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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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FRANKLIN H. BLIEM, a descendant of an old family in Upper Pottsgrove township, was born October 25, 1844, on the farm in Upper Pottsgrove where he now lives.

Christian Bliem, the founder of the Bliem family in America, was born at New Manheim, Germany, December 25, 1711. He emigrated to America in the autumn of 1735, being one of the Huguenots who fled from Germany on account of religious persecution. He was married in his native country, and brought with him his wife and one child. For the first winter he made a dug-out, and afterwards built a house of logs, using an oak stump, probably dressed, for a table. He bought 150 acres of land in Hanover township, then a part of Philadelphia, (now Montgomery) county, near Pottstown, where he lived about seventy-five years. During the first months of his residence in America, while he yet had no permanent home, his wife and child remained with her brother, a Bechtel, who owned and lived on a farm, a part of which now belongs to the Gue estate, and includes the Fegley farm (now owned by Furman Kepler), and the Mensch farm. The latter is now owned by the Ringing Rocks Electric Railway Company of Pottstown.

Christian Bliem loaned a neighbor $800 in gold and silver before the Revolutionary war, and it was repaid in Continental money, which, of course, became useless after the war. He begged his neighbor to give him some small payment to offset the $800, saying that he would even be satisfied with a cow. However, he never obtained his request, and lost all the money. He attended Philadelphia market, carrying his produce on a pack-horse, and sometimes sold as much as ten dollars worth at a time. He grew wealthy, and purchased a farm for each of his sons, Daniel and Christian.

Christian Bliem and his wife had five children, four daughters and one son. One daughter married Jacob Hoch, of Chester county. Another daughter married Daniel Fretz, of Bucks county. A third married Jacob Oberholtzer, of Berks county, and the youngest daughter married a Strohm, who after living on the old homestead for a number of years, removed to Canada.

Christian Bliem’s wife died young, and was buried in the Sprogle burying ground, east of Pottstown; and now included within the borough limits. Christian Bliem died March 9, 1810, and was also buried in the Sprogle burying ground. This cemetery was donated by John Henry Sprogle, before the year 1700, and was to be used as a burying plot forever. The Bliems have always been connected with it as trustees. The bodies of the Bliem ancestry have, however, all been removed to the cemetery adjoining the East Coventry Mennonite meeting house, the Sprogle ground having been surrounded by iron mills, and being very undesirable as a burying place. Sprogle, the donator, returned to Germany, but left two children buried there in 1714, and his wife Dorethea, buried in 1716.

Christian Bliem had one brother in this country and several sisters. The brother settled in Bucks county, and died young. He left two daughters and two sons, Daniel and Christian. They settled in Lancaster county and left families.

Christian Bliem, son of the immigrant, and great-grandfather of Franklin H. Bliem, was born February 25, 1746, and died February 20, 1816. He added 250 acres to his father’s tract, thus making 400 acres in all. He and his father each made wills which are registered in Norristown, and the deeds to the properties also appear on record there. He married in 1768, Salome, eldest daughter of Jacob and Susanna Langenecker. She was born in January, 1746, and died in 1811. Of the Langenecker family we know that they were French Huguenots, who were, according to history, the best people in France. They were present at the massacre of St. Bartholomew in 1572, and the persecution of the French Huguenots in 1678. Christian and Salome Bliem had seven children, as follows: 1. Salome, born 1770, married Samuel Moyer, of Perkasie, Bucks county, and died 1812. 2. Christian L., born 1773, died 1831, married Magdalena Hoch, and removed to Northampton county. 3. Philip L., born 1775, died 1847; married a widow Cressman, and removed to Canada. 4. Daniel L., born 1777, died 184; married Nancy Latshaw, and removed to Northampton county. 5. Mary, born 1782, died 1816; married Jacob Latshaw. 6. John L. (grandfather), born 1784, died 1858; married Barbara Eshbach. 7. Jacob L., born 1788, died 1864; married Mollie Hockman. They remained on the old homestead until the death of his father, and then the estate was divided. Those who had left home had received their portion before leaving.

John Bliem (grandfather) was married in 1813. His wife died in 1845, at the age of fifty years. They left eleven children: 1. David E., born 1814, died 1815. 2. Jacob E., born 1816, married Mary High, died 1883. His wife died in 1874, aged fifty-one years. 3. Mary E., born 1819, married William Stauffer, died 1885. 4. Elizabeth E., born 1821, married Jacob Bechtel, died 1887. He died in 1888. 5. Catharine E., born 1824, married Jacob Bahr, died 1896. He died 1882. 6. John E., born 1826, married Elizabeth Poland, died 1901. She died 1879. 7. Isaac E., born 1826, married Carrie Arnold. 8. Rachel E., born 1830, married Israel Erb, and died in 1899. 9. Ellen E., born 1832, married John Still, and died in 1898. 10. George E., born 1834, married Harriet Stauffer. 11. Sarah E., born 1838, married William E. Brodbeck, and died 1888. He died in 1894.

