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"A Visit to Annville Sixty Years Ago."

by
E. BENJ. BlERMAN, Ph. D.

Paper Read Before the Lebanon County Historical Society on June 10, 1899; Vol. 1 No. 8.


        In his " Advancement of Learning," Lord Bacon says: " Industrious persons by an exact and scrupulous diligence and observation, out of monuments, names, words, proverbs, traditions, private records and evidences, fragments of stories, passages of
books that concern not story, and the like, do save and recover somewhat from the deluge of time."

        In the gathering of the contents of this paper I have been obliged to resort to the majority, if not all, of the sources of information enumerated by the writer here quoted.

        Sixty years ago witnessed the declining years of Martin VanBuren’s administration of our national affairs.

        Van Buren was a man of great tact and uncommon shrewdness, and except under the stress of party discipline he was patriotic as well as sagacious, nor was he a bad president. Overwhelmed by the financial crisis of 1837 when commercial ruin and repudiation filled the land, and though the President showed no want of coolness or resource, nothing could avert the effects of public calamity on the reputation of the government and the party in power. While on a canvassing tour from Harrisburg to Reading, in the month of June, 1839, President Van Buren, with some of his political associates made a brief stop at one of our hotels in Annville. Several of our older citizens distinctly recall this event and of their having paid their respects to him and his associates. The carriage of the party was drawn by beautiful bay horses. Politics was running high. Indeed the country has never known a more excited canvass except during the late civil war than was then pending. The Whigs and the Democrats were the two great parties which disputed for victory.

        Orators whose names are forever identified with the classic period of American eloquence; statesmen who were probing and settling principles of constitutional law for coming generations; sagacious men, of all pursuits of life, were experimenting in the problems of banking, protection, free trade, of slave and free labor of colonization, of internal improvements. Soldiers, whose laurels won in the late war with England had scarcely yet withered, and, who jealous of every possible encroachment of the mother country, were eagerly watching for the adjustment of all difficulties between the two nations on a satisfactory basis — these all were interested in the proper solution of the national problems in 1839.

        The illustrious triumvirs — Clay, Webster and Calhoun — and many others of hardly less fame, such as Benton, Preston, Wright and Buchanan occupied seats in the American Senate. Confidence was destroyed and trade in general was not recovering very rapidly.

        The people looked forward, looked for a change in our government before they could hope for better times.

        David Rittenhouse Porter, a man a little over fifty years of age, of thorough classical training, an ex-State Senator, was governor of the State.

        At the opening of the year the whole State was thrown into an unusual political excitement by the so-called "Buck-shot War," and this was not without its effect on the patriotic citizens of our county and village.

        Annville, sixty years ago, had by actual count one hundred and fourteen houses occupied by families as private residences or as business places; all these buildings were of log, rough stone or frame, with the exception of three — one on the north-`west corner of Main and Whiteoak streets, one on the south-west corner of Main and King streets, and one on the south-east corner of Main and Mill streets — which were of brick, and the probable population was between five and six hundred. By the official census of the following year Lebanon county had a population of 21,872, and Annville township, including the two divisions of north and south, 2,649. There were also 689 white persons over twenty years of age, reported for the county, who could neither read or write.

        Two church edifices only are found in the town. The Jerusalem Union German Reformed and Lutheran Church, now called Christ's Reformed Church, near South Whiteoak Street, which was erected in 1804, and the United Brethren Church, on Queen Street near Mill Street, in the south-western section of the village, erected in the year I820 or 182I. The Rev. Henry Wagner, residing at Lebanon, was the pastor of the Reformed congregation, and the Rev. Jonathan Ruthrauff, also residing at Lebanon, was the pastor
of the Lutheran congregation. The former having charge of the First Reformed Church and the latter of Salem Evangelical Lutheran, both located in the town of Lebanon.

        These congregations were then as they were for many years afterward, as well as before, supplied with preaching by ministers stationed at the county seat.

        The United Brethren Church was part of a large circuit under the supervision of a presiding elder and the Rev. Casper Light was pastor.

