Cover Articles

hay harvest

Many Hands Make Light Work Exemplified During Wheat Harvest

(Shopping News Photo by Donald Reese)

This local farm family from the Hinkletown area was busy loading wheat sheaves. Using pitchforks in a concerted effort was a great example of working together. Each family member carried their portion of the load. The old quote, “many hands make light work” can be seen in this image as everyone is constantly moving to make the most of the blessings they receive. A one-room school sits empty in the background as the chores of the day take place in the adjoining field. Despite the high heat and humidity, this crew kept moving without one complaint and even cheerfully extended an invitation to our photographer to come lend a hand.

where in da world

Where In The World Contest Winner

The “Where In The World Do You Read The Shopping News?” contest is still in full swing this year. We’ve received many exciting entries recently! This month it was difficult to pick a winner. There were entries from St. Maarten, Potter County, Maryland, New Orleans, West Virginia and more!

The winner for the month of June, shown in the photo above, is Tonya Leonard of Denver, who is shown at the summit of Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks, New York. Tonya will receive a $50 gift card to Martin’s Country Market.

Could the next winner be you? Once a month one winner will be selected and they will receive a $50 gift card from any regular Shopping News advertiser of their choice as their prize. To read all of the contest criteria and get an entry form, see page 6A. Check out our Facebook page in the near future to see all of the entries we have received to date!

rotary officers2020-2021

Denver/Ephrata Rotary Club Officers

(Shopping News Photo by Donald Reese)

The Denver/Ephrata Rotary Club recently met to announce the selection of officers for the 2020-2021 term. Shown in the photo, from left to right, are (seated) David Endy, President; Kent Sweigart, First Vice-President; (back) Gil Ochs, Secretary; Randall Goshert, Treasurer; and Matthew Smith, Second Vice-President.

akron 125

Akron Borough Is Celebrating Its 125th Anniversary This Year

(Shopping News Photo by Donald Reese)

Residents of Akron Borough are celebrating their hometown’s 125th anniversary this year and they are looking back with fond memories of good times growing up there. A petition was prepared for the court in November 1894, and the grand jury certified the incorporation of Akron as a borough in 1895.

During this period, the chief industry was the manufacture of handmade cigars, and at one time, more than 50 cigar “factories” were located in Akron. Many of these factories consisted of back rooms in private residences, but several were quite large and employed many people. The Coronavirus has put a damper on the yearlong celebration, but Akron still retains its small town charm and friendly feel. Shown are old photos and current ones taken in the same area. The top set is East Main Street near 12th Street; the middle set is at the square with a group of fellows from 1935 and the current steps; and the bottom set is the Miller Hess Shoe Factory and the current Ten Thousand Villages facility.


Heritage of the Pennsylvania Heartland – The Musselman Family Of Murrell

(Shopping News Photo by Donald Reese)

By: Tom Horst and T. Glenn Horst

Over the past months this series of articles focused on the heritage of our area antiques and historical treasures and discussed their artisans. Past articles have featured Joseph Lehn, of Elizabeth Township, who crafted and painted wooden­ware called “Lehnware,” and antique dealer, Hattie Brunner, who was known for her Folk Art paintings. In addition there were articles discussing carvers and fabric artists who created “Folk Art Whimsies.”

Important industries of early Pennsylvania were highlighted such as blacksmithing and iron forges. Many of the items that appeared in this weekly column were tied to their origin and maker. More recently, readers were introduced to quiet historian Harry Stauffer, the local printer that volunteered for over thirty years to dem­onstrate printing, some done at the Ephrata Cloister on the 1803 Ouram press.

This week, local auction­eer Tom Horst (far left photo), of Horst Auction­eers, will discuss the preservation of history through the buying and selling of antiques. The photo on the far right is a table from the Ephrata Cloister that was part of the Musselman collection. More details about this table will follow later in the article. The middle two photos show David and Sara Musselman who were the former owners of the table, among many other valuable antiques discussed in this article.

