Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 1367


Allen C. Paine, proprietor of the "City Hotel" and a prominent citizen of Reading, Pa., was born in Lebanon county, Pa., and is a son of William and Rebecca (Urich) Paine. The Paine family is of English extraction and was founded in America by the grandfather of Allen C. Paine, who, settled in Berks county, Pa., but later removed to Lancaster county, where he became a man of substance and prominence. He owned two fine farms and also operated a distillery, and continued in active business life until his death. His children were : William; John; Levi; Joseph; and Mary m. a Mr. Wagner and now resides in Lebanon.

William Paine, father of Allen C., was born in Berks county, Pa., and he was engaged in farming for many years in Lebanon county. Practically his whole life was spent there. His marriage was to Rebecca Urich and they had three children, namely: Allen C., James, in a grocery business at Reading, and Elizabeth, who married a Mr. Klinefelter, of Illinois. In political sentiment William Paine was a Democrat.

Allen C. Paine was educated in the schools of Lebanon County and in boyhood commenced learning the trade of cabinet making. After working for three years at this business he turned his attention to mercantile pursuits and was in business at Schuylkill for twelve years and then disposed of his stock and returned to Lebanon. Since then he has been more or less connected with hotel-keeping at different points. He has been proprietor of the "Central," the "Palace" and the "Valley" hotels and has established an. enviable reputation as a host.

In October, 1897, Mr. Paine came to Reading and purchased the "Windsor Hotel," which he successfully operated for four and a half years, when he disposed of it to other parties. For the two succeeding years Mr. Paine retired from business but returned as the owner and proprietor of the "Hotel Weiler," on the corner of Eighth and Washington streets. This property he leased and he remained its owner until the site was secured by the city for a public school building, the hotel being dismantled. The school building cost $25,000. Mr. Paine then purchased the "City Hotel" on South Sixth street. This is one of the finest hostelries in the city. It has sixty well furnished rooms, fitted with all modern improvements, and the cuisine is second to none. This hotel is a favorite one with theatrical people and commercial travelers.

In 1876 Mr. Paine married Miss McCorkle and they have six children, viz.: Thomas, Raymond, Robert, Lizzie, Beulah and Virginia. Politically Mr. Paine is a Democrat. Fraternally he belongs to the Royal Arcanum, the I. O. O. F., the P. O. S. of A., and the K. G. E.




George Washington Painter, foreman of the molding department of the Orr & Sembower Engine and boiler works, at Millmont, Pa., was born April 18, 1860, at Bernville, Berks, county, son of Rev. Joseph and Molly (Loose) Painter.

Jacob Painter, grandfather of George W., was a farmer and furnace worker in Chester county, Pa., where his death occurred. Rev. Joseph Painter, his son, was born Dec. 3, 1822, in Chester county but most of his life has been spent in Myerstown, where he has a fine residence on Main street. He was for many years engaged in the foundry business, in which he was very successful, and he is now living retired enjoying the fruits of his early labors. In politics Mr. Painter is a Republican, and he has served as county commissioner of Lebanon county, and school director of Jackson township in that county. In the United Evangelical Church of Myerstown he has held all the offices, was licensed a minister of the church, and has preached the Word in different sections of his own surrounding counties.

Rev. Mr. Painter married Molly Loose, daughter of John Loose, of Lancaster county, and to them were born eleven children: John, who m. (first) Mary Spahn, and (second) a lady whose first name was Martha; Jacob, who m. (first) Fannie Spangler, (second) Beckie Rice, and (third) Agnes Miller; Stephen, of Beverly, Kans., who m. (first) Sallie Tice, and (second) Barbara Smith; Joseph, who m. Kate Dundore; Anna, who m. Milton Gockley; George W.; Mary who m. John Spangler; Tillie, who m. John Shoemaker; Lizzie, who married George Peiffer; Samuel, who married; and an infant son.

