Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


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Mohn Family. The founder of this early family in the history of Berks county was Johannes Mohn, the great-great-grandfather of the present generation. He was born at Hanover, Germany, in 1700, and emigrated with his wife and four children to Pennsylvania in 1733. In the Pennsylvania Archives (second series), Volume 17, page 83, it appears that he took passage on the ship "Elizabeth" from Rotterdam, and was qualified Aug. 27, 1733. On page 106 of this publication the names of himself and family, and their ages, are given as follows: Johannes Mohn, 33; Margaret Mohn, 44; Marica (Maria), 10; Matiles (Magdalena), 8; Vernor (Werner), 6; Conon Ludwig (Ludwig) 3*.

By the patent records of Pennsylvania it appears that John Moon (Mohn) in 1737 took up a tract of 174 acres of land in Cumru (now Spring) township, and in 1744 another tract of seventy-one acres; and that, in 1750, he purchased forty-nine acres from Dietrich Marshall (which was a part of 341 acres taken up by Marshall in 1737). This land was situated along the Cacoosing creek, in the vicinity of Fritztown. In 1758, he sold the tract of forty-nine acres to his son Ludwig. He was a farmer by occupation. He died in September, 1764, leaving a last will by which it appears that his four children survived him, and that his two daughters had become married-Magdalena to George Hean (Hain), and Maria to Jacob Ledy.

His younger son, Ludwig, carried on farming in the same vicinity until after the Revolution, and then removed to Brecknock (now Sprint) township, where he continued farming operations until he died in January, 1796. He married Anna Odilia Bautz, and by his last will it appears he had five sons-John, Ludwig, Henry, Daniel and Peter-and three daughter-Susanna (m. Philip Hatt); Elizabeth (m. ---- Geyer); and Margaret (m. Jacob Albright).

Daniel, the fourth son, was born in the vicinity of Fritztown, and when a young man accompanied his father to Brecknock township, where he carried on farming until his decease in 1846. He was married to Barbara Albright, and by her had twelve children: Six sons: Daniel (m. Barbara Fisher), John (m. Elizabeth Kegerize), William (described in this sketch), Benjamin (m. first Harriet Deets, and second Sarah Shultz), Henry (m. Catharine VonNeida), and Joseph (m. Catharine Burkhart); and six daughters, Elizabeth (died unmarried in 1878, aged eighty years); Catharine (m. Adam Grill), Sarah (m. first Philip Grill and second Simpson Ruth), and Selina, Maria, and Polly (died young).

William Mohn (the third son and seventh child of Daniel) was born at Mohn's Hill Sept. 6, 1804. He was a farmer by occupation, having purchased the homestead from his father and cultivated it for a number of years; then he removed to Adamstown and engaged in the business of manufacturing flour, having purchased a gristmill and carried it on successfully for ten years. He manifested much interest in religious affairs and became prominent in the Evangelical Church, serving in all the principal offices. He established a school and church at Mohn's Hill, and some years after his decease his son Jeremiah purchased the church property, and in 1895 presented it to the congregation worshiping there as a memorial to his parents, known since then as Mohn's Memorial Church. He died Jan. 23, 1889. He was married three times. His first wife was Polly Gerner, by whom he had nine children, seven sons (James G., Cyrus, Henry G., William G., Jeremiah G., Richard and John G.) and two daughters (Susanna m. Elias Redcay, and Catharine m. George Hendel). The mother having died May 16, 1851, he was subsequently married (second to Margaret Adams, and third to Mrs. Katie Palm, by whom had had no children.

Jeremiah Gerner Mohn, vice-president of the Penn National Bank and prominently identified with the hat industry at Reading as the senior partner of J. G. Mohn & Bros., was born at Mohn's Hill Nov. 1, 1839 (fifth son of William Mohn). His education was acquired in the schools of Spring township, and at Adamstown and Churchtown, in Lancaster county. In 1857, when eighteen years of age, he began clerking in a general store at Mohnsville, which was carried on by his cousin, S. K. Mohn, and after remaining there three years accepted a similar position in the general store of Mohn & Spatz at Gouglersville, where he continued a year. While at the latter place, he cast his first vote for President of the United States on Nov. 1, 1860, this having been for Abraham Lincoln, in which fact he take a special pride. For the next ten years he was engaged in stores at Reinholdsville, Adamstown and Reamstown, filling for four years the position of general manager and bookkeeper in the store of J. R. Reddig, at Reamstown; then in 1870, he became the bookkkeeper and shipping clerk in the hat factory of his brother-in-law, George Hendel, at Reading, and after filling this position for a year and feeling qualified to embark in the same business he joined his brothers William, Richard and John in the purchase of this factory, and they organized the firm of Mohn Brothers for the manufacture of wool hats. [For his connection with this firm and with J. G. Mohn & Bros, see following sketch of J. G. Mohn & Bros.]

For many years Mr. Mohn has been closely identified with outer business enterprises at Reading. He is a director of the Penn National Bank, serving as vice-president since its incorporation in 1883; and also a director of the Reading Trust Company since its incorporation, in 1886; and also a member of the Board of Trade, having served as president in 1905 and 1906. In politics he is a Republican, and as such represented the Third ward in the select branch of city councils from 1888 to 1892.

