Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 723


Joseph G. Klapp (deceased), for a number of years connected with the hardware interests of Reading, was born in that city Dec. 30, 1845, son of Daniel and Eliza (Ganand) Klapp.

Mr. Klapp received as good an education as the Reading schools offered, and then when nearing manhood commenced his work in the world by taking a place in a grocery. A few years later he accepted a position with the Bard Hardware Company, and remained with them some years before he left them for Stichter's Hardware Company. He had worked there sixteen years and was filling the responsible position of superintendent at the time of his death. He had in an eminent degree the force and executive ability needed for such a position, and enjoyed the entire confidence of his employers. He died March 27, 1893. His death was not only an irreparable loss to the family, but a blow to the entire community, for Mr. Klapp was gifted with the rare power to win and to keep friends.

Twice married, the first wife of Mr. Klapp was Miss Sallie Young, by whom he had the following children: Emma m. to William Kline; Daniel Y., of Reading; Katie, deceased, m. to William Miller; and Abraham I., of Reading. The second Mrs. Klapp, who survives her husband, was Miss Elizabeth Brown. She became the mother of three children, namely: Mary A., a graduate of the Girl's high school of Reading and now a teacher in the city grammar schools; Anna E.; and Florence. Mrs. Klapp is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, while her late husband belonged to the First Reformed Church of Reading. In politics Mr. Klapp was a Democrat.


p. 820


William S. Klee (Clay), who is now living retired from active work in Womelsdorf, is a great-great-grandson of Johan Nicholas Klee, who emigrated to America on the ship "Glasgow," Walter Stirling, master, sailing from Rotterdam. This vessel qualified at Philadelphia Sept. 9, 1738. Johan Nicholas Klee was then thirty years of age and unmarried. In 1759 when the first federal tax was collected in Bern township, Berks county, he was a taxable there. In his will, which is on record in the Berks county court-house, probated in 1763, there is evidence that he had several children, as he equitably divided his estate "among his children." Unfortunately he does not mention them by name.

William Klee, grandfather of William S., was born in Bern township, Berks county. He married a Noecker, and among their children were: (1) William. (2) John, of Lebanon county, Pa., had a daughter Emma (m. Joe Yarty). (3) Michael, of Middletown, Pa., had children - John, Kate, Mary and Lydia. (4) Lydia m. David Merky. (5) Maricha married and lived at Hanover, Pennsylvania.

William Klee, son of William and father of William S., was born in western Berks county July 21, 1809, and died Sept. 5, 1875, and was buried at Womelsdorf. He was a carpet and flax weaver, and also tended the locks on the old Union Canal at the Tulpehocken Church from 1828 until 1857. He then moved away, but when the canal was again put in operation he returned and remained until 1865, when he went to North Heidelberg, and located permanently. He owned a tract of some twenty acres of land. He married Catharine Schaeffer, born in 1807, who died at the age of forty years. They became the parents of nine children, of whom six died when under thirteen years old. The three reaching maturity were: John m. Eliza Machmer, and had children - Alfred, Rebecca, Edwin, Sallie, Wilson and John; William S.; and Adam m. Mary Reedy, and had children - Amelia, Calvin and Naomi.

William S. Klee was born in Tulpehocken (now Jefferson) township, Berks county, Oct. 18, 1832. He attended the pay school at Klopps, and left when twenty years old. He learned the shoe making trade in 1854 under his uncle Daniel Stoudt, whose place he took as a shoe maker in the North Heidelberg vicinity. He followed this trade until 1874. He then farmed a tract of twenty-two acres for ten years. In 1884 he retired and moved into a residence built by his uncle, Daniel Stoudt, in 1860, in Womelsdorf, and this has since been his home. He owns another place in North Heidelberg township, consisting of sixty-seven acres. In politics Mr. Klee is a Democrat, and he was a school director for three years in North Heidelberg, and since he has lived in Womelsdorf, he has served one term in the town council. He and his family belong to the Reformed congregation at Zion's Union Church. He was a deacon and elder in the church for some years, and since 1887 has been the treasurer. Mr. Klee is a delightful entertainer, taking an intelligent interest in all the affairs of the day, and he has the imprint of honesty in his face. He started life poor, but has through thrift and industry acquired a competence, and he has the respect of all.

