Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 670


0. B. S. Wilder, a well-known resident of Perkiomen avenue, Reading, who as a general contractor and builder has erected some of the city's beautiful structures, was born in 1860, in Key West, Fla., son of Barnabas S. and Diana (Waltz) Wilder, the latter a descendant of Michael Waltz, a soldier of the Revolutionary war.

Barnabas S. Wilder was also a native of Florida, and came to Pennsylvania prior to the Civil war. He was a hotel proprietor for many years, and at the time of his death was conducting the "Mansion House" at Carlisle. Mr. Wilder was a member of the Masonic Order at Harrisburg, Pa., and was a consistent attendant of the Reformed Church, his wife being a Lutheran, in the faith of which church she died in 1889. Three children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Wilder: 0. B. S.; Bella E., m. to Lieutenant George of the United States Army; and Robert, in the hotel business at Shippensburg.

O. B. S. Wilder was about one year old when his parents came to Pennsylvania, and his literary education was secured in the schools of Dauphin and Cumberland counties. As a youth he learned the carpentering, building and painting trades, and in 1882 he engaged in a general contracting business, in which he has continued to the present time. He has worked in Kentucky, West Virginia and Tennessee, beside Pennsylvania. He has erected many buildings throughout Reading, including the "Crystal Palace Hotel," and the residence of Ferdinand Winter on Center avenue, and his work has gained him an enviable reputation in his line. Mr. Wilder is very fond of hunting, and during the winter of 1906-07 spent some time at this sport in Georgia.

Mr. Wilder was married in 1884 to Emma R. Wahl. He belonged to Montgomery Lodge, I. O. O. F., Reading; and Samuel J. Randall Council, Ir. 0. U. A. M., Reading. In political matters he is independent.


p. 1406


John Wilgeroth, who for twenty-four years until 1907 held the contract for the hauling of the mail from the Reading station to the post office, is a native of Germany, born in 1836. He was the son of Conrad Wilgeroth, who was engaged in hauling and draying in the old country, where his death occurred.

John Wilgeroth came to America when a lad of fourteen years and landed in New York City, where, however, he remained but two days. Making his way to Hackensack, N. J., he was there employed for a period of seven months, and at the end of that time came to Reading. His first employment in this city was with George Gretzinger, selling pretzels, and this occupation he followed for one year. Mr. Wilgeroth was then appointed to carry the mail on horse-back from Reading to the Blue Mountains, a distance of thirty miles, making one trip each day for a period of four years. He then went to make his home with Dr. Tyson of Reading, and while there learned the hatting trade with William A. Arnold, following that business for fifteen years. He was then elected constable of the Ninth ward of Reading, an office which he ably filled for three years, at the end of which time he made application for his present position. In 1883 he was granted the contract to do all of the hauling of mail between the Reading Railroad Company and the post-office, and he has held the position till May, 1907, utilizing three horses and as many wagons.

Mr. Wilgeroth was twice married, first to Mary Hillegass, and they had two children: Amanda, who married Nicholas Baisch, and Katie who married David Runk. Ellen Loewen, to whom he was married forty-three years ago, was the daughter of Doctor and Kidelia Loewen of Pricetown. This union was blessed with four children : Emma, wife of Edward Muntz, of Philadelphia; Ida, wife of Frank Walks, Reading; Charles, who married Sarah Boyer, of Birdsboro and has three children: John, Louis W. and Ellen; and Minnie, who married Javan Reber, son of Joel and Catherine Reber.

In June, 1906 Mr. Wilgeroth returned to his old home in Germany, where a joyful meeting took place with his brother whom he had not seen for fifty-seven years. During his absence of five weeks his son and son-in-law attended to his affairs. Two years ago ill health forced him. to retire. and he sold out to Will Hains, who is now hauling the mail. Last summer and autumn up to October , Mr. Wilgeroth was able to be about and he hauled the Reading Eagle twice a day with his old horse "Barney," an animal of which he is very fond. He is the owner of considerable real estate including six houses and a farm.

Mr. Wilgeroth is the owner of considerable real estate including six houses and a farm and he is a warm friend of the National Union Bank of Reading.


p. 1457


Henry A. Wilhelm, who is now living retired at Stouchsburg, Berks county, after many years spent in agricultural pursuits, is a worthy representative of one of Pennsylvania's highly respected families. He was born Jan. 22, 1841, near Host, Tulpehocken township, son of Isaac and Rebecca (Wagner) Wilhelm.

