Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 1524


Harry Zable, proprietor of the Reading Furniture Company, of No. 8 North Ninth street, is a native of Russia, in which country he was born in 1876.

Mr. Zable received his education in his native country, and in 1891 came to America, landing at Castle Garden with but two cents in his pocket, which he proceeded to invest in postal cards, with which to notify his parents of his safe arrival. he remained for four days in New York City and then made his way to Reading when he found employment in the establishment of Michael Lewis, with whom he remained until securing a position with Clinton Rhodes & Company, of Chicago, Ill. He remained in their company's employ as a traveling salesman for eight years, at the end of which time he returned to Reading, and opened a small installment house at No. 306 North Ninth street. The business, which has since grown to be one of the largest of its kind in the city, increased so rapidly that Mr. Zable soon found it necessary to enlarge his quarters and subsequently removed to No. 12 North Ninth street, but this place also proved too small, and in April, 1905, he again moved, this time to his present place of business, which is fully equipped and stocked with a complete line of furniture, carpets, rugs and jewelry, the floor space being four floors, 80 x 21 feet. Here Mr. Zable's fair business methods and excellent goods have won him a wide reputation and a constantly increasing trade. Mr. Zable has been prominently identified with educational matters in his adopted city, and is the founder of the Hebrew Free School, of which is a president, is a member of the Independent Order of Brith-Abraham, superintendent of the Hebrew Sabbath-school, and an active member of the Synagogue. He was naturalized in 1897 by Judge Ermentrout. In political belief he is a Democrat, but his views are liberal. In 1892 Mr. Zable sent for his parents in Russia, and in 1893, after being here about one year, the father died, aged fifty-two years. Mrs. Zable survives her husband and resides with her son in Reading.

Harry Zable was married to Rebecca Beilin, daughter of Rabbi Jonas Beilin, of Easton, Pa., and three children have been born to this union; Benjamin, Jonas and Esther.


p. 1483


Daniel K. Zacharias (deceased), who for a number of years was engaged in agricultural pursuits in Muhlenberg township, Berks county, was born in that section, Dec. 17, 1823, and passed away in 1870. He is buried at Epler's Church where many of the name rest from their labors.

Daniel Zacharias, grandfather of Daniel K., lived in Muhlenberg township, where he was an early settler, and owned the farm which in later years was owned by his son Daniel and grandson, Daniel K. His wife was a Miss Reiff, of Oley township, and they had these children: Daniel, Betsey, Susanna, John and Samuel.

Daniel Zacharias, father of Daniel K., was a life-long farmer in Muhlenberg township, where he owned valuable land. He is buried at Epler's Church, as is his wife, Sarah Knabb, of Oley township, by whom he had these children: Daniel, Susanna, Eliza, Peter, Adam, Sarah, Rebecca, Catherine, Samuel and Ellen.

Daniel K. Zacharias was married to Sarah Huyett, born in Cumru (now Spring) township, Feb. 11, 1827, who from 1887 until her death, Aug. 5, 1909, resided in her own beautiful residence in Sinking Spring, her sister, Leah Huyett, living with her. Mrs. Zacharias was well known in Sinking Spring, where she owned much property, besides having a fine residence in Reading. To Mr. and Mrs. Daniel K. Zacharias were born these children: Mary m. Daniel Kline; Emma died aged forty-five years; Eliza died aged twenty-two years; Charles, deceased, m. Eve Pennypacker; Willington is a butcher, of Fleetwood; Clara m. Adam Ruth; Katie m. Isaac Kintzer; Rebecca m. William Krick; Amanda m. Reuben Shalter; and Caroline m. Albert Swoyer.

Mrs. Daniel K. Zacharias was a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Hartman) Huyett. Her grandfather was Ludwig Huyett, who had two sons, both of whom are buried at Sinking Spring, namely: John, who had Garson, Mary, John, Charles, Daniel, James, Lewis, Leah, Eliza, Sarah and Ann; and George, who had John, Jacob, George, Polly and Eliza.


p. 752


George M. Zeller the popular proprietor of the well-known "American House," at Stouchburg, Marion township is a representative of one of Berks county's oldest and most honored families. Mr. Zeller was born Sept. 30, 1863, in Marion township, son of Reily W. and Rebecca (Troutman) Zeller.

Between 1733 and 1751 here landed (qualified) at Philadelphia three emigrants of the name of Zoller, and between 1740 and 1767 a number of Zellers and Zollers are there recorded. But the Tulpehocken Zellers have for their ancestor John Henry Zeller (sometimes Zoeller), who came from Schohaire, N.Y., as the following account from the Rev. Mr. Stapleton's "memorials of the Huguenots in America: shows:

