Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 740


John H. Wesley, a well-known citizen of Reading, and a soldier of the Civil war, was born June 9, 1846, in Robeson township, Berks county, Pa., son of Mark and Susan (Shafer) Wesley.

Mark Wesley was a collier and laborer - an honest, hard-working man. When his son, John H., was an infant, he settled at Reading. To him and his wife Susan (Shafer) were born the following children: Phebe Ann, m. to Isaac D. Whitman; Samuel L., who served in the Civil was as a member of Company B, 88th Pa. V. I.; John H.; Kate, m. to Thomas Rogers; Charles, an engineer with the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company; Harry, of Louisiana; and one that died in infancy. Mark Wesley and wife were consistent members of the Methodist Church. In politics he was a Democrat.

After completing his education in the schools of Reading, John H. Wesley entered the cotton mill, where he was subsequently made a foreman, and was working as such when, in March, 1862, he entered the employ of Jacob Shafer, with whom he remained until August 6th, when he enlisted in Company B, 128 Pa. V. I., and accompanied his regiment to the front three days later. He had for officers, Capt. William McNall and Col. Samuel Croasdale. The regiment was mustered in at Camp Curtin and was then sent on to join McClellan's army. The first battle of importance in which Mr. Wesley took part was Antietam and the second was Chancellorsville. When his first enlistment of nine months had expired he enlisted in Company H, 42nd P. V. M., Captain John Obold, and was discharged after the battle of Gettysburg. He again enlisted in July, 1864, in Company I, 196th Pa. V. I., Capt. George S. Rowbotham, and was elected second lieutenant of the company. The command was sent to Baltimore, Md., and was then shipped to Camp Douglas, Chicago, Ill., to do guard duty, as there were 1,500 Rebel prisoners at that point. After returning East, Lieut. Wesley was stationed at Fort Delaware, where the regiment relieved a detachment to allow them to vote, Pennsylvania soldiers having voted in the field. Soon afterward, in 1864, Mr. Wesley was discharged and returned to Reading, entering the employ of the Reading Hardware Company, as an apprentice to the molder's trade. Completing his apprenticeship, he went to Warren county, Pa., and remained about two and one-half years in the oil fields, then going to Renovo for a short time, where he engaged at his trade. He then accepted a position as clerk in the "Renovo Hotel," but in the fall of 1873 returned to the employ of the Reading Hardware Company, remaining with them until 1877, when he accepted a position with the Keystone Hardware Company, at Tenth and Spruce streets as foreman. After one year he returned to the employ of the Reading Hardware Company, and on Feb. 14, 1879, accepted a position with the Penn Hardware Company, with which company he has continued to the present time in the capacity of foreman. He has charge on an average of 125 men in the molding department.

In December, 1872, Mr. Wesley married Emma Swegar, daughter of David and Margaret (Bosserman) Swegar, and to this union there were born four children: Esther M., deceased; Marion J., Carrie S., and J. Frank. The latter, one of Reading's most popular young men, was drowned July 4, 1906.

John H. Wesley is a member of Renovo Lodge, No. 495, F. & A. M., and of Liberty Fire Company, which he joined in 1865. He is a stanch Republican in his political belief, but takes only a good citizen's part therein.


p. 1418


Jerry M. Wessner is descended from Johannes Wessner, the emigrant of the Wessner family in Albany township, where he settled between 1760 and 1775. He was a native of Germany, arriving in Pennsylvania about 1752. Acquiring land he became a tiller of the soil, the Federal Census of 1790 recording him as a resident of Albany township, "having one son above sixteen years of age, a wife and one daughter." He was a man of religious temperament and convictions, being mentioned in the organization and government of Jerusalem Church in that township. The records show that he was born May 8, 1723, and died Aug. 23, 1794. He is buried near the old school-house in the graveyard at Wessnersville. Nothing is stated concerning his family except that his son was named Mathias or Mathes.

Mathias Wessner (according to the tombstone inscription, "Mathes Wessner") was born August 1, 1757, and died Dec. 26, 1821, aged sixty-four years, four months, twenty-five days. His occupation was farming, cultivating the farm owned by his descendant, Jacob D. Wessner. He married Catharine Schollenberger, who was born in 1773, and died in 1838, leaving, among other children whose names do not appear, a son Johannes.

Johannes Wessner also passed his life in Albany township. The dates of his birth and death do not appear to be on record. He was evidently a man of thrift and enterprise, for his farm was later divided into three properties, each considerably over 100 acres. Neither does the date of his marriage nor his wife's name appear, though his children are given as: Johannes, Adam, Jacob, Jonathan (who was a mute) and William. He lies buried at Friedens Church, Wessnersville.

Samuel Wessner, son of Adam of the above family, built the first house and hotel stand in what is now Wessnersville, which town perpetuates the family name. One of the landmarks of that time is an old church, two squares to the east of the village, still used for church services, known as Friedens Church. It is a union church, both Lutheran and Reformed congregations using it for worship.

William, youngest son of Johannes, was born June 25, 1805, and died Oct. 29, 1873, aged sixty-eight years, four months, four days. He was a laborer of Albany township. He married Lydia Kunkel, and their children were: Judith, married David Jandwork; Catharine, m. Lewis Muntz; Caroline, m William Herber; Polly, m. Willoughby Modd; Lydia, m. Francis Hein; William is deceased; Peter is mentioned below; Matthias, a farmer of Stony Run, had a family of fourteen children.

