Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Peter Laufer (1752 - 1830)

                                                Peter Laufer, The Shoemaker


We can be happy that Peter's wife, Magdalena Susanna Grosher,  refused to travel  to Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania in 1774 with the rest of the Laufer's when Peter's father, Christian,  opted to relocate there and fight the Indian hostilities on the Western front.  Peter  first married Magdalena Susanna Grosher who was the mother of his children.  Later he married Magdalena Althause.

The following is taken from The Lauffer History (1905),  The Peter Laufer Branch.   "He lived in troublous times, for it is said that it was not safe to sleep in the house at night, for fear of the Indians.  The settlers had to go to the block house at Howersville.  When his father Christian, and all his brothers and sisters emigrated into Westmoreland Co., he alone remained in Northampton Co.  Tradition has it that he married a wife who refused to cross the Mountains."

He was a farmer and a  shoemaker by trade.  It is reported that he was a very short man and therefore too small to carry a musket, but he was one of the Pennsylvania German farmers who wanted  to  contribute  to the success of Liberty's cause.  So he joined Washington's army as a shoemaker  and practiced that skill during the length of his enlistment.   His name appears as a private of the 8th class, spelled Lawfart, in  the 3rd Battalion of the 7th Company under Captain  John Deeter of the Northampton County militia, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel  Nicholas Kern, in 1782, and  again on March 3, 1783.   He joined the company in 1780.

The shoemaker's shop in Williamsburg, Virginia

In 1780  Peter Laufer was assessed on his property in Moore township at 292 pounds. In 1785 Peter Laufer is named as the owner of 150 acres of land in Moore township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania and was by occupation a farmer and shoemaker.

He married Magdalena Susanna Grosher.   They  were members of the Reformed congregation  of  Stone Church at Kreidersville, Northampton county.  They were the parents of  eight children who were: 
  1.  Catharine,  born July 26, 1778, and died may 28, 1847.   She married Michael Asch.
  2.  Eizabeth,  born Nov. 14, 1779,  and died Nov. 14, 1859.  She married  Mathias Greber.  They resided near Petersville, Pennsylvania.
  3.  Susanna,  born December 8,  1782, and died in 1847.  She married Andrew Lilly, of Petersville, Pennsylvania.
  4.  Peter Laufer, Jr., born June 25, 1785, and died Aug. 29, 1855.  He married Eva Bush.  They are buried at Kreidersville, Pennsylvania.
  5.  Adam Laufer, born in 1790, and married Elizabeth Koehler and moved to Monroe  county.
  6.  Jacob Laufer who married  Elizabeth Strauss. 
  7.  Rachel, married Henry Renner.
  8.  Anna Maria, born Sept. 20, 1792, and   died March 18, 1877.  She married George Marsh, of Klecknersville, Pennsylvania.


Peter Laufer, son of Christian "The Pioneer" Lauffer and Susanna Best, was born Oct. 18, 1752, and died July 21, 1830.   He is buried at Kreidersville Church, Allen township,  Northampton county where his grave is marked with  an American Flag by the Veteran's Administration to recognize his service in the Revolutionary War.


It is unknown when his first wife Magdalena Susanna Grosher  died or where she is buried.   A record of burial for his  second wife Magdalena Althause  is found in the Burial Record of Zion's Stone Church.  She was born May 15, 1767 and died  in 1831 and is also buried at Zion Stone Church in Kreidersville, Pennsylvania.  

We have two lines of descent  from Peter Lauffer.  Estella May Kunkle Smith was the granddaughter of Peter's daughter, Anna Maria Laufer who married George Marsh.  Through a different line she was the great grand daughter of Peter's daughter, Susanna who married Andrew Lilly.



                                                        This page and all contents © 2013 Cynthia H. Smith
                                                                      Email  to chsmith47@yahoo.com

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Christian Laufer (1723 - 1796)

Laufer family researchers call him The Pioneer and a Zealous Patriot. He was among the thousands of Germans who adopted  this land as their own and fought valiantly for her independence.  It is said that his descendents in the United States number in the tens of thousands.

