“Deeds of the Valley’ explains life before the Ordnance
MUNCY – Paul Metzger from Muncy said he is a good researcher. And researching the history of the lost town of Alvira prompted him to begin a wide search on the descendants who were forced from their homes to make room for the WWII Ordnance.
“Deeds of the Valley, the Land that Became the Ordnance” is an impressive account of land ownership within the village of Alvira itself.
After publishing ‘Alvira the Ordnance’ book with Steve Huddy in 2009, Metzger said many came to him with more updates on the White Deer Valley. “I had dozens of contacts,” he said. Metzger studied thousands of documents to create over 1500 deed plots in order to fully understand the tracts of land associated with the defined area that was taken by the government in 1942.
Metzger writes that this is the most comprehensive research effort to document the historical and genealogical account of the families who passed through this Valley.
The book, which is to be released soon, is a comprehensive connection from the mid 1700s to the 1940s.
Metzger, himself, has a deep personal connection. While researching his own lineage he discovered he was related to many people who lived in the White Deer Valley. He was related to a Johan Jacob Metzger who came from Wertenberg, Germany. “He snuck out in a hay wagon to the Netherlands and from there, came to America arriving at a Philadelphia port.” Metzger said he traced the indenture contract to October 1784.
It was a lot of work according to Metzger but well worth it, he said, knowing that he ultimately has helped answer questions for many families.
Since the first printing in 2009, and a later edition in 2012, and up until now, some of these family members have passed away. Metzger feels compelled to save the history before the facts disappear with those who carry the memories.
The book is filled with photos and details and some color pages as well. There are 1,732 deeds compiled from Lycoming County and 1,344 deeds from Union County. Metzger researched wills and probate records. He even took a trip to Washington, DC to review revealing archives of warrants, patents and deeds.
Metzger’s lifelong interest has now culminated into a historical reference that took hours of work and gave him dozens of contacts. “I am helping generations understand what happened,” he said.
A book signing is planned later this month at the Muncy Historical Society who will be publishing the book. “We are going to start with about 60 in print,” he said. Metzger has been a member of the historical society for about 12 years. A tentative date is set for December 16 or December 22, or maybe both dates according to Metzger who recommends reserving a copy of the book if interested in a first edition. This can be done by contacting the Muncy Historical Society.
“I really appreciate the help of Linda Poulton who helped with the editing and the index,” he added.
So what really happened to those 8,000 plus acres of land that was taken over the U.S. Government and the people who lived there? This book tells it all.