About John Jacob Hochstetler, Jr.
See the Media section for other photos.
(The following very interesting notes were written by John Lemuel Wissinger, profile manager):
Original tombstone reads: "1805 H H 11 APRIL" (HH for Hans Hochstetler).
Born ca. 1735 in Europe, probably along the Rhine, son of Jacob Hochstetler. Immigrated to the US with his parents in 1738 on the ship Charming Nancy and settled in Bern Twp., Berks Co., Pa. As a young married man, he witnessed an Indian attack on his parents' home, where his mother, sister and brother were killed and his father and two other brothers were taken prisoner.
John was married to Catherine (circa 1751 in Hamburg, Reading Co., PA), daughter of Amish Bishop Jacob Hertzler, and eventually removed to Somerset Co., Pa. Father of Jacob, John, Catherine, Joseph, David, Henry, Daniel and Jonathan Hochstetler, Freni Yoder and Anna Miller. Married secondly to Anna Christner, widow of Uli Schrock.
John was buried on his home farm, one mile southwest of Summit Mills, Pa. The farm was owned by Joel Hershberger shortly before 1934 when a survey of the cemetery was taken and is generally referred as the Bender Survey. It is also known as the historic Hochstetler/Yoder Cemetery. John is buried in Plot # 26 of this old Joel Hershberger Cemetery on the farm.
John's original tombstone was removed for safekeeping to the restored "Little House" (Grossdaddy Haus) on his home farm. When the house was destroyed by a tornado in 1998, the tombstone was recovered and saved. The present Memorial Marker was placed in 1978 by the late Paul V. Hostetler.
Photos from HHH Newsletter, Goshen, Indiana.
One of the few remaining tangible testimonies to our forefather Jacob Hostetler is a simple, wood framed, house that his oldest son John built as his retirement home on his farm in Summit Mills, Somerset County, PA around the year 1800. Unfortunately, a tornado in June of 1998 lifted the little house off its foundation, taking the off the roof and strewing it across the fields. Remaining was a twisted structure, tipped into the basement.
Hochstetler Family History This account is adapted from the historical introduction by William F. Hochstetler early in the 1900s, published in The Descendents of Jacob Hochstetler (copyright © 1977 by Eli J. Hochstetler), and from Our Flesh and Blood: A Documentary History of The Jacob Hochstetler Family During the French and Indian War Period 1757—1765, 2nd ed., compiled and edited by Beth Hostetler Mark (The Jacob Hochstetler Family Association, Inc., Elkhart, Ind., © 2003)
The Hochstetler family is thought to have originated near Schwarzenburg, Switzerland, perhaps in the fourteenth or fifteenth century. In the 1600s some members of the family joined the Anabaptist reform movement. Because of their adherence to the doctrines of believers’ baptism and non-resistance, Anabaptists suffered severe persecution, and beginning in the 1700s many of them immigrated to America to find religious freedom.
Jacob Hochstetler was born in 1712 in Echery near St. Marie-aux-Mines in Alsace, where his family had settled in the late 1600s. He was twenty-six years old when he arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Nov. 9, 1738, aboard the Charming Nancy. With him were his wife, whose name is unknown, a daughter, Barbara, and a son, John, who was then three years old, and from whom I am descended.
By 1739 the family had settled along the Northkill Creek on the eastern edge of the Blue Mountains in what is now Berks County, Pennsylvania, at that time the western frontier of the British colonies. They built a substantial log home and farm buildings near a spring of fresh water, cleared the land for farming, and planted several acres of fruit trees. They helped to establish the first Amish Mennonite church in America in the Northkill area the following year.
At this time the Delaware Indians, or Lenni Lenape, who inhabited a large portion of Pennsylvania, lived in peace with the white settlers. They often visited my ancestors’ homestead and others throughout the area and were generally received with hospitality. The Moravians maintained an active mission to the native peoples along the borderlands, and as a result many became Christians.
In 1754, however, the peace was shattered when France and England went to war over control of the territories west of the Appalachian Mountains. After the defeat of General Braddock by a combined French and Indian force in 1755, many of the native tribes allied with the French and began to attack the border settlements in Pennsylvania and New York to drive the white settlers out of their ancestral lands. Between November 1756 and June 1757 several families in the Northkill area were attacked, a number of settlers were killed, and others were carried away as captives.
That summer remained comparatively quiet, although a tense anxiety hung over the valley. Jacob and his wife, their sons Jacob, Joseph, Christian, and a young daughter were living in the home, while Barbara and John, who were by then married, lived on farms nearby. On the evening of September 19, 1757, the young people of the neighborhood gathered at the Hochstetler farm to help prepare apples for drying and afterward stayed for a social until late. When their guests had finally gone, the family went to bed. They had no sooner settled down to sleep than their dog set up a clamor that roused them. Alarmed, young Jacob opened the door to look outside and was staggered by a shot in the leg. Realizing that they were under attack, he managed to bar the door before the Indians could force their way inside.
