Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery

VAN BUSKIRK, EPHRAIM

p. 1420

Surnames: VAN BUSKIRK, YOUNG, KOCH, HEFFNER, SCHEIDT, KELLER, HARTMAN, HILL, SCHLOTTMAN, BERNHART, WEISS, HOUCK, CRONRATH

Ephraim Van Buskirk, in his lifetime a prosperous farmer and shoemaker in Ruscombmanor township, Berks county, was born July 29, 1840, and died at Pricetown, Feb. 22, 1907.

The Van Buskirks were of Holland ancestry. Marmaduke Van Buskirk, great-grandfather of Ephraim, lived in New York. He served as a soldier in the war of the Revolution. His three sons were: John, Jacob and Joseph.

Jacob Van Buskirk, son of Marmaduke, was born in New York City July 4, 1783, and came to Berks county in his young manhood. He died at Pricetown, Berks county, Aug. 17, 1876, aged ninety-three years, one month, thirteen days. He was a farmer, and owned the farm later the property of his grandson Ephraim. He also owned the farm in Ruscombmanor, now owned by Benneville Young, and there he lived some years. He married Catharine Koch, who was born Nov. 27, 1780, died Oct 15, 1862, and they are both buried in the graveyard at Pricetown. Catharine (Koch) Van Buskirk was a daughter of Sebastian Koch (a Revolutionary soldier) and his wife Elizabeth. To Jacob and Catharine Van Buskirk were born children as follows: John, Jacob, Judge Daniel, Mary (m. Peter Heffner) and Catharine m. to Joseph Scheidt).

Daniel Van Buskirk, son of Jacob, was an Associate Judge of Berks county. He was born Jan. 13, 1816, in Colebrookdale township, and the greater part of his life was passed at Pricetown. He learned the molding trade at the Oley Furnace in his youth, following it for several years. In 1841 he was elected a justice of the peace of Ruscombmanor township, and served until 1855, in which year he was elected Register of Wills of Berks county. In 1858 he was again elected justice of the peace of Ruscombmanor, and served until 1871, when he was elected an Associate Judge of the Courts of this county. In this office he served with honor and fame for five years. In 1877 he was again elected a justice of the peace, which office he filled until his death. In all the many years that Judge Van Buskirk was justice of the peace he never drew $75 in fees or costs from the county. He was a stanch Democrat, and a man of the highest honor and standing. He was a member of the Lutheran congregation of Pricetown Church, in which he was at different times trustee, deacon and elder. In 1838 he married Rebecca Keller, daughter of Jacob S. Keller, of Ruscombmanor township. She was born Oct. 24, 1808, and died Aug. 28, 1881. The children born of this union were: William, Hiram, Daniel, Ephraim, Jacob (died young), James and Rebecca (died young). Judge Van Buskirk m. (second), in 1887, Catharine Hartman, widow of Peter Hill. She died about five years after her distinguished husband. Judge Van Buskirk died Dec. 17, 1894, aged seventy-eight years, eleven months, four days.

Ephraim Van Buskirk was a shoemaker, and followed that trade some years. In 1863 he began farming, an occupation that occupied his time and attention 39 years. He owned a farm which had belonged to his father, consisting of forty-nine acres. Upon his retirement he went to Pricetown, where he lived until his death. Here he did some work repairing shoes.

In politics Mr. Van Buskirk was a Democrat, and always interested in public affairs. He was a school director for twenty-one years, and was a delegate to many county conventions. He and his children were Lutheran members of Pricetown Union Church, of which he was deacon many years, and was an elder at the time of his death. His wife was a Reformed member of the same church.

Mr. Van Buskirk was married Jan. 24, 1863, to Elmira Schlottman, born Sept. 3, 1842, daughter of George and Susanna (Bernhart) Schlottman, of Alsace township. Mrs. Van Buskirk resides at Pricetown. To Mr. and Mrs. Van Buskirk were born ten children: Susan I., m. to Frank Weiss, of Philadelphia; Charles, who died young; George, of Reading; Henry, who died young; Samuel, of Reading; Emma, m. to Charles Houck, of Reading; Annie, m. to Charles Cronrath, of Ruscombmanor township; Daniel, of Pricetown; and Marks and Alexander, of Reading.


