Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 1366


John A. L. Jennings, one of the prominent citizens of Reading, Pa., who is now serving the city in the capacity of councilman, was born at Ninth and Walnut streets, Reading, Feb. 29, 1848, son of John S. and Julia (Long) Jennings.

John Jennings, grandfather of John A. L., was a native of Reading, where he spent all of his life, his occupation being that of a carpet weaver. He was first buried at Sixth and Walnut streets, but later, with many others, his remains were removed to the Lutheran graveyard. Among his children were John S. and Mrs. Weaver. John S. Jennings was born at Reading in 1800, and died there in November, 1867. He was a carpenter by occupation, as well as an all-around mechanic, resided on Maple street, and was a member of the Lutheran Church. He married Julia Long, daughter of Joseph Long, a Chester county Quaker. She was born in 1803, and died in 1887, having been the mother of four children: John A. L.; Susan, who married Levi Miller, both deceased; Julia, who is the widow of John Yerger; and Anna Elizabeth, who died aged five years, in 1857.

John A. L. Jennings was educated in the public schools of the city, and when but thirteen years old he commenced working for the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company, being an apprentice boy in the machine shop at Seventh and Chestnut streets. In 1864 during the strike, he was a fireman on the main line, when the Government sent thirty--five crews to operate the trains. For four years, from 1874 to 1878, Mr. Jennings worked as a special officer on the same road, and was in Schuylkill County during the Molly Maguire troubles, witnessing the hanging of the first six offenders. After 1878 he returned to the shops and took up the machinist trade, which he followed until he was made foreman in about 1880. He has charge of the old shop and about 150 men are under his employ, doing all the yard work and the heavy work in the shop. Since 1887, Mr. Jennings has resided at No. 1346 Cotton street. He is a member of Camp No. 212, P. O. S. of A., and the Twenty Century Quakers No. 2, both of Reading. In religious belief be is a Methodist. In political matters, Mr. Jennings is a stanch Republican, and since he attained his majority he has taken an active interest in his party's welfare. He was ward chairman from 1900 to 1903, and in the spring election of 1908, was elected by a good majority, to the office of common councilman.

On Oct. 12, 1869, Mr. Jennings was married to Clara Derrick, born Oct. 12, 1852, at Reading, who died aged twenty--eight years, daughter of Charles Derrick, of Reading, and granddaughter of Charles and Libby Derrick. Five children were born to this union: Minnie, who married Jacob Ganster, has a son, Earl, who lives at home with parents; Viola, who died in 1901; Emma E., who married Walter W. Troxel, of Reading; Laura, who married Joseph Miller, of Reading; and John, who is single.


p. 1086


Harry D. Jesberg, who is at present conducting the well known "Montgomery House," Nos. 938-940 North Eighth street, Reading, Pa., was born in August 1867, in Muhlenberg township, Berks county, son of John and Elizabeth (Deal) Jesberg.

John Jesberg came to this country from Wurtemberg, Germany, and for the rest of his life was engaged in trucking and hotel keeping in Reading. He died in 1890, when seventy-four years old, and his wife in May 1903, in her seventy-third year, both being members of the Lutheran Church. Of the eleven children of Mr. and Mrs. Jesberg, seven are now living: John; William; Maggie, m. to Charles Benzel, of the firm of Jesberg & Benzel; Rosie, m. to John Hiller; Elizabeth, who m. Peter Gift, deceased; Harry D., mentioned below; and Annie, m. to Henry Weiler. In political matters Mr. Jesberg was a Democrat.

Harry D. Jesberg was educated in the schools of Muhlenberg township, and his first work, at which he continued until eighteen years of age, was at farming by the month. In 1887 he came to Reading and engaged as clerk in the "Montgomery House," which he purchased in 1903, in company with Harry S. Weiler. Under this management the business flourished from the start.

Mr. Jesberg married (first) Ellen Miller, daughter of Susan Miller, and she died in 1902, aged 36 years, leaving three children: Edna, Ida and Catherine. Mr. Jesberg m. (second), in 1907, Mrs. Anna (Ketner) Rohrbech.

Mr. Jesberg is a member of the P. O. S. of A., the Knights of the Golden Eagle, the I. O. R. M., the F. O. E., the White Swan Camping Club, the Excelsior Beneficial Association, the Marion Fire Co., the Firemens Relief Association and the United States Health and Accident Insurance Company. In politics he is a Democrat.


p. 1125


William Deal Jesberg, a prominent and influential citizen of Reading, Pa., who is engaged in the wholesale liquor business at No. 1062 North Tenth street, was born in 1860, in Reading, son of John and Elizabeth (Deal) Jesberg, natives of Wurtemberg, Germany.

