Oliver Perry Bechtel
O.P. Bechtel was the son of John and Eliza S. (Bieber) Bechtel, born on January 31, 1842, Watsontown, Schuylkill County. He received his education in common schools at Middleport; taught school in Wayne Township, Schuylkill County; later taught in West Brunswick Township for two years; was a student at the Allentown Seminary; and in September 1861, taught in the Arcadian Institute at Orwigsburg. In the fall of 1862 he went to Mahanoy City and assumed charge of the leading school there, conducting it until April 1864, when he pursued a position with the Preston Coal and Improvement Company at Girardville, working as book-keeper and paymaster. In March 1865, he read law in the office of Messrs. Hughes & Dewees at Pottsville, having been three years previously registered as a student in the office of his brother, James B. Bechtel, of Reading. He was admitted to the bar in 1866 and opened a private practice. In 1873, the Democrat was the victorious county caucus choice for state Senate, serving in Harrisburg through 1876. In August, 1877, the Democratic convention gave him a unanimous nomination for the office of judge of the Court of Common Pleas, Bechtel victorious and sworn in on January, 1878. The Senator married Mary Elizabeth Von Epting of Pottsville. He died on September 22, 1919; interred at Charles Baber Cemetery, Pottsville, PA.