George R. Prowell.

History of York County Pennsylvania (Volume II) online

. (page 62 of 201)
Online LibraryGeorge R. ProwellHistory of York County Pennsylvania (Volume II) → online text (page 62 of 201)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

of one week, he took' a steam boat for Fort
Gibson. After reaching this point he proceeded
to Verdigris Landing on Verdigris River,
six miles from Tallahassee, the nearest mis-
i-ion station in the Creek Nation, and was wel-
comed by the Rev. R. M. Loughridge, in
charge. There he first met the Indians, and
preached, through an interpreter, for the first
time to the natives. From there Doctor Ram-
say proceeded to his appointed station, Kowe-
tah, fifteen miles distant, and to continue Mr.
Ramsay's interesting story in his own words :
"There (Kowetah) we found our work of
conducting a manual labor boarding school of
forty Indian children, and of preaching at that
station and at various out stations from house
to house. In an Evangelistic excursion to the
Seminole mission, 100 miles distant, and taking
m the Creek General Council then in session,
a good opportunity was embraced for seeing
and becoming acquainted with many of the
chiefs and principal men of the Nation, and of
preaching to them at night in the council house.
On reaching the Seminoles there was an ob-
ject lesson afforded for seeing Indians in a
more savage condition of idleness, drunken-
ness, heathen customs and wretchedness in the
extreme. Our work at Kowetah was encour-
aging; many of the pupils in the school were
converted, and a church formed and gTOwing;,
but our work was cut short by failure of health
on the part of the dear mother of the mission,
and we were compelled to return to our East-
ern home, where in less than a year she. was
translated to Heaven, just four years after
her marriage. Soon after this, an invitation
was given the survivor to take charge of the
Chestnut Level Academy, which was accepted
and conducted successfully for two years, at
the end of which time he was re-appointed to
his missionary work among the Indians. But
now it was especially to the Seminole. The
work among them had greatly prospered under
the earnest workers, Mr. John Lilley and his

wife, and an assistant was needed. Here was
ample opportunity for field work- among the
various scattered towns of the Nation, and it
was then that our earnest effort was made to
acquire a knowledge of their language. We
studied not only what was written, but used
it according to our ability in conversing with
individuals, and from house to house visitation.
Work could be carried on more easily and effi-
ciently by talking directly with the people, in-
stead of depending on an interpreter. In time
we were enabled to write and preach in the na-
tive tongue. The work progressed, and among
the converts was the principal chief of the Na-
tion, who became a minister and spent his life
in preaching the Gospel to his people and

"On assuming his second appointment to
missionary work, the subject of this sketch
was without a helpmate, but was enabled to find
one in the person of Miss Eliza J. Lilley. who
had just graduated in the Steubenville Female
Seminary, and had returned home to assist her
parents in their work among the Seminoles.
We were united in. marriage, July 24, 1856.
Early in i860 we started a new mission, called
Prairie mission, fifty miles west of the old
Seminole mission, called Oak Ridge mission,
but in the following September came East on
a contemplated three months vacation. Be-
fore that time had elapsed, Lincoln had been
elected President, the Southern States had
seceded, the Civil war inaugurated and our re-
turn to the Indian Territory rendered impos-
sible. During the years of Civil war which fol-
lowed we spent the time in preaching and
teaching. We moved in 1861 to Kansas,
taught school and preached in various localities
until the war ended, when, in 1866, we were
again sent to resume missionary work among
the Seminoles, who had settled in a new home,
called Wewoka. In November of that year
(1866), in company with Rev. W. S. Robert-
son and family, who had also been ante bcUitm
missionaries to the Indians, we commenced the
journey in wagons from Highland, in North-
eastern Kansas, to Fort Gibson in Cherokee
Nation, at first a caravan of four wagons, and
afterward of five, mostly camping out at night,
and consuming nearly three weeks in reaching
our destination. From Fort Gibson we all
went to the Tallahassee Mission, which had
been alternately made the abode of the Union



and Confederate troops, and presented such a
spectacle of destruction and desolation as
caused our hearts to ache.