It was a moonless night and, barricaded inside the dark house, the family members could see a band of about fifteen Indians standing near the outside bake oven, evidently conferring about what to do. There were several guns and an ample supply of ammunition in the house, but in spite of the desperate pleas of Joseph and Christian, their father refused to allow them to take up arms against another human being, even to defend their lives. Finally, near dawn, the Indians set fire to the house. With their attackers lurking outside, the family had no choice but to take refuge in the cellar beneath their blazing home. When the fire threatened to burn through the floorboards, they staved off certain death by spraying cider on the flames. Choking on the thick smoke and scorched by the conflagration above their heads, they somehow endured until the first light of the new day.
Through a small window, the strengthening light revealed the Indians filing off into the woods. Flames and smoke made it impossible to stay in the cellar any longer, and the instant their attackers were out of sight, the parents and their children began to crawl out through the narrow window. The mother was a large woman, and it took considerable effort to drag her through the constricted opening. With his wounded leg, young Jacob needed help to climb through. But at last everyone was free of the smoldering ruins. Concealed by the trees, however, a young warrior named Tom Lions had lingered in the orchard to gather some of the ripe peaches. Seeing the family emerging from the cellar, he immediately alerted the rest of his party.
As the marauding band returned to surround his terrified family, Joseph outran two pursuers and hid behind a large log on the hill above the house, unaware that one of the Indians had noted his hiding place. The Indians tomahawked and scalped young Jacob and his sister. Evidently motivated by a desire for revenge against the mother—possibly because some years earlier she had refused to give them food and had driven them away—the Indians stabbed her through the heart with a butcher knife, a death they considered dishonorable, before scalping her. Christian was about to be tomahawked as well, but according to family tradition, he was spared because of his bright blue eyes.
Dawn was just breaking when the oldest son, John, who lived on the adjoining farm, awakened to the horrifying sight of his parents’ homestead in flames and surrounded by Indians. He hastily concealed his wife and young son in a dense thicket well away from their house, then watched helplessly from a concealed location as the Indians put the barn and the other outbuildings to the torch. Outnumbered and alone, he could do nothing to save his family. Other neighbors ran to the edge of the meadow that surrounded the farm, but they also were helpless to intervene against the armed Indians.
After taking the elder Jacob and his son Christian captive, the Indians returned to Joseph’s hiding place and took him prisoner as well. As they were being led away, Jacob picked as many ripe peaches as he could carry and urged his sons to do the same. Then they were forced to a rapid march across the Blue Mountains. When they at last arrived at an Indian village, Jacob realized they would be forced to run the gauntlet. Accompanied by the two boys, he approached the chief and offered him the peaches they carried. The chief was so pleased by this gesture that he spared them from the cruel ordeal most captives were forced to undergo.
From there, Jacob and his sons were taken on another long, exhausing march to a French fort at Presque Isle, near Erie, Pennsylvania. French soldiers from the fort gave the three captives to Indians from three different villages in northwestern Pennsylvania. But before his sons were taken away from him, Jacob pleaded with them to remember the Lord’s Prayer even if they forgot their German language. Jacob was then taken to the Seneca village of Buckaloons. Custaloga, a Delaware chief who lived most of the time in Custaloga’s Town near present-day Meadville, Pennsylvania, took one of the boys. Where the other boy was taken is unknown. According to oral tradition, Christian was initially adopted by an old Indian who died several years later, while Joseph was adopted into a family.
Although he pretended to be content, Jacob never grew reconciled to the natives’ life, and his captors never fully trusted him. In early May, 1758, however, he was allowed to go hunting alone and managed to escape. An arduous journey and many prayers for guidance brought him to the Susquehanna. On the verge of starving, he built a raft and floated downstream, more dead than alive. When his raft passed Fort Augusta at present-day Shamokin, he was spotted and pulled from the river by British soldiers. Colonel James Burd took him on horseback to Carlisle, Pennslvania, where he was interrogated by Colonel Henry Bouquet about the activities and locations of the French. Released by the British, Jacob traveled to Fort Harris, now Harrisburg, and from there he was finally able to return home.
At the end of the French and Indian War, the peace treaty with the Indian tribes provided for the return of all white captives to their families. Little came of this agreement, however, and on August 13, 1762, Jacob petitioned the governor for the return of his sons. After considerable negotiations with Indian tribal leaders to secure the return of all the white captives, Joseph was returned to his father in 1763 or 1764. Christian did not return until late summer 1765. As was common for Whites who were adopted into Indian families, both were initially reluctant to return to white society. For the rest of his life Joseph continued to visit his Indian family to hunt and to join in their sports. Christian had the greatest difficulty reconciling to the ways of the Whites. Eventually, however, he married, was converted, and joined the Tunker Church (Church of the Brethren). In time he became a preacher.
