Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 381


A. M. High, postmaster of Reading, Pa., and the most potential force in the Republican party of that city, is a son of Joel and Marie (Merkel) High, and was born in Richmond township, Berks county, Dec. 19, 1849.

The High family is of German descent, but generations ago settle in Pennsylvania. Solomon High, grandfather of A. M., was born in Richmond township, where he followed the occupation of a farmer. In politics he was a Whig, but during the latter years of his life he belonged to the Republican party. He was a member of the Reformed Church, and was a captain in the old State Militia. He was the father of three children, one son and two daughters, and passed away in 1874, his wife surviving him many years, and dying in 1891.

Joel High, father of A. M. High, was also a native of Richmond township, and after obtaining an education in the public schools of his district, turned his attention to agricultural pursuits. He became one of the most substantial farmers of that section, and died in 1872. His wife died in 1866. The latter, whose maiden name was Marie Merkel, bore him eleven children as follows: James; Joel; A. M.; Jacob; Solomon; Daniel; Samuel; Charles; and Wilson, Emma and Mary, all three deceased.

A. M. High, who is a man of liberal education and wide information, attended the common schools in his youth, and afterward took a course in the Keystone State Normal of Kutztown. He then taught school for two terms, after which he clerked in a general store at Fleetwood, Berks county. After remaining there for one year, in 1868 he removed to Reading, accepting a position in the dry goods store of B. H. Brown, continuing there for one year, and then holding a similar position for a year and a half in a general store. He next embarked in business for himself, establishing a tailor shop and general store at No. 824 Penn street, where he was a successfully engaged for nineteen years. He was then associated with John Rieger, in the same line of business, but after a period of three years the latter was succeeded by Mr. High's son. Mr. High and his son conduct a high class tailoring business, having a large patronage. Although giving the closest attention to business Mr. High's eminent qualification for a political force and influence in his party, brought him to the fore many years ago, and for twenty-three years he has been the recognized leader of the Republican party in Berks county, the Philadelphia Record, of Aug. 30, 1903, in an exhaustive article on his political career, dubbing him the "Regent of Berks." Recognizing his invaluable services to the party, he was made postmaster of Reading, in 1899, reappointed in 1903 and again in 1907. He has been four times a delegate to the Republican National Convention, having been the first delegate chosen in the United States for the successive conventions of 1888, 1892, 1896 and the third one chosen for 1904. His services at the head of the organization were invaluable to the cause, and by his honest and energetic methods of conducting campaigns he strengthened the hold of the Republican party in Berks county, even gaining friends in opposing factions. A man of magnetic presence and fine character, he has a large following, and is a "tower of strength" politically and socially.

Mr. High married Miss Lizzie Delp, and they have had three children: Harry S.; Howard J., deceased; and Wayne M. The family is one of the best known and most popular in Reading.


p. 531


Charles P. High, a prosperous coal merchant of Reading, Pa., who is also engaged in the flour and feed business, with yards and office at No. 312 Rose street, was born in Cumru township, Berks county, son of William R. and Lydia A. (Krick) High.

Charles P. High received his education in the schools of his native township, and during his boyhood worked upon his father's farm. At the age of nineteen years he left the farm and went to Philadelphia, engaging with the Phoenix Plumbago Mining Company, and while in the employ of that company attended a business college. He subsequently returned to Reading, entering the employ of his brother, of D. K. High & Co., who was carrying on the coal, flour and feed business in Reading, which had been established in 1887 by him, and Mr. High continued in this business until 1890, when he accepted a position at the Philadelphia & Reading freight house. At the end of one year, in company with George Richardson, Mr. High established the present successful business, and one year later Mr. Richardson withdrew, Mr. High's father engaging in business with him, under the firm name of High & Son. This connection continued until 1903, when the elder High withdrew, and since that time Charles P. has successfully conducted the business alone. He is a very enterprising business man, of much ability, and his honesty and integrity have never been questioned.