"During the winter the writer made two
trips to the Seminoles on horseback, and on
the second reorganized the Seminole Presby-
terian Church of sixty-six members. In
March, 1867, we moved with our family to
Wewoka, where most interesting work, among
full-blood Indians by the hundreds, interested
us for years. We taught the old and the
young. A mission house for a boarding school
for educating the Seminole children was built
and carried on during several years, accommo-
dating as many as sixty pupils at times. A
church was also built, where every Sabbath, at
the ringing of the bell on its cupola, the In-
dians of all ages and sexes could be seen com-
ing from their homes in all directions to wor-
ship God. They loved to pray and listen to the
preaching, but above all else they delighted in
singing the beautiful hymns contained in the
hymn book which the missionaries had prepared
for them. Some of them have become preach-
ers and are still conducting Evangelical work
there, after their first teachers and preachers
have passed away. Great changes have taken
place in the sentiment of the Seminoles since
the first attempts were made to introduce the
Gospel and schools among them. At first they
were so ignorant and prejudiced that they
said they wanted no preaching or schools, and
when the first school was opened at Oak Ridge
mission, it was difficult to induce any parents
to place their children in it, and the people
seemed afraid to attend religious meetings.
Now nearly all attend church, and every par-
ent wishes to place his children in school.
They have had mission schools, and day or
neighborhood schools, and now they have erect-
ed at their own expense two palatial school
buildings, one for boys and the other for girls,
costing each $50,000, in which 250 children
may be lodged and taught.

,"As regards the writer's own family and
children, it may be stated that his first wife
left three children, two of whom, a boy and a
girl, died in infancy, but a boy, named John
Livingston Ramsay, lived to be twenty-one
years old. He had pursued his education until
he had become a competent teacher, when he
sickened and died. My second wife, who, af-
ter seventeen happy useful years of married life

was taken home to eternal rest, was the mother
of eight children, four girls and four boys.
The first, Mary, is married to John Lilley and
lives in Kansas; Sarah died when three years
old; Margaret married Rev. T. H. Candor,
and with him is a missionary in Bogota, South
America; Addie died in her twenty-seventh
year of yellow fever in Barranquilla, Colortibia,
South America ; Hugh died in infancy ; Hamil-
ton Irvin died when three years old ; James
Robinson is a miller and canner in Delta, Pa. ;
and Charles Hodge died in his twenty-fourth

"My children were left motherless when
young, but God enabled me to give them educa-
tional advantages which they improved. Mar-
garet Candor is an accomplished scholar and
musician, and James Robertson has an edu-
cation which qualifies him for any useful busi-
ness and is energetic and successful in his po-
sition in the Delta Buying & Selling Agency."

The Rev. Mr. Ramsay was united in mar-
riage with his present wife, Mary Lois Dia-
ment, April 6, 1875.

JOHN F. BECK, ex-county commissioner
of York county, who is now living a retired
life at Paradise, Springfield township, was
born in York, Aug. 16, 1829, son of John Beck,
and grandson of George Beck, who was a ix)st
and fence maker in what is now Manchester
borough, and there died.

John Beck, father of John F., was born in
Newberry township in 1799, and learned the
carpenter's trade and cabinetmaking, which he
later followed in York. He remained there a
number of years and then went to Loganville,
later returning to Yoi'k, where he lived re-
tired for. a time prior to his death, Avhich oc-
curred at the age of eighty years. He married
Mary Fahs, daughter of Joseph and Barbara
(Frederick) Fahs, the former of whom died
while in the Revolutionary army; Mrs. Fahs
later married a Lanius. Mrs. Mary (Fahs)
Beck died at the age of sixty-eight years. Both
John and Mary (Fahs) Beck are buried at
Loganville. They had the following children :
Sarah, the widow of Peter Goodling, living
at Loganville with her son, E. B. : Mary, wife
of John Tyson, of Indiana ; Barbara, who died
unmarried; Joseph, who died young; John F.,
our subject; Emmeline, who died in 1904, the
wife of John Bahn; Rachel and George, who

/^^ ^ ^^c^



both died young; and Charles, also deceased.

John F. Beck attended the schools of York
and Loganville until twelve years of age, and
assisted his father at farming. In 1852 he
married Matilda Leader, daughter of Joseph
and Catherine (King-) Leader, who resided
near York. After marriage Mr. Beck located
on the home farm in Loganville, where he re-
mained two years, after which he went to Dun-
kard Valley, and bought a farm, remaining
there four years. This farm he sold to pur-
chase one of sixty-five acres along the Balti-
more pike, where he remained nine years, when
he again sold out and bought another farm,
near Bupp's school, consisting of 130 acres,
on which he remained twenty-three years. Mr.
Beck came to his present home in 1889, his
farm now consisting of 157 acres of fertile
land. Here he is living retired.

