Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 1050


Henry Harrison Koch, dealer in coal and feed at Birdsboro, is one of the younger business men of this section, who have made their presence felt in the community, and who have already won a substantial footing among the successful men of the town. Mr. Koch was born in old Union township, Berks county, May 8, 1873, son of Isaac K. and grandson of Isaac Koch.

Isaac Koch, the grandfather, was born and reared in Berks county, and there spent all the years of his life until 1902, when he went to Montgomery county, Pa., and he is now living there at the age of ninety-five years. All his active years were devoted to farming, although he worked at his trade of shoe-making, learned in his youth, in connection with it. He is a member of the Lutheran Church, and in politics is a Democrat. At one time he served as supervisor of Amity township. His wife, Anna Mariah Kern, died at the age of sixty-five years. Their children were: Anna M. m. David Eagle; Jacob; Henry; Catharine m. George Kulp; Isaac K.; Lizzie m. George Updegrove; David; and Malinda m. John Shirey.

Isaac K. Koch was reared in Amity township, and there attended the public schools. He learned the trade of painting and paper hanging, and this he has followed the greater part of his life. He married Sarah Elizabeth Updegrove, daughter of Levi and Sophia (Davidheiser) Updegrove, and they have two children, Henry Harrison and Roy C. Mr. Koch is a member of Neversink Lodge, I. O. O. F., and P. O. S. of A. He is a man of high principles, and his life has been lived along the lines of industry and integrity, and he is eminently respected.

Henry Harrison Koch attended the public schools and secured a good practical education. With his father he learned the trade of paper hanger and painter, and this he followed with success for eleven years. In 1899 he purchased the coal yards, formerly the property of George Brown, and since that time he has found his fully occupied in caring for his rapidly increasing business. He now sells upward of 1,500 tons annually. He is strictly honest and upright in his dealings, is courteous, accommodating and kind-hearted, and is very popular with his associates.

In 1896 Mr. Koch was married to Miss Delilah March, daughter of Isaac F. March, and they have five children, Sarah Elizabeth, Alberta Ruth, Esther Livingood, Isaac March and Henry Matthias. They attend the Lutheran church, of which both Mr. and Mrs. Koch are members. He belongs to Camp No. 417, P. O. S. of A.


p. 1033


J. Clinton D. Koch, the chorister at Bowers, Pa., and one of the leading music teachers of Berks county, was born on the line of Berks and Montgomery counties, May 20, 1858, son of Abraham E. and Elizabeth (Dotterer) Koch, and grandson of Andrew and Mary (Eshbach) Koch.

(I) Andrew Koch was a native of Saxony. He came to lower Berks county when a young man, and there he was married to Mary Eshbach, who was born in Washington township, near Bally. By trade Andrew Koch was a carpet weaver, and followed this occupation all his wife. All of his sons learned the same trade, and nearly all of them worked at it in conjunction with other callings. Andrew Koch and his wife are buried at Bally Mennonite meeting house cemetery. They had the following children: Elijah, of Niantic, Pa., m. Mary Mumbower, and had six children; Eliza married Henry Mack of Fruitville, Montgomery county, and had five children; John, of East Greenville, Montgomery county, m. Sophia Geisinger, and had six children; Henry, of Allentown, m. (first) Sarah Nester, had seven children, (second) a Miss Trout, and had two children; Susan m. Daniel Stoudt, and had seven children; Catharine m. Jacob Huber, of Niantic, and had nine children, all but three now deceased; Fietta m. George Jacob, of Bally, and had six children; Mary Ann m. Samuel Linsenbigler, and had twelve children, all deceased but two; Sarah died at the age of three years; William, of East Greenville, m. Mary Shiery, and had five children; Jeremiah, of Niantic, m. Matilda Latshaw, and had two children; and Abraham E. m. Elizabeth Dotterer, and had ten children, seven yet living.

(II) Abraham E. Koch was born near Niantic, one mile from the Berks county line, and one mile from Bally in Berks county, in 1832, and he died Dec. 2, 1902, aged seventy years. He is buried at Huber church in Montgomery county, of which during life he was a consistent member, and in which he held all the offices. His wife Elizabeth was a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Hauck) Dotterer, of Faulkner Swamp. To Mr. and Mrs. Koch were born ten children: J. Clinton D.; J. Warren; J. Abraham; Anna A. m. F. F. Huber; Leanna m. W. D. Reminger; J. Humphry died young; Lucena m. A. B. Frank; J. Grant died young; Lizzie m. Warren Schanly; and Katie died young. Mrs. Koch was born Oct. 12, 1838, and lives in Pennsburg, Pa., with her daughter Lizzie. During his life Mr. Koch was a farmer, and dying he left a nice legacy for his family.

(III) J. Clinton D. Koch was reared upon the farm until he was seventeen, and he attended the common schools of his locality. At the age of seventeen his musical ability was recognized and he began study under J. L. Leinbach of Gilbertsville, Montgomery county. Later he took instruction in instrumental music under Philadelphia professors, and a special course in vocal music under Prof. J. High Stauffer, of Loganville, Ohio, a celebrated musician and composer, and also under the late W. A. Ogden, of Chicago, also a composer of repute. Mr. Koch continued his musical studies until he was twenty-three, and then moved to the vicinity of Schultzville, Berks county, where he engaged in teaching music. At once the young musician became prominent, for he is a genius and his classes grew to thirty-five pupils. In 1882 he was elected organist of Huff's and Huber's churches. These churches he served for seven years, but in 1889 he was elected organist of St. Stephen's Reformed church of Pottstown, Pa., where he remained for two years. In 1891 he became organist at Bowers, and still fills that position. For two years he was the organist for De Long's Union Church, and two years later was elected organist of Christ Lutheran church at Dryville and St. Peter's church at Topton. DeLong's Union church was destroyed by fire in 1903, and each congregation held its own meetings, but Mr. Koch continued to act as organist for both. He is still actively engaged in teaching music, although his talented daughter Miss Lulu relieves him of much of the work.

