Hans Jacob Repass, II

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Hans Jacob Repass, II

Also Known As: "John"
Birthplace: Ziefen, Liestal District, Basel-Landschaft, Switzerland
Death: Died in Sally Run, Wytheville, Wythe Co., VA, USA
Place of Burial: Ceres, Bland, VA, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Hans Jacob Rippas, I and Anna Rippas
Husband of Anna Repass
Father of Hans Jacob Repass, III; Maria Repass; Johannes Repass; Frederich Repass; Daniel Repass and 4 others
Brother of Fredrich Rippas; Elizabeth Rippas; Anna Rippas and Barbara Rippas

Occupation: Minister, Teacher, Pioneer
Managed by: Christopher James Page
Last Updated:

About Hans Jacob Repass, II

Immigrated from Switzerland to America, reaching the port of Philadelphia on the ship MINERVA on 10 Oct 1768.

From "The Olney Connection" on http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/.

Title: From Zieffen to Sally Run: Swiss Pioneer Jacob REPASS (1737 - 1814) on the American Frontier

Publisher: Jacob REPASS Memorial Fund Author: Beverly Repass HOCH, CGRS ISBN: 1-879311-05-4 Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 93-077757 In the Posession of Lawrence Dillard

Page: 71 Birth place further defined as: I was born in Germany in the Canton of Basel in Ziffen [Switzerland].

According to page 80 of this book The REPASS'S came to America in 1768 [Page 80]

Page 5 states:

The oldest son of Hans Jacob RIPPAS and Anna SPIESS was born 26 September 1737. He was christened at the village church on 30 September 1737 and given his father's name, Hans Jacob Rippas. The sponsers were Hans Jacob BUSSER and Miss Elisabeth KOCH, both of Ziefen. He was known by his call name, Jacob, and must have recieved a good education for he became a local school master. He was also a sextant at the local church whose duties probably included maintanance inside and outside the church, heating of the building, ringing the bells, and perhaps playing the organ for services. He no doubt supplemented his income in other ways which were available to him including farming the fields on the outskirts of the village and teaching privately.

On 26 October 1759 in the church of the neighboring village of Bubendorf, Hans Jacob RIPPAS was married to Ann GERBER by the Swiss Reformed Church Minister, Pastor STRUBE.

Page 11 lists the immegration information as follows:

When Jacob RIPPAS left the village of Ziefen in 1768 without first requesting permission and paying the required fees an entry was made in the protocol of the lower small council of the city of Basel. It Read, "Wednesday, 18 May 1768- A letter from (The District of) Waldenburg informs us that Hans Jacob RIPPAS From (Ziefen) left secretly with his wife and children and that Governer of the district took possesion of the few belongings left behind." The entry continued with a discussion about whether or not they should search for him and a description of the consequneces if Jacob RIPPAS should return, including arrest and punishment such as inprisonment.

Page 12: states they left with Heinrich STROHMAN (STRAUMAN) and Johannes BUSSER for Philadelphia Pennsylvania in the spring of 1768

Page 13: Heinrich STROHMAN was a 28 year old butcher from Ziefen he presumably left with his wife Elsbeth PLATTNER and thier two year old daughter Anna.

Page 15: Johannes BUSSER was a 34 year old baker from Ziefen and the son of Heinrich BUSSER. He was married to 32 year old Chrischona STRHOMAN the sister of Heinrich STROHMAN mentioned above. Johannes was called before the authorities on 27 April 1768 where he swore he had no intention to emigigrate. Two weeks later he, his wife and four children (Anna, 10, elisabeth 7, Johannes 5 and Heinrich 3) had left the country.

Title: Glimpses of Wythe County, Virginia Publisher: Central Virginia Newspapers Compiled By: Mary B. Kegley Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 86-91796 In the Posession of Lawrence Dillard

Pages 98 and 99 The Following Article was written by Beverly Repass Hoch, guest columnist, for Kegleys corner of The Southwest Virginia Enterprise published in Wytheville, Virginia.

