Biography of Franklin P. Reiter
Cambria County, PA Biographies

Franklin P. Reiter, treasurer and general manager of the Strayer Lumber Company, 617 Elder Street, Johnstown, is a native of Pennsylvania. He was born on a farm in Brady Township, Clearfield County, Pa., Jan. 4, 1877, and is a son of John and Ernestine (Muth) Reiter.

John Reiter was born in Jefferson County in 1838, a son of John Reiter, a farmer of Jefferson County, who died in 1886 and is buried in Elenora, Pa. John Reiter, the father of our subject, died in 1908, and his widow died in 1914. They are both buried in Union Cemetery, Troutville, Pa. He began his life as a farmer and was later engaged in the lumber business. In 1865 he married Ernestine Muth, a daughter of Karl P. Muth. She was born in 1844 and came to America with her parents in 1851. They settled in Jefferson County, Pa. In 1872 Karl P. Muth returned to Germany on a visit and while there died. After his marriage John Reiter purchased 135 acres of land, all of which was in timber with the exception of one acre. This cleared ground contained an old shack which was used for their dwelling house until later when he erected more suitable quarters. This farm was located about three miles south of Troutville, Pa. Mr. Reiter at once started to clear his land and burned the timber. Later when there was a demand for lumber he started to turn the timber into currency. His timber consisted of virgin white pine, some of it being 150 feet high, which was used in making spars for large vessels and boats. He would work in the woods all winter and in the spring when the high waters came, owing to melting of the snow and spring rains, he would build his log raft at Mahaffey, Pa., and run his log raft down the Susquehanna River to Williamsport, where he had a market for his timber. He cleared about 75 acres of this land, a part of which was burned. Later he went into the custom saw mill business at Big Run, Pa., and bought timber, cut it and shipped it to market, as well as doing custom sawing. He sold his farm in 1900 and moved to Troutsville. Mr. Reiter was a member of the Reformed Church, in which he served as an official, and was an active church worker. He was a Democrat, a member of the board of education for several years and also served as tax collector, and held other local township offices. He was an excellent citizen and esteemed in his community.

To John and Ernestine (Muth) Reiter nine children were born: (1) Charles D., bookkeeper for the Strayer Lumber Company, Johnstown; Samuel O., vice president of the Pittsburgh Laundry Supply Company, resides in Pittsburgh; (3) Elizabeth; (4) William; (5) Jessie. The latter three are deceased and are buried in Union Cemetery, Troutville, Pa. (6) Franklin P., the subject of this sketch; (7) Clara, married J. J. Beightol, resides in Harrisburg. Mr. Beightol is a blacksmith and makes a specialty of shoeing race horses; (8) Aaron M., a locomotive engineer for the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railroad Company, resides in DuBois, Pa.; (9) Rosanna, married William Miller. She died in 1920 and is buried in DuBois, Pa.; John G., farmer, Troutville, Pa.; and two children died in infancy.

Franklin P. Reiter was educated in the public schools in Brady Township, Indiana Normal School, and was graduated from Mt. Herman School, Mt. Herman, Mass., in 1906. He began his career as a teacher in the grade schools in Shenandoah, Pa. In the spring of 1907 he became affiliated with the Tenant-Richards Lumber Company, Wilkes Barre, Pa., as a salesman and on the road. In 1908 he operated a saw mill for this company in Delaware County, N. Y., where the company owned a large tract of timber. In the latter part of 1909 he came to Johnstown and located with the Babcock Lumber Company as an inspector at their mills at Ashtola, Pa. In 1911 he went with the Cambria Steel Company in charge of their lumber yards. In 1913 he accepted a position as office manager with J. D. Strayer. On May 1, 1919, this company was incorporated under the laws of the State, of Pennsylvania as Strayer and Company. Its officers at time of organization were: P. C. Strayer, president; Franklin P. Reiter, vice president; A. J. Strayer, treasurer; K. D. Strayer, secretary; with J. D. and LeRoy N. Strayer as accompanying directors. This company operated with these officers until 1922, when A. J. and LeRoy N. Strayer withdrew to devote their time to contract building. The following are its present officers: J. D. Strayer, president; P. C. Strayer, vice president; K. D. Strayer, secretary; Franklin P. Reiter, treasurer and general manager.

In 1912 Mr. Reiter was married to Miss Elizabeth A. Yoder, a daughter of Joseph S. and Lydia (Yoder) Yoder. He was born on a farm near Scalp Level, Pa., and his wife was born on the old Yoder farm on Tire Hill, Cambria County. They were both members of the Menonite Church and are now deceased and are buried in Dunmeyer Cemetery, near Elton, Pa. To Mr. and Mrs. Reiter three children have been born: Franklin Yoder, born in October, 1913, a junior in Cochran High School; Joseph Johns, born in May, 1914, student in Village Street School; and Mary Elizabeth, born April 10, 1922.

Mr. Reiter is a Republican, and is a member of the Junior Order of United American Mechanics and the Lions Club. Mr. and Mrs. Reiter are members of the Lutheran Church of Moxham. He has held the offices of assistant superintendent and superintendent of the Sunday school and at present is the teacher of the Young Men's Bible Class, and he has been a member of the official board for many years.

History of Cambria County, Pennsylvania
By: John E. Gable
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka-Indianapolis, 1926

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