Mr. Charles P. High was married, in 1895, to Miss Cora Hechler, daughter of William A. Hechler, of String township, and in religious belief Mr. and Mrs. High are connected with the Reformed Church. Fraternally he is connected with the P. O. S. of A., and the order of the Independent Americans.


p. 1064

Surnames: HIGH, SHUNK

Conrad B. High, a representative business man of Reading, Pa., and secretary and treasurer of the Penn Planing Mill Co., of that city, was born in 1872, in Poplar Neck, Berks county, son of William P. High, Mr. High was educated in the schools of Cumru township, after leaving which he worked on the home farm until he accepted a clerkship with Bright & Lerches. This position he resigned to become secretary of the F. Shunk Planing Mill, in which position he served until the new company was organized at the time of Mr. Shunk's death, under the style of Penn Planing Mill Company, incorporated, with the following officers: Harry Shunk, president; K. M. High, vice-president; and C. B. High, secretary and treasurer. He is a young man of much business ability, and is very popular with the employees of the company, which is one of the large concerns of Reading. Mr. High is also one of the incorporators of the Salteatchee Lumber Company (Inc.), with mills at Olar, South Carolina, of which he is a director and at present secretary.

Mr. High was married in 1892 to Miss Katherine M. Shunk, and their union was blessed with three children: Edgar Earl, now (1909) fifteen years old; Clarence Stewart, who died in infancy; and Conrad Gordon, now aged seven years.


p. 617


Daniel K. High, hosiery manufacturer at Robesonia, Pa., was born in Cumru township, on the old High homestead which has been in the family since 1747, May 22, 1856, son of William R. High. His early education was obtained in the district schools and later he went to Palatinate College, Myerstown, and D. B. Brunner's Academy in Reading. He was licensed to teach by County Superintendent, D. B. Brunner, in 1874. He taught two terms in his native township, one at the Cedar Top school and the other at the Kurtz school, meeting with great success as a teacher. He was reared to farm work, and continued at it summers until he was sixteen. In 1876 he went to Reading and entered the dry goods store of B. H. Brown, remaining in his employ for a period of two years. He then entered into partnership with Howard Kauffman, under the firm name of High and Kauffman, dealers in dry goods and groceries and general merchandise. This firm continued with success for two years, when owing to failing health Mr. High was obliged to sell to Mr. A. S. Deeter and his brother Wm. F. High, who later also sold his share to A. S. Deeter, and the latter has continued the business to the present time. Mr. High then moved to a farm near Van Reed's paper mill in Spring township, and for five years devoted himself to agriculture. In 1887, with his brother Henry, under the firm name of D. K. High & Bro., he opened up a coal yard at No. 512 Rose street, Reading, also handling flour and feed. They met with a good trade and the business has been carried on with increased success by his brother Charles P. High. The firm was continued as D. K. High & Bro. Until 1891, when Mr. D. K. High retired, and started in the creamery business on his farm. This he conducted for two years, but on account of the scarcity of milk in that locality he removed to Brownsville, and with M. K. Keith as a partner under the name of High & Keith carried on the business for five years. Again the difficulty of securing milk proved a factor in Mr. High's business arrangements, and he sold out to his partner, and bought a half interest of Harry W. Sheeler, of the firm of Sheeler & Leinbach, who were engaged in the hosiery business at Robesonia, Pa. Later Mr. High bought out Mr. Leinbach's interest, and he now conducts the business alone under the name of Robesonia Knitting Mills. His factory is a two-story frame structure 40 x 60 feet. He employs upwards of fifty people, and the out-put is about 250 dozen pairs per day. This consists of men's find seamless hosiery, and a ready sale is found all over the United States. In 1906 he started his sons Edwin and Walter in a branch factory at Bernville, where about thirty people are employed. The capacity of this factory is also 250 dozen pairs per day. This business is most successful. Mr. High still retains his fine farm of 118 acres on the Tulpehocken, near the Van Reed mills (now used by the Acme Paper Company).

In politics Mr. High is a Democrat. He was honored by election as school director to fill an unexpired term, and then re-elected, serving as secretary of the board and rending valuable service to the cause of education. Socially he is a member of Castle No. 49, K. G. E., of Reading. Since 1885 he and his family have been connected with St. Paul's Reformed Church at Reading, of which he was a deacon.

