Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 1072


George J. Raab, one of the well known business men of Reading, Pa., is secretary of the Deppen Brewing Company, and has charge of the collections of the company. Mr. Raab was born in 1866, in Carbon county, Pa., son of John and Christina (Weldner) Raab.

John Raab was born in Wurtemberg, Germany, and came to the United States when a lad of sixteen years, settling first in New York City, and a few years later in the West, and at Phoenixville he helped to build the P. & R. Railroad. He then came to Reading, reaching this city with fifteen dollars in his pocket. He had learned the carpenter's trade, and this he followed for many years, spending much time in the anthracite coal regions. For thirty-two years he was with the Philadelphia & Reading Company, and was also janitor of the public school at Fourth and Elm streets. He is now living retired at his home, No. 527 Buttonwood street, Reading. He and his wife had sixteen children, among them four sets of twins; John, Katie, Charles, Peter, George J., Henry, Bertha, Mary, Frank, Fred, Clara, Elizabeth, Amelia, Anna, and two whose names were not given. Mr. and Mrs. Raab in religious belief are Catholics. In politics he is a Democrat.

George J. Raab was educated in the schools of Reading, and his first work as a boy was with Postmaster A. M. High, of Reading, from whom he received one dollar a week. He worked for Mr. High for two years, and then engaged with J. C. Hoffeditz to learn coach painting and after two years and eight months with this gentleman, engaged as a waiter at the caf?f Philip Bissinger (now Brownmiller's Caf? where he remained seven years and nine months, then engaging with John Adams, at No. 527 Penn street, as hotel clerk. He next conducted the hotel at Front and Hamilton streets, known as the "Hamilton House," and after remaining there for four and one-half years, sold out and rented the old Keystone Brewing Company building, and carried on the business successfully for five years. He took as partner John Roerich, and they continued the business for five years longer, when they sold out to the Deppen Brewing Company in 1902. Since this time Mr. Raab has been retained by the firm as traveling salesman and manager of collections, and is now secretary. Messrs. Raab, Taylor and Roerich hold the majority of stock in the brewery, and have built a new brewery at No. 3 Buttonwood street. Mr. Raab is also a partner in the Crescent Shoe Company, Sharman & Raab, proprietors, Pearl street, Reading.

Although Mr. Raab has been an earnest worker in the ranks of the Democratic party since his majority, he has never been an office seeker, and time and again has refused to allow his name to be used as a candidate for public position. However, at the solicitation of the leaders of the organization in this section, he finally allowed himself to be persuaded to accept the nomination for sheriff of Berks county. He is very popular with all classes, and is well known not only in business and political life, but in social circles as well, being connected with Coatesville Aerie, F. O. E.; also Eagles Home, Coatesville; Americus Club; Northeast Democratic Club; Jackson Club; Commercial Association; Buffaloes, and the Hampden Fire Association. Mr. Raab resides with his parents in Reading, for whom he is providing a comfortable home in their declining years.


p. 1175


Charles T. Raab, the genial proprietor of the "Hotel Exeter," at Reading, was born March 30, 1871, at Tresco, Pa., son of George and Savannah (Hopf) Raab.

George Raab, father of Charles T., is a well-known resident of Reading and carries on a shoemaking business, residing at No. 1256 North Tenth street. he was born July 26, 1836, in Wittenberg, Germany, near Elwangen, and came to America when he was eighteen years of age. In September, 1854, he landed in the city of New York and subsequently traveled through a number of the States of the Union, New York, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and then located for a time in Carbon county, Pa. In 1873 he came to Reading and worked for a short time in the rolling mills but has mainly followed shoemaking. He owns his comfortable home. In 1862 he married Savannah Hopf, a daughter of John Hopf, of Saxeweimar, Germany. Mrs. Raab came to America in her tenth year with her widowed mother. John Raab, an older brother of George Raab, was the first of the Raab family to come to America and his son, George J. Raab is a well-known citizen of Reading. The children of George Raab and wife were the following: George, residing in Reading; John, who died aged one year; Mary, m. to John Warner. of Reading; Carrie, m. to Newton Obenheiser, of Reading; Charles T.; Minnie, m. to Edward O'Brien, of Reading; and Joseph, living in Reading.

