Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 956


Amos Horst, accountant in the service of the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company, at Reading, has lived in that city since 1889. He is of an old Lancaster county family, and was born at Vogansville, that county, July 1, 1863, son of Amos and Amelia (Wingenroth) Horst and grandson of John Horst. John Horst, the grandfather, was a farmer near Blue Ball, Lancaster county, where he lived and died.

Amos Horst, son of John, was born in Lancaster county, and died on his farm there, in Ephrata township, aged forty-seven years. He was a member of the Mennonite Church. He was a well-known school teacher, first teaching the pay schools and later public school, and he was also engaged for a time at the Millersville State Normal School. He retired a few years before his death. He married Amelia Wingenroth, and their children were: Frank, of Philadelphia; Amos, of Reading; and Edwin H., who is in the West.

Amos Horst, son of Amos, received his education in the schools of his home locality, and taught school for three years in his native county. He then clerked for a few years before coming to Reading, in 1889. In this city he was first employed as a clerk in a clothing store on Penn street, and on Sept. 10, 1890, he entered the employ of the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company, as a clerk. He now has charge of the accounts in the office of the Superintendent of the Reading Division.

Mr. Horst married Miss Sarah A. Sweigart, daughter of Jared and Susanna (Miller) Sweigart, of Lancaster county, and they have had two children, R. Walter and Grace I. The family reside at No. 524 North Eighth street, Reading. They are Lutherans in religious connection. Mr. Horst is a high Mason, having originally joined the fraternity in Blue Lodge No. 62, F. & A. M. Later he became a charter member of Isaac Hiester Lodge, No. 660, upon its organization, in October, 1908, and served as its first senior warden. He is a member of Reading Lodge of Perfection, fourteenth degree, and of Philadelphia Consistory, thirty-second degree.


p. 462


Fred B. Hossler, justice of the peace, farmer and surveyor of Tilden township, is one of the oldest justices in Berks county, having served continuously since the year 1867.

Mr. Hossler was born April 3, 1839, on the farm in Tilden township where he now resides, and he is a great-grandson of Frederick Hossler, who first settled in the Heidelberg district. Thence he removed to what was then Bern township, settling where the Squire now lives. He took up about 325 acres of land, and lived and died here, and he is buried at St. Michael's Church. He divided the farm into three tracts, giving one to each of his three sons.

John Hossler, son of Fredrick, also died in Bern township, and is buried at St. Michael's Church. His wife was Rachel Rickert, and their children were as follows: John (died young); Henry, Benjamin (died in Schuylkill county); Elizabeth (m. John Conckling); Sarah (m. Samuel Meck); Catharine (m. Peter Fink); and Rebecca (married Henry Fink).

Henry Hossler, son of John, was born July 17, 1804, on the old homestead, and died there Aug. 27, 1892. He, too, is buried at St. Michael's Church. His property originally comprised 187 acres, part of which he sold, the homestead at present consisting of 130 acres. Henry Hossler engaged in general farming throughout his active years, passing his last years in retirement. He was a captain in the State militia, and was a Democrat in politics. Henry Hossler married Mary Ann Scheidy, and they had a family of six children: Four died young; John died at Auburn, Schuylkill county; Fred B. is mentioned below.

Fred B. Hossler attended the public schools in the locality of his home and later went to Morgantown Academy, and he taught school for one term in Upper Bern township, now Tilden township. He then went to Port Clinton, where he remained for six months, in 1865 returning to the home farm, where he has ever since been located. As previously stated, the farm contains 130 acres, all of which is valuable land and in a profitable state of cultivation. Squire Hossler is well known, especially in his public capacity, having been first elected justice of the peace in 1867, so that his period of service in that office alone covers over forty years. He had previously served eleven years as township auditor. In addition to farming Mr. Hossler has done considerable surveying, and he is a substantial and much respected citizen of his locality. He is also a homeopathic veterinary, of considerable experience, having practised for over forty years. He is a member of St. Michael's Lutheran Church and of Vaux Lodge, No. 406, F. & A. M., of Hamburg, Pennsylvania. In politics he is a Democrat.

Mr. Hossler married Matilda Savage, daughter of Joseph Savage, of Tilden township, and they have two children: Alvin E., who is in the express business at Hamburg, Pa., married Bessie Hadesty, and they have one son, Herbert. Lillie Jane married Milton S. Balthaser, of Kutztown, who died Jan. 11, 1909, and was buried at St. Michael's, leaving to survive his wife, Lillie, and three minor children - Curtis F., Miriam and Wayne.


p. 1687


Hon. Thomas J. R. Houck, former member of the Pennsylvania State Legislature and one of Berks county's most prominent citizens, is a resident of Colebrookdale township, where he was born Nov. 18, 1870. His parents were Urias G. and Mary (Ritter) Houck.

