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Deep 4-story, white brick building with dental roof cornice, in “Greek Revival” - page 2 / 9

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The property is the southeastern portion of Original Town Lot No.217, as surveyed by William Parsons when Easton was formed in 1752.3  This Lot was later carved up into smaller real estate parcels.  Parsons reserved all of Original Town Lot 217, as well as Lot 218 (next to the West), for his own use.  He initially built his residence on this property, facing Hamilton (now North Fourth) Street close to (but not on) Northampton Street, on ground that is apparently part of the Pomp / Bixler Building property today.  Parsons’s residence “was probably the first house built in Easton after the erection of Northampton County in 1752.”4  It was probably built of logs – and certainly was not the brick building on the property today, because the first brick construction in Easton was not begun until 1792.5    

William Parsons (1701 – 1757) was the founder of Easton.  He was apprenticed as a shoemaker in England as a boy;  made his way to Philadelphia before his 21st birthday, and opened his own successful shop Philadelphia.  He taught himself mathematics and surveying, and became one of Benjamin Franklin’s associates, becoming a charter member of Franklin’s Union Fire Company, and in 1734 the Librarian of Franklin’s Library Company.  He also began making professional surveys in the 1730s, and was appointed Surveyor General of Pennsylvania from 1741-48.6  In 1750-51, he was a dominant member of the team that settled the disputed boundary line between Delaware and Maryland.7  In 1752, he was sent by his patrons, the Penn Family, to survey and lay out the new site for Easton, and remained in the new town as the Penns’s representative to sell land to settlers.8  He remained to direct Easton’s affairs and (as a Major in the militia) the defense of Northampton County during the first years of the French and Indian War,9 and died in Easton in 1757 in his new stone residence now numbered 60 South Fourth Street (the Parsons-Taylor House).10

Parsons, despite his pivotal role in founding the town, was not happy about his appointment to Easton,11 and in any event was building a stone house for himself at the corner of Fourth and Ferry Streets (which he finally occupied in 1757).12  He never bothered to obtain formal title to the property at the corner of Northampton and Hamilton (now North Fourth) Streets.  Nearly two years after his death, his Executor obtained a formal patent to that land from the Penn Family for an annual rent of 14 shilling sterling, and sold the entire property in the following year to Meyer Hart.13

Meyer Hart was an original Easton settler in 1752 who became the town’s wealthiest merchant.14  He was Jewish, but in 1755 he contributed 20 lbs of nails to the building of the first (log) schoolhouse which was also used by the German Reformed Congregation for their worship services,  which the Church to this day commemorates with a Star of David on a stained glass window.15  In 1760, Hart had purchased Easton founder William Parson’s log house, from Parson’s estate.16  In 1764, he purchased a property on Northampton Street to the North of Hamilton (later, 4th) Street, which he may have used for his store building for ten years.17  Meyer Hart began sending grain to Philadelphia in Durham boats in approximately 177018 – thus foreshadowing the great grain market trade that Easton would achieve after the Revolution.19  In 1780, when Pennsylvania emancipated its Negro slaves, Meyer Hart owned five of them – although three were only children.20  At the peak of his fortunes he owned “two houses, several slaves, a bond servant, six lots, a horse, a cow, and his stock in trade.”21  He sold the store property North of Hamilton (later, 4th) Street in 1774.22  It was Meyer Hart who

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