Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


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Among the representative citizens and leading agriculturists of Berks county, none is more worthy of mention in this publication than Mr. Christopher Shearer, whose excellent farm is located in Muhlenberg township. Mr. Shearer was born Nov. 8, 1820, in the city of Reading, son of Jonathan and Polly (Rapp) Shearer.

Christopher Johan Shearer, grandfather of Christopher, was the founder of the family in America. He came from Holland and settled at Reading, Pa., where he followed his trade of shoemaker until the outbreak of the Revolutionary war. With other neighbors he was drafted for service and participated in the battle of Long Island, and the retreat through New Jersey to Philadelphia. Here his regiment's term, with nearly all of the other bodies of militia, under the three months enlistment period, expired. It is probable the farmers would have all returned to their homes and the tradesmen to their trades, had not General Washington made a stirring speech to them in which he demonstrated that all would be lost unless the militia re-enlisted, contracting to serve six months longer, giving them a hope that the struggle might then see an end. We are accustomed in these days to look on all the Revolutionary soldiers as unselfish patriots, but that all of the militia did not belong to this class was shown when in spite of the commander's appeal, the larger number returned to their homes. Among the few who again offered his life and liberty to the country was Christopher Johan Shearer, and he was one of the soldiers that took part in the historic Crossing of the Delaware and the fight with the Hessians. After the expiration of his six months service, he was drafted again into the militia, and fought in the battle of the Brandywine, on which occasion the militia was placed in the front as reserved troops. The grandfather in after years described this battle as having taken place on a calm, smoky day. The firing was done in platoons, each platoon stepping backward after they had discharged their guns. Soldier Shearer knelt down to get a view of the English troops under the cloud of smoke and in this action was wounded in the left forearm. The next morning news reached General Washington that the British had made an incursion into the farming country for provisions, and the commander said that the Reading militia had done such good service that he would accord them the honor and pleasure of capturing this foraging party. In spite of his wounded arm, Mr. Shearer determined to assist in this effort and accompanied the body of soldiers that met the British, who were well prepared for the assault. Just at this time General Washington discovered that instead of a foraging party, he had sent his brave Reading militia to attack the entire British army. He immediately sent General Wayne's division which soon checked the English and caused their retreat and thus saved the militia from complete annihilation. Mr. Shearer's enlistment, or draft, had now expired, and he returned for a rest of several months, but subsequently re-entered the army and did guard duty at Royersford, being then a non-commissioned officer in his company. After being here for some time the Reading militia found a platoon of British cavalry endeavoring to cross and the former wisely took shelter in a small wood near by, and by rapid firing drove the enemy back. One of the British dropped to his saddle after the firing.

Like in our own days political feeling ran high and the German element was largely in sympathy with the British soldiers at that time. Mr. Shearer and wife were members of the German Reformed Church, and while he was absent in the army one of his children died and the church refused burial privileges on account of his serving with Washington, and not having paid the last year's assessment of tax on its members. In her extremity his wife turned to the Lutheran denomination, asking from them a burial lot, which they readily granted, and when Mr. Shearer returned to his home and learned the facts he said: "From this time on we are Lutherans." He again engaged in shoemaking, which he followed until he was appointed justice of the peace, an office which he held until his death in 1827. Mr. Shearer was married to Julia Phillippi, who, according to family traditions, was the first female child born in Reading. There was a boy child born in Reading named Drayer, being the first born, but she was the second child and the first female. To Christopher Johan Shearer and wife were born a number of children, of whom but four lived: Jonathan, John, Solomon and Benjamin. In political belief Mr. Shearer was a Federalist.

Jonathan Shearer, father of Christopher learned the shoemaker's trade with his father, and followed it for a few years, After which he became an artist, and some of his paintings can be found in Reading to this day. Subsequently he learned the tanner's and currier's trade with Abel Ebling, and this he carried on for some time but in 1832 he engaged in farming, in which he continued until his death, when he was aged sixty-four years. His wife lived to be eighty years of age, and had a family of eleven children, as follows: Peter, Christopher, Benjamin, Joseph, Julian, Solomon, Mary, Hannah, Daniel, Jonathan and Rebecca. The family were Lutherans in religious belief, and Whigs in politics.

Christopher Shearer was educated in the pay schools of Reading, also spending two terms in the common schools. He learned the carpenter's trade, which he followed for fifteen years, and then located in Muhlenberg township and purchased the old Daniel Maurer farm, which he converted into the Tuckerton Fruit farm. This property became famous throughout the county, a season crop including from 3,000 to 5,000 bushels of potatoes, 1, 000 to 1,500 bushels of Bartlett pears, 3,000 to 4,000 bushels of apples, many bushels of cherries and 3,000 to 4,000 baskets of peaches, not to mention hay, corn, etc. In addition to the crops mentioned about one hundred tons of tobacco and from eighty to one hundred barrels of Clinton grape wine are produced annually. When the Early Rose potato was first offered for sale at one dollar a pound by its producer, Mr. Shearer bought one pound, and planted it to a single eye. He dug them up in July, having developed very early and he planted them again, getting a full harvest of seventeen bushels. These were all planted the following year, and were sold at a high figure, thus introducing the fine potato to this section of the country. When Mr. Bull of Massachusetts advertised three different grapes-Concord, Clinton and a raisin grape-at three dollars per stalk, or nine dollars, Mr. Shearer sent for one of each kind, and the Concord and Clinton grapes have proved very valuable. The Globe peach was a standard variety, and was produced on the Tuckerton Fruit Farm, some of the trees yielding thirteen baskets each of 5/8 measure. These large peaches were exhibited at county fairs, always drawing premiums. They won the first premium at the State Fair at Philadelphia, over Jersey and Delaware peaches, and at the close of the Fair was sold at twenty-five cents each to Jersey and Delaware peach growers.

Mr. Shearer has done more, perhaps, to build up this section of the country than any other citizen. He petitioned the court to open Muhlenberg street, which was granted, and here he made a draft and laid out the solid block between Eighth and Ninth streets, Bingaman and Muhlenberg, named Spring Garden street, purchased a half-square of land on which he built twenty-one houses, bought the acre of land from Eighth street to Lemon alley and from Cherry to Franklin, building eleven houses on Lemon alley, two on Eighth street, and four south of Franklin street. He also purchased the corner of Penn and Eighth streets, where he built a number of houses and bought land on Walnut, Elm and Buttonwood streets. He petitioned the court to open Elm and Buttonwood streets, both being granted, and built a number of houses, being both a contractor and builder. finally he purchased a five-acre lot below the Charles Evans cemetery.

In 1843 Mr. Shearer was married (first) to Catherine Deem, and to them were born these children: Peter D., Christopher H., Esther, Oliver R., Edmond L., Rebecca, Mary, Catherine and Rose. Mr. Shearer was married (second) to Fietta M. Lease, and to them four children were born: Clara, Sylvan, one who died in infancy, and Gay Y. Mr. Shearer was a Lutheran in religious belief, but is now a Spiritualist. In politics he was first a Whig, then a Republican and now is independent. He was a candidate for lieutenant governor on the Greenback ticket, and was nominated for congress in the Berks county district, was defeated by the old party, though receiving a satisfactory vote. Though now eighty-eight years old he is still well and strong, and is actively engaged in looking after his truck farm and his numerous properties.


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Christopher High Shearer, a landscape painter of national reputation, whose artistic creations are in numerous prominent homes in Pennsylvania and other states of America, was born at Reading, May 18, 1846. After receiving a general education in the local schools he manifested an inclination for the study of art, which resulted in frequent visits to the studios of F. D. Devlan and J. Heyl Raser. Upon one occasion, whilst in the studio of the latter, watching the development of a landscape on the easel, he remarked innocently to Mr. Raser, "I believe I can paint," when the artist looked up and replied pleasantly, "Yes, a man can do anything if he tries." The ambitious boy tried and the result of his first endeavor was so satisfactory that he was encouraged to continue. He persevered in his studies and in ten years, when twenty-seven years of age, produced a picture which attracted great public attention and won the favorable opinion of art critics. It was a large woodland scene which he entitled "Schwartzbach" and it found a place in the art gallery of a prominent manufacturer and banker at Reading, Henry S. Eckert. Shortly afterward Mr. Shearer went to Europe to pursue his studies in the great art schools of Dusseldorf and Munich and remained there several years. He also visited the principal art galleries of Germany. Upon his return he painted a number of foreign subjects one of which was an admirable picture of the Bavarian Alps and was given a place of honor in the Academy of Fine Arts at Philadelphia. In 1878, he went again to Dusseldorf and spent a year in that city. Later he visited Paris and studied French art for a time.

Of the many remarkable productions from his prolific brush during the past thirty years, which give abundant evidence of his creative genius, the "Smoky Range" (1889) in the Reading Free Library, is admittedly one of his best, as well as one of his largest, paintings.

Mr. Shearer is also a naturalist, and his large and superior collection of butterflies, numbering 35,000, both in their natural state, and as painted by him in the various stages of development from the egg on the leaf to the "full-blown" butterfly, prove him to be a persevering student of nature.

For some years Mr. Shearer has cultivated a farm in Muhlenberg township, along the east bank of the Schuylkill river, near Stoudt's Ferry Bridge, and has manufactured considerable quantities of grape wine as a diversion from his art work. Another pastime is the study of music, and he is a pleasing performer on the violin.

