Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 1680


Elmer T. Lenhart belonged to the recent representatives of an old and honorable family of Berks county, intimately associated with its development since the middle of the eighteenth century, Lenhartsville on the Ontelaunee perpetuating the name.

In 1749, Peter Lenhart, of York county, received a patent for a tract of land which, according to records, he conveyed to Jacob Lenhart in 1771. On this tract Henry, the father of Jacob Lenhart,, patentee, settled with his family, consisting of seven sons: John; Jacob; Samuel; Isaac; Henry; David and Frederick. They founded there the borough of Lenhartsville. Most of the sons married and reared families. Two landmarks remain of the time in which these members of the family lived-a building in the western part of the borough, erected in 1812, and the old church in which the Lenharts worshipped. From data given it is not clear which was the early ancestor of Elmer Lenhart. His grandfather Benjamin Lenhart, son of Henry, was born and reared in Lenhartsville, Greenwich township. He settled in Albany township, and there lived out his life as a farmer. The farm on which he resided remains in the family, and is now owned by the widow of Elmer T. Benjamin Lenhart was born Oct. 13, 1802, and died Jan. 8, 1856. He was a member of the New Bethel (Corner) Reformed Church. He married Esther Hohl, born Nov. 1801, died Feb. 6, 1849. Their children, all of whom are deceased, were: Eliza m. Daniel Grim, of Lenhartsville; Julia (1833-1902) m. John Hemmerly, lived in Albany township; Lucinda m. Willoughby Lutz; James; Charles also lived in Albany township; Levi resided in Wessnersville.

James Lenhart, son of Benjamin, was born in Albany township April 14, 1837, on the hold homestead upon which he was reared, and which he cultivated during a period of thirty years. This homestead consisted of one hundred acres of what is commonly denominated "potato land." James Lenhart stood well in his community and was a man of fine public spirit. He served a number of years as Supervisor of Albany township, and was an efficient and earnest supporter of Democratic principles. He and his family followed the faith of his ancestry, the Reformed Church, with membership at New Bethel (Corner). James Lenhart married Caroline Trexler, daughter of Jonas and Abbie (Smith) Trexler, also of Albany township; where she was born September 20, 1836. She now lives with a sister-in-law at Kempton, her husband having died March 21, 1904, aged sixty-six years, eleven months, seven days. Their family consisted of six children, three of whom, Wallace, Elmer T. and Charles, are deceased; the survivors being Francis, Thomas and Lewis.

Elmer T. Lenhart was born on the old homestead Nov. 11, 1864, where he resided until his death, Dec. 8, 1904, aged forty years, twenty-seven days. The greater part of his business life was spent at the Kempton Creamery, working as a faithful employe for sixteen years, and for three years as proprietor. Retiring from the creamery business he took up the vocation of his fathers on the old homestead. Elmer T. Lenhart inherited all the sterling qualities of his sturdy ancestry, and led a worthy and exemplary life. In political and church allegiance he followed the earlier members of the family, was a deacon in the church for years, and was active in Sunday-school. He also held membership in the Junior Order of American Mechanics. He married Missouri Trexler, daughter of Jairus and Polly (Komp) Trexler, and to them were born six children; J. Hay, who is in the service of the government as driver on R. F. D. route No. 1, out of Kempton; Austin J., born 1891, who died May 10, 1904, aged twelve years, eight months, twenty-eight days; Clarence S., Eva C., Oscar P. and Nevin L.

In 1856 Sebastian Lenhart, a grandson of the pioneer, died in the borough of Hamburg, leaving his wife, Catharine Elizabeth. After he had amply provided for her, he bequeathed his niece, Elizabeth Miller, "a daughter of my brother-in-law, William Miller," $500; Benjamin Lenhart, "son of my brother Henry," $500; Benjamin Lenhart, "son of my brother Henry," $500; Moses Lenhart, "son of my brother Frederich," the sum of $500. The will was made July, 1848, and proved April 7, 1849. The executors were Benjamin Lenhart, Elizabeth Miller and the wife of the testator.


p. 1626


Samuel H. Lenhart, a prosperous and influential merchant at West Leesport for fifty years until his death in 1909, was born at Lenhartsville, Berks county, March 20, 1832. He was educated in the local schools until he was fourteen years old, assisting his father on the farm during this time, when he decided to learn the trade of tailor. He first worked in the shop of a tailor in Albany township for a time; then continued his apprenticeship with a tailor at Allentown, having walked to that place, upwards of thirty miles. After serving his apprenticeship, he went to Philadelphia to follow his trade, and while doing so for several years attended night school. He then returned to Lenhartsville, and while working for his father on the farm and also selling produce at Hamburg, secured a position as clerk in the general store of William D. Shomo, at the place named. The preciseness and strictness of Mr. Shomo in business affairs were remarkable, and left a deep impression on the young clerk's mind which he never forgot, and afterward practiced to his own great advantage. He remained there only a year and then upon the invitation of his brother, Benjamin and Solomon Lenhart, (who were carrying on a store in Richmond township) he went into their store and continued with them until 1854, the last several years having been in Leesport, to which place they had removed. With this experience in the mercantile business, he went to Fremont, Ohio, and secured employment in a large dry goods establishment. After remaining there several years, his health failed and he returned to Leesport, Pa., where he resumed his place in his brother's store. In a short time, his ambition to engage in business for himself asserted itself, and accordingly, in 1858, he formed a partnership with his brother Benjamin.

