Friday, December 16, 2011

Doctor Daniel Berger

Doctor Daniel Berger was an esteemed clergy member of the United Brethren Church and an experienced editor of their religious materials.

He was born the son of Daniel and Esther Boda Berger on February 14, 1832 near Reading, Pennsylvania.

The Berger family moved to near Springfield, Ohio in 1838. They bought a farm with an existing log cabin and settled in. Two years later they moved into a brick house their father had built on the property.

At 18 years of age Berger entered the Ohio Methodist Conference high school which he attended for two years.

After completing his education he taught for three years at the Linden Hill Academy in New Carlisle.

Berger then became Principal of one of the two Springfield high schools and served there for one year.

He married May Frances Merry on July 28, 1853. She had grown up in England and had come to Cincinnati planning only to visit.

After teaching, Berger decided to enter the Christian ministry. He was licensed to preach by the Miami conference of the United Brethren Church in 1854 and ordained in 1858. He also obtained an honorary degree, a master of arts, from Ohio University the same year.

In 1863 Dr. Berger came to Dayton as pastor of the First United Brethren Church on Sixth Street. Fifty six men from his congregation joined the Union Army in the Civil War. One of those men was the editor of “The Religious Telescope”, a publication of the United Brethren Church.

Dr. Berger became the editor of the “Religious Telescope” in 1865 filling in for the absent editor.

In 1869 the Publishing House trustees appointed Dr. Berger editor of the Sunday-school literature for the church. He remained in this job for twenty-six years and developed several new periodicals. The “Religious Telescope” of October 2, 1920 said Dr. Berger was “both architect and builder of our Sunday-school Bible lesson helps”.

He also rewrote and brought up to date a two volume history of the United Brethren Church which had originally been written by John Lawrence. It is still used today. The same “Religious Telescope” issue mentioned earlier praised his “keen research and lucid expression” when producing this history.

Dr. Berger had a unique relationship with the gypsies of the area. He conducted the funeral services for several individuals of the Stanley clan.

A love for plants and flowers induced Dr. Berger to become a member of the Montgomery County Horticultural Society. He served as Secretary of the organization from 1901-1916.

His wife died on February 10, 1915. He remained in his home and Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Higgins lived with him to provide for his care.

Dr. Berger died on September 15, 1920. He was buried beside his wife at Woodland Cemetery.