Transcribed by Ed McClelland (email@example.com). For an explanation and caution about this transcription, please read this page.
SURNAMES APPEARING IN THIS CHAPTER
ACHRE, ALLEN, ALLISON, ALWARD, ARMOR, ARMSTRONG, ARNEAL, ASH, BAKER, BASSE, BASSLER, BASTIAN, BEAM, BEAR, BELTZHOOVER, BENTEL, BENTLE, BEYER, BISHOP, BOGGS, BOHN, BOLTON, BOWMAN, BOWSER, BOYER, BRADEN, BRANDON, BRECHT, BREWSTER, BROOKS, BROWN, BUHL, BUSH, BUTZ, CASHDOLLAR, CHAPMAN, CHRISTIE, CHRISTY, CIST, CLARK, COLEMAN, COLLINS, COOKSON, COOPER, CORT, COVERT, CRITCHLOW, CUNNINGHAM, DAMBACH, DARBAKER, DAUBERT, DAVIS, DAVITT, DE LEON, DECHANT, DICKEY, DIEFENBACHER, DIEHL, DIEMER, DINDINGER, DODDS, DOMBART, DONALDSON, DOUGLAS, DRENNAN, DUFFY, DUNCAN, DUNN, DWIGHT, EDMONDS, EICHOLTZ, EMERICH, ENDRES, ENSLEN, EVANS, FIEDLER, FLEMING, FRAZIER, FREDERICK, FUNK, GANSZ, GESSNER, GILLESPIE, GIRARD, GOAS, GOEHRING, GRAHAM, GREER, GRIFFITH, GROSS, GULL, HAHN, HAINE, HALLER, HALSTEIN, HARBAUGH, HARPER, HARTZELL, HAYES, HEAYL, HEBERLING, HENDERSON, HENRICI, HERR, HERTZEL, HOFFE, HOON, HOTTEL, HOUSHOLDER, HOUSTON, HOVEY, HUNGELMEYER, HUNTER, HUNTZBERGER, HYLE, IFFT, JAMISON, JENNINGS, JOHNSON, JONES, KECK, KELKER, KERSTING, KING, KINNEAR, KNOX, KOCH, KORNS, KREIDLER, KRIBBS, KROPP, KUGHLER, KULP, KUNKLEMAN, LADENSCHLAGER, LAMBERT, LANDIS, LANGBEIN, LANHAM, LATCHAN, LATCHAW, LEBERMAN, LECHLEITNER, LEEK, LEIBENDARFER, LEVIS, LIEBENDARFER, LIKEN, LINDSAY, LITTLE, LOCKE, LOTZ, LUSE, LUSK, LYTLE, MAGEE, MAHARD, MAHARG, MAHLBERG, MARTIN, MATHAY, MCCLURE, MCGEE, MCILVAINE, MCINTYRE, MCKEAN, MCKINNEY, MCMILLEN, MCNICHOL, MEEKER, MELLEN, MILLER, MINICK, MITCHELL, MORGAN, MOYER, MULLER, MÜLLER, MUNTZ, MURPHY, NIBLOCK, NIXON, NOHL, NOSS, PALMER, PASSAVANT, PEARCE, PEFFER, PFEFFER, PFEIFER, PURVIANCE, RAMSEY, RAMSEY, RANDOLPH, RANSOM, RAUHANSER, RAY, REED, REIBER, REICHERT, RIDDLE, RIGHTER, ROBINSON, ROTH, SAINT, SAMPLE, SARVER, SCHIEL, SCHOENE, SCHONTZ, SCHWANGOFSKI, SCHWARTZ, SCHWEITZERBARTH, SCOTT, SEAMAN, SEIDEL, SEYMOUR, SHEEL, SHELLY, SHEPARD, SIMS, SITLER, SLEPPY, SMITH, SOUDER, SPEAR, STAAF, STAHL, STAUFFER, STEAVER, STEWART, STIVER, STOKEY, STORY, STOUGHTON, SUTTON, SWAIN, SYLLA, TEMPLE, THEISS, THOMPSON, TIBBET, TINSMAN, TRINNELS, UMPSTEAD, WALTBERGER, WASHINGTON, WEBBER, WELSH, WHITE, WICKBERGER, WIEHL, WILHELM, WILLIAMS, WILSON, WINTER, WISE, WISER, YOUNG, ZEHNER, ZELIE, ZIEGLER
p. 206a-- Henry Muntz, D.C. Muntz, Andrew Metz, A.E. Metz
p. 225 -- Henry Muntz Bio
p. 208a-- Res. C.S. Passavant, Zelienople
p. 216a-- Eagle Hotel, Zelienople,
Miller House, Evansburg
p. 225 -- Passavant Family Bio
p. 230a-- Duncan's & F.A. Edmonds
p. 226 -- F.A. Edmonds Bio
There is much of historical interest connected with the pioneer life of this township chiefly arising from the fact that it was here that the Harmony Society made their first settlement in America. Besides the old town of Harmony, Jackson Township contains the thriving towns of Zelienople and Evansburg, of which detailed sketches are given in this chapter.
Jackson Township was formed in 1854 from portions of Cranberry and Connoquenessing Townships. It is situated in the western part of Butler County, and is bounded by Lancaster Township on the north, Forward Township on the east, Cranberry Township on the south and Beaver County on the west. Its soil is well adapted to agriculture, and its mineral wealth, though as yet little developed, is extensive. Coal has been mined here from the earliest times; iron ore and limestone are also found in considerable quantities. [p.206] The township was originally covered with a heavy growth of valuable timber, consisting of black walnut, chestnut, the usual varieties of oak, etc. The alluvian bottom la·ds of the Connoquenessing are here broad and level, and contain some of the choicest farming lands in Butler County. The natural scenery is also superb. A pleasanter location for a town it would be impossible to find than the site occupied by the twin boroughs of Harmony and Zelienople.
The drainage of the township is received by the Connoquenessing, which crosses it from east to west, and by its smaller tributaries, the Little Connoquenessing from the north and the Breakneck Creek from the southeast. South of the banks of the Connoquenessing, the surface is a constant succession of hills and valleys, fertile fields and verdant woodlands, upon which the progressive industry of a thrifty population is constantly exerting its beautifying and improving influences.
James MAGEE, one of the first settlers on the beautiful lands of the Connoquenessing Valley, was born in County Down, Ireland, in 1769. He settled in 1797, on the farm a part of which is now owned by his son John. A barn built by him is still standing. The first crop he put in the ground by the aid of a mattock. He was a soldier of 1812. He died in 1846. He was the father of thirteen children--Isabel, Mary Ann, Robert, Elizabeth, Rebecca, William, George, Susan, Jane, Lucinda, Margaret, James and John.
William MARTIN, a native of Ireland, came from the vicinity of McKeesport, and settled on the Harmony road on the Breakneck Creek, a mile west of Evansburg, where he remained three years. He then settled on the farm where he lived and died. After coming here, he married Ellen WILSON, daughter of Thomas WILSON, who settled in the same neighborhood about 1800. William MARTIN died in 1850, at the age of eighty-two. His children were Anna (Little), who resides in Cranberry Township; John, died in Forward Township in 1881; Nancy remained single and died on the old farm; Elizabeth (DODDS) resides in Penn Township; Thomas is well known as Squire MARTIN, of Evansburg; William died young; Ellen, single, lives on the old homestead; George died young; James resides in Michigan; John W., the second child, married Margaret MAHARG, daughter of John MAHARG, of Penn Township, and reared ten children, all of whom are living.
Michael MARTIN, brother of William, settled on the creek in 1800. None of his children now live in this vicinity. His sons who grew to manhood, James and William, are both dead. This daughters were Elizabeth (SCOTT), Margaret (ARMSTRONG), Esther (JOHNSON), Jane (RANSOM), Catherine (JOHNSON), Mary (ALWARD) and Rachel (DAVITT).
David YOUNG was a pioneer on the farm now occupied by his son Isaac. The COVERT family came early to the same neighborhood. John DUNN was an early settler near the creek, west of Evansburg. The NIXONs were early settlers in the WILSON neighborhood. Joseph LITTLE settled on the Breakneck about 1800. His son Samuel, a soldier of 1812, died in Cranberry Township, where his widow still lives.
John DUNN moved from the forks of the Yioughiogheny. He was killed when upward of eighty years of age, being thrown from a wagon, and having his neck broken, as he was returning from a visit to his former home.
Thomas WILSON, an Irishman, and his sons, Andrew, James and Thomas, were early settlers. Andrew's son John and daughter Ellen live on the old farm. James raised a large family, about fourteen children in all, all of whom died of consumption, excepting one daughter, Mary (LINDSAY), now living in Jackson Township. Thomas WILSON, a genial old gentleman, long known as "Squire Thomas," left no descendants. He resided for some time in Evansburg, but returned to the farm and died.
