Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 1513


Ferdinand Winter, who for many years was a well-known businessman of Reading, and a member of the leather manufacturing firm of Winter & Getz, is now living retired at his home No. 900 Centre avenue in this city. Mr. Winter's birth occurred 1838, in Austria, son of Anton and Marie (Ansorge) Winter.

After receiving a good education in the schools of his native country, Mr. Winter learned the process of tanning chamois and other fine hides for glove and shoe purposes, and followed this occupation as a journeyman for eleven years in Bavaria. On Aug. 28, 1867, he emigrated to America, landing at Castle Garden. on the steamship "Northern Light," and settled in Philadelphia for two and one-half years, after which he came to Reading and entered into a partnership with Anton Blatz, who had established, a short time previously, a small tannery. This partnership existed under the name of Blatz & Winter from 1869 to 1875, when Mr. Winter purchased the business, and admitted as a partner Ferdinand Getz, they carrying on the business on the Canal street site of the Pennsylvania railroad, which purchased the plant in order to clear their right of way. The firm then located on the property now owned by the Ferdinand Getz Sons Co., where they continued until 1904, in which year Mr. Getz died and Mr. Winter retired from the business. The reputation that Mr. Winter made for his goods was far reaching and much of the leather passed inspection and sold in Philadelphia, New York and other large cities as imported leather, but in fact this was not doing his product justice, as it was in many instances superior to the imported goods. He also exported to foreign countries including Germany, France and England. Mr. Winter is a great traveler, and in addition to traveling many miles in America, he has crossed the Atlantic thirteen times, and each time visited his old home. Mr. Winter is a director in the Keystone National Bank.

In 1874, Mr. Winter was married to Clara Kuchler, and the following children were born to this union: Edward, at home; Martha, deceased: Louis, manufacturer's agent for a German patented fountain pen with offices in the Raer building; Rose, Maria and Louisa at home; and two that died in infancy. Fraternally, Mr. Winter is connected with Teutonia Lodge, F. & A M., Excelsior Chapter, Reading Commandery and Rajah Temple. A. A. O. N. M. S.


p. 1099


Mahlon D. Winter, postmaster at Centreport, Berks county, and a man who has been in business in that vicinity from early manhood, was born Jan. 13, 1869, in Centre township, son of Christian R. Winter and grandson of Christian Winter.

Christian Winter, the grandfather, was born in Berks county and followed shoemaking in Centre township, where he is buried at Bellman's Church. He lived to the age of ninety-seven, having been born in 1800 and died in 1897. His wife's maiden name was Rick, and they had a family of nine children: William, John, Christian R., Charles, Frank, Cyrus, Malinda, Elizabeth and Lavina.

Christian R. Winter, son of Christian, born in 1829 in Centre township, followed lime burning there. He retired in 1902, and now makes his home at Centreport. He married Susanna Dundore, and they have a family of seven children: Matilda m. Miles Royer, of Illinois; Mary m. Oliver Horning; Katie m. David Mengel; James lives in Kansas City, Mo.; William is unmarried; John, of Reading, m. Louisa Kauffman; Mahlon D. is mentioned below.

Mahlon D. Winter attended public school in Centre township, and learned the tailor's trade, which he followed for eighteen months. After that he clerked in a general store at Centreport for three years and two months, and then engaged in business for himself at West Leesport, where he remained for two years. He was next at Centreport for two years, was engaged in sawmilling for one year, and in 1898 embarked in the confectionery business at Centreport, which he has continued ever since. In 1906 he went into the lumber business again, cutting down timber. He has one mill in operation, and has cut many feet of timber in Berks county. In 1907 Mr. Winter built a shirt factory at Centreport, a frame building two stories high, where from twenty-five to fifty hands are employed.

Mr. Winter has been quite active in the public affairs of Centreport, has served six years as councilman of the borough, as surveyor, as school director (acting as secretary of the school board), and as Republican committeeman of Centreport for eleven years. In 1897 he was appointed postmaster by the late President McKinley. He is connected with Odd Fellows Lodge No. 141, at Leesport, and with Camp No. 446, P. O. S. of A., of Centreport. He is a member of the Lutheran Church.

