Recently I received an e-mail from a volunteer photographer from Findagrave that he had photographed Daniel Brodhead’s grave in the Moravian Cemetery in Bethlehem, PA. I had made the photo request a very long time ago, so I was very surprised and pleased to hear this news. Daniel had died in Bethlehem in 1755 after traveling there for medical treatment. He was only about 62, not nearly as long-lived as his father Richard, but this should probably come as no surprise given how stressful his life must have been over the previous 18 years, a period during which he was actively engaged in settling what initially was Pennsylvania wilderness. He would have made numerous trips back up to the Kingston area during those years to sell goods, taking advantage of the rough “Old Mine Road,” a route that started out as an Indian trail circa 10,000 BC and is today known as State Rd 209.
I am still in awe of Daniel (b. 1693, son and only child of Richard Brodhead and Magdalena Jansen, who were both mentioned in the post of 15 April 2011) and Hester Wyngart Brodhead, in their early forties, going off to the wilds of the Lower Minisink Valley of Pennsylvania in 1738 with all their young children in tow. Their children, Richard, Ann, Charles, Garret, and Daniel (future Brig. Gen. Daniel Brodhead mentioned in the 13 April 2011, post), and John, would have been aged roughly 12, 11, 9, 5, 2, and 1. Children Luke and Ann (the first Ann died before 1743 when this Ann was born) were born in the Minisink Valley. Evidently very little is known of any early settlers who might have been in this area of Pennsylvania prior to 1725. The only ones around when the Brodheads arrived in those parts were the DePuy and Van Campen families. Luke W. Brodhead gives details about them in his book (see again the aforementioned post of 15 April). Luke also talks about the Strouds who settled in there in the late 1760s.
What time of year did the Brodheads arrive? Spring or summer?–to get a house built in time for winter. The children weren’t really old enough to be of too great assistance. What did they eat? Where did they secure provisions? Easton to the south was not settled until 1739. What kind of hunting did they do? What was the fishing like in the Delaware? Every day would have been a new adventure filled with discovery and possible dangers. The valley must have been extremely verdant, peaceful, and beautiful, as it still is in many places. Hard for us to fathom a world without electricity, communications, medical facilities, and other modern conveniences. One thing is for sure–they worked a lot harder physically than most of us do today, and they surely would have had the slim waistlines to show for it. The word “calorie” was probably not in their vocabulary! Yesterday I stumbled upon some old Colonial recipes and could not help but try one, which I share below and can recommend. I wonder if it is one that Hester would have made for the family in her Dutch oven?
Swamp Yankee Applesauce Cake
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup raisins
1 tsp soda, dissolved in warm water (just enough to do the job)
1 cup cooked applesauce
1 3/4 cups sifted flour
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a bread pan. Cream sugar and shortening. Add salt, cloves, nutmeg, and raisins. Add soda that has been dissolved; stir in the applesauce. Beat until well mixed. Add flour. Mix. Pour in loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes. Cover with white frosting if desired.