Search billions of records on Ancestry.com
   

 

CHAPTER XX.
Packer Township

 

Page 749


 This township was erected from Lausanne in the year 1847.  The only record that appears in the minutes of Quarter Sessions is the following, March 24, 1847: "In the matter of the application for a division of Lausanne township, the report of commissioners to be recommitted to the commissioners."  It appears from the above that a petition had been presented to the court and commissioners appointed, who had made a report that for some reason was not satisfactory.  No further record is found; but on the 27th of March, 1848, John Foust is returned to the court as constable for Packer township, and from that time the township has been separate and distinct as Packer township.  The territory embraces the land lying within a boundary drawn from the Lehigh River, at the mouth of Nesquehoning Creek, to the Schuylkill County line; thence along the line to Banks township; along Banks township to the southeast corner of that township; from thence, in a southeasterly course, to the  Lehigh River; thence down the Lehigh River about two hundred rods to the place of beginning.  Broad Mountain extends the entire length of the southern and middle portion of the township.  The Quakake Valley extends through the township from north to south, and lies between Broad and Spring Mountains.  It is watered by the Quakake Creek, which rises in the Spring Mountain, in the west part of Banks township, and flows eastward through the township and through Lehigh, and empties into Lehigh River at Penn Haven.  The valley is well adapted to agricultural pursuits, and…


Page 750



contains many valuable farms.  Spring Mountain lies in the north part of the township.

The Mahanoy Division of the Lehigh Valley Railroad extends through the Quakake Valley, and there is a station near Hudsondale named Hartz, from Col. Jacob Hartz, who was an old settler at this locality, then one of the stopping-places between Wilkesbarre and Mauch Chunk.  Over Spring Mountain, from Beaver Meadow and Broad Mountain to Mauch Chunk, a road also extends along the valley and from Hartz to Quakake.  A plan of the village of Quakake was recorded in Northampton County records Oct. 7, 1831.  It was given as bounded by Branch Creek, Terapin Manor Lane, Turnpike Street, and Kelchner Lane.  Elaborate maps were prepared, inducements were offered to purchasers, and a few lots were sold, but the project of founding a village was soon after abandoned.

An assessment-roll of Lausanne township, made in 1808, the year that township (which then embraced what is now Packer) was erected, contained the following names of persons whose descendants are still living in this township: Daniel, Christopher, and Jacob Gerhard (all single men), Philip Hinkle, Felton Hinkle (single), Jacob Hartz.  The father of the Gerhards mentioned was an early settler, and left land to his sons, who at this time were living there, and where some of the sons of Daniel now reside.  Daniel, in 1829, lived where his son, Solomon, now lives.  He had six sons,--Benjamin, Jonas, Joel, Daniel, Solomon, and Reuben.  Jonas, Solomon, and Daniel are yet living,--the two first in the township, the latter in Rush township adjoining, in Schuylkill County.  Henry, a son of Daniel, owns the grist-mill near the Gerhard Station, on the Mahanoy Division of the Lehigh Valley Railroad.     


Philip Hinkle lived near the Round Point, or Round Head, on land now owned by Daniel Faust.  His sons were George, Philip, Reuben, and Jesse.  Some of them are still living in the township.

Jacob Hartz settled on what was a little later the line of the Lehigh and Susquehanna turnpike, and built a house there.  The road was chartered in 1804, and built about 1808, and Hartz soon after erected a tavern (now and for many years known as the Spring Mountain House).  He kept it until about 1820, when he sold to George Kelchner, whose father, Jacob, was a resident in the township in 1808.  Mr. Hartz then built a house near by, and lived there several years.  He was a clock-maker.  Some of his clocks are still in use in the county,--one belongs to Charles Nimson, one to the Dengler family (both of East Penn  township), and one to a man in Mahoning township.  Some time between 1830 and 1835, Jacob Hartz bought part of a tract of four hundred acres (which belonged in 1801 to Matthias Gangwere and Abraham Sieber) a little southeast of where the Hudsondale Station, on the Mahanoy Division of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, now stands, and on the Lehigh and Susquehanna turnpike.  On this land he built a tavern (in later years known as the Swan), and kept it until his death, about the year 1852.  The land is still in possession of his descendants.  The other portion of this tract belongs to S. W. Hudson.  Col. Jacob Hartz was elected sheriff of Northampton County in 1829.  He had eight children,--Jonas, Susan, Sarah (Mrs. Josiah Freese, of Altoona), Mary, Elizabeth, William, Abigail, and Hannah (Mrs. William Biesel, of Weatherly).  Jonas and William kept the tavern several years after their father's death.  The sons of Jonas-Levi, Peter, and George-are living in the township, and Abram lives in Weatherly.  William died unmarried.  The daughters-Susan, Mary, and Elizabeth-are unmarried, and reside at Weatherly.

