Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 1095


The Melcher (or Melchior) family was early settled in Bucks county, Pa. In the Goshenhoppen church records one Nicholas Melcher had a son George, born Feb. 13, 1743, and this George is said to have been the father of John, mentioned below.

John Melcher moved from Bucks county to Washington township, Berks county, where he owned the farm that is now the property of his grandson, James K. Melcher. He was born Dec. 12, 1791, and the greater part of his life was devoted to blacksmithing and farming being very successful in all that he undertook. He was prominent in public affairs as an ardent Democrat, and he held the offices of school director, auditor, and was frequently delegate to county conventions. His tract of one hundred acres was always in first class condition, and the stone building still on the land was formerly used by him for a blacksmith shop. He died Aug. 16, 1872, and is buried at Bally Catholic Church cemetery. He married Salome Buck, born Oct. 11, 1798, in Bucks county, and died Nov. 6, 1883. Their children were: Eliza m. (first) John Siegfried, and (second) Charles Kehs; Reuben; Jacob inherited the homestead, and his children were-John, Sarah, Edwin, Agnes, James and Kate; Mary m. Samuel Kohl, of Bally, and both are deceased; John m. Mary Schutt; Bennett, of Bally, had children-Lucy, George, Mary, Rosa and Howard; Lena m. John K. Adam, and lived at Bally; William, of Bally, m. Mary Linsenbigler, deceased, and has no children; Agnes died young; Sarah m. Jacob Giebel; deceased, and lived at Bally; Catharine was an invalid, and died aged sixty-five; and Joseph M., of Bally, had children-Kate (deceased), Clara (of Kansas) and Leo (at Clayton).

Reuben Melcher, son of John, was born in Washington township Feb. 1, 1818. He learned the blacksmith's trade under his father, and followed it for many years, but later in life he owned and cultivated the farm now the property of his son, Nicholas. He was very industrious, and his good farm was acquired by hard labor and thrift, and he was highly respected. He was a Jeffersonian Democrat, and never missed an election. He died Jan. 12, 1901, and was buried in the Roman Catholic cemetery at Bally. He married Catharine Quigley, born Feb. 9, 1820, daughter of John and Mary Quigley, of Washington township. She died June 15, 1864, the mother of two children: Nicholas; and Salome, m. to Aaron Eddinger, of Washington township, who is engaged as a cement layer.

Nicholas Melcher, son of Reuben, and now a well known citizen of Bally, was born on the old Melcher homestead in Washington township, July 21, 1853. He was educated in the township schools which he attended until he was seventeen years of age. He remained at home working on the farm until he attained his majority, and then went to Reading, where he learned plastering. In the spring of 1875 he went to St. Louis, Mo., where he worked at his trade until January, 1880, when he returned to Berks county, and worked for his father on the farm for two years. He then married and began farming on his present place in Bally, formerly Churchville. He has a farm of sixty-five acres, which was once the property of his father, who erected the residence in 1853, and the barn the following year. The house has been remodeled by Mr. Melcher. He is an expert cement layer, and was the pioneer in the cement business in the village in which he lives and in the surrounding country. He also deals in different kinds of Portland cement, and has always been interest in this line.

Mr. Melcher is very much interested in the success of the Democratic party, and takes an active part in its work. He is a friend of the public schools, and has held a number of local officers. He and his family are active members of the Roman Catholic Church, belonging to the parish of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

On Feb. 3, 1883, Mr. Melcher married Mary Mutter, daughter of George and Mary (Stoudt) Mutter, of Washington township. Their children were: Pauline; Lillie who took the white veil and is at the Immaculate Heart Convent at Westchester, Pa.; Stella; Victor; Mary; Herman; Reuben; Helen; Raymond; Mabel; Marion; George; Leonard; Cyril; Regis, who died aged two years; and Grace.

Bennett Melcher, son of John and Salome (Buck) Melcher, was born April 30, 1828. He attended the parochial schools at Bally, and then learned the shoemaker's trade in 1842, following it until 1866, when he began farming at the farm connected with the church of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Here he continued until 1885, and he is now living retired from active work. He married Hannah Quigley, daughter of John Quigley, of Durham, Bucks county. Their children were: Lucy, m. to William Eddinger; Rosa m. to Solomon Brensinger; George W.; Mary, m. to John Chelius; and Howard, m. to Anna Adam.

George W. Melcher, son of Bennett, was born July 4, 1864. He attended the public schools of Washington township and also the parochial schools at Bally. In 1882 and 1883 he studied at the Keystone State Normal School at Kutztown, where he took a teacher's preparatory course. He then began teaching in Washington township, and so continued until 1886 when he took up railroading and for sixteen years he was brakeman, baggage master or conductor. He next engaged in the manufacture of men's trousers and vests, and in the fall of 1905 in connection therewith began the manufacturing of silk ribbon. Since 1907 he has handled the ribbon exclusively, having disposed of the rest of the business. He carries on business under the name of The Orino Silk Mills, and operates eighteen looms. The product of the mills runs to about $100,000 per year, and is shipped all over the United States. Everything about the factory is strictly up-to-date. He building is 54 X 78 feet and two stories high. He has considerable ground not yet occupied by the building, thus being able to expand as the business increases. The factory is heated by steam, and its own dynamo furnished the lighting. In March 1908, was organized the First National Bank of Bally, Mr. Melcher being chairman of the organizing committee. He was elected its president, and the bank was opened for business July 1, 1909.

