Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery

ROMICH, WILLIAM H.

p. 1417

Surnames: ROMICH, ROMIG, BERG, CASE, DAVIDHEISER, FISHER, FRITZ, GIFT, HELFRICK, HOFFMAN, KEELEY LEVAN, LEVENGOOD, MOYER, NESTER, REIFSNYDER, ROHRBACH, ROMIG, ROMICH, SEITEL/SPEITEL, WAID, WEISNER, WISE

The gentleman who bears the name with which this sketch is introduced is possibly the best known man in Berks County, his business as professional auctioneer having carried him throughout its entire bounds. He is a successful auctioneer and farmer. The family to which he belongs was an early one in the county, some of its representatives spelling the name as above, others changing the "ch" to "g", making it Romig.

John Romich, the ancestor of this branch of the family, came to Berks County in the latter part of the 18th century from Conestoga Township, Lancaster County. He settled in Earl Township, where he was the owner of much land and a man of influence in his community until his demise in 1804. Part of the estate reached over into Douglass Township, but the portion on which he lived and died was situated in Earl Township, near Worman. The will distributing his estate is on record in Will Book IV, page 244, his son John, and his friend Jacob Keely, Sr., being the executors. His wife's first name was Anna Maria, and they had children: John, who obtained a farm of 180 acres, partly in Earl and partly in Douglass Townships; George; Christian; Jacob, and Henry.

John (2), eldest of the family was the next in descent. He passed his entire life in Earl Township, and was a man of large influence and property. He died in 1835, bequesting a farm of 160 acres, located in Ohio, to his son Andrew. He and his wife, Mary, had other children besides Andrew and Jacob, the latter being the grandfather of William H., but said children do not appear in the will. Jacob Romich and Jacob Weisner signed the will as witnesses.

George Romig, second son of the ancestor, was born Jan. 9, 1765, and died April 2, 1850, his age being eighty five years, two months and twenty-three days. He married Sophia Fritz (1773-1828), and to her were born seven sons and four daughters.

Christian Romig, third son of John, the ancestor, was born Jan. 13, 1766, and living seventy-eight years, one month and twenty-two days, died on the 5th of March, 1844. Catharine Seitel, his wife, was born in 1767, and died in 1844, after a married life of fifty-six years. There were four sons and one daughter. He and his wife, together with George and his wife, are buried in the Fritz burial ground, Douglass Township.

Jacob Romich, fourth son of the ancestor, and grandfather of William H., was a farmer in Conestoga Township, Lancaster County, for a few years, thence coming to Worman, in Douglass Township. He cultivated a farm of 128 acres at that place for nearly a half-century, and this property is at present owned by William H.

The house which is now used by our subject was partly built by Jacob Romich, who was born there Jan. 10, 1793, and died Feb. 3, 1879, aged eighty-six years and twenty-three days. He married his cousin, Elizabeth Romich who was a daughter of John Romich of Montgomery County, the latter coming to Amity Township later in life. The wife was born Feb. 27, 1800, and lived to be seventy-eight years, eleven months and four days old, her death occurring Feb. 1, 1879. Jacob and his wife lie at rest in Boyertown Cemetery. Their children were as follows: John; George; Sophia, who married John Davidheiser; Ephraim (1826-1901); Zephaniah; Henry; Jacob; Harriet Fisher; Mary M., who married, first Jeremiah Reifsnyder, and second, John Berg.

George Romich, of the above family was born near Worman in Douglass Township in 1827, and died in 1900, aged seventy-three years. His occupation was that of shoemaker. His home was above Gabelsville, where he owned a small tract of land, now in the possession of his son, Llewellyn Romich. In religious matters he was a member of the Lutheran Church. He was twice married, his first wife being Sarah Rohrbach. Their children were: Elizabeth, who died at the age of three years, and Jacob R., born in Earl, near the "Yellow House", June 16, 1856. The children by the second wife were: Calvin, Llewellyn, Katie and Frank.