VAN DENBERG, J. E. DELNER

p. 1521

Surnames: VAN DENBERG, DELNER, LEADER, YEAGER, SCHAEFFER

J. E. Delner Van Denberg, former plumbing inspector for the city of Reading, and now a partner in the plumbing firm of Eagle & Van Denberg, in that city, comes from sturdy English ancestors, and is a good American citizen in all the word implies. He is a son of Peter W. and Margaret A. (Van Denberg) Delner.

Edward Delner, his paternal grandfather, was born in England, coming from there first to New York City and later to Rochester, N. Y. His son, Peter W., father of J. E. D., was a contracting stone and brick mason, and died in 1902, aged sixty-four years. He married Margaret Van Denberg, daughter of Philip Van Denberg, for years a whaler, but later a contracting plasterer. Five children were born to this union, four daughters and one son. Two of the daughters live in Brooklyn, N. Y., one in Albany and one in Amsterdam, N. Y. The only son, J. E. Delner, is a resident of Reading.

J. E. Delner Van Denberg, only son of Peter W. and Margaret A. (Van Denberg) Delner, was born July 5, 1868, at Glenville. N. Y., where he attended the public schools. While still a lad he left home and found employment on a steamship, but tiring of this he started out with the idea of seeing something of the world, and visited many portions of this country before returning to his home in Rochester. There he learned the plumbing trade, and this he followed from 1888, in that city, until 1896, when he came to Reading. Soon after his arrival he was appointed plumbing inspector for the city by Mayor Adam Leader, who preceded Mayor Yeager. He was admirably qualified for this important office, and many improvements in the sanitary matters of the city were due in a large degree to the careful supervision of Mr. Van Denberg.

Mr. Van Denberg married Nora Schaeffer, daughter of Franklin and Sallie Schaeffer, well-known residents of Neversink, Berks county, and they had one child, Edward, who died at the age of five months.

Mr. Van Denberg is a member of the Plumbers' Union of Reading, and of the Fraternal Order of Eagles. He belongs to the Reformed Church.


VAN REED FAMILY

p. 681

Surnames: VAN REED, DUNKLIN, EVANS, HIESTER, HUY, JONES, JUSTASON, PATRICK, SAVAGE, YEAGER

The Van Reed family in Berks county has been resident here for over one hundred and fifty years. It originated in Holland, whence, in 1750, came Henry Van Reed to find fortune and liberty in the New World. On May 20, 1750, he purchased from one John Patrick a farm of one hundred and Fifty acres at $6.75 per acre. He had previously lived a short time in Philadelphia county, but on the purchase of this land moved onto same, which was located in what is now Amity township, Berks county, but which was then still in Philadelphia county, the township being erected March 4, 1745. Berks county was erected out of Philadelphia, Chester and Lancaster counties March 11, 1752. In 1778 Mr. Van Reed tore down the old log cabin, and in its place erected a large two-story stone building, the western end of the present structure. He died in 1790, the father of nine children, all born on the Amity township homestead. These children were: John, Jacob, Agnes, Susan, Mary, Anna, Catharine, Margaret and Hannah.

