Stained Glass Windows

From Narona Gebert

Keely Window     Lynch Window     Reiter Window     Kohler Window  

Diehl Window     Holtzman Window     Sunday School Window

KEELY - The large stained window on the north side of the sanctuary depicts Jesus and the woman at the well. The caption below reads “In Memory of My Parents Charles and Caroline Keely. Horace B. Keely” [Picture is below left.]

Charles P. Keely, mason, hailed from Colebrookdale, Berks County. In 1852, he purchased a three story building in East Greenville from Henry Dotts, where he operated the Keely House Hotel until his death in 1874. The former Keely House is now known as the home of the ‘Owls Nest 1302,’ at Main and Bank Streets.

You may also recall that Henry Dotts also was the previous owner of the property sold to Dr. Henry Bobb, who in 1898 sold it to St. Mark’s for the building of their new church.

Charles Keely and his wife, Caroline (nee Beitleman) had three sons and one daughter. Their youngest son, Horace B. Keely, born and reared in East Greenville, became a resident of Philadelphia where he worked as a tinsmith and later a saloon keeper. Horace died at the young age of 41 years in 1901, of a stroke. He was survived by his wife, Mary Jane (Cliver) Keely.

The late Henry B. Keely, brother to Horace, was the great grandfather to one of our current St. Mark’s members, namely, Mrs. George (June) Wyse. We are grateful to June for providing us with details on the Keely family.                                                    

Keely Church Window


Lynch Church Window

"In Memory of My Parents Charles and Caroline Keely. Horace B. Keely"

"In Memory of Lieut. Thomas J. Lynch"

LYNCH - A window on the north side of the sanctuary depicting hope, faith and charity, reads as follows: “In Memory of Lieut. Thomas J. Lynch.”

Lt. Thomas J. Lynch was born in Germantown on May 17, 1827, as the son of Robert L. and Mary Lynch. The elder Lynch, an immigrant of Londonderry, Ireland, moved his family from Germantown to Upper Hanover Twp., sometime during the 1840’s. His farm consisted of several hundred acres. Our present church stands on what was part of his original farm.

Thomas Lynch was the eldest of 10 children. He was a teacher by profession, but his foremost interests were in the military.

At age 16, Thomas joined a company of militia in Germantown and marched with them to Philadelphia to help suppress the riot of 1844. In 1860, he was instrumental in organizing a company of volunteers in Pennsburg in which he served as 2nd Lt. With the outbreak of the Civil War, he was mustered into the 51st Regiment as a 2nd Lt, on October 17, 1861. In the spring of 1862, Lt. Lynch contacted small pox which left him severely pocked.

He took part in several significant battles of the Civil War, one of which was the Battle of Antietam. On September 17, 1862, during a raging battle while storming a famous bridge, he was wounded and incapacitated for a long time. Shortly thereafter, he was commissioned as a 1st Lieutenant. Upon his recovery, he rejoined his regiment at Vicksburg. Four days after rejoining the front, he became ill with “camp fever” for nine weeks. (Camp Fever is believed to also be dysentery.) Never fully recovered from Camp Fever, Thomas died on May 14, 1864, at the age of 36, from wounds suffered in a recent battle. He was buried in a forest near Spotsylvania Courthouse, Virginia, by his brother, Hugh Lynch, who was serving in the same regiment.

Eight days after his own death, Thomas’ father, Robert, died of Typhoid Fever. Robert was living in Norriton and was buried in Germantown.

On October 15, 1865, the remains of Lt. Thomas Lynch were re-interred at the Pennsburg Reformed Church Cemetery. His widow, Maria (Lang) Lynch, was a charter member of St. Marks. Thomas and Maria’s son, Robert J., who was 3 when Thomas died, grew to become a son of the ministry of St. Mark’s as he was ordained in 1888.      

REITER - The church window, south side of sanctuary, rear, reads “In Memory of Michael Reiter, Sr., born October 1, 1792, Died October 21, 1862” Given by the Reiter Family.

Michael was born in Marlborough Township, the son of George Michael and Elizabeth (Laar) Reiter. In 1812, he married Maria Margaretha Hersh. The Reiters resided on a farm in Marlborough Township, near Red Hill, where they had 12 children. After the death of his wife in 1846, he married Maria (Gift) Hillegass, widow of George Hillegass. There were no children from this marriage.

Michael was a prominent leader in the formation of the Union Church in Pennsburg. All his sons and daughters were strong supporters and committed people toward the formation of the new church, with the exception of the eldest son, who died young and prior to the church.

