608. Samuel OBERHOLTZER died in 1748.
Information from Lucille Warner via Nancy Zimmerman Dunham:
"The name Oberholtzer means above or beyond the woods or wild.
Oberholtzer from Pennsylvania explained to me in a letter how the Oberholtzer
name originated: 'Switzerland is a mountainous country. The Obers lived at
the foot of the mountain, the Holtzers lived halfway up the mountainside and
the Oberholtzers lived above the timberline. To the Pennsylvania Dutch or
German speaking people this has a little meaning. Holtz in the Dutch language
means wood. Therefore, the Oberholtzers lived above the woods or timberline
over the holtz.'
The story told by some Oberholtzer families in Pennsylvania is that
three Oberholtzer brothers immigrated from Switzerland to Pennsylvania. One
settled in Montgomery County, one in Lebanon County, and one in Juanita County.
Some records state that Martin and Michael Oberholtzer of the German and Swiss
Mennonites, settled in Lancaster County in 1710, and Marcus in 1712.
In 1711, the Mennonites of Berne, Switzerland, were offered free
transportation down the Rhine, given permission to sell their property and to
take their families with them to Switzerland. Their friends in Holland urged
them to do this.
In Switzerland Mennonitism was exterminated by the time of the
The persecutions in Zurich and Berne drove the Mennonites into Alsace,
Loraine, and then farther into France, and down the Rhine into the Palatinate.
About this time began the settlements of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
by the Swiss Mennonites. The names of the men who founded the Pequea Colony
first appear in a letter of thanks to Holland written from London, June 24,
'Worthy and Beloved Friends'
'In addition to wishing you every temporal and spiritual
blessing we wish to inform you that we have received the help which the dear
friends have sent us so kindly for the continuation of our journey. This
gracious contribution came very opportunely for us; for the journey cost us
more than we had anticipated. May God bless the dear friends; and whatever
may be wholesome to body and soul may the merciful God grant them, and be their
eternal rewarder. As to our journey we wish to report that we were delayed
here almost ten weeks before we entered the ship. But we finally went on board
the 24th, and since then have been lodged and cared for. We are informed that
we will set sail from here next Saturday or Sunday for Gravesend, where we will
await the Russian convoy. May God be with us and may he bring us safely to
America as he has brought us to England. Herewith we committ you to His tender
mercies; and if we may never see one another again in this life may the good
God permit us to meet one another in eternity. Herewith we command you all to
Him, together with cordial greetings from all of us, and remain your true
friends. London, June 24, 1710.'
It is thought that these six men might have been the heads of the six
families who the year before were stranded in London in need of more money to
take them to Pennsylvania, and for whom Jacob Telner had solicited funds from
his Rotterdam friends.
This same group was thought to have set sail June 29, on the ship Mary
Hope with ninety-three other passengers, and after a rough voyage of nearly
eight weeks during which many of them suffered from violent sea sickness, they
arrived in the Delaware early in September.
On October 10, 1710, a warrant was issued by the Board of Property to
the Surveyor General of the Province for 10,000 acres the purchasers were to
pay five hundred pounds Pennsylvania money, or about sixteens cents per acre;
and in addition on shilling quit rent anually for every hundred acres; the
principal to be paid in six annual installments.
The records from the Department of Interior at Harrisburg states the
land was surveyed October 23, 1710, and was not divided among the different
settlers until April 27, of the following year. Martin and Michael
Oberholtzer's names were not on these records.
The early settlers located on the Pequea Creek. This region, which is
now known as Lancaster County, was still a primitive wilderness where the
wolves and panthers roamed freely through the dense forests of maple and
hickory. The Indian wigwams dotted the banks of both the Conestoga and the
Pequea which flowed through the heart of the County of Lancaster. Occasionally
a white trapper or licensed trader found his way into the region to barter with
the native Indian.
October 23, 1710 -- A very quaint account of them says that the sect
came from a German Palatinate at the invitation of William Penn. The men wore
long red caps on their heads. The women had neither bonnets, hats, nor caps,
but merely a string passing around the head to keep the hair from the face.
Martin Oberholtzer (my great-great-great-great-grandfather), was the
one brother that settled in Lebanon County in Pennslyvania. His wife's name
was Elizabeth. Martin died in 1767. Martin's father, Samuel, died in 1748 and
his mother, Elizabeth, died about 1758.
Samuel and Elizabeth's children were Jacob, Martin, Elizabeth, Ann,
Magdalena and Veronica. There was not mention of Michael and Marcus on the
list that I received."
Elizabeth _____ died about 1758. Children were:
|Jacob OBERHOLTZER died in 1806.
died in Died young.|