HARRY S. FLECK, M.A., superintendent of the public schools of Tyrone, Pa., who has been identified with the educational interests of this borough since 1891, is favorably known in professional and literary circles all through this section. Superintendent Fleck was born July 30, 1860, in Sinking Valley, Blair County, Pa.; he is a son of Gabriel and Rebecca (Stoner) Fleck, a grandson of David and a great-grandson of George Fleck.
The Fleck family is of German extraction. Prior to the Revolutionary War four brothers of the name of Fleck crossed the Atlantic to the colonies so soon to be delivered from English rule; two of these voyagers settled in Montgomery County, Pa., and two in Huntingdon County which part has now become Sinking Valley, in Blair County. The brothers who secured homes in Sinking Valley bore the names of George and Peter Fleck, and both later became soldiers in the Revolutionary War.
George Fleck, the great-grandfather of Harry S. Fleck of Tyrone, was born in 1748, in Germany, and died in Sinking Valley, Blair County, June 10, 1836. After the termination of his military service he gave his attention to
agricultural pursuits and took an active part in the various movements which brought about peace and plenty and the advantages of civilization in this section. He secured about 350 acres of land, purchasing from John Penn, the
elder, and John Penn, the younger. In 1793 he erected a strong log house which not only protected his family from inclement weather but was so well constructed that it also resisted attacks from Indians. For his land he paid
the sum of 295 pounds, three shillings and two pence. He was a man of great physical endurance and unusual strength. It is said that after he was eighty-seven years of age he was able to compete with younger men, working with a sickle in the wheat field. With other settlers he helped to build a
log structure that was used as a school-house, church, and general meeting house for business purposes for a time.
George Fleck was married twice; first to Mollie Weeks and second to Catherine Ramey. Mollie Weeks, who was the mother of all his children, was born in September, 1748. The children of George and Mollie Fleck were as follows: George, Conrad, Margaret, Jacob; Catherine Elizabeth, Henry David and Mollie. The eldest of the above family bearing his father's name was born August 28, 1774, and died April 4, 1815. Conrad was born January 1, 1780, married Mary Moore, died September 12, 1845. Margaret was born April 3, 1782, married John Fleck, died June 28, 1866. Jacob was born October 16, 1783, married Nellie Mattay, died August 31, 1862. Catherine was born October 23, 1785, married Daniel F. Crissman, died September 18, 1874. Elizabeth (birth date unknown), married Abram Crissman and died at the age of eighty-two years. Henry was born June 16, 1791, and died March 27, 1859. He was the father of the late Rev. H. R. Fleck, who spent fifty years in the ministry of
the Lutheran Church. Henry was twice married, first to Catherine Ramey and second to Mary Keller. David was born February 27, 1793 and died August 27, 1870. Mollie was born in 1797, married Peter Burket, died May 14, 1817.
George Fleck, his two wives, all his sons, his daughters except one, his sons-in-law and daughters-in-law, with one exception, were laid to rest in the cemetery attached to St. John's Lutheran Church in Sinking Valley, where
six generations of the family rest.
David Fleck, grandfather of Prof. Fleck, was born February 27, 1793, was reared on the pioneer farm and when he succeeded to the paternal estate, continued his father's industrial activities. At that time one of the chief drawbacks to agricultural success as a-business was the lack of transportation, and David Fleck found his nearest market at Lewiston, where the mill was also situated, a whole week being required to make the trip, with a two-wheel cart, back and forth. At certain seasons he loaded his four-horse wagon with farm produce and covered the whole distance to Baltimore, Md., returning with necessary supplies. He was a aleading citizen of his community and at one time served as director of the poor, for Blair
County. He was married first to Mary Ramey and second to Keziah Shannon. Mary Ramey was born November 15, 1799, and died November 15, 1863, aged sixty-four years. The children of David Fleck were as follows: Gabriel; Catherine, who married George Lotz; Francis, who died in childhood; Mary, who married Robert Crawford; Abigail and Eli Ramey, both of whom died young; Eliza, who marriedJ. M. Carl; Jane, who married John Keatley, at one time district attorney of Blair County; and M. Luther, who married Maggie Fox.
