Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


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Among the self-made men of this section of Pennsylvania, who won a prominent position for themselves in the business world, was Henry Christian Hirner, who died Sept. 30, 1898, at Reading, in which city he had lived retired from 1880. Mr. Hirner was born in April, 1833, at Stuttgart, Germany. In his native country he learned the trade of stone cutter, and on coming to America in 1855 he located at Wilkes-Barre, where he soon became an extensive marble and granite monument and tombstone manufacturer, employing on an average of fifteen men. He made some of the finest monuments in the eastern part of the State, including the Dr. Sterl monument, which he erected at Wilkes-Barre, and which cost $3,000. Owing to ill health Mr. Hirner was compelled to retire from business in 1879, and during that and the following year he sold his valuable real estate holdings, and went on a trip for his health to California, which, however, did not benefit him much. He returned to Pennsylvania, and located at Reading, where he built a large brick residence at the corner of Seventeenth and Haak streets, and this was his home at the time of his death. His widow resided here until her own death. Mr. Hirner was a member of the Masonic fraternity and the Odd Fellows at Wilkes-Barre, and was buried at that place, where a large monument marks his last resting place.

Mr. Hirner was twice married, his first wife dying young. In 1877 he m. (second) Christiana Goelz, who was born Sept. 26, 1842, daughter of Philip and Dora (Scheiffly) Goelz, natives of Weilheim, near Stuttgart, Germany, who came to America in 1851. They located in Reading, where Philip Goelz kept a hotel at the corner of Fourth and Bingaman streets, and later one at Chestnut, below Third street, where his death occurred. He and his family were members of the Lutheran Church. Mr. and Mrs. Hirner had no children. Mrs. Hirner died Feb. 24, 1909, aged sixty-eight years. She was survived by her sister, Mr. William Heberle, No. 309 North Second street, Reading.


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Solomon Hirshland, proprietor of the Reading Pants Manufacturing Company. and one of the city's well-known and representative business men, was born in 1848, in Germany, son of Isaac and Lena(Mayer) Hirshland.

Isaac Hirshland brought his family to America when Soloman was but seven months old, and for a short time resided in New York, where he was engaged in butchering, in which business he was also engaged in connection with huckstering, after coming to Reading in 1857. He died June 1, 1896, at the age of seventy-six years. Mr. and Mrs. Hirshland had these children: Solomon; Fannie, m. to Isaac Samuels; Lee, and Harry. Isaac Hirshland was a Whig and Republican in politics.

Solomon Hirshland received his education in the schools of Reading, after leaving which he apprenticed himself to the boilermaker's trade, and worked at that occupation until the strike in 1876, when he accepted a position with a Pottsville firm, in whose employ he continued until 1879. In this year he became traveling salesman for the A.J. Brumbach Woolen Co., continuing with that concern until 1882, when the Reading Pants Manufacturing Company was formed by him, his first location being the second floor of the Dives, Pomeroy & Stewart building. In 1896 he came to his present location, No. 533 Penn street , and here, in addition to manufacturing on an average 400 pairs of trousers weekly, makes a specialty of custom tailoring, in which he does an extensive business. Mr. Hirshland is an enterprising, up-to-date business man, of more than ordinary ability, and has always made a success of anything undertaken by him. Fraternally he is connected with Chandler Lodge No. 227, F.& A. M. ; Caldwell Consistory, and Rajah Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S.

Mr. Hirshland was married to Miss Fannie P. Levy, of Lawrence, Kans., and to them have been born three children: Lawrence, of the Reading high school, class of 1907; Charles Roy; and Carrie, deceased.


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Nathaniel Potts Hobart was born in Philadelphia, Oct. 3, 1790, read law in the office of John C. Smith, and was admitted to the Bar of his native city; removed to Pottstown, where he was appointed justice of the peace by Gov. Simon Snyder; joined Capt. Daniel De B. Keim's company of Washington Blues in August, 1814; marched it to Camp Depont, and there joined the 1st Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers Oct. 7, 1814, and served as fourth sergeant of the company until Dec. 5th of the same year, when they returned to Reading; admitted an attorney of the Berks County bar Jan. 3, 1818; was clerk in the prothonotary's office, under John Adams, for several years; was assistant clerk in the House of Representatives at Harrisburg, under chief clerk Francis R. Shunk. In 1827 Governor Shulze appointed him clerk of the Orphan's court and court of Quarter Sessions of Berks county, which positions he held until 1830, when he removed to Pottstown. In 1826 he was appointed auditor-general of Pennsylvania by Governor Ritner, and held the office for three years. He resided at Pottstown from 1830 until his death July 3, 1860. He married April 18, 1813, Joanna Holland, and their children were: John Potts (who became an attorney in Pottsville), Sarah P., Eliza R., Anna Sophia, Robert H., Nathaniel B., William R. and Ellen G. Hobart.


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(I) Early in 1717 Rudolph and Melchior Hoch, Moravians, left their home in Switzerland for America on account of religious persecution. Tradition says they were without much money when they landed. These two were the ancestors of all of the name in Berks and surrounding territory. The first spelling of the name was "Hoy" the final "h" being added later; some members of the family preferred the spelling "High" to "Hoch," and as early as 1744 Samuel, a grandson of Rudolph, spelled his name High. After wandering about for some time, Rudolph Hoch settled near what is now Pottsgrove, Montgomery county, Pa., while Melchior settled in Bucks county, same State, all of the Hochs or Highs now in Bucks county being descended from his two sons, Philip and Jacob. In 1725 Rudolph Hoch removed from near Pottsgrove, then known as Swedeland, to Oley, and became the owner of a farm of 300 acres two miles northeast of Friedensburg, the land being still in the possession of the Hochs. In 1728 he laid out a burial place, about eighty feet square, and here he and seven generations are buried. Several interesting relics of the two emigrants are still preserved by the family. The large German Bible is owned by Gideon A. D. Hoch. Books brought from over the sea are still at the Hoch farm, the elder Hochs making this provision in their wills. There is also a very ornamental, small open-face watch, which though 266 years old is in excellent condition and keeps perfect time. Philip D. Hoch has a piece of petrified wood brought over by Rudolph Hoch, and used as a whet stone, one of its principal uses being to sharpen razors. Rudolph Hoch was married when he came to America, and his son John was born in Switzerland. His wife died in 1728, and was the first to be buried in the family cemetery. He died in 1748. His sons numbered five, among them being John and Samuel.