Mr. Shearer's father is Christopher Shearer, now over ninety years of age, and who was a large fruit grower for many years in Muhlenberg township, near Tuckerton. His grandfather was Jonathan Shearer, fruit-grower and builder, of Reading, who was a son of John Christopher Schearer, a Revolutionary soldier in the company of Captain John Diehl, and a justice of the peace at Reading from 1813 until his decease in 1830.


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David R. Shearer, a leading contractor and builder of Reading, Pa., was born March 13, 1850, in Perry township, Berks county, son of David and Sarah (Rubright) Shearer, and grandson of John Shearer.

John Shearer was a farmer of Perry township, and was also engaged as a stone mason. He married a Miss Lesher, and to them were born these children: David; John; Hannah, who died in 1906, at the age of ninety-three years; Kate; Caroline; Anna; Sarah; Mary and Elizabeth. In religious belief the family were members of the Reformed Church., David Shearer, son of John, was born June 24, 1819, and was a farmer and carpenter in Perry township, following the latter occupation until eighty years of age, since which time he has lived retired, he now being in his ninetieth year. His wife, Sarah Rubright, died in December, 1905, when seventy-eight years old. Their children were: Daniel, William, David R., Samuel, Frank, Catherine, all living, Joel, Sarah and Anna, deceased. In religious belief the family were Reformed, and in politics David Shearer was a Democrat.

David R. Shearer was educated in the schools of Perry Township, and as a young man learned the carpenter's trade with his father, an occupation which he has followed since his eighteenth year. Until 1892 he engaged as a journeyman, but since that year he has been engaged in contracting, his present holdings being fourteen stone-front houses on North Eleventh street, the block between Robeson and Marion streets. Mr. Sheerer employs an average of six men, and his buildings have been mostly confined to the northeastern section of the city, where he has erected many building blocks.

Mr. Shearer was married to Catherine Muntz, also a native of Perry township, and to them were born five children, as follows: Annie, m. to William C., Link; Charles D., who is associated with his father in business, m. to Flossie Brehan; Sallie, m. to Harry Wertz; and Katie and Elizabeth, single. Mr. Shearer is a Democrat in politics, and he and Mrs. Shearer attend the Reformed Church, of which he as been an elder since 1895.


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For many years the Shearer family has been prominently identified with the best interests of Berks county, and its members have been associated with the general development and prosperity. Among those to whom special attention is called are William Y. Shearer, justice of the peace of Bern township, and Dr. James Y. Shearer, a physician of Spring township.

(I) Christopher Shearer, the founder of the Shearer family in America, when seventeen years old came from Germany to Reading, Pa., when that city was but a small town. He was a justice of the peace, and had his office at what is now the corner of Eighth and Penn streets. His wife was a member of the Phillipi family. These two spent the remainder of their lives in Reading, dying there. Their children were: John P., Jonathan P., Benjamin P., and Solomon P., all but John dying at Reading.

(II) John P. Shearer was born at Reading, but in early manhood he removed to Bern township, locating on the farm now owned by Judge Shearer. He took up 100 acres of land in 1799, and there spent the remainder of his useful life, dying in 1847, when seventy-four years of age. He is buried at Epler's Church. During his residence in the township he became prominent in local affairs, was constable, and later justice of the peace. Under his management his farm was improved and he erected necessary buildings, which were rebuilt by his son, Samuel T. Shearer. His first wife was Sophia Tobias, a daughter of Christian Tobias, and of this marriage the following children were born: Esther T., who died unmarried; John T.; Jacob T.; Abraham T.; William T.; Samuel T.; George T.; Elizabeth T., who died unmarried; Mary T., who married John Herbine; Annie T., who married Joseph Reigel; and Sarah T., who married David Souder. After the death of his wife Sophia, John P. Shearermarried a Miss Lehr, by which union there was no issue. By his third wife, Lydia Ziemer, widow of William Ziemer, he had two children: Senator Edward, an attorney of Reading, and Susan, who was killed in a railroad accident when a girl.

(III) Samuel T. Shearer, the father of William Y. and Dr. James Y. Shearer, was born in Bern township, where he engaged in farming. In 1829 he was married in Reading, to Catherine Yorgey, a daughter of Henry Yorgey, of Exeter, and twelve children were born to them: William Y. and James Y. are mentioned below; Catherine married Emanuel Hain; Eliza married Benneville Dundore; Sarah married Weitzel; Gettie married Evan Hiester; Benjamin Y., Esq., of Reading, married Clara Leinbach; Aaron married Emma Hiester, and, after her demise, Mary Ann Hornberger; Amos has his home with his brother William.; three died young.

While not a public official, Samuel T. Shearer always took an interest in public affairs, and was a good farmer and business man. He lived on the home place, further improving it, and when it passed into the hands of William Y. Shearer it was considered one of the best pieces of property in the township, and is still so regarded.

William Y. Shearer was born in Reading, Pa., Jan. 12, 1830, but when seven years of age he was brought to Bern township, where he completed the education begun in the public schools of Reading. Later, from 1864 to 1869, he taught school in Bern township, being engaged at the Eplers, Albright and what was then known as the Mine Hole (now the Shearer) schools. However, the better portion of Mr. Shearer's life has been spent in farming, and he is regarded as one of the representative farmers of his township. For over half a century he has also been a surveyor, and has been employed in surveying much of the county. During his term of service as auditor of Berks county, to which office he was elected in 1869, the county was cleared of debt, and his financial foresight gained him a high reputation as a public official. In politics he is a Jeffersonian Democrat, and firm in his belief in the future of his party. His religious affiliations are with the Reformed faith.

On Oct. 27, 1853, Mr. Shearer married Caroline C. Bryan, a daughter of Jeremiah and Elizabeth Bryan, born Dec. 8, 1829, died Oct. 19, 1897, at the age of sixty-seven. She is buried at Epler's Church. No children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Shearer, but they took a little girl of eleven, Ellen Fleisher, and reared her as their own. Miss Fleisher is also a native of Bern township.

One of the old landmarks of Berks county was the court-house built in 1761, and torn down in 1840, and Mr. Shearer remembers it well, as he does many very interesting events connected with local and national affairs. He is a man of unflinching principle, true to his best ideals, and a citizen of whom the county may well be proud.

James Y. Shearer, M. D., A. M., of Sinking Spring, a successful practitioner of medicine in Berks county for upward of forty years, was born at Reading Oct. 5, 1836. When he was a child his father removed to Bern township, and he there received his early education in the public schools. Later he attended the normal school at Reading, conducted by Rev. Dr. William Good, who afterward became the first county superintendent of common schools. At that institution he acquired a further knowledge of books, making a specialty of Latin and Greek. When but fifteen he began to teach school, and he thus continued for five years, spending three years at Tuckerton and two years in Upper Tulpehocken township, near Strausstown. In 1860 he determined to study medicine, and after successfully passing a severe literary examination under Dr. Edward Wallace, to demonstrate his fitness, he entered the office of this eminent physician, with who he remained for three years, accompanying him in his daily work among his patients. During the fall and winter months of 1860-61-62 he attended lectures at the Jefferson Medical College, and was graduated therefrom in 1862. Immediately thereafter he located at Strausstown, entering into an introductory practice among the people whose confidence he had gained as a school teacher, and there remained for three years. Learning then of a larger and in every way better opening at Sinking Spring, caused by the removal of Dr. Michael T. Livingood to the West, he determined to take his place in an office which had been started by Dr. A. H. Witman about 1840, and has been carried on continuously ever since. Since his removal to Sinking Spring, Dr. Shearer has been in active practice. His patients are scattered over an area of many miles. At the request of many of his patients he opened an office in Reading, where he sees office patients upon stated days.

In 1862 Dr. Shearer became a member of the Medical Society of Berks county; in 1868 he joined the Pennsylvania State Medical Society, and in 1880 he became associated with the American Medical Association, and is still a member of all three bodies. He was president of the Berks County Medical Society for several terms, and has represented the society as delegate to the state and national associations more than once. His papers upon various professional topics have aroused favorable comment. In 1887 he was the only accredited representative from Berks county to the International Medical Congress at its ninth annual convention, held at Washington, D. C., and received one of the handsome medals specially prepared to mark the occasion. This medal is one of Dr. Shearer's most valued possessions. In 1884 Franklin and Marshall College conferred the degree of Master of Arts upon Dr. Shearer by reason of his acquirements in Latin and Greek. Twelve men who afterward became successful physicians studied medicine under Dr. Shearer and learned to love as well as respect and admire him. He is the best known physician in lower Berks county, where he has witnessed many changes in social and industrial progress.

While Dr. Shearer was practising at Strausstown he was selected to act as school director of Upper Tulpehocken township, and he officiated as secretary of the board for one term. This was during the Civil war, and as secretary he raised the necessary funds to fill the quota of soldiers from the township to avoid the draft, levying the tax, according to law, to meet the obligation. As director of the Farmers National Bank, of Reading, for twenty-five years Dr. Shearer has given the bank the benefit of his sagacity and business foresight.

Dr. Shearer married Eliza G. Potteiger, daughter of Jacob Potteiger, of Upper Tulpehocken, and they had one daughter, Alva, who married Dr. J. D. Madeira. Dr. Madeira was one of Dr. Shearer's medical students, and thus met his future wife; later he graduated from Jefferson College, and is now a successful physician of Reading. In 1879 Mrs. Eliza G. Shearer died aged forty-nine years. In 1882 Dr. Shearer married Susanna Schwartz, daughter of James Schwartz, a miller, who for many years resided at the mouth of the Wyomissing creek, in Cumru township, opposite Reading.

