The Ambler Gazette
14 February 1918 (page 4, column 3)
Mrs. Thomas Laid at Rest.
One of Very Oldest Members of St. Thomas' Church.
Forebears of Deceased Actively and Prominently Identified With Early History of This Country -- Sketch of the Deceased -- Her Ancestors.
On Monday afternoon in St. Thomas' cemetery, Whitemarsh, were interred the remains of the late Margaret Gilkeson, wife of David Thomas, of near Camp Hill. The funeral was conducted from the residence of her son, J. Harry Thomas, of Lindenwold avenue and borough line, Ambler, and services were held in St. Thomas' church.
Death resulted, on Thursday, at the Episcopal hospital, Philadelphia, after a short illness from blood poisoning. According to their custom, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas were spending the winter in Philadelphia, having closed their Camp Hill home.
The deceased was born March 3, 1849, being a daughter of the late William and Eliza Acuff, who at that time owned and occupied the house on the southwest corner of Mattison avenue and North street, Ambler, now owned by Leonard S. Davis. She had three brothers, of whom Alfred and James reached maturity. The holdings of William and Eliza Acuff at that time included nearly all of the present eastern section of the borough, including likewise the present property of J. Harry Thomas, son of the deceased.
Opposite this property and across the old Springhouse and Chestnut Hill turnpike was the long, two-story, stone colonial building occupied by Isaac and Tacy Lukens Thomas, whose son, David Thomas, selected as his playmate and afterwards wedded, in January, 1860, the daughter of his neighbor. The building, above mentioned, long served as the Upper Dublin post-office and general store, and was years afterward absorbed in the holdings of Dr. R. V. Mattison, and the real estate now constitutes a part of the lawn of Lindenwold. The building was razed 25 or more years ago.
The Thomas and Lukens families were long time residents of Horsham township and actively identified with its early history.
Mr. Thomas for about four years after his marriage conducted the Fitzwatertown store, and then, removing to Philadelphia, engaged in the wholesale dry goods business on Third street near Race, 25 years ago he retired from active business and removed to the Camp Hill property, which occupies a part of the original holdings of the Scheetz family of colonial times, ancestors of Mrs. Thomas.
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas had two sons: William A., deceased, and J. Harry Thomas, both identified with Ambler for many years. The deceased was a life-long member of St. Thomas' church, being at her death one of the very oldest communicants, and her fealty to that religious organization is further intensified by the fact that her forbears, in the early history of the colonies, were actively identified with the organization and maintenance of that faith at Whitemarsh.
The ancestors of the deceased are most prominently mentioned in early historical records in connection with the settlement of this country. The great-great-grandmother of Mrs. Thomas was a Hocker, which family, back in colonial times, possessed the Erdenheim farm, on the site of which the present Carson college is being erected. The present Camp Hill estate of the VanRennsalears formerly was possessed by the Scheetz family and Mrs. Thomas' great-grandfather was General Scheetz.
The Scheetz family was early identified with the history of Whitemarsh township, several members of that name having been noted business men of the county. John Jacob Scheetz, a minister of Creyfelt, on the Rhine, was a member of the Frankfort company, organized in 1683 to promote and encourage migration from Germany to this country. His son Henry was thus induced to come to Pennsylvania, and first settled in Germantown [and] afterwards removed to a property which he purchased in Whitemarsh township, where he spent the remainder of his days. This property was then inherited by his son, Henry Scheetz, who, in the assessment of 1780, is called a "paper maker," and rated as owning a paper mill and 80 acres of land. This mill he built in 1769 on Sandy Run, to which he afterwards added a grist mill, which is still standing. It is said he also erected, at a later date, the paper mill on the same stream, a short distance over the Springfield line, which up until the '80's was still in possession of the family. He was appointed a justice of the peace before the Revolution, and on the formation of Montgomery county was commissioned, Dec. 10, 1784, one of the justices of the courts of quarter sessions and common pleas. He died about 1794 leaving two sons, Henry and Justus. The latter was elected sheriff of the county, serving in that office from 1816 to 1819.
General Henry Scheetz, great-grandfather of the deceased Mrs. Thomas, son of the aforesaid Henry and Catherine Scheetz, was born in the homestead along the Sandy Run, in Whitemarsh township, in 1761. His education was received in the schools of the neighborhood. During the rebellion of John Fries, in 1798, the command of a country brigade was assigned him. In 1805 he was elected a member of the assembly, and in 1808 was one of the directors of the new poor house. In 1811 he was appointed by Governor Snyder a major-general of the Second division of the Pennsylvania militia. After the breaking out of the war with England he marched with his company to Marcus Hook for the protection of Dupont's powder works at Wilmington. After the unsuccessful raid attempt of British General Ross on Baltimore the militia were recalled and discharged. In 1817 General Scheetz was elected one of the members from Montgomery county to frame a new constitution for the state, which duties he faithfully and creditably performed. He then retired to his home in Valley Green and died Sept. 4, 1848, at the advanced age of 87 years. He left nine children. His descendants are numerous, bearing the names of Scheetz, Hitner, Sechler, Wentz and Acuff.
William Acuff, father of the deceased Mrs. Thomas, was a son of David Acuff, who was the son of Jacob Acuff. Both the latter and his son David were soldiers in the Revolutionary war. David Acuff later conducted the hotel at Gwynedd for many years, and prior to that time he kept the Springhouse hotel, besides many activities in this section of the county. William Acuff removed from the house in Ambler, now owned by Leonard Davis, about 1856 and erected the house at Camp Hill, which was occupied for many years by Mr. and Mrs. David Thomas.
[transcribed by Laura Keyes Perry]