George W. Painter was taken to Myerstown by his parents when three years old, and at that place he secured his education in the public schools. When fifteen years old he left school, and commenced to learn the molding trade in Myerstown, and this he has followed ever since. In 1894 he took charge of the molding department of Orr & Sembower's plant at Millmont, where he also has charge of the pattern department, having in his employ forty-five men. He resides in his own home in Millmont, and is also the owner of two fine properties on McKnight street, Reading. He is a Republican in politics, and fraternally is connected with Camp No. 65, P. O. S. of A., Lebanon, Pa.; Oley Lodge, No. 218, I. O. O. F., of Reading; and Mount Penn Encampment, No. 252. Mr. and Mrs. Painter are members of the United Evangelical Church of Myerstown.

On June 18, 1879, Mr. Painter married Adeline Kunkleman, daughter of John and Catharine (Mertz) Kunkleman, and to this union there were born six children: Joseph, who died in infancy; Laura M. who m. S. F. Steltz, a teacher of Reading; Martha, unmarried at home; Paul and Arthur, who died in infancy; and Myron E., at home.


p. 823


John R. Painter (deceased), who for many years was one of Reading's prominent business factors, was born Jan. 19, 1823, in Chester county, Pa., son of John and Margaret (Thomas) Painter. The parents of Mr. Painter were also natives of Chester county, but they were of Scotch-Irish ancestry. The father was a farmer in moderate circumstances, who lived and reared his family in the neighborhood of St. Mary's, where he gave them every advantage in his power as to schooling and position in life. His children were: Frederick and Ezekiel (both deceased), Eliza (m. John Lewis), Sarah (now deceased, m. Thomas Bull), Annie (m. a Mr. McCord), Rachel (m. Lot Evans, and died at the age of ninety years), Margaret (m. John Painter), Catherine (m. John Kehr) and John R.

John R. Painter was still a child when his father died, in 1829, and only a youth when his mother passed away ten years later. His education was obtained in the common schools of Chester county and he supported himself by working for neighboring farmers until he was eighteen years of age, when he secured a position with the Isabella Furnace Company. There he learned the molder's trade, which he followed at Spring City, Philadelphia and Linfield, until 1867, when he was considered a competent and experienced man in this business. In the year mentioned Mr. Painter came to Reading, where in association with Jess Orr, Jasper Sheeler, Elijah Bull, Henry Posey, William Schick, Peter Nagle and others, he organized the Reading Stove Works. This firm did an immense business from the start, each member being skilled in the various departments of the industry. The plant was enlarged from time to time to meet increased demands and it became one of the largest stove foundries in Pennsylvania. Their trade connections covered the whole world. This company had the reputation of never having discharged a man who did his duty, and a remarkable fact is that workers were so anxious to enter the employ of this just firm that applications would be filed years ahead, many waiting for mechanics to die to fill their places.

In this company Mr. Painter's personality largely entered. While he possessed business keenness and executive ability of a high order, his character was that of a man of high principles and no man could ever rightfully accuse him of injustice. His charities increased in proportion to his means, and as he was wholly without ostentation, the world will never know the extent of his good deeds. His relations with his associates and with his army of employes were cordial and friendly and the latter knew that in him they always had a friend. Personally his tastes were simple and his happiest hours were those spent at his own fireside. His lamented death took place Dec. 12, 1883, after an illness of two years duration. His afflictions were borne with patience and forbearance. The death of such a man as John R. Painter was indeed a loss to Reading, where his memory will long remain green.

Mr. Painter was married (first) to Rebecca Raser, a native of Montgomery county, Pa., and they had seven children namely: Clara m. George Halderman, of Reading; Enoch T. is of the firm of Prizer & Painter, stove manufacturers; John is deceased; Brooks resides at Reading; Hannah, deceased, m. William Rhoda; Lewis lives in Chicago, Ill.; and Margaret m. Howard Ernold. Mr. Painter's first wife died in 1865, and in 1869 he m. (second) Rebecca Haller Grubb, widow of Henry Grubb, of Chester county, by whom she had one child, Ella, who m. Charles F. Paul, and they have three children-Dorothy G., Mary R. and Emily S. One child was born to her marriage with John R. Painter, Lydia, wife of Prof. Ambrose Cort, of New York City.

Mrs. Painter resides at No. 454 Douglass street. When a young girl she united with the Reformed Church, and she has been prominently identified with the work of that denomination to the present time. Mr. Painter was a member of St. Peter's M. E. Church. In politics he was a Republican. He was a charter member of Welcome Lodge, I. O. O. F., of Philadelphia.


p 1176


Milton S. Palm, who is carrying on an insurance business at No. 38 North Third street, Reading, Pa., was born Jan. 4, 1851, at Sinking Spring, son of Charles and Anna (Bast) Palm, and a descendant of one of this section's early settlers.

