Jacob Ake History
PA., THCTtSDAY, JCMB It, 1N7. Recalls Legends of Early Days of Historic Village In presenting a bvokctue made of wood from the original home ol Jacob Ake, founder of the town of Williamsburc, to toe Blair County Historical society, W. Rax Metz of Willlamsburg gave some interesting data on the early history of toe town. In his address upon the dedication of the bookcase at the Baker Mansion on Saturday, June 14, Mr. Metz said: For many yearv I Have been Interested In our year local history. But for the lut two years I have IMen more Interested in genealojy. especially the genealogy of all the old Presbyterian families of WlUlamiburg. I started out to nuke just a, simple family tree for each family, but I received such cordial cooperation from all the people who cheerfully thelf family records, both — lly rtvi written and oral, thaf'i hVvV'made up a book o[ several .hundred typewrfttcn .pages. iulfof" the "most interestlnr stories anj legends. I have > learned] more local trough the study or genealogy all my studies of history previ- hlstory through my search for ancestors thi — "•- —- J - -• • — than in ously. Often In looking over this book of family trees. I pause a moment and offer a prayer of thanks to those courageous peo] ipje, reak our ancestors, who dared to break ofl the old'and accept the new. Let us thank them for having: the vlllon and backbone to do what their hearts dictated. Otherwise destiny might have kept us subjects of one of those starving nations, or you or I or some of our children might be sweltering in a concentration camp today. I didn't realize the heritage they have handed down to me nor what the decision- to break oil ties with the past and face the unknown future in a new land meant to them. These hardy people wlth-stood hardships, smiling, in getting started in a new home. They worked hard so that you and I and our children would have a better opportunity and an easier livelihood than Ihelrs. They made sacrifices so that we and our children could enjoy higher education and freedom. I would like to tell you the stories of all th* people but time will not permit, «o I will tell you a few of the • •- ' ..'-•--— , t(!d the lounder of Wllltamsburg. It was in 1790 during Washington's first administration that Jacob Ake if the Conecocheague valley first vlslt- jd Juniata valley in his search for a new home. He evidently Jell in love with the land and scenery surround- ng the Big Spring, In Woodberry torles and "legends" I have collected .bout the family of Jacob Ake, township, Huntingdon county. For several years later he purchased 600 acres of land, lying on both sides of the Frankstowu branch of the Juniata river, including the site of the full town of Wllllamsburg. I was born and reared within a itone's throw of this Big Spring, and have heard many tlmea as a small boy thia old legend of the spring: To him who drinks of this clear spring And drinks no other water; To him wll come, the faries say, Dame Fortune's fairest daugbter. And when she comes, the fairies say, That man Is always ready, with eyesight* keen akd muscles strong, And nervous system steady. According to this old deed. Jacob Ake purchased from John Swift 314 acres of land, called "Rich Bottom." In 1797 Mr. Ake purchased 300 acres more from John Cannon, great-great- Treat-grandfather of our past presi- Jent, "William Canan. It was called Ipwlch in honor of Ipswich in England, tbe ancestral home of Mr. Canan. Here Mr. Ake built himself a home T ' virgin yellow pine logs from which I bulll this bookcase, 167 years later. Here on these two tracts of land he had Patrick Cassldy of Newry lay out a town for him on the o • of the river, Aug. 14, 1798. ite side our months , . , . before he had a deed tor the land. The original plan contained ISO lots 60 by 17B feet As money was very . ght this sold the very scarce In these backwoods settlements, he sold them for so much cash down and a ground rent of one Spanish Milled Dollar or'the value thereof "as long as water runs and grass grows. You will notice that he bought land with English money and sol lots for Spanish money, although our own currency had been in . circulation for over a year. The first United States silver dollar was Issued in 1794. Here in this old house he and Catharine, his beloved wife, raised a family of five sons and two daughters, and many of their descendants are still living in the old town. As I said before, Mr. Ake gave a plot of ground to each congregation for a house of , worship, and a cemetery, nve in all. Today several of these old cemeteries are scarcely more than a memory. In one of these nearly forgotten cemeteries lies all that remains of the founder of Williamsburg, beneath a rapidly crumbling marble head stone, with its inscription' scarcely legible. Here rests his head upon the lap of earth, ., A man to history and to fame unknown. Yet fortune frowned not oa his humble birth. But gave him many ground rents for us own.