Mr. Melcher married Rosa Clemmer, daughter of David B. Clemmer, of Bally. She died June 11, 1904, aged thirty-nine years, nine months. Their children were Bertha, born July 27, 1886; Charles C., March 23, 1888; William C., March 27, 1890; Mary C., June 24, 1893; John C., Nov. 22, 1895; Paul C., Aug. 20, 1898; Cecilia C., Dec. 18, 1900; and Bennett C., March 15, 1903.


p. 1597


John R. Melcher, superintendent of the Orr & Sembower Company of Millmont, a suburb of Reading, was born in Reading, June 4, 1866, and has resided there all his life. His parents were Charles and Sarah (Lotz) Melcher. Charles Melcher, a machinist who conducted a shop at Nos. 226-228 Carpenter Street, was born in Philadelphia in 1831. He was captain of Company B, of the 167th Regiment, Pennsylvania Militia, receiving his commission from Andrew G. Curtin, then governor of that year, and was mustered out Aug. 12, 1863. Sarah (Lotz) Melcher, his wife, was born July 17, 1836, and died Dec. 24, 1886, aged fifty years. She was the daughter of Philip and Annie (East) Lotz of Germany. Philip Lotz was the father of the following children: Cyrus (m. Hannah Trate); Jeremiah, who died in war; Sarah (m. Charles Melcher); Catharine (m. Alfred Franks); Michael, who died in war; Ivens (deceased, m. Catharine Wolf); Andrew (m. Ellen Leab); Annie (m. Joseph Higel and Harry Cook); and three children who died in infancy.

This family was endowed with a noble patriotism, for the brothers and brothers-in-law on both sides fought for their country in the Civil War.

John R. Melcher attended the public schools and when ready for the practical business of life learned the hatting trade with the Henry B. Hendel Company. After his apprenticeship was completed, he entered the employ of the Orr & Sembower Company, at the time it established its plant on Pine Street, and has remained with the firm ever since, with the exception of about a year and a half. He has practically grown up with the business, has been promoted from time to time, and in 1901 he was made superintendent of the plant, in charge of all the machinery and with 225 men under him. His steady rise tells in itself the story of his faithfulness and efficiency and indicates the many sterling qualities of Mr. Melcher's character.

On May 30, 1889, Mr. Melcher was married to Miss Ada Rhoads, daughter of Jonathan Rhoads. To them have been born a son and daughter, Herbert R. and Dorothy R. Mr. and Mrs. Melcher are members of the Universalist Church. Mr. Melcher belongs to two secret orders, the Odd Fellows and the Royal Arcanum. In the former organization he is enrolled in Lodge No. 218, in Mr. Penn Encampment, No. 152, and in Canton No. 2, Patriarchs Militant. In the Royal Arcanum he is a member of Lodge No. 495. He also belongs to Liberty Fire Company.


p. 1356


John Mell, postmaster at Montello, Spring township, where he is the proprietor of a flourishing mercantile business, is a veteran of the Civil war. Mr. Mell was born May 3, 1840, in Cumru (now Spring) township, near sinking Spring, son of Bennewell and Maria (Dinkelberger) Mell.

John Mell, grandfather of John, was born in Bern township, Berks county, whither his father, a native of Germany had come at an early day. John Mell in early life engaged in agricultural pursuits, and enlisted in the war of 1812, in which he contracted sickness which caused his death, while still a young man. His widow passed away at Montello, Berks county, at the age of eighty-five years. Their children were: John, Isaac, David, Bennewell, Mrs. Keim and Rebecca, Mrs. Jeremiah Engelhart.

Bennewell Mell, father of John, was born Nov. 19, 1815, and died June 15, 1894, being buried at Sinking Spring. He was a farmer of Lower Heidelberg township, where he owned and cultivated a small tract of land. Mr. Mell married Maria Dinkelberger, born Dec. 1, 1816, who still survives and lives at Shillington. Their children were: William, who was killed at Ridgefield, Va., during the Civil war; John; Isaac, who was killed in the first day's fight at Gettysburg during the Civil war, being buried with the many unknown; Henry, also a soldier in the Union army, who after the end of the war enlisted in the regular army, serving for twenty-eight years, and who now resides at Shillington, Pa.; Charles, who died at Poplar Bluff, Mo.; Mary, m. to Peter White, of Shillington; and Emma, m. to William Noll.

John Mell attended the pay schools of his native township, after leaving which he engaged for three years in farm work. He then learned the carpenter trade, which he followed until the outbreak of the Civil war, when in 1861, he enlisted in Company G, 6th P. V. Cav., being mustered in at the old Keystone Hotel, Reading. Later he was transferred to Co. H., of the same regiment, as first sergeant, and later was promoted to second lieutenant. Mr. Mell gave long and faithful service to his country, and participated in many important engagements, including that of Brandy Station, where he was twice wounded, once by a musket ball in the upper part of his hip and again by a sabre thrust in the forehead, of the latter of which he still bears evidence. After the war Mr. Mell went to Juniata county, Pa., and engaged in the lumber business for one and one-half years, a business which he continued in his home county for some time. He then went to West Virginia, where he carried on lumbering for ten years, but subsequently returned to Berks county, and in 1892 engaged in a mercantile business at Montello. He named and established the postoffice there, where he has been postmaster ever since.

Mr. Mell married Sarah Leffel, daughter of David Leffel, of Oley township, and they have these children: David, who married Ida Keefer, and resides at Montello; and John, single, of Reading.

