6133 Germantown Avenue

Naaman Keyser, Manuscript Notes for v. 2 (north of Chelten), History of Old Germantown, pp. 56-57
Germantown Historical Society

Included are unpublished typewritten notes:

"6133-35 (Shoemaker 5121-23.)
These two dwellings are built on what was 'lot No. 20 towards Bristol', drawn in the name of Claus Rittenhouse. In 1714 it was owned by Paul Engle. He still owned it in 1766. In 1806 Jacob Kulp purchased from the estate of Jacob Engle two and a half acres of land containing a two and a half story house. In 1828 it was sold to Samuel Keyser, a shoe manufacturer. He afterwards purchased the property to the north. This new purchase contained 16 acres, and in 1797 sold for 1850 pounds. It had been owned by John Keisel in 1809. In 1839 it was purchased by Philip Syng Physick, and it was from him that Samuel Keyser purchased it in 1841. There was a road through the place that led to Mr. Physick's property in the rear.

"It was on this latter property that the experiment of propogating silk-worms was made. Indeed many people in Germantown were affected by what has humerously [sic] been called 'the mulicaulis fever,' about 1840 and 1841, and much money was lost in experimenting upon silkworm culture. The most extensive experiments were made at Physic's cocoonery [on what is now Morton Street].

"Samuel Keyser's shoe shop was in an old building on the front of the lot, and in the rear was Keyser's Court, at one time a veritable hive of industry. In 1870 the heirs of Samuel Keyser sold the property to Washington Pastorius. He tore down the old building and erected the present houses.

"In his day, Samuel Keyser was a man of much influence in Germantown. He was a direct descendant of Dirck Keyser, one of the earliest pastors of the Mennonite Church. Although a devoted Methodist, he was nevertheless a strong friend of the Mennonites, and for years he kept the Mennonite meeting house and grounds in order at his own expense. He was well known for his hospitality...

"At that time Germantown was the center of the shoe and leather industry of the State, and Samuel Keyser's shop was only one of many in the town. Many of the oldest families of the town laid the foundation for their wealth by engaging in the business of tanning or in the manufacture of shoes. As was the custom of the day, all of 'Sammy' Keyser's apprentices were boarded and clothed by him. He was a strict disciplinarian, but never an unjust one...

"Samuel Keyser married Mary Miller. Their children were Gideon, Hannah, Jacob, John S., Daniel L., Margaret, Elizabeth, Sarah, and Martha. The boys learned their trade with their father, but only one, Daniel L., made it his life vocation. John S. became the famous Marshal Keyser of Philadelphia. He was the Lieutenant of the police force of the Spring Garden district, and in 1850, when only thirty-three years of age, he was made Marshal of the police force of Philadelphia...

"It was the custom for the children of Samuel Keyser to gather at the family homestead every Sunday, and here, after church duties were over, the hours were spent in pleasant social intercourse.

"In the later years of his life Mr. Keyser gave up active business, and devoted himself to fruit raising and bee culture. He died July 19, 1866, at the age of 83..."

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