___________ -------------------- There is a whole book about John Jacob Hochstetler - he was Amish born in Guiggisguage Switzerland - His wife was French. Lived in NorthKill, Berks, PA - Lancaster - moved to Ohio after massacre. -------------------- Possible Name Change to "Hostetler". -------------------- Age 3 when he came to this country with his father. Will dated March 15, 1805 and was registered APril 15, 1805. He moved from Berks County, PA to Somerset County about December 1784. Amish. He may have been the minister of the church there.
According to the Jonathan and Katie Miller Eash Family Genealogy (Wilbur Hostetler, 1978):
John Jacob Hochstetler, Jr.'s Timeline
November 9, 1738
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
came over on the "Charming Nancy" which docked in Philadelphia on Nov. 9, 1738.
IMMIGRATION TO AMERICA
The 1912 book entitled "Descendants of Jacob Hochstetler" indicates that our Jacob Hochstetler came to Philadelphia on a ship named the "Harle" in 1736, and that conclusion was based on the best information that the author and historian, Harvey Hostetler, had access to at that time. For over 50 years no one has ever questioned this presumption.
Then, in the 1970s Virgil Miller, who has conducted extensive Swiss and colonial family historical studies, raised some questions about this arrival. He considered the date and the ship questionable but since family historian Paul V. Hostetler (grandson of the 1912 historian and author) defended his grandfather's work, the matter was laid to rest. Ironically, it was this same Paul V. Hostetler who in the later 1970s discovered crucial data in Pennsylvania which proves there were TWO Jacob Hochstetlers who immigrated about the same time. This brought Virgil Miller's theory back to the drawing board and the ensuing investigation determined that he had been correct all along.
738 Charming Nancy
[List 65 A, B, C] Charming Nancy
65 (male) persons over 15 years.
Place of Origin (Town, Province)
Remarks (USA, Spelling Variations, Occupation, Relationships, etc.)
A diary attributed to Hans Jacob Kauffman, written in the margins of an almanac, provides poignant details of his voyage on the Charming Nancy. The translation is as follows:
The 28th of June while in Rotterdam getting ready to start my Zernbli died and was buried in Rotterdam. The 29th we got under sail and enjoyed one and a half days of favorable wind. The 7th of July, early in the morning, Hans Zimmerman’s son-in- law died.
We landed in England the 8th of July, remaining 9 days in port during which 5 children died. Went under sail the 17th of July. The 21 of July my own Lisbetli died. Several days before Michael’s Georgli had died.
On the 29th of July three children died. On the first of August my Hansli died and the Tuesday previous, 5 children died. On the 3rd
The number of deaths and the length of the Charming Nancy’s journey were not unusually great. In a heart-rending account of his 1750 voyage to America, a German craftsman named Gottlieb Mittelberger exposed the exploitation of the immigrants by those in charge and vividly detailed the unbearable conditions on the crowded vessel. In commenting on ship mortality, he said:
Children from one to seven years rarely survive the voyage; and many a time parents are compelled to see their children miserably suffer and die from hunger, thirst, and sickness, and then to see them cast into the water. I witnessed such misery in no less than thirty-two children in our ship, all of whom were thrown into the sea. The parents grieve all the more since their children find no resting-place in the earth, but are devoured by the monsters of the sea. It is a notable fact that children, who have not yet had the measles or small-pocks [sic], generally get them on board the ship, and most die of them. Often a father is separated by death from his wife and children, or mothers from their little children, or even both parents from their children; and sometimes whole families die in quick succession; so that often many dead persons lie in the berths beside the living ones, especially when contagious diseases have broken out on board the ship.
Mittelberger also commented on the tragic lot of the large number of redemptioners who sold their labor as indentured servants to pay for their passage. In most cases, the person had agreed to the arrangement voluntarily as the only means for getting to America. On other occasions, individuals were kidnapped by unscrupulous captains and sold to the highest bidder in the American port.
One such case was Ludwig (Lewis) Riehl, the ancestor of all Amish and Mennonite Riehls. According to oral tradition, around 1750, at age eight he was abducted, taken to America, and bound as an indentured servant to a cruel master until he reached the age of twenty-one. After suffering physical abuse and the indignity of sleeping with the hogs, he escaped and found a home with the Chester County Amish.
An indenture, dated 1767, bearing the name of John Melchoir [sic] Blankenburg, has been handed down in the Plank family. According to tradition, he was the same Melchoir [sic] Plank who died in Mifflin County around 1815. The story of the Planks’coming to America is as follows:
While living in Rotterdam, they boarded a ship to bid farewell to friends who were leaving for America. The ship captain assured them the anchor would not be lifted till morning so they spent the night with their friends. However the ship left during the night and the Planks awoke to the shocking reality that they had been kidnapped. Upon their arrival in Philadelphia. they were sold as indentured servants to pay for their passage.