Inheriting a strong religious nature, he has taken an active part in the United Evangelical Church from its inception in 1894, having previously, since his boyhood, been connected with the Evangelical Church. He was chairman of the building committee in the erection of the fine edifice of the First U. E. Church at Eighth and Court streets, toward which he was a liberal contributor. He is president of the board of trustees (having been a member of the board continuously for thirty-seven years), and he is the treasurer of the Missionary Society. He was a delegate to the First General Conference, which was held at Naperville, Ill., in November, 1894; and he has been a delegate to the East Pennsylvania Conference from its first meeting in 1894 to the present time. He has been the treasurer of the Albright Collegiate Institute for twenty-nine years, and a member of the board of trustees since its foundation; and, in appreciation of its educational efforts, he in 1908 presented to this college the three-story brick building and six acres of adjoining ground (formerly the Behne mansion at Myerstown), which the institution set apart for the use of the young women students and dedicated as the Jeremiah Gerner Mohn Hall. He is also a member of the board of publication at Harrisburg, and of the board of managers of the Chautauqua at Lebanon; also president of the board of trustees of the Reading Y. M. C. A.

Mr. Mohn married Jan. 28, 1865, Annie Shirk, daughter of Henry Shirk, of Adamstown, and his wife Hannah Zell (who was a daughter of John Zell); by whom he had a son, Charles Ellsworth. His wife died June 4, 1867. He then, on Oct. 7, 1869, married (second) Susanna, daughter of Daniel and Mary (Lutz) Royer, of Lancaster county, and they had the following children: Ada Mary, a graduate from the musical department of Albright College, who married Herbert Landis (employed since 1898 by the Reading Trust Company; Harry Scott, born May 17, 1874, and Howard R., born May 17, 1879, both dying in youth; and Elmer L. His second wife died Aug. 29, 1883, and on Nov. 10, 1885, he married (third) Emma S., daughter of John H. Spatz, of Mohnton. He has had two children by the wife last names: Maud, born Oct. 7, 1886, who died April 28, 1887; and Luella Faith, now being educated at Albright College.

Charles E. Mohn (son of Jeremiah G.) was born at Reamstown, Lancaster Co., Pa., May 21, 1867. After completing the public school course at Reading he entered Schuylkill Academy, where he continued until June, 1883, when he entered his father's hat factory in order to learn the business. He passed through the minor positions, then became a presser and afterward a hardener, filling the latter position at the present time. He has been in the employ of J. G. Mohn & Bros. continuously until the present time, except for five years when he was a partner in the Mohn Hat Company at Mohnsville. He married Eulalia Blankenbiller, daughter of Joseph and Emma (Hinnershitz) Blankenbiller. They have one son, Winfield H., now in school. He is a member of the First United Evangelical Church at Reading.

Elmer L. Mohn (son of Jeremiah G.) was born Oct. 14, 1881, attended the schools of Reading, graduated from Albright College in 1902 and from the Eastman Business College, Poughkeepsie, N. Y., in 1903. He then engaged in the wholesale coal business with offices at Philadelphia and Reading, in which he has been very successful. He married Mary Elizabeth Horst, of Myerstown (daughter of George H. Horst, cashier of the Myerstown National Bank). She is a graduate of Albright College and of Swarthmore College.

Richard Mohn, a member of the firm of J. G. Mohn & Bros., was born on the old homestead at Mohn's Hill Jan. 23, 1844. His education was obtained in the public schools of his native township and later at Adamstown, Lancaster county. During the progress of the Civil war, he enlisted on Feb. 23, 1864, in Company B, 55th Regiment, P. V. I., and participated in the battles of Cold Harbor and Petersburg, and of the Richmond campaign; and he was mustered out of service with the regiment at Petersburg, Va., Aug. 31, 1865. After his return he worked in a grist-mill at Adamstown which was owned by his brother Henry G. (who had been previously employed there). He worked also in a hat factor at Adamstown, where he had charge of the shipping and packing department. In 1871, he went to Reading and became associated with his brother in the manufacture of wool hats, under the firm name of J. G. Mohn & Bros., and he has continued with the firm until the present time. He has served as a director of the National Union Bank of Reading for a number of years.

On Jan. 6, 1870, Mr. Mohn married Elizabeth Prutzman, daughter of Samuel Prutzman, of Adamstown, and by her had four children: Edgar P., who died in 1907; William R., manager of the estate at Pine Grove of the late ex-Mayor Weimer of Lebanon; Bessie A.; and Earl S., at home. In politics, Mr. Mohn is a Republican. He served as a member of the school board from the Tenth ward; and has been a member of McLean Post, No. 16, G. A. R., for many years.

Picture of John Gerner MohnJohn Gerner Mohn was born at Mohn's Hill, in Berks county, Nov. 19, 1846, and received his education in the public schools of that vicinity and at Adamstown, two miles distant. When seventeen years old, he enlisted in the Civil war, having been mustered into the service at Reading on Feb. 23, 1864, with Company B., 55th Regiment P. V. I., and he continued in the service with this regiment until it was mustered out at Petersburg on Aug. 31, 1865. He participated in several of the largest battles of the war, but was never wounded. Upon returning home he learned the trade of hatting at St. Lawrence, in Exeter township, in the factor of John and George Hendel (the latter having been his brother-in-law), and he continued with the firm until 1871. Having mastered the details of the business, he united with his brothers William, Jeremiah and Richard in carrying on the manufacture of hats under the firm name of Mohn Brothers. [For his connection with this firm and with J. G. Mohn & Bros. from 1871 to the present time, see the following sketch of J. G. Mohn & Bros.].

