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indeed, "should the spirit of mortal be proud?"



MAGDALENA2, the first born of the ten children of Hein-
rich and Rosine, when 23 years of age married Andrew Shafer, in
Lehigh Township, February 11, 1794, just fourteen months before
her parents disposed of the family birthplace in Northampton
County. She and her husband almost immediately after marri-
age migrated, as already stated, to Turbot Township, Northum-
berland County, as is evident from a baptismal record we found
in the possession of her grandson, John Shafer, which shows that
his father, Henry, their firstborn, was christened in that township
on the 8th day of December of that same year. Precisely where
they lived — Turbot was at that date a large territory, comprising
what now forms half a dozen townships — has net been ascertained,
but it is presumed that they resided in what is now Delaware
Township. Many Northampton County Germans had then already
settled in this section, as already mentioned, and it is believed that
Magdalena and her husband followed some families hither with
whom they were already acquainted.

About 18 1 2, after having resided in Turbot Township eighteen
years, when their son and daughter, Henry and Elizabeth, were
respectively aged 18 and '15, the spirit of migration once more
moved them, and they now followed the strong tide of German
settlers of Pennsylvania that had for some years been steadily
flowing to the fertile lands of central and western New York,
then widely known as the "Seneca" and "Genesee country," once
part of the domain of the powerful and troublesome Six Nations.
Jacob, Magdalena's brother, as will be mentioned further on, had
already eight years before migrated to Seneca County. They
concluded to go further west and finally settled in the town — or

90 The Gernhardt Family History.

township, as we say in Pennsylvania — of Sparta, then a district of
Ontario, but since 1821 a part of Livingston County, about four
miles north-east of the village of Dansville, on a tract of land now
owned by their great-grandson, Franklin Monroe SHafer^, and
which seems likely to remain in the family name many years
longer. The family now consisted of five persons, including the
little orphan niece, Catharine, mentioned in Heinrich's will, who
had been given to Magdalena by her brother Philip, being the only
child by his first wife. A small log cabin was their home and
furnished shelter for years, while breaking the land and enduring
the usual hardships and privations of pioneer life. But the life-
struggle was no longer also subject to the dread of the tomahawk
and scalping knife, as during the period when Magdalena was a
little girl and Indian depredations and murders were common

Andrew Shafer was born in Germany, January 31, 1758, and
died in Sparta, April 2, 1846, at the advanced age of 88 years, 2
months and 2 days. Magdalena died May 8, 1834, in her 64th
year. The bodies of the twain, who in life were as one, lie moul-
dering side by side in an old graveyard near the center of Sparta,
one mile or more north of the place on which they had lived, and
which place had been bought and bequeathed to her by her father.
Elizabeth, their only daughter, was born March 16, 1797, died
September 18, 1816, and was never married. Fortunate it was for
Magdalena, therefore, that she had kindly adopted the bereaved
child Catharine into her family. Henry^, her only son, was born
December 8, 1794, and died June 14, 1878, in his 84th year; and it
is through him alone, therefore, that the Magdalena branch of the
Gernhardt family is perpetuated. He was twice married, first to
Maria Magdalena Kline, August 8, 1820. who died September 10,
1832, and next to her sister, Susanna Kline, Feb. 7, 1833, whose
death occurred June 9, 1866. All are buried in the M. E. Church
ground, one mile north of the first mentioned graveyard. Henry's
six children, sixteen grandchildren, and sixteen great-grandchil-
dren constitute the oldest, but also the smallest, of the Jexisting
branches of Heinrich's and Rosine's great family tree. His de-
scendants :

The Gcrnliardt Family History. 91

I. George Shafer^, b. in Sparta, Nov. 22, 182 1 ; m. Mary
demons, of Sparta, Dec. 28, 1843. He died at Dansville,
N. Y., March 16, 1874, and his wife survived him until in
March, 1898. He served four terms as the Supervisor of
the town of Sparta, and for twenty-seven consecutive years
held the office of Justice of the Peace at Dansville. Once
when spending several hours at Dansville I heard the re-
mark made that he was a very popular and capable officer — ■
the truth of this is evident from the fact that he held the
office so long — and that he had more records in the Living-
ston County Court than all the lawyers of the place of that
period combined. His children and grandchildren :

i. Edzvin Jefferson Shajcr^, b. Oct. 8, 1844; m. Lucy V.
Feathers, of Amnity, Allegheny County, N. Y., Dec. 4,
1874; n. c. ; r. Holdrege, Nebraska.

