Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 1204


The firm of Wagenhorst Brothers, formed in 1883, originally included not only the two present members, Mahlon and Llewellyn, but also their father, Franklin. Beginning as tinsmiths, their business increased in scope rapidly, and the firm now take orders for furnaces and for sanitary heating, healthful ventilating, all kinds of roofing, spouting and air heating. The family have been tinsmiths for three generations.

John Wagenhorst, great-grandfather of the present representatives, was a resident of Greenwich township, Berks county, and was a farmer and miller by occupation. He was eighty years of age at the time of his death. The children born to him and his wife were: Nathan; Isaac; Charles; John; William, who died young; Maria; Julia; Sophia and Harriet.

Nathan Wagenhorst, son of John, spent much of his life in Montgomery county, Pa., where he was engaged successfully in business as a tinsmith. He was well known in his section, and in 1867 he served as county treasurer. When ready to retire from business life he came to Reading, and spent his last years there with his son Franklin. He lived to be eighty-seven years old. On Oct. 6, 1833, he married Rebecca, daughter of George Beitenman, and she attained the age of eighty-four. They had only two children, Franklin and William B. The latter, born April 27, 1836, m. Louise, daughter of John and Mary (Yost) Keck. He is employed as a tinsmith in the establishment of Wagenhorst Bros., and resides at No. 41 North Tenth street, Reading.

Franklin Wagenhorst was born Feb. 27, 1834. When only twelve years old he began to learn his father's trade. As a young man he established himself in business at Gilbertsville, and worked for some time as a tinsmith, but later bought the hotel at that place, and gave his attention to its management. During the war he put up a handsome new building, which is still standing. He was very successful as a hotel keeper, and after eleven years in his new hotel, he came in 1876 to Reading, and for two years had charge of the Berks County House. From 1878 to 1883, Mr. Wagenhorst withdrew from active business affairs, but in the latter year his sons, who were then ready to begin work, induced him to resume his earliest calling, and to give them the opportunity of learning the business of tinsmithing. They went into business at No. 953 Penn street, and remained there until April, 1890, when Mr. Wagenhorst bought property at No. 945 Penn Street, which afforded them larger quarters. He retained his connection with the business, which was carried on in his name, until the time of his death, Dec. 15, 1905. Fraternally he was a Mason, a member of Stechler Lodge, of Pottstown. In religion he was affiliated with the First Reformed Church. Mr. Wagenhorst was very well known and was a popular musician, being a skilled player on both the cornet, which was his instrument in band playing, and on the violin. In his earlier years he played with the Boyertown Band for a long time, and was treasurer of it for many years. After coming to Reading he was connected with the old City Band for two years, and then retired from musical work.

On Nov. 3, 1855, Franklin Wagenhorst was married to Miss Emmalaree Gilbert, of Gilbertsville, daughter of George W. and great-granddaughter of the John Gilbert for whom the town was named. Mrs. Wagenhorst died Nov. 4, 1905, and both she and her husband are buried in the Charles Evans cemetery. They were the parents of three sons, namely: Mahlon; Lucian, born Nov. 30, 1867, died Jan. 5, 1906, m. Miss Elizabeth Epler, had twin sons, Raymond F. and Ralph Leon (died at the age of five months); and Llewellyn.

Mahlon Wagonhorst was born Nov. 26, 1862. He m. Miss Louisa Heft, daughter of John Heft, and has two daughters; Maude Elizabeth, wife of Charles Suender, of Reading, and Mabel May. The family resides at No. 223 South Thirteenth street, Reading.

Llewellyn Wagenhorst was born April 14, 1869. He m. Annie E., daughter of Peter F. Nagle, of Reading, and resides at No. 326 South Seventeenth street, Reading.

The Wagenhorst brothers are both skilled mechanics and are also gifted with the executive ability to carry their business to success along with the right lines. After their father's death they started in business for themselves. They are prompt, energetic and careful, employ only skilled labor, having about ten men engaged under them, and do only the best work. In February, 1906, they bought property at No. 23 North Tenth street, and April 1st, opened their business there, and are making extensive improvements there to meet the demands of their large and constantly increasing trade.


p. 1472


Samuel B. Wagener, a miller and farmer in Douglas township, Berks county, Pa., was born in Montgomery county, Pa., March 31, 1856, son of Michael W. Wagener and grandson of Jacob Wagener.