Mr. Mohn married Cecelia A. Harbster, daughter of the late William Harbster (whose sketch and portrait appear in this publication) and Ellen Matthews, his wife, of Reading; and they have a son, William Harbster (having also had three daughters, who died young). They are members of the First Presbyterian Church, in which he has served as one of the trustees since 1884. His wife has been active in religious and charitable work in Reading for upward of twenty years. She has taught a class in the Sunday-school of the First Presbyterian Church continuously since 1885, some of the children of the first pupils being in her class now; and she has had charge of the mother's meetings of the church for the past sixteen years. She has been a member of the Widows' Home since its organization, in 1874, serving as one of its managers for the past ten years. She has been prominently identified with the Ladies' Auxiliary of the Y. M. C. A. for many years, serving as its treasurer since 1892; and the charitable work of the Reading Benevolent Society has received much of her attention since 1890. Her husband has also been prominently identified with the Y. M. C. A. as one of its managers for twenty-five year, filling the office of treasurer for fifteen years.

Politically Mr. Mohn has been affiliated with the Republican party from the time he attained his majority. From 1874 to 1876 he represented the Third ward in the common council; and from 1876 to 1888 he represented this ward in the school board. He has identified himself actively with a number of local financial and business institutions, as follows: as director of the Keystone National Bank, of Reading Hardware Company, and of the Consolidated Hardware Company; president of the National Brass & Iron Works, and of the Reading Screw Company. He has been a member of Chandler Lodge, F. & A. M. No. 227, for forty years; and for many years a member of Keim Post, No. 76, G. A. R.

William Harbster Mohn, Mr. Mohn's son, was born at Reading July 24, 1872, and educated in the public schools and at Blairstown Hall, New Jersey. For a short time he was employed in the hat factory of J. G. Mohn & Bros., and then entered the National Brass & Iron Works in the mounting department. After a thorough course of five years in this department he was promoted to the position of foreman, and in 1902 became superintendent of the plant. He filled the position of superintendent until 1908, when he became associated with Edward Kershner under the name of Mohn & Kershner, for the manufacture of foundry and art metal goods, in which the firm have since been successfully engaged, employing eighty hands. He married Hallie Adams (daughter of Daniel L. Adams, founder of the Reading Radiator Works at Reading), and they have two children, Kathryn and John Daniel. He is connected with the First Presbyterian Church, in which he has taken a very active part, and for thirteen years has served as treasurer of the Sunday-school.

The firm of J. G. Mohn & Bros has been a prominent industrial enterprise at Reading in the manufacture of wool hats for thirty-five years. It is constituted of three brothers, Jeremiah G. Mohn, Richard Mohn and John G. Mohn, who had acquired practical experience in the business before starting for themselves.

In 1871, the brothers named and an elder brother, William, purchased the hat factory of their brother-in-law, George Hendel, which he had established at Reading on Maple street, south of Chestnut, in 1867, and carried on until that time, and they then organized a partnership under the name of Mohn Brothers for the manufacture of wool hats. The firm began operating with fifty hands and carried on the plant successfully, with an annual production exceeding 10,000 dozen, for three years, when the elder brother, the senior partner, died and the three surviving brothers purchased his interest and reorganized the firm on Jan. 1, 1875, under the name of J. G. Mohn & Bros.; and since then, for upward of thirty years, this firm has been engaged in the wool hat business at Reading with great success, increasing their employes from fifty to three hundred, developing their annual production form 10,000 dozen to 100,000 dozen, and extending their trading relations to all parts of the United States and Canada and also South American countries.

The firm's first factory on Maple street was destroyed by fire on March 17, 1875, but they rebuilt it the same year, and after operating it until Jan. 1, 1881, sold it to the Reading Fur Hat Company. In 1878 they purchased the old and well-established fat factory of Kutz, Arnold & Co., on Eleventh street, south of Chestnut, and then began to operate this plant in conjunction with the Maple street factory and the Levan factory at the rear of No. 1026 Penn street, which they had leased. The Eleventh street plant was carried on very successfully with one hundred and fifty hands until Sept. 6, 1892, when it was almost totally destroyed by fire. They rebuilt it immediately and operated it with increased energy and success until Feb. 13, 1899, when (during a violent snowstorm and blizzard late in the evening, with snow lying on the sidewalks and roof-tops two feet deep) a third fire visited their large industrial establishment, verily "like a thief in the night," and caused a total loss. Undaunted, with greater resolution than before, they rebuilt their factory, introducing the latest and best machinery for the manufacture of wool hats, and resumed operations with over two hundred hands; and in 1905 they erected a large addition, which made their plant one of the largest hat factories in Pennsylvania. It is recognized as one of the important industries at Reading which has afforded constant employment to a faithful little army of people, male and female, old and young, and thereby contributed a considerable share in the development of Reading.

