William C. Beecher 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
- Born: 17 Dec 1826, East Earl Twp., Lancaster, PA 1 2 3 5 7 8 9
- Marriage (1): Henrietta Wortz in 1854 in , York, PA
- Died: 1 Apr 1895, Eden Twp., Lancaster, PA at age 68 2 3 5 7 8
- Buried: 4 Apr 1895, Lancaster: City Cemetery, Lancaster, PA 2 3 5
Another name for William was William C. Becher.3
Buried in section 1549 with his parents.
Noted events in his life were:
1. Moved: 1843, Manheim Twp., Lancaster, PA.
2. Census in 1850 in Manheim Twp., Lancaster, PA. 10 William C. Beecher, age 23, machinist, is living single in the household of David Groff, 38, machinist. Also in the household are David's wife Henrietta Groff, 27; her sons David, 3; and Charles, 3 months; Henry Genhard, 23, machinist; Samuel Genhard, 18, machinist; Peter Sherk, laborer; John Mullin, 17, laborer born in Ireland; May Patton, 28, female, no occupation; and May Lemon, 10, female.
3. Samuel W. Beecher assigned land to son William C. Beecher on 21 Apr 1859 in East Lampeter Twp., Lancaster, PA. 11
4. Book: An Authentic History of Lancaster County,, 1860. 12
Of the early history of Paper-making in Lancaster county, we have very little definite information. Fifty years ago, the late Mr. John Triewitz, of this city, had a paper mill at Ephrata. At that time he was manufacturing "pasteboard"' by the old and tedious hand-process. He also manufactured print paper, and in later years supplied Mr. Baer with paper for the Volktfreund. Of course, the paper was all made by the old fashioned hand-process. The mill was subsequently converted into a saw-mill. About thirty years ago B. B. Eshleman was engaged in the manufacture of handmade paper, at what was for many years known as Eshleman's Mill, on the West Branch of the Octoraro, in Bart township. We are unable to fix the exact date of the enterprise. The manufacture, however, was earned on only in a small way, and was not a financial success.
In December 1854, Juo. R. Bitner, C. A. Bitner, Baltzer Lipp, Wm. C. Beecher, and Samuel Beecher purchased the old "Fulling Mill," on the Conestoga, at Eden, from D. Q. Swartz, and commenced remodeling it for a paper mill. They procured a new cylinder paper machine from Nelson Gavitt. of Philadelphia, and had their rag engines constructed at the mill. In the fall of 1855, they commenced operations, Mr. Lipp being Superintendent. The mill was calculated for a production of 1500 Ibs per day, but it was soon found that the power was inadequate for such a result. On the 31st of March 1856, one half of the interest of the Messrs. Bitners was sold to Dr. J. II. Kurtz, and shortly after the concern passed into the hands of Kurtz & Lipp, the Bitners and Beechers withdrawing. In 1859 the enterprise failed, and in I860, the mill was purchased by Emanuel Shober, who ran it very successfully for six or seven years, his being the first pecuniary success in paper-making in this county. He supplied the deficiency in water-power with a steam engine and thus doubled the production. During most of this time George Ehrhart was foreman of the mill, and John A. Shober business manager.
5. Census in 1860 in Manheim Twp., Lancaster, PA. 1 William C. Beecher, age 33, master machinist, is listed in the 1860 Census in Manheim Township in Lancaster County having real estate valued at $4,000 and personal possessions worth $1,000. Living with him is Henrietta, 40; and Laura, 4. Also in the home are David Groff, 13; Louis Groff, 10; Henry Hornstraw, 17; John Stouder, 25; Jacob Landis, 19; Joseph Heuber, 21; and Caroline Sutz, 17, servant. Henry was born in Germany, everyone else in Pennsylvania. We presume these are live-in employees, although the Groff children could be Henrietta's from a first marriage? The post office listed is Oregon.
