History of Bucks County, Pa Volume 3 by William H. Davis
Names and Page # Index



LEE S. CLYMER, of Riegelsville, Bucks county, Pennsylvania, one of the prominent manufacturers and business men of upper Bucks, was born at Mt. Laurel Furnace, Berks county, Pennsylvania, (Temple postoffice) April 2, 1863, and is a son of William Hiester and Valeria (Smith) Clymer. His father was for many years proprietor of the Mt. Laurel furnace. Mr. Clymer comes of a distinguished ancestry both in this country and in Europe, only brief mention of which can be given in the scope of this brief sketch. Richard Clymer, the paternal ancestor, was a native of Bristol, England, from whence he migrated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1705, accompanied by his mother, Catharine Clymer, and a brother William, who died in 1740 without issue. Richard Clymer was a shipping merchant and shipbuilder; he died August 18, 1734, leaving several children, of whom only his sons, Christopher and William have left descendants. George Clymer, the signer of the Declaration of Independence, was a son of the former.

William Clymer, son of Richard, was a captain in the English navy, commanding the frigate “Penzance” during the reign of George II, and was lost at sea, leaving a will dated October 16, 1760. He married at Christ Church, Philadelphia, January 19, 1742, Ann Judith Roberdeau, daughter of Isaac and Mary (Conyngham) Roberdeau, and sister to General Daniel Roberdeau, the friend of Franklin, and one of the most distinguished patriots in Pennsylvania during the Revolution. Ann Judith (Roberdeau) Clymer was born on the Island of St. Christopher, West Indies, in the year 1725, and died at Morgantown, Berks county, Pennsylvania, April, 1782. Isaac Roberdeau, father of Mrs. Clymer, was a native of Rochelle, France, and fled to the island of St. Christopher, one of the British West Indies, on the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. Here he met and married Mary Conyngham, born at Cayou, on that island, April 4, 1699, daughter of Robert Conyngham, born in Scotland, March 24, 1669, and his wife Judith Elizabeth de Bonneson, a native of Morlais, France, the former of whom traced his descent back through a long line of kings and princes royal to William the Conqueror, and in his own direct line to Malcolm, son of Friskine, who assisted Malcolm Canmore, afterwards King of Scotland, to escape from MacBeth’s tyranny and treason, and was in return made Thane of Conyngham, from which his posterity afterwards took their surname. Robert Conyngham, of St. Christopher, left an immense estate in St. Christopher and in Scotland, a portion of which he entailed in the male line, and which was the subject of litigation a century later on the male line bearing his surname becoming extinct. Isaac and Mary (Conyngham) Roberdeau were the parents of three children, all born at St. Christopher, viz: Elizabeth, born 1724, who died unmarried; Ann Judith, who married William Clymer; and Daniel, the eminent merchant, statesman and patriot before referred to. Isaac Roberdeau died at St. Christopher, and his widow and children removed to Philadelphia while the children were still in their minority, where the widow married a man by the name of Keighly, but was again a widow many years prior to her death, which occurred March 13, 1771.

Daniel Conyngham Clymer, only son of William and Ann Judith (Roberdeau) Clymer, was born in Philadelphia, April 6, 1748. His father dying when he was a child, he was educated under the care of his distinguished uncle, General Daniel Roberdeau. He graduated at Princeton in 1766, studied law and became eminent in his profession. At the beginning of the Revolution he at once joined the Associators of that city and was commissioned a lieutenant, April 8, 1776, he was commissioned lieutenant-colonel and placed in command of a rifle battalion. He was appointed in 1775 and again in 1776 by Congress as a signer of Bills of Credit, and held the offices of deputy commissary-general of prisoners and commissioner of claims of the treasury. During the closing years of the Revolution he removed to Reading, Berks county, and represented that county in the legislature in 1782 and several succeeding terms. He died at Reading, January 25, 1810. He had married in 1782 Mary Weidner, daughter of Peter and Susan Weidner, of Berks county, who died December 5, 1802, in her forty-sixth year. Their children were Ann, born 1782, who died unmarried in 1852; William, born 1788, died October 10, 1845, an eminent lawyer of Reading; and Edward Tilgham (sic), born August 14, 1790, died March 6, 1831. Edward Tilghman Clymer was born at Reading, Berks county, and was educated at Princeton. He married June 11, 1818, Maria Catharine Hiester, daughter of William and Anna Maria (Meyer) Hiester. She was born March 4, 1793, and died March 24, 1845. Edward Tilghman was a man of scholarly attainments, and follows

1. Daniel Roberdeau, a merchant and lawyer of Reading, born March 31, 1819, died May 5, 1889, aged seventy years.

2. William Hiester, the father of the subject of this sketch; see forward.

3. Edward Myers, born July 16, 1822, died May 25, 1883, in New York City, projector and first president of the East Pennsylvania railroad, later president of a coal company connected with the N. Y., L. E. & W. Railroad Company, with offices in New York.

