Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


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Conrad Samuel Reber, M. D. Among the prominent members of the medical profession in Berks county, Pa., none is more favorably known in his locality than Dr. Conrad Samuel Reber, whose chosen field of practice is the village of West Reading. Dr. Reber was born Sept. 23, 1876, at Bernville, Berks county, son of William H. and Fyetta (Stoudt) Reber.

John Reber, great-grandfather of Dr. Conrad S., was a farmer of Penn township, where he died in 1860, at the age of eighty-five years, being a son of Valentine Reber, who is buried in the old Union Church cemetery at Bernville. John Reber married Salome Steiner, and they had a family of nine children, namely: Conrad; Elizabeth; Samuel m. Catherine Berger; Eva m. John Christian Berger; Sarah m. Peter Umbenhauer; Christiana m. Daniel Kline; Catherine m. Michael Kline; Polly m. Daniel Schneider; and Molly m. Jacob Kline. John Reber was buried in the old homestead burial ground, still maintained, in which five generations of the family, in a direct line, rest, namely: John, who died in 1860; his son Conrad, his grandson William, his great-grandson John, and his great-great-grandson Robert.

Conrad Reber, grandfather of Dr. Conrad, was a farmer of Penn township, where he was born on the old homestead in 1798, the property being situated along the Northkill, about a mile north of Bernville. He was an active member of the German Baptist (Dunkard) denomination, and in that faith he died in 1872. He m. Susan Hiester, daughter of Daniel Hiester, of Upper Bern township, and they had a family of thirteen children: John, m. Caroline Strause; William; Polly m. Joseph Lengel; Daniel m. Catherine Gicker, (second) Elizabeth Smith, and (third) Mary Kerper; Henrietta m. Harrison Stoudt; Elizabeth m. Michael Ebling; Joel; Isaac m. Sarah Stump, and five died young. After the decease of his first wife, Conrad Reber married Caroline Bickel, but no children were born of this union.

William H. Reber, father of Dr. Conrad S., was born in 1831, on the Reber homestead, where he was reared to manhood, and spent his entire life there, dying in 1904. He married Fyetta Stoudt, daughter of William Stoudt, of the same place, and by her had seven children: Harrison m. Carolina Levan; Levi m. Amelia Faust; Franklin m. Lillian Naftzinger; Annie m. Aaron Eckert; Conrad S.; and two died young.

Conrad Samuel Reber received his preliminary education in the local schools, and then attended Juniata College, graduating from the commercial department in 1893, and the general department two years later. Upon his return home, he taught school in Penn township, in the Scull Hill school for three terms, and with this additional preparation he selected the profession of medicine for his vocation, and entered the office of W. G. Beyerle, at Bernville, for the purpose of reading medicine under his instruction. In 1899, he entered Jefferson Medical College, at Philadelphia, and graduated in 1903, when he located at West Reading. Here he has carried on a successful practice to the present time, and in 1905 he erected one of the finest dwellings in the place for his home and office.

Dr. Reber married Tillie E. Ruth, daughter of Edwin G. Ruth.


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Reber. (I) Jacob Reber, the ancestor of many of the Rebers of Berks county, was born Feb. 4, 1760, and died Sept. 19, 1843, aged eighty-three years, seven months, fifteen days. He owned a fine farm in Bern (now Upper Tulpehocken) township, where he died. His wife, Susanna, born Nov. 10, 1762, died Nov. 24, 1843, aged eighty-one years, fourteen days. They are buried side by side at the Zion's Blue Mountain Church.

(II) Jonathan Reber, son of Jacob, born Feb. 21, 1802, died June 6, 1859, aged fifty-seven years, three months, sixteen days. He was a farmer in Upper Tulpehocken township, owning a farm of about 160 acres near Strausstown, at the Blue Mountain Church. He is buried at the Blue Mountain Church. He married Susanna Grime, born Aug. 27, 1803, died Jan. 7, 1871, and to them were born the following named children: Charlotte, Jonathan G., Benneville G., Mary, Solomon G., Catharine, Issabella, Percival G., Elias G., Adam and Amilia. Of this family we have the following record:

(III) Charlotte Reber married Adam Spangler, who had a farm in Snyder county, Pa., where he died. He is buried at the Keiser Church. Mrs. Spangler died in Fremont, Nebr., and her remains were brought East to the home of her youngest son, Adam, in Selin's Grove, Snyder county, where the funeral was held. There she was buried, by the side of her husband. They had children: Jonathan, Diana, Lewis, Charles, Frank, George, Clara and Adam.

(III) Jonathan G. Reber, born Dec. 30, 1828, died Jan. 22, 1897, and is buried at the Blue Mountain Church. He was a successful business man, carrying on until his death a furniture and undertaking establishment at Strausstown. A member of St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, he took an active part in the work of that congregation. In politics he was a Democrat. He married Sarah A. Batteiger, born April 17, 1830, died Jan. 20, 1906, and they had two children, of whom Caleb died at the age of two years. The other was Commodore V. Reber, a well-known business man of Strausstown.

