Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Update: Leah bore 11 children
Nearly a decade ago, the Scribbler wrote a column about Leah Kreider, a woman who had been featured in a "Ripley's 'Believe It or Not' '' cartoon because she had delivered 10 babies who died the day they were born.
Leah and her 10 babies are buried in a stone-walled cemetery at Gable Park Road and Friends Lane in Lancaster Township.
The babies were born and died between 1851 and 1862. Leah died delivering the last one.
"Leah boiled cartloads of potatoes and fashioned all her own clothes,'' the Scribbler wrote on Nov. 25, 2003. "She tended a garden in summer and attended church each Sunday. She imagined, on occasion, the bright laughter of children. But all the children Leah produced she also laid to rest.''
Not true, reveals Terry McGuire, a professor and vice chair of the Department of Genetics at Rutgers University.
Robert Ripley and, by extension, the Scribbler, were wrong. Or, at least, incomplete.
Leah and her husband, Christian, actually had 11 children.
The oldest, Benjamin Charles Kreider, was born in 1850.
"Benjamin survived and moved with his father to Medina County, Ohio, around 1864,'' McGuire explains. "Benjamin married Catherine Felix and had 7 children. Poor Leah was short on children, but she ultimately had many grandchildren.''
McGuire says Leah Kreider is "only sort of related'' to him. She is the paternal grandmother of the husband of one of his aunts.
The origin of Pinchgut
One of the more unusual place names in Lancaster County is Pinchgut, Conestoga Township. No one knows precisely how the place got its name.
Webster's Dictionary says "pinchgut'' is an archaic word meaning "a miserly person who starves himself or others.''
Ken Hoak, curator of the Conestoga Area Historical Society, wonders why this particular place was named "Pinchgut.''
"Was it named because of a lack of food?'' he asks. "Or an outbreak of intestinal virus? Or did someone just have a crude sense of humor?''
Joshua Scott's 1824 Map of Lancaster County shows Pinchgut in "the hollow between Conestoga Center and the ridge to the north,'' according to the Conestoga Area Historical Society's website.
Pinchgut was the name for the township's black community, the website explains. No one who lived there owned land. There was no road into the place.
We might speculate, then, that the residents of Pinchgut were relatively poor and, therefore, starved by destitution.
Easter Bunny Ave.
No one went hungry at John Herr's Food Market in Millersville at Easter time -- not if they liked chocolate eggs and jelly beans.
John Herr began operating "Easter Bunny Avenue'' in 1945. His son, John Herr Jr., or Jack, continued the operation until he opened the new John Herr's Village Market in 1974.
Easter candy from Lancaster, Hershey, Philadelphia and other places filled the "avenue,'' according to Herr, who sold the store and moved to Willow Valley Retirement Communities in 2001.
"The first thing you saw when you came in the store was the candy sitting out front,'' he recalls. "Each year we sold at least a hundred pounds of jelly beans.''
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