According to Rupp's "30,000 Names of Immigrants," there appears a Wilhelm (Christian name not given), over twenty-one years of age, who was among the emigrants who crossed the Atlantic to New York State in 1710, passed the winter of 1710 and summer of 1711 in Livingston Manor, N.Y., and who may have been among the number who in 1723 or subsequently came to Tulpehocken. Christian Wilhelm a native of the Palatinate, was one of the pioneers of the Tulpehocken settlement, as is found on the Lindemuth map of the Tulpehocken pioneer land-owners. He was a soldier in the Revolution, as was also Jacob Michael Wilhelm, (probably a son), who paid a tax of three pounds in Tulpehocken in 1759, and who died July 8, 1834.

In Rev. John Caspar Stoever's Record of Marriages is recorded Jan. 19, 1741, the union of John Henry Wilhelm and Maria Haermaennin (probably Herman), of Swatara, and in the Record of Baptisms appear the baptisms of children of Henry Wilhelm, as follows: Maria, born Dec. 4, 1741; and John Philip, Jan. 28, 1743.

The Wilhelms of Host and Marion are descended from John Adam Wilhelm, who was born May 25, 1751, and who died on his farm Aug. 31, 1831. He may have been a son of John Henry, mentioned above, or of Christian. Another theory is that John Adam was a son of Jacob Wilhelm, shown on of Berks county for 1767, 1768 and 1779, as of Tulpehocken township, being credited with 210 acres of land in the last year named. John Adam Wilhelm married Maria Christina Gruber, who was born Dec. 4, 1766, and who died Sept. 7, 1825 (daughter of John Adam Gruber (1735-1807), eldest son of Henry Gruber the emigrant). Both are buried at Host Church, of which they were faithful members, and where many of the family sleep their last sleep. The Wilhelms have always been of the German Reformed denomination in religious belief, and in political matters Democrats. John Adam Wilhelm was the original owner of the homestead, which has remained in the family name over a century. To him and his wife were born seven children, as follows: (1) John (Johannes) is mentioned below. (2) Jacob, born Oct. 10, 1792, lived in Marion Township, and died may 25, 1871. He married Barbara Boltz, born March 5, 1798, died Aug. 10, 1878 and had children: William, Edward, Mary (1823-1873, wife of Willoughby Scharff) and Mrs. Isaac Lebo. (3) Catharine, born 1789, died 1863, married John Henry Schmidt (1784-1848), and their son Henry Smith was the father of Henry K. Smith, of Mahanoy City, who now owns the old Smith home in Jefferson township and a farm near Bernville. (4) Maria, born 1796, died 1855, married Henry Christ, and had children: Jacob, John, Hannah (never married), Elizabeth (wife of John Henninger), and Mrs. Michael Hiester. (5) John Adam, born Aug. 19, 1799, died Sept. 10, 1837, married in 1826, Magdalene Trautman (1804-1886), and had no children. (6) Elizabeth, born 1797, died 1875, married George Moyer (1810-1869), and both are buried at Strausstown. They had two sons and four daughters, of whom the two younger daughters died unmarried, and the other two became, respectively, the first and second wife of Jonathan Rauch. (7) Barbara married Paul Lengel, and had -six children, among whom were Henry, Peter and Paul.