From this brief chronicle can be readily gathered the importance of the services rendered by the Shearer family to Berks county, both in their capacity as public officials and as private citizens. The name has come to be associated with all that is best and most public-spirited, and the present representatives of the family hold the esteem and admiration of their neighbors in the several communities in which they are to be found.


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The Shearer family has been settled in Berks county for over one hundred and forty years and is still represented among the best elements of its citizenship. Its members have during all this time contributed their full share toward maintaining the high standing of the name for honor in business and social relations.

John Christopher Shearer, the emigrant ancestor of this family, was born in Germany in 1752, and emigrated to America, sailing from Rotterdam. He was a shoemaker by trade. Settling at Reading, Berks Co., Pa., which was then a very small town, he there passed the remainder of his life, except for the time he was serving as a soldier in the Revolutionary war. He was in the colonial forces, enlisted as a private in the company of Capt. John Diehl, of Reading, and took part in the battle of the Brandywine in which he was wounded, a bullet passing through his forearm and breaking it. He became one of the most prominent men of Berks county in his day, and long served as justice of the peace, holding that office for nearly twenty years. He received his commission from Governor Snyder. He died in 1830, at the age of seventy-eight years, widely known and respected all over his portion of the State. His wife was Juliana Phillippi, a daughter of John Phillippi, of Reading and a member of a French-Huguenot family; and she was the first white female child born at Reading, and died Dec. 28, 1831, aged seventy-eight years.

Jonathan Shearer, son of John Christopher, was born Sept. 18, 1780, and was brought up at Reading. He received such education as the average schools of his day afforded, and was well prepared to make his way in the world, having a knowledge of three different trades, shoemaking, tanning and the painting of clock dials. He also farmed out-lots, being what was then known in Reading as a town farmer, having about fifteen acres of land now included in the city, which he cultivated successfully. He and three other enterprising young men of Reading (his brother Solomon Shearer, John Printz and Abraham High) started the cultivation of the first vineyards in Berks county, each for himself on half-acre adjoining lots, situated on South Eighth street, between Bingaman and Muhlenberg streets. Thus it may be judged that he was a man of energy and resource, and he became a citizen of excellent standing. Jonathan Shearer married Mary Rapp, daughter of Peter and Hanna (High) Rapp, of Reading and she survived him many years, dying in 1879, at the advanced age of eighty-two. Mr. Shearer had died in 1845, at the age of sixty-five years. They had a family of eleven children, namely: Peter, an attorney of Reading who died unmarried; Christopher A., now a retired contractor and builder of Reading who married Catharine Diehm; Benjamin, who died unmarried at the age of twenty-nine years; Joseph, who is mentioned below; Solomon, mentioned, below; Jonathan, who married Mary Witman; Daniel, mentioned below; Rebecca, unmarried; Juliana, wife of William S. Ritter; Mary, married to William Ribble; and Hannah, who married David Keiser.

Joseph Shearer, who has lived retired for the past few years, is one of the oldest residents in his part of the city of Reading, having occupied his present home, at the corner of Eighth and Franklin streets, since 1858. Fifty years is a long period of residence in one spot, and involves a test of good citizenship which Mr. Shearer has stood well. He was born Feb. 13, 1828, in Reading, and there received his education in the common schools. He attended the very first day of free school. Carpentry, which trade he learned early, has been the principal business of his life, and he followed it off and on the greater part of the time during his active years, doing considerable building and selling for himself. For about four years he was also engaged in the mercantile business, and for may years following was greatly interested in the culture of fruit and truck, but for several years past he has lived retired, enjoying the competence he laid away in his younger days. Mr. Shearer is particularly fond of good literature and has a good supply in his home, which his leisure enables him to enjoy as never before. He has always been an industrious man, and deserves the esteem which is everywhere accorded him. His acquaintanceship is wide, and he is favorable known wherever he has had dealings with his fellow-men, whether in business of other relations. In his political faith Mr. Shearer is a Republican, and though he has not been active in party affairs he served in the council in 1859-60. Mr. Shearer can relate many stories of the early days in Reading, which have been handed down from his father and grandfather, and which are particularly interesting to those who have a taste for folklore and characteristic incidents of old times in Berks county.

Mr. Shearer was united in marriage with Louisa Sellers, a daughter of Nathaniel Sellers and granddaughter of Dr. Tobias Sellers, of Montgomery county, who practised medicine in the county, where he died. Nathaniel Sellers followed the trades of cooper and potter, and was engaged in business for several years. He died in Reading at the age of fifty-eight, and his wife, Magdalena (McNulty), died at the age of fifty-six. Six children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Shearer: John Christopher died in infancy; Charles Oscar and Joseph Sellers died in childhood; Louisa M. is the wife of William C. Burkey, who is engaged in the contracting and building business in Reading; Helen Mary is the wife of George S. Stirl, of Reading; William J., a farmer in Alsace township, Berks county, married Ellen Potts, and they have six children, William, Charles, Mabel, Irene, Irvin, and Emily.

Solomon Shearer, for fifty years one of the most enterprising and successful farmers and fruit growers of Berks county, residing at Vinemont, was born at Reading March 16, 1830, son of Jonathan Shearer. He received a limited education in the public schools of Reading (the free system having just been started when he began going to school) and then learned the trade of carpenter. He had followed that pursuit as a journeyman but a short while when he directed his attention to the cultivation of trees and fruits of various kinds, beginning at Reading in a small way. He remained at Reading two years, but wishing to engage in the business more extensively purchased a farm in Muhlenberg township, near Tuckerton, where he could carry out his plans, enlarging the business year after year for twenty-seven years, which evidences the success of his enterprising efforts. Then in 1881, having purchased a large farm in Lower Heidelberg, a short distance beyond Fritztown, his operations were developed to still greater proportions, and were extended year after year until he came to own three farms embracing 375 acres, all under active cultivation, and to produce valuable and wonderful crops, as the following particulars will show most conclusively; Seven acres of strawberries; four thousand to eight thousand bushels of picked apples; two thousand to eight thousand bushels of peaches (varying according to seasons); hundred of barrels of wine, of five different kinds; and great quantities of cider. The looking after all these productions annually from the beginning to the end through the several seasons, undoubtedly required exceptional ability, and Mr. Shearer displayed such ability in a manner as remarkable as it was most successful. Besides these great operations, he took upon himself the burdens of other persons involving many thousands of dollars, which he also mastered, but only by the exercise of the greatest possible skill, economy and determination in the management of his multitudinous affairs. His life has been one continuous struggle against adverse circumstances, if not the natural enemies to farmers and fruit growers on the one hand, then the financial embarrassments of others on the other, which a sympathetic disposition led him to assume; and he has the proud satisfaction of known that he survived them all, making of himself a free and independent man.

In 1857 Mr. Shearer married Amelia Zacharias, a daughter of John A. Zacharias, farmer of Muhlenberg township, and by her he had three children, Emma D. (unmarried), Catharine (who has become a successful teacher and traveler) and Rosa E. (who has become a successful nurse in New York City). Upon his wife's decease, in 1866, he married Mary A. Sellers, a daughter of Dr. Henry A. Sellers, druggist at Pottstown, Pa., and by this union had two children, Martha M. (married Malcom McCallum) and Walter J.

John Zacharias, father of Solomon Shearer's first wife, was married to Catharine Rothermel, born Oct. 30, 1797, a daughter of Peter Rothermel, and they had eight children, John, Peter, Rebecca, Sarah, Mary, Amelia (Mrs. Shearer), Catharine and Deborah.

Dr. Henry A. Sellers, his second wife's father was married to Mary A. Hesser, of Pottstown, by whom he had eight children: George, Harry, John, Faber, Anna, Juliet, Mary A. (Mrs. Shearer) and Louisa.

Daniel Shearer, another son of Jonathan Shearer, was the father of Frank D. Shearer, florist, of the borough of Wyomissing. He was born in Reading, Feb. 10, 1843, and died there Dec. 25, 1880, at the age of thirty-seven years. He was cut down in the midst of a successful career, for he had already attained a good reputation in the shoe business, which he carried on at Nos. 704-706 Penn street, Reading. He is buried in the Charles Evans cemetery. Mr. Shearer was one of the well-known men of his day and generation, and he was one of the early Rainbow firemen of the city. He married Annie Breiner, daughter of Charles and Catharine (Hetrich) Breiner, the former a grocer at Third and Chestnut street, Reading. Mr. and Mrs. Shearer had one son and one daughter; Annie May, unmarried, who is a well-known school teacher in Reading; and Frank D., mentioned below.

Frank D. Shearer, son of Daniel, was born at Reading Sept. 27, 1879. He attended the public schools of his native city, going as far as the high school, and commenced work as a young man with William H. Luden, the confectioner of Reading, entering his employ in 1895. He remained with him for five years, working in turn as office boy, clerk and assistant paymaster, and at the end of that time went to work for C. F. Heller, the book-binder. After being in his employ for two years Mr. Shearer took an education tour to Indianapolis, Ind., where he acquired his first knowledge of his present business with Fred Robinson, a well-known florist of that State. He remained one year with Mr. Robinson, learning the various branches of the trade, and on his return to Berks county established himself in his present business at Wyomissing. Commencing in a small way, he has extended his accommodations to meet the demands of a constantly growing patronage, and he has tree modern greenhouses, having 10,000 feet under glass. He is located at the corner of Evans and Garfield avenues, in the borough of Wyomissing. Mr. Shearer's trade is not confined to the locality, his customers being found as far distant as Philadelphia and at points in New Jersey. He raises fine flowers, making a specialty of chrysanthemums and carnations, and also grows vegetables under glass, such as lettuce, radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes. Mr. Shearer finds this branch of his business quite profitable. He has won success by industrious and intelligent application to the advancement of his business, and deserves the rewards which have come to him.