Also on this census page is Mary Beecher, age 35, occupation "lady". Her real estate is valued at $7,000 and possessions at $400. Living with her must be her son or brother, John Beecher, 16; Ellen Reese, 11; Mary Brown, 22, servant; and Samuel Grube, 55, plasterer. Everyone was born in Pennsylvania.
Living nearby is Samuel Beecher, who is likely the father of William and Mary.
6. Military Draft: Civil War Draft Registration: Beecher, Wm C. Age 36 machinist, 15 Jul 1863, Manheim Twp., Lancaster, PA. 13
7. William C. Beecher bought land with two homes from Emauel Shober and wife. On 31 Mar 1868 in Manheim Twp., Berks, PA. 14
8. Census in 1870 in Manheim Twp., Lancaster, PA. 15 Wm C. Beecher, machinist, [age unreadable], was living with wife Henrietta, 50; Laura, 14; and Bertha, 9. Also with them is David W. Groff, 23, machinist; Benjn Barr, 18, machinist; and Henry Lasity, 18, machinist. All were born in Pennsylvania. His property is valued at $23,000, a large value compared to others. Her personal estate is $6000.
9. William C. Beecher bought property from George Leman on 19 Mar 1870 in Manheim Twp., Lancaster, PA. 16
10. William C. Beecher bought from partner Benjamin W. Harnish his share of their factory, machine shops, foundry and dwelling house in East Lampeter on 31 Mar 1870 in East Lampeter Twp., Lancaster, PA. 17
11. Newspaper: Daily Evening Express: ad $50 Reward by Wm. C. Beecher, 19 Jun 1876, Lancaster, Lancaster, PA. 18 NEW ADVERTISEMENTS.
$50 REWARD WILL BE PAID BY the subscriber for the return of his BAY ROAN MARE which was stolen on the night of Jun 11th, from his residence at Eden Iron Works. The animal is about 7 years old, and is ram-nosed.
$25 of the above reward will be paid for the Mare, and $25 for the thief.
WM. C. BEECHER, Lancaster.
12. Wiliam C. Beecher obtained property from the estate of Henry Dietrich on 2 Apr 1877 in Manheim Twp., Lancaster, PA. 19
13. Census in 1880 in Manheim Twp., Lancaster, PA. 9 William C. Beecher, age 53, farmer, is living with wife Henrietta, 58; Laura E., 24; and Bertha, 18. Everyone and their parents were born in Pennsylvania.
14. Newspaper: Lancaster New Era: Ad for Public Sale, 18 Sep 1886, Lancaster, Lancaster, PA. 20 The location of Wm. C. Beecher's land is described in an ad to sell land on 28 Sep 1886 owned by Adam E. Ranck as follows: The premises in Manheim township, Lancaster county, Pa., on the New Holland turnpike, about 2 1/2 miles northeast of the city of Lancaster, consisting of 16 acres and 53 perches of land adjoining lands of David E. Rohrer, Wm. C. Beecher, Abm. Rohrer, H. L. Heller and others.
15. Newspaper: Lancaster Intelligencer: A Morning Wedding, 20 Oct 1894, Lancaster, Lancaster, PA. 21 ----
A Morning Wedding.
Early Wednesday the cosy residence of Wm. C. Beecher, at Eden, whose green terraced banks slope gradually down to the winding waters of the Conestoga just above the cascade, was the scene of a pretty wedding, at which the youngest daughter, Miss H. Bertha Beecher, became the wife of Wm. H. Conley, of Philadelphia. The ceremony was performed by Rev. Charles L. Fry, in the presence of the immediate family alone. After a wedding breakfast the bridal party started on a tour westward by the way of Watkins' Glen and Niagra Falls, upon return from which they will make their home in West Philadelphia. The best wishes of a host of friends in Lancaster go with them.
