CHAPTER XXXIV.

North Whitehall

Township.

 

 

Pages 509 to 536

Including sections on:

                             Early Settlers

                             Indian Troubles

                             Civil Organization

                             Military Organizations

                             Ore Mines and Slate Quarries

                             Roads, Railroads and Bridges

                             Villages

                             Religious History

                             Schools

                  

Plus, Biographical Sketches of the following:

David Laury

Paul Balliet

Samuel A. Brown

Amandes Sieger

Stephen P. Brown


Page 509



The limits of the present township of North Whitehall formerly composed, together with what are now Whitehall and South Whitehall, a township called simply Whitehall, which was created on the 20th of March, 1753, the year following the separation of Northampton County from Bucks. The original township of Whitehall was a part of Northampton County, and received its name from the hunting lodge of Lynford Lardner, Esq., of Philadelphia, which was erected between Cedar and Jordan Creeks, and is supposed to have stood in the vicinity of the present Iron Bridge, in South Whitehall township. Mr. Lardner owned a large area of land in the neighborhood of these streams, and he and his friends were accustomed to come every year to hunt and fish. For their accommodation in these wilds he built, in 1740, a house, which is named on Scull’s map of 1770 “Grouse Hall.” This house was painted white, and from this was derived the name of the new township, Whitehall, formed in 1753.


At the January term, 1810, of the Court of Quarter Sessions of Northampton County, a petition was presented asking for the division of the township of Whitehall. Upon this, George Palmer, C. S., John Lerch, and Michael Snyder were appointed to inquire into the propriety of making the division prayed for, and were empowered to divide the township, if they should think it advisable to do so. At the November…



 

 

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                                    term following, they reported that they had divided the township, which report was read, accepted, and confirmed absolutely, no one making an objection to it. The township was accordingly divided according to their report, and the part lying northward of the division line, which was a straight line passing as nearly as possible from east to west through the centre of the township, was named North Whitehall and the other South Whitehall. The former was also vulgarly known as Ober Wheithall, or Upper Whitehall.


 From the eastern portion of these two townships, along the Lehigh River, a new township was cut on the 31st of October, 1867, which received the original name, Whitehall.

 

As at present limited, the township of North Whitehall lies north and east of the central portion of Lehigh County, and is bounded on the north by Washington township and the Lehigh River, on the west by Washington and Lowhill townships, on the south by Whitehall and South Whitehall townships, and on the east by Whitehall township and the Lehigh River. North Whitehall is about seven by eight miles in width, has an area of twenty-seven and three-fifth miles, and is the second township in the county in point of size. The surface is undulating, and the soil is fertile, and in portions impregnated with valuable deposits of iron ore, limestone, and slate. The main portion of the township is devoted to the pursuit of agriculture, for which it is well adapted.

 

Forests of oak, chestnut, and pine are still standing intact in parts. The surface is drained in the western part by the Jordan Creek, which flows into the Lehigh River at Allentown, and in the northern and eastern portions by Rock, Fell’s, and the picturesque Mill Creeks, all of which discharge into the Lehigh. Rock Creek was so named by John George Helffrich. It was also known as Helffrich’a and as Sand Creek. Formerly, a very deep hole existed at its junction with the Lehigh River, so deep that bottom could not be sounded with a line one hundred feet in length. Fell’s Creek was named after a surveyor of that name, sent to this region about 1830 by the Baltimore Slating Company. It supplies the water-power for Knouse’s mill, now owned and operated by H. F. Beidler, Esq. Laury’s Station is situated at its mouth. Mill Creek winds through the most picturesque valley in the township. On its banks were committed the Indian murders in 1763. The greater portion of its course lies immediately south of the boundary line between North Whitehall and Whitehall townships. Upon Mill and Fell’s Creeks are found beds of the finest roofing slate.


Running south through the centre of the township, and turning east when near the southern boundary line, is the famous Coplay Creek. This name is variously traced. Some derive it from Kolapechka, the name of a Shawanese chief, whose hut stood near Ballietsville; others from Copeechan, a word signifying, in the Lenni Lenape tongue, “that which runs evenly,” or “a fine running stream.” In a deed from Samuel Morris and wife to Adam Romich, executed in 1790, the stream is called “Ingecoppelous.” The creek flows through one of the most fertile and richest regions to be found anywhere. Woodring’s and Romich’s grist- and saw-mills and Knecht’s saw-mill are driven by it.

 

Along the course of Coplay Creek, near Romich’s mill, a portion of the stream formerly disappeared into the ground, and reappeared near Balliet’s mine, distant overland about a mile, as pure spring water.

 

Chaff thrown into the opening did not come out at the exit till after twenty-four hours. It was formerly so full of trout that they could be caught by simply dipping a basket into the water. After the mine was opened it was choked up with the dirt from the washings, and they disappeared.


The Early Settlers, Title to their Lands, their Modes of Living and Characteristics. – The early settlers were Swiss or Germans, with here and there a sprinkling of wanderers from Alsace or Lorraine. Their travels in search of suitable lands made them ascend the Lehigh River, and then its tributaries, which they instinctively knew must flow through fertile and easily-tilled valleys. Thus the course of settlement and colonization spread from the western bank of the river, up the Jordan and Coplay Creeks especially, and later along the smaller streams, such as Mill, Rock, and Sand Creeks, along all of which the new-comers found water and pasturage in abundance. Coplay Creek proved particularly attractive to the tired wanderers, and many dropped their burdens along its green banks. A number settled as early as 1730, at a spot which they called by the old biblical name of Egypta, because of its fertility. From this, as from a centre, the settlements spread, but still principally along Coplay Creek, along the course of which all the most desirable sites were located between 1735 and 1750. Among the pioneers were the families of Steckel, Saeger, Schaadt, Burkhalter, Ruch, Bear, Scheurer, Woodring, Kennel, Balliet, Schlosser, Gross, and Schneck, some of the latter touching upon the settlements already made from the northern parts of the county, along the Blue Mountains. At about the same time the families of Lichtenwallner, Sieger, Seip, Semmel, Kern, and others located along the Jordan, in the western part of what is now North Whitehall, while along Mill Creek George Ringer, Ulrich Flickinger, John Jacob Mickley, Nicholas Marks, John Schneider, and Nicholas Troxell settled upon land, most of which is now included in Whitehall township. The settlements along Rock and Sand Creeks, which were farther north, were made later, principal among the colonists along the former being the Miller, Newhard, and Laury families, and along the later the Yehls and Kuntzes.
Among the oldest settlers was Paulus Balliet, born in Alsace, in the year 1717. He landed in America …



 

 

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   from the ship “Robert Oliver,” Walter Goodman, commander, on the 10th of September, 1738; applied for ninety-seven acres one hundred perches of land, comprising the old Balliet farm, on the 12th of April, 1749, for the surveying of which a warrant was granted 9th October, 1761. Besides the above, he acquired seven hundred and thirteen acres one hundred and thirty-one perches, between 1749 and 1774. On the 10th of April, 1759, he was naturalized, at the age of forty-three years. He married Maria Magdalena Wotring, a native of Lorraine, France, and she died in 1802.

 

After a life of great usefulness and activity, Paulus, on the 19th of March 1777, died at the age of sixty, and was buried in the southeast section of the old burial-ground of Union Church. He is still commonly referred to among the people as “Bowl” Balliet, a name which, according to tradition, he received from the Indians, to whom he was accustomed, as landlord at Ballietsville, to furnish refreshments from a wooden bowl. He left five sons and four daughters, named Jacob, Nicholas,
Stephen, John, Paul, Catharine, Susan, Eva, and Magdalena. Of these, Stephen, born in 1753, was a colonel in the Revolutionary army, and engaged in the battle of Brandywine, in 1777. In1789 he was elected a member of the House of Representatives at Harrisburg, and in 1797 was appointed revenue collector for the Second District of Pennsylvania. He died 4th August, 1721. His wife was Magdalena Burgalter, a daughter of Peter Burgalter, who settled near Egypt about 1740. The descendants of old Paulus Balliet are numerous, and are scattered over the whole country. Among those who are now deceased are Stephen Balliet, Hiram Balliet, and Asa Balliet, Esqs., and prominent among those at present living in North Whitehall are Aaron Balliet, Esq., Paul Balliet, Esq., of Ballietsville; Mr. Horace Balliet, of Ironton; and Dr. Lewis B. Balliet, of Unionville. The name is variously written Balliot, Paulyet, Palliot, Palyard, and Balyard in the old record, but by Paulus himself
either Baliet or Balliet.


Johann Nicholas Saeger came from Reichenbach, Bavaria. He landed at Philadelphia on the 22d of September, 1733, and in the same month took up above five hundred acres of land on Coplay Creek, which land is now owned by Tilghman Weaver, Benjamin Breinig, and Eli J. Saeger, Esq., one of his lineal descendants. His wife, Behesty, a native of the same place, and his five sons accompanied him to the New World. Two of these, named Christian Nicholas and John Nicholas, obtained possession of their father’s land on his death, and remained in North Whitehall, the rest of the boys removing to New York State. Nicholas, the son of John Nicholas, born between 1760 and 1765, was the father of Joseph K. Saeger, Esq., who in his time was prominent in local matters in the township, attaining the rank of general of militia. He died Nov. 14, 1855, at the age of sixty-three. His wife, Mary Magdalena Saeger, a blood relative of his, was born April 17, 1792, and died Aug. 15, 1836. Joseph K. Saeger established the first foundry and machine-shop and put up the first steam-engine in Lehigh County. The machine-shop is now included in the extensive works of Allen, Barber & Collum, at the corner of Third and Walnut Streets, Allentown, Pa. Eli J. Saeger, Esq., president of the National Bank of Catasauqua, is one of Joseph K. Saeger’s sons, and is the present owner of one hundred and eighty-five acres of the original Saeger tract.


Paul Gross, born at Zweibrücken, in Germany, came to America in 1754, and settled upon a tract of land in North Whitehall, in the vicinity of the present village of Schnecksville, which tract has always, wholly or in part, been in the possession of the family. His wife, a Miss Guth, from the same place, accompanied him. He died at the age of forty-six years, leaving a daughter, who was married to Michael Deibert, and a son named Peter. The latter was justice of the peace for forty-five years,
beginning with the year 1812. He was married to Barbara Troxel, and eight children were the result of the union, only one of whom, John Gross, is now alive, residing near Allentown, in Salisbury township, at the advanced age of eighty-three years.

 

Daniel Gross was another of the children, whose sons, Peter Gross, Esq., (president of the Slatington National Bank), Jonathan Gross (of Fogelsville), Rev. Simon K. Gross (of Sellersville, Pa.), and Joel Gross, Esq. (of Allentown), survive him. Peter and Joel Gross are in possession of eighty acres of the original tract, being the old homestead. Peter Gross was married on the 26th of March, 1743, to Mary Rudy, a daughter of Duro Rudy, and has held many offices of public trust in the gift of the township, notably that of justice of the peace for fifteen years, beginning in 1862. In 1876 he married Mrs. Henrietta Price, widow of Samuel Price, Esq. His son, Joseph P. Gross, Esq., is an attorney-at-law in Philadelphia. Of Joel Gross’ sons, Henry D. Gross is at present justice of the peace at Schnecksville, and William C. Gross, Esq., of Philadelphia, and Thomas F. Gross, Esq., of Allentown, are lawyers.


The first of the Siegers, whose Christian name is supposed to have been Melchior, came from Würtemberg, Germany, about 1750, and settled, in company with the Gross and the Guth families, on a tract of land upon which Siegersville stands. He built a log residence on the road leading from Philadelphia to the Blue Mountains, laid out in the time of King George III, in a portion of country well watered, but overgrown in scrub-oak. At his death his son, Samuel, succeeded him in the ownership of the farm. He built the old stone hotel at Siegersville, still standing. The latter died in 1835, at the age of seventy-five, leaving a large family of children, among whom were John, Michael, Peter, and George. John Sieger was a prominent man in the township in his day, …



 

 

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                                                                                                                                                             being elected a justice of the peace. He also had a large tannery, and, in connection with his brother, Michael, did a great deal towards building up Siegersville. He died in 1820, at the early age of thirty-five. Among his sons are James Sieger, of Allentown, Joseph, John, Charles, Reuben, and Samuel; the latter two are deceased. Among the sons of George Sieger are Nathan, Ephraim, and William, all residing at or near Siegersville, and Frank G. Sieger, of Allentown. Lewis, John, and Amandes are sons of Samuel Sieger, and all live at Siegersville, engaged in extensive ore-mining. The last named is at present a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly. Johannes Schaad landed in America from the ship “Queen of Denmark,” George Parrish, commander, on the 4th of October, 1751, and is supposed to have been the first of the family in the township. He came from Hanau, in Prussia, and was accompanied by two sons, named Georg Adam and Johannes, and three daughters, who married into families by the names of Fink, Folk, and Fritzinger, in Heidelberg and Lynn townships. He took out a warrant for one hundred and eighty-five acres of land on Coplay Creek, on the 24th of January, 1754, and on this the family settled.
Georg Adam, the elder son, later took up the land now forming in part Thomas Ruch’s farm, but in time his portion of the family disappeared, going West. From the second son, Johannes, are descended all of the family at present residing in the township. His son, Johannes, is the father of Moses B. and Tilghman Schaadt, of Allentown. Another son, Lorenz, who died Oct. 4, 1855, at the age of sixty-four, left Reuben Schad, of Greenville, Mercer Co., Pa.; David Schaadt, of Allentown; Charles Schadt, of Philadelphia, and other children. From Henry are descended William Schadt, of Indiana; Monroe Schadt, of South Whitehall township; and John J. Schadt, of Allentown; while Abraham Schadt, the youngest son, was the father of Owen Schadt, of Ruchsville, Pa., whose son, Milton E. Schadt, Esq., is an attorney-at-law in Allentown; and of Thomas Schadt, residing on a large farm near Coplay, formerly the Deshler farm.


George Ruch came from Alsace, but when or upon how much land he located cannot be distinctly told. He was born in 1664, and died at the age of one hundred and five years. The land he settled upon descended, on his death, to his son, Lawrence Ruch, born on the 14th of November, 1744, who added to it until at his death he was the owner of two hundred and twelve acres, part of which was the estate called Westminster (containing ninety-two acres), for which he received a warrant on the
22d of April, 1773. All of these lands lay in the neighborhood of where Ruchsville now is. He died on the 27th of October, 1825, aged eighty-two years less nine days. He was strong and courageous, and was a prominent man in the community, and his favorite expression of “Jetzt hundert” is still remembered. He married a Miss Knouse, and left two sons, – Christian, who removed to New York, and Peter, who was born on the 28th of February, 1799, and who succeeded to the possession of his father’s land. For many years he kept the hotel at Ruchsville, and was a man widely known in the community. He held many positions of public trust, and was a leading spirit in militia organizations, in which he held different ranks, from captain to that of brigadier-general of volunteers, being appointed to the latter in 1821. During the war of 1812 he commanded the Whitehall Troop, which for a while was in active service in the second war with Great Britain. Gen. Ruch died on the 19th of November, 1838, aged fifty-nine years. He married, on the 13th of March, 1801, Susanna Schreiber, with whom he lived in holy wedlock for thirty-seven years. Of their children three are still living in the township, – William, David, and Maj. Thomas Ruch.


Johann Michael Watering (now often written Wotring or Woodring, and is derived from the French Voidwrain “one who attends to horses”) came from Lothringen (Lorraine), and located on a tract of two hundred acres, near Sand Spring, about 1740. He built the first grist-mill in that vicinity. He left two sons, named Michael and Samuel, of whom the latter built, in 1773, the mill since known as Woodring’s mill, of logs, which were contributed, ready for use, by the neighbors. The old mill is still
standing, and was in 1837, converted into a dwelling-house, now occupied by Jacob Woodring, being superseded by the present mill of stone constructed in 1834. Samuel also built the first saw-mill on Coplay creek. He left three sons, – John, Michael, and Samuel. His brother, Michael, died in 1862, at the age of eighty-four. Of his children, three are still living in the township D. K. Wotring, of Unionville, Jacob and Eli Woodrings.


Christopher Bear came from Germany, and between 1743 and 1754 took out warrants for six tracts of land along Coplay Creek, amounting altogether to four hundred and fifty-six acres one hundred and twenty-eight perches, for which he received a deed from the proprietaries on the 9th of October, 1756. He conveyed all his lands to his sons, Melchior and John, in 1781. The former died about 1792, leaving a widow, Julianna, and four children, named Henry, Catharine, Susanna, and Magdalena, of
whom the first named received most of the land. Of the children of Henry, who married Susanna Herman, Adam Bear is still living on a portion of the original tract.


The first of the numerous family of Kennels (or Kendalls, as they are styled in old deeds) was Joseph Kennel, who is named as the grantee in a deed, dated Nov. 2, 1757, for one hundred and forty acres one hundred and fourteen perches, “near Macungy, in the county of Bucks, now Whitehall township, in the county of Northampton,” from Peter Kocher, who obtained a warrant for it on the 8th of November, 1745. This land Joseph Kennel conveyed on the …



 

 

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                                                                                                             7th of June 1766, to his sons, Dewalt and Jacob Kennel. Of Joseph Kennel nothing can now be exactly told. Theobald, or Dewalt, as he is above
called, was born in Europe, on the 11th of January, 1737, and came to America at the age of fourteen with his father, Joseph. He was naturalized on the 12th of October, 1765, and died Nov. 26, 1808. He was twice married: first to Maria Hoffman, with whom he had four sons, Peter, Johannes, Lorenz, and Michael; and afterwards to Eliza Erdman, with whom he also had four sons, Dewald, Jacob, Daniel, and Conrad. Theobald added greatly to the possessions he received from his father, Joseph, and the greater portion of his land, including the original tract, passed into the hands of his son, Jacob, and is now owned by his son, Eli. Within the limits of the township there reside at present of
the Kennel family Eli, Hilarius, and David Kennel.