(III) Benneville G. Reber, born July 29, 1830, at Strausstown, Pa., died March 29, 1904, at No. 3711 Filbert St., West Philadelphia, Pa. He married Sarah Ann Shubert, born Jan. 30, 1835, at Ardmore, Montgomery Co., Pa., died Aug. 12, 1905, at Durham, Bucks Co., Pa., at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Mertz. Both are buried in the Ardmore cemetery. They had three children: (1) Clara M. Reber, born Feb. 2, 1862, married Rev. J. A. Mertz, who has three congregations in his charge. They have two sons: Paul Allen, the elder, now (1909) aged nineteen years, is a junior at Ursinus College, Collegeville, Montgomery Co., Pa., and the younger, John Ernest, fourteen years old, is preparing for college at Riegelsville Academy. (2) Charles Shubert Reber, born Feb. 3, 1863, at Ardmore, Montgomery Co., Pa., lives at No. 3823 Hamilton street, Philadelphia. They have a family of five children: Florence, Laura, Charles, Jr., Clara and Edna. (3) George Ervin Reber, born June 16, 1868, at Pleasantville, Montgomery Co, Pa., lives at Palmyra, N. J. He has two children, Marian and Horace.

(III) Mary Reber married Daniel Ketterer. They are buried in St. John's church cemetery, at Hamburg, Pennsylvania.

(III) Solomon G. Reber, born Feb. 5, 1834, died March 20, 1886. He was a farmer in Upper Tulpehocken township, cultivating the land now owned by his son Albert D. Reber, a tract of sixty-three acres, upon which he resided until his death. He is buried at the Blue Mountain Church. He married Elizabeth De Turk, born July 26, 1835 (daughter of Abraham De Turk), died June 15, 1906. They had a family of three children: Albert D., Milton and Cassie M. Milton Reber is a resident of Portland, Ind. Cassie M. is the wife of Jacob Seyfert, a teacher and notary public of Strausstown, Berks county.

(III) Catharine Reber married George R. Heilig, and they resided at No. 739 Franklin street, Reading, Pennsylvania.

(III )Issabella Reber married Jonathan Christ, and they reside at No. 612 Gordon street, Reading, They have two children, Thomas and Lizzie.

(III) Percival G. Reber married Eliza Schaum, and to them were born seven children: Caleb Webster, born Oct. 10, 1859, resides at Wildwood, Mich.; Howard Lawrence, born Sept. 11, 1861, resides in Vineland, N. J.; Charles Alvin, born May 8, 1864, lives out West; James Wallace, born Aug. 22 1866, is deceased; Lillie Miranda, born Nov. 14, 1868, lives in the West; Adam Henry, born May 26, 1871, is deceased; Willie S., born July 12, 1874, is deceased.

(III) Elias G. Reber is buried in the Frieden's Church cemetery, at Shartlesville, Berks county.

(III) Adam Reber died while quite young, and he is buried in the cemetery of the Zion's Blue Mountain Church.

(III) Amilia Reber married Levi Kauffman and lives at Wyomissing, Pa. They have four children, Byron, Laura, Lizzie and Stanley.

(IV) Commodore V. Reber, son of Jonathan G., was born May 2, 1861, in Upper Tulpehocken township. He received his education in the public schools, and then learned the furniture and undertaking business under his father, for whom he worked until the older man died, since when he has carried on the business on his own account. Mr. Reber has a profitable patronage, and few men are more respected in the community for sterling worth and honorable character. He is an active member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, in which he has been deacon and elder, and is at present secretary of the Sunday-school. In politics he is a Democrat.

Mr. Reber married Diana R. Henne, daughter of Moses and Leah Feick. They have no children.

(IV) Albert D. Reber, son of Solomon G., born Aug. 15, 1857, attended the public schools during his boyhood and afterward assisted his father with the work at home until he was twenty-one, from which time he had entire charge of the farm, which he bought after his father's death. He has continued to make his home and carry on the work there. The farm is a fertile tract, well-watered, and under an excellent state of cultivation, which Mr. Reber is well fitted to maintain. Besides his farming interests he does considerable business as a dealer in fertilizers, in the sale of which he has become well known throughout upper Berks county. In the winter months he engages in carpet weaving, having learned this trade from his father, and he finds a ready sale and steady demand for the products of his loom. Mr. Reber has been quite active in the church and in the affairs of the community generally. He served as school director; for two years as president of the school board; is a stanch Democrat and local party worker, having been a member of the election board; is a member of the Lutheran Church, in which he has held all the offices; and is a member of the P. O. S. of A.

Mr. Reber married Sallie Bertram, daughter of Elias Bertram, of Strausstown. They have no children.


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The Reber Family. The Reber family which is quite numerous in Reading and in the northeastern section of Berks county, had its beginning in Leonard Raver (Reber), who was a German Palatinate and came to America prior to 1740. In that year he had already settled in Windsor (now Perry) township, where he owned considerable land. Warrants for land were deeded to him as follows: Oct. 11, 1750, for ninety-three acres; April 5, 1775, another warrant was given him. Prior to these dates he already owned land. In 1769 Leonard Reber sold a tract of his land to George, his oldest son. He died prior to May 1, 1777, leaving the following eleven children: George, whose wife's first name was Anna Elizabeth; Adam, of Northampton county (now Weisenburg township, Lehigh county); John, of Berks county; Frederick, of Northampton county; Leonard of Northampton county; Dorothy (m. Henry Roush, of Berks county); Hannah (m. Jacob Haffly, of Berks county; Elizabeth (m. Nicholas Lingel, of Berks county); Christina (m. Conrad Ruhl); Catherine (m. Adam De Walt); and Magdalena (m. Adam Bieber).

