Above: Bomberger-Wenger Farm on Google Maps Street View.
The Land and the Owners:
This farm is another section of immigrant Christian Bomberger's 1735 patent. This is probably a portion of the homestead that was willed to Christian's youngest son, Preacher Christian Bomberger (1719-1787). Upon Christian's death in 1787, the oldest son John was to receive his 436 acres for 3,945 pounds and 10 shillings.
This portion of the tract, however, was ultimately owned by Christian's (d. 1787) son Jacob (1756-1811). In 1798 Jacob, who was unmarried, was occupying this farm. He died in 1811, unmarried. His will specifies that his nephew John Jr (1780-1861) should have first chance to buy this farm.
By 1815, John Bomberger Jr. (1780-1861) and his wife Anna Mary Musser (1787-1861) were occupying the farm. This farm was later owned by John Bomberger Jr.'s son Jacob (1824-1885). Jacob was married to Barbara Hess (1829-1901). She was a sister of Catharine Hess, who married Bishop Christian Bomberger.
In 1861 Jacob and Barbara built a house on the southern end of this farm. (See 533 West Lincoln Avenue).
Above The house's 1869 datestone as seen on Google Maps Street View.
1869 is the date the Bombergers added the second floor. The house's first floor is earlier.
View this farm in a larger Google map.
The House and Barn:
The 1798 direct tax describes this farm having 147 acres, with a one-story stone house measuring 35 by 30 feet, with eight 12-lite windows. The barn measured 80 by 18 feet, and was built of logs. The tax also lists a one-story stone house 30 by 15 feet, described as "old not occupied." This "old" house was likely built by immigrant Christian Bomberger before his death in 1742.
The barn, being built only of log, was not a bank barn, or overshot barn. Rather it was a log barn constructed on a flat area without a ramp to the second floor. This type of barn was typical of the earliest barns constructed by the Pennsylvania Germans. Log barns such as this were quickly replaced by the more practical bank barns.
By the 1815 direct tax, the small stone house and the log barn had been demolished. The farm was described as 142 acres, with a one-story stone house measuring 34 x 28 feet, with an overshot barn 60 by 25 feet with its lower level of stone, and upper level of wood. There was also a two-story stone joiner's shop 24 by 16 feet.
In 1869, Jacob and Barbara Bomberger added a second floor to the stone house on this farm, and extensively remodelled the first floor. The house's datestone is inscribed, "Built by Jacob and Barbara Bomberger AD 1869." The meadow across Newport Road from this house is the supposed location of the dugout or cave where the immigrant Christian Bomberger family first lived.
"Johnny Bomberger", Cabinetmaker:
This Bomberger-Wenger Farm:
Former Home of Mennonite Cabinetmaker John Bamberger (Bomberger)
Above: Chest made, decorated and signed by John Bamberger
Below: Chest decorated by John Bamberger
Above: John Bamberger decorated this 1831 chest, although it was made by another cabinetmaker. The chest was made for a 13-year-old Mennonite boy, Benjamin Gingrich, who was a neighbor and relative of Bamberger's. Benjamin Gingrich later joined the Lititz Moravian congregation, and was an overseer of a Moravian farm. (Clarke Hess collection).
John Bamberger (1780-1861), also know as Johnny Bomberger, was a highly-acclaimed Mennonite cabinetmaker. His identity as this cabinetmaker was first researched and identified by Clarke Hess for the 1999 exhibit at Lancaster Heritage Center.
John Bamberger was born next-door to this Bomberger-Wenger farm, on the nine-generation Bomberger farm. He was the second son of John Bamberger (1750-1818) and Maria (Reist) Bamberger (1758-1831).
Although John Bamberger was a lifelong farmer, an 1815 tax list indicates that his 142-acre farm, show here on this page, included a stone one-story dwelling and a two-story stone joiner's shop (cabinetmaker's shop) measuring 24 feet by 16 feet.
The bulk of Bomberger's furniture production occurred in the 1820s. From 1831 to 1847 he built only seven full-size chests, one small chest, and one case clock. His paint-decorated chests fulfilled a need in the conservative rural community of northern Lancaster County. The boldly decorated chests of the Pennsylvania Germans peaked in popularity late in the 18th century. By the 1830s Bamberger was the only Lancaster County cabinetmaker still decorating and inscribing his chests in the traditional manner.
John Bamberger died on this farm in 1861, and was laid to rest in the family cemetery that overlooks the farm.
Above: Farm ledger kept by cabinetmaker John Bamberger (1780-1861), residing in Warwick Township, covering the years 1831 to 1848. Bamberger recorded the names of his accounts in English, but the items sold or purchased in German script. The records indicate that he was largely preoccupied with the operation of his 142-acre farm but still found time to make a few pieces of furniture. (Clarke Hess Collection).
(For detailed biography of this cabinetmaker see the book: Mennonite Arts, by Clarke Hess (2002). Atglen: Schiffer Publishing.
Manuscript Family Records for Cabinetmaker John Bomberger and wife Anna Bomberger,
In an 1835 Philadelphia German-Language Bible:
Above: This 1835 Bible contains German-script family records of the cabinetmaker John Bomberger and wife Ann Bomberger. Included are names and birth dates of their children: Maria, Anna, Chistian, Feronica, and Jacob. Also included are the names and birth dates of the children of son Jacob Bomberger and wife Barbara (Hess) Bomberger.
The last page of family records lists the deaths and funeral texts for cabinetmaker John Bomberger, wife Anna, and son Jacob. (See Jacob's shirt below.) Plus there is a death record for Jacob's wife Barbara (Hess) Bomberger (Bible: Clarke Hess Collection)
1849 Public-Sale Broadside: Cabinetmaker John Bomberger on this Bomberger-Wenger Farm:
Selling his Cabinetmaking Tools and Farm Items:
A Larger Image of this Public-Sale Broadside is Here.