John (Johannes) Wilhelm, son of John Adam, was born May 27,1785, and died May 22, 1872, aged eighty- seven years. His life was spent in agricultural pursuits on the farm at Host. He married Anna Maria Kurr, who was born April 29, 1786, and who died Feb. 19. 1870, aged eighty-three years. They became the parents of nine children, as follows: (1) Adam, born 1808, died 1858, married Elizabeth Kuhner (or Keener), and had children: Frank, Augustus, Fietta (wife of Elias Groff), and Sarah (wife of Lucian Potteiger). (2) Elizabeth, born 1809, died 1877, married John Himmelberger (1802-1871), and had seven children: Lydia (wife of John Wenrich, deceased, a tombstone cutter at Bernville), Rebecca (wife of Percival Lengel), Jared, Adam, Elizabeth (wife of Amos Anderson), Isabella (wife of Frank Forry) and Henry. (3) Isaac is mentioned below. (4) Jacob, born 1814, died 1883, married (first) Lovina (also given as EIweina) Keiser, and (second) and (third) two sisters, Mary and Elizabeth Miller. To the first marriage were born: John, James, Samuel, Rebecca (wife of Henry Snyder), Theresa (wife of William Miller). Sarah (wife of Samuel Deck), Mary and Elizabeth (first and second wife, respectively, of Nathaniel Allerd). To the second marriage were born: Jared, Jacob, Isaac, Amelia (wife of John Himmelberger), Lovina (who married a Mr. Shade) and Carrie (who married a Mr. Staudt). (5) A. Maria (Polly) married Henry Kuhner (also spelled Kiener and Keener), and had children: John, Adam, Henry, Joseph, Augustus, Sarah (wife of Adam Schmidt), Emma (wife of Isaac Schmidt, brother of Adam), and Amelia (wife of Henry Fidler, tobacconist of Womelsdorf. (6) Catharine married Jonathan Zeller, and had children: Reilly (of Stouchsburg), Mrs. Dr. Frank Kantner, and Mrs. Henry Kachel. (7) Joseph, born 1826, died 1902, married (first) Lovina Winter, and (second) Elizabeth Schaeffer. He had children: Amelia married (first) John Brossman and (second) Albert Behney, and Mary (wife of Henry Peiffer). (8) Augustus, born 1828, died 1903, married and had one child, Mary Amelia, who died in young womanhood. (9) John, born 1828, and living near Host, married and had children: Ezra, Mandon George. Henry, Hannah (wife of Frank Beidler), Maria wife of Jacob Swope} and Katie (wife of Frank Frantz).

Isaac Wilhelm, father of Henry A., was born in 1812, at Host, on the old Wilhelm homestead, and he died in June, 1869, aged fifty-seven years. He was a life long farmer, and carried on operations on his 101-acre tract, situated near Millersburg. Mr. Wilhelm was buried at Salem cemetery, Millersburg. His wife was Rebecca Wagner, who was born in 1810, and died in 1885, daughter of Henry Wagner, and they had three children: Mary, deceased, who was the wife of James Spangler; Henry A.; and Rebecca, who died unmarried.

Henry A. Wilhelm was four years old when his father removed to Bethel township, and there he assisted the latter until twenty-three years old, at which time his father's death occurred, and Henry A. Wilhelm continued to cultivate the farm for two more years. After the death of his first wife he sold his farm stock and lived at Millersburg ,with his mother for one year, and in 1875 he married a second time. Three years later he removed with his family to Dun- bar. Nebraska where he owned a quarter-section and an eighth-section of land, comprising 240 acres, which he cultivated with much success for upwards of twenty- five years, having on an average of fifty head of cattle and from twenty to sixty horses. After disposing of his property, person and real, he returned to Pennsylvania and settled at Stouchsburg, where he owns a fine farm of 105 acres now tenanted, and he is also the owner of twenty-seven acres situated near the Lutheran Orphans' Home, at Womelsdorf. Mr. Wilhelm, who now lives retired and is in comfortable circumstances, enjoying the fruits of industry, thrift and economy of his earlier life. He and his family are Reformed members of Tulpehocken (Leinbach's) Church. Mr. Wilhelm is fond of travel, and he and his wife visited the Centennial at Philadelphia in 1876, and the Omaha Exposition in 1898.

Mr. Wilhelm was married (first) to Sarah A. Spang, daughter of Isaac and Lydia (Daub) Spang, and grand-daughter of Peter and Sarah (Deppen) Spang, farming people of North Heidelberg township. She died Oct. 2, 1871, aged twenty-six years, nine months, one day, leaving five children, as follows: Irwin S., who is engaged in farming in Nebraska; M. Alice, deceased who was the wife of Henry Meyer; Sallie R., who married Oren Buchanan; Lizzie A., deceased, who married Charles Holliday; and Amelia M., who died unmarried aged thirty-one years.

