Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 470


The Naftzinger family now well rep-resented in upper Berks county was founded here by (I) Matthew Naftzinger, who came to this country from Switz-erland and settled in an early day in Bern (now Upper Bern) township. He took up land, and passed the re-mainder of his life on the property, being buried at the gable end of the barn now owned by James M. Hix, in Upper Bern township, about one mile due west of St. Michael's Church, at the place where he made his settle-ment. I

(II) Jacob Naftzinger, son of Matthew, took the farm of his father and lived and died there, and he too, was buried in the home burial plot. The farm then comprised 110 acres.

(III) Peter Naftzinger, son of Jacob, is buried at St. Michael's Church. He also owned the old homestead, where he passed his life. He married Magdalena Haines, of Schuylkill county, Pa., and to them were born the following children: Rebecca lives in Williamsport, Pa.; Jacob died aged sixty-two years; Sarah is living in Centre township; Isaac H. is mentioned below; Joseph died at the age of twenty-seven years; Polly lives at Centreport, Berks county; Fiaetta is deceased; Hon. Frank, of Tilden township, Berks county, served in the State Assembly; Peter died young.

(IV) Isaac H. Naftzinger was born on the old homestead in 1845, and passed his active years in farming, now living retired on a place adjoining the homestead taken up by his great-grandfather. He owns fifty-two acres of valuable land, and was engaged in its cultivation until 1904, since when he has lived retired. Mr. Naftzinger married Mary A. Epting, daughter of Henry G. Epting, of Tilden township, and ten children have been born to this union, namely: Harry E.; Lillie, wife of Frank S. Reber; Peter E.; Katie A., who died when sixteen years old; Jacob E.; Mary, wife of Joseph Seyfert; Sarah, who died when two years old; Fayetta, wife of William Tobias; Polly, who married Jerome Bagenstose; and Rebecca, who married Milton Klopp and resides on the old homestead.

(V) Harry E. Naftzinger, son of Isaac H., was born in Upper Bern township Aug. 12, 1866, and attended the local schools. He is now successfully engaged as a huckster. In politics he is a Republican, and has held a number of township offices. He married Lillie R. Epler, daughter of J. K. Epler, of Tilden, and they have two sons, Isaac N. and William J. Mr. Naftzinger is a Reformed member of St. Michael's Church.

(V) Peter E. Naftzinger, son of Isaac H., was born Dec. 25, 1870, in Tilden township. There he attended the local schools, and in 1888 began teaching, which profession he has since followed, being well known in this connection. He is now teaching the West Hamburg school in Tilden township for the sixth term. Mr. Naftzinger has also been successful in business, in April 1906, having been one of the founders of the firm known as the Berne Shirt Company, of which he is the manager. His partners in this business from the beginning have been his brother, Jacob E. Naftzinger, and Mr. John H. Hamm. They are located at Bern Station, where they have a factory 26 x 46 feet in dimensions, and employ from forty to fifty hands in the manufacture of all kinds of men's and boys' shirts. All the latest improved machinery is employed in the production of their output, which has a ready sale, the company dealing directly with the retailers. The industry is an important one in this section, providing profitable employment for so many, and the owners have high standing in the community both personally and in a business sense. Mr. Naftzinger is assistant postmaster at Berne.

Mr. Naftzinger married Miss Katie A. Hartman, who died July 14, 1906, and is buried at St. Michael's Church, in what is now Tilden township. Two children were born to this union: Florence R. and Esther R. Mr. Naftzinger is a Reformed member of St. Michael's Church and is now serving as deacon, and as a member of the Consistory of that church. In fraternal connection he belongs to Lodge No. 103, I. O. O. F., of Hamburg, Pa.; to the Knights of the Maccabees at Shoemakersville; and to Camp No. 146, P. O. S. of A., at Centreport.

