Thursday, July 24, 2008

Heinrich Landes and His House

Heinrich Landes was seven years old on that Christmas Day in 1723 when his parents were among the first Brethren baptized in America. His father died three years later and his mother, left with four small children, was remarried in Germantown.

In 1737 Heinrich married Elizabeth Naas, the daughter of John Naas, who had arrived in Germantown by boat with her parents four years earlier. Together Heinrich and Elizabeth settled in Ringoes, NJ where Heinrich established a well-known saddlery which attracted customers from as far away as New York.

In 1750 they build a story-and-a-half stone house with a gambrel roof which has since become a registered national historic landmark. It is said that George Washington used the house as a temporary headquarters during the Revolutionary War. It was also used for church services. Here Heinrich and Elizabeth had 10 children. Following her death, he remarried Catherine Graff, to whom 14 children were born.

According to a local historian, Landes was much respected by his neighbors. "Though religiously opposed to wars and fightings, and consequently taking no part in the Revolution, he was a favorite of Washington, who, when he was in the neighborhood, would stop at his house...."

Source: The Brethren Encyclopedia