In 1875 Mr. Wilhelm was married (second) to Mary A. Spang, sister of his first wife, and they have had four children: George I., Frank C. and Harry W., who are successful business men of Dunbar, Nebr.; and Miss Mabel A., a well known school teacher of Marion township.


p. 1490


William H. Wilhelm, deceased, for many years one of Reading's prominent manufacturers, was born in the State of New Jersey in 1826.

Only the latter part of Mr. Wilhelm's life was identified with Reading, as he had worked up to 1874 as a machinist in Easton, Pennsylvania. On coming to Reading he engaged in the manufacture of hat machinery and was very successful in it. During a period of two years he removed to Hamburg, and in connection with several others became interested in the manufacture of bicycles, but he soon returned to Reading and he remained there until his death in 1896, at the age of seventy. Mr. Wilhelm was a strong Republican, but took no part in public affairs save in educational matters, in which he always manifested a deep interest, serving as a school director for seven years. Fraternally he was a Mason, a member of Easton Lodge, F. & A. M.

In 1854, Mr. Wilhelm was married to Miss Catherine Ruple, daughter of Joseph Ruple, and four of the children, born to this union, lived to maturity, namely: Elmira, Mrs. George Shenton, of Carlisle, Pa.; W. Irvin, of Bethlehem, Pa., who married Miss Mary Marshall; Clara, wife of the late Walter Kinzie; and Harry, who married Miss Sally Pyle, and died in February, 1904. In religious belief the family are Methodists.


p. 1219


Jacob N. Williams, of Reading, one of that city's self-made men, is a representative of a family that has long been known in Berks county.

John Williams, the first of the family of whom there is definite record in Berks county, was a resident and taxable in Alsace township, before the American Revolution. He made his last will and testament March 25, 1806, and his death occurred in the latter part of September, 1807. His will is recorded in Will Book 4, p. 448. He was a Quaker, and two well known Quakers, Mordecai Wright and Samuel Lightfoot, of Maiden-creek township, were his executors. He attended Maiden-creek Meeting House, and it is probable that he is buried there. In his will he made ample provision for his "beloved" wife Ruth, and he mentions four sons: William, Isaac, Joseph and Jesse.

Joseph Williams, son of John and Ruth, died in 1808, without issue. He was a shoemaker in Maiden-creek township, His executors were Jeremiah Starr and Mordecai Wright, both English Quakers. Items in his will were : "My shoemaker tools and clothing shall be divided between my three brothers, William, Isaac and Jesse Williams." "My brothers Thomas, John and Henry Williams shall have five shillings, they having been befriended by me before." "My brother Isaac shall have 15 pounds extra because of the loss of his fingers."

Jesse Williams, son of John and Ruth, had sons, John and Samuel. Of these, Samuel had a son Samuel H., born May 23, 1837, m. to Amanda Deem, and father of Annie. John, Sallie, Lillie, Clara and Edward. Samuel and his family live in Centre township, Berks county.

Abraham Williams, son of ___ (probably William) and grandson of John and Ruth of Alsace township, lived in Upper Bern township. He married a member of Faust family, and among his children was a son, Samuel.

Samuel Williams, grandfather of Jacob N., and son of Abraham, was a cabinet maker and undertaker in Upper Bern township. He married Louisa Wagner, and their children were: Charles, of near Leesport, Pa. ; Frank; Howard, deceased; Dianah, m. to Alfred K. Rentschler, former county treasurer; Sarah, m. to a Mr. Young, of Philadelphia; Ella m. to Joseph Martin, of Ham Pa. ; Hettie, m. to William Reinhart; and Alfred W., father of Jacob N.

Alfred W. Williams was born in Upper Bern township, Berks county, Sept. 13, 1852, and he died May 12, 1884. He followed farming in Upper Berks county until his death. His wife was Hettie A. Nies, who is now the wife of Cyrus Kauffman, and they reside at Rosedale, Berks county. The children of Alfred W. and Hettie (Neis) Williams were: Jacob N.; George N.; Katie N., m. to Charles Reeser, of Leesport, Pa. Williams is buried at St. Michael's Church.

