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it stood. The pulpit was at the opposite or gable end, and was an
elevated, old-fashioned hour-glass or goblet-like structure sup-
ported by a single center post, from which the minister had a com-
manding view of the galleries that extended around three sides
of the building and had each three or four rows of seats. The
ground, 159 perches, was deeded February 14, 1826, as directed
by the County Court, as already stated, by the administrators of
Daniel Fulmer, to John Lose and Solomon Menges, as "trustees
of the German Church on land adjoining a branch of Delaware
Run in said (Turbut, but now Delaware) Township, called St.
Johns." In this building we feel assured that our ancestor, Hein-
r\c\\i attended divine service, as most of his children continued to
do for some years after he died — Alagdalena, Jacob and Margaret
having already migrated with their families to the state of New
York before he was numbered, with the dead.

The present building is of brick, 40 by 60, with a basement for
the use of the Sunday school. It stands partly on the sight of the
old house, but mainly on land (27 perches) that was given by
Joseph Graven for the nominal sum of one dollar. Samuel Garn-
hart, one of the sons of Baltzer, served as a member of the build-
ing committee. A marble tablet on the outside front of the church
bears the inscription: "St. John's Delaware Run Union Church,
April 28, 1867." A small German Reformed congregation as-
sisted in building it, and also still worship in it.

68 The Gcrnhardt Family History.


There are certain facts that will perhaps seem curious to all
who are interested in this genealogical history; as, for instance,
first, the many mutations that the ancestral name Gernhardt has
undergone ; and second, that not one of all the numerous descend-
ants now writes it in the original way. From Gernhardt it has
been changed to Garnhardt, Gernhart, Garnhart, Gernardt, Gar-
nett. Garnet, Gernet, Gernert, Gernerd, and several of the kin we
know had formed the habit of spelling it Gerner. This does not
seem to be so curious, after all, when we take the trouble to inves-
tigate the subject. It is really nothing unusual. The name Gern-
hardt has only shared what is a very common fate of names.
See list of names, for instance, in the history of the Jacob Garnet
line of Heinrich's descendants. I could give many examples
from my own personal knowledge. The most remarkable case
of change of any family I am acquainted with is the name
Ecroyd. The author of a history of this English family, the an-
cestry of which he traces back five centuries, says : "The name
has been spelt in a hundred different ways and pronounced ac-
cordingly." Possibly in course of time the name Gernhardt may
be diversified to a far greater extent than at present. Perhaps
if we could follow it back five hundred years it might be found
in many other forms, and quite as unlike what we now term the
original as any of its American corruptions or simplifications.

Names get changed through a variety of causes and circum-
stances, doubtless sometimes even from a sense of selfish pride,
as not wishing to be known to be connected with certain families,
or possibly because not wanting to be considered Dutch, or Irish.
Often some local or trivial cause is the secret of change, or the
origin of a new name. A man by the name of Brower, for in-
stance, as we are told, started a brczvcry. To distinguish him
from others of the same name he was called Brewer, and from
him are descended many who now write the name Brewer, some
perhaps not knowing that the name was ever changed. I once
met an old man in the eastern part of Pennsylvania who was only
known as Billv Cherrv. When a babe he was found under a

The Gernhardt Family History. 69

cherry tree, and because his rightful name was not known he was
christened WilHam Cherry. A similar case we have heard re-
lated occurred in Columbia County many years ago. The Rev.
Peter Kessler, a well-known Lutheran minister, one morning
found an infant lying on the plank walk at his front door, and as
no one claimed the waif the compassionate divine adopted him
and named him Peter Plank. But no change of cognomen from
such cause, or from mistaken pride, we believe has ever occurred
to any of the Gernhardt clan.

The same general cause that has led to the never-ending
change of language, as the steady progress of learning, and the
commingling and unification of many nationalities, has doubtless
also affected the pronunciation and spelling of personal names.
Consider for a moment the transition of the Anglo-Saxon of four
or five hundred years ago to our modern English — of which ready
illustration may be found in our best dictionaries. It is with some
difficulty that we can now understand the language of even three
hundred years ago. And this has been more or less the case with
all languages. Language is forever in a transitionary condition,
a state of decay and reconstruction, of change and progress.
"Ah me ! what is there in earth's various range, which time — may
not change!"

