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Notes and queries: Chiefly relating to Interior Pennsylvania, Volume 2 online

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of November 23d to 27th, 1863. Upon Gen-
eral Grant destroying what he style i the
"anomaly of a major general commanding
two corps" by consolidating them, and form-
ing the Twentieth Corps, the star was re-
tained as the designation. General George
H. Thomas, recognising the great import-
ance of these badges in preventing strag-
gling and injustice in official reports, issued
the order mentioned, and adopted them for
the army which he commanded.

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Historical and Genealogical.



[The following sketch of Lewis Weiss was
read at the annual "Vesper" of the Moravian
Historical Society, at Nazareth, September
5, 1889, by its author, John W. Jordan, of
the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. It
is of special interest to as from the fact that
of Mr. Weiss' daughters one married George
Klein, of Carlisle, who were the parents of
the late Sqnire Klein, of Harrisbarg, and
another John Wyeth, the ancestor of the
Wyetbs in Pennsylvania.]

The "Peerage" is called the "English-
man's Bible," bnt the Church Register will
ever be to the American his "Book of Com-
mon Prayer, " for they are really the only
documents to which he can apply for infor-
mation in the prosecution of his genealogical
researches. And because they are more com*
prehensive than those of other denomina-
tions (for they are not only genealogical bat
biographical in character), the 'early regis-
ters of the American Province of the Unitas
Vratrnm or Moravian Church are conceded
to be the most valuable. In more recent
years, however, we have not followed after
the system of our ancestors, and as time
rolls on, our descendants, even more than
we, will have cause to deplore the changes

An examination of the registers of the
Philadelphia congregation, from 1743 to the
beginning of tht present century, will abun-
dantly repay the genealogist and antiquarian,
for he will find there recorded the names and
descendants of those who were not only ac-
tive workers in the Church, but distinguished
in the civil and political history of the Pro-
vince and State. There was the old Hugue-
not, John Stephen Beuezet, the first treas-
urer ot the congregation, and of the "Society
for the Furtherance of the Gospel," from
which our "Heathen Society" was organized,
and whose three daughters became the wives
of Moravian clergymen. Charles Brockden,
for upwards of half a century, the Peons'
Recorder of Deeds and Master of the Rolls
of the Province, was the grandfather
of Charles Brockden Brown, the first Amer-
ican novelist. Edward Evans, was the
associate of Zinzendorf in his effort to or-
ganize what was undoubtedly theftr*t Evan-
gelical Alliance in America; in whose house
ito seventh session was held, and who subse-
quently became one of the founders of
Methodism in Pennsylvania. Thomas God-

frey, the friend of James L"»gan, was the in*
ventor of the Quadrant; and Gustavus Hee-
selius, was the first builder of organs in the-
Province, if not in the Colonies Henry
Miller, the business rival of the Saurs and
contemporary of Franklin, is rated as one of
the most extensive printers, and enterpi lsing-
newspaper publishers of his day. Joseph
Dean was a sigoer of the Non -Importation
Resolutions of 1765, and when the c >looies
rebelled against the oppression of the ra< ther
country, became a member of the Council 1
ol Safetv and of the Board of War, of
Pennsylvania. George Schlosser, a well-
known merchant, was from 1774 to 1776.
a member of the Provincial Coun-
cil. Peter Helm, whose services should*
never be forgotten, had the humanity and
courage to attend the hospital at Bush Hill,,
during the Yellow Fever epid mic of >793,
where he not only 8a* that the nurses did
their duty, bnt actually performed many of
the roost dangerous and at the same time
humiliating services for the sick with dis-
own hands. Lewis Weiss, conveyancer, law-
yer and judge, who passed upwards of forty
years of an honored life in the city of his
adoption, will be the subject of my paper to-

Wilhelm Ludwig Wei«s, (his baptismal
name), was born 28 December, 1717, in
Berlin, Prussia. Of hit* early life we know
but little, but in 1744, we find him a theo-
logical student in the Seminary of the-
Ohurch at Lindheim, near Fran k for t-OD- the-
Main ; and on graduating he was ordained a
Deacon. Neither do we know the cause of
his withdrawing from the ministry to study
law, and immigrating to America, where he
arrived in December of 1755, making Phila-
delphia his home.

When Mr. Weiss became a resident of the?
Province, the French with their Indian al-
lies, were striving to wrest it from Great
Britain, and the Church had not recovered!
from the horror of the massacre of the mis-
sion family on the Mahoning. With other
citizens we find him in 1756, devising means-
for the relief and protection of the Moravian
settlements on the frontier. His activity at-
tracted the attention of Bishop Spangen-
berg, who appreciating and recognizing bis
services and ab s lity, employed him as gen-
eral counsel of the Church at the capital of
the Province, which position he filled with
fidelity for upwards of half a century. The
first time he acted in a professional capacity;

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Historical and Genealogical.

for the congregation in Philadelphia, was in
the Spring of 1757, when the burying ground
lot w*h secured, he being one of the four-
teen Botacribers for its purchase.

