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Biographical Notes of Pine Grove, Pennsylvania


by John William Barr

Pine Grove Organizations


The following persons kept the Eagle Hotel: Wm. Lutz, Philip Koons, Daniel McQuay, John Snyder, John Yeager, Kennedy Robinson, William Lerch, Joseph Miller, George Fessler, Nicholas Brenner, Edward Hummel, Henry Barr, Milton Ludwig, A. U. Walmer, Edward Moyer.
The following persons kept the Pennsylvania Inn: William Zimmerman, Schropp and Lengle, Noah Brownbeck, Kennedy Robinson, William Lerch, Levi Field, Rank and Brother, David Rank, David Urich, Sam Faber, Daniel Sheidy, Edward Hummel, P. E. Sheidy, Walter Hikes, C. A. Fisher, Mr. Levi Billman. Since 1904 it is called Hotel Pennsylvania.


The Mansion House was kept by Jackson Schucker, Thomas Stauffer, Lincoln Machamer and Daniel Deitzer.


The Union House was kept byAbsalom Gicker, Aaron Gicker, Frank BonawitzElmer Schaffer, Jno. W. Donmoyer and Geo. Berger.


The Central House by Levi Wagner, Edward Hummel, Oscar Hummel, H. E. Miller and John Donmoyer.


The three oldest houses in Pine Grove now standing arethe center of the Eagle Hotel, the house where Ray Donmoyer lives and the house where Mrs. Michael Filbert lives.


The oldest person now living, born inPine Grove, is Col. Daniel Nagle, of Pottsville, born at the corner of Tulpehocken and Mill streets; in the loghouse that stood where Lyman Fegley house now stands.


The Union Canal was first opened about 1829. The Big Dam broke June 5th, 1862, and was never rebuilt.


The first tannery built in Pine Grove, was built about 1809 by Jonathan Seidel.


The oldest men in business in Pine Grove are J. J. Krimmel, J. P Martin and William I. Haldeman. They have been in business since 1872 and 1873.


The opening of the Union Canal was considered the most important event to Pine Grove at the time the Union Canal was built from Pine Grove to the Water Works to connect with the Canal from Middletown to Reading.


The first railroad in Pine Grove was built in 1829 from Pine Grove to Lorberry as a coal road for coal to be shipped by canal. The road was built with wood stringers with 1/4 x l 1/2-in. strap iron. The cars held about three tons and were hauled with horses. The Swatara Railroad was built from Lorberry Junction to Donaldson in 1842 and was built with T rails brought from Wales.


The Dauphin and Susquehanna was built in 1846 and 1847 from Dauphin to Gold Mine, was mostly considered as a coal road for miners located at Yellow Springs, Rausch Gap and Gold Mines.
In 1852 and 1854 the road was extended from Rausch Gap to Auburn; the road being financially embarrassed was sold and the name changed to S. & S.
Captain Tyler, a West Point graduate, was president of the road. In 1861 when Lincoln called for 75,000 men Tyler went to Connecticut and raised a regiment of which he was Col., but was promoted to Brigadier General.
His brigade brought on the first Bull Run fight. The P. & R. got charge of the S. & S. in fall of 1861.
The Tremont & Lebanon was built by the P. & R. in 1868 to Brookside.


Washington Camp No. 49 Junior Sons of America was organized May 28, 1858, composed entirely of young men between the. ages of 16 and 21 years. At the breaking out of the Civil War, 1861, most of the members joined the Union army and camp was suspended on April 10, 1866; it was reorganized as P.O. S. of A. The present officers are: Robert H. Long, P. P.; Allen D. Schucker, Pres.; Ben. H. Huber, M. of F.; Frank K. Evans, Sec.; John Schlappich, Asst. Sec.; H. G. Gensemer, Treas.; Clinton Wolf, Com. Pearly Potts, Inspector; Trustees, P. L. Filbert, H. H. Christ, A. W. Huber.

Pine Grove Lodge No. 409, F. A. M., was instituted April 2, 1868.
The officers were: H. H. Barr, W. M.; I. A. Sweigard, S. W.; William Clayton, J. W.; Ezra J. Haak, Secretary; R. H. Stees, Treasurer, Members 80.