a. Susan Eli::aheth S.^, b. July 12, 1846; m. Edward
Kelly, of Farmersville, Canada, Sept. 24, 1868; r. Hol-
drege, Neb. One son : George Edward Kelly^, b. Aug.
19, 1872; d. Nov. 25, 1878.

Hi. John Madison S.^, b. June 26, 1848; d. in infancy.

iv. Endress Monroe Shafcr^, b. Dec. 5, 1849 5 "^- ^^^ Myers,
February, 1892 ; n. c.

V. Ramons S.^, h. April 7, 1852; d. in infancy.

vi. Rhoda Adelaide S.^, b. April 7, 1853; m. Joseph W.
Burgess, of Dansville, August, 1873; d. Sept. 20, 1875.

vii. Andrezv Jackson Shafer^, b. Dec. 12, 1855 ; m. Laura
V. Steinhardt, June 15, 1892; n. c. Held the office of
Justice of the Peace at Dansville from 1878 to 1882.
Removed to Holdrege, Nebraska, where his brother,
Edwin, and sister Susan had located. Was elected
County Attorney in 1890, and served five terms, until
January, 1901. Is counseller at law. The following
from the papers of his former home (Dansville, N. Y.,)
and his present home (Holdrege) is gratifying testi-
mony regarding his ability and probity :

"Mr. Shafer was born in Sparta, in this county, and studied
law in the office of the late John Wilkinson, and with Faulker &
Bissel, in this village. He was admitted to the bar in 1880, and
after practicing here a short time he went to Holdrege, Nebraska,
his present residence, and at once began a political career that has

92 The Gernhardt Family History.

been honorable and profitable. The Weekly Progress, published
at Holdrege, says of him : 'The candidate for the office of County
Attorney this year, Andrew J. Shafer, is the old reliable. He is
the present incumbent of that office and has been for the past
eight consecutive years. This fact in itself not only renders an
introduction unnecessary, but it is a most enviable testimonial in
behalf of Mr. Shafer's administration of the office and his ability
as a lawyer. It is needless to say that he is a staunch Populist or
a fearless advocate of the party principles, for none have ever
questioned his political integrity, while he has earnestly and boldly
fought for the reforms demanded by the common people in every
campaign since he became affiliated with the party. His official
conduct is equally commendable. 'It has been characterized by re-
markable legal ability, cleanness and efficiency throughout the en-
tire eight years, and it is a highly commendable fact, beyond the
criticism of political opposition. Notwithstanding his long service
in the office of County Attorney, there is absolutely no reason why
he should not be his own successor.' "

2. John Shafer*, b. Feb. 9, 1824; m. Hannah Hamsher, of
Sparta, Jan. 24, 1850. She d. Feb. 4, 1898. He d. April i,
1903. A Dansville paper, referring to his death, said :

"The genial, kindly face of 'Squire John Shafer will be sadly
missed from our streets. A good man went to his reward when
he died. Although in his eightieth year, Mr. Shafer had been
active and about among men, and it was only a short time ago
that he was in town shaking hands with his friends. He was
born on a farm that his father, Henry Shafer, hewed out of the
primeval wilderness in the early part of the last century. Here
he lived a sincere, simple life, beloved and respected by his neigh-
bors ; here his children were born and reared, to become useful
citizens ; here his beloved wife died in 1898, and here he passed
away, leaving a record any one might envy."

