Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 1432


Oscar L. Woerner, of Reading, manufacturer of frames and dealer in art goods, has given about forty-two years of his life to Art, visiting the principal cities of Europe several times, and perfecting by education a natural taste that he might the more readily meet the requirements of the business founded by his father. He was born in New York City on Christie street, near Canal, at that time in the heart of the city, April 6, 1853, son of Francis and Louisa (Hofferberth) Woerner.

Francis Woerner was a native of Carlsruhe, Baden, Germany, where his early education was obtained, and where he learned the gilder's trade. He emigrated from Germany in 1848, and located in New York City, were he began the manufacture of gilt picture molding. He carried on the business there extensively until 1871, and traveled throughout all parts of the United States, making one trip to the Pacific coast via Cape Horn. He also did a considerable business in the City of Mexico. His factory was located on Williams street, where are now the abutments of the East River Bridge. He had three places of business-a factory at No. 98 Chatham street and two retail stores at No. 277 Hudson street and No. 112 Duane street-at the same time. During the fifties and sixties he was one of the most extensive art dealers and manufacturers of molding in New York City. In 1871 he came to Reading, and he died Sept. 20, 1903.

Oscar L. Woerner was educated in the public schools of New York City and Jersey City, afterward taking a course in bookkeeping. He entered he employ of a large mercantile establishment in New York City, and there secured his first practical training in the business world. Entering his father's employ he learned every detail of frame manufacturing and gilding, and with him continued until 1871, when father and son came to Reading and began the making of frames and moldings at No. 637 Penn street, where George Graeff had formerly conducted a like business. They remained there until 1873, when Mr. Oscar L. Woerner went to Pittsburg, being one of the force of S. Boyd & Co., leading art dealers. This connection lasted seven months, when he went down the Ohio to Cincinnati, and accepted a position with the Exposition proprietors. After the close of the Exposition he spent a short time in Indianapolis. In 1874 he returned to Reading and formed a partnership with his father, and in 1875 he went to Easton, Pa., to open a branch, which was the first and only place of the kind there. Another branch was opened at Bethlehem, Pa., and these were all continued until 1881. In 1878 he met with the misfortune of having his factory burned (with no insurance), and after it had been completed only one month. On April 28, 1881, he sold out to A. A. Anthony, Easton, Pennsylvania.

Mr. Woerner called upon Dr. Cattell, then president of Lafayette College, for a commission that he might be enabled to visit Europe. The Doctor had nothing , but told him to see Mr. John I. Blair. He did so and took his order for five three-quarter length paintings, at $1,000 each, to be painted by Angelo Woodward, of New York, in Paris. Sailing from New York April 28, 1880, on the steamship "England," with letters of introduction from Governor Hoffman, of New York, to various influential personages in Europe, he reached the other side, spent three weeks in London, afterward going to Paris, where he sojourned among artists for nine weeks, and then traveled on to Switzerland and Germany. At Geneva, in company with a member of a noble family, he purchased a knapsack and alpenstock and traveled by diligence and on foot over the Alps. In Germany, he visited his father's old home in Carlsruhe. Returning to France, he made the trip down the picturesque and historic Rhine, and visited his mother's old home at Mayence. Upon reaching Paris he remained there but a short time, and then sailed for New York. He delivered the portraits to Mr. Blair, and made presentation speeches at Lafayette and Princeton Colleges, the guest of Dr. Cattell at Lafayette and of Dr. McCosh at Princeton.

Mr. Woerner went to Plattsburg, N. Y., and called upon Smith M. Weed, and received a commission to paint a portrait of the latter's daughter. He then went to Canada with letters to Sir John A. MacDonald and to Princess Louise, wife of the Marquis of Lorne. The latter was on the same vessel when Mr. Woerner left Kingston, as was also Prince George. The boat passed through the Lachine Rapids, at dusk, probably as late as any steamer has ever passed through. In Ottawa Mr. Woerner decorated the capitol library with reproductions of famous paintings, sculpture, etc. He also executed commissions for the Ottawa Conservatory. Going to Montreal he found patrons there. His letters to Sir John A. MacDonald brought about an introductions to many important persons. Among the places he visited may be mentioned Prince Edward Island, Halifax, Nova Scotia; and on crossing into this country he went to Boston, Mass. , and thence to New York City, were he entered the employ of Herman Wunderlich & Co., where, in his own words, he "received his first and most profitable training in the art business." In 1884 he signed a contract with C. Klackner, one of the leading publishers of etchings and engravings, and for several years he traveled over the United States as "gentleman manager," giving exhibitions in San Francisco, Portland, Ore., and Los Angeles, and throughout the entire West. In 1888 he went to Europe and established the C. Klackner branch in London, England, traveling extensively through England, Scotland and Wales for about four months. While there he met personally many of the most noted painters of the world, and dined with Charles Sprague Pierce, Rosa Bonheur, Jules Breton and others; and met many distinguished in other walks of life, among them Levi P. Morton, then United States, minister to France. Returning to New York he remained with Mr. Klachner until 1891. In that year, under contract with Mr. W. Scott Thurber, of Chicago, he made a third trip abroad, this time in the capacity of interpreter and professional assistant, with Paris as a prospective center, and they visited Belgium and Holland.

After his return Mr. Woerner came to Reading, and purchased his present property, remaining a year. He entered into a contract with Braun, Clement & Co., of Paris, known as Maison Braun & Co., and pioneered for them throughout the United States, and then performed a similar service for the Berlin Photographic Company. For two years he was employed by Franz Hanfstaengl, of Munich. In 1897 he again went to Europe, having been commissioned to open up the foreign market for the White, Potter, Paige Manufacturing Company, of Brooklyn, N. Y. , the largest manufacturers of moldings and frames in the world. Before entering upon his duties he went to Spain, Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, Sicily, spent two months in Rome, and visited Florence, Venice, Milan, Munich, Vienna, Berlin, Dresden, and in fact, all the large cities in Europe. In London he opened an office in the Masonic Temple, Farrington street. Ludgate Circus, Strand, and did an extensive business. A year later he was called home by the serious illness of his father.

Later Mr. Woerner formed a contract with Elson & Co., of Boston, and was the manager of their New York office for four years. During this time he decorated the high schools of St. Louis, Mo., Omaha, Nebr., St. Paul, Minn., and many others. He decorated three New York high schools at $1,000 each, the New York Teachers' Training School, the Horace Mann School of Columbia University and the Teachers' College. He also traveled with Prof. William G. Ward, of the Emerson School of Oratory, who lectured on Art for the schools under the regents of the State University of New York.

In 1901 Mr. Woerner settled in Reading and established his present business, which had really been opened up by his father, and he has shown himself worthy of being classed among the foremost citizens of Reading. He is a member of the Board of Trade. In his social relations he has made many friends. While in St. Louis he joined the Royal Arcanum, and has since transferred to Mt. Penn Lodge, Reading. He is a member of Teutonia Lodge, No. 367, F. & A. M.; Excelsior Chapter, R. A. M.; Lodge of Perfection, Reading; Reading Commandery, Knights Templar; Mystic Shrine; Reading Turn Verein; Philharmonic Band. He formerly belonged to the I. O., O., F. and the K. of P. His religious connection is with St. James Lutheran Church.

In New York City, in Calvary Episcopal Church, Mr. Woerner was married to Miss Felicia Dypuis, a native of Ottawa, Canada. Mrs. Woerner is an artist of rare talent-a talent that was untrained and of which she was wholly unaware until her husband returned with her to Reading, and after regarding the works of others, especially amateurs, she determined to devote some time to art herself without any lessons. In a short time she produced very fine water colors and oil on canvas, and was offered good salaries by New York and Chicago parties. She has twice accompanied her husband to the Old World, visiting Algiers and Tunis, in Africa, Sicily, Naples, Rome, Florence, Venice, and many other art centers. At Munich they met the painter Lenbach, then executing a portrait of Emperor Wilhelm, and had commissions from Jules Breton, the famous genre painter, and Mrs. Woerner acted as interpreter in the sale of the latter's reproductions after having met him in Vichy, France. At St. Peter's Catholic Church bazaar, in 1904 she received first honorable mention for the best original pen and ink sketch. She has colored some of the famous paintings of the day, and possess a peculiar ability in reproducing delicate colors of landscape and natural flesh tints. She is a member of the Reading Art Society.