Dr. John Palm was born July 25, 1713, son of Mathias and Savilla Palm, in Heilsbronn, near Nuremberg, Germany. In 1739 he took up his residence at Backnang, near Stuttgart, and was married to Christiana Dorothy Kern. He studied medicine and was given a diploma from the Medical College of Physicians and Surgeons of Berlin in 1743. He practised medicine in Germany until 1749, and then began to turn his attention to America, making arrangements to dispose of his property. He set sail July l1, 1750, on the ship "Patience," arriving in New York Saturday morning, Aug. 11, 1750. Locating in a small town known as Springfield, now one of the wards of Elizabeth, N. J., he remained a few years, and then removed with his family to Ephrata, Pa., where he practised medicine for a few years, and in 1761 bought from Conrad Raish 1000 acres of ground, laying out a town known as Palmyra, Lebanon county, then Lancaster county. He practised his profession until May 5, 1777, when he engaged his services to the Colonial Government as surgeon. He was on General Greene's staff, ad was prominent at the battle of Brandywine Creek, Sept. 11, 1777, and related quite often how Gen. George Washington came up to his army riding upon a white horse. After the battle of Brandywine he helped remove the wounded to Ephrata in ox carts to the Cloister, where he gave them every attention until December, 1777, and then resumed his practice again in Palmyra. He was married, after being a widower, to Elizabeth Williams, by whom he had no children. He died April 25, 1799, and lies buried at Binnagles Church.

Dr. William Palm, grandson of Dr. John, was a prominent practising physician and surgeon for many years in Sinking Spring and vicinity. He was born at that place Dec. 22, 1789, and there married Elizabeth Hepler. Twelve children were born to this union: Catherine, William, Elizabeth, John, Julian, Isaac, Henrietta, Charles, Franklin, Henry, Susan and Mary Ann the last named being the only member of this family now living.

Charles Palm, father of Milton S., was born at Sinking Spring, Berks county, and was educated in the schools of the township. When a young man he engaged in the manufacture of proprietary medicine, in which business he became very successful, becoming well known throughout this section of the country. Mr. Palm was married to Anna, daughter of Samuel Bast, of Kutztown, Pa., and two children were born to this union: Susan, who died in 1863; and Milton S., of Reading. In June, 1863, Charles Palm enlisted in Company C., 42nd Pa. V. I., serving therewith until Aug. 11, 1863, and receiving his honorable discharge. He died March 8, 1886, aged sixty-three years, his wife surviving until Feb. 16, 1896, when she passed away, aged eighty years.

Milton S. Palm received his education in the schools of Reading, and when a young man read law with J. S. Richards, passing the examination successfully at the age of nineteen years, but on account of his youth could not be admitted to the Bar. He accepted a position with W. N. Coleman in the insurance business, with the intention of remaining with him until he had reached his majority, and then to gain his admission to the Bar. The insurance business proved so successful, however, that he continued therein with Mr. Coleman until Oct. 11, 1890, and since that time on his own account. He has been very successful in this line, and at the present time represents some of the leading insurance companies in the country.

In 1870 Mr. Milton S. Palm was untied in marriage with Rose Engle, and one son, Myron Raymond, has been born to this union, he now being engaged with the Reading Iron Company. Rm. Palm is a member of the Lutheran Church. Mrs. Palm died July 1, 1907.