Reference has already been made to the correspondence had
with this respected kinsman, and to the lively and encouraging in-
terest he at once took in the proposed family History. Having
received very cordial invitations to make him and his people a
visit, I went to his place in October, 1898, and spent three days
with him most delightfully. I found him comfortably situated in
the evening of his life, enjoying the fruits of years of industry
and frugality, and the respect of everybody around him. His only



The Gernhardt Family History. 93

daughter had then been dead thirteen years, and he was mourning
the demise of his wife, who had been dead only about eight
months. RecalHng his tender aUusions to the departed brings to
mind the lines :

"There is in life no blessing like affection;
It soothes, it hallows, elevates, subdues,
And bringeth down to earth its native heaven: —
Life has naught else that may supply its place."

His son Frank and wife were keeping house for him and farm-
ing the homestead — the place that Frank's grandparents and great-
grandparents had each wrought to "hew out of the primeval wil-
derness" — to which fifty acres more had been added, making a
large and valuable farm, under a state of cultivation and with im-
provements that indicated the use of brains as well as of busy
hands. He also owned another valuable farm in Sparta, on which
his eldest son, James A., then resided, and now owns.

This venerable great-grandson of Heinrich and Rosine, with
whom I afterwards had an opportunity to become still better ac-
quainted, was found to be not only a "good man," with "a record
any one might envy," but one who was in more than one sense a
remarkable and successful man, with eyes ever open to see what
useful thing he could make, or where he could improve things. In
a work-shop well stocked with tools, turning lathe, etc., he spent
much of his time, as the work of the farm permitted. A rivulet
issuing from a strong and never-failing spring on the farm, that
flows through a depression in the land near the shop, he utilized
by making a pond, at the overflow of which he constructed a
chute, and placed an overshot wheel between five and six feet in
diamater and two feet wide, which furnished him with power for
various mechanical uses. The wheel he connected with the house
kitchen by a line of wire so arranged as to do duty also in churn-
ing butter. A full description of his numerous mechanisms and
inventions would require more space than can here be spared.
Never in my travels have I met a man, who never was an appren-
tice, and lived all his life on a farm, who showed such aptitude for
making anything that he needed on his premises. A curious auto-

94 The Gernhardt Family History.

matic Tally Board, that he designed many years ago for counting
sheaves in threshing, interested me very much. Every time fifty
sheaves were counted the number was registered until 850 sheaves
were recorded, and then the tally commenced again at figure one.
If patented when made, if patentable, this might have been a
source of income, as he could have made it of almost any capacity,
and adapted it to various uses ; but he had less ambition to obtain
and sell patent-rights than he had to contrive and construct. A
Lard Press that he designed forty or more years ago, which was
supposed to be new and patentable, has ever since been doing good
service on his farm and throughout the neighborhood. Another
ingenious contrivance is a Pleating Machine for dressmaking and
millinery work, that he had made for his wife, who it seems was
also quite defty with the needle. She had one of the earliest
Wheeler and Willson sewing machines, and for this he constructed
seven different attachments, for binding skirt bottoms, working
right and left, a wide and narrow hemmer, wide tape-binder, etc.,
which, if not at the time patentable, at least showed his wonderful
fertility in expedients, and for neatness would have done credit to
any worker in metal.

One invention, now forty years old, on which he was induced
to take out letters patent, was a machine for dropping and cover-
ing corn, beans, and broom-corn seed. This in that era should
have been to him a source of considerable revenue, but his ill luck
was to deed a half interest to a man who commenced to scheme
and work only for himself, and this so disgusted him that he re-
fused to do anything or allow anything to be done with it. It was
so planned that three or four of the machines could be attached
to one frame, which would have made it especially desirable for
w^estern lands. His son Frank still plants his corn every spring
with the first machine he made, and the same machine has planted
many acres from time to time for the neighbors.

A Southern planter, a patient at the Dansville Sanitarium, one
day chanced to see the seeder at work, and noting its efficiency
wanted to know if Mr. Shafer could make a machine to plant cot-
ton seed as well, saving that the machine he had did not do good

The Gcrnhardt Family History. 95

work, as the seed would pack, and owing- to its adhesive nature
would not drop properly. Mr. Shafer said that if he had some
cotton seed to experiment with he thought he perhaps could.
Soon a lot of seed came, with the assurance that if he could make
a perfect cotton-seed dropper a fortune was ready for him. After
several experiments he had a handsome model planter ready,
which he believed would do the work perfectly. He was now
ready, hoping and fearing, for the final trial of the machine in the
cotton fields. One morning he received word that his friend the
planter had suddenly fallen ill and was taken to his home, and
two weeks later came the news of his death. Inventor Shafer, as
already stated, was not a patent-right financier, and no further
effort was ever made to bring the machine forward. The way he
bore the disappointment appears from a remark he made to a
friend, "If it had been a great success it might have made me
proud and wicked."