In 1864 Mr. Klee married Sarah A. Dundore, born March 11, 1842, daughter of William and Sarah (Ernst) Dundore. To this union has been born one son, Maurice E., born Oct. 13, 1865, who left this locality at the age of eighteen and after traveling all through the south, southwest and west, settled in Minnesota.




Rev. Daniel R. Klein was born Aug. 20, 1837, in Bethel township, son of Daniel and Christina (Reber) Klein, and died Nov. 1, 1899. His boyhood was spent on the old Bethel homestead of the Kleins, and his education was secured in the public schools and the Trappe Seminary in Montgomery county. For eight years Mr. Klein taught school in his native township, during vacation periods following farming to which he later gave his entire attention, continuing in agricultural pursuits until his retirement, and becoming one of the most progressive and successful farmers of his section of the county. Early in life he became a communicant in the Church of the Brethren, the Little Swatara Church being his place of worship throughout his life, and at its close he was laid to rest at Ziegler's Meeting House in Tulpehocken township. He was chosen a leader in his church and ordained to the ministry, to which he gave his attention throughout the balance of his life. He was a liberal contributor to his church, and was loved and respected by all who knew him. He married (first) Miss Elizabeth Frantz, who died in 1870, the mother of these children: Frank F., of Reading, is mentioned below; Dr. W. F., of Lebanon, Pa., a physician and surgeon, m. Caroline Stoyer; Pamela R. m. Morris D. Yeagly, of Lebanon, Pa.; Emma m. Nathan G. Lentz, of Lebanon, county; Mary F. m. Henry Lang, of Bethel township; and two died in infancy. The second marriage of Rev. Mr. Klein was to Rebecca Long, who survives him and resides in Bethel township, and one child was born to this union: James Monroe.

Frank F. Klein, son of the Rev. Daniel R. and Elizabeth (Frantz) Klein, was born Aug. 7, 1858, and was educated in the schools of Bethel and Huntingdon, and in the Keystone State Normal School at Kutztown. He is now a commercial traveler with his residence in Reading. On Dec. 5, 1880, he married Catharine E. Hetrich, of Bernville, and they have children as follows: Minnie Irene, born Nov. 5, 1882, m. March 17, 1902, Solon K. Snyder; Howard F., born Oct. 2, 1885, is an operator; Emily K., born Sept. 22, 1890, is at home. The family all attend St. Mark's Reformed Church, Reading.

James Monroe Klein, who is well known to the residents of Bethel township, Berks county, as an educator, was born April 10, 1873, in that township, only son of the second marriage of the Rev. Daniel R. Klein. He was reared on the farm and received his primary education in the public schools, Juniata College, Huntingdon Co., Pa., and Potts Shorthand College, Williamsport. After graduating from the latter he was employed in Williamsport for some time, and later in Philadelphia. He then entered Tamaqua Business College as instructor in shorthand and typewriting, after which he began teaching in the public schools. He graduated from the Keystone State Normal school at Kutztown with honor, in 1900, and since that time has engaged in teaching in Bethel township. He takes a great interest in educational work, and is one of the most popular and efficient teachers of Berks county.

On Dec. 22, 1900, Mr. Klein married Mrs. Martha Gettel, widow of Daniel R. Gettel, and daughter of John G. and Anna (Bashore) Frantz of Bethel township. They have one child, Paul F., born Feb. 12, 1904. Since 1895 Prof. Klein has been a member of the Church of the Brethren, in which he is very active, being one of the staunch supporters of the Sunday-school, of which he is assistant superintendent.


p. 1667


(I) John Adam Kleinginna, grandfather of Adam L. Kleinginna, of Bern township, Berks county, was a native of Cumru township, moving thence to Bern in middle life. He owned the tract of land now the property of Adam L. Kleinginna, and was a shoemaker as well as farmer. On Feb. 9, 1809, he married Maria Seiler, born June 1, 1788, daughter of Jacob and Barbara Seiler, died March 18, 1876, aged eighty-seven years, nine months, seventeen days. Mr. Kleinginni was born May 3, 1783, and died March 15, 1861, aged seventy-seven years, ten months, twelve days. He and his wife are buried at Epler's Church. They had a family of six children, three sons and three daughters: John; Polly m. George Leininger; Anna m. John Strunk; Sally m. Joseph Kettelman; Daniel lived at Pottsville, Pa., and had a son, John, who was accidentally killed on the railroad; Joseph is mentioned in the next paragraph.