Thomas SCOTT, Morris COVERT and James COVERT were early settlers, all in the same neighborhood. James DONALDSON was a pioneer on the farm where his son Thomas now lives. He was a native of Ireland, and moved to this township from Allegheny County. His children were Margaret, Jane, Sarah, James, Eleanor, Thomas, Elizabeth, John, David and Robert. Thomas, Robert and John are living, all in this county.
In 1816, Jacob SWAIN moved to Harmony from Westmoreland County, and died here in 1837. His only surviving son, Samuel, was born in Maryland in 1800, and has lived in this county since he was sixteen years of age. He labored for Abraham ZIEGLER [p.207] six or eight years, 37½ cents being his usual daily wages. In 1824, he settled on the farm where he now resides. His brother Jacob died in Lancaster Township, on the farm now occupied by his widow. Samuel SWAIN married Sarah BROWN for his first wife, and Hannah EMERICH for his second. His surviving children are Ambrose, Jackson Township; Samuel, Ohio; Gellard, Economy; Gedaliah, Harmony; Margaret (HALSTEIN), Franklin, Penn.; Maria, at home.
Jonas HARTZELL, a wagon-maker by trade, moved to this county in 1820 from the western part of the State. After twelve years' residence in Harmony, he moved to a farm in Jackson Township. The sons of Jonas HARTZELL were Jacob, Eli, Isaac and George. Eli died in 1873 in Penn Township, where his son H. M. now resides. The others are living, located as follows: Jacob, in Penn Township; Isaac, in the West, and George, on the old homestead in Jackson Township. One daughter, the oldest of the family, Anna (GOAS), now lives in Beaver County.
John WISE, from Montgomery County, settled in Harmony in 1831, and followed weaving and cloth dressing. Thence he removed to Beaver County. His son, Jacob F., who came with his father, is still a resident of Jackson Township. He settled on the beautiful farm he now occupies in 1842, purchasing from John LATCHAN. The farm had formerly been John ZIEGLER's.
M. H. SITLER, whose beautiful residence forms a pleasing feature of the fine scenery north of the Connoquenessing, is a late settler, but a most enterprising and prosperous citizen. He came to this township in 1851 from Columbiana County, Ohio. A fairer landscape than is spread out before an observer standing on the veranda of Mr. SITLER's house it would be difficult to find. To the southward are the graceful outlines of the hills which inclose the creek; backward from them stretch the fertile, level bottom-lands of the Connoquenessing--the "Eidenan," or Beautiful Meadows, as the Harmonists called them, and on all sides are evidences of prosperity, peace and plenty--a wondrous transformation from the unbroken wilderness of this valley at the beginning of the present century.
Joseph ALLEN, in 1836, bought over four hundred acres of the BASSENHEIM farm, including the old mansion. He moved here from Allegheny County. A part of the farm has been sold. The remainder is occupied by his son Joseph. Joseph ALLEN, Sr., died in 1865, aged eighty-five years. Three of his children are living in this county, viz.: Joseph, on the old farm; William, Zelienople, and Mrs. RAMSEY, near Mount Chestnut.
The first Merino sheep brought to this county or to this part of the State, were introduced by Detmar BASSE in 1807. People came from the Eastern States to purchase, and paid enormous prices for them.
Surely Dr. Detmar BASSE, the cultured, scholarly German, who selected this pleasant spot upon which to establish his Bassenheim and found a town, when all of it was but a wilderness, must have been attracted by a love for the beautiful as well as a desire for gain; and doubtless he foresaw how beautiful the whole might one day be made by man cooperating with nature. Detmar BASSE was a man of wealth and good taste, who had held several positions of trust in his own country; among others, he was sent as ambassador to Paris during the Napoleonic contest, representing the free city of Frankfort. In the year 1802, possibly attracted by a desire for adventure, he came to Pennsylvania and purchased an extensive tract of land (about 10,000 acres), lying in Butler and Beaver Counties. Soon after his settlement here, Dr. BASSE had a town laid out upon his land and gave it the name of Zelienople, in honor of his daughter Zelie, afterward the wife of P. L. PASSAVANT. In 1806, he went back to Germany, and, in 1807, returned, accompanied by his daughter, Mrs. PASSAVANT and her husband. In the year 1818, BASSE returned to his native country, leaving the settlement of his business affairs in the hands of his son-in-law, Mr. PASSAVANT. During his residence here, he built a large three-story house which he christened The Bassenheim. The building was of wood, built in imitation of ancient castles. The main portion of the house was three-story; there were two porches in front, one above the other, and two bow-windows. [p.208] The front door was reached by a long flight of steps. Attached to the body of the house were two wings, each of two stories. The roof of the main part was flat and surrounded by railings. About the house were numerous outbuildings of peculiar shapes--circular, square, triangular, octagonal, etc. The Bassenheim mansion stood on the north side of the Connoquenessing near the spot where Joseph ALLEN's house now stands. It was destroyed by fire in 1842. Leading from it to the village, Dr. BASSE had a road cut through the woods, perfectly straight, and three rods in width.
The appellation, Doctor, was awarded Mr. BASSE by his American fellow-citizens. He had some knowledge of the use of simple drugs, and, in the early days of the settlement, when no physicians were to be had, he sometimes prescribed such remedies as he knew would be beneficial to those who were ailing. He is sometimes spoken of as Dr. MILLER. This mistake arose from the fact that he was accustomed to write his name Dr. BASSE MULLER, either to mystify the people or from some peculiar whim of his own. As he was a mill-owner, the use of the word was not inappropriate, but only a mark of eccentricity. He is remembered as a very courteous gentleman, a man of intellect and ability.
Philip Louis PASSAVANT, for years the most influential and leading citizen of Zelienople, was born in Frankfort, Germany, in 1777, and died in Zelienople in 1853. His wife, P. W. ZELIE (BASSE), was born in 1786 and died in 1871. Mr. PASSAVANT acted as agent for the disposal of the lands of the BASSE tract, and himself bought the tract on which the town stands. He was the first merchant in the place. Bringing some goods with him in 1807, he commenced business immediately after his arrival, and continued the same until 1848, when he sold out to his son, C. S. PASSAVANT, who is now the oldest merchant in the place.
Henry MUNTZ, an aged and respected citizen of Zelienople, was born in Germany in 1794. In 1804, he came with his father, John George MUNTZ, to Ohio, and in the fall of 1804 the family came to Zelienople. Shortly afterward, his father joined the Harmony Society; after living for a time with them, he removed to Beaver County, where he met his death in 1812, being crushed by a falling tree, while working at rail-making.
Mr. MUNTZ informs the historian that Zelienople consisted of two houses in 1804; Christian BUHL and Daniel FIEDLER lived in small log cabins near the creek. They were both Germans, and had walked from the eastern part of the State to this place in search of a home. Daniel FIEDLER lived here many years, and carried on the business of distilling. He also ran a ferry-boat across the creek north of the village, on the old Mercer road. He afterward bought a large farm, upon which he died. Christian BUHL was a hatter, and worked at his trade. He built the brick house in which Squire RANDOLPH now lives, and died in it in 1864 at the age of eighty-eight. His wife, Mrs. Fredrica BUHL, died in 1868 in the ninetieth year of her age. Christian BUHL was a worthy citizen and an intelligent man. He served as Justice of the Peace thirty years or more and was afterward Associate Judge. Two of his sons are now wealthy and influential citizens of Detroit, Mich., where they are engaged in the fur and iron trade.
Among the early residents were DIEMER and his son Andrew, stone masons; Jacob HEBERLING, stone mason, who took the contract for building the stone church; MCINTYRE, the spinning-wheel maker; MCCLURE, the tavern keeper, and John LOCKE, the miller.
The family of Vance RANDOLPH was one of the few English families among the early settlers of Zelienople. Mr. RANDOLPH came from Williamsport, Washington County, to this county, and after residing on a farm a short time, settled at Zelienople in 1816. He was a millwright, and worked at his trade around the country. He died in 1817. His family consisted of four sons and three daughters. Elizabeth (REED), William, Eleanor (KELKER) and John are dead; Edward V. resides in Zelienople; Mary (CHRISTY), in Valparaiso, Ind., and Henry H. in the West. E.V. RANDOLPH, Esq., a well-known citizen, now holds his sixth commission as Justice of the Peace.
Zelienople had grown little in 1816. Mr. PASSAVANT, the merchant, had a store which was doing a fair business for those days. Andrew MCCLURE kept tavern in a small frame building--the first in the place--where the BASTIAN House now stands. There were a half-dozen or so of log cabins and a few shops, in which various trades were carried on.
Charles CIST came to Harmony in 1814, and a little later located in Zelienople, where for some years he kept store on a small scale. He was a man of good intelligence, and of literary tastes. From this place he removed to Cincinnati, where he became well-known as an editor and newspaper writer. He was at one time editor of a paper called the Western General Advertiser in Cincinnati, where his sons still reside. CIST's father published German almanacs in Philadelphia. Lewis J. CIST, son of Charles, has published several literary efforts, among them a volume of poetry.
