looking after his valuable real estate interests. He and his wife became the parents of four children, as follows: Cora M., married to Charles High, a coal dealer at Reading: Charles T.; Laura; and Alice. Mrs. Heckler died in 1885, aged thirty-eight years. The family belonged to the Reformed Church. Mr. Heckler is a member of the K. G. E. In politics he is a Republican, and has held minor offices.

Picture of Charles T. HecklerCharles T. Heckler was educated in the public schools in his native locality and of Spring township, and also attended Brunner's Business College and night school at Reading. He learned the machinist's trade with Elias Schmehl, and followed it for five years. On May 6, 1896, he began the bicycle business on Fourth street, near Penn, later removing to Penn near Seventh, and for seven years was at No. 222 Penn street, his late location. He was successful from the start, and besides bicycles sold motor cycles, phonographs, gas fixtures and mantles, and electrical goods. He handled the Reading, Pierce, Columbia, Iver Johnson and Packer bicycles.

On Oct. 13, 1898, Mr. Heckler married Miss Lizzie Masseno, daughter of William Masseno. Socially he was a well-known Mason, holding membership in Reading Lodge, No. 549, F. & A. M.; Excelsior Chapter, No. 237, R. A. M.; Reading Commandery, No. 42, K. T.; Reading Lodge of Perfection; Reading Consistory; and Rajah Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S. In politics he was a Republican, but never sought office. Mr. Heckler died Sept. 13, 1908, and was laid to rest in Charles Evans cemetery with Masonic rites.


p. 1539


Adam M. Heckman, a farmer in Douglass township, Berks county, was born in Alsace township, this county, Jan. 11, 1861, son of Joseph and Louisa (Masser) Heckman, and a descendant from a Hessian soldier of King George's army.

(I) Johan George Heckman, the pioneer ancestor of the Heckman family, was born Jan. 6, 1748, in Hessen Cassel, Germany, and came to America during the Revolution as a soldier in King George's army. After the war with many of his countrymen he settled in the Alsatian hills in Alsace township, Berks county. He engaged in farming three miles from Temple in Alsace township, and there owned the farm later the property of his grandson Abraham. Here is married a woman of foreign birth, Maria Magdelena Hamm, born Aug. 16, 1755, died July 6, 1832, who had accompanied her parents to America when quite young, and for many years she lived in a Quaker family. When she had grown to womanhood she adopted the Quaker style of dress. Johan George Heckman was assessed in 1780 with 100 acres of land. In 1790 the Federal census reports him the head of a family of thirteen children: Samuel (born Oct. 6, 1783, died Aug. 19, 1851), Peter (1777-1857, is buried at Zion's Church in Perry township), George, Adam, John, Daniel, Jacob, William, Magdalena (m. Henry Schmeck), Susanna (m. John Schmeck), Catherine (m. John Shade), Elizabeth (m. Peter Betz) and Mrs. Nicholas Wagner.

(II) Daniel Heckman, son of Johan George, was born on his father's farm in Alsace township Jan. 23, 1790, and died March 25, 1848. He was a farmer and his son Abraham succeeded him in the ownership of the home farm. Daniel Heckman and his wife were both Lutherans, and are buried at Alsace church. She was, in her maidenhood, Esther Noll, and was born in 1803, and died in 1890. They were the parents of twelve children: Kate, m. to George Wessner; Abraham, deceased; Joseph; Adam, 1830-1846; Charles, Sophia, m. to Levi Reber; Sarah, m. to Solomon Dunkel; Mary, m. to Paris Althouse; Lucetta and Rebecca, who died young; and two who died in infancy.

(III) Joseph Heckman, son of Daniel H., was born Nov. 8, 1827, in Alsace township, and was reared to farming, an occupation he followed until his retirement in 1907. He lived in Ontelaunee township a number of years, and there in 1870, his wife, Louisa Masser, died, and was buried at Alsace church. She was born in 1830. Their children were: Charles, who lives upon the homestead in Earl; Adam M.; John; Daniel and Thomas, deceased; Emma, m. to Daniel Ritter; Kate, m. to Jacob Mauger, Sarah, m. to Jacob Rahn; Louisa, m. to Birt Gift; Ellen, m. to Nicholas Flicker; and Angelina, who died small. In 1883 Joseph Heckman came to Earl township, and bought a farm of 126 acres which he still owns, but which is tenanted by his son Charles. He, himself, is well preserved and active, and is found daily at work about his home.

