Jacob H. Hochstetler, II

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Jacob H. Hochstetler, II

Birthplace: près St Marie aux Mines, Echery, Alsace (aujourd'hui Grand Est), France
Death: February 17, 1776 (64)
Bernville, Berks County, PA, United States
Place of Burial: East Annville, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania
Immediate Family:

Son of Jakob Johannes Hochstättler, I and NN Hochstetler
Husband of Unknown Hochstetler
Father of John Hochstetler; Anna Barbara Stutzman; Jacob Hochstetler, III; Joseph Hochstetler; Reverend Christian Hostetler and 1 other
Brother of Johannes Jean Hochstetler; Verena Hostetter and Peter Hostetter

Occupation: farmer
Immigration and Kidnapping: Jacob came to the United States from Switzerland by way of Rotterdam on the English ship Charming Nancy (not Harle) in 1736. He settled north of Reading PA. His story is told by Harvey Hochstetter in Descendants of Jacob Hochstetler.
Managed by: Marsha Gail Veazey
Last Updated:

About Jacob H. Hochstetler, II

From Joanna (Hockstetler) Ladson:

I've been in contact with a Hochstetler genealogist, Daniel Hochstetler, secretary of JHFA, Inc., who has provided me a lot of information regarding Jacob. His birthdate should be 1712 instead of 1704. The ship's name that he came over on is the Charming Nancy instead of Harle. We don't know for sure if Jakob Hochstetler Sr is his father, but there's some good evidence that he might be. If he was the father, there is no mention of his wife's name. I have included some links to the information given to me by the genealogist.




Date and place of birth have also been (erroneously?) reported to be:

  • January 1, 1704 at Winterkraut, Schwarzenburg, Bern, Switzerland
  • 1712 in Switzerland

Date and place of death have also been (erroneously?) reported to be January 1, 1782 North Annville Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania.

not-so-brief biography

sketch by C.Z. Mast

This sketch contains excerpts from "Descendants of Jacob Hochstetler, 1912" compiled and published by the late Rev. Harvey Hochstetler, D.D., of Council Bluffs, Iowa. Rev. Hochstetler

-came over on the "Charming Nancy" which docked in Philadelphia on Nov. 9, 1738. The 1738 ship list says our ancestor was 26 years old, thus was born in 1712.

Making a Home

This ancestor made a good selection of land, which, lay east of the Northkill, a rapidly flowing creek which heads in the mountain and flows south into Tulpehocken creek at Bernville, which in turn empties into the Schuylkill opposite Reading. Before the introduction of steam it furnished valuable water power. Shomo's Mill and an iron forge were near Hochstetler's home on the creek, probably built after the American Revolution. The buildings on both places are located some distance south of the state road leading from Harrisburg to Allentown, but the land extends across the road a considerable distance. The road probably at that time was not laid out. There seems to be no waste land to it, some being best adapted for pasture or permanent meadow, but the greater part is rolling and is a productive tillable soil. It is about a mile west of the present village of Shartlesville, in Upper Bern Township, Berks Co., Pa.

Perhaps not a tree nor a brush had previously been removed. He selected a place for his buildings near a never-failing spring, which furnished fresh water for man and beast. In time the heavy timber was removed, the land cleared, substantial buildings erected, all of which required hard labor and perseverance. Several acres of fruit trees were planted and the usual hardships of frontier life experienced. But they enjoyed liberty to worship God as their conscience dictated.

The Massacre

The Attack

On the evening of September 29, 1757, that part of the country not having been disturbed since the Meyers murder in June, the young people of the neighborhood gathered at the home of Jacob Hochstetler to assist in paring and slicing apples for drying. At such gatherings it was the custom of the young folks after the work was done to have a social or frolic, sometimes continuing until late in the night. After the young folks departed the family retired and just about as they were sound asleep the dog made an unusual noise, which awakened Jacob, the son, who opened the door to see what was wrong, when he received a gunshot wound in the leg. He realized in a moment that they were being attacked by Indians and managed to close and lock the door before the Indians could enter. In an instant all the family were on their feet. The Indians, eight or ten in number, were seen standing near the bake oven in consultation, evidently near daybreak.

There were several guns and plenty of ammunition at hand. Joseph and Christian picked up their guns to defend the family. Two or three attackers could be shot and the guns reloaded before the Indians could gain an entrance, but the father, firmly believing in the doctrine of non-resistance, remaining faithful in the hour of sorest trial, could not give his consent. In vain they begged him. He told them it was not right to take the life of another even to save one's own. Joseph even afterward claimed the family could have been saved had he given his consent, as they were both good, steady marksmen, (their father also) and the Indians never stood fire unless under cover.

The House Set Afire

The Indians stood in consultation for a few minutes and then set the house on fire. The family consisted of seven persons - the Parents, Jacob Jr., Joseph, Christian and a daughter, name not known, also Barbara Stutzman, probably a visitor. As the fire progressed, they sought refuge in the cellar, while the Indians stood guard around the house. When the fire had advanced so far as to burst through the floor, its advance was checked by sprinkling cider on the burning spots.

As daylight was now nearing it was thought the enemy would not remain much longer and the family hoped to hold out until they departed. Meanwhile the disturbance attracted the attention of John (who was three years of age at time of emigration to America) living on the adjoining farm. A few steps from his door he could see over to the old home, which being on fire, surrounded by the redmen and all the family within, presented a shocking sight. The safety of his wife and child appealed to him. Hastening into his house he took and concealed them in a thicket of brush in a flat place about eighty rods south of his house, and returned to see what could be done for those at the old home. There was no telling where the enemy might strike next, hence he prudently concealed his tracks, and on reaching a place where he could observe the old home, the Indians were just finishing their bloody work.

Family Driven from the House

The family had kept quiet in their retreat, beating the fire back as best they could and beheld the Indians leaving one after another. The stay in their retreat could scarcely be endured longer and believing the enemy had all left, they proceeded to get out through a small window in the basement wall. As they emerged, a young warrior, Tom Lions, about 18 years old, who had lingered behind gathering ripe peaches, observed them and gave an alarm.

The Murders

The mother, being a fleshy woman, was with difficulty extricated; besides the wounded Jacob had to be assisted, and by the time the family were all out they were surrounded, were all easily captured except Joseph, who being swift-footed like a deer, circled around, eluded them and ran up the hill, followed by two Indians who had thrown their guns away, determined to take him alive. He easily outran them and seeing them give up the chase he returned to the burning building and dropped down behind a log. It happened that one of the Indians observed him, but they hastened to the scene of carnage. The son Jacob and the daughter were tomahawked and scalped, but the mother, against whom they seemed to have a particular spite, was stabbed through the heart with a butcher knife and was scalped. Writer's note-Fifty-two years ago while Rev. Hochstetler was visiting at the writers home he had related of this incident somewhat more in details. Just as the Indian came with his knife, Mother Hostetler in that frightful moment glanced her eyes heavenward and screamed in her native tongue, "Oh, Herr Yesus !" or "Oh, Lord Jesus."

The Prisoners

It is a tradition that when an Indian had raised his tomahawk over the head of Christian, he looked up, and as the Indian beheld his beautiful blue eyes, took a liking to him and spared him. The disturbance had also attracted the family of Jacob Kreutzer, residing to the west. They came running through the woods to the edge of the meadow, but on beholding what was going on they stopped, not being prepared to enter into a conflict with the savage foe.

The bloody work being finished, the Indians took Jacob Hochstetler and son Christian prisoners, left again in the direction they had started before, surrounding the place where Joseph was concealed and easily escaped him. Had he known 'he could easily have made his escape, but he feared he might encounter Indians on ahead and so thought best to remain in his hiding-place. The barn and all out-buildings were destroyed by fire before the Indians left. The father picked up some ripe peaches and advised his sons to do likewise. He also advised them to submit gracefully to their fate as far as possible.

A Father's Parting Advice

Before the father and sons were separated he gave them this parting advice in his Swiss dialect. "If you are taken so far away and be kept so long that you forget your German language, do not forget the Lord's Prayer." A timely and good advice.

While in captivity our ancestor was never permitted to know where he was, except once when in Erie, Pa., and once in Detroit, Mich. They moved frequently from one village or place to another. In some places but few Indians were together, while in other places large numbers gathered.

Jacob's Flight

The first day he never stopped for rest. He went on in the direction of his home as ascertained before he started and stopped for rest only when completely exhausted. He often concealed 'himself in the daytime and traveled at night. He crossed streams and mountains until he reached what he thought was one of the 'head branches of the Susquehanna, which he followed. Though he never knew whether he was ever pursued, he always used due precaution to prevent being followed in case an attempt was made. He waded through water at times to prevent being tracked by dogs, and in daytime generally avoided paths. As he followed the stream it grew larger and prospects seemed to brighten, so he decided to float down stream on a raft, which had to be built.

The Raft

Having selected a place where fire could not be seen from a distance he selected a dry fallen tree of proper thickness upon which he built some five or six nigger fires." These were stirred and kept burning all night and by morning the trees were burnt through in as many places. The logs were dragged to the water, tied together with hickory withes, or wild grapevines, and on this frail raft the journey was continued. After some distance the course of the stream turned to the right and Jacob Hochstetler now believed he was on some other stream than the Susquehanna, probably the Ohio, which would take him away from home. He must have passed the present location of Pittston, Pa. about fifty miles to the north and a little to the east of his home. The river from this point follows a general southwestern direction till it reaches Duncannon, in Perry Co., a few miles above Harrisburg, where it turns to the southeast. Fatigued now and nearly starved, he tied his raft, and went on shore, about giving up in despair.

His Dream

There is a tradition that he found a dead oppossum full of maggots. He was so hungry that it tasted good and he ate till his hunger was appeased and then fell asleep, when his murdered wife appeared to him in a dream telling him to go on, that he was on the right way. When he awoke he took to his raft, determined never to leave it until he reached the white settlements. Thus, he reached Fort Harris on the site of the present city of Harrisburg. He was too weak to stand, made efforts to be noticed, but failed to be observed until past the place. A little below the fort there was a place where the river was forded when low. Here a man was watering a horse, who observed a strange object floating down stream. He went and reported. The commander at the fort with his spyglass discovered that there was a white on a small raft and signaled to him, but all Jacob was able to do was to hold up his arm. He was accordingly rescued with a skiff. A woman, probably Mrs. Harris, prepared his first meal for him. He soon regained his strength and from here had no trouble in reaching his home. Before arriving at Fort Harris he must have passed two other forts, Fort Hunter about five miles above and Fort Augusta at the Forks of the Susquehanna. From the latter stream the fort could not well be seen and he may have passed Fort Hunter in the nighttime. Taking it all in all, his adventures were hazardous, the escape marvelous, and his whole life replete with incidents worthy of being passed on to posterity.