Wolf Post No.203 was mustered March 12, 1870. The first officers were: P. A. Filbert, P. C. Diehl, S. V. C.; A. M. Rank, J. V. C.; Reuben Barto, Adjt.; George F. Kurtz, Q. M.;
Dr. L. M. Christ, Surgeon; John Bonawitz, Chaplain. Owing to the removal of members the Post was obligated to disband, but was reorganized July 1, 1880. The officers of the Post at present are: A. W. Huber, P. C.; Ezra Boughter, S. V. C.; Aaron Strubenhauer, J. V. C.; Elias Bixler, Q. M.; Frank Wagner, O. D.; Edward Barr, Chaplain; Edward Zimmerman, Surgeon; J. W. Barr, Adit.; John Felty, O. G. The membership at one time was 107, removal and death has brought it down to 13 members.

Pine Grove Lodge No. 148 I. O. O. F., was instituted Jan. 28, 1846.
The charter members were: J. S. Shoemaker, John Strimpler, Kennedy Robinson, Samuel Hipple, J. A. Bechtel, Israel Reinhart.
The officers were: Israel Reinhart, N. Q.; John Strimpler, V. O.; Kennedy Robinson, Secretary; J. A. Bechtel, Treasurer.
The present officers are: Gordon Leisey, N. G.; F. D. Gensemer, V. G.; C. K. Spancake, Secretary, E. K. Spancake, Treasurer; Trustees, Samuel Snoke, William Ney, John H. Aungst.
Membership 240.
Valuation $2,000.

Knights of Golden Eagle was instituted Sept. 9, 1886.
A.M. Zimmerman, N. C.; Edward Spangler, V. C.; Aaron Felty, P. C.; Alfred Gilbert, M. of R.; George Theil, K. R.; Edward Hummel, K. E.; Levi M. Donmoyer, V. H.
The present officers are: William Scwartz, N. C.; Charles Workman, V. C.; Solomon Moyer, P. C.; M. W. Hikes, M. R.; Samuel Leisy, C. E.; Tyrus Zimmerman, K. E.; Harry Kobel, H. P.; I. J. White, S. H. Number membership 251. Amount of money $6,200.
Camp of Sons of Veterans, organized 1882. Present officers are:
H. Wenrich, Commander; Levi Feller, Treasurer; Jacob Schucker, Secretary; Charles Eby, Chaplain; Charles Wolf, P.O. I. Present membership 89.

Ladies of Golden Eagle Lodge No. 58.
Present officers: Anna Schaffer, Noble Templar; Sophia Schaffer, Vice Templer; Ealome Burns, Priestess; Carrie Creary, Prophetess; Mamie Frye, Grand Recorder; Stella Gramer, Grand Financier; Stella Keeffer, Grand Exchequer. Membership 115.
The Shepherdesses of Bethlehem. Ellen Huber, Commander; Ellen Longsdorf, Vice Commander; Mary Leffler, Scribe; Mary Garrett, Chaplain; Stella Keeffer, Accountant; Carrie Bautch, Treasurer. Membership 104.

Red Men No.374. William Heimaeh, Sachem; Levi Heimbach, Sr. Sachem; Henry L. Snyder, Jr. Sachem; L. P. Zimmerman, C. R.; A. M. Snoke, Prophet; Samuel Leisey, C. W.; I. H. Hummel, Treasurer. Number members 254.. Valuation $8,000.

United Mine Workers of America: Local 1558.
Charles Workman, Pres,
Harry Kobel, V. Pres.; Sam'l Lelsey, F. S.; Ralph Kanter, R. S.; Charles Clemens, Treasurer.
Number of members 366.

Independent Order of Americans No. 972. John Potts, Councilor; E F. McDonough, R. C.; Charles Spancake, V. C.
Membership 170. Amount of money $800.
The present Town Council:
Wm. H. Daubert, President, H. C. Moore, John K. Groh, W. C. Schwartz, J. A. Schaeck, W. E. Zerbe, S. A. Reinbold, C. F. Anderson, clerk for 14, years, Capt. James Umbenhauer, Treasurer, Chief Burgess Charles Spancake.