Jacob Wagener was born in Lower Salford township, Montgomery county, and was engaged in farming, shoemaking and cigar manufacturing. For many years he employed a number of people in his cigar factory in Lower Salford township. He is buried at the old Goshenhoppen Church. His wife, Rebecca Walt, bore him children as follows: Michael W.; Mary m. Jacob Bergey; Martin is living retired in New Hanover township, Montgomery county; Ellen m. Samuel Heebner, and lives at Mainland, Pa.; Sarah m. E. S. Brey, and lives at Perkiomenville; Jacob, a farmer, lives in New Hanover township, Montgomery county; and Rebecca is unmarried and lives with her brother Martin.

Michael W. Wagener, son of Jacob, was born in Montgomery county in 1832, and is now living retired at Fegleysville. He was a farmer and lived fist in Lower Salford township, and afterward moved to New Hanover township. He married Anna Bertolet, daughter of Samuel Bertolet, a descendant of the Oley township Bertolets. She died in the seventy-second year of her age. Their children were: Samuel B.; Elizabeth is unmarried; Sarah Ann died young; Jacob lives at Fegleysville; and so also does Herbert.

Samuel B. Wagener received his education in the township schools and in Mount Pleasant Seminary, at Boyertown. He passed the years of his youth upon the farm, and in the mill. In 1875 he learned milling from E. S. Brey, of Perkiomenville, and one year later, in 1876, he engaged in business for himself at Grubb's Mill, Fegleysville, where he remained three years. In the spring of 1879 he located at his present place, purchasing what was at that time known as the Levengood Grist Mill. Mr. Wagener christened it the "Glendale Flour Mills." This mill is located on Iron Stone Creek, in the central part of the township. The flour is shipped to Pottstown and is sold in the surrounding districts. With the mill property are twelve acres of land which Mr. Wagener cultivates. In 1906 he purchased the William Levengood farm and mill property located on Iron Stone Creek, the farm containing sixty-five acres. This is an old land mark of the county, the mill having been erected in the early days of the nineteenth century. He is also interested in a flour and feed store at Pottstown which does a large business. The stone house in which he lives was built in 1852. Mr. Wagener is an intelligent and progressive citizen, and commands the respect of the people of the township.

In 1879 Mr. Wagener married Catharine Grubb, daughter of Harvey and Anna (Tyson) Grubb, the latter a daughter of Benjamin Tyson of England. They have five children Edwin, Annie, Allan, Clement and Elizabeth. In politics Mr. Wagener is a Republican, and for three years held the office of school director. He is a member of the Knights of the Golden Eagle and the Knights of the Mystic Chain.


p. 745


Aaron S. Wagner, one of the prosperous businessmen of Shoemakersville, Berks Co., Pa., was born April 26, 1868, in Penn township, son of Harrison L. and Mary (Speicher) Wagner.

John Wagner, great-grandfather of Aaron S., was born Nov. 20, 1764, and settled on a large farm in Jefferson township, which is now owned by Isaac Wenrich. He was married three times, the names of his wives being Miller, Leymaster and Conrad. He died July 11, 1841. We have no record of the children by his first wife, but those of the second marriage were Philip, Jacob, Isaac, John and Daniel, and by the third marriage one child was born, Mary, who became the wife of John Henne. Mrs. Henne survived her husband a number of years; she died, in 1908, at her late residence, Bernville, Pennsylvania.

Daniel Wagner, grandfather of Aaron S., was born in Tulpehocken (now a part of Jefferson) township, and died in 1880, being buried at the Bernville Church. He was a well-known and influential citizen, was a prominent Democrat, and was active in the affairs of the church. Mr. Wagner married Eva Lengel, who was born in 1813, and died in 1906, daughter of Israel Lengel, and to them were born eleven children: Levi, Elizabeth, Harrison, Amelia, Calvin, Mary, Emma, John, Jane, James and Frank, who died at the age of twelve years.

Harrison L. Wagner was born in Jefferson township, July 1, 1836, and died on his farm in Penn township, Nov. 13, 1894. He was a leading Democrat, and served his township in various offices. He and his family were members of the Reformed Church at Bernville. Mr. Wagner married Mary Speicher, and they had two children, Aaron S. and Alvin S.