On May 20, 1882, Mr. Koch married Emma S. Schell, daughter of Peter D. and Matilda Y. (Schultz) Schell of Schultzville. Two children have been born of this marriage: Elsie S., at home; and Lulu S., a graduate of the Keystone State Normal, class of 1908, of which she was one of the youngest members. She is a public school and music teacher and a young lady of unusual ability, a great help to her father.

The family all belong to the Reformed church and are active in it. During the many years he has been in the profession Mr. Koch has rendered very valuable services not only as organist to the several churches with which he has been connected, but also to his classes, and many of his pupils are now holding positions of importance throughout the country. Mr. Koch is a man to whom music is the very breath of life and he possesses in marked degree the power of transmitting some of his own genius to those studying under him. In addition to his standing as a musician, Mr. Koch has won an enviable position socially through his pleasant manner and extreme courtesy, and he is a great favorite with all who have the honor of his acquaintance.


p. 1232


Johannes Koch, a native of Hessen-Darmstadt, Germany, came to America with a regiment of Hessian soldiers, who fought against the United Colonies during the struggle of the latter for their freedom from British tyranny. These Hessians were imprisoned at Mount Penn, at Reading. After their release, at the close of the war, many of them decided to remain in this country as they could see it was a fair and good one, and among these were Johannes Koch and one Daniel Texter. They married women of Berks county and settled in the South Mountains in Lower Heidelberg township, where they secured land which they improved and cultivated and on which they lived out honest, virtuous lives. Both reared generous families and their descendants reside in Lower Berks County and at Reading, many of them being among the most substantial citizens of their localities. The children of these pioneers married and intermarried and many of them still live in the same community and retain the old plantations.

Johannes Koch was a weaver by trade and this business he taught to all of his five sons. In addition he conducted his small farm, which is now embraced in the property of his great-grandson, Franklin Koch, of Lower Heidelberg township. He was a tall, well-built, raw-boned man, robust and exceedingly strong, and his sons and grandsons inherited his great statue along with his sterling honesty and persevering industry. He was noted for a kindness of heart that also distinguishes his descendants to the present generation. In religious belief he was a Lutheran. His burial took place at the St. Daniel's (Corner) Church. His family consisted of five sons and four daughters. (1) Stophel m. Elizabeth Texter and had no children. (2) Molly, m. a Mr. Auchenbach. (3) John m. Maria Bergman. (4) Jacob m. a Miss Neff, and settled and died in Lancaster county, their children being, Frederick, Lewis, John, Catherine, Matilda and Mary. (5) Maria m. John Getz and they lived at Schoeneck, Lancaster county. (6) Susanna m. Benjamin Weidner and they lived at Ephrata, Lancaster county. (7) Christian, who was born in the South Mountains, Dec. 25, 1803, died there Oct. 7, 1875, in his seventy-second year. (8) Frederick m. Betsy Killian and they lived at Blainsport, rearing two children: Levi; and Betsy, who married Jacob Harding. (9) Elizabeth m. David Intzel and accompanied him to Ohio.

Christian Koch, of the above family, was a weaver by trade and owned a farm of seventy-four acres. Here he built a set of buildings which have since been torn down with the exception of the old log house which is used by his grandson and family as a wash house. Christian Koch was a member of St. Daniel's Church and served as deacon and elder. He was twice married, (first) to Mary Getz, who died July 10, 1838. They had two children: Mary, who married Richard Wenrich, and Catherine, who married Nathaniel Wenrich. He was married (second) to Hannah Hassler, a daughter of Sebastian and a granddaughter of Philip Hassler, of Heidelberg, and to this union were born three sons: Adam and Isaac, twins; and Franklin. Adam lived at Wernersville and Isaac lived at Reading. Franklin Koch was born February 21, 1852, on the homestead in the South Mountains which he now owns and operates. In 1891 he erected the present substantial barn, and in the following year the house. In 1874 he married Malinda Hartline and they had children as follows: Henry, Eva Ann, Aaron, Ellen, Levi and Irwin.

John, second son of Johannes was a charcoal burner and in time was able to purchase a small farm. His entire life from 1795 to 1873, was passed in the South Mountains. He and his wife, Maria, had nine children, Annie, John, Jacob, William, Mary, Elizabeth, Benjamin, Joseph and Peter. John B. Koch, son of John and grandson of Johannes Koch, was born Dec. 14, 1821, in Lower Heidelberg township. With his father he learned the cooper trade and followed this until he was of age, when he was married to Sarah Hassler, daughter of Sebastian and Polly (Beck) Hassler, of South Mountains. They lived at Middle Creek, Lancaster county, for four years, where he was a general laborer, after which he worked at his trade for seven years. For the next sixteen years he engaged in farming in Lancaster county and then purchased land in Lower Heidelberg township and lived on it for several years. He then resumed farming on his father's land in the South Mountains. After the death of his father he purchased the farm near Wernersville now owned by Albert Gehart and on that he lived for ten years and there his first wife died. After remaining a widower for several years he was married a second time and then bought land near Blainsport, in Lancaster county, where they lived for ten years, until the second wife died. Mr. Koch then sold that farm and made his home with his son Samuel. Although Mr. Koch is in the latter eighties he needs neither spectacles nor staff. He is, like his ancestors, tall and well built and remarkably preserved and in his prime could lift a barrel of cider unassisted with ease. He has no children born to his second union, but six were born to his first marriage: Mary m. Andrew Gauner of Lebanon; Samuel; Sebastian, deceased, who was buried at Hokendauqua, Pa.; twin daughters who died young; and Sarah m. Martin Texter.

