Pennsylvania After 1803

After forty years, more or less, of the families living in Maryland, the name Isenberg disappears from Maryland records. Jacob Isenberg had gone down to Virginia, Nicholas and Elizabeth Isenberg, and the other Nicholas of the 1790 census, had gone to Virginia also. About 1804 John George, Gabriel Jr., Henry, Nicholas, and Enoch came back to Pennsylvania to the Huntingdon County area.

Mrs. Shively and her children left the group at Rock Hill where she joined her husband. The Truby family settled near Pennsylvania Furnace and the Hostler family in Sinking Valley. John George did not stay in Huntingdon County, but trekked farther west into Indiana County, Pennsylvania, where he lived the rest of his life.

Nicholas Isenberg purchased from David Caldwell the tract of land at the southern entrance of the bridge at Alexandria, known as the Styker farm. The deed bears the date of October 6, 1804 and says that the price paid was 1288 pounds, 16 shillings, The tract embraced 245 acres and 78 perches.

Enoch went into the loop and purchased what was known as the Robert Laird farm. From whom he purchased it or at what price, we are unable to ascertain, there being no record of any deed to or from him in the Huntingdon County Court House except that of a small tract in 1821 from his brother Nicholas.

Gabriel, Jr. did not buy land, and from what we can gather, lived on the land that his son bought. John purchased a farm from Robert Dean, April 4, 1804. It consisted of 221 acres and 142 perches. He paid 1275 pounds and 17 shillings. The farm lay at the foot of Charley’s Hill on Alexandria side, and extended toward the town, possibly touching the farm that Nicholas bought.

We have found no record that Henry bought any land. The tradition is that he lived in the town and later moved closer to Huntingdon. The above land records are to be found in the Huntingdon County Court House.

Gabriel, Jr., John Henry, Nicholas, Enoch, and John Isenberg appear in the 1810 Huntingdon County, PA records. Since some of the second generation named their children Gabriel, Gabriel, Jr., sometimes is listed as Gabriel, Sr. It is also of interest since John George, known as John, did not stay in Huntingdon County, but took up land in Indiana County, PA that John Henry, known as Henry up to this time is sometimes listed as John.

Here a little and there a little we find the following from the part of our 1900 book titled ” Their Part in the Development of the Community” (Huntingdon Co.) , pp. 20-24. (Parts in parentheses are our additions)

“When they came, the land was very little improved. They cleared it and put the same in condition for farming. While they were farmers, they were at the same time blacksmiths, carpenters, and wagon makers.” (One such vehicle is on display in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.)

“The small market that the Isenbergs as well as the farmers of the community attended was at Alexandria and Huntingdon, but Baltimore, MD. was the large market. In those days wheat and rye were made into flour but also into whiskey. Peaches were made into brandy and apples into applejack. The barrels containing these liquors were put on an ‘ark’ – a crudely constructed boat, the lumber of which as well as what it carried was sold when Baltimore was reached. When the Juniata River reached its highest mark and began to recede they started for the Baltimore market. From six to eight men were required for each ark.”

“Nicholas had at one time a six-horse team on the stage route from Baltimore to Pittsburgh; his son Joel drove it.”

“In the early part of the century (19th) there was held an annual review when all persons subject to military duty met for drilling. A part of the drill was certain athletic sports such as running and jumping. Upon at least one such occasion the Isenbergs carried off the honors. Henry of Enoch and Joel of Nicholas being the victors.”

“They did not leave behind them but brought with them their Bibles and hymn books. There was no Reformed Church in Alexandria then. They first attended religious services at the house of Tobias Harnish about a mile or two about Water Street. When the Reformed and Lutheran congregations in that area decided to unite in the erection of a common church at Shafersvillle, they took part in the same. The Reformed minister was Rev. Aurandt and the Lutheran pastor was Rev. Moser. A good, substantial building with a gallery, so common in those days, was built.” (This has become a Lutheran Church. The cemetery is kept in good condition, but no one is interred there anymore. Nicholas and Enoch Isenberg and their wives are buried there, as are many of the early ancestors.)

“The Isenbergs took a prominent part in the erection of Keller’s and the Alexandria Reformed Churches later on.” (Keller’s no longer exists as a regular church with congregation, but once a year it is opened by the descendants of the early members for a memorial service.)

“By 1900 the Neff and Isenberg families constituted the bulk of membership in the Alexandria Church.” (It is said that Enoch Isenberg donated two barrels of whiskey to help with the erection of one of these churches – one to be sold and the proceeds to be used for the construction – the other for liquid refreshment of the workers.)

“The family history thus far is one of which we may be justly proud, but its future depends upon the present generation. We can make or mar it, raise it to pinnacles of fame or trail it in dust and shame. May we be true to all that is good in the past, and we shall make the future of the name still brighter, better and more brilliant” (Today, some eighty years later than when this was written, we can still hope to keep the name untarnished.)