Page 2 of the Cyrus Knoll Diaries
1886 to 1899


January 2—I am still employed by Wanner Schaeffer. Today a photo was taken of the plant and will be sent to Mr. Wanner in Colorado.

January 3—In Sunday School in A.M. New officers were elected: Supt. P. H. Gehris; Asst. R. G. Welder; Librarian, Geo. Knoll; Secy. C. F. Knoll; Treas. C. F. Reifsnyder.

January 13—Intense cold. Report is 5 degrees below zero. We have 11 inches of snow, Kentucky has 27 in. Good Sleighing.

February 14—Sun. Rev. H. J. Glick preached his farewell sermon in Evangelical Church.

February 16—Borough election day. Partial results: Burgess - J. R. Koch; Council - Joel Hoch, J. M. Schaeffer; High Constable - Jacob Keim; Judge of Election - C. F. Knoll; School Director - Win. S. Merkel, A. W. Haag; Tax Collector - Jacob Becker.

March 16—The owners of this grain and coal plant have decided to add a flour mill.

March 27—Was at Lena Koller’s fried oyster party last night. Had fun. Win. Bernhart died.

April 5—The firm of Wanner Schaeffer dissolved today. Stock account total $6400. Name of new firm -Schaeffer Wanner & Co.

May 29—Had nice parade. Ringing Rocks Band, then soldiers, speakers, followed by Camp 103 in a body. Wreaths put on graves as usual.

June 7—At Capt. Jack’s Medicine Show in evening. He does tricks and peddles tea and Indian oil.

June 19—Sat. Today I and Dan and Ben Brown were laid off until the flour mill is functioning.

June 26—This evening Annie Merkel, daughter of Win. Merkel was married to Eli M. Rapp of Lyons. Wedding was a grand affaIr.

July 12—With an extra $50 borrowed from brother James, I started for the West and picked up my cousin Millie Miller in Womelsdorf. We traveled together to Perry, Iowa, her home where we arrived July 15.

July 19—Still at Sam Miller’s place. The people of Perry are very sociable. They raise a lot of corn to feed the hogs.

July 21—Left Perry for Topeka, Kansas, which I reached July 22. Had supper at Joshua Schlegel’s and slept at Garden House.

July 22—Left Topeka for Denver, where I changed trains and went to Graymont, Colorado. With a Col. Sellers and wife and guide and 4 horses climbed to top of Gray’s Peak, 14,380 ft. high. Wonderful scenery from top.

July 25—Arrived Colorado Springs. Visited Garden of the Gods, Cheyenne Canyon, and Seven Falls and saw Pike’s Peak. Then on to Salt Lake City, where I arrived July 27.

July 28—Slept at Palace Hotel. Took train to Salt Lake and bathed in the water, which is 61/2 times saltier than the ocean. Later visited the Tabernacle and saw Mormon Temple, Brigham Young’s House and the Museum, where I sat in Joseph Smith’s chair.

July 29—Started for San Francisco by way of Ogden with 12 cars full of passengers and two engines. Saw Chinese working along the road bed. Countryside quite barren. Reached Frisco, July 31, where I stopped at the Chicago Hotel on Pacific St. Spent whole day in Golden Gate Park, where I heard a fine band concert.

August 3—Big day in Frisco because of parade of G.A.R. men-9000 men and many bands. Visited the Mint and saw bars of gold worth $12000. Also saw the fine homes of the railroad kings.

August 5—Left Frisco by steamer and went down west coast to Huenema. This is a grain shipping center. Saw 8 and 10 horse teams pulling 3 wagons hooked together. Grain is in bags and is shipped like that. I found a team going to Springville and soon arrived at my Uncle Frank Christman’s farm. They were overjoyed to see me and I stayed a long time. Here in S. Calif. the weather is warm and sunny day after day. Farmers often leave 5 to 6 thousand bags of wheat lie in the fields.

September 28—Started home today. Went by horse stage to Santa Barbara; then by steamer to Frisco.

October 1—Left Frisco on way eastward.

October 9—Arrived in Fleetwood 7:46 P.M. Everybody glad to see me back.

October 10—Sun. In Kramlich’s church in A.M. He had communion. 151 partook of the bread and wine. In Sunday School in P.M. and Singing School in evening.

