(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us) Upload
See other formats

Full text of "A collection of papers read before the Bucks County Historical Society"





Alumni Giving Plan 



Miss Elixabetk J. Gveir 
X903 — 1907 

Miss Maty L. DuBois 

190 v — 130.12. 


John S. Williams, born March 21, 1831, served also as vice-president 
from Jan. 15, 1901, to the date of his death, Aug. 21. 1920. He con- 
tributed one paper to the society. Thomas C. Knowles, born Sep. 7, 
1846, was one of the original directors when the society was chartered in 
1885, and served down to date of his death, Feb. 6, 1921, the longest con- 
tinuous service of any officer of the society. Thaddeus S. Kenderdine, 
born Dec. 10, 1836, died Feb. 17, 1922, contributed seven papers to the 
society, the last one read by him personally at the Cuttalossa Valley 
meeting, when in the eighty-second of his age. He was the author of 
seven octavo books made ud of his reminiscences, travels, local history 
and poetry. These books grace the shelves of our librarv. Miss Eliza- 
beth J. Greir, born Feb. 16, 1831, died April 20, 1907. In 1903 she gave 
the society its first gift ($2,000) toward establishing a library for the 
society. Her brother, James H. Greir, bequeathed the sum of $5,000 
toward the erection of the first building of the society, now called the 
"Elkins Building". Miss Mary L. DuBois, born March 23, 1847, served 
as a director from 1907 down to the date of her death, April 6, 1922; 
she contributed four papers to our publications, and moreover could al- 
ways be relied upon for faithfully attending the meetings both of the 
society and of the board. 

^ ^—7. 










Henry C. Mercer, Sc.D. Hon. Harman Yekkes 

Warren S. Ely ■ Horace M. Mann 

B. F. Fackenthal. Jr., Sc.D. 

V, S 

Press of 

The Tribune Publishing Co. 

Meadville, Pa. 




List of Illustrations ^'" 

Officers of the Society -'^' 

Changes in Personnel of Officers • ^^^ 


Dutch Settlement in Bucks County. . .Warren S. Ely 1 

An Investigation of the "Giant's 

Grave" Dr- Henry C. Mercer 11 

Branding Cattle in Idaho Joseph C. Rca 14 

Branding Cattle in Kansas in 1858. . . .Thaddeus S. Kenderdine. . . 16 

C Warren S. Ely 18 

Turnpike Roads in Bucks County.. < 

Edward R. Kirk 20 

Henry W. Gross 24 

William S. Erdrnan, M.D... 28 

Frank K. Swain 30 

Mrs. H. S. Prentiss Nichols 33 

Frank Saurman 34 

Seth T. Walton 34 

Dr. Henry C. Mercer 35 

The "Draisiana" or Pedestrian Hob- 
byhorse of 1819 Horace Wells Sellers 37 

Life and Work of the Rev. Peter 

Henry Dorsius Rev. W. J. Hinke, Ph.D., 

D.D •■•• 44 

Gristmills of an Ancient Type, 

Known as Norse Mills Horace M. Mann 68 

Notes on the Norse Mill Dr. Henry C. Mercer 75 

Roulet Volant or Norse Mill Rudolph P. Hommel 80 

Biographical Notice of Joseph B. 

Walter, M.D Dr. B. F. Fackenthal, Jr.. . . 84 

Making a Dugout Boat in Mississippi . . Frank K. Swain 87 

Manners and Customs of Eighty 

Years Ago ^'•^iss Mary S. Woodman 90 

Cupping and Bleeding George M. Grim, M.D 95 

George Taylor, Signer of the Decla- 
ration of Independence Warren S. Ely 



The Homes of George Taylor Dr. B. F. Fackenthal, Jr. . . . 113 

Bucks County Women in Wartime .... Mrs. Mary Heaton 134 

Historical Reminiscences of Cutta- 

lossa Creek Thaddeus S. Kenderdine .... 141 

Maple Sugar Making in Southwest- 
ern Pennsylvania and Northwest- 
ern Virginia E. F. Bowlby 172 

Norse Mills of Colonial Times Frederick H. Shelton 175 

Horse Hopples Henry W. Gross 186 

Basket Making Grier Scheetz 190 

Notes on Basket Making Dr. Henry C. Mercer 192 

Basket Making in Durham Township. Dr. B. F. Fackenthal, Jr.... 196 

Early Pennsylvania Pottery William B. Montague 197 

Well Caves of Bucks County Miss Belle Van Sant 202 

Notes on Forgotten Trades Dr. Henry C. Mercer 207 

The Ringing Rocks of Bridgeton 

Township Dr. B. F. Fackenthal, Jr 212 

Our Local Flora John A. Ruth 222 

Biographical Notice of Clarence D. 

Hotchkiss Warren S. Ely 232 

An Ancient Indian Pipe from Bucks 

County Dr. Henry C. Mercer 235 

The Divining Rod in Bucks County. . .Horace M. Mann 239 

Wafer Irons Dr. Henry C. Alercer 245 

Octagonal or So-called "Eight- 
Square" Schoolhouses Alden M. Collins 251 

Early History of Bedminster Town- 
ship William H. Keichline 261 

Biographical Notice of John A. Ruth.. Dr. B. F. Fackenthal, Jr 275 

Shad Fishing in the Delaware River. . Horace M. Mann 279 

Growing, Treating and Drying Flax.. Elijah R. Case. C.E., M.S... 282 

Wool Combing by Hand William B. Montague 284 

Octagonal or So-called "Eight- 
Square" Schoolhouses Warren S. Ely 290 

Sketch of Dr. Jonathan Ingham John Hall Ingham, Esq 308 

Broom Making by Hand Grier Scheetz 312 

Ancient Methods of Threshing in 

Bucks County Dr. Henry C. Mercer 315 

Passing Events (Paper No. 1) Frank K. Swain 324 


Figurehead of Chief Tammany from 
the Old Ship-of-the-Line. Dela- 
ware Col. Henry D. Paxson 339 

Bucks County Samplers Mrs. William R. Mercer. . . . 347 

History of Church's School in Buck- 
ingham Township Mrs. Clayton D. Fretz 357 

Old Methods of Taking Fish Warren Fretz 361 

Earlj' History of Washington Cross- 
ing and Its Environs Warren S. Ely 376 

A Lost Stoveplate Inscription Dr. Henry C. Mercer 388 

The Making of Felt Hats Horace M. Mann 401 

Passing Events (Paper No. 2) Frank K. Sw-ain 407 

Old Household Industries Mrs. Florence Kirk Blackfan 418 

The Wire Fabric Industry in America. . Louis C. Beers 423 

Old Fences in Bucks County Henry W. Gross 429 

Col. Arthur Erwin and James Fenni- 
more Cooper's Novel "Wyandotte 
or the Hutted Knoll" Dr. B. F. Fackenthal, Jr. . . . 433 

Old-Fashioned Garden Flowers George Mac Reynolds 446 

Wells and Pumps in Bucks County .. .James H. Fitzgerald 454 

The Early Courthouses of Bucks 

County Mrs. Mary T. Hillborn 4^1 

The Lowther Family of Buckingham. . Mrs. Ada Lowther Wilkinson 465 

Notes on Adobe Bricks Horace M. Mann 471 

Discussion of Mr. Mann's Paper on 

Adobe Bricks Dr. Henry C. Mercer 476 

The Zithers of the Pennsylvania 

Germans Dr. Henry C. Mercer 482 

The Path that Led to the Indian 

Village of Play wicky Matthias H. Hall 497 

An Attempt to Find the Site of 

the Indian Town of Playwicky. . . . Dr. Henry C. Mercer 500 

The Old Heath Mill and Its Early 

Owners Capt. R. C. Holcomb, (M.C.) 

U. S. N 508 

The Dating of Old Houses Dr. Henry C. Mercer 536 

The Laux Family of Bucks County, 

Penns}'-lvania Hon. James B. Laux 550 

The Origin of Log Houses in the 

United States Dr. Henry C. Mercer 568 


The Ferry Tract at New Hope, Pa., 

and Coryell's Ferry in New Jersey. . Capt. R. C. Holcomb, (M.C.) 

U. S. N 584 

Tobacco and Its Culture in Bucks 

County Grier Scheetz 612 

Remarks on Mr. Scheetz's Paper on 
Tobacco Culture Dr. B. F. Fackenthal, Jr. . . . 621 

Early History of Neshaminy Presby- 
terian Church Warren S. Ely 624 

Recollections of Tennent School Dr. Henry C. Mercer 631 

Schoolboy Memories Hon. Harman Yerkes 641 

The Old York Road Capt. R. C. Holcomb, (M.C.) 

U. S. N 650 

The Samuel Hart Collection of 

Manuscripts, 1777-1877 Warren S. Ely 717 

The End of Open Fir> Cooking in 

Bucks County Frank K. Swain 732 

Life Near Grand Rapids, Michigan, 
in 1850 Edward Bradford Thomas. . 734 

Hunting, Trapping and Fishing in 

Bucks County Thaddeus S. Kenderdine. . . . 736 

Random Notes on Forgotten Trades.. Dr. Henry C. Mercer and 

Horace M. Mann 740 

Andrew Ellicott, The Great Surveyor. .Warren S. Ely 745 

The Last of the File-Makers Henry K. Deisher 751 

The Colonial Carpenter Dr. Henry C. Mercer 755 

History of the Lucy M. Burd In- 
dustrial School Miss Lucy M. Burd 756 

Herbs and Plants Used for Medicinal 

Purposes by Colonial Settlers Miss Julia B. Abbott 763 

The Proctor Family of Upper Bucks 

County Prof. William H. Slotter... 766 



Portraits of Five Former Directors Frontispiece 

Dutch Reformed Church, Churchville, Pa 10 

Cattle Branding Irons used in Idaho, 1860-70 15 

Tollhouse with Single Gate, Paxson's Corners 18 

The "Draisiana" or Two-wheeled Hobbyhorse 38 

Norse Hill used in Madison County, N. C 69 

Norse Mill of Shetland Islands, 1880 75 

Roulet Volant or Norse Mill 80 

Norse Mill in the South of France, 1578 82 

Portrait of Joseph B. Walter, M.D 84 

Dugout Canoe from Natches, Miss 89 

Cupping and Bleeding Vessels and Instruments 99 

Portrait of Col. George Taylor 101 

Taylor-Parsons House, Easton, Pa 113 

George Taylor's Bookplate, 1778 115 

Invoice for Pig Iron with Signature of George Taylor, 1739 117 

George Taylor's Catasauqua Home 119 

Oath of Allegiance taken by George Taylor, 1778 121 

Last part of Geo. Taylor's Will, with Signatures 127 

Home of Robert Lettis Hooper, Jr., at Easton, Pa 128 

George Taylor's Monument in Easton Cemetery 131 

George Taylor's Pistols bequeathed to Robert Traill 133 

Horse Hopples in Museum of the Society 186 

Palisades or Narrows of Nockamixon 212 

View of Bridgeton Township Ringing Rocks 213 

Cavities in Conglomerate at Monroe 213 

Bluff of Conglomerate, near Holland, N. J 215 

Weathered Trap Rock Boulders, with Shrinkage Cracks, 

two etchings 217 

Trap Rock Boulders, Swamp Creek, near Sumneytown, Pa 219 

Trap Rocks at Stony Garden, Split apart by Water and 

Weather Conditions 219 

Giant's Causeway, North Coast of Ireland, two views 221 

View Overlooking Delaware River from Top of Nockamixon 

Palisades 231 

Portrait of Clarence D. Hotchkiss 232 


Delaware Indian Wooden Tobacco Pipe, side view 235 

Top View of Same Pipe — Found in Bucks County 236 

Wafer Irons in Museum of the Society 245 

Hexagonal Schoolhouse, Lower Saucon Township 251 

Plan Showing Interior of an Octagonal Schoolhouse 254 

Remains of a Stone Built Flax Dr5nng Oven 283 

Spinning Wheel — Tail piece 289 

Octagonal Schoolhouse, Delaware County, 1835 291 

Old "Eight-Square" Schoolhouse, Wrightstown Township 291 

Friends' Meeting House, Burlington, N. J., 1682-1787 292 

Dutch Trading Post, Trenton, N. J 294 

Plan of Octagonal Schoolhouse, Newton Square, Pa 296 

Plan Showing Construction of Same 297 

Flails in Bucks County Historical Society's Museum 317 

Figurehead of Chief Tammany at Annapolis, Md 341 

Bucks County Samplers — 

1. Ruth Bradshaw, 1712 347 

2. Mary Sheeds, 1806 348 

3. Susan Magill, 1812 349 

4. Rachel Broadhurst, 1812 350 

5. Susan Schleiffer, 1816 351 

6. Mary D. Richardson, Attleborough School, 1821 352 

7. Susan Geary, Fallsington School, 1832 353 

8. Acrostic, Composed by E. S.. A. D., 1834 354 

Old Methods of Taking Fish— 

Dipnet for Taking Fish 361 

Spears or Gigs 362 

"Schlock Isen", or Striking Iron 363 

Mallets for Stunning Fish through Ice. . 364 

Lamps or Torches used for Gigging 367 

Throw Net for Taking Fish 367 

Eel Gaff and Eel Tongs — two etchings 368 

Fyke Net for Taking Fish 373 

Single Brail, Scoop Net or Hommer 373 

Discovery of a Missing Stoveplate Inscription — 

1. "Be Not Overcome of Evil", Stoveplate 389 

2. "This is the Year in which Rages — " 389 

3. Fireplace of the Home House, showing Stove Hole 391 

4. Fireplace showing Postament with Hole Walled Up 393 

6. Pen Sketch of Five-plate Stove in Its Original Position.... 390 

7. The Indian War Plate in the Museum 401 

Tombstone of Col. Arthur Erwin 433 


Zithers of the Pennsylvania Germans — 

1. Seven Plectrum Zithers in the Museum 483 

2. Three Zithers in the Museum 485 

3. Modern German Bow Zither 490 

4. Norwegian and Dutch Zithers . 491 

5. Zither and Two Tromp Alarines 493 

6. The Kentucky Dulcimore 494 

7. Playing the Dulcimore 495 

The Dating of Old Houses — 

1. Wrought Iron Nails 536 

2. Cut Nails, Hammer Headed 537 

3. Cut Nails, Stamp Headed 538 

4. Cross Section of Cut Nails after 1796 539 

5. Cut Nails, L Headed and Headless 539 

6. Wrought Iron Door Hinges H and HL Types 540 

7. Wrought Iron Door Hinges, "Hook and Eye" 

alias "Strap" Type 541 

8. Cast Iron Butt Door Hinges 541 

9. Plain Ovolo Door Panels 542 

10. Quirked Ovola and Ogee Panels 543 

11. Machine-Made Door Panels 544 

12. Wrought Iron Thumb Latches 545 

13. Wrought Iron Thumb Latches 546 

14. Norfolk Latches 547 

15. Cast Iron Thumb-Latches, afl^r 1840 547 

16. Plastering Lath 549 

17. Pointless Screws, before 1846 544 

Taufschein of John Adam Laux, 1771 565 

Laux Family Coat-of-Arms 566 

Origin of Log Houses in the United States — 

1. Front of Log Dwelling in Siberia 569 

2. Corner of the Frost Garrison House, Elliot, Me 569 

3. Corner of Fort Western Garrison House, Augusta, Me 569 

4. Corner of Fort Halifax, Winslow, Me 569 

5. Side View of Fort Halifax, Winslow, Me 571 

6. Fort Halifax, Winslow, Maine 571 

7. Corner of the Mclntyre Garrison House, York, Me 569 

8. The Bunker Garrison House, Durham, N. H 571 

9. Corner of the Dam Garrison House, Dover, N. H 573 

10. Corner of the Gillman Garrison House, Exeter, N. H 573 

11. Riggs Log House, Gloucester, Mass 573 

12. Log Dwelling at Rockport, Mass 575 

13. The Parks Log House, near Horsham, Pa 575 

14. Indian Ridge Log House, near Perkasie, Pa 575 

15. The Parks Log House, Direct View 577 

16. Wismer Log House, near Plumsteadville, Pa 577 


17. Chalfont Log House, near Chalfont, Pa 577 

18. Log House near Plumsteadville, Pa 579 

10. Slifer Log House near Keller's Church, Pa 579 

20. Darby Creek Log House 579 

21. Fragments of Log House at Furlong, Pa 581 

22. Log Dwelling in Province of Upland, Sweden 581 

23. Log Dwelling in Province of Upland, Sweden 581 

24. Log Hay Shed in Province of Harjedalen, Sweden 583 

25. Old Sawmill in Province of Harjedalen, Sweden 583 

Tobacco Drying House, in North Carolina 623 

Ground Plan of North Carolina Tobacco Drying House 623 


Organized November 20, 1880. 
Incorporated February 23, 1885. 

For Charter, Constitution and By-laws, see Vol. I. 


For the year ending January, 1926. 


Dr. Henry C. Mercer 

Dr. B. F. Fackenthal, Jr. Col. Henry D. Paxson 


Dr. B. F. Fackenthal, Jr Riegelsville, Pa. 

Warren S. Ely Doylestown, Pa. 

Mrs. E. Y. Barnes Yardley, Pa. 

(Term expire.s January, 1926.) 

Col. Henry D. Paxson Holicong, Pa. 

J. Herman Barnsley Newtown, Pa. 

Mrs. Harman Yerkes Doylestown, Pa. 

(Term expires January, 1927.) 

Dr. Henry C. Mercer Doylestown, Pa. 

Mrs. Richard Watson Doylestown, Pa. 

Grier Scheetz Bethlehem, Pa. 

(Term expires January. 1928.) 

Curator Librarian 

Dr. Henry C. Mercer Warren S. Ely 

Treasurer Secretary 

Dr. B. F. Fackenthal, Jr. Horace M. Mann 

Assistant Curator 
Horace M. Mann 



The Bucks County Historical Society has had but two Presidents 
since its organization in 1880 

Gen. W. W. H. Davis, 1880 to 1910 

Dr. Henry C. Mercer, since Jan. 17, 1911 


John S. Wilhams, Jan. 15, 1901, to Aug. 21, 1920 
Dr. Henry C. Mercer, Jan. 21, 1908, to Jan. 17, 1911 
Joseph B. Walter, M.D., Jan. 17, 1911, to Aug. 18, 1917 
Dr. B. F. Fackenthal, Jr., since Jan. 18, 1910 
Col. Henry D. Paxson, since Jan. 15, 1921 


The following changes have been made in the Board of Directors 
since the publication of Vol. IV. 

Col. Henry D. Paxson, January 18, 1918, to succeed 

Dr. Joseph B. Walter, who died August 18, 1917 

J. Herman Barnsley, June 12, 1920, to succeed 

Clarence D. Hotchkiss, who died January 14, 1920 

*Grier Scheetz, January 21, 1922, to succeed 

Thomas C. Knowles, who died February 16, 1921 

Warren S. Ely, October 14, 1922, to succeed 

Miss Mary L. Du Bois, who died February 17, 1922 

Mrs. E. Y. Barnes, January 20, 1923, to succeed 

Thaddeus C. Kenderdine, who died April 6, 1922 

Grier Scheetz died suddenly at Bethlehem, Pa., October 6, 1926. 

Dutch Settlement in Bucks County. 

(Churchville Meeting, May 23, 1917.) 

mtnmtm^^ HE place of our meeting today is near the geo- 
graphical centre of the section settled in last dec- 
ade of the seventeenth, and first decade of the 
eighteenth century by the descendants of the 
Hollanders who founded New Netherlands in 
and about the present city of New York, three- 
quarters of a century earlier. It seems therefore especially fitting 
that we should devote some attention to the history of these first 
settlers in this section and their part in the general plan of de- 
velopment of our natural resources and the building up of a new 
province under the beneficent influence of Penn's Holy Ex- 

Daniel Webster once said : 

"There is still wanting a history which shall trace the progress of 
social life. We still need to learn how our ancestors in our houses 
were fed, lodged and clothed, and what were their employments. We 
wish to know more of the changes which took place from age to age 
in the homes of the first settlers. We want a history of firesides." 

The section settled by these Dutch people was a compact but 
irregularly shaped tract, comprising parts of the townships of 
Bensalem. Southampton, Northampton and Middletown. The 
Neshaminy creek at this point makes a wide detour to the west- 
ward, penetrating the Holland tract to its centre and thereby gave 
its name to the section and the first church organized therein. 
It had all been surveyed and laid out in large tracts to the original 
purchasers of William Penn, before its purchase by the Dutch, 
but in only a few instances "had been settled on by these English 
purchasers, though it comprised one of the finest and most pro- 


ductive agricultural districts in our county. In the case of 
Dutch purchases they were often made in large tracts by the 
•fathers of the actual settlers, the former remaining in their na- 
tive settlement on Long Island and Staten Island, or on the Rari- 
tan in East Jersey or on the upper Hudson, into which sections 
the Dutch settlements had expanded several years before the 
Dutch invasion of Pennsylvania. 

This was true of the Van Horn and Van Buskirk families. 
Barendt Christian and Peter Lawrensen,^ the respective foun- 
ders of these two families in Bucks county, purchased in 1703 a 
tract of over 2000 acres lying along the west bank of the Nesham- 
iny opposite the present site of Langhorne in the townships of 
Northampton and Southampton, which was resurveyed and di- 
vided between them, and purchasers of them, by John Cutler, 
surveyor, in 1706, and in the following year was conveyed by 
them to their sons who became the actual settlers. Barendt 
Christian never came to Bucks county but died in Bergen county. 
New Jersey. Peter Lawrence may possibly have settled within 
the county. Christian, Abraham, Peter, Nicholas and Barendt 
Van Hooren, sons of Barendt Christian, settled on this and other 
tracts purchased by their father, about 1707, and the family has 
been prominently identified with the affairs of Bucks county to 
this date. 

The Van Sandt family, descendants of Gerret Stofifelse, settled 
in 1695 on large tracts of land in Bensalem purchased of Joseph 
Growdon whose holdings included the whole upper half of that 
township. The Van de Grifts, descendants of Jacob Lendertsen 
settled in the same locality at practically the same date. 

The Van Artsdalens, who settled in this section prior to 1720, 
were descendants of Simon Janse, who emigrated from Holland 
to New Amsterdam in 1636. 

1 The date of these settlements marks an important event in the liistory of 
the Dutch in America, as it was approximately the date at which the families 
belonging to the third generation in this country assumed permanent sur- 
names. Up to this time the surnames of the sons were their fathers' given 
name, generally with the addition of se or sen. The almost universal change 
at about this time is well illustrated in the families here cited. The founder 
of the VanHorn family in America, was Christian Barendtse, from Horn or 
Hooren, Holland, a prominent officer of New Amsterdam in 1653, who died 
of sunstroke while building a tide water mill near New Castle on the Dela- 
ware July 26, 1658. His widow married Lawrence Andriessen, who came 
from Boosekirk, and had children by him among whom was Peter Lawren- 
sen above named, who with a son of the first marriage, Barendt Christianse, 
made the purchase cited. The children of both assumed the names of Van- 
Horn and Van Buskirk, from the places of nativity of their respective 


The Slacks were descendants of Cornelius Slecht, who came 
from Holland in 1652, one branch migrating up the Hudson 
where they intermarried with the Wynkoops, and another branch 
into New Jersey whence the Bucks county settlers came. 

The Wynkoop family was founded in Bucks county by Gerar- 
dus Wynkoop, who came to this section in 1713 from Ulster 
county, New York, and like his neighbors belonged to the third 
generation in America. One of the oldest tombstones bearing a 
legible inscription in the Dutch Reformed cemetery at Richboro 
is that of his son Nicholas, one of the organizers of Abington 
Presbyterian Church in 1714, who died in 1759. The latter was 
the father of Judge Henry Wynkoop the first member of U. S. 
Congress from -Bucks county, and one of the most prominent 
patriots of the Revolution, a sketch of whom and his dis- 
tinguished services to the county is already a part of our arch- 
ives. (See Vol. HI pages 156 and 197.) The Croesen family, 
whose name is now variously spelled, descendants of Gerret 
Dirckse, who came from Wynschoten, Groningen, Holland in 
1667, was represented here by his grandsons as early as 1711. 
A granddaughter of Gerret was the wife of Malachi Jones the 
pastor of the first Presbyterian church in this section, in 1714. 
The Bennets, descendants of William Bennett an Englishman 
who came to Long Island in 1635 and married a Dutch wife, 
made their appearance in the Holland of Bucks county in the 
early part of the eighteenth century, as did Jacobus and Thomas 
Craven from whom the numerous family of that name are de- 

The Cornells were one of the numerous Huguenot families 
who settled among the Dutch on Long Island, with whom they 
intermarried. Gulliam Cornell of the third generation born on 
Long Island in 1679 was the founder of the family in Bucks 
county. They owned very large tracts of land in this immediate 
vicinity, where their descendants are still very numerous. 

Dirck Hogeland, one of the early representatives of the Dutch 
element in Pennsylvania Assembly was in this section in 1721 
and probably earlier. He was a grandson of Dirck Janse, who 

2 It was at the house of Jacobus Craven that Rev. William Tennet first 
preached to the Scotch-Irish settlers in Warwick and Warrington, while pas- 
tor of the Presbyterian Church of Bensalem, near Bridgewater, and before 
he founded the Presbyterian Church of Warwick in 1726, of which Craven 
was one of the first trustees. 


came from Hooglandt in 1657 and settled on Long Island. The 
Van Pelts and Van Dyckes were here as early as 1705, and the 
LaRues and Praals of Huguenot vintage appear about the 
same date. 

The names of nearly all these families appear on the first 
roster of the Dutch Reformed Church of Neshaminy and Ben- 
salem organized 1710, an account of the early history of which 
is given later in the sketch. 

These people represented, in nearly every instance, the third 
generation of the Dutch settlement in America, and practically 
all of them had been born and reared under English jurisdiction, 
the Dutch territory having been conquered by the English in 
1664. They were therefore less alien in character to the English 
among whom they settled than either the Welsh, Scotch-Irish or 
Germans, who constituted the other three elements in the forma- 
tion of American citizenship in Pennsylvania. For this reason 
they were called upon to take their part in local and provincial 
self government at an early date and justified the trust reposed 
in them. 

Stoffel Van Sandt, the most prominent character in the church 
government of the Dutch Colony as shown later in this narrative, 
was a local magistrate from 1717 to 1727, and represented Bucks 
county in the Provincial Assembly in 1721. He was succeeded in 
1723 by Christian Van Horn who served almost continuously 
until 1737. Gerrit Van Sandt was a representative in the ses- 
sions of 1743-4, 1749-50 and 1751-2; Dirck or Derick Hoge- 
land, in those of 1747-8, 1752-3 and 1754-5 ; Gabriel Van Horn in 
1756-7; Henry Krewsen continuously from 1762 to 1773 Ger- 
ardus Wynkoop in the Provincial Assembly of 1774-5 and in the 
State Assembly of 1778-9, and Guilliam Cornell, in the latter for 
1777. Leonard Van de Grift was a Justice of the Peace in 

Nearly all the prominent families above mentioned were repre- 
sented upon the rosters of the officers and members of the mili- 
tary companies raised in 1747-48, 1756, and 1758, for the defence 
of the Pennsylvania frontier, comprising practically the whole 
membership of the several companies raised in their section of 
the county. They also took a prominent part in the revolutionary 
war, many of them holding commissions in the Continental army 


and state militia. Nathaniel Van Sandt, a great-grandson of 
Gerrett the founder of the family in Bucks county, was captain 
of a company in the "Flying Camp" and was taken prisoner on 
Long Island in the disastrous campaign of 1776. A number of 
letters written by him while in captivity and the roll of his com- 
pany are among our collections. 

I sincerely regret that I cannot, from the meagre evidence ob- 
tainable, present a vivid pen picture of these industrious, home- 
loving yet energetic, progressive people in their colonial environ- 
ment. From the tools, furniture and articles of clothing, trans- 
ferred from the garrets of the old homesteads to the museum of 
our society from time to time, and from inventories of their 
goods and chattels we can form some idea of their home life 
and labors. 

Retaining the racial characteristics of their frugal, industrious 
and adventurous grandsires, and by local environment, inured to 
the exigencies of life in a primitive wilderness, they were well 
fitted for the sphere of action in which their lives were cast. 
Primarily agriculturists they were trained in practically all the 
domestic industries so necessary to life under primitive condi- 
tions. The inventories of the personal estates of decedents of 
this section during the colonial period, abstracts of a number of 
which are quoted below, show that each and every family was 
so well equipped with the tools and appliances of the various 
local vocations necessary to transform the products of the farm 
and forest into food, clothing and articles of commerce, as well 
as for the manufacture of the tools and appliances themselves, as 
to make them practically independent of the professional artisan. 

Every Dutch farm house was equipped with its weaving room 
containing its "loom and tacklin" and with linen and wool spin- 
ning wheels, reels, swingles, hatchels,. cards, flaxbreaks, and the 
minor appliances for the manufacture of linen and woolen fab- 
rics, and combinations of both, from the raw material to the 
finished product. Thus practically all the clothes worn by mem- 
bers of the family were produced from the soil of their own 
farms and fabricated by them in the earlier days of the settlement, 
before prosperity and a more intimate association with the out- 
side world made them "vain and fashionable." There is abundant 
evidence however that the Dutch families held to the use of the 


simple, becoming and durable home-made fabrics in their dress 
for several generations and to a comparatively recent date.^ The 
inventory of the goods of Susanna Van Horn in 1776, includes a 
silk "cloke," a gold ring and Delph and Queensware. Calico 
made its appearance in 1760. There was always a stock of linen 
cloth, linsey-woolsey, druggett and oznabrigs as well as linen and 
woolen yarn, thread and tape on hand. 

In the line of food and merchantable products there was the 
"cheese fatts" (vats), mortar and pestle, pot racks and chains, 
powdering tubs, milk pails and other wooden vessels ; pewter 
and earthenware, etc., etc. 

For economy's sake, as in later days, some of the larger appli- 
ances were owned in common with a neighbor or neighbors, as 
1748, "His Part in ye Cider Mill ;" in 1760, "two thirds of a cross- 
cut saw" and in 1777, "a right in a Dutch Fan." The first item 
we find inventoried in 1745 "his one half of the Corn Mill ;" 
is of interest to our president and curator who is an enthusiastic 
collector of hand corn mills, and I have always argued with him 
that they were probably never used to any extent in Bucks 
county, for the reason that water power was plentiful, and there 
were so many early water power gristmills in every locality. 
Since one was in use in Middletown on the very banks of the 
Neshaminy that turned at least a score of mills it might be 
argued that we would find them in use anywhere in Bucks county. 
"An Apple Mill and Trough" appears in 1760, and a "Bark 
Stone" in 1771. 

From the fact that we also find on these inventories "a small 
still" and some bushels of malt, it would seem that the Dutch 
housewife sought to make her men folks independent of the 
local distillery and brewery for his ardent liquid refreshment. In 
addition to the above we find the tools of the joiner, the tanner, 
the shoemaker, smith and tailor in the inventories of the goods 
of farmers. In the olden time many of the domestic craftsmen 
went from house to house at regular or irregular intervals to 
supply the wants of the farmer's family in the way of shoes, 
clothes and utensils. 

Indicative of the different values of coins, "money scales & 

3 At this point Mr. Ely exhibited a full suit of home spun clothes worn 
by Adrian Cornell, of Northampton, a century ago. Also a pair of wooden 


weights" are found in the possession of nearly every family. 
"A Table of Black Walnut and a Form to it" is inventoried in 
1725. "A Riding Chair" appears in 1749, and a "Gum shaver" 
in the same year shows that the hollow gum tree was used as 
a cask for malt and other necessaries. "Pigeon netts" for trap- 
ping wild pigeons were quite common after 1760 or 1765. 

Another fact brought out prominently by scrutinizing these 
time-stained lists of goods of the country dweller among these 
fertile hills and valleys is that the Dutch farmer of Colonial 
times was a considerable slave holder. Many negroes were in- 
ventoried. As indicating the price of human merchandise we 
quote the following : 

1725 Negro Woman £45— Negro children, £15, £10 and £5 
(according to age). 

1748— Negro Woman, £30— Negro girl 7 yrs old £20. Ne- 
gro Boy, 5 yrs old, £15 — Negro Girl, 2 yrs old, £10. Negro 
child 6 mos old £5. 

1760 — Negro man called Mink, £75. Negro lad called Cuff, 
£60. Old negro man called Futry, £30. Negro Boy £20. 

The Dutch element were the latest and largest slaveholders in 
Bucks county. In 1780, when the first public registry of slaves 
in Bucks county was made under the provisions of the Act of 
Assembly for the gradual extinction of slavery, which compelled 
every owner of slaves to register them in the prothonotary's 
office by a certain date or suffer the penalty of having them de- 
clared free, over one-half the whole number owned in Bucks 
county were held by the descendants of the Dutch families in 
Northampton, Southampton. Warminster and Bensalem. Under 
the provisions of the above cited law, which automatically freed 
the slaves born after its passage at a fixed age, and provided for 
the care of the aged, slavery disappeared in our county about 1830. 


The early history of this church and of its first pastor. Rev. 
Paulus Van Vlecq, is clearly set forth in a paper read before our 
society last January, prepared by Rev. William J. Hinke, Ph. 
D., D.D., professor of Semitic Languages and Religions at Au- 
burn Theological Seminarv, Auburn, New York, one of the best 


authorities of our time on ecclesiastic history. Dr. Hinke also 
contributed a more elaborate article on the same subject for the 
Journal of the Presbyterian Historical Society, (Vol. I, pp. 11- 
134), which included a full copy of the church record from the 
original book in the handwriting of Parson Van Vlecq, and his 
successors in charge of "The Christian Church at Chammenji 

This history is already a part of our archives, being published 
in Volume IV of our papers, and we do not purpose repeating 
the data therein contained, but desire to draw some conclusions 
therefrom not clearly set forth though indicated therein. 

While the historians of the Reformed Church of North and 
Southampton, trace its history back to the organization effected 
by the Dutch settlers in this region with Paulus Van Vlecq as 
their pastor on May 10, 1710, they fail to realize that the church 
then organized was virtually a Presbyterian church and finally 
became the Presbyterian Church of Bensalem still in existence 
near the Neshaminy creek on the Bristol road between Nesham- 
iny Falls and Bridgewater in Bensalem township. This church, 
with its original walls, bearing date 1705 is still standing. In 
the graveyard there are numerous rudely marked graves, but 
none of them legible to show the last resting place of the founders 
of this pioneer church. It is with the intention of clearing up 
this record that we review a part of Dr. Hinke's paper. Failing 
to secure ordination from the Holland Synod, Van Vlecq was 
licensed by the Philadelphia Presbytery when he organized the 
church in 1710, though his parishioners were almost wholly Low 
Dutch, and members of the Dutch Reformed Churches of Long 
Island, Staten Island, and the Raritan district of New Jersey. 
On his downfall and removal from Pennsylvania in 1713, the 
leading families among the Dutch in this section joined with the 
Presbyterians in organizing Abington Presbyterian Church in 
1714, on the western border of the Dutch settlement. And when 
the Neshaminy Church was revived and reorganized in 1719, by 
Malachi Jones, the first pastor at Abington. they renewed their 
allegiance to the old church, but when Rev. Malachi Jones died 
in 1729, both churches, Abington and Bensalem, had become 
largely dominated by the Scotch-Irish element that had settled 
both north and south of the Dutch settlement, and the Bensalem 


Church had been for years under the pastorate of Scotch Pres- 
byterians. Rev. WilHam Tennent the founder of the Log College 
and of Neshaminy Presbyterian Church of Warwick in 1726, 
was at that time preaching there. Tennent was called to the 
Bensalem church in 1721, and although he returned to his old 
charge at Bedford, Westchester county, N. Y., at intervals dur- 
ing the years 1723 and 1724, he was virtually pastor at Bensalem 
from 1721 to 1726, the congregation being supplied by others at 

Under these conditions the Dutch seceded and again formed a 
church of their own. We quote from Dr. Hinke's copy of the 
old church book : 

"Anno 1730, on May v30th, have been instaled as elders and 
deacons, namely, Stofifel van Sandf* and Gerrit Croese as elders, 
Benjamin Korsen and Abraham van der Grift as deacons, at 
Sammeniji, by Cornelius Santford, Minister of the Gospel on 
Staten Island." 

Following this is a record of baptisms beginning with May 3, 
1730, and continuing to April 21, 1737, all of Dutch families. 
This is followed by "Entries made during the Ministry of the 
Rev. P. H. Dorsius." 

This was the real birth of the Dutch Reformed Church of 
North and Southampton. In the period between 1730 and 1737 
the meetings were held at the houses of the members and the 
pulpit was doubtless filled by supplies from the Low Dutch 
churches in New Jersey. In the fall of 1737 the Rev. Petrus 
Hendrickus Dorsius was sent to them from Holland, and a church 
was erected at Feasterville, of which nothing remains but a 
graveyard. The oldest inscribed tombstones, now forming part 
of the enclosing wall give the dates of the first burials in 1738. 
They grew and thrived under a minister of their own nationality, 
and in 1751 another church was erected at Addisville, now 
Richboro, on the site of the chapel which is said to include a 
part of the original church. With the erection of the church at 
the "Bear" the title was changed to the Dutch Reformed Church 
of North and Southampton. Both church buildings had grown 

4 Stoffel VanSandt had been successively elder, deacon and clerk of Van 
Vlecq s Church in 1710; of Abington Presbyterian Church of which he was 
one of the organizers in 1714, and at Neshaminy Presbyterian Church in 
Bensalem when it was revived in 1719. The other officers mentioned were 
also connected with all three. 



old and dilapidated by 1814, and the present church, (at Church- 
ville) now remodelled, was erected to serve both branches, and 
the old churches at Feasterville and the "Bear" were abandoned. 
Persons now living recall the ruined walls of the old church on 
the site of the chapel. 

In 1858, another church was erected at Addisville, across the 
road from the site of the original church and graveyard, and a 
separate organization was effected in 1864. 

Rev. Dorsius was succeeded by Rev. Jonathan DuBois in 1749, 


or rather he was the next regular pastor after an interval of sup- 
plies for four years. He was a great-grandson of Louis DuBois, 
a native of Normandy, the pioneer and leader of the Huguenot 
settlement on the Hudson in 1660. Rev. Jonathan was a first 
cousin to the father of Rev. Uriah DuBois the founder and first 
pastor of Doylestown Presbyterian Church. Rev. Jonathan Du- 
Bois died in 1772, and in 1776 Rev. William Schenck, driven from 
his charge at Monmouth, N. J., by the British, became pastor. 
He was succeeded in 1780, by Rev. Matthew Leydt, who died in 
1783. After another period of supplies Rev. Peter Stryker served 
as pastor 1788-1794; Rev. John Bush, 1794-1797; Rev. Jacob 
Larzelere, the first native pastor served from 1787 to 1828; Rev. 


Abram Ootwout Halsey. 1829-1868; Rev. William DeHart, 1868- 
1871; Rev. H. M. Vorhees, 1871-1877; Rev. B. C. Lippincott, 
1871-1881 ; Rev. Samuel Streng. 1882-1891 ; Rev. Horace P. 
Craig, 1891-1912, and Rev. Paul J. Strohaur, 1912-1916, com- 
pletes the roster of incumbents to the present time. Much of the 
information in reference to the later history I have gathered from 
a little booklet issued by the church consistory, compiled prin- 
cipally by the Rev. Samuel Streng, a copy of which has been pre- 
sented to the Bucks County Historical Society. 

The old graveyards at Feasterville and Richboro are similar 
to those of other localities and denominations of early dates. 
The graves of those who died prior to 1760 are marked by native 
stones, without inscription in some cases, but usually marked 
with the initials of the deceased and the year of their death. As 
above stated the oldest inscriptions at Feasterville bear the date 
1738. The oldest at Richboro are 1755 and 1757. The common 
undressed native stones were followed by the dressed red and 
gray sandstone, and they by the clouded marble, that preceded the 
white marble of later dates. A number of tombstones at Feaster- 
ville are of the greenish slabs from Edge Hill. 

An Investigation of the "Giant's Grave." 

(Churchville Meeting, May 23, 1917.) 

IT is well known that the central part of the United States 
from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, with the Missis- 
sippi Valley on the west and the Alleghanies on the east, is 
scattered with prehistoric mounds and earth works. If these 
were built, as is now supposed, by the ancestors of the Indians 
found in that region by the first white explorers, why did not the 
same or similar Indians build mounds, where none are found, in 
Pennsylvania east of the Alleghanies, or in New England? 

Because no such mounds exist in Eastern Pennsylvania or New 
Jersey, and because the prehistoric shell heaps of the New Jersey 
coast are not properly mounds, it seemed desirable to investigate 
a large apparently artificial mound, which has long attracted local 


attention in Bucks county, and which to the writer's knowledge, 
w^as first noticed in print in 1831, when Samuel Hazard in Haz- 
ard's Register of May 28th of that year. (Vol. VH, p. 349) the 
same note appearing later in Watson's Annals (V^ol. H, p. 172.) 
published in 1842, states that he has just received a letter from a 
friend signing himself E. M., who writing from the neighborhood 
of Doylestown says, "I have discovered a large Indian mound 
known by the name of the 'Giant's Grave,' and at another place 
is an Indian burial ground, on a very high hill, not far from 

This so-called Giant's Grave, which the writer first heard of 
from John S. Williams about 1897. is situated in a beautiful 
region about half a mile south of Buckmanville, in Upper Make- 
field township, close on the left of the road going toward Jericho 
Hill, on property (1917) belonging to Samuel Bassett, since sold 
to John Eastburn. 

On measurement I found the mound to be three hundred and 
six feet long, seventy-five wide and fourteen feet six inches high, 
at its highest point. 

It stands unhidden by trees in a basin-shaped hollow sur- 
rounded by low grassy ridges and appearing as a long grave- 
shaped rectangle, pointing lengthwise nearly east and west, and 
no less evenly rounded and clear in outline, no less symmetrical, 
than many of the typical earthworks of the Ohio Valley, which 
when seen, strike the student with awe, not as freaks of nature, 
but as the unexplained and mysterious work of unknown men. 

Mr. Bassett said it had been plowed about thirty years ago and 
that fifty years ago it was covered with trees from one to two 
feet in diameter. I noticed several holes of the ground-hog or 
wood-chuck upon the mound, and observed that the material 
excavated by the animals and piled near by, consisted of loose 
flat angular fragments of soft reddish shale. 

Having mapped out the mound longitudinally in thirty-four 
outlined areas for cross trenches, each to be nine feet wide when 
completed, we began digging on August 23, 1916, in area No. 16 
counting from the east. This preliminary trench five feet wide 
advancing toward the center of the mound as it reached a depth 
of five feet, showed conclusively that we were digging into a long 

1 This doubtless refers to a small sroup of supposed Indian graves on the 
Trego farm, about one mile east of Pineville on the Windy Bush road. 


ridge of stratified shale in which the rock floor tilted at an angle 
of about thirty degrees north and south. The outer crust of this. 
and of the mound itself to a depth of about three and one-half 
to four feet, had been rotted and loosened by frost and weather, 
although the fragments nevertheless retained in general the 
original position of their stratification. At a greater depth than 
four feet, the fragments merged into a solid rock, thus disproving 
the possibility of human construction. 

After finishing work at this point, we sank a shaft three feer 
long by four wide in the center of the mound at the area marked 
for trench No. 25. The conditions revealed were the same, save 
that the solid rock was reached at less depth, namely at about 
three feet. 

Our third trench was opened again in the center of the mound, 
in the area marked for trench No. 7 — as a rectangular shaft five 
feet long and three feet wide, where the hard rock was reached 
at a still less depth namely two feet six inches. Aiter finishing 
these trenches, a comparison of the surrotmding country showed 
similar formations of shale, rotted near the surface, which ap- 
peared as out-crops along the neighboring roadside, near a ruined 
house close to the southwest end of the mound, and also under 
the road bed itself. But the digging in our three trenches finished 
that same day, August 23, had conclusively proved that the mound 
was a weathered outcrop of rock and not the work of human 

Branding Cattle in Idaho. 

(Churchville Meeting-, May 22, 1917.) 

LIKE a similar specimen from upper Bucks county in the 
museum of the Bucks County Historical Society this brand- 
ing iron (a flat bar of wrought iron twisted into the re- 
versed form of the letter R with an iron socket to be inserted into 
a long wooden handle) was made and used by Henry Tremmer 
Rea on his cattle ranch in Payette Valley, Idaho, from 1860 to 
1870. At that time the cattle ran wild on the prairie. Idaho was 
then a territory. We were three hundred miles from the nearest 
railroad station and the Wells— Fargo Company's coach was the 
only means of transportation. This stage which made one trip 
daily passed our ranch. The driver was always accompanied by 
a man who sat beside him on the box with a Winchester rifle, 
while at his feet was placed an iron box containing gold, shipped 
by express from the mines. This was the only means of trans- 
porting the treasure in those days. 

The original owner of this branding iron, while engaged in the 
cattle business, also raised hay for the stage company. The stages 
were drawn by six horses, and hay had to be provided for them 
in winter. The hay for that section was grown mostly by Henry 
Rea, who brought the first mowing machine across country, on 
the backs of mules from San Francisco into Idaho. There were 
only two or three ranchers who raised hay, and it brought from 
$200 to $300 per ton. Many people here in the east, might doubt 
this statement, but they probably would not realize what it meant 
then and there to feed two hundred horses at the different relay 
stations some fifty miles apart between Salt Lake City, Boise 
City and Portland, Oregon. 

There were no Indian reservations then. The Indians trooped 
about the territory in bands. This kept the few ranchers who 
lived in that section at that time alert, as there were so many 
massacres by the Indians. Emigrants were then slowly crossing 
the Rockies from the east to settle in those parts. 

1 This paper was presented and read by Dr. "W. S. Erdman, of Bucking- 
ham, Pa., from notes furnished by Joseph C. Rea. 



Henry Tremmer Rea, his parents and his grandparents were 
among the first to leave their homes in Hunterdon county, N. J., 
for the west. Henry was then about seven years old. They 
traveled over the mountains of Pennsylvania with teams, crossing 
Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, the trip taking some four months. 
They crossed about the time the Mormons settled in Idaho, and 

A. Branding instrument of wrought iron for burning the letter R on 
cattle. Used in Idaho in 1860-70. In the possession of Joseph C. Rea, 
of Lahaska, Bucks County, Penna. 

B. "Branding iron" for burning the letters D. R. on cattle. Prob- 
ably used in upper Bucks County in the 18th Century. Found in a 
load of scrap iron by Enos B. Loux. of Hilltown, Bucks County, Penna., 
and presented by him. in July, 1917, to the Bucks County Historical 
Society. Size, 11 inches long. 

the writer remembers an old story told by his father of how he 
met Joseph Smith, the chief of the Mormons, who gave him some 
religious tracts to take home and read. He was then thirteen 
years of age and on his way home from school. He was im- 


pressed with the man's handsome appearance, and never forgot 

Henry Tremmer Rea married while in the west, and in the 
seventies returned east with his family. His son, Joseph Rea, 
(who has furnished the notes for this paper) when revisiting 
the old ranch in Idaho, brought back his father's branding iron, 
as a memento of his early childhood days. 

In branding cattle they were driven into a corral, one end of 
which led into a railed alley, when the animal reached the proper 
place for branding, another rail was placed behind it. The iron 
was heated and the animal branded on its side by thrusting the 
iron through the rails of the pen. The front rail was then pulled 
out and the animal let out into the field, and then another animal 
took its place in the branding pen. 

The Rea family is of Quaker extraction ; any one visiting 
Hunterdon county. New Jersey, would still find a number of its 
descendants there. 

Branding Cattle in Kansas in 1858. 

(Churchville Meeting, May 23, 1917.) 

I AM one of the survivors of that diminishing group of men 
who crossed the western plains to San Francisco by "prairie 
schooner" along the Santa Fe and other trails, before the rail- 
roads were built, and well remember helping to brand a drove of 
five hundred oxen at Independence, Kansas, in 1858. about ten 
years before the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad. 

The Mormon rebellion had broken out and the Government 
was preparing to transport large quantities of supplies for men 
and animals (about eight thousand tons) by wagon twelve hun- 
dred miles to the seat of war. The contract had been undertaken 
by the firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell, of Kansas City, 
(afterwards noted as having defaulted to the government for the 
embezzlement of Indian trust funds,) who then proposed to do 
the work at an outlay of $2,500,000 with four thousand seven 
hundred men, ten thousand mules, four thousand wagons (manu- 


factured in the east and shipped up the Mississippi river) and 
twenty-five thousand ox-yokes, bows and chains made at special 
shops to equip fifty thousand oxen, most of which with their 
tackle were almost given away to the Mormons on reaching Salt 
Lake City after the war was over. These animals who pulled 
most of the wagons at an average rate of about nine miles a day 
had to be branded at Independence, Kansas, before starting. 
My first job was to help at this work, of which I soon got a 
severe dose. The first day we branded five hundred, and between 
the unruly beasts, frightened by the smell of their burning flesh, 
and my own ofifended nostrils I was glad when night came. The 
preparations were a square pen capable of holding two hundred 
oxen, a stall at one corner big enough for one ox, with a gate at 
each end, a wood fire and a-half-dozen branding irons. The fire 
was just outside the corral, and four or five of the irons were 
constantly immerged therein. Eight or ten men were required to 
do the branding, to heat and carry, or "pack" the irons and steer 
the unruly and frightened oxen, into the branding stall. Their 
lowing and cringing as the hot irons seethed their hips, (the place 
for branding) was about all I could stand, but as I expected worse 
before I got through the Indian country, and as my bosses were 
a little impatient and addicted to strong language, I concluded to 
put up with my work. In fact, though very dififerent from at- 
tending boarding school, I tried to hide my emotion and to make 
myself believe that this was just the kind of fun I was hanker- 
ing after; particularly, as, while at Kansas City, I lost a job of 
ox-driving on a Santa Fe train by reason of taking on too many 
literary airs with a wagon master, and did not want to be rebuffed 
again. My job was to carry branding irons from the fire to the 
branding pen, and I might have lost my job from ignorance of 
the Missouri language, when I was ordered to "pack" them. 
This in the native lingo meant "carry" which as far as my studies 
went was a word neither to be found in French, Spanish or 
Latin, so that I was in some confusion, but the boss, by word 
and gesture promptly "put me wise," and I soon "packed" the 
ox-yoke brand from its place on the fire to the left hip of the 
ox now struggling in his pen. Helping to brand the five hundred 
was a tough job for me, but in consideration of the fifty thou- 
sand which were branded by the contracting firm mentioned, it 
was comparatively a light job. 

Turnpike Roads in Bucks County. 

(Churchville Meeting, May 23, 1917.) 

SINCE a considerable portion of our program for this meet- 
ing is devoted to the history of the local turnpike roads and 
reminiscenses of toll gatherers thereon, it is well to devote 
a moment to the origin of the name and a brief account of the 
first turnpike road companies incorporated and operated in our 
state and county. 

The first toll-bar or turn-pike, probably the crude style referred 
to by Mrs. Nichols, a yoeman's pike balanced on an upright stake 
or post erected in the middle of the highway to stop travelers 
and demand toll, was authorized by Edward III, of England in 
1346 to cover the cost of keeping in repair the highway now 
known as Gray's Inn Lane, London. The first turnpike road 
erected by law in England was in 1663, three centuries later. 


Showing "guard rail" on the right at Aquetong, formerly Paxson's Corner, 
on tne Old York Road (Lahaska and New Hope Turnpike) looking south. 


The system, not very common in England until the reign of 
George III, never gained a foothold in Colonial Pennsylvania, 
the first turnpike road in our state being the Lancaster Pike 
chartered in 1792. The elaborate and more or less gigantic 
schemes for the development of inland navigation in the closing 
years of the eighteen century, which were to make the Delaware, 
Schuylkill and Susquehanna rivers navigable to our northern 
boundary and connect them by canals, portages and smaller 
streams with the Ohio, and the almost as comprehensive system 
of opening roads to all parts of the state, was followed by the 
organization and chartering by the legislature of corporations to 
build and operate "Artificial Roads," over the main highways of 
the state. The first of these, as above stated, was that from 
Lancaster to Philadelphia. Between the years 1792 and 1828, 
one hundred and sixty-eight of these companies were incorporated 
and two thousand eight hundred and eighty miles of turnpike 
roads were put into operation, and "the whole surface of the 
state was traversed with the numerous turnpikes which extended 
their branches to the remotest districts" says a correspondent in 
Hazard's Register of June, 1828, (Vol. I, p. 407). ^ 

And he adds, "None of them have yielded dividends sufficient 
to remunerate their proprietors ; most of them have yielded little 
more than has been expended on their repairs ; and some of them 
have not yielded tolls sufficient even for that purpose and conse- 
quently in some cases have been abandoned by their proprietors." 

Bucks county relying on the improvement of navigation in the 
Delaware, already eflfective by the use of the flat-bottomed Dur- 
ham boats along her entire frontage, and by larger freight-carry- 
ing vessels over the lower half thereof, was not as active as some 
other parts of the state in building these artificial roads. The 
first turnpike road to extend through our county was the Frank- 
ford and Bristol, from Front street and Germantown road, Phila- 
delphia to the ferry at Morrisville, organized by act of assembly 
of March 24, 1803, the charter being issued May 13, 1803. On 
the same day an act was passed to organize Cheltenham and Wil- 
low Grove Turnpike Road Company, the road terminating at 
Willow Grove, outside our county, from whence it was extended 
to Doylestown in 1838 and up the Yord Road a decade later. 

1 See list of turnpikes authorized chartered with other statistics relating to 
same, Hazard s Register of Pennsylvania, Vol. II, pp. 293 and 299. 


The second turnpike road to enter our county was the Bustle- 
ton & Smithfield, from the "Rock" at Oxford to the "Buck" in 
Southampton, chartered May 1, 1804. It was extended through 
Churchville to the "Bear" at Richboro and finally to Pineville 
as referred to by Mr. Kirk in his History of the Turnpike Road 
from Buckingham to Newtown. The Chestnut Hill and Spring 
House Turnpike Road was chartered March 27, 1804, and in 
1805, an act was passed to extend it over the Bethlehem Road 
through Upper Bucks, and in 1806 an act for another branch 
from Trewig's Tavern (Line Lexington) through Sellersville, 
Quakertown and Coopersburg to Northampton Town, now Allen- 
town, but no charter was issued for either until authorized by 
another act in 1813. From this date until about 1838 there was 
little activity in building of turnpike roads, but about the latter 
date interest in them revived and toll roads were built in many 
parts of the county between 1838 and the opening of the Civil 

Turnpike Road from Buckingham to Newton. 

The distance between Buckingham (formerly Centreville) and 
Newtown was originally covered by three turnpike roads, which 
I will describe in their regular order, commencing at Buckingham. 


On or about October 1, 1858, a number of citizens of Buck- 
ingham township, met at Corson's tavern in the village of Cen- 
treville to consider the possibility of constructing a turnpike road 
from Centreville to Pineville. There were present at that meet- 
ing, Charles B. Ely, Stephen K. Betts, Emmor Walton, J. Wilson 
Kirk, Isaac C. Kirk, Andrew Craven, J. Watson Case, John W, 
Gilbert, Amos W. Kirk, William T. Rogers, Jonathan Mathews, 
James C. Iden, Hiram Rice and others. 

The necessity of a turnpike road was fully discussed, and it 
was decided to make application for a charter in the name of the 
"Centreville & Pineville Turnpike Road Company," and that the 
road should be capitalized at $10,000, divided into four hundred 
shares of stock at $25 each. It was also decided that the rate of 


tolls to be charged should be the same as those in the charter 
granted to the Somerton & Bustleton Turnpike Road Company. 
The charter was granted on April 8, 1859. The first meeting 
of the board of directors was held August 15, 1859, when the 
following officers were selected : William T. Rogers, president ; 
James C. Iden, treasurer; J. Watson Case, secretary; Charles 
B. Ely, Jonathan Mathews, J. Wilson Kirk, Stephen K. Betts, 
J. Watson Case, Andrew Craven and Stephen S. Kirk, directors. 
At the same meeting it was decided that the road should be laid 
out forty feet in width, with a stone bed of eighteen feet, and a 
summer road on one side. Plans and specifications for the build- 
ing of the road were drawn and seven contractors furnished bids 
for its construction ranging in price from $1,800 to $3,000 per 
mile. James Gowan was the successful bidder and took the con- 
tract at $1,800 per mile. The entire cost of the completed road 
was nearly $12,000 with land, road-bed and toll-house. This was 
about $2,000 more than the paid up capital stock, but the in- 
debtedness was gradually paid ofif, later one hundred and sixty 
shares were bought in by the company and cancelled, thereby 
reducing the capital stock to $6,000. John K. Trego furnished 
two chestnut poles for arms or gates to be swung across the road 
horizontally for the gate at the base of Buckingham mountain. 
These two poles or gates were in continuous use from the time 
the road was opened until it was taken over by the State High- 
way Department, and were then, at the solicitation of your presi- 
dent, Dr. Mercer deposited in the museum of the Bucks County 
Historical Society. These gates had to be swung around by the 
toll-gatherer to open and close them. The gates used later at 
the other toll-houses were more modern in construction, consist- 
ing of a vertical bar with a counterbalance, and could be operated 
by the gate keeper without his having to cross the road. 

Oliver Heath^ was appointed the first toll-gatherer at a salary 
of five dollars and a half per month with free use of house and 
a lot of land belonging to the company. The company com- 
menced to collect toll on September 1, 1860. On December 4, 
1860, a committee of investigation recommended that the gate 
should always be kept closed during meal time and also during 

1 Oliver Heath was for .several years toll-gatherer at the Buckingham gate 
on the Doylestovvn & Lahaska turnpike. 


the night. During the period of fifty-seven years of its existence 
the company had but nine gate-keepers. 

The minutes and proceedings of a number of meetings of the 
board show that it was an ordinary occurence to have orders 
passed in favor of the treasurer for counterfeit money received 
for tolls. At one meeting this amounted to $12.50 for one year. 


The company building that portion of the road from Pineville 
to the Anchor tavern was chartered under the name of the "Rich- 
boro & Pineville Turnpike Road Company." At a meeting of 
those interested in the project held at the Anchor tavern the fol- 
lowing resolution was passed : "Many of the inhabitants living 
contiguous to the road leading to Pineville, Plennsville and Rich- 
borough were strongly impressed that an artificial turnpike road 
is much wanted to accommodate the traveling community." A 
petition was accordingly signed and a charter secured on August 
8, 1848, eleven years before the charter was granted for the 
road from Centreville to Pineville. The first officers chosen 
were Samuel Atkinson, president, and Thomas Warner, secre- 
tary. The contract for this road was let to Robert Scarlet at 
$2,309.67 per mile. After fifty years of operation it was not a 
financial success and the company decided, at a meeting held 
June 4, 1902, to discontinue it and its charter was accordingly 
surrendered. On April 24, 1902, an application was made to 
have the charter of the Wrightown & Newtown turnpike road 
extended so as to include that portion of the road from the An- 
chor tavern to Pineville. Edward Tomlinson was appointed toll- 
gatherer and continued in that capacity from 1902 to April 1, 


A number of the citizens of Wrightstown and vicinity being 
desirous of having a turnpike road from the Anchor to New- 
town held a meeting at the Anchor tavern at which it was decided 
to present a petition to the legislature for a charter. The resi- 
dents of the townships of Wrightstown and Newtown took a keen 
interest in this project, as is indicated by the number that at- 
tended the public meetings that were held. At one meeting there 


were present fifty prominent residents from the two townships. 
The charter was granted April 12, 1867. 

At a meeting for organization held at the Anchor tavern July 
6, 1867, George Warner was elected president; Isaac Hillborn, 
secretary, Charles Thompson, treasurer, and Thomas Warner, 
Charles L. Twining, George Price, James Stinson, Charles 
Thompson and William B. Warner, directors. The contract for 
building the road was let to Isaac Hillborn for $3,990 per mile. 
The contractor to accept in part payment one hundred and sixty 
shares of the capital stock at $25, per share. The road was com- 
pleted January 21, 1780, and William Spencer Gore was appointed 
toll-gatherer at the ^^'rightstown gate and Edward Dillon at the 
Newtown gate, each to receive ten dollars per month and free 
house rent for his service. Mr. Gore was a cripple and he and 
his wife, Harriet Gore, continued as toll-gatherers at the Wrights- 
town gate until April 24, 1900, a period of thirty years. Both of 
them were always faithful in the discharge of their duties. 

On November 7, 1881, the first dividend of five per cent was 
declared. Unfortunately for the stockholders this company was 
not a financial success. From the date of organization until it 
was purchased by the State Highway Department, it paid its 
stockholders an average dividend of but one and six-tenths per 
cent per annum. The stockholders of the Centreville & Pine- 
ville Turnpike Road Company were more fortunate, they received 
an average of five and four-tenths per cent per annum from the 
time the road was opened until April 1, 1917. 

An explanation of the low cost of constructing these turnpike 
roads, is the fact that the stone was furnished by the parties in- 
terested in their construction at a minimum cost. The price of 
labor ranged from sixty-two and one-half cents to one dollar per 
day. The stones were all broken by hand hammers. All char- 
ters required that the stones be broken so as to be not larger 
than two inches for top dressing. 

From the time that the roads were first opened the position of 
toll-gatherer seemed to be in demand, as in nearly every case of 
a vacancy there were at least half-a-dozen applicants. In a 
number of cases the toll-gatherers were sworn to do their duty 
faithfully and honestly. 

The turnpike roads have fulfilled their mission and will soon 


be a thing of the past, and these roads, together with the roads 
leading from Doylestown to New Hope, which were freed from 
tolls on May 1, and May 7, 1917, respectively, witnessed the pass- 
ing out of existence, with two or three exceptions of the toll 
roads system of Bucks county. 

Reminiscences of Toll Gates and Toll Gatherers on Turnpike Roads. 


The toll houses along our turnpike roads were not large and 
had no modern conveniences, but they were comfortable homes 
for the toll-gatherers. The occupants were not rich in this world's 
goods, but presumably honest and faithful to their trusts, some of 
them were at times a little over zealous and apparently exacting. 

The minute-book of one company records that if any gate- 
keeper intentionally over collects he is to forfeit ten dollars which 
is to be given to the poor of the township (Plumstead) and the 
same minute-book says that if a person passes through the gate 
and intentionally fails to pay the regular toll he shall be fined 
five dollars or but half as much as the ofifending gate-keeper for- 
feits. This does not appear to be quite fair. 

In 1850 certain tariiTs were Ij^ cents and 2^ cents showing 
that the half -cent was in use at that time. The toll for two oxen 
was the same as for one horse. Stones were delivered for 25 
cents a perch ; and 70 cents a day was paid for labor. 

A party driving a four-horse team several times weekly, over 
a newly constructed turnpike positively refused to pay toll. On 
one of his regular trips the board of managers were at the gate 
which he expected to pass through and he found the gate closed. 
This so angered him that he unhitched his lead horses with the 
intention of hitching them to the gate and pulling it down. He 
had his black-snake whip with him, no doubt intending to use it 
either on his horses or on the managers if need be, but wiser 
counsel prevailed, the gate was not pulled down but the toll was 
paid. This happened in Plumstead township about 1849. 

One gate-keeper says, that the toll-house was the best home 
that he ever had, although he had several dwellings of his own 
later. His wife attended to collecting the toll in the day time 
while he worked at his trade. He had no rent to pay and re- 
ceived $6.50 in money per month. 


Those going to or from funerals were as a rule, exempt from 
paying toll, and so too were those going to or from church ; at 
times they were required to name the particular church where 
they intended to worship. 

Apparently most persons are inclined to do what is right and 
try to be fair and honest, demanding only what is right, but 
there are some exceptions to this rule, some who drop behind in 
the estimation of their fellow men, and no doubt often in their 
own estimation. This is nowhere more in evidence than in little 
transactions where a very little money is at stake. 

In Hilltown township, some years ago, a positive and some- 
M^hat irritable character had charge of a gate, a man of the same 
disposition came along and a wrangle about the toll followed, he 
threatened to cut down the gate with a nearby axe, the gate- 
keeper was equally sure that he would knock him down with a 

One day about thirty years ago John came down the "Hocker- 
town" turnpike with a light wagon and two horses. Five cents 
toll was demanded of him. He refused to pay, and said it was 
too much, that he would sooner pay five dollars than five cents, 
and moved on. Later he appeared before a justice of the peace, 
paid his fine and costs and no doubt became a wiser man. 

A new toll gate-keeper soon noticed that a certain man was in 
the habit of passing through the gate without stopping, he fre- 
quently stopped, however, at the hotel near by, therefore "once 
upon a time" the gate-keeper stopped him and demanded toll, he 
replied that he "had not been in the habit of paying toll in that 
way, but at times treated the gate-keeper at the hotel across the 
way." The gate-keeper replied "If I want whisky I will pay for 
it myself and you must pay your toll." Knowing the make-up 
of the gate-keeper, I have no doubt that both suggestions were 
carried out to the letter. 

I have often wondered why so many persons do not have the 
ready change, or at least have their money within ready reach 
with which to pay their toll, but in the coldest weather throw back 
lap-robes so as to be able to reach some inside pocket for their 
money; a.lso why the gate-keepers so seldom carry change, but 
trot back in the house to get it thus making two trips to collect 
one toll, and keep the traveler waiting. 


Sam was a very slow mover, hard to awaken at night when 
taking his "cat-naps," Dan wanted to go through his gate and 
called "Hello ! Sam" the response "Yep" came back but no Sam. 
Dan's voice was stronger a second time he called, and the third 
time the "hills shook." This had the desired effect but angered 
Sam who retorted. "Halt du der maul." (You keep still.) This 
Sam had the reputation of not being a model husband. Philip 
came along one day and while paying his toll and waiting for 
his change took occasion to reprimand Sam, who replied : "Du 
must some brandy wine gedrunken habe." (You must have been 
drinking some brandy.) 

A farmer friend of mine now over eighty years old, went to 
Philadelphia market with his products quite frequently during 
the winter months, as many other farmers did fifty years ago. 
On one occasion he started shortly after midnight, and at the first 
toll-gate he handed out a one dollar bill and received what he 
thought was the correct change, but later discovered that one of 
the coins which he thought was a dime was a three-cent piece. 
On his home trip he handed the three-cent piece to the keeper, 
and asked for a dime to correct the mistake, but the gate-keeper 
replied "impossible, I gave you the correct change and this three- 
cent piece was doubtless stuck between the two dimes I gave you." 
He took the three-cent piece and kept it. The farmer drove on, 
and told me that he could not help being amused at being trapped 
in that way. 

Tollgates have been a hindrance to travelers, and now in the 
days of automobiles and other modes of more speedy travel they 
have proved a disturbing factor upon the moral attitude of the 
public, as to what may or may not be right or wrong in the pay- 
ment or non-payment of tolls, with the result that it has kept 
the gate-keeper and a certain part of the traveling public busy 
to match each other. The Mechanicsville road leading off from 
the Buckingham and Doylestown turnpike, a short distance be- 
yond Pool's Corner, has been made the "scape-goat" by many 
who are candidates for the "Annanias Club," by reason of not 
telling the truth as to the route they traveled. At the Fountain- 
ville gate and also at the Turk gate some practices do not con- 
form to the golden rule, but it may be charitable to know that 
many of the offenders do not reside in that immediate neighbor- 


A youthful gate-keeper said : "Air. H . went through 

with his car as if the devil was after him, he had no time to 
stop and pay toll." When cars are speeding, the air becomes 
filled with dust and the license numbers are apt to become dirty 
and not readable, and the cars soon drive out of sight. To over- 
come this fraud a turnpike company in the upper end of our 
county, oiled the turnpike for several hundred yards with the re- 
sult that there was no dust and the numbers could be read. 

Two cars were waiting at a toll-gate about two hours after sun- 
set for the gate to be opened. Toll was collected from the first 
car which then drove through the gate, whereupon the second 
car put out its lights and quickly followed after car number one, 
without paying toll. Three cars were standing in line waiting 
for the gate to be opened but before opening it the toll collector 
passed from car to car and collected the toll, he then opened the 
gate and allowed all three to pass. The boys called him "a wise 
old guy." To stop an oiTender, a prevaricator, the gate-keeper 
smashed in the wind-shield and glass of a car, a lawsuit, with 
lawyers fees and court costs resulted. It has been said that 
"all men have their price," while I do not believe that is true, it 
does seem as if the price of some is very cheap. Many travelers, 
who would not think of taking what does not belong to them, 
seem to think it is smart to take advantage of a toll-gatherer, or 
to use over again a railroad ticket that the conductor has neg- 
lected to punch. 

There is, however, a better side to the majority of the travel- 
ing public. Mrs. Smith says some automobile tourists who hurry 
through the gate on an outward trip, to return weeks or months 
later stop and pay for both ways on their return. 

Some years ago a large boy gave a gate-keeper a one-dollar 
bill to be changed ; the gate-keeper was somewhat dull and absent- 
minded and gave him change for $5. When later he discovered 
a shortage in his account of $4, he was not able to trace his mis- 
take. Some years later, after having left the toll-house and living 
elsewhere, a sturdy young man appeared at his door, called him 
out, and returned the overpaid $4, saying that the occurrence 
had given him much uneasiness. The veteran gate-keeper has 
never made the young man's name public. 

Dr. Frank Swartzlander gave what he thought was a nickel for 


passing through a toll-gate, the following week the doctor passed 
through the same gate again. The gate-keeper (James Gentle- 
man, Sr.) explained that a mistake had occurred, and that he had 
given him a $5 gold piece, which he then returned. 

For twenty-eight consecutive years Israel Keller, now ninety- 
one years old, was toll-gate keeper at the Cross Keys on the 
Doylestown and Danboro Turnpike road. Oliver Smith has held 
a similar position sixteen years on the Doylestown and Dublin 
Turnpike and Miss Ada A. Layman, thirteen years at the Turk, 
on the Doylestown and Willow Grove Turnpike road. 

Deputy State Highway Commissioner Joseph W. Hunter, was 
one of the last persons to pay toll on the Buckingham and Doyles- 
town Turnpike road, recently freed. Lewis Fonash, of Doyles- 
town, passed through the gate only a few minutes before the 
road was declared free, and his name goes down to history as 
being the last to pay toll on that road, two cents, on May 7, 1917, 
at 3 :45 p. m. 

And to a plump, ruddy-faced little girl, only six years old, 
Mildred, daughter of James and Clara Gentleman, belongs the 
honor of standing near the gate, quite elated, with her blue eyes 
fairly dancing, as she in a strong, clear and melodious voice, 
announced the welcome news to every passer-by — "Free Toll ! 
Free Toll ! You don't have to pay toll." 


Early reminiscenses of toll-roads seem almost to have passed 
away with the old gate-keepers themselves, but I have been able 
to gather a few together, some from personal experience, some 
as the experiences of friends, and others were handed down. 

My profession has been one largely of the toll-road, as I have 
always lived in upper and central Bucks county, a region which 
has been, until very recently, much dotted with toll-gates. I 
have known rather intimately some of the oldest gate-keepers in 
this county, among whom I found many unique characters, who 
with few exceptions were of the old school. One of my first 
experiences was that of having the pleasure and experience of 
riding occasionally with turnpike directors who on arriving at a 
gate would simply call out their names — Atkinson, Broadhurst, 
Large or Kirk as the case might be and then drive on. At one 


time at our Buckingham gate there resided one OHver Heath, 
during whose service there was being held in the village a series 
of temperance meetings. The speakers for these occasions were 
being entertained at the homes of some of the aforesaid direc- 
tors, and in passing through the gate to and from the meetings 
these hospitable gentlemen would call out "all right Oliver." A 
temperance speaker referred to this from the platform and asked 
his audience to help him solve the question how "all right Oliver" 
paid the toll. Another amusing feature of the system was the 
fact that gate-keepers were,of course, obliged to take the travel- 
ers' word as to their starting point and destination and it was 
the rule that they always "came on the pike at the cross roads," 
just above or below. On one occasion in driving along the pike 
in upper Bucks county^ the toll-gate was just at a point where 
the road made a sharp turn, I failed to drive close enough for the 
old lady to reach the money and she resorted to a little tin box 
at the end of a long pole, I dropped the dime (the toll was a 
nickle) and waited for my change, but she disappeared in the 
little door and said "if you want the change come in after it." 
I drove on, but a few days later had occasion to pass the same 
gate again, I halted politely and said "my toll is paid," she said, 
"yes, sir," and I again drove on. Some few years ago, two 
George School students failed to pay their toll, while riding their 
bicycles through a gate, whereupon the toll-gatherer promptly 
mounted his bicycle and chased after them to Newtown, a dis- 
tance of some sixteen miles. This same official charged me 12 
cents going and 25 cents returning in the same car and with the 
same number of people, I paid it promptly, having heard but a 
few days before that he resorted to his gun and threatened to 
blow up a tire when a woman protested at the exorbitant rate. 
Running past toll-gates was a frequent occurence which often 
proved disastrous to both car and gate. 

One quite exciting incident was related to me about a gate- 
keeper, quite aged and with a long flowing beard, who was at 
his post of duty one night, when a crowd of young ruffians came 
along driving a fast horse, the old man asked for the toll, one of 
the fellows seized him by his long white whiskers and dragged 
him some distance before letting him go. One popular gate- 

1 There have never been any toll roads in the northeastern end of Bucks 


keeper was an old lady of the "fence hanging" variety, whose 
one pleasure in life was gossiping with her neighbors. Not wish- 
ing to run back so often to collect the toll, she would call out, 
"pay at the next gate." 

A year or two ago while driving down the Old York road, I 
handed one of the gate-keepers a one-dollar bill saying "take out 
for both ways," he handed me back the change which I did not 
count, but drove on hurriedly as I had an appointment to meet; 
on returning I drove through the gate and in a day or two 
learned that he had lodged a complaint against me, for running 
past the gate; happily I had a good friend who was director of 
that turnpike and an explanation sufficed. 

This sort of thing was not always pleasant for the gate-keep- 
er's point of view as it caused complaints and fault-finding to be 
lodged against him from the traveling public. Sometimes auto- 
mobiles were ofi^ered for toll charges, many such slurs and sar- 
castic remarks were cast upon the antiquated system. Now, hap- 
pily, toll-gates are fast disappearing and soon all things pertaining 
to toll-roads will be reminiscenses only. 


Several boys living at Spring Valley and returning from 
Doylestown late at night, used to find the Pool's Corner tollgate 
closed, and were unwillingly obliged to crawl under it. The 
gate-keeper was not bound to open the gate for pedestrians, so 
the boys would form in a line a few feet apart, and as each one 
passed under he would jiggle the gate so the end resting loosely 
on a post against the house, would make a loud rattling noise. 
By the time seven or eight of the boys had passed under, the old 
keeper, mad as a hornet, would rush out and shout out threats 
as long as the boys were able to hear. 

Aaron Carver, the old gate-keeper at the Centre ville gate, 
prided himself on not letting any one slip through without paying 
toll and was generally on hand when a driver stopped or came 
near the gate. Olie time two men in a buggy drove through with- 
out looking either to the right or left, just as if there was no 
gate there, and nearly drove over the writer who supposed they 
would stop. The keeper, with long grey hair and flowing beard, 
rushed out in a great rage and shook his fists after the team fast 


disappearing out the New Hope pike. This badly frightened the 
writer, then a very small boy, who was coming in the opposite 
direction, as he shouted "twice you've done it, I'll have you yet." 
He had cold grey eyes and generally closed the left one when 
talking to you. and the other one seemed to pierce you through 
and through, making one feel as if he had committed some 
crime, and that he was able to read your guilt in your eyes. He 
closed the gate the moment Gypsies came in sight and would 
not open it until the last cent had been collected. 

At a toll-gate below Hatboro on the Old York road, on a cool 
snappy morning in September, three large touring cars going 
north rushed through the gate just as we rode up. A pleasant 
old lady, much excited, came running out and crying : "Oh my ! 
oh my ! its highway robbery, its just plain stealing." I asked her, 
"What is, lifting this enormous toll from motorists at six in the 
morn?" She replied, "Oh no, they all rush right through and 
don't pay a cent, just as those three large cars did, and they go so 
fast I cannot turn around in time to see them, oh my! its just 
plain stealing, that's what it is." 

At a toll-gate on the Point Pleasant pike on a hot April day 
one of the carriage horses somewhat fagged out and glad to 
stop at the toll-gate, an old lady, wife of the gate-keeper, came 
out to collect the toll of Mr. Henry C. Mercer, who thought she 
charged him one cent more than the usual rate. There was an 
argument for some time. At first she seemed frightened but 
later got so mad that Napoleon's whole army could not have 
made her change her mind, so the cent was handed over to her. 
Just as we started to drive away, Mr. Mercer, thinking of the 
horse, asked if we might have a bucket to water him with. Here 
she scored again. "No, damned if you may, after that fuss over 
a cent, go to a hotel and spend a nickel," she shouted as she 
stepped in the house and slammed the door. 

Most of the toll-gates were thrown open at ten o'clock at night 
because it would not pay the turnpike company to hire an extra 
man to collect toll after that hour. H the keeper chose to stay 
up after that time and collect toll he could do so at his own 
profit ; in that case he would close the gate, hang a lantern on it 
and go to sleep somewheres down stairs, and might have to be 
called several times before he came out to open the gate. Drivers 


had a grudge against an "after ten" gate-keeper. On Thursday- 
nights the market men and hay haulers passed down the Old 
York road so as to be in Philadelphia in the early morning. 
There were so many of them thirty years ago that hotels were 
kept open all night and at some of them free lunches were placed 
on the bars. On those nights the gate-keepers were obliged to 
collect toll all night and sometimes six or more teams would be 
lined up at a gate waiting to pay their toll and pass through. 

Funeral processions were allowed to pass through the gates to 
and from the graveyards without paying toll, a sort of discount 
after a man had paid his toll in his life. Anyone driving to or 
from church was not required to pay toll. Motorists, out on the 
"main line" beyond Haverford, used to carry Prayer Books on 
Sunday mornings and hold them up as they passed through the 
gates unchallenged, although they may have gone no further than 
the nearest roadhouse. (Information of Mrs. Harrison Smith.) 

Thirty years ago, when little boys in the country wore boots 
and were proud of pocket handkerchiefs made from fragments 
of old white shirts, they hailed with delight an invitation from 
granddaddy to take a ride somewhere. While toll-gates, more 
plentiful than country stores, were not a pleasant thing to most 
people, to a small child they were more attractive than the board- 
walk at Atlantic City in later years, for there, in the bulk-window, 
built out so that the gate-keeper could see up and down the 
road, were shelves covered with scalloped or crimped newspapers 
on which were large glass jars (not always covered with lids) 
and these were filled with great ginger cakes, scalloped and stale, 
at a cent apiece, or for the same price, the plaited mint-sticks or 
birch sticks with white and red corkscrew twisted like a barber's 
pole or the soft limp sugary cocoanut stripe of pink and white, 
chunks of yellow-jack as hard as flint, butterscotch and the home- 
made molasses candy with black walnut kernels, popcorn balls in 
pink and white, Hcorice shoestrings, or, best of all, the pale yel- 
low and white striped lemon sticks, bought oftenest because they 
were hardest and "licked" longer than any other. In those days 
children were taught that they should be seen and not heard, but 
it was a poor specimen of a boy who could not bring the conver- 
sation around to a lemon stick with the aid of the gate-keeper, 
who jingled the change, pennies in hand, while he handed out 


the latest news, especially if granddaddy wanted plug tobacco 
with its gaudy tin tag or trade mark with little sharp tack-like 
sides or legs that enabled one later to jab it into the soft wood 
of the shed door until long shiny rows, or arrows, or wheels 
had been formed, thus showing, to the whole world the ex- 
travagance of granddaddy 's bad habit. In later years, these men, 
to the sorrow of little boys, were called merchants by the govern- 
ment and were obliged to pay a mercantile tax. But the profit 
had always been small, too small to cover the tax, and so the 
large glass jars were taken down and disappeared, and toll-gates 
lost their importance and keepers didn't count as far as little 
boys were concerned. 

Laura Long, when a little girl, lived near the Gardenville toll- 
gate. Her mother used to give her a penny for helping with the 
work about the house. At the first chance she would run ofif to 
the toll-gate to buy a little tin pie dish, or perhaps a frying pan 
filled with a sticky pink or red candy mixture that had to be 
licked ofif. These dishes and pans, with a little toy cook stove 
helped make up a miniature kitchen. Sometimes little tin spoons 
were given out with the plates. There were times when the gate- 
keeper needed some work done, weeds pulled in the garden, etc., 
and another penny would be earned or better still, another dish of 
candy would be given and happy was the day when she could 
carry home two dishes of candy even when her mother, cross 
over the long delay, had to go after her with a switch. 

Incidents in Reference to Toll Roads and Toll Gatherers Were 
Related as Follows. 


The significance of the word "Turn-pike" was told to me years 
ago by my dear father Mr. John Mclllhenny, whose wonderful 
mind was a storehouse of information. In the early days the 
word pike meant pole or statT. When good roads were very few 
and far between companies were authorized to construct them 
and repay themselves by collecting "toll" or payment from those 
who travelled over them and in order to do so set up at certain 
intervals a pike or pole on a hinge which the collector could turn 
across the road to bar the passage until the toll was paid, hence a 
road with a turn-pike was called from this fact a turnpike. The 


word has nothing to do with the construction of the road. It 
could be a mere dirt road but if it had a turnpike on it the road 
itself came to be called a turnpike. The first authorization for 
such roads in England were under Edward III. The by or back 
roads that avoided the toll gatherers came to be known as "shun- 


At a toll-gate, probably on the Bridgetown turnpike, about 

forty years ago the father of the late John M , frequently 

oflfered one hundred dollar bills for toll, as the gate-keeper could 
not change them he thus escaped paying his toll. On one oc- 
casion, however, the toll-gatherer took the precautions to have 

the change ready and when Mr. M , held out the bill, 

and was on the point of passing on, shouted out, "Hold up ! 
I've got the change," and so the toll for that trip was paid. 


At a toll-gate on the Old York road, about seventy-five years 

ago, Mr. L , approached the gate at night with a long team 

of horses driven tandem, and found the gate-keeper asleep. He 
knocked at the gate house door, and then pounded loudly, but as 
there was no answer he hitched his horses to the toll-gate post, 
pulled it out, dragged it gate and all, oflf the road and passed on. 
The affair was afterwards formally settled. 

John C. Agen, who kept the toll-gate between Hatboro and 
Willow Grove, on the Willow^ Grove and Warminster turnpike 
road in the eighteen seventies, was one of the most pleasant and 
genial of toll-gatherers. When he died September 28, 1883, I 
paid tribute to his excellence and worth in the following lines, 
which his patriarchal and kindly, cherry manner inspired. They 
are copied from an issue of the Hatboro Public Spirit, published 
a few days later. 


The gentle keeper of that gate that stands beside the way. 
No more will greet us as we pass the tollhouse day by day ; 
No more will we behold his face, rimmed with its flowing beard. 
That at each passer's summoning so graciously appeared. 


Himself a traveler upon life's hard and stony road, 

He has the last gate journeyed through and borne his weary load ; 

And to the Keeper of the gate that bars the way of life, 

He has delivered up the toll collected in the strife. 

We know that we shall miss thee, friend, whenever passing 

The gate that thou dids't keep so well, so faithfully and true. 
And long we'll keep in memory thy pleasant cheery face ; 
And kindly voice that greeted us with such courtesy and grace. 

And gentle keeper of the gate, in bidding thee farewell, 
We feel that thou art faring well where happy spirits dwell. 
And when the summons comes to us, as 'twill come soon or late, 
May we, like thee, life enter, through the straight and narrow gate. 


The toll-gates above referred to, appear to have been con- 
struced in three ways : 

1. The single armed gate. From a small post fixed at the 
outer edge of the road, opposite the toll-house, extended a pole 
or strip of wood (the guard rail) to another larger post standing 
nearly in the middle of the road, equipped with two spiked 
wrought iron hinge pivots. Upon the latter post swung a bracket 
made of three wooden pieces, first a vertical arm with the hinges, 
second a short diagonal brace mortised in position, third a 
horizontal pole long enough to reach the wall of the gate-house 
and meet there a smaller post. When open, this gate-bar ex- 
tended at right angles to the guard-rail and parallel to the road. 
(See illustration, page 18.) 

2. The double armed gate. The former apparatus doubled or 
lacking the guard rail, so that two brackets instead of one swung 
on the central post to open or close the road. In this case only 
the bracket nearest the toll-house seems to have been used, the 
other bracket, generally in bad repair, remained either perma- 
nently open or closed. 

3. The sweep gate. A long light bar made of two pointed 
boards (in the WVightstown gate fifteen feet seven inches long) 
bolted together on blocks, hinged or pivoted and balanced on a 
strong post close to the toll-house so as to rise vertically and 


open the road, or fall and close it, upon another post, with or with- 
out a guard-rail as above described on the opposite side of the 

On the recent freeing of the Buckingham and Newtown, and 
Buckingham and New Hope turnpike roads ; I obtained from the 
two companies, as presents, for our museum, four of these gates, 
with their posts, brackets, guard-rails, etc., complete, namely : 
A, the Wrightstown gate of class 3. B, the Buckingham Moun- 
tain gate of class 2, unfortunately lacking the central post. C, 
the Buckingham gate of class 1, where the bracket was equipped 
with a vertical cedar pole at its outer end which enabled the gate- 
keeper to close the gate by pulling a string stretched from the 
pole's end, above wagon top level, across the road, and, D, the 
Pools Corner gate of class 2. in very bad condition where the 
posts generally rotted out at the base had been faced with boards. 

Together with these gates, dug up and hauled to the museum 
on April 4th, and May 8th, 1917, I obtained several signboards 
painted with the words "Stop and Pay Toll, Save Cost," cash 
boxes and a sliding cash drawer, an iron handle to screw against 
the house at the sweep-gate to be grasped by the gate-keeper in 
lifting the short down balanced end of the bar to close the gate 
and a hook and staple to catch the bar when up and open on a 
sweep-gate, etc., all of which objects together with the Wrights- 
town and Mountain gates are now on exhibition in the museum 
and explained under their numbers in our catalogue. 

It appears that turnpike roads, and therefore toll-gates though 
a celebrated feature in the country life of old England, in the 
eighteenth century, did not exist in Bucks county in Colonial 
times. The Buckingham and Newtown road as Mr. Kirk tells 
us was built in the late 1840's and probably all the toll-gates re- 
ferred to in the above notes were built within the memory of 
persons now living. The toll-gates in our museum are therefore 
not more than 70 years old. One of the brackets of the Moun- 
tain gate and several of the timbers of the Buckingham gate 
(fifteen feet, nine inches long) made of old hewn wood, may be 
pieces of the original construction. Otherwise many of the de- 
molished parts of all four gates show repairs and insertions with 
modem sawed lumber. The Universal Magazine for October 
1751 at page 172 says: 


"In the Act for preservation of turnpike roads, etc., it is enacted that 
after the first of July 1752 every wagon or other carriage drawn with 
six horses, except coaches, berlins, chariots, chaises, calashes, hearses 
and all waggons wains, carts and other carriages employed only about 
husbandry or in carrying only of straw, hay, corn unthrashed, chalk 
or any stone, or block of marble or piece of timber, and all caravans or 
covered carriages of noblemen, etc., for their private use, or such 
timber, ammunition or artilery as shall be necessary for his Majesty's 
service, shall pay 20 s. at every turnpike through which it passes above 
all other tolls or duties to be applied to the repair of the highway: 
and 5 1. in case any horse be taken of¥ from the carriage to avoid the 
said duty to be levied by distress and sale of the offender's goods, and 
that after the 31st of September 1751 any person may seize or distrain 
for his own sole use any one horse (except the thill or shaft horse) of 
any carriage driving out of the turnpike road to avoid the tolls." 

The "Draisiana" or Pedestrian Hobby Horse of 1819. 

(Churchville Meeting, May 23, 1917.) 

AMONG the objects in the museum of the Bucks County 
Historical Society, the old hand power fire engine^ and 
the device known in its day as a "walking machine," are 
mentioned in certain contemporary writings which happen to 
contain also incidents of historical interest relating to Bucks 
county. These writings comprise the journals, correspondence 
and biographical notes of Charles Wilson Peak (1741-1827), 
portrait painter, who was in active service as an officer during our 
Revolutionary War and in his later years was the founder of the 
first museum of natural history in America. 

The primitive bicycle in the collection is an object that might 
be passed by without fully realizing its historic significance, and 
I shall therefore refer more particularly to it, especially as very 
little has been written concerning its origin and early use. 

It is of the type first introduced into America about the year 
1819. It was then a popular amusement abroad and much dis- 
cussed in the newspapers and magazines of the day. 

It was popularly known as the "Pedestrian Hobby-Horse" or 

1 The Hand Power Fire Engine is fully described by John A. Anderson, 
in his paper, "Interesting New Hope Relics ;" see Vol. IV, p. 75. 

38 THE "draisana" or pedestrian hobby horse 

"fast walking machine," and by the term "Velocipede" or 
"Draisiana" in England and America, while in Germany it was 
called "Drais Laufmashin," and in France the "Draisena." 

In referring to it Peale states that it was the invention of a 
German named Drais, and his authority for this was afterwards 
reprinted in the Analetic Magadne of Philadelphia in the year 
1819, in which the inventor is described as "Baron Charles De 
Drais, master of the woods and forests of H. R. H. the Grand 
Duke of Baden." 

'M '/KA 

j^*-''^''^ ' ^ '^^mmB^w! 


While the machine, like the modern bicycle, consisted of two 
wheels of equal diameter, with the forward wheel pivoted and 
controlled by a steering device, the essential point of difference 
was (as may be seen in the machine in your museum) that in- 
stead of being provided with pedals it was propelled by the 
rider's feet on the ground. 

A reference to this in the Gentleman's Magazine of March 
1819 is interesting, showing also the attention at the time: 

"The new machine entitled a Velocipede, consisting of two wheels 
one before the other, connected by a perch, on which the pedestrian 
rests the weight of his body, while with his feet he urges the machine 
forward, on the principle of skating, is already in very general use. 
'The road from Ipswich to Whitton,' says the Bury paper, 'is traveled 
every evening by several pedestrian hobby-horses; no less than six are 
seen at a time, and the distance which is three miles, performed in 
fifteen minutes. 

" 'A military gentleman has made a bet to go to London by the side 
of the coach.' 

"The crowded state of the Metropolis does not admit of this novel 
mode of exercise, and it has been put down by the Magistrate of 


Police: but it contributes to the amusement of the passengers in the 
streets in the shape of caricatures in the print shops." 

Among these English prints is one showing the interior of 
"Johnson's Pedestrian Hobby Horse School at 1)77 Strand," as 
the title reads, in which riders wearing tall beaver hats and the 
fashionable costumes of the day are seen traveling around a ring 
which appears to have an undulating surface to permit "coast- 
ing," as we now call it, to which the machine was especially 

Another print shows "Johnston, First rider of the Pedestrian 
Hobby-Horse," and among the caricatures is a colored print with 
the title, "More Economy, or a penny Saved a Penny Got," rep- 
resenting a Bishop riding a hobby-horse with John Bull looking 
on and Windsor Castle in the distance. Another is called, "Go- 
ing to the Hobbyfair" and shows an old gentleman who is pro- 
pelling the machine and mopping his brow, his wig and hat placed 
in front of him while behind are seated a lady and children. 

A cut of the "Velocipede of 1827," with two wheels propelled 
by the rider's feet, is shown in Pcrky's Reniinisccnscs, Vol. I, 
p. 30, with the statement that "One of the secretaries of legation 
created a sensation by appearing on Pennsylvania avenue, Wash- 
ington, D. C., mounted on a velocipede imported from London." 

Some of these prints illustrate the variations of the machine as 
designed to meet the more delicate sensibilities of women who 
would hardly venture to mount astride the wheels, it not being 
the fashion in that age to indulge in masculine pursuits, and for 
their use we see represented in one of the prints "The Ladies' 
Hobby," with the following description under that title : 

"The principle of this machine consists in two boards acting on 
cranks, on the axle of the forewheel, in a similar manner to those 
used for the purpose of turnery, and accelerated by the use of the 
handles, as represented in the plate; the direction is managed by the 
centre handle, which may be fixed so as to perform any given circle." 

This was a tricycle and another print shows one called "A 
Pilentum, or Lady's Accelerator invented by Hancock & Co., 
St. James Street." 

These tricycles were operated by pedals and in the Gentleman's 
Magazine of June, 1819. we read : 

"A model of a Velocipede intended for the use of ladies, is now ex- 


hibited at Ackerman's, in London. It resembles Johnstone's machine, 
and has two wheels behind, which are wrought by two levers, like 
weaver's treadles, on which the person impelling the machine presses 
alternately with a walking motion. These move the axle by means of 
leather straps round the cramps; and the wheels being fixed revolve 
with it. The lady sits on a seat before, and directs the Velocipede as 
in the original invention." 

The possibilities of this new method of conveyance and rapid 
transit appealed to the popular fancy and stimulated invention 
with the result that numerous variations of the machine were de- 
vised. One called the "Pedestrian Chariot" is described as hav- 
ing "infinitely greater power and as entirely unlike the velocipede. 
Its chief attractions are its simplicity and perfect safety, being 
eligible for the conveyance of ladies, and even children. The 
wheels are upwards of six feet in diameter, run parallel with 
each other ; and as the seat is below the center of gravity the rider 
can neither be thrown, nor easily lose his equilibrium." 

To return to the Draisiana or "Fast walking machine" in its 
original and simplest form as it appears in your collection, the 
published accounts in discussing it seriously assert that : 

"The instrument appears to have satisfied a desideratum in me- 
chanics; all former attempts have failed, upon the known principle that 
power is attainable only at the expense of velocity. But the impelling 
principle is totally different from all others; it is not derived from the 
body of the machine, but from a resistance operating externally, and 
in a manner the most conformable to nature — the resistance of the 
feet upon the ground. The body is carried and supported, as it were, 
by two skates, while the impulse is given by the alternate motion of 
both legs." 

At the time Charles Wilson Peale became interested in this 
subject he was best known perhaps on account of the museum he 
had established, and as a member and for many years one of the 
Curators of the American Philosophical Society, he kept in touch 
with the progress of the sciences and the industrial arts. His 
celebrity as a portrait painter before and during the Revolution 
was not forgotten although he laid aside his brush as a profes- 
sion some years before Stuart, Trumbull and the younger artists, 
who were about fifteen years his junior, had entered the field in 
this country and his own sons, Raphael and Rembrandt had in a 
large measure taken his place. 

After placing the museum under the direction of the board of 


trustees and the management of one of his sons, Peale retired to 
his country seat, "Belfield," near Germantown, and it was not 
until then that he was tempted to resume his painting through his 
interest in the newer technique of the younger school of painters. 
This return to his art attracted some little notice and in Feb- 
ruary of 1819 a Baltimore newspaper commenting upon it, re- 
fers to his having 

"Been distinguished for his zeal in painting an invaluable series of 
portraits of our Revolutionary heroes, which adorn his museum in 
Philadelphia. That museum, however, for a long time withdrew him 
from painting, until he retired, nine years ago to the labors of a farm. 
It is probable the vigor of his present health may be ascribed to this 
circumstance. Animated by his youthful ardor, he has resumed the 
pencil, and has just returned from Washington with a number of por- 
traits of public characters." 

The portraits mentioned were those of President Monroe, mem- 
bers of the cabinet, and others prominent in official life at that 
time. After leaving the capitol he stopped at Baltimore and 
while there his attention was called to what he describes as "a 
fast walking machine made by Mr. Stewart, a musical instrument 

A few months later, in May 1918, he again refers to the sub- 
ject in a letter to his son Rembrandt Peale: 

"I wish you would send me your verses on it, as appropriate to the 
present general conversation, it is all the fashion. Seeing a Print in 
Aikens repository, I set about making one, the frame all iron, as is 
the custom of Britain to make everything. And I made the hind 
wheel two feet seven and one-half inches diameter, the circumference 
is one-half pole; a machine which Mr. Lukins some time past gave me 
for my chaize, to measure roads — two revolutions of my Velocipede 
wheel being equal to one of the chaize — I have only to count one-half 
the distance given by the hands of the machine. Thus my Velocipede 
will not only be amusing, but also useful. 

"The curiosity has and still is great to see this fast walking ma- 
chine, and having deposited it in the museum, it has given Rubins a 
very considerable profit, as a great deal of company has visited the 
museum on purpose to see it, being the first made in Pennsylvania.. As 
soon as it was heard of, several of them appeared immediately con- 
structed in a different manner of wood, some of them very light; some 
of a temporary nature. Mine was made of the irons which had be- 
longed to my thrashing machine, put together by an indifferent black- 
smith; it weighed fifty-five pounds. I might take off five pounds of 
that weight, and it then will be exactly of the weight of those made 

42 THE "draisana"^ or pedestrian hobby horse 

in England. It is a mistake to expect use from them if they are made 
of very little weight, and a few pounds additional is of little conse- 
quence as being borne on the wheels. Mr. Stewart is exhibiting his at 
the Federal Hall, whether he makes it profitable or not I have not 

The exhibition of this first machine is referred to in the 
American Daily Advertiser of May 13, 1819, in a news item 
under the heading of "Velocipede," reading: 

"This whimsical pedestrian accelerator, having excited much curios- 
ity, Mr. Peale has made one, which is now in the museum." 

As Peale states, others were quick to introduce the device, and 
in another column of the same newspaper we read : 

"The Velocipede will be exhibited at the Vauxhall Gardens by Mr. 
Chambers, on Thursday morning the 13th of May, to be continued 
daily (Sunday excepted) from 9 to 11 o'clock — and in the evening from 
6 to 7 o'clock, by permission of the proprietor, and will be propelled 
round the walks moved by the feet of the gentleman that rides upon it." 

Peale was in his 69th year at this time but to undertake to 
use the velocipede at his age was quite in accord with his fa- 
vorite theory that by continued activity in wholesome and use- 
ful pursuits, joined with prudence and temperance in all things, 
the average man might escape the ennui and ills of old age. 

During the summer of 1819 he was closely confined to his 
painting room at "Belfield," being engaged upon a large canvas 
ful of detail and many figures, and after describing this in a 
letter he adds : 

"I have been constantly at my easel from early in the morning until 
night, painting until my back would ache, then I would ride the 
Draisiana round a few squares in the Garden, return again to my brush, 
thus alternately paint and take exercise, otherwise I never could have 
painted such a picture." 

In keeping with his usual habit of thought he made the ma- 
chine serve a useful purpose by applying to it a cyclometer made 
for his chaize by Josiah Lukins the clockmaker. The instrument 
he states was graduated to record "the distances passed over in 
perches as well as in miles to the number of one hundred" and in 
a letter to one of his sons in September 1819 he states : 

"Yesterday I began a survey of the farm, having borrowed a survey- 
ing compass to give the courses. I measured the distance with m}- 
Machine which is a more expeditious mode than by a Chain, and I be- 
lieve tolerably accurate." 


From another letter we learn that his son Franklin Peale was 
making a walking machine of wood : 

"Which will not weigh much more than half of mine. This is all 
important as we cannot go without labour up hill * * * this dis- 
advantage is amply made up by the velocity on descending ground, 
your brothers and other young men go down my road from the house 
to the 'Echo' without touching the ground with the speed of a running 
horse, nay they often put their feet over the (arm) rest * * * * 
Some gentlemen who come to the farm, make a very awkward display 
of their legs and tumble down. Franklin went to Robert Morris' in 
three-quarters of an hour, when the machine was not so complete as 
it is at present, and I believe with a well made machine the speed 
may be calculated on tolerably good roads, at about six or seven miles 
an hour without incurring much fatigue." 

The action of the poHce magistrates of London in prohibiting 
the use of the machine as already referred to, had its echo in 
Philadelphia where according to Peale it met with opposition. 
After the machine had been ridden a few mornings and even- 
ings around Washington Square, which distance he notes was 
traveled by one of his sons, Franklin Peale, in two and one-half 
minutes, an ill-natured person resurrected an old law designated 
to protect sidewalks from damage under which a fine of $3.00 
was imposed for each ofifense for driving a two-wheeled carriage 
on the pavement. A young man who had ridden one of the 
walking machines was brought before the mayor and while his 
offense was hardly within the intention of the law he paid the 
fine to avoid further trouble, but Peale adds, this ended the use 
of the walking machine within the city limits. 

In referring at the outset to Peak's writings in general, allusion 
was made to incidents of local interest relating to Bucks county. 
Reserving these for another occasion I will simply say in con- 
clusion that in 1777, when Philadelphia was threatened by the 
British, Peale removed his family for safety first to the house of 
Mr. Britton, near Abington, and when the British finally occupied 
the city, after the Battle of Germantown he found it advisable to 
seek a more remote place of refuge and with the assistance of 
Dr. Tombs he moved to a house owned by Mr. Vanartsdalen not 
far from Newtown and probably at Richboro.- It was at that 
place, and while he was with the army at Valley Forge that his 
son Rembrandt Peale was born on February 22, 1778. The 
latter is therefore claimed as a native of Bucks county. 

2 Possibly the site of the Indian town of Playwicky, on the Feasterville 

Life and Work of the Rev. Peter Henry Dorsius. 

(Doylestown Meeting, January 19, 1918.) 

IN a paper presented to this society January 16, 1916, on the 
Rev. Paulus Van Vlecq, the writer showed that on May 20, 
1710, Pauhis Van Vlecq organized a Dutch Reformed con- 
gregation at Neshaminy, Bucks county. That it was a Dutch Re- 
formed congregation cannot at all be doubtful. Both pastor and 
people had been reared in the Dutch church.. They conducted 
their services in the Dutch language and kept also their records 
in Dutch. In the fall of that year, on September 21, 1710, this 
Dutch Reformed pastor asked the Ptesbytery of Philadelphia to 
admit him to membership. This request was granted "after 
serious debating thereon." 

At the same meeting of Presbytery Mr. Leonard Van Degrift 
was admitted to sit with the Presbytery as representing the 
Neshaminy Church. This proves that both pastor and people 
had become, at least for the time being, members of the Presby- 
terian Church. 

The Neshaminy congregation continued in existence until 1713, 
when Mr. Van Vlecq left the church and the state. In 1714, 
when the Abington Presbyterian Church was organized, at least 
two members of Neshaminy joined that organization, namely 
Christoffel Van Sandt and Dirck Croesen. Their names are 
found attached to a paper,^ by which seventy people of the town- 
ship of Abington "engaged themselves to the Lord and to one 
another to unite in a Church-State," with Malachi Jones as 
their pastor. 

A larger number of Dutch people joined in 1719 in the or- 
ganization of the Bensalem Presbyterian Church, also under the 
leadership of the Rev. Mr. Jones. They were not only Messrs. 
Van Sandt and Croesen, but seventeen other Dutch people. It 
is a noteworthy fact that their names are found in the old 
Neshaminy record, entered there by the elder Van Sandt. He 

1 It is true that Captain N. Baggs. in his History of the Abington Presby- 
terian Church gives the date of this document as 1711, but that is most lil^ely 
a misprint, as in 1711 Van Sandt and Croesen were still members of the 
Neshaminy Church. Moreover, Mr. Jones was not received by Presbytery 
till 1714. 


States definitely that they "were received on profession of faith 
by the Rev. Malachi Jones."- This impHes clearly a reorganiza- 
tion as a new Presbyterian Church, although the old Dutch record 
was used and the Dutch language. 

This state of afifairs continued until the end of the pastorate of 
Mr. Jones, who died March 26, 1729. Then the Dutch people 
thought the time had come for them to reorganize once more 
and form again an independent Dutch congregation. They evi- 
dently felt crowded out by the large number of Irish people that 
had come in. Hence in 1730 they invited the Rev. Cornelius 
Santvoord of Staten Island to visit them. 


Van Santvoord complied with the request of the Dutch people 
in Bucks county on May 3d, 1730, when he not only preached for 
them and baptized nine of their children, but also installed 
Christofifel Van Sandt and Gerrit (Gerhard) Croesen as elders, 
Benjamin Corsen and Abraham Van der Grift as deacons of the 
congregation. This event marked a new chapter in the history 
of the congregation. Henceforth it was no longer under Pres- 
byterian supervision, but it proclaimed itself and continued to be 
an independent Dutch Reformed congregation. But its connec- 
tion with the organization of Van Vlecq is established by the 
fact that virtually the same people (except a few newcomers) 
constituted the membership of both organizations. In other 
words, the church of Van Vlecq, organized in 1710 and disbanded 
in 1714, was reorganized in 1730. 

Another important event took place on May 3, 1730. The con- 
gregation addressed a letter (at the suggestion of Van Sant- 
voord) to Dominies David Knibble and John Wilhelmius, Dutch 
Reformed pastors at Leyden and Rotterdam in Holland. As this 
document has not been published before, we insert in it full :^ 

"To the Reverend, Pious and Very Learned Sirs, Messrs. David 

2 See Neshaminy Record in Journal of Presbyterian Historical Society, 
Vol. I, p. 119. 

3 This letter, as well as others that follow, is preserved in the Archives 
of the General Synod of the Reformed Church of America at New Bruns- 
wick, N. J., where the congregation dejjosited all its early records and papers. 
They are in the Gardner A. Sage Library of the Theological Seminary at 
New Brunswick. 


Knibbe and John Wilhelmius, faithful and zealous Ministers of the 
Gospel at Leyden and Rotterdam. 

"We, the consistory of the Christian Reformed Dutch congregation 
in Bucks county, Pennsylvania, take the liberty of requesting the 
assistance of your Reverences. Under the providence of God we have 
here our homes, but thus far have had no instruction in the doctrines 
of truth which tend to godliness, in our mother-tongue, a language 
best understood by us. Hitherto our number was too small and too 
weak to raise a sufificient salary for a regular minister. Meanwhile 
we miss for ourselves and our families that instruction which we can 
best understand and most urgently need, and which we at the same 
time most eagerly desire. 

"We, therefore, request your Reverences submissively, for the honor 
of God and the establishment of this church, to select for us a suitable 
man, of about thirty years of age, unmarried, having a distinct pro- 
nunciation, well grounded in the doctrines of truth, able to instruct 
and admonish us, to silence all gainsaj'ers, and of an edifying walk 
and conversation. Having found such a man, we give you full power 
and authority to call him in our name and that of the congregation, 
as our regular minister, to have the proper ecclesiastical qualification 
conferred upon him, and we promise him a yearly salary of sixty 
pounds, of which his Reverence is to receive payment for the first 
half year upon delivering his first sermon among us, and in case the 
congregation increases, his salary shall increase correspondingly. He 
is also to receive a free dwelling house, kindling wood and the passage 
money for himself and his goods to this place and on the day of the 
Lord to have a free conveyance. 

"But we demand of him that he preach twice every Sunday and also 
on other days, according to the custom of our church, at two places, 
further to catechise the youth and others who desire instruction and 
to do everything which his calling demands. 

"We promise to recognize the legality of that which your Reverences 
shall do, to receive with love the person sent to us, and that the mem- 
bers of the consistory will be chosen from time to time, as is cus- 
tomary at present. 

"Done thus in our church gathering on May 3, 1730, by us. 

"Your submissive servants, the elders and deacons of the above- 
named congregation in Bucks county." 

When Do. Van Santvoord reached home he sent a letter to 
his uncle, Benjamin Corsen, dated May 9, 1730, in which he 
gave his friends further advice regarding "the means necessary 
to establish a congregation in Bucks county." He advised them 
first, to consider well how many congregations they desired to 
establish, what should be their respective boundaries and what 
families should belong to each. Secondly, to call a meeting of 
the male members of the congregation (or congregations), in 


order to elect elders and deacons in conformity with the church 
order of the Synod of Dort. Thirdly, to proceed to the calling 
of a minister by settling above all the following items: (1) 
The salary of the minister, which ought to be not less than eighty 
pounds Pennsylvania currency ; ( 2 ) The parsonage and glebe 
which ought to contain enough pasture for one horse and two or 
three cows and at least a small garden and a fair orchard. These 
should be put in order while the call was on its way to Holland. 
Special care should be taken that the parsonage be located at a 
place convenient for the minister and the congregation. (3) The 
salary of the minister, although raised by free-will offerings, 
should be put on a secure basis by establishing a fund from 
whose income it could be paid. 

These and some other suggestions which the good Dominie 
made to his friends in Bucks county, were evidently far beyond 
their ability to carry out, for the letter sent to Holland as well 
as later evidence show that they fell far short of the ideal set 
for them. 

The letter to Holland was entrusted to two German Reformed 
travelers, who in May, 1730, were setting out on a journey to 
Holland. They were the Rev. George Michael Weiss and Jacob 
Reiff, one of the members of the Skippack Reformed congrega- 
tion. Reiff was entrusted with the traveling expenses of the new 
minister to be sent from Holland to Bucks county. Messrs. 
Weiss and Reiff were traveling to Holland at that time, in order 
to collect there some money, which the Dutch churches in Hol- 
land had contributed for the German Reformed congregations in 
Pennsylvania, in answer to an appeal, which Weiss had sent to 
Holland in 1727. 

The answer to the Bucks county letter from Holland was ap- 
parently long delayed. At least no letters of the years 1732 and 
1733 are found in the archives of the congregation. Meanwhile 
dissensions arose, so that Mr. Gerritt Croesen again wrote to 
their faithful friend on Staten Island, describing to him their 
sad condition, and asking for help and relief. On May 9, 1733, 
the Rev. Mr. Van Santvoort sent a letter to his uncle, Benjamin 
Corsen, in which he expressed deep regret at hearing of their 
division and that John Slecht had given up his office as reader 
among them. He counselled peace and unity, offered to come 


himself once a year to them to administer the sacraments, and, 
if more preaching be found necessary, he advised them to apply 
to Do. Theodore J. Frelinghuisen, the Dutch Reformed minister 
at Raritan and New Brunswick in New Jersey. 

After a delay of several years, Rev. John Wilhelmius wrote 
to the congregation, on May 29, 1734. In this letter he informed 
them that the first candidate, whom he had secured had disap- 
pointed him. But that he had found another young man of about 
24 years of age, who was anxious to come. As he was poor 
Wilhelmius asked permission to use part of the money sent to 
him to educate this young man, who had not quite finished his 
education. He wrote as follows :* 

"Worthy and Much Beloved Brethren in Jesus Christ! 