Christian Laufer emigrated to this country in 1731.  He  traveled from his homeland in the Palatinate area of Germany  along the Rhine River in the accompaniment of his stepfather,  Barthel Gucker, mother Anna Catharina  and  brother  Lorentz.   The family arrived in Philadelphia on September 10 on board the  ship the Pennsylvania Merchant.  Christian was 8 years old.

Eventually the family settled in Moore Township of Northampton County, Pennsylvania, a  sparsely  settled  area that was still occupied by Native Americans.  Sometime in 1751, Christian married Susanna Best, the daughter of Wilhelm Best and his wife, Anna Susanna Schaeffer.   Life was difficult on this Pennsylvania frontier as they struggled to protect themselves from attacks during the French and Indian War  (1754–1763), a forerunner to the American Revolution.



On October 5th, 1757, Christian, along  with almost all the heads of the households living in the region along the Blue Mountain  met at Peter Doll's Block House  and sent a petition to the Governor of Pennsylvania asking for arms and ammunition to protect themselves against hostile Indian attacks. 

Records show that Christian was a land owner and tax payer in  Northampton county.  In 1762 his name is listed  as a tax payer in Lehigh township.   In 1768 he was taxed for 40 acres of cultivated and 120 acres of uncultivated land.  On Nov. 13, 1771, he purchased a tract of 40 acres of land and in the year 1772 he paid tax in Lehigh township.   

Showing  his ever increasing support  for the fight for the  independence of this country,  Christian became a naturalized citizen in 1765 in Lehigh township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania.  The  patriot spirit  was growing among he and his neighbors.

In 1774, Christian Laufer moved across the Allegheny Mountains to  the newly formed Westmoreland County, taking with him his whole family, with the exception of Peter, who remained in Northampton County.   Bellows, in his book, The Lauffer History said, "We can be proud of our hardy pioneer ancestors, who crossed the Alleghenies to hold the marauding Indians in check, to build homes and protect the western outposts in the troublous days of the American Revolution."  Christian Laufer  was  just such  a man.   He and fellow pioneers built homes and cleared land for  farms, producing  food staffs for themselves and the people living in  the outlying  fort towns. Their bravery helped stem the tide of  the Indian aggression.  With the endurance of German pioneers like  Christian and his  family the western outposts secured our claims to the Ohio and Mississippi.


The Daughter's of the American Revolution recognize him for having provided Patriotic Service  and cites that he “suffered depredation.”  A monument to his honor is placed in the Denmark Cemetery in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.  Christian was born in May of 1723  and died in 1796.  His wife Susanna was born in Germany in 1735. She died July 19, 1796 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.  They were the parents of six sons and five daughters.  Christian was the 3rd great grand father of Estella Kunkle Smith.

More to come with the story of Peter Laufer, our  5th great grandfather.


Henry W. , Bellows. The Lauffer history; A genealogical chart of the descendants of Christian Lauffer, the pioneer. New York Public Library, 1905. Ebook. <http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/henry-w-henry-whitney-bellows/the-lauffer-history-a-genealogical-chart-of-the-descendants-of-christian-lauffe-eer.shtml>.

For more about the Laufer family please visit  their website at http://www.lauffer.us/index.htm

                                                  This page  © 2013 Cynthia H. Smith
                                                                 Email  to chsmith47@yahoo.com

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Valentine Heffner (1758 - 1848)

Valentine Heffner joined the Revolutionary  Cause at the age of nineteen when he was drafted into the Continental Army in June, 1777.     According to his military records he continued to serve  in a state of readiness  as a minute man in the  militia of Franklin County,  Pennsylvania  until 1781.  He says he served under such noted Generals as Arnold, Armstrong, Smallwood and Washington. In the pension  application records  of 1837, he is named as  Vallintin Haffner. 

