On a usual visit to the Morgan Log House, we usually talk about the lives of the Morgans and the Cassel families, the property’s early occupants. This is only part of the story.
The property has a longer history beyond the Morgans and the Cassels and was continuously occupied from the early eighteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries.
One of these other families was the Bower family, who owned the house during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Frederick Henning Bower was born January 4, 1833 in Towamencin Township, Montgomery County. He lived there with his German-immigrant parents Joseph and Catherine (b. 1796 and b. 1801) and American-born siblings through the 1850 federal census.
By 1860, Frederick was living in Camanche, Clinton, Iowa and worked as a carpenter with wife Susanna Ruth Hangey (1841-1914). We do not know why he and his wife were out west, but by 1863 he registered for the draft in Pennsylvania in both Lehigh and Montgomery Counties during the Civil War. By 1870, he was recorded living with his wife Susanna and children Anne, Barney, Franklin, Eliza, and Mary in North Wales, Montgomery County. He was a farm laborer with property valued at $2,000 with personal wealth of $200.
On May 14, 1873 Frederick purchased his own farm, the property on which the Morgan Log House stands, from the heirs of Henry Cassel. The purchase included a farm parcel of 62 acres and 131 perches.
In 1880, he lived in Towamencin Township on the 62-acre Morgan Log House property with wife Susan and children Annie, Barney, Franklin, Eliza, Jane, Ella, Frederick, Susan, and Emma. The farm was above the township average of 38.2 acres at the time. His farm was valued at $5,000, slightly below the $5,212.27 average. His farm implements were also below the township average. $200 versus $380.33. However, his livestock were valued above the township average; $500 versus $408.56. He had horses, cows, swine, and poultry. The farms cows’ milk was converted to butter and the poultry produced eggs which were then taken to local markets. His overall farm production was valued higher than the township average; $1,500 versus $1,248.71. He was growing grass and hay; both above-average in production. He was also cultivating flax, Indian corn, Irish Potatoes, oats, rye, wheat, crops similar to what neighboring farms were producing.
By 1900, the family had grown and the children had left the farm. Frederick and his wife Susan were living by themselves in Towamencin on their farm.
Getting up in age, Frederick and Susanna Bower sold the Morgan Log House property to Leonie Albrecht on January 16, 1902.
The following year on February 1, 1903, Frederick Bower died and was buried at Christ Lutheran Church Cemetery in Kulpsville.
Although the Bowers’ occupation ended in 1902, it may be that the farm was known in the early twentieth century as the Bower farm; in William Leister’s diaries (who we are highlighting in our A Day in the Life of a Farmer exhibit this year), Leister mentions the Bower farm down the street and the family on several occasions.