Saturday, July 09, 2005

Jacob Huber

The First of Many

Before Lititz came into existence, Jacob Huber lived adjacent, on the north side, to George Kline. Jacob Huber made a significant contribution to the development of this region, located 7 miles to the north of the City of Lancaster. After his land purchase, he built a log cabin, measuring 18’ x 20’. Then, circa 1733 – 1735, he built a building measuring 47 x 32 to be used as a Tavern, adjacent to the log cabin. This building remains today and is known as the Forgotten Seasons Bed & Breakfast.

Jacob was a proactive business man, realizing opportunites and developing them into realities. In addition to the Tavern, he participated in the layout of two major roads that I think without co-incidence, happened to intersect an eighth of a mile away from his newly built Tavern.

In 1739, Jacob was commissioned by the County of Lancaster to survey and improve Newport Road from Mt. Hope to Spring Garden area. This was done and he reported to the commissioners on November 4th, 1740 with the following recommendation, as noted in the "Lancaster County Pennsylvania Quarter Sessions Abstracts (1729 - 1742) Book 1, edited by Gary T. Hawbaker:

"Report of the road in Warwick Township "from the Provincial Road near Joseph Jervis's to Private way Leading into Pexton Road not far from Michael Betley's". Land and places the road passes: "Beginning at a Marked Black oak in the Provincial Road afsd. about half a mile to the westward of Joseph Jervis' Mill", "to William Richardson's fence", between William Richardsons & James McCurdys", "to James Youngs Smith Shop", "to John Abbeys Mill", "Between Saml. Graffs & Christ. Wengers", "to Conestogoe Creek", "between Edward ffurnea & John Smith" , " Cocalico Creek then Down by the Side of the Said Creek....to the ffording place", "to Michl. Bowers Corner", "to Ulrick Hubers run", "to Jacob Hubers", to Christ. Bombarger", "to Jacob Conrades", "to Adam Keeners", "to an Unlaid out Road Leading to Pexton Road & to John ffredricks Mill".

Again, Jacob Huber, along with his neighbor George Kline, were requested by the Court in November of 1741, "to lay out a road from the Town of Lancastr. Towrds Tolpehocken".

In February of 1742, their report stated "Road from the Town of Lancaster toward Tolpehocken". Land and Places the road passes: "Beginning at the Court House in Lancaster thence along Queen Street North", "to the end of Mr. Hamiltons field", "to the Road between Jacob Hov(er?) & Chris Bumbarger", to La[?] Hoffs Line", "to ye Creek by John Brubakers land", "to the lane between George Albright & Jacob Keesey", "to He[nry?] Humrys Land", "to Durst Thomas", "to Martin Thomas' run", "to Peter Beckers", "to Adam Stump", "to Henry Myer", "to ye Great Road to Cobles". Confirmed."

A couple items of note in the previous paragraph include the following:

Today, Route 501 follows roughly the same path as this road from the Courthouse in Lancaster to Toplehocken mentioned above.

Also, this same road passed through George Kline's property. Today's intersection of Main Street or Route 772 and Route 501 falls within the original George Kline property.

This road was recommended for laid out in February of 1742 and this road was to go from the Courthouse in Lancaster to Tolpehocken. It was in December of 1742, that Count Zinzendorf traveled from Bethlehem to Oley to Tolpehocken to Jacob Huber's Tavern passed George Kline's property to the Lancaster Courthouse. It was on this journey that Count Zinzendorf stayed at Jacob Huber's Tavern and assembled the local German farmers to share with them his vision of starting a church mission. The result of this trip was George Kline eventually donating his property to the Moravian Church several years later and which went on to become today's Lititz.

Around 1750, Jacob started a cast iron furnace operation located at the intersection of today's Route 501 and Route 322. This operation was named after his daughter, Elizabeth.

A young man in his early twenties, named Henry William Steigel from Cologne, Germany arrived at the furnace in 1752 and began working as a clerk for Jacob. On November 7, 1752, Henry and Jacob Huber's daughter, Elizabeth were married. On November 5, 1756, Barbara Steigel was born to this young couple. On February 3, 1758, a second child named Elizabeth was born. On February 13, 1758, Elizabeth Huber Steigel died from complications of child birth at her father's home.

Two and a half months later on May 6, 1758, Henry William Steigel brought in Charles Stedman, Alexander Stedman and John Barr, wealthy investors from Philadelphia, to purchase Elizabeth Furnace from Jacob Huber. Then six months after that, Henry William Steigel married Elizabeth Holtz.

Elizabeth, the daughter of Elizabeth and Henry William, married William Old. Their second child, Joseph, went on to marry Rebecca Ege, who was the daughter of Judge Ege of Charming Forge. Their third child, James, died at four years old on May, 10, 1777. You can find his grave site next to his grandmother Elizabeth Steigel's grave in Brickerville.

One interesting note is that Robert Coleman, the individual who would eventually own Elizabeth Furnace (his family still owns the property to this day) married Anne Old, the brother of William Old, who married Elizabeth Steigel.

The Old's and the Coleman's went on to become the Iron Master "Dynasty" in Lancaster, Lebanon and Berks County. The Coleman's personally knew many Presidents and there was an Ambassador in their family line.

Back to Jacob Huber.....poor relations eventually developed between Jacob Huber and "Baron" Steigel. In his will dated January 26th, 1767, Jacob Huber wrote "Item, I give and bequeath yo my Son in Law, Henry William Sheglar (Stiegel) the sum of one Shilling sterling, and I exclude him and his heirs forever from all further claim to my Estate either real or Personal."

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