Part of the USA Today Network

Dr. Betz piqued Henry Ford’s interest in Schultz House of Springettsbury Township

A 1912 newspaper article by Dr. Israel H. Betz of York, PA is likely what piqued Henry Ford’s interest in purchasing the Schultz House and moving it to Greenfield Village in Michigan.  I wrote about Ford’s interest in acquiring the Schultz House last year.  Also, reference my post of last week: Camp Security, the Schultz House & Henry Ford.

BetzThis is a photo of Dr. I. H. Betz.  The photo comes from Volume II of George Prowell’s 1907 History of York County, PA; facing page 136.  Dr. Betz was a noted medical doctor and historian of his day, however in the 100 years since the publication of his article on the Schultz House, new details have come to light such that a few items in the 1912 article need to be revised.  As such, I’m writing a few background posts about these new details prior to posting the 1912 newspaper article.

During my research for these background posts I discovered a 1902 article that Dr. Betz co-authored for The Pennsylvania-German.  While Schultz House details in the 1902 article are not as detailed as the 1912 Schultz House newspaper article; the 1902 article contains several relevant photos.

Schultz1902sThis photo appears on page 171 of the article in the October 1902 issue of The Pennsylvania-German.  The photo shows the north front and the west end of the Schultz House, likely in 1902; if not earlier.

I was one of the volunteer diggers during the 2009 archaeological investigation around the Schultz House.  I dug in several of the pits west of the house.  This photo shows a significant grade drop-off on the west side.  This confirms suspicions; that at one time, a considerable amount of soil was brought in to increase west side grade.

I would suspect the five photos appearing in Dr. Betz’s part of the 1902 article were taken specifically for that purpose.  If this supposition is correct, large amounts of soil were brought in to landscape around the Schultz House after 1902.

Links to related posts follow, or continue reading for Dr. Betz’s background.

Continue reading for Dr. Betz’s background.


Page 139 from Volume II of George Prowell’s 1907 History of York County, PA has this to say about Dr. Betz:

Dr. Israel H. Betz, son of George, was born in Penn township, Lancaster Co., Pa., Dec. 16, 1841.  When he was six years old his parents moved to Ashland, Ohio, where he was reared.  He was given good educational advantages and did not neglect them, later becoming a teacher in the public schools of York and Lancaster counties.  He also attended the Cumberland Valley Institute, conducted by I. D. Rupp, the local historian, and A. F. Mullin, and later for several years attended the Normal School at Millersville.

In 1865, he commenced the study of medicine with Dr. William E. Swiler, in Yocumtown, York county, and later attended the Jefferson Medical College, at Philadelphia, graduating in 1868.  He located in Cumberland county and practiced there continuously a quarter of a century, and now lives in York, whither he removed from the Cumberland Valley, and where he is still engaged in the practice of medicine.  He is a member of the York County Medical Society and of the State Medical Society of Pennsylvania.

He is a member of the York County Historical Society and of the Kansas State Historical Society.  All his life he has been a student and a lover of literature, and has written much for publication.  He has accumulated a large library, rich in works on medicine, science, philosophy and general literature, to which notwithstanding a busy life he has given much attention.  His pen has given to the world a number of volumes on Genealogy, which required great labor and research.  Local history has interested him in every locality in which he resided.

In 1869 Dr. Betz was married to Miss Rebecca F. Weitzel, daughter of John and Nancy (Fisher) Weitzel, the former of whom lived in Fairview township, York county, and died during Mrs. Betz’s infancy.  Her mother died some years ago in Springettsbury township, York county, reaching almost ninety years of age.

The following contains the header for the October 1902 issue of The Pennsylvania-German and the lead-in for the article that Dr. Betz co-authored:


Reading the HEADLINES; A Quick Index to ALL YorksPast Posts