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Bean's HistoryBEAN'S HISTORY
Several Ways to Search Bean's History when you get there.
HISTORY OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY
EDITED BY THEODORE W. BEAN.
EVERTS & PECK, 1884
Special thanks to Susan Walters who transcribed this work.
The following item is placed here to distinguish between the Old and the New Church. For the New Church see the Frietsch page on this website.
THE OLD GOSHENHOPPEN CHURCH.
This long established place of worship is situated but little over half a mile northeast of Salford Station and nearly midway between Salfordville and Mechanicsville. It dates back nearly to the early settlement of this section, when the country for miles around was only known as Goshenhoppen, and hence applied to denote the locality of this church, and which it has ever since retained. The settlers of the Lutheran and German Reformed faith united, in 1732, to procure by warrant a tract of land, upon which they erected a log school-house in the fall of that year, which was also used as a place of worship. However, the tract was not surveyed until January 26, 1737, when thirty-eight and one- quarter acres, with allowances, were taken up for the express purpose mentioned, and the deed recorded the following 7th of February. Michael Royer, on the part of the Lutherans, and Jacob Keller, for the German Reformed, made final payment for the same January 12, 1738, the cost being ?8 9s. 3d., equivalent to $23.34 of our present currency.
As the German Reformed members were without a pastor, they worshiped together in the aforesaid building until the spring of 1744, when it was decided to proceed to the erection of a church. The masons commenced their work the 9th of May, and on the following 14th the corner-stone was laid. It was erected that year, but the interior wood-work was not finished until 1748. An agreement was made with a carpenter to complete the same for fifteen pounds which included a gallery, pews, benches and painting. The pulpit was made by Gabriel Schuler, of Lower Salford, as a present to the church. The expense incurred in the erection of the building, is not exactly known, the members doing considerable of the work without charge. At the settlement, in 1751, a debt of thirty pounds remained, which was subsequently paid off. The building committee on the part of the Lutherans was composed of Michael Reyer Balthasar Gerlach John Philip Gable Conrad Schneider.
And for the German Reformed Christian Schneider Christian Lehman Bernhard Arndt John Servier.
The first Lutheran elders were John Michael Reisser and John Philip Gabel
Deacons William Ganckler John Lenhart Durkheimer
The German Reformed elders were Jacob Hauck John Getz
Deacons Isaac Summers Andreas Ohl.
The first Lutheran members of this congregation were Conrad Schneider John Martin Derr Elias Long John William Daub John Jacob Nuss John George Weikel Heinrich Schmidt Isaac Klein John Klein George Weikel John Christopher Bickel Ludwig Adam Bickel John Jacob Fillman Philip Fillman John George Wagner.
The German Reformed members were Jacob Hauck John Getz Gabriel Schuler Heinrich Bomberger Daniel Kuster Jacob Isett Samuel Schuler Jost Keller John Nice Christian Hollebush Peter Hollebush John Faust John Knouss Nicholas Wolfart Frederick Getz Christopher Dickenscheit.
The pastor's book commences in 1751, and the entries since have been made by the several clergymen. Mr. Raus, who commenced the record, was evidently a well-educated man, his writing being excellent, and on the title-page he made a considerable inscription in Hebrew characters. In 1751 there were forty-six members composing the two denominations. The Lutheran population was estimated at one hundred and ninety-five and the German Reformed one hundred and five.
PICTURE OF THE OLD GOSHENHOPPEN CHURCH, APPEARS HERE.
The congregation was originally formed by the Rev. J. Conrad Andreas, an expelled Lutheran clergyman in Germany, who, without any recommendation so insinuated himself into their confidence as to become their pastor, but who was soon after discharged for immoral conduct. The first regular Lutheran minister was the Rev. Lucas Raus, from 1751-53 Rev. Frederick Schultz, 1753-59 Rev. John Joseph Roth, 1759-71 Rev. Frederick Neimer, 1771-72 Rev. Conrad Roeller, 1772-95 Rev. Frederick Geisenhainer, 1795-97 Rev. John George Roeller, son of Conrad, 1797-1840 Rev. Engelbrecht Peixto, 1841-64 Rev. Frederick Waltz, from 1865 to the present time.