In Prof. Daniel Rupp's "History of Berks County," published in 1844, is a letter written by Maria De Turck (born Hochen), of Oley township, which bears date May 14, 1718. It was addressed to her brother, sisters and friends in her native country, and it reflects her profound piety.

(II) John Hoch, son of Rudolph, established the family homestead, purchasing it from William Ranberry. He was the father of eleven children: (1) Deborah was born 1721. (2) Samuel, born 1723, moved to Poplar Neck. He married a daughter of Jonathan Herbein, of Oley, and they had three sons and one daughter, two of the sons dying quite young. (3) Rudolph born 1725, lived in Maiden-creek, where he reared six sons-John, Daniel, Jacob, Isaac, Abraham and Samuel-and four daughters. (4) Daniel, born 1728, had nine sons-Samuel, Jacob, John, Daniel, Abraham, Isaac, David, Joseph and Philip-and four daughters. (5) Maria and (6) Magdalena, twins, were born in 1730. (7) John, born 1733, married Susanah Levan, had one daughter, and died in 1763. (8) Susan was born in 1735. (9) Jacob, born 1738, married (first) Miss Weiser, and (second) Miss Fisher, and had five sons-David, Abraham, Solomon, William and Daniel-and three daughters, all born and reared in Maiden-creek. (10) Esther was born in 1742. (11) Abraham, born 1745, married Susannah Weiser, and lived on the old Hoch farm, where one son, Abraham, and two daughters were born.

(III) Samuel High, son of Samuel, born 1723, married a daughter of Jonathan Herbein, of Oley and of their four children-three sons and one daughter-two sons died in infancy. The surviving son was Isaac. They lived in Poplar Neck.

(IV) Isaac High, son of Samuel, was born July 3, 1753. He died May 18, 1795.

(V) William High, son of Isaac, was born in 1786,and his death occurred in 1851.

(VI) Ezra High, son of William, born in 1816, married and became the father of one son, William, and five daughters.

(VII) William High, son of Ezra, married Sallie Beidler, daughter of Conrad Beidler, and they had four sons-Count, William, Charles and Isaac.

(III) Abraham Hoch, son of Samuel, born 1745, married Susanna Weiser, and they had three children: Abraham, born 1771; and two daughters.

(IV) Abraham Hoch, son of Abraham and Susanna, born 1771, inherited the old Hoch farm at his father's death. He married Susannah Schneider, and they had six children: Sarah, born 1795, died 1816; Gideon S., born 1796; Joshua, born 1799; Hannah, born 1805, died 1806; Rachel, born 1807, married David Keck, of Montgomery county, Pa; and Susannah, born 1811, married Henry Geiss, of Oley Line.

(V) Joshua Hoch, son of Abraham, born 1799, married Lydia Dierolf, and had ten children, five of whom died in infancy. The survivors were: William, a well-known shoe dealer at Reading; Joshua, a successful business man in Reading; Gideon S.; Susannah; and Catherine.

(VI) William High, son of Joshua and Lydia (Dierolf), was born in Oley township, and in 1857 he came to Reading, where from that time until his death, in April, 1904, he was engaged in the shoe business. He was buried at Aulenbach cemetery, of which he had been a trustee for twenty-five years. Fraternally he was a member of the Odd Fellows and the Good Fellows. He married Ellen Keehn, daughter of John Keehn, and she survives her husband and resides at No. 147 North Tenth street, Reading. Their children were: Ezra K., of Reading; Peter K.; Mary Ella; Sarah S., wife of Arthur Arrowsmith; John L.; Katie E., a teacher in the high school in Hammonton, N. J.; and Emma L., Alice, Martha and William H., all four deceased.

(VII) Peter K. High, son of William an Ellen (Keehn), was born in Reading in 1857 and his education was obtained in the public schools of that city. After completing his education he was engaged in business with his father for a number of years, then becoming a messenger of the Penn National Bank of Reading, a position he continued to fill for seven and one-half years. On July 1, 1899, Mr. High was appointed janitor of the postoffice under Mr. A. M. High, the present postmaster, where he continued seven years. On Oct. 1, 1906, he was appointed custodian of the administration building of the Reading school board, a position he now fills. Mr. High is single, and lives with his mother at the home on Tenth street.

(V) Gideon S. Hoch, son of Abraham, born 1796, became the owner of the Hoch farm by inheritance. He married Susannah Weidner, born 1797, died 1881, and they became the parents of six children: Sarah, born in 1819, was the first wife of Daniel Y. Peter, and died in 1854: Catharine, born in 1821, was the wife of Martin Yoder, a well-known farmer of Clay township, who died at advanced age, and she died in 1879; Rachel, born in 1825, was the first wife of Isaac Brumbaugh, of Friedensburg, and died in 1872; Israel, born in 1829, died in 1833; Hannah, born in 1832, married James N. Tee, of Delaware, and is the only survivor of the family; and Gideon W.

(VI) Gideon W. Hoch, son of Gideon S., and to whom the farm descended on the death of the father, was born May 1, 1835, and he died Dec. 29, 1893. He married Naomi L. De Turck, and they had eight children, as follows: Thermuthis A. D., born Sept 25, 1858, married John H. Fegley, a huckster at Boyertown, and their one child died some years ago; Willi, born in 1860, died in 1862; Seth E., born in 1862, died in 1863; Mahlon S., born in 1864, died the same year; Gideon A. D., born Dec. 15, 1865; Walton Morris, born April 5, 1868, Philip D., born Aug. 11, 1869, married Ida Gross; Naomi, born in 1872, died the same year.

