My name is Mary Preister and I have been Herman K. Godshall's housekeeper for many years now. I don't like to boast, but I think that Mr. Godshall is a very influential man and really helped this town grow in so many ways.
He moved here as a young man in his 40s, after Henry O. Souder built this home out of the left over stones from the railroad embankment in 1860. Mr. Godshall started a hay baling business on South Front St. then, and built a feed mill in 1864 on Main Street. Why you can see the half he built if you look across Main at the Olde Mill Apartments. It's the right hand portion of the building. Just between you and me, Mr. Godshall wasn't too thrilled with his flashy new son-in-law Aaron Frick, who managed his mill, and he gladly sold the mill to the Moyer brothers in 1869. Mr. Godshall also sold his hay baling operation to those same Moyers at that time and turned to other community pursuits.
He became the director of the Harleysville and Souder's Turnpike (now Main Street) and in 1876 when the new bank was formed 11 years before there even was a town, Mr. Godshall served on the Board of Directors for a few years. It was difficult for him, being a Mennonite in business at that time, since courts were used for collecting debts, so he resigned from the bank and turned to a less worldly pursuit.
He had been a song leader at the Franconia Mennonite meeting and was one of the people interested in building a Mennonite church right here in town. It was in 1879 when the dream was realized and the Souderton Mennonite Meetinghouse was dedicated on Christmas Day of that year. By 1880, Mr. Godshall became the Superintendent of the German Sunday School in that church.
I like to believe that this town moved along at such a wonderful and rapid pace due in part to Herman K. Godshall.
Since I was the first President of this bank and held that position for 20 years, I'll tell you the story of how Telford got its bank. Remember me? I'm Edwin C. Leidy. It just so happened that in 1908 a few citizens, Nathaniel E. Wampole, Charles H. Price, Sr., and Harry Z. Wampole decided a well should be dug to provide water to the six new houses built by Wampole over on Poplar Street. You probably know that street as West Broad Street today.
The Telford Water Company was organized in 1908 to build this well and it was estimated that a $5,000 loan would be required to get the project done. The Company applied to Souderton National Bank for the money and the application was denied.
That refusal got some of us thinking that Telford needed its own bank to handle our local matters. The bank was chartered, the building completed and opened for business by December of 1908. On that first day of business $17,822.25 in deposits were made!
But returning to the story about the well; the hand dug well was 30' deep with a 40' high tower topped by a wooden tank with a holding capacity of 15,000 gallons of water. The stone removed from the digging was used to build the house at 176 West Broad Street. This well ran dry after hooking up the County Line Hotel, so an artesian well was created by digging the old well to a depth of 90'. The new well now had a flow of 100 gallons of water a minute.
On a side note; lest you think I was in this for the money, in 1914, the Board of Directors approved a salary of $400 a year for me, which was less than that paid to both the cashier and the teller!
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