On March 29, 1903, Mr. Shearer was married to Miss Edith Warley, daughter of Frank and Kate (Eisenberger) Warley, of Reading. Two children have been born to this union, Warley Donald, March 21, 1907; and Dorothy Virginia, Sept. 3. 1908. Mr. Shearer is a member of the Church of our Father, the only Universalist Church in Reading. He is likewise liberal in political sentiment, inclining toward the best tenets of socialism, with equal rights for all.


p. 518


Wayne Leinbach Shearer, B. S., M. S., M. D., was born in Reading, Berks Co., Pa., Oct. 3, 1876. His early school life he spent in the private school of Miss Jennie Cooper, on South Fifth Street, later attending the Reading public schools at North Seventh and Dick streets and Washington and Rose streets. He was prepared for College in the Carroll Institute, of which Professor Edward Carroll, a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland was principal. Dr. Shearer was graduated from the Pennsylvania State College June 13, 1900, receiving the degree of Bachelor of Science, and in the Fall of the same year entered the University of Pennsylvania, Medical Department, from which he was graduated June 15, 1904, receiving the degree of Doctor of Medicine. On June 13, 1906, the degree of Master of Science was conferred by the Pennsylvania State College upon Dr. Shearer.

He has been active in the practice of medicine since his graduation from the University of Pennsylvania. In addition he is treasurer of the Leinbach Box Company a corporation, engaged in the manufacture of wooden packing cases, crates etc., also secretary and treasurer of the Reading Manufacturing Company, a corporation, manufacturing washing machines.

He is a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity and the Theta Nu Epsilon Fraternity, the former of which Greek Letter societies is still active at both the University of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania State College. He is also a member of St. John's Lodge No. 435, F. & A. M.; of Excelsior Chapter No. 237, R. A. M.; and of Reading Commandery, No. 42, K. T.

Doctor Shearer is the only child of Benjamin Y. Shearer and Clara A. Shearer (nee Leinbach). His father, Benjamin Y. Shearer, was born in Bern township, Berks county, Dec. 15, 1848, where he received part of his preliminary education; later he attended the Reading Classical Academy. He taught school from 1864 to 1874, and during the latter part of that period devoted his spare time to the study of law; also the entire year from 1874 until the time of his admission to the Berks County Bar on April 12, 1875, since which time he has been steadily engaged in the practice of law. He married, Oct. 14, 1875, Clara A. Leinbach. He is a member of St. John's Lodge No. 435, F. & A. M.; Excelsior Chapter, No. 237, R. A. M.; and a past commander of Reading Commandery, No. 42, K. T.

Benjamin Y. Shearer is a son of Samuel T. Shearer, born Feb. 29, 1808, died in 1881, and Catharine D. Shearer (nee Yorgey), born April 1, 1810, died July 1, 1893. He is a brother to William Y. Shearer, James Y. Shearer, M. D., Catharine Y. Hain, Elizabeth Y. Dundore, Sarah Y. Weitzel (deceased), Aaron Y. Shearer, Amos Y. Shearer, and Brigetta Y. Hiester (deceased). His father Samuel T. Shearer, was a son of John Shearer, born in 1773, and died in 1847, who in turn was a son of John Christopher Sherrer, who came to America from Germany in 1769, landing at Philadelphia, Pa., in the ship "Minerva," Thomas Arnold captain. During the Revolution he was under Washington when he crossed the Delaware on Christmas, 1776, at Chadd's Ford, etc.

Dr. W. L. Shearer's mother, Clara A. Shearer (nee Leinbach), was born in Bern township, Berks county, June 28, 1851, where she received the greater part of her early education. She was married on Oct. 14, 1875, to Benjamin Y. Shearer. She was a daughter of Christian R. Leinbach and Catharine S. Leinbach (nee Esterly). Her father Christian R. Leinbach, born Dec. 6, 1820, died July 10, 1892, was a son of William Leinbach and Elizabeth Leinbach (nee Rich), an aunt to Mrs. William Arnold, Cyrus Rich, James Rich, etc. Mrs. B. Y. Shearer's mother Catherine S. Leinbach (nee Esterly), born May 5, 1827, died March 15, 1859, was a daughter of Amos Esterly and Ann Barbara Esterly (nee Stichter), a daughter of Peter Stichter, born in 1761, died in 1843, and Catharine Stichter (nee Hoff). Mrs. B. Y. Shearer is a sister to Annie E. Althouse, B. Franklin Leinbach, J. Calvin Leinbach, Catharine E. Graeff (deceased), and Timothy J. Leinbach.

Benjamin Y. Shearer and Clara A. Shearer are living at No. 146 North Fifth street, Reading.

Dr. W. L. Shearer was married on June 1, 1905, to Marie Carolyn Hoffman, of Philadelphia, daughter of George H. Hoffman and Emma S. Hoffman (nee Schneider). Dr. Shearer has his office and residence at the Northwest corner of North Front and Greenwich streets, Reading, Pennsylvania.


p. 746


Benjamin F. Sheeder, a prominent business man of Reading, Pa., who is conducting the Sheeder Planing Mill, located at the corner of Spruce and Mifflin streets, was born in Montgomery county, Pa., in 1851, son of Philip Sheeder (born April 15, 1808), a blacksmith by trade, who was engaged as an iron worker.

Mr. Sheeder secured his education in the common schools of Reading, and while still a boy apprenticed himself to the carpenter's trade, working for John Fink & Co., where the Goetz tannery is now located. He continued in the employ of this company for twenty-five years, and then engaged in outside contracting until 1901, when he organized the Sheeder Planing Mill Company, with the following well-known business men: Dr. Walter A. Rigg, and Samuel B. Rigg. This company does all kinds of contract mill work, stair work, etc. The factory and grounds cover an area of 110 x 480 feet, the building being equipped with the latest machinery, doing an extensive amount of work in Reading and the surrounding country, as well as in the States of Delaware and New Jersey. They furnished all the building material for the Colonial Trust Build, the boy's new high school, the Masonic Temple, and many other of Reading's substantial buildings. The company employ from twenty-five to thirty hands, and are kept busy the year around. Mr. Sheeder is a member on the Liberty Fire Company. In political matters he is independent.

Mr. Sheeder was married in 1874 to Miss Mary Agnes Seiders, and to this union there were born two children: Howard F., and Peter M., both of whom are engaged in work at the planing mill.


p. 870


Harry W. Sheeler, one of the substantial business men of Heidelberg township, Berks county, extensively engaged in the manufacture of hosiery at Robesonia, Pa., was born Aug. 27, 1865, near Womelsdorf, in Marion township, son of Henry and Elvina (Wenrich) Sheeler.

The first ancestor of this family in America came from Germany and settled in Exeter township, Berks Co., Pa. He spelled his name Schueler, and there are various other spellings, the most common forms being Sheeler, Schealer, Shuler, and Schuyler. The date of birth, time of death and place of burial of the emigrant ancestor are unknown. His progeny are numerous.

John Schealer, the great-grandfather of Harry W., was a farmer and stone-mason of Exeter township, running the farm now owned by Jacob Spohn. He and his wife, Barbara, had eight children, as follows: Jacob and William, who died in Reading: Samuel, who lived in Robesonia: John (1793-1872), who lived in Exeter: Benneville, who lived at Robesonia: Ann, who died unmarried: Lydia, who married Jacob Wentz: and Harry, who lived at various places.

John Schealer, one of the sons of John and Barbara Schealer, was born in Exeter township Oct. 23, 1793, and died there Dec. 16, 1872, aged seventy-nine years, one month, twenty-three days. He was a farmer and stone-mason by occupation, and during the winter months engaged in butchering. On Dec. 20, 1818, he was married to Catherine Gardner, born Nov. 20, 1800, who died Sept. 29, 1878, in her seventy-eighty year. Ten children were born to this union: William, born Sept. 10, 1819, died in May 1894: Harriet, born Sept. 19, 1821, died while out West in 1904: Elizabeth, born Dec. 13, 1823, was married and lived in Fort Wayne, Ind.: Valeria, born Feb. 14, 1825, died Dec. 25, 1895: Susanna, born Oct. 14, 1827, makes her home at No. 1028 Chestnut street, Reading, Pa.: Lovinia, born Sept. 10, 1831, died Oct 2, 1893: Catherine, born July 18, 1834, died in infancy: John G., born Oct 15, 1836, lives at Boyertown, Pa.: Augustus, born March 15, 1839, died March 29, 1873: Samuel G., born in Exeter township Oct 5, 1842, lives in his own residence at No. 1145 Chestnut street, Reading. The latter is a stationary engineer by occupation and a highly esteemed citizen of his community. He was married Dec. 26, 1868, to Adeline Wessner, born in 1848, who died in 1905. They had six children, three of whom died in infancy, the others being William O.: Lucretia I. And S. Raymond, the latter of whom is a student at Lehigh University.

