(Page 341 cont.) THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY of Montgomery county was incorporated on May 11, 1883. The
object of this Society, as stated in its charter, is the study and preservation of the
history of Montgomery county, Pennsylvania. The Society had its real start several years
before a charter was obtained. A strong motive for forming the Society was to prepare for
a proper celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of the formation of the county. The
Act of Assembly for erecting part of the county of Philadelphia into a separate county,
to be called Montgomery, was passed on September 10, 1784. The first meeting for establishing the Historical Society was held at the court
house in Norristown, on February 22, 1881. Among those who signed a call for this
meeting, most of whom were present, were Dr. Hiram Corson, Major William H. Holstein,
Colonel Theodore W. Bean, Robert Iredell, General William J. Bolton, Moses Auge, Isaac
Chism, Reuben Krieble, Samuel M. Corson, F. G. Hobson, Prof. R. F. Hoffecker, Isaac
Roberts, Nathaniel Jacoby, Jonas Detwiler, L. H. Davis, Dr. J. S. Shrawder, William M.
Clift, A. K. Thomas, William J. Binder, William H. Bean, M. S. Longaker, William J.
Nicholls, William Auchenbach. Colonel Theodore W. Bean was made chairman, and Samuel M.
Corson secretary. It brought about in 1884 the celebration of the centennial of Montgomery county.
The public demonstration on that occasion lasted four days, and was a success in every
way. That celebration was also made a financial success. After paying all expenses, a
balance of $1,200 remained which was invested for the Society's benefit. This sum has
since been used in part payment for Historical Hall, now owned by the Society. The Society is engaged in marking important historical places within the county
limits with permanent monuments. Recently it erected at Barren Hill a monument
indicating the location of Lafayette's camp there in May, 1778. It also erected near the
Perkiomen Creek, opposite Schwenksville, a monument commemorating Washington's encampment
there, at Pennypacker's Mills, in 1777. Prior to 1897 meetings of the Society at Norristown were mostly held in the court
house. The county commissioners had granted the Society the exclusive use of a small
room in that building, and permitted it to meet in one of the court rooms. But the
growth of the Society demanded that it own a meeting place which should include an
audience room and library rooms, with space for future expansion. (Page 342) In 1896, the former borough hall of Norristown, with the lot belonging thereto on
Penn street, was offered for sale, the authorities having erected a more commodious
municipal building at DeKalb and Airy streets. The Historical Society decided to buy
this property. Its deed therefore bears date December 22, 1896, when it obtained
possession of the property. The consideration was $5,500. The twelve hundred dollars
remaining from the County Centennial celebration, and $300 of accumulations and life
membership fees, enabled the Society to raise $1,500, and it borrowed the balance of the
purchase money and gave a mortgage for $4,000 on its new building. The building was
erected in 1884. It is a large, substantial brick structure, situated on Penn street,
adjoining the public square, and opposite the court house. When bought, it was found
that the building needed considerable repairs, and material alterations were required to
fit it for the needs of the Society. These were made at a cost of about one thousand
dollars. The property is now admirably adapted to the Society's uses. The Society's property is called "Historical Hall." The first meeting was held
there May 26, 1897. It occupies all the second story and part of the first story of the
building, renting a portion for offices, from which it derives some revenue. The part used by the Society consists of a commodious hall and rooms for its
library on the second floor, and a large permanent fireproof vault on the first floor.
During the construction of the new court house, the upper floor was rented to the county
commissioners for occupancy by the judges and the law library. The fire-proof vault was
also leased to the county, it being a suitable place to keep the jury wheel. The annual suppers given by the ladies on Washington's birthday for five years in
succession, under the chairmanship of Mary R. Livezey, who was materially aided by
Ellwood Roberts and others, yielded the Society altogether nearly $2,500. Part of this
was devoted to alterations and repairs to the building, and the rest was used to cut
down the mortgage to little more than half of its first amount. Joseph Fornance and Ellwood Roberts have edited and published Volumes I and II of
"Historical Sketches," containing papers prepared and read at the meetings of the
Society, and other materials.
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(Page 341 cont.)
THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY of Montgomery county was incorporated on May 11, 1883. The object of this Society, as stated in its charter, is the study and preservation of the history of Montgomery county, Pennsylvania. The Society had its real start several years before a charter was obtained. A strong motive for forming the Society was to prepare for a proper celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of the formation of the county. The Act of Assembly for erecting part of the county of Philadelphia into a separate county, to be called Montgomery, was passed on September 10, 1784.
The first meeting for establishing the Historical Society was held at the court house in Norristown, on February 22, 1881. Among those who signed a call for this meeting, most of whom were present, were Dr. Hiram Corson, Major William H. Holstein, Colonel Theodore W. Bean, Robert Iredell, General William J. Bolton, Moses Auge, Isaac Chism, Reuben Krieble, Samuel M. Corson, F. G. Hobson, Prof. R. F. Hoffecker, Isaac Roberts, Nathaniel Jacoby, Jonas Detwiler, L. H. Davis, Dr. J. S. Shrawder, William M. Clift, A. K. Thomas, William J. Binder, William H. Bean, M. S. Longaker, William J. Nicholls, William Auchenbach. Colonel Theodore W. Bean was made chairman, and Samuel M. Corson secretary.
It brought about in 1884 the celebration of the centennial of Montgomery county. The public demonstration on that occasion lasted four days, and was a success in every way. That celebration was also made a financial success. After paying all expenses, a balance of $1,200 remained which was invested for the Society's benefit. This sum has since been used in part payment for Historical Hall, now owned by the Society.
The Society is engaged in marking important historical places within the county limits with permanent monuments. Recently it erected at Barren Hill a monument indicating the location of Lafayette's camp there in May, 1778. It also erected near the Perkiomen Creek, opposite Schwenksville, a monument commemorating Washington's encampment there, at Pennypacker's Mills, in 1777.
Prior to 1897 meetings of the Society at Norristown were mostly held in the court house. The county commissioners had granted the Society the exclusive use of a small room in that building, and permitted it to meet in one of the court rooms. But the growth of the Society demanded that it own a meeting place which should include an audience room and library rooms, with space for future expansion.
In 1896, the former borough hall of Norristown, with the lot belonging thereto on Penn street, was offered for sale, the authorities having erected a more commodious municipal building at DeKalb and Airy streets. The Historical Society decided to buy this property. Its deed therefore bears date December 22, 1896, when it obtained possession of the property. The consideration was $5,500. The twelve hundred dollars remaining from the County Centennial celebration, and $300 of accumulations and life membership fees, enabled the Society to raise $1,500, and it borrowed the balance of the purchase money and gave a mortgage for $4,000 on its new building. The building was erected in 1884. It is a large, substantial brick structure, situated on Penn street, adjoining the public square, and opposite the court house. When bought, it was found that the building needed considerable repairs, and material alterations were required to fit it for the needs of the Society. These were made at a cost of about one thousand dollars. The property is now admirably adapted to the Society's uses.
The Society's property is called "Historical Hall." The first meeting was held there May 26, 1897. It occupies all the second story and part of the first story of the building, renting a portion for offices, from which it derives some revenue.
The part used by the Society consists of a commodious hall and rooms for its library on the second floor, and a large permanent fireproof vault on the first floor. During the construction of the new court house, the upper floor was rented to the county commissioners for occupancy by the judges and the law library. The fire-proof vault was also leased to the county, it being a suitable place to keep the jury wheel.
The annual suppers given by the ladies on Washington's birthday for five years in succession, under the chairmanship of Mary R. Livezey, who was materially aided by Ellwood Roberts and others, yielded the Society altogether nearly $2,500. Part of this was devoted to alterations and repairs to the building, and the rest was used to cut down the mortgage to little more than half of its first amount.
Joseph Fornance and Ellwood Roberts have edited and published Volumes I and II of "Historical Sketches," containing papers prepared and read at the meetings of the Society, and other materials.
(Picture of Ellwood Roberts)
ELLWOOD ROBERTS, teacher, author, journalist and builder, has exhibited in his career a versatility which is seldom met with in ordinary experience. Combining a good physical constitution with an enormous capacity for labor, he has never found lacking all the employment he needed to occupy his time and attention. Born in Wilmington, Delaware, January 22, 1846, he has been a citizen of Pennsylvania, the native state of both his parents, since 1861, and few native born Pennsylvanians have a greater share of pride in the grand old commonwealth founded by William Penn than Mr. Roberts.
Educated in the common schools and supplementing the slender knowledge gained in this way by home study, he is emphatically a selfmade man, having taught school fourteen years, mostly in public schools and in Friends' Central school, Philadelphia, before taking a position as associate editor of the Norristown Herald in 1883, which he still holds. In the meantime, he has been actively engaged in other pursuits, having in 1895 published a volume of poems entitled "Lyrics of Quakerism," a volume of genealogy in 1898, "Old Richland Families," containing the history of his own and connected families of Quakertown, Bucks county, Pennsylvania, where his first ancestor in this country, Edward Roberts, settled in 1716; and a third volume, also historical and genealogical, "Plymouth Meeting," in 1900. All these publications were well received. He has several more well under way, including the "Dewees family," now in press.
On his father's side Ellwood Roberts is of Welsh-Quaker ancestry. On his mother's side he is of Scotch-Irish and Pennsylvania-German extraction.
Hugh Roberts (father) was born near Branchtown, August 5, 1821, in the old Roberts mansion, recently torn down. His father, also Hugh Roberts, a miller by occupation, had died several months previously, and his widow married a second time.
The infant Hugh became an object of the most tender care and solicitude to his maiden aunt, Mary Roberts, who reared him until he was placed, at the age of eight years, with a maternal uncle, Thomas P. Spencer, on a farm in Lower Makefield township, Bucks county, Pennsylvania. Here he grew to manhood, or nearly so, and learning the trade of a miller, became employed at Brandywine Mills, Wilmington, where he remained a dozen years, marrying, August 8, 1842, Alice Anna Gallagher, born August 28, 1819.
The couple had seven children, of whom four died in infancy, the survivors being Charles H., now a resident of Norristown like the others; Ellwood; and Mary, wife of Samuel Livezey. Hugh Roberts in 1852 became a farmer, following that occupation with varying success in Delaware, and in Bucks and Montgomery counties, until his removal to Norristown in 1882, where he was occupied with his son Ellwood in building until his death on August 23, 1894. His widow made her home with her son, surviving nearly eight years. She died April 10, 1902.
The family ancestors in regular order were Hugh (1821-1894); Hugh (1782-1821); Amos (1758-1835); David (1722-1804); Edward, the immigrant, (1687-1768). All were members of the Society of Friends and Edward was an earnest minister therein for the last forty years of his life. Edward's son David married the daughter of another well-known minister, Thomas Lancaster, who died while on a religious mission to Barbadoes Island in the West Indies.
