Geology of the Mahanoy, Mahantongo and Lykens Valley Presentation


Regular Meeting of the Gratz Historical Society, October 24, 2013 at 7pm
Basement Social Hall, Simeon Lutheran Church, Gratz, Pa.

Steve E. Troutman will present the evening program entitled, “The Geology of the Mahanoy, Mahantongo and Lykens Valleys -Something about the Earth We Walk on.”

A power point photo presentation will be shown describing the formation of the Ridge and Valley Province of Central Pennsylvania.  The geologic time scale pertaining to our area will be discussed, beginning 400 million years ago and ending with the present time.  Sediments were first deposited in an ancient ocean basin which were later formed into sedimentary rock layers.  These rock strata were uplifted to form a mountain range.  Erosion of these mountains occurred during the geologic history of our earth, resulting in the formation of the ridges and valleys we see today.  The ice ages will also be discussed.  They are a recent geologic event ending only 10,000 years ago.  The effects of this severe climate change in the Susquehanna Valley will be addressed.  Photos of ice age evidence will be presented including gravel terraces, rock glaciers, rock falls, and sand dunes formed by the movement of ice, water, and winds of this very interesting era.  Native Americans appeared in our valley at the end of the Ice Age.  European settlers arrived here only 250 years ago.

It is difficult to imagine the 400 million years of geologic time that has passed.  The age of our Appalachian Mountains could be represented by a measuring stick 4 feet in length. Each foot represents 100 million years.  The last half inch of the last foot is when native American arrived.  The last one sixteenth of an inch represents when Europeans arrived.  Of the 48 inches on the measuring stick, 47 and 15/16th inches are pre-historic.  Only the last 1/16th inch represents recorded history.

Robert Fromme of Millersburg will have a display of fossils, and free relief maps of Central Pennsylvania will be available.

Light refreshments to follow the hour long program.

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Samuel Mauser Homestead

Samuel and Magdalena Mauser Homestead, 1 mile west of Hebe



The Photo of the barn is provided by Mabel E. (Snyder) Rebuck, daughter of Louisa (Mauser) Snyder. Mabel Snyder is on he barn picture.


This pioneer home on the Samuel Mauser farm has a large open walk-in fireplace on the ground floor. Janice Stutz has restored the old dwelling.

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Samuel Mauser History: Family Photo 1909

This photo is submitted by Ernest Heim who lives on Chestnut Ridge, north of the Village of Rough and Ready, and south of the Village of Greenbriar.  The information below is also attributed to “Mammy” Rebuck who gave this picture to  Mabel E. (Snyder) Rebuck, granddaughter of Samuel Mauser,   Christmas of 1980.  The time is identified by “Mammy” Rebuck as 1909.  Barbara Baumbert also provided information about the photo, as well as Janet Stutz who lives on the Samuel Mauser homestead today.  Janet’s farm is named “Hebe Hills” and is located approximately 1 mile west of Hebe.


Center sitting is Samuel Mauser (April 2, 1842-July 11, 1914) and Magdalena (Lesher) Mauser (March 21, 1844-Dec. 3, 1918)

Samuel Mauser’s  oldest daughter Mary and her family to the left:  Samuel Pierce Heim, son of William and Lucy Ann (Rebak) married Mary (Mauser) Heim. Mary was confirmed in 1885 by Rev. Hottenstein at David’s Reformed Church in Hebe.   Samuel P. Heim was born at the farm now the residence of Ernest Heim.  An early birth and baptism document records:  George Heim and his wife Catharina Ertman have a son born 29 July, 1828, born in Loher Machotunky, Schuylkill County.  This son named William baptized 14th September, 1828, by Rev. Nicholaus Hemping.  Witness:  George Clark and wife Elizabeth.  This is the William Heim who later lived on the Ernest and Sandra Heim farm, on Chestnut Ridge.

Gertrude Heim in front of Samuel P. Heim.    Gertrude married Edgar Erdman.