Samuel Sheeler, son of John and Barbara and grandfather of Harry W., was born June 20, 1805, in Exeter township, and died Dec. 26, 1882, being buried at the Corner Church near Robesonia. He was a stone-mason by trade, and owned a tract of ten acres of land, which he cultivated. He married Sarah Schauer, who was born Jan. 23, 1811, and died July 11, 1873, and she also sleeps her last sleep in the cemetery at the Corner Church. Mr. And Mrs. Sheeler had these children: Henry, Rebecca, who married Harry Weidman, of Womelsdorf: Isaac, who spent his whole life in Schuylkill county: Amelia and Lizzie, who died of diphtheria: Samuel, who died young: ad John, an iron worker of West Lebanon, Pa., who married Emma Newman (they have had five children, George, Lizzie and Becky, living, and two now deceased).

Henry Sheeler, father of Harry W., was born in Exeter township, Berks county, April 24, 1829, and died at Robesonia April 7, 1906. He was a stone and brick mason, and did considerable contracting in his time, the buildings he erected including the high school (in 1889), and Wagner Hall, the latter now the property of George W. Gerhart. In early life Mr. Sheeler settled at Robesonia where he owned the house in which he lived, as well as several others. He was a member of the Lutheran denomination, and held membership in St. Daniel's (Corner) Church. On March 18, 1852, Mr. Sheeler was married to Elvina Wenrich, born April 1, 1827, daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth (Roether) Wenrich of Heidelberg township. Mrs. Sheeler died Dec. 26, 1905. To this union were born the following children: Lizzie, who married George Kreitz, resides on the Sheeler homestead at Robesonia: Ada, who married Pierce Weigley, lives at Lebanon: Ellen, who died in 1902, married Rankin Potteiger and lived at Lebanon; Charles W., of Robesonia, who married Lizzie Henry, daughter of John Henry, who erected the first hotel at Robesonia: Lewis, who died in youth, and Harry W.

Harry W. Sheeler was educated in the common schools of his native locality, which he was obliged to leave at the age of fifteen years to earn a livelihood, and for four years was a servant on a truck farm. Subsequently he went to Montgomery county, Ohio, for one year. Mr. Sheeler then learned the stone-mason's trade and became stonecutter for the Robesonia Iron Company, for whom he worked in the summer months while his winters were spent at carpet weaving. This he followed with success until 1890, when he entered the hosiery manufacturing field, commencing with four knitters in the old schoolhouse at Robesonia where he remained five years. In 1907 he erected a three-story brick factory, 32 x 50 feet in dimensions on Main street, in which are installed nearly one hundred machines and where from sixty to seventy employees are kept busy. His factory is complete in every detail, and is lighted by electricity. Mr., Sheeler is an able businessman and a most public-spirited citizen. In politics he is a Democrat, has been auditor of the township for three years, and in 1905 was first elected school director, being re-elected to that office in 1907, by a large majority. Mr. Sheeler is fraternally connected with the Royal Arcanum at Reading. He and his family are members of St. Daniel's (Corner) Church, near Robesonia, of which he has been secretary and deacon and is now trustee.

On Jan. 3, 1888, Mr. Sheeler was married to Miss Margaret Miller, daughter of Adam P. and Amanda (Klopp) Miller, and granddaughter of Philip and Matilda (Greth) Miller. Four children have been born to Mr. And Mrs. Sheeler, namely: Earl W., born March 10, 1889, who died Sept. 10, 1889: Raymond W., born July 28, 1900, who graduated from the Heidelberg township high school in 1906, and from the Interstate Commercial College, Reading, 1907: Guy W., born Dec 10, 1891, a graduate of Heidelberg township high school, class of 1908: and Margaret I., born July 14, 1893, also a graduate of Heidelberg township high school, class of 1908. The family occupy a fine sandstone front residence on Main street, surrounded by a beautiful yard.


p. 1137


William E. Sheidy, of Wyomissing, Spring township, Berks Co., Pa., was born in Bern township, April 10, 1862, son of Joseph and Margaret (Hafer) Sheidy.

Joseph Sheidy was born in Bern township in 1840, where he followed farming until his retirement from active life. During the Civil war he served in the volunteer infantry, but was wounded during the first year in the right arm, the bullet passing through it. The homestead Heidelberg township at Blue Marsh consists of a very comfortable house surrounded by three acres of land, which Mr. Sheidy purchased from Adam Cress. His wife, Margaret Hafer, was born in Bern township, daughter of William Hafer, of that township, and died in July, 1881, and is buried at Epler's church. Joseph Sheidy died in the fall of 1908. The children born to him and his wife were: William E.; Joseph, of Heidelberg township; Benjamin, of Centre township; Jacob of Penn township; Charles, of Cumru township; Adam of Brownsville, where he is in the hotel business; Irwin of Heidelberg township; Margaret, m. to Charles Dechler. Joseph Sheidy had two brothers, Jacob, lived in Bern township; and Frederick, w ho lived in lower Heidelberg township.

William E. Sheidy attended the local schools of Heidelberg and Spring townships, and worked upon his father's farm. At the age of twenty years he commenced to work for himself, hiring out to the farmers in his vicinity until 1885, when he began farming in Heidelberg township on the Henry Ahrens farm. There he lived as tenant for four years, and in the spring of 1890 came to Wyomissing where he cultivated the Thomas G. Yeager farm until it was sold to the Wyomissing land company. He then turned his attention to his farm of twenty-four acres in Lower Heidelberg township, on which he planted 500 peach trees and raises considerable fruit. For four years he conducted the Wyomissing coal yards, but in 1902 he sold that property to Calvin Rutt.

In 1903 Mr. Sheidy built a double brick house in Wyomissing borough, on Wyomissing boulevard, three stories in height and supplied with all modern improvements. He and his family live in one of the houses and rent the other. Since locating in Wyomissing, he has been engaged in hauling, and has built up a big business, keeping four horses always busy. In connection with this business, he erected a large brick stable in 1907, 20 x 30 feet in dimensions. In all his enterprises Mr. Sheidy has met with success, and is now one of the prosperous business men of Wyomissing. In politics he is a Democrat, and has been delegate to various county conventions. He and his family are members of Hain's Reformed church. Fraternally he is a member of West Reading Castle, K. G. E., No. 487, of West Reading.

On July 16. 1881, Mr. Sheidy married Isabella Brown, daughter of Jacob and Catherine (Keeney) Brown, granddaughter of Philip and Catherine (Besbaur) Brown. Six children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Sheidy; Florence, m. to Edward Gaugler, of the Blue Marsh; William B., unmarried, of Wyomissing ; Jacob B., m. to Sallie Suttsman, and in his brother's employ; Thomas B., unmarried, living with his father; Charles B and Henry, both at home.


p. 713


Tobias K. Shenk, a prosperous business man of Reading, Pa., who is proprietor of Shenk's Carriage and Wagon Works, Nos. 1137-1149 Moss street, was born in Dauphin county, Pa., son of Peter and Sarah (Kreider) Shenk.

Peter Shenk, who was for many years engaged in farming and carpentering, during which time he gained an honestly earned reputation as a skilled mechanic and practical farmer, is now living retired in Lebanon county, Pa., where for some years he served as school director, a position to which he was elected on the Republican ticket. He and his wife are members of the United Christian Church. They have had six children, three of whom survived, namely; Mary, m. to Harry Hocker, of Hockersville, Dauphin county; Sarah, m. to Isaac Imboden of Cleona, Lebanon county; and Tobias K.

Tobias K. Shenk was four years of age when his parents removed to Lebanon county, where he remained on the home farm until twenty-two years of age. He was then married to Miss Emma Longenecker, daughter of Benjamin and Anna Longenecker, of Dauphin county. He engaged in farming until the age of thirty years, when he came to Reading, and carried on contracting until 1903. In that year he began the manufacture and general repair of wagons, and the steady increase of his business has demanded more floor space and machinery until he now has one of the best equipped plants in the city.

Mr. and Mrs. Shenk are the parents of five children; Clayton, Viola, Raymond, Harry and Mary. In religious belief the family are connected with the Evangelical Church. Mr. Shenk is a Republican in politics.


p. 1625


William G. Sheradin, a well known citizen of Hamburg, Pa., who is extensively engaged in the manufacture of brick, was born Oct. 21, 1848, in West Brunswick township, Schuylkill county, Pa., son of Charles and Elizabeth (Geiger) Sheradin.

Jacob Sheradin, grandfather of William G., was one of the best known agriculturists of his day in Longswamp township, owning land where the Topton depot is now located. He married a Miss De Long, and to them there were born children as follows: Reuben; Mrs. Joseph Albright; and Charles, the father of William G. Charles Sheradin, who was born in 1817, was for some years a farmer of Longswamp township, Berks county, but later in life removed to West Brunswick township, Schuylkill county, where he died in 1868. He married Elizabeth Geiger, and to them were born these children: Mary, who married David Fahl; Daniel, who married Katie Wagner of Schuylkill Haven, Pa.; and William G.