The first German Reformed pastor was Rev. Jacob Reisz, 1751-66 Rev. John Thomas Faber, 1766-80; Rev. John Wm. Ingold, 1780-81 Rev. Frederick Dilleker, 1781-84 Rev. Frederick Wm. Vonder Schlotte, 1784-86 Rev. John Thomas Faber, Jr., 1786-88 [sic] Rev. Albert Helfenstein, 1808-11 Rev. Albert Zent, six months in 1811 Rev. Frederick Wm. Vonder Schlotte, Jr., 1812-18 Rev. Jacob Wm. Dechant, 1818-33 Rev. Andreas Hoffman, 1833-56 Rev. Robert Vancourt, 1856-63 Rev. Augustus L. Dechant, since 1863.
The school-house mentioned, in which worship was first held, stood until 1808, when it was torn down and another erected in its place. The first church was built of stone, two stories high, and in dimensions fifty by thirty-five feet. After standing above one hundred and thirteen years, it was resolved by the two congregations to tear it down in the spring of 1858 and erect a larger and more commodious building in its place. The writer of this account, learning this, proceeded hither a few weeks previous on purpose and made a drawing of the same, which has since been ascertained to be the only one extant. By the 1st of May it was leveled to the ground, and in the corner-stone was found two silver coins, one dated 1652 and the other 1695. The former proved to be the pine-tree shilling of Massachusetts and the other an English shilling bearing the head of William III. A pint bottle contained a tasteless yellow fluid which it was supposed had been wine. All these were replaced in the corner-stone of the new building, which was laid, with appropriate ceremonies, May 15th and 16th of said year. The church was completed by the close of 1858, and is a fine two- story stone structure, sixty-two by fifty feet in size, with a spire one hundred feet high, the total cost of which was six thousand one hundred dollars. The church is calculated to hold about eight hundred persons. It possesses a fine organ, made in 1837 by A. Krauss & Son, of Allentown. The bell is of five hundred and thirty-seven pounds weight, and can be heard from its elevated position for some distance around. There is an ample churchyard and sheds for horses and carriages, besides a shady, unfenced woods of several acres adjoining.
The graveyard contains about five acres, and few in the county can surpass it in the number of its tombstones. The oldest graves are near the centre of the yard. The earliest inscription observed was that of "1745, H W B H." One is said to be here bearing the date of 1733. It had been stated on reliable authority that seventy-two persons have been buried here, killed by powder-mill explosions in this vicinity previous to 1859. Three Revolutionary soldiers are known to be interred here,- John Andrew Artman who died in 1843, aged eighty-six years John Sallide Jacob Schaeffler, in 1840. The ground here is hard to dig, being composed of a shelly, red slate- stone. The following surnames were copied within the ample inclosure:
Flieger Schneider Geisinger Hiltebidle Groff Wagner Ruckstuhl Cope Humel Langbein Schuler Mayer Geyer Heebner Lunn Hertzel Hoffecker Musselman Gabel Gerges Klein Boyer Grimley Smith Scholl Walt Shied Miller Bock Hillegass Detweiler Wambold Fried Weishe Ried Roudenbush Gerhab Borneman Kehs Daub Richards Meyers Hutt Wail Neidig Reiman Zepp Cressman Nyce Pannapacker Kerr Ratzel Shade Zink Jacoby Ache Johnson Neitz Wohlfard Dietz Hauberger Schwartley Schell Wandelich Reichert Fillman Sallade Zeigler Weidemeier Erdman Bibigbaus Schwartz Kerwer Schwenk Wirth Roeller Mayberry Ettinger Steiner Bout Roshong Hendricks Dietz Ochs Liedtke Underkoffler Sheib Wisler Koppelberger Souder Kuhlman Anderson Herbst Adrian Seit Rahn Kneezel Keyser Faust Long Kolb Sleifer Schaefer Emert Brey Cressman Kemerer Hartranft Troll.