Aaron S. Wagner received his education in the district schools and was reared to agricultural pursuits. When a young man he learned the milling trade, which he followed for five years, and he then became a stationary engineer, following this profession until 1897, when he formed a partnership with Solomon S. Miller, and under the firm name of Wagner & Miller manufactured hosiery at Reading until 1900, at which time Mr. Wagner formed a partnership with Jeremiah W. Heckman, of Shoemakersville. There they engaged in business until 1907, when Mr. Heckman purchased Mr. Wagners interest. Mr. Wagner is a Democrat in politics, and socially he is connected with the Odd Fellows, the Shepherds of Bethlehem No. 60, of Centreport, and the Modern Woodmen. He and his family attend the Reformed Church of Shoemakersville.

On June 9, 1889, Mr. Wagner was married to Kate Marburger, daughter of William H. and Esther (Reed) Marburger, and four children have been born to this union: Annie R., Mary J., William H. and Marguerite I.


p. 1250


Frank Wagner, an estimable citizen and justice of the peace of Millersburg, Bethel township, Berks county, was born May 26, 1865, son of Jeremiah and Lydia (Binner) Wagner, native of Lebanon and Berks counties, respectively.

Jeremiah Wagner was born in 1837, and when a young man came to Berks county with his parents, Jacob and Salome (Reigle) Wagner. Jacob Wagner was a farmer and tailor by occupation, and he spent his last years at these callings in Mt. Etna, Berks county, where he died when about sixty years of age, his wife having preceded him in death. They were members of the Reformed Church, and the parents of five children: Laurina, who died unmarried; Fianna, who became the wife of Fred Hasler, of Reading; Jeremiah; Solomon, who was a resident of the fated district at the time of the Johnstown flood, and has never been heard of since that event; and Michael, who was a resident of Mt. Etna. Jeremiah Wagner, father of Frank, spent most of his life in Bethel township, where he followed the tailor's trade, becoming known as a good and substantial citizen. His death occurred Jan. 10, 1906, his wife having passed away in 1877. Mr. Wagner was buried at the Salem Reformed Church, and his funeral was one of the largest ever held in this part of Berks county. He was known throughout Bethel township as a man of jovial and hearty disposition, ever ready to forward any movement calculated to help a friend in need, and equally ready to forward any movement calculated to be of benefit to the community. He was a member of the I. O. O. F., and the P. O. S. of A. His children were: Jane, who married Milton Bashore, of Marion township; Morris, deceased, who married Mary Bashore; Frank; Wilson, who served six years in the regular army, was in the hospital corps in the Spanish-American war, and who died in the service while in camp at Montauk, N. Y.; and Mary, who married Levi Binner.

Frank Wagner was born and reared in Bethel township, where he received his education in the public schools. When a boy he worked on a farm, but at the age of twenty-one years he began teaching, a profession at which he continued for twenty years, eight terms of which have been spent at the Bethel Grammar school. He has also taught special schools as a preparatory course, and has been much interested in institute work. For the past five years Mr. Wagner has been conducting a job printing establishment at Millersburg, In political matters he is a stanch Democrat, and was elected to the office of justice of the peace in 1903 and deputy coroner in 1907. Fraternally he is connected with Lodge No. 820, Bethel, I. O. O. F., in which he is past noble grand; and with the P. O. S. of A., Camp No. 214. He and his wife are members of Salem Reformed Church, of which he is treasurer.

On May 19, 1887, Mr. Wagner was married to Miss Fianna Bashore, daughter of Jonathan and Sarah (Bixler) Bashore, of Bethel township, and five children have been born to this union, namely: Robert E., Sallie M., Frank, Paul, and Frances Grace.


p. 1469


Frank K Wagner, a merchant at Garfield, in Centre township, Berks county, has been a resident of that place but a comparatively short time, but, the business he conducts has been established there for a number of years, having formerly been owned by Moses Bender. Mr. Wagner was born Dec. 5, 1850, in Upper Bern Township, this county, and he is a great-great-grandson of the founder of the family in this country, George Wagner, who came from Germany. He settled in Berks county, near the Blue Mountains, and in 1759 was one of the taxable citizens of Bern township, being assessed 3. His son George, Jr., paid 8 tax the same year.

George Wagner, Jr., was a farmer in Upper Bern township, where he died. His son, Benjamin Wagner, grandfather of Frank K. Wagner, lived in Upper Bern township, near Shartlesville, where he followed farming. But he was probably best known as a carpenter and builder, for he put up many of the houses and barns in Upper Berks county. He is buried at Shartlesville. He was twice married, his first wife being a Boyer and his second a Burky. His children were: William, George B., Benjamin, Levi, Joseph, Andrew, Augustus, Mary, Caroline and Rebecca.