No matter what Farmer Shafer wanted, he had the tact to
make it. Whether it was in the line of cabinet-making, chair-mak-
ing, plane-making, wagon making, coopering, carpentering, black-
smithing, no matter what, it seemed all the same to him. Many
^■ears ago, when in harvesting the raking into sheaves was done
with the hand-rake, he devised and made what he called a Buggy
Rake, — the wheels of which were 2 1-2 feet high, the axles 5 1-2
feet long between the hubs, and the bent wooden fingers 5 1-2 feet
long, — which also proved a useful labor-saving machine, and for
which he possibly at that time might also have obtained letters
patent, had his ambition inclined that way. Once he mentally
thought out a plan of a machine for sawing shingles. A friend
who owned a saw mill heard him explain his idea, and was so im-
pressed that he immediately gave him an order for a machine. In
the course of a few weeks the thing was at work making shingles,
and that it was a success is attested by the fact that it was kept at
work right along for about twelve years. Men do not become skill-
' ful mechanics and of inventive turn merely by being taught; many
who have all needed instruction never become in the best sense
skilled ; but must have innate or inborn ingenuity and mechanical

96 The Gernhardt Family History.

aptitude. It is giving good advice to the descendants of Heinrich
Gernhardt to admonish them to study the procHvities of their
children, and never determine what they must be, until they know
what talents nature has given them, and what they are best suited
to be.

Mr. John Shafer had children and grandchildren :

i. James Alfred S.^, b. Dec. 21, 1850; m. Rosa E. Carney,
Oct. 22, 1874. Two children: J. Carl S.^ b. June 6,
1886; Eva Lena S.^, b. March 26, 1890.

ii. Martha Saphrona S}, b. Oct. 9, i860; m. Dec. 29, 1881 ;
d. June 15, 1885; n. c.

in. Franklin Monroe S.^, b. June 22, 1868; m. Augusta
Lena Tucker, June 14, 1888. Three children: Claire
Almond S.^ b. April 16, 1889; Maude Angeline S.^ b.
Oct. 8, 1894; Francis Martha S.^, b. Sept. 7, 1898.

3. Barbara S.^ b. May 12,' 1826; d. Sept. 9, 1829.

4. Anna Magdalena S.*, b. April 17, 1829; d. Oct. 8, 1832.

5. Andrew Shafer^, b. Feb. 28, 1832; m. Elizabeth J. Kuhn,

Dec. 25, 1856. He d. Dec. 19, 1896. She d. May 28, 1880.
Had children and grandchildren :

i. Emma Rosalind S.^, b. June 2, 1857; m. Heman H.
Johns, Dec. 18, 1879. Five children:

a. George A. K.^, b. Oct. 18, 1880.

b. Elisabeth S. K.^ b. Nov. 18, 1882.

c. Ernest L. V. K.^,h. Feb. 28, 1887; d. Nov. 6, 1888.

d. Herr Maxzvell K.^, b. Oct. 24, 1889 ; d. Dec. 19, 1890.
c. Leon Lester K.^, b. Nov. 3, 1891.

ii. Mary Elisabeth S.^, b. June i, 1859; m. Heman A. Mil-
ler, Jan, 18, 1882. Children : Samuel Ross M.e, b. Feb.
13, 1883; Heman M.", b. May 16, 1888; Maude Ange-
line M.6, b. Jan. 29, 1894; Mary Elizabeth M.^, b. Aug.
29, 1897.

Hi. Hattie Mabel S.^, b. Feb. 14, 1872 ; m. Chas. M. Shafer,
Feb. 3, 1897; n. c.

iv. George Ernst S.^, b. Dec. 13, 1876; m. Belle Sams,
Nov. 18, 1897.