(II) Joseph Kleinginna, son of John Adam, was born in December, 1825, on the original Kleinginna homestead in Cumru township, and moved with his father to Bern township, where he owned a tract of land which is now in the possession of his son, Adam L, comprising twenty-nine acres. He was a successful farmer, a man of intelligence and highly respected, and he served as tax collector in Bern township. He died Nov. 1, 1892, and is buried at Epler's Church. Mr. Kleinginna married Leah Leisey, born Oct. 12, 1832, daughter of Peter Leisey, of Lancaster county, Pa., and she lives at Reading. Ten children were born to them: Adam L.; Sarah (Mrs. D. M. Blatt); Lydia, deceased; Mattie, deceased; Agnes, deceased; Joseph, deceased; Kate; George L.; Mary, deceased; and Lizzie (Mrs. John Fulmer), deceased.

(III) Adam L. Kleinginna, son of Joseph, was born Jan. 12, 1852, in Bern township, on the farm of his paternal grandfather, and was reared to farming. He received his early education in the common schools, and when nineteen years old went to Prof. D. B. Brunner's Academy, at Reading, in 1871 receiving a license to teach. He followed the profession for five terms, the first one in Brecknock township, the other four in Oley township, and for one summer he was engaged at Greshville, Lebanon county, Pa. When twenty-two years old he began life on his own account. After giving up teaching he worked for his father-in-law, Peter Snyder, of Oley township, on the farm and in the mill, as general man, for thirteen and a half years. In 1889 he moved to Spring township, where he cultivated a fifty-acre farm for a year, and then moved to Exeter township, where he resided four years. After his father's death he bought the home place, which he carried on until 1905. He has since given his time to the duties of the office of township assessor, and since 1907 has also served as health officer of Bern and Spring townships, to which position he was appointed. He is a Democrat in political connection.

Mr. Kleinginna was married Feb. 27, 1875, to Mary Snyder, who was born in Oley township in 1854, and died in 1893. She is buried in Oley township, in the private burial ground of the Snyder family. Five children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Adam L. Kleinginna: Alvin S., of Bern township; George S., a resident of Shillington, Cumru township; Annie L., m. Fred Smith, of Reading; Peter S., of Bern township; and Elmer S., a student at the Williams' School, in Delaware county, Pennsylvania.

(III) Peter S. Kleinginna was born April 8, 1882, in Oley township, and received his elementary education in the common schools, later taking a course in Kirst's Commercial School in Reading, where he learned shorthand and typewriting. He was reared to farming, spending his early years in Oley, Spring, Exeter and Bern townships, this county, but since he was ten years old has been a resident of Bern township, whither the family moved in 1892. In the spring of 1905 he began farming and dairying on his own account, feeling that his experience would warrant the venture. For six years previously he had hauled milk for his father, and upon the latter's retirement the son continued the milk route to Reading, at present selling an average of two hundred quarts of milk daily. He owns a tract of thirty-two and a half acres, which he purchased in 1907 from A. U. Hain. He keeps five horses and usually six head of cattle.

On April 8, 1905, Mr. Kleinginna was married to Miss Clara M. Walters, daughter of Joseph W. and Mary A. (Seltzer) Walters, of Tamaqua, Pa., and to them has been born one son, Clarence P. Mr. Kleinginna is a member of the Reformed Church, while Mrs. Kleinginna clings to the faith of the Lutheran denomination.


p. 506


Prof. George L. Kleinginna, M. E., Ph. B., an author of some note, and for some years a well-known and popular educator of Berks county, was born there Dec. 31, 1872, in Bern township, son of Joseph and Leah (Leisy) Kleinginna.

Mr. Kleinginna was reared on his father's farm, on which he lived until twenty-one years of age. He obtained his early education in his native township, and in 1893 entered the Keystone State Normal School at Kutztown, from which he was graduated in 1895. Prior to entering this institution, Prof. Kleinginna had taken a commercial course in the Reading Scientific Academy, under the supervision of the late Hon. D. B.