October 25—Big forest fires in the Blue Mts. County commissioners have 100 men fighting fires. Five thousand acres of woodland destroyed.

October 29—Worked for Schaeffer Wanner & Co. George B. Schaeffer is in Philadelphia. At 1:18 o’clock Walter Schaeffer lit the fire in the boiler to start off the roller mill.

November 4—Republican James Beaver elected Governor. Geo. B. Schaeffer elected sheriff of Berks Co.

November 8—Very cold. Water pipes frozen in some homes. No regular work yet. I sometimes wish I had stayed in California.

November 30—We killed one of our hogs and made sausage.

December 25—Green Xmas. Entertainment was a big success. Chapel crowded.


January 2—In Sunday School in A.M. Was reelected secy. I work for Schaeffer Wanner and Co. at $27 per month.

January 25—In Camp in evening. Later the members went to Lewis Schaffer’s home and serenaded Frank Kutz, who had just married Alice Schaeffer.

February 15—Boro election day. Partial results: Justice of Peace - James Dumn, A. N. Fretz; Burgess - Isaac Merkel; Council - J. A. Koch, James Hill; School Directors - L. R. Lentz, C. F. Reifsnyder.

March 18—In Camp in evening. Hereafter Lodge will meet in hall above Melot’s store (This store was at Main & Richmond). Same is true of K. of P. and Mechanics.

May 1—In Sunday School in A.M. In church in evening. Prof. Boyer of K.S.N.S. preached.

May 30—Mill ran till 5 P.M. At 5:30 P.M. parade began at Sons’ Hall; proceeded to Chapel where 38 ladies representing the 38 states fell in line. All marched to St. Paul’s Cemetery where speeches were made and graves decorated. Then moved to Fleetwood Cemetery for similar ceremonies. Our Camp had 40 in line. K. of P. and Mechanics 75. Also G.A.R. men.

July 1—Lewis Wanner died last year of consump­tion Aug. 9, when I was out West. Today they set up a $500 monument. His body was exhumed and grave moved to the left. I saw the remains, and they were quite well preserved.

July 3—Special excursion to Gettysburg for the reunion of the Blue and the Gray.

July 13—This P.M. Frank Templin and Moses Rothermel fought a prearranged battle, which went 14 minutes before Squire Dumn stopped it. Both men well battered.

July 19—In Camp in evening. Later went to Snyder’s Orchard, where Dr. Taggart held a medicine show.

September 15—Philadelphia is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Constitution. Today the In­dustrial and Civic parade was held - 20,000 in line. Clara Kline was down.

September 17—Made arrangements with Aman­da Noll to get married in two weeks.

September 29—At usual work at mill. In evening A. Noll and I were married at Rev. Herman’s residence in Kutztown. Henry Boyer was best man and Ada Bernhart, best lady.

November 11—At usual work. Today 4 anarchists were hanged in Chicago. Two were given life sentences and one committed suicide with dynamite, which he held in his mouth and lit the fuse.

December 8—Tonight a dozen Camp members went to Virginville to start a new camp there. Mayor Kinney of Reading was present.

December 18—Heavy snowfall yesterday and to­day. Snow is 20 in. deep.

December 24—Bought a rocker for Amanda, suspenders for dad, hose for stepmother and a silk kerchief for Clara. Rec’d gifts too.


January 3—The ice men are harvesting ice 7 in. thick. At usual work.

January 16—Because of miner’s strike, coal has advanced in price; pea from $3.00 to $3.40; chestnut and stove $5.00 to $5.20.

February 21—Boro election. Partial results: Burgess - I. R. Merkel; Council - J. B. Bertolet, D. F. Kelchner; School Directors - Dan Brown, Henry Schlegel.

March 4—This morning a little boy came to our house. Mother and baby well during the day. At home at Jacob Noll’s place.

March 7—Baby had a hard night. He ate little and got weaker and weaker; died at 11:40 P.M. What gloom in the house!

March 14—The blizzard we had on the 12th has blocked the roads and railroads. No trains through here in 3 days. Cuts clogged and 4 and 5 ft. drifts in the highways.

March 21—Bought a stove from Levi Madeira for $20. Our nurse Emma Paff went home to Blandon.

March 29—We moved into dad’s house (now 144 W. Main). Paid $9.60 for household goods at Melot’s store.

April 4—Jacob Noll, Amanda’s dad, moved out of the American house and Hunter Coleman moved in. Mr. Noll had been there 12 years.

April 26—I rec’d 2 pigs from Dan Merkel for $10.00.

May 15—In Camp in evening. We are going to start a Camp Drum Corps.

May 29—At usual work. Martin Kelchner died and Samuel Noll, Amanda’s brother.

June 10—Amanda and I and other relatives spent the day at John Schroeder’s at Five Points.

July 5—Our pet cat this A.M. killed and maimed 10 chicks and had to be destroyed. His name was “Barney.”

August 11—Sunday School made an excursion to Bowers Park. This time Amanda was along.

August 26—Big day for local camp meeting. 100 tents up. About 4000 to 6000 people there.

November 2—Last night the P.O.S. of A. Drum Corps was at Pleasantville with the Republican Club. Near Bernville a traction engine boiler exploded, killing 5 people.

November 7—Elections returns show Harrison and Morton victors. Paid $7.00, October rent.

November 14—Win. Showers was hanged at Lebanon for the murder of his two grandsons. Geo. B. Schaeffer and Lewis Schaeffer were at the hanging.

November 23—We butchered a hog and made sausage. Nathaniel Keller and Ben Hoch were the butchers.


January 1—I am still clerk at Schaeffer Wanner & Co. I live in father’s house on West Main St. My salary is $30 per month.

January 4—At usual work. The employees and their salaries are as follows: Head Miller, Joel Schaeffer $40; Night Miller, M. Leinbach $35; Engineers, Alvin Kelchner $30, Ben Brown $27; Stone Miller, A. W. Luckenbill $28; Yardman, Win. Schaeffer $40; Yard Men, Dan Brown $27, Win. Schlegel $25; Clerk, C. F. Knoll $30; Salesman, C. Bollinger $45.

January 5—Sold 2 doz. eggs at 24 cents. We have 50 chickens. Isaac Merkel’s mother died.

January 6—In Sunday School today. Had election. P. H. Gehris, Supt; Secy. Herbert Bieber, Treas. Dan Schaeffer, Organist, Mary Dumn, Librarian, C. A. Messersmith, Jr.

January 7—Rev. J. S. Herman died, aged 70 yrs. He was the Reformed pastor here for years.

January 9—A cyclone passed over Reading and wrecked a silk mill. 21 dead, all young.

January 27—In Sunday School today. A constitution was adopted, which I helped to write.

February 19—Election Day. Partial results follows: Burgess - Geo. D. Schaeffer; Council - Jacob Schlegel, Chas. Folk; School Director - E. M. Mill, Lewis Schaeffer.

March 24—Jacob Kern and I were elected as music directors under Supt. Gehris.

March 28—A fat girl baby arrived at our house with Emma Paff as nurse. Mother and child seem well.

March 29—Our baby girl became ill and died at 1:10 P.M. This is the second baby we lost.

April 13—At usual work. This evening John Noll arrived with 2 carloads of horses for James and Adam Schaeffer. This firm bought two for almost $400.

May 12—In Sunday School in A.M. Rev. Brensinger, a young preacher, was present and addressed the school. In the evening he preached and made a good impression.

May 18—Chas. Messersmith died today, aged 43 years.

May 25—Funeral of C. Messersinith in Chapel. Five lodges represented & 150 men in line. Town crowded with people.

May 31—Heavy rain in the state. A huge dam burst above Johnstown and destroyed most of the town, killing 2500 people. Hundreds homeless.

June 27—Graduation at K.S.N.S. today. Kate Wanner, daughter of Lewis Wanner, deceased, was one of the graduates.

June 30—In church today, where Rev. Brensinger, with only two votes against him, was elected our regular pastor.

July 17—The Evangelicals are digging out cellar for their new church on lot bought from father on Washington St.

August 7—Union Missionary Society was formed today with Rev. Brensinger, pres; P. H. Gehris, V. Pres; C. F. Knoll, Secy; Win. Zechman, Corres. Secy; and Nick WahI, Treas.

August 17—Went with St. Paul’s S. School excursion to Lititz. Adult tickets 1.75; half-fare .88.

August 25—Big day for local Camp Meeting in woods above Heydts. Three special trains. 107 tents up - 5000 to 6000 people.