Peter Wessner, son of William (son of Johannes), was born July 4, 1836. In 1858 he began farming for himself, after having worked over eight years in Albany. Since 1894 he has lived at Fetherolfsville. He there owns a small farm of fourteen acres, with a fifty-acre property in another locality. In 1856 he married (first) Maria Grassly, who died March 3, 1872, aged forty years, leaving Ellen, James H., Ida A., Sarah F., and Emma. He married (second) in 1879, Mary Ann Henry, who has borne two children-Victor and Herbert.

Jacob Wessner, son of Johannes and grandfather of Jerry M., passed his life as a farmer on the old homestead. Born June 27, 1803, he died at the age of eighty-nine years, eleven months, twenty-one days, June 18, 1893. He was an upright, prosperous citizen and left a large estate. He married Mary (Polly) Dietrich, born July 3, 1803, died Dec. 31, 1883, aged eighty years, five months twenty-eight days. Their children were: John born 1831, died 1883; Reuben, 1831-1847; Amos, 1834-1907; Jacob D., father of Jerry; and Malinda, unmarried.

Jacob D. Wessner, retired farmer of Wessnersville, and father of Jerry M., was born in Albany on the Wessner homestead, Oct. 27, 1839. He followed the vocation of his fathers until 1899, when he built his present residence in Wessnersville, and retired to enjoy the fruits of his labor. He is the present owner of the old Wessner homestead of 104 acres, this farm having been in the Wessner family over one hundred years. It was originally a large plantation, covering the tracts now owned by Jacob D. Wessner, Stephen Kistler and Jacob Krause. Mr. Wessner takes pride in voting the Democratic ticket on election day, and though he has never sought office, he has had sufficient public spirit to serve on the school board of Albany township and in other minor offices. He is a deacon and elder in the Lutheran congregation of the Wessnersville Union Church, his family also being members.

Mr. Wessner's marriage to Sarah Trexler, daughter of Nathan and Lydia (Bautsch) Trexler, of Albany, occurred in 1858. Mrs. Wessner died March 22, 1903, aged fifty-nine years, eight months, twenty-seven days. She was the mother of the following children: Rosa m. Francis Faust; Edwin is deceased; Susan m. Frank Snyder; Jerry M.; Alice m. Henry Weida; Minnie m. William Konig; Assie m. William Kistler.

Jerry M. Wessner is one of the progressive farmers of the township, and an experienced driller of artesian wells, living on the road from Kempton to Wessnersville. He was born Feb. 1, 1868, on the old homestead, remaining on the farm until after his majority. In the spring of 1892 he began farming on his own account on his father's farm, where he continued with success for eleven years. In the fall of 1905, he purchased the David Kunkel farm, and moving to it the following year has since made it his home. In the short period during which he has had it under his control he has made many improvements, remodeling the house, beautifying the yard, and in 1907, erecting the commodious 62x65 foot barn. The farm contains 100 cares, upon which is also a good fruit orchard. There still remains on the farm a landmark of Colonial times in the shape of a log house that was the home of some of the earliest pioneers of the district.

Mr. Wessner is a Democrat in politics. The religious affiliations of himself and family are with the Lutheran congregation of the Wessnersville Union Church, of which he has been a deacon. Socially, he is a charter member of Lodge No. 544, Independent Order of Americans, of Kempton, Pennsylvania.

On May 25, 1890, Mr. Wessner, married Emma M., daughter of Noah and Mary (Fenstermacher) Zimmerman, of Albany, farming people on Stony Run Hill. Children were born to them as follows: Osville M., a student of the Normal School at Kutztown; Debbie H.; Florence D.; Edna B.; Clarence D.; Elwood C.; and Elton E.


p. 1009


John L. Westley, a substantial citizen of the Twelfth ward, Reading, and an honored survivor of the Civil war, was born March 15, 1842, in Schuylkill county, Pa., son of Peter and Esther (Lebo) Westley.

The Westley family of Berks county was formerly of Robeson township, where the ancestor settled during the latter part of the eighteenth century. His descendants spread across the border of Robeson into Brecknock and Cumru townships, where they were numerous for many years. Michael Westley, the grandfather of John L., was a native of Robeson township, where he lived and died, and he, as were also many of his relatives, was buried at the Robeson (Plow) Church. Among the members of the Westley family buried at this graveyard, all relatives of Michael Westley, may be mentioned: John (1779-1856); Christian (1790-1857); Catherine (1790-1859); Elizabeth (1797-1861); William (1799-1875); John (1803-1873); Sarah (1806-1883); Christian (1806-1893); Samuel (1815-1857); William (1817-1859); Peter (1820-1891); Margaret (1826-1886); Mary (1829-1873); Catherine (1827-1896); and Samuel (1851-1883). Among the children of grandfather Michael Westley were: Jacob; John; Peter; Mark; who lived on Bingaman street, Reading, and had two sons, John and Samuel, who live in Reading; and Kate, who died unmarried at the home of her brother Mark.

Peter Westley, father of John L., was born in lower Berks county, but died about 1849, in Schuylkill county, whither he had removed shortly after his marriage. He married Esther Lebo, of Cumru township, and they had eight children as follows: Sarah m. James B. Brown, of Fleetwood, Pa.; Susan m. Edward Mendelson, of Pottsville; Catherine m. John Kimmel, of Pottsville; Hannah m. Daniel Bausum, of Pottsville; Mary m. Jacob Detambel, of Gibraltar; Edward m. Mary Brendel, of near Chambersburg; John L.; and Hettie, born in January, 1844, is unmarried and resides at Reading.

