George M. Zeller the popular proprietor of the well-known "American House," at Stouchburg, Marion township is a representative of one of Berks county's oldest and most honored families. Mr. Zeller was born Sept. 30, 1863, in Marion township, son of Reily W. and Rebecca (Troutman) Zeller.

Between 1733 and 1751 here landed (qualified) at Philadelphia three emigrants of the name of Zoller, and between 1740 and 1767 a number of Zellers and Zollers are there recorded. But the Tulpehocken Zellers have for their ancestor John Henry Zeller (sometimes Zoeller), who came from Schohaire, N.Y., as the following account from the Rev. Mr. Stapleton's "memorials of the Huguenots in America: shows:

"Among the Huguenots exiles were several branches of the ancient Sellaire or Cellier family of France. The name is met with among the refugees to England and America prior to the Revocation (1685), and even in faraway Cape Colony, where a descendant, General Cellier, became famous as a Boer leader in the Transvaal war. One branch retired to the Palatinate about the period of the Revocation. Of this family was Jean Henri Sellaire, who, with his family, followed the great exodus of Palatinates to London in 1708. In 1709 he came to New York with the Palatinates, where his name and that of his son John as 'Zeller' appears among the settlers of Livingston Manor in 1710. About 1727 he came overland through the trackless wilderness to Tulpehocken, locating near the present town of Sheridan, where he established a considerable estate and where he died at a very advanced age in 1756. His house, a massive stone edifice, erected with a view to protect the family and neighbors in case of an attach from the Indians, is still standing." This house, now an historical relic of the section, and known as "Zeller's Indian Fort," was erected in 1745, on the banks of the mill creek and, as stated, was used for a fort. But the author of the paragraph quoted was not quite accurate when he called it a "massive stone edifice." The walls are massive enough, but the building could hardly be called an edifice. He also erected the first meeting place of these early Schohaire settlers for worship, defense and mutual conference. He died in January, 1756, and his will, made Aug. 3, 1754, was probated Jan. 20, 1756. This will shows a wife, Anna Maria, and children: John George (who obtained the homestead), John Henry, John David, Hartman (The Rev. Mr. Stapleton gives this name as Martin), John, Anna, Maria Saltztius, Barbara (or Barbaralis) Lerew, Catharine Pontius and Anna Elizabeth Battorf. The executors are shown as his son John and son-in-law Leonard Anspach, accordingly there must have been another daughter.

It appears that some of the descendants of John Henry Zeller removed to Heidelberg in Lancaster (now Lebanon) county, where the proprietary and State tax lists of Lancaster county for 1779 show David Zeller (110 acres), Henry Zeller (100 acres), Peter Zeller (100 acres), and Michael Zeller (40-acres). The first three of these are also shown for 1771. In case of the Old townships it must not be forgotten that where mentioned by the Rev. Mr. Stoever and other early preachers they did not always have definite boundaries. Heidelberg, for instance, extended rather indefinitely westward and perhaps through what is now Lebanon county. Tulpehocken and Heidelberg seem also to have overtapped in some places.

The following memoranda undoubtedly refer to some of the children of John Henry Zeller, the emigrant:

John G. Zoeller and Hartman Zoeller are shown by Rupp as members between 1735 and 1755, of the Tulpehocken Reformed Church, formerly known locally as Leinbach's Church, situated in the pike between Stouchburg and Myerstown. Hans Heinrich Zeller and Johannes Zeller are mentioned by Rupp as among those, above twenty-one years of age, who passed the winter of 1710 and the summer of 1711 in Livingston Manor, N. Y., and who appear to have settled in Schoharie, N. Y., and from that place to have removed to Tulpehocken in 1723 or later.

From the Rev. John Casper Stoever's record of Baptisms and Marriages is obtained the following information:

Marriages: Jan. 14, 1743, John Pontius and Anna Catharine Zoeller, of Tulpehocken; Dec. 28, 1743, John Zoeller and Maria Becker, of Tulpehocken; Oct. 5, 1772, Michael Zoeller and Cathrine Dillman, of Heidelberg.

With regard to the descendants of John Pontius and wife Anna Catharine Zoeller, Rev. Mr. Stapleton in his "Memorials of the Huguenots" has the following account: "In 1738 John Pontius arrived and located in Tulpehocken. He was born in Alsace (France), in 1718. In 1743 he married Anna Catharine, a daughter of John Zeller (should be John Henry Zeller as he correctly states in an article in Notes and Queries by Dr. William E. Egle, Annual Volume, 1898). He had a considerable family and his sons were great pioneers. They were John Henry, born in 1744; John Peter, born in 1747; John, born in 1751; Andrew; Nicholas; George; and Frederick. Several were among the first settlers in Buffalo Valley in (now) Union county, and many of the next generation were of the first in Ohio and Illinois."