Samuel Kegerise Mohn was born Nov. 21, 1824, in Cumru township, Berks county, near Gouglersville, and after receiving a common school education, pursued until he was sixteen years old, learned the trade of miller at Adamstown, Lancaster county, which he finished at the age of twenty-one years. In 1846 he accompanied his uncle, Benjamin Mohn, who then established a grist-mill along the Wyomissing creek at a point now called Mohnton, and he opened a general store in this mill. He received the appointment as first postmaster of the postoffice established at that place in 1857, which was then named Mohn's Store. He was engaged in the store business for about fifteen years.

Mr. Mohn was brought up in the faith of the Evangelical Church, becoming a member when sixteen years old, and from that time on showed much devotion to its affairs, becoming in succession class-leader, exhorter and steward. He assisted in establishing Salem Evangelical Church at that place in 1849, and has served as one of the trustees until the present time-a continuous period of sixty years. He also took great interest in the Sunday-school work, officiating for many years as superintendent.

Mr. Mohn was married in 1847 to Susanna Spatz (daughter of John Spatz, of that vicinity), and they had ten children, five of whom reached maturity: Charles S. (m. Mary Redcay), Susanna C. (m. John A. Bohler), Mary S. (m. John A. Seitzinger), Ella M. (m. George H. Leininger) and Kate (m. Tyson L. Huyett).

Mr. Mohn is a son of John Mohn, and grandson of Daniel Mohn. For his antecedent history in the Mohn line, see preceding sketch of Mohn family.



Rev. Henry V. Mohn, whose labors in the United Brethren and Congregational Churches have made him well known throughout Berks county, is now a resident of Shillington, Cumru township, and a leader in public-spirited movements. He was born Aug. 9, 1842, in Lancaster county, Pa., son of Henry A. and Catherine (Von Neida) Mohn, and grandson of Daniel Mohn.

Daniel Mohn was born Dec. 24, 1767, at Mohn's Hill, Berks county, and there married Barbara Albright, born Feb. 25, 1773. In 1793 he purchased the homestead from his father, upon which he erected two houses; the eastern one, built in 1828, is still standing, being one of the landmarks of Berks county. His son, Henry A., born Dec. 20, 1810, in Cumru township, acquired a fair education and then learned the blacksmith's trade at Adamstown. For several years he carried on this business at Muddy Forks, and then purchased a mill property, operating the mill in connection with agricultural pursuits for ten years. He died at Fritztown, Pa., June 18, 1866, and his wife, who bore the maiden name of Catherine Von Neida, passed away Sept. 12, 1888.

Henry V. Mohn attended the public schools in his youth, and in August, 1861, enlisted in Company H, 1st Battalion, 15th Untied States Infantry, in the regular service, under Captain Curtis. He served three years and three months, and participated in a number of battles, including Shiloh, Stone River, Chickamauga and Mission Ridge, being wounded at Chickamauga in the left leg, and on Aug. 7, 1864, Sunday afternoon, at Atlanta, Ga., in the elbow joint of the right arm, the latter wound still causing him some inconvenience. He was mustered out at Jeffersonville, Ind., in 1864, and returning to his home at Fritztown, Berks county, attended the People's Commercial College at Reading, from which he was graduated. He then attended Westfield College in Illinois for a period of two years, and on his return home entered the ministry, his first charge being the Susquehanna circuit of the United Brethren Church in Snyder county. After one year there Mr. Mohn was appointed Sunday-school missioner, in which position he served two years in eastern Pennsylvania, when he again entered the ministry, serving the Harrisburg circuit, and being later at Columbia, Allentown and Mt. Airy, Philadelphia. On account of throat trouble he was obliged to retire, and returned to Allentown for five years, at the end of this time accepting a call to Baltimore, Md., where he continued for five years. In 1887 he returned to Pennsylvania, and, locating in Reading, built the United Brethren Memorial Church at the corner of Buttonwood and McKnight streets, over which he presided for eight years. In 1892 Mr. Mohn located in Shillington and erected his fine residence there, one of the finest structures in Cumru township. He has been very much interested in all movements which have had as their object the advancement of this place, the first meetings of the organization committee to make Shillington a borough being held in the study of his residence. He is a clear, convincing, forcible speaker and is fearless in his exposition of the Word of God. In political matters he is a Republican.

Rev. Mr. Mohn was married (first) to Alvesta Schmeyer, daughter of Tillman and Elizabeth (Vickert) Schmeyer, and she died in 1874, the mother of three children: Naarah, John and Harry, the latter of whom is deceased. Mr. Mohn was married (second) to Emma Mark, daughter of Rev. j. H. and Hettie (van Reed) Mark, of Allentown, and to this union there were born: William, deceased; Rhoda R.; Mark, decease; Vaniah, deceased; Hervin, deceased; Chester and Emma.


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Wesley D. Mohn, merchant and contractor at Mohnton, Pa., was born in Cumru township, Berks county, May 5, 1853, son of the late Benjamin and Harriet (Deeds) Mohn.

