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Cleaver, Israel, M.D.



Israel Cleaver, M. D., a prominent physician of Reading, represents a family that dates back to the time prior to the Revolution. The first of the name in Pennsylvania of whom record is found was Derrick Cleaver.

(I) Derrick Cleaver was twice married. By his first wife he had one child, John. By his second marriage there were seven children, one of whom was also named John, and he became the great grandfather of Dr. Cleaver.

(II) John Cleaver was also married twice. By the first union were born Joseph, John and Ruth. On Nov. 2, 1767, John Cleaver was married by Rev. Joseph Miller, to Catherine Kline, and they had seven children, Peter, Derrick, Isaac, Jonathan, Martha, Rebecca and one that died in infancy. John Cleaver died in 1790, and his widow married Benedict Martz. After about forty years of wedded life she was again left a widow, and survived Mr. Martz ten years. She died April 14, 1841, aged ninety two years, eleven months and seventeen days. John Cleaver was a Quaker in religious belief, but as he married out of the church he was dropped from the Society.

(III) Jonathan Cleaver was born in 1781, in Earl Township, Berks county, Pa. He learned the business of woolen manufacturing, later owning and operating a woolen mill. He was interested in military matters, and during the period of "training days" held rank as a colonel. He died in 1862. Jonathan Cleaver married Elizabeth Boyer, born in 1782, daughter of Samuel and Catherine Boyer, and children were born to this union as follows: Anna, born July 4, 1806, m. to Samuel Armpreister; Esther, born July 17, 1808; Peter, born April 1, 1810, father of Henry Tyson Cleaver, an engineer in the United States Navy; Elizabeth, born Feb. 2, 1812, m. to Isaac Bertolet (their son was Dr. Jonathan Bertolet late of the U. S. Navy); Jonathan, born April 30, 1814; George K., born May 18, 1816; Lewis, born Nov. 24, 1820; Mary (deceased) and Catherine (twins), born Jan. 8, 1822, the latter of whom married Joel Golden; and Leida, born Oct. 14, 1824. Jonathan Cleaver was a member of the Lutheran Church. In politics he was a Whig.

(IV) George K. Cleaver was educated in the common schools, and he learned the trade of wool fulling. In 1852 be moved to Reading, and accepted a position in the county prison as assistant under the warden, Dr. Henry Tyson. This responsible place he occupied for twelve years, but finally went back into the business world and engaged in the manufacture of carpets, which occupied his attention until his death in 1897. He married Miss Christiana Neiffer, and to them were born eight children, namely: Israel, of Reading, Pa.; George W., of Hackensack, N. J.; Christian H., deceased; Jonathan, deceased; John W., a hatter residing in Reading; James T., who died in April 1907; Gertrude A., deceased wife of Linton Miller, who left two children Earl and Alma J.; and Charles E., deceased. The mother of these children died in 1893. In early life a Lutheran, later Mr. Cleaver united with the M. E. Church.

(V) Israel Cleaver, M. D., was born Nov. 26, 1842, and in his early childhood was sent to the public schools in Reading. He completed the high school course, and then after his graduation began his medical studies in the office of Dr. Henry Tyson. He took his medical course in the University of Pennsylvania and received his degree in 1863. During this period he was appointed medical cadet at Buttonwood street military hospital in Philadelphia, and after receiving his medical diploma he was appointed by Edward M. Stanton, then Secretary of War, as assistant surgeon in the Mississippi Marine Brigade and Ram Fleet, a special organization designed to keep the river clear of bushwhackers, and equipped for both land and water engagements. He served until the discharge of his Command per General Orders in 1865.

After the close of the war Dr. Cleaver settled in Luthersburg, Clearfield Co., Pa., and remained there a year, when he removed to Philipsburg, Centre county, and entered upon a professional career that lasted until 1871. In 1871 he left Centre county, and after a course in certain special branches he located in Reading, Pa., in the spring of 1872, being still in practice in this city. He is connected with a number of professional organizations viz.: the Berks County Medical Society, the Reading Medical Association, Pennsylvania State Medical Society, the American Medical Association, and the Lehigh Valley Medical Association. He is a member of the board of managers of the Reading Hospital, and secretary of that body. He holds the position of County Medical Inspector, Pennsylvania Department of Health, and is in charge of the local Dispensary for tuberculosis under the Department.


In 1866 Dr. Cleaver was married to Miss Lorena Moore, daughter of the late Wilson Moore, of Clearfield county, Pa. Of their four children Mildred died at the age of four years; Wilbur M. is the office manager of J. C. McCrorey & Co., New York City; Hattie m. J. Freeman Boas, office employee of the Reading Hardware Company; and Helen Guthrie is at home, a graduate of the Reading high school and a teacher in Sternberg School of Music, Philadelphia. The family belong to the M. E. Church. Fraternally Dr. Cleaver is a member of Reading Lodge, No. 579, F. & A. M., and of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion, Pennsylvania Commandery. He is also a member of Gen. William H. Keim Post No. 76, G. A. R., while his loyal interest in the school of his early days is evinced by his connection with the local alumni association of the University of Pennsylvania.

Reference: Montgomery, Morton. Historical and Biographical Annals of Berks County Pennsylvania, p.566

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