George Reber, the eldest son of Leonard, the immigrant, obtained a warrant from the Province of Pennsylvania, which bore the name of "Raversburg." and was dated April 15, 1783. He also on May 1, 1777 (after his father's death), bought the homestead, paying 100 pounds of lawful money to each of his sisters and brothers as their share of the inheritance. He had a son named Jacob, who had among his children two sons: Samuel and William. Samuel Reber was a farmer and blacksmith in what is now Perry township, where he owned ninety-six acres of land. He was a Lutheran and is buried at Zion's Church. His wife's name was Esther and their wedding trip was made on horse-back, as was the custom, and they had these children: (1) Jeremiah, who had - Owen, Oscar, Ann and Lillian: 92) David (1832-1906), who had, - Mary, Kate, Arch, Edith, Samuel A., William H., Annie and Jacob; (3) Kate; (4) Esther; (5) Abraham, who had one son, John; (6) an infant son; (7) one whose name is not known; and (8) Ann, who died young. William, the second son of Jacob Reber, was born in 1818, and died in 1890, and was twice married, having by his first wife, one son, - Jacob, and by his second wife, Ann Gordner, fifteen children.

Adam Reber, the second son of Leonard the immigrant, lived for some years in Northampton (now Lehigh) county, in Weisenburg township, but later returned to his native county, - Berks. His son, George, the great-grandfather of Ira J. J. Reber, of Mount Penn borough, was born in Bern township, where he was engaged in milling, and died in Reading in his eightieth year, being buried at the Charles Evans cemetery. He married a Miss Hoy, and to them were born the following children: Polly, who died unmarried; Catherine, m. to Daniel Klahr; Rebecca, m. to Samuel Spohn; Augustus, who was a miller and died in Reading; Joel, who settled at State Hill; George, who lived in Allentown for many years, but died out West; Joseph; and Jacob, who lived and died in Schuylkill county.

Joseph Reber was a native of Bern township, but in later years removed to Maiden-creek township, where he operated the Evansville grist mill until his death. He was married to Elizabeth Kline, and to them there were born children as follows: Mary m. Eli Saul; William is a clock-maker of Reading; Aaron, a distiller by trade, is now conducting a grocery in Reading; Ella, deceased, m. Harry Boyer, a car inspector of Reading; Joel K.; Daniel, a clock-maker of Reading, has three children, - David L., Wesley and Howard L.; Sarah m. Irwin Smith, a wall paper dealer of Reading; and Emma m. Samuel Perry, of Kansas.

Joel K. Reber was born in Bern township, Dec. 16, 1842, and in 1858 learned the painting trade in Reading, which he has followed at intervals to the present time. In 1862 he engaged in the wall paper business, opening a little store in partnership with Henry Wertz, on Ninth street, near Washington. Later he built at No. 154 North Ninth street, where he continued alone until 1891, the year in which he purchased his present place, No. 943 Penn street, where he has followed the business very successfully ever since. He is a consistent member of Ebenezer Evangelical Church of Reading, which he joined in 1877, and in which he has served as trustee and steward for some years. In 1869 Mr. Reber was married to Catherine Ziegler, daughter of James W. and Christiana (Eddinger) Ziegler, and to this union there were born children as follows: Lillie m. Charles Kelly, a shoe-last maker of Philadelphia; Minnie died in childhood; E. J. is at home; Javan, a paper hanger of Reading, m. Minnie Wilgeroth; Ira J. J.; Katie died in childhood; and Harry C. m. Carrie Smith and works as a clerk in Reading.

Ira J. J. Reber was born June 25, 1880, in Reading, received a good education in the city schools and the High school, and left the latter to enter his father's paper store, now located at No. 943 Penn street, which he is now conducting. He carries a full line of wallpaper and accessories doing the largest business of this kind in Berks county. They also do considerable painting, frescoing and decorating, and during their busy season employ upwards of twenty-five skilled workmen. Many buildings in Reading and the surrounding country bear evidence of the excellence of Mr. Reber's work, among them being churches, halls and public buildings.

In politics this branch of the Reber family is strongly Republican in national and state matters, while in local affairs honesty and ability are considered before partisanship. Mr. Reber is a member of the Mount Penn Board of Health, and is fraternally connected with the P. O. S. of A., No. 163, Reading; and the Knights of Malta, No. 47. He and his family are members of Salem Evangelical Church, of which he has been a trustee for some years, and where he is a teacher in the Sunday school.

On Aug. 6, 1901, Mr. Reber was married to Lizzie Levan, daughter of George A. and Philibena (Stuber) Levan.


p. 1298


Reber. The early home of the Reber family of Berks county was Langenselbold, in Kreis Hanau, Regrersungbezirk Cassel, Germany. In the old book at the Evangelical Church there appear the names of four brothers, Johan Bernhard, Hans, Johan Conrad and Michael. These were found there by Mr. James J. Reber, of Reading, in 1882.

