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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The "Swimming At Martic Forge" Story

The original Martic Forge
It was an ordinary day.  Just finished with my story about my wife's childhood home in an area known as Martic Forge and while leaving the stone lane where she spent most of her young life, we passed a beautiful complex of stone buildings that Carol told me used to be the forge that gave Martic Forge it's name.  
Martic Forge as it appears today.
Just had to stop and walk up the road to take a few photos of the buildings.  Closeby was another very old stone building that had a plastic sliding board in front of it.  Carol told me that at one time the Jewish Community Center owned all the buildings that comprised the forge as a campground and the campers stayed in the row of buildings to the left with a swimming pool that was nearby by one of the old forge buildings.
What an early forge would have looked like.
Tried to "Google" the old Martic Forge, but found very little about it.  Did find that the oldest industry in Martic township was the iron industry which began at Martic Forge prior to the Revolutionary War.  Lancaster was rich in iron ore which led to the establishment of many forges in the county.  Forging is one of the oldest known metalworking processes.  
This looks like it may be the residence at the end of the
row of old forge buildings.
It was tradi- tionally performed by a blacksmith using an anvil and hammer, but then, in the 12th century, water power was introduced into the procedure and the forge evolved to meet the demands of the industry.  Records of when the Martic Forge was established don't exist and the first date I could find was the sale of the forge on March 17, 1737 to Abram, James and Thomas Smith.  
Another out-building of the original forge.
Also found the sale of parts of it from 1769 to 1883 when the Sheriff of Lancaster sold Martic Forge to the firm of Davis & Potts.  Robert S. Potts, who was the owner in 1883 was a relative of Issac Potts who was mentioned in Weems' "Biography of Washington" as being a man of note during the struggle of the colonies for independence.  During many of these years the forge was run mainly by slave labor and the burial ground of many of these slaves still exists on a road that leads from Marticville to Mount Nebo. I have found two ads taken out in The Pennsylvania Gazette that lists rewards for the return of slaves from the forge.  Interesting ads which follow:

September 25, 1760         The Pennsylvania Gazette 
RUN away from the Subscribers, living at Martick Furnace, in Lancaster County, an English Servant Man, named Samuel Jackson, about 25 Years of Age, has short black Hair: had on when he went away, a blue Cloth Jacket, old Leather Breeches, an old Shirt, and old Shoes, wears his Hat cocked, and is a confident looking Fellow; he is about five Feet six Inches high, well set, was in Lancaster Goal, and sold out for his Charges; he says he has a Wife living with one Bettey, in Conestogoe Manor; it is probable he may go that Way, and they go off together. Whoever takes up and secures said Servant, so that the Owner may have him again, shall have Three Pounds Reward, and reasonable Charges, paid by WILLIAM BENNETT.

December 2, 1762         The Pennsylvania Gazette 
RUN away from the Subscriber, living at Martick Furnace, in Lancaster County, an Irish Servant Woman, named Catherine Smith, of a middling Size, thick and lusty, brownish Complexion, betwixt 20 and 30 Years of Age, is pitted with the Small Pox, out mouth, and is of a bold Countenance, came from Dublin last Fall, and has the Brogue on her Tongue: Had on and took with her, an old Check Linen Gown, blue Cloth Cloak, blue Stockings, new Shoes, black Silk Hat, and Check Apron; it is thought she will make for Philadelphia. Whoever takes up and secures said Servant, so as her Master may have her again, shall have Forty Shillings Reward, and reasonable Charges, paid by THOMAS SMITH.
So, slave labor existed in Pennsylvania in the mid-1700s.  I have no knowledge of who may presently own or reside at the Martic Forge, but the beautiful building complex certainly has quite an interesting history that many in Lancaster County probably do not know.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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