16. Obituary: Lancaster New Era: Death of William C. Beecher, a Prominent Citizen of Eden on 2 Apr 1895 in Lancaster, Lancaster, PA. 8 -----
Death of William C. Beecher, a Prominent Citizen of Eden
Wm. C. Beecher, one of the best known citizens of Manheim Township, died suddenly on Monday afternoon at his home at Eden. He was stricken with paralysis in the morning, unconsciousness immediately resulting, and remained in that condition until death occurred at four o'clock. Mr. Beecher enjoyed excellent health and on Monday morning he arose at his usual hour, ate a hearty breakfast and started for the barn to feed the cattle. When he had performed the work and emerged from the building he was seized with a severe attack of vomiting. He called to a neighbor who was near at hand and said he believed he had been afflicted with a fatal stroke. A moment later he sank unconscious to the ground and was removed to the house. Dr. J. A. Ehler, of this city, was summoned, but all efforts to restore the stricken man to consciousness were of no avail.
Deceased was born in East Earl township in 1826 and was consequently sixty-nine years old. He moved to Manheim Township with his father in 1843 and learned the trade of pattern maker at the Eden Iron Works with Israel Groff. After Mr. Groff's death Mr. Beecher became one of the proprietors of the iron works which he and his brother conducted very successfully for a number of years. He retired from business about fifteen years ago.
Deceased was a staunch Republican in politics and served as School Director for one term. He was highly respected by the community in which he lived for so many years, and his death will be a sad shock to many friends. Mr. Beecher was a consistent member of Trinity Lutheran Church, and was at one time Warden.
Mr. Beecher leaves a widow and two daughters, Laura E., wife of Jacob Ranck, of East Earl Township, and H. Bertha, wife of William H. Conley, of Philadelphia, a passenger engineer on the Pennsylvania Railroad. One brother and sister also survive, Samuel Beecher of this city, and Mrs. Belinda C. Pyfer, now residing with her son in Philadelphia.
17. Obituary: Lancaster Examiner: Mr. William C. Beecher's Death. On 3 Apr 1895 in Lancaster, Lancaster, PA. 7 -----
Mr. William C. Beecher's Death.
The Stroke of Paralysis Experienced Monday Morning Proved Fatal.
Mr. William C. Beecher, a prominent resident of Manheim township, died about 4 o'clock Monday afternoon at his home in Eden. It was reported in Monday's EXAMINER that Mr. Beecher had been stricken with paralysla in the morning while walking in his yard, and his death was due to the effects of the strcke. Mr. Beecher had recently enjoyed excellent health, and his death was entirely unexpected and shocked the community.
Deceased was born in East Earl township, in 1826, being, therefore, sixty-nine years old.
In 1843 he removed to Manhelin township, where he resided from then until the time of his death. He learned pattern making at the Eden Iron Works under the late Israel Groff, and upon the death of Mr. Groff, many years ago, he became a member of the firm. He and his partner operated the mill suceessfully, and about fifteen yeals ago Mr. Beecher retired from active business life. In politics he was a staunch Republican, and for one term he was a school director of Manbeim township. He was well-known in this city ard throughout the county, and was held in high esteem fur his integrity in business affairs and his personal traits. His wife and two daughters, Laura E , wife of Mr. Jacob Rauck, of East Earl township, and H. Bertha, wife of Mr. William H. Conley, a P. R. R. engineer, of Philadelphia, survive him.
18. Book: A History of 1894 Eden Road and Local Area, 1985. 22
The earliest known owner of the surrounding area on the East Lampeter side of the Conestoga was David Binkley. His properties were centered upon his grist and saw mill at the present day site of the Eden Paper Mill. In 1789 he built a beautiful stone arch bridge on this site. Subsequently the local Post Office was called Binkley's Bridge. The bridge collapsed in 1857. Its old approaches can still be traced.
In 1808 David Binkley sold a 130 acre "plantation" to Abram Zook. This land included the site where two mills were later constructed and much of the surrounding land north toward the New Holland Pike. The deed recognized the existence of water power on the property, and it included water rights ("the right to go through and over the lands of Christian Rohr to repair the dam"). But the deed contained a special clause prohibiting the construction of a grist or saw mill. Binkley undoubtedly inserted this clause to prevent competition with his own grist and saw mill.
