Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 1107


David Keinard, a well-to-do citizen and landowner of Robeson township, Berks county, who is now devoting his attention to truck farming, was born in 1859, in Robeson township, son of Peter and Christiana (Eames) Keinard.

Peter Keinard, who was a farmer and collier by occupation, was of German extraction, and lived and died in Robeson township. He and his wife were members of the Lutheran and Reformed Churches, respectively, and had three children: Mahlon, m. to Ella Wagner; Mary, m. to Joseph Kerper; and David. Mr. Keinard was a Democrat all of his life, but never held public office.

David Keinard was educated in the schools of Robeson township, and after completing his studies engaged in farming, at which he has been occupied ever since. He purchased his present farm in 1879, a tract of fifty-six acres known as the Jacob Bitler property, and here he has made many improvements. He also owns twenty-four acres of timber land, known as the Swavely tract, formerly owned by the Scarletts.

In 1879 Mr. Keinard married Margaret E. Kennedy, daughter of Edwin Kennedy, and to them have been born nine children, namely: George, Milton, Edwin, Bertha, Laura, Frederick, Elmer, Heber and Howard. The family attend the Lutheran Church. Politically Mr. Keinard is a Democrat.


p. 1565


Among the members of the bar of Berks county there is none who has forged to the front more rapidly or successfully than Henry P. Keiser. Largely the architect of his own fortune, having been dependent a great measure upon his own efforts, he had the advantage of being associated early in his career with one of the ablest attorneys of Reading ? the late J. Howard Jacobs.

Born in the borough of Womelsdorf, Berks county, January 5, 1860, the son of John G. and Rebecca M. Keiser, his early life was spent in the vicinity of his birthplace. He was educated in the public schools of the borough, and later in the Womelsdorf Academy, an institution which in its day ranked high in advanced educational methods.

After the death of Prof. John S. Krumbine, the principal of the school, Mr. Keiser taught in the public schools of Womelsdorf from 1877 to 1881.

Being but seventeen years of age when he entered the schoolroom as a teacher he had pupils in the higher classes who were of his own age and he fully met the requirements of the School Board and the patrons of the school.

While teaching he prepared himself for his future career as a lawyer, and in 1879 he was registered as a student-at-law with J. Howard Jacobs.

The latter had been for a number of years a leading practitioner in the courts of Berks county, and as a criminal lawyer had but few equals. It was among Mr. Keiser's duties, before his admission to the bar, to attend to all the matters usually looked after by a lawyer's clerk, and the training that he thus received developed those methodical habits, and thorough mastering of detail, that have stood him so well in his career at the bar. Mr. Keiser was admitted to practice in the several Berks county courts in November, 1883, and after his admission, Mr. Jacobs invited him to remain in his office. Some years afterwards the firm of Jacobs & Keiser was established, and resulted in a very active and profitable business, which continued until the decease of Mr. Jacobs in 1902. Since that year Mr. Keiser has been practicing alone.

In May, 1908, Mr. Keiser was elected by councils to the very important office of city solicitor for the term of three years. From the very beginning he grasped the intricate details of that office, as one well-versed in municipal affairs, and has been called to render opinions in some very important matters of city legislation, affecting vitally the interests of the tax payers. He has also successfully defended some heavy suits against the city, one of which, for the collection of retained percentages brought by a company which had a street-paving contract, resulted in a saving to the municipality of many thousands of dollars.

In the multiplicity of his professional duties, Mr. Keiser has had time to devote to politics, and being an enthusiastic Republican he has always taken a great interest in county, state, and national political affairs. He has been a delegate to different conventions, and invariably took a leading part in each. While thus looking after the welfare of his party, and safely conserving the interests of the city in his official position, he has ever been able to keep in touch with the general practice of his profession.

In 1887, Mr. Keiser was made a Free-Mason in Williamson Lodge, No. 307, Reading; and two years later he became a Knight Templar in Reading Commandery, No. 42. He is also a member of Rajah Temple, A. A. O. N. of M. S.

On May 6, 1882, Mr. Keiser was married to Valeria A. Kintzer, a daughter of Isaac Y. Kintzer, who served as a justice of the peace in Womelsdorf for many years. From 1895 to 1897, Mr. Kintzer was Warden of the Berks county Prison, an office which he fulfilled with great fidelity. After his retirement from that office he engaged in the grocery business in Reading, in which he continued until his demise.

