Trying to give a complete report of the past 12 days would result in a very lengthy post, so I will try to recap and touch on the highlights.
Don Good, from Texas, was the first to arrive. He flew into Harrisburg and showed up on our doorstep around 10:45p.m. on September 15. The next day was Sunday, so we went to church in the morning and after lunch drove down to spend the rest of the day in the Bowmansville area. One of the stops was at the Good Homestead on Good Road, which is now owned by Luke Burkholder. We walked around the grounds and talked to Luke outside. One of the big questions was where Jacob Good built his first (probably log) house. Luke told us he dug up some big foundation stones when he was burying a fuel tank next to the house. That was pretty clear evidence to us that the first house stood very nearly on the same spot as the current stone house, which was built in 1852.
Another big question was, "Where are the original deeds to the property?" Don asked Luke if he has any old deeds. He said he has one and took us out to the office of his shop where he opened the safe and pulled out a sheepskin deed from 1769 transferring the property from Jacob I to Jacob II. What a treasure! We could not believe we had found something so rare and valuable on the very first day.
Monday (17th) was a day to tour the local area here and tell Don what I had found about his Lauck ancestors. The Host church, which stands about a quarter mile from our house has record of some of his Laucks being married and baptized there.
Tuesday (18th) we spent the day at the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society. We found a few things and talked to Carolyn Wenger who is the Archivist. Don told her how excited we were to find the deed on Sunday. He went on to say it is the first deed transferring the land from father to son but not the Patent Jacob I got from the Penns. Carolyn calmly said, "I think I have that one." Don and I looked at each other in disbelief. But a few minutes later, Carolyn came back with the Patent in her hand.
A sheepskin deed and Patent in the first three days!! I had very little hope of finding these old documents and to find two of them in three days time was far more than we could have dreamed. Don's ancestor, Jacob II, moved on to Virginia and died there. His son, Abraham, stayed in PA and got the farm. So the two documents we found are the very two which contain the signatures of Don's two Good ancestors.
Wednesday (19th) we went back to Lancaster to visit the courthouse and Lancaster County Historical Society. We got copies of a few wills, deeds, and other tidbits but nothing as big as a sheepskin deed. He went to the airport at Harrisburg to pick up his two cousins, Ginny Traycik and Meredith Mauck, who arrived (from Florida and Kansas) in the late afternoon. Another cousin, Millie and her husband Wayne Croy (from Missouri), also arrived on Wednesday afternoon but went straight to their motel at Reading.
Thursday (20th) was the group's "tourist day." We were at the Leola Produce Auction at 9 a.m. I had called Noah Oberholtzer (who works there) to make arrangements to visit with them on Sunday so he knew who I was bringing. When I introduced him to Don, Noah said, "I saw there were strangers here, but you don't look like a foreigner. If you told me you were from Brownstown I would believe it." That "foreigner" comment was repeated for the duration of the trip! We did other touristy things like Bird-in-Hand, Intercourse, Ephrata Cloister, and wound up at Jonathan and Ada Martin where Don and Jonathan had a good genealogical conversation while the ladies looked at quilts.
Friday (21st) found the group back in Bowmansville where we met Henry Horning and his wife. Henry lives in the area and knows the people and places better than I do. He was our tour leader there, beginning with the grave site of Jacob Good I at Pine Grove Mennonite Church.
The whole group toured the Good Homestead. Don had called Luke and asked him to get the deed out of the safe again so he could photograph it. While the group toured the house, I sat down and transcribed the entire deed directly from the sheepskin. It was easier to do that way than to try do it from photographs. The thing was about 20 inches long and full of writing. It took me a lot longer than I expected, but I got every word. Our next appointment was with Ron Funk who had agreed to show us through the Bowmansville Roller Mill which he owns and is preserving. He gave us a thorough 2 hour tour which was very interesting. In the evening Ron and his wife went with us to Shady Maple Smorgasbord for supper. The Good cousins all declared they had never seen such a large restaurant or choice of foods. Saturday (22nd) the Good cousins went on a tour of Philadelphia sponsored by the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society. While they were gone, we had our day crammed with other activities which included a sale, wedding, and school reunion.
Sunday (23rd) the whole group went to church with us and came to our house for dinner. After dinner Millie and Wayne left for home. The rest of us piled in their rented van and drove to Noah Oberholtzer's place at Leola by way of Ephrata and Fairmount hill. Noah and his wife went with us to see the spring at Groffdale which attracted Hans Graeff to settle there. Peter Gut (Good), the father of Jacob I, owned 100 acres of land across the road from Hans Graeff. After seeing the spring and Peter's land, we went back to Noah's place. He gave the "foreigners" a buggy ride.
Monday (24th) Don, Ginny, Meredith, and I headed for Virginia to see the place Jacob Good II lived from about 1800 until his death in 1803. The first day was largely spent touring the Gettysburg Battlefield. We hired a guide to ride with us and tell us what we were seeing. It was well worth the $45 cost. We got to Harrisonburg, VA by supper time and checked into our separate Comfort Inn rooms. David Steinberg had agreed to be our VA guide. He came to meet us at the motel and make plans for the next day.
Tuesday (25th) David Steinberg met us at 8:30 a.m. and was our navigator. Our first stop was the EMU library where we found some things and made a stack of copies. Then we visited a few cemeteries, including Singers Glen where Frances Good, the wife of Jacob II was buried in 1826. She was the first person buried in this cemetery, followed by her son Daniel and his wife who were the second and third burials on this steep hill cemetery.