(V) Jacob E. Naftzinger, son of Isaac H., merchant and postmaster at Berne, Berks county, was born in Tilden township Nov. 22, 1873. He received his education in the township schools, and was only sixteen when he began teaching school, a profession he followed altogether five terms in Greenwich, Bern, Tilden and Upper Bern townships. For the next four years he was engaged in clerking in Hoff & Bros. hardware store, in Reading, after which he went to Milford, Va., where he embarked in business as a store-keeper. He remained there eighteen months, and in 1899 bought out M. H. Zimmerman, at Bern Station, Berks Co., Pa., taking over the general merchandise business, which he has since conducted, being now at the head of the firm of J. E. Naftzinger & Co. In addition to the regular business of the general store they deal in country produce, coal, etc., and ship dressed hogs and hides. On May 19, 1899, Mr. Naftzinger was appointed postmaster, the station being known as Berne, and he has since served in that capacity, giving general satisfaction to the community. He is also a member of the Berne Shirt Company, manufacturers of men's and boys' shirts, and is a prosperous and substantial business man in every way. Some idea of the extent of his produce transactions may be gained from the statement that in 1907 he shipped 18,000 bushels of apples and 15,000 bushels of potatoes. He has been a director of the First National Bank of Hamburg since its organization.

Mr. Naftzinger married Esther N. Seyfert, daughter of Franklin and Caroline (Wagner) Seyfert, and they have a family of four children: Herman, Samuel, Wayne and Ruth. In politics Mr. Naftzinger is a Republican. He belongs to St. Michael's Church, being a member of the Reformed congregation, and socially holds membership in Vaux Lodge, F. & A. M., of Hamburg; Lodge No. 103, I. O. O. F.; and Camp No. 442, P. O. S. of A., of Centreport.


p. 434


Col. George Nagel was born near Coblentz, Germany, about 1728, son of Joachim Nagel. He came to Reading about 1755, and engaged in blacksmithing. He served as an ensign in the French and Indian War, and in 1763 he returned to Reading and resumed his trade. In 1771 he was elected sheriff of Berks county. When the Revolution commenced he raised the first company in Berks county to fight for American liberty. His company participated in the campaign at and about Cambridge, Mass. He was a brave and true soldier, and rose to the rank of colonel. Col. Nagel continued in the military service until 1783, when he returned to Reading and engaged in the mercantile business. He continued in this business until his death in March, 1789. His remains were interred in the Reformed cemetery. He married Rebecca, daughter of Mordecai Lincoln, of Exeter township.

Captain Peter Nagel, a brother of the above Col. George Nagel, was born near Coblentz, Oct. 31, 1750, and came to Reading as a young man and learned the trade of a hatter under Samuel Jackson, the first hat manufacturer at Reading. He followed this occupation until 1807, first as a journeyman, then as a manufacturer. During the Revolution he was prominently connected with military affairs, and was a captain from 1777 to 1783. He held various civil offices, including justice of the peace, coroner and county treasurer. This latter office was subsequently held by a son, a grandson, and from 1873 to 1875 by a great--grandson, the late Dr. Hiester M. Nagel. He took an active part in the military parade in 1794 in honor of President Washington, and held a reception to the distinguished gentleman at his house, at the site of the present post-office, to enable the citizens to meet the "Father of his Country." Capt. Nagel was a man of fine, commanding presence, and nearly six feet tall. He died Nov. 30, 1834, and was buried in the Reformed graveyard. Afterward his remains were removed to the Charles Evans cemetery. His name appears frequently as one of the church officers. Mr. William N. Coleman, a well-known, citizen of Reading, now eighty-six years of age, is a grandson of Capt. Peter Nagel. The latter possesses an excellent oil painting of Capt. Nagel, which he prizes highly.


p. 672


Hiester M. Nagle, M. D., deceased, for thirty-five years a physician in Berks county, was engaged in the practice of his profession in Reading from the close of the Civil war until his death. During his residence in the city he was not only one of the foremost medical men, but a citizen whose activities in behalf of her progress and welfare were recognized and appreciated by all classes.

Dr. Nagle was of German descent, a great-grandson of Peter Nagle, who founded the family in America. Peter Nagle settled in Berks county, where his son, Peter, was born July 11, 1782. The latter married Susan Filbert, born April 23, 1785, and they had five children, namely: John F., Augustus W., Peter F., Henry and a daughter. The father of this family died May 2, 1846, and the mother May 26, 1854.

