The Legend of Tritscha Berg
By: CORY VAN BROOKHOVEN Record Express Correspondent, Staff Writer
Located north of Lititz between Brunnerville and Lexington lies an area called Midway.
It is a very small area; one which you most likely won’t find on any map and contains just a few rows of homes. Within this area lies Dridge Hill Road, which is a beautiful drive through a valley and takes you from Lexington to Brunnerville or vice versa. Many readers will probably remember the Midway store that once operated in this area. I for one have very fond memories of riding my bike there as a kid for penny candy.
In the March 4, 1910 edition of the Lititz Express newspaper, a gentleman named Christian E. Metzler wrote a letter to the editor to help shed some light on a long-lost cemetery that another reader had inquired about a few months prior. The original plea was penned as “Wanted — Location of old cemetery, somewhere along the northwestern slope of Tritscha Berg.” The person asking for help was referring to an area in Midway –Tritscha Berg — presently know approximately as the area encompassing Dridge Hill.
Although he lived in Boston at the time of writing to the newspaper, Mr. Metzler recalled that as a younger resident, he remembered Tritscha Berg around 1860, when it was comprised of a tract of land consisting of about one-hundred acres. Even back then, it was considered a very small rural area, and he described it as desolate land which was very abnormal. He stated that during the time he remembered it, it was almost inaccessible due to undergrowth, yet lay in the middle of cultivated farmland. It was used as a hunting area during the summer since during that time, there was no road running through it, making it a perfect haven for wild game. A very modest walking trail was the only path leading in and out of this unique area.
He states that many years before 1860, there used to be a wagon trail that ran almost parallel to the walking path, but it was abandoned many years ago. He also mentioned a graveyard that was supposed to be located almost in the center of Tritscha Berg on the west side of the path. It was surrounded by a fence at one time; however by the 1860s it was completely overgrown with a few broken posts and rails that were the only reminder that a large cemetery once stood there. The stones were almost all unreadable due to extreme weather wear and age. It was his guess that most of the stones dated between 1790 and 1830. It was also his understanding that it was the burial ground of the Kleins who had settled on the Hammer Creek nearby.
He went on to say that Tritscha Berg was so named after a gentleman who went by the name of “Tritsche” who was a schoolmaster. The story goes that he hung himself in the area and was buried in the woods right near the old cemetery. The writer stated that shortly afterwards, two other gentlemen also hung themselves and were also buried at Tritscha Berg — the first man alongside of Tritsche; and the third man was said to have been buried at night. The people who performed the service could not find Tritsche’s final resting place in the dark, so the third man was buried a small distance from the other two unfortunate souls. Mr. Metzler had thought that the last names of the last two men to hang themselves had the last names of Fralich and Bentz, however, he left room for error.
Through another recollection, he was almost positive that after the third suicide, Mr. Levi Yundt (who at the time was the owner of the store in White Hall now called Brunnerville) loaned his horse to move the third body for night burial, and was then returned to the stable. The next morning when Mr. Yundt went to feed the horse, he discovered the animal had hung itself with the halter! Mr. Yundt then stated that he would never loan another horse to assist in the burial of anyone that had hung themselves.
Whether you believe all of what Mr. Metzler wrote to the Lititz newspaper over one-hundred years ago concerning his recollections of Tritsche Berg is up to you. It has been verified by more than one person that a variation of the spelling of this area is “Dritchebarrig,” and several generations of families have had relatives who were born and raised here many years ago.
Of course these days, the area around Dridge Hill road is a very beautiful drive through a country valley where many locals have beautiful homes. We may never find out the exact location of where the three men are supposedly buried, the old cemetery, or the wagon trail but it all makes for a great campfire story nonetheless.
Concerning the “lost cemetery,” I for one have never heard of a cemetery being located there once upon a time, but it is certainly possible. Perhaps one day someone will stumble upon additional information to help substantiate some of the claims made by Christian Metzler concerning the legend of Tritscha Berg. More TRITSCHA BERG, page A16