(IV) Adam M. Heckman, son of Joseph, received his education in the local schools at Blandon, Oley Line, Quaker Meeting and Berkley. He worked for his father on the farm until he was twenty, when he was employed at regular wages by his father, remaining there for two years, after which he drove a milk route in Reading for one year. In 1887 he located in Douglass township, where his first work was driving a team at the stone quarry where he continued for nearly two years. The next five years found him employed at the Glasgow rolling mills, and one year more in a steel mill. During 1894 he again drove a milk route in Reading, and in 1895 he began farming in Douglass township, a vocation in which he has since continued. He owns the J. Sands farm at the Montgomery county line consisting of seventy-nine acres. The Colebrookdale railroad runs through his place. The stone house was built about the time of the American Revolution. He is industrious, and every thing about this place betokens the careful and progressive farmer. In religious faith he is a Lutheran and he and his family belong to Alsace Church in Muhlenberg township.

In 1887, Mr. Heckman married (first) Clara Ruppert, daughter of John Ruppert, and she died in the twenty-second year of her age, leaving no children. He married (second) Clara Egolf, daughter of Mahlon Egolf, a farmer of Douglass, and three children have been born of this union: Sarah M., Killian A. and Mary.


p. 1112


Harry A. Heckman, who was the building inspector of the city of Reading from 1902 to 1908, is of German-English ancestry. He was born in Reading Jan. 12, 1857, son of Henry and Rebecca (Albright) Heckman.

(I) Johann George Heckman, the pioneer ancestor of the Heckman family, was born Jan. 6, 1748, in Hessen-Cassel, Germany, and came to America during the Revolution as a soldier in King George's army. After the close of the war, with others of his countrymen, he settled in the Alsatian hills in Alsace township, Berks Co., Pa. He became a farmer, his property lying three miles from Temple; it is now owned by his grandson Abraham. In 1780 he was assessed with 100 acres of land. He married a woman of foreign birth, Maria Magdalena Hamm, born Aug. 16, 1755, died July 6, 1832, who had accompanied her parents to America when quite young. For many years she lived in a Quaker family, and when she was grown to womanhood she adopted the Quaker style of dress. In 1790 the Federal census reports Johann George Heckman the head of a family of thirteen children: George; Peter, 1777-1857, is buried at Zion's Church in Perry township; Samuel, born Oct. 6, 1783, died Aug. 19, 1851; John; Adam; Daniel; Jacob; William; Magdalena m. Henry Schmeck; Susanna m. John Schmeck; Catharine m. John Shade; Elizabeth m. Peter Betz; and Mrs. Nicholas Wagner. The father of these children died March 22, 1835.

(II) Adam Heckman, son of Johann George, born July 29, 1789, married, July 30, 1815, Catharine Heffner, and they lived on their farm above Temple. Their children were: William m. Angelina Huey; Adam, born May 15, 1823, died March 31, 1863, m. Isabella Rothenberger (1830-1904); Jacob m. Abbie Devsher; John m. Susan Seidel; George m. Kittie Seidel; Elizabeth (Schmehl); Catharine (Fies); Hannah (Schmeck); and Lena (Rothermel). Adam Heckman died Dec. 16, 1863. At the time of his death he had forty-five grandchildren.

(II) George Heckman, son of Johann George, was a tanner. He is buried in the Dunkards' graveyard at Pricetown, Pa. His wife was Esther Wanner, and they were the parents of children as follows: (1) Peter moved to Ohio. He had a son who became colonel in the Union army during the Civil war, and was killed at the battle of Gettysburg, where a monument was erected to his memory. (2) George (1803-1891) located in Minersville, Schuylkill county, where both he and his wife died. He married Sophia Hoch, daughter of Daniel Hoch, of Berks county, and she died in 1894, aged eighty-six years, after a married life of sixty-two years. They had six children: Daniel H., born at Pricetown, Feb. 12, 1831, who accompanied his parents in 1846 to Minersville, where he has become a wealthy tobacconist (he m. Magdalena Miller, of Berks county, and has two children, Willard T. and Susan E.); Susanna, who died in infancy; Amelia (Osman); George W., a merchant at Minersville; Sally Ann and Elizabeth Catherine, who both died young. (3) Aaron died in Pricetown. (4) Esther married Daniel Miller.