The best of scholars welcome change of words when in the
direction of simplicity, as, for example, the transition from plough
to plow, from favour to favor, from quartette to quartet, from
Engelond to England, from Esquimaux to Eskimo. Why, if
there is any other special reason, my grandfather changed the
name Gernhardt to Gernert, and my fatheV transposed Gernert
into Gernerd, I never learned, as it was done long before I joined
the family and got a name ; but I have no suspicion whatever that
either was ever for a moment ashamed of the name. A frequent
cause, it is evident, is the intermingling of different languages,
want of education, and thoughtless disregard of time-honored cus-
tom. A German, by the way, is very much inclined to use the
phonetics d and t interchangeably, just as h and o are often used
reciprocally by Englishmen. I recall once seeing a road-guide in

yo The Gernhardt Family History.

Lehigh County inscribed, "Roat to Breinigsvihe !" The reader
will perhaps here be reminded that Conrad Kreider in his letter
to the Supreme Executive Council speaks of being obliged to have
the horses' "shot" before they were fit for service in the army. A
German is also particularly apt to leave the th silent, as, for in-
stance, when he says Soiiss Easton, for South Easton, Norsaiiison
for Northampton, and I sink for I think.

As this subject of the mutation of names is of general and
permanent interest, the readers of this book will appreciate the
following instructive excerpts from an address delivered by the
Rev. D. E. Schoedler at the annual reunion of the Follmer (or
Fulmer) family, in Northumberland County, October i6, 1894,
and published in Vol. 1 1 of the Meginness Historical Journal.
(Mr. Schoedler, by the way, some years ago had charge of the
Delaware Run congregation) :

"In no country in the world have names been so shamefully
mutilated as in America ; worst of all the Huguenot names of
New York, and next to them the German names of Pennsylva-
nia. The process began with the settlement of the country. In
1727 the proprietors of Pennsylvania issued a proclamation in
which they requested the Germans to assume English surnames.
Many, moved by a feeling of loyalty, complied with the recom-
mendation. In this way, besides innumerable instances of direct
translation, many German families got surnames which appear to
be purely English or Scotch. Would you not think that names
like Buchanan, Livingstone and Kercheval are either English or
Scotch ? They are German, however. Buchanan is Buchenhain
(beech-grove), Livingstone is Loewenstein, and Kercheval is
Kirchenwall (church wall).

"Some years ago there lived in Pennsylvania a family by the
name of Fenerstein. Moving to Virginia, the children were en-
rolled by the village school teacher under the name of Flint ; and,
subseciuently, In Indiana, the name Flint was changed into Gun.
Those who are conversant with both English and German can
easily see how these transformations took place.

"I have an aversion to hybrid forms — names partly English
and partly German, such as Stonemetz instead of Steinmetz. So
also it is foolish to try to preserve the pronunciation of one lan-
guage by the spelling of another. This gives rise to such hy-

The Gernhardt Faniilv History.

brids as Steinbaugh, Stienback, Rodenbaugh, Bridenbaugh (Breit-
enbach), etc. If you have inherited from your ancestors the
respectable name of Lauterbach, please do not change it into
Louderbough or Lowterback. If you have become so intensely
English that you cannot suffer your honorable German name to
remain intact, translate it into Clearbrook and be done with it.
It would then be sufficiently pretty to satisfy the most fastidi-
ous, and future generations might possibly allow it to remain un-

"All such changes are, however, a sign either of weakness or
of emptv pride. The person who afifects them is ashamed of his
home, of the language of his ancestors, and longs for that which
is strange and foreign. It is commendable in the Germans that
are coming to America that they should be anxious and eager to
learn the English language, and to adapt themselves to American
customs and manners ; but as soon as some of them can say 'yes'
and 'no,' they don't want to use their mother tongue. Said one
German to another: IVic alt ist deine Fran? (How old is your
wife?) Instead of answering in German he answered in Eng-
lish, saying: 'My wife is dirty and I am dirty-two.' This crav-
ing after that which is strange and foreign reminds me of those
persons who are fond of using foreign words and phrases, and of
an incident related by Sydney Smith. Once upon a time he vis-
ited a lady who had a great many different kinds of flowers, and
who was fond of using their Latin instead of their common Eng-
lish names. 'Madam,' asked Mr. Smith, 'have you got the scabies
scptcmdecemf 'Why, no, Mr. Smith, I do not have it now, but
I used to have it.' 'Well, Madam, the scabies septcmdecem is
the seventeen vears itch." (This is a joke on the English, bv the
way. J. M. M. G.)