The Revolutionary War Pension record of Valentine Heffner provides an account of his service.  In his  own words Valentine  describes his  terms of service in 1777, 1778 and 1779.  He was  at the Battle of Brandywine under the leadership of General George Washington.   This painting  "Nation Makers" by Howard Pyle at the  Brandywine Museum in Chadds Ford Pennsylvania depicts the battle.
His service was provided in and around  the area north and west of Philadelphia. At the time of enlistment he  resided near Chambersburg in Franklin County, Pennsylvania.    Also in this record Valentine attests that he was born in 1758 in Germany and came to this country as  a child.  Other records  show he was born  in Teitzland, Pfalz of Zwiebrucken, (Hessia), Germany.

Much of  what I first learned of the Heffner family history  came from  a booklet written by my great grandmother,  Ella May Heffner Long.     The Heffner Reunion,  Huntingdon, PA, Aug. 30, 1924, "A Brief Genealogy of the Family of John, Son of Valentine Heffner", Mrs. H.H. Long, family historian.  In it she writes:     
      "The Heffner family is of German descent and runs back into the past beyond the scope of this article.   The direct lineal ancestry has been traced seven generations to Valentine and Barbara (Nancy )  Miller Heffner, natives of Franklin Co., PA.    Valentine Heffner and his brother, Jacob, had served in the Revolutionary War and become citizens of Walker Twp, Huntingdon Co., which land was purchased from the Indians in 1754.  Valentine Heffner,  after living a few years upon the farm near the upper mill,  the foundation of which remains, later known as the Robb farm, returned to Franklin County;  but in 1796 came to make permanent settlement in Walker Twp.  Valentine and Jacob each secured 96 acres of land in the Little Valley; Jacob occupying the lower farm and living there  until 1817 when he moved to Ohio.  The upper farm has always belonged to the Heffner famly and there Valentine died in 1848 at the age of 89 and was buried in the cemetery;  having for a number of years been a Revolutionary pensioner.  He was the father of  fourteen children."

It is unclear if  Barbara or Nancy or Mary  are the same person.  All are names given as the wife of Valentine Heffner in various documents.  It is recorded that he married Nancy/Barbara  Miller on April 30,  1783 in Washington County,  Maryland.  In 1855 his wife Mary applied for a widow's pension.

 Of the fourteen children  of Valentine and his wife, only  seven lived to mature years. They were:
1. Catherine Heffner  who was born March 31, 1787 and died 26 January 26. 1871. She married Martin Speck.
2. Jacob Heffner who was born in 1789 and died in 1876. He married Susannah Nelson.
3. Peter Heffner who was born May 1, 1793  and died April 19, 1849.  He  married Catherine Enyeart a daughter of William Enyeart  and Jane Norris.
4. John Heffner. who was born  April 7, 1797 and  died September 16, 1881.  He married Rachel Enyeart,  also a daughter of William Enyeart  and Jane Norris.
5. Adam was born in 1799 and died in April of 1840. He married Rebecca Enyeart, another daughter of William Enyeart  and Jane Norris.
6. Barbara Heffner who was born 1802 and died 1832.  She married Christian Rowland and moved to Ashland Ohio.
7. Elizabeth Heffner who was born May 1, 1807  and died March 19, 1880.  She moved to Ashland, Ohio  and married  Andrew Mason.



His grave in the McConnellstown Cemetery in  Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania is  marked  with a relatively new  stone commemorating his service in the War for Independence. No grave for his wife has been located.  Valentine was the great, great grandfather of my grandmother,  Sarah Eliza Long McEwen.

                                      This page and all contents © 2012 Cynthia H. Smith
                                                    Email  to chsmith47@yahoo.com

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Dreisbach Brothers: Johan Jost, John Adam and Simon

Three Dreisbach Brothers: Johan Jost, John Adam and Simon and their sons fought  for the Independence of their adopted country, America!  