Geo. E. Lehr, Pres., Horace F. Reber, Sec., John H. Angst, Chas. B. Workman, George W. Boyer,


The public school system was adopted about 1837 or 1838 in Pine Grove. The teachers from 1841 on were:
Mr. Satterly, Mr. Andrews, Mrs. Goods, Mr. Miller, J. L. Nutting, Levi Huber, Eli Huber; Mr. Young; Wellington Jones.

When I first went to school the desks were at three sides of the room facing the wall.

For the larger scholars the benches had no backs; the smaller scholars sat on benches in the center of the room; the teachers' desk was at the end of the room on a raised platform. The teacher was required to mend the quills and head the copy books. The present school house was built in 1857. The teachers in the new school house were: . Wellington Jones, Edward Jones, Pharaoh Werntz, Ezra Mathew, Rev. Koons,. R. S. Unger, B. W. Bassler, David C. Henning, G. W. Channell, George Wheeler, Mr. Sones, Mr. Harper, Mr. Kehler, M. Taylor. The present teachers are:

E. J. Henninger, Principal, Ellen C. Boyer, 1st Asst., W. Dunn Black, 2nd Asst., Frank E. Smith, Grammar, W. H. Smith, Sub Grammar, Catharine Long, Intermediate, Hannah C. McDonough, Secondary, Stella Netherwood, Primary, David V. Zimmerman, Annex Sub. Grammar, Margaret Cassel, Annex Primary. Number of pupils in High School, 65, number of pupils in grades, 285; total 350.

Ezra W. Mathew taught the school till April 21, 1861 then enlisted in the Pine Grove Light Infantry for three months, afterwards raised Battery F, 1st Pa. Artillery as Capt., was promoted to Major. After the war he resided in Philadelphia. He was ordinance officer in the N. G. P.
The last time I met him was at Wilkes-Barre encampment.


1. Gensemer & Salen Tannery.
One, of the largest tanneries in the state. Employs 182 men.

2. George and Harry Gensemer, operating the lower tannery, employ 48 men.
There is over $2,000,000 invested in the two tanneries.
Both are managed by George and Harry Gensemer.

3. The Fox & Moore Shirt factory employs 85 men, girls and boys.
This factory was built last year.
Fox & Moore have another factory at Suedburg, and Mr. Fox has one in Tremont.

4. Sheidy's Shoe factory is a stock company and is capitalized at $40,000. They turn out 1000 pairs a day. They employ 65 men, girls and boys. Phaon Sheidey is manager.

5. Hess Brothers, manufacturers of underwear, employ 90 men, girls and boys. The factory is located on East Pottsville street.

6. The Vitrified Brick factory is operated by Joseph Mack, who lives in Philadelphia.

7. Marble Cutter William Scheirer is prepared to do all kinds of marble work in the annex.

8. Grist Mill, operated by Fegley & Brothers.

9.Garage and automobile supplies and repairs, situated on East Pottsville Street, managed by George W. Zimmerman.
10.Garage and automobile supplies and repairs and dealer in automobiles, Harry Smith in the Annex.

11.Garage and automobile repairs by Oscar Funk in the Annex.

12.John Tompson's blacksmith shop in Annex.

13.Blacksmith shop of H. Snoke in the Annex.

