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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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CAPTAIN WILLIAM AUCHENBACH, during a long and active career prominently identified with commercial and financial affairs in Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, is a native of that state, born in Reading, February, 22, 1832. His parents were Henry and Mary (Shultz) Auchenbach, both of German descent and natives of Pennsylvania. The father was born in Schuylkill county, and in his young manhood removed to Reading, where he followed his trade as a carpenter, and where he died at the age of fifty years. His wife survived him until 1891, and died at the advanced age of eighty-four years. They were both Methodists in religion. They were the parents of six children, five sons and one daughter, of whom William Auchenbach is the only one living. William Auchanbach’s maternal grandfather was also born in Reading, where he passed his life, following the occupation of a wool hatter, and where he died, well advanced in years, and leaving several children.

Captain Auchenbach lived in Reading until he was twenty years old. During this time he was educated in the common schools and early entered upon a life of self support. After he was ten years old he worked in a tobacco factory for one year, afterwards in a flour and feed store, then in a general store, and finally went into the Reading Depot to learn moulding, remaining there two and one-half years. In 1850, at the age of eighteen, he was clerking in a general store in Pottstown. Five years later he undertook a business upon his own account as a dealer in groceries and dry goods. After eighteen months, his health being poor, he retired from this occupation and went upon a farm, where he remained for four years, when he returned to Pottstown and resumed a grocery business. In 1893 he associated with himself his sons, Harry and Frank, under the firm name of William Auchenbach & Sons, and expanded the business to the requirements of a wholesale trade. This was the first and is the only establishment of its kind in Pottstown, and was established to supply the trade within a radius of thirty miles, and has transacted a large business to the present time. In 1895 occurred the death of Captain Auchenbach’s eldest son Harry, when the style of the firm was changed to that of William Auchenbach & Son.

Captain Auchenbach, besides standing at the head of this, one of the most important mercantile houses in this part of Pennsylvania, has also been actively interested in various other important enterprises. He was formerly president of the Bannock Cotton Mills, now the Bannock Silk Mills; is the only survivor of the organizers of the Pottstown Water Company; and is a director in the National Iron Bank of Pottstown. His most conspicuous service to the community was in the part he took in the establishment of the Pottstown Hospital, to the building of which he secured subscriptions to nearly the amount of $50,000. Of this sum $25,000 was subscribed by Mr. John Krause, through the strong personal friendship which existed between himself and Captain Auchenbach, accentuated by some family ties which bound the generous donor to the city of Pottstown. Not a native of the county, Mr. Krause was born and reared about three and one-half miles from Pottstown, in Berks county. In early life a friendship sprang up between Mr. Krause and Captain Auchenbach which was continued throughout life. Captain Auchenbach was one of Mr. Krause’s first as well as largest customers and most intimate personal friends, and so to this long connection is due the benefaction which made possible Pottstown’s handsome hospital, of which Captain Auchenbach has been one of the directors from its founding.

Captain Auchenbach served during eighteen months of the Civil war period as captain of Company H, Sixty-eighth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, also known as the Scott Legion. He organized his company, and led it in some of the most momentous campaigns and bloodiest battles which make up the record of the Army of the Potomac, including the desperate conflicts of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. He maintains relationship with his former comrades through his membership with Graham Post, G. A. R. Prominent in military circles, he is a member of the committee having charge of the arrangements for the celebration of Washington breaking camp at historic old Valley Forge, as he also was about thirty years ago. He is affiliated with various Masonic bodies-Stichter Lodge No, 254, F. and A. M.; Pottstown Chapter, No. 271, R. A. M.; and Nativity Commandery, K. T. In politics he is an independent Democrat. He was at one time a member of the borough council, and at another of the school board.

Captain Auchenbach was married, in 1853, to Miss Annie Wamback, daughter of Bartholomew and Mary Wamback. She was a Lutheran in religion. She died after bearing to her husband four children, Harry and Frank, and two who died in infancy. Harry Auchenbach, who was for a few years associated with his father in business, died in 1895, leaving a widow, who was Miss Alice Corbett, and four children, Annie, Mary, Effie and Frank. Frank Auchenbach, who is now in partnership with his father, is unmarried.

Captain Auchenbach married (second) Miss Effie Bechtel, who is also now deceased. She was a member of the Baptist church.

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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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