Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 860-861


Elias B. Sunday, a retired citizen of Windsor township, Berks county, who resides on Fourth street, Hamburg, was born Aug. 24, 1841, on his father's farm in Windsor township.

Tradition says that the ancestor of the Sunday family in America was Hans, Adam Sontag, who emigrated on the ship "Snow Molly," which made port at Philadelphia, Oct. 26, 1741. The district in Berks county in which he settled is not known, but he had two sons: (1) Christopher, who was born April 9, 1753, died Dec. 13, 1825. He married Anna Christina Bacharsin, born April 19, 1753, who died Sept. 7, 1825, and their sons, Jacob, Heinrich, John and George were members of Dunkel's Church in Greenwich township in 1808. (2) Nicholas Sontag was a taxable in Windsor township in 1768, and had sons John, George and Martin.

George Sontag, son of Nicholas and the grandfather of Elias B., was a lifelong farmer in Windsor township, where he was born Jan. 13, 1780, and died Jan. 19, 1869. He owned over 400 acres of land, the farm now owned by Elias B. and the one owned by John S. Sunday, being originally one farm and a part of his property. He was a successful farmer and he made occasional trips to Philadelphia (having from four to six horses on his large Conestoga wagon) where he sold his farm produce. On one of his return trips, when about eight miles from home, he fell from the wagon while asleep, receiving serious injuries. On Sept. 3, 1803, Mr. Sontag married Catharine Strasser, who was born Sept. 16, 1789, and who died March 5, 1853, and to them were born these children: Gideon, Hannah, born in 1807, m. Isaac Miller, and died in 1883; Polly m. Peter Raubenhold; Elizabeth m. Johann George Jacoby; and George m. (first) Mary Siegfried, and second, Catherine Hoch.

Gideon Sunday, father of Elias B., was born Nov. 24, 1810, in Windsor township, and died Jan. 20, 1876. He was engaged in agricultural pursuits all of his life, owning the farm now in the possession of Elias B. and considerable mountain land. He was a man well known and of ability and enterprise, and he built all the buildings on the farm which is now owned by his son. He served as school director and was much interested in public matters.

Mr. Sunday married Sarah Bieber, of Maxatawny township, who at this date (1909) is still active and living with her daughter in the city of Reading at the ripe age of ninety years. To them were born a son and a daughter: Elias B. is mentioned below; Fianna m. (first) Richard Dunkel, and after his death Scott Martin, and they reside in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Elias B. Sunday was reared on his father's farm, which he operated until 1904, when he removed to his present residence in Hamburg. He obtained a good education in the pay and public schools of his locality, and his life has been devoted to agricultural interests. This farm, which is a part of the original Sunday property, consists of 185 acres of fertile land, situated on the State road between Hamburg and Allentown, with excellent water supply, fine large residence, large barn and numerous sheds, and out-buildings. When reference is made to this place it is usually spoken of as "the red roofed buildings to the west of the State road beyond Hamburg." This farm is now cultivated by Thomas A. Sunday, son of Elias B. Mr. Sunday now lives retired in Hamburg in his brick residence, No. 138 South Fourth street, South ward. He is in very comfortable circumstances, owning besides the farm to which reference has just been made, a valuable farm situated along the State road, and tenanted by his son-in-law, Jerome G. Trexler, This fine property, which consists of 133 acres of good, fertile land, is improved with a Swiss barn and a large brick house, surrounded by a spacious well-kept lawn. Mr.. Sunday is possessed of just family pride, and the old "grandfather's clock" which has graced the family homestead for upward of a century, he has presented to his son, who lives upon the homestead. In political matters Mr. Sunday is a Democrat, and he has creditably served his township as school director for a period of seven years. He and his family worship at Zion's Union Church, in Perry township, of which they are Lutheran members.

On Nov. 28, 1868, Mr. Sunday was married to Hannah M. Leibensperger, daughter of Jacob and Hannah (Merkel) Leibensperger, prosperous farming people of Richmond township, and to this union there were born four children ?Annie; Sallie; Alvin, who died in childhood; and Thomas A.

Annie Sunday was born Feb. 5, 1871, and on Nov. 30, 1890, was united in marriage with Jerome G. Trexler, born Oct. 9, 1865, in Perry township. Mr. Trexler attended the public schools until nineteen years of age, and has been a farmer all his life. On April 1, 1895, he began operations on his father-in-law's farm in Windsor township, where he has since resided. He is prominent in the ranks of the Republican party, has been delegate to many county conventions, and was honored by his party with the nomination for county treasurer, receiving the highest vote ever given a Republican nominee in Berks county for that office. He and his family are Lutheran members of St. Paul's Union Church. Mr. and Mrs. Trexler are the parents of four children: Thomas R., born Nov. 12, 1891; Mamie H., Oct. 17, 1896; Jerome L., Dec. 15, 1899; and Earl Sunday, June 29, 1905.

Sallie A. Sunday was born June 18, 1873. She was married Dec. 22, 1900, to Ammon C. Dietrich. Mr. Dietrich was born Nov. 22, 1875. He obtained a good education in the public schools of Greenwich township, and was reared on his father's farm. He and his wife reside in Hamburg with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Elias B. Sunday. Mr. Dietrich and his wife are Lutheran members of Zion's Union Church, Perry township.

Alvin Richard Sunday, born Jan. 1, 1875, died Aug. 24, 1875.

Thomas A. Sunday was born Dec. 21, 1876, and obtained a good education in the public schools; he was reared upon his father's farm which he is now operating. He is a deacon in the Lutheran denomination of Zion's Union Church. On Nov. 28, 1903, Thomas A. Sunday was united in marriage with Katie L. Baver, daughter of E. Franklin Baver, of Windsor township, and to this union have come three children: Florence Hannah, born July 29, 1905, who died March 19. 1906; Naomi Sarah Ann, born March 6, 1907; and Laurance Franklin, born Nov. 13, 1908.


p. 1620


John Albert Sunday, a well known and respected citizen of Hamburg, Berks county, Pa., who is extensively engaged in dealing in horses and cattle, was born May 12, 1845, in Windsor township, son of John and Margaret (Nice) Sunday.

