LOWER TOWAMENSING TOWNSHIP.
Pages 760 to 768
This township lies on the south border of the county, and is bounded on the south by the Blue Ridge or Kittatinny Mountains and Northampton County, on the east by Monroe County, on the north by Franklin and Towamensing townships, and on the west by Lehigh River and East Penn township.
The principal stream within its limits is the Aquashicola, which rises in Monroe County, flows easterly along the base of the Blue Ridge, and enters the Lehigh at Lehigh Gap.
The Township was set off from Towamensing with its present territories between November, 1840 and March, 1841, as in that month the name of Lower Towamensing is first found in official records of Northampton County. An effort was made in 1851 to again divide the township. Commissioners were appointed, who were to report at the March term of court. Their time was extended to September term. No further mention of the matter is in the records, and the effort failed.
Early Settlements, —The families of Boyer, Bauman or Bowman, Mehrkem, and Strohl are the only ones of the early families whose descendants are today residents of the township. A few dates gleaned from deeds and old papers, a few traditions handed down from generation to generation, are all that remain of the pioneers of the “wilderness” above the Blue Ridge. Were it not for assessment-rolls and old deeds their very names would be forgotten.
The first mention of one who settled within the present limits is in court records of Northampton County, of the October term of 1752, when Nicholas Opplinger was appointed constable. Mention is again made of him by Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to Governor Morris, dated Fort Allen, Jan 26, 1756, who says, speaking of the march of the troops from Bethlehem to Gnadenhütten, where they erected a fort, “We marched cautiously through the gap of the mountain, a very dangerous pass, and got to Uplinger’s (Opplinger), but twenty miles from Bethlehem. . . . There were no habitations on the road to shelter us until we arrived near at the house of a German, where and on his farm we were all huddled together. . . . The next day being fair we continued our march, and arrived at the desolate Gnadenhütten.”
The general impression has been entertained that Nicholas Upplinger, or Opplinger, lived on the hill above the Snyder mill, but a draft, made in 1791, shows that Upplinger had two tracts of land, one at the Gap between the tract now owned by Col. John Craig, and the Snyder mill; the other, warranted June 12, 1751, lay above Millport, and contained twenty-six acres. The tract that lies down by the Gap is on the line of the road up to Gnadenhütten (Lehighton). The draft above referred to (in possession of Col. Craig) also says, speaking of the road that passed up the river, that there was barely room for the road between the rocks and the river.
…resided near Bethlehem, and was living there in 1741, when the first house was erected at that place. At the time Franklin passed through here there was no house between the Gap and Lehighton. The Mehrkem family, if they were here at the time, were living back from the river, where they settled. The Boyer family was broken up, and nothing is known of the precise time when the Baumans and Strohls came in.
The Christian name of the Boyer who came to this township, with his wife and two of three children, before 1755, is not known. He had taken up a tract of land now owned by Josiah Arner, James Ziegenfuss, and George Kunkle. At this farm they were living in 1755, when the Indian troubles commenced. The family had gathered with other families at the place now occupied by Charles Straub, where a block-house was erected for protection. How many families, or who they were, with the exception of the Boyers, is not known. No traditions are among the Mehrkems or Baumans that their families were gathered in the block-house at the time the Boyers were there. Mrs. Nicholas D. Strohl, a granddaughter of Frederick Boyer, was brought up in her grandfather’s family, and relates that while the families were at the block-house, Mr. Boyer, one morning, went up to the farm with his son, Frederick, then thirteen years of age, and the other children, to attend to the crops. Mr. Boyer was plowing and Fred was hoeing potatoes, while the children were in the house or playing near by. Without any warning they were surprised by the appearance of Indians. Mr. Boyer first ran towards the house. Finding he could not reach it he ran for the creek, and was shot through the head as he reached the farther side. Fred had escaped to the wheat-field, but was captured and brought back. The Indians scalped his farther in his presence. They took the horses from the plow, his sisters and himself, and started for Stone Hill, in the rear of the house. After reaching the level land on the top they were joined by another party of Indians and marched northward to Canada. The sisters, in the march, were separated from their brother and were never afterwards heard from. Frederick was a prisoner with the French and Indians in Canada for five years, and was then sent to Philadelphia. Nothing was ever learned of the fate of Mrs. Boyer or of the other families who remained at the block-house.
After reaching Philadelphia, Frederick made his way to Lehigh Gap and took possession of the farm. Soon after his return he married a daughter of Conrad Mehrkem, then living in the township. They had four sons –John, George, Henry, and Andrew—and four daughters, --Mary (Mrs. Joseph Buck), Susan (Mrs. Hess), Elizabeth (Mrs. Leonard Beltz), and Catharine (Mrs. Andrew Ziegenfuss and Mrs. Lenhart). Frederick Boyer died Oct. 31, 1832, aged eighty-nine years. It is stated on his tombstone that he was born in 1732. This is evidently a mistake, as it is admitted he was but a lad when he as captured. There were no troubles with the Indians prior to 1755, when the defeat of Braddock took place and the Indians were incited to deeds of violence.
