This is the second article related to the Laubach Home-stead:
memories by the last living person born there.
I, Henry T. Laubach, was born on July 25, 1916, in the frame house that still stands across the street from the stone Homestead. I had an older brother, Austin, who died in 1989, and a younger sister, Arlene Laubach (Ruth).
In 1928 Arlene, who was five years old, moved with her parents from the homestead. She was a graduate of Hellertown High School and was on the working staff at St. Lukeís Hospital in Bethlehem, PA. After marriage, she became a housewife and they had three children, Jeanne, JoAnn and James. Arlene was active in the Laubach Family Association until her death in 1997..
Our parents were John O. and Ida (Ebert) Laubach. As a young man Dad worked in logging and at the Laubach saw mill and lumber business. Being a teamster, he drove teams from two to eight horses. Later he worked for Brown and Borhek Lumber Company, and Lehigh University until retiring. After marriage, Mother became a housewife and raised three children while working on the homestead farm.
The Original House on the Homestead
The original house was made of logs, later replaced with stone. The house had a cellar kitchen with an open fireplace used for all purposes: heating, cooking washing and butchering. There was no electricity. It was at the back of the present house, with a partly flat roof, that was the original living quarters. Later, the large stone house in front, near the road, was added right up against the smaller back section.
Grandpa Theodore Laubach told me about this, as I remember.
Among My Earliest Memories
As a youngster, I recall a few memories., such as the great family picnics with all the families and children, playing on the banks of Laubach Creek, as we called it then. They did not allow us to go swimming
I was with my Uncle Preston much of my time. He operated the saw mill and cider press when in season. Boy, was that fresh cider good right off the press! I had my own kittens and rabbits as pets.
I remember going to market with Mother, using the one-horse carriage. This was always a real treat as it only happened once every two or three weeks. And I remember the pies and cookies baked in the outdoor oven every Friday at Grammyís house.
When I started school--a one-room school--learning to speak all English was difficult as at home we spoke all Pennsylvania German (Pennsylfawnish Deitsch). But I soon began to like both languages.
From the Homestead into Town
Moving into town in 1928 was a big change to get accustomed to: new friends, school, church--and even the house was different, with running water, electricity, a cellar furnace, a kitchen sink, etc.
I was then in fifth grade and became interested in musical instruments and began taking lessons on the fife, piccolo, and later the flute. I played in the school band throughout high school and continued to play with bands in later life. Musicians always have lots of fun!
Graduating from Hellertown High School in 1935, I immediately started working in a furniture factory at cabinet making, and later worked at Bethlehem Steel as a cabinet maker and carpenter.
By 1962 we were operating, full time, our own cabinet and furniture factory.
Iím Proud of My Family
I married Mildred I. Hoppes in April 1941. The late Rev. Robert Krauss married us in the Lower Saucon Union Church, now Lower Saucon United Church of Christ. This is the church across the road from Lower Saucon Cemetery, where they have buried early Laubachs from the middle and late 1700s. In 1999 Lower Saucon Church is celebrating its 265th Year.
Mildred was a graduate of Hellertown High School and Moravian College. She worked for Lehigh University as an assistant librarian. She was general office manager of our own cabinet business until retiring. Mildred was a talented musician. She was a life member of the Lower Saucon United Church of Christ and faithful to its choirs. She was also active in the Pennsylvania Dutch Folk Culture Society, and the Pennsylvania German Heritage Center at Kutztown University.
Mildred and I had a daughter, Nancy I. (Mrs. David A. Clauss), of Coopersburg, PA, and a son, Todd, of Bethlehem.
Nancy is a housewife and has operated a jewelry and accessories store for several years. She is a musician, playing the piccolo, flute and piano, and she taught musical instruments to youths for years. Nancy and David Clauss have two children, Cheryl and Kenneth. Granddaughter Cheryl works for the Wal-Mart Corporation. Grandson Kenneth is completing his second year at Northampton Community College.
Our son Todd graduated from Hellertown High School and Community College. He played piccolo and flute all through school and later, when serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, he was a member of the U.S. Marine Band.
Todd, like me, is a cabinet maker, and was in business with me. Now he is an architectural woodworking specialist with a cabinet specialty company.
Todd married Mary Hoffman, and they have two children, Jarrett and Laura. My grandson Jarrett is completing his second year at Penn State University. Granddaughter Laura graduates from Liberty High School this year.
I Keep Active in Retirement
My wife and I retired in 1994. Forty years, that is enough! Mildred died on March 10, 1998, after 56 years of marriage.
Well, I still like woodwork, so now instead of building full-scale furniture, itís doll houses and furniture.
I have been active in the Laubach Family Association since they revived it in 1985. I remember when we had a family association back in the 1920s and Ď30s. Going to several reunions with my parents, I noticed that many young and older folks spoke PA Dutch (Deitsch). I am glad to see that LFA is a strong family organization now-a-days.
.I still keep active in some church activities and several Pennsylvania German Organizations, especially the German Heritage Center at Kutztown University. I love band, orchestra and organ music, and attend may concerts.
My Line to Reinhart
I am generation 9 from Reinhart. My line is Henry Theodore 8, John Oswald 7, Theodore Freeman 6, Jesse 5, Rudolph 4, Johann Friederich 3, Christian 2, Reinhart 1.
Henry Laubach lives at 821 Poplar Road, Hellertown, PA 18055.His phone is 610-838-6533.
A Publication of Laubach Family Association
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