The first named of these brothers, Johan Bernhard, is recorded as having a son, Johannes Reber, who was married Feb. 8, 1736, to Johanna Magdalena Hahn, daughter of Conrad Hahn. To this union were born in Germany two sons: Johannes, Dec. 16, 1736; and Ludwig Freiderich August, Sept. 11, 1740. The Pennsylvania archives contain a list of 30,000 emigrants, and among them is Johan Bernhard Reber, from Rotterdam, Holland, on the "Snow Two Sisters," landing at Philadelphia, and qualifying Sept. 9, 1738, and of him no further records are to be found. However, according to his passports Johannes Reber left his native land for America April 23, 1742, bringing his family with him. His second son Ludwig died on the voyage. Being a member of William Penn's Colony his first object was to find a suitable location, and he selected a tract of land about six miles west of Reading, in Lower Heidelberg township, at the bend of the Tulpehocken - a beautiful but desolate valley now known as the Blue Marsh. He moved thither with his wife and son, built himself a home which served the double purpose of shelter and protection from the Indians and wild beasts. This old building with its large square fire place in the center, is still standing, the farm now being the property of Henry Shofer, of Reading. He was naturalized May 13, 1768. Three sons were born to him after his arrival in America, namely: Thomas, Valentine and Peter.

Johannes Reber, son of Johannes, born Dec. 16, 1736, was twice married. His first wife was a Miss Orbengast, who bore him two children, John and Magdalena. The maiden name of his second wife was Haas, and of this marriage four children were born: Nicholas, Abraham, Michael and Susanna.

John Reber, son of Johannes Reber (whose wife was an Orbengast), became a farmer in Bern township. He married Magdalena Rathmacher, and they had fourteen children, namely: Magdalena, who married (first) John Bickel, and (second) Jacob Riegel; Barbara, who married John Hain; Christiana, who became the wife of John Ahrens; Elizabeth, who married John Fisher; Rebecca, who became the wife of Yost Hiester; Susanna, who died unmarried at the age of twenty-two years; Sarah, who married John Potteiger; Joseph, mentioned below; John, who died young; Benjamin, who married (first) Margaretha Tobias, and (second) Susanna S. Miller; and John (2), Samuel, Jonas and Daniel, who all four died young.

Joseph Reber, son of John and Magdalena, was a prominent miller and farmer in Bern township. He married Elizabeth Minnich, and had eleven children: (1) James died young. (2) Elias M., living at Tina, Mo., married Sarah Hain, and had five children: Wilson, Louisa, John J., George and Alva S. (3) Maria married Joshua Eyrich, and had twelve children: Charles, Frank, William, Joshua, George, Aaron, Elizabeth, Emma, James, Calvin, John and Sarah. (4) Eliza married Charles Gring, and has three children, Calvin, Charles and Wallace. (5) Fietta married Henry Rhoads, and their only child, George, died in infancy. (6) Harrison M., born Sept. 7, 1833, married Amelia Fisher, and died Nov. 16, 1892, the father of six children: Ellen, Joseph F., Mary E., Amelia, Kate and Alice B. (7) Sarah married James Adams, and had one son, Tyson. (8) Simplecius married Sarah M. Herbine, and had four children: Ellen H., Emma N., James H. and Sarah. (9) Priscilla married William Reeser, and had six children: Sarah, Ida, Obert, Ocky, Owen and Laura. (10) Henry M. (11) Rebecca married Jacob Rickenbach, and had eight children: Sarah, Clara, Ella, Annie, John, Solomon, Calvin and Charles.

Henry M. Reber, son of Joseph and Elizabeth, was born on the homestead farm at Reber's Mill in Bern township, June 15, 1841. He grew to manhood there and was trained to agricultural pursuits, giving his service to his parents until he was twenty-two years old. He then entered the employ of Joseph Reber, and for some years drove his mill team, and later continued in the same capacity for his brother Elias, who succeeded Joseph in the business. In 1865 Mr. Henry M. Reber engaged in farming, commencing in Heidelberg township, along the Tulpehocken, where he tenanted five years. He then moved to Spring township in the Cacoosing district, where he lived ten years, continuing to farm rented land in Spring and Heidelberg townships until 1892, when he purchased his present farm of eighty acres in Lower Heidelberg, in the Faust school district. In 1892 he built the present frame house, and has it equipped with all the modern devices for comfortable living. He has twelve head of cattle and five horses, and a complete outfit of up-to-date farm implements. In politics Mr. Reber is a Democrat, and in religion he and his family are Reformed members of Epler's Union Church.

On Nov. 21, 1863, Henry M. Reber was married to Mary Rickenbach, born in March, 1843, daughter of Solomon and Rosina (Moyer) Rickenbach, of Rickenbach Station. The latter was born in Germany, and at her death was buried at Epler's Church. Six children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Reber: Solomon R.; Morris R., a school teacher at Wernersville; Harry, who died aged twenty years; Ella Nora, who married Aaron Witmoyer, a farmer of Lower Heidelberg township; George R., unmarried and teaching school; and Calvin R., born April 14, 1880, at home.