The Van Reed homestead is a part of the land granted by the Crown to William Penn. On Sept. 11, 1704, William Penn granted by letters patent one thousand acres of land to Justa Justason, a Swede. This land extended from the river Schuylkill north to Earl Mountain, or what is now known as "Fancy Hill," the line being about 120 perches south from the Swamp road, leading to Boyertown, and was located between two lines running in a northeasterly direction 210 perches apart by measurement. These lines were two of the Swede's lines, and are now nearly eradicated by the division of the farming land in the neighborhood to suit the convenience of the owners. In 1716 Mr. Justason conveyed eight hundred acres of his land to one Samuel Savage, retaining two hundred acres himself. This latter part adjoining the Schuylkill river included within its boundaries the village, then called Molaton, now Douglassville. In 1717 Samuel Savage conveyed 150 acres, part of the 800, to George Savage. This smaller tract was almost all arable land, while the larger (650 acres) was mostly heavy timber land. Samuel Savage was the proprietor of what was then called the Manatawny Iron Works, and he no doubt retained the timber land for the purpose of charring coal and manufacturing charcoal iron. George Savage, it is believed, first settled upon this small tract and erected the first building upon it-a small one-story log cabin, and a log stable-and he was the first person to carry on farming operations there. He and his family continued in possession until about 1737, when he died and in that year his heirs conveyed the farm to one Oliver Dunklin. In 1740 Mr. Dunklin improved the place by the erection of a large two-story log building at the eastern end of the log cabin, constructing in its center a large stone fireplace, then a necessary part of every house. Mr. Dunklin died about 1748, and the same year his heirs conveyed the property to a brother, John Dunklin, who after holding it only a month conveyed it to his brother-in-law, John Patrick, and in 1750 John Patrick sold it, as above stated, to Henry Van Reed.

When Henry Van Reed died he bequeathed the homestead to his son Jacob, who was then farming in Cumru township (now Spring). In 1819 Jacob Van Reed tore down the two-story log building, and erected in its stead a two-story brick, the eastern part of the present building. Down to 1810 the log stable was the only place used for storing grain, etc., with a frame addition rendered necessary by the increasing crops. In that year Jacob Van Reed built the southern part of 63 feet of the present large frame barn, with heavy stone base and gable ends, and with a bank in the rear. When Jacob Van Reed came into possession of this land it was valued at $29.62 per acre, and this sum he was required to pay to his brothers and sisters in due proportion. He married Ann Elizabeth, daughter of Joseph Hiester, and he died in 1838.

Jacob Van Reed was succeeded by his son, the present owner and occupant, Jeremiah Van Reed, who by his father's will was to pay a fixed annuity to his mother, and to his brothers and sisters such sum as would value the land at fifty dollars per acre.

From the time of the first settlement until 1819 the water for household purposes was obtained at a spring near by at the rear of the north end of the building then a well in front of the house was dug. The live stock was always watered at the creek running diagonally through the farm-close by the house until 1858, when a well was dug in the barnyard. In 1875 water power was communicated to the pump from the creek 700 feet distant by means of a stout wire worked to and fro by a water wheel. Two orchards are on the farm, one north and the other south of the dwelling. The first was planted south of the house in the latter part of the eighteenth century, and some of the apple trees are still standing and bearing good fruit; the north orchard was planted at the beginning of the nineteenth century. All the improvements other than those here-in mentioned have been made by the present owner.

John Van Reed, son of the emigrant Henry, married Catherine Huy, and he became the father of the following children: Joshua, Mary, Lewis, James, John, Henry and Jacob. John Van Reed was a paper manufacturer and owned and operated a mill on Cacoosing Creek.

Jacob Van Reed, son of John, was born in Lower Heidelberg township, Dec. 24, 1819. He was a large land owner and he lived retired for many years previous to his death, Aug. 10, 1900. He married Mary C. Jones, daughter of Major Samuel Jones (a major in one of the Pennsylvania regiments in the war of 1812), and their children were: Samuel John m. Minerva Yeager, and had children, Lewis and James; and Margaret, m. John H. Evans, and had children, Charles V. R. and Jacob V. R. In politics Mr. Van Reed was a stanch adherent to Republican principles. He was a member of the State militia at the outbreak of the war of the Rebellion, and was called out with his company. In every relation of life he was found on the side of honor and truth, and he had the well merited esteem of all men.