After carrying on business together for a short time in West Leesport (where the Lenhart store now is), a cousin, Daniel W. Lenhart, took his brother's place and they traded for four years, when Mr. Lenhart became the sole owner of the establishment. From that time until his death, April 19, 1909, he carried on the general store business with increasing success. His stock was among the largest of the general stores in the country districts, and his trade extended into the surrounding townships for m any miles. During this time he also conducted an extensive trade in lumber, coal and grain. As his sons grew into manhood, he fitted them for a business life, and as they reached their majority he gave them an interest as partner; his son Henry in 1885, his son Samuel in 1893, and his son Charles in 1904. Naturally upon his decease, these three sons became his successors; and this well-established stand for a period of fifty years, has been carried on since his death under the firm name of S. H. Lenhart's Sons.

Mr. Lenhart was always thoroughly interested in the local affairs of West Leesport and gave them his encouragement and support. Industrial matters received much of his attention, for by them he endeavored to develop the importance of the place. He identified himself at an early age with the Reformed Church, and during his entire life at West Leesport he was actively engaged in religious work, both as a teacher and superintendent in the Sunday-school, and as deacon, trustee, or elder in the Church at Leesport. He advocated the common-school system with great earnestness, appreciating the importance of education in the community. When the Odd Fellows and American Mechanics came to establish societies there, he united with them and continued his membership until he died. He provided a hall on the third floor of his storebuilding and their meetings have been held in it. He was also a member of the Daughters of Rebekah, and of the Daughters of Liberty. He was enlisted in the Civil war, having responded to the call for troops to repel the invasion of the Rebel army into Pennsylvania in July, 1863, and served as one of the sergeants of Company G, commanded by Captain Samuel A. Haines, of the Forty-second Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Militia, which was composed of companies from Berks county; and he was a member of Keim Post, No. 76, G. A. R., at Reading.

Mr. Lenhart took great interest in farming operations and in the development of choice fruits. He owned and managed two fine farms, one of 140 acres in Centre township, a short distance above West Leesport, and the other of 173 acres in Ontelaunee township, east of Leesport, which is commonly known as the "Gernant Homestead." He encouraged the formation of the borough of West Leesport in 1902, and in the organization of the government served as one of the first town council; and he officiated as the second burgess for the term from 1905 to 1908.

Mr. Lenhart assisted in organizing the Penn National Bank at Reading in 1883, and served as a director from that time until his decease, a continuous period of twenty-six years. He was identified actively as a director with the Manatawny Fire and Storm Insurance Company, the Leesport Building Association, the Althouse Bridge Company (operating the toll bridge at Leesport until it was made free) and the Orchard Milling Company at Pottsville. All these various affairs, in connection with his large and constantly increasing store business, evidence the superiority of his character and attainments; and during the entire period of his business career he enjoyed the unqualified confidence and respect of the community.

As mentioned above, since Mr. Lenhart's decease in 1909, the business has been carried on by his three sons under the name of S. H. Lenhart's Sons, and they are pursuing the course of their father to merit the continued patronage and respect of the community. Henry Grant Lenhart, the eldest son and senior partner, was born at West Leesport in 1865; educated in the local schools and the Normal Schools at Kutztown and West Chester; married Caroline Groff Brobst (daughter of Dr. Edward Brobst, a practicing physician at West Leesport for fifty years) and they have two daughters, Emily G. and Helen S., and a son John, another son (Edward Samuel) having died in infancy.

Samuel Kauffman Lenhart was born at West Leesport in 1875. He was educated in the local schools, Keystone State Normal School, and Inter-State Business College, Reading. He married Elizabeth Gauker (daughter of James H. Gauker, of West Leesport) and they have a son Samuel G. Charles Hayman Lenhart, the junior partner, was born at West-Leesport in 1884; was educated in the local schools, Reading Classical Academy, and Inter-State Business College, and then identified himself with the business affairs of his father, being a partner since 1904.

