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whatsoever shall have no right to sell any of the above granted or
bequeathed land from the said Magdelena, but that it shall be
entirely at her own disposal. Provided that the purchase money
which I paid for said land together with such notes or bonds as
I have in my hands against the said Shaffer with interest thereof
does not amount to more than the equal dividend of the other
heirs, if otherwise so much of the interest it is to be paid as will
make each & every of the others equal, as to my farm in Turbot
township where I now live on. It is my will and I direct that it

14 The Gernhardt Family History.

shall be appraised by six honest and disinterested men to be
chosen by & with the consent of the heirs and after being duly
sworn are to set a fair valuation on said land, and if one or more
of the heirs shall take it at the valuation they or any of them
is to have it, the other heirs consenting thereto and the amount
to be divided as is hereafter directed. But if neither of them
wishes to have it at the valuation, then it is my will and direction
that as soon as convenient after my decease that it with all my
personal property be sold at public vendue to the highest and best
bidders, and to be divided as follows, viz:

First, the children of my son Jacob "Gernhardt to be as one
heir, my daughter Elizabeth Gearnhardt, my son Philip Gern-
hardt, my son John Gernhardt, my daughter Catharine Fogleman,
my daughter Margaret Lichard, my son Baltzer, my daughter
Anna Marria Williams and my daughter Susanna Gernhardt my
children & heirs to each of them to have an equal share of all my
estate both real and personal after deducting out all my just debts
& funeral expences which I order and direct to be first paid,
except Philip Gernhardt which to have one hundred dollars less,
and Baltzer Gernhardt to have fifty dollars more than the rest of
the heirs, whatsoever bonds, notes or receipts for money paid for
or to any of my heirs which are in my hands against them at the
time of my decease, with the interest thereon due, is to be counted
and be as so much paid to them of their share of my estate, my
daughters Elizabeth & Susanna is to have each their bed and bed-
ding, and what belongs thereto and a cow or cows equal to what
their other married sisters get & Anna Marria Williams to have
that cow that she raised on my plantation, and whereas I have
purchased a tract of about one hundred acres of land in Ontario
County, in the State of New York, whereon John Lichard lives
on, for which there is no title made to me as yet and certain pay-
ment to be made before the title can be got. It is my will that in
case I should die before the payment is made or the title is ob-
tained that my executors shall as soon as possible pay the money
and make the title to Margaret Lichard and her heirs and to be
off set as so much of her part. And it is my will & I do direct
my executors to pay to my grand-daughter Catharine Gernhardt
daughter of my son Philip Gernhardt the sum of one hundred
dollars out of the monies arising from my estate, before a division
is made with the other heirs, as to cloths and wearing appearal it
is my will & I do direct that they be equally divided between my

The Gernhardt Familx History.

And lastly, I do nominate, constitute and appoint my son John
Gernhardt, Baltzer Gernhardt and my son in law Peter Fogelman
to be the executors of this my last will and testament.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal the
twelfth day of Feby., one thousand eight hundred and twenty.
Heinrich Gernhardt. [Seal].

(Witnesses — Thos. Smith and John D. Macklin).


I, Henry Gernhardt, of Turbot Township, in Northumber-
land County, do make & publish this codicil to be part of my last
will and testament, that is I leave and bequeath unto my three
daughters, viz : Polly Williams, Elizabeth and Susanna the house
that Baltzer now lives in clear of my rent for the space of one
year after mv decease, together with the garden firewood & hay
through the winter for three cows that is each of them hay for one
cow during the winter with half an acre of good ground to plant
potatoes on, and the stable that is by Baltzer's house with the one-
third of the apples that grows on the place all of the above men-
tioned to be clear of any rent only the girls to assist in gathering
the apples, likewise one hundred weight of good beef & one hun-
dred weight of pork to be delivered to them by my executors clear
of any charges and also fifteen bushels of wheat to be given to
them out of my share and six bushels of corn & nine bushels of
buckwheat to be given to them also out of my share of the grain
coming to me from Baltzer.

Signed, sealed, published and declared to be part of my last
will and testament, this twenty-eighth day of February, 1820.

Heinrich Gernhardt. [Seal].

