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 Gilbert “The Saddler” Romberger

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Gilbert “The Saddler” Romberger

  • Birth 19 Jan 1829 Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Death 10 Mar 1894 Pennsylvania, USA
  • Burial Berrysburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Memorial ID 25328369

Gilbert Romberger was a son of Daniel Romberger and his wife Eva Romberger Romberger (later Hoffman).

He was a brother to Susan Romberger and Luther Romberger. Their dad died when they were all young, and this Gilbert was 4 and a half at the time of the loss. Their mom remarried and had more kids, so they were raised in a blended family.

Gilbert was the husband of Mary Sophia Kiehl/Keihl Romberger, a woman of much grace and fortitude. Together, they had 16 children, including the next gent in my line, Daniel H. Romberger. Daniel was their second eldest son, after George.

A custom saddler and horse collar maker in Berrysburg, PA, he apprenticed under the regionally renowned Jacob Dreibelbis. In calling Gilbert "the saddler" it is meant as a term of convenience to distinguish him from the other Gilbert Rombergers of his line that were yet to come. In truth, this Gilbert was truly more of a custom collar maker. In his time, such work was highly skilled and required training and patience because horses were worth a lot in daily life, and a good collar increased their pulling capacity while protecting their windpipes. Horses were the key to transportation and farming and clearing land, and while a saddle was easily shifted from horse to horse, a collar for driving and directing was custom-made and fitted for the specific horse.

Gilbert died just before his daughter, Annie Gertrude. At this time, the cause of his death is not known, but is known from a surviving family letter to have been sudden and unexpected. That letter was from his newlywed daughter, Annie Gertrude, who wrote it not long after having visted him. She urges him to come visit, so clearly he was not sick when she last saw him. He died not long after the letter, and she died weeks after he died, in childbirth. It must have been a very hard year for the family.

Runk's "Biographical Encyclopedia of Dauphin County" is not the most accurate source, but it is the only place where I found a bio of Gilbert the saddler. It was contained within a larger bio of his eldest son George. The part about our saddler is as follows:

(Gilbert) "The father was born in Dauphin county, January 19, 1820. He worked on the farm until eighteen years of age and in 1847 went to Georgetown, Pa. [now Dalmatia in Northumberlnd County], to learn the saddler trade with Jacob Dreivell [sic, the surname is Dreibelbis]. He remained there three years then moved to Uniontown [now Pillow], Dauphin county, where he followed his trade until 1860, when he purchased a farm near Berrysburg, Pa. Eight years later he sold the farm and purchased another near Elizabethville, where he remained one year. He next bought a home in Berrysburg and was engaged there at his trade until a few years before his death, which occurred March 8, 1894. He was married, in 1852, to Miss Mary Keihl. Their children are: Elmira M., deceased; Mary A.; George D.; Daniel H.; Rebecca K.; Clara E.; Lillie E.; Samuel, deceased; Jerome, deceased; Annie G., deceased; Ralph E.; and five children who died in infancy."

[NOTE: The above date of death was at issue, some sources giving it as March 8 and others as March 10 of 1894. Fortunately, the picture settles the issue.]

Gilbert's birthplace had not been known to me, but it appears on the marriage license application for his daughter Mary's second marriage as Curtin. I am yet to confirm where Curtin is, and it is not to be confused with Camp Curtin or the Curtin in Centre County. It seems to have been close to present day Millersburg. It is or was in Dauphin County, but here on FindAGrave if I put Dauphin County as Gilbert's county of birth, there is no option to select Curtin as his town of birth.

Big thanks to contributor Wendy Houck, and the huge amount of grave photography work she has done. Wendy, I wondered when I might ever get out to Dauphin County to locate the resting places of the family of my great great grandpa, and laying eyes on your pictures of their stones gives me tremendous peace. Thank you.





  • Created by: sr/ks
  • Added: 17 Mar 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 25328369
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Gilbert “The Saddler” Romberger (19 Jan 1829–10 Mar 1894), Find A Grave Memorial no. 25328369, citing Peace Church Cemetery, Berrysburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by sr/ks (contributor 46847659) .