Baptismal Records: John Henry Zeller, Jr., tailor, of Tulpehocken-John Henry, born March 5, 1745; sponsors, John Henry Zeller, Sr. and wife on March 26, 1745; John Zoeller, Jr., of Tulpehocken, Frantz Paul, born April 8, 1751.

There are shown as having acted as sponsors: In 1730, Henry Zeller and wife in family of Michael Schauer (now Shower), of Heidelberg; in 1744, John Henry Zoeller and wife in family of John Pontius, of Swatara; in 1745, John Henry Zeller, Sr., and wife in family of John Henry Zeller, Jr., of Tulpehocken; in 1746, John Nicholas Zeller and wife in family of John Peter Wissenandt, of "Moden Creek" (supposed to be Muddy Creek in Lancaster county).

From the Proprietary and State Tax lists of Berks county for the years 1767, 1768, 1779, 1780, 1781, 1784, and 1785 is obtained Zeller information as follows: As of Tulpehocken-Hans Zoeller for 1767 and 1768, with 100 acres; John Zeller for 1779 and 1780, no land; George Zeller (also Zoller) for all years, with 100 to 375 acres; Peter Zoller (single) for 1768; Andrew Zeller for 1779 and subsequent years, with 133 to 140 acres; Francis (or France) Zeller for 1779 and subsequent years with 167 acres; Peter Zeller (Albert's estate of 150 acres) for 1784. In 1784 the number of persons for George Zeller is given as nine, for Francis, ten and for Andrew, six. None are shown for Peter. As of Reading, Nich's Zeller, laborer, for 1779. As of Cumru, Nich's Zeller for 1780 and 1781.

Johannes Zeller, of Tulpehocken township, evidently son of John Henry, the emigrant settler, made his will May 13, 1795, and it was probated Dec. 234, 1805, the witnesses being Christian Lower and Johan Dieffenbach, and the executors Frnacis (Frantz) Paul Zeller and Valentine Sailes. Johannes Zeller's children were: Francis, mentioned below; Peter; Elizabeth, who married John Reitenour; Catharine, who married Philip Zehring; Margaret, who married Valentine Seiler; and Mary, Mrs. Lefever, who had four children, John, Henry, George and Catherine. Johannes Zeller, the father of this family, built the house now on the Weaver farm in Marion township, which is in a substantial condition and likely to last many years. On the east gable the following inscription appears: "Wan Ich einmahl starben Musta," and another inscription reads: "Hannes Zeller, Kattarina Zellerin, 1772."

At Mifflinburg, Union Co., Pa., in the old part of the cemetery just south of the town, lie buried Peter Zellers, born in 1745, in Tulpehocken township, Berks county who dies in 1817; and Catharine Zellers (wife of Peter), born in 1742, who died in 1808, daughter of Jacob Wilhelm. (This Peter Zellers was probably the son of John Zeller.)

Frantz Paul (Francis) Zeller, son of Johannes, and great-great-grandfather of George M., was born April 8, 1751, and died Oct. 5, 1821, aged seventy years, five months, twenty-seven days, and his wife, Elizabeth, who was born Dec. 16, 1762, died April 23, 1819 aged fifty-six years, four months, six days. Both were buried in the ole graveyard at the Reformed Church in Tulpehocken, across the line of Berks in Lebanon county. Frantz Paul Zeller was a sergeant on the roll of John Lesher's company during the Revolutionary war, and in the same company was one Andrew Zeller, a fifer, who it is believed was Frantz Paul's brother. Michael Zeller, a private of Capt. Peter Dechert's company in 1776, was also a brother. [N. B. Neither Andrew nor Michael are mentioned above in list of Frantz Paul Zellers brothers and sisters.] Frantz Paul Zeller owned the old house built by his father in 1772, a stone, pebble-dashed, weatherboarded structure, with a wall two feet thick and plaster between the stones as hard as steel. The farm during his generation consisted of 154 acres, and he it was who erected the present barn. In his will, which he made June 12, 1820, he said that he was old and weak in body. It is singed "Frantz Zeller," was witnessed by Adam Sheetz and Jacob Becker, and was probated Oct. 24, 1821. His children were: Jacob (was bequested the plantation), Catherine, John, Benjamin, Peter, Elizabeth (m. Christian Hantz), Daniel, Valentine, Anna Maria (m. Frederick Kuster), Jonathan, Henry, and David.

