Content of 1959 pamphlet produced by the Germantown Historical Society...

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Early Germantown

 

BY JUDGE HAROLD D. SAYLOR

[1959] President of the Germantown Historical Society

 

 

IN THIS YEAR of 1958 we celebrate the 275th Anniversary of the founding of Germantown . It seems appropriate at such a time to recount some of the events in the early life of the community. This article is written to refresh the memories of the Society members who as Germantowners or friends of Germantown are already informed on the subject and to give the story to the scores of subscribers to the CRIER who live elsewhere, many of them in distant states.

 

The generally acknowledged founder of Germantown was Francis Dan iel Pastorius. A resident of Sommerhausen , Germany , Pastorius had had a good university education and had commenced practicing law when he became acquainted with the preachings of William Penn. He learned that some of his associates in the Lutheran Church , the Pietists, had been corresponding with Penn's Rotterdam agent for the sale of land's in Pennsylvania . When his Frankfort friends decided to buy a large tract of land he agreed to go there as their representative and arrange for its settlement.

 

On August 20, 1683 , at the age of 32, Pastorius arrived in Philadelphia with nine other persons in his employ as the representative of the Frankfort associates. They were followed on October 6, 1683 by a party of thirteen men and their families on board the " Concord ." This group had lived at Krefeld in the Rhine Valley near Holland in the principality of Orange-Nassau, then ruled by William III of Nassau . They had heard the preachings of Quakers from England on their tours through Germany . In 1684 Pastorius referred to this group as his "Hollanders." They bore Dutch names, some of which with variations survive to this day.

 

All of these first settlers were Quakers except Jan Lensen who, alone of the group, was a Mennonite and remained one. All of them came to Penn's Woods in search of refuge and escape from interminable wars and religious strife that had long plagued Western Europe . So too did the members of the Dutch Reformed Church, the Lutherans and those of other faiths who followed them. Many sought an "awakening of vital piety" and a release from the restrictive influences of the established church institutions.

 

The Frankfort Company had acquired 15,000 acres of land from Penn and the Krefelders had purchased 18,000 acres. Jacob Telner and Dirck Sipman of Krefeld and Jan Streypers of Kaldkirchen had each bought 5000 acres in 1683 and in 1684 Govert Remke, Lenert Arets and Jacob Isaac Van Bebber had each bought 1000 acres. Of these six purchasers only Telner, Streypers, Arets, and Van Bebber came to America and only the last three remained.

 

Pastorius had understood that land was to be made available on a navigable stream but no large tracts were to be had on either the Delaware or the Schuylkill . Land was offered on the east side of the Schuylkill above the Falls where Manayunk is now located but the settlers did not like that hilly country. It was finally agreed that 6000 acres northeast of the Schuylkill should be the site of the main settlement. The remaining grants were made farther in the interior.

 

By a grant of October 12, 1683 , 6000 acres were set aside "unto Dan iell Pastorius in behalf of the German and Dutch purchasers" and by another patent, dated February 14, 1684 , Pastorius received 200 acres "for himself." As a grant of 150 acres had been made to one Hartsfelder, a land speculator, the total acreage in the section was 6350. A survey made in 1687 showed that the acreage was but 5700. The previous grants were extinguished and in 1689 a new grant of the entire 5700 acres was made to Pastorius. The original of that grant is in the possession of the Germantown Historical Society.

 

Meantime on October 25, 1683 the first settlers met and drew lots for parcels of land.  Immediately thereafter trees were felled and log houses erected. The new community was founded. The district was named the German Township and the inhabited section took the name of Germantown . Pastorius, a language scholar, referred to it in his "Grund und Lager Buch" as "Germonopolis." The town seal, later adopted, used the more elaborate "Germano-politanum."

 

With the arrival in 1685 from Krisheim of immigrants who had been subjects of the Elector Palatine the community experienced new growth along what had been an Indian trail and was to be known as the Main Street , now Germantown Avenue . In time the township was divided into four villages.

 

Germantown extended from the present Wayne Junction to Carpenter Lane . Krisheim or Cresheim covered the region from there to Mermaid Lane . Sommerhausen, named for Pastorius' home in Germany , extended from Mermaid Lane to Rex Avenue . And Krefeld or Crefeld was the section from there to the upper end of Chestnut Hill. The name Crefeld survives as a street in Chestnut Hill and Cresheim as a small stream in the valley running west to the Wissahickon.