William G. Sheradin attended the district schools of his native locality, obtaining a good general education, and worked on his father's farm until his eighteenth year, when in 1866, he came to Hamburg and learned the trade of cabinet maker with the late Peter Burkey, with whom he remained his full apprenticeship of two and one-half years. He then went to Reading and engaged with William Kline at cabinet making until 1870, in which year he started out for himself, and successfully conducted a cabinet making business for four years at No. 108 South Fourth street. In the latter year he engaged in the brick manufacturing business in which he has continued ever since; his present yard, where he employs about fifty hands, and manufactures on an average of 4,000,000 bricks per year, being located in West Hamburg. The firm of Tobias & Sheradin, which was founded five years ago, manufacture the red clay brick, and their product finds a ready sale throughout Schuylkill and Luzerne counties. Mr. Sheradin is one of the progressive business men of the borough, and is always found in the foremost ranks of any movement for the benefit of the community.

In politics Mr. Sheradin is a Republican, and for six years was a borough councilman, one year of which time he was president of that executive body. He has been a member of the Union Fire Company for thirty-five years, and has held various offices in that organization, of which he has been president for the past five years. He and his family are members of the First Reformed Church, of which he was a deacon for twelve years, and trustee for nine years. He has always been a pillar of the church, and he was one of the liberal contributors towards the erection of the present beautiful edifice.

Mr. Sheradin has been twice married, (first) on Nov. 20, 1869, to Mary Tobias, daughter of John and Vinetta (Schappell) Tobias, to which union there were born three children: William M., who died in 1877, in his fourth year; Annetta, who married Joseph Helder of Reading, died Dec. 24, 1904, and was buried on her twenty-sixth birthday; and Charles R., born Aug. 10, 1885, is single, and resides at home. Mr. Sheradin was married (second) to Miss Annie Laurie Nies, daughter of Daniel K. and Florenda (Dressler) Nies.


p. 1547


Thomas C. Sherman, of Tulpehocken township, who is operating a fertile tract situated near Mount Aetna, Pa., was born Sept 19, 1877, in Tulpehocken township, son of Simon and Alwildia (Unger) Sherman.

Jacob Sherman, the great-grandfather of Thomas C., resided in Schuylkill county, about where Pinedale is now located, and was the father of three sons: George, Jacob and Daniel, the latter the grandfather of Thomas C. Daniel Sherman was a farmer by occupation and for many years resided near Millersburg, Bethel township, Berks county, but later removed to Tulpehocken township, near Mount Aetna, where he died aged eighty-five years, one month and seventeen days. He was married to Miss Maria Morgan, who bore him the following children: (1) Daniel m. Matilda Kirst, resided on a farm in Bethel township, and later removed to Newmanstown, Lebanon county, where they still reside. (2) William m. Emma Dress and resided in Schuylkill county, where he died aged thirty-two years, having had five children. (3) John lost his life as a member of the Union army during the Civil war. (4) Charles is married with three children, and resides on a farm near Mount Aetna. (5) Israel, who was a farmer near Mount Aetna, died at the age of forty-nine years, one month and eleven days, leaving a widow, Susan (Wagner) Sherman, and one child. (6) Joseph m. Abbe Borrel, resided near Wintersville and had three children. About ten years before his death, he lost his left hand while operating a threshing machine, and thereafter he engaged in light occupations, and served in the offices of supervisor and tax collector. His death was caused by typhoid fever in 1889, at the age of forty-three years. (7) Susanna m. William Reinhardt, a farmer of near Mount Aetna, and has two children. (8) Simon was the father of Thomas C. (9) Priscilla died unmarried aged forty years. The mother of these children died at the advanced age of eighty-eight years, three months, seventeen days, and she and her husband were both buried in the cemetery adjoining the Mount Aetna Church.

Simon Sherman, father of Thomas C., was born Sept. 15, 1855, in Bethel township, where he was reared and educated. He married Alwildia Unger, daughter of John and Hannah (Blatt) Unger, and granddaughter of Benjamin Blatt, a farmer of near St. Michael's Church. Her mother died when thirty-nine years old, leaving a large family, of which Mrs. Sherman was the oldest daughter. She was married to Mr. Sherman Sept. 9, 1876, and together they worked on the farm until fifteen years ago, when they purchased the first of the three farms they now own. To this happy union there were born the following children: Thomas; Calvin; Jacob Henry m. Mabel Clay, daughter of Levi and Sarah (Hunsicker) Clay, resides in his own home at Mount Aetna, and has four children, - Beatrice Pearl, Edgar and Wistar, twins, and Wimer Jerome; Bertha Valeria m. Hiram Haas and they reside with her parents; Simon Samuel, Jerome Daniel, Broxton Manoah and Reuben are all at home.

Thomas Calvin Sherman spent his early life on his father's farm, where he worked during the summer months, while attending the district school in the winter terms. He subsequently attended the Mount Aetna high school for some time, since leaving which he has been cultivating one of his father's farms. July 29, 1988, he was married to Martha Schmoke, daughter of George and Rosa (Huoncker) Schmoke, and three children have been born to this union: Paul and Verna, deceased; and Leon Adam.

Mr. and Mrs. Sherman are members of Salem Reformed Church of Millersburg. Fraternally he is actively connected with Camp No. 69, P. O. S. of A., and in politics he is a Democrat and has held minor township offices.


p. 1672


Howard M. Shilling, a well-known educator and successful businessman at Shillington, Pa., was born in that town Nov. 29, 1856, son of Samuel Shilling and grandson of Jacob Shilling.

Jacob Shilling, grandfather of Howard M., was a native of Franklin county, Pa. He was a drover and came to Cumru Township before he was married. Locating at the Three Mile House, then known as Shilling's Inn. He m. Hannah Straub, by whom he had issue as follows: Levi, Hester, Louisa, Ephraim, Samuel, Isabella, Hannah and Jacob. The father died about 1845, from apoplexy, when past fifty years of age. He is buried at Reading in the Lutheran cemetery. He operated Shilling's Inn, now known as Three Mile House, for many years, and his death occurred here.

Samuel Shilling was born in Cumru Township March 11, 1819, and died March 29, 1891; he was buried at Yocom's Church in his native township, of which he was a Lutheran member. Mr. Shilling was educated at the Trappe School in Montgomery County. He was a farmer and owned considerable land where Shillington now is located. He was the foremost man of his district. For fifteen year's he served as tax collector of Cumru Township, and this was his last employment. In 1860, he laid out the town of Shillington. He was a Democrat up to 1860, until Abraham Lincoln was a candidate for the Presidency, when he became a follower of "Old Abe." He was a member of Company D, 167th P. V. M., in the nine months' service. He was ever an active citizen. Mr. Shilling married Catharine Weitknecht, and they became the parents of nine children: (1) Champion F. P. died May 8, 1872, aged seventeen years. (2) Mary M. W., deceased wife of James M. Batron, of Shillington, and (3) George W, were twins, and were born on Washington's birthday, 1859; George died May 19, 1906. (4) Howard M. is mentioned below. (5) Frederick E. E., a brass molder, lives in the borough of Shillington. (6) Emma L., born on Washington's birthday, lives at Shillington. (7) Ida C. E., born in 1868. m. Charles C. Fisher, of York, Pa. (8) Oscar, twin to Ida, died in infancy. (9) Ella m. George Stehman, of York, Pennsylvania.

Howard M. Shilling spent his boyhood days in Shillington, where he attended the public schools and then took a full scientific course at Prof. D. B. Brunner's business college at Reading studying there for three years and six months. He was licensed to teach school under county superintendent Prof. S. A. Baer, in 1877, and has taught thirty terms in Cumru township, teaching 1900 children. He also holds a State teacher's permanent certificate, ranking Second in a class of twenty-one. His was the largest school in the county, having eighty-nine pupils enrolled, who made a general average of eighty-three for the term. Mr. Shilling first engaged in the florist business in Shillington, in 1880, in a small way, in a building 19 x 40 feet. Now the buildings he occupies are the longest in the county; they are 20 x 192 feet in dimensions, and there is in use over 13,000 square feet of glass. These buildings area heated by the hot water system. Mr. Shilling attends the Reading market and does both whole sale and retail business, shipping flowers all over the United States.

Mr. Shilling is keenly interested in the development and progress of his town and county, and he took an active part in organizing the borough of Shillington which was laid out and named by his father in 1860, when there were but three buildings in the place. In politics, he is a Republican, and after the death of his father for a short time collected the tax in Cumru Township. For seventeen years he has been Republican county committeeman of Cumru township and served the party as county and state delegate, and has always been identified with the best interests of the party, being personally acquainted with all the voters of the township. Mr. Shilling was twice Census Enumerator of Cumru Township--years 1880 and 1890. He has been active in politics since 1876, during the Hayes and Tilden campaign, and during the Garfield campaign, he stumped the county.

Mr. Shilling on Feb. 7, 1893 became a member of Co A, 4th Regt., N. G. P., for a term of three years, and after the expiration of his first enlistment. On Feb. 8, 1896, re-enlisted and was promoted to Third Sergeant of the above company, and served actively in the Lattimare Riots, in 1897. When the Spanish American war broke out, and President McKinley called for 100,000 men. This regiment was one of the first to be sworn into the Federal service, at Mount Gretna, Pa., on May 9, 1898. This regiment went to Chickamauga, Ga., May 15th, and remained until July 22d, when it embarked for Newport News, Va., and sailed July 28th, for Puerto Rico, being in General Miles' command on that island. The regiment left Ponce Sept. 1st, arrived at New York City Sept. 6th, came to Reading on a furlough Sept. 7th, and was mustered out of service Nov. 16, 1808. Mr. Shilling was a Sergeant of his company throughout the Spanish-American war. Mr. Shilling is an able penman and while in the Spanish-American war performed special service for his company, writing out all discharges and reports to Washington.

