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Tunkers

posted Apr 23, 2010, 5:22 PM by James Wise   [ updated Aug 29, 2010, 11:53 PM by Travis Wise ]

TUNKERS -- In 1709, the Tunkards from Germany and Holland emigrated to Pennsylvania, and settled first at Germantown. Their first collected meetings were held in the log house in front of their present stone church in Beggarstown. Alex. Mack was then their principal leader. He was a very rich miller in Cresheim, gave all his property in common, and came with 8 or 10 to Germantown in 1708. He died old: and his son Alexander lived to be near 91 years of age. That log house was built in 1731, by John Pettikoffer, for his dwelling, who procured his funds, by asking gifts therefor from the inhabitants. Because it was the first house in the place and procured by begging, it was called "Beggarstown". The stone church on the same premises was built in 1770. Alex. Mack, junior, succeeded his father as minister, and Peter Baker had been their minister as early as 1723. the original Tunkers from Ephrata, used to dress alike and without hats covered their heads with the hoods of their coats, which were a kind of gray surtout, like the Dominican friars. Old persons now living remember when forty or fifty of them would come thus attired on a religious visit from Ephrata near Lancaster, to Germantown, walking silently in Indian file, and with long beards; also girt about the waist, and barefooted, or with sandals. Source: Area History: Contents of Vol II & Chapter 1: Watson's Annals of Philadelphia And Pennsylvania, 1857
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