Experiences of Christian

Among the descendants of Christian there are several written accounts of his life, prepared at different times and by different persons and which vary more in or less in details. Those accounts make his age at captivity about ten years, which corresponds quite closely to the statement of his age made by his father in his petition to the Governor. Some of these accounts make his stay among the Indians seven years, while others make it as high as eleven years, which is quite unlikely, as two of these accounts speak of his stay with the Indians "Till the end of the war," and "peace was now restored," and "prisoners exchanged." These statements might refer either to the year 1762 but most appropriately to the year 1764. These accounts speak of his marriage shortly after his return, and his marriage is referred to as one of the elements that finally secured his consent to remain with the whites.

Experience of Joseph

After the parting, Joseph was adopted into one of the families in full fellowship, or in other words, was made after their manner a full Indian. He was a skilled hunter and backwoodsman, also noted for athletic sports, as Hertzler says in his "Hertzler Genealogy," 1885, page 152, he was respected, and after his adoption treated with the same kindness that any original Indian received. With solemn and impressive ceremony a white person was adopted into an Indian tribe.

The Release of Joseph and Christian

After the return of Jacob the ancestor learned of the events that had occurred during his absence. The Indians had continued their depredations during the summer of 1758. As early as March 15 of that year his old neighbors had sent a petition to Gov. Denny asking protection against the Indians. They stated in their petition that the blockhouse or fort at Northkill was destroyed and no garrison kept there. During this summer, a man named Lebenguth, of Tulpehocken Twp. and his wife were killed and scalped. Near the Northkill Nicholas Geiger's wife and two of his children were killed and scalped, also the wife of Michael Ditzelar. Several victories during the summer of 1758

practically brought the war to a close.

The Return of Christian

One account of his return states that he walked to his father's house, and as he stepped into the kitchen, he found the family at dinner. He bade the time of day and returned to the yard and seated himself on a stump. After his father had finished his meal, he went to the man in the yard whom he supposed was an Indian and began a conversation with him. In broken German which he could scarcely recall, he said, "My name is Christian Hochstetler." We can easily imagine the joy and surprise of the father, who nevertheless found it not easy to get his son into the house for dinner. For some time he would not decide to forsake his Indian friends and make his home with the whites. The childhood home that he had cherished in his memory during the years of his captivity was no longer to be found.

Historical Marker

A substantial iron marker was erected at the roadside in 1959 by the Hochstetler descendants at a cost of several hundred dollars. It bears the following inscriptions:

Northkill Amish

The first organized Amish Mennonite Congregation in America. Established by 1740. Disbanded following Indian attack. September 29, 1757, in which a Provincial soldier and three members of the Jacob Hochstetler family were killed near this point at Roadside America.

This article originally appeared in the Summer 1967 issue of the Historical Review of Berks County.



While many of Jacob Hochstetler's descendants continue in the Amish and Mennonite faith of their ancestors, many more have merged into the larger American culture.

Our bloodline has also intermingled with many other bloodlines over the years which are constantly cross referenced through marriages, neighbors, journey companions and congregations. Frequently referenced are Millers, Yoders, Stutzmans and Kneffs although their popularity is only slightly more than many other names of Swiss/German origin.


The list of Hochstetlers and derivative spellings that have hit the headlines over the years is expansive but to name a few: George Gallup, Jr. of Gallup Polls, NFL quarterback Jeff Hostetler, first baseman Dave Hostetler, speaker Bob Hostetler, author JM Hochstetler, attorney Joseph C. Hostetler (who was one of the founders of Baker Hostetler), sculpturist David Hostetler and many, many others too numerous to name here (there is even a Hochstetler Airport in Fulton County, Ohio).

The Hostettler (Swiss spelling today) family originated, perhaps in the 1300s or 1400s, in the Schwarzenburg, Switzerland area about 30 kilometers southwest of the capital of Bern. Some of them became a part of the Anabaptist reform movement in the 1600s. These Anabaptists, or Swiss Brethren, tried to follow the Bible and restore the biblical church, which they understood to be a believers' church made up of members baptized as adults upon their confession of faith in Jesus and who lived out the ethic of love and nonviolence taught by Jesus. Due to brutal religious persecution by the state churches, both Catholic and Reformed, our ancestors along with many others left Switzerland. The man we now believe was the father of the immigrant Jacob left his native Schwarzenburg area in the late 1600s and settled near Echery near St. Marie-aux-Mines in Alsace (now in France), where Jacob was born in 1712.

The Swiss people, including our early ancestors, first came to live in a Roman province called "Helvetica", which was settled by a Germanic people called the "Alemanns" during the fifth and sixth centuries AD. Due to the passionate work of Irish Missionaries such as Saint Colomban and Saint Gall (for whom the Swiss city of Saint-Gallen is named) many Swiss were converted to Christianity. The territory in which they lived formed a part of the empire of Charlemagne in the ninth century, while in the tenth century Muslim and Magyar raiders cloaked the region in darkness.

     Most scholars consider the foundation of the Swiss nation to have been laid in the year 1291, when the cantons of Uri, Schmyz, Nidwalden (the Forest Cantons) and Oberwalden formed a league of mutual defense against the Habsburgs of Austria which was to become the foundation of the Swiss Confederation. By 1353, our forefathers became citizens of the Confederation when Luzern, Zurich, Glarus, Bern and Zug were added.
     Until about 1100 A.D. most people in Europe had only one name. As the population increased, it became awkward to live in a village where, perhaps, half the males were named John and the another sizeable percentage named William and so forth.
     And so, in order to distinguish one John from another, a second name was needed. There were four primary sources for these second names. They came from the bearer's: occupation, town or area of residence (toponymical), parent's name (patronymical) or some personal, distinguishable characteristic he may have had.
The surname Hostetler and its numerous variations are anglicized forms of the Swiss surname Höchstetter, which is of toponymical origin. These types of surnames were often attached to, or assumed by people who had moved away from their home towns but had become identified with the towns, and subsequently name after them. Many towns and villages are named Hochstadt, Hochstedt and Höchstetten, but the most likely town to have inspired the name of our family is Höchstetten, which is located in Switzerland west of Luzern. The proper noun Höchstetten consists of two distinct elements, "höch" and "stetten". The initial element, "höch", came from the Middle High German "hoehede" indicating "height". The element "stetten" derives from the Old High German "stat" which originially denoted a "place or location" but later came to mean "town" (in today's German "stadt"). Thus the meaning of the place name Höchstetten is "high place". The "er" suffix of the surname indicates "person from", and therefore the meaning of the surname Höchstetter is consequently "person from Höchstetten".
     In certain situations, the name Höchstetter may be of geographic or locative origin, making reference to some feature of the land found near the home of the original name bearer. The word "Hostett" remains a live Swiss word which refers to a "Baumgarten" or a "cultivated garden where trees grow". With this in mind, the meaning of the surname could be "person from the high place" or "person from the tree garden".
     Another hypothesis of the name origin is the derivative of the word "Hofstatt" which is a french dialectic word which meant "servants to a wealthy, honored family living in a castle". As the Hostettlers of Wahlern locale had written their surname many times, through the ages, as "Hofstettler", the origin could possibly have been of reference to peasants serving the Hofstatt of Wahlern.
     The surnames of Switzerland, in general, reflect the linguistic diversity of the country, which has four official languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh (the latter being a language which is derived from Latin and is only used by 1% of the population). Within this structure of diverse languages, there exists a wide variety of local and regional dialects with the Swiss-German dialects remaining the most popular even in modern day.
     We can see the reflections of the interaction of the various languages and dialects with the variations in the spelling of our own surname (i.e. Hochstettler, Hochstedler, Hostetter, Hostettler, Hostetler and so on).

There are also some look-alike names that may have a common Swiss origin but represent different family lines here, in the USA. For example, there was formed in 1985 the Hostetter Family Association which publishes a quarterly newsletter called "Die Familie Hostetter". These Hostetters were introduced to America by Jacob and Anna Hostetter who settled in Lancaster County, PA in 1712, by Oswald and Maria Hostetter who settled in Lancaster County, PA in 1732, and by three Hostetter brothers (Christian, Ulrich and Nicholas) who arrived in 1749. Although they were Mennonites, most of the name variants of their line of Hostetters end in TER versus the ending of LER which seems to identify most of the variant endings of the descendants of our Hochstetler line. More information on the Hostetters can be requested to David J. Bachman, 1409 Plaza Apartments, Lebanon, PA 17042-7348 (or phone 717-273-4377).

Although online information on Hochstetler genealogy is limited, there is an interesting biography of the immigrant Jacob's great-grandson, Joseph Hostetler who was known as the "boy preacher" because he was ordained at a relatively young age. Reference made to Joseph's ancestry being from Germany refers to his maternal line, not the Hostetler line (his mother's father, Anthony Hardman, was German).

Of Jacob Hochstetler's relatives who remained in Europe, we know of a few persons who came to the U.S. later in the 1800s and even in the past half century. These were predominately persons who descended from Jacob's nephew Isaac Hochstetler who was an Amish Mennonite minister in Germany and in Alsace (France).

