Philip W. Gentzler and Juliana Wintermyer
Philip W. Gentzler was around eight years old and Juliana "Uly" Wintermyer was around five years old when their families came from Germany on the ship "Elliott" and landed in Philadelphia, PA in 1749.
They had been friends since childhood. Around 1758 Philip married Juliana in York County, PA. In September 1766 Philip sold his property in York to Valentine Lau. He loaded up his house and farm possessions onto a sturdy Conestoga wagon and headed south down the famous "Great Philadelphia Wagon Road." He was 25 years old, with a wife and five children under the age of eight.
On January 12, 1767, Philip purchased land in the valley of the South Fork in Old Mecklenberg County, North Carolina. He was one of the first white settlers to be west of the Catawba River, on a branch of the river called the South Fork.
Philip built a log cabin, probably attaching a stable or cow barn to it's side. Years later would come a seperate bar, a smokehouse and a sawmill. He planted corn, grain, and vegetables. At one end of the house would be a large open fireplace with a Dutch oven built into the mortar. They cooked on iron utensils, ate from wooden plates and use pewter spoons. A split slab of wood, with the top surface smoothed with and adz, served as their table. They made their own furniture, clothing, and frm implements. Men wore hunting shirts, breeches, stockings and moccasins. Tallow candles, made for bear grease or hog fat, provided light and filled the cabin with the strong odor of burning lard. Venison, bear, and pork were the preferred meats. Their pigs, running loose in the woods, eating acorns and roots, were brought home and slaughtered and butchered each December. Philip earned a reputation in the community for being a "frugal and sturdy citizen," and, with time, steadily increased his land holdings.
1780 and 1781 were difficult years for the Gentzler's as the eveents of the American Revolution swirled around them. In June of 1780, at Ramsour's Mill, one mile to the north of the Gentzler farm, partisan Tory and Whig supporters squared off. The fighting left some 200 dead and wounded casualties littering the field. In was an important American victory, at a time when Whig fortunes were at a low point. In January of 1781, a British Army of 4,000 battle-weary troops under Lord Cornwallis camped for several days at Ramsour's Mill. Soldiers under Colonel Tarleton located their tents on and around the Gentzler farm. Philip probably lost all of his grain to the British commissary.
Around 1785, the land between Philip's farm and that of Christian Reinhardt's was selected for the new county seat of Lincoln County. Philip evidently did not want to live next to the young town of Lincolnton, for, in that year, he gave this homestead to his son Philip. The elder Philip, now 44 years old, moved five miles to the east and built a new farm on the banks of Leeper's Creek. Laban Miles, writing in 1915, reports that "he
built his house and a mill on the west bank of the creek on the slope of the hill facing the creek and adjoining the lands of the Rev. Jno Godfrey Arndt and in the neighborhood of the ancestral home of the Rudisills. his house was of the regulation style for those Indian days with a high basement wall of stone and the upper house built of very large hewed logs." Next to the swiftly moving Leeper's Creek, the stone foundation and walls of the mill still remain today. The creek is about 25 feet across. Water powered mills were essential on the frontier as they provided pioneers, like Philip Gentzler, with flour and meal by grinding grain and corn between two millstones. The pond that the mill poduced was also a natural site for fishing.
In 1804, Philip Gentzler died on his farm at Lepper's Creel. He was buried on the crest of the hill behind his house. His grave stone is inscribed in German. The English translation is, "Here lies a father of many childre, a friend of men and a Christian; who through the Cross is now perfect; he is well know to us; he served his people and (land)country; his name is with all honor the (our)father, Philip W. Gentzler, who died October 7, 1804, aged 63." His wife "Uly" is buried next to him, under a rough unlettered stone. Also buried there is their son George and the wife of George.
Kind hearts are gardens, Kind thoughts are roots, Kind words are blossoms, Kind deeds are fruits.