 

John Wetzel was a resident of the township as early as 1812, and located on land now owned by his sons and grandsons.  He had four sons-John, Valentine, Daniel, and David-and four daughters.  The sons settled in the township, and David is still living.  The daughters became the wives of Stephen Kerber, James Troy, Lewis Hettinger, and Philip Hinkle.  A saw-mill was built many years ago on the property, on one of the streams tributary to Quakake Creek.


John Faust, a native of Bucks County, born in 1797, and still living, came to this township, then Lausanne, in April, 1829, with his wife and five children.  He purchased two hundred acres of land, part of a larger tract owned by Horter and Hepler.  There was a log house on the place, in ruins.  This was made habitable until he could build the present house, owned by John Bitner, who is a son-in-law.  Here eight more children were born to them.  Mrs. Faust died in 1864.  Their children were Daniel, Catharine (Mrs. David Keller), Elizabeth (Mrs. Solomon Rinker), Mary (Mrs. Peter Hartz), Caroline (Mrs. John Bitner).  These are all living in the township.  John lives at Audenried; Henry, at Mahanoy City; and Edward, at Weatherly.

 

Ephraim Balliet came to this township from Luzerne County about 1839 or 1840, and purchased two hundred acres of land adjoining John Faust, and a part of the same tract of four hundred acres.  He was elected justice of the peace in 1848, 1857, and 1862.  He had two sons,--Solomon and Abram.  Solomon died in early manhood, and Abram still lives in the township.  Of his three daughters, Elizabeth, Caroline, and Mary, the former became the wife of Edward Faust, of Weatherly.

Matthias Gangwere was part owner of a tract of four hundred acres in 1801, near where Hudsondale Station now is.  The name of Edward Gangwere appears in 1849, but in 1883 the name is not on the assessment-roll.  Samuel Gangwere was mentioned in 1808.  Peter Rumble was also the possessor of a large tract in 1801, now the property of S. W. Hudson, whose foundry is upon it.  His name appears in

an assessment of 1849.

 

Page 751


Samuel Powell also was warrantee of a large tract.  He died before 1808, as in that year "Widow Powell" is assessed on real estate.  The name has disappeared from the township.  In addition to these,

the Romigs, Steiners, Steels, and others came into the township.

 

The assessment-roll of Packer township, made Feb. 26, 1849, the first after its erection, returns as follows:  Real estate valuation, thirty-seven thousand eight hundred and eighty-seven dollars; money at interest, two thousand seven hundred and fifteen dollars; pleasure-carriages, one hundred and five dollars; amount of valuation on professions, trades, and occupations, etc., three thousand four hundred dollars; number of taxible inhabitants, sixty-eight.  William Hartz and Andrew Siegfried were tavern-keepers.  The owners of real estate in the township at that time are here given: Ephraim Balliet, Jacob Boughert, John Faust, Daniel Faust, Henry Faust, Daniel Gerhard, Jr., Daniel Gerhard, Sr., Benjamin Gerhard, Joel Gerhard, Jonas Gerhard, Joseph Jones, Henry Beatis, Edward Gangwere, Jonas Hartz, William Hartz, Philip Hinkle, Sr., Philip Hinkle, Jr., George Hinkle, Thomas and William Hart, William Simmers, F. Beatis, Jacob Weiss, Stephen Decatur, George Benneville Keim, Charles Leivick, George Mack, Peter Rumble, Albright & Romick, Benjamin Romick, Solomon Rinken, Daniel Steward, Peter Steel, John Steiner, Andrew Potter, Richard Whirter, Samuel Wolf, Wolf & Balliet, Valentine Wetzel, James Washburn, Enoch Washburn, John Wetzel, Daniel Wetzel, John Wetzel, Jr.,

Michael Young, Reuben Young.