George Christian Jacob, born on the 25th of December, 1745, came to America from Würtemberg, Germany, in 1764, and settled upon ninety-seven acres and one hundred and thirty-eight perches of land upon the Coplay Creek, which he bought from Lewis Bishel, about 1778, for twenty pounds.
He died in 1822. He was married to Eva Guth, and had three children, Abraham, Hannah, and Susan. The first named, who was born June 29, 1775, inherited the land, upon which he lived till his death, on the 8th of February, 1857, at the age of eighty-one years. He was married to Elizabeth Peters in 1804, and had eleven children, of whom Aaron lives at Allentown, and Abraham and his sister, Catharine, live upon the old place.


Adam Romich, a resident of Saucon township, Lehigh Co., Pa., bought, in 1790, a farm of one hundred and twenty-six acres on the banks of Coplay Creek, where he built a saw-mill, still standing, and afterwards a grist-mill, which was later torn away, and replaced, in 1826, with the present mill of stone. Both mills have always been known as Romich’s mill. Adam Romich did not move here, but his son, Peter, came here in 1790, and lived here till his death, in August, 1844, at the age of fifty-seven years. He was married to Hannah Jacob, and his son, John Romich, is now living on the old place, at the advanced age of seventy-three years.


The Graff family is descended from Jacob Graff, who emigrated in 1760 with his son, Martin, from Alsace. The latter was born in that province in 1748, and consequently was twelve years of age on his arrival in this country. He received a patent from the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania on the 28th of February, 1783, for a tract of one hundred and six acres in North Whitehall, called Grafton, and another for forty-eight acres one hundred and eighteen perches on the 13th of March
following. He died in 1835, aged eighty-seven years. Of his descendants, Peter Graff is now living upon a portion of the old tract.


Martin Semmel came from Frankfort-on-the-Main, and was married to Margaret Heiner, from the same place. He located about one hundred acres on the Jordan, a mile above Kernsville. He had three sons, named George, John, and Tobias, all of whom settled in the neighborhood. His lands descended to Tobias, who was married to a Miss Wolf, and whose sons were Michael, Tobias, Martin, George, and John, of whom Michael received sixty-six acres, and John the remainder of the original tract. Of the other sons, Tobias was born on the 22d of February, 1786, and died on the 5th of July, 1847, aged sixty-one years, and was married to Anna Maria Klotz. The descendants of the family are numerous, and among those living in the township are Josiah, Reuben (the constable), Benjamin, Francis, Oliver, Henry, and Dennis Semmel.


Michael Laury was born in Scotland, and with his wife, Barbara, a native of Würtemberg, Germany, emigrated in 1755, and while in Philadelphia, his son, Godfried, was born on the 22d of November in that year. Michael settled on a tract of land on Fell’s Creek, on which Knouse’s mill, now owned by H. F. Beidler, Esq., stands. At the age of sixty, feeling lonely because all of his sons had joined the Revolutionary army and left him at home alone, he also became a soldier under Washington. He was killed in an engagement near Mount Bethel, N. J., where he lies buried. Godfried Laury, his son, was also a soldier in the Revolutionary army. He died on the 27th of June, 1824, aged sixty-nine years. He
married Susanna Rockel on the 4th of April, 1781, and lived with her in wedlock for forty-three years. She was born on the 7th of June, 1757, and died Nov. 9, 1829, aged seventy-two years. Their son, Johannes Laury, was born on the 12th of September, 1784, and on his father’s death inherited the old tract on Fell’s Creek. He was married to Maria Magdalene Kuhns in 1804, and with her lived in matrimony for thirty-one years, rearing eleven children. He died on the 25th of April, 1836, aged fifty-two years. Of their children, the oldest, David Laury, born on the 1st of June, 1805, became the most prominent in township and county affairs. He was married on the 12th of August, 1827, to Maria Kline, and died on the 28th of September, 1883. He was identified with every movement looking towards the development and improvement of the village named after him, and spent the whole of an active and useful life in advancing the welfare of his fellow-men. For many years he was the landlord and storekeeper at Laury’s, and was the postmaster from 1853 to the end of his life, with the exception on one year (1864), when he was causelessly removed, only to be implored again to accept the office the following year. In 1855 he was appointed express, freight, ticket, and station agent for the Lehigh Valley Railroad at Laury’s, which duties he faithfully …



 

 

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                                                                                                                                                performed to the time of his death, when he was the oldest official in the service of the company. He held military commissions, from captain of the North Whitehall Rifle Rangers to major-general of volunteers. In
1850-53, he was elected to the House of Representatives of Pennsylvania; in 1865, a justice of the peace; in 1858, associate judge of the courts of Lehigh County; and, in 1873, re-elected to the same position. In 1844 he was foremost in having the common-school system adopted in the township. He always took a lively interest in religious matters, assisting, in 1838, in establishing the first Sunday-school outside of Allentown. In 1872 he was one of the building committee of St. John’s Church, near Laury’s. He was called to discharge many responsible trusts, and in every one proved faithful to the letter, and his influence upon all public affairs was undoubted. His son, A. C. P. Laury, Esq., now resides upon a portion of the old farm, and has succeeded to many of the positions of trust formerly held by his father.


The first of the Scheurers about whom anything definite can be told is Adam Scheurer, who occupied a farm of four hundred acres (upon part of which Ironton now stands), all of which he acquired though his individual industry. He was a teamster in the Revolutionary army, and after the conclusion of the war of independence he erected several looms for weaving at this house, now occupied as a hotel by Joseph Kocher, at Ironton, which he erected in 1773. The first discovery of iron ore was made upon his lands. The ore was exchanged by him for iron at the Hamburg Furnace, and the iron was manufactured into nails by hand at a smithy which he opened, and at which a number of men were employed by him. He died in 1806, aged seventy-eight. He married Anna Eliza Hertzog,
and left thirteen children, of whom one son, named Jonas, is still living at the advanced age of eighty-eight years with his son-in-law, David Hausman, near Ballietsville. The rest of his sons, named Adam, John, Peter, Daniel, and George, are all deceased. The last named was for a time justice of the peace in North Whitehall. Of the sons of John Jacob Scheirer, James and Reuben are living near Ironton.


The Frantz family derives its origin from Anthony Frantz, who located on the Antalaunee Creek, near the Blue Mountains, and who with his brother, a soldier in the French and Indian war, was killed by the savages. Immediately after that war his son, Jacob, being told that there was better land farther south, where there was less danger from the Indians, took up four hundred acres of land below Unionville, about three-quarters of a mile below which village he erected a hotel and store building and distillery, and here he lived until his death, in 1826, at the age of eighty-four, when his lands passed into strangers’ hands. Two of his sons, John George and Henry Anthony Frantz, purchased a farm on Mill Creek in 1801, formerly owned by Hans Schneider, and later by G. Reinch. John George was born June 13, 1775, was married for forty-eight years to Catharine Kuhns, with whom he had ten children, and died June 8, 1848. Another son, Jacob, removed from the township, and John, the youngest, died in the neighborhood of his father’s farm. Lewis Frantz, a grandchild of George, is living in North Whitehall, while of the sons of Henry Anthony Frantz, William, Abraham, Henry, and Daniel reside on farms in the township.


Sebastian Miller came from Germany, and, after a residence for some time in Montgomery County, Pa., located with his son, Jacob, on a tract of land called Mount Nebo, comprising one hundred and fifty-five and one-half acres, situated on the Lehigh River, above Laury’s Station, for which he obtained a warrant on the 25th of October, 1749. This he granted by will to his son, Jacob, above named, who acquired in addition three hundred and seventeen and one-half acres adjoining the Mount Nebo tract, in three parcels, - one of forty-five acres, by deed-patent from the province on the 18th of February, 1768; the second, on one hundred and fifty-three and one-half acres, by patent under date of May 31, 1784; and the third, of one hundred and nineteen acres, by patent dated May 18, 1784. He also located other tracts about the year 1758, which passed into the ownership of strangers. He was a teamster in the Revolutionary army. His relations with the Indians, who had an
encampment on his land, were of the most friendly nature. He was in the habit of presenting them with milk, in return for which they were accustomed to assist in herding his cattle. At the time of the Indian disturbance, in 1763, he, with the rest of his neighbors fled, with his family and effects, to Deshler’s fort for safety, but returned almost immediately, upon receiving assurances from his savage friends of their kindly disposition towards him. They helped to return him and his household to the farm, and for a time he was the one white man who dared to dwell in the neighborhood. When the Indians finally withdrew from this region they took their last dinner with him before departing.
During his residence in Montgomery County he was married to Elizabeth Miller, a native of Germany. He died about 1810, at an advanced age, and was buried at Egypt. He had but one brother, named Sebastian, who lived and died a bachelor with the first Sebastian. Jacob Miller left four sons, named Jacob (who moved to Susquehanna County, Pa.), Sebastian, Peter, and John. Of these, Sebastian received the first-mentioned tract of one hundred and fifty-five and one-half acres (now owned by Joel Peter), while to Peter and John he conveyed the three hundred and seventeen and one-half acres by deed on the 26th of May, 1798, reserving for himself a life estate. The land was well overgrown along the Lehigh River with a fine forest of poplar-trees. The entire farm is still in the possession of his de-…



 

 

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                                    scendants or their near relatives by marriage. Portions of the farm are
at present owned by Samuel Miller, of North Whitehall, and by William and Jacob Miller, of Allentown, Pa., the latter of whom owns the original homestead.


The first of the Newhards is supposed to have been Michael, who took out warrants for about two hundred and fifty acres of land along the Lehigh, in the vicinity of Laury’s Station, between 1738 and 1765. It descended to his sons, Frederick and Peter Newhard, or Nyhard, as the name is occasionally found written, who had purchased from their father forty-three acres one hundred and three perches on the 18th of January, 1768, and one hundred and sixty acres one hundred and twenty perches on
the 8th of January, 1770, and also bought a tract of fifty-five acres thirty-five perches from Jacob Miller, on the 8th of January, 1770. Peter Nyhard besides located a tract called “Fairfield.” of eighteen
acres sixty-six perches, on the 16th of November, 1786. Portions of these lands are held at present by Owen, Joseph, and Alfred J. Newhard, who are descendants from them.


Adam Schneck is known to have taken out warrants for land in the vicinity of Schnecksville in 1766. And is supposed to have been the founder of the family, and to have come from Würtemberg, Germany. The descendants of the family residing in the township are numerous, and prominent among them are John B. Schneck, who has a portion of the original tract, Joseph Schneck, and Nathan Schneck.


Of Leonard Schluzer, who is supposed to be founder of the Schlosser family, and to have settled in North Whitehall about 1749, tradition says that he was the owner of large tracts of land, extending in a belt from the Lehigh River to Unionville. His son Jacob had three sons, named Stephen, Jonas, and John. The latter two removed from the State, and Stephen, who was born on the 30th of January, 1813, came into the possession of a part of the original tract. He died on the 14th of January, 1881. He was married to Eliza Jacob, and his sons living are Henry and John Frank (the marble-cutter), of Unionville; Benjamin and Orville, of Allentown, Pa.


Along Jordan Creek, John Lichtenwalner obtained a warrant for three hundred acres in 1738, a portion of which is in North Whitehall, owned by Henry Geiger. Hans Ulrich Ahlner located one hundred and five acres one hundred and thirty-eight perches on the 27th of February, 1744. Philip Diel took out warrants on the 18th of April, 1753, and the 20th of August, 1854, for two hundred and seventy-six acres; and Felix Arner obtained warrants on the 18th of October, 1752, for forty-three acres, on the 20th of August, 1765, for seventy-nine acres, on the 28th of January, 1771, for twenty-nine acres fifty-five perches, and on the 14th of September, 1772, for thirty-nine acres one hundred and twenty-nine perches. These families have disappeared from the township, and of the last named only it is known from his tombstone at Union Church that he was born October, 1726, and died in 1776. Large tracts of land were also located in the vicinity of Ironton by John Nicolaus Hertzog, who lived near the present site of Brown’s ore-beds. His family have also disappeared from the township.


Among the early settlers were also Peter Burkholder, who, in 1754, applied for a tract of land, a part of which lay in what is now North Whitehall; Jacob Seager, who in December, 1796, received a patent deed for a small tract; Nicholas Marks, who obtained a patent or two hundred and one acres on the 23d of February, 1773, and another for seventy-two and one-half acres on the 4th of May, 1773, which land lies on both sides of the present boundary line of North Whitehall and of Whitehall
townships; Jacob Mickley, whose tract of thirty-eight acres also lies on both sides of the line, and John Snyder, whose title afterwards vested in Nicholas Allemang. The Troxells also early located a tract of fifteen hundred acres in the neighborhood of Egypt, a portion of which now lies in North Whitehall.

 

The assessment-lists for 1781 disclose the names of the following as real-estate owners in that year in the township:


Michael Bruch.                                Peter Neuhard.
Stephen Balliet.                               Frederick Neuhard.
John Balliet.                                     Lawrence Neuhard.
Paul Balliet.                                      Peter Neuhard.
Henry Berger.                                  Lawrence Ruch.
Jacob Berger.                                    Michael Ringer, Jr.
Christopher Blank.                         Nicholas Seager.
Henry Bear.                                      Nicholas Seager, Jr.
Philip Deel.                                      Samuel Seager.
Peter Draxel.                                    Christian Seager.
Daniel Draxel.                                 Peter Steckle.
Nicholas Draxel.                             Jacob Steckle.
Adam Draxel.                                  John Shad.
Jacob Frantz.                                   Adam Serfass.
Jacob Flickinger.                             Stephen Snyder.
George Flickinger.                          Widow Snyder.
Martin Graff.                                   Michael Snyder.
Lawrence Good.                             Daniel Snyder.
Paul Gross.                                       Conrad Seip.
Widow Houser.                               William Seip.
Jacob Harmon.                                Adam Sheurer.
John Hoffman.                                Peter Snack.
Barthol Hoffman.                           Henry Sneck.
Peter Hoffman.                               Yost G. Sneck.
George Hoffman.                           Martin Samel.
Henry Heffelfinger.                       George Samel.
Andrew Jeal.                                    Jacob Sander.
Jacob Kohler.                                   Adam Sander.
Peter Kohler.                                    John Sander.
Theobald Kennel.                           Widow Siegfried.
Henry Koon.                                    Andrew Siegfried.
Gottfrey Laury.                               Samuel Woodrings.
Conrad Leysering.                          Nicholas Woodrings.
Peter Meyer.                                    Jacob Wolf.
Jacob Miller.                                    Philip Knappenberger.
Sebastian Miller.                             John Mosser.

Adam Miller.



An account of the steps by which the early settlers obtained the right, title, and possession of these lands, all of which originally belonged to the Delaware or Lenni Lenape Indians, may not be uninteresting.



 

 

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                                    Having cast about for any unoccupied land that pleased his fancy, the colonist made application to the rulers of the province of Pennsylvania for a warrant for the survey of the land selected, paying at the same time of certain per cent of the purchase money down. The prices of the land varied at different times. Thus, between the years 1744 and 1758 the price per hundred acres was fifteen pounds ten shillings, or forth-one dollars and thirty-three cents, or four dollars and thirteen cents per acres. About 1762 and 1763, the time of the Indian troubles, the price sank to nine pounds, or twenty–four dollars, and in 1765 it rose to its former price of fifteen pounds ten shillings, at which figure it remained for but a short time. The value fell again to five pounds sterling, or twenty-two dollars and twenty-two cents, in July, 1765, at which price it was sold till after the close of the Revolutionary war and the return of peace, in 1784.


After taking out the warrant the settler had a presumptive title to the land, which he secured by paying a portion of the purchase money down as already stated. The warrant in reality was only an instrument giving the surveyor-general of the province authority to survey a tract of land
corresponding in quantity to what was asked for in the settler’s application. The survey was then made, generally a few months after the issuing of the warrant, and a return made to the land office, with a draft attached. Then, at the convenience of the colonists, sometimes not for many years after the first steps were taken, the settler paid the balance of the purchase money, and received from the proprietaries of the province a deed-patent for the land surveyed for him. The full title to their lands was thus often not secured by the early settlers till after the lapse of twenty or twenty-five years, or even more, from the time when they first settled. For example, the land of Nicholas Seager, who took out a warrant for two hundred and fifty acres on Coplay Creek on the 28th of October, 1737, was not surveyed till the 14th of November following; and he did not ask for or obtain his deed for the same till the 6th of April, 1762. So with the second tract of forty-three and one-half acres, for which he applied on the 24th of January, 1739. This was not surveyed till the 8th of May in that year, and a deed for it was not received by him till the 6th of April, 1762. Thus it will be seen that Seager was in the full enjoyment of the first tract twenty-five acres, and the second twenty-three years, before the title fully vested in him. This was the general practice of the early settlers, some of whom in fact never received a deed for the lands for which they had taken out warrants, selling their title to the warrants, so that often the deeds were made to their venders. This seeming looseness was permitted by the proprietaries for the greater encouragement of colonization.


It may be of interest also to know what was the form of the patent deeds which the proprietaries of the province of Pennsylvania granted to the early settlers in pursuance of surveys made under these warrants, and we accordingly subjoin a copy of one in possession of Dr. Lewis B. Balliet. It reads as follows:

 

THOMAS PENN AND RICHARD PENN, Esqrs., True and absolute Proprietaries and Governors in Chief of the Province of Pennsylvania and Countries of New Castle, Kent and Sussex upon Delaware.


