History of the Lambert Farm/Park Property

Historic Depiction of Susquehannock Indians

The original owners of the farm at 1215 McCormick Rd. were the Indians; specifically, the Susquehannock Indians and then the Shawnee Indians. Alas, “original owners” is a misnomer because the Native Americans believed that man belonged to the land, not that the land belonged to man.

Mr. Robert Rowland wrote an informative article, “History of the Callapatschink / Yellow Breeches Creek”, in 2001 and which is included as part of the 2020 second printing of Happy Yellow Breeches. Mr. Roland relates the Indian history of this area:

“The Indians had a burial ground approximately two miles upstream along the Yellow Breeches on Rich Hill at a loop in the Yellow Breeches. Rich Hill no longer exists due to a quarry operation. The property owner was of the opinion that there were also lodges there. There are also some undocumented reports of Indian villages further upstream and in the western portion of Cumberland County but no specific locations are known. Other than the obvious use of the Yellow Breeches for fishing and transportation, there is no known other use by the Indians. In 1728 the Shawnees departed the local area and headed out to western Pennsylvania and joined forces with the French to fight against the English.”

“In 1732 the three Lancaster jurists wrote a letter to the Shawnee chief in an enticement to get the Indians to return, offering them a 7,500 acres manor along the Susquehanna River in what would later be known as Lowther Manor. Their description of the boundary included the “Shawna Creek” on the south side, the name by which the Shawnees knew the Yellow Breeches.”

The original Land Warrant for the farm was issued either to Joseph Green on 18 Feb 1737 or William Scott on 24 Apr 1769. The related surveys need further evaluation to better place the date and location. There are issues with the original warrants. The Green warrant was not “returned” to the Land Office until 1805 indicating Green had not fully paid the amount due. Green apparently transferred ownership to Richard Rankin but no deed was recorded. Rankin applied for 2 warrants on 8 June 1776 (for 311 and 140 acres) and sold two tracts in Allen Twp. on 25 Nov 1778 to John Scott Sr. and William Scott.

Here is the Land Warrant issued to William Scoot, or William Scott if this is one in the same person. This William Scott received two (2) other land warrants in Cumberland and Dauphin Counties; however, he lived in Allen Township per the Census and Tax reports.

Application for Land Warrant by William Scott

This Land Warrant, dated April 24, 1769, was for 300 acres and reads as follows:

“The land which lies at the mouth of Red Stone Creek, which I settled on in the year 1761 and 1762, I was obliged in the year 1763 to remove on account of the Indians – about 15 acres of said land I cleared and improved – I built on said 15 acres a dwelling house and barn house.”

April 24, 1769 Land Warrant to William Scott

As it turns out, the “William Scott”, whose name appears on the cover slip above appears NOT to be “our” William Scott. The Land Office scribe who copied the slip over 100 years ago made an error when he copied the name from the original application. Closer examination of this document reveals a signature which appears to be that of “William Jacob,” not William Scott. The archivist at the PHMC helped resolve this issue.

However, we have learned that our William Scott (1754-1806), whose initials are carved in the “W.S. 1789” beam still present in the farmhouse, was a Revolutionary War Captain attached to Col. Jacob Clotz’s Flying Camp. Scott was captured by the British at the Battle of Fort Washington on 16 Nov 1776 and was held prisoner under brutal conditions until 1778. The 1798 Direct Tax list William Scott owning four houses, a log bank barn, a 31acre tract on the south side of the Yellow Breeches, and a 146 acre tract on the north side. William Scott died in 1806 and is buried in Carlisle, PA under D.A.R. #A205384.

We also found that on November 24, 1802, James Laird, Esq., as Executor for Hugh Laird (who built the original Glen Allen Mill and house at 931 McCormick Rd.) advertised in the Carlisle Weekly Herald “A VALUABLE PLANTATION Adjoining the town of Lisburn and the Yellow Breeches creek containing 290 Acres. This Farm will suit to divide….it will recommend itself to the purchaser on first view. The title indisputable” How Hugh Laird acquired ownership from Scott isn’t known; however it was James Laird who returned the 18 Feb 1737 Warrant in 1805 so as to have “indisputable” title.

On September 5, 1805, Christian Scherich Sr. (1745-1806) purchased 289 1/4 acres from James Laird Exr. of Hugh Laird. The Deed was recorded Sept. 5, 1805. Christian was related to Rev. Casper Scherich, who survived brutal conditions on the 1731 voyage on the immigrant ship “Love and Unity” as he came to America from Switzerland.

