Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 594


George H. Lash, deceased, who was long a citizen of the city Reading, being employed for a of period of thirty years at the Seyfert McManus Iron Company, was born in Baden, Germany, June 21, 1819.

Mr. Lash was educated in the common schools of his native country, where he was employed until his twenty-eighth year, at which time, in 1847, he came to America. He at once came to Reading, finding employment as a laborer, but later entered the employ of Seyfert & McManus, in whose iron mill he worked as engineer for thirty years. Mr. Lash died Aug. 21, 1892, aged seventy-three years, two months.

Mr. Lash was married to Mary Ann Wonderly, daughter of Henry and Mary (Whitman) Wonderly, and to this union there were born twelve children, all of whom are now deceased with the exception of Philip H. and George F. Mr. Lash was a valued member of the Lutheran Church, which he attended regularly. In his political views he was a Democrat. His widow resides at No. 924 Spruce street, where the family has lived since 1869.


p. 513


The Latshaw family is well represented in Washington township, Berks county, and there, to-day, especially prominent may be found John H. Latshaw, a farmer near Passmore; David H. Latshaw, a merchant at Bechtelsville; Samuel B. Latshaw, miller, coal merchant, and farmer; and Jacob S. Latshaw, a retired farmer at his home near Barto.

(1) Frantz Latshar, the emigrant ancestor of this old Mennonite family, was a native of Switzerland. He came to America on the "Mortonhouse" which qualified at Philadelphia, Aug. 24, 1728. On the list of passengers his name is spelled "Frans Latshow." He located in Colebrookdale township, Berks Co., Pa. His last will and testament was made in 1781, and was probated Oct. 29, 1795. He left a large estate, which he divided equally among his children. Tradition says that his first wife died, leaving him a number of small children and no one to help in the house. Accordingly he went to Philadelphia (as the pioneers were obliged to do in those days for merchandise or help) for a woman to look after his home and children. He was told of a young woman in good repute whose husband, a Mr. Gabel, had died on the voyage to America, leaving his widow with two small children. At Philadelphia she began a struggling life with her children, finding a place as servant in a Germantown family. Mr. Latshar became acquainted with her, persuaded her to accompany him home as housekeeper, and later they were married. Her son, Henry Gabel, was taken along with them, and early in life was taken into the Rutter household, the Rutters being the early iron masters of Colebrookdale, and he fell heir to some of the Rutter money, also being remembered in his step-father's will. He was a Mennonite and is buried at Boyertown; his birth occurred in 1734. Frantz Latshar and his second wife had children also. The children mentioned in his will, as recorded in book B, page 398, were John, Frantz, Abraham, Jacob, Mary Lantes (Landis), Henry Gabel (step-son), Rebecca Shelly (deceased, the mother of six children) and Catharine Lantz (step-daughter). Of these Abraham lived on the Hereford township farm, and Frantz elsewhere in the same township.

(II) John Latsha, eldest son of Frantz the emigrant, lived in Colebrookdale township, where he died in 1794. He made his will in 1787, Will Book B, page 360. He made his home with his brother Jacob. If he was married he had no children, and his estate was divided among his brothers and sisters.

(II) Frantz Latshar (Latchar), second son of the emigrant, made his will April 1, 1802, and it was probated July 1st of the same year. His wife, Esther, survived him, and was bequeathed 400 pounds in gold. They had three sons, Frantz and Jacob receiving all the land in Hereford township, and John the homestead.

(II) Abraham Latshar, third son of the emigrant, lived in that section of Colebrookdale township, now included in Washington township. He died in 1814. His will in English script, but German words, is on record in Vol. 4, page 114. His children were: Samuel, Johannes, Jacob, Anna, Elizabeth, Catharine, Heinrich (who lived for a time in Clayton, and then left for parts unknown), Alexander and Abraham.

(III) Abraham Latshaw, son of Abraham, was born in Colebrookdale township, now Washington, in May, 1769, and died July 29, 1843. He owned the farm of eighty-eight acres at Passmore. In 1795 he married Elizabeth Bauer, sister to Andrew Bauer. She was born Aug. 20. 1776, and was a woman of determined character. She died Jan. 5, 1869, and was interred beside her husband in the Mennonite cemetery at the meeting house at Bally. Abraham Latshaw and wife had children as follows: Samuel; Abraham, born in 1798, died unmarried in 1818; Anna, born in 1801, m. John M. Bowman, and died in 1853; Rev. John B.; Elizabeth, born in 1806, m. Abraham A. Bechtel and died in 1864; Jacob B.; Henry B. m. Anna Kemerer, and had children-Alexander and Abraham; Abraham, born in 1817, died unmarried in 1840; and Catharine m. Isaac Johnson.

(IV) Samuel Latshaw, son of Abraham, was born March 18, 1797. He died June 30, 1882, and was buried at Bally Meeting House, being a member of that church. He was a farmer on the farm now owned by Jacob S. Latshaw, at Passmore, a tract of eighty-eight acres. He married Catharine Bower, born Dec. 1, 1798, and died July 2, 1878, after fifty-seven years of wedded life. Their children were: Anna, born March 17, 1821, died unmarried Dec. 10, 1875, and was buried at Hereford Mennonite Church; Elizabeth, born Dec. 7, 1822, m. (first) Jonas Sassaman, and (second) Isaac Bechtel; Susanna, born Oct. 23, 1823, m. Samuel Mensch, and died March 27, 1894; John B.; and Abraham, born Dec. 7, 1831, m. Susanna R. Moyer (born Jan. 6, 1838), lived in Pottstown, and had a daughter, Lizzie.

