Continually Owned by the Bomberger Family for Nine Generations:
Above: The Bomberger Homestead on Google Maps Street View.
The Land and the Owners:
This farm is part of the original patent of 548.75 acres patented to Christian Bomberger in 1735. It appears that this portion of the farm may have been part of the 200 acres that Christian willed to his son John (d. 1758). It seems that Christian (d. 1787) bought this portion of the original tract from John's sons. Christian owned 436 acres. Upon his death in 1787 his son John (1750-1818) inherited this portion of the farm.
Christian Bomberger (1719-1787) was a Mennonite preacher. He married Elizabeth Hostetter on November 11, 1746. The present farmhouse apparently was built by Christian Bomberger ca. 1760. In 1798 it was occupied by Christian's son John (1750-1818) and his wife Maria Reist (1758-1831).
When John died in 1818, the farm was willed to his son Jacob, who apparently was unmarried. Later it was owned by Jacob's brother John Jr. (1780-1861) who lived on the adjoining farm. The farm was deeded to John Jr.'s son, Christian, in 1843.
The house's second floor apparently was added in 1846 by Bishop Christian Bomberger (1818-1898). Christian was married to Catharine Hess (1819-1875). Christian was a farmer and a furrier. He was ordained as a minister in the Mennonite church in 1848. In 1860 he was ordained bishop.
Bishop Christian Bomberger's 150-acre farm was divided into two farms. Henry H. Bomberger, the youngest son, received the home place. His brother, John H., received the southern half with a new set of buildings. Henry H. Bomberger (1863-1939) married Mary Huber (1868-1958). Their son, Abram Z. Bomberger (1888-1969) received the home place. His son H. Richard Bomberger deeded it to his son Gregory R. Bomberger. This farm has been in Bomberger possession for nine generations, and is the Bomberger farm which is longest-owned by that family.
View this farm in a larger Google map.
The House and Barn:
The present farmhouse apparently was built by Christian Bomberger ca. 1760. The farm is described in the 1798 direct tax as being 128 acres, with a one-and-one-half-story house measuring 36 by 30 feet, built of stone with a dozen 12-lite windows. The barn was 80 by 27 feet, built of stone and logs.
In the 1815 direct tax, John continued to occupy the farm. It is described then as: 146 acres, a one-story house measuring 34 by 32 feet of stone, with a barn of stone and wood measuring 96 by 27 feet. Plus there was a stillhouse for distilling whiskey, measuring 25 x 20 feet made of timber, and a stable 48 by 18 feet made of boards. The old log barn had been replaced by a newer bank barn. The house was still one-and-one-half stories in size.
The house's second floor apparently was added in 1846 by Bishop Christian Bomberger (1818-1898).
Seven Historic Objects of this Bomberger Homestead:
A Family Record, ca. 1800, of the Children of John Bomberger (1750-1818) and Maria (Reist) Bomberger
(They Owned the Bomberger Homestead):
This family record (above), written in German script, was found in the copybook of cabinetmaker John Bomberger. The document lists the birth dates of him and his siblings. The Bomberger children listed here are Christian (the fraktur artist), Johannes (the cabinet maker), Jacob, Joseph, Abraham, Daniel, Peter, and Elisabeth. (Document: Clarke Hess Collection)
An 1822 Fraktur by Farmer Christian Bomberger
Who was Born here at the Bomberger Homestead:
This fraktur (above) was penned for Maria Geib in 1822 by Christian Bomberger (1778-1834), who was born here at the Bomberger Homestead.
This Christian Bomberger and wife Barbara (Reist) Bomberger moved to a Lebanon County farm around 1811. In his later years he drew fraktur drawings for neighborhood families. His brother, John Bomberger the cabinetmaker, also drew fraktur. (John Bomberger's farm is on this website, here.)
Most fraktur were stored in books or blanket chests, but Christian Bomberger created his fraktur to be framed and displayed. This one apparently is in its original frame. Christian may have crafted his own frames for his fraktur. (Fraktur: Clarke Hess Collection)
1829 Public-Sale Broadside for Jacob Bamberger Estate, at this Bomberger Homestead:
Above: This 1829 sale bill advertises items to be sold at the estate auction of Jacob Bamberger (1782-1828), after his death.
Included in the listing are a milk cow, a young bull, a calf, bed and bedding, chest, apple butter, etc. Jacob had no children, and there is no record of Jacob having a wife. He was the son of John Bomberger and Maria (Reist) Bomberger, and was a great grandson of immigrants Christian Bomberger and wife Maria Bomberger.