John G. Keiser, the father of Henry P., was a prominent dealer in horses, having stables at Womelsdorf and in Reading. Peter Keiser, the grandfather of Henry O., was a farmer in Tulpehocken township, where his ancestors were among the first settlers in that section of Berks county.

They came from the Palatinate. The maiden name of Henry P. Keiser's mother was Fidler, and her family is also a very old and honorable one in the annals of Berks county.

Henry P. and Valeria A. Keiser have a daughter, Edith R., who was a member of the class of 1906, Wellesley College. The family are members of Trinity Lutheran church. Their home is on Mineral Spring Road.


p. 491


Michael K. Keith, merchant and postmaster at Brownsville for nearly forty years, was born in Lower Heidelberg township, Berks. Co., Pa., Sept. 21, 1844. He was educated in the public schools and brought up to farming and when he became of age he entered the general store of Samuel K. Lutz, at Fritztown and was employed there for two years. He then entered the general store Flickinger & Lutz, at Brownsville, and after being in their service for a year purchased the business and conducted it himself until 1898, when he bought the store property. Forming a partnership with his son, Harvey, they have traded since under the name of Michael Keith & Son.

In 1893 Mr. Keith erected a creamery, and a cidermill near the store. In 1898 farming implements were added as a special business line, and in 1904 a butchering department was also included for the purpose of manufacturing smoked sausages, curing hams, etc., and these several branches have been carried on successfully until the present time. A postoffice was established in the store in 1869, and Mr. John B. Flickinger was the postmaster until 1900, since when Mr. Keith has filled the position.

Mr. Keith married Maria Maurer, daughter of Daniel Maurer, of Fritztown. Daniel Maurer was married twice. By his first wife he had children: Isaac m. Anna Texter; Amanda m. Adam Becker; Hannah m. John Texter; and Maria. His first wife dying in 1898, Daniel Maurer then married Mrs. Elizabeth Werner, widow of Joseph Werner. Michael K. Keith and his wife had three children: Harvey m. Elizabeth Bohn; Adeline m. Jacob Heffner; and one died in infancy. The mother of these children died in 1898.

Jacob Keith, father of Michael K., was a farmer of Lower Heidelberg. He married Rachel Kegerize, daughter of Christian Kegerize (whose wife was a Harting), and by her he had twelve children: Angeline m. Nathaniel Moyer; Catharine m. Levi Binkley; Michael K; Mary m. David Claudy; Mollie m. Henry Gensemer; Susan m. Jonathan Ruth; Levi m. Anna Ebling; Rachel m. Ambrose Zeller; Emma m. Joseph Hoppman; and three died young.

Michael Keith, the grandfather, was also a farmer in Lower Heidelberg township. He married Elizabeth Shingle, and by her had nine children: Jacob; Michael m. Elizabeth Binkley; William m. Kate Pennepacker; Lucetta m. John Paine; Mary m. Michael Hain; Harriet m. Levi Wolf; Catharine m. Samuel Binkley; Rosa m. Charles Winter; and Hannah died unmarried.

Christian Kegerize, maternal grandfather of Michael K. Keith, married a Miss Harting, and their children were: Michael; Daniel m. Susan Blankenmiller; Christian m. Catharine Hatt; Samuel m. Sarah Leininger; William; Rachel m. Jacob Keith; and Susan never married.


p. 410


Daniel F. Kelchner, one of the leading businessmen of Fleetwood, proprietor of the Fleetwood Creamery, owner of a creamery at Moselem Springs, is a member of a family whose first representative came to Berks county between 1731 and 1741.

Matthias Kelchner was the first to settle in Richmond township, Berks county. Tradition says that four brothers, George, Matthias, Michael and Henry emigrated between 1731 and 1741. Records show that Hans George Kelchner crossed the ocean on the "Pennsylvania Merchant," landing at Philadelphia in the fall of 1731, and that he and Matthias were brothers. It is probable that Matthias was under twenty-one years of age in 1731, hence his name is not on the passenger list. On the "Pennsylvania Merchant," landing in 1733, was Michael Kelchner, whose brother Henry also came to America. These four settled in eastern Pennsylvania.