Mr. Beck and his wife have the following
children : Mary Catherine, who married
Zacharias Reigart, of York; Charles F., a
farmer of Spring-field township, who married
Olivia Howard; Milton G., of York, who mar-
ried Sallie Innerst; Frank J., who married
Rose Beck (no relative) ; Paul J., cashier of
the First National Bank of Glen Rock, who
married Catherine Hoover; Emma A., wife of
Alexander Diehl, a wholesale candy dealer, of
York : Harry C, of Washington, who married
Ida Crispin ; Martha J., who married Charles
E. Fahs, of Paradise; and Dr. Harvey G. The
last named is a graduate of the Baltimore
Medical College, also spent a term at A^ienna,
and is now practicing his profession in Balti-
more; he was employed by Dale & Co.. drug -
gists, at York. He married Catherine Clogett,
of Blairsville.

In 1884 Mr. Beck was elected county com-
missioner, and he filled that office very effi-
ciently. He has served the township of Spring-
field as auditor, school director, and in many
minor positions, and was inspector of the first
election held at Loganville borough. He was
appointed postmaster at Jacobus, and held that
position for six years. During the Civil war
Mr. Beck was a member of the committee to
induce volunteering in the army. He is
a member of the Lutheran Church. He is a
stockholder in the Glen Rock National Bank,
and since 1885 has been almost continuously
a member of the board of directors.

REV. H. HENRY WALKER,, pastor of
St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, in
York, is one of the prominent members of the
clergy of his church in Pennsylvania, and in
his work of consecration he has been blessed
with much of success, in both a spiritual and
temporal sense. He has retained his present
pastoral incumbency for the past thirty-two
years, and it is needless to say that he has a
strong hold upon the esteem and affectionate
regard of his people, while he has labored with
all of zeal and Christian humility in the vine-
yard of the divine Master.

iMr. ^Valker is a nati\-e of the former king-
dom of Hanover, Germany, having been born
ni the village of Brockhausen, principality of
Osnabrueck, Sept. 28, 1842, son of Frederick
and Gertrude (Schomburg) Walker, both de-
ceased, the father having devoted the major
portion of his active career to agricultural pur-
suits and having been a man of noble attributes
of character. Both he and his wife were de-
voted members of the Evangelical Lutheran
Church. In the family were nine children, of
whom six are living, the subject of this
sketch having been the sixth in order of birth.

H. Henry Walker passed the first decade of
his life in Germany, in whose common schools
he secured his rudimentary education, and in
1854 he accompanied his parents on their emi-
gration to Ohio, the family settling in Cleve-
land, and there our subject attended the
parochial school of the Lutheran Church until
confirmation. In 1857 JMr. AA'alker was
matriculated in Concordia College, at Fort
^^'ayne, Ind., in which institution he completed
the classical course and was graduated as a
member of the class of 1862, with the degree
of Bachelor of Arts. His purpose had been
all along to consecrate his life to the ministry of
the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and in the
same year which marked his graduation in
Concordia College he entered the Theological
Seminary of his church in St. Louis, ^lo.,
where he completed his divinity course, and
was graduated in 1865. After one year's so-
journ in Germany he was duly ordained in
November, 1866. His first pastoral charge was
that of St. Paul's Lutheran Church at Pater-
son, N. J., a new mission just then started,
where he remained incumbent until 1874, in
the spring of which year he was called to his
present charge, in which he has ever since con-



tinued to serve with earnestness, fidelity and
loving zeal, while in the long period of more
than thirty years he has not been denied the re-
wards of his efforts m the uplift which he has
been able to give to his fellow men and in the
winning of souls to the Master whom he
serves. Six calls were extended to him from
as many different churches of his synod ; twice
he was called to the presidency of his alma
mater, the Concordia College at Fort Wayne,
Ind. All these calls were declined. He has
the distinction of being the oldest pastor in
point of continuous service in York county,
and he is well known to the people of this sec-
tion of the State, where he has the warm
friendship and regard of all. He is prominent
in the work and councils of his church in gen-
eral, and since 1899 has been president of the
Eastern District of the Missouri Synod. This
synod was organized in 1847, in Chicago, 111.,
and now extends over nearly all the states of
the Union, comprising over 2,000 ministers
and more than 3,000 congregations. Mr.
Walker is also a member of the board of
trustees of Concordia College, a church insti-
tution, at Hawthorne, Westchester Co., New