Peter F. Nagle, father of Dr. Hiester M., was born in Berks county in 1808, and died March 25, 1869. He was a physician and practiced first at Williamsport, Pa., later at Milton, this State, thence moving to Reading. He was subsequently located at St. Louis for a time, but returned to Reading to spend his last years. To him and his wife, who was Miss Catherine E. Dauphin, of Philadelphia, were born six children, two dying in childhood. The others, Peter, Hiester M., Catherine and Joseph, all reached maturity, but are now deceased.

Hiester M. Nagle was born at Williamsport, Pa., Dec. 23, 1834. In his boyhood he went to school in Reading, later continuing his studies at Marshall College, Mercersburg, and at Kessler's Academy, all Pennsylvanian schools. He began his medical studies in 1855 with his father, and later read under the direction of Dr. Frank Rieser, of Reading. He entered the Medical Department of the University of Pennsylvania, but after one year changed to Jefferson Medical College, from which institution he was graduated in 1857. His first two years of practice were passed in Exeter township, Berks county, whence he went to Fleetwood, in the same county, where he was established at the time the Civil war broke out. On Aug. 14, 1862, Dr. Nagle left home to join the army as assistant surgeon of the 11th Pennsylvania Cavalry, and served until his discharge Aug. 13, 1865. He saw much hard fighting, participated in the siege of Suffolk, and the battles of Petersburg, Deep Bottom, Ream's Station, Richmond, Darbytown Road, Seven Pines, Newmarket Heights, Five Forks, Deep Creek, Amelia Court House, and Appomattox Court House. On Dec. 17, 1864, he was promoted to the rank of surgeon of the regiment, which rank he held at the time of his discharge.

Returning to Pennsylvania, Dr. Nagle settled in Reading, in which city he passed the remainder of his life, building up a large and lucrative practice. His years were filled with faithful and tireless service in the alleviation of suffering. He was well known to his fellow practitioners, was a member of the County Medical Society and the Pathological Society, and was also a loyal supporter of Masonry, belonging to various Masonic bodies in Reading., Lodge No. 62, Chapter No. 152, and Commandery No. 42. He was likewise active in politics and found time to give much personal service to the municipality. He was elected on the Democratic ticket to the office of county treasurer, holding that office from 1874 to 1876, was for two years a member of the city council, and during his second year was its president. In July 1885, he was appointed examining surgeon for pensioners. Thus with numerous interests, he accomplished an incalculable amount of good, leaving a record of untiring service such as few men are able to show. He died Jan. 30, 1893, and the esteem and affection in which he was held were testified at his funeral, which was the largest ever known in Reading.

On June 18, 1872, Dr. Nagle married Miss. Lucretia Boyer, daughter of Henry B. Boyer. Their children were: Harry died at the age of eighteen; Katie died in infancy; Frank died at the age of five; Howard, a machinist, m. Elizabeth Buker, and they have two children, Lucretia and Raymond; Paul; Charles, who m. Sarah Haage, is one of the firm of the N. & N. Cigar Company; Hiester C. is also a member of that firm, which consists of the two Nagle brothers and John G. Niethammer.

Mrs. Nagle comes from a distinguished Berks county family. Her grandfather, Daniel Boyer, was the founder of Boyertown, one of the progressive boroughs of the county, was the first merchant in the place, and his descendants still carry on that line of business there. Henry B. Boyer, father of Mrs. Nagle, was so engaged for a time, but moved to Reading, and for some years was a merchant in that city. Later he went into the livery business, which he followed until his retirement. He reached the age of ninety years. His wife, whose maiden name was Susan Fritz, died when seventy--two years old. Their children were: Frank, Mary, Harry, John, George, Howard, and Mrs. Nagle. Those living are Mrs. Nagle and her brother, George, the latter a resident of Oak Brook.


p. 1586


David Dilliplane Nein, a leading citizen of Mt. Penn, who is engaged as a flour, feed, coal and lumber merchant. was born in Oley township, Berks Co., Pa.. Sept. 16, 1858, son of Daniel K. and Cather-ine (Dilliplane) Nein.