Mr. Palm is a gentleman of pleasing personality, and is a very brilliant conversationalist, having in stock an endless number of stories and reminiscences, amusing and interesting. The following was related to Mr. Palm in 1873, by Dr. Christian Ritter: "Early in the morning of Oct. 2, 1793, I left Oley township in company with a number of residents on horse-back for Reading. We all dismounted at the corner of Washington and Fifth street, known then as Callowhill and Thomas streets, at 8:30 a. m. We followed back of George Washington and escort across the Schuylkill river, and then by the King's Highway, making our first stop with Dr. Peter Palm, Sinking Spring, at 9:30 a. m. The Doctor invited the party in and there in the house a toast was given to President Washington and his escort, all partaking of the 'red-eye' and lime stone water, President Washington sitting at the extreme left of the settee. At the hour of ten they pursued their way to Binckley a few miles further and under the spacious trees they dismounted to see the venerable Binckley. At 10:30 o'clock they galloped their steeds towards the Mid-Way House, now known as Womelsdorf, reaching there at high noon, and took part in a lunch, served at Stouch's Inn. At 2:00 p. m. the party and the General left for Stitestown, now Lebanon, and the Reading and Oley participants returned, after hurrahs and salutes."



F. Palmer-Poroner, of Reading, was born in Paris, France, Oct. 6, 1875. he is a graduate of the Paris Sorbonne, with the degree of B. A., and also spent a year at Margate, England, where he became proficient in the English language. He is a fine linguist, being a fluent writer and speaker in both English and German as well as his native French.

On Nov. 27, 1893, Mr. Poroner sailed from Nantes, France, for America, and settled at once in Reading. He was first employed in Louis Kremp's real estate office, and remained there until July 2, 1896. He then, after a month's vacation, took charge of the Wingate Collection Agency, which he conducted for several months. In April, 1897, he was engaged by the Executive committee inspecting the various building associations which had claims against the Kremp estate. These numbered about twenty-five and Mr. Poroner appeared as an expert witness before the Arbitration court. While these legal contests were going on, Mr. Poroner was made secretary of fifteen building associations, and to facilitate their liquidation invested some $2,000,000 of their money in 500 houses and hundreds of city lots. Mr. Poroner's work in this connection was more than satisfactory and led to his establishing himself in the real estate business. He is now one of the well known men in that line in Reading, and is doing well with his office located at 606 Court street. He has a seat on the Board of Trade. He belongs to St. Peter's Catholic Church, and hence is naturally found among the members of the Catholic and Benevolent Social Union. He also belongs to the Knights of Columbus.




J. Heber Parker, assistant superintendent of the Carpenter Steel Works, was born in 1881, in Reading, son of William H. and Elizabeth (Cotterel) Parker.

Mr. Parker's educational advantages were secured in the public schools of his native city and he was graduated from the Reading High School in 1896. His first employment was with P. M. Ziegler, the druggist, with whom he remained about sixteen months, when he took a post-graduate course at the high school. After leaving this institution, Mr. Parker engaged with J. H. Stein, at Eighth and Penn streets, remaining in this gentleman's employ for four years, and at the end of this time went to Philadelphia and entered the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, from which he was graduated in 1902, with the degree of Doctor of Pharmacy. Mr. Parker then went to Cornell University, where he took the full course in Chemical Engineering, graduating in 1905 with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. He returned to Reading, and entered the employ of the Carpenter Steel Company and was appointed assistant superintendent in 1907.


p. 925


Mordecai S. Parvin, one of Ontelaunee township's substantial citizens, who is extensively engaged as a tanner and currier, resides on the old Parvin homestead, and is the fifth in descent to operate this old, historic property.

About 1729 Francis Parvin, the great-great-grandfather of Mordecai S., built a long house, which stood in the orchard close to the present home. The Parvins, being a family of Quakers, were on friendly terms with the Indians, and always left the latch string of their home out for the accommodation of the red men. It was a common occurrence for the Indians to enter the house at night, sleep on the kitchen floor and leave at day break when the family arose. In 1758, Francis Parvin's son, also named Francis, built a house close the old log house, at what is now known as Berkley. It was of stone and well and substantially made, consisting of two rooms and a hall below. In 1856 Jacob Parvin, father of Mordecai S., built an addition to this at the east end and plastered the whole building on the outside, thus destroying the original appearance of the place somewhat, but adding to its attractiveness. This is the home of the Parvin family today. The elder Parvins also interested themselves to some extent in the welfare of the colored people, and several of them lived at the Parvin home, namely: Joe, Bill and Frisbie Loyd, the latter of whom removed to Reading and became engaged in the restaurant and lottery ticket business.