Mr. Shilling has been twice married. On June 22, 1884, he married Amelia Stamm, daughter of George and Mary (Holl) Stamm, late of Cumru Township. She died July 26, 1888, aged twenty-six years, nine months, nineteen days, leaving a daughter, Edith. On March 11, 1893, he m. (second) Annie Elizabeth Maurer, eldest daughter of Franklin and Clara (Schaeffer) Maurer, the former of whom has charge of the mail and baggage department of the P. & R. railroad at the terminal depot, Reading, and they have two children: Earle Leslie and Irene Ruth. Mrs. Shilling was educated in Reading and at present is engaged as an elocutionist, and as an instructor in theatrical work. Mrs. Shilling looked after the business interests of her husband while he was in the Spanish American war, besides caring for the family. In 1904 Mr. Shilling built a brick residence on Philadelphia Avenue, Shillington, 32 x 52 feet. He has a collection of Porto Rico relics numbering over 1,400 pieces which he obtained in 1898, consisting of coins, seashells, stamps, merchandise, cutlery, bullets, etc. He has a library of over 1,000 volumes. In 1879 Mr. Shilling made a trip through thirty-four States of the Union and also visited Canada, his trip extending over eight months.

In fraternal circles Mr. Shilling is a member of the K of P., Lodge No, 485, Mohnton; Sons of Veterans, George G. Meade Camp No. 16; Order of K. of F., Reading, Chamber NO 23; K. G E., Fraternity Castle, No. 302, Reading; Order of Independent Americans, Council No. 252, Reading; P. 0. of A., Camp No. 17, Reading; P. O. S. of A., Camp No. 163, Reading; L. O. T. M., No. 155, Reading; Maccabees Tent No. 426, Reading; and he is also a member of the Foresters of America, Court Progress, No. 116, of Reading.


p. 684


John Jacob Shilling (deceased) founded a family in Berks County now well known there. He was born in Chester County, Pa., and came to Berks County when a young man, settling at what is now Shillington. He owned considerable land there, built numerous dwellings, and for many years owned and conducted the "Three Mile House," where he lived with his family. He was a man of prominence in his day, and was of striking appearance, being erect, tall, and weighing over two hundred pounds. He was a member of the Reformed Church. He married Hannah Straub, whose father was Christian (?) Straub, and to them were born children as follows: Levi died unmarried when about seventy years of age; Hettie also died unmarried; Samuel, who laid out Shillington, and gave it its name, married Catharine Whiteman, and they had children-Franklin P. (deceased), Oscar J. (deceased), Mary M. W. and George Washington (twins), Howard M., Frederick E. E., Emma L., Ida C. E. and Ella; Ephraim is mentioned below; Jacob, who was killed in the Civil war, married Mary Bechtel and had one child, who died young; Eliza married Isaac Miller, of Illinois, in which State both died; Isabella died unmarried; Louisa married a Forbs, of Minnesota.

Ephraim Shilling, son of John Jacob, was born Nov. 16, 1822, in Shillington, and lived to his seventy-seventh year, dying Jan. 18, 1899. There he spent his entire life. He not only followed farming, but also his trade of pattern making, and turned out many violins of sweet tone; in later years he also engaged in wheel-weighting in connection with farming, cultivating a tract of forty-two acres. In politics, he was a Republican.

In 1848 Ephraim Shilling married Catharine Marks, daughter of George Marks, and a family of eight children was born to them, namely: Clara m. Frank Welde; Catharine m. Julius Wagner; Elizabeth m. John Gauss; John Jacob m. Sarah Steffey, and (second) Sallie E. Berstler; Alexander E., unmarried, lives at Shillington; Hannah m. Jerome Tompkins; Jane m. Horace R. Carl; Andrew m. Lizzie Kane. The family were Lutherans in religion.

Julius Wagner, who married Catharine, second daughter of Ephraim Shilling, was born in Germany in 1849, and came to America when eighteen years of age, landing in New York in 1867. After staying for a while in that city he moved to York, Pa., and learned the carpenter's trade, which he followed for some time, but being dissatisfied with his progress he located at Lancaster and made himself proficient as a baker. When ready to begin for himself in that line he went to Reading, opened a bakery at No. 276 South Ninth street, and was so successful that by the end of thirteen years he had amassed sufficient capital to retire from that business and enter into building and contracting. While thus engaged he put up sixty-two houses in Reading, some of them on property owned by his wife. Mrs. Wagner is quite an extensive property holder, owning ten lots on Thirteenth street, seven on Fairview, five on Kenney, and three residences in the Tenth ward. Mr. Wagner at present gives his entire attention to managing his wife's interests.

Mr. and Mrs. Wagner were married March 18, 1871 and they have five children: Julius, Jr., m. Helen Krum; Lucca K.; Elsie T. m. Harry Adams; Mabel m. George Klopp; and Richard m. Anna Snyder. In religious faith, the family are Lutherans. Mr. Wagner is a Democrat in politics.


p. 1711


John Jacob Shilling, whose home is situated at No. 239 South Twelfth street, Reading, Pa., was born Oct. 17, 1859, at Shillington, Cumru township, Berks county, son of Ephraim and Catherine (Marks) Shilling.

John Jacob Shilling, grandfather of John J. of Reading, who was the founder of Shillington, Pa., was born in Chester county, Pa., and came to Berks county when a young man, settling at what is now Shillington. He owned considerable land there, built numerous dwellings, and for many years owned and conducted the "Three Mile House," where he lived with his family. He was a man of prominence in his day, and was of striking appearance, being erect, tall, and weighing over two hundred pounds. He was a member of the Reformed Church. He married Hannah Straub, daughter of Christian Straub, and they had the following children: Levi died unmarried when about seventy years of age; Hettie died unmarried; Samuel who laid out Shillington, and gave it its name, m. Catharine Weitknecht and their children were Champion Franklin P. and Oscar J., deceased, Howard M., George Washington and Mary M. W. twins, Frederick E. E., Ida C. E., Emma L. and Ella; Ephraim; Jacob, who was killed in the Civil war, m. Mary Bechtel and had one child that died young; Eliza m. Isaac Miller of Illinois, in which State both died; Isabella died unmarried; Louisa m. a Forbs, of Minnesota, and Hannah.

Ephraim Shilling, father of John Jacob, was born Nov. 16, 1822, in Shillington, where his entire life was spent. He was a patternmaker by trade and made many violins, of sweet tone, but in later years engaged in wheelwrighting in conjunction with carrying on operations on his forty-two acre tract. In political matters he was a Republican, and was a well-known man of his day. His death occurred Jan. 18, 1899. In 1848 Mr. Shilling was married to Catherine Marks, daughter of George Marks, and they had children as follows: Clara m. Frank Welde; Catharine m. Julius Wagner; Elizabeth m. John Gauss; John Jacob; Alexander E., unmarried, of Shillington, Pa.; Hannah m. Jerome Tompkins; Jane m. Horace R. Carl; and Andrew m. Lizzie Kane. The family were Lutherans.

John Jacob Shilling was educated in the district schools of his native locality, and for a number of years was engaged in farm work there. In 1882 he began working in a hat factory, where he continued for seventeen years, and in January, 1900, secured employment with the Reading Iron Company, where he has continued to the present. From 1882 until 1902 Mr. Shilling resided at Mohnton, in the latter year removing to Reading, since which time he has occupied his South Twelfth street home. He is a Republican in politics, and he and Mrs. Shilling are members of St. John's Lutheran Church of Mohnton, where he was a deacon and a charter member of the church. He is a member of the Reading Relief Organization.

Mr. Shilling has been twice married, his first wife being Sarah Steffey, by whom he had three children: Rosa, who m. Willis Stirk of Reading; Kate R. and Stella E., unmarried, who reside at home. Mrs. Shilling was born July 16, 1867, and died Sept. 25, 1892. Mr. Shilling married (second) Sallie E. Berstler, who was born July 31, 1862, and is a daughter of John and Catherine (Lamp) Berstler of Blandon, Pa., and to this union two children were born: Helen, born May 9, 1894; and Elmore, born June 17, 1897.


p. 942


Daniel W. Shirey, proprietor of the "Douglassville Hotel," at Douglassville, Berks county, was born Sept. 15, 1868, at Monocacy, in Union township.

According to tradition the ancestor of this Shirey family was Joseph Shirey, who settled in Rockland township, Berks county, where John Shirey, the great-grandfather of Daniel W., was born. The latter moved to Amity township and settled on the tract now owned by Calvin Ludwig, at Monocacy Station, building the house which still stands on that property as well as the barn now (1908) being rebuilt by Mr. Ludwig. He was a stonemason and bricklayer as well as farmer. John Shirey is buried in the graveyard at Amityville. His first wife was a Berndt, his second a member of the Schrack family. Among his children were the following: William B.; Samuel, who lived at Monocacy Hill; Hannah, who married Michael Woodley, and lived on the north side of Monocacy Hill; Betzy, who married Levi Bechtel, of Reading; Polly, who married Abraham Dreber, of Amity township; Esther, and Sally.