History of New Hanover Township
In 1741, the Township of Hanover was divided into the Townships of New Hanover,
Upper Hanover, Douglass,
and Pottsgrove. The development of two major roadways, Skippack and Swamp Pikes, gave area residents and businesses the ability to travel to surrounding communities and markets. Dairy farming was the predominant industry up to the years of the Second World War and many local farm products made their way to Philadelphia. Today, the township remains to a large extent, rural. However, new single family homes and some businesses are becoming more commonplace. The township contains two golf courses and a small airport. The small villages of New Hanover and Sassamansville are considered the main areas of the township.
was established in 1741 and was settled primarily by German or Pennsylvania Dutch immigrants. The size of Douglass Township was reduced in 1807 as a result of the incorporation of Pottsgrove Township. Whereas the township had originally extended to the Schuylkill River, its southern boundary was then set at its present location. With the availability of prime farmland for development, the construction of single family homes has added to the township’s population. The Gilbertsville portion of the township has a small town feel with a nice mix of older and new retail and service businesses. However, the township is still somewhat rural and is one of the most beautiful areas of Montgomery County. The village of Gilbertsville is considered the center of activities for the township.
The Lutheran people of Frederick Township worshiped in the New Hanover
Lutheran Church, located in the heart of Falkner Swamp. This congregation
was organized about the year 1720.
It is stated the Rev. Justus Falkner,
Lutheran minister, preached here in 1703; but this occurred probably at
where the Swedes organized a Lutheran Church in
1700, and not at New Hanover, where the earliest settlers, according to the
records, arrived later. About 1734 John Casper Stover was pastor. In 1742
Rev. Henry Melchoir Muhlenberg
came, and he continued in charge of the
congregation until 1762. Daniel Christman and Michael Herger were of the
The mean, of religious instruction in the primitive times, although they
differed from those of the present day, were by no mean wanting. In the
year 1740, Whitefield, the revival preacher,
came to the house of Henry
Antes, in Frederick township, and preached to the people, the number
assembled on this occasion being two thousand. Seward's journal describes
this event as follows:
"April 24, 1740. . . Came to Christopher Wigner's plantation, in Skippack,
where many Dutch People are settled, and where the famous Mr. Spangenberg
resided lately. It was surprizing to see such a Multitude of People
gathered together in such a wilderness Country, Thirty Miles distant from
Philadelphia. Our dear friend, Peter Bohler, preached in Dutch to those
who could not understand our Brother (Whitefield) in English. Came to Henry
Anti's Plantation, in Frederick Township, Ten Miles farther in the Country,
where was also a Multitude equally surprizing was that we had in the
Morning. . . . There was much melting under both Sermons. . . . At Night I
was drawn to sing and pray with our Brethren in the Fields. Brother
Whitefield was very weak in Body, but the Lord Jehovah was his strength. .
. . for I never heard him speak more, clear and powerful. They were Germans
where we dined and supp'd, and they pray'd; and sung in Dutch, as we did in
English, before and after Eating."
Excerpts from the New Hanover Township Comprehensive Plan Update, 1998:
Knowledge of past human experience in New Hanover Township is essential to aid planners and
local officials in molding the future. The following historical analysis is only a general
representation of past developments. A more thorough analysis must be left to the historians.
However, the historical aspects of planning in the Township are reported to provide the
framework by which New Hanover will develop in the coming years.
The first people to inhabit the Upper Perkiomen Valley were the Lenni Lenape Indian tribes.
These people were described by William Penn as tall, strong, and sagacious. Because the first
settlers lived in peace and harmony with the Indians for many years, William Penn could easily
"buy" the Upper Perkiomen area from the native inhabitants in 1684, which became known as
The early seventeenth century witnessed the Reformation in Europe in the Thirty Years' War,
which ultimately led to persecutions of the Protestants. These events stimulated the migration of
the Brethren (Dunkers), Lutherans, members of the Reformed Church, Schwenkfelders,
Mennonites, and other "peace" sects to the New World and to Penn's Woods.
Historical events, which strongly influenced the present land use matters of New Hanover date
back to this early migration when the Township was part of Hanover Township. This latter
community was a section of the Frankfort Land Development Company holdings that
encompassed present day Upper Hanover Township, New Hanover Township, Pottsgrove
Township, and Pottstown Borough. The German settlers account for the name of the community,
a derivation from the Hanover King.