Benjamin Mohn, who was born in Cumru township in 1806, learned the shoemaking trade when a boy, but later went to farming. In 1846, he founded Mohnsville, now known as Mohnton, building the first house at this place. He also erected a gristmill in the same year along Wyomissing creed, engaging in this business for about twenty years in connection with clearing his land, and then he engaged in the manufacture of boxes, in which he was very successful, to the time of his death. His death, caused by a fall down a stairway, occurred in his eighty-third year, and he was buried at the Mohnton cemetery.

Wesley D. Mohn attended the township schools, and when a young man learned the blacksmith's trade, and also the wheelwright's trade with Daniel Peiffer at Mohnton. He engaged in the manufacture of wagons, and this he followed successfully for twenty-two years, then engaging in contracting, in which he still continues. He established his store at Mohnton in 1891, and this has become the leading general store of Cumru township. In January 1906, Mr. Mohn admitted his son, H. Irwin, to partnership, and the firm has since been known as W. D. Mohn & Son. From 1891 to 1897 Mr. Mohn was postmaster, this office having been established by a cousin, Mr. S. K. Mohn. Mr. Mohn is also interested in many other business enterprises, having been connected with the Allentown & Reading Traction Co. since 1897, serving as its treasurer in 1903; he has been a director and second largest stockholder in that company since that time. At present he is vice-president of that corporation. He is a director of the Kutztown Electric Light & Power Company, one of the founders of the Mohnton Water Company, and superintendent of the latter industry. Mr. Mohn was one of the instigators in building the Reading & South Western Electric Railway (connecting Mohnton and Reading). He secured the rights of way for this road, and also raised $30,000.00 in stock at Mohnton. This stock was paid back, along with interest at six per cent., when the road changed hands. Mr. Mohn is also senior member of the machine company located at Carpenter and Cherry streets, Reading, known as W. D. Mohn & Co. His interests are many and varied, and he is considered on of the most substantial citizens of Cumru Township.

On March 1, 1873, Mr. Mohn married Sarah Binkley, daughter of Jeremiah and Mary (Kline) Binkley, and to this union were born children as follows: Margaret, a graduate of the Keystone State Normal School in the class of 1901, has taught school for several years; Irwin, in business with his father, married Sarah Fitterling; Minnie A. is interested in charitable and religious work; Clara E. married Adam Bear; Anna, a graduate of the Keystone State Normal School, class of 1904, is now engaged in teaching school; Wayne, a graduate of the Kirst College of Stenography, is employed at the Mohnton store; and Pearl attends the township high school. Mr. Mohn is a Republican in politics, and his fraternal connections are with the K. of P., No 485; the K. G. E., No. 211; and O. U. A. M., of Mohnton. He is faithful member of the Zion United Evangelical Church, having been trustee thereof since 1885, and a liberal supporter of the church.


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John H. Mohr, deceased, who will be remembered by the older business men of this section as a leading merchant of his day, and who spent his life in Mohrsville, which town was founded by his ancestors many years before, was born in that borough in 1804.

Mr. Mohr received his education in the schools of his native place, and early in life his attention was turned to the mercantile business, in which he was successfully engaged throughout his life. His death occurred in the prime of his life, in 1857. Mr. Mohr was married to Angeline Madeira, daughter of Nicholas and Rebecca (Wartz) Madeira, and granddaughter of Michael Madeira, and there were six children born to this union, as follows: John J.; James N.; Lewis; Howard N., who is deceased; Susannah M., and Anna, deceased.

In religious belief Mr. John H. Mohr was a Lutheran, while his wife was connected with the faith of the Reformed Church.


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Raymond Mohr, the founder of the well-known firm of Raymond Mohr & Son, of Birdsboro, this county, was a resident and business man of that place for the long period of half a century, having settled there in 1857. He made his early success as a contractor, and builder, and later displayed equal ability in the undertaking and furniture line, having for many years the only establishment of the kind ever conducted in Birdsboro. His son, Edwin F. Mohr, has succeeded his interest, having been associated in the business with his father since 1895.

Mr. Mohr was born Sept. 30, 1834, near Gibraltar, in Robeson township, this county, on his father's farm, the property at present occupied by Mrs. James Trate. Samuel Mohr, his father, was a carpenter by calling, and had a great reputation as a builder of barns, following the method then in vogue of hewing the timber from the tree, and framing it together with tenon and mortise, fastening each with pins instead of by the nailing process which now prevails. Although Samuel Mohr had acquired little education, he had a marvelous faculty of being able to designate beforehand each stick and make an accurate general list of the lumber that would be required for a building. His son, Raymond, gave evidence of a mechanical turn, and the father taught him the trade, making him as capable as himself in the ability to specify requirements of materials for a building. The son became noted as an excellent workman, rapid, and decidedly industrious. By his own efforts he became a fine draughtsman, and in nearly every case designed and made the general and detail drawings for the building he erected.