The Repass Family

In Southwest Virginia the name is spelled Repass, although a few who left long ago have changed the spelling to Repaz or Repasz. But they all share the same link to a single family, who in the spring of 1768, left their home village of Ziefen in Northwestern Switzerland bound for America.They arrived in Philadelphia on October 10th aboard the ship Minerva.Like most Swiss, the Repasses were members of the reformed church, and after a few years in Pennsylvania, schoolmaster John Jacob Repass became an active lay minister of the church, playing an integral part in the establishment of new churches along the frontier areas of Pennsylvania,Northern Virginia, and in Wythe County with the German "Union" Churches(jointly owned by the Luterans and Reformed) of St. John's, St. Paul's, Zion and probably Kimberling. In 1790, he performed the first marriage recorded for Wythe County. The contracting parties were Aleander Smyth,namesake of Smyth County, and Nancy Binkley or Pinkley.

John Jacob and Anna Gerber Repass settled here about 1789, although John Jacob had visited the area as early as 1787. They built a cabin by a spring on a wooded hillside near Sally Run about three miles north of town. By this time, the Repasses had five children, all sons. Very little is known about the older two sons, Jacob and Daniel, born 1760 and 1766 respectively. After the elder brother Jacob,died here in 1794, three of his sons appear to have left for Pennsylvania to live with relatives, while a fourth son, John Frederick, remained to raise a large family in what is now Bland County. In 1831, descendants of the Northern branch formed the Repasz band in Williamsport, Pennsylvania and as a regimental unit, became the 8th Pennsylvania Cavalry Band giving extensive service during the civil war in the valley of Virginia against many of their Repass cousins. During the ceremony at Lee's Surrender in 1865 they drew up in line playing "Dixie" and "The Bonnie Blue Flag".

The Latter brother, Daniel married Barbara, the daughter of Michael Creger, Sr. and lived three miles west of Wytheville on Reed Creek until his death in 1833. He is buried at St. John's Lutheren Church Cemetery.

Of the remaining sons of the Reverend Repass, the youngest were Frederick, born 1774, and Samuel born 1778. They married sisters, Barbara and Polly Tarter, respectively, daughters of Nicholas Tarter, Sr. Samuel and Polly lived in Wlaker's Creek in present Bland County, and were parents of seven children. Frederick and Barbara also lived on Walker's Creek and had ten children. John, born 1774 the most successful of the five sons of the Repasses, acquired large tracts of land north of Wytheville and became a wealthy man. His wife was Catherine Harkrader and together they raised a family of ten children in a stone house about two miles north of the town on Route 21. The Repass Rock House or Greystone, as it was later called,was probably built over a period of years beginning about 1818. As family accounts show, Lawrence Krone, a local stonecutter who lived with the William Felty Family, was probably the stonemason in charge. The house sat on 330 acres purchased from Andrew Brown in 1811.

Early tradition describes the house as being built from material quarried on the farm. The large and strongly-constructed building had walls nearly two feet thick, and was said to be a "monument to the sturdy character of the builder". In an age before the advent of the temperance movement, a large still (legal in those days) on the property is said to have been a prolific producer of whiskey. Family records bear this out. The farm also produced Brandy (especially Peach and Apple Brandy), as well as cider and vinegar. Those items served the family well in bartering for goods and services, a common practice of the time. The Stone House remained in the Repass family for three generations until it changed hands in 1928. It is now the residence of the George Johnstones.

The Reverend John Jacob Repass was 76 years old when he diedin 1814. He is buried in St. John's Lutheran Church Cemetery, not far from his home.

His tombstone was cut from native sandstone and ornately hand-carved in the old German style by Lawrence Krone, the well-known master stonecutter. There is no record of the death of Anna Repass, which occured sometime after 1804, although her tombstone could well be one of the illegible ones that stand near her husband's.

Today the little village of Ziefen, Switzerland, which spawned the American branch of the Repass family, sits nestled in a picturesque valley in an area that displays green rolling hills similar to what onesees in Wythe County. The family name still survives in the Rippas spelling used there since the 17th century.

American Ancestral Home of theRepass Family

Wythe County, Virginia, is the American ancestral home of the Repass Family. The progenitors of most of those who carry the name Repass(and variant spellings RePass, Repasz, Repatz, Repas, Rebass, and Rippas)today were Hans Jacob Repass and his wife, Anna Gerber, who immigrated tothe United States in 1768. Arriving with them were two sons, Jacob andDaniel Rippas. About 1787 the family settled in Montgomery County,Virginia (now Wythe County). Three more sons were born to the family:John, Frederick, and Samuel Repass. The cabin believed to be the home of the Jacob Repass family apparently survived until about 1990. Long ago the property passed to owners outside the Repass family and by the twentieth century had been converted to use as an outbuilding. Today, only a vacant lot and a few remnants of structural foundation remain where the cabin once stood. Itis part of an industrial park north of Wytheville just off Route 52/21 north.

