Longacre was one of the founders of Spruce Lake Retreat and served on its board, in addition to operating his poultry business – Longacre’s Poultry.
He was a conscientious objector to World War II and received a draft deferment from the federal government. He resided in Souderton, Pennsylvania.
Early Life and Education
Henry Longacre was born in 1817 and died on March 10, 1922. As a businessman he founded Long & Foster and became an integral member of Mennonite community, serving on boards such as Grand View Hospital in Manheim, Eastern Mennonite University Harrisonburg and Christopher Dock Mennonite High School Lansdale.
He was one of the early supporters of the Swamp Mennonite Church in Quakertown, Pennsylvania and continued attending until his death, actively taking part in its programs and being an active participant. Additionally, he was an active member of the Society of Friends; in his will he freed his slave Winney and her daughter Anna by giving them his “red house” (now 5436 Main Street) along with enough funds to furnish it properly.
Longacre was a member of the Swamp Mennonite Church, working as a hosiery knitter from 1930 until 1944 when he decided not to fight in Korea due to conscientious objection. Instead he purchased an 84-acre farm near Quakertown near Quakertown and established Horace W. Longacre Inc./Longacre Poultry Markets which employed 700 at its height before merging with Wampler Foods in 1984 with their family selling off its stake in 1992.
William was an active philanthropist who contributed generously to several organizations and institutions, such as Grand View Hospital, Christopher Dock Mennonite High School in Lansdale and Spruce Lake Retreat. Additionally, he served on the boards of Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg Virginia as well as Pennsylvania Mennonite Retirement System trustee. For recreation he enjoyed golfing at Indian Valley Country Club in Telford or Bear Lakes Resort during his winter vacations.
Achievement and Honors
Longacre’s work took him all over the globe. He wrote or co-wrote many books and articles, such as his graduate-level linguistics textbook The Grammar of Discourse published by Springer (1996) which continues to be used today. Even after retiring he continued publishing papers.
As a farmer, he was highly successful, taking great care to tend his land with every effort and knowing that labor spent wisely on smaller tracts yielded greater results.
At home he enjoyed hunting and fishing. Longacre is survived by his wife Carol; son Kenneth; grandchildren Donna, Elizabeth, Rich Cory Lee as well as 23 great-grandchildren. Services will be held Friday May 29 at 11 am at Swamp Mennonite Church Quakertown with Jeffrey A. Naugle Funeral Home located at 20 N Ambler St providing arrangements.
Longacre was always active throughout his life, enjoying both farming and community activities. A cultured Christian gentleman, Longacre believed strongly in promoting good civil government; without effective leaders they’d be subjected to dictatorship and would eventually rule by tyrannical dictators instead.
He was an active member of both Rotary Club and Mennonite Historical Society, as well as serving on Christopher Dock Mennonite High School’s board in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. Additionally, he held board membership at Grand View Hospital in Franklin Township, Pennsylvania and Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
Longacre also established two retail divisions of his company – Longacre Poultry Markets Inc and the Longacre Egg Marketing Co. Both later merged with Wampler Foods.
Longacre was an advocate of social equality. He opposed slavery and worked to prevent the British government from supporting Confederacy during the American Civil War. Longacre sent letters detailing his experiences to his father and sister Eliza pleading with them for a swift resolution of this conflict (Doc F).
While in Paris, he did not receive payment for his services and often struggled with poor health – including diarrhea and rheumatism. To support himself he took out loans, ministered at weddings and baptisms, created paintings with watercolor medium, sold them at exhibitions as well as ministering at weddings and baptisms; met many European elites; gained an excellent artistic reputation (Doc. F). By 1870 his worth had reached around $10k.