Above: This public-sale broadside advertises the auction of farm equipment, livestock, and tools belonging to cabinetmaker John Bamberger (Bomberger). It was printed by Jacob Myers in Lancaster. At this time John Bamberger was retiring from farming and cabinetmaking. His tools are prominently listed in this auction advertisement. These tools presumedly are the wood-working tools John used to build the two chests shown on this page, above. (Sale bill: Clarke Hess Collection)
An 1853 Family-History Chart for "den alten Hof" (the old farm) (this Bomberger-Wenger Farm)
Showing Six Generations of Bombergers who Owned this Farm:
A Larger Image of this Bomberger Family-Tree Chart is Here.
Above: This family-history chart begins with Mennonite immigrants Christian and Maria Bomberger, who settled this Bomberger-Wenger farm. The chart was penned by an anonymous historian in February, 1853. This unidentified genealogist probably was the cabinetmaker John Bomberger, who was also an accomplished scrivener and fraktur artist.
The chart traces six generations of this Bomberger family, showing the ownership of this farm through those generations. The chart included several mini-drawings of a one-story, central-chimney house, which would have been this Bomberger-Wenger farmhouse before the second floor was added. (Chart: Clarke Hess Collection)
A ca. 1860 Hand-Sewn Shirt Made for Jacob Bomberger, Son of the Cabinetmaker John Bomberger,
With Jacob's Initials: "J B."
This shirt, above, was owned by Jacob Bomberger (1824-1885). It is initialed "J B" in counted cross stitch. Jacob was born here at this Bomberger farm.
The shirt was probably sewn by his wife Barbara (Hess) Bomberger (1829-1901). This shirt most likely was a dress shirt, which accounts for its survival today, as it was not destroyed by daily use. Purchased at the auction of Jacob and Barbara's great-granddaughter Mrs. Beery in 1998. (Shirt: Clarke Hess Collection)
Eleven Letters to Mennonite Farmer Jacob Bomberger. (Who owned the Shirt, Above)
Letters are from "Freddy" Frueauff, who became Civil War Major Frueauff.
And from Freddy's Father: Linden Hall Principal Eugene A. Frueauff.
Johann Freidrich "Freddy" Frueauff (1838-1886) was an enthusiastic letter writer. He is best know today as the subject of the book Freddy's War: The Civil War Letters of John Frederick Frueauff, published in 2006. The book is based on the dozens of letters Major Freddy Frueauff wrote when he was an officer in the 153rd Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers.
Here are three more letters written by Freddy Frueauff. He sent these letters to the family of Mennonite farmer Jacob Bomberger, near Lititz. One letter is from ca. 1851, and two are dated 1857 and 1861. Freddy wrote these letters when he was a student in Bethlehem, PA, and when he was studying in Europe. He wrote the third letter from Easton where he was working as a young attorney.
Freddy was a native of Lititz. His father, Rev. Eugene A. Frueauff (1806-1879) was born here in Lititz. Rev. Frueauff was the principal of Linden Hall Girls' School from 1838 to 1855, and again from 1868 to 1873. Freddy's grandfather, Rev. Johann Freidrich Frueauff II (1762-1839) had also been a principal of Linden Hall.
In addition to the three letters to the Bomberger family from Freddy Frueauff, there are eight letters to the same family from Freddy's father, Rev. Eugene Frueauff, dated 1861 to 1878. Rev. Frueauff was living in Bethlethem, PA, when he wrote the letters.
The letters all express high regards for the Bombergers and for rural Warwick Township. The text suggest that apparently Freddy had worked on the Bomberger farm as a young man.
Most Lititz Mennonites were pacifists / conscientious objectors during the Civil War, but the Moravians were not. These historic letters show that friendship could be stronger than religious differences between the Lititz Moravians and their Mennonite neighbors, even during the Civil War. (Letters: Clarke Hess Collection)
Above: Letter from Freddy to the Bombergers, with lithographed letterhead from Herrnhut, Saxony.
Herrnhut: The European epicenter of the Moravian Church.
Below: 2006 Book about Freddy's Civil War letters, Published by the Moravian College, in Bethlehem, PA.
A Well-Fed Horse on a Bomberger Grain Bag:
Jacob H. Bomberger (A Grandson of the Cabinetmaker John Bomberger)
Above: This stencil-decorated grain bag was used by Jacob H. Bomberger (1860-1940) to take grain to the grist mill. Farmers personalized their grain bags so their grain wouldn't be confused with other farmers' grain at the mill. Jacob used the Germanic spelling for his name "Bamberger" rather than the Anglicized "Bomberger," although both spellings would have been pronounced "Bomberger."
Jacob was born here at this Bomberger-Wenger farm, in 1860. He married Anna B. Bollinger in 1883, one year before the date of this 1884 bag. Jacob's parents' names appear in the 1869 house datestone shown above in a previous image: Jacob and Barbara Bomberger. (Clarke Hess Collection).
Jacob H. Bomberger moved into Lititz five years after his 1883 marriage to Anna Bollinger. He became a prominent Lititz businessman, and a successful dealer of leaf tobacco. Meanwhile, tenant farmers managed his nearby farm fields.
Jacob also was superintendent of the ill-fated Wellington Starch Company in Lititz. Jacob's investments with that starch company resulted in his bankruptcy, and loss of his 117-acre farm, and loss of several residential properties he owned in Lititz. But his black-horse grain bag survives today.