- Born: 12 Jun 1773, Pennsburg, Hanover Township, Pennsylvania 2,151
- Marriage: Susannah Shelly about 1797 in Northampton, Bucks County, Pennsylvania 150
- Died: 1 May 1871 at age 97 2,152
- Buried: 1871, Leetonia, Columbiana County, Ohio
Noted events in his life were:
• Family Death, 1782. My father died during the Revolutionary War when I was 10 years old.
• Occupation. 2,153 I provided for my family as a cabinetmaker and by farming a tract of land that I owned.
• Great Swamp. 154 Great Swamp:
The colonial town of Great Swamp where we lived was later changed to Allentown and became a part of Northampton County. Allentown is named after William Allen who owned 1,800 acres in this Township. This tract of 1,800 acres was part of the grant of 5,000 acres William Penn made to Margaret Lowther on October 23, 1681, and was subsequently located in that part of Bucks County that became Northampton.
The Scotch-Irish settlers in Allen moved towards the organization of a Township in 1746. At the June term “the inhabitants living on the west branch of the Delaware” petitioned the court to fix the boundary of a Township, which they describe as follows: “From the mouth of Monokosey up the middle branch of said creek to the Blue mountains, and thence by said mountains to the west branch of the river, and thence down said branch to the mouth of said Monokosey.” In addition they found, among other things that they labor under great inconvenience for want of roads to go to mills, market, and the county court; that the paths are yearly altered, so that they cannot travel without endangering their lives and going far out of their way. The petitioners were ordered to produce a draft of the proposed Township at the next court.
• Living, 1796 to 1816, Quackertown, Pennsylvania. 2 Quakertown:
Quakertown derived its name from a settlement of Friends, or Quakers who immigrated from Gwynedd to its vicinity some time about the year 1700. It took on the name of Quakertown when a post office was established here. Those of us who were early settlers here knew the area as Great Swamp or Great Meadow. It later took the name of Flatland and subsequently Richland, from the fertile quality of the soil. In the year 1750, a new building was put up for public worship that accommodated Springfield, Haycock, Milford and Rockhill.
The English and Welsh obtained the first land grant from William Penn in 1701. On February 14, 1703, the Great Swamp was surveyed. Large tracks of land were called Townships. Although the land had previously been purchased, it wasn't until 1712 that John Ball and his father-in-law John Lester actually moved into the Township of Richland, which was still a wilderness. They moved from a Welsh track near Gwynedd that was a Quaker settlement, because it was becoming crowded. Until 1720, the settlers who followed them were mainly Quakers. In 1720, the town had 12 dwellings, 2 stores, 3 taverns and a Quaker Meeting House. From 1720 to 1750, those of German stock like myself started settling in the area. It was incorporated into a borough in 1855. The town stretched from Main Street to 9th street.
Liberty Hall, which was built in 1772, is the site where the Liberty Bell was hidden from the British armies on September 1777 when it was being moved from Philadelphia to Allentown.
The Red Lion Inn, built around 1750, was a popular stop for stagecoaches en route from Philadelphia to the Lehigh Valley.
• appointed, 1816 to 1836. 155 I was a deacon in the Mennonite Church in Beaver County where the congregation reported that I was a most highly respected man.
• Property, 1816, Beaver County, Pennsylvania. 2,156,157 I moved our family to Beaver County, Pennsylvania, which was a long and arduous move by Conestoga wagon across the Alleghany Mountains. We followed what was called the Lincoln Highway. Sometimes it got so rough that the furniture and supplies would tumble onto the wife and kids.
Fellow German settlers developed the Conestoga wagon that I used to move my family. It was ideally suited to travel on the unimproved trails of the area and capable of carrying large amounts of cargo. The Conestoga was used to carry any type of cargo. Before the Revolutionary War, some 10,000 of these wagons made the trip from the German settlements to Philadelphia, hauling farm produce, whiskey, iron ore and finished products, charcoal, and returning with items imported from Europe. After the Revolution, as settlements expanded westward, the Conestoga hauled freight to the new towns. These wagons, often traveling in large groups, were quite an impressive. The body of the wagon was boat-shaped with slanted ends and a sag in the center, both crosswise and lengthwise to be certain that the load would not shift to the center of the vehicle going up or down hill. The wheels were as tall as a man and broad enough to carry the weight without bogging down. Covering the wagon was a homespun canvas supported by hickory wood bows. The covering slanted over the front and back to help keep rain off the cargo. The horses used to pull the wagons were the massive Conestogas, one of the few breeds developed in this country. They are believed to have originated from the Tammerlane, several of which were brought over by William Penn. On the average, they stood 16 ˝ to 17 hands high and weighed about 1,600 pounds. At least four horses were used on each wagon. Many used six or eight horses per team.