Below is given a synopsis of the assessment-roll of 1883, giving valuation, farmers, and professions.

The valuation on real estate is given as fifty-eight thousand six hundred and five dollars; total county and State tax, three hundred and thirty-five dollars and seventy-one cents.

 

The names of those who are assessed as farmers are here given: John C. Bitter, John Duncan, William S. Detroit, George Esop, John Englehard, Lewis L. Evans, Nicholas Erckman, Daniel Faust, David D. Gerhard, S. D. Gerhard, Jonas Gerhard, Philip Hinkle, Job Jenkins, Thomas Kane, Sr., George Leiminger, Jacob Mace, John Pascoe, Nathan Romig, Jacob H. Ritter, John Romig, Sr., Thomas Romig, Reed & Howe, David L. Stewart, Reuben Steiner, Simon Smith, David Wetzel, John Webb.  Of other occupations in the township the following are assessed: Dupont Powder Magazine Company, Laflin & Rand Powder Magazine Company, Schaghticoke Powder Company, Cassidy, Miller & Co., steam saw-mill; Daniel & Sarah Gerhard, grist-mill; S. D. & Jonas Gerhard, saw-mill; S. W. Hudson, lumberman, saw- and grist-mill; S. B. Hudson, lumberman; Joseph Seattle, hotel-keeper; Henry Gerhard and James O. Smith, millers; H. A. Gerber, teacher; Abraham Rooming & Martin Batterer, blacksmiths.


MILLS.--A grist-mill was built on the Quakake Creek, about two miles above where Gerhard's Station now is, before 1829, and owned by George and Benneville Keim.  It was purchased by John Faust in 1841, and run by him until 1849, when he removed it to its present location below Gerhard Station.  It is now owned by Henry Gerhard.


The saw-mill, now in ruins, at Gerhard's Station was built about 1840 by the Gerhards, and continued till 1870.  Saw-mills were erected many years ago on the creek that passes through the Steiner property, and owned by them.


In 1849, Gerhard & Balliet owned a saw-mill on Quakake Creek, now owned by Solomon and Jonas Gerhard.

The saw-mill on the Wetzel property is still in use, having been built many years ago.

In 1859, S. W. Hudson came to the township, and purchased property near what is now Hudsondale,--a part of the Peter Rumble tract.  A saw-mill was on the creek, which had been previously operated by William Koontz.  This was rebuilt and operated several years.  The next year (1860) Mr. Hudson erected a foundry, which was carried on till 1881.  In 1869 the present stone grist-mill at Hudsondale was erected, with four runs of stone.


  A steam saw-mill was erected in 1882 on the Nesquehoning Creek, by Cassidy, Miller & Co.  This is the only business interest south of the Broad Mountain.


POWDER-MILLS AND MAGAZINES.--Soon after the close of the war several gentlemen built a powder-mill, called the Quakake Mills, at Quakake.  They manufactured several years, had one or two explosions, and in 1873 sold to the Laflin Powder Manufacturing Company, who rebuilt the mills, and continued the business until about 1878, when the works blew up, and the company removed to Laflin, near Wilkesbarre, where they now carry on the manufacture.


In 1869, Smith & Rand were in possession of forty acres of land on Broad Mountain, and the Schaghticoke Powder Company one acre.  In 1871 each of these companies built a magazine for holding powder.  The firm of Smith & Rand had changed to the Laflin & Rand Powder Company, who, a little later, purchased the land and magazine of the Schaghticoke Company.  The company now has two magazines, with a capacity of five thousand kegs each.  They are located on the Broad Mountain, on the old turnpike, about three miles from Mauch Chunk.  The company also has a magazine with capacity of two thousand kegs, located at Hudsondale.  Robert Klotz & Son, of Mauch Chunk, are agents for the company.  The Dupont Powder Company established two magazines on the turnpike road, at the foot of Broad Mountain, in 1836.  The present capacity of one is ten thousand kegs, and of the other five thousand kegs.  Alexander W. Leisenring, of Mauch Chunk, is agent for this company.