On Feb. 26, 1880, Mr. High was married to Clara Van Reed, daughter of Henry Z. and Mary (Leinbach) Van Reed, and granddaughter of Charles and Margaret (Zacharias) Van Reed. To Mr. And Mrs. High were born three sons, namely: Edwin V. R., born July 14, 1881, in Spring Township, has a liberal education, and is successful in business. He married, June 22, 1907, Rachel M. Taylor. (2) Henry V. R., born in Spring township, July 27, 1883, is a bookbinder by trade, and is manager and treasurer of the C. F. Heller Book Bindery, at Reading, where he learned his trade (D. K. High is vice president and director of this company). On Sept. 12, 1906, he married Anna Lengel. (3) Walter V. R., born Aug. 16, 1885, with his brother Edwin is engaged in the hosiery business at Bernville, under the firm name of the Durable Hosiery Mill. Walter V. R. is the superintendent. He married, May 25, 1908, Estella May Gerhart.


p. 409


James M. High, a prominent citizen of Amity township, Berks county, was born in Richmond township, this county, Aug. 23, 1846, son of the late Joel and Maria (Merkel) Hoch. He was reared upon his father's farm and was educated in the common schools, White Hall and Oley Academies and the Keystone State Normal School at Kutztown. At the age of eighteen years he began teaching school and taught five winter terms and two summer terms in the select school at Fleetwood.

On Sept. 24, 1869, Mr. High with his family moved to Amity township, where he had purchased the Mount Pleasant Mills from his father-in-law, David Dry. This was then an old style custom mill, but in 1873 Mr. High remodeled it, substituting turbines for the old fashioned water wheels, and changed it to a flour mill. In 1890 he again remodeled it, this time installing a complete roller process, and changing the name to the Amity Roller Mills, under which he is still operating, turning out annually large quantities of flour and feed, for which he finds a ready market. He also has a well cultivated farm of some forty acres in connection with his mill.

Mr. High is a firm believer in Republican principles, and takes an active part in politics. Notwithstanding his party is in the minority he served his township three years as school director, and fifteen years as justice of the peace. Since 1891 he has been a notary public, and was re-appointed only last February (1909). He served three years as county auditor, and for forty years has followed surveying, during that time settling many boundary disputes, besides being frequently appointed by the courts to lay out public roads and bridge sites for the county. He has officiated in the settling up of many estates as executor, administrator and assignee, and is frequently consulted in legal matters. He is a scrivener and conveyancer, and has always held the confidence of the community.

In addition to all these many duties, Mr. High is secretary and a director of the Yellow House Creamery Association; and a director of the Sinking Spring Fire Insurance Company, of which he has also been president. In the spring of 1908 he moved to near Yellow House, from where he can look after his many interests. His son Wilson D. at the same time moved to the mill. Mr. High and his family belong to the Reformed Church, in which for twenty years he held the office of elder.

On Nov. 23, 1867, Mr. High married Amanda Y. Dry, daughter of David Dry, late a prominent farmer of Rockland township. They have had three children, namely: Wilson D., a miller in his father's mill, m. Ellen Herbein, daughter of the late Aaron Herbein; Maria D. m. Samuel R. Rhoads; and Annie D. m. Edwin H. Schearer, one of the proprietors of the Yellow House.



p. 785


Picture of Brig. Gen. William HighBrigadier General William High was born Jan. 14, 1786, and was one of the best-known men of Berks county of his time. He was county commissioner from 1816 to 1819; a member of the State Legislature in 1832; served as one of five delegates from Berks county to the Constitutional Convention in 1828; and was associate judge of Berks county from 1846 to 1851. He was most prominently identified with the State militia, holding the office of brigadier-general by election for fifteen years. In 1816, he was elected captain of the Reading Cavalry, of which he had become a member in 1809. He died March 29,1851, with honor untarnished and integrity undefiled. General High was a man of many sterling qualities of character, being able to draw the line between right and wrong, and never faltered in carrying his convictions into execution. He was twice married, his first wife being Catherine Van Reed, daughter of John Van Reed, and his second wife the daughter of Jacob Van Reed, of Amity township. Picture of Ezra HighEzra High, son of Gen. William High, was born at Poplar Neck Aug. 15, 1816, and died April 8, 1897. He owned 235 acres of land, although he lived on a farm of seventy acres, the house upon which property he built in 1866. He also erected all of the buildings at the Poplar Neck bridge, and was an influential citizen of the lower end of the county and public-spirited to a large degree. In politics a Democrat, he was school director in 1861, when the special bounty tax was levied in Cumru township. He was an antiquarian of some note and possessed a valuable collection of Indian relics, which he donated to the Berks County Historical Society.