Ellwood Roberts married, September 12, 1878, Mary Long Carter, daughter of Job and Rachel (Owen) Carter, of Upper Greenwich, New Jersey, both members of the Society of Friends, and interested in the maintenance of its principles. Their children: Howard C., born July 6, 1879 Charles A., born May 30, 1881, and died March 14, 1888; Alice R., born June 15; 1886; William H., born February 12, 1888; and Mary C., born January 31, 1892.
Ellwood Roberts is an active worker in the Montgomery County Historical Society, of which he is a life member, and has rendered much assistance in editing the two volumes of historical sketches which it has published. He purchased for it the building which it occupies on Penn street, Norristown, when many of its members feared that the undertaking was too great. He and his sister, Mary R. Livezey, have labored steadily to diminish the debt, many hundreds of dollars being realized through their exertions, aided by their many friends. He is strongly attached to the principles of the Society of Friends, and has written and spoken in behalf of them for many years. He is and has been deeply interested in the growth and prosperity of Norristown.
A Republican in politics, he has cast his influence on the side of good government without regard to mere partisanship. In everything relating to the welfare of the community, he is active and earnest and ever ready to lend a hand in righting any wrong that exists.
Mr. Roberts is one of the most extensive real-estate owners in Norristown, having been engaged in several enterprises of note, first, in conjunction with his father, and, more recently, with his son Howard. All his properties are kept in the best repair, nothing being allowed to depreciate because of neglect. He believes thoroughly in Norristown as the place to make investment, and prefers real estate to stocks or bonds, regarding it as having a permanent value, especially in a good location.
Few men at his age are so active and so capable of continued exertion in anything which enlists his interest. He is satisfied with having impressed his personality on the community with which he has been so long and so honorably identified, and he has no other desire than to serve the interests of those around him by contributing his share to the general progress of Norristown.
ELLEN D. RAMSEY. William W. Ramsey was born on a farm in Chester county, Pennsylvania, near the corner of three states. The farm was owned by his maternal grandfather, who was among the first settlers of the locality. William W. Ramsey was born January 29, 1847, and when he was six years of age his father removed to Philadelphia and engaged in butchering. Before the removal to Philadelphia William had attended a private school kept by his maternal great-uncle, Alexander Terrell, who was a noted educator of that day and fitted young men for college in his Chester county school. William W. Ramsey afterward attended the Philadelphia public schools.
His mother subsequently removed with her family to Upper Merion and located near Abrams Station, where William grew to manhood. He attended the public schools of the neighborhood for a time and later obtained employment on a farm of Moses Walker who became his father-in-law. He had charge of this farm until 1870, when Mr. Walker died and he took the place in the Norristown market which Mr. Walker had held for many years. He was an enterprising man and took a deep interest in everything pertaining to the advancement of education in his township. He was a school director in Upper Merion for several years. He was elected auditor of Upper Merion and held the office until his death. He was an ardent Republican and was frequently a delegate to the county conventions. He never missed a vote and was in fact one of those who were never questioned as to their political beliefs. He was one of the most popular men in Upper Merion and had no enemies. Mr. Ramsey died January 28, 1903. He belonged to the Patrons of Husbandry and to the Ancient Order of United Workmen.
March 27, 1877, William W. Ramsey married Ellen D., daughter of Moses and Sarah S. (Davis) Walker. Ellen D. (Walker) Ramsey was born in the house where she now resides, on April 19, 1850. They had four children.
Joseph D., the eldest, born April 3, 1878, resides at home. He returned, in November, 1902, after a year spent in Irondale, Washington. He enlisted in June, 1898, in Company F, of a Regiment of Pennsylvania, serving in the Spanish-American war. He was in Camp Mead and Camp Alger.
Sarah E., born December 29, 1879, died July 9, 1880. Harold A., born September 3, 1882, is now in the engineer corps of the Pennsylvania Railway Company at Pittsburg. He was graduated from the Norristown high school in 1900, and then attended Drexel Institute for two years, taking a course in mechanical arts.
Charles Dana, born October 4, 1884, was graduated from the Norristown high school and now works on the farm.
Mrs. Sarah Walker, mother of Mrs. Ellen Ramsey, is the daughter of Joseph Davis of Chester county, who married Miss Eleanor Stephens, of an old Chester county family. Their great-grandfather was a surgeon in the Revolutionary war.
Moses Walker, father of Mrs. Ramsey, was the son of Joseph and Priscilla (Robinson) Walker, and was born in Delaware county. He removed to Montgomery county in 1849 and settled on a farm now owned by Mrs. Sarah Walker, where he died on February 4, 1870. He was a school director for several terms. He was a member of the Society of Friends and attended Valley Friends' Meeting. They had three children: Ellen D.; Lewis, who was born November 25, 1855, and died in boyhood; and Sarah R., who was born May 29, 1864, and died early in 1873.
Mrs. Sarah Walker was born September 16, 1825, and her husband in December, 1819. He died in 1870.
(Picture of Samuel C. Seiple)
DR. SAMUEL C. SEIPLE. The Seiple (original form Seibel) family were among the earliest settlers of Bucks county, Pennsylvania. They are of German origin, and possess in a great degree the hardy virtues of the race from which they sprang.
John Seiple (grandfather) was a native of Hilltown township, Bucks county. He was educated in the schools of the vicinity, and on leaving school became interested in agricultural pursuits, which he followed through life. He married Miss Bryan, the couple having twelve children, among them Enos B., father of Dr. Samuel C. Seiple, the subject of this sketch.
Enos B. Seiple was born on the Hilltown homestead in 1805, and died March 23, 1848. He was a teacher by occupation, and engaged very successfully for several years in that pursuit. Later in life he was employed at the carpenter
trade, which he had learned in the intervals of teaching. In politics Mr. Seiple was a Democrat, and held the positions of assessor, collector of taxes and other minor offices. In his later years he resided in New Britain township, Bucks county. Mr. Seiple married Miss Louisa Cressman, also of Bucks county. The couple had three children: Hannah, E. Monroe and Samuel Clinton, the subject of this sketch.
Dr. Samuel C. Seiple was born in New Britain township, Bucks county, Pennsylvania, April 10, 1842.
He was educated in the public schools of the township, and also took a course in the normal and classical school of Rev. A. R. Horne, at Quakertown, in Bucks county. He then engaged in the occupation of teaching, which he followed for five years. He entered, in the autumn of 1865, the Medical Department of the University of Pennsylvania, graduating from that institution in 1867 with honors. In the autumn of 1867 he located at Centre Square, in Whitpain township, opening an office there, and has practiced very successfully ever since, his patrons residing in adjoining townships as well as in the village and its vicinity. He has the reputation of a safe, careful, practical and thoroughly alert medical man. In the course of his practice extending over nearly forty years, he has had wide experience, and has given eminent satisfaction to his patrons. It may be said of Dr. Seiple that he as a man and a physician enjoys to the fullest possible extent the confidence of the people with whom he comes in contact. He is not only an excellent physician but a wise counselor in matters of business, and a progressive member of the community, always interested in whatever promises to benefit those around him. He is now looking forward to retiring from active labor in his profession and leaving his practice entirely to his son. He has built up an extensive and lucrative practice which Dr. J. Howard Seiple, from long association with his father, is perfectly capable of holding and increasing if need be.
Dr. S. C. Seiple married, in 1867, Miss Mary A. Haenge, daughter of ex-County Commissioner Tobias G. Haenge, of Hatfield township, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania.
Their children are: Dr. J. Howard Seiple, who married, in 1892, Miss Mattie Magee; Mary Algemine, wife of Dr. George F. Sieberling, a well known physician of Allentown, Pennsylvania; Lillian M., who died at the age of twenty-one years; Blanche, who died in infancy; Margie Alma, residing with her parents, who is a graduate of the high school of Whitpain township, and attended Maryland College, near Baltimore.
Dr. S. C. Seiple, like his forefathers, is an ardent Democrat in politics. He is a member of the Medical Society of Pennsylvania, of the Montgomery County Medical Society, and of the American Medical Society. He is also a member of the Alumni Society of the University of Pennsylvania. He stands deservedly high among the members of the medical profession everywhere, and is regarded by his professional brethren as one of their most progressive members.
His qualifications as a financier led to his selection a number of years ago as a member of the board of directors of the Montgomery National Bank of Norristown, and in addition to his extensive medical practice he has transacted much business in the way of settling estates. He and his family are Lutherans in religious faith, and they attend St. John's Evangelical church, near Belfry station, on the Stony Creek Railroad. He is a member of Charity Lodge, No. 190, Free and Accepted Masons, of Norristown.
Dr. Seiple is also a member of Norristown Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, of Norristown, and of Hutchinson Commandery, No. 32, Knights Templar, of that borough. He is a member of Quakertown Council, Junior Order of American Mechanics, and of Centre Square Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows. In 1863, when the state was menaced by the army of General Lee, he enlisted in the One Hundred and Thirty-eighth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, and served three months during the emergency. He is in every sense of the word a selfmade man, his parents dying when he was but a mere child, fifteen years of age, and he being obliged to depend almost entirely on his own resources. He was left to make his own way in the world as best he could. After completing his studies in order to become a physician, he found himself about a thousand dollars in debt, but he had his profession to depend upon, and he has been all his life an excellent financier, his thrift and enterprise securing him an independent and influential position in the community.
Dr. J. Howard Seiple is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, of the class of 1891. He located after his graduation at Conshohocken for a short time, and then at Pleasantville, in Bucks county, remaining there until the spring of 1894, when he formed an equal partnership with his father at Centre Square, and has ever since been engaged in practice very successfully at that place.
He is a member of the Montgomery County Medical Society and of the Pennsylvania Medical Society. He is a Democrat also in politics, and is a member of the school board of Whitpain township. Dr. J. Howard and Mrs. Mattie Seiple have two children: Howell Lockhart and Frances Margaret.
HENRY A. SCHWEYER, of the firm of Schweyer & Liess, marble dealers at King-of-Prussia, was born at Bower's Station, Berks county, Pennsylvania, February 6, 1865. He is the son of Daniel H. and Katherine (Landis) Schweyer.
Daniel H. Schweyer (father) was born in Berks county and spent all the active years of his life at Bowers Station, where he is still engaged in the wholesale marble and lumber business. He is an active Democrat, has served three terms as justice of the peace and one term as prothonotary of Berks county, and also has been a delegate to state and county conventions. He is a member of DeLong's Lutheran church and has held every office in the church. He is president of the Laurel Hill Lumber Company. He is a member of DeMolay Commandery, No. 9, K. T., of Reading, Berks county.
In 1862 Daniel H. Schweyer married Katherine Landis, daughter of Samuel Landis of Berks county. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel H. Schweyer had the following children: Henry A.; Harvey L., who was born March 13, 1867, and died March, 1892; Norah L., who was born 1869, and resides with her parents; Katie L., who was born in 1871, and resides with her parents; and Solon L., who was born in 1874, and died in 1901.