In the year 1822 the Boyer farm was divided by Frederick Boyer between the sons and Mrs. Andrew Ziegenfuss.
John Boyer, The eldest, married Elizabeth Snyder, a daughter of one of the family who lived at or near the Gap. His son Daniel resides in the township, and Jacob lives at Weissport.
George was born in 1768, and died in 1861, aged ninety-three years. He married Christiana Klein and settled on the homestead. His sons, Adam and William, live in the township, and Jacob resides in Franklin Township.
Henry married Magdalena Strohl and settled on part of the homestead. Of their sons, Henry resides at Weissport and Joseph and Reuben live in Franklin Township.
Andrew married Mary Greensweig and settled at Little Gap. Of his sons, John, the eldest, emigrated to the West, Andrew, Daniel and Frederick settled in the township, as did also Mrs. Buck, a daughter.
Andrew Ziegenfuss, with his wife, settled on that part of the homestead left her by her father. James Ziegenfuss, their son, now lives on the place.
Another daughter of Frederick married Peter Lenhart; their daughter became the wife of Nicholas D. Strohl. She is how living at an advanced age.
Conrad Mehrkem was living in the township before 1763, as in that year he was appointed constable of Towamensing. He lived in the western part of the township. In the assessment-roll of 1781 Conrad Mehrkem is assessed on real estate, and Jacob appears a single man. His sons were Jacob and Abraham. A daughter married Frederick Boyer, soon after his return form Canada in 1761. They settled on the Boyer farm.
Jacob married a Miss Smith, by whom he had two sons, Jacob and Conrad, and five daughters. One married a Nicholas Box, who owned real estate in 1781; Susan and Kate remained unmarried; Mary became the wife of Mr. Heimbach.
Jacob settled at or near Little Gap, where he died, leaving a widow and children. Christian Mehrkem, living on the old farm, is a son of Jacob.
Conrad, a son of Jacob, and brother of Jacob, married Christina Greensweig, daughter of David Greensweig, and settled on the old place. He died at the age of seventy-eight years. His widow, now ninety-two years of age, is living at Bowmansville. Adam Mehrkem, of Millport, is a son
Gottfried Greensweig was a resident of the township before 1781. His sons were Jonas, Henry, David, Tobias, Gottfried, and Jonathan. With the exception of Jonathan, who emigrated to the West, they all settled in this and adjoining townships. Mrs. Conrad Mehrkem and John Greensweig, father of Benjamin…
…Greensweig, of Towamensing, were children of David Greensweig.
The first of the family of Strohl of which anything definite has been obtained is the appointment of Peter Strohl as constable of Towamensing in 1764. On the 30th of October 1765, Peter Strohl took out a warrant for two hundred and forty-six acres of land, now owned by Reuben Ziegenfuss, Oscar Kern, Jeremiah Kern, Levi Straub, Wilson Mushlitz, John Craig, and the congregation of St. John’s Lutheran and German Reformed Church. In 1781, the names of Peter, Michael, Elizabeth, and Daniel Strohl appear on the assessment roll as owning real estate. Nicholas Strohl, who died in 1875, at seventy-four years of age, was the father of thirty children, twenty-three of whom were living at the time.
Very soon after 1781 two brothers, Jacob and Nicholas Snyder, came into possession of three hundred and ten acres of land on the mineral spring laid down in Scull’s map of 1759.1 The mill on the creek, a short distance above the mouth of the creek, was built by them, and is now owned by Solomon Snyder.
In 1806 the property was surveyed, and the mineral spring was analyzed by Thomas E. James, of the University of Pennsylvania. He made a report of its waters February 24th of that year, and later Alexander Boyd, a coal operator of Philadelphia, certified that he had known of the spring and its healing qualities for many years.
Bath-houses were erected, and it was used as a summer resort, but for only a short time.
On the 19th of November. 1807, a deed of partition was made by the brothers, Nicholas and Jacob, and the land was divided. Jacob married the daughter of Henry Bauman, and in the division took the property on the creek, including the mill, and lived at the mill and kept it until his death, in 1813, aged fifty-three years. He left seven children,--Daniel, Mary C. (Mrs. John Kuntz), Jacob, John, Stephen, Simon, and Solomon.
Daniel, the eldest, was born in 1794, and emigrated to the West. Jacob married a daughter of Henry Bauman, lived at the mill about thirty years, and moved farther up the road, where he built a stone house. He became interested in the Evangelical Association, was prominent in the organization of the society, and building of the church in 1844. He became a local preacher in the Association, and later in life moved to Parryville, where he died. Stephen now resides at Parryville. Solomon, the youngest son, owns the mill property and lives there.
