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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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ELMER S. ALLEBAUGH, one of the best-known contractors of Norristown, is a member of a family long resident in that part of Montgomery county. He was born in Towamensing township, December 30, 1868. The family removing to the county-seat when he was a child, he grew to manhood in Norristown, attending the public schools until he was fourteen years of age. He then became an apprentice with James P. Famous, at that time a bricklayer and contractor. Having learned the trade of bricklaying in three years, he remained with Mr. Famous four years longer as a journeyman. After leaving Mr. Famous he worked for different contractors until 1898, when he started business on his own account.

Mr. Allebaugh’s first work as a contractor was the building of six handsome residences in pairs on Haws avenue, Norristown, for Mr. McGrath. Among other operations are the following; twelve houses for Harry A. Keeler, on Haws avenue, and about forty for Ellwood Roberts, partly on Haws avenue and partly on Elm and other streets. In 1902 Mr. Allebaugh built the Kauffman Stoker Factory in Bridgeport; for J. Frank Boyer twenty houses; for the Hamilton Terrace Company forty houses; and a woolen mill for George Watt at Buttonwood street and the Schuylkill river. In addition he erected one of the Gresh Cigar Factory buildings at Marshall and Corson streets; another for the Diamond State Fibre Company in Bridgeport, and many others in Norristown and vicinity. He started out with his own earnings as his capital and owes his success to close attention to his business and to the fact that he believes in doing well whatever he undertakes to do.

In politics Mr. Allenbaugh is a Republican and has been a member of the borough executive committee. He is also a member of the following orders: Norristown Lodge, No. 620, Free & Accepted Masons; Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, No. 714; and Minnie Kaunee Lodge of Red Men. In religious belief Mr. Allebaugh is attached to the Reformed church.

Benjamin V. Allebaugh (father) was born in Lower Salford township, Montgomery county, on March 15, 1837, and grew to manhood in that locality, working on his father’s farm until he reached the age of twenty-one years, when he entered the grist and saw mill owned by his father, Jacob G. Allebaugh, which he managed until 1867. Having married, he then bought a part of his father’s farm, on which he built a house and outbuildings, and followed the occupation of farming until he removed to Norristown in 1876. He has worked at the carpenter trade although he never served an apprenticeship, but he is to a certain extent a born mechanic, displaying much originality in that direction. He was two years in the furniture business and spent a year in serving a milk route in Norristown. Mr. Allebaugh was in the grocery business for five years. After the grocery was sold he erected a stocking factory on Blackberry Alley, in West Norristown, which he operated successfully for eight years.

Benjamin V. Allebaugh is a member of the Reformed Church of the Ascension, on Airy street, Norristown. His wife, one son and two daughters are also members of that church. He is a member of the Brotherhood of the Union, and of Sincerity Home, No. 16.

He married, September 25, 1862, Miss Catharine Ann, daughter of Joseph and Catharine (Reiff) Swartley. She was born in Skippackville, January 23, 1842. Their children are as follows: Ella K., born August 13, 1863, married George Lee, of Norristown, they having four children, Norman, Anna, Florence and George; Clayton S., born March 30, 1865, married Florinda Wagner, who is now deceased, leaving two children, Hannah and Clayton; Jacob S., born October 8, 1866, and residing in Atlantic City, married Anna Hepting; Elmer S. is the subject of this sketch; Norwood Penrose, born May 16, 1870, unmarried, is a resident of New York city, and a traveling salesman; Florence S., born July 20, 1880, was graduated from the Norristown high school in 1899 and resides with her parents.

Jacob G. Allebaugh (grandfather) was a life-long resident of Lower Salford, where he was a farmer and miller.

David Allebaugh (great-grandfather) was a farmer in Skippackville.

The Reiffs were an old Montgomery family for generations and were influential in that section of the country. Jacob, maternal great-grandfather of Elmer S. Allebaugh, was for many years a merchant at Skippackville. He reared a family of five children, two sons and three daughters. The sons were both farmers.

Joseph, son of Jacob Reiff, had two children, Elias and Catharine Ann, the latter the wife of Benjamin V. Allebaugh. Elias removed to Florida in 1890, where he engaged in orange growing. In 1895 he came to Norristown on a visit, and had a stroke of paralysis from which he died, leaving a widow and five daughters. The wife died in 1900. The daughters are all married and have families.

Elmer S. Allebaugh is a prominent member of the Hancock Fire Company. He is alert and progressive in his business. Several years ago he introduced the method of raising bricks and mortar to the upper stories of buildings which he was engaged in erecting by means of a portable engine, thus dispensing with the labor of several hod carriers, and enabling the work to proceed much more rapidly than it could under the old system. There is no doubt that some such plan will ultimately come into general use, so as to prevent the necessity for such exhausting labor on the part of workmen employed on the upper stories of buildings.

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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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