 

The Dutch and German people who founded Germantown were "tired of persecution, fearful of military conscription and devastation and desirous of starting anew in the wilds of Pennsylvania ." Their object was not land speculation but settlement. Their leader, Pastorius, wrote of the scene of the settlement—"Es ist alles nur Wald." So it was - only forest.

 

In a short time the land was cleared for raising food and modest farmhouses were built of the materials at hand, timber and later stone. The flow of men and their families from Europe became established. In the words of the Doctors Tinkcom—"By 1690 the populations of Germantown was approximately 175 of whom all but eight or ten were Dutch." But the influence of the Dutch was short-lived. After 1704 a flood of German immigrants obliterated the Dutch origins of the town.

 

The first settlers and their followers brought with them the skills and aspirations of educated and cultured people. All of them had deep religious purpose. The Friends and the Mennonites were followed in 1694 by Johannes Kelpius, Heinrich Bernhard Koster, and Johannes Seelig and their fellow Hermits of the Wissahickon. In 1719 the Dunkers or Dunkards came.

 

The Friends had organized their meeting before 1686 and the Mennonites had set up their congregations about 1708, the Dunkards in 1723, the members of the Dutch Reformed Church in 1727 and the Lutherans in 1738. Except for the Friends these churches had their origin in the German areas of the old country. The spiritual needs of the community were met by them until the later influx of non-German groups brought about the organization in turn of the Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal and Baptist churches.

 

Reference to the original settlers and their immediate followers as educated and cultured men is justified by their activities. From the beginning they were not content with merely clearing the land and creating shelter and a food supply. In addition to providing for their spiritual needs they concerned themselves with matters of the mind. Their leaders were versatile and talented.   Pastorius was a linguist, author, lawyer and teacher. German-born, he had an educational and travel background far superior to that of nearly every early emigrant to Pennsylvania .

 

Dr. Christopher Witt, an Englishman, was a teacher, physician, mechanic, pipe and organ maker, and artist. As a botanist, like John Bartram, he sent American flora specimens to Peter Collinson in London . John Meng was an artist who despite his early death produced portraiture which with the work of Witt made Germantown one of the few places in America whose colonial artists are widely known today. A century after the founding, the two men whose portraits of George Washington brought them national fame, were residents of Germantown . They were Gilbert Stuart and Charles Willson Peale.

 

For education of the young people, schools were early made available. In 1701 the court appointed supervisors of a school which was opened January 11, 1702 with the learned Pastorius as the first teacher. He had taught the school of the Society of Friends in Philadelphia from 1698 to 1700.  He continued his employment as a teacher in Germantown until 1719. He died about the end of that year.

 

Little is known of the schools in the community thereafter except that there were two well known teachers after him. Anthony Benezet, known as a warm-hearted philosopher and friend of the oppressed, opened his school in 1739 and taught in it until 1742. Christopher Dock, a Mennonite of Skippack, taught school in the Mennonite Church in Germantown . It was his habit to kneel alone in prayer for the pupils at each day's end.

 

St. Michael's Lutheran Church maintained a school which in 1748 had two schoolmasters and in 1754 Johann Wolfgang Leitzel, a German, was teaching writing and reckoning in the lower end of Germantown . About 1760 the Reformed Congregation on the Market Square had a school.

 

Christopher Sower, or Saur, had opposed the school project originated by English-speaking citizens in 1750 claiming it was a menace to the use of German and a peril to the German-speaking citizens' religion. However, following his death in 1758, his son Christopher quietly co-operated in the movement to found a public school in Germantown .

 

On December 6, 1759 at the inn, of Dan iel Mackinett, later and now known as the Green Tree Tavern, a group of citizens met to organize the Union or Public School of Germantown , later popularly known as Germantown Academy . This school was established with both English and German departments headed respectively by David James Dove and Hilarius Becker or Baker. It was created in challenge to the efforts of outsiders who had assumed that the Germantowners would be unable to attempt such a project. Funds were subscribed and a lottery was conducted.  Ground at the southwest corner of Greene Street and School House Lane was acquired and the cornerstone of the first and main building was laid in 1760.