While abroad Mr. and Mrs. Woerner learned a secret method of cleaning old paintings and restoring them to their original appearance, and also for cleaning marble statuettes. Mrs. Woerner has proved the greatest assistance to her husband in his Art Gallery. French is her mother tongue, but since her residence in Reading she has learned to speak English fluently. From an article "True Merit Its Own Reward," prepared by Mr. Woerner, we quote the following facts concerning his most interesting career: "For thirty-three years I have devoted my time to Art here and elsewhere. Eleven years ago I conceived the idea of having an Art Exhibit in this city, to which amateur artists were invited to contribute their work, as exhibitors, offering prizes for the most meritorious specimens in various branches. The project found favor with many of our art lovers and was seconded by our local artists and others. . . . Several weeks ago one of our large churches concluded to have an International Bazaar for the purpose of liquidating the debt remaining on the church property. I suggested an Art Museum in connection with their various features of attraction. I shouldered the work, pushed ahead, and made it a success-for them. Prizes were awarded for best work exhibited, in deciding which Mr. Peter Moran, of Philadelphia, a well known artist and art critic of almost national reputation, kindly consented to visit us and act as one of the judges, in conjunction with artist Christopher Shearer and Mrs. Prizer. Mr. Moran was greatly pleased with the result of our work, and during his stay as my guest made many friends here. . . ."

"In 1888 I made my second trip to Europe on 'business bent.' By the way I had the honor of being the first man who dared to invade England and Scotland in company with an elephantine engraving trunk. . . . After visiting the principal cities of England, Scotland and Ireland, and while stopping in London, I received a telegram from San Francisco, 6,000 miles away, to establish an agency there. Surely that was the longest distance order I ever received. I carried out their design and saw it fairly started. In 1892 I joined the firm of the Berlin Photo Company, the pioneer company of the United States. In 1893 I returned to Reading and took possession of the place I now own and occupy. . . .

"In 1891 I made my third trip to Europe. I had then made an arrangement with W. Scott Thurber, the leading art dealer in the city of Chicago, in the capacity of interpreter and professional assistant with Paris as our prospective center. In our objective mission to see and, if possible, benefit by examining and studying the various styles of painting, we naturally drifted to Belgium and Holland, in order to become more familiar with the Dutch painters and their distinguishing features. During our perambulations we were naturally attracted to learned, the noted rendezvous of Dutch painters. We . . . soon made the acquaintance of the then noted Offerman, Keever, Israels, Nuyhouse and other. . . .

"In 1897 I made my last trip to Europe, and my fourth. I wanted to become acquainted, not only with the topographical and historical features of the Continent, but to become more intimately familiar with the old, as well as with the modernized features of classical art, in what is generally considered its home. . . . . I extended my field of research and study into Africa. I tarried for a season at Algiers, Constantinople, Tunis, Tripoli and the Sicilian Island; gathered valuable information from all, and filled up my bouquet at Naples, Rome, Venice and Florence, which gave me many subjects of interest to write upon at some other time."


p. 980


James G. Wolf, a representative agriculturist of Union township, Berks county, where he has served as justice of the peace since 1902, was born on the farm he now owns Oct. 15, 1869, son of the late Samuel L. and Mary L. (Geiger) Wolf.

Jacob Wolf, grandfather of James G., and his wife, Anna Mary Wolf, had the following children: Samuel L., Isaac, William, John, George, Elizabeth (m. to an Eppiheimer), Mary Ann (m. to a Hoffman) and Hannah (m. to a Geiger). With the exception of John all are deceased.