Jacob N. Williams was born in Upper Bern township, May 30, 1875, and attended the public schools. He worked for his father and grandfather when a boy, but at the age of sixteen took a position as clerk in the general store of Howard Fraunfelder, at Mohrsville. He afterward clerked for a short time for William B. Kline at West Hamburg, and from there went to Hamburg, where remained clerking in the store until 1897, when he came to Reading and engaged in the grocery business at Sixth and Pine streets. This business he followed until 1900, at which time he became a cigar salesman for the which later admitted him as a member, and June 3, 1903, as one of the firm he was given charge of the outside business of the Kline Cigar Company, located at Nos. 441-443 Cedar street, Reading. This Company did a large business, employing from forty to fifty people. Their product was a fine grade cigar, and their business principles were well known in the business world. Mr. Williams is a good example of what honesty, integrity and perseverance will accomplish. Starting as a clerk he has worked his way up to a position of responsibility, and in the spring of 1908 he retired from firm and started in the wholesale cigar business.

Mr. Williams was married in 1898 to Cora Grommis, daughter of Isaac and Kate (Leis) Grommis, and their children are: Paul A. and Ralph I., attending school; and Mary E. The family attend Grace Lutheran Church. In fraternal circles Mr. Williams is a member of St. John's Lodge, F. & A. M., No.435, Reading; Bohemond Commandery No.277, A. & I. O. K. of M. ; Washington Camp No.78, P. O. S. of A., Hamburg; Hamburg Castle No. 477, K. G. E. He served. three years as a member of Company E, Fourth regiment, National Guard of Pennsylvania.


p. 680


Gile J. Willson (deceased) was for many years a prominent figure in Reading, where he was connected with several important commercial enterprises, and where his extensive building operations materially promoted the growth of the city. He was justly held in the highest consideration by his fellow-citizens, and his death on Jan. 24, 1888, at the age of sixty-four years, was widely felt as a real loss to the community with which he had so long been identified.

The first of these Willsons in America was the grandfather of Gile J., also named Gile, who, when only seventeen years of age, left his home in England, gave up his inheritance there and came to the Colonies to enter the Patriot army as a private, rising in the course of the war to the rank of major. The Willson coat of arms, used by right of descent from the Ward family, was originally won in the Crusades, and bears the Ward motto, Sub Cruce Salus (salvation by way of the cross), the Willson motto being, in English, "God save or we perish." Henry Ward Beecher, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Julia Ward Howe all belong to this branch.

Gile J.Willson was born in New York State in 1824, of New England stock. After his marriage he lived for a time in Winchester, Va., and from there came to Reading, where he settled permanently. He established a jewelry business which steadily increased in volume until it was the foremost concern of its kind in the city, located at No.524 Penn street, where it is still continued by one of his sons, Charles G. Willson, his watchmaking and jewelry manufacturing establishment occupying the second and third floors at that location. About 1871 Mr. Willson also founded the great spectacle factory at Reading, with which he was connected seventeen years. It is now owned by his son, Thomas A. Willson, of Reading ( whose summer home is Clare Point Stock Farm, Ephrata, Lancaster county), and managed by the latter's son, Dr. Frederick Willson, one of Reading's most prominent men. Mr. Gile J. Willson, also went quite extensively into building. The residence in which his widow still lives, at North Fourth street, was erected fifty years ago. At that time the city was composed almost entirely of the ordinary plain brick houses, and Mr. Willson was the first to introduce the innovation of bay windows, putting up on Washington street, above Fourth, a row of handsome houses, all with this new feature. The ground on which they were built was originally deeded to the Quakers for a meeting-house by the Penns in 1702; the original grant, written parchment, is still in the possession of the family.

Mr. Willson's enterprises were all very successful. He not only gained a reputation as a jewelry manufacturer and merchant, but made several inventions of note which perpetuate his name to the trade. The first dust-proof watch cap, now in universal use among watch manufacturers, was invented and patented by him, and he took out patents on other devices in general use at the present time.

Mr. Willson was the organizer of the Reading Mutual Fire Insurance Company, whose first banquet was held at his home. Many prosperous men of Reading today owe their success to his practical advice and encouragement, for he was never known to withhold aid or sympathy from the deserving. He was very active in church work as a prominent member of the First Presbyterian Church, and served as president of the board of trustees of that congregation for many years. He was one of the foremost in the erection of the beautiful chapel connected with that church, serving as president of the building committee. But most precious to his family is the memory of his beautiful home life. He was a most devoted husband and for his family, and was never more happy than in his home circle, and when entertaining his family and friends in his home, where all enjoyed his entire confidence and good fellowship. He entered most heartily into all that interested each one of his family. He had a smile and a cheerful word for them at all times. His approval was the highest reward his children asked for any achievement. Words cannot express their love and devotion to him and their more than precious memory of a dear devoted father.