John LOCKE was a well-known character in the village. He was formerly the miller at the Bassenheim mill, but later settled on a farm. In one of Charles CIST's contributions to a Cincinnati paper, the [p.209] following story is related: In early days, the mills were frequently over-run with custom, and it was an invariable rule that each grist brought should await its turn. One Monday morning, John was on his way to mill with a grist, when he was thus accosted by a neighbor: "Hello, John! Going to Slippery Rock Mill?" "No; I'm going to ZIEGLER's." "You're a fool to do that," said his friend; "I've had a grist there for a week, and I can't get it until Thursday. "Well," returned LOCKE, "I'll get mine ground before that time--see if I don't." In an hour or two he was seen returning with a bag of meal. Being pressed for an explanation, he gave the following account, which may or may not be true, as LOCKE was a noted prevaricator. At the mill he had found Abraham ZIEGLER and Mike, the miller. "Mr. ZIEGLER, here's a bag of corn I want ground." "Fery vell; shust you put it here, and ven its turn cooms, it vill grind; you know der rule." "Yes," said John; "I have tended mill and know the rule, but I can't obey rules now. Next Saturday week will be twelve days since our folks have had any bread in the house." "Is dot so? Dat vas too pad. Mike, put dis in der hopper," said the proprietor of the mill, pitying John's distressing(?) condition. Shortly after, LOCKE departed, elated at the success of his ruse.
We will conclude this sketch by mentioning a few of the comparatively early settlers, without any attempt at chronological order, which, considering the limited sources of information at hand, is well-nigh impossible. Jacob HOFFE and David ARNEAL were among the early comers, as were also Robert BOLTON, blacksmith, and HUNGELMEYER, carpenter. John LEVIS, store-keeper, was a Justice of the Peace and Postmaster. John FLEMING and Squire GULLwere prominent citizens. John Anthony BEYER, a native of Austria, came to this town in 1817, and engaged in shoe-making. His son Anthony still resides here, and follows the same business.
ZIEGLER had a store, and owned several acres of land in the town. John STORY lived near where the schoolhouse stands.
Frederick BENTEL, a blacksmith, from Economy, settled here early, and with Henry BOHN ran a distillery in the old brick building now standing on Dr. LUSK's lot. A building which had been erected as a granary for the distillery was converted into a steam flouring-mill, and operated a number of years. Distilling was also carried on by John BOLTON and Jacob REIBER.
Rev. BOYER, a German preacher, used to hold meetings in the old schoolhouse, before the Lutheran Church was built.
John REED came to Harmony in 1819, and ran Abraham ZIEGLER's tannery until 1821, when he came Zelienople. The tannery business begun by him is still carried on by his son Lewis.
The Eagle Hotel was built by Randolph KELKER over fifty years ago, and has passed through the hands of numerous owners. The present proprietor, H. STOKEY, began business here in 1878.
The first brick house was built by P.L. PASSAVANT, and is now the residence of his son, C.S. PASSAVANT. Charles CIST built a brick house early, on the southwest corner of the common. It is now occupied by Mr. WHITE. Henry MUNTZ erected two brick houses early.
We are unable to learn who taught the first school. Mrs. HOFFE taught a school, giving instruction in English, about 1817. A man named BREWSTER taught two terms soon after. Jacob HEBERLING taught both German and English.
The first schoolhouse in the place was a small, one-story brick building, which stood on the common. It was eight-sided, and was generally known as the "Round Schoolhouse." It was built previous to 1820. Rev. G. BASSLER taught a select school for some years, but was called from this work to take charge of the Orphans' Home.
Zelienople became a borough in 1840. Dr. Orrin D. PALMER was the first Burgess.
There are three hotels, five general stores, one each of hardware, drug and jewelry stores, several shoe-maker shops, two tailor shops, two millinery shops, two saddlery and harness shops, two dealers in agricultural implements, three blacksmith shops, one undertaker and furniture store, one tannery, one banking house, one newspaper, etc.
Since the advent of the Pittsburgh & Western Railroad, whose repair shops are located here, the population has increased somewhat, and the commer- [p.210]cial interests of the town have become immensely greater. The first passenger train on this railroad reached Zelienople January 1, 1879.
George STAHL came to this town in 1870. He bought Jacob SCHOENE's distillery and ran it for a time, and has since been engaged in keeping a wholesale liquor store.
Philip HOUSHOLDER, wagon-maker, began business in 1876.
The banking business of N. DAMBACH & Son was commenced in March, 1882.
H. STOKEY came from Germany in 1846, and kept hotel at Evansburg. He was afterward engaged in farming. In 1878, he purchased the Eagle Hotel in Zelienople, one of the oldest hotels in this part of the county. The hotel is now conducted in first-class style by his son, Charles STOKEY. A view of the building appears on another page.
The landlord met them and invited them to walk in. "No; you walk out," was the reply. MCCLURE was dragged forth and ready hands poured a bucket of tar over him, then cut a pillow and shook its feathery contents upon him, leaving him tarred and feathered from head to foot. This indignity was too much for him, and he determined to have revenge. Accordingly, as soon as he could make himself presentable, he proceeded to Harmony, and, seeking out one of the leaders of the community, told him of the treatment he had received at the hands of his townsmen.
"Now," he said, "I have a proposition to make. Your town is larger than ours; what will you give me if I will turn the post office over to you?"
It is not known what bargain was made; but shortly after MCCLURE resigned his office, and at his recommendation, a member of the Harmony Society was appointed Postmaster, and the office was removed to the larger village. Zelienople continued without an office until 1835, when John FLEMING, being then about to remove to the place from Harmony, gave up his commission as Postmaster, and managed to have the office moved to Zelienople. John M. MUNTZ became the Postmaster. After the lapse of some years, the Harmony office was re-established, and since then both towns have enjoyed equal postal privileges.
John HERR built the mill now standing. It was purchased from him in 1857 by Albert SEIDEL and Joseph SCHWARTZ, who purchased the property and seventy-five acres of land. After about three years, Mr. SEIDEL became the sole owner of the mill, and continued to own it until his death in 1880, since which time it has been run by his heirs. The mill has a capacity of about sixty barrels of flour and eighteen tons of feed per day. Recently, improvements have been made and machinery of the most approved kind introduced.
The first building erected was a Gothic cottage, to be occupied by the Director of the proposed institution. It was built in the summer of 1853. In April, 1854, Rev. Gottlieb BASSLER, of Middle Lancaster, having been appointed to the charge of the Farm School, removed to the Director's house. In the spring of 1854, two years after the establishment of the Home in Pittsburgh, the city Home was over-crowded, and it was deemed advisable to make a commencement at the Farm School without delay. Accordingly rooms were rented for this purpose in Zelienople, and in May, eight of the larger boys from the Home were sent as the first class of the Farm School. Ground was broken for the main building* in the spring of 1854, and the corner-stone was laid on the 4th of July with appropriate ceremonies.
*Since destroyed by fire, and its place supplied by a larger and more elegant structure.
Other buildings were erected, as the increasing needs of the institution demanded, and under careful management the grounds and surroundings came to attain the beautiful aspect they now wear.
From the reports of the institution we selected the following rules for the benefit of such of our readers as may not be familiar with them:
1. Though the institution is under the care of the Evangelical Luthern Church, children are received without reference to the religious faith of their parents. 2. Entire orphans alone are received. 3. The children are to be legally indentured to the institution. 4. The children are to remain until of age. 5. The children are to be carefully instructed in religion. 6. Every child is to be taught a trade. 7. Children above a certain age and those of vicious habits are not to be admitted.
The institution since its inception has been favored by the receipt of legacies and donations from many churches and private individuals. The dark period in its financial condition has passed; its present standing is good, and its future prospects excellent.
Rev. Gottlieb BASSLER, the director in charge, labored assiduously for the welfare of the institution from its founding until his death in 187_. The Farm School is now superintended by Rev. J.A. KRIBBS, who has been director in charge since 1878. Mr. KRIBBS' management has been entirely satisfactory to the friends of the institution. His faithful, conscientious labors in the discharge of the duties of his responsible position have received hearty commendation. Dr. Amos LUSK has been the attendant physician since the school was founded, tendering his services gratuitously during its first years.
In 1861, the institution was incorporated by act of the Legislature, and placed under the immediate supervision and control of the Board of Managers of the "Institution of the Protestant Deaconesses" of Allegheny County.*
*Dr. PASSAVANT was invited to furnish a history of the Farm School for this work; but as he was unable to do so on account of the pressure of other work, the historian has been obliged to glean the facts in this article from the published reports. This we trust will be sufficient apology for any omissions that may be noted.
At first the meetings were held in the town hall, the schoolhouse, the old church in Harmony and elsewhere. The stone church, which this congregation has occupied for over fifty-six years, was erected in 1826. Rev. SCHWEITZERBARTH was very active in [p.212] securing funds for the building, and after the work was under way his parishioners contributed what they could, mostly in labor. It was a formidable job to build such an edifice of stone, at a time when improved methods and machinery had not been introduced. The stones were carried on wheelbarrows up to the masons, a long scaffolding of boards having been laid from the ground to the walls of the building. At first, of course, the scaffold was low; but as the work progressed it was lengthened and elevated until it extended many feet back from the walls.
