Lehigh County Historical Society.

Proceedings and papers read before the Lehigh County Historical Society online

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When the day dawned and there was light sufficient to behold
the face of the lady passenger, the attentive students discovered
that her face was not white ! Sometimes the experience at places
where the stages tarried to allow the mail to be exchanged were
quite ludicrous. Two students, who wore each a Maltese Cross,
the badge of a College Literary Society, received the closest atten-
tion and a discussion arose whether the students were Policemen
or Knownothings.

Society. According to the views of some people, the lad from
12 to 17 years old is not expected to know, much of society.
According to a lecture of Rev. Dr. Vincent, a lad of those years,
is that boy, "not wanted in the parlor, on account of his unpolished
boots, his torn garments, his soiled hands and his uncombed hair,
his careless manners. And yet boys are fond of company at that
age, they have their eyes and their ears open. No wonder that the
best excuse is sometimes framed by parents as well as other
members of the family circle and even visitors, to send the boys
on some errand to keep them away from the company of older
people who do not wish to be reported.

In the days of which I speak to-day, there was in summer con-
siderable front door, porch, step and pavement society. Who
does not remember the gatherings of the female portion of society
at the doors, on the porches and steps of homes. They were often
joined by their gentlemen friends. Men also gathered evening
after evening, during the week, at their respective places of asso-
ciation with others. Who does not remember the aged, the
middle aged and even the young at Wilson's Corner, at Joseph
Weiss', at Dr. C. H. Martin's, at Mr. Amos Ettinger's, at Mr. Peter
Biery's on West Hamilton Street, or the Allen House and the
American House porches, at Pretz's Corner, in front of law offices,
under the lindens in front of the Court House, on East Hamilton,
at Dillinger & Craigs on North Seventh Street, at Kramer's, Reese's
and other points on South Seventh Street, at Major Fry's on
Walnut Street and at many other places in the town.

In winter, families visited each other considerably. Men
had their respective places of meeting for a daily chat, but there
was also considerable home life.


The young people had their pleasant time in summer as also
in winter. In summer there was much walking to places of inter-
est near the town, often, however, the walk was of greater
interest than the place visited ! In winter, circles met week after
week at different residences, whilst some people would now and
then have a ball, and some were given to card playing and dancing.
Dancing and card playing in private houses and damaging sur-
prize parties were not in vogue.

Young people walked much in those days for very good
reasons, very few parents kept carriages and horses, and money
was not furnished so readily to hire at the livery. Who has for-
gotten the walk to Worman's Spring, to Helfrich's Spring, the
strolls along the Jordan, to Hanover, to the Island, to Turnhole
Mountain, to Salsburg and even to Bauer's Rock.

The boys, without the girls, had many pleasant Saturdays,
in summer and fall, in fishing and hunting and in winter in
coasting and skating as far as Bethlehem. A few sleigh rides
in winter and a few carriage rides in summer were considered
sufficient to remember the respective seasons. A few picnics in
summer and a few parties in winter made occasional changes
in the life of schoolboys and girls.

A May Party held at "Prospect Rock", on Tuesday, May
3rd, 1853, and attended by the following: Ladies, Margaret
Dillinger, Louisa Moser, Hannah Schmidt, Anna Keck, Belinda
Horn, Anna Weiss, Eliza Sweitzer, Mary Kuhns, Klmira Lewis,
Emma Wilson, Caroline Wright. Gentlemen, Philip S. Pretz,
Thomas Keck, Alfred Saeger, Edward Leh, Gilbert Gibbons,
Edward Young, Jacob Shimer and Franklin J. F. Schantz.

Now and then society had its sensations, but we seldom
heard of pistols and powder, of ropes and deep water! But as
said before, boys were not expected to be in society and thus I
am not expected to remember much of society of about sixty
years ago.