The Gcrnhardt Family History. 97

V. Edzvard Harold S.^, b. Sept. 23, 1878; d. March 31,

Angeline S.^, daughter by Susanna, second wife of Henry,
was born Oct. 13, 1834; m. Francis Ahmire, of Dansville,
April 19, 1878. Altmire d. June 24, 1896. She still lives
in Dansville. One son : Albin Alden Altmire^, b.'^; m.
Miss Catharine Riley, Jan. 7, 1897; r. Dansville. One
daughter: Catharine Angeline Altmire^, b. Jan. 7, 1901,



Of Heinrich's eldest son, Jacob, we have learned but little be-
sides the few facts already mentioned. After finding him men-
tioned in his father's will, several years elapsed, despite of constant
inquiries, before it was ascertained that he had settled and spent
the rest of his days in the township of Fayette, Seneca County, N.
Y., and that he had many descendants in New York, Ohio, Michi-
gan and other states. Many months after having learned what
had become of all his brothers and sisters, there was still no trace
of him, and finally it became a common thing among the members
of the other branches to refer to him as the "Lost Jacob." How
soon a mortal may thus be forgotten by his own kindred in this
world of never-ending changes. But at last a clue was happily
found that brought the forgotten back to remembrance. A corre-
spondent of the author wrote that she had heard that there was an
old man living in Lockport, N. Y., by the name of Jacob Garnet
(since deceased), and wondered if he were not of that branch of
our kindred. A letter addressed to him was dispatched forthwith,
and in due time it was found that he was indeed a scion (a grand-
son) of the long "lost Jacob."

The state of New York after the War of the Revolution ac-
quired a large area of fertile territory by a treaty with the Cayuga
and Onondago Indian tribes, and in 1790 and later this very desir-
able land was laid out into townships (or "towns," as such divi-
sions are called in that state) and lots, and at the close of the eigh-


The Gernhardt Family History.

teenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries there was a rush
of settlers to occupy these lands. Among the colonists were many
Pennsylvania Germans. A partial list of the early German settlers
of Seneca County from this province was furnished by the Hon.
Diedrich Willers, of Fayette, in 1898, to "Notes and Queries," ed-
ited by Dr. William H. Egle, of Harrisburg, Pa. It is reproduced
here as being of general interest to the descendants of Heinrich
and Rosine, not only because it contains tlie name of Jacob Gernet
(the original family name, Gernhardt, is in the church and court
records of Seneca County found spelled in various ways, as Gernet,
Gernert, Gerner, Gernhart, Garnhart, Garnart, Garnet and Garnett,
the same as it is represented by alphabetic characters by the other
branches of the lineage), and all are familiar Pennsylvania names,
but because of the family intermarriages with so many of the fam-
ilies they represent, and also because they serve to illustrate the
mutations to which family names have been so liable, as explained
in a preceding chapter. Many of the original surnames are given
in brackets :

Acker, Jacob

Addams, Jacob

Adlemann, Jacob

Ansberger, John (Ernstberger)

Bacher, Jacob

Bachmann, George

Balliet, Charles

Beal, David (Biehl)

Bear, Samuel (Baer)

Beck, Thomas

Becker, John

Berger, Joseph

Bieche, Jacob (Biegi)

Biery, Henry (Beary)

Blasser, Christian

Bolender, Phillip

Bookman, Peter (Buchmann)

Bordner, Benj.

Brickley, John

Burkhalter, Mary

Corl, Isaac (Carl)

Crobach, George (Croubach)

Deal, Peter (Diehl)

Lautenschlager, Joshua, son of

Lerch, Anthony
Litzenberger, Peter
Lutz, Reuben
Marckel, John (Merckle)
Marsteller, Elizabeth
Mattern, Jacob
Mauger, Henry
Maurer, John
Menges, Conrad
Mertz, George
Metzger, Martin
Michel, John (Michael)
Mickley,' Edward B.
Miller, Ludwig
Motz, Jacob

Moyer, Charles (Mayer)
Nioss, George (Niess)
Nothnagle, George
Peters, Philip
Paffenberger, Daniel
Pontius, John

