Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 1662


Samuel T. Iaeger, of Reading, Pa., whose place of business is situated on Douglass street, is a manufacturing pharmacist and druggist. Mr. Iaeger was born in 1831, in Greenwich township, Berks county, son of Rev. G. F. Iaeger, a native of Wurtemberg, Germany.

Samuel T. Iaeger was educated in the schools of Berks county, and in 1849 entered Yale preparatory college, which he attended for about one year, also attending Pennsylvania College for one year. After leaving the latter institution he clerked for Mr. Clymer, a dry goods merchant who conducted a store at Fifth and Penn streets, after leaving whom Mr. Iaeger worked as a book agent until 1863, then becoming a traveling salesman for a dry goods house of Philadelphia, for which he worked until 1866. Mr. Iaeger then engaged in the manufacturing of perfumery at No. 718 Market street, Philadelphia, but after a short time came to Reading, where he continued in the same business until 1880. He then engaged in the manufacture of proprietary medicines, receiving in 1887 a certificate from the State Pharmaceutical Board under the new law of 1885. Among his well known remedies may be mentioned "Iaeger's Lightning Linament," "Cough Pectoral," and "Family medicine," and in the sale of these he travels throughout the surrounding country and as far as Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington.

In 1853 Mr. Iaeger was married (first) to Sarah Trump, and to this union there were born four children, all now deceased. Mr. Iaeger's second marriage, in 1863, was to Sarah Fox, daughter of George Fox and five children were born to this union: Elizabeth; Sarah; Annie; Florence; Charles, m. Kate Sloan and has three children, William, Samuel and Sarah. Mr. Iaeger is a Lutheran in his religious belief and politically is a Republican. Formerly he belonged to several social orders.


p. 401


Rev. Thomas Theophilus Iaeger, for forty years a preacher of the Gospel, died May 13, 1888, in Reading, Pa. The Rev. Mr. Iaeger, who was born in Greenwich township, Berks county, Aug. 29, 1826, came of a long line of ministers of the Word of God, his great-grandfather and grandfather having been ministers in Germany, while his father, the late Rev. G. F. I. Iaeger, was one of the best known and most beloved pastors in the Lutheran Church in this section of the State.

Rev. G. F. I. Iaeger was born in Illigen, Wurtemberg, Germany, and he received his literary training there, attending several of the best universities. On coming to America, in 1817, the Rev. Mr. Iaeger taught school for one winter in Northampton county, Pa., and the following year located in Berks county, where the remainder of his life was spent. While teaching in the old schoolhouse near Hamburg, he began to study for the ministry, and he was ordained in the Lutheran faith in 1819. He at once began preaching, and he continued in active service until four years prior to his death. At various times he had as many as fifteen congregations in charge, and he was the pastor of six congregations at the time of his death in 1874. When he relinquished preaching the Rev. Mr. Iaeger had charge of the White Church Lutheran congregation. From June 1819, to 1874, he baptized nearly 7,000 children, gave catechetical instruction to nearly 4,000 persons, married over 1,200, preached 2,500 funeral sermons and gave communion to over 50,000 persons. The Rev. Mr. Iaeger died at his residence on South Oak street, Hamburg, Berks county, shortly after eleven o'clock, Sunday morning, Nov. 16, 1879, being at this time the oldest member of the Pennsylvania Ministerium. His funeral was largely attended, the Rev. Mr. Groh, of Boyertown, preaching the sermon in German, and the Rev. Dr. Fry, of Reading, in English. Rev. G. F. I. Iaeger had preached his first sermon Oct. 18, 1818, at Dunkel's Church, and he was there buried among the people to whom he had given his labors for a period of years.

The Rev. Mr. Iaeger was married to Mary Audenreid, of McKeansburg, Pa., and to them were born these children: Rev. Thomas Theophilus; Samuel; William, of Baltimore; and Lewis F., of California; Mrs. Jackson Levan, of Hamburg, Pa.; Mrs. James S. Berger, of Philadelphia; Mrs. E. S. Salade, of Tamaqua.

