Isaac G Freed.

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William Freed, York, Pa.
















Reuben J. Freed, Quakertowx, Pa.



My Grandson and only Descendant

This Volume

is Lovingly Dedicated



Historical Facts of the Freed Family


Reuben J. Freed, Quakertown, Pa.

Yellis C. Freed, Royersford, Pa.

Yellis C. Freed, Royersford, Pa.


My Dear John:

It may in the future be interesting to you to look over
the pages of this volume. They will loom up as a retro-
spective, as well as a prospective, mirror; in which you
will see your ancestors in this country, who found it ex-
pedient to leave the native land on account of religious
persecution; and seek a home in the forests of America.
They would naturally look back to their native land, and
think of "Home sweet Home." Though that home has
been the battlefield of the thirty years' war between
France and Germany. During that time it was ravaged
of its wealth and beauty. Yet there was some attraction
and beauty which the armies could not move nor destroy,
the mighty mountains. As they looked to the southeast,
the northeast, or the northwest, they could see the lofty
Alps; looming up in their grandeur and attractiveness;
peak after peak, ranging from 3000 to about 10,000 feet
above the sea level.

They would think of their childhood, early manhood
and early womanhood; realizing the thought of home, of
"yes, my native land, I love thee."

War between the Germans on the one side, and the
French and English on the other side, is now raging with
terrible slaughter on the same battlefield (September 1,


I have been gathering historic fragments relating to
Freeds in this country, and the ancestors of our family in
this country for more than thirty years. As I am past
fourscore years old, it seems time to arrange and connect
these fragments, so as to give you a brief history, of both
male and female ancestors and descendants of the Freed
family and the relations on the mother's side.

To collect these records and traditions is not an easy
matter; as our ancestors kept no church record, and family
records are scarce of the early settlers. From this you
will realize that the task is not an easy one to perform;
and the account may at times be subject to criticism.

My aim is to give all the families of the name Freed as
they arrived in this country. Some of them are not
related to us; to the best of my knowledge, apparently,
they all came from Bavaria. I will give them in order
with their arrival in this country.

The first of them were Paul Freed, John Freed and Paul
Freed, Jr. I take it for granted that it was the father and
two sons and their families. They arrived in Philadel-
phia about 1727 or soon after. Settled in Germantown,
where Paul Freed was naturalized in 1729 or 1730. They
must have been here a few years before that time.

They next settled in Skippack, where Paul Freed owned
100 acres of land in 1729.

It will not be out of place to state right here that on
February 22, 1702, a patent was granted to Matthias
Van-Bebber for a tract of land of 6166 acres; recorded in
Book A, Vol. 11, page 463, in Philadelphia, Pa. This being
the southeast half of Skippack township, Montgomery Co.,
Pa. Mr. Van-Bebber sold this in small tracts or farms to
suit purchasers.


In 1734 all the Freeds owned land of said tract; and
lived on them.

I failed to find any record of the death of Paul Freed, Sr.,
or where he is buried. The most likely place is the German-
town Mennonite meeting-house; the grave is not marked.

Paul Freed, Jr. had one daughter. She married Jacob

Grater. Paul Freed died about . His will is

dated . He appointed Jacob Grater, his son-in-law,

executor of his estate.

John Freed had five children: Henry, Peter, John,
Catharine and Mary. He died December 21, 1744, aged
62 years, and is buried at the Lower Skippack Mennonite
meeting-house. He left a lengthy will, and his son John
as executor. The widow and the following heirs are
mentioned in it:

Henry Freed and Anna his wife, of Rockhill, Bucks
Co., Pa.

Peter Freed and Barbara his wife, of Lower Salford,
Montgomery Co., Pa.

Jacob Kinsey and Catharine Freed his wife, of Rockhill,
Bucks Co., Pa.

Peter Kulp and Mary Freed his wife, of Vincent, Chester
Co., Pa.

John Freed and Mary his wife, of Skippack, Mont-
gomery Co., Pa., the executor.

John Freed and Paul Freed, Jr. were married before
they came to this country, shown by arithmetical cal-
culation. They came to America about 1727, seventeen
years before John died (1744), 62 years old. The children
are all grown and married.

Peter Freed married Barbara Reiff, daughter of Hans
Reiff of Lower Salford township, Montgomery Co.,


Pa. They settled in that township, engaged in farming
and land speculating, to which I will refer hereafter. They
lived happily together until 1773 when his wife died. She
is buried in the cemetery connected with the Mennonite
meeting-house in Lower Salford township, Montgomery
Co., Pa.