Jacob was a brother of the cabinetmaker John Bomberger, who lived on the adjoining farm. The cabinetmaker received this farm after Jacob's death. The sale bill lists this cabinetmaker brother as an adminstrator of Jacob's estate, along with another brother, fraktur artist Christian Bomberger. Jacob had been willed this farm by his father. (Sale bill: Clarke Hess Collection)
.A Tour-de-Force Pin Cushion by Anna H. Bomberger (1843-1901):
Anna Shows off Her Needlework Skills:
Above: Anna H. Bomberger (1843-1901) was living here at the Bomberger Homestead when she created this remarkable pin cushion. Anna apparently was not intimidated by the challenge of stitching together tiny patches to create a perfect sphere.
Fabric balls of this type all seem to be from this northwest region of Lancaster County. The balls were made ca. 1830 to 1900.
Anna probably made this ball before her marriage to Christian R. Bucher. Anna was a neighbor of Fannie S. Bucher, another skilled teenage Mennonite seamstress. Fannie showed off her skill with small-piece stitching in her sampler quilt here. The girls were probably close friends, and Annie then married Fannie's half brother, Christian. Perhaps these girls competed to create the best needlework masterpieces of miniature pieces.
Anna Bomberger was the daughter of Bishop Christian Bomberger and Catherine (Hess) Bomberger. A decorated towel by this Catherine (Hess) Bomberger is here , which she stitched as a young woman before marrying Bishop Bomberger. The bishop's balsam-apple medicine bottles are below. (Pieced ball: Clarke Hess Collection)
Balsam-Apple Medicine Bottles:
Owned by Bishop Christian Bomberger (“Grandpap”) (1818-1898)
"Why, we took it for everything. When the whiskey got low, we just added more.” (Anna B. Oberholtzer [1914-2003])
Mennonite Bishop Christian Bomberger (1818-1898) was a farmer, not a physician. But he apparently had enough medical know-how to self-medicate with rye whiskey and balsam apple (Momordica charantia). He lived here at this Bomberger Homestead.
These folk-remedy bottles were a wise addition to the Bomberger medicine shelf. Modern research has shown that balsam apple has numerous health benefits.
To fill the bottles with the balsam-apples, the bottles were attached to the growing plants, so the balsam-apples could grow inside the bottles.
The smaller bottle has a label dated 1884 for Mary B. Bucher (1869-1928), living at Lime Rock, a community near Lititz. The label also says, “This bottle from Grandpap Bomberger.” referring to Bishop Christian Bomberger, who was Mary's maternal grandfather. Mary married Christian G. Brennamen (1867-1948).
The bottles have later ownerships of unmarried sisters Anna B. Oberholtzer (1914-2003) and May B. Oberholtzer (1905-1976), daughters of Nathan R. Oberholtzer (1864-1923) and Martha B. Bucher (1877-1952).
Anna lived until 2003. Clarke asked her for which illness she drank this balsam-apple remedy. She replied, “Why, we took it for everything. When the whiskey got low, we just added more.” Apparently this high-proof remedy is good for what ails you. (Bottles: Clarke Hess Collection)
Bishop Christian Bomberger's Monogrammed Stockings:
And Wife Catherine Bomberger's Neck Kerchief:
Above: These hand-knit stockings were knitted from hand-spun wool for Mennonite Bishop Christian Bomberger (1818-1898), whose balsam-apple bottles appear above.
These stockings apparently were seldom worn and never laundered, retaining their end strings. This pristine condition suggests they may have been part of Bishop Bomberger's Aussteier (outfitting for marriage). Perhaps he received them as a gift from his parents, to wear to his wedding. The wool for these stockings could have came from sheep grazing in the green pastures of this Bomberger Homestead.
The cotton Halsduch (neck kerchief) is stitched with the name “C. H. Bamberger.” This is the name of Catherine (Hess) Bomberger, who married the bishop ca. 1839. She was the daughter of Christian Hess and Barbara Huber of Rothsville. The neck kerchief has been folded in a triangle, with the two corners pinned together in front, indicating its typical use, draped over the shoulders and pinned in front.
These items were purchased at the 1999 auction of Kathryn (Bucher) Bomberger (b. 1904), the widow of Christian R. Bomberger (1906-1982). He was the great grandson of this Bishop Christian Bomberger and Catherine Bomberger. (Clarke Hess Collection)