Schwarzenburg, SWITZERLAND

   The Swiss recognize the Schwarzenburg region of Canton Bern Switzerland as the "Heimat" or original home of the Hostettlers. The family name is still one of the most common in that region today. Schwarzenburgland is an area about twenty miles south of Bern, nestled among rolling hills, farms and hamlets. It's divided into the four "townships" of Ruschegg, Guggisberg, Albligen and Wahlern. Guggisberg and Wahlern each have a "hof" (or a cultivated garden with trees that is called "Hostett") and is recognized as the traditional home of the Hostettler family. About five miles southwest of Guggisberg, high on a steep elevation is a farm named "Hostetten" that has long been associated with the Hostettler family. Hostett is also the name of a small hamlet of farms in the commune of Wahlern, about two miles east of Schwarzenburg. Family names were adopted around 1400 (even though there is proof that the name Hochstetter is found to have existed as early as 1290 in Germany and Austria) so those coming from Hostett or Hostetten could have come to be called Hostettler as settlers from those areas.
   The oldest house in the farming hamlet of Winterkraut, which lies 5 km southeast of Schwarzenburg, Switzerland. The father of the immigrant Jacob Hochstetler was an Anabaptist leader also named Jacob who was born and reared in Winterkraut. He fled his lifetime home in the late 1690s for fear of his life and took his family to Alsace (France). Although there is no definite proof, it is said that the father Jacob hid his Anabaptist brethren from their persecutors in this very house in a secret room under the living area. The room still exists, although it has not been opened for centuries. Many of our current relatives have visited this house and have seen the air holes and tapped the hollowness of the floorboards above wondering what secrets this room still holds...
   The Canton Bern telephone directory in 1989 listed nearly 100 Hostettlers (Swiss spelling), but none have a known genealogical connection to the 1738 American immigrant Jacob Hochstetler. Jacob was of the Swiss Brethren/Anabaptist group, and all known Hostettlers of that group left Switzerland for Alsace and the Palatinate (from which point Jacob continued on to America).
   Werner Gilgen was the local historian assigned by the Schwarzenburg, Switzerland tourist bureau to be the personal guide for the Hochstetler Heritage Tour group which visited in that area in July 1989. Gilgen (now in his 90s) says, "Now I want to tell you something else…about the origin of the name Hostettler. My mother's maiden name was Hostettler. She came from Nydegg, about four kilometers from my present home. She told me, and this is still claimed today, in 1349 the Plague was raging and the population was greatly decimated. So in Aekenmatt (a hamlet near Nydegg near the Schwarzwasser Bridge), there was only one person left, and as a result, only one light shone. Similarly, two kilometers northwest of there, in the hamlet of Hostettlen in Canton Freibourg (seperated from Aekenmatt by the deep chasm of the Schwarzwasser stream), there was also only one person. Thereupon the two persons found each other, got married and founded a family. Because the man came from the hamlet of Hostettlen, the family was called Hostettler. 'Hostettler' is the original form of the name, and the names Hofstettler and Hochstettler are variations. Is this a legend, or is there some truth to it? I don't know, but it seems believable. The Plague has caused much harm here and that is traceable." Gilgen wrote this in a letter which was translated by Virgil Miller.
   This tiny, beautifully preserved church is located precisely where today's detailed local map of the Schwarzenburg area indicates "Hostettlen". It was built in the eighteenth century presumably upon the exact site of where there was a church within a castle that existed here until well into the sixteenth century.
   Theoretically speaking, this spiritual spot of ground could very well be one of the many potential birthplaces of the Hochstetler name. Its existence and curious connection to our family illustrates how integral we are to Swiss history. The area surrounding the Schwarzenburg/Fribourg area of the Canton Bern is saturated with reference to our forefathers and remains an area of H/H/H significance.
   Inside this marvelous chapel is an altar over which hangs a picture depicting the 14 auxiliary Saints. On one visit a Hochstetler relative was able to enter the church (it was unlocked) and found this explanation of the characters depicted in it that were translated from Swiss-German to English. The painting is rare in that it is painted on wood and is supposedly an exact reproduction of an equal painting that hung in the original chapel that was housed in the former castle.
   Local history indicates that this original painting was created and displayed in memory of the matrimony (in the castle's chapel) of Jean Gottrau to Ursula d'Englisberg in the year 1590.

According to Daniel Guggisberg , an accomplished historian on the area, the district of Schwarzenburg historically was a neglected region jointly owned and administrated by Berne and Fribourg, neither one of which wanted to invest anything lest the other would benefit from it (Berne being Protestant and Fribourg Roman Catholic). Due to a chronic and devastating level of poverty, the Hochstetlers and vast numbers of the other families of the region were compelled to move about the land as migrant laborers, peddlers and the sort that often emigrated to America.

   To this day, in the other Bernese districts, if one refers to a Schwarzenburger (meaning a person who originated from that region) it brings to mind poverty, alcoholism, incest and the same type of negative, stereotypical associations that were used to disparage the Hatfields and McCoys of American Appalachian infamy. Fortunately, the Anabaptist faith allowed our predecessors an alternative escape from the desperation and hopelessness that plagued the disenfranchised wanderers of the area…and for this they were sought out and persecuted… 


To escape the intolerant Catholic rulers of the time, many Anabaptists (termed thus because they viewed baptism valid only when a conscious declaration of faith was made [therefore rejected infant baptism] and believed in the separation of church from state and in simplicity of life) took the long, arduous and treacherous journey from their homeland to a new land called America that offered religious freedom to anyone who lived there.

One such escapee, Jacob Hochstetler, age 26, arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Nov. 9, 1738 with his wife and two small children on the ship Charming Nancy. They spoke the language of the land they left which was very similar to an early form of "Pennsylvania Dutch". The young family settled in the Northkill area of what is now Berks County, Pennsylvania with others of their faith, called Amish Mennonites in the New World. Here, near Shartlesville, additional children were born. The economy of the Amish community was based on farming, and they tried to live peaceably with all people.

Another such traveler from the Schwarzenburg area of Canton Bern, Harold Hostettler, wrote a poem about this journey and his experience in the new land. The song was put to different music and a variety of melodies, but in the absence of radio and newspapers the song became a form of mass media that encouraged those of strong heart to follow the example of these courageous zealots who were driven to find a way to worship their God the way they wanted to. In order to hear this significant song as interpreted and performed by a family friend and Swiss citizen, Urs Hostettler, just click on this "Amerikalied" link and you will be entertained by a song from a relative that was written several centuries ago that speaks of the dreams and difficulties of adapting to life in America.


The Charming Nancy, the Harle myth, the trip & historical comments...

   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.
   Evidence shows that the earlier one was not Amish, and the facts about his existence are supported by verifiable documents and records. He and his wife Eva had a completely different set of children than our Joseph, that are listed in black and white in the Moravian Archives in Bethlehem, PA. These facts, when they came to light, immediately disqualified him as our ancestor.
   So we had to come up with a better candidate. In the ship lists, another Jacob was found who better fit the facts, so we had to revise our records and dates to reflect that our ancestor was Amish, and was the one who came over on the "Charming Nancy" which docked in Philadelphia on Nov. 9, 1738. The 1738 ship list says our ancestor was 26 years old, thus was born in 1712 (The "Harle" Jacob was 32 years old in 1736, therefore born in 1704).  
   In order to better comprehend the difficulties that accompanied a voyage like our ancestors undertook, one needs to take a step back into the conditions of the times. The Mennonites, named for the 16th-century Dutchman named Menno Simons who was their founder, espoused an evangelical and severely simple religious outlook. They opposed infant baptism, insisted on the Bible as the only spiritual authority, tried to keep their marriages within the Mennonite community of faith, believed in pacifism, refused to take oaths, and dressed very plainly. The Mennonites came to be concentrated in the Jura Mountains and along the Rhine River in Switzerland and southern Germany. The Amish, named for the followers of Jakob Ammann, believed much as the Mennonites did but favored stricter rules on attire and employed firmer discipline - using shunning and excommunication if necessary. Both sects were often persecuted for their views, especially because the authorities regarded them as subversive to social order and potentially disloyal. From about the middle of the 17th century both Amish and Amish Mennonites were expelled from Switzerland or fled before they could be forced out.
   William Penn, eager to populate (and sell) his large land holdings, enthusiastically recruited Swiss and German settlers from the Palatine. He made several trips there himself to drum up immigration to Pennsylvania. He could point to the Penn family's liberal views on religious tolerance, along with thousands of acres of fertile land that were available. So it was that thousands of Swiss and Germans came to America, some directly and some passing through the Netherlands. The peak came in the mid-1700s, when some 30,000 of these people arrived in Pennsylvania.
   Most of the emigrants traveled down the Rhine to Rotterdam, a journey that would ordinarily be seven to nine days but probably took far longer because of various inspections and payments, then remained in Rotterdam for some weeks until passage to America could be arranged. This was an economic as well as physical ordeal for the emigrants, all the more because they had to leave much of their capital in escrow with the government back in Switzerland until they could prove they were successfully settled - and working - elsewhere and would not return home as paupers.
   The entire journey lasted from the beginning of May to November. The Rhine boats went from Heilbronn to Holland, passing twenty-six custom houses and at each one of them the ship had to dock and be boarded so it could be examined. This initial trip took four, five and even six weeks. After arriving in Holland they were detained five to six weeks. At every stop the passengers had to spend more money to survive. The last stop before departure was a week or two in a port in England (Cowes in our case), where the captain received official clearance to take the passengers to America (still considered a British colony).
   Then, depending on the winds, they began their real misery as they undertook their arduous ocean crossing. It took anywhere from eight to twelve weeks before reaching Philadelphia but never less than seven even with the best winds. Passengers were packed densely like herrings without proper food and water and were subject to all sorts of diseases such as dysentery, scurvy, typhoid and smallpox. It was not uncommon for many of the passengers to die of hunger and exposure in their crowded quarters, or to be cheated by the merchants who arranged for passage and provisions - or by the captains who were supposed to make those provisions available. Sometimes survivors were forced to pay the costs of passage for those who had died en route and when they could not come up with the funds, they were sold into indentured servitude.
   The following passage was extracted from the Kreider & Gingerich book "Amish and Amish Mennonite Genealogies" by Hugh F. Gingerich and Rachel W. Kreider, 1986, Pequea Publishers,  Gordonsville, PA: "Little is known about the journeys of the Amish people in their coming to America. According to Gottlieb Mittelberger, a German traveller, who came to America in 1750 and returned four years later, the journey was a frightful ordeal. He spoke of different customs houses along the Rhine River, each involving long delays and additional expense. In Rotterdam he observed that people were "packed into the big boats as closely as herring." He talked about the stench of fumes, dysentery, vomiting and scurvy. Filthy food and water were major problems, as were also lice, disease, and severe storms. Overcrowding gave way to stealing, cheating, cursing, and bitter arguments between children and parents, husbands and wives. Those who lacked the money to pay for their passage, including the sick, were held on board until their future labor was auctioned off to the highest bidder."
   There were frequent stops the ship and its passengers had to pass through, and many times the passengers feared they would go down with the ship. After arriving in Philadelphia, there was another delay while a health officer visited the ship. If there was infectious disease found on board, the ship had to be removed one mile from the city until it was safe to unload passengers. It was after having survived these horrific conditions that our Jacob took his oath of allegiance to the government of America on November 9, 1738.
   As an interesting side note, our ship "The Charming Nancy" is NOT the same ship that implicated General Benedict Arnold in pandering for private gain and brought about his conviction in 1781. THAT 130-ton Charming Nancy was built in 1752 for Charleston merchants Thomas Smith Sr. and Benjamin Smith and evidently borrowed the name of our ship for unknown reasons even though it is thought that the ships were exact replicas of each other.
   Once in Pennsylvania, the settlers generally moved outwards from Philadelphia and began the process of putting down agricultural roots. The Amish and Amish Mennonites lived amongst one another but kept separate; both were in turn intermingled with Lutheran and Reformed neighbors, usually also of German and Swiss origin. Gradually the Susquehanna Valley northwest of Philadelphia filled up. Crossings of that great river were established at Harris's Ferry (now Harrisburg) and Wright's Ferry (now Columbia). When the newcomers reached the Juniata River, geography began to steer them first westward and then increasingly toward the southwest. Soon the Great Valley would be beckoning them on to Virginia and further south. Our Jacob and his family were amongst the first settlers to reach the Upper Bern Township of Berks County, Pennsylvania, in 1737. Their settlement became known as the "Northkill Settlement" and, set in a notch in the Blue Mountains, was on the very edge of the frontier. Following the infamous Indian massacre in 1757, many of those in the Northkill Settlement retreated. Some of them later returned but others moved further south to the eastern parts of Lancaster County.