Civil Government. The town had its Burgess and Councilmen,
its School Directors, its Justices of the Peace, and its Constables.
Whilst I have forgotten who were burgess and councilmen, and
recollect the names of only a few school directors, I remember
as justice of the peace, Hon. John F. Ruhe and Eli J. Saeger, Esq.
But of all I remember the High Constable Jacob Ehrig. He wore
no blue coat and cap, he never told us whether he carried a pistol;
but the boys of that day well remember the immense cane, with
heavy crook, which the constable carried. He was respected by
the citizens, and boys, who behaved, had no occasion to run when
he was on the march through town; they could stop and inspect
the officer's make up. As Allentown was the county seat of
Lehigh County, the Court of Justice was naturally of interest to
the young as well as the old. Memory now recalls the face of the
President Judge, Hon. J. Pringle Jones and that of his successor


Hon. Washington McCartney. At one time the Associate
Judges were Hon. Peter Haas and Hon. Jacob Dillinger and
later Hon. Jacob Dillinger and Hon. John F. Ruhe. I have
already mentioned the names of the lawyers residing at Allentowri
and besides these, I recall the names of Hon. James M. Porter,
Alexander Brown and Andrew H. Reeder, of Easton, and Charles
Davis, Esq., of Reading, who attended and practiced in the Court
of Lehigh County.

The boys of those days often attended court and they were
greatly interested in the grand judges, the learned lawyers, the
singularly constituted juries, the competent translator, the
dignified tipstaves, the obliging crier, the poor defendant, the
hopeful plaintiff, the trying examinations of witnesses, the able
and eloquent speeches of the attornies, occasionally, however,
a wonderful conglomeration of points of law, statements of
facts, quotations from poets, recitations of scripture passages,
shedding of tears, pounding of tables, perpendicular and hori-
zontal elongation of facial lines, the stamping of the floor and
what not to win the case. The charge of the Judge would
be respectfully listened to and the verdict of the jury awaited
with anxiety. That the Lehigh County Bar was one of ability,
was most evident, when on a certain occasion, a lawyer from New
York had come to AUentown in the interest of a civil suit of great
importance, with reference to the zinc mines at Friedensville.
He was in town nearly a week before the beginning of the session
of the Court. I can well remember his stately form, his faultless,
fashionable dress, his haughty mien, his apparent contempt for
the citizens of town and the Court that could possibly be held in
such a place. But after the session of Court had been opened, and
his entrance had failed to drive thence the legal gentleman present
and he heard how able the legal gentlemen were in the arguments
in which they were engaged and what superior legal knowledge
the honorable judge displayed, the great New York lawyer
reminded men of the schoolboy's inflated toy balloon, after it
has been subjected to a slight operation, which can be performed
by a pin.

Politics, state and national, interested the boys of those days
and why should they not have done so? Why should American
youth be denied the pleasure of attending political meetings?
The boys read the papers with much interest and they would
attend the district and county meetings if possible. If any can-
didate for Governor would come to town, the boys would surely
be on hand. Well do I remember the visit of Hon. William F.
Johnson, in the summer of 1848. The public meeting was held
on the lawn of the Greenleaf residence, very near the place where
St. John's Ev. Lutheran Church now stands. Under the maples
if not under the linden trees, the vast assembly had gathered
to hear the distinguished candidate for the highest office of the


Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He was introduced to the
audience by James P. Reese, Esq., a young lawyer at Allentown.
Mr. Johnson was elected Governor, but his election by a small
majority, was in doubt for a long time and hence the people of
Allentown were variously affected by the receipt of the news on
successive days. Then the town was without railroad and tele-
graph. It had to depend on the Philadelphia daily stage for
latest news. Some of the people would gather on the southern
slope of the hill and watch for the approach of the stage, which
could be seen on the Philadelphia road in Salsburg. If the horses
were without flags, then the news was favorable to Mr. Johnson
and was quickly carried to the central part of the town, with
hurrahs for Johnson; but if the horses had flags, then the friends
of Mr. Johnson would not run nor hurrah, for the sign indicated
that Mr. Longstreth was in advance of Mr. Johnson. The stage
proprietor was of the party who had nominated Mr. Longstreth,
the rival of Mr. Johnson.

In 1 85 1, when Hon. William Bigler was candidate for Gover-
nor, there was an immense outpouring of the people. Many of
his friends had gone from Allentown as far as Ruch's Hotel in
North Whitehall Township, to meet him on his journey from
Mauch Chunk to Allentown. There was a large escort and the
procession moved by the way of Catasauqua, where it halted at
Solomon Biery's Hotel near the lower bridge. When it reached
Allentown the streets were lined with people. I rode that day
with an aged friend who departed this life long ago, Mr. John
G. Goundie and my dear brother. Dr. Tilghman P. Schantz, who
departed this life in 1852. The public meeting was held on Centre
Square. Mr. Bigler delivered an address in English and Mr.
Grund of Philadelphia, spoke in German. If I remember cor-
rectly, Mr. Bigler's remarks on the tariff question were not accept-
able to all. Even a Vice-President left the platform. Mr. Grund
tried hard in the evening, at the Court House, to bigel out the
wrinkles which the speech in the afternoon had occasioned.

