Lehigh County Historical Society.

Proceedings and papers read before the Lehigh County Historical Society online

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occurred the terrible murders spoken of by Mr. Mickley, embraced
at this time about all the land now contained in Northampton,
Lehigh, Carbon, Monroe, Pike, Wayne and Susquehanna coun^
ties, and also small parts of Bradford, Wyoming, Luzerne, Schuyl-
kill and Columbia. These murders were caused because of the
outrageous acts of the whites upon the Indians. I believe it
will be no digression to tell of them here.

The original character of the better tribes of American
Aborigines, as found by the first white people who met them
and substantiated by most historical accounts, was kind, hos-
pitable and generous, so long as they were treated with justice
and humanity.

Christopher Columbus, we all know who he was, wrote of
them in letters to his king. "There are not a better people in
the world than these, more affectionate, affable or mild. They
love their neighbors as themselves." The navigator spoke for
the Southern Indians, who were already an agricultural and sta-
tionary people. Of the New England Red people, who were
a part of the great Algonkin nation, to which belonged the Lenni
Lenape or Delawares, who once lived in this Lehigh county,
the Rev. Mr. Cushman, in a sermon delivered in Plymouth,
Mass., in 1620, says: "The Indians are said to be the most
cruel and treacherous people in all those parts, even like lions;
but to us they have been like lambs, so kind, so submissive and
trusty, as a man may truly say, many Christians are not so
kind and sincere." The Moravian missionary, Heckewelder, and
no man knew the Indians better than he, passed on them sim-
ilar encomiums. Las Casas, one of the most remarkable men
of the sixteenth century, and the Abbe Clavigero give of the
Mexican Indian similar testimony. So did William Penn. Like-
wise are the praises from other historical authorities. Now, we
may ask, what was it that changed these kindly and hospitable
people into brutes and savages, who committed the most awful
murders regardless of age or sex? The story is easily told. The
writer will mention here a few local occurrences which he has
taken from the Rev. Mr. Heckewelder's "Indian Nations," an
authoritative work:

"In the summer of 1763 some friendly Indians from a dis-
tant place, came to Bethlehem to exchange their furs for such


articles as were most needed by them. Well satisfied with their
exchange they started for their home. The first night they put
up at John Stenton's tavern, distant from Bethlehem about
eight miles and a short mile north of the present Howertown,
Northampton county. Stenton not being at home, his wife
encouraged those who came there to drink, to abuse the Indians,
adding, 'That she would freely give a gallon of rum to any one
of them that would kill one of these black devils.' They were,
however, not disturbed by the whites, but upon preparing to
depart discovered that they were robbed of some of the most
valuable articles purchased by them. Upon complaining of their
loss to a man who appeared to be the barkeeper, they were ordered
to leave the house. A few of them returned to Bethlehem,
where they made complaint before a magistrate. This officer
gave them a letter to the tavernkeeper, pressing him to at once
restore the stolen articles. The letter was delivered and they
were answered that if they valued their lives, they must leave
at once, which they did without the property belonging to them."

Scarcely had these Indians left when in another place,
about fourteen miles distant from Stenton's, was committed
another outrage. Loskiel also mentions it in his "History of
the Missions of the Indians in America," as follows: "In August,
1763, Zachary and his wife who had left the congregation in
Wechquetank, on Head's Creek, north of the Blue Mountains,
returned on a visit. A woman, called Zippora, was persuaded
to follow them. On their return they stayed at the Buchka-
buchka over night and went unconcerned to sleep in a hay loft.
Buchkabuchka is the Indian word which the Munseys, Hecke-
welder informs us, had for the Lehigh Water Gap. The word
means: Mountains butting opposite each other. During the
night the Indian lodgers were attacked by some of the soldiers
under the command of Captain Wetterholt, stationed there.
Zippora was thrown down upon the threshing floor and killed.
Zachary escaped out of the house but was pursued, and with
his wife and little child, put to the sword, although the mother
begged for their lives upon her knees."