“To all unto whom these Presents shall come, Greeting: WHEREAS in Consequence of the application of Paul Polyard, dated the Twelfth day of April, 1749. For 97-100/160 acres of land in Whitehall Township, Northampton County, a survey hath been made of the Tract of Land hereinafter mentioned and intended to be hereby granted. AND WHEREAS, in pursuance of a warrant, dated the Ninth day of October, 1759, requiring our Surveyor General to accept the said survey into his office, and make return thereof into our Secretary’s Office, in Order for Confirmation to
the said Paul Polyard, on the terms in the same warrant mentioned, he hath accordingly made Return thereof, thereby certifying the Description, Bounds and Limits, of the land as aforesaid, surveyed to be as follows, viz: Beginning at a small marked Chestnut Oak, thence by vacant land North thirty-vive Degrees, West one hundred and forty perches to a post, South seventy degrees, west eighty perches to a post, and South one hundred and forty-four perches and a half to a post, thence by land of Caspar Wistar, North seventy degrees, East one hundred and sixty-five perches to the place of beginning, containing Ninety-seven Acres and One hundred Perches, and the usual allowance of Six per cent, for Roads and Highways.


Now at the instance and request of the said Paul Polyard that we would be pleased to grant him a Confirmation of the same. Know Ye, that in consideration of the sum of Six Pounds and Two Shillings, Sterling money of Great Britain and lawful money of Pennsylvania, to our Use, paid by the Said Paul Polyard, (the Receipt whereof we hereby acknowledge and thereof do acquit and forever discharge the said Paul Polyard, his Heirs and Assigns, by these Presents) and of the yearly Quit Rent hereinafter mentioned and reserved, We Have given, granted, released and confirmed and by these Presents, for us, our Heirs and Successors, Do give, grant,
release and confirm, unto the said Paul Polyard, his heirs and assigns, the said Ninety-seven Acres of Land, as the same are now set forth, bounded and limited as aforesaid: With all Mines, Minerals, Quarries, Meadows, Marshes, Savannahs, Swamps, Cripples, Woods, Underwoods, Timber, and Trees, Ways, Waters, Water-courses, Liberties, Profits, Commodities, Advantages, Hereditaments and Appurtenances whatsoever, thereunto belonging or in any wise appertaining and lying within the Bounds and Limits aforesaid (Three full and clear fifth Parts of all
Royal Mines free from all Deductions and Reprisals for digging and refining the same: and also one-fifth Part of the Ore of all other Mines, delivered at the Pit’s mouth only excepted, and hereby reserved) and also free Leave, Right, and Liberty, to and for the said Paul Polyard, his Heirs and Assigns, to hawk, hunt, fish, and fowl, in and upon the hereby granted Land and Premises, or upon any Part thereof:

 

“To Have and to Hold the said above-described Tract of Land and Premises hereby granted (except as before excepted), with their Appurtenances unto the said Paul Polyard, his Heirs and Assigns, forever, To the only use and behoof of the said Paul Polyard, His Heirs and Assigns forever; To be Holden of us, our Heirs and Successors, Proprietaries of Pennsylvania, as of our Manor of Fermor, in the County of Northampton aforesaid, in free and common Socage, by Fealty, in lieu of all other
Services, Yielding and Paying therefore yearly unto Us, our Heirs and Successors, at the town of Easton, in the said County, at or upon the first Day of March in every year, from the first day of March last, One half-Penny Sterling for every Acres of the same, or Value thereof in Coin current, according as the Exchange shall then be between our said Province and City of London, to such Person or Persons as shall from Time to Time be appointed to receive the same. And in case of Non-payment thereof within ninety Days next after the Same shall become due, that then it shall and may be lawful for us, our Heirs, and Successors, our and their Receiver or Receivers, into and upon the hereby granted Land and Premises to re-enter, and the same to hold and Possess until the said Quit-Rent and all the Arrears thereof, together with the charges accruing by Means of such Non-payment and Re-entry, be
fully paid and discharged.


“Witness, James Hamilton, Esquire, Lieutenant-Governor of the said Province, who, by Virtue of certain Powers and Authorities to him for this Purpose, inter alia, granted by the said Proprietaries, hath hereunto set his Hand, and caused the Great Seal of the said Province to be here-



 

 

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               unto affixed, at Philadelphia, this Seventh Day of September, in the year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty-one, the First Year of the Reign of King George the Third, over Great Britain, &c, and the Forty-fourth year of the said Proprietaries’ Government.

“JAMES HAMILTON.”

 

After thus obtaining possession, the early settlers devoted themselves with might and main to the clearing of the land, so as to make it suitable for agriculture. In 1773 there were in the entire township of Whitehall (that is, the region now included in the three Whitehalls) six thousand and seventy acres of cleared land, of which twelve hundred and twenty-three acres were covered with grain, which was sown by the one hundred and seventeen farmers then in the township. Of other trades and occupations, there were at the same time three landlords, one weaver, two smiths, and one tailor, while the poor numbered seven. Laborers received from ten to twelve cents a day; houses were rented from four to eight dollars a year, which included fuel and the use of several acres of land. Taxes were light: a farm of two hundred acres paid from eighty cents to one dollar and a half. Between 1790 and 1800 a tract of land containing eighty acres, with a saw-mill, grist-mill, and other
improvements, paid nine dollars tax.

 

The first duty which occupied the early settlers was the clearing of a space sufficiently large for a dwelling-house and garden. Their houses were built of logs, and interstices between which were filled up with saplings, and sometimes roughly plastered with mud. At first the bare ground, trodden down hard, served as a floor, but later rough boards were laid. The roof was thatched with straw, and in the course of time covered with boards and shingles. The houses were one story and a half in height, and the same model was observed by all in the method of their construction. On the ground-floor there were two rooms, – a larger, used as a kitchen, dining-room, and for general family purposes; the other smaller, and occupied as a bedroom. The latter opened into a still smaller room, called the “kammer,” which was without a window, and was used by the head of the family and his spouse as a bedroom. In the kitchen there was a huge fireplace, generally in the partition-wall between the two lower rooms, and a large chimney reared itself from the middle of the roof.


Of the right hand a bake-oven was inserted into the fireplace and chimney, and in the loft over the oven there was a smoke-house for drying meat. Later, mall-stoves were used, which were square boxes of rough cast iron, without a cover, inserted into the wall. The loft was all one room, and was used by the children as a bedroom, and for storing grain and flax. Small windows, with four panes of glass, were let into the walls, and heavy plank doors guarded from external assault. In the loft there were also loopholes, from which to repel the attacks of hostile savages. The furniture was simple, and roughly made out of logs. It generally consisted of a heavy board for a table, and several rude
benches and bedsteads.

 

They next began constructing barns and out-buildings, at the same time clearing more land. Thrashing floors were of mud, leveled and beaten down hard. Upon the new land the farmers raised wheat for the first and second crop, and afterwards rye and buckwheat, and, after 1780, Indian corn. Upon a whole farm, in the early days, no more of these grains was raised than is now produced by a single field. The rye and buckwheat were used for bread, wheat being the only commodity passing current as money. The wheat was carefully garnered and ground into flour, – not for the use of the farmer and his family, but to be sold. Flax was also raised, but only in such quantity as was needed for clothing, for which purpose flax and wool were the only materials used.

 

It may well be imagined that it required men of great bodily strength to engage in a contest with nature such as the early settlers undertook, and tales of the strength and endurance of the North Whitehall settlers are told to this day. Their lives were simple and well regulated; their food was corn-mush, game, and fish. The richer farmers treated themselves of a Sunday to pies made of bread-crust and beef. The Coplay and the other creeks abounded in trout, and shoals of shad ascended the Lehigh River every spring. These were caught by parties who erected what were called shad-bounds, the idea of which was received from the Indian. In the centre of the stream, some distance above a fall, a large circle, not entirely closed, was made with stones, rising above the surface of the water. From the broken ends of the circle, wing-walls of stone extended to both banks of the river, thus effectually preventing the return of the fish down stream. The party of fishermen then went some distance up the river, and with twigs and branches frightened the shad into swimming into the circle, many of which weighed ten pounds. Some of these Indian bounds were standing as late as 1825. The clothing used by the early settlers was mainly of flax, which was woven by the women and the younger sons of the family. Children went barefooted, and when grown up were presented with a pair of cowhide shoes or boots. Later a pair of these was given each fall. Agriculture was a rude affair, and farming implements were of the simplest description. Plows were made of wood, the point of the share being tipped with iron; hoes and forks were clumsily made and heavy out of all proportion.


The early settlers were neighborly and kind, honest and simple in disposition. They were always ready to extend a helping hand to a neighbor in distress. Their accounts with each other they kept in chalk upon the smoke-browned rafters. They required no bonds of each other when loaning money, and when…



 

 

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                        …promissory notes were first introduced to their unsophisticated minds, they had great difficulty in determining whether the borrower or the lender should hold the security.


Not all the land was at first taken by farmers and improved. Large tracts were also applied for by speculators, who held them for a time only for the purpose of realizing a profit on their sale. One of the principal of these was Samuel Morris, of Philadelphia, who owned a large estate in the neighborhood of Romich’s mill. He stationed a watchman by the name of John Henry upon his land, to prevent depredations upon the wood. John was fond of his toddy, and the neighbors were accustomed to humor this weakness of his to such an extent that he would forget his duty and assist them in carting away the wood he was appointed to guard. He is still remembered by the name of “Elsenhaus,” which he received because of his so doing. Another famous land speculator was Nicholas Kraemer, who flourished between 1800 and 1817. He was entirely uneducated, but his skill and aptness in buying and selling the land still fills those who dealt with him with admiration, and he will long be remembered under the quaint title of the “land merchant,” which the people gave him.


In 1752, when Northampton County was formed, the upper part of what is now Lehigh County, comprising at present the townships of Lynn, Weissenberg, Heidelberg, Lowhill, and the three Whitehalls, contained about eight hundred people. In 1810 the population of the district which is now North Whitehall, South Whitehall, and Whitehall contained thirteen hundred and thirty-eight white males and twelve hundred and fifty-one white females, or a total of two thousand five hundred and eighty-nine people. In 1820 the population of North Whitehall was eighteen hundred and seven; in 1830, two thousand and fourteen; and in 1840, two thousand three hundred and twenty-four. The census of 1870 showed a population of four thousand one hundred and seventy persons, and at present it is above five thousand. North Whitehall has at present
a cultivated acreage of twenty-one thousand one hundred and twenty acres.


The Aborigines – Indian Troubles – The Massacre of 1763. – The valleys through which the Coplay, Fell’s, and Mill Creeks flow were favorite hunting-and camping-grounds of the Delaware and Shawanese Indians. Kolapechka, a chief of the latter tribe, and the son of Paxanosa, also a
chief, dwelt on the banks of Sand Spring, one of the tributaries of Coplay Creek, near Ballietsville, on land now owned by Joseph Balliet. He was a good man, and was frequently employed by the government as a messenger. The remains of the foundation walls of his hut are still pointed out. There were Indian villages on Laurence Troxell’s (now Jeremiah Ritter’s) land, on land now owned by James Scheurer, and upon that of Hilarius Kernell and the Woodrings, near Schnecksville. Another encampment was located on land now owned by Jerry Kuhns, and the spring flowing by the spot is yet known as Indian Spring. At the mouth of Rock Creek there was also a village, and at the same point there was a fording-place used by the Indians in crossing the Lehigh River. Some
distance farther down the stream were rapids, which were known by the name of the Indian Falls until they were flooded by the erection of Kuntz’s dam, two miles above Laury’s. There were burial grounds on land now owned by Tilghman Schneck and beyond Unionville. Near Romich’s mill there is a field on the side of the hill, well exposed to the sun, upon which the savages raised Indian corn. In the neighborhood of these places there are still found stone arrow-heads, aces, tomahawks, hoes,
etc., in abundance. Traces of Indian paths are still visible in the vicinity of Sand Spring, and from Siegfried’s bridge to Egypt, thence to the Blue Mountains, near the Bake Oven Knob. The latter runs due east and west, and its course is still plain from the cleared space where there are woods. At the upper end of the village of Whitehall, in Whitehall township, about a quarter of a mile north of the bridge at Siegfried’s, the Indians were accustomed to cross the Lehigh River. On the Northampton County side of the river numerous skeletons, beads, tomahawks, etc., were discovered in digging the road-bed on the Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad, about fourteen years ago. Numerous Indian paths branched out on this side of the river from this fording-place, one of which, leading along Mill creek, was taken by the Indians on their murderous journey in October, 1763.


The relations of the early German settlers were peaceful and friendly with the Indians. The latter plaited baskets for their white neighbors, and received in return the necessaries of life, while the children of both played and grew up with each other. After the defeat of Braddock in 1753, the murderous instincts of the savages were aroused, and the settlers were constantly disturbed. It was a customary thing for the former, rifle in hand, to ascend some high point near his house before
retiring, and look for blazing cottages. In 1758 peace was made and kept unbroken till 1763, when Indian fury again broke out.


On the 8th of October, 1763, – a clear, delightful fall day, – a band of twelve Indians crossed the Lehigh River at the spot where Whitehall now stands, fresh from an attack upon the whites in Allen township, Northampton Co., and proceeded along Mill creek to the farm of John Jacob Mickley, three of whose children they met in the woods gathering chestnuts, and immediately murdered two of them. They then proceeded to the house of Nicholas Marks and Hans Schneider, both of which they burned down after they had killed Schneider, his wife and three children, and wounded two
daughters, scalping one of them, and leaving both for dead. Marks and his family …



 

 

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                                                                                                                                                            …escaped. Another of Schneider’s children was taken captive, and never restored. A full account of these murders will be found in the general history. The murdered Mickley children were buried on the farm, and the spot where they are interred at the foot of a large chestnut-tree is still pointed out. For nineteen years the scene of these cruelties remained entirely deserted by whites. In 1784, G. Remeli bought the land and erected upon it a small stone house, which is yet standing. A portion of the land is now owned by the venerable Daniel Frantz. The blackened foundation walls of Schneider’s house were standing twenty years ago, but have now been entirely carried off by relic-hunters, or used for building purposes. About thirty years ago some buckwheat seeds were found in the ruins, which were planted and grew.


The daughters of Hans Schneider, who were wounded by the Indians and left for dead, one being scalped, recovered from their injuries. In 1765 the Assembly of the province passed a bill for their relief, as they were very poor. The never enjoyed sound health, and the one who had been scalped was a pitiable object with her head uncovered with hair.


During these troubles the settlers would leave their homes and seek refuge in what were called forts, as at Siegersville, Ballietsville, and in Deshler’s Fort, near Egypt and Coplay. Paulus Balliet and Adam Deshler were very active in the protection of the community from the attacks of the Indians, and formed and equipped companies of soldiers to fight with the Indians, receiving for their services in the latter’s behalf substantial reward from the Assembly of Pennsylvania. Deshler’s
fort is still standing in a good state of preservation, on land now owned by Thomas Schadt. It is a two and a half story building of stone, and stands on a little eminence overlooking the meadows through which Coplay Creek flows. The building is forty feet long by thirty in width. The walls are eighteen inches or two feet thick, and heavy timbers support the interior. There were a few small windows in the sides, with four panes of glass, and in the gable ends there were square loopholes.
A large hearth and chimney occupies the centre of the house, and divides the lower and upper stories into two apartments. In the mantelpiece above this can be seen the bullet-holes made by the Indians. It was the place of refuge for the entire neighborhood upon an alarm being sounded,
and at the time of the Indian murders in 1763 was occupied by twenty men at arms, who, on receipt of the ill tidings from the fugitives, started in pursuit of the savages, but without overtaking them.


A number of captives were taken by the Indians during the disturbances, and those with black hair and eyes were generally spared and adopted. One of the Mayers, his wife and his son, were captured and received into a tribe. In 1760 a girl by the name of Margaret Frantz was taken prisoner by the Indians while washing flax in company with another girl named Solt, who was also captured in the creek near her father’s house, on land owned by the late Jonas Ritter, near Ballietsville. She was
fifteen years of age, and lived with the Indians for seven years, until exchanged. Her companion, Solt, lived with an Indian as his wife, and had two children, of whom she was permitted to retain the girl on her being restored to the whites. Henry Frantz, the father of Margaret, was killed by the savages and scalped. The Indians pricked a mark resembling a hen’s foot, or, as some say, leaves, on the right wrist, rubbing it in with powder. Two years after her return from captivity, on the 9th of
May, 1769, she was married to Nicholas Wotring. She became noted far and wide for her knowledge of herbs and simples, which she acquired from the Indians, and her services in curing the sick were in great demand. Her journeys, while on these errands, she always accomplished on horseback. She died on the 29th of June, 1829, aged seventy-eight years, one month, and twenty-one days. Among her descendants are Mrs. Jonas Ritter, Mrs. Joseph Steckle, Samuel A. Brown, Esq., and P. Frank Brown, Esq.