It is said that the pastor was generally very successful in gathering funds, but his visit to the celebrated philanthropist GIRARD resulted in failure. Mr. SCHWEITZERBARTH explained to the millionaire his project and its needs, and the latter at once wrote a check, and handed it to him. The pastor was disappointed at its small amount, and said in an aggrieved tone, "Mr. GIRARD, I expected more than this from a man of your well-known liberality." "Ah! I see I have made a mistake," remarked Mr. GIRARD; "let me have the check." And taking it from the clergyman's hands, instead of renewing it and making it larger, as Mr. SCHWEITZERBARTH confidently expected he would do, he at once proceeded to tear the paper to pieces.
Rev. SCHWEITZERBARTH was succeeded by Rev. SCHWANGOFSKI, who labored four years. Rev. THEISS, the next pastor, remained nine years, and was succeeded by Rev. J.G. BUTZ, who is still in charge.
This church was formerly one of the largest German congregations in the county; but the withdrawal of many members to form other churches has much reduced its members. The present membership consists of about one hundred families. The congregation is under the Ohio Synod.
The parish school and Sabbath-school were both organized by Mr. SCHWEITZERBARTH, and still continue.
During the period from 1821 to 1882, there have [sic] 2,464 baptisms and 252 burials.
The house is pleasantly situated and well furnished. A large pipe organ of excellent tone has been in use in this church many years. The lots for the building (one acre) and for the graveyard (four acres) were donated by Mr. P.L. PASSAVANT, who was a life-long supporter of the church.
The most prominent members were Henry MUNTZ, C.S. PASSAVANT, E.V. RANDOLPH, Michael LIEBENDARFER, Reuben HEBERLING and John H. ALLISON.
The first officers elected were Henry MUNTZ and Michael LEIBENDARFER, Elders; and C.S. PASSAVANT and Reuben HEBERLING, Deacons.
Rev. Gotlieb BASSLER became pastor of the congregation from its organization, and labored faithfully in this office until April 24, 1864, at which time he resigned on account of ill-health, and the manifold duties imposed on him at the Orphans' Farm School, over which he was appointed Superintendent.
He is yet remembered as a conscientious Christian man, always faithful wherever duty called him. He now lies buried on the Orphans' Farm, his memory revered by all who knew him.
Immediately after the resignation of Rev. BASSLER, a call was extended to the Rev. Jonathan SARVER, a newly ordained minister, who accepted the call and served the congregation until April 1, 1866.
In December, 1866, the Rev. G.W. FREDERICK received and accepted a call, and served the congregation one year.
The Rev. M.L. KUNKLEMAN was next called, and preached until April 1, 1870, at which time he resigned and moved to Illinois.
The congregation was served by supply until July 1, 1871, when the Rev. M.L. KUNKLEMAN again received and accepted a call, and served until November 1, 1877.
The congregation was pastorless until April 1, 1878, when the Rev. J.A. KRIBBS accepted a call, and continued his labors in connection with the Orphans' Farm School as Superintendent until February, 1880, at which time he resigned, and is still laboring successfully in the interest of the orphan cause. He preached as supply until a new pastor could be secured. This supply continued until January 1, 1881, at which time a call was given to the Rev. V.B. CHRISTIE, who is at the present time pastor. The church edifice is built of brick 34x44 feet, and was dedicated to the service of God July 6, 1845. The progress as to membership has been slow, but uniform, commencing with a membership of about twenty and now numbers eighty.
The Sunday school connected with the church was organized when the church was established, and continues to increase, and numbers about one hundred scholars.
George RAPP was fond of reading, and at an early age turned his attention to the study of the Scriptures. He was also a good conversationalist and a student of humanity as well as of books. When about thirty years of age, not finding the religion of the established church satisfactory, he began to address small audiences of his friends at his own house upon religious topics. Though the clergy strenuously opposed and denounced him, the number of his adherents steadily increased, until at the time of his emigration to America they numbered about three hundred families.
RAPP urged upon his followers the necessity of a strict obedience to all the laws, both of church and state. Nevertheless, the clergy excited the civil authorities against him, and at length those who were proven guilty of attending his meetings were either fined or imprisoned. The persecution was even carried to the extent of petitioning the King for a decree to banish RAPP and his followers. The King inquired for the grounds of complaint, and on learning that the offenders were orderly citizens and paid their taxes regularly, tore the petition in pieces, saying: "Let them believe what they please." But their opponents continued to molest them, until at length RAPP and his people felt that it would be best for them to leave their native land, and, like the New England Pilgrims, find on a foreign shore "freedom to worship God" as their consciences dictated.
Accordingly in 1803, at the request of his desciples, RAPP visited America, accompanied by his son, John, and two or three others, leaving the interests of his yet unorganized society in the care of his adopted son, Frederick. He visited portions of Maryland and Pennsylvania, and went as far west as the Tuscarawas Valley, in Ohio. The latter place seemed too remote from civilization, and RAPP returned to Pennsylvania and found in the beautiful valley of the Connoquenessing suitable lands on which to found his colony. He purchased of Dr. Detmar BASSE, who was then living in this valley, about five thousand acres of unimproved land. His people were notified of the purchase, and early in the spring of 1804, three hundred of them sailed from Amsterdam, and on July 4, landed at Baltimore. Some six weeks later, accompanied by Frederick RAPP, a like number arrived in Philadelphia, having taken passage on another ship. A third ship brought the remainder of his followers. Most of the last named were prevailed upon to make a settlement in Lycoming County, Penn., under the management of Mr. HALLER, who had accompanied RAPP to this country.
RAPP met the first party upon their arrival in Baltimore, saw them located for the winter in various parts of the country, and with a chosen party of workmen, returned to his lands to prepare homes for them. The winter was one of toil and hardship, but the following February (1805) the homes were ready. Before the emigrants left Germany, they had embraced some peculiar views, which, as they believed, were taught in the New Testament. They generally believed that the millennium was near at hand. "Like the primitive Christians, they were disposed to have all things in common, and some of them, at least, [p. 214] came to this country with the expectation of forming a community on this principle." But no such disposal of property had yet been made. Each family had paid its own expenses from the time they left their native land until Harmony was reached.
On the 15th of February, 1805, George RAPP and his associates with as many of their scattered bretheren as could then be gathered together, proceeded to organize the Harmony Society. Those who had wealth and those who had little alike cheerfully added their possessions to the common fund. The houses were built as nearly alike as possible. A uniform style of dress was adopted; in short, they strove to maintain the principle of equality in everything.
Their town, very appropriately, was named Harmony. In the spring about fifty additional families who had passed the winter in the East and elsewhere, arrived and joined the community. Several who came to America with them chose not to adopt the community principle, and accordingly made their homes wherever they wished, and were soon merged in the great American population.
About ten families, including some of the wealthiest of RAPP's followers, became dissatisfied with the socialistic views of the majority of their brethern, and withdrew themselves with their funds. This added to the trials which already beset the community. But, despite shese drawbacks, the society, with a membership of about one hundred and twenty-five families, went forward with its work, under the wise and encouraging leadership of Father RAPP.
The association having been organized and the few thousands of which its funds consisted having been devoted to payment for the lands and for necessary articles, the members of the society engaged in the work of clearing land, cultivating the soil, erecting buildings and following trades. The amount of work they accomplished is surprising. During the first year, they cleared 150 acres, erected forty or fifty log cabins, built a house of worship, a grist-mill, shops, a large barn, etc. The following year, 450 acres were added to their clearing, a vinyard of four acres was planted, and a distillery, tannery, saw mill and brick storehouse erected. Their grain crop was sufficient for their wants, and they had 600 bushels to sell. Three thousand gallons of whisky is likewise reckoned among their products for this year.
Whisky and wine making, whether it be consistent with the character of a religious body or not, was a species of work in which the Harmonists excelled, and from the manufacture of these articles they derived large profits. During the year 1809, they raised 6,000 bushels of corn, 4,500 of wheat, the same quantity of rye, 5,000 bushels of oats, 10,000 of potatoes, 4,000 pounds of flax and hemp, and made fifty gallons of sweet oil from the poppy. During this year, they did spinning and wove cloth by hand. In 1810, they erected a woolen factory, where broadcloth was made from the wool of the merino sheep. These sheep were kept in large numbers, and were a source of great profit to the society.
At this date, five years from the organization of the society, the Harmonists numbered 140 families, or between seven hundred and eight hundred persons. All kinds of trades were represented among them; they had 2,000 acres of land under cultivation, and not only supplied their own community with the necessaries of life, but received a large amount of work, such as milling, blacksmithing, etc., from the surrounding settlements, besides having a constantly increasing amount of produce to sell.
