BLOOMING GROVE COLONY

BLOOMING GROVE COLONY

Wendel Harmon

Wendel Harmon appears to have been the banker of the colony. He was a man of intensely exacting and parsimonious temperament. He loaned money to all in whom he had confidence, and exacted ony five percent interest, but got very angry if the borrower failed to meet his obligation on the appointed day. On one occasion two men, one of who had borrowed twenty-five dollars to buy a cow, went to his house when the debt fell due, and found him awaiting them. They had walked seven miles, and it was about noon. Mr.Harmon was seated at the side of a table with a knife in one hand and the "heel" of a rye loaf in the other, "dining". After taking his money he said "he would like to offer them something to eat, but that was all he had".
He claimed that Doctor Haller, at his death, authorized him to take his place as spiritual leader of the colony. The people had settled upon David Young, so that when he and Harmon met in the church they contended for the leadership until it ended by their pulling the Bible out of each other's hands. Harmon disliked Young because he had loaned him money and he had not met the interest when due, and when he demanded both principal and interest, Young collected it all in old copper cents, and took it to Harmon, and poured the debt out of a three bushel bag upon the floor. Harmon said "Abe is that the kind of money you got from me." "No," said Young. "Well then you just take it away as soon as you can possible do it"-which he was required to do.
Harmon's irritable and arbitrary manner in time wore out the patience of the people and they lost their respect for him. In 1840 he sold his property and with his wife (nee Margaret Matter, who had gone blind) he removed to Larry's Creek. He stopped with Joseph Losch (who had married Margaret Heid) and built himself a small log house, with two rooms and a loft, where he lived a year, when he quarreled with Losch. He then went to Michael Klutzenbicher and built another house for himself and wife. Here they lived for two years, when Mrs. Harmon died, after a fall, at the age of 71 years. Harmon then went to live with John Heid, where he died in 1844, at the age of 81 years.
They never had any children of their own, but raised three, who were distantly related to Mrs. Harmon. Mary Heid, who was orphaned at five weeks, went to Harmon's when ten years of age. She married Leonard Shanbacher. Ursula Heid, (sister of Mary) when five years old. She married George Rothfuss. Christina Schanbacher, daughter of Mary Heid Shanbacher, when three yars old, who remained with them as long as they lived, after which she married John Winters. She is yet living, near Eder's Hill, in possession of a wonderfully clear mind and vigorous body.
Harmon and his wife lie buried in a private plot, on the farm of George Heid, near the Freedens Methodist church, not far from Salladasburg. His estate was valued at not less than six thousand dollars, a very large fortune for his day.
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