"Among the Huguenots exiles were several branches of the ancient Sellaire or Cellier family of France. The name is met with among the refugees to England and America prior to the Revocation (1685), and even in faraway Cape Colony, where a descendant, General Cellier, became famous as a Boer leader in the Transvaal war. One branch retired to the Palatinate about the period of the Revocation. Of this family was Jean Henri Sellaire, who, with his family, followed the great exodus of Palatinates to London in 1708. In 1709 he came to New York with the Palatinates, where his name and that of his son John as 'Zeller' appears among the settlers of Livingston Manor in 1710. About 1727 he came overland through the trackless wilderness to Tulpehocken, locating near the present town of Sheridan, where he established a considerable estate and where he died at a very advanced age in 1756. His house, a massive stone edifice, erected with a view to protect the family and neighbors in case of an attach from the Indians, is still standing." This house, now an historical relic of the section, and known as "Zeller's Indian Fort," was erected in 1745, on the banks of the mill creek and, as stated, was used for a fort. But the author of the paragraph quoted was not quite accurate when he called it a "massive stone edifice." The walls are massive enough, but the building could hardly be called an edifice. He also erected the first meeting place of these early Schohaire settlers for worship, defense and mutual conference. He died in January, 1756, and his will, made Aug. 3, 1754, was probated Jan. 20, 1756. This will shows a wife, Anna Maria, and children: John George (who obtained the homestead), John Henry, John David, Hartman (The Rev. Mr. Stapleton gives this name as Martin), John, Anna, Maria Saltztius, Barbara (or Barbaralis) Lerew, Catharine Pontius and Anna Elizabeth Battorf. The executors are shown as his son John and son-in-law Leonard Anspach, accordingly there must have been another daughter.

It appears that some of the descendants of John Henry Zeller removed to Heidelberg in Lancaster (now Lebanon) county, where the proprietary and State tax lists of Lancaster county for 1779 show David Zeller (110 acres), Henry Zeller (100 acres), Peter Zeller (100 acres), and Michael Zeller (40-acres). The first three of these are also shown for 1771. In case of the Old townships it must not be forgotten that where mentioned by the Rev. Mr. Stoever and other early preachers they did not always have definite boundaries. Heidelberg, for instance, extended rather indefinitely westward and perhaps through what is now Lebanon county. Tulpehocken and Heidelberg seem also to have overtapped in some places.

The following memoranda undoubtedly refer to some of the children of John Henry Zeller, the emigrant:

John G. Zoeller and Hartman Zoeller are shown by Rupp as members between 1735 and 1755, of the Tulpehocken Reformed Church, formerly known locally as Leinbach's Church, situated in the pike between Stouchburg and Myerstown. Hans Heinrich Zeller and Johannes Zeller are mentioned by Rupp as among those, above twenty-one years of age, who passed the winter of 1710 and the summer of 1711 in Livingston Manor, N. Y., and who appear to have settled in Schoharie, N. Y., and from that place to have removed to Tulpehocken in 1723 or later.

From the Rev. John Casper Stoever's record of Baptisms and Marriages is obtained the following information:

Marriages: Jan. 14, 1743, John Pontius and Anna Catharine Zoeller, of Tulpehocken; Dec. 28, 1743, John Zoeller and Maria Becker, of Tulpehocken; Oct. 5, 1772, Michael Zoeller and Cathrine Dillman, of Heidelberg.

With regard to the descendants of John Pontius and wife Anna Catharine Zoeller, Rev. Mr. Stapleton in his "Memorials of the Huguenots" has the following account: "In 1738 John Pontius arrived and located in Tulpehocken. He was born in Alsace (France), in 1718. In 1743 he married Anna Catharine, a daughter of John Zeller (should be John Henry Zeller as he correctly states in an article in Notes and Queries by Dr. William E. Egle, Annual Volume, 1898). He had a considerable family and his sons were great pioneers. They were John Henry, born in 1744; John Peter, born in 1747; John, born in 1751; Andrew; Nicholas; George; and Frederick. Several were among the first settlers in Buffalo Valley in (now) Union county, and many of the next generation were of the first in Ohio and Illinois."

Baptismal Records: John Henry Zeller, Jr., tailor, of Tulpehocken-John Henry, born March 5, 1745; sponsors, John Henry Zeller, Sr. and wife on March 26, 1745; John Zoeller, Jr., of Tulpehocken, Frantz Paul, born April 8, 1751.

There are shown as having acted as sponsors: In 1730, Henry Zeller and wife in family of Michael Schauer (now Shower), of Heidelberg; in 1744, John Henry Zoeller and wife in family of John Pontius, of Swatara; in 1745, John Henry Zeller, Sr., and wife in family of John Henry Zeller, Jr., of Tulpehocken; in 1746, John Nicholas Zeller and wife in family of John Peter Wissenandt, of "Moden Creek" (supposed to be Muddy Creek in Lancaster county).

From the Proprietary and State Tax lists of Berks county for the years 1767, 1768, 1779, 1780, 1781, 1784, and 1785 is obtained Zeller information as follows: As of Tulpehocken-Hans Zoeller for 1767 and 1768, with 100 acres; John Zeller for 1779 and 1780, no land; George Zeller (also Zoller) for all years, with 100 to 375 acres; Peter Zoller (single) for 1768; Andrew Zeller for 1779 and subsequent years, with 133 to 140 acres; Francis (or France) Zeller for 1779 and subsequent years with 167 acres; Peter Zeller (Albert's estate of 150 acres) for 1784. In 1784 the number of persons for George Zeller is given as nine, for Francis, ten and for Andrew, six. None are shown for Peter. As of Reading, Nich's Zeller, laborer, for 1779. As of Cumru, Nich's Zeller for 1780 and 1781.