By 1815 Abram Zook had built two mills. In 1818 Joseph Zook inherited the property from his father. Sometime before 1834, the Zooks sold the two mills to Andrew Swartz, retaining most of their farm, however. Their dwelling is shown on maps in a location which is very likely the present day Ahl's house. This Zook family is part of the clan after which Zook's Corner is named.
For a time, Andrew Swartz ran the two mills as a "woolen and fulling mill and a card manufactory." The card manufactory was the downstream building and it got its power by means of a mechanical linkage from the upstream building. In 1834 Swartz sold the downstream building to Israel Groff along with rights to continue using the mechanical linkage. Israel Groff turned the card manufactory into a foundry and machine shop. In 1848 Israel Groff built the Eden Covered Bridge and then sold it to the County. He died in 1853.
In 1853 William C. Beecher, Samuel W. Beecher Jr. and Benjamin Harnish bought the foundry from Israel Groff's estate. The property is described as a "factory, machine shop and foundry, dwelling, stable and other improvements," having 1.5 acres. They undoubtedly modernized the foundry's power supply, because they sold their rights to the adjacent mill's mechanical power in 1855. In 1859 Sam Beecher sold his interest to the other two partners. In 1870 William C. Beecher bought Harnish's interest making him the sole proprietor of the Eden Iron Works which had previously been known as Beecher and Harnish Iron Works. The present building (apartments) probably dates around 1865.
Andrew Swartz continued to operate his woolen mill until around 1854 when he sold it to Emanuel Shober who turned it into a paper mill. The Beecher brothers were part of a venture in 1854 which purchased Binkley's Mill and converted it to a paper mill. That paper mill failed in 1860 and was reorganized in 1865. Emanuel Shober was still operating his paper mill at Eden in 1864. By 1868 Benjamin Harnish, Beecher's partner in the foundry, purchased Shober's mill and converted it to a grist mill. In 1881 he sold the grist mill to Jacob K. Umble. A Samuel Harnish, probably Benjamin Harnish's son, was the foreman at Eden Iron Works. He lived on Eden Road.
The two lots or purports which make up 1894 Eden Road originally came from a 99 acre tract which was claimed or "warranted" by James Marshal in 1733. Marshal never paid the Penn government for it and so he sold his claim to Robert Patten in 1761. Patten quickly resold it to Sebastian Graffe in 1762. The farm remained intact, but the identities of its owners are unknown until Michael Shallenberger sold the "99 acre tenement or plantation" to Christian and Elizabeth Rohr in 1801. It was passed to son John Rohr in 1835, and to his son Abram in 1848. Both John Rohr and his son Abram sold off parts of the farm around its edges for individual dwellings. These included all of the properties on the south side of Eden Road between Conestoga Creek and New Holland Pike.
The two tracts which make up present day 1894 Eden Road were sold from the Rohr's farm at different times. John Rohr sold the first purport to Jacob Groff in 1847. Abram Rohr sold the second purport to the Beechers in 1867.
Abram Rohr continued to live on this farm at least until 1899 when he still owned 70 of the original 99 acres. The "old farm road" which still can be traced from the base of the front steps toward Jones' house undoubtedly accessed Rohr's farm before John Rohr sold this land in 1847. It was then replaced with the "bicycle trail" which was used as principal access to the farm after Abram Rohr moved his dwelling to a site very near the corner of the 1894 Eden Road property. (See Maps.)
Jacob Groff was Henrietta Beecher's first husband, also a "machinist." In addition to the tract bought from John Rohr in 1847, Jacob and Henrietta Groff owned and probably lived in the house which was on the site of the present day pumping station. (It was torn down in 1959.) When Jacob Groff died in 1855, Henrietta assumed ownership. Around 1847 Henrietta Groff married William C. Beecher.