Civil Organization. – Prior to 1840, North Whitehall formed with other townships a district for the election and jurisdiction of justices of the peace. The names and terms of those who were elected or appointed before that year will be found in the civil list of the general history of the county. Those who have filled the office since in the township are enumerated below, with the date of their commission. They are as follows:


Commissioned.                                                                   Commissioned.
Edward Kohler................April 14, 1840                         David Laury............. April 11, 1865
Daniel Seager................... April 14, 1840                        Peter Gross................. April 9, 1867
H. O. Wilson...................... April 9, 1850                         Samuel A. Brown...... April 13, 1869
Edward Kohler................. April 9, 1850                         Peter Gross................ April 9, 1872
John Schantz.................... April 13, 1852                        William Maxwell......March 24, 1874
Edward Kohler............... April 10, 1855                         William Sell............. March 19, 1876
Daniel Seager.................. April 14, 1857                         Henry F. Beidler...... March 27, 1879
Edward Kohler............... April 10, 1860                         Henry D. Gross........ March 30, 1882
Peter Gross...................... April 15, 1862                         (These last two were holding office in 1884)

(Edward Kohler & Daniel Saeger were recommissioned April 15, 1845)

The first constable was Michael Hoffman, who was appointed for Egypt in 1752. He was succeeded by Godfried Knauss, who was the first appointee after the erection of Whitehall township. The list of the constable after the formation of North Whitehall township, in 1810, includes the following:


1813 – 15. Henry Grub.                                                     1839 - 40. Paul Brown.
1816. Henry Bear.                                                                                  John Boyer.
1817 - 18. Daniel Sheirer.                                                 1841. Paul Brown.
1819 - 21. John Boyer.                                                                   Peter Gross.
1822. Jonas Hecker.                                                           1842. Edwin Keiper.
1823 - 24. Leonard Lorash.                                                          Jacob Linderman.
1825. John Lentz.                                                                1843. Edwin Keiper.
1826 - 29. Jacob Frantz.                                                               Reuben Yontz.
1830 - 31. Leonard Lorash.                                              1844. George Miller.
1832. William Boyer.                                                         1845. Reuben Faust.
            John Lentz.                                                               1846 - 47. Reuben Yontz.
1833. Daniel Ringer.                                                          1848. Simon Sterner.
1834 - 35. Leonard Lorash.                                                          Joseph Freyman.
1836. John Berger.                                                              1849. Simon Sterner.
1837 - 38. John Boyer.                                                                    Paul Balliet. …



 

 

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1850. Simon Sterner.                                                         1856. Daniel Boyer.
           Peter Miller                                                               1857-58. Ruben Semmel
1851. Reuben Yontz                                                           1859. Jacob Miller.
           Samuel Roth                                                             1860-63. Reuben Semmel
1852-53. Samuel Roth                                                       1864. Levi Fatzinger.
1854. Simon Sterner                                                          1865-67. Charles Schadt.
1855. S. Wright                                                                   1868-84. Reuben Semmel.

The lists of supervisors of highways and overseers of the poor comprise the following:


Supervisors.                                     Overseers.
                                                1821.
Nicholas Troxel.                             George Shout.
Henry Baer.                                      John Schaadt
                                                1822.
Henry Baer.                                      Samuel Woodrings.
Peter Steckel.                                   John Boyer.
                                                1825.
Peter Newhard.                              George Sheirer.
Daniel Gross.                                   John Deichman.
                                                1827.
John Laury.                                      Conrad Kennel.
George Ringer.                                Martin Semmel.
                                                1828.
John Anewald.                                Peter Steckel.
John Newhard.                               John Laury.
                                                1830.
John Anewald.                                John Laury.
George Ringer.                                Michael Newhard.
                                                1831.
Peter Steckel.                                   Jacob D. Kuntz.
John Anewald.                                Michael Newhard.
                                                1832.
Jacob D. Kuntz.                               Nicholas Seager.
John Miller.                                      Peter Romig.
                                                1833.
John Schneck.                                  Thomas Kern.
John Metzger.                                  Daniel Steckel.
                                                1834.
Henry Baer.                                      Solomon Steckel.
Daniel Steckel.                                Thomas Kern.
                                                1835.
Peter Steckel.                                   Abraham Steckel.
John Bertsch.                                   John Schneck.
                                                1836.
William Lentz.                                Benjamin Breinig.
George A. Newhard.                     Eli Saeger.
                                                1835.
Henry Rockle.                                  George Kohler.
Peter Lainberger.                            George Xander.
                                                1838.
Godfrey Peter.                                 Daniel Saeger.
George Frnatz.                                John Sheirer.
                                                1839.
Peter Kern.                                       Daniel Saeger.
William Long.                                 John Sheirer.
                                                1840.
Joseph Steckel.                                John Sheirer.
Tobias Semmel.                               John Erdman.
Eli Saeger.
Tobias Deibert.
                                                1841.
Andrew Walb.                                 Henry Keshy.
Tobias Semmel.                               Henry Baer.
Elias Saeger.
Anthony Laudenslager.
                                                1842.
John Erdman.                                  Henry Keshner.
Peter Keshner.                                 Henry Baer.
John Xandeer.
George Roth.
                                                1843.
Gabriel Sheirer.                               George Rhoads.
John Schneck.                                  James Sheirer.
Charles Miller.
John Erdman.
                                                1846.
Daniel Kohler.                                 Elias M. Kuntz.
Thomas Fatzinger.
Adam Leinberger.
Jonathan Gross
                                                1847.
Daniel Kohler.                                 Elias M. Kuntz.
Thomas Fatzinger.
Peter Leinberger.
Adam Leinberger.

The elections of overseers of the poor were discontinued in 1848. Since that year the following have served as supervisors of highways:


1848. Henry Rockel.                                                                       1862. Reuben Frantz.
            Peter Leinberger.                                                                            Daniel Serfass.
            Daniel Kohler.                                                                                 Abram Kennel.
            Adam Leinberger.                                                                          Henry Rockel.
1849. John Onewold.                                                                     1863. Michael Kelchner.
            Joseph Freyman.                                                                             Daniel Serfass.
            Peter Steckel.                                                                                   Reuben Frantz.
            John Bertsch.                                                                                   Abram Kennel.
1850. Peter Steckel.                                                                        1864. Michael Kelchner.
            John Bertsch.                                                                                   Daniel Serfass.
            John Onewold.                                                                                Reuben Frantz.
            Abraham Baer.                                                                                Abram Sheirer.
1851. Henry Jacob.                                                                         1865. Michael Kelchner.
            David DeLong.                                                                                Reuben Semmel.
            David Ruch.                                                                                     David Serfass.
            Tobias Diebert.                                                                                Abram Sheirer.
1852. Daniel Serfass.                                                                     1866. Tobias Deibert.
            Elias Lentz.                                                                                      George Haaf.
            George Roth.                                                                                    Reuben Semmel.
            John Miller.                                                                                      Michael Kelchner.
1853. Henry Frack.                                                                         1867. Stephen Miller.
            Charles Miller.                                                                                Daniel Ritter.
            Gabriel scheirer.                                                                             David Serfass.
            Daniel Serfass.                                                                                Reuben Semmel.
1854. Edwin Keiper.                                                                      1868. David Serfass.
            David Serfass.                                                                                 Gabriel Sheirer.
            John Miller.                                                                                      William Litzenberger.
            John Metzgar.                                                                                 Thomas Ruch.
1855. George Hoffman.                                                                1869. Daniel Serfass.
            John Bertsch.                                                                                   William Litzenberger.
            James Kern.                                                                                      Daniel Ritter.
            Tobias Diebert.                                                                                James Schneck.
1856. Michael Kelchner.                                                               1870. Wm. Litzenberger.
            Solomon DeLong.                                                                           Daniel Serfass.
            George Roth.                                                                                    Gabriel Sheirer.
            David DeLong.                                                                    1871. Daniel Ritter.
1857. Michael Kelchner.                                                                           Abram Sheirer.
            Solomon deLong.                                                                            William Litzenberger.
            Moses Lentz.                                                                                    Stephen Miller.
            Tobias Diebert.                                                                    1872. David Frey.
1858. Peter Helffrich.                                                                                Charles Kern.
            Moses Lentz.                                                                                    Daniel Serfass.
            Daniel Kohler.                                                                                 William Litzenberger.
            John Miller.                                                                          1873. Charles Kern.
1859. Peter Leinberger.                                                                             David Frey.
            David Ludwig.                                                                                Peter Knecht.
            William Jacoby.                                                                              Jeremiah Schneck.
            Reuben Helffrich.                                                               1874. Charles Kern.
1860. Joseph Steckel.                                                                                 Peter Knecht.
            Thomas Fatzinger.                                                                         Nathan Sell.
            Simon Sterner.                                                                                Jeremiah Schneck.
            John Miller.                                                                          1875. Nathan Sell.
1861. Joseph Steckel.                                                                                 Jacob Woodrings.
            Simon Sterner.                                                                                Thomas Shafer.
            David Serfass.                                                                                 Charles Kern.
            Thomas Fatzinger.                                                             1876. Jacob Watring.



 

 

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1876. Joseph Houser.                                                                     1880. Levi Houseman.
            Nathan Sell.                                                                                     Elias M. Kuntz.
            Thomas Roth.                                                                      1881. Levi Houseman.
1877. Josiah Housman.                                                                             Thomas Shafer.
            Thomas Shafer.                                                                               William Litzenberger.
            Reuben Yantz.                                                                                 Menno Diebert.
            Solomon Heberly.                                                               1882. Thomas Shafer.
1878. Joshua Housman.                                                                            Reuben Yantz.
            Solomon Heberly.                                                                           Levi Housman.
            Thomas Shafer.                                                                               William Litzenberger.
            Reuben Yantz.                                                                     1883. Thomas F. Guth.
1879. Joel DeLong.                                                                                     Elias Snyder.
            Thomas Shafer.                                                                               Joseph Baer.
            Reuben Yantz.                                                                                 Charles Kern.
            Solomon Herberly and                                                      1884. Charles Kern.
            Thomas Guth., tie.                                                                          John Schneck.
1880. Thomas T. Guth.                                                                              Henry Drukenmiller.
            Reuben Yantz.                                                                                 Thomas Good.

 

Military Spirit and Militia Organizations. – The early settlers were no doubt most heartily inclined to the peaceful pursuits of agriculture, to follow which most of them had fled from war and persecution at home in the old country. Not a score of years had elapsed after their settlement in the wilds of America, before they found themselves surrounded by new foes, spurred on by the bitterest feelings of hate against the new-comers who squatted upon their favorite hunting-grounds. The
struggles with these savage enemies developed fighters of no mean ability, and from North Whitehall came a number, such as George Gangwere and the Frantzes, whose fame has descended to this day. The short interval of peace succeeding the French and Indian war was busily employed by the farmers in improving their neglected lands, which had lain in enforced idleness during the reign of Indian terror. This quiet was rudely disturbed by the exactions of England, and the consequent outbreak of war of independence. The cause of freedom was eagerly embraced by all of North Whitehall’s settlers, all of whom had been impelled to come to these wilds by their love of freedom. Not a few hastened to the ranks of the patriot army. Among them were Stephen Balliet, who was in command of a regiment at the battle of Brandywine; Michael Laury, who gave his life at Mount Bethel, N.J., for his country; and his sons, one of whom was named Godfried; Christian Acker, from near Unionville; John Kepp, George Semmel, ____ Moyer, and others whose names are not remembered. Of those who did not enlist and engage in active service, nearly all hastened with teams to the army, and freely contributed their time and their means to the relief of the patriot
army, and the advance of freedom’s cause. Among them are remembered Peter Kuhn, Johannes Schad, and Adam Scheirer. The success of the American arms again permitted them to return to the cultivation of their lands, from which they were again aroused by the exciting example of Heiney, Fries, and Gebman, who rebelled in 1798-99 against the imposition and collection of the house-tax, and whose cause was eagerly embraced by the sturdy and independent yeomen of North Whitehall, nearly all of whom, with the exception of the Saeger and Balliet families, and some others who held offices under the government, joined in resistance to the tax intended, in their opinion, to oppress them. Many of them were captured by the National troops and brought to trial, but all were
released without punishment.


Their experience during this insurrection taught them the value of trained military organization, and the formation of military companies began, it is safe to presume, to be agitated during the first decade of the present century, although it is claimed that Capt. George Dinkey’s company of volunteers was organized as early as 1790, and assisted in the liberation of some of the rebel prisoners who were being tried by court-martial at Bethlehem in 1799. During the war of 1812-14, Capt. Dinkey offered the services of his company to the government, and the company was attached to the regular line. What services they rendered cannot now be told. Among the members of the company at the time were William Siegfried, Daniel Boyer, Samuel Snyder, Jacob Rinker, Adam
Lembergr, Adam Schreiber, Michael Musselman, Daniel Seager, John Annewalt, Peter Laudenshlagr, and Daniel Sensinger. The organization of the company was continued after their being mustered out of service, under the name of the North Whitehall Rifle Rangers. Their commander in 1826 was Capt. Daniel Seager, at which time the company was known as the Whitehall Volunteer Rangers; in 1829-31 by Capt. Leonard Larosh; in 1836 by Capt. David Laury; in 1848 by Capt. Reuben Frantz. Who the commanders were in the intervals cannot now be discovered. On the 19th of June, 1850, David Laury was commissioned captain, and was probably the last commander of the company.
In the beginning of the war of 1812, Peter Ruch organized a cavalry company, which is claimed to have been the oldest in Pennsylvania. He was commissioned captain on the 1st of August, 1814. On the first roll appear the names of Joseph Seager, Peter Troxell, Solomon Steckel, John Deichman, Peter Burkholter, Michael Frack, John Schwartz, John Schreiver, Daniel Leisenring, Peter Leisenring, and William Boas, first lieutenant. They proceeded to Philadelphia on the 8th of September, 1814, in response to Governor Snyder’s call for volunteers to repel the threatened invasion of Pennsylvania, and their services were immediately accepted. They were mustered in, and lay encamped at Bush Run, near Philadelphia, till the 1st of October. On that day they struck tents, and on the 3d marched to Marcus Hook, twenty-three miles below the city, where they were engaged upon fortification and guard duty till the last week of November, when they were mustered out. They reached their homes
in North Whitehall about the middle of December, and were the heroes of the population, which flocked to welcome them. The organization was continued under the names of the Whitehall Troop, the North Whitehall Cavalry …



 

 

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                                                            … Troop, the Lehigh county Cavalry Troop, the North Whitehall Light-Horse, the North Whitehall cavalry, and the Troop of Dragoons, according to the caprice of the various commanding officers. Every young man in the township at some time or other belonged to the company, and its fame extended far and wide. The uniform was of blue cloth trimmed with red, white belts, and leather helmet with red and white plume, and was furnished by the members at their own expense. They met six times a year for drill and field practice.


The captains of the Whitehall Cavalry begin with Peter Ruch, the founder, who held the office from 1814 to 1821. He was succeeded by Solomon Steckel, Sr., from 1821 to 1828; Joseph Steckel, 1828 to 1835; Solomon Steckel, Jr., 1835 to 1842; Thomas Ruch, 1842 to 1854; Edward Scheidy, 1854 to 1859; William Lichtenwalner and Elias Kuntz, 1859 to 1862. During the captaincy of the last the name was changed to that of the Washington Troop, which it bore until disbanded, in 1862. In midsummer of this year the company tended its services to Governor Curtin for assistance in the suppression of the Rebellion. The officers came to Allentown and took the oath of allegiance to the United States, and the troop held itself ready to march to the place of rendezvous at a moment’s notice. A dispatch was received from the Governor telling the company to come without their officers. This the men refused to do. In August, 1862, came the draft, and that disbanded the troop, after a half-century of honorable service.

 

Other companies were also formed at different times in the township, but they were generally of an ephemeral existence. The longest-lived of these were the North Whitehall Jefferson Guards, of whom George Schmidt was captain during 1839 and 1840, Reuben Seager in 1844, and Reuben
Frantz in 1845 and 1848. A new rifle company was formed in 1828 by Capt. Daniel Moyer, of which he remained the commanding officer till 1844.

 

These early organizations served to keep alive a martial spirit among the people, which was increased by frequent battalions and musters and shooting contests, at which the general challenge, “Nord Wheithall gegen die Welt” (North Whitehall against the world), was broadly made, and
always well sustained. Many were the heroes who arrived at high degree in the early militia annuals. Foremost among them was Gen. Peter Ruch. Then came Gen. Peter Steckel, Gen. David Laury, Col. Jacob Seager, Col. Thomas Ruch, and majors and captains by the dozen.


Of those who enlisted for service in the Mexican war, William Mink, of Schnecksville, is remembered as having returned with a bullet in his body, which he carried to the grave.


Many soldiers enlisted from North Whitehall in the Union army during the late civil war, but only two companies were mustered into the service composed distinctively of citizens of this township. These were “” and “G” companies of the One Hundred and Seventy-sixth Regiment Pennsylvania
Drafted Militia. The officers of the former were David Schaadt, captain; Samuel A. Brown, first lieutenant; and Dr. Joshua Kern, second lieutenant; and of the latter, Lewis P. Hicker, captain; Joseph P. Cornet, first lieutenant; and William F. Hecker, second lieutenant, all of whom were from North Whitehall. They enlisted in October, 1862, and were mustered out in August, 1863, after nine month’s service. Many more were soldiers in the Union army from North Whitehall, but these were the only two organizations distinctly from the township.


Ore-Mines and Slate-Quarries. – In natural advantages North Whitehall is not equaled by any other township in Lehigh County. That portion of the township lying south of the centre contains the most valuable deposits of red and brown hematite ore, while along Coplay Creek are found hills of the most desirable blue limestone. Farther toward Egypt is found cement, and along Mill and Fell’s Creeks, in the direction of Laury’s, beds of the finest slate in the world are uncovered. In the northeastern portion of the township, in the vicinity of Rockdale, along the Lehigh River, a clear white sand is dug, which is much sought after for moulding and building purposes. Indian traditions also indicate the existence of silver in this region, but the discovery has so far been only traditional.