Michael Kelchner, son of Matthias, was a taxable in 1759, in Richmond township. He married Maria Eva Frey, whose tombstone bears the following inscription: "Maria Eva Freyin, wife Michael Kelchner, had 4 sons 1 daughter. In 1761 she married Peter Stetzler. With him she had 5 sons. She was married first in 1752. She was born June 24, 1730, died March 14, 1807, aged 76 years 8 mos. 10 days." She is buried at Zion's Church in Perry township. Three of Michael Kelchner's children were: John m. and had a son, Henry; Jacob m. (first) Magdalena Wanner, and had children - Catharine, Maria Elizabeth and Daniel - and (second) Maria Wanner, and had children -Jacob, Samuel (who had an only son, Isaac), Mary and Hannah; Daniel. Michael Kelchner made his will Feb. 26, 1761 (See Book 1, p. 98) and his death occurred soon afterward. He gave to his wife, Maria Eva, one-third of his large estate. His father Matthias and his friend Christian Rothermel were his executors. It is probable that two of his children died young, as one item in his will is as follows: "That the three children shall be sent to church and school diligently, and that they shall be instructed in English and Dutch."

George Kelchner, of Richmond township, on Dec. 13, 1794, made his will as recorded in Will Book B, p. 356, and witnessed by Casper Merkel and John Christ, with Peter Kelchner, son of George, and the latter's wife Agnes as executors. Peter Kelchner received the Richmond township home. The six children were: Peter; Mrs. Jacob Yoh; Henry; John; Jacob; and Esther.

John Kelchner, probably a son of George, lived in Rockland township. He made his will in October, 1836, and it was probated in November of the same year, and recorded in Book 7, p. 400. His son, Benjamin, and Samuel Beaver were executors. Leah Lorah, daughter of his wife, was remembered in the will.

Jacob Kelchner was born in Richmond township, July 11, 1801. He passed the greater part of his life engaged in farming about one and a half miles from Fleetwood. In 1834 he married Anna Sheirer, who was born in Maxatawny township. Thirteen children were born of this union, namely: Samuel; Mary; Joel; Edwin; Martin; Jacob; Hannah; Esther; Caroline; Isaac; Charles Augustus; Daniel F.; and Wilson R. The father died April 21, 1861.

Daniel F. Kelchner was born in Richmond township Oct. 6, 1852, and his education was acquired in the public schools of his native township and Keystone State Normal School at Kutztown. He was but seventeen when he began teaching, a profession he continued in for three terms in Richmond and Ruscombmanor townships, and at the end of that time he accepted a clerkship in a general store at Fleetwood. He followed this business for ten years, and then began in the produce business, continuing in same up to the present time. He is also engaged in the operation of the Fleetwood Creamery, and of another at Moselem Springs, each of which ships about 5,000 pounds a year to the Philadelphia markets, where good returns result. In July, 1901, Mr. Kelchner added the manufacture of hosiery to his list of interests, and gives employment to eighty-five people in that line. He has an established reputation for honesty, and is industrious and energetic, quick to see the practical side of new methods and adopt them in his work.

Mr. Kelchner was married Sept. 9, 1885, to Emily Peters, daughter of Joseph and Maria (Hoch) Peters, the former of whom, now deceased, was engaged in a mercantile business in Molltown. Five children have been born to this union: Raymond, Harry, Walter, Daniel and Emily. Mr. and Mrs. Kelchner are members of the United Evangelical Church at Fleetwood, in which he has been a trustee some years. He is superintendent of the Sunday-school, and is very popular in its work. In politics he is a Republican, and for four years was school director, for six years a member of the borough council. In 1907 he was one of the organizers of the Fleetwood National Bank, of which he is now President. He is a large property owner, and is a leading useful citizen, thoroughly respected in both public and private life.


p. 1700


Keller. The Keller family of Rockland, Berks county, is of German extraction, being descended from John Christophel (Christoffel) Keller, better known as "Stoffel" Keller, who was born in Nitsche, Hessen-Darmstadt, Germany, son of Jacob Keller, a well known weaver who resided at that place. Jacob Keller was the father of six children, two of whom died in childhood. Two sons, both named Johan Adam, were distinguished by being called "der grosse Johan" (Big John) and "der kleine Johan" (Little John). John Christophel came next, and there was one daughter, Elizabeth Catharine. The mothers name is not known, but she had red hair, while all her children had black hair.