(VII) Gideon A. D Hoch, son of Gideon W., was born on the old home farm Dec. 15, 1865. His education was obtained in the public schools of Oley township, and the Oley Academy, attending school until he was seventeen years old. Out of school hours he had become familiar with the science of agriculture, and when twenty-five years old he began farming for himself on the home farm, and here he has since continued. He has 150 acres of the best land in Oley Valley. The present house, built of stone, was erected by Abraham and Susanna (Weiser) Hoch in 1788, and is in good condition, bidding fair to be a comfortable home for another century. The western part of the house was built by Abraham and Susannah (Schneider), in 1811. The large Swiss barn was built in 1830. Mr. Gideon A. D. Hoch is a Democrat in politics. He was twice married. In 1890 he married Lydia H. Christman, born April 20, 1867, died Dec. 31, 1901, daughter of Nathan H. Christman. Six children were born of this union: Gideon C. (a fine musician now connected with the Oley Valley Band), Maud, D. Webster, Thermuthis, Edna and Abraham E. Mr. Hoch Married (second) Lottie , daughter of Jacob Levingood, of Oley township. Two children were born of the second marriage: John L. and Jacob L. Mr. Hoch, as well as his father, were musicians and were members of bands.

The following is a short Abstract of the Title of the Original Hoch Homestead in America: "On May 12th, 1682, William Penn, then of England, gave a Deed to John Snashold, also of England, for Five hundred acres of land in Oley Township, then Philadelphia County, Pa.

"John Snashold died intestate, only heir being Joan Boach, daughter of his brother Richard Snashold, and whereas Joan Boach widow on January the 4th, 1702, did give power of attorney to John Warder, and John Latcher recorded in and for the County of Philadelphia, in book D 3 Vol. 5 page 230.

"(Deed) And whereas the said John Warder, and John Latcher did for the consideration there in mentioned did grant and confirm unto James Steele, dated March the 29th, 1726-not recorded.

"(Deed) James Steel to William Remberry, dated November the 15th , 1728, for Four hundred and ninety-two acres, recorded at Reading, Pa., in Book A. Vol. 8, page 271, &c.

"(Deed) William Remberry to John Hov. Dated January the 30th, 1728, recorded at Reading, Pa., Book A, Vol. 2, page 275, recorded July the 11th, 1761.

"John Hoch by his last Will and Testament, dated August the 14th, 1769, did grant and devise unto Abraham Hoch, Sr., Two hundred and twenty acres.

"(Deed) Abraham Hoch, Sr., to Abraham Hoch, Jr., Dated August 20th, 1821, for Two hundred and Nineteen acres, said Deed is not recorded.

"(Deed) Abraham Hoch, Jr., to Gideon Hoch, Dated February the 7th, 1827, for One hundred and Fifty acres, Recorded at Reading, February 8th, 1827, and whereas the said Gideon Hoch died Intestate in 1865, the Orphans' Court of Berks County did adjudicate the same above mentioned tract unto Gideon W. Hoch.

"And whereas the said Gideon W. Hoch died, and by his last will and Testament, Dated April 17th, 1893, did grant and devise the above mentioned tract of land unto Gideon A. D. Hoch, the present owner."

(VII) Philip D. Hoch, son of Gideon W., was born Aug. 11, 1869, and now resides at Manatawny, in Oley township, successful in business and prominent and influential in the financial world. He grew to manhood on the home farm, becoming familiar with the duties there, and he has never entirely given up agricultural pursuits. Since 1898 he had dealt extensively in hides and tallow, his first location being in Reading, but he is now in Allentown, employing six men all the time. His business has run as high as $38,000 in one week. Mr. Hoch owns the old Tychicus Weidner homestead in Oley, now consisting of 109 acres of very valuable land. On it is the old Weidner burying ground. He lives in a comfortable brick house situated at the cross road of Friedensburg and Lobachsville, and Pleasantville and Kutztown. He had been a director of the Kutztown Bank since its organization, Sept. 27, 1897, missing but three meetings of the board in all these years. This bank opened it doors for business Jan. 3, 1898. Mr. Hoch is an antiquarian of some note, and has a valuable collection of coins, pewter ware, china and books. Probably his most prized possession is a clock that belonged to his great grandfather, Philip De Turck. He has also a copy of deed of land dated May 26, 1682, given by William Penn to John Snashold.

Philip D. Hoch was married Nov. 22, 1891, to Ida Gross, daughter of William and Mary (Reichard) Gross, of Pike township, and granddaughter of Henry Gross, of the same township. Six children have been born of this union: Gross, John, Robert, Ira, Frances and Mary.

(II) Samuel Hoch, second son of Rudolph, married and started a farm in the western part of Oley, near the site of the so-called Moravian School, one and one-half miles southwest of Friedensburg. The land on which this building stands, together with thirty-eight acres additional, was donated by the Hochs. At first the building was used for the double purpose of holding religious services and keeping school, but when no more Moravian services were held, it was used for school purposes only, and now is a dwelling occupied by Daniel Moyer, though still the property of Oley township, including the land.

(III) Daniel Hoch, son of Samuel, was born Jan. 18, 1731, and he died Aug. 27, 1789. He married Mary or Maria Bertolet, born Sept. 18, 1736, died July 17, 1802. They had children: Samuel B., born March 7, 1757, died June 18, 1826; Esther, born June 25, 1758, married Peter Griesmer, and died Jan. 20, 1840; Susanna, born July 8, 1759, married John Nicholas Knabb, and died March 15,1848; Mary, born Dec. 29, 1761, was the second wife of Philip De Turck, and died Dec. 27, 1821; John B., born Dec. 21, 1763, died Dec. 7, 1835; Elizabeth, born Jan. 12, 1766, married Conrad Rieff, and died Oct. 10, 1843; Daniel, born Jan. 22, 1768, died March 10, 1829; Joseph, born Sept. 24, 1770, died Sept 6, 1835; Catherine, born Sept. 25, 1772, married Adam Young, and died April 13, 1828; Sarah became the first wife of John George Stitzel, Sr.; Hannah, born Jan 27, 1777, married (first) Peter Rapp, (second) Anthony Shoemaker, (third) Daniel G. Gulden, Sr. and died Oct. 14, 1842; and Abraham, born June 27, 1779, died April 1, 1854.