The German spelling of the name is Neun but the most common modern spellings are Nein and Nine. Casper Neun came to this country about the middle of the Eighteenth century and settled in the Oley Valley, in Pennsylvania. In 1759 he was a taxable and land owner in Alsace township, Berks county, and the federal tax list in 1785 records him as the owner of 200 acres of land in Lynn township, Northampton (now Lehigh) county, but it is not known that he ever lived other than in Berks county. In 1781 he was assessed on twenty acres in Exeter township, Berks county. On April 23, 1787, then a resident of Oley township, he made his last will and testament, and this was recorded July 29, 1788. His wife Barbara survived him and died in Oley, advanced in years, in 1800. Their children were: Sylvester; Daniel; Catharine m., Frederick Miner, a miller of Rockland township; Susanna m. Jacob Leinbach; Maria m. Jacob Miner; Barbara m. Henry Schwartz; and Elizabeth m. George Schwartz.

Daniel Nein, son of Casper, lived in Oley township. The Pennsylvania archives show that in 1787 he obtained a warrant for forty acres of land located in Berks county. He was married Dec. 1, 1779, to Esther Bertolet, of Oley, who was born Nov. 19, 1749, and died Oct. 5, 1792, and is buried in the Bertolet graveyard on the homestead. She was the mother of four sons and one daughter, which fact is recorded on her tombstone.

From the county records, it is learned that in 1865 David Nein died in Oley township and of his last will and testament. made April 17, 1845, his son Peter was the executor. He had a sister Mary, and sons David and Peter. In 1877 Esther Nine, who died in Oley township, mentions in her will her sister Mary and brothers David and Samuel, of whom the latter had three daughters: Catharine, Harriet, and Sarah.

Daniel K. Nein, father of David D., was born in Oley township in 1814, and died in 1890. He followed agricultural pursuits all of his life. With his family he worshipped at the Friedensburg Reformed Church, and is buried there. He was twice married, his first wife being Mary Haas, who died without issue. He m. (second) Catherine Dilliplane, and they had these children: Mary Ann m. Daniel Kline , of Oley, Pa.; Amanda m. Augustus H. Wentzel, of Gouglersville, Pa.; David D.; Daniel D., a member of the firm of Nein & Fisher, of Lancaster, flour and feed merchants, who own a large grain elevator. m. Nettie Benson; Emma m. George Christman, a shoe and basket maker of Alsace; Esther m. Reuben Reifsnyder, a basket maker of Ruscombmanor, and a veteran of the Civil war, in which he lost a leg; Jonathan D. m. (first) Sarah Achey, and (second) Sallie O'Brien, and has children, all by the first marriage--Mary, Carrie, Ammon, Samuel, Luther and Jennie; and Sallie m. (first) John Glasser, and (second) William Williams.

David Dilliplane Nein attended the public schools of Oley, Exeter and Alsace townships, after leaving which he spent nineteen years at farm work, ten years of which were for his mother-in-law, three years for himself and six years for Charles Wentzel. In the spring of 1888 Mr. Nein associated himself in the flour, feed, coal and lumber business with Wentzel & Nein at Mt. Penn, the firm continuing for about two years. In 1890 the firm became Nein Brothers, and this has continued to the present time, Jonathan D. Nein, a brother of David D., being his partner. The firm has a large and prosperous trade in Mt. Penn, Reading and the surrounding country and the brothers are well and favorably known. Their warehouse and office is a three story, brick building, 44 x 71 feet, situated on the south side of Perkiomen avenue, and here they carry a large line of stock, the extent of their business necessitating the use of three teams. In politics Mr. Nein is a Democrat. He was postmaster of Denglers from 1888 until 1902, in which year the town was incorporated and became known as Mt. Penn, and he continued in the office until 1905, in which year he resigned, having given universal satisfaction in the office. He was one of the first councilmen of Mt. Penn, being treasurer of that body, and with Dr. M. L. Bertolette as one of the original founders of the Mt. Penn Suburban Water Supply Company, an independent corporation which furnishes excellent water to the borough. Fraternally Mr. Nein is connected with the Castle No. 463, K. G. E., of St. Lawrence. Mr. Nein and his family are members of Trinity Reformed Church of Mt. Penn, of which he was an organizer.