 

In 1775, the year of the battles of Lexington and Concord , the residents of upper Germantown , in answer to the need for a school in their section, erected the Concord School on the Main Street above old Abington Road , now known as Washington Lane . In 1845 the Germantown Friends School was established on Coulter Street for children of the Meeting. In later years its doors were opened to the boys and girls of parents who valued the educational influences and ideals of the Society of Friends.

 

The need for disseminating knowledge and furthering the education of the older members of the community brought about the publication of newspapers, tracts and pamphlets. Very early in its history Germantowners busied themselves with what became in course of time an outstanding activity that resulted in Philadelphia becoming the most important American typographical center. This was due to the fact that the papermaking and type founding businesses were first put into successful operation in Germantown . Rittenhouse and William Dewees built the first two paper mills in America and later type and printing ink were produced in Germantown .

 

Standing at the head of the publishers was Christopher Sower whose newspaper "Der Hochdeutsch Pensylvanische Geschichts Schreiber" was issued in Germantown from 1739 to 1777. He and his son printed the Bible in the German language in 1743, 1763 and 1776. Copies of these early American sacred books are on exhibition in the Society's Museum.   Michael Billmeyer and Peter Leibert published "Die Germantauner Zeitung" bi-weekly between 1785 and 1793 as well as many books and treatises. The Sower press issued also almanacs and religious and secular publications designed for consumption in the rural communities as well as in Germantown . Their influence among the Germans in the colony was tremendous. What was perhaps the most important publication in the colonies made Germantown a cultural factor among the Germans who comprised about one-third of the population of Pennsylvania .

 

This leads us to the listing of Germantown Firsts as tabulated by Dr. Harry M. Tinkcom from the best sources available to him. The list, which I summarize, follows in chronological order:

 

1683. First permanent American colony organized and established independently of governmental or commercial patronage.

 

1685. First grist mill in Philadelphia County erected near Germantown by Richard Townsend. Later known as Roberts' Mill.

 

1688. First public protest against slavery in the New World .

 

1690. First theological treatise of importance to be published in British North America was Francis Dan iel Pastorius's "Four Small but Unusual and Very Useful Tracts."

 

1690. First paper mill erected in America by William Rittenhouse on Monoshone Creek, now Paper Mill Run.

 

1691. First chartered borough in Pennsylvania .

 

1699. First school book written and published in America was Pastorius's "A New Primer or Methodical Directions to Attain the True Spelling."

 

1705. First portrait in oil painted in Pennsylvania , and probably in America , was that of Johannes Kelpius, Pietist and a Hermit of the Wissahickon, painted by Dr. Christopher Witt.

 

1708. First Mennonite Meetinghouse in America was erected of logs in Germantown . Meetings were held in private houses as early as 1690. The 275th Anniversary of the coming of the Mennonites to America is being celebrated in 1958.

 

1716; First forge in Pennsylvania was erected by Thomas Rutter near the village of Germantown .

 

1723. First Dunkard Church in America was established in Germantown . The first meeting of Dunkards was held about the year 1720.

 

1727. First Lutheran Church founded in Philadelphia .

 

1742. First Moravian School in America founded by Count Zinzendorf.

 

1743. First conferences held in America to unify the various German churches.

 

1743. First Bible in a European language printed in America by Christopher Sower in Germantown .

 

1750. First work on general pedagogy, a "teaching methods" book written by Christopher Dock and published in 1770 in Germantown .

 

1774. First American to cast type from matrices of his own manufacture was Jacob Bey in Germantown . And the first "specialist" manufacturer of printing ink in the United States was Justus Fox of Germantown .

 

Germantowners likewise built and operated the stocking and linen weaving, fulling, tanning and wagon and carriage industries. Ashmead and Bringhurst made the "Germantown Wagon," a vehicle lighter than the chaise, famous in Eighteenth Century America. The community gained the right to be called "the first distinctively manufacturing town in Pennsylvania ."

 

It is apparent from the foregoing that from the very beginnings of Germantown its residents were greatly interested in things of the mind and spirit while not neglecting material matters. The early settlers speaking German and the English-speaking settlers who quickly followed them joined together to set an early example of the process of Americanization so typical of later times. The two major ethnic groups in William Penn's colony came to terms with languages and customs foreign to them and evolved a model of life in Germantown that persists to this day.