VAN REED, GEORGE R.

p. 479

Surnames: VAN REED, BICKLEY, GEARY, GERNANT, GORDON, HARTRANFT, HUNTER, HUY, KNAPP, STEVENS, YOST

George R. Van Reed was a descendant of one of the representative families of Berks county, which has been active and influential for upward of a hundred years in the development and upbuilding of the county. The first of the name in the western division of the county was John Van Reed, who died April 19, 1820, in the seventy-third year of his age. He settled in the northern part of Cumru township-that part which is now Spring township-about the time of the Revolutionary war. His wife was Eva Yost, and of their children there were four sons, John, Charles, Henry and Thomas. The Van Reeds were members of the Reformed Church, but in political opinions they have been more or less divided, all parties being represented. They have, however, never been office seekers.

John Van Reed, son of John, was born in Cumru township, on the Cacoosing creek, near its outlet into the Tulpehocken, in 1786. He married Catherine Huy and their children were: Henry, James, Lewis, John, Joshua, Jacob and Mary.

Henry Van Reed, son of John and Catherine (Huy) Van Reed, was born on his father's farm in Cumru (now Spring) township, Aug. 21, 1821. His education he acquired in the schools of Reading, Lititz, Lafayette College and Dickinson College, completing the course at the last named institution with the class of 1843. Selecting the profession of law as his life work, he entered upon his studies in the office of David F. Gordon, of Reading, a most able and conscientious attorney who was afterward made president judge of this judicial district. Under his careful tuition Mr. Van Reed attained a thorough knowledge of law and of the ethics of the profession, and on April 5, 1844, was admitted to the Bar. He opened an office in Reading, and in a comparatively short time had a large practice, continuing it twenty years. In 1851 he went to California to visit his brothers, James and Lewis, and with the former he engaged in banking in San Francisco for some months, but the East called him, and he returned to his profession in Reading, the same year.

On July 13, 1869, Mr. Van Reed, on the recommendation of the Republicans of the county, was appointed law judge, with powers similar to the president judge, by Gov. John W. Geary. This was in compliance with an act passed by the Legislature authorizing an additional judge, and his term of office was to continue until his successor was duly elected and qualified, which was on the following 6th of December. Judge Van Reed had always been a good Republican, but he did not believe that a judgeship should be made a matter of political self-seeking, and true to his convictions at no time offered himself as a candidate. What came to him was the unsought reward of faithful and efficient service. From Jan. 12, 1875, to Jan. 2, 1876, he again filled the same office, having this time been appointed by Gov. John F. Hartranft to fill a vacancy. He filled the office with dignity and impartiality but the preponderance of the Democratic majority made his filling it by election impossible. After leaving the Bench he gradually retired from practice. He was a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1872-73. During the Civil war he gave warm support to the administration, and in September, 1862, he became a member of Company G, 2d Regiment, Pennsylvania Militia, commanded by Capt. F. S. Bickley, to repel the threatened invasion of the State. They performed military duty for eleven days, and were then discharged. At the time of the battle of Gettysburg, he again enlisted, becoming sergeant in Company C., 42d Pennsylvania Volunteer Militia, under Col. Charles H. Hunter, and served from July 6 to Aug. 12, 1863.

At his death, June 30, 1885, many highly eulogistic addresses were delivered by members of the Berks County Bar, and in the resolution passed it was said of him: "As a lawyer and judge he was able, conscientious and painstaking. As a man he despised sham and hypocrisy; and he took for his own example the Christian virtues. He had the rare gift of courage equal to his convictions; and therefore in public as well as in private life he acted as he believed an honest, upright man should act, without regard to affiliations or personal consequences."

On Sept. 2, 1852, Judge Van Reed married Miss Harriet, daughter of George Gernant. She died Jan. 13, 1883. Their children were: George R. and Anna.

George R. Van Reed was born in Reading Sept. 21, 1853. He obtained his earlier education in the public schools and then entered Lafayette College, at Easton, graduating therefrom in 1874. He became division engineer for the South Mountain & Boston Railroad, and later assistant engineer on the Pennsylvania Railroad, being stationed at Paoli. He assisted in the construction of the Schuylkill Valley Division, of the Pennsylvania Railroad, continuing in the service of that company from 1876 to 1884. He was a very able civil engineer, and the mastery of difficulties in that work afforded him keen enjoyment. He read law under Garrett Stevens, of Reading, and Jan. 21, 1888, was admitted to the Bar, but he never engaged in practice. He died Aug. 12, 1908.

