Historical Association of Tobyhanna Township

HATT | PO Box 2084 | Pocono Pines, PA 18350-2084

The John William Henning Family

Contributed by Gene Kerrick | March 2017

The Henning family arrived in New York on December 26, 1854, aboard the ship “Republic” from Bremen, Germany. The father, Adolph, was listed as age 54 and his occupation as a farmer. His wife, Louisa, was the same age. Their children were William, 24 (farmer); Henry, 22; H. (a female) 21; Philip Gottlieb, 16; and Charles, 14. The children were all listed by their initials.

Adolph was born about 1800 in Detmold, Lippe, Germany. He and Louisa were married in Germany about 1831. He died on November 13 ,1884, and the location of his grave is unknown.

Louisa was born on May 22, 1801, and died on March 22, 1872. There is a large and handsome marker on her grave in Middle Creek Cemetery, located on Dorshimer Road in the Kresgeville area, and hard to find unless one knows where it is.

The family settled on a farm near Albrightsville in Carbon County, Pennsylvania. In 1876, Adolph deeded the land to his second son, Henry, on condition that he take care of his father so long as he lived. The homestead is located close to Meckesville, and the house is still there.

Henry married Christiana Waltz and they had nine children. There are additional children, born after his wife’s death, but listed as his in the census. The details are unclear about the true circumstances.

Two of the Henning brothers married Switzgable sisters. William, the eldest child of Adolph and Louisa, married Sophia, while Philip married Lucinda in 1869. The first couple had nine children, eight of whom were girls. These parents are buried in Hillside Cemetery across the road from Effort United Methodist Church.

Lucinda’s parents were born in Germany and lived in Polk Township, Monroe County, where her father was a farmer. One source said that the family was known as Gable when it came to the United States, and adopted the longer name later. There is no documentation for that information. There are still Switzgables in the county.

Adolph and Louisa’s second son, Philip Gottlieb, or P.G. as he was usually known, and Lucinda had 13 children in all, but three died of diphtheria within a month of each other in 1891. The day after the death of the third child, Lucinda gave birth to another son.

P.G. enlisted in the Civil War from 1861 to 1864. He was described as 5 feet 81/2 inches tall, with sandy hair, light complexion, and light blue eyes. He became a lumberman and farmer. It was in the former business that he especially was successful. He owned a lot of timberland, including some where Split Rock Resort is located today. His obituary suggested that his land was worth a handsome fortune. He was a prominent Republican and a school director for more than thirty years.

This couple died within a few months of each other at the end of 1916 and beginning of the next year. Lucinda left the land to her entire family in hope that they would continue to fish and picnic there. That situation grew intolerable as just a tiny minority of the family paid the taxes and upkeep, but the entire family profited from its eventual sale. But with the numerous heirs, the amount to each was small.

The fourth son of Adolph, Charles, became a farmer and lived in Carbon County. He married Caroline and lived to a ripe old age. They, like many of the Hennings, did not stray too far from the original family farm. Many are buried in the two cemeteries near St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Albrightsville.

Adolph and Louisa had a daughter Hanna who is listed in the immigration records by her initial H. She was born about 1836. have been unable to find information on her. She was never with the family in any census. However, Adolph in his deed to Henry left the same amount to Wilhemina Baumgartner, as to his other children except for Henry. I have not been able to trace her for sure. There is a couple who fit the bill for names, but the ages are all wrong.

Our account now moves to the family of Philip Gottlieb: — “P.G.”

His eldest son with Lucinda was John William, who married Elemenda Silfies about 1892. (My wife, Ginnie, did not know her grandmother’s first name until we started this research. She always went by Ella or Ellen.)

John William Henning worked in the lumber business, shared ownership in a general store in Pocono Lake along with his brother Harley, and then owned and ran a hotel in Pocono Summit from about 1916 to 1922. He was president of the Monroe Lumber and Supply Company.

The family lived in Tunkhannock Township, then in Coolbaugh Township (where the hotel was located), and lastly on North Fifth Street in Stroud Township. He was only 51 at the time of his death shortly after the move to Stroudsburg.

One family story concerns the time at the hotel. Prohibition had just started when an old lady came into the bar and ordered a beer. When told that she could not be served because of the new law, her response was “Government son of a bitch!”

A second son of P.G. was George Philip, who was a farmer. George married Elizabeth Silfies, and they had one son and five daughters. His branch has been active in both Tobyhanna Township and Tunkhannock, where his great-grandson Kenneth is a tax collector and other members of the family have businesses.

His daughter married John Burger Jr. and their descendants still live on Burger Hollow Road in Tobyhanna Township.

Jennie Burger with her sister, Helen Kolnick, operated the Two Sisters Inn on Route 115 for many years. Dick Vermeil, one-time coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, used to stop in to enjoy their cabbage soup. They made wonderful BLTs and hamburgers.

A third son of P.G. and Lucinda and his family have played a prominent role in the business of Tobyhanna Township. Harley Henning was first a teacher, but then went into partnership with his brother, John William, in a general store in Pocono Lake. John William moved on as discussed earlier, but Harley kept the general store for many years. It was located on Stoney Hollow Road between the old and new Route 940s. He also became postmaster in the early years of the 20th century.

His son, Charles Wesley Henning, better known to many as Mike, succeeded his father in the store and as postmaster. He was appointed postmaster in 1961 and kept the job until the post office was moved from the general store

Later, his son Jim started a fruit and vegetable stand at the corner of new Route 940 and Stoney Hollow Road. Jim moved away, but the stand was run by Mike and another son, Kirk. The latter died young and Mike retired. At one point Charles was a substitute teacher at Tobyhanna Township elementary school. His sister Mary was also a teacher there for many years. She married Carl Majer.

It is interesting to note that two daughters married Henning cousins, sons of Charles Henning. It is also interesting to note that the family of P.G. and Lucinda was spread out for so many years that Ginnie’s father, grandson of P.G., played with the two youngest sons of P.G., who were his uncles. Their first child was born in 1872 while the last one came along 20 years later.

One of P.G.’s daughters married a Berger, but it was spelled with an “e” after the B instead of a “u.” That family lived in Tobyhanna Township at least in the 1920s and 1930s. I do not know anything about it currently. One of the girls, Pauline, was a classmate of my cousin Chris Kerrick, who graduated from TTHS in 1941.

The Hennings owned a lot of land north of Albrightsville. This subject needs a lot of research to find who bought it and when. One item in the “History of Carbon County” says that Albert Henning sold 900 acres to Holiday Poconos, a housing development. At the corner of Henning Road and State Route 534 was a Henning Hotel. The proprietress somehow accidentally shot herself in the leg and only had one good leg. The hotel burned in 1979. It had an alarm system, but it failed to go off as there was no ventilation in the closet where the mechanism was located.