Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 812


Jonathan W. Weigley, in his lifetime an active worker in public affairs and also a successful farmer, in the early history of the Weigley family in this country that their direct ancestor came over with William Penn and settled in Philadelphia county. Whether he was an actual convert to Quakerism or not is not known, although it is manifest that the family here owes its origin to that portion of its German ancestors which came under the influence of Penn when he visited Holland and Germany in 1671 for the advancement of Quakerism. Long prior to 1734 John Michael Weigley had settled in Lower Salford township (Montgomery county, Pa.), at which time he was a landowner, having a considerable tract. His son George died Oct. 20, 1760, leaving a widow and five children, viz: Elizabeth (wife of Frederick Gable), Catharine, George, Margaret and John. While Adam Weigley, the immediate progenitor of the family in Lebanon county, was born in 1744 in Lancaster county, where his father, a brother of John Michael and a contemporary of William Penn, had settled. The descendants of these brothers are widely scattered with their numerous progeny through Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin.

Adam Weigley, born at Reamstown, Lancaster Co., Pa., in 1744, removed to White Marsh, Montgomery Co., Pa. He married in 1770 Hannah Eva Walter, who was born in Cocalico township, Lancaster Co., Pa., and who survived her husband several years, dying in 1840, near Newmanstown, Lebanon county. Adam was a farmer by occupation and finally settled near Womelsdorf, Pa., where he died in 1798, leaving considerable real estate, as appears from the proceedings in partition in the Orphan's court of the county of Berks commenced in December, 1800, and leaving the following children: (1) Joseph, born in 1770; married in 1790; admitted to the Bar of Philadelphia county in 1798; removed to Westmoreland county, Pa., and died near Greensburg in 1819, leaving issue, viz.-three sons, Alexander, a physician nor deceased, and Horatio and Wellington, both lawyers who lived in Chicago, Ill.; also six daughters, Eliza, Julia, Ann, Hannah, Harriet and Mary. (2) Samuel, born in 1772, married Maria Reed, and had issue: Hannah, Rebecca (married to Jacob Heddinger), Lucy (married to Henry Lautz), Lydia (married to George Bechtholtz), William (married to Royal Phillabaum) and Mary (married to Emanuel Noll). (3) David died young. (4) Jacob Adam was born in 1787. (5) Daniel died young. (6) Elizabeth married Joseph Debbie of Berks County, Pa. They had issue: Elizabeth and Julia (married to Henry Noll). (7) Sarah married John Brou, of Newmanstown, Lebanon Co., Pa. (8) Catharine married Philip Kalbaugh, of Berks county, Pa. (9) Susannah married Jacob Noll, of West Virginia.

Of the above, Jacob Adam Weigley alone settled permanently in Lebanon county, where nearly all of his descendants now reside. Jacob Adam Weigley, born Jan. 22, 1787, in Berks county, Pa., died Dec. 14, 1880. He married Catharine Miller (daughter of John Miller) who was born Jan. 7, 1792, and died March 21, 1869, at Millbach. Jacob Weigley was brought up to hard work on the farm and on reaching manhood began for himself on a farm in Mill Creek township, Lebanon Co., Pa. He also engaged in milling, operating the Millbach mill (now known as Illig's mill) for many years. He and his wife had children as follows:

(1) Mary born Aug. 22, 1811, died Feb. 12, 1898, and is buried at Millbach, Lebanon Co., Pennsylvania.

(2) Isaac, born July 11, 1813, married in August, 1836, Elizabeth Zeller, who was born May 21, 1818. Isaac was a pump-maker and farmer, and lived at Richland, Lebanon Co., Pa. Both he and his wife are buried at Millbach.

Their children were: (a) Malinda S., born April 7, 1837, died May 15, 1903, was married to Michael B. Schaeffer, in October, 1867, and had issue: Miller, born Aug. 6, 1869 and Minnie, born Oct. 1875, both residing at Richland, Lebanon county. (b) Catharine E., born Nov. 16, 1838, married Henry Mell, in October, 1857, and had issue: Mary Anderson, born Feb. 28, 1863, who married Benjamin Dornbach, and had issue, Nora (married to Monroe Smaltz) and John (residing at Richland); Lizzie, born April 6, 1874, married to Sherman Leitner and residing at Richland: Dora, born Dec. 2, 1875, and Ada, born June 11, 1878, both living at home. (c) Francis W., born Jan. 28, 1840, became a soldier in the Union army (7th Pennsylvania Cavalry) and was killed in the war of the Rebellion in 1862. (d.) John J., born Feb. 12, 1842, married Maria E. Kilmer, on Sept. 13, 1868, and had issue: Ira, born April 18, 1870, who married (first) Elvie Hershey and had issue ? Sarah and Rachael (mother and daughters deceased), and married (second), Lillian Auchenbach, Nov. 15, 1898, their issue being Minnie, born Dec. 26, 1899 and Pearl, born Jan. 11, 1906 (all residing at Richland): Mary, born April 26, 1872, who was married in 1893 to Eugene Eck, conductor on the Philadelphia & Reading railroad, and had issue, Florence, born Feb. 13, 1894, and Lee, born May 11, 1904 (residing at Richland, Lebanon Co., Pa.) ; Harry, born March 26, 1874 who married Ida Smith and had issue, Horace (born Nov. 14, 1896). Grace (born April 1, 1899). John (born Nov. 15, 1900). Louis (born Sept. 9, 1903) and Mary (born April 19, 1907); Dawson, born Oct. 20, 1876, who married July 11, 1905, Nora Klopp, and had issue, Mollie, born Feb. 11, 1907 and Anna, born May 10, 1908; Robert born Jan. 22, 1880; Ray, born March 8, 1889; and Katie, born Aug. 11, 1891. (e) Wayne J. was born March 15, 1844. (f) Jacob Z., born June 6, 1846, married Harriet Boyer Oct. 30, 1869 and had issue: Francis, born March 14, 1873, who married Kate Hain and had issue, Margaret. (g) William W. was born Aug. 1848.