Jacob Zeller, grandfather of Reily W., and great-grandfather of George M., was born June 8, 1790, and died April 4, 1872, aged eighty-one years, nine months, twenty-six days, and was buried at the Tulpehocken Reformed Church. He owned the original homestead, and was a farmer all of his life. Mr. Zeller married Susanna Trautman, who was born March 23, 1791, and died Dec. 12, 1842, in her fifty-second year. The children born to them were: Lydia, m. to Peter Walborn; Elizabeth, m. to Isaac Weigly; Jonathan; Catherine, m. to Eli Gehret; Lavina, m. to David Dundore; Jacob m. to Caroline Kilmer; and John, born in 1833, who died in 1888, m. to Beckie Schell.

Jonathan Zeller, grandfather of George M., was born July 10, 1815, and died Jan. 12, 1894, in his seventy-ninth year. He was a farmer by occupation, owned the homestead in Marion township, which he cultivated for many years, and was well-known in the community for his public spirit. He was buried at the Tulpehocken Reformed Church, of which he was a member. Mr. Zeller was married to Catherine Wilhelm, born Feb. 27, 1817, died Feb. 12, 1901, aged near eighty-four years. Their children were as follows: Reily W.; Elizabeth m. (first) Henry Kachel, deceased, and (second) George Foos, deceased, and whose son is Dr. Charles S. Foos, superintendent of Reading public schools; and Mary m. Dr. Frank J. Kantner, of Reading.

Reily W. Zeller, father of George M., was born Feb. 17, 1843, in Marion township, and from his youth until 1893 was engaged in agricultural pursuits. In that year he removed to his dwelling at Stouchsburg, and since that time has lived retired. In 1897, however, he returned to the farm, which he operated for a period of three years. Again disposing of his farming property, Mr. Zeller returned to Stouchsburg, and since that time has live retired from active pursuits. He was the owner of sixty-five acres of land, a part of the original homestead, which he sold to Lewis Webber in 1903, Mr. Webber also owning the old Zeller stand. Mr. Zeller is a Democrat in politics, was school director for six years, four years of which were present in the capacity of treasurer of the board, and has been a delegate to numerous county conventions. With his family he attends the Tulpehocken Church, of which he is a deacon.

In 1864 Mr. Zeller was married to Rebecca Troutman, daughter of Benjamin and Hannah (Leiss) Troutman, and three children were born to this marriage: George M.; Wilson B., of Reading; and Mary, m. to Charles H. Spangler.

George M. Zeller, was reared upon his father's farm, and worked for his parents until he was twenty years old, at which time he went to learn cigar making under James Zerbe, at Stouchsburg, where in 1893 he engaged in the manufacture of cigars. He continued in this business until 1897, also conducting a cigar store, disposing of his products to local houses. Mr. Zeller then engaged in packing cigars for George Druber, a cigar manufacturer at Stouchsburg, until the fall of 1900, when at public sale, he p8urchased the property of the "American House," at Stouchsburg, from the Isaac L. Moyer estate, and this he has conducted with much success to the present time. This famous hostelry which was established many years ago by Mr. Moyer, has been greatly remodeled by Mr. Zeller, who now has one of the finest stands in the county. The hotel contains twenty rooms, has one of the best tables to be found in Berks, and has the liberal patronage of the raveling trade between Philadelphia and Harrisburg. Mr. Zeller is one of the best-known and most popular men in his township, and also has a large acquaintance in the southern and western portions of Berks county. In addition to his hotel and store building he owned a comfortable residence at Stouchsburg, and he has been prominently identified with the progress and development of his section. He keeps a fine span of horses, is a great fisherman, is one of the crack shots of the Keystone Gun Club, of Lebanon, Pa., where he won medals for marksmanship for five consecutive years, having a record of fifteen straight birds. He has a very valuable bird dog. Mr. Zeller was the pitcher of the star Marion base ball club that held the amateur championship of the county in the early nineties. In politics Mr. Zeller is a stanch Democrat, and takes an active interest in his party's success, having never missed an election since attaining his majority. Fraternally he is connected with Washington Camp No. 237, P. O. S. of A., Stouchsburg; Reading Encampment No. 1, and the Commonwealth Casualty Company of Philadelphia. Mr. Zeller and his family are members of Tulpehocken Reformed Church of Marion township, to which he give his liberal support.