(II) John (Johannes) Heckman, son of George, was born on the homestead in Alsace township, March 21, 1787, and died at the old homestead in Frush valley, April 23, 1859, aged seventy-two years, one month two days. By trade he was a carpenter, and this he followed in connection with farming in Alsace township. He owned a forty-acre farm in Frush Valley. He married Magdalena Noll, who was born Sept. 17, 1795, and died Dec. 15, 1886, aged ninety-one years, two months, twenty-eight days, and was buried in the Heckman lot in the cemetery at Alsace Church. Mr. Heckman was first buried in the old Alsace graveyard, and later removed to the lot of Henry Heckman at Alsace church, of which the family were Lutheran members. Of the fourteen children born to John and Magdalena Heckman, four died young. The other were: Henry is mentioned below; Nicholas died in infancy; Nicholas (2) m. Hannah Bernhart, and died at Pricetown March 11, 1904, in his eighty-second year, (was born in 1822). Magdalena m. Samuel Rothenberger; Samuel m. Elizabeth Deisher, died at Philadelphia, and is buried at Allentown; Francis m. Lucy Bush, of Pricetown, and is now (1909) seventy-eight years old, living at Pricetown; Lewis m. Susan Lutz, and died in Frush Valley; Amelia m. Amos Schmeck; Sarah m. Francis Hartman; and Catharine died young. All, including the respective husbands and wives, are deceased, with the exception of Francis and Amelia.

(II) Daniel Heckman, son of Johann George, was born Jan. 23, 1790, and lived on a farm in Alsace (now Muhlenberg) township, adjoining that of his brother Adam. He married Hettie (Esther) Noll (sister to Magdalena, wife of his brother Johannes), and they had twelve children: Catharine, or Kate, m. to George Wessner; Abraham, deceased; Joseph; Adam, 1830-1846; Charles; Sophia, m. to Levi Reber; Sarah, m. to Solomon Dunkel; Mary m. to Paris Althouse; Lucetta and Rebecca, who died small; and two who died in infancy.

(II) Jacob Heckman, son of Johann George, was born in Alsace township, and prior to 1808 settled in Windsor township, Berks county. He died during the Civil war, at the age of eighty-four years. He was a stone mason and farmer, and left a large estate to his family. He married a Miss Stricker, and their children were: Samuel, Daniel, Benjamin, Adam S., John, Isaac, Jared, Elias, Charles, Polly (m. Charles Oldt), Kate (m. Charles Wessner), Susanna (m. Aaron Miller), Sarah (m. John Lilly, of Union county). All are deceased.

Picture of Henry Heckman(III) Henry Heckman, son of John and Magdalena (Noll), was born Aug. 16, 1820. He was one of the leading and active contractors and builders for a period of over thirty-five years, having erected some of the best buildings in the city, whose architecture differed not widely from that of the present day, more particularly in the construction of high-class residences. He ranked among the best builders of the city. He led a retired life for over thirty years, and died Sept. 16, 1905, aged eighty-five years, one month, ten days. He married Rebecca Albright, who was born Jan. 26, 1824, daughter of George and Catharine (Burns) Albright. The father was born in Germany July 14, 1795, and died in his fifty-ninth year. Mrs. Catharine (Burns) Albright, born Dec. 10, 1798, daughter of Richard Burns, a native of Scotland, died in her thirty-third year. To Henry and Rebecca (Albright) Heckman were born eight children: Daniel A., born April 29, 1844, is a foreman in the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company's service; George A., born Aug. 22, 1845, is a real estate dealer; Rebecca A., born June 7, 1847, died July 6, 1850, aged three years and twenty-nine days; Amanda A. was born Dec. 28, 1850; Susan A., born Oct. 21, 1852, died Dec. 28, 1856, aged four years, two months; Harry A. was born Jan. 12, 1857; Catharine A., born March 8, 1860, died Oct. 19, 1861; Alice A. was born May 16, 1865.

(IV) Harry A. Heckman was educated in the high schools of Reading. At the age of seventeen he entered his father's employ, and served a four years' apprenticeship at the carpenter's and builder's trade. In those days much of the work was done by hand, and the young man received the old-time thorough training in every detail, thus perfecting himself for a most successful career. When the father retired, Mr. Heckman entered the employ of the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company, and spent seven years, working in every department, in both the building of rolling stock and in the erection of different buildings, for the company. At the end of that time he engaged in house carpentering, his original occupation, and then for twelve years carried on the contracting and building business, winning a high reputation for honest and efficient work in the hundreds of buildings he erected in Reading.