Brunner. He began teaching school in Bern township when nineteen years of age, and after graduating from the Normal school he was appointed teacher of the Shillington grammar school, in Cumru township, where he continued successfully for six terms. He then purchased the Reading Scientific Academy from Prof. D. B. Brunner, and conducted it very ably for four years, at the end of that time selling out to the Reading Commercial Business College, by whom the Academy is now being conducted. During the school term of 1905-06, Prof. Kleinginna taught the Mohnton grammar school. In 1900 he received the degree of Ph. B. from the University of Michigan. He gave up teaching in the spring of 1908, to become a member of the Saylor Drug Company, at Allentown, Pa., of which he is now vice-president. He organized the Berks County Teachers' Association, incorporated in 1909, and was elected its first president, which office he still holds. He is one of the organizers and original directors of the National Text Book Company, located at Reading. Prof. Kleinginna is an author of some prominence, his "James Snow," written while he was conducting the Reading Academy, meeting with a large scale. While at the same institute he also conducted a monthly pamphlet entitled the "University Chronicle," which met with much success.

In politics Mr. Kleinginna is a Democrat, placing principle before partisanship. He is a leading citizen of his community and has shown himself to be very public spirited; he was one of the original spirits in the movement which ended in the incorporation of Shillington as a borough. He and his family are connected with Grace Lutheran Church, where he has been a member of the Consistory since 1903.

On April 9, 1898, Prof. Kleinginna was married to Annie E. Kauffman, born May 12, 1876, daughter of Samuel and Priscilla (Kauffman) Kauffman, and two children were born to this union: Pearl E., born Nov. 11, 1900, who died Nov. 9, 1902; and Paul R., born March 27, 1903. On March 23, 1909, the Professor and his family moved to No. 243 South Twelfth street, Reading. Both he and his wife have many warm friends.



George S. Kleinginna, of Shillington, Berks county, for some time a teacher in the grammar school at that place, was born Feb. 21, 1877, in Oley township, this county. During his boyhood he attended public school in Oley, Spring, Exeter and Bern townships, later pursuing his studies in the Oley Academy, Brunner's Business College, Shillington Academy and the Keystone State Normal School, from which latter institution he graduated with the class of 1900. Meantime, however, he had commenced teaching, having been licensed in 1894 by Prof. William M. Zechman, and his first experience was at the Hiester school in Bern township, where he began to teach in 1896. He taught school three terms in that township and then entered the Normal, where he remained for one year, after which he was elected to teach primary school at Oakbrook, in Cumru township, being promoted thence to the grammar school at Shillington, where he was elected for his seventh term in 1908; he was elected to teach the second term of public night school at Tenth and Douglass streets, Edwin Ziegler building, Reading. Mr. Kleinginna has continued his studies faithfully, along the lines of his own inclination as well as his special work, and he took a course in the American Correspondence School of Chicago, Ill., in architectural engineering.

Although he was reared upon the farm, Mr. Kleinginna has not followed agricultural pursuits since he began his independent career. The time he has not given to teaching has been spent in business, in which he has been notably successful. For five successive years on Saturdays as extra and during two summer seasons, he was engaged as a clerk in the establishment of Dives, Pomeroy and Stewart, of Reading, and he has been engaged by different firms in the capacity of traveling salesman, in which line he has become very well known. His business experience he has found of great practical value to him in his professional work, as much so as his educational training.

Mr. Kleinginna was married April 11, 1901, to Miss Sallie P. Kauffman, daughter of Samuel and Priscilla (Kauffman) Kauffman, of Tilden township, Berks county, and two children have been born to this union, namely: Grace Mary and John Adam. Mr. Kleinginna owns the comfortable brick home on Philadelphia avenue, Shillington, in which he and his family reside. They are members of the Shillington Reformed Church, in which he has been quite active in several branches of the work, being a teacher in the Bible class, assistant superintendent of the Sunday-school, which office he has filled since 1902, and a member of the choir, in which he has sung since 1902. He is also interested in fraternal orders, being a prominent member of the Order of Independent Americans at Shillington (in which he has passed all the chairs), the Knights of the Maccabees and the Modern Maccabees. In political opinion he is a Democrat, and he is a worker in local party ranks. He has served three years, 1905-08, as assessor of Cumru township, where he is regarded as a most reliable citizen.


p. 475


B. Franklin Kleinginni, a versatile and useful citizen of the borough of Mohnton, Pa., where he is efficiently serving as a councilman, was born Nov. 18, 1858, on the old family homestead in Cumru township, Berks county. The name was originally spelled Kleinginny.