In 1764 John Christophel Keller, then seventeen years of age, came to America, in the companionship of a young man named Fritsche, a relative, who was a younger brother of the ancestor of the Fritsche family in America, who had come to this country in 1737. Young Stoffels father gave him considerable money in gold, which he sewed in a belt and carried on his body. He took passage on the "Brittania," Captain Arnot, from Rotterdam to Philadelphia, where young Keller landed Sept. 26th, alone. The weather was very tempestuous during the voyage and a number of the passengers became sick and died, among the unfortunates being young Fritsche; Stoffel Keller was obliged to carry his body without assistance from the hold to the deck, and the experience made such an impression on him that he recalled it with horror to the end of his days.

From Philadelphia Stoffel Keller walked to Rockland township, Berks county, where he found a congenial home with the Reichert family, who were also from Nitsche, Mrs. Reichert having at one time worked for his father. With them he followed his trade of weaver. In 1765, at the age of eighteen, he m. Catharine, daughter of John Nicholas Delp, a large land holder of Rockland, and the ancestor of the Delp family of Berks county. John Nicholas Delp was single when he came to America, in 1749, from Germany, and located in Rockland township; he m. a daughter of a man named Adams, who settled in Maxatawny about 1739.

Soon after his marriage Stoffel Keller secured a tract of land from his father-in-law, which he began to clear, and it is said his wife assisted him in the work. This home remained in the connection for over one hundred years, and the old log house, built before 1770, is still standing and in good condition. Stoffel Keller died there, in November, 1834, at the age of eighty-seven, at which time he was living with his son-in-law, Squire Joseph Specht. Stoffel Kellers property in Rockland comprised about forty acres. He was a man of great force of character and considerable intelligence, was a school teacher, and preserved his mental vigor to the last. He served in the war of the Revolution. His wife, Catharine, died over ten years before him. Their twelve children were as follows: (1) Maria, born about 1767, died in 1850, and is buried at Mertz Church, in Rockland. She m. Michael Welder, and they had nine children: Polly, wife of Abraham Boyer, of Maxatawny township; Catharine, wife of George Welder, who removed to Ohio; Elisabeth, Mrs. Seuse; Sarah, wife of Isaac Reodinger, Susan, who m. Daniel Gerrett, of Schuylkill county; Dinah, wife of Sol. Heist, of Rockland township; John, who m. Lydia Muthart, and lived in Jefferson and Armstrong counties; Benjamin, who m. (first) Elisabeth Gave and (second) Mary Boyer; and Lena, wife of Daniel Oswald, of Rockland township. (2) Jacob m. Betsy, daughter of John Specht. They lived and died near Pricetown. They had children: John, who m. Elisabeth Wahl; Catharine, wife of Henry Noll; Rebecca, Mrs. Buskirk; Lydia, Mrs. Wahl; and Daniel. (3) Catharine, who lived and died at Bechtelsville, was twice married, first to Daniel Specht and second to Peter Muthart. She had five children: Daniel (married), Sarah (wife of David Muthart), Catharine (wife of John Muthart), Annie (Mrs. Fry) and David (married). (4) Conrad m. Polly Neiman. (5) Elisabeth m. Henry Moyer and they lived and died near Hill Church. Their children were: Joseph (married), Henry (married Sally Moyer), Sarah (Mrs. Moyer), Fredrica (m. George Seuse), Isaac, Jacob and Elisabeth. (6) Susan m. Joseph Specht, Esq., and they lived an died on the Keller homestead in Rockland township. She died in 1832, and Squire Specht later m. a Muthart, by whom he had two sons. He died in 1854. By his marriage to Susan Keller he had children as follows: Maria m. Charles Shaffer; Rebecca m. Daniel DeLong; Catherine m. Abraham Levan; Susan m. Charles DeLong; Elisabeth m. William Stapleton (they were the parents of Rev. A. Stapleton, D. D., of York, Pa., who a number of years ago compiled a genealogical sketch of the American ancestor which was published in Egles "Notes and Queries," and to whom we are indebted for the information contained in this article); Sarah m. (first) John DeLong and (second) Benjamin Keller; Joseph m. Anna LaVan. (7) George m. Kate Keller and they lived and died near Pricetown. Their children were Abraham, Magdelena and Joseph. (8) Magdalena m. Henry Sterner and had six children: Joel, who m. a Felthofer; Polly, Mrs. Sipe; William, who also married; Peter, who remained unmarried; Lydia, Mrs. Hess; and George, who married. (9) Abraham m. Magdalena, daughter of John Specht and sister of Squire Joseph Specht, and they had two children, both of whom married, and both of whom moved to Wauseon, Ohio, where their descendants reside. Benjamin was married four times, his last wife being Mrs. Sarah DeLong, daughter of Squire Joseph Specht. (10) Samuel died unmarried at the age of twenty-six years. (11) John m. Betsy Egolf. They had no children. (12) Mary (Peggy), born in 1799, m. Jacob Sterner and moved to Bloomsburg, Pa., where she died in 1879. They had eight children: Mary died in infancy; Catharine m. John Heist; Ephraim m. Mary Long; Henrietta m. John Rinker; Hannah m. (first) James Davis and (second) J. Miller; Jacob m. Sarah Diener; Rebecca m. Reuben Hess, John m. (first) Anne M. Eckert and (second) Martha Jacoby.

