Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


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A. N. Kissinger, manager and owner of the extensive storage, auction and flour house at Nos. 31-35 South Eighth street, as well as president and general manager of the well-known Farmers' Market House, at Reading, Berks Co., Pa., is rated as one of the most substantial and progressive business men of the Keystone State. He is a son of Washington S. and Elizabeth (Yost) Kissinger, born Dec. 5, 1850.

Washington S. Kissinger was accounted a man of unusual natural force and broad business capacity. After receiving but an imperfect common school education, at Reading, he became employed, while still quite young, on the canal near that city. Later he located in Reading, and in time became prominent in the lime and sand business, building also the famous Farmers' Market House. At the time of his death in November, 1873, he was not only an acknowledged business leader and a progressive citizen, but the owner and operator of several valuable farms in Berks county. His wife, Elizabeth Yost, died in Reading at the age of seventy-three. Their children, besides A. N., were: Harry A., a wholesale grain dealer at Birdsboro, Berks county; George W., formerly a sign painter and skilled mechanic; Mrs. Mary A. Dick, widow of the late Henry D. Dick, of No. 106 South Ninth street, Reading; and Mrs. Susan Dubson, living near Blandon, Berks county.

A. N. Kissinger received a common school education in the schools of Berks county, locating at Reading, April 1, 1870, and entering the employ of C. S. Birch & Co. In the following year he established a clothing and shoe business, later he and his father also associating themselves at the same location, No. 929 Penn street, in the flour and feed business, continuing together until the death of the latter in 1873. The Market House business was founded May 10, 1871, and July 16, 1871, A. N. Kissinger assumed its active management. He has continued in that capacity ever since, has been one of the owners, and the manager and treasurer of the Farmers' Market House. Under Mr. Kissinger's management extensive and important improvements have been made in the original house erected by his father, so that he now as president, general manager and one of the largest stockholders controls the largest and most complete market in the city. This was incorporated in January, 1907, as the Farmers' Market House Company. For the accommodation of out-of-town patrons he has erected a three-story stable, with sleeping apartments attached.

Kissinger's Storage House is a four-story structure, 60x120 feet in dimensions, weekly and semi-weekly sales being held therein. On March 1, 1885, C. Carroll Briner was admitted to partnership in the feed, flour and storage business under the firm name of Kissinger & Briner, the location of the house being as at present. This continued till Mr. Briner's retirement in February, 1897, after which the firm of Kissinger & Son was formed. This continued four years, since which time Mr. Kissinger has been sole proprietor. Under Mr. Kissinger's energetic and able management, the business has developed to large proportions. On Jan. 17, 1907, in company with others he formed the Kissinger Market House Company, embracing the following markets: Nos. 2, 3 and 4, located at Ninth and Cherry street, Peach and Cherry streets, and Nos. 834-836 Penn street. They have recently inaugurated the successful Saturday afternoon and evening market, in addition to their tri-weekly markets.

Personally Mr. Kissinger has reached a leadership in the business field in a time of life which makes it probable that his future will bring him into even more than State prominence. Mr. Kissinger is connected with no secret organizations, although socially he is very genial and popular. For his standing he has depended upon no extraneous efforts, solely upon his individual honesty, assiduity and ability. He is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, and has served as a vestryman of that organization at different times for nine years.

On April 16, 1874, Mr. Kissinger was married to Miss Sallie R. Spohn, of Reading. She died March 11, 1903, leaving three children: Clifford W., Sarah E. and Anita M. On Oct. 19, 1904, he married (second) Miss Mary L. Warren, of Ohio, and to this union has been born a son, Warren Nicholas. Mr. and Mrs. Kissinger reside at their comfortable home, No. 1030 Penn street, Reading, enjoying the comfort and culture attendant upon the prosperity and intelligence of the modern business man.


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Harvey D. Kissinger, proprietor of the "Krick House," situated at No. 670 Schuylkill avenue, Reading, Pa., was born Jan. 13, 1868, in Bern township, Berks county, son of Adam and Sarah (Lengel) Kissinger.

Johan Kissinger, great-great-grandfather of Harvey D., was a native of Germany. He owned a farm in Alsace township, Berks county, Pa., above what was known as "Close's Hotel," the property now being owned by the Ebling estate. His two children were: John and Betsy. The latter did not like her adopted country, and suddenly disappeared, nothing being heard from her until after the death of her father, when she returned, after the estate had already been settled. Her share was paid her, however, although it almost caused the financial embarrassment of her only brother, John. Johan Kissinger was buried in the private burial ground in what is now Muhlenberg township, near Brooks Locks, or the Carpenter Steel Works.

John Kissinger, great-grandfather of Harvey D., lived in Alsace township, where he carried on agricultural pursuits, owning a tract of thirty acres of land. He was buried in the family burial ground. His children were: Abraham, Lydia, John, Jacob, Samuel, Solomon and David.

Abraham Kissinger, grandfather of Harvey D., was born in 1800, in Alsace township (now Muhlenberg), and died aged thirty-seven years, being buried in the private burial ground on his farm. He married Hannah Schmaltz, daughter of Christopher Schmaltz, and they had four children, as follows: Daniel and Henry, who both died aged one year; Hannah, m. to Amos Gaul; and Adam.

Adam Kissinger, father of Harvey D., was born July 31, 1833, in Alsace township, and was reared to farming, an occupation which he followed until twenty-one years of age, at which time he went to work in the brick yards and there continued for three years. For twelve summers he was employed in work on the Schuylkill canal, and from 1870 until 1904 tended the Kissinger Locks on the canal, coming to Reading in the latter year, since which time he has been living at No. 800 Schuylkill avenue, with his nephew, Morris Ruth, whom he reared from infancy. In 1854 Mr. Kissinger was married to Sarah Lengel, who died June 21, 1890, aged fifty-seven years. They had the following children: Emma, Rebecca, Henry, Harvey D., Jacob and Hannah (m. to William Hinnershitz).

