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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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FRANCIS J. CLAMER, a leading citizen of Collegeville, and for some years its burgess, is descended from an honored family of Hamburg, in Germany, it having produced many statesmen and soldiers. He was born in that ancient city, July 4, 1841, and was there educated.

He was the son of George P. H. and Marie (Rush) Clamer, the wife also being descended from a distinguished German family. His father was the son of Christian J. Clamer, the most extensive planter in the vicinity of Hamburg, being an influential and wealthy citizen. The family history dates back to the twelfth century. The country from which came the original Clamer is not known, but the dignity of the family began with the development of the city of Hamburg. There was born, September 13, 1706, Guilliam Clamer, whose father was Johannes Clamer, a prominent merchant of Hamburg. Johannes’ mother was Elizabeth, daughter of the eminent family of Vegesack, who came from Bremen and settled at Hamburg, having a civil and military record for five hundred years or more.

Guilliam, son of Johannes and Elizabeth Clamer, was named for his maternal grandfather, his mother’s grandfather, Conrad Vegesach, had the honor of being a senator of Hamburg. Guilliam Clamer was given a liberal education. When he was sixteen years of age he entered the office of Reynier Von Schoonhoven. The youth was exceedingly capable, and in ten years succeeded to the business, the former proprietor retiring. Having been honored with office, he set out on a tour of Europe, with the expectation that the knowledge thus gained would redound through him to the benefit of his native city. In 1734 he married Anna Maria Boon, daughter of Philip and Anna (Moelman) Boon. Philip was the son of Adrian Boon, a senator of Hamburg. The wife died at the birth of a daughter in 1737, and the husband again married, the second wife being Catharine Elizabeth Schluter, daughter of David Schluter, Doctor of Laws, and his wife Catharine, the bride being a cousin of his first wife. Guilliam Clamer was a child of the second wife. He was born September 13, 1706. He was a man prominent in church councils and in the affairs of the city, and ultimately became senator and administrator of Hamburg, and admiral of the fleet, protecting its commerce in the days of pirates and buccaneers. Guilliam and Jacob Clamer, who were brothers, were heirs-at-law of Senator Jacob Langerman, who died intestate in 1762. They were aware that it had been his great desire to present his various collections to his beloved city, and instead of enriching themselves they gave his magnificent library of seven thousand volumes to Hamburg, and a large donation from Guilliam Clamer, in the shape of historical books, guns and other relics. Louis XV. conferred valuable gifts on Guilliam by way of testifying his admiration for the man.

His son, Guilliam Clamer, Jr., was twenty-six years of age at the time of his father’s death in 1774. In 1776 he married Miss Philipsen, by whom he had three sons, of whom Christian Heinrich was the oldest. He studied at an agricultural college, and his father bought him the estate of Majenfeld, seven miles from Hamburg, paying for it 70,000 marks. He married Sophia, daughter of Johann George Hoffman, overseer of the castle of the King of Saxony at Dresden. He was the first to introduce orange culture into Saxony. Guilliam Clamer and his wife had six sons and three daughters. George P. H., father of Francis J. Clamer, was baptized June 12, 1802. He was born June 1, of that year.

In 1808 the French fleet was stationed at Hamburg, which city was in 1810 incorporated with the French empire. The Russians came to its relief. The result of strife was the temporary ruin of the prosperity of Hamburg and of the wealth of the Clamers, their landed estates being devastated alike by friend and foe, as is usually the case during wars. The generations of the Clamers in the past two centuries are thus as follows: Guilliam, senator of Hamburg; Guilliam Jr., the illustrious merchant of the same city; Christian H., the country gentleman of Majenfeld; George Heinrich (father), the greatest silversmith and artist of his day; Franz Julius, subject of this sketch, who is the inventor of the Ajax metal, now of Collegeville ; Guilliam H., his son, the young metallurgist, who is carrying forward what his father so well began. Back of these stretch away into the dim past many generations of Clamers, who were always known as patriotic and useful members of their communities. Their marriage alliances brought them into contact with some of the best blood of Germany.

