Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 1111


J. Adam Kolb, who is engaged in tin roofing, spouting, roof painting and heater and range repairing at No. 225 North Ninth street, Reading, Pa., was born Feb. 6, 1855, in that city, son Christian Kolb.

Christian Kolb was born in Menzingen, Baden, Germany, and when thirty years of age came to America, locating for a short time in New York City, whence he came to Reading. For several years he had charge of the tank department at the Philadelphia & Reading shops, and he later engaged in lighter work in the shop, the last two years of his life being spent in retirement. During the Civil war Mr. Kolb enlisted in the Union army, but on account of his advanced age was never called upon to serve. He died Nov. 5, 1900, Mr. Kolb married Rosanna W. Knertzer, who died in 1861. Eight children were born to this union, only two of whom lived to maturity, Catherine, deceased, wife of Asher Smith, by whom she had one son, Percy; and J. Adam.

J. Adam Kolb, the only living representative of the family attended the public schools of Reading and the high school. When fifteen years of age he was first employed at Hendel's hat factory, where he remained three years, and then went to learn the trimming trade with William Rapp in Reading, remaining with him six years, afterward being employed at the Pennsylvania & Reading shops. In 1879 he went to Council Bluffs, Iowa, where he was employed six months, at the end of this time returning to Reading. For twenty-five years he was employed with the well-known firm of Snader & Nagle, tinners of Reading, and on April 9, 1906, he engaged in tinning at this father's old home, No. 225 North Ninth street. He does a general line of roofing, spouting, roof painting and heater and range repairing, and employs two skilled workmen. He is also engaged in the sale of the well-known boat pump.

Mr. Kolb was married (first) to Annie Weaver, of New Ringgold, Schuylkill county, and to this union there were born: Ida E. m. Ira Conklin, of Ohio; Eva m. Charles Miller of Wyomissing, Berks county; Carrie m. Charles Sheaffer; Margaret, and John. Mr. Kolb m. (second) Miss Sarah Redcay, of Reading.

In politics Mr. Kolb is a Republican, but he has never been active. He is connected with the First United Evangelical Church. Fraternally he is a member of the P. O. S. of A.


p. 1395


Owen H. Koller, one of the well-known residents of Richmond township, Berks county, who is engaged as an agriculturist and dairyman near Fleetwood, was born June 21, 1858, in Ontelaunee township on one of the Koller homesteads.

Michael Koller, Jr., who was a citizen of Longswamp township in 1759, and who paid tax in that year, is supposed to have been the founder of the Koller family in America. His son, John Koller, had two sons and two daughters: David; John; Polly Mertz and Sally Ann Hoch. Of these children David Koller was the grandfather of Owen H. He was a farmer of Maidencreek township, where he owned property as well as a large piece of land in Ontelaunee township. David Koller married Hannah Kirby, daughter of David Kirby, and to this union were born children as follows: Eliza, who married John Kauffman; Solomon; John; Hannah, who married Stephen Berndt; Mary, the wife of James Leiby; Lydia, who married Nicholas Madeira; and Diana, the wife of Ephraim Peters.

Solomon Koller was born Nov. 1, 1831, and married Hettie Reiser, daughter of Jacob and Maria (Dunkel) Reiser, their children being: Mary, the wife of Joel Hoch, postmaster at Fleetwood, Pa.; Owen H.; Sally R., who is single and lives with her mother in Fleetwood; Isabella, who died aged twenty-nine years; Lena, the wife of Eugene Fegler of Lyons, Pa.; and Howard, whose death occurred in the sixth year of his age. Solomon Koller followed farming all of his life, and was a well known and much esteemed citizen.

Owen H. Koller was educated in the schools of his district and this was supplemented by two full terms at the Keystone State Normal school at Kutztown. Mr. Koller has spent his whole life in the vicinity of his present home. He has a fine farm bounding Fleetwood borough on the north and in 1905 he built a spacious cement block residence, surrounded by a large, well-kept lawn, which is enclosed by a modern lawn fence. In addition to his farming interests, Mr. Koller operates a dairy and sends a dairy team to the borough every day, supplying the best families. He is politically a Democrat , and served two terms as supervisor of his township. He and his family are members of the U. E. Church, Emanuel, of Fleetwood.

On Sept. 29, 1877, Mr. Koller was married to Ellen Mertz, daughter of John and Sarah (Sailer) Mertz of Richmond township, and to this union were born two children: Charles I., who married Katie M. A. Burkhert and has one son, Paul B.; and Howard S., who married Clara B. Reider.


p. 850


Solomon S. Koller, retired, who was a prosperous merchant at Philadelphia for upward of forty years, was born in Berks county, near the base of the Blue Mountain, above Hamburg, April 7, 1830, son of Andrew and Hannah (Sunday) Koller.

Andrew Koller, Sr., the grandfather, was a farmer in Macungie township, Lehigh county. He married Rebecca Seidel, daughter of John Seidel, and they had three children: Solomon m. Catherine Schaeffer; Andrew; and Rebecca m. Daniel Gebhart.

Andrew Koller was a farmer in Windsor township for a time, later in Perry, and died in 1862, aged fifty-eight years. He married Hannah Sunday, daughter of John Sunday, a farmer of Windsor, and a descendant of one of the earliest settlers of the county. They had six children: William m. (first) Susanna Ebgel, (second) Helen Miller; Solomon S.; Catherine m. David Hoffman; John m. (first) Caroline Lesher, (second) Mary Williams; James A. m. Christiana Sunday; and Abraham m. Mary Stayer. The mother of this family died in 1891, aged eighty-three years.