"If the Germans of Pennsylvania have failed to receive the
recognition which they deserve, the fact is principally due to the
readiness with which they have ignored their grand traditions, as
though it were a disgrace to be connected by descent with the land
of Gutenberg and Luther, of Leibnitz and Humboldt, of Goethe
and Schiller, of Scharnhorst and Stein."

This is interesting and nearly all true, but, Mr. Schoedler, it
is not entirely correct. It is useless to strive with one's breath
to change the course of the wind. The world moves, and we
must move along with it' — or get left behind. To keep in the
current of human progress, and adapt ourselves to /Vmerican

7^ The Gernhardt Family History.

customs and manners, is neither a sign of weakness nor of empty
pride. To respect and appreciate our German ancestors we need
no more use, spell and pronounce words and names the same as
they did than that we must dress as they did, work and live as
they did, use the same clumsy tools, travel in the same convey-
ances, build the same style of houses and ships, bind our books in
half-inch boards and rawhide, write only with goose-quills, sleep
in feather beds, bake bread in brick-and-mortar ovens, pow-wow
for the relief or cure of diseases, believe in spooks and witches,
and be forever consulting almanacs about the weather, and watch-
ing the signs of the zodiac. If Heinrich and Rosine Gernhardt
have made any progress in learning since they left the earth, they
are doubtless pleased that their descendants have enough progres-
siveness and originality to depart from their own simple ways
and manners, to do better than they have done, if even sometimes
to long for that which is strange and foreign, and are glad to
have them prefer the language of the land as soon as they can
say "yes" and "no." The present ways of spelling their name
vvould interest and amuse them, doubtless, because perchance now
comprehending the universal drift of mundane things, but would
surely not make them think they were for these reasons ignored.
Gerner, Garnet, Garnett, Gernet, Gernert, Gernerd, Garnhart,
etc., are all as pretty as Gernhardt, and so far as mere names can
be are just as honorable — especially to the great majority who
have honorably inherited them, and can not now very well reverse
them. I, for one, shall hold on to the name my father gave me.
Even the name Gernhardt may be supposed to be a mere example
of many earlier changes.


The mother tongue seems destined to become extinct, at least
as the language of the descendants of Heinrich Gernhardt and
his wife Rosine, in a few more generations. The third genera-
tion already had become somewhat Anglicized, by frequent social
and business relations with English-speaking people, and through
the influence of English schools. And naturally this process
would have been far more rapid if our kin had immediately scat-

The Gcrnhardt Family History. 73

tered in communities where English was almost entirely spoken.
While the majority of the fourth (my own) generation whom 1
have met can still speak the so-called Pennsylvania German dia-
lect, by far the greater number have not learned to read German,
and I do not personally know one who can now write German,
or read German writing. My parents still had their German
newspapers and books when I was a boy, but I doubt if there are
three families of the kindred who to-day read anything but Eng-
lish. If Heinrich and Rosine were awakened from their death-
slumber of almost a century and permitted to visit their numerous
descendants, they would be obliged to have an interpreter even
now to converse with many of them. j\Iy own experience and
observations of more than half a century incline me to believe
that in less than sixty years more hardly a descendant will have
any practical knowledge of German, unless it is acquired by spe-
cial study, the same as Latin and Greek are now acquired.