It's important to take notice of the fact that Jacob and his family suffered these conditions because they would not renounce their particular method of worshipping their God. As conditions worsened, their faith grew, which was in great part responsible for their survival. It was Jacob's deep faith, built and tempered in these toughest of circumstances, that would not allow himself to defend his family even under hostile attack from Indians...

A Brief Summary of Amish and Mennonite Characteristics

The Amish broke away from the Mennonites nearly 300 years ago when differences arose among Anabaptist leaders in Switzerland and Alsace. Seeking a stricter lifestyle including the Meidung, or shunning, which includes the social avoidance of erring church members. Tensions ran high and eventually in 1693, a complete split occurred. Forty years later, many Amish responded to William Penn's invitation to come to America and settle the land. No Amish now remain in Europe. Currently there are approximately 145,000 Amish men, women and children living in 22 states in the United States and in Ontario, Canada. There are 220 Amish settlements accommodating over 900 geographically determined church districts.
   Persistence of tradition and slowness to modernize have characterized the Amish as they have steadily sought to carve out their lifestyle which is a culture apart from the world. Even at the dawn of the 21st century, Amish are characterized as humble folk - hard working, neighborly, otherwordly, agrarian, God-fearing, ethnically homogenous - who live the simple life and live it well.
   Searching for general characteristics that encompass all Old Order Amish groups even in their cultural and religious variations, the following seem dominent:

1. Separatism. Otherworldliness, non-conformity based on Biblical teachings in Romans 12:1-2 and II Cor. 6:14. This pervades the entire lifestyle of the Amish (dress, language, work, travel and education).

2. Simple Life. Simplicity and humility (demut ) are stressed in Amish community. Education and training is limited to elementary levels. Amish warn of the "pagan" philosophy and the intellectual enterprise of "fallen man." Historically, they avoid all training associated with self exaltation, pride of position, enjoyment of power and the art of war and violence.

3. Family Life. Amish marry Amish. No intermarriage is allowed. Divorce is not permitted and separation is very rare. They are strictly monogamous and generally patriarchal. Sex roles are clearly defined. The average family size is 7-8 children. Homosexuality is not recognized as an acceptable lifestyle.

4. Harmony with the soil and nature. Manual labor is good (Amish have little regard for labor-saving devices). Hard work and thriftiness are virtues. Amish believe that God is pleased when people work in harmony with nature, the soil, the weather and care of animals and plants. Amish always live in rural community. By contrast, the city is viewed as a center of leisure, non-productive spending, and often as the stage for evil and wickedness.

5. Mutual Assistance. Amish do not survive outside of community. There is much neighboring in the community, and helping each other is the most common way of socializing. They carry no life or property insurance; the church assists in cases of major loss. Large families generally give assurance of care for the elderly. Only rarely do Amish retire to places other than the dawdyhaus , a small house built next to the main farm house. Retired Amish farmers do not receive Social Security.

6. Disciplined Church Community. Discipline in the Amish community can be sometimes harsh and uncompromising. Baptized members are morally committed to church rules. Erring members are generally excommunicated and shunned until there is forgiveness and restoration to full fellowship.

Essay by Samuel L. Yoder, Ed.D.


During the French and Indian War, Indians began making assaults on the colonial settlers who had taken over their lands. On the night of Sept. 19-20, 1757 (which has become known as the "Hochstetler Massacre") a small group of Delaware Indians surrounded the Jacob Hochstetler home. The young teenage sons Joseph and Christian reached for their hunting rifles in an attempt to kill or scare off the attackers, but their father, true to their Christian pacifism, did not allow them to kill the attackers even at the risk of their own death. The Indians set fire to the house and the immigrant mother, an unnamed daughter, and a teenage son Jacob were all tomahawked. An Indian by the name of Tom Lions claimed to have scalped Jacob's first wife. Jacob and his sons Joseph and Christian were taken captive, but all of them were released after some years and they returned to Berks County. The European-born children, Barbara and John, were already married in 1757, living on farms nearby, and were unharmed.

The Northkill Amish community eventually disbanded when people started moving to other parts of Pennsylvania. Jacob died in nearby Lebanon County in 1776, but Barbara and her husband Christian Stutzman died in Berks county. John and Christian and their families moved around 1784, soon after the War for Independence ended, to a new Amish community in what is now Somerset County in southwestern Pennsylvania. Here John and his wife Catherine (Hertzler) died, but Christian and his family who had joined a related Dunkard Church (later known as Church of the Brethren) moved on west to the Ohio River Valley by 1795. Joseph around 1806 moved to another new Amish settlement in what is now Juniata County in central Pennsylvania. All 32 grandchildren of Jacob Hochstetler left Berks County. Some of them finished out their days in other areas of Pennsylvania, but many continued on west to Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. The next generation and their descendants continued the westward movement and eventually fanned out into all parts of North America.

Today, tourists exiting the Roadside America parking lot might have difficulty seeing the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission marker in an overgrown area across Old Route 22 (one mile west of Shartlesville, PA), but the memory of the massacre and its impact on our family lines is still recognized as one of the many significant milestones on our journey.

The "Reading Eagle" published this story of the Indian attack on the 250th Anniversary of the event, September 19th, 2007.

Click here for a map that shows the dispersion of the Amish and Mennonites across the counties of the United States.

On the evening of September 19th, 1757 the young people of the neighborhood gathered at the home of Jacob Hochstetler to assist in paring and slicing apples for drying. It was the custom of the young people to have a "social" to frolic after the work was done and sometimes it continued well into the night. After the folks departed and the family had retired, their dog made an unusual noise which woke up the son Joseph, who opened the door and received a shot in the leg. He realized in a moment that they were being attacked by Indians and managed to lock the door before the Indians could enter. In an instant the family were on their feet. The Indians, 7 to 10 in number with 3 French scouts, were seen standing near the outdoor bake oven in consultation. There was no moon that night and since there was no light in the house, those inside could not be seen. There were several guns and plenty of ammunition at hand. The two sons, Joseph and Christian, picked up their guns to defend the family. Two or three could be shot and the guns reloaded before the Indians could enter; but their father, firmly believing in the doctrine of nonresistance and remaining faithful in his hour of sorest trial, could not give his consent for defense. In vain his family begged him but he continued to tell them it was not right to take the life of another even to save one's own life. What a night of horror this God fearing family must have spent the last hours; while the timber wolves were howling and the owls hooting their calls; with the dog barking and seeing their fate outside at the hands of the savage Indians. At daybreak the birds began singing their songs of peace but for the Jacob Hochstetler family there was no peace.

   Even afterwards, Joseph claimed the family could have been saved had his father given consent, as he and his brother were both good marksmen (their father was also) and the Indians never stood fire unless under cover.
   At daybreak the house was set afire and the family fled to the cellar throwing cider on the burning spots. Finally, the Indians left one by one and the family felt that they could no longer remain in the smoke filled cellar. They quietly proceeded to climb out through a small window but one warrior, Tom Lions, who had stayed behind eating some peaches saw the mother, who was a fleshy woman, having difficulty getting out and he sounded the alarm. The others quickly returned to find that he had stabbed her in the back with a butcher knife. Besides killing and scalping the mother, they killed her daughter and her son Jacob, Jr. and captured Joseph, Christian and Jacob Sr.
   Apparently Jacob was considered a "safe" prisoner and they gave him the job of bringing in the meat for the camp when the warriors were gone. He was given a gun and had to account for each bit of powder and shot that he used. He found a place in the woods and each day he stored a bullet or a bit of powder there in hope of his eventual escape. Slowly gathering up his courage over time, he finally fled, alone, not knowing where he was or the direction of his home. He found a river, built a raft and drifted downstream with his meager supplies. Near present day Harrisburg he was spotted by someone who took a skiff out to get him. By this time he was too feeble to stand.
   He was given food and clothing and regained his health. He had been a captive for three years and although he had returned home, he was concerned for his children who remained captive. With a friend's help (as Jacob himself did not write) he sent a petition to Governor Hamilton for help in recovering his sons, Joseph and Christian. It is dated August 13, 1762 and can be found in the Pennsylvania Archives.
   Christian had been adopted into full fellowship with the Indians. He was with them approximately seven years. One day he returned home on his own to find his family eating dinner. Thinking he was an Indian, they offered him some food. He accepted but took the food outside and ate it while sitting on a stump. Jacob Sr., after finishing his meal, went out to talk to him. At that point, in broken German, he said, "My name is Christian Hochstetler". He was joyously received but some time elapsed before he could again take up the white man ways. He later married and joined the Tunker Church (Church of the Brethern).
   In October of 1764, a Colonel Bouquet called a council with the Indians, who had been badly defeated by the army, and demanded that the Indians return the white prisoners. In November, the Delaware chiefs returned in all but 12 of the prisoners but the Colonel would not shake hands with the chiefs until ALL the prisoners were returned. Finally, on May 8th, 1765 a treaty of peace was signed. We don't know if Joseph was returned in the fall or early spring but we do know that the Indians wanted him to remain with them. Even after his capture and return, he continued to hunt and fish often with the Indians. Later he became a landowner and married. 