In 1891, Mr. Van Reed married Miss Effie, daughter of John H. Knapp, of Menomonie, Wisconsin.


VAN REED, HENRY

p. 359

Surnames: VAN REED, GORDON, BICKLEY, HUNTER, GERNANT

Henry Van Reed, first additional law judge of Berks county in 1869, was born Aug. 31, 1821, in Cumru (now Spring) township. His grandfather, John Van Reed, settled there about the time of the revolution, and his father was born there is 1786. He was educated at Reading, Lititz, Lafayette College and Dickinson College, graduating from the last named institution in 1843. Upon returning home he selected the law as his profession, and pursued a regular course of legal study in the office of David F. Gordon, Esq., afterward president judge of this judicial district. On April 5, 1844, he was admitted to the Bar, and soon established a large and lucrative practice, which he continued for twenty years.

In 1851 he made a trip to California, visiting his brothers, who had gone thither some years previously. In April, 1869, the State Legislature authorized the qualified electors of Berks county to elect an additional law judge. At that time the Governor was a Republican in politics, and having been authorized to appoint a suitable person to act as such judge till one should be elected, he appointed Mr. Van Reed to this position July 13, 1869. The appointment was given to him without any solicitation on his part. He occupied his seat on the Bench and discharged his duties in a superior manner till Dec. 6, 1869, when his successor was qualified. Subsequently, from Jan. 12, 1875, till Jan. 2, 1876, he again filled the same office by appointment from the Governor to supply a vacancy caused by the promotion of the then incumbent to the office of president judge. Judge Van Reed represented this district as one of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention which was held in 1872 and 1873.

During the progress of the Civil War, he was an ardent supporter of the national administration in every way, and his strong patriotic feelings impelled him to express himself in the most positive manner in favor of prosecuting the war. When the State of Pennsylvania was threatened with an invasion by the Rebels, in September, 1862, he enlisted with a large number of the most prominent men of Reading, in Company G, of the 2nd Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, commanded by Captain F. S. Bickley. The company was marched to and beyond the State line and performed military service for eleven days when it was discharged. During the excitement through-out the State, owing to the battle of Gettysburg, in the beginning of July, 1863, he enlisted again in Company C, 42nd Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Militia, and acted as a sergeant. This regiment was composed entirely of Berks county companies. It was under the command of Col. Charles H. Hunter and continued in service from July 6th, to August 12th.

Judge Van Reed died June 30, 1885, after an illness of several years. He married Catherine Gernant, daughter of George Gernant. She died Jan. 13, 1883. They had two children: George and Anna.


VAN REED, WELLINGTON

p. 471

Surnames: VAN REED, RUTH, LERCH, OTTO, KESSLER, LINDENMUTH, LEBKICKER, BEHM

Wellington Van Reed, secretary and treasurer of the Sinking Spring Fire Insurance Company, vice-president of the Auburn Shale Brick Company, and a director in the Schuylkill Valley Bank, is one of Reading's leading business men. Mr. Van Reed was born at Sinking Spring, Berks county, Oct. 15, 1840, son of Thomas and Eliza(Ruth) Van Reed, and grandson of John Van Reed, who descended from an old and honored Holland Dutch family.

John Van Reed was born in Berks county, Pa., and his education was secured in the old fashioned log school house, where oiled floors and varnished seats were unknown. He became one of Sinking Spring's leading farmers and a man of much influence in his locality. He and his wife had a family of children, of whom are recalled: John, Charles and Thomas. In religious belief the family have been members of the Reformed Church for many generations and have done much in its support in this section. In politics the Van Reeds were never office seekers, but they were often sought by offices, and officials both Republican and Democratic have come from the family.