(Same witnesses).

A revelation.
Here was a revelation of great interest. Our almost forgotten
ancestor had made his last will and testament on the 12th day
of February, 1820, and came to the end of his life-journey, for
which he was evidently prepared, sometime probably in April, as
the will was placed on file near the end of that month ; though it
was not until the 22d day of August that the first witness, Thomas
Smith, appeared before the registrar and testified that he saw the
testator sign the will. John D. Macklin for some reason did not

1 6 The Gernhardt Family History.

appear to testify until the 30th day of November, when the will
and codicil were finally proven and approved, and letters testa-
mentary granted. Heinrich wrote his name in German, but the
clerk copied it as it is written in the text of the will in English —

There was to me a volume of history in this document. Rosine
had preceded Heinrich to the land of rest and silence. Their last
terrestrial abiding place was in Turbot* Township, about two miles
east of the Susquehanna River. They had ten grown-up chil-
dren, who, as afterwards learned, were named in the order of
birth ; and one of these, Jacob, had evidently also before him gone
the way of all the earth, though many months passed before it
was ascertained where he had lived and died, and what had be-
come of his children. One daughter-in-law (Philip's wife) had
died and left a child, Catharine, who was also kindly remembered
in the will. Four of his daughters were married, and Elizabeth
arid Susanna were still single. Two of them, Magdalena (wife
of Andrew Shafer), and Margaret (wife of John Litchard),
were then living in the town of Sparta, Ontario County — divided
the following year, so that Sparta is now in Livingston County —
in the state of New York. Besides these facts the will contains
other particulars of interest relating to the family, and gives some
light on the customs in rural life in that day. These disclosures
gave great satisfaction, and were an immediate incentive to hunt
for more "links'"' to construct, if possible, a complete genealogical
chain. Here were a number of most interesting facts about my
great-grandparents and their family that not a living relative was
able to tell me. I was delighted.

Another question that it was thought that examination of the

*The proper and original way of spelling this name is Turhuti, but being
now always spelt Turbof, it is here under protest substituted by the name of —
CI fish. The name was given in honor of Col. Turbutt Francis, a prominent
pioneer, and soldier in the French and Indian wars, who, in 1769, immediately
after the last purchase of this part of the Pennsylvania province, became the
most extensive land proprietor in what is now Northumberland County. He
owned all the land for a distance of eighteen miles along the Northumberland
side of the Susquehanna, from the town of Northumberland to the neighbor-
hood of Watsontown. and there is no earthly excuse for dropping his name for
that of a fish. The village originally named Turbuttville (a few miles east of
the Sinking Spring) now also has the fishy name of Turhot-rille.

The Gcrnhardt Family History.- ly

court records would solve was, When did Heinrich locate in the
county of Northumberland ? x The record of two real estate pur-
chases were soon found that gave the answer. On the 19th day
of April, 1805, he bought 181 3-4 acres of land in Turbot Town-
ship of James Durham, one of the earliest settlers of the county, —
the place is now in what is known as Delaware Township — known
as the Sinking Springs, for the consideration of "one thousand
pounds in real specie." April 15, 1817, after the demise of James
Durham, and only a little more than three years before Heinrich
himself paid the debt of nature, he bought 162 acres more adjoin-
ing of Durham's sons, John and William, the executors of the
Durham estate, which now enlarged his plantation to 343 3-4
acres. It is surmised, therefore, that he; left Berks County some-
time before his first purchase of the Durham property, now about
one hundred' years ago. I had learned many years ago from
Daniel Heinterleiter, an old uncle living in Berks County, that
Heinrich and his family had migrated from Greenwich Town-
ship, from a locality about 41-2 miles northwest of Kutztown, to
some point above Sunbury, in Northumberland County, but the
date was not remembered. It is not improbable that he may have
rented a year or so in the county before he bought the Sinking
Springs property. The lately deceased Geo. W. Hassinger, of
Reading, Pa., who married Susan Gernert* (Solomon^, John^),
at my request spent several hours searching the court records of
Berks County, but failed to find any evidence that our ancestor
ever owned any real estate in that section.

