Lehigh County Historical Society.

Proceedings and papers read before the Lehigh County Historical Society online

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ure to the magistrates and an honor to our Saviour.

"A second reason for the building of this village is that its
inhabitants in the emergencies and troubles of war (as has been
the case since the year 1755) may be in a condition mutually to
assist each other, as well as generally to render the difficulties inci-
dent to human life more supportable.

"17. Nothing shall be taught or preached in Emmaus but
what is conformable to the Gospel of Christ. Has any one an
opinion, peculiar to himself, such a person may be indulged therein,
provided he seek not to propogate it.

"23. No dancing matches, tippling in taverns (except for
the necessary entertainment of strangers and travelers), beer tap-
pings, feastings at weddings, christenings, or burials, common
sports and pastimes, gaming with cards, dice, etc. (nor the play-
ing of the children in the streets), shall be so much as heard of
among the inhabitants. They whose inclination is that way bent,
cannot live in Emmaus.

"34. All fraud and overreaching of one's neighbor; likewise
any premeditated mischief done to the wood, fences, fields, fruit
trees, etc., belonging to the owner of the soil or any other, shall be
deemed infamous; as generally all other gross heathenish sins, to
wit : gluttony and drunkenness, cursing and swearing, lieing and
cheating, pilfering and stealing, quarreling and fighting, shall not
be heard of in Emmaus ; he that is guilty of such cannot be suffered
to continue here."

The town regulations were subscribed by Sebastian Knauss,
Andrew Giering, Bernhard Winsch and Matthias Wesner.

The village was laid out by a survey in December of the year
1758. Two houses were built in 1759. Not until 1761 did the vil-
lage, however, receive its new Moravian name, when at a lovefeast
on April 3rd, conducted by Bishop Spangenberg, it was announced
that the place hitherto called Maguntschi and Salzburg was now
to be called by the Scriptural name of Emmaus. He read on this
occasion an original hymn beginning:

**Als Jesus auferstanden war,
Reist von Jerusalem ein Paar."


The years 1775-1778 were hard years for the people of
Btnmaus, on account of their conscientious scruples against oaths.
Thus, for example, on April 4, 1778, twelve members of the
Emmaus congregation were imprisoned at Easton and kept on
bread and water until the 29th, because they refused to take the
oath of allegiance; in September thirteen others repeated the
experience. Among them was Francis Boehler, their minister.

In 1766 the third church was built, a few rods east of the
present structure, which was erected in the year 1834, while the
Sunday School chapel was built in 1876, to which an addition was
made in 1906. With the increasing of the population of the
country it became increasingly difficult during the years 1833-35
to debar non-Moravians from the village, but it was some years
before the town was formally thrown open to settlers.

While the old church edifices have crumbled before the
mouldering hand of time and none of the original homes of the
founders of Emmaus are standing, we are thankful that that spirit-
ual building, the church of the living God, for which they prayed
and labored, has been handed down to us as a precious inheritance,
the candle of the Lord, in the hearts and hands of their children's
children, who, as a large posterity to this day, cherish the works of
the worthy founders of the Emmaus congregation.

Pennsylvania Germans in Public Life
During the Colonial Period.

By Charlks R. Roberts.

A sentence in a recent magazine article that may be said to
have inspired this paper, ran as follows: "The English were
leaders and the Germans were followers in the early days."

While we must admit that, in the main, this statement is true,
yet there are many examples of men of German blood who were
leaders and men of prominence in Colonial times. The English
certainly were in control of affairs, through the Proprietary
party. But the advent of thousands of Germans, who, influenced
by Sauer's paper, published in Germantown, affiliated politically
with the Quakers, in opposition to the Proprietary party, brought
into prominence a number of German citizens.

This alliance enabled the Friends to hold a controlling voice
in the affairs, not only of this county, as a part of old Northamp-
ton, but in the province, being for years the ruling power in the

Samuel Wharton, a prominent writer of that time, whose
prejudices were evidently on the side of the Proprietary party,
proposed that the children of the Germans should be obliged to
learn in the English tongue, and that, while this was being accom-
plished, the Government should suspend their right of voting
for members of the Assembly; and that, the sooner to incline them
to become English, they should be compelled to make all bonds
and other legal writings, in the English, and that no newspaper
or almanac, in German, be allowed circulated among them, unless
accompanied by its English translation.