 

The unique charter granted in 1691 created a "close corporation" by naming certain persons as the first officials and authorizing them to meet annually thereafter and fill the offices. The people themselves did not elect the burgesses, councilmen, bailiffs, sheriffs, etc. After a time it was found that because of religious scruples many of the settlers declined to accept office. However, the real reason that government under the charter came to an end was the reluctance of the Germantowners to pay taxes to the county and provincial governments. They believed themselves to be autonomous and needed to pay taxes only locally. In any case a representative of the British crown upon investigation found that the Germantown officials had been acting illegally in making laws, managing public affairs and performing marriages.  On January 11, 1707 he declared the government at an end by terminating the charter. Thenceforth Germantown was but one of the many townships in the county until 1844 when it became an ordinary borough. As such it was merged with the other governmental entities in the County under the Consolidation Act of 1854 and thereby became the Twenty-second Ward of the City and County of Philadelphia .

 

On the political-military side Germantown was connected with various important actions in its early history. After nearly a century of peaceful existence, except for Indian alarms, in 1764 it suffered the invasion of several hundred of the Paxtang Rangers (Paxton Boys) who came from upstate areas to destroy a small band of Moravian Indians who had taken shelter in Philadelphia.  The Rangers had been organized to demand assistance from the provincial government against marauding Indians who had been murdering settlers as far east as Reading and Bethlehem . Through the efforts of Rev. Paul D. Bryzelius, a Lutheran minister, and later of Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Chew and others sent to Germantown by Governor Penn, the band was persuaded to return home. Little damage was suffered except for bullet holes in the weathercock on the Market Square Church steeple.

 

On October 4, 1777, only a, few weeks after the Battle of the Brandywine, General Washington's Continental Army attacked the British regulars under General Howe in a well-planned battle that was fought in the streets, houses and gardens of Germantown, particularly around the Chew House and the Johnson House. The battle was lost for two reasons. One was the great difficulty encountered in coordinating the movements of the several columns of troops marching south from the Skippack area over the Ridge, Germantown and Limekiln Pikes. Another was the presence of a heavy fog which caused great confusion among the troops which, fired upon by their comrades, precipitated a retreat.

 

However, the battle proved that there was spirit and determination in the American Army. The fact that, so soon after the defeat at the Brandywine , the troops could mount an attack on the British Regulars and only very narrowly miss a great victory inspired them to continue the war. In France this engagement's significance was not lost sight of. Coming close to the news of the British debacle at Saratoga the conduct of Washington and his men at Germantown persuaded the French to ally themselves with the Americans. The result finally was British capitulation at Yorktown .

 

For several weeks in the summer of 1793 and again during the summer of 1794, President George Washington and his family, fleeing from yellow fever in the City, occupied the Morris-Deshler mansion on the west side of the Market Square. All cabinet members but one of the new government of the United States met in Germantown during those periods. Meetings were attended by Thomas Jeff erson, Alexander Hamilton, Edmund Randolph, Henry Knox and others who themselves resided in the community while it was the seat of the executive branch of the National Government.

 

Life in Germantown resumed its peaceful way and comfortable living became more general. The architecture changed from that of the typical Germantown house to the more sophisticated dwelling of the Federal period. Luxury came in. All Germantowners, including what were then considered landed gentlemen, had from the earliest days kept gardens primarily to provide fruit and vegetables for the table. With the coming of the Nineteenth Century ornamental gardens became the vogue. The increase of wealth and sophistication brought about the noteworthy gardens at Wyck, Upsala, Grumblethorpe and Vernon . Charles Willson Peale's fine garden at Belfield was "the admiration of numerous visitors."

 

The period preceding the Revolution was the great era in Germantown . During the first hundred years it was self-sufficient, quite independent, a distinctive entity. Thereafter it became more and more definitely associated with the life of Philadelphia .

 

It never thereafter fully reasserted its separate cultural identity. The city people first entered the community in search of better air and more pleasant living than was available amid the miasmas and fevers of the tidewater metropolis. John Wister, who built his "big house" in 1744 as a summer home, was followed by many other Philadelphians.   In the Federal Period (1783 to 1812) the development of Germantown as Philadelphia 's first suburb proceeded apace. But the old German community did not lose its character, not even after its incorporation in 1854 with all the other governmental units of the county into the City of Philadelphia .

