This research was possible with
an extraordinary amount of input from near and distance Heizer relatives. I am
indebted to Effie Clemmer of Amarillo, Texas, Thelma Mills of Burnett, Texas,
Mary Taylor of Temple, Texas and Kathleen Heizer of Lexington, Virginia who
generously shared information, and to Bobbie Sue Henry of Buena Vista and
Virginia Lee Dawson of Salem, Virginia.
I am also obliged to Daniel Davis, a relative of my great grandfather’s wife,
Lydia Davis, and to J. Kyle Shewey of
2. Heizer Family in
3. Johannes 1679-1749
4. Valentin 1722-1753 20
5. Samuel 1749-1812
6. John 1775-1821 32
7. Hezekiah 1806-1879 33
8. John Joseph 1829-1884
.. A Final Word 52
There have been at least
three publications recording the history of the Heizer family in
James Marion Heizer used an
effective yet simple coding system suggested by his genealogical colleague,
Joseph J. Heizer of
Members of the various branches of the family are listed in order and in sufficient detail to enable those interested in doing so to trace their ancestry back to the first Heizer immigrant. Our coding system, developed by Joseph John Heizer (2d5a3d), is so simple that all you need is a name of the Heizer to whom you are related. Successive generations are alternately identified by letters, then numbers and back to letters, etc.
The first American born Heizer generation, John, Samuel and Maria, are numbered 1, 2 and 3, respectively. John's thirteen children are lettered "a" through "m”, and Samuel's nine are lettered "a" through “i ". John and Samuel's grandchildren are numbered in order of their birth from 1 through the number of children in the family.
Most family researchers of the colonial period encounter regular variations of their ancestor’s name. In the early days and through the early 1800s, settlers came from different countries, cultural backgrounds and levels of education, typically little to none, and, of course, there were no dictionaries for reference. Many settlers were illiterate and simply “made a mark” to indicate their signature. Thus, it was very important to communicate verbally but not important or deemed necessary, to be literate or spell names and words consistently. It is not unusual to see the parent’s names phonetically spelled one way and their children spelling the same name differently.
Johannes was the first of our
family, it is believed, to have arrived in the American Colonies from
Johannes’s eldest son, Valentin, died when he was quite young and also managed several surname variations. Valentin’s sons, John and Samuel, and their descendants use the Heiser and Heizer surnames, respectively. Johannes’s second son, Andreas, appears to have preferred Hyser and in his later years, his community referred to him as “Old Andreas Hyser”.
Most if not all family researchers have referred to Johannes’ eldest son as ‘Valentine’. It appears that his name was corrupted into an Anglicized form, with the letter ‘e’ added at the end. A literate German speaker of the period would pronounce ‘Valentine’ as ‘Valentina’, sounding the last ‘e’ in the name as an ‘a’, which is the feminine version of ‘Valentin’. In this work, ‘Valentin’ is used as the preferred spelling of the name.
While delving in the origins of our family and surname, I received undated information from Dennis, Arthur B., and Ethel L. of the American Hiser family. Although no direct link has been made to this family, much of the following correlates with information I have gathered:
The east side
connection to this family has been found. However, from conversations with the
genealogist at the
conclusion about our origins comes from studying church backgrounds of the
period. Ulrich Zwingli founded the German Reform Church about 1516, and in the
same period as Martin Luther began his movement. These two leaders met to
discuss merging their congregations, but could not agree on the form of
communion. Consequently, the Reform and
The second line of study involves migration pattern. The economy the time was based on what could be produced on the land. Families tended to be large and land can only be divided a limited number of times. Early church reform movements such as those advocated by Zwingli were resisted by the state.
cantons took different specific actions to persecute or harass. By contrast, the patterns of warfare in the
German duchy tended to create a shortage of males. Enticements in the form of
land or employment were offered to attract immigrants to
While looking through immigration records for the Baden-Alsace area, I often came across Heuser look-alikes, i.e., Haeusser, etc. It is my hope that this text will inspire enough interest that someone with the ability to translate German will research the Swiss and German archives sufficiently to better establish the linkage.
