Amity Township in Berks County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Michael Fulp House
— Preserved by The Historic Preservation Trust of Berks County —
A Humble Dwelling
This modest stone house was built for Michael Fulk (c. 1743 - 1808) around 1783. Unlike the mansion owned by Fulp's wealthier neighbors, such as the Douglass family just up the lane, it offers insight into the lives of the local working people of the 18th century. Fulp's name first appears in the Amity tax rolls of 1773, where he is described as a landless single freeman. During the Revolutionary War he was enrolled as a private in the local militia, the 5th Company, 5th Battalion, commanded by Captain Joseph Sands, which was mustered from Amity Township.
Around 1783 Michael Fulp had his stone house built on a ¾ acre lot purchased from his neighbor John Kerlin. He was one of the few Oley Valley working people to establish a homestead by acquiring a parcel of land, but he remained one of the many "ordinary men" who worked with their hands at whatever labor was available to them. He provided for himself and sometimes for his mother. Records from the nearby Douglass/Amity store show that he assisted with crop harvesting and grain threshing, in addition to hauling dung, haymaking, woodcutting, and butchering
For ten years Michael Fulp owned and farmed 40 acre "plantation" in nearby Douglass Township, living there while renting out the Morlatton house. No longer laboring only for others, he was now a farmer working his own land. Although he no longer owned the Douglass Township property at the time of his death, his status in the community had been permanently elevated to that of a "yeoman farmer," as recorded in land and estate records. Following Fulp's death in 1808, George Douglass II added the stone cottage at Morlatton to his extensive holdings. On May 14, 1808, Michael Fulp was buried in the cemetery at nearby St. Gabriel's Church.
The Fulp House originally consisted of two rooms on the main floor, with an open attic loft and with cellar space under one half of the building. The main floor includes a fireplace for cooking and, until the mid-20th century, had a stove chimney at the opposite gable end. In the mid-20th century the Fulp House became commonly known as the "bridgekeeper's house." There is no official record of a "bridgekeeper," but according to oral tradition a woman named Alice Garber, who lived in the Fulp House at that time, was known to sweep the bridge and maintain its lights until it was removed in 1951.
The Fulp House was acquired by The Historic Preservation Trust of Berks County in 1965 through a gift of the Roy Schurr family. During 2010-2011, the Trust completed extensive repair and restoration of the building, which had been imperiled by repeated flooding from the Schuylkill River. Michael Fulp's house stands strong today, a lasting record of the type of home built by the common man in the 18th century.
Pre-restoration view c. 1965
Michael Fulp's 1785 account pages in Douglass store ledger
Original cooking fireplace & lintel
Gable-end & chimney during 2010-11 wall restoration
Michael Fulp's 1808 estate inventory; among the items listed are hay and dung forks, a looking glass, a "Duch" oven, a hog and a dog & "2 Swarms Bees"
Erected by The Historic Preservation Trust of Berks County.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Bridges & Viaducts • Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers • War, US Revolutionary.
Location. 40° 15.211′ N, 75° 43.687′ W. Marker is in Amity Township, Pennsylvania, in Berks County. Marker can be reached from Old Philadelphia Pike 0.1 miles north of Britton Street, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 31 Old Philadelphia Pike, Douglassville PA 19518, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Mouns Jones House (within shouting distance of this marker); Riverside Settlement and the Covered Bridge (within shouting distance of this marker); Swedish Pioneers (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Old Swedes House (about 500 feet away); Morlatton Village Trailhead (about 500 feet away); Morlatton Vilage (about 500 feet away); George Douglass Home (about 600 feet away); Feuding Railroads (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Amity Township.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 14, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 21, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 26 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on November 21, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.