A curious story told by Stoffel Keller to his grandchildren is a fair sample of the legends and traditions prevalent among the early Pennsylvania Germans: When he was a little boy at home in Nitsche, on the Rhine, a mysterious stranger came to their "dorf" (town). The people were afraid of him and no one would give him lodging, but Jacob Keller (Stoffels father) finally took him in. The stranger said that for his kindness he would perform an act that would give him immunity from fire, that though the entire town should be consumed his house would be spared. He then called for an auger, with which he bored a hole in the house, at the same time performing some kind of incantation. To prove the efficiency of the charm he asked for two bundles of straw. Having enchanted one, he set it on fire, whereupon the straw was consumed, but the band remained; enchanting the other, he set fire to the band, which was consumed, the straw remaining.

Conrad Keller, son of Stoffel Keller, m. Polly Neiman, whose first husband was killed by the Indians in 1781. To this union was born children as follows: John m. Esther Clouser, and is mentioned below; George m. Lucy Bast; David m., and lived in New York City; Charles m. Harriet Moyer, was a prominent citizen of Berks county and later of Montgomery county, where he died March 7, 1897, aged eighty years.

John Keller, son of Conrad and Polly, m. Esther Clouser, daughter of William and Katherine (Moser) Clouser. John Keller died in 1854. His wife, Esther (Clouser) Keller, was born in 1810, and died Oct. 14, 1908, and was buried at New Jerusalem Church. She was a descendant of John Wilhelm Miller, of Oley, who came from Ettlingen, Baden, Germany, in 1751, and located near Griesemersville, in Oley, Berks Co., Pa. His children were as follows: Catharine, born in 1751, m. Joseph Dilaplaine; Hannah, born in 1756, m. George Clouser, and died in 1829 (she was the grandmother of Mrs. Esther Keller); Rosina, born in 1758, m. John Stapleton, of Oley, and died in 1833; Mary m. William Richards, and died in 1838 (she was the grandmother of Lewis Richards, lawyer, of Reading, who survives); Rebecca died in Huntingdon, Pa.; George, born in 1768, died in 1833 (he has descendants living in Oley township and Pottstown); Eve, born in 1764, died young; and another daughter, name not known, died young.

To John and Esther (Clouser) Keller were born thirteen children of whom nine left descendants, namely: William, deceased, the eldest son and for many years the organist at Spies Church, had seven children; Jacob, the youngest son, and for many years a resident of Springfield, Ohio, has three children; Daniel, of Chatham, Ill., has five children; Samuel C., who lives on the old homestead in Rockland, has five children; Jeremiah C., of Rockland, has ten children, mentioned below; Sarah, deceased, m. William Youse, and had seven children; Caroline, widow of Alfred Brumbach, has eight children; Amanda m. Daniel A. Yoder (both now deceased), and they had five children; and Col. David C., of Reading, now deceased, had one son. At Mrs. Kellers death she was survived by five children fifty-one grandchildren, eighty-five great-grandchildren and twenty great-great-grandchildren.