 

Germantown today is an important section of a great city. But it is far more than that. With its many churches, libraries and schools, public and private, its homes and gardens, its business and industrial areas, it is a distinct community. It has a culture, a personality and an atmosphere of its own. Tradition permeates its life.

 

Its first highway, once an Indian trail leading through the forest, saw the comings and goings of the devout founders who had come to create a new home in the wilderness. They were followed over the years by the thousands of immigrants who moved north and west over the Great Road to what became known as the Pennsylvania Dutch country where they created their farms. The wise and talented leaders of the German Township knew well their Main Street and the lanes that cut across it in increasing number as the settlement grew and prospered. American and British soldiers, Washington and other great men of the Revolution and the nation in its early years were acquainted with our community and passed over its streets and lanes. Clergymen, educators, authors, doctors, lawyers, shopkeepers, industrialists and other men and women have given Germantown its character by virtue of their gifts and accomplishments for nearly three centuries. It is to be hoped that this character will be maintained in a changing world. The preservation of its ancient structures, symbols of a fine heritage, will give some assurance of that result.

 

It was on either side of Main Street that the first simple homes were built, in turn to be succeeded by more elaborate residences and then largely by shops and other business establishments. Progress in an expanding community has taken its toll but there still remain scores of structures of the Colonial and Federal Periods of which any city would be glad to boast.

 

In the November issue of this magazine will appear a listing of sites and of the better known houses and other buildings that survive from the early days. Commencing at the southern end of Germantown at the foot of Naglee's hill, near the present Wayne Junction of the Reading Company, the reader will be taken along Main Street to the north, making short excursions on the way.

 

It is the duty of the community and the purpose of the Germantown Historical Society to preserve the surviving houses. It is important that they continue to evoke for us memories of a great past and to serve as inspiration to those of coming generations. It is essential that our successors in turn honor those who preceded them and give thought to their accomplishments in the area of the mind and the spirit

 

The author makes no claim to originality nor does he pretend to have researched early records for new data regarding the ancient community of which we are all so proud. The information given has been gleaned from publications, in and out of print, that have been offered to the public as follows:

 

1.        "The Guide Book to Historic Germantown," written by Charles Francis Jenkins, a founder and former President of the Society, published by it in 1902 and reprinted in 1904, 1915 and 1926.

 

2.        "Washington Visits Germantown," also written by Mr. Jenkins and published by the Society in 1932.

 

3.        "Historic Germantown ," published in 1955 by the American Philosophical Society following the survey conducted by Grant M. Simon for our Society with funds obtained by our former President, the late Leighton P. Stradley, Esq., from the Olin Foundation. The section devoted to the early history of Germantown and written by Dr. Harry B. and Dr. Margaret Tinkcom contains reproductions of four ancient maps. In it and in the section on architecture by Mr. Simon there are twenty-two cuts showing portraits and scenes from the past. In the survey section of the book eighty-five structures, most of which still exist, are described and their floor plans shown. Of these structures there are 138 photographs showing their appearance in long past times and at mid-Twentieth Century.

 

4.        "Portrait of a Colonial City " by Harold Donaldson Eberlein and Courtlandt Van Dyke Hubbard, published in 1939 by the J. B. Lippincott Company. This elaborate volume contains fascinating descriptions and photographs of 20 of the more famous houses of Germantown and vicinity. Approximately one-fourth of this outstanding book is devoted to our community.

 

5.        "Old Germantown ," published in 1926 by David McKay Company, contains reproductions of 25 etchings by the artist Herbert Pullinger together with brief descriptions of the houses portrayed.

 

6.        "Joseph Pennell's Pictures of Philadelphia," published by J. B. Lippincott Company in 1926, reproduces thirteen beautiful etchings of well-known Germantown scenes done by the artist following his thirty year absence abroad that ended in 1912. The same artist as a young man in the early 1880's created a memorable series of etchings to illustrate "The Germantown Road and its Associations" consisting of eight articles written by Townsend Ward and published in Volumes 5 and 6 of the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography in 1881 and 1882. Single copies of these prints are occasionally available.