Harvey D. Kissinger accompanied his parents to the Kissinger Locks when two years of age, and lived at home until his marriage in September, 1887. For seven years he was employed at the American Iron & Steel Company's plant, then known as Sternbergh's, and for five years he was in the employ of the Keystone Rolling Mills, after which he worked at brick-making until being engaged as bar clerk with P. Monroe Krick, his brother-in-law. In the spring of 1905, Mr. Kissinger succeeded Mr. Krick, who retired, and he has continued to conduct the "Krick House" to the present time with much success. In addition to his hotel, Mr. Kissinger owns several houses in the Fifteenth ward. He is a popular member of the Schuylkill Fire Company and the Bar Tenders' Association.

Mr. Kissinger was married to Mary A. H. Krick, born Dec. 18, 1870, daughter of Levi J. R. and Mary (Hinnershitz) Krick, and she died April 27, 1904, aged thirty-three years, four months, nine days. Three children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Kissinger, namely: Arthur L., born April 1, 1888; William H., July 28, 1901; and Mamie Catharine, May 3, 1898.


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Henry G. Kissinger, a prominent agriculturist of Bern township, Berks county, where he was for a number of years well known as an educator, was born on the Kissinger homestead in Bern township, July 6, 1861, son of Henry G. and Angeline (Gruber) Kissinger.

Michael Kissinger, the great-grandfather of Henry G., was the ancestor of this family in Berks county. He owned a large tract of land in Bern township, between the Schuylkill river and the Tulpehocken creek, the land from Kissinger's bridge (also called Schuylkill Avenue bridge) to the Tulpehocken and all the land now embraced in Glenside being included in his property. At the time of his death, which occurred in the early part of 1791, he left a large estate, which he distributed equitably by will among his nine children, four of whom were sons and five daughters. Their names were: Michael, John, Abraham, Woolrich (Ulrich), Barbara Bricker, Mary, Catherine, Susanna, and Eva Elizabeth. This pioneer's will is on record in Will Book 3, p. 160, and is a lengthy document, disposing of considerable land, bonds, money and personal property. It was made May 8, 1782, and was probated Feb. 12, 1791. He called himself a yeoman. His wife, Mary Catherine, was amply provided for, and the land was distributed among the sons, the bonds being bequeathed to the daughters. He had made a draught of his lands, divided into four parts, known as A, B, C, and D. Michael was given land in draught A, which included the dwelling of the ancestor; John was given land in draught B, according to its lines and boundaries; Abraham obtained the land in draught C, and Woolrich (Ulrich) received that part situated across the Tulpehocken in Cumru (now Spring) township, contained in the lines and boundaries of draught D. This land, a tract of 105 acres, Michael Kissinger bought from Anthony Morris. The testator bought two separate tracts of land in March, 1781, from Casper Eggly containing 260 acres, and this was included in his division to his sons. A document dated Jan. 16, 1769, relating to a court proceeding about damages sustained my Michael Kissinger, is on record in Deed Book, Vol. 13, p. 96. It appears that one Henry Fidler constructed a breast dam, which forced the water on Kissinger's land, for which he was awarded damages to the sum of forty pounds, which were paid by the aforesaid Henry Fidler. Michael Kissinger, Jr., made his will April 7, 1780, and it was entered for probate June 11, 1811, the executors being Jacob and Michael Kissinger. It is contained in Will Book A, p. 594. Abraham Kissinger, son of Michael the ancestor, died in 1833. His will is on record in Will Book 7, p. 162.

John Kissinger, the grandfather of Henry G. was born in Bern township in 1785, and died July 7, 1850, aged sixty-five years, three months, seventeen days. He cultivated his small tract in Bern township, and followed the butcher trade for many years, being familiarly known as "Butcher" Kissinger. He was married to Elizabeth Griess, born Dec. 25, 1785, who died Dec. 20, 1857, aged seventy-two years, less five days, and they had eleven children, as follows: Isaac, who died in Ohio; Daniel, who was unmarried; Gregorius, of Bern; John, of Reading; Solomon, of Epler's Church, Bern township; Henry G., Sr.; Esther, who died unmarried; Rebecca m. Bernhart Roth; Elizabeth, m. William Roth, brother of Bernhart; Jestine, m. Adam Moyer; and Catherine, m. William Greth.

Henry G. Kissinger, father of Henry G., was born Feb, 11, 1825, and died on his farm along the Tulpehocken in Bern township, Sept. 24, 1904, being buried at Alsace. He was born and reared on one of the old Kissinger homesteads, which originally comprised twenty-four acres, and there he later followed the trade of blacksmith in addition to farming, In politics he was a Democrat. A Lutheran in faith, he was a deacon and elder in Kissinger's Church. Feb. 12, 1857, Henry G. Kissinger was married to Angeline Gruber, who was born April 2 1831, in Millcreek, Lebanon county, daughter of William and Lydia (Stamm) Gruber, and granddaughter of John and Anna M. (Losch) Gruber of Heidelberg township. Mr. and Mrs. Kissinger had four children: Frank, born in the year 1857, married Elmira Maurer, who was born in 1858 and died in 1896; Rosa, born April 14, 1859, died June 9, 1859; Henry G.; William, of Reading, born June 9, 1864, married Annie Allbright, by whom he has two children, Lizzie and Harry.