(I) Johannes Kleinginny, great-great-grandfather of B. Franklin, was a native of Switzerland, and came to America on the "Bilander Thistle," George Huston, commander, sailing from Rotterdam. He landed at Philadelphia, and took the oath of allegiance Oct. 28, 1738. In 1759 he owned land in Cumru township, paying four pounds (equal to about $10.64). He died in 1773, and his son Johannes, according to records in the Berks county courthouse, was made executor of the estate.

(II) Johannes Kleinginny, son of Johannes the emigrant, was a farmer in Cumru, where he owned land. He bought three tracts, the first of thirty-nine acres on Feb. 6, 1783, from Elizabeth, widow of Benjamin Lightfoot; the second of twenty-four acres Feb. 3, 1790, from Peter Gower; the third of fifty acres June 23, 1795, from George Breining. On his property is an old cemetery in which, it is believed, he is buried, but the graves are marked with only rough sandstones from which the inscriptions have long since been effaced. Among his children were: John, born July 16, 1776, died Jan. 23, 1860, aged eighty-three years, six months, seven days; Daniel, born May 14, 1778, died unmarried Dec. 4, 1856, aged seventy-eight years, six months, twenty days; John Adam, born May 3, 1783, died March 15, 1861, aged seventy-seven years, ten months, twelve days; and Benjamin, born July 11, 1791, died Oct. 12, 1878, aged eighty-seven years, three months, one day.

(III) John Kleinginni, son of Johannes, born July 16, 1776, followed in the footsteps of his father, and engaged in agricultural pursuits, becoming in time the owner of the homestead. He married Susan Krick, who was born April 26, 1788, daughter of George Krick; she died Sept. 10, 1854, the mother of the following family: Levi, who settled in Exeter township; Benneville, mentioned below; Harriet, m. to George Rollman, of Cumru township; Susanna, m. to John Haas, of Cumru township; and Mary, m. to Elias Warren, of the same township.

(IV) Benneville Kleinginni, son of John, was born Nov. 11, 1819. He early learned the principles of successful farming under the guidance of his father. He devoted his entire life to that calling, and was the owner of the old family home in Cumru, consisting of 164 acres of land. His father had erected most of the buildings, but he himself erected the summer house the year he died. He was an old-time school master, and taught for five years, meeting with no little success as he was an able scholar, and an excellent penman, a high accomplishment in his day. He died March 13, 1875, aged fifty-five years, four months, two days, well-respected and well-known, with many dear friends. He was one of the founders of the Wyomissing cemetery, in which his remains were interred. In politics he was a Republican, and he held various township offices, giving of his time and ability freely for the good of the community. He was earnest and progressive, and he had the unbounded confidence of the people. He married Eliza Ann Glassmyer, who was born Oct. 31, 1834, and who died Oct. 6, 1895, aged sixty years, eleven months, five days. They were the parents of thirteen children, namely: Rosa m. John Coldren; Elmira m. John Reisch; Rebecca m. August Hoschaur; Susanna M. died young; B. Franklin; Henry M., William E. and an infant son all died of scarlet fever close together; Manalvy A. m. August Schweitzer, of Reading; Kate m. George Hain, of Reading; Sallie is mentioned below; James P. m. Maggie Krick; and Walter S. m. Carrie Wolfskill, and resides in Mohnton.

(V) B. Franklin Kleinginni, son of Benneville, was born at the old family home, and there reared, attending the township schools and assisting on the farm. At the age of sixteen he left home to learn the hatter's trade with George Hendel & Son, of Edison. Since March 1, 1879, he has followed this trade during the busy season. He has a remarkable aptitude for the handling of tools and for mechanics in general. As a young man he learned the watch making trade by analyzing an old grandfather's clock which had wooden wheels, and he does a great deal of repairing in the evenings. He is also an able electrician, having learned in company with several of his neighbors in Mohnton, and he has wired a number of buildings, including Zion United Evangelical Church of Mohnton. He can handle a saw and chisel as well as a good carpenter, and he has helped in the erection of a number of houses and factories. His own residence in Mohnton is at the corner of Main and Church streets, and is fitted with all modern improvements, and surrounded by a well-kept lawn and cement pavements.

