How did Caspar Wistar negotiate his land indentures?

+3 votes
My main area of interest is German Palatines who settled in the Tulpehocken region of Pennsylvania--arriving either via Philadelphia or New York.  My ancestors owned land in this region in the early 1700s.  One received his track of land after completing a land indenture with Caspar Wistar.  How were such arrangements typically made?
asked in Genealogy Help by Michael Schell G2G3 (3.5k points)
recategorized by Ellen Smith
I think this person Capser Wistar is my father's great, grandfather. Do you know where his final resting place is? I was shown the cemetary plot with a C.W. Ayars, and only recently discovered the C. is for Casper... I love buttons, and I think some one might have program families indentured servitude into the latest and greatest 'pay-back is a bitch' software! I have law enforcement working on this right now. I am very serious about this statement.

1 Answer

+2 votes
Best answer
Wistar owned both a button factory and a glass factory.  So he had a number of indentured servants.  He would pay for them to come to the US, they would work for him.  He provided some sort of housing if memory serves.   That Stenger glass makers (became Stanger in the USA) were originally indentured servants of Wistar.  The eventually opened the Greenboro Glass Works in NJ.

I have a copy of an indentured servant agreement between Wistar and some glass makers that is 16 pages long. Feel free to email me if you would like more info.
answered by Laura Bozzay G2G6 Pilot (455k points)
selected by Michael Maranda
Laura, Were there significant negative influences on the workers' health when taking on such a project as working in glass for such a long time that working off a land indenture would require or even be possible?  Was this Mr. Wistar asking these workers to indenture themselves to him, knowing or thinking they'd die before the land could be claimed, and so he'd benefit from their work and never or almost never need to give them any land?

But of course, this is a part of the story that no one would want out to the public about their business dealings, isn't it. So Wistar would have remained very quiet. Only a reporter or a detective or the police would investigate a situation like this.

And I must submit that I'm a great lover of mystery stories, especially historical ones.
Actually I have a French document that talks about the health issues faced by glass workers.  These include respiratory issues and possible poisoning from the chemicals / minerals used like lead, antimony, copper, boron, etc.  

Plus you are working with very high temperatures of 1300 degrees or more so burns are common problem.

As I'd imagined--that much at least. In our era now, the famous quartz countertops come with serious health issues for the workers, more than granite and/or marble I suspect because we aren't hearing about these other materials so often in the literature on them. I chose granite, both because of that and that is has lasting power. But whether health issues will arise over time, who knows. 

Your last sentence above:  That is also a very real problem in glass blowing, I imagine.

Thanks, as always,




You grind glass to make the tops smooth or to etch it, you grind granite or marble or quartz for counter tops.    That creates dust particles that are not good for your lungs.
I think the quartz particles are the more damaging of the 3 kinds--I'm no specialist or even vaguely knowledgeable though.

I saw what they did when they had to put a second countertop of granite in my home after their big mistake:  They had two very long slabs (set up on my front lawn) that had to be "cut to fit" the space, an L-shaped thing:  1. A hole for a sink and a cut line, perpendicular to one edge for fitting to the longer slab.

2: Exact cut of 2nd slab to fit against the perpendicular cut  

3. A hole cut for the slide in stove about in the middle of this slab, very little left at back edge. Tricky vulnerability created in the granite by that one.

Two to 3 men brought each slab in through the front door. Eek.

Not a single one wore a face mask. Their poor mothers!!!!!
I would love to see a copy of that 16 page document. As stated in the previous comment above. I believe this Casper Wister might be my relative. Is the last name Ayars?

Hi Jodi,  Caspar Wistar has a useful Wikitree profile. He is W├╝ster-13.  You should be able to determine if he is your relative from that.  


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