Universal York

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More going on at York’s Weiser tavern


Lewis Miller recorded the quirks and humor he found in the citizens of 19th century York County. No detail was too small to escape his pen and brush.

In a recent post I shared Miller’s depiction of a dog stealing an unattended sausage at the tavern run by Martin and Catharine Weiser. There are a couple more things going on at the Weiser tavern in the drawing above. The caption on the right reads:

“Claus Hufschmit, lately from Swiss. At the Butter Churn, at the vessel in which butter is made. Ha—ha—it comes.”

The rest of the caption lends light on the problem with the butter:

“Martin Weiser & wife, 1810, in his tavern
Hufschmit was call’d by Mrs. Weiser and Employed to see what is the matter, in the Butter churn. No butter I can make. I- it is bewitch? He throw a piece of Silver coin in the churn—and make Butter, bud [but] he was struck with the Stumber in his face. His cheeks where Swollen for Some days. This is Witchcraft in full, and in Earnest.”

By stumber, Miller might mean stuma, which is another name for goiter, an enlargement of the thyroid gland, usually caused by iodine lacking in the diet. This wouldn’t be the cause in this case as the swelling was in the cheeks, not the neck. Perhaps mumps?

Miller ends the captioning by showing how a mix of English and German could surprise travelers, especially those that did not speak German.

“Mrs. Weiser Saying, Eat hardy travelers. I’ll pore you more in, bud saying I Schidt you more in half German.”

(Schütten means pour in German—it didn’t come out so well when Mrs. Weiser mixed it with English.)