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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 WASHINGTON CASTNER, one of the ablest and most enterprising farmers of Gwynedd is the son of Jesse and Parthena (Sheive) Castner, both deceased many years ago. He is descended from an old family of German origin the name having been at one time spelled Kastner. He was born December 20, 1840, on the farm in Lower Gwynedd, near Gwynedd station, owned by his grandfather and occupied by his father. He attended the public school at Gwynedd until his eighteenth year, giving some attention also to assisting in the work of the farm. One of his teachers was ‘Squire Andrew Jackson Lewis, who lived on an adjoining farm, and was an instructor of the old school, specimens of whom are now comparatively rare in the profession in Montgomery county. On leaving school at Gwynedd, Mr. Castner entered Washington Hall Collegiate Institute at Trappe, conducted for many years by Professor Abel Rambo, who was for a long period county superintendent of schools in Montgomery. After a time spent in that institution Mr. Castner returned to the homestead farm to enter upon the more active duties of life, remaining there until his marriage which occurred October 27, 1868. He married Sarah, daughter of Jacob B. and Ann (Jenkins) Rhoads, both long since deceased. Jacob B. Rhoads was a widely known farmer of Gwynedd township, near North Wales, who attended the Philadelphia market for many years, handling meat as well as farm produce. Mrs. Castner was born and reared at the Rhoads homestead, on which she now resides. She attended the Friends’ School at Gwynedd as well as the public school at that place, and also the Academy at North Wales. Still later she was a resident student at Lewisburg Institute, now combined with Bucknell University, then a flourishing school for girls and young women, and graduated with the class of 1866.

After their marriage Mr. and Mrs Castner located on a farm in Lower Gwynedd (then Gwynedd) township, adjacent to the farm of her father, where they remained for more than twenty years. In 1888 Mr. Castner purchased the Rhoads homestead, containing 137 acres, in Upper Gwynedd township, which they operated as a dairy farm, maintaining a herd of twenty-five cows thereon, the milk being shipped from Gwynedd station to Philadelphia by way of the North Pennsylvania Railroad. During 1863 Mr. Castner served in the Wishahickon Cavalry in the state service, and was stationed at Harrisburg for a short time, but owing to their services not being required the regiment returned home.

The children of Mr. and Mrs. Castner: J. Arthur, born October 27, 1870, attended Friends’ School at Gwynedd, and also the Brunner Academy and School of Business at North Wales, after which he entered as a student at the Peirce College of Business in Philadelphia, resides with his parents on the home farm, and assists in its management: Mary Parthenia, born July 27, 1872, educated at the Friends’ School at Gwynedd, and also Sunnyside Academy, at Ambler, married Linford, son of James and Mary (Johnson) Christian, and has one child, Arthur Castner, and resides at North Wales; Ann Jenkins, born September 12, 1877, attended the Gwynedd public schools and also the Brunner Academy at North Wales, graduating from the Gwynedd schools, from the North Wales institution in the class of 1891, and from the Friends’ Central School, Philadelphia, in the class of 1894, married, September 24. 1901, Andrew Heckler, son of William and Sarah (Heckler) Tyson, of Lansdale, residing there with her parents; Elizabeth Grace, born 1884, died 1889.

Jesse Castner (father) was the son of Jesse and Elizabeth Castner, of Gwynedd. He was born on the Castner homestead, where he spent his life, May 5, 1812. He attended such schools as were available in his childhood and youth, and married Parthena Sheive. Their children: Parthena Louisa, born September 29, 1836, married, April 30, 1868, Abram Wentz, son of Abram and Charlotte (Tyson) Wentz, of an old Whitpain family, long resident in the vicinity of Centre Square where they kept a hotel in Revolutionary times and subsequently, until 1867, a member of the family, Col. John Wentz, having been a justice of the peace in Whitpain township for many years; and now resides on Swede street, Norristown; Elizabeth, born December 7, 1837, unmarried; Conard, born August 12, 1839; George W., subject of this sketch.

Jesse Castner (grandfather) was the son of Samuel and Mary (Linderman) Castner. He was born July 16, 1770, and married Margaret Rhoads, their children being: Malinda, born May 8, 1796, married William Coulston, of Gwynedd; Charles, born October 25, 1798, died May 12, 1862, married Martha Christy; Mary, born December 5, 1800, died in 1852, and was married; Rachel, born November 7, 1803, married; Margaret, born November 19, 1805; Anna, born October 19, 1806. Jesse Castner, who died September 15, 1883, was a son by a second wife, Elizabeth Smick.

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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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