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Biographical Notes of Pine Grove, Pennsylvania


by John William Barr

"G" Surnames

GROH, John, was born in Lebanon Co., came to Pine Grove about 1875. He is married to Kate Christ and has one daugh- ter. He worked at the brick-factory for A. K. Francus and also for Joe Mack; he bought what was the Stine farm at one time and farmed it for some 15 years. He rents it at present and lives in Pine Grove,. He bought the house formerly owned by Mr. A. T. Felty. He is in the sand business, is quite well to do, and is in the town council.

GILBERT, ALFRED, was born in Lykens Valley Sept. 9th, 1849, on a farm, was educated in the common schools of Wash- ington Township of Dauphin Co. and the Berrysburg Seminary; was apprentice to Israel Reed, carpenter and contractor, and worked at the trade four years, then learned photography with Samuel Miller, of Lykens, and opened a gallery in Pine Grove in 1872. Successfully pursuing this line of business in connec- tion with a job printing plant until 1878 when he sold the photography outfit and founded the Pine Grove Herald. The first copy was issued Dec. 14, 1878. He bought the first font of type and erected the first printing press in this Borough. He successfully published the Herald for 31 years, when on Dec. 1, 1909, he sold the plant and good will to the present owners, Anderson & Reber. He is connected fraternally with the Odd Fellows Lodge, and served three years as District Deputy Grand Master; was nine years treasurer of Pine Grove Castle No. 124, K. G. E., and a charter member. Also a prominent Mason of Pine Grove Lodge No. 409, having passed the chairs in 1894; re- cently receiving as a present from the local lodge a Past Master's Jewel for meritorious work. On Dec. 24th, 1872, he was mar- ried to Elizabeth Shaud, of Jonestown, Lebanon County. He has always taken an interest in the welfare of his adopted town, and was a strong advocate in securing water in this Borough, and permanent good roads; was one of the first men in securing a National Bank charter and has been one of the directors of the board since its institution in this town in 1906.

GUSS, SAMUEL, built the tannery that Gensemer & Brother now own; he sold it to J. A. Bechtel, who sold it to D. and J. Gensemer in 1862. Guss built a house on the lot where Col. J. P. Earnest lives, he was Justice of the Peace, what is now the post office was his office. He was elected Register and Re- corder and moved to Orwigsburg, the county seat at that time. He had one son, Wallace, who was at one time Capt of Company B, 8th Regt. in the N. G. P. He was cashier of the National Bank of Tamaqua; also had two daughters. The son and daugh- ters were born in Pine Grove.

GRAEFF, WILLIAM, was a tanner by trade, and came to Pine Grove about 1825; kept store where Martin's store now stands; he was also in the coal business, and lived where Mrs. Wigton now lives; he owned a good deal of property. He had two sons and four daughters. John B. was a Lutheran minister, preached at one time in Alexandria, Va., removed to Pine Grove and went in business with his father and William Forrer. in 1858 he went in the coal business at Rausch Creek, formed part- nership with L. Nutting, the firm being Graeff & Nutting, later the firm of Miller, Graeff & Co. at Lincoln Colliery. George was in his teens when he died. Sarah was married to Dr. Gorgas; Annie to J. L. Nutting; Adeline and Mary died in their teens.

GREENAWALT, DAVID, came from Lebanon. He was a bachelor. He and his brother-in-law owned a great deal of property; they owned the farm the Gensemers own now, the Bat- dorf farm and a good deal of coal land. They were in the coal business for some time. They sold all their interests in and around Pine Grove and Greenawalt went to South Bend, Indiana.

GREENAWALT, WILLIAM, was a brother of David, he was a jeweler by trade; he had traveled a good deal at one time; he lived at Natchitoches, La., was in Texas with Samuel Houston. Houston had presented him with a sword. He came to Pine Grove in 1843 and clerked for some time for his brother. When the state owned the Pennsylvania canal he held a position under it, and was stationed at Middletown. in 1848 came back to Pine Grove when the big dam was built, and was superintendent for Shirk & Zeilers, the contractors. He had four sons and one daughter. He was at one time a contractor. He built the Mine Hill branch from Tremont to East Franklin Colliery, and branch road from Cornwall at Lebanon to Dawson Coleman's North Leb- anon Furnaces. He had four sons and one daughter. William was a machinist and lived in Plattsburg. He served in the Civil War: Aaron moved to Plymouth, Indiana, was employed on the railroad, also served in the Civil War; John served in the Civil War and was clerk in the Pension Bureau at Washington for 45 years. I visited him several times at Washington. When the G. A. R. reunion was in 1915 I went to see him and I was told he died that spring. Rose was married and lived in California.

GREIGER, JAMES, lived near the canal in the house op- posite Stine's butcher shop. He used to boat and work for David Greenawalt. He had one son and two daughters; one was mar- ried to David Bonawitz, he was killed at Spottsylvania; one to Isaac Tyron. The Greigers moved to Donaldson.

GOTTSHALL, WILLIAM, was married to a Miss Reed. He has one son and one daughter. He is in the clothing business. He owns the house Daniel Beuchler built.