I shall never forget what a profitable lesson I learned in the
Court House during a Presidential campaign, to show what little
confidence can be placed in political prophets and prophecies. A
distinguished gentleman, the editor of a leading city paper of
that day, was advancing the claims of his favorite candidate and
closed, "I am as confident of the election of (naming the can-
didate) to the office of President of the United States, as I am of
the rising of the sun, on the coming day." The sun rose next
morning but the speaker's candidate never rose to the office of
President of the United States.

How wonderful the disappointment of men! In 1848, Hon.
Lewis Cass, one of the distinguished statesmen of our country,
was defeated by a military chieftain. Gen. Zachary Taylor, and in
1852, Gen. Winfield S. Scott, the greatest General the country


then had, was defeated by Hon. Frank Pierce, a previously,
comparatively unknown gentleman, who became President of the
United States. I wish the republican clubs and democratic
clubs of this day, with all their fine hats, caps, capes, torches,
banners, fireworks and fine bands, could have seen the successful
party in those early days on the march to congratulate a success-
ful candidate for the office of Member of the Legislature. The
procession was headed by a drum or a fife ; there were no special
caps and capes for the occasion ; the torches were balls of yarn on
the end of rake handles, dipped into or saturated with camphine;
for fireworks, there was no money on hand, and yet those patriots
rejoiced as heartily in the election of their favorite candidate as
men do to-day.

The only candidate for the Presidency of the United States
whom I ever saw at Allentown was the Hon. James Buchanan,
who was introduced to citizens of Allentown, in the southeast
room of the Allen House by Hon. Samuel A. Bridges. He was
stopping for a night at Allentown and was at that time not yet
nominated for the high office.

The greatest political quandary I ever got into, was when Mr.
Mifflin Hannum, asked me, a mere boy, what I thought of the
"Wilmot Proviso." I answered that no doubt some would be
pleased with it, or something like it, and then hurried away, for
fear of being asked more about something that I knew little of
then and not too much at present.

Heroes of the Mexican War. An event of great interest to
youthful minds in the summer of 1848, was the return of soldiers
who had taken part in the Mexican War. The local Military
Companies, one of which was commanded by Capt. David Stem,
had proceeded north of the town, to receive the veterans. The
march through the streets of Allentown was an occasion for
the gathering of many people. At the southwest corner of the
Allen House, addresses to the veterans were delivered by Hon.
John D. Stiles and others. Subsequently these returned soldiers
were the noted men in town ; Major Herman G. Yeager (who came
later to town), Lieut. Henry C. Longnecker, James Mickley,
Andrew Yingling, Peter Doane, Henry Moose, the Semmel brothers,
Edward and Jacob, and James Smith, and if there were others
I do not now recall their names. Edward Ruhe died in service,
Jonathan Knaus died away from home. Who does not remem-
ber Mexican John, an eccentric character? Allentown had then
four classes of soldiers: (i) A few veterans of the Revolutionary
War (one of whom was Andrew Gauge were) . (2) Soldiers of the
War of 1 81 2. (3) Heroes of the Mexican War. (4) Members
of Military Companies of whom many took part in the War of the
Rebellion, 1861-65, some of whom were the first to enter service
in 1861.


Events of Cosmopolitan Interest. The famine in Ireland was
not only an occasion for expressions of sympathy, but also for
the exercise of genuine charity in aiding those truly in want.

The unsuccessful struggle for liberty on the part of Lewis
Kossuth and the people of Hungary, was the occasion for great
expressions of deep sympathy for an oppressed people. The
visit of Louis Kossuth in this country, drew many people from
inland towns to the great cities. Kossuth hats were soon in
fashion. I think I could name the gentlemen who first wore one
with a feather, on the streets of AUentown. Lectures on Kossuth
and Hungary were numerous and popular. Contributions to give
substantial aid were also solicited. I was too young to be able
to comprehend fully the conversation of older persons on the
Revolution in Germany. I, however, remember very well with
what interest the papers were read.

