Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 716


Mahlon Kline, of Reading, residing in the Rolling Mill mansion on the Kutzman road, has for many years been prominently identified with the business and public interests of this city. Mr. Kline was born June 10, 1836, in Reading, son of John R. and Caroline (Homan) Kline.

John R. Kline, father of Mahlon, was born Jan. 17, 1809, in Exeter township, Berks county, and died Dec. 14, 1870. For a number of years he was a boat builder in Reading, and the foreman of a large number of men, but in his years carried on a successful grocery business at Seventh and Bingaman streets. He also engaged in the manufacture of bricks on North Ninth street and also where Rick's foundry is now located, and furnished the brick for the building of the Reading Cotton Mills. Mr. Kline was a member of the First Reformed Church, and is buried in the Charles Evans cemetery. He was twice married, his first wife being Caroline Homan, by whom he had two children: Mahlon and Amos, the latter of whom died when four months old. His second marriage was to Hester Lutz, and by this union had one son, William, a cabinet maker of Reading, who has two sons, William and Harry, both of whom are successful business men of Reading.

Mahlon Kline attended the public schools of his native city, Captain Bachelor's military school and the city night school, afterward learning draughting under Lewis Kirk. He served his apprenticeship under James Noble & Sons, now of Alabama. During the fifties, James Noble & Sons removed to Rome, Ga., where they built the first locomotive for the State Road, south of the Mason and Dixon line. This engine was on exhibition at the Atlanta, Ga., Fair, where J. Glancy Jones delivered the address for the occasion. Mr. Kline learned the general machine business from James Noble & Sons, and was in that firm's employ for six years, three of which he spent in the South. During the Civil war Mr. Kline was employed at the Scott works in Reading, working on army and navy guns, shot and shell, this work all being done for the Government. He was in the service of the Reading Iron Company long before the establishment of the present company, which was sold by the sheriff many times. Since the Centennial this company has been under the direction of F. C. Smink, the present president, who has kept the enterprise on a paying basis. Mr. Kline's principal work all of his life has been that of a machinist, and for fifteen years he was in charge of the old forge, a part of the Reading Iron Company. He has lived retired since 1901, and lives in the Rolling Mill mansion of the Reading Iron Company, on the Kutztown road, still in the city limits.

Mr. Kline has been a life-long Democrat, and on October 11, 1870, he was elected a select councilman from the Ninth ward, an office in which he served for six years. He has been very influential in public matters, and has held various offices. He is a member of the First Reformed Church of Reading, and has a certificate stating that he was a member of the First German Reformed Sunday- School of the borough of Reading, signed by his Sunday-school teacher, J. Ermentraut and the Sunday- school superintendent, C. Steiner. This was presented to him when he was but eight years old, and he prizes it very highly. Mr. Kline was a deacon of the church.

In 1858, Mahlon Kline married Emma Kunsman, born Aug. 23, 1841, daughter of Jacob and Rosa (Homan) Kunsman, and to this union were born nine children, of whom seven survive, as follows: Carrie, m. to Frank Mayer, of Temple, Pa.; John, a skilled machinist of Philadelphia; Martha, who is single and lives at home, making life pleasant for her parents; Annie, m. top Samuel J. Geissler, of Reading; Emma, m. to Ralph Katterman, a resident of Birdsboro, Pa.; Daniel, who lives in Reading; and Howard, a machinist, who resides at Alliance, Ohio.


p. 776


Mahlon Nunnemacher Kline, president and general manager of the Smith, Kline & French Company, who conduct the largest wholesale drug establishment in Philadelphia, and one of the largest in the United States, was born Feb. 6, 1846, near Hamburg, in Windsor township, Berks Co., Pa., son of John and Mary (Nunnemacher) Kline.