John Schweyer (grandfather) was born in Berks county in 1802. During the first years of his life he was a farmer and a teamster and resided at Maxatawney from 1802 to 1896. In politics he was a Democrat and was an influential man in his community. He was a deacon in the Lutheran church for many years. He died in: Maxatawney township in 1896. He was twice married, and by his first wife, Mrs. (Helfrich) Schweyer, he had seven children, as follows James, Henry, Jacob, Allen, Alfred, Daniel H. and Francis.
Henry A. Schweyer was reared at Bowers Station and attended the public schools and the Kutztown State Normal School until he was seventeen years of age. He then entered his father's marble works at Bowers Station, where he remained three years, from 1882 to 1885. After leaving Bowers Station he became a member of the firm of Schweyer & Liess.
The firm have opened two new quarries, bought of John Derr in 1882, and called the Reeseville marble quarries. They put in railroad siding, built a new mill with all the latest improvements, also a. finishing shop equipped with planers, lathes, rubbing machines, pneumatic tools, overhead travelers and quadrupled its capacity. The firm ships marble to nearly every state in the Union and also to Canada and Nova Scotia for monumental purposes. They have also furnished the marble for thousands of small houses within a radius of fifty miles and have supplied the marble for the erection of many large buildings.
Among the buildings constructed of Pennsylvania blue marble are Montgomery county courthouse, Norristown, built in 1854. Addition to Montgomery county courthouse, Norristown, built in 1902; United States courthouse, post-office, Williamsport; United States post-office, Reading; Bomberger Memorial Hall, Collegeville; Chester high school, Chester; Girl's high school, Reading; Central grammar school, Chester; Bryn Mawr high-school, Bryn Mawr; St. Patrick's parochial school, Norristown; State Asylum for Chronic Insane, Wernersville; John A. Crozer's Home for Incurables, Upland; Allentown Hospital, Allentown; St. Mark's Reformed church, Lebanon; Calvary Baptist church, Norristown; St. Paul's Reformed church, Sellersville; Grace United Evangelical church, Reading; and German Reformed church, Pennsburg.
In politics Mr. Schweyer is a Democrat and both he and his family are Lutherans.
In 1885 Henry A. Schweyer married Miss Maria, daughter of Daniel Y. and Eliza (Biernig) Bittenbender. The Bittenbenders are an old family of Herford township, Berks county, Pennsylvania, where they were among the first settlers. They were always active members of the Lutheran church.
The Biernigs were an old family of Upper Macungie township, Lehigh county, Pennsylvania, and have representatives of the family in that section of the state. They were also Lutherans. Daniel Y. Bittenbender and wife had the following children: Annie, who married William Koch and has children: Estella, Herbert (deceased), Freddie, Oscar, Howard, Helen and Clarence; Laura, who married Austin Weiler; Maria, who married Henry A. Schweyer; Eliza, deceased; Victoria, deceased, who married William Hensinger and had one child, Nevin; Oscar, who married Ada Butz and has one child, Lillian.
Mr. and Mrs. Henry A. Schweyer have three children, as follows: Daniel Herbert, born May 15, 1886; John Leroy, born December 18, 1889; and Katharine M., born January 8, 1895.
Katherine Landis, Henry A. Schweyer's mother, was a member of a family who settled in District township, Berks county, at an early day and have always been prominent in church and township as well as county matters. Many of the family still reside in that locality. They are members of the Reformed church.
Henry A. Schweyer is a member of Fritz Lodge, No. 420, A. F. & A. M., of Conshohocken; also Royal Arch Chapter, No. 190, and Hutchinson Commandery, No. 32, both of Norristown; and the Elks Lodge of Norristown. He is a member of the Trinity Lutheran church on DeKalb street, Norristown.
MRS. MATILDA B. ESPENSHIP is a descendant of a family long resident in Montgomery county. She was born November 29, 1839.
James K. Espenship, her husband, was born at Trappe, March 4, 1840, and was accustomed to farm pursuits in his youth. He was educated in the public schools in the neighborhood and in Freeland Seminary.
He was the son of John and Sarah (Koons) Espenship. The father of John Espenship was Henry, also of that vicinity. Henry's father came from Germany and settled in Bucks county, where his son Henry was born, and when married located in Montgomery county.
Henry Espenship was a prominent farmer of his day. He was a member of the Reformed church. His children were: Abraham; John; Henry; Mary, who died unmarried; Catharine, Mrs. Cole; and Jacob, who died at Trappe.
John Espenship (father) grew to manhood on the farm, remaining on the homestead until his marriage and then settling on a farm in Perkiomen township. He later retired to Norristown, where he died. He was a good business man and attended to conveyancing, writing wills, settling estates and transacting other business. He was a Democrat in politics but never sought or held office. His children were: James K. (husband); Maria, wife of James Schlichter; Abraham; John; and Sarah, unmarried. All were reared in the Reformed church.
James K. Espenship assisted on the homestead until 1863, when he enlisted in a nine months' regiment, becoming a member of Company I, One Hundred and Twenty-ninth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers. He served his full time with the Army of the Potomac, and returning to Harrisburg, was mustered out and honorably discharged. He returned to Montgomery county, was married in 1864, engaged in farming, which he continued near Evansburg until 1875, when he removed to Norristown and went to work at the carpenter's trade, which he yet continues.
He was formerly a Democrat, but later became a Republican, never aspiring to office. He resides on Airy street and is a member of the Reformed church.
He married Miss Matilda Boyer, born at Evansburg, the daughter of Ephraim D. and Rebecca (Kline) Boyer.
Ephraim Boyer (father) was born in Limerick township, being the son of Henry and Elizabeth (Doll) Boyer. His father was Jacob Boyer, of Chester county. The family of Boyers are of French Huguenot descent, as are also the Doll family. The ancestors of both settled in Pennsylvania in colonial days and for many generations the Boyers were blacksmiths.
Henry Boyer (grandfather) followed the family occupation of blacksmithing during his active days, and later in life went to Mont Clare, where he made his home with one of his children and died there.
Christian Doll (grandfather of Mrs. Henry Boyer) served in the Revolutionary war and was killed at the battle of Germantown. Mrs. Henry Boyer's father was a gentleman farmer, taking much pride in keeping his farm in the best possible condition, having one of the neatest and most ornamental farms in the county. He was located near Mont Clare, where he owned his farm and cultivated it on scientific principles. He was affiliated with the Lutheran church.
His children were: Mary, Margaret, and Catharine, unmarried; Elizabeth (Mrs. Henry Boyer); Sarah (Mrs. E. Coates); Hannah, wife of Rev. John Davis, a Presbyterian minister; Theresa (Mrs. Samuel Custer); and Charles, engaged in the stationery and paper business in Philadelphia.
The children of Henry Boyer are: Manasses, a blacksmith; Charles; and Ephraim D., father of Mrs. Espenship:
Ephraim D. Boyer was born and reared in Montgomery county, being a descendant of two prominent early families, Boyer and Doll, both of French extraction. He was reared to farm pursuits, but kept in line with the old tradition of the family and chose the trade of blacksmithing. After his marriage he located permanently at Evansburg, where he was the village blacksmith many years.
He married Miss Rebecca Kline, also of an old family in this section of Pennsylvania. She was the daughter of Gabriel Kline, who married a Miss Krull. In addition to being a farmer, Gabriel Kline was a well known innkeeper at Trappe, his hotel being the resort for many years of persons in all stations of life.
It was the most popular stopping place between Philadelphia and Reading. He entertained many people of prominence in his day. His children were Sarah (Mrs. Jacob Espenship); Sophia, died unmarried; Henry, a bachelor; Kitty (Mrs. Longstreth); and Rebecca (mother of Mrs. Espenship).
The children of Ephraim D. and Rebecca Boyer are: Matilda (Mrs. J. K. Espenship); and Henry K., prominent in Pennsylvania politics.
Mr. and Mrs. James K. Espenship had three children: Rebecca Grace, unmarried, received a liberal education, and has occupied a position at Harrisburg for fourteen years; Henry Stanley holds a position in the United States mint at Philadelphia; and Clarence B. is also in the mint. Both sons were soldiers in the Spanish-American war. The former was a volunteer private of Company M, Second United States Cavalry and served six months, while Clarence was in Company D, Sixth Pennsylvania Infantry.
Mrs. Espenship is a member of the Episcopal church.
(Picture of John McKinlay)
JOHN McKINLAY, one of the best known residents of Lansdale, is a native of Venango county, Pennsylvania, where he was born February 14, 1848. He is the son of John and Margaret (Smith) McKinlay.
John McKinlay, subject of this sketch, was educated in public and private schools in that county. The family removed to Philadelphia, where he took private lessons. About 1868 the family settled near Line Lexington, where Mr. McKinlay purchased a small farm, remaining there until 1886, when he removed to Lansdale, where he erected one of the prettiest and most substantial homes in that borough.
(Picture of John McKinlay residence.)
He has engaged in the raising of mushrooms, and has provided very extensive facilities for that purpose, and is prosecuting the business very successfully. He raises from one thousand to two thousand pounds a year, and finds a ready market for them in Philadelphia, New York and Boston.
(Picture of Emma Retta Vanluvanee.)
Mr. McKinlay married, in 1894, Miss Emma Retta Vanluvanee, daughter of Richard Vanluvanee, of Bucks county, Pennsylvania. They have had no children.
Mr. McKinlay and his wife are very fond of traveling. They have toured the United States, and are very familiar with their own country. They have also traveled considerably abroad, and have recently returned from a tour to Egypt and other countries of the far east. Mr. McKinlay is very fond of reading and is a well informed man on all subjects. In politics he is a Prohibitionist, and he has been placed on the party ticket for congress and other positions Mr. McKinlay is highly respected by all who know him.
(Picture of John McKinlay, father)
The McKinlays are of Scotch origin. John McKinlay, father, was born in Scotland and was educated there. On arriving at manhood he decided to emigrate to the United States. He married, in Scotland, Miss Margaret Smith, and soon afterwards emigrated to this country, locating on his arrival in Venango county, Pennsylvania. He was an active and progressive business man, and accumulated a considerable fortune. The couple had two children born in Scotland, Alexander and William, besides John, who was born in Pennsylvania.
FRANCIS B. UPDEGROVE, the well-known grocer who is engaged in business at Second and Johnson streets, Pottstown, was born in Berks county, December 12, 1848. He is the son of William and Elizabeth (Bower) Updegrove, both of them natives of Berks county. They had nine children, all now living, as follows: Mary E., wife of Jacob Bickhart, of near Sanatoga; Francis B.; Harrison B., of Salford Station; William B., a resident of Oklahoma; Jacob, living at Avery, Kansas; Susan E., wife of Aaron Mutter, of Frederick; Thomas F.; of Anadarko, Oklahoma; Annie, of New Hanover township, and Ulysses G., of Huntsville, Kansas.