Henry G. Kissinger was reared to agricultural pursuits, and worked for his parents until after passing his thirtieth year. His early education was secured in Kissinger's school in Spring township, and after his parents removed to the homestead in Bern, he attended the public schools there until sixteen years old, being licensed to teach in 1877, by Prof. S. A. Baer, superintendent of schools of Berks county. He taught his first term in Alsace township, and later attended Reading Academy, where he received instruction from the late Prof. D. B. Brunner. Still later, he attended Oley Academy, which was in charge of Rev. D. E. Schoedler, after which he taught for nineteen consecutive terms in Bern and Spring townships. During this long period Prof. Kissinger became well known throughout this section of the State, and his reputation as an educator was an enviable one. For some time he was also a teacher at the Reading Night school, and displayed much tact and discipline in the handling of the pupils there. Mr. Kissinger is now devoting all of his time to agricultural pursuits, and since 1905 he has been located at Glenside. He is a prominent man of his community, and is a leading Democrat, having been a member of the school board of Bern township since 1898 and at present is secretary of that body, a position he has held since 1901. He has also been a delegate to numerous county conventions. Fraternally, he is connected with Washington Camp, P. O. S. of A. He and his family are members of Kissinger's Church, being connected with the Lutheran congregation, and Mr. Kissinger is superintendent of the Sunday-school. He resides on the homestead, and is the executor of the Henry G. Kissinger estate. He owns a residence in Reading, and several houses at Glenside, besides a number of building lots.

In Jan. 3, 1900, Prof. Kissinger was married to Eva A. Eyrich, daughter of the late Joshua and Sarah (Shirk) Eyrich, and to this union there has been born one daughter, Angeline Ruth.


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Isaac Kissinger, who until recently conducted the successful grocery business at No. 606 North Ninth street, Reading, was born May 26, 1848, in Tulpehocken township, Berks county, son of Amos and Mary A. (Wagner) Kissinger. His grandfather, Abraham Kissinger, was a lifelong farmer of Berks county.

Amos Kissinger, father of Isaac, was a farmer and miller of Berks county, where he spent his entire life. He died in Reading in 1882, in his 65th year. His first wife died in 1861, leaving him these children: Elam; Isaac; Franklin; Amelia (married Richard Burkholtz); Amos; Emma (married Jacob Neff; John W.; and Elizabeth (married Howard Frank). Mr. Kissinger's second marriage was to Rebecca Kloop, who died in 1909, leaving two children, Howard and Maggie. Amos Kissinger was a Lutheran in religious belief, and in political matters was a Democrat.

Isaac Kissinger was educated in the schools of Reading, and his first work was in a brickyard, after leaving which he engaged in boating on the canal, at which he continued for twelve years. He was then appointed police sergeant, an office in which he served for ten years under Mayors Evans and Rowe, and the next four years he spent as watchman at the Reading Iron Works. Mr. Kissinger then spent two years at the Philadelphia & Reading railway roundhouse, and in 1891 engaged in the grocery business, carrying a complete and up-to- date line of staple and fancy groceries, and commanding a good trade. He retired from business March 30, 1908.

In 1880 Mr. Kissinger married Miss Agnes E. Rambo, daughter of Thomas Rambo. Mr. and Mrs. Kissinger have no children. They are members of the Lutheran Church. Politically Mr. Kissinger is a Republican, and fraternally he is connected with the K. G.E.


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Jacob Kissinger, an honored veteran of the Civil war, who resides on the old Kissinger homestead, at Kissinger's Church, in Spring township, Berks county, was born on his present farm Dec. 18, 1839, son of Abraham M. and Abolonia (Hill) Kissinger.

Michael Kissinger, the American ancestor of this well-known family, was a native of the Fatherland. He owned a large estate in Bern township in 1782, on May 8th of which year he made his last will and testament, which was probated in 1791, the year of his death. The will provides amply for his beloved wife, Mary Catharine. Their children were: Michael; John, who had a son John and three daughters; Abraham; Ulrich; Barbara Bricker; Mary; Catharine; Susanna; and Eva Elizabeth John Kissinger, grandson of Michael the ancestor, lived at Mohn's Hill in Spring township, and owned a small farm, on which he died in 1851, and where he is buried in a small burying-ground. He married Catharine Garner, and they had these children: Polly, Sallie, Lizzie, Kate, John, Elijah and Henry. Of this family, Elijah Kissinger was a farmer and trucker. He was born in 1811, died in 1885 and is buried at Gouglersville. His wife was Louise Messinger (1822-1875), and they had eight children: Rebecca, Sarah, John, Samuel M., Mary, Elijah, Louise and Henry. Samuel M. Kissinger, son of Elijah and grandson of John, was born Dec. 4, 1851, and is a truck farmer near Knauer's in Brecknock township. In 1874 he married Amanda Trostle, and they have a family of sixteen children as follows: Albert, Sallie, Katie, Mary, Lizzie, Samuel, Julia, John, Mamie, Charles, Harry, Grover, Carrie, Maud, Jennie and Amanda.

Abraham Kissinger, grandfather of Jacob, was born Sept. 17, 1778 in Bern township, and died in Spring township May 16, 1860, aged eighty-one years, seven months, twenty-nine days. He was a miller, and for many years worked for his father, Ulrich Kissinger, who owned and operated a gristmill which stood immediately above the Schuylkill avenue bridge. Abraham Kissinger in later years purchased a farm of 112 acres in Spring township, which was divided into four parts among his children at the time of his death. He married Elizabeth Moyer, daughter of Johannes Moyer, and their children were: Daniel, born Dec. 17, 1801, died Nov. 25, 1850, and was buried in Kissinger's cemetery; Susanna, born Oct. 1, 1805, died Jan. 10, 1856; Benjamin, born June 4, 1807, died Oct. 16, 1888; Eliza m. Charles Powell; Abraham M. is mentioned below; Jacob, born June 16, 1815, died Feb. 19, 1898, m. (first) Sarah Koch (1826-1853) and (second) Matilda Dunkelberger (1831-1901). Kissinger's Church along the Tulpehocken was named after Abraham Kissinger and his brother John, the former donating the half-acre upon which stands the cemetery, and the latter the land upon which the church was built in 1852. The Kissinger schoolhouse was erected near the church some years later.