In 1841 Mr. High was married to Hannah Gernand, daughter of George and Barbara (Hain) Gernand, and they had these children: Kate married Jonas DeTurck, and died Feb. 10, 1909, aged sixty-six years; William P. is mentioned below; Mary married Capt. William A. Schall; Annie married Harry Lewis; Sarah, unmarried, is living at Reading; Emma died in 1882, aged twenty-four years. Ezra High and his wife were buried in the High private cemetery at Poplar Neck, on the High homestead, where rest also the remains of Gen. William High.

William P. High, born June 28, 1844, on the old High homestead at Poplar Neck, obtained a good practical education in the public schools of his native township, and at The Trappe in Montgomery county. He was brought up on the homestead, and in 1866 began farming for himself on his father's farm, where he remained for eleven years. From 1876 to 1883 he lived on his father-in-law's farm, the Beidler place, and in 1883 he erected his present residence in Shillington, where he has lived retired since 1884. He has a number of large farms which he superintends, being part owner of the High homestead, which originally consisted of 235 acres of the best farm land in Berks county, besides having large interests throughout Cumru township. Mrs. High is the owner of the Conrad Y. Beidler farm, better known as the Beidler farm of Cumru township, this tract consisting of 106 acres in the best state of cultivation, with fine, substantial buildings. Mrs. High also owns an excellent farm along the Schuylkill in Spring township, near the Lebanon Valley bridge, consisting of 100 acres, on which there is a fine residence and good buildings; a $5,500 barn, built in 1873 on this farm, was destroyed by fire May 21, 1903. Mr. High is well-known in the community in which he makes his home, as well as throughout Cumru township. A staunch Democrat in politics, he has been called upon to fill positions of honor and trust, having been delegate to numerous county conventions, for twelve years a member of the school board, and held other local positions. He and his wife are members of the Emanuel Reformed Church, of which he was deacon for many years, and to the support of which he contributes liberally.

On Aug. 29, 1865, Mr. High was married to Sarah A. Beidler, daughter of Conrad Y. and Catherine (Spohn) Beidler, and to this union have been born children as follows: Katie, who married W. A. Greisener; Hannah, wife of Abraham Potteiger; Ezra, who died when one year old; Conrad, who married Katie Shunk; Mary, who died in infancy; William, who married Olivia Morris; Magdalena; Sallie, wife of William L. Bickel; Charles, who married Goldie Griffith; Mabel, twin to Charles, unmarried; Isaac, a medical student at the University of Pennsylvania; and Paul, who died in infancy.

Conrad Beidler, the great-great-grandfather of Mrs. High, came from Germany. His son, Peter, married a Hattenstein, and they had these children: Conrad, Henry, John and Rebecca. John Beidler, of this family, married Magdalena Yost, and to them were born: Jeremiah; Conrad Y. (the father of Mrs. High); Mary, who married Samuel Brobst; Isaac, and Abraham. Mrs. High was the only child of her parents.


p. 1439


William M. High (Hoch), one of the highly respected citizens of the Eleventh ward, Reading, is a veteran of the Civil war, and for thirty-nine years has been in the employee of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company, as carpenter. Mr. High was born April 4, 1837, in Richmond township, Berks county, son of Daniel Hoch.

Philip Hoch, grandfather of William M., was born in Oley township, son of Casper Hoch, and followed farming in Richmond township, where he had 400 acres of land. He married (first) a Miss Luckenbill, by whom he had two children: Samuel and Daniel. To Mr. Hoch and his second wife there were born children as follows: Joel; Hannah, who married Tyson Stitzel, brother of the late Judge Stitzel; Mrs. Samuel Barnt; Mrs. Samuel Merkel, whose husband was at one time county treasurer of Berks; and Mrs. Daniel Kaufman.