He was born in 1714 and died in 1790, aged 76 years,
and is buried beside his wife.

His will is dated October 29, 1784. He chose his two
sons-in-law (David Longaker and John Bean) his executors.
Gabriel Schuler, Joseph Alderfer and John Bergey wit-
nesses. His estate was divided into eleven shares, ten
shares to his living children, and one share to the two
children of his deceased son Abraham, who is buried on
Dyer's Hill, Bucks Co., Pa.

Subsequently he added a codicil to the will in which he
bequeathed to his daughter Elizabeth £50 extra, and to
his daughter Catharine £25 for their faithful attention in
his old age. He also bequeathed £25 to the Mennonite
meeting of Lower Salford, and the same amount to the
Skippack Mennonite meeting for the use of the poor.
According to the will there must have been eleven children.

In those early days the spirit of land speculating pre-
vailed to a certain extent among the farming community.
Peter Freed was no exception to this activity. On March
26, 1746, he bought of Hans Reiff 246 acres, situated in
Lower Salford township, Montgomery Co., Pa., for £280.
In 1756 be bought of Jacob Clemmer 98 acres, for which
he paid £29,8, and owned it 19 years; then sold it back to
its previous owner (Mr. Clemmer) for £470, an advance
of £172. This and future transactions show his business
qualifications. After this sale he bought 215 acres of


John Schuler, of Upper Hanover township, located below
Harleysville, Montgomery Co., Pa. This property lately
belonged to the Alderfers. This property he divided,
cutting off 115 acres for his son John, who resided on it
eleven years without succeeding in business financially.
Joseph Wismer held a judgment note for £800 against the
property which he foreclosed, and Sheriff Zebulon Pott
sold the property on the fifth day of June, 1787 to Joseph
Wismer for £575.

After this John Freed is lost to historians, at least I
failed to find any record of him after that time.

Peter and Barbara Reiff Freed had another son Abraham

who was married and had two children, a son, Henry,

and a daughter; she married and lived in Norristown.

Abraham Freed lived near Fountainville, Bucks Co.,
Pa., where he died December 21, 1772, aged 32 years. He
is buried on Dyer's Hill in an old dilapidated cemetery.
His grave is marked with a good marble headstone, with
the following inscription on it :

Wie wohl ists meinem leib
Noch ausgestandnen lieden;
Wie wohl ists meiner seel,
In yener himmelsfreuden.

His widow married a Mr. Swartzlander for her second
husband. Some of their descendants are living in Doyles-
town, Bucks Co., Pa.

Henry Freed, son of Abraham Freed, lived above Line
Lexington, was married, had two sons and three daughters.
One son, named Michael, went to Ohio where he stayed a
while, then returned and settled about Harleysville, and
married Sarah Cassel, daughter of Yellis Cassel. Occu-
pation, machinist. Members of the Dunkers Church.

Their children are :


MICHAEL FREED, married Sarah Cassel, born, Feb-
ruary 15, 1817. Children:

1. Joel Freed, born, March 6, 1845; married Mary

B. Buchert, January 13, 1863; married second,
Anna K. Cassel, daughter of Rev. Henry B.
Cassel, November 26, 1870.

2. Mary Freed, born, April 23, 1846; married

Moses Gottshall, April 21, 1866.

3. Aaron Freed, born, March 17, 1848; married

Mary E. Binder, May 4, 1872.

4. Hannah Freed, born, January 19, 1850; married

William Isett, November 11, 1871.

5. Levi Freed, born, July 11, 1851; married Ellen

Kerper, July 27, 1872.

6. Samuel Freed, born, September 30, 1852; married

Mary Isett, October 13, 1877.

7. Yellis Freed, born, March 23, 1854; married

Elizabeth Detweiler, May 27, 1876.

8. Henry C. Freed, born, May 25, 1856; married

Rachel Plush in 1876. She died and he married
again, January 8, 1880.

9. Sarah Freed, born, January 26, 1858; died, Janu-

ary 18, 1863.

1. Joel Freed, children:

Mary B. Freed, born, January 21, 1870; died,
August 4, 1870.

Henry B. Freed, born, July 21, 1872; died, Sep-
tember 1, 1873.

Michael C. Freed, born, March 20, 1874.

Samuel C. Freed, born, June 11, 1877.