The Conestoga was quite a picturesque sight when traveling. The body of the wagon was painted light blue, the ironwork black and the white canvas top must have made some picture. Over the horses were hoops with bells attached to them, each carefully selected for its chime. The only horse without bells was the left wheel horse where the wagoneer rode, when not walking or riding the lazyboard, a sliding board that could be pulled out from the left side of the wagon.
The bells on the horses carry an interesting story. These bells were highly prized, not so much for their beauty or tone (even though they were selected by their tones). The bells were also not used for their usefulness, even though they warned other travelers of the approach of the wagon. They were prized as proof of the wagoneer's ability to drive safely and independently. If a wagon got stuck in a ditch or mud and the driver was forced to appeal to other wagoneers for help, the bells were the price he paid for the assistance. To anyone as tough and independent as these men, it must have been a humiliating experience. The wagoneers kept mostly with their own kind. In early Pennsylvania, taverns catered to only one type of clientele, usually denoted by the name or the picture on their sign. Wagoneer's were a tough breed, but one wagoneer, Joseph Ritner, later became governor.
One contribution that remains to this day is the custom of driving on the right side of the road. In the days of wagon travel, the Conestoga moved to the right to let oncoming traffic pass - that is, if he moved at all for lesser vehicles. The wagoneer always raised the left wheel horse or the lazyboard on the left side of the wagon so the choice of moving to the right was obvious to him. Naturally, with a vehicle this size, others were forced to follow his pattern. Another contribution is the word “stogie,” the long, strong cigar favored by wagoneers, which is a corruption of the word Conestoga.
Originally my intent was to buy land from my cousin, Abrahm Ziegler who was offering land in Harmony, Pennsylvania. However, his prices were too high for my liking, so I bought land a few miles outside of Harmony in Friscoe. The family settled in and I soon became well known as a cabinetmaker. I made many coffins in those early days. I served in the Mennonite church as a deacon.
• Moved, After 1836. Susannah and I moved to Leetonia, Columbiana, Ohio after our children were grown and married.
In 1797, Congress employed Ebenezer Zane to blaze a trail through the forests west of Wheeling; West Virginia, to the banks of the Ohio River. Known as Zane's Trace, this “wide path through the woods” became a thoroughfare for settlers. Largely Germans settled the towns of Ohio and by 1830 one of its three newspapers was printed in German. Signs above stores had their German translation affixed in large gold letters to all signs over the stores.
The first Mennonite to settle in Ohio was Martin Landis who in 1799 brought his family to a tract of land two miles south of Lancaster.
A meetinghouse was built in Leetonia of hewn logs. The seats in the front part (north end) of the church were arranged lengthwise facing the pulpit. These seats had backs. The benches running across the rear of the building had no backs. All the seats were made of poplar lumber. There was no platform; but a high` pulpit desk, probably twelve feet long, extended across the church in front of the preacher's bench. These were the usual furnishings and arrangement of Mennonite churches.
“Leetonia Coal and Iron Company” laid out the town of Leetonia in 1866. William Lee, a railroad contractor, was one of the incorporators and from him the village took its name. In 1866, the post-office was opened and the first hotel started. Few places in the State can show such rapid growth in the same period of time. In 1865 it had but a single farmhouse and in 1870 it grew to a population of 1,800.
Mahoning County was formed in February 1846, from Columbiana and Trumbull Counties. The upper Townships taken from Trumbull County include: Austintown, Berlin, Boardman, Canfield, Coitsville, Ellsworth, Jackson, Milton, Poland and Youngstown. Each is five miles square and was surveyed and sold as part of the Connecticut Western Reserve. The lower Townships, taken from Columbiana County included: Beaver, Goshen, Green, Smith and Springfield. Each is six miles square and was surveyed as the Congress Lands Northeast by the federal government and sold through the Steubenville Land Office.
• Moved, 1863. In 1863, my wife Susannah died, so I went to live with my youngest son, Henry in Beaver Township, Mahoning County, Ohio.
• census, 1870, Beaver Township, Mahoning County, Ohio. 158 Ohio conducted a census of its citizens and listed me as living with Henry in Beaver Township.
Christopher married Susannah Shelly, daughter of Abraham Shelly and Catherine Boyer, about 1797 in Northampton, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.150 (Susannah Shelly was born on 17 Feb 1780 in Northampton, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, died on 17 May 1863 in Leetonia, Columbiana County, Ohio and was buried in Leetonia, Columbiana County, Ohio.)
Noted events in their marriage were:
• lived. 2,159 We set up housekeeping in Quakertown, Bucks County where I served for many years as a deacon in the Mennonite church.