Artifacts in banner (left to right): Photo (1990) of the house at Glenn Farm rented by Benuel and Rachael at the time of daughter Mary's marriage in 1921. The house is presently part of the Moccasin Run Golf Course in Atglen, Pennsylvania. Three books from Benuel's large collection are pictured. Far right is an elderly Benuel Mast.
Benuel Mast (1847-1931) is our great grandfather on Dad’s side. He is a direct descendant of Jacob Mast, who was born in Switzerland and emigrated in 1750. Benuel lived in the area of Morgantown, Pennsylvania, the first part of his life and later moved to the Gap side of the Welsh Mountains. His first wife was Sarah Stoltzfus (1846-1878) with whom he had three children. After Sarah’s death, the children lived with family members for several years. After Benuel reunited his family, he married Rachel Spotts (1864-1948). Benuel and Rachel had one daughter. His parents were Isaac (1823-1907) and Mary (Kurtz) (1827-1914) Mast.
In 1990, Aunt Eunice loaned us a collection of her letters from Benuel so that we could make copies. Later the originals were give to us by a cousin. Most of the letters are written to his grandchildren who always described their grandfather to us with great affection.
Benuel Mast Letter to Granddaughter Charity From: Parkesburg, Pennsylvania To: Ulen, Minnesota Date: December 26, 1921
Note: At the time that Benuel wrote this letter, he was 74 years old. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, Benuel and Rachel rented a series of farms until they moved in with Charles and Mary.
In this 1921 letter to his “loved ones in the far west,” Benuel tells about the wedding of his and Rachel’s daughter, Mary, to Charles Dice on December 21st. He describes the event as “quite a time” with “about 85 people being fed dinner and supper, followed by a song service late into the evening. Benuel says that they ate leftovers from the wedding feast for Christmas dinner and gave away 8 baskets of food to the poor and needy. He informs the Isaac S. Mast family of Charlie and Mary’s intentions to begin farming in the spring at a farm they have rented near Cochranville. Benuel goes on to say that they butchered 3 hogs between Christmas and New Year’s Day. He explains that he has the care of “all the horn cattle, 2 mules, 1 horse, and “a lot of shoats.” In addition, he is very busy with taking care of the sick. Benuel expresses the wish for time to sit beside a warm stove like his grandparent did.
Benuel Mast Letter to Isaac S. Mast Family From: Parkesburg, Pennsylvania To: Ulen, Minnesota Date: September 27, 1926
In this 1926 letter, Benuel writes about his grandchildren in the far west and in Pennsylvania. In the west, his grandchildren were Timothy, Eunice, Charity, Ruth, and Isaac. The infants he described were the twins, Maris and Warren Dice, born on February 25, 1926. Benuel describes the crops he, Rachel, Charles, and Mary are harvesting and selling. He mentions that John Kennel was ordained from minister to bishop in the Millwood Church.