One Jonathan Dodge, a worthless villain, a lieutenant in
Captain Nicholaus Wetterholt's company, committed many atro-
cious acts against the Indians, who were in every instance friendly
to the whites. In a letter to Timothy Horsfield, bearing date
August 4th, 1763, he writes: "Yesterday there were four Indians
came to Ensign Kern's. I took four rifles and fourteen deer-
skins from them. After the Indians had left," he continues,
"I took twenty men and pursued them, then I ordered my men
to fire, upon which I fired a volley on them, could find none
dead or alive."

One more instance: This same cowardly Dodge and one
Jacob Warner, a soldier in Wetterholt's company, while search-


ing for a gun, when about two miles above Fort Allen, now
Weissport, met three Indians painted black. Dodge killed one
of them. Warner also fired and states that he thought he had
wounded another. The Indians had not fired upon them, as
they were friendly. These are only a few of the many dastardly
outrages committed upon the natives by the whites.

We will now note the result. On the 8th of October,
1763, burning with revenge, a number of Indians consisting of
Delawares and Shawanos, attacked during the night, the Stenton
tavern, killing its proprietor, John Stenton, and Captain Wetter-
holt, besides several soldiers. After this most deplorable affair
they attacked the house of Andrew Hazlet, shot him, and toma-
hawked his wife and two children. One of the little ones recov-
ered. Twelve Indians then proceeded toward the Lehigh River,
crossing a short distance above Siegfried's bridge, known to this
day as the "Indian Fall" or "Rapids." They first reached the
^ farm of Jacob Mickley and there killed two children, a boy and a
girl. From there they went to the house of John Schneider
and killed him, his wife and three children. In this awful fora}^
were murdered, we are told, twenty-three people, many of them
innocent, besides many dangerously wounded, and much other
property destroyed by fire. Laden with plunder the Indians
then struck for the wilderness, north of the Blue Mountains,
from whence they had come.

Timothy Horsfield, Jr., noted several times by the writer,
was born in Liverpool, England, in April, 1708. He came to
America and settled first on Long Island in 1725. He then moved
to Bethlehem in 1749. At Bethlehem at this time he was chief
assistant in the apothecary shop of Dr. John Matthew Otto,
at that time known as an eminent physician and surgeon. In
May, 1752, he was appointed a Justice of the Peace for Northamp-
ton county; was commissioned Lieutenant and Colonel, and as
such superintended and directed the two military companies
commanded by the two Captains Wetterholt, which were rang-
ing along the frontier. To him were forwarded their reports
and he corresponded with the then Governor Hamilton at Phila-
delphia. He resigned his offices in December, 1763, and died
at Bethlehem, March 9th, 1773. His remains lie buried in the
old and interesting Moravian burying ground, and the house
somewhat modernized in which he lived, can still be seen at No.
49 Market street, only a short distance from his grave. In this
house, a two-story building, built in 1749, was opened in 1753
at the west end, the first general store and trading place in the
Lehigh Valley. This part of the house was demolished in 1879.
A metal tablet fastened into the Market street wall during the
sesqui-centennial celebration held at Bethlehem in 1892, gives
us this interesting information. Mr. Horsfield was at that time
a great service to the government, as well as to the frontier


The frontier at this time extended along and a short dis-
tance beyond the line of the Blue Ridge, from Fort Hunter on
the east bank of the Susquehanna River, a few miles above
Harrisburg to Dupui's Fort on the west bank of the Delaware
River, near Delaware Water Gap. This mountain range prac-
tically marked the limit of actual settlement by the white people.
Kolapechka and his father, Paxnas or Paxsinosa, belonged
to that migratory and restless tribe of Indians, often called
Shawnees, but the right name of which is Shawanoes. They
were known as the most depraved and ferocious tribe of all the
Indian nations, and were continually at war with their neigh-
bors. They were one of the most important of the Algonguian
tribes. Their most noted chief was the great Tecumtha. Their
earliest historical home appears to have been on the middle
Savannah River. About the year 1692 most of those remain-
ing in South Carolina moved northward and settled upon the
upper Delaware River with their relatives and friends, the Lenni
Lenapes and Mohicans.