The Gcrnhardt Familv Historw


Deisinger, Nicholas

Deppen, John

Derr, Charles

Deshler, John

Dreher, Peter

Emerich, John

Eshenour, John (Eschenauer)

Esterly, George (Esterlee)

Farber, Michael (Tarber)

Fatzinger, Samuel (son of Jacob)

Fell, John

Ferst, George (Fuerst)

Fessler, Benjamin

Fetzer, Daniel

Fisher, John S. (Fischer)

Flickinger, Jacob

Frankenfield, George (Franken-

Frantz, John
Frey, John (Frei)
Friedley, George (Friedle)
Fusselmann, J.
Gambee, Jacob (Gambi)
Gamber, John
Ganger,- George
Gaumer, Charles
Gernet, Jacob (Gernhardt)
Goodman, Benjamin (Gutmann)
Gross, Joseph B.
Hahn, James A.
Hartranft, Jacob
Hassinger, Frederick
Heck, Jacob
Hecker, Henry
Heckmann, Nathan
Hilkert, John (Hilgert)
Himmelburger, George
Hinterleiter. George
Hittel, Bartholomew
Hoffmann, Charles
Hofstetter, Adam
Holben, Christian
Holman, Daniel (Kallmann)
Hoover, Valentine (Huber)
Hoster, Christian
Hummel, Benjamin
Hun sicker, Joseph

Pratz, Philip (Pretz)

Rathfon, Frederick

Reader, Jacob (Roeder)

Reed, Wilham (Ried)

Reichenbach, Reuben

Reiffschneider, Philip

Reinhart, John

Rhoad, Daniel

Riegel, Jacob

Reimer, George

Ritter, INIichael

Robinold, John

Romig, Samuel (Romich)

Rothenburger, Jacob

Ruch, Christian

Saeger, Daniel

Sammel, Stephen

Savage, William (Sauvage)

Schad, George (Schaud)

Schaeffer, George

Schankweiler, Henry

Schick, David

Schlottmann, Daniel

Schneck, Adam

Schott, Frederick

Schroyer, Peter

Schwab, Daniel

Schwartz, Jacob

Schweitzer, John

Sell, Jacob (*Zell)

Seybolt, Jacob

Shane, Jacob (Schoen)

Sheffort, George (Schoeft"ert)

Sherodin, Daniel (Sheradine)

Shiley, George (Scheile)

Shoemaker, John (Schumacher)

Seidler, John

Siegfried, Joseph

Singer, Henry

Smith, Jacob (Schmidt)

Snyder. Anthony (Schneider)

Spaid, John (Spate)

Spoon, Daniel (Spohn)

Springer. \\'illiam

Stadler, Eliabeth

Stahl. Peter

Steininsrer, Christian

The Gernhardt Family History.

Illick, Frederick (Illig)

Jacoby, John (Jacobi)

Kime, Christian (Keini)

Kemmery, James (Kammerer)

Kendig, Martin

Kennard, WilHam

Kennell, John

Kern, WilHam

Kerschner, George W.

Kessler, Adam

Kidd, George

Kieffer, Henry

Kistler, Jacob

Knauss, Benjamin

Kohler, Peter

Koller, Emanuel

Kroninger, Sylvester

Knney, John (Kuni)

Koons, David (Kuntz)

Lahr, Henry (Lohr)

Landis, Henry

Langs, John

Laub, Conrad

Stofflet, Ludwig
Straub, George
Strayer, Matthias
Strouse, Thomas (Strauss)
Stuck, Matthias (Stock)
Stucker, Samuel (Stocker)
Trautmann, Adam
Trexler, Thomas (Drechsler)
Weitsel, Isaac (Witsell)
Wetsel, Solomon (Wetzell)
Whitmer, Peter (Wittmer)
Weider, Henry
Willauer, James
Wingert, Marv
Wolff, Christian
Wuchter, Henry
Yakely, Daniel (Jackli)
Yost, John (Jost)
Young, Abraham (Jung)
Yundt, John H. (Jund)
Zartmann, George H,
Zimmer, Benjamin

The precise date of Jacob's settlement in Fayette — then known

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