War always brings with it an increased price of necessary living commodities. The War of 1812 was no exception to this inflexible consequence. Sugar reached thirty-five cents a pound, coffee was forty cents, and all classes of cotton and woolen goods commanded prices as high in proportion. ... The era of speculation, however, was abroad through the country, the extremely high prices received by the farmers for their products added to the great abundance of paper money issued by corporations, and individuals all attended to promote "get rich" schemes, to which the people fell easy victims. In Northampton county the land speculations of Nicholas Kraemer, who resided at Nelighsville, in Allen township, gained a wide field of prominence. He inflated the value of lands from thirty dollars an acre to one hundred dollars an acre, and so successful were his operations that many of the steady-going East Pennsylvanians paid for a lot of land three times the price their own judgment would approve. Swamplands and mountain lands were disposed of at fancy prices, and so gullible were the people that Kraemer carried on successful operations from 1802-16. The boom at last reached its height, then came the time when Kraemer failed to appear at his headquarters at the Sun tavern in Bethlehem, where he had dispensed his hospitality with the mighty punch-bowl. The sheriff now became the presiding genius. Kraemer's fortune, if he ever had one, was swept away, his land holdings were sold for one-sixth of the value so recently placed upon them, and its promoter became an outcast from the business world. The amazing hallucinations of the hitherto sensible people of Northampton and adjoining counties are hard to understand; the purchase of lands, often wild and worthless ones, at five times their valuation was probably due to the prosperity of the times and superabundance of paper money. This enabled Kraemer to prosecute his schemes successfully, and the tightening of the money market, which reached its climax in the panic of 1817, was the hurricane that capsized him.
from The History of Northampton Co, PA.
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