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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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WILLIAM J. BINDER, editor and proprietor of the Daily Pottstown Ledger and the Montgomery Ledger of Pottstown, was born in East Nantmeal township, Chester county, Pennsylvania, September 30, 1843. He is the son of John and Anna Mary (Steltz) Binder.

John Binder (father) was born at Yellow Springs, Chester county. He learned the carpenter trade, following it to some extent. He also farmed for a few years. The greater part of his life, however, was spent in teaching school. He was reared mostly in Montgomery county and in 1835 returned to Chester county where he remained until 1856, when he removed to Pottstown, where he died. He taught in the schools of both counties and after going to Pottstown conducted a private school there. During his residence in Chester county he taught school and farmed at the same time, spending his winters in the former occupation and his summers in the latter. He owned a farm in East Nantmeal township. He died in 1866, at the age of fifty-eight years. His wife died in 1878, at the age of seventy-six years. Both were members of the Methodist Episcopal church, in which he took an active part. He was a Democrat until the time of the Civil war when he became a Republican and remained so until his death.

John Binder married Anna Mary Steltz, daughter of Valentine Steltz, of New Hanover township, Montgomery county. She was born at Falckner’s Swamp, New Hanover township, Montgomery county. They had four children: Aaron M. (deceased), a soldier in the Civil war, of Company A, Second Minnesota Veteran Infantry, Fourteenth Corps; Elizabeth, wife of David Herst, of Easton, Pennsylvania; Tamsen, widow of Jeremiah H. Binder, of Pottstown; and William J, Binder.

Jacob Binder (grandfather) was born in Pennsylvania and was a farmer. He died well advanced in years. His wife was Susanna Binder, who lived to a very great age. They had a large family.

The father of Jacob Binder was Jacob Binder, Sr., (great-grandfather). His father was Moses Binder (great-great-grandfather). His father was Casper Binder (great-great-great-grandfather), and his father was Rohland Binder (great-great-great-great-grandfather). Moses Binder was the emigrant and the founder of the family in America. He came from Wurtemberg, Germany, in the ship Francis and Elizabeth, and landed at Philadelphia, September 21, 1742. He located near Sassamansville, New Hanover township, where he died and was buried in the Lutheran cemetery at Falckner Swamp. He was an active member of that church.

The maternal grandfather of William J. Binder was Valentine Steltz, a native of Pennsylvania. He had eight children. He married the second time and had other children. He was a farmer and died at an advanced age. He was buried at Sassamansville.

William J. Binder lived in Chester county until he had reached the age of thirteen years, when he removed with his father’s family to Pottstown and has lived there ever since. He attended the country schools while living in Chester county and graduated at the Pottstown high school, afterward entering the Hill school at Pottstown, then conducted by its founder, Professor Matthew Meigs, LL. D.

At the age of seventeen years he began to learn the printing trade in the office of the Montgomery Ledger, founded October 1, 1843, and served an apprenticeship of four and a half years. In 1863, Mr. Binder enlisted in the Twenty-sixth Emergency Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Jennings commanding. He also saw service in the One Hundred and Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania Regiment in 1864, and early in 1865 was a private in Company E, One Hundred and Fifth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Miller commanding. Altogether he served eleven months. He was at Petersburg and participated in the operations culminating in the surrender of the army of northern Virginia, under General Lee at Appomattox Court House. He was honorably discharged in June, 1865.

After the war he returned to the printer’s trade in Indianapolis, Indiana, and in April, 1866, purchased a half interest in the Montgomery Ledger, of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, from William L. Williamson, and thirteen years later, in September, 1879, became the sole proprietor of the paper, and has conducted the business ever since. October 1, 1873, he established the Pottstown Ledger, in partnership with Lewis H. Davis.

December 26, 1867, William J. Binder married Mary A. Hilton, daughter of James and Margaret (Walmsly) Hilton. They had nine children, as follows: Hilton S., assistant editor of the Ledger; Mary E., a stenographer; Ella M., a clerk in the Ledger counting room; Bessie A., at home; Edith H., a teacher in the public schools of Pottstown; Laura D., who died at the age of six years; John K., a reporter on the Ledger; Florence M., at home; and Chester M., a printer in the Ledger office.

Mr. and Mrs. Binder belong to the Methodist Episcopal church, where he is an official member and has local deacon’s orders. In politics Mr. Binder is a Republican.

He is a member of the Royal Arcanum, and also of M. Edgar Richards Post, No. 595, Grand Army of the Republic. He resides at No. 267 King street, in his own residence, and also owns the property at the corner of High and Charlotte streets, where his printing office is established. He published a “History of Methodism in Pottstown and in the neighboring regions,” in 1902.

James Hilton, Mrs. Binder’s father, came here from England when he was twenty-one years of age and was a woolen manufacturer at Manayunk, Philadelphia, and afterwards at Glasgow, Pennsylvania. His wife, Margaret Walmsly, was brought here a babe in arms. They had six children who are living: William; Mrs. Binder; Joseph, of Philadelphia; Elizabeth, wife of A. W. Shick, of Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania; James, of Philadelphia; and Ella M., widow of Colonel H. A. Shenton, of Pottstown. Mrs. Binder’s father died in Glasgow, this county, in 1872, at the age of fifty-six years. Her mother died in 1900, at the age of eighty-three years.

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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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