Abraham M. Kissinger, father of Jacob, born April 19, 1811, near the Schuylkill bridge in Bern township, died Nov. 14, 1882. In 1854 he obtained the Kissinger farm, which he operated the remainder of his life. Mr. Kissinger m. Abolonia Hill, born June 1, 1807, who died Aug. 30, 1892, daughter of Jacob Hill, of Alsace township. To this union were born eleven children, all of whom survive but two: Jonathan, of Reading, m. Catherine Trout; Elizabeth m. William Moyer, of Lyons, Pa.; Susan m. Francis Mee, of Riverside, Pa.; Catharine m. William Gring of West Reading, Pa.; Amos m. Clementine Huff, and resided at Dauberville, Pa., where he died in August, 1905, aged seventy years; Jacob; Sarah m. Daniel Frymoyer, of Reading; Abbie m. Daniel Wanner, of Riverside; Dr. Abraham, deceased, m. (first) a Miss Schuder and (second) Sue Weiler, and lived at Terre Hill, Pa.; Louisa m. William Wanner, of Reading; and Henry m. Maggie Yost, of Reading.

Jacob Kissinger was reared to agricultural pursuits, and when seventeen years of age learned the blacksmith's trade with Amos Albright, of Bern township. He worked for his parents until attaining his majority, at which time he commenced farming the homestead for himself, and in the spring of 1874 went to North Reading, now called Riverside, where he built two brick houses, into one of which he moved. For the following eight years he was car inspector for the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company, but in 1882 he again engaged in farming, purchasing the thirty-nine-acre tract after his father's death. Mr. Kissinger has been very successful in his operations, and for thirteen years was a well-known figure at the Reading markets. He and his family are Lutheran members of Kissinger's Union Church, of which he was a deacon.

On Oct. 27, 1862, Mr. Kissinger became a member for nine months' service of Company E. 167th Regiment, Pennsylvania Drafted Militia, Capt. Hiram H. Miller, and was discharged Aug. 12, 1863, at Reading, where he enlisted March 3, 1865, this time entering Capt. Andrew L. Lanigan's Company F, 6th Regiment, Pennsylvania Calvary; he was discharged Aug. 17, 1865 at Louisville, Ky. Among various engagements Mr. Kissinger participated in the battles of Suffolk, Va., Blackwater (Deserted Farm), and Cartsville. His service was characterized by bravery and faithfulness, and his war record is one to be proud of.

After his return from the war Mr. Kissinger was employed in the stone quarry of Peter Finkfrock for three years. He then went to Deep Creek Valley, Schuylkill Co., Pa., and was employed as a teamster by Joseph Raemer, hauling timber to coal mines, after which he went to Chillicothe, Mo., where he farmed for one year. Selling his farm stock he returned East.

In 1874 Mr. Kissinger married Lizzie F. Foreman, born Nov. 9, 1845, daughter of Henry and Mary (Fritz) Foreman, of Reading. She died March 13, 1900. To this union were born three children: Nora, born April 24, 1878, died Nov. 14, 1884; Harry A., who is unmarried, is at present located at Grand Junction, Colo., working in the department store of William J. Moyer; Laura D. married Percival Fry, a clerk in a department store at Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and by this union there is one daughter, Florence Elizabeth, born Nov. 30, 1907, on the old Kissinger homestead.

John Kissinger, grandson of Michael the ancestor, lived at Mohn's Hill in Spring township, and owned a small farm, on which he died in 1851, and where he is buried in a small burying-ground. He married Catharine Garner, and they had these children: Polly, Sallie, Lizzie, Kate, John, Elijah and Henry. Of this family, Elijah Kissinger was a farmer and trucker. He was born in 1811, died in 1885, and is buried at Gouglersville. His wife was Louise Messinger (1822-1875), and they had eight children: Rebecca, Sarah, John, Samuel M. Mary, Elijah, Louise and Henry. Samuel M. Kissinger, son of Elijah, and grandson of John, was born Dec. 4, 1851, and is a truck farmer near Knauer's, in Brecknock township. In 1874 he married Amanda Trostle and they have a family of sixteen children, as follows: Albert, Sallie, Katie, Mary, Lizzie, Samuel, Julia, John, Mamie, Charles, Harry, Grover, Carrie, Maud, Jennie and Amanda.


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There have been three John Kissingers in Berks county in direct line, father, son and grandson, and the early home of the family was in Alsace township.

John Kissinger, the first of the name, was a farmer in Alsace township, where he owned a valuable farm. This he lost through the machinations of the husband of his sister Betzy, a Hessian soldier with whom she became acquainted while the Hessians were in camp at Mount Penn, Reading, during the Revolutionary war. John Kissinger was born about 1761, and he died in 1837, in Alsace township, at the home of his son, Jacob. He married Elizabeth Tobias, daughter of Jonathan Tobias, of Bern township, and they had nine sons and one daughter, namely: Jacob, John, Samuel, Andrew, Christian, Abraham, Solomon, William, David and Lydia (married (first) David Gehret, and (second) John Leader).

John Kissinger, son of John and second of the name, was born in Alsace, now Muhlenberg, township July 4, 1794, and he died on Pine street, Reading, in 1859, at the age of sixty-five years. By occupation he was a carpenter. He married Catharine Spengler, daughter of Christian Spengler, of Heidelberg township, and they had three sons and five daughters, as follow: Elizabeth died unmarried aged twenty-one years; John, born March 11, 1816; Mary m. Daniel Roberts; Reuben m. Kate Jones; Susan m. Samuel Zerr, and is still living; Sarah m. James Eckert; and Adam, a cripple, who died unmarried; and another daughter.

