GENERAL WILLIAM M. HIGH
In a family of high achievers from earliest Colonial times,
Brigadier General William M. High was one of the family’s
shining stars, and one of the best-known men of Berks in his
He was born January 14, 1786 at the family farm on Poplar Neck.
The eldest of four children, he assumed responsibilities for
his family, at an early age, when his father died in 1795. He
was only nine years old. A year later both grandparents died,
leaving the large family farm to him.
A precocious youngster, his rise was meteoric. While barely
in his early twenties, he was practicing law. He served as County
Commissioner from 1816 to 1819, a member of the State Legislature
in 1832, served as one of five delegates from Berks County to
the Constitutional Convention in 1828, and was associate judge
of Berks County from 1846 to 1851. He was prominently identified
with the State Militia, holding the office of Brigadier General
by election for fifteen years.
He was twice married. His first wife was Catherine Van Reed,
daughter of John Van Reed. His second wife, also named Catherine
Van Reed, was the daughter of Jacob Van Reed of Amity Township.
He had several children, among them Ezra High, who had an outstanding
Indian artifact collection, now owned by the Historical Society
of Berks County. When General High died on March 29, 1851, Ezra
inherited the family farm at Poplar Neck.