William Heim held by Mary Heim.  William is recalled for his mechanical abilities and worked as a mechanic in the Village of Erdman for Ray and Leon Leitzel.  William married Verde Morgan.

Mabel Heim sitting on the blanket holding a doll.  She married Miles Erdman.

John Heim, the oldest son, stands behind his mother.  John could communicate with Aunt Polly, who was deaf and dumb, by sign language as Polly often visited with the Samuel P. Heim family.

Harlan Raymond Heim (father of Ernest and Raymond) was born June of 1903. He is standing between Mary and grandfather Samuel.  Harlan first married Beula Abby (Maurer) Heim.   Beula had 3 children before she married Harlan.  They were Lester Maurer, June Maurer and Clarence Maurer.  Harlan and Beula had 2 children, Raymond and Ernest.

Standing in the center is the youngest daughter, Sarah ( Mauser) Winkleman, later of Oregon.

Step sister Polly Raudenbush stands next to Sarah Winkleman.  Polly is the daughter of Magdalena, (single).  Polly was deaf and dumb.

The Lewis Snyder Family is on the right.  Lewis married Louisa Mauser who was the middle daughter.  Lewis (1887-1957), Louisa (1880-1937).  Mabel (Snyder) Rebuck sits on the lap of Lewis.  Mabel is 3 years old.

Ferdinand Maaser, the father of Samuel is named as living in the Hebe area.  The 1858 maps shows F. Maaser as living where Terry Strohecker now lives in 2013.  F. Maaser is also named on this same map as owning the neighboring farm to the east, now the home of Janet Stutz.  For many years of recent history, this Stutz farm was occupied by Daniel Strohecker.  Daniel was well known as a mechanic and blacksmith.  Widow Maaser is shown as living here in 1875.  The 1875 map shows J. Maaser as living on the Terry Strohecker farm.  Ferdinand (11-22-1807)-(7-31-1867) married Mary Brosius (2-8-1810) –      (7-19-1892).  Their son Samuel (4-2-1842)-(7-11-1914) married Magdalena Lesher (3-21-1844) – (12-3-1918).  Jacob (1-22-1833) – (10-22-1908) married Mary Hepner (3-19-1836) – (1-8-1887).  All are buried in David’s Cemetery, Hebe, PA.


Mathias Maser emigrated from the Village of Lossburg, in the Black Forest region of Wurtemberg, Germany.  He and  his wife Barbara Berger, came to this country in October 20, 1752, on the ship Duke of Wurttemberg.  They settled on a farm in Alsace Township in Berks County, south of Spies Church.  Mathias’s cottage, presently a restored home, is located at RD 7, 342 Old Friedensburg Road, Reading, PA.    Their second son, Johannes moved north to the western end of Schuylkill County.  There Johannes and his wife Margaretha Fick settled on a farm in Eldred Township near Howerter’s Church.  Johannes lived south of the cemetery, between the cemetery and the Clark Reiner residence.  Johannes’s house was removed by Felix Masser.   Johannes’s children included Ferdinand, John, Jacob, and Maria Magdalena.

For more detail concerning the German origins of the Maser-Mauser-Maaser-Masser family and the Mathias Maser homestead in Berks County,  see the family history book compiled by Steve and Joan Troutman, entitled, “Origin and History of the Jacob Masser Family, Line Mountain, Pennsylvania”, published by the authors and available at Steve and Joan Troutman, 1442 Ridge Road, Klingerstown, PA  17941.