Jeremiah C. Keller, son of John and Esther (Clouser) was born on the old Keller homestead. He attended the school in Rockland township, known as Kellers school. He was quite young when his father died, and he and his brothers worked for their mother on the farm. When the Civil war had lasted so long that drafting was necessary to recruit the army, he substituted for William Hilbert, serving in Company K, 167th P. V. I., for nine months. At the expiration of his term of enlistment, he re-enlisted on his own account and became second lieutenant in Company G, 198th P. V. I. This regiment was recruited under the direction and aid of the Union League Association of Philadelphia with Horatio G. Sickel as Colonel. It was assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 5th Army Corps. Their first engagement was at Peebles Farm, Sept. 30, 1864. They destroyed the Weldon railroad, were engaged at Hatchers Run, and were under continual fire until they came to Boydton Plank Road, where they had an engagement with the enemy known as Lewis Farm, Va. After the surrender of Lee, the Confederate General Ewell, in speaking of this battle, told General Chamberlain that the 198th Pa., supported by the 185th New York, and one battery of the 5th U. S. Artillery, were fighting no less than three brigades of the best Confederate troops (Bates Hist. Of Pennsylvania Volunteers, Vol. V. pp. 464-5). Mr. Keller received a gunshot wound in his right leg on March 29, 1865, at Lewis Farm. After two months treatment in the hospitals at City Point and Georgetown, D. C., he was discharged, May 29, 1865. While a patient at City Point, he had the honor of shaking hands with President Lincoln. When he returned from the war he lived with his mother until he recovered his strength. He was very active in the ore mining business in Longswamp township. Mr. Keller married Mary Kline, daughter of Jonathan R. and Mary (Guinther) Kline, and they became the parents of ten children: (1) Irvin K. m. Lizzie Keller, and had two children, Clarence (died young) and Esther May. (2) James Ira m. Annie Bonenkemper, of Springfield, Ohio, and had two children, James Ira, Jr., and a daughter (died in infancy). He m. (second) Cora Pierson. (3) Eli Jeremiah, unmarried, lives at Springfield, Ohio. (4) Katharyne m. Dr. William Fisher, of No. 151 West Buttonwood street, Reading and has four children. (5) David C. (6) Mamie G. m. Peter Steckel, and has three children. (7) John G. m. Annie Heffner. (8) Clara A. m. William Deysher, of Reading. (9) Emma Sevilla and (10) Ella May are at home.

Mrs. Mary (Kline) Kellers grandparents were David and Catharine (Reber) Kline. David Kline was born in Maxatawny township, and his wife near New Jerusalem, in Rockland township. Their seven children were: David; Reuben; Benjamin; Jonathan R.; Leah m. (first) Anthony Heffner, and (second) Solomon Grim, and had a son, Reuben Grim; Catharine m. Benjamin Luckenbill, of Lenhartsville, and had two sons, James and Edwin; and Julian m. John Bubenmoyer. Jonathan R. Kline, son of David, was born Jan. 20, 1799, and his wife, Mary Guinther, daughter of Jonathan and Mary (Hoffman) Guinther, on Jan. 25, 1804. They had nine children: (1) Jacob died Oct. 10, 1866, and his buried in the cemetery adjoining the New Jerusalem Church. He had a general merchandise store and was postmaster at New Jerusalem at the time of his death. He m. Elizabeth Bartz, and their only child, Ellen, m. John Frazer, and had seven children. (2) David m. Maria Pott, of Bellefonte, Centre Co., Pa., and their children were: Mary, Katie, John, Millie and David. (3) Charles m. Mary Fegley. No children. (4) Jonathan G. m. Elmina Haas, and their only child Emma, m. William Adams, and has four children. (5) Sarah m. Reuben Mertz, and had five children. (6) William m. Mary Barto, had two children, and he died Dec. 19, 1871, and is buried at New Jerusalem cemetery. (7) Augustus m. Katie Hull, of Centre county, and they are now living at Williamsport, Pa. They have no children. (8) Mary m. Jeremiah C. Keller, and had ten children. (9) James, of Kansas City, Kans., m. (first) Rebecca Welder, and three children, and m. (second) Sarah Welder.

David C. Keller, member of the firm of Keller Bros., proprietors of the United States Hotel, Reading, is a native of Berks county, born in Longswamp township, June 16, 1876, and a son of Jeremiah C. and Mary (Kline) Keller. At the age of seventeen his school-days terminated, which was about the customary age fixed for the average country boy to "quit" and take to the furrow and the flax field. Instead the young man went to Reading and engaged with William Kuhns to learn how to make and bake bread. He remained with Mr. Kuhns for two and a half years and received his diploma. Since arriving at maturity Mr. Keller has been most of the time employed in various capacities that would acquaint him with the operating and successful management of present-day hotels. His knowledge of the hotel business has been acquired through his employment at the Bissinger Caf, Hotel Penn and the American House, all of Reading, and all good. Thus equipped, he, with his brother John G., on the 12th day of April, 1909, leased of the Hawley Estate, the United States Hotel at Nos. 427-429 Penn Square, and on this date the Keller Bros. began their first business venture as conductors of their own affairs.

