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Old Timers 1916

(Glimpses of prominent Frackville citizens from the borough's early days)


CHARLES L. HILLANBRAND, of Frackville, former proprietor of the "Hotel Hillanbrand," had varied experience as a hotelkeeper in that community, having followed the business for over a quarter of a century, from 1887. He built and opened the establishment in 1898, and operated it most of the time until recently, commanding a profitable patronage.

Mr. Hillanbrand is of German descent, his father, Francis Hillanbrand, having been born in Hessen-Darmstadt, Germany, in 1819. After attending school near the home place he followed farming until he was nearly thirty years of age, at which time he emigrated to Pottsville, and became an engineer at the Bull's Head colliery, where he worked for five years. His next position was at the Potts colliery, Wolf Creek, near Minersville, where he worked for sixteen years until 1870.

Then he moved to Ashland, and worked at the Tunnel Colliery for two years, coming to Mahanoy Plane in 1872, and working as engineer up to 1893, until a couple of months prior to his death.

In 1840 he married Magdalena Zernhart, of Pottsville, and they had children as follows: Anthony is now a foreman of the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company; Frank died at the age of forty-eight years, at Manayunk; Magdalena married Killian Huth; Charles; Louisa, widow of John Walsh; Mary, widow of John Dietrich, Frackville; George died in infancy; Joseph, unmarried, Frackville.

Charles L. Hillanbrand was born in Minersville, Nov. 19, 1860. He attended the public schools there and at Ashland and Mahanoy Plane. During the summer months of his early teens he worked in the mines, at the Lawrence colliery, Mahanoy Plane, and after he reached the age of sixteen he worked there the year round, continuing mining until 1887, when he embarked in the hotel business at Frackville. He opened "American House" for three years. In 1893 he opened the "Westminster Hotel" and carried it on until 1898, when he built and opened the "Hotel Hillanbrand."

Except for a brief period, 1906-1909, he was principally occupied with its management until a short time ago, and his good business methods, and ability to make guests comfortable, drew a steady patronage to the house. Recently he has given up the hotel and turned his attention to other business. He is looked upon as a citizen of reliable character, belongs to St. Joseph's Church and is a member of Lodge No. 811, Loyal Order of Moose, Shenandoah, in politics he is a Democrat.

On June 25, 1882, Mr. Hillanbrand married Barbara Keihn, daughter of Anthony and Mary Keihn, of Frackville. To this union were born the following children; Stella married John Mona, of Frackville, and has three children, Barbara, Joseph and Charles; Louisa married Richard Fennessy, of Frackville; Mary married Steve Wagner, of Frackville, and has one child, Helen.

[This article can be found in "1916 History of Schuylkill County" by J.H. Beers]

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