However, the conditions under which a German, or any other
person, for that matter, was permitted to vote, appear to me to
have been so stringent, as to exclude a large number from the
right of voting. An act regulating the election of members of
the Assembly passed in 1705, provided "that no Inhabitant of
this Province shall have the Right of electing, or being elected,
unless he or they be natural born Subjects of England, or be
naturalized in England, or in this Government, and unless such
Person or Persons be of the age of twenty-one years, or upwards.


and be a Freeholder or Freeholders in this Province, and have
Fifty Acres of Land or more well seated, and Twelve Acres
thereof or more cleared and improved, or be otherwise worth
Fifty Pounds, lawful Money of this Province, clear Estate, and
have been resident therein for the Space of Two Years before
such Election."

The formation of Northampton County out of Bucks in 1752
was a political plan, originated by the Proprietary party, who
hoped, by setting off the Germans in the new county, and thus
depriving the Quakers of their support, to restore the control of
old Bucks to the Government party. This, which may be said
to have been the first political scheme in which our ancestors in
this locality were interested, apparently did not at once succeed,
as at the first election in Northampton County, held at Easton
on October i, 1752, William Craig was chosen Sheriff; Robert
Gregg, Benjamin Shoemaker and Peter Trexler, County Com-
missioners, and James Burnside for Member of Assembly. Burn-
side was a Moravian, who resided near Bethlehem, and a native
of Ireland. He was the Quaker candidate, and defeated his
opponent, William Parsons, the founder of Easton, by upwards
of 300 majority. The election was carried on with great heat
and acrimony, each party accusing the other of fraud and foul
play, and the candidates themselves — particularly Parsons —
showing great excitement and anger. Parsons defeated Burn-
side in 1753, but in 1754, Burnside was again elected. He died
in 1755, and was buried at Bethlehem.

In 1755, William Edmonds, also a Moravian, was elected by
621 votes to represent Northampton in the Assembly. He was
again a candidate in 1756, but the Proprietary party elected
William Allen, the founder of Allentown, who resided in Phila-
delphia, and had then a hunting lodge near the banks of the
Jordan Creek, the site of which is now within the limits of this
city. Residence in a county was not then a requisite for election
to office, and Allen was chosen member for Cumberland County
on the same day.

The following extract from a letter written by Rev. William
Smith, later Provost of the University of Pennsylvania, addressed
to Mr. Vernon, at Easton, dated October 15, 1756, shows the
situation at that time. He says: "Mr. Vernon. It gave us
all great Pleasure to find you return Mr. Allen as your Repre-
sentative, but as he was engaged before for Cumberland he was
obliged in Honour to stand for that county. I suppose Edfnonds
will endeavor with all his might to 'get in, but I hope the County
will never disgrace itself by putting in any Moravian whose
principle for ought we know may be Popish. They are against
Defence and you know even refused to sell Powder to Protestants
tho' it is said they furnished the Indians with it. How true these
Things are you know best, but it would be a Shame to send down


a Moravian at such a dangerous Time. You should chuse some
Man of Weight who can serve you with the Government when
you want any Thing in Philadelphia. We have therefore thot
that no Person would be so fit as Mr. Plumsted. He is known in
your County, has Lands in it, and is a very honest Man and can
be of great use to the County. I hope you will support him with
all your Interest, and get all your ffrds to join you. It happens
luckily that Mr. Plumsted sets out to-morrow on Business for
Cedar-Creek and will be at Kaston. For Gods-Sake stir your-
selves for without we get Men in the Assembly who will defend
the Country we shall soon be ruined."

Plumsted was elected over Edmonds in a hot contest, but
his election was contested by Daniel Brown, John Jones and
Samuel Mechlin, on the ground "that one of the inspectors, not-
withstanding his oath, destroyed several of the tickets which were
in favor of William Edmonds, and were delivered to said inspector,
and that one person was seen to deliver tickets repeatedly to the
inspector, and thirdly, that a great number of tickets were folded
up together, some, one in another, and some two in one, which
were received by the inspectors as one ticket, &c.," and Plumsted
never was seated, for, nearly a year after, the Assembly decided
against him.

