For this research project, we worked with three brothers who wanted to present their parents with a unique anniversary gift. The clients have lived in the home for decades, making improvements while keeping the home's history in mind. The brothers had some information and few stories about the house, but they wanted to have the full picture and to see if some of the stories they had heard were grounded in fact. All of our projects are unique, with unique folklore that goes with old properties. In this case, a large (5 story!) barn on the property had been badly damaged by time and weather and had to be demolished. The clients thought the barn had been built in the 1920s, but asked if we could find any information about it. They had also been told by the previous owner that a Civil War Colonel had lived in the home....
We uncovered the long history of the home and property, including its connection with three generations of a clockmaking family, several military connections, and a remarkably detailed account of the barn. We were also able to clarify the Civil War Colonel story (spoiler alert: an Army Colonel did live there, but he was a veteran of WWII, not the Civil War).
The following is taken from the project narrative - the facts and details that tell the story of the home. The earliest days of the property are always the most interesting, so we have included most of that detail here. Other portions of the narrative have been summarized.
A stone home in Bedminster Township, Pennsylvania has stood among the rolling hills of Bucks County for over 200 years. The history of the home and property are a testament to the fortitude and craft of the families who called it home. Bedminster lies in the middle of Bucks County, one of the original three counties in Pennsylvania. The first settlers, Scotch-Irish and German immigrants who settled the area in 1720 were likely drawn to the local creeks and woods that supplied the materials to construct the first structures. Bedminster was incorporated in 1742 from Plumstead Township.
The story of this farm begins, as most land in Pennsylvania began, with a conveyance of acreage from William Penn and his land company to a settler. Pioneers desiring land in Pennsylvania applied to Penn’s land offices for a Warrant for the desired acreage and location. The Warrant application would then prompt a Survey of the acreage. The Patent conveyed the final legal ownership for the property.
Anthony Haines (1738 to 1754)
The land at current day Bucks Road and Sweet Briar Road was first owned by Anthony Haines, who applied for a Warrant in October of 1738.
Anthony Haines applied for 200 acres, but the resulting Survey returned 273 acres in “Perkisy Mannor” available to Haines.
A map of connected surveys shows Anthony Haines’ property patented to him in June of 1754. The Patent Index supports this final conveyance.
Anthony Haines’ full name was John George Anthony Haines. He was born in Germany in 1715, making him a young man of 23 years when he applied for land in Pennsylvania. He married Susanna Appolinia Weisel (1722-1783) in 1739, a year after the Warrant date. It is not clear if Anthony and Appolonia, as she was called, lived on the property, or simply owned the acreage. Anthony and Applonia had two children: Jacob Haynes 1747-1820 and Elizabeth Haines Adams 1756-1854.
The Haines sold the land to John Worman in August 1754, the same year the final Patent was issued to Anthony Haines. Anthony died in Bedminster, Bucks County in 1791.
John Worman (1754 to 1760)
John Worman was born in 1698 in Switzerland and arrived in the United States in 1738. He died in 1768 and is likely buried at Tohickon Cemetery with some of his children. His daughter Anna (1728-1757) was married to John Heany. John Heany was born in 1725 in Guttemburg, Germany as Johannes Hoenig. John Worman had sold the 273 acres he purchased from Anthony Haines to John Heany (his son-in-law) in December 1760. John Heany retained ownership of the land for only 6 months, selling the property to George Bergstresser in May 1761. The deed documenting this transfer notes John Heany’s wife as Catherina. John’s wife, Anna Worman Heany, had died in 1757 – it is feasible that John had remarried between 1757 and the sale of the land in 1761.
Johann George Bergstresser (1761 to 1774)
Johann George Bergstresser (also Bergstrasser) was born 15 December 1717 in Malchen, Germany to Johann Georg and Anna Margaretha (nee Loos). He is known as “The Immigrant”, arriving in Philadelphia on September 10, 1731. According to a published family history, George did not have a “license for the transportation”. He and other passengers who apparently took the voyage without paying for it were ordered before the Court and “declared that their intentions were to settle and live peaceably in this Province”. George took an Oath of Allegiance, signing as Johann Gorg Bergstosser. According to the recorded ship’s manifest, George had travelled from Germany to Rotterdam to Philadelphia alone at the age of about 14.
George made his way to Bucks County and purchased his first parcel of land, a 100 acre tract in Rockhill Township in 1738/39. George would have been 21 years old in 1738, and apparently had done very well for himself in the 14 years since his arrival in America. He continued to acquire land in Rockhill Township through 1749/50. His first marriage was to a woman named Veronica. Six children were born this union: Valentine, Veronica, Mary Ann, John Jacob, John, and John Philip. Veronica died sometime before 1766 and George remarried to Elizabeth Heany, daughter of Jacob and Catherine Heany. Elizabeth was the sister of John Heany, the man who had sold our subject property to George Bergstresser in 1761. George and Elizabeth had one son, John George. George died without a will on 12 July 1771. He and most of his family are buried at Tohickon Cemetery in Bedminster Township.