GORGAS, WILLIAM, was a carpenter and boat builder and manufacturer of plows. He lived at the place where Charles Warner now lives. Warner moved the house back and made it a double house. When the S. & S. R. R., was built, the road went through his property, he sold the property to S. & S., and moved to Indiana and died there, his widow came back to Pa., and bought what the company did not need. He had one son and two daughters. Sarah was married to Daniel Kitzmiller; Mary was married to Dr. Dreher; Adam, the son, was clerk for Samuel Guss, when he was Register and Recorder at Orwigsburg afterwards clerk for Charlemagne Tower, at Pottsville, then emigrated to Illinois; entered the Civil War in 1861, he became Colonel of the Thirteenth III. Regiment. A few years ago I was at Vicksburg, Miss., and went over the battlefield, came to a monument and the inscription on the monument was, "Here was the Thirteenth Regiment entrenched, commanded by Col. A. B. Gorgas." I felt glad as I had known him as a boy in Pine Grove. After "the war he came back to Pine Grove, lived a few years in the old Homestead, then moved to Minersville, there was Supt. at a colliery for some years, then moved to Harrisburg. He died some years ago. His body is buried in the Lutheran ceme- tery. He had one son who lives at Harrisburg; three daughters. Sue was married to Ferd. Wheeler and lives in Los An- reles. Annie was married to Major L. Greenawalt, and Mary is single and lives in Harrisburg.

GOEBELL, BENJAMIN, came from Berks Co., was a tailor by trade, he was in the mercantile business at one time. He built the house in the annex next to the hotel. He had three sons; and one daughter. Richard served in the Civil War. George is a carpenter, married to Clara Smeltzer and lives in Pine Grove. He has one son and one daughter, his son is clerk in the P. F- R. R. office in New York city. Sue is single and is cashier in the Pine Grove National Bank. Mr. Goebell served in the Civil War.

GENSEMER, DANIEL and JOHN, came to Pine Grove in 1856, leased the Levi Miller Tannery and carried on the busi- ness till 1863 when they bought the Bechtel Tannery, a steam Tannery. They operated the two tanneries till 1876, then Henry Miller took Millers and it was converted into a steam tannery. D. and J. Gensemer operated the tannery till 1889 then turned it over to G. and H., sons of Daniel. They carried on the business till Aug. 26, 1894, when it was destroyed by fire. They rebuilt on a much larger scale in 1904. Gensemer and Salen built what is called the Upper Tannery. It is one of the largest in the country. They have invested 2,000,000 dollars. They employ 230 men. Daniel H. Gensemer.had four sons and three daughters: George W., Daniel Jr., Harry, Joseph, Liz- zie married to J. J. Krimell; Annie married to B. P. Duncan, lives in Salt Lake City; George W. was married to Ellen Zim- merman, they had four sons and two daughters. His wife and three sons and one daughter died some years ago. George is the senior member of the firms of G. and H. and Gensemer and Salen Tanneries. Harry is married to Dillie Reichert. They have one daughter. She is a student. They have one of the finest homes In town. He Is one of the partners in the Tannery.

Daniel Jr., was born in Pine Grove, was married to Miss Stout, was at one time in timber and store business at Good Spring, was Postmaster of Pine Grove, is at present engaged in job printery. He has five sons and two daughters.

George B. is a IT. E. minister, and is located at Columbia, Pa. He is married to Helen Heston. Fred D. was born Aug. 30th, 1885, Is married to Minnie Schrom, is a foreman at Gensemer and Salen's Tannery, Paul Bruce, born Oct. 2, 1888, is salesman for W. B. Jones & Co., Boston, Mass. Norman, born Jan. 6, 1893, at Good Spring, is Prof. of Chemistry and Physics at Freeland. Donald, born Jan. 8, 1901, is student in Pine Grove High School. S. Ruth, born Oct. 2, 1890, at Pine Grove is a nurse In the Presbyterian Hospital at Philadelphia, Pa. Reba G born Feb. 23, 1897, is student in Miss Hart's School training for Kindergarten.

Joseph Gensemer is a minister of the Methodist Episcopal- ian Church. Is stationed at Lancaster, Pa., at present.

John Gensemer came to Pine Grove with his brother Dan- iel in 1856, was a partner in the firm D. & J. Gensemer, had one son who was married to Kate Baton. His daughter is living in Perry Co. The first church built was of logs, stood partly in the street and partly in the cemetery. The present stone edifice was built in 1817, was Lutheran and Reformed, and was called St. Peter's. T

The following were preachers to my recollection: Rev. John Grim, he baptized me, the Rev. William Minning, Rev. Apple, Rev. Sapper, who was afterwards a surgeon in the Civil War, the Rev. Washington Dietzier, Rev. Kurtz, Rev. Reilly, Rev. Gockley, Rev. Graff. This Church has lately been remod- eled at an expense of about $5,000 through exertions of the Rev. A, H. Klick, who is the present pastor.

The following churches were built since 1843:St. John'.? Lutheran was built in 1846. The First Evangelical Church was built in West Mill Street, was frame, and was turned into dwelling house.

The present Evangelical Church was built in 1864. The first U. B. was built in 1847, was what is now Sheidy's Furniture Store. The present U. B. on Pottsville St., was built in 1890.

The Methodist Episcopal was built in 1876. The Reformed -Chapel was built in 1900.

The following persons kept stores in Pine Grove in 1841: William Graeff, Caleb Wheeler, Paul Barr, Paul Brant.

The Pine Grove Hotel, now the Filbert House, was kept by Israel Reinhard in 1841 and by the following others up to the present time: Samuel Reinhard, D. Fessig, Philip Koons, J. Connoly, Samuel Miller, Samuel Filbert, Milton Ludwig, M. Relchendorf, William Tallman, Wm. Reed, Charles Yocum.

Pine Grove Biographical Notes

Pine Grove Organizations
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