To celebrate the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment, we thought we would share what we know about the women that lived at the Log House property.

We know less about the women that lived here because, during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, men were the ones primarily documented; men were taxed, were able to purchase and inherit property, and white land-owning men were allowed the right to vote. Early in the history of the United States, only male heads of households were listed in the census. The rest of the household, including wives, children, extended family, boarders, and indentured or enslaved individuals were merely counted. It wasn’t until the mid-nineteenth century that the census began to provide names of everyone residing in a household.

The first family that resided on the property we now know as the Morgan Log House were the Morgans. They were Welsh Quakers who settled in the area that was part of the Welsh Tract, where many like-minded countrymen and their families resided. Quakers were persecuted in Europe for their religious beliefs that challenged the English class system and the Anglican church, so many emigrated to the Pennsylvania colony that was known as William Penn’s Holy Experiment wanting a better life where they could own land and live and work freely.

The Quakers or members of the Society of Friends were followers of Englishman George Fox. During the 1640s when Fox and his wife Margaret Fell was sharing their ideas, England was in religious turmoil. Many were seeking religious reform from the Church of England, with some groups and individuals starting their own churches. Fox’s followers were coined the “Quakers” because of their belief that followers should “tremble at the Word of Lord.” This term was meant to be derisive, but followers adopted the name Quaker along with the term Friend.

Quakers believed in a more direct spiritual experience with God with less emphasis on the church and followed 4 tenets: Simplicity, Truth, Equality, and Community. Because of these tenets, many members believed in women’s equality, the abolition of slavery, and other social causes. These beliefs went against English society’s views and led to why Quakers were persecuted. The Quakers also believed in the ability of all members to speak during Quaker meetings, including women. Women could also be Quaker ministers, traveling unaccompanied and publishing their own writings, which was highly unusual at the time. However, women’s roles were not completely equal. Quaker meetings for business were largely male dominated, so separate women’s meetings were established to discuss community concerns. Although meetings were established just for women and were first thought to diminish the role of women in the community, some scholars believe this may have led to Quaker women’s larger role in activism for abolitionism, women’s suffrage, and peace in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Some well known Quaker women are Elizabeth Fell, Mary Dyer, Sarah Mapps Douglass, Lucretia Mott, Sarah Moore Grimké and Angelina Emily Grimké, and Alice Paul.

The Women of the Morgan Log House

Elizabeth Jarman

We do not know much about Elizabeth Jarman’s background; several other individuals of the same name can be found in Quaker minutes and many working class individuals did not keep written records (and if they did, they may not have survived). One meeting record notes that Elizabeth Jarman, her sister Sarah, and parents John and Margaret Jarman immigrated to the colony of Pennsylvania and joined the Radnor Meeting House from the Llangurig parish in Montgomery County, Wales. This record could be our Elizabeth Jarman or another similar-named woman who likely had a similar story of emigrating and residing in the new colony.

Elizabeth Jarman was the wife of Edward Morgan. The couple were married and lived in the Radnor area, where their 11 children were all likely born. You can view their family tree here. Elizabeth and Edward were farmers and were involved in the fabric trade as weavers. The couple and their children were likely involved in processing raw material like flax and wool into dyed yarn and cloth to be sold to their community. The family were members of the Radnor Meeting; some of the children’s marriages were recorded in the meeting’s minutes along with Edward’s involvement in overseeing other marriages. Elizabeth and Edward later become known for being the maternal grandparents of frontiersman and politician Daniel Boone (1734-1820), through their daughter Sarah Morgan’s 1720 marriage to Squire Boone.

Elizabeth and Edward moved to what would later be known as Towamencin Township around the early 1700s and transferred their Quaker membership from the Radnor Meeting House to the Gwynedd Meeting House. Elizabeth’s husband Edward, along with other male landowners, petitioned the county (Philadelphia at that time) to establish a road leading from Philadelphia to the North Wales area in 1704, prior to Edward’s formal ownership of land he purchased in 1708 and 1713. The road would later become part of Sumneytown Pike. Edward, along with other local male landowners, again petitioned Philadelphia County to establish Towamencin Township in 1728.

We do not know when the couple died, but they likely passed ca. 1730. They are thought to have been buried at the Gwynedd Meeting House Cemetery, although records have not survived to corroborate this theory.