Samuel Koch, a resident of Lower Heidelberg township, was born Nov. 15, 1848, at Middle Creek, Lancaster county, a son of John, a grandson of John and a great-grandson of Johannes Koch, the ancestor of the family. He was reared on the farm and lived there until he was twenty-five years old, after which he worked in a stone quarry for about twelve years, opening one at Wernersville and another between Manheim and Lititz, in Lancaster county. Mr. Koch is very versatile and if he had been forced to do so could have earned a good living at a half dozen employments. For two years he worked at shoemaking near Wernersville, then employed himself at various kinds of labor for a time and for seven years dealt successfully in cattle, handling from 300 to 400 head a year. In 1903 he took charge of the Hain's grist mill in Lower Heidelberg township, which he conducted until the spring of 1908. During this time he made a speciality of manufacturing two brands of flour which found a ready sale throughout this district and Reading, the Young America and the White Rose. After leaving the mill he retired to his own farm in Heidelberg township.

In 1874 Mr. Koch was married to Catherine Long, a daughter of Jacob Long, of Penn township, and to them have been born the following children: Irwin, m. Mattie Lutz and is a prosperous farmer residing near Albany, Ill.; Henry, residing at Robesonia, m. Kate Bierman; William T., also residing at Robesonia, m. Matilda Greth; Reily, also of Robesonia, m. Gertrude Fox; John L., living at Robesonia, m. Bessie Putt; and Nora and George both reside at home.

With his family, Mr. Koch attends the Hain's Reformed Church. in every relation of life he is respected and esteemed and may be justly considered as a representative of the best type of citizen to be found in Berks county.


p. 1401


John Peter Koch, of Reading, was born in Bechteim, Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, Jan. 13, 1842. He came to America in 1864 and for a number of years resided in New Jersey, but in 1876 moved to Reading, Pa., and has been settled there since that date. He was a baker by trade, but from 1888 to 1902 he was engaged in that line of business, and at the end of that time retired. He was elected, in 1902, a member of the city board of assessors for a one year term, but was re-elected for a term of three years.

Mr. Koch has been twice married. His first wife, to whom he was united in 1870, was Catherine Kuhlman, a native of the same town as himself. After twenty-one years of married life, she died, and in March, 1894, Mr. Koch married again. His second wife was Lillie Findeisen, who died July 21, 1908, aged forty-nine years. Three sons were born of this union, John, William and John (2), all deceased. The children by the first marriage were: George P.; Mary Elizabeth; Annie; and Kate, wife of Lewis Heeter, a hotel proprietor in Reading. John P. Koch is a Democrat in politics, and belongs to the Jackson Democratic Club, of which he was treasurer. He is also connected with the Reading Leiderkranz, of which he was a trustee. His religious affiliation is with St. John's Lutheran Church. He has been an essentially good citizen, and is highly esteemed.

George P. Koch was born in New Egypt, N. J., Aug. 14, 1871, before his parents moved to Reading. He received a good education and was graduated from the Inter-State College, after which he secured a position with the Norwich Electric Railway and worked there eight years. He was appointed to his present position of water inspector Aug. 15, 1898, and has proved himself a most capable official; he is a Democrat in his political affiliations.

Fraternally he is a member of the Knights of the Golden Eagle and in religion he is a member of the Grace Lutheran Church. George P. Koch was married Jan. 13, 1895, to Emma Elizabeth, daughter of Jacob and Emma Gussman, of Boyertown, Berks county, and they are the parents of six children, John Jacob, Howard George, Margaret Marie, Blanche Elizabeth, George Peter, and Daniel. The two oldest boys are in school.


p. 1360


William Koch was a builder and contractor of Reading, belonging to a family long resident in that city, his father, also named William, having likewise been a native of that place.

William Koch, Sr., was born July 2, 1824, and was one of four children, the others being: Daniel, of Reading; Adam, of Elmira, N. Y.; and Mary, who married George Roland. William became a tanner, but after following that occupation for many years, finally went into the mines at Topton, and there was killed May 6, 1862, breaking his neck by falling down a shaft. He was survived by his widow and three children. Mrs. Koch was a Miss Louisa Neider and was the seventh child is a family of fourteen born to Henry and Mary (Dumm) Neider. Of these there are living, only Mrs. Koch, who was born Oct. 27, 1832, and Clara, the youngest. The brothers all died at home except Lafayette, whose death was caused by starvation during the war. William and Louisa Koch were married Oct. 4, 1851, and their three children were: Louisa, Mrs. John Neider, of Reading; Sarah, Mrs. Harry Button, of Reading; and William.

William Koch was born Aug. 10, 1859, and after going to school until he was eleven years old was obliged to begin work, beginning at the rope walk. While still very young he was apprenticed to his uncles, Michael and Simon Neider, to learn the trade of bricklaying, and spent about three years with them. The next seven years he passed as a journeyman, and then was employed as a boss by many of the largest and best known contractors in the city. In 1897 he went into business for himself and in the years following put up a number of fine buildings and made a good reputation for himself by his satisfactory work. Mr. Koch died May 17, 1909, aged forty-nine years, nine months, seven days.

Mr. Koch was married April 7, 1880, to Miss Katie Fick, daughter of Henry and Catharine (Tobias) Fick, of Reading. The children born to their union were: Bessie; William H., who was educated in the high school of Reading, and is now a clerk for the Reading Iron Company; and Carrie, a graduate of the high school, class of 1903, now at home. Mr. Koch was a member of the Lutheran Church, and socially he belonged to the Sons of America. He was a man of much ability, who had made his own way in the world successfully and was much respected by all who knew him.




Samuel H. Kochel, a well-known Berks county hotel keeper, who is conducting the popular "Gibraltar Hotel," at Gibraltar, Pa., was born in Robeson township, April 3, 1861, son of John and Amelia (Harner) Kochel.

Samuel Kochel, grandfather of Samuel H., was a stone mason by trade, and followed that calling in Exeter township, where many stone mansions and Swiss barns testify to his skill and workmanship. He died in 1868, at the age of sixty-eight years. Mr. Kochel was a Lutheran in religious belief, and a Democrat in politics. He married (first) Elizabeth Quinter, by whom he had these children: Samuel, John, Lucetta, Reuben, Joseph, Jeremiah and Solomon. He married (second) Anna Steiger, and to this union were born: Leah, Cordelia, Allison, Caroline and Amanda.