Jacob E. Bliem, who died October 7, 1883, aged sixty-seven years, left seven children, as follows: 1. Franklin H., married Henrietta Snell. She died in 1900. 2. Katie H., married Joshua B. Lessig. She died in 1884. 3. David H., and Henry H. (twins), unmarried. 4. Jacob H., married Mary Hartenstine. 5. Isaac H., died unmarried in 1896. 6. Jacob E. Bliem’s farm which is a part of the original tract owned by the Bliems, is now occupied by his son, Franklin H. Bliem. 7. Jacob L. Bliem, who married Molly Hockman in 1814, owned the original homestead. He died in 1864, aged seventy-six years and six months, and his widow died the following year, aged seventy-five years and seven months. His children: Anna, born 1815, married John Oberholtzer, died in 1884. Christian, born 1817, married Mary Stauffer. He died in 1892, she in 1888. Jacob, born 1820, married Esther Bertolet. Susan, deceased born 1821, married Jesse Bechtel. John, born 1824, married Hariet Gilbert. He died in 1898. Mary, born 1833, married Jacob L. Fritz.

The farm was transferred to Christian Bliem by his father about 1860, but since his death a portion of the farm has been sold at public sale, and thus first passed out of the Bliem family since 1735. The tract contains a hundred acres with a log house upon it which has stood over a hundred years, and, if not destroyed by fire, will probably stand another century.

Christian H. Bliem left two sons. William S., who married Salome Yost, they having one son Daniel and one daughter, Mary; and J. Stauffer Bliem, who married Emma Kinzer, the couple having no children. Christian H. Bliem died in July, 1900. This account of the family has been brought down to the fifth and sixth generation in America. While none of them has ever ascended the ladder of fame or acquired a great fortune, they are worthy of honor because of the difficulties they surmounted and the hardships, trials and inconveniences which they suffered. Their devotion to their simple religious faith and the manner in which their work was done, leaving a name untarnished to their descendants, causes their memory to be revered and respected.

Franklin H. Bliem, subject of this sketch, resides upon the homestead which he owns, and on which he has made many improvements, and erected several buildings. It comprises one hundred acres, three hundred acres having been sold as originally stated. Otherwise the homestead is the same as of old. He attended school until he was twenty-two years of age, being a student at a boarding school. He then engaged in the occupation of teaching in Upper Pottsgrove township for about ten years. He then engaged in farming, in which occupation he has been employed ever since.

Mrs. Bliem is the daughter of Conard and Elizabeth (Erb) Snell, of Lower Pottsgrove, where they are still living. Mr. and Mrs. Bliem were married November 20, 1873, in Boyertown. They have thirteen children, as follows: 1. Allen S., born November 8, 1874, resides in Pueblo, Colorado, where he is engaged in the iron business. 2. Harry S., born November 15, 1876, is unmarried, and resides in Homestead, Pennsylvania, where he also is employed as an iron worker. 3. Mary Lizzie, born July 30, 1878. 4. Sallie S., born November 18, 1879. She is a trained nurse in the Pottstown Hospital. 5: Samuel S., born August 2, 1881, married Sallie Saylor, 1904. 6. Carrie S., born October 7, 1882, is a stenographer, and is employed in that capacity in Philadelphia. 7. Hattie, born October 13, 1884, resides with her parents. 8. Frank S., born December 8, 1885. 9. Bertha S., born April 27, 1887. 10. Henrietta S., born September 29, 1888. 11. Katie S., born December 2, 1889. 12. Jacob Conard S., born April 30, 1891. 13. Walter S., born October 22 1892.

Franklin H. Bliem is a Republican in politics, and has held the office of mercantile appraiser. He has been county committeeman for his district for ten years, and his name has frequently been mentioned in connection with the party nomination for assembly and other offices. He is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, being connected with Manatawny Lodge, No. 214, of Pottstown. He is a member of the German Reformed church of Pottstown. The house in which he resides was built in 1819, and has ever since been the abiding place of the family in different generations. Mr. Bliem owns the property where the plant of the Pennsylvania Copper Mining Company is located. He leased the property to the company, twenty acres in all, on a royalty. They have sunk a shaft, and have been very successful in their operations.

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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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