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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Peter Martin Log Cabin

Peter Martin, grandson of 1727 immigrant David Martin, lived in a log cabin in Earl Township, Lancaster County, Pa. before he moved to Canada in 1819. The log cabin remained standing but was eventually abandoned and deteriorated badly. Still, many of the descendants of Peter's seventeen children came from Canada to see the house and wrote their names on it.
In 1973 a group of men determined to preserve the old log cabin. They purchased it and carefully dismantled it, numbering each log so it could be put back in place whenever it was rebuilt. The logs were in storage for 28 years while the committee, known as the Swiss Pioneer Preservation Association, searched for a suitable place to rebuild the cabin.
Paul W. Martin was the last of many generations of Martins to own the farm known as the "Spring" Isaac Martin farm. The property features a strong spring that has provided water to Martins on that land since the 18th century. Paul never married and had no heirs to inherit the farm. He was active in the Swiss Pioneers and when he died a few years ago the farm was donated to the Swiss Pioneer organization. The farm is half a mile from the place where Peter Martin's log cabin stood. At last, the cabin had found a home.
Lloyd Weiler, who is both a historian and builder of log homes, supervised the rebuilding of the log cabin. In the process, samples of the logs were tested. The results showed the logs were cut in 1784 and 1785. The cabin was probably constructed in 1786, which is much later than many people had guessed.
The public was invited to an Open House today. A large crowd showed up and the affair was a huge success. It was hard to get pictures of the cabin without people getting in the way but I managed a few.


The cabin is special because the builders used round logs. The early Germans and Swiss made most of their cabins of squared-off logs. This cabin is unusual, if not (among surviving log cabins) unique. The one-and-a-half-story cabin contained three rooms. It also had a chimney outside the building, as opposed to the interior fireplace germans preferred. The limestone chimney remains intact. It probably looks as good or better than it did when it was new.

When the cabin was dismantled the entire fireplace and chimney was loaded by crane onto a truck and hauled twenty minutes away where it was stored until it made the reverse trip early this year. It is an unusual fireplace because the door to the bake oven is on the side rather than at the back of the fireplace. This is the bake oven from the outside.

There is a root cellar under part of the house with the door to the cellar conveniently locaed in the kitchen rather than on the outside of the house. The house originally had three rooms but by the time it was dismantled there were only two rooms on the first floor. The sleeping loft on the upper floor is reached by the typical German style curved staircase.

Today the dream of the Swiss Pioneer Preservation Association became reality. The Peter Martin log cabin is once again standing just a half mile from where it originally stood. Some of Peter's descendants came from Canada to touch base with their roots and participate in the Open House. More events will be held on the farm in the future, beginning with a threshing demonstration on August 7.









10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I really like this post. I am a Peter Martin descendant, along with a whole host of others. Did you ever see the Peter Martin house here in Ontario that is located at Doon Pioneer Museum here in Kitchener? I enjoy history and geanology but have never done anything with that interest other than enjoy and read what I can.
Mary Horst

Scribbler said...

No, I've never been there. Leroy's grandmother was born in that area. One of these times we'll have to come up and see his Canadian connections.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. Do you know what her maiden name was or which town she was from? You would be welcome to stay at my place when/if you come. I would be delighted.

Mary Horst

Scribbler said...

Mary M. Brubacher, daughter of Jacob B. and Elizabeth (Martin) Brubacher. I only know they lived in Waterloo Co. Jacob and Elizabeth moved to May City, Iowa, in 1901 where Mary married Eli Stauffer. The Brubachers and Stauffers both eventually moved to Lancaster County. Eli and Mary and her mother Elizabeth are buried in the Pike Mennonite Cemetery in Lancaster County. Jacob became ill and died while visiting family in Ontario and is buried there but I do not know in which cemetery.

Anonymous said...

They were a part of the Iowa Experiment. Jacob moved back to Ontario in 1933 after the death of his wife and he lived with his daughter Catherine.Catherine was the widow of Daniel B. Bauman who had died in Iowa in 1907.

Regards; Delmer B. (Bearinger) Martin
RR# 4 Elmira Ontario CANADA

Anonymous said...

They were a part of the Iowa Experiment. Jacob moved back to Ontario in 1933 after the death of his wife and he lived with his daughter Catherine.Catherine was the widow of Daniel B. Bauman who had died in Iowa in 1907.

Regards; Delmer B. (Bearinger) Martin
RR# 4 Elmira Ontario CANADA

Anonymous said...

Peter was the son of Henry. Henry was the Bishop of the Mennonites of Weaverland and Groffdale congregations. What a lot of persons do not know is that Bishop Henry had another son Abraham who also moved to Waterloo County in Ontario Canada. He died in March 1834 and is buried at Hagey Mennonite Meetinghouse cemetery.

Peter F. Martin and his son Johannes (John) were founders of Martin Mennonite Congregation which was erected on the home farm. John farmed just down the road beside where the stockyards and the Farmers Market in Waterloo is currently located. John purchased the land where my farm homestead is currently located for his son Deacon Moses W. Martin who was the deacon for what became the Elmira Mennonite Meetinghouse. I have been researching our church history and genealogy for over almost 20 years and find it a truly fascinating pilgrimage...I love the Weaverland Valley as well and find my old neighborhood which was developed in the early 1800's very similar is so many ways.

I plan to share my results soon.

Best Regards; Delmer B. Martin
RR# 4 Elmira Ontario Canada

Scribbler said...

Thanks Delmer for the additional information. We are seriously considering traveling to Waterloo Co. next summer to see these places. I believe you could save us a lot of time in finding things. Do you have email?

Anonymous said...

My email is delmerbmartin@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Did you find Jacob Brubackers gravestone? send your email to me at delmerbmartin@yahoo.com and I will send you pic and link;
Best Regards;
delmer Martin