Civil War Blog

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Gratz During the Civil War – Good Tannery

Posted By on January 2, 2012

The Good Tannery was located at the west end of Gratz.  In 1842, a “tanyard” was owned by Daniel Good and Samuel Ritter but tax records show that the property on which the Good Tannery was located was not conveyed to Daniel Good until 1843.  Good had originally settled in Loyalton and operated a tannery there before establishing his main operation in Gratz.

The three elements needed to operate a tannery were the bark of oak trees, hides of animals and power.  In Loyalton, the tanning operation was powered by water, but in Gratz, no streams being available in the new tannery location, the power was provided by horses.

According to information found in A Comprehensive History of the Town of Gratz Pennsylvania, the Good Tannery was important in the commercial and mercantile interests of Gratz in that the resident boot and shoe makers and saddle and harness makers needed a steady supply of tanned hides.  Plasterers also needed animal hair which was a by-product of the process.

Several pictures of the Good Tannery operation have survived and are available at the Gratz Historical Society.  The one shown above is of the main tannery building and was probably taken in the late nineteenth century.  Several skins, tanned at the Good Tannery, are on display in the Gratz Historical Society Museum.

Also available at the Gratz Historical Society is the account book of Jeremiah Good (1836-1905), which lists all transactions from 3 May 1858 through April 1865 – including the entire period of the Civil War.  Jeremiah was the son of Daniel Good  (1809-1870) and it was Jeremiah who operated the tannery during the Civil War.  No record has been found of Civil War service for Jeremiah Good.

The Good family was quite prosperous and owned several other properties in Gratz.  The family history will be further discussed in relation to those properties.

Part of one of the pages of the account book is shown above – with surnames Romberger, Good, Umholtz, Shade and Witmer being prominently noted on the example pictured.  Credits and debits were noted in this book with each account given a unique number – more than 250 separate accounts kept!  The prices and types of materials were carefully noted.  The book consists of 360 pages of these transactions – and is a treasure of information.  The name of nearly every person in Gratz as well as the surrounding township appears in this book.  At the present time, the account book has has not been indexed or transcribed into a database format.  It is a project that awaits a willing volunteer.

At this time, it is not known when the tannery ceased operations or when the buildings were demolished.  There is an historical marker on the site, which was placed by family members John W. Good and Sarah Good Miller.

This is part 28 of an ongoing series on Gratz during the Civil War.  Some of the information for this post was taken from the book A Comprehensive History of the Town of Gratz Pennsylvania.  


5 Responses to “Gratz During the Civil War – Good Tannery”

  1. Robert Good says:

    I am thrilled to have found this blog. Seeing the picture of the Good Tannery and learned somethings about the family I was unaware of. Daniel Good was my great great uncle, Daniel’s brother Adam my great great grandfather picked up the family and moved to Kansas. I’d would like to make the trip to Gratz and Selinsgrove in the future for some genealogy work.

    • Trish (Good) Wisecup says:

      Daniel is my g-g-g-great grandfather. We are descendents of Daniel’s son John L. John L. moved to Boone County, Iowa following the Civil War. He followed his brother Jeremiah.

  2. Robert Good says:

    I have been to Iowa for several of the Good Family reunions, for the past few years. Years a go I was given one of the original Adam Good Family books after my dad past away. It was by chance I found the Good’s in Iowa, I got a call from Bill Good and he invited me up for the reunion. My gg grandfather spent about a year in Iowa before continuing on to Kansas.

    • Trish (Good) Wisecup says:

      Interesting. We may have been at a family reunion together. Was Adam in Iowa at the time that John L and Jeremiah were here or was he already in Kansas by the time they decided to move west?

      • Robert Good says:

        Since Adam got to Kansas around 1870 my guess is he got to Iowa in 1868 or 1869, he stayed maybe a year in Iowa and moved on west.
        I meet up with a distant relative of ours in Indianapolis a few years back. He is a descendent of George Good, George would be the brother of Adam. It was just a brief meeting I caught him on his lunch break so it was just a brief meeting. As far as I remember he’s the only one of the George side that I have had contact with.

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