Mr. Mell is a Republican in politics. Religiously he is connected with St. John's Reformed Church, of Sinking Spring. He is a popular comrade of Keim Post, No. 76, G. A. R., and is in all respects a highly esteemed citizen.


p. 1668


Albert H. Mellert, formerly superintendent of the Drummond Iron Works, at Reading, but now stationed at No. 181 Broadway, New York, as consulting engineer for Mr. M. J. Drummond, was born Nov. 14, 1858, in Reading, Pa., son of Arnold and Mary B. (Phillippi) Mellert.

John Mellert, grandfather of Albert H. was born Dec. 21, 1790 in Haslach, Kinzighal, Grossherzoghum Baden, Germany. As a small boy he went to Paris, France, where he learned the lock maker's trade. He emigrated to America Aug. 10, 1833, arriving in New York Oct. 2d, and in Philadelphia, Oct. 4th of that year. After spending nine months in Philadelphia, he came to Reading, Pa., June 9, 1834, and here carried on a locksmithing business for many years. It is traditional that he made locks for the old Berks County Courthouse. Later in life Mr. Mellert, engaged in the stove business, which he conducted with a Mr. Dauth, on Penn street, between Fifth and Sixth streets. Later he located in the Weitzel building, near Third and Penn streets, but finally embarked in the foundry business under the firm name of Mellert & Sons, which he continued until his death, Feb. 8, 1869, when he was aged seventy-eight years. On May 1, 1848, he erected the foundry at Second and Grape streets. The historical freshet of 1850 flooded the foundry to the depth of six feet. On. Oct. 2, 1823, John Mellert married Mary Ann Hinterskirch, born Jan. 23, 1791, and died Oct. 11, 1865. On Aug. 23, 1839, with her four children--Charles, Magnus, Constantina and Otto--she sailed from Germany for America. In May, 1837, had emigrated Arnold (son of John and Mary Ann) and his step-sister Adelheid, who landed at Amboy, N. J., Aug. 1, 1837. To John and Mary Ann (Hinterskirch) Mellert came children as follows: Arnold, born June 24, 1824, died May 17, 1886; Charles, born Jan. 12, 1826, died 1859; Magnus, born Sept. 4, 1827, died Oct. 26, 1889; Constatina, born May 17, 1830, now living in Baltimore, is the widow of John Sheeler, member of the firm of Isaac Shepherd & Co., stove founders; and Otto, born March 5, 1832, died Feb. 15, 1897. All the children were born in Haslach.

Arnold Mellert, son of John and father of Albert H., was born as above state din Haslach, Germany, June 24, 1824, emigrating in 1837. He became a member of the firm of Mellert & Sons on its organization by his father. He had learned the locksmith's business as a lad, and was a natural mechanic, there being no kind of machine which he could not operate. For many years he was the traveling representative of the firm, and he was serving as such at the time of his death, May 17, 1886. Mr. Mellert was married to Mary B. Phillippi, daughter of John Phillippi and three of their children survive, namely, Kate, m. to Peter D. Wanner; Albert H.; and Agnes L. Mrs. Mellert died Jan. 30, 1908, aged eighty-two years, nine months, seven days. She was a member of St. James Lutheran Church.

Albert H. Mellert was educate din the common schools of Reading, Pa., and as a boy worked in the Mellert machine shops, where he learned the trade, an occupation in which he was engaged until 1887, when he became superintendent of the Mellert plant and Reading Foundry Company. At the time the North Reading plant was purchased by the Drummond Iron Company, Mr. Mellert was still retained by the company as superintendent, in which capacity he had charge of 350 men. This company manufactured cast iron gas and water pipes, and sold its product all over the country. In 1907 the plant was dismantled, and Mr. Mellert, continuing in the employ of Mr. J. J. Drummond, was sent to Lynchburg, Va., where he became general manager of the Glamorgan Pipe & Foundry Company. He remained there until Jan. 1, 1909, when he was transferred to the main office No. 181 Broadway, New York, where he was made consulting engineer. Since 1877 he and his sister Agnes L. have maintained their residence at No. 634 North Third street, Reading.

Mr. Mellert is a member of Chandler Lodge No. 227, F. & A. M., Excelsior Chapter, Reading Commandery, Harrisburg Consistory, and rajah Temple. A. A. O. N. M. S. He is also connected with the Washington Library and the Temple Club. His religious connection is with St. James Lutheran Church.


p 1084


John H. Mellert, foreman of the Drummond Iron Company, doing business at the old Mellert foundry, is a son of Otto and Caroline (Breneiser) Mellert, and was reared and educated at Reading.

As a boy, Mr. Mellert learned the molder's trade, which he has followed all his life. He made the first loam Y in the city of Reading, using brick and loam for the core mould, which, at the time, was considered a great undertaking and proved eminently successful. He is looked upon as an expert in his business. He served his term of apprenticeship under the Mellert Foundry Company, and was placed in charge of the pipe department of the foundry when but nineteen years of age, where he remained nine years. He then took charge of the general foundry, where all the large castings and other goods are manufactured, having fifty men under his supervision, three of whom are acknowledged experts. In 1903 the Drummond Iron Company took charge of the old plant. In public esteem the work of this company stands very high and it now is completing the second United States Government contract for heavy water pipe for the Philippine Islands. Mr. Mellert has the personal supervision of this very important job.

In 1882, Mr. Mellert married Emma V. Rhoads, daughter of Samuel L. Rhoads, an extensive hardware dealer at Reading. They have two sons, Otto, who is a clerk with the Reading Hardware Company; and Clayton, who is employed at a branch of the New York Brick Company in Reading. In politics Mr. Mellert is independent. He is a member of the Second Reformed Church, and his wife is a member of the Trinity Lutheran Church.