This information is a synthesis from a handout for tourists that was passed out at "Roadside America", an indoor miniature village and tourist attraction located west of Shartlesville, Pa. Along Interstate 78 which stands on what was a part of the original farm of Jacob Hochstetler. It was prepared in the early 1960's but is no longer available. There were a few mistakes in this handout which were corrected in the June 1996 H/H/H Newsletter (available by reprint). There is also material from Damon Hostetler's 1990 publication "Descendants of Amos L. Hochstetler".


J. Virgil Miller, DJH 5684

Many sensitive Christians , and Americans, have been rethinking how we have been reading and reporting our history. This includes the 1757 Hochstetler "massacre". Recall also the 1770 Boston Massacre and how it was used, or misused, as propaganda by the early patriots. This article by a contributing editor is timely in addressing this dilemma. What changes should we make in how we interpret and report our family history? -Daniel Hochstetler, editor of H/H/H Newsletter

   Delaware Indians were on the warpath in 1756 whereas they had been, at one time, peaceful natives, who wanted to live side by side with the whites. A century before, William Penn declared that he wished to live peacefully with the Indians, and before there was any settlement an agreement was made to buy their land. He met with the chiefs and stated that the white man wished to live with the Indian in peace. But there were grievances that arose after Penn went back to England. The settlers learned that the Iroquois were in effect the overlords of the Delawares, and dealt with them rather than with their next-door neighbors the Delawares. An attempt was made to delineate the territory where the Europeans could settle. The Indians agreed to let them occupy the land covering an area that a man could walk in a day and a half which gave birth to the so-called "Walking Purchase of 1737". The whites took advantage by having their fastest runners cover a much larger area than the Indians expected. After the line was drawn, the settlers moved in and the Indians were forced into the forests. This encroachment happened again and again until the Delawares were pushed further and further into the western wilderness. The Indians made contact with the French, who claimed the Great Lakes and the whole valley of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Meanwhile the English consorted with the enemies of the Delawares, the Iroquois. The stage was set for troubles for the settlers.
   The French openly encouraged the Indians to attack the English settlers. They claimed a vast territory, but made little attempt to settle it, at least the part that is now the United States. The Delawares saw the English occupying their former homes north and west of Philadelphia. In fact the English claimed all of the present state of Pennsylvania, though only the eastern part was then settled. The French had a string of forts in what is now western Pennsylvania, including Fort Duquesne on the site of Pittsburgh at the fork where the Ohio River begins. The Delawares' former desire to live side by side in peace with their English neighbors was frustrated by a line of forts from present-day Easton to Harrisburg, erected specifically to keep them out. The policy of William Penn not to use military means had given way to a warlike spirit on the part of some colonists whose aim was to keep the Indians from their territory by force, and to shoot at sight. Such was the situation on the eve of the French and Indian War in 1755.
   Our Amish-Mennonite ancestors had been in Pennsylvania for less than twenty years, Jacob Hochstetler for 17. Some of his Amish neighbors had only been there for a year or so. The settled land was filling up, but they were offered homestead land near the edge of settlement in Berks County. For these newly-arrived settlers, the Indian question was remote because they hadn't experienced the tensions. Like the Quakers under Penn, they were pacifists and wished to live peaceably with their neighbors. Unlike the Quakers, the Amish and Mennonites took no part in government affairs, but allowed others to deal with questions like the Indian problem. Even the Quakers were accused of not being realistic about the dangers of the settlers. Other settlers set up vigilante groups, and parties were sent out to rid the country of what they considered "the Indian menace". By the time the Delawares teamed up with the French, they had become a real menace, but the settlers did little to make peaceful overtures to the Indians. The Indians could hardly be expected to distinguish between a "peaceful" settler and a hostile one. No doubt the Amish were frightened at the possible danger to their families.
   The Indians struck and they did it with a vengeance. Some whole families were shot, and others were abducted. Some children were taken into captivity and a few young women were forced to become wives of Indian men. Since the Delawares controlled the forests, they were able to take their captives long distances, even to the Ohio valley and across into what is now Ohio. It seemed to the Indians that they were getting even for the lands they had lost, and for their own people who had been killed, for there had been numerous raids into Indian territory. Besides that, they had become pawns in the struggle between rival European powers.
   Thus we can see that although Jacob Hochstetler's wife, son and daughter were killed, and he himself and his two sons taken into captivity, it happened not only as the result of the bad behavior of blood-thirsty Indians but partly because of previous injustices by other settlers. Jacob Hochstetler showed great restraint when he asked his sons not to use their guns. The question is whether any other action would have produced more positive results. Other whole families were killed or abducted. One can only conjecture what might have been the result if William Penn's original policy had been continued, rather than a policy of force and cunning duplicity against the Indians. The captives were eventually returned at the end of the war, and some of them looked back on their captivity with a good bit of nostalgia. Some English women left their Indian mates with reluctance, and even Christian and Joseph Hochstetler found it hard to come back after seven or eight years. The ironic outcome of the war was that the Indians were pushed out of Pennsylvania completely, and twenty years later Jacob's descendants settled the lands that the Delawares had evacuated. Another generation found them following the American armies that pushed the Indians out of Ohio.
   We call ourselves peaceful, and we know that the Indians were often brutal. But we need to reflect where the victims of the Indian massacres were not only victims of the Indians, but of the policies that both the English and the Americans pursued. Many time the victims were, ultimately, the Indians themselves.

The Tom Lion Legend

By Ivan L Miller, DBH 6879

Editor's note: One of the many interests of Ivan was the Tom Lions story. Several years ago he compiled from many published sources a lengthy composite account. As it was too long for the Newsletter, J. Virgil Miller has condensed this version of it. It is presented as a legend, not an historical account. There art no sources or documentation given. It is also clearly told from the viewpoint of white people. Unfortunately, Tom is not here to give his own autobiography. We hope no one takes offense at this attempt to put a name and face to one of the many Native Americans which our colonial foreparents encountered

   The earliest mention of Tom Lions dates back to Sept 19 and 20,1757, when the horrible massacre of the Jacob Hochstetler family occurred at their home in Berks County, PA. Had it not been for this nefarious figure, the massacre and captivity might have been averted. Tom was an Indian brave, who flits in and out of our family history. He was known as Tom Lions, (sometimes spelled Lyon). Tom Lions can be seen in the background, lurking in the shadows and the Hochstetler story would not be complete without including him. OId Tom Lions lived among the people he had fought against, after warfare between the whites had ceased. There are many stories about him, some true and some surely not.
   While the Hochstetler family in 1757 was huddled in their cabin basement with their home burning, beating back the fires, the Indians were waiting on the outside for the family to emerge. Meanwhile it was morning, daylight was approaching, and the Indians were reluctant to subject themselves to being fired upon, unless under cover. Knowing the fire and smoke would attract settlers; they began to leave the scene and disappeared into the woods. The family, thinking the Indians had all left, emerged through a basement window. Tom Lions, a member of the raiding party, about 18 years of age, had lingered behind to pick ripe peaches, and saw them escaping from the burning building. He gave the alarm, and the departing Indians quickly returned and surrounded the Hochstetler family. The mother, a daughter, and a wounded son were quickly murdered and scalped. The father, Jacob, and two teenage sons, Joseph and Christian, were taken captive. Again, if it hadn't been for Tom Lions lingering behind, it is likely that the Hochstetlers would have escaped the massacre and captivity.
   During this time the Amish-Mennonite people were living in northern Berks County, PA., south of the Blue Mountains along three streams, the NorthkiII, Iris Creek, and Maiden Creek. The Indians raided the settlements, during the French and Indian War, in which they were on the side of the French, coming through gaps in the Blue Mountains and the wall of rock extending north of that area. During the Revolutionary War and the years following, all the Amish-Mennonites left, some moving south to Lancaster, Chester and Lebanon Counties, others moving two hundred miles west to Somerset and Cambria Counties (all in PA.) from Johnstown south to the Maryland line. The U.S. was very young then, and Indians were still on the land. Although they had ceded the land to the U.S. government by then, the Indians did not leave until long after the first settlements were made by the whites. The westward migration was slow, but it was sure, though the atrocities continued until in the next century. By 180O - 1815, a goodly number of our ancestors lived in central and western PA, and even in eastern Ohio.
   After most of the Indians had retreated westward, even including the ones who were Christianized by the Moravian Missions, Old Tom Lions remained in eastern Ohio. During the years 1808 and 1812 the earliest settler's found Tom Lions, who had already pitched his hut in a small ravine approximately a half-mile west of U.S. 62, between Berlin and Bunker Hill in Hokes County. Through this ravine flows Lions Run in a southeastern direction emptying into Doughty Creek. Most of the Indians had moved westward, while Old Tom Lions just "stayed". One record describes Old Lions' dwelling place as not a wigwam, but rather two cabins made of buckeye logs, with a small ground spot or area in between, and a loop covered with a balsa wood bark.
   From 1757 to 1808, there are few references to Tom Lions, but he certainly was a member of Indian raiding parties who attacked many white settlers in Pennsylvania during those 50 years. In the latter part of his life he would boast and tell of his experiences, especially when under the influence of whiskey. Without a further history of Tom Lions among the white settlers, the history of Holmes and adjoining counties would be incomplete.
   In his later years, Old Tom Lions gave the impression that he, though a minor chief, was not on friendly terms with other Indians. It was also said that even in his old age, he never overcame his savage lust for blood of the whites and his hatred for them. He had a very mean disposition, both with the whites and with other Indians. One report describes Tom Lions as a very aged, full-blooded, ugly looking savage. He was dark and large for an Indian, of coarse features, high cheekbones, and large protruding lips. When ornamented with a silver clevis and doubletrees in each ear and on his nose, and smoking from a bowl and through the handle of his tomahawk, he had a grotesque look. He was feared by the whites, and considered extremely repulsive.
   He hunted, trapped and often begged corn meal from white settlers, sometimes traded wood ladles and woven baskets for meal and also threatened whites when not given provisions. He claimed to have a rawhide upon which were strung 99 dried tongues of enemies he had killed. He threatened people that theirs might become the 100th of those tongues. However, some people said they were deer tongues. Some believed that by stringing the 100th tongue on the rawhide, Tom would be immune to a white man's bullet. On some occasions Tom would boast of his achievements. He said he had been in many battles on the border and had taken many scalps. He related some of the barbarities inflicted on wives and children of border settlers. He would tell of his stealthy approach of cabins in the dead of night, when the inmates were asleep and as silently as possible push a hole in the clay mortar of the chimney into the fireplace. He would attach a charge of gunpowder to his ramrod and push it on the embers. When the gunpowder would ignite and illumine the inside, he could count the inmates. If there was more than one man, he would hurriedly withdraw, but if only one, he would shoot the man, and then kill the women and children. He boasted of entering houses and murdering German women. They would scream and repeat "Herr Yessus, Her Yessus" as he killed them. Another time he told of entering a white family's cabin and finding a baby lying in a cradle. When the baby looked up at him, he smiled, and could not kill it. He then kicked the cradle over and the baby cried. He could then kill it.
   Lions could also tell of tomahawking so many people "till his arm was sick." He also gave a graphic account of his in the Battle of Fallen Timbers against Gen. Anthony Wayne. "Wayne, he great chief. He be one devil to fight. He hear his dinner horn way over there go 'Toot, toot'. Then his soldiers run forward-'shoot, shoot.' Indian run, no stop. Old Tom see too much fight to be trap-he keep run till he clear out of danger. Wayne great fight-brave white chief. He be no devil." Another time, Lions denounced Gen. Wayne as a "bad man, swear that he could be heard three miles." While describing the fight, Old Tom gestured and grinned as if in the midst of battle, impressing the whites.
   Superstitions arose about Tom Lions. It was believed that he was lead-proof, and no one could even aim a steady sight on him with an ordinary rifle. There is a report that one of Jacob Hochstetler's great-grandsons, upon seeing Lions in Shanesville, raised his rifle and drew a sight on Lions. The Indian seemed to sense this, turned around and said quickly, "Au, mustn't do that." The Hochstetler descendant was asked later if he could have shot Lions. His reply was, "I could have shot him down like a buck." Old Tom Lions disappeared around 1820,when he was about 80 years old. It is not certain how he died. He was in the habit of leaving his hut for long periods of time. After being absent for a longer time than usual, settlers living nearby made an examination of the premises. They found nothing disturbed, nothing missing, indicating that he expected to return. It is not known just how Lions came to his death, but it seems certain that only two eyes saw him to his death, and they were the eyes of a white man. His boasting and stories made him many enemies; no one missed him or mourned his passing.