In the early eighteenth century, another name was attached to this area. It was called
"Falckner's Swamp" after Daniel Falckner who was an attorney for the Frankfort Land Company.
In 1700, through a series of protests and arguments, Daniel Falckner managed to gain complete
control of the Frankfort lands.
Although at the time he was accused of inefficiencies by his associates, Falckner stands out as a
predominant figure in the area.
The Frankfort Land Company remained in Falckner's hands until 1708 when he was forced by
financial difficulties to turn over the lands to John Sprogell. The transaction alarmed many of the
settlers in the area. Shortly thereafter, Sprogell announced that many of the titles of the first
settlers were not legal and he proceeded to have them ousted. The settlers engaged the aid of
Pastorius, an agent of the Frankfort Company who went to Philadelphia to investigate, only to
find that Sprogell had enlisted the services of the only four lawyers then practicing in
Pennsylvania. A fraud was revealed, but Sprogell managed to keep control of 22,000 acres of
the richest farming country in Montgomery County, for which he paid a low price of $1,333.
Many of the settlers were forced to buy back land from Sprogell that they had already settled
By 1727, German settlers flocked to Pennsylvania. Those who settled in New Hanover were
forced to pay exorbitant prices which Sprogell asked for his holdings. One of those was Henry
Antes who first settled in Philadelphia and then moved to New Hanover. He built the first grist
mill at Bethlehem in 1743. His son, Fredrick Antes, was an iron founder and he cast the first
four-pounder guns for the Revolutionary Army. He was one of the members elected from the
county to author the New Constitution of Pennsylvania in 1776. At that time the area was part of
Philadelphia County. Montgomery became a separate county in 1784.
Numerous small hamlets and villages were founded during the early development of New
Hanover, including Swamp (first township seat), Fagleysville, New Hanover Square, and
Pleasant Run. See the accompanying historic map of New Hanover. The village of New Hanover,
also known as Swamp or Swamp Churches, is located approximately sixteen miles northwest of
Norristown. By 1832, it contained two churches, a post office, a tannery, two taverns, two
stores, and eight dwelling units. The history of this settlement dates back to 1758. The creation
of the village can be attributed to the location of the "Lutheran Dutch" and "Dutch Church", and
the "Yelyer's Mill."
Pleasant Run and Fagleysville appear to be ancient settlements. However, their early importance
cannot be determined due to a lack of information.
THE REVOLUTIONARY PERIOD
New Hanover and Camp Pottsgrove
(from New Hanover Township 1741-1991 Volume 1)
The year was 1763, New Hanover was incorporated as a township a mere twenty-two years
earlier. Yet increasingly its people endured the same hardships found in the other colonies.
Friction between mother England and her colonies had begun. The colonies, individually
governed under the scrutiny of the King of the British Empire, had little in common with each
other. The colony of Pennsylvania was governed from Philadelphia.
London, England was the largest city in the British Empire. Philadelphia was the second, and
largest city in the colonies. It was a major cultural, educational and political center. Its port was
the busiest in the colonies. Philadelphia County extended from the Delaware River west to Berks
County. (Montgomery County was created by legislature on September 10, 1784). Western
Philadelphia County was populated with Quakers, German Mennonites, Schwenkfelders and
others opposed to war for religious reasons. Initially the German Lutherans and Reformeds were
opposed to a war with England. However, as more taxes and shortages occurred, more
changed their opinions.
Christopher Schultz, a prominent Schwenkfelder from Hereford, Berks County, wrote to friends
in Germany on October 28, 1774, "...The Ministers (government leaders) have utilized every
imaginable artifice to levy a tax upon the Colonies, and thus, break the Charter guaranteeing us
liberty. A man may not be taxed and have something taken away from him without his or his
own representative's consent. But during this past winter malicious Ministers have gone too far
and many Parliamentary Acts were passed which infringe on our basic rights." (A copy of the
original German is in the Schwenkfelder Library, Pennsburg).
As the situation worsened, the colonies drew closer. On April 18, 1775, Lt. Gen. Thomas Gage
ordered his redcoats to destroy the patriots' main supply depot at Concord, Mass. They arrived
at Lexington in the early dawn on April 19. Capt. John Parker and his band of Minutemen faced
them on the village green, 'Don't fire unless fired on", Parker commanded, 'but if they mean to
have war, let it begin here." No one knows who fired the first shot, but 8 colonists were killed
and 10 wounded. One Britisher was wounded. That shot became the 'shot that was heard
around the world'.