Magnus Mellert, for many years a well-known foundryman in Reading, was a native of Germany, born in Schwartzwald, Baden, and his death occurred in this city in 1890.

John Mellert, father of Magnus, left Germany in 1832, and coming to America established himself in Reading, where his wife and family joined him seven years later. He was a locksmith by trade, an expert workman, and is said upon good authority to have made all the locks for the old Berks county courthouse. As time went on he accumulates sufficient means to go into the sheet iron and stove business, as one of the firm of Mellert & Sheeler, and the enterprise proved so successful that they launched out in other lines. They established a foundry and machine shop which they conducted with most satisfactory results until 1873, when the panic of that year compelled them to cease operations. John Mellert married Miss Mary Henderskarich, also of German birth and ancestry, and they had children as follows: Arnold; Charles; Magnus; Constantina, who became the wife of John Sheeler, now deceased, and who resides in Baltimore, Md.; and Otto. The family were devout Catholics.

Magnus Mellert was only a boy when his mother brought him to America, and as his father was in those earlier years in limited circumstances, the son received only a meager education. While still very young for such work he was placed in his father's shop, and there toiled early and late, as did his brothers also. But this hard toil brought its just reward, and as the father's business interests enlarged the son prospered with him. Magnus remained in association with his father until the latter shut down his factory in 1873, and then opened up a machine shop of his own. His business grew steadily, and he was one of Reading's substantial men of affairs at the time of his death, in 1890.

In 1854 Magnus Mellert married Ludema, daughter of John and Catherine (Close) Philipi, and granddaughter of Jacob Close. To this union were born three children, namely, John, deceased; Emma, deceased; and Addie, m. to Thomas Moore, a prosperous cigar and tobacco merchant of Reading. There are three grandchildren, namely: Lillie, the wife of Robert Heilman, a shoe merchant on Penn street; Robert; and Ludema. While Mrs. Mellert, was a devout member of St. James Lutheran Church, her husband adhered to the faith of his fathers, and remained in the Catholic Church, where he served for many years as chorister.


p. 1097


Morris B. Melot, former landlord and restaurant proprietor at Fleetwood, was born in Oley township, Berks county, Feb. 25, 1855, and comes of French Huguenot stock, being descended from Pierre Melot, who came from France to Philadelphia, Oct. 23, 1773, and soon afterward settled in Oley township.

George S. Melot, son of Pierre and grandfather of Morris B., was born in 1782 in Oley township, and spent his life there, residing half a mile south of Friedensburg. His occupation was that of farmer and drover. By his union with Susanna Seyer he had twelve children, Rosanna, Elizabeth, Johannes, Levi, Johan George, Susanna, Maria, Amos, Daniel, Jacob, Seyer and Catharine.

Amos S. Melot was born Sept. 27, 1824, in Oley township. He became a man of considerable influence in the locality and when the borough of Fleetwood was established in 1872, he was chosen one of its first councilmen. His wife, whom he married Oct. 15, 1848, was Miss Malinda Boyer, daughter of Samuel Boyer. Born Dec. 20, 1827, she survives her husband, and although in the eighty-third year of her age, is still remarkably well-preserved. Amos S. Melot reached only his fifty-seventh year, passing away June 19, 1881. Their children were: William B., who died in April 1900, unmarried; Chester B., who married Lizzie Zern, daughter of Rev. Zern, deceased, of Fleetwood, and has children--Bessie, Chester and Helen; Augustus B., who married Emma Delp, and died in August 1895, leaving two children--Jeanette (a teacher in the public schools at Fleetwood) and Charles; and Morris B.

Morris B. Melot removed with his parents from Oley township to Fleetwood in 1863, and he has ever since made his home there. As a young man he was first employed for nine years as a clerk in the general store of Melot, Madeira & Co., in Fleetwood, and after that was in a mercantile business there for himself for two years. During twenty years he was engaged in the hotel and restaurant business, and was located at the corner of Main and Richmond streets, when he retired April 1, 1909, and was succeeded by his son Warren. Mr. Melot is active in politics, supporting the Republican party, was county committeeman for more than eight years, and was postmaster of Fleetwood for four years, appointed by President McKinley. While a loyal party man, he is above all a good citizen, and is held in general esteem.

On July 15, 1881, Mr. Melot married Miss Clara K. Kemp, daughter of Alfred C. and Susanna (Weaver) Kemp, of Lehigh county, Pa. She has borne her husband four children, namely: Maud married Irwin Leibensperger, of Fleetwood; Warren, twin to Maud, and present proprietor of the "Grand Central Hotel and Restaurant," married Miss Ida Heiter, and has four children, Harold, Milford, Clara and Roger; Gussie; and Morris, Jr. The family reside on the old Melot homestead and the aged grandmother, Mrs. Amos S. Melot, makes her home with them.


p. 982


David G. Mengel, residing about two miles south-west of Virginville, in Perry township, Berks Co., Pa., is a retired farmer, and at present is serving his township as supervisor. He was born March 1, 1850, on the place where he new resides, and where he has spent the greater part of his life.

Nicholas Mengel, the first of the family to come to America, was born in Germany, and in the middle of the eighteenth century in company with three other young men of his country came to America. He was a redemptioner, and was bound out until the cost of his passage was paid to a Mr. Gernand, a farmer in Maiden-creek township, Berks Co., Pa. After his freedom was obtained, he remained with his employer for three or more years. By frugality, industry and economy he earned sufficient means to purchase a tract of 300 acres of land in Maiden-creek township, and from that time until his death he engaged in its cultivation. He had a number of children, among who were: Frederick, Peter and Jacob.