"In accordance with your desire I offered your call formally to an 
honest and learned candidate, named Masius, whose father is pastor 
of the Dutch Reformed congregation at Altona near Hamburg. He 
accepted it at first, but when the time of his departure arrived, his 
father and he himself also wrote, declining the call, to my great sorrow. 
Since that time I used every endeavor to find another person for that 
purpose, but was unable to find anyone. Finally, a few weeks ago, I 
met a certain capable and pious young man, of about 24 years of age, 
who still needs one year to finish his studies. He showed great eager- 
ness and desire to preach the Word of God among you, but he has no 
means of his own. I believe this man would become, under the bless- 
ing of God, a useful and suitable minister among you, and I recom- 
mend him to you most heartily. 

"But there is this question, whether you are willing to grant him an- 
other year to finish his studies and whether I may be permitted to ad- 
vance him enough money from the sum which you have placed in my 
hands for this purpose and as much as may be necessary for his ex- 
amination and his ordination in this country. 

"From the letters which I received. I learned that his salary is to be 
sixty pounds, by which I understood pounds sterling, but now I 
learn from Captain Stedman that a [Pennsylvania] pound amounts to 
only six or seven Dutch guilders. Besides that, he is to receive a free 
parsonage, wood and a meadow for two cows and a horse. Moreover, 
there was in addition another letter from a neighboring place, which 
promised twenty pounds to the minister, if he would preach for them 
and administer the Lord's Supper four times a year. 

"I now report that the money, which Ryff handed to me, is still in 
my keeping, in exactly the same amount, and that I am ready to re- 
turn it, upon proper receipt, as you may be pleased to order. But, if 
you consent to have it used for the benefit of the above-named person, 
I am ready to employ it for that purpose. I am awaiting your orders 

4 Original at New Brunswick, N. J. 


and, as quickly as it can be done, he will fully qualify himself for the 
service in your church and come to you. 

"The reason that I have not answered before this was the lack of 
opportunity and because Ryff promised to call on me in order to re- 
ceive my answer to your letter, but he embarked hastily without com- 
ing to see me. 

"Commending you to God and the Word of His grace, I am with 
every readiness to serve you, 

Worthy Brethren in Christ, 

Your affectionate Brother, 


Rotterdam. May 29, 1734. 

"To Mr. Louis Timothee, in order to hand it over to the elder and 
deacon, Mr. Gerrit Kroesen and Mr. Benjamin Corsen in Pennsylvania. 
With Captain Stedman." 

On October 30, 1734, the consistory of the Neshaminy congre- 
gation answered the letter of Wilhehnius. They expressed their 
pleasure at hearing that a young man had been found by Wil- 
helmius, who was willing to accept their call. They declared 
their willingness to wait for him and gave their consent that the 
money they had sent over be used for his support while he was 
studying. They announced their intention of buying a planta- 
tion of fifty acres as a glebe for their pastor and expressed the 
hope that God would bless his studies. Finally they thanked 
Wilhelmius for the exertions he had made in their behalf. The 
letter was signed by the following persons : Christoffel Van 
Sandt, Gerret Kroesen, Benjamin Corsen, Abraham Van der 
Grift, Abraham Bennet, Henry Croesen, John Dorrelant, Ger- 
ret Wynkoop, Abraham Bennet, Jr., John Slegt, Nicholas Wyn- 
koop, Abraham Stevens, Dirk Hogelant, Jost van Pelt, John 
Kroesen, Gideon de Camp, Franz Kroesen, Jacob Van Sandt, 
and Hendrick Brees. 

Instead of sending the promised minister, the Rev. John 
Wilhelmius wrote another letter, on March 1, 1735, to the "Rev- 
erend Consistory of the Church of Jesus Christ in Bucks 
County." He wrote in part as follows : 

"It was very agreeable to me to learn from your letter of October 30, 
1734, that you approve my selection of the young man, who is now 
about 26 years of age and still unmarried. He is already well advanced 
with his studies. He knows the learned languages, Latin, Greek and 
Hebrew so well, that he is giving instruction in them to others. He is 
also well advanced in divinity, but must still study somewhat in the 


university. He is a pious young man, who is zealous and burning with 
desire to preach the name of Jesus in the New World. I asked him to 
sign a paper, by which he obligated himself, as soon as his studies are 
completed, to go to you and to accept your call, or, if through unex- 
pected events he should be prevented from doing this, that he will re- 
pay the money advanced to him with double interest. I hope that this 
undertaking will have a blessed outcome." 

This letter was brought to America by the Rev. Maurice 
Goetschy, who with a Swiss colony was at that time in Holland, 
ready to depart for Pennsylvania. He did arrive in Philadelphia 
on May 29, 1735, but he was sick and died on the day following 
his landing. The letter, however, which he carried, reached its 
destination safely. 

Another set of letters was exchanged between Wilhelmius and 
the Bucks county people in 1736, Wilhelmius writing on July 4, 
1736, and the Neshaminy Consistory answering him on Decem- 
ber 10, 1736. In this last letter they informed Wilhelmius that 
they were looking forward to the coming of their pastor, that 
they were ready to pay him the salary they had agreed upon, ex- 
cept the twenty pounds by a neighboring place ; but they expressed 
the hope that on his arrival they would fall in line, especially 
after they had heard the new pastor preach. They reported that 
their own pledges were raised to sixty pounds through new ar- 
rivals, and that they were willing to pay his passage money. They 
were unable to do more than this, because the thirty or forty 
acres of land they intended to buy, together with the parsonage 
which had to be erected, would cost more than two hundred 

Finally, on May 22, 1737, Wilhelmius was able to write to the 
Consistory at Neshaminy that their young pastor had been or- 
dained at Groningen and would sail with Captain Stedman for 
Philadelphia. He expressed the hope that he would prove a use- 
ful minister in proclaiming the truth, in guarding against error 
and in building up the Church of Christ in their midst. Thus, 
after waiting like Jacob for seven years, their hopes and prayers 
were at last realized. 



The young man who had thus been secured for service in 
Pennsylvania was the Rev. Peter Henry Dorsius. From his 
entry in the matriculation book of the university of Leyden it 
appears that he was born at Meurs (or Moers, as it is spelled 
today) a small town of about five thousand inhabitants near the 
Lower Rhine, in the district of Duesseldorf. 

A letter, which the writer addressed in 1914, to the pastor of 
the Reformed Church at Moers, brought to light the following 
information regarding the family of Dorsius. Peter Henry 
Dorsius was a son of John Henry Dorsius, or Dorschius, as he 
is called in the record. John Henry "Dorschius," then a widow- 
er, married Petronella Gravers of Altkirch on September 15. 
1708. The following children were born to this couple, as noted 
in the baptismal record: (1) Alathea, baptized November 15. 
1709; (2) Peter Henry, baptized January 2, 1711 ; (3) Abraham, 
baptized August 5. 1712; (4) Isaac, baptized December 22. 1713; 
died in infancy; (5) Isaac, baptized March 8, 1715. While his 
younger brother Isaac entered the gymnasium (college) at 
Moers on May 5. 1727. the name of Peter Henry Dorsius cannot 
be found there, which means that he received his classical train- 
ing somewhere else. 

On April 5. 1734. Dorsius matriculated at the university of 
Groningen. The deputies of the Synods of North and South Hol- 
land first heard of him through the Rev. John Wilhelmius, on 
October 31, 1735, when they had an interview with the latter at 
Rotterdam about the Pennsylvania churches. At that time Wil- 
helmius reported to them that, at the request of some merchants 
in New Netherland, he had engaged "a pious young man" to 
prepare himself at the university of Groningen for the service of 
the Dutch Reformed congregation near Philadelphia. Professors 
Driessen and Van Velsen at the university gave laudable testi- 
monials regarding him and reported that he would probably be 
ready in the following spring to go to Pennsylvania. 

But instead of going to Pennsylvania in the year 1736, he 
went to the university of Leyden to finish his studies there. On 
September 17, 1736, he matriculated at Leyden as : "P'etrus Hen- 


ricus Dorsius, Meursahus, 25,T." This entry means that he studied 
at Leyden as a candidate of theology, was twenty-five years of 
age when he entered the university and reported his home as 
being Meurs, along the lower Rhine. It is interesting to note that 
a few months later, on December 27, 1736, Michael Schlatter of 
St. Gall matriculated at Leyden, also as a theological student, al- 
though Schlatter makes no reference to Dorsius as having known 
him, when he met him in Pennsylvania in 1746. 

At the meeting of the deputies on March 11-14, 1737, Wil- 
helmius reported that Dorsius was about to be examined and 
would soon leave for Pennsylvania. He suggested that he was 
the proper person through whom the deputies could secure re- 
liable information regarding Reformed churches in Pennsylvania. 

On June 11, 1737, Dorsius himself appeared before the depu- 
ties at The Hague. He announced that he was ready to leave 
for Pennsylvania on June 27th (old style) with Captain Sted- 
man. He stated that he had accepted a call of the Reformed con- 
gregation in Bucks county, at a salary of £60, to which £20 
more would probably be added by another congregation, as soon 
as it could be organized. Dorsius also asked the deputies whether 
he could be of service to them. They then requested him first, 
to investigate the conditions of the Reformed churches there and 
secondly, to report to them regarding them. 

The last events before his departure, his trip across the ocean 
and his first experiences in Pennsylvania were described by 
Dorsius in a letter, which he wrote to the Synodical Deputies in 
June 1749.^ He then wrote in part as follows : 

"It is about twelve years ago, after I had been received, on April 30, 
1737, by the Classis of Schieland at Rotterdam, as a candidate of the- 
ology and on May 29th of the same year had been ordained by the very 
learned faculty of Groningen, as a minister of the Gospel, that on 
July 11 [1737, new style], I undertook the great and dangerous journey 
from Rotterdam to Pennsylvania, when we did not arrive safely at 
Philadelphia till October Sth, with the loss, however, of many per- 
sons, who had died at sea and had been buried in the great ocean. 
There I inquired immediately after my location, when I learned right 
at the beginning that I, as well as others, had been woefully deceived 
in my expectations, being compelled to preach for one year in the 
barn of one farmer after another, because there was no house of God. 
At the same time I had to take my lodging with one family after an- 

5 The original is in the archives of the General Synod of the Dutch Re- 
formed Church, at The Hague, Holland. 


Other in the backwoods [bosch], as they are accustomed to call them 
in that land. This made me think of returning speedily [to Holland], 
but I was kept back by my conscience and the example of the early 
Christians. Through the encouraging and cheering letters of the very 
learned Rev. Ernest Engelbert Probsting, p. t., clerk of the Synod, 
written to me in the name and by order of the Reverend Deputies of 
both Synods, I was much strengthened to continue the difficult work 
of the ministry, which I had undertaken." 

A reference to Rupp's Thirty Thousand Names, shows that 
Captain John Stedman arrived at Philadelphia, with the ship 
Saint Andrew Galley from Rotterdam September 26. 1737. old 
style, (or October 5th. new style, as stated by Dorsius). For 
some reason, however, the name of Dorsius does not appear 
among those who qualified at the court house in Philadelphia on 
that day. The ship brought another Dutch candidate of the- 
ology, John Herman Van Basten, who preached in the churches 
at Jamaica, Oyster Bay and Newtown, 1739-40. A third min- 
ister came with the same ship, John Philip Streiter. He preached 
later in the Lutheran churches at Indianfield, Old Goshenhoppen 
and Alsace, near Reading:. 


True to their word, the Dutch people of Neshaminy paid the 
passage money of their newly-arrived minister on September 28, 
1737, only two days after his arrival. The bill of Captain Sted- 
man and a receipt of Dorsius are still preserved among the 
papers of the congregation. The captain charged him £15 for 
transporting him and his goods. £1.10 for duty in England and 
£2.10 for fresh provisions in England, a total of £19. On 
September 28th, Dorsius gave his consistory a receipt for 
£26.15.2, which covered all his traveling expenses. 

Shortly after the arrival of the new pastor (in the course of 
the year 1738) efforts were made to collect money for the erec- 
tion of a meeting house. A badly torn paper, which contained 
the names of fifty subscribers, is still preserved. The names of 
only twenty-five subscribers are legible. They signed for 
£61.0.6. If the other twenty-five gave just as much, the total 
amounted probably to £122. Several receipts throw light on 


the cost of the building. On January 8, 1739, Evan Thomas, the 
builder, gave receipt for £25.12.6. On April 28, 1738, Henry 
Croesen, the treasurer, was ordered to pay £2.5.10, to William 
Moses for lime. On May 15, 1738, Joseph Roberts receipted for 
£1.14.2, for sawing logs. On March 17, 1738, Isaac Williams 
handed in a receipt for £9, for boards sold and delivered, and 
on March 14, 1739, William Lukens gave receipt for £5.0.10, 
for lime "brought at ye Dutch congregation." From these re- 
ceipts we may conclude that the building operations continued 
approximately from April 1738 to March 1739. 

Another list, still preserved, contains the names and sums, 
subscribed by twenty-four persons towards the purchase of a 
church farm. The following persons subscribed a total of 
£96.5.0 for this purpose: Gerret Kroesen, Benjamin Korsen, 
Frans Kroese, Hendrik Kroese, Abraham Bennet, Jr., Jacobus 
van Sant, Jr., Jan Kroese, Derrick Kroese, Derrick Hooghlandt, 
Nicolas Winkoop, Gerret Winkoop, Jane Wagelom, Falker 
Vaestrat, Abraham Stevens, Jost Boskerk, Gerret Winkoop, Jr., 
Jan Dorlandt, Cornells Kroese, Cornells Winkoop, Jacob Bennet, 
Jr., Lambert Dorlandt, Isaak Bennet, Hendrik Slegt, Lambert 
Van Dyck. 

On January 18, 1739, Gerret Hugtenbergh made an agreement 
with Abraham Van der Grift and Henry Kroesen to sell them a 
tract of land "lying in Bybery, in the county of Philadelphia," 
containing ninety-six acres for £245, P'ennsylvania currency. 
It was bounded as follows : "Beginning at a corner by land of 
Nathaniel Britteins, thence northwest by the said land to a cor- 
ner of land of Jennewell Coopers, thence by the said land north- 
east to land of Margaret Grooms, thence by the said land south 
to land of William Homers, thence by the said land and land of 
Thomas Womslys southwest to the place of beginning." 

Having traced the history of the congregation to this point, we 
must return to the question, how Dorsius carried out the com- 
mission of the Synodical Deputies to investigate and report upon 
the condition of the Reformed churches of Pennsylvania. In 
order to make the report of Dorsius more definite, the Deputies 
concluded to send him a set of questions. A circular letter to the 
Classes, constituting the Synod of South Holland, was drawn up. 
Their answers were then collated and on their basis a set of thir- 


teen questions was prepared, which were ready to be sent off in 
May 1738. On June 9, 1738, Rev. E. Probsting, clerk of the 
Deputies, forwarded these questions, accompanied by a letter, to 
Dorsius. At the same meeting of the Deputies, in June 1738, a 
letter arrived, written by Dorsius from Bucks county, on March 
1, 1738.'^ It contained some (though rather inaccurate and mis- 
leading) information about the Reformed churches in Pennsyl- 

About Philadelphia, Dorsius reported that it had no (Re- 
formed) minister and was not able to support one. We know 
that Mr. Boehm was the regular pastor at Philadelphia, who 
preached there once a month. About Germantown he reported, 
that they had a nice church, but a miserable preacher, who was 
inclined to the Quakers. This refers no doubt to John Bechtel, 
but that he was inclined to the Quakers is fictitious. About young 
Goetschius, son of the Swiss minister, who reached Philadelphia 
in 1735, he reported that, although unordained, he was preaching 
and administering the sacraments. This is confirmed by other 
documents. Regarding Conestoga he reported that two unedu- 
cated laymen were preaching there, whom the people refused to 
hear any longer, because they were teaching Quaker and other 
doctrines. These two laymen were most likely John Conrad 
Tempelman and John Jacob Hock. Here again the Quaker 
teaching is purely imaginary, all other sources testifying the 
very opposite. They were most faithful and true to the Re- 
formed standards. He also refers to Peter Miller, who had 
fallen away from the Reformed faith and had carried over with 
him to the Dunkers (so he said), three hundred souls of whom 
many were ready to return, if they could be supplied with ortho- 
dox preachers. The number "three hundred" is greatly exag- 
gerated. There were hardly three dozens. Boehm reports^ ten 
families as having gone over to the Dunkers with Miller. Re- 
garding Bucks county, Dorsius reports the building of a new 
church, to which we have already referred. He also stated that 
there was no necessity to consult in church matters the governor 
of Pennsylvania or the Bishop of London. Finally he empha- 

6 Thi.s letter is preserved in the minutes of the Synodical Deputies, now 
at The Hague. 

7 See Life and Letters of the Rev. John Philip Boehm, Philadelphia, 1916, 
p. 275. 


sized the need of five or six orthodox German Reformed 

How superficial this report was can be seen from the fact that 
it made absolutely no reference to the remarkable work of the 
Rev. John Philip Boehm, then the only ordained German Re- 
formed minister in the province. Moreover, there is in this re- 
port hardly a single item that is entirely correct, and many of 
them are but half true. There was, however, in the report one 
valuable suggestion, for which Dorsius deserves credit. He sug- 
gested, that one man be appointed for Pennsylvania, whose duty 
it should be to visit the churches annually, ascertain how much 
they could contribute to a minister's salary and then report the 
deficiency to Holland, that it might be supplied from the funds 
in the hands of the Deputies. The average annual salary of 
ministers he reported as being sixty to eighty pounds. This sug- 
gestion of Dorsius regarding a "visitor of the churches" was 
actually carried out by Michael Schlatter, sent as such to Penn- 
sylvania by the Church of Holland in 1746. 

In October 1738, the Deputies concluded to write to Dorsius, 
requesting him to find out how much the Reformed people in 
the colony were willing to contribute to the salaries of pastors. 
If the answers were satisfactory, they were willing to send over 
five ministers, as requested by Dorsius. On December 20, 1738. 
Do. Probsting wrote a letter to Dorsius. in which he acquainted 
him with the resolutions passed by the Synod of South Holland 
regarding the Pennsylvania churches. In this letter he also ad- 
vised Dorsius that Count Zinzendorf intended to go to Pennsyl- 
vania and he warned him against his teaching, sending him at 
the same time copies of the books published by Zinzendorf, as 
well as a Pastoral Letter, issued by the Classis of Amsterdam 
against him. 

In March 1739, Wilhelmius reported that he had received a 
letter from Dorsius, in which he declared that his work was pros- 
perous and that he engaged in it with much satisfaction, as he 
enjoyed the respect and love of his people. 

While Dorsius did not deign to mention Boehm in his first 
letter to the Deputies, the latter refers to him in a letter, written 
about the same time, March 10, 1738. to the Classis of Amster- 
dam. He writes :® 

8 See Life and Letters of Boehm, p. 259f. 


"Last fall Do. Dorsius arrived as the regular minister of the Low 
Dutch congregation at Neshaminy in Bucks county. With him there 
came another, named Van Basten, who however is not yet ordained. 
Nevertheless, he travels about in the country here and there. He says 
that he has been sent from Holland, but thus far he has not caused us 
any pleasure at all." 

When the questions of the Deputies, sent to Pennsylvania in 
June 1738, reached Dorsius, he invited Boehm to a conference at 
his house. This conference took place on November 28, 1738, 
when "his Reverence showed me his letters from the Christian 
Synods of North and South Holland, in which I saw that these 
Christian Synods had appointed his Reverence as their commis- 
sioner and inspector of the German churches in Pennsylvania. 
Then his Reverence requested me to make a report, which I was 
ready to do, out of due respect to the Christian Synods."'' 
Dorsius asked Boehm to report on three questions : 

(1) How many German Reformed congregations there were 
in Pennsylvania and how far they were from each other? 

(2) How many elders, deacons and communicants there were 
in each of his congregations and how many congregations were 
served by him ? 

(3) How each congregation was supplied with schoolmasters 
and precentors ? 

In answer to these questions, Boehm prepared an elaborate re- 
port, dated January 14, 1739, in which he gave accurate informa- 
tion about nine congregations, their members, elders, church 
buildings and schoolmasters. How kindly Boehm felt towards 
Dorsius at this time is evident from the following reference, 
sent to the Classis of Amsterdam in a letter, dated March 16, 
1739 :i" 

"His Reverence, Mr. Dorsius, whom the Christian Synods have 
now been pleased to appoint as superintendent^^ of our true Church in 
Pennsylvania, shows indeed a real zeal faithfully to do all he can for 
the Church of Jesus in this country. To this end God has blessed him 
with wisdom. May the God of all strength further increase in his 

9 See Life and Letters of Boehm, p. 262. 

10 See Life and Letters of Boehm. p. 264. 

11 The Deputies had not appointed Dorsius either as superintendent or in- 
spector, because botli of tliese offices were unknown to tlie constitution of 
their church. Dorsius made use of this title in his communication to Boehm 
(See Life of Boehm. p. 271). In a letter of May 9, 1743, the Classis stated 

distinctly : "This is certain, he is no insjiector of the church in your regions,' 
p. 373. The Deputies had not sent Dorsius to Pennsylvania and hence 
they had not appointed him to any ofHce whatsoever. They had simply 
asked him for some information. 


Reverence this zeal and wisdom, so that, as a true instrument in God's 
hand, he may serve our true Church untiringly vv^ith manly steadfast- 
ness to the praise of God and the increase of the Kingdom of our 

Another request for information was submitted by Dorsius to 
Boehm on December 6, 1739, when he asked him in the name of 
the Synods to inquire "what each family is wiUing to contribute 
towards the support of a minister within the congregation or to 
a yearly salary, in order that the friendly request of the Reverend 
Synod be complied with." 

In answer to this request, Boehm made a long journey of about 
three hundred miles in the depth of a severe winter, during the 
months of January, February and March 1740, to interview the 
Reformed congregations. As a result he reported of seventeen 
congregations pledges to the amount of one hundred and twenty- 
three pounds and one hundred and sixty-five bushels of oats. 
He made also additional reports, in which he showed how these 
congregations might be served by six ministers in six pastoral 

On the basis of these reports of Boehm, Dorsius wrote a letter 
to the Synods, on March 4. 1740, which was read before the 
Deputies in their meeting of September 11-15, 1740. In this he 
answered their question as to the amounts the congregations were 
willing to contribute to ministerial salaries. It should, however, 
be noted that Dorsius apparently gave Boehm no credit for the 
work he had done, but reaped all the praise of the Deputies for 
himself. It is not surprising that this conduct was soon followed 
by bad consequences. When Boehm heard that Dorsius, instead 
of sending his reports to Holland, had constructed another report 
upon their basis, he felt much offended. This is clearly indicated 
by Boehm. At a later interview he had with Dorsius, he asked 
him whether he had sent his report to Holland. Dorsius 
answered : 

"No, he had it in his trunk, but he had written to the Christian 
Synods with regard to these things. I did not like this, for I had been 
riding through the country about three hundred miles in the severest 
winter season. We had some words between us; however, nothing un- 
seemly. Among other things his Reverence remarked, the affair had 
been entrusted to him and he knew what to do. He had kept the re- 
port for his own safety. To which I answered: 'To me it does not 
seem right that the light which makes clear the whole condition of our 


congregations to our devout Church Fathers, who manifest such a 
holy zeal for our churches, should be seen by your Reverence only and 
kept in your trunk, and not brought to those who desire to see it; for 
it seems to me that the report, together with your additional report, 
should have been sent to them."'^ 

Some time afterwards some men from Goshenhoppen came to 
see Boehm and asked him whether the reports had been sent off 
by Dorsius. Boehm answered truthfully that Dorsius had told 
him that they were in his trunk, but that he had written, in his 
own words, about them to Holland. When Dorsius came on a 
visit to Goshenhoppen, on September 24, 1740, the elders asked 
him about the reports which they had given to Boehm, whether 
they had been sent to Holland. Dorsius said : Yes. Then 
they confronted him with the statement of Boehm, that they were 
in his trunk. This made Dorsius furious and he exclaimed; "If 
Boehm says that I have not sent the letters which he wrote re- 
garding the church to Holland, he lies like a scoundrel." These 
and other contemptuous words, uttered by Dorsius at that oc- 
casion, were of course related to Boehm and resulted in a com- 
plete breach in their friendship and intercourse. Henceforth 
Boehm refused to send any more letters to Holland through 
Dorsius, but he transmitted his reports, through the Dutch Re- 
formed ministers of New York, to the Classis of Amsterdam. 

There was another reason for the break between Dorsius and 
Boehm and that was the former's attitude towards young Goet- 
schius. Boehm regarded him as a disturber of the peace, who 
intruded into a number of his congregations, trying to take them 
away from Boehm, especially Tulpehocken, Oley and Skippack. 
Dorsius on the other hand encouraged him in his irregular work. 
There was, it is true, a reconciliation between Boehm and Goet- 
schius, at the home of Dorsius, in February 1740, when he asked 
Boehm's forgiveness, which the latter gladly granted him. But, 
as Goetschius did not keep his promise to stay away from Boehm's 
congregations, there was soon again bitter feeling. When in 
1739 the deputies of the Synods insisted that the churches 
should dismiss the unordained preachers, before they could ex- 
pect assistance from Holland, Goetschius gave up his preaching, 
went to Dorsius and studied with him for a year and was then 
ordained, on April 7, 1741, by Dorsius, assisted by Frelinghuisen 

12 Life and Letters of Boehm, p. 321. 


and Gilbert Tennent, the Presbyterian minister at New Bruns- 
wick, New Jersey. This unauthorized action was severely con- 
demned by Boehm and met with similar disapproval in Holland.^'' 
Another important undertaking was committed to Dorsius in 
1739. Through a letter written by Rev. E. Probsting on May 3, 
1739, Dorsius together with Dr. Diemer, of Philadelphia, were 
given a power of attorney to prosecute Reiff, in order to com- 
pel him to give an accounting of the moneys collected by him in 
Holland. But, as Diemer himself was deeply involved in the 
case, the appointment was unfortunate and no results were 
achieved, except that some letters were exchanged between 
Diemer and the Deputies. On November 18, 1742, Diemer wrote 
to the Synod :^"' 

"I received in the year 1740 a letter, which the Rev. Mr. Ernest 
Probsting, Deputy of the Reverend Synod, had written at Heusden, 
under date May 3, 1739, and I received besides, in the aforesaid year, 
in December, a copy of a special letter to the Governor of Pennsylvania, 
dated April 15, 1739, at The Hague, in which authority was given to 
Rev. Mr. Dorsius and rhyself to prosecute the still pending suit against 
Jacob Reiff, of Skippack, in Pennsylvania, in which an appeal was made 
by the Reverend Deputies to the Governor. Immediately on the re- 
ceipt of the letter aforesaid, I was informed that his Excellency, the 
Governor, promised to assist us, but the circumstances of the war be- 
tween the English and the Spanish crowns [1739-1742] have until now 
prevented such aid, on account of many special engagements." 

On December 16, 1740, Dorsius was married to Janneka (Jane) 
Hooghland, daughter of Derrick Hooghland. They had three 
children: (1) Maria, baptized Dec. 26, 1742; (2) Jannetie, bap- 
tized Jan. 13, 1745, and (3) Cornelia Charlotte, baptized Oct. 
5, 1746. These baptisms are entered in his own record. 

In the year 1741, the Deputies sent one hundred and thirty Ger- 
man Bibles to Pennsylvania which cost them £l,18s.9d., and 
which they had secured at Frankford-on-the-Main. They were 
sent through Messrs. Hope, merchants at Rotterdam. They con- 
signed them in part to Do. Dorsius, in part to Do. Frelinghuisen, 
of Raritan, New Jersey. x\s a result neither of them able to 
get them. On February 16, 1744, Dorsius wrote to the Deputies 
regarding these Bibles :^^ 

13 The Classis of Amsterdam compelled Goetschius to be reordained in 
1748. See Corwin, Manual of the Reformed Church in America. 4th ed., 
1902, p. 491. 

14 The original is in The Hague archives. Its catalogue number is 74, I. 38. 

15 The original is at The Hague. Catalogue number 74, I, 20. 


"The High German Bibles which were sent to Do. Frehnghuisen and 
to myself, to distribute them among the poor High Germans in this 
country, I have not been able to get thus far, although I was twice in 
Philadelphia and tried to secure them. The reasons given were that 
the chests were not properly marked and did not contain my name. 
But these are only excuses, for the captain who brought them no doubt 
gave information regarding them, as he also brought the letters of the 
Reverend ministers of Rotterdam, namely Mr. John Wilhelmius, 
Doctor of Theology, and Rev. Van der Kemp, Deputy of the Synod. 
On one of the chests is written simply 'Libri Compacti' and on the 
other '50 Bibles.' For this reason inquiries should be made of the 
gentleman to whom they were handed to send them to Pennsylvania, 
and he should be asked to write, with the first opportunity, to Benjamin 
Shoemaker, merchant at Philadelphia and correspondent of the shippers 
in Rotterdam." 


In September 1743, the Deputies of the Synods were much sur- 
prised to hear that Do. Dorsius had arrived in Holland. He had 
left Nev^ York on May 26, 1743, and had arrived at Amsterdam 
on July 14th. Shortly afterwards he appeared before the Synod 
of North Holland, held at Hoorn. July 26-27th. He made a re- 
port to Synod regarding the condition of the Reformed churches 
in Pennsylvania. On September 17-19, 1743, he appeared before 
the Deputies at The Hague. They questioned him closely about 
a number of things. They asked him, first of all, what would be- 
come of the German Bibles in his absence. He answered that, if 
they should be delivered, they would be entirely safe at his home 
until his return. They then inquired w^hat he and Dr. Diemer 
had done about the Reifif case. He answered, that he had seen 
Dr. Diemer repeatedly, but he did not seem to be in a hurry about 
it, and, as far as he was able to tell, nothing had been accom- 
plished. But, he added, that on his journey to New York he had 
interviewed Dr. Diemer again and he had told him that he had 
already spent twenty pounds in this afl^air and was willing to 
spend more to bring it to a conclusion. The Deputies then asked, 
why he had not answered their letter sent to him and Do. Fre- 
hnghuisen in 1741. He replied that this letter had never reached 
him. Finally they asked him, why he had come to Holland. He 
answered that he wished to consult the Deputies about his work. 


He also hoped to get their consent either to leave his congrega- 
tion in Bucks county, or to organize another congregation in 
Philadelphia, because his salary was insufficient and he needed 
additional means for his subsistence. His salary had been re- 
duced from sixty-eight to forty pounds. He then gave them a 
long report about the condition of the churches in Pennsylvania, 
which he made as gloomy as possible and thereby defeated his 
own purpose. He reported that the churches were constantly de- 
creasing through apostasy and the remarkable growth of the 
Moravians, as well the activities of Catholic missionaries. He 
.also stated that he could see no hope for the churches in Pennsyl- 
vania, unless more ministers were sent there and they were guar- 
anteed a sufficient salary, because the salaries paid them were 
altogether inadequate. 

In spite of the lengthy report given by Dorsius, the Deputies 
concluded that they did not have sufficient light regarding the 
actual condition of afifairs in Pennsylvania, so as to be able to 
help the churches intelligently. They, therefore, addressed a let- 
ter to the ministers and elders of the Reformed churches of Penn- 
sylvania, asking them to give the Synods of Holland definite and 
detailed information, signed by the various consistories, regarding 
their actual condition, so that they might be able to judge by what 
means they could best help them. They also inquired whether it 
would be possible for the Reformed churches to unite with the 
Scotch Synod, by which they meant the Presbyterian Synod of 
Pennsylvania. This letter, dated September 20, 1743, was handed 
to Dorsius. Before Dorsius left, the Deputies gave him thirty 
guilders to help him pay his traveling expenses to Holland, and 
also twenty guilders to pay the freight of the Bibles sent to Penn- 
sylvania. They also permitted Dorsius either to accept another 
call or to start another congregation. 

Dorsius did not stay in Holland longer than was absolutely 
necessary. In a letter, written to the Deputies in June 1749, he 
thus explains his reasons for his hurried return :^® 

"I could not tarry in Holland, because on the one hand, I feared that 
war might break out between France and England, which would render 
the Spanish Sea which we had to cross very unsafe and dangerous for 
travelers, as we experienced to our sorrow in the spring, and on the 
other hand, because my own domestic affairs had not been so arranged 

16 The original is in The Hague archives, 74, II, 12. 


that I could remain any longer in Holland. Moreover a very good 
opportunity presented itself for me to bear the expenses of the journey 
more easily and thus to return home." 

Dorsius left Holland on October 19, 1743. old style, and ar- 
rived at Philadelphia, in good health on January 16, 1744. 

MINISTRY OF DORSIUS, 1 744- 1 748. 

Shortly after his return, on February 16, 1744, Dorsius wrote 
a letter to the Deputies, in which he announced his safe arrival 
in Pennsylvania and declared that he had sent off the letter of the 
Deputies to the German churches, in a German translation, that 
he had consulted with two of the Presbyterian ministers in Phila- 
delphia about the union of the German churches with the Synod 
of Philadelphia and that they had promised him to submit the 
matter to the next meeting of the Synod. ^^ He also reported a 
conference with Dr. Diemer, who had promised to address a pe- 
tition to the Governor of Pennsylvania regarding the Reiff case. 

During this period of his activity. Dorsius preached repeatedly 
to German congregations and administered the Lord's Supper to 
them, a work which he had begun even before his journey to 
Holland. In one of his own letters^* he reports preaching "free 
of charge several times at Philadelphia, either in the Swedish 
church, or in a meeting house, hired at that time for the use of 
the German congregation." Several church records refer to this 
missionary activity. Thus the New Goshenhoppen record shows 
that he preached and baptized there on September 24. 1740, 
August 30, 1741, September 4. 1742, and on May 5, 1744.^'' The 
Egypt record presents evidence that he preached and baptized 
children at Saucon on September 23, 1740; while the letters of 
Boehm establish his presence and preaching at Germantown on 
Easter day 1744. at New Goshenhoppen on May 6, 1744. and at 
Conestoga on July 8. 1744. There is also a reference to a journey 
to the Minisink region.-" 

17 The letters exchanged between the Deputies and the Presbyterian Synod 
of Philadelphia in 1744-1747, were published in full by the Rev. J. I. Good, 
D.D.. in the Journal of the Presbyterian Historical Society. Vol. Ill, pp. 

18 It is in the letter, dated June 1749. 

19 See the publication of this record by the writer in Mr. Dotterer's Perkio- 
men Region. Vol. Ill, p. 121f; and in the History of the Goshenhoppen Re- 
formed Charge, p. 284f. 

20 See Life and Letters of Boehm. p. 339. 


We have no information about Dorsius during the year 1745. 
But on September 16, 1746, the Rev. Michael Schlatter, sent by 
the Synods of Holland to organize the Reformed churches of 
Pennsylvania, traveled sixteen miles from Philadelphia to Bucks 
county to interview Dorsius, to whom he showed his instructions 
and letters from the synods. Dorsius received him "in a most 
friendly and fraternal manner," offered to render him every pos- 
sible assistance, promised to organize his consistory and report to 
him the result. Schlatter reports that the elders showed him a 
"new stone church," which was process of erection. ^^ In his 
private diary, sent to Holland in December 1746, Schlatter gives 
the first intimation that there was trouble in his congregation, for 
he writes : "Of Do. Dorsius I cannot report anything certain at 
present, inasmuch as I will not believe the bad reports which are 
here and there circulated about him, before I have convinced 
myself of their truth. "-- 

Dorsius was not present at the preliminary meeting, leading' 
to the organization of the Coetus (or Convention) of the Re- 
formed churches of Pennsylvania, which was held at Philadelphia 
October 12, 1746. But he informed Schlatter "in a friendly letter, 
that he was unable to attend on account of domestic arrange- 
ments."-^ In his private diary Schlatter explains that on the day 
of the conference-"' the wife of Dorsius had given birth to a 
child. This is corroborated by his church record. See the state- 
ment above for the year 1740. 

But, although Dorsius had oiTered to assist Schlatter in every 
way possible, he was not in full sympathy with his mission and 
plan. This is evident from a letter which Dorsius addressed to 
him January 19, 1747,-^ in answer to a letter of Schlatter. In 
this letter he informed Schlatter, that neither he (Dorsius) nc" 
his consistory considered themselves under obligation to submit 
to an examination by Schlatter, that Schlatter's desire was in 
conflict with his instructions from Holland, which restricted him 
to the German churches. Moreover, he served notice on Schlatter 
that his congregation did not consider itself as being under the 
supervision of any Dutch Classis, nor had any intention of plac- 

21 Schlatter's Life and Travels, p. 129. 

22 See the diary as published by the writer in Journal of Presbyterian 
Historical Society. Vol. Ill, p. 118. 

23 Schlatter s Life and Travels, p. 136. 

24 See Journal of Presbyterian Historical Society, Vol. Ill, p. 116. 

25 Now at The Hague, 74, I, 51 (12). 


ing itself under them, so that, according to their opinion, Schlat- 
ter was stretching his authority in his effort to include them. 
He warned Schlatter by his own experience several years be- 
fore, when he had made a similar effort, to his own grief and 
loss. He also notified Schlatter that a week after his visit his 
consistory had met, which, when Schlatter's demand had been 
submitted to them, had refused absolutely to allow any examina- 
tion to be made, inasmuch as they had asked the Church of Hol- 
land for a minister merely, but not for an examiner. They de- 
clared, however, that Do. Dorsius would be ready to give Schlat- 
ter any information he 'might wish to have and in a postscript 
added that a friendly visit by Schlatter would be welcome. 

But the career of Dorsius in Pennsylvania came to an unex- 
pected end in the year 1748. On May 2, 1748, three members of 
the consistory at Xeshaminy, Hendrik Croesen, Jacob Bennet 
and Jacob Van der Grift, addressed a letter to Schlatter,--' in 
which they informed him that they had paid him a visit at his 
house, but had not found him at home. They asked him to come 
to Bucks county on June 2nd or if not to notify them. As Schlat- 
ter started on his journey to Virginia May 3, 1748, the letter did 
not reach him till his return. May 21st. On June 23rd, he writes 
in his journal: "I went to Northampton [Bucks county], upon 
the earnest solicitations of the congregation, and preached for 
the Dutch congregation of Mr. Dorsius, for the first time, as 
well as I could in their language. My efforts to abate the strife 
existing between minister and congregation were fruitless ; and, 
as Mr. Dorsius continues in his purpose to go over to Holland, 
I promised to visit them once a month to preach for them in the 

The rest of the sad story is told in two notices which appeared 
in the Pennsylvania Gazette. On June 9, 1748, Dorsius notified 
the public that his wife had eloped from him and hence he warned 
people "not to trust her on his account," as he would not pay her 
debts. This notice was answered, on June 16, 1748, by Derrick 
Hogeland, his father-in-law, by the following statement : 

"Whereas Peter Henry Dorsius did some weeks since advertise his 
wife Jane as eloped from him, etc. This is to certify whom it may con- 
cern, that after a long series of ill-usage, patiently borne by the said 

26 Also at The Hague. 74, I, 51 (13). 

27 Schlatter's Life and Travels, p. 180. 


Jane and a course of intemperance and extravagance, for which he has 
been suspended from the exercise of his ministerial office in the Dutch 
congregation in Southampton; when he had squandered most of his 
substance, sold and spent a great part of his household goods and was 
about to sell the remainder, though he had before in his sober hours 
by direction of a magistrate made them over for the use of his family, 
when he had for several days abandoned his dwelling and left his wife 
and three children nothing to subsist on, her father found himself at 
length under a necessity to take her and them into his care and protec- 
tion and accordingly fetched them home to his own house, which he 
would not otherwise have done, having beside a large family of his 
own to provide for. 


After such an exposure, Dorsius could not hope to maintain 
himself in Pennsylvania. Hence he left Philadelphia on August 
4, 1748, on a ship which was bound for Dublin, Ireland. Forced 
by contrary wind to enter the harbor of Belfast, Dorsius found 
there another sloop to take him to Rotterdam, where he arrived 
on October 1, 1748, old style. In Holland he assisted at first 
several sick ministers at Rotterdam and Maas Sluys. Later he 
became assistant to the minister of the Count of Isselstein. From 
Isselstein he addressed a letter to the Deputies in June 1749, in 
which he related at length his experiences in Pennsylvania. He 
gave as his reason for his return to Holland the fact that his 
salary had decreased so much that he was unable to live on it. 
On May 24, 1749, he appeared before the Deputies at The Hague. 
He handed to them a written report, and offered to make an oral 
statement at the meeting of the Synod of South Holland, held 
July 8-18, 1749, at The Hague, which he did. But the Synod re- 
ferred his case to the Deputies for consideration. 

On January 20-23, 1750, Dorsius appeared again before the 
Deputies and asked for a dismission to go to d'Elmina, a sea port 
of the Gold Coast, West Africa. But, after examining their 
minutes, the Deputies concluded that, as they had not called him 
to Bucks county, they could not dismiss him, but that he would 
have to address himself to his former congregation for a dismissal. 

On May 27-29, 1750, the Deputies received a letter from Mrs. 
Dorsius,^® in which she stated that she had been married to 
Dorsius December 16, 1740. She complained bitterly about his 
conduct during their married life, and that after his suspension 

28 Recorded in the minutes of the Deputies. 


by the consistory, he had abandoned her and their three children. 
At the Synod of South Holland, held at Woerden on July 1750. 
the case of Dorsius and his wife was once more referred to the 
Deputies for settlement. 

It also came before the Classis of Amsterdam. On January 
13, 1750, the directors of the West India Company notified the 
Classis that they had appointed Dorsius as minister to d'Elmina, 
and asked the Classis to confirm the call. The latter replied that 
they had no objection to the appointment, provided Dorsius would 
prove his legal dismission from Pennsylvania and submit a testi- 
monial of his character.-'' To the repeated requests of the Classis, 
Dorsius failed to make a satisfactory reply. Finally, on October 
5, 1750, the Classis was informed by the Synodical Deputies re- 
garding the facts in the case and that the whereabouts of Dorsius 
was unknown. These facts were ordered to communicated to the 
West India Company. ^"^ This ended the career of Dorsius in the 
Dutch Church. What became of him afterwards is unknown. 

His wife was for many years supported by the Coetus of 
Pennsylvania. On April 26, 1753, the Coetus voted £8 for her 
support, including £6 given by the Synod of North Holland. ^^ 
From that date she received a yearly subsidy varying in amounts 
from £4 to £10. In 1757 she is called for the first time "Widow 
Dorsius" in the minutes,^- hence her husband must have died 
sometime between June 1756 and August 1757. Donations to 
her are on record from 1753-1776. 

The ministry of Dorsius from 1737-1748 closed the second 
chapter in the history of the Dutch Reformed congregation of 
Bucks county. 

29 See Ecclesiastical Records of Neiv York, Vol. IV, p. 3105. 

30 1. «c. p. 3188. 

31 See Minutes of Coetus. p. 87. 

32 1. c. p. 160. 

Gristmills of an Ancient Type Known as Norse Mills. 

(Doylestown Meeting, January 19, 1918.) 

THE result of my trip to the Big Smoky region of western 
North Carohna during the month of October, 1917, was the 
finding, amongst many other nearly equally interesting and 
important specimens, of an old type of water power gristmill 
described by Mitchell in his Past in the Present, published by 
David Douglass, Edinburgh, 1880, as a "Norse Mill." 

Mitchell describes this remarkable gristmill known as the 
Norse Mill still to be found in 1880 in the Shetland and Orkney 
Islands, and probably introduced there from Norway. At the 
time I had the honor to become associated with this interesting 
work Dr. Mercer had supposed that mills of this type had once 
been built in the United States and still survived in the mountain 
region of western North Carolina. After considerable corre- 
spondence the evidence of the existence of such mills seemed 
sufficient to justify a trip to that part of the country. 

On the 8th day of October I started for White Rock, Madison 
county. North Carolina, and the result is the complete Norse Mill 
now standing in the northwest corridor of the fourth floor of our 
museum. The details of the trip are of no moment. Sufficient 
to say that after making many inquiries at Asheville, Marshall, 
and other places en route which did not give me any further in- 
formation, I started from White Rock on Saturday, October 13th, 
to examine the mills which our correspondent. Dr. George H. 
Packard, of that place, had found for us. The trip was entirely 
on horseback over narrow mountain trails with few widely scat- 
tered cabins along the way. 

The first mill of this kind was found on the Big Laurel Creek, 
Madison county, N. C. It belonged to a man named Lige Wilds, 
about one mile from Jasper Shelton's store. The man himself 
was absent but the door stood open and you may well imagine 
my satisfaction with the first sight of a mill that in all its essen- 
tials was a true type of the Norse Mill. Proceeding to the store 
I found Mr. Wilds, but he absolutely refused to consider an oflfer 

i\orse Mill recently In use in Madison County, North Carolina, now 
in the Bucks County Historical Society, illustrating- paper on the Xorse 
Mill by Mr. Horace M. Mann. 


for the mill saying, "It was built by 'Pappy' and he didn't reckon 
he cared to part with it." A small man buying some nails then 
spoke up and said he owned a similar mill and would be willing 
to sell it. As he lived some distance back along the trail that we 
had just come over I took his name, Amos Capts, and promised 
him a call on my way back and proceeded further to see other 
mills that Dr. Packard had found. 

Since I had found the mill I had made the trip for, the only 
consideration now was which mill I could secure the cheapest 
and transport to the railroad. This type of mill was called by 
the mountain men of the "Laurel Section," of Madison county, 
a "Corn Mill," "Tub Wheel," (See notes on Tub Wheels by Dr. 
H. C. Mercer at end of the sketch) or a "Willis Wheel." The first 
name speaks for itself, as in those mountains corn is by far the 
principal crop, though as some little wheat is raised it naturally 
would be ground on the same mills ; the second name is due to 
the appearance of the water wheel which does resemble a wide 
shallow tub ; the origin of the last name I could not find out, they 
simply said it was always called that. I also heard the mill re- 
ferred to as a "Blockade Mill," one used for grinding corn for 
the making of blockade whiskey. Of course I never found them 
using the name, "Norse Mill," 

The next mill Dr. Packard had discovered was also on the Big 
Laurel which at this point had diminished to a small rapid moun- 
tain stream hardly meriting its name of Big Laurel. The mill 
belonged to a man named J. J. Rice. It, too, was a true type of 
Norse Mill and this man was willing to bargain concerning it 
but I thought the price. $75 for the mill and $80 for the stones, 
somewhat excessive, so passed on to inspect the last mill found 
by Dr. Packard. This was situated a considerable distance from 
the first two on a branch of the Big Laurel, called the Punching- 
fork. Here I found a genial old man of French descent, Gustave 
Porchia, (pronounced Porchey), whose father came from 
France about 1850 as a traveling player of the barrel organ. His 
mill had originally been a Norse Mill but he had, on account of 
diminishing water power, cut ofif the shaft of the water-wheel 
below the spindle, attached a belt wheel to the shaft, moved the 
mill stones some distance away and attached another belt wheel 
to the lower end of the spindle in its new position, giving him a 


mill with belt counter drive, and greater speed. His price of 
$500 was so excessive that I left without further bargaining. 

Returning over the trail I was stopped by the Mr. Rice, men- 
tioned before as owner of the second mill I had seen, who now 
seemed more anxious to sell but I refused to close a bargain until 
I had seen the Amos Capts mill which I had heard of at the 
Shelton store. I arrived at the home of Mr. Capts about dark 
and he very cordially insisted that I should spend the night with 
him if I could "put up with his fare, for he lived plain." It was 
then too dark to go to see his mill and though I had some doubts 
in regard to the fare, still I could do no better by going on and 
he made up by his cordial welcome what he lacked in style. His 
one-story house, built entirely of logs, roughtly hewn at the points 
of intersection and chinked with clay, was rather superior to the 
usual log cabin of the mountaineer. This cabin had originally, 
no doubt, been composed of one room only about twenty-five 
feet long by fifteen feet wide with the chimney built at the north 
end. But the needs of an increasing family had made necessary 
a larger dwelling and two more rooms had been added, not at the 
gable end but at the side, after which the three buildings were 
re-roofed at right angles to the original roof, so that all rooms 
were now under the one roof, making a dwelling about forty-five 
feet long by twenty-five feet wide. The first addition communi- 
cated with the old cabin but the last addition had no direct access 
to the other two rooms. A door leading to a porch passing along 
the side of the first two rooms was the only entrance. On enter- 
ing, the first room of the old cabin was found to be the living 
room of the family. Here the most striking feature was the 
open fire place. The chimney for which was built on the out- 
side of the house at the middle of the original gable end of the 
old cabin and was the only chimney for the whole dwelling. It 
wa's built of undressed sand stone laid in clay mortar much the 
same as was used in chinking the logs of the house. The fire 
place was about five feet long, by four feet high and about 
eighteen inches deep. It was built of the same stone as the 
chimney, pointed but not plastered. The hearth which extended 
for some distance outside the fire place was paved with large 
stones and the jambs of the fire place drew together to support 
one large stone about three feet long forming its top in lieu of 


the heavy beam or lintel of Bucks county fire places. The inner 
walls of the room were roughly plastered with clay laid di- 
rectly on the logs, without any attempt to use laths. On some 
parts of the walls newspapers were pasted, both for decoration 
and to keep out the cold. No cooking apparatus appeared in the 
fire place which was equipped with andirons of wrought iron. 
But I'saw no tongs and no crane, trammel or lug pole. I saw no 
kettle oven in this cabin, but found them elsewhere in use for 
baking corn bread in open fire places. The cooking in this room 
was done in a cast iron cooking range equipped for burning wood 
in the style of those used in the present farmhouses in Bucks 
county. There was no second story to the building and the fami- 
ly slept in two beds which I saw in the kitchen and in the other 
two rooms. I saw no old blacksmith work upon the doors such 
as latches, hinges, etc. There were no shutters or curtains in the 
windows. Common modern kerosene lamps with broken chim- 
neys furnished what light there was. I noticed a flax spinning 
wheel and reel in one corner of the third room which I learned 
had not been used by the present generation. The bedding con- 
sisted of horse blankets without sheets.. 

The next morning I went with Mr. Capts to see his mill. It 
was in fine condition, answered the requirements in every respect 
and his price, $40 delivered at the nearest railroad station, was 
less than half any one else had asked me for the mill alone. The 
transportation in this mountain country is always a difificult and 
costly operation and his offer including the delivery decided me 
at once to accept his price. This mill was found in a small one- 
story building, hardly more than a "shack." about twenty by 
twenty feet wide and twenty feet at the peak of the room. It 
was made of rough machine sawed boards roofed with hand 
riven pine shingles and with hand-hewn rafters. It was situated 
on the sloping bank of a swift mountain stream barely six feet 
wide and about six to eight inches deep called Forster's Creek, a 
branch of the Big Laurel. The road running parallel with the 
creek, and before the door of the mill, appeared to be only a wide 
trail, though at all times of the year wagons managed to get 
along over it. On entering the mill from this road, I found it was 
so constructed that the inner portion of the shed consisted of a 
single room on two levels, of about equal size. The upper for 


the mill stones and hopper and the other, about four feet lower, 
for the unloading and storage of grain. The portion of structure 
immediately under the mill stones, through which the stream 
ran, was open on three sides and the vertical space between the 
upper and lower floor was boarded, forming the inner side of 
the water wheel compartment. This partition was not furnished 
with a door. Three wooden steps led from the lower or store- 
house level to the upper or mill stone floor, inside the building. 
Going out of the building and around to the creek bed on the op- 
posite side from the mill entrance, I found the horizontal water 
wheel directly under the mill stone. At this point I was able to 
see the great simplicity and primitive construction of the appar- 
atus which differed from that of any grist mill I had ever seen in 
the fact that the mill stones were set upon the vertical shaft of 
the water wheel itself and turned with it. There were no cog 
wheels, counter wheels, belts, or devices for the transmission of 
power. One shaft alone revolved with the water wheel at one 
end, the bottom, and the upper mill stone at the other end, the 
top. The water wheel was set on a bridge tree about six feet long 
by six inches thick crossing the bed of the stream at right angles 
furnished with a rough iron step-box mortised about the center 
to make a bearing for the toe of the water wheel shaft. One end 
of this bridge tree was mortised and pegged into the husk or 
frame work surrounding the mill stones, and the other end laid 
free on the groimd with a lighter rod fastened to it. The water 
wheel itself was about four feet in diameter with the base of the 
vertical shaft mortised into its solid wooden center, which center 
extended to about eight inches from the rim of the wheel. Be- 
tween the rim and the solid center were diagonally inserted hand 
forged iron plates in somewhat the shape of an open letter S. 
Through the spiral openings facing these plates the water rushed 
downward giving the movement to the wheel. The water supply 
to drive the wheel was secured from the creek by means of the 
forebay, a rough trough open on top about two feet in diameter, 
running on the leval from the bed of the stream and occupying 
about three-quarters of the breadth of the latter without any dam 
or attempt to direct water into it. This trough ran for about 
fifteen feet in the direction of the water wheel to within about 
five feet of the mill. As the fall of the stream was considerable 


this forebay was supported on a trestle, the props of which were 
set directly in the bed of the stream, the latter flowing directly 
under the building and also under the water wheel and mill 
stones. A,t the end of the forebay toward the mill the trough 
narrowed into a penstock or flume about one foot square com- 
pletely covered and making a decline of about forty-five degrees. 
As the stream at this point flowed downward at a sharp incline, 
the end of the flume above mentioned, departing from the stream 
at a level, by the time it reached the mill was nearly six feet 
above the stream level at the point of the downturning of the pen- 
stock. The water was so directed that it struck the water wheel 
at the nearest outer portion of its diameter facing up stream. The 
mill I secured had been partially dismantled so that I was unable 
to bring any portion of this forebay and penstock away but the 
above explanation was noted in the mill of Lige Wilds on the Big 
Laurel, a mill similar in all respects to the one I secured. On the 
upper portion of the mill floor reached by three wooden steps, I 
found the mill stones resting on a frame work or husk and set 
through the floor planks, the hoop or mill stone box, the curb, 
the hopper and the bench or framework supporting it, the shoe, 
and a dampsel of wood as shown in the museum. These parts 
in general resembling those in use in old gristmills of Bucks 
county, whereas the dampsel in the Shetland mill, described by 
Mitchell, was differently constructed and his mill stones lacked a 
hoop. About two feet to the left of the mill stones the wrought 
iron lighter rod extended up through the floor and was sur- 
mount by a hand made wrought iron hand wheel or screw for 
raising the mill stones. This wheel or screw was furnished with 
two arms or handles for turning, about six to eight inches in di- 
ameter. The lighter rod, continuing down through the floor for 
about four feet, was fastened to a wooden arm or extension, 
which in turn was mortised and pegged into the end of the bridge 
tree to raise and lower the water wheel, and upper mill stone re- 
volving on the top of its vertical shaft, thereby grinding coarse or 
fine. A curious point characteristic of the Norse Mill as dis- 
tinguished from the common gristmill might be noted here in the 
fact that when the bridge-tree is raised by means of this lighter 
rod not only the upper mill stone but the water wheel itself goes 
up with it. The mill stones are composed of a hard bluish rock 


quarried about sixty years ago, when the mill was first built, 
from the side of a neighboring hill, not far from the location of 
the mill, according to information of Mr. Capts. At top of the 
husk or framework surrounding the water wheel and shaft and 
resting on the upper floor of the mill, a circular frame work called 
the "curb" is fitted, so that the top of this curb is just level with 
the stones at the point of their contact. A trough is notched into 
this curb leading downward to a meal box set on the lower por- 
tion of the mill floor. The "eye" of the lower mill stone through 
which the spindle passes, was filled with a block of soft wood, 
hewn to fit and then driven into the "eye" until tight. A hole 
was bored in the wooden block for the spindle to pass through 
forming a bearing in the nature of a bush as found in the modem 
gristmill of Bucks county. This wooden bearing prevented the 
leakage of meal around the spindle. 

On Monday, October 15, 1917, Mr. Capts' son, Hezekiah, as- 
sisted me to take down and load the mill and started out with 
six horses to make the sixteen mile trip over the mountain to 
Marshall, the nearest railroad station. At the top of Walnut 
Mountain four of the horses were sent back by a small boy, also 
a son of Capts, as from there on the road would be mostly down 
grade. It took all day to make the trip. The next day I crated 
the mill on the station platform with lumber bought from Shel- 
ton's garage in Marshall and shipped the mill to Doylestown by 
Southern Express, October 16. 1917. 

I searched in a radius of about fifteen miles around White 
Rock, Madison county. North Carolina, in the region called 
"The Big Laurel Section," and found three perfect and one 
altered Norse Mills. None of which were probably more than 
sixty years old. 

The mill purchased by me was originally built, according to 
the information of its present owner, as a so-called "Blockade 
Mill," in other words one to grind corn for distilling illicit or 
"moonshine" whiskey. 

The Norse Mill with its very small water-wheel revolving 
rapidly without counter gear requires a swift and plentiful down- 
rush of water and is particularly adapted to streams running 
down steep hill sides and to a country where under these cir- 
cumstances there is good rainfall. I heard of no mill dams 


properly so called in connection with any Norse Mill that came 
within my observation. Finally I may say that all the Norse 
Mills I observed were constructed in the same manner, all were 
about the same size, and all were sheltered by sheds of similar 
dimensions and appearance. 

Notes on the Norse Mill. 

(Doylestown Meeting-, Jan. 19, 1918.) 

The very comprehensive KiiigJit's America)! Mechanical Dic- 
tonary (New York, Hurd & Houton, 1876), does not notice the 
very ancient form of grist mill known as the Norse Mill, an ex- 

Norse Mill as existing in the Shetland Islands in 1880 from The 
Past in the Present, Mitchell Edinburgh, 1880, page 41. 


ample of which we have just placed in our museum ; but Mitchell 
in his Past in the Present (Edinburgh, Douglas, 1880) page 41, 
describes and illustrates it as existing in the Shetland Islands in 
1880. I made a drawing of his illustration and showed it here 
at our last winter meeting as a supplement to the description of 
our hand corn mills or querns, then the subject of discussion/ 
When I did so I was so satisfied that the type of water gristmill 
presented by our other old Bucks county mill on exhibition, rep- 
resented the earliest American type, that I was convinced that no 
such primitive apparatus as that which we have just obtained, 
had ever been used in the United States. But I was mistaken. 

A few days later, on discussing the subject of our meeting with 
my father, he referred me to a remarkable passage in A Thousand 
Mile Walk to the Gulf by John Muir, Boston (Houghton Mififlin 
& Co., 1916) page 35, in which Muir the botanist says, that in 
1867 he found about twenty corn gristmills in southeastern Ten- 
nessee, one of which on the Hiowassee river, about two days walk 
from Madisonville, had been built by John Vohn to grind from 
■ten to fifteen bushels of corn a day. 

Muir describes this mill as equipped with "a small stone that a 
man might carry under his arm. which is fastened to the vertical 
shaft of a home-made, boyish-looking, back-action waterwheel 
which, with a hopper and a box to receive the meal is the whole 
affair. The walls of the mill are of undressed poles cut from 
seedling trees and there is no floor, as lumber is dear. No dam 
is built and the water is conveyed along the hillside until suf- 
ficient fall is obtained." 

On reading this description I was struck with the words "verti- 
cal shaft" and "back-action" and felt convinced that what Muir 
had found in 1867, was nothing more or less than the Norse Mill 
described by Mitchell and further that if. in 1867, twenty of these 
mills had been in use. some might still exist in 1917 or fifty 
years later. 

Hardly a week had elapsed when a visitor to the museum, Mr. 
Fr£^ncis Biddle, just returned from a riding trip in western North 
Carolina informed me, after looking at our old Bucks county 
mill, that he had seen very primitive water gristmills in the Caro- 
lina Mountains, apparently lacking what we know as water 

1 Published in Vol. IV, p. 733 et seq. 


wheels. Though unable to clearly describe them as Norse Mills 
he referred me to Dr. George B. Packard, of White Rock, North 
Carolina, and a correspondence followed which resulted in the 
latter identifying several mills of the Norse type near that place. 
This was followed very shortly by a journey of Dr. William 
Edgar Geil to North Carolina, who at my request inquired for 
and heard of another mill of this kind in Buncombe county, and 
finally, by a systematic exploration of the region by Mr. Horace 
M. Mann in October 1917 who found six, and bought and sent 
home one of these mills which now stands in our museum as one 
of the most remarkable objects in the whole collection, for two 
reasons : 

First — Because the mill shows a step in the application of 
water power to the grinding of meal, more primitive than any- 
thing we have thus far found, and second, because the apparatus 
belongs to the class of objects which, as concerned with one 
of the four great overmastering requirements of life, namely the 
preparation of bread for food, is of greater significance than 
clocks, signboards, furniture, deeds, county seals, toll-gates and 
a thousand other of our possessions which, from a scientific 
point of view might be said to be of second, third or fourth class 

When we compare this mill with the Norse original described 
by Mitchell, several differences appear, first the bridge-tree in 
the Shetland mill was worked by a wooden wedge, here by an 
iron screw. Second the Shetland damsel is a stone tied to a 
string, which dragging upon the revolving surface of the upper 
mill stone shakes the "shoe" or feeder, while in this case the 
damsel is a vertical wooden staff projecting from the top of the 
spindle so as to agitate the shoe with its corrugations as it re- 
volves. Third, the Shetland hopper is swung from the roof by 
four ropes, here it rests on the usual hopper "bench" or stand. 
Fourth, our mill-stones are boxed in with the usual "hoop" and 
"guard." The Shetland stones run free. Fifth, the wooden 
paddles of the Shetland water wheel are set, not spirally or 
obliquely, but vertically against the shaft and are not enclosed in 
the circumference of the wheel. Our paddles are made of 
wrought iron enclosed within the wheels' circumference and set 
with a spiral twist against an extension of the shaft, a variation 


from the simple Norse form, which is briefly referred to by 
Knight under the article "Horizontal Water Wheel," and which 
again appears in an illustration found for me by Dr. B. F. 
Fackenthal, Jr., and also published in Knight, from Harpers 
Magazine for May 1856, page 723, as illustrating a horizontal 
water-wheel turning a Chilean Mill to grind silver ore at the 
Mina Grande mine near Tegucigalpa, Honduras, about 1855. 

But these differences are not fundamental, and the unmistakable 
point of similarity is the fact that the mill-stones in the Shet- 
land and American instances are set on the vertical shaft of the 
water-wheel itself and turn directly with it. It is a machine 
therefore of the simplest character with no belting, no cog wheels 
and no counter gearing to get out of order. 

Although Mitchell did not trace the Shetland mill to Norway 
in 1880, he asserts that the Scandinavians brought it to Scotland 
and my friends, Henrik W von Z. Loss, of Philadelphia, and S. 
Munch Kielland, of Buffalo, both natives of Norway, inform me 
that this type of gristmill still exists there. I have also a draw- 
ing of one of these mills in its native home, from a photograph 
given me by Mrs. Hamilton Fish, Jr.. of New York, and taken 
by her about 1908 in Norway, which shows the general construc- 
tion of the building, the position of the water-wheel, bridge-tree 
and penstock, but which is unfortunately too indistinct for exact 

It remains to be learned why the natives of western North 
Carolina call this mill the "Willis W^heel." We can suppose, but 
without proof as yet, that Scotch emigrants, in the eighteenth 
century brought it with them from Scotland, but as to the 
origin and distribution of the apparatus we do not now 
know whether it was invented in Norway or brought thither, or 
whether it still survives in the mountains of Spain, Italy, Ger- 
many or Eastern Europe or even whether it has been introduced 
and still exists in other parts of the United States where an un- 
dammed mountain stream w^ould turn mill stones. 

The more we think of this mill as included in the field of re- 
search illustrated by our collection the more we realize the great 
number of important objects illustrating the early history of 
man which have escaped the notice of travellers and even en- 
cyclopedias. So much the more might we regret the superficial 


nature of our own observations in past travels, when our atten- 
tion has been concentrated upon transient or picturesque things. 
We might wonder, not so much that Reese and Knight did not 
describe this mill or that Miss Margaret W. Morley in her The 
Carolina Mountains, (Houghton-Mifflin Co., New York, 1913) 
should make no mention of it, as that John Muir should notice 
it at all. 

There can be little doubt that all the ancient water gristmills 
of Bucks county were run by vertical overshot or undershot 
water wheels until about 1820, after which time, according to 
Reese Encyclopaedia (Article Water Wheel) experiments were 
made in England upon Barker's Mill (a spouting turnstile) in- 
vented in England in 1743, and upon the ancient Norse Mill or 
Roulet Volant of France, where similar experiments resulted in 
the invention of the turbine itself by Fourneyron in 1823. 

Mr. Wilson Woodman informs us through Mr. Warren S. Ely 
that three horizontal water wheels set with oblique paddles were 
used in the gristmill and a saw mill at Wycombe, Bucks county, 
in the 1850's. These water wheels were called "tub wheels" and 
though the "tub wheel" illustrated in Knights Mechanical Dic- 
tionary is of iron and shaped like an inverted cone with spiral 
curvilinear paddles, these Bucks County wheels were made of 
wood and like the Norse mill wheel in the museum, enclosed 
their paddles, which were set obliquely, but not curved, in an 
outer rim. As the wheels were about eight feet in diameter the 
mill stones could not have been set directly upon their vertical 
axes, as in the Norse mill, above described, where the water 
wheel has only a dimeater of three feet. But there must have 
been counter gearing to get the required velocity for the grind- 
ing stone. 

Roulet Volant or Norse Mill. 

(Doylestown Meeting, January 19, 1918.) 

MR. R. P. HOMMEL. of the Lehigh University, was pres- 
ent at the reading of the two preceeding papers and hav- 
ing since found valuable information concerning the 
Norse Mill, in the University Library at Bethlehem, has kindly 
communicated to me, H. C. Mercer, on February 7th, 1918, the 
following notes and two very interesting illustrations.) 

The distinguishing feature of the "Norse Mill" under discus- 
sion is a horizontal wheel with a vertical axis on which are 

Norse Mill as shown in Von den Machinen, by B. F. 
Moennich, Augsburg, 1779, page 191, illustrating the 
Roulet Volant or Norse Mill. 


mounted the mill stones thus doing away with any gear or inter- 
mediate mechanism. 

Though the origin of the mill remains in doubt it has been in 
use for centuries in Europe. It is certain that this type of mill 
was used in some provinces of France as Provence, Dauphiny 
and Brittany, also in Sweden and in Turkey, though Moennich, 
writing in 1779, on machines thinks it doubtful that this mill was 
ever used in Germany. 

In a book colled Theatrimi Machinarum Gcneralc, by Jacob 
Leupold, Leipsig, 1724, page 206, the author speaking of hori- 
zontal w^ater wheels says, (translated) 

"They were used in places where little water exists with a high fall 
namely in mountain regions as in parts of Sweden, Provence in France, 
and such districts, where many springs and small brooks run down 
from the mountains and in a closed pope strike obliquely against the 
paddle and thus drive the latter around." 

In another book Von Den Machinen, by B. F. Moennich, Augs- 
burg, 1779, page 191, the author illustrating the mill with the 
first cut here reproduced says, page 191 (translated) : 

"Mills with horizontal water wheels in certain provinces of France, 
Sweden and Turkey, are much used although we have no quite reliable 
evidence as to whether they were ever in use in Germany. The grist- 
mills which were thus driven were very simple as the illustration, here- 
with given shows. No friction and little cost." 

In a French work. Theatre dcs Instnimcns Matheinatiqucs ct 
Mechaniques, by Jaques Besson of Dauphiny, Doctor of Mathe- 
matics, Lyons 1578, under Figure 28 the author says (translated) : 

"This mill is like the preceeding one, the mill stone being on the 
same shaft as the water wheel, a fashion which may seem unknown to 
some, but which is common in some places and especially at Toulouse 
and also in some villages where I have seen them. However, (inser- 
tion by the French editor) our author has improved it by placing the 
wings of the wheel on a curve. The wheel is, in the figure (see second 
illustration) horizontal and distant from the ground about 1 m. 
7 p. the water coming from the east (right) although it may come 
from where it can it making no difference from what direction it 
comes. And I say this so that nobody should think that it was 
necessary that the water should come from the east." 

Another French writer, D'Arvieux. in Curious Nezcs of Travel, 
Part 3, (Copenhagen and Leipsig, 1754) page 201 (translated) 
says : 



"The Arabians have no windmills. These are used in oriental coun- 
tries only where there are no rivers though in most places only hand 
mills are in use. Water mills which I found on Mount Lebanon and 
Mount Carmel are similar to the ones which are met with in Italy at 
various places. They are very simple and cost little. The mill stone 
and water wheel are fastened on the same axle. The water wheel if 

Representation of a Norse Mill as used in the South of France in 1578, 
from Theatre des Instrumens Mathematiques, etc., by Jaques Besson, Lyons, 
1578, Fig-. 28, illustrating the Roulet Volant or Norse Mill. 


such it may be called, consists of eight hollow spoonshaped boards 
which are fastened at an incline upon the axle. When the water 
strikes these boards with vehemence the water wheel will turn and 
with it the mill stone upon which the grain is heaped for grinding." 

In the French work Application dc la Mechaniquc, by A Taffe, 
Paris, 1843. page 200, the writer says (translated) : 

"We call Turbines horizontal wheels with paddles either straight or 
slightly curved like those which are used in Provence." 

In another French book Architecture Hydraulique by M. Belh- 
dor, (Paris, 1737), book 2, chapter 1, page 301, the writer says 
(translated) : 

"In Provence and in a large part of Dauphiny the grist mills are of 
great simplicity having only a single horizontal wheel of six or seven 
feet in diameter, etc." He also mentions a lever used to raise the 
wheel and the mill stone. 

Spons Dictionary of Engineering, Division 8. (London, 1874) 
page 3105 says : 

"The oldest forms of wheels having a vertical axis are found in the 
south of France and in Algeria. The most simple of these, called 
'Roulets Volants,' consist merely of an upright shaft on which is fixed 
the wheel having plain curved floats, driven by the impact of a column 
of water discharged on the upper surface from a wooden trough or 
spout. The maximum effect obtained from these wheels, under the 
most favorable circumstances, is 9.35, 0.35 of the absolute work due to 
the fall." 

It was from an examination of this wheel that Foiirneyron was 
led to make those experiments which resulted in the invention 
of the modern turbine the first being erected by him in Franche- 
Comte in the year 1827. 

The Scotch-Irish may have introduced this mill into North 
Carolina if it is true that it found its way into Scotland from 
Norway. It seems more likely however that French Huguenots 
who emigrated to North Carolina in the eighteenth century- 
brought with them this- mill which in their former home was called 
Roulet Volant (flying wheel). In the course of time the word 
Volant may have been corrupted into willow by which name 
Willow Wheel this mill is known at the present time in North 

Biographical Notice of Joseph B. Walter, M.D. 

(Doylestown Meeting, January 18, 1918.) 

DR. JOSEPH B. WALTER was one of the twelve gentle- 
men who founded this society 38 years ago. He con- 
tinued to be one of its most faithful and loyal members 
down to the time of his passing away on August 18, 1917. He 
was one of the original directors under the charter of 1885, and 

at the time of his death was 
serving as one of its vice- 

The first paper presented 
before this society was read 
by Mr. Josiah B. Smith, 
July 29, 1880. That paper 
was, therefore, the first one 
published in Volume I, of 
our proceedings, and the 
portrait of Mr. Smith can 
be seen on page 1 of that 
volume, with the statement 
that he not only read the 
first paper, but was the first 
to sign the constitution of 
the society. When this 
volume appeared. Dr. Wal- 
ter took exception to that 
statement, claiming that he 
was himself the first to 
sign the constitution. We then investigated the matter and found 
that both statements were correct. Mr. Smith's name appears 
first when the society was organized in 1880, and Dr. Walter's 
name appears first in the application, in 1885, when the society 
was chartered. I said to him then, that if in the ordering of 
Providence, I was permitted to do so, that I would see that this 
statement was made and that his portrait would also appear in 



our proceedings. It is therefore a great privilege that I am per- 
mitted to carry out this promise to our departed friend. 

Dr. Walter was born in Plumstead township, Bucks county. 
Pa., August 30, 1840, and was therefore 77 years of age at the 
time of his death. His paternal grandfather, Michael Walter, 
whose ancestors were residents of Alsace, Germany, was one of 
the early settlers of Plumstead township, where he followed the 
occupation of farming. He served for a number of years as 
justice of the peace. John Walter, son of Michael, was born in 
Plumstead township and in early life learned the carpenter's 
trade. He married Mary, the daughter of Samuel Beek, a resi- 
dent farmer of Plumstead township, and had five children, Cath- 
arine, Joseph B. (the subject of this notice), Levi, Silas and 
Emma B. 

Joseph B. resided with his parents in Plumstead township until 
the death of his mother, when at the age of about 8 or 9 years he 
was taken into the family of his maternal uncle. William Beek, 
who resided in Doylestown. He was there educated in the pub- 
lic school and private schools, later he became a student at 
Kishacoquillas Seminary in Mifflin county, Pa., and in the board- 
ing school of Rev. M. S. Hofiford at Beverly, New Jersey. 

In 1859, at the age of 19 years, he entered upon the profession 
of teaching school, devoting his leisure hours to the study of 
medicine under the direction of Dr. Isaac S. Moyer. His maiden 
effort as a teacher was in Durham township, where he taught 
for one scholastic year beginning in the fall of 1859, the term 
was for eight months, for which he was paid $25 per month, out 
of this he had to pay his board and other expenses. The amount 
of money he could have saved out of this small salary could not 
have gone very far toward his medical education, and yet it is to 
be noted that many of our professional men resorted to teaching 
to get funds to aid them in their studies. All honor to them for 
their well directed energies. Later Dr. Walter taught school in 
Warrington, Northampton and Southampton townships. 

In August 1862 he put aside his professional studies and en- 
listed for a term of nine months as a private in Company E, 
122nd. Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, and was mustered out 
of service in May 1863. He then taught school for a few months 
at Richboro, Northampton township, and then re-enlisted in the 


152nd. Pennsylvania Infantry. During this enlistment he was sta- 
tioned, the greater part of the time, at headquarters in Virginia 
and North Carolina. He was promoted to the rank of sergeant. 
Besides many minor engagements he participated in the battles 
of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Appomatox. He was 
mustered out of service at the close of the war. 

Immediately following his return to civil life he entered the 
office of Dr. Isaac S. Moyer, then of Plumsteadville, later of 
Quakertown, and resumed the study of medicine. In 1866 he 
entered the medical department of the University of Pennsyl- 
vania, from which he was graduated as a medical doctor in the 
spring of 1868. He at once associated himself with Dr. J. E. 
Smith, of Yardley, and began the practice of medicine. In the 
spring of 1870 he located in Solebury township, where he con- 
tinued to practice his profession until 1915, when owing to fail- 
ing health he retired. 

Dr. Walter was an active member of the Bucks County Medi- 
cal Society. In a paper read before the Bucks County Historical 
Society (Volume I, page 509) he records that on one occasion 
he attended a meeting of the medical society at Newtown when 
but two members were present, of whom he was one. He was 
also a member of the Lehigh Valley Medical Association and the 
Pennsylvania State Medical Society. He was a close student and 
kept in touch with the advanced thought and researches of his 
profession. He was also a member of Doylestown Lodge, No. 
245, F. & A. M., having been entered over fifty years ago, and 
of Doylestown Chapter, No. 270, R. A. C. He was also a mem- 
ber of the Commandery of Knights Templar. 

Dr. Walter contributed a number of papers to this society, 
which may be found in our printed volumes. He was a poet of 
some ability and contributed many poems to the columns of our 
local papers. One of his poems "What Goeffrey Chaucer Saw," 
is published in Volume I, page 401, of our proceedings. At the 
anniversary of the Bucks County Medical Society he wrote the 
anniversary poem entitled "The Doctor." He was also consider- 
able of a Shakespearian student.^ 

On October 13, 1870, Dr. Walter was married to Miss Mary 

6 In 1924, Mrs. Walter has published 74 of his poems in a neat and attrac- 
tive volume of 204 pages. 


T. Child, daughter of George M. and Sarah (Wood) Child, of 
Plumstead, who survives him. 

In politics, Dr. Walter was a Republican, and took great in- 
terest in the political affairs of the township and county. He was 
a congenial companion, a close friend to those who knew him 
best, an affable, generous and warm-hearted man. 

Personally I knew him best as a member of this society, and 
I soon learned to know that he could always be depended upon, 
for he had the best interests of the society at heart. This was 
shown in many ways, and not least by the fact that his library, 
three hundred and eighty volumes with three book-cases, and a 
number of other articles were presented to the society by his 
widow at his behest. 

Making a Dugout Boat in Mississippi. 

(Doylestown Meeting, January 19, 1918.) 

MESSRS. R. L. LEARNED & SON, operating a band- 
sawmill and dealing in sawed lumber, shingles and lath 
at Natchez, Miss., use, at the present time, a number of 
dugout canoes, perhaps fifty or more of them. They are tied up 
along the Mississippi river about ninety miles above Natchez. 
Three old ones were lying in the lumberyard at the Natchez mill 
when visited by me in January 1917, waiting to be repaired to 
send up the river again. The fourth one was bought by me for 
the Bucks County Historical Society. 

They are operated by a man standing upright, who with one 
paddle pushes the canoe into the marshes or forest passing in and 
out among the trees where it would be impossible to go with a 
wider boat. They are treacherous to manage and turn over 
easily, but most of the negroes and some of the white men can 
ride them standing up. The negroes can stand up in them and 
trim a tree or cut it down without the canoe taking water. They 
are specially fine to shoot about in during a flood or high water 
when the water is up to the tree tops, the thin canoe slipping 
through the branches with the man lying down. When the tree 
is cut and the log ready to float to the raft the man "rides" the 


log with the canoe trailing behind, empty. On reaching the 
raft, at the river's edge, the man again returns in the canoe for 
another log and the operation is repeated. Canoes were also used 
by the manager or inspector for going about among the trees to 
inspect, select and mark the trees to be cut down and to instruct 
the workmen. 

Learned's mill dates back to 1828 and is therefore ninety years 
old. Fifty years ago the mill started to use canoes and the one 
bought for our museum was one of the first made and used 
there and the workmen said that it must be forty or fifty years 
old. At an earlier time boats may not have been necessary as 
there was doubtless ample timber close to the mill on the high 
hills around Natchez and above along the river, which are now 
bare of timber and under cultivation. Boats made of slabs are 
now being built by the Learned Company to replace these canoes 
as they wear out. These are wider, more bowed, not so long 
and are provided with one or two seats. The best canoes were 
made of gum trees because that wood does not split or crack 
and the wood is very hard. Canoes are also made of cypress as 
that wood does not rot easily. The canoe bought for our museum 
is made of poplar. These canoes being long and narrow with 
rather round bottoms turn over easily, so easily, the carpenter 
said, that a man standing up with an extra large chew of to- 
bacco in one cheek was likely to overbalance and tumble into the 
water. He called his canoe "Night Hawk." I do not know 
whether that was its name or whether any of them were named 
or not. 

Mr. Henry, a superintendent at the mill had made two or three 
canoes, he now owns a small one, quite new, painted a bright 
green with strips nailed on the sides so as to raise it as he is a 
large stout man. In the middle of his boat there is a board run- 
ning from side to side with a scooped out seat nailed to the 
board. This is shaped like the seat of a Windsor chair or the 
iron seat of a modern mowing machine. These canoes were all 
adzed out. A colored "squatter" or wood-gatherer just below 
the mill told me that he had made several canoes with a round 
or curved bladed adze but had never burned or charred any, nor 
had he ever seen any made in that way neither had he seen 


hominy mortars, bowls or any wooden ware made by charring, 
but he knew that the Indians charred their boats. 

A colored man, splitting shingles with a "frow" and using the 
shaving horse and draw knife to taper the ends, working in a lit- 
tle hut on the River road a mile above Vicksburg, told me he 
had often made hominy mortars, wooden bowls and canoes from 
cypress and other logs using a round bladed adze but had never 
charred any nor had he seen any charred. He was born a slave 
in 1856 on the plantation which afterwards become the National 
Cemetery. He owns a dugout at the present time which he made 
himself but he had loaned it to a friend who had gone duck 
shooting several miles up the Mississippi river. 

He said that canoes were seldom used now, as row-boats made 
of slabs could be bought for very little money, and would carry 
two or three persons. There are many row-boats in use along the 
Mississippi river as far as Vicksburg but no canoes. Throughout 
the South, I learned that many persons had seen canoes, or had 
used them, but all dated back thirty or forty years, most of the 
young people had heard of them but had never seen them. 

A good canoe made from a perfect log with no knots, and 
adzed smooth should last fiftv or more vears. 

In Museum of Bucks County Historical Society. Length, 15 feet 10 inclies. 
Another similar dugout canoe, also in the Museum, was found in the 
marshes along the Neuse river, near Newbern. N. C, by William A. Labs. 

Manners and Customs of Eighty Years Ago. 

BY MARY S. woodman/ WYCOMBE, PA. 
(Doylestown Meeting, Jan. 19, 1918.) 

THE following paper was prepared from notes which were 
in substance the answers given by Miss Woodman to my 
questions concerning various objects pointed out to her in 
the collection in our museum, when in company with her brother 
Wilson H. Woodman, his wife and her relative, Miss Valerie 
Old, of Montclair, New Jersey. Miss Woodman visited the 
museum on the afternoon of June 1st, 1917. We passed slowly 
along the galleries, stopping before the alcoves to rest upon 
chairs carried with us. Mr. Frank K. Swain took down a sum- 
mary of her answers in pencil. The paper thus prepared in 
typewritten manuscript, was presented and read by Miss Wood- 
man's sister-in-law, Mrs. (Louisa H.) Wilson H. Woodman. 

January 24, 1918. 

Sea Sickness Cured. — A glass canteen-shaped bottle filled 
with bitters to cure sea sickness in crossing the ocean was 
brought to this country by Evan Ap Evan's family. He came 
here in 1686 and the canteen was probably used by him on the 
voyage. He was Miss Woodman's ancestor. 

Merino Sheep. — Miss Woodman's father bought a half-breed 
merino lamb from a man living on Long Island who had im- 
ported full-blood merinos. The wool was so fine that the finest 
machinery would not work it. They put a bell on the lamb and 
it never got cross. Benjamin Smith, her grandfather, then raised 
merinos and later populated the neighborhood with them. A 
neighbor stole a merino lamb from their cellar, replacing it with 
a native lamb. The theft was discovered later when the man's 
children boasted in school that they too had a merino lamb. But 

1 Miss Woodman is the daugliter of Henry and Mary Smith Woodman, 
and was born in Buckingham township March 29, 1833. Her father was for 
many years a minister among Friends and Hved where she still lives, with 
her brother W^ilson Woodman and his wife, near Wycombe in Buckingham 
township, on a farm lying along the Wrightstown township line. The hut 
of Indian Billy, the last Delaware Indian in Bucks county, formerly stood 
near the Woodman house. — W. S. E. 


Benjamin Smith never said a word and did not get the lamb 
again. Miss Woodman had a merino blanket at this time made 
from the wool of the first merino. 

Rose Water. — Her great-grandmother had a little still and 
used to distill rose water from rose petals which she gathered 
early in the morning. She placed them on plates in water, added 
more from time to time and placed them in the sun each day. 
Later the water was heated, strained, distilled and bottled and 
guests were given a dram of rose water instead of whiskey. 

Reaping. — Sickles were not used in her time but her father 
had an old one in the shed-loft which he would get down once in 
awhile to show the children how it had been used in his child- 
hood and an Irish woman working for her mother reaped wheat 
with it as late as 1844. She never saw a clover header but her 
father raised broom-corn and an old man used to come to the 
house to make brooms after the seeds had been combed off the 

Sassafras in Soap. — She never saw a winnowing basket but 
had sifted wood ashes many a time through a wooden sieve for 
making lye for soap. The charcoal was saved for other pur- 
poses. Sassafras sticks were placed in the bottom of the ash 
hopper, with a little lime, so that the perfume of the sassafras 
got into the soap. The mucilage in the sassafras helped to "set 
up" or harden the soap. Mr. Woodman said the sassafras was 
simply "pow-wow" but Miss Woodman said the sassafras was 
not all "pow-wow" either. The neighbors called it "sassafrac" 
but her father insisted on the family calling it sassafras. Her 
father did not allow his sons (her brothers) to whistle in the 
house nor stand with their hands in their pockets. Bleeding by 
doctors was not good. She remembered the cause of General 
Washington's death and hated bleeding. 

Hatter at Penn's Park. — Charles Reeder, an old hatter at 
Penn's Park, who helped build the Almshouse, made a new fur 
hat for her father in 1840. Her two little brothers had small 
round "stove pipe" hats made of black fur. In Quaker meeting 
her father took off his hat, stood up and spoke for a minute or 
two all the time looking into his hat. As he sat down little Ned, 
her brother thought a moment and then took off his "stove pipe" 
hat, looked into it as he stood up and said in a loud voice "my 
hat has got an eagle in it." 


Dunce Caps. — In 1835 the first school director (her father) 
was elected in Buckingham. He abolished dunce caps because he 
thought it foolish and unnecessary. Mr. Woodman had worn 
one for talking too much at "Rough and Ready School," the 
Cider Press school near Wycombe. 

Grammar. — The teacher of Concord school, Amos Doan, said 
"There wasn't no use in no grammar." 

Pumps. — Chalkley Twining, of Mozart, who succeeded James 
Conard, made the last bored-out wooden pumps. 

Shoes. — Thomas Foster, of Cedar Lane, (a road leading from 
Penn's Park to Rushland), used to come to the house to make 
shoes for the whole family as late as 1843. The comet made its 
appearance at this time, 1843. It was called "Miller's Fire." 
Foster was at the Woodman place at the time. He brought 
Charlie Matty, a journeyman, with him, also his own son and 
some times another boy as apprentices. Shoemakers carried dif- 
ferent sized lasts but the Woodman family had their own and 
her brothers kept theirs in the shed-loft. They had a shoemak- 
er's bench made and kept there for the shoemaker. Some people 
had rights and left made but her father would not. He reversed 
his shoes every morning so they would not set or shape to the 
feet. In 1848 and 1849, the harnessmaker, the tailor, and the 
shoemaker came to the house at the same time to make harness, 
coats and shoes. At that time her father and mother, with the 
other children, went sleighing to visit friends in Chester county. 
Miss Woodman, then ten years old, remained at home with her 
grandmother. Old Tommy, the shoemaker, staying there at the 
time, kept house. The world was supposed to burn up with 
"Miller's Fire" and that evening on going to the barn she saw 
the whole western sky a flame of fire and badly frightened she 
ran into the house to tell her grandmother who only laughed, as 
it was nothing but a beautiful winter sunset and not the comet. 

Tombstones at Penn's Park. — Amos Doan, a teacher at Con- 
cord school, pulled up the tombstones in the old graveyard at 
Penn's Park together with the wall surrounding it and had them 
hauled away. He made up a frolic to get men to help haul the 
stones and to wall up a bank along the road at the present Jacob 
Livezey's house. Previous to this he had pulled up the stones 
and thrown them in a heap and Edward Atkinson, a boy, saw 


men unloading stones at the bank and others driving away from 
the graveyard and knew the stones came from the old graveyard 
wall. Later when the graveyard was plowed over and 
cultivated Doan's wife and daughter, would never eat bread, 
made from grain grown in this -field. Bob Houpt who came to 
Penn's Park from Chester county, said he built a stone marked 
"Zebulon Heston" into the wall of the old Gaine housed The 
Heston stone was supposed to come from the Penn's Park grave- 
yard but many doubted this story with many others told by Houpt 
because he loved to brag and cause a sensation. John Chap- 
man's house was at the spring, the present Ruckman farm. 

William Linton's School. — William Linton kept a Latin 
school called Wrightstown Boarding School in 1772. One win- 
ter he had six boarders, and several other pupils came on horse- 
back. The building was made of logs with clapboards and had 
three dormer windows of four lights each in the garret room 
where the boy boarders slept in four beds. Miss Woodman's 
father was a pupil there, also William Shriner, afterwards a 
Quaker preacher. There was no glass in the dormer windows 
and beds were often covered wath snow, nevertheless the rule 
was that the door should be kept open for ventilation and the 
boys took turns sleeping in the draft at the door. 

End of Open Fire Cooking. — At Miss Woodman's home egg 
custards were baked in a bake oven. The crusts were first put in 
on the wooden shovel and then the custard was poured in with a 
large long handled dipper. Tenplate stoves were sometimes used 
for cooking but she preferred cooking in the open fire which was 
last used for cooking in her house in 1848. The fire place was 
then boarded in and they bought their first cook stove, although 
a tenplate stove had been used at odd times at least two years 
earlier, 1846 to 1848. She never saw^ a hand corn mill. 

Slaves. — Her parents were Abolitionists. In her younger days 
the negroes were natives, having been here a long time. They 
ate at the same table with white people and were considered one 
of the family as long as they behaved themselves. She often 
tended the colored washwoman's baby when she came to the 

1 The old Gaine house stood on the west side of the turnpike in Penn's 
Park at its intersection with the road to Rushland. Cyrus Gaines house 
and store were directly opposite across the Rushland road and the latter 
Charles Gaine's house is some distance down the turnpike toward the 
Neshaminy. — W. S. E. 


house to do the washing. Old Corn, a colored man, a member 
of Wrightstown Meeting, was the son of a colored slave be- 
longing to the Hickst family and was born on the ship when the 
Hickst family came over from Cornwall, England, and was 
named Cornwall. The Hikst family- owned slaves and were not 
Quakers. This family also owned Indian Billy's graveyard. Dur- 
ing the time of the "underground railroad" a southern negro 
came to the house of a neighbor also an Abolitionist. The man 
and his wife were both ill and there was no one else to lead him 
through the dark forest to the next "station" except their daugh- 
ter, sixteen years old who, without fear, went with him for sev- 
eral miles in the dark night on foot and in the rain, choosing 
paths farthest from houses to avoid detection. The man reached 
Canada and later sent word back to the family of his safe arrival. 
Making Green Ointment. — (This note by Miss Woodman 
was not taken on June, 1917, but added later, and read by Mrs. 
Wilson H. Woodman, at the meeting.) The ointment was used 
for aches and pains, earache, swelled faces, swelled neck-glands, 
rheumatism, burns, sore udder of the cow, etc. The following 
herbs were gathered the day before the ointment party : 1 Solo- 
mon's Seal and Jacob's Ladder ; 2. Vervain (then and there pro- 
nounced Vervine), the leaves of which were also used for boils; 
3. Daisy, a small and scarce species growing only on "Pine Hill," 
a hill on the Woodman Farm planted by one of Mr. Woodman's 
ancestors, with one of the smaller species of pine, not white 
pine ; 4. Cureall or Healall ; 5, Comf rey, the root of which only 
was used, grown in the garden ; 6, Spikenard. All these herbs 
(then and there pronounced "yarbs") except 1, 3, 4 were grown in 
the garden. On the morning following the gathering, a party of 
ointment (pronounced Eintment") makers, all bringing contri- 
butions of butter, came to the house and the freshly gathered 
herbs, of yesterday were very finely chopped, generally by the 
women. About half-a-bushel of these herbs were put in a large 
iron pot, together with all the butter brought to the meeting, and 
cooked for a long time, continuously, until all the juice of the 
herbs was boiled out. Bowls were then brought and filled with 

2 This family who spelled the name "Hickst" should not be confounded 
with the old Quaker family of Hicks. Charles Hicks from Cornwall, Kn-?- 
land, married one of the Kemble girls and through her inherited part of the 
large Kemble tract in the southwest corner of Buckingham near the Wood- 
man farm. — W. S. E. 


quantities of the ointment and distributed to the persons present, 
according to the quantity of butter brought by each. 

Cupping and Bleeding. 

(Doylestown Meeting, Jan. 19, 1918.) 

THE progress in the therapeutic art, as opposed to the meth- 
ods pursued by pioneer doctors ; the advancement in surgery, 
compared with the barber surgeon ; modern medicine as com- 
pared with the crude methods of our forefathers, is a subject 
which would in itself make an interesting paper ; but today we 
wish to consider only two of the means of healing, practiced in 
recent years, which, too, apparently will soon pass to the medical 
junk pile. 

Bleeding, up to the past fifteen or twenty years was a "sheet 
anchor" as it was termed, in a great many diseases. The doctor's 
lance occupied as important position as his thermometer today ; 
and it was used in a great variety of diseases. A doctor upon 
his daily rounds then, would have missed a lance more than a 
thermometer today, having use for it probably a half dozen times 
during his rounds. They were the days of bleeding and the lance 
was used freely in fevers, pneumonia, apoplexy, all congestive 
diseases, fits of all kinds, vertigo, sunstroke, and in fact, at one 
time it was a matter of routine practice in almost all diseases. 
Later, the physician began to select his cases, using it only when 
particularly indicated, as in plethoric conditions, pneumonia, ap- 
oplexy, etc. In the indiscriminate use of the lance there were, no 
doubt, -patients bled that should not have been, but as a thera- 
peutic measure, it then occupied, and still occupies, an important 
position in treating certain selected cases ; and if patients formerly 
died from the lances use, some die now because it is not used. 
Personally, I have never seen any of the failures from blood 
letting, but have witnessed some remarkable reliefs. As a boy, 
I held the basin for my father in the office many time, and heard 
the remark after the operation, "Doctor, I feel fine — quite like a 


different person" and their actions and appearances would indi- 
cate the same result. There, too, was a class of elderly persons 
who would come for their bleeding three or four times a year, 
suffering from dizziness, vertigo, short breath on exertion, gen- 
eral fullness and oppression in the head, symptoms of what would 
now be termed high pressure. 

My father, who practiced towards the end of the bleeding age, 
and when it was considered malpractice to bleed in fevers, often 
remarked that he never witnessed anything so remarkable as the 
relief he himself received when bled by the old family doctor in 
scarlet fever. There can be no doubt, in my mind that a toxic 
blood removed from the veins must be for the good of the patient. 

My first personal experience in bleeding was in epilepsy. Two, 
big, fat, plethoric girls in their teens. My father started me on 
these as my cases to experiment upon, on my return from medical 
college, as every young doctor needs some real material to render 
his book training more actual. He, himself, had started the treat- 
ment after they had continued getting their fits three or four 
times a week in spite of the use of bromides and other sedatives. 
He knew that bleeding would help them from his first experi- 
ment, when the lance accidentally striking the artery had ex- 
tracted such a quantity of the toxic fluid that no fits returned for 
one year. This seemed to prove to him that bleeding at selected 
intervals would be beneficial and he put me "on the job." My 
experience could only confirm the accuracy of his diagnosis, or 
conclusion as to beneficial results of bleeding. There is no doubt, 
that bleeding in certain cases is very useful, and is today often 
a neglected remedy. The pendulum has swung to the opposite 
extreme. Modern medical teachers must be somewhat at fault, 
as the modern physician often knows little of the science or its 

Blood letting is generally considered under general or local con- 
ditions. Medical blood letting is performed by means of either 
the spring lance, thumb lance, or bitoury (a slender surgical 
knife). One of the most superficial veins of the arm, or dorsum 
of foot, generally the large superficial vein at the elbow, is usually 
selected; the patient sitting on a chair (unless ill in bed) places 
his arm, easily, upon the back of another chair, a bandage is ap- 
plied about four inches above the elbow sufficiently tight to con- 


strict the vein but not the artery. The vein then becomes very 
prominent; the lance is placed directly over this (generally diag- 
onally) and sprung. The blood will flow freely into a basin held 
by an assistant. The quantity allowed to flow depends upon the 
condition of the patient, but generally a half basin full, or the drain 
is continued until the patient begins to feel a little light headed 
or symptoms of approaching syncope appear. A compress is 
now placed over the aperture and a bandage applied which im- 
mediately stops the flow of blood. The arm should be carried in 
a sling or kept inactive for twelve to twenty-hour hours. 

Local blood letting is performed by cupping, by leeches or by 
incisions with a small sharp scalpel. 

Cupping is performed upon almost any part of the body not too 
bony. A vacuum is produced by a small piece of paper, or a wad 
of cotton saturated with alcohol, lighted and thrown into the cup 
or lighted within it and the cup quickly attached to the spot se- 
lected. The flame immediately goes out when the cup is placed 
on the skin and the vacuum produced sucks the flesh into the cup. 
This suction for five or ten minutes produces a considerable flow 
of blood to that point and the part within the cup swells up into 
a large blood swelling. The operation may stop here and this is 
what is known as "dry cupping," and has the general effect upon 
the system of mustard or any application that draws the blood 
from the general circulation to a local portion of body. In "wet 
cupping" the scarifyer is placed upon these swellings of dilated 
blood vessels and when snapped the dozen or sixteen little knives 
pierce these superficial vessels and bleeding ensues ; the cup is 
re-applied in the same manner as above and under the efifects of 
its suction the blood flows freely and the cup fills up. It may 
be washed oflf and re-applied if more blood is desired. Usually 
from one-half to an ounce of blood is removed by each cup. It is, 
at times, a valuable local procedure and is used in pneumonia, 
pleurisy, rheumatism and a variety of complaints. A few years 
ago we had the "cupper," a man, or more often a woman who 
followed it as a business and responded to the calls of those de- 
siring the treatment. Instead of the alcohol flame, the vacuum is 
produced in some cups by a syringe attached to a stopcock at its 
top or by a rubber bulb attached to the top of cup. 

My last case of cupping was but a few months back in a case 


of high pressure with fullness in head and falling feeling. I 
cupped the back of the neck and over the shoulder and removed 
about one-half to two-thirds of a pint of blood. It produced con- 
siderable benefit. 


The leech or blood sucker, as popularly known, is a little ani- 
mal cupper. They make a nice little puncture, apply their cup, 
and suck till full and then fall off. More considerate than that 
more intelligent leech who wont fall off when full, or stop his 
blood sucking practices. 

The little animal is still sought for, and its use is a favorite 
measure for the local abstraction of blood by many doctors and 
their patients. 

Leeches may be applied to any part of the body. They have 
been very popular in inflammation not particularly applicable to 
cupping, for instance conjunctiviation, or inflammation around 
the eye and nose. The operation sometimes, however, leaves a 
little scar, and this might not be desired in a beautiful face. 
This, is, however, not likely if the leech is left on until it falls off. 
I am told a great many modern drug stores in the city have 
leeches in stock, an indication that their use is being utilized, and 
may mean that they are being prescribed by certain present-day 
physicians. They are generally easily applied, but if they do not 
readily take hold a little smear of blood will immediately attach 
them. They will relieve a local congestion ' very readily of its 
over-supply of blood. 

The American leech in northern latitudes is taken from creeks, 
etc., in summer. A great many doctors preferred the French, 
Swiss, or German leeches. They were more active and took a 
hold better. The American leech often has to be coaxed to be- 
gin operations by applying warm milk or blood. 

Leeches are at present supplied to the trade by many drug 
firms, and are used pretty extensively today. 


The accompanying illustration shows H and AAA nine 
cupping vessels of glass to be used with the fire method, from 
Dr. Walter, of Solebury, Bucks county, about 1870. the diameter 

Cupping Vessels and Instruments illustrating note on the paper 
by Dr. George M. Grim. 

A & H — Glass Cupping Vessels. 
B & C — Scarifier and Case. 

D — Gla.'^s Cupping Vessels 
wiih perforated tops 
and brass rim. 
E & F — Thumb Lancet and Case. 
G — Scarifier and Case. 

N — Bottle of Spirits 

I — Glass Cupping Vessel, per- 
forated top. 

J — Tin Cupping Vessels. 

L, — Wooden Cupping Vessels 
with rubber bulbs. 

M — Hard Rubber Cupping Ves- 
for igniting cotton. 


of the largest glass is two inches. J. six cupping vessels of tin 
(fire method) Pottsville, Penna., about 1800. L, three wooden 
cups with rubber bulbs for suction without fire, Lancaster, Penna., 
about 1850. M, two hard rubber cups (fire method) Lancaster, 
Penna., about I85O. D D, in the box, two glass cupping vessels 
with perforated tops cemented upon brass rims (bees wax show- 
ing on the rims) for attachment to a syringe in the suction pro- 
cess without tire. The syringe was probably mounted with a stop 
valve but no old cupping syringes have as yet been found for the 
museum. They are described as used with brass attachments and 
valves before the discovery of india-rubber in the 1751 edition 
of Chambers' Encyclopaedia. The syringe itself is very ancient 
and described by Hero of Alexandria about 150 B. C. I, a glass 
cupping vessel used by Mrs. Jane Mundy near Rush Valley, 
Bucks county, about 1800. Artificially perforated on the top. 
Method of air exhaustion unknown. Knight's mechanical dic- 
tionary says that the Chinese, Hindoos and Malays, about 1877, 
in thus drawing blood sucked with the mouth through a tube 
applied to a copper cup and that the ancient Egyptians sucked 
directly wath the mouth upon perforated cups of cow's horns, 
closed with a leather valve. The explorer of Thibet, Father Hue, 
saw, in 1844, the Thibetans proceeding in the same way and 
closing the hole with pellets of chewed paper. But no tradition 
of sucking with the mouth in this process has yet been heard of 
in Bucks county, and no cow horn cups have been found. B B, 
in the box, two scarifiers, brass instruments releasing by a trig- 
ger numerous small knives for scarifying the congested part after 
the first application of the cup. This instrument must have been 
invented about 1715 or before 1750 since Chambers Encyclopedia 
of 1751, possibly quoting the 1721 editions, says that before his 
publication small cutting wheels, and we infer scarifying knives, 
were used. No illustration or mention of the scarifier or valve 
syringe appears among the described surgical instruments in 
the English translation of La Vagnions Complete Surgery of 
1699 or in William Salmon's Ars Chirurgica published in Lon- 
don in 1698. B, in box at right, leather case for scarifier. Dr. 
Walter, Solebury, about 1870. B and C, in box left, brass 
scarifier, inscribed "G. R. Wa Wun" and case, Dr. Muehlenberg. 
Lancaster, about 1850. Box exclusive of articles AAA and 


upper BBC, shows the cupping case of Dr. J. B. Walter, of 
Solebury, about 1870. The width of the box is nine inches. N, 
his bottle with spirits for igniting cotton for cupping. G, scarify- 
ing knife of unknown ownership. E, thumb lancet for bleeding, 
not cupping. It lies in its leather case and was used by Rudolph 
Bensel of New Galena, Bucks county, about 1850. F, thumb 
lancet case of leather stamped with Traue Nicht Es Stecht, 
translated "Look out it pricks." 

Mr. Leidy Sheip, of Decatur street, Doylestown, informs us 
through Mr. Mann that he practiced cupping with tin cups as did 
his sister, Mrs. Amos Baringer and his mother. His last opera- 
tion about thirty years ago being upon his brother for a local 
inflammation. He heated the cup with lighted paper and used 
a scarifier. The father of Mrs. Amos Baringer, Jr., Oliver 
Hetrick of New Britain, also cupped with tin cups and lighted 
paper. Mr. Sheip had seen glass cups but none of other material 
and had never heard of producing the suction directly by the lips. 

The cupping process is very ancient. It is described by Hippo- 
crates, 413 B. C. and Hero of Alexandria about 150 B. C., speaks 
of cupping with or without fire. The fire method is well illus- 
trated as follows. Fill a saucer with water and a glass tumbler 
with crumpled paper. Light the latter and set the tumbler up- 
sidedown in the saucer. The fire goes out and the water rises 
in the glass. 

On information just received July 24th from Dr. George H. 
Packard, White Rock, Madison county. North Carolina, we 
learn that the process of cupping and bleeding is not now known 
amongst the mountain people of Madison county, western 
North Carolina. 

George Taylor, Signer of the Declaration of Independence. 

(Doylestown Meeting, January 19, 1918.) 

GEORGE TAYLOR was born in the year 1716. The facts 
in reference to the first twenty years of his life rest al- 
most wholly on family tradition. According to the most 
reliable information obtainable, the place of his nativity was 
somewhere in Ireland, where his father was a well-to-do-barrister.^ 
He received a good English education and was desired by his 
father to prepare himself for the medical profession. To this 
he was very averse and for that or some other reason ran away 
from home and took passage on a sailing vessel bound for 
Philadelphia, at which port he landed sometime in the year 1736. 

The several biographies of George Taylor, including the one 
in Volume I, of our publications, pp. 326-332, prepared by the 
late Charles Laubach, have stated that he came to this country as 
a redemptioner and that soon after his arrival he was employed 
at the Durham Iron Works as a furnace filler. Having recently 
discovered that this and other statements concerning him con- 
tained in the several biographies were incorrect, I will endeavor 
to clear up the early history of this Bucks county signer of the 
Declaration of Independence, and also give some newly discov- 
ered facts in reference to his later life. 

There is no evidence that he came as a redemptioner, (that his 
services for a term of years were sold on his arrival for the pay- 
ment of his passage), nor that he served for a number of years 
or at any time, as a common laborer. A relative of the family, 
who died in 1862 at an advanced age, is authority for the state- 
ment that there was no such tradition in the family of Col. Taylor. 
This lady born in Easton during the lifetime of Col. Taylor and 
was during her long life intimately associated with the family, 
and therefore her statement is worthy of consideration. 

Soon after his arrival in Pennsylvania, George Taylor found 
employment with Samuel Savage, Jr., at Warwick furnace, in 
East Nantmeal township, Chester county. What the nature of 

1 Later information leads to the belief that he was born in England. See 
Dr. Fackenthal's paper, page 114 hereof. 


his initial employment at the furnace was cannot be determined, 
but the fact that he was book-keeper "in 1739 and qualified to 
take charge of the blast furnace and of Coventry forge as man- 
ager several years later and retain that position for ten years or 
more is evidence that his position was a responsible one. 

Samuel Savage, Jr., was a son of Samuel Savage, Sr., who was 
associated with his father-in-law Thomas- Rutter in the establish- 
ment of the iron works at Manatawny, Berks county, in or about 
the year 1718, and died there in 1720, leaving to survive him 
his widow Ann, nee Rutter, and six children, Samuel, Rebecca. 
Thomas, Joseph, Ruth and John. 

Ann (Rutter) Savage, the widow married about 1721, Samuel 
Nutt, of Coventry, Chester county, who with William Branson 
had established the Christine furnace and Coventry forge on 
French creek about 1720. His nephew and heir, Samuel Nutt, 
Jr., married Rebecca Savage, daughter of Mrs. Nutt by her 
former marriage. Samuel Nutt by his will dated September 25, 
1737, devised to his wife Ann "the halfe, my shear, of a hun- 
dred acres whereon the forge standeth and the halfe of the land 
or tract whereon the Furnace standeth" some other real estate 
and "one hundred acres on the north side of the south branche 
of French Creek in such place as she shall think proper to Build 
a Furnace on * * *." His nephew, Samuel Nutt, and Re- 
becca, his wife, were made resuduary legatees. 

Differences having arisen between Nutt and Branson, the 
partnership in the iron works was dissolved and each erected 
separate furnaces. Branson erected Redding furnace in 1736-7. 
and the furnace erected in 1737-8 as provided for in Samuel 
Nutt's will was called Warwick furnace. 

Ann Nutt conveyed a large part or interest in Warwick furnace 
to her son Samuel Savage, Jr.. who became its proprietor on its 
completion. He also acquired a plantation in Coventry township, 
and his brother Thomas, who died unmarried in 1739, devised 
him a plantation in Nantmeal township. Samuel Savage, Jr., 
married prior to 1733, Ann Taylor, daughter of Isaac Taylor, 
Deputy Surveyor General for Chester county, by his wife Martha 
Roman, and granddaughter of John Taylor, who came from Wilt- 
shire, England, in 1684, and settled in Chester county. She was 
a member of the Society of Friends and was disowned for mar- 


riage "out of unity" in the year above mentioned. Her husband, 
Samuel Savage, died leaving a will dated September 22, 1741, 
which was probated May 26, 1742. It devised to his wife, Ann, 
the rents, issues and profits of his two plantations for life, and 
also the sole use, rents, issue and profits of his share and part in 
the iron furnace called Warwick furnace "to be by her possest 
and enjoyed until my son, Samuel, shall arrive at the age of 
twenty-one years." She was named executrix ; her brother, John 
Taylor, Henry Hockley (who had married Esther Rutter, aunt 
of the testator), and John Potts (who had married his sister, 
Ruth Savage), were to assist her and act as trustees for the 

The widow (Ann Savage) married, sometime in 1742, George 
Taylor, and he in accordance with the laws and usages of Colonial 
times assumed control of his wife's business affairs and estate 
including the settlement of her former husband's estate. For 
some part of the period of the minority of the son, the furnace 
was leased, John Potts, the brother-in-law, was the lessee in 
1744 and paid the rent to George Taylor, but for a great part of 
the period it was operated under the management of George 
Taylor, who was also manager of Coventry forge. Samuel Nutt, 
Jr., died soon after his uncle, Samuel Nutt, Sr., and the widow 
Rebecca (Savage) Nutt married Robert Grace, the friend of Dr. 
Benjamin Franklin, to whom the great philosopher entrusted the 
manufacture of his scientifically constructed iron fireplaces. 

The coming of age of Samuel Savage, third, in 1752, termi- 
nated Taylor's proprietorship of Warwick furnace, and there 
had probably been some friction between him and Mrs. Nutt and 
Robert Grace, the other parties interested, as evidenced by the 
following entry in the day book of Coventry forge : 

"April 24th. 1752,— Carried a letter to George Taylor from Anna Nutt 
and Robert Grace to discharge the sd Geo. Taylor as manager for the 
sd Nutt and Grace as their manager at Coventry Forge and the sd 
Taylor took the letter from me and said he would write an answer as 
soon as he had time to do so. 

(Signed) Michael X Dodson. 
Witness, Jno. Hunt." mark 

The tax lists of Chester county for the period covering the early 
residence of George Taylor at Warwick are missing. His nam/^ 


appears on those of East Nantmeal township, for the years 1747, 
1750, 1753, and 1754, but not later. He was captain of one of 
the Associated Companies of Chester county in 1747, of which 
Samuel Flower, later his partner at Durham, was colonel. Robert 
Grace was also captain of a company in the same regiment. 