The progenitor of this well known Berks county family is said to have been Hans Adam Sontag, who emigrated from Switzerland, his native land, to America on the ship "Snow Molly," which arrived at the port of Philadelphia Oct. 26, 1741; soon thereafter he settled in Philadelphia county in that section from which Berks county was organized in 1752. From records we learn that he had at least two sons: (1) Christopher, born April 9, 1753, died Dec. 13, 1825. He married Anna Christina Bacharsin, born April 19, 1753, and died Sept. 7, 1825. They had sons, Jacob Heinrich, John and George. They were members of Dunkel's Church in Greenwich in 1808. (2) Nicholas Sontag, the other son of the ancestor of whom we; have record. was a taxable in Greenwich township in 1768. He had three sons. John, Jurick (George) and Martin. The last was born Feb. 19, 1784, and died Jan. 13, 1857. He married Christina Schaeffer. (1787-1874), and they had one son, Heinrich, born in 1825, who died in 1874 and is buried at Hamburg. In early life he lived in Greenwich township, and later returned to Windsor, where he owned six hundred acres of land, in addition to ten residences in Hamburg. John Sunday married Hannah Heinly, daughter of David and Sabina Heinly, and to them were born children as follows: Sallie m. John Schwoyer; Hannah m. Andrew Kaller; Mary m. Godfrey Seidel; Elizabeth m. Daniel Kline; and John, the father of John Albert.

John Sunday, the only son of John, was born Jan. 13, 1813, and died in Hamburg, Sept. 11, 1894. In early life he was an extensive farmer in Windsor township, but in later life removed to Hamburg, where he lived retired for a long period prior to his death. In politics a Democrat, he was stanch in the support of the principles of his party, serving the borough of Hamburg as school director, councilman and as burgess in 1867-68 and 1874-75. He was a prominent member of St. John's Lutheran Church, in which for many years he served as deacon. Mr. Sunday married Margaret Nice, who was born in 1824 and died in 1894, daughter of Dr. Benjamin R. Nice of Hamburg, and to this union there were born these children: Cecelia, horn in 1844, died in 1852; John Albert; Clementine, born in 1848, died in 1852; Benjamin Bradford, born in 1854, died in 1890; Brugler; and Nevada m. B. Frank Beam.

John Albert Sunday was about five years old when his father removed to Hamburg, and there he attended school until his seventeenth year, some of his teachers being Benjamin Sheeder, Rev. Benjamin D. Zweizig and R. G. Unger. He obtained a good education, and had learned the butcher trade, when in October 1861, he enlisted as a member of the 96th Regt., Pa. Vol. Inf., his term of enlistment being three years. During the first two years of his service he participated in a number of battles, his first engagement being West Point, Va., on the York river, where the enemy was repulsed. Later he was a participant in the battles of Gaines Hill; the Seven Days fight; Newport News; South Mountain, where the Confederate forces were charged and forced to retreat up the mountain; Antietam; Fredericksburg, where he was with the forces that took the heights; Gettysburg, where he was in the charge on Little Round Top; and Rappahannock Station, after which latter engagement his command marched south to Brandy Station. While out foraging in this vicinity, Mr. Sunday and two companions, Jacob Hoover and James Keasey, were captured by Mosby's Guerillas and taken to Richmond. Mr. Sunday was confined for one night in Libby Prison, two months at Pemberton and seven weeks on Belle Isle. At the end of this time he was transferred to Andersonville, where he was detailed as a butcher to kill cattle for the prisoners. Here he was foreman of twenty butchers, and assisted in killing from forty to 125 cattle daily. These men were granted liberties under penalty of death, and Mr. Sunday was shown much courtesy, especially by a farmer named Williams. After about two months, Mr. Sunday with two companions, William Gannon and Robert Commons, made his escape. Early in October these three men started on their journey for liberty. They had very little food, but managed to get enough to sustain them by begging from colored people at night, and thus for eleven days and eleven nights they journeyed through an unknown country, with nothing to guide them but the stars and sun. Finally they reached the Union army southwest of Atlanta. At Atlanta they reported personally to General Sherman, who gave them transportation East to their command and thence to their homes. Mr. Sunday was finally mustered out at Philadelphia and received his honorable discharge. These three comrades, after being separated for twenty-five years, met and had a glad reunion at Chicago, during the World's Fair, and have ever since kept up a correspondence.

After the war Mr. Sunday worked for a season for the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad, and then clerked in a store at Freystown for two years, after which he returned to Hamburg and worked at his trade for Jesse Wagner. In 1868 he went into business for himself, having his shop and slaughtering house at Third and Walnut streets, and continued in business there for three years. In 1871 he started in the horse and cattle business, which he has followed ever since, also operating the Reading Railroad "Road Farm" southwest of Hamburg and his own farm in Tilden township.

Mr. Sunday is a Democrat in politics and has always been active in the ranks of his party, serving two terms as burgess and two terms on the school board. He has frequently been delegate to county conventions, and has ever been influential in the councils of his party. He is a member of Vaux Lodge, No. 406, F. & A. M., of his town. He and his family are members of the Reformed faith, and attend the First Reformed Church, Hamburg. Mr. Sunday serving as trustee thereof for two terms, as well as being a member of the building committee which had in charge the erection of the present beautiful and substantial church edifice.

On July 14. 1866, Mr. John Albert Sunday and Miss Anna M. Shollenberger, daughter of Abraham and Louisa (Lindenmouth) Shollenberger, were united in marriage. To Mr. and Mrs. Sunday have been born these children: Margaret m. Reuben Nies, of Hamburg; Curtis F., a well-known live stock dealer of Hamburg. m. Sallie Noll; Laura, deceased, m. William Yeager, of Hamburg: Clara. m. William Genzel; and Harry, deceased, m. Grace Maurer.


p. 977


William Sunday, owner of an excellent farm of 137 acres in Greenwich township, on which he is carrying on operations, was born on the farm adjoining his present home in 1839, son of Jacob and Leah (Dunkel) Sunday. All of Mr. Sunday's ancestors were active members of the New Jerusalem (Dunkel's) Church, and are buried in the cemetery connected therewith.

Christopher Sunday, great-grandfather of William, was born April 9, 1753, and died Dec. 13, 1825. He married Christina Bacharus*, born April 19, 1753, died Sept. 7, 1825.

Martin Sunday, son of Christopher, was born Feb. 19, 1784, and died Jan. 13, 1857, and his wife, Christina Schaeffer, was born Oct. 15, 1787, and died June 3, 1852.