In 1877 Mr. Nein was married to Hannah B. Schaeffer, daughter of Nathan and Catherine (Yoder) Schaeffer, and to them have been born these children: Miss Ella lives in Oley with a grand aunt; Wilson S., m. Ada Evaul; Jacob S.; Edith, Martha Jane, Della, Viola, David, Jr., and Russell. Wilson S. Nein and Jacob S. Nein entered into the coal, flour and feed business Aug. 26, 1907, under the name of Wm. Penn Coal Company, W. S. Nein and Bro., No. 604 South Fifth street, Reading.


p. 1671


William R. Nein, a well-known resident of Womelsdorf, Pa., who is proprietor of the "William Penn Hotel." and a veteran of the Civil war, was born June 8, 1844, in Exeter township, Berks county, son of William and Mary (Ritter) Nein.

Daniel Nein, the grandfather of William R., who was a carpenter of Oley township, built the church of Oley, and was there buried. He married a Miss Bertolet, and to them were born the following children: Peter, of Reading; William; Daniel, father of David and John, of Mount Penn; Ephraim, who was the owner of the Yellow House in Amity township; Benneville; Hannah, who married Henry Kemmerer; Polly, who married Reuben Griesemer; and Hettie, who died unmarried.

William Nein, father of William R., was born in Oley township, Berks county, and died aged sixty-six years. He was a cabinet-maker and undertaker by trade, and also owned a small farm in Exeter township, where he died, being buried at the cemetery at SchwartzwaId Church, of which he was a Reformed member. Mr. Nein was a lieutenant in the State Militia for a number of years, and was a substantial and highly esteemed citizen. He married Mary Ritter, born in 1812, who died in 1868, and to them nine children were born: Frank (who had two children, Albert and Katie); Daniel (who also had two children, Samuel and Elizabeth); William R.; Mary Ann, m. William Manwiller and had one son, Irwin); Ammon (who had two daughters, Emma and Ella); Samuel (who had, Samuel, Lillie, Isa, Irwin, William and Helen); Reuben, (who had Katie, Harry and Jennie); Ephraim (who had seven children, Mamie, Agnes, Eve, Amanda, Charles, Rosa and Robert); and Hannah, who died unmarried.

William R. Nein received a limited education in the schools of his native township, and from youth has been engaged in agricultural pursuits. He worked for ten years with Benjamin Ritter, whom he left to enlist in Company A, 128th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, in November 1862, at Harrisburg, Pa., and among others participated in the fierce engagements at Antietam and Chancellorsville, at the latter place being taken prisoner. He managed to escape at night, however, and made his way back to the Union lines. He was honorably discharged May 19, 1863 , and re-enlisted in Company B, 205th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, and during this enlistment was wounded in the hip bone by a piece of shell at Fort Steadman, before Petersburg. After a few days he rejoined his company, which helped to force the surrender of General Robert E. Lee, near Burkesville Station. On June 2, 1865, Mr. Nein received his discharge, at Alexandria, Va. He was always a brave and gallant soldier, and performed his duties faithfully and cheerfully.

Mr. Nein returned to farming in Berks county after the war, but later learned the hatter's trade, which he followed for fifteen years at Reading, and then became proprietor at Dengler's (now Mount Penn) for three years, the following two years being spent as proprietor of the "Three Mile House" in Cumru township. In 1894 Mr. Nein took the "Center House" at Womelsdorf, but in 1904 disposed of this stand and since that time has conducted the well-known "William Penn Hotel" on High street. Mr. Nein and his family are Reformed members of Schwartzwald Church, of which he was a deacon for four years. In politics he is a Democrat. He is a member of McClellan Post, No. 16 , G. A. R., of Reading; the P. O. S. of A., of St. Lawrence; and the Knights of Pythias, of Reading.