        The best informed citizens of the town tell me that the Pennsylvania Dutch was then spoken by everybody, man, woman and child, and that but few made use of the English language.

        There were three school buildings in town. The one-story academy building of lime stone on the south side of Main street, almost opposite Peter Graybill's present residence, which was in charge of a Miss Rohrer as principal, where the so-called higher branches were taught; and two others for instruction in the common school branches. One a log building on the south-west corner of Whiteoak and Queen streets and the other of frame at the south-west corner of Chestnut and Queen streets. Both buildings are still standing and are occupied as private residences.

        Mr. George C. Strine, a German by birth, and a man of fine educational qualifications, was the teacher of the school at the corner of Whiteoak and Queen streets at this time and for many years previous, as well as later. The salary paid to the teacher was from two to three cents a day for each pupil attending. Strine's private residence was the school building. He also followed conveyancing and scrivening, as the following announcement appears in the "Lebanon Democrat" of that day: “ The subscriber respectfully informs his friends and the public generally that he has commenced the practice of Conveyancing and Scrivening in all the different branches. His residence is near the church in Millerstown, Lebanon county, where all instruments of writing will be executed with great care and attention as he has long been acquainted with the above business. GEORGE C. STRINE."

        A Sunday-school under the direction and management of the members of the German Reformed and Lutheran congregations was among the agencies to promote the spiritual instruction of the children of the town, and among its workers were Mr. John Shertzer, the superintendent, John D. Biever, Adam Ulrich, Jacob Shertzer and Daniel Stine.

        John D, Biever, born June 5, 1812, died April 5, 1880, was then a young man of twenty-seven years and engaged in the tanning business on Whiteoak street, south of Main. He was a prominent teacher and superintendent of the Sunday-school for many years and a valued and faithful member of the Lutheran Church to the day of his death.

        As my visitor approaches the town from the east the first house that meets his eye is on the northeast corner of Main and Manheim streets, Mrs. Elizabeth Brightbill's present residence, occupied by Dr. Gideon Fahnestock, born April 27, 1804, died May 4, 1866, a young and ambitious physician of thirty-five years, with a successful practice. He visits his country patients on horseback and is frequently obliged to call several horses into service to reach his numerous patients. The house he then occupied is now located on the opposite side of the street and is still used as a private residence.

        A large blacksmith shop is in sight at the southwest corner of the street, Dr. Marshall's present residence.

        Mr. Philip Carmany, born March 1, 1794, died April 15, 1873, a man of forty-five, is the owner, and one who can swing the hammer to some purpose. It is related of him that on a certain occasion after completing a job for a neighbor his bill for the work was pronounced exorbitant when he looked up sternly and replied: "Why Ich muss viel charche for an lewe zu macha for Ich hab sehr wenig tzu do."

        On the south side of the street we find a large hat manufactory under the superintendence and ownership of Charles Arndt, jr., born March 21, 1807, died November 15, 1888, a stalwart, well built young man of thirty-two years, who was afterwards (1842-’45) honored with the office of Register of Wills of the county.

        Among the hatters of the town we also find the firm of Philip and Daniel Stein (P. & D. Stein) father and son, located on the south side of Main street, near the east end of the square. Philip, born 1779, died August 11, 1850, the father, was a man of sixty years, ripe in judgment and sagacious in business. Daniel, the son, born May 16, 1811, died January 9, 1894 was in the prime of life, twenty-eight years of age, enterprising and industrious, enjoying the confidence of the people to an unusual degree and in after years honored with the office of Justice of the Peace for five full terms.

        William Fegan also carried on the business of a hatter on West Main street, on the north side, near Cherry street.

        The manufacture of silk and felt hats was a leading business of this town sixty years ago, many hands were employed, and the trade extended over a large territory.

        As we proceed west from Arndt's hat factory we soon reach the old pump in front of Peter Bachman's home, Peter Graybill's present residence, on the north side of Main street. Here many a weary traveler slaked his thirst; here many a thirsty villager drank to satiety and bathed his fevered brow to find relief in the cooling waters. What a benediction a well of good water is to a town!