Solomon R. Reber, son of Henry M., and now a farmer near Shillington, in Spring township, was born Aug. 24, 1864. He was brought up familiar with the duties about a farm, remaining at home until he was twenty-seven. In 1892 he began farming one of the Shoup farms in Spring township, where he has since lived. This farm consists of fifty-five acres of excellent land, and Mr. Reber has a good equipment of modern machinery. He has a herd of Holstein and Durham cattle, and some good horses. His milk is sold wholesale, and shipped to Reading. While taking an interest in public affairs, Mr. Reber is no politician. He stands well in the community, being upright in his relations with his fellowmen. He was confirmed at Epler's Church, in Bern township, by Rev. R. S. Appel, and is a Reformed member of Hains' Church in Lower Heidelberg, in which latter Church Mrs. Reber was confirmed by Rev. W. P. Davis.

On Oct. 17, 1891, Mr. Reber was married to Sallie G. Bender, daughter of Benjamin and Mary (Gerhart) Bender, farming people of Lower Heidelberg township.


p. 1321


Henry C. G. Reber was born in Penn township, Berks county, Dec. 18, 1846, and departed this life in 1902.

The Reber family originated in Germany, and there in 1736 was born Thomas Reber. He was an industrious and painstaking man, and was highly respected. His death occurred in 1823. His children were: John, John Peter, Catharine, Magdalena, Valentine, Anna Maria, Anna Margaretha, Elizabeth, Susanna and Conrad.

Conrad Reber was born in Germany May 18, 1788, and was the first of the family to emigrate to America. He became a farmer in Berks county, Pa., where he died Sept. 27, 1854. He was a director of the Farmers' National Bank of reading. He married Susanna Bright, who was born Feb. 14, 1789, and who died Oct. 5, 1847. Their children were: Thomas B., Mary Ann, Charles B., Bennwell B., John B., Daniel B., Anna, Levi B., Matilda and Henry.

John B. Reber, son of Conrad, was born Jan. 9, 1818, and died Feb. 2, 1894. He, also, was a director of the Farmers' National Bank of Reading. He was thrice married. By his first wife, Sarah Fisher, he had two children, Mary A. and Levi F. His second wife, Mary Gernant, also bore him two children, Henry C. G. and Sarah M., of whom the latter married Simon P. O'Reilly, and lives in Reading. Mr. Reber married for this third wife Montana Dunbar; no children were born to this union.

Henry C. B. Reber was primarily educated in the public schools of his native township. He was but twenty years of age when he graduated from Franklin and Marshall College, at Lancaster, Pa., which institution subsequently conferred upon him the degree of A. M. He entered the office of Jeremiah Hagenman, who afterward became President Judge, and on April 12, 1869, he was admitted to the Berks county Bar. His rise in the profession was phenomenal, and in a few years he was admitted practice in the Supreme court of Pennsylvania and the United States District court Mr. Reber had a large practice in the Orphans' court, and was frequently called upon to settle estates. He was often appointed master in equity, and as such acquitted himself with great ability. In 1874 he was elected district attorney by a large majority, and as such served three years. It was during his term of office that the great riot of 1877 occurred -- a riot arising from a strike of railroad employes, and had Mr. Reber done nothing else, his conduct at that trying time, his indictment of guilty parties without fear or favor, would have given him a record of which any man might be proud.

Outside of his legal practice Mr. Reber had a number of important interests. He was at one time a director in the Farmers' National Bank, and the solicitor of that institution. He was the owner of considerable real estate, and was interested in coal operations in Shenandoah. In his religious belief he was a Roman Catholic, being a member of St. Peter's Church.

Mr. Reber was married to Miss Mary C. Levan, who, with an adopted son, LeRoy L., survives. Mrs. Reber makes her home at the family residence on Eleventh street.

For several years before his death Mr. Reber had been in poor health, but it had been thought that he was on the fair road to recovery when the town was startled by the news of his death, and the general feeling was one of sorrow at the loss of a good man and a loyal friend. A special meeting of the Berks Bar Association was held in the main courtroom, and many who had now him spoke feelingly of his demise. Judges Ermentrout and Bland and several others eloquently testified to the loss to the profession and to themselves in the death of their personal friend -- a lawyer of high ability, a man of unimpeachable integrity, a companion and friend genial and cheerful, who ever tried to scatter sunshine in the lives of those about him.


p. 1562


Horatio K. Reber (deceased), who for many years was a prominent business man of Reading, being a pioneer in the electrical supply and construction business, was born July 22, 1849, in Leesport, Berks county, where he received a good common-school education.

Mr. Reber's first employment was in the painting business which he followed until 1883, in which year he engaged in the electrical supply business on Sixth street, near Buttonwood. Later he removed to near Penn street, on Sixth, and in 1888 located at No. 651 Penn street, where the business was conducted by him until his death, in 1901, since which time his widow has managed the business, under the name of Reading Electrical Supply & Construction Company. Mrs. Reber, who resides at No. 322 Windsor street, also owns three other properties on Hudson street and one on Pear street, is an able business woman, and under her supervision the enterprise has grown to such proportions that six mechanics are required to carry on its business.

