KISTLER, CHARLES E. (REV), p. 1144
Surnames: KISTLER, SCHUMACHER, BROBST, MOSSER, REINHART, KELLER, LADICH, SUNDAY, SNYDER, WEIDA, BAUSCH, BUCK, HERMANY, WERTMAN, LONG, LENHART, STINE, SEIDEL, GRIM, WANNER, BAVER, FEGLEY, FISHER, ROTHENBERGER
Rev. Charles E. Kistler. On the records of Jerusalem church, known in the 18th Century as the Allemangel church, there are recorded hundreds of baptisms of Kistler children, while in the cemetery under the shadow of the church are many graves marked with the same name. Near the center of the oldest part of the cemetery lies a slate stone (which is now being replaced by the descendants with a marble slab) bearing the inscription "I. G. K. 1767." This is supposed to be the stone that marked the burial place of the progenitor of the American Kistlers, who was legally known as Johannes, but was called Joerg or George by Pastor Schumacher in his record, and Hanjoerg or John George, by his neighbors.
(I) Johannes Kistler was a native of the Palatinate, in Germany. On Oct. 5, 1737, he came in the ship "Townshead" from Amsterdam to Philadelphia, and soon after to Falkner Swamp, or Goshenhoppen, in what is now Montgomery county, Pa. It is supposed he was accompanied by his wife, Anna Dorothea, and his oldest children. In 1747 he took out a warrant for land and moved to Albany township, Berks county, then wild and barren, where he made his permanent residence. The vicinity was named "Allemangel" or "All Wants." Johannes Kistler was taxed in Albany in 1756, and was naturalized in 1761, on Sept. 10th of which year he and his neighbor, Michael Brobst, appeared before the Supreme Court in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was a Lutheran and served as elder of the Allemangel church for a number of years, where his children were baptized and confirmed. His children were: (1) Jacob, who left seven children - Philip, Jacob, Michael, Solomon, Daniel, Catharine and Magdalene. Samuel Kistler Brobst, a teacher of James A. Garfield, was a grandson of Philip; and so was Michael Kistler, the tanner, whose son Stephen was at one time the most extensive tanner in eastern Pennsylvania. (2) John remained on the homestead after his father's death. The name John runs through at least five generations, and the trade of blacksmith follows it. John's children were: John William, born May 29, 1757; and Abraham, born Dec. 20, 1761, who is the ancestor of the Perry county Kistlers for whom Kistler post-office has been named. A descendant, Rev. Dr. John Kistler, has for many years been professor at the oldest Lutheran Theological Seminary in America, located at Hartwick, N. Y. (3) George remained in Berks county. In 1779 he was the owner of 248 acres of land and a grist mill. In 1778 he was elected elder of the Allemangel Church, and as he was referred to as George Kistler, Sr., he doubtless had a son George. The archives of Pennsylvania show that a George Kistler served in the Continental army during the Revolution. (4) Philip, born Oct. 19, 1745, died Aug. 28, 1809. He had nine children: Jacob, John, Ferdinand, Philip, Jonathan, Barbara, Maria, Catharine, and Elizabeth. Of these Jacob was a lieutenant in the War of 1812. (5) Michael moved to Ohio, and is the ancestor of the large Kistler settlements in Indiana. His family consisted of John, Michael, Joseph, Nathan, Monroe, Salome and Judith. (6) Samuel was the youngest son of his father. (7) Barbara m. (first) a Brobst, and (second) Michael Mosser of Lowhill. (8) Dorothea m. Michael Reinhart. (9) Elizabeth m. a Mr. Keller, near Hamburg, Pennsylvania.