                Sky-mated, related, Earth's holiest daughter!
                Not the hot kiss of wine
                Is half so divine I
                As the sip of thy lip, inspiring Cold Water.
                                                —Coles.

        Among the wells then in use are the following in addition to the one already named: Stine's on Main street, south side, near the square; Messinger's on Main, north side, near Letitia alley; Johnson's Hotel, north-west corner of Main and King streets; Hoverter's store on Main and Chestnut streets, near the alley; Boger's blacksmith shop on Main street, opposite the Black Horse Hotel, and one on the north-west corner of Main and Mill streets. There were also wells of excellent water on Beaver's tanyard, on the lot of north-east corner of Queen street and Letitia alley, and one on Cherry street, north of Main, not far from John Graybill's present residence.

        On the south-west corner of Main and Whiteoak streets is Henning's Hotel, kept by Jacob Henning, born December 10, 1788, died June 12, 1857, the present site of Hotel Eagle, one of the leading hostelries of the village. The landlord is popular and the patronage large.

        But hark! do you hear that noise in the distance ? The stage is coming! With what notes of preparation it enters the little village on the old turnpike road. All the town are at their doors, and every lower pane of glass is a juvenile face in a frame to see who has come and who is going, and all about it. How the old coach rattles and plunges down the hill — how it rushes over the bridge at the west end — with what professional skill the driver draws his long whip from the top of the coach and makes its lash ring again and again to the leader's right and left — with what a sweep he whirls up before the hotel, and reins his prancers in, till the coach rattles and rocks like a ship ashore! The latest news is here from the West. The postmaster comes across the street for the mail. The maid stays her hand at the well to see who gets out —a cloud of steam rises from the glittering coats of the panting team of four. But, after a brief stay the mailbag is swung beneath the driver's feet, the passengers are gathered, the door is flung to with a slam -- a short, sharp call of “all right" from the drowsy handler of the lines, and crack, smack, clatter, swing, and away rolls the coach for Lebanon and the east and with it, the day's excitement of the village. In the crowd of bystanders during the arrival and departure of the stage is Paul Frank, a short, chunky, jolly fat fellow who lives a short distance north of town, and who is the vendue-crier; Samuel Achenbach, of thirty-two, a sedate and industrious shoemaker; David Seabold, fifty-two, a leading stone mason; Daniel Bingaman, an aged carpet and linen weaver; Christian Hoverter, sr., a retired blacksmith of wide acquaintance; Rudolph Boltz, a popular carpenter, and his son Joel, and Adam Faust, a well-to-do gentleman of the town.

        The Black Horse Hotel on Main street, south side, west of Chestnut street, kept by Adam Miller, sr., born January 6, 1776, died May 13, 1840, a man somewhat advanced in life, being sixty-three years of age, is another hotel of large patronage. On the north side, almost opposite, Adam Miller, jr., carries on the shoemaker's trade very extensively, employing many hands and turning out excellent work. George Peter, Henry Peter, Isaac Fry and Henry Black are among his employes of that day. The black smith shop near by on the same side of the street is owned and managed by Thomas Boger, born March 6, 1810, died January 28, 1886. He is in his thirtieth year, is a skillful mechanic, manages well and his customers are numerous.

        The Millers, father and son, rank well among the most practical enterprising business men of the town. The great grandfather was the founder of the town — Annville — so called Millerstown for nearly a century after its founding in 1762.

        A third is Lewis Gilbert's Hotel on Main street, south side, a short distance west of the public square. This hotel was the stopping place of President Van Buren and party on their visit in June, 1839. The house — a rough stone — is still standing and used as a private residence.

        The fourth public house is "The Golden Swan," now known as the Pennsylvania House, north-west corner of Main and King streets, kept by Jacob Johnson, who is an accommodating landlord and in favor with the people.