As above stated Mrs. Taylor's tenure of, and interest in War- 
wick furnace terminated at about this time, though she held a 
life interest in the two farms. In the meantime William Branson 
had conveyed all his lands, furnaces and forges to his four 
daughters and their husbands, Samuel Flower, Bernard Van 
Leer, Richard Hockley and Lynford Lardner, though the furnace 
seems to have been run in his name until his death in 1760. It 
was later operated for several years by Col. Samuel Flower, 
but along with Warwick furnace and Coventry forge passed to 
the ownership of Rutter & Potts during the Revolution. 

Samuel Flower, as part owner of Redding furnace, was doubt- 
less well acquainted with the resources and abilities of George 
Taylor, and in the spring of 1755 joined him in leasing Durham 
iron works in Bucks county for a term of five years. The works 
were then owned by William Logan, Arithony Morris and others 
and were operated under the firm name of William Logan & 

A letter written by William Logan to Richard Peters in refer- 
ence to some surveys being made of land adjoining the Durham 
tract under date of 11 mo. 10th, 1755, in which he enclosed a 
letter of George Taylor, says : 

"I just now reed, the Inclosed from Durham. The person that 
writes it is one in Company with Capt. Flower, who has leased Dur- 
ham Works for five years." (See Penna. Arch. 1st. Series Vol. II, 
p. 479.) 

Unfortunately the "inclosed" was not published but there is 
abundant evidence that the writer "was George Taylor. In a long 
statement of William Peters and Jacob Duche in reference to the 
influence of the Quakers over the Indians at the treaty at Easton 
in November, 1756, published in Pennsylvania Archives, 1st 
Series, Vol. Ill, p. 274, is the following. 

* * * "And we having been previously told by ye Govrs Secre- 
tary yt ye Govr and he had been informed by Mr. Taylor, ye Iron- 
master at Durham, at whose house they lay on their way to Easton 


Letters recently published in "Correspondence with Early Iron 
Masters" in the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Bio- 
graphy, include one written from Durham by Geo. Taylor under 
date of May 6, 1757, ordering supplies for the Durham Company. 
Another dated at Durham Oct. 8, 1757, signed by Wm. Harrison, 
the bookkeeper, written to the same parties begins, "Mr. Taylor 

desires you to send per bearer ." Still another letter 

by Harrison is dated Aug. 28. 1757. x\s further proof that 
George Taylor was at Durham in 1757 the records of the Court 
of Quarter Sessions of Bucks county show^ that he was appointed 
March 17, 1757, as one of a jury to review a road from Durham 
through Springfield, and signed the return of review June 13, 
1757. He was commissioned a justice of the peace for Bucks 
county, February 28, 1761, and is on record as acknowledging a 
deed as such a justice at Durham, May 25, 1763. 

In 1763 he removed to Easton, and seems to have had the 
leading part in the erecting of the courthouse, though he is not 
named as one of the trustees by the Act of /Assembly passed 
March 4, 1763. 

He was elected to Provincial Assembly from Northampton in 
1764 and was regularly re-elected thereafter until 1770. He was 
commissioned a justice of the peace for Northampton county, 
November 19, 1764, and again March 15, 1766. As a legislator 
his eminent ability was at once recognized. 1765 he was ap- 
pointed to draw up the address from the Assembly of Pennsyl- 
vania to the king on the subject of the Stamp Act, and this de- 
mand for the repeal of the obnoxious act does him great credit. 

On March 10, 1767, Col. Taylor purchased a tract of 331 acres 
of land in what is now the borough of Catasauqua, Northampton 
County, on which he had been erected a substantial stone house 
still standing. From the fact that the George Taylor tract was 
part of the same original patent of which a Nathaniel Taylor 
owned part, it has been assumed, without authority, that George 
Taylor was his son. Mrs. Taylor died in that Catasauqua house, 
and in 1776 he sold the property to John Benezet. There is no 
information at hand to show when he removed from there, but 
letters w^ritten by him in 1772, dated from Northamptontown 
(Allentown) suggest that he may have been living with his son 
James at that place, James having moved there from Easton in 


1772. At that time Allentown was in Northampton Comity, and 
George Taylor continued to act as a justice of the peace for that 
county. On March 9, 1774, he was commissioned by the gov- 
ernor with a Dedimus Protcstatuni, to administer the oaths of 
office to the new county officials. 

The deed of partition dividing the Durham property bears date 
December 24, 1773, and early in 1774 George Taylor leased that 
part which had been allotted to the Galloways. He then moved 
to Durham in Bucks County, where he made his home until 1779. 
when he moved to Greenwich Township, New Jersey, and in 
April 1780 moved to Easton. 

On September 21, 1774, he was named as a member of the 
Committee of Observation by the Committee of Safety of North- 
ampton County. He was elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly 
from Northampton County in 1775, and represented that county 
as a delegate to the Provincial Convention held at Philadelphia 
January 23, 1775. However, though he continued a member of 
the Assembly and assisted in drafting the instructions to the 
delegates to the Continental Congress named by that body, there 
is abundance of evidence that he was a resident of Durham from 
1774 or early in 1775 until 1779. 

At a regularly advertised meeting of "The Officers of the 
Different Associated Companies of Bucks County," held at John 
Bogart's tavern in Buckingham, July 20, 1775. for the purpose 
of electing field officers for the three battalions of said associa- 
tors, he was elected colonel of the Third Battalion, with Robert 
Robinson as lieutenant colonel, John Tenbrook as first major, 
John Heany as second major, and John Keller as standard bearer. 

The advertisement of a post rider in the Pennsylvania Gazette 
of August 20, 1775, "proposes to go from Philadelphia to Allen- 
town in Northampton county, once a week" gives among his 
references "George Taylor, at Durham. 

While there is no evidence that Colonel Taylor ever saw any 
active service in the field as commander of the Third Battalion 
of the Bucks County Associators, he very evidently accepted the 
position, was commissioned, and took part in the drilling and 
organization of the battalion. He is almost invariably referred 
to and addressed as "Coll. Taylor" by his friends and others in 
their correspondence from the date of his appointment, and is 


referred to in contemporaneous accounts by that title. He was 
probably selected by reason of his military experience as captain 
of the associators in 1747 in Chester county. After the battalion 
was organized it was left in command of Lieutenant Colonel Rob- 
inson, while Colonel Taylor was occupied as a member of Assem- 
bly, a delegate to Continental Congress, where he showed marked 
ability, as well as in a number of other positions of legislative and 
diplomatic character, and in the management of his furnace at 
Durham which was the first to turn out ammunition for the use 
of the patriot army. 

When four of the delegates to Continental Congress from 
Pennsylvania declined to sign the Declaration of Independence, 
George Taylor was one of the delegates selected in their place 
on July 15, 1776. He immediately took his seat and when the en- 
grossed copy of the historic document was presented before Con- 
gress for the signatures of the delegates, he signed it on August 
2, 1776. Some months later he was one of the committee of 
Congress who drew up resolutions calling upon the Assembly 
of the several states to raise troops for the defense of American 
liberties. On January 20, 1777, he was selected by Congress to 
arrange for and preside at the Indian treaty at Easton. 

On March 4, 1777, he was elected a member of the first Su- 
preme Executive Council, the executive department of the Com- 
monwealth of Pennsylvania under the constitution of 1776, from 
Northampton county. He was one of the most active members 
of this body and in daily attendance of its sessions, filling im- 
portant positions, until about the middle of April when he came 
home to Durham sick. The following autograph letter in posses- 
sion of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, written to Timo- 
thy Matlack, Secretary of the Commonwealth, explains his 

"Durham, May 24th, 1777. 

I have been confined to my chamber for four weeks past by a violent 
fever. I am just now beginning to walk about. You wnll please let his 
Excellency the President, know that as soon as my health will permit 
I will attend the Council. 

I am with great Respt, &c, 

Sir, Your Most Humbl Servt. 

To Timothy Matlack, Esqr." 


Whether his continued indisposition prevented his returning 
as promised in the above letter, or whether it was found more 
advisable for him to remain at the furnace in order to more 
rapidly fill his large contracts with the government for round 
shot does not appear, but there is no record of his having ever 
attended the Council after the above date, and on November, 
1777, Major Jacob Arndt, of Easton, was elected in his stead. 

In December, 1773, after the Durham tract had been par- 
titioned among the several owners and that part on which the 
iron works and mines were located adjudged to Grace Galloway, 
daughter and heir of Lawrence Growdon and wife of Joseph 
Galloway, George Taylor leased the iron works of Galloway for 
a term of five years, with the privilege of five years more. 

Unfortunately the early records of the Durham iron works 
have not been preserved and we have to rely on contemporaneous 
correspondence and accounts for the scanty scraps of history of 
the works down to 1779. 

It is evident, however, that George Taylor carried on a success- 
ful business for five years from 1774 to 1778 inclusive, not only 
in the production of pig iron and bar iron made at the forges in 
New Jersey in which he was interested, but in the sale of country 
castings, and stoves (including Franklin stoves which were made 
at Durham). An important department of his business, which 
was a great feature of every furnace of that day, was the com- 
munity supply department, through which the people of the 
neighborhood were supplied with every article of local consump- 
tion and industry from a yard of tickenburg or a pound of sugar 
to a gallon of whiskey or molasses, there is even a record of 
a hat obtained for Mrs. Miller "to be somewhat in the fashion." 
There was very little ready money in those days and the farmers 
often paid for the necessities of life and the implements of their 
industry by hauling iron or charcoal or cutting and "coaling" the 
immense quantities of wood needed at the works. 

With the very beginning of preparation for armed resistance to 
British aggression in 1775, Col. Taylor prepared himself to manu- 
facture cannon balls for use of the patriot army. On August 2, 
1775, he secured a contract from the State Committee of Safety, 
estimating that he could make the delivery at twenty pounds per 
ton, the committee thought his bid too high and requested him to 


reduce it to sixteen pounds which he readily agreed to do, but 
found later that he was a considerable loser at that price and on 
October 18, 1775, the Commissary board "after consulting Mr. 
Grubb and Mr. Potts, iron masters, were of the same opinion 
and he was allowed eighteen pounds per ton." He made his 
first shipment which consisted of 18, 24 and 32 pounders on 
August 25, 1775, which is acknowledged by the Commissary 
Robert Towers, this was quickly followed by other shipments at 
short intervals, and many tons were furnished long before the 
Declaration of Independence. And moreover his shipments seem 
to have been the very first that were delivered by any furnace in 
Pennsylvania. His shipments consisted of cannon balls, but I 
also find on the minutes of the committee of safety that the 
commissary of military supplies was directed to w^rite to him to 
send down a sample of his small cannon for inspection, show- 
ing that he also made cannon, but there is no record of his can- 
non shipments. The production of shot and cannon balls also of 
bar shot (consisting of two half shot or cannon balls separated 
and held together by a strong square bar of wrought iron,) were 
continued vmder the tenure of the Backhouse & Company firm, 
the account books of which are in possession of the Bucks County 
Historical Society and show^ that hundreds of tons were furnished 
the government 1780 to 1782. 

When Joseph Galloway, after his strenuous efforts to induce 
Franklin and others to join him in an effort to secure redress of 
the grievances of the colonies by peaceable means, had finally been 
put to flight by the "rabble" he so much detested, and had taken 
refuge within the British lines, he was attainted as a traitor and 
his property, including the Durham works, (held in right of his 
wife) was seized by Col. George Wall, Jr., the agent for forfeited 
estates. George Taylor claimed that he was promised and en- 
titled to a renewal of his lease just exiring, and set the following 
appeal to the Supreme Executive Council. 

"To the Honble. the Supreme Executive Council for the State of 

The Petition of George Taylor, of Durham, in the County of Bucks, 
Humbly Sheweth, 

That your Petitioner about five years ago, rented from Joseph Gallo- 
way, late of the City of Philadelphia, the Lands and Works called and 
known by the name of Durham Furnace, at the yearly rent of five 


hundred and fifty pounds, but from the unsettled state of affairs and 
the scarcity of hands for these two years past, he was rendered unable 
to carry them on to any Advantage, as the last year he made but a 
small quantity of shot for the Continental Navy, and the present year 
he has not been able even to blow the Furnace. And as your Peti- 
tioner was to have the Privilege under his present Lease, which will 
not expire until November next, of having it renewed upon the same 
terms for five years more, upon his giving five Months Notice, and as 
your Petitioner has not had it in his power to give such Notice, neither 
was it his wish to have any correspondence with Mr. Galloway in the 
Situation & Circumstances as he now is, and not knowing till very lately 
where to apply, he now humbly hopes, that under his present 'Cir- 
cumstances,' the Honoble Council will permit the renewal of his Lease 
agreeable to the Covenant in the Agreement between Mr. Galloway 
and him, rhore especially when it is considered, that your Petitioner 
has now at the Furnace above named three hundred Tons of Ore, 
and a large Quantity of Wood ready cut on a Tract of Wood Land 
near Durham which he purchased, and which is of no other Value 
but for the Wood on it, all of which has cost your Petitioner a consid- 
erable sum of money — And your Petitioner would further beg leave to 
represent to the Honble Council, that last week a certain George Wall 
calling himsel. an Agent for the forfeited Estates in Bucks County, 
came to the Works and before making any Application or giving any 
information to your Petitioner, and in his absence, then ordered the 
hands at work not to proceed in the employ. Since when a certain 
James Morgan who says he acts under and by the Authority of the 
said George Wall, has removed as your Petitioner is informed, a Quan- 
tity of mettle I.'^ng at the Stamping Mill, and which your Petitioner 
conceives to be his property under the Present Lease. He therefore 
humbly prays the Attention of the Honble Council to the above Rep- 
resentation and that Direction may be given that your Petitioner may 
not be disturbed in the quiet and peaceable Possession of the Premises 
luring his present lease thereof. 

And Your Petitioner as in Duty Bound will ever pray, 

Philadelphia. July 22d. 1778." ^^'^^ '^^^LOR. 

Upon which petition the council made the following order the 
same day. 

"Ordered, That Mr. George W^all be directed to pay due respect to 
the written Agreement between Joseph Galloway Esqr & the Hon'ble 
George Taylor, Esqr for the land and works known as Durham Fur- 
nace & that he do not disturb Mr. Taylor in the peaceable enjoyment 
and possession thereof agreeable to the terms of the said agreement. 
And the said George Taylor has represented that he had a quantity of 
wood cut & ore raised at a considerable expense it appears to the Coun- 
cil to be just & equitable that he should have a Lease of the premises 
so long as the Council or their Agents are authorized by law to let the 


same in preference to any other on such reasonable terms as may ap- 
pear to be just. The Council therefore recommended it to Mr. George 
Wall to treat with said George Taylor, relating to the premises & 
agree with him on equitable & reasonable terms. Such Lease not to 
be extended beyond the first day of April, 1780." (Minutes of Council. 
—Col. Rec. Vol. XI, P. 537.) 

The lands and works, or the use of same, "During the Life of 
Joseph Galloway only" were sold "at public Vendue at the Court 
House at Newtown on the twenty-third day of August" 1779, 
by George Wall, Agent for Bucks County Forfeited Estates, and 
were bought by Richard Backhouse, and were put into operation 
the following spring under the firm name of Richard Backhouse 
& Company, which included Col. Richard Backhouse, Col. Isaac 
Sidman, Col. Robert Lettis Hopoer, Jr., and Col. George Taylor. 
The books show that Col. Taylor was paid one thousand pounds 
for the ore which he had on hand at the works. This company 
operated the furnace and stamping mill until after Col. Taylor's 
death, settlement being made with his executors for his interest 

George Taylor seems to have retained possession of the works 
and continued his residence at Durham until 1779, when he 
moved to Greenwich Township, Sussex (now Warren) County, 
New Jersey. At that place the Greenwich Forge was located 
which was operated in conjuction with Durham works, as Dur- 
ham pig iron was refined there. During April 1780, he removed 
to Easton, Pa. 

Col. Taylor's residence in Easton was at the corner of Fourth 
and Ferry streets, in what is known as the Parsons-Taylor house, 
but he was never the owner of this house. He died, in that house, 
on February 23, 1781, and was buried in the graveyard of the 
Lutheran Church directly across the street from his home. His 
body was later removed to the Easton Cemetery, where a monu- 
ment had been erected to his memory in 1855 by the citizens of 
Easton and vicinity. 

George Taylor was one of the brilliant forceful men of his 
time, an earnest and ardent patriot in the trying times of his 
adopted country's needs, a fearless and able legislator seasoning 
every act of his long public career, by hard robust, conservative 
conimon sense. He seems to have been held in high esteem by 


those with whom he was associated in the pubHc service and his 
advice was frequently sought as to public measures. 

I am greatly indebted to Dr. B. F. Fackenthal Jr., of Riegels- 
ville, for valuable assistance in compiling the data contained in 
these pages. Dr. Fackenthal has long taken a great interest in 
the life of George Taylor and has in his possession numerous 
letters and copies of letters throwing light on the subject. 
Through him I was put into communication with Col. W. Gordon 
McCabe, of Richmond, Virginia, president of the Historical So- 
ciety of Viginia, president of the Virginia Society Sons of the 
Revolution, chairman of the Committee on Portraits of Inde- 
pendence Hall, etc., etc. Col. McCabe is a great-great-grandson 
of Col. George Taylor and has a great number of autograph 
papers and other documents of his distinguished ancestor. A 
letter of Col. McCabe's which I have before me, says that among 
these papers is a "letter (never published) writen by (Col.) 
Clement Biddle to George Taylor the very day the Declaration 
was passed full of most interesting items in reference to the move- 
ment of troops and the general military situation. There are 
also sketches of plats of land George Taylor had bought and 
much about casting shot, etc." 

Col. George Taylor left to survive him, four grandchildren, 
the children of his only son, James Taylor, born at Warwick 
furnace. East Nantmeal township, Chester county. Pa., in 1746, 
died at Easton, October 9, 1775. He studied law and was ad- 
mitted to the Easton bar in 1765, and practiced law at Easton 
and Allentown until his death. He married in 1767, Elizabeth 
Gordon, born at Philadelphia. May 28, 1750. Her father, 
Lewis Gordon, was for sometime prothonotary of the county of 
Northampton and treasurer of the Committee of Safety of that 
county, 1775-76. The children of James and Elizabeth Gordon 
Taylor removed to Virginia, after the death of their grandfather, 
with their maternal relatives. Col. James Taylor, Jr., married 
his first cousin, Maria Miranda Gordon, and they we,re the grand- 
parents of Col. W. Gordon McCabe above mentioned. An oil 
portrait of Col. George Taylor was taken to Virginia by his 
grandchildren, but it was left rolled too long and the two sur- 
faces of the painting adhered together causing them to peel on 
being unrolled, and the painting being ruined was burned. 


The oldest house in Easton, Pa. Built by William Parsons, the founder 
of Easton, sometime between 1753 and 1757, and first occupied by him April, 
1757. Later the home of George Taylor, one of the signers of the Declara- 
tion of Indeijendence, who leased the house and premises from the Estate of 
John Huglies, and moved there from Greenwich Forge, X. J., about April 
10. 1780, and wherein he died February 23, 1781. At that time the property 
included all of Lot Xo. 176 on the original plan of Easton, 60 feet on Hamil- 
ton (now Fourth) Street, and 220 feet on Ferry Street. The old engravings 
show that there were kitchen and other out buildings attached to the stone 
house, the size of which is 27 feet front on Ferry Street, and 17 feet 9 inches 
front on Fourth Street. That imrt of the property on which the house stands 
21 feet by 27 feet, was purchased January 15, 1906, by the George Taylor 
Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, which has placed a bronze 
tablet on the Fourth Street side, with the following inscription : — 













The Homes of George Taylor, Signer of the Declaration of 

Paper read before the George Taylor Chapter, Daughters of the American 
Revolution, at Easton, Pa., December 6, 1922. 


(This paper was not read before the Bucks County Historical Society, 
but in view of the fact that it is a complement to the paper presented 
by Mr. Ely, its publication has been requested, and it seems fitting there- 
fore that it should be printed in our proceedings.) 

ON our great national holiday, last July (1922) when Mrs. 
Fackenthal entertained the members of this Chapter at 
Riegelsville. I was a privileged guest, and in an unguarded 
moment exhibited to your Regent my file of George Taylor papers, 
contained in a special drawer set aside for that purpose. Seeing 
so many papers may have led her to suppose that it was new ma- 
terial, whereas there is but little to tell about this man, whose 
memory your society has honored, that is not already known to 
most of you. There has however been very little written about 
his homes which is made the special subject of this paper. 

It is unfortunate that historians have fallen into errors in their 
accounts of this interesting man. Corrections do not always cor- 
rect, or reach the same readers. This is true not only of the life 
and services of George Taylor, but of many items of other his- 
tory as well. 

The story that George Taylor was a redemptioner ; that he 
came to America "with his parents" from Ireland in 1736, and first 
settled at Durham Furnace, where he was a furnace filler ; that he 
was the son of Nathaniel Taylor of the Irish settlement in North- 
amption County; that he came to America with his father and a 
younger brother; and such like statements, are made by all his 
biographers. Just where these false and misleading statements 
originated have not been determined. They are doubtless all based 
on Sanderson's Lives of the Signers, first published in 1823-27, 
and revised by Henry D. Gilpin, Esq., (b. 1801, d. 1859), a promi- 
nent Philadelphia lawyer, who in 1840, was Attorney General of 
the United States. The same erroneous accounts are contained in 
the Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, by 


Rev. Charles H. Goodrich, New York, 1829; A Compendious 
History of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, 1831, 
by Dr. Nathaniel Dwight ; Biographies of the Signers of the Decla- 
ration of Independence, by L. Carrel Judson, Philadelphia, 1839; 
Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, by Ben- 
son J. Lossing, 1848; Henry's History of the Lehigh Valley, 
Easton, 1860; and in Condit's History of Easton, 1885. County 
and State histories, biographical dictionaries and encyclopaedias 
repeat the same story, and local historians naturally follow along 
the same lines, and all inter alia, say that he was born in Ireland. 

Newly discovered evidence, however, points to England as his 
birthplace, and the Taylor family tradition that he came from 
Ireland, may be wrong. This is confirmed by his bookplate, 
which throws a flood of light on his ancestry. It contains the 
coat of arms of the Taylors of Durant, the ancient Taylor family 
of Derbyshire, England. One of his bookplates has been pre- 
sented to me by the American Antiquarian Society of Worcester, 
Mass., from which the engraving shown herewith has been made. 
As can be seen it contains his autograph signature, and the date 
1778. The American Antiquarian Society has another copy of 
this bookplate, with his signature bearing date 1776. A third 
bookplate (of which a photostat has been sent me), bearing date 
1776, is in the unique collections of signers autographs owned 
by Mr. Kenyon V. Painter of Cleveland, Ohio. In the appraise- 
ment of Geo. Taylor's estate there were 79 books, all of which 
doubtless contained his bookplate. It is not likely that George 
Taylor would have used this bookplate if not entitled to do so, 
and further suggests that he may have been in touch with the 
English family of Taylors and most likely a kinsman. 

I remember in 1898 sending a signed communication to an 
Easton newspaper, in which I took exception to certain state- 
ments made by a prominent historian of Easton in his lecture on 
the life of George Taylor. He had repeated the erroneous state- 
ments to which I have referred, and moreover placed special 
emphasis on a statement that George Taylor was guarding the 
Atlantic coast during the Revolutionary War. He read copies of 
several letters signed by a George Taylor, written from Free- 
hold and Shrewsbury in New Jersey, to justify himself. 
It was later shown that those letters had not been written by our 



Coat of Arms of the ancient Taylor family of 
Uurant Hall, Derbyshire, England. (The heiress 
married Sir Charles Sliyrmsher, Knight Templar 
Charles 2nd.) , , ^ 

Arms: Ermine on a chevron gules between 
three anchors, as many escallops argent. 

Crest : A Stork resting the dexter foot on 
an anchor proper. 


George Taylor, but by another of that name. This is more 
clearly pointed out by Mr. Simon Gratz, in his delightful Book 
about Autographs.^ Mr. Gratz shows that one of the letters, to 
which I have referred, published in the Pennsylvania Archives- 
and the other one formerly in possession of Mr. L. C. Cist of St, 
Louis, are not by our George Taylor. In like manner a docu- 
ment in the manuscript department of the Pennsylvania Historical 
Society at Philadelphia, dated February 3, 1763, and a letter in 
the Congressional Library at Washington, are not genuine. The 
one at Washington bears date 1793, whereas our George Taylor 
passed away in 1781. I have examined many autograph letters 
and documents containing the signature of George Taylor, includ- 
ing copies of those contained in the twenty-two complete sets of 
autographs of the signers, as detailed by Mr. Charles F. Jenkins 
in his splendid article published in the Pennsylvania Magazine of 
History, Vol. 49, p. 231, and have never seen a signature of George 
Taylor where he writes his name out in full, but always Geo. 
Taylor.-^ y^ . 

We have to thank the late Gov. Samuel W. Pennypacker for 
aiding us in the most incidental way, in obtaining a correct his- 
tory of George Taylor during the early years of his life in 
America. It is said of Mr. Pennypacker that he had made an 
arrangement with the employees of a certain papermill, using old 
paper, by which they laid aside for his inspection all old books 
and documents published prior to a certain date, 1820 I think, and 
in that way he secured many books and papers that were scarce 
and of historic value. On one occasion, not many years prior to 
his death, he stopped a cart passing through the streets of Potts- 
town, Pa., loaded with old junk, which on examination was found 
to contain among other old paper, the Potts books and papers on 
their way to the scrap heap. He purchased the load and thus 
secured 110 ledgers and other account books of early forges and 

1 A Book About Autographs by Mr. Simon Gratz, p. 249 ; Campbell, Phila- 
delphia, 1920. 

2 Pennsylvania Archives, Fir.st .Series. Vol. V, p. 49. The original of this 
letter is now in possession of Haverford College. 

2a Under date of July 4, 1926, Mr. .Jenkins revised his list and now reports 
having located 27 complete sets of signer's autographs. 


blast furnaces, including Coventry, Pine, Mount Pleasant, Pool, 
Valley and Pottsgrove forges and Colebrookdale, Christine, Red- 
ding and Warwick blast furnaces. Colebrookdale was the very 
first blast furnace in Pennsylvania, built in 1720, which was 
seven years before Durham blast furnace was built. The Govern- 
or had these books bound, indexed and annotated. I had the 
pleasure of looking through them in his library at Schwenksville. 
At the sale of his library, by his executors, these old ledgers were 
bought by the Pennsylvania Historical Society, where they may 
be consulted by any one interested. 

When Dr. Henry C. Mercer was preparing his book on fire- 
backs and stoveplates for publication, called The Bible in Iron, 
published in 1914, Mr. Warren S. Ely went over to Schwenks- 
ville to search through these Potts books for stoveplate-informa- 
tion, as firebacks and stoveplates were cast at Colebrookdale, 
Christine ; Redding and Warwick furnaces at an early day. Mr. 
Ely spent some days in his researches and was surprised to find 
that George Taylor had for many years been connected with 
Coventry Forge and Warwick Furnace, and that it was there, in 
Chester County, on French Creek, and not at Durham Furnace 
that he established himself in 1736, on his arrival in America. 
Mr. Ely has given us the benefit of this new George Taylor in- 
formation in his splendid paper read before the Bucks County 
Historical Society in 1918. (See ante, page 101.) The Potts 
books show that George Taylor began his metallurgical career a.'? 
bookkeeper at those works ; that he was promoted to the position 
of manager, and on the death of Samuel Savage, Jr., early in 
1742, married, before the close of the same year, his widow, 
whose maiden name was Ann Taylor, daughter of Isaac Taylor, 
Deputy Surveyor General of Chester County. He then assumed 
control of his wife's business and settled the estate of Mr. Savage. 

The Historical Society at Doylestown has lately come into 
possession of two documents in the handwriting of George Tay- 
lor, both bearing his signature. One dated 1739, is an invoice 
to Hon. Thomas Penn for pig iron shipped, presumably from 
Warwick Furnace, to Clement Plumstead, the other dated 1741, 
is an agreement with an inventory of teams, wagons and other 
personal property at Warwick Furnace, when a one-half interest 
thereof w^as about to be leased to John Potts. I take pleasure in 

ja,>f JO o 

f^^f' tf /;/^A//r/^'^^> 

^ ^,^^ /r. ^.,, .-/. 


In the handwriting- of George Taylor, with his .signature as clerk for 
Ann Nutt & Co.. at Warwicl: Furnace. The earliest known signature of 
George Tavlor. Original in Library of Bucks County Historical Society. 


presenting this Chapter with photostats of these two documents.-' 
In 1752, when Samuel Savage, the third (son of Samuel Sav- 
age, Jr., deceased), came of age no time was lost in serving writ- 
ten notice on George Taylor, asking him to resign the manage- 
ment of Coventry Forge. About that time Mrs. Taylor's tenure 
of, and interest in the Warwick Furnace terminated, although she 
held a life interest in the two farms. The Taylors continued to 
reside in Chester County until 1754 or 1755, when George Taylor 
and Samuel Flower formed a co-partnership and leased the Dur- 
ham Iron Works in Durham Township, Bucks County, Pa., for 
a period of five years, with the privilege of five additional years. 
The George Taylors then moved to Durham. During this lease- 
hold they made "cannon shot" at Durham, presumably for the 
Provincial Government during the French and Indian War.^ 
There is much documentary evidence to show Taylor's residence 
in Durham, such as his appointment on a jury to review a road, 
his commission as a justice of the peace in 1757 and again in 
1761 and 1763, as well as his letters written from there. His 
home w^as in the so-called "Mansion House," on the Durham 
Road about one-fourth mile west of the site of the 1727 blast 
furnace. It is said that the original house was destroyed by fire, 
and the new stone house, still standing, was built on the old foun- 
dations. The Galloway heirs later sold the farm on which the 
house was located to the Longs. After the death of Richard 
Backhouse in 1795, his son James converted this Mansion House 
into a hotel, for which he was first granted a license in 1798. It 
had always been the polling place for Durham Township, but 
when abandoned as a public house in 1871, a special election was 
held on June 21st of that year, wdien it was decided to remove the 
polling place to the village of Monroe. It was in that old house, in 
Durham Township, during his second leasehold of Durham fur- 
nace, that George Taylor made his home for a second time, when 
he signed the Declaration of Independence. It is likely that a 
monument will be erected to mark the site, and also one to mark 
the site of the old Durham blast furnace built in 1727, now the 
property of Harvey F. Riegel. An old stone arch of this furnace 
can still be seen surrounded by a growth of trees. Occasionally 

3 An etching- of the document dated 1739, is shown herewith. It contains 
the earnest known signature of Geo. Taylor, and is signed by him as clerk 
for Anna Nutt & Co. 

4 See Bucks County Court Records, September Term, 1765. 


cannon balls and shot are found on property adjacent to the old 
furnace-site. There are quite a number of cannon balls and shot 
now in the museum of the Bucks County Historical Society, 
which were cast at Durham. 

During the latter part of 1763, at the expiration of his ten years 
lease of Durham Iron Works, George Taylor, with his family, 
moved to Easton doubtless making his home in the stone house 
at the northeast corner of Northampton and Fermer (now Sec- 
ond) Streets, which he bought at sheriff's sale December 23, 1761, 
as the property of Jacob Bachman.^ This was Lot No. 24, on the 
original plan of Easton. size 60 feet on Northampton and 220 
feet on Second Streets. The stone house now standing on that 
comer is doubtless the same house that was occupied by George 
Taylor. The deed is not recorded, nor was it acknowledged in the 
prothonotary's office. The price paid. £117, 15s, lOd., indicates that 
the property was improved when he bought it. There is no ex- 
planation as to the use he made of that property from the time 
he bought it in 1761 until he moved into it in 1763. While living 
there he also obtained possession of Lot No. 7Z on the opposite 
or northwest corner of the same streets, size 55 feet by 220 feet, 
whereon he built a stone stable. It appears that this lot had not 
been patented, and Taylor occupied it by permission of the Penns. 
It was on that corner, where in after years, the home of Alexander 
Wilson was located. On August 24, 1779, George Taylor sold 
Lot No. 24 to Theophilus Shannon for the sum of £1,300 Penn- 
sylvania money (currency was then depreciated), and at the same 
time he sold his interest in Lot No. TZ, with stone stable to the 
same party for the sum of £100 Pennsylvania money. In the 
deeds transferring these properties he describes himself as living 
in Greenwich Township, Sussex (now Warren) County, New 
Jersey. (Deed Book D, Vol. I. pp. 179 and 180.) 

After moving to Easton he at once took an active part in 
public affairs, showing that he must have been a prominent and 
influential citizen. He took a leading part in building the new 
courthouse, all moneys for which, it is said, passed through his 
hands. He was a member of the Provincial Assembly from 1764 
to 1769 inclusive. He was commissioned a Justice of the Peace 

5 Lot No. 24 was patented to Jacob Bachman March 14, 1754, Patent book 
A, Vol. 18, p. 236. Bachman mortgaged it to John Potts November 27, 1754. 
The mortgage was foreclosed and the property bought by Geo. Taylor. 

(Prior to 1812, Allen Township, Northampton County.) 

On March 10, 1767, George Tavlor purchased from Thomas Armstrong, 331 acres of 
land on the Lehigh River in Allen Township, part of a larger tract known a^ the Manor 
of Chawton," on which this substantial stone house had been built. Mrs Taylor passed 
awav in this house in 1768. On March 27, 1776. George Taylor conveyed the Property to 
John Benezet of Philadelphia, but prior to that time he moved to Durham m Bucks County, 
probably in 1774 when for a second time he leased the Durham Iron Works, where he was 
living oil August 2, 1776, when he signed the Declaration of Independence. 


for Northampton County in 1764 and regularly thereafter until 

On March 10, 1767, he bought a tract of 331 acres of land, 
fronting on the Lehigh River, in Allen Township, at what is now 
Lower Catasauqua, ' Lehigh County, being part of a larger 
tract known as the "Manor of Chawton." (Deed book B, Vol. I, 
p. 102, etc.) On this property there had been built a substantial 
stone house with walls two feet thick which is still standing in 
a fairly good state of preservation. He sold this x\llen Township 
property to John Benezet, the deed bears date March 27, 1776. 
It appears, however, that he moved to Durham prior to that time, 
probably in 1774, when he leased the Durham property from 
Joseph Galloway. During the year 1772 some of his letters were 
written from Northampton (the name of which was changed to 
Allentown on April 16, 1838). This suggests that he may, at 
that time, have been living with his son James, who moved there 
early in 1772. An autograph letter, signed by him, dated De- 
cember 30, 1775, now in possession of Haverford College, fixes 
his residence in Durham at that time. Just what his object was 
in moving to Allen Township does not appear, there were doubt- 
less no iron works in that neighborhood, and therefore it is likely 
that he was engaged in agricultural pursuits, and besides he had 
his public business to attend to. A photograph of his Catasauqua 
home, which I presented to this chapter several years ago, hangs 
on yonder wall, and an etching of it is shown herewith. In 1912, 
when I visited that house, there were a number of firebacks 
in the fireplaces. One of them had been presented to the 
Lehigh County Historical Society, which suggests that one might 
be secured for this room. These plates contain no embellish- 
ments other than the initials and date "G. T. 1768." I had one 
of them drilled for chemical analysis and found the phosphorus 
and manganese to be about five times too high for it to have been 
made from Durham ores, and concluded that they were prob- 
ably cast at some other blast furnace. ''' 

On September 17, 1765, George Taylor bought of Peter Kich- 
line. Sheriff, as the property of Nicholas Scull, Easton Lot No. 167, 
55 feet front on Northampton street, on which Scull had built a 
stone house. (Deed book B, Vol I, p. 42.) That property is now 

6 Analysis of flreback : Silicon 1.00, phosphorus .54, manganese .56, sul- 
phur .067, copper none. 


owned by the estates of Mary Moyer, C. L. Magee and Jacob 
Hay, and is occupied by the United Retail Chemists and the F. 
& W. Grand 5, 10, and 25 Cent Store. George Taylor bought 
that house for his son James to whom he and his wife. Ann Tay- 
lor, conveyed it October 25, 1765, for the" consideration of 5 
shillings and "their natural love and affection." (Deed book B. 
Vol. I, p. 51, and another corrected deed for same property re- 
corded Deed book C, Vol. I, p. 17.) 

Later James Taylor moved to Allentown, and while living 
there he and his wife Elizabeth conveyed his Easton property, 
December 30, 1771, to Myer Hart of Easton. (Deed book C. 
Vol. I. p. 18.) On January 2, 1772, James Taylor bought from 
Myer Hart, lot No. 342 of the plan of Allentown. (Deed book 
C. Vol. I, p. 57.) They may possibly have exchanged properties. 

After the death of James Taylor in 1775, his Allentown prop- 
erty was sold by the sheriff, on June 19, 1776, and bought by 
'Phillip Ritter. (Deed book C, Vol. I, p. 387.) It appears that 
George Taylor was frequently called upon, to give financial aid 
to his son James. 

On May 21, 1763, George Taylor bought certain rights of 
Philip Rustein, in Lot No. 502 on James Street in Allentown. 
(Deed book A, Vol. I, p. 295) on which a house had been built. 
I can find no record to show how Taylor disposed of that property. 

Ann, wife of George Taylor, died in 1768, shortly after they 
moved into their Catasauqua house. It is not known w^here her 
body lies buried, but there is evidence to show that George Tay- 
lor, while living in Durham, was connected with the Red Hill 
Presbyterian Church. This is further shown by the fact that on 
March 8, 1765, a lot of one acre of land ( size 10 perches by 16 
perches) at Gallows Hill, on the Durham Road in Bucks County, 
was deeded to Rev. Richard Treat and George Taylor, in trust 
for that congregation, for a burying ground, and Mrs. Taylor 
may have been buried there. (See Bucks County Deed book, 
Vol. XX, p. 235.) Some historians theorize that she was buried 
at Easton. Some graves found near the Taylor house at Catasau- 
qua make it not unlikely that she was buried there. George and 
Ann Taylor had two children, Ann, called Nancy, who died in 
childhood, and James, who was born at Warwick Furnace in 
1746. James married Elizabeth, daughter of Lewis Gordon, who 

t^ jLCt-cM"/^'-'^ /:t^>xi/ /-Ca^r- /y^<:e <<?/i'?«<'<i^,<-v tn . C * /^>>»».«^-»!. ^ 

,^...Ai A SS /. ..^- -^-^ ^-^-' y^5: ^— z' 


As taken by George Taylor, February 3, 1778. 
The "Test Oath," required by an Act of Congress passed in 1777. 


was the first resident lawyer to practice at Easton. Col. McCabe 
of Richmond, Va., writes that James and Elizabeth were mere 
children when they married. Elizabeth was born August 23, 
1750, and was therefore but 25 years old when James died Octo- 
ber 9, 1775, at the age of 29 years. After his death their five 
small children, George, Ann, Mary, Thomas and James, Jr., were 
cared for by their grandfather, George Taylor. Elizabeth, widow 
of James, on July 18, 1780, deeded to George Taylor, for the care 
and education of her children, the one-half of her interest in the 
real estate which she inherited under the will of her father, 
Lewis Gordon, which included Easton Lot No. 171, (size 56 
feet by 220 feet) on which Abie's Opera House now stands. 
(Deed book C. Vol. I. p. 545.)"'' Of the five children of James 
and Elizabeth. Ann married Samuel Swann and moved to Pow- 
hatton, Virginia, taking with her, and making a home for her two 
brothers, George (who did not marry), and James, Jr.; Mary 
died young; Thomas was drowned in the Lehigh River; James, 
Jr., married his first cousin, Anna Maria Miranda Gordon, at 
Alexandria, Va., Dec. 19, 1786. He died at Richmond, Va., in 
1837. They were the parents of four children, one of whom. 
Sophia Gordon Taylor, married, first, to John Rutledge Smith. 
and second, to the Rev. John Collins McCabe, D.D.. of the Episco- 
pal Church, who were the parents of Col. W. Gordon McCabe, 
Litt.D., LL.D., and who was therefore a great-great-grandson of 
George Taylor. Col. McCabe says that George Taylor has many 
legitimate descendants living in Virginia. 

I have corresponded with Col. McCabe for many years and 
had the pleasure of visiting him in his home at Richmond, and 
from him obtained much history of his distinguished ancestor. 
As can be seen by his will, George Taylor left a family of five 
natural children, whose mother was his housekeeper, Naomi 
Smith. Some of their descendants added the family name of 
Savage, as a middle name, with the intention of representing that 
they were legitimate descendants of George Taylor, much to the 
annoyance of Col. McCabe and other legitimate descendants. 

George Taylor obtained his military title of Colonel on July 21. 
1775, when at a meeting held at Bogart's tavern in Bucks County, 

7 American Archives, Vol. II, p. 1787 ; Pennsylvania Archives, Fifth Series, 
Vol, VIII, p. 14. 

oa This deed recites that Elizabeth is about to depart from her usual place 
of abode. 


he was elected Colonel of the Third Battalion of Militia.' Pre- 
vious to that time he was enrolled as an "Associator." During 
the year 1777. an act was passed called the "Test Act," under 
which it was required that every man should take an oath of 
allegiance to the Government of the United States. Such as signed 
the test oath were called "Associators," and such as did not sign 
were called "Non-Associators." Col. George Taylor took this 
test oath on February 3. 1778, the original document has been pre- 
served, and a photostatic copy sent to me by Hon. James B. Laux. 
of New York, in order that I might have the etching made of it 
which accompanies this paper. There is no record to show that 
Col. Taylor was ever engaged in active military service, he was too 
much occupied making ammunition at Durham, and in other pur- 
suits in the interest of our new government. 




Although there is evidence to show an earlier iron operation at 
Durham, the organized company which built the blast furnace of 
1727, dates from 1726. The company was composed of twelve 
prominent gentlemen, all from Philadelphia, except Jeremiah 
Langhorne, who was from Trevose in Bucks County. '^. When 
the property was partitioned among the owners, deed dated De- 
cember 24, 1773, (all the original owners having passed away), it 
included all of Durham Township (6,410 acres 123 perches) 644 
acres in Springfield Township. 30 acres in Lower Saucon Town- 
ship and 1,456 acres 29 perches in Williams Township, the last two 
townships in Northampton County. 8,511 acres 100 perches in all. 

In the partition proceedings, that part of the property contain- 
ing the mines, quarries, forges and blast furnace was allotted to 
Joseph Galloway and his wife Grace, nee Growden. It appears 
however, by the petition addressed by George Taylor to the Su- 
preme Executive Council on July 22, 1778, that he had leased the 
plant from Joseph Galloway prior to the deed of partition, viz, 
during November 1773 for five years, with the privilege of "hav- 
ing it renewed upon the same terms, for five years more." 

8 The twelve gentlemen forming the original Durham Iron Company were 
Jeremiah Langhorne, Anthony Morris, James Logan, Charles Read, Robert 
Ellis, George Fitzwater, Clement Plumsted, William Allen, Andrew Bradford, 
John Hopkins, Thomas Lindley and Joseph Turner. 


I need not speak of the loyal services of this patriot 
during the Revolutionary struggle, that are so well known to all of 
you, but you may not know that George Taylor was the very 
first in Pennsylvania to make shot and shells for the Continental 
Army. This is clearly shown by his correspondence and by docu- 
ments published in the Colonial Records.^ The first shipment of 
which we have a record, was made August 25, 1775, and con- 
sisted of round shot, viz: 250 of 18 lbs., 4 of 25 lbs. and 4 of 
32 lbs. There is much evidence to show that George Taylor was 
living at Durham, and engaged in making shot and shell for the 
Continental Army from 1775 to 1778 inclusive. 

The following letter, in possession of Col. McCabe's family, 
addressed to Col. George Taylor at Durham by Clement Biddle, 
is not only interesting from an historical standpoint, but also 
fixes the residence of George Taylor at Durham on July 4, 1776, 
where his home was on August 2, 1776, when he signed the 
Declaration of Independence : 

Philadelphia, July 4. 1776. 
Dear Sire: 

I have yours of 3d inst., and am glad of your forwardness with the 
Shott — pray send all of them down as soon as possible — we don't know 
what hour we may want them — the things ordered shall be prepared 
also provided I can get the Salt. 

Genl. Howe's army are with the fleet of 130 sail at Sandy Hook 
we hourly expect to hear of some important stroke there — we have 
about 10,000 Effective men at N. York — 6,000 militia coming from Conn- 
ecticut — 3 to 4,000 marched from Jersey toward Amboy — Col. Broad- 
head's Rifle men and others of our troops marching to the Jerseys 
to join them — a few tories are in arms in Monmouth County — Jersey. 

At Charleston, So. Carolina, Genl. Clinton had got one man of war 
and 30 transports over the bar but lost a 50 gun ship in attempting to 
get over. Genl. Lee had arrived with 1,300 Troops from No. Carolina 
to join their Provincial Troops and it said that Charles Town is well 
fortified. It thickens around us and the day is big with the fate of 
America but I trust that we shall be able by union and perseverence to 
establish that freedom and Independence which Congress have just 
declared nem con. 

I am Dr Sir Yr Hble Servt 


The three pound shot are so much wanted that I am directed to de- 
sire you immediately to send them down by all means. 
Addressed to 

Col. George Taylor, 

9 Colonial Records, First Series, Vol. X, pp. 297-298-315-331-339-354-365- 


During George Taylor's leasehold of Durham it appears that a 
great part of his pig iron was refined at the Greenwich and Chel- 
sea Forges in Greenwich Township, Sussex (now Warren) County, 
New Jersey, and that his friend, Richard Backhouse, was asso- 
ciated with him, at least for part of the time, in these refining 
operations. In two deeds recorded here at Easton, dated August 
24, 1779, George Taylor is described as living in Greenwich 
Township, New Jersey, doubtless at Greenwich Forge, on Mus- 
contecong Creek, about five miles from the site of the old Dur- 
ham Furnace. ^^ I am sure the New Jersey members of this Chap- 
ter are pleased to know that he once lived within the borders of 
their state. 


When Joseph Galloway allied himself to the British cause, he 
was in 1778, attainted of treason. His large holdings of land in 
Pennsylvania, which in addition to Durham, Trevose, Belmont 
and elsewhere, including also the now celebrated Hog Island, were 
seized and sold by the Commissioner of Forfeited Estates. An at- 
tempt was then made to dispossess George Taylor of Durham, 
but the Supreme Executive Council decided that he might remain 
in possession until the first period of his lease had expired. 
George Taylor was himself a member of the very first Supreme 
Executive Council, which met daily in Philadelphia.^^ He did 
not miss a single meeting from the date of its organization, 
March 4, 1777, until prevented from attending by sickness. 

The following is copy of a letter in the archives of the Penn- 
sylvania Historical Society at Philadelphia : 

Durham, May 24, 1777. 
Sir — 

I have been confined to my chamber for four weeks past by a violent 
fever. I am just now beginning to walk about. You will please let 
his Excellency the President know that as soon as my health will per- 
mit I will attend the Council. 

I am with great Respect &c. 
To Timothy Matlack, Esqr. Sir, Your Most Humbl' Servt. 

Geo. Taylor. 

The Journal of the Moravian Society at Bethlehem, under date 

10 Northampton County, Deed Book D, Vol. I, pp. 179 and 180. 

II Colonial Records, First Series, Vol. XI, p. 173. 


of July 10-11, 1776, states that there were elected five Germans 
and three Irish farmers as delegates; these delegates appointed 
the member of Congress, who in this instance was George Taylor. 
In the PciDisylz'ania Magazine of History, Vol. IX, p. 279, James 
Allen, a son of C. J. William Allen, says in his diary, under date 
of February 17, 1777: 

The Assembly have appointed Gen. Roberdeau, J. B. Smith, WilHam 
Moore & reappointed R. Morris & Dr. Franklin Delegates in Congress 
& left out G. Clymer, J. Wilson, J. Smith, G. Ross, Dr. Rush, G. Tay- 
lor & J. Morton. The reason for leaving out so many old members, it 
is said, is that the new light Presbyterian Party have the ascendant in 
Assembly. The seven retiring members had all signed the Declaration 
of Independence. 

On July 22, 1777, Clymer was reappointed in the place of 
William Moore, who had declined to serve, and James Wilson 
was added to the delegation. The retiring of George Taylor as 
a delegate to Congress, may have been the reason for his retiring 
from the Supreme Executive Council, and not attending any 
meetings after the above letter was written. 

In 1779 the Commissioners of Forfeited Estates sold Gallo- 
way's right in the Durham plant and real estate at public sale. 
It was bought by four men, all colonels, Col. Richard Backhouse, 
Col. George Taylor, Col. Isaac Sidman, of Easton, and Col. 
Robert Lettis Hooper, Jr., who were equal partners. Most of the 
account books of that administration fell into my hands and are 
now in the library of the Bucks County Historical Society at 
Doylestown. These original and authentic records, as well as the 
public records contained in the Pennsylvania Archives, show 
that shot and shells were made at Durham continuously, in large 
quantities, throughout the entire period of the Revolutionary War. 

The management of the Durham works, during this adminis- 
tration, devolved upon Col. Backhouse, who was the ruling spirit 
in that enterprise. He moved to Durham March 1, 1780, oc- 
cupying the Mansion House heretofore referred to. At the 
termination of his five year lease of Durham Furnace in 1779, 
George Taylor was dispossessed by the Commissioner of For- 
feited Estates, and then moved to Greenwich Township. New 
Jersey, where he was operating the Greenwich Forge, owned by 
Col. Hugh Hughes. He resided there until April, 1780, when he 
moved to Easton. This is shown by his letter to Col. Backhouse, 


dated April 9, 1780, the original of which is in the New York 
State Library at Albany, and of which the following is a copy : 
j~)^^^ 5j^ Greenwich 9th April 1780 

I proposed coming over to Day but have a Bad Cold & the weather 
unfavorable must Defer it until I move when Colo Hooper & I will 
spend a Day with you — If you can spare a Gallon of Rum please to 
send it by Tomm I expect some Waggons to morrow to Carry a part 
of my Family if you want the half Dozn Chairs I shall Leave them 
here for you I would save sent them by Snyder but was afraid they 
might be hurt amongst the Iron & other things in his waggon 

I am Dear Sir 
To Richard Backhouse Yr. Ruble Servt 

Durham Geo. Taylor 

At Easton he made his home in this building where we are 
assembled this afternoon. He occupied the house under lease 
from the estate of John Hughes, Jr. It was buih by William 
Parsons in 1753-54, and is said to be the oldest house in Easton, 
and wherein P'arsons died December 22, 1757. The lot, at that 
time (No. 176 on the original plan of Easton) was 60 feet 
fronting on Hamilton (now Fourth) Street by 220 feet 
on Ferry Street. The old engravings show that there was a 
frame attachment to the stone house at that time. I will take 
pleasure in presenting one of these old etchings to this Society. 
Letters written by Geo. Taylor from Easton show that he kept a 
horse and two cows. It is therefore likely that his stables were also 
on that lot. There were doubtless also quarters for his slaves, 
for while living here he kept two slaves, which under the law for 
gradual abolition of slavery' in Pennsylvania, passed March 1, 
1780, he was obliged to register in the office of the Clerk of Ses- 
sions here at Easton. (See letter from George Taylor to Robert 
Levers, published in Henry's History of the Lehigh Valley, p. 97. 
This letter is now in possession of the Pennsylvania Historical 

At the sale of his personal effects, by his executors, negro Tom 
32 years old, sold for 280 bushels of wheat, valued at £77 or 
about $205, and Sam, also 32 years, a cripple, fetched but £15 
or about $40. The inventory of his estate included four wigs, ap- 
praised at il, but which "Mr. Levers thought improper to ex- 
pose to sale." 

It was here in this house, where we are assembled todav, that 


dated April 9. 1780, the original of which is in the New York 
State Library at Albany, and of which the following is a copy : 

^ ^,. Greenwich 9th April 1780 

Dear bir 

I proposed coming over to Day but have a Bad Cold & the weather 

unfavorable must Defer it until I move when Colo Hooper & I will 

spend a Day with you — If you can spare a Gallon of Rum please to 

send it by Tomm I expect some Waggons to morrow to Carry a part 

of my Family if you want the half Dozn Chairs I shall Leave them 

here for you I would save sent them by Snyder but was afraid they 

might be hurt amongst the Iron & other things in his waggon 

I am Dear Sir 

To Richard Backhouse Yr. Huble Servt 

Durham Geo. Taylor 

At Easton he made his home in this building where we are 
assembled this afternoon. He occupied the house under lease 
from the estate of John Hughes, Jr. It was built by William 
Parsons in 1753-54, and is said to be the oldest house in Easton, 
and wherein Parsons died December 22, 1757. The lot, at that 
time (No. 176 on the original plan of Easton) w^as 60 feet 
fronting on Hamilton (now Fourth) Street by 220 feet 
on Ferry Street. The old engravings show that there was a 
frame attachment to the stone house at that time. I will take 
pleasure in presenting one of these old etchings to this Society. 
Letters written by Geo. Taylor from Easton show that he kept a 
horse and two cows. It is therefore likely that his stables were also 
on that lot. There were doubtless also quarters for his slaves, 
for while living here he kept two slaves, which under the law for 
gradual abolition of slavery in Pennsylvania, passed March 1, 
1780, he was obliged to register in the office of the Clerk of Ses- 
sions here at Easton. (See letter from George Taylor to Robert 
Levers, published in Henry's History of the Lehigh Valley, p. 97. 
This letter is now in possession of the Pennsylvania Historical 

At the sale of his personal effects, by his executors, negro Tom 
32 years old, sold for 280 bushels of wheat, valued at £77 or 
about $205, and Sam, also 32 years, a cripple, fetched but il5 
or about $40. The inventory of his estate included four wigs, ap- 
praised at il, but which "Mr. Levers thought improper to ex- 
pose to sale." 

It was here in this house, where we are assembled today, that 

^/%ziyr^e.r^f/1^<^ ^-y-^/l^ //^ /^' nyAat-^Q /iyt<f^^'^-»-- //s^y^c^ y2^D c-n^. ^4^^ ^ ^''^'^ »" ^^-w/ 


Dated January 6, 1781,. with his signature and signatures of witnesses. 

(George Taylor died at Baston, February 23, 1781.) 


Col. Taylor passed away February 23, 1781, having lived here 
less than eleven months. This and the house at the northeast 
corner of Northampton and Second Streets, heretofore referred 
to. are the only houses in East on wherein George Taylor re- 
sided. The original records of St. John's Lutheran Church, 
across the way, record the date of his death, and also 
the date of the passing of his son, James. These records would 
be conclusive evidence in any court of law, and should set at rest 
the date of Col. Taylor's death, for most historians say it was 
on February 25. Col. Taylor's will, dated January 6, 1781, is 
recorded here at Easton (Rook I, p. 275), but the original docu- 
ment long since disappeared from the Recorder's ofifice, and is 
now in the Archives of the New York Public Library, which 
has kindly made for me this photostat of it, which I now 
take pleasure in presenting to your Society. (An etching of the 
last part of Geo. Taylor's will with his signature and signatures 
of the three witnesses is shown herewith.) He appointed his 
three friends, Robert Lettis Hooper, Jr., Robert Traill and Robert 
Levers, as his executors. He gave to each of them a keepsake in 
the following words : 

"Unto the said Robert Levers my silver mounted double barrel gun, 
to be engraved thus — The Gift of George Taylor, Esquire, and I like- 
wise give and bequeath unto Robert Lettis Hooper, Jr., a neat silver 
mounted small sword, to be engraved thus — In Memory of George 
Taylor, Esquire, and unto the said Robert Traill I do give and be- 
queath one pair of pistols. "'- 

Col. Hooper did not qualify as an executor, although his name 
appears as such in an advertisement, for settlement of the estate, 
which they inserted in the Pcuiisylvania Ga:;cttc and Weekly Ad- 
vertiser, for March 12, and April 4, 1781. Robert Levers 
died May 1788, leaving Robert Traill as the sole executor when 
the accounts were filed and audited in 1799, eighteen years 
after Col. Taylor's death. The settlement of his partnership 
accounts at Durham Iron Works were long drawn out, and on 
final settlement of his estate it was found to be insolvent.'-' 

12 These beautiful flint lock pistols are now owned by Dr. E. M. Green, a 
frreat-grandson of Robert Traill, of Ea.ston. who has kindly allowed me to 
photograph them to use as a tail piece to this paper. 

i.-J Henry'.s History of the Lehigh Valley, p. 97, and the rejjort of auditors 
on file in the courthou.se at Easton. 




Col. Robert Lettis Hooper, Jr., was a man of more than ordi- 
nary parts. During the Revolutionary War he at first lived in 
Lower Saucon Township,^ "* but later, while filling the office of 
Deputy Quarter Master General, he lived in Easton, making his 
home in the stone house, still standing, at the northwest corner 
of Northampton and Fifth Streets. His first wife died while 
living in that house. You have, of course, noticed the exterior 
steps leading to the second story, as shown by the etching below. 
Col. Hooper died at Trenton. X. J.. July 30, 1797, in the sixty- 
sixth year of his age. 


INIany letters written by Col. Hooper fell into my hands, most 
of which I gave to the Bucks County Historical Society. One of 
special interest I presented to Mrs.Abram S.Hewit (a daughter 
of Peter Cooper), who had it framed and hung in the hall of 
Ringwood Manor, her country home. That letter, addressed to 
Richard Backhouse is so interesting that I will read it as follows : 

14 See his letter published in the Pennsylvania Magazine of History, Vol. 
XXIV, p. 3;tl, wherein he says his hnme is in Saucon, five miles south of 


Ringwood, Septemr. 7th. 1781. 

I have long wished to visit you but my worthy friend, I have been 
too much engaged. I must not trifle with you & in plain truth I have 
been hunting a wife. I am sure among all my numerous acquaintances 
there is not one that esteems me more than you do, and I love you with 
the genuine warmth of true friendship — You, then, Dear Sir, must be 
pleased when I tell you that I am engaged to Mrs. Erskine, a lady 
high in estimation for her good sense, affability and sweetness of Tem- 
per & blessed withall with a plentiful fortune. I assure you that I do 
on the most deliberate principles of honor think that comfort and 
felicity will attend the choice I have made. 

I am very anxious to see and converse with you on these important 
matters, which I cannot commit to writing, and if I can't see you next 
week I can't meet you this fall. If therefore this finds you at home I 
request you'll do me the favour to meet me at my house next Wednes- 
day or Thursday when I will be at home. I am sure you'll come if you 
can, the business will be short and I cannot come to you. 


My compliments wates on Mrs. Backhouse — accept my wishes for 
your prosperity and believe me, 

To Richard Backhouse, Esqr. Dr. Sir Yr Friend & Humble Sv. 

Durham R. L. Hooper, Jr. 

(His marriage license was issued October 31, 1781. — See N. J. 
Archives, Vol. 22, page 185.) 

The Marquis de Chastellux who stopped at Ringwood Furnace 
December 19, 1789, and called upon Mrs. Erskine, says: 

"I entered a very handsome house where everybody was in mourn- 
ing. Mr. Erskine bein^ dead two months before. Mrs. Erskine his 
widow is about forty, and did not appear the less fresh or tranquil for 
her misfortune." 

Robert Erskine, whose charming widow Col. Hooper was to 
marry, was sent over from England by the London Company, in 
1771, to superintend their iron mines. He Hes buried on the Ring- 
wood estate, which he was operating during the war. A marker 
erected by the Government contains this inscription : 

"In Memory of Robert Erskine, F. R. S. 

Geographer and Surveyor General to the Army of the 

United States. 

Son of Rev. Ralph Erskine, late Minister at Dunfermline, 

IN Scotland. 

Born September 7, 1735. Died October 2, 1780 

Aged 45 years and 25 days. 


This monument is an object of interest to the Hewitt family 
and their guests. One of the Hewitt boys is named Erskine in 
memory of this man. It is quite a coincidence that in after years 
Messrs. Cooper & Hewitt should, at the same time, own both 
Ringwood and Durham properties, both established in early Co- 
lonial times. A splendid biographical notice of Col. Hooper is 
contained in the Pennsylvania Magazine of History, Vol 36, p. 
60 et seq. 

Another letter from Col. Hooper to his friend Col. Backhouse, 
refers to his purchase of a large tract of land in the Genesee 
country, the land of the Six Nations, on the Susquehanna River 
in New York, which he called the "Land of Caanan." When 
motoring through that interesting section last summer, I w^as 
surprised to notice, on the road between Binghamton and Owego, 
an automobile tire advertisement containing the following: 

"When Binghamton was surveyed in 1786 by Col. Robert Lettis 
Hooper, Jr., he lay in a canoe recording the distances from a pocket 
compass, working in this way through fear of being shot by unfriendly 

James Wilson, a Signer of the Declaration of Independence, 
Simeon DeWitt, Surveyor General of New York, and William 
.Bingham, United States Senator, 1795 to 1801, were associated 
with Col. Hooper in these Genesee lands, which seem to have 
aggregated 30,620 acres, lying on both sides of the Susquehanna 
River. When the lands were partitioned, that part which was to 
become the site of Binghamton, N. Y., was apportioned to William 
Bingham, for whom that city was named. 


Robert Traill was a leading and influential citizen of Easton, 
as one historian says,' "in every respect, he was for many years 
everything to everybody." He was the ancestor of Dr. Edgar M. 
Green and his sister, Mrs. Dr. Charles Mclntyre, who is present 
with us here today. He was born in the Orkney Islands, Scot- 
land, April 29, 1744, emigrated to America in 1763, died at 
Easton July 31, 1816. In the early tax lists he is assessed as a 
shoemaker.^^ Later he was a school teacher; member of the 

15 See "History of Northampton County," published in 1873, where at page 
73, a list of taxables is recorded. 

Erected to his memory in 1854. On April 20 1870 his body was removed 
from the vard of St John's Lutheran Church, Easton Pa., and re-interiea 
fmmediateb in front of this monument, which bears the followmg mscnption . 






JULY 4. A. D. 1776. 

BORN 1716, DIED 1781. 


Committee of Safety from Northampton County;^'' admitted to 
the bar of Northampton County in 1777; Justice of the Peace, 
1777-1781; Sheriff of Northampton County, 1781-1784; Repre- 
sentative in the General Assembly of Pennsylvania, 1785-86; 
member of the Supreme Executive Council, 1786-87 ; and an 
Associate Judge of Northampton County, 1790-92. His body 
lies buried in the Easton Cemetery. 


Robert Levers, the other of Col. Taylor's executors, , was a 
great and fearless patriot during the Revolutionary struggle. He 
came to America from England in April, 1748. He taught school 
for a time near Philadelphia, then associated himself with the 
Moravians. Was associated with Mr. C. Brockden, Recorder of 
Deeds at Philadelphia for three months. He writes "I then went 
about 35 miles in the country to be a clerk at an iron works, 
where I stayed about four months at i50 cy. a year." Still 
later he was in the office of Richard Peters, whose partner he 
became in some land deals in Northampton County, making his 
home at Saylorsburg, where he also kept an hotel and store. He 
was appointed Prothonotary and Clerk of the Orphans Court 
for Northampton County, serving from 1777 to 1788. He was 
the authorized agent of the Supreme Executive Council for 
Easton and surrounding territory. On July 8, 1776, he gathered 
the people together, in Centre Square at Easton, by ringing the 
courthouse bell, and read to them, from the courthouse steps, the 
Declaration of Independence. Might it not be in order for this 
society or for the people of Easton, to place a monument to his 
memory in Centre Square? When the British were about to 
enter Philadelphia in 1777, and the capital of our new-born na- 
tion transferred to Lancaster, Pa., the money, books and papers 
of the Colonial Government were sent to him at Easton for 
safe keeping. ^^ He stored them in his bedroom on the sec- 
ond story of his house, which he rented from Conrad Ihrie. 
Sr., located on the east side of South Third Street. Robert 

16 Robert Traill was clerk of the Committee of Safety for Northampton 
County; see Pennsylvania Archives, Eighth Series. Vol V, p. 4. Dr. Edward 
M. Green has in his possession the original minutes kept by him. 

17 See many references in Colonial Records, Vols. XI, XII, XIV, and XV. 
also Pennsylvania Archives, First Series, Vols. V and VI. Also Pennsylvania 
Magazine of History, Vol. I, p. 137. 


Levers was in fact the local dictator of the new govern- 
ment, reporting all cases of disloyalty or seeming disloyalty. 
guarding the ferries over both rivers, and putting all suspects 
under arrest. It was his duty to see that the Oath of Allegiance 
was taken, particularly by former office holders. It was 
through him that Hon. John Penn, then Governor for the 
Proprietaries, former Lieutenant-Governor James Hamilton, 
Assemblyman James Allen and Chief Justice Benjamin Chew 
were put under parole. They were ordered by the Supreme Execu- 
tive Council to be "imprisoned and removed from the state." It ap- 
pears, however, that they were permitted to remain under parole 
at the home of James Allen at Allentown. Later several of them 
were removed to the Union Iron Works, near Clinton, N. J., 
owned by former Chief Justice William Allen and Joseph Turner. 
Robert Levers died at Easton May 20, 1788, while holding the 
position of Prothonotary. He left to survive him four children 
and a widow nee Mary Church, who died in 1810. 

GEORGE Taylor's death and burial. 

A letter in the archives of the Bucks County Historical So- 
ciety from Samuel Williams of Greenwich Forge, N. J., to 
Richard Backhouse at Durham, bearing date February 22, 1781, 
one day before George Taylor passed away, concludes as follows: 

I was uf' at Easton when your Boy was over Taking wheat to Mr. 
Taylor as he was always sending for money and I had none to give 
him. But poor Owld gentlemen I believe his Dunning is allmost at an 
End — I did not see him as he could not be Spoke with he has Been 
Tapt Tw^ice the Doctor told me. 

As already stated he died at Easton, February 23, 1781, 
his body was laid at rest in the Lutheran churchyard across 
the way, on the southeast corner of Fourth and Ferry Streets, 
When the Belvidere Delaware Railroad, now part of the Pennsyl- 
vania system, was extended to Phillipsburg in 1854, the event was 
celebrated on February 3d of that year, with a grand entertainment 
and reception by the citizens of Eastoli and Phillipsburg, for 
which a large amount of money had been subscribed. A special 
train of fifteen cars started from Philadelphia, carrying officials 
and guests from that city, and from Trenton and other points, 
which included the Governor of New Jersey and the heads of de- 



partments, and many other distinguished citizens.^- The money 
subscribed for that entertainment, which included a grand ball in 
the evening, was not all used, and at the suggestion of Judge 
James M. Porter, the balance was expended to erect, in the 
Easton Cemetery, that beautiful Italian marble monument to the 
memory of George Taylor.^'* His body, however, was allowed to 
remain in the Lutheran churchyard until the Easton school-board 
purchased that corner from St. John's Lutheran Church, when 
on April 30, 1870, it was removed to the Easton Cemetery and 
deposited in its last resting place on the east side of the monu- 
ment.-*^* The school-board still further honored his memory by 
naming that schoolhouse "The Taylor Building." 

I wish, for the sake of this patriotic Society, that I could arrive 
at a different conclusion, but the fact remains that the preponder- 
ance of evidence shows that George Taylor was a resident of 
Durham Township, in Bucks County, when on August 2, 1776. he 
affixed his signature to that immortal document the Declaration 
of Independence. 

18 See Henry's History of the Lehigh Valley, ] 

19 Recollections of B. F. Facltenthal, Sr., Esq. 

20 Official Records of the Easton Cemetery. 

p. 151 to 157. 

(b. 1825, d. 1892). 

Flint lock pistols which George Taylor bequeathed to Robert Traill. 
Now in possession of Dr. Edgar M. Green of Easton, Pa. 

Bucks County Women in Wartime. 

(Cuttalossa Valley Meeting, June 15, 1918.) 

TO say that war has been held in abhorrence by women in 
all ages, goes without saying. It is equally true that they 
have ever born the heroic and selfsacrificing part, and our 
Bucks county women have been no exception. 

Any effort to chronicle the heroic work done by our women of 
1776 and 1861, is hampered by the absence of specific records of 
their loyal services, except in a few localities in our county dur- 
ing the Civil War. Although Bucks county produced no Lydia 
Darrochs or Mollie Pitchers, we are convinced that her women 
were zealous and untiring in rendering aid and comfort to the 
sick, wounded and weary soldiers. While history has not classi- 
fied any battle as having been fought within the borders of Bucks 
county during the Revolution, the battle of Crooked Billet at or 
near what is now Hatboro, Montgomery county, was waged so 
near the county-line that the ragged edges extended within our 
borders, and moreover Bucks county suffered heavily from forag- 
ing raids, and vast numbers of wounded soldiers were cared for 
m our county. Both Buckingham and Plumstead Meeting-houses 
were used as hospitals and numbers of wounded and sick sol- 
diers were cared for in private homes, where they were nursed 
back to health or their last hours soothed by the ministering care 
of our loyal Bucks county women. 

We also have abundant evidence that during the Civil War 
the women of Solebury, Buckingham, Durham and other town- 
ships of Bucks, spent many weary hours in scraping lint, pre- 
paring bandages and clothing for the soldiers, as well as to pro- 
vide them with special articles of food. But few of the active 
participants are left to tell us in detail of this noble work, and in 
the brief time allowed to the preparation of this paper, it was im- 
possible to get in touch with those people, now aged, who could 
give a clear account of the work in their localities. We must 
therefore rely upon such information and such records as are 
available, and if I have given more prominence to one locality 


than to another, it is simply for the reason given, and not that 
those omitted were less loyal or industrious. 

We will first show that relief work done by women during the 
Revolution was well organized by naming a few of the more im- 
portant leaders and the kind of work they were connected with. 

Rebecca Lyon Armstrong was the first women to organize a 
society in Pennsylvania. She led the women of Carlisle into ac- 
tive assistance in clothing Washington's army, supplying also 
many other comforts. 

Sarah Nelson McAllister of Juniata county, organized the first 
women's agricultural society. She went from farm to farm tell- 
ing the women that if they did not plow and sow they would 
starve, as their husbands would not be home in time for the 
work. Washington's soldiers did not reach home until Decem- 
ber, and they would have been in want, as many of the settle- 
ments were very short of food. 

Elizabeth Porter, residing near Philadelphia, formed a society 
for weaving and making soldier's clothing, for it is well known 
many were in rags. Even the ofiicers' clothing had become very 
shabby, and being out of cloth they ripped their coats apart, 
washed them, and turned them inside out. and they looked so 
well that it was often remarked, "Oh yes, he has a turned 
coat on." 

In order that Washington's armies might be better fed and 
clothed the ladies not only devoted much time to cloth and gar- 
ment making but practiced many economies as well, as may be 
seen from one of Sarah Mifflin's letters which says : 

"I have retrenched in my expenses, for both my table and family. 
Tea I have not drank since Christmas, nor bought a new gown or cap 
since the affair at Lexington; and what I never did before, have learned 
to knit, making socks for the soldiers." 

The cloth used at that time was probably what was called 
oznaburg — a mixture of flax and tow- — which followed the buck- 
skin of the pioneers. A woolen cloth called linsey-woolsey was 
woven also. Tailors and dressmakers went from house to house 
making clothes for the well-to-do families. In later times men 
operated the larger cloth weaving looms but women continued 
to make the linen. 

In the neighborhood of encampments the women workers were 
naturally still more active, the need being near at hand ; so we 


learn that while Washington's army was encamped on Carr's' Hill, 
near Hartsville, the women wove, cut and made garments by 
day, spinning and knitting by firelight in the evenings. 

The gristmills of this vicinity were then grinding day and 
night — mostly corn, this being the most plentiful grain. The 
British in Philadelphia and the tories through the country did 
much to hinder the feeding of our armies. They so drained the 
country of luxuries that only the simplest foods were left ; their 
common diet was milk, bread and pie for breakfast ; meal, pork 
or bacon with a wheat pudding and molasses for dinner; mush 
or hominy, with milk, butter and honey for supper. 

Previous to the battle of Trenton Washington was quartered 
at Keith Farm, situate at the foot of Jerico Mountain, two miles 
from the place where he and his army crossed the Delaware. 
On the night of the battle, when they arrived on the Jersey side 
of the river, the family of John Norton (who owned a farm on 
the river bank, where the city of Trenton now stands), cooked 
and baked all night to feed Washington and his men. They used 
everything eatable on the place and then only a part was fed. 
Mrs. Emeline P. Newbold, who now resides in Langhorne, is a 
descendent of the family of John Norton. 

Then as now the women nursed the sick and wounded soldiers, 
and as the armies were comparatively small they were often 
quartered in private houses and various other buildings. 

Directly following the battle of Brandywine in 1777, the Con- 
tinentals sent orderlies ahead of their army to find winter quar- 
ters for the officers and men. Langhorne, which was then Four 
Lanes End, was selected and the officers were quartered in the 
home of Joshua and Sarah Richardson, a large stone house at 
the intersection of the lanes. This house is still standing and in 
good condition. The house opposite, a large brick dwelling owned 
and occupied by Gilbert Hicks, a tory, was confiscated by the 
government and used throughout their stay as a hospital, whicH 
before the long winter months were over was badly needed, as 
army fever broke out among the man, and many were sick and 
many died. The Friends Meeting-house was used as a sleeping 
and living quarters for the privates, and in the southern end of 
the burying ground lie hundreds of their bodies. 

Lafayette, who was wounded at the battle of Brandywine, 


Sept. 11, 1777, came to Four Lanes End by way of Bristol en- 
route for Bethlehem, and stayed at the Richardson house for 
several days rest before continuing his journey. In September 
1824, when as the nation's guest Lafayette again visited this 
country, on his way from New York to Philadelphia, he stopped 
at Bristol, and was there introduced to many persons, including 
Mrs. Bassonett, who had nursed him after he was wounded in 
the battle of Brandywine. 

During the Civil \\"ar the women of this neighborhood seem 
to have been quite active. There was a society formed at Lang- 
horne to care for the soldiers called The Ladies' Aid, Langhorne 
then being known as Attleboro. This society held an all-day 
meeting every Wednesday in the townhall over Dr. Pemberton 
Minster's drug store on Maple avenue. There was a long table 
in the room about which the ladies gathered to scrape lint and 
cut and sew garments for the soldiers in the field and hospitals. 
They knitted, canned, baked and did what the Red Cross of to- 
day is doing. At that time communities had their own regiments 
and the ladies worked for them, often driving in carriages to 
camps and hospitals with clothing and food they had made and 
prepared. They raised money in various ways to carry on this 
work. At one "fair" they had a large tree filled with gifts which 
were chanced off at ten cents a chance. Dr. Minster drew a doll. 
He having been long married and no children this caused much 
merriment, and this doll, which they named "Flora," remained 
in the family until about a year ago. 

Those active in the town war work were x\nnie Watson, Jane 
Wildman, Lizzie, Rebecca and Jane Swartzlander, Rachel Min- 
ster, Anna Richardson, Effie File, Tacy and Anna Mather, Lizzie 
Comfort, Mary J. Richardson, Susanna and Maryann Palmer. 
At the Palmer farm many bottles of cherry syrup were made and 
sent to the hospitals. Annie W^atson (mother of Henry W. Wat- 
son, our representative in Congress), started the sewing upon the 
immense Attleboro flag, which was made by the ladies in the 
work room. It is still in existence and has figured in all the po- 
litical parades of the town. Until the time of his death Dr. 
Minster took charge of the flag in his own home, but a short 
time ago, battered and torn, it was seen floating from the window 
of the Odd Fellows' Hall, its present home. 


The great Sanitary Fair of Philadelphia was held under the 
auspices of the Sanitary Commission of Pennsylvania, New Jer- 
sey and Delaware, it being intended as a means of adding to the 
fund for the use of the sick and wounded of the army and navy 
engaged in the Civil War. The commission built an enormous 
temporary building covering Logan square, and there the fair 
was opened with appropriate ceremonies on June 7, 1864, in the 
presence of Governor Curtin, of Pennsylvania ; Governor Paker, 
of New Jersey, and Governor Cannon, of Delaware. The con- 
tributions of money and articles for display and sale were gen- 
erous and the sale was such a success that when it closed on 
June 28th, it had realized for the commission over $1,080,000. 
Thousands of people attended daily and the crowd was especial- 
ly large on June 16th, when President and Mrs. Lincoln paid it 
a visit. The president signed his name to printed copies of the 
Emancipation Proclamation, which were sold, those that were 
preserved are today of great value. 

The women of Bucks county took a great interest in this fair 
and it is said that wagons filled with visitors and contributors 
made almost a continuous procession on the York Pike. Mrs. 
Henry Darlington and Miss Irene Henry were the Doylestown 
collectors for this fare. 

The "Cooper Shop Refreshment Saloon" was established at 
Front and Washington streets, Philadelphia, for the purpose of 
feeding soldiers passing through the city on their way south. 
Mrs. Halsey Gibbs and Mrs. Josiah Hart collected provisions in 
this neighborhood for the Cooper Shop and some of their ex- 
periences were interesting. They used a two-seated carriage with 
the rear seat removed for their trips through the country, putting 
contributions in back. On one of their excursions they noticed 
a churn at a springhouse and guessed that batter making had 
just been finished. The farmer tried to put them oflf by saying 
that it had not yet been printed, but they said they would be glad 
to wait until that was done. After waiting quite a long while 
the farmer said to his wife that they might as well print the but- 
ter and give some or the ladies would stay for supper. An an- 
other farm house, the collectors suggested a few chickens as a 
contribution. The farmer "had no time to pick chickens," but 
one of the ladies said, "Oh, never mind about picking, just cut 


their heads off and put them in the carriage." And they got the 
chickens. On their return one of the husbands said he expected 
to see them driving in a cow the next time. On one occasion a 
boy was talking earnestly to his mother, who was getting some 
things ready for the Cooper Shop carriage. The mother, laugh- 
ing, said, "He wants to know if he can't give his banty chicken 
for the soldiers, why it wouldn't make a mouthful." But the 
banty was accepted and sold at auction, bringing quite a sum. 

Miss Anna Widdefield, who lived on a farm near Bridge Point, 
and who had three brothers in the army, helped every day at the 
Cooper Shop. Mr. Howard Magill tells me that every year on 
Memorial Day our local G. A. R. Post decorates her grave. 

The Ladies' Aid Society of Warminster was organized at the 
home of Margaret H. Twining in December, 1861, by Hannah 
C. Davis, Elizabeth T. Kirk, Anna Twining, Martha Davis, 
Rachel Wynkoop, Rebecca R. Twining, and others, who had been 
meeting as a Literary Society previovis to the outbreak of the 
Civil War. From the time of organization until June, 1865, 
this society met on W^ednesday of each week. In all this time 
there was never a meeting omitted because of storm or bad travel- 
ing, although at no time was the membership greater than forty. 
The first meetings were held in a room of Charles Kirk's wagon 
house. After September, 1863, the Warminster Friend's Meet- 
ing-house was always the place of meeting until the close of the 
society. In order to procure funds each members gave a month- 
ly contribution of ten cents and collected all manner of contri- 
butions from friends and acquaintances. This soon proved in- 
sufficient, and therefore mass meetings, fairs, strawberry festi- 
vals, lectures and entertainments were resorted to raise funds. 
The following is the last paragraph of the final report of the 
society prepared by the corresponding secretary, Mrs. Mary D. 
Jarrett : 

"In the summer of 1864, a hospital being established at College Wharf, 
near Bristol, called Whithall, to which some eight or ten hundred men, 
very weak and sick, were sent, unprepared for, — a call was made in the 
surrounding country, for supplies and assistance, to which we re- 
sponded by sending a large committee with a large quantity of refresh- 
ments and substantial, of which the greater part of the hungry boys 
partook to their full enjoyment. It was, indeed, a great pleasure to 
witness the eagerness with which they received the morsel of bread 


and butter, a cup of boiled milk, cooked fruit, pickles, etc., as we seem 
to have been favored with a variety of edibles suitable for the different 
cases. Some time having elapsed before the place became fully organ- 
ized, and fresh arrivals of the sick almost daily coming in, it was sug- 
gested that a committee from the different Aids should be sent to 
assist in waiting upon, and preparing sick dishes for the poor emaciated 
men. We united with the suggestion, and our worthy President, (then 
Mary M. Carr) in company with a lady from the Hartsville Aid (Mrs. 
Nicolas) volunteered to spend a week near the hospital, in preparing 
dainties for the very sick, and acting the part of mothers, in various 
ways, to many poor creatures whose lives have not been spared to ack- 
nowledge their kind attentions. And oh, how many 'God bless you, 
ladies!' 'Thank you, ladies!' etc., have been uttered by the poor sick 
and wounded men, as they would pass through the wards with some- 
thing to tempt the appetite or some pleasant drink t(^ moisten the 
fevered lips, and the tears of thankfulness flowed on man_v a sun-burned 
cheek in appreciation of their tender sympathy. We have also visited 
Nicetown Hospital, and assisted the Penn Relief in getting up a 
Thanksgiving dinner, and at another time a Thanksgiving supper. 
Here, too, we have been made to rejoice, seeing our ladies so greatly 
appreciated b\" the poor stricken ones who have been made to suffer, 
bv a rebellious foe, for our mother country's sake." 

Historical Reminiscences of the Cuttalossa Creek in Solebury 

(Cuttalossa Valley Meeting, June, 15, 1918.) 

THE Cuttalossa is a small stream, not more than three miles 
long from its source in the western part of Solebury town- 
ship, to w^iere after a winding course it enters the Delaware 
river at Lumberton, about half way between Easton and Tren- 
ton, and now in volumne but a weak stream, though, before the 
deforestation of its valley, it was of milling capacity. As I first 
knew the creek nearly four score years ago its lower course 
flowed through a forest primeval, no wagon road followed its 
course, although there was an old one laid out on high ground 
overlooking the stream and crossing it but once. Now there is a 
road through the valley which crosses the creek five times. The 
creek starts from two springs on the line of the Street road, and 
meanders along the margins of pleasant meadows, it then skirts 
a piece of woodland and then after a short distance of open 
country, it dives into a mile of second growth timber whose 
ancestral trees shadowed the creek all the way to the Delaware. 
At first it flows northeasterly, then to the north and then turns 
again to the northeast until it empties into the Delaware river. 
It is one of the minor streams of the county, a score of others 
perhaps exceeding it in volume, and yet there was enough in its 
connection, human and scenic, its people, mills, trees, shrubbery, 
ferns and flora to create a pamphlet of eighty-nine pages from 
that gatherer of local historic matter, William J. Buck. As to 
the humanity living in or near the valley, there were none more 
noted than Capt. Pike and his son. General Zebulon M. Pike (Dis- 
coverer of Pike's Peak), and the poet, John G. Whittier. The 
names of this trio alone should make the Cuttalossa a stream of 
personal note. Historian Buck, locally an alien, has done more 
in the way of research to hunt up matters relative to the Cut- 
talossa Valley than all its residents combined. 

The spelling of the name of the creek is now established as I 
have given it. The original spelling however was Quatalosse, 


which was the name of the Armitage gristmill, as stencilled on 
the grain bags belonging to Henry Armitage, who owned it with- 
in my recollection. Skudalosa was another name following that. 
Among other titles found in old deeds it was called Quetilassie 
and Scuttlaushe. but both Davis and Buck, after investigation, 
have established Cuttalossa as the correct spelling. 

The first gristmill on the stream was built by Samuel Armitage, 
who came from Wakefield, England, in 1738, and settled in 
Solebury before 1747. A date on the gable end of the mill, 1752, 
indicates that it was built that year. A few years later a saw- 
mill was built, and by 1780 a plaster mill was also in operation. 
The gristmill, run by an overshot water wheel, remains as it was 
170 years ago, except for an addition made in 1823. It is now 
owned by an Armitage, and has been in that family name, except 
for a hiatus of forty years when the names of Good, Hutchinson 
and Fries were connected with its ownership. The present owner 
is Amos Armitage, the third of that name in title, who bought 
the property about 1905. Like all old mills of the kind, its busi- 
ness is much diminished, but when there is water enough to 
operate, the old wheel still plods its solemn rounds and the 
rumbling stones go their whirling. 

In 1916, when on a visit to my old home, I stopped at the 
Armitage mill, whose inside I had not seen for a half century. 
Business was slack and the works idle, but not its "dusty," for 
we found Amos 3d, fixing up a sawmill (for a circular saw) for 
working up logs suitable for its size. He was doing all the work 
himself, for he was a "Jack of all trades," being a worker in both 
wood and iron. He had hewn the log carriage out of one piece 
of timber and was ripping it by hand in two parts, like the old 
mode before the days of sawmills. Around him were wooden 
cogwheels and pulleys, showing his handiwork and confidence 
in the future of the mill. His children were all girls, and I 
could not look upon him without interest, as being the sole male 
representative of the Armitages that I had known or heard of 
in the 175 years who had lived and died along the waters of 
the Cuttalossa. I thought there must have been some sentiment 
in his nature, else he would not have left his ancestral farm, that 
of his grandfather, Amos, 2nd, to cast his lot with this old mill. 
I would like to have seen the old mill running, as I had in the 


long ago, but with no grist to grind and a scarcity of water I 
could not ask Amos to leave his congenial work to start it up 
for my pleasure. Through the generations of Armitages, Samuel. 
John, Henry and Jesse, the old mill had gone on, and let us hope 
that Amos will make a success of his undertaking. 

The first gristmill in Solebury township, was built in 1707 at 
the "Great Spring," the most natural place to start one because 
of the abundance of water, and with no danger of the water- 
wheel freezing, for with full volume the water came forth at a 
temperature defying ice. Hither came farmers from up-country, 
where as yet no mills had been built, bringing their grists of rye, 
wheat and buckwheat, by cart or on horseback down the Sugan 
road, the first highway leading north from that section. When 
the Armitage mill was erected in 1752 on that highway, it great- 
ly interfered with the trade of the mill at Great Spring. John 
Armitage, son of Samuel, succeeded him in the conduct of the 
mill. He was familiarly known as "Batchelor John," or as 
"Uncle." When up-country mills were built the Armitage trade 
in its turn was interfered with, as the people would naturally pat- 
ronize the nearest mill. These old-time millers would, when able, 
grind the grists while the far-away farmers waited, and give 
them their dinners at noon time, for such was the hospitality of 
those good old times. We can well say that these "dusties" never 
dipped the toll dish but once, with fear that the boss miller or 
apprentice might forget the service. Henry was an elder in our 
Friends Meeting, and I have seen his plain hat and coat dusted 
with flour, but not at meeting. 

The next gristmill was built at the mouth of the Cuttalossa 
creek some time before 1758 in connection with a sawmill, but 
being in the way of the construction of the canal, about 1830, 
both were put out of use to make way for it. To replace these 
a second set of mills was built by John Gillingham, grandfather 
of the late Mayor Ashbridge, of Philadelphia, brother of Benja- 
min who lived and died in Lahaska, and an uncle, I believe, to 
the late J. Gillingham Fell, whose father was William Fell, who 
married a daughter of John Gillingham. The demolished grist- 
mill was in its time of historic interest in connection with the 
death of Moses Doane, for whose capture a reward was oflfered. 
A boy coming there with a grist of wheat told the miller that 


the Doanes were at their house and that the flour was badly 
wanted. There was such a suggestion from this that the miller 
promptly complied, and when the grain was ground, went at once 
to where a public sale was being held, nearby, and notifying the 
assemblage there, a posse was soon created, and hastening to the 
Horsley place, on Cabin run in Bedminster township, whence the 
boy came, and where the Doanes were harbored. One of the 
party shot the leader of the outlaws, after he had surrendered, 
which was considered a dishonorable act, the rest escaping in 
the confusion, the officer of the law, leading the posse, Major 
Kennedy, getting killed in the melee. As a punishment for har- 
boring his country's enemies, Horsley, besides being jailed at 
Newtown for six months, was burned in the hand ! 

John E. Kenderdine, who in 1833 had bought the Lumberton 
property, known heretofore from the names of the Delaware river 
ferry owners, Rose, Kugler, Hart and Painter, but latterly, from 
the frequent visits of the sheriff as "Hard Times," along with 
twenty acres of land, made a second replacement of the mills, 
one on each side of the creek. It is here worthy of mention that 
the purchaser, being a practical millwright, had gotten out the 
machinery for the gristmill the winter before he moved to Lum- 
berton from his Montgomery county home, and that the car- 
riage-way of the sawmill was partly supplied from a wooden 
endless chain which had been used for a tread-power, on which 
oxen worked, at an experimental gristmill established in one end 
of the large dwelling house in which he lived, but which was a 
failure, for the good reason that the motive power ate up all the 
toll. The idea for this method of propulsion was obtained from 
early western settlers, where feed was cheap and economy in 
machinery necessary. It is recorded that the endless chain was 
the first to inaugurate the more practical horse-powers soon to 
be built for driving threshing machines. It was curiously con- 
structed, with rollers and hinge joints, made from the hardest 
wood necessarily strong from having to sustain the weight of two 
heavy oxen. I well remember seeing unusued sections of the 
chain lying overhead in the sawmill. 

The gristmill dam formed a basin for logs for the sawmill. 
I have seen 200,000 feet of them floating there at one time. To 
see the weeds and thicket-grown waste now covering the site of 


this pond, one can scarcely realize the changed conditions. Later 
the two operations were separated, the sawmill being removed to 
a location two hundred yards further up the stream, and on the 
opposite side thereof. The new and head race dug for this saw- 
mill has gradually over the past forty years, filled up, and the 
investment has become lost. 

The next water-power to be improved along the Cuttalossa 
was a sawmill built in 1849 by John E. Kenderdine, about one- 
third of a mile from the river. The place was called Laurelton, 
so named on account of the rhododendrons growing in the woods 
at that place. In 1852 a floorboard working machine was added, 
which theretofore had been attached to the gristmill at the river 
and run by means of a shaft spanning the creek. Starting this 
enterprise involved a patent on the "Woodward planing machine," 
a late invention, which with swiftly revolving knives worked the 
surfaces and edges of parallel-sawn boards. For supplying the 
counties of Bucks and Hunterdon (in New Jersey) one dollar 
per thousand feet had to be paid to the holder of the patent right, 
one George B. Sloat, of Philadelphia, a brother to Commodore 
Sloat, of the United States Navy, and much connected with the 
capture of Upper California at the time of the Mexican war. 
This machinery brought out the enmity of neighboring carpenters, 
who claimed that it was robbing them of their work, so that they 
threatened a boycott by influencing their patrons to buy their 
lumber of rival dealers. A day's work for a carpenter in work- 
ing and laying flooring was one hundred superficial feet, while a 
machine at that time would plane, tongue and groove three thou- 
sand. Much of this hand work was done in the winter time 
when cheap apprentice labor could be used, so it was no wonder 
the boss carpenters kicked at an innovation which they claimed 
took the bread from the mouths of their wives and children. 
But their employers had something to say to this, and such hand 
work entirely ceased. This investment of my father's, how- 
ever, turned out a poor one, for despite the patent protection, 
flooring was placed in the cities and lumber regions by improved 
machinery which could produce three times as fast as he could, 
and which was retailed by local dealers despite the patent. 

In 1854 a sash and door factory was added to the flooring mill, 
which further annoyed the boss carpenters, as more robbing them 


of their work, but the outcome was the same as from the flooring 
machine ; one of these kickers even starting a rival factory a mile 
and a half away, which much interfered with our business. But 
there was lots of work in those times in the late fifties for farmers 
were doing well, building anew on their farms, or erecting re- 
tiring homes in nearby villages where they might live with their 
families comfortably to the end of their days. As many as a 
dozen hands were employed in and around our factory making 
inside housework, so there was quite a stir in the now deserted 
valley of the Cuttalossa. A mill for grinding bones was added in 
1864, and two years later machinery was put in for making mixed 
fertilizers, taking the room of the disused sawmill, so for many 
years there was plenty of business around this section. 

In 1854 Charles P. Large and Isaac Corson built another saw- 
mill, locating it about a mile further up the stream, in the heart 
of the wilderness, but which the wagon road had opened up. In 
the nearby woods they cut chestnut and oak timber which they 
sawed into railroad ties for the branch road built from Lansdale 
to Doylestown, a branch of the North Penn (now Reading) 
railroad. These ties were hauled a distance of nine miles with 
an ox team by George, son of Theodore Dudbridge, who had 
lately moved into the neighborhood, one of the few men recon- 
ciled to this slow travel. One round trip was considered a day's 
work. For twenty years thereafter much hard wood was sawed 
here from logs cut from far and near, the rivings shipped to 
Atlantic coast cities and even as far as California. About 1873 
the mill was bought by Cephas Worthington who added a rake 
and handle factory thereto, but his venture failed financially. 
Later purchasers were Robert Lear and the Kemble Brothers 
from the Lumberton quarries, one brother, William H. Kemble 
of Philadelphia, dying, his brother allowed the property to stand 
idle, until a violent flood, coming in 1885, so thoroughly destroyed 
both dam and mill that they were never rebuilt. The sawyer's 
home deserted, its doors open and windows all broken, would 
have been a night lodging place for tramps, did such gentry so 
far forget themselves as to wander into this wilderness. In like 
manner the nearby tenant house, where lived for years a run- 
away slave called "Black Charley" and his wife or woman, 
"Black Maria." Charley always kept an axe on hand for brain- 


ing his late owner should he come to take him from his wilder- 
ness home. Maria was a wicked looking woman, and would 
have willingly helped her man in his work. With desolation all 
around the once humanity all dead, I wonder if its ghosts, "re- 
visiting the pale glimpses of the moon," ever in their walks 
abroad startle the owls and bats from their haunts. 

After reading my description of the improvements once along 
the Cuttalossa, no one having pathos of sympathy can wonder at 
my feelings when seeing the solitude wrought by time and changed 
conditions of business there. Where turned the various mills, with 
their accessories, not only all is silence, but the buildings which 
gave forth their noises are, with one exception, so gone that 
nothing but bare walls are seen or well nigh hidden by bushes 
and tree growths, where once disturbed nature is having her re- 
venges. Half of my long life was passed among these scenes, 
where much of the time conditions were at their liveliest, and 
where in my early days all with a wilderness, whose reclamation 
was to be so wonderful ; so it is not strange that when I visit these 
deserted places that I experience sickness of heart. Along the 
valley road, once so lively with carriage and business travel, one 
now scarcely sees a pleasure vehicle or heavy wagon, while road- 
side vegetation is encroaching more and more on the right-of- 
way. This road, the easiest one inland from the river from be- 
low Yardley to Easton, was allowed from the courts with diffi- 
culty, as so few people were interested besides my father, and 
the township taxpayers objecting through remonstrances; even 
some of the original petitioners recanting. My father was par- 
ticularly interested in having this road laid out, because of the 
roundabout route and the hills which his customers had to take 
to haul their lumber from the river, and he was greatly pleased 
when he had accomplished his purpose. 


I have spoken of the mills built along the Cuttalossa and their 
present abandoned and dilapidated condition, but have said 
nothing about the little village of Lumberton at its mouth. There 
was a settlement there before 1758, for in that year William Skel- 
ton built a gristmill, and by 1770 a sawmill was added, which 
in 1771 was owned by John Kugler. The gristmill was rebuilt 


in 1781, when on account of Kugler getting into trouble for his 
disloyalty, and to avoid his property from being confiscated he 
sold it to George Warne. Kugler was however jailed at New- 
town. His wife, who seemed to have been equally guilty was 
also arrested and journeyed with him to the county-seat. George 
Warne conveyed the property to John Hart, who appears to have 
lived there, for during the Revolutionary War he was ferryman. 
The tract after being increased to one hundred and twenty acres 
by purchase of adjoining lands, was sold in 1795 to Jacob Painter 
and Reuben Thorne. Painter appears to have run the ferry in 
1793, when there was a "Painter's Ferry road." As late as 1818 
there was a sign post due northwest of Center Hill stating the 
way and distance to the ferry. This crossing must have been 
established about the time, or before John Watson laid out the 
road to Center Hill, or about 1756. Some have wondered why 
the ferry was not established opposite Lumberville, where there 
was a better road to country back of the river, but Bull's island 
was in the way there, involving two ferriages, on account of an 
intervening branch of the river. Doubtless there was a hotel at 
Lumberton shortly after the Watson road was laid out, for this 
highway was mainly for the convenience of Jersey farmers -going 
to Philadelphia. There was a store and lumber yard by 1800. 

In 1833 John E. Kenderdine, from Horsham, Montgomery 
county, who was made acquainted with this business nook on the 
Delaware shore from crossing the ferry at various times on his 
visits to his future wife, Martha Quinby, who lived with her par- 
ents, James and Margaret, on a large plantation on the Jersey hills 
overlooking what was to be Lumberton, and seeing its induce- 
ments, purchased the place. The then good water power of the 
Cuttalossa, combined with the supply of saw timber annually 
floating down the Delaware from its headwaters in New York 
and northern Pennsylvania, together with the cheapness of the 
property, were beckonings not easily avoided. The lately finished 
canal furnishing transportation for the benefit of the merchant 
mill he proposed building, was another important factor in the 
buying of the place, so, in the named year, he bought of Joseph 
Hough, administrator to the estate of Thomas Little, lately de- 
ceased, for $1600 a tract of twenty acres, on which were the re- 
mains of a sawmill and gristmill, a hotel and two dwelling houses, 


one of them "the Old Red House," in which once Hved the two 
Pikes — Captain Zebulon, the Revolutionary soldier, and his son, 
General Zebulon Montgomery Pike, also a soldier, as well as a 
noted explorer ; the latter to be killed in our last war with England 
in a Canadian expedition, and who, when quite a lad, attended the 
Center Hill school two miles away. One of these is yet standing, 
a double dwelling, an end of which was the Camel tavern. The 
hotel end has sentimental associations with me, for here my par- 
ents first lived when coming to Bucks county, where I com- 
menced housekeeping in 1863, and where two of our children 
were born ; and now the whole building is a pitiful wreck. A two- 
storied veranda once fronted it, which was torn down piecemeal 
by quarrymen tenants and burned for firewood. 

The "House on the Hill," the first new residence built in the 
new-named village, was erected in 1837 and here John E. Kinder- 
dine lived until 1855, when he moved to the newly built "Laurel- 
ton House" up the creek, and where he lived until his death in 
1868. In 1869 the writer bought that property and lived there 
till the fall of 1874, when he sold it and moved to Ambler, bidding 
a final adieu to the valley of the Cuttalossa. The house changing 
hands several times, it was finally burned down about 1903, and 
the charred and partially wrecked walls for several years re- 
mained a blot on the landscape. During this time it was sold 
three times as junk, the knocked-down price being once but $70, 
for what had cost as a whole $3000. The last owner razed the 
upper walls till they were shedshaped, pitching one way and to- 
wards the road, till the picturesque house of six gables, christened 
the "Laurelton" by my brother Robert, was bungled to a bunga- 
low. On the erection of this house, in 1855, when the walls were 
a little above the second floor, Robert and I composed some 
poetry, and with two newspapers made up a cornerstone filler, in- 
serted it in a wooden box and had this walled in. I never ex- 
pected to see the interned box again, but through some remarkable 
contingencies the papers came into my possession, some of them 
in tolerable good condition. My brother's poem, a remarkable 
production for one about fifteen years of age, was printed in a 
local paper and afterwards came out in book form. 

The four families of Armitages who lived in the section of the 
Cuttalossa around the upper water power were headed by Samuel, 


John, Henry and Amos, all of whom in their generations have 
long since passed away, and later their twenty-five children, and, 
as before mentioned, but one male member of the name left, the 
last, Amos, who owns the ancestral mill. 

Tames, one of John Armitage's sons, married my aunt, Mary 
Quinby, and died leaving two sons, James and Charles, the first 
aged one year, the last three years. James died at sixteen, while 
his brother lived to be old enough to die for his country in the 
Civil War. Charles was a practicing lawyer at Phoenixville, when 
the call to arms came, he enlisted in Company G, First Pennsyl- 
vania Reserves. A writer of fiction, a ready debater and an ac- 
complished orator, the latter talent used at war meetings to urge 
recruiting, and, best of all, setting the example himself, so unlike 
the many "go-boys" talkers, instead of being "come-boys," who 
failed to fight as they spoke. I shall never forget his address 
at a meeting called at my home town immediately after the 
mobbing and death of the Massachusetts troops in Baltimore while 
on their way for the defence of Washington. It was for the en- 
listment of volunteers for the President's first call, and was full 
of persuasive eloquence for recruits, and at the same time of con- 
sideration for those who would have to make sacrifices to enlist. 
Ex-Governor Pennypacker who was a fellow townsman of Ar- 
mitage after he set up legal practice at Phoenixville, was pleased 
to speak of him in his memoirs as "a slouchy, ill-trained man, 
ignorant and good-natured," with the saving clause of "being a 
great favorite and having been killed in action" — a mixed de- 
scription, worthy of so mixed a character as was Pennypacker. 
Charles Armitage was no scholar as the word goes, but he was a 
great reader, his inclination being for military history, particular- 
ly of the Napoleonic wars, the plans of which battles he would 
draw on his slate. In local debating societies he was eminent as 
a reasoner, and in the Lincoln campaign did good service as a 
political orator. At his new home he wrote fictional tales for the 
Phoenixville Independent. He was not killed in action but died 
from exhaustion after the battle of Gettysburg, while on Mead's 
pursuit of Lee, and was buried on the southern shore of the Po- 
tomac. He was a good soldier with military bearing, as I learned 
from one of his commanding officers. In one of the battles be- 
fore Richmond he commanded his company. As one of the three 


dwellers of the Cuttalossa valley who gave up their lives for 
their country, he is worthy of local mention. The other two were 
Robert Kenderdine and Thaddeus Paxson. 

The Cuttalossa skirted or divided the lands of the Armitages, 
going by that of Amos, and dividing those of Henry, John and 
Samuel. Much of these properties consisted of a primeval forest, 
dank and dark, the creek taking its lonely way under the shadow- 
ing trees until 1852, when the public road was built. 

John G. Whittier, the Amesbury poet, passed his summer va- 
cations on the Healy farm between 1837 and 1840, and the farm- 
house has since been referred to as the "Whittier House. "^ While 
living there he wrote several of his published poems. The back 
field of the Healy farm overlooks the Cuttalossa valley which is 
thus referred to in a letter from him to William J. Buck in 1873. 

"I well remember the little river, its woodlands and meadows, 
and the junction of the Cuttalossa with the Delaware," showing 
that Whittier, in his ramblings, must have honored Lumberton 
with his visits. While at his literary work, at the home of Joseph 
Healy, the poet, for exercise, between times either worked in the 
garden or rambled over the country. 

Down stream from the Armitage holdings came the Paxson 
tract, extending in two ownerships to the river, in my time those 
of Moses and Howard, wherein there were two hundred acres of 
woods, backed by fertile farm lands. These were descendants of 
Henry Paxson, to whom the sons of William Penn deeded the 
land, and who came from England in 1682, and who at once ac- 
quired five hundred acres and afterwards more in another sec- 
tion. In my recollection Moses Paxson, or rather his estate, 
owned the first section below the Armitages', his widow, "Aunt 
Salley," living on the homestead, and renting the farm. The 
woodland, amounting to near one hundred acres, was a part of a 
forest three miles by a half mile in places in area, extending along 
the river hills from above Center Bridge to below Lumberville. 
In my memory this wilderness was a section for fishing, hunting 
game and lost cows — my boyhood experience going back to all 
these — fishing, carrying game bag for my Nimrod brother and 

1 At the conclusion of the Cuttalossa Valley Meeting, Mr. Daniel Garber, 
the noted painter, who has a studio in the valley near where the meeting 
was held, presented to the Bucks County Historical Society a large painting 
of the Healy-W^hittier house, which now hangs on the walls of the museum 
at Doylestown. 


seeking wandering members of our little dairy, mainly confined 
to the Cuttalossa valley. In hunting stock, particularly at night- 
fall, I found the job lonely and mixed with some terror, for 
imagination would run wild in conceiving strange sounds and 
moving objects. The timber belonging to the estate of Moses 
Paxson was cut off after the widow's death, my father buying 
part and exchanging much of the wood thereon for land cut ofif 
by other purchasers. This he cleared, and it being added to his 
original twenty acres of tillable land, made quite a farm, some 
sixty acres in all, with the mill property on the river side. On 
the lower edge of the Moses Paxson tract he built the Laurelton 
mills and the dwelling house in which he ended his days, which I 
afterwards owned. The highlands and leveler part of the Paxson 
purchase made six fields in a single row, strung along paralleling 
the creek, the far field being a good half mile from the barn, and 
anything but an economical arrangement for farming purposes. 
My school vacations, when a boy of from thirteen to sixteen, in- 
stead of idling my time away, as is too often the case now in 
school interludes, were passed in burning brush, picking stones 
and, when the time came, sprouting stumps, year after year on 
the forty acres we cleared. While this work was disagreeable, it 
was a good experience for me in my after life, so that I had no 

The twenty acres my father bought in 1833 was a part of a 
two hundred-acre tract which William Penn's heirs conveyed to 
John and Eleanor Hough on Fifth Month 28th, 1741. Stoflfel 
Rose was the next purchaser, and after him came his son John, 
who established afterwards the ferry, subsequently Painter's, and 
under other titles conforming to riparian ownership. Lumberton 
was on the north corner of the Rose tract, and so near that of 
Paxson's that rights of way had to be purchased of subsequent 
owners of the land for races and dams for the Lumberton mills, 
perpetuity, and which are now of no value on account of the 
wreck of business. The remains of the old mills were removed 
in 1834, and the same year a new gristmill was built on the op- 
posite side of the creek, and another sawmill below the breast 
of its dam. From the headrace of the sawmill a forebay crossed 
the roadway twenty-four feet above it, which was a conspicuous 
sight. The huge water wheel slowly and steadily revolving as a 


synonym of power, and its feeder, straddling the highway on its 
long legs, was a sight I remember as impressive in my youthful 

The name "Hard Times," which the place once had, and which 
was difficult to get rid of when it became prosperous, I well re- 
member — a term uncomplimentary to the landlord, who was too 
much of a "close-wad" to give the renter a sign ; so the tenant, 
to shame him, got an old shutter, and, with tar for paint and a 
stick for a brush, write on the rude sign "Hard Times." This 
brought a respectable sign from the landlord, which I remember 
to have seen standing in front of the hotel until 1842. when the 
hotel was given up. The sign, on which was painted a camel, 
and which afterwards gave the name to the tavern, was for years 
stored in the disused hay mow of its stable, in which, when play- 
ing there, when quite a small boy, I admired as a w^ork of art. 
This sign should have been saved, but it doubtless went into 
kindling wood, as afterwards did the two-storied veranda of 
the hotel. The stable was torn down in 1865. On one of its 
cornerstones were the initials "W. S." with date 1765, standing 
for William Skelton, a former owner. I had this walled-in in 
the nearby kitchen end of the double house, where it yet can be 
seen unless whitewashed or plastered over. 

Before the 1841 freshet the ferrymen, save one, lived on the 
Pennsylvania side of the river. The exception was Elias Johnson, 
who kept a tavern on the Jersey side, but which was washed 
away in the same flood, it being near the shore. The Lombardy 
poplars in front of it remained there for years. Although but 
little over five years old, I remember seeing my father, with 
"cupped" hands, shouting across the river to the ferryman: 
"Hello, the boat," a call which, from the distance, required fre- 
quent repetition. A new hotel was built further back along the 
line of the river road, and the canal, or "feeder" bridge, which 
had been washed away, rebuilt, but this going in the 1846 flood, 
the ferry was abandoned. Under present conditions the ferry 
holders on each side of the river would have had to have been 
remunerated from the non-rebuilding of the bridge which had 
spliced out the ferry of near a century of standing, as well as the 
river landing, but Johnson having been satisfied and my father 
not insisting on his rights, for the Lumberton end of the ferry 


went with his purchase, the crossing, which had so long been 
deemed a necessity, was never-more made by anything larger than 
a row boat. 

The year before the 1841 freshet Kenderdine & Thomas estab- 
lished a branch kmiber yard on the opposite side of the river, 
with Elias Johnson as tender, and there was $3,000 worth of 
stock seasoned and ready to sell when the flood came and all was 
washed away, the owners seeing pile after pile floating ofif, power- 
less to save it. Such were the prospects of the firm that it had 
at much expense refitted a disused sawmill on Eagle Island, a 
mile below, to help out the local mill at Lumberton. The first 
log was on the carriage ready for sawing, but when the next 
morning came, log, sawmill and the sawyer's house and garden 
had gone down the Delaware, along with the branch lumber 
yard on the Jersey side. These subsidiaries were never reestab- 


Beyond tradition and what comes from Buck's history, I know 
little concerning the Indians of the Cuttalossa, as I was too young 
to get in touch even with the last of them. There was what was 
known as an "Indian town," mentioned in transfers of land in 
the eighteenth century, particularly concerning the Beaks tract 
in 1705, with further allusions back to 1701. Of course this 
"town" was nothing more than a collection of wigwams or huts 
without alignments on streets or alleys, but it was a settlement. 
A tradition from the early Armitages was that this was on the 
eastern side of the ancestral mill-dam, where there was a fertile 
meadow, substantiated by the finding of various relics in more 
recent times, of arrow heads and the like, and as late as 1885 
Llewellyn Fries, who then owned the property, found a stone axe 
and a last used for shaping moccasins on. 

I well remember the tradition of the lost Indian child, and who 
was afterwards found drowned in a pool at Indian Rock, at the 
head of the sawmill dam, below Laureltown. It was supposed 
that the child fell from the rock. This tragedy and the search 
and mourning for the lost child by the Indian mother was made 
into a poem by the late Watson Kenderdine and is published in 
Buck's History of the Cuttalossa. 


On an elevation overlooking the Delaware was what was sup- 
posed to be the grave of an Indian chief, from the prominence 
given it by a cairn of stone eighteen inches high placed over it. 
In 1845 some of the neighbors of a ghoulish, curious or historic 
nature dug for the bones of the aborigine, but discontinued the 
search, either from finding a lengthwise buried log in the way, 
as one story went, or mayhap in fear of the rising of the Indian's 
ghost. There were several other and lower heaps of stones 
around, showing that there had been a cemetery there. 

