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Trail of History Last Updated: Jan 20, 2012 - 10:53:53 AM


Trail of History for Week of January 20, 2012
Jan 20, 2012 - 10:53:04 AM

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    This is part three of a series of articles, some of which have done in the past, but most were done by Dr. Cool Snyder in 1992 about log houses. The articles begin in December, 1991.

Beckley House
    This early log house had numerous owners for a variety of purposes during its many years reaching as far back as 1813. It was used for a school, a home, a county office for a short time, a buggy shop, and a rental property. It was a school used by a Mr. Hesser as early as 1815 and the “German School” by 1819, and managed by a school committee of the German Reformed Church.
    It would appear that Frederick A. Gutelius served as the chairman, whose residence was at the opposite corner of the street. He was a blacksmith, a surveyor and a member of the first board of the county commissioners and an officer of the German Reformed Church, a Justice of the Peace and surely a leader among the community.
    In 1819 the German Reformed and Lutheran Church later the Elias Church hired Henry Christian Andrew Harmon Young as the organist of the church and the teacher of the German School. His family named was spelled originally Jung.
    He was born in Wilsdruff, Saxony, March 12, 1792 and came to the U.S. in 1817 and settled in West Buffalo Twp. in Union Co. In 1819 he became the teacher of the German School in Youngmanstown and the organist of the German Reformed and Lutheran United Church. He also added additional occupations, such as penmanship and frakturs. Shortly after arriving in Youngmanstown, he married Frances Priscilla Slater. Rev. Fries presided. They would have eight children, two of whom were born in Youngmanstown. Their years in Mifflinburg were troublesome and he was dismissed by the German Reformed Committee handling the German School.
    Gutelius prepared a statement of his behavior which the committee accepted. It reads, “The conduct of our schoolmaster, Henry Jung, and the defense by a portion of the consistory of the Elias Church in Mifflinburg (alias Youngmanstown) are as follows: First, the conduct of the aforesaid Jung, as far as I am acquainted with, the aforesaid Jung, I have found that he does not speak the truth, for he has tried not only secretly but even in public to lie to and deceive the people in my neighborhood. He said to the constable and other people, ‘It is all the same to me if they put me in prison for there I can pay my debts all at the same time.’ Second, he is subject to drunkenness, or as we generally say to excessive toperism, if he has opportunity in any way to get drink. Third, he had lived thus with his wife, that she has left him. The reason why she left him I cannot say but this much has been said to me, namely that when their first child was two or three weeks old, quarrels arouse between them, that went so far that he took a knife opened his coat and told his wife to take the knife and run it through his heart. The maid or nurse whom they had at that time left them and came running in all haste to my house and told us how the schoolmaster was conducting himself. I said little, or almost nothing, to it all, but my wife got up and went with her to the schoolmaster’s house to stop the quarrel. I could give more reasons for her going away but they would be too comprehensive. I shall write only this one here. ‘A short time after the above mentioned quarrel took place, the schoolmaster wanted to have his child baptized. On Sunday morning, or which day the child was to be baptized, his wife asked him who was to hold the child at the baptism. He answered that they themselves would. She said that she herself could not be for she herself was not baptized. He replied that she should be baptized first and then the child, and she answered that she was not fixed or ready, and wouldn’t do it. Then he replied that they could both go to the devil.’ The child was not baptized at that time. Whether it is baptized now I do not know. I have not further proof of that which I have here written concerning the baptism except as the schoolmaster’s own wife told it to my wife. But I am sure that my wife would never have told it to me if she had not heard it from the schoolmaster’s wife herself. However, immediately after the same quarrel that they had about the baptism she left him. Fourth, And when she left him he went about with another woman, and said in my house several times that he wanted another wife right away. Whereupon my wife earnestly reproved him and told him he was sinning deeply. He answered that was nothing as his wife had run away from him, etc.”

German School
    The school side was on the south side of the house, and the home on the north side. Some fifty years ago Thomas Beckley family lived there, restored the plaster and found a wooden blackboard behind the former, identifying the school. The school was removed in 1857 when both the Reformed and Lutheran Churches moved to the 400 block on Market St. leaving the “Elias” building empty.
    The Mifflinburg School board then purchased it and modified the interior to consolidate the Franklin and German schools. In the 1880’s Isaiah Henry built buggies on the lot, either in the old school room or elsewhere, but in the early 1920’s Miss Virginia Anspach was offering lessons on the piano in the living room on the south side. Meanwhile, a porch reaching the two front doors was removed and two small porches replaced it. Also two kitchens were added at the back. The double house on the north has a hallway, whereas the one of the south has the stairway in the living room. The logs remain in their places.
    In 1930, the Census shows a Thomas Beckley 25, wife Miriam 25, and son, Thomas, 2. The 1880 Census for Mifflinburg shows: Isaiah Henry, 49, coachmaker; wife Isabella 46, daughter, Ada.

Holman House
    The house and office of Dr. David Holman at 101 Chestnut Street reaches back to the early 19th century. But it had been in the 14 Mile Narrows where it stood as a tavern and stable for grovers who carried crops from Rebersburg in Brush valley to the West Branch of the Susquehanna River for delivery down the river and on the canal to markets. The building stood at the crossing of the Tunis Run road, about a mile west of the current Raymond B. Winter State Park.
    When the traffic slowed here, a descendant of John Thompson, the original builder, dismantled the house, and drovers hauled its logs to Mifflinburg where they were unloaded just east of the town on the Lewisburg, Mifflinburg Turnpike.
    The new house was spacious with large rectangular rooms and high ceilings. It also had a fine stairway with 180-degree turn. The newel, balustrades and railing provided a beautiful stairway. The floors of wide pine boards remain. The original kitchen has been subdivided for the doctor’s profession and an addition has been added at the rear. The living rooms continue along the front entrance and the latter has been enlarged. A porch was added on the front in the 1920’s. Evergreen trees as well as an old pear tree remain in the yards.
    Changes in the structure have continued by the owner. Owners who have lived in the house have been, Samuel Schrack, Melancthon Keister, Seth Zimmerman, Albert Klinger and Harry Klinger, and O.R. Laney. The property was purchased by the Holmans in 1985.


© Copyright 2012 by Mifflinburg Telegraph Weekly Newspaper

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