The spring property was bought by James Rutherford of Stephen Snyder. Nicholas Snyder, who has a portion of the property, bought from his brother’s three sons, --Peter, Nicholas, and Jacob. Nicholas and Jacob removed to Crawford County, Pa.; Peter settled here, and had children, none of whom are in the township. Lewis, a grandson of Peter, resides in Bethlehem.
The date of settlement of the Baumans is unknown.
Honstetter Bauman is a name found in an old draft as owning land that in 1791 belonged to Bernard Bauman. In 1781 the name of Henry Bauman appears. On the 22nd of May, 1788, Bernard Barman took a warrant for one hundred acres of land at Lehigh Gap. On the 18th of November, 1808, he sold thirty acres of the tract to Joseph Bauman, who built the stone tavern at the Gap, and lived there until 1814, and on the 15th of March in that year he sold it to Thomas Craig, in whose possession and that of his descendants it has been retained to the present.
In an old draft it is mentioned that the Snyders were in possession of this tract, but it does not appear that they warranted the tract.
Nothing is known of who were the descendants of Honstetter, Bernard or Joseph Bauman. Henry Bauman, supposed to be a brother of Bernard, had two sons, John D. and Henry Bowman.
John D. Bowman Settled at what is now Bowmansville, and in 1808 built the stone hotel. He built the road along the river in 1808, when the Lehigh and Susquehanna turnpike was put through. He kept the hotel at this place, and died here. He had eight sons, --Jacob, John, Jonas, David, Henry, Peter, Dennis, and Josiah.
Jacob settled at Millport, John and Dennis at Parryville, Jonas, David, and Peter at Mahanoy City, and Henry and Josiah at Bowmansville.
Of the daughters of John D. Bowman, Kate married Jonas Peter, and settled in Heidelberg; Susanna became the wife of Jonas Andreas, of East Penn township; Sarah married Daniel Kieper, of Allentown; and Rebecca, James Dinkey, of Easton.
Henry Bowman, the brother John D., settled at what was known as Hassertville, and owned land on the other side of the river, opposite where his son Joseph now lives. Daniel, Adam, William, and Joseph are sons of Henry. Of the daughters of Henry, Sarah married Reuben Hagenbuch, who kept hotel for many years at Lehighton, and later kept the lock at Bowmansville. Susanna married ____ Berlin, who kept tavern near Kresgeville. Another married a Mr. Butler, of Nesquehoning. Rachel became Mrs. Jonathan Haintz, of East Penn. Mary married August Lehr, who for some years kept a tavern at Hassertsville, and Rebecca married Dr. Yarrington, of Easton.
In the year 1806, George Ziegenfuss, a miller by trade, came to Aquashicola Creek and built there a mill, around which grew up the village of Millport. He lived at the place the remainder of his days, and left seven sons, --John, Daniel, George, David, Simon, Charles, and Samuel.
John remained on the farm at Millport, and died in 1869. Daniel located in Philadelphia, and later…
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…went to Mexico. Samuel became connected with the Ashland Forge and Furnace, under Joseph J. Albright, and remained there till 1872, the former having been long discontinued. From that time Samuel Ziegenfuss has resided in Millport. The other sons of George Ziegenfuss went to other parts.
Early Roads. —The first road in the territory now Lower Towamensing was from Bethlehem to Gnaden-hütten, the mission of the Moravians, at what is now Lehighton.
The route on which this road was laid out in 1747 was first traveled by Count Zinzendorf in 1742, when he and his party held a treaty with the Indians, at what four years later became Gnadenhütten. This road was used by the Moravians until the destruction of the mission, in 1755. I t was traveled by Franklin and his troops on their way to build Fort Allen, in January, 1756, and used as a military road from that time to 1761. No mention is made of its use for twenty years after. The route originally ran along the bank of the river, but from time to time it has been changed in places to higher ground and a better road-bed. It became a part of the line, in 1806, of what was known as the Lehigh and Susquehanna turnpike, or the road from Easton to Berwick. About 1790 a road was laid out up the valley of the Aquashicola Creek, which is still in use.
Clarissa Forge and Furnace (later Ashland). —David Heimbach, owner of Hampton Furnace, Lehigh County, and his son, David, erected a forge between 1817-20 on the Aquashicola Creek, about a mile northeast from Little Gap, on property now owned by Samuel Ziegenfuss.