John Kissinger, the third of the name and the subject proper of this sketch, was born in Alsace (now Muhlenberg) township, March 11, 1816. He attended pay schools, where only the German language was taught, and at the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to learn the carpenter's trade under Jacob Ahrens, then a prominent builder. In 1836 he came to Reading, seeing in this then rapidly growing town great opportunity for success, and he located at Front and Washington streets, at the canal locks--long since removed. He secured work with Adam Wright, a manufacturer of threshing machines, and at the end of a year entered the employ of Benjamin Fink, a builder with whom he remained many years. In 1852 he went to Philadelphia, but at the end of eight months returned to Reading, and engaged in carpentering. He built a number of the homes on the north side of Chestnut street, between Fourth and Fifth streets, and on the east side of Court street, between Church and Sixth streets. He himself built his own home in 1897, when past four score years, and it was nearly a decade later before he retired from active work. To the last he worked in his little shop in the rear of his home, making chests and household articles on a small scale. His death, April 24, 1908, in his ninety-third year, was due to a fractured hip, sustained in a fall down stairs.

At the age of nineteen Mr. Kissinger married Catherine Lewis, daughter of William Lewis, and she died about half a century ago; she had eight children, of whom is living (1908) Reuben C. L., whose golden wedding anniversary was attended by his father, four generations being present. Two years after the death of his first wife, Mr. Kissinger married (second) Hannah Dunnegan, daughter of James Dunnegan. She died in 1907. Five of the eleven children of this union survive: Susan, wife of Charles Spangler; Miss Clara; Morris; Lucy, wife of Earl Schaeffer, of Reading; and Anna, wife of Joseph Bascone, of Philadelphia.

In politics he had been a Democrat all his life casting his first vote in 1836. He recalled the administration of Reading's first mayor, Peter Filbert, a time when a great part of the present city was farm land. He was very intelligent and could tell in most interesting manner the tales of those early days. He was a member of the Reformed Church, and fraternally he belonged to Chandler Lodge, No. 227, F. & A.M. and Seminole Council, No. 88 O. U. A. M. Mr. Kissinger attributed his long life to nothing more than temperate habits. He never used tobacco and very little liquor; his hearing was excellent, as was also his eyesight, and his health was perfect.


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John M. Kissinger (deceased), for many years president of the Schuylkill Valley Bank, had been actively engaged in Reading in business from 1847 up to his death, in 1905, and his name had become symbolic of success, in what ever field he engaged. He came from ancestors prominent in the early history of Berks county, who left names that will long survive in the affections of the people.

The paternal grandfather, Ulrich Kissinger, was a native of Alsace-Lorraine. In company with four brothers and two sisters he came to America in 1770, and located in Berks county on the Schuylkill river, at what is now known as Kissinger's Bridge. There he purchased a flour-mill and made milling his calling for the rest of his life. In 1811 he constructed at his mill the first bridge across the Schuylkill in the county, the famous Kissinger chain bridge, which was torn down in 1833 by the Schuylkill Navigation Company and replaced by a wooden bridge with roof and sides. The founder of the family died in 1826.

John Kissinger, son of Ulrich, was born at the American homestead Feb. 8, 1790. He learned his father's trade of milling and followed it until 1833, when the mill as well as the bridge was destroyed to put in the canal. Removing to Reading he opened a wood and coal office and continued in that business at the foot of Penn street for eight years--five with a partner and three by himself. In 1844 he once more took up his residence in the country and operated a farm in Spring township, for six years, but in 1850 he moved back to Reading and lived in retirement there for the remaining sixteen years of his life. He died in April, 1866, after a long life of usefulness and honor.

When the question of slavery was made a political issue, Mr. Kissinger deserted the ranks of the Democratic party and instead of voting for Douglas supported Lincoln, remaining ever afterward a loyal Republican. In matters of religious belief, he was a devout and consistent Lutheran and was one of the most earnest laborers among the members of Trinity Church.

Mr. Kissinger was twice married, first to Miss Riland, and second to Miss Margaret Madeira. His children were all born to the second marriage, and were as follows: Amelia married (first) John Maicks, and (second) William Himmilwright; John M.; Louisa married the late Jacob Kauffman, and now resides in Reading; Catherine married C. D. Geiger (both now deceased).

John M. Kissinger was born at Kissinger's Bridge, Feb. 14, 1824, and received his education in the select schools, when tuition was paid. When twenty-three years old he entered upon his business career in Reading, where in 1847, in partnership with Samuel Freis, he opened a wood and coal office at the foot of Penn street. Eleven years later they added milling to their other lines, but two years after thus enlarging their scope, in 1860, Mr. Kissinger sold out his interest and with Jacob Kauffman as a partner established a general mercantile store at the corner of Penn and Third streets. This connection lasted but three years, and Mr. Kissinger then engaged in the scrap iron business, continuing thus until 1890. On July 21st of that year the Schuylkill Valley Bank was organized and Mr. Kissinger, who had been one of the principal promoters, was made president, a position he held until his death. That sad event occurred April 10, 1905, when he was eighty-one years old, and was felt to be a great loss to Reading.

Mr. Kissinger was twice married. His first wife was Miss Catherine Ruth, who died without issue. His second wife, who survived him, was Henrietta, daughter of George Zacharias, of Union township. She was born Aug. 17, 1827, and died July 6, 1908. Three sons were born to them, but none survived childhood, one dying when a year and a half old, another when two and a half, and the third when three and a half years old. In early life Mr. Kissinger was a Lutheran, having been confirmed in that church, but later he united with the second Reformed Church, and was one of its most active workers and generous contributors. His life was filled with deeds of kindness and of helpfulness to others, while in business he was upright and honorable, winning the highest praise and esteem from his fellow citizens. Every one felt confidence in his judgment and his advice was often sought. Essentially of a domestic nature, Mr. Kissinger's happiest hours were spent in his home. In politics he was a Republican.

