Haines Street
Edwin C. Jellett, "Germantown Historical Miscellany," pp. 248- 250.
Germantown Historical Society

Included are the last three weekly installments in a series entitled "Recollections of Old Haines Street" by Mr. Mosby (with no images) beginning September 13, 1901, in the Germantown Independent Gazette (click here for the first installment):

pp. 248-249: September 13, 1901 clipping:

Second Installment of 'Mr. Mosby's' Old-Time Reminiscences
Farms Turned Into Villages
The Old John Smith Farm, for Which an Offer of $6000 Was Refused by the Executor of the Estate, Subsequently Purchased at Public Sale for $3000 by Jacob Ployd, the Transaction Adding $10,000 to His Old 'Shot Bag'"

"...Another delightful old farm was on the corner of Haines street and Township line...The old Pastorius meadow over which the Chestnut Hill Railroad runs is a thing of the past. The old Wingohocken creek ran directly through these grand old fields, which contained a fine orchard. Now it is a veritable town...The Kelly farm took in considerable territory, including Kelly's dam, and extended to Haines street...The venerable John Schaeffer owned the adjoining farm. He opened Schaeffer street, now Morton street, and commenced the work of improvement by building what are now known as the Henry Bronson houses...The Engles opened up Engle street..."

"The Smith-Ployd Farm."

"The big farm opposite was known as the John Smith farm. It extended from Haines street to what became High street, thence to Pastorius' meadow (Magnolia street). Opposite Engle street was quite a mountain of sand and stone. John Smith owned this grand old farm. He lived at the corner of Main and Rittenhouse streets, and at his death the corner property was bought by Daniel L. Keyser. An offer of $6000 was made to the executor...subsequently the farm was sold at auction, Jacob Ployd bidding $3000, which was accepted. Mr. Ployd, having all the property he needed, was almost scared to death when he became the owner of 'Uncle' John Smith's big farm. He finally opened Morton and Mechanic streets, selling a portion of the big hills to the Chestnut Hill Railroad, the latter using the sand to fill up the Scratchard meadow, and to Joseph Ladley and Charles Weiss, who, after realizing handsomely on the stone and sand, had fine properties with two fronts to build upon..."

"The Shriver Families"

"The venerable Joseph Shriver, who owned what was better known as the Ployd farm, now Baynton street (spoken of in last week's sketch), had quite a large family, being descendants of the early settlers of Germantown...two becoming the wives of John Schaeffer and Jacob Ployd, respectively. Like the father, the children settled on Haines street, as did most of their descendants.

"Samuel Shriver, the senior member, settled on the ancient place near where Baynton street runs. It was surrounded by trees and shrubbery, with a draw-well on the sidewalk. It was quite a resort for the old neighbors. 'Aunt Peggy' was an old-time doctress, always rendering her services free. Like their forefathers, Mr. and Mrs. Shriver were strict Mennonites...The old original homestead finally gave way to modern improvements...

"Peter Shriver, Sr., for years lived opposite the Methodist parsonage. The old house was once occupied by Samuel Snider and John Vanhorn. Peter and his good wife were old-time Methodists...The Ladley-Tull houses are on the site of the old Shriver house."

"The Old Brooker House."

"The venerable John Brooker owned the adjoining house, living there for many years. It was built in 1800. John Shriver bought the property from Mr. Brooker, all his family being raised here. The venerable Grandmother Ployd died here. Her father was Captain John Miller, who was slain while fighting under Washington...

"The venerable Joseph Brooker lived opposite the Methodist Church for many years. He not only attended to the duties of town clerk, but carried on the coopering business in connection with grave-digging..."

p. 249: September 20, 1901 clipping:

"...William Bringhurst...owned the property adjoining the Shriver house, afterwards known as the William F. Williams-Butler property...His old place contained many cherry trees, and the catbirds gave the old man much trouble, as both claimed the cherries. Several fine walnut trees stood on the front sidewalk...

"Jacob Roop owned considerable property here...Uncle Phillip Laut and his good wife were among the old-timers...Mr. Laut, conducted the blacksmithing business for many years. Mother Laut was a doctress of merit...

"Uncle Lambert Lare, who recently died, lived on this old street for more than half a century. Here he conducted the shoemaking business for many years, and became a man of means. Uncle Lambert had a famous well. It was renowned for its good water, which was in great demand...