Page 752


TAVERNS.-The first tavern in the limits of what is now Packer township was started by Col. Jacob Hartz, in 1812-14, where the Spring Mountain House now stands, on the Lehigh and Susquehanna turnpike.  He kept this place till 1820, and sold to George Kelchner, who kept it for a time.  It was then kept respectively by Samuel Wolf, Frederick Nicely (six years), Daniel O. Donnell, Benjamin Romig, Samuel Wolf, Andrew Siegried (ten years), Levi Hartz (ten years), John Booth (one year), Peter Hartz (eleven years), James Cole (two years), John Wear (one year).  By him it was sold to Joseph Sattelle, the present proprietor.  Samuel Wolf, when he kept the tavern the first time, opened a store at the corners, in a building still standing opposite the tavern.  This he conducted till the close of his second term in the tavern, when he sold all his goods and furniture at vendue and moved to Danville, Montour Co., Pa.  The tavern was kept as a temperance house the last time he was proprietor.


Col. Jacob Hartz, about 1835, built a tavern at the foot of the north slope of Broad Mountain, and kept it until his death, about 1852.  His sons continued it for a year or two.  Samuel Gangwere later became proprietor, and he was succeeded by William Victor, who kept it as a tavern till 1881.  It was known as the Swan Tavern.  A tavern was kept several years on the road leading through the valley, known as the Quakake Hotel.


ST. MATTHEW'S LUTHERAN AND GERMAN REFORMED CHURCH.--The only church in the township is situated a little west of the centre of the valley, on land that was donated for church purposes by John Faust, in 1834.  A church was organized in that year, and a log building erected to accommodate both the church and a school.  This answered the purpose till 1868, when it was torn down, and the present edifice, forty by fifty-five feet in dimensions, erected on the same site.  The pastor who officiated at the organization was the Rev. Isaac Sheilheimer.  Among the many ministers who have served this church are the Revs. Benninger, Boyer, Grim, Daniel, Kurtz, Krohn, Frankle, Finkling, Muirhler, and A. M. Masonheimer, the present pastor.


SCHOOLS.-About 1823 a school-house was built near the residence of Jacob Hartz, who then lived near what is now the spring Mountain House.  The timber for this school-house was the first sawed at the mill of Benjamin Romick, on Black Creek, now the site of Weatherly.  James Daffe was an early teacher.  A school-house is now standing near the site of the old one.  This was later known as the Turnpike District.


In 1834, when the St. Matthew's German Reformed Church was erected, a part of it was partitioned off for school purposes, and was used till the destruction of the building, in 1868.  A new one (which is still used) was then erected on the same site.  Among the early teachers were Daniel Gerhard, David Stewart, and Adam Beers.  This house was built near the residence of John Faust and Ephraim Balliet, both of whom were the first directors.  The district was later known as the Church District.  Another school-house was built on the road leading through the valley, above the Gerhard Mills.  This is still used.


These three school-houses mentioned are the only ones in the township.  The schools contain one hundred and forty-one pupils.  The directors are D. L. Howard, W. S. Dieberick, John Romig, Job Jenkins, David D. Gerhard, George Eroh.