When twenty-one, Jacob R., learned the shoemaking trade, which he has since followed. In 1888 he engaged in the shoe business in Boyertown at what is called the old J. S. Case shoe-store ". In 1878 he was married to Miss Sophia Nester, and they had one child, George A., born March 10. 1879, who is now organist of St. John's Lutheran Church, and teaches music to a number of pupils in Boyertown. His wife perished in the Boyertown Fire, January 13, 1908, when only thirty one years of age.**

John R. Romich, father of William H., was the son of Jacob and Elizabeth Romich, and brother to George, mentioned above. He was born on the old homestead in Douglass Township Jan. 11, 1823, and died Dec. 28, 1885, aged sixty-two years, eleven months and seventeen days. Boyertown Cemetery holds his remains. During his lifetime he cultivated the homestead where he lived and died. He was a man of fine instincts and strong characteristics, and wielded an exemplary influence during life. He was a member of the Lutheran Church at Boyertown, which he served for many years as Deacon.

Catharine, daughter of Abraham Hoffman, became his wife. She was born Apr. 12, 1831, and died July 2, 1901, having lived seventy years, two months and twenty days. Their children were: Jonathan, William, Emma, John, Ellen, George, Annie, who married William Levan; Katie, deceased; Ida, who married Joseph Helfrick.

William H. Romich, son of the above, was born Aug. 7, 1853, on the old home- stead, near Worman, where he now resides. He began farming for himself in the Centennial Year, in Colebrookdale Township, where he lived but one year, when he moved to Upper Hanover Township [Montgomery County]. Here he remained another year, when, in the spring of 1879, he returned to the old homestead in Douglass Township, where he has since resided.

The old homestead of 128 acres, with its associated memories of father, grand- father and great-grandfather, came into the possession of the present owner after his father's death. The present dwelling was built by the grandfather, Jacob Romich, the older part having been erected by Jacob Romich's father. The barn is also a very old building, and has been standing more than a century. The farm originally comprised 500 acres, when it was homesteaded by the first Romich, and included what is now the "Israel Weisner" farm, the "Henry Romich" tracts, and other property.

William H. Romich was married June 26, 1875, to Amanda Wise daughter of William and Rebecca (Levengood) Wise. They had children: Albert (deceased); Rebecca, married Samuel Moyer; Warren; Sallie, who married Oscar Gift; Dora, now the wife of Irwin Waid; Irwin; Wayne, who perished in the Boyertown Fire; Walter; Mabel; and Harry.

Mr. Romich and family are members of St. John's Lutheran Church of Boyertown, of which he has been a deacon and elder.

Contributor's Notes: *Catharine Seitel was also known as Speitel. **See also biography of Jacob R. Romich from the Boyertown Democrat, Oct. 13, 1938, Berks County Archives.


ROMIG, GEORGE OLIVER

p. 1010

Surnames: ROMIG, XANDER, KECK, REAVELY, SMITH, FEGLEY, BARTON, FRAUENFELDER, HAINES, SCHLEGEL, STETTLER, GRIESIMER, SCHWARTZ, WARMKESSEL

George O. Romig, proprietor of the "Hotel Albion," at Mertztown, is one of the enterprising business men of this place. He was born Sept. 24, 1857, at Emaus, Pa., a son of John Owen and Sarah Ann (Xander) Romig.

John Frederick Romig, grandfather of George O., was of German descent, but he was born at Nazareth, Lehigh Co., Pa., Feb. 2, 1782. For a time he owned and conducted a fine farm there, which he later sold and removed to Emaus, in the western part of the same county, where he engaged in a tinsmith business until he was sixty-five years old, when he retired. He died twenty years later, Feb. 20, 1867. He was a member of the Moravian Church, and he was interred in the Moravian cemetery. His four children were: Thomas, Paul, John Owen and Cecelia (m. William Keck, and both are deceased, but are survived by an adopted daughter, a child of Mrs. Keck's brother Thomas; she married Edward Reavely, of Philadelphia).