John Jesberg, who came to this country when a young man, followed trucking for the greater part of his life, also conducting a hotel in Reading. He died in 1890, aged seventy-four years, and his wife in April 1903, when seventy-three years old, both in the faith of the Lutheran Church. Mr. and Mrs. Jesberg had eleven children, of whom seven are now living: John; William D.; Maggie, m. to Charles Benzel; Rosie, m. to John Hiller; Elizabeth, m. to Peter Gift, deceased; Harry, m. to Ellen Miller, deceased; and Annie, m. to Harry Weiler. In political matters Mr. Jesberg was a Democrat.

William D. Jesberg was educated in the public schools of Reading. In 1801 he opened the "Montgomery House," at No. 938 North Eighth street, where he continued for twelve years, and spent one year at No. 815 Penn street. In 1894 he engaged in the wholesale liquor business at his present stand, No. 1062 North Tenth street, Reading, where he carries a full and complete stock of imported and domestic wines and liquors. Since 1907 the firm has been W. D. Jesberg & Son.

Mr. Jesberg married Miss Delilah Crum, and two children were born to this union: Edward, with the firm of W. D. Jesberg & Son; and Elsie, who died at the age of eight months. Mr. Jesberg is a member of St. Mark's Lutheran Church. He is very prominent in fraternal circles, and is a popular member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles; Friendship Chamber, No. 284, Knights of Friendship; Washington Camp, No. 163, P. O. S. of A.; Manangy Tribe, No. 316, I. O. R. M., of which he is treasurer; Columbia Accident Association; Twentieth Century Quakers, No. 2; Phoenix Accident Company; Saginaw, Mich., Accident Insurance Company; Marion Fire Company, of which he is treasurer; Independent Gun Club; Excelsior Beneficial Association, in which he serves as treasurer; White Swan Camping Club; Public Registry Company of Philadelphia; Red Men's Fraternal Insurance Association; Knights of Friendship Funeral Benefit Fund and Eagles' Mountain Home Association.


p. 1305


Harvey C. Johnson, D. D. S., one of the rising young dentists of Reading, was born in Kutztown, Pa., Feb. 7, 1870, son of Henry and Anna (Custer) Johnson.

Harvey C. Johnson was educated in Kutztown and Reading, and later attended the Schuylkill Seminary and West Chester State Normal School. His professional preparation was secured at the Philadelphia Dental College, and he was given the degree of D. D. S., in 1889. His father was one of the best known dentists in Reading, and the young man at once went into the elder Dr. Johnson's office, and has been practicing in connection with him ever since. He is a thoroughly wide-awake, energetic and practical man, and has not only built up a good practice but has also had time to serve his city's interests. The Doctor is treasurer of the Hamburg Manufacturing Company, one of the large industries in Berks county. A Republican and active in party work, he is at present serving his second term on the city council, where he has done good service and has a record above reproach. He is an active member of the Board of Trade.

Dr, Johnson is an enthusiastic lodge man and a member of many organizations. They are: Chandler Lodge, No. 227, F. & A. M.; Excelsior Chapter, No. 237, R. A. M.; Reading Commandery, Knights Templar, No. 42; Bloomsbury Consistory (thirty-second degree Mason); Rajah Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S.; Reading Lodge, B. P. O. Elks; Fraternal Order of Eagles; Sons of Veterans; and the Knights of Pythias. He also belongs to the Reading Hose Fire Company and the North Eastern Republican League.


p. 1318

Surnames: JOHNSON, LEISINGER, SCHULTZ H. T. Johnson, president and general manager of the Reading Quarry Company, is widely known in business circles of Berks county. He was born in 1871, near Norristown, Montgomery Co., Pa., son of William and Sarah (Leisinger) Johnson. Mr. Johnson's early educational training was secured in the public schools of Norristown, and this was supplemented by a course at Tremont Seminary, after leaving which institution he learned the trade of painter. Later he engaged in quarrying in Chester county, where he remained for six years. He then returned to Montgomery county, where he continued in the same business, and in 1902 came to Reading, and operated a stone quarry and lime kilns. In 1906 Mr. Johnson established the Reading Quarry Company, which now operates seven kilns, two of which are patent kilns; quarries furnace, flux, crushed material, and building stone, and employs about forty men, being located between Temple and Tuckerton. Mr. Johnson is a business man of much ability, and much of the success of the firm of which he is president and general manager may be attributed to his enterprise and skilled business methods. He is a popular member of Lodge No. 190, F. & A. M., Charity Chapter No. 190 and Knights Templar, and of the B. P. O. E. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and on the erection of that denomination's new structure, was a member of the building committee.