* * * * *
is reasonable to presume that our Heizer family may be extended to include a
large number of other branches and surname spellings. Our direct ancestor, Johannes, most
certainly had siblings, uncles, aunts and cousins, and surely a number of them
THE HEIZER FAMILY IN
The following lists direct Heizer
ancestors of our family branch from 18th Century Colonial American
to the dawn of the 21st Century in
The dates and locations in this chapter are believed to be reasonably accurate. The names of our direct Heizer branch ancestors are underlined.
M2. Married Maria Dorothea Heilman about 1725?
Born Klein Niedersheim, Germany (?) about 1700
Johannes’ Children :
Born 1722? Pfiffligheim (?),
*The four years
between Valentin’s assumed birth year in
Married (1) ________Ketchy (Goetschius)?
(2) Ludwig Weisel (widower) on
Died ? ?
Maria Sallinas (Salome)
Died after 1771 ?
Married ________ Perkymer (Berkheimer)
Died ? ?
Died after 1771 ?
Married William Graff
NB: Only the birth years of Andreas, Maria, Rebecca, and Barbara are recorded in or calculated from church documents. The birth dates and order of the other siblings are assumed.
VALENTIN Born 1722? Pfiffligheim (?),
M1- ___? ___
The name of
Valentin’s first wife, the location and date of their marriage are not known
(possibly 1745-46 in
1. John (Valentin’s 1st Marriage)
- Married Anna Howe -
2. Samuel (Valentin’s 2nd Marriage)
Samuel was baptized on
3. Maria (Valentin’s 2nd Marriage)
Married Agnes Wright on
Died 1828 ?
Martha Farley Hatton
Married Martha Hatton
Married Mary Elizabeth Ware
2e. Rebekah / Rebecca
Married Peter Smith
Married John Van Deman
Married Jemima Corey
Married John Ware
Married Elizabeth Buchanan
Married Nancy Hanna
1- Married Elizabeth Straine
2- Married Mary Roll
M1-Married Eliza Cartwell Larew (11 children)
M2-Married Lucy Goolsby (Goldsby)
Married Susan Brownlee
Married Sarah Brown
2a7. John Chapman
Married Mary Kerr Smiley
Married James Brownlee
2-Married Rebecca Almone
2a3 a. John Joseph
Died February 1880
M2- Married Anna Sidney Shewey
April 5, 1881 (2 sons)
Born March 1862
2a3b. Elizabeth Agnes
Died ? ?
Samuel McClung on
2a3c. William James
Died 1903? ?
Elizabeth Shanks on
2a3d. Clinton Hall
2a3e. Robert Scott
2a3f. Benjamin Franklin
Married Harriet Boone
2a3g. Nancy Jane Hall
George Snapp on
2a3h. Margaret Ann
Silas Baber on
2a3i Edward Newton
2a3j Mary Rebecca
2a3k. Robert Samuel
M1- Married Rebecca Valentine
M2-Married Laura Elder
M3-Married Emma Scoggins
2a3 a1. John Franklin
Married Ida Celeste Olson 1905 in
Married Della Dowdy One son (Roy)
2a3a1. JOHN FRANKLIN
John Franklin's Children:
M1. Married Eva Perez in
Four children of this marriage
M2. Married Louise Rawls (nee Wier)
There were no children of this marriage.
Two daughters from her previous marriage.
2a3a1b Alfred Sidney
Mary Frances Landrigan
2a3a1. GLENWOOD FRANKLIN, Sr.
Glenwood Franklin’s Children:
2a3a1a. Glenwood Franklin, Jr.
