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Jacob Schafer and the Harmonists

Milestones Vol 24. No.2 Spring 1999

The love affair and subsequent marriage of Jacob Schaffer and Catherine Steiger of the Harmony Society at Economy, Pennsylvania in 1830 resulted in the dissolvement of the Harmony Society and the foundation of the new Philadelphia Society at Phillipsburg (Monaca) in 1832.

Jacob Schaffer had only three years of education, yet in later life became a principal land owner in Phillipsburg and proficient in farming, carpentry, dying and machinery.

He was one of twelve trustees of the new society and when it was dissolved in 1834 was on the committee to settle its affairs. He was a charter member, first trustee and treasurer of Saint Peters Lutheran Church. He was one of the first three members of the first town council and the first president, as such, acted as the Borough Manager.

Mr. Schaffer was the first Borough Assessor and acted as the administrator of the estates to be settled in the borough at that time. He was the first president of the first school board which was established in 1832 and was a founder and manager of the German Woolen Mills from 1832 until its dissolvement in 1847.

He developed and recorded a secret formula which has survived to this day to dye silk cloth and dyed the first silk cloth that was woven by the Harmony Society and the first to be dyed in the United States.

Jacob Schaffer was born in Wurtenburg, Germany on February 21, 1801 and died at Phillipsburg on February 24, 1887. His wife Catherine Steiger, poet and song writer, was born in Wurtenburg, Germany in 1803 and died at Phillipsburg in 1888. They are buried together in Saint Peters Cemetery, Monaca.

This couple is one of the most famous and illustrious couples who ever lived in Phillipsburg (Monaca).