Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Immick... I is for Sarah Immick

Someone once said what mattered most of all was the dash between the years.  There is more to the story of Sarah E.  Immick  than is told here on her tombstone in the Three Church Hill Cemetery in Lower Mount Bethel Pennsylvania.

Sarah E. Immick, the great, great grandmother of my husband Ron,  was the daughter of Aaron Immick and Catherine Morey.  According to her death certificate, she was born on November 28, 1845 and even though her parents were  living in  the  Mount Bethel, Pennsylvania area I can't find a baptism record for her.  She  died on April 7, 1924.   So what went on  in that dash between her years?

Sarah  was the second of four children  in her family.  Her older sister Adelaine married and remained in the area, but younger sister Susan and brother Ruben moved to Michigan after they married.   Sarah married Samuel Frey  of Lower Mount Bethel, PA  on November 24, 1866.  Together they became the parents of only one child, a son Isaac, born January 14, 1868.  In the three census records of 1870, 1880 and 1890, Sam is said to be a farmer.   So  Sarah  must have done the typical chores of a farm wife and mother during those years.  When Sam died April 6, 1900 they had been married 33 years.

So what was special about grandmother Sarah? (That's her standing on the porch with granddaughter Edna.)  I have been saving this!    In the late 1800’s the telephone came to Lower Mount Bethel.   Households subscribed  to the phone service and rural homes were connected via party lines with several households on a line.  When the telephone  first arrived in the rural neighborhood there  was a need for  someone to  operate the switchboard to connect the calls of telephone subscribers. This was the perfect job for a lady to do in her home.  She could take care of her daily housework activities while listening for a call to come in.

Sarah Frey was the first telephone operator  for the exchange on the Belvidere - Martins Creek Highway.  The switchboard  was in her house located on the  Belvidere - Martins Creek Highway.   As a recent widow Sarah  had the time needed  to stay by the switchboard waiting for calls.  She was a technology pioneer,  taking on a tough job  that required skill and confidence.  And as a rural telephone operator she was on top of all the news in  the neighborhood too!

                      Here is granddaughter Edna with her grandmother Sarah Immich Frey, circa 1910.


  1. Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1967; Certificate Number 37000
  2. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 04 April 2020), memorial page for Sarah E. Immick Frey (28 Nov 1845–7 Apr 1924), Find a Grave Memorial no. 127770818, citing Church Hill Cemetery, Mount Bethel, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, USA

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1 comment:

  1. Beautiful photos, and what a cool (and very important) job Sarah did.