M1. Married Nancy Diane Nott
2003 resides in
Two sons born of this marriage
M2. Married Cheryl Anne MacDonald
One son born of this marriage
2a3a1b. Olga Celeste
December 2005: Resides in
Married Edward Thompson
Three children of this marriage
2a3a1c. Naomi Yvonne
2005: Resides in
M1-Married Carl Olsen
M2-Married Robert Tarant
2a3a1d. Mary Louise
2a3 a 1 a. GLENWOOD FRANKLIN, Jr
Glenwood Franklin Jr.'s Children:
2a3a1a1 Craig Franklin
Married Laurie Lynn Mooney in
Laurie born 1965
Craig Franklin's Children:
2a3a1a1a Adam Malloy
2a3a1a1b Isaac Glenwood Born
2a3a1a2 David William
Jennifer Lynn Hough in
David William’s Children:
2a3a1a2a Emma Waverley Born May 10, 1997
Seth Alexander Born
2a3a1a3 Eric James
2005 Attends the
3. JOHANNES - 1697? - 1749
The origins of the Heizer family
name are enigmatic. No one knows how our ancestor, Johannes, spelled his
surname, when and where he married, any
details of his early life and family, or what motivated him to leave Germany
and settle in America. Colonial records reveal a number of other individuals
and families with similar surnames migrated to
To understand the flood of
immigrants who came to
However, Louis was a menace as
well as a model. He strengthened the powers of central government and brutally
silenced domestic criticism. He revoked
the 16th Century Edit of
France and its Sun King were
technically at peace but were diligently preparing for war. Louis built a powerful army and, with a
series of ruthless actions, expanded his presence to the north and east, with
focused intent toward
A perceptive observer at the time
would have probably predicted that if there were to be social and political
enlightenment, it would begin the ready soil of
As Louis XIV waged war on the
German principalities along the
Settlers experienced in the
extraction of resins from trees landed in what is now upstate
Those who have make a passing
investigation of the family in Colonial America will usually relate a tradition
that Valentin Heizer, born about 1722,
was left with relatives in
Germany when his parents, or at least his father, Johannes, immigrated to the
American Colonies and settled in Bebber’s Township, Pennsylvania (later - Skippack Township). The tale follows
that Valentin arrived
Heizer family historians believe Johannes arrived in
map indicating the year 1717 refers to 183 acres owned by John Umstead at the
present intersection of
earliest known civil records of Johannes in the Philadelphia Country Records
note that he purchased land in 1727, and in 1734, he was accessed for taxes on
100 acres of land in Skippack. Other
civil records show that on
also know that Johannes married Maria Dorothea Heilman, the daughter of
Antonius and Maria Salome Heilman/Hallman. The original 100a Hallman farmstead
location was listed to “Christian Zimmerman,
In his book “History of Skippack”, 1896, James Heckler wrote-
“Anthony Hallman was a great speculator in land and was rated (taxed) for 100 acres in 1734. The Hallman farm first contained 175 acres and was in the family from 1705 to 1833, when Jacob Hallman and George Shoemaker, administrators of the estate of Henry Hallman, sold it to Henry Bean. The farm contained 163 acres in 1833.”
Heckler also notes that the acreage rated for census was not always accurate, either being an estimate or exaggeration, most times in the owner’s favour.
Skippack Census/Documents – 1734
Author Heckler also states:
“A list of the names of the inhabitants of the County of Philadelphia (later Montgomery County), with the quantity of land they respectively hold therein, according to the Uncirtaain Returns of the Constables – Anno Dom 1734.”
“Parkioman and Skippacke” are listed:
Anthony Hallman – 100a, Nicholas Hicks – 100a, Hance (Johannes) Hyzer –
100a, Herman Umstead – 100a, Henry Umstead – 150a. Source: Publications of the Genealogical
original Johannes Heizer farmstead appears to have been situated along the
northwest corner of
Civil documents record that
Johannes was naturalized an English subject at the
The ‘Van Bebber’s Township 1682-1793’, an unbound manuscript retained by the Historical Society of Montgomery County, Norristown, Pennsylvania, tracks the deed of a 6000 acre grant from King Charles II of England to William Penn. Philadelphia Deed Book 5 - page 219 and dated October 10, 1744 notes that John Kinsey, Thomas Leech, Thomas Chandler, John Watson and John Wright were Trustees for the Pennsylvania General Loan Office that auctioned 160 acres of land in Skippack to Johannes and Dorothea.
Census of Skippack – 1756
According to James Heckler’s “History of Skippack, 1896, Walter Johnson (aka Jansen) was a resident constable and tax collector who farmed in Skippack Village (along the east side of Route 113 at Skippack Pike – Route 73). In 1756 he was ordered by the provisional government to take a census of the township, which was done in June of that year. The first census did not list occupants or their occupation.