Gabriel Fleck, father of Prof. Harry S. Fleck, was born September 24, 1820, on the old homestead, where he spent his life, his death occurring October 31, 1891. He was a man of intelligence and good judgment, frequently was elected to responsible town offices, and was looked upon as a responsible and representative citizen. He was very active in all matters pertaining to St. John's Lutheran Church, serving as a member of its select council and in
his last sickness, which was one of great suffering, displayed the patience and resignation of a sincere Christian. On February 26, 1846, be was married to Rebecca Stoner, a daughter of Christian Stoner. She was born on the Isaac Neff property near Petersburg, in Huntingdon County and when a child was brought to the old Stoner farm in Sinking Valley. The following children were born to Gabriel and Rebecca Stoner: Ira S., Eli F., J. Mosheim, Lindley N.,
Mary Elizabeth, Clara J., Cyrus L., Sallie J., Harry S., John S., Clair C. and David C. Ira S. is editor of a newspaper and lives in Russell, Kansas, where he has been prominent for some thirty years, serving as county clerk
and also as a member of the Kansas legislature. He married Sarah Fleck. Eli F. is engaged as a clerk in a Tyrone business house. He married Annie Hunter. J. Mosheim died in infancy. Rev. Lindley N., D.D., is a distinguished member of the Lutheran clergy residing at Newry, Pa., and
married Emma Henderson. Mary Elizabeth became the wife of C. H. Jones, assistant passenger agent for the Pennsylvania Railroad at Tipton, Pa. Clara J. is the wife of Benner Culp, who is in the railroad shops at Altoona. Rev. Cyrus L. has been pastor of the Lutheran Church at Reiglesville, Pa., for the past twenty-three years. He married Annie Leas. Sallie J., who died in 1903, was the wife of J. Howard Lotz, of Sinking Valley. John S., who resides on the old home farm in Sinking Valley, served with the rank of sergeant in the Spanish-American War. He married Annie Krider. Clair C., who resides on the Russell Crawford farm adjoining the old homestead, married Ella Warfel. David C. is engaged in the contracting business at Altoona and married Annie Carls.
Harry S. Fleck was educated in the local schools, and at Cincinnati. He did much home study and secured from the Susquehanna University his degree of M.A., which was bestowed upon him May 19, 1909. He began teaching school in
1882 and taught for nine consecutive years in Sinking Valley and then was called to Tyrone where he later became principal of the High School; in this position he continued for ten years. In 1908 he was made superintendent of
the public schools; his success has been so pronounced that he has been favorably mentioned for the office of county superintendent and undoubtedly possesses every qualification for the same. For over a quarter of a century
he has been engaged in educational work, twenty years of which have been passed at Tyrone. In politics he is a Republican, being at present (1911) one of the secretaries of the County Committee; he has ever been an active and loyal citizen. He has an admirable record as a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard. In 1880 he enlisted as a private in the Sheridan Troop, won promotion, becoming corporal, then sergeant and in November, 1894, was elected second lieutenant. During the Spanish-American War he ranked as first lieutenant and was detailed as quartermaster of the squadron that was made up of all the Pennsylvania cavalry. He gained an excellent record in every department. The Pennsylvania cavalry squadron saw service in Porto Rico, and Lieutenant Fleck was commander of one of the troops on the way home.
Professor Fleck is a ready writer and has contributed largely both in prose and verse, to different publications. He has written on a wide range of subjects, being at home in various fields of literature.
On June 30, 1897, Professor Fleck was married to Miss Katherine Wertz, a daughter of the late John W. and Edith (Wright) Wertz, and a direct descendant in the sixth generation of John Bartram, a noted botanist in Pennsylvania, who was a contemporary and friend of Washington, Jefferson and Franklin. These noted men frequently visited the Bartram home and garden on the banks of the Schuylkill. Mr. and Mrs. Fleck have had five children, three of whom survive: Edith Rebecca, Harold Bartram and Hester Katherine. Mr. Fleck is very active
in the affairs of the Lutheran Church, of which he has been a member since he was thirteen years of age. For many years he has been an elder, and at present is secretary of the council.
Sell, Jesse C., Twentieth Century History of Altoona and Blair County, Pennsylvania, and Representative Citizens, Chicago, IL: Richmond-Arnold, 1911, pp. 944-946.