The children of Christian J. Clamer: George P. H. (father); Francis J., Henry, William, Theodore, Nicholas, Johanness (Mrs. Arps) ,Wilhelmina (Mrs. Wilhelm Whitrock), Augusta (Mrs. Vanholm). At the diamond wedding of the parents, the emperor presented a diamond iron cross. He died at the age of ninety-two years, and his wife, who was a Hoffman, also lived to a great age.

George P. H. (father) received a liberal education and learned to be a silversmith. He was an artist in work of this kind, having been summoned to Mexico to fashion the ware for the Catholic churches of that country, and was the designer of all the work. His family remained in Hamburg, but he came and settled in Philadelphia in 1852, after traveling over a great part of the United States, having selected that city for his residence. His family speedily joined him, and he secured employment at special art work in his line, at which he continued until he was eighty-three years of age. His last work was a bronze portrait of the late William L. Elkins, the traction millionaire. The portrait hangs at the Union League, in Philadelphia. He died on February 20, 1889, at the age of eighty-seven years. His wife died on March 11, 1886, at the age of seventy-seven years. Their children were: Francis J. (subject of this sketch); Augusta Maria, Mrs. Henry Buch (herself and her husband both being deceased) ; Louisa Henrietta (Mrs. Spicker), he being deceased, and she residing in Philadelphia.

Francis J. Clamer came to America with his mother in 1852, at the age of eleven years, they joining his father in Philadelphia as has been stated. He completed his education at Camden, studying chemistry and the natural sciences generally under the best chemists of the country, after which he acquired under the tuition of his father a knowledge of the trade of goldsmith and silversmith. Later he engaged for five years in the merchandise, hardware and house furnishing business. Then engaging in the manufacture of bronze hardware, he experimented in the production of anti-frictional metal, and in 1868 accomplished the first practical results. By 1880, with hard study and hard labor, he made his discovery a complete success. About that time he made the acquaintance of the late William L. Elkins, William G. Warden and J. G. Hendrickson, who had heard of his success, and advanced money to manufacture it on a large scale, and a corporation was formed known as the Ajax Metal Company, known the world over and having a large establishment in Philadelphia. In 1897 Mr. Clamer turned over the active work to his son. The officers of the company are: President, J. G. Hendrickson; Vice President, Guilliam H. Clamer. The last-named is also manager.

Since he was fourteen years of age Mr. Clamer has accomplished successfully everything that he has undertaken to do. He had all his life resolved that he would retire at fifty-five years of age, which he was able to realize. In 1888 he purchased a small farm near Collegeville, which he rented out in 1889, and bought Professor J. Shelly Weinberger’s farm. During the summer of 1890 he occupied the Weinberger farm, and spent the winter in Philadelphia, making the location which he calls “The Glen” his home. Mr. Clamer has built many houses, and owns twenty-two properties which he rents. In 1903 he built on Main street, Collegeville, of native stone, a palatial mansion in modern style, of beautiful design, and equipped with all conveniences, in which he now resides. It occupies a conspicuous site, and is admired by all who see it. He makes frequent visits with his family to his native land.

In 1864 he married, at Philadelphia, Miss Margaret Diederich, born April 30, 1843, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Diederich, of Wurtemberg, Germany. Her family came to America in 1859. Mr. Diederich was a baker by trade, carrying on that business in Philadelphia, but on account of his wife’s ill-health he removed to Collegeville, where he bought a small farm and retired from active labor, residing there until his death. The couple were Lutherans. Their children: Catharine, died at the age of twenty years; Warren, died at the age of twenty-two years; Margaret (wife of Mr. Clamer). The mother dying, Mr. Diederich married a second time and had two children, John, and Frederika, (Mrs. George Yeakle) .

The children of Mr. and Mrs. Clamer: Guilliam, who is highly educated and is manager of the Ajax Metal Company, and married Miss Florence Foulkes, of Philadelphia; Marie, unmarried; Gertrude and Alma, also unmarried.

Mr. Clamer is fortunate in all his surroundings, enjoying the respect and esteem of all with whom he comes in contact. He has been blessed abundantly in life, and enjoys the fruits of a well-spent life. He is a Republican in politics, and was unanimously elected burgess of Collegeville, succeeding Professor Weinberger. He is one of the board of trustees of Ursinus College.

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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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