At the February election of 1891 Mr. Heckman was elected a member of the Reading school board from the Ninth ward, and during his term of office there were two schoolhouses built in the upper section of the ward, where persistent efforts had been made to get school facilities for almost twenty years. This was due largely to the untiring work and interest of Mr. Heckman, who served on some of the most important committees, and was chairman of the building committee for a number of years. In May, 1899, he resigned, moving into the Eighth ward, where he spent five years, and then moved into the Sixteenth ward, where with Cyrus Q. Guldin he erected their beautiful homes at Sixteenth and Mineral Spring Road, Mr. Heckman now living at No. 1604.

In 1902, when the Hon. Edward Yeager, mayor of Reading, wished to appoint a building inspector whose knowledge of the builder's art would lend weight to his inspections and insure the elevation of the office to the useful plane it was intended to occupy, he chose Mr. Heckman, and that his choice was justified by results was shown at the end of the three years' term, when the Hon. Edward R. Gerber, succeeding to the office of mayor, re-appointed Mr. Heckman, to the very great satisfaction of the public. Mr. Heckman as building inspector introduced a number of reforms and advanced the dignity of the office. During his career, one of great importance, came the investigating of the different opera houses and public buildings and halls after the destruction of the Iroquois Theatre in Chicago, and the revising of the building ordinance. All this was additional work entailed upon the office. In the year 1905 there were 1,094 buildings erected--the highest record ever made in the history of Reading for one year's building operations. Mr. Heckman after his induction into office brought such a standard of excellence into this department that it is not only one of the most important, but one of the most systematic. It has become a bureau of general information, and is, indeed, now able to bear the burden of being directly responsible for the safety of the people so far as the construction of buildings is concerned.

Since attaining his majority Mr. Heckman has been prominently identified with the order of Odd Fellowship, of which he has made a deep study. He is also connected with a number of other secret institutions. He was one of the founders of the Philomathean Literary Society, a prominent organization in its day. He is also a member of the Board of Trade and is active in Sunday-school and church work, having served as a vestryman of Trinity Lutheran Church for a number of years, for a long time was a teacher in the Sunday-school, and at present is one of the librarians.

Mr. Heckman has been very prominently identified in the adjusting and appraising of fire losses for the last twenty-five years and has settled the bulk of losses on the most important buildings in the city damaged by fire in years gone by, up to the present time, his ripe experience having made his services to be felt with the middle department of the underwriters association and the assured throughout the whole State of Pennsylvania.

On Dec. 30, 1879, Mr. Heckman was united in marriage with Hannah E. Hafer, daughter of the late Daniel H. Hafer, who formerly was a hat manufacturer in this city. Mrs. Heckman is a graduate of Reading high school, class of 1878. Seven sons have blessed this union: William Burns died in infancy; Daniel Warren was born July 4, 1882; Edwin Walter died in infancy; Harry Raymond was born Dec. 11, 1886; Herbert Russell, born Nov. 5, 1889, a graduate of the high school, class of 1909, is preparing himself for the profession of civil engineer; George Albright was born Aug. 19, 1893, and Stewart Dale on May 3, 1896.

(V) Daniel Warren Heckman, son of Harry A., attended the Reading schools until he was sixteen years of age, when he accepted a position with the Reading Cycle Company, with whom he remained nearly a year. He then spent nearly five years as a salesman for Dives, Pomeroy & Stewart, and three years more as a clerk for the Maurice E. Roeder Transfer Company. He took a course in bookkeeping at Stoner's Interstate Commercial College and for three years studied in the night high school. Having always been fond of music, for five years, 1894 to 1899, he was a member of the Christ Episcopal Church choir, and at present is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church choir. In 1906-07 he took a course in pianoforte and pipe organ tuning with the New England Conservatory of Music, Boston, Mass., and graduated therefrom June 26, 1907. He is a present engaged in the pianoforte and organ tuning business, with his office at No. 1604 Mineral Spring Road, Reading. He is also chorister of the Hinnershitz Union Church choir, Tuckerton, Pa. On April 8, 1900, he became a communicant member of Trinity Lutheran Church, and is active in its work, is president of the Luther League, and teacher in the Sunday-school; and he is treasurer of Trinity Lutheran Beneficial Brotherhood.