July 1, 1873, Mr. Reber was married to Mary A. Stout, daughter of Abraham and Hannah (Masser) Stout. Mr. and Mrs. Stout were members of the Reformed Church. They had children as follows: Milton; Mary A., m. Mr. Reber; James, and Elizabeth, and four who died in infancy. Mrs. Reber is a member of the Christian Church, to which her husband also belonged, and of the Y. W. C. A. Mr. Reber's fraternal connections were with the I. O. O. F., the Knights of Pythias, the P. O. S. of A., and Mt. Penn Council, Royal Arcanum; and in all of these organizations he was very popular. He was an able business man, and was public-spirited to a high degree, giving his support and hearty co-operation to any movement that would be of benefit to the city or its citizens.


p. 910


James B. Reber, who has become well known to the people of Berks county. Pa., as an educator, was born in Windsor (now Perry) township, March 13, 1850, son of Joseph and Mary (Rothermel) Reber.

Joseph Reber, father of James B., was born in Windsor township, where he learned the carpenter's trade, following this occupation for some years. He then removed to Hamburg, Pa., being there employed by the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company, for a period of twenty-five years as boss carpenter and bridge builder. He was killed at Wayne Junction while working with a force of men on a bridge. During the Civil war he served as a sub-foreman in the construction corps. In politics he was a Democrat. Mr. Reber was twice married, his first wife being Mary Rothermel, daughter of Peter Rothermel, by whom he had these children: F. Leonard; Annie died aged thirteen years; and James B. The first wife of Mr. Reber died at the age of thirty-two years, and he married (second) Susan Mayer, who bore him these children: Joseph, Edward, Erastus, Samuel, Claude, Lewis, Minerva, Lilly, Laura and Iva.

James B. Reber resided in his native township until twenty-four years of age, with the exception of one year when he lived in Hamburg. He was educated in the schools of his native township and later at the Keystone State Normal school, which latter institution he attended for two terms. Mr. Reber began teaching in the fall of 1869, in a private stone dwelling along the pike, north of Hamburg, and the next two years taught at Hoffman's school in the same district. The next six terms were spent at the Windsor Castle school, Mr. Reber then removing to Upper Bern (now Tilden) township, where he taught Fishers school for one term, and Becker's for three terms. At the end of that time he returned to his native township, where he has resided ever since, teaching Hoffman's school for one term and one term at Engel's. Mr. Reber became an agriculturist and painter, and as such has since continued, with the exception of the winter of 1896-97, when he completed the unexpired term at Hoffman's of his son, who met an accidental death. Mr. Reber served his township faithfully for nine years as auditor, and has been re-elected for the next three years; and he has been drawn on many juries, both in Federal and local courts. In politics he is a Democrat. He and his family are consistent members of Salem United Brethren Church of Shoemakersville, where he has served as trustee, steward, deacon, secretary and treasurer, and for the last eight years as class-leader. He represented the church at several annual conferences and has been assistant superintendent of the Sunday-school for a number of years.

Mr. Reber was married Aug. 15, 1874, to Susan C. Schearer, daughter of Daniel and Catherine (Miller) Schearer, and to this union there were born children as follows: Calvin A., born Oct. 30, 1874, was a teacher and died by drowning while in swimming, July 12, 1896; Lillie A. is a masseuse at Bethlehem, Pa.; Laura L. married Charles Strauss of Bethlehem; Robert E., born Oct. 16, 1882; James A., born April 28, 1885; Elsie M.; Estella M.; and Llewellyn G., born July 27, 1892, died on Feb. 25 1897, ten days after his mother.


p. 343


James T. Reber, President of the Reading National Bank, and one of the city's men of capital, business and social importance, is a descendant of one of the very old families of Berks county, Pa. On account of its prominence and its numbers and wide distribution, some of its members have taken justifiable pride in looking up its early records. A well known citizen of Reading and a member of this family, Morris B. Reber, has with careful research compiled a volume which bears the title "Genealogy of the Reber Family, descended from Johan Bernhard Reber, 1738." From this interesting work we quote as follows:

"The idea of preparing a genealogy of the Reber family was probably suggested by the finding of the original passport of Johannes Reber still preserved, who was, for a long time, believed to be the first one of the large family of Rebers who emigrated to this country. This passport shows that he came from Langenselbold, Germany, which is situated in Kreiz Hanau, Regierungsbezirk Cassel, Konigreich Prussia. While visiting in that part of the country, in 1882, Mr. James T. Reber found recorded in the old church book of the Evangelical Church (Rev. Frederick Hufnagle, Pastor), the names of four brothers, Johan Bernhard, Hans, Johan Conrad and Michael Reber.

"This church book dates back to the year 1563, so that it might be possible to obtain the ancestors of these four brothers since the sixteenth century. However, we have been satisfied to make a record only from the earliest emigrant to this country.