Johannes Zeller, of Tulpehocken township, evidently son of John Henry, the emigrant settler, made his will May 13, 1795, and it was probated Dec. 234, 1805, the witnesses being Christian Lower and Johan Dieffenbach, and the executors Frnacis (Frantz) Paul Zeller and Valentine Sailes. Johannes Zeller's children were: Francis, mentioned below; Peter; Elizabeth, who married John Reitenour; Catharine, who married Philip Zehring; Margaret, who married Valentine Seiler; and Mary, Mrs. Lefever, who had four children, John, Henry, George and Catherine. Johannes Zeller, the father of this family, built the house now on the Weaver farm in Marion township, which is in a substantial condition and likely to last many years. On the east gable the following inscription appears: "Wan Ich einmahl starben Musta," and another inscription reads: "Hannes Zeller, Kattarina Zellerin, 1772."

At Mifflinburg, Union Co., Pa., in the old part of the cemetery just south of the town, lie buried Peter Zellers, born in 1745, in Tulpehocken township, Berks county who dies in 1817; and Catharine Zellers (wife of Peter), born in 1742, who died in 1808, daughter of Jacob Wilhelm. (This Peter Zellers was probably the son of John Zeller.)

Frantz Paul (Francis) Zeller, son of Johannes, and great-great-grandfather of George M., was born April 8, 1751, and died Oct. 5, 1821, aged seventy years, five months, twenty-seven days, and his wife, Elizabeth, who was born Dec. 16, 1762, died April 23, 1819 aged fifty-six years, four months, six days. Both were buried in the ole graveyard at the Reformed Church in Tulpehocken, across the line of Berks in Lebanon county. Frantz Paul Zeller was a sergeant on the roll of John Lesher's company during the Revolutionary war, and in the same company was one Andrew Zeller, a fifer, who it is believed was Frantz Paul's brother. Michael Zeller, a private of Capt. Peter Dechert's company in 1776, was also a brother. [N. B. Neither Andrew nor Michael are mentioned above in list of Frantz Paul Zellers brothers and sisters.] Frantz Paul Zeller owned the old house built by his father in 1772, a stone, pebble-dashed, weatherboarded structure, with a wall two feet thick and plaster between the stones as hard as steel. The farm during his generation consisted of 154 acres, and he it was who erected the present barn. In his will, which he made June 12, 1820, he said that he was old and weak in body. It is singed "Frantz Zeller," was witnessed by Adam Sheetz and Jacob Becker, and was probated Oct. 24, 1821. His children were: Jacob (was bequested the plantation), Catherine, John, Benjamin, Peter, Elizabeth (m. Christian Hantz), Daniel, Valentine, Anna Maria (m. Frederick Kuster), Jonathan, Henry, and David.

Jacob Zeller, grandfather of Reily W., and great-grandfather of George M., was born June 8, 1790, and died April 4, 1872, aged eighty-one years, nine months, twenty-six days, and was buried at the Tulpehocken Reformed Church. He owned the original homestead, and was a farmer all of his life. Mr. Zeller married Susanna Trautman, who was born March 23, 1791, and died Dec. 12, 1842, in her fifty-second year. The children born to them were: Lydia, m. to Peter Walborn; Elizabeth, m. to Isaac Weigly; Jonathan; Catherine, m. to Eli Gehret; Lavina, m. to David Dundore; Jacob m. to Caroline Kilmer; and John, born in 1833, who died in 1888, m. to Beckie Schell.

Jonathan Zeller, grandfather of George M., was born July 10, 1815, and died Jan. 12, 1894, in his seventy-ninth year. He was a farmer by occupation, owned the homestead in Marion township, which he cultivated for many years, and was well-known in the community for his public spirit. He was buried at the Tulpehocken Reformed Church, of which he was a member. Mr. Zeller was married to Catherine Wilhelm, born Feb. 27, 1817, died Feb. 12, 1901, aged near eighty-four years. Their children were as follows: Reily W.; Elizabeth m. (first) Henry Kachel, deceased, and (second) George Foos, deceased, and whose son is Dr. Charles S. Foos, superintendent of Reading public schools; and Mary m. Dr. Frank J. Kantner, of Reading.

Reily W. Zeller, father of George M., was born Feb. 17, 1843, in Marion township, and from his youth until 1893 was engaged in agricultural pursuits. In that year he removed to his dwelling at Stouchsburg, and since that time has lived retired. In 1897, however, he returned to the farm, which he operated for a period of three years. Again disposing of his farming property, Mr. Zeller returned to Stouchsburg, and since that time has live retired from active pursuits. He was the owner of sixty-five acres of land, a part of the original homestead, which he sold to Lewis Webber in 1903, Mr. Webber also owning the old Zeller stand. Mr. Zeller is a Democrat in politics, was school director for six years, four years of which were present in the capacity of treasurer of the board, and has been a delegate to numerous county conventions. With his family he attends the Tulpehocken Church, of which he is a deacon.

In 1864 Mr. Zeller was married to Rebecca Troutman, daughter of Benjamin and Hannah (Leiss) Troutman, and three children were born to this marriage: George M.; Wilson B., of Reading; and Mary, m. to Charles H. Spangler.