Samuel L. Wolf was born in 1831, and died in March, 1907. He married Mary L. Geiger, born 1832, died 1807, daughter of James and Mary E. Geiger, whose other children were: Sarah J. (Kerst) and Margaret D. (Sponagle), the latter being the only survivor. Samuel L. Wolf had two sons: James G.; and John R., born in 1858, and died in March, 1907, a consistent member of St. Paul's Methodist Church.

James G. Wolf was educated in the schools of his native locality and reared to farming pursuits. For eight terms in succession he taught the school which he attended in boyhood and in 1896 was granted a permanent certificate. He now owns an excellent farm of 120 acres which is in a high state of cultivation. Although a young man, Mr. Wolf was elected in 1902 to the office of justice of the peace, which shows the confidence in which he is held by the citizens of his community. He and his family are connected with St. Paul's Methodist Episcopal Church of which his esteemed father was a member.

On Oct. 15, 1902, Mr. Wolf married Miss Ella K. Hohl, born in Union township, in 1875.


p. 1683


David S. Wolfe, one of the leading business men of Perry township, Berks county, Pa., who is junior member of the firm of William Wolfe & Son, manufacturers of underwear at Shoemakersville, was born in this village, Sept. 28, 1863.

Samuel Wolfe, the grandfather of David S., was born in 1800 in Lancaster county, but removed to Berks county at an early age and settled in Windsor township, where he carried on farming. He married Catherine Sieger of the same township and die in 1835, while she, who was born in 1801, passed away in 1889. Five children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Wolfe, namely: Lydia m. William Madeira; John m. Matilda Hoffman; one son m. a Miss Jacoby, and moved West; William, the father of David S., and David who died when twenty-one years of age.

William Wolfe was born at Shoemakersville in 1835, and has spent his entire life in this village. In 1860 he married Rebecca Sullenberger, and their children are as follows: David; Solomon m. Catherine Kerchner; Mahlon, who lost his life on the railroad when sixteen years of age; William, who was a practicing physician of Fleetwood borough, died in 1902, leaving a widow, Anna Warmkessel; Elizabeth; Cora m. Charles Sunday; Hermie; Annie; and Maude, whose death occurred in young womanhood.

David S. Wolfe was educated in the local schools, and when but ten years of age engaged in boating, first driving a team on the tow-path and gradually advancing until, after the lapse of twelve years, he operated a boat for himself. Upon reaching his majority he determined to fit himself for a commercial life, and attended the Business College at Poughkeepsie during the winter of 1884-85. He abandoned boating on the Schuylkill Canal in 1886 and entered the employ of the Reading Hardware Company as clerk, continuing with this company until 1892, and then, becoming ambitious to carry on business for himself, he began the manufacture of brushes at Shoemakersville. This he conducted successfully for two years, selling his product to store-keepers in the Schuylkill Valley.

With this experience at clerking and manufacturing, Mr. Wolfe felt qualified to engage in a more extensive enterprise and, with his father as partner, established at Shoemakersville in 1894, a large two-story frame factory for the manufacture of underwear, under the firm name of William Wolfe & Son. They have continued to the present time with unqualified success. Starting with fifteen hands, the business has so increased that they now employ from forty to seventy, according to the condition of trade.

Mr. Wolfe from the beginning of his business career has taken an active interest in the welfare of his native village, and along this line he encouraged the establishment of the Board of Trade, which has been instrumental in developing the manufactures, wealth and population of the village. He associated with D. W. Rubright in founding the Glove Dye and Bleach Works, near Shoemakersville, and has assisted in its management until the present time, being half owner of the plant. He is one of the directors of the Hamburg Savings Bank, and also of the Commercial Trust Company, of Reading. In 1900 Mr. Wolfe was appointed committeeman on the Republican ticket, for the township, and has acceptably filled this position to the present time. In 1905 he was elected a school director, of Perry township, a position he is now holding. Mr. Wolfe erected, in 1909, a two-story, light sandstone dwelling on an elevated lot opposite the Pennsylvania Railroad station, this being the handsomest dwelling in Shoemakersville, and an ornament of the town.

