(The following was written by WIlbur Gantz, and is reprinted from “Reflections”, a collection of local stories available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)
John Gantz served as Justice of the Peace for Jackson Township from 1836 to 1842. Adam Gantz became involved with the building of the Columbus and Harrisburg Turnpike. The company was incorporated in 1847 and the road was built in 1848 and 1849. The cost was $35,602. Adam Gantz was one of the five directors.
Adam Gantz sold a 30-acre portion in 1839 to his brother-in-law Jacob Harsh for $210. This was part of the 100 acres purchased from his father in 1837. The letters that John Gantz wrote to Pennsylvania in 1848 suggest that this could have been involved in a settlement between brother and sister for some money borrowed from their father. The Harsh family made the third member of the Andrew Gantz family to be in Franklin County. Another brother, Jonathon, came to the area and purchased property from the Smith family. He lived on Demorest Road west of Grove City. The last of the five children of Andrew Gantz to come to the Grove City area was Rachel Weygandt with her husband George and their children.
The older children of Adam and Katherine Gantz began to marry and leave home. The first was Elizabeth, who married Wm Paxton White in 1849 at the age of 18 years. The 1856 property owner map of Franklin County shows that Adam Gantz owned 35 acres of land next to the 50 acres William P. White owned just east of Young Road on the north side of S.R. 665. Later we find that Adam Gantz owned a 100 acre farm on the north side of Home Road that was later owned by his son George Gantz. From these records and by oral history we can feel certain that Adam helped his children become established in their own farm operations.
The two decades from 1850 to 1870 show many changes in the development of farming methods of planting and harvesting of agricultural crops. A hard-working man could harvest up to 3 acres per day with a cradle if someone else came along behind to bind up the sheaves. These were then stored until later to be threshed by hand with flails to beat out the grain. Then the chaff had to be separated by hand before the grain was ready for use or for sale. Reapers developed before and after the Civil War until they resembled the type or style that was used from 1880 until about 1940.
Mechanical means for threshing grain had begun to appear after 1830 as small hand powered flail-type machines.This threshing system grew into larger machines of the cylinder type that were operated by horsepower. Portable steam engines began to replace horsepower when they were developed in the late 1850’s. The greater power available led to threshers that would also clean the grain so that it could be stored in sacks or hauled in wagons for sale at the market place.
The steam traction type of engine was developed after 1860 and replaced horsepower for moving the separators from place to place, as well as furnishing power for the threshing process.
Soil preparation for planting corn and other crops was changed from the plow-harrow system when the disc harrow was invented near the end of 1870. Horsepower was still the main source of power for field work as well as transportation.
(The conclusion of this story in the next blog entry.)