In 1864, Mr. Lenhart was married to Sarah Kauffman, daughter of John L. Kauffman, for years a prominent dealer in grain, etc., at West Leesport. Nine children were born of this union: Henry Grant; Samuel Kauffman; Charles Hayman; Sarah L. (m. Edgar Breneiser); Anna L. (m. Harry E. Hartman); and four who died (John M. died in 1890, aged twenty-four years, Emily in 1892, aged seventeen years, and Katie and Mary in infancy).

Mr. Lenhart's father was Samuel Lenhart, of Lenhartsville, who was brought up on the homestead farm and carried on farming until his death in 1869, aged seventy-one years. He was highly esteemed in that section of the county for his upright character. He was married to Lydia Hayman of Lehigh county, and they had thirteen children: Benjamin; Solomon; James; Samuel H.; John; Lewis; Lydia (m. David Schlenker); Elizabeth (m. Charles S. Kerns); Amelia (m. Philip Snyder); Maria (m. Henry Miller); Ellen; and two who died in infancy. The Lenhart family in Berks county originated in Germany, and the first ancestor here was Jacob Lenhart, who was born Nov. 18, 1736, at Zwei-Brcken, in the Pfalz, and emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1760, landing at Philadelphia. He settled in Greenwich township, Berks country, on a farm in the vicinity of the present site of Lenhartsville, and there he died Aug. 3, 1793, leaving four sons, Sebastian, Henry, Jonathan, and Philip. The second son was brought up a farmer and ultimately owned a farm of 250 acres. The formation of a village began in his time and it took the name of Lenhartsville. He died in 1836, leaving eight sons: Benjamin; Frederick; Henry; Samuel; John; Daniel; Isaac and Reuben, and two daughters. The fourth son, Samuel, was the grandfather of the three partners who constitute the firm of S. H. Lenhart's Sons.


p. 819


Solomon H. Lenhart, who has for some years been living retired, at Hamburg, Pa., was for a long period prominently connected with various business enterprises of Windsor township. Mr. Lenhart was born Feb. 2, 1828, in Greenwich township, Berks county, and he belongs to one of the old and honored families of this section of Pennsylvania.

Jacob Lenhart, great-grandfather of Solomon H., was born Nov. 18, 1736, and came from Zweibrcken, Pfalz, Germany, with a number of other Palantinates, landing at Philadelphia Jan. 21, 1760. He located at Barnes' Springs, now Molltown, Berks county, but subsequently removed to Lenhartsville, in Greenwich township, where the rest of his life was spent. He died Aug. 3, 1793. Mr. Lenhart had four sons, namely: Philip, who settled at Siegfred's Mill, in Maxatawny township, Berks county; Johannes, who lived at the present site of Lenhartsville, where he owned the old mill and hotel; Heinrich; and Sebastian, who owned land in the vicinity of Hamburg, where he conducted a blacksmith shop.

Heinrich Lenhart, grandfather of Solomon H., owned 250 acres of land above Lenhartsville, and the farms near Klinesville which are now the property of Jonathan P. Dietrich. He was a prominent man of his day, a Democrat in politics, and founded the village which bears his name. He and his family belonged to the Moravian Reformed Church. Mr. Lenhart married Salome Leiby, and to them were born these children: Benjamin, Frederick, Henry, Samuel, John, Daniel, Isaac, Reuben, Mrs. Richelderfer and Mrs. Jonas Lesher. The father of these children died at Lenhartsville in 1836.

Samuel Lenhart, father of Solomon H., was born Feb. 28, 1798, in Lenhartsville, Berks country, and was educated in the German schools. He was a blacksmith by trade, an occupation which he had learned in youth and which he followed for many years, also owning what is now Dietrich land near Lenhartsville, and a hotel. He was a Democrat in politics, and was supervisor of his district. Mr. Lenhart and his family were members of the Reformed Church, he being one of the builders of the Lenhartsville Church in 1854. He married Lydia Haman, a native of Lehigh county, who was born April 1, 1802, and to them were born the following family: Jacob, Matilda and Brigitta, who died within three days of cholera; Lydia m. David Shenkler, now deceased, and resided in Iowa; Benjamin, deceased, lived in Hamburg; James resides in Albany, Pa.,; Solomon H.; Rufena; Samuel H., born March 20, 1832, lives at Leesport, Pa.; Elizabeth is the widow of Charles S. Kerns, of Tamaqua, Pa.; Maria m. Henry Miller, of Hamburg; Amelia m. Philip Schneider, of Allentown; John is a resident of Delaware, Ohio; Lewis resides in Allentown; and Catherine, deceased, also lived in Allentown. Samuel Lenhart, the father of these fifteen children, died Aug. 1, 1869, aged seventy-one years, and his wife Feb. 1, 1872, in her seventieth year.