Historic Depiction of 1720’s Captain and his Ship

Love & Unity: The Scherich, Lambert and Crall Families

The Schirch, Scherich or Sherrick surname evolved from the Schurch family who began immigrating from Switzerland to America in the late 1600’s. The Shurch’s were mostly weavers and they hailed from a region of Switzerland known as Sumiswald. How many ways can one spell the Schurch name? Answer: 60 or more at last count. See schurchfamilyassociation.net

One of the original Schurch immigrants, K(C)asper Schirch is a historically significant figure for having survived the 1732 voyage of the Love & Unity. Like the Indians as original owners, the voyage of the Love & Unity was anything but – 98 of the original 156 passengers perished during the voyage as a result of alleged brutality (starvation) and murder on the part of British Captain Jacob Lobb. Casper Schirch’s first wife and child were among the dead. While we have yet to confirm it, we believe Casper Schirch was either the father or uncle of Christian Scherich who would later own the farm on McCormick Rd.

The voyage of the Love & Unity led to later reforms in shipping law in which a Captain could no longer arbitrarily determine a ships half-way point and thus be entitled to full fare for any passengers who died during the journey.

Ben Franklin’s Pennsylvania Gazette published the Palatine’s “appeal” on February 15, 1732. To wit, during this (one) six week period:

“in one night seven persons miserably are starved to Death and thrown into the sea; one must throw the poor People naked into the Sea… one could not have a little Sand to sink the Body to the ground… or dare not ask anything from the Sailors… we were kicked, beat and used… as Slaves and maleficent Persons .. they were kept onboard for six days while in the harbor, allowing no communication between us and the people on shore – telling them we were Turks and not Christians…to prolong the journey, the ship sailed only during the day, the rudder being tied at night”

For a more complete account of the travails of the Love & Unity, we include, with the authors permission, Chapter 1 of the Westhafer family history at friendsofthefarm.org

Christian Scherich Jr. acquired the farm by Writ of Partition, entered May 12, 1807 by George Stroop, then High Sheriff of Cumberland County, directing the “Tract of land situate in the (Allen) Township and (Cumberland) County aforesaid, adjoining the lands of Benjamin Anderson, Andrew Mateer and others containing (290) two hundred and ninety acres more or less with the appurtenances” and “Whereupon it is considered and adjudged by the Court that said Christian Sherrick (2nd), eldest son of the said Christian Sherrick (1st), deceased, hold and possess the said Tract of land and with the appurtenances to him, his heirs and assigns forever”.

So, Christian Scherich (the 2nd or Jr.) assumed title to the farm in 1807. He then married Ann(a) Regina Spitzer of Fairview Township, York County on April 2, 1811 in Harrisburg. Ms. Spitzer came from well to do parents who likely supplied quite a dowry and later inheritance for the couple. Per Conrad Spitzer’s Will dated August 29, 1810, Ann was to receive “all the residue of my aforesaid plantation adjoining lands of Martin Coppenheffer, Michael Hart Esq. and William Chandler… I also give and bequeath to my said daughter Ann the sum of one thousand six hundred pounds lawful money of Pennsylvania paid to her in the following manner – -“

Anna’s mother, Barbara Horst, was wealthy in her own right and the Horst family cemetery can be found near present day Evergreen and Gaumer Rd.’s in Fairview Township. Fairview Township historians may be able to shine more light here.

Christian and Anna Scherich had five Children; John (1812-1886), Barbara (1814-1889), Anna (1815-1857), Frances “Fanny (1816-1820) and Mary (1818-1861). Sadly, Christian Scherich died at the young age of 36 on May 10, 1822.

Christian Scherich is buried in Grantham Memorial Park overlooking present day Messiah University. Some ancestry.com information shows Christian Scherich as owning the land Messiah now occupies but this has not been confirmed.

Anna Scherich married Christian Crall as her 2nd husband on March 27, 1828. Christian Crall was the oldest son of Mathias Crall (1744-1812) who took over the Glen Allen Mill from Hugh Laird and later sold it to George Lantz in 1810. Christian was 17 years older than Anna and they had no children. Christian Crall died on April 4, 1843 at age 67 and is also buried in Grantham Memorial Park. Christian’s son, Joseph, would later marry Anna’s daughter, Barbara, born 1814.

Anna Scherich Crall must have been a strong woman. When her 2nd husband Christian Crall died in 1843, his Estate “was not sufficient to pay all his just debts.” So, Anna pulled together $5,953.12 and bought 237 acres from the Estate of Christian Crall on April 1, 1846.