John Owen Romig was born in Lehigh county on the old homestead before his parents moved to Emaus, April 17, 1825. He was reared in the faith of the Moravian Church, and he learned the tinsmith's trade with his father. Later he became a butcher and carried on a large meat business for some years, supplying the market at Allentown. Later he moved to Mertztown, where he again embarked in a tinware and stove business, which he continued for ten years, and in 1873 he went into the baking business, in partnership with his son Edgar. He died Sept. 9, 1890, and is interred in the Moravian cemetery at Emaus. He married Sarah Ann Xander, born April 20, 1826, daughter of George and Catherine (Smith) Xander, and they had the following children: one died in infancy; Edgar F., born Nov. 15, 1854, m. Eliza Fegley, daughter of John Fegley, and had children Ida, Harvey, Emma, Richard and John; George Oliver; and Agnes, born Sept. 12, 1867, m. James Barton, son of William Barton, and has children: Lillie (m. Curtis Frauenfelder) and Leroy.

George Oliver Romig was reared and educated at Emaus, and when of proper age he was catechised and confirmed in the Lutheran Church, at Mertztown - the faith of his mother. Like his father and grandfather, he learned the tinsmith's trade and followed it until 1873, when he entered into the baking business with his father and brother Edgar, and continued until 1879, when he became bartender for a Mr. Bortz, and remained with him for eight years. Mr. Romig then learned the barber's trade, and at the same time opened up a soft drink place and carried it on for two years in connection with barbering. He is a good business man, and at this time saw an opportunity to invest to his satisfaction and bought the property southeast from the Mertztown depot. Here he made many improvements, and the "Hotel Albion," as his place is now known, is equipped and conducted along the most modern lines.

In the year 1878 Mr. Romig was married to Sallie C. Haines, daughter of Joseph and Susanna (Schlegel) Haines. Mrs. Romig was born in Upper Macungie, Lehigh Co., Pa. Nine children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Romig, as follows: Carrie Elizabeth, born June 13, 1879, m. John S. Stettler, son of Israel Stettler, and they have three children, Virtie (born March 2, 1901), Erma (March 12, 1904), and Myron (April 20, 1907); William Charles, born April 11, 1881, m. Maud Griesimer, and had one son, Raymond G. (born Oct. 21, 1905, died aged eight months); Ethel Sylvan, born March 18, 1883, died aged six years; Frederick George, born Feb. 20 1887, m. Katie Schwartz, daughter of Jonathan and Elvina (Warmkessel) Schwartz, and they have one daughter, Verna; Warren Owen, born Dec. 11, 1888, is a silk weaver by trade; and four died in infancy. Mr. and Mrs. Romig both attend the Congregational Church at Mertztown, although he was reared in the Lutheran and she in the Reformed faith. He belongs to a number of fraternal organizations and in politics is a Republican.


ROMIG, GEORGE W.

p. 1182 Surnames:
ROMIG, SCHOFER, SPEIDEL, FRITZ, LINDERMAN, HILL, KERNS, GILBERT, QUINTER, SHURR, ALTHOUSE, SEIDEL, HART, WITMAN, KERN

George W. Romig, the popular proprietor of the "Continental Hotel," who has been prominent in public matters as select councilman from the Ninth ward of Reading, was born in Bern township, Berks Co., Pa., in 1863, son of Obediah and Caroline (Schofer) Romig, and grandson of Joseph Romig.

Christian Romig, great-grandfather of George W., was a native of Montgomery county, Pa., where he followed agricultural pursuits throughout a long and active life. For about five years he was the manager of the Pine forge, above Pottstown, after that returning to farming. He died in Montgomery county, at the age of seventy six years. He married Margaret Speidel, a native of Germany, who came to America when a child, landing at New York, and she attained the same age. They were interred in Exeter township, dying but two days apart. They had three children, namely: Joseph, John and Evans.

Joseph Romig was born in Montgomery county, and when a young man learned the blacksmith's trade with Jacob Fritz, following that occupation for a short time, and then buying a farm, in 1822, in Exeter township, a 135-acre tract near the Black Bear. There he remained until his death, a consistent member of the Lutheran Church, and a man highly respected and esteemed by all. He was a Democrat in political sentiment. Joseph Romig married Mary Linderman, daughter of Henry and Margaret (Fritz) Linderman, and she died in Exeter township, at the advanced age of ninety-two years, five months. They had children as follows: Rachel m. Benjamin Hill, and died in 1901; Leah m. Isaac Kerns, and resides in Buffalo, N. Y.; Rebecca died when four years old; Obediah was the father of George W. and Joseph; Beckie and Sallie, twins, died when six months old; Mary m. Henry Gilbert, and lives in Exeter township; Joseph, Jr., lives in West Reading; Sarah m. (first ) William Quinter, and (second) Peter Shurr, and lives near the Black Bear; Israel died in 1905.

