Incorporation. The borough of Mohnton was established by a decree of the court of Quarter Sessions of Berks County on March 18, 1907, and the boundary lines embraced 291 acres, 116 perches. The petition for the borough, signed by 117 free-holders, was presented to court on Oct. 21, 1904, and shortly afterward an earnest remonstrance was filed against it. Depositions were taken and filed, for and against the granting of the petition, and the matter was before the court at different times until favorable action was finally secured on the day first named. The freeholders of the town numbered 212.
Benjamin Mohn, from Mohn's Hill in the southern section of Cumru Township, purchased a farm in 1846 from John Schwartz. This was situated along the Wyomissing creek and embraced the land which afterward came to be known as Mohnsville. He then erected a dwelling-house, and some years afterward this was converted into a tavern by John Griner. It is now owned and carried on by Augustus R. Anderson.
About the same time his cousin, Samuel K. Mohn, opened a general store in a grist-mill along the creek, erected by Benjamin Mohn and a few years afterward he erected a store building opposite the mill along the public road which was laid out through this section on the way from Reading to New Holland, and at this stand he carried on business for many years.
The character of the surface here is very hilly, and Benjamin Mohn sold off lots without first making a regular plan or survey, but, in spite of these uninviting circumstances, many houses came to be erected for the convenience of the people who were employed in the factories established along the creek, and the thriving settlement came to be known as Mohnsville. For fifty years it has been recognized as a most flourishing settlement, notwithstanding its distance from the railroad. In this respect, it has been an exceptional community. Its success under adverse circumstances is attributable to the superior character of the men who located there.
Shortly after the beginning of the settlement, a wool-hat factory was erected by Absalom Ruth near the Mohn grist-mill. His successor was John Spatz, who operated the plant for twenty years in a very successful manner until his decease in 1898, when it was purchased by his son, Isaac S. Spatz, who has carried on the business since that time.
Subsequently, other wool-hat factories were established along the stream higher up, by Cyrus D. Hornberger, Jacob Kessler, and Henry Wetley. And about this time, William Pennepacker erected a gun-barrel factory, also along the stream but below the Mohn mill, which he carried on for a number of years. All the plants were operated by water-power, supplied by the Wyomissing creek.
|Aaron R. Wanner
|William Leininger, President
Charles Miller, Treasurer
A.S. Hornberger, Secretary
|Dr. A. A. Stamm, President
Allen Fisher, Secretary
Dr. M. L. Miller, Treasurer
Charles T. Eckenroth
|Justices of the Peace
Frank W. Matz
|John L. Seitzinger
|Board of Health
|Dr. B. H. Miller
Post Office-A post-office was established in the store of Samuel K. Mohn in 1857 by the name of Mohn's Store and this name was continued until the erection of the borough, when it was changed to Mohnton. Mr. Mohn was the postmaster for fifteen years. John Yocom Weidner has filled the position since 1897. He has been engaged in the general store business at this place for forty years. He started the business of cutting, storing and supplying ice in this section of the county and has been engaged in it for thirty years.
Industries-The following varied industries were carried on at Mohnton in 1909:
Bakeries, by Augustus Griffith (established 1892), with 4 hands; Groff & Ressler (1898), with 4 hands.
Cigar Factory, by J. J. Eshelman (1886), with 40 hands.
Cotton Lap Factory, by Werley Brothers (1908}, with 4 hands.
Grist Mill, by John Spatz Estate (1888), with 2 hands.
Hosiery Mills, by George Leininger (1898), with 75 hands; Wm. G. Leininger (1898), with 20 hands; Isaac S. Spatz (1903), with 35 hands; Werley Brothers (1904), with 25 hands.
Paper Box Factory, by E. G. Werner & Sons (1894), with 35 hands.
Planing Mills, by Frank Wanner (now son Tyson) (1880), with 8 hands; Isaac S. Spatz (1901), with 9 hands.
Saw Mill, by John Y. Weidner (1903), with 3 hands.
Shirt Factories, by William Werner (1897), with 30 hands; Biram Griffith (1908), with 18 hands; Dr. A. A. Stamm (1900), with 30 hands.
Underwear Mill, by Hornberger & Killian (1908), with 25 hands.
Wool-hat Factories, by Jacob Kessler (1878), with 40 hands; Isaac S. Spatz(1898),with 50 hands.
Wheelwright Shops, by Henry Knoll (1880), with 4 hands; Henry Wise (1895), with 3 hands.
Besides the industries named, the borough contained then five stores, two hotels, three doctors, two barbers and an undertaker.