 

7.        "Quaint Old Germantown in Pennsylvania," collated, arranged and annotated by Dr. Julius Friedrich Sachse and published in 1913, contains reproductions of sixty former landmarks of Germantown and vicinity drawn by John Richards on zinc. Richards was wounded in the Civil War. His drawings, made while he was convalescent at the army hospital in Chestnut Hill, have preserved to us views of landmarks of the Germantown of days gone by.

 

8.        "Ancient and Modern Germantown, Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill," by Rev. S. F. Hotchkin was published by P. W. Ziegler & Co. in 1889. It contains accounts of Germantown . history and brief biographies and descriptions of well-known landmarks.  It is illustrated with photographs and with reproductions of the work of Pennell, Richards, and other artists.

 

9.        " Germantown 1683-1933" by Edward W. Hocker, librarian of the Germantown Historical Society, was published by the author in 1933, on the 250th Anniversary of the founding. It is an authoritative history of the community based upon meticulous research among original records.

 

From the above publications the present author borrowed most extensively. He has used verbatim the phraseology of Mr. Hocker and the. two Drs. Tinkcom in reviewing the history of Germantown . In the article to follow in the November issue of the CRIER much of the data on Germantown houses has been taken from Mr. Eberlein's authoritative book and Mr. Jenkins' two delightful little books.


Founders of Germantown

 

The Founders of Germantown

ARRIVED AT PHILADELPHIA ,

AUGUST 20, 1683 , ON THE

SHIP AMERICA

 

FRANCIS DANIEL PASTORIUS, agent of six residents of Frankfort-on-the-Main who had bought 15,000 acres of land in Pennsylvania . He was to supervise the settlement of the tract.

 

JACOB SCHUMACHER (Shoemaker), from Mainz , near Frankfort , a turner. In 1692 he was coroner and in 1693 sheriff in Germantown 's independent government. He became a member of the Society of Friends. His later years were spent in Philadelphia , and he was the ancestor of a branch of the Shoemaker family, others being descended from Peter Schumacher, who came to Germantown in 1685, and George Schumacher, who arrived the following year.

 

ISAAC DILBECK, a weaver, with his wife and two sons. He lived in Germantown until 1696, and thereafter made his home in Whitemarsh Township .

 

GEORGE WERTMULLER, from Switzerland .  The spring after settling in Germantown he wrote to relatives in Europe that the farmers here "live better than lords. If a workman will work four or five days a week he can live grandly." They could make 100 bottles of wine from the fruit of one wild grapevine he added.

JACOB GASPER.

 

CONRAD BACHER, whose name also was written Rutters.

 

FRANCES SIMPSON, an English servant employed by Pastorius, with her two children. She was probably a widow. By the following spring Pastorius was experiencing the trials of the "servant problem," for he wrote that a Dutch maid he had employed would not live with the English servant and the latter was about to leave. The Dutch maid was not entirely satisfactory either, and Pastorius was desirous of engaging a German woman to work for him.

 

CORNELIUS BOM, a pastry baker, was with Pastorius' party, but remained for a time in Philadelphia , where he established a bakery. A few years later he had his home in Germantown , where he died in 1689. His daughter married Anthony Morris, progenitor of the family of that name that has been prominent in the annals of Philadelphia .

 

 

ARRIVED AT PHILADELPHIA ,

OCTOBER 6, 1683 , ON THE

SHIP CONCORD

 

LENERT ARETS, of Crefeld, and his wife, who was a sister of Willem Strepers. Arets bought 1000 acres.

 

JOHANNES (JOHN) BLEIKERS, from Crefeld, his wife and infant son, the latter having been born on the voyage to America . After living in Germantown for some years Bleikers made his home in Bucks County .

 

PETER KEURLIS, from Crefeld. He was constable 1692-4.

 

TUNES KUNDERS (Dennis Conrad), a blue dyer from Crefeld, and his wife and three sons. Kunders was a burgess and served as recorder in 1696.

 

JAN (JOHN) LENSEN, a linen weaver from Crefeld. He was the only one of the Drefeld party who remained a Mennonite. In 1701 he declined the office of burgess.