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The Resting Place of Immigrant Alexander Klinger (1726-1802)

The Resting Place of Immigrant Alexander Klinger (1726-1802)

John Klinger

Klinger family lore holds that Alexander, my sixth great grandfather, was buried in the graveyard of TrinityLutheranChurch in Reading, PA.  The current history of the church lists him as a contributor to the fund that built the first log church for the denomination.  An earlier church history, The History of Trinity Lutheran 1751 – 1894 by Jacob Fry, 1894, states that he was installed as a deacon when the log church was consecrated in 1753.  He was certainly a member of Trinity in it’s early years, as were his brothers Philip and Peter.  Klinger marriage records in Germany indicate that the state church in the area was the LutheranChurch, so this all seems logical.  I went to visit Trinity, where they were kind enough to go through the old hand written burial records with me.  There are no Klingers listed.  Many of the old graves are now buried beneath a church expansion, but there is a monument in the church wall listing the names, with no Klingers.

I was doing research at the Historical Society of Berks County, and one of the researchers suggested that I check the records of the First Reformed Church in Reading.  It seems that our German ancestors weren’t very interested in the theological differences between Lutheran and Reformed, and switched back and forth between the two German speaking congregations based on their opinions about the pastors, or lack of pastors at many times, or arguments among members.  There were some nasty disagreements among the Trinity deacons, and Alexander may have taken part.  The history of both churches shows a good bit of conflict, and many periods with no pastor.  When there was no pastor at one of the two German churches, the other pastor would fill in for key rites such as burials.  When Alexander died, there was no pastor at Trinity, but other records in the same First Reformed log list the cemetery when someone was buried at cemeteries other than the First Reformed cemetery.  HSBC also has Trinity records of a new Ordinance in 1772.  It was signed by Philip and Peter, but not Alexander.  The evidence is not as conclusive as I would like, but I believe that Alexander left Trinity and joined First Reformed, probably before the Revolution.

From the burial log of Rev. Philip Pauli of First Reformed, now First United Church of Christ, 1802:


A 1986 transcription by HSBC translates his cause of death as consumption.  It also shows Anne Klinger buried there after she died 27 Dec 1820 (no cause of death), and a three year old, Johann Klinger, son of Michael, buried there after he died 17 Jan 1801 of dysentery.  Below is an old woodcut print showing the First Reformed Church from the time period of Alexander’s death, with the graves to the left.  Standing there today, in the middle of the city, it is hard to believe that this is the same place.  Below the church print is a drawing of the pastor, Rev. Pauli.




As Reading grew, so did the church.  New buildings were built, and the area around it became a city.  Property in the city became much more valuable.  In January 1866, the consistory proposed to close the cemetery and sell the land to raise money for a building project.  The congregation rejected the proposal.  In August 1866, the proposal was reintroduced and approved by the congregation.  In February 1869, an act of the legislature was requested, passed, and signed by the Governor to authorize the plan.  Legal attempts to block the plan were unsuccessful.  According to History of the Reformed Church in Reading, Pennsylvania by Daniel Miller, 1905: “All persons who had friends buried on the graveyard had the privilege of removing them.  Those not removed were to be removed by the committee, under the direction of the consistory.”  During the summer of 1869, the dead were removed from the cemetery.  Those not claimed were reburied at a beautiful private cemetery in Reading, Charles Evans Cemetery.  The church received a substantial discount from the cemetery, helping to make the transaction profitable for the building fund.  Notes at HSBC indicate that only a partial listing of those transferred exists, but employees at Charles Evans insist that all graves have names in their records, and there are no Klingers.  Unfortunately, all of the stones are badly weathered, with only a few names fully legible.  From pieces of names and dates still showing, I can eliminate many of the stones from consideration.  Assuming that Alexander and Anna would be buried together, there are only two pairs of stones that could be them, and only one pair with the shape of both stones matching each other and the basic shape of Johannes Klinger’s stone from 1800 at Klinger’s Church in Erdman.  None of these stones have any writing legible, so it would be a big stretch to draw any conclusion.  Below is a photo I took of the First Reformed section in Charles Evans Cemetery.