The great political changes in France from a Kingdom to a
Republic, to the Presidency of which Louis Napoleon was elevated,
December, 1848, naturally interested Americans much. The
adoption of a new constitution, in 1851, reestablished personal
rule, and the experiment of Constitutional Government was at
an end. Louis Napoleon could not rest satisfied with the exten-
sion of his term of office as Chief Magistrate to ten years. On
November 21st, 1852, the vote of the French people declared
Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, hereditary Emperor of the French,
and on December 2nd, 1852, he took the title of "Napoleon III.,
Emporer of the French." Schoolboys naturally admired the
man who rose from a prisoner of France in exile to the position
of Emperor of the French. Our expression of admiration of the
new Emperor did, however, not meet the approval of our favorite
teacher, the principal of the AUentown Seminary, who was a
Swiss by birth, full of love for civil liberty, full of hatred to polit-
ical oppressors, and I can well remember when he spoke to us boys
at school, and said, "You are too young, and know too little to be
able to see what this elevation of Louis Napoleon may lead to."
Thus spoke our good teacher, who did not live to see with us
Louis Napoleon in his glory and in his terrible defeat. But the
words of our good teacher remain unforgotten to this day.

An event of interest to the Nations' of the World in 1853,
was the World's Fair at New York. Many Allentonians visited
the same. I could have visited the same in company with others,
but in view of leaving for college in the fall of the same year, no
time could be spared for such a visitation of New York.

Such, my hearers, are reminiscences of life at AUentown
sixty years ago. It was a pleasant work to me personally to
record what has been read to-day. But alas, how sad the thought,
that in the old homestead on Seventh Street, none of those remain
who once with me called that place home. The halls of the old
Academy no longer respond to the voices of teacher and scholars


as in former days. Most of the teachers are dead and many of the
pupils. Of those that remain, many have grown gray and full
of the responsibilities and cares of human life. The old Allentown
Seminary Buildings are no longer recognized. The old Mansion
has been changed, the old stone building removed, and many of
the old teachers are dead. Pupils also have been called hence.
Many fill responsible positions in life. None of the old churches
are what they were in those days, they all have been changed,
some have been removed and others erected in their places. None
of the old pastors are living. The Court Room has new judges,
new lawyers, new jury men. None of the old physicians remain.
The sons of the old physicians, together with many others are
now meeting the health wants of the community. Here and
there you may find some of the old business men. But let a man
stand on Centre Square and name the citizens of 1848 to 1853,
and alas, of how many will it be said, "they have gone hence."
In 1848, the old Union graveyard and Allentown Cemetery had
ample room for new graves. Behold how many have been added
since those days. The new cemeteries, the Union and the Fair-
view and others, number so many graves that the announcement
of their number would astonish many persons. Many of us have
a special interest in Allentown and Union Cemeteries, in view of
our beloved who are buried there.

Allentown has grown wonderfully in about sixty years. He,
who sixty years hence, will address an audience and have the
same subject I had to-day, will have far more to speak of than
I had this day. Many of us will not be present to hear the address.
God grant that the speaker may be able to engage in the work of
preparation with as much pleasure as I did and if he will be favored
with as attentive an audience as I have been to-day, he will be
fully repaid for his service in affording pleasure and instruction
to those younger in years. I would close my address with best
wishes for the future temporal and spiritual welfare of my hearers,
and the ardent desire that all may be or become true citizens of
the Commonwealth of Israel and entitled to residence in Jerusalem
the Golden.

Some Indian History of the Lehigh Valley.

By John W. Jordan, LL. D.

In preparing this paper, it has been my endeavor to keep it
within reasonable Hmits, for the subject is one that marks an
important epoch in our history. The stirring events which fell
between 1744 and 1764, prepared the inhabitants of the Province
to meet those of a later epoch — in the first, the encroachments
of a foreign power were beaten back, and they were finally forced
to leave the continent ; in the next a nation secured its independ-
ence. There is no scarcity of original material relating to the
first epoch. The Archives of the Commonwealth are rich in
official documents which relate to the Indian wars, but they are
lacking in those details, which have made the Archives of the
Moravian Church at Bethlehem, so incomparably valuable to all
historians. In many respects, the Manuscript Collections of
the Historical Society of Pennsylvania are the equal of those of
the Commonwealth; the Penn MSS. with their dealings and
treaties between the Proprietaries and the Indians; the Norris
Papers, consisting of certificates of pay to soldiers, members of
the Assembly, Provincial accounts and Letter Books ; the Shippen
Papers, with muster rolls of Provincial troops, journals of officers
and orderly books, and correspondence; the Northampton County
MSS. among which will be found the muster rolls and correspond-
ence of Captains Wetterholt, Dodge, Kern, Hunsicker, Craig,
Arndt, Jennings, Inslee and others, the Conrad Weisser, Logan,
Pemberton and Bethlehem Papers, aggregating over 500 volumes.
Then, too, every local historical society in the State, has some
original documents bearing on the subject, and the great libraries
of England and France are liberally disposed and aid investi-