Jacob Sunday, son of Martin and father of William, was born Sept. 8, 1813, and died March 11, 1886. He married Leah Dunkel, who was born Sept. 14, 1814, and died July 12, 1888, and they became the parents of nine children, namely: Christina, born in 1837, m. Jacob Kutz; William, born in 1839; Henry, born in 1841, died at the age of sixteen years; Jacob, born in 1843, m. Maria Fisher; Samuel, born in 1845, m. Hettie Ann Fegley; John, born in 1847, m. Mary Harshberger; Esther, born in 1849, m. Joel Balthaser; Joel m. Ellen Rahn; and Amelia died at the age of three years.

William Sunday received his education in the schools of his native locality, and was reared to agricultural pursuits which he has followed all his life. He now owns a fine tract of 137 acres of land, on which are substantial out-buildings, a large bank barn and a handsome stone house surrounded by a well-kept lawn. He is well known in his locality for his kindness and hospitality, and for his many other sterling traits of character. With his wife he is a member and regular attendant of the New Jerusalem Church.

In 1867 Mr. Sunday married Miss Annie J. Luckenbill, who was born in 1845, and to them there have been born children as follows: Elwood, born in 1869, m. Ellen Levan, and has one son, Earl, born in August, 1900; Mary, born in 1879, m. George Heinly, and has four children, Elda, Elma, George and Edward; William was born Dec. 4, 1892; and Curtis Jacob, born July 24, 1895, died at the age of five years.

Mrs. Sunday's maternal great-grandfather, David Heinly, was born in 1765, and died in 1825. He m. Maria Magdalena Dinour, born Oct. 25, 1770, died Jan. 29, 1863, and among their children was Jacob Heinly, who died in 1876. Jacob Heinly m. Mary Folk, and they had three children: Mrs. Angelina Luckenbill; Mrs. Elizabeth Luckenbill (Mrs. Sunday's mother); and Mrs. George Raubenhold.

The paternal grandfather of Mrs. Sunday, Thomas Luckenbill, m. Anna Wink, and among their children was James Luckenbill, Mrs. Sunday's father, who died Aug. 14, 1905. He m. Elizabeth Heinly, who now lives with her daughter. Although long past the three score and ten mark she is in good health and in full possession of her faculties. Mr. and Mrs. Luckenbill had these children: Elnora m. Rolandus Dreibelbis; James Wilson m. Alice Gerhard; Thomas Jacob m. Ida Mengel; Annie J. became Mrs. Sunday; Mary A. m. James Yeager; Oscar m. Katie Dietrich; Angelina m. George Seidel; Laura m. George Ramer; Charles died at the age of twelve years; and Elwood and Benjamin both died aged seven months.


from Barbara: Christopher "Sontag" (later changed to "Sunday") married Christina Bacher, daughter of Jean Nicole (John Nicholas) and Christina Keilbach Bacher. John Nicholas Bacher's will, 1784, Albany, can be found at the Berks County Archives site as can the wills of Christina Bacher Sontag's grandparents, Christophel Keylbach, 1760, and Christina Keilbachin, 1766, Albany. Christopher and Christina Bacher Sontag are buried in the cemetery at Dunkel's Church.


p. 1558


Frank S. Swavely, proprietor of the "Shanesville Hotel," is a native of Earl township, Berks county, born Oct. 7, 1863, son of Jonathan K. and Emeline (Shollenberger) Swavely.

Adam Swavely, the founder of this family, was a native of Hessen, Germany, and came to this country at the time of the American Revolution, serving as one of the soldiers in King George's army. In 1782 he located in Earl township, and his name appears that year among the taxables. He was a laborer and woodchopper, and acquired a small tract of land in which is known as Woodchoppertown, in Earl township. He is buried there in a private cemetery, located in the timber southeast of William C. Shane's place-now a forlorn and neglected spot. On the tax list of 1782 his name is spelled Swable, and in the census of 1790 it appears Adam Swebely. On the latter list also appear: Adam Swebely, Jr., Leonard Swebely and Michael Swebely. Among the children of Adam Swavely were: Adam, Jr.; Leonard, who had a son John; Jacob, who had a son Peter; Michael; and Peter.

Michael Swavely, son of Adam, lived in Woodchoppertown, in Earl township, and there owned a tract of sixty acres which he cultivated. In religious principle he was a Lutheran. He married Bevvy Fritterich, who died when past eighty years of age. Their children Were: Abraham, who lived and died in Earl township; John; Matthew, who lived first in Earl township, and then in Upper Berks county where he died; Michael, who lived and died in Earl township; Jacob, who died in Earl; and Susanna, m. to Jacob Koch, of Earl.

John Swavely, son of Michael, was born in Earl township, in November, 1794, and died in May, 1879. He always lived in that township, where he owned a farm that he bequeathed to his sons, Adam, Jonathan and Mahlon for $3,500. By trade he was a stone mason. In his last will and testament he directed that he be buried in the Oley graveyard. He and his wife were Lutheran members of Oley Churches. He married Catharine Kemmerer, who died in February, 1891, aged seventy-seven years. They had ten children: Lovina, Amos, Jonathan K., Simon, Adam, Anna, Harriett, Amelia, Mahlon and Levi.

Jonathan K. Swavely, son of John, is one of the old residents of Earl township. He was born there June 16, 1827, and for some years followed the stone mason's trade. In politics he is a Democrat, and for six years served as supervisor, and for two years as assessor. He is Lutheran member of Oley Churches. On Aug. 20, 1854, he married Emeline Shollenberger, daughter of Benjamin Shollenberger, of Oley township. She was born in November, 1832. They had twelve children, as follows: Nathaniel, of Earl township; Lizzie, m. to Henry Shirer; Enoch, of Allentown; Benjamin, deceased; Frank S., of Shanesville; Mahlon, of Oley township; Rosa, m. to William S. Hoffman; Kate, m. to Nicholas Hartline; Sallie, deceased; Emma, m. to William Gift; Daniel, of Seattle, Wash.; and Annie, m. to David Weidner.