Charles T. Raab attended school in boyhood near his home, but he was small when he became self-supporting, going to work in a cigar factory in his native place, and after completing his apprenticeship he worked at that trade for twenty years. In 1873 he accompanied his parents to Reading, where the larger part of his life has been spent although he has lived in other places, spending two years at his trade in Chicago and one year in New York State. For two years he conducted a restaurant at his present place of business, and started his hotel in the spring of 1908, being one of the two new licensed men in this line in the city. He is also one of the four business men to whom was granted a license in the county. These facts prove how entirely Mr. Raab enjoys the confidence of his fellow citizens. He gives a careful oversight to his hotel, residing in it himself, and continues some features of his restaurant. He is a member of the Marion Fire Company.

In 1896, Mr. Raab was married to Elizabeth Bauer, daughter of Gottleib Bauer.


p. 1456


John Radenbach, deceased, was a lifelong resident of Jefferson township, Berks county, having been born upon the farm where he lived and died. His great-grandfather, George Radenbach, also lived in that township, making his home for part of his life on the place now occupied by Miss Rebecca Radenbach daughter of the late John Radenbach.

Mr. Radenbach was a son of John and grandson of John, and the family has long been known and respected in this section of Berks county. He was one of the large land owners of Jefferson township, owning two farms, one of 170 and one of sixty acres, all valuable land. He married Polly Leib, and both are buried in the Little Tulpehocken cemetery in Jefferson township. They had children as follows: William, John (who died in infancy), Daniel, Sallie, Rebecca and John, all of whom are deceased except Rebecca, who owns and lives upon the old homestead. She also owns the other farm mentioned. Miss Radenbach was born in 1829, and is at present the only representative of her family. The house in which she resides, though over two hundred years old is in fine condition, and is a typical old-style log house.

Miss Radenbach's farm is cultivated by William Long, who was born in Jefferson township in 1854, son of Adam and Maria (Wagner) Long and he has lived on this place since 1898. He married Katie Richard, daughter of David and Kate (Stoudt) Richard; they have no children of their own, but they are rearing a niece, Helen Irene, who is now attending school.

There is a remarkable grove of walnut trees on Miss Radenbach's farm, one of which she sold recently for the unusual price of $110. It was nearly five feet in diameter near the base, and three feet in diameter fifty feet above the ground, without a single branch up to that height. The tree was sent to Germany, where it will be cut up for furniture veneer. There are a number of other valuable trees in the grove, but none equal this giant of the forest, which had long been famous in the locality.


p. 1483


John W. Rahn, liveryman at West Leesport, was born in Ontelaunee township, near Leesport, Feb. 5, 1877, son of William Z. and Sarah A. (Rothermel) Rahn.

Jacob Rahn, his great-great-great-grandfather, was born Aug. 8, 1728, and his wife, Margaretha, was born Aug. 4, 1714. They had two sons, as follows: Jacob; and Adam, 1762-1842, who had a son Adam, born in 1809.

Jacob Rahn, son of Jacob and Margaretha, was born in Maiden-creek (now Ontelaunee) township, July 16, 1757, and died in 1823. He married Elizabeth Schneider, born Aug. 26, 1765, and both are buried at Gernand's Church. They had four sons and four daughters, among whom were: Philip; Adam, of Leesport; Jacob; Jonathan, of Maxatawny township; and Mrs. Conrad Herbst.

Jacob Rahn, third in direct line to bear the name, was born in 1790, and died in 1874, his remains being interred at Gernant's church in Ontelaunee township. He owned a wooded farm, now the property of Christian H. Luppold, of Reading, which Mr. Rahn cleared, and on which he erected a house and barn in 1840, both of which are still standing. Mr. Rahn was successful in his farming operations, and was ranked among the substantial men of his community. He married Magdalena Bernhart, and they had two children: William; and Fannie, who married George Merkel, a pioneer iron master in Upper Berks county.

