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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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GEORGE BERKHIMER, son of Jacob and Mary (Rubicam) Berkhimer, was a native of Whitemarsh township, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, where he was born-May 21, 1815. He was born on a farm rented by his father. He was one of a family of six children, and attended the schools of the day which were very inferior to those of the present time. George Berkhimer was trained to habits of honest industry in accordance with the custom of that day in Montgomery, but school learning was a comparatively small part of the education of the boy. He conducted a store with a relative for a time, finding that employment more congenial than farming. He married, February 27, 1851, Phebe Ann, daughter of Levi and Hettie (Wilkinson) Shepherd, of Horsham township. After his marriage George and Phebe Berkhimer located at Springhouse, in Lower Gwynedd township, where he remained for a year, and then removed to the locality known as Franklinville, in Whitpain township, on the State road, (DeKalb street) about six miles from Norristown, and two miles from Gwynedd Friends’ meeting-house. There Mr. Berkhimer occupied the hotel, a portrait of Benjamin Franklin on whose swinging sign, yet remembered by some of the older residents of the neighborhood, gave name to the place. He purchased the farm and hotel, and operated both for many years. The farm contained eighty-seven acres of land, and Mr. Berkhimer brought it into a high state of cultivation. He did not keep the bar of the hotel, that being in the hands of another person, but attended to the comfort of all guests.

George Berkhimer sold his farm, the hotel having been abandoned because of the diversion of travel in other directions through the building of railroads and otherwise, the purchaser being John Robinson, about 1866. He held it a few years, Mr. Berkhimer in the meantime erecting a house on the opposite side of the State road, where he spent his remaining days, and where his widow now resides. John Robinson, after a few years occupancy, sold the property to William M. Singerly, of the Philadelphia Record, who spent much money upon the buildings and surroundings, and transformed it into the “Home Farm,” purchasing also in the neighborhood several hundred acres of land, and operating them for twenty years or more until his death. The property is now owned and occupied as a summer residence by General William P. Wilson, of the Commercial Museum of Philadelphia, all the farms of Mr. Singerly having been sold.

Mr. Berkhimer continued to farm in a small way the acres on which his widow resides, until his death, which occurred July 16, 1898. He was buried at St. Thomas’ Episcopal cemetery, in Whitmarsh township. In politics he was a Democrat, but not by any means a bitter partisan. He never sought or held office, deeming it sufficient to go to the polls on election day and deposit his ballot.

The Berkhimers are an old family of German origin, long resident in Whitpain and adjoining townships. They were all farmers, and as a family were noted for thrift and frugality, being industrious and energetic in attention to business. George Berkhimer was an exceedingly kind-hearted man, a good husband and a kind neighbor. He died at an advanced age, thoroughly respected by the entire community in which he had lived so long, and to whose members he was so well known. (For further particulars of the Berkhimer family see the biographical sketches of Allen Berkhimer, John Berkhimer and Charles Berkhimer, elsewhere in this work.)

Mrs. Berkhimer’s family are old residents of Pennsylvania, but they have been domiciled in Montgomery county only for two generations. Her father, Levi Shepherd, was a miller, and resided at Tacony, in Philadelphia county, whence he removed about 1834 to Moreland, in Montgomery county, and in 1843 to Montgomery township. Mrs. Berkhimer was born at Tacony, but has resided the greater part of her life in the locality where she now lives, she and her husband having removed to Franklinville in 1852, more than a half century ago. Having no children of her own, Mrs. Berkhimer has usually been surrounded by nephews or nieces of herself or her husband, with whom she shares the comforts of her home. She is a benevolent, kindly woman, who is widely known and highly esteemed by all who know her.

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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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