Frank S. Swavely attended the public schools until he was eighteen years old when he learned the carpenter's trade from William Weiser, of Boyertown, working for him for about five years. He then came to Oley township with his family, and followed painting and carpentering two years, but the paint caused his health to fail, and he gave up the work. For three years then he followed carpentering, after which he entered the hotel business, conducting for three years the "Pleasantville Hotel." Coming to Earl township, he once more worked at his trade, and at the same time conducted a small farm. On March 21, 1895, he became proprietor of the "Shanesville Hotel," and this place he has since conducted with ever increasing popularity. Mr. Swavely is a member of the Knights of the Mystic Chain, Boyertown; the Knights of the Golden Eagle, Pleasantville; and the Red Men, of Oley. He was also a member for some twenty years of the Boyertown Hook and Ladder Company. He and his family are Lutheran members of Oley Churches, and he served as deacon for three years. In 1908 when the present Lutheran Church was erected, Mr. Swavely was liberal in his contributions, and he also donated one of the stained glass windows.

On Aug. 19, 1884, he married Emma L. Mensch, daughter of Even Mensch, late of Hereford township. They have three children: Stella, wife of Edwin Wolfgang, of Earl township; Clarence and Elda. The family is very highly esteemed and they have many warm friends.

A number of the Swavelys are buried in the cemeteries at Oley Churches and at Amityville. Among those in the former are: Isaac Swavely, born July 15, 1817, died Sept. 9, 1906; and wife Matilda, nee Flicker, 1820-1877; Michael Swavely, born June 14, 1807, died Aug. 20, 1887; Susan, his wife, born Oct. 20, 1814, died April 28, 1892. Sarah B. Swavely, nee Hafer, Oct. 13, 1841. John S. Swavely, March 28, 1846. Elizabeth Schwebele, wife of Jacob Schwebele, born Dec. 12, 1798, died Dec. 12, 1863. Johan Peter Schwable, born Jan. 6, 1787, died Nov. 15, 1865; wife Catharine, nee Hartman, 1798-1873. In the Amityville cemetery are: Ephraim D. Swavely (son of John and Elnora), born Jan. 23, 1823, died Sept. 26, 1889; wife, Mary Ann, nee Hoffman, born May 8, 1831, died Dec. 25, 1897. Horace G. Swavely, 1840-1905. Sarah Ann, wife Nathan Swavely, 1840-1902.


p. 1556


John Leonard Swavely, of Weaverstown, Amity township, was born in Amity township, Dec. 18, 1846, a son of Frederick Swavely and grandson of Leonard Swavely.

(I) Leonard Swavely lived in Earl township, where he was a farmer. He is buried at the Oley Church. His wife bore the maiden name of Swavely, and was a cousin of her husband. They had these children: Sally, who died unmarried; Susanna, who married Nathan Imbodey; Catherine; Samuel, of Earl township, whose son Hiram died at Reading; Frederic; and John, who was born June 22, 1788, and died Nov. 4, 1874, leaving a son, Nathan, of Amityville.

(II) Frederic Swavely was born in Earl township in 1799, died in 1878, and is buried at Amityville. He was a laborer and for seven years worked in the Jacob Weaver distillery at Earlville. His wife was Anna Steinrock, and she died about 1898, aged eighty-six years. She is buried beside her husband. Their children were: Solomon lived at Birdsboro, died at Philadelphia, but is buried at Birdsboro; Susan never married; Frederick; Henry left Amity about 1858 or 1858 and has never been heard of since; Rachel m. Jacob Matthias (deceased), and lives at Weaverstown; Rebecca m. Capt. Samuel Rhoads, who commanded Durell's Battery in the Civil war; Matilda m. Lewis Goodman, a member of the 5th Ohio Reg., who lost an arm during the Civil war; Annie and Lilia died young.

(III) John Leonard Swavely was reared upon the farm and when fifteen years of age he was taken into the family of Dr. E. C. Kitchen, at Weaverstown, where he was employed for three years. He then enlisted with Dr. Kitchen in the 21st Penn. Cavalry, the physician as a surgeon and Mr. Swavely as a private. The date of Mr. Swavely's enlistment was July 13, 1863, and he was enrolled at Harrisburg for a period of six months. He received his honorable discharge Feb. 20, 1864, at Chambersburg. After the war he was employed by Col. Jeremiah Weaver, of Amity township, and remained there from 1865 to 1902. In the meanwhile Mr. Weaver died, but Mr. Swavely remained with the widow. While working on the Weaver farm he was also engaged in the cattle business as well, and often drove from five to six herds of cattle from the western reserve in Ohio to Reading, a distance of more than 450 miles. He usually had from 130 to 135 head of cattle in each herd, so the managing of them was no small feat. With him he had four or five men, but the responsibility rested on him.

In 1871 Mr. Swavely married Emeline Breidenbach, a daughter of David and Sarah (Lewis) Breidenbach. She was born Aug. 20, 1841, and died May 28, 1908, aged sixty-five years, nine months and eight days. She is buried at the Oley Churches. Mr. and Mrs. Swavely had no issue.


p. 1532


Wellington G. Swavely, who is engaged in farming in Amity township, Berks county, Pa., near Yellow House, was born in Earl township, the early home of the family, April 24, 1859, son of Peter H. and Ann (Swavely) Swavely.

Adam Swavely, the founder of this family, was a native of Hessen, Germany, and came to this country at the time of the American Revolution, serving as one of the soldiers in King George's army. In 1782 he located in Earl township, and his name appears that year among the taxables. He was a laborer and wood chopper, and acquired a small tract of land in what is known as Woodchoppertown, in Earl township, and is buried there in a private cemetery, located in the timber southeast of William C. Shane's place-now a forlorn and neglected spot. On the tax list of 1782 his name is spelled Swable, and in the census of 1790 it appears Adam Swebely, Sr. On the latter list also appear: Adam Sweberly, Jr., Leonard Swebely and Michael Swebely. Among the children of Adam Swavely were: Adam, Jr., Leonard, who had a son, John; Jacob, who had a son, Peter; Michael; and Peter.

Peter Swavely, grandfather of Wellington S., was born in Earl township, and died in 1863, aged seventy-eight years, and is buried at Oley Churches, as is also his wife, whose maiden name was Kate Hartman. He was a laborer and woodchopper in Woodchoppertown. They were the parents of seven children, namely: Isaac; Betzy; Kitty; Polly; infant daughter; Peter H. and Daniel.