(V) John B. Latshaw, son of Samuel, was born in Washington township, on the old farm at Passmore March 22, 1828, and died March 4, 1887. He was a farmer, though in his earlier life for a time he followed carpentering. He married Maria Hiestand, born July 11, 1837, and died Sept. 16, 1898. They are both buried in Hereford Mennonite Meeting House cemetery. Their postoffice address was Congo, near which station they owned a large farm. Their children were: David, born in 1863 died in 1864; Samuel H., born Oct. 6 1864; Malinda, born Nov. 24, 1866; Menno, born Jan. 22, 1869, is deceased; John H., born April 26,1871; Franklin, born in 1873, died in 1874; Harvey H. born Feb. 17, 1876; David H., born Feb. 25, 1878.

(VI) Samuel H. Latshaw, son of John B. and Maria (Hiestand) Latshaw, born Oct. 6, 1864, is the owner of a gristmill at East Coventry, Chester Co., Pa., to which property there is a seventeen-acre farm. He married Hanna O. Bechtel, of Bechtelsville, Berks county, and they have three children-Verna, Irene and Ella.

(VI) Malinda H. Latshaw, daughter of John B. and Maria (Hiestand) Latshaw. was born Nov. 24, 1866. She married Aaron L. Bauer, a successful farmer and dealer in farm implements in Douglass township. They have one child, Harvey. Mr. Bauer has six children by a former marriage.

(VI) John H. Latshaw, son of John B. and Maria (Hiestand) Latshaw, was born in Douglass township, Montgomery county, April 26, 1871. His education was acquired in the common schools, and West Chester Normal School, attending the latter institution one term. He grew up accustomed to the work of the farm, and was but eighteen years of age when his father died, and the care of the 102-acre farm fell upon his shoulders. He farmed for his mother until one year before her death in 1898. The farm was then sold to his brother Harvey, who still resides there. In November, 1898, Mr. Latshaw bought his present farm of sixty-four acres in Douglass township, Montgomery county, at the Berks county line. He is very successful in his work, and he has made many modern improvements about his place. His walks are of cement, and the whole place is kept neat and clean, presenting a most attractive appearance. The land is very fertile, and is all level and well cultivated. Mr. Latshaw keeps four horses and ten head of cattle, but in the winter time has from fifteen to twenty-five head of cattle. He is a director and secretary of the Congo Creamery Company, which averages about 3,800 pounds of milk daily.

Mr. Latshaw is a Republican in politics, and has served as election officer. He and his family are members of Hereford Mennonite Meeting House, at Bally, of which he has been chorister for many years, and he has held the same position in the Sunday-school since he was eighteen years old.

On Jan. 22, 1897, Mr. Latshaw married Annie F. Clemmer, daughter of Abraham and Mary (Funk) Clemmer, of Hereford township, and their children are: Mabel C., Elsie C., Anna C., Stanley C., Lloyd C. and Mary C.

(VI) Harvey H. Latshaw, son of John B. and Maria (Hiestand) Latshaw, was born Feb. 17, 1876. He purchased the homestead of 102 acres, and devotes all his time to its cultivation, being a progressive and up-to-date farmer, studying the soil carefully. He pays much attention to poultry and to the raising of young pigs. He married Hanna B. Clemmer, daughter of John B. Clemmer, of Bally, and they have two children, Norman and May.

(VI) David H. Latshaw, son of John B. and Maria (Hiestand) Latshaw, and now the leading merchant at Bechtelsville, was born in Douglass township, Montgomery county, Feb. 28, 1878. He attended the local schools of his native district, and worked upon the home farm until he was twenty-one years of age. He then became a clerk in the general store of Jacob L. Reiff, at Bechtelsville, and after clerking there for a year and a half, succeeded him in business, buying out the entire property, stock, fixtures and good will. He carries a complete line of general merchandise, and deals largely in wholesale salts, handling the famous Genesee salts. Since October, 1901, he has been postmaster at Bechtelsville. He is a member of the Mennonite Church, belonging like most of the family, to the church at Bally. He has been active in the Sunday-school for many years, being superintendent and chorister in the Bechtelsville Sunday-school.

On Feb. 20, 1902, Mr. Latshaw was married to Mary Clemmer, daughter of Abraham and Mary (Funk) Clemmer, and have one daughter, Amy Lola C. Beside his store Mr. Latshaw has a forty-two acre farm, and is noted for his success as a potato raiser.

(IV) Rev. John B. Latshaw, son of Abraham, was born in Colebrookdale township April 4. 1804, and at his death Feb. 11, 1878, was buried at East Coventry Mennonite Church. He was reared to manhood in his native district, and after his marriage moved to East Coventry township, Chester county, where he was elected to the ministry of his faith. He preached at East Coventry Church and at the East Vincent Church for many years. He also carried on farming, owning a tract of eighty acres. He married Mary Boyer, born Dec. 4, 1802, and died June 27, 1882. Their children were: Sallie m. Christian Hunsberger; Elizabeth m. Henry Kulp; Abraham lives at Hughesville, Lycoming county; Sophia m. Benjamin Halteman; Samuel B.; Mary m. Jesse Hunsberger; and Susan died aged sixteen years.

