Written by Forrest Moyer on March 11, 2020
Originally published in the MHEP Newsletter, May 1993, this rare letter details a family conflict over inheritance and possibly religion.
Elizabeth Oblinger was a sister of Christian Meyer/Moyer, early Mennonite deacon at Franconia, and sister-in-law of Henry Funk, the bishop. Here her husband, Nicholas, writes from far away — “beyond the Blue Mountain” (Palmerton, PA area) — to complain that Elizabeth has not received the inheritance due from her father’s estate. Nicholas wonders if perhaps the old father (Christian Moyer
Written by Forrest Moyer on February 11, 2020
Many of you know the story of the “Saucon Incident” during the American War for Independence — eleven men of the Saucon Mennonite congregation in Northampton County were imprisoned for refusing to pledge allegiance to Pennsylvania, and all their moveable property was sold on auction. If you don’t know the story, read it here. (The linked book, Sweet Land of Liberty by Francis S. Fox, is available in the MHC Library, along with John Ruth’s account of the incident in
Written by Forrest Moyer on January 10, 2020
Mahlon G. Moyer (1853-1939) was raised in a Mennonite family of New Britain Township, Bucks County. As a young man he moved to Philadelphia and became a telegraph operator; married and started a family. Later he settled in North Wales, where he lived the rest of his life.
Unwilling to join the conservative Mennonite Church of his parents, Mahlon was baptized in the Presbyterian Church at age 28. His great-grandson, Robert “Bob” Walters, returned to the Mennonites and served as
Written by Forrest Moyer on March 22, 2019
My last blog post introduced Jacob Gross, an early Mennonite bishop of Deep Run. He had many descendants, including myself, who lived in eastern Pennsylvania; but some of the most interesting characters lived elsewhere.
An affluent and influential branch of the family were descendants of Jacob Gross Jr. (1780-1865) of Canada. Like his father, Jacob was a Mennonite bishop who was progressive and evangelical. Unlike his father, the younger Jacob was eventually silenced and left the Mennonite Church to join
Written by Forrest Moyer on February 6, 2019
David Gehman (1894-1969) grew up near Bally, Pennsylvania. His father was Enos Gehman, whose teenage journal of a trip to Philadelphia was published on this blog.
David’s memoir of his experiences as a conscientious objector during World War I is found in the J.C. Clemens Papers at the MHC (Hist. Mss. 3). It was first published in the MHEP Newsletter in 1983. Gehman’s accompanying note was not included, but an excerpt reveals how he came to record his memories and
Written by Forrest Moyer on December 6, 2018
In 2017, shortly before her death, Ruth Keeler Longacre donated a photo album and other papers that belonged to her mother, Florence Moyer Keeler (1898-1992) of Towamencin Township. Florence’s husband Henry died in a farming accident many years ago in 1946, and Florence never remarried, continuing to live at her husband’s family home on Keeler Road with her four unmarried children, Paul, William, Ruth and Laverne. Son Curtis Keeler, who was married to Verna Long, lived in Telford. They were
Written by Forrest Moyer on October 4, 2018
This article was first published in the MHEP Newsletter in June 1978. Photos are from Willoughby Moyer’s booklet on the Bean family (1975), unless otherwise noted.
Anna W. Kulp was born October 7, 1865 near Harmony Square, later known as Creamery, in Skippack Township. Her parents were Isaac K. Kulp (1822-1892) and Susanna H. Williams (1823-1871). When she was six years old, her mother died, and young “Annie” went to live with Isaac K. Gottshall and his wife, Sarah B. Kulp,
Written by Forrest Moyer on August 7, 2018
Recently a set of local home movies by Peter Macinskas (1922-1969) was donated to the MHC by his son Dean Macinskas. The movies, mostly short clips (see examples below), provide an exceptional window into Vernfield and Lower Salford Township during the 1950s, especially his wife’s Price family and the Indian Creek Church of the Brethren.
Peter was the third generation of a Catholic family that immigrated to eastern Pennsylvania from Lithuania. He was born in 1922 and served in the 20th
Written by Forrest Moyer on June 1, 2018
A beautiful show towel was donated to the MHC last year, bearing the name Elizabeth Ruth and date 1836. Towels like this were made for display, not use, by young women in preparation for decorating their homes after marriage. At the bottom of this towel is a fine drawn-work panel featuring peacocks (or geese), hearts and a pot of flowers.
Gift of Beulah Hendricks Rittenhouse (2017.44.1)
The maker of the towel, Elizabeth Ruth (1819-1888), had an unusual story. She
Written by Forrest Moyer on May 16, 2018
In February 1979, the MHEP Newsletter published notes from a talk by Mennonite pastor Gerald Studer on the topic of “powwowing”—In German, Braucherei—a combination of faith healing and folk medicine. This ancient practice brought by Pennsylvania Germans from Europe has been preserved in pockets of the American countryside to the present day. Opinions have varied in the Pa. German community about the effectiveness and propriety of powwowing. Individuals from all religious groups—Lutheran, Reformed, Mennonite, Brethren, Evangelical, etc.—made use of powwow