Monday, May 26, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
"I do not know the old and precise history of his [her father's] family, and I have not asked because it does not matter. Some time before the American Revolution they came from somewhere in Germany, for the sake of religious freedom. I do not know just when except that I know it was in time for one of his ancestors to be a courier to George Washington, and for two others to fight loyally under Washington's command. I say it does not matter because it is not as an individual that he is significant. If his life has any meaning for others than himself it is as a manifestation of a certain spirit in his country and his time. For he was a spirit, and a spirit made by that blind certainty, that pure intolerance, that zeal for mission, that contempt of man and earth, that high confidence in heaven, which our forefathers bequeathed to us."---Pearl S. Buck, Fighting Angel, p12-13
We walk the path of the ancient ones,
soon the shadows of our footprints the dream ones will walk.
Will our footprints be deep enough to follow
or will the winds erase them for all time?
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
At that time, Berks County was a wild and wooly place to live. Nicholas died in 1774 and by 1801 his son Christian moved to Leacock Township in Lancaster County which was a more safe place to live. The Stoltzfus house passed through a long succession of owners. In 1989 it was inhabited by squatters and then was abandoned. Mother Nature took over and covered the house with a curtain of dense foliage so its shameful state of disrepair could not be seen.
In the year 2000, some of the estimated one million descendants of Nicholas Stoltzfus formed a committee to preserve and restore the old house at 1700 Tulpehocken Road, Wyomissing, Pa. Every year, on the second Saturday in May, a benefit auction is held to raise funds for the preservation and restoration of this historic house. This year we were finally able to get there. I had seen the outside of the house before, but had never been inside. I wanted to go to the auction mostly because the house was open for free tours.
This is the front door which opens into the kitchen. A wooden panel at the bottom of the door slides up to cover the nine panes of glass in the top half of the door for safety during Indian attacks. For this reason it is called an "Indian Door."
The barn that once stood on this property collapsed in 1924. Today ground was broken to reconstruct a barn.
The Nicholas Stoltzfus House serves to remind us of the important part the Amish played in the history and development of Berks County. I think he would be pleased to know his descendants are maintaining both his property and his faith.
Christian Stoltzfus' German Bible