Pig-Iron was brought from Oley, Berks Co. Charles Belfort, now living at Parryville, remembers when his father was an assistant at the building of the race and dam for the forge, and he himself worked at the forge in 1830. In 1827, David Heimbach, the younger, erected a furnace near the forge, which he named “Clarissa” in honor of his wife. Ores were brought from Whitehall by boat to Lehigh Gap, and thence six miles to the furnace. The furnace was eight feet in the bosh. John Bachman, a brother-in-law of Heimbach, was superintendent. In the next year, 1834, David and John Heimbach (of the “New Hampton” Furnace, later the “Maria”) attended the funeral of their father in Allentown, where he had lived, and shortly after their return were taken with typhoid fever, from which they both died. David at night and John the next morning. Whether the furnace was continued by the estate is not known, but on the 26th of January, 1837, the property was purchased by Joseph J. Albright, Samuel P. Templeton, and Jacob Rice, ironmasters. Mr. Albright had been assistant manager of the “Oxford” Furnace, New Jersey, form 1831 to 1834, and manager of the “Catharine” Furnace, at Easton, Pa., from 1824 to 1837. While he was in connection with the “Catharine” Furnace he learned through the Journal of the Franklin Institute the discovery of the hot-blast by Mr. Crane, of Wales. The idea struck him as favorable, and with William Henry, then carrying on the “Oxford” Furnace, New Jersey, at their own expense, introduced the hot-blast at the Oxford Furnace, which, however, proved a failure. Mr. Albright then made designs for pipes, which were cast by Banetz & Gangwere, of Easton, which were used in the “Catharine” Furnace with good results, and were continued until the works were abandoned. Mr. Albright took the management of the “Clarissa” Furnace and Forges upon its purchase. He being a strong Henry Clay Whig, changed the name form Clarissa to “Ashland Iron-Works.”
They were worked successfully until January, 1841, when the works were entirely washed away by the flood of that year.
This disaster, through so great, did not deter them from again endeavoring to carry on business at that place. The furnace was not again rebuilt, but in one year from its destruction the forge was rebuilt with enlarged capacity. It was scarcely completed when its was partially destroyed by fire, and again repaired and work resumed, and was conducted by him till 1851, when Mr. Albright was called to take the management of the coal-mines of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Company, and the furnace passed into other hands, and later to Cooper & Hewett, and closed about 1860. Samuel Ziegenfuss, the present owner of the property, was clerk at the forge in 1856. At that time ten men were employed in the forge and ten others in connection. Four fires were used in drawing iron, and one on blooms.
In 1844, Mr. Albright, in connection with Hon. H .D. Maxwell and Samuel Sherrard, purchased a large tract of land near Natural Bridge, Va., on which were furnaces. This venture was not successful, and he returned in 1849 to the Ashland Iron-Works, which had not, however, ceased work.
The following are the names and occupations of those who appear on the assessment-roll of Lower Towamensing in 1843-44:
John D. Baumann, Tavern-keeper.
Nathaniel Anthony, forgeman, 100 acres.
Joseph J. Albight, merchant, 519 acres, forge and steel-factory and saw-mill.
John Anthony, Jr. saw-mill
Benjamin Andreas, tailor.
Jonas Arner, carpenter
Enos Alan Carter.
Joseph Bock, farmer, 115 acres.
Simon Brown, 86 acres.
Daniel Blose, farmer, 29 acres.
Adam Brown, 50 acres.
John Balliet, 14 acres, tailor.
George Boyer, 29 acres.
Henry Bauman, lawyer, 29 acres.
John Boyer, farmer, 29 acres.
John A. Boyer, farmer, 43 acres.
Dennis Bauman, surveyor.
John D Bauman, innkeeper, 600 acres and a saw-mill.
Jacob Brown, Carpenter.
Henry Boyer, Farmer, 111 acres.
Jacob Boyer, farmer, 45 acres.
Samuel Behler, farmer, 74 acres.
Bohler & Strohl, 100 acres.
John Betty, Jr., tanner.
Boltz & Strohl, 100 acres.
Jonas Bock, blacksmith, 132 acres.
Daniel Boyer, farmer, 180 acres.
David Boyer, carpenter, 71 acres.
Adam Boyer, Tanner.
Andrew Boyer, tailor, 60 acres.
Andrew Boyer, farmer, 158 acres, saw-mill and thrashing-machine.
Francis Beltz, 41 acres.
Daniel Boyer, blacksmith, 50 acres.
Daniel Beltz, farmer, 29 acres.
William Boyer, farmer.
Jacob Boyer, carpenter.
William Baily, cordwainer, 68 acres.
Joseph Bauman, Farmer 160 acres.
David Bauer, saddler.
Michael Broat, carpenter.
Thomas Craig, merchant, 516 acres, postmaster.
Edwin Deemer, carpenter.
Charles Deterline, carter.
Merrit Derries, forgeman.
John Esch, Boat-bulider.
Peter Erhelman, boatman.
George Frantz, farmer, 180 acres and saw-mill.
John Fuss, cordwainer, 56 acres.
David Greenzweiz, farmer, 73 acres, cordwainer.
Nicholas George, cordwainer.
Henry George, farmer, 149 acres.
Peter George, farmer, 400 acres and saw-mill.
John Greenzweiz, farmer, 234 acres.
David Griffith, 20 acres.
Tobias Greenzweiz, forgeman.
James Greenzweiz, farmer, 86 acres.
George Greenzweiz, farmer, 160 acres.
Jacob Gresard, doctor.
Jacob Hauk, weaver, 41 acres.
Abraham Harleman, farmer, 194 acres.