William Updegrove (father) was a shoemaker by trade, but afterward a farmer in Montgomery county, owning a farm in Frederick township. He removed from the farm six years before his death, locating some distance above Brendlinger's store, where he died, February 20, 1899, aged seventy-six years. His wife survives him and is in her eighty-second year. Both the parents were members of the Lutheran denomination. He was a Democrat prior to Abraham Lincoln's election as president of the United States but subsequent to that time he invariably voted the Republican ticket and supported the principles of that party.
Jacob Updegrove (grandfather) was born in Berks county. He was also a shoemaker by trade and followed that occupation until his death, although he owned a small piece of land which he tilled himself. His wife was Elizabeth (Schaeffer) Updegrove. He was upwards of eighty-years old at the time of his death, as was also his wife. They had ten children.
Jacob Bower (maternal grandfather) was a native of Berks county. He was a blacksmith by trade and later a farmer. His wife was Susan Happel. He died in his eighty-fifth year on the farm in Frederick township, on which he lived with his son-in-law, William Updegrove. The couple had eight children who grew to maturity.
Francis B. Updegrove spent the first eighteen years of his life in Berks county, where he began shoemaking when a boy and worked at that occupation until of age, when he turned his attention to farming, which occupation he pursued to the age of thirty-five years, and then engaged in the grocery business in Pottstown, which he has continued at the same stand since 1884. He owns his place of business, adjacent to which is his handsome residence. Mr. Updegrove received a public-school education and followed the occupation of teaching one winter, having charge of a school in New Hanover township.
On December 26, 1876, Mr. Updegrove married Miss Lydia Gilbert. Her mother was Sarah (Romie) Gilbert. Mr. and Mrs. Updegrove's children are: Sarah, William and Edna. Sarah married Sidney R. Kepner, of Pottstown. William is a clerk in his father's store. Both William and his sister Edna are attending the high school.
Mr. and Mrs. Updegrove are members of the Emanuel Lutheran church. Politically Mr. Updegrove is a Republican.
HENRY FRORER was born in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, near Soudersburg, August 12, 1830. His father, Christian Frorer, was born in Wurtemberg, Germany, and there learned and followed the tanner's trade. He married Miss Dorothy Schiel and about 1830 they came to America, settling in Philadelphia, whence they afterward removed to Lancaster county. They had a family of nine children. The father died about 1840 and the mother in 1853.
Henry Frorer attended the common schools, but received only limited educational privileges, and it was necessary for him to earn his own living at an early age. He had always been a reader, however, and ever kept well informed on the leading topics of the time. When he was fourteen years of age, his mother, who was then a widow, removed to Philadelphia where Henry served an apprenticeship with the building firm of Lanning & Sill. After learning his trade he followed it in Philadelphia until 1891.
In 1861 he became a builder and a contractor, continuing so until he abandoned active life. He remained in Philadelphia until 1891 and then located near Bryn Mawr where he built many fine houses.
The summer home of George W. Childs, called Wooton, which became famous as a gathering place for famous men, Pembroke Hall at Bryn Mawr College, the Bryn Mawr Hospital, the summer homes of Lincoln Godfry, Charles Stewart, and many others, were his handiwork.
In 1895 Henry Frorer built St. Thomas' Episcopal church, near the Dupont Circle, in Washington, D. C.
In 1895 Mr. Frorer bought the Maple Croft farm near King-of-Prussia, consisting of one hundred and six acres of land, a handsome house, grounds, and buildings. On this farm he spent the remainder of his life, surrounded by every comfort. In every sense of the word Mr. Frorer was a self-made man, as he started in life with only his hands and the energy which was inherited from his German ancestors.
In politics he was independent and voted for the man or party that he thought would do the most for the country. He belonged to the Masonic fraternity, Montgomery Lodge of Philadelphia.
September 29, 1862, Henry Frorer married Miss Catharine, daughter of Thomas and Ann (Clark) Charlton, who were natives of Ireland, but were married in Philadelphia. Mrs. Frorer was born in Philadelphia, December 26, 1836. Their children: Robert C., who was born April 28, 1864, and died December 7, 1902, married Miss Sarah Neuman and had two children, Henry R. and Elizabeth N. Henry, Jr., who was born August 7, 1867, and died May 6, 1899, married Miss Susan Lynch and had two children, James R. and Catharine C. Thomas, born October 13, 1871, died March 17, 1876. Mr. Frorer died July 26. 1904.
JESSE B. REIGNER, a farmer residing at No. 358 Charlotte street, Pottstown, was born in Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, October 15, 1834. He is the son of Jacob and Susanna (Bickel) Reigner.
Jacob Reigner (father) was born either in Philadelphia or in Montgomery county, and followed the trade of blacksmithing for many years, tilling the soil for the last few years of his life. He owned a farm in New Hanover township and also one in Pottsgrove and Limerick townships. He was supervisor for about twelve terms. For a short time before his death he lived retired on a farm in New Hanover township, dying at the age of seventy-three years. His wife survived him. He was a lieutenant in the State Militia. Mr. and Mrs. Reigner belonged to the Reformed and Lutheran churches respectively, and he was a deacon, later a trustee and finally an elder in his church. Mr. and Mrs. Reigner had nine children, six sons and three daughters; William, deceased; Sophia, who married Frederick Missimer and both are deceased; Caroline, widow of Harry Specht; John; Jesse B.; Aaron B. of Pottstown; Mary, wife of Benjamin Fryer, of New Hanover township; and Henry and Jacob B., of Pottstown. John Reigner (grandfather) was a native of Pennsylvania and lived in Philadelphia for some time. He died while still a young man, in 1808. His wife married again and died in Philadelphia. He had two children. His father, the founder of the family in this country, emigrated from Germany.
The maternal grandfather of Jesse B. Reigner was a farmer in Pennsylvania. He had a large family and lived to an old age.
Jesse B. Reigner was reared on his father's farms in Pottsgrove, New Hanover and Limerick townships and attended the old-fashioned subscription schools. After reaching manhood he worked by the day for one year and then rented a farm for two years, in Pottsgrove township. He next purchased a farm of eighty-two acres in Chester county, four and a half miles south of Pottstown, and lived there twenty-nine years. At the end of that time he removed to Pottstown, but still owns the homestead where he resided for so long a time. He had been engaged in Pottstown for a number of years before he left the farm, selling agricultural implements, flour and feed. He has resided in Pottstown for about sixteen years.
On September 20, 1857, Mr. Reigner married Angeline G., daughter of George and Lydia (Gilbert) Bickel. They have four children, Horace, Mary Jane, Ida Kate and Anna Emma. Horace married Sarah Catharine Roberts, they having two children, Lewis Robert and Jesse Harold. Mary Jane married George Haws, they having three daughters, Annie Blanche, Laura and Lillian May. Ida Kate married Jonas A. Kulp, they having three sons, Irvin, Ernest Ray and George. Anna Emma married Milton E. Dewalt, they having seven children, Elsie Lillian, Annie Mabel, Ida, Harry, Jennie, Howard and Bessie.
Mr. and Mrs. Reigner are members of Trinity Reformed church, of Pottstown, he having been one of its deacons for a period of nearly twenty-five years. Politically Mr. Reigner is a Democrat. He was a school director for a number of years and has been treasurer and collector, as well as township auditor, for some years. He was treasurer of the Creamery Association for sixteen years.
Mrs. Reigner's parents were natives of Pottsgrove township and died on their home farm, the father at upwards of seventy years of age, his wife at sixty-eight. They had six children, of whom four are now living, as follows: Angeline G., wife of Jesse B. Reigner; George C.; Augustus H.; and Amelia, wife of Nathan Barlow. Her father was a farmer, and after he retired was supervisor for a short time. Lewis Bickel (grand-father) married Susanna Reigner. Mrs. Reigner's maternal grandfather was John Gilbert. He died in Pottsgrove township at an advanced age. His wife was a Miss Shick.
HOWARD W. GEIST, of the firm of Geist & March, dealers in tin roofing and house furnishings, No. 453 High street, Pottstown, was born in Pottstown, September 12, 1862, and is the son of William and Sarah (Slonaker) Geist. William Geist (father) was born in Montgomery county. He lived in Upper Pottsgrove township, where he was a farmer. In 1880, putting aside the work of the farm, he removed to Pottstown and lived retired until his death. He died in 1895, aged sixty years. His widow still survives. They were members of the Trinity Reformed church. In politics he was a Democrat, and served in the town council one term. Mr. Geist owned a great deal of property in Pottstown, his money being for the most part invested in town lots. William and Sarah (Slonaker) Geist had three children, one son and two daughters: Howard W.; Elizabeth, wife of Howard S. Reifsnyder; and Emma S., wife of Josiah H. Erb.
Matthias Geist (grandfather) was also a native of Montgomery county and was of German descent. He learned the black-smith trade, but devoted the greater part of his life to fanning. He was the owner of a large tract of land in the northern part of what is now the borough of Pottstown, known as Mintzer's addition. He married Frederica Stetler and they had three children, two sons and one daughter. He died at the age of seventy-eight years.
Frederick Slonaker (maternal grandfather), a native of Montgomery county, lived for many years on his farm in Upper Pottsgrove township, at the same time carrying on his business of a carpenter and builder in Pottstown. He is now living in Pottstown, which has been his home for the last twenty years, he being now eighty-seven years of age. He married Elizabeth Yolin, who died several years ago, at the age of eighty years. They had a large family. Mr. Slonaker was a school director, serving very acceptably for a number of years. His father was Daniel Slonaker, the family being of German origin.
Howard W. Geist has lived in the borough of Pottstown all his life with the exception of a few years spent in the country when he was very young. He attended the Pottstown public schools, the Hill school and the Franklin and Marshall College, at Lancaster.
After coming of age Mr. Geist was employed as a clerk in the shoe store of A. K. Edelman for one year, and with J. W. Evans, tobacconist, two years. He was next employed as a traveling salesman for Eshbach & Kolb, cigar manufacturers, for a year and a half, when he entered the service of Slonaker & Son as a clerk, the firm being changed to F. Y. Slonaker soon after his connection with it. He continued in this position until Mr. Slonaker sold out to O. W. Wentzel in 1895, in which year Mr. Geist formed a partnership with D. K. March, which still continues, the firm name being Geist & March.
On November 28, 1894, Howard W. Geist married Miss Addie L. Wolf, daughter of Andrew and Annie (Missimer) Wolf. They had three children, as follows: Robert and Paul, both of whom died in infancy, and Louis.
Mr. and Mrs. Geist are members of the Trinity Reformed congregation and he is a deacon. Mr. Giest belongs to the following secret orders: Stichter Lodge, No. 254, Free and Accepted Masons; Manatawny Lodge of Odd Fellows, No. 214; the Foresters of America and the Royal Arcanum. Politically he is a Democrat and is president of the Pottstown school board, to which responsible position he was elected in 1902. He resides at 240 Beech street, and owns five properties in Pottstown, besides some wood land in Schuylkill county.