When a boy I visited Lehigh County, where my grandfather,
John Gernert, had settled, and where all my uncles and aunts were
born and then lived, and I remember that it was then said that but
few people outside of the towns and business centres could speak
English, — and in no counties of Pennsylvania were the inhabi-
tants so eminently German as in Lehigh, Berks, Lebanon and
Northampton, — but now English is rapidly becoming the prevail-
ing language, and there are comparatively feW' who do not speak
English quite as readily as German. I was indeed amazed at the
apparently universal change on a recent visit to these pioneer
German counties. It is true I met many who still preferred to
speak German, as if it were instinctively felt to be a misfortune
that the endeared old mother tongue had to go the way that so
many earthly things go, but English is the language of the land,
of the courts and of the government, of the business world, and
of the common schools, and all this, combined with the powerful
influence of the excellent higher English educational institutions
at Reading, Kutztown, Myerstown, Annville, Allentown, Bethle-
hem and Easton, makes it inevitable that this section will at no
very distant day be completely Anglicized. Indeed, even in speak-

74 The Gcrnhardt Family History.

ing German, it is significant of the impending destiny of the
tongue that many of the vocables the Pennsylvania Germans now
xise are pure English words.

It may indeed transpire in a few generations that the entire
body of Pennsylvania Germans will become so Anglicized that
they will seldom be even longer spoken of as "Pennsylvania
Dutch." Many families that we are acquainted with are now
only known to be of German descent by their (often slightly
changed) German names. It is true the Pennsylvania Germans
hold on to their mother tongue with a remarkably strong and
affectionate retentiveness, and that the transformation antici-
pated may possibly be delayed longer than I have thought, but it
is evident to all who observe what is going on in the world of flesh
that Fate has decided against all but English as the language of
the American nation, and that all other dialects or languages
must sooner or later forever disappear. The time will no doubt
come when descendants of Heinrich and Rosine will read in this
little volume — especially prepared only for them — of their Ger-
man origin, and wonder at the destiny that has brought about such
a radical transformation, though the same German blood still
courses in their veins.

Indeed, may we not in imagination go a few long steps
further, and conjecture of an age — and it may perhaps not be so
very remote as many would think — when the world will have but
one language, one system of weights and measures, one uniform
order of coinage, one idea of the natural rights and social duties
of man, one common sentiment as to the justice and conduct of
nations, one thought as to the evil and uselessness of war, and
the one faith that "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the
Lord, as the waters cover the sea." Is not this expectation every
day taking a stronger hold of human Faith and Love ? Does not
the world seem to be gradually getting ready for a great and
universal change — which may come quickly when the time is
ripe? Never in any age did the grand conception of Jesus, ex-
pressed in various ways — once when He said, "Blessed are the
meek, for they shall inherit the earth" — seem so plausible and

The Gcriihardt Family History. 75

full of meaning as at the beginning of the twentieth century. If
the rate of the world's wonderful progress in the nineteenth cen-
tury is maintained, the advancement of this century towards such
a desirable consummation will surely be very great.

As Christian faith and influence is keeping pace in a general
way with the increase of population and the general progress of
the world, a word more as to the world's achievement may here
be admissible. Books of intense interest relating to the inven-
tions and discoveries of the last century have been published*,
but I do not remember reading two mere paragraphs embracing
so much as the following from a paper by Frederic Emory on
"The Greater America," in The World's Work for December,
1901 :

"The fecundity of our people in invention, so greatly stimu-
lated by our patent system, was but the natural outcome of our
industrial absorption and eager activity in all forms of mechanical
employment. Undoubtedly the individual wit was sharpened, the
individual ambition stirred by the consequence we learned so soon
to attach to material success. In his very valuable review of in-
vention during the past century (in 'Progress of Invention in the
Nineteenth Century'), Mr. Edward W. Byrn presents a most in-
teresting picture of 'the gigantic tidal wave of human ingenuity
and resource' which has fructified human effort more widely and
with more beneficent results in the United States than anywhere
else in the world. At the beginning .of the century, he says,
James Watt had invented the steam engine, Eli Whitney had
given us the cotton gin, John Gutenberg had made his printing
type, Franklin had set up his press. We had the telescope, the
mariner's compass and gunpowder, but inventive genius was still
groping by the light of a tallow candle. There was still a lin-
gering prejudice against invention, and 'a labor-saving machine
was looked upon askance as the enemy of the laboring man.' Since
then the benefits of invention have so amply proved themselves
that to-day 'the inventor is a benefactor whom the world delights
to honor.' There is hardly an occupation, a phase of life, in

*"The Progress of the Century." 583 pp. Harper and Brothers. 1901.
A series of remarkable articles by a number of eminent specialists.