Mr. Winter married Lizzie E. Ernst, of Centre township, daughter of Emanuel and Priscilla (Klopp) Ernst, and six children have been born to them, five surviving: Oscar (who died when eight years old), Lloyd, Frank, Raymond, Armand and Alberta.


p. 927


John M. S. Winters, one of the successful agriculturists and good reliable citizens of Penn township, was born Jan. 21, 1856 in Marion township, Berks Co., Pa., son of John R. and Amanda (Spatz) Winters.

Christian Winters, grandfather of John M. S., lived near Centreport, where he followed farming and lime burning, although in early life he had been engaged at shoemaking. He married Elizabeth Rick, and they had twelve children, seven sons and five daughters.

John R. Winters was born near Centreport, and followed farming in Upper Bern township throughout life, his death occurring in Reading in 1904, aged seventy-six years, and he was buried at Belleman's Church. He married Amanda Spatz, one of the twelve children-three boys and nine girls-born to Jacob and Elizabeth ( Zellers ) Spatz. The following children were born to John R. Winters and wife: Helen S. m. George F. Minker, of Reading, and died in 1908; Valeria S. m. Joshua Bucks, and lives in Reading; John M. S. ; Alice S. m. Isaac L. Graeff, of Reading; Sarah A. S. m. Franklin Z. Dunkelberger, of Lower Heidelberg; William S. m. Matilda Christ, and lives in Philadelphia; Samuel S., of Kutztown, m. Elmira Lindenmuth ; Annie S. is deceased; Elizabeth S. married William Guaer, of Philadelphia; Elam S., of Philadelphia, m. Mary Frantz ; and Llewellyn S. is deceased.

John M. S. Winters was reared to the life of a farmer, and in 1880 began farming on his own account on the Samuel G. Strouse farm, which belonged to his father-in-law. He also owns a forty-four acre property adjoining this tract and he farms it in connection therewith. On Oct. 20, 1877, Mr. Winters married Amelia E. Strause, daughter of Samuel G. and Lydia (Kissling) Strause, and they have had these children: Samuel L., of Bernville, m. Katie V. Blatt, and has one child, Estella E. ; Laura and Florence are deceased; and George lives at home. In politics Mr. Winters is a Democrat, and he has served his township as school director for six years; as judge of election; in 1901 as grand juror; and twice as petit juror, besides being delegate to county conventions. He is a member of Belleman's Church and served as deacon thereof. Fraternally he is connected with Lodge No.122, I. O. O. F., Bernville, of which he has been treasurer since 1902; and Camp No.113, P. O. S. of A., Bernville.

Mrs. Winters' paternal grandparents were Jacob and Elizabeth (Gerhart) Strause, who had twelve children, six sons and six daughters, and her maternal grandparents, Jacob and Kate (Gerhart) Kissling, had ten children, six boys and four girls.


p. 1534


Warren L. Wise, one of the progressive farmers of Douglass township, was born there July 24, 1866, son of William H. Wise. He grew to maturity on his father's farm, and worked then at the tin smith's trade for one year. He gave his services to his father until he was twenty-one, and in the spring of 1898 he began farming in Oley township, near the Yellow House, and was a tenant there on the Ammon #RhoadsFamily"arm for three years. In the spring of 1901 he moved to Douglass township, and settled on the old home farm, which in 1903 he purchased form the estate. This farm is located north from the central part of the township, in School District No. 4. It was owned by his father many years and before him was the property of Henry Brunner. The farm has ninety-two acres of the best land to be found in the township. The present set of buildings were erected by William H. Wise, with the exception of a stone house which dates from the Revolutionary war period.

Mr. Wise is a Democrat in his political faith, and has always been alert to the best interests of his party. He and his family are Lutheran members of St. Paul's Church at Amityville, of which he was deacon for four years.

On Nov. 17, 1892, Mr. Wise was united in marriage with Ellen Spatz, daughter of Jacob and Lydia (Tobias) Spatz, of Jacksonwald, and granddaughter of Abraham and Catharine (Lorah) Spatz. Abraham Spatz was a farmer in Exeter township, and to him and his wife were born three children, as follows: Sarah, Ephraim and Jacob. Jacob Spatz had a fine truck farm in Jacksonwald. To him and his wife, Lydia Tobias were born: Ellen, Emma, Jacob, Abraham, and Daniel. Mr. and Mrs. Wise have been blessed with three children, namely: William, J., Edgar W. and Marion Naomi. Mr. Wise is one of the enlightened men of his township, and is ever ready to lend his aid to any movement that tends to the progress and development of his town or county.