The last of the Indians known along the Cuttalossa were in 
three individual instances. The first was Isaiah, no surname, who 
was remembered by Silas Preston, of Plumstead, in 1780, going 
on his way to the Cuttalossa with a bow and arrow for shooting 
trout, showing that that stream was once such a preserve ; in fact 
the historian, Buck, in 1873, saw miniature trout in the springs 
heading its waters. The two other Indians were of a much more 
recent date. One was an old fellow^ named Tuckamony ; the other 
his daughter Peg. The latter, as was her father, was an expert 
basket-maker, and the late Joseph D. Armitage tells of her mak- 
ing him a nice dinner basket for school use of red and blue 
splints, the material for which she was allowed to freely gather 
from suitable trees in the adjacent woods in readiness for dyeing 
and weaving, she being rewarded for the present with 'possum and 
snapping turtle meat he had caught, and which Peg pronounces 
"much good." When her father died she took the place of the 
last of the Mohicans, or rather the Lenni Lenapes. W. J. Buck re- 
members Tuckamony coming to his father's store bringing baskets 
to trade for goods. The daughter left about 1830 for the happy 
hunting grounds. Where was the aboriginal hereafter, or its 
basket-making regions, if there was such a locality, where in 
spirit she would have "much good" enjoyment of 'possum and 
snapper. There was another Indian name Nutimus, but he only 
came as a doctor for snake bites on emergencies from his home 
in Nockamixon, and is only mentioned as saving the life of Wil- 
liam Satterthwaite, the poet, of the Cuttalossa region, who is 
elsewhere mentioned. The biter was a rattlesnake, but whether 
the remedy of Nutimus was of the Arizona kind, is not stated, 
as the poet's wife once tried to poison him, the Indian's skill 


might have come in play at another time, but it is doubtful from 
his marital experience, if Satterthwaite cared to live. 

It is hard telling what became of the main body of Indians. 
In their intercourse with the whites there seems to have been 
none of the combative disposition manifested by them towards 
other colonies. In eastern Pennsylvania the kindly spirit shown 
by Penn towards the Red Man was so reciprocated that there 
was no clashing between the two races, and after receiving pay- 
ment for their lands the Indians seem to have folded their wig- 
wams like the Arabs their tents, to paraphrase, and quietly gone 
their way, leaving the few isolated cases mentioned, who one by 
one pathetically died off. 


Concerning the different businesses previous to the final slump 
in trade at Lumberton, there were a sawmill and gristmill there 
before the Revolution, as stated, and doubtless a store and tavern, 
as there was an important ferry after the highway was laid out 
at the York road. The mills were then run by John Kugler, as 
has been mentioned, or until 1780, after which time he was jailed 
for disloyalty. From 1780 till 1833, different people undertook 
to carry on business there, the John Gillingham spoken of being 
the most prominent. He bought mills, lumber yard, hotel and 
farm in 1816, but by 1819 the sheriff came along and sold the 
entire property to Jeremiah King, from whose heirs it was trans- 
ferred to his son-in-law, Thomas Little, whose widow I well re- 
member living in Lumberville. Between 1794 and 1819 the place 
had been thrice sold under the sheriff's hammer, thus for twenty- 
five years there had been frequent sellings out by the courts, until 
the name of "Hard Times," got to be quite appropriate. 

When John E. Kenderdine took possession of the place in 1833 
a great change came over the prospects of Lumberton, the new 
sawmill and gristmill and lately opened canal giving great im- 
petus to them. Renting the gristmill to Lukens Thomas, who had 
followed him up from Horsham he took John D. and William 
Balderston, of Solebury, into partnership under the title of" Ken- 
derdine, Balderston & Co.," as dealers in lumber, and sawyers 
of pine and hemlock logs drawn from rafts in the river. About 
1840 the Balderstons withdrew from the company, Lukens 


Thomas taking their places, he having given up the gristmill to 
Isaiah and James Quinby, brothers-in-law to John E. Kenderdine. 
In 1842 Lukens Thomas took over the lumber establishment him- 
self, keeping it till 1846, when he had bought from the estate of 
William Dil worth, an opposition yard, and much to the chagrin 
of his former partner. His place was taken by William 
Webster, who also came from Horsham, and James Quinby, who 
had left the gristmill to join him, the firm name being Quinby & 
Webster, Isaiah Quinby assuming charge of the mill. The firm 
did not last a year, Webster going to another opposition lumber 
yard in New Hope, occasioning further chagrin in the mind of 
his predecessor, John E. Kinderdine, he taking the place of Web- 
ster. Quinby, also, soon got weary of the business, and went on 
the sawmill, John E. Kenderdine again taking charge of the lum- 
ber business, which was until 1853, wdien he took Morris L. Fell, 
from Buckingham, in partnership, run under the name of Kender- 
dine & Fell. In another year Anthony Margerum, also from 
Horsham, took the senior partner's place, under the title of Fell & 
Margerum, adding contract building to the other extensive busi- 
ness in lumber and factory work (as wood working machinery had 
been installed at Laurelton). This firm dissolved in 1860, when John 
E. Kinderdine again took over the business, keeping it till 1865, 
when it reverted to his sons, Watson and Thaddeus S., under the 
title of Kendernine Brothers. For nearly ten years they had 
the lumber and coal yard, sawmill and door and sash factory and 
fertilizer works just started, purchasing the Laurelton section 
after the death of their father in 1869, and carrying on that part 
till the fall of 1874, when the firm dissolved. The senior member 
buying the place and carrying on the business alone until 1891. 
A few years after Watson Kenderdine took his son-in-law, 
Hampton W. Rice, into partnership under the name of Kender- 
dine & Rice, confining their business to fertilizers. In a few 
years they dissolved partnership, the senior partner continuing for 
a few years until business became so poor from the encroachment 
of the North East Pennsylvania railroad which cut ofif the in- 
land trade, so that the mill went into pathetic silence. This 
property, after its last owner's death brought but one-tenth of its 
cost, the woodwork being sold ofif for old lumber, so that there is 


nothing left now but the foundation walls of a once prosperous 

The gristmill was bought of the estate of John E. Kenderdine 
in 1869 by Eugene and Wilson S. Paxson and run by them for 
several years, much money being spent on its improvement, which 
was all thrown away for the business in time was done for. The 
walls yet stand but the machinery is gone, while the rain for 
many years through a leaking roof has so afifected the interior 
that on my last visit, when I essayed to see how the upper parts 
looked, I found the first stairway too much decayed for safe 

The lumber yard and sawmill and two houses, as well as the 
river and canal landings, were bought by Isaac H. Worstall, 
who rented the property to Bennett & Tinsman of Monroe, later 
it was bought by William Tinsman, then by William Tinsman 
& Son, and still later by Daniel Tinsman & Son. When they aban- 
doned the sawmill they continued to maintain a lumber yard. 

The stone quarries of Lumberton had been worked in a small 
way for forty years, when the Kemble Brothers, contractors and 
politicians of Philadelphia, bought them of Worstall, as well as 
the once Kenderdine farm back of them, and for twenty-five 
years they operated them extensively, sometimes employing one 
hundred men, getting out large dressed building stone and paving 
blocks, the latter going to pave the streets of Philadelphia, where 
the senior member of the firm had large contracts. 

For awhile all this material went down the canal, but later a 
tramway was built across the Delaware river to a siding on the 
Belvidere railroad, and the stone run across on a carrier. The 
Kembles bought another farm on which there was a quarry,. Be 
sides, they had built two new houses in Lumberton and several 
in Lumberville for their employes, but the stone business petered 
out, the same as had the lumber and grain business, mainly from 
the introduction of asphalt for paving and concrete for building 
walls, so the quarries became idle, as are the rest of the once- 
prominent enterprises around Lumberton, till it is as a "banquet 
hall deserted," the old name of the village being even removed 
from the, sign on the yet-standing quarry office — the word "Lum- 
berville" taking its place in the "Lumberton Granite Quarry Com- 


pany," the term "granite" being a fake, the same as the title of 
the village. 


The Cuttalossa may have been "unwept and unhonored." but 
it has not been "unsung" even though in a primitive way. In 
Buck's and Davis' histories there are about a dozen poems of 
more or less merit, referring to the stream, and Whittier from his 
temporary nearness to its watery windings might easily have been 
induced to have further immortalized it with the favorings of his 
pen, for the Healy farm, the place of some of his summer out- 
ings, overlooked the Cuttalossa, and there was an impressive 
view over where its waters meandered through its bosky entour- 
age towards the Delaware, but, beyond a thirty-years remem- 
brance of the "little river." and its outlet, we have nothing from 
the Quaker poet. While at his vacation residence he had larger 
ventures on hand, and between them and his editorial work on 
the Pennsylvania Freeman, and perfecting some of his poems in 
transit, he had little time for local work. 

With the exception of a poem addressed to the Neshaminy, and 
put to the Confederate States' tune of "My Maryland," as a class 
song, written by a George School student, no other Bucks county 
stream has been poetically apostrophized. A poem written by 
Nathan Ely about 1850 and dedicated "To the Cuttalossa," is 
mainly impressive from the personality of the author. An humble 
farmer, in seclusion from a stammering infirmity, and this to an 
extent to cause him to be mimicked by the thoughtless, and home- 
ly in face and figure, deserving, as I knew him, the pathetic title 
of "a harmless old man," but he had a poetic nature, to an extent, 
perhaps brought about by his social isolation, which even his in- 
timate friends were unaware of. least of all that he would sing 
of "loving youthful pairs" and their "talk of love and future 
bliss." The following are the verses, and it is worthy of remark 
that they were written before the stream became one of note : 


Fair Cuttalossa, why shouldst thou 

Remain unnamed in song. 
When thy meandering waters flow 

So pure and bright along? 


Thou glidest through the grassy mead 

And through the lonely dell, 
While smaller tributary streams 

Thy murmuring waters swell. 

In places, too, thy winding sides 

With trees are thickly crowned, 
And in thy dark and lonely vales 

May solitude be found; 

And though my youthful days are past, 

Yet still I love to stray 
Along thy wild romantic shores 

And hear thy waters play. 

Here on thy spreading, smooth-barked beech 

How many names appear! 
Carved by the hands of those who once 

Were glad to wander here. 

Full many a loving, j'outhful pair 

Along thy banks have strayed 
And talked of love and future bliss 

Beneath the spreading shade. 

But ah! How many who once loved 

Along Ihy shores to roam 
Now sleep beneath the graveyard sod 

Lain in their final home. 

And I, ere many years are past. 

Must cease to visit thee. 
But while I live thy shady banks 

Will still be dear to me. 

Watson Kenderdine wrote a "Legend of the Cuttalossa" in 
his youth, referring to the tragic death of a young Indian girl, 
previously mentioned, and William J. Buck wrote "The Fern's 
Complaint," an allusion to the robbery of the beds of that plant 
by tourists along the stream, and also "The Wood Thrush's Song," 
both of credit to one devoted to the prose of local history. The 
three poems were published in the Cuttalossa book. "A Rural 
Sketch," written by Dr. John Watson, of Buckingham, about the 
year 1800, has the following concluding verse : 

And let man not throng his vain pride despise 
The rural hamlets and the happy swain. 

Where Lahaskae and Cuttelause rise 

And water with their streams the fertile plain. 


Perhaps I may be allowed to add a poem of my own in con- 
nection with the subject: 

Where Cuttalossa's flowing 

Goes murmuring on its way, 
By bush and sapHng going, 

And tall trees old and gray, 
Just where across the water 

From the quaint old gristmill come 
The big brown wheel's low patter, 

And the mill stone's drowsy hum; 
Here sparkling from its birthplace. 

Just up the rifted hill, 
From out its caverned earthplace, 

Cascades a little rill, 
Till in a horse trough mossy. 

It pours its crystal tide, 
Where comes the Cuttalossa 

From meadows green and wide. 

Thy beeches gray and lettered 

With names carved long ago. 
Shading thy waves unfettered 

As riverv^ard they go. 
Thy spice-wood fringed meadows. 

The hills that slope beyond. 
The trees which cast their shadows 

In placid pool and pond; 
Passed is each old time feature; 

All once familiar gone — 
It seems revenging nature 

Was coming to its own. 
No wonder that heart burnings, 

I feel to count the cost, 
As come to me the yearnings 

For so much loved and lost. 
Thy streamlets laurel shaded. 

As they for aye have been. 
By dryads reinvaded, 

And all their woodland kin; 
Thy many mill wheels noiseless, 

Unroofed their ragged walls. 
Thy homesteads sad and voiceless 

Where once were happy halls; 
From cellar up to attic, 

In Fate's relentless wars. 


And all so emblematic 

Of human deaths and scars, 
Traditions torn asunder 

From wreckages of time, 
Can even strangers wonder 

If sadness rules my rhyme? 
My parents, sisters, brothers. 

That happy made my life. 
Near neighbors and the others. 

With them my thoughts are rife. 
Oh! Whittier's "little river" 

Whose vale so much enfolds, 
Forget thee I will never. 

While faintest memory holds! 

There was also another of my poems of one hundred and eighty 
hnes entitled : "A Lyric of the Cuttalossa," written about 1870, 
mainly imaginable, and in reference to the fountain and the theft 
of "Our Cup." While the sylvan guardians of the place, the 
Naiads and Satyrs, tricked by Morpheus, went to sleep, the rob- 
bery occurred, to their extreme disturbance on awaking. But, 
stung by remorse to the extent of a violent nightmare, the man 
and brother brought the cup back the next morning to the great 
rejoicings of 

The woodland sprites exultant 

Who in sportive gambols played: 
Pan piping a bacchanal measure 

Frisked up and down the glade, 
While the goat-like prancing Satyrs 

And the Naiads, scant arrayed, 
Keeping time to the pipe's wild music 

Danced minuets in the shade! 

The first poem relative to the Cuttalossa was written by Eliza- 
beth Armitage in 1816. She was a sister to "Uncle John," the 
miller, to whom a chapter is given in Buck's history. The verses 
are lost, but it is said that they were more noted for their odd 
spelling of the creek than for poetic merit, although it is men- 
tionable that over a century ago the Cuttalossa stirred up the 
muses. It was addressed to the "Scuteloss," and even if lacking 
in metrical imagination, it is unfortunate that the poem was lost, 
it being the work of an old-fashioned maiden lady, housekeeper 
for "Uncle John." Her giant boxbush, of an age to suggest the 
title of a century plant, I very well remember seeing as it stood 


in front of the miller's house, but that, as has its caretaker, has 
long since passed away. 

Cyrus Livezey also wrote a poem on the Cuttalossa which was 
read before a literary gathering around "Poet's Rock" on the 
shores of the stream in 1871. His brother, Allen Livezey, got up 
five verses similarly addressed which can be found in Davis' 
Bucks County History. There were other poets along the val- 
ley, but their lines do not particularly refer to its water. Among 
these writers was George Lear, and of note in after years in our 
county-seat, and who, to earn money to fit himself as a school 
teacher, as a preliminary to studying for the law, labored at 
digging the headrace of the second Lumberton sawmill after 
"doing his bit" on the Delaware canal on the same lines. What- 
ever credit there was in the given advice, my father should have 
it, for, seeing great possibilities in the humble pick-and-shovel 
man, he urged him to higher flights, which finally culminated at 
the height of attorney general of the state of Pennsylvania. It 
was in the local debating school where my father saw that Lear 
deserved more than he was getting as a day laborer, and advised 
him to make efforts toward what his intellect was fitted for, 
which advice he took. When he was admitted to the bar, he gave 
him his first fee. 

As a local poet I must not forget William Satterthwaite, before 
mentioned, as eccentric Englishman, who came to this country' 
with his wife about 1740. After living in different places, par- 
ticularly at the Durham Furnace and Philadelphia, he came to 
Solebury, where he built a house, or what would now be called 
a bungalow, at the foot of Copper Nose, below what was after- 
ward Lumberville. He owned land on the plain above and there 
are yet the marks of a road he dug to reach his upper holdings, 
necessary, for the hill overshadowing his home rises to the steep- 
ness of forty-five degrees. W^hile a fabricator of poetry, none of 
which, so far as I can find out referred to the Cuttalossa, he lived 
near enough to the stream to draw inspiration from a valley 
whence close resident poets seem to have received it. A victim to 
domestic lack of bliss, at one time involving poisoning by his ill- 
tempered wife, and at another from being bitten by a rattlesnake, 
which reptile should have named the abrupt hill back of his 
home, and from which he was saved from death by the Indian 


doctor, Nutimus, from Nockamixon, he may have been driven to 
poetry by the mentioned troubles, and outside the inspiration al- 
luded to. At any rate he had the divine afflatus. He wrote 
several poems, extracts from a number of which I will give. One 
of these, in particular I remember my father speaking of when 
I was quite a lad, and which had "Nothing" for its subject. Being 
asked by a girl pupil to write her a poem, and not then in a 
poetic humor, perhaps from having been that morning too much 
of a target for his wife's tongue, rolling-pin or flying dishes, he 
answered, "As I feel now I can write about nothing." "All 
right," she said, "write about Nothing." Satterthwaite made an 
affirmative reply, and, taking "Nothing" for his subject, wrote a 
remarkable poem thereon, beginning : 

Nothing! Nothing! Mysterious Nothing, that shall be my theme, 
Nothing! Nothing! Mysterious Nothing, whence all beings came. 

After many sad experiences and tribulations, in which his wife 
acted discordant parts, and through which he was befriended by 
such important persons as Judge Jeremiah Langhorne and Pro- 
vincial Surveyor Jacob Taylor, and doubtless tired of playing 
Socrates to his Xantippe, Satterthwaite went to a deserved rest 
at the home of his kind friend, Langhorne, nevermore, let us 
trust, to be harassed by scold or serpent. 

Satterthwaite was a school teacher and a classical scholar, and 
after coming to Philadelphia taught in Jacob Taylor's school, 
and after Taylor became surveyor general was made deputy sur- 
veyor of the Province. He taught several schools in Bucking- 
ham and Solebury, just before the Revolution at the junction of 
the Street road and the road leading to New Hope from near 
what is now Glendale. He was proficient in Latin and Greek, 
so much so in the latter that he used it in talking to his horse 
which he seemed to think understood him. Showing further 
Satterthwaite's eccentric ways, once when he saw a negro in his 
despondency from being whipped by a brother African, threaten- 
ing to take his life, he told him that would be wicked, and to let 
his adviser act as executioner. Satterthwaite performed this 
service so well that before its conclusion the negro begged off 
and was cured of his desire for self destruction. 

My father came into possession of some of Satterthwaite's 


manuscript ; how, and what became of it I do not know, so I 
must depend on Davis' Bucks' County History for the extracts 
I give. The poet did not Hve in the Cuttalossa valley, but a half 
mile away, but in his despondent wanderings he paid it visits. 
His unfortunate marriage seemingly a forced one before leaving 
England, had much to do with his sad life, extending to quite ad- 
vanced years. 

In his poetry he did not forget to apostrophize the snake which 
came nearly doing him up, thus : 

Thou poisonous serpent with a noisy tall, 
Whose teeth are tinctured with the plagues of hell! 

So it seems that he was not bitten by a copperhead, which sup- 
posedly from that gave name to the hill overshadowing his house. 
He afterwards remarked that since attempts to poison him had 
been vainly made by both snake and wife he "defied all the devils 
in hell to kill him." 

While his wife's poison failed to do him up, a poem he wrote 
failed to cure her of one of her sins — extravagance. This was 
the "Indian Queen," the scene of which was laid in the valley of 
the Laoglan, a creek entering the Delaware from New Jersey, 
below Lumberton. The leading lady was a princess who, dis- 
satisfied with the plain buckskin suit she had been wearing, after 
getting a gay calico gown, accompanied with a looking glass, went 
abroad to show her finery. Passing a fire her dress caught in 
the flames and she was burned to death ; a catastrophe avoidable 
had she stuck to her former attire. The last two lines of the 
poem were : 

The princess dies, and I conclude my verse. 
Thus, like Alcides, on his flaming hearse, 

Instead of this reforming his wife she ran away, thus showing 
that while the poet's fabled lyre may make trees dance, woman's 
desire for dress is not amenable to its persuasions. After his 
wife's abandonment, in one of his forlorn wanderings, Satterth- 
waite went to William Skelton's mill at the mouth of the Cutta- 
lossa. Finding the mill closed, he wrote on the door. 

Here Skelton lurks, and unkind refuge seeks, 

On Delaware's banks, between two awful peaks. 

Showing his weariness of teaching he thus expressed himself : 


Oh! what a stock of patience needs the fool 
Who spends his time and breath in teaching school. 
Taught or untaught, the dunce is still the same; 
But yet the wretched master gets the blame. 

The following is part of elegy to his good friend, Jeremiah 
Langhorne : 

He stood the patriot of the Province, where 
Justice was nourished with celestial care. 
He taught the laws to know their just design, 
Truth, Justice, Mercy had to hand to join. 
Without regard to fear or hope, or gain, 
Or sly designs of false, corrupted men. 

Of a religious nature he wrote a poem entitled "Providence," 
beginning : 

O Gracious Power, divinely just and great. 
Who rules the volumes of eternal fate. 
Thou Guard of thought, Inspirer of my song. 
My thanks to Thee, kind Providence, belong; 
Thou wing'st my genius and inspir'st my soul 
To sing Thy praise, Great Ruler of the whole! 

The following poem, reproving a young woman for singing, 
was found among my father's papers : 

Though singing is a pleasant thing, 

Approved and done in Heaven; 
It only should employ the souls 

Who know their sins forgiven. 

Though far from being contemporaneous, as Satterthwaite died 
a few years before my father was born, the poet seems to have 
much impressed him ; perhaps from his association with Lum- 

Besides the friends of Satterthwaite already named, there was 
Lawrence Growdon, who invited him in his declining years to 
make his home with him, but he went to Jeremiah Langhorne's 
instead, and there at Langhorne Park his life ended. John Chap- 
man, clerk at the Durham Iron Works, where Satterthwaite 
taught school for sevaral years, was also his good friend, as was 
also John Watson, who being something of a poet, made their 
meeting together the more agreeable. Watson, as a state sur- 
veyor, with his party, did work around the Durham Iron Works. 


There was also a man named Pellar, perhaps a Solebury Pellar, 
to be added to the coterie. Mention is made of the party in their 
leisure hours (when school was not kept, the chain and quadrant 
idle and the clerk not wanted at his desk), that they convening 
at a Durham trout stream, where, between casts of flies and the 
draft of "speckled beauties," and sips of punch, the poets, and 
those of other guilds talked shop and read one to another. In his 
closing years, when under the hospitable roof of Langhorne, and 
after his Jezebel of a wife had ceased to trouble, he often re- 
verted to those halcyon days along Durham creek. He must 
have remembered the extemporaneous ode with which his friend 
Watson woke up the lazybones of the camp, closing with : 

The sun peeps o'er the highest tree, 
Ere we have sipped our punch and tea; 
So time rolls on from day to day. 
That noon comes ere we can survey. 

Indicating that Surveyor John Watson, despite his friendliness, 
did not object to drinking something stronger than tea. Thus 
showing that Satterthwaite, despite his failings, had his friends ; 
so I make no excuse for giving him so much space, the facts of 
which I am mainly indebted to Davis' History, from the chapter 
"Our Poets and Their Poetry." The Satterthwaites had a son 
named George, but there is no knowledge as to what became 
of him. 


To write up the Cuttalossa history and leave out something 
concerning the fountain would be eliminating the mournful Dane 
in playing Hamlet. This is where the valley opens onto farm 
lands, though at the foot of a wooded hillside, and where a 
copious spring gushes from a little cavern at the summit. As the 
historian Bucks says, "the situation is lovely and romantic. The 
fountain is overhung and shaded by the long pendant branches of 
the beech, red oak and willow. The spice wood also helps to 
canopy it, in September brilliant with numerous red berries." 

In 1866, long after John E. Kenderdine had placed a watering- 
trough by the roadside, Joseph D. Armitage (who lived on an 
ancestral farm just across the Cuttalossa). noticing the many 
people stopping there to quench their thirst, made a drinking cup 


from a cocoanut shell, with an iron handle on which he inscribed : 


Art not cold wells and crystal springs, 
For our hotels the very things? 


His crediting the lines to Whittier was a mistake, as they were 
written by John Pierpont. To further beautify and utilize the 
spring with its rude wooden watering-trough, the neighbors, and 
people as far away as Doylestown, subscribed the sum of $160 
for a flagstone trough, flanked with concave walls, on each end 
of which there was a capped column and stone steps, on which 
were inscribed the above verse of Pierpoint's, and also "Cutta- 
LOSSA Fountain, erected 1873, by Admirers of the Beauti- 
ful/' In addition to the cash subscriptions there was much 
gratitous work. 

On the opposite side of the road, overshadowed by a large wil- 
low tree, on a stone foundation was set a marble basin four feet 
square, a companion piece to one in front of the Fountain House, 
Doylestown, and in this an image of a boy on whose head rested 
a shell. A lead pipe was run from the spring under the road and 
up through the basin, image and shell, and on its summit a wheat 
sheaf shaped spray was arranged. With the good pressure at its 
back a fine fountain was the result, the admiration of all passers- 
by, tourists coming from far and near to see it, and to water their 
teams and rest on the seats placed on the slope of the hill. For 
awhile an ice cream vendor came on certain days, and the place 
became quite a resort. Everything went well for a time ; the 
Armitage sisters, who owned the property around the spring, 
cleared out the underbrush, put up additional steps and planted 
hitching posts. But the time came when these good ladies died 
and the promoters of the fountain had moved away — those who 
had, when danger of destruction by freezing came to the perish- 
able parts of the fountain, removed and housed them through the 
winter months, and in the spring replaced them. Finally there 
were no caretakers, and hence no autumn removals of the perish- 
able parts ; the openings froze, bad boys stoned the image and 
shell, and the time came when the beautiful erection in the 
shades of the Cuttalossa valley was a wreck. To crown these mis- 


fortunes someone stole a marble block from its column, the one 
on which was carved the beautiful verse of Pierpont's. To those 
who expended so much for this beauty spot a visit to the wrecked 
place is saddening. William J. Buck visited the fountain in 1896, 
and was pained at the sight. When he was there before there 
were many visitors, the beautiful center of the shaded surround- 
ings was in perfect shape, and the fountain playing. Now all 
was so dififerent ; the many travelers were replaced by a lone 
bicycler, the pipe from the spring was choked up and the foun- 
tain accessories gone. I suppose the wonder was that, without 
the caretakers, they had lasted as long as they had. 

A few hundred yards below on the left side of the creek is a 
largesized, oblong stone, named "Poet's Rock," from a literary 
gathering once held there. In a glen just back of it was a large 
beech, its bark carved with many names, among which, plainly 
seen in 1873, was the following: "Rt. Kenerdine, 4th Month 
27th. 1856; for Futurity." He was then fifteen yeears old, a 
peaceful, Quaker boy, little thinking then that in seven years he 
would be brought home dead from the awful carnage at Gettys- 
burg. The tree is no longer there, for the portable sawmill has 
done its work and the glen is deforested. 

Of the good people who lived along the valley of the Cutta- 
losse, and whom I can remember and whom I can count not 
only by units but by scores — the owners of farms and tenants 
thereof — the owners, the Seiners, Jewells, Balderstons, Wilsons, 
Armitages, Healys, Paxsons and others — where are they? I can 
only name as yet residents, or in the land of the living, Charles 
S. Baldereston, Amos Armitage, Eugene Paxson and his son, 
Samuel L., living on the divided farm of Howard Paxson, their 
ancestor. Excepting those. 

They have gone their short space, they have lived their short day; 
As a tale that is told they have vanished away. 

When my father moved to Lumberton it was with the justified 
thought that his descendants would occupy his holdings in per- 
petuity, and he made his will in accordance. The result : a line 
of ruined business places in succession along the Cuttalossa and a 
scattered family, none of the name living within fifteen miles of 
Lumberton, showing that while man proposes changed business 
conditions make the disposition. 


Relative to the difference in sizes of families, then and now, 
I will mention three instances on contiguous farms. In our 
family there were eight children, in Howard Paxson's nine, and 
in his brother Abraham's ten, the latter now all deceased. Of 
Howard Paxson's, seven of the nine are living, and of my 
father's two remain. These families all belonged to the Society 
of Friends, in fact among the people for miles around there was 
scarcely a family that did not belong to that society. Of the 
few descendants left, there is not one save at rare intervals, who 
now attend the Solebury Meeting, the place of worship of their 
ancestors, where carriage loads formerly wended their way. With 
such families as those named and I have left out one, William 
Kitchen, a farmer living away from the others I have named, 
where there were seven children, all now deceased, is it any 
wonder that our "eight-square schoolhouse" had a roster of 
ninety pupils, even if they could not all get within its confines at 
one time, they crowded in and came by relays. There were no 
truant laws then. 

This much from what I know personally and from printed 
data concerning the Cuttalossa, its mills, homes and people. I 
have heretofore written much concerning the locality, but a great 
part of this was of extreme local or family interest ; so much so, 
indeed, as to not be effective for the general public. For an ex- 
haustive account of the Cuttalossa the curious are referred to 
Buck's History or Reeder's "Early Soolebury Settlers." As to 
the first-named author, from his distance from the scenery and 
people connected with the valley, he has done wonders in making 
searches from ancient documents and gleaning information from 
local contemporaries around the titled stream. Unfortunately 
for those interested, at least so far as I have sought to get a copy 
of "The Cuttalossa, Its Historical, Traditional and Poetical Asso- 
ciations," the book was not obtainable, when twice advertising 
for one to replace by lire-damaged copy. There was talk of its 
re-publication, but so far it has not availed. 


Mr. Kenderdine was in the 82nd. year of his age when he 
read this paper. He was born in the village of Lumberton, 


Bucks county, Pa., December 10, 1836, and passed away at his 
home at Newtown, Pa., February 17, 1922. 

He was elected a member of the Bucks County Historical 
Society July 21, 1896, and on January 17, 1911, was made a 
member of its board of directors, serving in that capacity down 
to the time of his death. He was an active member of the so- 
ciety, attending its meetings with regularity and contributing a 
number of valuable papers, as reference to the society's publica- 
tions will show. He was a prolific writer of both prose and 
poetry, and the seven books which he published can be found on 
the shelves of our library. His first book, published in 1888, 
entitled "A California Tramp, and Later Footprints," (contain- 
ing 416 pages) gives a most interesting and graphic account of 
his trip across the prairies punching a team of oxen, from 
Leavenworth, Kansas, to Camp Floyd, near Salt Lake City, Utah, 
loaded with supplies for one of the western forts, and the after 
experiences of his trip to California after discharging his load, 
and leaving his team of oxen. This, as well as his other writ- 
ings, show him to have been a man of more than usual literary 
attainments. He was one of the Bucks County Poets referred to 
by General Davis in his History of Bucks County. His second 
book, published in 1898. is entitled "California Revisited." His 
other five books, published in 1913, 1914, 1916, 1917 and 1921 
respectively, which he calls "Personal Recollections and Travels 
at Home and Abroad," (Vol. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5) are made up 
largely of papers read before societies or published in newspapers. 
One of them. Volume 5. contains his autobiography, to which 
reference can be had. His portrait forms part of the frontispiece 
of this volume. 

Maple Sugar Making in Southwestern Pennsylvania and 
Northeastern Virginia. 

(Doylestown Meeting, January 18, 1918.) 

ALONG about the middle of February, the farmer would 
load his sugar-troughs on a sled (often drawn by a good 
yoke of oxen) and distribute them to the sugar maple 
trees, one and sometimes two or even three to a tree, if that 
particular tree had the reputation of being a good producer or if 
the season promised to be short. After the troughs had been 
distributed and the weather just right for a good flow, (for the 
sugar maple tree is very sensitive to weather conditions,) he took 
his tapping-auger, a small wooden mallet and a basket of spiles 
and proceeded to tap the trees. This is done by boring holes in 
the side of the trees about eighteen inches or two feet from the 
ground (generally on the southeast side and about one inch in 
depth), fitting into the holes two or three spiles for each trough, 
which is placed firmly up close to the tree under the spiles. These 
spiles were made from the elder or the sumac and were about 
one foot long, one end being tapered so as to fit snugly in the 
hole in the tree ; the top was shaven down to the pith, which was 
removed, leaving that part an open spout. 

The troughs were made from some easily-worked wood, such 
as poplar, or walnut. The tree intended for troughs was first 
cut into lengths of from three to five feet, then split into halves, 
each half hewed out with an adze and axe into neat little troughs, 
holding from three to six gallons. The augers wxre made by 
the local blacksmith. 

Next was the gathering of the sugar-water and hauling it 
to the sugarhouse, this was done by placing barrels on sleds, 
drawn by the same faithful yoke of oxen. The sugar-water, was 
dipped from the troughs with a gourd dipper, first into wooden 
pails and then poured into the barrels through a funnel made 
from one of the sugar troughs by boring a whole in its bottom in 
which was driven a short wooden spout. The sugarhouse was 
built of logs in some convenient place in the woods, (always 


leaving an opening in the roof to allow the steam to escape). 
The furnace was built of stone and arched over the top, into 
which were inserted large iron kettles, as many as were 
needed. The chimney was built on the outside at the end of the 
sugarhouse. Although situated in the bituminous coal district, 
the fuel was wood which was cut and hauled and piled just out- 
side the sugarhouse during the early months of winter. The 
sugar-water was poured into these kettles and boiled down to a 
thin syrup, often throwing into the kettle of boiling sugar- water 
a small piece of fat meat to keep it from foaming over the top of 
the kettle. 

The periods of boiling down were continuous day and night, 
or days and nights when they had specially good runs of sugar- 
water. During these long evening-boilings, the young folks 
would gather at the sugarhouse and have their "stirring-off" 
parties. They would hang an iron pot on a tripod over an open 
fire and boil down this syrup, sitting around it, each one with a 
large spoon, and a cup of cold w^ater, and dip the boiling syrup 
from the pot and drop it into the water. The result was the 
finest maple wax and taffy that any mortal ever tasted. Talk 
about your husking-bees, apple-cuttings, corn-roasts, etc., they 
were not to be compared to the pleasure of a stirring-off party 
at the old sugarhouses. 

This syrup was then taken to the sugarhouse where the boil- 
ing down was continued until it reached just the right point, 
the kettle was then taken from the fire and the contents stirred 
vigorously until the result became a nice crumbly mass of maple 


In conclusion I want to describe an old walnut sugar-trough 
presented to the Bucks County Historical Society by Mr. J. C. 
Lemley of near Mount Morris, Greene county, Pennsylvania. 

This historic trough (exhibiting trough) was made from the 
top of an old walnut tree, cut on the Lemley farm in the spring 
of 1838, the farm now owned by J. C. Lemley but then owned 
by his uncle, Asa Lemley, who in that year had the body of the 
tree sawed into planks and the top and large limbs made into 

In September 1767, Mason & Dixon with their engineers and 


axemen, came to Dunkirk creek, and on sighting their instru- 
ments across the creek, found this large tree to be directly on 
the line and sent some of their axemen across to blaze it as a 
line-tree. This was done by making three hacks about two feet 
apart with an axe. When the men approached the tree they were 
attacked by Shawnee and Delaware Indians, and were driven 
away. On making another attempt they were again attacked 
and some of the party were killed, while the rest of them, includ- 
ing Mason and Dixon, were driven back and did not resume their 
survey until twelve years later, when they completed their work 
without further trouble from the Indians. This walnut tree was 
the last tree marked until the return of Mason and Dixon twelve 
years later. When they returned in 1779, to complete the survey, 
they found the Indians had place a thirty-foot ladder against this 
tree, and from there up had bored holes into which they drove 
wooden pins, by which they climbed to its top in order to get 
honey, for this was a bee tree. And this is supposed to be the 
reason why the Indians had attacked the men and driven them 
away, thinking they were going to cut down the tree to get the 
honey. J. C. Lumley has another trough, made from the same 
tree, which is charred on one side, showing where the Indians 
had a fire to smoke out the bees. This walnut tree stood on the 
north bank of Dunkirk creek at the first and lower crossing of 
Mason & Dixon's line, two miles southeast of Fort Morris, Pa., 
three miles northeast of Statler's Fort and about ten miles due 
west of Fort Martin, Pa., near the Monongahela river. This tree 
was at the end of the survey, the line ending at two gum trees 
standing about one-half mile east thereof. On the Pennsylvania 
side, near this tree, is the remains of an Old Indian fort, and on 
the West Virginia side, about the same distance from the line, 
on a large stone is what Mr. Lemley called a "turkey foot", but 
which I am inclined to think was an Indian guidepost. as it 
points directly north and south. 

Mr. Lemley has also presented to this society three spiles over 
forty-five years old, made from elders, also a gourd dipper which 
he had used to dip sugar- water from the troughs. (These ob- 
jects were shown at the meeting, and brought forth quite an in- 
teresting discussion.) 

Mr. Lemley has in his possession a gourd dipper and an uncut 


gourd which are now (1919) eighty-seven years old. He also 
showed me his present sugarhouse which is partly sided up with 
some of the plank sawed eighty years ago from the old walnut 
tree to which I have referred. One of these plank contains the 
three hacks made by Mason & Dixon's men in blazing the tree. 
Also another plank with three holes bored by the Indians in 
which the wooden pins were driven to form a ladder by which 
they climbed the tree. 

Norse Mills of Colonial Times in Pennsylvania. 

(Doylestown Meeting-, January 18, 1919.) 

IN some of the text books on geometry, etc., a concise ques- 
tion or proposition is first propounded ; the answer given and 
then the detail shown, of how the answer is arrived at. 

In approaching the subject of this paper I am inclined to pro- 
ceed in much the same way. by first tersely asking, "What is a 
Norse Mill" and also "What has such to do with the history of 
this district in which we are interested ?" and then briefly answer- 
ing, first, that a so-called "Norse Mill" is the crudest and simplest 
form of old time water wheel, used for driving a primitive grist- 
mill ; and second that it was such form of mill that was first 
erected in the territory that is now the Commonwealth of Penn- 
sylvania and the first kind of power mill of any sort to turn a 
wheel in this state, that now, nearly three centuries later, is one 
of the chief industrial states of the Union. This being so, it 
becomes of some interest to learn- what a Norse mill was, and 
when, where and by whom such was or were erected in the lo- 
cality in which we now dig up — both metaphorically and actually, 
the records and evidences of the past. 

Water wheels, like nearly everything else, have been developed, 
from early crude and inefficient forms, to advanced forms of 
high efficiency. The present type, the modern iron turbine wheel, 
gives an efficiency of power secured, compared with the theoreti- 

1 Mr. Shelton died in Pliiladelphia, November 24, 1924. 


cal power of the water used, of up to eighty-five per cent. This 
is a development of say the last three generations. But for hun- 
dreds of years before this, the highest perfection of water wheel 
design, dating from remotest ages, back to the Romans and all 
that, was the old overshot wood wheel, familiar to every one as 
the characteristic water wheel of the miller, the artist, the poet 
and the schoolbook. While there were variations, known as the 
breast wheel, when the water was admitted not on top, but on the 
side ; or the undershot, when the water impinged against the 
lower part of the wheel, the general type and form was the same, 
viz : a massive, large wooden wheel on edge, like a silver dollar, 
carried on a shaft or axle, from which the power was in nearly 
every case, necessarily taken off by suitable intermediate gearing, 
to the grist stones or other machinery to be driven. 

But while such form of wheel, giving up to perhaps sixty per 
cent of efficiency, was in general use in all countries favored 
with water falls, there was yet a simpler and cruder form also in 
use, namely that which is known as the "Norse" wheel, at least 
in the English speaking races. And this form is best described 
or brought to mind by picturing such a miniature wheel as a boy 
would make by sticking a few shingles into a vertical shaft and 
setting such in a brook where the water would hit the blades on 
one side and make the wheel turn around. That is all there is 
practically, to a Norse wheel. You can see that nothing could 
be more simple ; that it is the crudest possible form of power 
wheel, and that as such, nations or countries but partly civilized 
could yet construct and use in a simple primitive way ; which has 
been the case the world over. For like everything else, in which 
there are both simple and complex forms of things, side by side, 
while the more elaborate overshot wheel was equally known and 
of equal antiquity, the little ■ horizontal spin-wheel of this so- 
called Norse form, was used at the same time and probably in 
considerably greater numbers, through all known ages. 

Remains of these wheels have been dug up in Ireland, that 
trace back to the period between the years 700 and 1100, and 
there is plenty of evidence elsewhere of their use for half a 
dozen centuries back, the world over. Weisbach in his Mechanics 
of Engineering says that "they are met with in all the moun- 
tainous countries of Europe and in the north of Africa, applied 


as mills for grinding corn." They are still found in the remote 
portions of Norway and Sweden and in the Shetland, Orkney 
and Farce Islands ; in Maderia and in Roumania ; extensively 
used and of great antiquity of use. In France, they have long 
been known as the "roulet volante" and a cut of one is shown 
in Glynn's A Rudimentary Treatise on Pozver of Water of 1853. 

The best description, in detail and with illustrations, of this 
type of old. primitive water wheel can be found in Vol. II of 
Bennett and Eaton's History of Corn Milling (1899), where in 
chapter 3, eighteen pages upon the subject may be found. An- 
other description is that of an article on old "Clack Mills" in 
English County Life, Vol. XXV (1904), pp. 709-10, where an 
old Norse mill in the Orkney Islands is pictured and described, 
with a sketch as well of the mill stone and grain feed detail. 
Mitchell's Past in the Present (1876), gives a brief description. 
TJic Scientific American of May 8, 1886, page 292, vol. 54, 
briefly describes "A Shetland Tirl". And lesser references to 
these mills can be found in many of the engineering and other 
books on water wheels, their history, etc. I will not consume time 
by here going into an extended detail of the design and construc- 
tion, as the type was or is the same, where ever found, while the 
detail varies naturally, according to human ideas and preferences 
and conditions the world over. Sufficient it is to say, that the 
scheme of these Norse wheels is invariably that of a vertical 
shaft, the lower end fitted with blades, buckets or paddles in a 
horizontal zone by which the water makes the wheel turn around, 
and the upper and carrying a runner or revolving mill stone 
that works over a fixed or bedstone just beneath it. There is 
some simple arrangement for raising or lowering the rig, so as 
to vary the space between the stones and thereby grind fine or 
coarse, and some simple jiggle or clapper device to feed the 
grain from the hopper to the stones ; a crude small enclosed house 
about eight to twelve feet square, with a roof, and that's all ! 

About the only variation of moment is the kind of blade or 
paddle used on the shaft. A well preserved wheel and shaft, of 
the very early Irish mills, had nineteen spoon or scoop shaped 
bucket blades of oak, of which ten yet remained, when dug up. 
In the mills of Madeira the buckets are not straight boards, few 
in number, but some twenty, of curved form, held between wood 


rings ; and this is also the arrangement of the North CaroHna 
wheels. But in Norway the blades are made of straight fiat 
boards, six or eight in number, though sometimes ten or twelve, 
a foot wide and perhaps eighteen inches long and one and one- 
quarter inches thick, mortised into a heavy wood vertical shaft. 
And in this region the boards are usually placed at an angle or 
obliquely so that the flat side is squarely presented for the im- 
pact of the water, which is fed to the wheel by a chute or trough 
at an angle varying from twenty to forty degrees. In France 
the design is both the few-bladed paddle form and the multiplex 
curved bucket form. In Roumania again, in the Carpathian 
mountain regions, mills are found virtually exact duplicates of 
the Norway form. In the Shetland Islands, where one hundred 
years ago it is said there were five hundred of these mills and in 
the Orkney and Farce Islands, etc., the form is about the same 
as in Norway with sometimes a double row of paddle boards, 
and this is as would be expected, as it is about two hundred to 
three hundred miles to the two first named island groups and 
the north of Scotland (where these mills are also found) and the 
introduction of these mills is attributed to Norse invaders in 
early times. 

While these mills are called "Norse Mills" by us, because we 
so see them styled in what we read in the English prints, I ques- 
tion the propriety of such designation. For they are no more 
Norse than of any other country. As already stated they are 
found in many countries, and the plain straight fiat blade form 
in particular is not confined to the Norse Land or the Scandi- 
navian peninsular. Roumania is a far cry; and I greatly doubt 
whether the northern African or the central European or the 
Chinese users (for they have such primitive wheel in great num- 
bers in China as well) think of these simpler water wheels in 
the least as Norse wheels ! And the Carolina wheel that adorns 
the museum of the Bucks County Historical Society, might as 
well be called a Madeira wheel or an Irish wheel or a French 
roulet volant for it has the many small curved buckets and not 
the few fiat wood paddle-blades of the Norse proper, design at all. 
To my mind, these simple spin wheels — these earliest water 
wheel forms, are merely such, and universal, of every name, as 
locally styled and used in various languages and races the world 


over; and I view the term Norse wheel as only a local designa- 
tion of the English people, who, generally using the more ad- 
vanced overshot wheels, distinguished by the name of "Norse" 
the crude small form of their near neighbors of the Scandinav- 
ian countries. 

In ending this description of what a Norse wheel is, it may be 
well to note its fundamental difference from the modern turbine, 
of which some think it an early form, because they both are spin- 
wheels and both work upon vertical shafts. A Norse wheel is 
an impact wheel only. It gets its power from the velocity and 
impact of a shooting stream of water, coming from a nozzle or 
chute opening, close to the blades. Only a few of the blades are 
acted upon at once and the openings or waterways between the 
blades are never entirely filled with water. The wheel is always 
set above the tail water and the incoming water has a free exit 
into the open air. 

In a turbine on the contrary, the power comes not from im- 
pact, but from the pressure and the reaction of the water. All 
the buckets are acted upon at once. The waterways are always 
filled with water under pressure and the wheel is set in the 
water, not in the open, above it. 

The difference in efficiency, with the same amount of water 
and head, is very great. In the primitive impulse horizontal 
wheels it is about twenty-five to forty per cent of the water's 
energy, that is secured in power, while in a modern turbine wheel 
it is two and one-half or three times as much or sixty to eighty- 
five per cent. So that while these Norse wheels are the simplest 
in form of all the water wheels they are also the least efificient. 
In Scotland they are also called "tirl wheels", and it is interest- 
ing to note that the entire class of these horizontal water spin 
wheels, in which the water runs through from above, are also 
known as or have been called "Danaides" ; so-called from the 
Greek legend of the fifty daughters of Danaus, who slew their 
husbands and in Hades later, were condemned to forever pour 
water through sieves ! The general heft of these mills was small. 
It does not take much power to turn a small grist stone, some- 
times but little larger than an old hand quern. So we find that 
the vertical shaft was at times but an iron rod or a light stick 
of wood. The Carolina form has a wood shaft scarcelv more 


than six inches in diameter, I beHeve. On the other hand in 
some of the rugged countries so to speak, a heavy crude con- 
struction appears, as in Norway, where the vertical shaft is 
usually made of a tree trunk of twelve to eighteen inches di- 
ameter. This thickness, of course, better enables the mortising 
of the blade boards. However, the mill stones carried are nearly 
always three feet or less in diameter, thirty and twenty-seven 
inches being common. The starting and stopping of these mills 
was usually accomplished by a simple sluice arrangement for 
switching the brook or run from its regular course outside the 
little mill house, to the new channel or chute running through it, 
or vice versa, effected by some boards stuck in the mud.- The 
speed of these wheels is about a hundred revolutions a minute. 

A step in advance in the design and efficiency of a Norse 
wheel is to put it in a case or to enclose it when it then becomes 
a "tub wheel", i. e. a wheel in a tub. And of this numerous in- 
stances can yet be found along the coast of Maine, in which state, 
in the past they have been extensively used, both in the interior 
on streams and on the shore on the outlet of tidal ponds. Maine 
is a lumber country and not a grain growing section and these 
mills where noted by me were usually used to drive saw mills by 
a bevel gear from the top of the vertical shaft. I noted several 
in 1917 at East Sullivan, not far from Bar Harbor, and at Goulds- 
boro, Machias and Whiting, along the Maine coast, in an auto- 
mobile trip from Bangor to St. Andrews, Canada; as well as 
near Oak Bay in New Brunswick, five or six miles out from 
St. Stephens on the road to St. Andrews. Other wheels of this 
character however drove gristmills in the vicinity of Castine, 
Maine, where at Goose Falls stood a good example at a tidal 
pond until burned a few years ago ; at Ame's mill pond, where a 
small mill building still stands, though with stones and water 
wheel gone ; in Lawrence Bay, where a pair of mill stones under 
water, attest the one time presence of a gristmill. The same ap- 
plies to the outlet of Salt Pond in the South Blue Hill region. 
And there is not the slightest doubt in my mind as to the fact 
that many of these old tub wheels can yet be found in that state. 

One that I measured, still in good shape but not now in use, 
though used to drive a wood-working factory, in even recent 
years, is at East Orland on the half-mile water-way or outlet run 


from Toddy Pond, into Alamcosock Pond below, some eighteen 
miles south from Bangor. This wheel is about four and one- 
half feet diameter, works in a two-inch plank tub case about seven 
feet in diameter, and has six plank blades, two inches thick by 
about twenty inches deep and twenty-four inches long. These 
blades are bolted on to six faces of the heavy shaft that is at that 
part made hexagonal, instead of being mortised into the shaft ; 
which hexagonal bolting arrangement makes a much easier and 
strong construction. Each blade moreover, carries a small apron 
of wood, bolted to it, on the lower edge of the near side face to 
hold the water a little or prevent its passing through too fast. The 
shaft is fourteen inches diameter and about seven or eight feet to 
the bevel gear above. The wheel is carried on a sole tree or 
sole-hurst that has no adjustment, as there is no grain grinding 
variation. This is, in other words, a heavy sill that spans the 
water exit or tail race. The inlet water comes into the wheel 
through the usual chute, at an angle of about thirty degrees. I 
believe this to be a typical wheel of the Maine district of the 
past fifty to seventy-five years or so, and as stated, it is a Norse 
wheel in a case forming a "tub wheel". 

What Norse mills can we locate in our Pennsylvania history? 
The records show that the Swedes first settled on the Delaware 
river at what is now Wilmington, in Delaware, in 1638, and that 
a later expedition from Sweden located in 1643 a few miles 
further up on Tinicum Island, now Essington, in what is now 
Delaware county, Pennsylvania ; and that this expedition, under 
the command of Governor Printz, built a gristmill on Karakung, 
later Mill, (Reed's map of Philadelphia, 1774), now Cobb's 
Creek. The location is well established, at 73rd and Woodland 
Avenue, Philadelphia, for as it is on the east bank, it is. in what 
is now part of the latter city. A present dam, a successor dam 
to the original, extends across the creek, a couple of hundred 
feet or less, above the bridge over the creek, and immediately 
below the dam is a ledge of rock upon which the mill stood. 
Townsend Ward, in his article "A Walk to Darby" of 1879 (in 
which he describes the things of interest en route), states that 
there may yet be seen in the rock "the holes drilled in which 
were inserted the supports" of the mill. Benjamin Ferris in his 
Original Settlements on the Delaware," p. 7i (1846), makes the 


same statement. At the present time some of these holes can 
yet be located to the tolerable satisfaction of the curious. The 
premises are now part of the Cobb's Creek park system of the 
City of Philadelphia, and within a few score of yards of the old 
Blue Bell tavern, of 1766, and before, a prominent stand on the 
old post road or Queen's highway or Darby road, the first road 
between Chester and Philadelphia. 

It is a moral certainty that the mill that the Swedes built here 
was a Norse mill. For emigrants always, of course, logically 
built in the new country the form of mill of the homeland or the 
district whence they come. Penn, for instance, thirty-nine years 
later brought English mill machinery and English mills started 
with his coming. And in a study of American old time wind- 
mills, we find that of 1710 at Somerville, Mass., a French type, 
because built by Jean Mallet, a French emigrating Hugenot; 
those at Detroit by the French settlers, the same ; the windmills 
at Roanoke Island, North Carolina, and elsewhere, of the English 
form, by English emigrants ; those in Illinois, of the 1820's and 
'30's of the German form, by the influx of German settlers, etc., 
etc. So we can take it for granted, surely, that the water mill 
built by the Swedes on the old rock on Cobb's Creek, was a 
Scandinavian type of mill of the period of three hundred years 
ago, in other words a "Norse" mill, in form. It is stated by sev- 
eral historians that it was erected in 1643. but Amandus John- 
son, who has gone into the history of the Swedish settlements on 
the Deleware, more extensively than has anyone else, gives the 
date as "the summer of autumn of 1646." This mill served the 
colonists well. "It was a fine mill, which ground both line and 
coarse flour, and was going early and late" and was far more 
satisfactory than the windmill proceeding it, which was erected 
by the Swedes at Christiana a dozen or so miles below the Tini- 
cum colony in 1642, and of which it was said by Governor Printz 
"It would never work and was good for nothing." 

The records show that twenty-five years after its erection, 
that is in 1671, the Cobb's creek or Karakung mill, had fallen 
into decay ; and that upon complaint by the colonists to Governor 
Lovelace, it was ordered that it be repaired and restored to the 
public use. It is probable that this mill was used until about 
1690 or 1700, or a period of about fifty years, when an English 


settler, named William Cobb, bought the property, and a later 
English form of gristmill was erected a little lower down, on 
what then became "Cobb's Creek" and it, together with the mills 
at Darby, not far away, forever superseded it. 

It has been thought by some that this mill built by Governor 
Printz was the only Swedish mill built hereabouts. It was the 
first one and the one of which we know the most but it was not 
the only one. There were several others at least. 

The Swedish control stated in 1638 and continued until wrested 
from them by the Dutch in 1655 — seventeen years. The Dutch 
then ran things on the Delaware for nine years— until 1644, 
w^hen the English came along and ousted them. The Dutch, as 
far as control went, were back again in 1672 but for two years 
only. Then came the English again, under the Duke of York, for 
eight years until the advent of Penn in 1682; a total of thirty- 
nine years between the building of the Cobb's creek first Swedes 
mill and Penn's time. It is pretty tolerably certain that the first 
English mill, was that brought over by Penn in the "Welcome" 
and erected by Caleb P'usey on Chester creek, in the present 
Borough of Upland. The kind of mills built before his time, 
are more or less surmise, but probability is a strong factor in 
reaching conclusions ; and as the Swedes started, settled and 
populated, and for the first time dominated that section ; and as 
the later 'incursions of the Dutch and English, before Penn's 
time, were fitful, brief and vicarious, the chances are that the 
mills between 1646 and 1683, were mostly if not entirely Swedish 
built, "Norse" type mills. Here are all the references to mills 
that I have been able to locate in that period and you can reach 
your own conclusions as to the probable nationality and design. 

(a) Bishop, in his History of American Manufactures" of 
1866, says that there were at least four saw mills in operation in 
Pennsylvania before Penn's time. Also, that the Swedes had a 
mill at Frankfort, before the coming of Penn. 

(b) In the manuscript department of the Historical Society 
of Pennsylvania, is an account by Charles H. Duffield, June 1907, 
of an old Swedish mill built at Frankfort, thought there is but 
scant description and the article is mostly a chain of title data. 
The mill was located at Frankford Avenue and Mill Streets, 
now Vandyke Street, in the earliest days. The property con- 


sisted of a tract of two hundred acres formerly granted to the 
Swedes, and .was transferred to Penn in 1686, and was then 
called an "old" mill. It came into the Duffield family in 1800 and 
was burned in 1835. It was this old Swedes mill, 1777 a grist- 
mill, that was the seat of the episode of Lydia Darrach ; when 
after overhearing a plan of the British, then occupying Phila- 
delphia, to make a raid on the patriot forces, she sped to this 
mill outside the city, ostensibly to get flour, to give the informa- 
tion to the patriots. Watson, in his Annals of Philadelphia, 73, 
says that the Dufiheld mill at Frankford, was originally a Swed- 
ish mill, but thinks it was a sawmill, rather than a gristmill. 

(c) Johnson, 525, states that Governor Rising, of the Swed- 
ish colony, in October 1654, found, "a serviceable little water fall 
for a sawmill," on Naaman's Kill (which is the creek that flows 
into the Delaware about at the circular line between Pennsyl- 
vania and Delaware.) 

(d) In 1658, soon after the surrender to the Dutch, Joost 
Adriensen & Company petitioned for the right to build a saw and 
gristmill at New Amstel (now Newcastle, Delaware), below the 
Turtle Falls! which right was granted, as shown by the Docu- 
mentary History of New York, 210-368. 

(e) In the summer of 1662, a gristmill was built by John 
Staeloop, Luyckas Pietersen, and Hans Black, at the Falls of 
the Turtle Kill, Johnson 666. 

(f) In 1661 the Dutch colony at New Amstel is credited in 
the bookkeeping and accounts with New York with a pair of 
mill stones. 

(g) In 1662, in a list of articles purchased for the New 
Amstel colony, there is named iron work for a saw mill and a 
pair of mill stones. It may be that these last four items all refer 
to the Turtle Creek mill. 

(h) The "Records of the Court at Upland show that in 1678 
"the Co'rt are of opinion that Capt'n Hans Moenson ought to 
build a mill" on a creek later known as Little Mill Creek. This 
is the creek that enters the Schuylkill just below the present 
Woodlands cemetery and now replaced by a large city sewer. 
On Scull and Heaps map of 1750 a mill is shown there and it is 
likely that it was Moenson's. 

(i) In 1679-80 the Court of Upland granted permission to 


one Peter Nealson, to take up a hundred acres to build a water 
mill "on the west side of the Delaware". 

(j) On September 17, 1689, seven years after Penn's time, 
the members of the Council of the Colony journeyed to New- 
castle, and on the way, from Philadelphia, presumably, "took a 
view of Mill and Race Erected by Cornelius Empson" (Where- 
of Complaint had been made by Petition from several of the in- 
habitants of Chester County) {Col. Records, Vol. I, 301). The 
name Cornelius Empson, seems rather more Swedish than Eng- 
lish. The location I have not ascertained. 

There can be no doubt but that there were several of these early 
Swedish-built Norse mills, constructed along the Delaware be- 
tween New Amstel (or Newcastle) and Christiania and Phila- 
delphia, in the twenty or thirty years from 1638, in which the 
Swedes were active ; and before Penn's time. Of these, the one 
of 1646 on Cobb's creek, is the one best known and established, 
and as first stated, it is the one that would seem to be beyond 
doubt, the first mill of any sort to turn a wheel in what is now 
the state of Pennsylvania. This fact then justifies our interest in 
"What is a Norse mill?" and "Why is a Norse mill of interest 
to us?" 

Horse Hopples. 


(Doylestown Meeting, January 18, 1919.) 

ON Tuesday last I was at Oak Lane, where I incidentally 
mentioned to a young man that I was expected to read a 
paper on the subject of "Horse Hopples." He said he 

had never heard of them and desired to know what they were. 

I soon found out that there was no use trying to get any in- 
formation concerning them 
from our young people, be- 
cause they simply do not 
know, neither did the editor 
of Chamber's Encyclopaedia. 
as he does not name, or re- 
fer in any way to the term. 
They did not live in the 
horse-hopple age. So I will 
ask you to think back with 
me to an earlier generation ; 
to the time when we had no 
mowing machines, no bind- 
ers of grain, no grain drills, 
no fodder shredders, no 
cream separators, no silos or 
ensilage, no automobiles, no 
wireless telegraph or tele- 
phones and no areoplanes. 
A time when there were but 
few post and rail fences but 
mainly stake and rider fences 
and stone walls. To the time 
when the men and boys 
were commissioned every 

spring, with grubbing hoes in hand, to go around every field and 

repair the fences, fastening the stakes and replacing the worn 


out riders and the top rail. (Here Mr. Gross started quite a dis- 
cussion by asking the audience whether any of them had done 

Think back with me to the time when horses and cattle were 
not stabled, not kept-up at night during the summer season, 
but were turned out in the open field to forage until early dawn 
the next day. Now to get you interested in this out-of-date 
subject, I want to ask you a few questions leading up from the 
simple to the more complex, from the known to the unknown. 
How many of you present today, in this audience, have seen a 
goose-yoke, or goose-yokle? How many of you have seen a hog- 
yoke, and why is it called a yokle? (Here Mr. Gross exhibited 
goose and hog yokes which brought out an interesting discus- 
sion.) Who of you has seen a cow's head or neck tied or chained 
down to one of her fore feet ? Why and how was that done ? 
Who has seen a post or part of a rail hanging on to a bull's neck, 
and why was that done ? and why did it extend out in front 
of the bull? Who has seen a board or a hood over the eyes of 
a bovine and fastened to the horns with twine ? Who has seen 
a cow's hind legs strapped together, or a rope or strap tied 
around her body in front of her udder, or a rail fastened to her 
stall at one end and at the other end to a post or a ring, so as to 
crowd the cow against the wall, and why was it done? Who has 
seen the knee of one front leg bent and a strap or loop pushed 
over it so that the cow had to stand on three legs instead of four? 

In almost every herd of cattle there is a "leader" that has 
learned how to open a rail or two at the bars, or to get her 
head through the fence, or pretend to be rubbing some itchy 
spot, when in reality this was done only to get a rail or two 
out of the way so as to make it easy to crawl through or push 
the fence over. This accomplished it is surprising to see how 
soon every animal in the field knows of the opening, and with 
curled tail hurries to get across and taste new and better or 
forbidden pastures. 

You may have seen a few sheep in a field, and one of them 
with a front and a hind foot drawn a little closer together than 
nature intended, and were tied with a light rope or a strap. 
Why was that necessary? Simply to prevent the sheep from 
scaling the stone wall surrounding the pasture lot. This rope, 


Strap or string, to which I have referred is the hopple idea, 
though not the link-iron type you see here today. This article 
discarded and thrown on the scrap-heap some years ago can 
scarcely be called a tool. It is no machine, no plaything, no 
rattle, though the links do rattle when in use. (Here Mr. Gross 
exhibited several hopples from the museum collection, and ex- 
plained their different types, their locks, etc.) These hopples 
have now become obsolete, there appears to be no use for any- 
thing like them now. I suppose the idea of their use was 
prompted when there were but few fences, and the animals were 
turned loose at night, and their movements were restricted by 
something of this kind, so as to give them a wider range than 
when tethered to a stake or a tree, and yet not to be miles away at 
the dawn of the next day. 

Horse hopples of these types, as used some fifty or sixty years 
ago, may have been to restrict the movements of some specially 
spirited or vicious horse, yet in the main they were used in 
order that the farmers could be reasonably certain of finding their 
animals the following morning when they were needed to start 
their day's work. You will of course understand that in those 
days it was customary to unharness the horses, feed them with 
grain, and then turn them out in the pasture-field to forage for 
the night and to rest towards morning, so as to be ready and at 
hand for another day's plowing, harrowing or hauling. But it 
often happened that when a farmer's boy went for his horses 
early in the morning, they could not be found in the pasture- 
fields, having strayed away during the night, probably to be found 
in some better pasture, often doing damage, and partly ruining 
his neighbor's crops ; this stirred up strife and enmity among 
neighbors, and moreover the delay in securing the "critters" for 
several hours, valuable time was wasted. The farmer's boy 
came back tired, took more time to explain and relate his ex- 
perience, with a report of the damage done. This took more 
time and as a result only a meagre day's work was done. Fences 
destroyed by the roaming of the animals had to be repaired. As 
"necessity is the mother of invention", here is where the horse- 
hopple came in. 

What does the horse-hopple do? Have you ever noticed the 
movements of a pacing horse, and how he differs from trotting 


horses? The pacing horse swings his body first to one side then 
to the other alternately. The hopple compels a pacing move- 
ment. It embarrasses and interferes with free action, with the 
result that the animal's forward movement is slow, and besides 
it prevents him from jumping fences. He stays within the en- 
closure and can usually be found when wanted in the morning. 
Tricks of fancy always have a leader, get him and you will soon 
have the whole bunch. 


In Bedminster township during the early fifties horses were 
hoppled with chain hopples (such as Mr. Gross has describeed). 
With quiet horses the hopple was fastened from the right fore- 
leg to the right hind-leg, but with wilder horses it was attached 
from the right fore-leg to the left-hind leg, or vice-versa. The 
horses were at pasture over night in fenced fields, and hoppling 
was done to prevent them from jumping fences and straying 
away or returning home during the night, at a time when every- 
body was asleep. 

Basket Making. 

(Doylestown Meeting, May 31, 1919.) 

BASKET making as an art has been known even through 
the misty ages of long ago. Baskets made of willow, 
rushes, straw and even wood-chips, interwoven with linen 
cord or hickory splints, have been made and used from time im- 
memorial. The Israelites were commanded to make an offering of 
the first fruits of the earth to the Almighty in a basket. Many 
of the baskets used by rich Jews on such occasions were made 
of gold, silver or brass, and were returned to the offerers by the 
priests, but those used by the majority of people were made of 
barked willow and were retained by the priests. Moses, the 
great law giver, as a babe was found floating upon the bosom of 
the river Nile in a basket made of rushes, while the Hebrew spies 
at Jericho were let down from the top of the wall of the city 
in a basket by Rahab the harlot. The process of basket making 
is simple and requires few tools. The art appears to have been 
known among the rudest people, even among the aboriginies of 
Van Dieman's Land. The woven straw basket is made of se- 
lected rye straw, dampened in water, then woven or plaited by 
hand or passed through a tin or leather tube to keep it of uni- 
form thickness, and to keep it thus, more straw was filled in the 
opposite end of the tube. The basket is started from the bottom, 
making the smallest circle possible, which is either stitched with 
linen cord or hickory splints, using three or four turns over the 
straw as it comes through the tube and then one stitch in the 
second strand, firmly drawing both together until the bottom 
for the basket had become the required size. The next strand 
was placed on edge and firmly stitched to the bottom of the 
basket. This continued until the proper height had been reached, 
when the rim was put on and the handle fastened, stitching on 
or wrapping the body of the basket to the rim with linen cord or 
hickory splints. Hats, bread baskets, sewing baskets, bee-hives 
were made of straw in the same way. I am informed by Peter 
Stauffer, librarian at the Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pa., that 


his father, Jacob Staufifer, and his grandfather, Charles Stauffer, 
who was born in 1786, and Hved to the age of ninety years were 
both basket-makers, and when a boy he helped them in their 
work of basket making. Peter Stauffer is now seventy years of 
age, and to him I am indebted for much of the information which 
I have gathered on basket making. His grandfather, with the 
families of Sloyers, Seiferts and Reichards, settled on what was 
known as Swabian Hill, a spur of South Mountain, or as the 
Pennsylvania-Germans called it "Schwova Barick". This place 
is in Lower Saucon township, Northampton county, about one 
mile north of the Bucks county line. Most of the settlers of that 
neighborhood were immigrants from Swabia, Germany, and 
many of them were basket makers. 

While it was a privilege to Peter Stauffer, when a boy, to 
assist both his grandfather and father to finish the baskets, he 
also learned the treatment required of the material of which the 
baskets were constructed. His grandfather would go into the 
forest and select the finest young hickory trees he could find, 
about six inches in diameter. These he would cut into lengths 
of from three to four feet and then place them into a pit filled 
with prepared clay and w^ater. This hickory was allowed to re- 
main in the pit for months or until, by the action of the solution 
it became soft and pliable, when it would be split with wedges, 
and then shaved into splints with a drawing-knife often as thin 
as a sheet of paper, the annealing made it so tough that it could 
not be broken. This also was the kind of splint (but of smaller 
sizes) used to sew the straw baskets. The splint baskets were made 
as follows : First, the handle and rim were made, the handle 
running around the bottom of the basket and the rim held in 
position by a small nail or wooden peg driven through the handle, 
which held both rim and handle in place. The splints contained 
in the baskets varied from one-half to one inch in width, ac- 
cording to the size of the baskets. The splints were all tapered 
to a sharp point, the center splint being the longest, and each fol- 
lowing splint was shorter. The pointed ends were then brought 
up to the handle and firmly woven together around the handle 
with the thin splints shaved from the treated hickory wood. The 
body of the basket was well secured and made strong and firm by 
the plaiting of the splints. The bottoms of the baskets were 


fortified by two extra pieces of half inch wood, to strengthen and 
protect them against the special wear to which the bottoms were 
subjected. Willow baskets were made in practically the same 
way, except that the young wnllows or switches were cut in early 
spring, tied in bundles like wheat and placed upon end, from 
whence they were taken to the shop or shed and the bark stripped 
off by drawing the switches between two knives set upon end, 
the top space being a little wider through which the switches 
were drawn. When the bark was stripped from them they 
were ready for using. A,s a boy I remember basket-makers carry- 
ing a large number of different sized baskets upon their backs, 
peddling them from house to house and offering them for sale. 

Notes on Basket Making 


The following information was obtained from Mr. A. Beth- 
train of Dublin, Bucks county, Pa., August 2, 1919. 

Mr. Bethtrain w^as born in Alslben, Saxony, where he learned 
his trade. He has been in this country thirty-six years, coming 
here in 1883 when twenty years old. At the present time he has 
an "ozier holt" or field of German willows growing on the farm 
of Abraham Gross near Griers Hill, Dublin, which he planted 
several years ago. He uses Welsh or German willows of one 
year's growth for the baskets and two years growth for the 
handles. He uses rattan from the Philippine Islands, or China 
or other near east places for the bottoms of huckster's baskets, 
also for large baskets and for reinforcing. Willow shoots can 
be cut from old trees or pollards but it is better to have an ozier 
holt. A visit to his patch showed suckers a year or two old, but 
no thick stems or trunks. 'The stumps were bristling with stems 
of previous cuttings level with the ground. He said there w^as 
a willow nursery at Edgely on the Delaware river between Bristol 
and Tullytown, Pa., containing twenty acres of young shoots, 
also that lots of willows were grown and made into baskets at 


Syracuse, N. Y., Baltimore, Md., and in Illinois nurseries. Mr. 
Bethtrain says he made nothing but willow baskets either in Ger- 
many or in America. He sells his product in Philadelphia and 
locally. He said that making splint baskets was a different trade, 
but he knew that in Germany they were made of European white 
ash and in America of white oak and hickory. Oak is the best 
of all if carefully selected and without knots. White oak baskets 
last longer than hickory ones. 

For basket making willow sprouts or shoots are cut in March, 
tied in bundles likes sheaves, placed in water two or three inches 
deep in a marsh until June, by which time they have grown 
about two inches more and the bark is green, soft and tender and 
peels readily. They must not be placed too deep in the marsh 
water else it darkens the wood. The peeling of bark by ma- 
chinery has been tried but proved a failure. A clamp or vise 
called a "brake" tightened with a wedge in the bottom, then 
stood upright in a bench, the willow shoots, fresh from the 
marsh, are pulled through between the jaws of the clamps, first 
one end and then the other, thus peeling or stripping them free 
of the green bark at two pulls. Mr. Bethtrain worked for Michael 
Frohman near Hilltowm Church in 1884 and 1885. Mr. Froh- 
man was then seventy-five years old and had made willow baskets 
for years. The clamps presented to this society by Mr. Bethtrain, 
were used by him for carrying cans of milk to the creamery on 
his back. Frames are used for forming the willow baskets, 
square ones for square baskets and round ones for round bottom 
baskets. Small fine baskets are made of split willow. He first 
splits the end of the willow rod for an inch or so with a knife and 
then separates it with a tool made of ivory, bone or wood, called 
a "cleaver". These tools are made three or four sided so as to 
split or divide the willow into that number of strands. These are 
then dipped into a tub of water to prevent breaking and then run 
through a "shaver", a small plane-like tool which shaves the 
strands smooth and even. A small leather guard is placed on the 
thumb, holding the strand down against the plane. A four split 
cleaver is seldom used as it makes the strands too fine for 
ordinary use. 

The set of basket making tools brought to the museum was 
owned by Michael Frohman of Hilltown and later used by Mr. 


Bethtrain. Another tool called a "hammer", a flat bar of iron 
tapering towards the handle, with a hole in the end, is used to 
hammer the strands between the ribs of the basket, and the 
crooked can be bent straight by running them into the hole of the 
hammer and twisting in the right way. This tool, used by Mr. 
Bethtrain, was brought from Germany. The shaver mentioned 
above is called "hobel" in Germany, and the knife is adjustable 
with thumb screw to regulate the size of the finished strand. 
The thumb guard is always of leather, these two in the museum 
were used by Michael Frohman for many years. In forming the 
baskets Mr. Bethtrain used a board about sixteen inches square 
upon which having placed the already woven bottom of the basket 
, he next drove four pointed thin iron rods at the four corners, 
the top of which rods held the frame or form, around which he 
then wove the basket. In order to turn this conveniently while 
working, the board was perforated with a center hole, through 
which, and through the wicker bottom placed thereon, he drove 
a pointed heavy awl or bodkin into a still larger knee board 
about two by three feet, which rested on his knee while working. 
This enabled him to conveniently turn the basket around as he 
proceeded. The small board revolving upon the large one thus 
pivoted under it. Some basket-makers, however, dispense with 
the knee board. Mr. Bethtrain may be the only wicker basket- 
maker in Bucks county at this time. He works in a rather large 
modern frame shop between his barn and house, with vestibule, 
workroom and garret. The workroom is heated with a stove. 


The following notes were made by Dr. Mercer, August 2, 1919, 
upon visiting the shop of Peter Weirbach, near Mountain House, 
Haycock, Bucks county. Pa. 

The white oak used is cut in November and December, con- 
sisting of little shoots cut close to the ground or suckers from 
four to eight inches in diameter. These are cut in lengths of four 
feet then quartered. Each quarter is placed upright in a trestle 
made of a forked tree-trunk such as is used for splitting shingles. 
The split quarters are then split into thin strips with a "frow". 
The strips are then placed in a "shoeing-horse", and squared up 
with a drawing knife then chisel or start a strip one-half inch 


thick and separate with the hands the full length of the quarter 
piece and then reduce these strips still more by starting with a 
knife and separating as above until almost the proper thickness 
for the basket. Run them through the basket-maker's shave, a 
steel blade fastened to a wooden block and regulated according 
to thickness desired by turning a thumb-screw, thus shaving the 
split smooth and thin. Then make a round edge or rim, nailing 
handle on to rim which overlaps and is nailed together at the bot- 
tom with two or three wrought nails, clinched. Start to make at 
one side against the handle, continuing around to the other side 
against the handle, using heavy shaped ribs. Then weave the 
smaller strips around the ribs. The strips, before platting are 
boiled for half-an-hour to make them more pliable and tough. 
The heavy ribs and handle are not boiled. No special shaving- 
horse is necessary. ' The shaver is the only special tool used. An 
awl is used to perforate strands for inserting thin wrapping 
strands around edge, etc. Mr. Weirbach made round bottomed 
handled baskets and flat bottomed bushel baskets with and with- 
out handles. He always used white oak. 

The house Mr. Weirbach worked in was built of logs about 
sixty years ago, probably by his father or earlier. It is about 
eighteen by thirty feet, with two rooms down stairs and a garret 
above. The one entrance door is in the room nearest to the house. 
It is not heated and no fireplace was ever constructed there. 
There is a small brick flue in the middle for smoke of a small 
ten-plate stove in the shop wing nearest the house. The par- 
tition is made of boards. Shop has one window on the north 
side, two on the east, and two on the south side. The ceiling is 
of hewn beams, very wide apart. Stepladder to garret in shop 
with sliding trap-door overhead. The work-bench stands on the 
east side of work-shop. Mandrel and turning lathe before north 
window back of stove. His brother's shoemaker's bench and tools 
are near the door by the window in the southwest corner. The 
logs of the house are squared, notched and champered, sawed 
square corners. Slats nailed across ceiling-beams to hold tools, 
stick, etc. Drawing knife horse in shop. Frow in entrance 
room. Shop quite dark, vines obstructing light from windows. 
Did not examine structure of log shop. Shingled with riven 
shingles made by Peter Weirbach and lathed and plastered with 


clay inside of shop. Cut nails used of which one specimen was 
obtained. Built originally for a shop and not as a dwelling. No 
sign of ancient pottery remaining. 

Mr. Weirbach and his sister reluctantly sold us five baskets, 
one large and four small ones, at high prices for the museum. 
His sister thought he was too old to make more on order during 
the coming winter. The five baskets bought and placed in the 
museum are as follows : Museum No. 16359, $5.00 ; Nos. 16360, 
16361, 16362, at $1.50 each, and No. 16363 at $2.00. 


When I was a small boy attending public school (1857 to 
1866) at Monroe in Durham township I daily passed by the basket 
making shop of Jacob Gray at Monroe. I stopped in his shop 
hundreds of times. He was a kindly, genial old man always 
ready with a story to tell us boys. He made baskets of the butts 
of white oak trees of which he always kept a good stock on 
hand. I have no recollection of seeing any butt less than about 
six inches in diameter. I remember quite well that he bought 
and cut a number of young white oak trees from my grand- 
father's woods. He did not use any material for baskets other 
than oak, but he did use hickory for making splint brooms. His 
operation was very much like Mr. Weirbach's operations de- 
scribed by Dr. Mercer. He always quartered the butts, and then 
with special tools split the quarters into splints. Much of his 
time seemed to be taken up with his drawing-knife and shaving 
horse preparing the splints for weaving. His shop was often 
full of shavings. To watch him prepare the splints and weave 
them into baskets was to me always most interesting. He made 
baskets of many kinds and sizes, but his principal trade was mak- 
ing feed baskets for the boatmen on the Delaware Division canal, 
which flowed close by his shop. These feed baskets were strapped 
around the heads of the mules, who were required to eat their 
oats from them while towing the boats. It was said that he 
made the very best quality of baskets put upon the market, and 
the boatment often had to wait their turns to have their 
orders filled. 

Early Pennsylvania Pottery. 

(Doylestown Meeting, May 31, 1919.) 

THE richly ornamented pottery of civilized nations, which 
for two centuries or more, preceded the manufacture of 
porcelain, possesses a peculiar fascination for collectors and 
students of ceramic art. On account of the boldness of treat- 
ment and the quality of manly vigor, it shows the first awaken- 
ing of the artistic instinct among a simple hearted people, who 
in the engrossing struggle for subsistence had little opportunity 
for improving their surroundings. 

The history of pottery, if it should be written, would be as 
old as the history of man. Baking clay and making vessels is 
one of the first useful arts in the history of all peoples, savage 
as well as civilized. Clay, mingled with sand and wet with water, 
can be moulded into any desired shape. Baking expels the 
water and infuses the sand and clay, and the result is a compact 
substance. This can be painted with any color that will not 
change from heat, and when baked, the forms will become deco- 
rated pottery. This art, known as the ceramic art, affords op- 
portunity for the modeller and the painter, and has been practiced 
by all nations in all times. It furnishes a most important illustra- 
tion of the taste, education and comparative civilization of the 
dififerent peoples. The decorations placed upon it, such as pic- 
tures, mottoes, names and records of various kinds, makes it of 
the highest importance in historic art. In all nations, where civili- 
zation has reached a high grade, the best artists have been em- 
ployed in the decoration of pottery and porcelain as well as the 
best modellers in producing forms of beauty, thus uniting the 
work of the painter and the sculptor. The art takes high rank 
among the fine arts, hence great attention has been paid to it by 
archeologists and lovers of the beautiful. The color of all pottery 
depends upon the ingredients of the clay. 

Pottery is of two kinds, soft and hard. Soft pottery yields 
easily to the point of a knife, while hard resists it. Soft pottery 
melts at a much lower temperature than hard. The common 


building brick is the simplest illustration of soft pottery while 
the fire brick is the simplest illustration of hard pottery. In the 
study of the cermaic art, soft pottery is usually divided. First, 
unglazed pottery, the result of baking clay without surface var- 
nish or glaze. Second, lustrous pottery, a name applied to a large 
class of objects which have a shining surface, produced by a thin 
varnish or coating, which reflects light, but is sometimes perme- 
able to water. Third, glazed pottery, which is covered with a 
thick shining surface produced by the use of lead or by the 
union of alkaline substances with lead in the clay. Fourth, 
enamelled pottery, covered with a coating of enamel in which tin 
is employed, hence the word "Stanniferous", and which being 
baked receives a surface decoration of dififerent substance from 
the pottery, and more or less thick which is of a vitrous character, 
resisting acid and not permeable to water. 

The larger part of all ancient pottery is included in the first 
three classes. Most modern pottery, Italian, French, German, 
Dutch and other ware known as "Majolica" and "Fayence" is 
soft pottery enamelled. Fayence is a term derived from Fayenza, 
an Italian city where decorative pottery was largely made in the 
sixteenth century, and in the present general sense includes all 
pottery enamelled and decorated with color. 

The term "ceramic", includes all works in pottery, porcelain 
and stone ware, and is derived from the Greek word, signifying 
potter's clay, earthen vases, etc. Porcelain, like pottery, is a pro- 
duct of clay and sand, but the clay is of a class that with the ad- 
dition of other substances produces a translucent body. Pottery 
is always opaque ; porcelain always translucent ; pottery breaks 
with a rought fracture, exhibiting the color of clasp ; porcelain 
breaks with a vitrous fracture, white and clean. 


Among the forms of utensils and other objects produced in 
Eastern Pennsylvania were cooking pots, with and without lids, 
and usually with two handles. They were glazed on the inside 
and often also on the outside. Applebutter pots, flower pots, 
cake, jelly and other molds, jugs, jars (both spherical and cylindri- 
cal usually with lids and with or without handles), coffee pots, 
sugar bowls, cream pitchers, tea cannisters, mugs, liquid meas- 


ures, vegetable and meat plates, pie plates, bowls, platters, soup 
dishes, large circular pans, (usually with sloping sides and flat 
bases), fancy dishes or trays, ink stands, sand shakers, stove 
foot-rests, tobacco pipes, tobacco jars, shaving basins, flower 
holders or vases, toys, figures of animals, birds, whistles, etc. 
Also earthen barrels for holding water, churns, and roof tiles. 
Most of these articles were made simply of red clay and glazed 
with red lead, and were used for all imaginable purposes in the 

The introduction of tin and other wares gradually supplanted 
the work of the early potter, and but one or two shops yet re- 
main, and these are devoted largely to the manufacture of 
flower pots, which are now produced by machinery. 


Among the earliest ornamented ware of Europe was that which 
is known as Slip Decorative Ware, which consisted of two classes, 
slip-traced or slip-painted and slip-engraved, scratched or sgraf- 
fito ware. Slip is made of a clay different from the body of the 
pottery to which it is applied. It is produced by grinding suitable 
clay in a quern or between two stones and is then thinned with 
water to the desired consistency, usually like batter or cream ; 
it is of a lighter tint than the coarse clay of the pottery to which 
it is applied, the pottery being generally of a dark orange or red 
color. Slip tracing consists of trickling this liquid clay or "slip", 
through one or sometimes two or three quills attached to a little 
cup over the surface of the unburned ware to produce the deco- 
rative design. Slip engraving consists in covering the ware with 
a thin coating of slip, through which the ornamental designs are 
scratched with a pointed instrument to show the darked clay be- 
neath. In a general way it may be said that true slip decoration 
is usually distinguished by a light colored ornamentation on a 
darker ground, while sgraffito ware is recognized by the dark 
design on a white or yellow field. In the former the decorations 
generally appear in slight relief, and in the latter they are im- 
pressed or intalglioed. It is interesting to note that in many 
of the early English slip-traced and scratched pieces, the princi- 
pal decorative motif is the tulip, which fact suggests the possi- 
bility that the art of slip decoration was introduced into England 


from Germany. The use of this flower in ceramic embelHsh- 
ments probably originated in Persia and later spread to conti- 
nental Europe. In Pennsylvania sgraffito ware was first made 
as early as 1733, as is indicated by an interesting example in the 
collection of Mr. George H. Banner, Manheim, Pa., which is 
engraved with that date. 

It is more than possible that for several years previous to that 
time, the transplanted art had flourished in this country. It is 
certain that slip decoration was in vogue in certain parts of 
Gremany, notably in Saxony, more than two hundred years ago, 
and when the first Germans settled in Pennsylvania they brought 
the art with them and established it as a new process of the 
ceramic manufacture in the states. 

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, slip decorative 
ware was made to a considerable extent in certain localities in 
England, but the early English potters do not seem to have pur- 
sued this branch of their calling to any extent on this side of 
the Atlantic. 

The reason for this is obvious, while the English came from 
many sections previous to the full development of this art at 
home and scattered over vast territory in this country, the Ger- 
mans arriving at a later date, fresh from a section where slip 
decorative ware was at its height, established a community of 
their own in Eastern Pennsylvania, isolated from all extraneous 
influences, and continued to ply their homely arts as they had 
learned them in the old world. 

These pioneer potters erected numerous small pot works for 
the manufacture of such wares as were needed to supply the 
simple wants of the people. Each local pottery seems to have 
been supported by the patronage of relatives, neighbors and 
friends of the proprietor, or by sales which were held in neigh- 
boring towns, and as the trade was confined almost entirely to 
the limited section occupied by the settlers, it is not surprising 
that these German-American productions have only recently at- 
tracted attention. 

The commonest kind of slip decoration can be seen in the 
zigzag lines frequently met with on the pie plates of commerce 
and are true slip decoration. Slip decoration in its primitive 
state is now a lost art in the United States. It flourished, princi- 


pally in Pennsylvania, for nearly a century and a half. Its 
decadence commenced with the advent of tin and when the 
cheaper grades of white crockery began to be introduced the 
production of the early potter ceased. Slip decoration was the 
forerunner of the modern art of painting on the unbaked ware 
with colored clay as exemplified in the Rookvvood pottery of the 
present day. Its highest development is found in the Pate-sur- 
pate process as practiced by Mr. M. L. Solon at the Minton fac- 
tory in England, who is recognized today as the greatest ex- 
ponent of this beautiful art. 


In 1825. "one Tucker, who was the son of a Quaker china 
shopkeeper on Market street, between Ninth and Tenth, Phila- 
delphia, took over the old waterworks at Twenty-third and Chest- 
nut streets, and started in a small way to produce artistic porce- 
lain." His work was recognized speedily as the best of its kind 
in the United States. The Franklin Institute awarded him 
several medals as a tribute to his skill. His porcelain was com- 
pared favorably with the Sevres product, and an effort was made, 
during the presidency of Andrew Jackson, to obtain a Federal 
subsidy of several thousand dollars. The president acknowledged 
the receipt of the gift of Tucker's ware, but declined to favor 
the subsidy. He marveled at its excellence and said it was the 
equal of Sevres. Judge Joseph Hemple became a partner of 
Tucker and a larger plant was secured at the southwest corner 
of Seventh and Chestnut streets. French artists were brought 
over and close copies of the Sevres product were made. The 
best ware was produced from 1833 to 1838. Hemple associated 
a number of other Pennsylvanians in the enterprise and obtained 
a charter from the legislature under the corporate name of the 
American Porcelain Company. Their koalin was obtained from 
Chester County, Pa., their feldspar from New Castle, Del., and 
their clay from Perth Amboy, N. J. Authority was given to the 
corporation to import the best artists, and many articles of artis- 
tic porcelain were produced, but in 1838 the business was 

The ornamented plates and other pieces both slip and sgraffito 


which you have before you today, ^ were not made commercially, 
but were usually made for presents, the husband to his wife, the 
apprentice to his employer, or the lover to his lady. Many of 
the decorated pieces found today, belong to the heirs and rela- 
tives of the potters, some of these have been handed down from 
generation to generation, and it is rarely that some of them find 
their way to museums or the cabinets of the antiquarian. 

1 Mr. Montigue illustrated this paper by exhibiting many interesting and 
valuable specimens from his large and valuable collection. 

Well Caves of Bucks County. 

(Doylestown Meeting, May 31, 1919.) 

MANY years before the bacteriologist had informed us that 
a house-fly carries a quarter of a million bacteria upon 
soles of its feet, or that each drop of fresh milk under 
ordinary conditions contains 1,500 bacteria, which after forty- 
eight hours in a temperature of sixty-eight degrees Fahrenheit, 
increases to one billion, or before Pasteur had taught the art of 
making bacteria soup, the housewife and dairyman had their 
own troubles in keeping meat from spoiling, butter from melting, 
and milk from turning sour. Without knowing the scientific 
reason, they had learned by experience, that in order to preserve 
provisions and milk during the summer months they must have 
a place where the temperature could be kept at least below sixty 
degrees, and in order to accomplish this they resorted to a num- 
ber of devices. If today you visit a Bucks county farm house 
of the period of 1750 to 1830, where modern devices have been 
introduced, you will probably find the whole series, cellar, well, 
well-cave, ice house, spring house, spring-cave, cooking tank, 
patent cooler and refrigerator. 

My subject today, however, is the well-cave, also known as 
the vault, milk-vault or ground-cellar. Of these I have visited 
about thirty, and have found no two exactly alike in architectural 
style. When one sees an ancient stone farm house, ofif in a field. 


remote from the public highway, we of course surmise that 
there must be a spring of water there, and we are usually cor- 
rect ; but it did not fall to the lot of all of our forefathers to pur- 
chase springy land, in which case the well-caves had to be re- 
sorted to. I shall not attempt, in this short paper, to describe in 
detail the many different caves that I have examined, but will 
confine my descriptions to but a few of them, and then tell of 
some of the variations. 

The first model of a cave that I will describe, is on the farm 
of Mrs. Joseph Watson on the pike between Newtown and Lang- 
horne. That part of this cave which is above ground is a stone 
structure seven feet long by five feet wide at the base, and four 
feet high at the peak. On one of the slanting sides is a wood- 
en door with iron hinges, the opposite slant is almost covered 
by one large flat stone. There is no mound above ground, but 
beyond is the well and pump, and from the mouth of the cave 
to the end of the well is about thirty-five feet. Near the middle 
of this space is a brick chimney three feet high and two feet 
square, covered by a flat stone, and with air passages underneath. 
From the door of the cave a straight flight of eighteen stone 
steps, each nine inches deep extends to the vault below. Most 
of the steps are made of one stone, others have two stones, all 
have masonry underneath. The sides of the stairw^ay and the 
slanting roof above are constructed of masonry. At the bot- 
tom of the stairs there is a slat door, on each side of which there 
are recesses in the wall about twelve and eight inches, and about 
twelve inches deep. The vault itself is fourteen feet long by 
twelve feet wide and seven feet high, this also has masonry sides 
and roof, and a flagstone floor. On each of the long sides there 
are projections upon which, at one time, rested board shelves. 
At the far end of the vault is a smaller door four feet by two 
feet, which opens into a passageway two and one-half feet high 
by two feet wide, which is the entrance, through a passageway 
two and one-half feet deep leading into the well. On each side 
of this are also stone projections upon which rests a large flat 
stone. This vault is near the barn and connected with the barn 
well. It is nicely whitewashed, and in it the present tenant keeps 
his milk-cooler and cream separator. 

On the Obadiah Willett, later Jonathan Knight and now Wil- 


Ham R. Wallhiser farm, near Feasterville, is a two-roomed cave, 
the largest I have seen. The slanting double doors are on a 
level with the basement or cellar kitchen, and against a stone wall 
supporting a mound above, the top of which is reached by six 
stone steps. From the lower level twelve stone steps lead to the 
first room of the vault which is fourteen and one-half feet long 
by ten and one-half feet wide and seven and one-half feet high, 
with an arched roof ceiling, in which two ventilators may be 
seen. On one side of this room is an alcove four and one-half 
by three feet, at the rear of which is the opening into the well, 
four feet high by three feet wide, extending through a wall 
three feet thick. This passageway is raised about a foot above 
the floor level and is somewhat V-shaped, and only about eigh- 
teen inches wide at the well entrance. Near this is another 
opening three feet wide leading into a second room which is 
nine feet by seven feet, with one ventilator in the ceiling. 
Suspended from the ceiling of each room are four large hooks, 
probably for supporting hanging shelves, and on each side, near 
the well, are niches in the wall eight by twelve inches. The 
board shelves on both sides of the room are supported by wooden 
pegs. The entire floor is covered with large white flagstones. 
The gate at the bottom of the steps has disappeared, but the 
hinges remain. On the outside, above and beyond the wall, is 
quite an extensive mound, from which arise three brick chimneys, 
the external part of the ventilators. In 1828 Obadiah Willett tore 
down the old dwelling house at this place and built the present 
mansion, but just how long previous to this the cave existed can- 
not now be determined. 

The third example which I wish particularly to describe, is on 
the Russell Watson farm on the Feasterville road. It is a two- 
storied cave of a distinct type. The outside door opens into a 
stone structure, covered by a slanting shingle roof. At the en- 
entrance are two doors, one solid and the other made of slats. 
Eight steps lead to the first landing. This room is eight and 
one-half feet by nine feet, eight feet high on one side and four- 
teen feet high on the other. Two windows eighteen by twenty- 
three inches open into this room. The walls are eighteen inches 
thick. On the high side there is a large swinging shelf, and 
lower down stone projections upon which rests a board shelf. A 


flight of seven steps leads to the lower room which extends un- 
derneath the ground, and is the real cave. This room is seven 
feet by twelve feet and seven feet high, with arched roof. At 
the back of this, through a wall three and one-half feet thick, 
there is a passage opening into the well. Doors, at one time, 
probably separated the upper and lower rooms, and also the en- 
trance to the well, but only part of the hinges remain. There is 
one ventilator in the lower cave from which a stone chimney ex- 
tends to the mound above. 

So far as the structure above ground is concerned, no two 
caves are alike. Some have a grassy mound with a stone wall 
at each end ; some are walled at one end and slope to a level at 
the other end. The entrance of caves also varies, often it is 
through a door in the wall, either on a level or down two or 
three steps. In one cave six outside steps were at right angles 
to the door and inside steps. Often there is nothing showing 
above ground but double doors lying flat on the ground. A cave 
of that kind may be seen at the Turk Hotel near Doylestown. 
At Neshaminy Falls there is a cave underneath the flagstone floor 
of a back porch, with an entrance in what appears to be a closet. 
At the Shoe farm a very extensive cave is under the smoke house. 

In towns, caves frequently have their entrances through the 
cellars of the houses, the cavities and wells being outside the 
foundations, either with or without mounds. In two instances 
the caves extend to the streets and the pumps must have been 
where the pavements now are, probably town pumps. The stair 
ways are usually straight but some are winding and others have 
landings part w^ay down and then turn at right angles, some have 
open spaces at the landings. The nitches in the walls are of 
great variety, both in size and number. Shelves made of boards 
are most common, although a few have stone shelves. Some 
have stone corner pieces somewhat resembling stone sinks. In 
some cases stone ledges, about five feet from the floors, serve as 
shelves. These ledges were formed by building out the entire 
lower walls to thicknesses of about ten inches. In the vault at 
Jenks Hall, later the home of William Barnsley, there were 
marble slabs on each side of the cave. This vault unlike most 
of them was built next to an ice house instead of a well. There 
is also an interesting transition in the vaulted spring house, such 


as may be seen at the Washington Headquarters house in New- 
town or the Wilson Woodman farm near Wycombe. 

In the days that vaults were in common use the milk was 
strained above ground and then carried in pans to the cave and 
placed in rows on the flagstone floor. The milk was skimmed 
there, and the cream, if not cool enough, was sometimes let 
down the well by a rope. The churning was done above ground, 
but the butter-making and moulding it into shape were done in 
the vaults. The butter, usually in pound moulds, was wrapped 
in cotton cloths and placed in rows on the flagstones or on the 
stone shelves. I learned of one cave where the milk was let down 
into the vault by a rope through one of the ventilators. 

It is quite difliicult to learn the age of well-caves. They are 
found at farm houses, the oldest part of which dates back to 
1765, and the newer parts between 1800 and 1850, but I have 
not been able to determine the dates when the vaults were built. 
Where the old doors are intact I have found hand wrought 
hinges and nails, also that lime and sand mortar was used in 
their construction. ■ Cave-wells are much more numerous in the 
lower part of our county than in the middle and northern parts. 
However they must have been used by the Germans for in the 
records of their early settlements, they are referred to as "ground 

Substantially built stone houses, the bakeovens, the smoke- 
houses, and the well-caves are the common inheritance of the 
Bucks county farmer. The bakeoven and the smokehouse have 
long since survived their usefulness, and in almost no instance 
is the well-cave serving its original purpose, and happy indeed, 
must have been the farmer's wife when she carried her last pan 
of milk or kettle of cream up and down that long flight of 
stone steps. 

Notes of Forgotten Trades, 

(Doylestown Meeting, May 31, 1919.) 

POTTERS Quern for Grinding Glaze. (Information of Red- 
ding Francis Rapp, to Dr. Mercer, February 1916). Seen 
by Mr. Rapp in Northampton County, Pa., another on the 
Pennsylvania side of the Delaware river half way between the 
Milford and Frenchtown river bridges, another one at Herstine's 
pottery in Nockamixon township. One of these querns resembled 
the paint quern in the museum of the Bucks County Historical 
Society, but another one ground the paint under a revolving 
wheel set upon an axle vertically on a saucer stone, and pulled 
around the circumference of the saucer upon a vertical pivot in 
the center. 

Pie Dishes. (Information of Mr. Rapp to Dr. Mercer, Feb- 
ruary 1916.) Mr. Rapp saw decorated pie dishes in the posses- 
sion of Sarah Riegel, between upper Tinicum Church and Revere, 
about two miles from Revere. Still living there. Another in 
possession of Sarah Krause living near Cornelius Herstine's pot- 
tery on Peter Mills farm. Also in possession of Emeline Rapp at 

Dog Churn. (Information of Mr. Rapp to Dr. Mercer, Feb- 
ruary 1916.) Mr. Rapp saw churns worked by dogs, goats and 
sheep. The dog would frequently refuse to work and lie down. 
He saw this between Freemansburg and Durham Furnace in 
Northampton township in 1855. 

Cider Press. (Information of Mr. Rapp to Dr. Mercer, Feb- 
ruary 1916.) Mr. Rapp, now of Doylestown. Pa., built in his 
boatyard at Erwinna, a cider press in 1862 for Tobias Fishier 
and Titus Tettemer. The wood was secured at Stover's mill and 
in the woods. It was dressed with common broad axes (not of 
the goose wing type), and wood axes. White oak was always 
used. The wood was sawed at Fishler's mill. The wooden 
screws were bought second hand, and the iron work was made by 


Gus Siegler at Erwinna. The latter bought the press. The 
style of the press was with a double screw like the one with a 
roof upon it at the Bucks County Historical Society. The 
apples were ground in a mill in the open air with no roof, which 
was turned by two horses. A great deal of cider was made dur- 
ing the time that soldiers were drafted for the war, and the 
cider was made by the owners and Mr. Rapp. The farmers 
brought the apples by the wagon load. Then Mr. Rapp distilled 
the cider, then worth eighteen cents a gallon. He ran it forty 
degrees above proof and gave 140 gallons for every 100 gallons 
sold. It was then put in wooden containers and placed in the 
cellar, where it would rectify to proof. Fishier was drafted into 
the army for nine months, and after he came home, he sold apple 
jack for $2.50 a gallon after paying the war tax, which was about 
80 cents or $1.00 a gallon, for which the Government sent a 
ganger, and the tax was not paid until the liquor was sold. This 
cidermill was the first Mr. Rapp ever made, and he was then 
about twenty-four years old. About 1864 he built another one 
for John Frantz who lived about one mile above Erwinna, Tini- 
cum township. This was the single screw style like the others in 
the Bucks County Historical Society, and it may be still upon the 
premises. At that time he made no whiskey. Samuel Hillpot 
had a cidermill one mile south of Erwinna called a burr mill 
where apple whiskey was distilled. His mill had a grinder like 
ours. Abraham Schick in Nockamixon township had another 
and he also made whiskey. Copper stills were used. Schick had 
the circular grinding trough with wooden wheels. Mr. Rapp 
has seen a great many cidermills about Bucks county. He worked 
five years for Fishier and colled money for him. 

Querns in Greene County^ Pennsylvania. (Information 
of E. F. Bowlby to Dr. Mercer, January 29, 1916.) Querns for 
grinding meal r^n by horse power on a treadmille made in 
Greene county were seen by Mr. Bowlby about forty-five years 
ago or about 1865. The stones were about eighteen inches in 

NiGGERiNG Logs. (Information of Mr. Bowlby to Dr. Mercer, 
Greene county were seen by Mr. Bowlby about forty-five years 
Mercer, January 29, 1916.) In Monongahela county, West Vir- 


ginia. about 1840 to 1880, A. L. Wade, as a boy, about 1840 cut 
up long logs, several of which were hauled into his house for him 
by his neighbors. The process of "niggering", or cutting the logs 
by fire, was done by building small fires of small sticks across the 
logs which fires were continually renewed until the logs were cut 
through in hollows about ten to twelve inches wide. New fires 
were built by laying a shovelful of live coals on a fresh log from 
an old fire. Mr. Wade then lived at a place called Bowlby, in 
Monongahela county and Robert Bowlby (brother of E. F.), 
in making clearings for new houses also thvis cut fresh logs at the 
same place between 1875 and 1880. A great number of log- 
fires could be kept going at the same time. 

Milestones. (Information of Wilson Woodman, Wycombe, 
to Dr. Mercer, April 1916.) An old milestone stands on the 
Newtown pike just below \A^rightstown. Another at the Anchor 
Hotel opposite the latter, marked 26^ to Philadelphia. Another 
on the New Hope road marked 26 miles to Philadelphia. The 
latter is lying down now, May 1916. 

Log Barns. (Information of Stacy L. Weaver, Doylestown, 
to Dr. Mercer, February 3, 1916.) About 1856 when I was 
twelve years old I worked for my uncles. Samuel, Frank and 
Weaver Laubenstein, on a farm on the left bank of Tinicum 
creek about one mile southeast of Sundale. At that time I 
helped to cover the roof of the barn with thatch of rye straw tied 
down with twists of straw. No strings were used, nor were 
stones laid upon it. The thatch was four inches thick and it 
sometimes had to be repaired. It was built of logs with 
the threshing floor on the ground. The barn was very long, 
about sixty feet. Mr. Fox lived on this farm within the last 
twenty years, but the old log barn has long since been replaced 
by a frame barn. The house was considered very old in 1856, 
and had double doors like those found in stables. 

Log Barn One Mile East of Doylestown. (Information 
of Stacy L. Weaver to Dr. Mercer, February 3, 1918.) A log 
barn stood near the present old stone house now belonging to Dr. 
Henry C. Mercer, was lived in about 1875 by Mr. Harding. 
This barn had the threshing floor on the ground, and part of the 


roof was thatched. The rest of it was roofed with boards. 
Owing to the rotting away of the lower structure of logs the 
whole building had settled, so that a cow scarcely got in the door. 
Mr. Harding lived in the stone house at that time. I never re- 
member seeing a bake oven there. (A walled-up hole in the 
east wall against the back of the fireplace proves that a bake 
oven had existed, H. C. M.)^ 

Fiddlers. (Information of Stacy L. Weaver to Dr. Mercer, 
December 15, 1917.) Bryce Weaver, father of Stacy L. Weaver, 
did not play, but his uncles Samuel and William Weaver, were 
fiddlers. Samuel went to Cincinnati fifty-five years ago. His 
family lived on the edge of Nockamixon swamp. They both 
played by note and played for square dances, cotillions and 
waltzes, later for the polka, quadrille and lancers. A favorite 
tune often played was, "Turkeys in the Straw". Stacy often 
called the figures for this at dances. Bill Smith was an old 
fiddler living in the glen on the Erwinna road just northeast of 
Headquarters, now Sundale, when Stacy was a boy. His favor- 
ite tunes were, "The Fishers Hornpipe", "Devils Dream", and 
"Arkansas Traveller". Hen Allen, a blacksmith at Pipersville, 
was a good fiddler about forty years ago. He played by note. 
He played at dances held at Bedminster Center. Erwinna and 
Bedminsterville, and for parties at Headquarters. He played 
alone as did most fiddlers. Bill Purcell and his brother at Er- 
winna along the canal were good fiddlers. John Ernst, near 
Dublin, was a mighty good fiddler. He borrowed Stacy's violin, 
a very good instrument, to play at a party at Point Pleasant, and 
that was the last Stacy ever saw of it or of the borrower. He 
played by note and played left handed. Fiddlers never took note 
books to parties or dances, being perfectly familiar with their 
tunes. Ten cents a corner or forty cents a set, was the usual 
charge of a fiddler at a dance. Sometimes they would pass the 
hat around and collect five, or six dollars. Fights at Red Hill 
Tavern parties were frequent, where two rival "gangs", were at 
feud. One of these was called the Strause Gang. 

1 A small log cabin on the Stony Garden Road about one mile east of 
Singer's Pottery at Danielstown, observed by Dr. Henry C. Mercer and Frank 
K. Swain, summer of 1917, had so sunk into the ground, probably in the same 
manner owing to the absence of foundation, that I, Henry C. Mercer, could 
not stand erect in the single room on the ground floor, the ceiling of which 
formed the floor of the garret. I also had to stoop to enter the door. 

random notes on forgotten trades 211 

Survival of the Most Primitive Method of Threshing 
Grain in Bucks County About 1850. (Information to Dr. 
Mercer, December 15, 1917.) As a boy living in Tinicum town- 
shop, Bucks county, Stacy L. Weaver on several occasions led 
horses or mules on the threshing floor of the barn, to thresh 
grain by stamping with their feet. 

The Ringing Rocks of Bridgeton Township. 

(Ringing Rocks Meeting, October 4, 1919.) 

'N 1909, ten years ago, there was included in the 
pubHcations of the Bucks County Historical So- 
ciety, a short description of the Ringing Rocks of 
Bridgeton Township, in Bucks County, Pa.^ That 
paper, however, was not read before the society, 
and in view of the further fact that since then, 
viz : on August 22, 1918, the land which contains these interesting 
rocks was presented to our society by Mr. Abel B. Haring, of 
Frenchtown, N. J., I have thought that it might be of special 
interest to read a revised paper at this meeting, after our return 
from visiting the rocks, and while resting in this shady nook 
under the hemlocks at High Falls. 

The land conveyed by Mr. Haring has an area of 7 acres 8.08 
perches- and in addition thereto, Mr. John O. McEntee has 
kindly consented to present to our society, a right-of-way into the 
property from the public road. 

The property is situate in Bridgeton Township, (erected in 1880 
out of part of Nockamixon Township) about three-quarters of a 
mile back from the Delaware River, on a plateau having an ele- 
vation of about 500 feet above tide. Immediately to the west 
is Coffman's Hill with an elevation of about 750 feet. The 
ringing rocks are about six miles from Riegelsville by the river 
road via Narrowsville, about four miles from Ferndale and about 
two and one-quarter miles from Milford, N. J. They can also be 
reached from Kintnersville by the public road leading past Kint- 
nersville schoolhouse, which connects at the top of the hill with 
the Ferndale road. It is also feasible to open a road leading into 
the rocks from the Delaware River road, now a state highway, and 
I trust that this society will at an early day take the initiative in 
securing a right-of-way and building such a road, which would 
make this interesting place more accessible and inviting to the 
traveling public. 

1 Bucks County Historical Society papers. Vol. Ill, p. 590 et seq. 

2 Recorded at Doylestown, Deed Book No. 413, p. 318. 


Bluffs of New Red Sandstone rising about 400 feet above the Delawai 

River. Taken from Narrowsville Locks, with view of 

Delaware Division Canal. 


View looking toward the south. 

The largest part of this field, shown in the background of this etching, covers 

an area of five acres. Photographed May 3, 1909. 

To show cavities in the conglomerri te, lying at the northern edge of the 
triassic, after the softer magnesian limestone (dolomite) had leached out. 


These rocks present an interesting geological study. They be- 
long to the triassic period, and consist of igneous trap rocks, 
called igneous because of the intensely heated liquid condition 
(suggesting fire to the ancients) in which they were forced up 
into their place as intrusive masses or through the rocks to the 
surface as in the cases of lava flows. This triassic belt, known 
also as New Red Sandstone, and classified by the United States 
and New Jersey Geological surveys, as the Newark System, can 
be traced from the Hudson River across the states of New Jersey 
and Pennsylvania into Maryland, following the general trend of 
the mountain ranges running northeast and southwest. The 
palisades of the Hudson belong to this series, as do also our own 
beautiful palisades at the Narrows in Nockamixon Township, 
Bucks County. At the Hudson River the formation is about fif- 
teen miles wide. At the Delaware River it has a width of about 
thirty-two miles, extending from Trenton on the south, to its 
northern boundary just south of Holland Church in Hunterdon 
County, New Jersey. This northern boundary can be traced by 
conglomerates, which outcrop at many places across the states of 
New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The lines of demarcation and con- 
tact are well defined on the Pennsylvania side of the river, op- 
posite Holland church, at Monroe (Lehnenburg), in Durham 
Township, Bucks County, where the red shale is separated from 
the dolomite'^ (which forms its northern boundary) by splendid 
examples of conglomerate. Along the river road leading from 
Holland Church to Milford, N. J., near Holland railroad station, 
there are bold bluffs of conglomerate which rise, almost perpen- 
dicularly, two hundred and fifty feet above the river. Where 
these bluffs have been cut through to make room for the public 
road and for the Belviedere Delaware railroad they can be seen 
to splendid advantage. An etching from a photograph of one of 
them is shown herewith. At that place the conglomerates 
can also be seen in the bed of the river. When the water is low 
some .parts are exposed above its surface. Between Holland 

3 The dolomite at Monroe, lying north of the conglomerate, contains but 
one per cent of silica, whereas that in New Jersey, just north of Holland 
church, almost immediately across the river from Monroe, contains twenty 
per cent. 

Splendid examples of this same dolomitic formation, with pebbles, can be 
seen to advantage along the northern edge of the triassic, in the outcroppings 
on the farm now (1919) belonging to Miss Ida Weaver on a branch of 
Cook's or Durham Creek, near West Springfield schoolhouse, on the road 
leading to Leithsville and Hellertown, in Northampton County. 


Church and Milford, N. J., the river flows almost due east, and 
the boundary of the conglomerate apparently follows the bed of 
the river westwardly, passing at Monroe into Pennsylvania, where 
loose pebbles of flint can be traced over the hills through Durham 
and Springfield Townships. Buckwampun Hill, eight hundred 
feet above tide, is covered with silicious pebbles. Back from the 
river on the New Jersey side these conglomerate bluffs form 
Gravel Hill, with an elevation of eight hundred and sixty-five feet 
above tide. The pebbles in the conglomerate at Holland are 
mostly silicious, they vary in size and shape and are of many 
colors. At Monroe the composition is somewhat different, the 
pebbles in that part lying next to the dolomite are dolomitic. In 
some places the dolomite, being softer, has dissolved or eroded 
leaving the matrix full of irregular-shaped cavities, as shown by 
the etching accompanying this paper, which will give some idea 
of the honeycombed condition of this limestone-dolomite breccia.'^ 
This condition changes gradually as it nears the new red sand- 
stone, where the pebbles are mixed and become mostly silicious. 

The average width of the triassic across Pennsylvania (the 
southeastern corner) is about twenty miles. It is, however, much 
wider across Bucks and Montgomery Counties which are made 
up largely of this formation. 