Thomas Van Reed, father of Wellington, was born in Spring township, Berks county, and his education was obtained in the common schools. When a young man he learned the wool fuller's trade, which he followed for many years, also owning and conducting a valuable farm. He died in 1889, at the age of seventy-five years, his wife dying when sixty years of age. They were the parents of the following children: Levi, Henry, Daniel, Wellington, Charles, Thomas, John and Eliza( m. to Adam G. Lerch, and living in Wernersville, Pa.). Thomas Van Reed conducted an old-fashioned inn at Sinking Spring, but when the Lebanon Valley Railroad was built he gave it up. He was a man of good principles and was highly esteemed in his community.

Wellington Van Reed received his education in the common schools of Spring township, and also attended the old Reading Academy for three years. When a young man he entered the employ of the mercantile establishment of Henry M. Otto, with whom he remained for seven years, and then resigned to engage with the old Reading Adler, when Charles Kessler was proprietor and owner. He clerked in this well-known establishment for six years, but in 1865 resigned to engage in business for himself, locating on Penn street, between Third and Forth. Here he opened a store for the sale of wool suitings, linings, trimmings, etc., and does an extensive business today at the same location, having never changed his place of business. The greater part of his time, however, is given to insurance and financial ventures. For the past thirty years he has been prominently identified with the Sinking Spring Fire Insurance Company, which was organized in 1843, and is one of the most reliable companies in the State. It insures farm and city property, and the company has gained the reputation of being one of the solid, safe and conservative institutions of the country.

In 1859 Mr. Van Reed married Catherine Kessler, daughter of Charles Kessler, and to this union there were born: Elizabeth m. E. L. Lindenmuth; Annie m. J. E. Lebkicker; Mary is single; and Helen m. James Behm.

Politically Mr. Van Reed is a Democrat, but has never been an office seeker. He has been a member of the Reading school board for the past thirty-four years, being the oldest member. He and his family are members of the Second Reformed Church, in which he has served in many official capacities. Fraternally Mr. Van Reed is a member of the Oley Lodge, I. O. O. F.; Lodge No. 62 F.& A. M.; Excelsior Chapter, No. 237; Reading Commandery No. 42, K. T.; Rajah Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S.; Knights of the Golden Eagle; Mt. Penn Council, Royal Arcanum; and the Improved Order of Heptasophs.


VATH, LEONARD A. ( JR.)

p. 1517

Surnames: VATH, MILLERMAN, GANTER, BREIM

Leonard A. Vath, Jr., whose hardware establishment is situated at No. 826 North Tenth street, Reading, was born in 1870, in Bavaria, Germany, son of Leonard and Mary (Millerman) Vath, and was brought to this country when ten months of age.

Mr. Vath was educated in the schools of Kingston, N. Y., where he learned the cigar making business, but on coming to Reading entered Joseph Ganter's hardware store. In 1903 he decided to embark in business on his own account and purchased his present store and stock. This business, under the name of the Northern Hardware Store, has been very successful, and this success may be attributed to Mr. Vath's upright business methods, his energy and enterprise and his happy faculty of making friends. He handles hardware, glass, oils, paints, varnishes, brushes, seeds, cutlery, tools, ammunition and house-furnishing goods, and in fact any and all articles to be found in a first-class, up-to-date hardware establishment. Fraternally Mr. Vath is connected with the Knights of the Maccabees, the Order of the Holy Cross and St. Boniface's Society. He and his wife attend St. Paul's Catholic Church.

Mr. Vath was united in marriage with Miss Gertrude Breim, and to this union there have been born two children, namely: Frederick and Catherine.


VERRENDO, LEONARDO

p. 1127

Surnames: VERRENDO, DIIASSIA, GINDILESCA, SHEARER

Leonardo Verrendo, an Italian merchant of the city of Reading, Pa., whose place of business is situated at No. 153 Penn street, was born not far from Naples, in Southern Italy, Oct. 11, 1867, son of Nicoli and Mariantonia (Diiassia) Verrendo, the former of whom, who resides in the old country, owns much land in Castelfranco, in Miscano, Province of Benevento, Italy.