p. 1101


Wellington L. Wise, whose fine farm lies three-quarters of a mile southeast of Amityville, Berks county, is a member of a family whose early home was in the Palatinate, Germany, his great-grandfather, Ehrhart Weiss, emigrating from that locality to America during the latter half of the eighteenth century. When he first came to the New World, in company with others he traveled through the Oley Valley with a view to settling there, but they found there only wood of small growth, and this caused them to question the fertility of the soil. They drifted along in the direction of what is now known as Koch's Tavern in Pike township, where they found heavy timber and good water, and accordingly chose that place for their new homes. Ehrhart Weiss had a number of children, and many of his descendants are in Lower Berks county at the present time.

John Weiss, son of Ehrhart, was born above Gabelsville, in Colebrookdale, and there grew to manhood and learned the tailor's trade. This he followed some years, and then came to Douglass township, and bought the 163-acre farm now owned by Wilson Schmale, and this he cultivated for forty years. At the end of that time he moved to Earl township, and for a number of years conducted the "Worman Hotel." When he retired his son-in-law, Jeremiah Wentzel, took charge of the same place. Mrs. Weiss died at this hotel from a stroke of apoplexy, while sitting in her chair, Oct. 15, 1852. She was Anna Hartranft, born Nov. 17, 1786, daughter of William and Anna Barbara Hartranft. Mr. Weiss made his home with his son-in-law at the hotel until his own death April 6, 1879. TO him and his wife were born children as follows: Sarah m. Samuel Fisher; Samuel (born Aug. 2, 1809, died Feb. 9, 1863) m. Catharine (born Nov. 24, 1815, died July 22, 1895); Polly; Rebecca; Sophia; Ephraim (born Oct. 16, 1816, died March 4, 1864); Catharine; William H.; Henry and Caroline.

William H. Wise, son of John, was born in Douglass township, near Pine schoolhouse, Jan. 31, 1822, and died in the same township Jan. 18, 1898, and he and his wife are buried in the cemetery at Amityville. William H. Wise was a farmer, owning a ninety-two acre farm in Douglass, which is now the property of his son Warren. He was a Lutheran member of Amityville church, and served as deacon and elder many years. In politics he was a Democrat, and long served as school director. He was public-spirited and progressive, and was sincerely interested in furthering the cause of public education. He married Rebecca Levengood, born March 17, 1826, daughter of Samuel and Rebecca (Weiler) Levengood, and she died May 5, 1857, the mother of ten children, as follows: Philip, Leah, Rebecca, Wellington L., Amanda, Delilah (born Sept. 4, 1857, died Aug. 22, 1877), Irwin, Harvey L., Warren and Annie.

Wellington L. Wise, son of William H., was born in Douglass township, adjoining Amity on the south, Dec. 16, 1852. He was reared to farm work and educated in the public schools, completing his literary training by twenty weeks in Kallynean Academy under Prof. I. B. Hankey. In 1873 he was licensed to teach by the late Prof. D. B. Brunner, and he taught his first term at what was then known as "Goosetown school," now School No. 4. In all he taught seven terms, three in Earl township and four in Douglass, and he became well known for his "spelling bees," which were most enjoyable affairs and were always well attended. In the spring of 18825 he began farming in Douglass township on the farm whereon he was born and reared. At the end of three years he sold out his stock and moved to the Jeremiah Van Reed residence and in partnership with his father and brother Philip bought a steam threshing outfit for $1,500, and for one year followed threshing. In 1884 he bought what is know as the Henry Eagle farm in Amity, of 146 acres, 146 perches. The present house was built many years ago, but in 1895 Mr. Wise remodeled it, and built an addition. He has his farm of the best modern farm implements.

In politics Mr. Wise is a Democrat, and he has been a man of influence in his party. He was elected a member of the school board in 1903, and later re-elected, and since 1907 has been secretary of the board. He and his family are Lutheran members of St. Paul's Church, in which he is a member of the vestry. From 1885 to 1903 he served as deacon, and he was elected elder and a member of the church council.

