Frack and Balliet families were Frackville's pioneers

(Evening Herald, Frackville Centennial Edition, August 21, 1976)

portrait of Mary Balliet Frack

Mary Balliet Frack

Mrs. Mary Magdalena (Balliet) Frack was born August 2, 1803, in North Whitehall Township, Lehigh County and baptized September 4, 1803, with Nicholas and Maria Magdalena Wotring as sponsors. She married Daniel Frack on August 21, 1825.

A genealogy of her family begins with Stephen Balliet who was a colonel in the French Army. He was married at Burbach, Alsace, to Maria Katherina Schweitzer on April 26, 1707.

The first generation of this family to settle in the United States was Paulus Balliet, who was born in 1717, the son of Stephen and Maria Balliet. At the age of twenty-one he was compelled, with many other French Protestants, to seek refuge in foreign countries, on account of the terrible persecutions of the Huguenots after the revocation of the famous edict of Nantes at the close of the Sixteenth Century, by the then reigning King Louis XIV.

He embarked for America on board ship Robert Oliver, of the Palatines, Walter Goodman, Commander, September 10, 1728. At the age of 43 years he became by naturalization a citizen of His Majesty's-King George II-Colonies of America. He was married to Maria Magdalena Wotring who was born in 1727 in the Province of Lorraine, France. She died in 1802 at the age of 75. It is presumed they married in this country. Paulus died March 19, 1777 at the age of 60. They are buried in the southeast section of the old walled burial grounds of the Union Church in Whitehall.

They had five sons and four daughters: Jacob, Nicholas, Stephen, John, Paul, Catharine, Susan, Eva, and Magdalena, the second generation of this family in this country.

Stephen Balliet was born in 1753 in Whitehall Township, Lehigh County, of the second generation. In 1780 he engaged in the mercantile business of his father, at the old stand, and continued in it to 1793. In 1789 to 1790 he was a member to the House of Representatives at Harrisburg. By a commission, dated October 25, 1797, he was appointed revenue collector of the Second District of Pennsylvania for the United States Government. Tradition has it that he took an active part in the Revolution, and was present at the battle of Brandywine in 1777, under General Washington. He was married to Magdalena Burgalter, daughter of Peter Burgalter, who settled near Egypt Church, near Whitehall, in 1740. She was born April 17, 1765, and died in 1805 at the age of 40. Stephen Balliet died in 1821 at the age of 68 and both are interred in the old walled Union Church graveyard. They had two sons, Stephen and Joseph.

Joseph Balliet of the third generation was born January 12, 1783, and was married to Margaretta Burger, who was born January 10, 1783 and died in 1863 at the age of 80. Joseph died March 15, 1853, at the age of 69 and they had thirteen children: Mary Magdalena, Elizabeth, Joseph, Sarah, Catherine, Nicholas, Asa, Eliza, Hiram, Harriet, Susan, Samuel and Horace.

The fourth generation of this family includes Mary Magdalena Balliet who was born August 2, 1803 and married to Daniel Frack with whom she had three children: Lenora, was born October 26, 1828 and was the first postmistress in our town. She was married to John S. Meredith who was the first person to volunteer for the Civil War and the first to give his life in that strife, from our town. Samuel was born in North Whitehall Township on July 22, 1832, and married Mary Harriet Welker of Oil Cit. Daniel B. was born in St. Clair on March 13, 1842 and married Elisabeth Seitzinger and after her death married her sister, Sarah A. Seitzinger. Lenora, Samuel and Daniel B. are the fifth generation of the Frack family.

Mary (Balliet) Frack passed away January 27, 1885 and was interred in the Zion's Lutheran Cemetery, February 1, 1885 at 2 p.m. That the deceased was highly esteemed was manifested by the number of people who followed her remains to their last resting place and from the fact that all the stores and other places of business were closed from 1 to 4 all seemed to realize that death had taken from our midst one who by her Christian example and private charity had endeared herself unto all.

The village of Ballietsville, near Allentown, was named after the Balliet family. The Ballietsville Hotel located there has been in operation for over 225 years. It was founded in 1746 by Paulus Balliet and was originally known as the Whitehall Inn. The original log building was in use until 1840 when the main portion was replaced by a brick structure. The original paintings of Paulus and Maria Balliet are in the Historical Society of Allentown. Mrs. Orf, of Orwigsburg, has a copy of this painting in her living room.

The first record of the Balliet family was written by L. B. Balliet, M.D. and was published in Allentown in 1873. There was one hundred copies of this book made at this time and Mrs. Off has one of them.

In July 1961, Stephen C. and Wallace E. Balliet from Baton Rouge visited Allentown to research their family records and have published a book with the different versions of the family name as the title. This book, "Balliet, Balliett, Balliette, Balyeat, Bolyard" was presented to the Historical Society of Schuylkill County at Pottsville and the Frackville Free Public Library. If you are interested in seeing the Balliet, "Family Coat of Arms," a picture of Ballietsville Inn, and an in depth record of the Balliet family, borrow this book and read the history of this family beginning year 500 with the forefather, Tancred Le Balyard, who was commander of the armies of the French King, Clodwig. The race of the Balyards is a very old French chevalier and noble race and the name expressed in the old French language "A warrior with many wounds or scars." When Tancred died in 524, more than one hundred scars had marked his body.

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