Leonardo Verrendo was educated in the schools of his native country, and in his youth worked for about five years at butchering with his maternal uncle. He then returned to his home to work with his father until 1888 when he came to this country. His father had come to this country previously, but prior to his son's landing in New York had returned to his native country again. Mr. Verrendo went from New York to Michigan City, where he was employed as a railroad laborer, following this line of work for two years, and at the end of this time made his way to the anthracite coal district. Here he engaged in coal mining at Hazleton until, one year later, when during the riots he engaged in the mercantile business. One year later he came to Reading, engaging in business near the Berks County Court House on North Sixth street, continuing there for five and one-half years. In 1902 Mr. Verrendo located on his present property, which he purchased of Joseph Shearer. Mr. Verrendo stocked his place with a fine and complete line of domestic and imported fruits, and he has been very successfully engaged in business here to the present time.

Mr. Verrendo was married Nov. 15, 1892, to Anna Gindilesca, a native of the province of Potenza, Italy and they have had four children, one of whom survives, Nicoli, aged eight years. Mr. Verrendo was naturalized a citizen of the United States Sept. 28, 1896 and is a Republican in politics. He is very popular in his community, and is considered a substantial business man.


VOELKER, CHARLES

p. 401

Surnames: VOELKER, ROTHENBERGER

Charles Voelker has since 1905 been principal owner of the Berks Manufacturing Company, of Reading, and he has been long known as a business man of that city, having conducted the "Farmers and Mechanics Hotel," in West Reading, for a number of years. Mr. Voelker is a native of Germany, born Oct. 12, 1856, in Feldkarl, Bavaria. He was reared in the Fatherland, whence he came to America in 1878, settling at once in Reading, where for the most part he has since had his home. In Germany he had learned the trade of a brewer, at which he immediately found employment on his arrival in Reading, in one of the leading breweries of the city. Later he was engaged in the business on his own account, in Pottstown, Montgomery Co., Pa., where he remained several years, finally selling his interests in that line. Returning to Reading in 1893 he entered the hotel business, becoming proprietor of the "Farmers and Mechanics Hotel," in West Reading, which he has since kept, finding the venture congenial and profitable. In July, 1905, in company with his eldest son, Charles T. Voelker, Mr. Voelker purchased the plant and business of the Berks Manufacturing Company, Ltd., at No. 154 Court street, under the firm name of Charles Voelker & Son. At that time the product of the factory, which consists of sunbonnets and aprons, amounted to about five hundred dozen weekly. Under their enterprising management the weekly output has been increased to fifteen thousand dozen, in the manufacture of which steady employment is given to forty hands. These goods are of high grade and excellent workmanship, and are marketed through jobbers all over the United States and Canada. The constantly growing trade has necessitated the erection of a new factory, which is now in course of construction, and which will be one of the finest manufacturing plants of its kind in the city when completed. It is a brick building 34 x 100 feet in dimensions, three stories and basement, and will be equipped with the most reliable and up-to-date machinery obtainable, every facility for the most expeditious dispatch of work compatible with the manufacture of high class articles being included in the appointments. The company are also adding to the working force from time to time, finding considerable difficulty in keeping up with a steady stream of orders. Mr. Charles Voelker, the senior member of the firm, is a hard-working and reliable business man. He has been remarkably successful in his latest venture, which is advancing to a place among the appreciable industrial factors of the city. He is a citizen of sterling merit, and though he takes no active part in public affairs is public-spirited and interested in welfare of the city in which he found a fruitful field for his efforts. He is a Democrat in politics, and a Catholic in religious faith. Mr. Voelker married Caroline Rothenberger, like himself a native of Germany, and eight children have been born to them: Charles T. (who is in business with his father), Lewis, Edward, Mary, Carrie, Catherine, Anna and Joseph.

Charles T. Voelker, manager and part owner of the Berks Manufacturing Company, was born in Reading Jan. 29, 1884, and received his early education in the schools of Pottstown, supplementing it with a course at the Reading Business College. He is thoroughly fitted for the superintendency of the plant, the marvelous growth of which since it came under the present management is due in a great measure to his executive ability. He is a young man of forceful personality and excellent business judgment, and his energy has made itself felt in every department of the factory, which has made a most creditable showing under his guiding hand.