In 1868 Mr. Nein was married to Clara Hartman, born Aug. 11, 1840, daughter of George and Christina (Beidman) Hartman, of Earl township, and to this union have been born four children: Alice H. (m. John Breiner, of Reading, has two children, Sallie and Earl); Milford (a hatter of Reading, m. Emma Quinter, and has six children, Iva, Geneva, Milford, George, Ammon and Mary); Carrie D., unmarried, at home; and Millie V., also unmarried, and at home.


p. 1384


Dr. Isaac W. Newcomet of Stouchsburg, Pa., was born in Bethel township, Berks county, Oct. 8, 1842, and was reared upon his parent's farm, working there until he was fifteen years old, when he began teaching at the Merkel school in Bethel township. He taught in all three terms in Bethel, one in Jefferson, and one in Ontelaunee (the latter the best paying township in the county). He was a great success as a teacher. He was educated in the common schools, the Reading Classical Academy (Then in charge of the late Rev. William Good, at one time county superintendent, and later in charge of Prof. D. B. Brunner). He then enlisted in the Independent Battery, Ringgold Light Artillery of Berks county. This company of 144 men was attached to Gen. Couch's brigade. He was in service three months, and was mustered out in the latter part of June, 1863. After the expiration of his enlistment he returned to Reading and became assistant teacher in the Reading Classical Academy, teaching upward of two years. In April, 1866, he entered the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania, and was graduated in 1867. He afterward took a special course, becoming very proficient, and in October, 1867, he located at Stouchsburg, where he has since engaged in practice, having a large clientele. He is well and favorably known in his district, and is frequently called far beyond the confines of his own county.

In politics Dr. Newcomet is a Democrat. He is a consistent member of Christ Lutheran Church which was organized in 1727, and is at present serving as an Elder. In his younger days he was superintendent of Crosskill Mills Sunday-school, for several years.

The Doctor resides on the main street in the central part of town in his own residence, which was formerly a Klopp property. He also owns the historic Spyker homestead on which was in 1742 the colonial residence which is still standing and in good state of preservation. Mr. Spyker was a co-patriot and worker with Conrad Weiser.

Dr. Newcomet married Elizabeth S. Bickel, daughter of Samuel and Mary A. (Gruber) Bickel. They have no children. Dr. Newcomet is a member of the Berks County Medical Society, and the State Medical Association. He is a member of Williamson Lodge No. 307, F. & A. M., of Womelsdorf, and was a charter member of the Order of Good Fellows of his town, of which he was an official during its later years.

The Doctor's emigrant ancestor was Christian Newcomer -- who came over from Switzerland on the ship "Francis and Elizabeth," which landed Sept. 21, 1742, at Philadelphia. On the same ship with him came his wife and at least one son-Christian, Jr., -- whose name appears on the list of passengers of the ship. In 1790 the elder Christian Newcomer was a resident in Conestoga township, Lancaster county, when he had three sons above sixteen years of age, and four sons under sixteen, and five daughters at home, apparently fourteen in his family. Christian, Jr., and his brother Peter were the oldest of the family, and lived in Bethel township, Berks county, each one having a family of his own. Christian Newcomer, Jr., had two sons and two daughters, and Peter Newcomer had three sons and two daughters. Another of the ancestor's son was Wolfgang Newcomer. School teachers added the "t" to the name.

Abraham Newcomer, grandfather of William W., and Doctor Isaac, was a miller, as was Christian, Jr., his father. The name of "Abraham Neicomer" appeared on his grain bags in his mill. This mill was situated in Bethel township and was known as "Crosskill Mill." It was operated during the Revolutionary war times by Christian Newcomer, Jr.


p. 962


William Walborn Newcomet, whose death in 1903 removed one of Reading's substantial and representative citizens, was prominent in both business and public life. Mr. Newcomet was born in Marion township, Berks county, in 1844, son of Samuel and Elizabeth (Walborn) Newcomet.

Samuel Newcomet was a prominent agriculturist in Marion township, but later sold his farm to engage in a merchandise business. He was a Democrat in his political belief, and an active worker in the ranks of his party. Mr. Newcomet was a Lutheran, as was his wife, Elizabeth Walborn, and they were the parents of: Isaac W., M.D.; Harry M. D., deceased, was a practicing physician of Philadelphia for some years; John W.; Susan m. Frank Meredith; Priscilla m. Simon Richards; Kate m. a Mr. Carpenter; Isabella m. the Rev. Mr. Keyser; and William W.