David C. Keller has fraternal recognition in these several societies: Reading Order of Moose, Juniata Tribe Red Men No. 74, Antietam Club, Family Circle and the 98 Social Circle. As to political parties he is without attachment.

John G. Keller, son of Jeremiah C., was born in Longswamp township, Feb. 25, 1881. Soon after his birth his parents moved to Maxatawny township, and later to Rockland township. Mr. Keller assisted his father on the old homestead until he was twelve years old, and then worked on the farms of John Youse and Benjamin Shutz. After attending the school in Rockland township, he entered the State Normal School at Kutztown, at the age of seventeen, and he graduated two years later. He taught one term in Marion township, and two in Cumru township. In April, 1902, he entered Schisslers Business College at Norristown, Pa., where he took a course in shorthand and typewriting, completing his course in November. After being employed as stenographer for the wholesale house of Gassler & Starr Company, No. 509 Commerce street, Philadelphia, dealers in carriage robes, horse dressing, etc., he resigned to accept a more lucrative position in the office of the Accountant of the Shipping & Freight Department, P. & R. R. Co., Port Richmond, Philadelphia. He worked as stenographer in this office for eighteen months and then resigned. On April 1, 1905, he accepted a position with his brother Irvin K., in the hotel business, but April 12, 1909, he, with his brother David C., leased the United States Hotel, and they are now successfully conducting it.

Mr. Keller married in 1905 Annie Heffner, daughter of Ephraim and Catharine Heffner, of New Jerusalem, and they have two children: Ethel Josephine, born March 11, 1906; and Eli Jeremiah, Aug. 23, 1907.


p 709


Irvin K. Keller, of Reading, proprietor of "Keller's Cafe" (a designation descending from a previous owner, was born Aug. 3, 1866, in Rockland township, Berks county, son of Jeremiah C. and Mary (Klein) Keller. The Keller family (antecedents of Irvin K.) became established in Berks county prior to the days of the Revolution.

The educational advantages granted our subject were meager enough, for his people were in modest circumstances, and Irvin, being the eldest of ten children, was early put to work upon the farm, as such a family meant no little burden and responsibility to his parents. In 1887 he left his Pennsylvania home for Ohio, accepting a situation with his uncle, J. C. Keller, then foreman of the P. P. Mast Foundry Company, situated at Springfield, Ohio. He was employed as core maker and molder, and after four years of diligent application discovered that the exactions were too arduous for a "light weight." He then turned his face eastward, returning to Berks , county, and soon thereafter engaged with Amos Barto, who was conducting a hotel at Lyon Station, remaining there until the spring of 1893, when he entered the employ of the Reading Hardware Company at Reading, terminating his engagement in the fall of that year. His next venture was with his uncle, Col. D. C. Keller, that proprietor of Keller's Cafe, situated at No. 527 Penn Square, Reading. This was in 1893, and their association covered a period of more than nine years, being dissolved by the Colonel's death, May 22. 1902. After an interim of two years (in the meantime having formed a partnership with Charles Buck) he became his uncle's permanent successor, and whatever credit might have once been due the "Colonel" for the conduct of his business is as well deserved by and as reasonably attaches to the present owner.

On Feb. 25, 1893, Irvin K. Keller was married to Lizzie C. Keller, daughter of William and Barbara (Conrath) Keller. The following children were born to William Keller and his wife: Daniel C.. a tailor of Bechtelsville, married Lizzie Herb; Mary C. first married Harry Bauer. and her second marriage was to William Shollenberger (she and her husband were both victims of the Boyertown fire); Charles C., a tailor of Reading, married Annie Eckert; Hannah C. is the widow of George E. Schmick; Lizzie C. married Irvin K. Keller; William C., a tailor of Allentown, married Millie Bauer. William Keller, the father of the family, was killed by the train at Lyon Station, Berks county. Aug. 19, 1890.

To Irvin K. Keller and wife, two children were born: Clarence, July 17, 1897 (died March 1, 1902); Esther May. born March 18, 1907. Whatever fortune may have come to this household due credit should be given to Mrs. Keller.