John Kochel was born in Exeter township, but later removed to Robeson township, where he lived for forty-four years, he following the trade of a stone mason all of his life, some of his work being the building of all the abutments for the Wilmington & Northern Railroad. He died in 1902, and his wife in 1901, both in the faith of the Lutheran Church. Twelve children were born to them: Daniel; Margaret m Edward Beard; Elizabeth m. Frank Riley; Mary m William Richards: Isabella m. Joseph Eades; Samuel H.; Emma m. Al Koch; Solomon is deceased; Kate m. Al Potteiger; Ella; John and Susan died young.

Samuel H. Kochel was educated in the schools of Robeson township, and early in life learned the stone mason's trade, which, however, he did not follow for long, his next occupation being that of pipe welder and heater at the Seyfert McManus pipe foundry. Later he went to Pittsburg, in the employ of the Pittsburg Tube Works, and thence to Warren, Ohio, for the Page Tube Company, and subsequently for the Wheeling Tube Company. After six years in Warren, Ohio, Mr. Kochel returned to Berks county ,and engaged in a hotel business at Second and Buttonwood streets, where he continued for three and one-half years. He then leased the Michael Hawk sand quarry, where he remained about seven months, and in the fall of 1897, he purchased the "Gibraltar Hotel" which he is now conducting with much success. Mr. Kochel understands the wants of the traveler, and his hostelry is becoming very popular with the traveling public, who appreciate his clean service, excellent fare and moderate rates.

In 1880 Mr. Kochel married Anna M. Kuhlman, and to them two children have been born; John J. and Anna C. (m. Elmer Clauser, a machinist). In religious belief the family are Lutherans. Mr. Kochel is a member of Reading Lodge, No 549, F. & A. M.; Excelsior Chapter, No. 237, R. A. M.; Reading Commandery, No. 42, K. T.; Rajah Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S.; and Washington Camp, P. O. S. of A. In politics he is a Democrat, but he has never been an office seeker.


p. 1008


Cumru township has for its most substantial citizens many whose ancestors came to the New World from Germany and Switzerland. These have left an ineffaceable mark upon the customs of the people, to say nothing of industries established and continued in the family name to the present time. Among the families early settled here is that bearing the name of Kohl, and prominent in the family may be mentioned Henry B., Nathan S., and Milton S. Kohl, of Cumru township, farmers and truckers.

The earliest of the family to come to this country was (1) Georg Kohl, a native of Baden, Germany, who crossed the Atlantic in the ship "Peggy,: which landed at Philadelphia Oct. 16, 1754. Soon afterward he settled in Cumru township, Berks county, where he owned land that has been divided and sub-divided by his numerous descendants, some of it to this day being held in the family name. In his family of children was a son, Georg.

(II) Georg Kohl, son of the emigrant, was born Jan. 10, 1759, and died Feb. 28, 1824, aged sixty-five years, one month, eighteen days. He built the "Kohl Hotel," now known as the "Angelica Hotel," and was a man of much enterprise. He married Maria Gietha, who was born Aug. 3, 1761: she died Aug. 28, 1832, aged seventy-one years, twenty-five days. There children were: Simon, who built a large stone house in 1845, on the property now owned by Peter Gehman, of Cumru: George; William; Peggy, who married Daniel Fritz; and John, who settled on the present site of St. Louis, Mo., one of the earliest settlers in that section.

(III) George Kohl, son of Georg and grandson of the emigrant ancestor, was born Jan. 10, 1784 and became a prominent citizen of Cumru. He was the well-known proprietor of the "Kohl's Hotel," for many years, besides owning considerable land and a number of dwellings. He became rich and prosperous, and was actively interested in public affairs. He was a member of the Allegheny Union Church across the line from where he lived, in Brecknock township, belonging to the German Reformed congregation. He was a useful man in his community, and he befriended many in need, and was greatly esteemed by all. He married Maria Will (born Aug. 9, 1787, died April 8, 1845, aged fifty-seven years, seven months, twenty-nine days). He died April 1, 1845 aged sixty-one years, two months, twenty-one days. There children were: Joseph (1811-1877) m. Elizabeth Huffert (1817-1897) ; Mary m. John Fritz ; Rebecca m. Samuel Ziegler ; Catherine m. William Strunk; Elias m. Betsey Rathman; Henry, Sr.. m. Elizabeth McCardy; Benjamin (April 19, 1820- Sept. 1, 1888) m. Amelia Glassmeyer; Levi m. Susan Hoffert; Richard m. Sally Keffer; Elizabeth m. Isaac Westley; Reuben m. Susan Schnabel; and Luzenna m. (first) Isaac Becker, deceased, and (second) Henry Freyberg, a millionaire, of Chicago, Illinois.

(IV) Henry Kohl, Sr., son of George, was born on the old homestead May 10, 1815, and died Nov. 16, 1887. His entire life was devoted to agricultural pursuits, and he owned a fertile farm of eighty-nine acres in Cumru. He was very industrious and a man of exemplary habits. He married Elizabeth McCardy (born July 2, 1818, died Aug. 11, 1903, aged eighty-five years, one month, nine days). There children were: Hiram; Joanna married John Hoshaur; Mary died young; Henry B., Jr. ; Samuel ; Katie died young ; Elizabeth m. Philip Messner ; Clara died young ; and Emma (deceased) m. Jacob Gebhart.

(V) Henry B. Kohl, son of Henry, Sr., and one of the highly respected residents of Cumru township, was born on his father's farm Aug. 29, 1848. He early learned the duties pertaining to a farm, and until he was eighteen years of age he attended the township schools and assisted his father. He then learned the carpenter's trade under the guidance of his uncle, Reuben Kohl, and this he followed for twelve years. At the end of that time he turned his attention to farming, and in 1892 he bought his father's farm, and now has 105 acres of rich trucking soil, and is engaged in farming, attending the Reading market. He has erected all the buildings on his property with the exception of the house, which was built by his father in 1858. He has made many improvements, and has been very successful in all his undertakings. In his political principles he is a Republican, and he has been very useful in party work, serving efficiently in any position he is asked to fill. For three years he was roadmaster, and for one year, supervisor. He and his family are Reformed members of the Allegheny Union Church, in which he served as deacon for ten years. He is a member of the Sr. O. U. A. M., Council No. 91, of Angelica.