Peter Mengel, son of Nicholas, moved from his native township to Fritztown, in Berks county, and there some years operated a saw-mill. As early as 1789 he moved to Caernarvon township, Berks county, and purchased 300 acres of land, and during the remainder of his life operated a sawmill. His sons were: (1) Henry, born in 1784, m. Hannah Schoener (1788-1868), and had children: Matthias, Peter, Christina, Hannah, Amelia and Eva Ann; (2) Abraham. Matthias Mengel, son of Henry and Hannah (Schoener), was born in 1814, and became an honored member of the Berks county Bar, and held a number of public offices. He died in 1905, at the age of ninety-one, the father of Henry, Jonathan P., Matthias and Levi W.

Jacob Mengel, son of Nicholas the emigrant, was born in 1777, and he died in his eighty-eighth year. He married Elizabeth Reichert, and to this union were born: Anna, Solomon, Jacob, Jeremiah, Elizabeth, Martin, Susanna (wife of John De Turck), Thomas Jonas and John. Jacob Mengel was a stone mason by trade, working at that occupation for many years, and finally giving it up to engage in agricultural pursuits, purchasing the Mengel homestead, now owned by Mr. David G. Mengle. He and his family are buried at Zion's Church in Perry township, of which church they were members, as have been the Mengels to the present time.

Thomas Mengel, son of Jacob, was born July 29, 1817, and he died in his eighty-sixth year. He married Catherine Gruber, daughter of John Adam Gruber, and she died June 22, 1888, in her seventy-second year, the mother of children as follows: Elizabeth m. Isaac U. Leiby; Susannah m. Elias Hollenbach; Mary m. Jacob Muntz; Abraham m. Sarah Seidel; and David G. Thomas Mengel was a carpenter by trade, and at this he worked for sixteen years, leaving it in 1850 to engage in farming, in which he successfully continued until 1877, when he retired and so lived until his death. He was a trustee of the church for many years.

David G. Mengel, during his active life, was engaged in farming, and he is now living retired, enjoying the fruits of his early labors. The farm is rented to one of his sons-in-law, Charles Kline. Mr. Mengel has a comfortable home, with fresh running water at hand, and a beautiful well kept lawn surrounds it. Mr. Mengel is a Democrat, and on various occasions has served his township in positions of honor and responsibility. He has served as auditor, school director and supervisor, and in his dealings with his fellowmen he has always been straightforward, bearing on enviable reputation for honesty and integrity.

On Sept. 15, 1876, Mr. Mengel married Louisa Bankes, daughter of Benjamin and Esther (Leiby) Bankes. To this union were born: Kate E. m. Lyman Becker, of Shoemakersville, Pa.; Mary L. m. Charles Kline, of Virginville; Hettie C. m. Wilson J. Adam, of Virginville; and Miss Annie B. is at home. The family are much esteemed for their many sterling qualities.

On the Mengel farm is an unexplored cave, of limestone formation. The entrance is large, but up to this time no one has ventured farther than 350 feet into the interior. Occasionally a current of rushing air from the opening is of sufficient strength to take off a man's hat, and during cold winter weather the rush of air caused the limestone rocks at the entrance to be covered with frost. There are a number of similar caves in the vicinity, and many believe that all are connected with the famous Crystal cave a few miles distant.


p. 1333


Ephraim Mengel, one of Maiden-creek township's most highly-esteemed citizens, who has been engaged in agricultural pursuits in this locality for many years, was born Feb. 2, 1838, on the old homestead in Maiden-creek township, son of Isaac and Susanna (Baver) Mengel.

Abraham Mengel, the grandfather of Ephraim, was a member of one of the oldest families of Berks county, as was his wife, whose maiden name was Magdalena DeWaldt. He died in middle life, while Mrs. Mengel survived him for a long period, and died at the age of eighty-two years. They had a family of eight children: Isaac, the father of Ephraim; William; Solomon; Abraham and Lazarus, who died young; Sarah, m. to Merkel Gideon; Lena, m. to David Unger; and Esther, m. to Daniel Becker.

Isaac Mengel was born Feb. 6, 1806 in Maiden-creek township, on the farm now owned by Ephraim, his son. He was a carpenter and builder by occupation, also following farming, and was one of the township's highly-esteemed citizens. Mr. Mengel was married to Susanna Baver, a descendant of the Greths, and five children were born to this union; Ephraim; Mary, unmarried; William, deceased , m. Anna Keim; Israel, is single; and Sarah m. Abraham Keim.

Ephraim Mengel was reared and educated on the homestead, and as a youth learned the trade of carpenter and builder, which he followed for some years, working for the Government in Virginia during 1864. On his return to Pennsylvania he continued in this occupation in Berks and Schuylkill counties, but subsequently came into possession of the old homestead, and has been operating it to the present time.

On Nov. 1, 1861, Mr. Mengel was married to Katie Moll, daughter of John and Elizabeth (Greenawaldt) Moll, and one child, Alvin, was born to this union. Mrs. Mengel died August 27, 1868, and Mr. Mengel was married (second) to Matilda Moll, a sister of his first wife. Three children were born to this union: Oscar Isaac, who married Lizzie Noll; John and Howard. Howard Mengel was a midshipman of the U. S. Navy for four years, during which time he went to nearly every point of interest in the world. Oct. 12, 1906, after receiving his honorable discharge from the navy, he started for home.