(3) Charles Weigley, born Oct. 15, 1815, married (first) Sarah Moore, daughter of Adam Moore and his wife Barbara. He was a prosperous farmer. In politics he was a stanch Democrat. Though quiet and unostentatious in manner, he wielded considerable influence in his township. He and his wife had issue: (a) Emeline M., born Dec. 22, 1837, died March 1, 1854. (b)

Jonathan W. is mentioned at length below. (c) Annie C., born April 18, 1844, married John M. Holstein Aug. 3, 1867, and had issue: Thomas, born July 22, 1868; and Elmer, born June 19, 1870, married to Minnie Hartman, and residing at Millbach. (d) Wellington, born Oct. 1, 1846, died June 10, 1860. (e) Amanda, born Dec. 25, 1847, resides with her niece, Miss Lizzie R. Weigley. (f) Walker, born Dec. 6, 1851, married Mary Weik, and lives at Stouchsburg. They had issue: Ida, born Nov. 13, 1875 who married (first) Abraham Gruttis and had issue ? Lulu (born Dec. 3, 1893) and Charles (born Feb. 10, 1895, and married (second) in 1902 Thomas Schoedler, by whom she has Harry, Born Oct. 10, 1902; Morris, born July 14, 1878, who married Lillie Heckeman, Dec. 27, 1902, and had Irene E., born March 4, 1908; and Carrie, born Nov. 17, 1887, residing with her parents. (g) Pierce married Adda Shealer and resides at Lebanon. They had issue: Elmer, Miles (both married); Charles (deceased), June (residing at home), Charles Weigley married (second) Hettie Walter, born March 12, 1819, died Oct. 24, 1894; she is buried at Millbach.

(4) William W. Weigley, born Jan. 1, 1818, at Millbach, Lebanon county, Pa., married Jan. 18, 1841, Anna Rex, youngest daughter of Abraham Rex, of Schaefferstown. Their children are: (a) Rex, born Feb. 12, 1842, married in September, 1865, Mary Borthwick, of Philadelphia, and they had issue: Sophie B., born Oct. 30, 1866, who died April 18, 1876; Annie R., born March 18, 1868; William B., born May 30, 1869; Rex, born March 23, 1876; Robert B., born Feb. 11, 1879, who died April 17, 1882; and Jessie, born March 13, 1880, who died April 27, 1882. (b) William Wallace, born at Schaefferstown, Pa., Aug. 4, 1843; a graduate of Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pa., class of 1862; admitted to the Philadelphia Bar in June, 1867; was cashier of the United States Custom House in 1872-1873; and has been engaged in the practice of law in Philadelphia, where he now resides. He married, June 15, 1870, Mary S. Forney, eldest daughter of the late Hon. John W. Forney, of Philadelphia. (c) Anna Isadore, Born at Schaefferstown, Pa., Sept. 15, 1847, married July 26, 1877, Theodore D. Griswold, of St. Joseph, Mo., and had issue: Ray, born Sept. 15, 1878, who is married.

(5) Allen Weigley, born July 24, 1821 at Millbach, Lebanon Co., Pa., married Nov. 8, 1857, Ann Elizabeth English, of Jonestown, Pa. Allen died Jan. 23, 1897. They had children: Robert E., born April 14, 1859, who was admitted to the Lebanon county Bar in 1883; Sue S., born March 17, 1861; William Wallace, born Nov. 25, 1863, now deceased; Katharine D., born April 13, 1865; and Richard W., born July 6, 1867, married to Amanda Fessler and residing at Lebanon.

(6) Caroline, born Oct. 4, 1823, died April 1, 1903. She was married to David Moyer, of Millbach, Lebanon Co., Pa., and had issue: Morris M. born in 1850, married to Elizabeth Noll (their children are Paul, Horace, married to Florence Smaltz, and Frank, living with his parents at Millbach); Ada D. born in 1863, married to Sam Fisher, and residing at Reading; and Robert, born in 1865, who married Annie Miller, and had issue Daniel (he resides at Millbach).

(7) Lucy Ann, born Oct. 8, 1825, married Daniel Pennypacker, of Lancaster county, both now deceased. They had issue: Amelia W., married to Joseph Brubaker of Lebanon county, Pa., by whom she had Ella, Charles, Retten and Robert.

(8) Henrietta, born April 2, 1828, married Michael M. Moore, of Millbach, Lebanon Co, Pa., and died April 21, 1902. Their children are: Miller, born in 1853, married to Emma R. Smith; Jonathan W., born in 1855, married to Mary R. Kaufman (issue, Elsie, residing with her parents at Sheridan, Lebanon Co., Pa.); and Andrew, born in 1857, married to Fannie Frank (had issue, Gertrude, married to Jerome Miller and residing at Reading).

(9) Oliver Weigley, born Oct. 23, 1830, died March 3, 1874. He married Ella Jones, of Baltimore Md. (who is now deceased). And had issue, Elizabeth, who is now deceased.

(10) John A. Weigley, born July 22, 1832, married Oct. 19, 1858, Sabina S. Meiser, who died Friday March 29, 1889. John died Jan. 6, 1892. Their children are: Westa M., born Sept. 11, 1859; Emma S., born May 4, 1865; and Wallron W., born March 1, 1868, who married Amy Emerich and had issue, Early (died Oct. 16, 1900, aged six years, two months, seven days), Charles (died April 1, 1901, aged two years, eleven months, one day), Catharine and Helen (residing with their parents at Richland).

Jonathan W. Weigley, son of Charles, was born Aug. 27, 1839, at Schaefferstown, Lebanon Co., Pa., and died April 2, 1907. For many years he engaged in farming until 1893, when he brought his family to the home in which they now reside. His education was begun in the district schools and completed in a school at the Trappe, in Montgomery county, Pa., now known as Ursinus College, at Collegeville. He was a man of intelligence and was of great influence in his vicinity. He was a firm upholder of Democratic principles and actively interested in the success of his party, being honored with a number of local offices while living in Jackson township, Lebanon county. He owned a valuable farm of 117 acres in that township, formerly his father's farm on which in 1895 he erected a large barn; Daniel Haag of Millersburg had the contract. He also put up good shedding and otherwise improved the property. He was a member of Tulpehocken Reformed Church, and at his death was buried in the cemetery there.

In 1865 Jonathan W. Weigley was married to Emma E. Kilmer, daughter of Israel and Lovina (Batdorf) Kilmer. The only child of this union was Miss Lizzie R., who is a graduate of the Bloomsburg State Normal School, class of 1901. She has taught five terms in the public schools in Marion township and is most successful, her own love of learning inspiring her pupils to steady effort. The Weigley home contains a number of relics, a grandfather's clock which belonged to the great-great-grandmother of Miss Lizzie, also a chair that belonged to the family that owned the clock.


p. 1654


Morris Weil born in the city of Reading, Pa., June 9, 1862, son of Solomon and Rosa (Levy) Weil.