William Rahn, son of Jacob Rahn (3), was born in Ontelaunee township in 1821, and died in July, 1898. He was a life long farmer, and owned a tract of 600 acres of land in Ontelaunee, and 200 acres in Upper Tulpehocken. One of the leading Democrats of his section, Mr. Rahn was long identified with public interests, and he served as county commissioner. He was buried at Gernant's Church, of which he was a Reformed member, and was trustee thereof in 1860, when the present church was erected. He married Susan Merkel, daughter of Jacob and granddaughter of Casper Merkel, on of the most prominent men in Berks county in his day. Mr. and Mrs. Rahn had children as follows: Fannie m. Joseph Seyfert; Jacob, unmarried; James, of Ontelaunee; Sallie m. Solomon Sailer; Merkel M., proprietor of the "Washington Hotel," at West Leesport; Catherine m. Rufus Dunkel; a daughter m. Albert H. Dunkel; William Z.; and Milton, died aged three years.

William Z. Rahn, son of William, was born in Ontelaunee township, May 20, 1852. He was a farmer, and then for five years engaged at the butcher's trade. He was also a stationary engineer. In 1885 he went to West Leesport, where he is a watchman at the cinder crusher at Leesport. He married Sarah A. Rothermel, daughter of John Rothermel, of Berks county. Eight children were born to them, as follows: Fannie E.; John W.; Estella A.; Llewellyn R., a machinist at Bethlehem, Pa.; Carrie, who died in infancy; Laura L.; Debbie H.; and Sallie S.

John W. Rahn acquired his education in the schools near his home, and was only a boy when he went to work. He spent four years at J. H. Sternbergh's nut and bolt works, and the next three years he passed in a brick yard at West Leesport. He then became engineer at the Leesport Furnace, remaining six years, and at the end of that time he became proprietor of the "Fairview Hotel" in Bern township. This he conducted for three years, and in 1907 bought out George B. Moser's livery business, having the only livery now in West Leesport. He also does a large business in heavy hauling. In his young manhood he traveled from coast to coast, through twenty-nine States, and he has had a large and varied experience. During the time he was at the "Fairview Hotel," he was appointed postmaster at Strause postoffice, the office being located in the hotel, and it was during his term of office that this station was abandoned. Mr. Rahn is a Democrat, and at present is election inspector of West Leesport borough. He is a member of the Reformed (Gernant's) Church.

Mr. Rahn married Maggie Mannard, daughter of August and granddaughter of Jacob Mannard, who came from France and located at Leesport, being there employed many years by the Canal company. Mr. and Mrs. Rahn have one daughter, Ida L., attending school.


p. 1537


Merkel M. Rahn, proprietor of the Washington Hotel at West Leesport, Pa., and one of Bern township's best known and most highly esteemed citizens, was born in Ontelaunee township, Berks county, June 8, 1848, son of William and Susan (Merkel) Rahn.

Jacob Rahn, the great-great-grandfather of Merkel M., was born Aug. 8, 1728, and his wife, Margaretha, who was a widow, was born Aug. 4, 1714. They had two sons, Jacob and Adam. The latter, born in 1762, deceased in 1842, had a son Adam, who was born in 1809, and who had William, Isaac H., Sarah, Lewis, Adam and Mary.

Jacob Rahn, the great-grandfather of Merkel M., was born in Maiden Creek (now Ontelaunee) township, July 16, 1757, and died in 1823. His wife was Elizabeth Schneider, who was born Aug. 26, 1765, and both are buried at Gernant's Church. They had four sons and four daughters, among whom were: Philip; Adam, of Leesport; Jacob; Jonathan, of Maxatawny; and Mrs. Conrad Herbst.

Jacob Rahn, the grandfather of Merkel M., was born in 1790, and died in 1874, being buried at Gernant's Church in Ontelaunee township. He owned a wooded farm, now the property of Christian H. Luppold of Reading, which Mr. Rahn cleared, and on which he erected a house and barn in 1840, both of which are still standing. Mr. Rahn was successful in his farming operations, and was ranked among the substantial men of his community. He married Magdalena Bernhart, and to them there were born two children, namely: William; and Fannie, who married George Merkel, a pioneer iron-master of Upper Berks county.