Elizabeth Cassel

Elizabeth Cassel was the wife of Yelles Cassel. Unfortunately we do not know her maiden name. It may be Johnson. She and Yelles had several children, most were of age by the time they moved to the property now known as the Morgan Log House and were likely the first to live in the circa-1770 house. Two of her sons were teachers and fraktur artists, along with being Revolutionary War veterans, Hupert and Christian.

Yelles Cassel descended from Mennonites who came from an area that would become known as Germany. Yelles’ father, Hupert Cassel, emigrated from Kriesheim to the colony of Pennsylvania and his mother, Syche op den Graeff., was known as “the Dutch girl.”

Like the Morgans, Elizabeth and her family and her Mennonite community wanted to live, work, and practice their faith in peace without persecution that occurred across Europe. The Cassels also were farmers and weavers. The family likely ended the family weaving business when Elizabeth’s husband died in the late eighteenth century, coinciding with the rise of the Industrial Revolution, where machinery, factories, and cotton produced in the south by enslaved labor replaced the early cloth making industry. Small weaving businesses couldn’t compete with the fast pace of industrialization, with its increased technological innovations and decreased costs in producing cloth.

Elizabeth likely died sometime after 1794, as her husband died in the late eighteenth century intestate; leaving no will to detail the distribution of his estate. A June 7, 1794 deed recorded that Yelles’ heirs- his widow and grown children, transferred ownership of the farm to Abraham Cassel, the youngest of the couple’s children. Elizabeth was given a yearly stipend of 18 pounds for the rest of her life; a common policy at that time. She and her husband are thought to have been buried at Towamencin Mennonite Cemetery.

Catherine Oberholtzer

Catherine Oberholtzer married Abraham Cassel (1764-1828), the youngest son of Elizabeth and Yellis Cassel who had inherited the farm, later known as the Morgan Log House. They were Mennoniites and likely belonged to the Plains Mennonite Church in Hatfield, where they are buried. The couple had three children:

  • Joseph Oberholtzer Cassel (1799-1868), married Catharine Metz. He became a local farmer and Mennonite minister in Hatfield.
  • Elizabeth Oberholtzer Cassel (1801-1888), married Joseph Benner.
  • Henry Oberholtzer Cassel (1802-1872), married Elizabeth Wagner.

Little is known about her. She lived during a unique period of time with the birth of a new nation grappling with how to grow and survive. During her life, records like the federal census did not include detailed information on members of households, so we have little to go on. In the deed release of the farm after her husband’s death, it appears that widow Catherine and her daughter-in-law, Catherine Metz Cassel (Joseph’s wife) may have both been illiterate, because they signed with their marks, not their signatures. Although Abraham’s brothers had been teachers and fraktur artists, the education of his wife and daughter-in-law may have been limited due to their gender.

On February 2, 1830, the family was recorded as transferring the farm to youngest son Henry after Abraham Cassel’s death in 1828. In the transfer, widow Catherine was recorded as also receiving a yearly stipend of $58.25 for the rest of her life, like her predecessor, Elizabeth Cassel. She died in 1837. The couple are buried at the Plains Mennonite Cemetery in Hatfield.

Elizabeth Wagner

Elizabeth Wagner (Wagoner) was born to parents John and Mary on July 3, 1812 in Montgomery County. She married Henry Oberholtzer Cassel (1802-1872), around the time he inherited the farm from his father Abraham in 1830. They had six children:

  • John Wagner Cassel (1832-1925), who married John Elizabeth Ziegler Hunsicker in 1855.
  • Abraham Wagner Cassel (1834-1917), who married Elizabeth Zearfoss in 1857.
  • Henry Wagner Cassel (1836-1873), who married Margaret Bayer Conver in 1858.
  • Ephraim Wagner Cassel (1838-1915), who married Anna Gehman in 1861.
  • Amanda Wagner Cassel (1844-1908), who married William  Moyer in 1867.
  • Samuel Wagner Cassel (1846-1935), who married Catherine Newman in 1871.

In 1850, the family farm was recorded in the agricultural census.

In 1873, after her husband’s death, the family sold the farm out of the Cassel family’s ownership to local farmer Frederick Henning Bower and his wife Susanna. She died January 27, 1882 and the couple is buried at Christ Lutheran Church Cemetery in Kulpsville.