Mr. Kleinginni is a Republican, and served the district as judge of election. In the spring of 1907 when Mohnton was incorporated into a borough, he was elected a councilman, and is now serving on the Highway committee. He and his family attend the Gouglersville Church.

On April 18, 1885, Mr. Kleinginni was married to Miss Eva Ann Matz, who was born Jan. 13, 1866, daughter of Henry and Amanda (Huyett) Matz, the former a farmer in Cumru, and the latter a daughter of John Huyett. To Mr. and Mrs. Kleinginni were born three children, one son and two daughters, as follows: Mayme m. Edward Rudy, a cigar maker at Mohnton, and they have a daughter, Helen; a son died in infancy; and Carrie May m. Cleveland Hawkins, of Mohnton.

(V) Miss Sallie Kleinginni, daughter of Benneville and sister to B. Franklin, was born in Mohnsville, and is one of the most remarkable women in the world. She was born without hands, and only a stump about eight inches long in lieu of her right arm, and a slightly shorter one for the left. She has no knees, her feet being where the knees should be, and each foot has but three toes. Notwithstanding this misfortune, Miss Kleinginni is far from helpless. She is as capable a housekeeper as can be found, does all sorts of needlework, even to making her own clothes, cares for her garden, with whose flowers she has phenomenal success, plays the organ, carries on an extensive correspondence, and in fact accomplishes more than the majority of women blessed with the usual number of hands and feet. She lives alone in a property inherited from her father, and her cheerful happy disposition has endeared her to many friends. She devotes much time to reading, and is a devout student of the Bible. She is a regular attendant at the United Evangelical Church at Mohnsville. Many of the things she does are done by intuition, and she cannot explain either manner or method except by illustrating. She receives many callers, and all with courtesy. Knowing that her accomplishments are remarkable, she is exceedingly patient with her visitors, and cheerfully shows how she manages the many things she does, and when it comes to that, those who have seen her ask "Is there any thing a woman with two hands could do, that this woman has not done successfully?" So far it is safe to say she has accomplished every thing she has tried, but she regards the killing and dressing of her first chicken as her most difficult feat, although since the first one she has killed several others.

Miss Kleinginni sells some of her needle-work and also photographs of herself, and is in comfortable circumstances. She lives her bright independent life, and finds happiness and contentment in a knowledge of duty done, and she takes great pleasure in her many friends.


p. 941


John C. Kleinschmidt, a well known farmer in Exeter township, Berks county, was born in Reading, Pa., May 13, 1865, son of John George Kleinschmidt. The father was born in the village of Balfanz, Prussia, Germany, Aug. 22, 1809. In 1835 he married, his wife's maiden name being Klemtz, and their union was blessed with four children, Augustus, Frederick, Caroline (wife of George Mayer) and Earnst. The mother of these died in Germany in 1844, and in 1847 he married her sister, Dorethy Henrietta Klemtz. To them were born eight children: Mollie, who married Rev. E. Meister, a minister of Lancaster, Pa.; Wilhelmina, who became the wife of George P. Ganster; Julius; William; Emelia, wife of Jacob Baureithel; Mary, who married Adam Moyer; John C., and George.

Mr. Kleinschmidt with his wife and family emigrated to America, locating in Reading, Pa., June 21, 1862, and there he was engaged as carpenter; for many years he was employed by the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company. His second wife died Jan. 24, 1869, and he died Aug. 5, 1874. Both were buried at Reading.