Andrew Hummel, farmer, 131 acres.
Abraham Huebner, farmer, 100 acres.
Joseph Hahn, blacksmith, 82 acres.
Kelchner & Ziegenfuss, 29 acres.
John Kelchner, 56 acres.
John Klim, carter.
Samuel Klim, gentleman.
George Klein, and John and T. Craig, 28 acres.
Lewis Kleintob, weaver.
Levi Kern, farmer, 102 acres.
Charles Klotz, blacksmith, 211 acres.
Henry Kech, woodchopper.
Adam Kunkel, farmer, 115 acres.
George Kean, Boat-bulider.
Nicholas and Matthias Krill, forgemen.
Thomas Knabenberger, blacksmith.
George Kast, doctor.
Henry Kostenbader, miller.
Joseph Krum, cask-maker.
Jacob Huntzman, cordwainer.
Janes & Kostenbader, 84 acres and grist-mill
Abraham Luckas, farmer, 45 acres.
Alexander Lintz, merchant.
George B. Linderman, blacksmith.
Reuben Leah, clerk.
Conrad Mehrkem, farmer, 138 acres.
Jacob Mehrkem, 148 acres.
Charles Mendem, saddler.
Andrew Olewine, 17 acres.
John Olewine, 38 acres.
Caspar Ort, mason.
Jonas Peltz, blacksmith.
Abraham Prutzman, farmer, 126 acres.
Henry Remely, farmer, 24 acres.
Willen Rinker, boatman.
Michael Remely, cordwainer, 26 acres.
Jacob Rehrig, lock-tender.
John B. Reicherderfer, blacksmith
David Sander, 20 acres.
Adam Strohl, carpenter, 15 acres.
David Shafer, carpenter, 31 acres.
Paul Sheibly, weaver, 25 acres.
Nicholas P. Strohl, farmer.
Jacob Smith, farmer, 106 acres.
Simon Snyder, farmer, 106 acres.
Jacob Snyder, miller, 166 acres, grist-and saw-mill.
Stephen Snyder, farmer, 320 acres.
Thomas Strauss, farmer.
Peter Snyder, farmer, 267 acres.
George Strohl, 125 acres.
Nicholas D. Strohl, weaver, 100 acres.
Thomas Snyder, tanner, 26 acres, tan-yard and bark-mill.
Solomon Snyder, farmer, 224 acres.
David Straup, farmer, 96 acres.
Adam Shearer, farmer, 60 acres.
Cornelius Snyder, gentleman.
Jacob Shearer, farmer, 179 acres.
Charles Simpson, carpenter.
John Smith, teacher.
Jacob Strassberger, mason, 26 acres.
Wendel Schwartz, farmer, 125 acres.
Smith & Richards, 192 acres, non-resident.
Smith & Caldwell, 1100 acres, non-resident.
Peter Stern, 65 acres, non-resident.
Melchoir Smith, mason 20 acres.
George Santee, farmer, 100 acres.
Charles Straup, carpenter.
Benjamin Snyder, carpenter.
Daniel Snyder, blacksmith.
Peter Saunders, carter.
Lewis Sellers, clerk.
Monroe Snyder, farmer.
William Wingert, forgeman.
John Walp, cordwainer.
George Walch, farmer, 60 acres.
Zebulon Yarington, superintendent.
Jacob Young, blacksmith.
David Younker, wheelwright.
Jacob Zerly Collier.
Andrew Ziegenfuss, farmer, 288 acres.
George Ziegenfuss, teacher, 93 acres.
John and Junkin Ziegenfuss, 64 acres, grist-mill.
John E. Ziegenfuss, blacksmith.
Jacob Zink, cordwainer.
James Ziegenfuss, blacksmith.
St. John’s Congregation, —This congregation is a union of Lutheran and German Reformed Churches. It was organized on the 12th of February, 1798, and on that day the society agreed to buy six acres of land of Michael Strohl, for which they were to pay twelve pounds.
On the 6th of February, 1799, the society convened and elected officers. Of the Lutherans, John Solt was chosen trustee, Jost Bowman, John Kline, Sr. and Peter Solt were elected deacons. Of the German Reformed, Nicholas Kern was elected Trustee, and Nicholas Snyder, Peter Stine, and Jost Dreisbach were chosen deacons, and Nicholas Kern treasure of both congregations.
At this meeting preparations were commenced for the election of a church edifice. The contract for the carpenter-work was given to Nicholas Bachman for twenty-five pounds. It was to be built of hewed logs, pine and oak. The corner-stone was laid on the 12th day of June, 1799, by the Rev. John Caspar Bill of the German Reformed. This church ten years later was weatherboarded, and prior to this time was used without a stove.
The Rev. John H Helffrich was succeeded April 7, 1811 by the Rev. Frederick W. Mendson, who served till 1852. In addition to this charge Mr. Mendson had the care of the following churches:
Zion’s Church, Allen township, July 1, 1810, to June 15, 1852.
