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Family History of The Hermit of Springettsbury Township

Front Entrance to Hermit House of Springettsbury Township (1963 Photo, Library of Congress)

The post on Tuesday dealt primarily with the Hermit House and the idiosyncrasies of its owner.  This post will delve into the family history of the man known to locals as the Hermit.  Kurwin W. Hauser was born December 1883 and died January 1967 at 83 years of age.  Kurwin’s given name and surname has occasionally been incorrectly stated.  Kurwin W. Hauser is correct per various recorded land deeds, county directories and bible records.


The booklet ‘Springettsbury Township Centennial 1891-1991’ states that Kurwin “lived in this area when a young man.  He later moved to Philadelphia, where he worked as a train conductor.  His father bought the farm with the stone house, where [Kurwin] lived when he returned from Philadelphia.  [Kurwin] farmed the land on this property, using horses and mules.  [Mr. Hauser] attended York County Academy.”

Using the Internet, I initially used 1900 Census Records for Springettsbury Township to find the name of Kurwin’s father: Winfield F. Hauser.  Winfield F. Hauser’s parents were found via the 1860 and 1870 Census Records for Hellam Township: John & Sarah Hauser.

Armed with a list of Hauser names obtained from the census searches, The Library/Archives of the York County Heritage Trust was my next stop.  There were no completed family histories for this family, however the Hauser File #2572 and Cards contained the information I wanted.

Kurwin W. Hauser’s great-grandparents were John Hauser (1752-1841) who married Magdelena Hildebrand (1765-1856).  This information comes from Family Bible Records in the Hauser File #2572.

Kurwin W. Hauser’s grandparents were John Hauser (1796-1875) who married Sarah Strickler (1807-1871).  For several generations, the Hauser’s were residents of Hellam Township and farmed land just north of what is now Route 462, just west of Wrightsville.

Kurwin W. Hauser’s parents were Winfield F. Hauser (1850-1921) who married Rosa Ellen Baer (1855-1901).  Winfield F. Hauser moved to this area, of what is now Springettsbury Township, prior to getting married March 17, 1878; he may have initially been a tenant farmer.  The family attended Kreutz Creek (St. James) Lutheran Church.

Kurwin W. Hauser had two sisters and one brother older than him; he also had two sisters and one brother younger than him.  Reunions of John and Sarah (Strickler) Hauser family were regularly held at the Kreutz Creek church grounds.  Kurwin’s younger brother Willis J. Hauser was President of that organization for a time period.  One never sees Kurwin’s name in the list of attendees that were occasionally printed in newspapers.

The sequence of property ownership of the Hermit House was determined by examining Land Deeds at the York County Archives.  At 25 years of age, Kurwin W. Hauser purchased the property from his father March 27, 1909.  Winfield F. Hauser previously purchased the property July 27, 1896 from heirs of Sarah Stough.

Sarah Stough had purchased the property from The Chestnut Hill Iron Ore Company of Columbia, Lancaster County on April 2, 1883.  This was a large company that owned many furnaces and iron ore banks in several counties.  For the 16-1/2 years that this company owned the property, they used it as a weighing station for iron ore coming from area ore banks.

The name of this local weighing station was North and Company.  Moses Taylor, a New York City attorney for The Chestnut Hill Iron Ore Company of Columbia, Lancaster County had purchased the property from John Fry on November 16, 1866.  The Chestnut Hill Iron Ore Company had been chartered in 1851.  Still to come in future posts, I’ll work my way back to the owners of the property during 1798.

My previous post on the Hermit House noted that the architectural assessment by the Historic American Buildings Survey placed the date of construction as circa 1810.  The Springettsbury Township booklet stated the house was built in 1740.  Knowing the owner of the property when the 1798 U.S. Direct Tax was conducted, I will be able to look up the type (stone or log) and size of house on the property in 1798.  This will resolve which date (1740 or ca. 1810) is closer to the truth.

Front Entrance to the House which Highlights the “Interesting Example of Vernacular Stone Construction” (2012 Photo, S. H. Smith)

This is a 2012 view of the front entrance to the house that at one time Kurwin W. Hauser lived in for more than 50 years.  Remember, this is a PRIVATE home; please respect their privacy.  Hard to believe this is the same house entrance shown in the 1963 photo at the beginning of this blog.  It makes one wonder when seeing old run down buildings out in the county side and the potential for restoring them into something amazing.

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