Peter H. Swavely, son of Peter and Kate (Hartman), was born in Earl township, in 1833, and died in the same township May 3, 1906, aged seventy-two years. He was a shoemaker by trade, and completed his apprenticeship when only eighteen years of age. His tract of seven acres of good land was located about three-quarters of a mile west of Shanesville. He was a school director in the township. For three years he was an elder at Oley Churches, of which he was a Lutheran member, and he is buried on the Swavely plot at that place. In 1858 he married Ann Swavely, daughter of John and Catharine (Kemmerer) Swavely, and the had ten children: Wellington S.; Amelia m. (first) Chester Davis, and (second) a Mr. Eck, of Reading; Emma m. Daniel Hartman; Ellen m. Isaac Hinkel; Andora; Elvina m. Samuel Mest; Clara m. William Hartman; Mandilla m. Charles Haring; Mary m. Rudolph Rhoads; and Adda m. Frank Rhoads.

Wellington S. Swavely attended the district schools in Earl and Oley townships until he was eighteen years of age, the school term at that time being from four to five months. He was hired out among the farmers of Oley township between the ages of twelve and thirty years. In the spring of 1890 he began farming in Oley township, on the farm of Mrs. Solomon De Turk. This consisted of 100 acres, and he gave it his close attention for four years. In the early months of 1895 he located in Amity township, on the Col. Jeremiah Weaver farm of 234 acres, and there he has since made his home. In 1901 the farm became the property of Reuben Nagel, but is now owned by Mr. Swavely. He has been very successful, and has nine head of good horses, and thirty-two head of cattle, and a full line of modern machinery. Mr. Swavely is strictly a self-made man, beginning life for himself with nothing but an honest name. In addition to the property above mentioned he owns the homestead of his father in Earl township, near Shanesville, consisting of seven acres of land and good buildings, and he also owns eighty acres of woodland in Earl township.

In politics Mr. Swavely is a Democrat, and for three years he served as school director in Amity township, and he was also a delegate to the county convention under the old system. He is a member of the creamery board at Yellow House. He and his family all belong to Christ Lutheran Church in Oley. He was a member of the building committee when the present beautiful church edifice was built in 1908. Since 1898 he has officiated as deacon, and he has given liberally toward the support of all its worthy endeavors. Fraternally Mr. Swavely is a member of Amity Castle, K. G. E., of Amityville; and also of the I. O. R. M., of Yellow House. On March 9, 1889, Mr. Swavely married Katie Kauffman, daughter of Daniel and Annie (Guldin) Kauffman, and granddaughter of Simon Guldin (whose wife was a Ludwig). Six children have blessed this union, as follows: Annie A. m. Edwin Griesemer; Nathan W.; William M.; Irene; Ethel A.; and Edith S.


p. 988


Edward E. Sweitzer, a well known resident and substantial business man of Reading, Berks Co., Pa., who is engaged in quarrying, was born in Oley township, Berks county, March 26, 1869, son of Abraham and Elizabeth (Schaeffer) Sweitzer.

Abraham Sweitzer received his education in the schools of his township, and his early manhood was spent in work on his father's and their neighbors' farms. Later he went into the ore business in which he was very successful, and after being superintendent of the Wheatfield and Berns mines and of the Clymer Iron Company at Oley and Mount Laurel, he purchased the Bowers quarry, which he operated until his death, June 10, 1905. He was buried in the Charles Evans cemetery. His political sentiments made him a Republican, and fraternally he belonged to the I. O. O. F. and the K. of P. He married Elizabeth Schaeffer, daughter of Benjamin and Catherine (Mengel) Schaeffer, and to this union the following children were born: Katie A. m. Frank Wertz, resides at No. 1125 Marion street, and has children, Bessie, Claude and Esther; William is deceased; Mary m. William Wertz, of Hyde Park, and has children, Edward, William, Grace, Charles, Lottie, George, Earle and Wayne; Edward E.; Ella is single; and Velina m. John Y. Matz, of Shillington, Berks county. Mrs. Sweitzer survives her husband, and lives with her daughter, Mrs. Frank Wertz.

Edward E. Sweitzer received his preliminary education in the public schools and later attended the Keystone State Normal School for two terms, after leaving which he taught school for five terms. He then took a business course, attending Stoner College, and graduating therefrom in 1889. He was first employed with his father, but later engaged in business with him, the partnership continuing until the elder Sweitzer's death, when Edward E. took full charge of the Bowers quarries, still operating them. He sells his product to the Reading Iron Company, and employs about twenty-five hands throughout the year. In political matters Mr. Sweitzer is a Republican, and he is fraternally connected with the Maccabees. He and his wife reside at No. 915 Windsor street, and attend St. Thomas Reformed Church, of which he is a deacon.

In 1892 Mr. Sweitzer married Katie E. Becker, daughter of John A. and Mary (Gauby) Becker, of Muhlenberg township, Berks county, and to this union there have been born children as follows: Abraham, a member of the class of 1910, Reading high school; Oscar; Emily; John; Edward and Katie. Mr. and Mrs. Sweitzer are very popular in their community, and have many friends.


p. 695


Thomas W. Sweney (deceased), a prominent jeweler of Reading, whose skill in his line won him a reputation all over the State, was born in West Chester, Chester county, April 24, 1834, son of James Sweney. He died Oct. 14, 1905, and is buried in the Charles Evans cemetery.

Thomas Sweney, grandfather of Thomas W., was born in Bucks county, Pa., March 4, 1777. For many years he lived in West Chester, Chester county, where he died. He married Elizabeth Hineman, who was born in Montgomery county, Pa., May 7, 1785, daughter of John and Barbara Hineman, and to them came James and John.

James Sweney, born March 29, 1810, married Lovina Wells. He died Oct. 1, 1883, aged seventy-three years, six months and two days, and she died May 8, 1893, aged eighty-three years, four months and seventeen days. Both were natives of Pennsylvania, the father of Irish descent and the mother of Welsh. James Sweney was a shoemaker by trade and followed that occupation for some years, but in time went into a general mercantile business. During the war he became the government collector of internal revenue and retained the position for a long period, winning universal respect by his ability and character. He and his wife became the parents of five children, Thomas, Elizabeth, Carrie, Isaac and Catharine, the last named living only a few years. The family were Methodist in religious belief although the Wells family, to which the mother belonged were Quakers. James Sweney was a strong Republican.