The triassic occurs also in Connecticut from New Haven 
northward into Massachusetts, but there it is bounded on the 
west by a broad area of crystalline rocks, granite and gneiss. It 
does not cross the Hudson River, and apparently has no connec- 
tion with the New Jersey-Pennsylvania area, if it ever was a part 
the connection has long since been removed by erosion. So too 
the New Jersey-Pennsylvania area is not connected with the 
North Carolina and Virginia areas. 

There is. however, no intention of making this a technical 
paper, as the geology has been carefully studied and fully de- 
scribed by the geological surveys of both Pennsylvania and New 
Jersey to which reference can be had. Neither of these surveys, 
however, refers to the ringing rocks. But I desire especially to 
invite your attention to the admirable reports in the New Jersey 

4 Dr. Edgar T. VTherry, formerly of Lehigh University, but now of the 
United States National Museum, reports having found glauberite crystal- 
cavities in the triassic in the vicinity of Steinsburg in Bucks County. (See 
American Mineralogist, Vol. I, No. 3, for September, 1916, pp. 37 to 43. 


Along Delaware River, near Holland, N. J. Railroad Station. 
(Photograph by B. F. Fackenthal, Jr., January 17. 1919.) 


Geological Survey, particularly those of Dr. Henry B. Kiimmel in 
the annual reports for 1896 and 1897, and of Dr. J. Volney 
Lewis in the annual reports for 1906 and 1907. 

Throughout this belt of triassic or new red sandstone, there are 
numerous dykes of igenous trap rocks. Much of this trap rock is 
being quarried and crushed for road making material, but the 
ringing rocks, although of the same diabase, present a unique and 
entirely different appearance from the ordinary outcroppings. 

Within the area of this formation there are many places where 
rocks are broken and piled loosely or scattered, but so far as I 
know there are but seven fields in Pennsylvania where they have 
ringing properties. "• 

The seven places are as follows. The first three are in Bucks 
County :*^ 

1. Ringing Rocks of Bridgeton Township, of which special 

mention is made in this paper. 

2. Stony Garden in Haycock Township, on the northern 

slope of Haycock Mountain. 

3. Springfield Township, about two and one-quarter miles 

east of Coopersburg station on the North Pennsyl- 
vania branch of the Reading Railroad, known locally 
as "Rocky Valley," but is on the side of a mountain 
and has an elevation of about seven hundred feet. 

4. Spring Mountain, Montgomery County, east of Per- 

kiomen Creek, three miles above Schwenksville, Pa. 

5. Ridge Valley, near Sumneytown, Montgomery County, 

known locally as the "Devil's Potato Patch." 

6. Ringing Hill, Ringing Rocks Park, Montgomery County, 

about two miles northeast of Pottstown, Pa. 

7. Blue Rocks in Chester County, one mile east of Elver- 

son station, on the Wilmington branch of the Read- 
ing Railroad. 

3 Prof. J. Volney Lewis advises me that there is a field of ringing rocks on 
the east face of Sourland mountain, two and one-half miles northeast of 
Belle Meade in Somerset County, N. J., locally known as "Devil's Half Acre," 
although, he says, the area is considerable in excess of half-an-acre. 

6 Suggestions have been made that the so-called "Blue Rocks,' near Len- 
hartsville, in Berks County, may belong to the same series, but that is quite 
wrong, as they are of an entirely different geological formation. They are 
conglomerate boulders from the medina at the base of the Silurian The blue 
rocks cover an area of probably as much as ten acres, and are such con- 
glomerates as are found near the anthracite coal measures. Although called 
blue rocks, the white quartz of the conglomerates gives them a whitish color. 
Nearly all of the exposed rocks have lichens growing upon them, and they 
present a most beautiful appearance, but, of course, have no ringing 


The etchings of ringing rocks, shown herewith, are from 
photographs of the main part of the Bridgeton Township field, 
which is larger than any other field herein referred to. This 
part has an area of about five acres, and in it the musical rocks 
are found. The rocks are of irregular shapes, and vary in size 
from fifty pounds to several tons in weight. They are piled on 
top of each other to a great depth, but their surface, which is 
comparatively level, is not elevated above the immediately sur- 
rounding land. It is, however, a noticeable fact that all of these 
beds of ringing rocks are found at the bases of higher mountains, 
which are also composed of trap rock. They are all found at 
the north edge of the igneous eruption. All of the beds of ring- 
ing rocks, like those shown in the etching, are entirely denuded 
by erosion. They do not contain a particle of soil or vegetation 
other than some lichens. There are also several small beds on 
the Bridgeton property, adjoining the large field, but the rocks 
are not so well defined, in fact the entire neighborhood is covered 
with boulders of this same formation. The region is rough and 
rocky, and the surrounding land not suitable for cultivation. 

When the ringing rocks are struck with a hammer or other 
metallic object, they give out a bell-like sound, the tones varying 
according to their size and qualities. Some are decidedly more 
musical than others, some have tones like those of a blacksmith's 
anvil, some do not ring at all. The musical properties are not 
destroyed by removing them from their beds. I have myself sent 
specimens to several of our near-by colleges for their museums. 
In order to further demonstrate this feature I brought this stone 
from the Bridgeton field last week for illustration (exhibiting a 
flat stone fifteen inches in diameter and four inches thick, and 
striking it with a hammer). But it remained for the late Dr. J. J. 
Ott, of Pleasant Valley, Bucks County, to more fully demonstrate 
the musical character of these rocks after removing them from 
their beds. In June, 1890, at a meeting of the Buckwampun His- 
torical Society, he made a careful selection of stones, to form a 
musical octave, on which he played several selections accompanied 
by a brass band. The clear, bell-like tones of the rocks could be 
heard above the notes of the horns. 

The ringing properties are doubtless due to the texture of the 
diabase of which they are composed, but why some should re- 

f.^~ ^""kS 


This rock is 42 feet in circumference by 8 feet liigh. Estimated weight 75 tot 



' ^^vA: 4 

;W'^^«jf .f*- 










To show exfoliation shrinkage cracks. 

(Photographs by B. F. Fackenthal, Jr., November 28, 1912.) 


spend with a ring and others lying alongside are non-resonant, 
does not to my mind fully appear. They were doubtless cooled 
or annealed differently and therefore the crystalization may have 
been different.'^ Geologists tell us that the fields doubtless for- 
merly presented solid surfaces, which were broken apart by 
erosion and that water percolating downward along the seams 
gradually decomposed the rock constituents, which were carried 
away by underground currents of water. There are some large 
specimens lying near the Bridgeton ringing rocks which are split 
apart into four pieces, with cleavages which appear to have been 
of recent origin, and though they are lying several feet from 
each other, it is quite apparent that they could be fitted together 
as a whole, with very close seams between them. An idea of 
rocks split apart, apparently in more recent years, can be had by 
the etching shown herewith of such rocks at the Stony Point field. 


The belt of trap rock, which contains the ringing rocks, in 
eastern Pennsylvania, can readily be traced by surface indica- 
tions, i. c, by the character of the soil and by the trapean boulders 
distributed along its course. Some of the boulders are of huge 
proportions. Interesting features of many are the exfoliated 
shrinkage cracks on their surfaces. The etchings shown here- 
with are from photographs of two large rocks lying alongside of 
the public road about half-a-mile from the Bridgeton field. 
Rocks with shrinkage cracks are quite common along the course 
of the traps, the greater part are checkered like the etching, some 
have cracks in concentric rings. It is also noticeable that the 
course of these trap rocks can be traced by a copious growth of 
cedar trees. The flora of this territory has proved of special 
interest to botanists. 

r In 1909, Dr. Henry B. Kiimmel, State Geologist for New Jersey, accom- 
panied me to the Bridgeton ringing rocks. He selected specimens that had 
ringing properties and those that were nonresonant. He submitted these 
samples to Dr. J. Volney Lewis, professor of geology at Rutgers College, New 
Brunswick, N. J., who made a microscopical examination of them by means 
of thin rock sections and a petrographical microscope. Dr. Lewis reported 
that the specimens were typical olivene-diabase, similar in all essential re- 
spects to the Hudson Palisade types described by him in Dr. Kiimmel' s an- 
nual report for 1907, q. v. The only difference noticed by him, was that the 
nonresonant sample was distinctly altered in the case of mineral pyroxene, 
while all the minerals of the resonant sample were remarkably sound and 
fresh Dr Lewis says that it would perhaps be unsafe to generalize too 
broadly, but it would appear that the resonance may depend upon the fresh- 
ness of the sample. 


The argillite at Point Pleasant, on both sides of the Delaware 
River, is of the same trap rock formation, although at that point 
it is much closer grained, and has no shrinkage cracks. On the 
Pennsylvania side, along Gddes Run, there are ancient quarries 
with turtle backs, chips, and other refuse left by the Indians, 
who used this fine grained argillite for spear and arrow heads. ^ 


Stony Garden field has an elevation of six hundred and twenty 
feet. It lies on the northern slope of Haycock Mountain, which 
contains the largest deposit of trap rock in Pennsylvania.^ The 
apex of the mountain is nine hundred and sixty feet high. This 
field is divided into several parts, but the main part is much the 
largest and has an area of about three acres. It was from this 
field that Dr. Ott selected the stones for his orchestra. Its situa- 
tion is a wild and lonely one in the mountain, about two miles 
south of the Durham Road at Stony Point (Gallows Hill), and 
on the east side of the public road leading from there to Apple- 
bachville. The surrounding land is even more barren than the 
Bridgeton field. It is reported that the state of Pennsylvania is 
considering the advisabiility of making a game-preserve of Hay- 
cock Mountain. If this is accomplished the Stony Garden field 
would be included within its boundaries. 

The tunnel of the North Pennsylvania Railroad, near Perkasie, 
passes through the western spur of Haycock Mountain, and there- 
fore through the same character of trap rock to which reference 
is being made. The Ridge Road running from the Harrow tavern 
to Sumneytown is laid out on a ridge of trap rock. 


The ringing rocks near Pottstown cover an area of about four 
acres, and were formerly known as "Ringing Hill." By reason 
of their nearness to a city, they are better known than the other 
fields. Moreover, the Pottstown Ringing Rocks Electric Rail- 

9 See "The Redman's Bucks County," with illustrations, Vol. II, page 278. 

8 Edward Marshall and his associates passed along the northern base of 
this mountain, while making the historic "Indian Walk,' Sept. 19 and 20, 
1737. They left the Durham road at Stony Point (Gallows Hill), and then 
followed an Indian path to "Wilson's Settlement, ' on a branch of Cook s (now 
Durham) creek near the West Springfield schoolhouse in Springfield town- 
ship, where they rested and ate their noonday meal Sept. 19, 1737. 


To show trap rock boulders with shrinkage cracks. Rocks with similar cr 
can be traced for many miles along the course of 
the trap rock formation. 


To show trap rock split apart, apparently in more recent years which could 
fitted closely together again. This is an example of many rocks 
that can be seen on the adjacent hills along the 
course of the trap rock formation. 


way, which opened July 21, 1894, has estabHshed a pleasure park 
at that place, which has made it well known throughout eastern 
Pennsylvania. During my visit to that field the guide (employed 
by the trolley company) showed me over the rocks, and pointed 
out many fantastic shapes formed on the rocks, some of which, 
as I recollect, included the seat of an Indian Chief, with indenta- 
tions on rocks lower down where prints of his feet were shown ; 
In fact almost every depression and pothole was given a name 
for the benefit of tourists. He did not believe that the shapes 
were due to erosion, but assured me that they were really as he 
represented them. 

Several papers were read before the Buckwampun Historical 
Society on the Ringing Rocks of Bridgeton and Stony Garden, 
in fact that society held two of its annual meetings at the former 
and one at the latter place. Many articles have also been contrib- 
uted through the newspapers describing these rocks. A number 
of papers have also been piesented on the field at Schwenksville, 
these generally call attention to special rocks such as "Catch-me- 
not" rock; "Saul's Rest" and "Indian Kettle." The latter hav- 
ing a kettle-shaped opening of eight or nine gallons capacity. 

devil's den at GETTYSBURG. 

The "Devil's Den" at Gettysburg, made memorable and historic 
by the Battle of Gettysburg, in 1863, is of trap rock, which be- 
longs to the same series as that in Bucks County. In 1909 I 
sampled the rocks at that place for chemical analyses, the results 
of which are appended hereto. 

giant's causeway, county ANTRIM, IRELAND. 

The northern coast of Ireland, for many miles, is composed of 
trap rock, geologically like that of Bucks County. At places the 
clififs rise at a height of over four hundred feet. Underneath the 
cliflfs, along the water's edge, there are a number of caves. On 
shore the rocks show many interesting freaks of nature which 
have been given special and suggestive names. Isolated pillars 
about forty-five feet high, are called "Giant's Chimney Tops." A 
colonnade of pillars is called the "Giant's Organ." But the most 
interesting, and in fact puzzling feature is the "Giant's' Cause- 
way," where the basaltic rocks are not deposited in layers, nor in 


boulders, as they are in Bucks County, but in vertical columns 
which range from fifteen to twenty-four inches in diameter, and 
have sides with many angles. Some of these columns have five, 
some six, some seven, some eight and a few with nine sides ; there 
is at least one with three sides. There is no system or regularity 
about their placement, the prisms with different angles stand side 
by side, and yet the sides are of such uniformity that they are 
fitted together with precision, and the joints are impervious to 
water. It would, of course, be impossible to enter a sheet of 
paper between them. Vertically they are all jointed together 
into short, irregular lengths, not more than a few feet long that 
articulate by means of perfectly fitted convex and concave joints 
and form true columns. These convex and concave joints are 
not always at the same end of the sections, but are reversed with- 
out any system or regularity. 

Etchings from photographs of the Giant's Causeway, taken 
in 1906 at the time of our visit, are shown herewith. 


Fingal's Cave on the southwestern coast of the Islet of Staft'a. 
Argyleshire, Scotland, seven miles off the west coast of Mull, and 
other caves in that isle, contain basaltic rocks of similar trap rock 


The specific gravities of the trap rocks from the four Penn- 
sylvania fields which I sampled are as follows: Bridgeton, 3.15; 
Stony Point, 3.05 ; Pottstown, 3.23 ; Devil's Den, 3.06. 

The sampling from the Bridgeton field for chemical analysis, 
reported below, was made up of many small pieces chipped from 
only rocks which had the best ringing properties. All my samples 
were analyzed in the laboratory of the Thomas Iron Company, 
by Mr. Walter Wyckoff, chief chemist. 

Some of the specific gravities and analyses of trap rocks re- 
ported in the New Jersey Geological Survey, particularly for the 
year 1907, are somewhat similar to those of my samples, but as 
a rule the specific gravities are less in the New Jersey reports. 
No test has come to my notice of trap rock as heavy as the Potts- 
town samples, which (by calculation) weigh 202 pounds to the 

(Photographs by B. F. Fackenthal, Jr., .July, 1906.) 


cubic foot. For comparison I will state that Quincy granite 
weighs 166 pounds to the cubic foot. 

Bridgeton Devil's Den 

Ringing Rocks Gettysburg, Pa. 

Silica 52.68 53.09 

Alumina 11.86 15.67 

Lime 9.87 10.75 

Magnesia 8.99 6.50 

Oxide of Iron (FCgOp.. 12.73 11.00' 

Oxide of Manganese 0.20 0.20 

Phosphoric Acid 0-1 1 0.14 

Sulphuric Acid 0.07 0.07 

Titanic Acid 0.63 Not deter. 

Copper Nil Nil 

Potash 0.49 0.52 

Soda 1.23 1.38 

Loss on Ignition 0.45 0.53 

Loss on Analyses 0.69 0.15 

100.00 100.00 

Metallic Iron 9.22 7.97 

Specific Gravity 3.15 3.06 

Our Local Flora. 

(Ringing Rocks Meeting, October 4, 1919.) 

THIS consists of two papers read before the Buckwampun His- 
torical Society; one on June 14, 1888, and the other on June 8, 
1889. They were therefore not prepared specially for our society, 
but in view of the fact that the Ringing Rocks meeting was held 
in the neighborhood where many of Mr. Ruth's specimens were gath- 
ered, the papers were read at our meeting as a matter of local interest 
and are now printed in order that they may be made part of our pro- 
ceedings and not become lost to the history of our county. 

The Ringing Rocks are located in Bridgeton township, which in 
1880 was erected out of part of Nockamixon township, and is therefore 
included in the territory described by Mr. Ruth. Buckwampun is in 
Springfield township, which adjoins both Nockamixon and Durham 

To the botanist as well as to the historian, Buckwampun is a 
place of more than passing interest. Rich as it is in the legends 
and historical events of the past, it is not less so in the abundance 
and variety of its natural productions, its deep shady ravines, its 
fine, open woods, and its mossy bogs yield floral treasures of great 
interest to the student of nature. In their shady retreats 

"Many a flower is born to blush unseen" 

except by the watchful eye of the botanist. So great is the variety 
of its different forms of vegetable life, that it would take years of 
patient study and research to become familiar with them all. The 
number of species of flowering plants, ferns, and fern allies is 
large, but it is fully equaled, if not surpassed by the lower orders 
of plant life. Most prominent among these are the mosses, found 
in great profusion, and covering the earth with a carpet of rich- 
est green. They retain this color throughout the year and invite 
the attention of collectors at all seasons. They can be pressed 
and laid away for future analysis, as drying does not destroy 
their characteristics. However much they may become dried and 
shriveled, they will expand again when placed in water, and in a 
short time are as good for study as fresh specimens. Their 


analysis requires a good microscope, and skill in handling it, but 
under its magnifying powers they become objects of surprising 
beauty. About nine hundred species and varieties of these plants 
have been found in this country, north of the Mexican boundary, 
and are described by Lesquereux and James in their manual. 
Three hundred and twenty-five species were collected in our 
neighboring state. New Jersey, by the late C. F. Austin, an emi- 
nent student of mosses. To a persevering collector, Buckwampun 
would yield a large number of species. The bogs on the eastern 
slope are especially rich. Their collection and study would be an 
excellent training for any one desiring to engage in scientific re- 
search. Descending in the scale of vegetable life we next come 
to the Fungi, or mushrooms and toadstools, as they are more 
commonly called. The number of species of these is large. They 
seem to thrive under the most unfavorable conditions. Many 
kinds prefer to grow on decayed vegetable matter. In open 
woods they spring up from the rich mould formed by decaying 
leaves. Stumps, and trunks of dead trees are often covered by 
them. Amid death and decay they find the nourishment necessary 
to their ephemeral growth. Many species of fungi are poisonous, 
while some are edible and nutritious. Certain species of them 
find ready sale in our city markets. Squirrels and other animals 
have a knowledge of their nutritious properties. How these ani- 
mals distinguish between poisonous and edible fungi is a question 
for scientists to decide. As in human families a few vicious 
members can bring those related to them under suspicion, so 
among the fungi the poisonous species have brought the entire 
order into bad repute. Many species which are now regarded as 
deleterious, are no doubt harmless. The study of these plants is 
called Mycology. During my botanical trips to Buckwampun 
my attention has often been attracted by the number and variety 
of these plants. Many of them are delicately colored, and to 
some nature has given forms that are curious and often beauti- 
ful. During the months of August and September they are es- 
pecially abundant. Still lower than the fungi in the scale of vege- 
table life are the lichens. Buckwampun has many representatives 
of this family. The trunks of trees, rocks, and even the earth 
itself is in many places covered by a coat of lichen gray which 
helps not a little to give color to the landscape. One of our most 


eminent botanists tells us that in 1883 Dr. Eckfeldt of Phila- 
delphia collected sixty-five species of these plants within a few 
hours on Haycock mountain. I venture to say that Buckwampun 
is equally rich in them. Interesting as are the orders of crypto- 
gramic plants that have been mentioned, they receive very little 
attention except by the professional botanist. Their study is too 
difficult for the ordinary student. Only the specialist becomes 
well acquainted with their structure and habits. But, because 
this is the case, let us not suppose that these lower orders of 
plants are useless. They were created for a purpose and even the 
humblest of them has its part to perform in vegetable economy. 
Prof. Steel, speaking of these plants says : "They lie at the foun- 
dation of all life. Without them vegetable, and consequently, ani- 
mal life would be impossible. They are the first to grow on 
cinders, sands, and rocks. The last they gradually disintegrate 
and by the decay of successive generations form at length a soil 
capable of sustaining plants of higher order, — grains, grasses, 
trees, on which animals may live. But sooner or later these also 
perish, and then the crytogams resume their sway. On fallen 
leaves and trunks they multiply, encompassing, penetrating, con- 
suming, and in a few years restore to the earth with interest the 
materials which they had borrowed." Leaving these difficult or- 
ders for the professional botanists let us turn our attention to the 
flowering plants, ferns and fern allies of Buckwampun. My in- 
terest in the locality began when a boy. In later years, a growing 
interest in local botany led me to visit well remembered haunts in 
search of specimens for the herbarium, and most gratifying have 
been the results. No attempt has been made to get a complete 
list of all the plants found in the locality, but from the material 
collected I am able to give a general idea of some of its most 
prominent botanical characteristics. 

For many years Buckwampun has been noted for the abun- 
dance and excellent quality of its chestnut timber. It has been 
the source that has supplied the farms in its vicinity with chest- 
nut rails and posts, for fencing. Its flinty soil is well adapted to 
the growth of this valuable tree. The havoc made by the wood- 
man's axe is less apparent here than in many other places. Near- 
ly every year some parts of the hill are stripped of their trees, 
but the soil is so flinty that farming it is almost an impossibility, 


and a new growth of timber is usually allowed to spring up. The 
probabilities are that the hill will always retain its covering of 
forest to the lasting benefit of the surrounding country. Nor 
must we forget the fruit of this tree. 

The frosty autumn days often find the limbs bending beneath 
their load of chestnuts, and the young and old unite in gathering 
the crop. This yearly amounts to many bushels, and the money 
obtained by their sale is often an important item to those who 
gather them. Beside their money value they often bring cheer to 
the fireside during the long winter evenings. What boy has not 
enjoyed the luxury of sitting by a redhot stove and roasting 
chestnuts, while without the storm was roaring, and snow was 
drifting over valley and hill. 

The huckleberries, of which Buckwampun yields such an 
abundance, belong to the botanical order Ericaceae, commonly 
known as the Heath family. The earliest to ripen is the low blue- 
berry. This is soon followed by the black huckleberry, distin- 
guished by its large, black berries, and resinous dotted leaves. 
These two species supply all the berries that are picked for sale 
or domestic use. Two other species are found. The swamp 
blueberry is occasionally found along streams and grows to the 
height of six or eight feet, but its berries are not sought for. The 
deerberry is very abundant, and yields large quantities of green- 
ish berries, as large as cherries, but not edible. 

Other members of the Heath family are abundant. In early 
spring the woods are a favorite resort for collecting Trailing Ar- 
butus, the most lovely of all our spring flowers. Closely related 
to it is the spicy Wintergreen, with its shining evergreen leaves, 
and aromatic flavored, red berries. Two species of Rhododen- 
dron are among the most beautiful of our shrubs, and bear masses 
of delicately colored blossoms. Two species of Laural abound 
and are botanical named Kalmia, in honor of Kalm, a Swedish 
botanist. The larger of these, known as the Mountain Laurel 
bears large crymbs of delicately tinted flowers, and is a splendid 
shrub, worthy of cultivation. The smaller species is commonly 
called Sheep Laurel or Lambkill, and is said to be poisonous to 
cattle. The parasitic Heathworts are represented by the Pine- 
say and the Corpse Plant. The latter is a curious plant, several 
inches in height, and waxy-white in color. On being dried it be- 


comes black. Few plants are more showy, and curious in struc- 
ture than the Orchid family. Eight species have been collected 
on Buckwampun. The earliest and most showy of these is the 
Moccason Flower, found in rich, open woods, and producing a 
large rose-purple flower. Along the streams rising on the eastern 
side of the hill may be found the Purple-fringed Orchis, the 
Three-toothed Habenaria and the Ladies Tresses. Along the 
dry, flinty hillside near by we meet the Rattlesnake Plantain, and 
Slender Ladies Tresses. Two species of Coral-root are found 
growing in places where rich leaf mould has accumulated. In 
spring and during early summer the different species of violets 
are conspicuous. In the bogs on the eastern slope may be found 
the common Blue Violet and the Sweet White Violet. In the 
open woods the Hand-leaved, and the Yellow Violets make their 
appearance. In the clearings on the summit where the soil is 
very flinty and sterile we may find large beds of the Bird-foot 
Violet. In the fields southwest of the hill we have occasionally 
found the Arrow-leaved Violet. All these species produce flow- 
ers of great beauty, and are very interesting to the botanist. 
Among the rarest plants of Buckwampun is the Round-leaved 
Sundew. Is is found at a single station on the eastern side of 
the hill, in a large bog. It has not been found elsewhere in our 
county, only in the Springfield bogs, where Dr. I. S. Moyer of 
Quakertown collected it. Not far from this station we discovered 
in 1887 a variety of the Canada Rush which is new to the flora 
of Bucks county. This section of Buckwampun is a good local- 
ity for those interested in the collection of grasses and sedges. 
The sedges are among the most difificult plants which try the skill 
and patience of the botanist. They are present everywhere, and 
especially so in wet meadows where they crowd out the more 
nutritious grasses. About three hundred well defined species are 
found in America. Of these Dr. T. C. Porter of Lafayette Col- 
lege, Easton, Pa., has enumerated ninety-eight species' and twenty- 
four varieties as found in Pennsylvania. Prominent among those 
found on Buckwampun are the Hop Sedge, the Swollen-fruited, 
and the Rough-fruited sedge. Among the rarer grasses are the 
Fowl Meadow-grass, the Obtuse Eatonia, and the Marsh Oat- 
Grass. All of these are among the rarer plants of our county. 
Of the Lily family we might name the Indian Cucumber Root, 


and the American White Hellebore. The latter is a medicinal 
plant and in the south, its roots which are poisonous, are gathered 
by the natives. While enumerating a few of the most prominent, 
as well as some of the rarer plants of Buckwampun, we must 
not forget the ferns, and their relations. They belong to that 
class of plants which do not produce flowers, but what they lack 
in being flowerless, they make up in their exquisite foliage. 
Buckwampun is a rich locality for those interested in the collec- 
tion of these plants, whether for the herbarium, or for decorative 
purposes. Along the streams may be found luxuriant specimens 
of Flowering Fern, Claytons Fern, Cinnamon Fern, several fine 
species of Shield Ferns and very rarely Clayton's Goldies. The 
latter often grows to the height of four feet. It was discovered by 
John Goldie, a Scotch botanist, in whose honor it was named. 
The Sensitive Fern is abundant along all of the streams. In the 
open woods we may find the Grape Fern, the Beech Fern, and 
the most graceful of all our ferns, the Maiden-hair Fern. 
Of the Fern allies there are found the small and moss- 
like seaginella and two species of Club-mosses. The Flat-Club- 
moss is an elegant plant for holiday decorations. Such are 
some of the botanical features of Buckwampun. Much more 
might be said of them but time forbids. Their description is 
worthy of the efiforts of a much abler pen than mine. It is to be 
hoped that in the future the locality may be more frequently 
visited by botanists, and that at a not far distant day we may 
have a complete catalogue of its flora. 

To the lover of nature, the science of botany presents a most 
inviting field for research. Plant life is found everywhere, and 
its mysteries are ever involving solution. The study of its prob- 
lems brings us in contact with much that is wonderful and beau- 
tiful, and increases our reverence for Him who has so mar- 
velously wrought in the creation of even the commonest plant. 
A large amount of botanical science is so simple that any one 
of ordinary ability can acquire it. On the other hand many of 
its problems have depths that reach to the furthermost limits of 
human thought and research. These questions have puzzled 
some of the profoundest scholars of our age. 

The study of botany has made rapid progress within the last 


ten years ; especially may this be said of the botany of our own 
country. We have not only a number of men and women who 
are the equals of the best botanists of the old world, but we have, 
scattered throughout the land, a large number of amateur botan- 
ists. This latter class are men and women who do not study 
botany as a means of support, but follow it during their leisure 
hours as a means of recreation. It is to this class of students 
we owe many of our best local floras, which have been useful to 
the professional botanist in classifying and describing the botany 
of our country. The collecting grounds of these local botanists 
are usually of limited extent but have, in many cases, been ex- 
plored with great thoroughness and have yielded some very un- 
expected results. Bucks county has been fortunate in having 
within her borders a number of enthusiastic workers of this 
class, and as a result our county flora is equal to that of any 
county in the State. 

Some years ago the idea suggested itself to the writer, to cata- 
logue the flora of the townships of Durham and Nockamixon. A 
herbarium was started in which were preserved specimens of all 
plants collected, to be used for study and future reference. It 
is my purpose, in this paper, to present some of the results of 
this work.^ 

Durham and Nockamixon townships have an area of about 
thirty-six square miles, of which the former covers about one- 
fourth, and the latter the remaining three-fourths. The geo- 
logical formation of these townships is favorable to a varied 
growth of plants. In Durham we have the fertile limestone val- 
ley of the Durham creek with its characteristic flora. Bordering 
this valley on the north and south are ranges of granite hills 
favorable to the growth of some of the species more common to 
northern latitudes. In among these hills are several small streams, 
having their sources in cold mountain bogs, which are the homes 
of some of our most beautiful as well as rarest plants. South of 
these hills is the red sandstone, or red shale formation as it is 
more commonly called. This formation begins at Monroe on 
the Delaware river, and covers the southern part of Durham and 

1 Mr. John A. Ruth died at Clifton, N. J., February 26, 1918. His her- 
barium, containing about 8,000 specimens, all splendidly mounted and cata- 
logued fell into the hands of B. P. Fackenthal, Jr., who has loaned it to the 
Academy of Natural Science at Philadelphia. 


all of Nockamixon townships. In the latter township it is broken 
by a trap dyke of considerable extent, of which ringing rocks 
form a part. These widely dilTering formations give important 
variations to the soil, w^hich also indicates variations in the plants 
found growing therein. Plants, like human beings, do not thrive 
amid unfavorable surroundings and generally choose those soils 
which are best adapted to their growth. 

A comparison of our local fiora with that of other sections of 
our country is of some interest. The first attempt to catalogue 
the plants of Bucks county was made by Dr. I. S. Moyer of 
Ouakertown, Pa. This catalogue was published in 1876, and 
enumerates 1,168 species and varieties. Since that date many 
new plants have been found, and our flora now (1889) numbers 
about 1,300 species.- These have been collected within an area 
of about six hundred square miles. The number of plants thus 
far collected in Durham and Nockamixon is eight hundred and 
forty-seven, showing that about two-thirds of all the plants 
known to our county may be found in these two townships. The 
Rocky Mountain Flora, published several years ago by Prof. 
Coulter, describes 2,167 species, found on an area of 460,000 
square miles. From this we see that our small area of thirty-six 
square miles has more than one-third as many plants as the en- 
tire Rocky Mountain region. Our flora numbers about one four- 
teenth (seven per cent) of that of the entire United States. 
These facts may be a cause of some local pride. We may well 
feel gratified that this locality, so richly blessed in many of the 
good things of earth, is also bountilfully favored with plants 
and herbs. 

The valley of the Delaware will first claim our attention. It 
forms the eastern boundary of both townships and has the flora 
that is peculiar to our richer valleys. The banks of this beautiful 
stream are a rich collecting ground for the botanist ; seeds from 
more northern localities are brought here by the annual freshets, 
and spring up. Growing in the river or partially covered by its 

2 In 1906 Dr. C. D. Fretz of Sellersville, Pa., revised and re-Issued the 
catalogue of plants prepared by Dr. Moyer in 1876, to which he added 415 
species and varieties, making up to that date (1906) 1,581 species and va- 
rieties found witliin the county of Bucks. Three species added, Tulipa syl- 
vestris (Wild Tulip), Vicio villosa (Hairy Vetch) and Allium carinatum 
(Keeled Garlic) were then new in the United States. Dr. Porter later dis- 
covered the Hydrophyllum Candense (Canada W^ater-leaf) growing in the 
triassic at the base of the Nockamixon palisades. — B. P. P., Jr. 


waters may be found several varieties of Pondweed, Ditch-moss, 
Eel-grass, a species of Quillwort, and other aquatic plants. Along 
the banks may be found the New England Aster, several mem- 
bers of the Sunflower family, an elegant species of Stone-crop 
and many of our finest grasses and sedges. Wyker's Island 
(formerly called Laughrey's Island), near Kintersville, is a place 
of more than common botanical interest. In summer this island 
has the appearance of a tropical jungle, so dense is the mass of 
vegetation. Two hundred different species have been found there. 
Among the rarer plants is the Fresh Water Cord Grass, found 
nowhere else in the Delaware valley ; several fine Asters, the 
beautiful Lupine, the Ground Cherry, Cardinal Flower and 
Spiked Loosestrife have found a home there. Our most famous 
botanical locality is the narrows or palisades. Its rare plants 
have long attracted the attention of some of our ablest botanists ; 
among these may be mentioned Dr. Thomas C. Porter of Lafay- 
ette College, Prof. Eugene A. Rau of Bethlehem, Pa., a noted 
authority on mosses ; Dr. A. P. Barber, a well-known collector. 
Dr. C. D. Fretz of Sellersville, Pa.. Harold W. Pretz of Allen- 
town, Pa., and Dr. I. S. Moyer, the author of our county flora. 
Here, at an elevation of more than three hundred feet above the 
river, in 1867, Dr. Porter discovered Rhodiola rosea L. (Rose- 
root). This plant grows in some of the most inaccessable places, 
and although abundant here, is found at but two other places in 
eastern United States. It is an Alpine plant, more common to 
northern regions, and its presence here is regarded as a relic of 
the glacial epoch. Here are also found the Mountain Maple, 
two fine species of Trillium, Canada Violet, Ginseng, American 
Yew, Round-leafed Gooseberry, Rhodiola rosea L., some rare 
ferns, and a number of fine grasses and sedges. Mosses and 
lichens are unusually abundant, and are worthy of special study. 
The larger part of Nockamixon township is situated on an ex- 
tensive trap dyke. In many places the surface is covered with 
boulders of trap rock, some of them of immense size. This sec- 
tions is commonly known as the "swamps". The soil is clay, 
and in many places very wet. The township has a large extent 
of fine meadow land through which run fine deep, sluggish 
streams. In these streams the collector may look for the Yellow 
Pond Lily, several specimens of Pondweed, Engleman's Quill- 
wort, Water Milfoil and Golden Club. The flora of the meadows 


waters may be found several varieties of Pondweed, Ditch-moss, 
Eel-grass, a species of Ouillwort, and other aquatic plants. Along 
the banks may be found the New England Aster, several mem- 
bers of the Sunflower family, an elegant species of Stone-crop 
and many of our finest grasses and sedges. Wyker's Island 
(formerly called Laughrey's Island), near Kintersville, is a place 
of more than common botanical interest. In summer this island 
has the appearance of a tropical jungle, so dense is the mass of 
vegetation. Two hundred different species have been found there. 
Among the rarer plants is the Fresh Water Cord Grass, found 
nowhere else in the Delaware valley ; several fine Asters, the 
beautiful Lupine, the Ground Cherry, Cardinal Flower and 
Spiked Loosestrife have found a home there. Our most famous 
botanical locality is the narrows or palisades. Its rare plants 
have long attracted the attention of some of our ablest botanists ; 
among these may be mentioned Dr. Thomas C. Porter of Lafay- 
ette College, Prof. Eugene A. Rau of Bethlehem, Pa., a noted 
authority on mosses ; Dr. A. P. Barber, a well-known collector. 
Dr. C. D. Fretz of Sellersville, Pa., Harold W. Pretz of Allen- 
town, Pa., and Dr. I. S. Moyer, the author of our county flora. 
Here, at an elevation of more than three hundred feet above the 
river, in 1867, Dr. Porter discovered Rhodiola rosea L. (Rose- 
root). This plant grows in some of the most inaccessable places, 
and although abundant here, is found at but two other places in 
eastern United States. It is an Alpine plant, more common to 
northern regions, and its presence here is regarded as a relic of 
the glacial epoch. Here are also found the Mountain Maple, 
two fine species of Trillium, Canada Violet, Ginseng, American 
Yew, Round-leafed Gooseberry, Rhodiola rosea L., some rare 
ferns, and a number of fine grasses and sedges. Mosses and 
lichens are unusually abundant, and are worthy of special study. 
The larger part of Nockamixon township is situated on an ex- 
tensive trap dyke. In many places the surface is covered with 
boulders of trap rock, some of them of immense size. This sec- 
tions is commonly known as the "swamps". The soil is clay, 
and in many places very wet. The township has a large extent 
of fine meadow land through which run fine deep, sluggish 
streams. In these streams the collector may look for the Yellow 
Pond Lily, several specimens of Pondweed, Fugleman's Ouill- 
wort, Water Milfoil and Golden Club. The flora of the meadows 

Showing Delaware Division Canal ; Narrowsville Locks, Old Colonial Gristmill and Laughrey's or Wyker's Island on which there 
was a sawmill erected in 1822, which was washed away by the flood of January 1841. That island is rich in flora and many rare 
specimens, particularly of grasses were gathered there by J. H. & H. F. Ruth. The letter "P"^ indicates the location of the Indian 
Village Pechotjueolin, on the peninsula north of where Gallows Run empties into the Delaware River, as discovered and descriped 
by .lohn A. Ituth. Laughrey's Island was patented to William ICrwin, Jan. 21, 1S12, (Patent book H, Vol. 7, page 26). 


is a constant surprise. In the month of June they are covered 
with a rich carpet of grass and flowers, and present a most beau- 
tiful sight. To the student interested in grasses and sedges 
these meadows are of special interest. They produce some of the 
finest and rarest of these plant^ Here we find the Canada Lily, 
Cardinal Flower, Marsh Marigold, Closed Gentian, Painted Cup, 
Fringed Orchid and Cotton Grass. Among the trees we find 
splendid specimens of Hickory, Swamp Oak, Pin Oak and Maple 
and occasionally the Persimmon. The beauty of these meadows 
in summer is difficult to describe, they must be seen in order to 
be fully appreciated. 

Some of our rarest plants are found in but a single locality. 
An example of this kind is the Round-leafed Sundew, which is 
found at a single spot on Buckwampun mountain. A rare 
plant known as Adder's Tongue has its home in a swamp near 
Monroe in Durham township. Along the Delaware canal near 
Kintersville grows the Wood Rush, an elegant plant not found 
elsewhere in Pennsylvania ; close by is a variety of Cotton Grass 
equally rare. The rocky hillside at Monroe is the home of several 
rare grasses and sedges. Near Rattle Snake Hill in Durham, 
has lately been discovered a single specimen of White Gentian, 
a plant not found elsewhere in the state east of the Allegheny 
Mountains. Growing with it is a form of Desmodium known 
only in Pennsylvania on Montgomery Island in the Susquehannna 
river, where it was collected by that celebrated botanist, Dr. 
Muhlenberg. Several of our plants, as yet comparatively new to 
botanical science, and not described in the works on botany com- 
monly used in our schools, are described in the pages of the 
Torrcy Botanical Bulletin and Dr. Gray's Flora of North America. 
Thirty species have been found that are new to the county flora. 
Large as is the number of species collected, and gratifying as 
the result, there is yet abundant room for further discoveries. 
The valley of the Durham creek has been very little explored, 
and will no doubt yield some new plants. The Nockamixon 
swamps await some energetic collector who will thoroughly ex- 
plore their rugged hills and secluded valleys and make known to 
the world their wealth of floral treasures. To all who will en- 
gage in this work we can promise an abundance of healthful ex- 
ercise and the pleasure of discovering new species, a pleasure 
which is known only to the botanist. 

Biographical Notice of Clarence Decker Hotchkiss. 


(Doylestown Meeting, January 17, 1920.) 

CLARENCE D. HOTCHK'LSS, for twenty-four years an 
active member of the Bucks County Historical Society, 
and for fourteen years its efficient secretary and treasurer, 
died suddenly January 14, 1920. 

Mr. Hotchkiss was born in Philadelphia, August 4, 1857. He 
was a son of George W. and Williamina (Bittenbender) Hotch- 
kiss. On the paternal side 
he was a lineal descendant 
of Samuel and Elizabeth 
Hotchkiss who were mar- 
ried at what is now New 
Haven, Conn., in 1632. The 
family were residents of 
New York and vicinity for 
several generations. Sam- 
uel Hotchkiss, the great- 
grandfather of Clarence D. 
was commissioned Master 
in the United States Navy, 
July 18, 1788, and served 
in that capacity until 1799, 
when he resigned and set- 
tled in the Wyoming Val- 
ley of Pennsylvania. He 
married Sarah Decker of 
Fort Ticonderoga. His son George was reared in the Wyoming 
Valley, and his son George W., the father of Clarence D., the 
subject of this notice, married Williamina Bittenbender, daugh- 
ter of William Bittenbender, of Easton. He removed first to 
Philadelphia, and later to Doylestown. Through his mother, Mr. 
Hotchkiss was a descendant of Colonel Peter Keichlein, of 

Clarence D. Hotchkiss was educated at the public schools of 
Philadelphia and the Wyoming Seminary, acquiring practically 
a college education, and studied under private tutors. He was 




engaged in the drug business in Philadelphia for a short time 
before the removal of the family to Doylestown, where he at 
once entered the office of the Doylcstozvn Democrat, of which 
Gen. W. W. H. Davis, our late president, was editor and 

From that time until his death Mr. Hotchkiss was engaged in 
the newspaper business. After a few years spent in Doylestown, 
he served on the staff of newspapers in Philadelphia, Atlantic 
City, N. J., and Lansdale, Pa., and subsequently founded the 
Apprentice's Journal of Philadelphia, which he conducted until 
1885, when, returning to Doylestown, he again took a position 
on the stafif of the Doylestozvn Democrat which he held until 
General Davis sold out his interest in that paper in 1890, when 
he accepted a position on the reportial stafif of the Bucks County 
Intelligencer, daily and weekly, with which he was connected 
until his death, having served several years as its editor in chief. ^ 

Mr. Hotchkiss and his family were members of the Doylestown 
Presbyterian Church. He was the first president of the Bucks 
County Christian Endeavor Union, and was always one of the 
most active workers in the organization. He was a stockholder 
and director of the Intelligencer Company, secretary of the 
Press League of Bucks and Montgomery Counties; trustee of 
Doylestown Fire Company No. 1, from its organization until 
his death ; secretary of the Doylestown Board of Health from its 
organization in 1894. He was a member of Aquetong Lodge, 
No. 193, I. O. O. F., and of Doylestown Encampment, No. 35, 
L O. O. F., being a past officer and one of the most active mem- 
bers of both organizations until his death, filling the office of 
trustee in both for many years, as well as that of Assistant De- 
gree Master. He was also a member of Doylestown Lodge No. 
245 F. and A. M. 

Mr. Hotchkiss became a member of the Bucks County His- 
torical Society January 21, 1896, and always took an active in- 
terest in its affairs. He was elected its secretary and treasurer 
June 14, 1896. and a director January 14, 1906. 

Possessed to a marked degree of fine social qualities, earnest 
and energetic in everything that he undertook, deeply interested 
in all that pertained to the best interests of the community in 

1 On June 5, 1915, a dinner was given at the Fountain House, Doylestown, 
in honor of his association with the Intelligencer for twenty-five years. 


which he Hved. he was called into service along many lines of 
public welfare, and rendered to each the loyal, kindly, and en- 
ergetic service that made him a valuable and popular man in his 
home community. 

The death of Mr. Hotchkiss occurred but three days before 
our annual meeting held January 17, 1920, and it was unani- 
mously decided to dispense with all literary exercises and de- 
vote the day to his memory. After the transaction of the neces- 
sary business, the meeting adjourned, and the members attended 
the funeral of our deceased secretary. The afternoon session 
was entirely devoted to memorial exercises in his honor. Many 
eulogistic addresses were delivered and ex-Judge Harman 
Yerkes, Warren S. Ely, and Miss Mary DuBois, who were ap- 
pointed a committee to draw up suitable resolutions on his death, 
prepared and submitted the following, which were adopted : 

"WHEREAS, Clarence D. Hotchkiss, became a member of the Bucks 
County Historical Society January 21, 1896, was elected Secretary and 
Treasurer June 14, 1906, and was elected a Director on January 16, 
1912, and filled these several positions with eminent fidelity and ability 
until his sudden death, on the morning of Januarj^ 14, 1920, And 

"WHEREAS, it seems especially fitting that the officers and members 
of this Society gathered at our annual meeting this 17th day of Janu- 
ary, 1920, should give some testimony of our appreciation of the many 
estimable qualities of our deceased colleague, in recognition of his ser- 
vices and our respect for his memorj': 

"THEREFORE, Be it Resolved, that in the death of Mr. Clarence 
D. Hotchkiss, this Society has sustained the loss of a most faithful, 
efficient officer, whose position, not only as a member and active worker 
in this Society and as an honored and respected member of the com- 
munity in which he has lived, cannot well be filled, and whose death 
will long be mourned and memory cherished by his associates and 

"RESOLVED, That a copy of these resolutions be published in the 
newspapers of Doylestown and forwarded to the members of his family. 
Resolved that the meeting adjourn for the purpose of enabling our of- 
ficers and members to attend the funeral of the deceased, this afternoon.". 

Mr. Hotchkiss married June 19, 1878, Albertine Walton of 
Doylestown, who with a son, George S. Hotchkiss, who succeeded 
his father as editor of the Doylcsto^cn Daily Intelligencer, and a 
daughter, Sarah, wife of H. J. Shellenberger, editor of The Call, 
a newspaper published at New Cumberland, Pa., survive him. 

An Ancient Indian Tobacco Pipe from Bucks County. 

(Buckingham Meeting House, Meeting, June 12, 1920.) 

MR. MATTHIAS HALL, who has kindly presented this 
tobacco pipe to our society, will tell you how it came into 
the possession of his family many years ago, upon a 

farm on Pebble Hill near Doylestown. 

The pipe belongs to a class of objects made or decorated by 

Indians with cast lead or pewter. Numerous pipes from the 

red pipe stone, or cat- 
linite quarry, Minne- 
sota, have been deco- 
rated by Indians by 
pouring molten lead 
upon incisions in the 
stone. W. M. Bea- 
champ illustrates pipes 
made entirely of cast 
lead, by Indians in 
New York.^ Some of 
these were burned up 
in the fire at the state- 
house in Albany. In- 
dian cast lead or pew- 
ter pipes have been 
found, and are now 
shown, in museums in 
Canada. The Amer- 
FiGURE 1 ican Indian Museum 

Delaware Indian wooden tobacco pipe inlaid pvpavpfprl at Ipact r,nf^ 
with lead, presented to the Society by Matthias excdvateo ar leaSt one 

Hall of wrightstown. of these cast lead or 

pewter pipes, in the Delaware Indian burial ground at the "Misink 
flats" a few years ago.- But this pipe of ours, like several which 

1 Metallic Implements of the New York Indians, by W. M. Beau- 
champ, New York State Museum Bulletin No. 55, 1902. Figures 79, 
127, 130, 145, 146, etc. 

- Exploration of a Munsie Cemetery near Montague, N. J., by G. 
G. Heye and G. H. Pepper. American Indian Museum, New York, 
Plate 13. 



Col. Paxson has shown you, belongs to the rare class in which 
the molten metal has been poured upon wood, not upon stone. 
In this pipe you see (when turned toward the smoker), the face 
of a turtle or snake still showing traces of a red pigment. The 
figure of another turtle (the totem of one of the three clans of 
then Lenni Lenape or Delware Indians who inhabited Bucks 
county), has been cut 
into the wood, and shows 
in the metal around the 
orifice of the tobacco 
hole or bowl, the inter- 
ior of which bowl is en- 
tirely lined with the cast 
material, a result wdiich 
could have been accom- 
plished either by filling 
up the bowl with molten 
lead and hollowing it 
out, or suspending a ball 
of clay in the bowl dur- 
ing the casting. 

The discovery of ob- 
jects like this once raised 
the question whether the 
prehistoric Indian un- 
derstood the art of cast- 
ing in lead before the 
coming of the white 
men, which may now 
be answered as follows : 
Museum in Washington 

Delaware Indian wooden tobacco pipe. 
Top view of Figure 1 showing a turtle inlaid 
in lead around the tobacco bowl. 

First, the authorities at the National 
and in the far west, inform us that 
none of the lead decorated catlinite pipes thus far found have, 
in their opinion, been made by Indians before white contact. 
Second, we learn from the Davenport (Iowa) Academy of Sci- 
ences, the Museum of the American Indian, New York and else- 
where, that no casting in lead or pewter, of prehistoric date, has 
yet been found in any of the mounds. 

Third, according to Beauchamp, Roger Williams says in the 
seventeenth century (1643) that the art of casting in lead was 


very early learned by the New England Indians from the white 
men. Fourth, this statement is all the more conclusive and com- 
prehensive, when we reflect that guns, shooting leaden bullets, 
were among the first objects sold by white traders to Indians in 
the seventeenth century, and that the purchase of such a gun 
compelled the Indian to buy a store of pure lead, and a bullet- 
mould with it ; in other words to immediately learn the art of 
melting and casting pure lead, in order to make his weapon ef- 
fective ; and having done so, we can understand that under the 
tuition of white traders he would soon have cast the material 
into other forms than bullets. 

Fifth. To the writer's knowledge, no geologist asserts that pure 
native lead has been found in the northern United States. If 
found in the form of an ore (galena), it would have been of no 
more use to the Indian than any other piece of hard or soft rock, 
it therefore follow^s that the stores of lead, purchased by Indians 
from traders, were not fragments of galena, but pigs or ingots of 
pure metal, smelted out of the ore in Europe, brought over here 
and thus sold to the natives. When the Indian loaded himself down 
with a bag or pounch of this heavy strange material, the inference 
is irresistable, that he did not carry it long, but soon hid it in the 
woods, at places available in the range of his hunting trips. And 
this would verify the traditions which have survived among the 
farmers at New Galena in Bucks county and on the Susquehanna" 

3 At "Hartyaken" on the North Branch of the Neshaminy creek, 
west of Fountainville, in Bucks county, Pa., and on the North Branch 
of the Susquehanna river near Hummel's wharf, Snyder county, Pa., 
and at Little Wapwalopen, Luzerne county. Pa., as noted by the writer 
in Vol. XL p. 123 of the Bucks County Historical papers. In a maga- 
zine "Now and Then," 1890, published at Muncy, Pa., page 186, found 
for the writer by Mr. Horace M. Mann, one of these stories surviving on 
the West Branch of the Susquehanna near Muncy, is contradicted by an 
aged Indian in 1825, who had then revisited near Muncy, the old home 
of his tribe. He considered that his ancestors had deceived the pioneers, 
by pretending to discover stores of lead previously hidden by them in 
the woods for that purpose. 

The fortunate definite preservation in 1891 of the Indian lead myth as- 
-ociated with the name "Hartyaken," in our volume II, to which I 
have referred, and a note received February 8, 1925, from Dr. Amandus 
Johnson, author of Swedish Settlements on the Delaware, etc., also the 
popular survival of the name in New Britain township, as applied to 
the upper part of the North Branch of the Neshaminy (about three 
miles northeast of New Galena), as associated with Indians finding 
lead, and finally the later discovery and mining of galena ore (C. 1865) 


and elsewhere to the effect that hunting parties of white men, 
accompanied by Indians, when their bullets were exhausted, had 
their stores replenished by the Indians disappearing for a long 
time in the forest, to return with fresh supplies of bullet ma- 
terial. Several small lead pigs or ingots, stamped with the names 
of traders or companies, have been found at Indian village sites 
near the great lakes, and are now in the possession of museums. 

at New Galena, distinguish the "Hartyaken" story as one of the most 
significant Indian myths in the eastern United States. Dr. Johnson 

"I am inclined to believe that Hardyhickon (Hartyaken), is a cor- 
ruption of Abru-ti-mickan, or Arr-ti-hickan-ing, meaning "the Bullet- 
Mould Bag" or at the place of the bullet-mould bag, i.e., where the 
bullet-mould was hidden or kept. A cognate in another dialect for 
bullet-mould, is alluns-hicken (arruns-hickan) ; allunsi-nuti (arrunsi- 
nuti), shot bag, bullet bag. Brinton Dictionary- 18. The name was 
perhaps also applied to the "little rivulet" i.e., the first to enter the 
North Branch (right bank) about one mile west of the turnpike above 
Fountainville, by the Indians, later transferred to the North Branch of 
the Neshamuny creek, in which case Hardyhickon may be a corruption 
of Arr-ti-hick-anne, or Ar-t-ick-anne." 

The Divining Rod in Bucks County. 

(Buckingham Friends Meeting- House, June 12, 1920.) 

THE use of forked twig, or so-called divining rod, in lo- 
cating water or minerals, finding hidden treasure, or de- 
tecting criminals is a curious superstition that has been a 
subject of discussion since the middle of the sixteenth century 
and still has a strong hold on the popular mind both in Europe 
and America. It is not my intention in this paper to enter into 
a controversy as to the merits of the divining rod or to add to 
the bulk of material on this subject by an exhaustive history of 
this practice in general. But the purpose of this paper is to give 
as far as possible a brief history of this operation in Bucks county. 
The origin of the divining rod is lost in antiquity. Innumerable 
references may be found in both ancient and modern literature, 
and though it is certain that rods or wands of some kind were in 
use among ancient peoples for forecasting events, finding lost 
objects, and in occult practices generally, little is known of the 
manner in which such rods were used or what relation, if any, 
they may have to the modern device. The "rod" is mentioned 
many times in the Bible in connection with miraculous perform- 
ances, especially in the books of Moses. The much quoted 
passage describing the "smiting of the rock" (Numbers XX, 
9-11) has been regarded by enthusiasts of water witching as a 
significant reference to the divining rod. Dr. Rossiter W. Ray- 
mond prepared an exhaustive essay on the subject of the divining 
rod in which he quotes numerous authorities proving the di- 
vining rod was primarily used to detect guilt, decide future 
events, advise course of action, etc., although he also found in- 
stances of its use for locating metals, water, etc. What is be- 
lieved to be the first published description of the rod is contained 
in De Re Metallica by Georgius Agricola, translated from the 
Latin edition of 1665 by H. C. Hoover.^ The Village Record 
of West Chester, Vol. VII, No. 52, for July 21, 1824, makes 

1 Published for the Mining Magazine Salisbury House, London, 1912, see 
pp. 38-40. 


reference to an item on the divining rod as early as 1695." 
I am indebted, for the preceeding brief outHne of the divining 
rod to the following publications, The Divining Rod, a History 
of Witching Water, by Arthur J. Ellis, Washington, D. C, 1917, 
Water Supply Paper No. 416, United States Geological Survey, 
also to "The Divining Rod," a paper read by Dr. Rossiter W. 
Raymond before the American Institute of Mining Engineers, 
February 1883.^ 

In its most familiar form the divining rod is a forked twig, 
one fork of which is usually held in each hand in such manner 
that the butt end of the twig normally points upward. The sup- 
position is, that when carried to a place beneath which water or 
minerals lie, the butt end will be detracted downward, or will 
whirl round and round. There are many modifications in both 
form and manipulation of the rod but the diviners I know all 
use the rod in practically the same manner. An apple twig ap- 
pears to be the favorite in Bucks county, but cherry, plum and 
witch hazel were also used. I have been gathering notes for 
sometime past from persons using the divining rod together with 
their method of procedure, material used, and their success or 
non-success. I never found anyone in Bucks county using the 
forked stick for any other pui-pose than the locating of water for 
wells. Almost every one that has ever tried locating water by 
this method is a firm believer in its efficiency. On the other hand 
nearly every one that has seen it done but never actually at- 
tempted the feat is skeptical. No one using the rod appears to 
have an adequate explanation of why the forked stick should 
droop or turn downward toward the earth on approaching a spot 
where water was nearest the surface. Several have observed 
the fact that the stick would bend in one persons hands at a 
certain spot but would refuse to move if carried over the same 
place by another person. 

The Nezv York Times has a letter from a Mr. A. J. Smart of 
Freeport, N. Y., under date of November 26, 1901. in which he 
says : 

2 "Extracts from the old records," 10 mo. 1795, Robert Roman presented 
for practicing geomanty, and divining by a stick. Grand Jury also presented 
the following books, viz : Scott's Discovery of Witchcraft, and Cornelius 
Agrippa's Teaching Negromancy. The court orders that as many of sai4 
books can be found be produced at next court. 

3 Transactions of the American Institute of Mining Engineers, Vol. XI, 
pp. 411 to 446. 


"In the year 1866, I was residing in the city of Troy, N. Y. My house 
was located on the hill east of the southern part of the city at an eleva- 
tion of about two hundred and fifty feet above the level of the river. 
This hill was composed of fine sand for a depth of eighty feet when 
bed rock was reached. When I bought the property I did not have 
a well dug, for I was told that watercould not be found without going 
down to a great depth and into the rock. William, one of the foremen 
at my factory, who I knew to be honest and conscientious, offered to 
find water for me by 'water witching'. Without any faith I neverthe- 
less permitted him to try the experiment in my presence. As he ap- 
proached a spot under a certain pear tree the twig bent down, and it 
would not bend at any other place in a garden of about two acres. I 
watched the man very closely, and was satisfied that if he bent the 
twig it was done unconsciously. I tried it but there was no action at 
all. My son tried it with the same result, but a daughter, seven years 
old, took the twig and as she approached the marked spot the twig 
began to bend, and as she passed over the spot she gave a little scream 
and dropped the twig within six inches of the place marked by William. 
She said it felt as if she had hold of the poles of an electric battery. 
This satisfied me that there was no deception being practiced; that there 
was a mysterious force here that would develop only under favorable 
conditions. I had a well digger come and water was found at a depth 
of seventeen feet. Eleven years after this experiment the same man, 
William, located water on a farm I owned ten miles southeast of Troy, 
in the town of Sand Lake, N. Y., by the same process — a witch hazei 
forked twig — and I found water within twenty feet, though the last 
ten feet was blasted in rock. I write this, giving you facts. I shall not 
attempt to explain the cause of this phenomenon but to show you how 
careful we should be in calling a thing a myth because we do not under- 
stand it." 

The same paper has a letter from J. Brinton White of New York, 
November 26, 1901: "A number of years ago in Lancaster county, 
Penna., desiring to have a well dug, I was asked by a man, who claimed 
to have the power, to let him locate the well for me by the use of the 
divining rod. I consented and watched the man very closely. I noticed 
that the rod was attracted strongly to the earth whenever the man 
passed over a certain point. After watching for some time, I noticed 
that, while the rod did deflect strongly to the earth, it did so by going 
the longer distance instead of by the shorter, that is, it went three- 
quarters of a circle backward instead of one-quarter of a circle down- 
ward toward the earth. I took the rod and found this was easily ac- 
complished by pulling the prongs of the fork apart not much more than 
the eighth of an inch, the rod would make the three-quarters revolution 
and point to the earth, while by pressing the prongs together the rod 
would rise and resume its former position. After closely questioning 
the man I could not make up my mind whether he was a dupe to his 


own action or not. It seemed to me possible that he had made up his 
mind from the lay of the land that a certain spot would be a good place 
to find water, and then he unconsciously made the rod so point." 

George Smith, Doylestown, has never failed to find water at 
places marked by him with the use of the divining rod. He 
always used apple wood of no particular growth so long as it 
was strong enough not to split at the fork. He never claimed 
any special dispensation of providence or other unusual powers 
and in fact regards his ability in this line as an unexplainable 
force of nature but perfectly natural without any idea of quack- 
ery or fraud. However, he found, as others did, that while the 
rods worked for him they would not perform for others. His 
brother, John, was never able to accomplish any results with the 
forked sticks. Mr. Smith learned this art from Enos Geil. 
Henry Earner, Doylestown, desiring a well dug asked Mr. Smith 
to locate water for him with his divining ord. When Mr. Smith 
selected a certain spot as likely to produce the best results Mr. 
Earner laughed and within an inch of where Mr. Smith had in- 
dicated pulled out an iron pin and told Mr. Smith that there 
was the place Enos Geil had located for water a short time be- 
fore. At the first pottery of Dr. Mercer's above Doylestown, 
Mr. Smith found water by means of the rod and later indicated 
the greatest depth they would have to go for it. When the well 
was dug water was found five feet nearer the surface than in- 
dicated. Dr. Mercer and John Rufe of Doylestown, were with 
Mr. Smith at this time. Franz Nace at Dublin, dug a well 
found with the divining rod by Mr. Smith and water came in so 
strong at eighteen feet that the workmen were unable to get out 
the large stones loosened by the blast. Also at the farm of 
Anthony Grass, Nace's Corner, water was easily found and the 
depth indicated by Mr. Smith by this method. Mr. Smith tells 
me that the use of the divining rod made him nervous at the 
time and the efifect did not wear oflf for several days. When water 
was located he could tell by a trill running through him as well 
as by the movement of the sticks. He held the rod with the 
point of the fork away from him and the rod turned backward 
toward him by the longest segment of the circle instead of turn- 
ing directly downward to the earth. He regards his ability to 
determine the depth of the water as greater than his ability to 


merely locate it. This is a trade secret he does not care to reveal 
except that the stronger the twist there will more water be found. 
Frozen ground does not interfere at all in locating the water. At 
the farm of Grass' mentioned above, the well was dug in the 
middle of winter when the ground was so hard it had to be 
blasted the same as ro.ck. 

Mathias H. Hall writes in the following letter to me of De- 
cember 15, 1919: 

"These water-smellers as they used to be called when I was a boy 
used an apple stick of two years growth. About the year 1851 my 
father, who lived midway between Doylestown and Bushington, now 
Furlong, wanted to dig a well and got one of those professional men. 
After digging twenty-seven feet he came to water and it is probable 
that he could have reached water anywhere on the farm at that depth. 
John Flack the same year wished to dig a well. He too got one of the 
professionals to tell him where to dig who picked out a place about 
fifty feet from the spot where Flack wanted to dig his well. After 
digging thirty feet or more and not coming to water he quit digging and 
then went to dig where he wanted to have the well and got plenty of 
water several feet nearer the surface. Some of these professionals 
claimed to know how deep they would have to dig to reach water. 
George Geil wishing to dig a well also got one of these professionals 
who told him where to dig and how deep to go to get water. He 
missed the guess by about five feet. There was a spring of water about 
one hundred and fifty feet from where he dug the well and almost any- 
one could have made as good a guess. These professionals as far as I 
know were all German Mennonites who had their influence on their 
Quaker and Scotch-Irish neighbors." 

Dr. J. T. Rothrock, of West Chester, informed me on August 
29, 1919, that he had often seen the divining rod used for finding 
water and that they were always successful, but he thought that 
in view of the fact that all he had observed use it were ex- 
perienced men that might allow themselves to be influenced large- 
ly by their judgment of where water was likely to be found. He 
saw rods of apple, witch hazel, cherry and plum, used. He never 
saw it used for locating minerals or metals. 

John J, Rufe, a plumber of Doylestown, has often seen the 
divining rod tried and thinks the operation is governed more by 
his knowledge and judgment than by any operation of nature. 
He watched John Trainer, of Doylestown, attempt to locate 
water at the Fordhook farms. Trainer indicated the spot where 


water would be reached at twenty-five feet below the surface, 
but after digging fifty feet no water appeared. 

George Long, brickmaker of Doylestown, has observed many 
attempts to locate water by means of the rod on a lot owned by 
his mother in Lansdale, a well was sunk fifty feet deep without 
results, while on an adjoining lot owned by Mr. Holt, he (Long) 
located water with the divining rod at a depth of fifteen feet. 
Neighbors scoffed at his attempts pointing out his failure to find 
water on similar land only one hundred feet distant. Mr. Long 
always used a forked apple branch and never saw or heard of 
any one useing the divining rod for locating minerals or treasure. 

Samuel Hand, of Doylestown, stage-driver between Doyles- 
town and Ambler, has seen water found by means of an apple 
rod. He never tried it himself but believes that there is some un- 
known force of nature operating,*because of the several times he 
saw it tried with successful results. 

John Harvey, janitor of the museum, has often used cherry or 
plum branches, and always found water. He held the rod with 
the point of the fork toward him and it would always turn di- 
rectly by the shortest arc of the circle to the ground. Mrs. 
Harvey also tried the operation and at a spot located by her hus- 
band, the pull was so great she was unable to prevent it from 
turning toward the earth. 

In this paper I have not attempted to prepare a brief for or 
against the divining rod. I have simply presented the local in- 
formation as secured, and leave you to form your own opinion 
from this or from personal observation, as to whether the finding 
of water underground by means of a forked apple, cherry or 
plum stick is the result of a hidden force of nature, or a myth 
and superstition. 

Wafer Irons 

(Friends Meeting House, Buckingham, June 12, 1920.) 

YOUR attention is called to these ancient baking instru- 
ments, consisting of two iron baking-plates set on long 
handles hinged together like blacksmith pincers close to 
the plates, so as to press the latter together face to face during 
the baking process. 

They look like, but are not. waffle-irons, because while the 
latter show rims on the baking-plates, for containing the baking 
material (batter), and bake a waffle or spongy cake about one- 


third of an inch thick, these plates are rimless, and the product 
is a thin dry cake or wafer sometimes not thicker than a piece 
of blotting paper. 

We have in the museum, as here illustrated, six of these wafer- 
irons, collected in recent years from eastern Pennsylvania and 
New Jersey. Mrs. Frismuth has presented several to the Penn- 


sylvania Museum at Fairmont Park, and others are in private 
hands, but their identity and use have been so generally forgotten, 
that they have been sometimes mistaken by dealers and owners 
for waffle-irons and tanners' stamps for marking hides. 

They vary in length from 26 inches to 35 inches, and the tapered 
handles from 20^^ inches to 29^/^ inches long, are always of 
wrought iron. Sometimes one of them ends in a loose ring 
hooked over its fellow which locks the apparatus and presses the 
plates during the baking. The rimless baking-plates about 4^ 
to 7 inches in diameter, are sometimes round or oval and some- 
times rectangular, sometimes thin (^^ inches), sometimes thick 
(y% inches) for retaining heat. They are sometimes forged or 
hammered out of the same piece of iron as the handles, and 
sometimes cast, when the wrought-iron handles are fastened upon 
them by screws or rivets, which latter sometimes do and some- 
times do not penetrate the plate. The hinge is close to the bake- 
plates, and as in pincers or tweezers turns on a rivet. 

Whether cast upon them at the furnace, or carefully engraved 
on the cold metal, or stamped in the red hot iron by black- 
smiths with punches and chisels, the face of the plates, not clearly 
seen in the picture, invariably shows designs representing tulips, 
stars, zig-zags, fleurs-de-lis, hearts, symbols, ecclesiastical designs, 
crosses, monograms, dates, or inscriptions set in more or less 
ornate borders, and intended to impress a pattern upon the baked 
product. Some of these decorations are very rude. Some show 
the letters upside down or their numbers wrongly reversed so as 
to stamp the name or sentence backwards. Some do and some do 
not attempt to reproduce the design on both plates. 

These notes would not be novel or necessary if the diction- 
aries or encyclopedias, for instance the exhaustive E. H. Knights' 
American Mechanical Dictionary, with its 5,000 engravings, or 
Reese's Great Encyclopedia of about 1815, Charles Knights' 
English Encyclopedia of 1886, or Chambers Encyclopaedia, Myers 
German Conversations Lexicon, or the Encyclopedia Britannica 
(ninth edition), explained their construction. Where books refer 
to the uses and history of certain kinds of wafer-irons, they fail 
to describe the instrument itself, or the baking process, and it is 
not easy to learn that the domestic class of these irons here 
shown, was probably in rather sparse use by wealthy families 
and in cities, and not commonly employed, in post-colonial times. 


Further than this, it appears that domestic wafer-irons have 
survived until the present year, and I was surprised to learn that 
my aunt, Miss Fanny Chapman, had a pair and still, 1920, baked 
wafers in them. She inherited them from her great-grandmother, 
who was the wife of Governor Findlay, of Pennsylvania, who mar- 
ried in 1791. Therefore they must have been first used about 
1795, or earlier. Governor Findlay's daughter, who became the 
wife of Governor Shunk, made wafers in them at Harrisburg in 
the 1850's, at Christmas time, and frequently, as my aunt tells 
me, sent boxes of wafers to her daughter, my grandmother, Mrs. 
Henry Chapman, then living in Doylestown (to please the chil- 
dren, of whom I was one). These were made according to her 
inherited (great-grandmother's) receipt, as follows: 

"K' lb. Butter 
1 lb. Brown sugar 
6 Eggs 

4 teaspoonfuls rose water 
Cinnamon to taste. 
Make a very thick batter, beat it very light. Beat eggs with sugar 
and add them with the other ingredients. Grease the iron with melted 
butter and a feather. — " 

After her mother's death my aunt continued to make these 
cakes, as features of a dessert, rolled up rather than flat, so as 
to enclose whipped cream, etc., I must have frequently eaten 
them in my youth and recently, without distinctly remembering 
the fact, or knowing how they were baked. 

In this instance Miss Chapman's round bake-plates are made 
of cast, not wrought iron, are decorated with fieurs-de-lis, and 
the wrought handles attached to the plates with rivets which do 
not penetrate the latter, show the ring clamp. 

My aunt's present cook, Katrina Dinkelacher, this week, June, 
1920, baked the wafers here shown in these irons in about three 
minutes according to her own receipt, brought from Bavaria, 
twenty-six years ago, as follows : 

"Stir together Yi lb. powdered sugar, 
14 lb. butter, then add 
6 well beaten eggs 
1 teaspoonful ground cinnamon 
54 teaspoonful grated nutmeg 
^ teaspoonful rose water 
Yz teaspoonful grated lemon rind 


Enough flour to make a thin batter of the right consistency to spread 
with a knife on the baking iron, which is previously heated on the top 
of the range. Bake to a golden brown and roll at once. If any batter 
spreads outside of the iron trim it oflf with a knife. Enough to make 
thirty-two cakes." 

Katrina says that she has made similar wafers on similar 
irons for a private family near Stuttgart about 1825. 

To further show that wafers of this sort have been and con- 
tinue to be made in private families, on Christmas, at weddings, 
holidays, etc., and as a feature of desserts in general, I was not 
surprised to learn that my Philadelphia cook book, of date about 
1890, gives a receipt for making the batter for lemon wafers, as 
does also the Royal Cookery Book, by Jules Gouffe, London, 
Samson & Low, 1868, the latter adding that the wafers can be 
made not only thus with fluid batter, but also with stiffened 
dough, rolled into balls and squeezed flat between the plates, 
and then trimmed off if any dough protrudes beyond the rims, 
while the former books says, that lacking the wafer-irons, you can 
bake the wafers on sheets of paper laid in a pan in the oven. 
Both books refer to, but do not describe the irons used. 

At this point of my investigation, I telephoned to J. F. Miller's 
household supply store, 1612 Chestnut street, Philadelphia, and 
he informed me that he rarely sold wafer-irons to private per- 
sons, but could still furnish me with a pair, which he did, 
and these I now show with cast iron plates, decorated with cast 
floral designs and equipped with a ring clamp, but made in a 
factory and not by hand, as the last of the domestic series. 

A few days later, I learned from a former neighbor, Mrs. 
Schroth, then by chance visiting me, that all Catholic churches 
were still continually making wafers in similar irons for the host 
bread used in the communion ceremony and mass. 

I visited the Sisters at St. Mary's Catholic church in Doyles- 
town, who showed me the wafer-irons used at the Doylestown 
church, probably since its foundation in 1850. As here shown 
in the illustration, these irons, constructed like all the others, are 
26^^^ inches long, and show heavy oblong cast iron or steel bake- 
plates ^ inches thick and 6% inches in longest diameter, only 
one of which is stamped, or probably engraved, with two crosses 
upon a grassy hill, between two thorn bushes, and surrounded 
with a double rimmed border enclosing twelve little stars, and 


two small singly rimmed circles containing small crosses com- 
posed of dots. The wrought iron handles, equipped with a ring 
lock as usual, are fastened upon the plate by round headed 
screws, which do not penetrate the latter. 

The sisters informed me that they baked the communion 
wafers or host-bread in about one minute, upon these irons, with 
a thin batter composed of selected very white wheat flour and 
water, poured on the plates, previously heated over the oil stove, 
and waxed with bees wax from the altar tapers, after which the 
ragged borders on the cakes were pared off if necessary with a 
knife or, if kept whole, trimmed with scissors. After baking, 
the four circular patterns adorned with the large and small 
crosses, were stamped out with sharpened circlets of steel mounted 
on handles. They further said that when the wafer-irons were 
not at hand, in an emergency, wafers, minus the design, could 
be, and were sometimes baked on smoothing-irons. Also, 
that the church never permitted the baking of these wafers by 
public bakers, but always now required it of sisters representing 
various religious orders associated with the various churches, 
lacking whom, a church had the work done by sisters commis- 
sioned from a distance. 

But they also said that the modern church supply houses still 
sold the wafer-irons to churches in their original form, although 
they had recently made and now supply stoves and stamps worked 
by gas, oil and electricity, which would produce sometimes four 
thousand wafers in an hour. 

Besides this the Catholic Encyclopedia tells us in an article by 
Father Shulte, after noting the existence of very old specimens of 
ecclesiastical wafer-irons in France, that for a long time the old- 
est specimens, there preserved in museums and private collec- 
tions, had been dated in the twelfth century, until recently, when 
a still older pair of irons had been found at Carthage ascribed 
to the sixth or seventh century. 

I further learned that St. John's Catholic church at Haycock 
Run, founded in the eighteenth century, had inherited a very 
old pair of these irons, no longer used there. Father Andre 
has kindly presented them to our society. 

After the Reformation the Protestant churches generally 
abandoned the use of wafers, but Luther retained them, and the 


Lutherans continued to use them until late in the nineteeenth 
century, so that some of the old Lutheran churches may still 
have a pair of these now disused wafer-irons in their possession, 
preserved as heirlooms. 

There are or have been other wafers made for various pur- 
poses, and these, as finished products therefore, might be classed, 
as far as our present knowledge goes, as follows : 

L The ecclesiastical wafer as described. 

2. The domestic wafer as described. 

3. The documentary wafer, in which a thin round cake, large 
or small, is mixed with glue, and has been used until the middle 
of the nineteenth century at least, for sealing letters, fixing seals 
to papers, stamps upon deeds, etc. 

4. The medicinal wafer, in which small concave tablets, rimmed 
with glue, may enclose a nauseus dose of medicine, used in the 
nineteenth century, and possibly still used by old fashioned 

5. The fish-wafer, a thin tablet thus baked broken or cut, to 
feed gold fish, as now sold by apothecaries. 

6. The confectioner's wafer, as now sold, placed under baked 
cakes, or used as a dessert with tea or coffee or to enclose ice 

Oil, gas and electric stoves and stamps advertised in a 
leaflet from the Chicago Catholic Supply House, here shown, now 
used to hasten the baking and stamping of wafers, are supplant- 
ing the ancient hand irons here described, but the process, name- 
ly the baking of very thin cakes, between two tightly pressed hot 
iron plates, remains the same. 


Erected in 1833, abandoned for school purposes in 1886. It was tlien con- 
verted into a dwelling liouse, and the dormer windows added. 
Later, for a few years before it was demolislied, it was 
used as a cliicken house. From photograph 
taken in 18 92 by Miss Laura M. Riegel 
(now Mrs. Chester P. Cook). 

Octagonal or So-called "Eight Square" Schoolhouses. 

(Friends Meeting House, Buckingliam, June 12, 1920.) 

"Then come along, come along, make no delay; 

Come from every dwelling, come from every way, 
Come from where the mighty waters of the broad St. Lawrence flow, 

Come from Florida and Kansas, come from Maine and Mexico; 
Bring your slates and books along, and don't be a fool 

For Uncle Sam is rich enough to send us all to school." 

AS the peculiar style of schoolhouses known as "Eight- 
Square", are no longer used for school purposes, and the 
old ruins fast going into decay, it seems worth while to 
record the little information that can be gathered concerning them. 

With the greatly appreciated assistance of many persons inter- 
ested in preserving some history of the methods by which our 
forebears were educated in rural districts, several accounts have 
been secured ; and while these recollections by no means tell a 
complete story, we are reminded of our early days at school, and 
compare them with the developed schoolhouses and methods to 
be found at the present time in any prosperous community. 

In the November 1907 issue of the Pennsylvania German 
(Vol. VIII, p. 517) Prof. E. M. Rapp of Hamburg, Pa., de- 
scribes the Eight Cornered School-building at Sinking Spring 
as follows : 

"At the eastern end of the village of Sinking Spring in Berks county, 
near the Harrisburg pike and near a recently abandoned toll-gate, 
stands an eight-cornered building that almost invariably attracts the 
eyes of passers-by, especially of strangers on trains and trolleys. This 
octagonal building was formerly used as a schoolhouse and was a type 
of school-buildings of which many were scattered through the Middle 
Atlantic States over a century ago. The constructors no doubt con- 
cluded that, if it was built octagonal, space would be economized. It 
is the only building of its kind remaining in the county, although aban- 
doned for school-purposes over fifty years ago. Still a few of these 
buildings are used for school-purposes in the near-by counties of Bucks 
and Montgomery. For the last half century the structure has been 
used as a dwelling. It is of stone, very substantial, the walls being 
three feet in thickness, plastered and whitewashed on the interior and 
exterior. The outside is the same as when it was constructed, except 


for a porch in front, an addition on the east end and a dormer-window. 
The inside still retains the umbrella-like rafters." ***** 

It is interesting to know that the immediate predecessor of the 
octagonal schoolhouse in country districts during Colonial times 
was the log schoolhouse with a rough puncheon floor or a dirt 
floor. During and immediately after the Revolutionary War the 
rough log building was replaced in the Middle States, by a bet- 
ter schoolhouse of the octagonal shape, so much in favor for 
meeting-houses as well as for school purposes. In Eastern Penn- 
sylvania these octagonal houses were nearly always built of 
stone, like the ones we have herein described. 

In the same issue of the Pennsylvania-German, to which I have 
referred, an old octagonal schoolhouse on the Bath road is de- 
scribed by Mr. John R. Laubach of Nazareth, Pa., as follows: 

"Es alt achteckig Schulhaus an der Bather Schtross, was a unique 
and interesting building of Pennsylvania-Germandom. It is so-called 
on account of its peculiar construction, being octagonal in form, the 
only one of its kind, according to my knowledge in this section of the 
country. It stood along-side of the highway from Easton to Mauch 
Chunk, in Upper Nazareth township, Northampton county. Pa., about 
a mile west of the village of Smoketown and two miles southeast of 
Bath, near the east branch of the Monocacy creek. It was built in 
1828 by means of contributions from the surrounding community, and 
for more than fifty years it stood as a landmark known far and wide. 
Its walls were built of limestone quarried in the vicinity; the mason- 
work was done by Daniel Michael, who for many years lived on the 
same road opposite the schoolhouse. Its w-alls were eighteen inches 
thick, solidly built, neatly plastered and w-hitewashed on the inside and 
rough-cast on the outside. They could easily have defied the storms 
of centuries yet to come had not a building of more modern construc- 
tion been desired. 

This old structure was known as the Union Schoolhouse and con- 
trolled by six trustees, three from Upper and three from Lower Naz- 
areth township, selected from its patrons in the district. Among the 
best known of these trustees were Adam Daniel, better known as 
Squire Daniel, from the fact that he was a justice of the peace for a 
number of years; George Hellick, Peter Rohn and others, all of whom 
departed from the scenes of this life many years ago. 

The door of the schoolhouse was on the southside. Opposite the 
door on the north side was the teacher's desk, raised on a small plat- 
form. Extending along six sides of the room were two rows of desks, 
one for the larger pupils, facing the wall, and one for the smaller ones, 
facing the stove. The desks were of the simplest construction and 
bore many a penknife-carving made by the pupils in days gone by. 
The benches around the larger desks were about two feet high and 


ten inches wide, standing loose on the floor; every now and then one 
toppled over and made a disturbance. This was generally followed by 
a sharp reprimand from the teacher, and the one at fault was only too 
glad if the master did not use the rod, of which there was generally a 
good supply on hand on the window behind the teacher's desk. 

I remember, one Sunday afternoon when we had singing-school, 
that a worthy old gentleman of the neighborhood, sitting all alone on 
one side of these benches, became so interested in the singing from 
old Weber's Notabuch with its character notes that, in some way or 
other, the bench dropped out from under him. He was left suspended 
without any support but the desk behind, and the smaller bench before 
him, on which he had rested his feet. All present were greatly amused, 
and amid the tittering he could not refrain from exclaiming: "So 
veidamta Hinkelschtanga!" (Such d chicken roosts.) 

In the middle of the room stood an old wood stove. This was later 
replaced by a coal stove. In the yard in front of the schoolhouse was a 
big pile of wood, and many a scholar was only too glad to be allowed 
to go out and saw and split the same, rather than study his tiresome 
lessons. In the frame of the window behind the teacher's desk was 
the black-board, about four feet wide and five feet high, which could 
be raised or lowered as desired, but little use could be made of it. On 
one side of the door was a place for the water-bucket, also a board 
which could be turned around, having the words "OUT" and "IN" 
cut in large letters on the same, to be used by the pupils as occasion 

The plan showing how these schoolhouses were fitted up was 
secured from a letter written to Dr. B. F. Fackenthal. Jr., and 
is an excellent illustration of the interior of these early seats of 
learning where many people, both men and women, wdio have be- 
come widely known for their usefulness to their country and the 
community in which they liVed, first learned their a b c's and 
the many essentials by which they found themselves able to live 
useful lives. 

As the letter and diagram prepared by Mr. Laubach whose ac- 
count of the Bath road schoolhouse is so excellent, it seems fitting 
they should be presented here as part of this paper. 

Nazareth, Pa., Nov. 15, 1907. 
Dr. B. F. Fackenthal, Jr. 

Riegelsville, Pa. 

My dear Doctor Fackenthal: — 

Your esteemed favor asking about the old schoolhouse on 
the Bath road is received and contents noted. The house was built in 
the shape of an octagon, not hexagon. The following sketch will show 
you a ground plan of it, with position of windows, door, desks, benches, 
stove, teacher's platform and chair, also the blackboard which operated 


with counterbalances so that it could be raised or lowered. The only 
other one like it, that I ever saw, was in Moore township, near Point 
Phillips, in Northampton county, but that too was torn down many 
years ago. 

• Yours with esteem, 

John R. Laubach. 

Dr. Fackenthal advises me, that he very well remembers an 
hexagonal (not octagonal) schoolhouse, which stood on Lau- 
bach's creek, near the village of Lower Saucon in Lower Saucon 
township, Northampton county, on the south side of the road 
leading from Hellertown to Durham, about midway between 
Lower Saucon and Old Williams township churches, having 
passed by it scores of times when a school was maintained there- 
in. Mr. Joseph E. Ruch, who lives quite near its site, informs 


him that this six sided schoolhouse was erected under the lead- 
ership of his grandfather, Christian Ruch, in 1833, which was 
before the pubhc school system of Pennsylvania was begun. Mr. 
Ruch says it was the only school he ever attended. The funds 
for it were gathered in the neighborhood from the patrons of the 
school. Prior to its erection there was a log schoolhouse to the 
northwest thereof. Mr. Howard Mitman, who also lives in that 
neighborhood, informs Dr. Fackenthal that he has a distinct 
recollection of this schoolhouse. He says it was six sided, and 
moreover had a photograph taken after the dormer windows 
were removed, from which he had a half-tone etching made, used 
to illustrate his article published in The Northampton Farmer, 
Vol. H, No. 3. for March 1921. In that article he describes the 
interior of the building as follows : 

"The internal arrangement followed the lines of the building. The 
stove stood in the middle of the room, the pipe going straight up to 
the chimney above. The entrance door was in the middle of one of 
the sides; directly opposite was a platform with the teacher's desk. 
Long desks followed the two side walls remaining on each side of the 
building, wdth backless benches for the pupils. There were in all four 
rows of desks, with two rows of recitation benches in front of them." 

This six sided schoolhouse was abandoned in 1886, when a new 
and modern building was erected on the opposite side of the 
road. An etching of the hexagonal building, taken in 1892, when 
it was used as a dwelling house is shown herewith. 

In Montgomery county there is an octagonal schoolhouse on 
North Lane, about a mile from Conshohocken, which was re- 
cently sold, and is now occupied as a dwelling house. It was 
there that the late Hon. James B. Holland received part of his 
early education. 

Another octagonal schoolhouse, still standing, and preserved 
as a relic, is on the Dunwoody estate, on the pike leading from 
Philadelphia to Newtown Square in Delaware county. Situated 
in a community where so many institutions of learning are lo- 
cated, it is a quaint curiosity and a reminder of the past. 

The foundation walls of an octagon schoolhouse in Moreland 
township, Montgomery county, near Paper Mills, are still stand- 
ing and being near the new schoolhouse the boys find them of 
great use for forts when it snows. The property is now (1920) 
owned by W. W. Frazier. 


On the northern slope of Great Valley in Chester county, the 
early settlers built an eight-square schoolhouse, overlooking one 
of the most beautiful farming districts in the United States. 
After being used for a school for many years it was abandoned. 
As it was substantially built of stones, it was easily restored and 
is now in perfect condition and cared for by the owners. 

In Bucks county, near the village of Oxford Valley, Falls 
township, there is an eight-square schoolhouse, built in the usual 
was and leased for a long term of years, by Charles Henry Moon, 
and is now being cared for. The lapse of time made it necessary 
to appoint new trustees in order to save the old schoolhouse from 
decay, as it had become very much out of repair. It was there- 
fore rescued and restored, so that most of its original design is 
preserved. It is in care of Mr. Moon, who is one of the new 
trustees, and is now being kept safe from harm, and is a good 
example of that particular kind of schoolhouse. One of the best 
known teachers of a century ago, who taught there between 1825 
and 1830, was Steward Dupy. 

In New Britain township, Bucks county, about a mile and a 
half from Fountainville, and facing the Ferry road, an eight- 
square schoolhouse was occupied for school use for many years 
during the first half of the nineteenth century. It stood on a lot 
set aside for school purposes on the Stewart homestead, known 
to many of us as the Arthur Chapman farm. It was torn down 
because it was no longer fit for restoring. A well-known teacher 
of that school was Prof. Clark, a graduate of Yale College, who 
conducted the private school established on the farm of Benjamin 
W. James. Many children of well known Bucks county families 
were scholars there. 

An eight-square schoolhouse, built of stone, and in general 
design the same as the others I have described, was located on the 
Durham road near the Plumstead township line in Buckingham 
township. It was torn down some years ago as it had served its 
usefulness when better schools came into being. 
\ Among the buildings in old "Logtown" now known as Penn's 
Park in Wrightstown township situated at the toll-gate site on 
the Pineville and Richboro turnpike, known also as Second 
Street Pike, at the point where it is crossed by the Swamp road, 
stands on old eight-square schoolhouse. The indications are that 


the land on which this house stands was granted by WilHam 
Penn to James Ratchffe, a minister among Friends, who died 
soon after the purchase. It was owned subsequently by the 
Thompson, Kirk and Cunnard families until 1799 when the 
property was purchased by Joseph Burson. By a lease recorded 
at Doylestown (Deed Book 33, p. 403, April 1, 1802), it was 
leased for a term of ninety-nine years to Hugh Thompson, James 
Dungan, Watson Welding, Joseph Sackett, George Chapman, 
John Thompson, Thomas Thompson, Amos Warner, Ebenezer 
Cunnard, Thomas Gain and Jesse Anderson for the purpose of 
"having a schoolhouse kept for the benefit and advantage of him- 
self and others of the neighborhood. To have and to hold the 
said lot of land in trust for themselves, their heirs and assigns 
for the special use and purpose above mentioned and for no 
other use or purpose whatsoever, for and during the full end 
and term of ninety-nine years". As this lease was made in the 
spring of 1802 no doubt the building was made ready for school 
purposes during the summer. The side walls are built of stone 
of several shades and no attempt at uniformity was used. As 
they appear today like a bent stone wall the crudeness of the 
construction of this old house is manifest. The original roof has 
been replaced by tin in place of the old wooden fan design. The 
building is cared for by recent purchasers who use it for a sum- 
mer camping place. Enough of the original materials used in its 
construction remain, however, to make it an interesting study for 
any one interested in the kind and pattern of building materials 
used by the ordinary mechanic of that period. In design it is the 
same as all the others. It was used for a schoolhouse for more 
than fifty years and enjoys the distinction of having had several 
well known teachers during its history. Former pupils of this 
school can be found in many states. So well do they remember 
the old building of stone, and the firewood supplied by the neigh- 
borhood and the quaint old door facing south, that a wish is 
voiced by them all that "it might be kept in good repair for 
many years to come". The number of men and women who 
"got their first schooling here", is so large that no attempt to men- 
tion any of them by name has been made. 

The furniture used in these schoolhouses was very plain, and 
not furnished by contract or made in some large factory, but 


made by a local carpenter or cabinet maker. Against the walls 
all around the room was built a sloping shelf, about three feet 
high, with no line to indicate how much space each pupil should 
occupy and serving the purpose of a desk. In front of these 
common desks long backless benches were placed on which the 
older pupils sat facing the wall. While they studied they leaned 
against the edge of the shelf-like desk and when they wrote or 
ciphered they rested their exercise books and slates on it. Under 
it, on a shelf that was not so wide as the upper one, the pupils 
kept their books and other school-belongings when not in use. 
A table was placed about the middle of the room, with lower 
benches on each side of it, and there the smaller children spent 
the school hours over the lessons assigned to them by the school 
teacher. So far as possible a young man of promise in the 
neighborhood was selected as teacher because he had ambitions to 
become something else, and now and then because he was not 
"cut out for a farmer" but would make a better teacher or 
preacher, at least he enjoyed being so judged by his friends. 
Taking into account of course the presumption that he must 
have considered this distinction as a mark of honor, no matter 
how hard the hard-headed directors and an occasional pupil 
whose head was hard, made his daily task. The number of chil- 
dren a schoolhouse would hold depended entirely on the size of 
the pupil and how closely they could be packed on the benches. 
The number in midwinter was much greater than in the fall 
and spring when the older children were kept home to help with 
the work. This being the method by which domestic science, 
agriculture and manual training was received in those days when 
children went to school to learn the three R's, reading, 'riting 
and 'rithmetic. Thus learning how to calculate the price of 
things at the store by mental arithmetic without using chalk or 
a nail on a barrel-head or any other thing convenient which 
could be used on which to cipher. On Friday afternoons spelling- 
matches were often held and to these contests came the older 
brothers and sisters and often other visitors. Many communities 
also held spelling matches in the evening when they became quite 
an event and the whole neighborhood attended and made great 
fun for the young people. The master's desk at the north end 
of the room opposite the door (but inside the circle of shelves 


or desks around the room), was the executive center of these 
many-sided seats of learning. Besides serving the purposes of a 
teacher's desk, it was a safe place for storing confiscated pen- 
knives, balls, tops, marbles, jew's-harps and what not, and at 
the end of a school term there were real reminders of events 
which had caused pain or pleasure, as the master saw fit to ar- 
range things, by using the long rod which was part of his equip- 
ment or being a good fellow and let it go with a laugh enjoyed 
by all hands. "Rewards of Merit" in the shape of decorated 
cards with a verse of poetry were given for excellence in study 
and conduct. They were secured in the same way that most such 
things are won, by getting a specified number of small cards 
and then exchanged for one indicating the merit of the pupil. 
Many a keep-sake cabinet contains these cards, and a request to 
tell who has them would show they are owned by people all 
around us. From the lists of pupils who attended these old 
eight-square schoolhouses may be picked an honor roll of names 
good to look at and in which we all must take pride. 

The seats and desks were made of pine or oak wood, and not 
alw^ays of the best workmanship. They were not improved by 
use as the years went by ; the unpainted or unpolished wood be- 
became more stained from contact with hands, not always well 
looked after, and every boy who owned a jack-knife felt his 
school-life was not a success unless he demonstrated for him- 
self, and those who followed him, that he possessed real talent 
as a wood-carver or at least at hacking and carving some sort 
of insignia to become a permanent ornament of the desk. 

"Those benches are by far too high, 

Their feet don't reach the floor; 
Full many a wearj' back gets sick. 

In that old schoolhouse at the creek. 
And feels most woeful sore. 

Poor innocents! behold them sit. 

In miseries and woes; 
It is no wonder, I declare. 

If they should learn but little there, 
On benches such as those." 

The wood-stove of unique design occupied a place in the 
middle of the room and nearly roasted the little fellows w^io 


occupied the seats near it. The wood for these stoves was usually 
furnished free of charge by the patrons of the school, and the 
older boys attended to keeping it cut and making the fire. In the 
schoolyard the woodshed was conspicuous for its absence and the 
very often green wood, wet with rain or snow, made real expert 
firemen out of these boys. Now and then as the wood smoked 
and the chimney or the pipe would not draw the schoolhouse 
became a smokehouse and an extra play time was added to the 
day's pleasure. Sometimes boys earned their tuition by cutting 
wood and also keeping up the fire. 

The schoolroom walls were void of any decorations except 
tapestry of aelicately spun spider webs and weather-stains, due 
to the directors neglecting to have leaks fixed. The light from 
the small windows of small panes of glass would hardly suit us 
now. Quill pens were used and the teacher took great pains and 
pride in making them and teaching his scholars the art of mend- 
ing them. 

The real reason for building these houses "eight-square" when 
the schoolhouses connected with the churches and meeting houses 
were dififerent, does not appear to be accurately known. It seems 
most appropriate that they should be preserved by historical so- 
cieties as objects of historical interest along with all other build- 
ings possessing valuable personal history. 

"Still sits the schoolhouse by the road, 
A ragged beggar sunning; 
Around it still the sumachs grow, 

And blackberry vines are running." 

Early History of Bedminster Township. 


(read by warren S. ELY.) 

(Friends Meeting House, Buckingliam, June 12, 1920.) 

Philadelphia, March 19, 1875. 

At your request, annexed, you will find a few brief his- 
torical sketches of colonial times from which you can draw 
such extracts as may be desirable for your forth-coming "History 
of Bucks County", or for such purposes as you may desire. 
They are literally true and original, perhaps an error or two 
relating to dates, might occur which you are at liberty to correct. 
I have a retentive memory, running back nearly fifty years, be- 
sides an occasional documentary evidence. Our mutual friend 
Gov. Witte was the only person that saw them, being a Bucks 
Countian, he can appreciate such things and remarked he would 
like to publish a series of these sketches, as they would be of 
interest to the present generation in that locality, but was pleased 
that you had them, as I informed him that they were intended 
for you and no one else. 

Will you oblige by correcting my bad English wherever neces- 
sary, as they were written from the spur of the moment. If satis- 
factory, after a quiet perusal, shall be pleased to serve you 
further, etc. 

Truly yours, 

W. H. Keichline.- 
To Gen. W. W. H. Davis, 
Doylestown, Pa. 


Col. George Piper, who resided at Pipersville, Bedminster 
township, Bucks county, was born in Philadelphia county, on the 

1 The.se reminiscences were found among tlie papers of the late Gen. W. 
W. H. Davis. 

2 W. H. Keichlein, who sent these papers to General Davis, was the son of 
Jacob Keichline. He died at Philadelphia, June 29, 1888, in 73d. year 
of his age. 


Wissahickon, November 11, 1755. He removed to Bucks county 
and became an officer in the continental army. He married a 
daughter of Arnold Lear of Tinicum township, a relative of 
Tobias Lear, who was the private secretary of Gen. Washington 
during the years 1791 to 1794. In 1775-76. Col. Piper lived on 
part of the old Lear homestead. In 1778, he moved into the 
tavern located at the intersection of the Philadelphia-Doylestown 
and the Durham and York roads, as they were termed in those 
days. The York road received its name by reason of its being 
the direct road to New York. And the Durham road 
derived its name in consequence of passing over the Durham hills 
to Easton. At Stony Point a road diverged northwest via Bur- 
sonville and Springtown to Bethlehem. At that time the Dur- 
ham road was the only direct route from Philadelphia to Easton, 
Bethlehem and Allentown. Subsequently a road was located 
from Willow Grove via Blue Bell tavern and Crooked Lane to 
Doylestown, Danboro, Rothrocks (Plumstedville) and to Col. 
Piper's tavern, where it formed a junction with the Durham road. 

The tavern at that period comprised the present (1875) cen- 
tral building which was built by one Bladen about 1759. Addi- 
tions were added from time to time ; during the year 1784 the 
present parlor and diningroom were attached; in 1790 and 1801, 
the kitchen and small room to the west of the main building, 
were added. The walls of the center building are fifteen inches 
thick, and it is now one of the most ancient houses in that local- 
ity; it is still occupied as a tavern and in an excellent state of 
preservation, a relic of the last century.^ 

Col. Piper died November 15, 1822. The hotel property then 
passed into the hands of his son-in-law, Jacob Keichlein, who 
was born in Bedminster township, September 8, 1776, and had 
been in his possession thirty-six years, and in possession of the 
family for upwards of eighty years. Jacob Keichlein died in 
Philadelphia February 26, 1861. A great uncle, Col. Peter Keich- 
lein, then residing in Easton. He was one of the first representa- 
tives from Northampton county in a convention held in Phila- 
delphia in the years 1773 and 1775, endorsing the action of the 

3 Gen. Davis, in a paper read before the Bucks County Historical Society, 
in 1892 (see Vol. II, page 81), says the old Pipersville inn stood until 1885, 
when Jacob B. Crouthamel replaced it with a commodious brick house, built 
on the same site. 


continental congress. During the Revolution he raised a rifle 
company in Northampton and Bucks counties, which was at- 
tached to Col. Miles' regiment, promoted to lieutenant colonel, and 
in command at the Battle of Gowanis, Long Island, on the 27th. 
August, 1776, under Generals Lord Sterling, Putnam and Wood- 
hull. The English in command on that occasion were General 
Grant, Lord Cornwallis and Howe. The Hessians were under 
Gen. De Heister. Lord Sterling, in the dispatches to Gen. Wash- 
ington says "the English Gen. Grant was killed by some of 
Keichlein's sharp-shooters." 

During the period that the tavern was in possession of the 
family, under its hospitable roof were entertained many distin- 
guished persons of the last century. Among some of the promi- 
nent friends and patrons of Col. Piper were Gen. Anthony 
Wayne, Benjamin Franklin, Gov. Mifflin. Timothy Pickering, 
Robert Morris, Dr. Benjamin Rush, Richard Bache, Gen. Joseph 
Read, John Bayard, Dr. William Shippen, Chief Justice Tilgh- 
man, Judge Peters, Judge Hopkinson, Judge Ingersoll, Capt. 
Hart. Colonel Miles, Colonel Atlee, Bishop White and 
Rev. Dr. Muhlenberg of Philadelphia. Here upon several oc- 
casions Bishop White and Dr. Muhlenberg offered up their de- 
votional exercises, and old Timothy Matlack cut his name upon 
the railing of the upper porch, which was still visible in 1827, 
when the railing was removed. Mayor Wharton, during the 
yellow fever epidemic in 1798. boarded with his family at the 
Pipersville tavern. Stephen Girard was there on his way 
to Bethlehem. Col. Samuel Sitgreaves of Easton and Col. 
George Taylor, one of the signers of the declaration of indepen- 
dence were bosom friends of Col. Piper and William Allen, 
for whom Allentown was named, was a frequent guest. Gen. 
John Cadwallader spent many a pleasant hour there, amusing 
himself gunning along the Tohickon creek, sometimes with Wil- 
liam Logan and Casper Wistar. Frequently that good man. Dr. 
George De Benneville of Branchtown was a visitor, having been 
friends from boyhood with Col. Piper. Gen. Paul Mallet Provost, 
called upon Col. Piper to assist him in the purchase of some 
lands in New Jersey where he laid out and founded French- 
town. Joseph Bonaparte, ex-king of Spain, boarded there two 
weeks with his suite; he had his own French cooks and plate; 


all that was necessary was to serve them with meats and vege- 
tables and they prepared them for the king. He took quite a 
fancy to the old Lombardy poplar trees in front of the house, 
and told the colonel that they reminded him of their native 
clime, France. 

This tavern being on the main route, at that period, from 
Philadelphia to Easton, Bethlehem, Allentown, Mauch Chunk and 
Wilkes-Barre, and having the reputation of being one of the 
best kept taverns on the road, was known all over the country 
and identified with the name of Col. Piper and Mr. Keichline 
for nearly a century. There was no public stage from Easton to 
Philadelphia prior to the year 1792, when the following notice 


The subscriber takes this opportunity to inform the public, 
that he has erected a new stage wagon upon springs, which will 
start the 29th. April, 1792, weekly from Easton to Philadelphia. 
It will start on Monday morning at 5 o'clock from the subscribers 
house in Easton and arrive in Philadelphia, house of Jacob 
Meitinger, sign of Gen. Washington, Vine street, return on 
Thursday morning at 5 o'clock. Fare $2.00, 150 pounds of goods 
allowed, 3 pence for each letter, way-passengers 3 pence per mile. 


John Nicholaus's successor was his son Samuel, who removed 
to Danboro in order to take charge of the stages, which were of 
the "Gun Boat" pattern. He was succeeded in 1822, by James 
Rusides, who was termed the "Land Admiral", he formed a co- 
partnership with Jacob Peters of Philadelphia, and later with 
Samuel and John Shouse of Easton. They placed upon the road 
new Troy coaches, the first of the kind in this part of the country. 
Upon the completion of the Belvidere Delaware Railroad and the 
North Penn Railroad, the stages were withdrawn. 


Conestoga wagons, as they were termed, conveyed all the 
goods to and from Easton, Bethlehem, Allentown, Mauch Chunk 
and Wilkes-Barre markets, they were upon the road previous to 
1770; they generally had six horses with bells; the horses were 


fed from a trough, placed temporarily upon the tongue of the 
wagon. One of the finest teams driven in the last century was 
owned by Michael Butz, who resided above Belvidere in New 
Jersey; his team consisted of six large black horses, of equal size 
and were greatly admired. Then came the Zellners, Klotzs, Sum- 
stones, Bewighouses, Myers, Fretzes, Joseph and David Stover 
and others. Upon the completion of the Delaware Division canal 
in 1832, their occupations were gone.^ 


It appears that Angany's gristmill was the first one erected. 
It was built before the Revolution, on a small island forming a 
junction with Deep run, east of the English Presbyterian Church. 
Jacob Krout's mill, on Deep run, is presumed to be the next, and 
Joseph Tyson's on Cabin run, they being built about the begin- 
ning of the present or latter part of the last century. Then 
comes Jacob Stover's mill on the Tohickon creek, near Keich- 
lein's tavern.^ About that time Henry Black built his oil-mill on 
Cabin run, on the Durham road one-half mile below Keichlein's 
tavern. Joseph Drissel's mill, on the east of the Tohickon, in 
Tinicum township, and one mile northeast of Keichleins', was 
built about the middle of the last century, and is now (1875) 
one of the oldest mills in the upper part of the county ; it is still 
supplying its customers with their daily bread. Isaac Fretz built 
a gristmill upon the Tohickon creek in Tinicum township, some 
time after Drissel. Anthony Fretz's mill upon the same stream 
in Plumstead, was built previous to the Isaac Fretz mill. These 
mills, with one exception, are yet in good running condition. 
Some years ago, Krout, Drissel, Fretz and Stover introduced 
machinery for the manufacture of linseed oil, but when flax 
seed became scarce the machinery for making linseed oil was 


During the early part of the last century, a few of the first- 
settlers, erected a church, which they built of hewn timber; it 
was located on the Durham road, two and a half miles below 

4 Mr Keichlein fails to notice and give credit to the Durham boats 
which carried freight down the Delaware river before roads were opened. 

5 This gristmill was in operation in early colonial times. 


Keichlein's tavern at the intersection of the river road. A suf- 
ficient space of ground was cleared on the northeast corner so as 
to afford room for the church building and the graveyard. The 
people had to depend upon an occasional supply pastor from other 
localities, and such itinerants as came along. All traces of the 
building and graveyard disappeared years ago, and not a vestige 
is left to designate their location. The presumption is that the 
next church, in Tinicum, was built of hewn timber and located 
on the hill adjacent to the old graveyard, in which there were many 
graves of a remote period. This spot is about one-fourth of a 
mile above the present old Tinicum church built for the joint 
worship of the German Presbyterian (Reformed) and the Luth- 
erans. This building must have been removed about the year 
1800, as in the year 1812, a brick church building was erected, 
down at the road leading from Keichlein's tavern to Frenchtown 
and Erwinna. Not long ago the brick church was removed and 
gave place to a more modern edifice. The next church to be 
erected was Keichlein's church, on the Tohickon creek, so called 
because the land had been donated by Andrew Keichlein, who 
resided near by. This was later called Tohickon church. 

The old church was removed some years ago and a new one 
erected upon the site. It was German Presbyterian (Reformed) 
and Lutheran. Then the erection of Menonite Meeting House 
runs very far back into the last century, and so too does the 
English Presbyterian church (called the Irish church) at Deep 
run and the Red Hill church and Kellers which is Reformed and 


The old schoolhouse at Deep Run Hill was located on the 
Easton road about three-fourths of a mile above Keichlein's inn, 
at the foot of the hill near the creek. It was built in 1808. by 
Col. George Piper, Abraham High, William Myers, and Frederick 
Keeler. Among the numerous teachers employed was Hon. 
Charles B. Trego, who subsequently moved to Philadelphia where 
he filled several important positions, such as president of com- 
mon council, state senator, etc. Mr. Trego died a year or so ago 
at an advanced age, at his residence in Germantown. The old 


schoolhouse was torn down some years ago and is among the 


Col. George Piper having occasion to visit Newtown, then the 
county seat of Bucks county, to attend to some business, his 
wife, Eve, remained at home with no one except her two chil- 
dren and the hired-man. In the meantime Gibson and Geddis, 
friends and companions of the outlaw Doans, paid a visit to the 
inn, and finding Col. Piper absent and as was their custom be- 
haved rudely. Mrs. Piper was in the kitchen engaged in ironing 
at the time, and in the old chimney-corner had been placed a pan 
of buckwheat batter in the process of raising. Geddis deliberate- 
ly walked up, placed his boot and foot into the pan, whereup 
Mrs. Piper threw the flat-iron at him, striking his arm below the 
shoulder, fracturing it badly. Immediately Gibson tried to strike 
her with the butt end of his whip. Whereupon she retreated into 
a side room, procured the colonel's sword and drove the cowardly 
rufHans from the house. Geddis being unable to mount his horse, 
had to walk, leading the horse until they arrived at the farm of 
George Fox, one and one-half miles, southwest from the tavern, 
where old Dr. Shafifer boarded. After the doctor had set his 
arm they left for their homes at Smith's Corner, in Plumstead 
township. Subsequently Geddis brought suit against the cour- 
ageous Mrs. Piper in the court at Newtown, but ultimately 
abandoned it, fearing the vengeance of the people, as they warned 
him that his precious life might be in danger. This was the 
same Gibson who shot Doan in the cabin on the Tohickon creek, 
for fear his evidence might implicate him in connection with the 
crimes of these outlaws. 

There is another incident in the early hfe of that truly patriotic 
woman that should forever hold her memory green to all lovers 
of patriotism throughout our land. During the struggle of the 
Revolution, Col. Piper, then a captain in command of a com- 
pany of militia or volunteers, located at Black Rock, had charge 
of the outposts near Fort Washington. Black Rock received its 
name from a flat rock lying near the York or Easton road, 
where the Indians often held their councils of war and also on 
this rock sacrificed their prisoners. It was known by that name 


long after the Revolution, subsequently it was changed to Miles- 
town in honor of Col. Miles, and still later changed to Branch- 
town. This place was the residence of the elder DeBenneville, 
father of Dr. George DeBenneville, a surgeon in the continental 
army, and it was there that Capt. Piper made his acquaintance, 
which lasted throughout the remainder of their lives. Capt. 
Piper's soldiers were almost destitute of shoes and clothing, 
when he conceived the idea of getting a furlough of twenty-four 
hours, in order to enable him to go home in quest of some money. 
His wife, Eve, had inherited from her father, Arnold Lear, 
£325 in gold which was secreted in an old crock and buried in 
the cellar. The captain having rather unexpectedly returned 
and to the surprise of his good wife, she exclaimed "why, George ! 
what brings you home, has our little army been defeated?" "No, 
Eve," he replied, "I have ridden all day and I am nearly starved." 
She speedily prepared him a repast and while eating it, he told 
her the object of his visit, which was to procure from her the 
loan of her dowry ; without any hesitation whatever she replied 
"well George, take it, together with my blessing for the good 
cause." The gold was placed in a pair of old saddlebags, and in 
the grey mist of the morning he bid adieu to his dear wife, and 
arrived in safety back to the camp and relieved the needs of his 
men. The government subsequently refunded the amount in 
continental currency, which proved worthless ; it was stowed 
away in a beehive in the garret. The family retain some por- 
tions of it as relics of bygone days. 


During the absence of Col. George Piper, upon the occasion 
previously referred to, a man was arrested, while on horseback, 
in the act of crossing the American lines or outposts, near Black 
Rock, having upon his horse a packsaddle containing butter and 
eggs destined for the British army in Philadelphia. His name was 
Tyson and he resided in Bedminster township, near Col. Piper's 
tavern. He was a member of the Mennonite society at Deep 
Run. These people generally sided with the British during the 
Revolution and their sympathies are now and always have been 
with the radicals of the present time. Upon the return of the 
colonel, he found Tyson in close custody, having been regularly 


courtmarshalled. He had the decree of court modified to the 
extent that his punishment was to be, that he be stripped to his 
waist, tied to a tree with a dozen soldiers placed ten paces away 
each supplied bountifully with eggs, and at the word "fire", his 
precious body was reduced to an eggnog, his gray horse was con- 
fiscated and he was allowed to depart, with the assurance, if he 
ever came down that way again, that he would be shot. The tree 
to which he was tied is still (1875) standing as a commemoration 
of the event. 


