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Heinrich 'Henry Harrison' Fegely


Age-darkened grave markers for Henry and Lisetta, St. Pauls Church, Mertztown

Heinrich "Henry Harrison" Fegely was born on Nov. 11, 1810 in Mertztown, Berks County, PA, the son of Heinrich and Catharine (Gaumer) Fögle, also spelled "Fegely."

He was united in matrimony with a presumed cousin, Lisette "Lucetta" (or "Lenetta") Fegely (1816-1888), also of Mertztown

They produced these known offspring -- Jacob Fegley, Elias Henry "Eli" Fegely, Harrison Fegely, James Fegely, Charles Fegely, Sarah Reese, William Balentin Fegle, Ellen Jane Dorney, Anna R. Fegely and Hiram R. Fegely. In an extraordinary twist of fate, at least five of the children were considered "deaf and dumb" circa 1850-1860 -- Eli, James, Charles, Sarah and Ellen.

The U.S. Census of 1850 shows the family residing on a farm in Lower Macungie Township, Lehigh County. That year, 14-year-old Henry Long lived in the household.

Sadly, son William died about a month before his third birthday on Sept. 18, 1853.

During the decade of the 1850s, the Fegelys relocated to a farm in Longswamp Township, Berks County, where they were enumerated on the federal census of 1860.

Lucetta was swept away by the Grim Reaper in 1888.

Henry passed into eternity at the age of 79 on Aug. 23, 1890. His remains are in repose in St. Pauls Union Cemetery in Mertztown, and his grave marker is inscribed in German.

The founder of this website photographed the Fegelys' graves in September 2019. The strong afternoon sun was behind the stones, rendering the facing and lettering in dark, silhouetted shadows. Future plans are underway to visit the site again and re-shoot the markers when the morning sun should highlight the texts far more legibly.


Jacob's ornately decorated
grave, St. Paul's, Mertztown

~ Son Jacob Fegley ~

Son Jacob Fegley (1836-1864) was born on Nov. 20, 1836.

At the age of 23, unmarried, he lived at home and helped his father with farm labor.

On July 14, 1861, at the age of 25, he wedded 23-year-old Elizabeth A. Stoudt (1838-1904).

During their brief married life together, Jacob and Elizabeth made their home in the Mertztown area.

The couple produced two sons, Willoughby Fegley and Jacob Fegley.

Grief blanketed the family when Jacob, afflicted with typhoid fever, died at the age of 27 on May 13, 1864. Burial was in St. Pauls Union Cemetery in Mertztown. Evidence suggests that Elizabeth was pregnant at the time with their second son.

Within a year or two, she married her husband's brother Elias -- a man unable to hear or speak. See their entry for more.

Son Willoughby J. Fegley (1862-1913) was born on Jan. 25, 1862 in Longswamp Township, Berks County. He was but two years old when his father died. The fatherless Willoughby was brought in to the home of his married aunt and uncle, Sarah and Charles Reese. He was in the Reese household as of 1880, and earned a living as a local ore mine laborer. Willoughby married Ella Bear ( ? - ? ), daughter of William H. Bear. They did not reproduce but lived in Allentown, where he prospered as a grocer with locations at 829 Jackson Street and later at 1124 Tilghman Street. Reported the Allentown Morning Call in 1913, "He came to this city a number of years ago and had been in business for a number of years." He belonged to the Emmaus Council of the Knights of Pythias. In 1901, he underwent surgery at the University of Pennsylvania hospital for kidney problems. Continuing to suffer poor health, he and his nephew Luther Abele traveled to Birmingham, AL in April 1909 to spend a month with the Morris Abele family, with hopes for a recovery. Willoughby is known to have purchased a brick house at the corner of Tilghman and 12th Streets in 1912 from realtor Helfrich, Geary & Co. At age 51, stricken with cancer of his digestive system, he was admitted to a local hspital for surgery but died on June 7, 1913 before the operation could take place. Burial was in Greenwood Cemetery in Allentown. Ella outlived her spouse by a number of years. In August 1931, at the death of her uncle Charles E. Bear, the funeral was held in her home at 1925 Tilghman Street.


Detail from Jacob's ornate grave marker in Mertztown


Son Jacob H. Fegley (1864-1937) was born on Oct. 27, 1864, five months after the untimely death of his father. In about 1885, when he would have been 20, he married 18-year-old Alice A. Kaiser (July 1866- ? ). Four known children were born to this union -- Claude J. Fegley, Mabel E. Fegley, George B. Fegley and Elizabeth "Lizzie" Fegley. The family relocated to Philadelphia. When the federal census was taken in 1900, they made a home on Titan Street, with Jacob earning a living as a watchman. They remained in the city for decades. By 1910, Jacob had changed jobs and was working as a bartender in a saloon, with their residence on Oakford Street. Their address in later years of 3634 North 18th Street. The enactment of Prohibition in 1920 would have put Jacob out of a job. That year, census records show him back at working as a watchman, a job he continued into 1930. Jacob suffered in the mid-1930s from senility and diabetes. When he contracted bronchial pneumonia at the age of 72, he was admitted to Philadelphia General Hospital, where the Grim Reaper cut him away on June 19, 1937. His remains were transported to Delaware County to rest in Fernwood Cemetery.

  • Grandson Claude J. Fegley (1885-1967) was born on Oct. 6, 1885 in Allentown. Claude learned the occupation of machinist and worked in this field during the 1910s and 1920s. In 1911, he was joined in wedlock with Emilie Rohde (1893-1966), daughter of German immigrants Ferdinand and Emilie (Kritsch) Rohde. They bore a daughter, Florence Buck. Emilie apparently suffered from a serious mental disability and was admitted in the 1910s to the Norristown State Hospital for the Insane in Montgomery County. She remained there for good. At age 33 in 1920, and then at age 43 in 1930, Claude lived at home with his daughter and parents. His address in the 1960s was with his married daughter at 5125 Cottage Street. Sadly, Emilie was felled by stomach cancer which spread throughout her body. She died in the Norristown hospital, at the age of 74, on Oct. 14, 1966. No obituary is known to have been printed. Claude only outlived her by a year. He was afflicted with hepatitis and, when suffering a heart attack, was admitted to Jeanes Hospital. The Grim Reaper of Death cut away Claude there on March 7, 1967 in Philadelphia. Interment was in Fernwood Cemetery in Delaware County.


Pennsylvania State Hospital for the Insane, Norristown,
where Emilie (Rohde) Fegley died in 1966.


  • Granddaughter Mabel E. Fegley (1888- ? ) was born in July 1888.
  • Grandson George B. Fegley (1890- ? ) was born in Nov. 1890.
  • Granddaughter Elizabeth "Lizzie" Fegley (1892- ? ) was born in Nov. 1892.


~ Son Elias Henry "Eli" Fegley ~

Son Elias Henry "Eli" Fegely (1838-1920) -- sometimes misspelled as "Uriah" -- was born on Oct. 23, 1838 in Longswamp Township, Berks County. As with several siblings, Elias was deaf and unable to speak.

In 1866, after the death of his elder brother Jacob, Elias married his widowed sister in law, Elizabeth A. (Stoudt) Fegely (1838-1904).

He thus became a step-father to his nephews -- Willoughby Fegley and Jacob Fegley.