2. Mary Freed, children:

William Gottshall, born, April 10, 1868.
Samuel Gottshall, born, February 21, 1869.
Michael Gottshall, born, May 2, 1870.
Isaac Gottshall, born, February 27, 1872.
Henry Gottshall, born, November 17, 1873.


Sarah Gottshall, born, December 26, 1874.
Mary Gottshall, born, February 6, 1876.
Emma Gottshall, born, May 3, 1878.
Reinhart Gottshall, born, December 30, 1880.

3. Aaron Freed, children:

Sarah E. Freed, born, January 10, 1873.
Morris A. Freed, born, June 15, 1877.

4. Hannah Freed, children:

John Isett, born, September 4, 1872.

Sarah Isett, born, May 9, 1874.

Augusta C. Isett, born, September 21, 1875.

Mary Isett, born, December 19, 1876.

Gertrude Isett, born, July 3, 1879.

William Isett, born, June 7, 1880.

Ella Isett, born, July 7, 1881.

Clement Isett, born, September 6, 1882.

Pearl Isett, born, July 20, 1884.

Emma Isett, born, April 27, 1888.

5. Levi Freed, children:

William Freed, born, October 21, 1873.
Henry Freed, born, December 17, 1876.
George K. Freed, born, February 10, 1884.

6. Samuel Freed, children:

Gratia I. Freed, born, May 20, 1879.

J. Garfield Freed, born, February 9, 1881.

Esther J. Freed, born, June 24, 1884.

7. Yellis Freed, children:

Naomi D. Freed, born, September 30, 1879.
Mary D. Freed, born, October 18, 1880.
Norman D. Freed, born, 1887.

Time and space will not allow us to dwell longer on the
Paul Freed family. We will turn to later arrivals.

August 1, 1747, landed in Philadelphia the ship "Bi-
lander Vernon" from Rotterdam, late from Leith, Scot-
land, Thomas Ricks, master. Among the passengers came


John Freed or Hans Friedt and my great-grandfather from
the Palatinate, or more definitely, from Bavaria. When
he was about 21 years old, he settled in the neighborhood
of Quakertown, Bucks Co., married Susan Detweiler. On
the tenth day of June, 1769, they bought of Jacob Grove
and Frances Grove, his wife, 130 acres of land and the
hotel at what is now Franconia Square, for £700. They
kept the hotel there during the Revolutionary War.
After the battle of German town, the wounded were taken
on wagons to the hospital in Bethlehem ; in this battle the
Americans lost more than 1000 in killed, wounded, prison-
ers and missing. The battle took place on the third day
of October 1777 and the wounded were most likely moved
the next day. Going up the Allentown road they stayed
all night at Freed's hotel, leaving the wounded in the
wagons. The next morning puddles of blood were under
the wagons, and the groaning of the sufferers was heart-
rending. I think I was told that the dogs did lick the
blood. We will later on write more of John Freed and his

We will turn to the arrival of Christian Freed, August
24, 1750, on the ship "Brothers," in charge of Captain
Muir, from Rotterdam, late from Cowes. I have no
further record of him.

JACOB FREED arrived in Philadelphia September 23,
1752. Also from Rotterdam, Holland, late from Palatine
(Bavaria). He settled in the neighborhood of Quakertown,
and was a brother to John Freed ; to him we will refer later

September 19, 1752 arrived another Jacob Freed from
Amsterdam, Holland. This Jacob Freed I think was the
father of John and Jacob Freed. My uncle Joseph F.


Freed, left some writings, stating that he gathered from
some old documents, that his great-grandfather, which
would be the father of John and Jacob, that he lived near
Bethlehem and that he had other children, and that some
of them moved to the western part of Pennsylvania.
From this I gather that the western Pennsylvania Freeds
descend from the same ancestors that the eastern Pennsyl-
vania do. Whether more than one went west is yet un-
certain; the future may give us more light on the subject.
There was a sister, married to Abraham Rieser. They
visited my grandfather, who had a young peach tree with
two peaches on it, which he showed to Mr. Rieser, being
proud of the fine fruit, thinking some day to taste its fine
flavor, but his guest put out his hand to pluck them.
Stop, said grandfather, they are not ripe, to which the
guest replied, I guess I won't get them any better, and ate
them. This seemed somewhat comic, though mortifying
to grandfather.