I also found a record in an index of graves on the internet from the Daughters of the American Revolution.  They had a project to identify the graves of all patriots who served in the American Revolution, including those with militia active duty records, like Alexander.  It indicates that Alexander’s grave was found in a “private cemetery” in the Klingerstown area in 1949.  At the State Library, I checked the records that the DAR submitted to the US Congress, but there were no more useful details.  I also contacted the Harrisburg DAR, who filed the report on Alexander, but they didn’t provide any further information.  They said that in public cemeteries they left a bronze plaque, but in private cemeteries, sometimes they did and sometimes they didn’t.  With our families in the Klingerstown area using church cemeteries, I can’t imagine that someone would go to the effort and expense to move remains from Reading and not rebury them in a church cemetery.  Previous dedicated Klinger researchers working in the area, such as Irving, Mary, and Robert Klinger, and current researcher Steve Troutman, have no information on private Klinger burials to support even part of this claim.  DAR and SAR family information, by nature, sometimes gives the benefit of the doubt to questionable claims.  With so many Klingers with the same first names, including Alexander, it can be a lot of work to keep our ancestors straight.  Someone doing a casual search could quickly be in over their head.  In short, I am very skeptical of this claim.


At this point, I am out of ideas to proceed.  I welcome any suggestions.

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Wolfgang Family Pictures

Wolfgang Family Pictures, contributed by Peggy Walter, Sunbury, PA


Front Row: Grampa Charles Heim, Violet (Heim) Diehl, Mother Viola (Heim) Peifer, Russel and William Stepp, Grandma Mary (Wolfgang) Heim  Back Row: George Wolfgang, Anna (Wolfgang) Stepp, Mr. Stepp, Sophie (Wolfgang) Land, Bill Wolfgang, Kathyrn (Wolfgang) Banyon. Photo dated Feb 23, 1913. Originally owned by Viola Heim

Front Row: Grampa Charles Heim, Violet (Heim) Diehl, Mother Viola (Heim) Peifer, Russel and William Stepp, Grandma Mary (Wolfgang) Heim
Back Row: George Wolfgang, Anna (Wolfgang) Stepp, Mr. Stepp, Sophie (Wolfgang) Land, Bill Wolfgang, Kathyrn (Wolfgang) Banyon. Photo dated Feb 23, 1913. Originally owned by Viola Heim


Front Row: George Wolfgang (father of George, Bill and Mary), Mary (Wolfgang) Heim, Bill Wolfgang (father of Shirley, Kathyrn,Robert)Back Row: Anna (Wolfgang) Stepp, (mother of Russell, Bill, Mary [Reidinger and Verna), Kathyrn (Wolfgang) Banyon, Sophie (Wolfgang) Land (mother of Sophie Belle, Bill, and George Land).

Front Row: George Wolfgang (father of George, Bill and Mary), Mary (Wolfgang) Heim, Bill Wolfgang (father of Shirley, Kathyrn,Robert)
Back Row: Anna (Wolfgang) Stepp, (mother of Russell, Bill, Mary [Reidinger and Verna), Kathyrn (Wolfgang) Banyon, Sophie (Wolfgang) Land (mother of Sophie Belle, Bill, and George Land).

For more information about George Wolfgang, the blacksmith of Rough and Ready, see the book There is Something about Rough and Ready, published by Sunbury Press ($19.95).


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Stein’s School

Stein's School as seen for many years surrounded by trees. the school building has been converted to a storage shed.


In 2012 the trees were removed but the weathered building remains standing as a landmark. Stein's School is south of the old Stein's Hotel, below the Rough and Ready Church.


