Jonathan S. Zerbe, hotel Keeper, Loyalton, Pennsylvania, was born in Lower Mahanoy Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, 16 November 1857.
His father, George Zerbe, was born in Northumberland County, educated in the common schools, and reared a farmer. At the outbreak of the Rebellion, he enlisted in the Union Army, and served until the close of the war. After his discharge he located on a farm in Lower Mahanoy Township, where he died in 1875. His children are:
William D. Zerbe;
Ellen Zerbe, widow of William Alleman;
Jonathan S. Zerbe; and
Susan Zerbe, Mrs. John Meck, Williamstown, Pennsylvania.
Jonathan S. Zerbe attended school during the winter months from the age of six years until he was fifteen. In the summer he worked out, either among the farmers or in the mines. He was sixteen when his mother died in 1873, and he was thrown upon his own resources. He was employed nearly five years as a farm hand by A. D. Lentz, and then in March 1875, went to Kansas, having saved during that time a small amount of money. After working as a farm hand for nine months he returned to Pennsylvania and worked for D. O. Bower, Union County. Then he came to his old home and married, after which important event he resided for twelve years in Tower City, Pennsylvania, engaged in mining coal. Receiving good wages, and working on contract besides, he was enabled to accumulate some money. In February 1892, he engaged with his brother-in-law, Jacob Messner, in the hotel business in Loyalton, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. This business he still carries on.
Jonathan S. Zerbe was married, 28 October 1879, to Miss Julia Messner, daughter of Philip Messner and Mary [Dockey] Messner, born in Northumberland County. Their children are:
Harry A. Zerbe, died in infancy;
Mary A. Zerbe, nine years old;
Lottie May Zerbe, five years old; and
Walter Scott Zerbe, one year old.
Mr. Jonathan Zerbe is a Republican. He is a member of the Lutheran church. He owes his success solely to his own ability and persevering efforts. He is of genial disposition, and liked by all who know him.
The following testimonial was written by A. D. Lentz:
“Jonathan Zerbe came to work for me while still a boy and remained with me for nearly five years, His parents were both dead when he came to me, so that he had really no one to exercise authority over him. His conduct gave evidence of the right kind of early training. He was by far the best farm hand I ever had in my employ, always willing to work, and hard toil proving no obstacle to him. He was clever, so that no matter what was being done he could do his share. I cannot praise him too highly as a workingman. But, above all, he was perfectly honest. I attended market in the coal regions while Mr. Zerbe was in my employ, and bought up a great deal of produce. I did not need to hesitate to send young Zerbe out on the road in my place, nor to send any amount of money with him. Frequently I did send large amounts with him and he never cheated me out of a single penny. One day I lost my purse containing over eight hundred dollars, which young Zerbe found and returned to me, when he could easily have kept the whole amount. As an honest, upright man I commend him most cordially, and I know him to be a good, careful and conscientious employee. I can say that I raised him and had him under my care during a time when young men are apt to become bad and vicious. He always respected my advice as if it were from his own father, and now oftentimes, he has words of gratitude for what I did for him when he was almost without resources of any kind. And I in turn am thankful for what he did for me.”
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The above information was modified/edited from Commemorative Biographical Encyclopedia of Dauphin County, published in 1896 by J. M. Runk and Company of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. A free download is available from the Internet Archive.
Findagrave Memorial #105868698. Jonathan S. Zerbe died on 18 July 1941, in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. He is buried at the Maple Grove Cemetery, Elizabethville.
For information on George Zerbe, Civil War soldier, see: