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The H.J. Light Cabin was originally built in Lebanon County, PA. The earliest record we found of the H.J. Light cabin is on a map dating to the early 1840’s. The cabin was used as an inn at a stage coach stop.
The Light cabin is built of hand hewn chestnut timbers. Chestnut is a beautiful North American hardwood and was used extensively throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. But then the American chestnut forests were devastated by a blight accidentally imported from Asia in 1904. By 1940 mature chestnut trees were virtually wiped out in North America. The only way to find a chestnut log today is in buildings built with timbers from the original virgin forests.
Although we don’t know precisely when the Light family first came to this area, there is a recorded incident from the 1750’s of 60 families taking refuge from an Indian attack in the home of John Light. When looking at the map from the 1840’s, you’ll see numerous Light family homesteads.
After the Boston Tea Party, December 16, 1773, Lebanon, despite some hanging back on the part of other residents of Pennsylvania, was one of the first to respond to the appeal of the city of Boston. On Saturday, June 25, 1774, the inhabitants of Lebanon met at the inn of Captain Philip Greenawalt to consider the state of public affairs. In this meeting, John Light was elected as one of their leaders.
In an entry in The Lebanon Advertiser, April 5, 1873, there is a reference to President Ulysses S. Grand visiting several businesses and industrial works in town, including the Light Brothers Rolling Mill.
Scotch-Irish settlers were probably here before 1720, but the principal settlers of Lebanon and environs came here in 1723 from the Schoharie Valley in N. Y. State. Following these early settlers came successive waves of Swiss and French Huguenots, along with many Germans of the Mennonite, Dunker, Reformed and Lutheran Faiths. Before that time, the Indians dwelt in the beautiful Valley, which abounded in deer and other game. However, the Indians actually held title to all the land within the limits of Lebanon County until 1732. On September 7 of that year the chiefs and sachems of the Delawares made a treaty with the whites (through Governor Patrick Gordon) by which they disposed of all land in Pennsylvania lying between the Delaware and Susquehanna Rivers and south of the Blue Mountains, not previously purchased. This plot included what is now known as Lebanon County. The Indians gave up the land of their own free will, and for it received brass kettles, blankets, guns, shirts, flints, tobacco, rum. and many trinkets in which their simple hearts delighted.
In 1723, fifteen families of Germans came to the present Lebanon County and Berks region. About 1725 Balzer Orth and his boys, Balthazer (aged 11) and Adam (aged 7), were among those residing here. In August, 1729, Michael Burst arrived and squatted two miles northwest of the present city of Lebanon. When George Steitz arrived he located southeast of Burst on the Quittapahilla. From 1725 to 1735 there was another great influx of Germans of varied religious opinions. Because of their industry and thrift, combined with the goodness of the soil, Pennsylvania forged ahead in agriculture, with exportation of farm products to keep pace with the increasing population.
Gala indeed was the year 1731 in the history of the wilderness colony, for that marked the performance of the first marriage ceremony. The contracting parties were George Reynolds and Eleanor Steitz, daughter of George. The rite was performed by the Rev. John Caspar Stoever, the first Lutheran Minister to come to Lebanon.
It is to George Steitz that credit is given for the laying out of the present city of Lebanon during the decade 1740-1750. It is recorded that Steitz and Francis Reynolds took out warrants for adjoining tracts of land in what was then Lebanon Township — a part of Lancaster County. After the death of George Reynolds in 1762, his land fell into the possession of George Steitz, and with these he (Steitz) laid out additional lots. The town originally had been made for the township but for many years it was called Steitztown or Steitza, after the fashion of calling a town for the proprietor.
The town grew. About 1756 there were over 200 homes, and during the perilous years of 1750 to ’60 Lebanon was a refuge for those families driven from their frontier homes by the savages. As many as 60 families took refuge in the house of John Light at one time. On March 28, 1799, Lebanon became a borough, but the first election was not held until the first Monday in May, 1821. At this election, held by Leonard Greenawalt and Philip Huber, commissioners, the following officers were elected: Chief Burgess, Jacob Goodhart; assistant burgess. Jacob Arndt; councilmen, John Nagel, Conrad Fasnacht, Jacob Light, Adam Ritscher, Leonard Greenawalt, John Uhler; high constable, Rudolph Kelker. The election was held 22 years later for the reason that the people never accepted the provisions of the Act of 1799, and so it remained dead, until February 20, 1821, when a new Act was passed repealing the first act and creating anew the borough of Lebanon with a charter of more ample powers than the previous Act…
Learn more, please visit the official website of the Lebanon County Historical Society Incorporated.