Their known children were Mary Stickler, Lucy Fegley, Elizabeth Fenstermacher, Magdalene Fegley, Peter Fegley, Rebecca Moyer and Clementine Knerr, and they raised Elizabeth's sons Willoughby and Jacob from the previous marriage.

Circa 1870, they lived on a farm in Slocum, Luzerene County. By 1880, they had relocated to Upper Milford, Lehigh County, where Elias found work in an "ore bed." Later, in about 1885, they moved into Allentown, Lehigh County, where he worked at the wire mill. While employed at the mill, Elias joined the company pension fund. Their address was 246 North 12th Street.

On the fateful day of Feb. 18, 1904, tragedy shook the family when Elizabeth was badly burned after a hanging lamp exploded in their home. She was in agony for 24 hours before death carried her away. An obituary in the Allentown Leader was headlined "Burns Prove Fatal" and listed her surviving siblings as Irwin Stoudt, Peter Stoudt, Mrs. Wilson Urffer, Leanna Scheirer and Mrs. Frank Wenner. Rev. R.M. Kern officiated at the funeral service held at the St. Andrew's Reformed Church. Burial was in Highland Cemetery.


Sanctuary of St. Andrew's Reformed Church, Allentown


Elias survived his bride by 16 years. Toward the end of his life, he lived with his daughter Elizabeth Fenstermacher at 758 North 10th Street in Allentown. In March 1920, six of his adult children were found guilty of non-support and were sentenced to pay him $1.50 a week. In reporting the story, the Allentown Morning Call said "Several of the children reside in Philadelphia and another at Norristown."

He suffered a stroke of apoplexy and lingered for six days until death took him away at the age of 81 on April 9, 1920. Mrs. I.W. Moyer, of 758 North 10th Street in Allentown, was the informant for the death certificate. The remains were placed into burial in Highland Cemetery in Allentown, with Rev. R.M. Kern leading the funeral service as he had done for Elizabeth some 16 years before. The Allentown Morning Call printed an obituary. Their daughters are known to have married Asa Knerr Jr. of Allentown/Audobon, George Moyer of Allentown/Philadelphia and Pierson ("Preston") Steckler of Norristown.

Daughter Mary Fegley (1867-1922) was born on Aug. 2, 1867. On June 25, 1887, when she would have been 19 years of age, Mary wedded 23-year-old laborer Pierson M. "Pierce" Stickler ( ? - ? ), son of Ezra Stichler of Vera Cruz, Lehigh County. Rev. Myron O. Rath officiated at the ceremony held in Allentown. In the early years of marriage, in August 1889, the couple moved to a farm previously occupied by William Bear. Pierson is believed to have been employed as baggagemaster at the DeKalb Street station of the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1904. Circa 1906, their home was in Quakertown, PA. In the early 1920s, they resided at 809 West Elm Street in Norristown, Montgomery County. At the age of 55, stricken with typhoid fever, her heart gave out and she died a half hour later on Feb. 22, 1922. Burial was in Riverside Cemetery.

Daughter Lucy Fegley (1869- ? ) was born in about 1869. She appears to have been deceased by 1913 and possibly much earlier.

Daughter Elizabeth Fegley (1870-1941) was born in about 1870 in Slocum, Luzerne County, PA. At the age of about 15, she relocated with her parents to Allentown, Lehigh County. She was united in matrimony with William W. Fenstermaker ("Fenstermacher") ( ? -1940) of Allentown. They were the parents of Mrs. Ira Moyer, Eva Gackenbach and Earl J.W. Fenstermacher. William made a living over the years as a painter, and they belonged to the Ebenezer Evangelical Church. When their infant niece Violet Knerr died in North Dakota in January 1905, and the body shipped back to Allentown, the Fenstermachers held the funeral in their home at 246 North 12th Street. Their address in 1915 was 217 North Fountain Street. Sadly, William died in July 1940. Elizabeth only outlived him by about six months. She went to live with her married daughter Mrs. Ira Moyer at 736 Seventh Street. She died at home at the age of 70 on Jan. 28, 1941. Burial was in Highland Cemetery. An obituary in the Allentown Morning Call said that she was survived by her brother Peter and sisters Mrs. George Moyer and Mrs. Asa Knerr.

  • Granddaughter Eva Fenstermacher married (?) Gackenbach and lived in Yeadon, PA in 1941.
  • Grandson Earl Fenstermacher dwelled in Emmaus.


Rev. G.A. Greiss, who led
William Dennis' funeral

Daughter Magdalene "Maggie" Fegley (1872-1934) was born on Jan. 13, 1872. She married William N. Dennis (March 3, 1868-1915), son of Charles N. and Elmina (Pole) Dennis of Longswamp Township, Berks County. They produced an only son, Charles E. Dennis. Maggie was a member of the Rosemont Lutheran Church and William belonged to St. Paul's Lutheran Church. The Dennises labored as tenant farmers over the years in Emmaus and Lanark. Newspaper reports in March 1901 said that they were in Bingen, PA, on the farm of the late John Landis, and were going to move to the farm of the Hon. Frank B. Heller at Standard, PA. They relocated a year later to the Jonas Trexler farm near Emmaus. In about 1912, they sold their farming stock and household goods and moved to 206 South 13th Street in Allentown, with William earning a living working as a packer for the chinaware firm of L.H. Yeager & Company. He was a member of the Allentown Fraternal order of Eagles and Liberty Bell Circle. Tragically, at the age of 47, William contracted tuberculosis and an infection of the abdomen and suffered for nine weeks until death carried him away on Oct. 4, 1915. Rev. George A. Greiss led the funeral service, followed by burial in West End Cemetery. An obituary in the Allentown Democrat said that in addition to his wife and son, William was survived by his sister Sallie Reinhard of Lanark and brother Robert Dennis of Emmaus. Maggie outlived him by 19 years. Her home in 1920 was in Willsmount, PA. In 1934, she dwelled with her married son at 703 Highland Avenue in Bethlehem. She suffered from a collapsed uterus and was admitted to Allentown Hospital for a hysterectomy. Sadly, her heart shut down after the surgery, and she died at the age of 62 on Nov. 15, 1934. Mrs. Charles Dennis was the informant for the certificate of death. Interment was in West End Cemetery in Allentown following funeral services held in the son's home. An obituary was printed in the Allentown Morning Call.

  • Grandson Charles E. Dennis was married and in 1934 resided at 703 Highland Avenue in Bethlehem.