George M. Zeller, was reared upon his father's farm, and worked for his parents until he was twenty years old, at which time he went to learn cigar making under James Zerbe, at Stouchsburg, where in 1893 he engaged in the manufacture of cigars. He continued in this business until 1897, also conducting a cigar store, disposing of his products to local houses. Mr. Zeller then engaged in packing cigars for George Druber, a cigar manufacturer at Stouchsburg, until the fall of 1900, when at public sale, he p8urchased the property of the "American House," at Stouchsburg, from the Isaac L. Moyer estate, and this he has conducted with much success to the present time. This famous hostelry which was established many years ago by Mr. Moyer, has been greatly remodeled by Mr. Zeller, who now has one of the finest stands in the county. The hotel contains twenty rooms, has one of the best tables to be found in Berks, and has the liberal patronage of the raveling trade between Philadelphia and Harrisburg. Mr. Zeller is one of the best-known and most popular men in his township, and also has a large acquaintance in the southern and western portions of Berks county. In addition to his hotel and store building he owned a comfortable residence at Stouchsburg, and he has been prominently identified with the progress and development of his section. He keeps a fine span of horses, is a great fisherman, is one of the crack shots of the Keystone Gun Club, of Lebanon, Pa., where he won medals for marksmanship for five consecutive years, having a record of fifteen straight birds. He has a very valuable bird dog. Mr. Zeller was the pitcher of the star Marion base ball club that held the amateur championship of the county in the early nineties. In politics Mr. Zeller is a stanch Democrat, and takes an active interest in his party's success, having never missed an election since attaining his majority. Fraternally he is connected with Washington Camp No. 237, P. O. S. of A., Stouchsburg; Reading Encampment No. 1, and the Commonwealth Casualty Company of Philadelphia. Mr. Zeller and his family are members of Tulpehocken Reformed Church of Marion township, to which he give his liberal support.

On Sept. 26, 1885, Mr. Zeller was married to Lizzie J. Bright, daughter of Aaron Bright (see sketch else-where). To this union has been born one son, Harry Bright Zeller, born on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 1886, at Stouchsburg. He graduated from the township schools, and later attended the Lebanon Business College and the Elmer Deck School of Shorthand and Typewriting, at Reading.

Wilson B. Zeller, son of Reily W. and brother of George M., was born in Marion township Oct. 1, 1865. His education was obtained in the public schools, in Palatinate College, Myerstown, and in the Keystone State Normal School at Kutztown. He taught three terms at the Zeller school in Marion, and two terms in the Moyer school in the same township. He learned the duties pertaining to a farmer's life at home, and he gave his assistance to his father until he was twenty-one years old. He then entered the general store of his father-in-law, Isaac L. Moyer, a merchant at Stouchsburg. There he continued for nine years. In January, 1898, he was appointed a clerk in the Recorder's office at Reading, and there he gave satisfactory service under Recorders Reeser and Bressler. In 1904 he became traveling salesman for S. M. Hess & Bros., manufacturers of fertilizers at Philadelphia, and he now represents that firm in twenty-four counties in Pennsylvania. He possesses the happy faculty of making friends.

In 1885 Mr. Zeller was married to Ada A. Moyer, eldest daughter of the late Isaac L. Moyer, of Marion township. They resided in Stouchsburg until their removal to Reading in April, 1901. Three children have been born to them: (1) Robert M., born May 27, 1887, graduated from the Reading high school in 1905, with highest distinction. He taught the same school in Marion township in 1905-06 that his father had taught, and is now on the editorial staff of the Reading Eagle, (2) Edna M. (3) Sarah R., born March 20, 1893, died July 12, 1902. Mr. Zeller and his family are members of St. Mark's Reformed Church, Reading. During the residence in Stouchsburg Mr. Zeller was connected with the Union Sunday-school for ten years, being superintendent for seven. Socially he is a member of Golden Rule Lodge, No. 159, I. O. O. F., of Womelsdorf; Washington Camp, No. 237, P. O. S. of A., Stouchsburg, of which he is a past officer, and was district president of District No. 3, for one term. He also belongs to the T. P. A. In his political faith he is a strong Democrat, and of great influence in his party. For eleven years he filled the office of school director in Marion township, for nine years, being secretary of the board. He was a frequent delegate to county conventions under the old system. In June, 1909, he received the nomination for the office of recorder of deeds of Berks county, after a hard fight.


p 1168


William F. Zellers, of No. 1720 Centre avenue, Reading, who was employed in the smelting department of the Carpenter Steel Works, was born in Ontelaunee township, Berks Co., Pa., son of John and Catherine (Kraemer) Zellers.

John Zellers was born in Bern township, Berks county, but has spent his whole life in Ontelaunee township, where he owns a valuable farm, situated along Maiden Creek. He has been a prominent man in his day, serving as town supervisor on the Democratic ticket, and is known as a hardworking, industrious man. In religious belief he is Reformed. Mr. Zellers married Catherine Kraemer, who died in 1903, at the age of sixty-seven years. To them were born eight children, as follows: Emma, m. to Levi Haas, of Reading; John, m. to Kate Randsong; Charles, a hotel clerk, m. to Sally Martin; Catherine, m. to Abraham Fox; William F.; Ida, m. to William Kemmerer, ex-recorder of deeds of Berks county; Ellen, m. to Hiram Hottenstein, deceased; and Edward, at home, m. to Nora Burkhard.