William Walborn Newcomet received his early education in Marion township and completed his schooling in Reading. For a time he was in partnership with Mr. John M. Britton, with home he contracted and built part of the Berks County Railroad. After clerking for nine years in the "Merchants Hotel," he went into partnership with his brother, John W., under the firm name of Newcomet & Newcomet, and for several years they were engaged in the manufacture of cigars. During this time William W. was appointed deputy warden, an office he held for seven years, and he was then elected warden for a term of six years, dying in office in 1903, aged fifty-nine years. In religious belief Mr. Newcomet was a Lutheran. He was fraternally connected with the Knights of the Golden Eagle and the Knights of Pythias, and was also a member of Fire Company No. 3. Like his father he was a Democrat.

Mr. Newcomet was married to Sarah Keyser, daughter of William Keyser, and to this union there were born two children: Harry I., who graduated from high school in 1908, and is now a student in the University of Pennsylvania; Florence E., a member of the class of 1908, high school, and now studying nursing.


p. 1431


Harry E. Newkirk baggagemaster on the Pennsylvania Railroad, making a daily run between Reading and Philadelphia, was born at the family home in Reading, the eldest child of Samuel and Mary (Shaneman) Newkirk.

The Newkirk family originated in Scotland and from that land came Jacob Newkirk, the great-grandfather of Harry E, who settled in Berks county, where he died on his farm in Maxatawny township at the age of sixty-two. He married Mary Reinhart, who died aged about sixty-eight years. They had the following children: Jacob, Charles, John, Sarah (who married Jacob Disher, of Oley township) and Mrs. David Fry.

Jacob Newkirk, grandfather of Harry E., was born in Maxatawny township and in young manhood learned the carpenter trade and assisted in the building of the Lebanon Valley bridge. Later he worked as a wheelwright; he then came to Reading and for eight years was employed at the car shops of the Pennsylvania road. Still later he engaged in a contracting business which he followed for a number of years and then bought land in Cumru township, near Yocom's Church. He was a good business man and made a success of raising cattle and hogs. He also built canal boats while living in Berks county. He later moved to Schuylkill county, where the remainder of his life was spent in teaming and farming. He died at the age of eighty-four years. He married Mary Burkey, now deceased, and they had four children: Samuel, John, Almina, who married Henry Lesher, and Jacob.

Samuel Newkirk, father of Harry E., was born Sept. 21, 1840, in Upper Bern township, and his parents brought him to Reading when one year of age. He learned the blacksmith trade in boyhood and March 9, 1869, was engaged as a brakeman for the P. & R. R. R. Co., working in that capacity for three years; for four years was freight conductor, then went to the main line as traveling dispatcher, a position he filled for sixteen years, when he was appointed train-master for the main line of this company. After seven years of service in the above position, he was appointed yardmaster. He owns a comfortable home at No. 609 N. Ninth street.

In 1861, Samuel Newkirk was married to Mary Shaneman, daughter of Isaac and Harriet (Miller) Shaneman, and they had the following children: Harry E.; Walter died young; A. Irene m. Dr. D. Z. Bowman, now deceased; Harriet S. m. Dr. J. C. Knauer, of Reading; Isaac died young Elizabeth; John died young; George A., a postal railway clerk, m. Laura Wesley; Frank C., a clerk at the P.- & R. freight depot, m. Sarah Amole; Maude died young; Marion is at home; Samuel Jr., is a machinist. Samuel Newkirk is independent as to politics. Formerly he was a member of the Reformed Church, but now belongs to the Washington street Mission.

Harry E. Newkirk was mainly educated in the schools of Reading and Mahanoy City; then went to Philadelphia and worked for his uncle, John B. Newkirk, of the firm of Eaton & Newkirk, manufacturers of sash and doors, but returned to Reading one year later and became a machinist apprentice with the P. & R. R. R. Co., and after serving his full term, served eight months as a journeyman. Before going to Philadelphia he had earned his first money as a newsboy for the old Reading Eagle, ,first under Reuben Huttensbein and later under Charles Frank.