Thomas W. Sweney was educated in the public schools of West Chester, where his parents resided. In 1853 he moved to Reading, and began to learn the jeweler's trade with Solomon Weida, remaining with him until he had mastered the business in all its details. He early displayed his marked aptitude for the work and had no difficulty in finding employment when he left Mr. Weida. Some years later he went to Philadelphia, and followed his trade there until 1858, when he was offered a very promising opportunity for advancing in the world by going into the coal business with his uncle. He tried this for some time, but did not find it a congenial occupation and so he returned to Reading and took up the jewelry business again.

Mr. Sweney established a store of his own at No. 424 Penn street, but after several years there he moved to another location on Penn street, the present site of the C. K. Whitner concern. He remained there quite a while, but moving again, went to North Fifth street, in the vicinity of the Gas Company. This did not prove to be a satisfactory location and before long Mr. Sweney went back to his first location, where he carried on his business for many years. During his later years, however, he gave up his retail trade and moving to the rear of his property confined himself to a manufacturing establishment. He was thus engaged up to one week prior to his death, when he was suddenly stricken about four o'clock one morning with a stroke of apoplexy, from which he never recovered.

Thomas W. Sweney married, April 9, 1848, Miss Pamelia Catherine Coller, daughter of John and Harriet (Wanner) Coller, both natives of Pennsylvania, of Dutch stock. Four children were born to this union, but only two lived to maturity: William P., a machinist, m. Miss Annie Boyer, and they have one child, Ruth. Katie B. m. Charles D. Tuke, of Rochester, N. Y., and has two children, Charles H. and Catherine E. Mr. Sweney was a member of the Methodist Church and for some time sang in the Fifth Street Methodist Episcopal Church choir.

In his younger days Mr. Sweney was much interested in secret orders, and was one of the founders of the Knights of the Mystic Chain. The honor of organizing the order was accorded to John O. Matthews, but it was Mr. Sweney who formulated the degrees. Of a very genial kindly nature, he had many warm friends, and his death has been very deeply felt and regretted.


p. 1250


Jacob Swope, a leading citizen of Bethel township, Berks county, who is the popular proprietor of the well-known Bordner House, Millersburg, was born March 24, 1866, in Bethel township, son of Daniel and Catherine (Peifer) Swope.

Mr. Swope attended the public schools of his township until twenty years of age, and until twenty-one lived with his parents and worked on the farm near Millersburg. He then engaged in farming on his own account on the old homestead, where he continued for eight years, and then received the contract to carry the daily mails through between Bethel P. O. (Millersburg) and Myerstown, Lebanon county, for four years. At this time Mr. Swope engaged in the hotel business, in what is known as the Bordner House, Millersburg, which he has improved greatly and successfully conducted ever since. Meantime Mr. Swope has purchased two small farms, which he turned into one, and after bringing this to a high state of cultivation he sold the tract and purchased a piece of land close to the hotel, on which fine property he now resides. In politics he is and always has been a Democrat, is active in his party, and has been elected for seven years a member of the standing committee, also serving as State delegate in 1903, when Robert E. Pattison was nominated governor of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the P. O. S. of A., Jr. O. U. A. M., and the I. O. O. F. In religious belief he is Reformed.

In 1887 Mr. Swope was married to Maria L. Wilhelm, daughter of John and Elizabeth (Winter) Wilhelm, and to this union there have been born three children: Lloyd Ezra, Lee Jacob and Margaret Catherine, all deceased.


p. 1250


Jonathan Swope, a highly esteemed citizen and substantial business man of Bethel township, Berks Co., Pa., who is engaged in a general store and agricultural implement business at Cross-kill Mills, was born in Tulpehocken township, Dec. 2, 1849, son of Daniel and Catherine (Peifer) Swope.

Christian Swope, the grandfather of Jonathan, was a native of Lebanon county, where he was married to a Miss Gloninger, who bore him these children: Philip, who lived and died in Dauphin county; Elizabeth, m. Michael Shirk, a merchant of Dauphin county; Henry, who followed farming for some time and afterwards contracting and building, and who died in Lebanon, aged about sixty years; Daniel; and Mary, m. Henry Shirk, a farmer of Grantville, Dauphin county, who after retirement removed to Harrisburg, and died, aged eighty-two years, his wife having preceded him to the grave at the age of seventy-two. Christian Swope was married (second) to a Miss Miller, who bore him two children, Kate, the elder, married Jared Lengel, a miller by trade, and constable for about twenty-five years. They resided in Millersburg, where he died about thirty years ago, while she is still living and resides with her daughter, Jennie, near Lebanon. John, the only son, who learned the coopering trade with his father, afterwards followed coach making, and still later building and contracting, and subsequently removed to Lebanon county, where he is engaged in the real estate business. Christian Swope was a cooper by trade, but later engaged in farming at Millersburg, where he died in 1877. He was a member of Salem Reformed Church, at Millersburg, where he was buried.

Daniel Swope, father of Jonathan, was born and reared in Bethel township, where he married Miss Catherine Peifer. Her father, born in Tulpehocken township, later was a resident of Bethel. He married there and settled on a farm which he conducted so successfully that for his last twenty years he was able to retire. He died at the age of sixty-seven and was a member of Salem Reformed Church. After marriage Daniel Swope removed to Tulpehocken township, where he engaged in farming for about fifteen years, and then returned to Bethel township for two years, after which he again located in Tulpehocken township. There his death occurred Sept. 14, 1866, at the age of forty-two years, eight months, twenty-nine days. He was an active member of the Reformed Church, holding various offices therein. In politics he was a Democrat, but he never aspired to public office. Mr. Swope's burial took place at the Salem Reformed Church, Millersburg. He was twice drafted for service during the Civil war, but was never accepted.

To Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Swope were born the following children: Jonathan; Davilla, who is residing on a large farm in Myerstown, is married and has three children living and one deceased; Amanda, who married Henry Bensing, resides on a farm in Bethel township, and has one child; Elmira, who married John W. Frantz, resides on a large farm near Myerstown, Lebanon county, and has six children; Kate, unmarried, resides with her brother Jonathan; Daniel, who married Mary Bomberger, by whom he has had six children, resided for five years in Sunnyside, Wash., and then returned to Bethel township; and Jacob, of Millersburg.

