William Beecher
Elisabeth M. Herr
George Leaf
Elizabeth Leonard
Daniel Herr Beecher
Elizabeth Leaf
Lyman Beecher


Family Links

1. Margaretta Louisa Rutter

Lyman Beecher 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

  • Born: 27 Jan 1843, Pottstown, Montgomery, PA 2 4 5 6 7 9
  • Christened: 4 Sep 1843, Pottstown: Christ Episcopal Church, Montgomery, PA 5
  • Marriage (1): Margaretta Louisa Rutter on 13 Jun 1866 1
  • Died: 22 Feb 1919, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA at age 76 7 9
  • Buried: 25 Feb 1919, Pottstown: Edgewood Cemetery, Montgomery, PA 7 9

   FamilySearch ID: K8NS-VM7.

  Christening Notes:

Sponsors were Edmund Leaf and Juliana Potts.

  Noted events in his life were:

1. Census in 1850 in Pottstown, Montgomery, PA. 3 Elizabeth Beecher, 56, was living with Daniel H., 31, merchant. Also with them: Daniel Wingert, 26, merchant; Sarah M. Cane, 14; William Auchenbach, 18, merchant; Elizabeth Gilbert, 25; and Lyman Beecher, 8. Everyone was born in Pennsylvania.

2. Census in 1860 in Pottstown, Montgomery, PA. 2 Daniel H. Beecher, 42, dry good merchant, was living with Elizabeth, 67; Lyman Beecher, 17; and Mary Ruffe, 13 and Sallie Keyser, 36, domestic. Daniel and Elizabeth were born in Maryland, the others in Pennsylvania. Daniel's real estate was worth $10,000, his personal estate was $11,000.

3. Census in 1870 in Pottstown, Montgomery, PA. 4 Lyman Beecher, dry goods merchant, 27, was living with Meeta, 25; and Elizabeth, 3. Everyone was born in Pennsylvania. Lyman had no real estate value, and his personal estate was worth $6000.

4. Census in 1880 in Pottstown, Montgomery, PA. 10 Lyman Beecher, dry goods, 35, was married to Margaret, 34. With them: daughers Lizie, 12; and Lindly, 7. Everyone and their parents were born in Pennsylvania.

5. Residence: 1884 Boyd's Pottstown Directory: listing of Beecher households and occupations in 1884 in Pottstown, Montgomery, PA. 11 Beecher Daniel H., h King n Hanover
Beecher Frank, puddler, h Beech ab Washington
Beecher John V., agent, h Apple bel Franklin
Beecher Lyman, (L & W. C. Beecher), h 315 King
Beecher L & W. C. drygoods, 223 High
Beecher Samuel, cashier, 223 High, h King n Hanover
Beecher William C., (L & W. C. Beecher), h High bel Baily.

6. Newspaper: Pottstown Mercury: "Lyman Beecher and family, of this borough, accompanied by Miss Mame Hill, of Shepherdstown, W. Va., left for Angelea, N. J. Where they will spend the season.", 16 Jul 1884, Pottstown, Montgomery, PA. 12

7. Newspaper: Pottstown Mercury: TRAVELERS — Daniel H. Beecher, Mr. And Mrs. Lyman Beecher and their daughter, Miss Lizzie Beecher, left Pottstown this morning for Jacksonville, Fla., where they will remain for two weeks., 8 Feb 1888, Pottstown, Montgomery, PA. 13 .

8. Newspaper: The Times: Beecher Store Destroyed by Fire, 14 Dec 1890, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA. 14 FLAMES IN POTTSTOWN


The Best Business Block On The High Street Submits to the Fate of an Early Morning Conflagration That Begins With the Assistance of an Over-Taxed Heater in Shaner's Clothing Store - Help From Reading Comes Just in Time, for the High Winds Were Drive The Fire Everywhere.

Special telegram to The Times
POTTSTOWN, December 13.

One-half of the leading and best business block of this borough is in ruins to-night from a fire that started at 2 o'clock this morning and raged beyond on all control fully six hours. It is a baptism of flame for intensity and value the greatest in local history, and the losses figure up $160,000. On this there are insurances of about $110,000.