Paxnas, the father, was, so says the missionary Hecke-
welder, a chief of prominence.

The Moravian missionaries knew that the Shawano Indians
were a fierce people, and because of this, sought to gain their
friendship, so as not to be molested, when passing from one
Indian mission to another. After the death of Shehellemus, the
friend of the whites, who died in Shamokin in 1749, the mission-
aries were fortunate in gaining the friendship of Paxnas, who
proved this by sending his sons to escort a missionary to Beth-
lehem from Shamokin, where he was in the most perilous sit-
uation, the French and Indian War having just broke out.

Shehellmus or Shekellamy was so prominent a figure at
this time that it appears necessary to tell my hearers who he
was. He and Conrad Weiser were constant companions, and
were connected with nearly every important transaction between
the government and the Indians. This Indian Chief was ap-
pointed by the Five Nations, or the Iroquois in 1728 to preside
over the Shawanoes, for whom Manangy, the king of the Schuyl-
kill Indians, obtained permission from the governor to live on
the Tulpehocken, a large creek which empties a short distance
north of Reading, from the west into the Schuylkill River. In
1732 a party of Indians visited the Governor and suggested the
propriety of appointing Shekellamy with Weiser, who "shall
travel between you and us, who will speak our minds and your
minds to each other truly and freely." This admirable sugges-
tion was agreed to by the Governor, and they were at once ap-
pointed. It is written that they performed more diplomatic
work than any two other men of their time. They met the
council for deliberation, and were sent as ambassadors to the
different tribes. When dissentions arose they were the peace-


makers. They were everywhere respected for their wisdom in
council, for dignity of manners and honesty in the administra-
tion of pubhc affairs.

To again resume as to the name Coplay. The Rev. Dr.
J. H. Dubbs says in a letter to the writer, that " Mr. Mickley was
a historical authority of eminence and was thoroughly familiar
with the locality. I may add, however, that in the days of
my boyhood, the fact that 'Coplay' had resided at the place
indicated was never called in question in the vicintiy of Iron-
ton." Both Mr. Mickley and Prof. Dubbs were born and raised
in the neighborhood. In the "Genealogical History of the Race
of Balyard," by a descendant, Dr. L. B. Balliet, now a resident
of the city, in his preface to the book is found the following:
"I am indebted to old Aunty Coplay for reliable information
relating to our family prior to her time. She was called by that
name from the circumstances that the place on which she lived
was the home of an old Indian Chief, named 'Coplay,' at the
time our forefathers located this tract about the middle of the
eighteenth century."

An original warrant now in possession of The Lehigh Port-
land Cement Company, gave by patent from James Hamilton,
then Governor of Pennsylvania, per John and Richard Penn,
the proprietaries, to Adam Deshler, dated May 5th, 1751 (Patent
Book, Phila., Pa., A. Vol. 15, page 593), three tracts of land
situate near the west branch of the Delaware River — the Lehigh
River — on or near Indian Copelin's Creek, containing 301^4- acres.
One of the boundaries contained in the description of one of
the tracts containing 200 acres is the middle of Indian Cope-
lin's Creek.

For this very interesting and valuable information the writer
is indebted to Judge Frank M. Trexler, a member of our society,
who saw the original warrant. Nowhere do we find any author-
ity that the creek was ever called "Copiechan," but abundant
evidence, as you have heard this afternoon, that it was named
after Kolapechka, or as Dr. Balliet appears to think, Kolapecha.