Iron ore was first found in North Whitehall about the end of the last or the beginning of the present century, upon land originally owned by the Scheurers and the Woodrings, upon which Ironton now stands. It lay in lumps upon the surface, some of which were large boulders weighing several tons, and was found in such profusion that its presence was a serious impediment to the prosecution of agriculture. Some of this surface ore when first found was taken to the Richard and Regent Furnace
at Hamburg and exchanged for pig-iron. Some was turned into nails by hand at the forge of Adam Scheurer, some was loaded upon four-horse teams and sold at twenty-five or fifty cents a load, some was taken to Mauch chunk with teams and exchanged for equal weight of coal. Between 1812 and 1826 the ore was taken to the old David Heimbach forge at Hampton, in Milford township, and to Clarissa Furnace near the Little Gap, on the Aquashicola Creek, in Lower Towamensing township. About 1826 the Lehigh Furnace at the base of the Blue Mountains was built by Stephen Balliet and Samuel Helffrich, and about the same time the surface ore was exhausted, and digging was commenced by Reuben Trexler and _______Lesher. Their venture proved unprofitable, and the work they began was continued by the managers of the Maria furnace near Parryville, and of the Henry Furnace at Nazareth. These furnaces for a time received all the products of the mines. Some of the ore was also taken to the Lehigh Furnace, which was filled with this ore …



 

 

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                                                                                                                                    … from North Whitehall, and first blown in during the fall of 1826. The mining was carried on by sinking a shaft and then drifting, taking out lump ore only. These original mines are the ore-pits styled Nos. 1 and 2, immediately north of Ironton, and now belonging to the Thomas Iron Company of Hokendauqua. The Joseph Balliet mine below Ironton was next opened, which is now owned by his heirs and Frank P. Mickley. In opening this the miners came across several of the tunnels which were made in developing the original Ironton mines. The first apparatus for screening the ore was made by Fritz Guth, an ingenious German, who was persuaded by Stephen Balliet to immigrate to this country, and who lived for many years near Ruchsville. He was also the inventor of an improved way of improving the blast in the charcoal furnaces used at that day.


Many pits have been opened during the last half-century, and they are most easily mentioned and described by following the course of the Ironton Railroad, beginning with the eastern boundary line of the township.

 

In going from Coplay to Ironton the first mines met are the three openings on the land formerly owned by Daniel Steckel, and now the property of Joseph Kieffer. They were extensively worked in 1863 and 1864, and a large amount of ore shipped from them. They are held under lease by the Coplay Iron Company, who operate only one of the openings at present. The next mine is what is known as the Weaver mine, which proved to contain only a small quantity of ore, and after being worked for a short time, was abandoned. The next is what is known as the Kennel mine, now owned jointly by the Thomas Iron Company and F. J. Mickley. The ore is of a superior quality, and is said to exist in a large quantity. The next we come to is the Mickley mine. This was worked a long time, and a large quantity of good ore taken from it. It was abandoned several years ago, and is now filled with water. The next is what is known as the Joseph Balliet Mine, which, notwithstanding it contains a large amount of ore, has been idle for a number of years.


The next are the pits of the Thomas Iron Company, at Ironton, known as Nos. 1 and 2, which have already been referred to as the oldest openings in the township. They have proven to contain the most valuable deposits of ore in this region. Between 1860 and 1880 there was taken from these
two openings about three hundred and twenty-three thousand tons of clean, merchantable ore. How much was taken out before 1860 cannot now be told, although it is evident the quantity must be large, as mining at No. 1 has been going on since 1826. Its present depth is one hundred and twenty feet. These two mines are now regarded as practically exhausted, although there is still some ore to be found on the south bank of No. 1. Adjoining this is the mine owned by the heirs of Stephen Balliet, which has been worked for twenty-five years, and has proven very productive. Next are the mines of the Balliet Brothers (Aaron, Paul, and John Balliet). The yield from these has been very large. The profits from these two pits have in a single year during war times reached the large sum of thirty-five thousand dollars. Next is the mine of Paul Brown’s heirs, viz., Samuel A. and P. Frank Brown, Esqs. The average yearly yield from this for the last ten years has been about eight thousand tons.


The last mine on this range is the Jeremiah Ritter, about one-quarter of a mile east of the Brown mine. This is one of the oldest openings in the neighborhood, as well as one of the richest. About 1870, Thomas Eagan, who was then working it, abandoned mining, considering it exhausted, and
the mine lay idle for about a year. The late Capt. Joseph Andrews then made a contract with the Crane Iron Company, the leaseholders to resume operations, and from 1871 to the time of his death, in May, 1875, he removed about thirty-four thousand tons from this seemingly-exhausted mine. The work was then continued by his brother, William Andrews, until Jan. 1, 1881, by which time forty-six thousand tons additional were mined. It is now abandoned, heavy covering and much water making it expensive to mine.


Along the Siegersville Branch of the Ironton Railroad are found a number of ore-mines, the first of which, after leaving the junction, is on the lands of Jonathan Henninger, leased by the Thomas Iron Company. The bed has been worked for a number of years, and a large quantity of ore of a superior quality is upon it. The annual yield for a number of years has been about seven thousand tons. One -third of a mile below this, towards Siegersville, is the Allen S. Balliet mine, which has been worked for at least twenty years, and has averaged yearly a yield of five thousand to seven thousand tons. West of this, at a distance of about half a mile, is the Levan mine, now owned by the Thomas Iron Company. The mine of Thomas Schadt also belongs to this belt. South of the Levan mine, and about half a mile distant, is found the David Ruch mine, opened about four years ago upon lands of Lewis Sieger, of which the average annual yield for the last three years has been seven thousand tons. Southeast of Ruch’s are the mines of Daniel Henry and Horace Guth. The deposits here are not considered as large, although the ore is of as good quality as those before mentioned. Next, and last, are the mines of the Sieger Brothers, at Siegersville, which were opened in 1840 by Samuel Sieger.
The opening is large, and the mine is considered one of the best in the county. It is held under lease by the Bethlehem Iron Company.

 

A number of slate-quarries have been opened at various times all along Fell’s and Mill Creeks, in the eastern part of the township, in the vicinity of Laury’s Station. Only one of these is in active operation at present, that of Messrs. Crump & Brereton, on Mill Creek. This quarry was originally opened about …



 

 

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                          … 1828, and it is claimed that this and the Union Slate-Quarries (of which more below) were the first quarries uncovered in this country. The opening of the North Peach Bottom Quarry was made, as stated, about 1828, by Jacob Dinkey, who manufactured roofing-slate of the best quality for about one year, when he leased the quarry to John T. Schofield. The latter operated it for another year, when it came back into the hands of Dinkey, who then sold two-thirds interest in it to Anthony Preston, of Washington, D.C., and William Bailey, of Baltimore. This was on the 21st of January, 1830, and they operated it for about fifteen years, when Jonas Rinker became the owner. Both he and his predecessors occupied themselves mainly with the manufacture of table-tops and mantels and trimmings for buildings, furniture (among others) the dressing for the public buildings at Washington, D.C. In 1853, C. M. Runk, Esq., of Allentown acquired the title of Mr. Rinker, and devoted himself to the full development of the quarry, and through his exertions the true value and character of the quarry were shown. Roofing-slate were now manufactured, and they were found to be of a quality unexcelled in the world. The North Peach Bottom Slate Company was formed about 1877, having obtained Mr. Runk’s title, and continued operations until February of this year (1884), when Messrs. John crump and Richard Brereton, of Philadelphia, the present owners, purchased the
quarries. They are now manufacturing ten squares of roofing-slate per day, and the slate have the best reputation of any in the market. They are of a deep unfading blue color, and for strength and durability are not surpassed by any in the world.


At the mouth of Fell’s Creek, ten miles north of Allentown, the bed of the Lehigh presents a smooth and level surface, being slate-rock. The Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company built at this place a dam, fourteen feet high, which soon became widely known as the “Slate Dam.” This attracted the attention of Mr. Thomas Lymington, an experienced slater, of Baltimore, who, in 1828, came to the Slate dam in search of roofing-slate. About a mile west of the river, along Fell’s Creek, he discovered a place where, in his opinion, roofing-slate might be found. He took a sample to Baltimore, and it was found good. He soon after leased a few acres of land and commenced quarrying. The same year the Baltimore Slating Company was formed, with a capital of thirteen thousand dollars. They purchased the farm of one hundred and sixty acres, on which Mr. Lymington had his lease. He transferred his interest to the company, and a large quarry, under the name of the Union Slate-Quarries, was opened The company operated the quarry with indifferent success for ten years, when they began leasing it to different parties, among them Messrs. Fell & McDowell, until 1849, when they sold all their interests to Messrs. Stephen Balliet, Jr., and Stephen Graff, who worked it for a
time and then abandoned it. The slate produced were of a brownish color, and were not of the best quality. An effort was again made, about 1872, by Messrs. Freeman, Knecht, and others, to operate the quarry, but it was found unprofitable, and was abandoned, and has since lain idle.


On Coplay Creek, about a mile south of Ironton, a slate-quarry was opened about 1868 by the Grant Slate Company, of which William Fry, Esq., of Tamaqua, was the president, who purchased fourteen acres of land from Henry B. Schadt. The slate formation was of the cement order, and were not used except for posts, mantels, etc. The quarry was discontinued after three or four years’ operating, no market being found for the slate.


Large quarries of the best blue limestone are found along Coplay Creek, in the neighborhood of the old Grant Slate-Quarry. The stone is used for fertilizing purposes, and is also sold to the furnaces along the Lehigh. Those of Charles Lobach, of George Kleckner, and Lewis Falk, and of Monroe Newhard, Frank J. Newhard, and Solomon Ruch are the largest and most productive in the township. Smaller quarries have also been opened in other parts, as along Mill Creek.


Cement-stone is also found in the direction of Egypt, but has not been developed to any extent in North Whitehall. In the northeastern part of the township, especially upon the lands of Daniel Peter, vast fields of clean white moulding and building sand are found.


Roads and Bridges – The Ironton Railroad and Siegersville Extension. – It is very probable that the oldest road in the township is what is known as the old Mauch Chunk road, leading from Allentown over the Blue Mountains to Mauch Chunk, and passing through Ruchsville, Ironton, Ballietsville, and Unionville. In the time of King George III, a public highway was laid out from Philadelphia to the Buckhorn Tavern, at Shimersville, thence through Siegersville and Schnecksville to the country north, crossing the Blue Mountains at the Bake Oven Knob. In 1753, a road was laid out from the Bake Oven Knob to Allentown, past Helffrich’s Springs, in South Whitehall township. These were the principal of the old highways running north and south. A number ran in the westwardly direction from the Lehigh River, principal among which was the one from Siefried’s Bridge to Kohler’s mill, at Egypt; thence to Ruchsville and Siegersville. On the 22d of September, 1761, a petition was presented to the court of Northampton county for a road leading from Paul Polyard’s tavern to Jacob Coller’s mill, thence to Wilson’s mill, thence to Easton. It is probable that this is the highway, branching off from the Mauch Chunk road about one-fourth of a mile below Ballietsville to Egypt, running thence to Siegfried’s bridge, crossing the Lehigh there and proceeding to Easton. On the 4th of May, 1813, George Yundt, Esq., Jacob Mickley, Peter Rinker, John Helffrich, Peter Grimm, and Henry …



 

 

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… Schneider, viewers, appointed at the preceding sessions to lay out a road to lead from Siegfried’s ferry up the river Lehigh through the lands of Conrad Leisenring, David Miller, Peter Lobach, George Scheurer, and John Metzer to the public road leading from Stephen Balliet’s to Neiglehardt’s ford, at the bank of said river, reported the road as laid out.


In the northern half of the township the soil is of a slaty shale formation, and the road beds, in this portion, which is called “the Gravel,” are not surpassed by any macadamized or paved way. At all
seasons of the year and in any kind of weather they present the same smooth, well-drained surface.


The Jordan Creek flows through the western portion of the township, and is crossed by three or four small bridges. The Coplay Creek flows in a southern direction nearly through the entire length of North Whitehall, and near the southern boundary line deflects eastwardly. There is one small covered stone bridge over this stream, near Maj. Thomas Ruch’s; it was erected in 1833, at a cost of four hundred and twenty-five dollars.

 

The Lehigh River forms the greater portion of the eastern boundary line of North Whitehall, but no bridge at present crosses the river within the limits of the township. An effort was made about 1831 to build one at Kuntz’s ford, and a company was formed for that purpose, but the project failed of accomplishment. Lately a charter has been obtained by a new association for a like purpose, and twelve thousand dollars have been subscribed towards the expense of building. The corporation is now receiving proposals for the work upon the bridge, which is to be of iron, and is to be located at Cherry Ford, about one mile north of Laury’s.

 

The Ironton Railroad extends through the southern and central portions of the township. Its termini are Ironton and Coplay, and its course follows in the main that of Coplay Creek. The contract to grade it was awarded about the latter part of July, 1859, and work was begun in the following month. The construction of the road was divided into five sections, of about one mile each. The contract for building the first two was given to James Andrews of Mauch Chunk; for number three, to William Andrews; and for sections four and five, to Messrs. Chapman, Simpson & Brady. The road was projected by and built under the personal superintendence of Tinsley Jeter, Esq., then of Philadelphia, and now of Bethlehem, Pa., and it was intended for the convenient transportation of
iron ore from the beds at Ironton, and of limestone from Coplay creek to the furnaces along the Lehigh River.


The Siegersville Branch of the Ironton Railroad was graded in 1861, and put into running order early the following year. It is about three and one-third miles in length, and follows closely the course of Coplay creek, along the southern boundary line of the township, to the ore-beds at Siegersville, for the purpose of conveying the products of which it was constructed.


Mr. Jeter first sold a part of his interest in these roads to E. W. Clark & Co., who afterwards disposed of it to Robert Lennox Kennedy. About 1866, Mr. Jeter and Mr. Kennedy owned the whole of the roads, and in that year the latter became the sole owner, and so continued until the 1st of February, 1882, when he sold all his interest in the roads, as well as in the mines at Ironton, to the Thomas Iron Company, the present owners.


The Villages of North Whitehall are Ballietsville, Unionville, and Neffsville (which in reality form only one, commonly known by the former name, but called by the latter by the postal department), Ironton, Ruchsville, Siegersville, Schnecksville, Laury’s, Rockdale, and Kernsville.


Ballietsville is the oldest. It lies near the centre of the township, upon land formerly owned by Paulus Balliet, after whom it is named. He settled here in 1749, and possibly converted a portion of his dwelling-house into a hotel a few years after; for the old court records show that a license was granted to him to keep a hotel on the 22d of June, 1756, and again at June term, 1759. It was built of logs, and in later years was weatherboarded. It was known as the Whitehall Hotel. Standing on the old Mauch Chunk road it attracted considerable custom, and its sign of the flowing bowl cheered the heart of many a traveler of the olden days. It was also a post station for many years, where the daily stage coaches changed horses, until David Frantz’s hotel, about three-fourths of a mile above, was substituted for that purpose. The old log hotel stood until 1840, when the main portion was torn down by Stephen Balliet, Jr., and the present brick edifice erected in its place. The residue of the house, comprising the kitchen, was leveled about April of the present year (1884). The landlords following Paulus Balliet were Stephen Balliet, Paul Balliet (since 1857), Dr. Jesse Hallman, John Schantz, Joel Lentz, David Kline, Charles Lemberger, John Schmidt, Edwin Deibert, and Sylvester Woodring.


In connection with the hotel a store was also generally kept by the landlords, beginning with Paul Balliet in the frame building immediately below the present store. This store stand is one of the oldest in the county, and in its time took the lead of all other country stores for doing business. Before the Revolution it was a station from which the Indians received their supplies. It was kept also by Stephen Balliet, Paul Balliet alone and in partnership with Dr. Jesse Hallman, John Newhard, John G. Wink & Co., and others, and is now kept by Benjamin Ritter & Brother.

 

From the earliest times a post-office was established here, the only one in Whitehall township. It was known as Whitehall post-office, and later as North Whitehall post-office. About 1861 it was removed to Ironton, but after a short interval retrans-



 

 

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                                                            …ferred to Ballietsville. Among the postmasters have been Stephen
Balliet, who held the office for nearly his entire lifetime, and up to the time of his death; Paul Brown, Stephen Groff, with Charles Lemberger as assistant, for sixteen years; and John Newhard for six years; Benjamin Ritter is at present the post-master.


About 1840 the polling-place for the township was removed from Hersh’s tavern, about three or four miles west of Ballietsville, to the village, where all township elections have since been held.


The tannery was built by Nicholas Seager in 1794. It was afterwards owned and operated by Peter Graff (who purchased it from Seager in 1801), after him by Stephen, his son, and then passed into the hands of Allen Handwerk. It is now the property of Edwin Kuhns.


The people of Ballietsville and the vicinity were always eager for the promotion of educational matters. They early erected a log school-house in the valley along the road leading to Siegersville. This gave way to the brick building erected by the English School-House Society, and the latter was used for twelve years, until its foundations began to weaken, when it was transformed into a dwelling-house, and the school transferred to the top of the hill.


Ballietsville is pleasantly located on several small hills, and is well supplied with the springs of pure water which form part of the sources of Coplay creek. It has about a dozen dwellings, and its population in 1880 was fifty-four. Among the residents are Samuel A. Brown, Paul Balliet, Aaron Balliet, P. Frank Brown, and Franklin P. Mickley, Esqrs., all of whom occupy fine houses, perched on the slopes of the hills.


Unionville and Neffsville. – These two villages in reality form but one place, to which the former name was always given, until the Post-Office Department gave it the latter name, since which time it has been known indiscriminately by both. They are situated in the northern part of North Whitehall, near the Washington township line. Jacob Snyder built a residence here, in the vicinity of the Union church, in 1815, which he sold to John Ringer, who received a license to keep a hotel in 1821, at which time he transformed the old Snyder dwelling-house into a tavern, and continued in that business till his death, in 1831, when the property was bought by Peter Butz. The latter was the landlord till 1847, when he was succeeded by David K. Watring, who has kept the hotel since that year, becoming the owner of the property in 1869. The store is older than the hotel, its origin dating from 1815. It has been kept by John Ringer, Stephen Ringer (his son), Enoch Butz, Abraham Woodring and Solomon Boyer, Eli Kuhns and Daniel Woodrings, and since 1847 by David K. Watring, the landlord.