John L. Westley was but five years old when his parents removed to Gibraltar, Berks county, and in 1857 he took to boating on the Schuylkill canal, a vocation which he followed for five years. When the war broke out his brain was fired with patriotism, and on Oct. 3, 1861, he enlisted at Philadelphia in Company I, 6th Pa. Cav., under Captain Star, and served three years, participating in a number of engagements. On May 12, 1864, near Meadow Bridge, Va., in a charge in which Mr. Westley had just entered the woods, he came unexpectedly on the Confederate line. He had a miraculous escape after a fierce hand-to-hand encounter, but not until he had received a severe wound in the thigh. He was at all times a brave and faithful soldier, and his war record is one of which he may well be proud.

After the war Mr. Westley returned to his home in Cumru township, where his mother lived, and began to work in the McIlivan iron works, located at South Reading. After one and one-half years there he commenced working at the sheet mill, but when the Reading Coal & Iron Company opened its mill, March 9, 1868, he accepted a position there, and continued in that place for fifteen years. Since May, 1865, he has been continuously at work at the sheet mill. In the early fall of 1867 Mr. Westley located in Reading, and in 1869 built his own home at No. 736 North Ninth street, where he resided for sixteen years, then purchasing the property at No. 740 North Ninth street, his present home. He also own other real estate in Reading. Mr. Westley is a member of St. John's Lodge No. 435, F. & A. M., Reading. He and his family are Lutherans in their religious belief.

On April 27, 1867, Mr. Westley married Mary Keller, daughter of Reuben Keller, of Exeter township, and to this union there have been born twelve children, namely: Anna m. Frank Mosser, of Reading; Emma is at home; Charles E. m. Sarah Evans; William m. Rebecca Schaeffer; Cora M. and Harry W. are unmarried and at home; George I. m. Ada Kline; Florence E. m. Robert Daniels, of Reading; and Luther F. and three other children died in infancy.


p. 1135


William A. Weyman, foreman of the brick laying departments of the Reading Iron Company's Scott Foundry and Steam Forges, has been thoroughly trained in his particular line of work. He comes of a family that long had their home in Hanover, Germany, his great-great-grandfather and great-grandfather, Herman H. Weyman and Herman H. Weyman II, respectively, both living at Nein Kirchen Am Milan, in that Kingdom . The latter was the father of three children: Dr. Herman H. III, Catharine (Kirzick) and Frederick.

Dr. Herman H. Weyman III, son of Herman H. II, was born Jan. 16, 1808 in Nein Kirchen Am Milan, and there he received his elementary education. He graduated from the University at Siegel, April 15, 1833, and then spent one year in the University at Berlin. In the fall of 1834 he emigrated to America, and made an extensive trip through the United States. Tradition says he settled near Baumstown, in Berks county, and that he was called into consultation at Geigertown, where he became acquainted with Miss Sarah Geiger (daughter of State Senator Paul J. Geiger of Geigertown, now deceased), who became his wife Oct. 1, 1843. Their children were: (1) Annie m. Allen J. Covington, who served in the Confederate army under Gen. Lee as a sharpshooter, and who after the close of the war moved to Reading, Pa., and became an honored and useful citizen. (2) Margaret m William C. Coleman, an extensive contractor at Los Angeles, Cal. (3) Katurah m. Benneville D. Angstadt, of Oley township. (4) Paul J. died in infancy. (5) Herman H. IV is deceased (6) Horace C. lives at Redlands, California.

Herman H. Weyman IV, son of Dr. Herman H. III, was born August 3, 1853. By occupation he was a brick layer, and he was foreman of the Brick Laying Departments of the Reading Iron Company's Scott Foundry until his death, which occurred suddenly Dec. 29, 1907. He married Rosy E. Eaches, and they became the parents of children as follows: Herman H. V, born Oct. 12, 1873, m Annie, daughter of Prof. P. J. Kuhn, of Reading; Rosie E. died in infancy; Elmer G. m. Hattie M. Brown, daughter of Charles Brown, of Reading; Lillian May died in infancy; William A.; and Florence L., born Aug. 20, 1885, is at home.

William A. Weyman was born in the city or Reading Oct. 20, 1882, and was educated in the public schools of his native city, spending about two years in the high school under Prof. M. E. Scheibner, principal. On Jan. 20, 1899, he accepted a position as a clerk in the drug store of W. W. Troop, but on April 17th following he became an employee of the Reading Iron Company's Steam Forge Department, under the superintendence of Gerald F. Dale, and July 1, 1900, he became an apprentice brick layer under his father. After serving a full apprenticeship of three years he became a full-fledged journeyman, and continued with his father until March, 1905, when he was appointed assistant foreman under his father, a position he held until the latter's sudden death, and on Jan. 6, 1908, he was promoted to his father's position, and this he has since ably filled.

In politics Mr. Weyman is a Democrat. He is a member and has been active in Christ's Evangelical Church, taking particular interest in the Sunday-school. Fraternally he is quite prominent, being a member of Lodge No. 62, F. & A. M.; Progressive Lodge, No. 470, I. O. O. F.; Wyanet Tribe, No. 301, I. O. R. M.; Court Conrad Weiser, No. 199, Foresters of America; Neversink Camp, No. 7634, M. W. A. Mr. Weyman has taken great pains to memorize the unwritten and staff work of the I. O. O. F., and has proven himself a thorough and efficient student of this work.