Mrs. Geist's father, Andrew Wolf, was born in Germany, but her mother was born in Montgomery county, Pennsylvania. Mr. Wolf came to America when six years old, and settled immediately in Montgomery county, where he died in 1895, at the age of sixty years. His wife is still living in Pottstown. They had ten children, four sons and six daughters.
Peter Wolf, grandfather of Mrs. Geist, died at Royersford, Montgomery county, at an advanced age. His wife was Dorothy Wolf.
The maternal grandfather of Mrs. Geist was Joshua Missimer. He was born in Montgomery county. He married Deborah Frederick and they had four children, three daughters and one son. He was a school teacher and a farmer.
(Picture of Harvey Souder)
HARVEY SOUDER, the well known cigar box maker, of Souderton, is a son of James Souder, now deceased, of Franconia township, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania. He was born on the homestead, May 19, 1863.
His opportunities for education were somewhat limited, but he gained what knowledge he could at the public schools of the vicinity prior to reaching his seventeenth year, when he entered his father's planing mill at Souderton to learn the business. It was while he was thus engaged that he developed the idea that has placed him on the top round of the ladder of success.
He conceived the idea of the making of cigar boxes to supply the cigar factories that have sprung up at all the towns along the North Pennsylvania Railroad within the last few years. At, first he made them in the evenings at home, in small quantities. He then decided to make a start with machinery adapted to the purpose, which he established in a room ten by twelve feet. There he started with fifty dollars capital and endeavored with his different appliances to manufacture a hundred cigar boxes a day.
From the beginning of the enterprise Mr. Souder met with success, and his manner of manufacturing them so pleased his customers that they sent in orders
for larger and larger quantities until he was overwhelmed by the rapidity with which his business expanded, and he was compelled to again and again increase his facilities. He erected a factory especially for the purpose of malting the boxes, and put in new machinery better adapted than ever to their manufacture, using a two-horse power engine to operate it. Mrs. Souder, who was engaged in the tailoring business, conceived the idea of making use of the surplus power in her business, and continued increasing her plant until she had seven sewing machines in operation, and employed eight and ten assistants in her business.
The cigar box manufacture had increased by this time to such proportions that a new establishment was erected, twenty by thirty feet in dimensions, and new machinery purchased, so that the work could go on with greater rapidity than ever, and a renewed effort could he made to supply the enormous demand for the boxes. Later another addition was made to the building, and another story placed upon it. At the present time Mr. Souder is turning out seven thousand boxes a day, and his business is constantly on the increase. He employs over eighty hands, and is unable to supply the demand.
Mr. Souder married, in 1884, Miss Elizabeth Blank, of Telford, daughter of William Blank. The couple have one child Walter. He is assisting his father at the mill. Mr. Souder is a self made man, and enjoys the respect and esteem of all who know him. He has prospered exceedingly, and owns several fine properties besides the handsome house in which he resides.
In politics he is an active Republican. Fraternally he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He is treasurer of the Progressive Realty Company of Souderton, an organization formed to benefit the town and its interests. He and his family attend the Lutheran church.
ELLIS MILLS, a dealer in dry goods, millinery, notions, etc., at 223-7 High street, Pottstown, was born in Lancashire, England, March 20, 1846. He is the son of William Mills (father) was a cotton broker, buying and selling cotton in England.
In 1869 he emigrated to America, and settled in Manayunk, where he died in 1872, aged fifty-three years. His wife died in England in 1848. In religious faith they were members of the established Church of England. They were both born in England. They had three children, two of whom are now living: Sarah Ann, wife of Mr. Walker, of Lancashire, England; and Ellis.
John Mills (grandfather) died in England in his eighty-ninth year, leaving a small family. The maternal grandfather of Ellis Mills also died in England.
Ellis Mills was educated in England. He came to America in company with his father when he was twenty-three years of age and has established a reputation for high character and excellent business qualifications of which any man might be proud.
Soon after his arrival in America, on August 28, 1873, Ellis Mills married Miss Alice Stanney, daughter of Abner and Ellen Stanney. They have four children, as follows: Ellen Stanney Mills, a teacher; William and Charles Adams Mills, who are associated with their father in his business; and Edna Lees Mills, a graduate of Rogers Hall School, Lowell, Massachusetts. Mr. and Mrs. Mills are members of the Episcopal church of Pottstown and he is a vestryman.
Mr. Mills belongs to Manatawny Lodge, No. 304, I. O. O. F., the Royal Arcanum and other Organizations. He has been a member of the I.O O. F. over thirty years and of the Arcanum for twenty years. In politics he is a prominent member of the Republican party and has been a school director for three years. His residence is at 128 King street.
Mr. Mills settled in Pottstown in 1873 and established the business which has become the largest dry-goods store in Pottstown. He employs from thirty to forty persons, and his store is one of the best appointed in Montgomery county in the line of dry-goods, millinery and notions. He is doing a wholesale and retail business, extending over a radius of from ten to fifteen miles to the country stores. He has built up the business from a small beginning, and his store would to-day be a credit to any city.
Mr. Mills is a self-made man and owes his success entirely to his indefatigable energy, progressive spirit and good management. He is highly regarded as a citizen of Pottstown.
JOHN H. JARRETT was born in Horsham township, June 21, 1858. He has resided in Norristown since 1889, and is one of the most successful liverymen in the state.
The Jarretts are an old family in Horsham township, their first ancestor having come from the highlands of Scotland and settled in Pennsylvania at an early date.
Jonathan Jarrett (grandfather) was born on the homestead in Horsham township. He married Agnes Roberts, daughter of Joseph Roberts, and resided on the place of his birth all his life, being the owner of the farm. He was a prominent member of the Society of Friends. In politics he was a Whig and later a Republican. His children were Roberts and Tacy.
Roberts Jarrett was born on the homestead farm near the place of his father's nativity. He grew to manhood there, acquiring an education at the public schools of the neighborhood, and attending for one winter the school of Rev. Samuel Aaron, at Norristown. He married Tacy H., daughter of John and Rachel (Evans) Molt. She was born in P1ymouth township, near Norristown, July 2, 1828. She also belongs to a Montgomery county family of Friends, being a member of Gwynedd Monthly Meeting. Their children are John H., born June 24, 1858, and J. Roberts, born June 27, 1861. Roberts Jarrett was born in 1832 and died in October, 1860.
John Jarrett (great-grandfather of the subject) was also a prominent resident of Horsham township. He owned a large tract of land forming the Jarrett homestead. It is divided into two farms, one owned by Charles Jarrett and the other by Mrs. Tacy J. Ambler. John Jarrett married Elizabeth Lukens. His children were Jonathan (grandfather); Ann, who married Chalkley Kenderdine; Jane, who died young; Mary, who married Charles I. Dagen; Hannah, unmarried; Tacy, who married Richard Moore; and Miller J., unmarried.
Tacy, widow of Roberts Jarrett, married (second husband) Benjamin Borden, a well-known Friend of Norristown. They resided until his death on Willow street above Elm, Norristown. The past few years Tacy Borden has resided at the Friends home, Swede and Powell streets, and although advanced in years and suffering from impaired vision, her genial disposition and kindness of heart have made her hosts of friends.
John H. Jarrett grew to manhood on the family homestead in Horsham township, attending Friends School at Horsham and other neighboring schools. He also attended, for one term, a school at Wilmington, Delaware, of which Jonathan H. Taylor was principal. Later he studied one term at the Nest Chester State Normal School. After his marriage he conducted a store at Davis Grove, in Horsham township, for eight years, being postmaster during that time. In the spring of 1889 he sold his store and removed to Norristown. Soon afterward the livery stable which he now occupies on Jacoby street, near DeKalb, was sold at sheriffs sale and was purchased by J. P. Hale Jenkins. John H. Jarrett soon bought it of Mr. Jenkins. The stables were small and badly arranged at that time. The previous owner had allowed the business to run down, and Mr. Jarrett started in a small way with only eight horses. He increased his facilities from time to time until his establishment is among the most extensive in the county. He has fifty teams and his tally-ho is a familiar sight in the streets of Norristown, its owner seldom allowing any one but himself to drive it. He also owns another fine livery establishment at Chain and Marshall streets, where a large number of horses and vehicles are kept, he having bought it July 8, 1902, and operated it since, with Edwin Conrad as manager.
In politics Mr. Jarrett is a Republican. He has been occasionally a delegate to county conventions, but is ordinarily too busy to give much attention to such matters. He is a member of the Masonic order, and of Norris Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He is also a member of Lynwood Lodge, Ancient Order of United Workmen.
Mr. Jarrett married, February 13, 1881, Mary, daughter of Benjamin L. and Isabel (White) Lightfoot. Their children are: Benjamin L., who was born May 24, 1883, and died in infancy; and William L., born May 20, 1885.
The Lightfoots are an old family in eastern Pennsylvania. Benjamin H. Lightfoot (father of Mrs. Jarret) was born in Maidencreek township, Berks county, April 4, 1830. His father was Benjamin W., who resided in Berks county until his death. The family is of English origin, their ancestor having come to America in William Penn's time. The Lightfoots have intermarried with many of the prominent families of Friends in Montgomery and adjacent counties.
Benjamin W. (grandfather of Mrs. Jarrett) married Rachel Lee, of Exeter, Berks county, where the Lees, were an old family. Rachel (Lee) Lightfoot was a granddaughter of Thomas Pim, who came to America with his father and settled in Chester county about 1730. He had a large family of children, one daughter, Rachel, becoming the wife of Nathan Spencer, of Germantown. Hannah married Dr. Miller, of Downingtown, whose descendants reside near Erie, Pennsylvania. Ann married John Edge. Sarah married Amos Lee, whose youngest daughter, Rachel, was the mother of Benjamin W. Lightfoot.
Benjamin W. and Rachel Lightfoot had the following children: Amos (deceased), who married Miss Bland; Sarah (deceased), who married David Hilles; Hannah (deceased), who married Jacob Thomas; Susan (deceased); Anna, who is the widow of Ellwood Thomas and resides on Jacoby street, Norristown; Ellen, unmarried; and Benjamin H., father of Mrs. Jarrett.
Benjamin H. Lightfoot was born in 1840 and removed with his mother and the family to Upper Dublin township, Montgomery county, near Jarrettown, where he grew to manhood. On starting in life he farmed for a time, and then removed to Norristown, where he was engaged in the grocery business at the corner of Willow and Elm streets for thirty years. He is a Republican in politics but never sought or held office, except that he served for six years in the town council of Norristown. He retired from the grocery business a few years ago, since which time he has assisted his son-in-law, John H. Jarrett, in the livery business.