Hans (Johannes) Klein, the great-great-grandfather of Mahlon N., a farmer of near Centreport, died in 1795. He was twice married, and by his first union had four sons, John, Werner, Nicholas and Jacob; by his second wife, Catherine, he had eight children: Philip; Conrad; Peter; Catherine, who married Henry Lutz; Barbara, who married John Koch; Elizabeth, who married John Tobias; Mary, who married Christian Haak or Haag, brother of Philip's wife; and Margaret Elizabeth, who married John Losz. These eight children are named in the last will of the second wife, which was probated in 1801. All twelve children are named in Hans Klein's will, probated in 1795.

Of the foregoing family, Philip Klein, who was also a farmer of the vicinity of Centreport, was the great-grandfather of Mahlon N. He died in 1837, aged sixty-five years. By his marriage with Magdalena Haag he had five children: John; Joseph, who married a Stetzler; Jacob, who married a Roth; Charles; and Rebecca, who married Matthias Hettinger. The mother of these children died in 1856, at the age of eighty-two years.

The grandfather of Mahlon N. Kline, who like his father and grandfather was engaged in farming near Centreport, died in 1835, aged thirty-eight years. He was married to Catherine Faust, and by her had six children: John; William, who removed to Milton, Pa.; Benjamin, who removed to near Pottsville, Pa.; Mary, who married Jacob Renninger; Esther, who married John G. Hollenbach; and Catherine, who married Simon Hoffman.

John Kline, father of Mahlon N. Kline, was a farmer of Upper Bern (now Tilden) township, where he carried on agricultural pursuits until his decease, in 1889, at the age of sixty-nine years. He took an active interest in the United Brethren Church situated several miles west of his residence. John Kline married Mary Nunnemacher, daughter of John Nunnemacher, of the same township, and she died in 1897, aged seventy-three years, the mother of one son, Mahlon N.

Mahlon Nunnemacher Kline removed with his parents, while still an infant, to Upper Bern (now Tilden) township, near Berne Station, on the Philadelphia & Reading railroad. He received his education in the public schools of that vicinity and for two years attended a private school at Reading. When fourteen years old he was sent to Philadelphia to attend public school there for a course of higher education, but he continued his studies there for only six months, when he returned home, and though but fifteen years of age he made application for a position as teacher. He passed an examination successfully, and was given a school several miles north of Reading, now Hyde Park, where he taught for one term. With this preparation he directed his attention to store-keeping, and, finding a place in a country store at Hamburg, a few miles from home, he applied himself assiduously to that work for two years. He then went to the Eastman Business College at Poughkeepsie, and after graduating from this institution secured a position as bookkeeper with the wholesale drug firm of Smith & Shoemaker, at No. 243 North Third street, Philadelphia. This was in February, 1865, and in three years, so highly were his integrity and devotion to business appreciated, he was admitted a member of the firm. Mr. Shoemaker retired from the firm in 1869, and the name was changed to Smith, Kline & Co. The business stand was at the same place until 1887, when larger and more convenient quarters became necessary, and it was removed to Nos. 429-431 Arch street. A year afterward the firm was incorporated. In 1891, the wholesale business of French, Richards & Co., being closed out, Harry B. French joined the corporation, the name of which was changed to the Smith, Kline & French Company, and as such it has continued to the present time. The plant has been much enlarged and the volume of business developed until it ranks third in its line of trade in the United States. They now occupy the premises at Nos. 429-435 Arch street, with laboratory and mill at Canal and Popular streets. Picture of Mahlon KlineMr. Kline has been the general manager of the corporation since its formation and its president since 1903, which evidences his prominence in the successful management of the enterprise.