The supposition is that the name "Copiechan" was invented
about fifty years ago by gentlemen living near the present vil-
lage of Coplay, assisted by antiquarians from Philadelphia, who
knew nothing of the real origin of the name, and who, having
discovered in the Indian vocabulary that "Copiechan" meant
"a smooth or fine running stream," took it for granted without
any investigation, that the latter must be the original form.
This would not be the first occurrence when Indian names were
manufactured to order. This then settles the matter as to the.
origin of the word "Coplay."

Sketches of Some Settlers in Lehigh
County Prior to 1750.

By Chas. R. Roberts.


This was probably the first settled section of what is now
Lehigh county, and in these short sketches of pioneer settlers
of our county shall receive first notice.

In the first ship recorded by the Provincial Government,
which brought about four hundred Germans to Philadelphia,
on September i8, 1727, appears the name of Alexander Diefen-
derfer, a native of Nehrisheim. He took up 150 acres of land,
then in Bucks county, now partly in Bucks and partly in Lehigh
counties. His name appears in a list of the members of the
Great Swamp Church, written in 1736. He was naturalized in
September, 1740. He died November 29, 1768, leaving a widow
and five children: Anna Margaret, wife of John Nicholas Oehl,
Godfrey (b. 1730, d. 1806), Gertrude, wife of Henry Miller, Alex-
ander and John.

Joseph Kberhard came in 1727 from Switzerland and became
one of the most prominent residents of this section. He was a
member of the Great Swamp Reformed congregation, and died
in 1760, leaving to his six sons all his real estate, amounting
to 1065 acres.

Henrich Wilhelm Dillinger arrived at Philadelphia on Aug-
ust 24, 1728. He was one of the founders of the original Luth-
eran congregation of Upper Milford township near the present
Dillingersville, which has been extinct for over a hundred years.
He died between 1765 and 1770. His wife, Anna Rosina, died
in February, 1761, and was buried February 22, 1761. He had
seven children: Valentine, John George, John Jacob, Johannes,
Anna Catharina, wife of Mathias Bastian, Anna Elizabeth, wife
of George Welter and Anna Mary, wife of John Martin Schwenk.

Theobald Mechlin landed on September 11, 1728. He was
a member of the Lutheran church, and owned a large tract of


land. He died in April, 1765, and left five sons, Theobald,
Peter, Jacob, Philip and Thomas, and one daughter, EHzabeth,
wife of Leonard Steininger, of Whitehall township. The finely-
located homestead and farm is still owned by his descendants.

Frantz Russ and Ulrich Rieser arrived at Philadelphia on
September 19, 1732. In 1754 Russ lived in Upper Saucon town-
ship, and in 1749 bought a grist mill in Upper Milford which
was erected by Peter Wentz in 1740, the first grist mill in the
county. He sold the mill and 48 acres of land in 1761 to his
son Kilian Russ, and in 1763 sold the other part of his land,
28I acres, to his son Frantz, Jr. Frantz Russ and Ulrich Rieser
were both members of the Great Swamp Reformed congrega-

Ulrich Rieser owned a tract of 269 acres in the present Krauss-
dale, or Hosensack valley. He was born April 8, 1709, and died
September 9, 1784. His wife, Barbara Rieser, was born April
I, 1 7 14, and died April 7, 1782. They are buried in the Great
Swamp churchyard.

Jacob Dubs, a son of Jacob Dubs and wife Anna Glaettli,
was born in the village of Aesch, parish of Birmensdorf, Switzer-
land, on August 31, 1 7 10, and arrived at Philadelphia Septem-
ber 30, 1 732. He became a member of the Great Swamp Reformed
congregation, and married Veronica Welker. They had five chil-
dren: Felix, Barbara, married Daniel Boyer, who moved west,
Margaretha, who became the second wife of Jacob Dillinger,
Daniel, and Elizabeth, wife of Jacob Haak, of Berks county.

Michael Flores emigrated from Germany about the year 1 740,
and settled near the present village of Dillingersville. He was
a member of the original Lutheran congregation at that place.
He died in 1785, leaving one son, Michael, and four daughters.