Solomon H. Lenhart obtained a good education in the Klinesville pay school, the only one in which English was taught in that section, taught by a Mr. Leidy, of Chester county, in 1835. For some winters he also attended German schools, and in 1846 a free school near Orangeville, Columbia Co., Pa. He then worked on his father's farm for some years, but in 1852 he went to Moselem Springs, where, with his brother, he conducted the store and hotel, remaining until 1854, when he removed to Leesport to engage in the store and coal business. He was also for one season in the boating business, but this enterprise proving a failure, he sunk the boat in the waters of the Schuylkill, at the Market street bridge, Philadelphia. After selling out his share of the business at Leesport to his brother, in 1856, Mr. Lenhart located on his father-in-law's farm, east of Shoemakersville, Pa., and a few years later purchased this farm and an adjoining one. Here he remained about four years, and in 1860 engaged in the horse and cattle business, in which he was profitably engaged for about fifteen years. During the war he purchased many horses for government service, and in this business he made a small fortune. His experiences as a horse and cattle dealer are very interesting. On two occasions he drove from Lenhartsville to Columbus, Ohio, and in 1849 and again in 1851 brought his horses on foot from that place. On another occasion he drove a herd of cattle from Ross county, Ohio, to New York City, being seventy-two days on the road.

Mr. Lenhart was one of the founders of the Hamburg Savings Bank, and since 1872 has been one of its directors. After retiring from the cattle business Mr. Lenhart engaged in farming for a time, but in 1880 he located in Hamburg, where until two years ago he was engaged in an extensive lumber and coal business. He now resides in his handsome residence on North Fourth street, Hamburg, and is considered one of the substantial men of the borough. In political matters he is a Republican, and has been active in the ranks of his party, serving as school director of Perry township and as councilman of Hamburg. He and his family are members of the First Reformed Church of Hamburg.

On June 24, 1854, Mr. Lenhart married Esther G. Deill, daughter of Jacob Deill, of Perry township, and to this union there have been born children as follows: Jacob died when eleven years of age; Richard m. Annie Seidel; Irwin m. Rosa Haines; Oscar m. Ida Leiby; and Cora.


p. 1123


George Washington Lerch, butcher and successful business man of Reading, Pa., was born in Bern township, May 1, 1863, son of John S. and Eliza (Tobias) Lerch, and grandson of John and Margaret (Steffy) Lerch.

(I) Johannes (John) Lerch was born Oct. 21, 1773, and died May 8, 1861, aged eighty-seven years, six months, seventeen days. He was a farmer in Bern township, where he owned a tract of land which later became the property of his son, John. Mr. Lerch was active in church affairs and was instrumental in the establishment of Epler's Church, of which he was a member and officer, and where both he and his wife are buried. He married Margaret Steffy, born Dec. 11, 1774, died Sept. 23, 1844, aged sixty-nine years, nine months, twelve days. Their children were: Rebecca, m. to Jared Yarnell; Hannah, m. to Peter Mc Kinney; Harriet, m. to John Wissner; Polly, m. to William Hafer; Catherine, m. to William Hafer, as his second wife; John S.

(II) John S. Lerch, father of George W., was born Aug. 23, 1808, in Bern township, and died there Feb. 9, 1876, aged sixty-seven years, five months and sixteen days. He was a farmer and owned a small tract of land, where he lived and died. He was married in Bern township, in the church of which he was an official member. His wife, Eliza Tobias, born Dec. 9, 1828, daughter of Jacob and Henrietta (Schmaltz) Tobias, died March 11, 1869, aged forty years, three months, two days. Their children were: Hannah, m. to Joseph Barr, of State Hill; Emma, deceased; Lizzie, deceased; Catherine, m. to Reuben Albright, deceased; John, deceased; Deborah, m. to Henry S. Riegel, of Cumru township; Clara m. to Frank Krick, of Sinking Spring; George W.; Margaret, of Reading; Annie L., m. to Ernest Bechtel, son of John R. Bechtel, of Reading; Charles W., who was adopted by Jared Yarnell, when quite young, and is known as Charles W. (Lerch) Yarnell, and is now alderman of Reading.

(III) George Washington Lerch was reared upon his father's farm, until he was sixteen years of age, attending public school. When he was sixteen he removed to Reading and entered the employ of John Adams, a butcher, remaining with him two years learning his trade. He was then three years at Leitheiser's butchering establishment on Penn street, and on Oct. 20, 1884, he commenced in business for himself at No. 408 North Ninth street, where he has since continued, building up a large trade. In 1887 he purchased the building which has a frontage of twenty feet on North Ninth street. In addition he also owns his residence at No 410 North Ninth street. Mr. Lerch kills three beeves, six calves and five hogs each week, to meet the demands of his trade. In addition to his Ninth street store, he has one at Ninth and Buttonwood streets which he operates as a market house. His trade, which is a large one, is constantly growing, and he has been successful from the very beginning.