Mr. Kline has been publicly identified with the business, political, social and religious affairs of Philadelphia for many years. He took an active part in the establishment of the Bourse and was elected a director in 1900. The Drug Exchange was organized in 1861, and he became a director in 1882, vice-president in 1883, and president in 1884. The National Wholesale Druggists' Association was organized in 1882, and Mr. Kline cooperated with other wholesale drug merchants in establishing it as a body to take the place of the Western Wholesale Druggists' Association; and since that time he has been attending all of its annual meetings, excepting in 1895, when he was traveling in Europe. Notwithstanding his busy life he took time to unite with other prominent citizens of Philadelphia in their efforts to reform local politics and improve the municipal government, and his activities in this behalf naturally led to his selection as a member of the executive committee of the Lincoln party, and as treasurer of the State committee in 1905. In the stirring campaign of 1906 he made numerous speeches in different sections of the State, advocating the election of the candidates on the Lincoln party ticket, and thereby demonstrating in a public manner his earnest devotion to the cause of political reform. Mr. Kline has been a member of the Union League since 1896; he is also a member of the Manheim Cricket Club and of the Philadelphia Cricket Club. Following the religious inclinations of his parents, he has been a devoted member of the Church of the Saviour (Protestant Episcopal, at Thirty-eighth and Chestnut streets), and has served the Sunday-school as its superintendent since 1896. He has also officiated as a director of the Franklin Reformatory Home at No. 915 Locust street for upward of ten years. For three months in 1895 he traveled extensively on the continent of Europe, and in 1897 he visited all the important places of England, Scotland and Ireland.

In 1874, Mr. Kline was married to Isadore E. Unger, of Allentown, daughter of Leopold Paul and Hettie (Hart) Unger, and by this union he has three children: Isadore C. who married Harry S. Valentine, treasurer of the drug corporation named; Leah Elizabeth, who married T. Carrick Jordan; and Clarence Mahlon, who is one of the directors of the Smith, Kline & French Company.


p. 1107


Morgan W. Kline, who was for some years engaged at the machinist's business, at Reading, Pa., and later at painting and wall papering, is the son of Alexander S. Kline, a native of Berks country. br    Alexander S. Kline was educated in the subscription schools of the county, and when a young man was employed on the Schuylkill Canal, later engaging in the distilling of liquors, a business which he carried on for several years, and then disposing of this industry, removed to Pottsville, where he carried on a successful produce business for several years, an occupation which he followed in Reading, to which city he later removed. He was still carrying on this business in Reading at the time of his death in 1888. He was a very prominent man, and was held in high esteem in the city. Mr. Kline married Lovina DeWald, a native of Berks county, and a member of an old established family of this section. They had three children, namely: Henry and Lewis (deceased), and Morgan W.

Morgan W. Kline received his education in the common schools of Berks county, and also attended the schools of Pottsville, and while a young man worked at the machinist's trade, later learning the house painting business, as well as paper hanging, which he followed for some years. In 1869 he married Esther Fernsler, daughter of Frederick Fernsler, and six children were born to this union, namely: Frederick, who is employed by Curtis, Jones & Co., shoe manufacturers, as shipping clerk; Alexander, a barber of Reading; Sophia, at home; Wayne and Harriet, at school; and Morris, who died at the age of one and one-half years. In religious belief the family are members of the Evangelical Church.

Frederick Fernsler was born in Schuylkill Co., Pa., and early in life learned the cabinet maker's trade, which he followed until 1850, in which year he engaged in the hardware business at Pottsville. This occupation he carried on until the close of the Civil war, when he retired, and died in 1878, aged fifty-eight years. He married Harriet O'Neill, also a native of Schuylkill county, and they became the parents of six children: Hannah, m. to Augustus Doerflinger; Henry, m. to Catherine Schoener; Esther, m. to Morgan W. Kline; Frederick, who died in infancy; Frank, and Anna. Mrs. Fernsler died in June, 1905, at the age of eighty-five years. The family were members of the Evangelical Church.


p. 1201


Morris H. Kline, one of the leading citizens of Earl township, Berks county, where he is a large property owner, was born in Exeter township, this county, July 19, 1855, son of Cyrus H. and Phoebe (Hoffman) Kline.

