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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company; Elwood Roberts, Editor.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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GENERAL WILLIAM M. MINTZER, the son of Henry and Rebecca (Bechtel) Mintzer, was born in Chester county, June 7, 1837. He was one of nine children, five of whom are now living, as follows: General William M.; Elizabeth, wife of John F. Reeser, of New Ringgold, Pennsylvania; Rebecca, wife of Chaney Townsend, of Philadelphia; Warren, of Pottstown, and Sallie, wife of Clayton Culp, of Philadelphia; Joseph died in Philadelphia.

Henry Mintzer (father) lived all of his life on a farm which was a part of the present site of the borough of Pottstown. He was postmaster in Pottstown during Lincoln’s administration and was a school director. His wife was Rebecca Bechtel, who died in 1896, aged eighty-six years. He died in 1883, aged seventy years. His wife was a member of the Lutheran church.

William Mintzer (grandfather) was of German descent, but was born in Pennsylvania. He operated a line of stages between Pottstown and Philadelphia and also conducted a general store in Pottstown. He was a member of the school board and borough council and took an active interest in the affairs of the borough. His wife was Sarah Missimer, and they had a family of nine children. He died at the age of fifty-six years.

Peter Bechtel (maternal grandfather) was a native of Pennsylvania of German descent. He owned a large farm and was the proprietor of a prominent hotel in Pottstown for a number of years. His wife was Catharine. He died at an advanced age.

General William M. Mintzer has lived in Pottstown nearly all his life. He attended the district schools and was a student for one term in the Hill school. He began learning the machinist trade at the age of nineteen and spent four years in this way. During the last six months of that time he was a member of the Madison Guards, a militia company of Pottstown, and when Fort Sumter was fired on by the Confederate forces, he dropped the hammer and chisel and immediately left the machine shop. Upon receipt of telegraphic orders sent by Colonel John Frederic Hartranft to Captain Strough, the commander of the company, to prepare for going to the front, Mr. Mintzer immediately went to the armory and arranged to recruit a company. He headed that enlistment roll, being the first man to enlist in the borough of Pottstown after the firing upon Fort Sumter. Captain Strough, by the advice of his family physician, tendered his resignation on Wednesday night and D. Webster Davis was elected captain, but owing to the severe illness of his wife, was obliged to resign. On Thursday morning, immediately after the resignation of Captain Davis, Mr. Mintzer suggested the name of John R. Brooke, formerly major-general in the regular army and now retired, as the proper person to command the company, and he was elected captain that same evening. At that same meeting, owing to the activity and interest of Mr. Mintzer in recruiting the company, he was elected by the company to the office of third lieutenant, an office not recognized in military affairs at that time, and was presented with a sword and sash by the citizens of Pottstown, as were also the other officers of the company. After the sword presentation that morning the company took the train and went to Harrisburg. Arriving at Harrisburg, the office of third lieutenant was not recognized and Mr. Mintzer shouldered a musket and went into the ranks as a private soldier. Soon afterwards he was appointed quartermaster sergeant on Colonel Hartranft’s noncommissioned staff and served in that capacity until the expiration of the three month’s service. The company was then reorganized under President Lincoln’s call for three hundred thousand men, of which Quarter-master Mintzer was made first lieutenant. He served as first lieutenant from September 18, 1861, until June 2, 1862, when he was promoted to Captain of Company A, and promoted to lieutenant-colonel September 29, 1864; to colonel, October 30,1864; and to brevet brigadier-general, March 13, 1865.

After the battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862, General Mintzer was detailed as provost marshal of the First Division, Second Army Corps, then commanded by General Win field Scott Hancock, and had three companies of the regiment, A, B and K, with him on duty and at headquarters. When General Hancock took the command of the corps, Captain Mintzer went with him and served with him until April, 1864, when he returned to his regiment and was in all the movements of Grant’s first campaign through the Wilderness, and was in every other engagement from that time to the close of the war. He was in command of the picket line of his regiment when Lee surrendered at Appomattox, on the morning of April 9, 1865. General Mintzer was a brave soldier and few men among the thousands who enlisted from Pennsylvania saw as much active service as he.

On February 5, 1863, General Mintzer married Amelia Weand, daughter of David and Matilda (Shuler) Weand. The couple had four children: George, Helen, John and Charles. Helen died at the age of twenty-five years; John married Bessie Smith. They now live at Homestead, where he is connected with the Carnegie Steel Company. Charles married Ida Weiler. They live in Pottstown.

General Mintzer is a Lutheran in religious faith and his wife belongs to the Trinity Reformed church. He is a member of Richards Post, No. 595, Grand Army of the Republic. He is also a member of the Union Veteran Legion and is present Commander of Camp 22, of Pottstown, and is a member of the Loyal Legion of the United States.

General Mintzer has been in the coal business for the past twenty-five years, representing the Berwind White Coal Mining Company. He has lived at his present home about twenty years. He was postmaster two terms under General Grant and was appointed the third time, but declined to hold the position longer. He was also a member of the school board some years. Politically he is a Republican.

Mrs. Mintzer’s parents, David and Matilda (Shuler) Weand, were natives of New Hanover township, Montgomery county. They were the parents of seven children, three sons and four daughters, of whom five are now living: Amelia, wife of General Mintzer; Milton, of Pottstown; John, of San Antonio, Texas; Mary, widow of Levi Prizer, of Norristown; and Emma, wife of William Shuler, of the Shuler House, Pottstown. David Weand was raised on a farm and in young manhood was a cigar manufacturer. Later he went into the grocery business in Pottstown for about twenty-five years. His death occurred May 12, 1885, at the age of seventy-two years. His wife died February 3, 1874, aged fifty-five years. She was a Lutheran in her young days, but after her marriage went with her husband to the German Reformed church. He was a member of the borough council a number of years when a young man. His father was Wendel Weand, a native of Pennsylvania, who owned a farm in New Hanover township, Montgomery county, where he resided all his life. He died before reaching an advanced age. His wife was Catharine Dotterer, who lived to be eighty years of age. They had seven sons and two daughters. He belonged to the branch of the Weand family from which Judge Weand of Norristown has descended.

The maternal grandfather of Mrs. Mintzer was Samuel Shuler, a native of Pennsylvania and of German descent. He was a farmer near Sunneytown, Montgomery county, where he died in middle life. His wife was Elizabeth Zepp, who lived to be ninety-three years of age. She and her husband had five children.

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This family biography is one of more than 1,000 biographies included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company.  For the complete description, click here: Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

View additional Montgomery County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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