In the generations that followed out of these lines, many Reiters were ordained into the ministry as well as daughters marrying into the ministry. Four Reiter brothers were the nucleus of the formation of the original formation of our congregation. Of these brothers, Jesse is the ancestor of almost all of the Reiter family members that remained at St. Mark’s. In most recent years, some of us will remember Reiter and Reiter related active members who now are all deceased. To name a few, Naomi Reiter, Mamie Reiter Albitz; Rita Reiter Miller Bartman; Homer Reiter and Rita Reiter Hillegass Houck. Also, other members were Winnie B. Reiter Repa, the late Annie Reiter, married to Harry Buch and their children, Edwin, Alton, Ray and Grace: June, Ruth and Patricia Ritz, now all married; the late Grace and Harold Romeike and their children, Jacqueline, Barbara, Diane and Cheryl; and many more, too numerous to mention.                                          

Michael Reiter, Sr. Church Window


Kohler Church Window


"In Memory of Michael Reiter, Sr., Born October 1, 1792, Died October 21, 1862"

"In Loving Remembrance of Amelia M. & Herman F.F., Robert W.H. Kohler"

KOHLER - The large window on the south side of the sanctuary showing Jesus, the Shepard, holding a lamb, reads “In Loving Remembrance of Amelia M. & Hermann F.F., Robert W.H. Kohler.”

F.W. Kohler, his wife, Margaret and the two children, came to this community about 1880, presumably from Philadelphia. Three more children were born while in residence in East Greenville where Mr. Kohler had set up a bakery business on Main Street.

The Kohler family attended church and Sunday school at the Union Church at South Pennsburg where, four of the younger children were baptized by Rev. William B. Fox. Herman, already 6 years of age when the family moved here, had been baptized in Philadelphia.

In 1893, the bakery was sold to Gottlieb Kohler and his wife, Caroline of Philadelphia. F.W. Kohler and family moved to Lansdale the following year. There he built a spacious brick home and bakery on fifth street where he had established a prosperous business in a short time.

On April 28, 1899, the elder of the Kohler children, Herman, aged 22, drove one of his father’s delivery teams to Hatfield in the early evening to deliver a supply of bread for a funeral being held the next day. With him were his sister Mollie, aged 7, and Robert, aged 5. As they rode home in their bakery wagon, they were heard happily singing, unaware of what fate lay before them. Near the Pipe Foundry, above Lansdale, the road runs almost parallel with the railroad for some distance and then at Krupp’s crossing, it crosses the tracks at an angle. The northbound train had just passed when Herman Kohler led the horse onto the railroad track, not thinking to look back to see if the southbound track was clear. His wagon had hardly gotten onto the rails when the southbound Buffalo Express train, traveling a mile-per-minute, crashed into the vehicle with force.

Herman and Mollie were killed instantly. Robbie, unconscious, was thrown on top of the locomotive. He died later that evening. Herman F. Kohler had been married only a few weeks before, to Miss Elizabeth B. Boyer of Camden, N.J.

A viewing and funeral service were held at the Kohler residence with Rev. J.L. Becker of Lansdale, and Rev. W.B. Fox, of Sumneytown, officiating. The three children were buried together in one large grave according to the rites of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

An October 1899 issue of Town and Country states that F.W. Kohler presented the stained glass window for the new church in memory of his three children, Herbert, Robert and Maude (Amelia).

Excerpts of the accident can be found in the archives of the Montgomery Transcript and Town and Country newspapers.

DIEHL - The small window on the south side near the choir loft reads: "In Memory of Monroe B. Diehl." 

Monroe B. Diehl was organist from 1889-1898 when St. Mark's was still a Union church. The organ in use was known as the "cottage organ." St. Mark's did not have a pipe organ until 1929 when the Moeller organ was installed in the newly renovated church.

Mr. Diehl's musical talent was limited. When a difficult piece of music was selected, someone more capable would take over for that number. However limited, Monroe took his position serious and was a dedicated man.

Monroe and his wife, Amanda, who lived in East Greenville, had three daughters. The eldest, Lillie, married to William H. Minniger who lived in Quakertown. Mamie was married to Frank Kline and resided in East Greenville. And the youngest, Elsie, died of consumption in June of 1906 at the age of 19 years, while a student in confirmation class.

In 1900, Mrs. Monroe Diehl wanted a stained glass window placed in the new church in memory of her husband, but lacked the funds to do so. David Kern, an active member, provided the necessary means to make this happen.

The last survivor of the Diehl family was Mamie, who died in 1979 and is buried with her husband in St. Mark's cemetery. The remaining members of the family are buried together at Union Cemetery in Quakertown.

Diehl Church Window


Holtzman Church Window


"In Memory of Monroe B. Diehl" "Presented by Mr. and Mrs. James C. Holtzman"

HOLTZMAN - The large window on the north side, facing Front Street reads “Presented by Mr. And Mrs. James C. Holtzman.”