"The Wonderful Century." 400 pp. Dodd, Mead and Co. By Alfred
Russel Wallace. An able review of the successes and some of the failures of the

'j6 The Gernhardt Family History.

which labor has not been made easier and more productive and
individual comfort immensely promoted.

"In the long roll of the nineteenth century's achievements we
find the steamboat, the railroad, and a vast number of machines
propelled by steam ; the air-brake, the sleeping car, the telegraph,
the ocean cable, the telephone, the phonograph, the graphophone,
the kinetoscope ; the fire and burglar alarm and messenger boy ser-
vice; the application of electricity in the production of light and
power ; the cook stove, the coal oil lamp, the churn ; photography
in its many forms ; the reaper, the mower, the thresher, the corn
planter and a host of labor-saving implements for the farmer ; the
sewing machine, the typewriter, the web perfecting press, the lino-
type machine ; the gas engine, the elevator, the steam fire engine ;
the great variety of useful articles made from India-rubber and
celluloid ; the fire-proof safe, the ice machine and cold storage sys-
tem ; the canning of vegetables, fruits, meats and oysters ; the
stem-winding watch ; the use of iron and steel for house and ship
building and for roofing ; the suspension bridge and tunnel ; the
revolver, the repeating rifle, the quick-firing gun ; the ironclad war
vessel ; the roller mill, the shoe machine, the hydraulic dredge; the
Jacquard loom ; the artesian well, the friction match ; the use of
anaesthetics and of antiseptics in surgery ; the making of false
teeth and other achievements of dentistry ; the manufacture of
artificial limbs and eyes ; the spectroscope, the X-ray apparatus ;
and finally, the automobile with its promise of revolutionizing
local transportation, and, perhaps, of furnishing the farmer with a
convenient substitute for horse-power, or even steam, in plowing
and otherwise cultivating his land and hauling its products to the
market or the barn."

It is impossible to comprehend all the changes in the manner of
living since Heinrich and Rosine Gernhardt, more than one hun-
dred and thirty years ago, commenced their married life, and lived
with their ten children in the forest of Northampton County.
Their descendants now live in the most wonderful and promising
era the world has ever yet seen ; an age that aft'ords opportunity
to enjoy more comforts, delight in more pleasures, travel more,
see more, acquire more knowledge, and to know Earth and Man
better, than any age since God gave his earthly Image dominion
over all the earth. Every thoughtful descendant may be thankful
that he did not liye when they lived, nor live as they lived, but can

The Gernhardt Family History. yy

well rejoice that he was permitted to^ see this marvelous age of de-
velopment and its golden opportunities. As to the future, the
world now seems full of promise, though some signs appear to
portend direful checks and wide-spread trouble before social and
intellectual advancement can reach a much higher and broader
level, when culture and refinement may become the inheritance of
all, instead of being confined to the fortunate few of favored na-
tions. But, when another century of invention, discovery and
study, and missionary labor, has rolled by, the descendants who
live then will understand the possibilities of social, political, and
intellectual progress better than we, and they can better prophesy
as to the future of our race.


To enable the younger kindred, and future descendants, the
more readily to understand the rise and spread of the family, and
to assist every one to trace and discern with ease his or her proper
place in the line of descent, the following register of the first three
generations is first here given separately. Although a member of
the fourth generation, it took me many months to obtain the data
to compile this epitomized record, which shows how we frail mor-
tals drift apart on the restless sea of life and soon loose sight of
nearly every genealogical landmark. The sixty-seven lineal de-
scendants and the fitty-three consorts (one hundred and twenty
souls) who comprised this first division of our household have
nearly all passed the portal that leads to the land of rest and
silence, as only five of the third generation are at this time still
alive, and these few are all ripe sheaves ready to be gathered :

HEINRICH GERNHARDTi. Born, it is believed, sometime
between 1740 and 1745 ; died in the spring of 1820.

ROSINE FETTERMANi. Dates of birth and death not

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