The next thing to inquire into was. What became of the four
sons and the six daughters of our ancestors, Heinrich and Rosine,
and where are their descendants living, and are they all useful
and worthy citizens of this great land ? And where were the
principals of the family born, and whose progeny were they? Of
the three eldest of their ten children I cannot remember that I
ever heard either of them mentioned, and of some of the others
neither I nor any one I asked knew whither they had drifted. It
was soon evident that I had undertaken no easy task, at least for
me, but mv curiositv grew with each discoverv, and there was

The Gernhardt Family History.

real satisfaction in the genealogical inquest. " 'Tis Curiosity—
who hath not felt its spirit, and before its altar knelt ?"

After many inquiries I chanced to hear of Mr. John Shafer, of
Sparta, near Dansville, X. Y., a venerable grandson of Magdalena
the firstborn of Heinrich's and Rosine's children. I immediately
wrote to him, telling him of our relationship, and that I was try-
ing to compile a genealogical register and history of the family, in
which undertaking he at once became deeply interested. He too
felt the impulse of the fascinating power of curiosity. His knowl-
edge of the first family was even more limited than mine, but
for the information I imparted to him he gave most valuable help
in return. These things are here mentioned because I am pleased
to think that whatever relates to the family, and shows the slow
progress in the production of this history, imperfect as it may be,
will interest every thoughtful person of the frioidschaft.


Mr. Shafer had, with very respectful regard, preserved his
grandmother Magdalena's precious German Bible. He could not
himself read German writing, so he carried it three or four miles
to a German scholar and by his help learned that it contained the
very important record of his grandmother's birth and place of
nativity, stating that she came into the world on the sixth day of
February, 1771, in the township of Lehigh and county of North-
ampton, Pennsylvania, and that she was married to Andrew Sha-
fer on the nth day of February, 1794. Here was another revela-
tion of great interest, as it at once indicated that Berks County
could not have been the place of the original settlement. Magda-
lena was, therefore, 34 years of age, and already eleven years
married, when the family .removal to Northumberland County
took place ; and — as afterwards learned — the children were all
born, Susanna, the youngest, being six years old when the exodus
to Berks County from Northampton occurred. Sometime after
learning this the opportunity came to visit Easton and examine the
court records of the county of Northampton. Then and there
the interesting discovery was made that our ancestor, soon after

The GernJiardt Family History.

coming to America, had located on a tract of 157 acres of govern-
ment land in Lehigh Township, for which tract he had not lifted
his patent deed until 1790, and that he sold the same to one George
Ensle, April 21st, 1795, for the consideration of five hundred and
seventy-five pounds— a sum that now seems to indicate that he
had for that day made some substantial improvements, and that
he had selected a good piece of ground. It appeared from this
that he did not at the longest live in Berks County more than
eight to ten years, after having lived in Northampton probably all
of thirty years. In this way link after link of the chain of the fam-
ily history was found, and question after question came into mind,
each new^ fact having its share of interest, but — after all — curi-
osity is never long satisfied. We always want to know more.

Had Heinrich relatives in America ? It is not unlikely, consid-
ering the rush of Germans to this side of the Atlantic, but we do
not know that he had. There were other emigrants of our very
variable name— presumably our name — and possibly related to
Heinrich, who came from Germany at different times to seek their
fortunes. There were Christopher Gerner, Hans Gecrg Gerner,
and Johan Matheis Gerner, the proverbial "three brothers" perhaps,
who landed at Philadelphia in August, 1750; Joh. Georg Ger-
ner, who came over in November, 1754; Christoph Martin
Generdt, October 20, 1764; and Johann Christian Gernet and
Johannes Gernet, October 27, 1764; but nothing is known of these
earlier settlers or their posterity, and one can only imagine that
they may have been related to Heinrich. Their names may now
be so changed as to bear but little resemblance to their original
appellations — and the originals may not have been correctly re-

In Volume XVIII of the Pennsylvania i\rchives, Second Series,
appears the name of our ancestor, Joh. Heinrich Gernardt, — by
the way, the editor of the Archives, Dr. \Vm. H. Egle, complains
of the "wretched chirography" and the still "w^orse spelling" of
the original records — in the list of foreigners imported in the
ship Chance, Charles Smith, master, from Rotterdam, last from
Cowes, England. As to the prefix Joh., our ancestor either drop-