In 1760, Mr. Wei»s became associated
wirh Henry Miller in the publication of the
MUfitiboU, a German newswaper, which had
a respectable circulation throughout the
Colonies and wielded a considerable influence
among his countrymen. His connection
with i his paper, however, did not loog con-

When Pontiac, the Ottawa, in 1763, was
devastating the frontiers and the Moravian
settlements were again in a perilous situation,
Mr. Weiss once more became an active par-
ticipant in the measures for thair defense.
He frequently viaite \ Bethlehem, where his
a » vice and sympitthy gave confidence, and
where on a certain occasion, in his anxiety to
hattten to Philadelphia, to present a memorial
to the Governor, "he forgot to pay his
Tavern reckoning to Mr. Payue." But he
sofowquently notified him, that, "if it pleas-
eth him to give an order to any person that
oometh here to Philadelphia, I will pay it."
Wiiting to Timothy Horsfield under date of
AauUHt j, 1763. he refers to his application
for arms for Bethlehem and Pazareth ; de-
scribes an interview with Joseph Galloway,
one of the Commissioner*, who hesitated to
issue them unless 'Squire Horsfield became
responsible for their return, and then adds:
*«one honest Quaker to whom I related this,
told me I nhoo'd not loose this opportunity
to get the arms, and that I e would be secu-
rity for all that should be lost, broke or
stolen." The blunderbusses were issued !

In another letter, dated August 15th, he
states that the Governor was about to pro-
vide for the protection of Bethlehem and
other places; that Gaorge Schlosserhad pur-
chased arms, and a Mr. Hoffman had pre-
sented three swivels for the defense of Beth-
lehem. "I herewith send you," he continues,
<4 a copy of Martial Law, th*»t will do hooour
to our Law Books. Who could think that
Friend Penn and all his associates, would
■ever be proxy for the framing of a Law as
this ? The cost of this law is six pence,
which I desire yon to pay in good, sound,
fre«h and tender cakes to my two children,
equally to be divided among them, share and
share alike "


[The reference to Gen. Daniel Boberdeau,
of the Army of the Revolution, in an account

recently given of a visit to Winchester, Vir-
ginia, recalls to mind the futile efforts made
by that gallant patriot to have the State of
Pennsylvania recompense him for his at-
tempt to secure lead for the army. The fol-
lowing notes ot the case are Interesting.]
Daniel Boberdeau e. Republicans

This Issue is founded on a Resolve of the
House of April 7th, 1781.
lie Point Whether in Law or Equity, the
Commonwealth are bound to indemnify
the Plff. for any Disbursements made on
account of the Lead Mine In Sinking
Spring Valley, Bedford County, or any
Losses sustained in consequence of the
openiog ot the Mine ?
2d. Point Whether the Plff. has complied
with the conditions annexed to the Resolve
ot the House ?
3d Point. What sum he is irtitled to re-
cover in case the Court 4 Jury should be
of opiniou he is intitled to a recovery ?
Fir * Point :

June 3, 1 776. Congress, by their Resolve,
requested this State, amongst others, "to
transmit to them with all convenient dis-
patch the State 4 Condition ol the Lead
Mines in their respective Colonies, 4k use the
most speedy means to procure their being
wrought to Effect."

In the year 1778, particularly, dreadful
apprehensions arose from a supposed want
of Lead for the use of the Regular Army 4
Militia. Before that Time we know that
the Houses in Philadelphia were despoiled of
their Spouts of Lead 4k their windows 4
clocks robbed of their leaden weight* by the
Committees, who recommended the same
measures to the different counties, where
there was a Probability of obtaining Lead.
To procure a supply of Gun Powder, the
Legislature gave Premiums to the makers of
Salt Petre, to introduce a new manufacture
amongst us highly necessary during the
War. The State carried on Salt Works at
their own Expense.

If our construction of the Resolve of the
House is well founded, the Assembly have
gone no further in the case of Encouraging
the manufacture of so valuable an article as
Lead, than they have gone in the cases of
Salt Petre 4k Common Salt amongst us. The
Se It Works have cost the State large sums
of money. The Individuals managing them
have reaped the whole profits. Other 8tates
have pursued similar measures 4 have given
high Bounties for the Encouragement of

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Historical and Genealogical.


