Given this backdrop, an even more interesting letter has survived dating to 1763.  The summer and fall of that year were bloody ones for the residents of "Allen's Town" and the upper townships along the Lehigh River and base of the Blue Mountain.  Lewis Weiss wrote to Timothy Horsefield [at Bethlehem] on August 1, 1763, stating that he [Weiss] had spoken with the Governor's commissioners and informed them that he desperately needed arms - especially blunderbusses - for the defense of Bethlehem and Nazareth.
  Weiss went on to mention that one William Hoffman had "three swivels" for Bethlehem.  (HSP MFilmXR 698)  Eight days later, on August 9, Lieutenant Jonathan Dodge wrote from his station at Fort Allen to Horsefield in Bethlehem and stated that the guns supplied to his men were bad, "...not one in ten that would kill a man in ten times shooting."  (HSP MFilmXR 698)   Much additional information regarding this ongoing conflict between the militia, the settlers on the frontier and the neighboring Indians can be found in the text Frontier Forts of Pennsylvania Vol. 1 by Thomas Lynch Montgomery, pages 164-174.  A particular incident which occurred October 8 and 9 of 1763, sometimes referred to as the "Whitehall Massacre," so frightened the residents of the area that many fled to Bethlehem or Nazareth while the men of Northampton Town (and vicinity) immediately formed a company for the defense of their homes.  On October 10 of 1763 a letter was dispatched from Northampton which read as follows:

    "Northampton Town, the 10th of this Instant, Octbr, 1763.

To the Honourable JAMES HAMBLETON, Esqr., Lieutennent Governeur and Commander

in Chief of the Province of Pennsylvania, Newcassel, Cent and Sasox, on Dalawar. 

    We send Greeting:

As I, Joseph Roads, of Northampton Town, Church Minister, of the Eighth of this Instant, Octbr, as I was a preaching, the people came in such numbers that I     was abliged to quit my Sarman, and the Same time Cornel [Colonel] James Bord was in the Town, and I, the aforesaid Minister, Spoke with Cornel Bord,     concerning this afarres of the Indians, and we found the Inhabitance that the had nither Gons, Powder, nor Lead, to defend themselves, and that Cornel Bord had Latly spoke with his Honour.  He had informed me that we would assist them with Gons and Ammunition, and he requested of me to write to your Honour, be cause he was just setting of for Lancester, and the Inhabitance of the Town had not chose their officers at the time he set of, So we, the Inhabitance of the said Town hath Unahimus Chose George Wolf, the Bearer hereof, to be the Captin, and Abraham Rinker to be the Lieutennet; we hose Names are under writen promiss to obey to this mentioned Captin and Lieutennet, and so we hope his Honor will be so good and send us 50 Gons, 100 Pounds of Powder and 400 Pound Lead, and 150 Stans for the Gons.  These from your humble Servant, Remaining under the Protection of our Lord Saviour, Jesus Christ.JACOB ROTH, Minister.

    The Names of the Gospel of this said Northampton Town.

George Wolf, CaptainJacob Wolf  Martin Frolick

Abraham Rinker, LieutennetSimon Lagundacker Georg Laur

Phillip KooglerGeorg NicholausDaniel Nonnemaker

Peter MillerDavid DeschlerPeter Shab

Frederick Schakler            John Martin DourrAbraham Sawitz

Leonhard AbellPeter RothJohn Schreck

Tobias DittisFraz KefferGeorg S. Schnepp

Lorenz StaukJacob MorrMichael Readcot

Simon Brenner"

(1 PA Archives IV, 124)

[A brief letter from Colonel James Burd to Governor Hamilton relative to this incident was written from Lancaster on October 17, 1763, and can be found at 1 PA Archives IV 125.  It reads as follows:  "Sir:  I arrived here on Monday night from Northampton, I need not trouble your Honor with a Relation of the Misfortune of that County, as Mr. Horsfield told me he would Send you an Express, and inform you fully of what happen'd; I will only mention, that in the Town of Northampton, (where I was at the time) there was only 4 Guns, three of which unfit for use, & the Enemy within 4 miles of the place..."]

This is a very interesting letter as Simon, a Catholic, was putting his name to a document written by a Lutheran minister.  The "names of the Gospel" of Northampton do not represent all of the adult males of the town as of October 10, 1763, and some of the men listed were residents of the larger township as a whole, so evidently Simon was trusted enough or well-known enough to be taken-on as part of the newly-forming defensive militia.  Taking into consideration the regional distrust and dislike of "papists," this creates something of a mystery:  were his neighbors aware that he was Catholic?  Were the struggling inhabitants of Northampton perhaps placing higher value on manpower than on religion?  These questions can not currently be answered.  Allen's Town at the time was approximately 20 miles northeast of St. Paul's Church [which was extremely close - within a few miles - to Simon's previous home in Longswamp township, Berks County].  As is evident through the Goshenhoppen registers as well as the aforementioned letter of 1755, services at the church itself may have only been held as frequently as once per month while the majority of the baptisms and other relevant ceremonies were performed by the priest traveling a circuit of parishoners' homes.  It would appear that by 1767, despite the relatively small population of the town itself, the surrounding area must have been home to a larger population of Catholics as shown by the following petition:

    "To the Honorable JOHN PENN, Esqr, Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Pennsylvania, &ca., &ca.