        Mr. Jeremiah Boehm carries on the mercantile business next door west of the hotel. Boehm was active in politics and upon the accession of General William Henry Harrison to the Presidency he was appointed postmaster of the town. After President Harrison's death Vice President Tyler succeeded him and because of some objectionable measures adopted or advocated by the new administration Postmaster Boehm turned the portrait of Tyler, which he had hanging in his office, either up-side down or with the face to the wall. This unwise act was reported to the men in power at Washington and Postmaster Boehm was promptly removed from office.

        But now let us cross the street from Henning's Hotel and call upon Mr. John Schertzer, born April 1, 1799, died September 30, 1854, who with his brother, Jacob Schertzer, born December 5, 1802, died July 14, 1881, is doing business under the firm name of John Schertzer and Brother. The house is now occupied by the firm of Shenk & Kinports. Mr. Shertzer is one of the foremost citizens of the town, thirty-nine years of age, medium height, well built, dark hair and dark black eyes, a keen and yet benign countenance, and withal great decision of character, speaks both languages fluently and correctly, has scholarly tastes and is popular with all the people. Is married to a lady originally from the city of Philadelphia, has a family of interesting children, is a prominent member of the Lutheran Church and a hard worker in the Sunday school and resides comfortably in a fine brick house on the north-west corner of Main and Whiteoak streets. The house is now occupied by the writer, with the postoffice in the front room on the first floor.

        On the south side of Main Street, almost opposite Schertzer's store, near the square we enter the office of Dr. Henry Stine, born October 22, 1807, died May 16, 1861, a scholarly gentleman thirty-two years of age, a graduate of Jefferson Medical College, class of 1828 and a popular physician. His practice is large and growing. On public gatherings or Fourth of July celebrations he is usually the orator of the day.

        At the east end of the square there lived for many years Stoffel Rueckerd, a practical dyer, and a man with a keen eye to business. Honest and straightforwarded in his dealings. He died in 1833, but his widow lived to November 12, 1842. It is related of him that on making settlement with one of his customers the accounts,balanced within a half a cent in Stoffel’s favor.

        The half cent was not paid on the day of settlement,but that on meeting his creditor several months afterwards Stoffel did not fail to demand payment.

        Immediately opposite on the north side of the street are found two interesting maiden ladies, Mary Marshall born April 17, 1790, died September 18, 1867, and Elizabeth Marshall born March 3, 1798, died March 20, 1877. These ladies are popularly known as Polly and Betsy Marshall respectively. Both in full maturity of life, forty-nine and forty-two, they are  women of influence, of positive convictions, well informed in all matters of general interest and hold the esteem of all who know them.

                “Two women faster wedded in one love
                   Then pairs Of wedlock.—”
        Perhaps there is no species of friendship more sure to elude publicity than that subsisting between sisters. It plays its undramatic part in domestic scenes, avoiding rather than asking the notice of the world.

        These women dwelt together for over seventy-five years in entire and fervent affection, and now sleep side by side in their grave on Evergreen cemetery.

        Passing along the square on the east side we reach the corner of Lancaster street, the home of Mr. John Barth born February 11, 1798, died June 26, 1879, a well-built gentleman of forty-one years who is employed as cloth and carpet weaver. The house in which he lives is a fine two-story building erected in 1799. Although a hundred years old it is still in fair condition and has undergone less changes than any building for its age in town.

        On the same side of the street a few doors above Lancaster you will find Mr. John F. Miller's store. He deals in general merchandise.

        Just across the street on the northwest corner of Main and Lancaster Streets we are greeted by another of Annville's most successful and popular citizens and merchants, Mr. John Killinger born February 22, 1797, died September 17, 1860, a man in the prime of life, forty-two years of age, tall in stature, well built, with a keen eye and of more than ordinary enterprise and intelligence.