Salt Petre. Necessity dictated the measure.
The Enthusiasm for carrying on the War
then, was greater than perhaps it is now.
Cold Calculations respecting the national ex-
pense were perhaps then less attended to
than now, when Finance & an economical
system for carrying on the War is highly 4k
with reason attended to. With us then, it
was literally, neck or nothing.

30th March, 1778, or thereabouts. The
Plff. and his Associates having discovered a
valuable Lead Mine in Bedford County, pe-
titioned the Assembly at Lancaster praying
the Hoase to vest in them the title to the
land which contained the mine, offering to
pay the usual Purchase money, Ac.

This petition is not now to be fonnd (Vide
Mr. Lloyd's certificate 30th April, 1782).
The Loss is not to be attributed to ns. It
was delivered into the House, & in the keep'
ing of their then Clerk, John Morris, Esqr.
We are not to suffer from tbe accident

31st March, 1778. The House, however,
came to a Resolve on this petition. They
deny the Prayer of it, which was to vest the
Ufa of the land in them.- They pursued an-
other Line, & stipulate that they will give
the utmost Encouragement to opening the
Mine & smelting the Ore for the public bene-
fit, agreeing to indemnify the Company from
any loss they already suitained, or may sus-
tain, in opening the mine & smelting the ore.
if they should immediately proceed on the
said Work and diligently & faithfully prose-
cute the same.

In judging of this Resolve, the Rale of
Law is to be adhered to, Co. Litt 42, 134,
that Grants are to be taken most strongly
against the grantors (Vid. 2 Blackst, 380.)
The meaning of the Resolve is to be collected
from the very words as in the Case of a Will
& not from extraneous circumstances. For
this would be, to make it as Lord Holt says:
Something, Everything db Nothing.

What then is the natural construction ?
Surely it would not be to indemnify the
Comp'y, merely from damages incurred by
Tresp:tB'iog on lands belonging to other
Persons, in actions of Trespass. This would
not be tbe "utmost Encouragement" tin
Legislature would give. It is too cold for
the Enthusiasm of the Day, or Importance
of tbe Subject, nor will the terms be satis-
fled by such construction. For

1st Tbe indemnity is against aU Lome in
general, wUhosrt reference to any particular

Losses, as in the case of the owners of the
soil bringing suits for mere Trespassers.

2d. It extends to the Smelting of the Ore,
which is a process often done in Places re-
mote from the Land. lhe Resolve actually
rejects the Prayer of the Petition, bo far as
respects the title.

3d. It has Respect to Losses already sue*
tained\ which must mean accordiog to the
construction contended for against Damages-
rec >vered in Actions of Trespass. It is no-
torious none were then or since brought.

4th. Our construction is confined by sub-
sequent Resolutions of 1st April, 1779, 4k
5th April, 1779. In the 5th April Reaolve
it is spoke of as an Express Warrt'y.

5th. Mr. Henry says no man of Pru-
dence would undertake such a scheme upon
an uncertain Tenure, auy more than he would
a mill, who is to have it for 2 or 3 yrs. Can
it be supposed that tbe Plff , would uuild ex-
pensive works merely to be indemnified
against Trespasser.

6th. The Resolve of 31st March, 1778, hold a
out the utmost encouragement to the Plff., in
opening the said Ore & Smelting the Ore for
piubUe benefit Why public benefit t If it
was to be a mere private affair. The Re-
solve of 5 April, 1779, speaks of it as ho ob-
ject of so great Utility & Importance that
it had been guarantied by the House.

7th. [Bargain, Cold indeed.] There is no
Absurdity or Folly in the resolves according-
to our construction. It is a matter of con-
siderable consequence to introduce a new
manufacture in an article so necessary for
pnblic Defence. Such is the case of the
Salt-Petre Works 4k the Salt Works. These
matters are not strictly measured by Scales
4k Compasses.

8th. The Resolutions of the Assembly re-
fer to the Resolve of Congress of 3d June,
1776. requiring them to ute the meet sveedy
means to procure the Lead Mines being
brought to Effect

9. [«•"] Tbe memorial of 16th Feb.,
1781, proves the Sense of the House. It re-
cites his memorial of } 7tb March, 1779, rep-
resenting tbe danger the Property was in
from the Depreiations of the Enemy. This
brought in Question what was tbe meaning
of the Resolve. What before was in Doubt,
as 'tis said, is reduced to a ce/tainty by a
Resolution of the 1st April 1779. If the
Assembly had Doubts of the Meaning of the
Besoktcthey would certainly hone qualtyeil
their Resolve made two weeks after They din

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. Historical and Qenealogital.

not qualify it The Deduction is natural,
that the Assembly justified & approved oar
2d Point

... As to oar performance of the conditions,
see the certificate of the War Office, Genl.
Washington's Letter, Oertif. of Owen
Biddle, & Stephen Paschall.