There were a number of shad fisheries upon the Delaware river, 
between the Tohickon and Tinicum creeks. "Cowells", near 
Point Pleasant, in the early part of the present century, was an 
exceedingly lucrative one. At one period, however, "Ridges" 
was the most profitable one. Col. Piper said, that in 1810 from 
1,200 to 1,500 shad were frequently caught in a single day upon 
the small island, directly opposite Ridge's house. He likewise 
described "Old Ned Ridge", seated in a tree on the south part of 
the island, watching for the approach of a school of shad, to 
pass up stream, which would enable him to make the discovery 
by the ripples created upon the water, as they generally swam 
near the surface. On seeing the ripples he would give notice for 
the preparation of the haul. The "Cabin Fishery" was located 
half-a-mile above Ridges; it was prosperous and produced con- 
siderable revenue. The "Drive Factory", on the New Jersey 
side of the large island, was another productive one, and the 
"Sweet Briar", on the New Jersey shore opposite, was equally 
profitable. Shad taken from these waters were of the finest kind, 
and were caught in abundance up to 1825, and from that time 
up to 1842, in fair quantities. They, however, grew less plentiful 
from year to year, in that neighborhood. 


This town was laid out by Arthur Erwin, a Scotch-Irishman, 
as he was termed, dating back into the last century.*' He repre- 
sented Bucks county in the legislature in the year 1785, and hav- 
ing occasion to visit Luzerne county in the spring of 1791, to 

See paper on Col. Arthur Erwin by Dr. Fackenthal, this volume, page 433. 


look after his property, was assassinated at the house of Samuel 
McAfee. Some attributed this act to his sentiments derogatory to 
the principles of a spirit of patriotism. Upon the ninth day of 
June, 1791, Gov. Mifflin offered a reward of two hundred dollars 
for the arrest of the guilty parties. Col. Arthur Erwin left 
several children among them was William Erwin who in the 
early part of the present century, took quite an active part in the 
politics of the day, and represented Bucks county in the legisla- 
ture; he was always cl violent opponent to the Democratic party. 
His lands adjoin those of Thomas G. Kennedy,^ who was at one 
time sheriff of Bucks county. Henry Stover is now the owner 
of the Kennedy farm. 


From 1784 to 1824, wild pigeons were caught in large quan- 
tities in nets by numerous parties. Among the experts, in those 
sports, and who excelled in that line, were Abraham Kulp, 
Jacob Wismer, Jacob Angeny and Abraham Overholt. Pigeons 
generally when migrating, and particularly in those days, always 
traveled in large flocks. The customary cabin in which the 
operators were concealed, was generally erected in buckwheat 
fields, and constructed of cedar bushes, so as to completely con- 
ceal the trapper from observation. When the flock of pigeons 
was about to pass over the cabin the flyer-pigeon was thrown 
upward, attached to a line about fifty yards long which was con- 
nected to the trapper in the cabin. In performing this exploit 
it was done for the purpose of attracting the attention of the 
passing flock, then the operator played the stool-pigeon, in order 
to attract the attention of the ground. The trapper stood upon 
a small platform and operated from within by a string. The 
stool-pigeon was blinded by sewing together, with white silk, 
the eyelids. When the pigeons were attracted to the spot de- 
sired, the net was sprung over them when all within the range of 
the net were made prisoners. Jacob Wismer frequently caught, 
before breakfast, as many pigeons as would fill two or three bar- 
rels. Many parties salted the pigeons down for future use, all 

7 Thomas G. Kennedy was a son-in-law of William Erwin. 

8 See paper on "The Last of the Wild Pigeons," by Col. Paxson, Vol. IV, 
p. 367. 


were treated that way except those that were sold in the markets, 
the price being at the rate of twenty-five cents per dozen. 


Peaches and other fruits were cultivated in great abundance in 
Bedmister township from 1811 to 1825. The crops were the 
most prohfic during the years 1817-18-19 and 20. Abraham High 
Hving one mile northwest from Keichlein's inn during those years 
took a number of wagon loads of peaches to Jacob Stover's dis- 
tillery, where they were made into peach brandy. Joseph Town- 
send, Nicholas Garis, Jacob Laux and Jacob Krout had more 
peaches than they could consume or give away, besides Jacob 
Krout made a large quantity of peach brandy, which he sold as 
low as twelve cents a quart. Pears and cherries were exceedingly 
abundant in those days. 


Gen. Thomas Cadwallader was a noble specimen of manhood. 
During his sojourn at Jacob Kichlein's inn. in 1828. in company 
with Sebastian Logan, enjoying their favorite amusements, gun- 
ning, etc., one morning having had occasion to pass over one of 
Tinsman's fields after a covey of partridges, and when about in 
the center of the field, they discovered a large and furious black 
bull running toward them and bellowing at a fearful rate ; all 
retreat being cut ofif, there was no other alternative, but to stand 
their ground ; as the bull approached within convenient distance. 
Gen. Cadwallader fired the contents of his double-barrel shot 
gun into his head and face. Shaking his head, the bull beat a 
hasty retreat, minus an eye. This little freak cost the general 
ten dollars. The general was what might be called a "crack 
shot", he seldom missed his mark, although he was troubled with 
a ball in his arm near his wrist, received in a duel with Mr. 

The following items are copied from newspaper clippings at- 
tached to the notes of William H. Keichlein. which he sent to 
Gen. W. W. H. Davis. March 19, 1875 : 

RELICS OF 1776. 
Among other curiosities of literature, we have had placed in our 


hands several documents, so carefully preserved that it is remarkable, 
and we certainly deem them worthy of preservation, particularly the 
funeral-sermon and the certificate of naturalization. They are per- 
taining to the history of the ancestors of our esteemed friend. Col. 
William H. Keichlein, one of the inspectors of the Philadelphia county 
prison; and of his brother, Dr. Charles P. Keichlein. The documents 
are certainly relics of our colonial history, the Revolution and the War 
of 1776. It appears that the great-great-grandfather of the Keich- 
leins, John Peter Keichlein, emigrated to this country from Germany, 
as far back as 1742, and settled in Eastern Pennsylvania as a good and 
substantial agriculturist. He was blessed with three sons, who were 
born amid contentment and happiness, their parents never anticipat- 
ing an event so striking as that which occurred a few years later, when 
a voice from Virginia called them to the field. The young men en- 
tered the continental army, where they shortly rose to distinction and 
honor. Peter was made a colonel. Andrew was promoted to major on 
the battle field of Monmouth, and placed upon the staflf of General 
Mercer; while Charles, the youngest, was made a lieutenant, he having 
entered the army at a later period. This is one of the most remarkable 
instances on record in those days, wherein three officers were from the 
same family. But to the documents, which speak for themselves. 

(The above from a Sunday morning paper, the name of which is 
not legible.) 

Spring Mills Farm, Pa. 
To. Col. Peter Kichlein, July 17, 1777. 


I have the pleasure of dating this from my own house, where 
I arrived last week in tolerable health, and where I hope to remain 
for some time. The following is the state of your account with me at 
New York. The balance I expect you will remit me the first oppor- 
tunity, in silver or gold. 

I am your very humble servant, 

Sam'l Miles. 



To 8 Linen Shirts for your officers, at 1 /i sterling, is 
12/10 New York currency 

Cash on board the scow Mentor 

1 Uniform coat 

Expense on board the Mentor, your share 

Cash paid Mrs. Carrow, your board 

Cash paid Mrs. Alyre, in Jersey money 

Charged by Mr. Chanter 

Your share of expenses at Mrs. Carrows 

£ 5 























By cash at Mrs. Carrows £ 6 10 4 

do do do 3 4 ■ 9 14 4 

The balance in New York currency is £19 4 9 

which is £19-0-9 Pennsylvania. 
Note in pencil by William H. Keichlein — Col. Keichlein received this 
letter while on board ship "Mentor", after the Battle of Gowanis, 
Long Island. 


The following is a copy of a Discourse delivered at the grave 
of Colonel Miles, the bosom friend of Colonel Peter Keichlein. 
The manuscript is in excellent state of preservation, the paper 
upon which it is written being scarcely soiled. It was evidently 
written by the Reverend gentleman who delivered it. or by a 
friend. It is a most beautiful tribute to the lamented dead, and 
is worthy of perusal. 

On Tuesday morning, Dec. 31, 1805, were deposited in a vault in the 
graveyard of the First Baptist church, Philadelphia, the remains of Col. 
Samuel Miles, of Cheltenham, who departed this life the 29th. instant, 
aged 67 years. 

The deserved character of this excellent man is drawn by the Rev. 
Dr. Rogers, who delivered an address at his grave, in substance as 
follows : 

Under an impression of the truth and importance of these principles, 
(referring to the great principles of the Christian system), lived and 
died our dear friend, our beloved brother. They were regarded by him 
not merely as subjects of speculation, but designed to sanctify the heart, 
and direct the life and conversation. In all the relationship of society, 
their effect was visible. As a citizen he was respected and beloved. 
Not only might I call upon the immediate circle of his acquaintance, 
but the inhabitants of this city and commonwealth to look into yonder 
vault, and there see the mortal part of one whose heart was bent on 
their prosperity. As a soldier he not only distinguished himself in the 
important Revolution which broke our chains and established our tri- 
umphing independence, but before the Revolution in the field of con- 
test, he was known to be an officer never tardy in the service of his 
country. His military character, till he laid down the sword, was pre- 
served without a blot. As a Representative of this State, he discharged, 
it is believed, his official duties in such a way as must awaken in the 
bosom of all his constituents, who regret at the recital of his loss. The 
duties of a husband he fulfilled with fidelity and affection, until death 
tore his estimable wife from his embraces. As a father he was indul- 
gent, and as a sincere friend. But the character in which he pre-emi- 


nently shone, and to which these were but appendages, was that of a 
Christian. "A Christian is the highest style of man". Often have I 
heard hiiri relate the story of his pious experience, and as often declare 
his entire confidence in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. His pil- 
grimage is now closed. His spirit, we believe, is now with the spirits 
of the just, and with holy angels in glory; and the hour is coming 
when Jesus, who is the "resurrection and the life", shall raise in power 
the dust we are now sowing in weakness. Ohl that in prospect of the 
hour of death, and of the day of judgment, we may now seek the for- 
giveness of our sins, the sanctification of our hearts, and all that 
grace which can render our lives useful and our deaths happy. 


I do hereby certify, that CHARLES KEICHLEIN, of Bucks 
county, hath voluntarily taken and subscribed the Oath of Al- 
legiance and Fidelity as directed by an act of the General Assem- 
bly, passed the 13th. day of June, A. D. 1777. 
Witness my hand and seal, the 14th. day of October, A. D. 1777. 

Thomas Dyer. 
No. 101 

To Richard Backhouse, 

Durham Furnace, Bucks County, 

Mr. McNeal informs me of a matter concerning the said Mc- 
Neal's son, who has enlisted as a volunteer from this State, with Cap- 
tain Shoop, of Nockamixon, and that he has since been arrested by you 
for some labor that he had to do, and that he is confined on that ac- 
count. Therefore, I send you these few lines, giving my advice to 
settle the matter with the man, and not to detain him from the service 
in which he entered and enlisted; and that I hope you are a good friend 
of the cause, that you will exchange the man from his confinement, as 
Mr. McNeal tells me he is willing to allow any thing in reason for dam- 
age done by him. 

Sir, I am, with all respects, your most obedient and humble servant, 

Andrew Keichlein. 

Biographical Notice of John A. Ruth, 

(Tohickon Park Meeting, October 9, 1920.) 

OUR president, Dr. Mercer, has asked me to prepare a bi- 
graphical notice of Mr. Ruth, saying that he appreciated 
the careful and painstaking work that he had accompHshed 
as a local historian, archaeologist and botanist, and moreover 
he and his brother, Harvey F. Ruth, had very generously given 
their archaeological collection to the museum of the Bucks County 
Historical Society. I am indeed glad to comply with his request. 

In preparing this paper I have drawn largely from a manu- 
script copy of his autobiography, which he says he prepared for 
his children, a copy of which has fallen into my hands. This en- 
tire autobiography is well worth reading before this society ; it so 
simply and graphically tells the story of his life, as to make it a 
classic. He was of a religious turn of mind, a faithful church and 
Sunday school worker. He was first a member of the Reformed 
Church, and later after his marriage, of the Lutheran Church, 
of which his wife was a member. He was a Christian gentleman 
without cant or hypocracy, modest and retiring in his disposition. 

The introductory page of his autobiography is headed with 
these lines : 

"And thou shall remember all the way which the Lord thy God 
led thee." 

John A. Ruth was born in Durham Township. Bucks County, 
Pa., October 8, 1859. The son of Charles Ruth (B. Oct. 11, 1830, 
d. March 10, 1899), and his wife MatHda (B. Dec. 1, 1830, d. 
Dec. 31, 1906), daughter of Peter and Elizabeth (Long) Facken- 
thal. On September 1, 1890, he married Kate S., daughter of 
John and Julia (Trauger) Nicholas. 

In 1861 he moved with his parents to Springfield Township 
where they lived until 1872. when they moved back to Durham 

His autobiography enters into detail concerning his childhood 
days at Springtown. He gives his impressions of matters and 
things and the people he came in contact with. He describes 
the old tannery and the two tanners who operated it. within his 


recollection, Mr. Gerlack and Mr. Kramer. He also tells of the 
village store, the blacksmith shop, the hotel, village doctor, the 
churches and schoolhouses, and gives considerable space to 
Cook's, later Durham Creek, and discusses the uncertain origin 
of its name. He also speaks of the stone arch bridge across the 
creek. He tells of the schools he attended and gives his estima- 
tion of the teachers and the influence they had upon his life. 
His father was a blacksmith by trade, but at times turned farmer 
and did other laboring work. John attended school in winters 
and worked during the summers, mostly on farms. 

On January 2, 1876, he entered the State Normal School at 
West Chester, Pa., where he remained for six months. In the 
winter of 1876-77, he attended the grammar school at Riegels- 
ville. In 1877, at the age of 18 years he began his career as a 
school teacher. He taught eleven terms in the public schools, and 
was given a permanent certificate by Superintendent W. W. 
Woodruff. In 1888 he entered the car accounting department 
of the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company at Bethlehem, Pa. Two 
years later he built for himself and his bride a new home in 
what was then W^est Bethlehem. He remained in Bethlehem for 
twenty-five years, when owing to failing health, he resigned his 
position with the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company and moved 
to Clifton, N. J., in order to make a home for his daughter, who 
was teaching in the high school of that city. He passed away at 
Clifton, February 26, 1918, in the 59th. year of his age. He is 
survived by his widow and his two children. Bertha Matilda 
and Charles Nicholas. 

While living in Durham Township he and his brother, Harvey 
F. ( b. 1866, d. 1904) . took up, self taught, the study of geology and 
archaeology, and later the study of botany. There had been 
much speculation and discussion, including historical papers and 
newspaper contributions, as to the location of the Indian village 
of Pechoquelin, where the Shawnee Indians resided from 1698 
to 1728. Mr. Ruth finally, and I believe correctly, located that 
village-site in Durham Township, on the peninsula north side of 
where Gallows Run (Indian name Pferlefakon), empties into the 
Delaware River. There are evidences there of an extensive In- 
dian village, and there the Ruth brothers found hundreds of speci- 
mens, including many pot sherds. The discovery of the location 


of the site of the Indian village Pechoquelin must therefore be 
credited to Mr. Ruth. 

Mr. Ruth was asked by the Smithsonian Institute at Washing- 
ton, to prepare a chart of Durham and vicinity to show where he 
collected his many archaeological specimens. He was pleased to 
comply with that request, and it was published in the Smithson- 
ian report for the year 1881. 

In 1897 Mr. Ruth and his brother very generously donated the 
greater part of their archaeological and geological cabinet to the 
Bucks County Historical Society, and it was his wish that the re- 
mainder should, on his passing away, also be presented to that 
society. His wish was complied with, and added to their original 
gift, aggregated about 4,000 specimens. All their specimens, 
both archaeological and botanical, are marked J. A. & H. F. 
Ruth ; he was always very careful to give his brother equal credit. 

As botanists they were close collectors, they were not content 
with the ordinary flora, but were collectors of grasses and mosses, 
on which they soon became authorities. In botanical text books 
they are credited with new and rare plants. Dr. Thomas C. 
Porter, Dr. N. L. Britton and many other noted botanists were 
their correspondents. Dr. Porter often spoke to me of their 
herbarium as a model of neatness in every respect, mounting and 
labeling. It is now in my possession, I have however loaned it to 
the Academy of Natural Science at Philadelphia, who knowing 
its value asked for its loan in order to check up some of their own 
plants. Not only are the Indian relics and plants labeled, but 
they are accompanied by carefully prepared records and charts, 
showing the exact places where the specimens were found. Among 
the many new plants found by them was the white gentian found 
near the Indian Jasper quarry on Rattlesnake Hill in Durham 
Township. Their opinion, also that of Dr. Porter was, that it was 
not native to that locality, but was doubtless carried there, in some 
unknown way by migratory Indians.^ 

Mr. Ruth was also a splendid local historian. He contributed 
several papers to our society, of which he was a member, also 
quite a number of papers to other local historical societies. He 
was one of the founders of the Buckwampun Historical So- 
ciety in 1888, to which he and his brother contributed ten papers. 
He also contributed a series of articles to the Ricgclsvillc News 

1 See paper on "Our Local Flora," by John A. Ruth, in this volume, page 222. 


which he signed with his penname of "Antiquary." Copies of 
these papers, mostly on the history of Durham and vicinity, are 
in my possession, and I am promising myself the pleasure of 
having them printed in book form for preservation and for distri- 
bution among his friends. While at times he may have arrived 
at wrong conclusions, the errors he fell into must be quite few in- 
deed, and I long ago learned to place confidence in articles that 
came from his pen. 

Mr. Ruth was a close student, careful and honest. One won- 
ders how he could accomplish so much with the limited facilities 
at his command. After he moved to Bethlehem however his 
notes show that he used the library of the Lehigh University. Be- 
sides the historical articles, to which I have referred, he left many 
loose sheets and memorandum books containing genealogical and 
historical notes and copies of church records. Many of these 
have already found their way into the archives of our society. 
I must not forget to mention his scrap books, filled with valuable 
clippings, which I have had bound in nine large volumes. These 
will in due time also find a resting place in the library of the 
Bucks County Historical Societ}^. A careful index or rather a 
table of contents, of these scrap books, has been prepared and 
bound in with the first volume. 

I will close this paper by quoting from Mr. Ruth's autobiog- 
raphy to show what he says about the aftermath of the Civil War: 

"I was too young to recollect much in reference to the Civil War. 
At its close, when I was six years old, I occasionally saw soldiers on 
their way home from the army. Of such I recollect John O'Daniel, 
who served in the 104th Reg. Pa. Volunteers, under Col. W. W. H. 
Davis. The martial spirit of those days extended even to school boys, 
for I remember seeing them play soldier. When Abraham Lincoln 
was assassinated the Methodist congregation at Springtown held memo- 
ial services, which my mother attended. During the years immediately 
succeeding the rebellion, bands of southern negroes traveled through 
our section. Just freed from the burden of slavery, many of them were 
ill-fitted to make a proper use of their newly acquired freedom, and 
wandered aimlessly about picking up a scanty subsistence cleaning 
chimneys, begging, etc. Some of them still bore on their backs the 
scars of the slave-driver's whip. These wandering bands often num- 
bered as high as thirty or forty persons. They were of both sexes 
and all ages. They were usually fine singers and in the evenings the 
country people would assemble around their camp-fires to hear them 
sing their plantation melodies." 

Shad Fishing in the Delaware River. 

Ci'ohickon Park Meeting, October 9, 1920.) 

MR. WILLIAM LEWIS, an old-time fisherman, who has 
been engaged in shad fishing for more than thirty-five 
years, operating at several dififerent fisheries in the neigh- 
borhood of New Hope in Bucks county, has furnished me with a 
memorandum of the shad taken for thirty-one years from 1890 
to 1920 inclusive. From 1890 to 1895 there were four, and from 
1896 to 1920 five fisheries contained in his estimates. These sta- 
tistics are of such value that I have tabulated them for this pub- 
lication, m order that they may be preserved, as follows : 



(From memorandum furnished by William Lewis, New Hope.) 

Season of 


Season of 


Season of 
































































Total estimated catch for 31 years 313,900 


catch, 1896 

. 40,000 

Lowest catch, 1915 . 



catch over . 


years . 

. 10,126 








"Wholesale per hundred 


to 1894 


$30 to 




15 to 






7 to 



to 1899 


15 to 



to 1909 




25 to 



Shad caught and sold at Green Bank and Malta Fisheries. 
1910 5,923 for $2,692.83 or .45 each 

1912 5,749 for 2,398.65 or .42 each 

1913 4,972 for 2,348.65 or .47 each 
1920 773 for 1,527.50 or $1.98 each 

Mr. Lewis says that the height of the industry was reached 
about 1870, after which there was a marked falling off. He 
attributes this to the pollution of the Delaware, which is certainly 
one of the principal causes for the condition he describes, but his 
statistics show such great variations from year to year, that one 
must necessarily believe that the pollution of the stream is not 
the only cause for less shad, e. g., a catch of 40,000 in 1896 and 
of 20,000 in 1912. His table, however, shows that but very few 
were taken over the last five years under review. He says he 
made his largest single haul on Monday, May 4, 1896, when at 
the Liberty Fishery, Lambertville (opposite New Hope), he took 
355 shad; and on the following Monday, May 11, they made their 
largest daily catch, taking 1,726 shad. During the week ending 
April 30, 1910, while operating the Malta fishery at New Hope, 
he made his largest weekly catch, viz : 3,250 shad which sold for 
a total of $1,429.61, an average of about 44 cents each. 

In the splendid paper by Dr. J- Ernest Scott, read before the 
Bucks County Historical Society, July 21, 1908, he so fully de- 
scribes this industry and the modes of taking shad, that it is only 
necessary for me to refer you to that paper, published, with illus- 
trations, in Vol. 3, page 543, of our transactions. 

In early years shad not only went up the Delaware river, but 
also entered some of the larger streams tributary thereto. There 
are no records to show when shad were first taken from the Dela- 
ware river, but it is quite certain that the aboriginies who in- 
habited this country, long before the advent of the white man, well 
knew and appreciated the value of this unsurpassed food fish, just 
as the heaps of shells along the Atlantic coast testify to their large 
use of our Crustacea. 

As early as 1698, Gabriel Thomas, in his report to William 
Penn, invites his attention to the "shads" in the waters of the 
Delaware river abounding in prodiguous quantities.^ 

1 See "An Historical and Geographical Account of the Province and 
Country of Pennsylvania and of West New Jersey in America," p. 13. 


Hazard's Register of Pennsylvania contains many notes relat- 
ing to shad fishing in our Pennsylvania streams. In 1802 they 
made their appearance in this market as early as February 17. 
In 1828 he speaks of two shad taken at Slack's Island, five miles 
above Trenton, weighing between eight and nine pounds each. In 
1832 shad sold at 33 cents each. From Vol. 3, at page 214, of 
the publication referred to, we learn that in 1818 the legislature 
of New Jersey appointed a committee to investigate the shad 
fisheries on the Delaware, having under consideration the passing 
of a law to restrict shad fishing. There were then seventy fish- 
eries on both sides of the river below Trenton Falls, employing 
1,336 men, whose wages for the short season were $80,160. with 
apparatus costing $82,800. and in 1829 there were forty fisheries 
within the limits of Gloucester county. N. J., on the Delaware, 
which employed 900 men with wages for the season amounting 
to $20,000. 

An old account book of Martin Mull, who owned a shad fish- 
ery at Penn's Point, nearly opposite Bordentown, containing 
entries for the year 1844, records that the first catch that season 
was on April 1, that during that month the catch was 995 shad. 
One haul containing 87 shad sold for $12.18. During May of 
that year they caught over 1,000. One entry records the sale of 
258 shad for $41.38. 

Many attempts have been made to place dams in the Dalaware 
river, but the shad fishing industry has heretofore been of such 
importance, that no legislature dare to antagonize it and authorize 
dams. There was considerable opposition to the construction of 
the low rip-rap stone dam near Point Pleasant, used to divert 
water into the feeder of the Raritan canal, and much lobbying and 
intriguing to raise the dam of the Trenton Water Power Com- 
pany at Scudder's Falls, but the opposition of the shad fishing in- 
dustry prevented it, in fact they objected to having the stones 
put back on the parapet, which had been washed off by the floods. 

The congress of the United States, through its deep water- 
way commission, is now discussing the question of a deeper 
water-way in the Delaware river, to include slack water naviga- 
tion. This would necessitate the building of dams, and public 
sentiment has undergone so much change that one hears but very 
little objection to their plans. Several companies have purchased 


riparian rights with the view of building dams in the Delaware 
river. Xow that the shad industry has practically passed, and 
seems of less importance than formerly, such dams are likely to 
be built in the near future, and the waters harnessed to turn the 
wheels of manufacturing industries, and that would in all prob- 
ability forever destroy the few shad fisheries that are left on the 
Delaware above tide. Since the advent of electricity, our inland 
streams, such as the Delaware river, are of the greatest value, 
and will become even more so as the mining of coal becomes 
more costly, or the mines become more or less exhausted. The 
fall in the Delaware river from Easton to Trenton Falls, according 
to a survey contained in Hazard's Register (Vol. I, page 57), in a 
distance of 49 miles is 160 feet 5 inches, and the fall above Easton 
is even greater, one falls alone, that at Foul Rift below Belvidere 
is 22 feet. 

Grow^ing, Treating and Drying Flax. 

(Tohickon Park Meeting-, October 9, 1920.) 

THE following information was given to Dr. Mercer by Mr. 
Case at the Tohickon Park meeting, following the reading 
and discussion of the paper on "Wool Combing by Hand", 
presented by Mr. Montague. 

When I was a lad of from fourteen to sixteen years old (1862 
to 1864), attending school in Alexandria township, Hunterdon 
county, N. J., I passed by the farm of Samuel S. Shuster and 
took notice of the operations of cultivating flax and its subsequent 
treatment, to prepare it for spinning. In fact I helped to pull 
flax on that farm, which was later acquired by me. The flax 
was pulled before it was dead ripe, as flax in that condition was 
softer on the hands. The pullers tied it together in small 
"hands" or bunches which they shocked in about the same man- 
ner that wheat is shocked. About twelve bunches formed one 
shock. They were placed on ends, which enabled the seed, exposed 
to the sun to ripen. When thoroughly dried it was taken to the 
barn where it was forcibly struck on a large rough stone or plank 



set at an angle of about thirty degrees, when nearly all the bolls 
and seed came otT. Most of the farmers then ran the bolls through 
clover hullers, but some of them threshed their flax stalks with 
mallets and stampers to recover the seed. The seed was then 
ground and the linseed or flaxseed oil recovered, and the "cake 
meal", used for feeding cattle. This was done at the local old mill. 
On the Shuster farm referred to, there was an oven for dry- 
ing or roasting flax after dew retting and before breaking. This 

Remains of stone-built part of flax oven on farm of Elijah R. Case. 

oven consisted of a horizontal flue built on an upward incline 
against the side of a bank. This flue about fifteen or more feet 
long and about eighteen inches wide by twelve inches high, con- 
sisted of two parallel loose stone walls roofed over with flat 
stones made tight by covering it with earth. The upper or farther 
end of the flue entered a wooden box or frame about six feet 
long, with a rectangular opening about two and one-half feet by 
four feet on the inside. On the inner rim of this flue, about 
eight inches below the top, several staves or poles were laid, on 
which the flax, after having been dew retted, was placed for 


roasting or dr^'ing. The smoke and heat, minus the sparks, of a 
mild wood fire built at the lower end of the stone oven, passed up 
through the latter into the box under the flax and so dried it. 
It required but fifteen minutes to dry each lot placed in the 
dryer. It was removed from the box as fast as dried and im- 
mediately broken on the flax brake standing near by, fresh flax 
was then placed in the box, thus making the operation continu- 
ous. The stone part of this old drying kiln remains. 

Wool Combing By Hand 

(Tohickon Park Meeting, October 9, 1920.) 

THE rearing of sheep dates back to the earliest times, and 
we find many passages in the Bible, which refer to sheep, 
wool and woolen garments, but nowhere do we find much 
information as to how and when man first made wool useful to 

There is no doubt that the use of wool and particularly the 
method of manipulating it, passed in succeeding steps through 
the hands of the Egyptians, Greeks and the Romans, and thence 
to England, and it is from the English who immigrated to 
America that we are able to learn of the primitive methods 
used in our own country prior to the introduction of machinery 
for combing. There was, no doubt, much hand carding done in 
the early days in the preparation of wool for woolen fabrics 
and also hand combing done by the individual families who 
scoured, combed and spun their own wool by hand and either 
wove or had woven for them, the cloth for their own domestic 
use, but the first hand combed worsted yarn made commercially 
in this part of our country, I believe was made by Moses Hay 
who was born in Keighley, England, in 1792, and came to 
America in 1816. After a few years spent in endeavoring to 
perfect some machinery, he established a small worsted plant in 
Dedham, Mass., which proved to be unsuccessful, and in 1822, 


he started for himself, a little plant in Manayunk, Pa., and this 
is, no doubt, the start of the manufacture of commercial hand 
combed worsted yarn in this locality. Meeting with success, 
Mr. Hay established a larger plant on Darby creek, the place 
then being known as "Hay bank", Springfield township, Dela- 
ware county, Pa. Among his hand combers was one Richard 
Dawson, who came to America in 1844, and from whose brother, 
William Dawson, now living, aged 89, we learn of Richard's 
combing wool to be used for epaulettes on the officer's uniforms 
w^orn in the Mexican War. 

Mr. Samuel Yewdell came from England in 1844 and worked 
for Mr. Hay at his Hay Bank mill, and early in 1846 he started 
in business for himself in Philadelphia, in a district called 
Blockley, now 54th and Poplar streets, and in 1847 his brother, 
John Yewdell, came to America to work for Samuel, and in 
1860 he started in business for himself in the Keystone mill at 
25th and Hamilton streets. The old mill was lately razed to 
make room for the Parkway. 

Another of the early hand-combers was John Dawson, father 
of Richard, who came here in 1853 to work for Samuel Yewdell. 

Mr. John Yewdell is the man who, with the introduction of 
machinery, saw the extermination of the wool-comber's art, and 
desiring that the memory and traditions be preserved, had this 
set of pictures prepared, showing the complete process from mak- 
ing the soap to the finished top. These pictures are now the 
property of this society, and we are deeply indebted for them to 
Mr. George Fiss, a pioneer in the wool business, and from whose 
personal note book, we received much of our information. Mr. 
Fiss was early identified with the worsted business and his per- 
sonal notations on the same are among his greatest treasures. 

The wool, which you see here in its original condition, was 
first sorted and graded into various lengths and finenesses, keep- 
ing in mind all the while, the various numbers of yarn, into which 
it might ultimately be spun. This work was done by wool sorters, 
who served long apprenticeship before being finally adjudged 
competent. William Dawson, referred to above, who was the 
son of John and the brother of Richard, remembers very dis- 
tinctly serving seven years as an apprentice. After proper sort- 
ting, this wool was weighed out to the combers in the district. 


who were also supplied with the soap for scouring, the charcoal 
for the comber's pot and the oil. The mill also supplied the 
combs as various pitches of combs were necessary for the various 
finenesses of wool. 

We learn from Mr. Benjamin Smith, an old comber, now 86 
years of age, living in Tacony, that these combers came from as 
great a distance as eight or ten miles, and used a donkey and 
cart as a means of transportation. 

The combs given out varied from those with two rows of 
teeth or "broches" for coarse wool, to those with six rows of 
"broches" for the finest. The comber first scoured the wool in 
a large iron bowl, thirty-six or forty inches in diameter, using 
the soap, supplied by the mill, and sopping the wool up and down 
in the warm suds with his hands or a stick until the yellow gummy 
like substance, which was the natural oil from the sheep and 
which was called "yolk", as well as the dirt, was thoroughly dis- 
solved and washed out. It was wrung out in a very simple but 
unique method. Handful after handful was twisted together 
into sort of an endless rope, and one loop thrown over a station- 
ary hook fastened in the wall, while the other loop was thrown 
over a hook fastened in the end of a wooden roller suspended 
above the bowl. The wooden roller was then turned round and 
round by means of a lever on the end and a twist put into the 
woolen rope, which left little room for water. This operation 
was very similar to a woman wringing the water out of clothes 
by hand. It was then straightened out into little piles on a bench 
along side of the comber, either by the children of the house- 
hold or by boys hired for the purpose or apprenticed to the 
comber. This process was called "making up" and during the 
process of making up, the wool was lightly sprinkled with olive 
oil, or as it was then called "Oil of Seville". Here is where 
the comber's art really started. Taking up the small piles of wool, 
prepared by the children, he lashed them unto his comb, which 
previously fastened to a post with the broches or teeth end of the 
comb towards himself. He used an overhand motion, much after 
the manner of hackling flax or using the flail. After filling both 
combs to his satisfaction, the broches were thrust into the comb- 
er's pot for warming, the wool working much better when warm 
than when cold. These comber's pots varied in construction. 


The earliest one, as far as we can learn, was made of common 
native clay about three to four inches thick and about two feet in 
diameter. It was thirty-six to forty inches in height and had a 
hole in the top. for which in some instances, there was an iron 
cover, and at other times a clay cover, made of the same ma- 
terial of which the pot was made. The pot for burning char- 
coal, we are told, had a bottom and no draft whatever was ad- 
mitted there. It was the practice to put in six or eight inches of 
charcoal in the bottom and carry hot coals from the fireplace, 
with which to light the charcoal. This load would last for half 
a day, sufficient air to support combustion being admitted to 
rough the comb holes and by the occasional lifting of the lid. 

The pot for burning coal was similar in construction, with but 
three exceptions. First, it had no bottom. Secondly, six or eight 
inches from its base, it had an iron grate, on which they burned 
a semi- bituminous coal, and thirdly, it had a hole in the side, 
near the top, to which was attached a stove pipe. The coal 
burned with more or less gas or smoke, while the charcoal was 
practically free from both. This latter pot was set up on stones 
or dirt and admitted air to support combustion at the bottom. 
This difference in pots, was, no doubt, due to local conditions, the 
coal pot being used nearer the mining districts and the charcoal 
pot where coal was not so accessible. Both pots had similar 
comb holes. These were placed horizontally in the sides of the 
pot about two and one-half inches from the top, and were about 
two and one-half by five inches and varied in number from four 
to eight, each comber using two holes. Pots were made for 
two, three or four combers. 

After proper heating of the combs loaded with wool, they 
were withdrawn from the pot, one rehung on the post and with 
the other, the comber proceeded to comb out the long fibres from 
comb to comb, alternating his combs on the post until gradually 
all the short fibres or noils were worked to the base of the 
broches. This first combing process, with the coarser combs was 
called jugging. 

The wool was then pulled from the combs by hand by the 
comber into a "sliver", care being used to keep this sliver as 
near to a size as possible. These slivers were rolled up into 
balls called "heads" and when sufficient wool had been given 


this first combing or jigging process, the heads were gathered to- 
gether for back-washing or re-scouring. After re-scouring in ex- 
actly the same manner as in the first instance, the wool was re- 
combed with finer combs, this time there being very much less of 
the noils to be taken out. The wool was now very soft and lofty 
and in pulling this sliver, much more care was used in keeping it 
into an even thickness, usually a ring of bone being used as a 
measure through which the sliver was pulled. In the subsequent 
operation of "doubling" and drawing, the sliver was gradually 
reduced in size until you had a roving, which when given the 
proper number of twists or turns on the spinning frame produced 
a yard of the weight and thickness desired. 

Various attempts were made to produce a machine to shorten 
this slow method of hand combing and as early as 1790, we 
had a machine comb made by Arkright in England, but which 
proved not to be very successful. We next had the Eastman 
comb, but it was not until 1849 or 1850 that the Lester comb 
revolutionized this art. Almost human in its action, with but 
one fault. It combed long wools admirably, but on short wools, 
which were the native wools of the south of England, there was 
room for improvement. Within two years of this time, the 
Noble comb was invented and the wool combing problem was 
solved, and the combing of wool by hand was destined to become 
a lost art in England and America. The Noble comb of today 
will comb from five hundred to eight hundred pounds daily, de- 
pending on the fineness and the length of staple of the wool 
being combed. One operator, usually a woman, minds two combs. 

In England, the hand comber was paid for his work from two 
pence a pound (four cents) to four pence "but". Four pence 
"but" meaning that he did not get quite eight cents for his work, 
as he would have liked, but did in reality receive three pence 
and three farthings or seven and one-half cents per pound. Dur- 
ing all this experimental machine stage, the slogan of the hand 
comber was "They will never be able to do by machine what we 
now do by hand". How mistaken they were ! 

Probably the first power comb imported into this country was 
a Lester, brought here by the Pacific Mills of Lawrence, Mass., 
in 1853. 

For the information we have today on this lost art, we are 



greatly indebted to Mr. John Yewdell for his forethought in hav- 
ing these pictures prepared and to the following gentlemen, who 
are yet living: Mr. George W. Fiss, an old time wool merchant, 
who in after years established the business that is now the Er- 
ben, Harding Co., of Tacony; Mr. William Dawson, aged 89, a 
wool sorted, whose father and brother were both combers in Eng- 
land and America; Mr. Benjamin Smith, aged 86, who also fol- 
lowed this trade here and at home, and Mr. Robert Sunderland, 
aged 65, a machinist by trade, whose father and grandfather were 
both combers in Bradford, England. 

Octagonal or So-Called "Eight-Square" Schoolhouses. 

(Tohickon Park Meeting, October 9, 1920.) 

THERE is probably no subject of more interest to the local 
historian than the problem and progress of public education 
in Pennsylvania. 

William Penn very evidently intended that public schools for 
the education of children should be established in his colony and 
supported from a common fund. But from the fact that jeal- 
ousies arose between the different sects represented in the first 
settlement of Bucks county, each sect preferring to educate its 
own youth, the only schools established for the first three-quar- 
ters of a century were in connection with the churches or meet- 
ings for religious worship. 

About the middle of the eighteenth century a number of school- 
houses were erected in our county on the plan of subscriptions, by 
families residing in the neighborhood where the schools were 
located, the funds to pay for them and their sites being raised by 
popular subscriptions, the titles in each instance being held by 
three or five trustees selected by the proprietors, as the subscrib- 
ers were generally called. Teachers were employed by the trus- 
tees or an auxiliary committee and were paid, usually, pro-rata 
for the number of scholars taught. Some few were established 
as early as 1735-40, but they did not become numerous or popular 
in our county until about 1760. The first schoolhouses were con- 
structed of logs, or of frame or stone, the matter of material 
being governed by their location and the amount of money that 
could be collected for their construction. 

The same condition prevailed in adjoining counties and states. 
In Hunterdon county, New Jersey, the first houses were almost 
invariably built of logs, and almost as universally succeeded in 
the first half of the nineteenth century by stone octagonal school- 
houses. In our own county the octagonal schoolhovise does not 
appear until the nineteenth century, and the same is true of the 
adjoining counties of Pennsylvania, the state of Delaware, and 
the lower river counties of New Jersey. The period during which 





=^*^ J 




















LiioLSii;, BUILT ABOUT 1835. 

Jirmingham Township, Delaware County, Pa. 
Now used as a Catholic Mission Chapel. 

Wrightstown Township, Bucks County, Pa. 


these peculiarly shaped schoolhouses were built lies between 
1800 and 1840, very few being built anywhere, that we can learn 
of, earlier than 1800, and none after 1850. 

The main question we propose to discuss in this paper is the 
origin of this peculiar building, why it was selected for the use 
of schools. Certain it is that it was universally popular for the 
particular period above referred to, and seems to belong to this 
particular section although we have some account of their being 
erected at far distant points from Bucks county. In these cases, 
however, there is a strong supposition that the style of building 
was introduced in these distant sections by emigrants from Bucks 
county or its immediate neighborhood. 

In connection with Dr. Mercer we have had investigations 
made in reference to the existence of the eight-square buildings in 
several states. We succeeded in finding one near Syracuse, N. 
Y., an account of which and other buildings of the same type in 
that locality will be given later in this paper. 

J. F. Hudson, of Smyrna, Delaware, a recent visitor to our 
museum, told us of an eight-square schoolhouse located near the 
center of the state of Delaware, twelve miles south of Wilming- 
ton. Mr. Hudson was born within eight miles of that school- 
house, but never attended school there. He, however, was fa- 
miliar with its construction and insists that it was the only one 
in that section, and he thinks the only one in that state. It was 
practically of the same type as to size and form as those we are 
familiar with near home, but was built of wood, having a window 
on each of its eight sides excepting the one which contained the 
door. The apex of the roof was surmounted by a brick chimney 
resting on the joists at the square. 

Our first impression was that this form of building originated 
with the Quakers. This theory was in a measure supported by 
the fact that the first meeting-house of the Society of Friends at 
Burlington, N. J., erected in 1682, was hexagon in shape. Our 
friend, Thaddeus S. Kenderdine, of Newtown, visited Burling- 
ton several years ago and has this to say about the Burlington 
Meeting and Meeting-house : 

" 'Set up' in 1671, this was one of the oldest meeting places for 
Friends on the continuent, preceding Philadelphia. There, in 1682, was 
built the 'Great Meetinghouse,' private houses being previously used for 
worship. This was a 'six square building 48 feet out to out.' Of this 



I have a picture, and I doubt if there was ever such another Friends' 
meetinghouse built. A hexagon in ground plan, there were large double 
doors next the street and two windows piercing each of the other sides. 
Up the roof, twenty feet from the ground, sat what gave the building 
the appearance of one of those 'steeple houses' which so* troubled the 
minds of early Friends. This was a sort of cupola, which rose six feet 
above the roof, topped with a blunt peak, with windows in each side. 
* * * The picture is copied from a lithograph which must have been 
made before 1790, unless drawn from descriptions. Before 1691 courts 



were held in this meetinghouse, in which year certain Friends made 
objection thereto through the monthly meeting, when directions were 
given that the building be confined to its special use. The semblance 
of it may have justified its legal occupation by the law officials of 
Burlington County. It stood just in the rear of its successor, and was 
shaded by sycamores, an immense specimen of which is yet standing. 

The present meetinghouse is of brick, built about 1785, in the con- 
ventional style." 

So far as we can learn there was no provision made for heat- 
ing this ancient building, and in the absence of stoves, unknown 
at that date, it could not be heated except by individual foot 
stoves carried in by the devotees, as in the old churches of Hol- 
land. It is a far cry from 1682 to 1802. and there is nothing to 
suggest a connection of our octagon and hexagon schoolhouses of 


the nineteenth century with this seventeenth century house of 

Another clue came from a man who drifted into our hbrary 
and told me that the first Unitarian Church in Philadelphia was 
octagon in shape, and Dr. Mercer having already suggested a 
possible New England origin, at his suggestion, I wrote to Wil- 
liam Summer Appleton, corresponding secretary of the Society 
for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, at Boston, 
Mass., who replied stating that he had never heard of an octa- 
gonal schoolhouse, but that there was an octagonal church at 
East Lexington, Mass., and that there was a number of octagonal 
residences, but gave me no dates. 

It having been suggested that the peculiar form of building 
originated with the Friends, I wrote to Kirk Brown, clerk of 
Baltimore Yearly Meeting, who for many years have been en- 
gaged as a genealogist and historian and had traveled over the 
parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and 
Virginia, settled by Friends, and examined many Friends Meet- 
ing records and who by virtue of his official position was the 
custodian of records of widely scattered meetings of the early 
days. Through these mediums he was probably one of the best 
informed men of his time in reference to habits and customs of 
the early Friends. Mr. Brown replied that he had never seen or 
heard of the Friends erecting or occupying octagonal buildings. 
As we progressed in our investigation in reference to octagonal 
buildings, we have become convinced that they originated with 
the Dutch. 


In August, 1872, George Bernard Consolloy, in excavating for 
the erection of buildings at 738-744 South Warren street, Tren- 
ton, N. J., unearthed the foundation walls of an octagon building 
about sixty feet in diameter. The foundation walls composed of 
hard gray stone were laid about two feet thick with mortar 
running six feet deep. The walls had four openings, each about 
three feet wide and facing to the north, east, south and west. 
On the sides of the walls, facing the Delaware river, there was 
built up against the same a brick wall about one foot thick and 
four feet deep of hard burnt brick. On the northwest comer of 



the building there was an old stone and brick chimney about six 
feet wide and six feet deep from the surface of the foundation. 
A few cannon balls were found in the ruins, also a quantity of 
cooking utensils, having the appearance of very thick stoneware, 
made in curious shapes, most of which were broken in fragments. 
Several noted archaeologists and historians have discussed the 
matter, among them Dr. Charles Conard Abbott, who published 
an article in the Trenton Sunday Advertiser, March 18, 1906. 
Dr. Charles E. Godfrey of Trenton, read a paper before the 
Trenton Historical Society. March 20, 1919, which was printed 
by the society in pamphlet form, and reproduced in the "Proceed- 
ings of the New Jersey Historical Society," (New Series, Vol. 
V, No. 4, October, 1920), discussing the probability of the 
building being the remains of the Dutch Trading Post, erected 
by the Dutch West India Company in 1630, and destroyed by 
the Swedes in 1646. He illustrates the paper with a drawing 
of the ground plan of the building and discusses its construction 
and history at some length. He observes : 

"The octagon construction of buildings was an exclusive character- 
istic of the early Dutch. This statement cannot be successfully con- 
troverted. In Holland today will be found windmills and other struc- 



tures which were built centuries ago in the octagon and other angular 
forms. In this Colony we know the Dutch built the octagon stone 
church in 1680, at Bergen, now part of Jersey City. * * * The 
superstructure was evidently built of logs, otherwise the upper surface 
of the foundation excavated would not have been level and flush. * * 
The brick wall on the outside facing the river was doubtless built to 
divert the dampness and the cold northwest winds in winter from the 
crude walls of the foundation, on the side of the basement in which 
the traders undoubtedly lived." His illustration of the outline of the 
base of the building is reproduced herewith. "The transverse walls 
were built to support the great weight of skins, stores, and other ma- 
terials stored on the floor above." 

Victor H. Paltists. of the New York Public Library, possesses 
an illustration of an original octagonal building which was 
erected by the Dutch, near Utrecht, Long Island, at an early, but 
unknown date. 

Having determined that the octagonal constructions originated 
with the Dutch does not account for the appearance of these octa- 
gonal schoolhouses in our section nearly two centuries after the 
Dutch creations had practically disappeared. Several historians 
and others with whom we have corresponded, and whose descrip- 
tions of these old eight-square schoolhouses we have read, have 
suggested that the occasion for building a schoolhouse in that 
form was that the scholars could be kept under the eye of the 
teacher much better than in a square building, and, wath the 
advent of stoves with a pipe, they could be more easily and eco- 
nominally heated. We are disposed to agree wdth them and have 
about despaired of finding the individual or exact community 
who and which suggested and adopted the peculiar form of 
building, just at the period when the six plate and ten plate stove 
began to come into common use. We believe, however, that the 
place where its use originated was either in or near Bucks county, 
where we have found at least nine of these eight-square school- 
houses ranging in date of erection from 1802 to 1833, a list of 
which is given below. 

We have an account of two octagonal schoolhouses in Mont- 
gomery county, one at Conshohocken, and one at Plymouth 
Meeting. The one at Conshohocken was still standing and used 
as a schoolhouse as late as August 15, 1903, when a reunion of 
teachers and pupils was held there. A rude pencil sketch of this 



schoolhouse shows a sort of storm door or vestibule in front but 
otherwise conforms to the usual type. 

Col. Henry D. Paxson, one of our vice-presidents, has sent me 
elaborate drawings, describing an octagonal schoolhouse at New- 
ton Square, Chester county, Pa., prepared by his cousin, Edward 
S. Paxson, an architect of W^est Chester, copies of which are 
shown below. 


Note that all the desks are arranged with the pupils facing the center of 
the room. 



F. H. Shelton has sent me cuts of two octagonal schoolhouses 
in Delaware county, one in Newton township, built about 1841. 
now used as a small barn or wagon house, the other in Burming- 
ham township, built 1835 to 1840, now used as a Catholic Mission 

i. 4 

Cu-TWe ot W.nAov 

Outside leng-th of each side approximately 12 feet, inside 11 feet, walls 
1 foot thick. Height of walls inside 10 feet, width inside 25 feet 10 inches. 
W, 7 windows. D, door. B-B, blackboards. 

Chapel. He also reports having seen an eight-square school- 
house, which he passed while on a summer outing — "A wooden 
one, 13 miles southeast of Syracuse. N. Y., on the road to 
Ithaca." I therefore wrote to \V. AI. Beauchamp at Syracuse, 
his reply dated September 23, 1920. says: 


"Octagonal schoolhouses are rare here, and are not of early 
date. About 70 years ago there came a slight craze for that 
style of building, and a very few dwelling houses of that shape 
were erected. Two brick schoolhouses were also built. I can- 
not however give the precise years, but it was not far from 1850. 
Both were in rural districts. One, No. 4 of Otisco. is about a 
mile south of Otisco village, the other No. 17 of Skaneateles. is 
about the same distance south of that village, I can think of no 
others. Village schoolhouses were usually of brick. Rural ones 
of wood, brick or stone, often of the latter * * * * j ^yju 
enclose a sketch of the first schoolhouse in Syracuse, said to 
have been built in 1819, or probably a little later. This style of 
roof was frequently used in dwelling houses. 1830-40. Pennsyl- 
vania people were rarely pioneers here." 

The sketch of the first schoolhouse in Syracuse. 1819, referred 
to by Mr. Beauchamp, is that of a square building, with peaked 
room, a chimney crowning apex. 


Of the octagonal schoolhouses in Northampton county we 
have record of but two. One of them described by John R. 
Laubach of Nazareth in the Pennsylvania-German Maga:;ine for 
November, 1907, Vol. VIII. page 513, which stood on the Bath 
road in Upper Nazareth township. This has been so fully re- 
ferred to by Alden M. Collins in his paper read before this so- 
ciety that it is only necessary to draw attention to that valuable 
contribution to this subject, see page 251 ante. The other one 
was located in the village of Lower Saucon. in Lower Saucon 
township, on the south side of the road leading from Hellertown 
to Riegelsville. After it was abandoned for school purposes it 
was for years used as a chicken house. I am told by Dr. B. F. 
Fackenthal, Jr., that his grandmother, Fackenthal, nee Illick and 
Mrs. Fackenthal's grandmother, Riegel, nee Leidy, attended 
school together in that old house. We are fortunate in being 
able to present an etching of this old building from a photograph 
taken in 1902. 


The Pennsylvania-German, for November, 1907. already re- 
ferred to, also contains an interesting article on an octagonal 


schoolhouse in Berks county, written by the then county school 
superintendent, E. M. Rapp of Hamburg, Pa. This is also re- 
ferred to by Mr. Collins, but the description given by Mr. Rapp 
is so interesting that it has been thought best to quote more fully 
from it. It was still standing in 1907 when the article was 
published. Its location was at the eastern end of the village of 
Sinking Spring, near a recently abandoned tollgate on the Har- 
risburg pike, and is said to be the only building of its kind in 
that county. It was abandoned as a schoolhouse over fifty 
years ago, and then used as a dwelling house. The author says 
the outside is the same as when constructed, except for a porch 
in front, an addition on the east and a dormer window. The 
inside still contains the umbrella-like rafters. The author fails 
to give the date of its erection, but gives the impression that it 
was built immediately after the Revolutionary War. His state- 
ment on this subject follows: 

"The immediate predecessor of the octagonal schoolhouse in country 
districts during the Colonial times was the log schoolhouse with a 
rough puncheon floor or a dirt floor. During and immediately after the 
Revolutionary War the rough log cabin was replaced, in the Aliddle 
States, by a better schoolhouse of the octagonal shape, so much in 
favor for meetinghouses as well as for school purposes. In Eastern 
Pennsylvania these octagonal schoolhouses were nearly always built of 
stone, like the one we have just described. The interior furnishings of 
this schoolhouse were very meager. Against the walls all around the 
room was built a continuous sloping shelf, about three feet from the 
floor, serving the purpose of a desk. Long backless benches accom- 
panied it, on which the older pupils sat facing the wall. While they 
were studying they leaned against the edge of the shelf, and when 
they wrote or ciphered they rested their exercise-books and slates on it. 
Under it, on a horizontal shelf, that was somewhat narrower than the 
upper one, the pupils kept their books and other school belongings 
when not in use. A table was placed in the middle or near the middle 
of the room, with lower benches on each side of it for the smaller chil- 
dren. The number of children the schoolhouse would hold depended on 
how closely they could be packed on the benches. The enrollment in 
mid-winter numbered between seventy and eighty. The children in the 
old-time families were more numerous than now; "race-suicide" was 
unknown and the farm regions had not yet begun to be depopulated by 
the cityward migration destined to drain them later. But no matter 
how many pupils, there was never any thought of providing more than 
a single teacher. 

The master's desk was placed at the north end of the building, op- 
posite the entrance, but inside the circle of shelving which served as a 


continuous desk. Besides serving the ordinary purposes of a desk, it 
was repository for confiscated tops, balls, pen-knives, marbles, jew's- 
harps and the like, and was frequently a perfect curiosity shop. All 
seats and desks were of pine or oak, rudely fashioned by some local 
carpenter. Their aspect was not improved by the passing years; the 
unpainted wood became more browned with the number of human con- 
tacts and every possessor of a pen-knife labored over them with much 
idle hacking and carving. This old-time schoolhouse must have been 
somewhat up-to-date, as a wooden blackboard four feet square was 
hung against the wall opposite the entrance: but in order to use it the 
children were obliged to crawl with their knees on the sloping shelving 
used as desks. 

A cast-iron wood stove occupied the middle of the room and nearly 
roasted the little ones, who occupied the seats around the table nearby. 
The wood was usually furnished free of charge by the parents. It was 
cut into stove lengths by the older boys. In a school of seventy or 
eighty pupils there were a score of j^oung men and women practically 
grown-up. The young men took turns in 'chopping' and in pleasant 
weather preferred the change to the school routine. The wood was oft- 
times burned green; no one thought of getting school wood ready long 
enough beforehand to allow it to season. When it was delivered in the 
schoolyard, it lay there exposed, and it was often wet with rain and 
buried in the snow. In summer the place of the woodpile was marked 
by scattered chips and refuse. Woodsheds and even other necessarj^ 
outbuildings were conspicuous for their absence. At times several of 
the boys earned their tuition by cutting wood a certain period and at- 
tending to the fire. 

The tuition amounted to three cents a day and where parents were 
too poor the most well-to-do often volunteered to pay the tuition of the 
children of their less fortunate neighbors. The school room walls were 
most dismally vacant except for weather-stains and the grime from the 
fire. The school room was lighted by six small windows of twelve 
panes each. The glass in the windows was often broken and in cool 
weather the place of the missing panes was supplied with hats during 
the school hours." 

About the books and making of pens, Mr. Rapp has the fol- 
lowing to say : 

"For each writer the master set a copy at the top of the pupil's 
copying book. The writing book was usually made of sheets of fools- 
cap paper, with a brown paper cover sewed on. The writing was done 
with a quill pen, and the experienced teacher always took great pride 
in his ability to make and mend pens." 

His description of the process of making pens is so full and 
clear that we copy it in full : 

"Richard B. Krick is still quite a genius in making a pen and showed 
the writer minutely how to make one. A sharp pen-knife is needed. 


The new quill must be scraped on the outside to remove the thin film, 
a sort of cuticle which enveloped the quill proper. One dexterous stroke 
cut off what was to become the under side of the pen. A single mo- 
tion of the knife made the slit. Two quick strokes removed the two 
upper corners, leaving the point. Then came the most delicate part of 
the mechanical process. The point of the pen was placed on the thumb 
nail of the left hand. The knife was deftly guided so as to cut off 
the extreme end of the pen directly across the slit, leaving a smooth 
end, not too blunt so as to make too large a mark, and not too fine so 
as to scratch." 

The author gives some account of the early teachers, the old- 
time school discipline, and the mode of teaching. 

A visitor to our library from Spring City, Chester county, Pa., 
where he was then teaching, stated that he was a native of Bed- 
ford county. Pa., and that there was an eight-square house in 
that county, still in use, that was a rare curiosity. 

Just across the Delaware in Hunterdon county, N. J., we 
have located ten octagonal schoolhouses, and there were probably 
more. Two of these were six sided instead of eight, but had 
otherwise the same style of constntction and equipment. In that 
locality, as in Bucks county, they were not considered so great 
a curiosity, being looked upon simply as an obsolete and an- 
tiquated style of building, that had recently fallen into disuse. 

Our friend and fellow member, Hiram E. Deats of Flemington, 
N. J., has kindly brought us pictures of some of these New Jersey 
temples of learning that will give you a clear idea of their ap- 
pearance.* I personally recall seeing several of these eight-square 
schoolhouses in his county forty-odd years ago. 

The octagonal schoolhouses in Hunterdon county. New Jersey, 
of which we have a definite record are as follows : 

Union School, at Slacktown, erected 1820, near the center of what 
was known as the Great Black Bear Swamp. 

Mount Airy, on the York road, three miles from Lambertville, 
erected 1823. 

Van Dolah's, near Dilt's Corner, hexagon, erected 1822, torn down, 

Sergeant's, near Sergeantsville, still standing but enlarged, 1830. 

Stockton, erected 1832. 

Union, in Union township, erected 1837. 

Oregon, near Croton, no date, part of walls still standing; hexagon. 

* The pictures of schoolhouses produced by Mr. Deats at the meeting- were 
in local publications and we have not acquired copies. They resembled in all 
particulars the other octagonal schoolhouses of which we give illustrations. 


Harmony, on the road from Ringoes to Croton, erected 1851; stand- 
ing until about 1901. 

Mt. Lebanon, in Lebanon township, erected in 1835, torn down 1876. 
Sand Brook, about four miles from Stockton, standing in 1860. 

All of these were built to succeed log of frame schoolhouses 
and with the exception of Oregon, some history of the districts 
and schools and schoolhouses is given in a manuscript "History 
of the School Districts of Hunterdon County," written by Cor- 
nelius S. Conkling in 1870, then county superintendent of schools. 

Having heard of an octagonal schoolhouse near Gloucester, N. 
J., I wrote to David J. Doran in regard to it, and received the 
following reply : 

"In reply to your letter inquiring about an eight-square schoolhouse 
in this place, I would say that it stood on the north side of Big Timber 
Creek, near the bridge, and faced a famous highway that ran from 
Salem to Gloucester, and every Tuesday and Friday the famous Fox 
Hunting club used to pass, gaudily attired and mounted on thorough- 
breds, with a pack of forty hounds, on a fox chase in the woods from 
1766 to 1814. It was built long ago and the door faced the old Salem 
road, now wiped out, as a straighter road was built in 1844 about a 
hundred yards away. The house was of brick about the same size as 
others of its kind and exact dimensions can be found in some book on 
rural schools. It was on the ground and had no cellar, nor woodshed, 
the wood being in a pile which the boys chopped (being farmers sons 
and used to this work), the w^ood stove that heated the school was in 
the center of the room the pipe leading up to the chimney hole with a 
short chimney in the center of the octagonal roof. The windows were 
long, one in each side and with twelve panes and around the door was 
a portico. Scholars attending this school say the desk did not stand 
(fastened) against the wall, as described in historical matter relating to 
such schools, but insist that the desks stood so that the light fell over 
their shoulders, and the benches were against the walls. The small 
boys and girls were seated in the center of the room and the teacher's 
desk was to the left on entering and a bucket with cup was used for 
drinking. The boys had to go out into the woods nearby and cut the 
rods used in whipping the bad boys. About one hundred scholars were 
generally in attendance and the school district was about five miles and 
originally was built in colonial days when the farmers in the district 
were Quakers, but the latter was a public school. Before 1836 the 
school was in old Gloucester City, but scholars from the southern end 
used to go there and about three-quarters of a mile from there, lying 
near Westville, now a good sized town with its own schools. Miss 
Priscilla Redfield, daughter of John Redfield, a historian, used to teach 
there and some of the scholars grew up and got rich. There were 
several other eight-square schoolhouses in this section, all were brick. 


The old log school has passed away without any trace although I am 
positive they were in this state. I cannot find any eight-square school- 
houses standing around here, but I've heard there are some left in your 
state of Pennsylvania. The school I've described was plastered, against 
the brick on the sides and ceiling squared away leaving a little attic, 
the roof was of shingles." 


The octagonal schoolhouses in Bucks county of which we have 
record were nine in number as follows : 

1. Oxford or Neeld Eight Square in Lower Makefield near 
Oxford Valley, with date stone marked "1775," which corre- 
sponds with the date of the conveyance of the lot to trustees. 
(D. B. 18, p. 211.) Dr. Mercer, however, basing his opinion on 
a scientific investigation of its construction made by Frank K. 
Swain, claims that it was built as late as 1830. (A full text of 
Dr. Mercer's opinion is hereto attached.) The date- stone may 
have been taken from an earlier building on the site. General 
Davis says that the youth of Yardleyville attended this school, 
until an octagonal schoolhouse was erected on the site of Oak 
Grove schoolhouse. 

2. Penns Park, on the Swamp road at its intersection with the 
Second Street Pike, about one mile southwest of the village of 
Penns Park in \\'rightstown township. It was erected in 1802, 
and is described by Alden M. Collins in a paper read at our meet- 
ing last June at the Buckingham Meeting-house. The outside 
measurement of the walls is 11 feet 2 inches on each face. Walls 
8 feet high and 18 inches thick. Windows in each face except 
the one occupied by the door. Window apertures 3 feet 9 inches 
by 2 feet 8 inches high. Pyramid shaped roof surmounted at 
apex by a hooded pipe in the place of a chimney. Roof originally 
of shingles, now covered with tin. 

3. Franklin, near Bursonville, in Springfield township, said to 
have been built in 1807 or 1809, but no proof submitted showing 
so early a date. I was unable to find deeds to trustees for the 
site. A full description of this schoolhouse and the school con- 
ducted therein is given in the Riegclsvillc News of October 9, 
1901, and in a paper read June 9, 1900, by Miss Myra Brodt, 
before the Buckwampun Historical Society. The construction 
corresponds with that of other octagon schoolhouses given in 


this narrative. A window in each of the seven sides, and the 
door in the eighth ; teacher's desk opposite door ; stove in centre ; 
surrounded by benches used by scholars too small to write ; 
bucket of water on bench near the door and the usual paddle or 
tag hung at the door with "out" and "in" on it. William J. 
Buck, our early historian, was one of the founders, and a trustee 
of this school. The desks as described differ from those de- 
scribed in the other schools, as they were "closed with lids fast- 
ened on hinges." Several incidents in the history of the school 
are given in this sketch, and a reference to the kind of books 
used. The fields surrounding the schoolhouse were many times 
surveyed, in giving the pupils practical education in surveying. 

4. Leidytown, in Hilltown township, at intersection of Bethle- 
hem road with road from Chalfont, built 1816. Miss Euphemia 
James, who attended school there, has given interesting reminis- 
censes. Long since torn down. 

5. Stewart's, in New Britain township, on the Ferry road, 
near Fountainville, built in 1816, torn down by Arthur Chapman, 
on whose land it was located, the site having reverted to him by 
lapse of school several years ago. 

6. Hickory Grove, on the Durham road, in Buckingham, near 
Plumstead township line, built 1818 (D. B. 46, p. 500). replaced 
by present rectangular stone building several years ago. Built 
by subscribers from Buckingham and Plumstead. Originally 
called Union Schoolhouse. 

7. Groveland, in Plumstead township, near Hinkletown, ad- 
joining the Mennonite Meeting-house, lot conveyed to trustees in 
1833. (D. B. 58, p. 10.) It was built of planks spiked laterally 
to upright posts and lathed and plastered inside and out. Was, 
as near as we can learn, of about the same size and form and 
equipped in the same way as the stone octagons. 

8. Mine Spring, in Bridgeton township, near Rupletown. Our 
fellow member, J. H. Fitzgerald, who attended school there, says 
it was a school fifty years ago. It appears on Scott's Atlas of 

9. Lumberville, at the intersection of the State road with the 
road from Lumberville to Carversville, a short distance west of 
the present Green Hill schoolhouse, stood an octagon school- 


house erected in 1824, on land conveyed by Abraham Paxson to 
Samuel Hartley, Esq., Robert Livezy and David McCray, trus- 
tees for the subscribers to a fund for building a schoolhouse.^ 
A school was maintained there until about 1858. During the 
last fifteen years of that period it was under the common school 
system of Pennsylvania. By deed dated June 24, 1858, the then 
trustees (surviving) John E. Kenderdine, Amos Armitage and 
Cyrus Livezey, conveyed the lot to the school directors of Sole- 
bury township. It was then about to be abandoned, and was 
almost immediately conveyed by the school directors to Hiram 
Keise and was used for some years as a dwelling. This deed 
contains the following clause: "Whereas owing to insufficient 
size and dilapidated condition of the schoolhouse, rendering it 
vmsuitable to supply the present wants of the neighborhood and 
the operation of the school law making it unnecessary that the 
neighborhood should rebuild the house, the proprietors have di- 
rected the said trustees to convey the said house and lot to the 
Solebury School District. 

Our friend, Thaddeus S. Kenderdine, in his "History of the 
Kenderdine Family," page 244, gives a history and description of 
this schoolhouse, which is accompanied by a cut thereof. Mr. 
Kenderdine gives the date of erection as 1823. The deed for 
the property is dated February 21, 1824, and the schoolhouse 
had probably been erected in the autumn preceding. 

Mr. Kenderdine says the school-room was not over ten yards 
across. "Besides the desks circling the walls two rows crossed 
the room and next to these were benches for the smaller chil- 
dren, who sat in discomfort for their feet swung above the 
floor. Still in front of these were the reciting classes." 

A huge ten plate stove used to heat the room in earlier 
days, was changed to a cylinder stove when coal came into use. 

We have more or less minute descriptions of several of the 
octagonal schoolhouses in the above lists as well as a number of 
the schoolhouses in other localities, and they all correspond 
more or less in size and form of construction, as well as in the 
internal arrangements. The schoolhouse at Newtown Square, 
of which we give an illustration, made from a draft by an archi- 
tect, shows the desks and seats of the scholars dififerently ar- 

1 Deed Book No. 70, p. 575. 


ranged than in the octagonal schoolhouses either in Bucks and 
other counties, or in New Jersey, in that the scholars sat facing 
the center of the room instead of, as in other schools, facing the 
walls. The arrangement of the chimney and location of the 
stove is exactly similar in the descriptions we have obtained. 
The chimney was built upon timbers, extending across the school- 
house, resting on the top of the walls, and supporting a ceiling, 
where, as usual, there was a ceiling. These chimneys were built 
either of stone or brick, and extended up through the peak of 
the roof, and the stove was located in the center of the room, a 
pipe extending directly upward into the chimney at the ceiling. 

In the case of the Penns Park schoolhouse, No. 2, in the 
above list, there does not seem to have been any chimney, the 
stove pipe extending directly up through the apex of the roof, 
and provided with a hood at its terminus. 

C. Yardley Stradling sent us a detailed description of the Neeld 
or Oxford schoolhouse, especially the arrangement of the chim- 
ney, which corresponds with our statement made above. 

Dr. Mercer's opinion in reference to the Neeld octagonal school- 
house is as follows : 

"Neeld Octagon Schoolhouse as examined by Frank K. Swain on 
Sept. 25, 1920, is an octagon built of surface sandstone laid in crumbling 
lime and sand mortar with walls 18 inches thick and 7 feet and 9 inches 
high inside, plastered outside and in. The whole 24 feet 1 inch in di- 
ameter inside and with its inside faces 10 feet wide. It shows a recent 
shingle roof, modern shutters nailed fast, a little brick chimney 21 K' 
inches by 9 inches at its apex, one entrance door and windows, with 
sashes lost, in each wall face except that of the door. 

The floor of the single interior room built over a two feet deep cellar, 
with a central foundation wall for its rafters, is level with the outer 
ground. All the furniture of this old schoolroom and its attachments 
are gone, but several blocks and strips, walled in the interior wall, show 
that there was a teacher's platform opposite the door about six inches 
high, and that a washboard, a fixed desk on plank ends against the wall 
with narrow top board and bottom shelf, and a series of wooden hat- 
pegs on the window top level, encircled the entire room. All the old 
window sash are gone. So is the door. The door opening is boxed 
and the window openings boxed above and below but plastered on the 
sides. The original river lath and plastered ceiling follows the rafters 
for about three feet and then crosses the room forming a truncated octa- 
gonal ceiling with a stove pipe hole encased with an earthenware tube 
in its flat center, 10 feet above the floor, thus concealing a sealed up 


doorless small garret in the apex which hides the interior of the Uttle 
brick flue there suspended. 

Notwithstanding the red sandstone date stone, dated '1775,' and left 
unplastered on the outer wall space, next to the left of the door face, 
the well preserved cut nails, with machine squared, and not hand ham- 
mered, heads, hence not of the earliest type, found by us in the original 
riven lath of the ceiling, and in the original moulding edging the original 
wall fastenings around the windows, are entirely out of place and im- 
possible in a building constructed in 1775, when only wrought nails 
were used. In spite of the loss of nearly all the distinctive interior 
fittings, these tell-tale nails indicate that the date stone above men- 
tioned is a relic of an older building, and proves that this schoolhouse 
was built, not in 1775, but in the first quarter of the 19th century." 

With all due deference to Dr. Mercer's knowledge of the con- 
struction of old houses and his remarkable ability in dating them 
from the construction, we think it is possible that the ceiling and 
inside plastering with its original mouldings, may have been 
added fifty years after the erection of the schoolhouse. How- 
ever, inasmuch as General Davis reports a tradition that the 
youth from Yardley attended this school before an eight-square 
schoolhouse was erected on the site of Oak Grove school in 
Yardley, it looks to me as if the "erection of the eight-square 
schoolhouse" pertained to the renewal of the old schoolhouse at 
Oxford, instead of the new one at Oak Grove, and the tradition 
got mixed to that extent. 

Sketch of Dr. Jonathan Ingham. 

(Doylestown Meeting-, January 15, 1921.) 

THE grandfather of Dr. Jonathan Ingham, Jonas Ingham, a 
native of England and a member of the Society of Friends, 
came to New England about 1705 and in 1730 moved with 
his family to Bucks county, Pennsylvania. His only son, Jona- 
than, succeeded to his father's farm and fulling-mill. 

Among the grants of land made by William Penn in 1702 was 
one of about five hundred acres to James Logan, his secretary, 
located in a limestone region along the upper reaches of the Dela- 
ware, in Solebury township, and abutting on the Proprietary 
Manor of Highlands. This was a beautiful domain and was 
called in Logan's patent the "Great Spring Tract" and by the 
Indians "Aquetong". In 1741 Logan sold two hundred acres of 
this property to Jacob Dean and the residue, in 1747, to Dean's 
brother-in-law, Jonathan Ingham. The latter lot included the 
Great Spring and this property remained in the possession of the 
Ingham family for over one hundred years. Jonathan Ingham 
was successful as a farmer and clothier, filled the offices of justice 
and judge and, as a member of the Colonial Assembly, took an 
active part in the contests of that body with the Proprietaries. 

Jonathan, by his wife, Deborah Bye, had three sons, John, 
Jonas and Jonathan. The last-named, who is the subject of the 
present sketch, was born at Great Spring on July 16, 1744. The 
father was a narrow^ sectarian and, considering the heretical 
views of the oldest son, John, a proof of a disordered mind, 
sent him to a hospital for lunatics, where he died soon after. 
This measure was disapproved of by the two brothers, especially 
by Jonathan, but such autocratic proceedings were more in vogue 
in those patriarchal days than they fortunately are now. 

The tastes of Jonas were scientific and he became a mathema- 
tician and a natural philosopher and made several useful me- 
chanical inventions. He, too, seriously offended his father by an 
unsanctioned marriage and, as a result of this, Jonathan was later 
placed at the head of the paternal establishment. 


Jonathan early in life showed a great fondness for languages, 
especially for the Greek and Latin classics, of which he acquired 
considerable knowledge with little or no assistance. At the age 
of nineteen, a disagreement with his father threw him on his own 
resources and he became an assistant on the farm of Dr. Paschal, 
near Darby. The latter had a fine library and this gave the young 
assistant an opportunity of extending his classical studies during 
his leisure hours. Such a predilection aroused the doctor's in- 
terest and he decided to offer the young man a situation as stu- 
dent of medicine and this oft'er was gladly accepted. A lifelong 
friendship between the two was the result and, when his studies 
were completed, Jonathan, it is thought through the intercession 
of the doctor, was invited home and, as has been said, placed at 
the head of the establishment. At the age of twenty-five he 
married Ann Welding of Bordentown, New Jersey, and, with 
the aid of her portion, was enabled to purchase the family estate. 
They had eleven children, of whom the fifth, Samuel Delucenna 
Ingham, became prominent in the political life of the nation and 
was Secretary of the Treasury in Jackson's administration. The 
writer of the present sketch is his grandson. 

Dr. Jonathan Ingham became a well-known practitioner, in 
addition to his labors as manager of the farm and the fulling- 
mill. His ledger from September 1782 to May 1786 has come 
into the possession of this society and a few remarks on it will 
not be out of place. It starts with an estimate of his cattle and 
horses at £1,325 10s, of the house furniture at £132 10s, and 
of the framing utensils at £62. Daily disbursements and re- 
ceipts are entered with great regularity and the accounts of the 
house, the farm, the fulling-mill and the sawmill are interspersed 
among those of his numerous patients. Among their names are 
many still extant in the county, such as Coryell, Paxton, Ross, 
Lear. Ely. \\'atson. Scarborough, etc.. and there is a Thomas 
Biddle. who suggests the neighboring metropolis. There are pa- 
tients, too. of humbler rank, such as Negros Jack, Tony, Peter, 
Sam, Dina and Hellens. Molatto (sic) James. Indian Dina, Dutch 
Jacob and Cobble John. Inoculations are frequent and seem to 
cost from lis. to £1 2s. 6d. per person, while bleedings cost 
about Is. 6d. and there is a charge of 3s. 9d. for gelding a calf. 
There is an account with "Wife's Estate in Jersey" and a debit 


"To Cash, Rum, etc.", £1 2s. would not please the prohibition- 
ists, if there were any such at that time. In Abraham Littleton's 
account the value of "a Spinning Machine left useless on my 
Hands at his Death" is placed at £7, 10s. A careful examination 
of this ledger will repay those interested in antiquarian and 
genealogical researches. 

The doctor, notwithstanding his many preoccupations, con- 
tinued his studies, became a good Greek and Latin scholar, under- 
stood German also, and was tolerably versed in Hebrew, French 
and Spanish. He translated many of the Odes of Pindar and 
Theocritus and turned some of the books of Fenelon's "Tele- 
maque" into English verse. He could converse with one tribe of 
Indians in their own dialect. 

I have before me a manuscript translation of the elegy on the 
death of Bion by Moschus, 58 stanzas, with a refrain, in which 
the versification is smooth and scholarly. I quote three verses 
and the refrain in full : 

Ye spacious bending Forests moan, 
Let vocal Rocks and Mountains groan, 

Let every murmuring Stream 
More tuneful, more melodious flow 
In solemn ecstacy of woe 

To deck the ushering theme. 

Alone may Flowers on Ivy blow, 
No more their dearest sweets bestow. 

The Roses of the morn. 
The Anemone in concert blest 
To deck the beauteous Virgin's breast 

Shall now no more be worn. 

The lettered Hyacinth but show 
In lasting characters of woe 

How we our loss deplore. 
Alas! alas, be plainer read 
LIpon its lowlier drooping head. 

Since Bion is no more. 

Sicilian Muses, come begin the strain 
In all your moving elegance of verse. 
O, by your influence sadly soothe our pain. 
To latest times our poignant woes rehearse. 


The Revolution coming on. he entered with zest into the spirit 
of the American cause. His brother Jonas took the field as 
officer of a volunteer corps and the doctor constantly gave his 
professional services to the troops. In fact he was enlisted him- 
self, as shown in the return of Capt. Robert Laning's Company 
in Solebury in 1782, (see Pa. Archives, Series 5, Vol. 5, p. 551). 
And, as to Jonas, see the same volume, pp. 330, 337-8, 4G6, 441. 
The Ingham estate was the camping ground of George Wash- 
ington and his troops on their retreat from New Jersey in 1776 
and the buildings were used as hospitals, with Jonathan in con- 
stant attendance on the sick and wounded. 

When the war closed, he took an active part on the side of the 
Republican W^higs and wTote much against what he considered 
the monarchical tendencies of certain measures. He denounced 
the scheme of funding the w^ar debt for the exclusive benefit of 
speculators, while the poor soldier, for all his services and suffer- 
ings, had to be content to receive two shillings and sixpence to 
the pound for his certificate. Many of his neighbors disapproved 
of his politics, but he "silenced them by the pungent satire of his 
burlesque Pindarics". 

During the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia in 1793, 
the doctor visited the city to make a scientific study of the dis- 
ease. After his return home, hearing that many of the physicians 
had fled from the plague-smitten city, he denounced such conduct 
and in his indignation decided to go back. W'ith his friends. 
Dr. Hutchinson and Samuel Wetherill, Jr., he visited and helped 
to relieve the sufferers in the most infected districts. Dr. Benja- 
min Rush, a signer of the Declaration, was engaged in the same 
splendid work and was honored by the Czar of Russia with a gift 
of a fine ruby as an appreciation of his services therein. Dr. 
Ingham finally contracted the disease and, having a great belief 
in the medicinal value of Schooley's Mountain Springs, started 
for that place with his wife and her brother in a farm wagon. 
The houses along the way refused to take him in and he died in 
the wagon at the roadside at a point about one mile west of 
Clinton, N. J., October 1, 1793. He was buried in the grave- 
yard of the Bethlehem, N. J.. Presbyterian Church. 

Broom Making By Hand 

(Doylestown Meeting, January 15, 1921.) 

AGES have passed and gone and so far as the memory of 
man runs there always has been a woman and a broom. 
Witches are always represented as riding on a broom. 
The cave-woman used a branch of spruce or hemlock for her 
broom, while during the time of Christ, Holy Writ informs us, 
rooms were swept and garnished. It remained, however, for Dr. 
Benjamin Franklin to introduce broomcorn into the United States. 
He found an imported whisk in the possession of a woman in 
Philadelphia and asked permission to examine it. He found a 
single seed upon a splint of the whisk. This he appropriated and 
planted. The crop produced from this single seed was replanted 
and the product was made into brooms. It is said that the whisk 
in the possession of this woman came from the East Indies. It 
may be surprising when I state that over the past one hundred 
years there has been very little change made in the manufacture 
of house brooms by hand. Sixty years ago John Charles, of 
Keller's Church, in Bedmister township, traveled from one farm 
to another with his tackle of rope, clamp, needle, twine, and 
curry-comb to make up the broomcorn into brooms for the va- 
rious 'farmers. At that time brooms could not be purchased at 
any store. In later years the merchants purchased the surplus 
brooms from the farmers and oflfered them for sale. 

Previous to the raising of broomcorn men went into the forest 
and cut smooth hickory saplings about three inches thick and 
live feet long. These they placed into an old-fashioned wooden 
vise and with a sharp drawing knife began cutting or shaving in 
splints about eighteen inches from the butt end. These were 
drawn or shaved down to within about five inches of the same 
end. The sapling was then turned until the first layer was 
formed. The splints were repeatedly turned down over the butt 
end until the sapling had been reduced to one and one-half 
inches. This was securely tied with linen cord thus making a 
splint broom of from six to eight inches through the center. The 


remainder of the sapling was cut or shaved down to about one 
and one-half inches. This became the handle of the splint broom. 
At the present time one will occasionally find a broom of that 
kind used as a barn or stable broom. 

Broomcorn is planted at the same time and in the same man- 
ner as field, or Indian corn. After the stalk has grown toward 
maturity the top becomes heavy from the weight of the seed and 
begins to spread. At this time it must be bent over about twenty- 
four or thirty inches from the top so that the seed hangs down 
along the stalk. This becomes necessary so as to prevent the 
seed from spreading at the top. After the seed has ripened the 
bent part is cut off, placed in bundles, and taken to the barn. If 
raised for the market the seed is removed by a machine similar 
to a clover huller. The broomcorn is then placed in bales and is 
ready for shipment. In former years the seed was thrown away 
or burned, however, it is now fed to fowls and cattle. The old 
method was to remove the seed with a flax hatchel, and later with 
a currycomb. In Bucks and neighboring counties the farmers 
still raise broomcorn for their own use, usually taking it to the 
broommaker with its seed. 

James Bergey, of Perkasie, who is now sixty-five years of age 
has made brooms for many years. He, too, in years gone by, has 
used the currycomb to remove the seeds. He now, however, has 
a machine similar to a clover huller, which is called a power 
scraper, that removes the seeds. This machine is operated by foot- 
power. Mr. Bergey, when he wishes to make a broom, places a 
handle into a machine known as a cage broom winder, also 
operated by foot-power. He inserts the end of a wire, instead of 
twine or cord, into a hole in the handle. Enough broomcorn is 
used to make one layer around the broom handle. By motion of 
the foot the handle revolves and as it does so binds the broom- 
corn to it by means of the wire that has been inserted. A bunch 
of broomcorn is next placed on each side of the handle so as to 
make the shoulder. Still more broomcorn is added, this time 
with the butt end reversed. This is wired as before and turned 
back over the other layer. A hasp is placed over the broomcorn 
to keep it together and another layer, the same as the first and 
placed as before, is added. As many layers are added as are 
necessary to make the brooms lighter or heavier as desired. The 


hasp is now removed and again placed over the added layer. 
The edges of the broomcorn around the handle are hammered 
down with a dull edged pounder in order to make the broomcorn 
fit snug around it. A thin layer of broomcorn, called the hurl, 
is then put on to make a neat finish. The brace is then removed 
and a cap made of tin is placed over the top and wired fast. 
The broom at this stage is round in appearance, and is removed 
to the clamp or press, which is equipped with two upright jaws 
about three feet high, operated by a powerful lever. The broom 
is then inserted into these jaws, the lever pressed down, and the 
broomcorn flattened into the shape of a broom, after which it is 
sewed. Mr. Bergey uses a double pointed steel needle with the 
eye in the middle and a filed groove running through the center. 
This needle, made by himself, sews the broom in such a way 
that he need not turn the needle, thus saving the time it other- 
wise takes to turn it. He uses a leather cuiT on each hand with 
a steel disk, or plate, over the ball of his thumb by which he 
pushes the needle through the broomcorn. In making a broom of 
short broomcorn he places one layer within one inch of the butt 
of the handle where it is wired ; he adds another layer two inches 
back and also wires that. A third layer is placed two inches above 
the second layer. This is sewed in three dififerent places. When 
the good housewife uses the first layer to where it is sewed she 
cuts the cord, or string, which opens the second layer and then 
has a renewed broom. The broom now practically completed is 
removed from the clamp and taken to the broom clipper, which 
is shaped like a feed cutter, where the bottom of the broom is 
neatly trimmed. 

Benjamin Steeley, also of Perkasie, used the method of making 
brooms that was in vogue one hundred years ago. First he 
places the broomcorn in hot water to make it soft and pliable. 
Next he takes a bunch of broomcorn large enough to make a 
broom and places it in a slip loop of a three-fourth inch rope 
fastened to a post or rafter, with the loop about six inches from 
the floor. He places his foot upon the bunch of broomcorn close 
to the loop and bears the weight of his body upon it, at the same 
time drawing the ends of the broomcorn as tight as possible. 
When he ties the head of the broom with twine he places the 
bundle of broomcorn, which at this stage is almost round, into 


a wooden clamp. This wooden clamp consists of two pieces of 
wood,three by fifteen inches, with a bolt at each end. He turns 
down the nuts and flattens out the broom and begins to sew it 
with a needle about eight inches long. At one time he used a 
wooden needle. The broom being finished the handle is sharpened 
at the butt end and driven into the head, or top, of the broom. 
A nail is driven through the corn into the handle to hold it se- 
cure. This completes the making of the broom. 

(Mr. Scheetz illustrated his paper by exhibiting brooms in the 
different process of manufacture, and answering many questions 
concerning them.) 

Ancient Methods of Threshing in Bucks County. 

(Doylestown Meeting, January 15, 1921.) 

BEFORE the general introduction of the threshing machine, 
1835-1850, there were two methods of threshing wheat, 
rye and other grain, in use in Bucks county, namely : 

1, very commonly by means of the flail; 2, very rarely by 
trampling with the feet of animals. 

Other devices were in use at that time in Europe and probably 
in the United States, for instance, 3, a grooved or spiked log, 
axeled at one end to a stake, and pulled around over the straw 
in a circle by an animal, called in Chester county a "Tumbling 
Tom," as I was informed about 1897 by the late Alfred Paschal ; 
4, a long flexible stick as used in France (Dauphiny and Provi- 
dence), about 1840, according to the Agricultural Treatise, called 
"Maison Rustique," by Dr. Alexander Bixio, Paris, 1844. a 
direct descendant of the Roman Pertica, or threshing stafif de- 
scribed by Pliny Natural History, XVIII, 72.5, a fluted wooden 
roller, used in Lombardy in 1890 (according to Knight's Amer- 
ican Mechanical Dictionary), or otherwise a wagon on several 
rollers, set around with serrated iron rings, on which the driver 
sits, used in Egypt about 1850, and there called Noreg. (See 
Rich's Companion to the Latin Lexicon, Longman's London, 


1848) a counterpart of the Plostellum Punicum introduced into 
ancient Italy from Carthage and described by Varro Rerum 
Rusticarum 1.51.2. 6, a drag or frame on one or more planks 
shaped Hke a Canadian toboggan, roughened on the bottom 
with flints or pieces of iron, and weighted with stones, 
upon which the driver sits, drawn by oxen, mules or horses over 
the straw, seen by travelers in use in Asia Minor about 1850, (in 
Pictorial Gallery of the Useful Arts, London, Hart, Harrower 
& Co., 1848), being a survival of the Roman Tribulum or Tribula 
described in Varro Rerum Rusticarum 1.52.1 and Pliny Natural 
History XVIII. 72 and Virgil Georgics 1.164. 

The writer has thus far been unable to find evidence of the 
use of any of these methods in the United States except the first 
two, information as to 3 being only hearsay. But as the Amer- 
ican pioneers at first reverted to very primitive devices, there is 
no reason why they may not have used 4, 5 or 6 and we have 
cited them here with authority for the use of future investigators 
of this important subject, and turn particularly to 1 and 2. 


The late Stacy S. Weaver, while in my employ, told me in 
1918, that he had been employed about 1860 to thresh grain by 
leading horses over the straw, upon the wooden floor of a log 
barn on the left bank of Tinicum creek, about two miles south 
of Headquarters, now Sundale. 

This is coroborated by William J. Buck in his "Local Sketches 
and Legends," printed in 1887, and also by the Rev. Dr. A. R. 
Home, The Pennsylvania German (Allentown, T. K. Home, 
1910), who quotes a Pennsylvania-German poem, which says in 
only two lines that the early German settlers threshed rye with 
flails, and the wheat with horses which they rode around on the 
straw for a long time. 


But as compared with this comparatively little employed pro- 
cess, the flail was the well known threshing implement in uni- 
versal use in Bucks county from its earliest settlement (as in the 
United States from the time of Jamestown and the Mayflower). 
to the middle of the nineteenth centurv. This ancient instru- 



ment. not mentioned in the Bible, and not probably used by the 
Romans, has been employed in Europe and Asia (Japan) ever 
since the Middle Ages, although Capt. John Smith says that 

the Turks used bats and not flails in his time. It consists of the 
hand staff held by the workman, and the club which strikes the 
grain (called "swiple" by the Dictionary of Arts and Sciences. 


1763, and "souple" or "swiple" by Knight, and "swipple" or 
"swingel" by Webster. The coupling of the former to the latter 
is variously constructed and imperfectly described. It is called 
"whang" (in Knight) and "cupplings") in the Dictionary of 
Arts and Sciences). 

Of the many varieties of this primitive implement, the twenty 
or more flails in our museum show two types, a. (2 specimens 
right in picture.) Those with a small swivel on the hand staff 
to hold the club or swingle, and b. those with a knob and loop 
on the hand staff for the same purpose. 

In our museum, No. 8860, from Bucks county, the slightly 
tapering hand staff of hickory 4' 4" by 1% to ^" thick, is en- 
closed at the small end by a very neat hickory swivel (called 
"heading" in Knight) entirely enclosing a 4}^" wide circular 
notch ending in a knob and bound fast by two wires double 
wound on two outer shallow notches. A Mr. Hollenbach of 
Pipersville made swivels like these but bound with leather thongs 
instead of wire, used as he tells me (1920) by Harvey Crou- 
thamel, about 1890. The club of this flail is 2' 4" 'long of oak. 
and 1^" swelling to 2^" thick. It is perforated at the small end 
with a hole ^4 " ^^ diameter, through which a loop, (called "middle 
band" by the Dictionary of Arts and Sciences), stretching 3", and 
consisting of 6 wraps of a single piece of whitish leather neatly 
knotted at the ends connects it with the wooden loop of the 
swivel on the hand staff. 

The construction of the much heavier flail. No. 9646, with hand 
staff of hickory 5' long by l^^ to 1" thick and a hickory club 
2' 5" long by 2" thick, is similar, but the hickory swivel showing 
bark is a 2" by 1%"" long strip bent over the end of the hand staff 
and revolving around the three notches in it, coinciding with 
three similar notches on the staff, around which three double 
thongs grasp first loosely the staff and then tightly the swivel. 
The coupling from this swivel to the club is a three inch long 
loop made of two wraps of a single leather >^" wide strap slit at 
one end and knotted through the slit at the other. 

In the similar lighter and smaller No. 7177, from Bucks county, 
with oak staff and hickory club, the hickory swivel otherwise re- 
sembling the former, has but two notches coinciding as before 
with notches on the hand staff for its revolutions around the 


latter, while in No. 3492, marked with the monogram AI. I. on the 
club, from Bucks county, the similar two notched swivel is made 
not of wood but of a heavy leather strap. 

The swivel on No. 9643, from New Jersey, with hand staiT and 
club of oak, is a horseshoe shaped loop of wrought iron, revolv- 
ing upon the end of an iron pin driven into the end of the staff 
and held there with a ferule of iron. 

Variety b (2 specimens, middle in picture) is represented by 
No. 6759 from Bucks county, with oaken staff and hickory club, 
where the suddenly tapered hand staff ends in a knob around 
which a leather thong is loosely tied in three strands and con- 
tinued in a loop through the hole in the club. 

In No. 4175, from New Jersey, all apparently of hickory, the 
above mentioned two loops are not fastened with one piece of 
leather but with two. First a thong is four times wrapped loosely 
around the knob and tied, then under this a single strap passes in 
the form of a loop with its two ends riveted wuth three copper 
rivets through the hole in the club. 

No. 2797 seems to be a makeshift, repaired with fish cord and 
showing swivel notches. A strap is tightly looped so as not to re- 
volve on the notched end of the hand staff. A heavy strap loop 
runs through the club hole and then a third loop connects these 
two loops so that the whole instrument, though apparently a 
•makeshift, seems to correspond to the description of the English 
flail of 1763. given in the Dictionary of Arts and Sciences. 

In our collection, the club is always, but the hand staff never 
perforated for the attachment of the thongs, the movable loop, 
which I here call swivel, always being upon the hand staff. 
Harvey Crouthamel tells me that he never used or heard of the 
use of raw hide and that though he sometimes oiled an iron swivel 
used by him, he never greased the thongs. 

I find no raw hide thongs in our collection and no eel skin, 
though tradition describes the latter as used. Harvey Crouthamel 
tells me that he threshed buckwheat with a flail for my uncle, 
Arthur Chapman, about 1900, one mile north of Doylestown, and 
frequently threshed wheat, oats and rye on farms in Bucks 
county in the 1880's and 1890's, when one to four persons laid 
the sheaves head to head, threshed, turned and rethreshed them 
while still bound, then unbound the sheaves, spread, threshed and 


turned and rethreshed the straw, thus going over it four times. 

I learned from Crouthamel and Mathias Hall, who have 
worked with the flail, that the sheaves were never thrown down 
confusedly on the threshing floor but laid side by side in rows 
and where more than one row was threshed always placed head 
to head. The turning which consisted in laying the wheat, rye 
or oats stalks whether bound or unbound, when threshed out on 
one side, upside down so as to get at the bottom husks, was never 
done, they said, with the prongs or handle of a fork or rake, but 
always by grasping the loose straw or the yet unbound sheaves 
in the arms, and lifting and replacing them in the same position. 
or behind the workman as he turned round, or elsewhere on the 
floor, in a fresh row. 

Our museum No. 17153 shows a swiveled flail bought by Mr. 
Francis C. Mireau, in Montgomery county on November 9, 1920. 
Tied to it is a sharpened hickory staff 23 inches long and 1% 
inches thick at the base. This staff was used according to the 
owners account to slide more easily than the fingers under the 
grain stalks in turning them for threshing. Then one hand 
held the staff while the other grasped the straw. 

Probably all the old threshing floors now remaining are made of 
oak planks, and some are pegged with wood, as in the Armitage 
barn in Solebury, built about 1756, nevertheless tradition and 
Home's Manual described earlier threshing floors which 
Crouthamel never heard of, made of earth. 

Though the threshing machine, a revolutionary invention of 
tremendous importance, as we now know it, was, according to 
Knight produced by several inventions, first in Germany and 
then in England between 1772 and 1782. it did not get into gen- 
eral use in Bucks county until about 1850. Whoever has ex- 
amined it knows that it consists of a metal cylinder armed with 
spikes which rapidly revolves in a close fitting circular case, also 
furnished with spikes (U. S.), or grooves (England), so as to 
instantly tear and slash the straw and unhusk the grain. 

At the time of its invention, one hundred years ago, this 
would have completely superseded all the ancient forms of thresh- 
ing mentioned, flail included, if a cheap and practical power 
could have been found to turn it, but as Reese's Encyclopedia, 
written about 1800, says, wind mills only worked when the wind 


blew, fixed water power could not be applied to most barns 
where there was no water, and stearn, though introduced about 
1820 on large estates was too expensive, while man turned 
cranks though used and patented, were too laborious. The only 
power at first practically applied was the so-called "Lever Power," 
a very large cogged horizontal wheel turned by horses or cattle 
on a turn style. We bought one of these from Mr. Osborne at 
Summerseat at Morrisville, for the museum (introduced accord- 
ing to Dickson's Dictionary of Agriculture in southern England 
in 1805), of date about 1820 to 30, and many according to the in- 
formation of T. S. Kenderdine, Mathias Hall and Wilson Wood- 
man, were employed by rich farmers in Bucks county before 1835. 
One I myself saw at work, surviving upon a farm near Pooles 
Corner about 1900, but the device was expensive and took up too 
much barn room, so that the flail continued in full use in 
Bucks county until the general introduction of the cheap portable 
and efificient so-called "Tread Power" at last making the thresh- 
ing machine more efficient ( 1835 to 50 ) gradually superceded the 
ancient hand tool. 

This "Tread Power" is an inclined rolling platform on 
which horses or cattle walk so as to revolve a fly wheel at- 
tached to the threshing cylinder above mentioned. According to 
the "Farmers Mechanical Instructor" by Francis Wiggins 
Rogers. Philadelphia. 1840, kindly shown me by Mr. Ely, this 
American invention was in general use in eastern Pennsylvania 
between 1835-50, under patents by Vosburg, Pitt and A\'arren, 
T. S. Kenderdine tells me that his father constructed a device 
of this kind in 1830 to turn a gristmill by oxen in Horsham, 
Montgomery county. The apparatus, he says, was derived by 
his father from notes taken in Ohio, and was made entirely of 
wood with an endless chain of little wagons upon wooden rollers 
moving upon a wooden track. 

\Ye also have in the museum two dog churn powers where an 
endless slatted strap rolls on fixed wooden rollers, the upper of 
which turns the fly wheel, and we have a tread horsepower like 
those still (1920) in use, manufactured by Wm. H. Murray at 
his agricultural machine factory at New Hope, about 1859, w^here 
an endless chain of little wagons is mounted on cast iron wheels 
cogged in a power wheel. Mr. Kenderdine also says that a ma- 


chine of this kind was used for his father, John E. Kenderdine, in 
1842. and was probably made by Cook and Thropp at their 
mills at Wells Falls, New Hope, Bucks county. 

Thus the flail went out of general use in Bucks county about 
1850 but it was not completely abandoned. It survived here 
until the beginning of the twentieth century to thresh rye, and 
did so because the Bucks county farmer had long used and still 
preferred flail threshed rye straw, untorn by the threshing ma- 
chine, for the very important and universal purpose of binding 
his corn. 

In this work the apparatus attached in 1890 to reaping machines 
for mechanically binding wheat, rye and oats with twine had not 
helped him, for the greater part of Indian corn continued to be cut 
and bound by hand. ^ The right kind of twine was not yet avail- 
able, and the rye stalks easily hand grasped and knotted held 
well around the cornstalks and for a long time continued to be 
so employed until the introduction about 1895 of cheap rolls of 
tarred twine, easily cut to the desired length, finally superseded 
the rye straw. Then the flail disappeared. 

In the meantime I learned from Harvey Crouthamel that 
until about 1900 some of our small farmers, not owning thresh- 
ing machines, sometimes threshed buckwheat with flails as he, 
.Crouthamel, did for my uncle, Arthur Chapman, about 1905. 
Or that when horse feed ran out on larger farms, oats in small 
quantities was thus threshed as a makeshift, and Clarence Rosen- 
berger tells me that until about 1905 there was a small demand 
for flail-threshed straw in Philadelphia, for use as bedding for 
high bred horses. Now (1921) the farmer can buy buckwheat 
meal in bags at country stores and has generally ceased to grow 
it for his own table use. The motor car has largely superseded 
the horse in Philadelphia, and unless the flail is still occasionally 
used for horse feed, these requirements have probably all ceased 
and could hardly have kept the flail in general use. But after 
all they were secondary needs. It was the tarred twine that 
finally abolished the ancient instrument about 1905. so that now 

^ In 1887 the first patents were taken out for corn harvesters, but the}^ 
remained in an experimental stage until about 1895. By 1902 the yearly 
output had reached but about 44,000. They have not come in general 
use in Bucks and adjoining farms. 


(1921) it is doubtful whether any farmer in Bucks county uses 
the flail for any purpose whatever though I may be mistaken. 

Since the above was written in 1921 Mrs. Thomas Walker of 
Doylestown, living until 1924 at Peters Corner, Solebury town- 
ship, Bucks county, Pa., informs the writer (March 19, 1926) 
that James Lynn who lived at Peters Corners (go from Mechan- 
icsville on main road leading east to Cuttalossa through Peters 
Corner, turn right at corner, first house left), and died there in 
1924, used a flail for threshing all his small (c. 1 acre) crops of 
wheat, rye and oats, certainly in 1923, and possibly in 1924 or 
until about the time of his death. He kept a horse, but did not 
own either a threshing machine or a "Horse Power", (Tread 
Power) apparatus as used by other farmers for working the 
former. He had once recently hired (at a minimum cost of ten 
dollars per day), a gasoline power turned threshing machine, 
but found it too expensive for his small crops. Some of his 
grain, thus hand-threshed, he had ground for bread flour or ani- 
mal food at Armitages water-power gristmill on Cutalossa creek 
in Solebury township. 

While correcting the final proof sheets for this paper, in 
August 1926, I learn from the Doylestown Agricultural Works, 
Dr. B. F. Fackenthal, Jr., of Riegelsville, Levi Yoder of Silver- 
dale, and Henry W. Gross of Doylestown, that similar rare, and 
generally unheard of, instances of the survival of the flail among 
very small farmers in Bucks and its adjoining counties, would 
probably be found on diligent search. The Rev. David Gehman 
of Fbuntainville, with wide experience among the Pennsylvania 
German farmers, as a Mennonite minister, cites another supposed 
still-continuing use of the flail in upper Bucks County, namely to 
thresh rye straw, as preferred stuffing, for bed mattresses, and 
Mrs. Frank K. Swain of Doylestown, says that her father used 
the flail for that purpose, at his farm near Gardenville about 1900. 

Passing Events (Paper No. 1). 


(Doylestown Meeting, January 15, 1921.) 


THE following notes, the first of a series, have been made to 
show that in the whirligig of time many old customs die out 
and new ones take their places, which in turn give way to 
other new inventions and appliances. Often machines did not 
come into general use until long after they were invented and 

These notes may seem trivial and foolish to many of you today 
who may be familiar with everything mentioned, as the period 
which I am reviewing begins as late as 1880, and extends down 
to the present time. However, if three or four customs of the 
past, or machines are selected that have been introduced in our 
time, and we try to name the exact date when first seen or 
used, it will be found that we cannot guess the right date 
within from two to six years. How many who saw Glen 
Curtis fly for the first time from New York to Philadelphia, can 
tell what year it happened? or when we saw the first trolley-car 
or automobile, electric light, Christmas tree, chewing gum, mov- 
ing pictures or ice cream cones ? 

Trolley Roads. The Bucks County Railway Company 
started to lay their tracks from Willow Grove to Doylestown in 
1897 and completed them in March, 1898, according to informa- 
tion of Mr. A. A. Mitten of the Rapid Transit Company. The 
first passenger car entered Doylestown on a hot afternoon in 
May, of that year, running up as far as State street. A large 
crowd quickly gathered and Mr. George P. Brock, a promoter, 
who was on the car, asked the people to get on and take a free 
ride, which they did, thinking they would be taken to Bridge 
Point and returned. The car went down Main street as far as 
Mr. John Hart's residence where the people were ordered ofif, 
as the car would not return, much to the disgust of several stout 
women who were obliged to walk up the long hill, in the hot 


afternoon sun, laden with well filled market baskets. The cars 
were of the short, four wheeled "dinkey" type with revolving- 
chairs covered with matting. These were considered fine at first 
but later, when the catches were worn out they would revolve 
without warning when the cars rounded a curve and you never 
knew whose lap you would be thrown into. The terminus was 
on State street, in front of the Fountain House yard and the 
waiting room was on State street in the building connected with 
the Fountain House livery. Trolley roads in the country were 
new at that time and it was very pleasant to ride through the 
beautiful rolling country, down the York road, past fine estates 
with well kept lawns which could not be seen from the steam 
railroad. The fare was thirty-five cents from Doylestown to 
Market street, Philadelphia, while the steam road fare was $1.14. 
The cheapness of the trip, aside from the pleasure, enabled the 
country people to go to town several times a year to do their 
shopping instead of buying in Doylestown and the cars ran well 
filled for years. Two or three years later the company went 
into the hands of a receiver, as many trolley companies do. and 
later became the property of the Philadelphia Rapid Transit 
Company, which owns it at the present time. Two years before 
that road was built, or in May, 1896, Willow Grove Park opened. 
The trolley road from Philadelphia to that popular amusement 
resort having been finished in 1895. Large coaches left the 
Fountain House, Doylestown, every Sunday at noon carrying 
passengers to \\'illow Grove, returning at midnight, for fifty cents 
the round trip, until the Doylestown trolley was built. 

The Easton trolley road was finished from Easton to Revere 
and from Doylestown to Red Hill in the spring of 1904. Old 
broken down hacks from Doylestown were used to carry passen- 
gers over the connecting link from Red Hill to Revere until the 
road was completely finished. Instead of following the turn- 
pike out of Doylestown the cars left Main street at the foot of 
Germany Hill (owing to an injunction against them), going out 
Lacey avenue and through fields to the Grove place near Cross 
Keys Hotel, although the track extended out North Main street 
to the Dublin pike where there was a dead end. The company 
had to run a car to that terminus once a month to hold its 
right-of-wav. The first car ran to the Dublin oike on Christmas 


Day 1904. Later a new law overrode the injunction and allowed 
the company to extend its tracks from the Dublin pike to meet 
the elbow at the Grove place. This was finished late in Novem- 
ber, 1907, and the field route was then abandoned. In May, 1904. 
before any regular cars ran, a test was made with one of the 
large passenger cars well filled with directors and officers. The 
car went to Danboro and returned with a workman sitting on 
the roof watching the trolle3\^ As it rounded the sharp curve at 
the Grove place, going at a great rate of speed, the man was 
thrown against a tree then to the ground breaking several bones. 
Aaron Kratz and Harry Shoemaker were among the promoters. 
This road too went into the hands of receivers in a short time. 
It was in fact in the hands of receivers at two different times. 
The length of this road from Doylestown to Easton is thirty-one 

The Newtown trolley road, always out of order and called 
the "Sunshine" trolley was built in 1902. It was very convenient, 
though uncertain, for people living in Bristol and the lower end 
of the county who were obliged to attend court, as there was no 
direct train service to the county seat.- 

While the track was being laid on Green street, Doylestown. 
an open work-car was left by the workmen at Ashland street each 
evening. Boys of the town would jump on this car, release it and 
it would run down the steep hill to the Todd farm where they 
would jump off and push it up the hill and repeat the trip. One 
evening when it was heavily loaded and going at high speed it 
jumped the track, struck a telephone pole snapping it oft' 
like a pipe stem and scattering the boys in all directions. Some 
were badly injured, and carry marks to this day. Others were 
unconscious and helpless for a long time, while several had bones 
broken. This put a stop to the night rides. 

From 1896 to 1900 cars were chartered for evening picnics by 
lodges, societies or private parties. Open cars were generally 
used which were gaily decorated with strings of fed, white and 
blue lights, and carried noisy parties to any point on the line, 
returning at a given time. The cars made no stops and took on 
no passengers. The custom died out completely by 1902. 

1 The small wheel which comes in contact with the feed wire Is called a 
trolley, and from that wheel the trolley car takes Its name. 

2 This trolley road was abandoned and tracks removed in November, 1923. 


Reaping. Down to 1889 Washington Radcliffe and William 
A. Swain of Buckingham, mowed all their grass with a scythe 
and all their rye, wheat, oats and buckwheat with a cradle. 
Grain was tied with straw by hand. Grass was raked with a 
hand rake and the flail was used for threshing all grain until the 
autumn of 1888 when, on account of the illness of W. A. Swain, 
William Sine of Lahaska, who had a traveling thresher, run In- 
horse power, came and threshed the grain. This was the hrst 
time a threshing machine was used on the place. Because the 
farms and barns were small these customs had been continued 
long after the advent of machinery. 

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Neff, natives of Germany, who lived at 
Spring Valley, reaped all their grain with a sickle as late as 1890. 
The writer watched Mrs. Neff reap wheat with a sickle on July 
4, 1887, in the field on the left as you ascend the hill back of 
Stevers mill. Mr. Neff was a cooper and could be seen anv 
autumn day fixing over old cider or vinegar barrels in front of 
his barn at Stevers mill. 

Hav-p.aileks. Edward H. pjlackfan of Solebury. informed me 
that he owned and used in 1890, an old Ertle-Victor hay- 
bailer, called a half circle, continuous press run by two horses 
in a half circle. He believes this was the first portable hay press 
used in middle Bucks county. Before that date hay was either 
hauled to Philadelphia market or to large hay pressing houses. 
built at railroad stations where it was pressed and shipped away 
in box cars. In 1895 George Brown brought a portable hay-bailer 
to the Edward H. Williams farm near Centreville, where the 
writer was then living, and bailed the hay as it came from the 
barn. Several farmers nearby drove in to see the process as it 
was new at the time. 

Silos. Edward H. Blackfan also advises me that Eugene Pax- 
son, above Lumberville, built the first silo known here. It was 
a square pit built of stones, like a cistern, about twenty feet deep 
and was certainly used in 1880. Green cornfodder was cut and 
the pit filled, but it was not a success because the ensilage spoiled 
in the corners. The word silo was used for some time before 
many knew just what the process of making ensilage was like 
or how it was used. In 1898. when the Dovlestown-W'illow Grove 


trolley road was started, passengers noticed two high, round, 
windowless towers near the barn on the Paul Valley Farm near 
Neshaminy and although many asked what they were for, no 
one could give a satisfactory answer until one day a stranger 
said they were silos, a new idea that seemed to come in from the 
west. This shows they were not generally known at that time 
but by 1905 a good many farmers had them.'' They would club 
together and order perhaps fifty or more so all could be sent at 
once. When they arrived at the station, the farmers would as- 
semble from all directions, sort out and load their pieces of silo, 
which were of wood, have dinner at the Railroad House and a 
lively time, at that, after which, a long string of teams w^ould 
form and pass like a parade through the town on the way home. 
These were silo frolics and continued until about 1915. The 
hollow tile silo came into use about 1916 although there are not 
many at the present time (1921) but they will probably replace 
the old wooden ones entirely. When built they look very old, 
mysterious and attractive. The first ones noticed by the writer 
were built near Solebury Mountain in 1917, two near Wycombe 
in 1918 and one on the Albert Larue farm near Doylestown in 
1918, to replace a wooden one. 

Gasoline Engines. Mr. Blackfan informs me that the first 
portable gasoline engine used in Solebury township, and probably 
the first in middle Bucks county, was sold by Mr. Blackfan to 
Hugh Michener of Solebury, in 1900. It was marked "The Olds, 
Type E," made by the father of R. E. Olds, the automobile manu- 
facturer, and was used for threshing, grinding feed, pumping 
water, sawing wood, etc., and was still in running condition in 
1920. Mr. Blackfan believes the Olds was the first gasoline 
engine built in the country and certainly the first used in this 
county. By 1910 it had largely replaced the horsepower and 
steam engine on farms where these had been used, as well as 
supplying power to many shops, pump houses and some factories. 

Tractor Plows. The first tractor and plow used in Bucks 
covmty was bought by Hugh Michener, west of New Hope, in 
Soleburv township, in 1910. It was manufactured in Blue Bell, 

z Dr. B. F. Packenthal. Jr.. advises me that he was the first to build a 
silo in upper Bucks county, having built one in 1891, on his farm in Durham 
township. It attracted the attention of many farmer.s and others for miles 
around who went to inspect it. 


Lancaster county, Pa., and was known as the Shirk Tractor 
Plow, having a single cylinder gasoline engine, propelling itself 
and answered for harrowing, rolling and other purposes. Ed- 
ward H. Blackfan of New Hope, was the agent for this tractor. 
Blue Bell was the first trading-post where cattle were hrought 
from the west and sold to dealers in the east. 

The first field plow operated with a tractor, seen by the writer, 
was on the farm on the left as you ascend Crawfords Hill going 
south, below Bennets Corner, in the autumn of 1917. Frederick 
Blair Jaekel owned and used one on the Glen Echo Farm at Pine 
Run in 1918, since which time many have been in use in Bucks 
county. In 1920 there were demonstrations of various makes on 
several farms in the county. 