George B. Wagner, son of Benjamin, was born Dec. 5, 1828, in Upper Bern township, and like his father became a carpenter as well as farmer, following farming most of the time during his active years. He is now retired, living with his son Frank K. He married Lydia Kauffman, daughter of George Kauffman, and they had four children; Frank K.; Samuel, living in Upper Bern township; Reuben, of Tulpehocken township; and Lydia, wife of Frank Miller. The mother of this family is dead.

Frank K. Wagner received his education in the public schools and farmed for a number of years. He spent a year and a half in Reading and the same length of time in Lebanon, in 1906 coming to Garfield, where he bought out Moses Bender and has since carried on the general store. He was also postmaster until the office was disbanded and the rural free delivery system was installed in this section. In connection with the store he operates a sawmill and a cider press, and he has plenty to do in every line in which he is engaged.

Mr. Wagner married Diana C. Miller, daughter of George and Kate (Clouser) Miller, and five children have been born to them, namely; Frank; Adam; Cora, married to Francis H. Ruth; Eva, married to H. B. Himmelberger; and Rosa, who is at home. Mr. Wagner is a member of St. Michael's Lutheran Church, in which he has served as deacon. He is a Republican in political matters.


p. 1177


George W. Wagner, former district attorney of Berks county, is the son of William and Catherine Ann (Hollinger) Wagner, and was born July 1, 1861. His great-grandfather, John Wagner, was one of the early residents of Maiden-creek township.

The parents of Judge Wagner having died when he was not yet five years old, he was cared for by a relative until the age of seven years, at which time he became an inmate of Bethany Orphans' Home, Womelsdorf, and continued to reside there until he was thirteen years of age. Afterward he worked on the farm, and attended the public schools during the winter months.

He attended Marion Academy, Stouchsburg, and graduated from that institution in 1879, with first honors. He then taught in the public schools of Lebanon county, and as a student entered the Keystone State Normal School, Kutztown, in March, 1880, where he continued until June, 1881, at which time he graduated with first honors. He afterward taught in the public schools of Orwigsburg, Pa., for two winter terms, at the same time continuing his studies, and preparing for college under private instruction. He entered the junior class of Franklin and Marshall College in 1883, and graduated there from in June, 1885. Immediately upon his graduation he was elected as assistant teacher in mathematics at the Keystone Normal School, Kutztown, and continued to teach there until 1889. In November, 1887, he passed the preliminary examination before the board of examiners of the Berks County Bar, and was registered as a law student in the office of J. H. Marx, Esq., of Kutztown, Pennsylvania.

After leaving the Normal School in 1889 Mr. Wagner came to Reading, and entered the law office of Cyrus G. Derr, Esq., where he continued his studies, and he was admitted to the Berks County Bar in November, 1890. Two years after he was admitted to the Bar he was appointed assistant district attorney of Berks county, which position he held for three years from January, 1892. In 1901 he was elected district attorney of Berks county, and held said office from January, 1902, to January, 1905. He has been admitted to the Superior and Supreme Courts of the State, and the District, Circuit Court and Supreme Court of the United States. In 1909 he was nominated for the office of judge of the Court of Common Pleas. For six years Mr. Wagner was a member of the Reading school board, and for one year its president. He was one of the organizers of the Wernersville National Bank, and is a member of the board of managers of Bethany Orphans' Home, Womelsdorf.

Mr. Wagner is a married man, and has resided with his family in the Fifteenth ward of Reading since 1892.


p. 579


Henry T. Wagner, senior member of the well-known firm of Wagner & Emrich, Womelsdorf, Pa., was born April 24, 1859, in Jefferson township, Berks Co., Pa., son of Levi L. and Mary (Troutman) Wagner.

Levi L. Wagner, who now resides in his own home at Myerstown, was for more than a quarter of a century engaged in shoemaking, which he was compelled to give up on account of failing health, and subsequently in 1888, he commenced farming. For some years he has been living a retired life. Mr. Wagner is a deacon and elder in the Reformed Church at Myerstown. He was married to Mary Troutman, who also survives, and to them were born six children, namely: one who died in infancy; Henry T.; Samuel T. m. Leah Dockslacker and resides at Dayton, Ohio; Ella m. Levi J. Emrich, her brothers business partner; Sarah m. Calvin S. Schaeffer, of Gregory, S. Dak.; and James T. m. Maggie Lessley, resides in Reading, and has one daughter, Edna N.

