Janis' Genealogy Biographies Page - Joseph Y. Bechtel

Janis' Genealogy Site

Dr. Joseph Y. Bechtel


  • Born: 25 March 1832
  • Died: after 1920
  • Father: John S. Becthel
  • Mother: Catherine Yost
  • Spouse: Margaret P. Koons


Biographical and Portrait cyclopedia of Montgomery County, pg 441

Joseph Y. Bechtel, M.D., who has been in active practice at Schwenksville for thirty-nine years, is a son of John and Catherine (Yost) Bechtel, and was born in a part of Pottstown, then in Pottsgrove township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, March 25, 1832. The lineage of his family is traced back authentically to John George Bechtel of Germany, who left his native land in 1728, as one of a colony of emigrants of the Reformed church faith. He came on the ship Mortonhouse, John Coultas, master, which weighed anchor at Diehl, June 15, 1728, and arrived at Philadelphia, August 24, the same year. Mr. Bechtel settled near the site of Pottstown, where he bought a farm. Some years afterward, upon the death of his father, he returned to Germany in order to obtain his share of the parternal estate, and died on his return voyage, while the vessel was along the coast of the Carolinas. His widow, whose maiden name was Anna Mary Clingman, remained on the farm and reared their two children, George and Catherine, the latter of whom wedded Samuel Landis. [Note: The name of Catherine's husband was actually Samuel Sands.]

George Bechtel was born and always resided on the home farm, on which he died April 29, 1818, at seventy-three years of age. He was a farmer and a member of the Reformed church, and married Hannah Schwinhart, by whom he had seven sons and four daughters. The sons were: David, George, William, Jacob, Peter, Colonel John and Samuel. The daughers were: Mary, wife of Conrad Carver; Elizabeth, who wedded Jacob Harner; Hannah, wife of Mathias Gilbert; and Catherine, who married John Yocum. [Note: Missing a generation here, these are the children of George Bechtel and Hannah Yocum. It was their son George who married Hannah Swinehart and was the father of Col. John Bechtel.] Colonel John Bechtel, third in descent from John George Bechtel, was born November 4, 1793, and died July 3, 1877. He followed milling for a few years and then rented a hotel below Pottstown, which he ran for some time. He then owned and tilled a farm of seventy acres near Sanatoga Station, afterwards removed to Allentown, and shortly before his death, came to his son, the subject of this sketch, to be treated for dropsy, which proved fatal in this case. He served at sixteen years of age in the War of 1812, was a colonel of a militia regiment afterwards, and served from 1838 to 1841, as county commissioner. He was a life long Democrat, and a consistent member of the Reformed church. He married Catherine Yost, and to their union were born five sons and two daughters: Jeremiah, John, Mary Loomis, Washington, Jacob, Lovinia Hass and Dr. Joseph Y. Mrs. Bechtel was a daugher of John Yost, an extensive farmer of near Pottstown. She died May 14, 1863, aged sixty-nine years.

Dr. Joseph Y. Bechtel was reared on the farm, received his education in the common schools and Pottstown academy, and taught for three years, being one of the first free school teachers in Pottsgrove township. He quit teaching in 1854, to read medicine with Dr. G. W. Wimley, of Limerick, and afterwards entered the Pennsylvania Medical college, from which he was graduated in March, 1856. He immediately opened an office at Birdsboro, Berks county, but on October 20, 1856, came to Schwenksville, then but a small village. He soon acquired a large practice, which he held for thirty-five years, but for the last four years, owing to failing health, has been obliged to curtail his professional business. In the zenith of his professional career he was frequently called to treat patients ten to twelve miles away. Dr. Bechtel is a Democrat, and served as postmaster of Schwenksville from 1885 to 1889, his oldest son, Allen K. Bechtel, officiating as assistant postmaster. He is a member of the Reformed church, served one term in 1892 as physician to the Montgomery County Home, but declined a re-appointment. He was appointed as an assistant surgeon during the late Civil war, but resigned.

On October 21, 1858, Dr. Bechtel wedded Margaret Koons, a daughter of James Koons, a farmer of Perkiomen township, and a zealous member of Trappe Reformed church. To Dr. and Mrs. Bechtel have been born four children: Allen K., a graduated of the National Institute of Pharmacy, Chicago, who died July 10, 1893, aged thirty years; Laura, wife of the Rev. Silas Messinger, pastor of Pleasantville Reformed church, at Eureka, Bucks county; John, a clerk in his father's drug store; and M. Evelyn, a graduate of Ursinus college, class of 1895.

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