September 4—At usual work in A.M. In P.M. went to Reading with Amanda to see Dr. Bartholomew’s Equine Paradox, 24 trained horses. There were 2072 persons in the Academy.

September 10—This was Rev. Brensinger’s 25th birthday. We surprised him. Gave him a complete outfit from head to foot. We had collected $70.

October 6—Cornerstone of Evangelical Church was laid. Evangelicals held their services in chapel P.M. and evening. Rev. Gross and Rev. Deisher preached. Collections totaled $630.

December 23—Willie Fegley, a carpenter working on a scaffold in the belfry of the new Evang. church, was hit by a falling object and knocked from scaffold. He fell 40 feet to the first floor and lived only one hour after the fall.

December 24—Chapel Board Treasurer. Dan Melot, presented me with $15 for playing the organ in the chapel.

December 25—Amanda and I ate Xmas dinner at father’s house. In Chapel in P.M. where children got gifts. Fine and crowded entertainment in evening.


January 13—No snow on the ground. At usual work. This evening R. Peter died of bronchitis. He had been church organist for years.

February 1—Sat. Today the first services were held in the new Evangelical Church.

February 18—Election Day, Partial results: Burgess - John Maurer; Council - Amos Rothermel, James Hill; School Directors - C. F. Hill, Al Maurer; Auditor - C. F. Knoll.

March 18—Moses Folk died of typhoid pneumonia, aged 33 yrs.

March 22—Local schools closed. In evening Prof. Hancher lectured on “You and your Grand Father.”

May 6—Today the Berks County School Directors elected Win. Zechman, Supt.

May 9—Today a boy baby arrived at our house. Emma Paff is the nurse. He was later baptized George Andrew.

May 30—At usual work in A.M. In P.M. paraded with the P.0.5. of A. Drum Corps. The speakers on the cemeteries were R.G. Welder and E.D. Dengler.

July 4—Went to Topton with Camp 103 and the Drum Corps. Had a nice parade.

July 12—Went with A. W. Lucken bill and M. Lein­bach to Harrisburg to see the “Last Days of Pompeii.”

July 23—In missionary society. Paid 35 cents for my birthday offering. I was 35 yrs. old, July 17.

August 9—Took family to S. School picnic in Dumn’s Grove, south of the railroad station.

September 19—Awful wreck above Shoemakersville; an express was derailed by a freight, and 22 persons were killed.

December 25—We ate Xmas dinner at father’s house. Little George received a high chair.


January 1—Cold; 6 in. of snow on the ground. Good sleighing. At usual work. I get $35 a month.

January 8—Fair and cold. Ice houses here are nearly all filled. Revival meetings in Evang. church, Rev. Snyder preacher.

February 11—Little George is all spotted with measles.

February 17—At usual work. Oscar Koller married Sallie Schaeffer, youngest daughter of Geo. D. Schaeffer, the deputy sheriff.

May 10—In Brensinger’s Church in AM. In evening the old choir visited us. We did a lot of singing. Paid for ice cream 45 cents.

June 25—Commencement at K.S.N.S. There were 75 graduates.

July 16—Chapel was repainted. Brother James and I each paid $2.00 toward the expense.

August 24—Heavy rain during the night. Our cellar is half full of water.

September 4—Brother James is on a 5-week trip to the West. Just now he is with his Uncle Frank Christman at Los Gatos, Calif.

September 20—In Sunday School in A.M. In the evening the Missionary Society celebrated their second anniversary. Rev. Gehr of Phila. and Dr. A. C. Rothermel spoke.

October 29—Clara Kline, my step sister, married Nicholas Kutz. Kramlich and Brensinger were the pastors. We took dinner at their house. There were 80 guests.

November 8—Cyrus Stoudt died of apoplexy while attending his uncle’s funeral.

November 15—Sun. Cyrus Stoudt buried today. There were 69 Camp members present. Many people could not get in the church.

November 29—This morning, a little before 7 o’clock, Dan Brown went down to the engine room to check the belt. In some way his clothes got caught in the belt, and he was whirled around the shaft at 143 revolutions per minute. The engine was shut off, and when they found him he was terribly mangled, and died at 10:45 A.M.