Rev. Thomas Theophilus Iaeger pursued his preparatory course and classical studies for about three years at Mercersburg and Gettysburg, after which he entered upon his theological course under the instruction of Rev. John W. Richards, then pastor of St. John's Church, Easton, Pa. During the summer of 1847 he received a license (ad interim) from the president of the Ministerium, of Pennsylvania, to perform ministerial acts, which license was renewed when he was received into the Ministerium at its annual meeting in Easton in 1848. His ordination took place in 1850, at the Synodical meeting at Pottsville, Pa., and his first regular charge was in Lancaster county, PA., where he served congregations in and around Brickerville, and Muddy Creek. He remained about two years at the latter place and then removed to Womelsdorf, taking charge of the congregations there and at Rehrersberg, and later the churches at Myerstown, Bellemans, Reed, Bern and North Heidelberg. In 1855 the Rev. Mr. Iaeger removed to the city of Reading, where he served at various times a large number of congregations. At the time of his death he had charge of the following Lutheran congregations: Bern, Oley, Spies, Shalters and Kissinger churches. His ministerial life covered forty continuous years, with the exception of the years 1865, 1866 and 1867, when on account of ill health he was forced to discontinue his work. During his long labor in the Gospel he preached 5,258 sermons, baptized 6,263 children, performed 1,748 marriage ceremonies, officiated at 2,472 funerals, confirmed 3,608 catechumens, gave communion to 74,750 persons, and prayed with the sick 2,860 times. On May 4, 1888, he had a slight paralytic stroke, which was but the beginning of the end, his death occurring May 13th, and he was interred in Charles Evans cemetery.

On Dec. 14, 1848, the Rev. Mr. Iaeger married Mary A. Palsgrove, of Mercersburg, Pa., and they had a family of ten children, seven of whom died in infancy. The three surviving are: Miss Nora S., who lives with her mother at No. 522 Oley street, Reading; Mrs. Jefferson Snyder, of Reading; and Mrs. John Kendig, of Philadelphia. The Rev. Thomas T. Iaeger was justly considered one of Berks county's representative men. The influences of his life had always been in the direction of temperance, education and morality. His services in the religious body in which he labored so faithfully for so many years but cemented more closely the bonds between him and his fellow men. As a preacher he was fearless in the exposition of the Word of God, and the fruitful results of his work brought him comfort and encouragement in his declining years.


p. 495


Berthold J. Imhoff. Reading has among her distinguished men, Berthold J. Imhoff, artist, decorator and frescoer, a man of genius who thoroughly understands his art and makes a specialty of church and mural decorations.

On Jan. 14, 1868, Mr. Imhoff was born in Mannheim Germany, and was there educated, beginning to learn the painter's trade when only fourteen years of age. For three years he served an apprenticeship, then worked for others for another three years, when he entered the College of Oberwinter where he took a course in graining and marble work. Once more he resumed working for others to gain sufficient money to carry out his ambition, and when he had accumulated enough he studied art at Halle-an-der-Halle. On leaving school he became foreman for a large decorating firm, and received large compensation for his work. Still he was not satisfied, but entered the art institute at Karlsruhe, Baden, where he studied art in its higher forms, and in March 1892, he landed in America and located in Ohio, where he worked for five months, and then returned to Philadelphia where he believed there was more appreciation to be found for his excellent work. While in that city he was in the employ of Sima, and did some of his best work. Once more be crossed the ocean, and locating at Pforzheim, Germany, he engaged in business for himself. There he remained until 1900, and during that time he entered, in 1898, the academy of art at Dusseldorf, where he studied figure work. Selling out his business he returned to America, this time locating at Reading, and purchasing a valuable property at the corner of Eleventh and Green streets he has established himself in a very large business and is recognized as the leader in art circles. His studio is 18x42 feet and is specially arranged with regard to light and space. Five artists work under his direction.

While Mr. Imhoff is so well known as a decorator, he is also an artist and one of his most famous paintings is the "Death of St. Joseph". The painting is 7x10 feet, and the group includes St. Joseph, the Blessed Virgin, Jesus and a ministering angel. Being a devout Catholic Mr. Imhoff has handled the subject reverently as well as artistically, with a due regard to coloring and background which makes it a masterpiece. Another very notable painting by this man of such diversified talents is "Jesus in the Temple", 4x6 feet. He has upward of one hundred others, suitable for churches and private residences, and all display his wonderful power and his skill at figure work.