Daniel Hoch was born in Richmond township, and there spent his entire life engaged in agricultural pursuits, his death occurring in his fifty-ninth year. He married Miss Catherine Merkel, who died when fifty-two years old, and to them were born seven children as follows: John M., Hettie, Catherine, William M., Susan, Solomon, who died at the age of twenty-seven years, and an infant daughter. William M. High (Hoch) attended school in Richmond township, and until sixteen years of age worked on a farm, then learning the carpenter trade, which he followed at Fleetwood for three years as an apprentice. He traveled for two years in the Eastern States then went West, returning home, however, in December, 1860, and remaining until the following spring, when he enlisted in Company D, 12th Regiment Pennsylvania Reserves, remaining with this company three years. He then went to Washington, D. C., and was employed in the Navy yards for nine months, then reenlisting in Company K, 2d Regiment, Hancock's Reserve Corps, in which he served one year. He had many experiences while in the service of his country, being wounded Sept. 17, 1862, at the battle of Antietam. He was also at Chancellorsville, Wilderness, Gettysburg and many other big battles of the war, being in thirty-two engagements, and his record is that of a faithful, cheerful and gallant soldier.

In 1871 Mr. High returned to Reading, Pa., and engaged with the Philadelphia & Reading Company, being for seventeen years foreman of bridge-building for that company, a concern with which he has since been connected. In 1880 Mr. High built his comfortable residence in the Eleventh ward, where he is well known and highly esteemed. He is a member of G. A. R. Post No. 16 and the P. & R. Relief Association, and in his political views is a Democrat. He is a member of St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church, at Tenth and Windsor streets, where for six years he served as vestryman.

Mr. High was married (first) to Mary Catherine Beard, daughter of Henry Beard, and she died Oct, 31, 1901, aged sixty-nine years, without issue. Mr. High's second marriage was to Maggie Wickline, daughter of Samuel and Mary E. (Fry), whose death occurred June 17, 1906, also without issue


p. 617


William R. High, a highly respected retired citizen of Reading, Pa., who passed away Aug. 14, 1908, was born Aug. 10, 1835, in Cumru township, Berks County, Pa., son of Daniel and Esther (Rothermel) High, and a grandson of Gen. William High, who married Annie Van Reed.

General William High was also a native of Cumru township, and for years was a prominent agriculturalist there. His last years were spent in Reading. For a period of thirty-three years he was a brigadier general of the State militia and he also served as judge of probate. His children were: Charles, Daniel, Ezra, John, Reubin, Isaac (died young), Annie, Sarah, Lucie and Rebecca. The family was strong in its support of the Reformed Church.

Daniel High was born in Cumru township and followed farming as his main occupation throughout his life. He died in 1839 at the age of thirty-one years. His widow survived him many years, dying at the age of sixty-five. They had five daughters and one son, as follows: Sarah, m. to Samuel Schepps; Susan, m. to Nicholas Schaffer; Esther, m. to Frederick Bechtel; William R., of this sketch; Amanda, m. to Frederick Hartman; and Mary, who remains single. In religious belief the members of this family were all of the Reformed faith, with one exception. In political sentiment they were Democratic.

William R. High was educated in the common schools of Cumru township, and when the time came for him to choose his life work he decided in favor of agriculture. For thirty-two years he continued to be engaged in farming and stock raising, and owned one of the finest and best developed farms in his locality. In 1887 he left his farm in Cumru township and moved to Reading, where he entered into partnership with his son, Daniel K., in the coal business and continued with him until Daniel sold his interest to his brother Charles P. The father and son continued the business until 1902, when the senior member retired and Charles P. still continues to carry on the business.

On Dec. 11, 1885, Mr. High was married to Lydia Krick, daughter of Daniel Krick, and they had five children, namely: Daniel K., William, Henry, Ezra and Charles.

Up to the time of his death, in spite of his advanced years, Mr. High very easily superintended the management of the old High homestead; this was originally owned by his maternal great-grandfather Rothermel. He took an active interest in local politics and public happenings, and was a well known and esteemed resident of his neighborhood. Mr. High was buried in Yocom's Church in Cumru township.

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