On May 10, 1885, Mr. Newkirk engaged with the Pennsylvania R. R., first as fireman, later as car inspector and still later as fireman again, and then was freight brakeman for three months, and served as extra brakeman on a passenger train, following this until 1899, when he was appointed to his present position, which he is filling until a vacancy occurs as passenger conductor; his name heads the list of eligibles. Mr. Newkirk married Lillie A. Porr, born at Shoemakersville, Berks county, a daughter of Jonathan Porr. They have had three children, namely: Ralph W., a stenographer, who fills a position as private secretary; Roy H., died aged four years; and H. Earl, at school.

Like his father, Mr. Newkirk votes independently, generally deciding for himself as to the merits of the various candidates seeking office. In religious belief, both Mr. and Mrs. Newkirk belong to the Lutheran Church.


p. 1610


Newton R. Newman, a well known contractor formerly of Reading, but now residing at Canton, Ohio, was born in February, 1854 in the State of Ohio, son of David S. and Mary Melvina (Dean) Newman. The father was born in Ohio and was a farmer by occupation. The mother belonged to a well-known family of West Virginia. The surviving members of their family of seven children are: J. D., who is engaged in silver mining in Colorado; S. D. , of Canton, Ohio, and Newton R., the bridge contractor.

Newton R. Newman was educated at Portsmouth, Ohio, and attended school regularly until eighteen years old going to work on a farm at that time. He then learned bridge-building, at Wilmington, Ohio, and for twenty-three years he was with the Wright Iron Bridge Company of Canton, that State, where he was foreman for three years. For three years he worked with the Dominion Bridge Company, of Canada. Among the notable bridges of which he has been contractor is the great bridge which crosses the Ohio, at Wheeling, West Va.; and the 200 foot span bridge of Lewis and Clark county, Montana, the metal for which had to be hauled sixty-five miles on wagons through the foothills of the main range of the Rocky Mountains. The north fork of the Sun river is the most rapid stream in the Rocky Mountains, and it is across this mountain torrent that Mr. Newman constructed this bridge, a remarkable feat of engineering. So great an event was it that on the opening of the bridge people rode a hundred miles to attend it and a band of music came a distance of fifty-six miles in order to celebrate so wonderful an accomplishment. At the time the newspapers gave great credit to Mr. Newman for the completion of his difficult task. It was the first bridge ever built in Lewis and Clark county, and its location is known as the Old Hay Stack Butte. Still another large contract successfully filled by Mr. Newman was the big steel viaduct at Toronto, Canada, near the Reservoir Park, over the Don. This structure is 120 feet above the ground, and is 800 feet long. He built the steel viaduct and trestle work to the Windsor street depot at Montreal, on which he worked continuously from the first of August to the first of February, working many days when the thermometer was registering thirty degrees below zero, in order to complete the road in time for the great Ice Carnival. He completed his contact in plenty of time for all trains to make use of it.

Mr. Newman secured, in 1905, the stupendous job of putting up the extension of the Reading Car Works, which involves the use of 2,200 tons of steel.

Large as this contract is he has filled one still larger, this being the one he completed for the Calumet & Hecla Mining Company of Michigan, in which he built up 5,000 tons of steel. Mr. Newman was assistant superintendent of construction on the immense bridge across the Mississippi river at Memphis, where he built a truss span of 621 1/2 feet, this being the largest truss span in the world of this kind. As may be judged Mr. Newman has few superiors in his work, and as a bridge builder and contractor he is known all over the country. His works speaks for itself as to his ability. To the lay mind many of these vast constructions before they became facts seemed like dreams of fancy.

In 1891 Mr. Newman was united in marriage with Miss Anna Stout, of Manchester, Ohio. They have had three children, of whom the only son died in January, 1903, aged ten years. The survivors are Hazel and Doris. In politics Mr. Newman is an independent voter. He was reared in the Baptist Church.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:56:36 EDT

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