Son Peter H. Fegley (1875-1964) was born in Sept. 1875 in Longswamp Township, Berks County. He was twice married. His first wife was Hannah Derr (Nov. 30, 1860-1922), daughter of Samuel and Annie (Roth) Derr. The groom was about 15 years younger than the bride, and they did not reproduce. His home in 1904 was in Allentown and in 1915-1922 on 625 Chestnut Street in Emmaus. From 1920 to 1924, Peter served as fire chief in Emmaus and on the borough's board of health. The marriage was cleaved apart on April 25, 1922 when, suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis, Hannah succumbed at the age of 61. Burial was in West Salisbury Cemetery, with Rev. Savacool officiating. A number of relatives and friends provided floral tributes at the funeral, among them palms and roses from the Stickler and T. Hunter families; carnations from the William Fenstermachers; carnations from her brother Jerry; hyacinths from the Jacob Fegleys; and carnations from the Charles Dennis family. An obituary in the Allentown Morning Call noted that she was survived by two sisters, Kate and Mrs. Charles Stine, and two brothers Jerry and John. Just a few months later, at the age of 46, on Aug. 8, 1922, he wedded 36-year-old widow Cora (Peters) Angstadt ( ? - ? ) of Emmaus, daughter of Henry and Emma (Herman) Peters. Rev. O.F. Ettwein officiated at the nuptials held at Gilbert, PA. Cora's first husband had died on July 1, 1920, and thus Cora brought two daughters to her union with Peter, Martha Wieder and Christine Kapp. The family made a home at 230 Ridge Street in Emmaus, and Peter belonged to St. John's United Church of Christ. As a widower, Peter worked as a foreman/superintendent at the gas plant in Emmaus. He also served for a term on Emmaus Borough Council. Circa 1939, he went to work for the highways department of the Borough of Emmaus. Then in 1942, he became employed in maintenance for the Morning Call newspaper, working there for 15 years. When he reached the age of 78, in Sept. 1953, the Morning Call printed a feature story, and he retired in 1954. Suffering from hardening of the arteries, and following gall bladder surgery, he died in Allentown Osteopathic Hospital at the age of 88 on April 11, 1964. Interment was in the Lutheran and Reformed Church Cemetery in Emmaus. He was pictured in an obituary in the Morning Call.

  • Granddaughter Martha Angstadt ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). On Sept. 6, 1924, she married John J. Wieder ( ? -1983), son of Charles and Ellen Jane (Schmeltzle) Wieder of Emmaus. Their marriage endured for 59 years. The couple bore an only daughter, Madge Roth. They lived in Emmaus and were members of St. John's United Church of Christ, where he served as council president and as a member of the church consistory. During the 1940s, John served as an Emmaus borough councilman and in the early 1950s was a printer with Rodale Press. From 1956 to retirement in 1966, he was employed at Lehigh Council Prison as a lieutenant. He was active in the community as president of the Emmaus Board of Health and with the Emmaus Men's Democratic Club. John died at the age of 78 on Aug. 31, 1983. Interment was in Northwood Cemetery in Emmaus.
  • Granddaughter Christine Angstadt wedded Frank Kapp. They dwelled in Emmaus in 1964.

Daughter Rebecca A. Fegley (1878- ? ) was born in about 1878. In about 1897, when she would have been age 19, Rebecca married George E. Moyer ( ? - ? ) of Allentown. News of their marriage license was published in the Allentown Leader. They were in Allentown in 1904 and circa 1920, their address was 758 North 10th Street in Allentown and in 1934-1978 she was in Philadelphia.

Son James W. Fegley ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). He lived in Allentown in 1904. His address was unknown to the family in 1920. In 1941, he lived in Emmaus, Lehigh County.

Daughter Clementine E. Fegley (1882-1978) was born in December 1882. She was united in matrimony with Asa Knerr Jr. (Jan. 2, 1884-1950), a native of Sand Spring, PA and the son of Asa and Laura (Knauss) Knerr Sr. The couple produced 15 children, of whom 12 are known -- Violet Elizabeth Knerr, Clifford L. Knerr, Marion E. Christman, Beatrice Wenner, Gerald W. Knerr, John O. Knerr, Doris Zuber Amey, Harrison J. Knerr, Kenneth W. Knerr, William George Knerr, Everett A. Knerr, Ronald F. Knerr and Paul E. Knerr. In about 1905, the family lived in Fargo, North Dakota. Sadness blanketed the family in the winter of 1905 when infant daughter Violet died in Fargo at the age of six months. Clementine accompanied the remains when shipped back to Allentown. The Knerrs mourned again in the winter of 1931 when son William, nearing his third birthday, died from the measles and laryngitis. Their home in 1918 was in Norristown, Montgomery County, in 1928 was in Schnecksville and in 1931 at 717 North Fountain Street in Allentown. Asa earned a living over the years working for Mack Manufacturing Company in Allentown. Later, they made a home in 1940s at 2219 Walbert Avenue. Clementine was a member of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Allentown. For the last three years of his life, Asa suffered from a type of psychosis that breeds melancholy. He suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and passed away at the age of 66 on Oct. 6, 1950. Burial was in Highland Memorial Park. Clementine survived her husband by more than a quarter of a century. In December 1952, she celebrated her 70th birthday with a party held at the home of married daughter Beatrice Wenner. By 1964, she had relocated to California, presumably to dwell with one or more of her sons. She returned to Allentown and became a resident of the Phoebe-Devitt Home. She passed away there at the age of 95 on Nov. 26, 1978. An obituary in the Allentown Morning Call reported that the count of her survivors was 23 grandchildren, 50 great-grandchildren and 14 great-great grandchildren.

  • Grandson Clifford L. Knerr (1911-1977) was born in about 1911. He was united in matrimony with Roberta ( ? - ? ). They bore seven children -- Clifford L. Knerr Jr., Ronald Knerr, Patricia Sanifer, Roberta Crabb, Ethel Lowman, Elaine C. Bandy and Paulette Martin. The Knerrs lived in Bodfish, CA and later in Idaho. In about 1975, Clifford relocated to Hesperia, San Bernardino County, CA. He founded and operated C.L. Knerr and Sons TV Repair. Sadly, Clifford died at the age of 66, in Victor Valley Hospital, ON Jan. 9, 1977. The San Bernardino County Sun printed an obituary. Interment was in Mt. View Mausoleum.
  • Granddaughter Marion E. Knerr wedded Paul Christman. She lived in Allentown in 1978.
  • Grandson Gerald W. Knerr (1918-2001) was born in about 1918 in Norristown, Montgomery County. During World War II, he served as a sergeant with the U.S. Army Air Corps. He married Marcella R. Geissenhainer ( ? - ? ). They were the parents of Sheree L. Knerr and David G. Knerr. For a quarter of a century, Gerald was a plumber for the United Association of Plumbers, Pipe Fitters and Steam Fitters. He retired in 1983 and volunteered with Lehigh County Meals on Wheels. Gerald died at the age of 83, on Oct. 22, 2001, in Lehigh Center. An obituary was printed in the Allentown Morning Call.
  • Grandson John O. Knerr (1920-1977) was born on Feb. 28, 1920 in Audobon, PA. During World War II, he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps as part of its special services unit. He married Barbara ( ? - ? ) and produced two children, Robert C. Knerr and Jonine Lee Knerr. He resided in West Los Angeles in 1950. In about 1962, he moved to LaVerne, CA and lived at 2281 Third Street, owning Warehouse Pizza in town. Active in the community, he was chair and host of the Miss La Verne Beauty Contest, chair of the La Verne Planning Commission and president of the La Verne Chamber of Commerce. He passed away on Jan. 24, 1977, at the age of 57, in San Dimas Community Hospital. The Pomona (CA) Progress Bulletin printed an obituary.
  • Granddaughter Beatrice Knerr married Ezra Wenner. In December 1952, Beatrice held a party celebrating her mother's 70th birthday, held at their home at 522 North Sixth Street. They resided in Allentown in 1978-2001.
  • Granddaughter Doris Knerr wedded Henry Zuber and later Earl Amey and in 1950-2001 lived in Allentown.
  • Grandson Harrison J. "Harry" Knerr made a home in Allentown in 1950 and later moved to San Dimas, CA.
  • Grandson Kenneth W. Knerr resided in San Dimas and Lake Elsinore, CA.
  • Grandson Everett A. Knerr relocated to Sanford, FL.
  • Grandson Ronald F. Knerr established his residence in LaVerne, CA.
  • Grandson Paul E. Knerr dwelled in Emmaus in 1956-2001, with an address in the 1950s of 141 North Fifth Street. In June 1947, he married Shirley L. Geissenheimer, daughter of Ernest D. Geissenheimer Sr. of Allentown. (His brother Gerald married her sister Marcella.) He worked for L.F. Grammes and Sons Inc., while she was employed with American Independent Mutual Casualty Company.