On July 25, 1903, Mr. Weyman married Mary Riegel, daughter of Lewis and Emma E. Riegel, of Reading, and they have two children: Levira E., born Nov. 19, 1904; and William A., Jr., Dec. 3, 1906.


p. 325


Hon. Thomas Wharton, Jr., the first Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, under the constitution of 1776, was born in 1735, in Chester county, Pa., a son of John and Mary (Dobbins) Wharton, grandson of Thomas and great-grandson of Richard Wharton.

Richard Wharton, who emigrated to Pennsylvania from Kellworth, in the parish of Overton, Westmorelandshire, England, at an early date, was the emigrant ancestor of the Wharton family in America.

Thomas Wharton, who later achieved so great a distinction in his native State, spent his boyhood attending school in the primitive institutions in the vicinity of his home, and assisting on the paternal farm, and he became a young man of sterling character. In 1755 he moved to Philadelphia, where he apprenticed himself to an employer by the name of Reese Meridith and later was associated with Anthony Stocker. With the latter he formed a partnership, under the firm name of Stocker & Wharton, in the mercantile line. This firm became very strong, and according to the custom-house bonds of 1762, was one of the heaviest importers in the city.

Governor Wharton, then but a prosperous merchant, was married Nov. 4, 1762, at Christ Church, Philadelphia, to Susannah Lloyd, daughter of Thomas and Susannah (Kearney) Lloyd, and they had the following children: Lloyd, Kearney, William M., Sarah N. and Susannah. The mother of these children died Oct. 24, 1772. On Dec. 7, 1774, Thomas Wharton married (second) Elizabeth Fishbourne, daughter of William and Mary (Tallman) Fishbourne, and they had three children, viz.: Mary, Thomas F. and William Fishbourne. Governor Wharton was an Orthodox Friend.

It is passing strange that the history of Thomas Wharton, Jr., a man whose life was so closely linked with that of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, whose affairs he administered during the darkest struggle in which she and her sister colonies ever engaged, is not more widely and more intimately known. One most obvious reason for this is to be found in the circumstance of his early death, which abruptly terminated a useful and honorable career; for, considerable as were the services which he had already rendered his country, the potentialities of the future were even greater, and without doubt he, who had acquitted himself so creditably, would, had he lived to see the new government permanently established, have continued to hold positions of honor and trust in his native State. To quote: "Full justice has never been done to the magnanimity and ability of Pennsylvania's statesmen and warriors during the Revolutionary contest. The quiet and unassuming character of her population has caused the historians, in a measure, to overlook their merit in the council and in the field."

By reading the history of Pennsylvania during those momentous years from 1774-1775 and up to 1778, we recognize the worth of Governor Wharton, from the pages of her records and archives, full of important orders emanating from him at trying crises; or, in glancing over the journals of the day, which abound in proclamations that even now stir us by their tone of deep and earnest patriotism. Through ringing calls to arms and eloquent appeals to the nobler impulses of mankind, we gain some insight into the character of the man of whom few written expressions are left us. He was a man, however, who had impressed his personality in such a way that we know he was universally beloved.

Thomas Wharton had been called to numerous positions of trust, had served with honor and capacity on the committee of Safety, and in 1776, when the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania called together a convention to frame a new Constitution, for the Province of Pennsylvania, in accordance with the Resolve of Congress ( on May 10th of that year), on July 24th a Council of Safety was established, in which the convention vested executive authority of the government until the new Constitution should be put in operation.

Thomas Wharton, Jr., who had given abundant proof of his zeal and ability when a member of the late committee of Safety, was now chosen president of the newly formed council and again distinguished himself in a most creditable manner. In February, 1777, an election was held for the choice of assemblymen, in place of several who had declined to act. Thomas Wharton, Jr., was elected councilman from Philadelphia and later, as such, assisted to organize the Supreme Executive Council and thus complete the new government. This was done and the General Assembly and the Council united and elected Mr. Wharton president of the latter body. As president of the Council of Safety, Mr. Wharton had filled with honor a position of trust, hence, it is not strange that he should have been offered one of greater responsibility under the new government. It seemed, indeed, as if by mutual attraction, the best minds of the country were drawn together, and that, with an insight born of the necessities of the hour, men recognized each other's worth and discerned in what field their talents would be best developed for the good of the common cause.

Thus Thomas Wharton, Jr.'s talents were pre-eminently administrative, and from one important position in his State he was raised to another until finally called upon, amid the bitter political dispute of 1777, to fill the most elevated position his proud State could offer him, that of president of the newly formed Supreme Executive Council. On March 5, 1777, the new president was duly inaugurated as president of the Supreme Executive Council of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, captain-general and commander-in-chief, and served as such until May 23, 1778, when his death occurred in the city of Lancaster. His funeral was solemnized with civil and military honors and his remains were interred at the Evangelical Trinity Lutheran Church at Lancaster. His fame rests with posterity.

William Fishbourne Wharton, the third child of Thomas and Elizabeth (Fishbourne) Wharton, was born Aug. 10, 1778, and was married (first) May 10, 1804, to Susan Shoemaker, who died Nov. 3, 1821. She was the mother of nine children as follows: Thomas, George M., Fishbourne, Henry, Joseph, Deborah, William, Edward and Elizabeth. He married (second) Mary Ann Shoemaker, a sister of his first wife by whom he had two children, namely: Susan F. and Philip Fishbourne, attained distinction in legal and artistic circles. Beside Miss Susan F. Wharton, who is the only living grandchild of Governor Wharton, several of his great-grandchildren have resided in Berks county, namely: Wharton Morris, grandson of Kearney, who was a son of the Governor by his first marriage; Maria Wharton Brooke, widow of Dr. Brooke and a granddaughter of Kearney Wharton; and Robert Wharton Bickley, also a grandson of Kearney Wharton. Mrs. Brooke and Mrs. Bickley are living in Reading at the present time, both widows. Miss Susan F. Wharton, who until lately resided at No. 138 North Fourth street, Reading, is now living at "The Poplars," Wyomissing, esteemed for her ancestry and also for her personal characteristics.




