Melchior "The Pioneer" Brenneman, Sr.

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Melchior "The Pioneer" Brenneman, Sr.

Also Known As: "The Pilgrim"
Birthplace: Oberdiessbach, Bern, Bern-Mittelland, Canton of Bern, Switzerland
Death: January 20, 1737 (71-72)
New Danville, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
Place of Burial: New Danville Cemetery - Lancaster County, PA
Immediate Family:

Son of Melchior Brenneman, II, "The Exile" and Christina Brenneman
Husband of Elizabeth Jane Brenneman
Father of Christopher Stephen Brenneman; Christian Brenneman, Sr; John Brenneman; Adam Brenneman; Catharine Anna Steiner and 2 others
Brother of Christian Brenneman, I; John (Hans) Brenneman; Elsbeth Bronnimann; Steffan Brönnimann; Anna Bronnimann and 2 others

Occupation: Waver, Preacher, and Farmer, Weaver, farmer, Bishop, Weaver in Switzerland, Land owner&weaver - Preacher, Mennonite, Weaver / Farmer / Preacher
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Melchior "The Pioneer" Brenneman, Sr.

Mennonite refugee living in Griesheim, Rhein-Hessen, Germany, first wife unknown. Immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1717 or earlier and bought property in Strasburg (now Conestoga) Township on Nov. 30, 1717.


Taken from The Brenneman History

Melchior Brenneman was born in Bern, Switzerland about 1665. He moved with his family to Griesheim, Germany in 1671 due to the persecution on Anabaptists in Germany. Tradition gives the year of his arrival in Pennsylvania as 1709, although it may have been as late as 1717. A history of Lancaster County, PA states that both Melchior and Christian Brenneman purchased land in Lancaster County in the "Swiss Settlement" and were settled on this land as early as 1715. On November 30, 1717 he received a warrant of 500 acres (surveyed October 10, 1717) in Strasburg Township, Chester County, PA (now Lancaster Co. and Conestoga Township) from the Penns. This tract was granted him "under the quit rent of one English shilling, to be paid annually at Chester on the first day of March yearly from the first survey". On this land he built his new home and resided for at least twenty years, pursuing the triple occupation of farmer, weaver, and preacher. He pobably assisted the Rev. Hans Burkholder in the congregation near New Danville, formerly Stumpstown. Martin G. Weaver, in his book :Mennonites of Lancaster Conference" states that the original Melchior Brenneman was a Mennonite bishop.

By 1718 Melchior had moved into the almost unsettled wilderness between the Pequea and Conestoga. Here he continued to acquire land. The Biographical Annals of Lancaster County (1903) state that to his 1717 tract of 500 acres he added 200 more, and later took out warrants for two racts of 90 and 125 acres. A great tract of 700 acres which he bought from the Indian trader Pierre Bizaillon on December 3, 1728, located along the Susquehanna, later came into possession of his son Christian.

An interesting reord of the family in America is recorded in 7 Hazard's Register, p. 163, in the reminiscences of an eyewitness who had lived in the Conestoga region in the early days of the colony there: "I have often seen the little Brennemans, children of a Mennonist emigrant, playing in the most sportive and innocent manner with the little re faes, and I never know or heard of one little white face receiving any injuy from their red brethren; that is, no intentional injury." The Indians referred to belonged to the Conestoga tribe, and lived peaceably with the Mennonite folks for many years. The site of their primitive village is still known as Indiantown, in Manor Township, Lancaster Co., PA. and the land on which this village stood has been for nearly two centuries now in the Brenneman name. These unoffending savages were barbarously murdered in the year 1763 by a gang of fiends who have gone down in Pennsylvania history under the opprobrious name of "The Paxtang Boys".

The New Danville Mennonite Church (Mennonite Church USA), in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, a member of the Lancaster Mennonite Conference, was built on the land of Bishop Hans Burkholder and Melchior Brenneman, pioneers of 1717. The cemetery is still there. In the overflow from the Lampeter-Strasburg settlement of 1710 many of the new arrivals in 1717 came into this area. The first meetinghouse, built in 1755 in this stump land, was called Stumptown. It was replaced in 1855 and 1878 by stone churches, and therefore became known as the Stone Church. The new one of brick built in 1907 gradually took on the present name of the nearby town. This was the home district of Bishop Martin Boehm, organizer of the United Brethren Church. The membership in 1956 was 260, with David N. Thomas as bishop and James H. Hess as the minister. A three-room Christian day school nearby was sponsored by the district.

Refered to as "The Pioneer" as he came to the New Country in 1708. Probably through Phily.

His father was called the Exile. Little is known of his father or mother.

Info was extrated from book in the Mormon Library, Salt Lake City, Utah intitled The Brenneman History. Published by the Mennonite publishing House - Scottdale, PA. in 1938

The book was written by Albert Gerberich

The Pioneer

Ahnentafel, Generation No. 4 8. Melchior Brenneman was born 1665 in Bern, Switzerland, and died 1737 in PA. He was the son of 16. Melchior Brenneman and 17. ?. 9. Elizabeth ? was born WFT Est 1663-1698, and died WFT Est 1720-1784.

      Child of Elizabeth ? and Melchior Brenneman is:

4. i. Melchior Brenneman was born AUG 1718 in New Danville, Lancaster, PA, and died 19 APR 1794 in Edom, Rockingham, VA. He married Ann Good WFT Est 1737-1766, daughter of Jacob Good. She was born 1722 in Lancaster, PA, and died 1800 in Edom, Rockingham, VA.



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Melchior "The Pioneer" Brenneman, Sr.'s Timeline

Bern, Bern-Mittelland, Canton of Bern, Switzerland
Age 28
Darmstadt-Dieburg, Darmstadt, Hesse, Germany
Age 30
Griesheim, Darmstadt, HE, Germany
Age 33
Griesheim, Starkenburg, Hesse, Germany
Age 35
Griesheim, Darmstadt, HE, Germany
Age 40
Griesheim, Starkeburg, Hessen, Germany
Age 44
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Age 50