James Holtzman and his wife, Alda, resided on Fourth Street, Pennsburg. They were both active members of St. Mark’s. Alda was confirmed at St. Mark’s in 1906 and was a member of the Choral Society. Mrs. Holtzman held the office of Sunday School Superintendent in the Primary Department from 1911 to 1919, and remained active in that department until 1936. She was also an active member of the Women’s Missionary Society and the Ladies Aid. She was a charter member of the Eastern Star, in the East Greenville Chapter.

Alda was the daughter of Dr. john P. and Minnie (Kern) Hillegass. She was born in Pennsburg in the home of her maternal grandparents, David and Sarah Jane Kern. Many years later the house became the residence and pharmacy of Mr. And Mrs. Meryle Markley.

The Hillegass’ resided in Philadelphia where Dr. Hillegass served on the staff of one of its hospitals as an eye surgeon. But, his profession was short lived as he succumbed to Typhoid Fever on 1898, following the death of his wife who had died just two years earlier.

Orphaned at a young age, Alda was placed into the home of her grandparents, David and Sarah Kern. David Kern was a prominent and active member of St. Mark’s since his arrival from Philadelphia to Pennsburg in the early 1870’s. Although the Hillegass’ had been members of the Reformed Church, the Kerns’ raised Alda in the Lutheran faith.

James Holtzman, better known as “Jim,” was involved in various functions of the church and also held office as Sunday School Secretary 1916-1919, and Sunday School Treasurer 1929-1945. He was especially interested in the 1929 renovation of the church sanctuary. It was at this time that he and another member of the church agreed to pay for the two large windows on the west end of the sanctuary. The window behind the choir loft is not identified by its presenter, who may have wished to remain anonymous.

Jim was born in Harrisburg, Pa. He was also orphaned, and at age ten, was placed in the home of his aunt and uncle in Mechanicsburg. He arrived in Pennsburg in 1911 and worked in the jewelry shop of Edwin J. Wieder, which was located on North Main Street, in the shop that is now Raceway Haven.

In 1914, Jim opened his own jewelry store in East Greenville. In 1922, he and Robert Levy (who later changed his last name to Lafey), purchased a Main Street building from C.W. Lohr, which was occupied by a broom factory and a branch of John Weyand’s Hardware Store. After extensive remodeling, Jim opened his new jewelry store on one side of the building, and Bob opened a drugstore with a soda fountain on the other side. Jim’s jewelry shop is now occupied by The LaFerne Shoppe.

The Holtzmans were faithful in their attendance at St. Mark’s. On Sundays, they could always be found occupying their usual place in the last row by the center aisle.

Jim Holtzman died unexpectedly and suddenly, in his living room chair, in July of 1952. Sometime later, Alda entered Liberty Nursing Center in Allentown, where she continued to live until her death in December of 1989. Alda reached the age of 99 years! Both are buried in New Goshenhoppen Church Cemetery.

The Holtzmans had one son, Donald K., who resides in Lehigh County. Alda was survived by her son, three grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren

"Presented by Sunday School"

SUNDAY SCHOOL - The large window in the balcony, facing Main Street, reads "Presented by Sunday School."

The Sunday School had its beginning in 1869, formed by Rev. William B. Fox, who was installed as pastor of the Lutheran congregation the year before. The Sunday School was made up of members of the Lutheran and Reformed congregations and named the "Pennsburg Union Sabbath School."

In 1879, a peaceful agreement between the two denominations was reached to hold separate Sunday School sessions. However, they continued to share picnics, excursions, anniversary celebrations and the like.

Attendance grew slowly but steadily. Due to the loss of early records, we do not know the enrollments in the early years. In 1885, there were 152 members and by 1895 the school had grown to 275 members. By 1910, Sunday School membership totaled 364.

Sunday School moved into the new church with great anticipation of increased space. But much to their dismay, they found it inadequate from the beginning and the architecture did not provide for a full arrangement in teaching procedures.

After overcoming its growing pains, it was able to contribute to the needs of the church in helping to pay for wood and coal for heating and oil for lighting. It bought carpet for the bare floors in the Sunday School and later in the sanctuary of the new church. It paid for the organist and cleaning help and since its inception, had bought several pianos and reed organs. It paid for its books and literature and had its own library. At Christmas and Easter time it divided its collections between the Topton and Germantown Orphan's Homes, and later Good shepherd Home. It paid for the large stained glass window in the new church.

Soon after 1930, the Sunday School was integrated as an educational branch of the church and was no longer considered a separate entity.