James' grave, St. Paul's, Mertztown

~ Son James Fegely ~

Son James Fegely (1843-1915) was born on Feb. 25, 1843 and could neither speak nor hear. Labeled at the time as a "deaf mute," he made a home for decades in Longswamp Township, Berks County.

He was a lifelong member of the Mertztown Lutheran Church.

With the severity of his birth defects, James would have found it difficult to earn a living over the years. But local resident Col. William Trexler apparently took a liking to him and brought him into his home and onto his payroll.

The 1870 federal census shows the 28-year-old James working as a domestic servant in the Trexler household, and the 1880 census lists him in the dwelling as a "tinner."

Based in his home a mile south of Shamrock, Berks County, Trexler owned and operated a wide variety of milling, tannery, iron and banking businesses. He also was postmaster at Longswamp for 55 years and a longtime justice of the peace. In a biography of the colonel, the American Miller and Processor said that "Longswamp never had a more popular man. Everybody liked the Colonel, and he gave every man a 'square deal,' whether he was one of his laborers at his industries, whether he bought merchandise from him, whether he sold iron ore to be turned into cast iron stoves or whether he brought corn, wheat, buckwheat, or ry to his mill to be turned into grist or flour. He ... believed in the advancement of his fellow men and his own locality."


Col. Trexler's properties south of Shamrock
Atlas of Berks County, PA, 1876

When James first entered the Trexler household, the colonel was married to Mary Ann Singmaster. After her death, Trexler wedded a second time to Amelia Schall. Thus James would have had to work successfully for two different women who may have had varied views on how the household was to be run. He continued to live under the Trexler roof even after the passing of the second wife, and is shown in the 1900 census as a "day laborer" and widower.

In all, reported the Allentown Morning Call, our James "was with the late col. Wm. Trexler for fifty-two years."

James was married but apparently did not reproduce. The name of his wife is not yet known.

Widowed in his final years, he died from the effects of chronic heart valve disease at the age of 72 on March 29, 1915. Interment was in St. Paul's Union Cemetery in Mertztown, with Rev. F.K. Bernd officiating.

At the time of death, he was survived by brothers Hiram and Eli Fegley and sister Mrs. Charles Reese.


~ Son Charles A. Fegely ~

Son Charles A. Fegely (1845-1912) was born on March 12, 1845 and -- as with several of his siblings -- was unable to hear or speak.

He dwelled in Longswamp Township, Berks County and earned a living as a laborer. The federal census enumeration of 1870 lists him as a "clark at lumber yard" and boarding in the household of Henry and Sarah Bair in Longswamp. By 1880, at the age of 35, he had returned to his parents' household and was a coal mine laborer.

By 1900, and continuing for the balance of his life, Charles made a home with his married brother Hiram and family, and earned his keep as a farm laborer.

By 1910, now age 65 and still residing in Hiram's farmhouse, Charles earned income as a laborer performing odd jobs. In the winter of 1911, he was diagnosed with cancer of the bowels. He suffered for a year, and his heart began to fail during that time. On Feb. 26, 1912, just a few weeks prior to his 67th birthday, he succumbed to his illnesses. Burial was in Mertztown. An obituary in the Allentown Morning Call referred to him as "a deaf-mute."

His financial estate was valued in 1916 in the amount of $3,107.90. Of the total, $500 was bequeathed to his married sister Sarah Reese and the rest to his brother Hiram.


~ Daughter Sarah (Fegely) Reese ~


The Reeses' blackened grave
marker, St. Paul's, Mertztown

Daughter Sarah Fegely (1847-1935) was born on Aug. 22, 1847 in Mertztown, Longswamp Township, Berks County.

She was considered "deaf and dumb," meaning she could neither hear nor speak.

Despite her disability, she married Charles Henry Reese (Sept. 16, 1842-1918), son of Christian and Elizabeth (Wagner) Reese of Macungie, Lehigh County.

The couple were the parents of Ella Shankweiler, Henry Reese, Annie Reese, Alvesta "Vesta" Conrad, Amelia L. "Millie" Titlow, John William Reese, Ida Black Urquhart and Jennie Hassler.

Charles was a longtime ore mine laborer in the Longswamp area, as shown in the 1880 federal census. Circa 1880, they provided a home for their teenage, fatherless nephew, Willoughby Fegely, who also worked as a mine laborer..

When Charles reached his 48th birthday in September 1900, a surprise party was held to celebrate. Those attending, said the Allentown Leader, were Mr. and Mrs. William Long, Marcus Long, Daniel Reinert, Mr. and Mrs. Hiram Fegley, James Fegley, Charles Fegley, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Shankweiler, and Nathan Fegely of Cementon, PA, and John Reese, Vesta Reese and Ida Reese of Barto.

For the last two years of his life, Charles was burdened with bowel and stomach cancer. At the age of 76, he died at Henningsville on May 14, 1918, "after an illness of several months," said the Allentown Morning Call. "He was bedfast one week." Burial was in Mertztown, officiated by Rev. Bernd of Kutztown. The Morning Call identified Charles' surviving sisters as Mrs. Michael Gery of Hereford, Sabina Boder of East Texas, Annie Reese of Macungie and Mary Bittenbender.

Sarah lived for another 16 years after her husband's death. Her home in 1920 was Longswamp, Berks County and in 1927 was in Alburtis, Lehigh County.

As a widow, Sarah suffered from heart valve problems and died at the age of 88 on Christmas Eve 1935. After a funeral sermon preached by Rev. W.S. Dry, her remains were placed into repose in the Mertztown Cemetery. Daughter Ella Shankweiler signed the death certificate. An obituary in the Morning Call said her survivors included 23 grandchildren and "a number of" great-grandchildren.

Daughter Ellen "Ella" Reese (1868-1949) was born on Nov. 11, 1868 in Mertztown, Longswamp Township, Berks County. She wedded Frank Shankweiler ( ? -1948), son of Benjamin and Sarah (Geist) Shankweiler of Longswamp Township, Berks County. They produced three sons, a daughter and two adopted daughters -- Irwin Shankweiler, Raymond Shankweiler, Ralph Shankweiler, a daughter who died young, Mrs. Raymond Wetzel and Stella Hassler. Their home in 1919-1948 was in Alburtis, Lehigh County, with an address in later years of West Second Street. They were members of the Lutheran wing of the Longswamp Church, and he belonged to the Washington Camp of the Sons of America at Alburtis. Ellen became blind in about 1938 and was an invalid for the remaining 11 years of her life. Frank retired from his work in about 1945. At the age of 78, he passed away on Aug. 16, 1948. The Allentown Morning Call ran an obituary which gave the number of his grandchildren at five and great-grandchildren at one. Ellen outlived her spouse by four-and-a-half months. On Christmas 1948, she became seriously ill from chronic heart valve disease and died a week later on New Year's Day 1949.