As many people are aware, our local area is a hub for antique dealing and numerous auctions featuring very fine antiques. In today’s world, one might think that anything old is an “antique,” however that is far from the case.

The Horst family has been in the auction business since around 1900 and this article will feature one of the earliest antique dealers in our area and how this family basically helped to establish the antique business in our area. The Musselman family of Murrell (East of Ephrata, near the inter­section of Route 322 and Route 222), like Hattie Brunner, bought and sold antiques, amassing a huge collection, much of which the Horst family had the honor of selling at various public auctions.

This week’s Heritage in the Pennsylvania Heartland will have special input from my 88-year-old father, T. Glenn Horst, who started auctioneering at the age of 23. In 1974, Dad was called to do an appraisal for Sara Musselman after her husband David passed away. And for the next 25 years, the history of our auctioneering family was intertwined with that of the Musselman family.

Clayton and Ada (Mell­inger) Musselman began their buying and selling of all kinds of antiques in the 1920s, eventually involving their son David in the endeavors. Many Ephrata area residents may remem­ber the home where David and his wife Sara Musselman lived, a two-story brick Colonial style home in Murrell, just east of Ephrata along Main Street. Their home was known for having a collection of sandstone milling stones in the side yard.

Having stepped onto the Musselman property with my father for the first time in 1974 during that appraisal for David’s widow Sara (Burkholder) Musselman, I recall climbing over a pile of furniture to peer from a second-floor area over what appeared to be a mountain of furniture. In addition to this furniture stacked in a large warehouse/garage behind the home, there was also more wonderful, old pieces of furniture in the interior of the home. Even the attic and basement were packed full of boxes containing old redware, stoneware, pewter and every kind of antique imaginable. I remember looking in furniture chests and dry sink cabinets filled with painted “Lehnware” and Frakturs hung on many walls throughout the house.

That appraisal started a long, treasured relationship between the Horst family and Sara Musselman and her family. Learning so much from Sara about Dave’s passion for antiques, the most interesting part was the story behind his love of antiques. A phrase Sara mentioned often, referring to David’s collecting of antiques, was “My man just kept putting it in the garage (warehouse)!”

Additionally, it was only recently that I learned more about David’s parents’ business when Clarence Spohn compiled a journal on Clayton and Ada Musselman for the Historical Society of the Cocalico Valley. The journal details the history of their antique business, which started in 1923, the antiques they specialized in and their many well-known clients. Clarence’s journal also details the many auctions and the price result for many of the antiques sold for Sara after David’s passing. Much of this article will be based on information in Clarence’s journal. The journal is a wonderful record of the massive collection of antiques from right here in our local area.

Looking back, I was ten when I accompanied my Dad to the Musselmans’ home for the first time, twenty when we held an successful auction for Sara at the Farmersville Fire Hall, the day on which I was later burned in our house fire, and twenty-six and auctioneering for my father when we did our last full day auction for Sara after she moved to Brethren Village. Sara continued to consign items to be added to multiple-owner catalogued auctions through the 1990s. Finally, when I was at the age of thirty-seven and the father of two children, we sold the very last part of the collection when Sara Musselman passed away in 2001.

Much of my life was tied to the handling and selling of the prized antiques of David and Sara Musselman. Now in 2020, in my late 50s, I realize the Musselman collection was started about 100 years ago.

Going back to where the Musselman antique family line began, Clayton Musselman was born in Murrell in 1880, and was the son of tobacco dealer David Musselman who operated a tobacco warehouse/business located close to their home in Murrell. Having graduated from Ephrata High School in 1899, he began teaching school in 1900. Ada (Mellinger) Musselman was born in Ephrata in 1885, the daughter of John and Lillie Mellinger. Clayton and Ana married in 1909 and built a home on East Main Street in Ephrata.

Around 1914, they started “The Clayton Musselman Custom Hatchery” to sell poultry in their back yard. In 1915, their son David M. Musselman was born. Records show that as they established their antique business in 1922, the poultry business was closed.