14.Brommer & Son, blacksmith shop in Carbon Street


1.Joseph Schwalm, General Store
2.J. Wilson Barto, Hardware, Tinsmith and Plumbing.
3.William Gottshall, Clothing.
4.Mary Sheidey, General Store.
5.Irvin J. Leffler, Tailor
6.John Spancake, Shoemaker
7.Claude Albert, Grocery,
8.William E. Zerbe, Furniture and Lumber.
9.John Schneck, Grocery and Hardware.
10.Alexandra Dubbs, General Store.
11.Charles Werner Lumber and Feed
12.Daniel Gensemer, Job Printing
13.A. M. Zimmerman, General Store.
13.W. I. Ha1deman, Jewelry and clothing.
14.Tyler Hackman, Tailor and Novelty Store
15.Tersuhow Clothing and Ladies Goods.
16.Ray Donmoyer, Painter and Paper Hanger.
17.Joseph Keeffer, Baker
18.Palsgrove's 5-10-20 Cent Store
19.Henry L Snyder; Undertaker and Embalmer.
20.Christ & Stine, Clothing, Hats and Shoes.
21.Harry Carl, Barber, Cigars and Tobacco.
22.David Fisher, Harness Maker.
23.Mrs. E. Keeffer, Fancy Goods.
24.Barr & Barr, Drugs and Perfumery
25.J. J. Krimmel, Baker and Confectionery
26.George Dubbs, Clothing, hats and Shoes
27.Calvin Bautch, Jewelry
28.Amos Boughter; General Store.
29.Frank Maurer, Green Grocery.
30.Jacob Long, Tinsmith, Plumbing and Hardware.
31.Anderson & Reber, Printery, Newspaper:
32.Edward Kantner, Stationery, Ice Cream.
33.Morris Hikes, Painting and Paper Hanging.
34.Mrs. William Fry, Millinery.
35.M. S. Umbenhauer, Millinery.
36.R. A. Brosius, Tinsmith and Plumbing.
37.Christ & Rehrer, General Store.
38.John Sutton, Drugs.
39.John P. Martin Sons Co., General Store.
40.Thylan Batz, Bakery and Confectionery.
41.Mrs. Sarah Fessler, Grocery Store.
42.Charles Christ, Grocery Store
44.Henry Yocum, Green Grocery.
43.Mrs. George Moore, Grocery
44.Charl Spancake, Barber
45.A. J. Unger, Barber
46.Arthur Daniels, Bottlery and Grocery
47.Daniel Schneck, Shoemaker
48.Charles Donmoyer, Grocery
49.James Hall, Grocery
50.Irwin Huber, Shoemaker


Dr. J. V. Albert, Physician
Dr. F. J. Walters, Physician
Dr. H. P. Hess, Physician
Dr. C. E. Peach, Physician and Eye Specialist.
Dr. Joseph Krimmel, Dentist
Dr. Ralph Fessler,
Veterinary Surgeon


Hippodrome Company -Moving Pictures


The Filbert House, kept by Charles Yocum.
The Eagle Hotel; kept by Edward Moyer.
The Central Hotel, kept y John Donmoyer.
The Union House, kept by Elmer Schaffer.
The Hotel Pennsylvania, kept by Mrs. L. D. Billman.
The Mansion House, kept by Daniel Deitzler.
The Farmers Hotel, kept by Mrs. M. J. Culbert.
Wholesale Liquor, William Schucker, in Annex.
Williard Daubert, agent F. Rettig Brewing Co.


What we used to call Black Bill was a runaway slave from Maryland. He lived at William Lutz's 10 or 12 years. He was considered the strongest person in town at the time.
He got married to a colored girl from Pottsville.
She was a Miss Far, they went to Pottsville.
The other colored man was Tom Pierce.
He came here with Col. Mosher;
was hostler for Israel Reinhard, then worked for Daniel Kitzmiller at Yellow Spring.
He was married and moved to Tower City.


The County and State Tax for the Borough of Pine Grove for 1844 amounted to $525.38.
The County, State and Funded debt for the Borough of Pine Grove for 1885, total
valuation $232,536; total tax $1489.64.
The County and State Tax for 1915 for the Borough of Pine Grove. Total valuation, $480,877. Total tax $3,361.08.
Money on interest, $522,297.62.


State Armory at the corner of Tulpehocken and Mill streets, was built at a cost of $15,000.


Pine Grove National Bank was organized May, 1916.
Officers: M. H. Boyer, President;
H.P. Hess, Vice President; A. T. Heckert, Cashier; Miss Sue Goebell, Asst. Cashier; Directors, M. H. Boyer, H. P. Hess, G. W. Gensemer, H. L. Gensemer, W. H. Mohn, I. P. Martin, Alfred Gilbert, H. H. Hess, Wm. L. Fehr, Lyman Fegley, Cyrus Aukerbrand, E. P. Barr, Deposits
May 3, 1906, $15,000. Deposits May 3, 1916, $202,000.
Pine Grove Bank was established in 1886 by John F. Werntz, and was conducted by him until his death. Since then it is conducted under the auspices of the John F. Wentz, Est. John H. Angst is cashier, Mark P. Haldeman and Miss Clara Bortz are assistants.
The Tremont Depository Bank conducted by H. S. Bashore is a branch of the Pine Grove Bank.

Pine Grove Biographical Notes

Pine Grove Organizations
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