(V) Samuel B. Latshaw, son of Rev. John B., now a miller, coal merchant and farmer at Barto, was born in East Coventry township, Chester county, Oct. 2, 1845. He was educated in the schools of Pigeon Creek, leaving at the age of sixteen years. He worked for his parents until he was eighteen years of age, when he learned the milling trade from S. H. Hunsberger, in whose employ he remained two years. After working at Pottstown, Pennypacker's Mills, Muncy, Lycoming county, and in Missouri, for a second time he located in Muncy. In the fall of 1868 he rented the Henry Landis Mill at Bechtelsville which he operated four years. In the spring of 1873, in company with Mr. A. L. Ebert, he purchased the old Babb Mill property at Barto, on the West Branch of the Perkiomen creek. This mill was operated by the firm of Latshaw & Ebert for three years, and then Mr. Latshaw purchased Mr. Ebert's interest, since which time he has operated it alone. This mill and property were in the possession of the Babb family for about 100 years, the mill being first used as an oil mill, the original deeds of the property mentioning it as an "oyl mill." Mr. Latshaw has greatly improved the property, and in 1855 he added a "roller process." He makes the well known Minnetonka and Snow Flake flours, so popular in nearby towns. Five men are constantly employed in the mill and on the farm. There are sixty-nine acres to the mill property. In 1877 Mr. Latshaw built the barn, 45 x 65 feet. He is very progressive and has the confidence of the entire community. The pumping station of the Standard Oil Company is partly built on three acres of land which belonged to Mr. Latshaw. In politics he is a Republican, and was township auditor for some years. He and his family are members of the new Mennonite Church, in which he has always been an active worker and he has been trustee and treasurer. He is a teacher in the Sunday-school at Bally.

In the fall of 1869 Mr. Latshaw married Annie E. Harpst, daughter of Henry and Mary Harpst, of Schuylkill township, Chester county. She was born May 29, 1849, and died Nov. 6, 1902, and was buried at Bally. To this union were born: Mary A., of Bally, m. Irwin H. Bechtel (who died in 1902) and has two sons-Irwin and Stanley, and Amy m. Dr. Oswin Berky, of Bally.

(IV) Jacob B. Latshaw, son of Abraham and Elizabeth (Bauer), was born on the Latshaw farm in Washington township, in 1808-09, and after a life devoted to farming in Douglass township, Montgomery county, he died in October, 1882, and was buried at Christ's Lutheran Church, at Niantic. His wife Anna Sallada, born in 1809, died in 1862, and was buried in the same cemetery. Their children were: Levi, who died unmarried; Abraham, of Reading; Jacob S.; George, of near Congo; David, of Topton; Maria, m. to Jacob Schoenly (deceased); Annie, m. to Joel Stoudt, of near Niantic; Elizabeth, m. to Henry Moyer (deceased), of Niantic; Matilda, m. to Jeremiah Koch, of Niantic. Of these Levi, Abraham and Annie are deceased.

(V) Jacob S. Latshaw, son of Jacob B., now living retired two miles south of Barto, near the Montgomery county line, was born in Hereford township, Nov. 28, 1837. He was brought up on the farm, and learned the shoemaker's trade when he was about fourteen. This he followed for about seven years. He then began farming on his father's farm in Douglass township, where he lived four years. After that he farmed six years at East Greenville, and then returned to Douglass, where for four years he farmed for Andrew Bauer. The next seven years were spent on the Mary Ann Schultz farm and in 1882 he moved to his present location. His farm is a part of the original homestead of the Latshaws, and has been in the family name upward of one hundred years. It now contains eighty-seven acres and everything is in first class condition. In the of 1902 Mr. Latshaw retired from farming. He and his family are Lutheran members of Christ's Church at Niantic, of which he has been deacon, elder and trustee. In politics he is a Republican, but he has never cared to hold public office.

On Nov. 14, 1862, Mr. Latshaw m. Emeline Schoenly, daughter of Andrew and Elizabeth (Boyer) Schoenly, of Washington township. She was born May 20, 1840, and died Sept. 13, 1908, and is buried at Niantic. The children born of this union were: Horace, a grocer at Pottstown, m. Sarah Geisinger, and has two daughters, Stella and Erea; Amanda m. C. K. Huber, of Douglass township, Montgomery county, and has had three sons and two daughters, Harry, Norman, Alf, Jannie and Agnes (deceased); Melvin died unmarried aged twenty-eight; John, a farmer in Douglass township, Montgomery county, near the Berks county line, m. Kate Sheets; and Agnes m. William Kepner, of Pottstown, and has a daughter Florence.

(V) George Latshaw, son of Jacob B., lives in Douglass township, near Congo, Montgomery county. His children are: Abraham, of East Douglass township, m. Kate Wiand; Milton, of East Douglass township, m. Sofiah Riegner; Henry m. Kate Trace, and lives in East Douglass township; William m. Kate Koble, and lives in East Douglass township; Annie m. William Widiger, of East Allentown; John and Robert are unmarried and live in East Douglass township.