The Houcks are one of the old and substantial families of Lower Berks county. John Hauck (as the great-great-grandfather) of Thomas J. R. Houck wrote his name) was a taxable resident of Earl township, Berks county, as early as 1782. His numerous posterity is now widely scattered, many, however, remaining in Berks county, and in 1908 forty-three were registered in the city of Reading. The name is variously spelled Hauck, Hawk and Hoak, but its representatives here are of common origin.

Jacob Houck, son of John and great-grandfather of Hon. Thomas J. R., owned a small farm in Earl township, which he bought in 1845. He died there about 1860 and is buried at the Hill Church. He married Maricha Minninger and to them were born the following children: Samuel lived in Oley township; Amos is mentioned below; David lived in Amity township; Abraham lived in Oley; Benjamin lived in Rockland; William lived in the northern part of Montgomery county; Betsey, Mary and Sally all married men by the name of Weller, who, however, were not brothers.

Amos Houck, grandfather of Hon. Thomas J. R., was born in Earl township March 10, 1810, and did at Gabelsville, in Colebrookdale township, in June, 1894, aged eighty-four years. Early in life he conducted the old Gabel mill, which stood a short distance above the present one, but later became a farmer. He is buried at Boyertown. On May 29, 1839, he married Hannah Gabel, daughter of Jacob Gabel, of Colebroodkale township, and they had the following children: Edwin G.; Urias G.; Emeline, deceased, wife of Jefferson Fraunheiser; Mary, wife of Ephraim Leh; Aaron, residing on the homestead; Ammon, residing in Colebrookdale; and Jacob, residing in Philadelphia. The eldest son, Edwin G., was born June 27, 1844. He taught six terms of school in Colebrookdale township, later engaged for twenty-three years in farming his father-in-law's property, and in 1902 retired to his own farm of twenty-one acres, at New Berlinville. He married Mary Wesner, and they had three children: Edgar, Lizzie and Barbara, the last named dying in infancy.

Urias G. Houck, father of Hon. Thomas J. R., was born Oct. 3, 1846, in Colebrookdale township, where he died Nov. 14, 1901, aged fifty-five years, one month, eleven days; he was laid to rest in the family plot at Fairview cemetery, Boyertown. In early manhood he taught three terms of school, one term in Shanesville and two at Houck's school, after which he engaged in farming and also was proprietor of what is now Leaver's coal-yard, at Boyertown. He then came to New Berlinville, where he secured the first license to operate a hotel and conducted a public house for four years. He then turned his attention to farming and cattle dealing. He lived on a ninety-acre farm, which he had bought from the William Henry heirs, and he owned a second farm, near New Berlinville, containing twenty-five acres, which was known as the Rev. William Engel farm. In politics he was a Democrat, and at one time he was a candidate for the office of director of the county poor. For a number of terms he served as school director, and at the time of his death was serving in the office of assessor of Colebrookdale township, which he had filled for nine years. He was a substantial, reliable citizen, led a useful life, and his memory is honored. In the work of church and Sunday school, he was ever active, being a leading member of the Hill Lutheran Church and superintendent of several Sunday-Schools.

He married Mary Ritter, born July 9, 1852, daughter of Isaac and Anna (Moser) Ritter, and they became the parents of four children, namely: Rosa (died in infancy), Thomas J. R., Allen, and Laura (m. Randolph A. Henry, business partner of Mr. Houck). The mother makes her home with her daughter.

Thomas J. R. Houck is a representative of the younger element in public life from which is recruited so largely the enterprise and energy that have brought about the supremacy of America as a nation. His educational advantages were those enjoyed in the common schools and at the Keystone State Normal School, at Kutztown, and after his graduation in 1893, he began to teach school in his native township. He was recognized as a capable instructor, and as the calling was a congenial one he continued in this line, teaching one term in Colebrookdale township, one in Amity township, two in the borough of Bechtelsville, one at Perkiomen Seminary (this being in 1897), and was then elected principal of the Pennsburg schools in Montgomery county, where he taught one term. Following this he accepted the office of principal of the Womelsdorf high school, where he taught one term, and was then elected by the Boyertown school board as a grammar school instructor for one year and as principal the second year.