Mr. Wolfe was married to Anna Unger (daughter of Isaac Unger of Shoemakersville), who died in 1902, leaving four children, -Raymond; George; Charles and Pearl Irene. Mrs. Wolfe was a thoroughly educated woman, recognized for her many accomplishments. She had taken a great interest in educational matters, and for three years prior to her marriage had taught school at Shoemakersville and Birdsboro.


p. 1109


Richard A. Wolfersberger, manufacturer at Wernersville, was born in Lower Heidelberg township, near Wernersville, Jan. 31, 1852, on the Wolfersberger premises adjoining the planing-mill, son of George and Hannah (Whitman) Wolfersberger.

George Wolfersberger, father of Richard A., was a cabinetmaker and undertaker near Wernersville for forty years. George was a small boy when his father died, and after quitting school at an early age, entered the cabinet-making shop of Anthony Derr, and there learned the business until he became of age when he started for himself. He continued in active business, with a successful career and the high respect of the community, from 1852 until his decease. He died in 1896, at the age of sixty-five years. He married Hannah, daughter of David and Catherine (Seitzinger) Whitman, and they had five children, namely: Richard A.; Elkana, who died aged thirty-eight years; George, m. to Rosa Yoh; Mary, m. to William C. Feather; and Sallie, who died young.

Mr. Wolfersberger's grandfather was also named George, and he also followed the undertaking business at the same place for a short time, having died while a young man. He married Hannah Fisher, daughter of Peters and Polly (Weber) Fisher, and they had three children: George; Elizabeth, who died single at the age of seventy-nine years; and Mary, who died young.

Richard A. Wolfersberger was educated in the township schools, and when fourteen years of age entered the cabinet-making shop of his father, learning the business, and remained until he became of age. He was then admitted into partnership with his father and brothers, Elkana, and George, trading under the name of Wolfersberger & Sons. His father had also established the undertaking business, and the son Richard attended entirely to this branch, continuing to do so from 1861 until his father's decease in 1896, a period of thirty-five years. The planning mill department was added in 1882.

Upon the decease of his father, the firm was re-organized by the surviving son Richard, and the son-in-law William C. Feather, and they have since traded under the name of Wolfersberger & Feather, the former superintending the manufacturing department in the mill and the latter attending to the undertaking department besides assisting in filling the mill orders. They have developed a large and profitable trade, directing the funerals in the community for a considerable distance round about, and supplying the mill work for numerous building operations, not only in their immediate vicinity, but extending to Womelsdorf, Myerstown, Bernville, Sinking Spring, Wyomissing, West Reading and Reading.

Richard A. Wolfersberger married Magdalena Sharman, daughter of Aaron Sharman and Sarah (Grime), and they have five children: George, William, Mary, Alice and Richard.


p. 526


Oliver M. Wolff, a prominent young professional man, of Reading, Pa., senior member of the law firm of Wolff & Shomo, was born May 28, 1879, in Hamburg, Berks county, son of Oliver J. Wolff.

Abraham Wolff, great-grandfather of Oliver M., was located in Hamburg, where he was engaged in business as a harness maker.

Daniel Wolff, son of Abraham, was born at Hamburg, in 1800, and he, too, became a harness maker. From 1830 to 1861, he also engaged in farming, ad he died in the latter year. He married Sevilla Fasig, a direct descendant of Conrad Weiser, and their children were: Charles, Rufus, Mahlon, Frank, Daniel, Sevilla, Elmira, Helen, Adelaide, Walter, Oliver J. and Virginia.