On Aug. 27, 1868, was solemnized the mar-
riage of Mr. Walker to Miss Ellen M. Melcher,
daughter of Frederick and Engel (Scherler)
Melcher, of Cleveland, Ohio. To Mr. and
Mrs. Walker have been born eight children,
of whom four died in early childhood or in-
fancy. The others were : Marie L., a gradu-
('ate of the York Collegiate Institute, died in
11896, in her twenty-sixth year; Rev. Martin
F. J., who was graduated at Concordia College,
in Fort Wayne, Ind., and at the Theological
Seminary at St. Louis, Mo., served three years
in the ministry in the city of New York and is
now a member of the faculty of Concordia Col-
lege, Hawthorne, N. Y. ; Julius G. M'., a mem-
ber of the class of 1905. York Collegiate Insti-
tute, and now a student at Concordia College.
Fort Wayne, Ind., is likewise to enter the
ministry of the church which his honored
father has so dignified with his services : Lydia
F. H. is a graduate of the York Collegiate

THOMAN FAMILY. The Thoman fam-
ily of York and Adams counties is one of the
oldest in that section of which a continuous
trace has been kept, from Jan. 5, 1678, to the

present time, covering a period of 228 years.

The York county Thomans are the de-
scendants of John Jacob Thoman, of Buben-
dorf. Canton Basel, Switzerland, and are
widely disseminated in the United States,
some being located in Chicago, prominent
among them being Judge Leroy Thoman, one
of the first Civil Service commissioners of the
United States, appointed under President
Cleveland's first administration; others located
in Philadelphia; and others scattered through
Ohio, Indiana, Kansas and other points in the
West. The greater number, however, are
found in Pennsylvania, and, doubtless, in York
and Adams counties, near Gettysburg, Ab-
bottstown, Hanover, and Porter's Sideling.

The earliest trace we have of the Thoman
family is that of John Jacob Thoman, of
Bubendorf, Switzerland. The following is a
verbatim translation from a German manu-
script, which was preserved for more than two.
centuries, and which was brought from Swit-
zerland to America by the first emigrants to
this country : "Henry Thoman, from here,
was honorably born of honorable parents and
was baptized in the holy church, June 21,
1685, parents were John Jacob Thoman from
here, and Margaret Bergellman; sponsors
were Bartel Thoman and Jacob Stohler.

"Anna Schozze, Henry's bride has her bap-
tismal certificate from Holstein. They were
legitimately married here Aug. i, 1719, and
had begotten a son, Hans Jacob, who was bap-
tized Oct. 21, 1723; sponsors were Joki
Stohler, Marti Marti and Anna Bergellman,
all from here.

"Given with the gracious permission of the
venerable Herr Landwacht, and from the holy
baptismal register.


" 'T' Vicarius, *

"Bubendorfif, May 15, 1738."
The following data were found in Rupp's ,
Collection of 30,000 Foreigners, names of m
Immigrants in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, e
1880, List of Foreigners Imported, etc., Penn-
sylvania Archives, 2d Series, Vol. XVII, page
159, viz.: "At Philadelphia, Sept. 11, 1738, jm
100 Palatines imported from Rotterdam in the ^
ship Robert and Oliver of Dublin, Walter
Goodman, Com.mander, last from Dover, took
the 0.1th of allegiance. Among those who
signefl their names were Heinrich Thoman
and Jacob Thoman. Henry signed his own



name, but a clerk signed for Jacob, who was
then a boy about sixteen years of age. Only
male passengers over sixteen years took the
oath, so that names of the women are not re-
corded. There were 320 passengers aboard
this vessel, so that there were more women
than men."

The next data we find of the Thoman fam-
ily after their landing at Philadlephia, are
from the records kept by Rev. John Wald-
schmidt, of Cocalico (now Ephrata), Lancas-
ter Co., Pa., and handed down to his descen-
dants. According to his baptismal record-
book, Rev. Waldschmidt, pastor of the Re-
formed Church of Cocalico, baptized the fol-
lowing Thoman children at Cocalico : "John
Jacob Thoman and Susanna, to them was born
a son the 6th day of March, 1754, and was
baptized the 7th of April, 1754. Sponsors were
John Jacob Bollinger, and his wife, Anna
Marie. The son was christened John Jacob.
To the same was born a daughter, June 20,
1755, and was baptized July 13, 1755, chris-
tened Anna Christina; sponsors were Philip
Shaffer and his wife, Anna Christina."

Later data record a son born July 25,
1 757, named Henry, a daughter, Nov. 20, 1759,
named Margaret, a son Nov. 29, 1760, named

At this time the family removed from Co-
calico to what is now known as Heidelberg
township, York county (then Manheim town-
ship), between Porter's Sideling and Smith's
Station. At this place a large tract of land
was purchased from the heirs of William Penn,
consisting of about 600 acres, which later was
divided into three or more farms, through
which, in later years, the Hanover and Han-
over Junction Railroad was built (now the
Western Maryland railroad. A remarkable
feature is that still a part of this tract of land
is in the Thoman name, the owner being
Aaron S. Thoman.