William B. Shirey, son of John, born Nov. 2, 1807, died July 18, 1861, aged fifty-three years, seven months, sixteen days. He was a native of Amity township, and passed all his life there. He married Sarah Harner, and to them were born twelve children, namely: Elizabeth married George Davidheiser, who is deceased; Mary Ann married George Weidner, of Friedensburg; John is deceased; Frank is mentioned below; Nathaniel, unmarried, still lives at the old home; Jeremiah, of Lebanon, Pa., married his cousin, Margaret Shirey; Caroline married her cousin Jacob Shirey; Jacob is deceased; William is deceased; Maberry, who is a deaf mute, lives with John Shirey at Monocacy; Amanda married her cousin Harrison Shirey; Emanuel, unmarried, still lives at the old home.

Mrs. Sarah (Harner) Shirey, the mother of this family, was born Sept. 16, 1812, and though in her ninety-seventh year is remarkably well preserved. She still lives in the old home at Monocacy Hill, on a farm of thirty acres one and one-half miles east of Monocacy, and is able to do much of the housework herself, her energy and activity being proverbial among the many who know and esteem her. When her husband died, over forty years ago, she was left with a family of nine, the youngest but four years old, yet on the ninety-fifth anniversary of her birth, when asked for a recipe for longevity, she said: "Work hard, live moderately, don't worry, and you will have a fair chance to become old." It has been the custom of her relatives and friends for a number of years to gather at the old home to celebrate her birthday, and none enjoys these occasions more than Mrs. Shirey herself, who has retained her interest in all the affairs of life along with unusual vitality and cheerfulness. She is beloved by a large circle of friends and relations, and on her ninety-fifth anniversary over one hundred were present. A Reading paper, in commenting upon the affair, said: "Although lacking but five years of the century mark, Mrs. Shirey is still well preserved and there was none in the party who was happier than she. She moved among her visitors with a kind word for each. She wore a happy smile which told of a life well spent and of a conscience void of offense." Her reminiscences of the old days are enjoyed by all. Her father, Henry Harner, was a soldier in the war of 1812, to which she refers as the Baltimore war; her grandfather Harner was a soldier in the Revolution, which she calls Washington's war.

Frank Shirey, son of William B. and Sarah (Harner) Shirey, was born in Amity township Feb. 20, 1838. He began his education in the old-time pay schools, later receiving the benefits of the public schools when they were introduced. Farming has been his chief occupation, and since 1870 he has lived at his present home near Monocacy, having a tract of eighteen acres which he cultivates. He and his family are members of the Amityville Church. In 1865 Mr. Shirey married Rebecca Breidenstein, born July 7, 1838, and three children were born to them: Annie, unmarried, lives at home; Daniel W., who lives at Douglassville; and Davilla, who died young.

Mr. Shirey is a veteran of the Civil war, in which he served under two enlistments. In October, 1862, he became a private in Company K, 79th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, and served nine months and eighteen days. Later he enlisted in Company D, 213th Regiment, with which he served to the close of the war, this term also lasting nine months and eighteen days. He receives a pension.

Daniel W. Shirey, son of Frank, attended school at Monocacy during his boyhood and early began to work upon the farm, continuing thus until he was about twenty years old. He then became a member of the repair gang on the Reading railroad, between Birdsboro and Douglassville, and was employed at that work for nine years, during the last two years of that period acting as section boss, with from six to twelve men under him, the average number being eight. In 1898 he became proprietor of the "Bramcote Hotel." In the spring of 1900 he moved to the "Palace Hotel," at Reading, where he lived until 1901, when he moved to Douglassville and became proprietor of the "Douglassville Hotel," which he has since conducted so successfully. The building is commodious, and not only contains the twenty-five rooms appropriated for the use of the hotel, but also a store in the western end and a hall in which the Sons of America, the Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen meet.

Mr. Shirey has a number of fraternal connections, belonging to Camp No. 240, P. O. S. of A., of Douglassville; Court No. 137, Foresters of America, of Pottstown; Aerie No. 626, F. O. E., of Pottstown; Sanatogo Tribe, No. 123, I. O. R. M., of Pottstown; Sanatogo Council, No. 106, Pocahontas Lodge (to which Mrs. Shirey also belongs); and the Twenty Century Quakers, of Reading, No. 1. He also belongs to the Hook and Ladder Fire Company, of Pottstown, and to the Retail Liquor Dealers Association of Reading.

On March 21, 1891, Mr. Shirey married Mary Fortna, daughter of Henry Fortna, of Robesonia, and they have had two children, Walter E. and Ria R. The eldest child is now attending high school at Pottstown, and both are receiving musical instruction.


p. 1093


Jesse Shirey, now living retired, was for many years an employe of the Philadelphia & Reading Ry. Co. He was born in Robeson township, Berks county, July 17, 1833, son of Samuel and Sarah (Yocum) Shirey.

The family, as far as is known, is of German origin, the great-grandfather of Jesse Shirey emigrating to America in the latter part of the seventeenth century, and settling in Berks county. His name is not known.

Samuel Shirey, the father of Jesse, was educated in the common schools of Robeson township, and learned the trade of stone mason when a boy. This he followed, and he also carried on farming, owning a tract of 100 acres of finely improved land which he later sold, removing to Reading. Here Mr. Shirey worked at his trade until he died, in the faith of the Methodist Church. Politically Mr. Shirey was a Republican. He and his wife were the parents of: Jeremiah, David, John, Samuel, Levi, Jesse, Joseph, Elias, Charles (died aged ten years), Catherine (M. Charles Rogers), Mary (m. George Pierce), Sarah (m. Aaron Houck) and Hannah (died single).

Jesse Shirey was educated in Robeson township and later removed to Chester county, locating in Coatesville, where he learned the trade of harness-making. This Mr. Shirey followed for some years, and continued it for four years after locating in Reading. At the outbreak of the war he was employed by the Government in the making of cavalry saddles, and in 1862 he enlisted in Company I, 128th Pa. V. I., under Capt. Richard R. Jones, serving nine months, and participating in the battles of Antietam, South Mountain and Chancellorsville. He was taken prisoner at the latter and was taken to Libby Prison, but twelve days later was paroled. His term of enlistment having expired, Mr. Shirey rejoined his regiment at Annapolis, Md., and was sent to Harrisburg, Pa., where the regiment was mustered out of service. He re-enlisted in 1864 with the 100-day men in Company B, 195th Pa. V. I., Eighth Army Corps, which was held as a reserve when General Early invaded Maryland. The regiment was doing police and patrol duty along the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, being stationed for a time at Monocacy Junction, and later at Tabb's Station, being mustered out in December 1864. After the war Mr. Shirey worked at his trade for a time, and was then for thirty-seven years employed by the Philadelphia and Reading Company, as superintendent of the leather department. Mr. Shirey was placed on the retired list March 12, 1903.

Mr. Jesse Shirey married in 1859 Mary M. Burt, daughter of William Burt, and five children were born to this union: Charles and Burt, deceased; Ralph, at home; Lizzie, deceased; and Hattie, deceased wife of Adam Heffelfinger. In religious belief Mr. Shirey is liberal. He is fraternally connected with Emblematic Lodge No. 169, I. O. O. F. and was formerly a member of the Encampment. In politics he is a Republican.


p. 1374


Milton L. Shirey, grocer at Reading, was born in this city in 1861, the only son of David Y. and Emma L. (Leedom) Shirey, and a grandson of Samuel Shirey, who was a native of Caernarvon township, Berks county. He was a stone mason by trade and also manufactured hearthstones. He carried on business in Reading for a number of years.

David Y. Shirey, father of Milton L., was born in Caernarvon township, in the old homestead there, and after completing his schooling he engaged with his father in the manufacture of hearthstones. Later he accompanied the family to Reading and found employment with Conrad Frame, who kept a store at "The Locks." Mr. Shirey remained with Mr. Frame for several years and then went into business for himself at the same place, with John Newkirk. They carried on a general store and did a big trade supplying the surrounding country and the canal boatmen, traffic then being heavy on the canal. Later he came to Reading and engaged in business at Third and Franklin streets, where he remained a few years, and then moved on Penn street above Sixth, into the S. Young building. In partnership with Henry Shearer, Mr. Shirey did a large business in garden produce of all kinds. Later he engaged in a livery business, but subsequently returned to the grocery line and for a number of years was established at No. 1129 Chestnut street, on the corner of Wunder. Some twelve years before his death, which occurred in February, 1901, he retired from active business life. He was a man who was respected and esteemed and was an active member of the orders of K. of P. and the Sr. O. U. A. M.

David Y. Shirey married Emma L. Leedom, daughter of John and Louisa Ann Leedom. She still survives and resides with her son, M. L. Shirey.

Milton L. Shirey completed the grammar school course at Reading and then assisted his father in his store until he was eighteen years of age, when he went with Joseph S. Esterly, in the produce business. He continued with him for one year and then returned home and continued with his father until he was twenty-three years old. His next business connection was with the Adams Express Co., with which he remained a year, and then was with Howard L. Goodman, in the bakery business for the next ten years.

He took over his father's store, making many improvements and introducing modern methods and also enlarging the capacity for doing business. His store room is 20x60 feet and he has a warehouse in the rear, 14x40 feet. He possessed business enterprise and may justly be considered a representative man in the city's commerce.

Mr. Shirey married Katie Goodman, daughter of Daniel and Amanda Goodman, and they have three children, viz.: Harold A., Thaddeus I., and Minerva L.

He is a member of St. Peter's M, E. Church. He belongs to the I. O. O. F. and Red Man.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:57:12 EDT

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