Henry T. Wagner attended the district schools, and the Palatinate College, Myerstown, for five terms, and was reared upon the home farm, which he left at the age of twenty-six years to become assistant station agent at Myerstown, a position which he filled acceptably for eight years. He them became employed at the Myerstown Planing Mill, where he continued for two years, and in 1894 formed a partnership with Levi J. Emrich, under the firm name of Wagner & Emrich, which has continued in the milling business to the present time, gaining a reputation for fair dealing and honest representation. The Womelsdorf Rolling Mills cover a floor space of 50x50, and are three stories high, and have a capacity of from forty to fifty barrels every twenty-four hours. The leading brand of the mills, the IXL flour, has a large sale throughout the Eastern markets. In politics Mr. Wagner is a Democrat. He and his family are Reformed members of the Myerstown Church.

In 1892, Mr. Wagner married Lizzie H. Frederick, daughter of Andrew and Justina (Troutman) Frederick, the former a railroad employee at Lebanon, Pa. Four children have been born to this union: Lester H., born Nov. 22, 1892; Paul F., Sept. 7, 1894; Edith C., Aug. 12, 1898 (died Dec. 14, 1904); and Laura M., June 3, 1906.


p. 458


James H. Wagner, proprietor of the Crown Knitting Mills, at Mohrsville, Berks county, was born March 10, 1861, in Centre township, and is a member of the fourth generation of his family in this county.

John Wagner, his great-grandfather, was a native of Germany, and came to America with his wife when a young man, settling is Berks county, Pa., at what is now Bern Station. He engaged in butchering, in which business he was very successful. He died at that place, and is buried at St. Michael's church.

John Wagner, the grandfather of James H. Wagner, was born Feb. 8, 1801, in Upper Bern township, Berks county, but moved to Lebanon county where he died, and is buried at Newmanstown. He was a butcher and followed that business in Lebanon county. On Feb. 10, 1821, he married Maria Schilling, daughter of John Schilling, and they had the following children: Jesse, deceased at Hamburg, Pa., whose children are Frank, Jacob, Dr. John, Elias, Catherine and Mary (Mrs. Tobias); Valentine, who died in Lebanon; John S.; and two daughters and one son who died young.

John S. Wagner was born Sept. 24, 1826, in Heidelberg township, Lebanon Co., Pa., and lived in that county until twelve years old, when he came to Centre township, Berks county. He did farm work, and when twenty-two years old began farming on his own account, near Leesport. When he gave up farming he went to work for the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company, and he was later in the employ of an iron company until his retirement, in 1902. Mr. Wagner is now living at Mohrsville, in excellent health, and if necessary he can still do a good day's work, but he is enjoying the results of his former industry. On Sept. 28, 1850, Mr. Wagner married Mary Haag, daughter of Jacob and Juliana (Hafer) Haag, and eight children were born to them, namely: Isabella, wife of Eli T. Schlappich, assistant freight agent at Mohrsville for the Philadelphia & Reading Company, has two children, Mary and Benjamin; Eli H., died aged twenty-seven years; John H. is living at Odebolt, Iowa; Frank is a resident of Philadelphia; James H. is mentioned farther on; Jacob H. lives in Reading; Mary died unmarried; Benjamin died young. The mother of this family died April 26, 1883, aged fifty-four years, one month, sixteen days. Mr. Wagner's second marriage was to Fiaetta Snyder, daughter of John Snyder. No children have been born to this union.

James H. Wagner received his education in the public schools, and when his school days were over learned the tailor's trade at Leesport, following that line of work for about eleven years. He then became a general merchant, at Mohrsville, continuing in that business for five years, after which he engaged in the creamery business, also for a period of five years. In 1892 he entered the line in which he has since engaged at Mohrsville. He began the knitting business with but three machines, conducting what was then known as the Mohrsville Knitting Mills, and his father-in-law, Isaac Fraunfelter, was in partnership with him for four years, until the older man died. Mr. Wagner then started his present establishment, which is known as the Crown Knitting Mills, conducted by J. H. Wagner & Co. The factory is 70 X 35 feet in dimensions, and employment is given to between sixty-five and seventy hands. The equipment includes twenty-six body frame machines, fourteen sleeve machines and forty-two finishing machines, and a fine line of ladies ribbed underwear is turned out. Mr. Wagner has been very successful, as the steady growth of his business would indicate, and he is regarded as one of the substantial citizens of Mohrsville, where his plant is one of the industries which add to the prosperity of the place very materially.

