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


Name and Page Number (as posted on index page)

SOUDER, Henry 613

SOUDER, Henry H. 613




    HENRY HUNSBERGER SOUDER, proprietor of the Bush House, of Quakertown, and one of the prominent and influential residents of this part of the county, was born July 4, 1840 , at Souderton, in Montgomery county, which place was named in honor of his family.  His parents were Henry and Hanna Hunsberger Souder.  The family has been identified with this state from the earliest period of its development, an ancestor of our subject having been one of the Germantown colony that settled that  place under the Penns.  Christopher Souder, the grandfather of Henry H. Souder, was born March 24, 1777, in Philadelphia county, Pennsylvania, and settled at what is now Souderton, Montgomery county, where he acquired a considerable tract of land, and devoted his energies to agricultural pursuits.  He was married Jun 8, 1803, to Elizabeth Oberholzer, who was born January 18, 1782, and their children were as follows:  Joseph, born March 1, 1804; Maria, November 19, 1805; Henry, September 1, 1807; Catherine, November 15, 1809; Samuel, March 23, 1811; Anna, January 6, 1815; Christian and Johann, twins, July 3, 1817; Enos, April 8, 1819; and Elizabeth, January 20, 1824.

    Henry Souder, son of Christopher Souder, was born September 1, 1807, at Souderton, Pennsylvania, and died August 28, 1897, at that place.  His parents were farming people and were among the early settlers of that locality, having taken up their abode there before Montgomery county was organized.  Henry Souder made the best use of his educational opportunities, but his advantages in that direction were limited.  However, his experience and observation in later years added largely to his knowledge and made him an enterprising and successful business man.  Following his marriage he settled at Souderton, where he had previously learned the carpenterís trade and eventually became one of the most prosperous builders of his day in that locality.  Saving his money, he soon established a coal and lumber yard and became one of the principal business men in the northern part of Montgomery county.  His political support was given to the Whig party, and later he endorsed the principles of the Republican party, but took little active interest in politics as an office seeker.  He held membership in the old Mennonite church.  He was married November 2, 1834, to Hannah Hunsberger, who was born October 11, 1814, and died at Souderton August 25, 1898.  They were the  parents of nine children:  William, born September 19, 1835; Edmund, April 27, 1838; Elizabeth, January 30, 1841; Maria, November 7, 1843; Frederick, August 27, 1846; Henry, Jul 4, 1849; Catherine Ann, December 21, 1851; Ellis, August 11, 1858; and Milton, Jul 12, 1863.  Four other children died in early life.

    Henry H. Souder was the sixth in this family of thirteen children.  In his early year he attended a private German school conducted by a Mr. Gehman, and was also a student in the public school of his district until his twentieth year.  In the meantime, during the periods of vacation, he found plenty to do, for his father did not believe in letting young people remain idle.  He himself was a man of great energy, and had large business interests, including a general store, a sawmill, and a coal and lumber yard.  He likewise dealt in hay and grain, and his son Henry largely assisted him in these various lines of business activity.  He remained at home in his fatherís employ until twenty-two years of age when, desiring to enter upon an independent business career, he formed a connection with his sisterís husband, Henry Hemsing, at Souderton, where they conducted a planing mill.  Following his marriage he began his domestic life at Souderton, where he continued to engage in business, prospering in his milling enterprise.  In 1876 he embarked in the coal trade, and in the meantime extended the field of his operations by becoming a general contractor and builder.  His business in that line became very extensive in Montgomery and Bucks counties, and for a number of years he was recognized as one of the leading representatives of the commercial and industrial life in this part of the state.  Public affairs have also felt the stimulus of his efforts, and, while conducting his business interests, he likewise became actively connected with measures for the general welfare.  He is a stalwart Republican and has done much for the welfare of his party, yet has never sought or desired the honors and emoluments of public office for himself.  In the fall of 1884 he purchased the Bush House, the leading hotel in Quakertown, from William Bush, and took possession in the spring of 1885.  He has since conducted this hostelry and has been as successful as a hotel proprietor as he was in his former business ventures at Souderton.  He has made extensive improvements in the property by enlarging the house, making a stone addition, crowned by an observation tower.  He has also beautified the interior with appropriate decorations, and is regarded as one of the leading hotel men of this part of the state.  He has also built Souderís Block, the principal business block of the town, likewise Citizensí Hall, which is the principal lodge hall and place of entertainment in Quakertown.  He is largely interested in real estate holdings, and is one of the proprietors of Lulu Park and of the baseball grounds.  He is a charter member and vice-president of the Merchantsí National Bank.  Mr. Souder belongs to the Masonic Lodge of Quakertown, and he and his family are members of the Old Blue Church (Mennonite) of Rockhill township.

    He was married in 1873 to Miss Mary Ruth, a daughter of Peter and Mary (Delp) Ruth.  Her father was one of the settlers of Rockhill township, and a representative of one of the oldest families of Bucks county.  The young couple began their domestic life at Souderton, where they remained until establishing their home at Quakertown.  Their children are as follows:  Preston Ruth who married Lillian Hohein, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, by whom he has two children:  Muriel and Jennieve (sic.)  They reside at Schuylkill Haven, in Schuylkill, Pennsylvania, where Preston R. Souder is conducting the Grand Hotel.  The younger members of the family are Lillian and Mabel Souder.



Text taken from pages 613-614 of:

Davis, William W.H., A.M. History of Bucks County, Pennsylvania [New York-Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1905] Volume III


Transcribed April 2008 by Thera Schwenk-Hammond; tsh@harborside.com; as part of the Bucks Co., Pa., Early Family Project, http://pagenweb.org/~bucks/biographies/bucksindex.html


Published July 2008 on the Bucks County, Pa., USGenWeb pages at http://pagenweb.org/~bucks



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