Mr. Mengel and family are members of Becker's St. Peter's Church. In politics he is a Democrat, and he has held a number of township offices, including school director, assessor, etc., but has never cared to become a politician.


p. 1304


J. Hain Mengel, a member of the well known real estate firm of Mengel & Mengel, located at No. 9 North Sixth Street, Reading, Pa., is a native of this city, where he was born March 28, 1873, son of Jonathan T. and Alice (Hain) Mengel, the latter of whom is a daughter of Jacob H. and Mary Ann (Goodhart) Hain. The grandparents on the paternal side were Matthias and Mary Ann (Phipps) Mengel.

J. Hain Mengel secured his education in the public schools of his native city, and graduated from the High School in the class of 1890. In 1896 Mr. Mengel, with his brother Ralph H., established the real estate firm of Mengel & Mengel, and this has continued to the present time with much success. Both members of the firm are active and able business men, and their standing in the community is that of substantial, reliable citizens. Mr. Mengel has been very prominent fraternally, belonging to Chandler Lodge, No. 227, F. & A. M.; Excelsior Chapter, No. 237, R. A. M.; Reading Lodge of Perfection, 14th degree; Philadelphia Consistory, 32d degree; and Rajah Temple, A. O. N. M. S. He is also connected with Vigilance Lodge, No. 194, I. O. O. F., Washington Camp No. 89, P. O. S. of A., and Juniata Tribe, No. 174, I. O. R. M.



Martin R. Mengel, proprietor of the "Kempton House," Kempton, Pa., is a native of Perry township, Berks county, born Nov. 23, 1852, son of Martin and Susan (Reber) Mengel.

Nicholas Mengel, was the first of the family to come to America, was born in Germany, and in the middle of the eighteenth century in company with three other young men of his country came to America. He was a redemptioner, and was bound out until the cost of his passage was paid by a Mr. Gernand, a farmer in Maiden-creek township, Berks Co., Pa. After his freedom was obtained, he remained with his employer three or more years. By frugality, industry and economy he earned sufficient means to purchase a tract of 300 acres of land in Maiden-creek township, and from that time until his death he engaged in its cultivation. He had a number of children among who were: Frederick, Peter and Jacob.

Jacob Mengel, grandfather of Martin R., born in 1777, lived in Perry township on the farm now owned by his grandson, David G. He was a farmer and owned a large tract of land. He died in his eighty-eighth year and is buried at Zion's Church, in Perry township, of which he was a Lutheran member. He married Elizabeth Reichert, and their children were: Solomon, Jacob, Jeremiah, Elizabeth (m. Benjamin Gruber), Martin, Ann (m. Solomon Schappell), Susan (m. John de Turck), Thomas, Jonas and John.

Martin Mengel, son of Jacob and Elizabeth, was born in Perry township about 1813, and died in 1884, and is buried at Zion's Church. By trade he was a stone mason, and he built many houses and barns through Maiden-creek township. He also owned a farm in Perry township, adjoining Zion's Church. This consisted of 160 acres of good land. He was very prosperous and left a good estate. In politics he was a Democrat, and held the office of school director. In religious belief he was a Lutheran and held a number of offices in the church. He married Susan Reber, daughter of Jacob Reber and wife, whose maiden name was Baer. To this union were born children as follows: Benjamin, Simon, Martin R., Franklin, Esther (m. Jeremiah Kerschner), Elizabeth (died young), Margaret (died young), Diana (m. Charles Moyer), Susan (m. (first) James Williams and (second) Frank Miller), Lovina (m. Heber Dries), Emma (died unmarried), and Mary (m. Adam Starr). Martin Mengel m. (second) Mary Frey, widow of a Mr. Smith of Albany. They lived at Hamburg, where Mrs. Mengel still resides, now past eighty years of age.

Martin R. Mengel, son of Martin, attended the common schools in his youth, and lived on the home farm until he was twenty-one. He then learned the blacksmith's grade from Daniel Smith, of Windsor Castle, and this he followed for three years in Iowa and South Dakota, living in the West from 1876 to 1896. He engaged in threshing out west, first with horse power and later with steam, carrying on that business for sixteen years. He threshed as much as 3,000 bushels of wheat in one day. He was very successful in his work, and carried on farming in addition to his threshing. In 1896, after his return to Berks county, he engaged in the hotel business at Windsor Castle, for two years, and then for two years conducted the "Half-Way House." In 1902 he purchased the "Kempton House," of which he took possession in November of that year, and he now has one of the best and most popular stands in the county. The hotel has twenty-two large rooms, with spacious halls, and is well patronized.

On Feb. 28, 1888, Mr. Mengel married Andora S. Stetzler, daughter of Jacob and Esther (Schappell) Stetzler, of Perry township. Mr. and Mrs. Mengel are members of Zion's Union Church, in Perry township, belonging to the Lutheran congregation. They are highly respected in the community.


p. 1476


The family to which belongs Melanchton Mengel of Perry township has been represented in that district since a time considerably prior to the Revolution. The progenitor of the Berks county branch is supposed to have been one Adam Mengel, who was a resident of Maiden-creek township and is on record in 1759 as having paid a tax of $7.04. He was a farmer, owning land along the Ontelaunee and tradition has it that he was buried on his farm. He is also said to have had a brother Frederick who served in the Revolution, and there is documentary proof that a certain Frederick Mengel, who fought as a private in Capt. Jacob Baldy's company, was a resident of upper Berks county.