(V) David Latshaw, son of Jacob B., makes his in Topton, Berks county. His children are: Lovinia m. James Johnson, of Northampton county; Idea m. Henry J. Roth, of Breinigsville; Agnes m. Nathan Mest of Topton; Caretina m. William Kershner, of Topton; Amanda m. Edward J. Haas, of Topton; Emma m. Eurathias Schmoyer, of Lyons; Jacob m. Bella ____ and lives at Breinigsville; Alvin m. Sarah Arfield and lives at Topton; and Milton, of Topton, m. Sallie ____.


p. 593


The first of the name of Latshaw in America came to Pennsylvania late in the eighteenth century, and settled either in Chester or Montgomery county, and there his son John was born. John Latshaw, on reaching manhood, settled in the vicinity of Fritztown, Berks county.

John Latshaw (2), son of John and grandfather of Howard and Adam Latshaw, was born in Spring township about 1804, and died in middle life. He was a tailor by trade, and was also engaged for many years in quarrying stone, which he disposed of to contractors. He married Polly (Mary) Hinnershitz, and to them were born the following children: Jacob; John (3); Abraham; Isaac; Harriet, m. to Solomon Yerger; Mary, m. to Valentine Moyer; Jonas; Catherine, who died at the age of ten years; Joseph, a farmer of Spring township; and Susan, m. to John Moyer. Both John (2) and his wife are buried at Hain's Church.

John Latshaw (3) was born Nov. 7, 1838, in Spring township, and died Aug. 29, 1902. He was an engineer and was sixteen years with the G. W. Alexander Company, of Reading. During the Civil war he enlisted as a member of Battery F, 1st Pa. Light Artillery, being mustered into service Feb. 13, 1864. He served in the Second Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, and among others participated in the following engagements: Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor and siege of Petersburg. He was mustered out with his regiment June 9. 1865, and was given an honorable discharge. Mr. Latshaw married Rebecca Reedy, born Dec. 28, 1839, who died Sept. 26, 1902, daughter of John Reedy, of Spring township, and children as follows were born to them: Mary E.; J. William, who died suddenly in 1907, aged forty-three years; Thomas; Adam, of Reading, m. to Christina F. Bower; Howard; and Catherine. Mr. and Mrs. Latshaw are buried at Sinking Spring burial ground.

Adam Latshaw, son of John (3), was born at Sinking Spring, May 12, 1868. When still quite young he learned the hatting trade, and during the summer months he worked at the trade at Alexander's Hat Factory at West Reading, and during the winters he attended school. For about six years he was employed by the Alexanders, and later he worked for Kessler's at Reading for about seven years. In 1895 he commenced working at the John Hendel & Son Hat Factory in Reading, and continued with them as journeyman until 1901, when he was made foreman of the blocking department. This position he has since most capably filled, and being a good mechanic himself, he is able to direct wisely the nine men in his charge. Since 1894 he has resided in his own home at No. 118 Hamilton street, and in 1905 he built his present handsome residence, a two-story brick, to take the place of the former home at that number. He is the owner of some fine pigeons, all flying homers, and of these he has from one to three hundred all the time. His best bird won a 500-mile race. He also keeps fancy chickens, white, brown and buff Leghorns, as well as other fancy breeds.

On July 6, 1894, Adam Latshaw was married to Christina (or Christie) F. Bower, daughter of John and Christina Fredericka (Bower) Bower, both natives of Wittenberg, Germany, who emigrated to America, landing at Castle Garden July 4, 1881. Mr. and Mrs. Bower have five children; Maria Catharine, Christina Fredericka, Wilhelm Frederick, Rosanna Barbara and Martin Frederick. Mr. and Mrs. Latshaw have one daughter, Rosiena Helen, an accomplished musician who began playing the piano when only seven years of age, and who is now attending the public schools.

Howard Latshaw, son of John (3) and brother of Adam, was born in Spring township Sept. 15, 1870, and was educated in the township schools. He was but thirteen years of age when he learned the hatting trade with G. W. Alexander & Co., with whom he served a full apprenticeship of three and one-half years. He continued in the employ of this firm until March 1, 1890, when he engaged in the grocery business at the corner of Chestnut street and Second avenue, West Reading, where he owns a brick dwelling 15x43 feet, with additions. He carries a full line of general merchandise, and he possesses the full confidence of the community in which his business is located, his goods being of the best quality and his prices moderate. In addition to his home and business property Mr. Latshaw owns much other valuable building property in the borough, and is considered one of the most substantial business men in West Reading. In politics he is a Democrat. He was baptized and confirmed by the Rev. William H. Myers, of Reading, and now holds membership in Bethany Lutheran Church of West Reading.

On Sept. 15, 1884, Mr. Latshaw was married to Annie Eyrich, born Oct. 17, 1872, who died Dec. 9, 1906, daughter of Franklin and Mary Ann (Adam) Eyrich, the former of whom lost his life at the age of twenty-three years, when with his brother on a pleasure trip, he slipped on the deck of a steamer and fell overboard. Mrs. Latshaw had the following half-brothers and sisters: Annie; Richard; Robert Pattison; Mary Ann; Carrie and Katharine A., all of whom are deceased, with the exception of Katharine A., who with her mother resides at the home of Mr. Latshaw in West Reading.


p. 1141


Frederick A. Lattemann, of Reading, Pa., is of the many valuable citizens which Germany has given to this country, men who have become valuable to their communities and have served as substantial patriots their adopted country.