JAMES S. CAMERON. Among those employed in the service of the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company, residing in Bridgeport, and are thus engaged in transporting the products of our country from point to point, James S. Cameron stands deservedly high. He was born in Port Richmond, Philadelphia county, October 18, 1864, and is therefore a comparatively young man.
In 1868 his father removed to King-of-Prussia, where James attended the public schools of the vicinity until he was thirteen years of age. He then obtained employment with Howard J. Matthias, on his farm at King-of-Prussia, remaining there several years.
He next engaged with Daniel O. Hitner at his marble quarry at Hendersons Station, remaining in that employ four years, working at whatever was to be done.
In 1886 Mr. Cameron became a brakeman on the Pennsylvania & Schuylkill Valley Railroad, holding that position one year and ten months, after which he went to Bridgeport, and in October, 1888, engaged in the occupation of brakeman on the Reading Railway, being the first man employed by Agent John H. Gehret when he assumed the position he now holds and which he has ably filled for many years.
After two years Mr. Cameron was promoted to conductor on shifting work in Bridgeport, remaining in this capacity six years, during which time he was associated with Harman Custer as engineer on the same train. His promotion to fireman followed in 1896, and he continued as such until 1899, when he was given an engine in the Bridgeport yard, holding it ever since.
Mr. Cameron has been a member several years of the Bridgeport Presbyterian church, of which his wife is also a member. He is a Republican in politics but has time only to vote.
Richard Cameron (father) was born near Burngranna, County Donegal, Ireland, in May, 1838. When he was fifteen years of age he left his native land and the home in which his ancestors had lived for several generations and went to Scotland, where he resided three years, learning and working at the painters trade.
In 1856 he took passage on a sailing vessel and came to America, landing in New York, and at once carne to Montgomery county, Pennsylvania.
John Cameron (grandfather) and his wife and daughter came to New York at the same time as Richard Cameron, and joined sons and daughters who had previously come to this state, the men finding employment in the Henderson marble quarries in Upper Merion township. The son Richard also obtained work in the quarry, and has followed this business ever since, competing successfully with many younger men. He has been a Presbyterian nearly all his life and now belongs to the Bridgeport church of that denomination. In politics Richard Cameron, like most Protestant Irishmen, is a Republican.
In November, 1862, Richard Cameron married Miss Christine, daughter of James and Mary (McDonald) Smith. Mrs. Cameron was born in Burnfoot, County Donegal, Ireland, and came alone to the United States at the age of eighteen years, reaching Philadelphia after a voyage of six weeks and three days. Several years afterward her parents and the J other children followed her, going to Philadelphia and making Montgomery county their home.
The children of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Cameron are as follows: Joseph (deceased) was born September 18, 1863. James S., is the subject of this sketch. John (deceased) was born June 26, 1866. Jane, born February 8, 1868, married David McCleery.
Their children are Christiana S., Mary M. and twins, Russel and Pauline. Richard, born January 27, 1870, married Annie Kirkpatrick and they have two children, John K. and Helen. Catharine married William J. Kutz and they have one child, Mabel C. William S. (deceased) was born December 16, 1874. Mary M., born April 8, 1876, completes the family.
On September 30, 1889, James S. Cameron married Miss Ella M., daughter of Jonathan E. and Ellen (Noss) Rogers. She was born May 24, 1871. Their union has been blessed with the following children: James S., Jr., born July 12, 1891, Richard F., born August 22, 1893; Jonathan R., born Tone 23, 1897; Lillie born September 13, 1900; and Christine S., born June 18, 1903.
Jonathan E. Rogers (father of Mrs. Cameron) was born in Bridge Valley, Bucks county, Pennsylvania, May 3, 1842, In 1857 his fathers. family went to Conshohocken, and in the fall of 1858 he followed. The next spring he apprenticed himself to Hipple S. Jones to learn the carpenter trade. Before the end of his apprenticeship the Rebellion was began and on September 9, 1861, he enlisted in Company C, Eighth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, to serve three years.
During his term of service he was engaged with his regiment in the following actions: Cedar Mountain, Rappahannock, Gainesville and the second battle of Bull Run. In the last named he received a gunshot wound in the face, and was taken prisoner, but was paroled on the field. He was sent to Philadelphia and was placed in a private hospital, but was at home most of the time on passes until his wound healed. He rejoined his regiment in time to participate in the battle of Chancellorsville, and well remembers it, as it was fought on the anniversary of his birth. Previous to the battle he was in the rear of Fredericksburg, in May, 1863. On June 12, of the same year, his regiment broke camp and made a forced march of twenty miles. On June 14th, they resumed their march and on the 17th reached Guilford Station, where they rested until the 19th, when they had another hard march of fourteen miles through heavy rain, reaching Goose Creek at midnight, without tents or shelter of any kind. They stayed there until June 25th and then crossed the Potomac at Edwards Ferry, and halted at Barnesville. The next day they crossed the Monocacy and reached Middletown, where they halted for the night. On June 26th they began the march to Emmetsburg, which place they reached June 29th. On the following day the march was resumed, Marsh Creek being reached, and there they were sent out on picket duty. On July 1, they reached Gettysburg, and participated in the first days battle. The regiment
made a charge, capturing many prisoners and three stands of colors. That night they were driven back to Cemetery Hill, where they lay on their arms until July 2d. With his regiment Mr. Rogers was in all the three days' fight, escaping without a scratch although he had several narrow escapes.
After the battle of Gettysburg he took part with his regiment in the following actions Mine Run, Spottsylvania (three days), North Anna, Bethel Church, Tolopotomy (two days), Cold Harbor, White Oak Swamp, before Petersburg (two days) Norfolk Railroad, Weldon Railroad, Jerusalem Plank Road, Southside Railroad (December 8-11, 1864), Hatcher's Run, Quaker Road, Gravelly Run, Five Forks and Appomattox Court House.
Mr. Rogers was mustered out with his regiment June 30, 1865. He had re-enlisted January 25, 1864, at Culpepper, Virginia, in same company and regiment, for three years or during the war. In October, 1864, he was promoted to corporal; May 1, 1865, to sergeant; June 13, 1865, to first sergeant; and to second lieutenant June 14, 1865, but was not mustered in as such.
While home on veteran furlough Mr. Rogers, married, February 27, 1864, Mary Ellen, daughter of George Moss. She was born July 27, 1845. They had three children: Anna Matilda, born August 21, 1866, married Thomas R. Smith, of Conshohocken, and their children are Anna and Ellen.
Martha A., born December 14, 1869, married John Huzzard and their children are Bertha and Ella. Ella M., born May 24, 1871, is the wife of James S. Cameron.
After the war Mr. Rogers worked at his trade until 1867, when he entered the employ of Alan Wood & Company, Conshohocken, remaining with them thirteen years. He has since been employed by the J. Wood Brothers' Company and is one of their most trusted workmen.
In politics Mr. Rogers is a Republican but has never sought or held office. He is a member of George Smith Post, G. A. R., of Conshohocken. His father was Andrew E. Rogers, and his mother, Margaret Kelly. The children of Andrew and Margaret Rogers are: Jonathan E.; William K.; George M. (deceased), who served in the same company, confined in Libby Prison from August i9, 1864, and was drowned while on his way from Annapolis to City Point, to join his regiment; Margaret Charlotte and Martha, both deceased.
Andrew E. Rogers was in the Forth-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteer Militia. He enlisted June 1, 1863, and was mustered out August 13, the same year.
William K., brother of Jonathan E. also served in the Rebellion three years, being a member of the Second United States Regular Cavalry.
WILLIAM RALSTON SHULER, deceased, was born in Chester county, Pennsylvania, on French creek, April 13, 1828, and died December 4, 1889. He was the son of John and Eliza (Ralston) Shuler.
John Shuler (father) was born in Chester county, Pennsylvania, and devoted his life to tilling the soil. He died in Chester county, aged fifty-three years. His wife survived him many years, dying at the age of ninety years. They belonged to the Reformed church, and are buried in Benneback's churchyard. He served in the war of 1812. His wife was also a native of Chester county. They had five children, three daughters and two sons, as follows: Catharine, William Ralston and Lewis H., all deceased; Emma, wife of John Sheeler, of Spring City, Pennsylvania; and Elizabeth, wife of Martin Lapp, of Rutledge, Delaware county, Pennsylvania.
William Shuler (grandfather) owned an oil mill in Chester county. He was of German descent.
The maternal grandfather of William R. Shuler was born in Pennsylvania and was of Scotch descent. His wife was a Miss Heffelfinger.
William R. Shuler was reared in Chester county on the farm, and attended the old-fashioned neighborhood subscription schools. He remained at home and followed farming with his father until the latter's death when he became his successor, and continued to carry on the home farm for some years. Selling the farm, he engaged in merchandising at Wilson's Corner, on French creek. From that place he went to Birdsboro, where he conducted a hotel for three years, removing to Pottstown in 1870, and purchasing the Farmers' Hotel. He changed its name to the Shuler House and continued to conduct it until the time of his death. It still bears his name.
On October 17, 1854, William R. Shiner married Miss Elizabeth Baker, daughter of Jacob and Mary (Rosenberg) Baker. They had eight children as follows.
John Clement (deceased) married Barbara Hartenstine and they had two children, one now living, Nanna. Lewis Irwin (deceased) married (first wife) Irene Airgood, and (second wife) Mattie Malsberger, who is also deceased. William R. married Emma Weand and they have one child, Lewis Irwin. William R. Shuler is the proprietor of the Shuler Hotel and has been ever since his father's death, acting as manager up to the death of his mother. Mary Eliza died when nineteen years old. Emma Jane died when seventeen years old. Carrie Theressa married Montague Blaine and they live in Reading. Ella Catherine and Anna May, both live with their mother.
William R. Shuler was reared by German Reformed parents but was not himself identified with any church. His wife was a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Transfiguration. Mr. Shuler was a Democrat in politics but never sought or held office.
Mrs. Shuler's parents, Jacob and Mary (Rosenberg) Baker, were also natives of Chester county and lived on the opposite side of French creek from the Shulers, at a place called Sheetertown, where Mr. Baker kept a hotel. He (lied in August, 1828, aged twenty-six years. His wife survived him many years, and died at the Shuler Hotel, in February, 1883, aged seventy-eight years. They were both members of the Lutheran church. They had two children, a son and a daughter. The son, John Baker, died unmarried at the age of twenty-eight years. His sister, Mrs. Shuler, died January 12, 1904.
Mrs. Shiner's paternal grandfather was John Baker. His father came from Germany and settled in Chester county, where he (John) conducted a hotel called the Seven Stars, and there he reared his family. His wife was Elizabeth Pelts.
Mrs. Shuler's maternal grandfather Rosenberg was a German, and lived at Bethlehem, where he died in the prime of life, leaving a widow and a son and a daughter. His widow married Mr. Owens, who was a plantation owner in Cuba, where they both died.