Jacob Kline, grandfather of Morris H., was a native of Amity township, Berks county, and there he died on his farm. For some years he lived in Exeter township, on a farm near the Amity township line, the farm being now the property of Alfred Dietrich. He then returned to Amity township, and was engaged in the cultivation of his sixty-acre farm at the time of his death. In 1790, the first Federal census report shows him a resident of Amity township, and the head of a family of twelve persons, as follows: himself, wife, four sons above sixteen years of age, three sons under sixteen and three daughters. His wife was a Holloway, and among their children were: George, who settled in the West; Daniel, who lived at Coplay, Lehigh Co., Pa.; Cyrus H.; Rufus, a machinist at Pottstown; and Jacob, a cooper of Amity township, who married Elizabeth Rhoads (daughter of Abraham), and had children -James, Frank, Albert, Charles and Ada (m. Samuel Shurr, of Monocacy Station).

Cyrus H. Kline was born in Amity township Jan. 22, 1822, and died at the Spring Forge Jan. 23, 1875. He was a wheelwright and blacksmith and is said to have been one of the best all round mechanics of his day. He owned a small tract at Weavertown, where he lived about fifteen years before the Civil war. He learned his trade with Peter Turner. In religious faith, both he and his wife, Phoebe Hoffman, were Lutherans. She was born Nov. 22, 1822, and died Feb. 15, 1905. They were the parents of seven children: Horace 1848-1851; Sarah 1852-1861; Mary 1853-1862; Morris H.; Cyrus, of Pottstown; Jacob who works for his brother Morris H.; and Annie, deceased wife of Clemson Rhoads.

Morris H. Kline obtained a limited education in the township schools in Amity and Earl townships. He learned the wheelwright's trade from his father when quite young, and this he followed until his father died. In 1875 he began for himself at the old Spring Forge in Earl township, where he now lives. He is still engaged in this business and now employs two men. He has made many new wagons in his time - making the entire wagon right out of the logs. His wagons gave good service, and many of them are still in use in the lower end of the county. Up to 1883 he had rented the Spring Forge, from Matthias Mengel, but that year he bought it. In 1884 he suffered from a disastrous fire, but undismayed he started out again, and by thrift and honesty has built up a larger and more extensive business. He built a new building, and has a planer, and all kinds of modern machinery in his planing mill. He owns and operates Kline's sawmill at the same place, and saws more lumber than any one else in this section. In his property there are fifty-four acres mostly of wood and waste land. From about 1810 this was the Shenkel Bertolet property, and after his day it became the property of the Mengels. The Spring Forge was operated by Shenkel Bertolet first, then by Jacob Snell and Marks Darrah. The forge was operated up to 1865, and stood where Mr. Kline has his wheelwright shop. The charcoal house was built in 1810 by the Bertolets, and there Mr. Kline has his chicken house. The stone dwelling was built before 1810. The old sawmill, built in 1835, by Levi Smith, is still standing but no longer operated. The old house near the sawmill was built in 1835, and was used for making the old horse-powers and the crude threshing devices of early days. Mr. Kline owns different tracts of hill land, a total of about 130 acres. He bought the old Cyrus Davidheiser tract of six acres, May 1, 1909, and this he is improving greatly.

Mr. Kline is one of the most substantial men of the township, and has made extensive investments in first mortgages and bank stock. In politics he is a Democrat, and for six years served as auditor of Earl township, and has been delegate to several county conventions. He is a member of the Knights of the Golden Eagle at Athol. He and his family are Lutheran members of Amityville Church, and he has been deacon, and is now elder, an office he has held some years.

On Oct. 28, 1876, Mr. Kline married Mary A. Moyer, daughter of Abraham Moyer, of Hereford, where he has kept the tollgate at Clayton. Mr. Moyer was a Mennonite.


p. 1452


Samuel B. Kline, of Maiden-creek township, who is engaged in quarrying and lime-burning near Calcium, was born at the old Kline homestead in Richmond township, Dec. 28, 1853, son of John K. and Catherine (Burkert) Kline.

William Kline, grandfather of Samuel B., was a farmer of Richmond township, where he died at an advanced age. He and his wife Elizabeth had these children: Peter, Henry, John K., David, William, and Eliza, who went out West. John K. Kline was born on the old homestead in Richmond township, and was a farmer practically all of his life. He served during the Civil War as a soldier in the Union army, and during the latter years of his life drew a pension for his services. John K. Kline was married to Catherine Burkert, widow of Samuel Burkert, and to this union there were born the following children: James m. Catherine Rothermel, who is now deceased; Adam m. Annie Schaerer; Catherine m. the late Willoughby Miller; Isaac m. Emma Bush; Samuel B.; Sarah m. Cosmus Weidner; Hannah m. John Weidner; Mary m. Aaron Bloch; and two died in infancy.

