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Remembering: They both served

In this second column, we are in Colonial America during the American Revolution following the Heimer family in Plainfield Township, Northampton County.

Charles Heimer saw war approaching, so he joined the Northampton Militia. His son Adam followed his father’s example and joined at the age of 14. Charles had a busy life as a part-time militia member, farmer and grist mill operator.

In our last column, we indicated he received land warrants signed by Benjamin Franklin, president of Pennsylvania’s Supreme Council, acquiring 172 acres.

Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, formerly of Nazareth, researched the family history and uncovered some interesting facts, including some tax statements. You all know how we cringe when we receive our tax bills! We will share one of Mr. Heimer’s bills.

In 1785, Mr. Heimer was listed as an owner of a grist mill, a farm of 100 acres and livestock. His tax amount totaled 15 shillings (equal to $1.20). Can you imagine a tax reduction on your property today? Well, 1786 must have been a good year - his tax decreased to 11 shillings, 9 pence.

The family was active in the Plainfield Reformed Church, now known as St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. Each year, Charles and members contributed to a salary fund to support the minister.

Charles died in 1920 in Plainfield Township and was buried in the Plainfield cemetery. The Johnsons noted wives or female survivors were only left with the necessities to maintain their life. The sons or males were willed the property and inherited any money and remaining goods, with instructions to care for and look after the widow or female survivors.

Charles’ son Adam (1761-1818) saw the Northampton Militia being organized in the county. He wanted to serve in any way possible. At age 14, he joined the Associators and Militia of Northampton County. At 17, he was a member of the Rangers of the Frontier, a group of full-time soldiers who patrolled the frontier to provide warnings of hostile Indian raids.

The master roll in 1780 listed Adam as Private 8th Class in the Rangers. He was also listed as a drummer with the 4th Company 2nd Battalion.

When the war ended, he helped his father on the farm and in the grist mill. He married, in 1787, Margaret Bender at the Plainfield church. Adam and his wife had 10 children in 28 years.

With independence and a new country, Adam Heimer and his family continued to till the soil they loved. Their son Charles, born in 1803, became the father of William Henry Heimer, a future Civil War soldier. Adam died at age 56 and joined his father in eternity in the old section of the Plainfield Cemetery.

The Johnsons, in their research, found numerous wintertime deaths in Colonial America were caused by pneumonia.


In two weeks, Mrs. Janet Johnson’s great-great-grandfather William Henry Heimer enlists in the Army to serve in the Civil War.

St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Plainfield Township, used to be called Plainfield Reformed Church.