St. Paul’s in Lehigh township, July 8, 1810, to June 6, 1852.
Salem, in Moore township, July 15, 1810, to July 18, 1852.
Egypt, in Whitehall township, July 22, 1810, to July 18, 1852.
The First and Second Chestnut Hill congregation, in Monroe County, Sept. 9, 1810, to Oct.22, 1815, and from 1839 to 1844.
East Penn township congregation, 1814 to Dec. 26, 1819.
Gnadenhütten, at Lehighton, 1817 to Jan. 1, 1836.
Christ Church, in Moore township, Aug. 15, 1830, to Aug. 15, 1852.
Mauch Chunk, 1835.
St. Paul’s congregation, in Franklin township, 1841.
He preached his last sermon Nov. 20, 1879 and died at Kleckner, Northampton Co., on the 5th of August, 1871, at the age of ninety years, seven months, and twenty-six days. He was succeeded in 1852 by ____ Kuntz, ____ Kistler and the Rev. G. B. Breugel, the present pastor.
The Rev. Mr. Bill, of the Reformed Church, was succeeded by the Rev. H. Vanderslice. Of others who have served are the following: ____ Becker, ____ Gerhardt, ____ Rybelt, A. Bartholomew, and J. E. Freeman, the present pastor. The church was rebuilt of brick in 1862.
The Church of The Evangelical Association, situated on the road from Lehigh Gap to Stemlerville, was erected of stone in 1844, mainly through the instrumentality of Jacob Snyder, who donated the land, and Jacob Bauman, who donated seven hundred dollars. The first pastor was the Rev. Mr. Haintz. The church is in the district with Parryville, and served by the pastors in charge. It has a membership of forty, and a Sunday-school, with Benjamin Peters superintendent.
German Catholic Church, —This church was built in 1856, and up to the year 1871 was in charge of pastors from Allentown. Since that time it has been under the care of the pastor of Lehighton and East Mauch Chunk Church.
Schools, —The first schools in the township were held at the Union Church, and under the Lutheran and German Reformed congregations.
But few other schools were kept until the township accepted the free-school system in 1838. From that time schools have been kept with regularity. About the year 1852 seven stone school-houses were built at the following places: Little Gap, Lehigh Gap, Bowman’s, Fire Line, Milford, Mehrkem’s and at Strohl’s.
The schools at present are ten in number, with an attendance of four hundred and sixty-six pupils, an account of which is here given as far as can be ascertained.
Little Gap, No.1, —On the 15th day of November, 1838, Samuel Templin, Joseph J. Albright, and Jacob Rice, who then owned the Ashland Furnace, sold a lot for school purposes to the school directors, who at the that time were John D. Thompson, John D. Bowman (the elder), Thomas Snyder, Conrad Mehrkem, Abraham Bier, and Abraham Pretzman. On this lot a school-house was erected, which later was replaced by a stone one, which is still in use. There are at present in attendance in this district forty-three pupils.
Boyer’s, No. 2, —A stone school-house was built at Mehrkem’s about 1852, which was in use until 1874, when the present one was built at Boyer’s. This school now contains thirty-nine pupils.
Millport, No. 3, —A school-house was in use at this place soon after the acceptance by the township. This was replaced by a stone house in 1852, and in use till 1882, when a double house was erected, at a cost of fourteen hundred and ninety-five dollars. The two schools in this house contain eighty pupils.
Lehigh Gap, Nos.4 and 5, —About the time of the acceptance of the school law a house was fitted up for school purposes at the Gap, and school was taught for two or three winters by Samuel Hutchinson during the winters of 1828, 1839, and 1840. On the 27th of March, 1844, the directors of the township purchased a lot for school purposes of Abraham Pretzman, on which they erected a frame school-house. In 1852 a stone house was erected, which was in use till 1882, when the property was sold, and another lot was purchased of Abraham Pretzman, and the present double house was erected, at a cost of fifteen hundred and forty-five dollars. The present number of pupils attending is eighty-one.
Fire Line, No. 6, —The school-house at this place was built of stone in 1852, and is still in use. Forty-four pupils are in attendance.
George’s, No. 7, —was established in 1877, and the present frame building was erected. Twenty-two pupils are in attendance.
Bowman’s, No. 8,—At this place the directors purchased, on the 23d of march, 1844, a lot of John D. Bowman, on which a stone house was erected, and used until 1879, when the present frame building was erected, at a cost of six hundred dollars. There are at this school sixty-five pupils.
Harleman’s, No. 9, —In this district and about 1852 a stone school-house was built near the residence of Nicholas Strohl, which was used until about 1875, when it was abandoned. The present brick building at Harleman’s was erected to better accommodate the district. Twenty-eight pupils are in attendance.
Klotz, No. 10, —This school contains twenty-seven pupils, and was established in 1878, when the present frame house was built.
Lentz, No. 11, contains thirty-seven pupils. It was established in 1876, when the present frame house was built.