In politics Mr. Lerch is a Democrat, and in religious matters he and his family are members of the First Reformed Church of Reading.

In 1892 Mr. Lerch married Jennie Ann Greisimer, born in Reading, who died July 24, 1904, aged thirty-one years, daughter of William Greisimer, and they had three children: Eremenie, Palmer and Bruce. Mr. Lerch m. (second) Theresa Bachman, daughter of John Bachman of Reading. No children have been born of the second marriage. Mr. Lerch is among the progressive, public-spirited business men of Reading, and the success which has come to him is but the just reward of his years of hard work, intelligently directed. Both Mr. and Mrs. Lerch are widely known and very highly respected in church and social circles.


p. 703


Allen R. Lesher, a retired farmer of Richmond township, Berks county, who lives about one mile below Virginville, along the Berks & Lehigh railroad, was born at the place where he now resides, Dec. 2, 1835, son of Samuel S. and Sallie (Reber) Lesher.

John Lesher, great-grandfather of Allen R., was a native of Germany, born Jan. 5, 1711, only son and heir-at-law of Nicholas Lesher. He emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1734, and first settled in the Upper section of Bucks county, but later in Oley township, Berks county. In 1744, he and two other men erected a forge which became known as the "Oley Forge," and from that time on for fifty years he was prominently identified with the iron industry of the county. He represented the county in the Constitutional convention of 1776, and served in the General Assembly from 1776 until 1782. During the Revolution he acted as one of the commissioners for purchasing army supplies. He addressed an interesting letter to the Supreme Executive Council in 1778, relative to the taking of supplied from him. [See Berks County in the Revolution, p. 181.] John Lesher died in Oley township, April 5, 1794, leaving a widow, two sons and five daughters, namely: John (had a son Isaac), Jacob, Barbara (m. Jacob Morgan), Hannah (m. George Focht), Maria (m. John Potts) and Catharine (m. John Tysher).

Jacob Lesher, grandfather of Allen R., and the progenitor of many Leshers in this country, was born in Oley township, Berks county. He came to Richmond township before 1790, and died in 1804 in Virginville, being buried in a field above Virginville along the railroad, which was used for a burial ground, but the plow share has turned up the sod and destroyed all vestige of the last resting place of a number of old pioneers. He m. Elizabeth Stenger, who kept a hotel in Virginville for a livelihood, and they had these children: Elizabeth m. John Heater; Jacob m. a Miss Bartholomew; Samuel; Jonas; William; and Polly m. Joseph Shomo, of Hamburg, Pennsylvania.

Samuel S. Lesher, father of Allen R., was born in Virginville at the old hotel stand that was kept by his parents. He learned the trade of stone mason in early youth, and this he followed for many years. He married Sallie Reber, daughter of John Reber, and they had these children: Gabriel died aged seventy-one years; John died aged twelve years; Polly m. (first) a Mr. Young, and (second) David Fulmer; Jacob died three months after marriage; Allen R.; William lives at White Deer, Union Co., Pa.; Louis lives in Pickaway county, Ohio; Lizzie is the widow of Simon Luckenbill; Joel is of Reading; and Sallie is the widow of Daniel Gruber.

Allen R. Lesher attended the pay schools of his time, his first teacher being Joe Pike, and later when the public schools were established he attended them for a time. Mr. Lesher has spent all of his life on the farm, on which he now resides, a 100-acre tract. Mr. Lesher retired from active labor in 1898. He is connected with Becker's St. Peter's Union Church, in which he is a trustee, and takes an active interest. It was largely through the influence and activity of Mr. Lesher that a new township was not created back in the eighties, when a strong effort was made to cut off a part of Richmond township and Greenwich township, and create it into a new district. Mr. Lesher performs the duties of a good citizen, and is highly esteemed in his community. In politics he is a Democrat.

On July 27, 1861, Mr. Lesher married Sallie Ann Sassaman, daughter of William and Sallie (Delp) Sassaman, the former a furniture dealer and undertaker in his time, residing near Fleetwood. These children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Lesher: Louisa S. m. Reuben M. Kline, and their daughter, Mrs. Francis Z. Sieber, has a son, William Allen; Sallie A. m. Wilson M. Kline, and has children-Virgie (m. Richard Sheradin, and has a son, Francis Arlington), Franklin, Harry, Elsie, Webster and Edison; Lizzie m. Eli Gettis; Katie m. the Hon. Jacob A. Lesher; Samuel S. died in infancy; William R. of Virginville engaged in the paper-hanging and painting business, m. Katie Kline, and has two children, W. Paul and Jennie R.


p 919


Franklin W. Lesher, a prosperous agriculturist of Perry township, Berks county, who is engaged in cultivating his fine 134-acre farm, was born Nov. 9, 1854, in Greenwich township, near Heinley's Mill, formerly Lesher's Mill, son of William Lesher.