Each colony supplied troops to form an army. Frederick Antes was named Colonel of the Sixth
Batallion of Pennsylvania Militia. Frederick Weiss was Leiutenant Colonel and Jacob Bush was
Major. Among the junior field officers were Philip Hahn and Michael Dotterer, Captain Hahn
commanded the New Hanover Company during the campaign of 1777.
George Washington from Fairfax County, Virginia had proven himself more than capable in
earlier wars and was unanimously elected Commander-in-Chief by the Continental congress in
Philadelphia. He came out of retirement from his beloved Mount Vernon to serve his nation.
By September, 1777, the British had already captured New York City and General Howe secretly
sailed to the mouth of the Chesapeake. He proceeded north, up the bay. The Continental Army
was in northern New Jersey. It traveled south and tried to stop Howe's advance at the
Brandywine Creek, partly due to lack of information, Washington's poorly trained troops were
defeated there on September 11. They regrouped at Warren's Tavern. However, heavy rains
soaked their ammunition and prevented a battle. Because British General Howe chose this path,
the war effort moved through Chester County and into Montgomery County.
On the move again on September 17, Washington wrote from Yellow (Chester) Springs to Major
General Thomas Mifflin, "...The baggage and Ammunition that is at present at Perkiomen is to
move up to Pottsgrove."General Washington and his drmy arrived at Redding Furnace (Warwick)
on September 18. At Warwick the fatigued army camped for a day, cleaning their arms and
repliacing cartridges. From here Washington wrote to the President of Congress asking him to
move the Continental Stores. They were removed from Philadelphia to Trenton on September
16. General Washington requested the stores be moved again, "..to Allentown in North Hampton
County." Congress had debated leaving Philadelphia for months but had never done so. Another
letter from Alexander Hamilton sent Congress and what was left of the government in
Philadelphia scurrying in the early hours of September 19, Congress did not reconvene until
September 28 in Lancaster City; they then voted on moving to York.
According to Montgomery County historians, a financial transaction took place before the
Continental Congress fled Philadelphia, A sum of $100,000 cash was shipped to the Falkner
Swamp Lutheran Church (New Hanover) by Michael Hillegas.
Named by the Continental
Congress in 1776, Hillegas was the first United States Treasurer, The money was hidden on the
church grounds and used to fund the present and future war efforts.
General Washington and his troops crossed the Schuylkill River at Parkers Ford on September
19. They passed through Trappe, forded the Perkiomen Creek and camped on its east bank that
To this point, General Howe had followed Washington's Army. Washington wrote to General
McDougall on September 19, "...The enemy are making the most vigorous efforts to succeed in
their attempt upon Philadelphia: and it will require our utmost exertions to disappoint them.'
By September 22, General Washington's observations of the enemy and his intelligence
information convinced him that Howe planned on moving toward Reading. This would cut off the
army from the stores in Reading as well as the iron forges building the cannons.
Colonel Phillip Frederick Antes was commissioned in the 6th Battalion of the Pennsylvania Militia
and is believed to have assisted Washington in choosing the area of "Forkners Swamp (Falkner)
about 4 miles from Pots Grove." (Washington's Letter to General Wayne, September 23, 1777.)
This choice made sense in several ways. First, it was the location of temporary hospitals set up
sometime after the Battle of Brandywine. At this location the army could protect the Great Road
and Swamp Road, both leading to Reading thus protecting the stores and forges. The hills
surrounding the area provided a strong defensive position.
It was to this area that the Commander-In-Chief moved his 8,000 man army on September 21st.
Some of his militia mayhave arrived as early as the 18th as recorded in a Maryland Officer's
Colonel Antes is credited with many arrangements of the Camp, His house, built by his Moravian
father, Henry Antes, was General Washington's Headquarters. Washington always tried to stay
among his troops. The army officers stayed at the Bertolet house next door. Colonel Antes, a
member of the German Reformed Church in Falkner Swamp, arranged to have this church (a
frame structure at the location of the present building) and the German Lutheran Church used as
temporary hospitals. The church benches were removed. Farmers' wives and daughters made
bandages from cloth and bedding; they boiled water and cooked. Medicines were very limited.