William F. Zellers was educated in the schools of his native vicinity, and until twenty-one years of age lived on the home farm, after which he engaged at butchering with his brother. In 1890 he became engaged with Carpenter Steel Works, and for a term of fifteen years he was a smelter of crucible steel, this being one of the most expert departments of the works, as the quality of the steel for the crucibles depends entirely upon the skill of the smelter.

Mr. Zellers was married to Annie Brockway, daughter of Llewellyn Brockway, of Hyde Park, Pa., and they have one child, Herbert, who is attending high school. Mr. And Mrs. Zellers are members of the Reformed Church. Fraternally he is connected with the Knights of Malta and the I. O. R. M. In political matters Mr. Zellers is independent.


p. 717


Zerbe/Zerby (also Zerve, Zerwe and Zerben). The Zerbe family of Berks was very early settled in America. The original home of the family was in France, but owing to their steadfast loyalty to their religious faith they were obliged to find homes elsewhere, that they might worship as they thought right. On their first coming to the New World they settled in New York State, in the Schoharie Valley and a little farther south at Livingston Manor, from which places they followed the migratory tide into the fertile valley of the Tulpehocken. Rupp in his "30,000 Names of Immigrants", shows a Lorenz Zerbe who came from Schoharie to Tulpehocken in 1723, and in addition to Lorenz mentions a John Philip Zerbe and a Martin Zerbe among those above twenty-one years of age, who passed the winter of 1710 and summer of 1711 in Livingston Manor, N.Y., and who may have come to Tulpehocken at a later period. The name of John of Johan has been a favorite one in the family, as appears from the tax lists and vital statistics.

John Zerbe, born in North Heidelberg township June 20, 1799, died in Reading in 1874, and is buried at Little Tulpehocken church. He was a tailor by trade, working at that occupation in different parts of the county, and for some years also engaged in farming. In politics he was a Democrat. He was a member of St. Daniel's Church. His wife, whose maiden name was Martha Keller, died in Penn township in 1871, aged sixty-three years. She was a daughter of John Keller. Their children were: Elias, born Aug. 4, 1822, died March 25, 1906; Rebecca m. John Wagner, and both are deceased; Catherine m. Jeremiah Oaks, and both are deceased; Urias is mentioned below; William K., born Nov. 12, 1837, in North Heidelberg, enlisted Sept. 2, 1862, in Company G, 151st Pa. V.I., served ten months, and now resides in Reading, unmarried; Sarah m. Jonathan Frymoyer, deceased, and she resides in Reading; Jonathan m. Clara Moll, and died in Reading leaving no children; and six children died young.

Elias Zerbe, son of John, born Aug. 4, 1822, was a resident of North Heidelberg for a number of years, and in 1870 came to Reading where he followed the carpenter's trade until within a few years of his death, March 25, 1906. Both he and his wife are buried in the Charles Evans cemetery. On Nov. 7, 1846, he married Mary Ann Moyer, daughter of George Moyer and his wife Catherine Gerber (1799-1860). To this union were born children as follows: Emma, born Sept. 16, 1847, died at the age of eleven years; Anna, born March 3, 1852, died March 5, 1852; Levi M., born Dec. 3, 1853; James M. born Sept. 27, 1855, lives in Reading; Harrison, born Jan. 9, 1859; George McClellan, born Jan. 25, 1864.

Levi M. Zerbe, son of Elias, was born in Marion township Dec. 3, 1853. He learned the carpenter's trade when he was eighteen and this he has followed ever since. For two years he was engaged as a millwright in Reading, to which city he came in the fall of 1871. In 1875 he began working for the Reading Railway Company, and continued there until 1879, when he was appointed on the police force by Mayor Henry Tyson, but at the change of administration two years later he resigned and went back to the car shops, following his trade there until 1885. The next two years found his working as a millwright with Elias Schmehl, of Reading, but in the latter part of 1887 he again returned to the Railway Company, and has since continued there. On March 16, 1897, he was made foreman of the planing mill department, having some eighty-seven men in his employ. He is a member of the Relief Association, and also belongs to the American Mechanics, No. 27, of Reading; the Royal Arcanum, No. 495; and the Schuylkill Fire Company. He is a member of St. Luke's Lutheran Church, and is connected with the Trinity Lutheran Brotherhood of Reading. In political affairs he is a Democrat. On May 15, 1875, Mr. Zerbe was married to Amelia A. Werner, daughter of Frederick Werner, of Reading. Three children have been born to them, namely: Lillie M. , who died in infancy; Anna M. , at home; and Emma N. (1878-1900), deceased wife of Isaac Mengel, of Reading.

Urias Zerby, son of John and brother of Elias, was born Feb. 16, 1834, and died Jan. 6, 1907, and is buried in the Charles Evans cemetery. For several years he followed farming in Exeter township, and then moved to Muhlenberg township, where he lived until his removal to Reading April 1, 1875. He farmed the John Epler farm now all built up and improved as a part of the city along Schuylkill avenue. He married Lovina Snyder, who bore him the following children: William A., John, James, Missouri, Irwin, Frank, Mamie and Amanda.