On Sept. 26, 1885, Mr. Zeller was married to Lizzie J. Bright, daughter of Aaron Bright (see sketch else-where). To this union has been born one son, Harry Bright Zeller, born on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 1886, at Stouchsburg. He graduated from the township schools, and later attended the Lebanon Business College and the Elmer Deck School of Shorthand and Typewriting, at Reading.

Wilson B. Zeller, son of Reily W. and brother of George M., was born in Marion township Oct. 1, 1865. His education was obtained in the public schools, in Palatinate College, Myerstown, and in the Keystone State Normal School at Kutztown. He taught three terms at the Zeller school in Marion, and two terms in the Moyer school in the same township. He learned the duties pertaining to a farmer's life at home, and he gave his assistance to his father until he was twenty-one years old. He then entered the general store of his father-in-law, Isaac L. Moyer, a merchant at Stouchsburg. There he continued for nine years. In January, 1898, he was appointed a clerk in the Recorder's office at Reading, and there he gave satisfactory service under Recorders Reeser and Bressler. In 1904 he became traveling salesman for S. M. Hess & Bros., manufacturers of fertilizers at Philadelphia, and he now represents that firm in twenty-four counties in Pennsylvania. He possesses the happy faculty of making friends.

In 1885 Mr. Zeller was married to Ada A. Moyer, eldest daughter of the late Isaac L. Moyer, of Marion township. They resided in Stouchsburg until their removal to Reading in April, 1901. Three children have been born to them: (1) Robert M., born May 27, 1887, graduated from the Reading high school in 1905, with highest distinction. He taught the same school in Marion township in 1905-06 that his father had taught, and is now on the editorial staff of the Reading Eagle, (2) Edna M. (3) Sarah R., born March 20, 1893, died July 12, 1902. Mr. Zeller and his family are members of St. Mark's Reformed Church, Reading. During the residence in Stouchsburg Mr. Zeller was connected with the Union Sunday-school for ten years, being superintendent for seven. Socially he is a member of Golden Rule Lodge, No. 159, I. O. O. F., of Womelsdorf; Washington Camp, No. 237, P. O. S. of A., Stouchsburg, of which he is a past officer, and was district president of District No. 3, for one term. He also belongs to the T. P. A. In his political faith he is a strong Democrat, and of great influence in his party. For eleven years he filled the office of school director in Marion township, for nine years, being secretary of the board. He was a frequent delegate to county conventions under the old system. In June, 1909, he received the nomination for the office of recorder of deeds of Berks county, after a hard fight.


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William F. Zellers, of No. 1720 Centre avenue, Reading, who was employed in the smelting department of the Carpenter Steel Works, was born in Ontelaunee township, Berks Co., Pa., son of John and Catherine (Kraemer) Zellers.

John Zellers was born in Bern township, Berks county, but has spent his whole life in Ontelaunee township, where he owns a valuable farm, situated along Maiden Creek. He has been a prominent man in his day, serving as town supervisor on the Democratic ticket, and is known as a hardworking, industrious man. In religious belief he is Reformed. Mr. Zellers married Catherine Kraemer, who died in 1903, at the age of sixty-seven years. To them were born eight children, as follows: Emma, m. to Levi Haas, of Reading; John, m. to Kate Randsong; Charles, a hotel clerk, m. to Sally Martin; Catherine, m. to Abraham Fox; William F.; Ida, m. to William Kemmerer, ex-recorder of deeds of Berks county; Ellen, m. to Hiram Hottenstein, deceased; and Edward, at home, m. to Nora Burkhard.

William F. Zellers was educated in the schools of his native vicinity, and until twenty-one years of age lived on the home farm, after which he engaged at butchering with his brother. In 1890 he became engaged with Carpenter Steel Works, and for a term of fifteen years he was a smelter of crucible steel, this being one of the most expert departments of the works, as the quality of the steel for the crucibles depends entirely upon the skill of the smelter.

Mr. Zellers was married to Annie Brockway, daughter of Llewellyn Brockway, of Hyde Park, Pa., and they have one child, Herbert, who is attending high school. Mr. And Mrs. Zellers are members of the Reformed Church. Fraternally he is connected with the Knights of Malta and the I. O. R. M. In political matters Mr. Zellers is independent.