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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Annals of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania published in 1905 by The Genealogical Publishing Company.  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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JOHN C. BEHNEY, senior member of the firm of Behney & Snyder, of Carlisle, is a native of Llewellyn, Schuylkill Co., Pa., his birth occurring there April 17, 1864. The family is of supposed German origin, and the name was spelled originally Beni. There are various forms of spelling the name, Beni, Baney, Behne and Behney; the Lebanon Valley branch of the family to which John C. belongs adopted the spellings Baney and Behney, the latter being the correct English form. The great-grandfather of John C., the founder of the family in the Lebanon Valley, spelled his name Baney. In the Pennsylvania archives the records show that, in 1723, the family of Beni emigrated to this country, settling near Myerstown, Lebanon Co., Pa. The great-grandfather of our subject was, as before stated, the first of the family of whom we have any positive knowledge. He was a farmer in Lebanon county, and had a family of eighteen children, nine sons and nine daughters. The grandfather of our subject was also a farmer in Lebanon county. He, too, was the father of a large family, also having eighteen children, nine sons and nine daughters.

Henry Behney, the eighth son in the above family, adopted the present spelling of the name. He was born April 9, 1824, near Myerstown, Pa., where he was reared, and where he spent the greater part of his life. In his young manhood he learned the trade of wheelwright and coachmaker, and followed that calling all through his life, becoming very proficient at the business, a part of the time conducting a business of his own. He also followed his trade in Reading and Hummelstown, Pa., the latter place being his home at the time of his death, which occurred in April, 1892. He was an ardent supporter of the Church, and a devout Christian man. In his early life he was a member of the Lutheran Church, but in middle life became connected with the United Brethren Church, being licensed by the Quarterly Conference of that denomination to preach in the German language. He continued to preach the Gospel up to the time of his death. Being a man of the strictest integrity and morality, he strove to impart those principles to those about him. Mr. Behney was a member of the F. & A. M., of Reading, and the K. T. Commandery. He was one of the charter members of Womelsdorf Lodge, I. O. O. F.

Mr. Behney married Elvina Kalbach, of Womelsdorf, Berks Co., Pa., daughter of Daniel and Catherine (Seibert) Kalbach. Daniel Kalbach was an innkeeper in Berks county, where he died at the age of seventy-four years. Catherine Seibert, his wife, died at the age of seventy-five years. Mrs. Elvina (Kalbach) Behney was born Feb. 8, 1825, and is still living, residing with her daughter, Mrs. Charles B. Rettew, of Harrisburg. She was the mother of eight children as follows: (1) William H. resides in Philadelphia, where he is a painter and decorator. (2) Rebecca is the wife of Charles B. Rettew, of Harrisburg. (3) Mary died in infancy. (4) Rev. C. I., of Elizabethtown, Lancaster county, Pa., is pastor of the Church of God. He has been in the ministry for the past twenty five years, most of this time as an itinerant preacher in the Cumberland Valley, filling the charges at Shippensburg for three years, Newville three years, Shiremanstown three years, and other charges in Dauphin and Lancaster counties. By trade he is also a coach painter. (5) Walker died in infancy. (6) Catharine, unmarried, resides in Harrisburg. (7) Peter V., a blacksmith, resides in Hummelstown, Pa. (8) John C. is mentioned below.

John C. Behney was born April 17, 1864, and educated in the public schools of Hummelstown and the Chester Valley Academy at Downingtown, graduating from the latter in 1882. After his graduation he taught in that Academy while taking a special course, and the year after leaving the Chester Valley Academy he taught the Rock Ridge public school in Derry township, Dauphin county, for one year. He then entered Gettysburg College, where he spent two years, but at the end of that time gave up further studies to enter the business world. Entering the establishment of Dives, Pomeroy & Stewart, at Harrisburg, he was associated with them for three and a half years, at the expiration of which time he associated himself with Einstein’s mercantile establishment in Harrisburg for several months. An opportunity presenting itself, Mr. Behney became a member of the McNeil Medicine Company, as stockholder and manager of the office and books. He was connected with this firm for two years, when he sold out and once more became associated with Dives, Pomeroy & Stewart for three and one half years, having charge of the department of dress goods and silks. Severing his connection with this firm, he opened the dry-goods department for Williamson & Foster in their Harrisburg store. He remained with this firm as buyer and manager for four years, and then on June 6, 1896, in Company with Joseph H. Snyder and A. G. Snyder, established a business in furnishings for men and women in Harrisburg (on Market street) under the firm name of Behney & Co. On March 4th following, the opportunity having presented itself, they opened the first department store in Carlisle, which they have successfully conducted up to the present time, the firm name being Behney & Snyder. They have built up an extensive business, and carry a complete assortment of all kinds of goods found in a first-class department store. No other establishment in Carlisle carries as high grade stock as does this firm. They are centrally located on North Hanover street, occupying three floors; the main floor is 200 feet deep, including the warehouse, and they have some 10,000 feet of floor space.

Mr. Behney is a member of the Carlisle Board of Trade; St. John’s Lodge, No. 160, F. & A. M.; and St. John’s Chapter, No. 171; he is also a member of the P. O. S. of A. and the Modern Woodmen, being a charter member of the latter.

Mr. Behney married (first), Nov. 14, 1884, Miss Emma K. Wenger, only child of Samuel and Susan Wenger; one child was born to them, Charles C. Mrs. Behney died in 1885. Mr. Behney married (second), June 14, 1889, Miss Minerva K. Snyder, daughter of John B. and Rebecca Snyder, of Reading, Pa. Two children, Byron Stanley and Chalmers Bertolette, blessed this union. The family are members of the first Lutheran Church. Mr. Behney belonging to the vestry.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Biographical Annals of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania published in 1905 by The Genealogical Publishing Company. 

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