On Jan. 7, 1845, Mr. Willson married Miss Sarah .J. Templin, daughter of James Templin, who was a cousin of Betsey Ross, and a descendant of one of the oldest and most prominent families of Berks county. Mrs. Willson's grandfather was a soldier in the Revolution. She bore her husband three children, namely: Thomas A., of Ephrata; M. Elizabeth; and Charles Gile, who succeeded to his father's jewelry business, and who is the ninth in succession bearing the name of Gile Willson ? being an abbreviation of the family name of Peckersgile, of Lancashire, England. The two older children were born in Winchester, Va., and the family had many relatives in that section, all extensive slave owners. Mr. Willson left the South because his sentiments on the slavery question were in such pronounced opposition to the general opinion there. Slaves had been bequeathed to his children, but he would not allow the children to have them. The house in which the Willsons lived while in Winchester was partly demolished during the battle at that point during the Civil war.

M. Elizabeth Willson is very prominent in all the philanthropic work of Reading, and is connected with its various charitable organizations, including the Civic League and the Humane Society, while she is also a member of the Woman's Club and the Daughters of the Revolution, Berks county chapter. She furnished a room in the Homeopathic Hospital of Reading, in memory' of her father, which she keeps in repair and will endow. Miss Willson is greatly interested in all that pertains to the early days in this country, is justly proud of her patriotic ancestors and carefully cherishes certain family heirlooms, including a teapot which the Wards brought from England in 1735, and a cup from which Washington drank at Valley Forge, where Mrs. Gile J. Willson's father, James Templin, was living at the time Washington wintered there; a monocle holder and hand-made Odd Fellows charm dating from the first lodge in England and descending from Sir Gilbert Ward, of Crusade times. She is living in the old home, No.108 North Fourth street, with her mother.


p. 1203


Chalkley Wilson, who is well known to the citizens of Reading, Pa., as an artist in pastel, water color and crayon, resides at No. 302 North Front street. Mr. Wilson was born Oct. 11, 1857, in Newlin township, Chester Co., Pa., son of John and Marie (Speakman) Wilson.

John Wilson, grandfather of Chalkley, was a native of Ireland and came to America in the early part of the eighteenth century. He was a mill man and known as "Slitter John", to distinguish him from the other John Wilsons in the same locality. He was foreman of a forge and rolling mill on Buck and Doe Run in Newlin township, Chester county, and this, in connection with the care of a 132 acre farm was his occupation throughout his active period. He was a well-known man in his day, was a public spirited citizen, and was highly esteemed by all who knew him. In politics he was a Whig. John Wilson married Ann Bentley, born on the northern boundary of England, and they became the parents of these children: Isaac; Ellis; John; Ann, m. to Horatio Stott; Martha, m. to Moses Ford; Phebe, m. to Martin C. Walker; and Alice. Mrs. Wilson was a Baptist in religious belief, and at the age of seventy-five years walked five miles to Coatesville, to attend divine service. She died in 1865, aged eighty-four years, having survived her husband, who died in 1833, in his fifty-eighth year.

John Wilson, son of John and father of Chalkley, was a heater in the old Joseph Bailey furnace at the pine Iron Works in Montgomery county, but the latter part of his life was spent in agricultural pursuits on the ancestral acres. He died in 1880, in his sixty-fifth year, his wife dying in 1883, when sixty-five years old. They were the parents of the following children: Edmund, deceased, m. Rebecca Maitland, and had children, Mary, Edmund, John and Ellis; Mary E., died unmarried in 1869, aged twenty-four years; Martha, who died in 1902, aged fifty-five years, m. George F. Thomas, and had children, Anna, Lou, Clara Warren and Walter; Isaac, born in 1848, m. (first) Rachel Reubincan, who died, and (second) Ella Guyn, and they had children, Ray, Percy and Emma; Joseph B. m. (first) Lucretia Thomas, who died leaving one child, Bertha, and he m. (second) Mary Koch; Ellis, born in 1851, died in Harrisburg in 1907, aged fifty-five years; John S. died in the spring of 1881, aged twenty-seven years; Emma died June 19, 1864; Chalkley; Robert died March 27, 1860, in infancy; Annie M. m. William L. Price, and they have four children, Ernest, Harry, Wilfred and Chalkley; and Richard T. m. Della Bean, and has two children, Bessie and Martha. In religious belief the family were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In politics Mr. Wilson was first a Whig and later a Democrat, and he was fraternally connected with the I.O.O.F. for many years, passing through the chairs.