(IV) John B. Hoch, son of Daniel, born Dec. 21, 1763, married in 1789, Elizabeth Guldin, born April 16, 1773. She died Aug. 20, 1848, and he passed away Dec. 7, 1835. Their children were: Mary G., born Oct. 24, 1790, married John S. Bechtel, and died Aug. 30, 1863; Catharine, born Feb. 20, 1792, married John F. Bechtel, and died March 30, 1836; Esther born Oct. 4, 1793, married John Schaeffer, and died Jan. 8, 1849; Sarah, born May 24, 1798, married Jacob H. Rieff, and died Jan. 20, 1852; Daniel G., born Jan. 18,1800, died March 1, 1880; John G., born Oct. 19, 1802; died June 10, 1884; Elizabeth G., born Jan. 11, 1805, was the first wife of Samuel H. Leinbach, and died June 17, 1827; Abraham G., born Dec. 10, 1808, married Lydia L. Bechtel, and died May 26, 1844; Hannah G., born April 7, 1814, died Oct. 25, 1823.

(IV) Daniel Hoch, son of Daniel, born Jan 22, 1768, died March 10, 1829, and is buried in a private cemetery on the homestead, not, however, in the original Hoch family burying ground. He was a prosperous farmer, and was the owner of many acres of valuable land. On Nov. 3, 1789, Mr. Hoch married (first) Sarah Yoder, born April 10, 1769, who died April 14, 1800, aged thirty-one years, four days, the mother of five children: Esther, born in Wassermann (Waterman) April 26, 1791, died Sept. 17, 1793; Eva, born in Wassermann March 10, 1793; Maria, born in Wog Nov. 8, 1795, died Feb. 21, 1817; Jacob Y., born in Krebs March 26, 1798; Peter, born in Schutz April 13, 1800. Mr. Hoch married (second) July 26, 1801, Sarah Angstadt, and their children were: Solomon, born May 25, 1802; Jeremiah, Dec. 31, 1803; Lea, April 7, 1805; Sophia, May 30, 1806; Sarah, June 13, 1807; Rachel, June 29, 1809; Anna, July 30, 1810; Daniel, Nov. 21, 1811; Susanna, Nov. 13, 1813; Rudolph, Sept. 28, 1815 (died July 31, 1883); and Wilhelmina and Moses, Sept. 25, 1817 (the latter died Feb. 20, 1843).

(V) Jacob Y. Hoch, son of Daniel by his first marriage, was born March 26, 1798, and he died May 2, 1878, and was buried at Friedensburg. He was successful in farming, his chosen calling, and he was honored and respected in his district. He made the brick used in the construction of his own house and barn in 1860. For some time he served as school director of Oley. He married Catharine De Turck, daughter of George DeTurck (1777-1847), and she, too, is buried at Friedensburg. Eight children were born to them: George, who died young; Daniel D.; Susan, who married Daniel Butz, of Oley township; Miss Mary Ann, Catharine, who married Rev. Lewis Smith; De Turck and Sarah Amanda, who both died young; and Jacob, who lives at Friedensburg.

(VI) Daniel D. Hoch, son of Jacob Y., was born in Oley township Sept 27, 1838. His early education was obtained in the old Moravian school in his native township, and later in the newly established public schools. When nineteen years old he was licensed to teach in the public schools by Prof. D. B. Brunner, then county superintendent. He taught six terms in his own district. The first term he taught in Friedensburg, and the other five in the Reiff school. In 1863 he began farming the home farm, which is the original homestead of one branch of the Hoch family. The tract originally consisted of 500 acres of land, but Mr. Hoch now has but 126 acres. This is very fertile and is highly cultivated. Mr. Hoch was actively engaged in the operation of this place from 1863 to 1901, and since 1882 has been the owner. The old spring house built in 1806 by Daniel Hoch is still standing and is well preserved. The original house was built in 1749, and was a stone building attached to a log house, which latter, old settlers have said, was one of the very early buildings in the valley, being erected in the early years of the eighteenth century. It was covered with a tile roof. This stone and log house was torn down in 1880 by Jacob Hoch, the present brick house being erected then. The brick for this place were manufactured by Mr. Hoch on his own farm. The barn was built in 1755, and this Jacob Hoch tore down in 1862, and in its stead built the present structure, the walls of which are of brick. Mr. Hoch is now engaged in the manufacture of brick, having had a plant on his farm since 1883. He averages about 100,000 a year.

In politics Mr. Hoch is a Democrat, and he has served his township as school director for six years. For three years he was auditor and for twenty-one years treasurer of Oley Academy. He is a member of the Lutheran Church, while his wife is Reformed, belonging to Friedens Church. Mr. Hoch was a deacon and elder for many years, and for fifteen years was superintendent of Friedensburg Union Sunday-school, and he is very active in church and Sunday-school work, though of late his work has been made more difficult for him because of the loss of hearing.

Mr. Hoch has been twice married. In 1863, he married Henrietta Knabb, daughter of Daniel Knabb, and they had five children: (1) Clara A. married Jacob B. Hertzog, a school teacher of Oley township, residing at Friedensburg, and former member of the State Legislature. (2) Daniel K., a prominent and respected citizen of Reading, represented that city in the State Legislature two terms, was delegate to the National Democratic Convention in Denver in 1908, and for a number of years has been connected with the Reading Eagle. He is a member of a number of secret societies. (3) Charles K., who has farmed on the homestead since 1902, married Mary Burkey, and has children, Daniel, Samuel, Anna H. and Sallie. (4) George died when eighteen months old. (5) Katie lives at home. Mr. Hoch married (second) Oct. 7, 1880, Mary B. Kerschner, daughter of George and Catharine (Breidigam) Kerschner. Mr. Hoch is a worthy representative of a family prominent in this section of Berks county since 1725, and he holds a high place in the esteem of his fellow citizens

(V) Susanna Hoch, daughter of Daniel and Sarah (Angstadt), was born Nov. 13, 1813 and died Nov. 21, 1846. On Sept. 4, 1838, she married Martin Van Reed High, who was born Nov. 9, 1811, and who died March 4,1 1852, son of Samuel and Elizabeth (Van Reed) High, and grandson of Samuel and wife (nee Shenkel) High, and grandson of Samuel and wife (nee Shenkel) High, farming people of Oley, where they are buried. Martin V. R. High was a lifelong farmer, and owned a farm of 135 acres in Oley township, now owned by Jacob S. Strunk. He was buried on the farm now owned by Ephraim K. Kauffman in a private burying ground belonging to the DeTurck family. To Martin V. R. and Susanna High were born the following children: Wilhelmina, m. to Daniel Bower, of Friedensburg; Samuel H.; Sarah M., who died young; Mary, m. to Alexander Ziegel, of Reading; Susan, m. to the late Dr. Thomas Dunkel, of Reading.