Mrs. Henrietta Z. Kissinger came from families prominent in the early history of Berks county, whose members are today numbered among its best citizens. Her father, George Zacharias, was born in Muhlenberg township and was educated in the schools there. Early in life he learned the milling business and carried it on for a number of years until he purchased a farm in Union township and turned his attention to agricultural pursuits. He next built the Six Penny Creek Forge, but in 1840 again took up farming on a tract of 217 acres which his father-in-law purchased, and remained there until 1846. The following year was spent in Reading, but he then bought another farm located in Bern township, and remained there until his death. He passed away in 1862, aged sixty-three while his wife, Mary, daughter of Nicholas Seidel, died in 1877, aged seventy-seven. They had ten children, five daughters and five sons, as follows: Daniel, George, Mahlon, Henrietta (Mrs. Kissinger), Mary A., Elizabeth (wife of Juda Davis), Samuel, John, Louisa (wife of Dr. Brobst), and Caroline. George Zacharias was a member of the Reformed Church, while his wife was a Lutheran.


p. 1144


Rev. Charles E. Kistler. On the records of Jerusalem church, known in the 18th Century as the Allemangel church, there are recorded hundreds of baptisms of Kistler children, while in the cemetery under the shadow of the church are many graves marked with the same name. Near the center of the oldest part of the cemetery lies a slate stone (which is now being replaced by the descendants with a marble slab) bearing the inscription "I. G. K. 1767." This is supposed to be the stone that marked the burial place of the progenitor of the American Kistlers, who was legally known as Johannes, but was called Joerg or George by Pastor Schumacher in his record, and Hanjoerg or John George, by his neighbors.

(I) Johannes Kistler was a native of the Palatinate, in Germany. On Oct. 5, 1737, he came in the ship "Townshead" from Amsterdam to Philadelphia, and soon after to Falkner Swamp, or Goshenhoppen, in what is now Montgomery county, Pa. It is supposed he was accompanied by his wife, Anna Dorothea, and his oldest children. In 1747 he took out a warrant for land and moved to Albany township, Berks county, then wild and barren, where he made his permanent residence. The vicinity was named "Allemangel" or "All Wants." Johannes Kistler was taxed in Albany in 1756, and was naturalized in 1761, on Sept. 10th of which year he and his neighbor, Michael Brobst, appeared before the Supreme Court in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was a Lutheran and served as elder of the Allemangel church for a number of years, where his children were baptized and confirmed. His children were: (1) Jacob, who left seven children - Philip, Jacob, Michael, Solomon, Daniel, Catharine and Magdalene. Samuel Kistler Brobst, a teacher of James A. Garfield, was a grandson of Philip; and so was Michael Kistler, the tanner, whose son Stephen was at one time the most extensive tanner in eastern Pennsylvania. (2) John remained on the homestead after his father's death. The name John runs through at least five generations, and the trade of blacksmith follows it. John's children were: John William, born May 29, 1757; and Abraham, born Dec. 20, 1761, who is the ancestor of the Perry county Kistlers for whom Kistler post-office has been named. A descendant, Rev. Dr. John Kistler, has for many years been professor at the oldest Lutheran Theological Seminary in America, located at Hartwick, N. Y. (3) George remained in Berks county. In 1779 he was the owner of 248 acres of land and a grist mill. In 1778 he was elected elder of the Allemangel Church, and as he was referred to as George Kistler, Sr., he doubtless had a son George. The archives of Pennsylvania show that a George Kistler served in the Continental army during the Revolution. (4) Philip, born Oct. 19, 1745, died Aug. 28, 1809. He had nine children: Jacob, John, Ferdinand, Philip, Jonathan, Barbara, Maria, Catharine, and Elizabeth. Of these Jacob was a lieutenant in the War of 1812. (5) Michael moved to Ohio, and is the ancestor of the large Kistler settlements in Indiana. His family consisted of John, Michael, Joseph, Nathan, Monroe, Salome and Judith. (6) Samuel was the youngest son of his father. (7) Barbara m. (first) a Brobst, and (second) Michael Mosser of Lowhill. (8) Dorothea m. Michael Reinhart. (9) Elizabeth m. a Mr. Keller, near Hamburg, Pennsylvania.

(II) Samuel Kistler, son of John George, was born Sept. 20, 1754, and died April 24, 1822. He was an extensive land owner. In 1803 he built a very substantial stone mansion in Kistler's Valley, which remained his home to the time of his death, and which has until recently been the property of his descendants. He built the Kistler mill near Tripoli. For many years he has been an elder of the Jerusalem church, and it was while he held that office that the present house of worship was erected, 1812-14. All these buildings erected about a century ago, stand as firmly today as though they had been built in recent years. Samuel Kistler was twice married. His first wife, Elizabeth Ladich, bore him three children, and his second, Catharine Brobst, twelve. These were: Barbara m. Henry Sunday, and is buried at Dunkel's church; Jacob S., father of Samuel J. (who was a delegate to the National Convention which nominated Abraham Lincoln for the Presidency), is buried at the Jerusalem church; Samuel is buried at Tripoli church; John S. is buried at Jerusalem church; Michael died in Ohio; Christian is buried at Tripoli; Daniel and David both died in West Penn, Schuylkill county; Jesse died in Ohio; Levi is buried at Jacob's church, Jacksonville, Pa.; Charles is buried at Newton Falls, Trumbull county, Ohio; Maria Elizabeth m. Jacob Snyder, and died in Ohio; Catharine m. George Weida, and died in Lowhill; Salome m. Jacob Mosser, the tanner, and died in Allentown; and Magdalene m. Solomon Mosser, and is probably buried at Lynnville. The descendants of Samuel Kistler are scattered all over the United States. Many of them have become successful business and professional men. An unusually large number are physicians and ministers of the Gospel.

