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A Bit More about Wallrose, Economy Township, Beaver County, Pa.


Back on 14 May 2012, I wrote an essay entitled “More on the German Connection”.  In this I discussed Henry Gross, a graduate of Heidelburg University, Germany.  He graduated in 1848 and crossed the Atlantic Ocean to explore the new land that espoused freedom, and also to visit Old Economy which espoused Piety.  Old Economy had become a celibate community in 1847, based upon a dream/vision of Father Rapp.  I do not think celibacy was in agreement with young Henry’s beliefs, because  he sired 7 children

In 1849 Henry left Old Economy, and moved to a village several miles up Big Sewickley Creek from Old Economy.  This town was an important stop on the old Pittsburg to Rochester Road.  The ‘short cut from Pittsburg to Old Economy/Ambridge was not open for travel until the cliffs were blasted down above Leetsdale and the Ohio River Boulevard was completed.

Henry Gross arrived in Wallrose where he purchased a farm, and operated the general store and post office.  He also did legal work for his neighbors.  He also bought and raised calves which he drove to Pittsburg for sale.  he held them in a lot to fatten the calves, and his neighbors jokingly called their village “Muckletown”.  Henry didn’t think that was too flattering, so he proposed calling it Wall Rose, because he had built a wall on which he grew roses.  Henry also helped start St. Matthews German Evangelical Church with A. Haag, John Heil,B. Yeager, Andrew Rosenblum, and Phillip Eisenhuth.  {From “150th Anniversary 1827-1977 Historical Growth of Economy Township”, by Barbara Kenney Fitzpatrick and Michael Troyan.}

For the historically and genealogically inclined, the Cemetery at St. Matthews is a treasure in tombstones.  The old stone church is now closed, but the graveyard is still available.  “Find a Grave” has a very good compilation of the head stones.  In my scanning of this list I came up with the following surnames;  Breitenstine*, Gross, Amsler*, Wagner*, Ott, Bender, Jones (?), Frey, May, Rye*, Ross*, Stoffel*, Kammerer* Henrici* Vogelsong, Metzinger (asterisks are of surnames of families either known as OEV workers, or families who were members of OEV’s Old Timers Club.

And for me it was a five mile bike / hike into the past.  From my childhood home in Lynnwood Village, it was an easy ride down Swamp Run, Zehnder, Or Amsler Roads to Wall Rose.  In the early 1960’s I remember there were still a few structures, and perhaps a store that was still open.  Now all I find are the old church and graveyard.  There is a garden supply shop near there that may have been a barn at one of the old farms.  There was also a car repair shop still in business, but I think it was built of concrete blocks, making it built after the village thrived.  When next I write, I’ll write about what I have learned about the 7 children (and their offspring) of Henry and Louisa Hoenig Gross’ .

Thom Dunn marti


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