Obediah Romig was born in Exeter township, Jan. 22, 1823, attended the public schools of Exeter township and remained at home with his father until twenty-nine years of age, when he engaged as fireman on the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad, and continued in the service five years; he spent the next five years carrying on operations on his father's farm. He then removed to Bern township, Berks county, where he conducted two farms, comprising 250 acres, for Adam Althouse, remaining in that vicinity for two years. Then he went to Cumru township, remaining there one year, in 1867 returning to Exeter. He occupied the Deturk farm one year, then purchased the farm of his father Joseph, and there lived seven years. He then located in Reading, taking charge of the old "Rambo House," on Penn street. After two years at this place he removed his family to his Tenth street home, where he lived retired for one year. On Jan. 22, 1873, Mr. Romig took charge of the hotel now conducted by his son, George W., and this he conducted very successfully until April 1, 1889, when the transfer was made. From that date Mr. Romig lived retired until his death.

In 1849 Mr. Romig was married to Caroline Schofer, who was born in Germany, daughter of George Schofer, and came to America in childhood. She died in 1898, and Mr. Romig later made his home with his son George W. To Mr. and Mrs. Romig were born children as follows: Sarah Amanda is unmarried; Franklin died when he was four years old; Joseph engaged in the livery business at the "Continental Hotel," and married Ella Amanda Seidel; George W.; Harry, who married Emma Hart, is clerking for his brother George W. The father was a lifelong Democrat, and served in the council of Reading from the Ninth ward in 1885. In religious belief he was a Lutheran.

George W. Romig received his preliminary education in the common schools of his native place, and later attended school at Reading. His first business occupation was as clerk in a grocery store, a position he held for six yeas, and he was then employed by his father in the hotel business, at his present place. He continued in his father's employ for five years, until April 1, 1889, when he purchased the business from him, and has since conducted it. The hotel, which contains fifty-nine sleeping rooms and numerous private parlors, is located at Nos. 339-355 North Ninth street, and is one of the most popular hotels in the city.

Mr. Romig was elected a councilman of the city in 1891, on the Democratic ticket, and such is his popularity that he has been re-elected three times since. He has served as president of the council, being the youngest man who has ever served in that capacity, and has been a delegate to numerous conventions in the county. The family are Lutherans. Mr. Romig is connected with Reading Lodge No. 549, F. & A. M.; Excelsior Chapter, No. 237; Reading Commandery No. 42; the Consistory; and Rajah Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S. He is also a member of Reading Aerie, No. 66 (F. O. E.); Mt. Penn Castle, No. 51, K. G. E.; Mt. Penn Commandery, K. G. E.; Camp No. 89, P. O. S. of A.; Lexington Commandery, P. O. S. of A.; Veterans, P. O. S. of A.; Bavarians; Maennerchor; Neversink Fishing Club; Ivy Leaf Association; and 89 Social Union.

On Feb. 13, 1889, Mr. Romig married Caroline Witman, daughter of John and Mary (Kern) Witman, and they have had two children, Florence and George W., Jr.


ROMIG, JOSEPH

p. 1183

Surnames: ROMIG, SEIDEL, HARTMAN, MAST

Joseph Romig, son of Obediah, was born in Exeter township, Berks county, Sept. 26, 1854, and attended the public schools in Bern and in Cumru townships. He lived on the farm until seventeen years of age, when he came to Reading with his father. His first work was at repairing for the Philadelphia & Reading railroad, and he subsequently learned the butchering business, which he followed for two years. He then engaged in the horse and cattle business, buying and selling, having his stand at Ninth and Buttonwood streets, continuing in this line for twelve years. His next venture was the livery business and this he has carried on to the present, his establishment being the livery of the "Continental Hotel," which hotel is conducted by his brother. He owns from five to ten horses, and also carries on a boarding stable, having one of the most up-to-date establishments in the city, and enjoying a fine patronage in both branches of the business.