Arrived October 2, 1749. Freed sick. No further




Born January 2, 1834, on a 130-acre farm of John D.
Freed, his grandfather, above Moorwood. When ten
years old his mother died. At an early age he learned the
shoemaker's trade at Samuel Gehman's, on part of old
farm. His health was none too good so he frequently
shifted his work. Several terms were put in at Freeland
Seminary. Schools in Franconia, Perkiomen and Milford
were taught by him. A change to the open air being
recommended he joined his uncle, Samuel Gottshall, in
surveying in Michigan for Samuel Geil, the map publisher.
He made several such surveying trips, but they were
interrupted by "Ague."

In September 1859, he married Amanda Seese of Plum-
stead, Bucks Co., Pa. This family was blessed with but
one child, Ida May Morris, who on the death of her mother
in 1893, made a home for her father till her death in 1913.
Her one son John Freed Morris, was the only descendant
of Isaac G. Freed at his death in 1918.

Isaac G. Freed was connected with a variety of interests.
In 1862 he took his father's interest in the lumber yard of
E. K. Freed & Co., North Wales. In 1863 he sold out,
went into the hardware business nearby. He here became
North Wales' first postmaster. With several interruptions

Isaac G. Freed, North Wales, Pa.



he was in the hardware business in Keppler building about
twenty years.

In 1872 he took a course in theology at Crozier
Seminary; received permission to preach but never asked
for ordination.

He held office of burgess, secretary of school board,
clerk of council, borough surveyor and various other
offices which showed his willingness as well as appreciation
of neighbors for his services.

After spending 50 years in gathering historical data for
the "Freed Family History," he called them together in
reunion in order to finish the book. However, at the age
of 86 he had not completed the work and it becomes the
duty of other hands to take up where he left off.

I. K. Freed,

Philadelphia, Pa.



It is but natural that we inquire into the cause of the
removal of our ancestors from their fixed abode, their
home and all that that implies, into the new home in the
unknown country beyond the great sea. The fact that
Wm. Penn told them about this goodly land where peace
and plenty prevailed and personally invited and urged
them to come hither is not, nor was then, a sufficient
answer. The wiles of real estate boomers and promoters
were known even then, even there. We must look else-
where : Conditions at home were not agreeable, they were

The causes, remote and immediate: Christendom, or
rather civilization, was being "born again" out of a long
death, the "Dark Ages." Births are usually painful; this
was no exception. John Huss and his followers had
sounded the alarum. More recently and locally the birth
of twins in Germany in 1485 (Martin Luther and the
Printing Press) aided the travail. In 1492 another twin
factor was discovered, viz.: America and Menno Simons,
both of which proclaimed hope through tribulation.

The 30-year war, 1618-1648 wrought great havoc in
protestant countries of Europe and the war of 1684-1713,
which followed the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, which
had guaranteed protestant tolerance was very disastrous to
that country which our ancestors then called their home.


The Freeds undoubtedly came either direct or indirect
from the principality or state of the Palatinate, or Pfaltz,
in Germany. It comprised then a territory lying on both
sides of the river Rhine and included territory since 1820
belonging to Bavaria, Baden, France. There was an upper
Bavarian Pfaltz and a lower or Rhine Pfaltz. The Capitol
Heidelberg, till 1720, then Manheim. The high German
(Pennsylvania Dutch) language prevailed. The Pfaltz is
now a county of Bavaria.

The Palatinate existed as an independent country from
1300 to 1812 and was intended as its successors and neigh-
bors as "buffers" between hostile countries, Germany and
France. The story of the rape of the Belgians in 1914 is
to us Palatines but the repetition of numerous older ones.

Wars were frequent, whilst generally neither disastrous
nor decisive, were unbearable to the Palatines, as at
present to the Belgians.

In 1559 the state embraced Calvinism. The greatest
harmony existed between the followers of Calvin, Luther
and Menno, and in fact she became a rendezvous for the
persecuted protestant of all Europe. Lutheran Prince
frequently succeeded Reformed Prince, but in 1690 Prince
John William tried to bring it back to Rome. Two wars
lasting almost continually from 1684 to 1713 made the
Pfaltz an unhappy country. First Catholic France vs.
Protestant Germany overran the fertile fields and vine
clad hills of the Palatinate; not once but continually for
ten years. See Belgium of today.