These industries demonstrate the importance and great value of the stream to the community by affording constant employment to several hundred hands. Besides the water-power, coal is also used for steam-power and heating; it is hauled by teams from Reading.
Local Express-Howard H. Leininger started a local express business at Mohnton in 1902 for hauling manufactured goods, merchandise, coal, etc., for the local industries to and from Reading, and since then has required the constant use of twenty-five to thirty horses to fill the orders of his patrons.
The manufacturers also do much hauling to and from Reading in their business, and employ upward of seventy horses. Their nearest shipping point on the railroad is at Reading.
Bank.-The Mohnton National Bank was chartered Dec. 7, 1907, with a capital of $25,000, and it was opened for business Jan. 21, 1908, with the following directors: George H. Leininger, L. G. Ham, John Von Neida, M. C. Kauffman, Jeremiah Horning, Augustus R. Andersen, Charles M. Yetter, Jacob C. Kessler, E. G. Werner, William G. Leininger, Henry H. Werley, Harry Dumn, S. K. Remp and Aaron A. Hornberger; of whom George H. Leininger was elected president.
Mill Dams-The Wyomissing creek, which flows through the southern section of the borough, has been a valuable water-power to the residents of this vicinity from the time of the earliest settlements dating back to about 1735. Within the distance of two miles at and above the borough. seven dams have been constructed, which have been very useful in supplying water-power to the industries erected along the banks of the creek. These dams are operated by the following: Josephus Hornberger (covering several acres of ground and used for swimming and pleasure purposes in the summer time and skating in the winter time) ; Mohnton Knitting Mill; Isaac S. Spatz Planing Mill and Hat Factory; Werley Hosiery Mill; Kessler Hat Factory.
Electric Plant.-In 1894, Isaac S. Spatz established a plant at Mohnton for supplying electric light in the residences and along the streets. He operated the plant until 1901 when he sold it to Aaron R. Wanner, who increased its capacity and has operated it since. Besides supplying electric light, it is used also for pumping water into the local reservoirs which furnish the town with drinking water.
Waterworks -Samuel K. Mohn started water-works at this place in 1882 for supplying the town with water, and he carried on the plant until 1901, when he sold it to Howard Ahrens and W. D. Mohn, who enlarged the plant and have carried it on since. They put down an 8-inch main. The inhabitants of Shillington receive their water from this plant. The water is obtained from Kleinginne's creek. The draft of the water pipes of the Mohnsville Water Company was acknowledged and filed July 1, 1886; Charles S. Mohn, president; John A. Bohler, secretary.
Additional reservoirs were established on the Betzler property, south of the borough, and on the Binkley property to the north, each holding about 500,000 gallons. They occupy elevated positions above the borough and afforded a sufficient supply at all times. At the latter place, an artesian well, about 150 feet deep, has been provided for an extra supply of pure water.
Trolley Line.-The Reading & Southwestern Street Railway was constructed from Reading to Mohnsville in 1890, and since then has been operated successfully. In 1894, a steam railroad was constructed from Mohnsville to Adamstown. A small engine was used for several years; then electric power was substituted.
Pennwin-In 1904, William High purchased a tract of farming land near the eastern border of the borough from Jesse Matz, laid it off in lots and named the place Pennwin. He sold some of the lots, on which a number of dwellings have been erected, also a fine, two-story brick school building.
Churches.-There are three churches at Mohnton: Salem's Evangelical Reformed, established in 1872, and rebuilt of sandstone in 1897, Zion's United Evangelical in 1892, built of brick, with a sandstone base; and St. John's Lutheran in 1900, built of sandstone.
Schools-The first school-house in the vicinity of Mohnton was on "Cedar Top", a short distance east of the village. The first township school in the village (one-story stone) was erected about 1850, where the church stands, opposite the post-office, and continued there until 1890, when it was removed to the place where it now stands. Several additions were made to it. It has six rooms. Two additional rooms have recently been supplied in another building to accommodate the increasing number of children. Some of the teachers during the past forty years have been Valentine Guldin, Leo Hess, A. F. E. Grill, Mrs. B. H. Miller, Miss Kate Lewis, Hiram J. Bigony and William F. Bigony. In 1908, there were seven schools and 300 scholars; and the total expenditures for school purposes were $4,360.
Secret Societies.-Different secret societies have been instituted here, prominent among them being the American Mechanics, Knights of Friendship, Knights of Pythias, Modern Woodmen, and P. O. S. of A.
Auditorium.-In 1906, Augustus R. Anderson erected a fine large two-story frame auditorium opposite the trolley station with a seating capacity of 800, in which various entertainments have been held.