In researching the Allentown State Hospital farm in Weaversville, I convinced Mr. John McDevitt, former assistant farm manager and well-known East Allen Township Fire Company member, to write his recollections of the farm. A fine gentleman, he consented, with this writer attempting to twist his arm.
Mr. McDevitt kindly wrote “My recollections of the Allentown State Hospital Farm,” by John McDevitt, with collaboration from Charles W. Miller:
In this third column, Mr. John McDevitt, former assistant farm manager of the Allentown State Hospital farm in Weaversville, helps us remember the farm colony. His words:
Mr. Jason Rauch moved to Lehigh Township from Slatington at age 14. He graduated from Northampton Area High School in 1991, where he was a member of the tennis and cross country teams.
“My favorite subject was history,” he recalled. “My history teacher was Mr. Bob Mentzell.”
At age 18, Jason enlisted in the U.S. Navy. After training, he was assigned to the Wasp, an aircraft carrier stationed at Norfolk, Va.
Mr. Howard J. Evans was reared on a family farm in Fleetwood. The family of 10 was graced with twins and triplets. As early as 10 years of age, he recalled, “I was young but started picking weeds on our produce farm.”
Growing up, he continued to work on the family farm until he graduated from Fleetwood High School in 1978.
“My first job was with a window manufacturing company starting at a rate of $3.75 an hour,” Howard said. “In 12 years, I advanced to supervisor, but the firm later closed.”
In this second column, we are speaking to members of the Drauch family, who presented a piece of folk art to the Atlas Cement Company Memorial Museum in memory of their father and brother, dedicated cement workers at the Keystone Cement Company.
The Drauchs resided in Salisbury Township while their father and brother worked at Keystone. In those days, there was no Salisbury High School, so they attended and graduated from — do you remember? — Fountain Hill High School.
Recently, the Atlas Cement Company Memorial Museum hosted some very interesting visitors. Sisters Alice, Joan, Dee and Marcia Drauch presented a piece of folk art remembering their father, William Drauch Sr., and their brother, William Drauch Jr., who were dedicated cement workers at the Whitehall and Keystone cement companies.
William Sr. was born in Cementon and resided in a Whitehall Cement Company home in Homepark. Do our loyal readers know where it is? It is between Cementon and Egypt, off Route 329. The sisters have fond memories of their village home.
In 2002, when I researched the history of the Borough of Chapman, I attended both services at the Methodist church and a borough council meeting to better understand the community.
The council meetings are held in a building dating back to 1909 when a bond for $1,000 was issued to pay for the building. The stove for the new hall cost $37. The borough had a balance of $177.44 in its ledger. The structure even had a jail to house any law breakers. In those years, the population peaked at 700. Presently, the population is estimated at 200 residents.
In this sixth column in the Chapman series, we reach an inspirational memory of a Marine who went to war. The late Joseph George compiled a meticulous notebook remembering his fallen brother, Quentin George.
In today’s column, I am recalling when I visited Mr. and Mrs. Lakey, who resided in a former company home of the Chapman Slate Company. Many of these homes still grace the small Northampton County borough. Mrs. Betty James Lakey remembered when the slate quarries attracted hundreds of slaters to the community. Chapman’s peak population reached 700 in the early 1900s. Today, the borough is home to about 200 residents.
In the boom days, slaters boarded at many homes.
Mr. Ron Koch was raised in Northampton, graduating from Northampton High School in 1982. He wrestled four years in over 100 matches under coach Gordon Bartholomew.
“I admired Gordy,” he says. “He kept me on the straight and narrow path of life and always stressed respect in teamwork.”
After graduation, he worked for his father, Ron, at their popular Pennsville market. He later was employed by ITT, installing business telephones and servicing them. It proved to be a valuable learning experience. Ron started his cement career at Lafarge in 1994.