The GcrnJiardt Family History.

ped it, or, more likely, it was inadvertently placed there by a care-
less clerk. As there are not less than thirty-three Johans and
Johannes in a total of but seventy-seven names in this one list of
emigrants, it would seem that the registrar thought that about
every other Deutsch-man must be a Johan. The Germans in
their own tongue, by the way, were Dciitsch, but not Dutch. The
Hollanders, it must be remembered, were the Dufc/uiioi, and our
ancestor was not a Hollander. The Pennsylvania Germans must
know something of Hollandish to be able to understand the dialect
of the Dutch. "Pennsylvania Dutch" is therefore a very often
misapplied name. But no use to insist on repudiating the name
now, as it has become an Americanism as well recognized and
as irrepressible as the title of "Uncle Sam" or "Brother Jonathan"
is for the United States, as "corn" is for Indian Maize, or as the
appellation "White House" is for the Executive Mansion. When
the Yankees call us Dutch we must just hold our tongue. (Fre-
cjuent digressions it is hoped will be kindly tolerated in this his-
tory, since so little is really known about our ancestors).

All males over sixteen years of age were obliged to take the
oath of allegiance to the King of England, "heartily, willingly
and truly" — as each one "solemnly, sincerely and truly" professed
and declared when taking the oath' — immediately after landing in
America, being usually marched in a body to the Court House for
this ceremony. This obligation was taken by our Dciitsch an-
cestor, Heinrich, on the 9th day of September, A. D. 1765, and
no doubt — as the oath reads — "without any equivocation, mental
evasion, or secret reservation whatsoever." As this important
event occurred just 55 years before his death, it may reasonably
be surmised that he was probably somewhere between 20 and 25
years old when he became a citizen of the Province of Pennsyl-
vania under the crown of Great Britain, and that he was therefore
probably between 75 and 80 years old at the time of his death.
It is a matter which all will forever regret that the graves of him-
self and his consort were not properly marked. I am sorry to
confess that not one of their descendants could even tell me where
under the "clods of the valley" their bodies had been consigned
back to Mother Earth. Of this, more anon.

The Gcrnhardt Fauiily History.

It will also often be lamented, as time rolls on, that no one
could tell when and where our ancestors, Heinrich and Rosine,
were born, when and where they were married, just how they
were situated for more than a quarter of a centur}- in their
Northampton home, and how they toiled and struggled to get on
in the world during the trying times in which they lived. That
they were not born with silver spoons in their mouths is sure, to
make use of a homely but forcible expression ; but that thev were
frugal, worked hard and early and late, had few luxuries, if any,
except such as beneficent nature provided ; and that in the sternest
sense they had to "earn their bread by the sweat of their brows,"
is also certain. The majority of the German emigrants were
quite poor. Many were so poor that they were compelled to sell
themselves, or they were sometimes sold compulsorily at public
auction to the highest bidder, just as the blacks were sold in the
days of their involuntary servitude, for a term of service lasting
from three to seven or more years, the price depending upon their
age, the value of their service, and the amount necessary to pay
for their passage and other incidental expenses. These people
were known as "Redemptioners." Robert Sutclifif, an English
Quaker who traveled upwards of ten thousand miles in the Middle
States, mainly on horseback, in the years 1804, '05 and '06, in the
interesting narrative of his journeys pays this tribute to this class
of Germans: 'T noticed many families, particularly in Penn-
sylvania, of great respectability both in our Society and amongst
others, who had themselves come over to this country as Redemp-
tioners, or were the children of such. And it is remarkable that
the German residents in this country have a character for greater
industry and stability than those of any other nation." This is
high praise from an Englishman.