Born in Hanover, Germany, in the year 1833, Frederick A. Lattemann is the son of Henry and Sophia (Coleman) Lattemann. He learned the trade of molder in his native country, and followed that trade there until 1867, when he came to America on the steamer "America." He settled first in Norristown, but later removed to Conshohocken, Montgomery county. In 1869 he came to Reading, and began work at the Mellert Foundry. Eighteen months later he secured employment at the shops of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad, and there continued to work for eighteen years, at the end of this period returning to the Mellert Foundry, where he remained until his retirement in the year 1898. Since that time Mr. Lattemann has been engaged in looking after his various real estate properties in the city of Reading.

Mr. Lattemann was married, in Germany, in 1857, to Miss Johanna Haunschild, and to them were born two children, viz.: Fred, born in Germany, is employed at the City Hall, at Reading; and Matilda m. George H. Titlow, and has two children, Edwin and Paul. In political faith Mr. Lattemann and his son are Democrats. The religious connection of the family is with the Lutheran church. The family residence is at No. 419 South Tenth street, Reading.


p. 783


Picture of Franklin Pierce LauerFranklin Pierce Lauer, brewer at Reading since 1882, was born in Reading Nov. 2, 1852, the day on which Pierce was elected President of the United States. He received his preliminary education in the common schools, which he attended until 1866, when he and his brother were sent to Germany for their advanced education, and they remained three years, spending two years in the institutions at Ludwigsburg and Stuttgart, Germany, and one year at Lausanne, Switzerland. He directed his studies more especially toward the scientific manufacture of beer, porter, and ale for the purpose of qualifying himself to take charge of his father's breweries upon his return home. While at Lausanne he showed great proficiency in music, and though still a boy the vestry of the French Lutheran Church elected him as the organist, which position he filled in a very satisfactory manner during his sojourn at that place.

Upon returning home his father placed him in charge of the two breweries as brewmaster and he displayed great skill in the production of malt liquors of a superior character. He discharged the duties of this responsible position with increasing success for twelve years, until 1882, when his father retired, and he organized the Lauer Brewing Company, of which he became the manager and principal owner. Since then, covering a period of twenty-six years, he has directed the affairs of the company in a most successful manner, bringing its productions to a high state of perfection and purity (as evidenced by the analysis of the State authorities), and giving them a popularity equal to that of any others in Pennsylvania. Its trade has been developed to extend into all the surrounding counties, and to numerous distant places, the large shipments being made on the railroad in improved refrigerator cars.

Mr. Lauer's responsibilities at the head of his company have kept him so closely confined that he could not devote any time to political or social affairs. He, however, has been a liberal contributor to various public causes; and he has assisted in organizing several financial institutions at Reading, and participated in their management as a director: the Schuylkill Valley Bank since 1890; the Colonial Trust Company since 1900; and the American Casualty Company, since 1903. His only relaxation for some years has been an annual vacation of several weeks with his family to Pike county, where he enjoys the privileges of membership in the Porter's Lake Hunting and Fishing Club, which owns several thousand acres of timber land on the top of the Allegheny Mountains, elevated 2,000 feet above the level of the sea. In August, 1891, he made an extended tour of three months through the principal countries of Europe.

In 1874 Mr. Lauer married Amelia Dora Heberle (daughter of William Heberle), by whom he had six children: Florence, who married William Y. Landis, of Reading; Carl Franklin; and four who died in youth. He owns and occupies a costly home on the site of the homestead on South Third street, near Chestnut, where he was born, and where his parents and grandparents had lived since 1826. In politics he is a Democrat; in religion a Lutheran, being a member of St. John's German Lutheran Church, of which his father was one of the organizers in 1860.


p. 783


Picture of Frederick and Mary LauerFrederick Lauer, father of Franklin Pierce Lauer, was the principal brewer at Reading for nearly fifty years from 1835 to 1882. He was born in the town of Gleisweiler, Rhenish Bavaria, Germany, Oct. 14, 1810, and whilst a boy accompanied his father to America in 1823. He was educated in pay schools at Womelsdorf and Reading, and while growing to manhood learned the business of brewing under the tutelage of his father, who was an expert brewer; and he assisted his father until 1835, when he and his brother George became the owners of the plant. The brothers continued as partners for several years, when his brother George retired and removed to Pottsville, where he carried on the same business. The younger brother, as the sole owner, enlarged the brewery and extended the business gradually until he came to send his beer, porter and ale throughout the county and into the adjoining counties. The brewery was situated on Chestnut street below Third. He established a second plant on North Third street, beyond Walnut, in 1866; also constructing a large vault in a solid bed of limestone, and sinking an artesian well to the depth of 2,200 feet, which for many years were considered great curiosities at Reading, and the well was then one of the few deep wells in the United States. He was engaged in the business until shortly before his decease. He died in 1883, at the age of seventy-three years. He was married to Mary Reiff Guldin, daughter of Peter Guldin, in 1838, and they had two sons, George Frederick and Franklin Pierce. The mother died in October, 1891.