William A. Zerby, son of Urias, and now a well known citizen of Reading engaged in the milk business, was born in Muhlenberg township May 25, 1865. He attended the township schools, and was ten years old when the father removed of Reading. Here in the city he attended the public schools, in the meantime assisting his father on the farm. He was a letter carrier for three years, at the end of that time engaging in the dairy business at No. 639 Schuylkill avenue, where he has built up a large trade.. In his political principle Mr. Zerby is a Democrat, and has served as a member of the county committee. He was elected collector for the Fifteenth ward in 1908. In his religious faith, like all his family, he is a Lutheran and belongs to Hope Church.

On Oct. 8, 1887, Mr. Zerby was united in marriage with Miss Missouri De Long, daughter of Jacob De Long, of Lehigh county. Their children are: Arthur, Martha, William, Harry, Lester, Hilda and Esther. Mr. Zerby is highly respected wherever he is known.


p. 988


Reily Zerbe, the well known cigar manufacturer of Stouchsburg, Pa., was born in Marion township, this county, Jan. 11, 1860, son of James and Ellen (Miller) Zerbe, and representative of an old and respected family of Berks county.

James Zerbe was born in Upper Tulpehocken township, near Seibert's Forge, in April, 1837, and now makes his home at Palmyra. During his early years he learned his trade of cigar making, and followed it for some years, and afterward engaged in the manufacturing of cigars at Stouchsburg on his own account, continuing there with good success for twenty years. He then moved to Palmyra, where he opened a corner grocery, and this he conducted until 1906, when he retired, being succeeded in the grocery by his son, Harry M. Mr. Zerbe is a Democrat in politics, and a Lutheran in religious faith, his membership being in the parish of Christ Lutheran Church, Stouchsburg. Mr. Zerbe married Ellen Miller, who was born in 1840, daughter of Philip Miller. Of their children a son and a daughter both died in infancy; Reily is mentioned below; and Harry M. is conducting the grocery so successfully carried on in former years by his father.

Reily Zerbe passed his boyhood days under the parental roof, acquiring a common school education. At the age of twelve years he began learning the cigar maker's trade from his father and mother, the latter being the first cigar maker in her district. This he has followed off and on ever since. In 1883 he began in business for himself at Stouchsburg, employing as high as seventy-five people. In 1889 he made over 4,300,000 cigars, enjoying a large Western trade. For the past four years he has been manager for the A. S. Valentine & Son factory at Stouchsburg, having in his charge an average of forty-five employes. They manufacture high-grade cigars, which are marketed all over the country. Mr. Zerbe is one of the foremost men of his town. He has a handsome home, which he erected in 1895, John Weidner, of Reading, being the contractor. This has all modern conveniences, and contains fourteen rooms, all handsomely furnished. He has his own gas plant, and his lawns are so beautifully kept as to add to the charming appearance of the place.

In politics Mr. Zerbe is a Democrat, and he wields an influence in his district in political matters. He very ably served as school director, and has been a delegate to various Congressional and judicial conventions. He and his family belong to Christ Lutheran Church, of which he has been treasurer since 1899. He has traveled and has seen a great deal of his own country. Among the places he has visited may be mentioned the Centennial at Philadelphia in 1876. Accompanied by his wife in 1882 he visited Kansas and Colorado, as far as Denver, and twice visited Pike's Peak, and they were at the World's Fair in Chicago in 1893, and the Buffalo Exposition in 1903.

In 1880 Mr. Zerbe married Mary Killmer, daughter of Henry and Gustina (Batdorf) Killmer, and they have one daughter Ella Gustina, wife of Joseph A. Gernert, of Myerstown, who is engaged in the grocery business at Palmyra.


p, 866


Thomas J. Zerby, a justice of the peace, and one of the well-known educators of Penn township, Berks county, resides near the borough of Bernville. He was born March 18, 1872, in North Heidelberg township, son of William E. and Sariah (Kauffman) Zerby.

Daniel Zerby, grandfather of Thomas J., was a shoemaker by trade, and also had a small tract of land on which he carried on modest farming operations. He died in North Heidelberg township, and is buried at the Little Tulpehocken Church in Jefferson township. He married Catherine Eagle, and they had three children, namely: Reuben, William E., and Elvina (who married John Stettler and lives in Kansas).

William E. Zerby was born in North Heidelberg township, and when a young man engaged in boating in the summer, and in shoemaking and trapping during the winter months. After the closing of the Union canal, Mr. Zerby gave his entire attention to farming, and this was his occupation at the time of his death, in his sixty-first year. During the Civil war he served as a private in Comnpany A, 167th P. V. I., and after being out nine months returned home, having contracted a severe case of typhoid fever. Mr. Zerby married Sariah Kaufmann, daughter of Stephen and Sarah (Speicher) Kauffman, and they had the following children: Henry E., a florist of Manchester, York county, married Hetty D. Groff; William F. is deceased; Miss Rebecca S. lives at Bernville; James A.; John W.; Charles C; and Morgan A. are all deceased; Thomas J.; and Annie L. married Harvey J. Bright, a teacher of Jefferson township.

