In this second column we are in Colonial America during the American Revolution, following the Heimer family in Plainfield Township, Northampton County. Charles Heimer saw war approaching so he joined the Northampton Militia. His son Adam followed his father’s example and joined at the age of 14. Charles had a busy life as a part time Militia member, farmer and gristmill operator. In our last column we indicated he received land warrants signed by Benjamin Franklin, President of Pennsylvania’s Supreme Council, acquiring 172 acres.

Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, formerly of Nazareth, researched the family history and uncovered some interesting facts, including some tax statements. You all know how we cringe when we receive our tax bills. We will share one of Mr. Heimer’s bills.

In 1785 Mr. Heimer was listed as an owner of a gristmill, a farm of 100 acres, and livestock. His tax amount equals 15 shillings (equal to $1.20).

Can you imagine a tax reduction on your property today? Well 1786 must have been a good year; his tax decreased to 11 shillings, 9 pence.

St. Peter’s Lutheran Church

The family was active in the Plainfield Reformed Church, now known as St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. Each year Charles and other members contributed to a salary fund to support the minister.

He died in 1820 in Plainfield Township and was buried in the Plainfield Cemetery. The Johnson’s noted that wives or female survivors were only left with the necessities to maintain their life. The sons or males were willed the property and inherited any money and remaining goods, with instructions to care for and look after the widow or female survivors.

Charles’s son Adam (1761-1818) saw the Northampton Militia being organized in the country. He wanted to serve in any way possible. At age 14 he joined the Associators and Militia of Northampton County. At age 17 he was a member of the Rangers of the Frontier, a group of fulltime soldiers who patrolled the frontier to provide warnings of hostile Indian raids.

The Muster roll in 1780 listed Adam as Private 8th Class in the Rangers. He was listed as a drummer with the 4th company 2nd battalion.

When the war ended he helped his father on the farm in the gristmill. He married in 1787 to Margaret Bender at the Plainfield Church. Adam and his wife had 10 children in 28 years.

Adam Heimer’s grave

With independence and a new country, Adam Heimer and his family continued to till the soil they loved. Their son Charles, born in 1803, became the father of William Henry Heimer, a future Civil War soldier.

Adam died at age 56 and joined his father in eternity in the old section of the Plainfield Cemetery.

In their research, the Johnson’s found numerous wintertime deaths in Colonial America were caused by pneumonia.

In two weeks, Mrs. Janet Johnson’s great-great-grandfather William Henry Heimer enlists in the Army to serve in the Civil War.


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