Anna Scherich Crall sold 106 acres in 1846 to John and Rachel (Millard) Scherich. John was Anna’s son born 1812. Anna later sold 104 acres (the farm at 1215 McCormick Rd.) to Michael and Mary Lambert on April 20, 1855 for $3,500. Mary Lambert was Anna’s Daughter born 1818 and married to Michael Lambert. About this time, Anna also sold X acres to William and Anna Lambert. Anna being her daughter born 1815 and married to William Lambert. We suspect the land sold to William and Anna was part of the 237 acre (1846) or 290 acre (1807) tract.

The result of all this buying and selling was that Anna Scherich Crall’s four (4) surviving children (John, Barbara, Anna, and Mary) and their spouses all built new or “encased” German Georgian farmhouses along Lisburn and McCormick Rd. in the 1850’s. We have three (3) of these now historic farmhouses remaining:

*John and Rachel Scherich home at 1450 Main St., Lisburn, Lower Allen Township. Shown on 1858 map. Registered with Cumberland County Historic Society.

*William and Anna Lambert home at 13xx Main St. Lisburn (demolished sometime after 1975). Shown on 1858 map. Listed as #36 Early Architecture in Upper Allen Township.

*Michael and Mary Lambert home at 1215 McCormick Rd. (future undetermined). Shown on 1858 map. Listed in #35 Early Architecture in Upper Allen Township

*Joseph and Barbara Krall home at 443 McCormick Rd. Shown on 1858 map. Referred to tenant house, Nauman farm, circa 1815 (page 6-Figure 5), Early Architecture in Upper Allen Township. This home is a brick cased log home. Also listed in Brick Cased Log Homes of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania (Nancy Van Dolson 1988).

We also have the area identified as Scherich’s Fording shown on the 1858 map where present day Lisburn Rd. crosses into York County. And we know the brick for the farmhouses came from the J. Hickernel Brick Yd. adjacent to the J. Scherich farm.

Anna Scherich Crall is listed in the 1850 Census as living with Michael and Mary Lambert and it is likely that she died while still living with them on March 13, 1859.

Anna was 67 when she died and is buried at the Lantz Cemetery. Her April 21, 1858 Will named son in law Michael Lambert as Executor and her Estate was equally divided among her four children and/or their surviving spouse.

The Lambert family in the Lisburn area started with the immigration of Michael Lambert (the 1st or Sr.) from Germany to America about 1790 when he was 2 years old. Michael married Catherine Schneider Thome about 1809 and they had five (5) children; William (born 1812), Joseph (born 1813), Michael (born 1817), Mary (born 1819) and George (born 1826). Son William Lambert married Anna Scherich born 1815 and son Michael Lambert married Mary Scherich born 1818.

Michael (Sr.) was reported as blind in the 1850 Census and living next to William and Anna. Michael died in 1852 and is buried at Lantz Cemetery. Catherine died in 1854 but is not shown in the Lantz cemetery record.

Our research started with Michael and Mary Lambert whose name is on the capstone of the farmhouse at 1215 McCormick Rd. The capstone is above the South facing gable window and reads “Built by Michael & Mary Lambert 1855”.

For the longest time, we could not determine what happened to Michael Lambert, why he sold the home on the eve of the Civil War, or where he was buried. Michael and Mary had seven (7) children and we wondered what happened to them as well; Anna Mary (born 1845), Joseph (born 1847), Margret “Maggie” (born 1850), Jacob (born 1852), George ( born 1854), Sarah Alice (born 1855) and Ira (born 1860).

Then we found this:

Page 1 of the August 17, 1860 Carlisle Herald with (enlarged) ad placed by Michael Lambert for the sale of his farm

Death after death occurred in the Lambert family soon after the four beautiful homes were built along Lisburn and McCormick Rd. and the many children were born. Anna (wife of William) died November 16, 1857 at age 42. Anna Scherich Crall died on March 13, 1859 at age 67. Mary (wife of Michael) died January 15, 1861 at age 42. We suspect that Mary Lambert might have been in poor health which is why Michael began advertising his “Valuable Farm at Private Sale” in August 17, 1860.

We thought Michael Lambert may have fought in the Civil War. We found he did not but many of his immediate and extended family did:

So, what happened to Michael Lambert? As noted on the Deed transfer of the McCormick Rd. farm to Abraham Witmer on March 29, 1861, Michael had moved across the Yellow Breeches to Monaghan Township. He is shown as living in Monaghan in 1862 and paying tax on a horse and buggy valued at $75. In about 1864, Michael married Elizabeth Reneker as his 2nd wife. They had two children; Mellie (born 1865) and Frank (born 1867).