Peter Lynn arrived at Philadelphia September 26, 1737.
He married Anna Margaret, daughter of Felix Brunner, and as
early as 1740 lived in Upper Milford. He was a member of the
Great Swamp Reformed congregation, and died prior to 1768.
His eldest son was Dr. Felix Lynn, one of the earliest doctors
in the county. Among his other children were, Peter Lynn,
Elizabeth, John, Anna Maria, wife of John Adam Willauer, and
Theobald or Dewalt Lynn.


When Lehigh county was still a part of old Northampton,
these townships constituted a single township called Upper Sau-
con, which was settled early by English, Welsh and Germans.


0avid Owen was an early settler here. He was a son of Owen
Owen, who was sheriff of Philadelphia county in 1728 and cor-
oner in 1730. In 1748 David Owen opened a tavern in a small
stone building which still stands. He also owned a hat factory
and a saw mill. In 1752 his name appears as one of the viewers
of a new road. He had six children: David, Joseph, Nathan,
Mary, Lydia and Elizabeth.

Balthazer Beil landed at Philadelphia September 26, 1737.
He settled in Upper Saucon township, but later removed to Allen
township, now Northampton county, where he died in 1791.
Among his children were: Eva Elizabeth Beil, born November
4, 1740; John Beil, born February 26, 1746, died February 18,
1826; William Beil, born November 18, 1747; Anna Maria Beil,
born February 12, 1750; and Henry Beil, born February 9, 1752,
and died December 10, 1834.

Philip Geisinger, a Mennonite, removed to Upper Saucon
from Berks county. He was born June 22, 1701, and died July
31, 1 791. His wife, Mary, was born in 171 1, and died March
29, 1772. They are buried in the Mennonite cemetery near
Centre Valley.

George Bachman, a Mennonite, was born in 1686, and died
November 9, 1753. About 1750 he kept a tavern called the
"Seven Star," where Coopersburg now stands. His wife, Mary
Bachman, was born April 12, 1698, and died November 4, 1776.
They had seven sons and four daughters.


Peter Trexler is said to have come to Macungie from Oley
township, Berks county, about 1723, and is supposed to have
been the first white settler of Macungie township. Caspar Wistar
and wife deeded to him a tract of 238! acres in the township,
on November 18, 1729. On November 29, 1748, Peter Trexler
and Katherine, his wife, deeded part of this tract to their son
Peter for ^^145. In 1762 Peter Trexler, Sen., was taxed ^60.

Jeremiah Trexler kept a tavern here in 1732, as is mentioned
in the Colonial Records, when the Kings' high road from Phila-
delphia was laid out. His wife's name was Mary Catharine.
Their son, John Peter Trexler, was married to Mary Catharine
Albrecht, daughter of Joseph Albrecht.

Joseph Albrecht purchased 212 acres from William Reily
and wife, of Newtown, clockmaker, on June 30, 1743. There
is a Joseph Albrecht mentioned as arriving at Philadelphia on
September 18, 1727. He died about 1760, leaving a widow,


Katharine, and these children: Joseph, John, and Katharine,
wife of Peter Trexler. Also three children by a former marriage,
Barbara, wife of Jacob Schnerr, of Whitehall township, Mary,
wife of Samuel Best, shoemaker, of Philadelphia, and Mary,
wife of Richard McColey, wigmaker, of Philadelphia. The land
was sold by the heirs on February i6, 1761, to Peter Butz, of
Berks county, for ^^476.

Another early settler and one of the founders of the Lehigh
church was John Michael Knappenberger. In 1744 he was liv-
ing in the upper part of Montgomery county, but soon removed
to Macungie, where he died. He was born August 20, 1709,
and died June 13, 1751. He married Catharine Leyde, and
left five children, among them, Henry, born September 19, 1744,
George, born October 20, 1746, and Catharine Margaret, born
October 23, 1750.

