Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
History Quarterly Digital Archives

Source: April 1969 Volume 15 Number 3, Pages 50–51

Van Leer Log Cabin

Fannie R. Wandless

Page 50

The first mention of the Van Leer family in the United States is the year 1697 when the Hon. John George and Mary Von Loetr, the original ancestors of the Van Leer family in Pennsylvania, emigrated from Germany to this country. The family are German and Swiss descent.

They had only one son, who was eleven years old when they came to America, his name was Bernhardus. He studied to become a doctor, having returned to Germany and graduated from the University there. He was a very well-educated man, and his name is also remembered by the fact he lived to be 104 years old.

When Bernhardus' family came to America they settled in Marple Township, Chester (now Delaware) County, which became the homestead.

After Dr. Bernhardus Van-Leer returned to America and started to practice medicine, he married Mary Branson, February 25, 1734. They had seven children.

His first wife died and he married Christiana ... and had several more children. To his daughter Mary, the wife of Moses Moore, he devised the Blue Ball Tavern and 180 acres of land in Tredyffrin.

Samuel Van Leer, one of the older sons, married Hannah, daughter of Elizabeth Iddings and Isaac Wayne. General Anthony Wayne was Hannah's brother.

Isaac Van Leer, Dr. Van Leer's oldest son by his second marriage, received from his father in 1786 the tract of land comprising the log cabin farm.

Isaac Van Leer was a private in the Company of Capt. Howland of Tredyffrin mill fame, and also in the Company of Capt. Wilson. Isaac Van Leer bought 5 acres from John Christie in 1797, and added this to the land his father had given him. Out of this, plus a 3/4 acre section emerged the cabin tract of today. After his death,in 1799, his estate was not probated until 1809, presumably when his sons were of age. Out of the 160 acre estate, 3 farms were carved by order of the court. Benjamin, Isaac, Jr., and William Van Leer each received a farm. William died in 1847; Isaac, Jr. died 1862.

Page 51

According to tax records of Tredyffrin Township, the log cabin was not standing before 1800. In 1857 the log cabin, and farm on which it stood, was offered for public sale. Sale was made in 1834. When David Hause, trustee for the estate of William Van Leer, sold it to James Lawless of Tredyffrin, it contained something over 4 acres and the price was $1,260. The Curwen family acquired it from Lawless, and the School Board purchased it from the Curwen Estate.

The cabin stands on the east side of Irish Road about halfway between Conestoga Rd. and Lisbeth Lane. It has 4 rooms, two on the first floor and two on the second floor; also two fireplaces on the first floor. The idea when the restoration was finished was to use it as a Museum, to be used in teaching local history in the School.

The Log Cabin Committee was made up of representatives of various local history clubs. Mrs. Le Roy Fisher was the original chairman and operated for the major portion of the work on the cabin. Mr. Conrad Wilson is the present Chairman. He, with Miss Katharine Stroh and Miss Myrtle Wandless, represent the Tredyffrin-Easttown History Club; Mr. and Mrs. Henry McNeal and Mrs. F ranklin B. Wildman, Valley Forge History Society; Miss Margaret Hopper, Norman Thomson, King of Prussia Society; George Highley, and Mrs. William F. Detterline, Chester County Society; and Mr. Raymond Cox.

A Freedom Foundation Award was made in relation to the work done on the cabin in its restoration.


References for this cabin article:

Chester County Historical Society: Unpublished manuscripts from the Van Leer Family History.

Futhey & Cope - "History of Chester County."

Chester County Historical Society, Clipping files.


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