The school directors of Lower Towamensing in 1841 were Jacob Snyder, John A. Ziegenfuss, David Straub, John Greensweig, Joseph J. Albright, and Abraham Hasselman.
The following have been school directors of the township since the erection of Carbon County in 1843:
1844, —N.D. Strohl, Abraham Pretzman.
1845, —Thomas Straub, Jacob Mehrkem.
1846, —Dennis Bauman, George Linderman, Andrew Boyer, Jr.
1847, —Benjamin Andreas, Jacob Bowman.
1848, —Conrad Mehrkam, David Griffith
1849, —Jonas Peter, John Smith
1850, —John Olewine, Reuben Leh, Ed. Kostenbader.
1851, —Charles, Roder, John A. Boyer.
1852, —Levi Kern, Thomas Brown.
1853, —Peter Kester, Charles Kelchner.
1854, —Daniel Serfass, Daniel Beltz.
1855, —John Smith, David Newhart.
1856, —Cornelius Snyder, Charles Menasen.
1857, —John A. Boyer, Samuel Ziegenfus.
1858, —Monroe Snyder, Joel Ziegenfuss, William Bowman.
1859, —Jacob Kline, Daniel Beer.
1860, —Emil Lambert, Nicholas Krill.
1861, —James Ash, Monroe Snyder.
1862, —Jacob Cline, Earnest Piersol.
1863, —Aaron C. Heiney, Nicholas Krill.
1864, —James Ash, Levi Kern.
1865, —Jacob Kline, Michael Remely, Adam Mehrkem, N. C. Strohl
1866, —Joel Ziegenfuss, Adam Mehrkem.
1867, —Charles Stroup, Henry Bauman.
1868, —Charles Mendson, Nicholas Krill.
1869, —Wendel Schwartz, David Shaeffer, Andrew Boyer.
1870, —J. C. Kreamer, Andrew Boyer.
1871,— Charles Mendson, Charles Klotz.
1872, —John Ash, John Balliet.
1873, —J.C. Kreamer, Owen Lerch.
1874, —David Shafer, Daniel Lichtenwallner.
1875, —James Ziegenfuss, Simeon Bloss.
1876, —Wilson Mushlitz, Samuel Ziegenfuss, Owen Strohl.
1877, —Moses Stroup, Reuben Greensweig.
1878, —Josiah Bowman, George Kunkle.
1879, —John Craig, Samuel George.
1880, —Moses Stroup, Charles Klotz.
1881, —David Ziegenfuss, Simon Bloss.
1882, —John Craig, Benjamin Corell.
1883, —A.C. Prince, Amos Greensweig.
The Justices of the Peace have been as follows:
John A Boyer, March, 1846: March, 1851.
Abraham Pretzman, March, 1851.
Adam Mehrkem, March, 1856.
John A. Ziegenfuss, March, 1856; March, 1861.
Adam Mehrkem, March, 1861.
John A. Ziegenfuss, March 1866.
Adam Mehrkem, March, 1866.
Francis Kinett, March, 1869.
Jacob Murklitz, October, 1870.
Francis Kind, March 1874.
Adam Mehrkem, March 1880.
Samuel Ziegenfuss, March 1878.
Adam Mehrkem, March, 1880.
Samuel Ziegenfuss, March, 1883.
Post-Offices, —When the post-office was established in Mauch Chunk, in the year 1819, mention is made of a post-office down the river, eight miles, as being the nearest. This office was at the Lehigh Gap, and kept by Gen. Thomas Craig. In 1822, he was succeeded in the store and post-office by his son, Thomas Craig, the father of Col. John and Allen Craig. About 1840…
… Thomas Mendson was appointed postmaster, and served two or three years, and was followed by Thomas Craig, the brother of Col. John Craig. The office was kept from the time to 1867 by Reuben Leh and Valentine Hoffman. In 1867, Col. John Craig was appointed, and still holds the position.
The Aquashicola post-office was established in 1855. This office is located, by the above name, at the village of Millport. The postmasters have been Thomas Bowman, Levi Wentz, F. J. Kistler, and L.W. Boyer, the last of whom is still postmaster.
At Little Gap a post-office was established in 1850, and Samuel Ziegenfuss was the postmaster, and he was succeeded, in 1872 by the present incumbent, Adam Mehrkem.
A post-office was established at Bowman’s in 1883, under the name of Prince’s. John Rush is the Postmaster.
Millport,—The land on which the village is located was taken out on a warrant by Michael Wetzel.
The first movement that brought the establishment of a village at this place was made by George Ziegenfuss in the year 1806. He purchased land at this place, on the Aquashicola Creek, and built the gristmill. He as a miller by trade, and carried on the business many years. In 1834 the mill was in possession of his son, John, and in that year burned down. The property was then sold to his brother, George, by whom the mill was rebuilt, and in 1845 was sold to Jacob Bowman. From that time to 1875 it passed through many hands, and in the latter year came into possession of William Wagner, who greatly enlarged it, and by whom it is now owned. At the time Jacob Bowman purchased the mill he erected a store building, in which store was kept for several years. The building is now occupied as a dwelling.