Mr. Romig married Ella Amanda Seidel, daughter of Benjamin and Rebecca (Hartman) Seidel, and eight children have been born to them, namely: Warren, a clerk in the Philadelphia & Reading shops, married Bessie Mast, and had a daughter Loraine: Carrie, Bessie, Nora, George W., Gertrude, Harry and Paul reside at home. The family live at No. 543 North Eighth street, Reading. Mr. Romig is a Democrat and in religion is a member of the Lutheran Church. In fraternal connection he is a member of the Knights of the Golden Eagle. He is well known in the city and highly respected.


ROMIG, SAMUEL H.

p. 1503

Surnames: ROMIG, ROMICH, FRITZ, SCHAFFER, MAUGER, HOLLOWAY, GROSS, ESHELMAN, KECK, BOYER, RHOADS

SAMUEL H. ROMIG, a representative of the old Berks county family of that name, is a retired farmer and contractor. He now lives with his son, William E. at No. 1344 Good street, Reading.

The Romigs, spelled "Romich" by other branches of the family, trace their history back to one John Romig, who settled near Worman, Douglass township, where he resided until his death in 1804. He left five sons: John, George, Christian, Jacob and Henry, all of whom reared families.

George Romig, grandfather of Samuel H., was a farmer and lived in the vicinity of Amityville. He was born Jan. 9, 1765, and passed away April 2, 1850. He married Sophia Fritz, born Nov. 17, 1773, died March 24, 1828. They had seven sons and four daughters, among whom were: Samuel, who lived in Amity township; George, who lived in the Swamp; Jacob; William, mentioned later; Betzy, m. to Jacob Romich; Mary, m. to John Schaffer; and Sarah, m. to Thomas Mauger. The will, dated May 28, 1842, and probated May 24, 1850, gave the homestead of seventy acres to William, where he resided during life; George also obtained a farm; and Jacob Romich, a son-in-law, was given a tract of land in Earl township. The executors of the will were George Romig and Jacob Romich.

William Romig, son of George, was born March 26, 1806, and passed his life as a resident of Amityville, where he owned and cultivated a tract of land. He died Feb. 11, 1885, and was buried in Amityville cemetery. His wife was Lydia Holloway, born Sept. 13, 1811, daughter of Jacob; she died March 7, 1893. Their children were: Sarah, now deceased, m. to Wellington Gross, of Amityville; and Samuel H., our subject.

Samuel H. Romig was born in Amity township April 20, 1841, and in this township continued residence until the spring of 1909. He secured a common school education, and learning the carpenter's trade, pursued that as a business vocation, together with operating his home farm. For many years he was in partnership with Jacob Holloway, and some of the largest and most substantial of the buildings in and about Amityville are monuments to their industry. Mr. Romig, although retired from business life, continues his interest in social and religious affairs. A lifelong member of the Amityville Lutheran church, he has been in the church council since 1876. For many years he served in the offices of deacon, elder, treasurer etc. and was always officially connected with the Sunday-school as teacher, treasurer, etc. Having children of his own, he was earnest in improving the educational facilities of his home township, and was the means, in connection with others, of securing teachers and equipment which made Amity township schools second to none in the county.

When the war cloud rolled up from the South in 1861, Mr. Romig became actively interested, enlisting in Company A. 128th Pa. V. I., and serving in this regiment during 1862-63, some nine months, being in many engagements, the most severe of which was Antietam. In politics Mr. Romig votes the Republican ticket.

Mr. Romig was married to Sarah Eshelman, born Sept. 20, 1843, daughter of Abraham and Sarah (Rhoads) Eshelman, the former for many years a well known miller of Amity township. To this union have been born two children: Maggie Jane, who died Oct. 1, 1878, at the age of twelve years, two months and one day; and William E.