Jacob Parvin, father of Mordecai S., and the fourth in descent to occupy the old homestead, died Feb. 6, 1905, the father of the following children: Miss Sibilla S. resides with her brother Mordecai; Susanna m. Thomas Sharpless, a farmer of near West Chester, Chester county, and has three children, James F., Thomas K. and Francis P.; Ellen S. m. T. Francis Warrington, of West Chester, and has two children, Anna L. and Debora P.; and Mordecai S.

Mordecai S. Parvin was born in 1858, just 100 years after the house were he now resides was built, and he has followed in the footsteps of his forefathers, and is successfully engaged in business as a tanner and currier. On Nov. 19, 1903, he married Carrie Hartman, daughter of George C. and Rebecca J. (Leinbach) Hartman, and two children have been born to this union: Jacob H., born Jan. 11, 1905, who died Jan. 16, 1905; and Mordecai H., born Feb. 24, 1907.


p. 131


Harry J. Paul, tinsmith and dealer in stoves at Strausstown, Berks county, was born Nov. 27, 1875, at Shartlesville, in Upper Bern township, this county. He is a grandson of Daniel Paul, a stone mason, who lived and died at Reading, Pa., and whose children were Daniel, Irwin, Emma (who married Joseph Dann) and John A.

John A. Paul was born at Reading. He has long been a resident of Shartlesville, where he is still engaged at painting, being a tradesman of excellent reputation. He married Rebecca Reichert, daughter of Jacob Reichert, and to them have been born five children: Harry J., Irwin (living at Scull Hill), Katie (deceased), Jennie (deceased) and Calvin (deceased).

Harry J. Paul received his education in the schools of Upper Tulpehocken township. He learned the painter's trade under his father, and followed that occupation for a period of six years, until his enlistment for service in the Spanish-American war. He entered Company E, 4th Pennsylvania Volunteers, and went with his command to Porto Rico, where he was in active service for six months under General Miles. Returning home, he was engaged at farm work for a few years, in 1902 embarking in his present business, in which he has enjoyed a good patronage from the start. He employs three or four men constantly, doing all kinds of roofing, roof drain and repair work, and beside this regular line deals in automobiles as agent for the Ford car and conducts a repair shop for automobiles. Mr. Paul holds the contract for driving the mail between Hamburg and Strausstown, but at present lets this contract, though he drove it himself for two years. He became very well known in this connection throughout this section of the county.

On Oct. 8, 1898, Mr. Paul married Miss Sallie Himmelberger, daughter of Levi W. and Sarah (Miller) Himmelberger. Mr. Paul is a member of the Reformed Church, and in politics quite active as a Democrat. He has served as committeeman, election judge and inspector of elections, and was elected constable of Upper Tulpehocken township in April, 1908.


p. 386


Levi B. Paxson, one of the most widely known mechanical engineers and long in the service of the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company, died at his home, No. 218 North Sixth street, Reading, April 12, 1909. He was born in Chester county, Pa., March 22, 1827, of mixed English and German descent. His father's ancestors were English Quakers, while his mother was of German origin. He was married in 1851 to Miss Mary A. F. Kraft, of Reading, Pa., and there were six children born to them, four of whom, three daughters and one son, lived to reach adult age.

Mr. Paxson entered the service of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company as a brakeman on a coal train in October, 1847. In February, 1848, he was promoted to be fireman on a coal train engine, and after firing about two years was given an engine to run, and continued to serve as a locomotive engineer until the summer of 1852, when he arranged with the Company to go into the Reading Machine Shops as an apprentice to the machinist's trade for a term of four years. A short time before the expiration of this term he was taken from the shops and given the position of wreck master, and later assigned the additional duty of foreman of the Reading Round House. In February, 1864, he was appointed master machinist at Port Richmond, Philadelphia, and in December, 1866, was made superintendent of the Mahanoy and Broad Mountain Railroad with office at Mahanoy Plane. In February, 1871, he was transferred to Reading, with title of master machinist in charge of the shops of the system. In January, 1873, he was appointed engineer of machinery, and retained the position until February 29, 1886, at which date he left the services of the Company for a time. On July 1, 1888, he was appointed acting superintendent of motive power and rolling stock equipment, and the following year was given the full title, and he retained that position until Aug. 1, 1899, when he assumed the position of consulting mechanical engineer, a place specially created for him.

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