John Lesher, a native of Germany, born Jan. 5, 1711, who was the only son and heir-at-law of Nicholas Lesher, of the Fatherland, emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1734 and was naturalized in 1743. He first settled in Bucks county, and later in Oley township, Berks county, where he became very prominent as an iron-master. He represented the county in the Constitutional Convention of 1776, and from 1776 served until 1782 in the General Assembly, helping to prepare the "Declaration of Rights," and being extremely prominent during the Revolutionary war, rendering valuable service to his adopted country. He died in Oley township, April 5, 1794, aged eighty-three years, leaving a widow, five daughters-Barbara, Hannah, Maria, Catherine and Elizabeth-and two sons-John and Jacob, of Oley township.

Among the sons of John Lesher, son of John, was Jacob Lesher, grandfather of Franklin W., who was the proprietor of Lesher's Mill in Greenwich township, where he lived for many years. He owned over 100 acres of land, which he farmed in addition to his milling business, and here he died in 1857, aged seventy years. He married Esther Heffner, daughter of Jacob and Anna (Dietrich) Heffner, and to them were born children as follows: Jacob (m. Lucinda Dietrich); Kate (m. Daniel Dietrich); Abraham (m. Rachel Fegley); Hettie (m. John Kline); Benneville (m. Mary Heinly); Betsey (m. Jacob Baer); Solomon (m. Kate Hollenbach); Fayette (m. David Hollenbach): Isaac (m. Maria Stoyer); and William.

William Lesher, of Richmond and Perry townships, was an agriculturist and owned the farm now occupied by his son, Franklin W. He was born in May, 1829, and died April 2, 1893, aged sixty-four years. In politics he was a Democrat, serving as supervisor of his district for four years, while he was a prominent member and for many years deacon and elder, of Dunkel's Reformed Church, assisting to build the present church edifice. Mr. Lesher married Theresa Zettlemoyer, daughter of Adam and Mary (Miller) Zettlemoyer, and they had these children: Fietta, who died in childhood; Franklin W.; Jacob Z., a farmer of Perry township; Hettie, single; and Mary, who married Henry Young.

Franklin W. Lesher was one year and a half old when his parents removed to a small farm in Richmond township, there residing for eleven years. In this district and in Perry township he attended the common schools, receiving a limited education, and after leaving school he at once engaged in agricultural pursuits, which he has continued to the present time. In 1885 he began farming on his present place, continuing there until 1890, when he purchased a thirty-acre tract in Maiden-creek township, near South Evansville, but in 1902 purchased his father's farm, and here has continued to the present time, selling his Maiden-creek farm in 1905. His property, which consists of 134 acres of good gravel soil, and is the only farm in Perry township lying exactly square, having but four corners, is well cultivated and is improved with modern barns and outbuildings and a fine residence. He is a good, honest citizen, and is esteemed by his fellow-townsmen for his many sterling qualities of character. In his political belief he is a Democrat, although he has never held public office. He and his family are Reformed members of Dunkel's Union Church.

On March 9, 1878, Mr. Lesher was united in marriage with Eva Catherine Stump, daughter of Aaron and Elizabeth (Zettlemoyer) Stump, granddaughter of Samuel and Rachel (Leiby) Stump. To Mr. And Mrs. Lesher there have been born these children: Samuel William, born Sept. 15, 1878, died June 20, 1879; Solomon Sylvester, born Sept. 25, 1880, died aged seven days; and Augustus Adam, born Jan. 10, 1884.

Augustus A. Lesher received his education in the public schools of his native locality, from which he was graduated March 25, 1901, and he is now working with his father, acting as his clerk on the farm, and conducting practically all business transactions for him. Since early youth he has been a Reformed member of Dunkel's Union Church, and has taken a great interest in the Sunday-school, being superintendent thereof for one year. On New Year's day, 1908, he was elected deacon of Dunkel's Reformed congregation and at the re-organization of the united congregations was elected president thereof. On May 10, 1908, was elected as Reformed Superintendent of the Dunkel's Church Union Sunday-school. Mr. Lesher was also president of the Young People's Christian Endeavor Society of Virginville, Pa., of which he is still an active member. He is highly respected by everybody. At the present time he is president of the newly organized cemetery association, of his church, which, although in its infancy, is making steady progress, and he is one of the most talented young men of the entire community and has the energy, perseverance and good judgment necessary to win success, in anything he undertakes.


p. 1142


Oscar L. Lesher, a young business man of Shartlesville, Upper Bern township, Berks county, was born in Jefferson township, near Schaefferstown, this county, July 8, 1880. He is a son of Solomon W. Lesher and a grandson of William Lesher.