Thomas J. Zerby attended the public schools of North Heidelberg township, and the Bernville Norman school, taught by Prof. M. A. Gruber, later going to Kutztown. He taught for three terms in Jefferson township, at the Yost or Cross Keys school, after which he came to his present school, Eyrichs, where he has continued for thirteen terms. In 1893 he erected a fine home, and here he has his office. Mr. Zerby is a Democrat in politics, and was appointed justice of the peace to fill out the unexpired term off William Umbenhauer in 1897, was elected in 1898, and since that time has been serving in that office. Hew has served on committees since 1900, and has for many years been clerk of the election board. He is a member of the Little Tulpehocken Lutheran Church, is church treasurer, has been choir leader since 1902, and is superintendent of the Hill Sunday-school which has met at his schoolhouse for the past fifteen years. Fraternally he is connected with P. O. S. of A. Camp No. 113, Commandery No. 15, and I. O. O. F. Lodge No. 122, all of Bernville, having filled all the chairs in the first named and been financial secretary since 1898.

On Dec. 14, 1895, Prof. Zerby was married to Annie L. Long, daughter of Samuel and Mary Ann (Wagner) Long, and they have one son, Earle T. who is attending school.


p. 783


John Henry Zerr, former president of the Letter Carriers' Association, and one of the well known mail carriers of the city of Reading, was born in this city May 11, 1870, son of Charles and Eliza (Bollman) Zerr.

Charles Zerr was born in lower Berks county March 6, 1833, and died at Reading Feb. 4, 1907. He was reared by his grandfather Shirey. He was a blacksmith by trade, and for upwards of forty years worked for the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company. For many years his place of residence had been at No. 1111 Spruce street. He married Eliza Bollman, daughter of John and Mary (Auman) Bollman, of Spring township, and she is now seventy-three years of age. Their children were: Charles, of Reading; Catharine, m. to John B. Gnau, of Reading; Ida V.; Anna R., m. to W. W. Wetherhold; William R.; Howard G.; John H.; Margaret, m. to Grant Schultz; and Lillie M., m. to Jacob Schmehl.

John H. Zerr received his education in the public schools of Reading, and when eighteen years of age learned the upholsterer's trade, which he followed for several years. In 1893 he took a competitive examination for letter carried, making a very high average, and in August of that same year was appointed to a position by Postmaster Capt. P. R. Stetson, a position he has since filled. He is a member of the Letter Carrier's Association, of which he was president in 1904. In point of service he ranks as one of the old men on the force and has a most creditable record, and is very popular among the government employes at the Reading postoffice.

Mr. Zerr is active in the Masonic fraternity, being a member of Lodge No. 62, F. & A. M.; Reading Lodge of Perfection; Harrisburg Consistory; and Rajah Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S. He is also a member of Reading Chamber, No. 26, Knights of Friendship.

On Oct. 6, 1901, Mr. Zerr married Clara E. Fair, daughter of George E. and Hannah E. (Bowman) Fair, of Reading, where Mr. Fair is identified with the Reading Railway, and has been for more than a quarter of a century. Her grandparents were Reuben D. and Mary (Schaffer) Fair, of Berks county. Mr. And Mrs. Zerr have no children.


p. 777


Ben H. Zerr, a traveling salesman whose home is in Reading, was born in Lebanon, Pa., Oct 22, 1860, and in paternal lines is of Holland ancestry.

(I) George Zerr, the pioneer ancestor of this family was a native of Holland, and emigrated to America in 1750. The exact date of his settling in Hereford township, Berks county, is unknown, but in 1790 he was a taxable there, as was also his eldest son Jacob. He was a farmer by occupation and owned a tract of 160 acres of good land. He died "old in years" in 1801, and was survived by his wife, Sophia. In his will, recorded in Book 4, page 37, he is called a yeoman. The executors of his will were his son Jacob and one Peter Fink. The children mentioned in the will were: Jacob; George-"my youngest son shall have the adjoining tract of 150 acres"; Catharine m. Conrad Fink; Magdalena m. John Bickel; Mary m. Jacob Keifer.

(II) Jacob Zerr, eldest son of George, was born in Hereford township in 1760. He settled on a large farm in Amity township at an early date, and died there March 1, 1826, aged sixty-six. His wife Susanna, born in 1766, died Sept 19, 1842, and both are buried in the graveyard at the Amityville church. His will, dated April 19, 1825, is on record in Will Book 5, page 487. He and his wife had the following children: Jacob; Elizabeth (Kerst); George; Peggy (Bickel); Henry; Lidda; Samuel and Sarah.

(III) Jacob Zerr, eldest son of Jacob, was born in Amity, but in middle life he settled in Spring township on a farm located near the Lancaster bridge. His last will, made on March 25th and probated Dec 6, 1865, soon after his death, is on record in Will Book 11, page 436. He was survived by his wife Mary, and the following children: William and Elizabeth. He left a large estate, and his son William was bequeathed the tavern stand and tract of land in Amity township consisting of forty-three acres, bounded by the Perkiomen turnpike and the house in Spring township in which his father died, besides other land in Spring township.

(III) George Zerr, third child of Jacob, was a farmer at Geigertown in Union township, where he died in 1872. In his will he valued his 130-acre farm at $6,000, and this he bequeathed to his son, Jacob G. By occupation George Zerr was a linen weaver. His will made July 14, 1869, is recorded in Will Book 12, page 455. His children were: Jacob G.; Christina m. Elijah Geiger; Hannah m. Jacob Kachel; Mary m. Joseph Geiger.