Frederick Lauer was a public-spirited man and labored assiduously for the development and prosperity of Reading. He co-operated heartily in the advancement of the place from a borough into a city in 1847; and under the amended charter of 1864 he represented the Fifth ward in the select council from 1865 to 1871, serving as president of that body in 1867. He was a devoted adherent of the Democratic party, and active in behalf of its success for many years. He represented the Berks district as a delegate to the National Convention which met at Charleston, S. C., in 1860, and notwithstanding the platform and the defeat of the party nominee for President, when the Civil war broke out, in 1861, he espoused the cause of the Union in a most earnest and patriotic manner. He assisted materially in organizing the Berks County Agricultural Society in 1852, and officiated as president for a number of years; also in projecting the construction of the railroad from Reading to Lancaster and Columbia, serving as a director for twenty years until his decease; and by special appointment of the governor he served for several terms as trustee of the Keystone State Normal School. He gave liberal support to local charities by aiding the Dispensary and the Relief Society.

Lauer Monument.-Mr. Lauer's great experience and success in the brewing business brought him into national prominence before the brewers of the United States, and he quite naturally became the first president of the national association upon its organization in 1870, which evidences his great popularity and influence at that time; and in May, 1885, the association erected a fine bronze statue to his memory on Penn Common, near Perkiomen avenue, on a small plot of ground set apart and dedicated by the city councils, the first public honor of the kind in the community. The inscriptions on the four sides of the base are as follows:

(North Side)

"The city of Reading commemorates the public and private virtues of an honored citizen by the grant of this location. Erected 1885, the year of the Twenty-fifth convention of the United States Brewers' Association."

(South Side)

"To Frederick Lauer of Reading. The United States Brewers' Association of which he was the first president has erected this monument in grateful remembrance of his unselfish labor for the welfare of the brewing trade in this country."

(East Side)

"His zeal sprang from his firm conviction that in striving to advance the brewing trade he was working for the cause of national temperance."

(West Side)

"Let his example tell the brewers of this country to maintain good fellowship, to preserve their association, and to defend their rights."

George Lauer. The grandfather of Franklin P. Lauer was George Lauer, of Rhenish Bavaria, Germany, whose home (including large vineyards) was situated at Gleisweiler, three miles from Landau. His property was sacrificed during the Napoleonic invasions of the country anterior to 1814. He carried on the manufacture of wine and beer until 1823, when he emigrated to America. Upon landing at Baltimore, Md., he was poor, having just had enough money to pay the passage across the ocean for himself and family. The journey was made in a sailing vessel and required three months. He immediately proceeded to Reading, Berks county, where a married daughter, Mrs. Sprenger, resided; and shortly afterward he settled at Womelsdorf and started the business of manufacturing beer in limited quantities. He carried on the business for three years and then located at Reading, where he established a small brewery on Chestnut street near Third, on a rented lot (which he afterward purchased from Marks John Biddle, the attorney for the Penns, in 1833), similar to the brewery at Womelsdorf, which had a capacity of five barrels, and was soon increased to ten barrels on account of the increasing demand for his product. There were other breweries at Reading at this time, but the product was of a different character. In 1831 he added the manufacture of porter and ale; and he carried on the enlarged plant until 1835, when his two sons, George and Frederick, became his successors. He married Maria Catharine Fox, of Boechingen, in Rhenish Bavaria, and by her he had nine children: Catharine, who married a Mr. Baker and remained in Germany; Elizabeth, who married John Abraham Sprenger, and had emigrated to Pennsylvania before her parents, settling at Reading; Christina, who married John Borrell; Susanna and Barbara, who remained unmarried, and who joined the "Separatists," living with this religious society in New York for some years and then in Iowa, where they died; Margaret, who married John Yost, of Womelsdorf; George, who married Anna Wilhelmina Ehlers; Frederick, who is mentioned above; and Eva, who married Michael Rudisill. The father of these children died in May, 1845, aged seventy-six years, and the mother in July following, aged seventy-three years.

Guldin Genealogy. The grandfather of Franklin P. Lauer on his mother's side was Peter Guldin, a farmer of Oley township, near Friedensburg. He was born in 1782 and died in 1827. Peter Guldin was a son of Daniel, also a farmer of Oley; Daniel was a son of Samuel, a blacksmith, born in Switzerland, who emigrated with his father while yet a boy, and settled in Oley in 1718; and Samuel was a son of Samuel K. Guldin, a highly educated and distinguished minister, who was born in Switzerland in 1664, emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1710, where he became the spiritual forerunner in the establishment of the Reformed Church, and served as a minister very successfully until his decease in 1745, at the age of eighty-one years. He is mentioned with distinction in Good's "History of the Reformed Church in the United States"; also in Miller's "Early History of the Reformed Church in Pennsylvania".

William Heberle, father of Mrs. Franklin P. Lauer, was born at Rottenburg-am-Neckar, in Wurtemberg, Germany, in 1831, and there learned the trade of tanner and leather finisher. He emigrated in 1849, landing at Baltimore and proceeding shortly afterward to Philadelphia, where he remained three years, working at his trade. He then removed to Reading and continued working at his trade, until 1863, when he went to Hamburg, Berks county, and carried on a tannery until 1869. He then returned to Reading and resumed his occupation, working at it until 1895, when he entered the employ of the Lauer Brewing Company, and he has continued with that company to the present time. In 1853 he married Paulina Goelz, daughter of Philip Goelz, of Weilheim, Wurtemberg, by whom he had nine children, six boys and three girls, those who survived being: Amelia Dora married Franklin P. Lauer; Anna married Bertolet Yoder Landis; William C. married Julia Dersch and has been foreman of the Lauer Brewery since 1891.


p. 1450


Solomon E. Lauer, of Maiden-creek township, was born Feb. 8, 1866, in Spring township, son of William and Catherine (Saylor) Lauer.