In 1897 Mr. Johnson was united in marriage with Miss Anna Schultz, also a native of Montgomery county, and to them there have been born three children: Ralph S., Arthur S., and one who died in infancy.


p. 1345


Morris Y. Johnson, a miller and farmer located near New Berlinville, in Colebrookdale township, Berks county, is a member of the fourth generation of his family to reside in that neighborhood. The Johnsons are descended from one Nicholas Johnson, a native of England, who settled in Colebrookdale township in an early day.

(I) Nicholas Johnson was born Jan. 12, 1758, and came to America in young manhood. He was a wool dyer by trade, and was working for a man in Germantown, Pa., at the time the Continental army was encamped there. One night he slept on the floor to give up his bed to General Washington; the bed is now in the possession of Albert J. Fisher, of Reading. Later he was at Skippack, in Montgomery county, whence he came to Berks county, locating near New Berlinville, where he followed farming. He died Sept. 4, 1839, when over eighty-one years of age, and is buried in the Mennonite cemetery at Boyertown. Mr. Johnson was not a member of the Mennonite Church, but he attended the services of same. His wife, Mary Updegrove, was born Sept. 18, 1761, and died on her seventy-third birthday. Among their children was a son William.

(II) William Johnson was a native of Colebrookdale township, born in February 1788, and died May 8, 1867, aged seventy-nine years, two months, twenty-one days. He is buried in the Mennonite cemetery at Boyertown. He was engaged in the manufacture of linseed oil, his plant being located along Swamp creek, and later he conducted a woolen mill on the same stream. This he subsequently changed to a grist and saw mill, and he was successful in business, becoming a man of substance. He married Susan Bechtel, born Oct. 6, 1782, who died Jan. 9, 1869, and was buried by his side. Three sons and two daughters were born to them. namely: Isaac, Nicholas, David, Mrs. John Ritter and Polly (who married Henry Fisher).

(III) Nicholas Johnson, father of Morris Y. Johnson, was born in Colebrookdale township, and died on the homestead. By occupation he was a miller and farmer, owning the Johnson homestead of sixty acres and operating a mill at New Berlinville, prospering in both lines. He was well and favorably known, and served acceptably as school director of Colebrookdale township. His remains rest in the Fairview cemetery at Boyertown. Mr. Johnson was a Schwenkfelder in religious belief, attending church with his family in Hereford township, and a Republican in political opinion. His wife was Mary Yoder, daughter of Jacob Yoder, of Oley township, and they had a family of six children: William, now a resident of Montgomery county, Pa.; Nicholas, deceased; Henry, of New Berlinville, Berks county; Eli, of Spring township, Berks county; Rosanna, wife of John E. B. Bechtel; and Morris Y.

(IV) Morris Y. Johnson was born July 21, 1854, and was reared in his native place, attending the district school and later Kallynean Academy, at Boyertown. He received a good education and was licensed to teach by the late Prof. D. B. Brunner in 1871. His first term, in Hereford township, was followed by five terms at New Berlinville and one year at Gablesville. Ever since he has worked on the farm. In 1880 Mr. Johnson moved to Douglass township, Montgomery Co., Pa., where he bought a seventy-acre tract upon which he engaged in farming for twenty years, and which he still owns, having rented the land since he settled at his present location. Since the fall of 1899, he has owned his present mill property and farm of thirty-five acres near New Berlinville, in Colebrookdale township. The land was formerly known as the Henry Gilbert tract, and is fertile and productive, and in a good state of cultivation. The mill had been burned in 1898, but Mr. Johnson rebuilt it, opening his present establishment Oct. 17, 1900, since which time he has enjoyed a large patronage and the good-will of his entire neighborhood. Besides milling and farming he deals in flour, feed and grain, and he is an energetic man in everything he undertakes. He is a Republican in political belief, and while a resident of Montgomery county took considerable interest in the affairs of his community, serving as school director of Douglass township, he was also elected to the office of poor director for a term of three years.

In 1876 Mr. Johnson married Elizabeth Bahr, daughter of Jacob Bahr, and to them have been born children as follows: Edwin, of New Berlinville; William, who is now at East Greenville, in Montgomery county; Nicholas, who lives at home; Warren, living at Vera Cruz, Pa.; and Morris B., at home. The members of this family are Lutherans, attending St. John's Church at Boyertown, in which Mr., Johnson has been active, having held the offices of deacon and elder.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:54:45 EDT

Previous       Home Page       Index       Next
404 - Error: 404


Category not found

The Page you are looking for doesn't exist or an other error occurred. Go back, or head over to Home Page to choose a new direction.

You may not be able to visit this page because of:

  1. an out-of-date bookmark/favourite
  2. a search engine that has an out-of-date listing for this site
  3. a mistyped address
  4. you have no access to this page
  5. The requested resource was not found.
  6. An error has occurred while processing your request.