"The old 'Washy' Engine Company secured the old property adjoining the Lare property, and here for years the 'Washy' did business. The place has been transformed into a hotel."

"Other Old Neighbors."

"The old property opposite the church was built by John Schaeffer, and for a time occupied by the Rev. James Harmer, who conducted the shoe business here. The old Church opposite had poor facilities for the meetings, and Mr. Harmer altered the old buildings as a sort of an annex...

"The old place became the property of Rebecca Kelp...her daughter Sarah Kelp Detweiler, and subsequently...Rebecca Kelp Ployd..."

"The Achuff Family"

"dyed-in-the-wool Methodists...Mr. Achuff conducted the shoe business for many years. Mother Achuff was great friend to the boys and girls in the neighborhood, and Saturdays being a holiday they were allowed the use of the old 'pig pen' and surroundings, where they might hold their 'shows'...

"Adjoining is another Schaefer house. Here numerous old residenters resided, including the Sharplesses, Youngs, Finches, Quiggs and others...

"The Taylor house below was occupied for many years by Reese Taylor and his faithful wife, Hannah, and daughter...Methodists...

"The old vacant lot adjoining has been built up by Thomas Young, Frederick May and John Swain...

"The Harmer family once occupied the upper corner, and carried on the shoemaking business, which for a long period was the leading industry in Germantown. It was the place subsequently remodeled and occupied by H. J. Squires and numerous others as a drug store. the lower corner contained two ancient houses, one being occupied by John Jackson as a hat store, while the other was occupied by Benjamin Erweiler and family..."

p. 250: October 4, 1901 clipping:

"The closing chapter of 'Old Haines Street' is at hand...Jacob Reger and his good wife, Dorothy, were remarkable people. They lived in the old Reger house, near Main street, from the time of their marriage, in 1799, until their death...

"Another good old family were the Smiths. They came from England early in life and settled in Germantown. John Smith, Sr., purchased the old Showaker house, which for a time was used as the Methodist parsonage...Uncle Billy Kelp and Aunt Polly Shingle were adjoining neighbors...

"The frame houses adjoining were occupied by Squire Murphy and F. Slater. F. Slater bought the Kelp property and the adjoining property, where he conducted the baking business and where he acquired quite a fortune."

"The Old Methodist Church."

"...The old church was part of Haines street, and as the writer attended some of the meetings held in the old stone church while wearing a nice little frock, and witnessed the filling of the old lard oil lamps, etc., he may have a word to say about these good people. The little infant school building, which until the last few years stood on Haines street, near Main, was the first Methodist Church erected in old Germantown, it being built in 1803...

"Notwithstanding many persecutions, this little band of Christians flourished to such an extent that in 1823 it became necessary to build a larger church. Ground enough for a church and graveyard was purchased further back the street, and a one- story stone church erected. This church, which contained big galleries, greatly flourished, and numerous alterations were made...

"The old-time choirs (no instrument except a tuning fork) were also up-to-date. The middle seats were set apart for the females, while the side seats and the 'amen corner' were used by the males. The same customs were carried out in the big galleries..."

"The writer can recall many pleasant incidents connected with the old meeting house, with its big galleries, big benches, painted blue; big chandelier (lard oil), big pulpit, under which the school books were kept in bags, which resembled hams; the big coal stoves, with long lines of pipe; the old-time clock, etc., etc...the Sunday School was interesting too..."

"The New Brick Church"

"The old stone building, becoming too small, was torn down in 1858, during the pastorate of the Rev. William McCombs, and the brick church erected. In complimenting the congregation, Bishop Scott said: 'You have a building good enough for a fashionable Episcopalian or a plain Quaker.' Like the former churches, the brick, as it was called, served its period of usefulness, and in 1897 it became the property of the city for school purposes, the big congregation removing to the 'cathedral' which was built at the corner of Main and High streets. This building is one of the finest and best equipped in the State."

"Haines Street in the Rebellion"

"No street contained a more loyal population that old Haines street. Over one hundred answered Father Abraham's call...during the trying days of 1861-1865."

"A Transformation"

"Most of the Haines street farms have disappeared. The mud road is a fine drive. The old meadows and creeks where the frogs gave free concerts are things of the past..No more mud, no more 'spooks,' no more lard oil or tallow dips, no more carpet-rag or hog-killing parties, etc..."

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