Baltzer Stever lived with his wife, Maria on the former Heller Homestead,purchased in 1840 where he farmed the land and ran a sawmill on Saucon Creek. He was also a lawyer. His brother, Peter Stever lived in Springfield Township, Bucks County with his wife Anna. He was a carpenter by trade.
In January, 1850, Peter met with Baltzer to discuss plans to live closer to his brother. Their plans were to build a house only a few feet south of the existing main house owned by Baltzer. This smaller, second house was to be finished before August 1850 for both Peter and Anna, and they would be given free passage through Baltzer’s property to reach their house. The house was to be built of stone, exactly like the Sarah Pearson house Anna had seen. Cost to build the house was $500.
Peter and Anna were to be able to move in by April 1, 1850; if the house wasn’t completed by that date, Baltzer was to provide two convenient rooms in his own house until the new house was finished.
Other rights and privileges given by Baltzer to his brother and sister-in-law in this agreement:
“the privilege to use the pump pringhouse;
to use the existing bake oven, and to build a new one near the new house (it ended up being built in the new house, known as a “beehive” oven); to use as much of the garden as needed; one cow and one horse, and room in the barn with rights to feed and clean their stables; pasture for one cow, and the use of many hogs; one-eighth of an acre for a potato patch next to the farm; manure for the potato patch and the garden.”
Peter Stever died in 1854, leaving Anna to live in the house until her death. Anna was the first to live in the house as a widow, (others would follow) giving the Widow’s House its name.
The Widow’s House is next mentioned in Baltzer’s will, dated 1862, the year he died:
“I bequeath unto my beloved wife, Maria, the house and lot formerly occupied by the widow (Anna) of my second brother, Peter, with free acces to and from the same.”
In addition to the use of the Widow’s House, Baltzer provided his wife Maria, use of the Main House ...“privileges if she wishes to occupy one half (the south side, entry being the dividing line) of the building now occupied by me during her lifetime: after her decease, together with the house formerly occupied by the widow of my brother, Peter, to become the property of the owner of land which they now stand.”
This meant that the Widow’s House was to remain as part and parcel of the original property. The Main House reveals possible use of the second floor rooms being used as “an apartment” by the fact that the door nearer the front of the house has no door knob and is only accessible from the inside. These two rooms are on the south side of the house overlooking the Widow’s House, similar to what Baltzer mentions in his will.
Baltzer’s wife, Maria, received exclusive use of the pre-existing Widow’s House, formerly occupied by Anna Stever, Baltzer’s sister-in-law. Maria also had the option of occupying the south half of the main House as well.
Henry Stever, Baltzer’s only son, was given the choice of the sawmill property or the farm. Choosing the latter, Henry officially acquired the farm property on March 27, 1863 which included all of the land on the south side of Friedensville Road (103 acres). This land encompassed the Main House, the barns and outbuildings, except the Widow’s House, which was reservewd for Maria; the selling price was $12,875. One-third of the selling price was to remain in the property for Maria’s use, and the interest was to be paid to her annually.
Maria released her dower or her rights to the property (the Widow’s House) on February 2, 1866, for 4,806.06. Henry may have bought the sawmill property back in 1871 from Joseph Landis, only to sell it in 1873 to the Saucon Iron Company.Henry could have used the proceeds of the sale to build a new sawmill on the south side of Friedensville Road on his farm property in front of the Main House.