(V) Harry Raymond Heckman, son of Harry A., graduated from the Reading high school in the class of 1905, and then entered the office of Scholl & Maurer, architects. He conducted his father's business when the latter was engaged in his duties as building inspector, and the business is now carried on under the name of H. Raymond Heckman & Co., architects and builders, the father again connecting himself with the business. The office is at room 508, Baer building. H. Raymond Heckman designed and superintended the work of the beautiful homes at the southeast corner of Sixteenth street and Mineral Spring Road erected by Messrs. Heckman and Guldin, the design being so different from others erected in Reading.


p. 1019


Jeremiah W. Heckman, one of the leading manufacturers of Perry township, whose business is established at Shoemakersville, was born in that village, Jan. 14, 1860, son of Adam S. and Matilda (Wheeler) Heckman.

Adam S. Heckman was born in Tilden township in 1838, son of Jacob Heckman and wife (whose maiden name was Stricker), and engaged in carpentering in his native township all of his life. He married Matilda Wheeler, born in 1840, in Windsor (now Perry) township, daughter of Henry Wheeler. Seven children were born to this union: Jeremiah W.; Mary is unmarried; Emma m. James F. Seidel; Ida m. William Heim; Milton m. Susan Mervine; Sallie m. Allen Urfer; Howard m. Lizzie Reber.

Jeremiah W. Heckman learned the trade of carpenter with his father and carried on building operations in the vicinity of his native town until 1900, in which latter year he formed a co-partnership with Aaron S. Wagner, of the same village, for the manufacture of seamless hosiery. The firm started with twenty-four hands, but business so increased that they were compelled to employ thirty-five, their production being 200 dozen daily.

Shipments from this plant, which is one of the most active industries of Shoemakersville, are made directly to all parts of the country, where the product finds a ready market. The partnership was dissolved April 1, 1907, Mr. Heckman buying out his partner's interest, and he has since carried on the business alone.

In 1886 Mr. Heckman married (first) Emma Machemer, daughter of Isaac and Catherine (Epting) Machemer, and she died in 1889, leaving one son, Harvey M. In 1891 Mr. Heckman m. (second) Emma Dietrich, daughter of Levi F. and Louisa (Moser) Dietrich, prominent farming people of Centre township, Mr. Dietrich having been for some time prothonotary of the county. To Mr. Heckman's second marriage there were born four children: Ira D.; William H.; Charles Adam, and Walter Leroy, the last named dying in infancy.

In 1899 Mr. Heckman served as assessor of the township, but resigned the office in 1900, on starting the hosiery mill. In 1905 he was elected a school director, and he is still serving in this term, acting as secretary of the board. Mr. Heckman is a deacon of the Shoemakersville Lutheran Church, having served in that office for nine years. He is fraternally affiliated with the Knights of the Golden Eagle and the Modern Woodmen of America.


p. 1019


Monroe Heckman, who resides on a beautiful and well located farm of ninety acres on the Pike north of Shoemakersville, Perry township, is a highly respected citizen of the county, and an honored veteran of the great Civil war. He was born Feb. 19, 1840, in Windsor township, Berks county, son of John and Rachel (Usemer) Heckman.

Jacob Heckman, son of George, was a farmer of Windsor township, although a stone mason by trade, an occupation which he followed for many years. He died during the Civil war at the ripe age of eighty-four years. He and his wife, whose maiden name was Stricker, had children as follows: Samuel, Daniel, Benjamin, Adam S., John, Isaac, Jared, Elias, Charles, Polly (m. Charles Oldt), Mrs. Charles Wessner, Susannah (m. Aaron Miller) and Mrs. John Lilly (of Union county, Pennsylvania).

John Heckman, father of Monroe, was born in 1810, and died in 1880. He was an excellent mechanic and followed the trade of stone mason and brick layer in Perry township for many years. He married Rebecca Usemer, of New Holland, Lancaster county, who bore him the following children: Monroe; Maberry is unmarried; Matilda m. Benjamin Moyer; Joel m. (first) Malinda Keim, and (Second) Alice Martin; Caroline m. Charles Peters; Morgan m. Lizzie Lewars; Franklin m. Esther Strasser; and Mary and Susan died of scarlet fever, the former in 1863, and the latter in the year following.

