lating them from their other cattle and when no longer fit
to work, took them out into the woods and shot them. The
wolves came in packs and devoured them, were poisoned by
the score and died. This exterminated the wolves.
OLD NORTHKILL CHURCH, BERNVILLE
The old Northkill Church, built of logs, stood upon an
acre of ground donated December 25, 1745, by Gottfried Fid-
ler, to which Samuel Filbert subsequently gave another acre
to be used for church and cemetery purposes. Each acre was
in the form of a triangle, the two making a perfect square.
In 1 791 the old log was superseded by a brick structure, which
was in 'turn replaced by the handsome red sandstone building
erected 1897. This church was Lutheran until 1834, when
the Reformed people obtained an interest in it. John Caspar
Stoever was pastor of the log church, 1745.
It is related that one of the original donors of the land
upon which the log church stood, committed suicide and was
buried outside of the stone wall that surrounded the ceme-
tery. Subsequent generations of this man discovered his
tomb and on applying to the church authorities for a lot, his
remains were re-interred in the cemetery to which, and to
the church, he had been a generous contributor during his
life time. (The "Penn Germania," January, 1913, Vol. 11,
No. I, contains a partial list of those persons, born prior to
1801, from inscriptions taken from the tombstones in this
SCHUYLKILL COUNTY 451
Old Time Stories
HOW DEVIL'S HOLE WAS NAMED
Tuy fill's Loch obtained its name from an Orwigsburg-
peddler who traveled about the southern part of the county
about 181 T, soon after it was separated from Berks. As is
well known the section of the country along the Blue Moun-
tains, between Port Clinton and Tamaqua, is among the
wildest and most picturesque to be found anywhere, either
in the United States or abroad. Several spurs of the moun-
tain unite here separated in the prehistoric ages by a mighty
upheaval of nature and the wierd result is a huge bowl-like
series of short valleys or outlets between the mountains,
which tower high above them on every side, throwing their
shadows on the limpid and silvery stream at the foot even
on the brightest sunshiny day. The rocky declivities are
covered with moss, and during the spring or after heavy
rains these rocks are overflown, forming cascades and water
falls adding to the scene which is one of indescribable beauty
The peddler with his pack had been gone on his accus-
tomed trip, but not arriving home at the usual time, his
family became alarmed. At last he came looking rather the
worse for his experience ; he had lost himself in the wilds,
and on being questioned said : "Ich wahr drei tag im Tuyful's
sei Loch, uhn bin yusht rouse cumma." And Devil's Hole
it has been called ever since.
"SIILY BILLY" BUSINESS
The foolish claims, on the part of many persons who
may, perhaps, be of the same name as some great dignitary
abroad, or military chief who achieved distinction in the early
wars in Europe or America, to establish a relationship with
them or claim them as founders of their families, is becoming
452 BLUE BOOK OF
Old Time Stories
a craze with some in this country. The story of a Pottsville
man, whom we will call Platz (it was not his name) is
apropos of this foolishness. The Pottsville man had achieved
some distinction and was highly popular in his home town,
^vhen he went abroad.
Traveling in Germany he heard of a Von Platz, who
stood high at the German court and belonged to the Royal
family. With characteristic American independence, Platz
v'isited the royal castle and sent in his card, "Herr Platz.
Pottsville, Pennsylvania. United States of America," and
requested an interview with his supposed august relative (?).
He could not obtain an audience with General Von Platz and
the court police, or royal flinikeys, surrounded him on the
return of the emissary, he had liberally tipped to represent
him and he was told in the vernacular (German was his
mother tongue) "to make himself scarce at once or he would
be arrested and imprisoned as an imposter." Platz was cured
of his desire to connect himself with the German aristocracy
and no one relished the story more than Platz himself on his
Another story of Platz, who died some years since, was.
that, like many a good man he dreaded death, and w^as very
explicit in his directions as to what he wanted done when he
was ready to "shuffle off this mortal coil." His good wafe
demurred at the multiplicity of directions he gave, as death
drew near, when he remarked, "Never mind, Maria, I have
to do the dying, not you."
OH! POOR NATTY MILLS
One of the good old tales handed down by a resident of
Orwigsburg is to this effect:
At a political meeting held in the ancient county seat,
Lawyer Neville and Natty Mills had a little tilt between
SCHUYLKILL COUNTY 453
Old Time Stories
them that gave origin to the poetical saw on Mills that was
afterward so popular, appearing on the banners of his po-
litical opponent and sung by the Whig Clubs as they
In the course of his speech Mr. Neville said :
"Oh ! poor Natty Mills,
Oh! Poor Natty Mills,
We'll give him a dose of castor oil
And then a dose of pills."