John C. Keinschmidt attended the parochial schools and also the public schools, and when old enough to go to work found employment among the neighboring farmers. He then learned shoemaking at Oley Line, and this trade he followed for several years. On Sept. 17, 1886, he located at Allentown, Pa., where he carried on the shoemaking business successfully for six years. Failing health caused him to abandon his trade, and he returned to farming at Pleasantville, in Oley township, where he remained two years, at the end of that time going to Yellow House, where he farmed for eight years. His next location was at Stonersville, Exeter township, and after two years there he took possession of Judge Endlich's farm, in Lower Alsace township, where he was for three years. In 1907 he bought the Augustus Schlegel farm of 150 acres in Exeter township, located along the Philadelphia & Reading railroad, between Neversink and Lorane. Mr. Kleinschmidt's success is wholly the result of his own industry and business ability, and he deserves great credit for the position he has attained.

On May 19, 1888, Mr. Kleinschmidt married Amanda E. Fetzer, daughter of Edwin and Mary Fetzer, of Allentown, Pa., and they have had childrenas follows: Katie, George, Claude (deceased), Chester, Howard, Minnie, John, Bertha (deceased), Jacob, Mabel and Walter. In politics Mr. Kleinschmidt is a stanch adherent to Democratic principles, and for five years he gave very efficient service as justice of the peace, of Oley township. He is a member of the Knights of the Golden Eagle. With his wife and family he attends the Faith Lutheran Church, of Mt. Penn, Pa. Both Mr. And Mrs. Kleinschmidt are highly esteemed.


p. 1025


Benneville Klemmer, of No. 604 North Tenth street, one of the best known citizens of the Twelfth ward of Reading, and a retired railroad engineer, was born May 11, 1837, in Washington township, Berks Co., Pa., son of Jacob Klemmer. His ancestors came from Wales and landed a short distance above Philadelphia on the Schuylkill river before William Penn came to Pennsylvania. Later they scattered through Montgomery, Bucks and Berks counties.

The great-grandfather of Benneville Klemmer was a resident of Washington township, Berks county, where he was an early settler and one of the well known men of his locality. For many years he carried on farming and owned a large tract of land. He was a Mennonite in religious belief, and is buried at Bally, Berks county.

Christian Klemmer, grandfather of Benneville, was born in Washington township, and was also a farmer and landowner there. He married Catherine Buck, a French Catholic, of Haycock, Bucks county, whose brother was a quartermaster in the Revolutionary war. Christian Klemmer was first a Mennonite in religious matters, but died in the Catholic faith, aged seventy years, his wife surviving until ninety-six years of age. He was buried at Bally. They had these children: Mrs. Charles Rehr; Sarah m. Reuben Richard; Kate m. David Greth; John B. died in Reading; Joseph died in Washington township; Jacob; George died in Reading; and Samuel died at Norristown.

Jacob Klemmer, father of Benneville, was born in 1804, in Germantown, Pa., and died in August, 1867. Early in life he followed shoe-making for a short time, but subsequently engaged in hauling and draying in Reading, whither he had come in 1844, when the city had a population of but 12,000. Four years prior to his death he retired from active life. He was a member of St. Paul's Catholic Church, and he and his aged mother were buried the same day at the Catholic cemetery, Reading. His children were: Benneville; William; Daniel; Lucy (m. Daniel Siegfried, deceased); Carolina, deceased (m. Peter Rasch); Salinda, deceased (m. John A. Bechtel, deceased); Mary (m. Joseph Bruder, deceased); Katie (m. Lewis Bower, deceased); and four children died young.

Benneville Klemmer came to Reading with his father when seven years old, and attended the public schools of Reading and later a boarding school. He learned to manufacture wool, cotton and silk, and even to this day can prepare the coarse wool from the sheep's back into cloth ready for the tailor. He spent a short time at West Philadelphia finishing his trade, but in 1857 engaged in railroading, starting as a brakeman. He then became a conductor and during the early part of the Civil war, 1861, he was made a fireman, and in 1865 became an engineer. He was employed in the freight service until 1869, when he was promoted and given a passenger train, and remained in that capacity until July, 1902, when he was transferred to the yard at his own request. He was assigned to a shifter, and retired because of the age limit, May 11, 1907. During the many years that Mr. Klemmer was employed in the passenger service he hauled hundreds of thousands of passengers, and has a record of never having met with an accident which resulted in the injury of a passenger. The month of April, 1861, brought about the call for volunteers in the Civil war and Mr. Klemmer enlisted in Company A., 14th Pa. V. I., serving 100 days. For some time thereafter he was engaged in hauling soldiers, ammunition and provisions over the road, and can relate many interesting experiences while thus engaged.

