Questions for Our Historian
For those of you who have not had a chance to discuss local history with Don Breininger, you are missing out on a wealth of knowledge. For this reason, he is our newly appointed Historian, and we have convinced him to share his knowledge. We encourage you to send any questions about local history to our email at firstname.lastname@example.org, message our Facebook page, mail them to our PO Box or hand them to any board member. We are hoping to have a column in each future newsletter featuring these questions and their answers. This is the first article from our historian.
Questions were directed to us as to the origin of the names of some of the villages in Lowhill and Weisenberg Townships. The following is an attempt to explain to our knowledge these origins to give us a better understanding of our beginnings:
Located along present day Route 100 a tavern was built here in 1800 by Daniel Schumacher. The village that arose around it got its name from Daniel Clauss who kept the tavern from 1834 to 1851. A store was opened in the tavern in 1830 by John Shifferstein and Joseph Slough. A new store and dwelling house was built in 1844 opposite the hotel by Levi Knerr. It was operated by his family until it was sold to William Dotterer and known as Dotterer’s Modern Country Store until its closing. The village also included a blacksmith shop, wheelwright shop, lodge hall and schoolhouse.
The land in this area was first warranted to John Gimbel and was resold numerous times until Peter Weida purchased the 200 acre tract in 1811. In 1830 John Weida opened a general store. The store was later operated by his son, Benjamin Weida until 1864. The post office was opened by John F. Weida in 1863 until the rural free delivery route of Schnecksville forced its closing in 1908. There was also a large grist mill in the village.
This area north of Claussville, also along Route 100, was named after the Lyon Creek which flows thru the area. The establishments at one time were known as old Lyon Valley and new Lyon Valley, located on either side of the present highway. Daniel Bittner opened a tavern and store in the same building in 1845. The Hotel was later abandoned and the general store was continued on the Old Lyon Valley side until closed by Robert Kemmerer in the 1950’s. A new hotel, creamery and grist mill were erected on the New Lyon Valley side. The creamery and hotel are still standing today.
Not really a village, this was an area along the Jordan Creek in the southeastern part of the township of Lowhill where several farmers retired to small dwellings with a little acreage.
John Hartman took out land warrants in 1768 and 1789 for this area and Jacob Becker built the first grist mill. Andreas Bittner bought the property. His son Jacob Bittner obtained the property in 1812 and thru his industriousness Bittners Corner was established. This was one of the most important villages in Northwestern Lehigh County before the railroad came to the area and took business to other places. At one time, there were two grist mills, a saw mill, hotel, store, cigar factory, shoemaker and clover mill.
Leather Corner Post
There are several traditions as to how this village obtained its unusual name. Probably the oldest tavern establishment in Lowhill Township, it was opened prior to the Revolution by Ludwig Smith. The present hotel was built in 1861 by John P. Baer. A tannery was at one time located across the street from the hotel and supposedly had some influence in naming the village. More recently, the Hotel is famous for the Boomba music.
The principal village in Weisenberg Township is a more recently established area. John Seip bought the farm of Henry Mohr in 1819 which contained only an old log house on the south side of the road. Mr. Seip opened a temperance hotel in 1825 and obtained a license to keep a tavern in 1850. He laid out lots, building several new dwelling houses and in 1861 a store was opened by Thomas D. Mohr. Peter Seip opened the post office in 1862. The village also contained a school house, blacksmith shop and the famous Sechler Wagon Works where buggies, sleds and other vehicles were built. The Zion United Brethren in Christ Church was built in 1876 which later became the Seipstown Literary Society and now the Weisenberg Township Municipal Building.
This is the oldest village in the area and dates back to the French and Indian War. Michael Bobst conducted a tavern here, a place where early residents came to pledge their allegiance to the new nation after its establishment following the Revolutionary War. Frederick Hyneman of Philadelphia bought the store and hotel business in 1800 and thus the village obtained its name. Charles Ihrie carried on a carriage factory here from 1850 to 1880 and did a flourishing business, employing from 10 to 15 hands.
In about 1790 Jacob Mumi built a log house in the woods along the Kings Highway to Philadelphia. His son Jacob Mumma Jr was licensed to keep a tavern there and it became a stage coach stop. The place was known as Mt. Pleasant until Joshua Seiberling moved there in 1836. When the post office was opened in 1841 the village was named Seiberlingsville. There were several small business establishments opposite the old hotel in addition to Dr. Frederick Seiberlings medieval practice and St. Paul’s Union Church.
Michael Reichert obtained a license in 1812 to keep a tavern here. The Post Office of “Weissenberg” was established in 1830. There were two stores, a grist mill and saw mill in addition to the hotel. O. J. Fritz Ford dealerships were conducted from here for many years.
The Seiberling Family built a tavern here and conducted it for several generations. They sold the property to Sebastian Werly, a grandson of the immigrant Sebastian Werlein, and the village name became Werlysville. Daniel Bittner, a brother-in-law, opened a store while the Werley Family conducted the tavern business until 1917. Milton Zimmerman closed the store and operated the hotel which was later conducted by his son Sterling Zimmerman. The business ceased in 1994 and the hotel was donated to the Weisenberg/Lowhill Township Historical Society by Gloria Zimmerman.
Originally known as “German’s Store Stand” as Henry German had started a store there, Dewalt Werley was licensed to key a tavern there in 1830. The hotel was only in business for about 20 years. The post office of Sweitzer was opened in 1891. The store operation closed in the 1950’s.