Solomon S. Koller was educated in the township school and was reared on his father's farm until he was nineteen years of age, when he entered the general store of John Weidman, at Shoemakersville, and continued there as a salesman for five years. He then formed a partnership with William Moyer, and carried on a feed and provision business at Five Locks, on the Schuylkill Canal, two miles above Shoemakersville, for two years, when he returned to Shoemakersville and formed a partnership with Reuben Weidman, a brother of his former employer, to operate a general store, but he soon purchased his partner's interest in the business and carried it successfully by himself for eight years. Selling out, with the intention of locating in Philadelphia, he went to that great center of trade in 1865, and formed a partnership with Wayne Bitting, to carry on a wholesale trade in salt, provisions and fish. They located at No. 218 North Delaware Avenue, and traded under the style of Koller & Bitting, for seven years, when he purchased Mr. Bitting's interest and carried on the business himself for twenty years at the same place. Desiring then to enlarge his scope by adding groceries, he formed a partnership with Gilbert W. Hawlk, and they continued together for seven years, under the name of Koller & Hawlk, when he retired, having been in business at one stand for thirty-four years and having established a large and flourishing trade which extended into Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland for over a hundred miles from Philadelphia. Since 1899, he has been residing at Philadelphia, retired, enjoying the ample rewards of a well-directed, honorable and satisfactory business career.

In 1851, while living at Shoemakersville, Mr. Koller married Maria Fister, daughter of Peter Fister, farmer of Greenwich township, near Klinesville, Berks county. She died in 1856, aged twenty-two years, leaving two children, Amelia Thamsen (m. B. Oliver Seltzer, of Hamburg) and Emma (died young).

In 1857 he m. Amelia Hollenbach, daughter of Jacob Hollenbach, a farmer of Perry township, and by her had four children. namely: Anna Maria died unmarried in 1905, aged forty-seven years; Jeremiah died unmarried, in 1901, aged forty-one years; Mary Leanda died in 1875, aged four-teen years; and Ellen, m. Jerome H. Sheip, of Philadelphia.



Three brothers by the name of Komp (also spelled Kemp) emigrated to America from Germany, about the middle of the eighteenth century.  One settled about Philadelphia.  Deobald,who spelled his name Kemp, located in Maxatawny, east of Kutztown, where he reared a large family, some of his descendants still living in the same locality to this day.  The third brother, Martin by name, settled along the Blue mountains in Albany, where he owned much land.  In 1774 his name on the tax list appeared as Martin "Kamff," and he was assessed eight pounds tax.  He was a pioneer settler and operated a distillery, burning much apple-jack.The Indians for some years were friendly with him and made frequent visits to the distillery which stood where Charles W. Dietrich now lives.  Komp gave them apple-jack which they liked, and they would then go to the top of the hill on the south side of the road from the present buildings, and find great pleasure in rolling down hill.  Later during the French and Indian War (1756) they made frequent onslaughts upon the settlers.  They were nevertheless fearful about a man named Knepper, who it was said bore a charmed life, and frequently fought them.  The Christian name of Martin Komp's (Kemp's) wife was Catherine.


p. 673


David Komp (son of Martin and Catharine) lived at Charles W. Dietrich's present home. He owned upwards of 400 acres of land, and was a farmer and distiller. His wife was Maria Petri (1775-1855). They had children: (1) Reuben, born Nov. 23, 1807, died March 3, 1890; married Regina Schwenk (1817-1893). They were farming people in Albany, and lived where their son Daniel now lives. They had children--Daniel, William, Henry, Mary, Amanda, Lazarus and Lydia.


p. 1677


Ralph S. Koser, an enterprising young business man of Exeter township, Berks county, who is proprietor of the Penn poultry farm, situated one-quarter of a mile south of Jacksonwald P.O., was born Aug. 20, 1876, at Pinegrove, Schuylkill Co., Pa., son of Dr. S. S. and Gertrude (Burtif) Koser.

Ralph S. Koser was educated in the public schools of Williamsport, Pa., where he was reared, and at Bucknell College, from which institution he was graduated in 1896. He then learned the jewelry business, which he followed until his enlistment, in April, 1897, in Co. G., 12th Pa. Vol. Inf., under Col. Beebe, with which company he served two years, two months of which were spent in Cuba. He then enlisted in the 12th Pa. N. G. as private, being promoted to second lieutenant, serving as such until 1902, when he resigned, and later joined the 4th Pa. N. G., as lieutenant and later became captain. He resigned in August, 1906, having had the distinction of having commanded the largest company in the State.

In 1905 Mr. Koser established the Penn poultry farm, which he has made a decided success; he gives special attention to ducks, although he has raised many chickens, his plant having a capacity of 20,000 fowls annually. In addition, Mr. Koser has a tract of twenty acres of fine land, which he intends to devote to truck farming. He is enterprising and energetic, and his business interests are increasing rapidly.

On Aug 21, 1906, Mr. Koser was married to Clara F. Russell, daughter of T. Frank and Nancy (Wirdwell) Russell, of Lewisburg. Mr. and Mrs. Koser attend the Presbyterian Church.

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

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