  • Grandson Irwin B. Shankweiler ( ? -1981) was born in Longswamp Township. He lived in Macungie and was a longtime member of the Longswamp Lutheran Church in Mertztown. For 54 years, he was employed by Reading Railroad and Central Railroad of New Jersey prior to retirement in 1966. Irwin was married to Mabel Trexler ( ? - ? ). The couple's two children were Charles Shankweiler and Evelyn Landis. Their address in 1981 was 211 South Church Street in Macungie. At age 84, Irwin passed away on March 9, 1981 as a patient in Allentown Osteopathic Hospital. An obituary in the Allentown Morning Call reported that his survivors included nine grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.
  • Grandson Raymond Shankweiler ( ? -1993) was born in Alburtis. He was united in matrimony with Verna I. Hertzog ( ? - ? ). They bore a daughter, Althea A. Kollar. They resided in 1949-1993 in Emmaus, with an address of 423 Railroad Street. The family were members of Bethel Bible Fellowship Church of Emmaus. Raymond was employed for a quarter of a century by Bethlehem Steel Corporation's railroad division. He retired in 1966. Raymond succumbed in Lehigh Valley Hospital at age 91 on March 10, 1993.
  • Grandson Ralph Shankweiler ( ? -1994) was born in (?) in Maxatawny. He married Hilda F. Heist ( ? - ? ). Their marriage endured for 66 years until cleaved apart by death. The couple produced two daughters, Doris Grammes and Sally Reeser. For 44 years, Ralph was a teacher in local elementary schools, the last of which was Catasauqua Area School District, from which he retired in 1971. For more than three decades, he served as a board director and caretaker for the Shoenersville Cemetery. They dwelled in Schoenersville, PA in 1949 and Bethlehem in 1981 and were members of the Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bethlehem. Ralph died at age 89 in Fellowship Manor in Whitehall Township.
  • Granddaughter (?) Shankweiler was deceased by 1949.
  • Adopted granddaughter (?) married Raymond Wetzel. They made a home in 1948 in Alburtis.
  • Adopted granddaughter Stella (?) was united in marriage with (?) Hassler. She lived in Temple, PA in 1949.


View of Topton's Lutheran Orphans Home, a local landmark


Son Henry Reese (1870-1937) was born on Christmas Eve 1870. He married Mary Rohrbach ( ? - ? ). they dwelled in Chester County, PA in 1918-1925 and in Lancaster, PA in 1935. His home in 1937 was on Whitford Street in West Whiteland, Chester County. Stricken with cancer of the descending colon, and suffering for two years, he succumbed at the age of 66 on Sept. 9, 1937. His remains were placed into repose in a memorial park in Chester.

Daughter Annie Reese (1874- ? ) was born in about 1874.

Daughter Alvesta L. "Vesta" Reese (1874-1920) was born on Nov. 12, 1874. She was married twice. Evidence suggests that a year after she sued him for fornication and bastardy, she wedded her first husband, Longswamp resident John H. Dankel (1868- ? ), son of Henry J. and Sarah A. Dankel of Longswamp Township. The wedding took place in Fogelsville, Lehigh County on March 31, 1894, when she would have been age 19. News of the misdemeanor and eventual marriage were printed in the Allentown Democrat. The couple produced three children between 1893 and 1899 -- Elsie Dankel, Pearl Dankel and Edith Dankel. The 1900 federal census shows the family living in or near Washington Township, Berks County, with John employed as a hotel keeper. The Dankels' marriage did not last, and by 1910, she was united in marital union with Philadelphia and Reading Railroad conductor Jeremiah "Jerry" (or "Jere") Conrad (Nov. 17, 1848-1933), son of Benjamin and Sarah (Moyer) Conrad of Pike Township. Jeremiah was 25 years older than his bride. He also had been married before, possibly to Emma Fry (?), and brought these offspring to the second union -- Alice Conrad, George A. Conrad and John Conrad. The Conrads established a home in Pottstown, Montgomery County, PA, where Jeremiah was a member of St. Aloysius Catholic Church. Said the Pottstown Mercury:

Mr. Conrad entered the employ of Reading company in 1871 as a brakeman. He later became a baggagemaster and in 1881 he was promoted to conductor. He moved to Pottstown in 1873 and resided here ever since. During 48 years of service on the railroad, Mr. Conrad figured in only one accident. His train was derailed at Fegley's coal yard in 1871, his first year in the company's employ, Charles Bell, baggagemaster, was killed and Mr. Conrad suffered several broken ribs. He held a record of having several hundred thousand passengers travel on his trains but not one was injured. After many years of service on the Pottstown-Reading line, Mr. Conrad was transferred to th Colebrookdale Branch, where he remained until his retiement in 1918. During 1890, the late Thomas Edison rode on Mr. Conrad's train twice monthly. Edison was experimenting with the removal of foreign particles from iron ore. He was carrying on his tests at the old Bechtelsville mines. Although he attained the 70-year-age limit on November 17, 1913, Mr. Conrad continued working until December [1932], when he was retired formally. He was a devoted hunter and each year spent several days gunning for rabbits. During the past two years, ill health forced him to discontinue the sport. He told a story about a time he carried a gun on a trip to Boyertown and stopped the train to bag a rabbit.

Jeremiah suffered a broken ankle in March 1911 when he stepped on the side of an abandoned well near Barto and the structure caved in. In 1918, the couple was in North Coventry Township, Chester County. In about 1920, Jeremiah retired and began receiving a pension. Tragically, at the age of 45, Vesta was diagnosed with cancer of the uterus. Her health declined for five months until death relieved her of her sufferings on July 11, 1920. Her remains were lowered into eternal rest in Longswamp Church Cemetery. Jeremiah lived for another baker's dozen years and spent his final time at his daughter Katie Ginther's home at 4 West Fourth Street. At the age of 84, on April 15, 1933, he succumbed to the effects of a heart attack. Interment was in St. Aloysius Cemetery, following a high requiem mass sung at his church led by Assistant rector James F. McDonald. Pallbearers included grandsons Harry Ginther, William Ginther, Paul Ginther and William J. Schultz and grandsons-in-law Raymond Noble and John Andre.