About the year 1798, the German-speaking neighborhood in which the Jacob Repass family lived formed a union church called St.John's. It consisted of a German Reformed Church and a Lutheran congregation who co-owned the church building and property. At that time local records usually referred to it as the German meeting house or the little church in the graveyard. The latter name was particularly descriptive because the graveyard virtually encircled the church at the back and on two sides.

The cemetery at St. John's church covers most of a large hill to the south of the church building. Pastors and their families were allotted burying ground near the first church. The graves of Jacob Repass, Anna Gerber, and a few members of his family are located not far from the south side of the present church, built in 1854. The original church stood very near the Repass grave sites in an area now occupied by graves of the Gibboney family.

The five sons of Jacob Repass and his wife, Anna Gerber, were Jacob Repass (born 1760), Daniel Repass (born 1766), John Repass (born 1771), Frederick Repass (born 1774), and Samuel Repass (born 1776). All the sons married and had families living on farms either on their parents' farm or in nearby areas. The two youngest sons, Frederick and Samuel, later purchased property in the Walkers Creek area of what is now Bland County and lived their lives there. The three oldest sons, Jacob,Daniel, and John remained in the St. John's community near their parents during their life.

Jacob Repass recorded family births in small booklet containing a variety of personal records including a catechism and words and music, probably used in teaching and ministry. The little book alsocontained information on his birth, his wifeÙus birth, and their marriage,as well as the place in Europe where they were born and married. Thisinformation led American researchers to the European Ancestral Home ofthe Rippas family.

The first property owned y the family was in an area called Sally Run, north of what is now Wytheville, but they later livedabout one mile north of the present location of the Wythe County Court House.

Originally the Jacob Repass family cabin was probably a two-story log cabin facing west with a limestone fireplace and a porch across the front. Part of the support for the porch was a long log that ran from the front corner of the porch roof horizontally to the outside wall of the cabin and continued to the rear of the building. The front door had an up and down latch with a brass knob on it. There were two rooms, one upstairs and one downstairs, with an opening in the first floor ceiling that probably once supported stairs. The roof was likely made of shake construction crafted from oak or other hardwood of the kind selected for the logs used in much of the construction of the cabin. The drawing of the family cabin is an artist's conception taken from photographs of the building prior to its razing in 1990 when it was still being used as a farm outbuilding and in a general state of disrepair.

Jacob Repass is believed to have been the first pastor of St. John's union church. He probably served as the primary spiritual leader during his tenure there because no Lutheran pastor came to serve the church until 1804 when George Daniel Flohr arrived. The Reformed faction died out by the 1840s and little of their history has survived,including their church registers. Some baptisms of German Reformed children appear in the Lutheran records.

Tradition tells us that a school house was located at the east corner of the St. John's Church property, the location of which is probably now part of the graveyard. We know that Hans Jacob Rippas, called simply Jacob, in most extant records, was a schoolmaster. One document which survives today was signed by him and reads, "written byJacob Rippas, schoolmaster in the year of Christ 1769." Because of his connection with the church, his profession, and other factors, it seems likely he was a teacher here although we have discovered no records to prove this supposition.

John Jacob was the Emigrant, as far back as I can find per Wynema K (Bowling) Mott. My Grandfather was Floyd P Repass, son Alfred Repass. Any corrections would be welcome.

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Hans Jacob Repass, II's Timeline

September 26, 1737
Ziefen, Liestal District, Basel-Landschaft, Switzerland
November 11, 1760
Age 23
Ziefen, Liestal District, Basel-Landschaft, Switzerland
Age 23
Ziefen, Liestal District, Basel-Landschaft, Switzerland
Age 25
Ziefen, Switzerland
Age 27
Ziefen, Switzerland
June 26, 1766
Age 28
Ziefen, Liestal District, Basel-Landschaft, Switzerland
November 20, 1771
Age 34
Wytheville, Wythe, VA, USA
August 18, 1774
Age 36
Wytheville, Wythe County, Virginia
April 13, 1776
Age 38
Wytheville, Wythe, Virginia, United States