Aaron Wissler’s time capsule, part 2

By on May 9, 2012

This is part two in a three-part series that continues the journal entries of a hand-written notebook that was found inside a wooden time capsule behind the date stone in the 1872 Aaron Wissler house in Brunnerville. As more and more pages were transcribed, it became clear that a third installment of this series could be added, which is scheduled for next month.

As was the case with last month’s article, the entries here are duplicated exactly how they were originally written. When in doubt of a letter or word, a question mark inside a parenthesis is used. Occasionally, some words simply could not be deciphered due to the poor condition of the original pages.

The contents of the time capsule, along with various Brunnerville Foundry iron products and Aaron Wissler related items will go on display for all to enjoy as a special exhibit at the Lititz Historical Foundation beginning May 11 until the end of the year. The exhibit is entitled “Of Iron and Invention: The Life of Aaron Wissler and the Brunnerville Iron Foundry.”

Continuing on with the notebook entries:

Page 12:

Builders of the carriage house. George Studenroth mason. Peter Althouse Carpenter. Simon Harntraft a painter. Builders of barn: John Hackman-Foundation digger. Reverend Jacob W. Hackman stone finisher.

William Miley- masons

Christian Imhoff ” ”

Jacob Kittle ” ”

David Hellman ” ”

Henry Blantz ” ”

Simon Harntraft — Painter

In 1870, we did build the large chimney at machine shops and new engine. Wm. Miley. Total cost at $3200.

Page 13:

As my father in law is only occasional here. But still a partner.

I bought this homestead of farm lands for the sum of $3300. Thirty-three hundred dollars. Erected a carriage house in 1868. Its cost $250. In 1870, we erected a new barn. Its cost $650. In 1872, commenced to build this house. Its cost is estimated at $2600-$3000. We calculate to move in by Christmas time in December 1872.

Page 14:

Cellar diggers Chief Charles D. Hackman. Helpers Levi Buch, Samuel Risser, T. Jefferson Miley, and my son John K. Wissler. And two horses plow and scoop. The whole is as dug out within one week’s time. Counted 192 days labour.

Page 15:

The bricks I bought of John Kehl at Litiz. For $7.00 per thousand. And John K. Risser, Elias Bentz, Jacob Gantz, and Levi Sweigard were hauling them. Christgian S. Risser was furnishing the rough stones for walling cellar at 75 cents per rod. The front door sill I bought of Louis Haldy and aged stone for $18.00 in Lancaster. The window frames and doors shuters, sash, and so forth I bought of Pricker and Sturgis at the sash factory in South Water Street Lancaster.

Page 16:

These J. Bricker and Sturgis will furnish for the sum of $450 the balance of lumber I bought of Hacker and Baker(?) at Litiz. Joist beams etc. from $63.00 to $85.00 per thousand feet. For walling cellar, I had the same hands as for brick layers. Well diggers –Boss Charles D. Hackman, Samuel Risser, Christian Imhoff.

Masons and brick layers:

William Miley — master mason

T. Jefferson Miley — mason

Joseph Maddis — mason

Henry Blantz — mason

Michael Kittle — mason

Levi Miley — head carrier.

Christian Brackbill ” ”

Samuel Goda ” ”

Master Architect — Isaac Enck. Is the cause of this small explanation. His assistants were Joseph Kissinger, Edwin Enck, Samuel Habecker, Elijah Bull, Samuel Lehnher(?), John Hermus.

Page 17:

Roofing Slate. L. D. Landis of Richland, Lebanon County, PA will furnish and put on for $8.00 per ten foot squares. James Miksch Litiz will furnish the spouting. Maria Heiser assisted my wife in boarding the workman in building.

Page 18:

I will here give the names of our hands that work on the machine shops.


Cyrus Hersh — Foreman

Charles D. Hackman

Lagaria Demy

John Carpenter

Turners of Iron:

Henry B. Eberly

Samuel Risser

Martin Shirk


Andrew Minnich

Isaac Roth

Ben H. Snavely

Martin Shirk

Pattern Maker:

Peter Althouse

Page 19:

Molders in Foundry:

John Hirst — Foreman

Henry Hirst

Freemont Shirk

John Althouse

Levi Buch — Cupalo tender

Machines Manufactured:

Double cutter reapers — my own patend

Universal horse power jack — my and Jacob Gamber patened.

Ben H. Snavely patend separators.

All kinds of mill castings

Furnishing 5 different horse powers water wheels and many other machinery.

Page 20:

Old John Hartranft is the old inhabitant of Brunnerville. He lives in Brunnerville for some 30 years.

Page 21:

The fore fathers of my assemblance (?) on the Wissler side was the first Wissler married a wife in Germany. They both took passage for Americas sometime in the 16th century. While on the ship, a war broke out in Germany and all the men were pressed and taken back and the women send onto America. His wife landed in Philadelphia went out of town hired to a diery farmer was carrying milk to the market while her husband was helping to suppress the warr. Three years after peace returned, the men were released to liberty and seek their wives now in America. After three years war and all communications cut off where to find their wives whether they were living or dead. Single or again married to others was a hidden mystery to both sexes. According Wissler took again passage for America not knowing where to find his wife he landed at Philadelphia.

To be concluded next month! From Brunnerville

to Broad Street By

Cory Van Brookhoven More WISSLER, page A15