William Lesher was engaged in farming for some time in Windsor township, Berks county, later moving to Tulpehocken township, where he died and is buried at the Union Church at Rehrersburg. He and his wife had the following children: Solomon W., William (living at Saginaw, Mich.), Israel, Emma and Nicholas.

Solomon W. Lesher, born in 1840, died Sept. 29, 1905, and is buried at the Union Church at Rehrersburg. For many years he was a well-known merchant of upper Berks county, doing business at Schaefferstown (Tulpehocken post-office) in Jefferson township. He removed thence to Lincoln, Lancaster county, and eventually to Shartlesville, where he was located for a period of twenty years, meeting with success as a merchant. He also served as postmaster at Shartlesville, and he had a high reputation as a citizen.

Mr. Lesher married Ellen Moll, daughter of George and Susanna Moll, and they became the parents of six children, namely: Lizzie, who married Reily Kline; Cassie C.; George F., a resident of New York City, manager of the Morrisdale Coal Company; Charles R., of Wigton, Pa., superintendent of the Phillisburg Fire Brick Works; Norton M., who is in business with his brother Oscar at Shartlesville; and Oscar L.

Oscar L. Lesher attended the public schools during his boyhood and later took a business course, becoming a stenographer. He was engaged in that capacity at Newark, N. J., for one year, and then went to Philadelphia, where he followed the same line of work for three years, returning to Berks county in 1902. He assisted his father until the latter's death, after which he ran the store in the interest of the estate until 1908, when he and his brother Norton M. Lesher formed their present partnership and bought out the business, which they conduct under the firm name of Lesher Brothers. They enjoy a large trade and the high standing won by the upright methods their father practised so many years. They have a fine store, 20X80 feet, well stocked, and conducted in the most enterprising manner.

Oscar L. Lesher married Laura Maneback, daughter of Edward Maneback, of Rehrersburg. Mr. Lesher is a member of Vaux Lodge, No. 406, F. & A. M.; Reading Lodge of Perfection, fourteenth degree; Philadelphia Consistory, thirty-second degree; and Rajah Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S. He belongs to Frieden's Lutheran Church. He is a Republican in politics, and was appointed postmaster at Shartlesville Oct. 30, 1905.


p. 1513


William W. Lesher, proprietor of the "Washington Avenue House" at Reading, was born in Perry township, Berks county, Sept. 3, 1873. The Lesher family have been represented in Berks county through several generations.

Abraham Lesher, the great-grandfather of William W., lived at Moselem, and owned a number of Farms in the territory now embraced in Perry township, being one of the very rich men of his day. Through the Hunters, the iron masters at Moselem, whom he served as surety, he lost about $40,000, and this preyed on his mind until he committed suicide by shooting himself. He was of Irish descent, and physically was a man of fine proportion, being tall, broad-shouldered and of dignified bearing. His children were: Abraham K.; Jonas, who lived in Lebanon country; Mrs. Diana Motes, of Richmond township, Berks county; Mrs. Knerr, of Lehigh county; and Mrs. Kemp, who with her husband and family moved West.

Abraham K. Lesher, son of Abraham, was born in Perry township, in 1810, and he died Nov. 26, 1874, and is buried at St. Peter's Church in Richmond township, of which he and his family were Reformed members. He was a millwright by trade, and also carried on farming, owning a tract of 14 acres of land located at Moselem Bridge in Perry township. He married Catharine Moyer, born Feb. 15, 1815, and died May 6, 1884. Their children were: Amos, of Richmond township, who died in Reading, where for a few years he had been conducting a hotel; Reuben, a farmer near Gernand's Church, in Ontelaunee township; Ephraim, who was drowned in Reading in June, 1873; John M. (1846-1905), of Kutztown, whose widow, Malinda Kline, now lives at Kutztown with her son, Alvin K. (her children were Alvin K., Agnes, Walter and Laura); Samuel, who died in Perry township, Dec. 31, 1880; and Alfred M.

Alfred M. Lesher, son of Abraham K., was born in Perry township, Dec. 14, 1853. He attended the common schools and later the Normal School at Kutztown. He early learned the duties of a farmer, and this was his work until his twentieth year, when he became engineer at Moselem furnace ore mines, where he remained eight years. The next year he worked on the railroad in Lehigh county, and then for twenty-two years he followed huckstering, buying his produce in Richmond and surrounding townships. In 1905 he came to Reading, and he has since been employed by the Reading Railway Company as an engineer. In politics Mr. Lesher is a Republican, and for eighteen years he was committeeman of Richmond township. In 1898 he was elected prison inspector of Berks county, and after serving in this office for three years he became a candidate for county commissioner, and at several county conventions showed considerable strength. He still owns a nice property of six acres in Richmond township. On Feb. 24, 1872, he was married to Ellen M. Kline, daughter of Nathan R. and Sallie (Merkel) Kline. To this union have been born children as follows: Jeremiah, a policeman of Reading; William W.; Edwin K., who lives on the homestead in Richmond township, where he conducts the "Pennsylvania Hotel," established by his father in 1902; Sallie, widow of William Helbert, of Reading; and Annie, who married George D. Heffer, and lives at Reading.