 The following is a list of the school directors of the township since its organization:


  1848.-Jonas Hartz, Eph. Balliet, Joel Gerhart.
  1849.-Daniel Gerhart, Andrew Gangwere.
  1850.-Solomon Rinker, Reuben Young.
  1851.-John Young, Daniel D. Steward.
  1852.-Peter Hartz, Jacob Derr, E. Balliet.
  1853.-Valentine Wetzell, Solomon Rinker.
  1854.-Andrew Siegfried, William Faust.
  1855.-Nathaniel Zoll, Eph. Balliet.
  1856.-Jonas Hartz, Sol. Rinker.
  1857.-Benj. Gerhart, Ed. Young, Val. Wetzell.
  1858.-John G. Steiner, Henry Faust, Daniel Gerhard.
  1859.-Peter Hartz, Jacob Derr.
  1860.-D. D. Stewart, Edwin Young.
  1861.-J. G. Steiner, Levi Hartz.
  1862.-Peter Hartz, J. N. Faust.
  1863.-D. D. Stewart, William Faust.
  1864.-Philip Kinkle, Levi Hartz.
  1865.-George Hartz, Joseph Schneider.
  1866.-Archibald Dieb, H. Bockerts.
  1867.-John Young, D. D. Stewart.
  1868.-John Romig, Jonas Gerhart.
  1869.-Val. Boetzer, George Hinkle.
  1870.-S. D. Gerhart, Peter Hartz.
  1871.-Henry Gerhart, J. J. Poole.
  1872.-John C. Bitner, Samuel Gangwere.
  1873.-E. Tilson, George Eroh, Henry Boehardt.
  1874.-W. Krop, John C. Bitner.
  1875.-John Romick, J. C. Bitner.
  1876.-D. B. Keller, Reuben Steiner.
  1877.-Reuben Dauber, Peter Hartz.
  1878.-James Gerhard, John C. Bittner.
  1879.-S. B. Hudson, R. W. steward, Reuben Sterner.
  1880.-D. D> Gerhard, Peter Hartz.
  1881.-D. L. Howard, W. S. Dieberich.
  1882.-John Romig, Joseph Jenkins.
  1883.-David D. Gerhard, George Eroh, Jonas Gerhard.


POST-OFFICES.-A post-office was established at the store of Samuel Wolf a year or two after the Lehigh Canal was opened.  Mr. Wolf, who was the postmaster, kept the office at the store until he removed from the township, when it was changed to the tavern-stand of Jacob Hartz, and continued till about 1858, and the landlords became postmasters.  Soon after the opening…



Page 753



… of Mahanoy Division, Hudsondale became a station, and a post-office was established there, with Samuel Hudson as postmaster.  He still holds the position.


JUSTICES OF THE PEACE.--The justices of the peace since the organization of the township have been as follows:


  Ephraim Balliet, March, 1848; March, 1849; March, 1850.
  Jonas Hartz, March 185l.
  Solomon D. Gerhard, March, 1852.
  Daniel Gerhard, March, 1853.
  Benjamin Romig, March, 1855.
  Solomon Rinker, March, 1856.
  Ephraim Balliet, March, 1857; March, 1858.
  John Steiner, March, 1859.
  Peter Steel, March, 1859.
  Joel Gerhart, March, 1859.
  Peter Steel, March, 1860.
  Solomon Rinker, March, 1861.
  Peter Hartz, March 1861.
  Ephraim Balliet, March, 1862.
  Joel Gerhard, March, 1863.
  Peter Hartz, March, 1864.
  S. W. Hudson, March, 1865.
  Peter Hartz, March, 1866 (declined); March, 1868 (declined).
  John Faust, March, 1869 (declined).
  S. W. Hudson, October, 1869.
  John Faust, October, 1869 (declined).
  D. R. Kidder, October, 1869.
  E. E. Dodson, March, 1872 (declined).
  J. J. Poole, March, 1873.
  S. W. Hudson, March, 1874, to 1883.

 

END

 

Biographical Sketch of Samuel Wilkinson Hudson

 

 

********************************************************************************

RETURN TO THE MATHEWS & HUNGERFORD

 INDEX PAGE

 

 

From

The History of the Counties of Lehigh & Carbon, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,

By

Alfred Mathews & Austin N. Hungerford

Published in Philadelphia, Pa., in 1884

 

Transcribed from the original in the summer of 2002 by

Vincent E. Summers
[3X-great-grandson of David Weatherly Sr., namesake of the town of Weatherly]

 

Web page by

Jack Sterling

August 2002