        During the sessions of 1837-38 of the State legislature Mr. John Killinger served as member of the lower house, and in 1839-40 he occupied a seat in the State Senate with great credit to himself and the entire satisfaction of his constituency. His wife, Fannie, is a sister of Mr. John Schertzer and the mother of an interesting family of children, among whom we find John W. Killinger, born September 18, 1825, died June 30, 1896, afterwards a member of Congress, a youth of fourteen preparing to enter Marshall College, at Mercersburg, at the opening of the fall term.

        A few doors farther west on the northeast corner of Main street and Letitia alley we find Dr. John G. Marshall’s comfortable home and office, and as we enter we are courteously received by the genial doctor and tendered a seat.

        Dr. Marshall born February 10, 1793, died December 13, 1846, is forty-six years of age, a graduate of the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania, class of 1819, the senior in years and practice of his medical associates of the town, and by instinct and training an eminently successful member of the healing art. To set a broken limb or to amputate a malignant or crushed member of the body is his forte and delight. His practice is extensive in town and country. He is a son of David Marshall, born January 21, 1749, died September 4, 1832, who was a successful doctor here for many years.

        Across the alley on the same side of the street William Mellinger has a tinsmith shop.

        The wheelwright trade is carried on extensively by John Stroh on the southwest corner of Main and Chestnut streets, and by Henry Fisher, aged forty-six years, on West Main street, near Cherry.

        Joseph Andrews is the clock and watch maker and repairer, of the town. It is said that Andrews spent many years in the effort to make a clock that would run six months without re-winding but that he never succeeded.

        The Raiguel Mill, owned and managed by Abraham Raiguel, jr., born January 25, 1796, died August 9, 1849, south of town, and the Herr Mill, owned by Abraham Herr, born August 12, 1794, died October 25, 1857, at the west end of town, supply the village and vicinity with flour and feed, as the managers of these mills do at the present day to a large extent.

        The fine stone bridge, 180 feet in length, with three arches, across the Quittapahilla creek near Raiguel's Mill, was built during the year I839 bv the commissioners of the county under the supervision of Messrs. John D. Biever and Philip Imboden.

        Daniel Stroh, born August 27, 1771, died January 9, 1863, Iives on the northeast corner of Main and Lancaster, and follows wood turning and chair making.

        On the north-west corner of King and Queen streets in a two-story frame house lives Mr. Leonard Nye, born March 1797, died June 13, 1876. He is a carpenter by trade and the leading undertaker of the town.

        His son, William C. Nye, born February 15, 1822, assists him in his work.

        Near the west end of the village my visitor met one of its younger citizens who kindly invited him to be seated by saying in the popular dialect of the day: “Nemm dir ein sitz und mach dich bequem," and then in his own peculiar way volunteered the following information:

        "There are several quite old people in our town. Why not go to see them? Among them you will find Mrs. Anna Katrina Reddich, born May 9, 1760, died December 16,1855, who is in her eightieth year. Mrs. Juliana Ulrich,born November 10,1747, died April I5, 1842, who is nearly ninety-two years old, and Mr. John Shertzer, sr., born July 23, 1766, died October 1, 1847, who is seventy-three years old. We buried one of the oldest women of the town last winter, Mrs. Dorothy Ulrich, born May 7, 1749, died February 16, 1839, widow of Martin Ulrich, who was in her ninetieth year. Her husband died fourteen years ago.

        "Only a few days ago we buried Mr. Abraham Shenk, born June 2,1790, died July 31, 1839, one of our farmers near town. He leaves a family of six children, the youngest is a boy, David O., of five years. Mr. Shenk was a very industrious, hardworking farmer and his early death is greatly lamented." David O. Shenk is now the successful merchant of our town and the senior member of the firm of Shenk and Kinports.

        "Did you meet Mr. Joseph Smith,born September 1, 1795, died Sept. 16, 1862, the tinker, near the corner of Main and King streets today ? He is a man of midd!e life and full of business enterprise. His son, John N. Smith, who is about eighteen, works at the cooper trade.

        “George Rigler, born March 29, 1817, died March 26,1889, is a young man of twenty-two in the very prime of life and was married about a year ago. He is in the butchering business and with the energy and foresight he possesses, is sure to succeed.

