History of Franklin County, Pennsylvania, 1887

M. A.  Foltz Biography

M.A. Foltz, Chambersburg, is the seventh son of Christian and Hannah Foltz, and was born in Letterkenny Township, Franklin Co., Penn., July 2, 1837. He had no educational advantages other than those afforded by the common schools until sent to Wilkes Barre, Penn., where he obtained a brief academic course.

He returned home in 1854 and after working for one year on the farm entered the office of the Transcript, Chambersburg, in April, 1855. That paper merged into the Repository in December of the same year, in which office Mr. Foltz completed his trade in 1858. He was appointed foreman of that office three months before he was free, and continued as such until April, 1859, when he purchased a half interest in the Times with P.D. Frey.

In the presidential campaign of 1860 the establishment was sold to Messrs. Sellers & Kennedy, his services being retained in the capacity of foreman.

In 1861 he was tendered the foremanship and superintendency of the Messenger office, a position he accepted and held until the burning of Chambersburg. While in this establishment he was pressed into the service of the Confederacy for the printing at Lee' s headquarters during the invasion antedating the battle of Gettysburg in 1863. A year later he was one of the citizens arrested as hostages for the money demand made upon Chambersburg prior to its burning.

In the fall and winter of 1864-65 he was pressman in the Repository office. In the spring of 1865 he formed a second partnership with P.D. Frey, this time engaging in the hat and shoe business. He retired from that occupation a year later, however, and returning to his old employment, embarking in the job printing business in May, 1866, in connection with which he published a monthly advertising sheet, entitled The Country Merchant.

In July, 1869, he started the Public Opinion, of which he is still editor and proprietor. From this it will be seen that he has been identified for over a quarter of a century with the newspaper business of Chambersburg.

His success has been carved with his own hands, for when he entered Chambersburg in 1855, he had nothing to depend on but what he might earn. The enterprise which he established for himself eleven years later has grown into a flourishing one, and was a success from the start. Its views are widely copied and it is influential wherever it circulates. The business and material interests of Franklin County have always found a warm and zealous advocate in M.A. Foltz, through the medium of his paper.

It was for the Opinion to take the initiative in all the recent local railroad enterprises, the erection of the water works in Chambersburg, the reorganization of the Franklin County Agricultural Society, and many other important matters. Of more recent date was its advocacy of the transfer of the Taylor works and Wolf & Hamaker's establishment to Chambersburg. Mr. Foltz has sought to make his journal a distinctively county paper, and, whilst Republican in politics, he has never hesitated to assert his independence when the public welfare seemed to demand it.

He has never held office, though he frequently has represented his party in the county, district, and State conventions, and his paper has done good service for the county organization. He married, November 6, 1860, Charlotte S., second daughter of Samuel and Susan Etter, and granddaughter of Godfrey Greenawalt, a union that was blessed with five children: Helen M. (who died in infancy), William E., Emma M., Herbert C. and Edward G.

Source: Biographical Annals of Franklin County, Pennsylvania : containing genealogical records of representative families, including many of the early settlers, and biographical sketches of prominent citizens; Chicago. Genealogical Pub. Co. 1905. Notes: Prepared in part by George O. Seilhamer.

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