December 3—Today Dan Brown was buried. The whole mill force was there and a great concourse of people. Rev. Brensinger and Rev. Snyder preached, and Rev. Brownmiller offered prayer.

December 9—Today the 1:00 o’clock train ran into a two-horse team at Blandon and killed the two horses and mangled the driver so badly that he died soon afterwards. He was Ammon Link.

December 18—I bought 2 doz. handkerchiefs for my German Sunday School class.

December 24—Today Allen Kelchner married Lillie Spatz. I gave him a lamp as a wedding gift.

December 25—In church in A.M. Rev. Brensinger received a gold watch from the Sunday School, Church and Missionary Society.

December 31—Due to the mild weather, many people have the grippe.


January 15—At usual work at the mill. We have 8 in. of snow.

February 16—Boro election. Some results: Justice of Peace - James F. Dumn, A. W. Fretz; Burgess -Isaac Mertz; Council - John Maurer, Adam Haag, Joel Schaeffer; School Director - Geo. B. Schaeffer, Win. D. Merkel.

February 27—In chapel in the evening at Sunday School Fasnacht Festival. Had coffee and fasnachts.

April 17—Easter Sun. each of children in Sunday School got 2 eggs, one real and one chocolate.

May 9—Bought 1 dozen photos of George and his dog “Sport.”

May 15—George’s dog ‘Sport” took sick and died.

May 20—A boy baby came to our house (later baptized James Peter).

May 21—Attended the first high school commencement ever held in Fleetwood. There were three graduates - Mamie Kline, Horace Kline and Lizzie Heydt.

June 18—Strawberry and ice cream festival in the chapel. Big success. Receipts $53.00.

July 23—Put up a porch swing for George and Sallie Rothermel, who is here on a visit from Lebanon.

July 26—Hottest day. Fleetwood 99 degrees, Reading 100 degrees.

August 11—Pawnee Bill Wild West show in Reading. John Noll and Simon Hinkle went down.

October 6—Eugene Merkel, 6 year old son of Oscar Merkel, strangled himself by accident at window sash. Found dead by his father.

October 27—Contractor J. G. Yarnell began digging trenches for the Fleetwood Water Co.

November 9—Cleveland elected President.

December 25—In church in A.M. In Sunday School in P.M. My class gave me a nice useful chamber set. I gave them each a cup and saucer.

Diaries missing from 1893 - 1894 - 1895 - 1896.
Charles F. Knoll was born December 31, 1894.


July 2—I weigh 115 lbs. and am still holding my own, but I do a lot of coughing and spitting.

July 17—My 42nd birthday. A coal car loaded with pea coal broke through the trestle in Wanner & Schaeffer’s siding and John Noll had to jump for his life. He hurt his leg badly.

July 31—Joint excursion of 2 Sunday Schools to Carsonia Park. There were 13 cars.

August 26—Took whole family to Reading to see the P.0.S. of A. parade. There were 9500 men in line.

October 9—Henry Boyer picked 2 more bushels of our Grouser apples, making 12 bushels in all.

December 25—We had a nice tree and a chicken for dinner. Boys rec’d story and picture books from parents and each got a book from Sunday School. Amanda got a. beautiful Astrakhan from my father, toward which I paid $5.00.


July 1—I still work at the mill but my cough is getting worse. I weigh only 109 lbs.

July 3—Very hot—100 degrees in shade.

July 11—Today 2 sheds belonging to Ben Hubert and Dan Koch burned to the ground.

July 28—Samuel Hoch died today of cancer.

July 30—I weigh only 105 lbs. I have night sweats and do much coughing and spitting, all symtoms of the last stages of consumption.

August 6—The whole family went with the Sunday School excursion to Laury’s Park above Allentown. I went along for the children’s sake.

October 31—Stopped my usual work tonight and reported sick to the lodges.

November 13—Hettie Wanner sent me a meal with all the fixings. I have very many visitors.

December 24—Brother James came with a whole lard can full of fruit and toys for the boys. They were well pleased. They also got gifts from 2 Sunday Schools.


January 1—There is much snow and sleighing is good. I suffer from consumption and dropsy.

January 8—This is Rev. Brensinger’s quarterly pay day in church. He was here at the house and prayed with us. I gave $1.00 (This was my dad’s last entry in his diary. He died 8 days later, January 17).


James P. Knoll