William Allen, in writing to a friend in England, in a letter
dated at Philadelphia, November 5, 1756, which, I believe, has
never appeared in print, throws light on the subject. He says
in part: "Reverend Sir: I have been soUicited for some years
past to serve in the Back Country for an Assemblyman, but have
declined it, imagining that I could not, among such a perverse
people, be able to render my country service. However, this
year, as I conceived our all was at stake, and that, as the Quakers
had promised to give up their seats, there might be a probability
of doing good, I gave the people of Cumberland county (the
inhabitants of which are composed chiefly of Presbyterians)
a conditional promise, to serve them, that is, that in case good
men were returned or even a small number of them in the other
counties, I would no longer decline acting, if I was chosen. Upon
this, I was, by the unanimous vote of the county, not one free-
holder dissenting, chosen one of their Representatives. All our
elections being on the same day, I was without my knowledge,
privily or procurement, chosen also for the County of Northamp-
ton. I was, when I perceived how the election had gone in other
count^^s, at first of the mind not to serve for either, being assured
that, with men of such bad disposition I could not be able to
bring about anything that would be truly useful to the colony.
However, at the earnest sollocitation of many good men, I was,
at length, prevailed on to go into the house and made my election
for the county of Cumberland: upon which the people of North-
ampton chose Mr. Plumstead, late Mayor of this city, a gentleman


zealous for the defense of his country, (who thereby had rendered
himself obnoxious to the Quakers ;) the vote for Plumstead being
463, and his antagonist, one Edmonds, a Moravian, having only
255, and two thirds of these unnaturalized Moravians and other
Germans, who have no right to vote by our laws : yet, I say, our
honest Assembly refused to admit Mr. Plumstead, though duly
returned by the Sherrif , under pretense that there was a petition
to them on account of an undue election, though this petition
was signed only by three Moravians, and have hitherto kept him
out of his seat, and, I presume, will continue to do so."

The next member of the Assembly from Northampton County
was Ivudwig Bitting, who was elected in 1758 and re-elected in
1759 and 1760. He was a resident of Upper Milford Township,
and probably owed a great deal of his prominence to the fact that
he was a son-in-law of Rev. John Philip Boehm, the pioneer
Reformed preacher. In 1744, he settled on Hosensack Hill, in
the present Lower Milford Township, Lehigh County.

Following him came John Moore, in 1761 and 1762. Then
came John Tool, of Upper Saucon, in 1763. As early as 1737 he
settled on a tract of 370 acres at the foot of the Lehigh Mountains,
at the place now called Wittman's. His successor was George
Taylor, who served from 1764 to 1769. He was followed by
William Edmonds for the second time, serving from 1770 to 1774.
Then a German came to the front in the person of Peter Kachlein
in 1775, which year closes the Colonial period.

In looking over the names of the Justices of Northampton
County under the Proprietary and Colonial Government from
1752 to 1775, we find that one-third were of German blood. That
these men were of such character and ability as to be appointed
to the office of Justice, marks them as leaders in their several
communities. There appears to have been no law regulating
the number of Justices in a county, but every section had its
Justice, who, at the time when court was held, journeyed to
Easton, where no less a number than three were empowered to
hold the several courts. The courts of Northampton County were
held in the different taverns at Easton, until the completion of
the courthouse in 1766. In speaking of them a certain writer
says : ' ' Their sessions were extremely ceremonious and imposing.
At the present day, no official, however exalted, would think of
assuming such awful dignity as was then habitual with the
Justices of the courts of Northampton County. On their passage
to the place of holding court — preceded and followed by con-
stables with badges and staves of office — these provincial Justices,
in their severe gravity and cocked hats, were fearful and wonder-
ful personages to behold. But when they mounted the bench,
and the court officers commanded silence, then was the hour of
their triumph; for the loyal courtiers of King George, as he sat
upon his own throne at Windsor Castle, scarcely regarded their


sovereign with more awe and adoration, than the townspeople,
and the litigants gave to those worshipful wearers of the county
ermine, as they sat in solemn session, in the tavern court-room
at Baston."