Oliver J. Wolff was born in Hamburg, Pa., Feb. 2, 1849, and received his education in his business locally. In his youth he learned the harness-making business, which he followed his brother Rufus until 1888, when he came to Reading Te same year he entered the prothonotary's office as clerk under D. H. Schwoyer, and in 1895 he was elected to the position of prothonotary of Berks county, on the Democratic ticket, serving the full term of three years. From 1898 until 1903, Mr. Wolff clerked in the office, and in the latter year retired, since which time he has been living at his home, No. 346 North Fifth street, Reading. In 1873 he had engaged in boat building, making sailing vessels, etc. While in Hamburg, Mr. Wolff served as justice of the peace from 1875 to 1888, served six years on the school board, being secretary thereof, and several years as borough treasurer. Oliver J. Wolff married Annie M. Miller, daughter of Joel and Catharine Miller, and to this union were born: Laura m. Charles L. Oaks, of reading; Ada m. I. B. Dubell, of Philadelphia; and Oliver M. Mr. Wolff is a member of the Vaux Lodge, F. & A. M., No 406, of Hamburg; Washington Camp, No. 74, P. O. S. of A.; Council No. 74, O. U. A. M.; Union Fire Company of Hamburg; and Council N. 1104, R. A. He was a member of St. John's Lutheran Church of Hamburg, in which he served as deacon and trustee, and while he was in Hamburg he was superintendent of the St. John's Sunday-School of the Lutheran and Reformed Church. He is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church of Reading.

Oliver W. Wolff received his preliminary educational training in the public schools of Hamburg, coming to Reading with his parents and here later attending the high school, graduating with the class of 1898. He entered the University of Pennsylvania, graduating from the Law Department in 1901. He read law in an office in Philadelphia, and was admitted to practice in the several courts of Philadelphia June 19, 1901, and to the Berks county Bar Sept. 8, 1902. On Aug. 20, 1905, Mr. Wolff formed a partnership with William A. Shomo, and they have continued together since that time, with offices at No. 522 Washington street, Reading Pa. Mr. Wolff's profession connects him with the Berks County Bar Association and several County Courts of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the Alumni Association and Kent law Club of the University of Pennsylvania; of the Alumni Association of the Reading High Schools, and in 1907 and 1908 was elected treasurer thereof; and is president of Penn Wheelmen of Reading, having been re-elected four successive years. He belongs to Trinity Lutheran Church at Reading.


p. 348


Warren J. Woodward, second President Judge of Berks county, from 1861 to 1874, under the amended Constitution of Pennsylvania, was born Sept. 24, 1819, at Bethany, Wayne Co., Pa. His father, John K. Woodward, was a civil engineer and journalist, and at the time of his decease, in 1825, was prothonotary of Wayne county. His grandfather was an associate judge of that county for fifteen years, and sheriff in 1807.

After acquiring an academic education at Wilkes Barre, Warren J. Woodward taught school for several terms in his native county. At the age of seventeen years he directed his attention to newspaper publications, and continued his connection with them till 1840. He then returned to Wilkes Barre, and selecting the law as his profession, entered the office of his uncle, George W. Woodward, a practicing attorney at the Luzerne county Bar, for the purpose of pursuing the necessary course of study. Whilst is this office his uncle was elected to the Bench as president judge of the 4th Judicial District of Pennsylvania. His preparation was completed under the preceptorship of Hon. Edmund L. Dana, and he was admitted to the Bar Aug. 1, 1842. He continued in active and successful practice for fourteen years. In April, 1856, the Legislature elected a new judicial district out of Columbia, Sullivan and Wyoming counties-the 26th in the State- and the Governor appointed him to the position of president judge; and in October following he was elected for the term of ten years. His reputation spread rapidly into adjoining districts. Half of his term had not expired, yet some of the old districts offered him the nomination for the president judgeship on the Democratic ticket. This was a flattering recognition of his judicial character and ability; but he declined the honor. In 1861, the term of the president judge is Berks county was about to expire, and the major part of the attorneys gave him a pressing invitation to become his successor. The Democratic convention held at Reading, Aug. 31, 1861, gave him the nomination by acclamation, and this he accepted. In his letter of acceptance, besides expressing his gratitude for the high honor conferred upon him, and his opinion about the impropriety of law judges participating in political struggles, he informed the committee that in the matter of the Civil War then raging he was most positively for the preservation of the Union of all the States and for the enforcement of the Constitution. His sentiments were highly approved, and in October following he was elected by a large majority over a local candidate for the same position.

