Late 18th Century In the Goschenhoppen Region Seen Through Recently Translated Blacksmith and Mercantile business Records

Robert Wood

September 20, 2018


At the September meeting of the Goschenhoppen Historians, Bob Wood, local author and historian will high-light some translations from the business diaries of Johannes Markley, blacksmith in New Hanover Township. In addition to all manner of local trade, by 1794, Markley had established a thriving business partnership with his brother Abraham in Charleston South Carolina, shipping south tons of ironwork and getting back such things as indigo, rice, hides, and money. His manufacturing and retail trade made him one of the richest and most influential people in the township. In 1802 he erected a magnificent Federal style house which stands today as the club house of the Bella Visa Golf Course. An immense barn, built later in the 19th century, also remains on the site, converted to a modern banquet facility..

The Markley Iron works was located on the previous site of Henry Antes’ father Philip Frederick Antes’ tavern and plantation.  The 1884 Markley Freundschaft notes, “May 31, 1777, Abraham Markley purchased of William Antes a tract of 116 acres in New Hanover Township  (Antes was married to Abraham’s daughter Chistina [b.1736]) . May 14, 1782, he sold this to his son, Benjamin Markley…who in 1794…sold 100acres of the tract in connection with other land to his brother John Markley.”

The diary books themselves contain 700  pages of personal notes and financial records penned by Markley in vernacular German.  The pages give an unquestionable record of who’s who in the Fagleysville area in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, as well as details of their lives and the goods they purchased. One of John Markley’ seven children, Maria, married Enos Benner, of Sumneytown, well known  publisher of the Bauern Freund newspaper as well as numerous books and pamphlets.

Mr. Wood’s program kicks off the Goschenhoppen Historians 2018-19 program year with a fascinating view of late 18th century life as seen through various business records of the period. The program will begin at 7:30 PM on Thursday, September 20, 2018 at Red Men’s Hall, the Goschenhoppen Historians’ headquarters, located at 116 Gravel Pike (Route 29), Green Lane, PA. There is no fee and the public is welcome to attend. Refreshments will be served during an informal get-together at the conclusion of Mr. Wood’s talk. More information can be obtained at 215-234-4119