In his writings C. Z. Mast identified five eastern Pennsylvania Amish congregations that existed in the Colonial Period: Northkill, Tulpehocken, Maidencreek, Conestoga, and Goshen. Recent research suggests that West Conestoga, Cocalico, and Compass should be added, bringing the total of Amish settlements that existed prior to the American Revolution to eight. Of these, only the one represented by the Conestoga Mennonite congregation near Morgantown has had a continuing existence.
From Mifflin County Amish and Mennonite Story 1791-1991 by S. Duane Kauffman, pp. 17-19. Published by the Mifflin County Mennonite Historical Society, 1991. Used with permission.
S. Duane Kauffman, Perkasie, Pa., is retired from teaching history at Christopher Dock Mennonite High School, and is helping prepare for the school's 50th anniversary celebration in July.
This Indenture Witnesseth, That Johan Melchior Blankenburg in Consideration Twenty two pds seven sixpence pd. by his master Jehson Cloud for his passage from Holland as also for other good Causes, He the said John hath bound and put him self, and by these Presents doth bind and put him self Servant to the said Jehson to serve him his Executors and Assigns, from the Day of the Date hereof, for and during the Term of Five Years thence next ensuing. During all which Term, the said Servant his said Master his Executors, or Assigns, faithfully
AND the said Master his Executors and Assigns, during the Term, shall find [and] provide for the said Servant sufficient Meat, Drink, apparel Washing and Lodging, freedom Dues And for the true Performance hereof, both Parties bind themselves firmly unto each other by these Presents In Witness whereof they have hereunto interchangeably set their Hands and Seals, Dated the 27th Day of Nov. in the Eighth Year of his Majesty’s Reign; and in the Year of our Lord, one Thousand, seven Hundred and Sixty-Seven.
Signed, sealed and delivered in the Presence of his Mark X Johan Melchior Blankenburg
Hamburg Banks, Pennsylvania, United States
January 1, 1752
Northkill, Berks, Pennsylvania, United States
Northkill, Berks, PA, USA
September 19, 1757
Northkill, Pennsylvania, United States
Northkill Amish Settlement
The Northkill Amish Settlement was established in 1740 in Berks County, Pennsylvania. As the first identifiable Amish community in the new world, it was the foundation of Amish settlement in the Americas.
The first Amish began migrating to the United States in the 18th century, largely to avoid religious persecution and compulsory military service. The Northkill Creek watershed, in eastern Province of Pennsylvania, was opened for settlement in 1736 and that year Melchior Detweiler and Hans Seiber settled near Northkill. Shortly thereafter many Amish began to move to Northkill with large groups settling in 1742 and 1749.
In 1742 the group was large enough to petition the Pennsylvania General Assembly for naturalization rights, allowing them to purchase land. The group was strengthened in 1749 when bishop Jacob Hertzler settled in Northkill and the settlement grew to nearly 200 families at its height.
 Hochstetler massacre
The Northkill settlement was on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the legal boundary of European settlement according to agreements with Native Americans. During the French and Indian War, local tribes under the command of three French scouts, attacked the Northkill settlement on September 19, 1757. The Indians attacked the Jacob Hochstetler homestead and set the house afire. The Indians stood guard around the house and torched the Hochstetler home, so the family could not escape without risking their lives. As the fire worsened, the wounded Jacob (he had been shot during the initial attack) tried to help his wife (her name is unknown) crawl out the cellar window. She became stuck in her escape and was stabbed in the back and scalped. Altogether over 200 people were murdered in Berks County, including three in the Hochstetler clan, and nearly every homestead was razed. All survivors were rounded up and taken prisoner, some of which were held until May 8, 1765, when a peace treaty between the natives and the British Army was agreed upon.
Northkill remained the largest Amish settlement into the 1780s and then declined as families moved on to areas of better farmland.
Although it existed for only a brief period, the Northkill settlement was fundamental in establishing the Amish in North America. The Northkill settlers included the progenitors of many widespread Amish families, such as the Yoders, Burkeys, Troyers, Hostetlers, and Hershbergers.
Jacob Hochstetler is the subject of Harvey Hostetler's book The Descendants of Jacob Hochstetler. In addition to listing the hundreds upon hundreds of Americans who share Jacob as a common ancestor, this book provides a detailed history of the Amish religious persecution in Europe, American immigration at the time, the massacre of Hochstetler's family members, and the kidnapping and subsequent escape of Jacob and his sons.
1. ^ Nolt, p. 74.
June 24, 1762
Northkill, Berks, Pennsylvania, United States
Elk Lick Township, Somerset County, Pennsylvania
June 30, 1768
Hamburg Berks, Pennsylvania, United States