In 1881 Henry B. Kohl married Mary Ann Steffy, who was born Jan. 5, 1860, daughter of Ephraim and Elizabeth (Gebhart) Steffy. Mrs.. Kohl has a son Harvey Fry (who married Annie Moyer, deceased), and he has always made his home with Mr. Kohl. To Mr. and Mrs. Kohl have been born thirteen children: Edwin A. enlisted Aug. 20, 1899, in Company A, 47th U. S. Vols., served eighteen months in Donsol, southern end of Luzon, P. I., and was mustered out July 2, 1901, at San Francisco, Cal., and is now assisting his father ; Menton E. ; Annie E. ; Henry M. ; Jennie L. ; Cora M. ; William Lebo ; Laura A. ; Mary E. ; Marcus M. ; Katie E. ; Sadie M. ; and Maggie E.

(IV) Reuben Kohl, son of George and brother of Henry, Sr., was born on the original Kohl homestead in 1825. He owned a tract of twenty acres in Cumru , and forty acres across the line in Brecknock township. He was a carpenter, and for many years followed that occupation, erecting many dwellings. Many of the best carpenters in this section gained their training under his watchful eye. The last twelve years of his life were lived retired. He died June 12, 1891. He was a Reformed member of the Allegheny Church, and was very well known. He married Susan Schnabel, and they had six children, as follows: Nathan S., former proprietor of the "Angelica Hotel" ; Nelson S., a farmer in Cumru ; Milton S., a trucker in Cumru ; Wilson S., a farmer on the old homestead ; Mary, who married Samuel Wise ; and Ida, who married Frank Furlow.

(V) Nathan S. Kohl, until April 1, 1908, the popular "mine host" of the "Angelica Hotel," was born on the old Kohl place July 21, 1856, son of Reuben. He attended the local schools for a few days each winter until he was sixteen years old, when he began to learn the carpenter's trade from his father. After following that for eight years, he learned the butcher's trade, and for twenty-five years gave it his attention, having his shop one mile from Angelica. He had two men regularly employed, and killed weekly from five to six beeves. During the winters in addition to the beeves he killed as high as ten hogs a week, besides many calves. He attended the Kissinger market in Reading, and also had teams supplying the country trade. He made a great success of his work, but in 1897 gave it up to engage in trucking on his farm of forty acres near Angelica, and this he continued for six years. In the spring of 1904 he became the proprietor of the "Angelica Hotel." He built up a nice trade, and was popular in the locality, keeping a first-class place, and enjoying the good will of the traveling public. He retired from the hotel April 1, 1908, and in 1909 began farming his own lands in Angelica. He purchased his farm in 1891 from his uncle, Benjamin Kohl. He has put up new buildings, and greatly improved the place, its generally up-to-date appearance bearing witness to his thrift and industry. In politics he is a Republican, and he and his family belong to the Reformed congregation at Allegheny Church. He is a member of the Jr. O. U. A. M., Council No. 91, at Angelica.

On Sept. 25, 1885, Mr. Kohl was married to Sarah Ziemer, who was born in Brecknock township, daughter of William and Catharine (Griffith) Ziemer, the former the proprietor of Knauer"s Hotel foe seventeen years. To this union have been born four children, namely, Emily, born Feb. 13, 1888 ; Salome, born April 20, 1893, died April 29, 1898 ; a daughter that died in infancy ; and C. Stanley, born Oct. 6, 1901.

(V) Nelson S. Kohl, son of Reuben, born June 20, 1857, and now industriously engaged in winning fortune from a fine truck farm of forty-six acres, is one of the substantial and respected citizens of Cumru. He was but twenty-seven years of age when he began for himself, and in 1889 he purchased the farm which he now occupies. Like his family he is a Republican in politics, and he has always been interested in party work, although his own affairs have engrossed too much of his time to permit him to perform the duties attendant upon official position. He and his family are all faithful members of the Mennonite Brethren in Christ Church, in Brecknock township, and of this he has been class leader and steward.

On Jan, 6, 1883, Mr., Kohl married Ellen Remp, born Jan. 7, 1863, daughter of Samuel and Cassie (Spatz) Remp. Five children have come to brighten their home, as follows: Katie (m. Robert Mosser, a school teacher of Cumru) ; Stella, born March 7, 1891 ; Charles, Aug. 29, 1895 ; Paul, Jan. 21, 1903 ; and Mabel, Jan. 5, 1907.

(V) Milton S. Kohl, a well-known trucker and farmer of Cumru, was born in this township, Sept. 28, 1858, son of Reuben Kohl. His education was acquired in the district schools, and in 1883 he began work for himself, hauling ice for the Angelica Ice Company. He continued at this for two years, and then for the following two years was tenant farmer for Henry Kohl. From there he went to the J. R. Blankenbiller truck farm, which he worked for six years, and then spent three years on the Levi Rathman property. After three years on the farm of his father-in- law, he, in the spring of 1899, moved upon the property where he now lives. This he had purchased the preceding year, and he has improved it until he has made of it a most valuable property. He raises splendid crops, and his produce has a well-earned and well-established reputation. In 1906 he built a sand-stone house. In politics Mr. Kohl votes in support of Republican principles. He and his family belong to the reformed congregation at Allegheny Church.

On June 17, 1882, Mr. Kohl married Mary E. Huffert, born Oct. 29, 1863, daughter of Isaac and Elizabeth (Eckemoth) Huffert, the former a farmer who died June 6, 1902, aged ninety-three years, three months, eleven days. To Mr. and Mrs. Kohl have come three children: Howard, born Jan. 20, 1883, m. Lillie Yelk, and has two children, Edward and Miriam ; Susan E., born June 19, 1887, m. Owen O. Bixler, and has two children, Reda and Bessie ; and William, born Aug. 8, 1891.