"Johan Bernhard Reber, the first of these brothers, is recorded in this same book as having one son, Johannes, mentioned below. The Pennsylvania archives, containing the names of 30,000 early emigrants, mention the arrival of John Bernhard Reber, from Rotterdam, Holland, on the 'Snow Two Sisters', landing in Philadelphia and qualifying Sept. 9, 1738, by swearing allegiance to Great Britain. We can learn of nothing pertaining to his whereabouts or life after his arrival in this country. The passport, however, of the son who came to this country in 1742 is still intact.

"Johannes Reber, whose date of birth is unknown, son of Johan Bernhard, was married Feb. 8, 1736, to Johanna Magdalena Hahn, daughter of Conrad Hahn. They had two sons born in Germany, Johannes, Dec. 16, 1736, and Ludwig Friedrich August, Sept. 11, 1740. According to his passport, he left his native country for America, April 23, 1742, bringing his family with him, although it is known that the second son, Ludwig, died on board the ship. Being a member of William Penn's colony, his first object was to find a desirable location. Having selected some acres of land about six miles west of Reading, in Lower Heidelberg township, at the big bend of the Tulpehocken, in a beautiful though desolate valley known afterward as the 'Blue Marsh', he moved thither with his wife and son, built himself a home which served the double purpose of shelter and protection against the Indians and wild animals, his only neighbors. This quaint old building, with its large, square fire-place in the center is still standing on the farm formerly occupied by Mr. Henry Shofer, of Reading.

"We find recorded in the Pennsylvania archives, that John Reber was naturalized May 13, 1768, and also that he, like many others of the early settlers, was concerned in numerous disputes regarding the rights of ownership of their land. During the time that he resided in this locality, he was blessed with an increase to his family of three sons who were named Thomas, Valentine and Peter."

James T. Reber is a descendant of John or Johannes Reber mentioned above, who was the eldest son of Johan who emigrated in 1742, and who continued to live in Pennsylvania after his father's death. Johan Reber was twice married and had six children. Two of the brothers, Peter and Valentine, settled in the west in the neighborhood of Lancaster, Ohio, where numbers of their descendants may be found. The remaining brother, Thomas Reber, was born in Pennsylvania in 1746, was married to Elizabeth Kerschner, born Nov. 1, 1747, died Dec. 22, 1823, and he left ten children.

James T. Reber, the immediate subject of this sketch, was born April 29, 1834, at Sinking Spring, Berks Co., Pa. He was educated in the public schools and afterward engaged in the hardware business for forty years, from 1853 until 1893, trading as Bard, Reber & Company.

James T. Reber was married to Miss Sarah W. Potteiger, Oct. 3, 1854. They have had seven children born to them, of whom Benjamin died aged nine years, the survivors being: C. Alice, wife of Joseph F. Templin, of Philadelphia, Pa.; Valeria E., wife of Isaac L. Deeter, in the Reading railroad service at Reading; Morris B., for a time engaged in the real estate business branch house, representing a large New York concern; Clara R.; and James C., a manufacturer of Reading. The mother of these children died Jan. 31, 1903, aged sixty-seven years.

In addition to the business interests already mentioned, Mr. Reber has been president of the Reading National Bank since March 14, 1893, the date of its organization. As one of the city's most responsible citizens he has been chosen for offices of responsibility as his leisure time permitted, serving for three years in the common council and for three years an unexpired term as prison inspector. He is a Knight Templar Mason and an Odd Fellow. Mr. Reber is prominent in the Reformed Church, in which he has been an elder for many years, and for six years he has been treasurer of the board of Home Missions. For more than twenty years he has been a trustee of the Bethany Orphans' Home; was treasurer of the board of publication of the Reformed Church of the United States for over twenty years; and has been a member of the board of Home Missions of the Reformed Church for many years. In 1907 he was elected trustee of Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.


p. 896

Surnames: REBER

Morris B. Reber, now connected with the Bell Telephone Company, but formerly secretary of the Acme Manufacturing Company, of Reading, and later associated with the firm of Wood, Harmon & Co., of New York, was born at Reading, Feb. 28, 1860, son of James T. Reber.

Morris B. Reber was educated first in the public schools at Reading and then attended the Myerstown College, Palatinate College, and Franklin and Marshall College at Lancaster, where he was graduated in 1881. After Leaving college Mr. Reber engaged for a time in the hardware business and then went West where he remained fourteen years, engaged mostly in the real estate business in Minnesota. He then removed to Salt Lake City, where for six years he did an extensive business in handling mining lands, and mining stocks and serving as secretary of one of the great developing companies of that locality. Returning to Reading, he went into the bicycle business, becoming secretary of the Acme Manufacturing Company, in partnership with his father, who was the president and his brother James C., was treasurer and general manager. After the company was absorbed by the bicycle Trust, he retired for seven years. In 1901 he became connected with the firm of Wood, Harmon & Co., the largest real estate agents in the country. This firm owns 2,000 acres of undeveloped land in Brooklyn, which is laid out in residence lots which are purchased largely by all classes of investors all over the country. The company also handles large blocks of territory in Reading and other places and Mr. Reber is the superintendent of agents for Eastern Pennsylvania and supervises the development of the company's business in this part of the State. He has quite recently accepted an important position with the Bell telephone Company of Pennsylvania, and is actively engaged in furthering the interests of this company throughout this part of the State.