Jonathan Swope attended the public schools of Tulpehocken township, at the same time largely assisting his father on the farm. When he was sixteen his father died, and being the oldest of the family, the father's duties fell upon his young shoulders, and from that time until his twentieth year he was obliged to give up his studies. The mother with her children continued to conduct the farm, and here she passed away, April 10, 1898, aged seventy-four years. At the age of twenty years Jonathan Swope went to the Keystone State Normal School, Kutztown, attending for several spring terms and passing a creditable examination, after which he taught school for seventeen terms, at the same time conducting a farm. He then returned to the Normal for a term and was ready for the graduating class, but did not finish the course. Deciding to give more attention to agricultural pursuits, Mr. Swope rented two large farms, and later he purchased one of these, still, however, continuing in teaching. In 1884 he located in Cross-kill Mills, Bethel township, where in the spring of 1885 he was elected justice of the peace, an office which he is still holding. In 1888 he gave up teaching, and in 1890 he purchased the general store of the town, since that time having erected a new building for his large business. This is one of the largest and handsomest general stores in Berks county and is largely patronized. He has built up a fine trade, and in addition to the stock carried by a general store he has put in a complete line of agricultural implements, this being a great convenience to the people of his community.

On Dec. 4, 1875, Mr. Swope was married to Rebecca C. Behney, daughter of Augustus and Mary Anna (Loose) Behney, and to this union there have been born two children: Mary Luella, who died when about two years of age; and Augustus, who resides at home and is married to Miss Ida Deck, daughter of Hiram and Susanna (Dubbs) Deck. They have one child -Jonathan Hiram.

Mr. Swope and his family are members of the Reformed Church, Myerstown, Lebanon county, where he has held the offices of deacon and elder at various times. He is a Democrat in politics, but outside of the office of justice of the peace has never cared to secure public preferment. He has been connected with various business enterprises, and is at present president of the First National Bank of Fredericksburg, Lebanon county, in which he is also a director. 343-1377 Swoyer, Albert M.


p. 1377


Albert M. Swoyer, retired farmer, living at Sinking Spring, was born in Maxatawny township, Berks County, Sept. 17, 1845, and was brought up on a farm. He attended the township school until he was thirteen years old, when he was hired out on a farm in the neighborhood of his home, where he continued four years. He then secured employment with Eckert & Co. (who were then operating the Henry Clay Furnace at Reading and iron ore mines in the vicinity of Topton), promoted to be manager of a mine, and he filled this position successfully for thirteen years. The business of mining was then suspended on account of the prevailing panic, and being thrown out of employment, he directed his attention to farming, he carried on its cultivation for eight years. Renting a 100-acre farm of Daniel Huyett, in Lower Heidelberg town-eight years. During this time he served as a school director of the township, He then removed to Ruscombmanor township, near Pricetown, where he had become the owner of a large farm comprising 250 acres, and this farm he cultivated for nearly thirty years, until April, 1908, when he rented the place and moved to Sinking Spring, where he is now living in retirement. While farming in Ruscombmanor township he also served as a school director for six years, filling the offices of president and treasurer of the school board for part of the time.

In 1873, Mr. Swoyer married Caroline Zacharias, daughter of Daniel Zacharias, of Muhlenberg township. , and Sarah Huyett, his wife (who was a daughter of John Huyett, of Spring township, and Sarah Hartman, his wife). By this union there were three children: Ambrose died when six years old; Charles, educated at the Keystone State Normal School and now occupied as a clerk in the recorder's office in Berks county, married Mary Leinbach; Nora, a graduate of the Keystone State Normal School, is now engaged as a teacher in the public schools.

In politics, Mr. Swoyer has been a Democrat from the time he began to vote, and he has frequently attended the county conventions as a delegate. He and his family are connected with the Lutheran Church at Sinking Spring.

Mr. Swoyer's father was Peter Schweyer, farmer of Maxatawny township, and Elizabeth Dumn, his wife, was a daughter of Michael Dumn, of Richmond township.


p. 876


Eli H. Swoyer, public school teacher for thirty-six years, was born in Maxatawny township, Berks county, April 3, 1848. During his youth he worked on his father's farm, attending public school in the winter months, and by assiduity and perseverance he became so proficient in his studies as to secure a teacher's certificate in 1867; and afterward he prosecuted his studies in the higher branches in the Keystone State Normal School, from which he was graduated in 1873. He then engaged regularly as a school teacher, and continued to serve as such for thirty-six terms, one term in Lehigh county, seven terms in Lancaster county, and twenty-eight in Berks county, twenty consecutive terms of the latter period having been spent in the same schoolhouse in Lower Heidelberg township, near Vinemont. It is evident that as a teacher he gave entire satisfaction in his methods of instruction and in the treatment of his pupils. At the close of each school term, he assisted in farming operations, and also kept up his studies to render him more proficient as a teacher. His thoroughness and exactness are shown in his superior hand-writing, which he perfected by great perseverance, being obliged to write with his left hand on account of the partial disability of his right hand.

In politics Mr. Swoyer is a Democrat, and for many years he has exerted much influence in behalf of the party tickets in the vicinity where he has taught school. Upon the decease of his father, in 1904, he purchased the farm near Fritztown, and since then has carried on the farming operations in a successful manner, putting up a new brick dwelling-house and remodeling the other buildings. He has been a member of the Lutheran Church at Sinking Spring for nearly thirty years, and for upward of twenty-five years he was a teacher and superintendent of Sunday-schools.

His father was Peter Schweyer, of Maxatawny township, where he was brought up to farming, and he carried on that vocation in the township until 1847, when he engaged in conducting the hotel at Rothrocksville for twenty-one years and at Fritztown for four years, when he purchased a farm near Fritztown and resumed farming operations. He was married to Elizabeth Dumn, daughter of Michael Dumn of Richmond township, and by her he had fourteen children: Levi A. (married Angeline Dresher), Peter (married Mary Strunk), Albert M. (married Caroline Zacharias), Willooghby A. (married Ella Belleman), Eli H., Sallie A. (married David Merkel), Hattie (married Daniel Walter and after his decease Elijah Krick who also died), Rebecca (married William Stitzel), Elizabeth, and five who died young. He died in 1904, aged eighty-nine years; and his wife died in 1900, aged eighty-two years.