In November 1902, Mr. Houck was elected a member of the State Legislature and served very creditably for two terms, 1903-04 and 1905-06, having been re-elected in 1904 with an increased majority. In the interim he served as principal of the West Reading grammar school. In 1905 he returned to Bechtelsville and taught there until the special session of the Legislature, in 1905, recalled him to Harrisburg. He is a stanch Democrat. In the spring of 1908 he was his party's candidate for the State Senate and received the third highest vote of five aggressive candidates, proving his popularity in his native county. At present he is one of the auditors of the borough of Boyertown, where he resides. He is a stanch Democrat in political faith. Since taking an active part in politics, he has been frequently called upon to take the stump and defend the principles of the party. This opportunity he has never refused, and has always proved himself useful in the interest of his party. Mr. Houck is popular as a public speaker in Berks and Montgomery counties on such occasions as Memorial Day, public school commencements, etc.

In March 1901, Mr. Houck formed a business partnership with Randolph A. Henry, under the firm name of Houck & Henry, wholesale and retail dealers in agricultural machinery, buggies and gasoline engines, which are a progressive and prosperous enterprise, conducted at New Berlinville, Berks Co., Pa. Their stock includes farm wagons, buggies, gasoline engines, a full line of agricultural implements, hardware, harness, pumps, fertilizers, Page fence, and field and garden seeds.

On Oct. 11, 1904, Mr. Houck married Miss Amy E. Francis, a daughter of Dr. L. K. and Anna (Schetzline) Francis, of Boyertown. Mrs. Francis perished on Jan. 13, 1908, in the Boyertown conflagration. Mr. and Mrs. Houck have two sons, Thomas F. and Robert L. Mr. and Mrs. Houck are members of St. John's Lutheran Church at Boyertown, and since 1896 Mr. Houck has been superintendent of the Sunday school, which has 650 pupils on its roll. He is an active member of Camp No. 104, Patriotic Order Sons of America, of Boyertown, and a member of Lodge No. 159, I. O. O. F., Womelsdorf, Pennsylvania.


p. 1032


Edward Howden (deceased), who for many years was a well known figure in railroad construction work, and who was employed by the Reading Railway Company, from the time of grading the road until his retirement in 1889, was born in 1814, in County Cavan, Ireland.

Mr. Howden came to America in 1834, and at once engaged in railroad and construction work and when the work on the Reading Railway was commenced he was made section boss. His ability to handle large bodies of men made his services very valuable to that company, and he was often called upon to carry out large contracts. Mr. Howden continued in this firm's employ until his retirement in 1889, and he died May 31, 1890.

In 1839 Mr. Howden married Lavina Kline, who survives him and to his union were born twelve children: Catherine A., unmarried; John K., deceased; Jane, unmarried; Edward and Mary, deceased; Elizabeth m. to William Deisher; Rebecca m. to Michael Buckley; George, who is with the Pennsylvania Railway, at Auburn, Pa.; D. James, deceased; William, in the employ of the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Co.; Agnes C., deceased; and Rose T., m. to Patrick Quinn. The family are connected with St. Joseph's Catholic Church, in which faith Mr. Howden died. In politics he was a Democrat.


p. 1375


Samuel K. Howerter of Reading, extensively engaged in the cement business, was born in Kutztown, Jan. 8, 1869, son of Samuel Howerter, who for a number of years was engaged in agricultural pursuits in Long Swamp, and later in the manufacture of woolen goods, and is now living retired in Lehigh county. He had these children; James; Nathan; Alice; Lizzie; Samuel K.; Edwin, a dentist of Reading; William, a physician of Monroe county; Katie; George; Cora; and Emanuel, who was a physician and died aged forty years.

Samuel K. Howerter attended the public schools of his native locality, and subsequently entered Stoner's Business College, after leaving which he taught school for three years in Long Swamp and Maxatawny townships. Mr. Howerter then took a business course, after which he went to Philadelphia, being there employed as a clerk for three years. After being employed in different shops for one year, and then with the Acme Bicycle works for a period of six years. In 1900, with Adam Hartman, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this volume, Mr. Howerter engaged in his present business, the firm being known as the Reading Cement & Paving Co. The partners have been very successful, their work being of the highest grade, and their contracts always properly filled.

Mr. Howerter was married in 1892 to Miss Cora Krause, daughter of Jacob Krause, a prominent farmer of Albany township, Berks county, and to this union have been born: Arthur and Sherman. Mr. and Mrs. Howerter live in their fine residence at No. 917 Locust street, and are members of Alsace Lutheran Church. He is very popular fraternally, and is connected with the Eagles, the Red Men, and the Maennerchor.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:54:41 EDT

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