|The enterprising Rickert's of East Weissport as it looked at the apotheosis |
of mercantile canal delivery.
|The stately former Rickert residence from a distance sets to the left. To the right, |
a red frame structure with a center peak, is a former storeroom, election polling location
and headquarters for the "Coolidge Republican Club."
|This is an old ink blotter that Harry Rickert used |
as a promotional item for customers.
His son Hiram Rickert, born in 1848 was married to Ida and he was listed as a "laborer." Hiram had two sons, Harry born in 1875 and Miles in 1878.
In 1900, 23 year old Harry was listed as a "clerk" at a "boatyard." The 1910 census shows Miles as a "delivery wagon man". By 1920 Harry was the "manager of a coalyard" and was married to Meta, born in 1880. Harry & Meta had a son, Hiram Donald, otherwise known as H. Donald, and simply "Donald."
In 1909, Hiram rented his vacant storeroom on election day for which the county paid him $15 to "cover rent, heat, and lighting" in 1920.
In the early 1920s, Hiram and Harry were appointed to the first board of directors of the 'Fidelity Company of Lansford.' This corporation was a stock, bond, mortgage, securities and loan institution headed by H. Donald Rickert now of Lansford who was the major shareholder. Harry Rickert owned a bungalow at Lake Harmony in the 1920s.
The Rickerts bought and sold all things hauled on the canal, particularly coal, farm feed, hay and fertilizer. In September of 1903, Hiram purchased 300 sheets of roofing tin for $45 from the 'General Storehouse at Packerton' which dealt with the reselling of "second hand material." Later on in the 1930s with the Lehigh Canal out of business, his coal docks were moved closer to the Jersey Central Railroad tracks that ran through Weissport. By 1938, his business cards no longer mentioned feed and flour, only stating his dealing in "Coal and Roofing."
It was Harry Rickert who formed the Calvin Coolidge Republican Club in the large red wooden framed building on the Rickert property in or around 1934. Perhaps it was a reaction to the depression and the politics of FDR or just for the sake of having a club to drink and play cards, the club had a healthy membership and a formal constitution. Membership was open to any male of Republican mind of the Franklin Township vicinity. Any member in six month arrears of dues would be automatically dropped. Membership was ten cents a month or $1. per year. Life membership could be purchased for $10. A key to the clubhouse cost 25 cents.
|The Coolidge Republican Club Constitution |
as started by Hiram and Harry.
|The Canal Side Guest House of Rod & Jen Mann today with|
the vacant Rickert storehouse and Republican Club to the right.
Membership in Coolidge Republican Club was like a 'who's, who' of the Weissport area. Serving on the 'Building Committee:' H. D. Rickert, Earl Laury, Fred Kintz, Bertram Eberts, Milton Beers, Robert Phifer and Horace Boyer.
Serving on the 'Membership Committee:' Frank Wentz, Hyman Lewis, Boise Boyer, Clayton Solt and John Krum. 'By-Laws: Mahlon Schoenberger and Clayton Beaver. 'Solicitation Committee:' LeRoy Whitehead. 'Entertainment & Publicity:' Richard Penberth. 'Shoot and Raffle Match Committee:' William W. Graver.
All the above (including the Rickerts themselves) also bought their 25 cent keys, as well as other Weissport names: J.L. Snyder, Mahlon Hamm, George E. Ahner, Paul Dreisbach, Herbert Weiss, Russel Ahner, C.B. Heller, Wilbur Kern, Maurice Solt, LoRen Laury, Theo Walck, Charles Krum, Andrew Wesiss, Mark Adams, Luther Conarty, R.G. Penberth, James Kunkle, John Strausberger, Ralph Kresge, William Schafer, Fred Arner, George Strausberger, Wilmer May, Leon Hill, William Kunkle, Edwin Penberth, Reuben Kunkle, Albert Kresge, Thomas Schoenberger, Clayton Beaver, Thomas Markley, James Folk, M. Schoenberger, E.S. Kern, F. Heptner, M. Hahn, David Strohl, William Hahn, Carl Leslie, Walter Haydt, Asher Leslie, Willard Kunkle, George Reich, Earl Schoenberger, Evan Beers, Harry Morgan, David Leslie, John Skeer, Lester Buck, Harold Hall, Herbert Henry, Clarence Kuntz, Albert Walck, and Maurice Hoffman.
|The rolling mill Jersey Central spur leads off toward the west. The Lehighton |
Hi-Rise is in the distance and the coal docks on the right.
|End of the line - Spur, coal bins and grain elevator.|
|The classic "Ralston-Purina" red and white checker was added|
sometime after the 1930s.
Speaking to Mr. Lamont "Mike" Ebbert,who grew up on Main Road, he said his father Bertram Ebbert (Listed in a common misspelling "Eberts") was a member of this club. And according to him the club was shut down after a raid for alcohol without a license and illegal gambling.
|You won't burn your hands, but maybe your lungs...|
From the days of Asbestos products (see near nail hole.)
Calvin Coolidge once said, "Industry, thrift, and self-control are not sought because they create wealth, but because they create character." Certainly the Rickert's displayed these fine qualities as I'm sure many who joined their club. Regardless, all these men were certainly characters. To be a fly on the wall of one of those nights would be a priceless piece of history.
A follow-up article with comprehensive Rickert family genealogy can be found on April 23, 2011 post.