Henry Kohl, one of the enterprising business men of Reading, who is engaged in the restaurant business at No. 209 North Ninth street, was born in Cumru township, Berks county, in 1865, son of Richard and Sarah (Keffer) Kohl.

Henry Kohl attended the schools of Cumru township, and came to Reading with his father in 1879. He was first employed in the Reading Fire Brick works and was later in the nickel plating department at the Philadelphia & Reading shops. Here he remained for eight years, and then, being eager to enter business on his own account, opened a restaurant, in 1901, at No. 207 North Ninth street, where he was located for a period of nine months. At the end of this time Mr. Kohl located at his present site, No. 201 North Ninth street, and here he has continued to the present time with much success. He has two large dining rooms and a large front room, and his trade includes some of the best in Reading.

Mr. Kohl was married to Miss Katie Arnold, daughter of Anthony and Sarah Arnold, and to this union have been born children as follows: Vincent, who is assisting his father; Arnold, at school; and Anetta. In politics Mr. Kohl is a Democrat, but he has never taken an active part in public affairs, his business claiming all of his attention. He and his wife attend St. Paul's Catholic Church. Mr. Kohl is a member of the Eagle.


p. 1172


A. Charles Kohl, a well known hotel man of Reading, and one of that city's useful and representative citizens, is now the proprietor of "The Grand." located at the northwest corner of Seventh and Franklin streets. Mr. Kohl was born at Reading, June 7, 1865, son of Bernhard and Theresa (Maurer) Kohl.

Anthony Kohl, grandfather of A. Charles, was a vine gardener in Baden, Kappelrodeck Achern, Germany. To him and his wife whose maiden name was Klump, were born five children, namely: Andrew, Magdalena, Caroline, Bernhard and Theresa.

Bernhard Kohl, father of A. Charles, was born in Baden, Germany, Nov. 11, 1835, and when about eighteen years old he came to America, and for a short time located at Philadelphia, where his maternal uncle Klump resided. He soon, however, came to Berks county, Pa., and here the remainder of his life was spent, his death occurring Dec. 18, 1896. He worked upon the farm in Oley township until his marriage in 1859 to Miss Theresa Maurer, daughter of Fortunatus and Anna (Schorr) Maurer natives of Alsace, France, who came to America in 1847 and located in Oley township, below Friedensburg. Mr. and Mrs. Maurer had nine children, of whom four survive, as follows: Theresa, Mrs. Kohl; Fortunatus and John, of Reading; and Maria, the wife of Francis Gross, of Reading. Bernhard Kohl was drafted for three years service during the Civil war, but obtained a substitute, whom he paid $310, although at that time money was very scarce. In the fall of 1863 Mr. Kohl came to Reading, and for several years was employed as a laborer by the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad. He then worked for thirty-five years at Mellvain's rolling mill, where he was known affectionately among the employes as "Papa." On account of his many years of service. He was an intelligent, well-versed man, of a quiet, peaceful disposition, and was a dutiful Catholic and consistent attendant of St. Paul's Church. He and his wife had the following children: Franklin, who died in infancy; Anna, m. to Augustus B. Hassler; Charles F., who died in infancy; A. Charles: John, a printer of Reading; Katherine, who is single; Joseph, a printer of Reading; Edward, who died at Porto Rico, while a soldier in Company E, 4th Reg., Pa. V. I.,; Augustus, who died aged twenty-three years; and Mary, deceased wife of Augustus Betz, of Reading.

A. Charles Kohl was educated in the parochial school of St. Paul's Catholic Church, and started to work for the Reading Hardware Company in the drilling room, where he continued about two years. As a lad he also worked in a rolling mill at Philadelphia, whither his parents had removed in the '70s, and on coming to Reading he clerked behind the bar for his brother-in- law, A. B. Hassler, whose history appears elsewhere in this volume. Mr. Kohl continued with his brother-in-law for nine years, and at the end of that time accepted a position with John Roth on Penn avenue, above Eighth street, the present site of Leitheiser's, where he continued one and one-half years, subsequently entering the employ of E. B. Slichter, on South Sixth street. For two seasons he rented and conducted successfully the retail oyster department, and the following seven years were spent in the employ of G. W. Lehman, at the "American Hotel." with whom Mr. Kohl was associated in business the next five years, the firm being known as Lehman & Kohl. In January, 1899, Mr. Kohl became proprietor of the "East Reading Hotel." which he conducted for four years, and on Feb. 13, 1904, he took charge of "The Grand." which he has since conducted with much success, this being one of the best hotels in Reading.

Fraternally Mr. Kohl is connected with the Knights of St. John No. 271, Uniformed Rank, and is prominently identified with this commandery. He was a subordinate commander, then became president of the Commandery for four years, was then elected first vice to the Grand Commandery, and one year later was elected to the presidency of the Grand Commandery of the Diocese of Philadelphia, his rank now being that of Brigadier General. He also is a member of the Phoenix American Catholic Union. He and his family are active members of St. Paul's Catholic Church.

In 1889, Mr. Kohl was married to Anna Hassler, daughter of Augustus Hassler, and to this union there have been born five children, as follows: Annie, Clara, George, Ruth and Edward.


p. 821


The Kohler family of Berks county was founded here early, the first ancestor in this country settling in Greenwich township, in the vicinity of what is now Kohlers Hill, where he became the owner of between five hundred and six hundred acres of land.

(I) John Kohler, the first of whom we have definite record, was the great-grandfather of David A. Kohler, of Richmond township, and of Dr. Daniel R. Kohler, of Boyertown. He was born March 15, 1769, was a prominent man of his day, and died Jan. 31, 1849, leaving considerable property. His wife, Hannah Rosina Hechler, born April 3, 1772, daughter of John and Maria Hechler, died Nov. 25, 1824.

