Verbeke, William K., city controller, was born in Harrisburg over three score and ten years ago, and has seen Pennsylvania's capital grow from a village to a most important municipality. His parents came from Holland and lived for some years in Philadelphia, subsequently moving to Harrisburg in 1817, when it was but a borough of about 2,000 inhabitants. Mr. Verbeke received a liberal education, is a fine scholar and a writer of much strength and elegance. His people excelled in mathematics, an aptness which he seems to have inherited. It is doubtful if there is a single individual in Harrisburg who can calculate with the rapidity and accuracy he does. This faculty which he possesses makes him a valuable officer to the financial department of the city. In addition to this he is a thorough financier, surveying with an eagle eye the financial situation, and drawing conclusions therefrom which seldom fail to be verified and sustained. His efficiency in the office of controller and the esteem in which he is held by the citizens generally are clearly shown in his having been elected to the position of controller consecutively since 1883, though he was pitted against the strongest candidates that could be found.
Almost from the time Harrisburg was created a borough down to the present time, he has represented the citizens of Harrisburg either in council or on the school board, and they regarded him with such favor as to make him mayor of the city previous to his election as controller. He is modest and unassuming in manner, and his personal worth and ability to discharge his official duties, the spirit in which he beautified the city in various ways with his means, his charity manifest in giving homes to many homeless, his generous contribution to the cause of humanity in the late war, have endeared him to the people and they consider that there is nothing too good to bestow upon him. He is their beau ideal of a man, a careful, prudent and efficient officer, loved and esteemed by all, and it is predicted that as long as Mr. Verbeke will consent he will continue to fill the office of controller.
As a representative fireman, being the oldest but one in point of continuous service, he is just as highly esteemed for the valuable service he has rendered the city in that way. He helped to organize the Good Will Fire Company and has been its worthy president ever since, except during the years he was filing the office of mayor and was compelled to devote his entire attention to that office. Nothing pleases him more than to relate incidents of by-gone days or to participate in public occasions with his brother firemen.
Verbeke, William K., p. 317 & 318
Transcribed by Gwen Bixler Drivon at GGDGEN@aol.com for the Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Transcription Project - http://maley.net/transcription
9 Nov. 2000
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