Samuel High (or Hoch), father of Martin V. R. was born Oct 10, 1784, son of Samuel High, (or Hoch) and wife (nee Shenkel), and he died March 21, 1844, aged fifty-nine years, five months, eleven days. He was a farmer, owning three large farms, one of which contains the private burying ground, and is now the property of Ephraim K. Kauffman, of Oley. Mr. High was well known in his district. In 1808 he built the large stone house, and in 1823 the present barn on the farm now owned by Jacob S. Strunk, of Oley township. On Dec. 11, 1806, he married Elizabeth Van Reed, born Oct. 21, 1789, and died Feb. 10, 1847. This union was blessed with seven sons and four daughters, those who reached mature years being: Samuel, went South, his last letter starting he was going to Jamaica, and since then nothing more has been heard of him; Martin V. R.; Jacob V. R.: Rebecca m. D. A. Glase; Maria m. Joseph Muthart; Reuben resides in Reading; Eliza Ann m. Ephraim Fishburn, of Reading.

(VI) Samuel H. High, son of Martin V. R., was born in Oley township, Dec. 28, 1841, and was brought up on the farm. He enlisted in Company C, 167th P. V. I., at Reading, in the fall of 1862 for nine months, but his service lasted over ten months, and he was mustered out in July, 1863, at Reading. After the war he engaged in farming, in Oley township, on the farm now owned by James Fisher, living there for three years. The next year he farmed a tract near Griesemersville, and in 1874 he bought his present place, containing twenty-six acres. It is located between Griesemersville and Yellowhouse, on the King's Highway, also called the Church road. On this farm is a house built in 1768 by I. Hunter, and his wife, E. Hunter. The barn was built in 1793. These two buildings are very substantial, the walls being eighteen inches thick. The house was used as a hotel until in the fifties. Mr. High attends the Reading markets and devotes considerable time to truck raising. He has a fine dairy also. With his family he attends the Reformed Church of Oley, in which he was deacon and trustee for a number of years. In 1867 he married Mary E. Griesemer, daughter of Wellington B. and Sarah (Kiefer) Griesemer. Four children were born to the: (1) Miss Sarah A. lives at home. (2) Dr. Warren E., born July 1, 1870, died Feb. 5, 1907, and is buried at Oley Church. He graduated from the university of Pennsylvania in 1893, and was then appointed physician in the United States Navy, and visited all parts of the globe. On leaving the Navy he settled at Butler, Pa., and built up a large practice. He married Mary L. Knabb, daughter of Alfred Knabb, and they had one son, Edward Lewis. (3) Martin Wellington died aged eleven months. (4) Florence died aged seven years.

(V) Jacob V. R. Hoch (or High), son of Samuel and brother of Martin V. R., was born in Oley Oct. 9, 1825. He attended the old pay schools in the winter, and later for one winter the Trappe school in Montgomery county. He was reared to farming, and worked for his parents until he was thirty-five years old. He then began farming in Oley township, where he now lives, although since 1872 he has been retired from active work. That year he built a big brick house on the road leading from Yellowhouse to Friedensburg, in which he resided until his death, April 26, 1909. He added a number of out-buildings, but the barn was built in 1844, and the old house in 1842 by Samuel Hoch. Altogether he had 120 acres of good land in Oley Valley. He was a deacon and elder some years in the Reformed Church at Friedensburg, to which his family belong. There he was buried. In 1850 he married Lydia Hoch, daughter of Solomon and Hannah (Weidenhammer) Hoch, of Richmond township. They have had five children: Irwin, a farmer on the homestead; Charles, who died aged six years; Hannah, who married Capt. Frederick Yeager, of Reading; Ella, who died aged twelve years; and Prof. Alfred, a teacher in the public schools in Philadelphia.

Mayberry S. Hoch, a well-known farmer of Maxatawny township, was born at Moselem, Richmond township, May 25, 1839, son of Abraham and grandson of John Hoch.

John Hoch was a lifelong farmer in Maiden-creek township, where he owned a large farm, and he is buried in a private ground on the farm he owned. He married Elizabeth Kindt, and their children were: John, Heinrich, Solomon, Rudolph, Jacob, Abraham, Mary (who married Simon Moyer) and Samuel.

John Hoch was a lifelong farmer in Maiden-creek township, where he owned a large farm, and he is buried in a private ground on the farm he owned. He married Elizabeth Kindt, and their children were: John, Heinrich, Solomon, Rudolph, Jacob, Abraham, Mary (who married Simon Moyer) and Samuel.

Abraham Hoch, son of John, was a farmer at Moselem Springs, In Richmond township, where he owned a farm of some ninety acres. Some years before his death he retired and went to Kirbyville, and there died at the age of sixty-six. He is buried at St. Peter's Church. He married Elizabeth Schwoyer, who bore him ten children, five sons and five daughters: John, deceased, of Richmond township; Benneville, deceased, of Fleetwood; Aaron , of Reading; Solomon, in Richmond; Maberry S.; Maria, who married Jesse Long; Anna, who died unmarried; Jane, who died at New York; Miss Sarah, of Reading; and Florenda, who married Ephraim Scharadin, of Kutztown.

Maberry S. Hoch, son of Abraham, was reared to farming, giving his time to his parents until he was thirty years old. In 1866 he began farming in Richmond township, on the home farm, and continued eleven years, moving at the end of that time to Longswamp township. He remained there two years, and then located in Moselem, where he farmed four years. He next farmed eleven years for Rev. B. E. Kramlich, at Kutztown. In 1897 he bought his present farm near Kemp's Hotel, in Maxatawny township, between Kutztown and Allentown, along the Easton road. It contains 110 acres of level land, good wheat soil, all in good condition, well improved with cement walks. He keeps nine horses and fifteen cows. With his family he attends the Lutheran Church, and there they have their family burial plot at St. Peter's. On Sept 26, 1868, Mr. Hoch married Lucy Ann Kline, daughter of Daniel and Esther (Dreibelbis) Kline, of Richmond township. Four children blessed this union, namely: William H., born May 25, 1869; Franklin, born July 24, 1871; Lizzie and Daniel (twins), born May 20, 1875, Lizzie dying at the age of fourteen years, four months and twenty-eight days.


p. 1415


Henry R. Hoch, an enterprising business man of Reading, Pa., where he has been engaged in slate cutting since January, 1905, was born March 19, 1872, in Richmond township, Berks county, Pa., son of Bennewell and Susan (Rothermel) Hoch, and grandson of Samuel Hoch.