William C. Beecher appears for the first time in Manheim Township tax records in 1849 as a "machinist" and "singleman." His father, Samuel W. Beecher, Sr., owned a nine acre farm near the present day intersection of Eden Road and Euclid Drive. William C. Beecher resided there in 1850. He is repeatedly listed as a machinist throughout the 1850's. He probably worked at Israel Groff's foundry before buying it in 1853.
His brother, Samuel W. Beecher, Jr., was listed in the tax records as a machinist until 1851 when he is listed as "innkeeper." In the 1850 tax records for Manheim Township, in the taverns section, is a note the S. W. Beecher "intended an application in January 1850." This confirms that Samuel W. Beecher, Jr. built the Eden Hotel. Tax records indicate that he sold the hotel in 1854. He had a wife, Mary.
In 1857 W. C. Beecher is listed for the first time as a property owner in Manheim Township. Almost surely the same dwelling in which Jacob and Henrietta Groff lived, Beecher acquired the property (on the pumping station site) through his marriage. William and Henrietta Beecher either lived here or across the road on "purport one." They sold the property on the pumping station site to George Leaman in 1864.
In 1867 William and Henrietta Beecher purchased the 2nd purpart of "1 acre, 30 perches" from Abram Rohr, which, together with the 1st purpart of "1 acre, 20 perches" already owned by Henrietta Beecher, made the present day configuration of 1894 Eden Road. 1867 tax records confirm this, indicating that W. C. Beecher "bought 2 ½ acres" and listing his occupation as "gentleman." (Although Beecher would already have owned purpart 1 by common law through his marriage, he probably never recorded this information until her purchased purpart 2 and combined the two purports into one property.)
Purpart 2 was probably the land to the rear of the present day house, used mostly for open space. Purpart 1 contained buildings in 1853 which seem dissimilar to the present layout. (See map.) Whether the Beechers built anew on this property or altered existing buildings is unknown. If the 1853 map is correct, they built a new "mansion house" there sometime between 1853 and 1867, probably some years after their marriage in 1857. There is no doubt, however, that Beecher supplied the ornamental iron work for the house and erected the barn in 1873.
In 1868 Beecher repurchased the little house (on the pumping station site) and the white double house (where Jesse lives.) He bought both of these Emanuel Shober, owner of Shober's Paper Mill. Shober had purchased the white double house from Jacob Groff prior to his death in 1855. He had purchased the other house (on the pumping station site) from George Leaman.
In 1870 Beecher purchased a 6 acre property for $1170. It was located upstream on the Conestoga around its junction with Landis Run. So, by 1870, Beecher owned 4 contiguous properties in Manheim Township.
Several facts suggest that Jacob Groff was related to Israel Groff: 1) their anmes are the same; 2) Jacob Groff was a machinist, probably working at Israel Groff's foundry; 3) Jacob and Henrietta Groff lived across the road from Israel Groff (see map 1853); 4) deed research indicates that Jacob Groff owned the property listed as "Israel Groff Estate" on 1853 map-this was the tract (purpart 1) John Rohr sold to Jacob Groff in 1847.
If they are related, Israel Groff was father-in-law or brother-in-law to Henrietta Beecher, and she was related through both her husbands to the "ironmaster." She was certainly the most enduring individual to live at 1894 Eden Road. She lived in the house on the pumping station site by 1853, or before. She lived in the "mansion house" until her death in 1903. She outlived William C. Beecher who died in 1897, and she passed the property on to her daughter Laura Ranck, who lived there until 1914. In 1899 she sold the house on the pumping station site to Abram Kreider.
Abram Kreider bought 1894 Eden Road from Laura Ranck in 1914. He owned it until 1938 when he lost it along with 8 other properties to the Conestoga National Bank in a mortgage foreclosure. While he owned the property, Kreider made several additions to the buildings. He added the service stairs on the north of the house, he enlarged the dining room on the west, and he installed the old central furnace. On the barn, he added a garage to its south side.
