1822-1912

December 6, 1822, Rittersville (now Hanover), Pennsylvania.

July 24, 1912, Reading, Pennsylvania.

Charles Evans Cemetery, Reading, Pennsylvania.

portrait

Isaac McHose, one of the city’s best known and most highly respected citizens passed away at 9:30 a.m. today, at the residence of his son-in-law, Jerome L. Boyer, 524 Oley street, of the infirmities of age. He would have been 90 years of age on Friday, Dec. 6.

Deceased was confined to bed for the past three weeks and grew gradually weaker until the end came. For years deceased had lived retired and he was a familiar figure on the streets. Walking was one of his favorite recreations and he took frequent jaunts over the mountains as long as his health permitted. A decade ago he was a regular attendant at all public meetings and always took a prominent part in matters looking to the welfare of the city.

He was an excellent conversationalist and delighted to discuss trade and social matters. In his day he was considered an authority on pig iron and blast furnaces. He was widely known all over Eastern Pennsylvania in this connection. Mr. McHose had a large circle of friends who held him in high esteem because of his many excellent qualities.

Mr. McHose built the handsome residence at 217 North Fifth street, for many years regarded as the finest home in this city, now owned by Frank C. Smink, and occupied it until the death of Mrs. McHose.

Deceased is survived by the following children: Ambrose A., Philadelphia; Wilson V., Isaac and Susan E. wife of Jerome L. Boyer.

Mr. McHose was for many years a generous supporter of public institutions and the prime mover in various business enterprises. He lived in this city since 1852. He was born Dec. 6, 1822, in Hanover, Lehigh county, son of Isaac and Elizabeth (Lohrbach [Laubach]) McHose and grandson of Isaac McHose, the latter a native of Scotland, who came to America at an early date and settled in Northampton county.

The father of Isaac, deceased, was a contractor and builder in Northampton county for many years and was a lieutenant in the War of 1812. In later years he removed to Rittersville, Lehigh county, and there died in the faith of the Reformed church. Politically, he was a Democrat. Mr. McHose was married to Elizabeth Lohrbach, a native of Northampton county, and to their union was born 10 children.

Isaac McHose attended the subscription schools of his native locality and learned the trade of bricklayer with his father, and when 17 years old helped to build the first anthracite furnace at Catasauqua in 1839. Working with his father at different places he soon learned how to build furnaces and made this his business. For 30 years he was engaged in building blast furnaces in Reading, Robesonia, Topton, Millerstown, Temple and other places in eastern Pennsylvania, putting the furnaces in successful blast before turning them over to their owners and finally became interested himself in the manufacture of iron. In company with Mr. Clymer he carried on an extensive iron business at Temple furnace, which Mr. McHose built, known as McHose, Clymer & Company, for eight years.

Mr. McHose developed the Reading Fire Brick Works from a struggling plant to a flourishing business. For a number of years he was president of the Keystone National Bank. He served as a member of Select Council, the School Board and the Water Board. He was one of the three citizens who secured the site now occupied by the Reading Hospital, and was one of the organizers of that institution as well as of the Homeopathis Hospital, of which he was the first President. he helped to secure the location of the Reading Silk Mill here, and was one of the organizers of the Reading Steam Heat Company, being its first President, and subsequently became its Superintendent. He was the first President of the Reading Library Company, and with two other citizens bought the Odd Fellows’ Hall, Fifth and Franklin streets in which to locate the library. He helped to organize the Y.M.C.A., and was its first President. As President of the Board of Trade, and through his friendship with President Roberts, of the Pennsylvania Railroad, he was instrumental in securing the erection of the iron bridge spanning the railroad and the river at the foot of Penn street. It was his suggestion that the city, the county and the railroad company each pay one-third of the cost of the structure. He continued in the iron business until 1890, when he retired. On August 16, 1862, Mr. McHose was made a member of Lodge No. 62, F. & A.M., and was connected in later years with Reading Commandery, Excelsior and Rajah Temple. Formerly he was a member of the I.O.O.F.

Mr. McHose was prominent politically for many years, having been a staunch Republican ever since the formation of that party. He was devoted to its principles regarded protection tariff as necessary in the building up of the industries of the country and for years was one of the advisers of the party organization. Mr. McHose was a Delegate to many conventions and in 1884 was honored by being chosen as an Elector to support James G. Blaine for President. Many years ago friends started a boom for Mr. McHose as a candidate for State Treasurer, and a distinguished delegation of Berks Republicans was sent to Harrisburg to present his candidacy. Owing to a fall-out among the State leaders, however, about that time, which led to other complications, Mr. McHose failed to land the prize. Deceased was the party nominee for Congress some years ago, when he received a handsome complimentary vote.

He was one of the oldest members of St. Paul’s Memorial Reformed Church, served on its Consistory and presented to the congregation the fine pipe organ, which cost $5,500. He was for many years a Trustee of Bethany Orphans’ Home, Womelsdorf. Mr. McHose was remarkably well preserved for his age.

Mr. McHose, when at the height of his business career, ranked as one of Reading’s first citizens and was always ready to work to advance the best interests of the city. When many wealthy men refused to give any time to civics Mr. McHose willingly served in Councils, the Water Board and the School Board, and in each line of activity gave his best service and judgment for the benefit of the community in which he lived. As a trusted official Mr. McHose was not satisfied to be a mere figurehead, but was in touch with every department of his work. His time and financial support were never refused at any public movement, business enterprise, etc., which he believed would result in the betterment of the city.

Reading, Pennsylvania, Eagle, July 24, 1912, pp. 1, 5

  1. Are You Coming to the Feast?
  2. King’s Highway, The
  3. Throw a Line
  4. Wand’rer, Come Home
  1. Gliding Out of Darkness
  2. Lo! He Cometh
  3. Rock Hill

McHose’s full name