Solomon Weil, the father of Morris, was a merchant in the city of Reading. He was an orthodox Hebrew, and took great pride in his race and in the affairs of Temple Oheb Sholem, of which he was one of the principal founders and supporters. He was born in 1830, at Oberlust, Bavaria, and died in the city of Reading, Pa., Dec. 9, 1900, aged seventy years. Being ambitious and courageous, and perceiving the great opportunities offered by this country, he immigrated to America when but twenty years of age. From the beginning of his career until the time of his death he was actively identified with the business of this city. He was at different times engaged in various lines of business, but the greater portion of his life was spent in the clothing business on Penn Square, between Fifth and Sixth streets, in the city of Reading. He was married to Rosa Levy, born at Bozebach, near Kaiserslautern, on the Rhine. From this union sprang these children, namely; Jacob, died in 1896, aged thirty-eight years; Abraham, died in 1892, aged twenty-four years, two that died in early infancy; Benjamin, a jeweler located in Philadelphia; Joseph, a pharmacist, formerly located at No. 67 Wall street, New York City, now engaged in brokerage and general promotion; Henrietta, wife of Levi Weitzenkorn, merchant, residing at No. 534 Centre avenue, Reading; Ella, wife of Henry Fein, wholesale jeweler, No. 49 Maiden Lane, New York City; and Morris, the subject of this biography.

Morris Weil was educated in the public schools. He began his business life under the eye of his father, learning the art of cutting, in the clothing store of Mr. Weil, Sr. Having mastered this trade, he sought a location in which to start in business for himself, but after being a salesman in Greenville, Mich., Shenandoah, Shamokin and Harrisburg, Pa., he returned to Reading. He next spent five years as a traveling salesman of trousers, covering Pennsylvania, for his brother Jacob. Quitting the road, he established himself in the retail clothing business, in the year 1889, at No. 642 Penn street, Reading. This business proved profitable from the start, and at the end of thirteen years he retired, selling his business to J. S. Hornberger on Feb. 11, 1902.

Being of an observing turn of mind, he had for years been familiarizing himself with the values of real estate in this city. Upon retiring from business, finding himself without any regular occupation, he began the buying of real estate for speculative purposes. He rapidly increased his holdings, and he is now, while living at his ease in a semi-retired manner, in constant touch with the men and conditions that affect the real estate market. His judgment is valued, and his foresight and ability are recognized by all the men in this branch of business.

Mr. Weil is unmarried, a member of Temple Oheb Sholem, a charter member of Reading Aerie, No. 66, of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, one of the founders of the Eagles' Mountain Home, and a member of numerous other social and charitable organizations. In politics he is an independent voter.


p. 519


John Weiler, publisher of the Reading Post, the Deutsche Eiche' and Die Biene, is one of the best-known men in newspaper circles in Reading. He was born April 17, 1852, in Essingen, Oberamt Aalen, Kingdom of Wurtemberg, Germany, and was educated in the common and high schools of his native land. After several years employment in the post-office at Stuttgart, he came to America in 1872, and in the same year entered the service of William Rosenthal, at that time the owner of the Reading Post, as collector. He then, after a short time, became a reporter, then editor, then manager, and finally for the past fifteen years he has had general supervision of the establishment. In June, 1908, he purchased the Reading Post printing establishment from Mr. Rosenthal, and in less than one year, after making great improvements, the business had been more than doubled. The Post had been published for forty years when it came into the possession of Mr. Weiler. It is the oldest German daily paper in the State of Pennsylvania outside of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and its readers include all classes of the German speaking population, by whom it is regarded as the best public medium of communication.

Mr. Weiler also publishes two other papers-Die Biene is a weekly containing entertaining and instructive matter for the numerous subscribers; and the Deutsche Eiche is the organ of the German Order of Harugari, and is an eight-page weekly edited personally by Mr. Weiler.

Notwithstanding the vast and responsible work entailed by the publication of three papers, Mr. Weiler has always had some time to spare for matters of public interest, and he has taken great pride in the development of his adopted town, and he has given much time to furthering the interests of the city. He is an active member of the Reading Press Club, and has officiated as its president for several terms, and he is also connected with all the German organizations in the city, and is a member of Teutonia Lodge, No. 367, F. & A. M., which he has served as master.

Over thirty years ago Mr. Weiler was married to Miss Louise Hansen, who died in 1907. He has three sons: Philip A., owner of the Keystone Electric Company; George Fred, an electrical engineer; and Harry H., associated with his father and thoroughly interested in newspaper work.


p. 602


Samuel S. Weis, a farmer on the Weis homestead in Earl township, Berks county, near the Colebrookdale township line, was born Sept. 15, 1836, on the farm on which he now resides.

Killian Weis, Sr., his grandfather, was born Dec. 15, 1751, and died Feb. 16, 1840, and was buried in the old cemetery at the Hereford Mennonite Church at Bally of which he and his wife were members. In the Federal census of 1790 he was recorded as a taxable resident of Upper Milford township, Northampton county (a district now embraced in Lehigh county) and as the head of a family consisting of himself, his wife Catharine (nee Landis) and six sons, Jacob, John, George, Henry, Killian (father of Samuel S.) and Samuel (three of whom were under sixteen years of age), and three daughters, Anna (m. John Ehst), Kate (m. Henry Shelly), and Hannah (m. Isaac Longacre).

In Upper Milford township, in what is now Lehigh county, there also lived Jacob Weis, brother of Killin, Sr., who was the owner and proprietor of the old Weis's mill, now known as Kreibel's mill, in Lower Milford township. In 1790 he had two sons and three daughters.

Killian Weis, son of Killian, Sr., was born Jan. 21, 1788, and died Dec. 23, 1874. He was a life-long farmer, and in 1819 bought the Ehst farm now occupied by his son Samuel S. This farm consists of 100 acres of fertile hilly land, on which is found a high grade of magnetic ore. The Berks Development Company has sunk a number of shafts and has found a good grade of ore. Killian Weis also owned the farm now owned by his grandson, Frank Weis. His name has been spelled Weis and Wise. He married Barbara Shelly, born Jan. 31, 1796, and died June 20, 1886. Their children, seven sons and two daughters were: Jacob, born Feb. 9, 1825, died Aug. 10, 1899; Catharine and Franklin, twins, born March 2, 1826, of whom Catharine died Oct. 12, 1849, and Franklin Jan. 19, 1888; Henry, born 1827, died June 24, 1908; Killian, born 1828, died April 29, 1904; Joel, born 1830, died young; John, born 1852, died Feb. 28, 1899; Elizabeth, born 1834, died Sept. 26, 1908; and Samuel S. is the only survivor.

Of these children only two married, Jacob and Killian. John, Henry, Frank, Elizabeth and Samuel S. spent their lives on the old homestead. In politics they were all Democrats. They were steadfast believers in the Mennonite faith, and belong to the Mennonite Church at Boyertown, where the parents are buried. The earlier generations lie in the Hereford burial ground at Bally.

Jacob Weis, son of Killian and brother Samuel S., born in 1825, died Aug. 10, 1899. He was a farmer in Colebrookdale township. He married Elizabeth Moyer, daughter of Michael Moyer, and she died in 1900, aged eight-three years. They had two children: Elizabeth, born April 8, 1857, m. Jan. 28, 1882 Oscar K. Hausman, of Colebrookdale, and has three sons and one daughter---Morris W. (born Aug. 12, 1882), Edward (Jan. 3, 1890), Jacob (Aug. 12, 1893) and Lizzie (June 22, 1896); and Kate, born May 21, 1859, has since 1906 been the home maker for her uncle Samuel S. (she is an active worker in the Mennonite Church). Morris W. Hausman married Sept. 6, 1902, Catharine Johnson, and has two sons, Monroe and Elmer.

Killian Weis, son of Killian and brother of Samuel S., born 1828, died April 29, 1904, married Sarah Staufer, daughter of William Staufer, and they have had two sons and one daughter: Lizzie, born July, 1858, m. Samuel Beer, and died in April, 1892; Frank, born Dec. 1859, m. Marry Updegroff, and had one son Samuel, Jr. (born Sept. 11, 1886, m. Jan. 19, 1907, Lillie Worstler and has two children, Samuel and Mary); and William, born October, 1874, died in Feb., 1887.

Samuel S. Weis has passed all his life on the farm that is now his home, never having been absent from it more than one week at a time. In politics he is a Democrat, and has twice been delegate from Earl township to the county conventions. He adheres to the Mennonite faith, belonging to the church at Boyertown. Mr. Weis, though seventy-three years old is a very active man, and is an excellent farmer. He has an old grandfather's clock, made by John Brooker, of Germantown in 1789, which still keeps good time, and is in fine condition. Mr. Weis has never married. As stated above his niece, Kate, daughter of his brother Jacob, has kept house for him since 1906.


p. 911


Alvin Weiser, general farmer, residing on his excellent farm of seventy-five acres, which is situated in Maxatawny township, was born on the farm on which he lives in Berks county, Pa., April 12, 1863, son of William and Sallie N. (Feinstermacher) Weiser.

William Weiser was born April 12, 1825, on the farm above mentioned, and died here June 24, 1900. He was a prominent farmer, owning 115 acres of valuable land and he made many excellent improvements, building the comfortable residence in which his last years were spent after he retired from active pursuits. For a considerable time he was a partner in the firm of Schweyer & Leiss, in the marble business. For many years he was an elder in the Christ Reformed Church at Bowers. In politics he was a strong Democrat, and on many occasions he served on the township school board. He married a daughter of David and Rebecca (Smith) Fenstermacher, who died June 27, 1906, aged eight-four years, seven months and eight days. The children born to William Weiser and wife were as follows: (1) Leanda, born March 19, 1847, died Nov. 27, 1908. She married Francis J. Schwoyer, and they had children: Eliza, William, Eugene, Cyraneus, Endora, Astor and Neda. (2) Alfred, born July 24, 1849, married Amanda Hilbert, and died leaving two children, Edwin and Elizabeth. (3) David A., born March 12, 1852, was accidentally killed in a stone quarry, at Bowers, March 12, 1873. He was unmarried. (4) Cyraneus B., born Feb. 19, 1854, was accidentally killed in a mine explosion in Colorado, Jan. 7, 1892. He was not married. (5) Hannah R., born June 22, 1856, married Reuben L. Smith and resides in Rockland township. They had three children, Harry, Helen, and Harvey. (6) Oliver W., born July 26, 1858, resides with his sister Mrs. John D. Grim, at Bowers Station. He is foreman for the firm of Schweyer & Leiss. (7) Allen, born Jan. 28, 1861, died Dec. 13, 1863. (8) Alvin. (9) Ellen S. A., born March 19, 1865, died July 17, 1866. (10) Amanda P., born Sept. 9, 1867, married John D. Grim, residing at Bowers Station, and they have three children, William E., Sallie M. and George A.

Alvin Weiser attended the township schools through boyhood and always remained assisting his father on the home farm. In 1901 he bought seventy-five acres of the farm, made an addition to the house and made improvements all over the place. The substantial barn was built by his father in 1877. Mr. Weiser has an excellent location, being but a short distance from Bowers Station, making the transportation of his products and commodities a comparatively easy matter. This farm was known as the old Jacob Seibert farm and it became the property of Hannah Stout, grandmother of Alvin Weiser. A barn built in 1814 was rebuilt in 1877 by Mr. Weiser, and a house built in 1813 still stands, having been improved by Mr. Weiser.