Mr. Hoch received his education in the schools of his native township, after leaving which he spent nine years at harness making at Fleetwood, Pa. He then engaged in slate cutting with his brother M. R. Hoch, a sketch of whom will be found elsewhere in this volume, and the brothers have continued together to the present time.

The marriage of Mr. Hoch occurred Feb. 18, 1905, to Clara Schlegel, daughter of Reuben and Katie (Kutz) Schlegel, and they reside at no. 626 Moss street, being well known in their community. They have two children, Ida and Anna. Mr. Hoch is a member of the Fleetwood Camp, No. 103, P. O. S. of A., and the Knights of Malta, No. 277, Reading. In religious belief Mr. and Mrs. Hoch are Reformed. In their pleasant home is an interesting curio which belonged to Mr. Hoch's grandfather, a "grandfather's clock" bearing the name of Jacob Diehl as maker, and showing the moon's phases and date. This old and valued time-piece is greatly prized by Mr. Hoch, and would make a valued addition to any historical collection.


p. 1341


Martin R Hoch, a well known slater of Reading, Pa., whose place of business is located at No. 718 North Eighth street, was born Jan. 12, 1868, in Richmond township, Berks county, son of Benneville and Susan (Rothermel) Hoch.

Samuel Hoch, grandfather of Martin R., who was a prominent agriculturist of Richmond township, and whose death was caused by a fall from a load of hay, married a Miss Herbine, who also died in that township. Their children were: Benneville; Philip; Maria, who married for her third husband Mr. Schmoyer and resides in Fleetwood; John; Joel; and Samuel.

Benneville Hoch was born in Richmond township, and at the time of his father's death took charge of the old homestead on which he resided all his life, farming there for a period of thirty-four years. His death occurred in his sixtieth year, his wife passing away when seventy-seven years old. Their farm is now occupied by Jacob Scheaffer. Mr. Hoch and his wife were faithful members of the Reformed Church. In political matters he was a Democrat, and for some years served as a member of the school board, taking an active interest in educational and public matters. To Mr. and Mrs. Hoch there were born sixteen children, ten of whom now survive: Susan, who married Isaiah Hoyer of Reading; Benneville, who married Mary Mertz of Richmond township; Cyrus, who married Diana Richard of Friedensburg, Oley township; Harriet, who married August Schlegel of Fleetwood; Joel, who married Catherine Reider; William, who married Fianna Conrad of Boyertown; Amanda, who married William T. Delp, of Bowers, Pa.; Martin R.; Henry, who married Clara Schlegel, of Reading; and Katie, single; and Ezra (died Aug. 5, 1909, m. Sally Hefner), Annie, Peter, Samuel, Lydia and Sarah, deceased.

Martin R. Hoch (or High) attended the public schools of his native township until nineteen years of age, working on the farm during the summer months. He then learned the trade of marble cutting, a business which he followed for six years, but since 1894 has been engaged in his present line, having a large and profitable trade in slate and sink tops. He employs three skilled mechanics, and does work not only in the city, but in the surrounding country and adjoining counties.

Mr. Hoch married Miss Emma Keller, daughter of Jacob and Mary (Sicher) Keller, and their two sons, Charles K. and Claude H., are attending school. Mr. and Mrs. Hoch reside in their pleasant home at No. 930 Greenwich street, Reading, and have many friends in their community. They are members of St. Stephen's Reformed church. Politically Mr. Hoch is a Democrat and fraternally he is connected with Camp 103, P. O. S. of A. Fleetwood; and Friendship Council, A. & I. O. K. & M. No. 247, of Reading.


p. 1006


Isaac Hoffa, for several years a prosperous farmer of Cumru township, whose valuable property lies along the Wyomissing road, is now living on South Third street, Reading. He was born Jan. 4, 1851, on the Harrisburg pike, in Marion township, son of Isaac and Lydia (Neff) Hoffa.

Melchoir Haffa (as the name was then spelled), the progenitor of this family in America, was a native of Germany, from which country he emigrated in 1723, settling in the Falkner Swamp, in Montgomery county, Pa. He died Dec. 7, 1768, and is buried at the Falkner Swamp Lutheran Church. He had a son Henry, who was high sheriff of Berks county from 1780 to 1781, and the latter's son, also named Henry, is mentioned in the Berks county court records as the administrator of the estate of his father, the Sheriff, in 1809.

Henry Hoffa, grandfather of Isaac, Jr., was born in Berks county, where he spent his entire life, becoming the possessor of much valuable property. He died in Reading in 1817. Mr. Hoffa married Sarah Ann Boyer, daughter of Henry Boyer, of Reading, and they had the following children: Melchoir; Jacob, born in Reading, May 20, 1800, settled at Milton, and was the father of John, Samuel, Sarah, Cyrus and Reuben (who was born Nov. 9, 1841); Henry settled at Mexico, Northampton county; Rebecca married a Mr. Bright of Mexico, Pa.; John died on a ship of war; Daniel lived in Exeter township; Isaac is mentioned below.

Isaac Hoffa, father of Isaac, was born Jan. 4, 1810, in Reading, and died March 31, 1896, on a farm about one mile north of Womelsdorf, which he had cultivated for forty-nine years for Elias Fidler. Mr. Hoffa was a miller by trade, and for some years in his earlier life had worked at Hertzog's mill. He then engaged in farming on a property of his own near Womelsdorf, where he continued for about one year, before removing to the farm on which he died. Mr. Hoff married Lydia Neff (1814-1885) of Kutztown, and to them were born nine children, as follows: William A., of Womelsdorf; Henry, who married Selecta Kintzer, and died at the age of thirty-three years; Mary, who married Samuel B. Myers, of Philadelphia; Sallie, who married Charles Smith of Reading; John; Isaac; Emma, who married Franklin Strause, of Reading; Jacob, who lives on the old homestead; and Samuel, who lives at Womelsdorf. Both father and mother are buried at Womelsdorf.