John R. White, a representative citizen of Berks county, who is engaged in truck farming near Mohnton, in Cumru township, was born in Spring township, Oct. 11, 1862, son of John H. and Elizabeth (Reed) White.

Peter White, the great-grandfather of John R., was born in Cumru township, where he owned a farm, being also engaged in rake making. He was twice married, there being no children to the second union, but by the first marriage, with a Miss Remp, Mr. White had six sons and three daughters, as follows: Jacob; Samuel; William; John R.; Catherine, m John Schaffer; Susan m. Jonas Hornberger; Peter; Daniel; and Elizabeth, m. Daniel Hartz. The fourth son, John R., born Feb. 11, 1809, married Elizabeth Mengel in 1828. She died Oct. 2, 1886, and he passed away Nov. 13, 1904, having been the father of eight children, one of whom, John, was a constable for more than a quarter of a century in Cumru township, holding that office at the time of his death.

William White, grandfather of John R., was born April 6, 1804, and died Sept. 17, 1885, having spent his life in farming a small tract near Gouglersville. He married (first) Sarah Holtry, who was born in 1805 and died in 1833, and three children were born to them: Mary, born Jan. 27, 1828, m. Charles Eben; John H.; and Lydia, m. William Miller. Mr. White married (second) Ann Maria Fritz, born Jan. 13, 1804, who died Aug. 12, 1877, and to this union there were born four children: Hannah, m. Daniel Schonour; Henry, who died in youth; Annie, m. John Messinger; and Daniel (m. Emma Stamm), deceased April 10, 1907, aged sixty years.

John H. White was born March 12, 1830. and attended the old pay schools of Cumru township. When a young man he learned the trade of gun barrel maker, which he followed for many years, working in Cumru at Worleys, and in Heidelberg for Holls. He now owns a farm of twenty acres in Spring township, where he lived from 1869 until 1907, removing in the latter year to a home near that of his son, John R., in Cumru township. Mr. White and his family attend Wyomissing (Gouglersville) Church, being Lutheran members thereof. He is a man of much ability, a skilled mechanic and has led a successful career.

Mr. White married Elizabeth Reed, born Dec. 28, 1832, daughter of John and Ellen Reed, and to them there were born the following children: Sarah m. Samuel Ulrich; Ellen G. is unmarried; William R., born Nov. 15, 1857, m. Mary E. Fisher (1858-1885) and died June 4, 1890; Emma is unmarried; and John R.

John R. White was reared on the home farm, and was brought up to agricultural pursuits, which he has followed all of his life. He began farming for himself in the spring of 1889 on a forty-seven acre tract in Bern township, but after three years removed to another in the same district, whence he went a year later to the Solomon Gaul farm in Cumru township. After spending two years there and three years on the Joseph Kuhl farm in the same township, Mr. White in 1898 purchased the old Spatz farm near Mohnton, which then consisted of thirty-four acres. Later Mr. White sold eleven acres of this land, and greatly improved the remainder, rebuilding the barn in 1901, and in 1905 building a nice frame house with porches and surrounded by a fine lawn. He is now engaged in truck farming, at which he is very successful, and attends the Reading markets. In politics he is a Democrat, while fraternally he is connected with the K. G. E., of Sinking Spring, and the Red Men, of Mohnton. He and his family are prominent Lutheran members of Gouglersville Union Church, of which he has been a deacon since 1901.

In the year 1887 Mr. White was married to Emma C. Balthaser, born May 12, 1861, daughter of Cornelius and Elizabeth (Wertman) Balthaser, granddaughter of Jacob and Sarah (Kauffman) Balthaser, and great-granddaughter of Jacob and Margaret (Greth) Balthaser. Mr. and Mrs. White have these children: Jennie B., born March 3, 1888; William B., May 31, 1890; Mary E., Jan. 3, 1893, and John Irwin, March 29, 1898.


p. 709


The material advancement of the city of Reading has been conserved in no small degree by Joseph A. White, who was for a score of years one of the leading contractors and builders of this county, as a member of the firm of White & Wagoner. He now resides on a beautiful little farmstead contiguous to the city and devotes his attention principally to floriculture and the raising of fine poultry. He was born in Lancaster, Lancaster Co., Pa., June 17, 1853, son of William R. and Rebecca E. (Cross) White.

William R. White was born in the City of New York, in 1819, and reared and educated in his native city, where he learned the trade of cotton manufacturing, eventually becoming superintendent of a cotton mill in New York. He remained there until about 1840, when he took up his residence in Lancaster, Pa., where he entered the employ of Arnold & Company, leading cotton manufacturers, with which concern he continued until 1895, when he permanently retired from active business. The last six years of his life were passed in the home of his son, Joseph A., where he died in 1906, and where his widow still resides, a revered member of the family circle. Mr. White married in Lancaster, Rebecca E. Cross, a native of London, England, born in 1835, who accompanied her parents to America, and located at Lancaster, Pa. Mrs. White belongs to the Lutheran church, of which her husband likewise was a member, and in politics he was uncompromising in his allegiance to the Republican party. Of the eight children of William R. and Rebecca E. (Cross) White, Joseph Aubrey was the oldest; Charles F. was born Aug. 2, 1858; Emily Alice, Oct. 22, 1865; Ada R., Aug 7, 1868 (is deceased); Jessie May, March 27, 1870 (died in childhood); Laura V., March 1, 1872; Mary W., Dec. 29, 1876; and Emma R., March 2, 1879.