Some legends about the death of Tom Lions:

1) It was reported that, on leaving a tavern, Old Lions was killed by a gang of toughs, probably drunk.

2) Another tradition says he was killed by a white person and his body thrown in a swamp.

3) Some say a 16 year old boy became so enraged at Lions' boasting that he heft gun to his shoulder and shot him.

4) Others say Jacob Miser shot him.

5) Some say Christian Olinger, a witch doctor, shot him with a silver bullet, because he was invulnerable to ordinary ones.

   And there are many other legends about the death of Tom Lions, and it remains a mystery to this day. For many years after the disappearance of Tom Lions, children in northeastern Ohio were quieted by merely mentioning his name. The superstitious fear by people in that area lasted for several generations after his death.

Legend condensed by. Virgil Miller, 1997.

Family websites:

http://www.wwco.com/~dda/jacobhochstetler.php: Following is an exerpt:


BORN: 1712* (Echery, Alsace, now France)

DIED: February, 1776 (Bernville, Lebanon Co., PA)

  • Some sources mistakenly say 1704 or 1706.

FATHER: Jacob Hochstetler (c.1666/74- )?


Anna Lorentz (c.1711-1757)



Barbara Hochstetler (Stutzman) (1732-1787)

(Unnamed son)

Jacob Hochstetler, Jr. (After 1736-1757)

Joseph Hochstetler (c.1744-1812)

Christian Hochstetler (c.1746-1814)

(Unnamed daughter) ( -1757)


The name Hochstetler originated in the 14th-15th centuries in the Schwarzenburg region of Switzerland, about 20 miles southwest of the Swiss capital, Bern. The traditional homes of the Hochstetlers were the townships of Guggisberg and Wahlern, which each had a type of tree-laden cultivated garden called a "Hostett." (The Swiss name of the family is now rendered "Hostettler.")

The Anabaptists (otherwise known as Swiss Brethren) established a church which, according to descendant Daniel Hochstetler, "tried to follow the Bible and restore the biblical church, which they understood to be a believers' church made up of members baptized as adults upon their confession of faith in Jesus and who lived out the ethic of love and nonviolence taught by Jesus." But "due to brutal religious persecution by the state churches, both Catholic and Reformed, our ancestors along with many others left Switzerland. The man we now believe was the father of the immigrant Jacob left his native Schwarzenburg area in the late 1600s and settled in Echery near St. Marie-aux-Mines in Alsace (now in France), where Jacob was born in 1712."

Jacob Hochstetler is one of the progenitors of our Knepp line in America, and was our first Amish ancestor in the New World. He arrived in Philadelphia in November 9, 1738 aboard a ship called the Charming Nancy, along with other Amish immigrants seeking religious freedom--one of the first major groups of Amish, in fact, to come to America. The passage was extremely difficult, as you can read in diary entries from one of 1737 Charming Nancy Amish passengers.

Our ancestor Jacob is famous in Pennsylvania, but unfortunately because of his survival of a 1757 Indian attack on his home that killed his wife, youngest daughter, and one son. The following condensed account of the attack comes from the book Amish Society by John A. Hostetler (4th edition, 1993). You can also read two other somewhat more detailed accounts here by Steve Nolt and Laurence Gieringer. Forthcoming is a very long biography of Jacob Hochstetler, and shorter ones of his sons, from a 1912 Hochstetler genealogy by the Rev. Harvey Hochstetler.

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On the whole, Pennsylvania's Quaker government maintained peaceful relations with the Indians until about 1755. Under pressure from the British citizenry, a chain of forts was established along the Blue Mountains, Pennsylvania's frontier during the French and Indian War. The Jacob Hochstetler family was one target of the numerous Indian attacks on settlers on the Northkill area. On the evening of September 19, 1757, after the family had retired, there was a disturbance. One of the boys opened the door and was shot in the leg. He quickly reached for the rifle but his father objected, stating that it was against their principles to take human life. The house was set afire by the Indians, and when the family escaped through the cellar window, the mother, a son, and a daughter were scalped. Jacob and his sons Joseph and Christian were taken captive. After several years of living with the Indians they managed to return. The encounter with the Indians, it has long been believed, was responsible for the decline of this Amish settlement. There likely were other reasons for the movement of families out of Berks County, however, such as the influence from proselyting groups.

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You can also read the legend of Tom Lions, the Indian who scalped Anna Hochstetler.

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Jacob Hochstetler family; Indian massacre

Posted by: Maureen Whited (IP Logged)

Date: January 31, 2002 10:53AM

Jacob was taken captive along with his sons Joseph and Christian during Indian massacre of 20/21 September, 1757. Born near Guggisburg, Winterkraut, Switzerland.

Harvey Hostetler, Descendants of Jacob Hochstetler, p. 75 Jacob Hochstetler (family #1), Bernville, Pa at death, was born in 1704, d. shortly before Feb 1776, and came to America, landing at Philadelphia, Pa., Sept. 1, 1736, on the ship Harle. His wife was probably Miss Lorentz, and d. Sept 20-21, 1757. Amish Mennonite Church. His widow at death was named Anna. Note: see Hochstetler family homepage on hostetler.net. The results of newest research convince me that Jacob was born 1712 and came over on the Charming Nancy since the Jacob Hochstetler on the Harle was Moravian rather than Amish. -Maureen Whited

John A. Hochstetler, Amish Roots, p. 238 "The Northkill Attack" by Uriah R. Byler The story of the Native American assault on the immigrant Hochstetler family has been retold and rewritten many times. Uriah R. Byler describes it for Amish school children. The evening of September 19, 1757, was a happy one for the Jacob Hochstetler family. The young people of the neighborhood were gathered there for one of those old fashioned apple schnitzings which provided the Hochstetler household with apples to dry for the winter and also gave the young folks a chance to get together for the evening. It was a closely knit little group, boys and girls who had grown up together in the sme neighborhood. First they peeled and sliced apples for a few hours, probably laughing and enjoying themselves, as was usual on such occasions. Later games were played until quite late, then the good nights were said and the guests went home through the peaceful autumn night. When the last ones had left, the Hochstetlers bolted their doors and went to bed. The French and Indian War was raging then, and during the last year quite a few white settlers in the neighborhood had been murdered and carried off in captivity. So far none of the Amish had been bothered and the Indians seemed friendly enough. Many times they had come to the house asking for food or clothing. Tired of the evening's activities, the entire family was now in slumberland, unaware of the danger that was stalking in the forest nearby. There waiting paitiently were a dozen Indians. Since soon after dark they had awaited their chance to strike, and now they made ready. They came toward the house. As they were passing the bake oven, the Hochstettlers dog began to bark. This awakened Jacob, Jr., who opened the door to see what the trouble was. A shot rang out and Jacob felt a sharp pang in his leg. He shut and bolted the door and now the entire family were on their feet. In the dimness of the night they could see about ten figures gathered near the bake oven. The two boys picked up their muskets to defend the family. There was pleanty of ammunition in the house, and no doubt the Indians could have been detained until daylight and help came. Being nonresistant and not believing in killing, Jacob's religion absolutely forbade such violence as defending his loved ones. The stalwart sons implored their father to let them use their rifles, but the father believed with all his soul that when the Lord said to Moses, "Thou shalt not kill" he meant just that. The Indians next set the house on fire. When the Hochstetlers saw this, they all went to the basement. Soon the burning embers began falling through the floor. For awhile these were extinquished by pouring cider on them. Finally, it was apparent that they must leave the house or perish with it. There was a small window on one side of the basment and through this the family began to leave one by one. Because it was getting daylight the Indians had all left except one, who had lingered to eat a few peaches. He happened to see the Hochstettlers as they were coming out the window and shouted to his companions, who returned, and soon the entire family was taken. Jacob, Jr. and a daughter were tomahawked and scalped. Another Indian raised his deadly tomahawk over the head of Christian but changed his mind and took him prisoner along with his father. The mother was stabbed to death with a knife and also scalped. We may well imagine what Jacob Hostetler's thoughts were when he and his sons Joseph and Christian, hands bound behind their backs, were marched westward toward the Blue Mountains. Behind him lay his dead wife and two children, amid the smoldering embers of his buildings. When they emerged from the basement that morning into the hands of the Indians, he had urged the family to submit to any fate that awaited them. Jacob was told that they were to be separated and taken to other villages. Sadly they bade each other goody not knowing if and hardly expecting that they would ever see each other again. The fahter's parting advice to this sons was: If you are taken so far away and kept so long that you forget the German lanquage, do not forget the Lord's Prayer.