The following testimony of a writer who visited Harmony about this time will be of interest. Though he pictured everything with a roseate hue, the substantial truthfulness of his statements will not be questioned:
"We are struck with surprise and admiration at the astonishing progress in improvements and the establishment of manufactories which the little republic has made in the period of five years. They have, indeed, made the 'wilderness to blossom as the rose.' They have done more essential good for this country in the short period of five years than the same number of families scattered about the country have done in fifty. And this arises from their unity and brotherly love, added to their uniform and perservering industry. They know no mercenary view, no self-interests, except that which adds to the interest and happiness of the whole community. All are equally industrious, for an idler has no companion. If any should fall into the bad practices of idleness and intoxication, he is kindly admonished by the head of the family, backed by the countenance and wishes of the rest; but if he is found incorrigible, he is expelled from the society, so that there is no opening for the practice of vice and immorality. All attend the place of worship twice on each Sabbath, and give serious audience to the words of their venerable father and preacher, George RAPP, who from his manner appears devoted both to the spiritual and temporal interests of his flock. They have also sermon twice every week. The children are kept in school from six to fourteen, and then are put to such trades as they may choose. Sometimes nearly the whole force of the society, male and female, are put to one object, such as pulling flax, reaping, hoeing corn, etc., so that the labor of a 100-acre field is accomplished in a day or two. In fact, all seems to go like clock-work, and all seem contented and happy."
[p.215] The society, four years after the above glowing account was written, determined to change their location. Among their reasons for this change was the disadvantage they experienced from being twelve miles from navigation; besides the grape and other fruits, to whose cultivation they wished to give special attention, did not flourish here. Accordingly, in 1814, having purchased a large tract of land in Posey County, Ind., in the Wabash Valley, they determined to remove thither. A part left in the summer of 1814, and the remainder followed in the following spring. They had disposed of their lands in Butler County, together with all of their factories, mills and other buildings at a great sacrifice, receiving for the whole at the convenience of the purchaser the sum of $100,000.
The town as left by them in 1815, is described by old residents as consisting of fully as many houses then as at present; but the houses of round logs, with thatched roofs of straw have given way to modern structures. The four large barns which stood at the west end of the town have disappeared, as has also the old orchard near their site. But the brick buildings of the Harmonists are mainly standing in a good state of preservation. Before speaking of the subsequent history of the society, something more should be said of Father RAPP.
He was the head of the society, and both in spiritual and temporal affairs, his word was law. He was the prophet, priest and king. All rules and regulations were dictated by him; he was the arbiter of all questions that arose, and from his decision there was no appeal. He, however, did not exercise his power tyrannically, but with a truly paternal spirit, with a view only for the welfare of his people. He was loved and reverenced, and his authority was never questioned. He had a reputation for sternness and harsh severity among outsiders, and perhaps did not hesitate in his utterances "to fulminate spiritual thunders against bold transgressors." But he was fatherly toward his followers, sympathized with them in their trials, smoothed their perplexities and patiently instructed them in religion. The reverence of his people toward him grew as the years advanced. Through all the vicissitudes of the society he continued his administration, and was in such good physical and mental condition, even up to his ninetieth year, that he was able to preach two sermons every Sabbath, and one on Wednesday evening, besides attending five class meetings during the week. Some of his people, witnessing his vigor and energy in old age, were weak enough to believe that Father RAPP would never die, or at least that he would abide until the Lord's coming. He died on the 7th of August, 1847, being almost ninety years of age.
"He was a remarkable man and had performed a remarkable work. Had he been a propagandist and lived in a different age and country, he might have been known as the founder of a new sect or nation; but he had no other thought than the welfare of the small body of people who had followed him from Germany, for the purpose of serving God in their own way. He left his impress upon the society which still exists much as he left it, only with diminished numbers."
Frederick RAPP, the adopted son of Father RAPP, was likewise a man of able talent. His proper name was Frederick REICHERT; he was born in 1775, and died in 1834. By trade he was a stone-cutter and architect. He became one of the most devoted of RAPP's adherents, and, as he possessed great executive abilities, he became at the organization of the society its associate business manager. Father RAPP's time being fully taken up with the home management to Frederick was intrusted all business negotiations with those not members of his society, as well as the making of business trips to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and elsewhere when necessary. He was a man of culture, of literary tastes and a good musician. Some of the hymns of the society were composed by him. In the case of Father RAPP's illness or absence, he was accustomed to officiate as preacher.
The members of the Harmony Community were not mere boors, nor was their life a ceaseless round of toil. They had their social pleasures and amusements, and doubtless enjoyed life fully as much as is usual with any thrifty and industrious people. They [p.216] were fond of music, and many were skilled in instrumental practice. Their religious exercises were always accompanied by the singing of the whole congregation, led by a skillful choir. The whole community was divided into classes--the aged of both sexes, the young men and young women, and the youth, each separately forming a class, which met once a week for social intercourse and mutual improvement. Each member of these classes regarded the other members as brothers and sisters, and in general fraternal relations prevailed. Father RAPP met with the classes as often as possible to give instruction and counsel. He and his family fared no better than the rest in the matter of dress or style of living, except that, as became his position, he lived in a better house, that guests and friends might be there entertained. He did not, as has been charged, accumulate wealth of his own; all property belonged to the society.
Each branch of industry had a foreman, who was responsible for the proper management of his department. Frederick RAPP continued as the society's business agent until his death, after which George RAPP was formally designated to this office, and appointed as sub-agents R.L. BAKER and J. HENRICI.
The Millennarian belief of the Harmonists has already been alluded to. In 1807, under the influence of a religious revival, they were led to abjure matrimony as a hindrance to holiness such as they desired to attain.
Father RAPP encouraged this movement but did not, as is alleged, compel his people to make this sacrifice. The speedy coming of the Lord was looked for, and celibacy was regarded as a step toward that higher spiritual life which they awaited. Henceforth, though families continued to dwell together as before, "They that had wives were as though they had none." Another hitherto common indulgence--the use of tobacco, was likewise renounced.
These people believed they were obeying Scriptural injunctions in their course of rigid self-denial for conscience' sake. There were occasional instances of back-sliding, and some withdrawals from the society on account of these peculiar practices; but by the great majority a faithful and rigid adherence to the principles adopted was strictly observed.
A totally false report to the effect that RAPP killed his son John because he refused to be separated from his wife was circulated many years ago by some enemy of the society. This base slander had no foundation in fact. John RAPP died from natural causes, five years after the community adopted celibacy. His death resulted from consumption, brought on by injuries sustained by him in 1810, while lifting grain in the storehouse.
We have space to make only a brief mention of some of the peculiar religious views of the Harmonists. They regard Adam as having been created "in the image of God," in a literal sense; that he was like God both in form and in moral characteristics; that he was a dual being having within himself both the sexual elements. They, in support of this, cite Genesis i,26,27: "And God said let us make man in our own image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion," etc. And "so God created man in his own image; in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." The separation of Eve from Adam "they regard as a consequence of the incipient fall of Adam, which took place at the time when the various animals were caused to pass before him, and when, beholding them all in pairs, he conceived a desire for a similar separation and companionship in his own case, thus becoming discontented with the condition in which God had placed him and abusing his freedom of will by yielding to his lower animal nature." The forbidden fruit is to them a real object which possessed some poisonous quality, and introduced into the human frame the germs of disease and death as well as an unholy sexual passion. This is the somewhat mystical basis upon which their ideas in regard to celibacy are framed. The following brief statement of their religious views on certain points was made by one of their leaders in 1861:
"We understand from the book of Genesis, i,26, that man was created in the image of God to have dominion over all the earth, etc.; also, that our first parents by disobedience committed a transgression against the command of God, and fell from that original elevation, and became corrupt and unfit to possess the garden of Eden, which was intended for their abode. God passed sentence, and expelled them from Eden into this world which we now inhabit. In this corrupt state, man has invented a vast deal of good, which is evidence of his original greatness; he has also revealed and brought into action a vast deal of evil. Those two facts cannot be denied. They constitute two central points, which are represented by the word of God, Jesus Christ on one side, and the angel of darkness on the other. The latter was the instigator and beginning of all evil, but shall have his head bruised by the woman's seed (Genesis, iii,15). Jesus Christ is the woman's seed who has bruised that head, and will continue to bruise it by his followers in time and eternity until the influence of evil is entirely cut off and subdued through Jesus Christ and his people, and ultimately God be God in all (Cor.,xv,27,28). Religion, therefore, is the medium to raise fallen man up to his former dignity. The doctrine of Christ and His apostles is the true religion. If this is rightly understood, believed and [p.217] put into practice in spirit and in truth by thoughts, words and acts, it will work a full regeneration, and produce a new man, or the image of God, through Jesus Christ, to love God above all and man as ourselves. In this lies the fulfillment of law and gospel."
To this may be added the following statement of RAPP's doctrine, made by one not a Harmonist, yet admitted to be correct:
"Mr. RAPP taught, first, a doctrine of future rewards and punishments; second, did not teach the doctrine of everlasting punishment; third, taught that the end of the world was nigh--it might be tomorrow--but varied the time, extending it sometimes to 1837; fourth, taught that there must not be carnal intercourse between man and woman, married or unmarried; fifth, that such only as refrained from such intercourse would inherit the brightest places or most perfect happiness in the other world.
