A sketch of Dr. Heber Plank, 1906

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Transactions of the Historical Society of Berks County

Volume II 1905 - 1909

A sketch of Dr. Heber Plank

A paper read before the Historical Society March 13, 1906 by Morton L. Montgomery.

[This transcription provided by David H. Plank, great grand son of Dr. David Heber Plank of Morgantown, Pa. It was read was read before the Society about 60 days after Dr. Plank's death, January 3, 1906]

[Note to the Detwilers of Seville and other descendents of Melchior Plank: The relationship between the Plank branch mentioned here and that of Melchior Plank is uncertain. See the Plank Reunion of 1899 and Plank Reunion of 1900, available on this website, for some discussion. If any reader has more information, please forward it to me!--SD

David Heber Plank was born in Caernarvon Township, Berks County, about a mile east of Morgantown on November 12, 1842. He was a son of David Plank and Rebecca, his wife. His grandfather was Rev. Peter Plank, a Bishop in the Mennonite church, and his great-grandfather was dr. Jacob dePlank, who emigrated from France in 1710 and settled in Oley Township, Berks Count, about 1720, becoming the first practitioner of medicine in that vicinity for many miles.

He was educated in the local schools, in the Millersville State Normal School, and in the Pennsylvania Stat College. At the age of 21 he took up the study of medicine under Dr. B.F. Bunn at Birdsboro and in the Medical Department of the University of Pennsylvania, from which he graduated in 1867. Then he traveled through the western states and Canada for over a year, and returning to Berks county, he located at Morgantown for the practice of his chosen profession, where he continued in activity and successful practice for thirty-seven years, traveling throughout the surrounding county districts of Berks, Chester and Lancaster Counties as a conscientious and devoted practitioner, never refusing to respond promptly and willingly to calls for his services howsoever distant the places or whatsoever the condition of the roads and weather.

Dr. Plank took a great and constant interest in all local affairs, whether relating to religion, education, politics, agriculture, horticulture or history. He was a Warden of St. Thomas Protestant Episcopal Church at Morgantown for many years. In politics he was a Democrat. For a number of years until 1893 he had collected numerous fine specimens of minerals from the lower section of the county, and these he arranged and exhibited at the World’s Columbian Exposition at Chicago, and after the Exposition he presented the collection to the Pennsylvania State College. Upon the reorganization of the Historical Society of Berks county, he became a member and was much interested in its welfare. In June, 1909, at his request, the Society visited Morgantown, and on that occasion he read a valuable paper on the first settlements of that vicinity, which is published in the first volume of the proceeding of the Society. This was the first meeting of the kind held by the Society away from Reading and it was much appreciated. Besides taking great interest in cultivation of fruit which he displayed for a number of years at the exhibition of the Berks county Agricultural Society, he started the growth of a black walnut grove on a 20 acre track of hill land a mile north of Morgantown, planting the walnuts himself in 1882 and watching the development of the grove until his death, and from the successful experiment he derived much pleasure.

Doctor Plank was of a fraternal disposition, joining the Berks County Medical Society and several secret organizations, but his predilection was for domestic life and accordingly showed great devotion to his family. He was recognized as a man of noble impulses; thoroughly Christian in character; straightforward, frank and honest in his business relations; and genial, sociable and communicative with his friends and associates.

Dr. Plank was married in 1877 to Ida E. Bertolet, the eldest daughter of Horace and Adeline (Miller) Bertolet. He died on January 3, 1906 in the 63rd year of his age, leaving his wife to survive him and six sons.