  • Granddaughter Elsie C. Dankel (1893- ? ) was born in Feb. 1893. At the age of 17, in 1910, she worked as an operator in a shirt factory in Pottstown. She and her sister Pearl were singers and in about 1911 performed in the first of a series of alumni orchestra concerts held in the Pottstown opera house. Research is underway to verify if she is indeed the same "Elsie Dankel" who married L. Alvin Fillmen ( ? -1946), son of John H.B. and Elizabeth (Erb) Fillmen of Pottstown. If so, the couple were the parents of five offspring -- John Fillmen, Edith Fillmen, Georgianna Fillmen, Marjorie Fillmen and Frances Ann Fillmen. The Fillmens relocated to Washington, DC where they resided at 2509 Brentwood Road in the northeast section of the city. Alvin passed away at the age of 54 on March 9, 1946, with an obituary published in their old hometown newspaper, the Pottstown Mercury. His remains were interred in Cedar Hill Cemetery in Washington.
  • Granddaughter Pearl Dankel (1896- ? ) was born in May 1896. She and her older sister Elsie were singers and in about 1911 performed in the first of a series of alumni orchestra concerts held in the Pottstown opera house. Evidence hints that Pearl was unmarried and lived in Washington, DC circa 1947, when the gossip columns of the Pottstown Mercury reported that she was visiting at the home of Margaret Shaner on 58 King Street.
  • Granddaughter Edith May Dankel (1899- ? ) was born in July 1898 in Barto, Washington Township, Berks County. She earned income as a young woman as an "operator." On Feb. 5, 1919, at the age of 20, she was joined in marital union with 36-year-old railroad carpenter George Edgar Dilzer (Feb. 23, 1882-1951), son of Frank H. and Sarah R. (Graham) Dilzer of Cedarville, PA. The nuptials were led by Rev. H.F.J. Seneker. They bore a son, Richard Dilzer, born 1921. The federal census enumerations of 1920-1930 show the couple dwelling in South Pottstown, North Coventry Township, Chester County. By 1930, George had left his railroad work and was earning a living as a house carpenter. He apparently returned to the Reading Railroad and worked there until retirement. The couple's address in 1951 was 43 West Main Street in South Pottstown. Suffering from diabetes and hardening of the arteries for 10 years, George was felled by a heart attack and died at the age of 68 on April 18, 1951. His remains were placed into repose in Mt. Zion Cemetery in Pottstown. Edith grieved for nearly three years before marrying again. In a "quiet informal wedding" held in the parsonage of the Transfiguration Lutheran Church in Pottstown, led by Rev. Eugene Umberger, she was wed to Henry T. Wager ( ? - ? ), reported the Pottstown Mercury. "To be married, Mrs. Dilzer wore a black faille suit with black accessories, accented by an orchid corsage." Henry was a longtime employee of Laurel Locks Dairy. Circa 1976, her home was at 993 Warren Street in Pottstown.
  • Step-grandson Henry Francis Conrad (1876-1937) was born on Oct. 28, 1876. He married Pauline Wingert ( ? - ? ). They did not reproduce. The couple lived in Pottstown, where he was assistant yardmaster in the Pottstown yards of the Reading Railroad for 29 years. He was a member of the Reading Railroad Relief Association and the Pottstown lodge of the Moose. His final years were spent at Washington Square Garden in Norristown, Montgomery County. He retired due to poor health in about 1934. At the age of 60, on April 30, 1937, he died in the home of his brother-in-law Harry H. Smith in Norristown from the effects of heart and kidney disease. An obituary in the Pottstown Mercury said that the solemn requiem mass would be sung at St. Helena's Catholic Church, followed by burial in St. Patrick Cemetery in Norristown.
  • Step-granddaughter Mary Conrad ( ? - ? ) married (?) Schultz. In 1933-1937, she resided in Pottstown. Nothing more is known.


Main Street in Bally, PA


  • Step-granddaughter Catherine "Katie" Conrad ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She wedded Joseph W. Ginther ( ? -1950), son of Jacob W. and Mary (Wummer) Ginther of Bally. The couple's known children were Harry J. Ginther, Paul J. Ginther, William J. Ginther, Agnes G. Andre and Florence Beideman. In his early career, Joseph worked for the Pottstown Rapid Transit Company and the Boyertown Transit Line. Then, for 35 years, he was employed as sexton at St. Aloysius Catholic Chuch in Pottstown. Said the Pottstown Mercury, "During his long period of service at the church he worked under four rectors, the Rev. William A. Wachter, the Rev. Edward O'Malley, the Rev. Joseph A. McDonald and Rev. William H. McCook. He was a member of the Holy Name Society, the Altar and Rosary Society and St. Joseph's Beneficial Society in Bally. Their address in 1933 was 4 West Fourth Street in Pottstown. Illness forced Joseph to stop working in about 1947. He died on Nov. 12, 1950. Interment was in St. Aloysius Old Cemetery. Daughter Agnes married John R. Andre and was employied for 11 years as a secretary with Salem (NJ) School District, retiring in 1969. They retired in 1969 to Largo, FL, where Agnes passed away in Dec. 1976.
  • Step-granddaughter Alice Conrad (1882-1933) was born on April 27, 1882 in Pittstown. She never married. At the age of 27, in 1910, she lived at home with her father and stepmother in Pottstown. When she was in her early 50s, she lived at 4 West Fourth Street and worked as a cook in the Clover Leaf Restaurant in Pottstown. She endured heart valve disease but when her teeth became infected in late 1933, her health plummeted, and she died two days before Christmas 1933. Burial was in St. Aloysius Cemetery.
  • Step-grandson George A. Conrad (1887-1955) was born on Christmas Eve 1887 in Pottstown. He became an educator and, in 1910, lived at home at age 23 and taught school. He eventually left teaching and went to work as a produce merchant in Pottstown. George wedded Anna ( ? - ? ). Their address was 32 East Fourth Street. At the age of 47, George began to suffer from hypertension, and he endured the problem for two decades. But on Aug.3, 1955, he was felled by bleeding in the brain and died at age 67. His remains were lowered into repose in St. Aloysius New Cemetery.
  • Step-grandson John Conrad (1890- ? ) was born on Oct. 17, 1890 in Pottstown. In 1910, at the age of 20, he earned a living as a vendor of fruits and vegetables in Pottstown and continued in this line of work for decades until retirement. He married Rosella Neiman ( ? - ? ). Their home in 1958 was at 1002 North Evans Street in Pottstown. Having been diagnosed with bladder cancer in the mid-1950s, he suffered for another three years until death cut him down at age 67 on June 6, 1958. Burial was in St. Aloysius New Cemetery.

Daughter Amelia L. "Millie" Reese (1877-1925) was born on Feb. 27, 1877. In 1919, she lived in Hancock, PA. She was united in matrimony with widower William C. Titlow (Feb. 14, 1874-1953), son of Jeremiah and Elmira (Fenstermacher) Titlow of Longswamp. They bore a daughter, Eva Titlow. The Titlows dwelled in the 1920s in Topton, Longswamp Township, Berks County. William earned a living over the years as an uphosterer. His employers included several factories in Allentown. Stricken with cancer of the bladder and uterus, Amelia underwent surgery in the summer of 1922. She survived another three years but succumbed at the age of 48 on Oct. 13, 1925. Burial was in St. Paul's Cemetery in Mertztown, following funeral services co-officiated by Rev. W.S. Dry and Rev. M.H. Brensinger. An obituary was printed in the Allentown Morning Call. William outlived his wife by 28 years and apparently did not remarry. He was a member of the Reformed congregation of St. Paul's Church of Mertztown. His final occupation was as a clerk in the Topton House Hotel. In his final years, his address was 118 Main Street in Topton. He died in Allentown Hospital at the age of 79 on Nov. 17, 1953. Interment was in the Mertztown Cemetery. An obituary in the Morning Call noted that his survivors were son Max, a brother Clement and a granddaughter Ann of New York City.

  • Granddaughter Eva Titlow lived in Norristown, PA in 1925.

Daughter Jennie Reese (1880-1957) was born on Aug. 24, 1880 in Longswamp, Lehigh County. She married Howard B. Hassler (May 6, 1885-1933), son of Joseph and Emma (Bidding) Hassler. The couple made a home in 1925 in Shillington, PA and in 1937-1957 in the Temple community of Reading, Berks County. Howard earned a living over the years as a tire salesman. The couple's address in the 1950s was at 718 Tuckerton Avenue in Temple. Sadly, both Jennie and Howard died within three weeks of each other in the first month of 1957. On Jan. 12, 1933, the 47-year-old Howard was stricken with a heart attack and died quickly. Jennie signed the death certificate. But just 17 days later, having suffered bleeding on the brain, death swept Jennie away on Jan. 29, 1957. Interment was in Hains Church Cemetery in Wernersville, PA. Howard B. Brown of the home signed the official Pennsylvania certificate of death.

