OWEN F. LEIBERT
Source: Portrait & Biographical Record
OWEN F. LEIBERT was appointed in January, 1893, to the position of General Superintendent of the Bethlehem Iron Company, and is one of the thorough mechanics and engineers of Bethlehem. He is an able and capable man for the position he holds, being thoroughly conversant with the details of tile work, and having himself served many years in the trade. Personally he is well liked. being affable and courteous in manner, and at the same time business-like and straightforward in his manner of dealing with his fellow-men.
The mechanical genius of Mr. Leibert appears to be an inheritance, as his ancestors for many generations have been machinists and millwright. His great-great-grandfather, Michael Leibert was born at Rheinpfalz, Germany, and when a young man came to America, settling in Germantown, where lie ran a hotel. He was a Catholic in religious faith, and his death occurred when he was still young. Later his wife married a Mr. Fenstermacher, a Moravian, and removed to Lititz, where he afterward died. She afterward came to Bethlehem to make her home, and here her death occurred.
The great-grandfather or our subject, Martin was born in Germantown. and was a mechanic and manufacturer of spinning wheels at Emaus. The next in line of decent, Henry, was born in Emaus, and followed the trades of millwright, miller and distiller on Leibert's Creak. His wife, Catherine Knauss, was born near Emaus, and was the daughter ofa Moravian farmer. Our subject's father, John, was born at Leibert's Gap, in Milford Township, Lehigh County, and for a time lived in Hanover Township. Later be was employed as a. millwright and miller in Craneville (now Catasauqua), to which place be removed in 1839, and then started in business them with George Frederick. He became Chief of the Water Works and Power Company in that city. His death occurred in 1845. at the age of thirty-seven years and six months. tie had married Catherine Owens Tice, a native of New York State, whose father, a sea-faring man, was born in Nova Scotia, and her mother in London. England. They settled in the Saucon Valley, where Mrs. Leibert was reared to womanhood. Site was orphaned at the age of ten years, and was reared by Peter Swartz in Upper Milford Township. She is a Lutheran, while her husband was a Moravian. Though now nearly eighty-seven years of age, she is still living and makes her home in Catasauqua.
Owen Leibert, who is the second son in his father's family, was born in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, August 27, 1836. His eider brother, Henry, is in charge of the machine shops of the Bethlehem Iron Company; his sister Jane resides in Catasauqua with her mother, Mary A., Mrs. James Nevins, and Gwenny P., Mrs. Price, both died in Catasauqua. In that city Owen Leibert was reared, attending the public schools until he was eleven years of age, when he was obliged to go to work. On the death of his father he was only eight years old, and David Thomas, Superintendent of the Crane Iron Works, became his legal guardian. He worked under that gentleman and his sons from the age of eleven until twenty-one years old. At the age of thirteen lie went into the blacksmith shop to learn the business, and in time became foreman in the shop. Later, in company with Daniel Milson, he went to Norristown, Pa., and there engaged in manufacturing.
January 16, 1863. Mr. Lelbert came to this city, working as a blacksmith for the Bethlehem Iron Company, and later with his brother as a machinist. Returning to Catasauqua, he was employed In the car shops as foreman for sixteen months, on the expiration of which time he came back to this place and became draftsman for the Bethlehem Iron Company, and afterward foreman in the steel works, where he was employed for twelve years. Next going to Wheeling, W. Va., he was in the Riverside Iron Works for nine months. In 1886 he received the position of assistant engineer to John Fritz, under whom lie served from 1863 until 1893, during which time he was General Superintendent and Chief Engineer of the Bethlehem Iron Company. After the completion of the ordnance works of Bethlehem, be continued in Assistant Superintendent until January. 1893, when he assumed his present responsible position. He owns a fine residence on Market Street and other property, and is interested in the Bethlehem Iron Company, and the First National Bank as a stockholder. In politics he votes with the Republican party and takes an active interest in its success. In Germantown, Pa., January 28, 1864, be married Miss Mary M., daughter of Benjamin Warner.