After receiving some education in the township school, Raymond Mohr came to Birdsboro in 1857. In 1858 he married Mary, eldest daughter of the late Daniel Focht, of Robeson. Upon deciding to make Birdsboro the scene of his life's work, Mr. Mohr purchased the lot where his late residence now stands, on Furnace street, at a time when only two houses were on said street. He erected his own house putting on all the weather-boarding and the finish with his own hands. He then began the contracting and building business, in which he soon developed a large trade. In one year he erected for E. & G. Brooke, of the town, forty-eight houses. He erected No. 1 and No. 2 blast furnaces for the Brookes, the nail factory building, the mansion now occupied by George Brooke, and a large addition to the present Birdsboro residence of Robert E. Brooke. The two mansions erected by the late Mrs. M. T. Clingan, at Clingan Station, were build by Mr. Mohr, as were also many of the large store buildings and good class of residences in the town. In his early days he erected the pipe mill and other manufacturing buildings for Seyfert & McManus, at Reading. He was especially capable in the erection of heavy work, understood rigging and the use of hoisting apparatus, and was an excellent handler of large forces of men.

Mr. Mohr's father was an undertaker, and taught his son the trade, and in 1860 Raymond Mohr engaged in the business at Birdsboro. When he learned the trade only coffins were used as the casements for corpses, and they were made by hand. The present handsome finishings were unknown, and they were devoid of linings, a bundle of shavings serving for a pillow. The lids were made of wood and put on with ordinary wood screws. The best ones were rubbed with wax to secure a polish, and a hot flat iron was used to rub the melted wax to a gloss. There were no hearses, the coffin being placed on a spring wagon, and around it sat as many of the friends as could get into the vehicle.

When Mr. Mohr took hold of the business he at once introduced improved methods, purchased the best up-to-date outfits, and at the time of his death was equipped for the business in a manner fully equal to the best city directors. In addition to undertaking he engaged in the furniture business, conducting the only store of the kind that the town ever boasted. This store he designed and erected himself, adjoining his dwelling, and he always made it a point to keep a stock and assortment equal to city standards. He had a most active career, meeting with uncommon success. Besides many other financial interests, he possessed at the time of his death forty houses in Birdsboro, and owned property in other places. His building business was the most extensive of any in the county outside of Reading; his furniture store controlled a trade almost as great as some of the big Reading houses, and in his work as a funeral director he personally supervised over five thousand funerals. He was one of the oldest undertakes in continuous business in the county and his reputation extended throughout Berks county and beyond.

Mr. Mohr was one of the leading citizens of Birdsboro, identified with many of the public affairs of the place. He served a term in the town council and could have held official position many times had he permitted the use of this name. He was a member if Neversink Lodge, No, 514, I. O. O. F., a director of the Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Berks County, a member of the State Funeral Directors' Association, and of Friendship Fire Company, No. 1, of Birdsboro. When St. Mark's Lutheran Church was instituted in Birdsboro he was one of the first members, and he continued an attendant and a supporter of the cause until his death. He was ever alert to progress in business, took an eager interest in current events, and in the management of this varied interest displayed an industry and activity comparatively phenomenal.

Mr. Mohr departed this life Feb. 14, 1907, leaving a wife and two children: Mary Louisa, now the wife of Reese E. Beard, of Reading; and Edwin F., residing in Birdsboro, Pa. A son, Louis Raymond, died Dec. 17, 1893, aged twenty-one years.

Edwin F. Mohr, son of Raymond Mohr, of Birdsboro, was born April 29, 1875, in Birdsboro, and received his education in the public schools. He has given all his working years, to the business in which he is still engaged, and which he learned thoroughly under paternal instruction, supplemented by his own well-directed efforts. He took a course in the Massachusetts School of Embalming, from which he graduated Nov. 18, 1898, and has spared no pains to make the service from his establishment up to the best standards anywhere. His methods and equipment are first-class in every respect, and he has kept his business up in every line. For some years he was engaged in the furniture business, his stock of furniture and carpets equaling those found at the large business centers. Very recently he relinquished this department of trade, to give his entire attention to funeral directing. He is progressive and enterprising, being one of the most active young business men of the borough, and is broad and generous in his dealings, whether in business or private life. He is well known in his line, being a prominent member of the Funeral Directors' Association of Pennsylvania.

On June 23, 1897, Mr. Mohr married Miss Sadie Geyer, daughter of Henry A. Geyer, of Birdsboro, and they have had one son Raymond. Mr. and Mrs. Mohr are members of St. Mark's Lutheran Church, and in fraternal connections he is an Odd Fellow, belonging to Neversink Lodge, No. 514, of Birdsboro, and Lodge 115, B. P. O. E. Elks, of Reading. He is also a member for Friendship Fire Company No. 1, of his native town. He is Republican in political faith, and active in the work of the party, representing it in county and State conventions from time to time.

Since Mr. Mohr has given his sole attention to the undertaking business, he has kept pace with the leaders in that line and is excelled only by directors of the large cities in ability to conduct funerals. He knowledge is ever added to by the investigation and adoption of the latest processes and his painstaking and assiduous in his efforts to enhance his skill and be a credit to his associates in the profession, and give satisfaction to his patrons. He constantly improves his needed paraphernalia, and never allows his equipment to deteriorate or become incongruous with the times. As a consequence he has gained for himself the respect of his competitors, and drawn to himself a large clientele, in his local town and from a large radius in the surround districts.


p. 714


William Shoemaker Mohr, a highly esteemed resident of Reading, Pa., and former cashier of the Citizen's Bank thereof, was born at Mohrsville, Berks Co., Pa., June 28, 1844, son of Charles H. Mohr.

The town of Mohrsville was founded by the great-grandfather of William S. Mohr, who came from Germany and settled in Berks county. His son, Jacob, was born at Mohrsville, and was widely known as the tavern-keeper there.

Charles H. Mohr, father of William S., was also born at Mohrsville, and when a young man learned the tanning trade, later engaging in that business at his native place. However, he finally disposed of his tanyard and engaged in the lumber business, in which he continued until his death, in 1867, aged fifty-three years. He married Sophia Kerchner Shoemaker, born in 1820 who is still living and spends her summers at her country home at Mohrsville, and her winters with her daughter, Mrs. Rebecca Addams, at Reading. The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Mohr, were: Mrs. Addams, whose son, Charles P., is in the office of the attorney general at Harrisburg; William Shoemaker; and Charles Shoemaker, now deceased.

William Shoemaker Mohr attended the public school of Mohrsville, and came to Reading in 1862, engaging with the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company as an apprentice to the machinist's trade. After serving this time he was employed in the paymaster's office until 1887 as assistant paymaster, and in April of the year following he was one of the original organizers of the Citizens' Bank, which was opened May 10, 1888, with these officers: George D. Stitzel, president; Jerome L., Boyer, vice-president; and William S. Mohr, cashier. This organization, which was capitalized at 125,000, merged with the Second National Bank of Reading Feb. 8, 1902. Since that time Mr. Mohr has retired from active business, living at his home at No. 203 North Sixth street.

Mr. Mohr was married Jan 23, 1873, to Miss Catherine Stitzel, daughter of the late George D. Stitzel, who died in 1905. Mrs. Mohr passed away Dec. 24, 1877. The only son of this union died when three weeks old. In politics Mr. Mohr is a Republican. He has served as secretary of the Tax Payers' League since its organization in August, 1905. He is a member of Trinity Church, and is treasurer thereof.


p 545

Charles L. Moll, who was the competent and faithful city comptroller of Reading, Pa., is descended from German ancestry, who came to America several generations ago, his grandfather, George Moll, having been born in this country.

Alfred Moll, father of Charles L., was born in Maiden-creek township, Berks county, raised at Strausstown, same county, followed milling, and later engaged in farming. He married Emma E. Boltz, daughter of Isaac M. Boltz. He served with the famous 151st P. V. I., and was slightly wounded at Gettysburg. Two sons were born to Mr. Moll: Lehman, who has charge of the stock of the Hooven Mercantile Company, wholesale grocers; and Charles L.

Charles L. Moll was born at Strausstown, Berks county, April 3, 1866, and was educated at the Bernville high school and at the Eastman Business College, Poughkeepsie, N. Y., from which latter institution he was graduated in 1884. He taught school for six years in Berks county, and later engaged in the grocery business, continuing therein in Reading for eleven years. In 1899 he was elected city comptroller for a term of three years, and was re-elected in February, 1902, his second term being readily and heartily accorded him for the capable manner in which he had discharged the responsible duties of the office. He was again re-elected in 1905 for another term of three years. and continued in office to the end of this term, when in 1908 he became the secretary and treasurer of the Mt. Laurel Slag company, which position he still holds.

Mr. Moll was married Dec. 4, 1886, to Catherine Obold, the daughter of Elias Obold, a retired merchant and justice of the peace of Mount Pleasant, Berks county. Six children were born to this union: Alfred, with the Mt. Laurel Spring Water Company; Abner, with the City Laundry Company; Lloyd, a graduate of the Reading high school, 1909, now assistant shipper for the Barbey Brewing Company; Herbert, with Orr & Sembower, learning the machinist's trade; and Florence and Russell, at school. Mr. Moll belongs to the Order of Elks as well as a number of other secret organizations. Politically he is a Democrat, but he is very popular with men of all parties. He is a member of St. Stephen's Reformed Church.


p. 842


William B. Moll, merchant of Siesholtzville, in Hereford township, was born there Feb. 1, 1843, son of Jacob Moll, and he is a member of a representative old family of this district, descendants of Georg Moll, as the name appears on his tombstone.

Georg Moll was a native of Wittenberg, Germany, born March 21, 1750, and was eighteen years old when he came to America on the ship "Minerva," with 107 other passengers, landing at Philadelphia in the fall of 1768. It appears that he soon afterward located in Hereford township, Berks county, and in 1790 he was the head of a family in that district. His name on the tax list that year was written John Georg Moll. In his will, which is on record in the courthouse in Book 5, page 237, his name is written George Moll. He was a property owner in the vicinity of Huff's Church. He died Oct. 27, 1810, aged sixty years, seven moths, six days, and is interred in a private burial-ground on the farm now owned by David Rauch, a quarter of a mile northeast of Huff's Church. Here are buried over one hundred pioneer settlers of Hereford township who died prior to the establishment of Huff's Church in 1812, and the graveyard adjoining, including members of the Huff, Bechtel, Zimmerman, Moll and other families.