(II) Samuel Kistler, son of John George, was born Sept. 20, 1754, and died April 24, 1822. He was an extensive land owner. In 1803 he built a very substantial stone mansion in Kistler's Valley, which remained his home to the time of his death, and which has until recently been the property of his descendants. He built the Kistler mill near Tripoli. For many years he has been an elder of the Jerusalem church, and it was while he held that office that the present house of worship was erected, 1812-14. All these buildings erected about a century ago, stand as firmly today as though they had been built in recent years. Samuel Kistler was twice married. His first wife, Elizabeth Ladich, bore him three children, and his second, Catharine Brobst, twelve. These were: Barbara m. Henry Sunday, and is buried at Dunkel's church; Jacob S., father of Samuel J. (who was a delegate to the National Convention which nominated Abraham Lincoln for the Presidency), is buried at the Jerusalem church; Samuel is buried at Tripoli church; John S. is buried at Jerusalem church; Michael died in Ohio; Christian is buried at Tripoli; Daniel and David both died in West Penn, Schuylkill county; Jesse died in Ohio; Levi is buried at Jacob's church, Jacksonville, Pa.; Charles is buried at Newton Falls, Trumbull county, Ohio; Maria Elizabeth m. Jacob Snyder, and died in Ohio; Catharine m. George Weida, and died in Lowhill; Salome m. Jacob Mosser, the tanner, and died in Allentown; and Magdalene m. Solomon Mosser, and is probably buried at Lynnville. The descendants of Samuel Kistler are scattered all over the United States. Many of them have become successful business and professional men. An unusually large number are physicians and ministers of the Gospel.
(II) Jacob S. Kistler, son of Samuel and grandson of John George, was born Oct. 5, 1781, was justice of the peace, and held other offices, and died Oct. 7, 1845. He married Anna Barbara Bausch, who died Nov. 19, 1867. He left sixteen children: John, Jacob, Nathan, Stephen S., David, Jonas, Charles and Catherine (m. to Reuben Buck) are all buried at the Jerusalem church; Reuben died in Louisville, Ky.; Salome, m. to John Hermany, is buried at Jacksonville, Pa.; Mary, m. to Elias Wertman, died at Peoria, Ill.; Lydia, m. to Daniel Long, is buried at New Ringgold, Pa.; Elizabeth lives at Saegersville, Pa.; Anna Fena, m. to Charles Lenhart, is buried at Bethel church in Albany township; Helena, second wife of Daniel Long, died in Atchinson, Kans.; and Samuel J., Associate Judge of Lehigh county, member of the State Legislature, justice of the peace for many years, and family historian, is buried at the Heidelberg church, Lehigh county, Pennsylvania.
(III) Stephen S. Kistler, son of Jacob S., was born in Kistler's Valley, Dec. 16, 1817, and died March 13, 1874. He was married to Abigail Brobst. They had eight children: Philip, William S., Mary, Albert and Jacob are buried at the Jerusalem church; Sarah, m. to Harry Stine, lives at Fogelsville; Fianna, m. to Emanuel Seidel, is buried at Hamburg; and Samuel died at Seipstown.
(IV) William S. Kistler, son of Stephen S. and great-great-grandson of the emigrant John George, was born Nov. 15, 1840, and died Sept. 10, 1887. He served nine months in the Civil War. He was married to Maria Grim, daughter of Reuben Grim and his wife Sarah Wanner. They bought the old Kistler homestead where their eight children were brought up. These are: Jesse, a physician at Allentown; Elmer, who was for many years a school teacher of Lynn Township, and is now a justice of the peace; William U., pastor of St. Mark's Lutheran Church, Pennsburg, and St. John's, Spinnertown, Pa.; Charles E., pastor of Alsace Lutheran Church, Reading, Pa.; Stephen O., who remained on the old homestead; Mary, married to Dr. A. F. Baver, Stony Run, Pa.; and Sallie and Kathryn, who live with the mother at Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pa. It may seem remarkable that so many out of the family have entered professions. This is, however, nothing unusual with the Kistlers. Four sons of William B. Kistler have entered the medical profession, and three sons of Jacob Kistler have done the same.