Son John A. Reese (1886-1965) -- who may also have gone by the name William -- was born on June 26, 1886 in Berks County. He married Sarah A. Moyer ( ? - ? ). The couple were the parents of Stella Miller, Eva Moyer, Mae Hilbert, Gladys Wetzel and Carl Reese. They lived in Fredericksville, PA in 1918; Longswamp Township, Berks County in the 1920s; and Alburtis, Lehigh County in 1949-1965. John made a living over the years by providing highway maintenance labor, a position from which he eventually retired. He suffered from kidney failure and a lack of oxygen to the brain and passed away at age 79 on Nov. 13, 1965. Interment was in Longswamp Church Cemetery. An obituary in the Allentown Morning Call said he was survived by 17 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

  • Granddaughter Stella Reese ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She married Amandus Miller ( ? - ? ). In 1965, they made a home in Fleetwood, PA.
  • Granddaughter Eva Reese ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She wedded Harvey Moyer ( ? - ? ). They dwelled in the mid-1960s in Centre Valley.
  • Granddaughter Mae Reese ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She was united in matrimony with Charles Hilbert ( ? - ? ). Their residence circa 1965 was in Mertztown.
  • Granddaughter Gladys Reese ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She was joined in holy wedlock with William Wetzel Jr. The family lived in Alburtis in 1965.
  • Grandson Carl Reese made a home in the mid-1960s in Alburtis.

Daughter Ida B. Reese (1884- ? ) was born in Feb. 1884. At the age of 16, in 1900, she lived with her married sister and brother-in-law, Vesta and John Dankel in Washington Township, Berks County, and worked there as a servant. Ida was twice married. Her first spouse, whom she wed in about 1905, was (?) Black. They were the parents of Stanley S. Black. In 1918, she made a home in Reading, Berks County. Later, she was joined in wedlock with Canadian-born Norman Dan Urquhart (June 23, 1881-1956), son of Alexander and Christina (McLeod) Urquhart of Nova Scotia. He was divorced from Pearl M. ( ? - ? ) and brought children Norma M. Urquhart and Murdoch D. Urquhart to the second union. Norman had spent his career as an engineer with power plant companies. Among these were roles circa 1917 as superintendent of a plant at Shoshone for Colorado Power Company. He also was an engineer with W.H. Barstow Company of New York, the Lexington Water Power company, the Associated Gas and Electric Company and a facility in the Philippines. In 1925-1949, Ida resided in Columbia, SC, where circa 1930 Norman was a construction engineer on the earthen Saluda Dam which helped create Lake Murray. In the 1950s, he was chief construction engineer for South Carolina Electric & Gas Company's 150,000 kilowatt steam electricity plan along the Savannah River near Beech Island. In October 1954, the plant was named for him as "Urquhart Station." The couple made their home in the 1950s at 122 Woodrow Street in Columbia. Tragically, in June 1956, Norman was stricken with a heart attack while driving, and his vehicle went off the road and plowed into a utility pole. His chest crushed, he was rushed to Columbia Hospital, where he passed away a few days later on June 16, 1956. Burial was in Greenlawn Mausoleum in Columbia, with an obituary appearing in the Greenville (SC) News and Greenwood Index-Journal.


The earthen Saluda Dam and power plant at Lake Murray near
Columbia, SC, for which Norman Urquhart served as construction engineer


  • Grandson Stanley S. Black (1905- ? ) was born in 1905 in Pennsylvania. Unmarried at the age of 25, in 1930, he resided with his mother and stepfather in Fork, Lexington County, SC, whee he earned a living as a timekeeper for the construction of the Saluda Dam.
  • Step-granddaughter Norma P. Urquhart (1908- ? ) was born in about 1908 in Colorado.
  • Step-grandson Murdoch D. Urquhart (1911- ? ) was born in 1911 in Colorado.


~ Daughter Ellen Jane (Fegely) Dorney ~

Daughter Ellen Jane Fegely (1854-1887) was born on Feb. 16, 1854 and was one of several siblings who could not hear or speak.

She wedded Henry William Dorney (Aug. 22, 1846-1908), the son of William and Maria A. (Mertz) Dorney.

The couple produced two known children, Katie L. DeLong and William Dorney.

They dwelled in or around Allentown, Lehigh County.

Sadness swept over the family when Ellen Jane died at the age of 33 on May 22, 1887. Her remains are in eternal repose in Allentown's Cedar Church Cemetery.

Henry survived his bride by more than 20 years. He suffered cardiac paralysis and succumbed on Sept. 11, 1908, just 19 days after his 62nd birthday. Interment was in Cetronia Cemetery.

Daughter Katie L. Dorney (1875-1968) was born on April 19, 1875 in Berks County. In about 1895, when she would have been age 20, she married Benjamin F. DeLong (1870-1945). They bore a daughter, Carrie Mabelle Parry, and adopted another, Ruth Moyer. The family belonged to St. Mark's Lutheran Church of Allentown. Grief covered the family in 1922 when married daughter Carrie, a farmer's wife, died at the age of about 24. Benjamin passed away in 1945, ending their marital union which had endured for about half a century. Katie lived for another 23 years. Toward the end of her life, she went to live with her married granddaughter Mrs. Stanley Santee in Allentown at the address of 235 East Susquehanna Street. She died in the Santee residence at the age of 93 on Dec. 18, 1968. Interment was in Cedar Church Cemetery in Cetronia, PA.

Son William H. Dorney ( ? - ? ) lived in Cetronia, PA in 1968.


St. Pauls Cemetery, Mertztown

~ Daughter Anna R. "Annie" Fegely ~

Daughter Anna R. "Annie" Fegely (1856-1902) was born in Oct. 1856.

She apparently never married.

Circa 1880, when the United States Census was taken, the 22-year-old Anna dwelled with her parents and brothers in Longswamp.

Still single at the age of 43 in 1900, she resided under the roof of her married brother Hiram in Longswamp.

Sadly, Anna passed away on Aug. 10, 1902. The cause is not known.

Funeral services were held in Hiram's home, followed by burial in the Mertztown Cemetery. A short notice about her funeral was printed in the Allentown Leader.


Hiram's grave, St. Paul's, Mertztown

~ Son Hiram R. Fegely ~

Son Hiram R. Fegely (1859-1927) was born on Oct. 20, 1859.

In about 1892, at the age of 38, he married 18-year-old Kate Rebecca "Katie" Miller (April 1874-1908). They were 20 years apart in age.

The six children born to this couple were Henry S. Fegely, James Alvin Fegely, Charles William Fegley, Laura Sarah Dankel, Carrie May Pilgert and Eva P. Brensinger.

Hiram and Kate were farmers, and their residence was in Longswamp Township, Berks County. They were longtime members of St. Paul's Union Church of Mertztown.


Kate's grave, St. Pauls, Mertztown

Sadly, their son Henry died as an infant in 1894. Then on Dec. 14, 1907, after suffering for a few days from bronchitis and undernourishment ("marasmus"), their one-month-old son James was carried away by the Angel of Death.

