Sunday, July 11, 2010

Who Were They?

There are, of course, many more people in my family tree. In my previous post I named my Hummel ancestors. But who were they? Here is a brief biography on each forefather:

Michael Hummel
The earliest-known Hummel ancestor. I only know his name, so far, from his son Jacob's burial record. Nothing more is yet known.

Jacob Hummel
Jacob Hummel was born February 5, 1778. I don't know where, yet. Jacob was a farmer who settled near Plowville in Robeson Township, Pennsylvania. He married Maria Elizabeth Herbine and fathered 13 children. He died October 23, 1866, and is buried next to his wife in the Robeson Lutheran Cemetery.

Daniel Hummel
Daniel Hummel, the third-youngest child of Jacob Hummel, was born July 8, 1823. According to his obituary in the Reading Eagle, Daniel's first decade from school was spent teaching school and working on the family farm. After a year of keeping store in Plow Tavern, he kept store for 16 years at a main crossroads on Allegenyvillr Road in Brecknock Township (near Maple Grove). He became a postmaster there, and the crossroads became known as Hummel's Store.

In 1869 he was elected as the Berks County Recorder of Deeds, and moved his family to the City of Reading. After his term he became a businessman in the city. He was married three times, having been widowed twice. He had 2 sons, Elias and (Franklin) Pierce with his first wife, Hannah Lorah. He died in Reading December 9, 1899.

Franklin Pierce Hummel
F. Pierce Hummel, as he was known, was the younger of Daniel's 2 sons. He was born April 6, 1854. It seems that he tried to follow in his father's footsteps as an important man in the City of Reading, and while he may have had some initial success, much of his adult life was spent in a downward spiral. He spent many years as a pension agent in the city, but was apparently prone to disappear, sometimes for days or weeks on end. In 1902 he pled guilty for selling a fraudulent mortgage and was sentenced to 2 years in Berks County Prison. His wife, Berhta (Kepner) divorced him for abandonment somewhere around 1905 and married family friend and onetime boarder in the Hummel household, A. Monroe Moser. It seems that he spent his later years penniless and abandoned by his family. His death is currently unknown. Pierce had 2 sons with Berhta: George S. Hummel and Wayne Hummel.

Wayne Hummel
Wayne, in what has become a Hummel tradition, was born on his father's birthday, April 6, 1879. As he was little spoken of, little is yet known of him. He worked for his father in his notary and pension agent's office, until his father's business went under. For an as-yet unknown reason, he spent some time in the Berks County Prison in 1900. He married my great-grandmother, Anna Amanda Snyder, in 1899, and had 6 children: George P. (died as an infant), Wayne E., Monroe George (my Pop-Pop), Bertha, Anna, and Ella. Sometime around 1924 he left my great-grandmother for another woman. He may have had a daughter with her, but so far I haven't found anything else about him. His death is currently unknown.

Monroe George Hummel
My Pop-Pop. He was born November 25, 1910. Due to his father's leaving, at age 14 he had to become the man of the house, left school after 8th grade, and got a job to support the family. As a result of being picked-on for his size (5'4") he started lifting weights as a young age and became quite an athlete. He was a competitive weight-lifter, boxer, gymnast (one of the best around), wrestler, and football player. He spent most of his working life as a pipe-fitter on the Reading Railroad, and spent later years at the Firestone Tire factory in Pottstown, PA. A life-long outdoorsman, he became very successful bass fisherman. Me married Evelyn Stunk (my Grammy) and had 3 sons, one of which, of course, is my dad. He died on Grammy's birthday, August 20, 1987.

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