Mr. Imhoff has frescoed over one hundred churches since his return to Pennsylvania, among which may be mentioned: St. Stephen's Reformed; St. Luke's and Trinity, Lutheran; Salem Evangelical, of Reading, while Columbia, Lebanon, Slatington, Phoenixville, Tamaqua, Allentown, Pottsville, Wilkes-Barre, Williamsport, Hazleton, York, Philadelphia, Mahanoy City, etc., have had him decorate their handsomest places of religious worship. Mr. Imhoff has also decorated the Academy of Music, Masonic Temple, the residences of Ferdinand Winter, Mrs. Catherine Archer, John Hendel, Rev. Father Bornemann, Mr. Isaac Frey of Douglassville, Pa., and Mr. Sternbergh, of Reading, etc.

Some of Mr. Imhoff's masterpieces are to be found in St. John's Catholic church at Pottsville; St. Mary's Catholic church at York; German Catholic church at Hazleton; Catholic church at Williamsport; Trinity Lutheran church, Reading; Lithuanian Catholic church, Mahanoy City; Baptist church, Reading; Spies's Union church, Alsace township; Reformed church, Hazleton; Lutheran church, Myerstown; and St. Paul's church, Reading. Of all these, St. Paul's church, Reading, is his masterpiece. The architecture of the church is Romanesque, and this necessitated rich colors and heavy ornamentation. Above the main entrance is a picture representing the parable of the Prodigal son. The center of the ceiling shows three large compositions, 12x18 feet, "The Descent of the Holy Ghost," "The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin" and "The Coronation of the Virgin," these forming the last three mysteries of the rosary, the preceding twelve being depicted in the painted windows. There are two other large compositions, "The Adoration of the Magi" and the "Death of St. Joseph"; eight panels, each containing a single figure; small medallions showing the symbols of the rosary and the instruments of the passion. The sanctuary arch, as is fitting, is marvelous in both execution and design. The main composition is 40x25 feet. In the center the risen Savior sits enthroned, and on either side but a little below him are the Blessed Virgin and St. John the Baptist. Between heaven and earth is the Holy Spirit surrounded by the cherubim. On the earth, grouped about the cross, are the apostles and evangelists, Saints Peter and Paul standing a little higher than the others. Other figures appear, all tending to bring out more fully the subject of the whole composition, "The Church of God." There are about fifty figures in all, and they occupy five of the seven panels. In each end panel is an angel, one bearing the pillar at which the Savior was scourged, and the other the spear that pierced His side, and the sponge with which they quenched His thirst. In this work Mr. Imhoff has used the best models, and his historical accuracy is above question. If he left no other work than St. Paul's, Mr. Imhoff's fame as an artist would be complete.

The delightful home of Mr. Imhoff is artistically treated, and is one of the most beautiful in the city. He carried out his own ideas in its decoration and tried to reproduce something of the style of the Fatherland in his own residence. That the result is artistic and very pleasing goes without saying.

In 1891 Mr. Imhoff married Matilde Johner, daughter of Joseph and Leopoldina (Helmuth) Johner. Joseph Johner was Mr. Imhoff's teacher of painting at Bonndorf. To Mr. and Mrs. Imhoff have been born these children: Alexander, Hubert and Berthold, who were born in Germany and are now deceased; Rosina; Paul, deceased; Maria, George and Katharinn. The family are all Catholics and belong to St. Paul's Catholic church. In politics Mr. Imhoff is independent, preferring to vote for the best man rather than be bound by party lines.

The family history of Mr. Imhoff is rather meagre, although it is known that his grandfather was Leopold Imhoff. Among the sons of Leopold Imhoff was Leopold Imhoff, Jr., father of Berthold Imhoff, and he was an Oberjager and lived in Karlsruhe. His wife was Rosina Allgeier, and their children were: Alexander, Leopold, Berthold and Max.

There are very few men in America who are so well fitted by nature and training to represent the true artistic perceptions of the people as Mr. Imhoff. Combined with his high artistic sense of the true values, he has a thoroughly practical conception of the requirements of his business and his results fully justify his methods. Mr. and Mrs. Imhoff are the center of a circle of charming people, whose appreciation of art and higher culture makes them delightful companions, and the artist and his wife dispense to them and their other friends a delightful hospitality, that makes their home a favorite gathering place. The young people are already displaying in marked degree talent in several directions which will undoubtedly be fostered by their parents who thoroughly recognize the value of careful training under proper instructors.