Mr. Wagner's first marriage was to Rebecca Fraunfelter, daughter of Isaac and Caroline (Smith) Fraunfelter, and six children were born to this union, viz; Edgar (who is associated with his father in the knitting business), Laura, Carrie, Mamie and Minnie (twins, who died when three months old) and Rebecca. For his second wife Mr. Wagner married Miss Mamie Yoder, daughter of Jacob S. Yoder, of Centre township, and they have had five children: Arthur, who is deceased; Wayne, deceased; Ira and Irene, twins; and Ray.

Mr. Wagner is a Lutheran in religious faith. He is independent in political matters, voting as he sees fit, and his support of or opposition to a cause is regarded as an important element in the success or defeat of any movement. He is a desirable and highly respected citizen, and Mohrsville owes much of its progress to his activity.


p. 1314


Dr. John R. Wagner, practicing physician at Hamburg since 1884, was born in that borough Aug. 7, 1861, and received his education in the local schools, and at the Keystone State Normal School, after which he took a regular course at the Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York City, from which he was graduated in 1884. He then located at Hamburg and has practiced his profession in a successful manner until the present time, his patronage extending into the surrounding country for ten miles. He served as a school director for two terms, acting as president of the board for two years; and for one term he officiated as chief burgess. He assisted in organizing the gas works in 1904, and has since served as treasurer of the company. He is also an active member of the board of trade.

In 1882 Dr. Wagner was married to Helen Mengel, daughter of William and Sarah (Seaman) Mengel, and they have one daughter, Mame.

Jesse Wagner, father of the Doctor, was born in Newmanstown, Lebanon county, in 1821, and learned the trade of butcher. He located at Bern in Berks county, where he carried on trade for several years, and the removing to Hamburg, followed the business successfully for nearly forty years. He died in 1905. He married Rebecca Renno, daughter of Jacob and Hannah S. (Balthaser) Renno, and by her had seven children: Willia, Elias, Jacob, Franklin, John R., Caroline (who married Joel Bear) and Mary (who Married Charles Tobias).

John Wagner, father of Jesse and the grandfather of the Doctor, was born and brought up in Upper Bern township, Berks county. After reaching his majority he moved to Newmanstown, Lebanon county, where he carried on the butchering business. He married Polly Shillig, and by her he had six sons, Jesse, Valentine, John S., and three who died young.

John Wagner, the great-grandfather, was born and brought up in the western section of Berks county. He settled in Upper Bern township (now Tilden) in the vicinity of Bern station, on the P. & R., where he carried on the butchering business in a very successful manner, during the construction of the Schuylkill Valley Canal. He was married and had three children: John, Valentine and Maria, who married Joseph Machemer.

George Wagner, the great-great-grandfather, emigrated from Germany about 1750 and settled in the western section of Berks county, where he engaged in farming.


p. 724


John S. Wagner, who died at his home in Reading, Pa., July 12, 1905, was for a number of years engaged in building operations in that city, where for a long period he was prominent in political, military and business circles. Mr. Wagner was born April 10, 1837, in Wildheim, Wurtemberg, Germany, son of Michael Wagner, who died in the Fatherland.

John S. Wagner left his native country Aug. 8, 1855, and landed at New York City Oct. 5th of the same year, leaving the latter city the same day for Reading. In his own country Mr. Wagner had learned the trade of wood turning, and this he followed for a short time, but later apprenticed himself to the trade of cabinet maker with Frederick R. Henninger, on Penn street, for three years. In May, 1859, he was employed in William B. Hertzel's planing mill, and in December of the same year he became manager of the Ringgold Band, of which he was president at the time of his death. In April, 1861, he became a member of the Ringgold Light Artillery, and enlisted with that company for three months' service during the Civil war, being assigned to the 25th Regiment under Col. Cake and Gen. Patterson. After the expiration of that term he re-enlisted Aug. 1, 1861, for three years service as a musician in the 23d Pa. V. I., and in Philadelphia, in august, 1862, under General Orders, No. 157, was discharged with all other regimental bands. During his service he was in the battles of Williamsport, Fair Oaks and the Seven Days fight, ending at the battle of Malvern Hill. After his discharge he returned to Reading, and resumed work for William B. Hertzel. For many years Mr. Wagner carried on building operations with Jeremiah Seiders, and in April, 1896, was appointed building inspector of Reading by Mayor Jacob Weidel, a position to which he was reappointed in 1899 by Mayor Adam H. Leader, although of different party views than the latter. In 1871 Mr. Wagner was elected to the city council on the Democratic ticket, was re-elected in 1878, and again in 1890. In 1880 he was elected a member of the State Legislature, taking his seat at Harrisburg in January, 1881. In July, 1881, Mr. Wagner became a member of the Pennsylvania National Guards, with whom he served as a musician for nineteen years.