GEORGE M. DETWILER, a well-known contractor of Norristown, is a native of Chester county, where he was born June 30, 1862, his parents then residing at Spring City. From that place his father removed to Philadelphia, when he was six years of age. The elder Detwiler kept the Sorrel Horse Hotel, at Fourth and Vine streets, for four years, and then removed to Phoenixville, where he stayed until George M. had reached manhood.
George M. Detwiler was educated in the public schools of Philadelphia, Phoenixville and Norristown. when he was seventeen years of age. he started out to learn the trade of plastering with his father. He served as an apprentice four years and after he had finished his trade he remained with his father until the latter's death, about 1888. After his father's death the son finished the contracts on which he was engaged, and then worked for five years in Philadelphia, Washington and New York, thus thoroughly mastering his trade and gaining the experience which was to be of great value to him in after life. In this way he fitted himself for any kind of work in his line, however difficult.
In 1893 Mr. Detwiler returned to Norristown, and, though almost without capital, entered upon the career of contractor and business man in which he has been so successful. He has completed some of the most important contracts in Norristown, among them the reconstruction of the interior of the Montgomery National Bank the upper stories of the cigar manufactory of Gresh & Sons: the Elks' Home on Main street; the parish building of All Saints' church; the new Jeffersonville Presbyterian church; the Bridgeport Baptist church; the magnificent building of the Norristown Trust Company; the work on the plant of the Adam Scheidt Brewing Company; work at Watt's Mill; the residences of Assemblyman John H. Rex, Attorney Hillegass, Louis N. McCarter, and many others of the finest mansions on DeKalb and West Main streets, the most prominent thoroughfares of Norristown. Mr. Detwiler is straightforward in his business methods, always takes care that his employes receive their wages at the end of the week and never leaves any bills unpaid.
Mr. Detwiler is a member of Tecumseh Tribe, Improved Order of Red Men, of John F. Hartranft Conclave of Heptasophs; and the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, all of Norristown. He and his wife are both members of the Central Presbyterian church. He is a Republican in politics, but not an office-seeker, although never missing an opportunity to cast his ballot for the candidates who represent his party principles.
On May 3, 1881, he married Hattie S., daughter of Levi Bolton, who was born June 20, 1861. Their children are: George, born March 19, 1885; Raymond B., born October 19, 1886; Amos L., born June 1, 1888; Alice N., born April 26, 1890; and Willis Bland, born March 9, 1901.
Amos Detwiler (father) was born October 25, 1816, and died December 14, 1888. He was born and grew to manhood in Lower Providence township, Montgomery county. Before his removal to Spring City in 1861, he learned and followed the trade of plasterer. He built the Spring City Hotel and managed it for five years until he leased the Sorrel Horse Hotel in Philadelphia, where he remained six years. He afterwards managed the Western Hotel, on Market street, on the site of Gimbel Brothers' store and later the Ellerton House at Fourteenth and Ridge avenue. In 1872 he went to Phoenixville and engaged in the business which he had learned in his youth, that of a contracting plasterer, and in 1876 settled in Norristown, continuing as a plasterer until his death.
Many of the best residences of Norristown contain specimens of his work, among others the home of Charles Templeton. He was a member of the Knights of Friendship. Though his life was too busy for him to devote much time to politics, he was a staunch Republican. In religion he remained in the faith of his father, the Reformed Mennonite.
Amos Detwiler was buried in the burial-ground of the Trinity Reformed church of Collegeville. He married Elizabeth Vanderslice and they had ten children, as follows: Kate; Mary; Warren, who enlisted in 1861 and served until after he lost his arm at Antietam, when he was discharged, and remained at home for a short time, since which time he has lived in Manayunk, serving as a mail carrier and working in a mill; Anthony, who died young; John; Sarah; Frank; Milton; Martin; and one who died in infancy.
After the death of his first wife Amos Detwiler married, in 1858, Mrs. Hanna Bland, daughter of Peter and Hannah Hill. She was born October 28, 1824. Amos and Hanna Detwiler had children, as follows: Bessie, who married (first husband) Milton Harley, and (second husband) David Allabaugh; Ellie M., who married Dr. John D. Weaver, and resides in Norristown; George M.; and Howard A., who died in infancy. Mrs. Hanna Detwiler died March 7, 1904, in her eightieth year.
By her first husband Mrs. Detwiler had two children: Henrietta and H. Willis Bland, a self-made man who is judge of the Orphans' Court of Berks county. H. Willis Bland enlisted in the Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry at the age of sixteen years.
John Detwiler (grandfather) was also born in Montgomery county. His wife was Catherine Krupp.
Levi Bolton, the father of Mrs. George Detwiler, was born June 16, 1836, at the house in Norristown where he still lives. At the age of eighteen he became an apprentice to Lewis H. Davis to learn the trade of bricklaying. He had been working at his trade for several years when, on September 12, 1861, he enlisted in Company A, Fifty-first Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, to serve three years. On December 3, 1864, he was promoted to the rank of commissary sergeant. He sustained a gun-shot wound, at Antietam, and also at Spottsylvania, and each necessitated his remaining in the hospital for three months. He was mustered out of service July 27, 1865, after engaging in the following battles: Roanoke Island; Newbern, North Carolina; Camden, North Carolina; Chantilla; South Mountain, Maryland; Antietam; Vicksburg, Mississippi; Siege of Jackson; London, Tennessee; Campbell Station; Knoxville; Wilderness; Spottsylvania; Hatches' Run; Fort Steadman; Petersburg and Richmond. At the close of the war he returned to his home and has followed his trade ever since. He has been a member of the Humane Fire Company of Norristown since 1858, and belongs to Zook Post, No. 11, Department of the Pennsylvania G. A. R.
John Bolton, the grandfather of Mrs. George Detwiler, was also a resident of Norristown. He married Sarah Shiffy, and their children were Caroline, Isaac (deceased), William, Josiah, and Levi. John Bolton was a prominent contractor and carpenter in Norristown for many years.
(Picture of Morris B. Oberholtzer)
MORRIS B. OBERHOLTZER. John Oberholtzer, grandfather of Morris P. Oberholtzer, was born in Berks county. He was descended from one of the early settlers of that section of Montgomery county. He was educated there in the ordinary schools, and after completing his school studies engaged in farming which occupation he followed all his life. He married and reared a large family, most of them being farmers like himself. Among them was Amos B. Oberholtzer, father of Morris B. Oberholtzer, who was born at Bechtelsville, Berks county, in 1847. He was educated in the Berks county schools, and afterwards engaged in the occupation of farming, which he followed for many years, but of late he has retired from active life and lives at the old home place, surrounded with all the comforts and many of the luxuries of life.
In politics he is a Republican, but has never sought or held office, and although repeatedly urged by his friends to accept public position has always persistently refused to do so. In religious faith he is a Mennonite, like the generations of the family that have preceded, and he and his family attend that church.
He married Mary Brendlinger, of the same township, and the couple had three children, Elmer, Annie, and Morris B. Oberholtzer, born September 15, 1876.
Morris B. Oberholtzer was born on the old homestead at Bechtelsville, Berks county, Pennsylvania, and was educated in the public schools of the neighborhood, and then entered the State Normal School, at Kutztown. In 1894 he became a student at the Medico-Chirurgical College in Philadelphia, where he graduated with honors in 1897. He then opened an office and engaged in medical practice at Red Hill, in Upper Hanover township, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, where he practiced with success for three years, and then removed to his present home at Souderton borough, on the North Pennsylvania Railroad, where he has a very extensive practice in the town and the surrounding country, and is becoming well established in his profession. In politics Dr. Oberholtzer is a staunch supporter of the Republican party, and is a leader in the organization in his neighborhood. He is a member of the Royal Arcanum, of the State Medical Society, and secretary of the board of health of Souderton. He and his family attend the Mennonite church at Souderton.
Dr. Oberholtzer married, in 1897, Miss Elizabeth Gottshall, daughter of Aaron Gottshall, of Philadelphia. By the marriage one child has been born, Ralston.
JOSEPH J. BROPHY was born at Port Kennedy, Montgomery county, March 19, 1866. In 1870 he went with his father's family to Conshohocken, where he resided until 1872, when the family removed to Swedeland, where he grew to manhood, having the advantages afforded by public schools until he was thirteen years of age, when he went into the Albin Print Works as an employe. At that establishment it was his duty to keep the cloth smooth as it came from the rolls. After a year spent in the Print Works, he secured employment in the Joseph Lees Woolen Mills, in the vicinity of his home, as bobbin-boy. After rendering service for six months in that capacity, he was given a better job in the picker house. A few months later he
entered the establishment of James Hall, a carpet weaver of West Conshohocken, with whom he remained three years, finding employment at the end of that time in John Wood's Rolling Mill in Conshohocken. At the end of a year he hired with William B. Rambo in his line of work, where he remained another year. He then spent two years in the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, gaining knowledge of a locomotive which has been exceedingly valuable to him many times in his railroading.
Mr. Brophy then took a western trip, going to Chicago to visit relatives. After his return he worked for the Reading Railway Company a short time at Ninth and Master streets, Philadelphia, handling coal. Engaging with Forepaugh, he took a trip through Ohio and part of Indiana, and this gave him all he wanted of circus life. He came home to enter the employ of the Reading Railway Company as repairman, in 1887, this being the real start of his life as a railroad man. Mr. Brophy has always stood by the company in its labor troubles, and at the time of the strike of the Knights of Labor in 1887, he was made a brakeman, which duty he performed for a year and a half, and then was promoted to conductor one year on day shifts. He was then a fireman for seven years, and on October 15, 1895, was examined for engineer and received a certificate as such. He has been an engineer ever since, six years a regular engineer.
Mr. Brophy has been a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians for fifteen years. In religious faith be is a Catholic, being a member of St. Augustine's church, Bridgeport.
Mr. Brophy married, October 21, 1888, Miss Catharine Coleman, daughter of John and Mary (McNallis) Coleman. She was born March 1o, 1870, in Phoenixville. After his marriage he lived for a time in Swedeland, and then went to Downingtown, remaining there seven years. He then returned to Bridgeport and has resided there ever since.
William Brophy (father) was born in County Tipperary, Ireland, on the province of Ulster, where he lived fourteen years, and then, with his mother's family, removed to England, his father having died a few years previously. In England Mr. Brophy was reared and there married Mary Ann Mooney, who was born in Queens County, Ireland. Two years after his marriage, Mr. Brophy and his wife left Liverpool in a sailing vessel and after a voyage of thirteen weeks landed at Castle Garden, New York. This was in 1857, and during the panic of that year he was glad to accept work with John Kennedy at Port Kennedy, for eighty cents a day. He remained with Mr. Kennedy twenty years. At Port Kennedy, his children were born and he spent there the best years of his life. He is above the age of seventy years and his wife nearly seventy-five years of age, and resides at Swedeland. Their children: Martin J., married (first wife) Annie Waters, and (second wife) Mrs. Cennus; Thomas and Margaret (twins), of whom Thomas married Estella Brightenstine, and Margaret married John McCaully; Joseph J., subject of this sketch.