Isaac Hoffa obtained his early education in the township schools, later attending the Womelsdorf Academy and the Stouchsburg Academy, continuing school off and on until his twenty-third year. In 1872 he began teaching public school in his native township, at the Charming Forge schoolhouse, spent the following year at Wintersville, and one year at the Leiss School in Heidelberg township. In 1874 he engaged in farming near Stouchsburg, an occupation which he has followed continuously. Later, in 1890, he went West to Illinois, where he was engaged in cattle business, and in the fall of the same year he returned home, and the following spring went to Remsen, Iowa, where there was a German-settlement. After remaining in that locality one year, he located in Cumru township, Berks county, and for one year was employed on a farm by W. J. Irwin. Mr. Hoffa at this time embarked in the dairy business, which he has followed successfully ever since. At the start he purchased his milk, but after purchasing a farm of fifty-two acres near West Reading, in 1896, he kept his own cows. This farm he sold at a large profit, after which he spent six years on the old Kurtz homestead, conducting his milk rout daily to Reading. In the spring of 1904 he settled on his excellent property along the Wyomissing creek. This property, which Mr. Hoffa purchased from the Harrison Althouse estate, consists of ninety acres, and is one of the finest farms in Berks county, being supplied with the best water, and improved with large, substantial buildings, and the best and most modern farm machinery. He has a herd of twenty-two cows, and furnished about 150 customers daily with milk. In 1908 Mr. Hoffa moved to Reading, where he now resides on South Third street. In politics he is a Democrat. He and his family are members of St. Stephen's Reformed Church of Reading. Mr. Hoffa was treasurer of the Reading Milk Exchange as long as that body was in existence, as well as treasurer of the Reading Dairymen's Association, which was in existence for about three years.

Mr. Hoffa married (first) March 14, 1874, Clara Catharine Beidler, who was born in 1849, and who died Aug. 31, 1889. He married (second) on March 14, 1896, Loretta Deininger, who was born in 1853, daughter of George Frantz Deininger, of Palmyra, Pa. No children have been born to either union. Mrs. Hoffa, by a former marriage, has two children, Florence C. and Edith M.


p. 1128


John Calvin Hoffeditz, one of the victims of the wreck of the Mystic Shriners excursion train at Honda, Cal., May 11, 1907, had long been collector for the Barbey Brewing Company, of Reading. He was born in Reading Feb. 24, 1854, and was the last survivor of the four children born to Capt. John C. A. and Emma (Reifsnyder) Hoffeditz.

Theodore Ludwig Hoffeditz, grandfather of John Calvin, was born in Germany, and came to America when eighteen years of age. He had learned the trade of piano maker in his native land, and he followed it in this country for a few years. Being a man of scholarly attainments he turned his attention to teaching school in the northern part of Berks county, after which he took up the study of theology in Philadelphia under a minister of the Reformed Church. He was engaged in Biblical instruction the remainder of his life, a period of forty-six years, and was one of the most active ministers of the Reformed Church at that time, being president of the Synod a number of times. He was one of a committee, composed of Rev. Benjamin Schneck and himself, sent abroad to secure a German professor for the Mercersburg College, which resulted in their returning home with Rev. Dr. Philip Schaff, who later won distinction as a writer in America. The Rev. Mr. Hoffeditz was an earnest and eloquent advocate of the church, and while residing in Upper Mount Bethel township, Northampton country, he traveled as far as sixty miles to and from his charges, always making the journey on horseback. He was united in the holy bonds of wedlock with Julia Roth, who was born in Saucon township, Northampton county, in 1793. They had children as follows: Louisa, who is unmarried; Theodore C. W., a minister of the Reformed Church, now deceased; Matilda, deceased, who married and moved West; Maria W., deceased; Charles W. L., now living retired in Philadelphia; Pauline C., unmarried; Capt. John C. A., mentioned below; William B., deceased, a printer, who lived in Anaconda, Mont.; and Emma Julia, who resides in Lehigh county, Pa. The Rev. Mr. Hoffeditz died in 1858, and his wife survived him one year, passing away at the age of sixty-six years.

Capt. John C. A. Hoffeditz was born in Upper Mount Bethel township, Northampton county, April 5, 1829. His education was acquired in Nazareth Hall Academy, in Northampton county, and when he started out for himself he began to learn the trade of tanner and currier, which he followed for a few years. He came to the city of Reading in May, 1852, and embarked in the dry-goods business, at which he continued for three years, when he went into the wholesale liquor business, continuing at that for a period of twenty years. During that time he was also connected with oil development, and in 1865 was engaged in boring two wells in Canada, from which he realized handsome profits. In 1867 he became superintendent of the construction of the Grand Boulevard west of Central Park in New York City, being thus employed for about one year. In 1868 he became connected with the East Penn railroad, continuing until it came under the management of the Philadelphia & Reading Company, one year later. After closing out the liquor business, he, in partnership with his son, built a large factory in Reading, where they engaged in the manufacture of carriages for three or four years, since which he has lived a retired life. Prior to the Civil war he was connected with a cavalry company, and when the war broke out he organized in 1861 a company of cavalrymen, of which he was captain, and it was the first to be accepted by General Cameron, then Secretary of War, after the first battle of Bull Run. The organization left Reading as an independent company Aug. 3, 1861, but was soon attached to the 1st Pennsylvania Cavalry, and it served throughout the war. Captain Hoffeditz served faithfully eleven months, when he was incapacitated for further service by a disease of the throat. He was obliged to leave camp much against his will, and returned to his home. About half of this brave and patriotic company who left happy homes, and sacrificed the business in which they were engaged, gave up their lives in the defense of their country.

