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nate was again overrun and became the dismal scene of wasteful
camps and battles. Only ten years before this, in 1740, probably
about the time when Heinrich first breathed the breath of life, a
general European war began that lasted for eight years, and
raged back and forth over the ill-starred territory of the Palati-
nate. The troubled inhabitants had hardly time enough to re-
cover from the calamities of one war, before they became involved
in the horrors of another. It was during the war of the Spanish
succession, which began in the time of Heinrich's parents, or
grandparents, in 1701, and lasted about twelve years, when the
Palatinate was overnm by contending armies, that the tide of emi-
gration to America set in so extensively that it came to be re-
garded as almost a national craze. Heinrich a few years later
simply followed in the wake of the tens of thousands of his coun-
trymen, perhaps followed relatives or some esteemed acquaint-
ances, to the land that offered so promising an asylum to the poor
and oppressed. But we cannot lift the dense curtain that hides
from us the secrets of our remote European ancestors, and we
must be content to confine our study to our American history and

But, if we even could follow Heinrich back to his place of
birth, and trace the Gernhardt blood back a dozen generations,
would this satisfy us? Would we not then have the same never
satiated curiosity to trace our kindred still further back, back
down through the Dark Ages, back down through the ages when
the German tribes came into frequent conflict with the haughty
Romans, back even to the very beginning of the Christian era?


The Gcrnhardt Family History. 25

Would we not then have the curiosity to know from what primi-
tive tribe or stock we emanated? Would we not then be just as.
inquisitive to know what our ancestors were like, and what they
did in pre-historic times, even far back in the Age of Stone ? Nay,
would not some of the still more inquisitive wish to go on back,
back, way back, expecting sometime actually to find a savage
ancestor covered all over with long hair, and with a low retreat-
ing forehead and unprepossessing physiognomy, and even a pre-
hensile caudal appendage, just like a monkey? Don't be ap-
palled, dear reader! We do not trifle in saying this. This is
not levity. Why it is a stern fact that philosophers, scientists and
eminent and pious divines all over the civilized world are now
busy trying to persuade themselves and all the rest of mankind
that such is really man's lowly origin ; that instead of having
fallen from a state of perfection, he has been slowly differentiated
or evolved from the lowest form of life ; and that he has from the
start been, and still is, moving on upward in the scale of both phy-
sical and psychical development. There is at least some comfort
in this, if it is true. That is, if it so be -that we have not fallen,
we have at least risen. The Gernhardts, looking at it in this way,
are not of more humble origin than any of their neighbors, and
they have just the same right, capacity, incentive and opportunity
to get up higher. After all, what's in a name, or in a title, or in
family, in this free democratic land ! Did not our American fore-
fathers wisely decide and declare that ALL JMEN are created
free and equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with
the same natural rights? In a word, what is it that constitutes
true manhood ? Is it not true that we are all of "one blood," and

"By birth alone the name descends;
Your honor on yourself depends?"


Let US in imagination come down to the more recent time of
Heinrich's settlement in the forest of Northampton County, when
and where he established himself several miles back of the river,
near the banks of which the first emigrants had located. Lehigh

26 The Gcrnliardt Family History.

Township comprises the western end or corner of the county as it
now exists. Its present (the township's) metes and bounds were
fixed in 1765, the year of our ancestor's arrival. It is south and
east of the Bkte Mountain, iigainst which it buts, and which, with
its lofty and almost uniform summit, forms a pleasing view from
all parts of the domain. It is bounded on the north by Carbon
Comity, on the east by Moore Township, on the south by Allen,
and on the west by the Lehigh River. The territory was once
known as "The Indian Land," as Thomas Penn, the Proprietary,
in 1735 had it surveyed with the idea of making it a reservation
for the Indians who were then still lingering in the triangular
tract known as the "Forks of the Delaware;" but the
project was not carried out, and the lands soon there-
after began to pass into the possession of white set-
tlers. The county of Northampton was erected by Act of
Assembly in March, 1752, only thirteen years before Hein-
rich came to the Province of the Penns. At the extreme western
border or corner of the township the Lehigh River passes through
the Blue Mountains in a deep gap, the high sides of the broken
ridge facing the river rising almost perpendicularly, and the whole
surroundings combining to form one of Pennsylvania's most beau-
tiful and charming scenes. The Indians called the gap Buch-ka-
buch-ka, which the historian Heckewelder says meant "mountains'
butting opposite to each other." How often the eyes and thoughts
of Heinrich and Rosine and their children must have been fixed
on this romantic spot, and on the long stretch of the stately moun-
tain, every day in the field of their vision. Another deep gap of
most singular physiographical interest, a perfect riddle to the spec-
ulative geologist, and also in full view from about all parts of the
township, is the Wind Gap, called by the Germans Dc JVind
Kaft, through which no stream flows, but over the
thoroughfare that passes through which in former times
there was a vast amount of teaming and travel. It was
through this gap that the main division of General Sullivan's
army of 5,000 marched on the 19th day of June, 1779, when
it set out to invade the country and break the power of the formid-

The Gcrnhardt Family History. 27

able Iroquois Confederacy, after having encamped along the road
the previous night in Lehigh Township. We may imagine that
Heinrich and his neighbors — and perhaps Rosine. with nearly
three months old little Philip in her arms — came to look upon this
army of war, which it was doubtless well known had for some
days been forming at near-by Easton, the county town. But our
hard-working ancestors of Lehigh Township never for one mo-
ment dreamed that a century or more later they themselves would
have an army of descendants born and living in peace and pros-
perity in the fertile and beautiful region of New York, called the
"Long House," then occupied by the dreaded savages who had
perpetrated such cruelties on the settlers along the borders, and
whom these well armed and determined men under Sullivan were
about to visit and punish so effectually. But such is life ! "Fate
is above us all !"

The custom was, that when the pioneer had selected a piece of
unoccupied land that suited him, he immediately made application
to the proper officer of the Proprietary government for a war-
rant, after which the tract was surveyed for him, and a
draft thereof made. Then, to get lawful possession he
had to pay a specified per centum of the price down ;
which, at the time our ancestor made his application for
his 157 acres, had been advanced to twenty-two dollars and
twenty-two cents per hundred acres ; so that, according to this,
his preliminary payment was about thirty-five dollars. He then
had acquired a presumptive title, and could without molestation
enjoy and improve the land as if it were already all his own.
After this he could also have plenty of time to pay the balance of
the purchase money, and get a deed-patent to acquire the complete
right and title, so that he could himself make a deed in case he
wished to sell. In the meantime all he was required to pay was a
yearly tax of one-half-penny for each acre of the tract, which in
Heinrich's case was therefore only about 78 cents. This was done
by the Proprietary government to encourage emigrants to come
and improve the Province.

How long our ancestor thus enjoyed possession of his land and

28 The Gernhardt Family History.

paid his annual tax of a few shillings before he (in 1790) ob-
tained his patent, we did not find it convenient to search the
records to learn, but it may be imagined that he must have ap-
plied for the preliminary warrant before, or about the time, he was
married. I happen to know that Nicolas Saeger — who was the
maternal great-grandfather of my wife, Louise S. Gernerd — ob-
tained a warrant in 1737 for several hundred acres on Coplay
Creek, only about ten miles south of my great-grandfather Hein-
rich's tract, and that he did not apply for and receive his deed-
patent until in 1762, a full quarter of a century after he had se-
cured possession. Great-grandfather Gernhardt had no need to
hurry, therefore, to get his title from the government, and might
have settled on the tract almost directly after he became a colonist,
twenty-five years before. The patent, we may here note, was
granted to him as Henry Garnet — another instance of "worse
spelling" than writing.

If we know nothing of the personal experiences and circum-
stances of Heinrich and Rosine during their many years of do-
mestic life in Northampton, w^e at least know something of the
customs and conditions of that period. It then meant the hardest
kind of work to make a farm. The wilderness had to be subdued,
as every rod of good vacant land was heavily covered with the
primitive forest. Only here and there was there a clearing one
hundred and thirty-five years ago, even on the first occupied tracts
of land. Farm-life was one continuous drudgery. The early set-
tlers had few comforts and conveniences, and knew little of labor-
saving machinery. To have a horse, wagon, plow% one or two
cows, a saw, axe, a few tools, as augers, a draw-knife, square, etc.,
and a hundred broad acres, more or less, made the stout-hearted
and ready-handed German pioneer feel as independent and con-
tented as the most flourishing farmers are now with all their
cleared lands and modern conveniences. There was freedom and
novelty and pleasure in their new life, and they rejoiced whenever
they thought of the restraints and despotism from which they had
escaped. They were now in a land of promise and opportunity,
where they could make themselves comfortable homes. They did

The Gernhardt Family History. 29

not wish for things of which they had no knowledge, and thev did
not see their effects and snrroundings as w^e regard them now.
Though none of us may wish to hve and struggle as they did, yet
we must admit that in a broad sense they were just as happy as
w^e are now.

The first act of our forefather after he had made a sufficient
clearing on his claim doubtless was to construct a cabin of logs,
and to fill up the interstices with sticks and mud. The floor, if not
at first merely of clay pounded down smooth and hard, was proba-
bly made of hewn plank, and the roof may even have been thatched
with long straw, but later on laid wdth boards or split shingles,
and the heavy doors were hung on big wooden hinges. There
were probably two rooms on the ground floor, and a half-story loft
above, where the children slept when old enough to climb up the
stairs, or ladder. In the kitchen, in the partition wall, we think
we see an immense fire-place, constructed in a massive stone chim-
ney, where the cooking was done, and, if it could be had, a swing-
ing iron crane from which to suspend the kettles over the fire.
The fire was produced with steel, flint and punk, as matches were
then not yet invented. Until prepared to make tallow candles,
they burnt hog's lard, or the fat of sonje wild animals, in little
boat-shaped iron or tin lamps ; or perhaps at first used pitch-pine
knots and splinters to make light. But they did not want light
very long, as they had no daily papers to read, and the general
habit was to retire early, and enjoy sound and refreshing sleep
after working hard all day. For sweeping Rosine had splint-
brooms made of hickory saplings. For coffee they substituted
roasted beech nuts, chestnuts, peas, rye, or corn. X'o time was
lost in planting an orchard, and as soon as they had apples then
came the greatly esteemed luxury of cider, apple-butter, dried
apples, apple pie, and — foolish Esau, to give his birthright for a
beef-steak, if he could have had — "Schnits and Knepp."

There were various other victuals that the German emigrants
had been accustomed to in the J'adcrland that they soon provided
themselves here. "Sauerkraut," for instance, was regarded as
being very nearly one of the necessities of life. People of other

30 The Gernhardt Family History.

nationalities were wont to turn up their noses when they smelt of
it, or even sometimes when it was mentioned, — we think Horace
Greely once contemptuously termed it pickled lucDiiire, — but it is
now becoming a very respectable dish, and is quite in demand
among the refined of other races. It is often pronounced un-
wholesome, but we have frequently known invalids crave it and
eat it freely and feel comfortable, when other food would distress
them. And there is "Pan-Haas" (in English, "Scrapple," or, as
often called, "Pan-Rabbit"), a favorite dish in every Ger-
man household, and now eaten by almost everybody. And who,
that knows what is good, don't like "Smear-Case!" Indeed,
there are many other things that other people have learned from
the provident and straightforward Germans. And I imagine
that jNIother Rosine — I just now think I can see her at work'm
her humble cabin, a stout, healthy, rosy-cheeked, kind-hearted
woman — was an excellent cook, and a good, cleanly housekeeper,
as this is exactly what the majority of German women were, and
now are.

The furniture of our ancestors was doubtless at first of the sim-
plest descrption, most of it very likely made by Heinrich himself.
A great-granddaughter now living in Lehigh County has a rock-
ing-chair that she says her father willed to her as the chair made
by his grandfather (Heinrich), and this is unquestionable evi-
dence that our forefather possessed considerable mechanical apt-
ness. Later on, as prosperity permitted, and the family increased,
various unpretentious conveniences were added to the household
outfit. What an event in their plain, simple and economical do-
mestic life when they became the happy possessors of a stove !
Think of it ! A stove ! And no doubt it was one of the old-
fashioned ten-plate stoves, invented by the philosophic Benjamin
Franklin, who — as has so often happened — married the girl that
at first made fun of him. And what would dear old Mother
Rosine think if she were to wake up out of her last long sleep
and see the latest improved cooking stoves and ranges, the con-
venient extension tables, the elegant side-boards, cushioned chairs,
superb chamber suits, grand carpets, lace curtains, as well as the

The Gernhordt Family History.


organs and pianos, that many of tier numerous descendants have
now? And what would she say, if she stood there in her cabin
door as of old, in her gown made of flax, and barefooted, even if
it were on a cool autumn day, and saw a whole train of her female
descendants coming to pay her their respects, dressed in elegant
. skirts, handsome coats, exquisite furs and muffs, patent leather
shoes and "loves of bonnets," now so common ? It was still after
her day in Northampton County that ladies, real ladies we have
been told, would wear silk dresses (when they could afford it),
and walk miles to church and carry their shoes, and then, to ap-
pear more presentable, or respectable, or fashionable, but hardly
more comfortable, just before reaching the place of worship put
their shoes on their feet. The shoemakers then often traveled
from house to house to make and mend shoes ; and, because the
shoes were well made, of honest leather, and were tenderly taken
care of, would last a long time. This reminds me that I once
saw a Pennsylvania German have on a pair of calf-skin boots
that he had then been wearing for forty-three years. They were
his wedding boots, and were, of course, only worn at "dress-

And what would contented Heinrich think, with his rude plow
made of hard wood, harness made of rawhide and rope, clumsy
hand-made forks and hoes, hickory flails, and his "Dutch scythe"
and reaping-hook, if he saw the mowers, reapers and binders,
corn-planters and corn-shellers, sulky plows and steam threshers,
and the many other improvements that farmers have now ? We
would all like to hear him express his mind. What changes indeed
since the days of our first German ancestors. W^e can now but
imperfectly realize how they lived and managed to get along in
the world. How glad all would be to have a series of ])hoto~
graphic views of Heinrich and Rosine, their children, their home,
their effects and surroundings, to illustrate this little volume.
But there were no cameras and kodaks then. The "wonderful
century, ' with its almost countless discoveries, inventions and im-
provements, was for us to have the advantage of and not for them.
The population of the land they adopted has not only increased

32 The Gernhardt Family History.

far beyond their expectations, but the changes in the mode of Hv-
ing — farming, building, clothing, furniture, traveling, transporta-
tion, heating, lighting, education, recreation, even preaching, doc-
toring, and burying — are just as great. This would now almost
seem to them like a new world. Of course, they would soon per-
ceive that it is still the same old world of sin and sorrow, pain and
sickness, vanity and weakness, vice and crime, and infirmity and

"Mail is a child of sorrow, and this world

In which we breathe hath cares enough to plague us;

But it hath means withal to soothe those cares;

And he who meditates on others' woes

Shall in that meditation lose his own."

The descendant-reader doubtless feels like lingering at Hein-
rich's and Rosine's forest home, and will regret that no one can
tell them more about it. According to the history of early times
every settler in the woods had frequent use for a gun, and would
have a smooth-bore for ball or shot as soon as it was possible to
acquire one. The forest abounded with game, that at times con-
stituted an important part of the settlers' living, and so, of course,
Heinrich had a gun. Wild pigeons were so plenty that they could
sometimes be brought down with stones, or even with a club.
The flocks were often so immense that they were like moving
clouds. Wild turkeys were numerous, and often large and fat,
weighing 30, and sometimes more than 40 pounds. Ducks and
pheasants were even more common. Squirrels, as well as crows
and blackbirds, were so common and destructive that it was for
years a serious question how to get rid of them. Deer were also
very pernicious, often coming to the fields in herds to brouse on
crops that the needy settler could not well spare. It was then no
bragging matter to shoot a deer. When a sportsman in this part
of the world shoots one now, he imagines himself a hero, and he
wants his friends to hear of his wonderful performance. If a re-
porter is at hand the feat is sure to be mentioned in the daily
paper. Hawks, foxes, wolves and bears in Heinrich's time were
also yet so common and bold that poultry, sheep and pig raising
required more or less vigilance. We may conclude, therefore.