Mr. Keller owns valuable property within the city. He has been successful, for he has been obliging, courteous, reciprocal and fair.


p. 1258


Jacob M. Keller, of Cumru township, who has lived retired since 1906, was born Feb. 15, 1850, in Ephrata, Lancaster Co., Pa., son of Henry and Annie (Mohler) Keller.

Jacob Keller, grandfather of Jacob M., was a farmer in Lancaster county, where he spent his entire life. He became a prosperous man, and was well known and highly esteemed in his community. Mr. Keller had these children: Jacob, John, Samuel, Henry, Mary and Elizabeth, all deceased, who spent their lives in Lancaster county.

Henry Keller was born on the old home farm, and early in life learned the milling business which he made his occupation throughout his active period. Mr. Keller died in Cocalico township in 1868, advanced in years. He married Annie Mohler, daughter of John Mohler, and she died at the age of seventy-two years, both she and her husband being buried at Springville cemetery, Lancaster county. They were members of the Dunkard church. Twelve children were born to Henry Keller and his wife, six of who died young. Those who grew to maturity were: John; Peter; Jacob M.; Sallie; Elizabeth, m. George Bingaman; and Annie, m. John Eshelman.

Jacob M. Keller attended the schools of Lancaster county until sixteen years of age, and then worked at the mill and on the farm for his father until the latter's death. He continued milling for two years, after which he spent nine years at day's work, and then engaged in farming in Lebanon county on the old John Texter farm of 400 acres, one of the largest farms in that county. Nine years later Mr. Keller went to Sinking Spring, where he spent five years, and finally located at the Kurtz House farm in Cumru township, continuing at the latter place until his retirement in 1906.

Mr. Keller was married to Miss Hettie Hertzog, daughter of Peter Hertzog, of Cocalico township, Lancaster county, and to this union there were born the following children: Jacob; Miles; Henry, who died young; Nora m. James Noll; and Cecelia m. Henry Wolff. In political matters Mr. Keller is a Democrat, and he has been a member of election boards. He is a pillar of the Robesonia Lutheran Church.


p., 1377


Levi Keller, who for a number of years was a resident and well-known business man of Reading, Pa., was an honored veteran of the Civil war. He was born in Hesse Darmstadt, Germany, in 1827, son of Samuel and Sarah Keller, who emigrated to America in 1844. Landing at New York City, they remained there but a short time, emigrating to Easton. Pa. While in Germany, Mr. Keller was engaged as a drover, but never engaged in business after coming to America. He died at the age of eighty-two years, his children being: Otto, Eli, Levi, Mrs. Jennie Goldsmith (of Brooklyn, N. Y.), Sarah (the wife of Jacob Summerman, of Philadelphia) and Rosa (who died young).

Levi Keller came to America with his parents when twenty-seven years of age, and with his brother, Otto, engaged in the butchering business at Easton where he remained until the breaking out of the Civil war. He then enlisted in Company B, 14th P. V. I.. Aug. 4, 1861, for a term of three years, under Capt. Henry Rockfellow. He served his entire time, being mustered out of service in August, 1864. Mr. Keller participated in some of the hardest fought battles of the war, and was wounded in the upper part of his leg, which wound no doubt hastened his death. He was a brave soldier, and with the exception of the time spent in the hospital. was with his regiment in every march, skirmish and battle. On his return from the war, Mr. Keller came to Reading and engaged in the dry goods business on Tenth street, below Franklin, continuing there some years. He retired from active life about fifteen years prior to his death, which occurred May 26, 1897. Mr. Keller was a member of Post No. 16, G. A. R.. and later joined the Union Veteran Legion. He was a member of the Reformed Church.

In 1870, Mr. Keller married Miss Amelia Benjamin, daughter of Samuel Benjamin, a drover of Germany, who died in his native country. Mrs. Keller came to America when nineteen years of age, and after living in New York for a time, came to Reading, where she met Mr. Keller. She is now living at No. 1039 Walnut street with her two oldest sons, who are unmarried. Mr. and Mrs. Keller had these children: Samuel and Emanuel M., are engaged in the manufacture of cigars at Fourth and Franklin streets, Reading; Joseph W., also a cigar manufacturer of Reading, at No. 1043 Greenwich street, m. Sallie Bahn.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:54:50 EDT

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