Andrew Johnson Geyer

ANDREW JOHNSON GEYER, a representative citizen of Scottdale, in which borough he has been an active and potent factor for many years in the promotion of its varied interests, political, financial, industrial and :social, was born at Schellsburg, Bedford county, Pennsylvania, October 27, 1866, son of Henry Garber and Catharine (Rettinger) Geyer, and a representative of a family of which one or more members in each generation have been active participants in the wars in which America has engaged.

John William Geyer, the pioneer ancestor of the American branch of the family, and a descendant of Flavan von Geyer, one of the leaders of the rebellion in Germany about the year 1400 was born in Germany, November 12, 1723. In 1749 he emigrated to America, returned to his native land in 1751, and the following year again came to this country, locating in Pennsylvania, from whence he removed to Annapolis, Maryland. He married, November 17. 1752, Anna Marie Reeler, who was born in the vicinity of Reading, Pennsylvania, September 10, 1725, and six children were the issue of this union: Conrad, John, Henry, Michael, Catharine and Anna Margaret. John William Geyer and his two sons - Conrad and Henry - served as privates in the Revolutionary war, and were with General Washington during his perilous journey across the Delaware river. Mr. Geer died February 7, 1808, and his wife passed away November 26, 1806.

Henry Geyer, third son of John William and Anna Marie (Reeler) Geyer, was born February 12, 1756, died 1833. By his marriage to Catharine Kurtz the following children were born: Catharine, Conrad, Mary, George, Elizabeth, Frederick, Jonas, Susan, and Sarah Geyer

Conrad Geyer, eldest son of Henry and Catharine (Kurtz) Geyer, was born June 15, 1792, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He married. May 1, 1833 Susanna Garber of Reading, Pennsylvania, born July 19, 1807, and six children were the issue of this union as follows: Mary, died in infancy; Sarah, also died in infancy; Henry Garber, John Calvin, Anna Marie, and Susanna. In early life he emigrated to Berks and afterwards to Bedford county, and his chief employment was teaming between Cumberland, Maryland and Wheeling, Virginia, on the National road or old pike. A heavily loaded wagon passed over his foot and from the effects of the injury thus received he died at his home in Schellsburg, Bedford county, July 1, 1864, in the seventy-second year of his age. His wife died July 9. 1879.

Henry Garber Geyer, eldest son of Conrad and Susanna (Garber) Geyer, was born at Schellsburg, Bedford county, May 4, 1834. He was reared on a farm and followed farming for a number of years, after which he turned his attention to carpentering and contracting, which occupations he followed in the borough of Scottdale, whither he moved to on May 15, 1873. In 1882 he erected a large frame hotel, known as the Geyer House, which he successfully conducted until his death, and was the first landlord at Scottdale to obtain license after the passage of the local option law. He was an active member of the Reformed church, which he joined in Schellsburg in 1851. He was a Democrat in politics, but the only office he ever held was that of squire, and his commission bearing the signature of Andrew G. Curtin is still in the possession of the family. Ill health prevented him from joining the army in 1862 with his brother John, who enlisted as a private in Company H, Fifty-fifth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, and was promoted for bravery to the rank of first lieutenant and adjutant. He married, January 2, 1863, Catharine Rettinger, who was born February 20, 1843 in the vicinity of Mann's Choice, Bedford county, Pennsylvania, her parents having come to this country in 1830, locating near Mann's Choice. Their children are as follows: John Calvin, Andrew Johnson, Anna Mary, who became the wife of George A. Smith of Cleveland, Ohio; Margaret Ellen, who became the wife of J. J. Price, of Clinton, Missouri; and William Henry. Henry Garber Geyer (father) died December 11, 1884 and since then his widow has conducted the hotel.

Andrew J. Geyer, second son of the late Henry Garber and Catharine (Rettinger) Geyer, graduated at St Vincent College in 1888, after which he pursued a special course in architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. For a number of years he was the editor and proprietor of the Scottdale Herald, this being the only Democratic paper ever published in that borough. He has been awarded the contract for the designing of churches, school houses, business blocks and dwellings in various parts of four states, and in 1900 he designed and built the Geyer Theatre in Scottdale, in the management of which he has since been engaged. He was instrumental in the organization of the Broadway National Bank in 1902, and has served since then as a member of the board of directors, also filling a similar position in the F. A. Black Manufacturing Company. He was nominated on the Democratic ticket for the office of town councilman, and was elected in a Republican stronghold by a large majority, a fact which testified to his popularity as a citizen. During the Spanish-American war he enlisted in Company E. Eighteenth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, and was mustered out at the close of hostilities. In 1884 Mr. Geyer joined the Trinity Reformed church, and since 1901 has served in an official capacity. He is a member of Lodge No. 562, Free and Accepted Masons; Jerusalem Chapter. No. 3, Royal Arch Masons, this being the oldest chapter in the United States; Lodge No. 777, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; and the Royal Arcanum.

Mr. Geyer married, November 25, 1902, at Wilkensburg, Pennsylvania. Nora Virts Sewell, who was educated in the public schools of Scottdale, and the issue of this marriage was one child. Andrew Johnson, Jr., born March 14. 1904, at Scottdale, Mrs. Geyer is a daughter of Colonel George H. and Jennie (Home) Sewell, who were united in marriage in 1872. Colonel Sewell was born in Baltimore, Maryland, June 20, 1849, enlisted as a drummer boy in Company B. First Maryland Regiment, and was later transferred to the secret service, where he remained until the close of the war. His wife, who was a native of Allegheny county, Maryland, died April 23, 1896. Colonel Sewell was a son of the Rev. Thomas Sewell, a lineal descendant of Pocohontas, who in 1835 was appointed collector of the port of Baltimore, which position he held for eight years.

Source: Page(s) 153-154, History of Westmoreland County, Volume II, Pennsylvania by John N Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906.
Transcribed May 2007 by Nathan Zipfel for the Westmoreland County History Project
Contributed for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (

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