The family line, so far as proved, runs back to Jacob Mengel, great-grandfather of Melanchton, who was born in 1777 and died in his eighty-eighth year. By his wife, who was Elizabeth Reichert, he had children as follows: Anna, Mrs. Schappell; Solomon; Jacob; Jeremiah; Jonas; John; Joseph; Elizabeth; Martin; Susanna, Mrs. John De Turk; Thomas; and one who died in youth. Jacob Mengel worked as a stone-mason for many years, but finally gave that up to engage in farming, and bought a tract of sixty-five acres in Perry township, property now owned by his grandson, David G. Mengel.

Joseph Mengel lived on a farm of over 200 acres in Windsor township. A large tax-payer, he was prominent in that district and wielded considerable influence there. His wife's maiden name was Jacoby and their children were: Jacob; Polly, who lived in Schuylkill county, and died there in 1905, aged eighty-three; Jesse; Daniel; Jeremiah; Mary, who died at the age of fifty-six; Sally Ann; Elizabeth; Samuel; and Joseph.

Samuel Mengel spent his entire life in Windsor township. In early life a stone mason he followed that calling a few years, but after his marriage he gave his whole attention to farming and was very successful in his operations. About ten years before his death he retired. Besides attending to his own business he took an active interest in local affairs, and served as school director with marked efficiency. Like all the Mengels he was a strong Democrat and always supported that party. He married Mary, daughter of Peter Zettlemoyer whose wife was a Seidel, and had eight children, Malinda, Serena, Melanchton, Cornelius, Ida, Clara, Rosa and Samuel. Parents and children alike were Lutherans, and Samuel Mengel was for some years an official in Zion's Church in Perry township.

Melanchton Mengel, oldest son of Samuel, was born on his father's farm, June 12, 1859, and spent his youth there, attending the township schools. He is now engaged as a produce dealer, besides conducting a large country route shipping to New York, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Norristown, and cities in Schuylkill county. Conscientious and conservative, of upright and honest life, he is a model for the young men of the region and stands high among the good citizens of Perry township.

On Dec. 25, 1883, Melanchton Mengel was united in marriage to Polly, daughter of Alfred K. and Diana (Williams) Rentschler. The former, Windsor township's foremost citizen, served as county treasurer from 1899 to 1902. Only one child has been born to this union, a daughter named Mary May. Miss Mengel has been given a most liberal education, attending several institutions of learning, among which one was the Irving Female College at Mechanicsburg. She has received a thorough musical training and is now a music teacher of note, with a large class of pupils. The family home in Shoemakersville, Perry township, is one of the finest residences in the district, most tasteful in design and handsomely furnished. The Mengels are alike prominent and popular and have many friends.


p. 460


Ralph H. Mengel, senior member of the firm of Mengel & Mengel, who are extensively engaged in the real estate and insurance business, is a member of the third generation of his family identified with business and public affairs in Reading, and the Mengels have been settled in Berks county for over a century.

Nicholas Mengel, the first ancestor of the family in this country, was a native of Germany and came to America with two other young Germans, in the early part of the eighteenth century. Following a custom quite common in those days, and having no money to pay their passage, they were bound out upon their arrival here to defray the cost of their transportation, Nicholas Mengel becoming the servant of John Gernant, an agriculturist of Maiden-creek township, Philadelphia (now Berks) county, Pa. His term expired in three or four years, after which he continued with Mr. Gernant for some time, and being industrious and economical he not only paid his way but was enabled to accumulate a little. He finally purchased 300 acres of land in Maiden-creek township.

Peter Mengel, son of Nicholas, was born on the old homestead in Maiden-creek township. When he started life on his own account he moved to Fritztown, Berks county, where he ran a sawmill for some years, and in 1789 he moved to Caernarvon township, this county, where he purchased 300 acres of land and passed the remainder of his life, continuing to run a sawmill. His family was a numerous one.

Henry Mengel, son of Peter, was born in 1784, and was a lifelong farmer. He married Hannah Schoener, who was born in 1788, and they had the following named children: Matthias, Peter, Christiana, Hannah, Amelia and Eva Ann. The mother died in 1868.

Matthias Mengel was born Jan. 13, 1814, on the old Mengel homestead near Morgantown, in Caernarvon township. He received his early education in the subscription schools of the period, and being ambitious to add to his knowledge continued his studies in private, becoming unusually well informed. His father wanted him to enter the legal profession, but he himself had no leaning toward such work in his early life, and he was past twenty-four when, on Jan. 30, 1838, he entered the office of Elijah Dechert, Esq. as a student-at-law. He was admitted to the Bar of Berks county, April 9, 1840, and commencing practice in Reading gained a very large patronage in the city and vicinity, in the active prosecution of which he continued for the remarkably long period of over sixty years, and died Feb. 18, 1905. Mr. Mengel was active for many years in the municipal government, serving as alderman for, altogether, thirty and one-half years. He was first elected to that office in the year 1845, was re-elected for the two succeeding terms, and was chosen again in 1868 and for many terms thereafter. The length of his service is sufficient evidence regarding the value of his services. He served two years as water commissioner, being appointed to fill the unexpired term of George K. Levan, Esq., deceased, was treasurer of the city school board from 1862 to 1868, and served as a notary public from 1880 until he died. In political sentiment Matthias Mengel was a stanch Democrat, but he voted according to his own views of the fitness of the case when it came to electing local officers. Though always a hard worker Mr. Mengel retained his strength and energy to the last, and was active as many younger men. For many years he was one of the most prominent citizens of Reading, and he was popular with the public and respected by his friends and associates everywhere.