They supplied what they could. Local farmers helped bring the wounded to the hospitals, their
wagons covered with the blood of moaning soldiers. Other wagons carried the dead, A number
of soldiers were buried in the Reformed Church Cemetery. The seriously sick were sent to
Reading. Operations (many of them amputations) were performed at the Andrew Smith Inn.
Smith used his ston farmhouse west of Fagleysville as an inn. Operations wer performed on the
bar room table.
Anesthesia was unavailable; the soldiers' screams were piercing. Women and children covered
their ears with pillow to muffle the soldiers' cries when their gangrenous limbs were removed
and discarded on the property. Later owners reported ploughing up bones in the farms'
orchards. The bar room table is believed to still be in existence.
Antes may have also arranged for the use of the Reformed Church Parsonage. Built in 1730-31,
this 106 acre farm was the home of Reverend Nicholas Pomp. Tradition has it, this was General
Following the Paoli Massacre on September 20, the location of General Wayne is difficult to tie
down. (Wayne led a division of American troops at the battle of Paoli.) General Washington
mentioned in several letters from Camp Pottsgrove, that he was waiting for Wayne's arrival. "To
Lord Stearling, Headquarters 11 o'clock AM September 25, 1777... I mean to halt here at least
today, especially as I find Gen. Wayne will not be up till night (if then) and Smallwood not till
tomorrow." Wayne was with the Army at Pennypacker's Mills (Schwenksville) on the 28th. The
army left Camp Pottsgrove on the 26th. Did Wayne arrive late on the 25th; is it possible he
stayed until the 28th? Tradition has it that Wayne's troops guarded Jackson Hill (between
Fagleysville and Sanatoga) during the Fagleysville camp.
According to the present owner of "Wayne's Headquarters", tradition has it that the decision to
leave Camp Pottsgrove and move on toward Valley Forge was made here. As General
Washington entered the 5' 8" door, he bowed, removed his hat, and shook the hand of the host,
like a true gentleman. Seated around the table, a low fire probably burning in the keeping
room fireplace, the proceedings began. Washington always held a service of prayer before
meetings, therefore it was fitting to conduct the meeting in the parsonage. This house was later
the birthplace of Pennsylvania Govemor Hartranft.
The conditions were dismal, rumors of General Wayne's court martial (for his irresponsible
leadership at Paoli) circulated among the soldiers. Rain had persisted since mid month, morale
was low, government supplies were scarce, and some states were delinquent in financing the
war. Like Valley Forge, many soldiers were poorly clothed and marched without shoes in the
rain, in the mud, and on stony roads, their feet torn and bleeding. Before Congress fled
Philadelphia, they gave Washington the authority to seek and pay for supplies as necessary. So,
to the President of Congress (in Lancaster) on the 23rd, Washington requested shoes, "...I have
been informed that there are large parcels of shoes in particular there."
Food and ammunition was in short supply too. Using their Conestoga wagons, area farmers
retrieved stock from the army's Reading storehouses.
An old tradition says that the militia arrived in camp first. Local soldiers were granted the
priviledge of going home to neighboring counties to harvest crops for a week. As the army
arrived, they took what they needed. They occupied every available house, barn and outbuilding,
Years later, resident Mrs. Philip Leidig recalled: "When the army encamped on the hills, a whole
company came to our house and took possession of our place during the rainy weather. The
barn and every outbuilding was full of horses and the house was also full of soldiers lying on and
covering the floors in each room, while the family was compelled to occupy but one room."
Other soldiers had to brave the rain in tents.
