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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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MARTIN J. RIEGEL, one of the enterprising and progressive business men of Easton, occupies spacious quarters at Nos. 17, 19 and 21 South Fourth Street, where he has an extensive wareroom for the sale of pianos and organs, of which he carries a large stock of several of the leading standard makes. In addition to this he owns a book and stationery store at No. 421 Northampton Street, which is now chiefly under the management of his son, Henry M. Riegel.

The Riegel family is one of the oldest in Northampton County, and our subject’s paternal great-grandfather, who bore the Christian name of Benjamin, was a resident of Lower Saucon. He was in the War of 1812, in the Commissary Department, and was killed near Hellertown, on his return home from the war, when only half a mile from his home. The founder of the family in America originally settled in Bucks County. The name has been familiar in and connected with the history of Northampton County for upwards of one hundred and fifty years.

In tracing the line of descent, we find that the grandfather, Mathias Riegel, was born in Lower Saucon Township, and passed all his active years on his farm, and in the affairs of his neighborhood he was very active. He was a Whig in politics, and always took a leading part in the management of township affairs. He was a member of the Reformed Church in the United States, in the faith of which he died, when sixty-nine years of age. His wife’s maiden name was Mary Kram, and by her marriage she became the mother of eleven children, namely: John, Benjamin, Jacob, George, Daniel, Joseph, Samuel, Elizabeth (Mrs. Isaac Boyer), Catharine (Mrs. George Weber), Mary, (Mrs. Joseph Roth) and Rebecca (Mrs. Israel Rothrock).

Joseph, the father of M. J. Riegel, was born in Lower Saucon Township, Northampton County, where he resided all his life, except for a few years when he lived in Easton, and later for a time in Freemansburg, after which he returned to Hellertown, in Lower Saucon Township, where he passed the remaining days of his life. He was a man of good education, and intelligent, and was for many years a successful teacher. For twenty-five years he held the position of Justice of the Peace in Lower Saucon Township, and was Postmaster for a like period of tjme at Hellertown. During this time he was also engaged in the store business. A man who was identified with the best interests of the community, he held various township offices, and was a leader in the Whig, and later in the Republican party. In his earlier years he was a candidate on the Whig ticket for County Sheriff, but, his party being in the minority, he was defeated. After a long and useful life he was called to his final rest in 1885, when he was in his eightieth year. His wife, Mary Newcomer before marriage, died in 1878, when in her sixty-eighth year. They were members of the Reformed Church in the United States, and were the parents of five children, namely: Catharine, Mrs. Smith; Henry M., deceased; Martin J., our subject; Samuel P., deceased; and Charles J.

The birth of M. J. Riegel occurred December 11, 1835, at Hellertown, Northampton County. He attended the public schools of Lower Saucon, and completed his education at Bethlehem. He left school when fifteen years old to learn the trade of coach-maker at Bethlehem. This not being to his taste, he abandoned the trade and engaged in the mercantile business as a clerk for William Maxwell, in Easton. From 1856 to 1864 he was employed in that gentleman’s book store, after which he launched out into business on his own account. He opened a book and stationery store on Northampton Street, on a small scale, and there continued for twelve years. In the winter of 1875 he purchased the property at No. 332 Northampton Street, enlarged it to a depth of one hundred and fifty feet, and moved his book and stationery store there in the spring of 1876. He continued thus for thirteen years, when he moved to his present location. He still owns the property at No. 332 Northampton Street, which is now occupied by Weaver & Solliday as a drug store. In 1884 Mr. Riegel started a new venture, in company with E. H. Luch. This was the manufacture of organs, his partner having been a pioneer in this business. The firm was known as Riegel & Luch, and until 1889 they conducted a rapidly increasing business. Employment was given to twelve men and the factory was situated on Pine Street. In 1889 Mr. Riegel withdrew from the firm, the partnership being dissolved by mutual consent, and since that time he has abandoned manufacturing, giving his principal attention to the sale and handling of well known makes of pianos and organs. He is a Director of the Easton Boot and Shoe Company, and takes an active interest in its welfare. He is President of the Easton Heights Cemetery Company, President of the Easton Improvement Association, President of the Northampton Improvement Association, and for sixteen years has been President of the Sunday-school Teachers’ Association of the Third Street Reformed Church, of which he is an Elder. He has bten a valiant and active worker in church affairs. For twenty-three years he was a member of the Consistory, and for a number of years was Secretary of this body. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Church, located at Lancaster, Pa.

Mr. Riegel in various ways has been influential in the upbuilding and progress of the city. An active Republican, he formerly served as a member of the old Borough Council, and was one of the first City Councilmen, being Chairman of the Highway Department, one of the most important of the committees. In 1862 he volunteered his services to the late Governor Curtin, and was placed in the Fifth Regular Pennsylvania Militia, an emergency corps, stationed at Chambersburg. In Masonic affairs he is prominent, having been for twenty-one years Treasurer of Dallas Lodge No. 396, and has been re-elected for another year (1895). He is a member of Easton Royal Arch Chapter, No. 173, F. & A. M.; of Hugh de Payen’s Commandery No. 19, of Easton; a member of Star Council No. 155, E. A.; and a member of Lehighton Lodge No. 244, I. O. O. F.

November 11, 1861, Mr. Riegel married Anna L., daughter of the late Owen W. Hess, of Easton. Their only son, Henry M. Riegel, was educated in Lafayette College, from which he was graduated in 1884. He now has charge of his father’s book and stationery business, and has proved himself to be a young man of prominence.

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

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