Matthias Mengel was twice married, first to Mary Ann Phipps, daughter of Jonathan Phipps, of Chester county. To that marriage were born two children, Henry and Jonathan P., both of whom are deceased. The mother of these died Aug. 19, 1860, and Mr. Mengel subsequently married Amelia M. Soder, who survives him. She also became the mother of two children: Matthias, a practising physician of Chester county, Pa.; and Levi W., Professor of Chemistry, in the Boys' high school, Reading.

Jonathan P. Mengel was born in Reading in 1849, and passed away at the early age of thirty, in 1879. He married Alice V. Hain, and they had three children: Ralph H., J. Hain, and a daughter that died in infancy. Mr. Mengel was a young man of admirable character, and his untimely demise was mourned by many outside of the immediate family circle.

Ralph H. Mengel was born Jan. 8, 1872, in Reading, and received his literary education in the public schools, graduating from high school in 1890. Having passed the preliminary examination for admission to the Bar he read law under the tutorship of Hon. H. Willis Bland, Esq., with whom he continued for one year, until Mr. Bland was appointed judge. He then read in the office of Cyrus G. Derr, and was admitted to the Bar Nov. 6, 1893, since which time he has been engaged in legal work in Reading. On Feb. 27, 1899, he was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, and on Dec. 2, 1902, he was admitted to the Superior court. Mr. Mengel, however, has not confined himself strictly to legal business, having made several successful ventures into other fields, in which he has found his professional knowledge invaluable.

In 1896, upon the death of their uncle, George P. Zieber, Mr. Mengel and his brother, J. Hain Mengel, purchased the real estate and insurance business formerly conducted by that gentleman at No. 60 South Sixth street. They organized for business under the style of Mengel & Mengel. In 1903 the firm purchased the old Times building, on North Sixth street, which they greatly remodeled, moving their offices to that location, where they have since remained. Their rooms are handsomely and conveniently equipped for the accommodation of their large patronage, the firm being one of the best known business concerns in the city. They have the largest business of the kind in Reading, and give employment to a large corps of clerks and assistants. Both members of the firm rank among the most progressive citizens of Reading, are members of the city Board of Trade, and are giving substantial aid toward making the city one of the foremost in the Commonwealth. The firm issue monthly a valuable business publication, Mengel's Real Estate Register, which has a wide distribution and is considered authority on real estate of Reading and Berks county. It is a thirty-two-page pamphlet.

In addition to the interests already mentioned, Mr. Mengel serves as a director of the Commercial Trust company, which he helped to establish, and is also its legal adviser. As may be judged from the important affairs entrusted to him, Mr. Mengel is one of the best known young business men of Reading, and he has won his way to the front rank of successful citizens by the exercise of a rare degree of tact and ability.

Mr. Mengel has numerous social connections, being a member of the Reading Alumni Association; the Americus Club; the Temple Club; Vigilance Lodge, No. 194, I. O. O. F.; Friendship Commandery, No. 247, A. and I. O. Knights of Malta; Washington Camp No. 417, P. O. S. of A.; Lodge No. 62 F. & A. M.; Reading Royal Arch Chapter, No. 152; De Molay Commandery, No. 9, K. T.; Philadelphia Consistory, S. P. R. S., 32nd degree; Reading Lodge of Perfection, 14th degree; and Rajah Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S.

On Oct. 6, 1904, Mr. Mengel married Miss Deborah D. De Turck, a daughter of Lewis P. and Sarah P. (De Turck) De Turck, and they reside at No. 532 Walnut street, Reading.


p. 968


Solomon Mengel, for many years a prominent and highly esteemed citizen of Reading, was born in Maiden-creek township, Berks county, Feb. 8, 1812, son of Abraham and Magdeline (Dewald) Mengel.

Nicholas Mengel, the grandfather of Solomon, was born in Germany, and was the first of the family t o come to America, making the voyage with three other young men. He was a redemptioner, and was bound out to a Mr.

Gernand, a farmer of Maiden-creek township, to pay his passage. By industry and frugality he became the owner of 300 acres of land in the same township. After the death of Nicholas, Abraham Mengel took the farm of his father and it has remained in the family to the present time, now being operated by Ephraim Mengel, great -grandson of Nicholas. Abraham Mengel and his wife were the parents of the following children: Isaac, Sarah, Lena, William, Esther, Mary, Lazarus, Absalom, Solomon.

Solomon Mengel was thirteen years of age when his father died, and at this time he located in reading to learn the trade of tin and coppersmith, later being in partnership with Mr. Shenfelter, a connection which continued until Mr. Mengel's retirement, when he gave the business over to his sons. He died in 1873, and his wife, who had been Catherine Burns, in 1901. They were the parents of the following children: Margaretta m. Asaph Prutzman; Emma died Dec. 25, 1908; Amelia L. m. Benjamin Parvin, and died Dec. 10, 1905; Milton L. m. Emily Homan; William J. Died single; Mary is deceased; James m. Emily Madeira; Charles S. m. Millicent Booth; Howard B. And K. Laura.

In religious belief the family are connected with the Lutheran faith. Politically Mr. Mengel was formerly a Democrat, but at the time of Lincoln's administration became connected with the Republican party, which he stanchly supported throughout the remainder of his life, although he, himself, never sought office. He was a good citizen, a kind and indulgent father and a Christian citizen, and in his death Reading lost one whose place will be hard to fill.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:55:22 EDT

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