VOGEL, FRANCIS F.

p. 1520

Surnames: VOGEL, CROWMAN, GEHRING, HOUSER, HOUSMAN, LIEBECK, SCHEAFER, SWENK

Francis F. Vogel, a well-known business man of Reading, Pa., who conducted a restaurant for a number of years at No. 833 Penn street, died in Reading Oct. 1, 1901. Mr. Vogel was born in this city in 1858, son of Felix and Margaret (Swenk) Vogel. Felix Vogel was born in Germany, and there grew to manhood. He emigrated to America, and from New York City, where he had landed, removed to Lehigh county, Pa., and thence to Reading, being engaged in the contracting business for the Philadelphia & Reading Company, at a sawmill, sawing wood for fuel for the engines. Mr. Vogel died at the age of fifty years, his wife living until seventy-three, and both were interred in Reading. Their children were: William; Mary, the wife of Francis Houser; John; Joseph; Charles; Adam; Annie, the wife of August Gehring; and Francis F.

Francis F. Vogel attended the schools of Reading, and when a young man was employed with his brother-in-law, Mr. Houser, who was a florist. He was later employed at the Philadelphia & Reading shops continuing there for fifteen years, after which he engaged in the restaurant business at No. 833 Penn street, and in this line continued until his death. Mr. Vogel was a member of St. Paul's Catholic Church, and was buried at the new Catholic cemetery, Reading. In his political belief he was a Democrat.

Mr. Vogel married Miss Annie E. Liebeck, daughter of Nicholas and Margaret (Scheafer) Liebeck, and she survives him and resides at No. 354 North Eleventh street. She continued the restaurant business for one and one half years after her husband's death, when she sold out. To Mr. and Mrs. Vogel were born children as follows: Mary, the wife of Edward Housman, lives at No. 645 Moss street, Reading, George F., a foreman in the Textile Machine Works, married Mary Crowman, and resides at No. 749 South Eighth street.

During the Spanish-American war he enlisted for service, was promoted to corporal and later to quarter master sergeant, served in the Philippines, and was honorably discharged; Sadie, who died when ten years old; and Edith, at home.


VON NIEDA, J. HALLER

p. 1685

Surnames: VON NIEDA, HALLER, LIGHT, RICHARD

Reverend J. Haller Von Nieda, former pastor of the Gospel Tabernacle at No. 1003 Franklin street, died April 5, 1908. He was a well-known Berks county undenominational church worker, and was born Dec. 14, 1860, near Fritztown, Berks county, Pa., son of Philip and Annie (Haller) Von Nieda, natives of this section.

J. H. Von Nieda received his early education in the schools of Berks county, and for four years attended Lebanon Valley College, at Danville. He was licensed while at school, at the age of nineteen years commencing to preach, which he continued for six years and returned to college, where he remained for one year. His first charge was the United Brethren Church at Rayville, Md., where he remained for one year, afterward preaching in Halifax, Pa., for sixteen months, followed by three years at Lykenstown, and one year at Shamokin. After his year's work at college he took charge of the United Brethren Church in Reading, May 12, 1889, to finish the unexpired term of Rev. Job Light, after which the Conference retained him five successive terms of one year each. He was then returned to the First United Brethren Church in Lebanon, and after doing evangelistic work for one year, returned to Reading and for two years labored at Zion United Brethren Church. Rev. Mr. Von Nieda then retired from that denomination and for two years preached the Gospel independently, when he began the establishment of Gospel Tabernacle, which was completed in 1901. He was an earnest worker, beloved by his congregation and respected by all.

Rev. Mr. Von Nieda married July 10, 1983, Mollie R. Richard, and to them there were born two children: Mary H., who died aged nine months; and Philip D., born Dec. 14, 1885, and has charge of the wireless station at Culebra Islands, in the United States Navy service.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:57:30 EDT

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