In 1889, Alvin Weiser married Evella Kutz, daughter of David F. and Caroline (Haas) Kutz, and a granddaughter of Daniel and Catherine Fister. Mr. and Mrs. Weiser have the following children: Edgar D., Minnie E., George W., Paul A., Mary E., Annie E., and Lillian C. Both Mr. and Mrs. Weiser are members of Christ Reformed Church at Bowers, in which he has served as deacon. In politics he is a Democrat, and on that ticket served on the township election board, and in 1904 was elected a member of the school board of which he was made president and treasurer. He belongs to Lodge No. 634, I. O. O. F., at Lyon.


p. 330


Conrad Weiser was the most prominent historical character in the county of Berks previous to 1760. His great prominence arose from his intimate connection with the provincial government of Pennsylvania for thirty years. He was the principal judge of Berks county from 1752 to 1760. He was born Nov. 2, 1696, at Afstaedt, a small village in the County of Herrenberg, in Wurtemberg, Germany, and there he acquired a general education, which included the principles of the Christian religion according to the catechism of Martin Luther. Whilst in his fourteenth year he immigrated with his father and family (which included himself and seven other children) to New York, landing June 17, 1710. At that time several thousand Germans were sent to America by Queen Anne. Shortly after their arrival they were removed to Livingston Manor by the Governor of New York, to burn tar and cultivate hemp to defray the expenses incurred by Queen Anne in conveying them from Holland to England and from England to America. They labored till 1713 in this employment under the direction of commissioners; then, finding that they were existing under a form of bondage, they protested against the treatment and this affected their release. About 150 families of them, including the Weiser family, removed to Schoharie, forty miles west of Albany. Whilst spending the winter of 1713-14 at Schenectady, the elder Weiser was frequently visited by an Indian chief of the Mohawk tribe, and during one of these visits the chief proposed to Conrad to visit the Mohawk country and learn the language of that tribe. This proposition was agreed to. Conrad Weiser was in his eighteenth year when he went to live with the Indians. He was a strong young man, but all of his strength was necessary to endure the sufferings which he was compelled to undergo whilst living with them. He had scarcely clothing sufficient to cover his body during the winter of that trying year. Besides much suffering, he was frequently threatened with death by the Indians during a state of intoxication. In July 1714, he returned to his father's home at Schoharie. In this time he had acquired a considerable knowledge of the Mohawk language, and while at home he increased this knowledge by acting as interpreter between the German settlers of that vicinity and the Mohawk Indians. The settlers having been disturbed in their possessions, Conrad Weiser's father and a number of others migrated to Pennsylvania. They located in Tulpehocken in the spring of 1723, in the midst of the Indians; and there they also commenced the improvements of the land without permission from the land commissioners. The Indians complained but the settlers were not disturbed. Subsequently the Indians released their rights and about 1733 they removed beyond the Blue Mountains.

Conrad Weiser was married to a young woman of Schoharie in 1720. He continued at that place till 1729, when with his wife and five children he removed to the Tulpehocken settlement, locating on a tract of land near the present borough of Womelsdorf. Shortly after his arrival, his ability and success as an Indian interpreter became known to the Provincial government, and the Governor employed him in negotiation with the Indians. His first services in this capacity were performed in 1731, and from that time for nearly thirty years he was almost constantly engaged in this important work. He assisted at numerous treaties, and in the published proceedings of these treaties his name appears prominently. His integrity was particularly recognized and publicly complimented.

He was one of the most prominent men in the French and Indian War. His numerous letters indicate his zeal, courage and patriotism. He served in the war as a colonel, and his services were of great value to the government and to the people of Berks county.

The first proceedings for the erection of Berks county were instituted in 1738. In this behalf Mr. Weiser was very active, and he continued active till the county was established in 1752. The town of Reading was laid out by the Penn's in 1748, and in the sale of the town lots Mr. Weiser acted as one of the commissioners. He was prominently identified with the first movements in building up the town, and in developing the business interests of the place.

The Governor of the Province, in 1741, appointed him as a justice of the peace, and he filled this office for a number of years. When the county was erected in 1752, he was appointed one of the first judges. He acted as president judge of the courts till his decease in 1760. He lived at Reading mostly during the latter part of his life.

Conrad Weiser died on his Heidelberg farm July 13, 1760, and his remains were buried in a private burying ground on the place, where they have remained since. He left a widow and seven children: five sons, Philip, Frederick, Peter, Samuel, and Benjamin: and two daughters, Maria (m. Rev. Henry Melchoir Muhlenberg), and Margaret (m. a Finker). He was possessed of a large estate, consisting of properties at Reading, and lands in Heidelberg township and in the region of country beyond the Blue Mountains. In Heidelberg he owned a tract which included the privilege of a "Court-Baron," granted to him in 1743, the tract having originally contained 5,165 acres as granted to John Page in 1735, and having then been erected into a manor, called the 'Manor of Plumton." At Reading one of his properties was a business stand, and it has continued to be a prominent business location from that time till now, a period embracing over 150 years.

For upward of fifth years, various unsuccessful efforts were made in behalf of erecting a suitable memorial to Conrad Weiser. In 1892 and 1893, the compiler of this history delivered a lecture before local teachers' institutes in different parts of the county entitled "Life and Times of Conrad Weiser" for the purpose of securing a memorial, and the Reading Board of Trade led the school authorities of the county to set aside November 2, 1893, for an observance by the teachers and scholars as "Weiser Day", and to facilitate this observance 3500 copies of the lecture were distributed gratuitously to all the schools of the city and county. It was not until October 30, 1907, that a modest tablet was placed in the west wall of the Stichter Hardware Store on Penn Square by the Historical Society of Berks County, which reads as follows:

Picture of Conrad Weiser's Burial Site


IN BERKS IN 1729, DIED IN 1760,

We append the autograph of this noted pioneer:

Picture of Conrad Weiser's Signature


p. 1691


Jonathan A. Weisner, a farmer and implement dealer at Kempton, Albany township, Berks county, was born in that township May 1, 1870, son of Nathan and Mary A. (Zimmerman) Weisner.

The Weisner family has long been settled in Pennsylvania. John Weisner was a Ranger of the Frontier from Northampton county, Pa., between 1778-83, in John McClelland's Company. One Godfrey Weisner in 1829, lived in Lehigh county, and was seventy-four years old; he was a pensioned soldier of the Revolutionary War. In 1744, in Philadelphia county, lived David Weisner who owned 100 acres of land, and is said to be a pioneer of the family now located about Pottstown, Pennsylvania. In 1769, in Philadelphia county, lived George Weisner who owned 160 acres of land; and one Leonard Weisner who paid a Proprietary Tax on 100 acres of land. In 1783 the Thomas Weisner Estate was assessed in Falls township, Berks county, Pa. In 1786, one Matthias Weisner was assessed from Lower Makefield township, Berks county, Pa. Jacob Weisner in 1758 paid a tax on 100 acres of land.