Judge Woodward moved to Reading and took his seat upon the Bench in December, 1861. His judicial and social deportment at once inspired the citizens with unqualified confidence. The Civil War caused much commotion in the county. The Democrats were displeased with the extreme course of the Republican administration in national affairs, but he, notwithstanding his election by them, advised co-operation and the enforcement of law to restore peace. His earnest public actions in behalf of the war, in conjunction with prominent and influential professional and business men, contributed a powerful influence toward the creation of a proper spirit in that alarming period. His patriotic conduct as a man of Democratic principles and association is worthy of special mention.

During his term he was unusually devoted to his office, and his administration of its responsible duties gave entire satisfaction; and he became thoroughly identified with the interests and welfare of the county. His re-election was therefore assured. Shortly before the expiration of his term, the Legislation had established a District Court for Luzerne county, and the Bar of that county unanimously invited him to accept the office of president judge of the new court. When the movement became known to the attorneys of Berks county they held a special meeting and passed resolutions expressing the highest regard and affection for him, and inviting him to remain with them. The thorough appreciation of his course upon the Bench by the entire community, and the earnest expressions of good will by all the attorneys who practiced under him, induced him to remain in the county. He was nominated by acclamation at the Democratic convention in June, 1871, and re-elected for a second term of ten years by a large majority.

The new Constitution of the State increased the number of the justices of the Supreme Court from five to seven members, and the two new members were to be elected in 1874, one by the Democratic party and the other by the Republican. The superiority of Judge Woodward's judicial qualifications and experience brought him prominently before the Democrats of the State as a worthy candidate for this important position, and he received the nomination of their State Convention. This honor was given to him without solicitation of any kind on his part. The office truly sought the man. Upon his nomination he received numerous congratulatory letters, and the people of Berks county rejoiced at this honor, though by it they would suffer the loss of his valuable services.

Shortly after the election, the Hon. Edward M. Paxson, the Republican candidate, elevated at the same time to the Supreme Bench, visited Judge Woodward at Reading. While here they cast lots for precedence in the order of succession to the position of chief justice, and Judge Paxson won it. Judge Woodward took his seat Jan. 1, 1875, and filled the office with honor and distinction till his decease, Sept. 23, 1879. He was particularly regarded for devotion, ability and conscientiousness in the discharge of his duties. His remains were buried at Wilkes Barre.

Judge Woodward was elected president of the Reading Benevolent Society at Reading in 1871, and he filled this office until his decease. He took a deep interest in the benevolent affairs of the community, and gave generously toward the relief of poor people. In 1875 he received the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Lancaster and Marshall College. While upon the Bench in Berks county, he adjudicated many cases and his opinions were not questioned by writ of error or appeal. These cases were compiled by G. A.. Endlich, Esq., an attorney of the Berks county Bar., and published in two volumes in 1885. They are known as "Woodward's Decisions".

Judge Woodward married Katharine Scott, daughter of Hon. David Scott, of Wilkes Barre, and by her had three children: Henry and Warren were both admitted to the Bar, but are now deceased, and Katharine Scott m. Frank Perley Howe, son of Rev. M. A. DeWolfe Howe, D.D., deceased, and resides at Philadelphia.


p. 1443


John Wootten was a native of England, born Feb. 24, 1842, at Willenhall, Staffordshire. He was the son of Enoch Wootten, who was born in 1814, and emigrated to America in 1847, making the voyage in a sailing vessel, and located at Reading, where for many years he was an employee of the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company, in their shops, and later was on the road between Reading and Pottsville. He died at Reading Oct., 1898, aged eighty-four years. He was a member of Chandler Lodge, No. 227, F. & A. M. His wife was Elizabeth Appleby, daughter of John Appleby, of England. Of their children there are still living: Ann, of Willenhall, England; and Mrs. Samuel Russel, of Reading.