Monroe Heckman obtained a good education in the local schools, which he left at the age of nineteen years to learn the trade of shoemaker. He also followed boating for three years on the Schuylkill canal when a young man. The outbreak of the Civil war fired Mr. Heckman's patriotism, and Aug. 9, 1861 he enlisted in Company A, 48th Pa. V. I., being promoted to corporal in the fall of 1863 and one year later to the rank of sergeant. He served until the close of the war, being mustered out July 17, 1865. His regiment participated in the engagements of Newbern, N. C.; Second Bull Run; Chantilly; South Mountain, Md.; Antietam; Fredericksburg; siege of Knoxville, Tenn.; Wilderness, Va.; Spottsylvania; Shady Grove Church; Cold Harbor, and Petersburg from June 16th until the surrender of General Lee. Mr. Heckman assisted in the excavation of the Petersburg mine. His regiment encamped at Fort Hell during the winter months of 1864-1865, and followed the retreating Confederate army to Appomattox, where General Lee surrendered. They went thence to Alexandria, Va., and later participated in the great review at Washington, D. C., Mr. Heckman being honorably discharged with his regiment July 17, 1865. He served his country faithfully and well from the outbreak of the great struggle until its close. Few exhibited greater courage while in the service, although his modesty has kept him from exploiting his adventures. He is content with the consciousness of having performed his duty faithfully, courageously and well not only to his country, but to his God and his fellow-citizens.

In 1865 Mr. Heckman returned to the boating business, and this he followed until 1877, when he located in Shoemakersville, there residing for eight years, during which time he erected a nice residence, this later being sold to the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. His next purchase was the Charles Heckman farm, one mile north of Shoemakersville, where he lived for thirteen years, but in 1898 he bought his present farm on the Pike north of Shoemakersville, the Dr. M. S. Reber farm, consisting of ninety acres of fine land, which he has brought to an excellent state of cultivation and on which he has resided to the present time. He has four horses and ten head of cattle, all blooded stock.

On Nov. 9, 1874, Mr. Heckman was married to Alice M. Rickenbach, daughter of James and Eliza (Hinnershitz) Rickenbach. To this union there have been born children as follows: Lizzie A., deceased, wife of J. Lewis Kunkel; Samuel W., deceased; Laura M., wife of Calvin Miller; Lena R., a dressmaker of Shoemakersville; Robert B., a rural letter carrier; Annie, who died in infancy; Charles N., Curtin A., James M., Katie I., Edna May, and Guy R., the last six named residing at home.


p. 1614


William A Heckman, engaged in the plumbing business since 1873, was born at Reading June 24, 1840. He attended the public schools until he was fifteen years old, and then learned the trade of plumbing, gas-fitting and steam-fitting under Francis Rambo who had been engaged in the business for many years; and he continued in the employ of Mr. Rambo fourteen years, until 1873, when he engaged in this business with William Moringer as a partner locating their shop on the site of the Penn National Bank. In one year, however, Mr. Heckman purchased his partner's interest and then formed a partnership with Mr. Rambo, and they carried on business under the firm name of Rambo & Heckman for ten years. He then embarked in business for himself at No. 16 North Eighth street and here he has continued, actively and successfully engaged, until the present time. He started with a few hands but for some years past has had in his constant employ from twenty to thirty skilled workmen. He secures large contracts in building operations at Reading, and his trade extends into all parts of Berks, and the surrounding counties. Mr. Heckman is a Free-Mason in Reading Lodge, No. 549; also a member of Excelsior Chapter, Reading Commandery, and the Mystic Shrine. He was advanced to the 32 in the Philadelphia Consistory.

Mr. Heckman had been married twice, first to Emma Kline (daughter of Abraham Kline, a prominent brick manufacturer at Reading for many years), by whom he had seven children: George A. (married Ida Gable); Anna E. (married Edward Milhoff); Charles (who died at the age of twenty-four years); Emma Minerva (married George Miller); Clarence Wilfred (married Mary Miesse); and two died young. His first wife having died, he married Amanda Lease (daughter of John Lease farmer and carpenter of Oley), by whom he has three children: Mary, Howard, and Paul R. His sons George and Clarence are the managers of the plumbing establishment.

His father was George Heckman of Reading, who learned the trade of hatter which he followed several years and then secured employment on the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad, where he was killed in a railroad accident in 1843 when but twenty-seven years old. He was married to Mary Maltzberger, daughter of George Maltzberger of Reading, by whom he had two children: William A. and Emma (married Charles Orth of Reading).

George Maltzberger was a prominent bricklayer and mason of Reading for many years, having been the master-mason in the erection of the Court-House, 1838-40. His grandfather was Abraham Heckman, a farmer of Chester county, in North Coventry township, opposite Pottstown.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:54:29 EDT

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