William Burke appears with one
child and 260 acres. This was most probably the property originally given to
Valentin by his father that passed to his widow and children. The records also show that William and Ann
owned this property until 1774 when they sold it to Yellis Kolb (Philadelphia
County Deed Book 5, page 219, dated
The last we hear of William Burke
is where he is listed in an
Maps were regularly produced by people who went around in the area, not visiting every house, and making their product available to the property owners, tax offices, etc. Further, they did not always confirm the type and number of structures on the property or the owner’s name spelling and often entered their phonetic interpretation of names and places in their records. As the maps did take a certain amount of time to prepare and print, many were outdated before being issued. The following 19th Century maps were located :
Heizer houses show up that are probably on the lands of the same original
farmstead of Johannes Heizer. One is
shown as “J.Heizer” along the west side of
“S. Heizer” is shown
owning the old farmsteads along
There is an “A. Heizer” owning the old farmstead,
The owner of the old farmstead is “John Heyser” with 61 acres.
The following are listed
on a historical resource survey of
Johannes and Dorothea Heizer
Hallman and her family were probably living in Skippack by 1718, as their
tradition tells us that her father, Antonius Heilman/Hallman, helped build the
Mennonite Meetinghouse about that year.
Dorothea’s birth date is not known but believed she was born in
Church, and earlier as New Providence, was founded by Reverend
Melchoir Muhlenberg in 1743 in
father arrived in Skippack about 1708, as James Heckler wrote, Dorothea would have been a toddler at the time and she was followed by her several brothers and sisters who were born in Skippack. Unfortunately, diligent research has not been able to confirm the 1708 date, or any other date for the arrival of the Hallman family.
Genealogists tracing the Heizer
history during the Colonial Period have relied heavily on the Pennsylvania
Archives, Montgomery County Civil Records, and the notes of Pastor Heinrich
Melchoir Muhlenberg. Pastor Muhlenberg
The first Lutheran service was
officiated in the unfinished church interior on
Marie Taylor, a Heizer family
researcher, shared her notes from the journals written by Pastor Muhlenberg,
and reported to have found an entry stating that the Hallman family immigrated
Most Hallman family records agree
that Anthony was born in Germany in 1671 and that his wife, Maria Salome, was born in 1673 and died on September 26,
1745 (Source: “Maintaining the Right
Fellowship by John Ruth –, Herald Press: Scottsdale, PA. 1984 and Maria
Salome’s gravestone at the
Elaine Jeter, a Hallman Family
researcher, reported that Dorothea’s younger sister, Anna Maria Heilman, was
We know that Johannes eldest son,
Valentin, was born in
Pastor Muhlenberg recorded the following in his journal:
NB: This journal entry is the only one known for Christina Hoppin. However, Johannes dies four years later and he leaves “his servant” to Andreas. If this were Christina, she would have been 22 years old at the time. Some Heizer researchers believe the ‘servant’ may have been a slave but this has not been verified.
(Undated) Heiserini, Barbara, daughter of Widow Heiser
NB: Pastor Muhlenberg recorded the confirmation of Andreas (b. 1726) occurred when he was 30 years old and still in school, which raises questions that cannot be answered.
October 2, 1745 - Heiser, Rebecca, daughter of Johannis, aged 6 years.
February 6, 1749 - Heiser, Johannis, buried in Mennonite ground.
August 7, 1753 – Heiser, Valentin, buried in Mennonite ground at Schippach.
There are other Heizer
sound-alike names listed by the caretakers of the
Johannes’ health began to fail in
1747. The Philadelphia Deed Book states that 160 acres with a house were
conveyed by Indenture or Lease and Release to Valentin on
Pastor Muhlenberg's journal records the death and burial of Johannes. In Journal Volume 1, page 215, the Pastor wrote (Translated from German)-
month of February, a man of the
The first lines of the Reverend’s journal tell us that Johannes was not the master of his own house and that Dorothea was handling affairs of the household and farm. Most certainly, Johannes struggled with poor health, his farms, a large family, and a personal religion of narrow paths and frequent prayer.