John Aubrey White was afforded the advantages of the public schools of Lancaster, his native city, and there he served a thorough apprenticeship at the plasterer's trade, becoming a skilled artesian in the line. For several years he followed the work of his trade in New York City, and in 1885 he took up his residence in Reading, where he engaged in contracting and building, in partnership with John M. Wagoner. The firm of White & Wagoner built up an extensive business and attained a high reputation for reliability and progressive methods. This firm erected about one thousand buildings in the various sections of Reading, and their enterprise and excellent work contributed much to the substantial upbuilding and attractiveness of the city.

Mr. White is recognized as a representative citizen of Berks county, and has so ordered his course as to retain at all time the confidence and good will of his fellow men. He has shown a commendable interest in all that pertains to the welfare of his home city and county, an while he has never been a seeker of public office he has been signally observant of the duties of citizenship, and has lent his co-operation, in the furtherance of enterprises and projects tending to advance the general welfare of the community. In 1904 he retired from the contracting and building business, and purchased a small farm in the northeast section of the city. On this place he has made fine improvements of a permanent nature, including the erection of a handsome and commodious residence of modern architectural design and equipment and he is living the idyllic life of a country gentleman, the while enjoying also the advantages of the city. His farm is largely given over to the cultivation of fine varieties of flowers, for which he finds a ready market, and to the breeding of high grades of poultry, in which line , he is producing some exceptionally attractive new strains. He has secured premiums at various poultry shows and takes much pride and interest in his poultry business. He is a Republican in his political proclivities and both he and his wife are zealous members of the Lutheran church.

In 1890 Mr. White married Miss Kate Sponsler, daughter of Jacob and Lucy Sponsler, of Adams county, Pa. They have no children. Mr. White has attained to success through his own efforts, and is one of the substantial and honored citizens of Berks county, where he has a wide circle of acquaintances in both business and social lines.


p. 763


Joel W. D. Whitman, one of the old and honored residents of Reading, Pa., who has been engaged in painting in the city for over forty years, was born Dec. 17, 1832, in Montgomery county son of George and Catherine (Deliger) Whitman.

George Whitman was a weaver by trade and followed that occupation in Montgomery county, where he died at the age of forty-seven years. His first wife died at the age of thirty-five years, and he married (second) a Miss Culp, by whom he had these children: Jesse; Lydia Ann, and Lucy A. (m. to John Schol). To George Whitman and his first wife were born these children: Sarah, Maria, Kittie, Hetty, Fayette, David, Ephraim, Joel W. D., all being deceased except Ephraim, who resides at Pottstown, Pa., and Joel W. D.

Joel W. D. Whitman attended the schools of Montgomery county, and when a young man learned the cabinet-maker's trade, which, however, he followed but a short time. He next took up painting as an occupation, and April 3, 1866, came to Reading, where he has made his home to the present time. He still resides at his first location, No. 322 North Ninth street, and is one of the oldest men of the district. In 1860 Mr. Whitman married Lucy Ann Sassaman, born July 2, 1841, daughter of Christina C. and Maria B. Sassaman, and to this union there were born children as follows: Hemmer died when nine months old; Luther C. S., who died Jan. 5, 1894, m. Mary M. Smith, and had one child, Helen M. S., who lives with her grandfather; Katie m. Edward Moyer of Reading; Ella S. died Oct. 28, 1873, aged six years, seven months; Annie E., died in December, 1870, aged six months; and Lucy M. died in 1873, aged one year, ten days.

Mrs. Whitman has been a teacher in the Sunday-school since her sixteenth years, and since 1878 has had charge of the primary class of St. Luke's Lutheran Church. Mr. Whitman has also been a teacher in the Sunday-school. He is fraternally connected with the Knights of Pythias No. 65, while in political manners he is a Republican.


p. 607


Richard M. Whitman, former chief of police of Reading, is descended from David Whitman, a blacksmith of Robeson township, Berks county.

Abraham S. Whitman, his father , who was a printer and publisher of Reading, died in that city in 1900, aged seventy-nine years, while his mother, Mary Elizabeth (Reeser), daughter of Daniel Reeser, a drover of Berks county, passed away in May, 1901, aged eighty-one years. Eight children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Whitman, two of whom, Rose and Kate, died in early childhood. Those still living are: Daniel R.; Mary, wife of David Fox, of the Reading Hardware Company, Reading; Esther, the wife of William Clark, of the Reading Hardware Company; Henrietta, at home; Lilly, the wife of James Johnson, of the Pennsylvania Railroad service; Richard M.

Richard M. Whitman was born in Reading, April 3, 1848. He received his education in the public schools, and then learned the printing business in his father's office, at the Times, and continued at printing for a number of years. He next took charge of the Daily News and remained there nine years, or until the paper was discontinued, when he became one of the proprietors of the Reading Daily Telegram and with this paper he continued three years. He was then twice elected to Common Council from the Second ward, resigning in 1890 to accept the position of highway commissioner of the Western district of Reading. At the expiration of his term he was appointed chief of police, and served under Mayors Merritt, Yeager and Gerber, with an interval between Merritt and Yeager. During this interval he was employed on the Times.