Christian Lauer, the grandfather of Solomon E., was a farmer near Jonestown, in Lebanon county, where he died in middle life. He married a Miss Spohn, who bore him three children: William; Hannah, who married Isaac Huyett; and John, who died single, aged about twenty-one years.

William Lauer, father of Solomon E., was also a farmer by occupation, and made his home in Spring township. On Oct. 11, 1862, he was married to Catherine H. Saylor, daughter of Henry and Sarah (Hahn) Saylor, and this union was blessed by the following children: George McClellan S., born April 26, 1863, died aged about twenty-three years; Henry Milton, born Dec. 8, 1864, died May 5, 1867; Solomon Ellmore; John Howard, born April 9, 1867, died Oct 6, 1867; Christian Ellis, born June 15, 1869, lost his life in a railroad accident in 1900; and Irwin Saylor, born Oct. 30, 1871, married Irene Guldin and resides at the Guldin homestead, at Blandon, Berks county. William Saylor Rothermel, a son born to Mrs. Lauer by a former marriage, was born June 15, 1859, and died in December, 1897.

Solomon Ellmore Lauer received his early training in Spring township, and later came to Maiden-creek township, where his education was completed. He has carried on agricultural pursuits for a number of years, and has been very successful in his operations. On Sept. 1, 1888, Mr. Lauer married Maggie Hall, daughter of Timothy and Sarah (Goodwin) Hall, residents of Blandon. Three children have been born to this union: Elsie Catherine, June 16, 1889; William Earl, Dec. 27, 1895, deceased Dec. 23, 1898; and Sarah Marguerite, April 15, 1897. Mr. Lauer and his children are members of the Reformed Church, while Mrs. Lauer belongs to the Lutheran faith.



Gerhard Lauter, for thirty years the owner and manager of the "Madison House" in Reading, was born in Baden-Baden, Germany, June 15, 1829, son of Philip and Paulina (Vogel) Lauter.

Philip Lauter was a shoemaker by trade, but also owned a small farm which he operated, and a vineyard from which he made and sold wine. He was quite a prominent man in his native town, and bore a good reputation for character and ability. He and his wife died in the Fatherland, he in 1858, and she in 1850, both devout Catholics. They had five children: Charles, Joseph, Gerhard, Volborga and Martha, the last named the deceased wife of Mr. Shultheiz, of Rochester, New York.

Picture of Gerhard LauerGerhard Lauter came to America at the age of seventeen, landing on June 3, 1847, at Castle Garden, after a voyage of fifty-three days on a French sailing vessel named the "Carolina." The passage was a very rough one, with two weeks of steady storm. The ship creaked and cracked until the passengers, giving up all hope, thought every moment their last, while one of Mr. Lauter's companions, Joseph Yeager, had a very narrow escape from being washed overboard. Gerhard Lauter had learned shoemaking from his father, and when he reached New York he followed his trade there for a short time, and spent some months similarly employed in Trenton, N. J. In April, 1848, he came to Reading, and was engaged there in making shoes for four years, but at the end of that time, in response to frequent letters from an uncle, Felix Lauter, he joined the latter in Rochester, N. Y., and was employed there for the next three years.

In 1855 Mr. Lauter returned to Reading and worked in Mr. Felix's shoe store, making women's shoes, and then, abandoning shoemaking entirely, he went into business for himself. Mr. Lauter's first venture was the purchase of bottling works, for putting up carbonated drinks, and he succeeded so well that he was encouraged to buy the bottling establishment of Mr. Philipson, which was on a much larger scale than his first plant. He conducted this in company with Gottlieb Byerly for three years, when he sold out to his partner, and in 1867 he started in the hotel business. He was first located at the old "Borrell" place on Penn street, above Seventh, and after a year in these quarters he built in 1868 the "Madison House." It was ready for occupancy in March, 1869, and for a period of thirty years from that date he conducted that popular hostelry. He then sold out to the Deppen Brewing Company. This was in 1896, and since that date he has been living in retirement. Mr. Lauter has served the municipality and has a splendid record as an honorable and efficient police officer, having filled that position for six years. He has always voted the Democratic ticket, since his naturalization in 1858.