(V) Charles Edward Kistler, son of William S. and Maria (Grim) Kistler, was born in Kistler's Valley, near Lynnville, Pa., Aug. 23, 1870. He is the fifth of a family of eight children, all of whom are still living and enjoying good health. His father had resolved to educate all his sons to become school teachers, which he realized in the three oldest. Before Charles' turn came, the well-meaning father died, leaving the mother with the large family. With rare tact the mother took upon herself the care of the family to whom was left a large farm and much hard work, but very little opportunity for intellectual improvement. Charles E. was, however, not dismayed. Every evening, no matter how hard the work of the day, he could be found at his books, sometimes long after the rest of the family had retired. Within a year after his father's death he had charge of a public school in his home district. The next three years of his life were spent working on the farm during the summer, and teaching school during the winter months. He had mastered the common branches so thoroughly that during the course of a teacher's examination the county superintendent asked him what school he had attended that he was able to answer all the questions more accurately than any of the other applicants he had examined up to that time. He was afraid to say that for more than two years he had not attended any school. So successful was he as a teacher that he earned a State Teacher's Permanent Certificate. When quite young he felt a strong desire to become a minister of the Gospel. He was convinced that the ministry would afford him the greatest opportunity of doing good. In view of this he took private lessons during the last winter he taught school, and with the additional instruction of a few weeks in a select school, he prepared for Muhlenberg College, to which he was admitted without conditions in the fall of 1891. With very little means, and with no prospect of receiving adequate support from any source, he began his career as a student. Although often pressed by want, he was never discouraged. In the spring of 1895 he was granted a leave of absence by his professors to open a summer normal at Lynnville. Here he met with remarkable success. In spite of strong opposition he was so richly patronized that the succeeding part of his course became pleasant and agreeable. In June, 1895, he graduated from Muhlenberg College with credit; and in May, 1898, from the Lutheran Theological Seminary, Mt. Airy, Philadelphia, Pa. His class at the seminary was the largest that was ever graduated from that institution, and a number of his classmates expressed their fears that there might be no place for them. To such Mr. Kistler would say: "If the Lord wants us to work in His kingdom, He will have a field of labor ready for us at the proper time." Mr. Kistler does not believe that the man should hunt the place; if he is worth having, the place will seek him. Without any effort on his part he received a unanimous call to become the Lutheran pastor of the Alsace Lutheran congregation, then worshiping with the Reformed in the union building erected in 1850 and removed in 1908. After his ordination, June 6, 1898, he accepted the call to Alsace church, and was installed as pastor in July, 1898. His pastor, Rev. H. S. Fegley, who had baptized and confirmed him, was one of the officiating clergymen.
When the Rev. Mr. Kistler came to Alsace the Lutheran congregation had been without a pastor for some time, services were conducted only once a month, and the prospects were so discouraging that a number of the members united with neighboring churches. With Rev. Kistler came new life. The congregation, although 160 years old, at once began to grow rapidly. The advisability of separating from the Reformed congregation, worshiping on alternate Sundays in the old building, soon became evident to him. The sentiment on both sides seemed almost unanimous against separation. With no one willing to help take a prominent part in the movement, Rev. Mr. Kistler started it single-handed. With such courage and fairness did he handle the matter that many firm supporters were soon won, and in three years the separation was effected. That it was peaceable and heartily received on both sides, is proved by the twin churches now standing on Alsace hill, costing nearly $100,000.
Under the Rev. Mr. Kistler's pastorate of eleven years 700 members have been added to the Alsace Lutheran congregation now numbering 826 communicants; the evening services have been introduced, so that there are two services on every Lord's Day, or eight times as many services, as there were when he came and all of them more than twice as well attended; the liturgy has been introduced at all the services; the Sunday-school has quadrupled its membership; a very active Mite Society and a Luther League have been organized; and the activity and income of the congregation have increased fully tenfold. Rev. Mr. Kistler preaches English and German with equal fluency. For the last two years he has served as secretary and treasurer of the Reading Conference of the Lutheran Ministerium of Pennsylvania. He has for many years been chairman and historian of the large Kistler family reunions held annually in Lehigh county. He supplied the pulpit of Friedens church, Bernville, 1901-02, and was pastor of the Blandon Lutheran congregation, 1903-08. He had a number of offers which would have made his work easier and more lucrative, but he prefers to remain where his work will count most. He resides at No. 344 North Ninth street, Reading.
On Aug. 23, 1899, the Rev. Mr. Kistler was united in marriage with Effie Fisher, daughter of the late Henry D. Fisher, and his wife Elizabeth (Rothenberger) Fisher.