Mr. Whitman was married Jan. 20, 1877, to Mary Catherine Shunk, daughter of John and Rachel (Savage) Shunk, the former a tanner and farmer of Heidelberg township, Berks, county, and a nephew of the Hon. Francis Shunk, ex-Governor of Pennsylvania. Two sons and two daughter have been born to this union: Daniel R., a toolmaker of Philadelphia; May; Jacob; and Mollie, wife of Clifford H. Price.

Mr. Whitman belongs to St. John's Lodge No. 435, F. & A. M., and to the Foresters of America. He is also connected with Liberty Fire Company, in which he has held several offices. In politics he is a Democrat. During his career as chief of police he made many important arrests, and was a faithful and capable officer.


p. 408


Calvin Kline Whitner, president of the Farmer's National Bank of Reading and founder of the mercantile business of C. K. Whitner & Co., at Reading, Pa., who has become known throughout Berks and surrounding counties as one of its leading merchants, was born in 1841, in the southern part of Oley township, son of George and Christiana (Kline) Whitner.

Rev. John George Wittner, of Bellheim, Germany, the great-grandfather of Calvin K., was born in 1735, educated at the University of Heidelberg, and in 1766, was sent by the Holland Deputies as a missionary to America, landing at New York in the fall of that year. He was a son of Rev. Abraham Wittner, a Protestant minister in Germany from 1734 to 1743, and subsequently a councillor to the Consistory at Heidelberg.

Abraham Wittner, his grandfather, was born in 1773, in Upper Milford township, Northampton (now Lehigh) county, in the vicinity of Zionsville. He was brought up to farming and about 1800 located in Albany township, Berks county, where he carried on farming until 1810, when he removed to Columbia county, and there continued agricultural pursuits until his decease, in 1854, at the age of eighty-one years. By his first marriage he had an only child, George, born Aug. 3, 1800, the father of Calvin K.; and by his second marriage he had eleven children.

George Whitner, his father, was a farmer near the "Yellow House" in Oley for many years. He died Jan. 13, 1869, in the sixty-ninth year of his age. He was an earnest advocate of the common school system, against much local prejudice, and his influence assisted in its adoption by Oley township in 1850, he having been a great admirer of Hon. Thaddeus Stevens, who was the chief agitator and defender of public schools before the people and the State Legislature. During this period, about 1845, the spelling of the family name was changed from Wittner to Whitner. He married Christiana Kline (born Dec. 2, 1804, died Dec. 16. 1872), daughter of David Kline, of Amity township, and a lineal descent of Elder George Kline (who was born in Germany in 1715, emigrated to New Jersey in 1738, and settled along the Northkill, Berks county, about 1750, where, as one of the "Brethren" or "Dunkards," he preached the Gospel for upward of twenty years). They had eight children: David, Rebecca, Abraham, Hiram, George, Samuel, Sarah and Calvin, of whom the only survivors are Hiram and Calvin. The first two children, David and Rebecca, died whilst young, and Sarah at the age of nineteen years. Abraham became a banker at Pottsville, having been connected with the Miner's Bank for many years. Hiram served as a teacher in the public schools in Berks county; became a graduated physician of Jefferson Medical College and practised in Berks and Schuylkill counties; served as a surgeon in the Civil war; then located at Chicago, Ill., where he invented and introduced "The Whitner two-rope safety device" for facilitating the work of and protecting window cleaners of large public buildings, which has come to be extensively used in all the principal cities throughout the United States. George served as postmaster of Reading from 1881 to 1885. Samuel served in the Civil war with the Ringgold Light Artillery (First Defenders) and Durell's Battery, acting as quartermaster-sergeant from 1863 to the close of the war.

Picture of Calvin K. WhitnerCalvin K. Whitner received his education in the township schools, and worked on his father's farm until nineteen years of age, when he entered the country store of Spang & Son, at Spangsville, situated about a mile north from the farm, which had quite an extensive trade on account of the "Spang Forge" at the Manatawny creek near by. He remained here about a year, when he became clerk for Isaac Plank in his general store at the "Half Way House," eight miles north of Reading, on the Kutztown road. After serving in this position faithfully for three years, he became ambitious to conduct a store of his own, and feeling qualified to do so established himself at Friedensburg, in Oley township; but after carrying it on for two years he decided to go into a larger field, with greater opportunities for success, and, disposing of his store stock, went to Reading in 1868.

After looking over the business situation at the county-seat for a short while, and determining to follow a mercantile life there as his chosen vocation, he found employment in the large and prosperous establishment of Line & Eppihimer, on Penn Square, in order to become thoroughly acquainted with the manner of conducting business in a growing city, which was different from that in the country. He continued with this firm until the spring of 1877. With this preparation, and appreciating the great resolution necessary to embark at that trying time in business for himself, he opened a dry goods store with a single department and six salesmen at No. 432 Penn Square, in a room 20 feet wide and 90 feet deep. Here he persevered with a constantly increasing trade for six years, when his quarters were found to be altogether too small, and, being obliged to secure a larger place to accommodate the demands of his business, and the opportunity being then afforded, he secured just such a place as he needed in the immediate vicinity, a few doors to the east, on the same side of Penn Square, at Nos. 442 and 444. In the spring of 1883, he removed to the new quarters, with floor space increased to nearly four thousand square feet (the room being 30x130 feet), and started with ten departments and twelve salespeople. His announcement of a "Grand Opening on March 17th" was greeted with a flattering recognition by the public. His course of dealing was found to be so straightforward and satisfactory, that notwithstanding great competition his trade multiplied rapidly, and in 1891 he enlarged the room, added four new departments, and increased the number of salespeople to forty.