A unique feature with the Musselman Antique Shop is that they started a price coding system in 1925. Each piece was either marked on the bottom in pencil or a small red and white label was affixed to the item. The stock number was entered into a ledger that contained where, when and how much each item was acquired. After the item was sold, the ledger was updated with the sales price and the name of the buyer. This was an uncommon system and those detailed records were used by Clarence Spohn in preparing his book.

As expected, David grew up helping his parents in the antique business and graduated from Ephrata High School in 1932. In 1935, after Clayton became ill, David became his mother’s full-time associate in the antique business. Both continued to canvas auctions, knock on doors “picking” antiques and go on buying and selling trips. After Clayton died in 1939, Ada continued the antique business with her son.

In 1941, David married Sara (Burkholder) Musselman and soon after World War II began, David obtained a job as a draftsman for Sensenich Brothers, a Lancaster County propeller manufacturer. At the time, the factory was the world’s largest producer of wooden airplane propellers. Even while employed as a draftsman, David continued to assist his mother with the antique business. By the mid-1940s Ada’s heath began to fail and she passed away in 1946. Upon her death, David inherited his parents’ home, warehouse and antique collection. He moved it all to his newly-built home in 1939, adding a brick warehouse in 1942. As one can imagine, his home and warehouse were packed full of antiques.

David’s love for our local heritage continued and he dabbled in antique selling for a while longer but became more of a collector. He remained active in the community serving on the Ephrata School Board, was a charter member of the Historical Society of the Cocalico Valley and became a driving force behind the establishment of the Ephrata Public Library. Unfortunately, David died in 1974 at the age of 59.

Dave’s areas of interest in antiques was widespread. They included some large heavy objects that he was not afraid to move. He loved various types of old millstones and the side yard of the Musselman home became a display for these fine stones. I remember asking Sara if he had a truck to move the items. She explained that David made up a boom on a regular old flatbed truck. Once he bought an old covered bridge in Berks County that was being torn down. He moved all the beams from the bridge into the basement of his warehouse. The basement was full of many other items including old redware roof tiles, blanket chests stacked four high in narrow rows.

David treasured local pieces and among his collections were Ephrata imprints and documents, Ephrata Cloister furniture, Pennsylvania redware, Stiegel glassware, clocks, lighting devices, pewter, Frakturs, Lehnware and the entire collection of Henry Lapp artwork and paintings. The Henry Lapp paintings were purchased by David’s father in 1932 for $5. The lot included a collection of 97 pencil and watercolor creations by Henry and his sister “Lizzie” Lapp. In 1979, Sara consigned 71 of these Lapp paintings to be sold at an annual fundraising auction for The Historical Society of the Cocalico Valley. Amazingly, the total sales receipt for the paintings and drawings was $31,535!

Between 1925 and 1945, the Musselmans had purchased 186 various pieces made by Joseph Lehn of Elizabeth Township, near Clay. At one point in 1935, it is noted that this collection was offered to Henry Francis DuPont, the owner of Winterthur, for $1,020. Dupont apparently rejected the offer and the collection stayed in the family until David’s death. Items from this collection highlighted many auctions held over the years. Individual pieces were being sold for several thousand dollars. One noted seed chest, purchased in 1931 for $25, sold for $48,000 in 1995.

The collection of stones displayed in the Musselman’s side yard for many years were mostly collected from 1931-1944 and were purchased from various local mills. They included millstones, corn mills, tanner’s stones, drain spouts, horse water troughs, date stones and even potter’s glazing mills. Most of the stones were purchased for less than $30. In 2001, after Sara’s death, the greater portion of this collection was sold at a public auction. The highest priced stone at this auction was a millstone which sold for $17,000, originally bought in 1931 for $5.

