Included are two pages of manuscript text and four images:
Manuscript text on the back (dated 1889) surrounds a small woodcut of Samuel Keyser:
"The Mennonites who first settled in Gtn held their meetings in each others houses, but on Feb 10, 1702-3 Arnold Van Tossen delivered to Jans Neuss on behalf of the Mennonites a deed for 3 square perches of land for a church.
"The first meeting house was built in 1708. It was of logs & stood at the lower corner of the lot, next to the present drug store. In 1740 Christopher Dock had a school in it. William Rittinghuysen or Rittenhouse was then first minister, not only in Gtn, but in America, & he established the first paper mill in this country on Paper Mill run. He was afterwards made Bishop and died in 1708.
"In 1770 it was determined by the congregation to erect a new building, the result being the present one we are all familiar with...The congregation numbered 25 when the log house was built in 1707, 52 when the present edifice was erected in 1770, & 18 at this time 1888, being a remarkable fact that for nearly two centuries there has been such a slight change in the number of its members.
"The house which stands in the picture just north of church was built by 'Sammy' Keyser, a great,-,-, grandson of Dirk the emigrant, & son of Jacob who lived in the house now occupied by Jno. D. Channon. Sam'l was born 1/25/1783 & died 7/9/1868. In person he was tall, with stern features, king to the poor & liberal to his church. He had six sons Gideon, Naaman, Reuben, Jacob, John S. and Daniel.
"Watson says 'the severest part of the battle of Gtn took place around this house, & in the garden many bodies were buried," so it could not have been built by Samuel as some claim, it was purchased about 1873 by G.W. Pastorius who tore it down, erecting the present houses & opening Pastorius St.
"Sam'l Keyser was a shoe manf. & carried on his business in the house, employing some thirty men, I believe all his sons learned the trade, & Daniel followed it until his death about 1884. In the rear of the house were some famous fruit trees, particularly cherries, which the neighbors were glad to be able to buy in season. Alongside was a cart-road, & behind the house some tenements so that the place had the popular name of Keysers Court, the road was of course on the north side of the house."
Manuscript text on the back (dated 1890):
"This picture was made by R. Newell & Son before the paving of Germantown Ave. with Belgian blocks, and shows the sidewalk before it was graded, also the end of 'Sammy' Keyser's old house.
"Since writing the account of the Keyser house on the other picture, I have had an opportunity of seeing the Brief of Title of the property, and from it judge that the house was built by Paul Engle about 1750. Upon his death it passed to his son Jacob whose executors, in 1806, sold to Jacob Kulps, who not thriving, the property was sold by the sheriff in 1809 to Sebastian Zimmerman and charles Harvey, who in 1810, sold to Jacob Keyser, who held the property until 1828 when he sold to his son Samuel. Samuel, in 1841, further increased his holding by buying the houses adjoining him on the north-west, as far as those owned by Henry Freas. Samuel's heirs, in 1870 sold the whole property to Washington Pastorius who tore the old buildings down and erected nos. 5121 & 23 on the site, he also opened Pastorius St.
Added later: "Small photo by Celias T. Jenkins 1900."
Back to the pages for the Mennonite Meeting House or the Samuel Keyser House.
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