Heinrich Weisner, great-grandfather of Jonathan A., lived in Douglass township, Montgomery county. He was an undertaker and farmer, and died in 1809 aged about thirty-seven years, and is buried at the Swamp Church, in Montgomery county. He married Catharine Yerger, who is buried at Huff's Church. She married for her second husband John Laub. To Heinrich and Catharine Weisner were born children as follows: George, located in Northumberland county, Pa.; Lydia, m. to George Reichard; Rachel, m. to Ezra Yergy; Rebecca, m. to Charles Wagonhorst; Henry, who died small; Jonas, m. to Sallie Dietrich; Samuel (died in Montgomery county, aged fifty-nine years), m. to Sarah Smith of Montgomery county, and had Catharine (who is blind and lives at Pottstown), Matthias (of Pottstown) and Mary (m. John Wanner, of the Trappe).

Jonas Weisner, son of Heinrich, was born in Douglass township, Montgomery county, Pa., Dec. 15, 1806, and before his marriage located in Greenwich township, Berks county. Here he was married to Sallie Dietrich, daughter of Michael Dietrich. She was born Jan. 6, 1810, and died Jan. 25, 1895. Jonas Weisner was a life long prosperous farmer, and for many years operated the Weisner farm at Round Top, which consisted of upward of 120 acres. He was a shoemaker by trade, and made his own shoes and those for his own family. He died on Jan. 24, 1892. To him and his wife were born the following children: Henry (1833-1906); Jonas (1835-1855); Mary Ann, m. to William Zimmerman; Samuel m. to Mary Schaeffer; Nathan; Willoughby, m. to Amelia Oldt, and living at Steins Corner, Pa.; David, m. to Ellen Moyer; Lydia, m. to Alfred Dietrich.

Nathan Weisner, son of Jonas, is a farmer at the Round Top, in Albany township. He was born Oct. 3, 1841, and was reared to farm life, spending his youth on the Weisner farm, on the North side of Round Top. This farm has been in the Weisner name since 1835. It formerly was a Miller stand, and later was owned by Michael Dietrich, who sold it to Jonas Weisner, his son-in-law. Nathan Weisner attended the old German pay school which was held in the homes of different families. He worked for his parents until he was twenty-one years of age and was then hired out four years. When he was twenty-five years old he began farming where he has ever since lived. His farm consists of 130 acres of fertile land. This was the original Anthony Adam homestead, and was one of the first settled districts. It came in the Weisner name in 1867. Mr. Weisner built the brick residence in 1879, and the barn in 1881. In politics he is a Democrat. He and his family are Lutheran members at Wessnerville (Friedens) Church. He was married in 1867 to Mary Ann Zimmerman, daughter of Michael Zimmerman, of Albany township. She was born June 12, 1842, and died Aug. 5, 1899. Their children were: Emma T., who died small; Jonathan A.; Amundus A., of Glassboro, N. J.; and Miss Senora, at home.

Jonathan A. Weisner was reared near Round Top, in Albany township and worked for his parents until he was twenty-eight years old. He was educated in the common schools, and in 1894 began dealing in implements which he has kept up ever since, handling the products of the McCormick and the International Harvester Company. In 1901 he purchased the Isaac Faust farm, near Kempton. This farm consists of seventy-five acres of fertile land located near the mouth of the Manor Brook, and is now known as Manor Brook Farm. The soil is good potato land, and Mr. Weisner plants from ten to fifteen acres in that vegetable. Iron pyrites, cement and limestone are found on this farm. The present stone house was built in 1829 by Sebastian Faust, and has one of the most substantial walls in the county. The barn was built by Isaac Faust on of Sebastian during the sixties. Mr. Weisner has his place in fine condition, and the surroundings ware very beautiful. He is a Democrat in his political faith and he and his family are Lutheran members of Friedens Church at Wessnersville. Fraternally he belongs to the Order of Independent Americans, No. 544, at Kempton.

In September, 1899, Mr. Weisner was m. to Mary E. Heffner, of Virginsville, Pa. They have one daughter, Annie E.


p. 1402


Emanuel M. Weller, a farmer near Hill Church, in Pike township, Berks county, was born in that township, Jan. 24, 1865, son of Emanuel and Sallie (Moyer) Weller.

Philip Weller, grandfather of Emanuel M., was a resident in District township, where he was engaged in burning charcoal and in cultivating a small tract of land. He married Rebecca Heydt, a sister of Jacob Heydt. Both Philip Weller and his wife are buried in the graveyard at Hill Church. Their children were: Julia, who died unmarried; Emanuel; Henry, m. to Mary Houck; Rebecca, who is unmarried and is in her eighty-third year; Adam, unmarried; Jonathan, m. to Sallie Johnson; Ishmael, m. to Catharine Herb; and Polly, m. to George Benfield.

Emanuel Weller, son of Philip and Rebecca, was born in the vicinity of Landis Store in District township March 25, 1821, and he died Feb. 20, 1897, on his seventy-six acre farm Feb. 20. 1897. He was a life-long farmer. He was a Reformed member of Hill Church and was regular in his attendance at divine service. In middle life he cut his left foot with an ax, necessitating the amputation of the foot above the ankle. He wore a wooden leg. About 1851 Emanuel Weller married Sallie Moyer, daughter of Jacob and Rebecca (Muthart) Moyer. She was born Sept. 9, 1831, and lives near Hill Church. They had ten children, namely: Jonathan, m. to Hannah Moyer; Rebecca, m. to John Eschbach; Malinda, m. to Peter Geschwindt, who died 1900; Mary, m. to William Eschbach; Sarah, m. to Willoughby Herb; Nathan N., m. to Ellen Lesher; Adam, an invalid; Emanuel M.; Joel, m. to Rosa Berkey, and Hettie, m. to Mahlon Swavely.

Emanuel M. Weller was educated in the township schools, and early became familiar with farm work. He began farming for himself in the spring of 1889, in Colebrookdale township and lived there on a thirty-eight acre farm two years. He then moved to Montgomery county on a 110-acre farm and farmed it for two years. From the late place he went to Oley, where he lived but one year, when he bought one of the old Moyer farms in Pike township near Hill Church. This consists of 220 acres, and belonged to Jacob Moyer, his grandfather. Mr. Weller bought it from the estate of Isaac Moyer, and he has since made a number of improvements to the buildings, and now has an up-to-date and valuable farm. He is one of the successful farmers in the township and is one of the largest milk shippers in the district. He is also an agent for fertilizer and sells annually several car loads.