(II) Jacob S. Kistler, son of Samuel and grandson of John George, was born Oct. 5, 1781, was justice of the peace, and held other offices, and died Oct. 7, 1845. He married Anna Barbara Bausch, who died Nov. 19, 1867. He left sixteen children: John, Jacob, Nathan, Stephen S., David, Jonas, Charles and Catherine (m. to Reuben Buck) are all buried at the Jerusalem church; Reuben died in Louisville, Ky.; Salome, m. to John Hermany, is buried at Jacksonville, Pa.; Mary, m. to Elias Wertman, died at Peoria, Ill.; Lydia, m. to Daniel Long, is buried at New Ringgold, Pa.; Elizabeth lives at Saegersville, Pa.; Anna Fena, m. to Charles Lenhart, is buried at Bethel church in Albany township; Helena, second wife of Daniel Long, died in Atchinson, Kans.; and Samuel J., Associate Judge of Lehigh county, member of the State Legislature, justice of the peace for many years, and family historian, is buried at the Heidelberg church, Lehigh county, Pennsylvania.

(III) Stephen S. Kistler, son of Jacob S., was born in Kistler's Valley, Dec. 16, 1817, and died March 13, 1874. He was married to Abigail Brobst. They had eight children: Philip, William S., Mary, Albert and Jacob are buried at the Jerusalem church; Sarah, m. to Harry Stine, lives at Fogelsville; Fianna, m. to Emanuel Seidel, is buried at Hamburg; and Samuel died at Seipstown.

(IV) William S. Kistler, son of Stephen S. and great-great-grandson of the emigrant John George, was born Nov. 15, 1840, and died Sept. 10, 1887. He served nine months in the Civil War. He was married to Maria Grim, daughter of Reuben Grim and his wife Sarah Wanner. They bought the old Kistler homestead where their eight children were brought up. These are: Jesse, a physician at Allentown; Elmer, who was for many years a school teacher of Lynn Township, and is now a justice of the peace; William U., pastor of St. Mark's Lutheran Church, Pennsburg, and St. John's, Spinnertown, Pa.; Charles E., pastor of Alsace Lutheran Church, Reading, Pa.; Stephen O., who remained on the old homestead; Mary, married to Dr. A. F. Baver, Stony Run, Pa.; and Sallie and Kathryn, who live with the mother at Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pa. It may seem remarkable that so many out of the family have entered professions. This is, however, nothing unusual with the Kistlers. Four sons of William B. Kistler have entered the medical profession, and three sons of Jacob Kistler have done the same.

(V) Charles Edward Kistler, son of William S. and Maria (Grim) Kistler, was born in Kistler's Valley, near Lynnville, Pa., Aug. 23, 1870. He is the fifth of a family of eight children, all of whom are still living and enjoying good health. His father had resolved to educate all his sons to become school teachers, which he realized in the three oldest. Before Charles' turn came, the well-meaning father died, leaving the mother with the large family. With rare tact the mother took upon herself the care of the family to whom was left a large farm and much hard work, but very little opportunity for intellectual improvement. Charles E. was, however, not dismayed. Every evening, no matter how hard the work of the day, he could be found at his books, sometimes long after the rest of the family had retired. Within a year after his father's death he had charge of a public school in his home district. The next three years of his life were spent working on the farm during the summer, and teaching school during the winter months. He had mastered the common branches so thoroughly that during the course of a teacher's examination the county superintendent asked him what school he had attended that he was able to answer all the questions more accurately than any of the other applicants he had examined up to that time. He was afraid to say that for more than two years he had not attended any school. So successful was he as a teacher that he earned a State Teacher's Permanent Certificate. When quite young he felt a strong desire to become a minister of the Gospel. He was convinced that the ministry would afford him the greatest opportunity of doing good. In view of this he took private lessons during the last winter he taught school, and with the additional instruction of a few weeks in a select school, he prepared for Muhlenberg College, to which he was admitted without conditions in the fall of 1891. With very little means, and with no prospect of receiving adequate support from any source, he began his career as a student. Although often pressed by want, he was never discouraged. In the spring of 1895 he was granted a leave of absence by his professors to open a summer normal at Lynnville. Here he met with remarkable success. In spite of strong opposition he was so richly patronized that the succeeding part of his course became pleasant and agreeable. In June, 1895, he graduated from Muhlenberg College with credit; and in May, 1898, from the Lutheran Theological Seminary, Mt. Airy, Philadelphia, Pa. His class at the seminary was the largest that was ever graduated from that institution, and a number of his classmates expressed their fears that there might be no place for them. To such Mr. Kistler would say: "If the Lord wants us to work in His kingdom, He will have a field of labor ready for us at the proper time." Mr. Kistler does not believe that the man should hunt the place; if he is worth having, the place will seek him. Without any effort on his part he received a unanimous call to become the Lutheran pastor of the Alsace Lutheran congregation, then worshiping with the Reformed in the union building erected in 1850 and removed in 1908. After his ordination, June 6, 1898, he accepted the call to Alsace church, and was installed as pastor in July, 1898. His pastor, Rev. H. S. Fegley, who had baptized and confirmed him, was one of the officiating clergymen.

When the Rev. Mr. Kistler came to Alsace the Lutheran congregation had been without a pastor for some time, services were conducted only once a month, and the prospects were so discouraging that a number of the members united with neighboring churches. With Rev. Kistler came new life. The congregation, although 160 years old, at once began to grow rapidly. The advisability of separating from the Reformed congregation, worshiping on alternate Sundays in the old building, soon became evident to him. The sentiment on both sides seemed almost unanimous against separation. With no one willing to help take a prominent part in the movement, Rev. Mr. Kistler started it single-handed. With such courage and fairness did he handle the matter that many firm supporters were soon won, and in three years the separation was effected. That it was peaceable and heartily received on both sides, is proved by the twin churches now standing on Alsace hill, costing nearly $100,000.