The Depos'n of Jamas Gleo & Thomas
BidwelL Bidwell actaaUy rec'd of Plff., by
Bid well, since NovW, 1778, to April, 1779,
being 6 mo., is £1,499 2 6, pr Affidavit— a
good round sum exclusive of other Paym'ts,
£1,064 2 6 being paid in one month.

But it is no objection that we have not
spent money enough.

One part of the Defence is that we have
spent too much & needlessly. We have our
Acco'ts & Vouchers for all our Payments,
sworn to by Plff . as snms expended by ns
out of our own pockets.

Our Economy is in our Favour, that the
State is not charged with unreasonable

The great Difficulty in procuring Smel-

The Militia & Inhabitants building the
Fort no argument ag'sc us, ai thereby
the charge ag'»t the Public is diminished.

♦» ■»


Historical, Biographical and Genealogical.

An Early Physician.— We find in a
Harrishurg newspaper of September 17,
1811, the followiug advertisement of Dr.
James McCammon, who removed from New-
ville, in Cumberland county, to Mid die to wo,
offeriug his professional services:

"He has had a regular medical education
in the University of Edinburgh, and obtained
a degree as Doctor of Medicine in saiJ Uni-
versity. ***** He has since had
two years' practice In the London Hospitals,
where he has had every advautage of becom-
ing an experienced and expert surgeon."
Dr. McCain raon died at Middletown Nov.
7, 1813, aged 35 years.

Deaths of Notable Persons.— The
following we find among our memoranda:
At Chambersburg,

Crawford, Mrs. Elisabeth, wife of Edward
Crawford, Esq., d. Dec 8, 1792, aged 30

Colhoun, Dr. John, d. Dec 22, 1782, aged
41 years.

Colhoun. Mrs. Agnes, wife of Dr. John
Colhoun. d. May 8, 1801, aged 50 years.

Lindsay, James, d. October 12, 1*804, aged
61 years.
At Lancaster.

Rosa, Mrs. Ann, wife of James Ross, of
Pittsburgh, and daughter of the late George
Woods, of Bedford, d. at Cornwall, Sept. 14,

Cookson, Thomas, born in Great Britain
in 1710. He held and discharged with in-
tegrity several of the first offices in
county of Lancaster. Died March 20, 1753.

Bar, on, Mrs. Esther, wife of Rev. Thomas
Barton, and daughter of Mathia* Ritteu-
house, d. June 18, 1774, aged 43.

Hottenstein, Dr. Henry, born Aug. 1,
1736, d. Aug. 26, 1809.

Kuhn, Adam Simon, Esq., d. Jan 23, 1800,
aged 66 years and 1 month.

» ♦

Robert Dunning lived with his mother
along Big Chickies, in Lancaster county,
prior to 1728 or 9. He traded
with the Indians and removed nearer
the scene of his labors pet haps about the
same year. His mother, Mary Dunning,
died at Chickies in 1737, leaving a daugh-
ter, Janet Buchannan, and sons, John,
Esekiel, and Robert. It is more than prob-
able, nay we have evidence to that effect, that
a number of persons squatted west of the
Susquehanna prior to 1 729-30 in the Cumber-
land Valley. It is well known t hat Wright and
Blumston reported to the Governor th*
names of all settlers west of the river prior
to that date, for the reason that the Penns
had not then completed title or pur-
chased the land from the Indians,
who always reported when any settlers in-
vaded the lands west of the river. A num-
ber of families settled in the Valley where
Creep's fort was in 1726. They were
dispossessed, however, and in 1730 the
Mary landers came up. It was a custom and
an understanding between the Indians
and the Penns, that the latter
had permission to lay oat

manors on this unpurchased land for the sole
purpose of keeping off settlers until the title
to the same was made, and that is the reason
Spriogetbury. Manor was laid out in
1722. In this case it failed to accomplish
the desired end. And some of the Manors

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Historical and Genealogical.


in Cumberland county were laid oat for the
same reason. Wright and Blanson went np
there and laid out an Indian Reserve also.
Samuel Evans.