HIER ruhen 100 Mitglieder der Harmonie Gesellschaft, gestorben von 1805 bis 1815.And over the two smaller arches above the gate the following:
Ich weiss dass mein Erlöser lebt, und er wird mich hernach aus der Erde auferwecken. Hioh. Job 19,25.
Selig ist der und heilig wer Theil hat an der ersten Auferstehung: Über solche hat der andre Tod keine Macht; sondern sie werden Priester Gottes und Christi seyn, und mit ihm regieren tausend Jahr. Jesus. Rev. 20,6.Sey getreu bis an den Tod, so will
ich dir die Krone des Lebens geben.
Jesus. Rev. 2,10.
Ich bin die Auferstehung und das Leben. Wer an mich glaubt, der wird leben, ob er gleich stürbe. Jesus. John 11,25.
Es wird die Posaune schallen und die todten werden auferstehen unverweslich und wir werden verwandelt werden. Paulus. 1st Cor. 15,52.
Here rests 100 members of the Harmony Society, who died between 1805 and 1815.And over the two smaller arches above the gate the following:
I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will afterwards resurrect me from the ground. Job. Job 19:25
Blessed is he, and holy, who has a share in the first resurrection: Over such the other death has no power;
and they will be priests of God and of Christ and reign with him for a thousand years. Jesus. Rev. 20:6
Be true even until death, for I want to give you
the crown of life. Jesus. Rev. 2:10
I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes on me will live, even if he should die. Jesus. John 11:25
The horn will sound and the dead will rise incorruptible and we will be changed. Paul. 1st Cor. 15:52
End of Translation]The cemetery is small--178x137 feet. The only gravestone within it is set up against the side of the wall where it is scarcely likely to attract attention. The inscription upon it is now nearly illegible; but from it we learn that it was erected to the memory of John RAPP, who died in 1812. The stone was fashioned by some of the community, without the knowledge of Father RAPP, and when he learned that it had been made, he forbade having it set up. Until the cemetery was renovated, it was left lying face downward upon John RAPP's grave.
On the hill east of the town and north of the creek, the terraces of the old vineyard are pointed out, while on the crest of the same hill is the rock on which Father RAPP's observatory stood. Here he used to sit hour after hour enjoying an extended view up and down the valley and watching the industry carried on by the busy hands of his followers. The changes wrought since his day have been great. Now the railroad passes near his former seat; mills and manufactories run by steam appear in the village; the round log cabins with thatched roofs of straw, are all gone, and in their place stand substantial and comfortable houses. A free, independent people inhabit the town where his blind, deluded followers once lived and toiled.
Harmony Borough was incorporated in 1838. William KECK was the first Burgess.
The mill near Eidenau Station on the Connoquenessing, a mile above Harmony, was built by the RAPP Society. It is still in operation and is known as the "Big Mill." Abraham ZIEGLER sold this mill to his brother John; afterward it returned to Abraham; his son Jacob owned it later, and erected a distillery there.
Not far from the big mill the Harmony Society had an oil mill and a fulling mill on the Little Connoquenessing, with a distillery near it.
In 1832, there was a great flood, generally described as the "Pumpkin Flood." All the creeks were overflowed, great damage to crops ensued and thousands of pumpkins floated about the mills and the town.
A large granary, built by the Harmonists, northwest of the public square, was converted into a steam flouring mill by Aaron SCHONTZ and David ZIEGLER, about the year 1837. This was the first steam-mill in the place. In 1852, the building was destroyed by fire, along with several other buildings near it. Among the houses burned was George RAPP's residence on the northwest corner of the public square. Soon after, SCHONTZ started the mill now in operation in a building which had been one of the barns of the RAPP Community. John PEARCE next owned this mill; then A.A. MILLER. In 1872, David ZIEGLER purchased the property. The mill was enlarged and improved in 1880, a new engine put in and machinery of the most approved pattern. The mill now contains five run of buhrs. The "new-process" arrangement is used throughout. Its capacity is about five barrels per hour.
William HUNTZBERGER, who died in 1882 at the age of ninety-two, was an early teacher, and taught in the UMPSTADT house. James MAHARD and his son Thomas also taught school. Thomas was a fine scholar, and afterward became a minister. Both German and English were usually taught until the free schools were established.
The school has been well patronized, and continues in successful operation: The attendance generally averages about fifty pupils per term.
The lodge had ten charter members. At one time, it had 122 members. Now there are but eleven. A number have withdrawn to join other lodges.
The preachers have since been Abraham TINSMAN, Jacob KULP, Joseph ZIEGLER and Henry MOYER. Mr. Joseph ZIEGLER, the present preacher, ahs preached thirty-two years, and still continues his labors. The church now has about twenty-five members.
In 1827, Rev. Daniel RAUHANSER took charge; he remained six years. Rev. MINICK served a part of the year 1834. In 1835, Rev. DAUBERT became pastor for two years. In 1837, Rev. E.F. WINTER took charge. In 1839, Rev. Jacob F. DIEFENBACHER became pastor. He died after two years and ten months' successful ministration. Rev. E.F. WINTER was next called to the pastorate. He resigned in 1845, and the same year Rev. Samuel MILLER became pastor for three years. The congregation was then supplied for one year by Rev. L.D. LEBERMAN, after which Rev. S. Miller again became pastor for three years. His brother, Rev. Joseph MILLER, succeeded him, and remained one year and two months, being succeeded by Rev. H.F. Hartman for three years. The next pastors were Rev. Lucien CORT, one year; Rev. F.W. DECHANT, six and one-half years, and Rev. W.M. LANDIS, until October, 1870, when the present pastor, Rev. F.A. EDMONDS, became the pastor, and has since labored very successfully.
The congregation now numbers about three hundred and fifteen communicants. The Sabbath School has 280 scholars, teachers and officers.
This church was organized as German. The services are now usually conducted in English.
The house of worship was formerly the meeting place of the Harmony Society and was built in 1809.
The town clock in the belfry is a curious piece of mechanism with stone weights. It was built entirely by hand. The church was purchased from Abraham ZIEGLER in 1826, for $300. It has been remodeled and repaired at different times, and is a very comfortable and pleasant meeting-house.
In 1854, a Presbyterian Church was regularly organized by Rev. James HENDERSON, with about forty members. A house of worship which cost, including the lot, about $1,500, was erected the same year. It is of brick, substantial and convenient. Ferris ARMOR was the first Elder, there being but one for several years. The church has a small membership, but its progress is uninjured by dissentions. The pastors have been Revs. HENDERSON, LEEK and JOHNSON. Supplies, Revs. WEBBER and CHRISTY. Rev. Samuel JOHNSON labored here faithfully for ten years, concluding in 1882.
The capital stock of the association is $4,000, which is held principally by residents of this vicinity. The grounds consist of twenty acres, and are leased by the society. The buildings and improvements have cost about $5,000. Successful exhibitions have been held annually, the receipts of which have averaged not far from $15,000 per annum.
The present membership is about seventy.
Abraham ZIEGLER was a native of Lehigh County. He bought the Harmony property in 1814, and in 1815 moved to it with his family. He died in 1836, aged sixty-three years. His children by two marriages were Abraham, Andrew, Jacob, Samuel, Jonas, David, Joseph, John, Catharine (NOHL), Betsey (SCHONTZ), Barbara (HERR) and Nancy (ZIEGLER). Of these, two sons and two daughters are living: David, Harmony; Joseph, Zelienople; Barbara, Cleveland, Ohio, and Nancy, Harmony.
Samuel BEAM was among the first who settled in Harmony after the Harmonists left. He was a native of Washington County. In 1815, he moved from the Old Furnace, Beaver County, to Harmony, and followed his trade of blacksmithing. He died aged about eighty years. Of his children, Abraham died in 1881; George resides in Harmony; Sarah (REED) is deceased; Catharine (WELSH) is living; Polly (BOLTON) is dead; Hettie (DICKEY) is living; Cynthia (GRAHAM), dead; and Nancy, living.
Jacob COVERT moved from Northumberland County to Harmony in 1824. He was a potter and followed his trade here for some years. He served as Justice of the Peace twenty years. He served as Justice of the Peace twenty years. His death occurred in 1852. His son, Squire Francis COVERT, is still a resident of this place.
The old Harmony tavern was kept from 1815 by Jacob KELKER for some years. A little later, Henry SHEPARD, the hatter, opened a tavern in another house. James MAHARD was an early comer. He built the "Welcome Inn" in 1825, which was kept for many years by the BEAMs.
The first hotel was built by the Harmonists in 1806. It was a frame building, and stood on the site of the present hotel. Samuel BEAM, in 1835, purchased it from Mr. ZIEGLER on the following terms: 75 cents per day for ten years. Mr. BEAM's heirs sold the property, and the house was torn down. The present hotel was built by Jacob SCHOENE in 1862. The third story has since been added. The house is of brick, and is a large structure. Its proprietors are now BEAM & DINDINGER, who began business in 1881.