William W. Lesher was reared at Moselem, attending the public schools of that district. He clerked in Shepel & Stillwagon's general store at Moselem for one year, and the next year he worked on their farm connected with the furnace. He was licensed to teach school by Prof. W. M. Zechman, county superintendent, in 1890, and he taught his first term at Shoemakersville, and his second at the Birch Hill school at Mohrsville. He then went to Lancaster, Pa., where he clerked in Capt. John Britton's hotel for a year, after which he came to Reading and for two years was bar clerk for his brother, and for two years for H. H. Christinson. Returning to Lancaster he worked for Peter G. Ammon, at the "Franklin House" for one years, after which he returned again to Reading. In the spring of 1899 he engaged in the hotel business for himself at Eighth and Oley streets, conducting the "Brunswick Hotel" for five and one-half years. In 1904 he took charge of his present place, the "Washington Avenue House," where he has been very successful.

Mr. Lesher is a Democrat, and he has served the Twelfth ward as treasurer, and has otherwise shown a keen interest in the welfare of his party. He is a member of Vigilance Lodge No. 194, I. O. O. F.; Aerie No. 66, F. O. E.; Independent Order Progressive Americans, No. 1; Twentieth Century Quakers, No. 2; Bavarians, all of Reading.

On Aug. 8, 1898, Mr. Lesher married Emma S. Berstler, daughter of Henry and Mary (Machmer) Berstler, the former a blacksmith in Maiden-creek township. Her grandparents were Henry and Mary (Bossler) Berstler. Mr. Lesher has always been pardonably proud of the fact that his first examination for a teacher's certificate was passed when he was but fifteen years of age-two years under the legal age for teachers-and the superintendent could not sign it until he had attained the required age. Mr. Lesher owns his comfortable home at No. 959 North Ninth street, Reading.


p. 1225


Cyrus Lessig, who is successfully engaged in a butchering business at Topton and is a well-known citizen, was born Dec. 15, 1848, in Richmond township, Berks county, not far from Walnuttown, a son of Levi and Esther (Koller) Lessig.

The first known of the grandfather, Samuel Lessig, was that he belonged to Schuylkill county, Pa., and shortly after his marriage to Catherine Weisner, he went to serve as a soldier in the War of 1812. He was taken sick and died at Sandy Hook. His widow came to Amity township, Berks county, where her only child Levi, was born and there she continued to live until her death at the age of eighty-eight years. She was buried at St. Peter's Reformed Church in Richmond township.

Levi Lessig was reared on the old home place on which his mother settled in Amity township and when he reached a proper age, he learned the cabinet-making trade , which he followed for some years. He died at the age of eighty-five years, six months and fifteen days. He married Esther Koller and they had the following children: William m. Catherine Foreman ; Sarah m. Jonas Chappell ; David m. Linda Strunk ; Levi, who married in Canada, later went to Boston, where he owned the "Webster House," and died of small pox in 1882 ; Cyrus ; Mary m. Alfred Snyder, who served three years in the Civil War ; Allen and Albert, twins, the latter of whom died aged two years, the former m. a Miss Kline and resides in Reading, where he has a family of thirteen children ; Nora m. Mr. Greenawalt ; and Caroline died young. William and David of the above family served three years in Capt. McKnight's Fifth Battery, U. S. Art., in the Civil War and after the expiration of David's first enlistment, he became a veteran in General Hancock's corps, in which he served until the close of the war.

When he was ten years of age, Cyrus Lessig came to North Perry, then went to Ontelaunee and then back to Richmond township, attending school as opportunity offered. When eighteen years of age he came to Topton, in Longswamp township, and in 1868 he learned the butchering business with Allen Schwoyer. He worked with him for three years, then for two years with Madties ' Clader, and by that time had gained enough experience to go into business for himself. He carries a fine stock of first-class meat.

On Oct. 1, 1870, Mr. Lessig was married to Maria Knappenberger, a daughter of Henry and Maria (Miller) Knappenberger, and they have two children, namely: James, born Mar. 24, 1871, m. Alice Master, an adopted daughter of Evan Master, and has two children, Ardath and Florence ; and Annie, born Feb. 8, 1873, m. Ira Disch. They have two sons, Ralph and Paul. Formerly, Mr. Lessig was a very active Democrat and served once as chief burgess of the town. He belongs to Camp No. 172, P. O. S. of A. He is a member of the Reformed Church. Mrs. Lessig and the children are Lutherans.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:55:10 EDT

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