Milkmen. The milkman of 1880 went about in an ordinary 
wagon with one or two milk cans, a smaller vessel which he car- 
ried into the house, shaped like a milk can but having a handle 
like a bucket, with a long handled ladel inside reaching to the top 
of the can. Sometimes the customers' empty kettle or pitcher 
was waiting in a little box nailed on the fence at the gate or he 
would go to the porch or back door, remove the lid, hanging it 
on the ear of the kettle while with the long handled, dripping, 
pint dipper he ladeled out the milk fresh from his own farm that 
morning. He always gave an extra shallow dip at the end to 
make up for any poor measuring. Cream and skim milk were 
carried in smaller kettles. The milk had to be stirred up before 
dipping so everybody got their share of cream. Sometimes he 
had butter, eggs and cottage cheese, rhubarb and horseradish for 
sale. Many a cat got its head fast in a pitcher sitting on a porch 
and could not get away from it, some have been drowned in a 
pint of milk. Frank Mann was one of these farmer milkmen. 
In 1894 there were regular milk dealers who bought their milk 
from farmers and did nothing else but deliver it. The same kind 
of buckets, cans and dippers such as I have described, were used, 
but a wagon, open on the sides as at present, was used in place 
of the little market wagon of the farmer. Maurice Gunnagan 
was a milkman of this type. Then in 1906 the quart and pint 
milk-bottles came in and the old kettles and dippers disappeared. 
We had just learned about microbes and bacteria and these bottles 
were supposed to be sanitary and as the milk was put in them 


fresh from the cow, each person felt they were getting their full 
share of cream. Boxes held the bottles on the wagons and wire 
racks were used to carry them to the kitchen as at the present 
time. Fred Himmelwright was probably the first to use the bot- 
tles in Doylestown. Horses knew which were the milkmens 
customers and would zigzag across the street or follow him 
along the route. 

Butchering About 1890. In the autumn the farmer's pork- 
barrel was nearly empty and with the coming of cold weather 
the hog was fed on new corn nubbins until he became so fat he 
could scarcely move or see. Preparations were then made for the 
winter butchering. The women laid aside their usual work, took 
up the kitchen carpet or put down another layer of old rag car- 
pets over it. The men laid the wagon house door on two trestles 
or on the old sled-runners for a scafifold near the barn and placed 
a barrel at one end, tilted at an angle of 45 degrees to hold the 
water for scalding. While the water was heating in wash boilers 
on the stove in the outkitchen or in large iron kettles over the 
open fire in the kitchen or often out doors, the butcher knives, 
probably made of old files by a blacksmith, were given a final 
whetting. In some cases large stones were heated in an open 
fire and thrown into the barrel of cold water thus heating it. A 
rope was tied around the pig's leg or with one of the iron hog 
catchers on a pole (now shown in this museum), he was lead out 
and killed by sticking a sharp knife in his throat. Some men 
were better pig-stickers than others. The scalding water was 
then emptied into the barrel and the pig ducked, first head then 
tail end, which loosened the bristles so they were easily scraped 
away with old dull com knives or, better still, with the sharp edge 
of the disk or bottom of a wrought iron candlestick. Nearly all 
these handsome candlesticks after serving their original purpose 
for years descended from the kitchen mantel to the hog scafi'old 
and this last usefulness alone saved them from the scrap heap. 
Ashes were thrown in the water to help this process, hog hooks 
and gambols were also used and later the hog was hung head 
down in the wagon house, cut up into quarters, when cold, and 
carried into the house. Hams, shoulders, jowls, chine, pork and 
spare-ribs were put in the pork-barrel and covered with a brine of 
salt, sugar and saltpetre, the latter giving the meat a reddish 


tinge. The women ground sausage meat and stutTed it in entrails. 
cloth bags or as late as 1890 it was formed like an ear of corn 
and placed in clean new corn husks. Scrapple (pon-hoss) was 
boiled, mince meat, lard and hogshead cheese were made. The 
grease from the latter was removed and bottled and later used 
to rub on the throats of children suffering with the croup. 
Sometimes sausage was highly seasoned with sage, rolled in the 
thin skin of the leaf -lard, smoked and hung from the cellar 
rafters, boiled in the summer, sliced thin and served cold. The 
best hams were those salted on a board, called dry curing. The 
ham was weighed and a certain proportion of salt, sugar and salt- 
petre rubbed into it. This was a method that some had no suc- 
cess with as the salt was not properly rubbed in and the meat be- 
came tainted at the bone. Whether cured in brine or on the 
board the meat was smoked later, either in a barrel placed over 
a smouldering fire or hung above the lintel beam in the chimney 
of an open fireplace or in a smokehouse. Sassafras twigs and 
leaves were supposed to produce a sweeter smoke than anything 
else. After smoking the hams were wrapped in paper, sewed up 
in muslin bags and packed away in barrels in a dry place to pre- 
vent maggots (called "skippers") from getting into the ends. 

By the time this work was done the whole family was pretty 
greasy, though happy. The kitchen was then scrubbed up, the 
tins polished with wood ashes and with a well filled pork-barrel, 
enough to last a year, the big event of the winter came to an end. 
Sometimes a beef was fattened and killed at the same time, part 
of which was salted down or corned for use in the summer. This 
butchering continued on the farm until 1900 at which time farm- 
ers said it did not pay to raise hogs as large hog farms and pack- 
ing houses in the west lowered the price in the east and so they 
bought their hams, many of which were painted over with a rank 
liquid in place of the old smoking, and pork took its place in the 
country store with pasteboard boxes of breakfast food, canned 
goods and evaporated fruit, bakers bread, factory made pies 
and cakes, coffee ground and bagged for months, mince meat by 
the bucket and lard by the pound, all of which had lessened the 
duties on the farm but had "canned" the people, all of whom 
lived day by day so that a farmer today would starve to death 
in a blizzard if shut off from the countrv store, in about 


two weeks. Meanwhile the old pork-barrel, once the pride of 
every farmhouse, almost as necessary as the kitchen fireplace, 
dried up and was taken to the orchard to serve as a chicken coop 
until the staves fell in and the heavy iron hoops were sold to the 
junk dealer. The smoke-house stands roofless or gone, the 
butcher-knives have rusted on the top shelf of the kitchen closet 
and the ham hooks, gambrels and iron candlestick-scrapers have 
disappeared. Pig raising was revived about four years ago 
thanks to the farm bureau which offered prizes to the boy or 
girl in each district who could raise the largest pig in a given 
time. The farmer again stocked up so we now have large pens 
of pigs on almost every farm but the pork-barrel has not come 
back as the farmer sells his hogs to the butcher and buys his hams. 
In 1894 farmers were using a patented hog scalder which was 
made of cast iron like a large bathtub, with a firebox under- 
neath into which long sticks of wood were placed. The water 
heated very quickly. One farmer in a neighborhood would buy 
one and rent it to his neighbors. This replaced the scalding 

Fences. My information concerning fences is partly from per- 
sonal observation, and partly from information given to me by 
Mr. Edward H. Blackfan and Mr. William Watson of Mechanics- 
ville. The earliest fences were probably the snake or worm 
fences, so called on account of their zigzag shape, like the 
wriggling movements of snakes and worms. These were built 
of rough wood either round or of young trees, split in two and 
laid several courses high and fortified by driving two pieces of 
wood into the ground in the shape of an X over the crossed 
joints, then laying two more courses in the notch of the X. The 
zigzag shape prevented the fence from toppling or being pushed 
over easily and as the rails were close together a good deal of 
wood was required. At one time they were used to divide fields 
and along roadsides but by 1888 they had been discontinued al- 
most entirely except around woodlots or in northern Bucks 
county where, at the present time, a few short stretches still re- 
main. The post and rail fence, used contemporaneously was 
more substantial but required more work in preparing and in 
keeping in order. The posts were hand hewn, bored and cut 
out for either three or four rails. These rails were split from 


small chestnut trees and required dressing or shaving at the 
ends SO they would fit into the mortised holes. Holes were dug 
in the ground and the posts set, "when the Signs pointed down." 
but all the same after the winter frosts they required resetting 
and straightening. The drain on the forests was enormous and 
many farm woodlots were completely used up. Another fence 
was made of posts and rails sawed at the country sawmills as 
late as 1896. The rails were nailed to the posts and covered with 
a strip the width of the post and almost as high. A wooden 
block an inch wider than the top of the post and strip was nailed 
on at a slope and a fence of this kind was generally whitewashed. 
In 1880 band wire came into general use. This was a thin band 
of galvanized wire one-half inch wide and saw-toothed or 
notched on both sides or edges and loosely twisted and. because 
it was galvanized it lasted a long time. About eight years later 
or in 1888 barbed wire came into general use. This was made 
up of two strands of twisted wire with groups of sharp prongs 
inserted a few inches apart. Not being galvanized it did not last 
as long as the band wire but it kept cattle in the fields much 
better. In 1888 William A. Swain ran a single row of barbed 
wire along a dilapidated worm- fence and the cows would not 
go near it. This was the first wire fence used on the place. 
The use of wire fastened to the posts with galvanized staples 
saved not only a lot of work but a good deal of wood which was 
getting scarce. Nothing but posts were necessary and these could 
be set farther apart. In 1895 a straight, round wire was made 
which ran through a small hole in the center of the post but was 
not much used as it required more work than stapling. The 
Page fence, with horizontal and perpendicular wires forming a 
mesh one foot square, came into use about 1905 together with 
other wires and about this time there was a law preventing the 
use of barbed wire along the road; There is a growing tendency 
all over the county to do away with fences of every kind both in 
the country and village. Alo;ig the rocky ridges of Hilltown. 
Plumstead and Buckingham townships, a good many neat stone 
walls were built when the land was cleared. These were set up 
dry, or without mortar and when once built required no further 
attention. Whole farms were divided with stone walls which. 
lasting a hundred years or down to 1900 were torn down, and 
the stones hauled to a stone-crusher and. used for macadam roads. 


Pianos and Organs. Down to 1887 there were cottage organs 
in many country homes. Some of the more prosperous farmers 
had old square pianos standing on massive cabriole legs that 
required four men to move them and took up a lot of room. In 
1876 Steinway & Son of New York, built thirteen low upright, 
rosewood pianos. The keyboard was supported, not on slender, 
straight columns as at the present time, but on smaller unshape- 
ly, cabriole legs like those on the old square pianos, showing the 
first step from the old square to the upright. One of these is 
now owned by the writer. In 1887 Miss Hetty A. Walton bought 
an upright piano, probably the first in Centreville or nearby, and 
it was considered such a novelty that some of the Hughesian 
school children went in to see it. The cottage organ is no longer 
sold or used and the old square piano sells very cheap and mostly 
for the fine wood used in it. A great many upright pianos are in 
use since 1900 and pianolas were attached to a number of pianos 
by 1904. These were screwed to the front of the piano and 
little felt covered hammers struck each key when a perforated 
music roll was placed in the pianola and made to revolve by 
working foot-pedals. This was very complicated and soon got 
out of order. It could not be removed without a good deal of 
trouble and any person able to play the piano itself was deprived 
of its use. In 1915 a new arrangement came into general use re- 
placing the old upright piano and the pianola. This was the 
player piano, exactly like the upright and could be played by a 
person or, by simply lowering a panel, inserting a music roll and 
dropping foot-pedals it would by some internal arrangement, pro- 
. duce mechanical music without striking the keys. This could be 
adjusted in a minute and there are a good many in use at the 
present time. 

Clothing. In 1887, country boys went to school in leather 
boots, mittens, pulswarmers, tippets of gaudy colored woolen, 
knit at home, and little round earbobs that dropped down from 
the inside of the cap. Their clothes were home made and showed 
patch on patch, not always the same color. Girls wore heavy 
calf-skin shoes, calico dresses and little percale aprons, woolen 
caps in winter and sunbonnets in summer. There were few um- 
brellas, rubber boots or rubber shoes and the row of overcoats 
hanging in the vestibule smelled strong of woodsmoke, fried 


ham, turnips and cabbage, as nearly every one at that time lived 
in the kitchen, in winter. Factory made shoes and ready made 
clothing, that cost but little, came into general use in 1895 and 
changed all this. 

Gypsies. Numerous bands of gypsies could be seen each spring 
as late as 1900. after which time they disappeared almost com- 
pletely and two or three summers may now pass without one 
band appearing. On a very sultry Saturday afternoon in August, 
1889, the writer saw a large band traveling from Doylestown to- 
wards Centreville. They stopped at the foot of Burnt House 
Hill just as the bright afternoon was suddenly darkened to twi- 
light by inky-black clouds that were carried at a great rate by a 
terrific wind. The thunder and lightening was terrible but some- 
thing more than this seemed to affect the gypsies. One of them 
ran to the top of the hill and beckoned the others to follow, 
which they did. the horses galloping up the steep hill, into W. A. 
Swains open woods. A little wedge tent was quickly put up, 
trenches dug on the sides, the horses were hoppled with ropes 
and turned loose just as a terrible downpour of rain completely 
shut out everything and caused lamps to be lit in all the houses. 
An hour later when the evening sun again shone it was learned 
that in the heart of the storm with its terrible thunder and 
lightning and inky blackness a gypsy child had been born in the 
little tent. On Sunday (the following day), the women told for- 
tunes while the men traded horses. A large crowd gathered be- 
cause this was no ordinary band of gypsies. There were at least 
fifteen large decorated wagons, several plain ones taken in trade, 
and fifty or more horses, several men and as many women. The 
king or chief wore plumb-colored corduroy trousers, a plumb- 
colored waistcoat with gold and colored braid, gold-braided belt 
and a pointed broad-brimmed green hat. His word was law and 
the wagon he slept in was wide and high with little colored glass 
windows on either side of the drivers seat and in the doors at the 
rear. The outside was paneled and gaily painted. Inside there 
was a long comfortable bunk or bed and on all the interior panels 
were either painted landscapes or mirrors. The sheets, as well 
as the pillow-cases, had rufiles on them. This wagon was dif- 
ferent and finer than the others and used only by the king or 
chief who drove the finest horses but did not care for them or 


hitch them up himself. The man who looked after the horses 
had a very long flexible whip of black leather that tapered from 
the end of the handle to the tip of the lash and the whole thing 
seemed to be in one piece. When he w-riggled it like a snake it 
produced sounds like a pack of exploding fire-crackers or, hold- 
ing it high over his head and giving it a quick twist it would 
crack like a pistol causing every horse to look up no matter how 
often he did it, much to the admiration of boys and some 
horsemen. The woods was not a good camping place as it was 
on the top of a hill and far away from water, so on the following 
day they drove away. All of them spoke English. Mrs. Swain, 
out of fear, sold them all her butter, eggs, milk, and many chickens 
which they paid for in gold while they stole all her sweet corn 
and some field corn and as many potatoes as they needed be- 
sides pumping the well dry. 

On a chilly spring day in 1889 a band of gypsies passed down 
the Doylestown-Centreville pike and stopped at Rebecca Swain's 
house. A child, two years old, entirely naked, was lifted out of 
the wagon by a gypsy woman, carried into the house where it 
was fixed up with odds and ends of children's clothing. By the 
time they reached Otts Hotel, in Centreville, a mile away, the 
same child was again naked and the women of Centreville fvir- 
nished more clothing. It was learned later that it had been 
clothed at Mrs. Frankenfields at Mechanics Valley, and by the 
time the band reached Pineville the child probably had a larger 
and more varied wardrobe than any person in the county. 

Gypsies generally camped on Andersons flats on the north 
side of Buckingham Mountain, on the Mann farm and Gypsy 
Lane near Doylestown. In 1919 a band spent two weeks in the 
woods south of Pools Corner. In ]May, 1918, the writer saw 
gypsies with two wagons camped along the road between Easton 
and Bethlehem, there was no woods along this built up highway. 
Their wash was drying on a wire fence along the road and they 
were cooking breakfast over a wood fire. 

On Saturday morning, October 16, 1920, a band of gypsies 
came down to Doylestown from Easton, Pa., and were held here 
by the police who had received word from the police department 
in Easton to detain them for some misdeeds committed there 
until an investigation could be made. The usual red shirts, 


sparkling jewelry and lots of babies were in evidence but the old- 
fashioned gypsy wagons were missing and in their place were 
large, high-powered automobiles, a seven passenger Packard, a 
Pierce Arrow, a Winton six, a Chandler and a Studebaker and 
as the usual string of horses for trading was out of the question 
with these fast traveling motors they had given up their chief 
means of support. The band, about fifty in number "parked" 
not "camped" in the rear of a Doylestown garage but the two 
women who were w^anted by the Easton police did not arrive with 
the band. They, evidently suspecting trouble, had motored off 
on a side road intending to rejoin the band later. All disappeared 
the same day. When a gypsy abandons his gayly decorated wagon 
and string of horses the charm is indeed broken. 

The organ grinder and monkey left us before 1905. Clock and 
umbrella menders, dancing bears, bag-pipers and the scissor 
grinder with his little tinkling bell have disappeared since 1900. 
The Mercantile License law ruined the country peddler and the 
peculiar cry of the rag. bone and rubber man, who traded cheap 
Trenton made crockery for old scrap is no longer heard. The 
Russian Jew, residing in almost ever^' town since 1900. has 
combed the country of all scrap iron and a lot of good iron, 
copper and brass. Punch as well as Judy is dead. Lantern 
slides of "Ten Nights in a Bar-Room," generally shown in 
country churches by the W. C. T. U., went out of fashion before 
1890, and "Uncle Tom's Cabin" has been crowded out of public 
halls by moving picture shows and is seldom seen. The medicine 
doctor with his liniment, pills, salve and free show of "The 
Dance of Death," "Peck's Bad Boy," etc., no longer comes to 
the town hall or the public square. 

Shad-e-o, the long drawn cry of the shad huckster, stopped in 
1905 when the small run of shad in the Delaware and the large 
run of motors carried customers to the fisheries who bought every 
fish at from one to two dollars apiece instead of twenty-five 
cents, as in 1890, so none were left for the hucksters. 

No one seems to know what has become of the tramps that 
traveled the Old York road in great numbers about 1886. Farm- 
ers were afraid of tramps because there was always the danger of 
setting fire to the barn, if they were allowed to sleep there, since 
all carried pipes and matches, so some gave their permission to 


sleep in the bams provided they would hand over pipes, tobacco 
and matches until morning. Between 1880 and 1900 a good 
many barns were burned that were supposed to have been fired 
either by tramps smoking, or out of revenge for having been 
turned away without food or shelter. Judge Yerkes drove 
them out for a time with heavy sentences so that Bucks county 
was a spot to be avoided by them. That they left signs and 
signals for their followers there can be no doubt as certain 
farmers were black listed while others had steady customers. 
Although no one seems able to say just what these signs were 
unless small stones, placed on a gatepost, might be taken for one. 
Few tramps had the courage to go to the residence of Mr. Wil- 
liam R. Mercer, St., as they had from three to seven dogs run- 
ning loose, and a tramp hates a dog. But one with more courage 
than the rest walked to the back door and met Mr. Mercer who 
was not very sympathetic when tramps were around. Hoping 
to make a favorable impression before asking for anything, he 
looked around in an admiring way over the well-kept lawn and 
then said, "Oh, this is a most melodious place," so amusing Mr. 
Mercer that he went into the house and gave him a fine coat. 
(Information of Dr. Mercer.) Another tramp and his wife came 
to the same door and asked the writer for a coat as it was a 
chilly rainy night. He got a good one and a hot supper. On 
leaving the place the woman was heard to remark, "why didn't 
you ask him for shoes too, why he was such a fool he would 
give you anything." Some women living alone would have a 
man's hat and coat hanging near the door to give a tramp the 
impression that a man was around and Mrs. Amy Callendar of 
Mechanics Valley, had two or three pitchforks in the house to be 
used in case a tramp worked his way in. These were seen by 
the writer in 1894. 

Agateware, for cooking purposes, came into general use about 
1890 and the old tin vessels, made by the country tinsmith, were 
quickly discarded and with them the traveling tinker who with 
his little charcoal furnace, acid, solder and soldering iron had 
been a welcome caller because there were several pieces of tin- 
ware to be mended no matter how often he came. They were 
generally very talkative and boastful about their work. One was 
so insistent on mending something that Mrs. Edward Williams 


gave him a student lamp that needed a ring soldered in the bottom 
of the deep, narrow oil tank. He had just declared that he could 
mend anything man had ever made. After working for nearly an 
hour, using up much of his solder and exclaiming every three 
minutes, "well, that caps the cli-max," he was obliged to melt 
away the solder that had nearly ruined the lamp, pack up his tools 
and get away. Mrs. Williams remarked that it "had capped his 
climax and he was not half as smart as he thought he was." He 
made a very deep bow and passed on. In place of the above we 
now have other things not so amusing. "Book and tree agents, 
bond sellers, workmen's compensation inspectors, factory, child- 
labor, boiler and fire, federal, state and municipal inspectors, 
none of which agree but all worry us so that we may be happy. 

Figurehead of Chief Tammany from the Old Ship-of-the 
Line Delaware, 1820. 

(Tohickon Park Meeting, June 18, 1921.) 

THAT which I have to offer as a contribution to this after- 
noon's entertainment is the presentation to the Bucks 
County Historical Society of a picture of the Figurehead of 
Chief Tammany, together with a brief sketch of this great Indian 
and a few observations on the subject of figureheads. This fig- 
urehead was taken from the old Ship-of-the-Line Delaware when 
it was dismantled many years ago and now stands on the campus 
of the Naval Academy at Annapolis. 

The donor of this picture is Judge J. Willis Martin, of Phila- 
delphia. We know Judge Martin as a distinguished jurist, as a 
foremost citizen, and as the governor of that ancient and honor- 
able organization "The State in Schuylkill," of which society the 
renowned Tammany is the patron saint. 

I take it that you will all be interested in anything pertaining 
to this distinguished chieftain. Bucks county and this society 
have a peculiar right in claiming him as their own. He was the 
chief Sachem of the Lenni-Lenape Indians, the ancient owners 


and occupiers of our soil at the time of Perm's coming. He ren- 
dered most important service in directing his people in their 
dealings with the proprietary government and his remains are 
believed to repose on the banks of the Neshaminy in a grave 
now in the keeping of the Bucks County Historical Society. 

The most that we know of Tammany's personal character is 
from the pen of the Moravian missionary, the Reverend John 
Heckewelder. While Heckewelder was not a cotemporary, he 
lived many years among the Delaware Indians and was familiar 
with their traditions. He gives this word picture : 

"The name of Tamanend is held in the highest veneration among 
the Indians. Of all the chiefs and great men which the Lenape na- 
tion ever had, he stands foremost on the list. But although many 
fabulous stories are circulated about him among the whites, but little 
of his real history is known. The misfortunes which have befallen 
some of the most beloved and esteemed personages among the Indians 
since the Europeans came amongst them, prevent the survivors from 
' indulging in the pleasure of recalling to mind the memory of their vir- 
tues. No white man who regards their feelings will introduce such 
subjects in conversation with them. 

All we know of Tamanend, therefore, is that he was an ancient Dela- 
ware chief who never had his equal. He was in the highest degree en- 
dowed with wisdom, virtue, prudence, charity, affability, meekness, 
hospitality, in short with every good and noble qualification that a 
human being may possess. He was supposed to have had an inter- 
course with the great and good spirit, for he was a stranger to every- 
thing that is bad. 

When Col. George Morgan, of Princeton, in New Jersey, was, about 
the year 1776, sent b}- congress as an agent to the western Indians, 
the Delawares conferred on him the name of Tamanend, in honor and 
remembrance of their ancient chief and as the greatest mark of re- 
spect which they could show to that gentleman, who they said had 
the same address, affability and meekness as their honored chief, and 
therefore ought to be named after him. 

The fame of this great man even extended among the whites, who 
fabricated numerous legends respecting him, which I never heard, how- 
ever, from the mouth of an Indian, and therefore believe to be fabu- 
lous. In the Revolutionary war his enthusiastic admirers dubbed him 
a saint, and he was established under the name of St. Tammany, the 
Patron Saint of America. His name was inserted in some calendars 
and his festival celebrated on the first day of May in every year." 

Of Tammany's relations with the state, we have authentic ac- 
counts. We know that by several deeds he conveyed to William 
Penn as proprietor and governor, much of the land nov\^ com- 

From the Old Ship-of-the-Line Delaware, 1820 

From a photograph made in 1920, in the collection of Colonel Henry D. Paxson, 

of the original Figurehead on the grounds of the United States 

Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md. 


prising Bucks county. I have here copies of all of the Tammany 
deeds. If you are the owners of any of the fair hills and valleys 
of Bucks county, you will be interested because they belong to 
your title. If you examine your old deeds, you may be fortunate 
enough to trace them back to the patent from William Penn. 
but beyond the patent are the deeds which Tammany made to 
Penn, so that he is in reality a predecessor of your title. 

The first deed is dated the "23rd day of ye 4th month called 
June in ye year, according to ye English account, 1683" and in 
it "Tamanen" conveys unto William Penn, all of his "lands lying 
betwixt Pemmapecka and Nessaminehs Creeks, for ye considera- 
tion of so much wampum, so many guns, shoes, stockings, look- 
ing glasses, blankets, and other goods as he. ye said William 
Penn, shall please to give unto me." 

This deed seems to have been followed by another deed of the 
same date, in which Metamequan joins with Tamanen in a grant 
to William Penn. of the same lands. The receipt on the back 
of this deed enumerates the articles received by Tammany and 
Metamequan for the land conveyed to William Penn and which 
has been roughly estimated to be about three hundred square miles. 

5 p Stockings 10 Glasses 
20 Barrs Lead 5 Capps 
10 Tobacco Boxes 15 Combs 

6 Coats, 2 Guns 5 Hoes 

8 Shirts, 2 Kettles 9 Gimbletts 

12 Awles 20 Fishhooks 

5 Hatts 10 Tobacco Tongs 

25 lb. Powder 10 pr Sissers 

1 Peck Pipes 7 half Gills 

38 yds. Duffills 6 Axes, 2 Blankets 

16 Knives 4 handfull Bells 

100 Needles 4 yds Stroud Water 

20 handsful of Wampum 

The next important paper was executed on the 15th of June, 
1692, at Philadelphia, and in this. King Taminent and three other 
kings, Tangorus, Swampes, and Hickoqueon, acknowledged that 
they had received from the commissioners of the proprietors full 
satisfaction for all that tract of land formerly belonging to Tami- 
nent and others, which they parted with unto William Penn ; 
the said tract lying between Neshaminah and Poquessing upon 
the River Delaware and extending;- backwards to the utmost 


bounds of the said province, and in it, they release the proprietor 
and his heirs and successors "from any further claims, dues and 
demands whatsoever, concerning the said land or any other tract 
of land claimed by us from the beginning of the world to the 
day of the date hereof." 

The last deed from Tammany is dated July 5, 1697, and reads 
as follows : 

"We Taminy Sachimack and" Weheeland, my brother, and Wehe- 
queekhon alias Andrew, who is to be king after my death, Yaqueakhon 
alias Nicholas, and Quenameckquid, alias Charles my sons, for us our 
heirs and successors do grant ... all the lands between Pemopeck 
and the creek called Neshaminy . . . and extending in length from 
the River Delaware so far as a horse can travel in two summer days, 
and to carry its breadth according as the several courses of the said 
two Creeks will admit, and when the said Creek do so Branch that the 
main branches or bodies thereof cannot be discovered, then the tract 
of land hereby granted, shall stretch forth upon a direct course on each 
side and so carry on the full breadth to the extent of the length thereof." 

The consideration in this deed consisted of "Twenty Match- 
coats, Twelve White Blankets, Ten Kettles, Twelve Guns, Thirty 
yards of Shirting Cloth, one Runlett of Poweder, Ten Barrs of 
Lead, fforty yards of Stroud Waters, Twenty pairs of Stockins, 
One Horse, fifty pounds of tobacco, Six dozen of pipes and 
thirty shillings in cash." In this deed Tammany is styled "King 
Taminy" and he appointed as his attorney to acknowledge and 
deliver the deed, Lasse Cock, a Swede and Penn's interpreter. 

As showing Tammany's moral character and the peace policy 
he advocated for his people in their dealings with the Pennsyl- 
vania proprietors, I would like to quote one paragraph from a 
speech he made July 6, 1694, before the council at Philadelphia, 
when the Iroquois wanted the Delawares to attack the settlers. 
He said : 

"Wee and the Christians of this river Have allwayes had a free rode 
way to one another, & tho' sometimes a tree has fallen across the rode 
yet wee have still removed it again, & keept the path clear, and wee 
design to Continou the old friendshipp that has been between us and 
you; and gives a Belt of wampum." 


We now come to the subject of this figurehead or bust of 
Tammany, the picture of which is before you, and which leads 


first to a few general words on the time-honored practice of 
ornamenting ships. 

In ancient times, when the mariner ventured timidly in his 
frail bark on unknown waters, he placed on the prow of his vessel 
a symbol or token signifying his dependence upon a spirit or 
diety supposed to dominate the wind and the water. In the many 
succeeding centuries, this emblem assumed various forms. In 
the days of the Phoenician, they erected on their galleys some- 
form of a marine-protecting diety; the Greeks had images of 
Castor and Pollux; the Egyptians, the ram's head or a carved 
lotus ; the Roman vessels bore the head of a lion, while the ancient 
Norse battlecraft bore aloft the dragon or serpent's head on its; 
way to the shore of Iceland and Greenland. 

Coming down to more recent times, the period of the building 
of our American navy, we find portrait busts of illustrious war- 
riors or statesmen carved in wood, like the object this picture por- 
trays. Today, if you walk along the Philadelphia water-front and 
observe the outgoing and incoming vessels, you will find upon 
the ship's prow a faint scroll, all that survives as a reminder of 
those days when the navigator felt that the greatest of his crafts 
could survive the elements only if he appealed to the forces of 
the unknown world. 

For almost half a century, one of the features and traditions", 
of the U. S. Naval Academy at Annapolis has been this Indian: 
figurehead, which has long stood on a stone pedestal faring Ban- 
croft Hall. Strange to say, it has been erroneously called Po- 
hawtan, King Philip, Uncas and Tecumseh, and only quite re- 
cently was it authoritatively established that it was Tammany.. 
The proof of this is found in certain letters in the Navy depart- 
ment, in the year 1821, copies of which I have here. The Hon.. 
V. VanDyke, of the United States Senate, in a letter dated Janu- 
ary 5, 1821, directed the attention of Commodore John Rodgers 
to the subject of Tamanend and suggested that as Tamanend was 
the most distinguished chief of the Delaware Indians and his 
name connected with the early history of our country, that his 
bust would be an appropriate figurehead for the Ship-of-the-Line,, 
Delaware then being built. The records show the specifications 
of the figurehead as follows : 


Bust of Tamanend, the celebrated Chief of the Delaware 

Drapery — a Blanket with a Belt, in which is a Tomahawk. 

Over the left shoulder — a Quiver of Arrows. 

One hand resting on a Bow, and the other Hand holding the 

That which we see here is only a part of the statue, which the 
records indicate as being nine feet in height. 

Despite the fact that some of these proofs were brought to 
public attention in a maratime journal, the error still seems to 
persist and even to this day, if you approach one of the future 
admirals of the navy and ask him the name of the portrait-bust 
on the campus at Annapolis, he will tell you it is Tecumseh. They 
all have a certain sentiment for the figurehead, as it is supposed 
to have occult powers. The system of marking at the academy is 
upon the basis of 4, the lowest satisfactory mark in any sub- 
ject in the curriculm being 2 :5, and we are told that when these 
middies are fearful that their examination papers would fail to 
meet this minimum, they would slip away in the shadow of that 
grim figure after dark and pray for the old Indian chief's favor 
— '"the God of the 2 :5" as he is known. 


I have said this figurehead was taken from the old Ship-of-the- 
Line Delaware. An extended inquiry among naval men and a 
protracted search among public documents and records has 
yielded some interesting information. There were five ships in 
our navy by the name of Delaware. 

Delaavare 1. Frigate, 321 tons, 24 guns, 180 men, built at Philadelphia 
in 1776, under the direction of the Marine Committee, by order of the 
Continental Congress, Dec. 13, 1775. Owing to the blockade of the 
Delaware by the British fleet, she never got to sea, but took an active 
part, as one of Commodore John Hazelwood's fleet in the engagements 
in the Delaware, 1776-1777. Took part in the engagement near Red 
Bank, N. J., under command of Capt. C. Alexander, May 8, 1776, and 
in the destr^^ction of H. B. M. S. Merlin and Augusta, Oct. 22, 23, 
1777. November 19, 1777, owing to the wind having died away the 
Delaware was unable to pass the British fortifications below Phila- 
delphia, and was set on fire to prevent her falling into the hands of 
the enemy 

Delaware 2. Ship, 321 tons, 20 guns, 180 men. Purchased in Phila- 


delphia in 1798. Sold at Baltimore 1801, under the Peace Establish- 
ment Act. Cruised in the West Indies during the Naval War with 
France, 1798-99, commanded by Capt. Stephen Decatur, Sr.. made the 
first capture in this war, off the Capes of the Delaware, June, 1798. 
and later captured four other prizes. 

Delaware 3. Line of battleship, named for the State of Delaware, 
2,633 tons, 74 guns, complement, officers and men, 820. Commenced 
in 1817 at Gosport (Norfolk) Navy Yard. Launched Oct. 21, 1820. 
Cruised as flagship of the Mediterranean and Brazil Stations, 1828- 
1844, when she was laid up in ordinary at the Norfolk Navy Yard. 
Destroyed when the Union forces evacuated this navy yard at the com- 
mencement of the Civil War (April 21, 1861). This line-of-battleship 
originally had a figure of an Indian chief as a figurehead, which now 
stands in the grounds of the U. S. Naval Academy. 

Delaware 4. Paddlewheel steamer, 357 tons, 5 guns. Purchased in 
1861. Sold Sept. 12, 1865. Very actively engaged on the coast of 
North Carolina from 1861 to 1865. 

Delaware 5. First class battleship, named for the State of Delaware. 
Length 510 feet,' beam 85 feet. Tons 20,000. Built at the Newport 
News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company, Newport News, Va. 
Launched February 6, 1909. Battery 30 guns (2 anti-aircraft) ; 2 sub- 
merged torpedo tubes. Attached to the Atlantic Fle&t, Squadron 3, 
Division 5.^ 

In conclusion, it would be interesting to know something of 
the one who carved this remarkable figurehead. 

At the time when all ships bore their insignia, the art of wood- 
carving developed in America to the highest standard. Of these 
sculptors, William Rush stood foremost. He was the son of a 
ship carpenter, born in Philadelphia in 1756 and died in 1833. 
Of the examples of his work of which we have knowledge, I 
will mention a few : 

A figure of an "Indian Trader" dressed in Indian habiliments, 
on the vessel William Penn excited great admiration in London, 
while his "River God" as the figurehead of the ship "Ganges" 
as it passed up that river on its way to Calcutta attracted the na- 
tives as an object of adoration and of worship. 

At the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia can be seen a remark- 
able female figure symbolizing "Silence." 

His figures of "Tragedy" and "Comedy," once owned by Ed- 
win Forrest, are in the Edwin Forrest Actors' Home at Holmes- 
burg. Possibly the most remarkable of his carvings is the fuU- 

1 The Delaware No. 5 served throughout the Great War and was scrapped 
under the provisions of President Harding's Disarmament Conference. 


length figure of \A'ashington Avhich was first exhibited in 1815 
and purchased in 1831 by the city for the sum of $500. It can 
be seen in Congress Hall, Philadelphia. 

Here is a newspaper clipping of the Pcu)isylz'ouia Journal of 
November 23, 1791 : 

"The art of carving, especially heads of ships, we may without 
boasting say, is now brought to the greatest degree of perfection in this 
city. A stranger walking along the wharves, must be struck with the 
beautiful female figures of Peace, Plenty, Love, Harmony, Ariel, 
Astronomy, Minerva, America, etc., etc., and also with the masculine 
statues of American Warriors, Alexanders, Hannibals, Caesars, etc., 
etc., and amongst the rest of those heroes the bold and striking like- 
ness of the President, on the General Washington, a ship which sailed 
yesterday for Dublin, must give pleasure to every spectator. The artist 
who executed this, we hear is Mr. Rush; and as we may allow sea 
Captains to be judges, they are generally of the opinion that the carv- 
ing of heads of vessels in Philadelphia is superior to any they have seen 
in any part of the world." 

While this figure of Tammany does not appear in the list of 
Rush's known. works, it has been by some attributed to him, and 
I believe that further investigation will establish beyond doubt 
that this remarkable figurehead, the only idealization of the great 
Indian Chief Tammany, is the work of the sculptor, Willianx 


■■: '^BfiadsHavY i/i2 






I234b0'y^ ^ 

Loaned by Miss Mary S. Paxson, Carversville, Pa. 

Bucks County Samplers. 

(Tohickon Park Meeting, June 18, 1921.) 

WHEN I was first invited to say a few words to you on 
the subject of samplers I felt that it was quite beyond 
my powers. In the first place, I knew little or nothing 
about the subject, had seen very few samplers and felt that I 
could not judge their merits or demerits. Some weeks have 
elapsed since then, and it has been my privilege to see many of 
these quaint and interesting pieces of needlework, and to learn 
a little about their origin, the materials with which they were 
made, and above all to realize the human meaning that lies under- 
neath all expression. I am more than glad I was asked to under- 
take, I will not say this task, but this pleasure, not only to learn 
what part the sampler has played in our early American history, 
but also to get into touch with their owners and to see how they 
have treasured these little squares, that are quite a chapter in 
themselves of American handicraft. 

These few words of preamble are to explain to you how I hap- 
pen to be here, and to ask you not to expect too much from me. 
This is not to be the result of profound research, it is only to be 
an informal talk on a very charming form of needlework. I 
shall only try to tell you what I have learned myself. 

Before we speak of Bucks county samplers, or even American 
samplers, I would like to say a few words on the subject in gen- 
eral. I do not think that we shall be able to understand the 
samplers that we see about us in our exhibition without going far 
back and realizing that this work did not suddenly spring into 
existence, but developed step by step. 

Let us turn to the foundations : It is interesting to hear that 
the first mention of a sampler occurs when Queen Elizabeth of 
York, wife of Henry VII, in 1465, is recorded to have paid 8 
pence for one all of linen to make an ensampler. Now let us 
pause a moment and notice this word. Ensampler is the old 
English for exampler, in other words an example, and in that 
one word is contained the whole meaning of the early samplers. 


We do not realize in these days of machine-made products 
what a part needlework played in the olden days. Everything 
was embroidered : dresses, underwear, furniture .coverings, above 
all table linen and bed drapery were not only embroidered but 
marked, and needlework was at once an occupation, a pleasure 
and a relaxation enjoyed by old and young. Therefore, how to 
preserve these stitches and patterns became an absorbing interest. 

The first samplers are just what is expressed by the word 
example. They are a dictionarj' of patterns. A tradition tells us 
that Catharine of Aragon, wife of Henry VII I, taught the women 
of Bedfordshire, in England, to embroider the very early ones. 
That may or may not be so, but in any case it shows that the 
interest existed in all classes. 

Now, in those days, the samplers were long and narrow, in 
shape very different from the later ones. The English hand 
looms were oak, eight or nine inches wide. The sampler would 
be accordingly narrow, and about one yard in length, and the 
owner would keep it rolled up when it was not in use or on ex- 
hibition. The very early ones were, usually all white, of linen 
worked \vith linen thread. I only wish that I had with me some 
of the lovely ones that are to be seen in the Metropolitan Mu- 
seum in New York. They seem like cobwebs woven by fairies, 
the pattern resembling Italian cut-work. The number of pat- 
terns is endless on these early beautiful examples, and they ex- 
press what they were meant to be, the record book to be handed 
on to children and grandchildren, the dictionary of needlework. 

It is interesting to note here that the earliest known dated 
sampler is an English one dated 1643; beyond that we encounter 
an entire blank, and yet samplers were written about by Shake- 
speare and Milton, and were also deemed worthy of mention as 
bequests. For instance in the will of Margaret Tomson, of Lin- 
colnshire, England, in 1546, she says "I give to Alys Pynsbeck, 
my sister's daughter, my sampler with semes". 

Being merely pattern records, however, these early samplers do 
not have the decorative value of the later work. 

Numerals and alphabets were added to these lace patterns after 
a little. Then came texts and verses, and soon the sampler be- 
came, not an example of embroidery stitches, but a chart on 
which were set out varieties of lettering and alphabets. About 


\-^»-/ "■ 

Loaned by Mrs. Henry D. Paxson, Holicong, Pa. 

^ i 

(^rmit ihy gncioTj? name, to stand ^f 

.S^As tke first effort of my fouthM amdt 

Y 't- 

JjAx^ wbil« my f in^er^ o'er t.kis canvass move/ 

':XEng,a|,e my tender heart to se«k thy love/ v 

J/ With thy dsar children let me jbear a, p^rt ''^ 

Y^ And write thy name thyself upor. rfxj heartjf 

Vlhe only amaranthine fiowr on c?rth V 

'if t? 

^■f Is virtue th'only lasUng treasure truth ]jj 

t. Susa» . Mtgili 

'"i **fe Newtown 

Loaned by Mrs. C. S. Atkinson, New Hope, Pa. 


1700 it became possible to weave wider stripes and so we find 
the samplers becoming wider and shorter. 

A word now about foreign samplers, for we must not think 
they were all produced in England. Samplers are found in all 
European countries with England and Germany, however, lead- 
ing the way. They can also be seen in France, Belgium, Holland, 
Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy and Spain. You can also 
find some that were made in the mission schools of India and I 
have seen a Turkish one. All the continental samplers are made 
of wider linen than English ones, and are usually done in brightly 
colored silks. Most of them have inscriptions and almost all are 
dated and the name of the worker is signed in full, with the ex- 
ception of the German ones, where only the initials figure. 

Now that we have learned a little about the origin and develop- 
ment of the earliest samplers, let us turn to the first American ones. 
The earliest one that we possess is in the Essex Institute, Salem, 
Mass., and is the work of Ann Gower, the wife of Governor 
Endicott. It is not dated, but must have been made about 1610, 
that is, before she came to America. The second oldest, is also 
in Massachusetts, the work of Loara Standish, daughter of Cap- 
tain ]\Iiles Standish of Plymouth. It is only a little later in date 
to that of Ann Gower. These are both long samplers, but the 
end of the eighteenth century saw the passing of the narrow type. 
About 1740 the border began to creep in, and soon became a 
frame for birds, flowers, verses, texts and all sorts of designs. 

Now, as this is called a paper on Bucks County Samplers. I 
must tell this Bucks comity audience, all that I have discovered 
about the very lovely samplers which abound here. I only wish 
that I had begun this research years ago instead of weeks ago. 
However, I have had very much co-operation from the owners 
of the samplers, without whom we could never have had this 
exhibition. I have found on all sides unparalled generosity and 
a desire to help. When we first thought of an exhibition a friend 
said to me, "No one will feel like lending these lovely old sam- 
plers", but I have not only found a willingness to lend when they 
were asked, but I have been, even called on the telephone by 
generous friends who have been glad to loan them. 

Of course the samplers in the county were made mostly by 
either English or German forbears, and I was much pleased to 


see how many interesting and beautiful ones were scattered 
about. The materials are a coarse linen, which had a great vogue 
at that time, often stained yellow. 

Sometimes canvas was used, particularly when the alphabet 
was done in cross stitch. Very often we find a fine bolting cloth 
as it was called, silk texture that had been dipped in gummed 
water, note the two examples made by Mary and Rachel Collins 
in 1810. That offers a very fine and beautiful background for 
dainty patterns. We can find practically all the sampler stitches 
of other countries reproduced in our Bucks county samplers, 
cross stitch, satin stitch, tent-stitch, eyelet-stitch, and even 
French knots. The designs are also the same as on the English 
ones. We find the same huge birds sitting on small trees, the 
mourning trees with branches turned down, and the tree of life 
with branches joyfully turned upward. Then the baskets of 
fruit appear again and again, also the rose, the strawberry and 
the pink. The American linen was usually coarser and rougher 
than the English or continental linen. A material of wool and 
linen called "tammy cloth" was also used. As the moths soon 
discovered it, many beautiful samplers were partially destroyed. 

The silk or thread was of course home-dyed. In this relation 
I want you to notice Maria Thomas' sampler, her mother raised 
the silk worms, made the silk and dyed it at home, and Maria 
worked the sampler. Cochineal, logwood plant a genesta, indigo 
and saffron were among the substances used for that. In some 
of the New England samplers a certain kinkiness in the silk is 
explained by its having been supposedly brought over from the 
Orient by the sea captains. The oldest sampler on exhibition is 
dated 1712 and is worked on linen in black cross stitch; notice 
here that the earliest ones were always cross stitch, the satin 
stitch came later. 

One of our most interesting samplers is lent by Mrs. Henry 
D. Paxson. It was made by Hannah Sheed and dated 1806. The 
maker was descended from the Swedes who settled in Pennsyl- 
vania in the seventeenth century, and it is a beautiful example 
of needlework. 

Another interesting Bucks county sampler has been loaned 
by the Bucks County Historical Society. It is dated 1810 and 
was made by Martha Lacey, the daughter of General Lacey, the 


^^. ^ 

AD cibka of lovt 





Loaned by Mrs. John Rockafellow, Forest Grove, Pa. 




r^m^ f Ji=5 




^^ g^ ^^ i^^/3^^, t^-^^/-/^' 




Loaned by Hon. Henry S. Punk, SpringtOM^n, Pa. 


hero of the battle of the Crooked Billet, near Hatboro. Still an- 
other, dated also 1810, was loaned by the same society, and made 
by a member of the Stewart family, then hving near New Galena. 
It has a beautiful motto, which I quote : 

If I am right, thy grace impart 

Still in the right to stay, 
If I am wrong, oh. teach me how 

To find the better way. 

I want to draw attention to Mary D. Richardson's darned 
sampler, dated 1821. It is the only example of that kind of work 
that we have on exhibition. The colors are in a very fine state 
of preservation. Some times these samplers were really darned, 
and the material cut from underneath, but in this one the needle 
is simply run under the threads. The inscription says it was made 
at Attleborough School, now Langhorne. 

Acrostics were much in vogue a hundred or more years ago. 
AVe have only one example here, signed E. S., dated 1834. 

Then, those who are historically interested in our county will 
enjoy the delightful picture made by Susan Geary in 1832 of 
Fallsington School. It was probably done when she was a pupil 
there and was a monument to her industry and perseverance. 

A very fine sampler has been loaned, made on tammy cloth, that 
combination of wool and linen that has been mentioned. It was 
made by Rachel Broadhurst in 1812 and has a very great variety 
of design. It is the only one we have on which the unicorn is 
depicted, evidently an heritage from English ancestors. It is in 
a very fine state of preservation. 

Another favorite form of sampler was the extracts, as they 
were called, that is, verses enclosed in a frame composed of a 
single line of black stitch. We have shown here three such ex- 
amples. Two of our very best and oldest samplers are Ann 
Wady's, dated 1746. and the one finished by Ann Pierce in 1742. 
They are a beautiful example of fine stitchery and are both done 
in cross stitch. They are both little gems as is the one made by 
Sara Magill in Newtown in 1819. This last is worked on bolting 
cloth laid upon gold paper, producing a very lovely effect. 

I only have time to mention three more of our Bucks county 
samplers, that of Ann Bessonette. done in the eighth year of her 
age, in 1780. Notice particularly the coaches drawn by black 



ponies. The whole execution of this sampler is very fine and the 
quaint design most unusual. Bessonette we believe to be an old 
Hugenot name from the lower part of the county. The French 
Hugenots were great sampler-makers. That of Sarah Richard- 
son, dated 1825, with its fine strawberry border, gives a very 
charming effect. The strawberry, by the way, was a favorite 
design and we find it again and again. The inscription is very 
quaint it is called "Friendship", and says : 

And what is friendship but a name, 

A charm that lulls to sleep, 
A shade that follows wealth or fame 

And leaves the wretch to weep. 

The last sampler of which I shall speak is by Elizabeth Mere- 
dith dated 1788. A beautiful border of yellow flowers encloses 
the Lord's prayer in verse. For daintiness, execution and de- 
sign it is as lovely an example as any that we have. 

I would like to mention each one of the samplers exhibited here 
but time and space forbids. The whole county has come forward 
with astonishing enthusiasm. I want especially to mention Miss 
Eleanor Foulke, of Quakertown, to whom we owe the idea of 
having this exhibition. She has worked untiringly and has beau- 
tiful and interesting samplers from the northern part of the 
county. One especially quaint was made in the year 1821 by 
Susan Schleififer. The inscription runs : 

When I am dead and in my grave, 

And all my bones are rotten; 
When this you see remember me. 

Or I shall be forgotten. 

I also want to draw your attention, to the various needlework 
pictures. They are not samplers, to be sure, but we are very 
glad to have them, as they were co-existent with samplers at the 
beginning of the nineteenth century. They will repay close ex- 
amination for their wonderful needlework. 

It is interesting to discover when certain designs first came into 
being. In 1710 Adam and Eve became popular and hundreds of 
samplers reproduced the Garden of Eden. Amusing to relate, 
our first parents were often attired in the fashions of the day. 
Eve in hoop skirt and Adam in court dress. Here, owing to the 




^/ mkc. 

WdllKKI) BY MAUY 1 ). KM 'H A 111 )S()N, ISlil. 
Loaned by Mrs. Thomas L. Allen, Langhorne, Pa. 

Loaned by Mrs. S. B. Farren. Doylestown, Pa. 


kindness of Mr. Howell, of Germantown, we find in our exhibi- 
tion Adam and Eve in full Quaker costume. 

Another friend has allowed us to show her sampler, where the 
Garden of Eden is represented, also the serpent seems to be 
speaking to Eve, while Adam looks on. All the participants, 
except the serpent are in the costume of the day, which was 
about one hundred years ago. 

From about 1777 to 1812 we find the map samplers, that were 
supposed to teach at once the art of needlework and the science 
of geography. They were outlined-stitches on linen, silk and 
even satin, and were of course, inspired by the spirit of travel 
and colonization, I wish I could have found one for exhibition. 
I think that we are all struck by the extreme youth of the sample- 
makers. The most beautiful and finished work was sometimes 
accomplished by a child of nine, and very few of the samples 
were done by any one older than fifteen years. For instance, 
Maria Thomas in 1828 exclaims at the age of nine : 

O, may my follies, like the falling trees. 
Be stripp'd of every leaf by Autumn's wind; 
May every branch of vice embrace the breeze, 
And nothing leave but virtue's fruit behind. 

In the first half of the eighteenth century the rise of Method- 
ism gave popularity to various texts. The Lord's prayer and the 
Epistles were often done in cross stitch, along with moral maxims 
and texts, and it might interest this audience to hear how far back 
some of the most common designs can be traced by listening to 
the following : Adam and Eve, as we have said, began to be 
seen in 1710; the alphabet, in 1643. The border enclosing a 
sampler, in 1726; numerals, 1655. We inight go on indefinately 
tracing the familiar figures, but it is evident that the sampler has 
gone through four stages. 

1. It was a record of design. 

2. An example of handiwork. 

3. A training for little girls. 

4. A school room task. 

There are very few books written about samplers, and not very 
many articles. A splendid book on American samplers is about 
to be published by two members of the Colonial Dames. That 


society has been especially interested in samplers and has held 
exhibitions at different times. 

What a pity that this charming form of needlework is fast dis- 
appearing. These bits of faded color appeal to us in a very 
special manner. They speak of bygone days, of lives spent quietly 
in home surroundings before the advent of the trolley car and 
automobile ; what dreams were woven into these tiny stitches, 
what thoughts were passing through the minds of those whose 
busy fingers wove these designs? We shall not know, but we 
can look at them with tenderness, and feel that perhaps little 
Ellen Maria Odiorne, aged ten years old, was not wrong when 
she wrote on her sampler in 1822 these words : 

How various her employments, whom the world 

Calls idle and who justly in return 

Esteems that busy world an idler too. 

Friends, books, her needle and perhaps her pen. 

Delightful industry, enjoyed at home, 

Could she want occupation who has these? 

The following is a list of the samplers loaned to Mrs. Mercer. 
She displayed many of them on the walls of the auditorium in 
which the meeting was held. They were of special interest to 
all, and assisted her greatly in illustrating her interesting paper. 



Miss Marv S. Paxson, Carversville 

S Ruth Bradshaw, 1712 

( Composed by E. S., 1834 
Mrs. Emlin Martin, Bristol Ann Pierce, 1742 

Mrs. Eliza Hance, Newtown Ann Wady, 1746 

\ Elizabeth Thompson, plate, 1748 
Mrs. Helen Parry Fretz, Newtown \ Elizabeth T. Neelv, (b. 1805, d. 

[ 1842). 
Mrs. T. O. Atkinson, Doylestown Phoebe Schofield, 1760 

Mrs. Horatio Beatty, Bristol 

I Ann Bessonett, 1780 
( Catharine Cabeen, 1819 

Mrs. A. E. Levick, Quakertown Ann Laning, two, 1784 and 1794 

Mrc TVlr^rv,^c T All T u f Aun Lanittg, two, 1784 -and 1794 

Mrs. Thomas L. Allen Langhorne | ^^^^^ ^ Richardson, 1821 

Miss Fanny Chapman, Dovlestown \ glif beth Meredith. 1786 

^ ' - ^='-^^"- I Not given — Embroidered picture 

Miss Marian Lyman, Doylestown Elizabeth Aleredith. 1788 

Miss Emma James, Doylestown Polly Armstrong, 1798 

Mrs. Richard Watson, Dovlestown \ \\^'Y Rodman, 1799 

( Maria Thomas, 1828 

Mrs. Penrose Roberts, Quakertown Margaret Penrose, 1799 


^ "' ACEOh 

Mmtw Charm-^ Kai^ thou j 
And. Wirings iiot few?^ 
Eare Beauty onlktr Brox^ 

■ GodLme^s^s- too « 

^^-ndfrowthY Sonil 

Eadiar^t xxxith Lo^o^^ 
^■^^ E tef Ti&L Fea^ce thy Goal 

Trea-^wed- froTO AJ>o^^e '^ 

Good friend thou art 

Oh . one .^0 feir apd K md - 

Oft Low may rlLLthy^Heart t 
E>eeP FufitY thy Mmd >■ ^| 

Co^YsPo^s-ed W E'S" 

COMPOSED BY K. S., A. D. 1834 
Loaned by Miss Mary S. Paxson, Carversville, Pa. 




Mrs. Henry D. Paxson, Holicong 

Mrs. William Tinsman, Lumberville 

Mrs. Augustus J. Pickering, 

Mrs. Emma Stapler Wright, 

Mrs. Charles Smith, Newtown 

Dr. F. B. Swartzlander, Doylestown 
Hon. Henry S. Funk, Springtown 

Mrs. Edward Blackfan, New Hope 

Miss Mary Bunting, Newtown 
Mrs. Mary Armstrong, Doylestown 

Miss Eleanor Foulke, Quakertown 

Mrs. John Ely, New Hope 

Miss Marie H. Radcliffe, Bucking- 

Mrs. George Ross, Doylestown 

Mrs. John S. Rockafellow, Forest 

Mrs. C. S. Atkinson, New Hope 

Mrs. John Yardley, Doylestown 
Mrs. Margaret Wiggins, Newtown 

Mrs. Warner Thompson, Wycombe 

Ad:rs. H. A. Todd, Doylestown 
Miss Edith Newlin Fell, Holicong 

Mr. George C.Worstall, Newtown 

Miss Louisa B. Hill, Quakertown 
Mrs. Lydia W. Thompson, Newtowi 


f Hanamell Canby, 1800 
■I Ann Johnson, 1804 
I Mary Sheeds, 1806 
[Hannah Kelter, 1835 
( Frances Fell. 1801 
I Esther B. Fell, 1815 

Mary Roberts, 1802 

[Susanna Betts. 1804 

I Marv Stapler, 7th. Mo. 1805 

^ Elizabeth S. Jones, 1820 

I Two pieces with alphabet, no 

[ date 

[ Martha Palmer Nancev, 1804 

-i Martha Palmer, 1810 

[Anna Bunting, 1818 

j Name not given, 1803 

} Abigail R. Swartzlander 

5 Susan Schleiffer, (b 1804, d. 1900) 

( Elizabeth Funk, two, 1844 and 1850 

\ Eleanor Hughes, 1805 

1 Hannah Gilbert. 1811 

Rachel Woolston, 1806 

Mary Moore, 1807 
fjane Roberts. 1808 
I Jane R. Mather, 1831 
(Martha Betts. 1807 
I Hannah Smith, 1830 

Mary T. Burrows, 1810 

Elizabeth Pawning. 1812 

Rachel Broadhurst. 1812 

Mourning Picture, 1812 
5 Mary Yardley, alphabet, 1813 
[Mary Yardley, (darned), 1819 

Susan Magill, 1812 

Elizabeth Warner. 1813 

Ruth Cottman. 1813 

Elizabeth W. Carey. 1850 

Sarah Eastburn, 1815 
j Esther B. Fell, 1815 
(E. T., 1818 
( Sarah Betts, 1817 
I "Why is our food so very sweet 
I Because we earn before we eat. 
- Why is our wants so very few 
Because we nature calls persue." 

Marie E. Smith, 1824 — Aged 9 

Mary Book. 1817 

Patience Heston, 1820. age 16 yrs. 




Mrs. Harold Gillingham, German- 

Rev. J. B. Krewson, Forest Grove 

Mrs. C. R. Nightingale, Doylestown 
Mrs. Alfred Marshall, Langhorne 
Miss Addie Buckman, Doylestovi^n 
Mrs. A. M. Keys, Bristol 
Mrs. Thomas L. Allen, Langhorne 
Miss Helen Gilkeston, Bristol 
Mrs. Edward S. Hutchinson, New- 
Miss R. S. Tinsman. Lumberville 
Miss Emma Trego Fell, Holicong 
Mrs. S. B. Farren, Doylestown 
Miss Ray Roberts, Quakerstown 
Mrs. Frederick G. Le Roy Newtown 

Miss Belle Van Sant, Newtown 

Mrs. F. H. Fluck, Quakertown 
Mrs. James Groff, Doylestown 
Miss Louisa Buckman, Doylestown 
Mrs. Arthur Leatherman, Doyles- 
Mrs. H. W. Atkinson, Doylestown 
Mrs. A. B. Sellers, Chalfont 

Miss Laura Haines. Doylestown i 

Mrs. Oliver Bergey, Doylestown 
Mrs. William Opdyke, New Hope 
Mrs. David Nyce, Doylestown 
Miss Augusta S. Keim, Bristol 

Bucks County Historical Society -{ 


\ Agnes Lukens, 1820 
I Adam and Eve Pattern 
S Jane Wallace, 1820 
I Rebecca Wallace, 1827 

Mary VanHorn, 1821 

Mary Mathers, 1823 

Mar\' Jamison, 1823 

Elizabeth Marshall, about 1825 

Sarah Richardson, 1825 

Elizabeth Kinsey, 1825 

Rachel Childs, 1825 aged 22 years 

Rebecca W. Small, Sep. 20, 1824 

Rebecca Thorne, 1827 

Susan Geary, 1832 

Martha C. Roberts, 1834 

Delia A. Hopkins, 1834 
(Jane Willet (Van Sant) 1837, 
I aet. 11 

Mary Shupp, 1840 

Louisa Cadwallader, 1841 

Louisa Buckman, 1848 

Two samplers, 1852 

Magdalene S. Parry, two samplers 

Mary Betts 
[ Lydia Ashbridge Way 
\ Ann Way 
[ Sydney JefiFeris Way 

Not given 

Not given 

Two samplers, no data given 

Not given 

Westtown School, 1802 

Martha Lacey, 1810 
[Stewart, E. S., 1810 

History of Church's School in Buckingham Township. 

(Tohickon Park Meeting-, June 18, 1921.) 

WE naturally take a great interest in the schools we at- 
tended in the early years of our lives, when impressions 
are the most indelible, and we like to compare the pres- 
ent with the past. 

We learn that Buckingham township was fortunate in the 
quality of her early schools. Thomas Smith gave a lot of ground 
whereon the "Red School House" was built. "Tyro Hall" was 
erected in 1790. The "Hughesian Free School" in 1811, and the 
"Martha Hampton and Hannah Lloyd Boarding School for 
Girls" in 1830. Another one is "Church's School", which is lo- 
cated nearly four miles east of Doylestown. 

Richard Church produced at Buckingham Monthly Meeting of 
Friends, 9th month. 4th day, 1729, a certificate from Ireland dated 
2nd month. 4th day, 1729. He was born in Ireland, but was of 
English ancestry. He married Sarah Fell in 1735 and settled on 
the northwest corner of the tract of two hundred sixty-five 
acres patented to him by John Penn, Thomas Penn, and Richard 
Penn in 1741, having had possession before the patent was issued. 
It was part of the five hundred acres laid out by Cutler in his 
resurvey, to the proprietaries in accordance with orders given 
to lay out that quantity in each township not fully taken up. 
Church lived there until his death in 1822. He had nine children, 
three sons, Moses, John, and Joseph, and six daughters. Of the 
sons only one, Joseph married, and he and Moses lived on the 
old plantation and all are buried in a little walled graveyard back 
in the fields not far from the schoolhouse. 

Some descendants of the sisters and daughters of Joseph 
Church still reside in the neighborhood but the name of Church 
is extinct in that locality. Sarah Church, eldest daughter of 
Joseph, married Jonas Fell, and they were the grandparents of 
Dr. John A. Fell of Doylestown. His second daughter, Eleanor, 
married Moses Bradshaw, but thev removed to Indiana. His 


third daughter, Elizabeth, married Benjamin Carhsle, and they 
have descendants hving in the neighborhood. 

About the year 1801 Joseph Church leased a small plot of 
ground to his neighbors, for the establishment of a school, and 
entered into the f ollo\ying agreement : 

An agreement made and entered into by us the subscribers for the 
purpose of building a schoolhouse on a piece of land belonging to 
Joseph Church and laying by the Doylestown road, and bounded by 
land belonging to Joseph Fell on the southwest side for which land I, 
Joseph Church engages to give a least in trust to such persons as shall 
be hereafter appointed to take one, for the use of a school for the term 
of ninety-nine years, and have agreed to build a house of stone and 
laid in lime and sand mortar, to be twenty feet wide and twenty-six 
feet long, to be one story high and have appointed John Bradshaw and 
Isaiah Michener to employ workmen, provide materials, and superin- 
tend the building the house. And we also bind ourselves our heirs 
and executors to pay in money, labor or materials, such sums as are 
annexed to our names, unto the aforesaid John Bradshaw and Isaiah 
Michener. We further agree that if the first subscription should prove 
insufficient to complete the house we will advance in proportion to our 
subscription, and if there should be any over plus it shall be returned 
in the same proportion. 

This lease w^ith the names of the subscribers and the several 
amounts annexed was found to be insufficient, as only seventy-six 
pounds, nine shillings and six pence of the required sum had 
been subscribed. It was again circulated and the necessary 
amount was realized, one hundred and nine pounds, five shillings, 
and four pence; equivalent to $291. 37j^. 

The increased subscriptions were made by the same twenty- 
nine persons whose names were : 

Thomas Michener, John Bradshaw, John Fell, Elisha Mich- 
ener, Cornelius Shepherd, Jonathan Fell, Jr.. John Shaw, Thomas 
Fell, Samuel Gillingham, Samuel Gilbert, Robert Waker, Joseph 
Church, Isaiah Michener, Meshack Michener, Jr., William 
Sands, Jonas Fell, Asa Fell, Jr., Samuel Delp, Abraham Myers, 
Jonathan Large, John Hughes, Benjamin Cadwallader, Thomas 
Fell, Meschack Michener, Sr., Joseph Shepherd, Jesse Dean, 
Jesse Wilson, George Delp, Jonathan Fell. 

In due course of time the house was built, and the carpenter 
presented his bill, which was paid, and the following receipt given : 


Alarch 6, 1804, Then received of John Bradshaw four pounds, ten 
shilhngs, eight pence, being the full demand, I say received by me. 
($12.07), William Sands. 

In order to obtain money to purchase a stove for the school- 
house another subscription Hst was circulated among the patrons, 
as follows : 

"We the undersigned subscribers do agree to purchase a new stove 
and pipe suitable for the schoolhouse, and to pay the several sums here- 
unto annexed unto John Bradshaw and Samuel Gillingham for the 
purpose for purchasing said stove, and completing it for use. 

The amount subscribed was $24.33. 

As soon as this was accompHshed the school was ready for the 
scholars and the teacher, but where can we find a record ot 
their names ? 

The present secretary of the township school board, William B.. 
Carver, gives this information : "The oldest record I find in the 
minute book of 1842, is an order drawn in favor of George Wag- 
ner for teaching one hundred and sixty-three days at Church's 
school, the sum of $181.66. 

It is a noteworthy fact that children having poor parents 
were not deprived of the means of getting an education, but 
were educated at the county expense. The assessors of each 
township were required to report the names of the children of 
parents who could not afiford to pay for their edvication. The- 
bills were sent to the county commissioners and were then paid.. 
In 1829 this amounted to $3,589.97 for the county, and was- 
published in the Bucks County Republican, and Anti-Masonic- 
Register, January 26, 1830. 

In the early history of our country, schoolhouses were fre- 
quently built in close proximity to churches, and were maintained 
by the church members, but Church's school was located at some 
distance from any church or meeting house and was accordingly 
used for all purposes needed in the neighborhood, social, educa- 
tional and religious. We learn that in 1843 a meeting was held 
there to celebrate Washington's birthday, at which Mr. John 
Rogers delivered the address. In the same year a debate was 
had on the "Woman Question",' an account of which was writ- 
ten by Mrs. George M. Child, then residing near Sands' Corner 

1 The daughter of Geoi-ge M. and Mary Thomas Child married Dr. Joseph 
B. Walter. See page 84 ante. 

360 HISTORY OF church's school in BUCKINGHAM TOWNSHIP 

and published by Mr. Sellers in the Olizr Branch. The earliest 
known minister who occasionally preached there was the Rev. 
Mr. Magoffi. 

There are several interesting items culled from an old letter 
of 1837. One is, that Doylestown had four free schools at that 
time, and it is quite probable that the older pupils of Church's 
school district went there, as they do now, to enjoy opportunities 
for higher education. It is a fact also that male teachers were 
most in demand. In 1843 a young woman wished to teach in 
Centreville, but the employers preferred a male teacher and there- 
for chose Mr. Richard Watson, who later became judge of the 
Bucks county courts. After a few years this condition was 
changed. An elderly woman upon a certain occasion made the 
remark, that her first teacher was a woman- and she was so kind 
that she ever remembered her with a great deal of affection. 

But whoever they were, their influence for good was of the 
greatest to the generation in which they lived. 

All honor then to our ancestors, who by their perseverance 
and industry established our country schools. 

An explanation is due to account for the old John Bradshaw 
papers. His daughter, Phebe, married Hugh Meredith, who lived 
many years on a farm between Sands' Corner and the road to 
Centreville. After his death these long treasured letters, ac- 
counts, settlements of estates, etc.. were inherited by a great- 
granddaughter, the writer of this paper. 

2 The teacher referred to was Jane Robinson, who married Robert Thomp- 
son. The first teacher at Sandy Ridge school in Doylestown township, was 
Hannah Yarnal Meredith, who married S. S. Gregory of Ohio. 


Old Methods of Taking Fish. 

(Tohickon Park Meeting. June 18. 1921.) 

IN this paper I will endeavor to cover some of the old methods 
of fishing, giving special attention to the older methods which 
are at present obsolete, and have been for many years. The 
method most generally used for securing fish for food was spear- 
ing or gigging. This was an easy way to secure large quantities, 
as the stream conditions were exceptionally favorable for spear- 
ing. Especially was this true of Tohickon Creek and its smaller 
tributaries. Deep Run, for instance. Tinicum Creek was also an 
ideal stream. These streams run shallow, with many pools and 
ripples and are adapted for this form of fishing. 

While spearing was mostly done at night, it required good fa- 
cilities for artificial light, and the first item I shall take up is that 
of light. 

The first lights used were the pine knot and "fockel." The 
pine knot it is not necessary to describe, but in the areas where 
these could not be secured, the fockel was used, which as I un- 
derstand, was superior to the pine knot, as it produced a brighter 
light and was used in the same manner as a stave fockel. 

The light next in use was the gig light, constructed of tin, 
using two or three burners, the fuel being kerosene. These burn- 
ers were constructed tapering and were soldered to the bottom 
of a tin container, holding from two to four quarts of kerosene. 
Cotton wicking was tightly drawn into the burners. A large 
shield was placed over the burners to deflect the rays from the 
operator's eyes and to cause a greater reflection of light on the 
water. These lights were followed by the acetylene lamp and 
the electric spot-light, which it is not necessary to describe. Both 
of these lighted a much larger area than the pine knot. 

Fockel. — The fockel was constructed usually from the staves 
of tar barrels, four or five of which were wired together, and a 
pole five or six feet long was used for a handle. This was car- 
ried by one man over his shoulder, who proceeded slowly up 
stream, followed by the spearmen, usually two or three in num- 



ber. When tar barrel staves could not be secured, strips of bark 
from shellbark hickory trees, or pine boards were used. In both 
of these latter instances the bark or boards were soaked in tar 
and dried, then bound together by wire. Sometimes iron rings 
were used for this purpose, one ring six inches in diameter, the 
other four, into which the bark or wood was driven wedge- 
shaped. Fockels were also made from tar and flax-tow. In the 
construction of these, a broom-stick was dipped in tar, and the 

V flax-tow was wrapped around it very tightly 

until the tar was completely covered ; this 
..... was then again dipped in the tar and the 

^jjlr process continued until it was of the re- 

quired size, usually about six or eight inches 
Mp' in diameter. A fockel of that size was suf- 

I ficient for a whole night's fishing. 

I Spears or Gigs. — The spear or gig, as it 

I is called, was constructed from a piece of 

flat iron. These were usually made by a local 
blacksmith, forged from iron, having from 
three to four prongs, sometimes more. I 
have seen them with eight prongs, but four 
was about the usual number. These prongs 
were flat and blunt, with barbs to prevent 
fish from wriggling off when struck. I have 
seen them constructed with prongs, extend- 
ing in four directions, crossing at right 
angles. These were heavy and very un- 
handy, and not common. The spear was 
used in conjunction with the lights for night 
fishing. Ideal conditions were dark nights, 
with no wind, as under this condition, fish 
could be readily seen. Windy nights were 
not as favorable, as the wind rippling the water, made conditions 
bad, as it was hard to locate fish, unless in very shallow water. 
Eight to sixteen inches of water is a good depth for that kind of 
fishing and on very still nights fish could be successfully speared 
in two feet of water. This was the extreme depth, however. 
When fish were located, they were struck with the spear. The 


spearmen were followed by one or two men with a fish hommer. 
These men were located at the outlet of the pools and when the 
water became muddy after the spearmen passed up stream, they 
turned and proceeded back, making all the noise and splashing 
possible, stirring under banks and driving the fish before them 
into the hommers set below. I will describe the fish hommer 
later in this paper. 

Tin Gig Light. — The mode of fishing changed somewhat with 
the advent of the tin gig-light. This light was not nearly so cum- 
bersome as the fockel and the spearman carried his light himself 
and usually had some one to carry the sack to place the fish in. 
I know this from personal experience, as I was the victim that 
carried the fish-bag some thirty years ago. Some of my neigh- 
bors arranged to go fish-spearing in Tohickon creek and I, boy- 
like, was very anxious to join the expedition. The terms were 
that I should carry the fish-bag, which I very readily agreed to 
do. We fished the Tohickon creek from Harpel's bridge, near 
Ottsville, to Stover's dam now Tohickon postofiice. Floundering 
around in the water, sometimes nearly waist deep, over slippery 
rocks and boulders, with a load of fish, was not a boy's job. I 
fulfilled my contract w^ith aching bone and muscle. Suffice it to 
say that I never entered into another contract of that kind, it was 
a lesson I learned as a boy that I can still vividly recall. The 
spear was also frequently used in the day time. Daylight spear- 
ing, however, was only practiced in the early spring migrations 
and when the creeks were normal the spearing being done as the 
fish passed up over the shallow riffles towards the head waters. 

Schlock Isen. — The "schlock isen", or striking iron, its Eng- 
lish name, was used for taking fish in practically the same man- 
ner as with the gig or spear, and was mostly used with a light at 
night. It was also used in daytime in the up-stream migration 
of fish in the spring, when they were passing over the rififles. 
The striking iron was made in the shape of a sword from a piece 
of iron about four feet long, flat, with a blunt edge, and curved 



up the narrow way, with a wooden handle. This was necessary 
for if not curved it could not be used successfully, the resist- 
ance of the water would create too much splash and the blow 
could not be accurately given. While this was used a great deal, 
its use was not as general as that of the spear. It was successful 
for striking suckers, but not for eels as many of them would get 
away, whereas this was impossible with the spear. 
Another disadvantage was the mutilation of the 
fish, and for that reason the practice was not as 
general as was the use of the spear. 

Ice Fishing. — I will try to explain methods of 
ice fishing from personal experience as well as 
from descriptions by persons who have used 
other dififerent methods. I will first take the 
metnods practiced in this county. Killing fish by 
striking the ice with a heavy mallet like those 
shown on the margin hereof, or an axe was used 
m many cases. When the water froze over with 
clear crystal ice so the bottom of the stream was 
visible, conditions were right for this method of 
fishing. By walking over the ice, fish could be 
located, and by striking a heavy blow on the ice 
the fish would be stunned. A hole was then 
cut in the ice and the fish secured. Hooking fish 
through ice was accomplished by having a burr 
hook made on an iron rod, with a wooden handle, the length 
over all being about six feet. A large hole was chopped in the 
ice over deep pools. Usually one man stood at the opening in 
the ice, while another would circle around and drive the fish 
to the opening. With a quick, upward motion, the fish was 
hooked and thrown out on the ice. In small ponds this could 
often be accomplished by one man alone. This method was 
practiced a great deal in Cook's creek, near Rattlesnake hill in 
Durham township, and in Springfield township and as far as 
I can learn, was the only place where this hook was used. I 
was able to secure one to exhibit for this occasion. (Exhibits 
hook.) Spearing fish through the ice was doubtless not prac- 
ticed locally. This was done by cutting a hole through the ice 



sufficiently large to operate the spear and remove the fish after 
being speared. The spearman used a metal minnow dangling 
from a string and by keeping the string in motion the minnow- 
would have the appearance of being alive. When the fish 
would strike the minnow the spearman would strike the fish. 
I presume that this was quite a sporting proposition as it no 
doubt took some practice to become adept enough to do it 
successfully and it probably required a great deal of skilh to 
become proficient in spearing fish. 

Use of the Tip-up in Ice Fishing. — A tip up was made from 
a flat board, about sixteen inches long. A hole was bored into 
one end for the line, and about six inches further another hole 
was bored sufficiently large to use a stick of about an inch in 
diameter, this stick acting as a pivot on which the tip-up could 
swing, the heavier end of the board resting on the ice. The 
line and bait were attached to the other end. When a fish 
would strike the minnow the tip-up would start to bob up as a 
signal and attract the attention of the fisherman. With fif- 
teen to twenty holes and tip-ups scattered over a considerable 
area, one man would have to hustle to keep his lines baited and 
remove the fish. It was not necessary to have a fire as the exer- 
cise would keep the operators warm. This method was used 
in large inland lakes and ponds in from fifteen to twenty feet 
of water. The bait, to work successfully, should be within 
eighteen inches to two feet from the bottom. I personally have 
done ice fishing. Not having tip-ups I cut brush, made a small 
hole in the ice and tied the line to the brush at the bottom by 
using some black line and tied a red string on the line and 
hung it over the end of the brush. When the red string 
dropped it would indicate a strike and the rest of the procedure 
is the same as with the tip-up. 

Snaring. — Another method used, when the water was clear, 
was snaring. For this a short pole was used wnth a string, fas- 
tened to the end by a very thin copper wire snood. The snood 
was worked over the fish and a sudden jerk would capture the 
fish as the loop would draw up sufficiently tight to hold the fish. 

Use of Rye Straw in Taking Fish. — This method was used 
in Stover's dam. Mechanics Vallev. It was last used about 


1890. Thomas Donat employed this method for ice fishing as 
follows : He used a bundle of flail-threshed long rye straw. 
The bundle of straw was securely tied at the heads and the 
lower band taken off. A hole was cut in the ice of sufficient 
size to pass the bundle through the butt-end first. The straw 
was then forced to the bottom of the stream, and the water 
would spread the straw. By walking over the ice, the fish 
would hide in the straw, the bundle was then drawn upwards, 
the straw would hold the fish until they were out of the water. 
All that was necessary was to shake the fish out on the ice and 
gather them up. This method, I am informed, was very suc- 
cessful and Mr. Donat is the only man I have been able to learn 
of who practiced this method of securing fish. 

Explosives. — In the use of explosives for destroying fish, 
three methods were employed. The two chief ones were dyna- 
mite and fresh lime. This was probably among the easiest 
methods of taking fish, and the results were always certain. 
In the use of dynamite all that is necessary is a percussion cap 
and a piece of safety fuse. In the use of fresh lime, a bottle 
is filled with it, corked very tightly, with a small perforation 
through the cork to admit water which slacks the lime, and the 
steam and carbonic acid that is expelled exploded the bottle and 
kills the fish. The other method of killing fish, is by the ex- 
plosion of calcium carbide. A small hole is punched in a can of 
carbide, which is then thrown into the stream, the admission of 
water will cause an explosion. This is less dangerous and more 
easily handled than dynamite, and the results will be adequate. 
The concussions from any explosive burst the air bladders of 
the fish and they are then gathered from the surface. This is 
an unsportsman like way of taking fish, and is now punishable 
by severe penalties, although not as severe as such heinous 
offences deserve. 

DiPNETS. — A dipnet is made by using a round hoop from four 
to six feet in diameter. The net is suspended from the hoop 
and is funnel shaped. This is operated by using a pole, with a 
rope attached and the net dropped into a pool of water. During 
its descent the fish are driven away, and consequently it be- 
comes necessary to allow the net to rest quietly for some time, 




after which the tish settle towards the center, and are then 
caught in the net. when it is raised and they are then taken. It 
is occasionally necessary to bait dip nets. These were used in 
the Delaware river, but they are now obsolete. 

Throw-nets. — These are made circular, similar to a dip-net. 
The dimensions are about the same, average diameter about five 
feet. Instead of a solid iron ring, the mouth is made with a 
heavy lead-line and the apex of the net is up instead of down 
as in the dip-net. The net is one and a half inches mesh, cone- 
shoped, with a ring in the apex. Small ropes are fastened to the 
lead-line on the inside of net. These pass through the ring and 
are joined together on a swivel, to which is attached the operat- 
ing rope. The net is operated from the bank over deep pools. 
The method is to tie the rope to the operator's arm on which it 
is coiled, then take the lead-line in the mouth and by grasping it 
by the other hand, you make a swing which spreads the net and 
it settles in the water fully extended. Where the net drops, all 
fish within the circle of the lead-line are caught. By pulling and 
jerking the lead-line the net is drawn together and forms a 
pocket above the leads in which the fish are trapped. It is the 
reverse of the dipnet, as it is immediately withdrawn after the 
cast is made and is operated from pool to pool. 

Stake-net. — The stake-net was used in tidewater fishing. 
Stakes were driven in the beach along low-water mark, usually 
along marshes, and were in length from one to three hundred 
yards, according to conditions along the shore line. The net was 
usually about two feet deep. On the flow of the tide, the water 
would rise over the net and the fish would feed on the marshes. 
On the ebb tide the water would recede and the fish, dropping 
back with the tide, could not get further than the net. This 
would leave the fish stranded on the beach where they could 
easily be secured. 

Eel-racks. — To construct an eel-rack, use two 3 bv 4 inch 
scantling fourteen feet long, joined together by cross-pieces, two 
feet apart. The scantling should be five feet apart. Take lath 
for bottom and sides, one-half by one inch, sufficient to cover bot- 
tom, and raise sides eight inches. Laths should be one-quarter- 


inch apart. At the funnel-end of rack, use inch boards three to 
four feet long, and lap them over lath six inches. These boards 
must be tight. In the mouth of the rack use a six-inch board, up- 
right. This is to keep the eels in the rack so they 
cannot go back up stream. Under the down stream 
end of rack, bolt on two uprights of sufficient 
strength to hold the rack, and of sufficient length to 
raise the rack above the level of the flowing water. 
This will check and hold the eels from going over the 
rack and allow the water to pass through. When 
the rack is not in use, it can be lowered and every- 
thing will pass over it. Where the stream is too 
wide, small dams were built, with stones and rye 
straw to narrow the stream to the width of rack. 
These are the dimensions of a rack used in the Dur- 
ham or Cook's creek at Rattlesnake hill and in 
Springfield township. These racks were operated 
in the fall of the year, about the time the leaves 
started to drop. A good 
time was when the streams 
started to rise on the first 
fall rains, at that time the 
eels usually started their 
fall migrations to the sea. 
Eels travel down stream 
head first and differ very 
much from other fish in 
this respect, as fish on high 
water go down stream tail 
first. This accounts for no 
fish being caught in eel- 
racks. A fish going down 
would strike the guard 
board in the mouth of the 
rack with his tail and 
would head up stream. Eels were re- 
moved from the racks with wooden ^^^ tongs 
tongs, having short, blunt nails driven into the jaws like those 
shown on margin. Eel-racks are not now used, excepting prob- 


ably on the head water of the Delaware river as they are not 
lawful in the inland streams. 

Bobbing for Eels. — This was a sporting pastime indulged in 
to a great extent before methods of fishing were governed and 
restricted by legislation. In bobbing for eels, the practice in mak- 
ing the bobs was to thread a needle with three or four yards of 
flax-thread, and with a good supply of earth worms, thread them 
on the thread, then bunch them together, then with a string 
fasten them to a short pole, setting the bob down on the bottom 
of the stream. The fishing was usually done out of a boat. The 
eels bit into the worms, their teeth fastened to the thread, the bob 
was raised up over the boat and the eels would drop off. Where 
a boat was not available, and you bobbed from the shore, a tub 
was placed in the stream into which to drop the eels, as the fish 
could not be secured if the bob was held at an angle to place them 
on the shore. The tub was held in place by a pole sufiiciently 
long to secure one end of it to the shore. This was considered 
good sport and was practiced a great deal years ago. 

Barrel Fishing. — Make a hole in the end of a barrel, and 
over the hole place a flap, then put a quantity of slaughter-house 
refuse in the barrel, with sufficient ballast to sink it to the bottom 
of the stream. This placed in deep water, particularly after a 
rain, will catch eels by the bushel. This was practiced in the 
Saucon creek, near Hellertown, Pa., some years ago with great 

Use of Walnut Root Bark in Taking Trout. — This method 
was used by the Cherokee Indians in North Carolina. There 
were times when the trout would not bite, and an Indian wants 
fish when he is hungry. That method was to take the bark from 
the roots of walnut trees, crush and pulp it to obtain the juices, 
which is then poured into the ripples above the pools in which 
trout abound. The action of the juices stupify the fish and they 
come to the surface and are then gathered, and "Lo, the poor 
Indian," has trout for his supper, apparently an easy way when 
trout are not in a biting mood. 

Gill-net or Floating-net. — These are used for tidewater 
fishing, running in length from one hundred to five hundred feet, 


depending on the width of water to be fished. The gill-net is a 
straight net with a float-line and lead-line, meshes four inches and 
more, woven from very thin twine. In working a gill-net, one 
end is fastened to a buoy and the other end to a boat. The whole 
drifts with the tide. Fish striking the net, the head passes through 
the mesh. When the fish strike this barrier they try to back out 
and the thin mesh holds them by the gills. The fish are removed 
by hauling in the net and then leaving it out again. In 
fishing with the gill-net. the fisherman holds the float-line and can 
tell when a fish strikes and they follow up the net as previously 
described. This method is exclusively a tidewater proposition, al- 
though the principle has been used in smaller streams, but in that 
case the net is set stationary and fish are driven by paddling in 
a boat and beating the water. This is not permissible in inland 
waters and is punishable by heavy penalties. 

Outline or Set-cord. — Outlines were principally used for 
taking catfish and eels. In the Delaware river perch, rock fish and 
bass were also taken. The length of an outline depending on the 
width of stream to be fished, the usual length being from one 
hundred to five hundred feet and even greater in length, often 
reaching from shore to shore. A heavy cord was stretched across 
a body of water and weighted to the bottom, with hooks fastened 
thereto often as close as two feet. The snoods to which the 
hooks were fastened were usually about eighteen inches in length 
and were tied to the main cord with a loop-knot. After the line 
was set, the hooks were baited, either with small chunks of meat 
of live fish. If set in shallow water the line was followed by 
wading; in deep waters a boat was used. The inspection of the 
line was repeated at short intervals. When fish were caught they 
were removed, the hook re-baited and again dropped in the 
water. Oftentimes bait and hook were swallowed. In a case of 
that kind, the snood with fish was removed and another snood 
with hook substituted. The bait generally was what is known as 
dead bait, although sometimes outlines were set for game fish by 
using live bait. Some years ago a set line was used in the Dela- 
ware river for taking bass, live baits were used and the line was 
set from shore to shore. The outline was successful only when 
in muddy waters, the set-line was used in daytime, in clear water 
it was used at nis'ht. It was not successful in clear water in the 


day time and vice versa; but results were about the same when 
fished under the conditions noted. 

DiPSEV OR Handline. — 'lliis was at one time practiced a great 
deal. Dipsey fishing derived its name from a chunk of 
lead, from one-half to one ounce in weight. This was called the 
dipsey and in wide waters, where no boats were available, the 
dipsey was used to carry the line and bait out into midstream. 
The usual length of line was from fifty to seventy-five feet. The 
line was carefully coiled on the bank, and usually a heavy cord 
was used to avoid tangles. The cord was taken in the left hand 
about eighteen inches from the dipsey, this was twirled in a ciru- 
lar motion until sufficient momentum was acquired to carry the 
line out to the full length, the end of the cord being fastened to 
a stake on the bank. Usually from five to six of these lines 
would radiate in diflferent directions from the one stake. By 
watching the lines a strike could easily be located by the motion 
of the line. Occasionally a fisherman would fasten a small bell 
to the stake and then take a nap and depend on the bell to warn 
him of a strike. The dipsey principle is only used now in bait- 
casting with rod and reel, short rod, four and one half or five and 
one half feet, with a free running reel, and weights from one- 
quarter to one-half ounce, casting direcf off the reel. With the 
overhead cast your bait can be easily placed from seventy-five to 
one hundred feet, if you have sufficient practice to prOperly 
handle a bait-casting outfit. I have often seen fishermen with the 
finest casting outfits fishing along our streams and instead of 
casting from the reel, place their bait dipsey-fashion. 

Float Fishing. — This method was usually practiced in large 
bodies of still water usually in large dams or inland ponds and 
lakes. A float was made from a one-quarter inch board, two and 
one-half to three inches wide and abovit eight inches long. The 
line was fastened to the center of the float ; its length was regu- 
lated by the depth of water, which was often from three to eight 
feet deep. Sufficient line was attached to the float so that part 
of it would remain on the surface in the deepest water as well as 
the shallow. The line was shortened by winding around the float. 
If a fish was caught and made for deep water the motion of the 
water would unwind the float so it would remain on the surface. 


In float fishing one hundred floats were usually about the number 
used, and by the action of the floats those that had fish could 
usually be ascertained and these were followed by boat and the 
fish removed. Dead bait being usually used, although in ponds 
where pickerel were found, they were often successfully used 
with live bait. I recall a story from one who had experienced 
that they used toy balloons instead of the wooden floats for 
pickerel and successfully too. This method has been tabooed by 

Fish Hommer or Single-brail Scoop-net. — The dimensions 
of a single-brail scoop-net are as follows: Main hoop or mouth, 
six feet in width at the lead line, thirty-eight inches high. Brail 
is a forked stick five feet long; forks, twenty-six inches long to 
lead-line, with a spread of fourteen inches. The brail is fastened 
to cross piece eighteen inches from the lead line ; length of cross 
bar, fifty-six inches ; depth of net from mouth to tail, thirty-six 
inches, tapering to a tail ten inches in diameter and three feet, 
long; length of net, about seven feet. This form of net was 
used by wading the stream, usually the width of narrow channels 
in small streams, mill-races and places of that sort, the scoop was 
set by one man holding the brail with net resting on the bottom 
of the stream ; and anotJ;ier man beating and splashing the water 
to scare the fish into the net. A quick upward movement of the 
brail would bag the net so the fish could not get out, the brail was 
then lifted up and the fish taken out through the tail end of the 
net. This was frequently used in connection with gigging by 
artificial light, as previously explained under that subject. This 
is entirely different from the regular scoop-net, as they have a 
brail at each end are used to scoop out the fish in small pockets 
along the banks of streams with pockets in the eddies. 

Fyke, Fish Baskets of Set-net. — The dimensions of a fyke 
are: Width at mouth, fortyeight inches; height, thirty inches; 
diameter at mouth of funnel or trap, twenty- four inches tapering 
to three inches to inlet and funnel eighteen inches long ; main di- 
ameter of basket, about 20 inches and length over all eight feet. 
Net is extended by iron hoops, four in number. The funnel is 
fastened to the first hoop and is kept in position by strings 
fastened to the third hoop. The net is set with the tail or basket 




upstream and the mouth at the head of a riffle. Where the riffles 
are wider than the mouth of the fyke, small dams were con- 
structed to guide the fish into the fykes and occasionally in wide 
water net- wings were used, which often extending many feet 
on either side. Fykes were used in the spring for the up-stream 
migrations of suckers. Years ago they were used extensively in 
the shallow riffles in the Delaware river, some of them of large 
dimension, sufficient net being used to completely shut off the 
narrow channels with the large fyke in the center of the net. A 
fyke can be set only with the tail up stream as leaves and drift 
coming down with the current would soon clog the mouth and 
prevent fish from entering, the fish after passing through the 
mouth cannot get out of the fyke and are removed through the 
opening in the tail of the basket, this being closed by a draw 
string arrangement. Present day fykes are often made from 
one-quarter inch galvanized wire, some with a trap in one end 
and others made longer with a trap in each end. These will 
catch fish both coming and going. I secured one several years 
ago from the Neshaminy, which was placed there in a narrow 
channel below a riffle and baited with meat to attract fish. This 
one was a double ender. 

Spinners. — I should not fail also to mention the spinner. This 
probably is one of the highest attainments for taking fish with 
artificial lures. They come in all sizes and shapes, are adaptable 
to both fly-rod and bait fishing, can be used with any and all 
kinds of baits and are constructed single and tandem. I have 
personally used spinners successfully in many combinations and 
have caught small-mouth bass with a small spinner and a small 
patch of white cotton goods or red flannel. The story of the dis- 
covery of the spinner is as follows : While fishing for pickerel 
from a boat on a day that pickerel were not biting, the fisherman 
came to shore disgusted. In stepping out of the boat a small 
piece of broken spoon dropped from his outfit struck the water 
and started to ricochet on the water when a large pickerel struck 
it. The fisherman then took a silver dime and made a small 
spinner, attached it to a line and made the first spinner to take 
fish when all other baits had failed. And thus the spinner con- 
tinues to take fish, if properly used. 


Rods and Lines. — This subject is probably too well known to 
enter into a lengthy discussion, as the rod and line today is 
probably more used than at any time since fish were first caught. 
This is especially true as it applies to the game fishes. The rods 
first used were usually cut along the streams from sprouts of the 
different woods and ordinary twine was used for a line, and the 
bent pin for a hook. This was followed by the ordinary bamboo 
pole, then the split bamboo, made into very substantial bait and 
fly casting rods. With this advent came the reel and the finer 
grades of silk lines, constructed very light, yet of sufificient 
strength to successfully out-manoeuvre any fish, regardless of 
size or gameness. With this came the barbed hook. Rods and 
lines were first used with live bait, worms, different species of 
minnows and underwater bait, such as helgramites, crayfish, tad- 
poles, etc., all used for the purpose of securing game fishes. As 
the art of casting became more of an accomplishment and the 
fisherman became proficient in the use of the reel, these natural 
baits became less used and were supplanted by the imitations of 
the natural live baits, such as plugs, surface and underwater, and 
in such designs as to imitate everything on the water, under the 
water, on the earth and under the sun, and many imitations never 
seen under the sun; yet they will catch fish, if properly handled. 
Floating bugs are now constructed of sufficient weight to be 
used in casting. Rods can be secured made of steel, both jointed 
and telescope. Next comes the fly-rod. These are usually made 
from split bamboo, this being the most substantial and more pli- 
able than the heavier woods. The construction of a fly rod to 
balance perfectly and handle properly, is a science. Rods of this 
character run in length from eight to ten and one-half feet, and 
in weight from two to seven ounces. This is usually the extreme 
weight and the lighter rods are used only in fly fishing with 
enameled line and gut leaders. Leaders average from three to 
nine feet in length. The wet fly can be easily handled on an out- 
fit of this kind and is fished down stream and is an underwater 
bait. The handling of a fly takes a great deal of practice on the 
part of the fisherman and is the last test of a real fisherman or 
the man that has passed out of the amateur class into a profes- 
sional class, as he will not consider anything but the dry fly. The 
dry fly is an entirely different creation from a wet fly, is always 


fished up stream and is entirely a surface bait. The hackle and 
wings on the dry fly stand up, whereas on the wet fly they lie flat. 
The perfect outfit for dry fly fishing should consist of a two or 
three ounce rod, length about nine and one-half feet ; a tapered 
six feet; leader and a tapered gut to join fly, an outfit that today 
would cost $100. With an outfit of that kind, you can place a 
fly on the water just as a real fly would actually alight, and place 
it at the right spot. 

To fish successfully you must know fish, their habits, etc., and 
you wall come home with a creel full. Flies are made in imitation 
of all insects that are found along the water and in recent years 
the imitations have been extended to imitate the larva of many 
insects found along streams, as fish feed a great deal on this 
larva. So the fisherman who knows when they are not surface- 
feeding offers them the underwater food. I am not able in this 
article to take up the different methods of rod and reel fishing in 
detail, as volumes have been written covering only a portion of 
these different subjects. As to the dry fly fisherman, he carries 
his little bottle of dry fly oil, made from deer fat, as he has to 
occasionally oil his line and fly to keep it dry. This is a small 
bottle, with a leather loop, buttoned on to a vest button. The dry 
fly is the highest obtainable in fishing, and when you can handle 
that you are a real fly fisherman, so much so that the real fly 
fisherman of today demands a barbless hook, for fishing. The- 
barbless hook is the delight of the highest type of fisherman and. 
the introduction is so recent that they cannot as yet be secured in: 
a commercial way, their use has been confined to the fisherman 
who constructs his own tackle, and ties his own flies. The 
man who buys his flies can only substitute by filing the barbs off 
of the commercial flies. The satisfaction of landing the fish on. 
the barbless hook is true sportsmanship in at least giving the fish 
an even break to out-maneuver him in bringing him to creel,, 
quite in contrast with the barbarious methods described in the 
early part of this paper. 

I have given just a few of the baits that are offered as the best 
for a full creel. I heard it stated recently that the best bait for 
fishing under any and all conditions of weather and water and 
the different species of fishes is "brains." These properly used 
at the rod-end of the fishing tackle will bring results. 

Early History of Washington's Crossing and Its Environs. 

(Read at the opening of Memorial Park, Wasliing-ton's Crossing, Oct. 1, 1921.) 

WHILE I feel greatly honored at being selected by your 
committee of arrangements to read a historical paper at 
this meeting, I had great reluctance in undertaking to 
deliver an address on the subject of the Battle of Trenton, for the 
reason that greater historians than I have fully covered this 
ground already. General W. S. Stryker, in his "Battles of Tren- 
ton and Princeton," has given a detailed history of the move- 
ments of the army, which is unquestionably reliable, as he had 
original material from which to gather his data. On this very 
spot June 14, 1902, General W. W. H. Davis read a paper be- 
fore a meeting of the Society of Sons of the Revolution, to which 
he gave the title "The Alpha and Omega of the Revolution." 
This address, which was published in full by the society and also 
by General Davis, so fully covers the history of the movements 
of the contending armies in Bucks county, and the Delaware and 
Schuylkill peninsula, that I have frequently said, and here re- 
iterate, that it ought to be a text book in every public school in 
Bucks county. Much also has been written by other historians 
about the Battle of Trenton, which was unquestionably the turn- 
ing point in the struggle for independence. 

I therefore, propose, in this brief address, to confine myself 
entirely to local incidents and history and to an effort to correct 
a few minor errors made in the pamphlet issued by this commis- 
sion and supplement the history given therein, giving more fully 
the location of the different camps and commands during the in- 
terval between December 6 and 26, 1776, and also to give some 
history of this historic site from the time of the first settlement. 
This site has been an historic one from the time of the first 
settlement of the English on the Delaware. This point marks the 
line between the lands taken up by the first Quaker settlement and 
those taken up by the Scotch Irish and other later settlers. 

Lying next above the Hough tract was the Proprietor's Manor 
of Highlands, which extended up into Solebury near the lower 


line of the present borough of New Hope and back from the 
river to Newtown and Wrightstown townships. That part of 
the manor now lying in Solebury was sold to actual settlers and 
the greater part of the remainder was patented to the Pennsy- 
lvania Land Company of London, commonly referred to as the 
London Company. 

On the last named tract was tried one of the two experiments 
in the colonization of Pennsylvania, to provide homes for tenant 
farmers and establish a mild form of feudalism, such as existed 
in England. The London Company divided up their tract into 
farms varying in size from one hundred to two hundred and fifty 
acres and leased them to settlers, unimproved, with privilege of 
acquiring title to improvements. On these farms settled new- 
comers, many of them Ulster Scots and other persons of small 
means. But the cheapness of land prevented the success of the 
scheme, and the London Company sold out their lands in 1760 
and they were largely purchased by the tenants or their descend- 
ants. The London Company had another large tract in Tinicum, 
and others in Chester and other counties. 

This site is part of the tract of three hundred acres taken up 
by Henry Baker in 1684, and was known as Baker's Ferry for 
nearly a century. Lying just above it was the tract of Richard 
Hough and lying next below w^ere the two tracts taken up by 
Joseph and Daniel Milnor, and below them was the first home of 
the Harvey family, founded by Matthias Harvey, who purchased 
one thousand acres laid out to Thomas Hudson. Richard Hough 
and Henry Baker, with William Yardley and Thomas Janney, 
whose homes were within five miles of this point, were among 
the chief advisors and friends of William Penn, and all promi- 
nent members of the early assembly and council. Richard Hough 
did not reside on the tract lying above Baker's but upon another 
tract five miles south of this point near the line of Falls town- 
ship. He came from Macclesfield in the County of Chester, Eng- 
land, arriving in the Delaware river in the ship "Endeavor of 
London," 7 mo. 29, 1683. Makefield was originally called Mac- 
clesfield, and was named for the former residence of Richard 
Hough. He took an active part in all affairs in the early history 
of our county — political, social and religious. His house was one 
of the meeting places of Friends before the erection of Falls 


Meeting House. He represented Bucks county in the Provincial 
Assembly almost continuously from 1684 to 1704, and was a 
member of Provincial Council in 1693 and 1700. He was drowned 
in the river Delaware while proceeding with other members of 
assembly in a "wherry" to a session of assembly in Philadelphia 
on March 25, 1705. William Penn, in a letter written 7 mo. 14. 
1705, says: "I lament the loss of honest Richard Hough. Such 
men must needs be wanted where selfishness and forgetfulness of 
God's mercies so much abound." 

Joseph Milnor, a neighbor of the Bakers, on the south, was 
also a member of assembly for several years. 

Henry Baker came to Pennsylvania early in 1684 from Darby 
in the County of Lancaster, England, bringing a certificate from 
the Friends' Meeting at Hardshaw, dated 3 mo. 27, 1684, which 
included his wife and family. He settled at once at this point, 
taking up a tract of three hundred acres, which was surveyed to 
him 2 mo. 25. 1685. In 1696 he purchased of Henry Margarum 
the two hundred and fifty acres of the Hough tract, which Mar- 
gerum had purchased of Richard Hough in 1688. This extended 
his plantation farther up the river. The finally-established line 
between his land and the remainder of the Hough tract was 
twenty perches north of the original terminus of the first road 
laid out by county authority, August 26, 1723, to the ferry, and 
this road terminated at the break in the bank of the river just 
below the lower point of the island, as shown by a draft on file 
in the office of clerk of quarter sessions, a copy of which I will 
attach to this paper. Its terminus would therefore be practically 
the site of the historic crossing of Washington's army on Christ- 
mas night. The road was changed to its present line in 1769. 
This road of 1723 was possibly the result of a presentment of 
the "grand inquest of our Lord the King for ye body of the 
County of Bucks" in 1690, which presented the "necessity of a 
road from ye King's road above Samuel Baker's leading to 
Southampton road which leads to Philadelphia, for the conven- 
iency of ye upper inhabitants of Makefield." The King's road 
was doubtless the River road, the date of the laying out of which 
is unknown to me. 

Along the original line between the Richard Hough and Henry 
Baker tracts was an ancient highway "which was laid out at first 


survey of said lands." Oliver Hough, in his pamphlet on 
"Richard Hough, Provincial Councillor," assumes that this road 
was the present road from Taylorsville to the Eagle. The latter 
road did originally extend to the river, that part from its present 
terminus at the outer River road running through the Lownes 
farm having been vacated several years ago. But the line of the 
road, as now existing, does not coincide in its course with the 
line of division between the original surveys, and it is doubtless 
a later laid-out road. 

Henry Baker also owned considerable other land in Bucks 
county, including a large tract at Newtown, and another in 
Wrightstown. He continued to reside at the Ferry until 1696, 
when he purchased a lot in Buckingham, now Bristol, and re- 
moving there was associated with Samuel Carpenter in the opera- 
tion of the first mill erected in Bristol. He died at Bristol in 1701. 

Henry Baker was foreman of the first grand jury of Bucks 
county in 1685. He was a member of Provincial Assembly 
1685, 1687, 1688, 1689, 1690 and 1698. He was justice of the 
courts of Bucks county from 1689 to near the date of his death. 
He was also a member of Provincial Council in 1689-90, and was 
one of the commission appointed to divide Bucks county into 
townships in 1692. His first wife, Margaret, died June 2, 1688. 
and he married second in 1692 Mary Radclifife, widow of James 
Radclifife, one of the first settlers in Wrightstown. She survived 
him several years. By his first wife he had nine children, and by 
the second, one, Margaret, who married William Atkinson. His 
eldest child, Rachel, married first Job Bunting, and second John 
Cowgill. His second daughter, Sarah, married first Stephen Wil- 
son, and second Isaac Milnor. Another daughter, Phebe, married 
first Edward Radcliffe, her step-brother, and second William 
Stockdale. Esther, the youngest daughter, by the first marriage, 
married first Thomas Yardley, second William Brown, and third 
Richard Hough, Jr. His sons were Samuel and Nathan. The 
latter removed from Bucks county at an early date. 

Samuel Baker inherited under his father's will the lands at the 
Ferry, which by the original surveys contained five hundred and 
fifty acres extending back from the river at the Ferry six hun- 
dred and eight-four perches. By order of the Proprietaries the 
two tracts were resurveyed in November 11. 1700, by Edward 


Pennington, surveyor general, and were found to contain eight 
hundred fifty-nine and one-half acres, insteal of six hundred and 
five, to which Samuel Baker was entitled, by adding the six per 
cent, allowance for roads and highways. This left a surplvis of 
two hundred fifty-four and one-half acres to be purchased, and 
Samuel Baker as heir to Henry agreed to pay for this surplus at 
the rate of £20 per one hundred acres, or £51, 2s. 6d, and a 
patent was accordingly issued to him September 10, 1702. On 
October 8, 1708, he sold to John Baldwin one hundred acres at 
the rear or back part of the tract, and continued to own and oc- 
cupy until his death the remainder of the tract fronting on the 
Delaware about two hundred and ten perches and extending 
back from the river about one and one-half miles. 

Samuel Baker was born in West Derbye, Lancashire, August 
1, 1676, and came with his parents to Pennsylvania, arriving in 
Philadelphia July 17, 1684. He married in July 1793, Rachel 
Warder, daughter of Willoughby Warder, of Falls township. 
He, like his father, was prominent in public afifairs. He was 
commissioned a justice on March 6, 1708, and recommissioned 
March 3. 1710. He was elected to the Provincial xA.ssembly in 
1710 and in 1711. He or his son, Samuel, Jr., was commissioner 
of Bucks county in 1722, and coroner in 1725. 

Samuel Baker by deed dated May 2, 1717, conveyed all his 
lands in Makefield to Charles Norris, of Philadelphia — the eight 
hundred forty-nine and one-half acres patented to Samuel on 
November 10, 1702, less the one hundred acres sold to John 
Baldwin in 1708, leaving the tract to extend six hundred and 
sixty-four perches back from the river on the southern line and 
five hundred and seventy perches on the northern line, and two 
hundred and seventy perches wide ; also three tracts in the 
Manor of Highlands, two of sixteen acres and eighty perches, 
and sixteen acres and forty perches, respectively, and a meadow 
tract of one hundred and one acres and forty-eight perches. 
Charles Norris conveyed six hundred acres of this tract to 
Samuel Baker, Jr. 

Samuel and Rachel (W^arder) Baker had eleven children : Ann 
Mary, who married Charles Biles ; Samuel, who succeeded to the 
ownership of the Ferry ; Henry, who lived and died near the 
Ferry; Nathan, who died young; Sarah, who married Abel 


Janney, and removed to Virginia; John, who died in Philadelphia 
in 1759; Joseph, a hatter, who died in Philadelphia in 1790; 
Benjamin, who died young; Lydia, who married John Burroughs; 
and Margaret, who married a Tomlinson ; and another Nathan 
who removed to Maryland. 

Samuel Baker, Jr., son of Samuel and Rachel, born at Baker's 
Ferry April 28, 1706, died there in 1769. He acquired the greater 
part of his father's lands, including the ferry and six hundred 
acres. Under the terms of his will, dated June 25, 1758, pro- 
bated September 23, 1760, his lands were directed to be sold by 
his executors, who were his wife, Elizabeth, and John Burroughs. 
These executors, by deed dated December 5, 1774 (not recorded 
but recited in the latter deeds), conveyed the site of the ferry and 
five hundred and sixty three acres to Samuel McConkey. The 
sale, however, must have been consummated and possession given 
several years prior to this date, as on the opening of the road 
from the Ferry to Newtown in 1769, the Ferry and the land 
through which it extended is referred to as McConkey's, late 
Baker's Ferry. Samuel McConkey sold the five hundred and 
ninety-three-acre tract, containing by resurvey over six hundred 
and five acres, in three tracts. By deed dated March 22, 1777, 
he conveyed the Ferry site and three hundred and four acres and 
also another tract of twenty-five acres to Benjamin Taylor, of 
Hunterdon county. N. J. By deed dated April 2, 1777. he con- 
veyed to his son John McConkey one hundred and forty-six 
acres lying between the two tracts conveyed to Taylor, and on 
December 4, 1778, he conveyed the balance of the tract, one 
hundred and fifty acres, to his son. Captain William McConkey. 
John McConkey, on April 22, 1777, conveyed forty-six acres of 
his purchase to Benjamin Taylor, and Benjamin Taylor in 1784 
conveyed to Henry Baker, in trust for Joseph Baker, one hun- 
dred and three acres fronting on the river below the Ferry, part 
of the McConkey tract. This tract remained in the tenure of the 
Baker family until 1829, when it was conveyed by Mary B. 
Baker to Mahlon K. Taylor. Henry Baker, brother of Samuel, 
Jr., in 1763, purchased one hundred and thirteen acres in the 
Manor of Highland, on which he lived and died, and its owner- 
ship passed to Noah Slack by deed from his executors in 1786. 

So much for the history of the site. We will now turn to the 


occupation of Makefield by Washington and his army in Decem- 
ber, 1776. 


General Washington after the crossing of the Delaware at 
Trenton to Bucks county, on December 8, 1776, established his 
residence and headquarters at "Summerseat" in Morrisville and 
remained there until December 14. During this time he wrote 
many letters dated at "Head-Quarters Trenton Falls." The out- 
look was gloomy indeed. In one of his letters he writes: "No 
man I believe ever had greater choice of difftculties and less 
means to extricate himself from them." 

While he had been successful in collecting all the boats along 
the river from Bordentown to Tinicum and secreting and guard- 
ing them on the west side of the Delaware, there was always 
danger that the river would freeze over sufficiently for Howe's 
army to cross, and he was also apprehensive that they had car- 
ried a number of "flat bottomed boats" or "pontoons" with them 
from New Brunswick. In his letter to Congress, December 13. 
the last before his removal to the Kieth house, he writes : 

"The apparent designs of the enemy to avoid the ferry and land their 
troops above and below us have induced me to remove from this place 
the greater part of the troops and throw them into different dispositions 
on the river, whereby I hope not only to be able to impede their passage 
but also avoid the danger of being enclosed in this angle of the river 
* * * I cannot divest myself of the opinion that their principal de- 
sign is to ford the river somewhere above Trenton to which design I 
have had particular respect in the new arrangement wherein I am so 
far happy as to have the concurrence of the General Officers at this 
place. Four Brigades of the Army under Generals Lord Sterling, 
Mercer, Stephen and DeFermoy^ extend from Yardley up to Coryell's 

1 Chevalier Matthias Alexis LeRoche De Fermoy, formerly a colonel in the 
French service, on November 2, 1776, offered his services to Congress and ap- 
plied for a commission in the Continental service. On November 5, he was 
appointed by Congress a Brigadier General. On November 9 he was granted 
two months advanced pay and ordered to repair to the Northern Army at 
Ticonderoga and put himself under the command of General Schuyler. 

A letter of General Schuyler to General Gates on November 27 shows that 
he had not yet arrived, and on November 25, he was ordered to report at 
once to Washington, instead of going to the northward. He evidently joined 
Washington during the retreat across New Jersey, as in the General's letter 
to the Board of War, dated "Head-Quarters, Trenton, December, 1776," he 
-says, "Yours of the 26th last month was delivered to me by the Brigadier 
LeRoche De Formoy, who is now here, but unable to render me that service 
which I daresay from his character, he would was he better acquainted with 
our language." However, at about that date he was placed in command of 
the division comprising the regiments of Colonel Hand and Colonel Hassegger 
with which he was stationed at Coryell's Ferry from December 8 to De- 
cember 25. 