Their parents, our immigrant ancestors,  Johann Simon Dreisbach and Maria Katharina Keller were married on November 7, 1720 in Oberndorf, German.  Among their children were  these three brothers:
            1. Johann Jost (Yost) Dreisbach, christened on September 18, 1721.
            2. Johann Adam Dreisbach, christened on November 7, 1722.
            3. Simon Dreisbach, Jr., christened on February 18, 1730.

The brothers  were born in Oberndorf; their christenings were recorded at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Feudingen, Germany.   The family came to America on the ship Lydia and arrived in Philadelphia on September 20, 1743, after a  journey of 4 months.   They settled in Lehigh Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania,  a few miles from Blue Mountain and the Lehigh Gap.  Before long,  father and sons acquired land in the region,  making a  living in the wilderness  and protecting themselves and their families from hostile Indian attacks.


A memorial to the Dreisbach brothers has been erected at The Zion Stone Church Graveyard in Kreidersville, Pennsylvania. 


1.  Johann Jost (Yost) Dreisbach was active in the American Revolution.  He is credited with multiple terms of service.  He  is shown as a member of the County Committee of Observation in 1774.  In  1775 he was a Captain in the Lehigh  Company of the Northampton County Militia.  He became a Colonel in the Third Battalion of Northampton Co. in 1776.  His service records  are recorded in the Pennsylvania Archives, 2nd Series, Volume 14.   Jost died October 17, 1794 and is buried at Zion Stone Church, Kreidersville, Allen Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania.  Yost was married to Elizabeth and named nine children in his will.    His son John Adam Dreisbach, born October 15, 1762 in Northampton County, Pennsylvania  also provided service in the American Revolution, 1870-1782 and in 1783.  He  saw service as a  Private, 4th class  in 7th Company,  3rd Battalion under Capt. John Deter.   John Adam married Maria Margaret Hamscher, born in 1763 in Northampton County, a  daughter of  Johann Adam Hamsher and Maria Margretta Heckman.  Among their  descendents  is Beatrice Graver Smith  through her father, Wilson Graver's  side of the family.

2.   Johann Adam Dreisbach  married Susanna Coerber (Koeber).  "Adam Dreisbach, from Bucks County, Reformed, and Susanna Kirbirrin, Reformed, a single person from Lancaster County, were proclaimed publicly three different Sundays and on the Eighth Sunday after Trinity, July 16, 1749, married in the church after Kinderlehre with the following two couples [Peter Cronbach & Elisabetha Hagebuchin; and Georg Michael Schwabe & Catharina Gunthern]"  (2. Trinity) The DAR  recognizes his service record as having served as a Private under the leadership of  Captain  Alshouse as well as being in the Militia.   Johann Adam  died  on January 10, 1803 in Easton, Pennsylvania. Susanna died April 7, 1805.  They were buried in Easton at the site of the present day Easton Library.  Among their  descendents  is Beatrice Graver Smith through her mother,  Jennie Lauer's  side of the family.

3. Simon Dreisbach, Jr.  "was a farmer and miller in Lehigh township, and at the outbreak of the Revolution was a member of the Provincial Convention. He was a member of the Assembly from 1776 to 1780, and on Oct. 20, 1782, became a member of the Council of Censors. After the war he served several terms in the Assembly and was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1790." (3. History)  He married Maria Dorothea Theis (Does, Toss, Taes)  and together they had 11 children.    Simon died  Dec. 17, 1806 and Maria Dorthea died July 8, 1773.   They are also buried  at Zion Stone Church, Kreidersville,Pennsylvania.  Our family has a line of descent through his son John Dreisbach, born August 21, 1752,  whom some references say  saw service in the American Revolution.   Simon and John  provide yet another  line of descent to Beatrice Graver Smith.

Both Wilson Graver  and Jennie Ellen (Genevieve) Lauer descended from Johann Simon Dreisbach and Maria Katharina Keller through different lines. 

Please see the website for The Dreisbach Family Association for more information on the Dreisbach Family.

References
1. DAR - National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution
Publication: http://www.dar.org/
2. Trinity Lutheran Church Records, Lancaster PA
http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=dreisbach&id=I00423
3. History of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.