p. 1336


William J. Irwin, a leading agriculturist of Berks county carrying on extensive operations in Cumru township, was born Jan. 24, 1845, at Hibernia, Chester Co., Pa., son of Isaac B. Irwin and grandson of Abner Irwin. He is a great-grandson of the founder of the family in America, who located near Charlestown, Md., where it is supposed he engaged in farming, and where his son Abner was born. Abner Irwin followed farming for many years near Charlestown, but later in life went to Pottstown, Pa., where he died in 1841, at the age of sixty years. He married Elizabeth Benjamin, also of Maryland, daughter of Joseph Benjamin, a converted Jew, who came to this country during the Revolutionary war. Mr. Benjamin was married in Charlestown, Md., to Betsy Winchester, and after his marriage became one of the leading Methodists of his day. Mr. and Mrs. Abner Irwin are buried in the Pottstown cemetery. Their children were as follows: William, born Sept. 6, 1805, was killed while working in a rolling-mill at Kensington, Pa.; Sarah, born Feb. 18, 1807, died in Philadelphia, unmarried; Absalom, born Aug. 1, 1816, first learned the shoemaker's trade, was later an iron worker, and then went to Oil City, Pa.. where he bought oil wells, and there he died; Isaac B. was born Aug. 2, 1818; Anna Jane, born Sept. 20, 1820, m. Robert Collom, of Oxford, Chester county, where she died; Jesse, born Jan. 17, 1823, m. Rebecca Smith; Francis G., born Feb. 14, 1825, was a large railroad contractor at Oil City, Pa.; Mary E. was born Dec. 23, 1827.

Isaac B. Irwin, born Aug, 2, 1818, at Charlestown, Md., died at Oxford, Pa., Dec. 22, 1900, and is buried in the Charles Evans cemetery, Reading. When a boy he located at Norristown, where he remained for a number of years, later locating at Pottstown, at which place it is claimed he turned out the first sheet of iron made there. He was skilled in his occupation, and was considered a good, honest, upright citizen. Mr. Irwin married Catharine Smith, daughter of James and Ann (Smith) Smith, both of whom came from Ireland and were Protestants in faith. They bought property near Oxford, Chester Co., Pa., later removing to Cecil county, Md., where they raised their family. Mr. Irwin survived his wife several years. To them were born children as follows: Annie E. m. Charles Wright; Mary W. m. George Trucksess; William J.; Catherine m. Thomas Jefferson Baker, of Norristown, a well-known saddler; Mahlon D. m. Henrietta Lerch; Sarah m. Arthur T. Garren, of Philadelphia; Cyrenius W. m. Mary Whittick; Fannie m. Augustus Freely, of Philadelphia.

William J. Irwin received the greater part of his education in the schools of Norristown, to which place he went with his parents when but six years of age; he had previously received some schooling in Pottstown. After completing his education he was first employed with his father as heater in a rolling-mill, becoming, as was his parent, very skilled in this line of work. About the time he reached his majority he went to Allentown, Pa., and to Oxford, N. J., where he remained for a short time, in 1866 locating in Reading and beginning work at the McIlvaine plant, where he continued for one year. He then spent two years in the polishing department of the Reading Hardware Company, his next employment being with Rick Brothers, at polishing, after which he drove a wagon through the country, selling notions for Samuel T. Jaeger. He then went into the plating business, doing this kind of work first for Orr, Painter & Co., later for many other firms, and continuing for about twenty years in the business, in which he was very successful. Mr. Irwin then purchased the old Jacob Bitting farm, comprising 100 acres of well improved land in Cumru township, on which he has resided since the spring of 1901. This valuable farm, located near the Kurtz House and but one mile from the city of Reading, has undergone many improvements since it came into the hands of Mr. Irwin, who is now carrying on a profitable fruit and dairy business, also keeping a large stock of wine and cider on hand. He is considered one of the most substantial farmers of Cumru township, and his work is done with the aid of the latest improved machinery.