John Wootten was but a boy when the family came to this country, and he early learned his father's trade, that of a locksmith. Shortly after the outbreak of the Civil war, he enlisted in Company A, 88th Pa. V. I., and served until September, 1864. His regiment was assigned to the 2d Brigade, 2d Division, 5th Corps, Army of the Potomac. Among the engagements participated in by him may be mentioned: Cedar Mountain, Thoroughfare Gap, Second Bull Run, Chantilly, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Wilderness, Laurel Hill, Spottsylvania, North Anna, Bethesda, White Oak Swamp, Ream's Station and Petersburg. During one of the battles he was captured by the enemy, but he escaped and rejoined his regiment; and toward the close of his term of enlistment he was wounded in the left hand. When Mr. Wootten returned home, upon his honorable discharge, he entered the employ of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company, and for thirteen years worked on the East Penn branch as brakeman and fireman. He was of an industrious and economical disposition. In his religious belief he was of the Evangelical denomination. He was an active and highly respected member of McLean post, No. 16, G. A. R., and of the Union Veteran Legion, No. 43.

On Jan. 9, 1866, Mr. Wootten was married to Margaret A. Spotts, by whom he had twelve children: Annie, m. to Samuel Kalbach, of Reading; Elizabeth; Harriet, widow of James Binns; Mary, m. to Henry Palm; Helen at home; Margaret, m. to Harrison Koch; Harry E., at home; and five, who died young.

Michael Spotts, grandfather of Mrs. Wootten, was born near Lessport, Berks Co., Pa., and later in life went to Union county, where he died at the age of ninety years. His wife was Magdalena Robinson.

Reuben Spotts, son of Michael and the father of Mrs. Wootten, was born near Leesport, and accompanied his parents to Union county. He later moved to South Dakota, where he died. He married Amelia Hassenplug, daughter of Henry Hassenplug, of Mifflinsburg, Union County, and his children were: Margaret A., Mrs. Wootten; Michael, who died in the army; Harriet, m. to Franklin Lusk, of South Dakota; and Charles, who died in Iowa.


p. 1243


Ellis M. Worley, who is well known in business circles of Cumru township, is a member of the firm of Worley Brothers, manufacturers of fine hosiery. Mr. Worley was born Nov. 2, 1865 at Mohnton, Berks county.

Ellis M. Worley began attending school at the age of four years, and for seven years attended the 100 day terms without missing one day, an unusual record. As a young man he learned the hatting trade, and in this line became very proficient, following it for nine years, seven of which were spent at the bench. He is now in charge of the package department of the firm of Worley Brothers, and during the absence of his brothers he takes charge of the entire factory. In 1885, Mr. Worley was married to Katie Hertzog, born Aug. 8, 1868, daughter of David and Margaret (Yocum) Hertzog, and to this union there has been born one son: Elmer, a graduate of the township schools and Albright College of Myerstown, who, after teaching for two years in Mohnton, is now learning the hardware business with Henry Hertzog, of Reading.

Mr. Worley is a stanch Republican, and he has rendered valuable service to his township as a member of the school board, on which he served from 1903 to 1906. Fraternally he is connected with the Jr. O. U. A. M., No. 86; the Knights of Pythias, No. 185; Camp No. 211 P. O. S. of A., all of Mohnton. He is a pillar of the Zion United Evangelical Church, where he is serving as a member of the board of trustees, and its treasurer, having been previously assistant of the Sunday school for four years. Mr. Worley is a good business man and substantial citizen, and has many friends in his locality.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:57:39 EDT

Previous       Home Page       Index       Next
404 - Error: 404


Category not found

The Page you are looking for doesn't exist or an other error occurred. Go back, or head over to Home Page to choose a new direction.

You may not be able to visit this page because of:

  1. an out-of-date bookmark/favourite
  2. a search engine that has an out-of-date listing for this site
  3. a mistyped address
  4. you have no access to this page
  5. The requested resource was not found.
  6. An error has occurred while processing your request.