Chalkley Wilson received his early educational training in the public schools of Spruce Grove, Newlin township, Chester county, and remained on the home farm until the death of his parents. The next seven years of his life were spent in and about the iron works, but the last eighteen years have been devoted entirely to his art. Mr. Wilson is an artist of exceptional ability. His portraits in pastel, water color and crayon have attracted widespread attention and earned many words of commendation, while his landscape views find a ready sale among lovers of art in Reading.

In 1886 Mr. Wilson was married to Rebecca H. Jeffers, daughter of Ishmael Jeffers, a native of Newlin township. In his political views Mr. Wilson is a stanch Democrat. He has for a number of years been a member of the Red Men, as well as the Golden Eagles: in the latter he was through all of the chairs, serving as a delegate to Harrisburg in 1890.


p. 807


John Bordeaux Wilson, one of the leading citizens of Longswamp township, Berks county, who has won quite a reputation as a civil engineer, is engaged in a large white china clay business being a member of the firm of the Star Clay Company. Mr. Wilson was born May 7, 1848, at Philadelphia, Pa., son of David and Emma (Moore) Wilson.

David G. Wilson was born Nov. 7, 1864, in Kent county Del., and learned the trade of wheelwright in Philadelphia, where he established himself in business in 1829. Subsequently, he formed a partnership with a blacksmith, John Childs, the well-known firm of Wilson, Childs & Co. being organized, which afterward became of the leading enterprises of its kind in the world, handling large government and foreign contracts. Mr. Wilson died July 22, 1860, while at the height of his business success, but the firm has been continued to the present time, the name remaining the same. In August, 1826, he married Emma Moore, born a Bridgeton, N. J., Aug. 23, 806, who died in Philadelphia, Jan. 1, 1884. Of their eleven children, John Bordeaux was the youngest.

John Bordeaux Wilson was reared and educated in Philadelphia, and after taking a two years' course at the Central high school, in September, 1864, he entered the Polytechnic College, in the class of civil engineering, and was graduated in June, 1876. He followed this occupation until his health compelled him to relinquish it, and became known all over the country. His first appointment was as a member of the engineering corps of the Union Pacific Railroad, engaged in location and construction work through Dakota and Utah, and there he remained until shortly prior to the completion of the road, in May, 1869. For the following two years he was an assistant engineer for the survey of Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, and he subsequently entered the U. S. Engineering Corps, engaged in the survey of the Delaware rive, near Philadelphia. He afterward entered the railroad service, having charge of the engineering work on the eastern division of the Pittsburg, Fort Wayne & Chicago Railway, but after five years was compelled to give up this occupation. He did some work in the silver mines of Colorado , and in 1877 came East. In September, 1878, he purchased a one-half interest in the Star Clay Company, of near Mertztown, where the crude clay is refined by a washing process, and run through filter presses, subsequently being kiln-dried by steam. During the years that have followed, the business has been extended and shipments are now made to all points in the United States. The firm has another plant at Alburtis, Lehigh county, where the product is shipped in the crude state after being air dried. From 1878 until 1884, Mr. Wilson resided in Philadelphia, but in the summer of the latter year, he brought his family to Longswamp township, and they were so well pleased with the locality that they decided to remain.