For further information relating to the Redemptioners the
reader is referred to my Noiv and Then, \o\. 3, pp. 61 and 96.
I have the original Indenture of a German and his wife, made in
April, 1788, by which they sold themselves into service for a term
of four years, the consideration being thirty pounds and ten shill-
ings, paid for their freight from Rotterdam and their living and

The Gernhardt Family History.

clothing during the period of bondage, and at the expiration of
the term i6 Spanish dollars each in lieu of new suits, the further
sum of lo pounds and lo shillings specie, a cow with calf, and a
sow with pigs. This couple never became rich, but lived many
years afterward in the community where they had served, were
useful and respected citizens, and their descendants are worthy
people. The affluent Englishman who bought them in time suf-
fered financial misfortune, and some of his descendants became
almost as indigent as the score or more of Redemptioners who
had sold themselves or were sold into his service. But, what
matters this if

"Affliction is the wholesome soil of virtue;
Where patience, honour, sweet humanity,
Calm fortitude, take root and strongly flourish ! ' '

Our ancestor is supposed to have had something to begin
with, and it required, only a small sum for a diligent man with a
strong heart to secure a piece of good land then, and — find a will-
ing wife to help him to improve it. They prospered after years
of privation and faithful toil. I have not been able to learn
where Heinrich found his gutcn fran Rosine. The story of their
courtship and "domestic life would now be extremely interesting
to his descendants, but, alas, it is forever buried with them. It
may be imagined, however — having but few facts of personal his-
tory I must beg to be allowed to indulge the imaginative faculty —
that Heinrich had not far to go to woo her whom he loved, as
there were settlers by the name of Fetterman then living not far
away, in Northampton County. In the list of assessments of
Macungie Township (a part of Lehigh County since 1812), made
by the commissioners at Easton, December 27th, 1781, we found
the name of George Fetterman. Was he a relative of Rosine?
And among the early settlers of Milford Township (also now a
province of Lehigh County) there was a Balthaser Vetterman
(alias Baltzer Fetterman), to whom a land warrant for fifty-two
acres of land was issued August 14th, 1752. In the assessment
list of the taxable citizens of Milford Township, dated December
27th, 1 781, twenty-nine years later, appear the names of Balzer

The Gernhardt Family History. 23

Fetterman and George Fetterman. Might not Baltzer (or Bal-
zer) have been Rosine's father, and George a brother? A ques-
tion, merely !

And what personal property did Rosine at her marriage bring
to Heinrich's slender estate? We can only refer to the custom
of that day, and guess. By turning back to Heinrich's will and
taking note of what Rosine's own daughters received as their
marriage portion, we may infer that she was fortunate if she too
had received "a bed and bedding, and what belongs thereto, and
a cow." We are not absolutely guessing. And this we know,
our ancestors were humble Germans, and no class of foreigners
made better citizens, and none w'ere more industrious, and none in
time became more thrifty. And this also is true, that in no other
class of people who came to this broad and free land to better
their condition was the love and sentiment of home and family,
and of their adopted country, stronger.


It would be a source of satisfaction to describe even the place
of Heinrich's nativity, if we cannot trace back his ancestry. The
famed region of the Upper Rhine, and the valley of the river
Neckar, in the lower part of Germany, formerly an independent
state — part of it now forms the northern section of Bavaria — com-
monly known as the Palatinate, is the land from wdiich the Ger-
man settlers of Eastern Pennsylvania chiefly emigrated, and I be-
lieve that our ancestor also came from this section of the Vatcr-
land. The Palatinate was for centuries the scene of many ter-
rible conflicts, and the battlefield of some of Europe's most san-
guinary wars. The inhabitants were time and again the hapless
victims of the most savage cruelty. The whole country, history
says, was sometimes pillaged and completely desolated. In the
autumn of one year, 1688, the French murdered more than one
hundred thousand of its people, and laid its villages and towns
in ashes. These invasions and atrocities, and the tyranny of its
rulers, constituted one of the main causes of the extensive Palati-
nate emigration to the colonies in America. These Palatines

24 The Gernhardt Family History, s

were in fact voluntary exiles from fierce religious persecutions
and unendurable political oppression.

How (lid our more remote ancestors fare in such direful times,
and did they with their fellow-countrymen perform heroic but un-
availing deeds in defense of their homes and families ? We know
not, and can only guess and ponder. It was in 1750, when Hein-
rich was a lad perhaps just old enough to realize some of the
horrors of war, that hostilities broke out between Prussia and
Austria, involving France and England, and the ill-fated Palati-

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