Thursday, January 21, 2010

Happy 300th Anniversary, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

A full year of events are planned by the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society and the 1719 Hans Herr House and Museum to celebrate the settlement of Lancaster County by - my people! In 1719 Martin Harnish made his way to Lancaster County via ship from Europe.

Our clan has been there ever since, my generation being the first in our direct line to move away, though my sister lives only miles from the original Harnish farm. Last year she and I sought out the homestead and trekked up to the family burial plot on a sloping hill behind the house. We were able to find the head stones of most of the original family members and, thanks to amazing work by Rogelyn Harnish who compiled a family "Freindschaft," trace the names and homes of all subsequent family members.

300 cheers for religious tolerance in Lancaster County!

Congratulations Lancaster and all the Harnish, Mylin, Herr, Lefever, Weaver and Hess families who have contributed to my heritage and home. Click through to find a schedule of events:

For Lancaster County, it all began 300 years ago when nine immigrant families from the Palatinate section of southwest Germany staked their claim in what was then the wilderness of a British colony.

To these settlers, including the families of Hans Herr and Martin Meylin, their world consisted of 10,000 acres, stretching along the Pequea Creek from modern-day Strasburg to West Willow, connected by a trail we now know as Penn Grant Road.

Here, with the help of friendly Conestoga Indians, they lived, raised their children, worked the land and, eventually, were laid to rest.

From this small beginning of Swiss/German pioneers looking for religious freedom grew what we know today as Lancaster County: 984 square miles that are home to nearly half a million people as diverse as the world itself.

To commemorate the county's 300th birthday, Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society and 1719 Hans Herr House and Museum are sponsoring a yearlong celebration to honor the county and its people, past and present.

"I look at this as our gift to Lancaster County," said Beth Graybill, director of Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society. "This 300th anniversary is important not just to the Pennsylvania German Mennonite immigrants who were the first settlers, but for any of us who trace our roots to Lancaster. We're all part of that story that started 300 years ago."

Graybill said the celebration is, in part, to acknowledge the arrival of the early settlers. But it is also about honoring the Native Americans who were here first, and helped Herr, Meylin and the others to survive.

"They had a very positive and very good relationship with Native Americans," Graybill said. "There are oral histories of white and native children playing games together. Hans Herr would leave his door unlocked on very cold nights for the natives to come in and huddle by the fireplace."

In exchange, she said, the Indians helped them know the best crops to plant and the prime places to hunt. They introduced the settlers to corn and "helped them survive that first winter."

"We can't do a 300th anniversary celebration without recognizing and celebrating those native connections," Graybill said.

To honor the Indian contribution, the organizers are working closely with Circle Legacy, a local, non-profit Native American group.

Many of the events scheduled are free. A few have fees and some of those are fundraisers that will pay for the construction of an Eastern Woodlands Indian longhouse on the Hans Herr property.

"Our goal is to have a dwelling and interpret their life and culture, their spiritual beliefs, what they ate, what they wore, how they hunted and what work they did," said Becky Gochnauer, director at the Hans Herr House.

She said the museum hopes to dedicate the land for the longhouse on Oct. 9.

Another goal of the celebration is to recognize the rich cultural diversity of those who call Lancaster County home today, through traditions, food and music.

The celebration kicked off Wednesday with a ceremony by the Lancaster County commissioners, and the first event will take place Jan. 31.

"The 300th only comes around once, so it's important to make it interesting and historically accurate," Graybill said.

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1 Comments:

Blogger scott davidson said...

Nice way to decorate your walls. I have never done that. My effort to beautify the walls in my house was to order big-sized canvas prints from wahooart.com, from images of western art. I use the same angel motifs in all of the rooms painted by different painters, such as this one by very interesting English artist Stanley Spencer, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8LT7K6.

March 29, 2013 at 12:43 AM  

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