The wrongs which many of the German
emigrants who came to Philadelphia suffered
during their transportation from Europe, the
impositions practiced when they landed in a
strange oountry among a people whose lan-
guage they could not understand, and by
whom they could not make themselves un-
derstood, led to so much distress, that the
Assembly was petitioned for their relief.
The passage of an Act in 1749, produced
some amelioration, but there were still many
complaints, and these became so flagrant
that in 1764, the German Society was organ-
ised by citisens of German birth to supply
poor, sick and distressed Germans with re-
lief. Lewis Weiss took an active part in its
organization, and drafted the Constitution
and Regulations, which governed the So-
ciety. From 1764 to 1777, an J again in
1785, he served as Councillor, in 1781, as
President, and in 1785, as its Vice President,
and to his death was one of its promising

A few weeks subsequent to his becoming a
citizen ot Philadelphia, Mr. Weiss was ad-
mitted to practice before the courts of the
couuty. His practice grew steadily, largely
from bis being one of the prominent convey-
ancers of the city, and his cases were mainly
Heal Estate issues. As a land-title lawyer,
his reputation stood high among bis profes-
sional brethren. The only literary work of
his known to us is: "The Charters and Acts
•of Assembly of the Province of Pennsylva-
nia," which he collected and edited with
Charles Brockden, under a resolution of the
Assemby, and which were printed by Peter
Miller & Co, in 1762. These two volumes,
bound in one, are known to the legvl profes-
sion as "Big" Peter Miller His ability as
a drafter of legal . documents was so well
known, that he was frequently engaged by
the Assembly to prepare the more import-
ant Acts which were to come before them.
By way of illustration let me give a half
dozen titles of the Acts which he prepared
in August and September of 1778: "An Act
to repeal these several acts of General As-
sembly relative to tot place of holding the

Supreme Court of the counties of Philadel-
phia, Chester and Bucks;" "To declare
void the acknowledgement of Deeds aid the
Probate and Registry of Wills taken by cer-
tain persons during a certain time;" "A sup-
plement to the several Acts of Assembly
relative to the importation of Negroes;"
"To explain and »trengthen that clause of a
former act by which the disabilities of Per-
sons not having taken the Test are con-
tinued during the life of the delinquent;"
"A supplement to the Chester Creek and
Drawbridge Act;" "To regulate trade and
navigation of the State;" "To regulate the
mode of assessing and levying taxes in the

The Pennsykania Packet of January 1,
1780, contains the following advertisement:
"Lewis Weiss, of Philadelphia, Scrivener,
has removed to Arch Street, the second or
third door below the house which is right op-
posite to the gates of the English Church
Burying Ground, where he continues to draw
all manner of writings for transferring and
assuring the property and possession of real
and personal estates, settlements, covenants,
and agreements upon titles of land and rights
in claims or controversy, to lxy before Coun-
cil, Judges, auditors, or arbitrators ; Letters
of attorney, or agency, to transact business
in foreign countries, also Petitions, memo-
rials or addresses to Congress, and its sev-
eral Departments or Committees, to the
Representatives in Assembly, the President
of Council, and Courts of Judicature. He
also translates into English any foreign con-
tracts, or other writings of a public nature,
from French, German, Hollandisb, and
Latin languages."

Mr. Weiss resided in the Arch Street
house (numbered 159) from 1780 to 1795; in
1796, he removed to No. 152 north Third
street (N. W. corner of Third and New
Streets), and at the date of his death, lived
at No. 158 N. Fifth Street

On the 20th of May, 1 786, the Supreme
Executive Council of the State, commis-
sioned him a Justice of the Peace for South
Mulberry Ward, and six days later a justice
of the Courts of Common Pleas and the
Quarter Sessions ot the city and county of
Philadelphia. He was next commissioned *
justice of the « rphans* Court, 18th Nov.
1786. These petitions be filled with ability
until 1791, when the Courts were reorgan-
ized under the new Constitution, whereupon
he resumed his profession.

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Hutortoal a*d GawaiogteaL

The position taken by the Moravian
Church with regard to the Test Acts daring
the war for Independence, for three jeers or
more, placed in jeopard j its estates in Penn-
sylvania and threatened the liberties of its
members. It was not from patriotic motiree
that the enforcement of the Acts were de-
manded, particularly in Northampton County,
and it required all the tact and unflinching
courage of John Ettwein, (the accredited
agent of the Church in the negotiations with
Congress and the Assembly), with the aid
and influence of his friends, Henry Laurens,
of South Carolina, William Henry, of Lan-
caster, and Lewis Weiss, of Philadelphia, to
arert what at times threat' ned to be an irre-
parable calamity to the Church in America.

Lewis Weiss was one of the few Mora-
vians who early espoused the cause of the
Colonies and w'ho took the Test Oath ; and
his loyalty was unquestioned. Although
passed middle life, be was watchful and

Online LibraryFrance) Société asiatique (ParisNotes and queries: Chiefly relating to Interior Pennsylvania, Volume 2 → online text (page 50 of 81)