December 15, 1904: The Rest of the Story of John C. Zuber, the Disappearing Organist


By Margaret Leidy Harner from her book One Day at a Time: A Social History of Boyertown, PA.

December 15, 1904: The infamous disappearing organist, John C. Zuber, who achieved notoriety with his vanishing acts, keeps making news. This time, he has pled guilty to embezzlement and forgery charges and has been sentenced to two years in the Berks County jail. He is required to pay a $20 fine as well as restore the stolen $1200.

His first disappearance was on March 1, 1890. He soon returned home to his family where he remained until November 23, 1891, when he fled Boyertown with the leading soprano in his church choir, Miss Della Wentzel, again leaving his wife and two children destitute.

Although Della was dragged back to Boyertown by her father, Zuber remained in Reading, where he was arrested on November 28, 1892, at a “bawdy house” on Court Street, charged with adultery after the police discovered the half-dressed Zuber in bed with a female neighbor. The couple was transported to the station house and locked up.

After his release from jail in 1906 for the embezzlement and forgery charges, Zuber remained in Reading until his death in 1932.

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