The book by Johan Arndt (1555-1621), referred to by Pastor Mulenberg, was the foundation of countless spiritual works. Arndt was a follower of Melanchthon and his several works aroused deep Calvinistic hostility. German pietism was, in part, a reaction to the overbearing religious and political climate of the day.
Pastor Muhlenberg buried Johannes
The transcriptions of Johannes and Dorothea’s Wills were copied from a microfilm of the Pennsylvania Will Book I, 1748-1753 by Mary Kimberly Rau, a Hallman descendent:
Last Will and Testament
IN THE NAME OF GOD AMEN this twelfth day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and forty-eight, I John Hayser of the Township of Skippack and Perkiomen in the Country of Philadelphia herefor being old and weak in body but perfect in mind and memory thanks be to God therefore calling to mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men one to die to make and ordain this my Last Will and Testament. That is to say principally and first of all I give and recommend my soul into the hands of God that gave it and for my body, I recommend it be the earth be buried in a Christian like and decent manner at the discretion of my Executor nothing doubting but at the General Resurrection I shall receive the same again by the almighty power of God and as touching such worldly estate wherewith it hath pleased God to place me in this life, I give, devise and dispose of he same in the following manner and form. Imprimis. It is my will that and I do order that in the first place all my just debts and funeral charges be paid and satisfied. Item: I give and bequeath unto Dorrety my well beloved wife the one-third part of my personal estate and further my wife it to have the third part of the real estate during her natural life. Item: I give and bequeath to Dorrety Hayser my well beloved wife the sum (of) one hundred and fifty pounds to be raised and levied out of my estate and more further my wife it to have all the household goods excepting for one bed and my son Andreas Hayser is to let her have one horse for to ride when she has cause to ride and my son Andreas Hayser is to save one half an acre of flax for his mother yearly and every year during her natural life, but if my wife Dorrety Hayser should marry again and not remain my widow then she shall not be entitled to the one hundred and fifty pounds. Item: I give and bequeath to Valentin Hayser my well beloved son the sum of one-shilling sterling money to be raised and levied out of my estate. Item: I give and bequeath to Andreas Hayser my well beloved son the Plantation which I now live together with all and singular houses, barns, stables, horses, cows, sheep, wagons (……?….) and the gears belonging thereto and my servant and one bed. Item: It is my will that my son Andreas Hayser is to pay out of these the sum of two hundred pounds in one year after my decease but if my wife should come to die then Andreas shall have five years time for to pay that to his sisters. Item: I give and bequeath unto Anna Marie, my oldest daughter, the sum of fourteen pounds to be raised and levied out of my estate and to be paid unto here in manner and form following that is to say one year after my decease. Item: I give and bequeath unto Christina my well beloved daughter, the sum of fourteen pounds to be paid to her after my decease. Item: I give and bequeath to Mary Salome my well beloved daughter the sum of fifty pounds to be paid to her three years after my decease. Item: I give and bequeath unto Elizabeth my well beloved daughter the sum of fifty pounds to be paid to her five years after my decease. Item: I give and bequeath unto Barbara my youngest daughter fifty pounds to be paid unto her seven years after my decease. Item: It is my will that if any of my children should die under eighteen then that share shall be divided among the rest of the children. Item: I likewise and empower my Executors that they shall make and give my son Andreas a deed for my plantation as good and lawful as if I were in being. Item: I likewise take Doretty Hayser my well beloved wife and Valentine Hayser to be my Executors whom I likewise constitute, make and ordain my only and sole Executors of this my Last Will and Testament of all and singular lands (…?…) and tenements to them and their heirs and assigns forever and I do hereby utterly disallow, revoke and disannul all and every other former testaments, will, legacies and Executors by me in any way before this time, named willed and bequeathed. Ratifying these to be my Last Will and Testament. Item: It is my will that my wife shall live in the house along with my son Andreas Hayser but if they cannot agree then Andreas must build another house for is mother.
John Hayser (seal) Signed (and) sealed in the presence of us:
Lodwig Morning, Richard Jacob, Leonard Vanfasser.
