Steve Iman

en*thu*si*asm \in-'th(y)uze-az-em\ n [Gk enthouslamos, fr enthouslazein to be inspired, fr entheos inspired, fr en- + theos god] a 1 : belief in special revelations b : fanaticism 2 a : strong excitement of feeling : FERVOR b : something inspiring zeal or fervor syn see PASSION


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May Apple Bottom

In 1749, Jacob Eiman arrived in Philadelphia on the St. Andrews. Little is known of his earliest years in America though during the latter part of the century he appears intermittingly in tax and other records for the far western part of the expanded Lancaster County of the time. He subsequently claimed land upon which there had been improvements and was a first owner of record for "May Apple Bottom", nestled along Clark's Creek right off the Susquehanna in what's today considered Dauphin County. Though it's unusual to find similar situations in records for the time, the land was taken in partnership with a Jacob Racif (Reiff?), also described as "farmer and distiller". Jacob is likely a Senior with a son by the same name, since several signed up and served in local 1775 militia as the Revolution was heating up. Jacob seems to have lost a powder horn in the war and been compensated for it by government.

Maps in the Pennsylvania archive provide an outline of the survey of the land which spans from Clark's Creek in a southerly direction up a steep hillside described so well by Conrad Richter, a Pulitzer Prize winning author in the 1930's who lived for a decade or so on this very land, or perhaps next door. The contour of the creek, and the deed description of known neighbors made it easy to find the vary place in Google Earth. Correspondence with an owner in the area whose lands have been devoted to forest preservation led me to believe that perhaps little had changed in the 250 years since the first Eyman in America called this home.

Stackpole Lane defines what must have been the eastern boundary of the first Eyman land. It's a narrow lane which proceeds through a dark woods to a full stream – Clark's Creek. What a sobering experience to walk this lane shrouded in fog and in an early morning's light. The woods are beautiful and ought to be experienced by Imans everywhere. There are signs against trespassing of course, but there are also signs indicating that the public has a right to access to the stream for fishing.

What a surprise it was to run into a guy born and raised in the area who often fished right there. Richter had noted how deeply unchanged the people and culture in this sequestered area had remained through his 1920s. And here I was to find a guy born in the area who recognized the Iman name as that of a first owner of the spot. He himself hailed from up the creek and inland a bit. What a pleasure it was for me to know enough about who was where in the area in the 1770s to ask if he was from near old Ludwig Mansker's place – and to be surprised with his smile at acknowledging that yeah, he was from very near old Ludwig's place. Sort of dumbfounded, I found way too little to say and have regretted to this day not taking that conversation a lot deeper.