Mr. Lauter was twice married. In 1854 he married (first) Miss Catherine Rebholtz, of Reading, who was born in Germany, the daughter of Michael Rebholtz, who died in Reading, at the age of 101 years. In his day Michael Rebholtz was known as a noted cattle drover of Reading. To the union of Mr. Lauter and Catherine Rebholtz were born thirteen children, six of whom are deceased, as follows: Peter, Charles, Katie, William, Clara and Francis. The others are: Mary, the widow of Hayward H. Heckman; Amelia, married to William Wilson; George, married to Miss Annie Hoffert; Annie, married to Richard Coombs; Louisa, married to George N. Jacobi; Joseph, married to Miss Bertha Grookett; and Kate, who first married John Blessing, and later married Charles G. Boyer, of Reading. The mother of these children died in 1877. On Sept. 28, 1886, Mr. Lauter married (second) Miss Sophia Fleishute Reith, daughter of Christian and Elizabeth Reith, of Pottsville, Schuylkill Co., Pa. They have had four children, as follows: Leo, a linotype operator, employed on the Reading Eagle; Albert, also a linotype operator, and employed on the same paper; Ada, and Helena. Mr. and Mrs. Lauter and their children are Catholics in their religious faith, and are people highly esteemed in the community. The family home is at No. 15 South Second street, Reading.


p. 1458


Edward Lawrence, proprietor of the "White House Hotel," in the Neversink Mountains, near Reading, who is also engaged in bottling the famous White House mineral water, was born June 30, 1859, at the place where he now resides, and in this location secured his education.

As a young man Mr. Lawrence learned the hatting trade, which he followed for about four years, next being employed at the McHose brick-yard. He then spent a few years in the employ of the Reading Hardware Company, when he became clerk for his father, but later engaged at boiler-making, a trade he learned at the Boiler Works, continuing to be employed there for a period of sixteen years. Mr. Lawrence was then appointed a mail carrier in Reading, a position he held for five years, and he later held an official position at the Berks county prison. He then went to Cleveland, Ohio, where he spent some time, but in 1904 returned to Reading to engage in his present business. Here is obtained the finest water in the county, a tunnel, 175 feet long, being cut through the rocks of the Neversink Mountain. Mr. Lawrence and his father daily operate four teams in the city of Reading and for many miles around, besides having a large trade in Philadelphia, New York and Atlantic City, N. J. Edward Lawrence took charge of the hotel in 1906, and in this venture he has been very successful. He and his father also own twenty-eight acres of land adjoining the city of Reading, in Cumru township, along the Schuylkill river, from which property can be obtained a magnificent view of the surrounding country. Mr. Lawrence is a stanch Democrat in politics, and socially is connected with the F. O. E., and the Oley Valley and Commercial Clubs.

Mr. Lawrence married Emma Clark, daughter of Patrick Clark, and to this union have been born two children: Lewis J. and Helen E.


p. 1322


Richard L. Lawrence, of Reading, is one of the most prominent citizens of that municipality, for as president of the common council of the city he impressed his individuality strongly upon that body.

John L. Lawrence, father of Richard L., was a native of Montreal, Canada, born in 1831, but passed practically all of his active business career in Reading. He was by trade a boiler maker but was much better known as a contractor, a business he followed for many years. During his latter years he went into the hotel business and was proprietor of the White House. At one period he was also employed in the department of justice of the city as policeman and detective. He was always active politically in the Democratic ranks, and was elected a member of both branches of council, serving as president of Select Council. The elder Mr. Lawrence died Feb. 3, 1905, aged seventy-three years, five months and eleven days. His wife. Mrs. Catherine (Kutz) Lawrence, born in 1838, still survives him. They were the parents of four children, viz.: Edward; Richard L.: John, deceased; and Minnie, who married Thomas F. Flemming, and has two children, Catherine and Edward. In religious faith the family is Catholic.

Richard L. Lawrence was born in Reading, Aug. 21, 1865, and was educated in the city schools. He took up his father's early trade of boilermaking, perfecting himself in it at the Union Boiler Works, and followed it eight years. After giving that occupation up he was for a time in the hotel business and then in 1888 signed a two-years contract to play baseball in Reading, a sport in which he had always been an adept. In 1890 he played on the York team but at the end of the season definitely abandoned the diamond and accepted a place on the Reading police force, under Thomas P. Merritt as mayor. This he resigned to engage once more in the hotel line and established himself first at the corner of Twelfth and Cotton streets, whence he later removed to Tenth and Muhlenberg streets. There he was successfully located for thirteen years, but in 1905, he sold out his property and invested instead in his father's interest in the White House Mountain Spring Company, which he manages. The White House Mountain spring is a natural formation and its water is among the purest in the United States. It is especially adapted for liver and kidney troubles and is widely recommended by physicians. The water is carbonated and sold in all the leading hotels and cafes in Reading and the adjoining cities. There is also an extensive manufacture from it of carbonated drinks, such as sarsaparilla, ginger ale etc., and the enterprise has proved very profitable under Mr. Lawrence's able management.

From the age of seventeen Mr. Lawrence has been a steady supporter of Democratic measures and a hard worker in the party ranks, one whose adherence to the principles has been of the highest type. His services have been recognized by election to Common Council, in which he has served continuously since 1898, and of which he was president from 1903 to 1908. Mr. Lawrence is of a social temperament, is very popular, and holds membership in a number of organizations, either protective or social. Of the former order are the F. 0. E., the Foresters of America. and the A. 0. H., while of the latter nature are the 19th Century Quakers, the Oley Valley Rod and Gun Club, the Harmonie Maennerchor, the Commercial Club and several others. For two years he has been president of the Washington Fire Company.

The marriage of Richard L. Lawrence to Miss Catherine Hasler occurred in 1888, and they have become the parents of two sons, John L. and Thomas R. The family belong to the Roman Catholic Church.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:55:05 EDT

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