Not to be outdone Natty Mills, who was on the plat-
form and succeeded the speaker, retorted :
"Oh ! poor Lawyer Neville,
A native very queer.
One leg he left in Ireland,
The other one is here."
Neville was a one-legged Irishman and Natty Mills a
popular local Democratic politician, who kept a hotel on the
corner of Second and West Arch Streets, Pottsville.
The same resident of Orwigsburg, at this writing, 1914,
eighty years of age, is authority for the statement that
Charlemagne Tower, Esq., of Philadelphia, late vVmbassa-
dor to the German Empire, was not, as claimed, born in
Pottsville, Pennsylvania, but in New York. The Tower /
family lived in Pottsville, northwest corner of Fourth and /
Mahantongo Streets. Mr. Tower was raised and educated!
in the place; before his birth, however, his mother, Mrs.
Mulvina Tower, visited friends in New York and the ac-
couchment took place in that State. Tlie house in which
the Tower family first lived prior to coming to Pottsville,
a modest two-story frame building opposite the Evangelical
Church, Orwigsburg, was razed this summer, 1914. to make
way for a more modern dwelling.
454 BLUE BOOK OF
Old Time Stories
COULD NOT BE FOOLED
When the first train came up to Mount Carbon after
the Reading railroad was built, January i, 1842, it excited
considerable curiosity and the people assembled along the
line to see it pass.
The cars were small box cars and the engine was a
miniature affair that puffed and snorted and seemed to move
with great effort and the train was four hours late from
On the knoll at Auburn a crowd of people from the
surrounding country waited to see the "iron monster" and
discuss the merits of such locomotion.
After the train passed an old lady, much excited, jumped
up and waved her arms and said : "Kannscht mich net foolah,
'sin guile unner die inchine, Ich hab sie gesehne schnaufe"
("You can't fool me, there were horses under the engine, I
saw them breathing.")
Note : â€” When the Reading railway was completed from
Reading to Mount Carbon, trucks with planks laid across
them for seats, were provided for such as chose to avail them-
selves of free transportation and try a ride on the new road.
Many took, as they imagined, their lives in their hands when
they ventured to take advantage of the new method of locomo-
tion. When General Winfield Scott, commander in chief of the
United States army, visited Pottsville, after the close of the
Mexican War, a like privilege was afforded by the Reading
Company to the people from the southern end of the county.
SCHUYLKILL COUNTY 455
Old Time Stories
February 22, 1776, and after, nearly 30,000 German troops
were sent to aid the British during the Revolutionary War,
more than half being furnished by the Prince of Hesse-Cas-
sel. All were called "Hessians" by the Americans, although
over 6,000 were from Brunswick and 7,000 from other smaller
Most of these men were serving compulsory terms in the
German armies when they were sold by their mercenary rul-
ers to the British and sent to fight the colonists. The de-
scendants of some of these are among the leading families
of Pennsylvania and Virginia. Some were mere students and
others were men of high education and some brought their
wives and children with them, all were sufferers of military
despotism. In 1785, several families who were of the 1000
or more encamped as prisoners at Reading, who had deter-
mined to remain in this country, crossed the Blue Mountains
and after some wandering settled in the extreme western end
of what is now Pottsville. They called the little village
"Hesse Stettle," which name was finally merged into that of
Yorkville. The Hessians were frugal and industrious and
their descendants are among Pottsville's best citizens.
FROM WILLS PROBATED BEFORE 1800, NAMING
EARLY SETTLERS OF SCHUYLKILL COUNTY
(Berks County Register's Office)
1795, November 2, Peter Neuschwender, Manheim Twp.
1798, August 20, Peter Buechler, Pinegrove Twp.
1799, October 15, Martin Dreibelbis, Manheim Twp.
1799, December 24, Jacob Schnell, Manheim Twp.
1785, October 19, John Dietrich Fahl, Brunswick Twp.
SCHUYLKILL CO. BLUE BOOK
Old Time Stones
1788, February 28, Ludwig Herring, Innkeeper, Bruns-
1793, August 27, Jacob Kimmel, Brunswick Twp.
1799, March 4, John Kopp, Pinegrove Twp.
1798, June 25, Peter Meyer, Manheim Twp.
1788, January 12, Balzer Neufang, Brunswick TAvp.
1795, June 22, Matthews Reich, Manheim Twp.
1785, June 22, John Runckle, Brunswick Twi .
1793, May 4, Frederick Schnock. Pinegrove Twp.
1789, May II, Jacob Sheafer, Brunswick Twp.
1785, March 25, Richard Stephens, Brunswick Twp.
1799, October 21, Simon Strause, Manheim Twp.
1786, October 2, George Jacob Ulrich, Pinegrove Twp.