William Rahn, father of Merkel M., was born in Ontelaunee township in 1821, and died in July, 1898. He was a life-long farmer, and owned a tract of 600 acres in Ontelaunee township and 200 acres in Upper Tulpehocken township. One of the leading Democrats of his section, Mr. Rahn was long identified with public interests, and served as county commissioner. He was buried at Gernant's Church, of which he was a Reformed member, and was trustee thereof in 1860, when the present edifice was erected.

William Rahn was married to Susan Merkel, daughter of Jacob and granddaughter of Casper Merkel, one of the most prominent men in Berks county in his day. Mr. and Mrs. Rahn had the following children: Fannie, m. Joseph Seyfert; Jacob, who is unmarried; James, of Ontelaunee; Sallie, m. Solomon Sailer; Merkel M.; Catherine, m. Rufus Dunkel; Mrs. Albert H. Dunkel; William, of West Leesport; and Milton, who died aged three years.

Merkel M. Rahn was reared on his great-grandfather Rahn's homestead, which had remained in the Rahn family for more than 100 years, and here he resided exactly fifty years, locating in 1898 at West Leesport, where he has since engaged in the hotel business as proprietor of the Washington House. This hostelry, which contains fourteen rooms, is very popular with the traveling public and commands a large share of the trade of this section. Mr. Rahn is a Democrat in politics and for nine years was a school director of Ontelaunee township, the last three years of his term as treasurer of the board. He and his family belong to the Reformed denomination of Gernant's Union Church, of which he was a trustee for nine years.

In 1872 Mr. Rahn was married to Sarah A. Rothermel, daughter of Peter and Sallie (Weist) Rothermel of Maiden-creek township, and they have had three children: Ida S., who has the telephone exchange at West Leesport and was a schoolteacher for seven terms in Ontelaunee township, is the widow of John R. Shearer, who died March 29, 1902, aged twenty-six years, leaving a daughter,-Ruth N.; Wert R., a graduate of the class of 1902 at the Keystone State Normal school, who taught school for seven terms in Berks county, married Sallie Stoudt, and they have one son,-Reid R.; and Curvin C. died, aged three years.


p. 857


Wilson M. Rahn, a highly respected citizen and property owner in Kutztown and in Richmond and Ruscombmanor townships, resided on Leibelsperger's farm at Moselem Springs, Berks county, for a period of twenty-two years. He was born June 17, 1851, in Maxatawny township on one of the Rahn farms.

Jacob Rahn, Sr., great-great-grandfather of Wilson M., was born Aug. 8, 1728, and he became a property owner in Ontelaunee township. He married a widow, Margaritha, born in 1714, and they had two sons.

Jacob Rahn, Jr., son of Jacob, Sr., was born July 16, 1757. He owned land in Ontelaunee township. His wife, Elizabeth Schneiderin, was born Aug. 26, 1765, and they had eight children, four sons and four daughters.

Jonathan Rahn, grandfather of Wilson M., was born July 17, 1796, and was an early settler of Maxatawny township. He was a large land owner, having four farms containing over 400 acres of the richest land in the township, most of this property still being in the possession of his descendants. He was a most honored and respected citizen. He and his family were prominent members of St. John's Reformed Church at Kutztown. In politics he was a Democrat, but never held office, being too busily engaged in the cultivation of the soil. He married Elizabeth Kutz, daughter of Daniel Kutz, of Maxatawny township, and they had these children: Jacob; John; William; Eliza, wife of Nathan Biber; Sallie, wife of Daniel Kohler; Charles; Mary, wife of August Geiger; James, who died in 1868; Isaac, who resides in Allentown, Lehigh county; and Hettie, wife of Henry Young, deceased.