After Sara’s death, the ledgers started by Clayton Musselman were donated to The Historical Society of the Cocalico Valley. The list of Clayton & Ana’s notable clients in the ledgers was amazing. Many of the buyers were founders of museums, contributors to museums or well-known experts on antiques. This list of clients included Henry Francis DuPont, who in 1926 became the heir of his father’s estate “Winterthur.” DuPont expanded the estate to 175 rooms and began to fill the home with 18th and 19th century American antiques. The Winterthur Estate would eventually open as a museum to the public in 1951.

Another notable client was Albert B. Wells, one of the owners of the American Optical Company. Wells and his brothers formed The Wells Historical Museum, which eventually became the basis of “Old Sturbridge Village.” Another, Titus Geesey of New Castle County, Delaware, was a private secretary of Pierre S. DuPont and much of his collection was eventually donated to The Philadelphia Museum of Art. Another notable is Dr. Albert Barnes, a wealthy pharmaceutical owner, who sold his business prior to the 1929 stock market crash and later established the well-known Barnes Foundation. The list goes on and on.

Although the Horst Auction family did not handle that first antique auction for Sara back in 1975, “Pop” T. Glenn Horst did an onsite auction at David’s grandfather’s tobacco warehouse on June 5, 1976. That auction had many early pieces of Pennsylvania furniture, hardware, tools, china, etc. The highlight of the day was a “Stoner family” corner cupboard that sold for $2,200. In 1977, Sara consigned items to be added to the benefit auction for the Historical Society for which Clarence Spohn was the chair and “Pop” volunteered to conduct the auction.

Sara graciously continued to consign items for the Historical Society’s benefit until 1980. In 1982, Sara asked if T. Glenn Horst, with the help of Clarence Spohn cataloging, would be willing to conduct a sale for her. That was the first catalogued auction for Sara. There would be over 27 various catalogued auctions to follow and done over the span of 19 years. These auctions helped to establish us as the auction firm we are today. (Auctions that are “catalogued” are done so in numeric order, with a described list that gives an estimated date, possible maker or region and a conditional report.)

At the 1982 sale, which I particularly remember, it involved us hauling all those bridge timbers out of the basement put there by David many years before. It took eight guys working in pairs to lift the beams and carry them up a steep drive to the side yard. Many of the timbers measured up to 24 feet long. I remember Sara saying that David had put them into the basement through a side window with the help of only two other men.

Working with Clarence, packing items for the auction, I got to know Sara well over those many years. There were quiet moments on some of those packing days and we would sit behind the house eating lunch and listen to her stories. Now looking back, those are treasured memories of a wonderful collection and a wonderful lady. I was truly honored to have handled many of our best Pennsylvania Heartland pieces through all of Sara’s sales.

A note from T. Glenn “Pop” Horst: “It was a great honor to do all of those auctions for the Musselman family. It was a pleasure working for Sara and her family. It all started with doing that appraisal for her…” He further remembered, “David was a great collector. I remember him standing and waiting for a single piece to be sold at an auction. He would never ask to have something put up for him. He would just wait for the item to come up for sale. I remember one day we were doing an auction in Ephrata and it was raining all day. We had no tents in those days. Dave stood in an old overcoat beside a tree all day long. I kept wondering what he was waiting for. Finally, we auctioned the last item of the day and he bought it, paid his bill and went home. He never complained about standing there all day, in the rain, for that one piece.”

The photo highlighted for this week’s article is a table from the Ephrata Cloister and was part of the Musselman collection. Interestingly, this table is noted in Musselman’s journal as having been sold to Titus Geesey in 1940 for $150. It was initially recorded as being purchased from a congregational member Harry Meck in 1928 for $100. At some point, David purchased the table back from Geesey and it was sold for $1,000 at Sara’s April 28, 1984 auction to a private buyer. We again sold it for that buyer and it now remains in a private Ephrata area collection.

Additional information and more on the history of the Musselman’s can be found in The Musselmans of Murrell, Pioneer Dealers in Pennsylvania German and Early American Antiques, by Clarence Spohn, 2014, journal of The Historical Society of the Cocalico Valley.