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Below is a family biography included in the book,  Portrait and biographical record of Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties, Pennsylvania published in 1894 by Chapman Publishing Company.  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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A. B. FICHTER is one of the most practical silk manufacturers in the Lehigh Valley, and comes of a family which for several generations has been engaged in this line of business. He is Secretary of the Bethlehem Silk Company, which was incorporated in 1885, and which is one of the largest concerns in the state, employing usually about four hundred hands. He is also a partner with Mr. Martin in the firm of Fichter & Martin, silk-ribbon manufacturers. These two gentlemen have both been connected with this business since their early years, and are thoroughly up in the details of the business and in questions of general finance.

A native of Switzerland, our subject was born in 1860, in Basel, of which place his father, Benedict Fichter, was also a native. His grandfather, John J., was a ribbon-weaver, and became one of the foremost men in the silk-ribbon manufacture in Basel, making a considerable fortune and being very successful. His death occurred in 1879, at the age of eighty-four years. Our subject’s father also learned this special branch of silk manufacture, and was a partner with his father, their business being very extensive, and the products of their factory being sent all over the world. Benedict Fichter, who is now retired and is a resident of Basel, Switzerland, is a member of the Reformed Church. His wife, whose maiden name was Mary E. Seiler, was a daughter of Leonhard Seiler, who was a cotton-weaver and later a merchant in Basel, where his death occurred. Mrs. Fichter was a native of that place, and by her marriage became the mother of five children, four of whom are living.

A. B. Fichter was reared in his birthplace, receiving a good education in the gymnasium and industrial schools. After completing his studies he went into his father’s employ as a clerk, becoming a practical and experienced man in the business, being finally admitted as a partner. On his father retiring from business he came to America, though he had previously visited this country in March, 1881, when he went to New York City to look after the firm’s trade and introduce their goods more extensively. He spent the summer in that city, returning to Switzerland in August. At that time he could speak a little English and French, and has since become proficient in these. In September, 1883, he arrived in the United States, and October 11 of that year was married in Allentown to Miss Elizabeth C. Martin, who was born in Allentown, and is the daughter of Dr. Charles L. Martin. After their marriage the young couple went to Switzerland, remaining there until November, 1884, when they returned and located in Allentown.

It was in July, 1885, that Mr. Fichter began the manufacture of silk ribbons in South Bethlehem. The business was carried on in the Excelsior Knitting Mill Building, and the title of the firm became Fichter & Martin. In the mean time he and his brothers-in-law and the New York partners interested incorporated the Bethlehem Silk Company, and in October, 1886, they started in the business, locating soon after in their large building, some three and a-half stories in height and 50x250 feet in dimensions, and located at the junction of Goepp Street and the Monocacy Railroad. The first two floors are used by the Bethlehem Silk Company in the manufacture of silk thread for weaving ribbon and silk cloth, and the third floor is used for silk-ribbon manufacture. The firm of Fichter & Martin runs fifty-four looms, employing about two hundred and fifty hands, and the Bethlehem Silk Company employs four hundred hands. This fact alone fully shows what a prominent local industry the business has become, and how useful a factory it is in the business enterprise of the town.

The home of our subject is located at No. 351 Market Street. Religiously Mr. Fichter is a member of Trinity Episcopal Church, in which he holds the office of Vestryman and is Choir Master. He is a Republican in politics, being greatly interested in the success of his party, and personally is a man who is just and conscientious in his business relations, thus meriting the high regard which is so freely given him by his many friends and fellow-citizens.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the book, Portrait and biographical record of Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties, Pennsylvania published in 1894 by Chapman Publishing Company. 

View additional Northampton County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Northampton County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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