Susanna Hangey

Susanna Ruch Hangey was born to parents George Hangey (Hange) and Anna Ruch on May 20, 1841 in Montgomery County. She married Frederick Henning Bower (1833-1903) and they had the following children:

  • Anne Hangey Bower (1863-1917), who married Henry Baker Delp
  • Barney Hangey Bower (1864-)
  • Franklin Hangey Bower (1866-1950)
  • Eliza A Hangey Bower (1867-)
  • Mary Jane Hangey Bower (1869-)
  • Minnie Ellen Hangey Bower (1873-1937), who married Jacob Alderfer Markley in 1894.
  • Frederick Henning Bower (1875-1929), who married Margaret Wasser Rosenberger in 1897.
  • Susan Hangey Bower (1876-1970), who married Milton Z. Delp in 1898.
  • Emma Hangey Bower (1879-), who married Isaac Schultz in 1899.

She died October 10, 1914 and is buried at Christ Lutheran Church Cemetery in Kulpsville.

Leonie Albrecht

Leonie Albrecht owned the property that would later become known as the Morgan Log House for a short time, but she had a very interesting life that we have gleaned from historic documents. She was born Mary Leona Gerber to parents Jacob and Helena or Magdalena Gerber on July 25, 1854 in Alsace-Lorraine, now a part of France. She emigrated to the United States with her family in 1862.

Leonie married Joseph Albrecht (1842-), who was approximately ten years older than her. His family lived in Philadelphia prior to his marriage to Leonie. Joseph was a cigar maker and participated in the Civil War within the Pennsylvania Infantry. In 1880, the couple was recorded by the US Census living at South 4th Street in Philadelphia. In 1885, their son, Emile, was born. By 1900, she was listed as a widow living in rented accommodations with her son on Vine Street in Philadelphia. She was a cigar dealer and filed for a pension on July 2, 1903 as a widow.

On January 16, 1902, Frederick Henning Bower and his wife sold the farm to Leonie Albrecht for $3,700.00. She likely purchased the farm as an investment property to support herself and her son. Leonie sold the farm a few years later on March 29, 1906, to Harriet Liebman for $3,800.00 with a $100 profit.

Despite owning the farm for a short period; she lived a long life. In 1910, Leonie was living in rented accommodations on Indiana Avenue in Philadelphia with her son who was an office clerk. In 1916, Emile Albrecht registered for World War I and listed his mother as his closest relative. They were living at North Gratz Street in Philadelphia. In 1920, they were living on 9th Street in Philadelphia with Emile working as a railroad clerk. In 1930, Leonie Albrcht was living with her son Emile, his wife Helen, and their two sons Raymond Albrecht (1923-) and Jerome Albrecht (1926-) on Seventh Avenue in Camden, New Jersey. At some point, between 1930 and 1940, the family separated and by 1940, Leonie was living on Venango Street in Philadelphia with her two grandsons. She passed away on September 16, 1944.

A French immigrant and married for a relatively short period, she was likely a strong woman to be able to support her family through her occupation, her husband’s pension, and her investments when land ownership for a woman was not commonplace. During her lifetime, she saw women obtain the right to vote; in America in 1920, England in 1928, and in France in July 1944, a few months before her death. 

Harriet Liebman

Harriet owned the farm for five years from March 29, 1906 to September 6, 1911 when she sold it to Lewis C. Jones for $3,700.00. She sold the property for the same price she had obtained it a few years earlier and likely used it as an investment property.

Harriet Liebman was born June 11, 1866 to Jewish parents Leon (1835-1895) and Maria (nee Bechtel; 1834-1904) Liebman. Her father Leon had emigrated from Germany and was listed in the 1864 and 1865 tax assessment lists for Pennsylvania. In Philadelphia city directories, he was noted as a manufacturing agent and a commerce merchant residing at 4407 Chestnut Street. The family was recorded in the 1870 and 1880 census as living in Philadelphia with two daughters Harriet and older sister Hannah Blanche (1865-1924). A sibling, Hart B. Liebman died at the age of 5 (1874-1879). It does not appear that Harriet ever married; census records and her death certificate list her as single; working as a teacher and living in rented accommodations. She appears to have been a local teacher for several decades until her retirement. In 1910, Harriet was listed as a boarder in a house on South 19th Street in Philadelphia. In 1930, she was lodging in a house on 4th Street, Philadelphia. In 1940, she was living alone at 400 41st Street Philadelphia. She passed away January 24, 1957 at the Home for the Jewish Aged. She was buried at Mt. Sinai Cemetery.