The materials for a history of the Indian wars* of Pennsyl-
vania are accessible and easily arranged ; very little digging will be
necessary; the wealth of the mine has been opened for the

The Delawares, the original owners of the soil of Pennsylvania
were, according to their own traditions, direct descendants of the
Algonkins, one of the most powerful nations of antiquity. They
were divided into three tribes, and were alike celebrated for their


courage, peaceful disposition and powerful alliances, and at one
time were the undisputed masters of all middle America. On
the arrival of Penn, their number in Pennsylvania was computed
at 30,000. They were a brave race, sound and warlike, who
gloried in the preservation of a character for valor, which had come
down to them from the remotest times. However, they were
finally vanquished by the Five Nations, and at a treaty at Albany,
in 1 71 7, were compelled to submit.

The valley of the Lehigh, except for the usual spring bushnet
fishing, had no great attractions for the scattered Delawares;
they preferred to locate their little villages between the northern
slope of the Blue Mountains and the north branch of the Susque-
hanna, where game was plentiful and white settlement less liable.
It was, however, the favorite and main route to the settlements
on the Delaware and in New Jersey, both by water and trail.

It was due to William Allen's speculative enterprise, which
did so much to open up the valley for white settlement.

When the Moravians entered the valley to build Bethlehem,
there were but three plantations lying at intervals within a
stretch of 4 miles, on the south bank of the Lehigh. Two miles
above them, in a bend of the river, was the "Jennings Farm,"
confirmed to Solomon Jennings, one of the "Three Walkers,"
in the spring of 1736, by William Allen. On the demise of Jen-
nings, it was bought by Jacob Geisinger, of Saucon township.
Near the mouth of Saucon Creek was located the "Irish Farm"
which Squire Nathaniel Irish in 1738, purchased of Caspar Wistar,
of Philadelphia. Opposite to Bethlehem, now included in the
property of the Iron Company, lay the "Ysselstein Farm," pur-
chased by Isaac Ysselstein in 1738; and in less than a year later,
his habitation was swept away by a great freshet in the river.
Thirty years ago I visited the Geisinger place, where was pointed
out to me part of the foundation of the old house.

There were two public houses in the valley, that figure in the
period we are reviewing, one kept by John Hays, where Weavers-
ville now stands, and Nicholas Opplinger's, just above Lehigh

Before taking up some of the incidents connected with
the French and Indian war, a few biographical notes of the
chiefs of the various tribes, who are prominent on the records
of that epoch, will be helpful. Teedyuscung, undoubtedly
the real hero of the war of 1755, was born near where Trenton,
N. J., stands, about the year 1700. In that neighborhood his
ancestors had been settled from time immemorial. His father
was old Captain Harris of Poccopoco, and his brothers and half-
brothers, were Captain John, who was living on the Nazareth
tract, when the Moravians came on it; Tom, Joe and Sam Evans.
He was baptized by the Moravians at Gnadenhuetten, in March
of 1750, and given the name of Gideon and by the settlers was


familiarly called "Honest John," but he failed as so many do, to
become a Christian, and also turned a renegade.

In the spring of 1754, his brethren told him that the time had
come to rise against their white oppressors, and asked him to
lead them as their king. That was the evil hour, in which he was
dazzled by the prospect of a crown, and trafficked his peace of
mind for the unrest of ambition. He assembled his Delawares
and allied Mohicans and Shawnese at Nescopeck, and marked out a
plan of the campaign for the coming autumn and winter. Its
operations were restricted to the "Walking Purchase," within

Online LibraryLehigh County Historical SocietyProceedings and papers read before the Lehigh County Historical Society → online text (page 18 of 32)