5861 Germantown Avenue

Naaman Keyser, Manuscript Notes for v. 2 (north of Chelten), History of Old Germantown, pp. 32-33
Germantown Historical Society

Included are these unpublished typewritten notes. Note that Keyser is somewhat ambiguous in his placement of the buildings and people occuping these three lots.

The building on the southeast corner of East Haines Street and Germantown Avenue is on lot No. 13 "towards Bristol," and was drawn in the names of Isaac Shaffer, Henry Bucholtz and the Frankfort Co. It was a very large section, and consisted of three and a half lots. In 1714 it belonged to John Henry Sprogel. In 1766 it had four owners. The part upon which...Nos. 5859 and 5861...is built was owned by George Pickes, and it is probable that the street was named after him, Pickes's Lane. (It is more frequently written Pickuis and Bickuis Lane.) In 1809, the corner was owned by Jacob Reger, a tanner. He was married to Dorothy Shrader, Nov. 12, 1799, and their home was on Pickes's Lane, where Henry Thomas has recently built a pair of brick houses (Nos. 22 and 24 W.[sic] Haines Street).

Dorothy Reger was an enthusiastic member of the Methodist Church, and her husband joined that church soon after his marriage. In the early days the Methodists met around at different hoses, their meetings being conducted by different class leaders. As the interest in their work increased, and they grew in numbers, the necessity for a meeting house was felt, and this led Henry Boehm, who had been in the habit of occasionally preaching to them, to open a subscription list in 1803, with the view of raising a fund for the erection of a house of worship. They succeeded in obtaining pledges to the amount of several hundred dollars, and Jacob Reger, for the small consideration of $266.66 deeded to the society a piece of ground measuring 60 feet along Pickius's Lane and 51 feet deep. Upon this they erected a meeting house, which stood about where No. 32 Haines Street now is.

Reger had a small grocery store in a one and a half story building on Germantown Avenue below Haines Street, at about where No. 5859 now is. He manufactured vinegar, and from the large orchards around the town, as for instance those belonging to the Johnsons, the Boyers, the Keysers, the Hainses, the Physics, Frys, and other families, many hundreds of bushels of apples were hauled every year, for the purpose of being converted into vinegar. At that time vinegar sold at from $1.50 to $2.00 a barrel.

It was in this little grocery store that Joseph Parker started in business about 1868. He made a specialty of dealing in cricket goods, and it is said that he was the first one in this country who engaged in that business. He was accustomed to make periodical visits to England for the purpose of laying in a stock of bats, wickets, and balls. Later on he built a much larger establishment on the corner of Price Street. The building on the corner of Haines Street [It is unclear in this section if Keyser is referring to the building located second from the corner or on the corner in 1900] now occupied by John McNeill as a grocery, (No. 5861) was built about 1810 or 1815. At one time a man named Jackson kept a grocery on the corner, and later on John Jefford owned it. Afterwards the late John Dooley kept a large shoe store here. The present owner, John McNeill purchased the property from the George Carpenter estate.

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