About the 2019 House

Appropriately named for peppermint, the main crop that was grown on the property, this 30-acre farmstead includes a c. 1860 six-bedroom farmhouse, a two-car garage with a workshop, the base of a bank barn, a milk house, a studio, and storage shed. This farmhouse features unique built-ins, deeply curved window sills, exposed beams, random width wood floors, stone floors, and two covered porches.

History of Peppermint Farm

Peppermint  Farm, located in Hilltown Township, is situated in a historical area. The property is located on the east side of what was known as “The old Bethlehem Road” (the Minsi Indian Trail). Now identified as Hilltown Pike, the trail was used to travel from Philadelphia to the Durham iron mines.

 

William Penn met the Indian Chiefs of the Delaware Nations in 1683 in “Perkasie Indian Town,” later known as Hilltown Village. Settlers, mostly Welsh Baptists with a few Huguenots and English Quakers, arrived in the area around 1700. The Mennonites came in 1727 and the Germans immigrated shortly thereafter.

 

A search of the property deeds reveals that the 32-acre parcel of land, now known as Peppermint Farm, has transacted 15 times. The farm is a fragment of the great Vastine (nee Vandoestine) tract of 500 acres purchased in 1721 by Abraham Vastine, a grandson of Abraham Vastine who immigrated with his three children in 1690. One-hundred-one acres were bequeathed to his two sons, Benjamin and John, in 1740. Benjamin died leaving a widow and four children and in 1770 his 52 acres were sold to Andrew Armstrong for a sum of 240 pounds.

 

Eleven years later, Andrew sold the land to his brother, James Armstrong, for 255 pounds. James, the operator of the local tavern that he purchased in 1770, married Abraham’s daughter. James also collected taxes for the County but he kept the money. The County sued him and he lost the tavern in 1786-87 but managed to hang onto the house which he had purchased in 1781. James died in 1790 and his Executor sold the 52 acres to Benjamin Morris.

 

Morris owned the land for 27 years before selling it to Abner Spencer in 1818 for a sum of $1,841. The deed records the farm as 53 acres rather than 52. Twenty years later Spencer sold 37 acres in two separate transactions of 19 acres and 18 acres to Frederick Treffinger, an immigrant from Germany. Treffinger was a blacksmith and he built the first house on his acreage in 1851.

 

Ten years later he sold the 37 acres, along with the buildings, to his son for $3,400. Frederick Jr. continued to live there for 20 years before selling to Enos Myers on April 2, 1881. The Myers family made the farm their home for 28 years. In 1909 Enos’s widow, Mary Myers transact- ed the property to Albert Myers who resided there for 27 years. Upon Albert’s passing, his wife, Emma, sold the property to Wilmer Rosenberger in October 1936.

 

Wilmer and Rachal Rosenberger enjoyed residing on the farm for 13 years. The Rosenbergers sold the farm to Walter Moore III who transacted it seven months later to Elmer Harlam. They lived there less than two years before selling the 32 acres to Homer Waller for $12,000.

 

In 1956, Homer and Helen Waller sold the farm to Florence and Gerald Simons for $24,000. Arriving to fields of peppermint growing on the acreage, they were the first owners to name the property “Peppermint Farm”. Gerald made his livelihood in the construction business. He enjoyed living on the farm for 20 years until his passing. Florence, 92 years of age, continues to own the farm. She is delighted to present her home as the 2019 Bucks County Designer House & Gardens.

 

 

The ornamental “Peppermint Farm” sign and lantern were designed and fabricated by Alfred E. Crawford (1895-1960), an ornamental blacksmith originally from Erie, PA.  He was a WW1 veteran who, after recovering from war injuries, graduated from the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art in June 1925.  After initially establishing his workshop in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, he relocated to Hilltown, PA with his wife Deborah and had a productive career creating custom ornamental metalwork.  Some of his work was selected and sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation and the American Federation of Arts to be exhibited in the 1937 International Exhibition of Arts in Paris as representative of American Arts and Crafts.  Restoration by his grandson, B. Eric Nogami, Architect.