Colonel Antes, brother, William, saw the need for an army oven. He paid 12 pounds for bricks at
a kiln, said to be on Hoffmansville road, and had them delivered to the Philip Brand house,
southwest of Fagleysville. There, soldiers built a huge brick oven for the Baker General
Christopher Ludwig. Ludwig was said to be a congenial man, greeting everyone he passed on
The oven was near what came to be known as the slaughtering tree. The giant old oak was 400
to 500 yards from the creek at the bottom of Fagleysville hill. Cattle from local farmers, was
hung from the lower branches and butchered to supply the army with meat. The refuse, or
"speck" in German, was discarded into the creek. This creek is still referred to as the Speck
Creek. So much food was taken that the area families had to get food from their friends and
relatives as far away as Oley in order to survive the winter, the same hard winter as the Valley
The main part of the "Camp near Potts Grove" was from Fagleysville west to the Speck Creek
and up the first elevation toward Swamp. (Now Reifsnyder and Rosenberry Roads), storehouses
were kept further southwest. Leaden bullets, broken bayonets, and musket barrels were among
the relics ploughed up there years later.
Back in Fagleysville, the Count Puloski was said to have quartered in a log house at the present
site of the Fagleysville Hotel. The lively count had just been appointed Brigadier General of the
Light Horse (Calvary), and Washington was concerned about the acceptance of another foreign
general. However, there were no incidents.
The camp was protected by the surrounding hills. There reportedly was a strong out-post
guarding the Great Road to Reading (High Street). It is known as Washington Hill in Pottstown.
From Prospect Hill near Fagleysville, guards could see the Schuylkill Valley to the south. Another
of the main outposts was at Swamp Creek Heights. Near the Swamp Door, this outpost guarded
the Swamp Road and the camp; From this vantage point, the guards could see as far down the
Schuylkill as Valley Forge. They reportedly had dug in for defense. An area thought to be a
dugout is still recognizable.
Behind these hills, His Excellency General Washington conducted a Council of War on September
23. Seven Major Generals and six Brigadier Generals attended. Washington first informed them
of the enemy fording the Schuylkill the previous night and marching toward Philadelphia. He
stated that troops under Generals Wayne and Smallwood had not arrived and reinforcements
under McDougall and Dickinson would arrive in a few days. According to Tinch Tilghman's notes
of the Council, "...He therefore desired the opinion of the Council whether it would be most
advisable to advance upon the Enemy without present force, or wait till the Reinforcements and
detachments above mentioned, should come in" Washington then summarized the events of the
last eight days. Tilghman continued, "His Excellency further informed the Council that the troops
were in no condition to make a forced March, as many of them were bare-footed and all
excessively harassed with their great Fatigue. The Question being then put, the Council were
unanimously of opinion, that, from the present state of the Army it would not be advisable to
advance upon the Enemy but remain upon this ground or in the Neighbourhood, till the
detachments and expected Reinforcements come up." So ended the meeting. This was a
surprise to Lafayette and the town of Bethlehem where he was recuperating. They expected a
full retreat to their town.
So it was from Camp Pottsgrove, Fagleysville Heights, Swamp Door, Falkner Swamp, the Speck
Creek, the Antes House, farms and villages for miles around that General Washington's troops
left on September 26, the same day the British occupied Philadelphia. The first stop of
Washington's Arny was at Pennypacker's Mill, followed by many others as they advanced toward
the Enemy occupying Philadelphia.
The Continental Army met the British at the Battle of Germantown on October 4, 1777. Being
defedted again, the American Army eventually moved to Valley Forge on December 16th to
recover, regroup and retrain.
Skippack Pike is one of the oldest east-west roads in Montgomery County. In 1713, a group of
settlers living in the area drained by the Skippack petitioned the courts in Philadelphia for a road
from Skippack to Farmer's Mill in Whitemarsh. In 1725, the settlers of Hanover Township (later
to be New Hanover) petitioned that the road be extended above Skippack to Swamp Creek.
Skippack Pike, extending into Upper Frederick and New Hanover, is presently called Big Road or
Route 73. The significance of this road can clearly be seen by the numerous settlements which
grew up along the road. These settlements include the villages of Obelisk, Keelors Union Church,
Frederick, and New Hanover Square where the road forks. The northern extension, called
Hoffmansville Road, traverses through Hoffmansville and on to Sassamansville in Douglass
Township. The southern extension, called the Big Road, travels through Layfield where it
intersects with Route 663. This particular road opened up New Hanover and Upper Frederick to
the east, which enabled farmers to ship goods to Philadelphia where there was a demand for
In 1723, another petition was submitted to the courts and Swamp Pike was constructed as a
result. The road began at Limerick on the Reading Pike (Ridge Pike or the Great Road) and ran
through New Hanover to Boyertown in Berks County. Swamp Pike travels through Fagleysville
and New Hanover. This road provided the people of the lower portion of the township with
access to Philadelphia and was used by the Continental Army to a large extent to move troops
during the war.