4. Wiedner, born May 12, 1824, died July 16, 1824.

5. Mary Hiester, born July 19, 1825, drowned in the English Channel November 26, 1878, with two of her children; married August 10, 1852, her cousin, William Bingham Clymer, son of Henry, and grandson of George Clymer, the Signer, who was born April 18, 1801, at Morrisville, Bucks county, Pennsylvania, died May 28, 1873, at Florence, Italy.

6. Hon. Hiester Clymer, born November 3, 1827, died June 12, 1884; lawyer, state senator, congressman, Democratic candidate for governor, president of Union Trust Company, etc.

7. George Edward Clymer, born January 8, 1830, died July 7, 1895, major of Sixth Pennsylvania Cavalry in the civil war and prominent in the iron and steel industries.

William Hiester Clymer, the father of the subject of this sketch, was born at the Clymer homestead in the Conestoga Valley, near Morgantown, Berks county, October 9, 1820. His father dying when he was eleven years of age, he was placed with his uncle, William Hiester, at New Holland, Lancaster county, and was educated at Lititz, and assisted his uncle in his store. He later removed to Reading, where he and his brother, Daniel R., conducted a dry goods store until 1846, when he sold out to Daniel, and with his brother Edward M., purchased the Mt. Laurel iron furnace. They built the Temple iron furnace in 1867, and, having seven years previously purchased the old Oley furnace, became extensive manufacturers of iron, organizing the Temple Iron Company in 1870, and later the Clymer Iron Company, both of which William H. Clymer was president, until September, 1882, when he resigned and removed with his family to Reading, where he died July 26, 1883. He was president of the First National Bank of Reading from 1876 to his death. He married, June 12, 1855, Valeria Smith, eldest daughter of Levi B. Smith, who was born March 14, 1828, and died August 17, 1901. They were the parents of six children: Emily Smith; Edward Tilghman; William Hiester; Lee Smith; Valeria Elizabeth; and Frederick Hiester.

The ancestors of Maria Catharine Hiester, the grandmother of the subject of this sketch, were of Silesian origin, her first American ancestor being Daniel Hiester, the youngest of three brothers, John, Joseph and Daniel, who emigrated from Witgenstein, in Westphalia, to Pennsylvania, early in the eighteenth century, and took up their residence in Goshenhoppen, now Montgomery county. Daniel had several sons, of whom John, born April 9, 1745, was a member of congress from Chester county 1807-8 and was succeeded by his son Daniel; Daniel, a representative in congress from Montgomery county, 1789-97, and from Maryland 1801-5; Gabriel, for thirty years a member of the state legislature from Berks county; and William. All four of these sons of Daniel Hiester were in the continental service during the revolution, the two elder as colonels, the third as a major, while William, the youngest, born June 10, 1757, being required to look after his aged parents, did not serve but one campaign. Joseph Hiester, governor of Pennsylvania, was the only son of John, and a cousin of the four brothers above named.

Daniel Hiester, the elder, was born in the town of Elsoff, county of Witgenstein, province of Westphalia, in Silesia, Germany, January 1, 1713, and died in Bern township, Berks county, Pennsylvania, June 7, 1795. His wife was Catharine Schuler, whom he married September 29, 1742. She was born September 10, 1717, and died August 17, 1789, aged seventy-two years, eleven months and seven days.

William Hiester, the great-grandfather of the subject of this sketch, born at Goshenhoppen, Upper Salford township, Montgomery county, June 10, 1757, was the youngest son of Daniel and Catharine (Schuler) Hiester. He was seventeen years of age when his parents removed to Reading and remained with his parents in Reading for ten years. He then removed to Bern township, where he died July 13, 1822. He was a private in Captain George Will’s company, in 1777, in the battalion commanded by his brother, Major Gabriel Hiester. He married, March 18, 1784, Anna Maria Meyer, daughter of Isaac Meyer, the founder of Meyerstown, Pennsylvania. She was born December 28, 1758, and died October 4, 1822. They were the parents of eight children, the fifth of whom, Maria Catharine, born March 4, 1793, was the wife of Edward Tilghman Clymer.