On Jan. 24, 1871, William J. Irwin married Miss Elmira Rebecca Rhoads, daughter of Henry W. and Susan L. (Long) Rhoads, and to this union have been born children as follows: Ida M. m. W. Bridegam, an electrical contractor of Reading, and has three children, LeRoy, Dorothy and Grace; Katie L. m. Wesley Fisher, a butcher of Fritztown, Pa., and has two children, Catherine and Allen; Harry B. m. Katie Sassaman and has three children, William J., Harry and Earl Thomas; William, Jr., m. Clara Buck; Joseph P. m. Celia Althouse; Walter G. m. Bessie Prizer, and has four children, Walter J., Pearl, Arthur and Mildred; Florence m. Thomas Robertson, and. has one child, Harold Irwin; Jesse H. is a student in the schools of Reading; Leona F., who is an elocutionist, attends Schuylkill Seminary, Reading; George W. is attending grammar school. The family occupy a beautiful Colonial residence standing on the corner of the farm, near the Kurtz House, on New Holland avenue, one of the most modern homes in the county. It was just completed in 1908.

Mr. Irwin is a Republican in his political belief, and he has served his fellow-citizens as a member of the school board of Cumru township, holding the office of president of that body with great efficiency. He is a member of the Evangelical Church, to which his family also belong, and is an honest and upright citizen, much esteemed and respected in his community. He is a Mason, holding membership in Lodge No. 62, F. & A. M.; Reading Chapter, No. 152, R. A. M., and DeMolay Commandery, No. 9, Knights Templar.


p. 805


Joseph Frederick Isett, M. D., who has been engaged in the practice of medicine at Hamburg for nearly thirty years, is a native of Berks county, born Oct. 19, 1846, in Greenwich township, son of Dr. Benjamin F. and Lovina (Christman) Isett.

It is traditional in the family that the great-great-grandfather of Dr. Isett removed with other French Huguenots to Germany, and that he started from there to America, but died on board the ship, his remains being buried at sea, while his widow and two sons, Frederick and Jacob, landed in safety at Philadelphia in 1732. This progenitor's name is said to have been Frederick

Frederick Isett, son of the progenitor, settled on a farm near Trappe, in Montgomery county, Pa. His farm lay adjacent to Governor Shunk's, and he married a Miss Markley, by whom he had several children, among them Frederick, the Doctor's grandfather. He was born during the Revolutionary war and died ripe in years. He was a farmer by occupation, and was well and favorably known in his district. He married Mary Hallman, and they had children as follows: Dr. Benjamin Franklin; Samuel, of Upper Providence township, Montgomery county, married to Harriet Brower; Frederick, of Limerick township, Montgomery county, married to Harriet Shade, and John, married to Esther Poley.

Dr. Benjamin F. Isett was born in Upper Providence township, Montgomery county, Jan. 29, 1807, and died Oct. 9, 1869. He was educated in Montgomery county, and was engaged in milling before taking up the study of medicine in the University of Pennsylvania. He be.came assistant physician at the Montgomery county almshouse, where he remained one year before locating at Klinesville, Berks county, in 1833, and thereafter successfully practised at that place for twenty-three years. In 1856 he settled in the town of Hamburg, where he resided at the time of his death. He was a man of wide influence in his community and a staunch friend of education, serving several terms as school director. Early in his practise he espoused homeopathy and was largely instrumental in introducing it in northern Berks. Dr. Isett was married to Lovina Christman, daughter of Joseph and Rebecca (Camp) Christman, and they had children as follows: Henry Francis married to Mary Keller; Anna M., married to Dr. E. Benjamin Bierman, president of Lebanon Valley College, and a former legislator of Lebanon county; Dr. J. Frederick, and Catharine B., married to Rev. S. G. Grove, of Philadelphia.

J. Frederick Isett was taken by his parents to Hamburg when nine years of age, and there gained his preliminary education in the public schools. In 1862 he entered Dickinson College, and while there enlisted in the 195th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, serving with this regiment until the close of the war. Returning to Hamburg he engaged in the mercantile business, which he followed for three years, when he took up the study of medicine, graduating from the Halnemann Medical College, Philadelphia, in 1876. He then located in Middletown, Dauphin county, but in 1878 returned to Hamburg, where he has been successfully engaged in practice ever since. Dr. Isett is the medical examiner for a number of life insurance companies, including the Metropolitan and Prudential Companies.

On Oct. 31, 1869, Dr. Isett married Emma R. Miller, daughter of Edward M. and Sarah (Moyer) Miller, and to this union have been born children as follows: Sarah Lavinia, married to Harry C. Carper; Harry M., who is married to Clara Rumble; J. Fred, Jr., a public school teacher; Chester M., who married Ellen Schollenberger; and William M., a machinist by trade.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:54:44 EDT

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