The scene of the conflagration is on High street, north side, from Penn to Hanover, and the commencement was in John R. Shaner's clothing store in the basement. Alarms were quickly sounded and the borough companies responded promptly, getting into action very swiftly, but it required only a hurried view to convince the authorities that a serious disaster was impending and telegrams for aid were sent Mayor Merritt, of Reading a special train bringing down the Junior and Reading steamers with their companies. They rendered invaluable assistance.


A high wind and the bitter cold night almost paralyzed the efforts of the town companies, and the flames spread at appalling speed throughout the block. The fire soon burst through the floors of the Smith building, in which the Shaner store is located. Westerly wind drove the embers into Stone's jewelry store, to the eastward. Then followed Howard Leopold's dressmaking establishment and both were roaring furnaces before anyone could realize it.

While the firemen were exerting every energy to stay the progress of the flames at Leopold's the treacherous element was just as busy seeking new fields, and found a fruitful one in the extensive dry goods house of L. & W. C. Beecher, the Wanamaker of Pottstown. Thousands of persons raised the shout, and consternation seized hold of everybody. The flames burst from the roof of the Beecher building, covering the three floors in a great mass of fire and destroying a valuable stock of goods. Following this the building of R. Morgan Root, the hatter, fell an easy victim, and the Evan's book store, where the firemen made a stand and succeeded in getting the situation under control. It took six hours to do this.


The L. & C. Beecher firm is among the oldest established dry goods houses in this section. Their loss is $50,000, covered by $20,000 insurance, equally divided in the Mutual, of Pottstown; Reading, Phoenix, of London; Continental and Home, of New York. John R. Shaner loses on stock $15,000 and has a $6,000 insurance; Mrs. Knight, millinery, has a $1,000 loss; J. Leopold dry goods and dressmaking, $6,000; R. Morgan Root, hats and caps, $7,000; Mrs. D. Q. M. Geyer, dressmaking, $500; W. L. Stone, jeweler, $300; A. Evans, books and stationery, $3,000. The losses on buildings schedule in this way: D. Beecher, $13,000; D. K. Hatfield, $9,000; William H. Smith, $5,000; R. M. Root, $6,000; Gottlieb Moyer, $2,000; A. Evans, $3,000. The home of Mrs. Lawrence was also destroyed and the residence of Clinton Lessig badly damaged. The total loss is given at $160,000 and may go higher.

The fire is supposed to have originated from a heater in the cellar under John R. Shaner's store.

9. Census in 1900 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA. 15 The 1900 census recorded owning a home at 1508 Oxford: George A. Lancaster, manufacturer, 28, born Jan 1872 living with his wife of 7 years Eliza B., 31, Nov 1869; daughter Sophie, 6, Aug 1894; father Laman Beecher, widowed, retired, 56, Jun 1844; and two servants born in Ireland: Margaret Martin, 20; and Annie White, 40. All others and their parents were born in Pennsylvania, except George's father in England.

10. Census in 1910 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA. 16 The 1910 census recorded owning a home at 1303 Broad Street: George Lancaster, manufacturer of vaults and safes, 40, living with wife Elizabeth, 40. they were married for 18 years and had birthed 1 child by 1910. Living with them was daughter Sonia, single, 15. Also in the home was father-in-law Lyman Beecher, widowed, 67; and three servants all born in Ireland: Robert Seebon, coachman, single, 35; Ellen Garrighty, chambermaid, single, 20; and Katherine E. Crane, cook, single, 32. All the others and their parents were born in Pennsylvania, except Lyman's father n Maryland, and George's father in England.

11. Residence: 1303 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA on 22 Feb 1919 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA. 9

12. Obituary: Reading Times: obituary of Lyman Beecher on 25 Feb 1919 in Reading, Berks, PA. 8 Lyman Beecher, a retired dry good merchant of Pottstown, died in the Episcopal Hospital, Philadelphia, or uremia. Mr. Beecher was born in Pottstown 76 years ago. For many years he was the head of the largest dry goods store in Pottstown, having succeeded his father Daniel H. Beecher. he retired 25 years ago and since that time had lived with his only child, Mrs. George R. Lancaster, 1303 North Broad street, Philadelphia. He was a distant relative of Henry Ward Beecher.
[Note: Y-DNA tests have proven the last sentence inaccurate.].