(II) Adam Kohler, son of John, born Sept. 27, 1797, became a well-to-do and influential farmer, owning and operating 212 acres of excellent land. He was a member of the Grimville Lutheran Church and for many years an elder. Adam Kohler died Aug. 5, 1869. He married Annie Fisher, daughter of Philip Fisher, and to this union were born: Daniel, who died in infancy ; Sarah, who married Isaac Straub ; Adam, who died in 1901 ; John F. ; Eliza, the wife of George Kutz, of Kutztown ; and Samuel D. F.

(III) Samuel D. F. Kohler, who died Aug. 16, 1908, after living retired with his son David A. for a number of years, was born May 4, 1840. By vocation an agriculturist, he was also for a number of years proprietor of the hotel at Crystal Cave. On Jan. 15, 1860, he married Amanda De Long, and to this union were born: Ida married Isaac Miller, of Windsor township, who died April 29, 1898 ; Academus died single, aged twenty-nine years ; David A. is mentioned below ; Rosie, unmarried, resides with her brother David A. at the Cave.

(IV) David A. Kohler, now the owner of the famous Crystal Cave property in the northwestern part of Richmond township, Berks county, was born Aug. 9, 1865, in Greenwich township, and was educated in the schools of Richmond township, whither he had been brought by his parents. At the age of twelve years he commenced to conduct visitors through Crystal Cave, and he has ever since lived on the property. Coming into contact with so many people, he has become well known, and his genial and affable disposition has won him many friends.

Mr. Kohler was married March 29, 1889, to Miss Ellacyda M. L. Merkel, daughter of John and Sally Ann (Blanck) Merkel, prominent farming people of this vicinity, and one child has been born to this union, Mabel Mae.

Crystal Cave, was discovered Nov. 12, 1871, by William Merkel, who was quarrying stone. Gideon Merkel was the owner of the property at that time, and in February, 1872, he leased it to Samuel D. F. Kohler, who purchased it in March of that year for $5000. He expended a considerable amount of money on the property and in building before opening it for the inspection of the public. The Cave has been explored for a distance of over two thousand feet, and since its public opening, has been visited by upward of twenty thousand people. Commissioner of superintendents of public instruction, the inspector of schools and a noted educator of Paris, France, went through the cave with Dr. J. S. Trexler, Col. Thomas D. Fister, Mr. William C. Dietrich and Rev. Dr. A. R. Horne, all of Kutztown, being a commission appointed to examine American curiosities, and made this report: "Niagara Falls and the Crystal Cave are the greatest natural wonders that we have seen in America."

The Society of Natural Sciences of Reading, Pa., sent a committee of learned men composed of Dr. J. Schoenfeld, D. R. S. Turner, H. H. Hollenbush (chemist), Prof. D. B. Brunner and Rev. Dr. A. R. Horne, to examine the cave and report on it. They said in part: "Crystal Cave is filled with very interesting curiosities; the stalactites, stalagmites and crystalline formations present a variety of beauty such as is seldom seen. Persons who visit the cave will be amply repaid." Mr. C. B. Stevens, a noted scientist of Toronto, Canada, said: "David A. Kohler and his father, Samuel, have devoted the best days of their lives in exploring this great yet practically unknown cave, for the benefit of the American public. Money can never repay these men for their labors."

It was not idle curiosity that brought these men to this geological phenomenon, but a desire to see it and to study it at first hand. The problems presented in it are more than those involved in the simple question of solutions. A student of geology may glibly recite the fact that water containing carbon dioxide acts as a solvent on limestone and that this solvency among other conditions depends upon the amount of carbon dioxide present in the water and upon the pressure to which it is subjected, and he may further state that as soon as conditions are present which enable the escape of the carbon dioxide the lime becomes insoluble again and is precipitated in some form of incrustation. A journey to Crystal Cave will throw more light upon this question than pages of theorizing. To be brought face to face with the silent yet potent forces of the past and present is the best way of understanding the problems involved.

The rocks out of which this cavern has been formed belong to the calciferous division of the lower Silurian age. The entrance to the cavern is about eighty feet above a nearby valley, and the soft Utica shales have been entirely removed from the steep hill containing the cave, but are exposed at its base. The limestone rocks here, therefore, are very resistant to the weathering agents. Beautiful specimens of aragonite of a slender stalactitic form are present, and there is an abundance of quartz that has infiltrated between the rocks.

The floor area is approximately two acres in extent and the average height of the roof is in the neighborhood of twelve feet, although the height ranges in the main passage from six to forty feet. The passageway narrows and widens from about two feet to thirty feet.

Evidences of displacements of huge masses of rock material are on every side, but judging from the rate of growth of the aqueous deposits which have oriented themselves with reference to gravity since these displacements the last mass of dislodged material occurred many years ago. Mr. Kohler, who has known this cave in all its details for thirty-eight years and who has noticed all the changes that are likely to occur here with time, positively states that during all these years there has not only been little of no perceptible growth in the incrustations but aside from certain acts of vandalism which despoiled it of some of its original charms the cave to-day is exactly the same as it was when first discovered.

Imagination has seen in the curious forms assumed by the pilasters, the stalactites and the stalagmites a vast variety of resemblances to natural objects, and one of the most legitimate of training the imagination is to rethink these likenesses and to imagine others.

The eagle-rock shows a remarkable likeness to the national bird in the act of preying upon some innocent member of the feathered tribe, and in the throes of death dame nature crystallized both victor and quarry and held them there, an emblem of the gigantic struggle which placed craft and brains to the front. Anticipating by thousands of years the conical form of a plate of ice-cream or as though nature in one of her tyrannical moods visited her wrath upon a race of Titans about to partake of a refreshing dish of orange ice already placed on a spacious table and transmuted the delicacy into stone, the tempting dish, some two feet high, has stood there unmelted all these centuries, waiting the magic spell to unlock the stony molecules and to join the once toothsome cream to the palate. Indeed, it seems as though that tortuous cavern was about to witness a carnival of the giants. The disemboweled intestines of some massive mastodon are still there; the rib-roast partly sliced and ready to be served; the fowl was picked and watermelon sliced and a mammoth fish awaited the repast. But the giant hand of the caterer, like the hand on the wall of old, was stilled; the bulky tooth which was to crush these viands was severed ; and the prairie dogs which were waiting for the bones of this breakfast of the gods are now silent in the gloom. The lily chamber, which fancy pictures as the spare room for the giantesses, and the massive cathedral room, with its three hundred frail stalactites, the idol chamber (these strange beings must have been idolaters), the bridal veil and all the other myriad evidences of revelry, of remorse and of splendor are carved out of those stupendous rocks with a realism which commands the admiration of sculptors. Mother nature, to complete the ghastly scene, has caused the body of the giant chief to be embalmed and placed in a sarcophagus in a spacious crypt, as in the catacombs of ancient story.