(III) Henry Zerr, son of Jacob, was a farmer in Union township. He died in 1866, and is buried at Geigertown. He provided that his wife Elizabeth should remain on the farm as long as she lived. This farm was cultivated by his son Lafayette. To Henry and Elizabeth Zerr were born: Harriet; Elizabeth; Mary Ann; George; Lafayette (who had sons Henry H. and George M.); Hannah; and Elizabeth.

(IV) Jacob G. Zerr, only son of George, was a prosperous farmer at Geigertown. His children were: Howard; Henry; Jacob L.; Elijah M., a prosperous farmer, prominently identified with the Berks County Agricultural Society and Farmers' Union, whose three daughters, Sophie E., Eva A., and Sallie E., are all graduates of the Keystone State Normal School; Eliza; Mary Ann; Adaline and H. Susanna.

(III) Samuel Zerr, son of Jacob is buried at Geigertown. He married Catharine Neida, born Sept 10, 1805, daughter of Michael and Elizabeth Neida, and she died Aug. 31, 1856, and is buried at Amityville. They had a son Samuel.

(IV) Samuel Zerr, son of Samuel and Catharine, was born in Amityville, where he lived until after attaining his majority, when for a short time he lived in Lebanon, Pa. He then came to Reading, and was in the sand business for a number of years along the SchuyIkill river, supplying the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company with sand. The sand bank eventually came into the hands of Augustus Hoff, of Reading. Mr. Zerr spent his later years at farming in Caernarvon township, and there died in the early part of 1860, and is buried at Geigertown. He was twice married. To his first marriage were born: Samuel; Augustus; Jacob; Caroline m. Augustus Mentz; and Catharine m. Jacob Armpriester. His second wife was Catharine Krum, and to this union was born but one son, Ben H. Mrs. Catharine (Krum) Zerr died at the age of seventy-two years.

(V) Ben H. Zerr was less than a year old when his parents came to Reading, where the family has since lived. For a time the family home was where the Elks Home is now located at Fifth and Franklin streets. Mr. Zerr received his education in the public schools, and in 1879, when the Philomathean Society was organized he became one of the active members, and so continued as long as the society was in existence. This organization was a great factor in the city, and many of its members became noted in various walks of life. When but twelve years of age Mr. Zerr became a newsboy for the Reading Eagle, selling the papers both in the city and on the different railroads through this section of the country. When he was twenty-one years of age he became a traveling salesman, and in 1882 he was one of the first to go out from Reading to sell hosiery and pants. His first experience, however, was in selling safes, afterward entering the employ of the J. G. Leinbach & Co., Woolen Mills, North Fourth street. In 1892 he conducted a cigar store in the "Hotel Penn" known as the "Art", and noted in particular for its appointments in the selection of the fine draperies, curtains, pedestals, and engravings. In 1907, with others, he engaged in the manufacture of hosiery, and in this he has continued to the present time. Mr. Zerr is a thorough business man, and has a pleasing address. For several years he was active in the base ball world of Reading, and it was his idea to secure Lauer's Park, and transform it into the present ideal ball park. In spite of his other interests Mr. Zerr returned to the road in 1895, and has since continued at that work, as a merchandise broker.

On Feb. 22, 1882, Mr. Zerr married Elenora Muthart, daughter of John and Leah (Hoyer) Muthart, of Reading and their children were: Walter B., an electrician in New York City; Florence, who died in childhood; Ben H., Jr., who died Oct. 27, 1908, aged seventeen years and seven months; and Stewart R. The family have resided at No. 148 North Eleventh street, Reading since 1888. Fraternally Mr. Zerr is a member of Chandler Lodge, No. 227, F. & A. M. Lodge No. 115, B. P. O. Elks, and several commercial societies. In his travels Mr. Zerr has seen many of the points of interest of the country.

(V) Samuel Zerr, son of Samuel and half-brother of Ben H., lived in Reading, where he was an upholster employed by the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company. He died in 1893, aged fifty-two years. By his wife, Susan Kissinger, he had two children: (1) Sallie died small. (2) Samuel, born June 27, 1869, was educated in the schools of Reading, graduated from the Pharmaceutical College, Philadelphia, in 1891, and has been for a number of years manager of the machine shop of Jacob S. Peipher, his half-brother; he married (first) Katie Hoffman, who died leaving two children, Samuel E., and Nora E., and he m. (second) in 1901, Mary Helfrich, daughter of John Helfrich, a native of Germany, and they have three children, Georgine, Mary and Harold.

Note: I am a direct decendant of George Zerr and Jacob Zerr (B. 1760). There was an error on the information on this page. It says that George Zerr the pioneer of this family was a native of Holland, who came around 1750. This is not true. Although George Zerr came on a ship which departed from a port in Holland, he was a native of the Baden area of Germany. Also he and his son Jacob were both Revolutionary war soldiers. Jacob is buried in St Pauls in Amity PA. Submitted by Michael.

Last Modified Sunday, 06-Sep-2009 11:33:37 EDT

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