The Gcrnhardt Family History. 33

that he always had his gun handy and loaded, and that he learned
to handle it effectively.

At the period of his settlement the Indians had forever passed
far beyond the Blue Mountain as a people, but a lingering at-
tachment led some of them now and then to make friendly visits
to the white settlements and scenes of their former glory and
happy days, and to dispose of their peltry to the more provident
and thriving whites. Lehigh Township had, with the surround-
ing districts, suft'ered severely in times so recent from Indian
forays, compelling the frightened settlers to seek safety in flight
to Bethlehem, Nazareth and Easton, that the savage war-cry was
still perhaps sounding in some alertful ears. The last serious in-
road of the merciless warriors was in 1763, only two years before
Heinrich's advent, wdien a number of atrocities and murders were
committed, which sad events were therefore still fresh in the
minds of the people, so that no doubt painful apprehensions were
sometimes yet felt that the revengeful foe might come stealing
down over the mountain again on the old warpath, and especially
when, in 1778 and 1779, they heard of the frightful massacre at
Wyoming, and along both branches of the Susquehanna. We can
imagine that the older settlers used to tell our ancestor-couple of
the cruelty and treachery of the red sons of the forest, how they
had more than once to forsake their homes and crops to save their
lives, so that when he saw one of the race with a tomahawk in his
belt he began to wonder if his scalp-lock would ever be wanted.
It is stated on page 327 of Vol. 12 of the Pennsylvania Archives,
First Series, that as late as 1780 — when Heinrich already had a
family of four little children to protect — a force of 112 men had
to be stationed at Fort Allen, where the town of Weissport now
stands, on the Lehigh River, only a few miles west of the Blue
Mountain ; and in the history of Carbon County it is recorded that
in the same year the Indians perpetrated some murders in the
section just north of the ridge.


Heinrich came to the Province of the Penns a full decade be-
fore the beginning of the War of the Revolution, and did not then

34 The Gernhardt Family History.

realize that other evil and even darker days were ere long to come
upon the youthful colonies. But the causes that finally led to the
long and dreadful clash of arms between the white brothers were
then already at work. It was the same year (1765) in which he
became a citizen, by his solemn oath and residence, that both
houses of Parliament, with but slight opposition, passed the odious
Stamp Act; which decided that all such instruments of writing
as deeds, bonds, and notes were illegal and void if not executed
on stamped paper, on which a duty must be paid to the mother
country. It is true. Parliament repealed the act the following
year, because of the intense excitement and opposition it raised
in America ; but unfortunately in its place followed an even more
irritating enactment known as the Declaratory Act, which in-
sisted "that Parliament have, and of right ought to have, power
to bind the colonies in all cases zvhatsoever." The touchy colon-
ists did not believe in being bound hand and foot in all cases what-
soever, and taxed without proper representation, and without their
own consent, and this may be regarded as the primary cause of
the Revolution.

We must pass over the anxious days of earnest and more or
less bitter — not always bloodless, as some serious riots took place
— contention as to rights and duty, to the time of actual, open con-
flict, which was at last precipitated in spite of the fact that many on
both sides urged moderation and forbearance. His irate Majesty,
King George the Third (and his Parliament), did not heed the
respectful yet firm remonstrances forwarded to him from time
to time, but now sternly treated the aggrieved subjects as ungrate-
ful rebels, and sent over an army to compel submission with
sword, bullet and bayonet. By this time the public mind through-
out the colonies was fully awake to the inevitability of "cruel
war," and preparations to meet force with force were immedi-
ately commenced. The reader will remember reading in his
school history how on the i8th day of April, 1775, a force of eight
hundred of the King's grenadiers and light infantry marched to
Lexington and Concord to destroy some military stores gathered
there, and how that, after they had fired upon the citizens of Lex-

The Gernhardt Family History. 35

ington who were assembled on tlie public square, and killed eight
of them, they were then themselves fired upon by the Americans
with such impetuosity, and beaten, that they marched back to Bos-
ton with a loss in killed and wounded and prisoners of more than

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