Samuel B. Kline was reared and educated in his native locality, and for a time worked on the home farm. He subsequently, however, engaged in the quarrying and lime-burning business, which he is now following with much success, his plant being located in Maiden-creek township, near Calcium.

On March 1, 1884 Mr. Kline was married to Amanda Louisa Adams, daughter of Benneville and Lovina (Gruber) Adams, and one child was born to this union: Bessie Geneva, who is deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Kline attend Blandon Union Church, being of the Lutheran faith.


p. 1673


Simon Kline, a progressive brick manufacturer, is one of the old active citizens of Reading, to whose enterprise is due a full share of that city's high reputation. For nearly fifty years he has devoted himself to his work, and he has met with the success that comes of perseverance and industry wisely joined to integrity. Mr. Kline was born in Alsace township, Berks county, May 14, 1830, son of Henry and Magdalena (Schmehl) Kline.

Henry Kline was also a native of Alsace township, where he passed his entire life. In his youth he learned the trade of weaver, which was his occupation throughout his active years. He attained the advanced age of eighty-one years, and passed away respected by all who had known him. To him and his wife, whose maiden name was Magdalena Schmehl, the following children were born: John; Catherine; Henry; Abraham; Sarah; Daniel; Elizabeth; Mary; Sophia; and Simon. Of these all are deceased, except Simon and Sophia.

Simon Kline received but few advantages in his youth, attending the district school of his native township for a two-months' term each year for four years. As a boy he learned the cooper's trade, which engaged his attention but a short time, and in 1855 he came to Reading, shortly afterward beginning to make brick on Ninth and Elm streets, with Daniel Kline (deceased). Two years later - about 1860 - he moved to Fleetwood, Pa., where he was the first to engage in the manufacture of bricks. During that year the East Pennsylvania Railroad was built, and bricks were sold at five dollars a thousand, while labor averaged seventy-five cents per day. Five years later Mr. Kline returned to Reading, and opened a yard at Ninth and Green streets, subsequently moving to where Front street is now located, on the site of the old Ernst grocery store, and remaining there several years. His next location was on Second and Elm streets, where he used up all the clay in that vicinity, and then moved to Sixth street, near the car shops, and still later to what is known as the East Pennsylvania crossing. He possessed one of the largest plants in the city with an output of about 4,000,000 a year. After three years the plant was moved (1882) to Chester, Pa. Mr. Kline remained in that city but six months, when he returned to Reading, and opened a yard for the manufacture of brick by machinery, at Douglass & McKnight streets. This was the first machine-made brick in Reading, and in spite of all prophesies of failure, success ultimately crowned the venture. Since 1898 the plant has been located in West Reading, where Mr. Kline purchased the Conrad Kaltenbach factory and brick plant. He owns twenty-one acres of clay and stone, which has been found peculiarly adapted to the making of brick. The average output is about 3,000,000, and thirty-two men are employed the year round. Some of the best buildings in Reading are constructed of this brick, which has stood the severest tests known to brick makers. In addition to this industry Mr. Kline is the owner of considerable real estate.

Mr. Kline was united in marriage with Catherine Noll, daughter of Henry Noll, of Ruscombmanor township, this county. Six children have been born to this union, namely: Ezra, employed in his father's brick making plant, married Martha Yeager, now deceased; Mary married Edmund Slegel, of Cumru township; Kate married William N. Fulton, of Reading; Simon S., a brick manufacturer of Perry township, married Ella De Long; George O., employed by his father, married Rosa Lutz; D. Milton is engaged in contracting and building in Reading.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:54:56 EDT

Previous       Home Page       Index       Next
404 - Error: 404


Category not found

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

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

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