On Dec. 28, 1862, Mr. Wagner married Catherine M. Duerr, who survives him. Mr. Wagner was a man of much strength of character, a business man of much ability, and a capable public official. Kindly and genial, he made hosts of friends , and in his death many of Reading's citizens felt a personal loss He is buried in the Charles Evans cemetery.


p. 1559-60


Levi Franklin Wagner, M. D., came to Reading in 1902, moving from Pikesville, this county, where he had been located in practice for ten years. Since settling in the city he has become thoroughly identified with the local medical fraternity, in which he holds a foremost place by virtue of both his professional attainments and his high personal character. Dr. Wagner is one of those who have made their own way, and the position he has reached is the best measure of his ability and the efforts he has put forth.

The Wagner family have been settled in Berks county for several generations, and are of German descent. It is thought that the first of this branch who came to America made a home in Schuylkill county, but as far back as the Doctor's great-grandfather, they have been residents of this county. He lived in Maiden-creek township.

John Wagner, the Doctor's grandfather, settled in Bern township, and was a blacksmith by trade, following that calling and also keeping hotel. He married Susanna Fink, and to them were born six children, namely: Augustus, a carpenter; Levi, a farmer; Cyrus; Frelinghueysen, now a pension official in Washington, D. C. who was army postmaster at Philadelphia during the Civil war; Mary, m. to Harrison Kiesling, and now deceased; and Harrison F., father of Dr. Wagner. The father of this family and three of the sons served in the Pennsylvania troops during the Civil war. John Wagner lived to be over eighty, and he passed his last years with his son Harrison, at whose home he died. Charles, son of Frelinghueysen Wagner, is a stenographer under President Taft; his daughter is Ella, married to a Mr. Henderson.

Harrison F. Wagner, son of John, was born in Bloomsburg, Berks county, and has been a farmer during the greater part of his active life, living in the vicinity of Leesport. He was for a number of years engaged in cigar manufacturing, before he settled down to agricultural pursuits. He married Sarah Minker, daughter of George Minker, a farmer of this county, now deceased, and a large family blessed this union, namely: Levi Franklin; John, a contractor and builder, who was a member of the firm of White & Wagner, of Reading; Milton, of Philadelphia; James, an optician, married to Clara Kramer; William, who is engaged in cigarmaking in Philadelphia; Irvin who died in infancy; Howard, who died in his thirty-fourth year from an accident, falling on the ice going to work; Sallie, m. to William Himmelberger, son of Adam Himmelberger; and Edward, m. to Annie Seidel. The father of this family is a member of the Reformed Church, in whose work he is active, as he is in his support of all worthy objects.

Levi Franklin Wagner was born Jan. 6, 1863, in Bern township, and there passed his boyhood and youth and received his early education. After attending the common schools and Bernville high school he entered the Keystone State Normal School, in order to prepare himself for the profession which has been the stepping-stone for many an ambitious student willing to combine work and study. All the expenses of his higher education were paid out of his own earnings, but the necessity for work never dampened his ardor for study, which he often pursued under great difficulties. His regular attendance at school ceased when he was sixteen, but he nevertheless managed to prepare himself for teaching, which he followed for ten years, first in the common schools of his native county, and subsequently, as he advanced, in the grammar school at Pottstown, Pa., and the Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades, at Media, Pa. Meantime in 1884, he had commenced the study of medicine, with Dr. H. Y. Neiman, of Pottstown, in 1885, matriculating in the medical department of the University of Vermont, from which institution, he was graduated in 1888, with honors. During this period, in 1887, he also completed a special course in chemistry. He put his acquisitions in medical science to practical use without delay, being engaged as professor of physiology and hygiene, as well as physical science, at the Williamson Free School, previously mention. After his graduation from medical school he was resident physician of the institution at Media, with which he had so many pleasant associations and where he gained high popularity among his pupils by his strong personality as well as his efficiency as an instructor.