13. Newspaper: Pottstown Mercury: "50 Years Ago: October 18, 1895: OFFICE OUTFITTED - Lyman Beecher fitted up a handsomely and luxuriously furnished office on the second floor of his King street home where he will transact all business in the future.", 18 Oct 1945, Pottstown, Montgomery, PA. 17

14. Book: Montgomery county, the second hundred years, 1983. 18
Pottstown's (and the county's) oldest department store is Ellis Mills, Inc. Ellis Mills started the store in 1873. In the beginning he sold both to retail and wholesale customers and to rural customers with the aid of a horse-drawn mobile store in a wagon. In 1898 Ellis Mills bought the Beecher store at 223 High Street and has been located there ever since. The Mills family still owns and operates the store.

On 13 December 1890, a fire in the old Beecher store had destroyed many adjacent stores along High Street. Many were replaced; the store Ellis Mills bought was one of them. The Beecher store had been a general merchandise and dry-goods store and was larger than the Mills store in 1898, when it was sold to the Mills family.

Lyman married Margaretta Louisa Rutter, daughter of Rev. Lindley Charles Rutter and Louisa Margaret Potts, on 13 Jun 1866.1 (Margaretta Louisa Rutter was born in 1844 in Chestnut Level, Lancaster, PA,1 6 7 19 died on 22 May 1899 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA 7 and was buried on 25 May 1899 in Pottstown: Edgewood Cemetery, Montgomery, PA 7 19 20.)


1 James, Isabella; Potts, Thomas, Memorial of Thomas Potts, junior, who settled in Pennsylvania (Cambridge Mass., University Press, 1874. Online free on Google Books http://books.google.com/books?id=UScAAAAAQAAJ), Page 331.

2 1860 United States Census, Pennsylvania, Montgomery County, Pottsville, Series: M653 Roll: 1144 Page: 796.

3 1850 United States Census, Pennsylvania, Montgomery County, Pottstown Boro, Series: M432 Roll: 799 Page: 115.

4 1870 United States Census, Pennsylvania, Montgomery County, Pottstown 270th District, Series: M593 Roll: 1378 Page: 292.

5 Ancestry.com, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669-2013, Montgomery > Pottstown > Episcopal > Christ Episcopal. Church record page 80, online image 11.

6 Ancestry.com, Pennsylvania, U.S., Death Certificates, 1906-1968 (Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates. Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.), Death Certificate 56829. Mrs. Elizabeth B. Lancaster. Father Lyman Beecher. Mother Meta Rutter. Spouse George R. Lancaster.

7 Find A Grave, http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=138324472.

8 Reading Times (Reading, PA) (Reading, Berks, Pernnsylvania.), 25 Feb 1919, page 3, obituary of Lyman Beecher.

9 Ancestry.com, Pennsylvania, U.S., Death Certificates, 1906-1968 (Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates. Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.), Certificate Number: 30827. Lyman Beecher d. 22 Feb 1919 Philadelphia.

10 1880 United States Census, Pennsylvania, Montgomery County, Pottstown Middle Ward, Series: T9 Roll: 1160 Page: 558.

11 Ancestry.com, U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995, 1884 Boyd's Pottstown Directory. Printed page 241, online image 112.

12 Pottstown Mercury (Pottstown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania), 16 Jul 1884.

13 Pottstown Mercury (Pottstown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania), 8 Feb 1888.

14 Philadelphia Times (Philadelphia, PA), 14 Dec 1890, page 1.

15 1900 United States Census, https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M3WF-176 George A Lancaster, Philadelphia city Ward 29, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States; citing sheet 11B, family 218, NARA microfilm publication T623, FHL microfilm 1241470.

16 1910 United States Census, Year: 1910; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 20, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1394; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0340; FHL microfilm: 1375407.

17 Pottstown Mercury (Pottstown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania), 18 Oct 1945, page 4.

18 Montgomery County, the Second Hundred Years (Norristown, PA : Montgomery County Federation of Historical Societies, 1983. - Edition: 1st ed. Description: 2 v. : ill; 28 cm. + 1 map.), Page 1282.

19 Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA), 23 May 1899, page 12. Death notice for Meta L. Beecher.

20 Ancestry.com, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., Death Certificates Index, 1803-1915 (From originals housed at the Philadelphia City Archives. "Death Records."), FHL Film Number 1011828. Meta L. Beecher, d. 22 May 1899, Philadelphia.

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