John Jarret, an early settler in Macungie township, died in
1755, leaving a tract of land of 514 acres, valued at twelve hun-
dred pounds. He had thirteen children: John, Edward, Isaac,
Samuel, Philip, William, Sebastian, Daniel, Mary, wife of Adam
Everly, Elizabeth, wife of Daniel Dorney, Joan, wife of John
Wetzel, Margaret, wife of Frederick Shackler, and Sarah, wife
of Martin Spiegel.

John Mathias Eigener, or Eichener, arrived at Philadelphia
on September 30, 1727. He and his wife Anna Elizabeth, were
sponsors in 1750 to a child baptized at the Lehigh church. He
was born in 1693. and died June 21, 1771, aged 78 years, and
was buried at the Lehigh church. Rev. John Caspar Stoever
baptized two of his children John, born June 15, baptized August
5, 1733, and Mathias, born June 29, baptized in October, 1735.

Peter Matern arrived at Philadelphia on September 26, 1732.
A son, John Peter, was baptized in 1743 ^t what was called the
"Six Cornered" church, in Upper Hanover Township, Montgom-
ery county. His wife, Mary Catharine, died September 10, 1758,
aged 56 years and 7 months.

Lewis Klotz was one of the most prominent colonial resi-
dents in Macungie township. As early as 1745 he was attached
to the Moravians, and for many years was one of his Majesty's
Justices of the Peace. His children were placed at Moravian
schools. Jasper Payne, accountant for the "Bethlehem Econ-
omy," recorded the following items: "August 11, 1746; Lewis
Klotz's child died at Herzer's last Tuesday was seven night,
being the 5th of August;" and "May 24, 1747: Received of
Lewis Klotz towards paying of his childrens' ward and schooling:


£ s. d.

3 cows 9

2 calves lo

I mare and a little colt with a

bell on the mare 7 o o

I cow bell 5

16 15 o


John Egidius Grimm arrived at Philadelphia on September
II, 1728. He and his wife, Anna Catharine, were sponsors in
1742 at the Weisenberg church. He died about 1761. His chil-
dren were: Jacob, Henry, Anna Margaret, born July 22, 1727,
died November 22, 1746, married Frantz Wilhelm Roth, Cath-
arine, wife of Peter Merkel, and Elizabeth, wife of Caspar Merkel,
of Richmond township, Berks county.


On September 23, 1732, there landed at Philadelphia, Michael
Mosser, aged 38, Tobias Mosser, aged 30, George Mosser, aged
48, Leonard and Paul Mosser, Eva Mosser, aged 40, Eva Bar-
bara Mosser, aged 56, Christina Mosser, aged 24, Magdalena
Mosser, aged 28, Susanna Barbara Mosser, aged 40, and Mag-
dalena Mosser, aged 52, with children as follows: Appolonia,
aged II, Hanna Margaret, 12, Anna Mary, 10, Anna Margaret, 8,
Simon, 11, Bastian, 6, and John George, 8.

Michael Mosser and wife Anna Elizabeth were sponsors in
i739» i74i> s-iid 1742, in Upper Saucon to children of Michael
and Anna Barbara Schmidt. Tobias Mosser and Margaret, his
wife, had a son John, born May 24, baptized June 14, 1741.
Another son, Tobias, was born May 24, 1743. He married
Christina Maurer, and died in 1800, leaving two sons and seven

In 1762 Michael Mosser was assessed for 150 acres in Low-
hill township, and the widow of Tobias Mosser was taxed twelve
pounds. In April, 1757, David Schultz, the noted surveyor of
Montgomery county, wrote in his almanac, "Der Tobias Moser
am Jordan is auch gestorben."


Caspar Peter, a native of Switzerland, was an early settler
in Heidelberg Township. He was married to Anna Elizabeth
Ribsam, who was born March 15, 1724, and died July 26, 1795.
They had three children. One son was Caspar, born in 1753,

Online LibraryLehigh County Historical SocietyProceedings and papers read before the Lehigh County Historical Society → online text (page 5 of 32)