Be that as it may, let us turn our attention to those Justices
who were of German blood, more particularly those who resided
in the townships which now constitute our present Lehigh County.
In 1752, appear the names of Lewis Klotz and Conrad Hess.
Klotz was a resident of Macungie Township, whom we have men-
tioned in a previous paper. He was also a County Commissioner
in 1754. In 1753, appears the name of Peter Trexler. He was
one of the first County Commissioners in 1752, as we have men-
tioned. In 1753, he was appointed by the Council one of the
Commissioners to lay out a road from Baston to Reading. He
was also one of the six trustees of the school erected at Baston
in 1755 by subscriptions from the locality and from a society
formed in Bngland, whose purpose was to promote the instruction
of poor Germans in Pennsylvania, to which even the King, George
the Second, had given iJiooo. Trexler was a man of great
influence among the Germans of the county, and later, in the
French and Indian War, commanded a company that was called
into service by Benjamin Franklin.

George Rex, of Heidelberg Township, was appointed one of
the Justices of Northampton County in 1757. He was the largest
individual landowner in Heidelberg Township, owning 415 acres in
1764. He died in 1773. He was one of the most prominent men
of the northern end of the county in Colonial times, and that he
had considerable influence is proven by the fact that with Peter
Trexler, he recommended that a fort be built on the other side of
Drucker's mill, on the Blue Mountains, stating that there was a
good spring there, and an eminence which commanded on all its
sides a large extent of land.

In 1 761, appear the names of Jacob Arndt and Henry Geiger.
Arndt lived near Baston, but Geiger was a resident of Heidelberg
Township. He was commissioned an Bnsign in the Second Penna.
Regiment, First Battalion, commanded by Lieut. Colonel Conrad
Weiser, on December 20, 1755, and is recorded as a good officer.
On the 2oth of November, 1756, he was stationed at Teets, with
eight men, as the records show. Teed's blockhouse was near Wind
Gap and was an important point. Some superior ofiicer wrote
the query concerning this post, "If the detachment at Teet's
can defend itself." No doubt it could, under this gallant officer.
Geiger was commissioned Lieutenant on December 21, 1757, in
Capt. Bdward Ward's company, stationed west of the Susque-
hanna River. On February 5, 1758, he was in command of
twelve men at a blockhouse situated between Forts Allen and
Bverett, twenty miles from Fort Allen and ten miles from Fort
Everett, and was furnished by his commissary, Jacob Levan, Bsq.,


with four months' provisions. Geiger was probably for many
years one of the most important figures in the upper end of the
county, and subsequently became a Colonel in the Revolutionary

In 1764, Christopher Waggoner, of Lower Saucon, became a
Justice. In 1 766, appears the name of Henry Kooken, or Kochen.
He was a resident of Upper Saucon, where he was taxed in 1768
for fifty acres of land. He built a grist and saw mill on the site
of Dillinger's mill. The name would indicate that he was of
Holland Dutch origin.

Other German names which appear in 1774 ^^ the list of
Justices are Peter Kachlein, Jacob and Isaac Lerch, John Wetzel
and Felix Lynn. Still other names of Germans who attained to
office might increase the number of those whom we are trying
to save from oblivion, among them Christian Rinker, County
Commissioner in 1753, John Rinker, Sheriff in 1756 and 1758,
and Jacob Rex, County Commissioner in 1758.

Comparative Calculations and Remarks

on Internal Improvements by Roads, Canals and River Naviga-
tion ; Illustrative of the Advantages to be Derived from
the Improvement of the River Lehigh.

[You are, no doubt, aware that our Secretary, Mr. Roberts,
is untiring in his search for something new; probably, I should
say old, or better still new old, which he thinks will be of interest
to the society. Sometime ago, in Philadelphia, he found a pam-
phlet of this character, and on the plea that he reads most of the
papers at Historical Society meetings, and that he wants to give
others a chance, he asked me to read the pamphlet. The pam-
phlet is entitled "Comparative Calculations and Remarks on
Internal Improvements by Roads, Canals, and River Navigation;
Illustrative of the Advantages to be Derived from the Improve-
ment of the River Lehigh," and it was printed by William Brown
in Philadelphia in 1821. The facts which led to the issuing of
this pamphlet, I think, were about like this: Coal had been
discovered in the mountains near Mauch Chunk. Certain far-
seeing men perceived its value, provided a market could be
supplied to buy it. The coal was in the mountains in the wilder-
ness, and the market was Philadelphia, distant 80 miles by land
and 120 by water. The means of communication — the Delaware
and Lehigh Rivers or overland. The Lehigh River was not
naturally navigable to boats of sufficient size to transport coal
profitably. To get the coal to market was the problem, and the
answer was, to improve the Lehigh. To this end an act of the
legislature was procured in 181 8 "to improve the navigation of
the River Lehigh," and coal properties were leased. The next
step was to get money. This was done by a "campaign of
education" carried on by means of pamphlets. The result was
the formation of two companies — The Lehigh Navigation Com-
pany, in August of 1 818, and The Lehigh Coal Company, in
October of the same year.