Ferry posted in such manner as to guard every suspicious part of the 
river and to afford assistance to each other in case of attack. General 
Ewing with the Flying Camp of Pennsylvania and a few Jersey troops 
under General Dickinson are posted from Yardley's Ferry down to the 
ferry opposite Bordentown. General Cadwallader with the Pennsyl- 
vania Militia occupies the ground above and below Neshaminy river as 
far down as Dunk's Ferry at which Colonel Nixon is placed with the 
thiid battalion of Philadelphia * * * 

I shall remove further up the river to be near the main body of my 
small army, with which every possible opposition shall be given to any 
further approach of the enemy towards Philadelphia." 

The letter concluded with an earnest appeal for the promotion 
of the recruiting service and to encourage the Militia to come in. 

Of the militia, however, the general had no very high opinion 
at this time. In another letter to Congress he writes : 

"Camp above Trenton Falls. Can anything (the exigency of the 
case indeed may justify it) be more destructive to the recruiting service 
than giving ten dollars bounty for six weeks service of the Militia, who 
come in, you cannot tell how, and act, you cannot tell where, consume 
your provisions, exhaust your stores, and leave you at last at a critical 

He was of course much tried by so many whose term of en- 
listment had just expired, leaving his service at this critical mo- 
ment of adversity. 

Of the "four brigades" above referred to by Washington, in the 
letter above quoted, General Lord Sterling was at Beaumont's 
Ferry, between Brownburg and New Hope, with headquarters in 
the house of Robert Thompson at Avhat is known as Neeley's 
Mill. His command consisted of the four regiments of Colonel 
Reed, Colonel Haslet, Colonel \A'eeden and Major Enion Wil- 
liams, of Bristol, an aggregate of 1623 men. On December 12, 
1776, Lord Sterling writes General Washington from "Blue 
Mounts" giving him intelligence in reference to the movements 
of the enemy on the opposite side of the river, "gathered from spies 
lately arrived from their encampmeiit," stating that Cornwallis 
with his command was in and about "Penny Town" and General 
Howe in Trenton with some British and Hessian troops. He 
reports having "sent one piece of cannon to Colonel Weedon" 
(who does not at that time appear to be stationed at Beaumonts) 
"and as to the three regiments here now, (they) lie compact and 
well covered with boards, and nearly centrical to Yardlev's and 


Corriel's ferries. I believe it best to let them remain in their pres- 
ent situation till some movement of the enemy makes it neces- 
sary to alter it." 

He states that he will "send Captain Taylor over this evening 
to try his hand among the enemy encamped about Penny Town," 
and concludes with this significant advice : 

"If our troops were not so much worn out I would propose to your 
Excellency that about twelve hundred good men should cross over at 
Tinicum and come down upon them suddenly from the north. If 
General Lee is in their rear this would greatly cooperate with him and 
tend to disconcert their measures much. I would willingly try the ex- 
periment," and adds as a postscript, "I cannot find that any persons 
who have been among them know anything of their pontoons or that 
they are building any boats." 

Gen. Lee, with characteristic obstinacy was loitering in New 
Jersey, though Washington in his letters had repeatedly urged 
him to proceed at once to the Delaware and cross at Tinicum 
where he had provided boats for his crossing. He even sent 
Lord Sterling to Easton to look after his safe crossing, as shown 
by a letter written by Sterling from that point. He was finally 
captured by a small British force under Colonel Harcourt at 
Baskenridge on December 13, while sleeping at a tavern three 
miles outside of his lines. His command under General John 
Sullivan then immediately obeyed Washington's order, marched 
to the Delaware at Tinicum and joined the other forces in Make- 
field on December 20, in time to take part in the battle. 

DeFermoy was at Coryell's Ferry with his two regiments and 
General Greene who was Major General seems to have had no 
special command but was Washington's chief adviser and sec- 
ond in command, spent some time at Coryell's Feny. His letters 
are all dated from there, from December 15 to 24. 

"A return of the forces in the service of the States of America 
encamped and in quarters on the banks of the. Delaware in the 
State of Pennsylvania under the command of his excellency 
George Washington, Esq. Commander in Chief of all the forces 
of the United States of America, December 22, 1776" made to 
the Board of War, at that date aggregates 10,106 men. 

This list included Sullivan's command under Colonels Hitch- 
cock, Glover and McDougalls. but did not include such remnants 


of Gen. Gates' army as was able to join Washington at the last 
moment. Nor did it include the militia and volunteers. 

There is every reason to believe that the camp at Beaumonts 
included more than four regiments under the immediate com- 
mand of Lord Stirling. It was located in what is still known as 
"Camp Woods" lying between the eastern base of Bowman's 
Hill and the Delaware river and was the chief camp of the forces 
who participated in the Battle of Trenton. It was from there 
that Washington wrote a number of his official letters dated at 
"Camp above the Falls" between December 14 and 24. Here Tom 
Paine is said to have written his immortal "American Crisis" be- 
ginning with the words "These are the times that try mens 
souls" and it was read to the soldiers there. Near there are the 
only marked graves of patriot soldiers who died during the oc- 
cupation of Makefield. On December 17 Congress directed Gen- 
eral Washington to immediately order that the militia of Bucks 
and Northampton counties join him and to disarm all who refuse, 
and treat as enemies any one who attempts to oppose the execu- 
tion of this order. As a result of this order General Washing- 
ton sent out the following order to Colonels Joseph Kirkbride, 
Joseph Hart, Andrew Kachlein and Joseph Savitz, commanding 
the Bucks county militia : 

"Sir: The honourable the Council of Safety of the State of Penn- 
sylvania having by a resolve passed the 17th day of this instant, De- 
cember, authorized me to call forth the Militia of the County of Bucks 
to the assistance of the Continental Army under my command, I here- 
by require you immediately to issue orders to the Captains of your 
Regiment, to summon the officers and privates for their companies to 
meet on the 28th day of this instant, at the usual place, for their join- 
ing in battalion, vt'ith their arms and accoutrements in good order; and 
when so met, march immediately to the city of Philadelphia, and there 
put yourself under the command of Major General Putnam; and you 
are further required to make me an exact return of the name and 
places of abode of such officers and privates as refuse to appear, with 
their arms and accoutrements, at the time and place appointed, that 
they may be dealt with as the resolve above referred to directs. 

Given under my hand, at Head-Quarters, this 19th day of Decem- 
ber, 1776. 


There is no certainty as to how many local companies joined 
\\'ashington as a result of the order prior to the battle, but we 
know that several local companies did participate in the battle. 


There seem to be some doubt as to the identity of the messen- 
ger who dehvered the note of warning to Colonel Rahl, the Hes- 
sian commander at Trenton, on Christmas night, telling him that 
Washington was on the way to attack him. This messenger 
came to the house of Abraham Hunt where Colonel Rahl was 
being entertained and asked for the colonel. The negro attend- 
ant being unwilling to disturb the Colonel refused to admit him, 
whereupon the messenger hurriedly wrote a brief note with a lead 
pencil, which he asked the attendant to deliver to Colonel Rahl 
personally. This note was delivered but the Colonel being in no 
condition to trouble himself with notes, thrust the note in his 
pocket, where it was found after his death. 

General W. S. Stryker, in his Battles of Trenton and Princeton, 
page 125, says that the messenger was "a Tory farmer from Bucks 
county, Pennsylvania (whose name the German records give as 
Wall, possibly the same royalist called Mahl who had visited Col. 
Rahl a few days before." General Stryker does not make it very 
clear as to what German records he refers and it is highly im- 
probable that the note should have ever reached Germany or 
German records, and if the general really saw it he would know 
whether it was signed Wall or Mahl. Hon. Garret B. Wall, who 
was elected governor of New Jersey in 1829, is the author of 
the statement that the messenger was Moses Doan, the notorious 
leader of the Doan outlaws of Bucks county, and this story has 
been repeated by several historians who give the exact text of the 
note as follows : "Washington is coming on you down the river. 
He will be here afore long. Doan." It seems to be an estab- 
lished fact that Moses Doan was on Long Island prior to the Bat- 
tle of Long Island, and gave information to General Howe as to 
the location of Washington's army. Several historians have also 
stated that Moses and Abraham Doan were in the British camp 
at Trenton some time prior to the battle, and since it is admitted 
that Moses Doan acted as a messenger and spy in the service of 
the British officers there seems to be no reason to doubt the truth 
of the story so often reiterated that he was the messenger to 
Col. Rahl on Christmas night. 

However, many of the stories told in reference to the exploits 
of the Doans are sensational and fictitious, including a large part 
of the several pamphlets of William P. Seymour in 1853, Henry 


Marrs in 1860 and John P. Rogers about 1870, and in spite of the 
apparent authenticity of the note as above quoted, there will prob- 
ably always remain some doubt as to the identity of the mes- 

Did time permit, I would be glad to give you some account of 
the other movements of General Washington and his army in and 
through Bucks county including the encampment on the banks 
of the Neshaminy near Hartsville, August 10 to 23, 1777, when 
Howe was making his second and more successful attempt to 
seize and occupy Philadelphia. There it was that the Marquis de 
LaFayette first joined Washington's army, and there the stars and 
stripes were first unfurled before the American army. However, 
William J. Buck, the eminent historian of our county has pub- 
lished in pamphlet form an excellent history of the Camp at 
Neshatnlny and another paper on the same subject was read be- 
fore a meeting of the Pennsylvania Society, Sons of the Revolu- 
tion at their meeting held at Washington's headquarters there, 
June 20, 1903, by Charles Henry Jones, and was printed in their 
proceedings, and in separate pamphlet form. Either of these 
pamphlets can be seen in any good historical library, including 
that of the Bucks County Historical Society. 

In concluding, I want to urge upon the \\'ashington Crossing 
Park Commission the importance of their securing permanent 
ownership of the site of the "encampment at Beaumont's" in- 
cluding the camp-woods where Lord Sterling and other forces of 
Washington's army were encamped for two weeks prior to the 
Battle of Trenton, and from where they marched on Christmas 
Day to this point to cross the Delaware and attack the Hessians. 
This ownership should include the site of the graves of the pa- 
triot soldiers on the bank of the Delaware and the old Thompson 
house fast falling into decay, where Lord Stirling had his head- 
quarters ; where Tom Paine wrote his immortal American Crisis; 
where \\'ashington penned some of the most important letters of 
that trying time in the struggle for American independence. 

Outside of their historical association the house and adjoin- 
ing barns are types of Colonial architecture now rapidly disap- 
pearing and should be preserved. The original mill where the 
food was ground for the use of the army had doubtless passed 
away but the old mill on the same site represents the original and 
should be preserved. 

A Lost Stoveplate Inscription. 

(Doylestown Meeting-, January 21, 1922.) 

SINCE The Bible in Iron was written in 1914, several new 
facts have come to light, concerning the history of the ancient 
cast iron decorated stoves of the Pennsylvania-Germans, 
among others the following : 

The two stoveplates here shown are from our museum, and 
the little one (Figure 1), with the upper left hand corner broken 
ofif, No. 96, in The Bible in Iron, will always have a peculiar in- 
terest for me, because it was the first stoveplate that our society 
ever possessed, if not the first that I ever saw. Patrick Trainor 
gave it to General Davis, probably before 1897, and for a long 
time it stood in our old congested museum, in the Farm Bureau 
Room at the courthouse in Doylestown, at which time I knew no 
more about it than did General Davis. 

With a good deal of difficulty, I made out that the inscription, 
in German, was quoted from Romans XII-21, in Luther's Bible, 
translated "Be not overcome of Evil," lacking the keyword of 
the sentence, "overcome ;" also that the initials S. F. stood for the 
old Berks county ironmaster, Samuel Flower. The date 1756 
was plain, but the feature of intereset was the design that 
showed me for the first time the emblematic holy flower garden, 
seen under the arches of a cloister, so common on stove- 
plates. Above all, the mysterious circle of rays of light, sup- 
ported on legs forming the heads and the fore feet of sheep, 
and enclosing symbolic flowers, which puzzled the late Dr. 
Sachse, Rev. Dr. J. B. Stout, many Lutheran ministers, several 
foreign antiquaries. Dr. Beck, author of the History of Iron, and 
the late noted mediaeval student, Dr. Haefner Von Alteneck of 
Munich, and which from that time to this, has remained an un- 
solved enigma. But as this singular pattern does not concern my 
story, and as it was by no means confined to this plate, but ap- 
peared on dozens of others, I pass it by. 

Besides, by the time I had described and illustrated this S. F. 
plate in The Bible in Iron, it had become very common. We 

Figui-L' 1 

(Bible in Iron, No. 96.) 


Figure 12 

(Bible in Iron, No. 102.) 


found another pair of S. F. plates, also dated 1756, inscribed 
"Ji-idge not that ye be not judged," from Matthew VII-1, Luther's 
Bible (Bible in Iron, Nos. 98 and 99), so much like this, as to be 
easily confused with it. Bucks county seemed full of these little 
patterns, so much so, that it appeared either that Samuel Flower 
must have sent many wagon loads into this region to vmdersell 
Durham Furnace, or that if , as Mr. Ely has recently learned, Flow- 
er had become part owner of Durham at that time, he might 
have cast these stoves, not at Reading, but at Durham, and sold 
them here in its neighborhood. At last we found several end 
plates which completed the inscription, so that we were able to 
set up and exhibit three entire stoves of this design. In fact, the 
pattern had appeared so frequently, that by the time the eighteen 
duplicates of it, now in our museum, had come into our posses- 
sion, one by one, I had grown tired of it. 

The large plate Figure 2, (No. 102 in Bible in Iron), called 
"The Raging Year," presents a very different case. It first came 
to my notice in 1897, when upon the information of Mr. I. J. 
Stover, of New Britain, I found it lying as a gutter bridge or 
path-pavement close to the house of Mrs. Anna Hofifman near 
New Britain. It is larger than Figure 1, but shows the same 
general pattern, the same cloistered flower garden, the same 
mysterious halo or aureole with sheeps' legs above noticed, and 
the same date, 1756, but the great interest of this specimen is, 
and has long been, its inscription, in German, translated — "This 
is the year in which rages — " \A^hat did it mean? What rages? 
A storm, a pestilence, or Indians, in 1756? By the help of 
Cruden's Concordance, I searched the Bible, wrote many letters, 
and consulted many authorities, but in vain. The missing end 
plate, if we could have found it, would have finished the inscrip- 
tion, but no such plate appeared. There were other plates walled 
up in the kitchen of the Hofifman house, but they were tops and 
bottoms, and therefore blanks. I illustrated the unique relic 
soon after, in my first small pamphlet on the subject, — "Deco- 
rated Stove Plates of the Pennsylvania Germans," written in 

Then we found a duplicate side plate in the smoking room of 
Mr. Luckenbach, at Bethlehem, but still no end plate. By the 
time I wrote TJw Bible in Iron, 1914, I believed it to be one 



of the rarest plates in the whole collection, and refrained from 
discussing the meaning of its mysterious inscription, as to which 
I was as much in the dark as ever. Why was this stove so very 
rare, I wondered. Were the wooden moulds broken or lost at 
the start, at the ancient furnace (Durham perhaps), that cast it? 
or was there anything about the inscription that was false or 
that would not bear repeating? Did the furnace only make it 
during one year 1756, that it commemorated? I left the solu- 
tion of these questions to chance, and at last ceased to concern 
myself about them. 

Eighteen years passed. Then another duplicate side plate ap- 
peared under the following interesting circumstances. 

Mr. A. H. Rice, dealer in antiquities, at Bethlehem, who had at 
that time become an active collector of stoveplates, suddenly 
informed me that he had found a very old deserted and ruinous 
house in upper Bucks county, between Pleasant Valley and Rich- 
landtown, from which one of the ancient jamb or five plate stoves 
had been recently removed, that the hole in the wall which had 
enclosed the stove still stood in its original condition, and that 
there were several persons still living in the neighborhood, Avho 
had seen the stove in use. I immediately, by telephone, arranged 

Figure 6 

A. The Lost End Plate. B. The Side Plate. C. The Stove Leg. D. The 
Postament. E. The Stove-hole in the Wall. F. The Flue. G. The Kitchen 
Fireplace. H. The Chimney. I. The Lintel Beam. 

Figure 3 

The jamb stove-hole is shown in its original doorless condition in the 
lower right corner at A. The stove-flue opening, in very dark shadow 
under B. (Made from a very poor photograph.) 


an expedition, and a few days later, with Mr. W. E. Montague, 
Mr. W. B. Montague, Mr. A. H. Rice, as guide, and Mr. F. 
K. Swain, with a camera, visited the place in motor cars. The 
house turned out to he the Home (previously Reasor or Reeser) 
house, in which the late noted Pennsylvania-German scholar, Dr. 
A. R. Home, had been born, described in General Davis's History 
as one of the oldest dwellings in northern Bucks county, and which 
as Mr. \y. S. Ely has recently proved, may have been built in 

The ancient stone smoke-stack, 6 feet wide by 10 feet long at 
the base, laid in clay mortar, and tapering upwards through the 
garret floor and roof of the building, divided the ground floor into 
two rooms, the kitchen on the east, and the stove-room entered 
by a door to the left of the smoke-stack on the west. The great 
cooking fireplace built into the smoke-stack, and opening upon 
the kitchen, had an opening 7 feet 8 inches wide by 5 feet 3 inches 
high. It was 38 inches deep and had a wooden oaken champered 
lintel 22 inches high by 14 inches thick, with a moulding planed 
on its lower face corner. The stone wall back of the fireplace was 
vertical and here we found in the lower right hand corner the 
ancient stove-hole, 17 inches wide, 13 inches high to the crown 
of arch, and 11 inches high at its sides, 15>^ inches above the 
hearth, 24 inches from the right jamb (A Figure 3). This stove- 

1 W^arren S. Ely has discovered that Joseph Unthank purchased the prop- 
erty by patent from John Penn, Thomas Penn and Richard Penn, Patent 
Book A, Vol. II, page 334, February 14, 1743. Also that Unthank held a 
Quaker Meeting in a house then standing upon this land according to- 
minutes of Richland Monthly Meeting of Friends, "On 2nd month 1743 the- 
Friends in Springfield were granted to hold meeting at the houses of Joseph 
Unthank and John Dennis for a period of six months. This was annually 
renewed until 1755 when Joseph Unthank, being about to remove to North 
Carolina, the meeting, previously held at his house, was ordered to be held', 
at Thomas Adamson's on the adjoining farm."' Finally that according to 
Deed Book 165, p. 583, Unthank sold the property to Abraham Reiser, a. 
German IMennonite, on May 1, 1755. 

From the above it might appear that the house now (1922) standing on: 
the property was the house in which the Quaker Meeting was held in 1743.. 
On the other hand the house, now standing, is built in the old German style, 
with the chimney not set against one of the gables in the English style, but 
in the middle of the structure, and it seems very improbable that Unthank, 
who could have found no house standing on the premises when he bought 
the land in 1734, and who was an English Quaker, would have built a house 
in this German manner. Second, the chimney now standing was constructed 
in the first place for a German jamb stove, a kind of warming apparatus 
that was probably unfamiliar to Unthank. Third, the jamb stove as original- 
ly built into this chimney was dated 1756, and lastly because Reiser, who 
was a German Mennonite, and familiar with such stoves, bought the property 
in 1755, it is not likely that he would have discarded any possible earlier 
stove then standing against the fireplace. Therefore we may reasonably 
suppose that the "Raging Year Stove,'' traced to this house, was the first 
stove ever used in it, and that Reiser built the house, now standing, either 
in 1756, or the following year. See also Old Houses in Bucks County by 
H. C. Mercer, Manuscript Vol. T, 1313. 1 to 11. 


hole penetrated the wall of the smoke-stack back of the fire, and 
opened into the room beyond, called the stove-room. (See E Fig- 
ure 6.) Eighteen inches over the center of this stove-hole in the 
fireplace, was a small hole 5 inches high by 4 inches wide, which 
as we found, passed entirely through the wall above the stove- 
hole,, dipping slightly downward, so as to enter the wall in the 
stove room, about 11 inches above the stove-hole, which smaller 
hole I took to be a smoke passage made to increase the draught 
of the stove. At this point, namely on the stove-room side of 
the wall, what we saw was still more interesting. This was a 
rim or projection, called the 'Testament," in the German stove 
books, built of stones laid in clay, 3 feet 7 inches wide, by 4 feet 
4 inches high, and extending outward from the wall 11>4 inches 
(Figure 4 and DD Figure 6.) This projection or abutment en- 
circled a square hole for the insertion of a stove — 21^ inches 
wide by 28>^ inches high, and 10 inches above the floor, which 
hole we found walled up as if after the removal of the stove 
that had fit it. We pulled out this temporary wall, so as to 
reveal ,the inside of the postament and the end of the stove- 
hole proper, which latter was here of the same size as it was 
in the fireplace (E Figure 6), arched on the top, and too 
small to fit any stove, but the bottom of which coincided with 
the bottom of the postament hole. (Figure 5.) The stove there- 
fore under discussion, had not been thrust or walled into this 
original hole in the wall, but had been held in place entirely by 
the postament, which we found was not a part of the original wall, 
but had been built against it, and was now sagging away from it, 
leaving a wide crack, and which, therefore, might have been 
built of any size to fit any stove. After observing these facts we 
found to our great surprise, that this heavy postament was built 
directly upon the now rotting wooden floor of the room, without 
any continuous pier to support it in the cellar, and we finally 
convinced ourselves that this particular floor was not in its 
original condition, but had been raised after the building was 
constructed, and as we concluded, about the year 1800, when a 
new wang had been added to the house. This proved that the 
postament, as we saw it, had replaced a still older one, and that 
in raising the floor and rebuilding this postament, the old stove 
must have been taken down and set up again. (See Figure 6.) 

Figure 4 

Showing postament witli hole walled up. 


Before and after making these measurements, we found, ques- 
tioned, or heard of several persons in the neighborhood, who had 
seen or used the old stove in place, as follows : 

a — Mrs. Mary Ann Walp, who had used the stove in 1851. 

b & c — James and Henry Home, who, as boys, lived in the house. 

d — Mrs. Rhinehardt, sister of the Home brothers. 

e — Samuel S. Moyer, who saw the stove in place seventy years be- 
fore when coming to the place to make cider. 

f — Dr. J. J. Ott, of Pleasant Valley, who saw the stove in position in 
1896, and had remeinbered it for twenty years before. 

g — Mrs. Foulke, of Richlandtown, who had lived in the house thirty- 
five years before when the stove was standing. 

h — Thomas H. Wieder, 318 North Ave., Warren, Ohio, who saw the 
stove in place in 1868. 

It appeared from the evidence of these witnesses here given in 
full in a foot note,- without correction, as originally written 

- a. Inf. Mrs. Mary Ann Walp, of Richlandtown, seen by us that day at a 
quilting party at her daughters in Quakertown, Pa. Used by Mrs. Walp 
64 years ago. Long sticks used and as burned out pushed them in. She is 
sure there were iron legs, not sure of design. Sure they were not of pottery. 
Not sure about any bolts from top to bottom. Her brother, Amandus Fluke, 
of Quakertown, her sister, Elizabeth Benner, Pleasant Valley, 80 years, her 
sister Lidy Ann Gross, Lower Richland, 75 or 65 saw it. 

The stove was in use 58 years ago. She is now 73 years old and was 9 
years when she went there, and stayed there * years, or 15 years old when 
she left. Mrs. Benner is the oldest. She lives with her son, Tillman Ben- 
ner, an undertaker, at Pleasant Valley. 

b. Mr. James Home. Came to Home House. We saw him later at Mrs. 
Rheinhardt's. Remembers seeing the stove at the Foulke house, w^hitewashed, 
also saw the bolt but thinks there were two bolts on stove. Also one 
wooden leg, bucket shape made of plank 2 inches thick, 1 foot wide. Don't 
remember using it. He and brother used to jump up on stove with no legs 
under it. A rod ran back into fireplace with a pin to hold stove in place. 

c. Inf. of Mr. Henry Home — Seen at Mrs. Rheinhardt's house — Says that 
a long bolt ran horizontally from fireplace side through postament across 
top of stove so as to meet top of bolt on end plate at its top and that this 
had a wedge slip on fireplace side and also that similar bolt ran out at 
bottom of stove to fireplace. 

d. Inf. of Mrs. Rheinhardt. Visited her at her house on main road be- 
tween Home house and Pleasant Valley. Wall was larger at one time. Mrs. 
Rheinhardt's father (Reuben Home) renewed half of wall extending to left 
towards wooden pannelling. She remembers 32 years ago that her father 
used stove to warm room in winter. Johnson Yerkes, formerly reporter 
South Bethlehem Globe, used to come to house. Her brother slept in room 
when stove was used. Formerly used for working butter and storing milk. 
One plate taken by Thomas Wieder, Warren, Ohio, which was cracked — 
used over a well. Her father took stove apart. 

e. Inf. Mr. Samuel S. Moyer. Seen at the house. He saw the stove as a 
boy in its natural state about 70 years ago, when coming to make cider. 
Does not remember seeing legs under stove. 

f. Dr. Ott of Pleasant Valley, who met us at the house, saw stove in 
position from 1876 to 1896 and had frequently seen it before in position for 
20 years earlier. When seen no legs and whitewashed. Weight of wall pre- 
vented falling of stove. The room in which stove protruded was used as a 
junk room. The house is built of stone, walls are laid in clay mortar and 
very heavily whitewashed. Ceiling beams are sawed and lathed with lath 
heavily plastered. Floor above 15 inch boards — two wall closets in room, 
an old shelf and part of wall jianeled on side of fireplace. House is rotting. 
The postament had not been built at time of construction of fireplace. Later 
constructed showing crack between it and the wall. The original opening in 
postament for insertion of stove is now (August, 1915) walled up. Rev. 
A. R. Home owned house when stove was in position. He sold it to James 


down by us, that the stove had been in regular use from 1850 to 
1876 ; that very long sticks reaching through the wall from 
the fireplace side and sometimes with their ends resting upon 
chairs, had been used to heat the stove; that after the death 
of Dr. Home's mother in 1876, and the sale of the house, the 
stove had fallen into disuse, but had remained standing, and 
whitewashed like the walls, until about 1896, when it was pulled 
down. We further learned that as late as 1851, the stove was 
raised on iron legs, but later rested on a wooden prop, sawed 
out of a two inch plank, one foot wide, at the top, and some- 
what less at the bottom ; that finally the legs had disappeared 
and the stove had projected from the postament, entirely with- 
out legs ; and th^t either one or two long iron bolts running along 
the top and bottom of the stove, from fastenings upon its end 
plate, back through the wall and into the fireplace on the kitchen 
side, had at last served to hold the stove in position without legs. 
During our investigations, Mr. Rice, who had been hunting 
stoveplates, found a duplicate of the "Raging Year" plate (Fig- 
ure 2) at a neighboring farm house, which I then bought for the 
museum, without connecting it in any way with our researches 
at the Hofne house. Meanwhile, in examining the ashes of the 
kitchen fire place, we found several fragments either of the plate 
illustrated in Figure 1, namely the S. F. of 1756 "Be not over- 
come of Evil" or of the other S. F. of the same date, "Judge not." 
This last discovery seemed to rob the expedition of much of its 
interest, for notwithstanding the fact that Mrs. Foulke had said 
that she remembered seeing these fragments in the ashes when 
the original stove was in place (See note 2), I was convinced 
either that she was mistaken, or that these pieces represented 
burnt out and replaced parts of the original stove, for which as 

Shelley of Richland, Pa. Shelley sold to Reuben Home. The latter tore out 
stove about ZO years ago. Then Dr. Ott bought it of Home, and neglected 
to take it away. 

g. Mrs. Foulke, whom we visited at her home in Richlandtown, had lived 
in the Home house. Saw the jamb stove standing but not in use. The five 
plates of the stove now in possession of Dr. Ott, Pleasant Valley. Two left 
side plates of "Judge Not' were lying in the fireplace as pavement in 
August, 1915. Mrs. Foulke remembers the stove protruding into room back 
of fireplace, so built into wall that a ledge or butment or shelf extended 
over it and down side upon which shelf clock, jugs and various objects were 
placed. She says that she was told that long sticks of wood were used in 
firing stove and pushed in, long ends of which would rest on chair or other 
object, but she does not remember what kind of legs under stove. Mrs. 
Foulke don't remember any iron door on fireplace side. She remembers date 
1756 on stove. 

At that time stove was whitewashed. Dr. Ott of Pleasant Valley pulled 
the stove down. In winter time used as sleeping room where stove was. 

Figure 5 


Showing podtament after removal of walled up stove-hole. 


the commonest of all the stoves found in Bucks county, I had 
long, since, as before remarked, lost interest. 

So much for our tirst visit to the Home house. Our notes 
and photographs, coming too late for insertion in The Bible in 
Iron, had established some interesting facts as to the construc- 
tion and use of the ancient stoves, but we had found no new- 
plate or inscription of interest. 

Three more years had passed, when in the summer of 1918, I 
began the investigation of the architectural remains of Bucks 
county, namely: houses, barns, wells, springhouses. caves, etc 
embodied in five volumes of manuscript notes, now in the library 
of our museum. These researches brought us again to the Home 
house. We photographed it, studied the old and new wings, ex- 
amined all the doors, latches, hinges, staircases, floors, rafters, 
windows, etc., and came to the conclusion that the old wing 
was built about 1756. and that the new wing was added about 
1800 (See note 1). But the building, although recently roofed 
by its then owner, Dr. Brown, of Cambridge, Mass., owing to 
the weakness of its clay laid walls, was as we saw in very bad 
condition, and must soon, unless reinforced in some way. fall 
to the ground. Its great historical interest induced by friend, 
Mr. R. P. Hommel, of Lehigh University, Bethlehem, to buy 
it in 1921, and begin the work (interrupted by his present ab- 
sence in China) of restoring and saving it. Then it was, 
that our first thought, after propping the walls and boarding 
up the doors and windows, was to restore the stove, so that 
one house at least would exist in Pennsylvania, showing one of 
these ancient stoves still in its original position, and still in use, 
when Air. Hommel chose to build a fire in it. At this point, 
my special story, interrupted by these digressions, again begins. 

\\'hat had become of the five original plates? It was desirable 
to find them if possible, but in this connection I remembered that 
there was some difficulty in the original notes as to Dr. Ott's evi- 
dence. Had he or had he not removed them from the premises? 
Unfortunately he had died in the meantime, but we visited his 
widow at Pleasant Valley, and wdien she told us that she was 
certain that her husband had never brought the plates home, 
and when no sign of them appeared in her barn, wood house, or 
out buildings, we gave up the search, but were not discouraged. 


because I had just found (through the help of Mr. Montague), 
in Berks county, a complete example of this S. F. stove, which 
would do almost as well for the restoration as the original itself. 
Just as we were about to bring this Berks county stove to the 
place, it occurred to me to write to Mr. Wieder of Warren, Ohio, 
who according to Mrs. Rhinehardt, had carried off one of the 
original plates, and might have them all. His answers to my 
letters, however, (See foot note 3) entirely upset our restoration 
project, for although he told us that he had not taken any of the 
plates away with him, he proved by sending us a drawing of 
one of the original sides, which he had copied on the spot, that 
we had been working upon the wrong stove, and that the stove 
as seen by Mr. Wieder, and which originally stood in the old 


3 I am 67 years old. I lived with David Home one winter, in 1868, in the 
brick house on the same farm. This old house was the first farm house, 
man by the name of Reaser used to own it. He had one daughter. She 
was born 1798. David L. Home born 1813 was married to this only daughter 
of Reaser. They were the parents of Abraham Home the only son, a highly 
educated man who died at Allentown a few years ago. This David Ij. Hoi'iie 
built the brick house after he was too old to work the farm. The people 
that used to work the farm used to live in the old house after David Home 
died, 1868, or rather his widow, 1876. Reuben Home bought the old house 
with a small acreage of ground to it while he lived there after 1876. 

This stove was taken down by him and I used to see the plates lay around 
the yard. It must have been there that they had one to cover a well. There 
were five plates, two sides, top, and bottom, and back end. The back end 
was held together with two long bolts, the front end was built in the wall. 
This old part of the house, I am sure. Mrs. David L. Home told me, was 
built when the stove was put up in 17 56. The new part wa.s built around 
1800. or not far from it. I remember quite well how the old house looked 
inside. Big cider press back of the house or on the back side rather. A big 
log barn about 100 feet away from the house towards Pleasant Valley and 
a big wagon shed with corn crib on one side. I just remember how the 
whole thing looked like in 1868. I make trips out that way every year. 
Last summer I missed to call around Springfield. All my people are dead 
that used to live around there. Three of Reuben Homes sons are living yet. 
They ought to be able to tell a whole lot about the place. Let me know if 
you intend to make new plates to put this stove back. If I was there I could 
tell you very near how large it was in the room. It used to make a lot of 
heat but had to go out into the kitchen to see the fire. 

That inscription on the plate I tried hard to find out what it means, but 
was unable to find out. I could send you the corner I broke off and you 
could see how heavy the plates were. There weren't many foundries in the 
United States to make plates those days. Have a few Indian relics that 
were found around there and quite a few old stories that the old people told 
me happened when they were young. Things have changed wonderful since 
then. In 1835 the snow was so deep that they couldn't see the fences, they 
could driv the horses over the top, drive in any direction. In the spring of 
1868 the sky was so full of chicken hawks for two days that the sun couldn't 
shine through, when nobody knew where they came from or where they 
went to. The same year the stars dropped so bad some people got scared, 
of course I was one of them. 

There used to be an old land turtle on that farm it had the date cut on 
its belly, before 1800, I seen it once. I often wonder if its there yet. An 
old schoolhouse used to stand close to the house where you seen Mrs. Rein- 
hart She is dead. Died with the flue. The big Weierbacks boys of those 
days used to go to Sunday school, also Joe and Charles Mumbaur. It was 
also the place where Abraham Home learned his first lesson. I seen this 
schoolhouse before it was torn down. Mrs. David L. Home used to tell me 
some great things that happened in this schoolhouse. I guess I better stop 


Horne house, was not at all the S. F. of 1756 (Figure 1) but 
the "Raging Year" of 1756. (Figure 2) "Dis ist das air darin 
witet." He wrote the words very clearly, so that there could be no 
mistake about the well-remembered inscription. The stove, 
therefore, that we wanted was not one of the commonest but one 
of the rarest ones yet known, to which no end plate had ever 
been found. No restoration of it was possible, so I dismissed 
the plan from my mind, and turned back again to the old riddle 
suggested by the letter of the lost meaning of the broken words, 
and wrote again to this one man alive, namely Mr. Wieder, who 
I thought could solve it. I addressed him in polite terms, about 
as follows : 

"My dear Friend: 

Your inscription is all very well, but there is not enough of it. Where 
is the rest of it? Why did you not take down what you saw on the 
end plate, which would have completed the sentence?" 

Mr. Wieder wrote back (contradicting his note No. 3) to the 
eflfect that the stove had already been pulled down and was in 
pieces when he copied the inscription, and that there was no end 
plate. He had brought no plate to Ohio, but only a little broken 
corner which he had carried off as a memento, and sent by sepa- 
ate enclosure to me with his letter. \\'as he right? If not. it then 
occurred to me for the first time that a measurement of the 
stove-hole in the postament at the Horne house would settle the 
question, but when a few days later, Mr. Hommel, went there to 
take the dimensions, he found that in the meantime the whole 
postament, weakened by our removal of the wall which had 
masked its opening, had crumbled down and lay in ruins upon 
the floor. Fortunately, however, our obscure pencil notes, in the 
original note book, giving the dimensions, were still legible, and 

till I hear from you again. You might think I was trying to write a book 
about Springfield. Of course I love Springfield. I spent my boyhood days 
there. Rev. Bert Hottle was a school mate of mine. 
Yours truly. 


318 North Avenue, 

Warren, Ohio. 

Warren, Ohio, Aug. 11, 1920. 

I got your letter asking about the old wall stove at the Horne house. 
Yes, I warmed myself at this stove more than once in the winter of 1868. 
I am going to Sprinfield in a very short time and if you were there I could 
tell you a whole lot about that place. I could write to you the time I will 
be there and you could come there then I could explain all I knew. Let me 
know about it. I guess I am the only living person that knows about it. 



they proved that the S. F. stove, which we had been considering, 
was altogether too small for the postament hole, but that the 
Raging Year stove (Figure 2) fitted it exactly. Mr. Wieder was 
right, and my own hasty conclusions in 1915 wrong. 

Mr. Wieder's letters had been interesting, as fixing the identity 
of the stove, but he had missed its front plate and as far as the 
meaning of its mysterious inscription as shown on figure 2 was 
concerned, he had told us nothing. 

Just as I was about to again dismiss the subject from my mind, 
another glimmer of light, somewhat in the nature of a "will-o- 
the-wisp," was thrown upon our researches by Mr. Hommel, 
who, not long before his departure for China, discovered an 
obituary notice of Dr. A. R. Home in the National Educator of 
Allentown, Pa., for January, 1903 (See note 4) which after de- 
scribing the Home house and supposing that it had been built 
partly for defense against the Indians, said that the latter fact 
was evidenced by an inscription on an old stoveplate in the 
house, which read — "Dies is das Jahr die Inchen war, 1764," 
meaning by literal translation — "This is the year the Indians 
were," or the year of the Indian attack. The old puzzle resur- 
rected by Mr. Wieder, rose before me, and for a moment the 
solution seemed within reach. The newspaper was wrong, yet 
right. The sentence quoted by the writer could not have been 
invented. The date was wrong, and the inscription followed the 
original, only in part. It gave the meaning commemorating the 
French and Indian War of 1756, but with impossible words. 
One of which however stuck in my memory, the curious term 
"Inchen," the Pennsylvania German for Indian, and used, I re- 
membered in connection with the "Hilltown Busts," described by 

* National Educator, Allentown, Pa., Jan., 1903. 

From obituary of Rev. A. R. Home, D.D. 

He was born March 24, 1834, on the family homestead, in Springfield town- 
ship, Bucks county, as a son of David L. Home and his wife, Mary, a 
bom Reasor. On both father and mother's side he was descended from the 
Pennsylvania Germans, a race that has helped to make Pennsylvania what 
it is today. His grandfather, Abraham Reasor, an early settler in Spring- 
field township, possessed 184 acres of land, located on Cook's creek. The 
one story part of the old house bears the date of 1843. In 1760 John and 
Thomas Penn conveyed to him 150 additional acres. This property has re- 
mained in the family, therefore, for more than 150 years. The house is still 
standing and is the oldest in the township. Its thick walls show that it 
dates back to the time when the woods resounded with the war whoop of 
the Indian, and that it was not only intended for shelter, but also for de- 
fence. That such it had been is evidenced by the inscription on an old 
stove plate which read: "Dies is das Jahr die Inchen war, 1764." meaning 
by a literal translation, "This is the year the Indians were,' or the year of 
the Indian attack. 


Rev. Dengler, in our Proceedings, Vol. II, page 634. As at this 
ignis fatitus any further research seemed hopeless, I again tried 
to drop the subject from my thoughts, though without knowing 
it, it appeared that I had got too deely involved to escape. An- 
other year passed, when, one night, the telephone bell rang. Mr. 
A. H. Rice was calling from Bethlehem. He had found a re- 
markable end stove-plate near Brownsburg, Pa., with an inscrip- 
tion upon it, that had bafifled all his Pennsylvania-German friends, 
who, one after the other, had come to see it day after day, in his 
store, and tried in vain, to decipher it. He would sell it for 
twelve dollars. "Send it down," I said, and he sent it. There it 
is. Figure 7. It came one afternoon, and I began working upon 
it that night, with a student's lamp. The inscription appeared to 
be entirely new. As you see, it is badly rusted, but when I saw 
the last word SCHAF (meaning sheep) I was again misled, 
for I thought I had at last found a clue to the sheep's 
head design, on so many of the plates, which, as I have said, had 
defied elucidation for the last twenty-five years. Yet how could 
this be solved in three words? For there were only three upon 
the plate. I turned to the preceding word, the last syllable of 
which you see is "schin," with the preceding letters rusted away. 
What could schin mean? I held the lamp up and down at va- 
rious angles; went back to my study, hunted (in vain) through 
the Bible concordance and my German dictionaries, and without 
being a German scholar, concluded that there was no word in the 
whole German language ending in the syllable schin. The first 
word of the plate was gone altogether, as you see. 

Up to this point, the relic had in no way connected itself 
either with the Home house, Mr. Wieder, or the lost inscription 
on Figure 2 which is the subject of my paper. 

It was getting late. I was burning the midnight oil, and I felt 
a headache coming on, but one more look at the schin. And then, 
out of the "lumber room of memory," suddenly flashed the word 
Inschin, suggested, no doubt, by the Allentown newspaper article. 
A good old Pennsylvania-German word, but phonetic, of course, 
therefore, in no dictionary. A thing for the ear, not the eye. 
No wonder it defied Mr. Rice's friends. With it rose up recol- 
lections, now a year old, of the Home house, and the long lost 
meaning of the mysterious sentence on the Raging Year plate. 


(Figure 2). Here it was at last. But stop, what of the final 
word schaff The Allentown writer had it zvar. But he was 
wrong? His zv was certainly sch. Still — schaf — sheep — Indian 
sheep — nonsense ! The Indian had nothing to do with sheep. 
The sheep is a European animal brought here by the white man. 
"Go to bed, my friend," said I to myself, "you are in bad con- 
dition, you will be awake all night." One more guess. The 
final F. The Allentown man makes it R. Suppose he is right. 
Suppose the upper loop and lower tail of an original R has 
been rusted away here so that this apparent F is no F but 
R — then — SCHAR. The well known, clean cut, simple 
German word struck me like a bullet. It means in EngHsh, 
host, war-band, or war-party. At last, I had found it, after 
twenty-five years. Thus, by means of the only end plate ever 
heard of, the long lost meaning came. 1756 was a bad year, one 
of the years of the French and Indian War, the year in which 
General Braddock was defeated, the year in which the Indians, 
after slaying their own brethren, at Gnadenhutten, attacked the 
Bethlehem stockade, terrorized the Lehigh valley, scalped, and 
killed in their own fashion, all the white men within their reach. 
One of the mould-carvers, perhaps at Durham Furnace, thought 
he would commemorate this terrible year with this stove. DIS 
translated — "This is the year in which rages the Indian War 

At last I lit a candle, blew out the student's lamp, and went 
to bed. 

Just as this paper was going- to press, a singular sequence to the above 
narrative has occurred. On August 20, 1926, Mr. Joseph B. Sanford de- 
scribed to me (over the telephone) the side plate of the Raging Year stove, 
cast with a circular top, i. e. transformed into a fireback, just found by him, 
walled in the back of a jiarlor fireplace in an old farmhouse once owned by 
the late Hon. Hampton W. Rice, about two miles north of Paxsons Corner 
in Solebury Township. To my knowledge no such altered stoveplate-fireback 
had yet appeared, and I supposed the specimen to be a recent recast made 
by some modern artistic tenant of the house. I therefore visited the house 
on August 27th. with Mr. Sanford, when we learned from the present tenant, 
Mr. Francis C. Pitting, that the fireplace, opened by him, had been walled 
up over the plate many years before the days of artistic tenants, jDrobably 
about 1850-70, that the house was built before 1776, and that an old neigh- 
borhood-tradition, vouched for a vista cut through intervening woods to per- 
mit signalling in ca.«e of an Indian attack. This eleventh-hour unique relic 
is therefore the chief plate of the Raging Year stove, cast into a fireback, to 
commemorate the Indian terror of 1756. W^as it cast for general sale to the 
threatened pioneers by the same furnace that cast the stove? But why in 
German in Engh.sh-settled Solebury? V^hy was the inscription not completed 
when the pattern was re-shaped? Does it substantiate the forest-signal 
tradition of fear in lower Bucks County, when real danger only existed in 
what was then upper Bucks County, namely about Bethlehem and the 
Minisinks, in 1756? 

Figure 7 


(The lost end Plate.) 
Museum No. 17947. 

The Making of Felt Hats. 

(Doylestown Meeting-, January 21, 1922.) 

SOME kind of covering for the head, either for defense or 
ornament, appears to have been generally worn in all ages 
and countries where the inhabitants have made any progress 
in the arts of civilized life. Hats may be of many different ma- 
terials, shapes, sizes and colors and in fact are as numerous in 
kind as are the various divisions and subdivisions of mankind. 
An attempt to give the history of the hat would require a volume 
in itself. It is only hats made of fur worked into a compact mass 
known as felt that I intend to discuss. Even in this connection, 
the method of producing the material will be dealt with alone, to 
the entire exclusion of any effort to enlarge upon the forms of 
headgear into which this felted fur might be worked. 

The whole process of making felt, whether for hats or other 
purposes, is based upon conditions which result from the matting 
together and- intimate adhesion of certain animal fibres that are 
so marked as to fit them for felting. On examination under a 
strong miscroscope the hairs, or filaments of wool, appear ser- 
rated or covered with jagged edges overlaping each other in a 
manner resembling that of the scales of a fish. On this condition 
of the hair lies the foundation of felting. In hat making the furs 
most generally used are, beaver, rabbit and hare, seal, mole, and 
sometimes, lambs' wool. 

In felting any of these materials together, the first object of 
the workman is to obtain the most complete separation of the 
fibres, and to dispose a layer of them in every possible direction 
with regard to each other ; this is effected by means of bowing. 
The fur is first well washed, carded and thoroughly dried. The 
"stock" or amount of fur necessary to make the desired hat is 
weighed out and placed on an enclosed bench called a "hurl" or 
"hurdle", about three feet high by five feet long and four feet 
deep. Tvn^o sides of this bench are divided from the next work- 
man by partitions running from the floor to the ceiling, the back 
is formed by the side of the main building and the front is open 


for the workman to stand before and operate the bow. These 
partitions are placed to keep out as much air as possible because 
after the fur has been bowed for some time it becomes so light 
that a pufif of wind would blow some of it away. Each bench 
or hurdle is lighted by a small window in the wall of the main 
building and the rear of the hurdle. In each hurdle the bow is 
suspended by a stout cord from the ceiling. This bow is a strong 
pole seven feet long by two inches in diameter, to which are 
fixed two bridges, the upper one, nearest the window, called the 
"cock", and the lower one, nearest the workman, the "breech". 
The cock is a quarter round piece of wood seven inches by six 
inches wide ; the breech is a rectangular piece of wood eleven 
inches long by seven inches wide. Over these bridges, the cock 
and the breech, is stretched a piece of catgut in the same manner 
as a string on a vioiln bow. This string is plucked by a "bow- 
pin", a small stick six to seven inches long with a knob at each end. 

The workman, with his allowance of fur or stock on the hurdle 
before him, grasps the bow horizontally with his left hand, plac- 
ing the bow-string near the right hand edge of the material and 
gives it a pluck with the bow-pin. The string immediately flies 
back amongst the fur, scattering a part before it to a distance 
proportioned to the force with which it was pulled. By re- 
peated strokes the whole is thus subjected to the bow; and this 
bowing is continued until all the filaments of each hair are per- 
fectly opened and dilated, and having thus fallen, together in all 
possibe directions, form a thin fluffy mass about three feet long 
by eighteen inches wide and some three to four inches thick. The 
quantity thus treated is called a "batt". 

When the batt is sufficiently bowed it is covered with a large 
piece of soft leather. The workman, taking the "basket", con- 
sisting of sixteen very light, open, straight bars of wood, joined 
together by three heaver transvere bars, the central one of which 
is somewhat higher than the other two to form a grip for the 
workman, the whole sixteen inches long by fifteen inches wide, 
presses gently and with a slight sliding motion over this leather 
and the batt of fur underneath to make it mat together sufficient 
for him to handle. Then he removes the leather and carefully 
folds the batt into two or four folds (called "crozes" in Bethel, 
Connecticut), and following a pattern, according to the form of 


hat desired, he trims with a smaU short bladed knife or pulls 
away with his fingers the part not needed so that when he 
opens it out he has two or four triangular pieces. These he 
takes next to a kettle of hot water to be sized or felted together. 
This kettle (called by the hatters of Danbury and Bethel, Con- 
necticut, a "steamboat kettle", or a "sizing kettle"), is a large 
copper or brass kettle, permanently erected on a brick or stone 
flue, with an interior, circular compartment, open at the bottom 
except for a grate. This compartment is soldered to the bottom 
of the main kettle and held firm by bars running from the rim 
of the interior compartment to the rim of the main kettle. In 
this interior compartment a fire is built of wood, charcoal or soft 
coal which heats the water contained between this inner com- 
partment and the walls of the main kettle. This kettle is sur- 
rounded with a permanent wooden bench, divided into four, 
six or eight sections for a similar number of workmen. The 
outside edge of this bench is a few inches higher than the rim of 
the kettle, sloping gradually until the inside edge of the bench 
meets the rim of the kettle so that the water will drain back 
into the kettle. The kettle and bench together is called "a bat- 
tery". To clean the fire in the fire-pot of the kettle the work- 
man pours cold water on the fire forming steam which blows the 
ashes down through the grate into the flue underneath the kettle. 
To soften the water some oatmeal or bran is added to facilitate 
the felting. 

Into this kettle of hot water the edges of the batt are dipped 
and very carefully united to form a cone-shaped hat body. The 
whole batt is then, dipped in the hot water and drawn out on the 
bench where it is rubbed together and rolled with a pair of wood- 
en rollers, called "pins", about fourteen inches long by two 
inches in diameter and tapering toward each end. The workman 
wears, over the palm of each hand, a pad of stout, oak tanned 
leather, soaked for a long time in urine, to protect his hands from 
the heat. A coarse bristle brush, called a "sizing brush", is used 
to brush away any dirt and to sprinkle additional water on the 
work as it is needed. 

After this operation has proceeded far enough to produce felt 
it is again dampened with clean warm water, and closely ex- 
amined for holes or thin spots in the felt, and, on any of these 


parts found to be deficient, a little fur is added and worked into 
the main body by the thumb of the workman. A quantity of fine 
cut cotton, which will not felt, is sometimes added to the fur 
to make the nap raise better. When this cotton is to be added 
to the fur the whole is beaten by two round sticks, twenty-seven 
inches long, called "beating-up sticks". The piece of felt is now 
a cone-shaped body, covered with numerous hairs standing up 
over the surface. These hairs were, in the beginning of the hat 
making industry, pulled out by women by means of a pair of 
tweezers, much like doctors use, but later were cut off by means 
of a large heavy bladed knife. The cone is folded double and 
laid on the knee of the workman, who wears a heavy leather 
apron or pad to protect his knee, and shaved downward with 
the "shaving knife". This knife is about fourteen inches long 
with a heavy sharp blade, nine inches long and an inch and a half 
wide. The intended hat still possesses the conical shape first given 
it, capable, however, with a moderate degree of force of being 
extended in every direction. The batt is dampened with warm 
water and the edge turned up all around the width desired for 
the brim of the hat. It is then folded in half and violently pulled 
with both hands in opposite directions at the point of the cone ; it 
is opened and folded the other way and again pulled in the same 
manner. This is continued until on being opened the point has 
been worked into a flat crown. The flat portion is then placed 
on a wooden hat block and the sides forced down over the block 
and tied tight at the bottom with a stout cord. The crown is 
pressed out into better shape, and the brim, which has a tendency 
to curl, is flattened by wetting. At the part where the brim is 
bent away from the sides, the line is made distinct and sharp by 
means of a wooden block, four inches long, three and a half 
inches wide and two inches thick, shaved off to a sharp edge. 
This block is called a "tollocker" and is used in many ways in 
shaping the hat over the block. A thin rectangular piece of 
copper, five by four inches, called a "trench", is also used to 
scrape off the surplus moisture and to assist in shaping the hat. 
The hat, approaching some form and shape, still has the edge of 
the brim ragged and uneven. To make this edge even and smooth 
a "jack" is used with a wooden guide shaped the same as the 
circumference of the hat block with an adjustable blade which 


can be set at any desired distance from the inside edge of the 
brim and thus regulate the width of the brim. This jack is laid 
on the brim with the guide against the hat block and drawn 
around the block so that the blade will trim away the rim at the 
same distance all around the hat. The man working a hat over 
the block wears pads of rubber with an incision in each for his 
thumb. These pads or gloves protect his hands as he presses 
and draws the hat down over the block. The hat, being shaped 
to the satisfaction of the operator, is drawn from the block and 
thoroughly dried before the final steps of stiiTening and finishing. 

After the hats are dried, the next operation they undergo is 
that of stiffening. The hat is dipped into shellac, cut by means 
of sal-soda. As much of the hat as is desired to be stiffened is 
dipped into this shellac, then drawn out and the surplus shellac 
scraped off with the copper trench, described before, while the 
hat was being block. Common salt is now added to the shellac 
remaining on the hat to set it so that, if necessary hereafter to 
dip it in hot water the shellac will not melt and come out of the 
hat. The degree of stiffness can be regulated by the amount of 
shellac left on the hat. 

The dry hat, after stiffening is very hard and rigid and of an 
irregular shape ; preparatory to finishing, therefore, it is again 
blocked. For this purpose it is necessary to soften the shellac 
which is done by hanging the hat over the steam from a hot 
kettle of water and to keep it soft while being finished, a little 
hot water is sprinkled over it by means of a soft brush. It is 
again drawn over the hat block, shaped by hand and pressed by 
means of a short heavy flat-iron or goose called a "shell". This 
shell has a hollow bottom wherein is placed a red hot chunk of 
cast iron called a "slug". Each shell has several of these slugs 
which are kept hot while the shell is in use and as fast as one 
cools off in the shell another hot one takes its place. With this 
shell the hat is pressed and smoothed. The motion always being 
in one direction so that the nap will lay in one direction and be- 
come smooth and glossy. If the nap is stubborn and will not lay 
right or as more often happens contains some coarse hairs of 
uneven length, it is combed or carded with a small card resembling 
a miniature wool card and brushed with a soft brush. 

The hat is now shaped, the brim is curved to suit the style, the 


nap is smooth and polished and all that remains to be done is to 
put in the lining, the sweat band and outside ribbon or hat band, 
all of which is not part of the felter's work and is done by other 
persons, mostly women. 

These methods of producing a felt hat are not those practiced 
in regular hat factories but such as w-ere followed in small local 
shops of a few workmen. In and around Danbury and Bethel, 
Connecticut, a farmer would gather his hired men or a few neigh- 
bors and start making felt hats during the slack winter months. 
His shop, where this work was followed, was called a "catgut", 
and the practice of this irregular hat making, "catgutting". 

All the above processes were explained to me by Mr. George 
B. Fairchild, Mr. Samuel Judson and Mr. E. Bevans, all of 
Bethel, Connecticut, and all old hatters, on the occasion of my 
visit in Bethel in search of the tools of the old felt hat maker 
in May, 1918. All of the tools mentioned, except the "steam- 
boat kettle", were found and are now in the museum of the 
Bucks County Historical Society. I have consulted, TJic Circle 
of The Mechanical Arts, Thomas Martin, Civil Engineer, Lon- 
don, 1813, and The Book of English Trades and Library of the 
Useful Arts", London, 1818, to refresh my memory on any point 
that I was uncertain or had forgotten. 

Passing Events (Paper No. 2). 

(Doylestown Meeting, January 21, 1922.) 

This paper Is a continuation of Paper No. 1, read before this society on 
January 15, 1921. See page 324 ante. 

TELEPHONES — Although several attempts had been made 
before 1875 to invent a telephone all proved unsatisfactory 
and were not in use. In that year Prof. Alexander G. Bell, 
with the help of Thomas A. Watson, a young electrician, was 
trying to perfect the "Harmonic Telegraph" so that six Morse 
messages could be sent over a single wire, at the same time, 
without interference. They worked in the garret of a little 
house on Court street, Boston, and on the night of June 2, 1875, 
the whole apparatus went wrong, the vibrators stopped working 
and in order to start them again Mr. Watson plucked them sev- 
eral times. Mr. Bell who was tuning the instruments in an 
adjoining room, cried out, as he rushed into the room, "Watson, 
Watson, what have you done. Don't change anything." The 
plucking was repeated several times and this and the continuous 
current gave Bell the needed hint. According to Watson the 
great secrets of nature are held by little demons who thwart every 
effort to wrest them away. But on this night, becoming more 
careless, or satisfied in their own power and not measuring Prof. 
Bell's mind, they lifted the curtain for only a second and by the 
chance plucking of the wires revealed to him what he must do 
to successfully carry the human voice over an electric wire. In 
a second he understood why the others had failed. Their method 
was too complicated and a much simpler arrangement was possi- 
ble. There was no sleep in the Court street house that night. 
They immediately gave up the harmonic telegraph and started to 
make a telephone. 

Then followed weeks of experiments and disappointments 
until one day the thing worked. The first message ever sent by 
telegraph was, "What Hath God Wrought," and the first mes- 
sage sent over the Bell telephone was, "Mr. Watson please come 
here, I want you," and this was sent by Prof. Bell himself and 
received bv Mr. Watson. 


Prof. Bell then lectured to audiences of two thousand or more, 
in Salem, Boston and other cities. Telephone apparatus was 
connected to telegraph lines and large receivers were suspended 
over the audience. Mr. Watson, ten to twenty miles away, would 
sing, in a loud voice, "Hold the Fort," "Pull for the Shore," 
"Yankee Doodle," and finally, in order to bring down the house, 
"Do Not Trust Him Gentle Lady," which greatly amused the 
audience and he could hear the applause, miles away, over the 

What must have seemed a severe shock to Boston was the 
fact that Prof. Bell, although a resident of that city, under- 
estimated its importance when he decided that the loud, un- 
harmonious music furnished by Mr. Watson which he consid- 
ered good enough for them, would not do when he lectured in 
New York City where he hired a powerful negro, with a sweet 
voice, to sing more classic music. Mr. Watson was stationed 
at New Brunswick, N. J., and the singer went there in the after- 
noon for a rehearsal. Without an audience his singing was not 
a success and the large transmitters into which he sang, seemed 
to worry him, but he promised to do better in the evening. As 
usual the phone apparatus was connected to the wire in a tele- 
graph office and the operator, thinking something unusual was 
about to happen, asked several of her friends to come around 
that evening. 

An audience of two thousand, seated several miles away, meant 
absolutely nothing to the negro singer, but the seven girls in the 
telegraph office pleased him immensely and so he turned and sang 
to them and not a sound reached New York. Mr. Watson was 
very shy when ladies were around and, much to his confusion, 
Prof. Bell phoned that he would have to sing. Just as he was 
about to bolt through the door he realized that the success of the 
whole thing depended on him. Turning around he bellowed all 
his songs into the telephone, every word of which was heard in 
the lecture hall miles away. Never before had sound carried 
so well. 

A specification and drawing of the original Bell telephone was 
filed in the United States Patent Office on February 14, 1876, 
by Prof. Bell and in the summer of that year a special set of 
telephones was made, nicely finished and polished for the first 


time, and exhibited at the Philadelphia Centennial where Sir 
William Thompson tried them and made a report giving an ac- 
count of the satisfactory tests. 

The above information and a good deal more, both interesting 
and amusing, may be read in an article, "The Birth and Baby- 
hood of the Telephone," by Mr. Thomas A. Watson, published in 
The Telephone Nezvs, December 1, 1913. 

The first outdoor telephone line was run from Court street, 
Boston, to Somerville, Mass., in April, 1877. 

There was no large organized company at first but small in- 
dependent companies were formed in various cities and towns. 
The Delaware and Atlantic Company covered Montgomery, Del- 
aware, Chester and Bucks counties and had a wire from Lans- 
dale to City Line as the Bell Telephone Company of Philadelphia 
had control of that city. The line from Doylestown to Lansdale 
was built in 1880 and was owned by the Delaware & Atlantic 
Company. Mr. Westbrook was the superintendent and there were 
seven subscribers who had phones in their houses, four of whom 
were Alfred Fackenthal, Wallace Dungan, William Vaux and 
the Intelligencer Company. The first exchange was placed 
temporarily in Dr. Harvey's drug store, which stood on Main 
street, where the Hart building now stands. John B. Livezey 
was the operator. There was some rivalry between the Paschall 
Brothers who hoped to have it in the Intelligencer office and 
Thomas Walton who wanted it in his drug store on South Main 
street. It was finally decided in favor of Mr. Walton and the ex- 
change was built in the little alcove in the rear of his store. 
Mrs. Sarah Walton was the operator from 1880 to 1902 during 
which time the switchboard was enlarged and improved three 
times. She was the first woman to talk between Doylestown and 
Philadelphia over a metallic circuit. A single wire of galvanized 
iron, which was a poor conductor, was used until 1890 and while 
it was possible to talk direct to Philadelphia it was not always or 
often satisfactory. It generally happened that Mrs. Walton came 
to the rescue and finished the message. It has been said that 
the first messages were relayed to Philadelphia. A. B. Hennessy, 
the present superintendent in Doylestown, denies this, but he be- 
lieves Lansdale and other operators may have helped out by re- 
peating certain words that did not carry well on bad days. 


\\'hen any one went to a country store to phone, the farmers, 
standing around the stove would rush out and hold their horses 
which became badly frightened at the fearful noise made by the 
person phoning ! 

With few phones at first and little work it may be true that 
exchange girls sometimes listened to conversations. A man, 
telling a great secret to a friend said — "Wait a minute, I think the 
operator is listening." The phone girl's prompt and indignant 
answer was — "Its a lie, I ain't." 

The galvanized iron v.-ires were replaced with copper wires by 
a gradual process, from 1890 to 1900, after which time wire 
thieves would cut and remove miles of copper wire in a single 
night, sell it to junk dealers and then rest for months in Doyles- 
town jail. Grant Christian, who furnished some of the above 
information, had charge of the Bucks-Montgomery county lines 
at that time. 

Owing to the rapid growth of the company the exchange was 
moved from Mrs. Walton's to rooms over Fretz's livery office on 
State street in 1902 and Miss Mary Walton was operator with 
Miss Reba W'alton as assistant. 

In 1905 the Delaware & Atlantic Company took over the local 
Standard Telephone Company and in 1907 the exchanges were 
moved to the present building on Main street where they are at 
present (1921). 

In the beginning of the year 1908 the old Delaware & Atlantic 
Company was absorbed by the Bell Telephone Company of 
Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Telephone Company controlled 
the middle district of Pennsylvania and the western part of the 
state was known as The Central District Printing & Telegraph 
Company. These were both taken over by the Bell Company the 
same year. The old wall-boxes, with cranks that had to be 
turned, to ring up central, were replaced with desk phones, and 
canvasers made us take one whether we would or not. The 
lines were so improved that conversation today is, in most cases 
very clear and pleasant although there are some who seem to be 
talking from the bottom of a well. Some who, when met face 
to face, seem pleasant and agreeable, assume an afifected or 
gloomy, despondent tone on the phone that suggests terrible 
disasters, funerals, and ambulance excursions. Others turn. 


their back to the phone and walk away as far as the cord allows. 
One of the latter type phoned a business house an order which, 
although repeated three times, was not understood. At last the 
customer becoming angry said, "Oh Hell," in a clear tone, and 
was then informed if he would finish the message in the same 
tone and position, the message would be understood, which he 
did without any more trouble. 

According to the kind information of Miss Margaret Hig- 
gins of Doylestown, the local Standard Telephone Company men- 
tioned above started in Doylestown in 1900. The man in charge 
operated the board and taught Miss Higgins who became first 
operator in 1901. There were 40 phones that year and in 1903 
Miss Edith Atler was made assistant operator. William Hilde- 
brand was the first "trouble man" and Elmer Garis the first night 
operator. The exchange was always in Magills stone-house at 
the corner of Garden alley and Broad street. When the com- 
pany was sold by the sheriff in 1905 it was bought by the Dela- 
ware & Atlantic Telephone & Telegraph Company and the ex- 
change, which then had 140 phones, was moved to the Fretz 
building. Miss Higgins was operator from the time it was built 
until it was sold and was and still is the most obliging operator 
Doylestown has ever known. 

For the above information the writer is indebted to Mrs. 
Sarah A. Walton, Mr. Frederic W. Walton, Miss Margaret M. 
Higgins and especially to Mr. A. B. Hennessy, manager of the 
Bell Company at Doylestown. 

Bicycles. The velocipede, with two heavy wooden wheels and 
iron tires, in use about 1869 on the fine asphalt streets of Boston 
and Paris, was not adapted to the cobbled streets of Philadelphia, 
or the rough country roads and was little used in Bucks county. 
Dr. Mercer had a toy affair, in Doylestown, in 1869, and later 
used a larger one in Paris in 1870. The pedals were connected 
with the axle of the front wheel and one revolution of the pedal 
meant one revolution of the wheel. The high wheeled bicycle 
was in use at the same time. It had solid rubber tires, wire 
spokes, and the pedals were connected with the axle of the front 
wheel, but continual jolting over the rough country roads and 
the danger of tilting forward and being thrown going down hill 


prevented its being used to any great extent in Bucks county. 
Robert L. Cope, a lawyer of Doylestown, had one about 1867, the 
Lewis brothers of Bridge Valley, occasionally rode through Cen- 
treville in 1884 and Dr. Howard Randall of Mechanicsville, owned 
one for several years. 

It has always been a difficult matter to tell just what happens 
when you walk on a sleeping dog in the dark and when a young 
man on a high bicycle, tried to run over a sleeping dog, in front 
of Righters Hotel at Centreville, one hot August day, the men 
"resting" at the hotel could agree on only one thing, which was, 
that all the sticking plaster in a nearby store was quickly used 
vip — but not on the dog. 

In August, 1891, a lot of boys were swimming in Stover's mill- 
dam below Mechanics Valley. Christopher Holcomb, Postal 
Telegraph operator at Doylestown, rode down to the dam on a 
new bicycle. No one there had ever seen one like it. The low 
wheels had wooden spokes, heavy wooden rims and solid rubber 
tires. The pedals, attached to the frame half way between the 
two wheels, and not to hub of the front wheel, as heretofore, 
had a large sprocket wheel with a chain running to the sprocket 
hub of the rear wheel, thus giving a chain drive. One revolution 
of the pedals meant three revolutions of the wheel, or greater 
speed with less effort. Mr. Holcomb's wheel was probably the 
first of its kind in Doylestown. In 1892 a good many were in 
use, and ladies wheels began to appear in 1893. Mrs. George 
Brown owned the first one in Buckingham. In that year the 
spokes were made of wire and the solid rubber tires were re- 
placed with inflated ones, first on steel rims and later, very light, 
bent wooden rims were made to hold the wide tires. The frames 
were lighter and mud-guards and brakes were added. The Co- 
lumbia bicycle, costing one hundred dollars, was the best on the 
market, and Dr. Mercer uses one today (1921), that he bought in 
1895. The following year, 1896, bicycle craze started, and while 
there may have been several crazes before and a good many since, 
none of them gripped the people like that of the bicycle. Nearly 
every man, young or old, every boy, and most women, bought a 
wheel. The country roads were lined with them ; bells tinkled, 
lights flashed, merchants put up racks along the curb in front of 
their shops to hold their customers wheels, repair shops sprang 


up in every town or village and along country roads. The 
League of American Wheelmen was formed, with thousands of 
members in every state and in Canada and a weekly journal was 
published. Societies were formed in cities and villages, each hav- 
ing their own colors or streamers fastened to the handle-bars, 
"century" runs were made on Sundays and holidays, and tracks 
were built for prize races. Men wore tight fitting knee breeches, 
double boarded caps and rode without coats, but by 1897 the 
handsomer knickerbochers, woolen stockings with gay colored 
tops, Norfolk coats and decent looking caps were in use and were 
not given up for some years after the bicycle craze died out. 
Women wore very full skirts, sometimes divided ones, with 
shot or lead sewed in the hem to keep them down though they 
never blew as short as they are worn today. 

Toll was collected at the turnpike gates and the \vheelman was 
a constant worry to the gate-keeper because he made no noise 
and often rushed through without paying toll. Very few tan- 
dems were made at any time. The craze continued for several 
years or until about 1902 when it died suddenly. A few bi- 
cycles could then be seen but these were used by workmen going 
to or from work, or by boys just old enough to ride for the first 
time. The doctors declared every American would die of a weak 
heart or tuberculosus through leaning low over the handle bars, 
but neither this, nor the motorcycle, nor the automobile, but the 
paralysis and sudden death of a fad killed the bicycle, although 
city streets and country roads are better today than they ever 
were before. 

There are more bicycles in use today (1921) than there were 
ten years ago. They are very much used in Holland today. 

( Information of Dr. Henry C. Mercer and personal observa- 

Creameries. Before 1878 every farm had a springhouse, a 
cave or a cool milk cellar for keeping milk and cream until the 
latter was made up into butter, which was then sold in Pliila- 
delphia or small towns, by marketmen. After the railroad was 
built into Doylestown and Bethlehem in 1856, some farmers 
sent their milk to Philadelphia dealers, who. after a time, became 
dishonest and delayed payments so long in order to cheat the 


farmer, that there was a good deal of dissatisfaction and many 
farmers returned to butter making. But this aiTected only a few 
farms close to the railroad and so butter making continued on 
almost every farm until 1878. In the summer of that year a 
man from New York explained to farmers in Pineville how 
cream could be separated from new milk and made into butter 
the same day. A dairymens' association was immediately formed, 
stock was sold and the first creamery in Bucks county built the 
same year. Each farmer guaranteed to furnish a certain num- 
ber of quarts of milk every day and in order to do this they 
bought many more cows, thus doubling the number of quarts 
guaranteed. Nearly all the farmers nearby hauled their milk to, 
the creamery and it was a success from the start. The milk, after 
being weighed in a can or tank, was allowed to run into a large 
vat which had several pipes running through it so that ice water 
passing through these pipes cooled the milk quickly and caused 
the cream to rise to the top in a short time which was immediately 
made up into sweet butter. Farmers had been making butter 
from sour cream once a week and it was sometimes sour or 
strong and little bone paddles, like salt spoons, were kept by 
some market men so customers could sample or taste a pat of 
butter before buying. One of these, used by Rebecca Swain, 
was owned by the writer several years ago. The fresh, sweet 
creamery butter was considered much better and finally crowded 
out the home-made butter. The time was ripe for the change 
and dairymens' associations were formed all over the county 
and committees were appointed to visit Pineville creamery and 
learn how the work was done. A creamery was built in Dublin 
the same year (1878). One in Quakertown in 1879, Cold Spring 
near Mechanicsville, in July, 1880, Pine Run a month later, fol- 
lowed by Walnut Lawn at Bean Postoffice, and another at Church 
Hill the same year and New Britain in 1881, so that by 1883 
there were at least sixteen creameries in the county. That the 
movement was popular there can be no doubt. Farmers who 
had six or eight cows before could now keep eighteen or twenty. 
In Battles History of Bucks County, published in 1887, every 
manager of a creamery is mentioned along with doctors, lawyers 
and ministers. Butter was made and shipped to New York and 
Philadelphia markets and commission men hauled it to Phila- 


delphia and sold it from door to door, and the bone tester was no 
longer used. According to Noah L. Clark of Doylestown, who 
furnished the above information, cheese was also made at all the 
creameries and as it took three months to make and properly 
cure or dry a cheese ready for market and, as some creameries 
like "\\'alnut Lawn" at Bean, made fifty to sixty a week, large 
high buildings were necessary, the older ones being three stories 
high with cheese-rooms on the second and third floors. The first 
cheeses were made entirely of cream but proved too rich and 
would not hold together but crumbled and fell. Milk with some 
cream in it was then used and made a good cheese. This was 
continued for several years and finally given up about 1885 al- 
though Mr. Clark made a few at "Cold Spring" creamery 
for nearby farmers until 1890. At the present time none are 
made at any of the creameries. The round wooden cheese-boxes 
were made at factories in Perkasie and Quakertown. 

In 1884 revolving cream separators were put in at Pineville 
creamery and used there one year before the other creameries 
tried them. Farmers were paid for quantity as there was no way 
of testing the quality of the milk. A good deal of it was badly 
watered and some days a large vat of milk would produce but 
little cream. The superintendent knew the cause but could not 
correct it because he did not know who brought w^atered milk. 
In 1889 Mr. Clarke bought a Babcock tester shown at a conven- 
tion in the courthouse, Doylestown, and proceeded to test all the 
milk. Notice was very kindly given in advance that all the milk 
would be tested and the immediate result was that the quantity 
brought by certain farmers was very much reduced while the 
amount of butter produced was greatly increased as they were 
afraid to water their milk or skim the cream for home use. This 
tester was the first used and after its introduction, farmers were 
paid for butter fat and not for volume of milk. 1886 the large 
twenty-six inch separators were replaced by little ones that made 
six thousand revolutions per minute, removing every particle of 
cream so that cheese made from milk was hard and tough and 
could no longer be sold. 

Each creamery had a cistern into which the whey from the 
cheese vats flowed. When cheese was no longer made the milk 
was either worked up into cottage cheese, packed in barrels and 


sent to city markets or ran into the cistern where farmers pumped 
it into their empty milk cans, hauled it home, and used it for 
feeding pigs. 

After the creameries started there was a shortage of milk in 
Philadelphia and the dishonest dealers were either driven out 
of business or compelled to make monthly payments. Dr. Mercer 
tells a story of his father, William R. Mercer, going to Phila- 
delphia to get a lawyer to collect a long over-due milk bill. The 
lawyer went to see the dealer and in a short time returned and 
explained to Mr. Mercer, who had waited in the office, how the 
dealer had tried to kick him down the stairs whereupon Mr. 
Mercer said, "Drop the suit," which the lawyer did. 

Later, better prices were offered and payments were made 
promptly so that farmers again shipped their milk to towni and 
in a few years some creameries had a hard struggle and were 
finally obliged to close. Hulmeville creamery was sold by the 
sheriff April 10, 1886. while Quakertown creamery, built in 
1879 at a cost of $7000.00, was sold in March, 1886, for $2700.00 
to Charles Hixon, and Lewis R. Praul, failing to sell his cream- 
ery building at Richboro, had it torn down in April, 1886, using 
the lumber for building two dwelling houses. 

On account of the rapid growth of Philadelphia and surround- 
ing towns there was a greater demand for milk about 1900. The 
price advanced so that it was much more profitable to ship to 
town than to sell to the creameries, and only those farthest re- 
moved from train or trolley, as at Dublin, Wormansville, Deep 
Run, etc., continued to run to the present time (1921). 

Some creameries made icecream, as at New Britain and Buck- 
ingham in 1887 but this was done only in summer and not tmtil 
about 1900 was it possible to buy it throughout the year. This 
was made in open cans by stirring it with a stick or paddle until 
it hardened or froze. No freezers, with revolving cans or dash- 
ers, closed at the top were in use at that time. In August, 1886, 
large cans of cream were brought to Solebury Deer-Park where 
Buckingham Friends school had a picnic. Men stirred the cream 
in open cans for two hours but it would not freeze and was 
served in cups to the impatient children of whom the writer was 
one, who got icecream about once a year at a Sunday school picnic. 

About the last of May each year almost every baker opened 


his parlor and sold icecream by the plate until cold weather came 
on and not until about 1905 was it sold in drug stores, restau- 
rants, etc. Mr. Asher Lear built several small creameries near 
Doylestown after 1900 but these were not for butter making but 
for supplying cream to icecream makers. 

The patented "Little Gem" icecream freezer for two, three or 
six quarts came into use in 1893. It had a central paddle or 
dasher in a closed revolving can and farmers could make their 
icecream at home. The first icecream cones seen by the writer 
were made by a Japanese at the St. Louis Fair, in 1904, and at 
Atlantic City two years later. 

When the farmer stopped making butter at home about 1880 
the springhouses fell to ruin and some have entirely disappeared. 
The same fate awaits or has already overtaken some of the 

Waterbacks. The early cook stoves were without waterbacks 
or boxes for heating water and although a house might have a 
tank, waterpipes and bath-room, hot water must be carried from 
the kitchen. In 1870 William Blackfan, living on the Blackfan 
farm in Solebury township, had a large copper tank or boiler 
made which was placed upon the back lids of the cook stove in 
the kitchen. A pipe from the house tank supplied cold water 
while another pipe carried hot water to the spigots. Nothing but 
a very hot fire, which was not always necessary for cooking, 
would heat the water and the thing was not a success. After 
sitting back of the stove for an hour one cold morning Mr. 
Blackfan told his son, Edward, he believed he had worked out 
a plan so that hot water could be had at all times. He immedi- 
ately drove down to New Hope and had a one inch pipe bent in 
the shape of the letter U with the two ends bent at right angles 
to the U and parallel with one another. The U was placed in 
the firebox, against the back bricks, so the hot coals lay against 
it and the two ends ran back over the oven and out through holes 
made in the back of the stove. One end of the new pipe entered 
the copper boiler while the other connected with the pipe from 
the house tank so that cold water from the latter, running into 
the U was heated and stored in the copper boiler and the water 
was always hot. 


The stove was a William Spear cook-stove and the experi- 
ment was made in the winter of 1871 or about that time. Mr. 
Blackfan was so pleased with the success of this, the first water- 
back, that he told Mr. Spear about it and asked him to come 
and inspect it which he did a few weeks later and a short time 
after that Mr. Spear turned out a new cook-stove with a square, 
iron, hot water back, though Mr. Blackfan got no credit or re- 

Information of Mr. Edward H. Blackfan, New Hope, Pa., 
October, 1921. 

Old Household Industries. 

(Friends Meeting House, Newtown, June 3, 1922.) 

TO many people ancient processes sound so tiresome that 
they seem prosy, but if one has a spark of sentimentality 
which endears them to those who have gone before, it be- 
comes a constant pleasure to recall the ways and means our 
ancestors used in their daily routines. If some of us had kept a 
pencil and paper near when our grandmothers were working, 
or later, when their active work was done, and as they sat and 
told of the things they did and the way they did them, there would 
be scarcely one of us but who might have made an historical 
paper most interesting and valuable. 

Every-so-often we get a severe shock when the arts and crafts 
workers hand out something modern by the dozen to sell, for in- 
stance modern coverlids in antique designs, when we may have 
one that has been cherished for generations. The shock came 
to the writer a few weeks ago, when the proprietress of a gift 
shop displayed a very beautiful blue and white modern-made 
coverlid almost identical to one my mother had presented to her 
thirty years ago. The latter coverlid was made for an older 
sister of the late Moses Eastburn of Solebury township in 1810. 
The thread was spun by the young woman who was soon to be- 
come a bride, and probably was not the only spread she had. be- 


cause this particular one had never been used when it was given 
to my mother. The modern one resembled it closely, but upon 
examination the blue wasn't the same blue, and the white wasn't 
the pure unadulterated white that had been bleached on Sole- 
bury's meadows, and the texture of the weaving was less firm 
and doubless less durable than the weaving on that one of one 
hundred and twelve years old. Although it had never been used 
or ripped in two parts to make curtains, I think I can see a tall 
graceful form produce it when callers came to look over the 
brides "out set". 

Maybe these callers were not "callers" at all, but visitors who 
drove up to the front door soon after one o'clock standard time 
to spend the afternoon and stay to supper. Maybe all the bread 
had been eaten at dinner time at the hostess' house. The store 
was three and a half miles away and of course they couldn't have 
bought bread at the store. But what of that ! A crock of foam- 
ing home-made yeast was down cellar always. There was plenty 
of milk there too. So what a slight bit of work it was to mix up 
a large crock of buckwheat cakes, said buckwheat raised at home. 
By supper time, about five o'clock (not eight or eight-thirty), 
everybody sat down to a most delectable repast. 

With the buckwheats some would prefer honey and butter, 
some the good old-fashioned New Orleans molasses, which 
where there was a large family was bought by the barrel. The 
meat for the meal was not lobster cutlet or some other modern 
delicacy, but it might have been venison frizzled with cream, or 
home-dried beef with cream, gravy or frizzled liver. The writer 
knows only a few housekeepers who continue to cure beef liver 
to be used in much the same way as dried beef. This is the way 
it was done. The liver from a heavy beef freshly killed was cut 
into two or three pieces, placed in a vessel and covered with a 
brine made of water in which had been dissolved enough com- 
mon salt to float an egg. A pinch of saltpetre was added. The 
liver was allowed to remain in the brine for about two weeks. 
It was then taken out and each piece hung by a string to the 
kitchen ceiling, until it dried so there was no danger of its mold- 
ing. This process was accomplished during the winter months. 
When it had dried it was wrapped securely in newspaper and 
hung in the cellarwav or closet where there was little heat and 


yet no danger of freezing. It was soon ready to be very thinly 
sliced, frizzled in butter with cream added, and was a most 
delicious and tasty dish. The frizzled liver was for generations 
a favorite Firstday morning dish and was looked forward to as 
a delicacy, probably because of its unusual flavor and also be- 
cause there was never such an abundance of it that the family 
grew tired of it. 

Another tasty addition to our grandmother's meal was "Dutch 
cheese". The writer knows of no reason why it was called 
"Dutch cheese". To some rich cottage cheese grandmother would 
add enough finely cut sage leaves, or rubbed dry ones, to give the 
mass a pleasant flavor, then she made it into balls about the size 
of an ordinary orange. She put this away on the cellar shelf 
until it ripened or aged, which required about a week. By this 
time a skin would form on the outside and when this was cut ofif 
there was left a so-called Dutch cheese which was most palatable. 
Very often this was served with the dessert, especially if the 
dessert were a juicy rhubard, cherry or peach pie. 

A dessert which was considered very fine in grandmother's 
day was "bread-dumplings". This process was told me by Mrs. 
Isaac Van Pelt of New Hope, whose mother (the wife of the 
late John A. Beaumont of Upper Makefield township), was a 
noted cook. The bread-dumplings were made in their family 
more than a hundred years ago, and were very generally used by 
that generation. That was before the day when boiled dough 
was considered indigestible, and people thrived upon it. Prob- 
ably the reason it is indigestible to some is because cooks of the 
present day take too short a time to cook it. Bread dough ready 
for moulding into loaves was rolled with a rolling pin, and cut 
into shape with a cake cutter at the time the bread loaves were 
moulded. The pieces were put on a greased dish and set away 
until about an hour and a half before dinner time. Then they 
were dropped into a large boiler of boiling water, slightly salted, 
in which they would float and boil for at least an hour and a 
half. The finished product was a dumpling, tender and most 

These were usually eaten with the sugar remaining in the 
bottom of a New Orleans molasses barrel, which served as a 
sauce. Some people preferred to eat them with the sauce they 


used on apple or peach dumplings i. e. one-half New Orleans 
molasses and one-half thick sour cream blended. Very good in- 
deed you will say, if you try it, even in this day. The brass 
and copper kettles in which a great deal of food was cooked 
long ago meant a lot of labor to keep them in good condition. 
Both before and after using they usually needed cleaning. A 
favorite process was to pour a quantity of vinegar into the 
vessel, run to the edge of the creek if such a thing were near, 
and use a piece of the moist sod found there and the sod and 
vinegar combined, served as an excellent scouring soap. The 
damage it did to hands and fingers were never mentioned, may- 
be, never thought of. My mother's kitchen had, had yours?, 
about as neat a floor covering on it as you would want, and such 
as were generally used after the spotless bare floors were sup- 
planted by oilcloth covered ones. Strips of rag carpet were 
sewn to fit the floor, which was then stretched upon the barn 
floor, usually after all the spring threshing was done, and before 
the barn was needed to store hay in. The carpet was first given 
a coat of cooked clear starch which was applied with a paint 
brush and allowed to dry. Then it was given three of four coats 
of paint. The most favored color seemed to be that with a good 
deal of yellow ochre. When sufftcient paint was put on, various 
decorations were put on the plain surface. My mother used two 
squares of heavy cardboard, each about one foot square in both 
of which had been cut out a figure the shape of a maple leaf. 
With the cardboard squares placed upon the painted surface she 
would paint alternate leaves of black and green. The result, 
you can easily imagine. It was neat, pretty, and durable, and in 
addition the old rag carpet was put to a use to last almost in- 
definitely because the painting operation was replaced about 
once every two years. The work of keeping it clean would dis- 
may most of present-day housekeepers. It was a part of each 
morning's work to wash it with clear water and once a week to 
add some borax to the water — never soap. If the men came in 
at noon with unusually dirty boots the operation of cleaning was 
repeated in the afternoon. 

Was it not making use of everything at hand that was the 
keynote of thrift one hundred years ago instead of going out to 
buy every single thing one needed? In the thrifty families of 


that day the worn bandana handkerchiefs of silk were torn into 
narrow strips and plaited, to be used later as drawing strings 
for bags used for various things. The writer still has some of 
the plaited string. 

Our grandmothers made a delicious confection, called "peach 
leather". When the soft peaches were not all needed for pies 
or sauce, they were sliced, and mashed into a thin layer on a 
plate and put out in the sun to partially drv*. AMien the juice 
had thickened and made the fruit so that it would keep it's 
shape, and could be lifted off the plate it was put into a stone 
crock on top of a layer of crushed sugar, and more sugar put 
over it. In a day or two perhaps another layer or two would 
be added, each time putting a generous layer of sugar between 
each layer of peaches. This tasted pretty good, when in the 
winter a layer would be brought out and passed around to be 
eaten. The layer of fruit was made quite thin, and before 
passing it was pulled into pieces. Of course, it was something 
like the conserved fruit of today, only to my recollection it was 
much better. Whether it would taste the same if we would take 
the time and pains to make some like it now, I cannot say. The 
richly flavored cherries of that day which now are almost ex- 
tinct, were treated in somewhat the same way. except they were 
not mashed. They were left whole as possible after pitting, and 
when dried, sprinkled liberally with crushed sugar. They were 
put away to be eaten in winter when fresh fruit was less bounti- 
ful and less easily obtained than now. 

A close second to the lavender or rose leaves which were 
cured and put away among the table and bed linens in the chests- 
of-drawers. was the dried white sweet clover blossoms. Since 
there are less cows pastured by the roadsides this variety grows 
in great abundance, and by cutting the long slender blooms and 
drying them on the garret floor spread on papers, one may revive, 
in ones own home, the delightful, delicate perfume which per- 
meated every nook and corner in our grandmothers houses. 

There were one hundred years ago, as now, many things done 
that seem too trivial to tell, and yet they will surely be forgotten 
unless some one writes about them for their preservation. 

The Wire Fabric Industry in America. 

(Friends Meeting House, Newtown, June 3, 1922.) 

IN this paper no attempt has been made to give a connected 
history of the wire fabric industry but simply to record some 
facts about the industry prior to the eighth decade of the last 
century. Since that time there has been a remarkable develop- 
ment in the methods of manufacture, variety and volume of 
products but it is not practicable at the present time to detail 
these changes. Wire fabrics include "wire cloth" which is a 
term applied to a fabric of wire made with square or rectangular 
meshes. Embraced in this group are insect-screen cloth, Four- 
drinier cloth used in paper making, and fabrics used in separ- 
ating, straining, sifting, screening, grading, reinforcing and other 
purposes. A large quantity is sold under the trade name of 
wire lath and is used as a foundation for plaster in place of the 
common wood lath. Cloth ranges from one inch to two hundred 
and fifty meshes per inch. Steel and iron, copper and its alloys 
are commonly used, but the wire-cloth is made of other metals. 

"Wire screening" refers to similar material made of heavy 
wire, usually with large holes and is used for grading coarse 
products such as coal, gravel and sand. "Wire work" is that ma- 
terial made with square or diamond openings used for window 
guards, railings, partitions and baskets and "wire netting" is. 
that fabric made with hexagon meshes usually galvanized, such 
as is- used for enclosures for birds and small animals, and also 
for light fences. 

To Pennsylvania belongs the distinction of the establishment 
of the industry and John Sellers was undoubtedly the pioneer. 
His descendants and relatives conducted a wire and wire products 
factory for over a century. A statement of Horace Wells Sellers 
of Philadelphia, a descendant of Nathan Sellers, regarding the ac- 
tivities of various members of his family is given below : 

"John Sellers (1728-1804) of Darby township, near Philadelphia, ap- 
pears to have been the pioneer in this field so far as the art in 
America is concerned. 


In the Pennsylvania Gazette, Philadelphia, Sept. 3. 1767, No. 2019, 
and subsequent issues in 1768 and 1769, you will find his business 
card. In referring to the 'wire work of all sorts' and the rolling 
screens, wire bolts, etc., manufactured, he states that 'he is the original 
inventor and institutor of that branch of the business in America' and 
in his later advertisements (Pennsylvania Gazette. July 27. 1769), he 
refers to 'various kinds of wire work, such as twilled or plain', 'short 
cloth for millers', screens, etc. 

John Sellers, inherited from his father, Samuel Sellers. Jr.. (1690- 
1773), the business of weaving woolens, etc., brought from England in 
1682, by his father Samuel Sellers, Sr., (1655-1732). It appears that 
even in his father's lifetime John Sellers turned his attention to work- 
ing and weaving wire, and eventually abandoned the making of worsted 

He was widely known as a surveyor and on his large estate de- 
veloped a number of industries, flour and saw mills, tannery and grist- 
mills besides the tilt mill for working metal, drawing wire, etc. He 
was one of the original members of the American Philosophical So- 
ciety and for many years was active in public life as a member of the 
Provincial Assembly and after the Revolution, was a member of the 
State Senate. His eldest son, Nathan Sellers (1751-1830), was trained 
for law and conveyancing, but turned his attention to his father's in- 
dustries and especially to wire working in which he was assisted by 
his younger brother, Samuel Sellers (1753-1776). 

Nathan Sellers seems to have given his personal attention to the 
working of wire for making paper moulds, and while he was in active 
service as ensign during the Revolutionary War, he w^as recalled from 
military duty by resolution of congress, Aug. 26, 1776. 'to make and 
prepare suitable molds, washers and utensils for carrying on the paper 

An announcement of Nathan Sellers' improvements in working wire 
will be found in a paper I contributed to James Wilcox's account of the 
Ivy paper mill (See M.S. Collection, Pennsylvania Historical Society.) 

In this will also be found some account of the firm of Nathan and 
David Sellers who established the wire works at Sixth and Market 
streets after the Revolution. 

Nathan Sellers' business card will be found in the Pennsylvania Ga- 
zette, August 4, 1779. and after taking his younger brother into partner- 
ship, their joint advertisement appears in the Gazette, Feb. 9, 1780, and 
later issues. 

'In the Postscript to the Maryland Journal, No. 668, November 2, 
1784, there is an advertisement of their 'Manufactory of Wire Work, 
in which they refer to the screens, sieves and other appliances in- 
cluding screens for windows, etc., and in this they state that they 
gained their experience under their father (John Sellers, the first in- 
ventor of this Branch of the Business in America). 

Nathan Sellers' interest in the business eventually passed to his son 


Soleman Sellers (1781-1834), who developed a high degree of inventive 
ability and business enterprise, and on the dissolution of the firm of 
N. & D. Sellers the most important manufacturing end of the business, 
including the machine card, paper making machinery and general ma- 
chinery departments passed to the firm of Soleman Sellers & Sons. 

The sons of David Sellers (1757-1813), retained the wire store and 
general wire weaving business that was continued until recent years 
by that branch of the family. The business last known as Seller 
Bros, was discontinued in 1876. 

I have much relating to the early work of Nathan Sellers, some of 
his account books dating from 1776 with correspondence books relating 
to the business. Although his father, John Sellers, is credited with 
having established the wire working industry in America, it was his 
son Nathan who developed it, through his ingenuity and business en- 
terprise. He was the first to devise the process of annealing wire in 
closed vessels and made improvements in the methods of straightening 
and drawing wire required in making wire faces for paper moulds; 
these processes being adopted afterwards by manufacturers in England. 

When wool or vellum faced paper moulds came into use, N. & D. 
Sellers at first imported the wove wire- Noting the tendency of this 
woven wire to buckle, due to unequal tension in the wires of the 
warp, Nathan Sellers devised a long loom in which every wire in the 
warp could be kept at equal tension. He also abandoned the imported 
sleighs Avhich were found defective and after a series of experiments 
improved the process and incidentally perfected a guage of his own 
invention by which he obtained greater uniformity in size of the wires. 
Nathan Sellers was the only maker of paper molds in the country, and 
by constant improvement in processes as well as in diversity of pro- 
ducts the manufactory he established and which was further extended 
by his son, Coleman Sellers, held a leading place among the industries 
of the country during the eighteenth and early decades of the nine- 
teenth century. It was the improved equipment of the machine works 
of Coleman Sellers & Sons that induced the commissioners of the Co- 
lumbia Railroad to place a contract wnth this firm for several of the 
first locomotives built in the early thirties, and it was on the sugges- 
tion of the Sellers firm that some of the improvements were made in 
the design of the American locomotive that have survived in the mod- 
ern construction. The business was continued until a few years after 
the death of Soleman Sellers when it was finally closed out about the 
year 1842. 

Many particulars relating to the work of Nathan Sellers and his suc- 
cessors will be found in a series of articles entitled "Early Engineering 
Reminiscences", by George Escol Sellers, in the American Machinist, 
1888-1890. The author was associated with N. &. D. Sellers and a 
junior member of the firm of Coleman Sellers & Sons." 

Probably the second oldest factory for making wire products 
was located in Baltimore and was started by one Balderston. 


The late Thomas Balderston stated that the name of the founder 
of the business was Hugh, who started the business in 1793, but 
the first Baltimore Directory (1796) gives the name of Isaiah 
Balderston as "Wire manufacturer and fan maker. Old Town, 
31 Front Street". Isaiah is listed in succeeding issues until 
1804 when both I. Balderston and Sons and Hugh Balderston 
are given. The business was continued by a* member of the 
family until 1912 when the last descendant, Thomas Balderston. 
disposed of it. Mr. Balderston died July 27, 1919. 

In Boston, wire products were made as early as 1810 by 
Samuel Adams, whose name appears in the directory of that year 
as a wire worker, also Isaac ^^^illiams is listed in the directory of 
1816 as a wire worker. This business has changed ownership 
several times and is now conducted under the name of IMorss 
& Whyte Co., at Cambridge, Alass. Probably there were con- 
temporary wire-weavers in New York but I have not been able 
to get any information about the industry in that city. 

The beginning of the manufacture of Fourdrinier cloth used 
in the manufacture of paper was described in the Paper Trade 
Journal of October 16, 1897, by Cornelius Van Houten, Treasurer 
of the DeWitt Wire Cloth Company as follows : 

"In the spring of 1847, William Staniar came from England and 
brought to America a model for weaving Fourdrinier wires, he being 
then connected with William Stephens & Son, Belleville, New Jersey, 
in which firm he had an interest. From that model I made the first 
American loom for weaving Fourdrinier wire, and in September, 1847, 
Mr. Staniar and myself wove the first American-made wire, he being 
the 'right hand' and I the 'left hand' man on the loom. That first 
wire was sixty-two inches b}^ twent3^-four feet ten inches, and was 
used in the mill of J. & R. Kingsland, at North Belleville (now Frank- 
lin), N. J." 

Pennsylvania is also the cradle of another wire product due 
to the invention of Thomas Jenkins of Pottsville, Pa., who was 
granted a patent on a process for making metal fabric. A copy 
of the claim of the patent granted March 6, 1847, reads as follows : 

"The manufacturing of screens or sieves from wire of the larger 
sizes, either rolled or drawn, the wire from Avhich they are made be- 
ing prepared by crinkling, as herein set forth, previously to its being 
formed into meshes, by which procedure I am enabled to manufacture 
screens with meshes of the larger sizes — say four inches on the side, 
more or less — and in such manner as thev shall be more durable and 


less costly than those made in other ways, and this new manufacture 
of sieves I claim independently of the particular manner of effecting the 
crinkling or of interweaving the wire so as to form the requisite meshes." 

Under this patent the wires or rods were crimped in advance 
of weaving. First this was done by flat plates with ridges which 
pressed indentations in the wires or rods corresponding with the 
desired spacing. Later the work was done by wheels with teeth 
which crimped the wires for the required mesh. 

At first the invention was applied to the production of heavy 
screening and the wires were woven by hand. Later the same 
idea was employed for making wire work with either diamond 
or square meshes. In some cases the wires running in both di- 
rections were crimped and for other work the wires in one direc- 
tion were not crimped in advance of weaving. At a later 
date, wire cloth was made on looms under the patent. The 
straight long wires (warp) were wound on a beam and the filling 
wires driven up by a lathe to the required spacing, giving at the 
same time the crimp to the warp wires. 

A relative of the inventor told me some years ago that Mr. 
Jenkins was the owner of an iron works and among his customers 
were the anthracite coal miners who obtained screens from him 
for grading coal. These, at first were made by placing rods at 
right angles to form suitable openings and then tying them to- 
gether at the intersections by small wires. These screens did 
not prove satisfactory as the small wires wore out and the rods 
would move and form irregular openings. From this Mr. 
Jenkins saw the demand for a durable fabric and hence the in- 
vention of the crimped screening which has developed into one 
of the greatest importance. Most of the wire work made at the 
present time, and all crimped wire cloth is the result of this 

A power loom was constructed about 1860 in Clinton, Mass., 
through the enterprise of E. B. Bigelow, who was engaged in 
the manufacture of carpets. He adapted a loom for weaving 
carpets to weaving wire. Owing to the limited demand for wire 
cloth, it was required only in short lengths and it was found that 
the initial cost of warping a hand loom was less, hence the power 
loom did not come into general use till later. 

Prior to 1870 there was comparatively little change in the 


manufacture of wire cloth. Practically all of it was made on 
hand looms similar in construction to looms used for weaving 
fabrics of cotton, wool and other materials. There were small 
manufactories located in a number of cities and towns, many of 
which have gone out of existence since the establishment of 
works which weave cloth on a large scale with automatic ma- 
chinery at a much lower cost. The uses for wire cloth were very 
limited, embracing sieves for grain cleaning, flour sieves for 
household use, screens and riddles for sifting sand and gravel, 
and cloth for use in flour mills. 

Wire netting was first manufactured in 1865 in the United 
States on power machinery by Gilbert, Bennett & Company. 
Georgetown, Conn., although Joshua Horrock probably made 
netting in a very limited way on a hand loom sometime prior. 
The business did not develop to any great extent for a long time 
owing to competition of the product made in England, however, 
in 1883 a protective tarifif became effective and since then the 
industry has developed to large proportions. 

In the preceding lines a record is given of the genesis of the 
wire fabrics industry in the United States and the name of the 
men who are entitled to credit for its inception. From the 
small beginnings has been developed an annual product amount- 
ing to several millions of dollars which is made in many estab- 
lishments located in several states from coast to coast. A wire 
fabric is used in the construction of many articles, also in the 
manufacture of almost everything. A wire fabric of some kind 
is also required at some point from the initial process to the 
finished article, besides large quantities of material are made and 
sold as merchandise to consumers who find use for the same for 
innumerable purposes ; therefore the industry is of great im- 
portance to modern civilization. 

Old Fences in Bucks County. 

(Friends Meeting House, Newtown, June 3, 1922.) 

THE subject assigned should not necessarily include "Old 
Fences in Bucks County", but fences in general wherever 
used. Undoubtedly fences of some type were needed and 
constructed centuries ago, the particular design depending upon 
location, requirement and material at hand. 

Some one says : Fences in agriculture have a two-fold purpose, 
"keeping in and keeping out". Originally they were constructed 
of wood or stone, depending upon which material was avail- 
able, convenient or desirable. 

"Stump-fences" were and are to be found in new settlements 
where land is cheap, and stumps are plenty after the removal of 
standing timber. 

What is known as the "Swedes-fence" is adapted to steep hills 
and was probably introduced into this country by pioneers from 
Sweden. It never came to be a popular fence in this country 
though almost any kind of waste wood can be utilized in its 

In the vicinity of Penobscot county, Maine, a cedar sapling or 
log fence is quite popular. Cedar thickets are very common there, 
and the trees, when about one foot in diameter, are cut down 
and sawed into lengths of fifteen feet or more, trimmed and they 
are ready for the fence. Two stakes about one foot apart are 
driven or planted into the ground. At about the length of the 
panel two more stakes are located, etc., then the saplings of two 
adjoining panels alternate between two stakes and when the de- 
sired height is reached the stakes are permanently yoked at the 
top and the enclosure is complete. 

The zig-zag worm, stake and rider-fence was popular and had 
its place and use here in Bucks county while timber was plenty, 
labor and land cheap, but it has been relegated and become his- 
torical because land is too valuable to be occupied by fencing that 
necessitates occupying good farming land six to eight feet in 
width wherever erected, for the entire length of the structure 


whether one mile or many miles. It was rails for that kind of 
fences that Abraham Lincoln and John Hanks split in 1830 in 
the Sangamon bottom, two of which played such an important 
part in the Illinois state convention. May 9 and 10, 1860, giving 
"Honest Old Abe", the sobriquet of "Rail Splitter". 

The material for stone fences needed probably as little prepara- 
tion by man as any other fence, as the land had to be cleared of 
stones for cultivation. The stone-wall fences, when properly 
erected, needed less attention for repairs and were more durable 
than any other kind or style of fence. A competent stone-wall 
builder seldom used a hammer to shape the stones, but appeared 
to have a suitable place for every stone picked up. As the good 
road movement developed in Plennsylvania, and the demand for 
broken and crushed stones increased, the stone-wall material, in 
some sections has been carted to the State highways, and prob- 
ably some of the money obtained for it has been used for 
buying automobiles, which now speed over the macadamized and 
concrete roads, which contain the stone-wall material from the 
farms. Stone-wall fences, however, still remain throughout the 
New England states, where hundreds of miles of them can be seen. 

Wire fences, ornamental fences constructed of wood or iron, 
or both, depending for what purpose to be used and the fancy 
of the builder, have been introduced, and lately nicely trimmed 
hedge fences have also become very popular. 

But the type of fence to which I wish to call particular atten- 
tion is the post and rail fence. A very practical, sightly and sub- 
stantial fence, providing the proper care is taken in selecting and 
preparing the material. In the slate section of Northampton 
county, Pa., many of the posts used are constructed of slate ma- 
terial properly shaped and dressed to suit. But the post and rail 
fence in general use is composed entirely of wood material. In 
winter, probably during the coldest days, it was customary, seven- 
ty years ago for the farmer and his boys to select and cut or saw 
down chestnut or white oak trees — the fallen trees were sawed 
into proper lengths — six to seven feet for posts and eleven feet for 
rails. In case white oak or rock oak was selected this work was 
generally done in the spring of the year when the sap was flowing 
and the trees could be barked. The bark was allowed to dry — 
then corded in the woods and in the fall of the vear hauled to 


some tannery. In this territory the tannery was Gilberts', Hoh- 
cong, Pa., at that time the village was known by the name of 
Greenville. The load of dried bark was "swapped" for leather or 
sold for cash. 

The leather whether sole or upper was given into the custody 
of the family shoemaker. The different members of the family 
had their feet measured to determine the size of the shoes needed ; 
the proper record as to the size from heel to toe, the height of 
the instep and the width of the foot were all in the shoemaker's 
care and he was held responsible for the fit. To convert those 
oak logs into post and rail sizes by means of a maul and iron or 
wooden wedges, muscle and good judgment were required to 
utilize the material to the best advantage. 

The posts and rails being split they were carted home to the 
family wood pile and there the rails were dressed at the ends 
with the broadax so as to make them attractive and later usable 
in erecting a post and rail fence. The pointing of the rails and 
the hewing of the posts was a trick reserved for the few and not 
given to the many. Hewing or squaring the upper two-thirds 
of the posts with an axe and a broadax was another step or 
process required in which the post in its rough state was fastened 
down with an iron dog on two heavy cross pieces of wood to 
give it stability and elevation while being dressed with the two 
tools mentioned. The chiseling out and at a later period boring 
and cutting out post-holes the proper size and regular distance 
apart was probably a slow, tedious process previous to the in- 
vention and patenting of the spiral or thread auger for which let- 
ters patent were granted in 1809 which are recorded at Wash- 
ington, D. C. Though there is indisputable evidence that post 
and rail fences were constructed in this county previous to the 
year 1798, eleven years before the spiral auger was patented. 
What is known as the pod auger may have been in use before 
spiral construction, thus partly eliminating the use of mallet and 
chisel in shaping post-holes. 

"Necessity", it is said, "is the mother of invention". The spiral 
auger was introduced with a cross section for the handle and the 
shaping of the post-holes became comparatively easy but it was 
too slow. The spirit of going fast had already taken possession 
of the American mind, one hundred vears before the automobile 


or airplane pace was established. And so we find that some 
genius thought out and constructed a post-boring machine and 
did for the laboring man w^hat Dr. Babcock did for the dairyman, 
just gave his wonderful invention to the public without asking 
for any royalty whatever. The post-boring machine became a 
community affair, borrowed, carted and used by every farmer in 
the neighborhood. The post-holes being bored another important 
step presented itself, cutting out those holes with a small axe 
called a post-axe. This work had to be done "on the square" or 
the rails could not be introduced and properly tightened without 
twisting and having many posts standing at different angles, no 
two exactly alike when fastened. 

The trees cut down, the logs sawed the proper length, then 
split, carted home, rails pointed, posts hewn, holes bored and 
dressed, the next step was to haul the prepared material to where 
the fence was to be erected. The line of fence to be built was 
first marked with stakes having a piece of white fabric fastened 
to them. These were sighted over and the places for the posts 
located and marked ; hard work was then needed to dig holes and 
later to fasten the posts rigidly. 

Now whether the posts are hewed or sawed, the rails split or 
sawed, if all the details are carefully followed, rigidly adhered to, 
the posts lined as to height and direction, the rails properly se- 
lected and mated then the post and rail fence is a credit and an 
ornament for any community, a good safe indication of stability 
of character, and a stranger may rest assured that there is no 
need of being ashamed to be seen in that neighborhood, nor of 
being a native of that community but that it is a desirable terri- 
tory in which to buy a home — to enjoy life — and spend ones days. 


>rivate burying-ground along the Delaware 
River, near Erwinna, Bucks County, 

Colonel Arthur Erwin and James Fennimore Cooper's Novel, 
"Wyandotte or the Hutted Knoll." 

(Friends Meeting House, Solebury, October 14, 1922.) 

>»i>Wf^^ HE special thought in preparing this paper on 
Colonel Arthur Erwin, was to preserve a tradi- 
tion which leads to the belief that certain inci- 
dents in his life and death led James Fennimore 
Cooper to use them as the foundation for his 
novel IVyandotte or the Hutted Knoll, published 
in 1843. But my study of his life, and of his family, has led me 
to add some of the leading features of their history. 

Arthur Erwin was a Scotch-Irishman, born in the north of Ire- 
land in 1726. During the early part of May 1768, he embarked 
for America, sailing in the ship "Newry Assistance," from the 
port of Newry on Carlington Bay, on the Irish coast, with his 
wife and five small children ; John, the oldest was twelve, and 
Hugh, the youngest, but one year old. His wife died at sea July 
10, 1768, and after a voyage lasting over three months, Mr. Er- 
win with his five children landed in Philadelphia August 18, 1768. 
They went direct to Dyerstown in Bucks County, where Arthur's 
brother, William, had in 1755, purchased two hundred and twen- 
ty-six acres of land, and where he and his wife, Margaret, nee 
Earle, made their home.^ 

Arthur Erwin seems to have been a man of some means, and 
no doubt guided by the advice and counsel of his brother, bought, 
March 16. 1769, two tracts of land in Tinicum Township, Bucks 
County, aggregating five hundred and twenty-eight acres and one 
hundred and fifty seven perches. These were part of the lands 
of the Pennsylvania Land Company of London, but Gen. Davis, 
in his History of Bucks County, Vol. II, p. 5. has fallen into an 
error in saying that Arthur Erwin purchased 1,563 acres 32 
perches direct from the London Company, overlooking the fact 

1 "William Erwin. brother of Arthur, came to America from Ireland about 
1750. He was probably accompanied by four other brothers. John, Hugh, 
Nathaniel and Alexander. Hugh died intestate in Springfield township in 
1753, and letters of administration were granted to his widow, Elizabeth, on 
May 14, 1753. 


that the lands remaining unsold in that company, were disbursed 
in 1761, seven years before the arrival of Arthur. On May 1, 
1769, Arthur Erwin moved on his Tinicum plantation, and there 
he reared his fainily and lived over the remainder of his life. The 
town of Erwinna, named for him, is located on that tract. The 
records at Doylestown show that Colonel Erwin owned at dif- 
ferent times, and practically all at one time, 2.402 acres 19 
perches of land in Bucks County, of which 1,859 acres 101 perches 
were in Tinicum, and the remainder in Plumstead, Nockamixon, 
Springfield and Durham Townships. His large holdings of land 
in Lurenze County, Pa., and Steuben County, N. Y., will be re- 
ferred to later in this paper. On the death of Colonel Erwin in 
1791 (he died intestate), the homestead was adjudged to his then 
oldest living son, Joseph, who did not marry. Joseph lived thereon 
until his death in 1807. In his will he devised this homestead 
tract to his brother William, who made his home there down to 
the time of his death in 1836, and as General Davis records, not 
one acre of these ancestral lands in Bucks County is now owned 
by a member of the Erwin family. - 

Colonel Arthur Erwin married a second time, viz, on July 27, 
1771, to Mary Kennedy, daughter of William Kennedy of Spring- 
field Township.^ By this union there were six children, four sons 
and two daughters, all living to maturity. One of the daughters, 
Sarah (1773-1854). married Dr. John Cooper, the other, Re- 
becca (1775-1848). married Dr. William McKean, both of 
Easton, Pa. It appears from the records at Doylestown, that 
there was some lack of harmony between Colonel Erwin and his 
second wife. She brought suit against him in the quarter ses- 
sions at Newtown (then the county-seat), for support, declaring 
that she had been ejected from her home and otherwise badly 
treated. Later she made her home at Easton, where she passed 
away July 29. 1817. Her body and that of her son. Dr. John 
Erwin. the second son of that name (who did not marry), lie 
buried in the Easton cemetery. 

Colonel Arthur Erwin and two of his sons, John and William, 
had splendid military records during the Revolutionary War. 
Arthur was elected captain of a company of Bucks County Asso- 

2 History of Bucks County, by Gen. W. W. H. Davis. Vol. II, pp .5 & 6. 

3 Pennsylvania Archives. Second Series, Vol. II, p. 82. 


ciators, re