Clement and Pauline Masser began housekeeping in a quaint mill-house between Leck Kill and Pitman, PA. This was close by the home of Charles and Salome Maser, Clement’s parents. Not many people realize that the roadside green shingled cottage was associated with a mill. June and Mark spent their early years in this dwelling. This location is presently just east of the Neal and Ruth Masser home. Here the little Mahantongo Creek flows through the Masser farm fields today, having provided water power for many of the small mills of the past. Charles Masser’s homestead was originally known as the Line Mountain Hotel. This stopping place later became the Line Mountain Post Office. Nearby was the Maurer’s one-room schoolhouse and the Jacob’s (Howerter’s) Union church.
The mills that were built performed some tasks which are mostly unknown today. A linseed oil mill was located on this Masser farm south of Neal and Ruth Masser’s home. Linseed oil from flax seed was used for paint and was burned in lamps. The crushed seed was fed to animals. Linseed comes from the flax plant.
Flax is raised for fiber and seeds, The fiber can be spun and woven into many products. Rope, delicate linen fabrics, laces, clothes, flour bags, tablecloths, and even summer sausage casings used by the butcher to smoke meats. All of these were made of hand-sewn linen. The flax plants stand up to 4 feet high with small branching stems near the top. They usually have blue flowers. Before flax can be processed, the seeds must be removed. Processing the flax fiber is a very long process including soaking in water, drying, breaking the stems and combing the fibers to make cord and thread. Linen has a silky luster.
J.K. Maurer operated a Hotel and the Line Mountain Post Office at this location in 1875. The Line Mountain Hotel was established by the Maurer family. Later tis dwelling was well known as the residence of Charles and Salome Masser. This photo from the album of Salome Masser shows the home at the time of their purchase.
Donald Graves reported in his Pottsville Republican Weekender article of August 26, 1989:
“Felix Masser’s farm near Pittman was the site of a linseed oil mill. Linseed oil, from flax seed was used for paint and burned in lamps. The crushed seeds were fed to animals. The oil mill is identified on an 1830 county map. It later became a grist mill. The mill had already ceased operation by the time Masser’s father, Charles, moved to the farm. Its timbers were used to build two wagon sheds which remain on his farm. His father removed the stone foundation with it, built a cattle wall in front of his barn, which also remains. The wooden stairs of the mill now lead to the hay loft in Masser’s barn.
The mill had two raceways, from the Little Mahantongo Creek and the other from a nearby mountain run that supplemented the creek water. While the mill site is now farmed, the mill house remains on the north side of Route 4022. Like the mill, it is a timber frame house.
Masser knew the last miller, Adam Switzer, who told him he preferred to grind at nihgt when the water level was higher. In addition to the grist mill, the farm also had a cider press and a sawmill on the site. “We’d get wheat straw and sip the cider,” he said. The cider was stored in 50 gallon barrels.
The mill house stood until 2008.
The sawmill used a vertical saw blade which went up and down rather than the circular bl;ades used today. There were more than 10 sawmills in the upper Mahantongo Valley, according to an 1875 map of the area.”
The foundation stones from this mill were reset as the barnyard stone wall in front of the barn along the Pitman-Leck Kill highway. In the distance note the littel green shingle house called the “millhouse,” also pictured above,
This gristmill stone rests in the barnyard of Niel Masser. Niel is the son of Felix Masser. The gristmill was established nearby along the Little Mahantongo Creek.
From the 1875 Atlas of Schuylkill County, by F.W. Beers