Stein's School, Nov 6, 1924

First row: Guy Knorr, Franklin Sherry, William Wolfgang, John Snyder, William Bressler

Second Row: William Deitz, Darvin Feger, Clifford Maurer, Elwood Rothermel, Marlin Snyder, Marlin Deitz, Raymond Erdman, Whalen Minnich

Third Row: Whalen Snyder, Mazie Feger, Lila Reed, Earl Minnich, Dorothy Ramberger (sister to Laura Ramberger), Dorothy Rothermel, Lillian Shadel, Violet Reed

Fourth Row: Marlin Maurer, Elda Wolfgang, Irene Reed, Laura Ramberger (Jeanne Adams’ grandma), Gertie Erdman, Myrtle Minnich, Helen Rothermel, Mazie Shadel

Fifth Row: Teacher Clarence Fetterolf, Gertie Wolfgang, Alcice Snyder, Evelyn Fetter, Lucille Snyder, Mae Haas, Iva Wolfgang, Twins Edna and Jennie Rothermel.

Jeanne Adams: “Grandma had the list of names with her picture.”




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Ramberger Memories, early 1900s

Daniel Edgar Ramberger Family Standing, back row: William Clarence, Annie Elizabeth, Mazie Ida Sitting: Edgar, Mary Eva (Snyder) Ramberger Front Row: Jennie Mabel, Laura Alvena, Katie Irene


Ramberger Farm Picture, around 1908

The quality of the photo is pretty bad, but I think the first woman on the left is Mary Eva Ramberger. The boy all the way to the right looks like William C. Ramberger to me. Considering he was born in 1900 I would guess this photo was taken around 1908. Possibly the baby Mary Eva is holding is daughter Katie who was born in July 1907. I have some guesses about a few of the others but am not sure. Notice the horse-drawn buggy looks a lot like modern Amish buggies.

Winter Scene. Probably one of the Ramberger girls sledding on their farm. This is the same barn as in the above photo.

Daniel Klinger Ramberger and Fromena Brown Ramberger


Daniel Klinger Ramberger and Fromena Brown Ramberger


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Opening of Mahantongo Heritage Center

The Hermitage Open House

Saturday, August 25

11 am to 4 pm

75 Grove Road

Pitman, PA 17964

Featuring the public opening of the new Mahantongo Heritage Center, the only museum dedicated to the folk traditions of the Pennsylvania Dutch in the Mahantongo Valley.

See 17 display areas of furniture, crafts, tools, clothing, photographs and music of the Mahantongo Valley, long recognized for its unique Pennsylvania Dutch culture.

See the new spinning and weaving studio showing how flax is processed to make linen.

See the 1758 Moravian Gemeinehaus (community house), moved from the Indian missionary settlement of Nain in the Lehigh Valley and rebuilt.

Eat fabulous Pennsylvania Dutch baked goods prepared at the Hermitage’s 200-year-old bake oven.

Tour the largest colletion of vernacular folk buildings in the region.

The Hermitage- home of the Harmonists. Come see where the spirit and the earth unite.

It’s free.

Contact: Johannes Zinzendorf


This museum is not affiliated with the Gratz Historical Society.


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Salem Church Picnic Grove, 1940s

Jeanne Adams writes :” I found these in a photo company envelope mailed to my grandma, Laura Ramberger Klinger, dated November 1947. I am thinking they may have been from a Sunday School picnic or some other gathering at Salem Church, although I am not sure. The sign above the door has the names Nath Erdman, J.G. Seiler, D.K. Hepler, B.zZ. Peifer, and J Brown.”

The Salem Church Picnic Grove was south of the church in a grove now owned by Steve Haas on “Mountain Road” above Oxenriders home.


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Ramberger Family Photo, 1902-1903

Taken around 1902-03 at J.R. Conrad Studio, 100 Independence Street, Shamokin, PA


Daniel Edgar Ramberger holding son William Ramberger, Mary Eva holding daughter Mazie, Annie Snyder Smith (Mary Eva’s sister) holding Annie Ramberger, Elmer Smith (Annie’s husband)

Mary Eva and Annie Smith are the daughters of ISreal and Elizabeth (Maurer) Snyder. Elizabeth Maurer Snyder was the daughter of David H. Maurer (1818-1903) and Anna Maria (Moyer) Maurer (1819-1895). The Maurers are buried at Salem Church. Elizabeth is buried in Leck Kill, PA.

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