Extant Historic Structures Built from 1800 – 1825

In the lead article in the April 2018 issue of The Historian, David I. Miller remembers:

The stone house of Abraham Beachy (1757 – 1833), West Salisbury, Penn., built in 1809, with stones found in the farm.

Growing up near Grantsville, Maryland, I was aware of some of the historic places of the area. I associated in some way with the historical reminders featured in this article. I frequented Stanton’s Mill, at Little Crossings, with its services of milling livestock feed, dealing in commercial feeds, and producing its own brand of buckwheat flour. I had occasions of being on the homestead where the John Hochstetler house stood on its original foundation on the Omar Bender farm near Summit Mills; I played there with my cousins. Frequent drives on State Route 669 took us past the admirable Abraham Beachy house near West Salisbury; even a child could sense that it was not an ordinary house. The stone arch bridge across the Casselman River was admired for its structure and historicity and is remembered for the deep-down-gut feel when crossing its zenith even at a reasonable speed in a car. The bridge was a challenge when my father pastured our cattle in the adjoining woods; we stretched a wire fence across the river under the bridge (with its acoustical echo) to keep the cattle from wandering upstream when the water was low.

The structures noted in this article date back to the period of 1800 to 1825. Our taking notice of these structures relates to the current focus of the Casselman Historians and The Historian on the Amish Mennonite experience in the Casselman Valley in that period. The two residential houses were built by Amish families, one by about 1800 and the other in 1809. The mill and the bridge are not of Amish origin, but each represents usage and culture that relates to the historical experience of the time.

These structures represent housing, industry, and transportation. Each has been preserved through the stewardship of those who had or took responsibility for maintenance and restoration at crucial points of time. After more then two centuries, we have standing today Stanton’s Mill of 1797, the John Hochstetler house of circa 1800, the Abraham Beachy house of 1809, and the Casselman River Bridge of 1813. [Click here for the entire article]


John L. Ruth and James W. Lowry to speak at Historians September meeting

The Annual Meeting of the Casselman Historians will be held September 14 & 15, 2018 at Maple Glen Mennonite Church, Grantsville, Maryland
Schedule: Friday 7:00 P.M.; Saturday 9:00 A.M.; Lunch served at noon.
Subject: The Oppression of the Early Swiss Anabaptists and the Dutch Response of Aid

Friday Evening
Swiss Oppression of Anabaptism and Response of the Oppressed . . .

  1. In the Time of Zwingli and Bullinger (1525-1575) – John L. Ruth, Harleysville, Pennsylvania, historical researcher, author of numerous historical publications, editorial advisor in Documents of Brotherly Love series.
  2. In the Purge of Zurich and the campaign against the Bernese (1575-1660) – James W. Lowry, Maugansville, Maryland, researcher, translator, and compiler of original documents in European archives; author/compiler of Documents of Brotherly Love series.

 Saturday Forenoon

  1. Early Oppression and Subsequent Freedom of the Dutch Anabaptists – John L. Ruth
  2. Dutch Anabaptist Response to the Plight of the Swiss Anabaptists – James W. Lowry

The Documents of Brotherly Love series consists of three volumes with a combined total of more than 2,200 pages of original documents transcribed and translated with annotation and commentary by James L. Lowry. These books contain nearly 325 documents from the years 1608 to 1711. The topics listed above are based on these primary sources.

Pre-registration is not required. This is a public meeting. For location and more information on the meeting, click here.


John Hochstetler’s “little house”

A restored frame  house of 1800 vintage, an extant stone house of 1810, a hand-written tally sheet of votes for ordination in 1809,  the conclusions of an Amish ministers’ meeting in 1809, the first Amish family migration to Ohio in 1809, the building of the famous stone arch bridge across the Casselman River in 1813 — these are points of reference in David I. Miller’s article on “The Amish Mennonite Church of Somerset County, Pennsylvania, 1800 to 1825” in The Historian issue of January 2018, now available. Excerpt:

It was in this period that John Hochstetler wrote his will in 1805 with mention of “this little house.” That house, as identified by historian Paul V. Hostetler, was built in this early period of sawn lumber, not logs. It is known that the area had two sawmills as early as 1795. Other events in the period were:

  • The first Amish emigration to Ohio in 1809,
  • The ministerial (1809) and bishop (1813) ordinations of Benedict Miller,
  • A Pennsylvania Amish ministers’ meeting and a statement of discipline in 1809,
  • The building of a large stone house at West Salisbury by Abraham Beachy, 1810,
  • The tragedy at Summit Mills – the death of little Susanna Hochstetler, 1810,
  • Construction of the stone arch bridge across the Casselman River and extension of the National Pike through the area, 1813.