This is the history of our house and farm as we have been told in bits and pieces.
Our house was built by a local Quaker, Jesse W. Griest (1837-1885), being completed in 1882. Jesse Griest was the son of Cyrus and Mary Ann (Cook) Griest. Cyrus and Mary Ann Griest’s homestead farm, which is directly across Quaker Valley road from us, was a confirmed stop in the Underground Railroad. (Check out this site for information and local tours offered of the Underground Railroad in Adams County www.gettysburghistories.com).
The Griest family was also instrumental in the beginning of Adams County’s fruit industry. When Jesse was 21, he became a partner in his father’s fruit tree nursery business. Our farm was also the site of one of the first canneries in the Adams County area as documented on an 1872 Atlas map. Jesse Griest left the area in 1873 to serve as an agent for the Bureau of Indian Affairs for the Otoe and Missouri Indians in southeastern Nebraska until 1880. During his appointment in Nebraska, he is credited with building a new agency building, a large schoolhouse, a mill and several other improvements. His wife served as a teacher to the Indians during that time. Jesse Griest then returned to Quaker Valley and began construction on his home.
The story continues that once the front part of the house was completed in 1882, a brick structure that was located below the new construction was torn down and used to construct the rear of our current home. Jesse Griest died in 1885, 3 years after the completion of his house from pneumonia. He is buried at our local Quaker Meeting House, Menallan Friends, along with several other Griest family and former Quaker community leaders and members.
Jesse was married twice. First he married Mary Hollingshead, of New Jersey and had three children. Two were daughters, Ella and Ester and one son Charles who passed as an infant. His first wife died at the birth of their third child. Mr. Griest then married Sabbilla Moore in 1869. Upon Jesse’s death his estate was left to daughters Ella and Ester. Ella went on to marry Josiah W. Prichett of Vincentown, N.J. in 1886. Ester Griest remained single living at the farm also until her death in 1894; she then left her share of the farm to her sister.
The Prichetts continued to farm for a living. Ella Prichett outlived her husband, then died in 1941 at the age of seventy-seven. She left in her last will, the option for one of her and Josiah’s three daughters to purchase the farm. They declined and the house and farm were rented to locals until James and Mae Schulteis purchased 315 Quaker Valley Road in 1963.