Preserving Packer history
Victor Izzo/special to the times news Asa Packer Mansion Museum Director and Historian Ava Bretzik and Executive Director Ronald J. Sheehan look over the 1842 ledger book from when Asa Packer was in business with a general store in Mauch Chunk with his brother Robert.
Some treasured items of Asa Packer memorabilia and related historical items have been donated to the Asa Packer Mansion Museum in Jim Thorpe.
John Cherb of Jim Thorpe donated items received from members of the Linderman and Frick families who were descendants of Asa and Sarah Packer. While he was a professional accountant, Cherb became friends with the family members while helping them with their accounting work.
"The most interesting item that we received from Mr. Cherb and the Frick family is the book dating back to 1842," said Ronald J. Sheehan, executive director of the Asa Packer Mansion Museum. "It actually is the ledger book from when Asa Packer was in business with a general store in Mauch Chunk with his brother Robert.
"Its one of the few documents that we have that actually has some handwriting in Asa's name because most of those documents were taken out of the home when it was donated to the Borough of Jim Thorpe in 1912."
The donated items which will be preserved at the Asa Packer Mansion Museum include:
• A 170 year-old ledger of customers' accounts of the Partnership of Brothers A. & W.B. Packer for the store of General Merchandise in Mauch Chunk that extended to Pottsville where they built boats for the Schuylkill Canal for transporting coal to Philadelphia and New York.
In addition to the customers' accounts, there are numerous handwritten letters to various customers regarding accounts due, funds needed, and banks not lending.
• A copy of an address to the American Branch of the Newcomen Society on Asa Packer by Milton C. Stuart, Lehigh University professor. The Society is a branch of the Newcomen Society of England, organized to study the history of industry, transportation communications, utilities, mining, economics, finance, and banking.
Asa Packer was honored for his building of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, his founding of Lehigh University, and his service to the community, state, and nation on the bench and in legislative halls.
• A song sheet, printed in gold, of the song "Then and Now" printed in 1878 for the Golden Wedding Anniversary of Asa Packer and Sarah M. Blakslee who were married on January 23rd 1828.
• A bulletin from the service which was held on Sunday, May 25, 1879 and presided by Rev. Marcus A. Tolman, Rector in Memoriam of the Honorable Asa Packer who died on May 17, 1879.
• A vintage Shooting Stick with a folding seat made by WM Mils of Birmingham, England. It is believed that this belonged to Linderman and Frick descendants so it does have a connection to the Packer family.
• A copy of the Last Will & Testament of Mary Packer Cummings who died October 29, 1912.
John Cherb received the above items from Robert Packer Linderman Frick, a friend and business associate for many years.
Robert is the Great Great Grandson of Asa Packer who presently resides at Moravian Hall in Nazareth. and Robert's sister, Ruth Linderman Cox, a great great granddaughter of Asa Packer also resides at Moravian Hall.
"The Lions Club and borough are just thrilled whenever we get gifts from family members that help to tell the Packer family story," Sheehan said. "We get visits from many of the Packer family descendants and we are always looking for more information on the Packer family. So, to receive this from Mr. Cherb through the Lindermans and Fricks was really a great thing for the Mansion."
Sheehan said the items will soon be put on permanent display.