John and Edna McNinch bought the property in order to improve it and resell it. Their improvements were mainly in the nature of painting and cleaning up. According to Harris Arnold, Sr., improvement was much needed because Abram Kreider, in his later years, had taken very poor care of the property, even letting farm animals wander through the house. When the bank came to foreclose, Kreider removed everything of value from the house, including the iron fence that was on top of the front wall. Harris Arnold might well have known. He was the attorney for Conestoga National Bank who handled the foreclosure.
When Arnold bought the property, he installed all new electrical wiring, plumbing, bathrooms and hot water heat. He added a new chimney to the south end of the house for a new colad furnace, as well as the laundry room (now kitchen dining) and the bathroom above. In what was the original large kitchen, he carved out a smaller modern kitchen, powder room, front closet and library. In the barn, he converted stable into a second garage.
Helen Arnold was a prolific gardener, and the Arnolds did a generous amount of landscaping on the property. They relocated and rebuilt the front walk, planted hemlock trees to the north of the house, and added the large patio and terracing on the southwest corner of the house. In 1957, Arnolds added the screened-in porch and modernized the kitchen.
From James Marshal to Wm. K. Ebel, Jr.
1733: James Marshal 99a "warranted"
1801 | 99a "tenement or plantation" $2241
Christian and Elizabeth Rohr
" " "
| 1847, 1 acre, 20 p. $227
| Jacob Groff and Henrietta
| d. 1855 1855, 1 acre, 20 p.
| Henrietta Groff
| m. 1857? 1857?, 1 acre, 20 p.
| Wm. and Henrietta Beecher
Abram Rohr | 1 acre, 30 p., $370
1867 | |
Wm. and Henrietta Beecher
d. 1897 2 ½ acres
d. 1903 2 ½ acres
Ranck 2 ½ acres, $3399
| 2 ½ acres, plus 9 other properties for the
satisfaction of a $26,000 mortgage
John and Edna McNinch 2 ½ acres, $12,250
Harris and Helen Arnold
Wm. K. Ebel, Jr.
1808 | 130 Acre "plantation," incl. water rights
1818 | "
Pre-1834 | 3 a, 2 mills
Abt 1854 | Woolen Mill 1834 | Card Manufactory
Emanuel Shober Israel Groff
Abt 1868 | Paper Mill 1853 | Foundry
Benjamin Harnish Beecher, Beecher & Harnish
1881 | Grist Mill 1859 | Foundry
Jacob K. Umble Beecher & Harnish
1870 | Foundry
Wm. C. Beecher
County Atlases: 1864, 1875, 1899
1853 map of Manheim Township (Lancaster Co. Historical Society)
Warrant Map of Manheim Township (Archives, Lancaster County Courthouse)
Manheim Township Tax Records (Lancaster County Historical Society)
Deed research (Lancaster County Courthouse)
1971: Arnold to Ebel I, 34, p. 95
1939: McNinch to Arnold A, 34, p. 145
1938: Kreider to Conestoga N.B. W, 33, p. 136, see purpart #9
1914: Ranck to Kreider W, 21, p. 179
This deed includes references to:
1867: Abm Rohr to Henrietta Beecher-1 acre, 30 perches
1847: John Rohr to Jacob Groff-1 acre, 20 perches
1848: John Rohr to Abram R, 7, p. 168
1835: Christian Rohr to John E, 7, p. 200
This deed includes references to:
1834: Swartz to Is. Groff A, 6, p. 359
William married Henrietta Wortz, daughter of Jacob Wortz and Juliane DeWald, in 1854 in , York, PA. (Henrietta Wortz was born on 1 Feb 1820 in , York, PA,1 2 3 23 died on 29 Dec 1903 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA 2 23 24 and was buried on 1 Jan 1904 in Lancaster: City Cemetery, Lancaster, PA 2 3 23.)