Mr. Reber is a member of the Reformed Church. He belongs to the Goethean Society of Franklin and Marshall College. He is a young man of enterprise, ability and all his ventures has been remarkably successful.


p. 1254


Samuel M. Reber, one of the good, practical farmers and stock dealers of Perry township, Berks county, was born on the old Reber homestead in this township, March 3, 1845, son of Jacob H. and Elizabeth (Umbenhaur) Reber.

Conrad Reber, great-grandfather of Samuel M., was a son of Leonard Reber, who emigrated from Germany prior to 1756. He was a taxable in Windsor township in 1759, being a large land-owner, paying fifteen pounds tax. He was one of the founders of Zion's Union Church of Perry township. Conrad Reber had seven children: George, John, Catherine, Susannah, Nancy, Sarah and Maria, and died while several were still under age. John Reber of this family was also a farmer, and owned the original homestead, which then consisted of more than 200 acres of land. He was a frugal man and was the builder of some of the structures still standing on the farm. He married a Miss Baer and they became the parents of these children: Jacob H., father of Samuel M., John; Kate, m. Henry Becker; Sally, m. Samuel Lesher; and Mrs. Joseph Smith.

Jacob H. Reber was born in 1804 and died in 1889, on the old homestead, where he had spent all of his life. He and his family were Lutherans, belonging to Zion's Church where he was buried. Mr. Reber married Elizabeth Umbenhaur, daughter of Jonas, and to this union there were born children as follows: Jonas, who died in 1900, aged seventy-one years; Lovina, who died in 1895, m. Daniel Yeager; Mary m. David Rauch; John, who died in youth; Susannah, m. Joel Hoffman; Samuel M.; Beckie, m. Henry Hoffman; and Catherine, m. Albert Schappell.

In his youth Samuel M. Reber attended a pay school for several months during the year and after the establishment of the public school system attended these schools for several terms, his teacher being John Stahr, now deceased. He was reared on the farm on which he now lives, and which he owns, consisting of 145 acres of fine farming land. Mr. Reber owns also five good horses and eleven head of cattle. He is a good, honest, industrious citizen, liberal in his contributions towards church and charitable movements. He and his family are members of the Lutheran denomination, and attend Zion's Union Church of this township, where he was a deacon for several years. Mr. Reber supports the Democratic party, but has never had political aspirations.

Mr. Reber was married in 1877 to Elizabeth Keim, daughter of Elias and Amanda (Hartman) Keim, and granddaughter of John Keim. Six children were born to this union, namely: Annie Susannah, Jacob S., Thomas S. and Robert J., all of whom died in infancy; Lizzie A., born Nov. 27, 1887; and Alvin A., born Jan. 29, 1890. Both live at home and assist their parents in the work on the farm.


p. 766


Simplecius Reber, residing at No. 19 South Second street, Reading, is descended from a family identified with Berks county since 1783, when the paternal grandfather, Johannes, settled there.

Johannes Reber came to America from his native Germany when a boy of only twelve years, and part of his education was acquired in this country. From his very arrival he lived in Bern township, and became one of the influential farmers of that region. He owned very valuable land there and also operated a mill for many years. He married Magdalina Roadmacher, and their children were Joseph, Sally, Polly, Rebecca and Bessie, the last named of whom married a Mr. Ahrens. So far as known, the family were members of the Reformed Church. Mrs. Reber died in Reading, and her husband died in 1847, aged seventy-six. He was a Democrat in his political principles.

Joseph Reber, father of Simplecius, was born in 1802, at the old Reber homestead, and remained there nearly all his life. He carried on the farm and operated the old Reber Mill, situated on the Tulpehocken, but about 1874 he moved on to a small farm which he had bought some time previously, and there passed the last six years of his life, dying in 1880. His wife, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Minnich, passed away five years before him, at the age of seventy-two. They were the parents of ten children: Elias, to whom the father gave over the operation of the farm and mill; Maria, m. to Joshua Eyrich; Fietta, m. to Henry Rose; Elizabeth, m. to Charles Gring; Harrison; Sarah, m. James Adams; Priscilla, m. William Reeser; Henry; Rebecca, m. to John Richenbach; and Simplecius. Most of the family belonged to the Reformed Church. Joseph Reber was a Democrat like his father.

Simplecius Reber was born on the homestead in Bern township, March 2, 1838, and received his earlier education in the public schools of that section. Later he attended school in reading. He remained at home helping in the work on the farm until he was thirty-three years old, when he came to Reading and took a position with the Stichter Hardware Company. After learning the details of the business with this company, he engaged with the Bright Hardware Company and remained with them fourteen years. In 1901 he left that firm and accepted a position with James A. Schoffer, as engineer in his bakery and he still fills that capacity.

On Sept. 26, 1857, Mr. Reber married Sarah A., daughter of Isaac Herbein. Their four children are: Ellen, m. to Charles Tobias; Emma, m. to Storm Miller; James; and Sarah A. The family belong to the Second Reformed Church, while in politics Mr. Reber is a Democrat. Their home is at No. 19 South Second street, Reading.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:56:46 EDT

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