An inventory of George’s estate and accounts was taken and the farm was divided among his seven children. It is noted in the estate records that George is listed as being from Rockhill Township. It is likely that George’s residence was in Rockhill and that his holdings in Bedminster Township, including our subject property were undeveloped land.
A series of deeds between 1773 and 1779 recorded the complicated transfer of the divided interests of George Bergstresser’s Bedminster property between his children, finally transferring ownership to son John. The deeds describe the tract of land as containing “one hundred and forty acres and seventy two perches of land…it being part and residue of two hundred and seventy three acres and three quarters of an acre” originally conveyed by the Penns.
The land was sold out of the Bergstresser family in portions. The Bergstresser heirs had sold part interest in their father’s property to Jacob Sallade first in 1774 for 279 pounds, and finally in 1779 for 216 pounds. The Bergstresser land Jacob Sallade purchased was adjacent to the farm where Jacob was raised.
Jacob Solliday (1774 and 1779 to 1813)
The Salade family in Bucks County were preeminent clockmakers. The progenitor in America was Frederich Salade, who was an “armour in the German army serving under Frederick the Great."
As was the case with many immigrants, surnames were often changed or misspelled upon arrival in America, to the consternation of historical researchers and genealogists.
“The same criminal carelessness in the spelling of the surname that has produced such sad results has been evident among the descendants of Frederich Salade, may of the family now spelling the name S-o-l-i-d-a-y, so disfigured that the old French form with its accented final letter e is no longer recognizable. By the sound only can its French origin be detected by a keen observer.”
Most documents associated with the Salade family’s time on our subject acreage use variations of Solliday, therefore, we will use this spelling, despite its lack of authenticity, for simplicity when referring to the family.
Frederich, Solliday, who was of Huguenot descent, arrived in Philadelphia from Rotterdam in 1751 and migrated to Bucks County. He settled in Bedmister in 1740 having purchased land near Deep Run Mennonite Church from William
Allen. Frederich and his wife, Maria Barbara (nee Weisel), were among the earliest members of Tohickon Reformed Church. Their first child born in America was Jacob, on January 22, 1748. Jacob Solliday learned his skill as a clockmaker from his father and purchased the Bergstrasser property beginning in 1774, when he was 26 years old and newly married to Barbara Loux. Barbara was born in 1754 and lived on the farm adjacent to the Sollidays. Jacob endeavored in farming, but he was renowned for his case clocks. Jacob and Barbara Solliday likely built the first home on the Bedminster acreage.
They had ten children:
Catherine Solliday Fulmer 1774-1843
John Solliday 1776-1856
Jacob Solliday 1779-1827
Elizabeth Solliday 1782-1782
Peter Solliday 1783-1858
Samuel Solliday 1789-
Anna “Nancy” Barbara Solliday Gerhart 1793-1871
Frederick Solliday 1795-1803
Mary Magdalena Solliday Barndt Schleifer 1797-1881
Jacob is enumerated in the 1782 Tax rolls on his 139 acres with 2 horses, 4 head of cattle. The value of the property is given at 174 pounds, 10 shilling. He is also taxed 10 shilling, 3 pence for his Trade.
A date stone on the 2 story stone middle section of our subject home reads 1782, indicating Jacob Sallade likely built the original stone home.
Jacob’s father Frederick had built his stone home nearby twenty years prior. The homes built by father and son show similarities in construction and style.
Frederich Solliday house, circa 1762 as it appeared in 1999.
Jacob Solliday house, circa 1782, as it appeared in 1999.
Jacob is found again in the 1798 US Tax rolls as the owner of a 2 story stone dwelling house measuring 22’ x 18’, with outbuildings consisting of a one story log kitchen measuring 22’ x 20’, and an adjoining one story clock making shop measuring 14’ x 12’.
The Solliday family as a whole is first found in the 1800 US Census. This Census list household members by status of free or slave, race, sex and age. Jacob, whose last name is transcribed by the Census taker as “Sallady”, lists his household as containing all free white persons of the following ages:
one male under 10 – likely Frederick (b. 1795)
one male 16 to 25 – likely Peter (b. 1783)
one male 26 to 44 – likely John (b. 1776)
three females under 10 – likely Anna “Nancy” (b. 1793), Mary (b. 1797), and another unknown female