Heartache must have filled the household in about 1907 when the 33-year-old Kate began to show symptoms of mental/emotional depression. The decline and death of their infant son James may have been an influence. Hiram hired a lawyer to seek help from the county government. In turn, in mid-December 1907, the county court appointed Dr. C.D. Werley, Samuel N. Haycock and Foster S. Biehl, of the Lunacy Commission, to investigate.

Within a month, Kate was admitted to the Pennsylvania State Lunatic Hospital in Harrisburg, diagnosed with "Melancholia recurrent exhaustion" and spent the final nine months of her life in the institution.

She succumbed to her illness on Oct. 6, 1908. Her remains were returned to Berks County to be lowered into eternal repose in St. Pauls Union Church Cemetery in Mertztown.

Hiram spent his final 19 years as a widower. Circa 1900-1910, he provided shelter for his brother Charles, who could not speak nor hear. The brother died in 1912.


Infant James' marker, St. Pauls

His home in 1920 was in Longswamp. Deeply depressed on Christmas Day 1927, he used a razor to slice the common femoral artery on his left thigh, about six inches above the knee, and proceeded to bleed to death. Son Charles was the informant for the official Pennsylvania certificate of death. The remains were lowered into eternal repose in Mertztown Cemetery, with funeral services officiated by Rev. W.S. Dry of Kutztown. In an obituary, the Allentown Morning Call graciously said he had "passed away at his residence" and was "a highly respected citizen of Longswamp township." He was survived by eight grandchildren.

Son Charles William Fegley (1897-1990) was born in Sept. 1897 in Longswamp. His home in 1985 was in Kutztown.

Daughter Laura Sarah Fegley (1899-1985) was born in Oct. 1899 in Longswamp. She wedded Charles L. Dankel ( ? -1960), son of Henry and Sarah (Epler) Dankel. The children born to this marriage were Lucy Dengler, Dorothy Radcliffe, Arline Weaknecht, Ruth Follweiler and Charles H. Dankel. They dwelled in Mertztown and were members of St. Paul's United Church of Christ. Charles earned a living working at Electro-Chemical Engineering and Manufacturing Company of Emmaus. Sadly, he died at age 65 at home on July 26, 1960. Laura lived for another quarter century. At the age of 85, Laura died in Allentown Hospital on March 21, 1985. An obituary in the Allentown Morning Call reported that she was survived by 15 grandchildren, 38 great-grandchildren and 10 great-great grandchildren for a grand total of 63 lives.

  • Granddaughter Lucy Dankel ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She wedded Charles Dengler and lived in Wescosville.
  • Granddaughter Dorothy Dankel ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She married Stanley Radcliffe and made a home in Mertztown.
  • Granddaughter Arline Dankel ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She was united in holy matrimony with Paul Weaknecht. In 1960-1985, she dwelled in Mertztown.
  • Granddaughter Ruth Dankel ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She was joined in wedlock with George Follweiler. They resided in Emmaus.
  • Grandson Charles H. Dankel made a residence in 1985 in Topton.


Time-blackened marker, Carrie and William,
St. Paul's Union Church, Mertztown

Daughter Carrie May Fegely (1902-1996) was born in 1902 in Mertztown. When she was 18 years of age, circa 1920, Carried May was united in holy matrimony with a distant cousin, 29-year-old William Alfred Pilgert (Aug. 28, 1890-1984), son of John James and Sarah A. (Shoemaker) Pilgert of the family of George and Christina "Dinah" (Fegely) Pilgert. The bride was eight to 12 years younger than her spouse. (Records differ.) The couple went on to produce a family of five known offspring -- Russel H. Pilgert, Eva B. Radcliffe, Carl W. Pilgert, Lucy S. Braun and Ruby R. Koch. In 1930, they dwelled in Longswamp Township. They made a residence in Mertztown in 1938-1964, on Chestnut Street, and were members of St. Paul's Lutheran Church of Mertztown. William earned a living for years as a dyer for Long Valley Rug Mill in Mertztown, and the 1930 and 1940 United States Censuses shows him in this work. He eventually retired from the company. For 28 years, starting in about 1940, Carrie was employed by Radcliffe's IGA supermarket in Mertztown in the meat department. She retiried in 1968. At the age of 93, William passed into eternity on Feb. 20, 1984, as a patient in Allentown Hospital. An obituary was printed in the Allentown Morning Call, stating that he was survived by 13 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Carrie lived for another dozen years and went to live in the Lutheran Home in Topton. She succumbed in the Home's Henry Health Care Center at the age of 93 on March 14, 1996. They rest together in St. Pauls Union Church Cemetery in Mertztown.

  • Grandson Russel H. Pilgert (1920- ? ) was born in about 1920. He dwelled in Mertztown. At the age of 20, he worked with his father in the Long Valley Rug Mill, specializing in weaving.
  • Granddaughter Eva B. Pilgert (1923- ? ) was born in about 1923. She was united in wedlock with Charles E. Radcliffe and lived in Mertztown.
  • Grandson Carl W. Pilgert (1927- ? ) was born in about 1927.
  • Granddaughter Lucy S. Pilgert (1934- ? ) was born in about 1934, a twin with her sister Ruby. Shewas joined in matrimony with Richard K. Braun. Their residence in 1996 was in Allen Park, MI.
  • Granddaughter Ruby R. Pilgert (1934- ? ) was born in about 1934, a twin with her sister Lucy. She wedded (?) Koch and made a home in Macungie in 1996.

Daughter Eva J. Fegely (1905- ? ) was born in about 1905 in Longswamp. At the age of 18, in about 1923, she was united in wedlock with 22-year-old Charles L. Brensinger (1901- ? ), son of Catherine Brensinger. News of their marriage license application was published in the Reading Times. They adopted a son, Gerald Charles Brensinger. When the United States Census was taken in 1930, the couple lived in Mertztown, Longswamp Township. Charles' work that year was as a dyer in the local rug mill. The couple appears to have separated during the 1930s. By 1940, Eva was employed as a servant in the Alburtis home of butcher Raymond W. Adams and his wife Mary, while Charles headed a Longswamp household with his young son, mother, aunt and niece. Eva apparently had little contact with her family and, circa 1995, while still alive, her whereabouts were stated by the Allentown Morning Call as "address unknown."

  • Adopted grandson Gerald Charles Brensinger (1927-1995) was born in about 1927. He was married to Mary A. Kleinsmith ( ? -1984), daughter of William and Helen (Moyer) Kleinsmith of Old Zionsville. The couple produced a family of offspring, among them Charles Brensinger, Paul Brensinger, Lee Brensinger, Elaine Wittman and Elizabeth Noah. They lived in East Greenville, PA. Gerald made a living over the years as a construction laborer. After retirement in 1978, they lived in the Mountain Village Trailer Park in Macungie. Sadly, Mary died at the age of 57 years, 10 months and two days on July 29, 1984. The widowed Gerald then appears to have relocated to Dade City, FL. As his health failed, he was admitted to the Royal Oaks Nursing Home. He passed into eternity in Dade City at the age of 68 on Sept. 8, 1995, with an obituary appearing in the Allentown Morning Call. Among his survivors named in the obituary was his brother Floyd Ziegenfuss of Painted Post, NY.


Copyright 2000, 2009, 2017-2019 Mark A. Miner