The Haussener Farm Part One
(Author’s note: Much of the information presented in this article is derived from source material provided by Tyler Haussener, a grandson of the farm’s long-time owners, Samuel and Elizabeth Haussener, and a son of John and Ann Haussener.)
In an earlier story, I made mention of a farm lane that led from the western edge of Upper Lockport, along the river bank, to a wide, fertile expanse of bottom land that was anchored by a beautiful, stone-built home that served as the nerve center of an agricultural enterprise that operated there for almost 200 years.
Herein I present a short take on the history of Haussener’s Farm.
In the late 1700s, one of the area’s early explorers ventured into the wilderness that was to become Upper Lockport. His name was David Hanna. David staked out a claim on Indian lands with the hopes of establishing a family farm on the north side of the Susquehanna River, at one time referred to as the Lower Monseytown Flats, perhaps referencing the tribe of Monsey Indians that once occupied the land.
However, violent incursions, perpetrated by hostile natives, plus the looming threat of the War for Independence, forced David to move his family to greater safety in Cumberland County. Eventually, victory was gained over both the British and the local Native Americans, and the area became safe enough for David to move his family back to his claim on the north bank of the Susquehanna.
David Hanna counted among his children a son named John, who is reported to have been “five or six” years old at the time of David Hanna’s first attempt to settle in the area. This would make the approximate date of David Hanna’s initial venture into Upper Lockport around 1771 or 1772. We draw this conclusion from the fact that John Hanna died in 1851 at a reputed age of 85 years, which would make his year of birth, 1766. We certainly acknowledge that that different sources of information can disclose divergent insights into the same subject…
Now, to try to put this time frame in perspective, remember that there was no Lock Haven, no bridge spanning the river, no railroad, no Pennsylvania Canal system; in fact, Clinton County had not yet been established. The area of Upper Lockport was still part of Lycoming County.
John Hanna certainly was a man for his time. He served, at various times, as a commissioner and Justice of the Peace for the Pine Creek District of Lycoming County, and as a commissioner for the formation of the Bald Eagle-Cross Cut Canal.
He offered his home as a place of worship for the local Presbyterian community. He donated a small plot of his land for the construction of a schoolhouse. That plot of land is located at the intersection of the back road and the entrance to the Upper Lockport Park, directly to the right as one enters the park. It is the slightly elevated, level plot, as that corner of the field has always flooded with spring run-off and heavy rains. The school was probably constructed sometime in the year of 1807, as an advertisement for a schoolmaster to serve the school was published on September 10 of that year in the Lycoming Gazette. With the establishment of the school, community activities were conducted in the building, as were the local Presbyterian services, until the congregation became a part of the Great Island Church. The school building still stood in the 1950s and 1960s, but by that time it had become privately owned.
It was within this context that John Hanna, with the help of his sons, built a magnificent farm home, reportedly constructed from stones gathered from the river. The year was 1813.
It was this home, and the remaining attendant property holdings, that became the eventual estate of the Haussener family.
(To be continued…)
Scott Williams is a former resident of Upper Lockport, and once delivered The Express in Lockport, from Haussener’s Farm down to the Woodward Elementary School … all 125 copies … with help from Keith. Thanks, Keith.