Hochstetler Family Newsletter, Dec. 1987 The Hostetler family originated in Switzerland in Canton Bern. Some members fled from there to the French speaking Jura mountain area of Switzerland, then some migrated to Alsace and Montebeliard in France. From there others migrated north to the Palitinate in Germany and then to America. The Swiss recognize the Schwarzenburg region of Canton Bern as the original home of the Hostettlers. The family name is still one of the most common in that region today. Schwarzenburg is about twenty miles south of Bern, nestled among hill farms and hamlets. Where did Jacob the immigrant ancestor come from? Some descendants say he was born in Switzerland, but it may be that he was simply of Swiss origin. Another tradition says he lived in Upper Germany near the Rhine. The most likely conclusion is that he was the son of either Hans, Christ, or Jacob who were at St Marie-aux-Mines in 1703. Custom named the eldest son after the grandfather, which would make Hans his father, since John born 1733 was his oldest son. It seems likely that Jacob was born at St. Marie and then moved with his parents either south to Mountbeliard, or north to Lauterbacherhof or the Palitinate  Hochstetler Family Newsletter, Dec 1994, quoting from "Early Amish Land Grants in Berks County, Pennsylvania", No. 21, at p. 5 of Newsletter:

Jacob Hochstetler warranted three adjoining tracts of land in what is now Upper Bern Township. These are numbers 65, 66, and 67 on the Upper Bern Township Warrantee Map. The principal data for these tracts follows:

Tract 65 K-missing-399 Jacob Hostedler 81 acres, 96 perches and allowances warranted May 8, 1747, surveyed Oct 27, 1786, patented March 26, 1821 to John Degler N-19-35

Tract 66 A-19-284 Jacob Hostetter 112 acres, 114 perches and allowances warranted Jam 30, 1755, resurveyed May 6, 1788 patented Feb 27, 1790 to Frederick Degler P-16-176

Tract 67 A-19-284 Jacob Hooshteedler 58 acres, 92 perches and allowances warranted Oct 25, 1739, resurveyed May 6, 1788 patented Feb 27, 1790 to Frederick Degler P-16-176 "Ipswich" A-19-284

Jacob Hochstetler warranted tract 67 first (Oct 25, 1739). This is the easternmost of the three tracts. Then he warranted tract 65 to the west of tract 67 eight years later and tract 66 to the north of and between the first two tracts seven years after his second warrant. It was on this last tract the family lived at the time of the massacre, Sept 21, 1757. Jacob's oldest son, John, was living on tract 65 about 1/4 mile to the southwest at the time of the massacre.

Tract 65 was deeded to Jacob Zollenberger March 13, 1773. Tracts 66 and 67 were sold to Jacob Hochstetler's son, John, on Nov. 18, 1773. John then sold his two tract farm to Frederich Degler Nov 5, 1784 (when he moved to Somerset County) Frederick Degler's son, John, acquired tract 65 April 20, 1794 from Stephen Kauffman who had acquired it from John Kauffman who bought it from Jacob Zollenberger.

Frederick Degler patented tracts 66 and 67 Feb 27, 1790 and called this plantation "Ipswich". Degler patented his tract Number 65 31 years later on March 26, 1821.

Jacob Hochstetler purchased a 43 acre farm 7 l/2 miles south of the massacre homesite as the crow flies in present day Heidlelberg Township June 28, 1765.

Jacob purchased one more farm in what is now Lebanon County, Pa from his son Christian March 2, 1775.

Hochstetler Family Newsletter, Sept. 1994, "Name and Boundary Changes Confusing"

When the Jacob Hochstetler family landed at Philadelphia in 1738 there were only four counties defined and organized in Pennsylvania: Bucks, Chester, Philadelphia, and Lancaster. The Hochstetlers first lived in Lancaster Co. which was much larger than it is today when it was organized in 1729 as the fourth county. Later Berks County became the seventh county in 1752 when it was formed from part of Lancaster Co. fourteen years after the arrival of the Hochstettlers.

When the John Hochstetler family moved from Berks County to southwestern Pennsylvania in 1784 they bought a farm in Bedford County. In 1795 Somerset County was formed from the western part of Bedford County where the Hochstetlers were living and so today that land is in Somerset County.

Hochstetler Family Newsletter, June, 1994, p. 3, "Some Early Hochstetler Documents with Comments, part three", by Erma Miller Angevine"

"A note in Volume IV of Sir William Johnson's papers states, "In the Johnson calendar, p. 170, are listed the following papers which were destroyed by fire: a letter of May 30th from Samuel Weiser, to say that Jacob Hochstetler desires to know whether his son Christian has been delivered by the Indians..." The Papers of Sir William Johnson, Universty of State of New York 1925, Vol. IV, p. 751.

"An attempt to recreate the letter from the burned copy was made by Samuel Weiser. It tells that Joseph was home by 30 May 1765 but Christian was not. Jacob either believes or hopes that Christian is with the Mohawks. He asks Sir William to help and offers to go look for Christian himself." Ibid Vol. XI, pp. 757-758.

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has several publications concerning this period. These are secondary sources, that is publications not made at the time of the event. William A. Hunter's "Forts on the Pennsylvania Frontier, 1753-1758 (Harrisburg 1960) includes some of the Interrogation of Jacob Hochstetler (pages 93, 155) and a description of the fort at Northkill in Berks County (pages 313-319). Reference to the massacre appears at page 318.

Sylvester K. Stevens and Donald H. Kents "Wilderness Chronicles of Northwestern Pennsylvania" (Harrisvurg, 1941) includes the interrogation of John Hochstetler as it appears in the "Papers of Henry Bouquet" (pages 119-121) except that it dates the massacre as 1755 instead of 1757. This may have been an error in the proofreading.

William A. Hunter's "German Settlers and Indian Warriors", Der Reggeboge 3/3 (September 1969):12 includes this paragraph: "One of the Indian attacks probably typical in size but unusual in some other respects took place on Sept. 29, 1757, when a war party guessed to number about fifty but undoubtedly much smaller, struck at Northkill in Berks County. Its victims were one soldier, William Sommers, probably surprised outside the fort, and the six members of the Jacob Hochstetler family who lived nearby. Mrs. Hochstetler and two children were killed; Mr. Hochstetler and two sons aged 11 and 13, were taken prisoner. What distinquishes this raid is that the Hochstetlers were Amish, members of what is believed to be the first Amish Mennonite Congregation in America, and that the Indian attack is held responsible for the later break up of this congregation. Five years later after a temporary peace had been established, an Indian treaty was held at Lancaster, when Mr. Hochstetler, who had by then regained his freedom, petitioned the government to try and recover his two sons. That the sons did return is proved by the later history of the family.

I believe the Bouquet's Papers and those of Sir William Johnson give us the most accurate citations we will find. There is one problem. Bouquet's Papers introduce the interrogation of Jacob (also reported as John) with October as the date of the massacre. DBH/DJH cite new reports of the massacre early in October, giving the date as later September: Although Pa. Archives cites several massacres, none appeared to be of the Hochstettler family. We do know that the Indians were in the area during September and October, 1757 and that the 6 October Pennsylvania Journal included a story that "... last Wednesday the enemy burnt the home of one Hochstetler... according to DBH/DJH. Since I cannot ready German, I could not verify this source given in DJH, p. 32 and in DBH p. 26.

Hochstetler Family Newsletter, March 1994, "Some Early Hochstetler Documents, Part II" by Erma Miller Angevine, p. 4:

Henry Bouquet was in charge of the forces dealing with the Indians. Bouquets papers have been published. Vol I covered the period Dec 11, 1755 to May 31, 1758. Bouquet was a French Swiss who became a British Army Officer in the French and Indian War. He was second in command to General John Forbes.

Boquet's first reference to Jacob Hochstetler is in a letter to General Forbes dated Carlisle May 29, 1758. He writes, "I had a German peasant brought here who was taken prisoner last year, and taken to Venango, etc. I am enclosing his deposition. The man is very stupid, and speaks only rude German. I did not think it necessary to send him to you. He is almost dead of hunger, having lived on grass for several days." Papers of Henry Bouquet, 1972, Vol I, p. 388

Bouquet's Papers include the James Burd to William Denny letter from Camp Carlisle 30th May 1758 which describes the arrival of Jacob. "About five minutes before I march'd from Augusta, I observed a white man floating down the west branch on a piece of bark. I sent and took him up, he proved to be a Dutchman that was taken prisoner last Fall nigh to Reading and had made his escape from an Indian town above Vanango. I brought him with me to this place and Col Bouquet took his deposition and sent it to the General to which I begg leave to refer your Honour." Papers of Henry Bouquet, Vol I, 1972, p. 396

Hochstetler Family Newsletter, December 1993, "Some Early Hochstetler Documents with Comments, Part I" by Erma Miller Angevine

Pennsylvania Archives, Colonial Records, Vol. IV p. 99:

Petition of Jacob Hockstetter to Gov. H - (Lt Gov James Hamilton) 1762

To the Hon'ble James Hamilton, Esq. Lieutenant Governour of Pennsylvania, etc.

The Humble Petition of Jacob Hockstetler of Berks County.

Humbly Sheweth:

That about five years ago your peitioner with 2 children were taken prisoners and his wife and 2 other children were killed by the Indians, that one of said children who is still prisoner is named Joseph, is about 18 years old, and Christian is about 16 years and half old, that his house and improvements were totally ruined and destroyed.

That your petitioner understands that neither of his children are brought down but the Ambassadour of King Kastateeloca who has one of his children is now here.

That you petitioner most humbly prays your honour to interpose in this matter that his children may be restored to him, or that he may be put into such a method that as may be effectual for that purpose.

And that your petitioner will ever pray, etc.