In his political faith Mr. Weller is a Democrat, and was a school director for six years, serving the board as treasurer. He is a member of Knights of Golden Eagle, of Manatawny, and of Council No. 1007, Order American Mechanics. He and his family attend Hill Church, belonging to the Reformed congregation. He is a member of the Church choir.

On Feb. 13, 1886, Mr. Weller was married to Sallie Greis, daughter of John and Eliza (Lesher) Greis, of Longswamp township. She was born Feb. 11, 1867, and died April 26, 1907, and is buried in Hill Church cemetery. Mr. and Mrs. Weller had thirteen children, as follows: Warren W. G., Clyde S., Ralph W., Verna G., Vergie V., Earl P., Emanuel G., Norman N., Herbert H. and four died young.

Nathan N, Weller, son of Emanuel and Sallie (Moyer) and brother of Emanuel M., was born Sept. 20, 1860. He is a farmer in Pike township, near Hill Church, where he has a ninety-four-acre farm, which was a Moser tract. On Dec. 13, 1885, he married Ellen Lesher, and they had seven children: Mame, who died in 1908, aged twenty-one years, was the wife of Elmer Bechtel; Herbert is deceased; Robert; Elsie; Lloyd; Leon and Russell.


p. 1421


Harvey H. Weller, who succeeded his father-in-law, John Dotterrer, as proprietor of the store and hotel stand at Hill Church, in Pike township, was born in District township, Berks county, April 26, 1881, son of Israel and Mary (Heydt) Weller. His education was acquired in the common schools of District township, and his practical training for life's responsibilities was gained on the home farm.

In 1902 he came to Hill Church, where he worked one year for John Dotterrer in the store, hotel and on the farm. He began farming in the spring of 1904 for himself, on his father-in-law's farm east of Hill Church. This was a ninety-acre tract and he cultivated it for three years. Mr. Dotterrer died at the end of that time, and Mr. Weller became the proprietor of the Store and the hotel the following year, 1908. He carries a full line of general merchandise and is also the postmaster of Hill Church post-office. He operates the farm of fifty-three acres, connected with the store and hotel property. The Hill Church store and hotel building is an old landmark. The house is over 100 years old, but it was remodeled by Mr. Welter in the summer of 1909.

In political principle, Mr. Weller is a Republican. He has served as treasurer of the supervisors of the township. He and his wife are Reformed members of Hill Church.

Mr. Weller was married Feb. 22, 1902, to Hettie Dotterrer, daughter of John Dotterrer (See sketch elsewhere). To Mr. and Mrs. Weller have been born two children: Edna and Herbert.

Israel Weller, father of Harvey H., was born in District township, where he still lives. He is a farmer, in partnership with his brother Isaac owning three farms, comprising 283 acres. He is connected with Hill Church, being a member of the Reformed congregation. He married Mary Heydt, daughter of Benjamin Heydt, of Washington township, and they have two children: Ammon, who lives on one of Israel Weller's farms, married Minerva Hoffman, and has three children, Allen, Cora and Leroy; and Harvey H.

George Weller, father of Israel and grandfather of Harvey H., was born Jan. 2, 1791, and died May 19. 1867, and is buried at Hill Church. He was a resident of District township, where he lived on the Weller homestead, and carried on farming. His first wife was Elizabeth Johnson, who was born March 20, 1798, and died Jan. 12, 1875, and is buried in the graveyard at Hill Church. He m. (second) a Houck. His children were: Israel, Joseph, Isaac, Adam, David, George and Caroline m. Reuben Snyder and lived in District township.


p. 509


Joel H. Weller, merchant and successful business man of Boyertown, Berks Co., Pa., was born near Hill Church, Pike township, Oct. 29, 1849. The family history of the Wellers is very interesting and is as follows:

(1) Peter (he spelled the name "Peatter") Weller came to America in 1749 from his native land, Germany, where he was born in the year 1720, and he located in District township. He died in 1795, aged seventy-five years, and is buried at the Hill Church, his grave being marked by a monument erected in 1890 by his descendants. The monument was dedicated Aug. 24, 1890. Joel H. Weller and his father, Gideon Weller, were the moving spirits in erecting the monument to the memory of their honored ancestors, and it was their earnest desire that the younger generations of the family should assume the responsibility of the care of ground and monument. Peter Weller had three sons: Philip, John Adam and Peter, Jr.

(II) Philip Weller had sons as follows: Abraham; John; Peter; George; Philip, and Jacob. The two brothers of Philip had no issue.

(III) Abraham Weller had sons as follows: John, Samuel, Peter and Abraham. John, brother of Abraham, and son of Philip, had these sons: Adam; George; Benjamin; Joseph, and Peter. Peter, brother of John and Abraham, had these sons: Charles; Jacob; Benjamin and David.

(III) George Weller, son of Philip, had these sons: Thomas, Gideon (father of Joel H. Weller), Israel, Joseph, David, Adam, George and Isaac.

(IV) Gideon Weller was born in District township on the Weller homestead, Dec. 13, 1821, died Jan. 5, 1909, aged 87 years, 22 days, and was buried at Hill Church. He lived in Pike township near Hill Church, on his farm of 100 acres, and during his active live he was a farmer. But he had been confined to his bed for some years before his death. His first wife was Mary Hartlein, daughter of George Hartlein, of Earl township. She died in 1872, aged forty-four. Their children were: Joel H.; Daniel, of Pottstown; Lewis, of Hill Church; Jessiah, of Hill Church; Mrs. Catherine Weiser, of Boyertown; Mrs. Amanda Kemp, of Landis Store, Pa. He married (second) Hettie Fronheiser, who died in 1898. By her he had five children: Olivia; Lizzie; Alice; Sivilla and James. Since 1899 the Weller family has had re-unions, and the gatherings which take place at Gideon Weller's are occasions of much interest and pleasurable enjoyment. The Weller family has long been identified with District township, where George Weller, the grandfather of Joel H. Weller, was born, as well as his son Gideon.

(V) Joel H. Weller attended the schools of his township for three months each winter, and this constituted a term. During the rest of the winter months he assisted his father by threshing with the flail and chopping wood. In 1865 he learned the tailoring trade from John Stauffer of Bechtelsville, and this he followed for fifteen years at Boyertown, to which place he came in 1871. In 1888 he engaged in the general merchandise business on Philadelphia avenue, where he has since continued, now controlling an excellent trade not only from the people of Boyertown, but the territory contiguous to it. He carries at all times a full line of general merchandise, and because of his enormous amount of business and his superior connections, he is enabled to offer specially attractive inducements. In addition to his other interests Mr. Weller built three houses at Boyertown in 1890, which are very handsome residences.

In 1874 Mr. Weller married Miss Emma Bahr, daughter of Joshua and Elizabeth (Shauer) Bahr, of Boyertown, and they have two children: Mamie (m. Thomas Gabel, of Boyertown) and Miss Olivia. Mr. Weller and his family are consistent members of the Reformed Church of the Good Shepherd of Boyertown, where he has served as deacon and elder. Formerly he was a member of Hill Church. In 1874 when the church at Boyertown was built, Mr. Weller collected $3,500 for it's erection, and rendered the church very valuable assistance, receiving the heartfelt thanks of the congregation. He narrowly escaped with his life at the time of the Boyertown Opera House fire Jan. 13, 1908, being the last to leave the building alive: he was confined to the house for months with the burns received, and has never fully regained his health. Mr. Weller is a large-souled, capable, energetic man, whose capacity for business and executive force is remarkable, as he demonstrated when he carried through the erection of the new church home, and the raising of the monument to the Weller family. Without him neither would have been accomplished. He is never content with merely subscribing to any undertaking, but gives largely of his time and personal attention. In his business relations he is affable, courteous, prompt in meeting all obligations, and in every way has proven himself the right man in the right place whenever his services have been required to carry on anything, whether of public or private interest.

(V) Daniel Weller, brother of Joel H. , had children: Charles, Willie, Warren and Paul (deceased)

(VI) Charles Weller, son of Daniel, has a son (VII) Earl-- a representative in the seventh generation of the family in America.


p. 761


Llewellyn U. Wells, who is in the grocery business at Reading, was born near West Chester, Pa., Oct. 16, 1848, son of Isaac and Sidney (Hoopes) Wells.

Isaac Wells was born Jan. 9, 1820, in Chester county, and received his education in the schools of that locality. When a young man he learned the carpenters trade, making a specialty of stair building, becoming an expert and following this occupation for a number of years throughout the eastern section of the State. During his residence in Williamsport, Mr. Wells health failed him, and he engaged in farming for a short time, and in 1858 located in Reading. Two years later he went to Lebanon county, and subsequently settled for five years in Elizabethtown, Lancaster county, where he remained until locating in Northumberland county, and there continued to reside until 1869. In this year Mr. Wells returned to Reading, where he made his home until his death in 1894. His wife was a daughter of Sidney Hoopes, a native of Chester county, and a descendant of an old and prominent family. She died in 1889, aged sixty-eight years, the mother of four children: Olivia W.; Llewellyn U.; Anna, m. to William Phillips, deceased; and John Westley, who died in infancy. The family were members of the M. E. Church. In politics Mr. Wells was a Republican.

Llewellyn U. Wells was educated in the schools of Berks, Lebanon and Lancaster counties, and when a young man was taught the trade of carpenter, which was the trade of his father, and he followed this occupation for several years. In 1879 he settled permanently in Reading, and turned his attention to mercantile pursuits, engaging in business at the corner of Minor and Laurel streets, where he remained one and a half years. At the end of that time he located at the corner of Sixth and Laurel streets, and here he was located until he sold out.

Mr. Wells was married Sept. 9, 1875, to Miss Ella Fichthorn, daughter of William Fichthorn, and to this union three children have been born: Irma, a teacher in the Reading public schools; Aletha, who died aged nine years; and Clarence, employed at the Dun Mercantile Agency, Reading. Mr. Wells is a member of Vigilance Lodge No. 394, I. O. O. F., and of Reading Encampment. In his political views he is a Republican. Mr. Wells and his family are connected with the St. Peters M. E. Church, of which he is now serving as steward.


p. 834


Wesley H. Wells (deceased), who for many years was one of Reading's well-known business men, a reliable carpenter and builder, was born in Chester county, Pa., in 1822, son of Isaac and Elizabeth(Spackman) Wells.

Isaac Wells was born April 13, 1774, and his wife, Elizabeth Spackman, July 7, 1782, both in Chester county. Their children were: Sidney, born Dec. 24, 1802, died unmarried, Aug. 13, 1877; Jane, born Oct. 27, 1804, died unmarried, Sept. 22, 1825; Uriah, born April 6, 1807, died at Petersburg, Va., in 1864, having been prominent in the iron business in the South during the Civil War; Lavinia, born Dec. 21,1809, died May 8, 1893, in her eighty-fourth year, the mother of Thomas W. Sweeney (mentioned elsewhere); Thomas, born Aug. 5, 1812, was killed at a barn-raising in Chester county; William, born Oct. 29, 1814, died Jan. 16, 1877; Obed, born 1817, died in 1825; Isaac, born in 1820, died in 1894; and Isaiah and Wesley H., twins, born Oct. 30, 1822. Isaac Wells, the father, died in 1846, aged seventy-two years. In politics he was a strong Whig. Although not members of the society both he and his wife regularly attended Quaker meeting.

Wesley H. Wells learned the carpenter's trade in early life, and followed it with his brother Isaiah practically all of his active period. The brothers came to Reading in 1847, and they built many of the fine dwellings in this city, including churches and schoolhouses as well as homes and places for business. Isaiah Wells built St. Peter's M. E. Church and the Second Reformed Church. Wesley H. made a specialty of stair building when that particular work was all done by hand. He later operated a planing mill on Second street below Penn. In politics Mr. Wells was a stanch Republican, and for twenty consecutive years he was assessor of the Fourth ward in Reading. His private life was that of a most worthy man in every relation. Fraternally he belonged to Mattamora Lodge, I.O.O.F.

On July 4, 1850, Mr. Wells was married to Miss Anna S. Grissinger, daughter of Daniel and Lydia (Seltzer) Grissinger, the former of whom was a native of York county and the latter of Lebanon county. They had one child, Mary E., born July 20, 1854, who died in 1879. Mrs. Wells is a member of St. Peter's M. E. Church. Isaiah Wells, brother of the late Wesley H. Wells, married Mary Russell, and they had three children, viz: One child who died in childhood; Charles W., a prominent corporation lawyer of New York City, who has one son, Harry; and Ella, who resides with her brother in New York.

It is sad to note that this family, so exemplary and useful in former days, has almost all passed away. No city can lose such residents without deep regret.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:57:35 EDT

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