William J. Levan
Compliments of Hope Cemetery, Kutztown, Pa.
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(Morning Call, 1/3/1947) William J. “Billy”, Levan, 89, who liked to recall incidents connected with the stagecoach days in this area, and who secured the first elk for the Trexler game preserve, died at the Allentown Hospital at 12:13 a.m. yesterday where he had been confined for nine days with pneumonia. Levan served as chief hostler for the late General Harry C. Trexler and had a career that was as colorful as fiction over the years that covered two distinct ages, the horse and automobile eras, the former period held the most affection for him. Levan often held court at the home of John Sanders, 218 N. 15th st., with whom he resided, and to those who were willing to listen, he told numerous stories of a Lehigh County which are matters of legend for the present generation. Only in recent weeks had Levan’s health failed him to the point where he had missed only two sessions of the Allentown Fair since the fairgrounds have been located at 17th and Chew St’s. and he trekked there last September. His memory was razor-keen and he often referred to the time, before coming to Allentown, 53 years ago, when he operated a livery stable in Kutztown. One of the sidelines of his business was operation of a stagecoach line between Allentown and Kutztown. That was a long trip in those days, carrying mail, freight and passengers, the coach left Kutztown in the morning and returned late that night. Many times Billy took the reins himself, making a switch in horses at Trexlertown. In the early 1890's he quit the stagecoach business when he learned the Allentown and Reading traction Co. was being formed. It was in 1893 that Billy came to Allentown. Two years later General Trexler induced him to take charge of the horses used by the Trexler lumber Co. and gradually, as the General expanded his interests, Billy’s job grew proportionately. He made frequent trips to the West to buy horses and mules for the lumber wagons and those of the Lehigh Portland Cement Co.. When General Trexler ordered Levan to procure some Elk for his game preserve, Billy traveled to Kiota, Iowa, to the firm of Singmaster and Son, ( The same Singmaster family that inhabited Macungie) with whom he had dealt for the purchase of horses. While they said they’d supply the Elk, they would not attempt to crate them for shipment East. After several attempts elsewhere, Billy finally contacted a circus firm in Kansas City which undertook the task and loaded a dozen crated Elk on an express train. Levan traveled in the car with the elk until one of them broke loose. But he got them back to the preserve. Among his most enjoyable times Levan claimed, was when he joined with members of the Road Drivers Club at the fairgrounds to race horses. Born in Kutztown, June 12, 1857, he was the son of Perry and Mary M., nee Esser, Levan. After clerking in a shoe store for several years he gave up the job because it was to confining and turned to his first love, the care of horses as a vocation. His wife, the former Annie Romig, died 17 years ago. His only surviving relatives are several nieces and nephews. Levan was a member of Trinity Reformed church and Allentown Castle 55, Knights of the Golden Eagle. Rev. Clarence Moatz will officiate at services tomorrow at 3 p.m. at the Stephens funeral home, 1335 Linden st. with interment in the Hope cemetery, Kutztown. Friends may call from 7 to 9 p.m. todayw.col
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