Although the railroads have, to date, not entered the boundaries of either New Hanover or
Upper Frederick, they were located to the east, following the Perkiomen Creek, and to the south,
along the Schuylkill River. The proximity of the railroads to these townships allowed for easy
shipments of goods to either railway. While the earliest settlements can be attributed to the
roads laid out through the area, there can be no denying that the railroads contributed
significantly to development in New Hanover and Upper Frederick.
FIRST PENNSYLVANIA COPPER MINE
The Old Perk Mines, in the Stone Hills, on the west branch of Swamp Creek which empties into
the Perkiomen at Schwenksville, are noted on Schull's Map of Pennsylvania of 1759. However,
their history dates back to the beginning of that century. They are the oldest mines of any kind in
the state and, with one exception, the oldest mines in America. They are older than both the
Grandy Mine of Connecticut (1705) and the Schuyler Mine of New Jersey (1715), and being
preceded only by the Minisink Mines of New Jersey which were opened by the Dutch in 1650.
The credit for discovery of copper ores in the Township belongs to the early explorers of the
great tract of 25,000 acres of land, sold by William Penn to the German Company, formed by
Daniel Falckner and his associates at the city of Frankfurt am Main, in Germany. This tract was
surveyed for settlement in 1701, but according to records of those early days, the discovery of
copper dates back to 1683 as described by Penn.
No shipment of ore was recorded until 1740. The mine's production fluctuated creating both high
hopes and deep discouragement. At times, operations were suspended altogether. The work
was intermittently carried forward until a few years prior to the Revolutionary War.
It is claimed that there was at that time a finely developed vein of rich copper in the mine. The
Proprietors held a consultation and ordered the vein to be securely hidden and the leading
openings sealed up, "so that in case the war should be terminated disastrously to them, the
treasure should not fall in the hands of the enemy, but lost to the world." Work ceased, the
mine was abandoned, and it has remained abandoned ever since. Several attempts have been
made to discover the closed openings, one attempt in 1800 and another in 1830, but with no
FAMILIES IN NIEDERBRONN WITH RECORDED MARRIAGES-NAMES CONNECTED WITH PFALZGRAFS IN PENNSYLVANIA
1653 1792 --- Diemer, Weber, Brumter, Berst, FRITSCH, Mentzer, Letz
1603 1792 --- Riehl, FRITSCH, Lobstein, Fullenwarth, Hirt, Thomas
1612 1792 --- SCHELLENBERGER, Wurtz, Munch, Meyer, Riehl, Peter, JACOB
1710 1792 270 Deutsch, HOFFMAN, Hildenbrand
1685 1736 ---- ----
1788 1792 432 Goetz, Oltz, Strohl, MARX, Metzger, Hochstetter
1700 1792 136 Schmidt, Bartel, Edel, JACOB, Rueff, Scheer
1685 1792 434 Bronner, Scheer, Ledermann, Staad, Muller, FREY
1666 1792 457 Muller, Wurtz, Freiss, Rinck, Neppel, Meyer, FRITSCH
1643 1792 675 Heiligenstein, Wagner, Wantz, Kornmann; SCHILTZ
1590 1792 865 Grucker, Finck, Hess, Wagner, Beiner, FRANCK
1586 1792 1089 Hutt, Hugel, Wilhelm, Geyler, FREY, Lutz
1652 1792 307 Goetz, Hamm, Eberlin, JACOB, Schweitzer, Hans
1630 1792 210 Goetz, Bald, Oltz, KUNTZ, Lienhardt
1736 1792 215 Metz, Leininger, PFALTZGRAF
Neuwiller les Saverne
1630 1792 817 Held, Bach, FRITSCH, Oster, Haller, Kilian
1593 1792 259 Adam, Bronner, Hugel, BENDER, FRITSCH, Hans
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