After locating here the following children
were bom; — Anna Maria, born Jan. 24, 1762;
Catherine, born Jan. 6, 1764; Susannah, born
Nov. 9. 1765; Abraham, born Dec. 18, 1767;
Magdalena, born Sept. 11, 1769: Elizabeth,
torn July 15, 1772; John, born Feb. 3, 1774.
All of these children lived to the age of ma-
turity. Both father and mother of this fam-
ily died in the year 1804, the former being
aged eighty-one years, ten months and thir-
teen divs, while the latter was se\'entv-t\vo

years, five months and sixteen days old.

Abraham Thoman, a son of John Jacob
Thoman, was united in m&trimony with Sa-
lome Hinkle, and to them the following chil-
dren were born : A son, born Feb. 26, 1806,
name not given, who died in infancy; An-
thony, born June 26, 1807; Jacob, born Nov.
8, 1808; Hannah, born Sept. 29, 1810; Lydia,
born June 3, 181 2; Magdalena, born May 12,
1814; Salome, born Dec. 18, 1815; David,
born Feb. 19, 1818; Aaron, born Jan. 6, 182 1 ;
and Abraham, born July 11, 1822.

Of the above children, Anthony Thoman,
who was born in Heidelberg to»vnship, York
county, June 26, 1807, on the old Thoman
homestead, to which reference has already been
made, located between Smith's Station and
Porter's Sideling; in early life he engaged in
agricultural pursuits, and enjoyed the life of a
farmer. He received his education in the old
subscription schools, for a short time engaged
in school-teaching, and later owned and man-
aged a flouring mill near Seitzland, York
county. On March 31, 1857, while a resident
of Hanover, York county, he was married to
Sarah Wildasin, daughter of Jacob Wildasin.
From this union born four children :
Jeremiah, Alverta, Amos and Bertha, the
two last named dying in infancy. In the
spring of 1864 Mr. Thoman, with his family,
removed from Hanover to Berwick township,
Adams county, at which place he lived until
the spring of 1883. In that year he removed
to Abbottstown, and there spent the remainder
of his life.

Anthony Thoman was a man of in-
tellect, a great reader, and took great pleasure
in mental exercise. He wrote a beautiful hand,
both in English and German, and among his
writings can be seen quite a number of manu-
scripts in both English and German, contain-
ing thoughts and reflections on religious sub-
jects, quotations of scriptural passages, poems
selected and composed by himself, some writ-
ten as early as 1822, when he was but fifteen
years of age. thus giving clear evi-
dence of the strong moral tendency of
his nature. When a young man he
became a member of the German Re-
formed Church (now Emmanuel) of Hanover,
Pa. He remained in communion with the Re-
formed Church during his life, and honored
his profession by liis deMnit and consecrated
devotion to the principle^ and teachings of



God's word. He loved the church and enjoyed
her services. His German Bible was the book
he loved the best. The preaching of the Gos-
pel afforded him great delight, hence his last
days were happy and full of blessed comfort;
the evening of his life calm and serene. IMildly
he passed away at the ripe age of eighty-one
years, eight months, twenty-nine days.

As a citizen Mr. Thoman was highly es-
teemed by all who knew him. The church and
the community realized when he died that a
good man had been called away, but his work
was well done, and he now enjoys his reward.
The funeral ^ook place at his residence at Ab-
bottstown, Wednesday morning, March 2'j,
1889, and his remains were interred in Mount
Olive cemetery, at Abbottstown, after which
the funeral services were held in the Reformed
Church. Rev. Herbert, of New Oxford, offi-
ciated, taking for his text the 29th and 30th
verses of the 2d chapter of Luke : "Lord,
now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace,
according to Thy word, for mine eyes have
seen Thy salvation." Mr. Thoman's wife,
Sarah, died Nov. 5, 1905, aged eighty years,
eight months and nineteen days, and was also
buried in the cemeter)' at Abbottstown.

Prof. J. W. Thoman, son of Anthony H.
and Sarah (Wildasin) Thoman, is, perhaps,
known more widely than most men among
the teachers and educators of Pennsyl-
vania. He is a native of Hanover, Pa., where
he was born July 17, 1858. At the age of six
years he was placed in the public schools of
his native town, and one year thereafter his
parents removed to Adams county, near Ab-
bottstown. In the winter young Thoman at-
tended a country school, and in the summer he

Online LibraryGeorge R. ProwellHistory of York County Pennsylvania (Volume II) → online text (page 62 of 201)