Georg Moll was twice married, and in his will provides for his second wife, Catherine, who is buried by his side. She was born in 1757, and died Feb. 15, 1839, at the age of eighty-two. In his will Georg Moll mentions these children: Johannes, George, Thomas, Martha, Maria, Elizabeth and Anna. Of these,

Johannes Moll, born in Hereford township Oct. 11, 1775, died Feb. 6, 1860, aged eighty-four years, three months, twenty-six days. He was a carpenter and cabinet-maker, and owned and lived in the house at Siesholtzville, now owned by David Wetzel. He was a tall, slim man, well-known and respected, regular in church attendance and a reader of the Bible. His wife, Elizabeth (Bittenbender), born June 15, 1780, died April 23, 1842, aged sixty-one years, ten months, eight days. They are buried at Huff's Church. Their children were: George; John; Christophel; Jacob; Polly (m. Jacob Moyer and (second) Anthony Stahler); a daughter (m. Jacob Snyder); Nancy (m. Peter Mensch); Susanna (m. Henry Hoffman); Peggy (m. Peter Dollman and (second) Ephraim Christman); and Betzy (m. Frederick Huff and (second) Michael Gery).

George Moll, son of George, was born in Hereford township, where he lived and died. He was a farmer by occupation, and owned a "two-horse" farm, now the property of John Will. He and his wife, Eve (Miller), daughter of Jacob Miller, are buried at Huff's Church. They had children as follows: George; Jacob; Jonas, who lived in "Devil's Hole," in Hereford; Thomas, who lived in Reading; Judith (M. Reuben Daub and lived in Forge Dale); Elizabeth (m. Lawrence Fisher, who is still living near Huff's Church); Sally, (died unmarried); and Abigail (m. John Kuetz).

Anna Moll, daughter of George, born April 6, 1785, died April 2, 1877, aged ninety-one years, eleven months, twenty-seven days. She was the wife of George Huff.

Jacob Mull, son of George and grandson of Georg, spelled his name with the "u." He was born in Hereford, and lived at different places in that township, working as a carpenter and laborer, and died at the age of fifty-three years. His wife, Catharine Bossert, was a daughter of Adam Bossert, who was over six feet tall, raw-boned and exceedingly strong. Jacob Mull and his wife are buried at Huff's Church. Their children were: Charles B., Nathaniel, Henry, Jacob and William B.

Charles B. Moll, son of Jacob, born Jan. 1. 1831, has lived at Barto, Berks county, since 1863, and is engaged as a horse and cattle dealer. In 1857 he married Sarah Shiffert, and they have four children: Horace, Alfred, Andora and Agnes.

William B. Moll, son of Jacob, received a practical education in the school of the home district. In his fourteenth year he became a clerk in the store at Siesholtzville, in the employ of Charles N. Gery, and on Feb. 12, 1872, he was taken into partnership with Mr. Gery under the firm name of Gery & Moll, which has continued up to the present time. They carry a full line of general merchandise and enjoy their full share of the patronage and good-will of the community. Mr. Moll is a self-made man, and respected in his district for his industrious career. For two terms he served as auditor of his township, to which office he was elected on the Democratic ticket.

In 1870 Mr. Moll married Emalinda Gery, daughter of Charles N. and Elizabeth (Moll) Gery, the former being Mr. Moll's employer and partner. Four children have been born to this union: Katie m. James Butz; Minnie m. Harry Butz, brother of James, and died in her twenty-seventh year; Sallie E., a graduate of the Normal school at Kutztown, class of 1898, is an esteemed teacher in Hereford township; William H., superintendent of the Norristown Brick Company, m. Maime Landis, and lives at Norristown. This family are German Reformed members of Huff's Church, of which Mr. Moll has served as deacon. He is a member of Camp No. 470. P. O. S. of A., of Siesholtzville, and of Covenant Commander, No. 58, Knights of Malta, of Alburtis, Pennsylvania.

George Moll, son of Johannes, and grandson of George, both mentioned earlier in this sketch, was born in Hereford township, June 27, 1802, and died May 16, 1877, aged seventy-four years, ten months, nineteen days. He was reared at home, and worked at carpentering with this father until he reached the age of twenty-one years, after which he learned the tanner's trade from his uncle, Thomas Moll, at Geryville, in Bucks county. He followed tanning until after his father-in-law died, when the farm now owned by his son George came into his possession, and there he built the present barn in 1836 and the house in 1840. The tanning buildings were old, and he devoted all of his time to farming until a short time before his death. He was a leading man in his township, owning the old store and hotel property at Siesholtzville, and a farm of seventy-five acres in Hereford township now owned by Sylvester Schuler, and he had various financial interest, being an enterprising man, and almost always successful in hi undertakings. He left an estate of $25,000. He was a Reformed member of Huff's Church and liberal in his contributions to that body.

Mr. Moll was married three times, first to Elizabeth Siesholtz, by whom he had nine children: Elizabeth, Sarah, Molly, John, Samuel, and four who died young. By his second Marriage, to Mrs. Ann (Fox) Leeser, he had one daughter, Lovina, who became the wife of Daniel Marsteller. To this third union, with Mrs. Anna (Lichtenwalner) Mohr (1804-1877), were born two children, Reuben A., and George F.

George F. Moll, son of George, born July 13, 1844, began farming the homestead in 1877, when it came into his possession. It comprises 150 acres of valuable land and has been in the Moll family since 1832. Mr. Moll married Emma Aston, daughter of Maberry Aston, a native of England, and to them have been born three children: Mary M., Annie M., and Laura H.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:55:28 EDT

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