Second, Wm. of Orange, etc., vs. France, again sorely
overran the fields of these now unhappy people; nor was
this all, France declared that on account of the Pfaltzers
having permitted the French Huguenots (protestants) to


escape through their country, they will be held accountable
therefor. The decreed punishment was that the entire
lower Pfaltz be laid waste as a desert.

One winter's day the French commander announced to
the Palatines, who in 1600 numbered about 500,000 souls,
that they had three days' time to flee for their lives. A
deep snow prevailed ; many died of hardship and exposure,
enough survived, says Judge Pannepacker, to fill the cities
of Europe with beggars, recently thriving farmers and shop-
keepers of Heidelberg and Manheim. Every Pfaltz city
was taken, sacked, and generally laid in ashes. Many were
carried to France to recant, many martyred, some eked
out miserable existences in hiding places like unto the
Jews of old, or our ancestors of the Peidmont Alps. Less
than ten per cent, of the population of 500,000 in 1600,
100 years before, remained at the end of these wars, 1713,
says Prof. Sachse.

The winter of 1708-9 was an extreme one. Not only as
to climate, but otherwise, says Pastor Weiser, an American
writer of that period. 30,000 Germans, mostly Palatines,
left their homes in the Rhine land on invitation of Queen
Ann, for London. Many of these, for the time being, took
the place of the English soldier on the farm and in the shop.
Many changed their diet from sauer kraut to potatoes,
having been sent to Ireland. Most of these later found
their way to America; mostly to Pennsylvania.

You will surmise that religious persecution and its
resulting industrial conditions were the main cause of this
unprecedented migration. A minor incentive undoubtedly
was the stories of great opportunity in the new world,
which from time to time reached the home folks.

Says Hans to Jacob: "In America hoere ich ist zeit geld


wert." Says Jacob, "Oi Heber Hans, da lass uns snell hin
fahren, de haben wir im uberfluss," and they went to
Pennsylvania. Another Hans and his son Jacob, having
.heard of the much gold to be had in America, went in
search of it. On leaving the ship after a five months' sail,
Jacob spied a small gold piece lying on the wharf, called
the father's attention to it; says Hans, "Lass es nurren
leigen, younger, wir werden shon grosseren brucken finden,
— nimmer weider."

We believe that our ancestors were of Bavarian nation-
ality, but when we remember that their country was a
sojourn house, and probably to them was "kein bleibende
statte," as they were beyond a doubt Mennonites, may we
not surmise that they descended from the much perse-
cuted "Tanfgesinde" of an earlier period, driven from
country to country, of whom Wm. E. Gladstone of England
once said: they were Christians when our ancestors were

When we remember conditions in their late home, little
do we wonder that we can get no records of them or their
departure; there are none; they all went up in smoke.

Since 1729, only have we any official records of the
arrival of immigrants and these were imperfectly and per-
functorily kept; their nationality, rather than their name,
was desired by Gov. Keith; he feared a German invasion.

That the work of our historians is not an easy task will
appear from the fact that our ancestors, on account of
past persecution, rather opposed than encouraged publicity
as to their history. Their early documents were not gen-
erally preserved, not on account of ignorance, but from a
religious principle. For the same reason church or con-
gregational records are of little use in unraveling the past.


Court records, tombstones, traditions and guess work must
be depended upon largely. As to the present, some of us
fail to cooperate on account of religious policy, these we
respect; others fail us on account of a constitutional im-
pedimenta, commonly called laziness. Others see nothing
substantial coming out of it for them, these have our
sympathy. Others again are not interested because of the
humble though honorable position their ancestors held.
They try to forget it, and would have their neighbors do
the same. Those we hold in the same esteem a Jew held
and now holds his brother who despises the memory of
his father and mother.

In conclusion, let us note that our ancestors were men
among men of their generation, looked well ahead in civil
as well as religious life, and considered no sacrifice of
personal convenience that would redound to the well
being of us, their descendants. Let us study them more
closely and we shall appreciate this fact more fully. May
we emulate their virtues and disremember their short-

I. K. Freed, 1916.



We will give our attention in the main to the descendants
his wife. They had seven children, John, Jacob, Abraham,
Joseph, Catherine, Susanna and Mary.

The history of Abraham is short. He died at the age of
19 years, and was buried at the Franconia Mennonite
meeting-house, Montgomery Co., Pa. To this burying
place we will often refer in reference to the departed ones.

My great-grandfather Freed had six children living at
the time of his death. John D. Freed, the administrator
of his father's estate, married Mary Stauffer. He was

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