By reason of more extensive improvement being necessary
and various haps and mishaps, the capital of these companies
was exhausted and "to raise the wind" the companies agreed to
amalgamate under certain conditions; consolidate is the favorite
word now, I think.


A portion of the necessary capital having been raised, 365
tons of coal was sent to Philadelphia, overstocking the market.

A further increase of capital was required, and to meet the
necessity the proposed consolidation of the two companies was
effected under the name of the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Com-
pany in May, 1821, and stock subscriptions were solicited. To
sell the stock, I have no doubt that the managers again resorted
to the pamphlet as a means of publicity, and by the coincidence
of the date of the pamphlet and that of the company's necessity,
I suppose the one before us was published to aid in the work.
It is interesting in many respects, particularly so in the side
lights it throws on the natural and business conditions in this
part of the State in 182 1. It also shows us that there is nothing
new under the sun, for the methods of the promoter of 1821 are
the same as those of the promoter of to-day, save in the matter
of headlines, gorgeous typography, illustrations and red ink.
Permit me to read the pamphlet, from all of which I suppose you
feel that investment in the "improvement of the River Lehigh"
would be desirable.

Time has shown most convincingly that the unknown writer
of this pamphlet was sound in his argument and his proposition
has been proved. — Ralph R. Metzger.]

Comparative Calculations, &c.

At a time of general difficulty, when the mind is bent on the
subject of political economy, the following calculations and
remarks, tending to shew one source from which prosperity may
be expected to arise, may not be unacceptable to the public.

As the correctness of the subjoined table, and the subsequent
remarks and conclusions drawn from it, depend on the correctness
of the data upon which the calculations are made, they are here
given, that every one may have the opportunity of examining and
judging for himself.

Land Carriage.
Feed for a team of four horses daily, (and hauling one and

a half ton out and home ten miles) - - - - $0 80

Daily wear and tear of the waggon and harness, - o 20

Loss of horses 10 per cent, and interest of capital, - 018

Shoeing horses, - - - - - - - - o 16

Wages of carter, per day, __-_ - o 91

Total cost to haul one and a half ton ten miles, out

and back, - - - - $2 25

Which is $1 50 a ton per day's work, or fifteen cents a ton per mile.
The expense on a canal and tow-path, according to Robert
Fulton's account, in his letter to Gouverneur Morris, of 22d
February, 18 14, as representing the experience of Europe, is one
cent a ton per mile.


The common lock is usually eighty feet long, and about
seventeen feet wide, the width being restricted by the difficulty
of constructing and hanging larger gates, so as to be safe and
permanent; and by the length of time it would require to fill
locks of larger dimensions, through the puddle gates, which must
necessarily be small from being made either in the large gates,
or in sluices through the sides of the lock. The maximum ton-
nage in such a lock would be about thirty tons, and the time of
passing it ten minutes; whereas the Lehigh lock can be made of
any length or width, without weakening the work, or sensibly
increasing the time of passing, which will occupy from one and a
half to three minutes, if th*e lock were 130 feet long and 25 feet
wide, which would be large enough to admit a steam boat and a
tow boat, of one hundred tons burthen, at once.
Rivers with slack water navigation and common locks,
five hands to a boat of thirty tons burthen, make a trip
100 miles, and return (including three days in passing
and repassing 108 locks) in ten days, is fifty days, at one
dollar a day, is - - - . - - - - - $50 00

Boat hire, or wear and tear per day, one dollar; and for

ten days - - - - - 10 00

Costing two dollars a ton, or seven cents a bushel for the
thirty tons, or two cents per ton a mile, -

Rivers with slack water navigation, and Lehigh locks and
steam boats, five hands to steam and tow boat, at one
dollar a day each, is -

Fuel, twenty-five bushels coal daily, at six cents,

Interest, and wear and tear of boats daily, -






Online LibraryLehigh County Historical SocietyProceedings and papers read before the Lehigh County Historical Society → online text (page 27 of 32)