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BERGSTRESSER, ALEXANDER W., dealer in wallpaper and window shades, was born in Harrisburg, Pa., December 1, 1833. He is a son of William and Mary (Watson) Bergstresser, both natives of Dauphin county. His grandparents on his father's side were natives of Northumberland county, but early became residents of Dauphin county. His grandfather was John Bergstresser; his grandmother had been a Miss Wilkinson. The maternal grandfather, Jackson Watson, came to American from Ireland when but nine years old, and from that date spent his entire life in Harrisburg, where he passed away. he was a son of Alexander Watson, a native of Ireland, and for many years a resident of Cumberland county. He married Miss Sophia Hoover, and spent his declining years in Harrisburg with his son, Jackson Watson, maternal grandmother of A. W. Bergstresser, was a Miss Wentz, born in Hummelstown, Pa., in 1789. William Bergstresser, father of Alexander W., was a millwright, and prominent as a business man in Harrisburg. He died in May, 1841; his wife had died in 1842. They were the parents of three children: Alexander W., William J. and Isabella C., wife of Martin Keeney, all residing in Harrisburg.

Alexander W. Bergstresser was educated in the public schools of Harrisburg. He has spent his entire life in this city, with the exception of two years' service in the United States army during the war of the Rebellion. After completing his education he learned house painting and paper hanging, and for about six years was connected with his uncle and brother in that business. Subsequently he was in the same business with his brother for about five years. >From 1866 to 1877 he was senior member of the firm of Bergstresser & Boyd. Since the latter date he has been conducting business closely in his own interest. During this time he has devoted all his attention to wall paper and window shades. In July, 1863 he formed a partnership with John T. Ensminger in the furniture business. In 1864 he enlisted in company G, Two Hundred and First Pennsylvania volunteers, and after two months' service was put on detailed duty as acting assistant adjutant general of the Juniata, with headquarters at Chambersburg, Pa.; he served for five months in this capacity, and was then detailed to the provost marshal's office at Pittsburgh, Pa., he served for five months in this capacity, and was then detailed t the provost marshal's office at Pittsburgh, Pa., where he remained until the close of the war

He continued his partnership with Mr. Ensminger until 1868, when they dissolved their business relations, he continuing in the business as W. J. Adams at his present location, and as senior member of the firm of W. J. Adams & Bro., on Market street, for a number of years. In 1891 he admitted his son to partnership, and the firm has since been W. J. Adams & Son. Mr. Adams is a stockholder in the East Harrisburg Traction Company, the Harrisburg National Bank and Trust Company, and Kelker Street Market House.

He is a Republican. In 1879-80 he served as a member of the select council, and was president of that body in 1881.

He resigned this office after serving one year, in order to pay a visit to s native country, from which he had been absent twenty-five years. In 1887 he was a member of common council. During his membership in both branches of the council he served on many important committees. In February, 1895, he was elected to the school board from the Second ward. He is a member of Post 58, G. A. R.

He was married, in 1866, to Miss Emma J., daughter of George Welker, of Harrisburg. She died March 31, 1885. They had six children: George Welker Adams, born August 31, 1869, and was educated in the high school of Harrisburg and the commercial college; became a partner with his father in 1891, and is an active young business man; is a stockholder in the East Harrisburg Traction Company, the Lebanon Valley Railroad Company and the Cambria and Juniata railroad; William J., Jr., born November 3, 1871, graduated from Lehigh University as an electrical engineer; Richard L., Emma K., Robert G., and Helen A.

Mr. Adams was again married , in 1887, to Miss Hattie B., daughter of Samuel Mann, of Harrisburg; they have two children, Esther Jane and Irene. Mr. Adams is a member of St. Paul's Methodist Episcopal church, and is a local preacher, having been ordained by Bishop Andrews, of York, Pa., He is also a trustee of the church.

Transcribed by Peggy McNeal, for the Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Transcription Project
 Date of Transcription: 1 July 2001
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