William K. Rahn, father of Wilson M., is a prominent citizen of Maxatawny township, owning a farm of 114 acres of Maxatawny's best land, as well as 100 acres in Greenwich township, which is tenanted by his son William. He was married in 1850 to Caroline S. Merkel, daughter of Benjamin and Catherine (Sheradin) Merkel, substantial and early settlers of Richmond township, and these children were born to the union: Wilson M.; Franklin C., living at home; William, operating his father's farm in Greenwich township; Calvin M., a grocer of Philadelphia; Louisa, wife of William Bieber, of Reading; Daniel and Clara, at home; Nicholas M., a machinist of Kutztown, Pa.; Emma M., at home; James, a farmer of Maxatawny township; Jacob, a machinist of Kutztown; Katie, wife of Daniel Schucker, of Oakbrook, Pa.; and Fred M., a machinist, residing in Maxatawny township. Mrs. William Rahn, the mother of these children, died in 1900, in her seventy-first year, just three days after the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of her marriage, at which all of her children were present.

Wilson M. Rahn worked on his father's farm until he was twenty-four years of age, attending the public schools of his native township, and later studying at the Kutztown State Normal school. In 1876, he married Miss Lenora C. Machmer, daughter of Jonas and Catherine (Gift) Machmer, of Leesport, Pa.; and to them were born these children: Howard, a graduate of the Keystone State Normal School and Pierce's Business College, Philadelphia, is a bookkeeper for a prominent firm in the latter city; Cora m. Howard Bieler, a farmer of East Greenville, Montgomery county; Lewis M., a graduate of the Keystone State Normal School, is now teacher of a grammar school at East Greenville; Clara m. Samuel Brancher, a farmer of Richmond township; Alfred M., a graduate of the Keystone State Normal School, is now a senior in Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, intending later to study for the ministry in the Theological Seminary of the same institution; Robert M., a graduate of the Keystone State Normal School, and afterward a teacher in Richmond township, is now a student of Pennsylvania State College, in the class of 1911; Gertie M.; Nicholas M. is a student of the Keystone State Normal, in the class of 1910; and Edna M. is at home.

In 1877 Wilson M. Rahn began farming on his father's land in Greenwich township, where he lived for eight years, and in 1885, he began operations on the Leibelsperger farm, where he farmed until March 1907. He then retired and bought a fine brick house and lot on Noble street, Kutztown, and now resides there. He owns 102 acres of some of the best land in Richmond township, has substantial buildings thereon, and in every respect has a modern, well-cultivated farm; and he also owns a tract of wood land in Ruscombmanor township. Mr. Rahn and his family are members of St. Paul's Reformed Church. In politics he is a Democrat. He has been a delegate to numerous county conventions, and his vote decided the nomination, and ultimate election, of the late Daniel Ermentrout to Congress, when he was a candidate for that office the first time. In later years Congressman Ermentrout often stated that Mr. Rahn's vote caused a stampede in his favor, and that his political success in a great measure was due to that act.


p. 684


James H. Ramer, senior member of the contracting and building firm of Ramer & George, at Reading, Pa., was born Dec. 9, 1864, at Richmond township, Berks Co., Pa., son of John and Sallie S. Ramer, and grandson of Jacob Ramer, a farmer of Richmond township.

John Ramer was born in Richmond township, where his education was secured in the public schools, after leaving which he engaged in bricklaying and later in stone mason work. He died in Reading at the age of sixty-nine years, his wife having passed away in her thirty-eighth year, and their children were: Catherine, James H., Samuel, Jacob, Ellen, John, Annie, William (who died young), Lydia and Sallie.

James H. Ramer attended the schools of Richmond township, obtaining a good education, and in 1893 came to Reading, where he worked at bricklaying until 1903, in this year entering into a partnership with Samuel George. They have been very successful in their building business, and to the present time have erected forty-three houses in the northeastern section of Reading. In political matters Mr. Ramer is independent, and he is fraternally connected with Vigilance Lodge, No. 194, I. O. O. F.; Camp No. 278, P. O. S. of A., Virginville, of which he is a charter member; and the Maccabees. He is as popular in fraternal circles as he is well-known in the business field, and is considered a representative citizen.

Mr. Ramer married Fannie Schucker, daughter of Adam Schucker, and to this union there were born two children: Harry Warren, who died at the age of seven months, eight days; and Eva Elizabeth, who died when nine years, three months old.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:56:44 EDT

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