A store had been opened earlier by George Ziegenfuss, conducted a few years, and discontinued.
The present store was erected by Samuel Ziegenfuss in 1872.
A Two-story building was built in 1871, the upper story of which is used as a public hall and the lower part for a store.
The hotel was built in 1836 by John A. Ziegenfuss, and kept by him for many years. He was succeeded by his son, Joel. In 1860 the property was sold to Levi Harleman, who was the landlord for twelve years, and in 1872 sold it to Lewis Graff, who now owns it.
A paint-factory was established in the lower end of the village about 1855, by ____ Lawrence, who continued it till about 1868, when it was sold to A. C. Prince, under whom it burned down in the winter of 1881.
In 1855 a post-office was established at the place, with Thomas Bowman as postmaster.
Before the year 1830 a tannery was started by an Englishman by the name of Mecke. He sold to George Ziegenfuss, and later it passed successively to Thomas Snyder, Peter Kester, and Reuben Miller, and burned down in 1875. The tall brick stack is still standing.
About the year 1864, Stephen Lentz discovered a slate-bed, about ten feet below the surface, near the village of Millport, and on the east side of the main street. The slate is much darker than any other in this region of country, and is called “Black Diamond.” A company was formed called the Millport Slate Company, by whom the quarry was worked for a time and discontinued. It is now worked by G. W. Davis.
About 1874, another quarry was opened across the street, which is worked by individuals.
A lodge of the Knights of Pythias was organized at this place with one hundred members in December, 1871. The society has a present membership of twenty-eight members. The present officers are Oliver Straub, C. C.; Edwin Ziegenfuss, V. C. C.; Samuel Ziegenfuss, K. R. S.
The lodge of Independent Order of Odd-Fellows was organized in April, 1872. The present officers are John Strohl, N. G.; Joel Ziegenfuss, V. B.; Henry Smith, Sec. The lodge has twenty-five members.
The Evangelical Association, —As early as the year 1842 preaching was held in the old cooper-shop and mill. The Rev. Charles Hassert was the first to hold divine service. The pastors of the church have been in charge of the district, of which Lehighton and Millport are a part. The present church edifice was erected in 1866. The present pastor is the Rev. Mr. Wingert.
Millport at present contains a mill, hotel, two stores, post-office, hall, school-house, church and forty-six dwellings.
Lehigh Gap, —Gen. Thomas Craig, of whom an account is given elsewhere, settled at Lehigh Gap in 1814, and kept the hotel from that time to 1822, when Thomas Craig, his son, became the landlord, and continued till 1851, since which time it has been rented.
About 1830, Thomas Craig, the father of Col. John and Allen Craig, in partnership with Stephen Hagenbuch, his brother-in-law, built the present store building and opened a store, which is now kept by Col. John Craig.
In 1852, Frederick Paley erected a brick building on the bank of the canal. It was opened by him as a hotel and store, and kept till his death, in 1874, and discontinued. The Philadelphia and Reading Road passes through the Gap.
Bowmansville, —This place derives its name form John D. Bowman, who opened a hotel at the place in 1808. It was then on the route of the Lehigh and Susquehanna Turnpike Company’s road, and on which, shortly after, a stage-line was placed.
The place attained no significance until the Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad was built through, since which time it ahs been a station on the road. In 1868, David Snyder opened a store, which he continued till 1873. John Balliet built a store and opened the …
… business in 1872, and still continues. The hotel was kept by John D. Bowman till his death. His son, Josiah, kept it for a time, and it was sold to Wendell Schwartz, and is now owned by John Balliet, and kept by Mr. Harleman.
In May, 1879, the Iron-Ore Metallic Paint-Works of Prince Brothers was established at this place, having previously been at Lehigh Gap. This business was first established in 1858 by Robert Prince, the father of the present proprietors, and was very successfully conducted by him until his death, and by the sons until the panic of 1873. The ore from which this paint is made is mined in large quantities out of the so-called Stony Hill, near Bowmansville, Carbon Co., at which place there seems to be an inexhaustible supply. This ore, as it is taken from the mines, is of a blue-gray cast, and is quite soft. Arriving at the factory, it is put in kilns and burned. It comes out of the kilns a dark maroon color, and much harder. After having been burned it is ready for the grinding-machine, in which it is soon converted into a powder, ready to be packed and shipped to market. The ore contains a large amount of hydraulic cement, which gives it the peculiar properties, after burning, of withstanding the destructive action of heat, acids, gases, alkaline solutions, including ammonia, salt and fresh water, etc.
The History of the Counties of Lehigh & Carbon, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,
Alfred Mathews & Austin N. Hungerford
Published in Philadelphia, Pa., in 1884
Transcribed from the original in November 2003 by
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