John FLEMING kept the first store in Harmony after ZIEGLER came. He was a shrewd Irishman of considerable business ability, and much of Mr. ZIEGLER's business was confided to his management. He taught school in Harmony before entering upon his mercantile life. John and Henry SCHWARZ had a store quite early. Mr. Isaac LATCHAW, who is still a resident of the place, was one of the early merchants.
Among the early settlers of the town was ___ LADENSCHLAGER, formerly a member of RAPP's society; Baltzer GULL, the butcher; John ROTH, a blacksmith; Conrad KREIDLER, carpenter; Joseph TINSMAN, Francis BASSLER, Philip NOSS and Anthony HERR, coopers; Shelly and John TRINNELS, a teamster, who was very lively and "full of business."
Jacob GROSS, a weaver, was an early settler, and a peculiar character.
From the beginning, i.e., from 1815, until the Germans began to buy, settle up and develop the country, the times were very hard. Money was scarce,[p.222] produce was low, and the necessaries of life high in comparison. The country had just passed through the war of 1812, and the effects of that war were felt by all classes. Especially severe were its results upon the poor, and the people of Harmony then belonged to that class.
The Economites had a tannery on the north side of the creek. Andrew ZIEGLER operated a tannery in Harmony many years.
The machine shop of Elias ZIEGLER was built and put in operation in 1866 by LATCHAW & ZIEGLER. Mr. LATCHAW sold out his interest to Mr. ZIEGLER, who has since managed the business. He erected a new building for a shop in 1879. He manufactures threshing machines and other implements, and does a large amount of repairing of all kinds.
The carriage factory of G. LANGBEIN & Son was started in 1878, and has since been in successful operation.
The distillery built by the Economites was operated by various parties until about five years ago. High water in 1861 flooded the streets, and barrels of whisky from the storehouse floated about.
Harmony has a population of about five hundred. A greater variety of occupations are represented than is usual in small places. For instance, we find here four general stores, one drug store, two groceries, one shoe store, one tinner's shop, one millinery shop, one saddle and harness shop, one tailor shop, one machine shop, one foundry, three blacksmith shops, one carriage factory, one hotel, one wholesale liquor store, one barber shop, five shoe-maker shops, one furniture and undertaking establishment, one marble cutter, one gunsmith, one bakery, two butcher shops, one livery stable, one job printing office, one lumber yard, one woolen factory, one steam flouring mill, a large ice house, a National bank and a savings bank.
G.D. SWAIN has been a merchant in Harmony since 1871. The building occupied by him was erected by the Harmonists in 1811, but was remodeled in 1875. To illustrate the changes constantly making in business circles, it may be well to give the names of the firm with which Mr. SWAIN has been connected: PEFFER & SWAIN, SWAIN & MOYER, SWAIN & ENSLEN, SWAIN & HOUSHOLDER and now SWAIN & BENTLE.
A.W. ZIEGLER, dealer in drugs and medicines, began business in 1875, succeeding A. Pearce.
ENSLEN & HAINE, dealers in general merchandise of all kinds, opened their store in 1881.
A.M. WISE, the proprietor of the livery stable, commenced business in 1876.
A lumber yard was started in 1879, by W.J.T. SAINT. Shortly after, MURPHY, MCKEAN & Co. started in the business. The two yards were combined after a short time, and the business was run by Mr. SAINT, from whom it was purchased in 1881 by H.W. WISE, J.L.LYTLE and G.F. HAINE, who are now carrying a large stock and doing a prosperous business under the firm name WISE, LYTLE & HAINE.
The first job printing office in Harmony was established in February, 1881, by HAINE & RIGHTER.
The foundry of H. WICKBERGER was purchased from Isaac LATCHAW in 1878.
The bank continued under these officers until 1877, when H. GOEHRING became President, and George BEAM Treasurer. The Trustees then were John PEARCE, Henry GOEHRING, George BEAM, Jacob SLEPPY, John ENSLEN, David ZIEGLER, E.F. WINTER and J.C. SCOTT.
William WILSON is now President (1882), and George BEAM Treasurer. John PEARCE, E.F. WINTER and H. GOEHRING have withdrawn from the Board of Trustees, and their places are filled by Alexander STEWART, Ira STAUFFER and Abraham STAUFFER. This bank has a special charter allowing it to receive 10 per cent interest.
The village is pleasantly situated in a valley surrounded by the hills which rise abruptly on either side of the Breakneck Creek, a small but sometimes turbulent streamlet. Tradition has it that the site of Evansburg was once occupied by an Indian village, but most probably it was but a temporary encampment, with hastily constructed wigwams of poles and bark, such as the Indians were accustomed to build wherever they resided for a short time. The aborigines gave to the stream the name of Big Beaver Run, but later it received its present appellation from the fact that a horse, while clambering over the [p.223] stony path which lead along the creek, fell and broke its neck. This old path has a history if it could only be traced. It was a well-known and frequently traversed route of Indian travel leading from Fort Duquesne to the French fort, where Franklin now is. It followed the Breakneck for some distance, crossing it near Evansburg, then going northward, nearly following the line between Jackson and Forward Townships. Another Indian trail from Logstown, to an Indian settlement on the Ohio River near the site of the town of Economy, intersected the Franklin path in this county. The Logstown train also passed through Jackson Township, and the early settlers of Zelienople remember it well as it passed through that town. WASHINGTON traversed both these routes in 1753, and somewhere in this county narrowly escaped being shot by an Indian.
Along the Breakneck, in early times, grew hazel bushes, wild plum trees, "fox-grapes' and other wild fruits. The plums were much sought after by the boys of those days. Their flavor is said to have been delicious.
In the year 1800, Robert BOGGS, familiarly known as Squire BOGGS, moved from Allegheny County and settled on the Breakneck bottom lands, taking up a farm of about four hundred and seventy-five acres. The land had previously been taken up and a small improvement made. BOGGS gave the settler a mare for his right to the tract, and at once settled upon it. He was a millwright and followed his trade besides farming. Soon after coming here, he erected a log mill on the site of the present mill, which continued in operation until torn away to make room for a better structure in 1835. A little later, he erected a saw-mill--not a very elaborate affair, but a useful one nevertheless. The Pittsburgh & Franklin Military road of the war of 1812 passed through the BOGGS farm. For a number of years Squire BOGGS kept tavern, supplying entertainment to travelers upon this route. He died in 1855 at the age of seventy-three. He raised nine children by his first marriage, and four by his second. His son, Thomas W. BOGGS, Esq., was born near the spot where he now lives.
In 1832, the village of Evansburg was laid out by William PURVIANCE, Surveyor. Thomas B. EVANS, the founder of the place, bought 200 acres of the BOGGS farm, and upon this the town was platted. He was a man of a very enterprising spirit, but of limited education, and, through a lack of keenness, was frequently unfortunate in his enterprises.
The first sale of lots took place in November, 1832. EVANS was a millwright and followed his trade, keeping a number of apprentices and workmen about him. In 1835, he erected the grist-mill now owned by James SUTTON. The mill was at first run by water, but of late years only steam-power has been used.
Excepting the BOGGS' residence, EVANS' was the first house in the village. His house, a log building, was afterward replaced by a frame structure. In 1835, he erected the brick house now owned by Peter PFEIFER. This was the first brick building, and, for a long time, the best house in town.
Most of Evansburg has grown up during the last fifteen years. The arrival of the railroad in 1878 gave a fresh impetus to its prosperity.
Among the first who located in the village was Ray BROWN, who kept a small grocery. A man named KING started a store soon after. Two or three years after the founding of the village, John RAY moved from Pittsburgh, and located on the lot where IFFT's store now is. He kept a store and tavern, which was a general loafing place for the entire neighborhood. RAY was a man of enterprise, and was a leading spirit among the villagers. Joseph MCILVAINE was among the early merchants. He was a live business man and had a good trade. The first blacksmith was Robert BOGGS, and the first shoe-maker, Samuel BISHOP.
About 1845, a foundry was established by John KANE. He carried on the business for a time on a small scale, then sold to James and Joseph HARBAUGH and others, who conducted a more extensive business, making stoves and various kinds of castings. The HARBAUGHs built and ran a hotel where the Miller House now stands.
The enterprising firm of George IFFT & Sons commenced business as merchants in 1867, and have been longer in business without any change in proprietors than any other firm in the place.
J.N. MILLER came to Evansburg in 1853, and worked at shoe-making. In 1870, he began keeping hotel, and, in 1876, erected the Miller House, one of the best hotels in Butler County. The house is a large brick building, two stories high, with a French roof, having a frontage of fifty feet, and extending sixty-five feet to the rear. The house is well furnished throughout, and is an ornament to the town. Mr. MILLER came to this country from the province of [p.224] Alsace, Germany. He served seven years in the marine corps of the French Army, and, during that time, visited Mexico, California, the West Indies, Brazil, Spain, Australia and other parts of the world. By economy and close attention to business since he came to this country, Mr. MILLER has become a successful and prosperous business man. (See engraving of the Miller House, elsewhere given.)