Jacob Hocksteter (his mark)

Examination of John Hochstattler:

Intelligence given by John Hochstattler a Swiss by nation which setled in Bergs County, Berner Township, near Kauffman's Creek was taken by the enemy Indians the 12th of October 1757 and escap'd from them arriving at Shamokin 5th May 1758 (Shamokin was a former Indian Village at the junction of the north and west branches of the Susquehanna River, at the present site of Sunbury, Northumberland County, Pa. Fort Augusta was erected there by Pa. in 1756)

Q. By what, and how many Indians were you taken? A. By the Delaware and Shawanese 15 in the whole. Q. Which way did you pas'd before you came into the enemys country? A. We march'd 3 days before we arrived at the Est branch of Susquahanna 20 miles from Shamokin where it was (fordable), from there we keept entirely west all along the west branch, till after 17 days journey we arrived on the Ohio. Q. In what place on the Ohio do you arrivd? A. Where the French Creek empties in to Ohio there upon the corner is a small fort (Fort Mechault built by the French in 1756) established lately, of logs, framed together, there are 25 men garrisoned in it, without artillery, there whe passed the Ohio for to come by it, the place is call Wenango (Venango, a former Indian village and important trading post at the mouth of French Creek, the present site of Franklin, Venango Co., Pa.) Q. How do you proceed further? A. Up the French Creek 3 days traveling on Battoes at the end of it whe came to a fort (Fort LeBoeuf built by the French in 1753 at present day Waterford, Erie Co. Pa) built in the same manner as the other, and garrisoned with 25 men, from there the French Creek a Road to Presque Isle (Fort Presque Isle built by the French in 1753 located west of the mouth of Mill Creek and a little east of the foot of Parade Street in Erie, Pa) wich is a days journey from it distant. Q. What became of you after that? A. After 3 days travel Est south Est, I was brought to Buxotons Creek (Buxotons is another spelling of Buckaloons, one of the names given to Brokenstraw Creek and to the village at its mouth near present Irvine, Pa) where it emptys in the Ohio we came to an Indian castle which lys upon the corner of it, there I was kept prisoner all the that time. Q. Do you ever hear anything of Fort DuQuesne? A. Ten days before I escaped five Dutch prisoners was brought up by the Indians from there which told me there was 300 man garrisond in Fort du Quesne, the provision scarce, so that the Indians was oblichd to bring away their womans and famelys which they generally left there, for to be nourish'd in their absence. Q. Are there any works about besyts the Fort jous heard of? A. The same people told me that there was a Dutchman prisoner for 3 years in the Fort, a baker by trade, which shewd them a hill, at the opposite Fort over the Monungahela, telling them if the English was there that they could certainly take the Fort with 200 man becase the French had nothing upon it. Q.Do you never heard what canons the French had there. A. Yes I heard several but all dismounted. Q. Do you never learnd if the Indians recevd Order for marching against us? A. 5 days before I escape an old Indian was telling to me shewing against all parts of the world, that Indians was coming there and then he shewed about Est south Est, telling that the would attack the English there, which I did imagine that it was intended for Shamokin. Q. Do you ever learn from how the French got intelligence of? A. 6 weeks before my departing there came 2 Delaware Indians telling that the came from Shamoking that the Comandat took their arms from them not trusting, and that the English was drawing together about Conostoge (Conestoga about seven miles south of Lancaster near present Millersville) or Lancaster, paying up a great deal of cattle, that they desind to attack the great Fort du Quesne and the was waiting till the grass was groan. Q. How do you escapd from there, how long and in what maner do jou was coming, and where did you arrive? A. I got the liberty for hunting, one morning Wery soon took my gun finding bark canoe on the river wherein I crossd it, traveling Est for 6 days from there I arrvd at the source of of the west branch, there I march for 4 days further till I was sure of it, there I took several bloks tying them together till I got a flott, there I flotted myself down the River for 5 days where I did arrive at Shamokin, living all time upon grass I passd in the whole for 15 days. The Papers of Henry Bouquet,1972, Vol I, pp. 391-393

Bouquet was unsympathetic because he disliked the Swiss Germans who refused to bear arms. His letters often express disgust at having to protect people who will not protect themselves.

C. Henry Smith, The Mennonite Immigration to Pennsylvania, Vol. 28, Pa. German Society, 1929

p. 225 Just when the first Amish came to America is not quite certain. But it is likely that one of the earliest if not the first family of that faith to come to Pennsylvania was that of Barbara Yoder whose husband died at sea. This family which consisted of ten members located in the Oley region in what is now Berks County as early as 1714. Being the only Amish in their community for a number of years most of the children of the widow forsook the faith of the mother. But through marriage some of the later descendants reestablished their Amish connection. Peter and Ulrich Zug who arrived in 1727 and established themselves in Germantown may originally have been of the same faith. They were said to be related to the Amish Zugs who arrived in Berks County in 1742. Whatever their original faith may have been, however, they did not affiliate with the Amish. One of them at least became a Dunkard. It is not likely that there was any organized church life maong the first Amish stragglers, if Amish they were, and it was several years before any others were added. But three of the passengers on board the Pink Mary, September 29, 1733, seemed to have been of the same faith ... some of whom at least located in Berks County. Three years later, September 1, 1736, several more arrived (Cites Jacob Hochstettler, Johannes Lorentz, Peter Rupp, Jacob Gochenauer - it is now known the Jacob Hochstettler cited was not the Amish immigrant of 1738).

The following year (1737) found the Amish firmly established in Pennsylvania. The ship Charming Polly which landed at Philadelphia October 8 brought over the first substantial colony, and it may be that organized church life did not begin before that time. The names of this group of pioneers are - Jacob Beiler, Hans Schantz, Hans Gerber, Jr., Christian Kurtz, Jacob Mueller, Hans Zimmerman, Christina Herzberger, and Christian Buerki.

The most important and perhaps the first Amish community was established about this time along the Northkill Creek near a gap in the Blue Mountains in northwestern Berks County. A number of the immigrants of 1737 as well as Jacob Hostedler who had come the year before settled in this region. The colony was located on the very edge of the frontier line at that time just this side of the Blue Mountains beyond which the Indians still roamed at will. These pioneers did not realize the peril of their position in case the Indians should decide to go on the war path, as they actually did several years later. The desire for cheap land no doubt was the chief reason for locating so far out on the frontier line.... Durst Thomme, not an Amishman, but an immigrant of 1736, in a letter to his friends in Switzerland, dated Quitophilia, Pennsylvania, October 3, 1737, says in regard to the religious condition of his section of the province - "There are a variety of sects here - Reformed, Lutheran, Amish, Seven Day Baptisits, Mennonites, Pietists and Catholics, but these latter are permitted to have any ministers. All the different nationalities are very friendly to one another. There are also a number of savages or Indians here also, but they are very kind to the settlers."

For the next few years there were few additions to the American colony. In the year 1742, however, Hans Burkholder in a letter written to the Amsterdam relief committee ... reports that a number of Amish in the Palatinate were preparing to leave for Pennsylvania. These must have been the same as the group which arrived at Philadelphia on the ship Francis and Elizabeth, Sept 21, 1742. Among this group of passengers were ... the Zug Brothers - Mortiz, Christian, and Johannes, ancestors of a long line of Amish descendants, ... The Zugs ... joined the Northkill community. ... It was in this year, too, that the Amish petitioned the Provincial Assembly for exemption from the oath in securing naturalization - a privilege already granted to the Mennonites. (cites Hazard Register, VII, 29; Watson's Annals II, 109. According to Watson the petitoners had come to Pennsylvania upon invitation of the Proprietaries, and being attached to Omish doctrines, and being conscientious as to oaths they can not procure naturlization by the present laws. The Assembly had already passed a law however providing for the general nauralization of foreiegners and thus the Amish secured the desired relief without the necessity of a special of the Assembly on their behalf.

Two years later on Dec 22, 1744 the ship Mascliffe Galley included in its passenger list .... During the war of the Austrian succession immigration practically ceased. But immediately after peace was signed the movement which had begun in 1742 was revived and the years immediately following a number of Amish arrived at Philadelphia, and soon after joined their brethren in Berks County. Peter Glick came in 1748. The next year 1749, as already indicated, was the banner year of the general immigration movement. Among the Amish who came at that time were Jacob Hartzler, said to be one of the pioneer bishops in the church ... on the St. Andrew September 9; ... Jacob Rupp ... Christian Hochstettler (footnote 54 It is believed that Christina, Ulrich, and Nicholas, all of whom arrived on this boat, were brothers. This is likely the Christian who appears on the tax lists of Huntingdon Twp., York County in 1779. Perhaps no longer an Amishman at that time. See Hostetler History, p. 9441) .. all on the Phoenix which landed Sept 15 with 550 passengers, the largest cargo of human freight on one vessel during the century.

The year 1754 practically ended the period of Amish and Mennonite immigration to Pennsylvania. A few stragglers kept coming each year, however, after the French and Indian war to the end of the century.

The entire number of Amish immigrants to Pennsylvania during the eighteenth centruy, it will be observed, was not large - perhaps not over 500 souls all told.

The first Amish congregation in Pennsylvania .. was undoubtedly Northkill in Berks County sometime near 1737. A tax list of Bern Township in 1754 which includes practically the whole Northkill settlement at that time contains the following names which seems to be those of Amishmen - Jacob Burkey, Jacob Burkey, Jr., Hans Curtz, Christian Fisher, Jacob Good, Christian Kaufman, Jacob Kaufman, Jacob Hartzler, Jacob Hochstettler, Christian Hershberger, Christian King, Sameul King, Stephen Kurtz, Hans Lantz, Jacob Mayer, Jacob Mast, Jacob Miller, Nicholas Miller, John Miller, Jacob Reesor, Christian Stutzman, Jacob Stuzman, Christian Yoder, Christian Yoder, Jr., Jacob Yoder, John Yoder, Christian Zoog, Moritz Zoog, Hans Zimmerman. These were merely the heads of families paying taxes at that time. The entire congregation must have numbered somewhere between one hundred fifty and two hundred souls.

The life of this prosperous Northkill community was a short one. The settlement had been located near a gap in the mountains, and along the Northkill, which was on the direct route to the Indian country on the north. It thus became an easy prey to the marauding parties of the Indians which swept over the frontier settlements during the French and Indian War. In th

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Jacob H. Hochstetler, II's Timeline

January 1, 1712
près St Marie aux Mines, Echery, Alsace (aujourd'hui Grand Est), France
Schwarzenburg, Bern, Schweiz (Switzerland)
January 1, 1732
Schweiz (Switzerland)
September 1, 1736
Sharlesville, Pennsylvania, United States
September 1, 1736
Age 24
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania
September 1, 1736
Age 24
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania