KLINE, GEORGE W., carpet manufacturer, was born October 20, 1852, in the old stone house on the eastern outskirts of Millersburg, Dauphin county, Pa., formerly occupied by Dr. Haeseller, now of Schuylkill county, and afterward the residence of Mr. Kline’s parents, Henry L. and Christiana (Rasweiler) Kline. The Rasweiler family are now of Chicago. Henry L. Kline was born in a small interior town of Prussia, June 19, 1809, and at five years of age he lost both his parents. He was thrown among strangers, and when only nine years old was employed in a damask factory; there he learned weaving, and was permitted to enjoy a few months’ instruction in the public school. The factory was a noted one, and had business connections with prominent and titled people and historic localities, which, as a deliverer of goods, he was permitted to visit; but these privileges did not charm Henry, for his heart was fixed on the "land of the free." Against the earnest protest of his friends he set out for America in 1846, and after a tempestuous voyage of over three months landed at New Orleans. There he worked three months on a sugar plantation, after which he went to Cincinnati, and thence to Pittsburgh. From that point he traveled on foot to Philadelphia, afterwards by way of Pottsville to Orwigsburg, where he found permanent employment at carpet weaving.
In January, 1848, Mr. Kline came to Millersburg, and embarked in the business of carpet manufacturing on his own account. So excellent were the materials and the workmanship of his products that his carpets soon gained a wide reputation, bringing orders from far and near, and making him a busy and prosperous man. A successful career of thirty-five years netted him a comfortable competency, and advancing age admonished him to retire; consequently, in 1883, Mr. Kline disposed of his interests to his son, George W., and the Rev. H. A. Neitz, who formed a partnership under the name of Kline & Neitz, and continued the business. Up to the time of his death Mr. Kline cherished the greatest interest and pride in the large and flourishing enterprise which he had founded. He was always an industrious worker at the loom, and it has been estimated that the fabrics woven by his hands, if stretched at length, would reach from Millersburg to Philadelphia, a distance of one hundred and thirty-two miles. A short time before his last illness, having finished a piece, retired from the loom, remarking to his son that he would rest a week; but the final rest came. His wife, with whom he had lived happily for thirty-seven years, had preceded him, having passed away September 17, 1847.
Since 1847 Mr. Kline had been a member of Evangelical church of Millersburg, and had served in the several offices of the congregation. He was urbane and cordial in his manner, and of kindly disposition, upright and pure in character and life; an embodiment of the virtues of the Christian gentleman. Mrs. Kline was born in Medersheim, Germany, September 2, 1814 in company with her brother, Henry Rasweiler. They located in Allentown, Pa., later removing to Orwigsburg. She was married to Mr. Kline April 28, 1848, by Rev. John Koehl. For forty-five years she was a faithful member of the Evangelical church, a devout Christian woman. In her last illness she endured great suffering, which she bore with exemplary courage and cheerful resignation. Mr. and Mrs. Kline had seven children, of whom John, Joanna, Amelia, and two others died in infancy. Their living children are: George W. and Mary Elizabeth.
George W. Kline received his first instruction in the old school house on the banks of Wiconisco creek; he was afterwards a pupil in the borough schools until he was about fifteen years old, during which time he assisted his father in his business between school terms, and in this way learned the art of carpet weaving. He worked diligently and faithfully for his father until he reached his majority, when his father rewarded him by giving him an interest in his factory and trade. The father and son were associated until 1883, when the father retired and sold his interest to Rev. Mr. Neitz, and the firm of Kline & Neitz was founded. This firm continued the business for five years, when the Kline & Neitz Company took charge of the enterprise. The corporation was not prosperous, and failed in 1893; the concern was sold, and Mr. Kline bought the retail department and machinery connected with it and conducted the retail business for two years. In 1895 he sold the retail department to R. O. Novinger & Co. and became the successor of the corporation, the manufacturing department now being known as the George W. Kline Company.
Mr. Kline was married, August 17, 1878, to Mary Saville, daughter of George W. and Catherine (Rhodes) Kramer. They have six children: Velma Catherine, born July 3, 1883, died May 17, 1884; Nora Elizabeth, born March 19, 1879; Emma, born November 11, 1880; George Henry, born August 1, 1885; Juanita Adelia, born December 5, 1888; Robert Kramer, born July 24, 1893.
Mr. Kline is a Republican. He has served as school director, and was re-elected to that office in 1896. He is identified with the Masonic fraternity, having passed through all the chairs in Susquehanna Lodge at Millersburg; he is also a member of Perseverance Lodge, I. O. O. F., at Millersburg. Mr. Kline is a member of the United Evangelical church at Millersburg, has been a trustee for eighteen years, and for the same period, excepting one year, has been secretary of the board of trustees.
Both the parents of Mrs. Kline are living. They have eight children: Mary Saville, Mrs. Kline; Carson S., Emma, Alice, Harry, Elizabeth, Minnie, and one child that died in infancy. George W. Kramer and his brothers, up to 1880, conducted the old Kramer ferry, opposite Millersburg, established by their father, David Kramer, shortly after the year 1800.
Pages 1057 & 1058
Transcribed by Judy Warner Bookwalter, for the Dauphin County,
Pennsylvania Genealogy Transcription Project – http://maley.net/transcription