LEE S. CLYMER, born at the Mt. Laurel Furnace, April 2, 1863, was educated at Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania, taking a special course in chemistry. On leaving college he accepted a position as chemist for the Minnesota Iron Company, which he filled for one year. In 1885, he opened a general laboratory at Reading, Pennsylvania.In December, 1886, he left Reading and took a position as chemist for the Carnegie Company at the Edgar Thompson Furnace, Braddock, Pennsylvania, where he remained for one year. In October, 1887, he came to Bucks county as chemist for the Durham Iron company, and filled that position for two years, when he was made superintendent of the Pequest Iron furnace, near Oxford, New Jersey, where he remained for about eight months During a part of the next two years he was superintendent for the Thomas Iron Company’s furnaces at Hellertown, Pennsylvania. In 1895 he erected and equipped the Durham Knitting Mills, at Riegelsville, Bucks county, which he has since successfully operated. He also operates several fine farms in Durham township, and is interested in the breeding of standard bred horses and thoroughbred cattle. He recently became half owner of what was the Lehigh Power Company, located at Raubsville, Pennsylvania. It is proposed to operate this plant under the name of the Clymer Power Company.

He married June 11, 1891, Clara Matilda Riegel, daughter of the late John L. and Lydia (Stover) Riegel, by whom he has two children, John Riegel, born April 14, 1892, and Valeria Smith, born January 12, 1896.

JACOB F. CLYMER. The Clymer family, of which Jacob F. Clymer, a prosperous farmer of New Britain township is a worthy representative, is one of the oldest in the township, and have always been highly esteemed for the many excellent characteristics displayed by them both in public and private life. Jonas Clymer, grandfather of Jacob F Clymer, resided on the farm now owned by Jacob F. Clymer. He was a shoemaker by trade, and this occupation he followed in connection with agricultural pursuits during the early years of his life, but as he advanced in years he abandoned the former line of work entirely, devoting his entire attention to the latter. He served as supervisor of his township for seven years, his long term of office attesting to his capability. He adhered to the tenets of the Mennonite church, in which he served as trustee; he was formerly a Whig in politics, and later a Republican. He married Hannah Clymer, daughter of Henry Clymer, and their children were: John, William C., Henry, Levi, Elizabeth, Sarah, Amanda and Hannah.

William C. Clymer, father of Jacob F. Clymer, was reared on his father’s farm in New Britain township, educated in the common schools of the neighborhood, and upon the death of his father succeeded to the homestead. In connection with his extensive farming operations he engaged in the produce commission business for thirty years, deriving a goodly income from both enterprises, and thus was enabled to provide a comfortable home for his family. The esteem in which he was held by his fellow-townsmen was evidenced by the fact that he was the incumbent of the office of school director twelve years and supervisor one year. He was a trustee of the Mennonite church, the doctrines of which he firmly believed in, and his political views were in accord with those of the Republican party. By his marriage to Elizabeth Fretz, only child of Joseph and Mary (Markley) Fretz, four children were born: Jacob F., Charles who died at the age of twenty years; Jonas, who is engaged in business in Philadelphia; and Harvey, also engaged in business in Philadelphia. Mary (Fretz) Clymer, mother of these children, died in 1884, and Mr. Clymer married for his second wife Lydia A. Swartley, widow of Philip Swartley.

Jacob F. Clymer was born in New Britain township, Bucks county, Pennsylvania, March 16, 1862. He was reared on the old homestead, and his educational advantages were obtained by attendance at the common schools. His whole life has been spent on the farm where he was born, his occupation being that of farming, for which he is eminently qualified, as is clearly shown by the appearance of his broad acres and commodious outbuildings. Mr. Clymer has served as supervisor of the township nine years, his duties during that time being performed in a highly creditable and efficient manner. In religious and political faith he follows in the footsteps of his fore-fathers, being a member and trustee of the Mennonite church and a Republican. In 1887 Mr. Clymer married Anna Mary Swartley, daughter of Philip and Lydia Swartley, and they are the parents of one son, Vincent, born June 30, 1892.

Text taken from pages 86-88 of:

Davis, William W. H., A.M., History of BucksCounty, Pennsylvania [New York-Chicago: the Lewis Publishing Company, 1905] volume III

Transcribed July 2000 by Earl Goodman of PA as part of the Bucks Co., Pa., Early Family Project, www.rootsweb.com/~pabucks/bucksindex.html

Published July 2000 on the Bucks County, Pa., USGenWeb pages at www.rootsweb.com/~pabucks/

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