Before entering upon the regular practice of his profession Dr. Wagner supplemented his Vermont college training by work in various hospitals in Vermont and Pennsylvania, and also by a course at the Medico-Chirugical College, Philadelphia, from which he graduated in 1890, taking high honors. He stood 100 in surgery. He settled first in Molltown, Berks county, but remained there less than two years, in 1892 making a new location at Pikesville, where he continued in practice for ten years. His patronage increased steadily, his calls coming from distant parts of the county as well as from the immediate vicinity and his patients were scattered over such a wide territory that in 1901 he thought it best to have a more central location. He established himself at No. 852 North Eighth street, Reading, on Oct. 1st of that year, and in March, 1902, he moved to No. 959 North Ninth street, and then, on Dec. 24, 1904, moved to his present place, at No. 610 North Tenth street. He has found the city a much more convenient center for his professional labors, for while in the country he was obliged to keep three horses for his extensive drives, and was kept constantly busy attending to his patients. He has been equally successful since coming to the city, and answers to the demands of his large patronage with all the zeal and skill of an up-to-date physician. He is active in professional circles, being a member of the Berks County Medical Society, the Pennsylvania State Medical Society and the American Medical Association.

Since taking up his residence in Reading Dr. Wagner has interested himself in a number of important real-estate operations. This line has always claimed more of less of his attention, and he was formerly vice-president of the Washington Building & Loan Association, which had a branch office at Oley. Dr. Wagner has proved himself a good business man as well as an earnest professional worker. Indeed, his successful battle against the adverse conditions which confronted him in his struggles for an education would entitle him to some reputation for financial ability and executive capacity.

On June 19, 1897, Dr. Wagner married Emma Cleaver, daughter of Frank Cleaver, formerly a merchant of Pleasantville, this county, and five children have been born to them, namely: Elsie May, L. Franklin, Russell H. (died July 30, 1907, aged four years, nine months, twenty-seven days), Ruth E., and one that died in infancy. The home at Pikesville which Dr. Wagner and his family occupied was considered by many the most attractive in that locality, and they are pleasantly situated at Reading. Dr. Levi F. Wagner has been nominated on the Democratic ticket for coroner of Berks county.

Socially the Doctor affiliates with the Knights of the Maccabees and the Knights of the Golden Eagle, having joined the latter order at Pleasantville, in Maxatawny Castle, No. 461.


p. 1142


William H. Wagner, the proprietor of the "Hotel Wagner," a first-class hostelry situated on the northwest corner of Eighth and walnut streets, Reading, was born at Reading, Pa., Nov. 8, 1867, son of Henry D. and Helena (Feisner) Wagner.

Henry D. Wagner was born at Wassenbach, Kurhessen, Germany, Oct.14, 1818, and died at Reading, in March, 1889, aged sixty-nine years. He came to America when a young man and located at Reading, and for many years was employed by the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company, working for that corporation until his death. He owned his home at No. 427 Moss street. He was a member of St. John's Lutheran Church and was a man of Christian life and sterling character. He married Helena Feisner, born March 6, 1834, in Kilba, Kurhessen, Germany, whose death preceded his by eleven months, when she was aged fifty-two years. They had the following children: Henry, who died Nov. 8, 1902; Anna m. to Henry Trumbore, of Reading; John, residing at Reading; Mary, who died in October, 1906; William H.; Conrad; and Adam, of Reading.

William H. Wagner was educated in the public schools of his native city, and after his boyhood was over he went to work in the Reinhold hat factory, at Tenth and Spruce streets, Reading, and remained there about two years. His brother Henry was then made city highway commissioner, and he drove a city team for four years. He was about eighteen years of age when he went to work in the Philadelphia & Reading railroad shops, where he continued until the spring of 1905, when he became the proprietor of the "Hotel Wagner," its first owner. Mr. Wagner is a man of standing in the community, and his house is first-class in every particular. He does a fine business.

On March 23, 1896, Mr. Wagner married Anna Nagle, daughter of George G. and Priscilla (Geiger) Nagle, of Reading. They have had six children, namely; Paul, Raymond, Esther, May, James F. (died Oct. 15, 1907) and Harry. Mr. and Mrs. Wagner belong to St. John's Lutheran Church. He is a member of Aerie No. 66, F. O. E.; of the Independent Americans, no. 27; of Teutonia Lodge, No. 367, F. & A. M., of Reading; and formerly of Resolute Council, Jr. O. U. A. M. He is also a member of the Philadelphia & Reading Relief Association, and of a number of social organizations.

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

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