On Dec. 16, 1875, Mr. Wilson was married to Millie F. Logan, daughter of William C. Logan. She was born May 12, 1852, at Cottonwood. Mo., and died Feb. 25, 1890, at Philadelphia. Five children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Wilson: Laura, born Oct. 9, 1876, is unmarried; Henry Leland, born Nov. 12, 1879, m. Emma Fenstermaker, and has four children, John Raymond, Evelyn, Millard Logan and James Fenstermaker; Mary Calwell. born Oct. 8, 1881, m. Nov. 24, 1908, John Dallas, of Philadelphia, and is residing at Logan, Philadelphia; Emma Moore was born Jan. 25, 1884-all the foregoing children having been born in Philadelphia; and Clarence B., born Sept. 5, 1888, in Longswamp township, is learning the trade of machinist.

Mr. Wilson was secretary of the board of trustees of St. Matthew's Lutheran Church, Philadelphia, for a number of years, and still retains his membership in this congregation.


p. 1468


Charles Windbigler of Ontelaunee township, Berks county, where he is engaged in carpentering, was born in Alsace (now Muhlenberg) township, Dec. 21, 1838, son of Daniel and Mary (Polly) (Boyer) Windbigler.

Philip Windbigler, grandfather of Charles. was married to a Miss Clauser, and they had four children: Sarah m. John Bower, resided in Oley township, and had four children, John, Jared, Isaac and Daniel; Elizabeth m. Adam Kissinberth, of Baden, Germany, and had seven children; Mary (Polly) m, a Mr. Troudt and had four children; and Daniel was the father of Charles. After the death of Philip Windbigler his widow was married again, and to this union there was born one child, a daughter.

Daniel Windbigler was a shoemaker of Alsace township, and was there married to Mary or Polly Boyer, daughter of Valentine and Catherine Boyer, and to them there was born one child, Charles.

Charles Windbigler was reared in the vicinity of his native place, and in his youth he learned the trade of carpenter, which he has followed to the present time. He was married to Margaret Amelia Rothermel, daughter of David and Barbara (Weiant) Rothermel, and four children were born to this union: Elizabeth Endora and Annie are unmarried and at home; Adam m. Daniel Everhart and has three children,-Elsie, Amelia and Elizabeth; and Katie Amelia m. Howard Kline, who is carrying on the old homestead. The family are members of the Reformed Church. Mr. Windbigler is a Democrat in politics, but has never aspired to public position.


p. 1073


Howard K. Winings, who has been engaged in agricultural pursuits all of his life, is now operating an excellent farm in Robeson township, whither he came when seventeen years of age. Mr. Winings was born July 3, 1846, in Chester county, Pa., son of Jacob and Leah (Keen) Winings.

Jacob Winings was a farmer by occupation and this he followed throughout life, operating a farm in Warwick township, which he owned, until 1864, after which he rented farms for some years. He retired some years previous to his death, which occurred in 1884, at the age of seventy-three years. He and his wife were the parents of eight children: Louisa m. Benjamin Roberts; Howard K.; Catherine died young; Jacob, deceased, was a moulder; Miss Clara; Eli E. is a moulder; and Misses Rosie and Emma. In religious matters the family were connected with the Evangelical Church. Mr. Winings was a Democrat in politics.

Howard K. Winings was educated in the schools of Warwick township, Chester county, and there he made his home until seventeen years old, when he came to Berks county, where he has since been carrying on agricultural operations. He has always been an industrious, hard-working citizen, and has wielded some influence in local politics, being prominent in the ranks of the Democratic party and serving on the petit and grand juries. In religious belief he is Lutheran.

In 1877 Mr. Winings married Maggie H. Brown, daughter of John M. Brown, and to this union two sons have been born; John B. (m. Sarah N. Davis, and has three children: J. Harold D., Margaret L. and Howard Lester) ; and Howard L. (m. Rose Murray and has one child, Florence C.). Both sons are engaged in farming, and both follow in their father's footsteps politically, voting in support of Democratic principles.

John M. Brown, father of Mrs. Maggie H. (Brown) Winings, died aged sixty-three years. He married Margaret P. Haws, who died in 1879, ten years after her husband, at the age of nearly eighty years. They were both natives of Berks county. and their home farm was that now occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Howard K. Winings. Both Mr. and Mrs. Brown were Lutherans and active in church and Sunday-school work and the church-St. John's Lutheran and Reformed-was erected on the Brown property. Mrs. Winings has never lived anywhere except in her present home. Her sister, Mrs. M. A. Bodder (mentioned elsewhere), died there two years ago.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:57:38 EDT

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