Henry STOKEY, now proprietor of the Eagle Hotel, Zelienople, kept hotel in Evansburg five years, commencing in 1864. His son, H.W. STOKEY, began the same business in 1881, opening to the public the Central House, formerly kept by William DUNCAN.
Evansburg District School is now in two grades, and under good management. A two-story school building was erected in 1869 at a cost of $1,500, including furniture.
Breakneck Post Office (Evansburg's postal cognomen) was established very soon after the town was laid out. The mail was at first obtained once a week from Zelienople, by William LIKEN, mail-carrier.
Banking was begun in this place in 1878 by the firm of J. DAMBACH & Son. In 1879, the lumber business was commenced by G.G. LOTZ, who, in 1881, associated with him Edward DAMBACH as partner. A saw mill and planing mill have been erected, and the firm are now conducting a thriving business.
Evansburg U.P. Church.--This church was organized by Rev. Isaiah NIBLOCK as an Associate Reformed Church about the year 1837, and so called until the consummation of the union of the various churches of the Presbyterian creeds. In 1838, a lot was purchased, and soon after a small brick house was erected. It was burned in 1854, and in 1854-55 the present house of worship was built, also of brick.
This church was formed principally by members from the White Oaks Springs Church, and among them were William MARTIN, Thomas, James and George WILSON, Mrs. DONALDSON, Thomas DONALDSON, Alexander and James RAMSEY, William CASHDOLLAR, Benjamin, Joseph and John JOHNSON and Joshua DAVIDSON. Most of the above mentioned belonged to the church, together with their wives and families. The first regular preacher was Rev. William P. BRADEN, who preached eight years or more, and was succeeded by Thomas DRENNAN, who was pastor when the present meeting-house was erected. Next suceeded several stated supplies and the following pastors: Revs. William H. JAMISON, John F. MARTIN, J.S. BRANDON and J.M. DWIGHT, now in charge. The present membership is about one hundred and thirty-seven.
The first Elders of this church were Thomas WILSON, James RAMSEY and John JOHNSON. Thomas DONALDSON has been an Elder for over thirty years.
Evansburg German Reformed and German Lutheran Churches.--The first organization of this church took place in 1849, when an organization was effected bearing the name of the "Evansburg Lutheran and Reformed Church," under Rev. Herman MUNTZ, of the Luthern denomination. A small frame building was erected the same year and the joint congregations continued to meet together until 1853, when, on the 2d of August, Rev. Herman MUNTZ organized "St. Peter's German Lutheran Church," and the Reformed Church continued as a distinct organization. At the time of this division, each congregation numbered fifteen families. The Lutherans sold their part of the church property to the Reformed congregation, and, in 1869, erected the church building which they now occupy, at a cost of $3,000. The house is 34x48 feet with a basement for school purposes.
At present the Luthern membership consists [p.225] sixty-two families. That of the Reformed church is about the same. The pastors of the Lutherans have been Revs. Herman MUNTZ, C.F.W. BRECHT, J. WILHELM, E. MAHLBERG, G.E. SYLLA, W.L. BUSH and the present pastor, W.H. KROPP.
We have not a complete list of the pastors of the Reformed Church. Rev. WALTBERGER and Rev. E.F. WINTER officiated here before the present pastor, Rev. Caspar SCHIEL, took charge.
Dr. E.V. BROOKS, Rev. W.H.H. MCKINNEY, H.C. BOGGS, Edward DAMBACH, William RAMSEY, Joseph ASH, Robert ASH, Christ. WALTER, John STAAF, Jacob MATHAY, Jacob HEAYL, Henry WISE, John W. DOMBART, Joseph STIVER. The following were the first officers elected: Dr. F.V. BROOKS, Master; Rev. W.H.H. MCKINNEY, Past Master; H.C. BOGGS, Foreman; Edward DAMBACH, Secretary; Joseph ASH, Treasurer; Robert ASH, Financier.
The name PASSAVANT is of French origin, descended from the French Huguenots. Philip Louis PASSAVANT was born in Frankfort, Germany, in 1777, and died in Zelienople, Penn., April 15, 1853. He married Zelie BASSE in 1807. She was born 1786, and died December 29, 1871.
Mr. PASSAVANT acted as agent in disposing of the lands of the BASSE property, and himself bought the tract on which the town of Zelienople stands. He was the first merchant in the place. Bringing a quantity of goods with him from Germany in 1807, he at once commenced business. In 1810, he erected the building, an engraving of which appears on another page. To this store people resorted from all the surrounding country, and Zelienople thus became an important trading point at an early day. Mr. PASSAVANT continued in the mercantile business until 1848, when he sold out to his son, C.S. PASSAVANT, who has now been in business very much longer than any other merchant in the place.
P.L. and Zelie PASSAVANT were the parents of five children--Emma, now the wife of Rev. C.S. JENNINGS, Allegheny County; Philip Detmar (deceased); Charles Sidney, Zelienople; Virginia (deceased); and Rev. William A. PASSAVANT, D.D., a well-known Lutheran clergyman of Pittsburgh.
C.S. PASSAVANT is a well-known and prominent citizen of the place of his nativity, Zelienople. His wife is Jane, daughter of Edward V. and Catharine (BUHL) RANDOLPH, of Zelienople. Mr. and Mrs. PASSAVANT have two children--Charles S., Jr., and Emma V.
In 1811, he was apprenticed to a saddler in Zelienople, and it was here that he developed a thirst for knowledge, and attended night school and pursued his studies privately until his fund of information was largely extended. In 1815, he established himself in the business he had learned in Harmony. But youth and inexperience was no match for older tradesmen, and he soon discontinued business, and became a wanderer, visiting Ohio and Indiana on foot. He returned home, but in 1819 his roving propensities again gained the ascendency, and he went farther east, finally locating in New York City, but left there in February, 1820, because of the failure of his employer, and walking to Philadelphia and getting no employment, he was obliged to sell his coat to pay expenses. In April, 1820, he returned to Zelienople, established himself in business, and assisted this same year in organizing St. Paul's Church. In 1825, was elected to the church council, and superintended the erection of the stone church. Being a man of deep piety, he has done much--contributing largely of time and money--to the support of the Gospel, and has traveled hundreds of miles on foot to assist along [p.226] the good work, having done his full share during the journey of life, now most terminated. He has always observed the golden rule. With his brother Gottlob he continued in business for ten years from 1829. He also served as Postmaster for four years from 1841, when he resigned.
May 31, 1853, he was married to Mrs. Catharine DIEFFENBACHER, widow of Rev. Jacob F., who was once pastor of the Reformed Church in Harmony, where he died in 1842. Her maiden name was HOTTEL, and she was born in Woodstock, Va., June 6, 1815. By her first husband she bore four sons--Dioduras S., Eusebius H., Cyrus R. and Jacob F., the first three being ministers of the Gospel. Mr. and Mrs. MUNTZ are the parents of one daughter named Zelie. Mrs. MUNTZ is an estimable lady, and has well fulfilled her mission in life.
He had a family of nine boys, some of whom enlisted and held commissions during the war of the rebellion.
F.A. EDMONDS, who was born in 1832, was educated at Hedelberg College, in Ohio, which is under the auspices of the Reformed Church, receiving the title of A.M. He also graduated from the theological department in 1859, and was ordained this same year, and commenced the services of the ministry in Shelby, Ohio, acting as a supply for nine months, and then took charge of the Reformed Church in Berlin, Somerset County, where he labored very acceptably and successfully for five years. His next field of labor was in Foreston, Ill., where he remained for seven years, preaching with marked success.
In 1870, he assumed the pastorate of the Reformed Church of Harmony, enthused new life and activity into the membership, and by indefatigable labor, both in and out of season, was enabled to establish a new era of prosperity; so much so that the membership has more than tripled under his ministrations, and they have the largest Sundy school in the county.
Being deeply interested in educational matters, he, in 1873, in connection with J.C. TINSMAN and Rev. S.L. JOHNSON, established the Harmony Collegiate Institute, which attained great success during his connection with it, for three years, and assisted very materially in advancing the cause of education, and awaking in many a desire for higher education.
Rev. EDMONDS belongs to that class of advanced religious teachers who believe in advancing the material as well as spiritual interests of the community where he resides, and therefore has ever taken a deep and active interest in all public enterprises, especially regarding public improvements, such as the projecting of railroads and extending borough limits, he and E. ZIEGLER having made an addition to Harmony known as the ZIEGLER-EDMONDS Addition. During the war of the rebellion, he recruited Company F, of the one Hundred and Forty-second Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, and went into service as Captain, but ill health some five months later compelled his resignation.
In 1860, he was married to Miss M.A. KORNS, and one daughter, Aggie, has blessed their union.
[End of Chapter 22--Jackson Township: History of Butler County, Pennsylvania. With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of some of its Prominent Men and Pioneers. Waterman, Watkins, & Co., Chicago, 1883.]
Chapter 21--Lancaster Township
Chapter 23--Cranberry Township
1883 Butler County History Contents
Butler County Pennsylvania USGenWeb Homepage
Edited 17 Apr 2000, 09:41