Under the Rev. Mr. Kistler's pastorate of eleven years 700 members have been added to the Alsace Lutheran congregation now numbering 826 communicants; the evening services have been introduced, so that there are two services on every Lord's Day, or eight times as many services, as there were when he came and all of them more than twice as well attended; the liturgy has been introduced at all the services; the Sunday-school has quadrupled its membership; a very active Mite Society and a Luther League have been organized; and the activity and income of the congregation have increased fully tenfold. Rev. Mr. Kistler preaches English and German with equal fluency. For the last two years he has served as secretary and treasurer of the Reading Conference of the Lutheran Ministerium of Pennsylvania. He has for many years been chairman and historian of the large Kistler family reunions held annually in Lehigh county. He supplied the pulpit of Friedens church, Bernville, 1901-02, and was pastor of the Blandon Lutheran congregation, 1903-08. He had a number of offers which would have made his work easier and more lucrative, but he prefers to remain where his work will count most. He resides at No. 344 North Ninth street, Reading.

On Aug. 23, 1899, the Rev. Mr. Kistler was united in marriage with Effie Fisher, daughter of the late Henry D. Fisher, and his wife Elizabeth (Rothenberger) Fisher.


p. 453


Dr. Elias Carey Kitchin, of Amity township, one of the most distinguished and best known citizens of Berks county, was born in Solebury, Bucks Co., Pa., Nov. 27, 1827, son of William and Ellenor (Carey) Kitchin, and grandson of William Kitchin, and died at this home in Brumbieldsville, March 13, 1909.

William Kitchin, the grandfather, was a farmer in Bucks county. He was a man of much learning, devoted to scientific pursuits, and he was prominent among the old orthodox Quakers. His wife was Ann Paxson, a member of an old Quaker family.

William Kitchin, the doctor's father, was born in Solebury township, Bucks county, Feb. 12, 1789, and died Oct. 16, 1873; he was buried at Solebury Quaker meetinghouse. Like his father he was a strict orthodox Quaker. For seventeen years he was president of the Bucks County Fire Insurance Company. In 1812 he married Ellenor Carey (1794-1877), daughter of Elias and Hannah Carey, and eight children were born of this union; Elias (died small), John, Ann, Thomas, William (a retired merchant of Bucks county), Dr. Elias C., Paxson (of Northampton county) and Samuel (deceased).

Elias C. Kitchin gave evidence of an unusually brilliant mind as a very small child, being to read before he was three years old. His father was superintendent for the contractor making the Delaware division of the Pennsylvania canal that was finished in 1830, and the Doctor is still able to sing songs he heard the workmen sing there. In 1833 he was sent to a Quaker school, where he spelled in a class with girls fifteen and sixteen years old. In 1844 he went to work on the Bucks County Intelligencer, published at Doylestown, but this work proved too hard for him, and it was four years before he recovered his health. During these years of ill health he became interested in medicine, and Dr. Livezey, a graduate of Princeton, who afterward became a professor in the Female Medical College, Philadelphia, took him in charge and in 1850 he graduated in medicine. In January, 1851, he located in Berks county, and entered upon the practice of his profession at Yellow House. In 1857 he erected there his late home, one of the most beautiful places in that part of the country. Here he was living, caring for a large number of patients, being friend and adviser to almost everybody in his township, active in public affairs-altogether a very busy and useful man-when the Civil war broke out.

Dr. Kitchin was a stanch Protectionist, and when he moved to Berks county, he warned that to be popular there he would be obliged to become a Democrat, but he was true to his principles, and for eighteen months he presided over the Know-Nothing Council, during his administration greatly changing the political complexion of his township by one hundred votes. He was a Republican committee of twenty for the first Republican convention at Reading, and was the last survivor of the twenty men who signed. Of the seventy-two soldiers furnished by Amity township for the Civil War, sixty-five were Republicans.

At the outbreak of the Civil war, Dr. Kitchin did not enlist, thinking it his duty to care for his patients, but when he learned the Confederates were marching into Pennsylvania he started for Harrisburg with his rifle. There he chanced to meet Surgeon-General King who made him assistant surgeon, and he was assigned to the 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry, remaining with that regiment until its term of service had expired. He was then ordered to Reading to recruit, and after much difficulty succeeded in recruiting Company H, 21st P. V. C. They proceeded to Washington, where they were dismounted, and they saw hard service as infantry. They participated in the following engagements: Bethesda Church (when sixty men, killed and wounded, were lost in fifteen minutes), Petersburg, Jerusalem Plank Road, Peeble's Farm, Stony Creek, Boydton Plank road. In the last named battle Assistant Surgeon Kitchin so distinguished himself for his active service in caring for the wounded on the firing line, being the only surgeon that remained with Surgeon Le Moyn, that he was recommended for promotion, and was made surgeon of the 155th P. V. I., with which regiment he served until the close of the war, taking part in the fights at Hatcher's Run, Five Forks and Appomattox. At Appomattox he dressed the wounds of the last soldier injured in Lee's army, and gave a Confederate who made himself known as a Mason $50 to enable him to get home, to Shelbyville. Dr. Kitchin was mustered into service Feb. 21, 1864, promoted from assistant surgeon to surgeon Jan. 30, 1864, and was mustered out June 2, 1865. He proved himself an able and fearless soldier, cheerfully and effectively doing his duty in whatever capacity he was ordered. When the war was over he returned to his home and resumed his professional work.

In 1856 Dr. Kitchin married Ellen Filbert, daughter of Samuel and Charlotte (Kline) Filbert, the former for some years proprietor of "Yellow House". Mrs. Kitchin died Oct. 23, 1900, aged sixty-six years, ten days. Two children were born of this union: William F. and Charlotte. The Doctor was prominent socially, belonging to McLean Post, No. 16, G. A. R., Reading; to the F. & A. M.; to Phoenixville Commandery, K. T., of which he was the last surviving charter member; to the Knights of the Red Cross, and the Knights of Malta.

One of the Doctor's lasts requests was that the address at his funeral be made by Judge H. Willis Bland, of Reading; that members of the Masonic Lodge act as his pall bearers, and that comrades of the G. A. R. conduct the services at the grave. This was done, and a large number of friends came to pay their last respects to one whom they knew so well.

Last Modified Sunday, 19-Dec-2010 08:52:06 EST

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