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph J. Brophy have had five children, as follows: John M., born September 13, 1889; Mary, born January 29, 1891; Margaret, born April 11, 1892; William, born April 1, 1895; and Joseph, born October 12, 1898.
Mrs. Brophy's father was born in County Tipperary, Ireland, her mother in County Donegal. They came to the United States at different times and. located in the coal regions of Pennsylvania, where they were married. Their children: Catharine, now Mrs. Brophy; Margaret, deceased, wife of John Nalley; Annie, who married Harvey Ott; Grace, unmarried; and Cecilia, who married Matthew Morris.
GEORGE W. GEHRET was born in Douglassville, Berks county, Pennsylvania, March 15, 1850. At the age of eight years he removed with his parents to Bridgeport where he attended the public schools. His father, Levi Gehret, died May 28, 1902. For a short time after the removal to Bridgeport, George W. Gehret worked on neighboring farms and then attended the public school at Swedeland. Having completed his education he obtained employment as a fireman at the woolen mills of James Lees & Sons, where he remained for several years or until he became an engineer in Swede's Furnace. In 1872 he entered the employ of the Philadelphia & Reading Railway, first as an engineer in the pump house for five years and then as fireman on the road. At the close of a year's service as fireman he was appointed an engineer in the yards at Bridgeport. Since that time he has been offered passenger trains, but has always refused as he preferred to remain near home. Mr. Gehret has always been true to his company in all the strikes and labor troubles and has never lost any time except through sickness and the vacations which have been granted him.
In politics he is a Democrat although he does not feel himself so bound to his party that he cannot vote for the man whom he considers best fitted for the office. Since 1900 he has advocated the principles of the Prohibition party. He has belonged to the Old Swedes' Episcopal church since 1860 and has been a vestryman for many years. He takes an active interest in Sunday-school work and has served as assistant librarian for many years. In 1872 he joined the Norristown Montgomery Lodge of Odd Fellows, No. 57, and the Ancient Order Knights of the Mystic Chain in the same year, serving as an officer in these orders. He also belongs to the Patriotic Order Sons of America, No. 51, of Bridgeport.
October 20, 1875, George W. Gehret married Rebecca J., daughter of Ross and Ann (Fry) Rambo. She was born at Swedesburg, in the old Rambo homestead, March 10, 1853. Mr. and Mrs. Gehret have one daughter, Rena K., born October 4, 1876, who married Joseph C. Jones. Mr. Jones is an operator in the employ of the Reading Railway at the "Y", near Conshohocken. He has worked for the Reading Railroad for ten years. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Jones are: George Gehret, born April 11, 1896, and Francis Lees, born February 7, 1902.
Ross Rambo, Mrs. Gehret's father, was born in Upper Merion township on the farm now owned by Harry Eckhart. He attended the public schools in Upper Merion township. After leaving school he started immediately in the lime-burning establishment, which was his ancestor's business. In politics he was a Republican but never became a politician during his short life. He belonged to the Old Swedes' church. He died February 7, 1853, at the age of thirty-seven years. His widow married Mr. Charles Hansell, and is still living, at the age of eighty-five years. Mr. and Mrs. Ross Rambo had four children: Mrs. Gehret; Anna H., who was born March 2, 1849, married Andrew Blair, and lives in Philadelphia, their children being Mildred A. and Elsie M.; Meta R.; and Florence S.
ABRAHAM G. GOTWALS, long an efficient member of the Norristown police force, and more recently warden of the Montgomery county prison, is a native of Upper Providence township, where he was born July 30, 1850. His father was Joseph S. Gotwals, born November 11, 1810, in the same township where he lived all his life. The father had a limited education, his father dying when he was eleven years of age, so that he was compelled to seek a home among strangers. An uncle named Hendricks received him as a sort of an adopted son. He lived with this uncle until his marriage. His wife was Mary Grater, whose ancestors had for generations lived at what is now known as Grater's Ford, in Perkiomen township. She inherited money from her father's estate, with which they purchased the farm on which they lived thirty years, and where their eight children were born. This farm is now occupied by their son, John G. Gotwals, and is known in the fancily as the old homestead. In early life he was a Whig and on the formation of the Republican party he became a strong member thereof. He took an active interest in politics but was not an office-seeker. In religious faith he was a Mennonite. He died in 1889 and was buried in the Upper Providence Mennonite cemetery.
He had the following children: Susan, the eldest, is deceased; Catharine (deceased) married John D. Bechtel, they leaving one child, Mary Ella: John G. married Lydia H. Detwiler, their, children being Daniel (deceased), Joseph (deceased), Abraham, Isaiah (deceased), Mary, Jane, Kate, David, Esther (deceased), Elmer, Raymond (deceased) and Vernon; Mary M. married James G. Detwiler, their children being Frances (deceased), John, Mary, Lydia, Joseph, Elias, Susan, Lizzie, James and Sarah; Elizabeth married Peter H. Colehower; Joseph G. married Sarah Detwiler, their children being Elias, John, Mary, Charles,. and two died in infancy; Abraham G. is the subject of this sketch; Amos G. married Ida Radcliff, their children being Sarah, Mary, Claude, Ruth and one boy.
Abraham G. Gotwals grew to manhood on the old homestead, attending the country schools in the winter months and working on the farm in the summer, until he reached the age of eighteen years, when he became an apprentice to Reuben Landis at the carpenter trade. He remained with Landis for two years and afterwards followed his trade for about five years. He then accepted a position as superintendent of the Yerkes Creamery, located at Yerkes Station, on the Perkiomen Railroad, where he remained two years. He then removed to Norristown, where he engaged in the flour and feed business for one year, when he sold out and sold meats and produce for the Philadelphia market. Several years, unprofitably spent in this way, satisfied him that he was not intended for the produce business and he became a member of the police force of Norristown in 1890, remaining in that position eight years, during the last two years as assistant chief of police.
In 1898 he was appointed by the Montgomery county prison inspectors to the position of warden of the prison, to which he has been elected continuously ever since. He is a Republican in politics and he and his family are members of the First Presbyterian church.
Warden Gotwals was a model of what a policeman should be when he held that position. In the office of warden he has won the highest encomiumis [sic] by his careful, vigilant and efficient management of the institution. He takes the deepest interest in those under his charge, looking specially after their comfort and leaving nothing undone that promises to promote the welfare of the inmates of the institution which is everywhere recognized as being, under Mr. Gotwals' superintendence, one of the best managed in the state or country. In his police experience Mr. Gotwals had many memorable experiences. He assisted in apprehending the parties in the Kaiser tragedy and, being then appointed warden, had charge, in that capacity, of Kaiser and Clemmer, the former of whom committed suicide after being convicted of the murder of his wife. Clemmer, the accomplice, who was also convicted, was executed in the prison for the crime.
An exciting episode during Warden Gotwals' prison experience, was the deadly assault made upon him and Watchman Beckwith, on the evening of January 24, 1904, by Frederick Bond and William Cornwall, who were in prison awaiting trial. Cornwall pretended to be very sick, and when Mr. Gotwals and Mr. Beckwith went into the cell occupied by the two, Bond swung an iron bar with great effect, injuring the Warden and pounding the watchman into insensibility. They nearly succeeded in making their escape from the prison, but were prevented by the courageous conduct of Mrs. Gotwals and her sixteen year-old daughter Eunice.
The latter notified Chief of Police Rodenbaugh, at the city hall, while the mother kept the desperate men at bay with a revolver which she had obtained from the family apartments in the prison. The jail-breakers were finally overcome, and were tried at the next term of court, pleading guilty and receiving sentences of eleven and twelve years respectively in the penitentiary for the assault on their keepers and the crimes for which they had been arrested and sent to prison. The aged watchman, Beckwith, ultimately recovered, although he was badly injured.
Mr. Gotwals married, December 23, 1876, Mary C., daughter of William B. and Kate (Connell) Logan. She was born February 23, 1859, in Audubon, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania.
The children of Mr. and Mrs. Gotwals are: William, born December 25. T877; Elizabeth, who was born May 12, 1879, and married Dr. J. R. Shuman, now residing in Wagon Mound, New Mexico; Cora Kate, born October 14, 1880; John Carl, born November 4, 1884, and Eunice, born November 15, 1888. The Logan family are of Irish ancestry, and on coming to this country settled at what is now Audubon, where they purchased a large tract of land, lying between Audubon and Norristown, in Norriton township. Some of the family have always occupied this farm. William B., the father of Mrs. Gotwals, was a skillful blacksmith and one of the best-known horse trainers in all the country round. He handled and trained horses for General John F. Hartranft, and other prominent men. He owned some fine horses himself. His wife was Kate Connell and they had the following children Abraham Linwood, who married Emma Bader; Mary C.; William B., Jr., who married Mrs. E. Butz, of Philadelphia; and Eunice S., unmarried. Mr. Logan has always been an active Democrat, and has been school director and election officer. He is a member of the Reformed church. He resides at Yerkes Station, in Upper Providence township.
(Picture of Jonas M. Landis)
JONAS M. LANDIS, the proprietor of the leading store in Souderton, which he has conducted successfully for nearly a quarter of a century, is the son of John and Mary (Moyer) Landis, of Franconia.
He was born on the Landis homestead in that township, December 24, 1850. He obtained his education in the public schools of the township, working on the farm at intervals as occasion required, the exigencies of farming often making it necessary to be absent from the school room, especially in the summer season. At the age of sixteen years he relinquished school studies to engage in employment in a lumber yard at Souderton, where he remained five years, and then accepted a clerical position in the store of Mr. Slifer in Souderton, in which situation he continued five years. Being of a thrifty disposition he saved his money, and at the end of that time purchased the business of Mr. Slifer and commenced business on his own account, in which he has been very successful. Mr. Landis is a model storekeeper, and has a large share of the trade of Souderton and also that of the dwellers in the country districts in the vicinity.
He married, May 1, 1875, Susan, daughter of James Gross, of Schwenksville, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania. They have one child, May, who is unmarried.
Mr. Landis is of Mennonite antecedents in religious faith, and in politics he is an active Republican. He is a member of the town council of Souderton, and a useful member of that body, his sound sense and good business principles being of value in that position.
He is a director of the Souderton Improvement Company, and manifests an active interest in whatever is calculated to promote the welfare of the community in which he lives. He and his family attend the Lutheran church.
John Landis (father) was a well-known resident of Franconia. He was engaged all his life in agricultural pursuits. He married Mary Moyer, of the same township. The couple had the following children: Sarah, William, Barbara, Mary, John, Catherine, Annie and Jonas, the last named the subject of this sketch. The Landis family are old settlers in that section of Montgomery county. The name is also spelled Landes. The Moyers are also an old family of Mennonite ancestry.