Neffsville is named after Abraham Neff, who lived here and carried on the coach-making business for many years, and who, about 1840, laid out the village. In 1855 he received a license to keep a hotel in the house built by Andreas Hausman. He has been succeeded as landlord by his sons, Edward and Peter Neff, and by Nathan Eck, and the hotel is now kept by Lewis Bittner. A store was opened in the spring of this year by Andreas & Cole. The business of stone-cutting is carried on by Frank Schlosser, and P. & R. Semmel are engaged in the tannery business. There are also two coach manufactories, conducted by Wright & Shoemaker and by Frantz brothers.


Abraham Neff was the first postmaster, and continued in service, with Clinton Metzger as assistant, until his death, in 1881, when Frank Schlosser, the present postmaster, was appointed.


Neffsville is the terminus of a mail-route and coach-line from Allentown, carried on by Abraham Mosser.


There are seventeen dwellings at Neffsville, and the village has telegraphic connections.


Ironton is a village of comparatively recent origin. It is located in the heart of the iron district and in the midst of the ore-mines, to the development of which industry it owes its origin and growth. Mining had been going on here since 1835, but it was not till 1859-60 that it was carried on with vigor. In that year Tinsley Jeter, Esq., of Bethlehem, Pa., laid out the village in regular building-lots, which were rapidly taken by the laborers in the ore-mines, and it may be said Ironton was built up in one year.


In 1860, Horace Balliet erected a brick hotel and store building, and he has since been the landlord and storekeeper, as well as the postmaster. The other hotel, kept by Joseph Kocher, was formerly the dwelling-house of Adam Scheurer, who originally owned the land upon which Ironton is located, and who erected this house in 1778. It was licensed as a hotel in 1858, and was kept for a number of years by Abraham Lucas. He and a few Germans and Irish comprised the first residents of Ironton.

Deep excavations at the northern extremity of the village mark the ore-pits of the Ironton Railroad Company, the terminus of whose line, extending from Coplay on the Lehigh valley Railroad, is at this point.

 

There is a school-house here, and a Catholic chapel. The dwelling number forty-nine, and the population is two hundred and seventy-seven.

 

Ruchsville is situated at the intersection of two of the oldest roads in the township, and up to the time of the construction of the Lehigh valley Railroad was one of the liveliest villages in the county. The old hotel stood on the same ground as the present one, and was built by John Saeger about 1800. It afterwards passed into the possession of John Troxell, and later of Lawrence Troxell, who were also for some time the landlords. The latter as succeeded by Gen. Peter Ruch, an active militia
officer, after whom the place was named. In his time all the battalion musters and military parades were held at …



 

 

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                        …Ruchsville. It was also the scene of many a fair and horse-race, the course for the latter extending from the cross-roads down the Egypt road to William Ruch’s house, which was a distance of exactly one mile. On these occasions many people were attracted from near and far, many of them coming long before dawn of the gala day. Gen. Ruch was succeeded as landlord by his son, Thomas Ruch, and the latter by Eli steckel, both of them militia captains of no small renown. Reuben Bahl was then the innkeeper, and on his discontinuing the business it passed, in 1858, into the hands of Owen Schadt. The latter erected the present three-story hotel, in 1860, and besides this and the hotel, has erected a brick barn and two double frame houses. The store has been successively kept by David Kaull, David Scholl, Edmund Erdman, Alfred Ruch, Henry Kern, then by Erdman & Brother, and is now again conducted by Edmund Erdman.


The post-office building is next to the store, and was established about 1844. The storekeepers were generally also the postmasters. The list includes Hiram Kaull, Martin Seipel, and Owen Schadt, after whose term the station was removed to Mechanicsville, about half a mile below. After it was re-transferred to Ruchsville, Mr. Schadt again became the postmaster. After another removal to Mechanicsville it was finally transferred to Ruchsville, where it now remains, with Mr. Alfred Ruch as postmaster, and Mr. Schadt as his deputy.


There are altogether about eighteen houses in Ruchsville, and the population, according to the last census report, was ninety-two. The village is connected by telegraph with neighboring communities, and efforts are being made at present to establish telephonic communication besides.


Siegersville lies partly in North Whitehall and partly in South Whitehall townships. It is located on land originally owned by the first of the Siegers, namely, Melchior Sieger, who settled here about 1750, it not earlier, being attracted to the spot by the never-failing springs of water and the abundance of scrub-oak among the heavier timber, to clear which required a less expenditure of time and labor. About that year he built a residence of rough hewn logs, the floor and sides of which were packed with smaller timber and plastered with mud. It was used both as a dwelling, granary, and store-house, and as a fortress for the protection of the neighborhood against the assaults of the Indians, being provided for that purpose with narrow port-holes. Being located on the old road
leading from Philadelphia to the Buckhorn Tavern, at Shimersville, thence through Siegersville to the Bake Oven Knob on the Blue Mountains, and thence to the country beyond, which road was laid out in the time of King George III, long before the Revolutionary war, the Sieger farm-house was early found to be a convenient stopping-place for travelers on the highway, and it was, therefore, soon converted into an inn. It is said to have been the first country hotel in the county. After the death of Melchior Sieger the old hotel and store were enlarged with a stone addition, and were kept by his son, Samuel, after him by Michael Sieger, and then by Elias Sieger. It was abandoned as a hotel and store about 1856, when the present brick hotel, kept by Franklin Schlauch, on the opposite side of the street, was erected, the store being removed to its present location on the corner, diametrically opposite. The old building still stands, and is used as a shoe-factory, tinware-shop, and as a dwelling-house.


The store has been kept by George Miller, Michael Seligsohn, John Faust, Aaron Eisenhard, Thomas Ruch, and Frank Guth, and is at present conducted by A. Victor Diefenderfer.


Siegersville was made a post-office about the 28th of February, 1833, and Elias Sieger appointed the first postmaster. His successors in the office have been Aaron Eisenhard, George Roth, Frank Guth, and A. Victor Diefenderfer, who holds it at present.


The village is surrounded by iron-ore pits, and the operations at these sustain in part its life and activity. Being situated at the intersection of two main thoroughfares, it has always been a thriving
place, independent of the support derived from the ore-mines, and in the olden days it was the scene of many a festal gathering. One especially is remembered, - a grand celebration on the 4th of July, 1817, which was enlivened by the presence of Capt. Keller’s rifle company. On that memorable occasion Gen. Henry Mertz presided, and John Sieger, Esq., was the vice-president. The Declaration of Independence was read by George S. Eisenhard, and a staggering number of toasts were drunk, and patriotic speeches by the dozen were made. Siegersville had also always been a great rallying-place during political campaigns. The village has telegraphic communication, and the Siegersville Branch of the Ironton Railroad connects it at Coplay with the Lehigh Valley Railroad and the great outer world of commerce.


A school-house stands at the upper end of the village, in the upper story of which services have been occasionally held by Rev. E. J. Fogel and others for the past score of years.


Siegersville had in 1880 one hundred and sixty inhabitants. Its dwelling-houses number thirty or thirty-five, and among them is the residence of Hon. Amandes Sieger, at present a member of the House of Representatives of Pennsylvania. The village owes its greatest and earliest improvement to Squire John Sieger and his brother, Michael, the former of whom conducted a large tannery here.

Schnecksville was laid out about 1840, by Daniel Schneck, who owned all the land upon which the village stands, and after whom it is named. He and his …



 

 

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                                                                                                            … son, Moses Schneck, erected the first hotel and nearly all the buildings. George Rau opened the first store, selling it to Daniel Schneck, who leased it afterwards to Michael Deibert. In 1843, Joel and Peter Gross leased the store from Schneck, and after a few years purchased it from him, continuing in the business till 1874.


A post-office was opened here about the 4th of March, 1846, with Peter Gross as postmaster. He served for sixteen years, when he was succeeded by Joel Gross, who retired in 1874, after twelve years’ service. He was succeeded in that year by Daniel Bertolet, the present postmaster.

 

The population of Schnecksville, according to the census of 1880, is one hundred and sixty. There are in the village two hotels and a store, and about twenty-two dwelling-houses. There is also a school-house and a frame church building, in which the United Brethren hold services, and occasionally also those of other congregations, under the guidance of Rev. J. S. Reninger.


The village is neatly laid out, and presents an attractive appearance. Owing to the travel on the main road, which runs through the middle, considerable trade is done.


Laury’s lies along the eastern line of the township, at the junction of Fell’s Creek with the Lehigh River. It was first known by the name of the Slate Dam, the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company having erected a dam, about 1830, in the Lehigh, which at this point flows over a smooth bed of slate formation. In 1832 the late Judge David Laury erected a hotel here, which he kept till 1871, when it passed into the hands of A. C. P. and George F. Kimball, who kept it till 1875, when Mr. Kimball
obtained sole control. It is a favorite summer resort. In 1832, Judge Laury also opened a store in partnership with Messrs. Rupp and Shifferstein. The store building was after some years torn away, and the business discontinued till 1873, when Judge Laury erected the present store building, in which Charles Ritter carried on the mercantile business for some time, until it was taken by Herman Carlinsky, the present storekeeper. In 1839, Mr. Laury erected on the banks of the Lehigh a grist-mill, the original of the present roller flouring-mill, receiving the power from the river, under a lease from the Coal and Navigation Company. This mill, after being operated by Mr. Laury for some years, was purchased by Jonathan Kline, and after several other transfers, came, in 1861, into the possession of John R. Schall, the present owner. In 1877, the entire mill was remodeled and changed into a “New Process” mill. About 1880 roller-mills were introduced into this country, and Mr. Schall at once determined to obtain the machinery necessary to transform the mill into one of the new kind. Upon plans devised by Mr. N. W. Holt, the improvements were made. The building was enlarged to almost three times its original size. The new mill was completed and started in February, 1882, and was one of the first three in Pennsylvania. Additional rolls and improved machinery have been obtained during the present year. The mill now contains a full line of Stevens’ rolls, four run of burrs, purifiers, bran-dusters, a weed- and oat-extractor, centrifugal reels, an aspirator, flour-packers, etc., all of the latest improved patterns. Its capacity is almost two thousand bushels a day, and the mill is run night and day. The flour produced is without a rival anywhere, and is pronounced by competent judges absolutely perfect.


In 1853 a post-office was opened, to which Judge Laury was appointed postmaster, a position which he held continuously to the time of his death, in 1883, with the exception of one year, 1864, when he was removed for political reasons, and Jonas Kline was appointed in his place. Mr. Laury was reappointed the following year, without solicitation on his part, and accepted the office against his wishes, and in compliance with the urgent requests of his friends and neighbors. His son, A. C. P. Laury, who was his deputy for twenty years, received the appointment on his father’s death, and is now the postmaster.


In 1855 the construction of the Lehigh Valley Railroad quickened the life of Laury’s. A station was opened, and Judge Laury was appointed to take charge of the company’s interests. He served in this capacity until his death, in 1883, at which time he was the oldest agent in their employ. Mr. A. C P. Laury, who was his assistant for seventeen years, now holds the position. The railroad company has a supply-house and repair-shop here, and is now erecting a new and handsome depot.


There is here also the large ice depot, formerly owned by the Knickerbocker Ice Company, of New York, and now the property of G. F. Swift, of Chicago. Here all the West-bound cars, on which Chicago meat is brought to the Eastern markets, are replenished with ice.


There are about thirty-five dwelling-houses at Laury’s, and the population is probably two hundred at the present time.


Laury’s lies in the midst of beautiful natural scenery, and is a favorite resort of summer boarders. Immediately opposite, in the Lehigh River, lies Kimball’s Island, a favorite picnicking spot.


Rockdale is situated at the junction of Kepp’s Creek with the Lehigh River, at an old Indian fording-place. It owes its origin to the impulse given to trade along the Lehigh River by the construction of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, and was at first called The Sandbank, owing to the large quantities of excellent moulding and building sand in the neighborhood. This name was changed in 1856, at the suggestion of Robert H. Sayre, Esq., general superintendent of the railroad, to its present one of Rockdale. It was originally only a freight station, used by Christian Pretz and Stephen Balliet, who owned all of the twenty-four acres of land now occupied by the village.



 

 

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                                                                                                                                        This station building was erected for Pretz and Balliet by Mr. Eli Lentz, now of Allentown, Pa., and is not yet owned by the railroad company. Mr. Lentz also built the first hotel at Rockdale in 1856, of which he was the landlord for five years. Nearly every other building in the village is also the work of his hands, including the saw-mill above, which was formerly owned by Stephen Balliet, but afterwards became the property of Mr. Lentz.


In the spring of 1871 a post-office was established here, with Alfred Long as postmaster, in which office he has continued since.

 

In this connection it may not be out of place to speak of two discoveries made by Mr. Lentz during his residence at Rockdale, which, at the time, excited wide-spread comment, and awakened the liveliest curiosity. The first was as follows: In 1856, the year in which he moved to Rockdale, he and a laborer by the name of John Frederick were engaged in elevating a coal-bank, which lay so low as to be frequently flooded by the river. While digging into the side of the sloping bank of the creek, about sixty yards from the river shore, Mr. Lentz’s companion struck and turned up a coin with his pickaxe. This proved to be the top one of a pile of nineteen coins buried about two feet beneath the
surface. They were round and as large as a Bland dollar, and about as thick as a silver half-dollar. The substance appeared neither like gold nor silver, and gave out a clearer, more ringing sound than either of those metals. The spot where they were found was thickly overgrown with old beds of bushes, with tangled roots, and about eight feet south of it stood a large licorice-tree. No remains of any box or covering could be found about the coin, and they seemed to have been placed in the ground by design, just as found. Upon the coins, all of which were exactly similar in appearance, appeared inscriptions in what seemed to be Chaldaic characters. Much speculation was indulged in as to what they were, and how they came to be deposited there, but no one was found who could read the inscriptions. There was a great demand for them, and Mr. Lentz presented all of them except one to friends, among them Governor Asa Packer, Mr. Christian Pretz, and Hon. Henry King. The latter sent his to a distinguished Jewish rabbi, and it was returned with the information that they were a coin used by some nation contemporaneous with the second Hebrew king, about two thousand four hundred years before the birth of Christ. The last one of the coins Mr. Lentz had in
his possession for eighteen years. He then intrusted it to a gentleman for the purpose of sending it to a Philadelphia numismatist, and it was lost. Lately Mr. Lentz has obtained another of the coins from the late Christian Pretz, who, it seems, had received two of them.


About three months after the above discovery Mr. Lentz made a second one, abut sixteen feet from the spot where the money was found. It happened in this wise. Mr. Thomas Ruch was taking away coal with a four-horse team from the bank already referred to. After loading, and while driving away, the wagon-wheels sank deep into the made ground of the bank, which was, besides, soft from recent rains. One of the hind wheels turned up a stone of peculiar shape, about ten and a half inches
long and two and a half inches in thickness, the ends of which were perfectly round and smooth. At one of the ends, what had been an opening was sealed up with a solid composition made of some matter resembling crushed oyster-shells, which resisted all efforts made with a punch to pry it open. The stone was then broken into fragments on an iron rail, and at the other end, at the bottom of this composition, was found a substance, which, under the microscope, proved to be a coil of coarse,
black human hair. That the hair was designedly sealed up in this stone was clear, but for what purpose, and by whom, and whether by the same parties who deposited the coins in the vicinity, are all questions which will perhaps forever remain unsolved.


Kernsville is the smallest village in the township, and lies on the Jordan Creek close to the South Whitehall line. It was named after Peter Kern, who built a grist-mill of stone here in 1806. It contains the mill, a school-house, and seven dwelling-houses, and the population is about forty. Formerly there was a post-office, but there in none now. The store was originally opened by Owen Kern, and was discontinued for some time after he retired from business, but is now again kept by Peter Lerch.


Religious History – Union Church. – Most of the early settlers were compelled to leave their European homes because of their religious convictions, and to indulge these, became one of their first cares on establishing themselves in the land of their adoption. The earliest inhabitants of what is now North Whitehall, including those of contiguous territory, seems to have been mostly of the Reformed faith, although it is true there were some holding to the faith of Luther. The early history of Union Church, or Schlosser’s, as it was early called, is involved in considerable obscurity; and there are no written records to throw light upon it. In the very early times the settlers attended services, which were held at private dwellings or in the school-houses, and often consisted only of prayer, singing, and reading of Scripture. After their number increased somewhat, those of the Lutheran faith began attending services at the churches that were nearest, such as Jordan and Heidelberg, where such pastors as Revs. Justus Jacob Bergenstock, Schumacher, Dheil, Geisenhainer, and others, ministered to their spiritual wants. Those of the Reformed belief, on the contrary, being greater in numbers than their Lutheran brethren, early united in forming a congregation and building a house of worship. The exact date when this was done cannot now be ascertained, but it probably happened in the decade beginning with 1750; for there is a record, of…



 

 

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                                                                                                                                                … date 1748, in which the Heidelberg, Jordan, and Egypt Churches are mentioned, and there is another made in the year 1764, in which mention first occurs of Schlosser’s (now Union) Church. This building, erected by the Reformed communicants, and the original of the present Unionville congregation, stood just outside the southeastern wall of the old burying-ground, was constructed of logs, and was about fifty feet in
length. It was plastered within, and contained galleries along the sides, with benches of equal height placed on the level floor, so that it was impossible for those who occupied the rear seats to see the
minister at the altar or the worshipers on the floor below. The chancel was laid with flag-stones, and altogether the structure was an improvement upon those of that day. This first building was commonly known as Schlosser’s Church, being located on land which was donated by the first of the Schlosser family.


In 1767 the congregation united with the Reformed congregation of Egypt, Jordan, and Northampton borough in purchasing six acres of land and erecting a common parsonage, at a total expense of L 52, or $345.62. This, it is supposed, stood on what is Moyer’s land, on the road from
Mechanicsville to Mickley’s Tavern, in South Whitehall.


In 1768 an application was filed in the land-office of Pennsylvania for a tract of land by Daniel Gross and Paul Balliet for the use of the Reformed congregation, although both in this application and in the patent-deed afterwards granted for the land, the congregation is denominated Presbyterian, under which name they held the land until April, 1879, when action was taken looking towards the changing of the name from Presbyterian to Reformed, as it should be; and in December,
1881, Alexander, Peter, and Moses Hollenbach were appointed a committee to have the change legally made. A deed for their lands was confirmed to the congregation on the 27th of May, 1827, in pursuance of the 7th section of an act of Assemble approved the 17th day of April, 1827, which enacts “that the officers of the land-office are hereby authorized and required to issue a patent, free of the purchase-money and fees, to Peter Romich and Christian Houseman, Sr., and their successors, in trust and for the sole use and benefit of the congregations of North Whitehall township, Lehigh Co., known by the name of Union, alias Schlosser’s Church, composed of Lutherans and Presbyterians, for a certain tract of land situate in North Whitehall township aforesaid, surveyed to them by virtue of an application dated June second, one thousand seven hundred and sixty-eight, numbered three thousand three hundred and seventy-four.” Three drafts of church lands are contained among the church records, – the first of three acres, surveyed in 1795, at the request of Michael Hoffman; the second made in 1796, at the request of Peter Romich, in which the church tract is shown to consist of eighty-seven acres and allowances; and a third was made on the 11th of
April, 1839, by Daniel Saeger, Esq., by the request of the consistory. The latter appears to be the only legal one, and on it the church land is shown to consist of ninety-four acres, eighteen perches.


On the 7th of November, 1795, the congregation then consisting wholly of Reformed members, held a meeting and decided to erect a stone church in place of the old log building. It was also resolved to invite their Lutheran neighbors to form a congregation, and unite with them in erecting the new building, which should then be held in common by both faiths. As an inducement, the Reformed members offered the Lutherans a half interest in forty acres of their lands, which tract should after
that time be held in commonalty by both, and also agreed to sell all of their lands above these forty acres, and devote the proceeds towards the expense of construction. On the 27th of May, 1796, being the occasion of the laying of the corner-stone, the Lutherans accepted these propositions, formed a separate congregation, and united with their Reformed brethren in construction the new church. None of the church lands were sold, however, the cost of construction being liquidated with
free-will contributions.

 

This second church building, at Unionville, stood in a line with the old stone school-house, still standing, and the yard of the present brick church, on ground lying between the two. It was solidly built of rough-hewn stone, with galleries running around three sides of the interior. The carpenters were Jonas Hicker, Chr. Harn, Andrew Knerr, Thomas Dodson, Jacob Herman, Jacob Harn, Jacob Mickley, Jacob Miller, John Keck, Adam Sterner, Jacob Wehr. The building was completed in the
following year (1797), and since that time has, together with the church lands and other temporalities of the former Reformed congregation, been held and owned in common by the members of the Reformed and Lutheran congregations of this vicinity, each, however, being perfectly free to worship after its own fashion, and holding divine services on alternate Sundays. From this date the church and congregation have been known as the Union church, although among the people it was also called the Grund-Eichel Kirche, or Scrub-Oak Church, owing to the large quantity of scrub-oak and low timber growing around the building.


The stone building served all the purposes of the united congregations until the 11th of February, 1871, when they resolved to erect a new and substantial brick building, fifty feet in front and eighty feet in depth. It was found, however, a task of no small importance to tear down the old stone church. So solid was the masonry, and so thick were the walls, that it required the use of blasting-powder and the united efforts of a large crowd of people, who had collected by invitation from
the neighborhood and even from distant parts of the township, to overthrow the walls. The timbers were found in part still sound …



 

 

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                                                            … and dry as when first laid. When the corner-stone was reached, it was found entirely empty, although many articles, besides pieces of money, had been deposited in the walnut box, with sliding lid, which was placed in the cavity of the stone, nearly a century previous. It was ascertained that it had remained uncovered and unprotected over night, when laid, and the supposition is that it was then rifled of its contents by sacrilegious thieves.


On the 28th of May, 1871, the corner-stone of the present building was laid with imposing ceremonies and in the presence of a large throng. In the corner-stone was places a zinc box, resting on a plate of heavy glass, and packed on all sides with powdered charcoal and plaster of Paris. In it were placed church records, books of worship, silver and copper coins, and other mementoes of members of the congregations, and the whole covered with a second plate of heavy glass.


The new building is of brick, and is handsomely finished within and without. It has a spire one hundred and sixty-five feet in height, in which hangs a bell of about two thousand pounds weight. Around the three sides extend galleries, and a basement room lies under the whole, used for Sunday- and singing-school purposes. In appearance it resembles a city church, and its equal will hardly be found anywhere in any country parish in Eastern Pennsylvania. Spacious grounds inclose it on all
sides, and a forest of noble pine protects it from northern blasts.


The new building was dedicated to the service of God on Whitsuntide, 1872, with impressive ceremonies, conducted by Rev. Dr. Notz, Rev. E. Boner, and Rev. A. R. Horne, Lutheran ministers; and Rev. Drs. Bomberger and Gerhard, Reformed ministers.


It is enjoyed by both congregations under certain additions to the church constitution, proposed at a meeting of the church councils on the 11th of February, 1871, and formally adopted by the congregations on the 25th of February following. They were as follows: “The present church shall be for the exclusive use of the Reformed and Lutheran congregations. As long as one single member of either of these denominations remains faithful to its doctrines and practices, the church property cannot pass out of his hands.” These additional rules were signed by the church councils, consisting of William Gernert, Moses Hollenbach, Hilarius Kennel, and Peter Gross, elders; and Tilghman
Samuel, Thomas Casey, Tilghman F. Schneck, Stephen Deibert, David Hensinger, Lewis Clauser, Alexander Peter, deacons.


The building committee consisted of Benjamin Lemuel and Emanuel Krause from the Lutherans, and Elias Hoffman and Aaron Balliet from the Reformed. The cost of erecting the present building was about thirty-four thousand dollars, and was paid, in part, with labor, collections, and free-will offerings. The remainder of the debt was paid by the levying of a tax upon the basis of the county and State rates and levies, no adult male member paying less than five dollars.


The Lutheran Church record begins with 1797, and is headed as follows: “Church Record of the Evangelical Lutheran Brethren in the Faith of the Union church in Whitehall, Northampton.” The first entry is that of the baptism of a child of Christian and Magdalene Hausman, under date of
March 5, 1797. Immediately following are the records of the baptisms in families by the names of Adams, Helffrich, Seiss, Deibert, Mosser, Fenstermacher, Walb, Semmel, Rumbel, etc. In 1806 there were ninety-three communicants on the Lutheran side, and in 1821 twenty-one catechumens, by the names of Mosser, Miller, Laury, Semmel, Seiss, Scheirer, Jacobs, Deibert, Housman, Zellner, and Herbster, were confirmed.


The very early records of the Reformed congregation were placed in the corner-stone of the second church, and when that was opened, had disappeared, together with the rest of its contents. Nearly everything, therefore, that can be told of its early history has been transmitted by oral tradition, and not much can be stated with certainty, except that in point of numbers the Reformed congregation has always been stronger than the Lutheran, and it maintains its lead at the present day. In 1808
the Lutherans had 68 communicants, the Reformed more than twice that number. In 1858 the latter had 309 communicants, while the Lutherans numbered a little more than half as many. In 1872 there were 264 heads of families of the Reformed faith and 155 of the Lutheran, or, altogether, 419. In 1874 the Reformed had communing members to the number of 615, while the Lutherans had 419; the former had 330 contributing members and the latter 225. In 1881 the number of Reformed
communicants was 650, of Lutherans, 450, and of Reformed contributing members was 335, of Lutherans, 250. The present strength of the congregation is 1076, composed of 622 Reformed communicants and of 454 Lutheran.


The Reformed Pastors. - The first record of these begins on the 20th of December, 1764, with Rev. Johann Daniel Gross, who served until Feb. 17, 1771, when Rev. Abraham Blumer took his place, and ministered till the 10th of May, 1801. On the 18th of October following Rev. Johann Gobrecht began his ministry here, and continued in it till the 13th of February, 1831. He was succeeded by the Rev. Joseph S. Dubbs, D.D., who served from the 21st of July, 1831, till 1866. In the latter year Rev. E. J.
Fogel was elected the pastor. He began the duties of his office on the 1st of January, 1867, and continues faithfully in them to this date.


The Lutheran Pastors. - The Lutherans of the earliest time not having a separate organization at Unionville were included in the Moselm charge, which in 1762 was under the care of the Rev. John H. Schaum. Between 1769 and 1772, the Rev. John George Jung became the pastor of this
charge, and between 1779 …



 

 

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                                                 … and 1782 the licentiate Franz was the minister. He was succeeded in 1785 by the Rev. Henry Schellhard, and the latter in 1791 by Rev. Caspar Diehl, who with Revs. Geisenhainer and Schumacher served till 1808. During their ministry the Lutheran congregation attained a separate organization at Unionville at the time of the construction of the second church. Revs. Doering and Wartman served the congregation up to June, 1837, when Rev. Jeremiah Schindel began his ministry, continuing to serve for a period of twenty-one years. In the spring of 1859, Rev.
Thomas Steck became the pastor and preached till the close of 1866. At the beginning of his pastorate the Lutheran congregations of Union, Heidelberg, Friedens, and Egypt Churches united in purchasing a parsonage at Schnecksville, and in the spring of 1867 Rev. J. S. Reninger, the present pastor, began his service for the congregation.


The present church consistory is composed of the following on the Lutheran side: Manoah Hausman and Stephen Deibert, elders; and Levi Helffrich, John Schneck, Oliver Semmel, and Lewis Hausman, deacons; and on the Reformed side, Frank P. Mickley and William Kennel, elders; and William Reber, Francis Peter, Charles Wootring, and Willoughby Hoffman, deacons.


The congregations possess a large pipe-organ, which was originally purchased in 1821, and formerly stood in the old stone church. When that building was torn down, it was removed and repaired and two registers added; it was then placed in the present church, and rededicated with it in 1872.


Thirty-eight years ago (1846) a Sunday-school was begun at Union Church by the late Rev. S. K. Brobst, Peter Gross, Esq., and others, which has remained in full life ever since. For the past thirty years it has been under the superintendence of Mr. E. D. Rhoads, the organist of the church.


Many of the earliest settlers buried their dead on their farms, where their remains now rest, unmarked by any stone, upon spots undiscoverable at present. After the organization of Egypt and Union churches nearly all the interments took place on one or the other of the burying-places
provided by these two congregations. The first burial-ground lay to the rear and side of the old log church, and comprised the area occupied by what is now known as the old cemetery. The latter lies on the side of the road opposite to the present church building, and is inclosed with a low stone wall. The inscriptions upon many of the old headstones, which were often at first of comparatively soft stones and later of slate, have yielded to the influence of wind and weather, and are now partially
or wholly undecipherable. The oldest legible one on the ground it that of Follatin (Valentine) Remeli, 1770. On the 18th of May, 1866, the two congregations decided to lay out a new cemetery upon the church lands, and on the 9th of November following, rules for the regulation of the same was adopted. The present burial-ground contains an area of two acres of land in the rear of the church, and was dedicated with appropriate ceremonies by Rev. Jacob Schindel and Noah Strassburger. It
is finely located and systematically arranged. Many beautiful shafts of marble already mark the resting-places of departed worshipers.


During the past year (1883) the congregations erected upon the church land a commodious barn. This is used for storing the hay and crops raised upon the glebe, the use of which, together with the old stone school-house, is enjoyed under a lease from the congregations by the schoolmaster and organist, Mr. Rhoads. The cost of erecting the barn has been fully paid, and the Union church presents the commendable example of a community of Christian workers, owning large possessions entirely free from debt.


St. John’s Church, at Laury’s. – For several years previous to 1872, Rev. J. S. Reninger preached occasionally both to the Lutherans and Reformed of Laury’s and the vicinity, and during 1871 he began holding services both in German and English regularly. His labors were fully appreciated by those under his ministrations, and on Christmas of that year they presented him with a substantial token of their esteem and love. Rev. S. A. Leinbach had also begun, about May, 1869, to hold services both in German and English in the school-house at Laury’s, and continued to hold them every four weeks.


Most of the members belonged either to the Reformed or Lutheran congregations of Union and Egypt Churches, but their desire to have a more convenient places of worship became so strong, and their numbers increased so much that it was resolved to form a separate church, and to that end Hon. David Laury and Mr. David Scheirer were appointed a committee to draft a plan of organization and a constitution. This draft was submitted to the members in February, 1872, and unanimously adopted, and an organization effected on the 12th of May, 1872, with Rev. S. A.
Leinbach as the Reformed, and Rev. J. S. Reninger as the Lutheran pastor. The first Church Council consisted of Jacob D. Miller, Henry Heffelfinger, Reformed elders Charles Loeser and Reuben Yantz, Lutheran elders; and of Moses Newhard, Thomas Newhard, David Scheirer, and Samuel Heiney, Reformed deacons; and Jacob B. Mauser, Thomas Schaffer, Samuel Shoch, and Eli Schomacher, Lutheran deacons.


Jacob Miller, Samuel Miller, and Moses Newhard each offered the two acres of land from their farms, which were desired by the association for church lands. That of Jacob Miller was finally accepted, after due consideration, and thus it happens that this church is sometimes called Miller’s Church.


It was decided to erect a church building at once, and a building committee was appointed, consisting of Joseph Roth and Joseph Peter from the Reformed side, and William J. Keck and David Laury from the …



 

 

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                           … Lutheran. On the 23d of June, 1872, the cornerstone was laid with appropriate ceremonies, conducted by Revs. William Notz and Noah Strassburger, assisted by the pastors, Revs. Leinbach and Reninger. The church was finished in the following year, and on the 13th and 14th days of September, 1873, was dedicated to the service of God by Revs. L. Groh, J. B. Fox, and J. S. Reninger, Lutheran ministers, and Revs. Thomas Leinbach, A. J. G. Dubbs, and S. A. Leinbach, Reformed ministers. The collections amounted to $175.08.


The church is of frame, forty feet in width by sixty in depth, and has a basement and steeple. It is painted white, and, standing on a commanding eminence, resembles a shining ark of refuge for the weary and sin-laden. The contract for its construction was awarded to Tilghman Zellner, and the cost of the construction was about six thousand dollars.


The congregation numbers about one hundred and sixty members, evenly divided between Lutherans and Reformed.


Rev. Reninger is still the Lutheran pastor. Rev. Leinbach resigned his office as Reformed pastor on the 10th of November, 1883, the resignation to take effect on the 1st of January, 1884. On the latter day he was succeeded in the office by Rev. William R. Hofford, of Allentown, Pa.


The church council consisted at present of Henry Heffelfinger and Samuel Miller, Reformed elders; J. B. Mauser, Lutheran elder; Moses Newhard and Henry Broder, Reformed deacons; and A. C. P. Loury, Calvin F. Keck, and August H. Eichler, Lutheran deacons. The trustees are David Swartz
(Reformed) and Adam Anthony (Lutheran). Mr. David Scheirer has been the choir-leader since May, 1879.


A cemetery was laid out immediately after the purchase of the church lands, and rules for its regulation were adopted by the congregation in the spring of 1872.


In 1838, the Hon. David Laury and Robert McDowell (both now deceased) established a Sunday-school, which held its meetings in the school-house, near Laury’s, and, which was known as the “Slate-Quarry Sunday-school.” The exercises were at first conducted entirely in English, but later in English and German. It was the first Sunday-school projected in Lehigh County outside of Allentown. After the completion of St. John’s Church the meeting-place was transferred to the basement of the latter building, and there the meetings have since been held. Judge Laury was the superintendent up to the time of his death, in 1883.


Preaching Station at Ironton. – A preaching station was established early in the fall of 1867. Services were held regularly the first Sabbath-days of each month in the old school-house, near Ballietsville, by the Rev. Dr. J. W. Wood and Rev. Richard Walker, then Presbyterian ministers at Allentown, Pa., both now deceased. This place of meeting was only temporary, and about the 1st of January, 1868, soon after the public school buildings at Ironton were completed, the services began to be held there, and have been held in them ever since. About the 1st of April, 1868, Rev. Richard Walker began preaching, coming regularly on the third Sabbath of every month, and continued in this service for our years, when he was succeeded by Rev. J. A. Little, of Hokendauqua, Pa. Dr. Wood continued in his labors here until about the 1st of October, 1876, when he was also succeeded by Rev. Mr. Little. Since that time the latter has held services here regularly on the first and third Sabbath
afternoons of every month. The salaries of these pastors have always been paid out of the treasury of the Ironton Railroad Company. In the month of March, 1876, the Rev. S. A. Leinbach, of Coplay, Pa., began preaching here, and continued to do so until Jan. 1, 1884. He preached once a month, and received fifty dollars a year for his services, which sum was raised by subscription.


No church organization has been attempted. The worshipers are members of congregations of different faiths. The services are not sectarian. No denominational books are used, the lessons being drawn directly from the Bible. Communion services are not held, and there is no interference with the pastors of neighboring churches. The faithful labors of Rev. Little, as well as those of Rev. Leinbach, are bearing rich fruit in increased membership and more living interests. Among the prominent workers both in the meetings and the Sunday-school are Mr. William Andrews, of the Presbyterian Church of Allentown; Mr. P. Frank Brown, of Egypt Reformed; and Mr. Walter M. Kuhns, of Jordan Lutheran. Of the original leading spirits in the work, Capt. Joseph Andrews
(Presbyterian), Mrs. William Andrews (Presbyterian), and Mrs. P. Frank Brown (German Reformed), have (besides Dr. Wood and Rev. Walker) departed to a better home, while John G. Wink (Evangelical) and Dr. J. N. E. Shoemaker have moved away.


About the same time with the preaching station, the Union Sunday-school was organized, being so called by reason of the uniting of members of different churches for the purpose of organizing. Many in the neighborhood were opposed to the project at the beginning, but despite their opposition the work was successfully begun on the second Sunday of January, 1868, with J. Calvin Welling as superintendent. He was the prime mover in this labor of love, and in his efforts was ably seconded
by those named above. He was then a clerk in the railroad office at Ironton, and now resides at Chicago, Ill., holding a responsible position with the Illinois Central Railway. He held the office of
superintendent for two years, and was succeeded by G. G. Roney for a half year. Mr. William Andrews then held the office for one and a half years, and was succeeded by Mr. George Spence, who served for six months. Mr. …



 

 

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                                                 … P. F. Brown was then elected, and has served continuously from that time to this, a period of eleven and a half years. To his activity and faithfulness are due much of the present prosperity of the school. The average attendance each Sabbath from the opening to the present time has been sixty-five. The roll now numbers one hundred and twenty, and the school is in a flourishing condition. Denominational books are not touched, the Bible and the publications of the American Sunday-School Union alone being used. The pastors have always assisted in the work.
The present organist is Mr. Alfred Kuhns, a member of Jordan Lutheran congregation.


The amount of good that this preaching station and Sunday-school have done for the people of Ironton and the vicinity is incalculable.

 

St. Patrick’s, at Ironton, takes its origin from the meetings of Catholics held at James Reilly’s house in Ironton, in March, 1863.  Monthly services were celebrated by the Rev. Father McKee, now of Philadelphia, for a period of two years, beginning with this date.  In 1865 the present chapel, which had been built by John Campbell, and had been used for some time by the Methodists, became the property of Horace Balliet, and was by him sold to the Catholics.  The church was called St. Patrick’s, in memory and honor of Patrick Dempsey and Patrick McCann, who were prominent among the original members.  Services have been held regularly by Father McKee since 1865, and later by Fathers John & Burns.  The Rev. Father McFadden has at present charge of the church.  A parish school, with a large number of pupils, is conducted in connection with the church.

 

At Schnecksville and Saegersville preaching stations have also been established. At the former place Rev. J. S. Reninger has been preaching since the spring of 1876 to meetings of members of the Union Church, held in the school-house. No organization as a congregation has yet been effected.


The United Brethren also have a small church at Schnecksville. This has taken the place of a church building which formerly stood on Henry Leh’s land. The congregation consists of about half a dozen families, and has been holding services regularly since 1872.


In the year 1852 members of the Jordan Reformed and Lutheran congregations, residing at or near Saegersville, associated themselves, under the name of the Union School and Meeting Institute, for the purpose of erecting a school-house, which should also serve as a meeting-place for holding divine services. Samuel Saeger (now deceased) and Reuben Gackenbach were appointed a building committee, and the cost of construction was defrayed by the collection of contributions. After its completion, a bell was placed in the steeple by the late Peter Sieger, of Philadelphia. After a number of years the original owners turned the property into a stock arrangement, of which the principal shares are now held by the Siegers, the Bleilers, the Metzgers, and others. No regular organization has yet been made. Rev. Joshua Derr, of Allentown, was the first pastor. He was succeeded by the Rev. Thomas Steck, and he by the Rev. O. N. Leopold, after a vacancy of several years. Rev. E. J. Fogel commenced preaching about six years ago, and still continues to do so.


The Sunday-School. – Besides the Sunday-schools at Union Church, Ironton, and Laury’s, already mentioned, others have been organized in various parts of the township. As a general rule, the meetings are held in the public school-houses. At Schnecksville a Sunday-school was organized in the spring of 1847, by Peter Gross, Esq., and Henry Rockel. It is in a flourishing condition, and is at present under the superintendence of Henry D. Gross, Esq., and Jonas Acker. Following is a list of all the Sunday-schools in the township, with the name of the superintendent, the number of scholars, and the faith which is taught:


Schnecksville, Frank Scherer, Lutheran and Reformed......................................................50
Neff’s, Richard D. Wotring, Lutheran and Reformed.........................................................70
Schnecksville, Hiram Croll, Evangelical....................................................................................
Laury’s, William S. Haas, Lutheran and Reformed.............................................................85
Laury’s, H. A. Frantz, Lutheran and Reformed...................................................................55
Neff’s (Union Church), E. D. Rhoads, Lutheran and Reformed........................................70
Schnecksville, H. D. Gross, Lutheran and Reformed...........................................................65
Ballietsville, or Ironton, F. P. Brown, Lutheran and Reformed.........................................65
Ballietsville, John Kuehner, Lutheran and Reformed.........................................................45
Schnecksville, Asa Knerr, Lutheran and Reformed............................................................55
Laury’s, Jacob Linderman, Lutheran and Reformed..........................................................45
Rockdale, E. W. Yehl, Lutheran and Reformed...................................................................45


The love of the church instilled by the original settlers into the breasts of their descendants has not died out, but, on the contrary, has increased with the passing of generations, and to-day hardly any adults can be found in the township who are not members of the Christian Church, and living in the open profession of the principles, as well as in the practices, taught by Luther and Calvin.


The Schools. –The early German and Swiss settlers came with a fair share of common-school learning, and there were but few among them who could not read and write. They recognized the advantages that instruction, even of a primary nature, would confer on their children. Hardly were
they established as a community before they resolved to erect a place of worship, and with it the school-house. This, as elsewhere, was the case in North Whitehall. The oldest school-house within the present limits of the township was the one erected at what is now Unionville, about the year 1755. It was a low building of logs, with small windows, and consequently poor light and ventilation. It stood in the meadow opposite the church building, near a walnut-tree, which is still preserved. The building was double, one side being occupied by the teacher and his family, and the other being used for school purposes. Instruction was of the most primitive description, and entirely in German. The only books used were an A, B, C, book, or primer, the Psalter, and the New Testament. Some of the teachers were educated men from Germany, but generally their qualifications for the position of teacher were of a limited degree. Besides having the …



 

 

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                                                                                                                                                                … charge of the school, the teachers were also the organists of the congregation. There may have been other schools in the township at this early date, but we have not found any record of them. This first house
at Unionville was succeeded, about 1808, by a more pretentious structure of stone, the expense of erecting which was defrayed by holding a lottery, authorized by an act of Assembly passed the 15th day of February, 1808. This was successfully conducted by a committee composed by Daniel Snyder, Frederick Hausman, Peter Kern, Michael Deiber, Stephen Balliet, and Peter Butz. Like its predecessor, it was a parochial school, and was conducted upon the same methods. It is still standing, owned by the Unionville congregation, and is now used as a residence by Mr. E. D. Rhoads, the present teacher of the public school at Unionville.


The present school-house is a brick building, and has been constructed since the passage of the school law of 1834. It stands on land owned by the congregation, devoted to this purpose. There are two schools, graded. The teachers at Unionville since the earliest times have been _____ Diehl, ______ Krout, Adam Gilbert, Yost Muckenhaupt, Daniel Koener, and John Rinker.


As already stated, German was the only language taught in all the schools up to 1816, when the first English school was established at Ballietsville. In that year the English School Society was formed, and at a meeting held on the 29th of March, Stephen Balliet was elected president, and George Deichman, Jacob Schneider, and Christian Troxell were elected managers. Peter Romich and Peter Butz were the secretaries of the meeting. It was resolved to build a house, twenty by twenty-four feet in extent, and that each of the twenty subscribers to the house deliver one short and one long log towards its construction by the 1st of May following. Besides the officers already named, the subscribers were composed of the following: Nicholas Wotring, Peter Wotring, Samuel Snyder, Abraham Jacob, Wilhelm Rinker, Nicholas Scheirer, Michael Frack, Peter Graff, Joseph Balliet, Frederick Hausman, Solomon Graff, George Frantz, Peter Rumble, and John Laury. The building was erected about one hundred yards southeast of Ballietsville, and was plastered within. Along the three walls of the interior were placed long desks, sloping up to the wall, with high benches without backs. One of these benches was occupied by the grown-up boys, another by the larger girls, and the
third by the smaller boys and girls who were just beginning to read and write. In the centre of the room, around a clumsy wood-stove, sat on two rows of benches without backs the smallest children, who had nothing but their primers to handle. Near the stove, and along the fourth side of the building, was the teacher’s desk, painted red, about five feet high, with a bench of corresponding altitude. Behind his desk, on the wall, were hung the hats, shawls, and scarfs of the scholars. In the corner stood a wooden bucket filled with water, to which the children often journeyed during the long school hours, which lasted from eight in the morning till half-pasted four or five in the afternoon, with an intermission of an hour at noon for dinner. This was generally taken by the children in the school-room, and during school hours the baskets and receptacles in which it was brought stood in a tempting row, flanking the water-bucket. The teachers were chosen by the neighbors, or sometimes began keeping school without consulting the wishes of the community in the matter at all. If the teaching of one of this latter kind was not agreeable to the parents they would not send their children, and thus effectually “freeze” out the self-constituted master
by stopping his salary. Some of the teachers were well educated, but many were nothing better than the “tramp” of the present day, who, being out of a job, opened a school for lack of other employment. The course of instruction in these early schools embraced reading, writing, spelling, and arithmetic. The books used were Comly’s “Primer and Spelling-Book,” Murray’s “Introduction to the English Reader,” “English Reader and Sequel,” Frost’s “United States History,” and “Pikes
Arithmetic.” Grammar and geography were unknown sciences. The discipline in the early schools was unnecessarily severe, and at times even cruel. School terms were seldom longer than four months, and many of the children were not sent to school longer than for one-fourth of that time. The schools were opened and closed with singing and prayer, after the good old German fashion. The exercises for each half of the day consisted of reading twice and spelling once, with writing and ciphering at their seats in the intervals by the older scholars. Little attention was paid to penmanship, writing was done with quills, and the making and mending of these was one of the principal qualifications demanded in the teacher. The teachers of the early parochial schools were paid by the parents of the pupils, but took out a great portion of their remuneration by “boarding around,” as it was called.


The English school building at Ballietsville was used till about 1865, when, upon the erection of a substantial new brick school-house on top of a hill overlooking the village, it was transformed into a
dwelling-house, and is now so used. The teachers at Ballietsville have been Dalton, Wallace, Roberts, Custis, Ellis, McCarthy, Handwerk, Donahue, Frazer, Bissing, John Barton, Peter Weida (now living at Allentown), Adolph Bocking (of Düsseldorf, Prussia), C. Williams, M.D. (of Coplay), John Clifton (of Easton), Revs. Alfred Dubs and J. H. Dubs, Bowman, Pflueger, Kluge, T. F. Emmens (at present editor of the Easton Express), Ward, Gruver, H. S. Moyer, George F. Hottel, and Wilson.


Other school-houses, generally of logs, with no pretensions to architecture, and with no regard to light or ventilation, were also erected in the early part of …



 

 

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                                                                                                            …this century at the Union Slate-Quarries, in Deibert’s Valley, at Schneckville, and near Siegersville.


The poor were often unable in the early times to send their children to the schools provided, even for the short terms they were, and we find in the accounts of the county treasurer the following credits allowed for amounts paid for the education of the poor in North Whitehall, in accordance with the provisions of the act of March 29, 1824: For the year 1828, $15.01; for 1830, $13.29; for 1833, $8.07; for 1834, $25.59; for 1835, $73.91; for 1836, $51.35; for 1836, $51.35; for 1837, $121.21; for 1838, $114.15; and for 1839, $118.05.


Previous to the enactment of the general school law of 1834 it was the custom in communities which had erected school-houses to elect, generally in the spring, trustees to take charge of the school
interests. Thus the records of the court show that on the 19th of May, 1825, no trustees having been elected in North Whitehall, the following were appointed for that purpose by the court, viz.: Peter Ruch, to serve for one year, Peter Gross, Esq., for two years, and George Scheurer, for three years. The first full board of which there is a record was composed of Dr. William Kohler, Dr. H. O. Wilson, Daniel Seager, Esq., Rev. Joseph S. Dubbs, and David Laury.


After the acceptance in the year 1843, of the provisions of the act of 1834, the schools attained a degree of prosperity and discipline they had not known before. More and better school-houses were built, until at the present time they number seventeen, all substantial buildings of brick, and mostly furnished with modern school appliances. These accommodate eight hundred and two children, who are divided among twenty schools, fourteen of which are mixed and six graded. These schools are generally named after the localities in which they are found, and follow below, with the teachers in charge during the winter of 1883-84:


                                                                                                        Teacher.
1.   Siegersville............................................................................. R. M. Henninger.
2.   Litzenberger’s, near Kern’s Mill......................................... E. G. Guth
3.   Sandy Peter’s ........................................................................ William H. Semmels
4.   Schnecksville (Primary)....................................................... Miss Anna A. Moser
5.   Schnecksville (Secondary) .................................................. Charles A. Kerschner
6.   Sand spring ........................................................................... J. George Kerschner
7.   Unionville (Primary) ........................................................... E. D. Rhoads
8.   Unionville (Secondary) ....................................................... A. M. Kline
9.   Long’s, or Renninger’s ........................................................ C. F. Koder
10. Diebert’s Valley ................................................................... H. S. Ritter
11. Rockdale ............................................................................... L. M. Beidler
12. Keck’s ................................................................................... H. D. Keck
13. Laury’s ................................................................................. A. H. Bieber
14. Model, or Kern’s ................................................................. H. A. Frantz
15. Scheidy’s .............................................................................. O. E. Kuhns
16. Ballietsville .......................................................................... J. M. Moyer
17. Ironton (Primary) ............................................................... C. E. Frantz
18. Ironton (Secondary) ........................................................... J. G. Schucker
19. Coplay Creek, or Ruchsville ............................................. C. D. Werley
20. Levan’s ................................................................................. Miss Amelia C. Wotring


The school board for the year 1883 consisted of Edwin Kuntz (president), A. W. DeLong (secretary), Willoughby Koch (treasurer), A. J. Breder, Dr. A. J. Erdman, and H. P. K. Romich.


The official records of the Court of Quarter Sessions of Lehigh show the following to have been elected school directors:


1840. –Conrad Kennel, Isaac Hermany.
1841. - Charles Waver, Simon Hankey
1842. - John Sheiver, William Lentz
1843. -Joseph Eberhard, John Miller.
1844. -1845, 1846. - No returns recorded.
1847. - David Laury, Aaron Kohler.
1848. - Stephen Groff, John Schantz.
1849. - James Newhard, Aaron Eisenhard.
1850. - Abraham Neff, David Laury.
1851. - Stephen Saeger, Paul Balliet.
1852. - A. J. G. Dubbs, Henry Rockel, Joseph Newhard, William Leisenring.
1853. - John Romig, William Leisenring, Martin Seipel, Abraham Yellis.
1854. - Paul Brown, Joseph Newhard.
1855. - E. M. Kuntz, M. Woodring, W. J. Keck, E. Kern.
1856. - Peter Hendricks, Simon Kemerer.
1857. - Reuben Saeger, Jonathan Schneck, Owen Romig.
1858. - Franklin P. Mickley, Daniel Lavan.
1859. - Moses B. Schaadt, George J. Snyder, Jr.
1860. - William J. Keck, Joseph Eberhard.
1861. - Josiah Laury, Thomas Morgan.
1862. - Francis Breinig, D. K. Wotring.
1863. - David Sheirer, L. A. G. Whartman.
1864. - Samuel Sell, Reuben Cole.
1865. - Moses Heilman, Eli Hoffman.
1866. - Samuel Miller, Edward Kohler.
1867. - Edmund Erdman, William Kistler, E. Long.
1868. - John Croll, Nathan Schneck.
1869. - Joseph Keller, William Andrews, Reuben Steckel.
1870. - S. A. Brown, John Seiberling.
1871. - Jeremiah Kuntz, Joel Gross.
1872. - Joseph Keller, A. W. DeLong, Thomas Bertsch.
1873. - Reuben Steckel, William Deibert.
1874. - Joel Clauser, Henry Romig.
1875. - Joseph Keller, Josiah Scheirer.
1876. - Hiram Balliet, George Ross.
1877. - David M. Scheirer, F. P. Brown.
1878. - William Brown, Francis P. Semmel.
1879. - Tilghman Schneck, John Houser.
1880. – A. DeLong, David Scheirer, Elias Deibert, Frank P. Brown.
1881. - Willoughby Koch, Allen Brader.
1882. - Edwin Kuhns, John Hauser.
1883. - Henry Romig, A. W. DeLong.
1884. - A. C. Laury, Dr. A. J. Erdman, Willoughby Koch, Joel Clauser.



END

 

 

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RETURN TO THE MATHEWS & HUNGERFORD

INDEX PAGE

 

 

 

From

The History of the Counties of Lehigh & Carbon, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,

By

Alfred Mathews & Austin N. Hungerford

Published in Philadelphia, Pa., in 1884

 

Transcribed from the original in winter 2006

by

Shirley Kuntz

 

 

Proofed, arranged &

web page by

Jack Sterling

May 2006