Mr. Klemmer is a member of the Boniface Brotherhood and the Philadelphia & Reading Veterans and the Reading Relief Associations. He is a charter member of St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church of Reading. In politics he is a Democrat, and he was recently a candidate for the common council from the Twelfth ward. For a period of thirty years he was connected with the building associations, being a director of four of these organizations at different times. In 1881 the premium sold up to 95, for loan of $200, and this practice he broke up, and established a plan for the workingman to buy his own home without being closed out by the sheriff. He spends nearly all of his spare time in prospecting for minerals, and since 1866 has made some valuable finds in and around Berks county. For some years he has advocated the boring of artesian wells on the west side of Mount Penn with a view of securing a better supply of water for the city, claiming there is an abundance of it which could be tapped at a small cost. He is a remarkably active man for his age, and takes much pleasure in travel, in 1905 making a trip to the Pacific coast, visiting Los Angeles, Cal., Oregon and Washington States, and, on his way back, Yellowstone Park.

In 1860 Mr. Klemmer married Marietta Bower, daughter of Gideon Bower of District township. She died June 4, 1904, aged sixty-four years, and was buried in the Catholic graveyard. Seventeen children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Klemmer: Clara, deceased (m. John Pfeiffer, deceased); Matilda, deceased (m. Edward W. Boshold); Sarah (m. Jules Lanshe); Lena, deceased (m. Edward Morris); Katie and Rosie, at home; Martha, who is Sister Harlindes, at Danville, Pa.; Ida, who is Sister Piona, at Pittstown, Pa., both belonging to the Order of Christian Charity; Jerome, Francis, John, Anna S., Mary A., Sarah A., William G. and Lucy, all deceased; and Joseph, who resides at home.


p. 1171


Joseph A. Klemmer, who is engaged in the plumbing business at Reading, and is located at No. 424 West Ninth street, is a native of this city, a son of Justus and Sarah A. (Richards) Klemmer, and a grandson of John Klemmer.

John Klemmer was a farmer in Berks county for a number of years and then retired to Reading where he served in the office of tax collector for a time.

Justus Klemmer, father of Joseph A., was born in 1842. His education was secured in the district schools and he learned the plasterer's trade. This, however, he did not follow long as he went into railroad work, and was in the employ of the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company, as an engineer until his death, June 11, 1893, at the age of fifty-one years. His service with that corporation covered a period of thirty-five years, and he was looked upon with trust and esteem by his superiors. He married Sarah A. Richards, daughter of John and Rebecca (Griesemer) Richards, the former was an employe of the Reading Iron Company's mills for many years. He died at the age of sixty-five, and was survived about two years by his widow. The four survivors of the family are: Samuel, of Pottstown; James of Reading; Mrs. Klemmer, and a daughter in Philadelphia. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Justus Klemmer, were as follows: John, who died aged five years; Annie, who died aged seven years; Carrie, aged two years; Henry, who was accidentally killed at the age of twenty-three years; Rebecca, m. to Edward Laimer, of Reading; George, of Reading; Millie, m. to Charles Reily, of Baltimore, Md; Agnes, widow of William Weber; Albert, a clerk in the Home Store, Reading; Samuel, who died aged nine months; Sarah, at home; Joseph A. and Francis, twins; and Gertrude, at home.

Joseph A. Klemmer secured a good, common school education and then learned the plumbing business, remaining with E. S. Summons, for a period of four years. Going then to Philadelphia, he worked for a time at this trade in that city. On June 29, 1901, he made a trip to London, England. His visit there was with the idea of perfecting himself in his business, getting a fair idea of the various methods of work done on both sides of the Atlantic. After a stay in England of five months, he returned and subsequently was employed by a number of the largest firms in his line in Philadelphia and Baltimore. With all this experience at his command, Mr. Klemmer then decided to go into business for himself and in December returned to Reading, and Feb. 14, 1904, he opened up a plumbing shop at No. 927 Buttonwood street, removing to his present well-equipped quarters, in May, 1906.

Politically he is a Democrat. He belongs to the Knights of Columbus. He is a valued member of St. Paul's Catholic Church.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:54:55 EDT

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