        “Mr. John Ward, born April 14, 1791,died April 24, 1853, on the north-east corner of Main and Cherry streets, is one of our successful tailors. John Uhler, born February 8, 1804, died September 20, I871, is another. Martin Funk, just of age, promises to become a successful shoemaker, and John Troxel, born January 8, 1800, died November 1, 1878, is our cabinetmaker.

        "Do you hear that call ? That is Mr. Cassell's parrot over there, just two doors below where you see those boys play marble. Playing marble and town ball are popular games in our town.

        "Those old gentlemen you see sitting over there and talking are Christian Cassel, born 1764, died 1852, and several of his friends. They spend much of their time that way.

        “Christian Hoverter, jr., born October 15, 1802, died February 9, 1880, keeps store on the north-east corner of Main and Chestnut streets and is doing a thriving business. The young man employed by him is John H. Kinports, born January 21, 1821, died March 8, 1893. He was formerly with Mr. James Bingham in the same place. He is only eighteen years old but makes an excellent clerk.” Judge Kinports was afterwards clerk of the Orphans' Court, (1851-1854) and associate judge, (1866-1876) of the county for ten years.

        “Peter Black, born December 15,1783, died August 9, 1862, is our constable. He is a very industrious and efficient officer.

        "He is the father of David Black, born February 8,1812, died December 11, 1871, one of our stone masons." These are the parent and grand parent of Mr. John H. Black, who is now extensively engaged in the marble and granite stone business.

        “On the north-west corner of Main and Chestnut streets, Thomas McGinley, the chairmaker, has his shop. Walter Clarke also makes chairs. He lives a little farther west on the other side of the street.

        "Fred Gelbach is our saddler, Peter Berry, one of our gunsmiths, Martin Funk, one of our leading shoemakers, and George Hix our broom and basket manufacturer.

        “There are but few shade trees on the Main street of our town.

        "You will find a large willow tree near Mr. Stein's hat factory and several tall poplar trees in front of Mr. Stroh's residence.

        “The Harrisburg and Reading Turnpike Company keeps its road bed in excellent condition.

        “Well, as to the morals of our people I can report favorably.

        "There are no special evils prevalent in our midst, and our justice of the peace Mr. Adam Miller, jr., whom you see crossing the street over there, says there are no cases unadjusted on his docket.

        "Christian Lessley, born November 15, 1818, who has his blacksmith shop next door to the south-west corner of Main and Cherry streets, was married to Mary Mase, born November 9, 1820, last fall. He learned his trade with Mr. Thomas Boger and
is now kept busy every day in his own shop."

        These two aged people still live happy and contented a few doors west of their former home, and Mr. Lessley is at this writing the oldest citizen of our town.
                "Though old he still retains his manly sense,
                 And still remembers that he once was young,
                 No chronic tortures rack his aged limb,
                 For luxury and sloth have nourished none for him."

        To Mr. and Mrs. Lessley, John A. Bodenhorn, Peter Graybill, John N. Smith, Andrew Kreider, William C. Nye and Joel Boltz, the writer is under many obligations for information fur furnished.

        The system of militia carried on in the state at this time was active and successful in Lebanon county, and Annville had an organized volunteer infantry company called the "Annville Guards." The militia men were paraded and trained in May of each year; first in companies on the first Monday of the month and afterwards in battalions. "Battalion Day" was set apart as a holiday, and these military services and parades beyond their
utility, provided great amusement for the people.

        The following is almost the complete muster roll of the company:

Cyrus Cormany, Captain.
John D. Biever, First Lieutenant.
John Alwein, Second Lieutenant.