Captain Hoffeditz married Emma Reifsnyder, a native of Reading, and they became the parents of four children, of whom John Calvin was the last survivor. In politics Captain Hoffeditz was originally a Whig, but upon the organization of the Republican party he became a follower of Fremont and Lincoln. He has always taken an active part in the affairs of his party, and is a present assessor of the Seventh ward of Reading, the wealthiest ward in the city, and he has performed his duties in a manner satisfactory to all concerned. He also served twelve years, as a member of the school board from the Seventh ward. Socially he is a very prominent in the work of the Masonic fraternity, belonging to Chandler Lodge No. 227, F. & A. M (of which he is the third oldest past officer living); Reading Chapter, No. 152, R. A. M.; and DeMolay Commandery, No. 9, K. T. He is a consistent member of the Reformed Church, to which his ancestors belonged.

Picture of John Calvin HoffeditzJohn Calvin Hoffeditz received his education in the public schools of reading, graduating from the high school in the class of 1873. His earlier education had been obtained in the Moravian school at Nazareth, in Northampton county, but on the removal of his parents to Reading he entered the public schools. He began life as a clerk and later became teller in the Farmers National Bank of Reading. Later he and Frank Godshall formed a partnership under the firm name of Hoffeditz & Godshall, for the Barbey Brewing Company, and this position he filled until the time of his tragic death. He survived the terrible wreck some few days, and passed away May 23, 1907. He was a man highly respected by all, and his untimely death brought great sorrow to his many friends.

Mr. Hoffeditz became a member of Reading Lodge, No. 549, F. & A. M., of which he was master and treasurer; Reading Chapter, R. A. M., No. 152, of which he was high priest; De Molay Commandery, No. 9, K. T., in which he served as eminent commander and as trustee; and Rajah Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S. He was also a member of Progressive Lodge, I. O. O. F.; Meade Camp, Sons of Veterans; Royal Arcanum; Loyal Association; and Reading Lodge, B. P. O. E. He was a member of St. Paul's Memorial Church of Reading, and was on official in the church. In his earlier years he had been superintendent of the Sunday School.

On Sept. 28, 1886, Mr. Hoffeditz married Miss Clara C. Boyer, daughter of Frank and Elizabeth (Clouser) Boyer, the former born in Bernville, son of Michael K. Boyer, and the latter a daughter of William and Elizabeth (Yerger) Clouser, of Reading. They resided at No. 106 North Eleventh street, where they had made their home after October, 1898.


p. 1472


Moses M. Hoffert, proprietor of the "Green Tree Hotel" in Cumru township, son of Moses and Sarah (Mosser) Hoffert.

David Hoffert, the grandfather of Moses M., was a life-long farmer of Brecknock Township, where he owned a tract of sixty-seven acres of excellent land. He married Elizabeth Hartz, who bore him the following children: John; Isaac, who died June 6, 1902, aged ninety-three years, three months, eleven days, married Elizabeth Eckenroth, and they had these children. Ephraim, who married Catherine Hymen, David, Rudley, Henry, Elizabeth, Augustus, Mary, Sarah, David and Isaac; William; Moses; Sarah, who married Isaac Brendel; Jesty, who married Henry Brendel; Lydia, who married John Showalter; Cyrus, born in 1824, died in 1893; Susan, who married Levi Kohl; and Elizabeth, who married Joseph Kohl.

Moses Hoffert was born and reared in Brecknock township, and there he was spent his whole life engaged in agricultural pursuits, his tract now consisting of 150 acres. He is a Democrat in his political belief and was township supervisor for five years. He attends Allegheny Union church, being a member of the Reformed congregation. Mr. Hoffert married Sarah Mosser, who bore him these children: Amanda, who married James Fritz; Nathan; Albert; Phoebe, who married Fred Miller; Herman; Moses M.; Hebner and Harvey.

Moses M. Hoffert was reared on his fathers farm in Brecknock township, and as a young man learned the stonemasons trade, which he followed for fourteen years, then engaging in the restaurant business at Mohnton, where he continued for four years. In the spring of 1906 Mr. Hoffert became proprietor of the Green Tree Hotel, a popular resort of Cumru township, and since taking charge he has made many improvements, being thoroughly capable of conducting such an establishment. Fraternally Mr. Hoffert is connected with the Independent Order of American, and the P.O.S. of A., of Mohnton.

On Oct. 27, 1893, Mr. Hoffert was united in marriage with Miss Kate Moyer, daughter of John Moyer. Mr. and Mrs. Hoffert have no children.


p. 1549


Nelson Hoffert, who is carrying on agricultural pursuits in the Allegheny valley, near Allegheny Church, in Brecknock twp., Berks county, was born near the Plow Church, June 21, 1851, son of John and Sarah (Brendel) Hoffert.

John Hoffert, father of Nelson, was born march 15, 1806, son of David Hoffert, and was a lifelong farmer in Brecknock township, on a farm of one hundred and four acres, now owned by his son, Nelson. Throughout life he was a member of the Allegheny Church, where he was buried. Mr. Hoffert's death occurred Sept. 5, 1879. He married Sarah Brendel, born in Brecknock township. She was the daughter of Abraham Brendel, who was born Dec. 21, 1776, and died April 1, 1851. To the union of John and Sarah Hoffert were born nine children: Elizabeth m. Isaac Griffith; Julia m. John Trostle; Catherine m. Benjamin Bealer; Mary m. John Krick; Susan m. Jeremiah Hoschour; John, residing near Mohnton, m. Sarah Steffy; Nelson; Jestina m. John Zerby, of Adamstown; and Sarah died young.

Nelson Hoffert was reared on the farm on which he has lived all his life, with the exception of two years spent at the carpenter's trade. He began farming for himself in 1875 on the property occupied by his father, to which he has added till he now owns one hundred and forty-five acres of good, fertile soil, producing fine crops. Mr. Hoffert attends the Reading markets, having stands Nos. 223 and 224 at the Bingaman street market, where he disposes of all of his produce and truck. In politics Mr. Hoffert is a Democrat, and he has served as a delegate to county conventions. He and his family attend the Allegheny Union Church.

In 1872 Mr. Hoffert was married to Elizabeth Zerbe, born March 3, 1854, daughter of Jacob and Catherine (Remp) Zerbe, of Cumru township, and to this union there were born nine children: three who died young; Alice C., m . to Rhine Messner, of Bowmansville; Louisa m. to Isaac Kramer, of Brecknock; Elizabeth m. to Howard Remp, of Brecknock; Debbie A., m. to Henry Gring, of Lancaster; John J., who assists his father on the farm; and Susie, who assists her mother at home.

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