A natural curiosity of such magnitude and interest should be visited by every person who has the opportunity of doing so. Mr. D. A. Kohler, the intelligent and obliging proprietor of the cave, has a natural love for the sublime in nature, and he invariably joins with this a desire to satisfy every reasonable wish of his many patrons.

(II) John Kohler, grandfather of Dr. Daniel R. Kohler, of Boyertown, was born about 1804 on one of the Kohler homesteads in Greenwich township, near Klinesville, and was probably a son of (I) John Kohler. He lived in his native township, near Kutzs Mill, and engaged in farming with fair success, owning a tract of 210 acres, which later, in 1856, was divided into two portions, both now owned by his sons. John Kohler died in 1875, and is buried at the Grimville Church. He married Rebecca Leiby, daughter of Jacob Leiby, of near Virginville, and she survived him, dying in the spring of 1887. Their children were as follows: John (deceased) lived near Douglassville, Pa. ; William (deceased) lived on the homestead near Klinesville, on the farm now owned by his son John ; Hannah (deceased) was the wife of John Deisher, of Kutztown ; Daniel L. is mentioned later ; Jacob lives on the homestead in Greenwich township, owning 150 acres, including that part of his fathers farm on which the original set of buildings are located ; Henry (deceased) moved to near Lansing, Mich., where his family still reside.

(III) Daniel L. Kohler was born Feb. 5, 1834, on the farm now owned by John Kohl, (son of his brother William) near Klinesville. He was reared to farming, and followed that occupation throughout his active years, retiring in 1895. He still lives upon his homestead making his home with his son John. Mr. Kohler was a good practical farmer, and owns a tract of 160 acres, which, as previously referred to, was a part of his fathers homestead, divided in 1856. Mr. Kohler is a Democrat in politics, and in religion a member of St. Johns Lutheran Church at Kutztown, of which he was an official for some years. He still serves as a director of Fairview cemetery.

In 1856 Daniel L. Kohler married Sallie Rahn, who was born Oct. 28, 1834, daughter of John Rahn, of Maxatawny township, and died April 30, 1907. She was the mother of eight children, as follows : Hettie married Charles W. Gilder: John is farming on the homestead ; Mary married A. J. DeTurck, a harness-maker, of Oley township : Sarah married Alvin Schaeffer, of Fleetwood ; Dr. Daniel R. is mentioned below ; Lizzie, unmarried, lives in Philadelphia ; Dr. Henry, a successful veterinary surgeon, is located at Trenton, N. J. ; Hannah married Chester DeTurck, of Friedensburg, Berks county, and died in October, 1906, aged thirty-two years.

(IV) Daniel R. Kohler, second son of Daniel L., was born April 19. 1868, in Greenwich township, Berks county, and was reared on the home farm. He gained his early education in the common schools of the township, and at the age of twenty-one entered the Keystone State Normal School, at Kutztown, which he attended for a few sessions. In the meantime he had decided to become a first-class veterinary surgeon and after spending the summer of 1891 with Dr. P. K. Dreibelbis, of Dreibelbis, Pa., he registered as a student at the Ontario Veterinary College, Toronto, Canada, in the fall of that year. In the spring of 1892 he went back to his original preceptor, returning to the college in the autumn, and was graduated from that institution March 25, 1893, winning a silver medal for the best examination papers on "Diseases and Treatment," as well as prizes and honors in nearly all the branches of study he pursued, materia media, anatomy and physiology. For a few months following he practiced in the employ of Dr. J. Rein Keelor, at Harleysville, Montgomery Co., Pa., on Nov. 28, 1893, settling in Boyertown, where he purchased the good-will and paraphernalia of Dr. Allen Keelor. Here he has since been located. As a veterinary surgeon and dentist his skill has won him a large and lucrative practice, and he has every convenience for caring for lame and sick horses, conducting an infirmary of his own. It is equipped through-out with box stalls. His patronage extends over a radius of fifteen miles, and he keeps an automobile to help him cover long journeys in good time. By 1900 Dr. Kohlers work had become so heavy that he took A. H. Schmoyer as a student, and the latter, after attending veterinary school for three winters and graduating, has since continued with him as assistant. Dr. Kohler is a prominent member of the State Veterinary Association, served two terms as treasurer of that body, and in 1906 was elected president, to which office he was re-elected in 1907.

Dr. Kohler is a man respected for his intelligence and high principles, and he has been called into the public service in several capacities. For three years he was a member of the school board, and in the spring of 1906 was elected chief burgess of Boyertown, during his administration of that office rendering valuable service to the town. The terrible theater catastrophe at Boyertown, on Jan. 13, 1908, proved his mettle. Dr. Kohler at once appointed a permanent relief committee of ten men, with Irwin T. Ehst as chairman, and the work they accomplished won such high commendation from the general public and the press of the county that the universal approval of their services was a tribute to Dr. Kohlers judgment as well as to the devotion of the committeemen. He displayed executive ability and character that stamped him as a competent man for the chief executive office of the city. He is a Democrat in political sentiment.

On June 8, 1893, Dr. Kohler married Mary E. Dietrich, daughter of Daniel W. and Sallie (Merkel) Dietrich, of Greenwich township, and they have had three children, namely: Lawrence D., Daniel D. and Helen D. The Doctor and his family are members of the Lutheran Church at Boyertown. They reside in their own home in Boyertown, a comfortable residence at No. 42 West Reading avenue.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:54:58 EDT

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