The grandfather of Mr. Swoyer was Christian Schweyer, of Maxatawny township, born Feb. 7, 1776, died Sept. 22, 1858. He was also a farmer by occupation. He was married to Elizabeth Keiser of Longswamp township, born Sept. 7, 1779, died Dec. 20, 1860, daughter of John Keiser, and they had eight children: Peter; Christian, who married Rebecca Schmoyer; Jonathan, who married Susan Smith; Jacob, who died young; John, who married Elizabeth Folk; Matilda, who married Charles Boger; Elizabeth, who married Isaac Kemp; and Hettie.




Walter D. Swoyer, who is extensively engaged in squab culture at Bowers Station, Maxatawny township, was born on the old Swoyer homestead, March 18, 1874, son of Jacob S. Swoyer.

The Swoyers are an old family in Berks county, and the name is found variously spelled---Schweyer, Swoyer, Schwoyer, etc. Jacob S. Swoyer was born in Maxatawny township, Jan. 20, 1847, son of Jacob and grandson of Samuel. He was educated in the public schools, Maxatawny Seminary, then under the guidance of Prof. H. R. Nicks, and now known as the Keystone State Normal School. The change in the control of the school took place during the time Mr. Swoyer was there, and he thus became one of the first students of that now famous institution, among his fellow students being Rev. Dr. N. C. Schaeffer, now Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State; Rev. Dr. William Schaeffer, instructor of theology at Lancaster; and D. Nicholas Schaeffer, an attorney at Reading; and Prof. S. A. Baer, Ph. D. Mr. Swoyer is a man of intelligence, and he has been a very enterprising farmer. He has a fertile farm of 105 acres on which he resides, another of fifteen acres, forty perches, and a third of 115 acres, all of which adjoin, and are located in the central part of Maxatawny township. This is a great wheat producing region, and the land is very valuable. Mr. Swoyer cultivated this all himself until the spring of 1908 when he rented the 115-acre tract to his son Oscar. Since 1899 he has been in the dairy business, conducting the White House Dairy. He daily runs a wagon to Kutztown where he sells an average of 265 quarts per day. He keeps from twenty-five to forty cows and about fifteen horses.

Mr. Swoyer has always been a stalwart Republican, and in a district where there are 125 Republicans and 600 Democrats he was elected school director. He was also supervisor of the township for two years. He has been delegate to many county conventions and is a very popular man.

In 1873, Mr. Swoyer married Louisa Deisher, a daughter of John D. and Hannah (Kohler) Deisher, of Maxatawny township, and thirteen children have been born to them: Walter D., Mary, Ida, Elwood (who died from an accident in 1893 when fifteen years old), Oscar, Cora, Jacob, Carrie, Howard, Minnie, Edna, Elton and Irvin. Mr. and Mrs. Swoyer are members of St. John's Lutheran Church at Kutztown. He was a deacon and trustee for many years, serving in the former office when the present church edifice was built.

Walter D. Swoyer obtained his education in the district school known as Schwoyer's school, and later attended the Keystone State Normal School, where he graduated in 1893. For four terms he taught in the public schools of Marion township, and he holds a master's diploma from the State. He then assisted his father upon the farm for a few years, and then prepared himself for the railway mail service, taking the civil service examination at Harrisburg in 1899. In July, 1900, he received his appointment, and served between New York and Pittsburg until he resigned Oct. 11, 1905. He located in Bowers, where he has since made his home. In 1906 he erected a handsome residence and he has since been extensively engaged in the squab industry, raising thousands of birds. He has up-to-date buildings, and his premises are kept in strictly sanitary condition. His product is shipped to New York and other large cities. His plant is known as the "Golden Rule Squab Lofts" and this motto is always kept in mind when any birds are sold as breeders---a choice lot of well mated birds being always for sale.

In 1903 Mr. Swoyer married Miss Sarah G. Trexler, daughter of the late Charles L. Trexler, of Lyons (See Trexler Family sketch elsewhere in this publication). Both Mr. and Mrs. Swoyer are members of the Lutheran church. They are very highly esteemed in the community, and occupy a prominent position in the society of the town.


p. 1557


William Smith Symons, one of the successful young men of Reading, was born in New Holland, Lancaster county, Pa., June 29, 1883, son of Daniel U. and Ida K. (Handwork) Symons, and was named for William D. Smith, of Reading.

Nicholas Symons, his grandfather, was born in Cornwall, England, and by occupation was a boss miner. After reaching New York, on his emigration to America, he came direct to Reading, Pa., from which place he went to work in the mines of Joanna. He then went to Pottsville, where he had charge of sinking the shafts, and there he died in 1853. He married Jane Ubil, who was born in Chester county.

Daniel U. Symons was born July 21, 1847, at Bull Tavern, in the Conestoga Valley. He took charge of the old Ubil farm which comprised 180 acres, and this he farmed up to the time he moved to the Custer farm. He died June 1, 1899, aged fifty-one years, ten months, ten days. He married Ida K. Handwork, daughter of Samuel P. Handwork, of Conestoga Valley, Chester county, and their children were: Samuel Ludwig; Harry C., unmarried; Jennie M., m. to Harry L. Hoffman, of the firm of Hoffman & McKinney, furniture dealers, Reading; William S., at home; and Charles W.

William S. Symons was born on the Custer farm, and received his early training in the schools in that locality. After he finished his schooling he drifted to Reading, and in 1899 he began to learn the commission business with E. B. Slichter, who at that time was one of the leading merchants in the business. He started out as an errand boy, and finally became head clerk, and buyer and manager for the house between New York and Baltimore. After serving several years in the business failing health compelled him to change, and for three years he served as a conductor for the United Traction Company. At the end of that time he decided to take up the commission business for himself, locating at No. 812 Buttonwood street. After doing business in this location for several months he was obliged by the increase of his trade, to take larger quarters, and he moved to the place known as the Little Print Shop around the corner at No. 806 Walnut street, where he has leased enough ground space and erected an additional building to supply his rapidly increasing needs.

Mr. Symons is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church and Sunday-school, and a member of the Luther League, serving as its vice-president for one term. For three years he was an usher at the church, and in many ways has taken a prominent part in religious work. He is a member of Reading Lodge, No. 540, F. & A. M., and Reading Consistory; Progressive Lodge, No. 470, I. O. O. F., of which he is past grand. Mr. Symons is unmarried.

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