 

JAN LUCKEN (John Lukens) and his wife. He was constable in 1691 and sheriff 1694-5. His wife Mary is believed to have been a sister of Reinert Tisen.

 

ABRAHAM OP DEN GRAEFF (Updegrave, Updegraff), a linen weaver. He and his two brothers were burgesses in Germantown , and Abraham was elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1689, 1690 and 1692. He removed to the Perkiomen region in 1704 and died there.

 

DIRCK OP DEN GRAEFF, a linen weaver. He was bailiff in 1693-4, and died in 1697.

 

HERMAN OP DEN GRAEFF, a linen Weaver, and his wife. He was town president of Germantown prior to incorporation, in 1691. He removed to Delaware about 1701, and died there.

 

MARGARETHA OP DEN GRAEFF, sister of the three brothers named. She married Peter Schumacher, Jr.

 

THE MOTHER of the Op den Graeffs, who died a few months after coming to Germantown .

 

JAN SIMENS (John Seimens), from Crefeld, and his wife, the latter being of the Lucken family. Simens died the first winter in Germantown , and in 1685 his widow married Willem Strepers.

 

WILLEM STREPERS (Wilhelm or William Streeper), from Crefeld. He was a cousin of the Op den Graeffs and a brother of Jan Strepers who bought much land in Pennsylvania and came here later. Willem Strepers was unmarried when he arrived, but in 1685 he married the widow of Jan Simens. He died in 1717.

 

ABRAHAM TUNES (Tunnis), a linen weaver. He was a burgess in 1694.

 

REINERT TISEN (Reynier Tyson), from Crefeld. He was a burgess for several years. In 1701 he bought 250 acres in Abington Township , one mile south of Fitzwatertown, in what is now Montgomery County , and lived there until his death in 1745, at the age of 86 years. He was single when he arrived, and in 1785 he married. Some accounts say his wife was Margaret Kunders, a sister of Tones Kunders, and others say she was Margaret Strepers, a sister ot Willem Strepers.

 

DIRCK TISEN (Derrick Tyson), from Crefeld, a younger brother of Reinert Tisen. He did not marry, and died a few years after his arrival here.

 

 

SETTLERS WHO CAME IN 1684

 

Among the settlers who came to Germantown the year after the place was founded were the following from Muhlheim:

 

Wigard and Gerhard Levering, who later were the first settlers of Roxborough.

 

Ennecke Klostermann, who became the wife of Francis Dan iel Pastorius, in 1688.

 

Evert in den Hoffe, ancestor of the DeHaven family.

 

Herman Op de Trap, Jan Linderman, Levin Haberdinck, Michael Renberg and Klas Jansen (Nicholas Johnson).

 

These were from Crefeld:

 

Jacob Isaac van Bebber. In his house the first services of the Mennonites and of the Wissahickon Pietists were held.

 

Mathias Van Bebber, who later owned much land in the Skippack region, which was called Van Bebber's Township.

 

Walter Seimen, Hans Peter Umstat (Umstead), William Hosters, Kernel Thieszen (Cornelius Tyson), Herman Dors. Paul Kuster, and Jean de la Plaine.

 

These came from Mors : Thomas Rutter, who established the first iron works in Pennsylvania , near Pottstown ; Kornelius Siverts, Dan iel Scherkes, H. J. van Aaken.

 

Other settlers were: Hubert Brauwer, from Neuweid; Jan Neusz (Nice), from Cologne ; Gerhard Hendricks, Henrick Buchholtz, Arnold van Fossen and Philip Hanselman, whose home towns are not known.

 

Note: Copies of the following publications above described may be obtained at the Society's museum:

1. "A Guide Book to Germantown." Price $1 for a bound copy.

2. " Washington Visits Germantown."  Price $1 for a bound copy and 50 cents for a paper back.

3. "Historic Germantown." Price $5.

There may also be purchased for 25 cents the recently published brochure, "The Battle of Germantown," paper back.

 

THE GERMANTOWN HISTORICAL SOCIETY, founded originally as the Site and Relic Society, is a privately supported institution of elected members dedicated to the fostering of the cultural traditions of Germantown , the preservation of its historic landmarks and the maintenance of the Society's Museum and Library. The Society is dependent upon the support of members in carrying out its missions.

 


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