Michael died on December 12, 1867 at age 50 and is buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Dillsburg, PA. When his Estate was probated in 1868, Michael had assumed Guardianship of six (6) Krall children in addition to his own children. Michael’s 2nd wife, Elizabeth, lived to be 99 years of age and died in 1932. Elizabeth was known as “Mother Lambert” and is buried next to Michael.

There is a Biographical Sketch (see 432) of John “JNO” Scherich in the History of Cumberland County (1886) as “a representative of one of the old families of Cumberland County.”

“JNO Scherich was “the eldest of four children, worked on his father’s farm near Lisburn until he was sixteen, when he was apprenticed to the carpenter’s, cabinet-maker’s and painter’s trades, at New Cumberland and Shepherdstown, and at twenty years of age had learned his trade; having aptness and energy soon became one of the first mechanics of his day. He then located near Lisburn, where he carried on his trade. He superintended one section of the first railroad bridge across the river at Harrisburg. He quit his trade about 1850, bought a tract of land west of Lisburn, erected commodious brick buildings, and soon became one of the first farmers of the county. In connection with farming he extensively carried on the brick-making business for many years. In 1875 he came to Mechanicsburg and continued in the insurance business, in which he had been engaged for more than forty years. He was married, November 30, 1832, to Miss Rachael Millard, born nearLewisburg, York County, March 14, 1814, daughter of Jonathan and Phoebe (Thornburg) Millard, old settlers of York County. Mr. and Mrs. Scherich have been members of the United Brethren Church for the past forty years. While at Lisburn their home was the home for all Christian workers, always active in the cause of morals and religion. They have seven children living: Christian, a carpenter, but engaged in the agency business at Lisburn, married to Miss Eliza A. Floyd; Ann Jane, wife of Elias Rhiver, a puddler at West Fairview; Jno. Andrew, a farmer near Lisburn married to Miss Margret J. Hickernell; Phoebe Samantha, wife of Geo. Forry, a farmer near Mechanicsburg; Jonathan H. Clay…”

A professional abstractor has traced the Deed records of 1215 McCormick Rd. to 1846 and, by reference, 1839. This is as far back as deeds go in the Cumberland County Recorder of Deeds office. Obtaining the names of all prior owners is recommended by a local historian as part of preparing a Historic Resource Survey Form on the property.

There have been more owners of the property than expected as shown by the 17 deeds listed above. The main takeaways are that the Lambert Farm had the same 1830’s ownership as the Glen Allen Mill (George Lantz) but was not part of the original mill tract or the later McCormick holdings.

We have recently learned that Jacob Barber, who owned the farm from 1878-1898, was from a family who struck it rich in the California Gold Rush and later became a Cumberland County Commissioner and gentleman farmer. It appears Mr. Barber is the one who added the distinctive “saw tooth” frieze and balcony to the original farmhouse.

The deeds prior to 1939 are all handwritten and most are difficult to decipher. The farm went through several Estate and Sheriff sales in its history which make for lengthy deed references. The latest deed from Thomas, Barbara and Helen Martin to Upper Allen Township, reads “Deed In Lieu Of Condemnation”. Township Commissioners have said this was done to save on transfer taxes and that the consideration was $1,100,000.00.

What is Historic Preservation?

From the National Park Service website:

“Historic preservation is a conversation with our past about our future. It provides us with opportunities to ask, “What is important in our history?” and “What parts of our past can we preserve for the future?” Through historic preservation, we look at history in different ways, ask different questions of the past, and learn new things about our history and ourselves. Historic preservation is an important way for us to transmit our understanding of the past to future generations.

Our nation’s history has many facets, and historic preservation helps tell these stories. Sometimes historic preservation involves celebrating events, people, places, and ideas that we are proud of; other times it involves recognizing moments in our history that can be painful or uncomfortable to remember.

Within the National Park Service, many people work in historic preservation: archeologists, architects, curators, historians, landscape architects, and other cultural resource professionals. The National Park Service carries out historic preservation both within and outside the National Park System.”

Why Preserve Historic Buildings & Neighborhoods?

“Across the nation, citizens appreciate historic and architectural character as being essential to the identity and unique character of their communities. They promote historic preservation because to do so is essential to cultural, social, economic and environmental sustainability. Historic resources are key ingredients in neighborhood livability and quality of life, minimizing negative impacts on the environment and yielding economic vitality and reward”