Monday, October 26, 2015

1st Presbyterian Church and United Methodist Church Cemeteries Announced as an Official Location for 2015 National Wreaths Across America Program

Community Fundraising Efforts to Culminate in Wreath-Laying Ceremony on National Wreaths Across America Day 

Wreaths Across America (WAA), a nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, announced that 1st Presbyterian Church and United Methodist Church Cemeteries in Succasunna, NJ has once again joined in the effort to fulfill the national WAA mission of remembering, honoring and teaching under the 2015 central theme: “Cemeteries are for the living.” This is the second year that 1st Presbyterian Church and United Methodist Church Cemeteries will be participating.

1st Presbyterian Church and United Methodist Church Cemeteries will be organizing several fundraising events in the coming year that will culminate in a wreath-laying ceremony to honor veterans on National Wreath Across America Day on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015. Remembrance wreaths will be placed at the headstones of fallen veterans at more than 1,000 locations across the country and overseas. A remembrance ceremony will be held at 1st Presbyterian Church and United Methodist Church Cemeteries in Succasunna, NJ, on this day to ensure that the individuals who served to protect the freedoms of our country are not, and never will be, forgotten.

The Ferro Monte Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, is proud to coordinate this event.” It is truly a community event with countless residents all coming together to sponsor wreaths, lay wreaths and create a moving memorial ceremony to honor these veterans.” Vice Regent and Location Coordinator Kim Armstrong says. “We hope with the generous support of the community as well as local businesses we will be able to honor all 560 veterans in the combined cemeteries with wreaths this year. To accomplish this goal we ask you to sponsor wreaths at by November 28th and attend the ceremony on December 12th.” 

“Wreaths Across America has grown on the passion of our volunteers,” said Karen Worcester, WAA executive director. “Many of our organization’s most successful ideas came from those who do the real work of organizing and carrying out our ceremonies in their hometowns. It is overwhelming to realize that more than 1,000 locations are living our mission to Remember, Honor and Teach the service and sacrifice of veterans.”

Those interested in volunteering with their local Wreaths Across America location in Succasunna, NJ are invited to email For more information, to donate or to sign up to volunteer, please visit

About Wreaths Across America
Wreaths Across America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, begun by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester in 1992. The organization’s mission, Remember, Honor, Teach, is carried out in part each year by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies each December at Arlington, as well as at hundreds of veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond. To keep up with all the Wreaths Across America news, visit, follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter at

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Life and Times of Isaac Metzker

Isaac Metzker lived his entire life in what is now North Woodbury, Pennsylvania. He was born on January 24, 1809 to Christina Hoover, age 30, and John George Metzker, age 38. The Metzker/Metzger family were early settlers of Bedford County, coming to the area from the Old World in the mid-1700s.

Isaac grew up on a farm learning what would become his trade in then Woodbury, Bedford County. Woodbury became a part of Blair County in 1846 when it was formed from parts of Bedford and Huntingdon counties. Isaac’s farm at that time included 80 acres of farmed land producing: 250 bushels of wheat, 150 bushels of corn and oats each, 100 bushels of rye, 15 bushels of potatoes and 10 tons of hay. On October 1, 2015 the Metzker family was added to the First Families of Blair County recognizing them as original residents of the new county.

By 1879 with son Samuel, the Metzker farm had improved another 20 acres adding an apple orchard sweet potatoes and clove seeds to the mix. Corn became the predominate crop selling 700 bushels. 1879 was also a pivotal year for the family as matriarch Anna Lantz Metzger died of catarrh fever, a disease affecting the respiratory organs in November.                  
Anna Lantz Metzker
incorrect headstone

Not much is known about Anna Lantz and what is known is not set in stone. The US Mortality Schedule gives us the information on her death above, while her headstone lists her death as 26 Feb 1881. As she does not appear on the 1880 census and Isaac is listed as a widower, it appears the headstone is incorrect. Anna was born 8 Aug 1814 in Pennsylvania; who her people were are currently a mystery. She married Isaac about 1832. The couple had 10 children: William, Rebecca, Catherine, Nancy, John, Virginia, Eliza, Samuel, Anna, and Elizabeth in 21 years. Anna was a homemaker and a member of the German Baptist Brethren Church. After her death, widowed daughter Eliza Hudson moved home with her children to help care for Isaac.

Isaac Metzker(Metzger) Farm
Mennonite Cemetery is between 147 and 141

Isaac led a productive life for another twelve years with a prosperous farm which while having passed out of the family, is still in existence today. Two of his children; Virginia Metzker Stoner and Samuel passed before Isaac. He spent his last days at the home of his grand-daughter Charlotte Ebersole McGraw and his great-grandsons Earl & Herbert. He died on September 18, 1891, in his hometown, having lived a long life of 82 years, 7 months and 24 days. Isaac, Anna and much of their family are buried down the road from the farm in the Mennonite Cemetery in Martinsburg.

Note: If you have any information on Anna Lantz Metzker’s ancestors please comment below.

1. Non-population Census Schedules for Pennsylvania, 1850-1880: Agriculture (62 rolls); Roll 2: 1850 Agriculture: Blair-Carbon counties; Roll 34: 1880 Agriculture: Blair-Bedford counties
3. Year: 1880; Census Place: North Woodbury, Blair, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1103; Family History Film: 1255103; Page: 445B; Enumeration District: 174; Image: 0449
4. Isaac Metzker Obituary; Altoona Tribune, 22 Sep 1891 pg 4

Monday, October 12, 2015

Newest Blair County Founders Recognized

Jacob Shoenfelt II was born 9 Sep 1792, near Hagerstown, Maryland and died in his 91st year on 14 Apr 1884. His parents, Jacob the 1st and Elizabeth Baker Shoenfelt settled on land given them by Jacob I’s father William Shanefelt, near Woodberry, Bedford County in the spring of 1796. According to a 1946 Altoona Mirror article, the land William purchased has remained in family hands for 166 years.  Jacob I with the help of Jacob II built the family home there (now known as Taylor Twp, Blair County) in 1812. The family of eight were of the German Reformed faith and although Jacob I became a Dunkard preacher later in life, Jacob II remained with the German Reformed. Of hardy German stock, Jacob II did not learn to read or speak English until he was an adult.

Jacob and Elizabeth Marks celebrated the arrival of daughter Elizabeth in 1802. Betsy grew up in Huntingdon Boro. She married Jacob II at an early age. They raised their family of thirteen (Henry, Joseph, Elizabeth, George, Sarah, Jacob, Andrew, Isaac, Mary, Susan, John, Harriet and James) on the Plum Creek farm.  The family resided in Woodbury in 1846 when Blair county was formed and in 1856 when their section of Woodbury became Taylor Twp. Jacob II out lived his wife Elizabeth and his children: daughters Elizabeth, Sarah, Harriet and sons Issac and James. 

While Jacob was primarily a farmer in his later years. As a young man he was a wagoner transporting pig iron from Maria Forge to Pittsburgh before the construction of highways.
Jacob Shoenfelt voted for our 4th President James Madison thru the 20th President James Garfield
In the last few years of his life he became a favorite subject of the Altoona Tribune. In a profile celebrating his 90th birthday, the interviewer reports that Jacob II “voted for James Madison for President and voted at every presidential election since casting his vote for General Garfield for president in 1880. He only missed voting at two elections ever since he voted. He was a Federalist, Whig, American and Republican, always true to his party. He is a hale old man, and bids fair to be a centenarian. The lustre of his eyes is not bedimmed and he reads and writes without the use of glasses. He never used a pair of spectacles in his life. His memory is remarkably good and it is pleasing to hear him relate incidents and occurrences of long ago, speaking of the kind and charitable disposition of some of the early settlers of the Cove.” The Shoenfelts are purportedly buried in the Snowberger Cemetery in East Sharpsburg, PA.

Details from Isaac Metzker Farm Censuses of 1850 and 1880

Isaac Metzker's Farm was located in North Woodbury in Blair County, Pennsylvania. The following information came from the Agriculture Censuses in 1850 and 1880 with calculation for today's dollars.

1880 Isaac Metzker Farm
Son Samuel farming land for cut of profit
1879 stats: Total Income $716 which equals $17,047.62 in 2014
Livestock –    Cows: 2 calves born, 1 cow sold, 2 slaughtered, 1 lost; 208lbs of butter sold
                        Sheep: 3 lambs born
                        Chicken: 208 eggs produced
Crops-           Corn: 25 acres of corn produced 700 bushels
                        Oat: 5 acres oats produced 80lbs
                        Rye: 4 acres of rye produced 20lbs
                        Wheat: 24 acres of wheat produced 275lbs
                        Potato: 3/4 acres Irish potatoes produced 50 bushels; 2 bushels sweet potato
                        Orchard: 8 acres with 100 apple trees produced 250 bushels sold for $75
                        Forestry: 25 cords of wood cut and sold for $50
                        Hay: 1 Ton harvested
                        Clover Seed: 3 bushels
                        Building Repair: $15
                        Labor costs: 16 weeks $15
Value in 1880 = $7732 Farmland $7200, Farm Equipment $75, Livestock $457
Value in 2014 dollars = $179,813.95
Acres: 108 acres improved land, 20 acres of forest and 1 acre of grassland not mowed
Livestock on hand 1 Jun 1880: 6 horses, 4 milk cows, 10 other cows, 9 sheep, 15 pigs, 50 chickens
1880 spring sheering = 9 fleeces weighing 40lbs      

1850 Isaac Metzker Farm
1849 stats:
Livestock –    Cows: 150lbs of butter sold
                        Animals Slaughtered for $85
Crops-           Corn: 150 bushels
                        Oat: 150 bushels
                        Rye: 100 bushels
                        Wheat: 250 bushels
                        Potato: 15 bushels
                        Hay: 10 Ton harvested
Value in 1850 = $6451 Farmland $6000, Farm Equipment $100, Livestock $351
Value in 2014 dollars = $195,727.27
120 Acres = 80 Improved, 40 Unimproved
Livestock on hand 1 Jun 1850: 5 horses, 4 milk cows, 5 other cows, 10 sheep, 8 pigs

1850 spring sheering = 20lbs

Nonpopulation Census Schedules for Pennsylvania, 1850-1880: Agriculture(62 rolls);.
Roll 2: 1850 Agriculture: Blair-Carbon counties; Roll 34: 1880 Agriculture: Blair-Bedford counties