William E. Romig was born July 10, 1870, in Amity township, and was reared with all the advantages found in a cultured home. His education was carefully looked to, and by the time he was seventeen, he had become so proficient as to convince Prof. D. S. Keck, county superintendent of schools, that he was entitled to a license to teach. After two successful terms of teaching, in what is called the "March" school, in his native township, he entered the railroad office at Douglassville. After proving himself thoroughly competent to take charge of a station, he entered the employ of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company, and for seventeen years was at different points on that system in New Jersey, principally at Cape May. In 1893 he returned to Berks county, and was stationed at Temple, until 1909, when he secured a position as stenographer for the Parish Manufacturing Company, of Reading, where he is still employed.

Mr. Romig married, July 12, 1890, Sarah Ellen Boyer, daughter of John H. and Elizabeth Boyer (see sketch elsewhere). An only daughter, Lena B., brightens their home. In a social way Mr. Romig affiliates with the Odd Fellows, Mayflower Lodge No. 258, and with the Modern Woodmen of America, both at Cape May. He and his family are members of the Amity Lutheran Church, and, like his father, he votes the Republican ticket.


ROSENTHAL, WILHELM

p. 1177

Surnames: ROSENTHAL, PHOEBUS, THOMAS, KESSLER

Wilhelm Rosenthal, for more than half a century engaged in the publishing business, was born Nov. 20, 1823, at Nordhausen, Prussia, in the Harz mountains. His education was acquired in the gymnasium of his native town, where he completed the course in 1840. He was then for nearly five years employed in the publishing house of Dr. Philip Phoebus, after which for a short time he carried on a similar business for himself. In December, 1846, he crossed the Atlantic on the sailing vessel "Biene," landing at New York in May, 1847. For several months he was engaged in that city in Ludwig's printing office, and then in September of that same year went to Philadelphia, where he carried on a book store. While there in 1848 the Revolution developed in Germany, and Mr. Rosenthal, with other German citizens, organized the "German Workingmen's Association," to awaken proper sympathy for the movement, and win greater freedom for the working people. He was elected the first president of the association, and was re-elected annually for five years. During this time the membership greatly increased, and the association built a large three-story structure, sand-stone front, on Third street, Mr. Rosenthal superintending the building - still known as Mechanics Hall.

In May, 1848, Mr. Rosenthal was employed by Mr. F. W. Thomas to edit a new daily paper at Philadelphia, known as the Free Press, and this position he held until 1855. He then established a German weekly, the Wochenblatt, and continued its publication for three years. He then sold it to Messrs. Hoffman & Morwitz who merged it into their paper, the New World, employing Mr. Rosenthal as the editor. Here he remained until July, 1860, acting also as assistant editor of the Philadelphia Democrat. He then came to Reading to edit the Readinger Adler for Mr. Charles Kessler.

Mr. Rosenthal was an ardent Democrat, as were all the owners of the Adler, so he launched boldly into the arena of the exciting politics of the time, urging the election of Breckenridge with all the eloquence and logic he could command. In the Civil war that followed, Mr. Rosenthal advocated the preservation of the Union while he denounced many of the extreme measures that had brought it about. The Adler was sold in 1864. In that year Mr. Rosenthal was a delegate to the National Democratic Convention, held in Chicago, that nominated Gen. George B. McClellan for the Presidency.

So long had he been in the printing and publishing business that he could not long remain away from it, and he established a German weekly, the Banner von Berks, which he published with constantly increasing success and favor. In 1867 he began the publication of a Sunday edition of this paper, which he named Die Biene (the Bee) after the sailing vessel that he brought him to American soil. In 1868 appeared the Reading Daily Post, a German daily, and this met with his usual success. Mr. Rosenthal was indefatigable in his work, and found great enjoyment in it, retiring only when well past four score years of age. He has been very prominent in the German Order of Harugari, and in 1869 founded a German paper, Die Deutsche Eiche, which has become the official organ of that society throughout the United States.

Mr. Rosenthal has been connected with several building and savings societies, and has assisted in building up and developing the city. In 1884 he erected a row of good cottages on Mineral Spring avenue. In the musical and literary societies of the city he has been an active and interested member, and in every way has proved himself a public-spirited citizen of his adopted land.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:56:55 EDT

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