William Aston                                            Peter Howard
Henry Ault                                                 Martin Kochenderfer
William Ault                                              Richard Lemmer
John Benson                                              Christian Lessley
Conrad Berry                                             Henry Marquart
William Beaver                                          Adam Miller, jr.
John F. Beaver                                           Jacob Miller
Robert Bingham                                         John F. Miller
David Black                                                George Miller
Henry Black                                               Thomas Miller
Henry Blauch                                             Christopher Miller
Joel Boltz                                                   George Peter
Henry Cormany                                         William Sanders
John Cormany                                            Daniel Seabold
John Daniel                                                William Seabold
Hamilton Dixon                                          Christian Shenk
Henry Ellenberger                                       George Sheffy
James Forney                                              Curtis Smith
John Forney                                                John N. Smith
Peter Forney                                               John Spotts
John Frantz                                                 David Spotts
Israel Gruber                                               Miller Stambaugh
Smith Glenn                                               George Stein
Jno. A. Heilman                                          John Stroh
Ephraim Heilman                                       William Troxel
Jacob Henning                                            Adam Thomas
Peter F. Houser

        The following is a copy of an honorable discharge granted all those who faithfully served the term of seven years:

        “We, Walter Clarke, formerly captain, duly commissioned, and Cyrus Cormany, captain at the present time, duly commissioned, and commanding the organized Volunteer Infantry Company, called the "Annville Guards," now attached to the Independent Battalion of Lebanon County, composed af the Lebanon County Cavalry, the Annville Guards, and the Independent Guards, Pennsylvania Militia, Do Hereby Certify, by virtue of the tenth section of the Militia Law of the 24th day of March, A. D., 1818, That Israel Gruber, corporal, enrolled, uniformed, and equipped himself, and faithfully served as a member of said company, for the space of seven successive years, commencing on the 16th of August, 1834, And is therefore exempted from Militia Duty, except in time of an invasion, insurrection, or actual war, and is entitled to be honorably discharged.

Witness our hands at Annville, the 16th day of August, A. D., 1841.

       Cyrus Cormany, Captain.
       John D. Biever, First Lieutenant.
       John Alwein, Second Lieutenant.
       Major, Frederick Embich."

        Joel Boltz and Ephraim Heilman, both still living also hold papers of like character.

        Israel Gruber, born August 30, 1813, died December 21, 1897, stone mason and brick layer, was the father of Captain David A. Gruber born December 17, 1841, who distinguished himself for bravery in the late Civil War.

        On the north-west corner of King street and Lebanon alley stood the Engine House in which was kept a small hand-engine, this with the aid of the "bucket brigade " did noble service for many years.

        Sixty years ago everybody burned wood. If there was any coal, charcoal excepted, above ground but few knew it or used it. Fireplaces were mostly used for heating as well as for cooking purposes. To "keep fire" was one of the things necessary in every household. A chunk of partly-burned hickory wood was the best for this use. It was carefully covered over with ashes, and if the wood was all right, and the covering properly done, we were pretty sure to have fire in the morning.

        But occasionally it was found that there was not a coal or even a spark left. Then steel and flint and punk and tow had to be resorted to. When they were wanting the old flint-lock was brought out. The pan was filled with powder and the trigger pulled. Tow was held near enough to be caught by the flash of the powder, and we were again favored with fire. When all these failed, there was nothing left but to go to a neighbor's house and borrow. In pleasant weather this was not much of a task, but to go on a cold January morning for a shovel of fire was a duty no one especially coveted.

        Matches such as we use today were not known sixty years ago, and keeping fire was as much of a task in summer as in winter.

        Fat lamps of various devices, tallow dips and sperm candles served to furnish the people with light at night, and several men of the town manufactured these lamps in large quantities for the market.

        A certain writer says: "As we read history we must become Greek, Roman, Turk, priest, king, martyr and executioner; we must fasten these images to some reality in our secret experience, or we shall learn nothing rightly." In this instance I have tried to become an Annvillite of sixty year ago. Standing face to face with these people I have tried to learn their mode of life and their peculiar surroundings and if possible, picture them in their true light. If I have succeeded in a measure only I shall be satisfied. Since then many advances have been made in all departments of work and walks of life, but most of them grew out of the wants of the people and thus others will come in due time, and for the same reason.


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Linnea Travis Miller
Annville, Lebanon County PA.

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