In 1898 he purchased the adjoining property to the west, when he remodeled and extended the whole interior of the building to cover a total floor space of 42,000 square feet, developed the departments to thirty-one and increased the salespeople to 215, or over five times the number in 1891. Since then, the departments have been somewhat changed and consolidated, so that now they number twenty-eight, but the salespeople have been increased to 260. His numerous patrons come to his "Daylight Store" not only form all parts of the city and county, but also from many places in the surrounding counties. The brightness, cheerfulness and cleanliness of his establishment are not exceeded anywhere. The details of his business have been gradually developed to a high state of perfection, even to drilling his employees to the tap of a bell to meet a sudden emergency? such as a panic caused by a real or false alarm of fire. Having been asked to what he attributed his success mainly, he remarked epigrammatically: "From the start of my career as a merchant, I have made my business a constant pleasure for myself as well as for my employees, and not pleasure a business."

In 1889, Mr. Whitner's son, Harry K., was admitted as a partner in the business, and the firm then became C. K. Whitner & Son; but the son's promising career as a superior business man of Reading in the footsteps of his father was cut short by his untimely decease in 1891. A faithful employee for many years, John A. Britton, was taken in as a partner in 1897, when the firm name became C. K. Whitner & Co.; and Jan. 1, 1907, his son-in-law, John Rick, was also admitted as a partner.

Notwithstanding his great devotion to the establishment of his business in a thriving community, Mr. Whitner has shown much interest in the religious, social and financial affairs of Reading for many years. He and his family are members of St. Paul's Memorial Reformed Church, in which he officiated as a vestryman for several years. He is a trustee of the Y. M. C. A.; a director of the Reading Mutual Fire Insurance Company; president and director of the Farmers' National Bank and president of the Merchants' Association of Reading.

In the Sesqui-Centennial of Reading in 1898, he was chairman of the "Historical Committee," which supervised the publication of a souvenir of the great and successful occasion, which was compiled by the author of this revived history of the county.

In 1864, Mr. Whitner married Amelia Knabb, daughter of Daniel D. Knabb, of Oley, and Sarah (Hill) Knabb, his wife, and to this union there were born three children: Harry K., Sarah K. (m. Arthur E. Carrier, of New York), and Charles. Harry K. Whitner m. Estella Davis (daughter of Charles Davis and Emma Parker, his wife), of Reading, and he died in 1891, aged twenty-five years, leaving a son, Harry Davis Whitner. Charles Whitner died in infancy. Mr. Whitner's first wife died in 1873, and in 1876 he married (second) Mary Shalter, daughter of George Shalter, an ironmaster of Cumru township, and Eliza (Kline) Shalter, his wife. There were four children born to this second marriage: George Shalter, who died in 1901, aged twenty-four years, after having shown much promise as a business man in his father's store; Elizabeth S.; Carrie G. (m. John Rick, of Reading, and has on daughter, Mary Elizabeth, and one son, Horace Whitner); and Mary S. Mrs. Whitner died June 9, 1909.

Mrs. Whitner's father, George Shalter, carried on the iron furnace business at the Mount Penn Furnace in Cumru township, several miles south of Reading, Pa., for a number of years. He died there in 1881, in his eighty-second year, after he had lived for a number of years in retirement. His wife survived him until 1892, dying at the age of seventy-seven years. They were the parents of ten children: Richard m. Hettie Swartz; Isabella m. William M. Kauffman; Sarah m. Cyrus Hunter; Emma m. Dr. John Kalbach; Mary m. Calvin K. Whitner; William m Mary Kurtz; four children died young.


p. 1662


Reverend Daniel Wieand, deceased, for many years well known in Reading and vicinity as an earnest worker in the ranks of the United Evangelical Church, was born in Lehigh county, Pa., in 1815.

Mr. Wieand, received his preliminary education in the common schools of his native city, was prepared for the ministry and ordained. He preached the Gospel for about thirty years, the cause of his retirement form the ministry being a severe throat trouble. During the years of his preaching, Mr. Wieand was well known throughout Berks county, having pastorates at Reading, Harrisburg, Milford, Adamstown and other places. From 1868 until a short time prior to his death, Mr. Wieand was engaged in broommaking. He died at his home in Reading, No. 225 North Eighth street, Jan. 21, 1888, aged seventy-three years, twenty-one days, and was buried at Charles Evans cemetery.

Mr. Wieand was first married to Judith Grabill, and to them were born children as follows: Elizabeth (m. Frank White); Rev. William, who was a minister in the United Evangelical Church, died in 1902; and Mary, single, at the Eighth street home. Mr. Wieand's second marriage was to Mrs. Matilda Renninger, widow of Josiah Renninger. Mrs. Wieand was born April 15, 1822, daughter of Henry and Lydia (Spang) Gilbert, well-known people of Colebrookdale township. Her first husband was a well known business man of Colebrookdale township, and to them were born children as follows: Emma (m. Henry Rehr); Rosa (m. Jacob Rehr); and James, who m. Katie Williams, is in the contracting and building business in Reading. There were no children born to Mr. and Mrs. Wieand. Mrs. Wieand died May 5, 1907, at the Eighth street home, Reading; she was very well known and highly esteemed in the community.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:57:37 EDT

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