The Petition of the Congregation of Roman Catholics of the town of Northampton and other Places adjacent, Humbly Sheweth:

That your Petitioners are about to build a Church for the Worship of God in the Town of Northampton, & have already provided Materials for putting their Design in Execution.  But they fear the Inability of your Petitioners is likely to render their good Intentions fruitless, unless they are at liberty to ask Assistance from charitable & piously disposed People.  They therefore humbly intreat your Honor to grant them a Licence for the said Purpose; whereby they may have the peaceable & quiet enjoyment of their Religion according to the Laws of the Province, & Reap the Benefit of those Privileges granted them by your Honor's Benevolent Ancestors.  And your Petitioners, as in Duty bound, will ever pray for your Honor's and Family's Welfare.


J.G. ENAX, and others.

    To the Honorable JOHN PENN, Esquire, Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Pennsylvania, &c.

We, the Subscribers, Justices of the Peace of the County of Northampton, beg leave to recommend the above Petition to your Honor.




September 25, 1767.

(1 PA Archives IV, 279)

Father John Ritter was the successor to Father Theodore Schneider as priest of the St. Paul's Goshenhoppen congregation ca. 1764 - 1787 and it is likely that he was primarily a resident of Berks County.  It can be safely assumed, being as he was writing on behalf of the Catholics of Northampton Town and the surrounding area, that there must have been a sufficient population of area Catholics within his usual circuit to warrant the addition of a regional church.   This project was unfortunately never carried to completion and so the area Catholics were forced to continue a reliance upon St. Paul's Church in Berks County for their ministrations.

    In 1769, Simon Leidacre and his wife sold their lot in Northampton Town and thus completely disappear from the extant records (summary):

    Grantor:  Simon Leidacre and wife Catherine to Grantee:  Simon Brenner of Northampton Co.  Date:  11 Jul. 1769.  Amount:  18.0.0 pounds.  Description:  Lot # 493 as described in Deed Book entry C1-249.  The described property remains subject to all the previously described covenants and conditions.  Signed:  Simon Leidacker <SEAL>  Cathrina Leidacker <mark>  Witnesses:  George Dimbrel/Dinbiel [very difficult to read], Bastian Oboes.

(Northampton Co. Deed Book C1, p. 251, Endorsement)

Why did Simon and Catherine sell their home and where did they go?  Did they move back to Berks County - nearer St. Paul's Mission and a larger Catholic community - following the failed attempt to build a Catholic Church in Northampton?  A systematic search of extant Berks County records has failed to discover them.  It is believed [family correspondence] that Catherine Leidecker, Simon's wife, was a daughter of Simon Brenner whose name is found within most of the above-referenced documents.  ["Simon Brener" arrived via the ship Phoenix on Sept. 25, 1751 (Strassburger 173C)]  If so, this would mean that Simon Leidacre was selling his lot in Northampton to his father-in-law, however I have not seen any documentary evidence to this effect].
  The possibility also exists that if husband and wife remained within the house as tenants, they might have disappeared from the tax lists while Simon Brenner continued to be listed as paying taxes:  this is not a situation which was necessarily common to southeastern Pennsylvania assessments, as tenants were sometimes noted, however it was not a rare occurrence either.  Unfortunately there is no definitive way to be certain.  Tax lists do not always tell the entire story, as many researchers will inevitably find that numerous individuals who can otherwise be proven via church or census records to have been present in a particular area do not manifest upon the assessments [and in fact Simon was absent from the 1766 list]; conversely, it is equally unfortunate that there are many later instances of men listed upon tax records who apparently avoided the census-takers.

    A few years later in 1775, the same parcel again changed hands (summary):

    Grantor:  Simon Brenner, carpenter of Northampton County to Grantee:  Dewalt Miller, joiner of the town of Northampton.  Date:  13 Apr. 1775.  Amount:  30.0.0 pounds.  Description:  The same property as described in Deed Book entry C1-249 and the Endorsement recorded in Deed Book C1-251.  Signed:  Simon Brenner <SEAL>  Witnesses:  Martin Frolich, R. Backhouse.

(Northampton Co. Deed Book C1, p. 252)

One item of interest which is somewhat unexplained is the question of why, in both transactions involving Simon Brenner, he is described as being "...of Northampton Co."  when - through 1772 at least - he was consistently noted upon the assessment lists as residing within Northampton Town.  This might seem insignificant, save that in the final deed the grantee is specifically designated a resident of the town proper.  I am at a loss to explain this and attach no real meaning to it at present, other than that the subtle difference in semantics is noticeable.  Brenner vanishes from later tax assessments, although obviously he still lived and owned the house upon lot #493 - if not actually residing within either it or the town - as late as April 1775.

    As a final note, information regarding the birth or background of Simon Leytecker is currently unknown.  One year after Simon's arrival, a second man of the same surname arrived at the port of Philadelphia aboard the ship Shirley (1751):  his name upon the ship's passenger list (Strassburger 163C) is given as Johan Michael Leytecker but nothing is known of his subsequent location following this record.  A third man, Nicholas Leyteker, arrived in 1752 aboard the Ann Galley (Strassburger 182C) and - as did Michael - subsequently disappeared.  This rapid arrival of three men of the same surname within the same amount of years raises the very strong possibility that they were related, however this currently can not be determined.  Any relationship which may have existed between Simon Leidacre/Layendecker, locksmith of Northampton Town, and Georg Leyendecher - also a locksmith or smith of some type and a resident of the same region - is currently a mystery, albeit a hugely suggestive one.


Simon Leidacre of the Town of Northampton, Locksmith (cont’d).