GERLACK, JOHN M., carriage, buggy and wagon manufacturer, Hockersville, Pa., was born in Mt. Joy, Lancaster county, August 17, 1864. He is a son of John S. and Catherine (Witmer) Gerlack. John S. Gerlack was born at Turkey Hill, Md., and was a prominent farmer of that region. He was subsequently engaged in farming in Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties, Pa. His wife, Catherine Witmer, was born in Lancaster county. They had six children: Lizzie, wife of H. Butterfield, of Mt. Joy, Pa.; Barbara, wife of John Walters, manufacturer; John M.; Sarah, deceased; and two children who died in infancy. Mr. J.S. Gerlack was a Republican. He was a member of the German Baptist church. He had a wide circle of friends and was respected by the community. He died at Campbellstown in 1891. His wife died in Lancaster in 1888.
John M. Gerlack attended the schools of Lebanon and York counties. For three years he worked as a farm laborer, receiving as wages twenty dollars per month. The next year he worked on the Coleman railroad. The following two years he spent in learning wagon making, and the next two he passed in Lancaster county, employed in carpenter’s work. He then removed to Lebanon, Pa., and was engaged as a car builder in the car shops. In 1889 he came to Dauphin county and opened a factory and repair shop. At the end of four years he found that his business had outgrown his shop. In order to meet the demands of his increased and still increasing trade, he built a large factory in the village and fitted it up with engine, boiler, and improved machinery. He keeps upwards of six men employed in the general business of manufacturing carriages, buggies and wagons and in repairing. He also built a fine dwelling. His outlay for the improvement was more than $4,000. He is meeting with gratifying success in his business. In 1884 he was married, in Lancaster county, to Lydia Ober, born in White Oak, Lancaster county, Pa.; They had one child, David, attending school. His wife died in 1886. He was married again, in 1887, to Mary H. Wolf, born in Bucks county. There are no children to this marriage. Mr. Gerlack is a Republican. He is a member of the River Brethren church, which he attends at Hummelstown. In his business he is diligent, enterprising, trustworthy and successful, and in social circles he is esteemed and popular.
Transcribed by Dorothy Bumbaugh for the Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Transcription Project.