On Feb. 7, 1880, Mr. Wise married Rosa E. Rhoads, daughter of Maberry and Mary Ann (Schaeffer) Rhoads of Amity, and they have eleven children, namely: Mary; Wayne; Delilah; Nora, a graduate of the Interstate Commercial College, Reading, is head bookkeeper for Penn Troy Laundry, Reading; Howard is a teacher in Douglass township; Carrie is an expert penman and is a student at the Pottstown Business college; Annie is a member of the choir at Amityville, as is also her sister Carrie; Eva attended Reading high school; Ella and LeVerne are twins; and William J. In 1878 Mr. Wellington L. Wise and his brother Philip went to Sterling, Rice Co., Kans., where they bought a 160-acre farm at a place called Lyons, paying $12.60 an acre. Shortly after ward they sold it for double the purchase money to a man who later sold half of it for $40, 000, and cut the other half up into building lots which he sold at good prices. The village of Lyons became the county seat of Rice county and real estate prices soared high.

Harvey L. Wise, son of William H. and brother of Wellington L., was born in Douglass township Jan. 17, 1863, and was educated in the public schools in Douglass and trained to farm work. In 1891 he began farming in Amity on rented land, and so continued for seven years?two years on the Levi Heist farm, and five on his father's farm. In 1898 he bought the farm upon which he now resides, located one-quarter mile southeast of Amityville. It consists of fifty-three acres, and Mr. Wise pays particular attention to his dairy. This farm at one time belonged to John Wentzel, and later to Milton Reiff, from whose assignee Mr. Wise purchased it. He and his family are Lutheran members of Amityville church, in which he has been a deacon for eight years. In politics he is a Democrat. On Oct. 27, 1888, he married Mary Rhoads, daughter of Maberry and Mary Ann (Schaeffer) Rhoads, of Amity, and they have four children: Alma, Ida, Minnie, and Lloyd.


p. 1458


Stephen Sylvester Wisser, a merchant in West Reading for upward of twenty years, was born at Ephrata, Lancaster county, Jan. 13, 1853. When three years old his parents moved to Reamstown, and they resided at that place until 1867, when they went to Denver. He attended the public schools until he was sixteen years old, and then learned tanning, in which business his father was engaged. After remaining in the tannery for three years, and not liking the vocation, he entered the general store of S. M. Brubaker as a clerk, and continued with him for eight years.

Mr. Wisser then learned cigar making and followed it for three years, when he moved to the village of Bird-in-Hand and engaged in the confectionery business, starting with a capital of less than $25. He carried on this business for three years and then determined to locate in a more promising place. He selected Reading and went there in 1882, locating at No. 240 Penn street, for the purpose of engaging again in the cigar business, but not realizing his expectations after conducting the store for two years, he removed to West Reading to engage in the grocery business. This was in 1884, and Mr. Wisser started with a limited capital at No. 26 West Penn street. In ten years he succeeded in developing a large trade, and this encouraged him to include dry goods and general merchandise in his stock in trade. By persevering and attending strictly to business he became more and more successful. Gradually enlarging his store, in 1902 he added another extensive department, that of household furniture. In the following four years he increased his trade to still larger proportions, and now he occupies three adjoining three-story brick buildings, altogether seventy-five feet wide by eighty feet deep, which evidences the extent of his great success from a small and well directed beginning.

In 1876 Mr. Wisser was married to Harriet Reinhold, daughter of Frederick and Susan (Sharp) Reinhold, of Reinholdsville, by whom he had six children: Daisy, Mrs. Walter Heckman; Bertha, Mrs. Nelson Boltz; Charles; Stephen; and two who died young. He and his family have been members of the First Baptist Church at Reading since removing from Lancaster county. HE acted as one of the building committee in the erection of the superior building at Fifth and Franklin streets; and served as a trustee for several terms filling this position at the present time.

Mr. Wisser's father, Samuel Wisser, was born at Grimville, Berks county, and removed to Denver, Lancaster county, when sixteen years old. He there learned the tanning business, and carried this on for some years. He married Julia Ann Rhoads, daughter of Philip Rhoads, of Reamstown, by whom he had two children: ;Ann Eliza, who died young; and Stephen.

Philip Wisser, the grandfather, was of Reamstown and by occupation was a cabinet-maker. He married Julia Ann Harding, and by her had children: Samuel, William, Elias, Frederick, Edward, Mary (Mrs. John Frecht) and Harriet (Mrs. Ephraim Carpenter).

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

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