Then personally appeared Lodwig Morning and Leon Vanfasser two of the witnesses of the foregoing Will and on their solemn affirmation according to law did declare and affirm they saw and heard John Hayser the Testator herein named sign, seal, publish and declare the same Will for and as his Last Will and Testament and that at the doing thereto, he was of sound mind, memory and understanding to the best of their knowledge, and that Richard Jacob, the other witness thereto did also inscribe his name as a witness in the presence of and at the request of the Testator.
it remembered that on the 8th day of January 1748, this Last Will
and Testament of John Hayser, Deceased, was proved in due form of law and
probate and (…?…) testament were granted to Valentin Hayser, Dorothy Hayser
being absent. Exec. In the said
decedents estate and to bring an inventory there of into the Reg. Gen. Office
Given under Seal of the said office by Wm Plumstead, Reg. Gen.
General Comments to Johannes Hayser’s Will:
The most striking issue is that Johannes made Valentin Co-Executor with Dorothea, bequeathed one shilling to him, and Andreas received the estate. On the surface, it appears that Johannes slighted Valentin. However, when Johannes wrote his Will (January 1748), Valentin had acquired the original (?) family farm and home the previous year. At the time, he was a life of independent means.
It is worth noting that the Will shows Johannes’ surname to be Hayser, and the body of the document refers to his wife and two sons as Hayser. In Dorothea’s Will, her surname appears as Heiser and she is identified as the widow of Johannes Heiser, which is the spelling of the family surname adopted by Valentin’s eldest son, John.
A painting (date unknown) of the homestead owned
by Antonius Heilman in The three-story house and barn are standing
today and are currently under restoration (2005). The property is located
at the intersection of Evansburg and Kratz Roads, and about two miles from
the land owned by Johannes and Dorothea Heizer.
A painting (date unknown) of the homestead owned
by Antonius Heilman in
The three-story house and barn are standing today and are currently under restoration (2005). The property is located at the intersection of Evansburg and Kratz Roads, and about two miles from the land owned by Johannes and Dorothea Heizer.
In 2001, Faith Hutchins, a Hallman historian, located Antonius Heilman’s gravestone, which had been replaced many years ago by his descendents. Embedded into the back is his wife’s original shale gravestone, which reads:
Hier Ruhet Maria Salome Heilman
Ren 1673 ENT
Gravestones of the 18th century were often of slate or soft marble and simply did not withstand the passing of time. Many those that do exist are unreadable or display only the initials and/or the death date of the departed. In many instances, a headstone was refused as a means to show the highest respect to God. This possibility is reflected as Parson Muhlenberg stated (in German), “in saying farewell he requested me to bury him, but not to make mention of his person as was nothing but a corrupt and miserable creature.”
The following was compiled by Wilmer Reinford of Skippack in 1961:
Anthony Hallman, 1671-1759 and Maria Salome Heilman, 1673-1745.
NB: There are at least thirty other Hallmans buried in the old cemetery. In 2005, Michael Dickey carefully studied the cemetery directory and concluded that Johannes, Dorothea and Valentin Heizer are buried in close proximity to the graves of Anthony and Maria Hallman, being in the northern corner of the site, and unmarked.
“A.H., 1821”, “I.H., 1816’. These two burials are next to each other.
Andrew Hyser died
Sarah Hiser died
Hannah (Tyson) Hyser, wife of Andrew Hyser died
Jacob Hiser died
Susanna (Smith), wife of Jacob Hiser died
Catherine, wife of John Heyser, died
Susanna, wife of John Heyser, died
John Heyser died
4. Valentin - 1722? - 1753
The book Immigrants in
Pennsylvania by Daniel Rupp and published by The Genealogical Publishing
Company - Baltimore, records that Valentin and other passengers came to Philadelphia
on September 19, 1738 aboard the British ship The Thistle - John Wilson,
Commander. The journey was by way of
Valentin’s surname name was entered in the landing records as Valentin L. His or Heis. He did not affix his signature to the ship's register but marked his entry with an “X”, as did about a third of the eighty or so other immigrants. There is no data to confirm the middle initial “L” and, if true, the name it represents.
The first thought is that
Valentin was no more literate than he was fluent in English when he arrived in
Valentin was at least sixteen years old when he came to America as British law required formal records of immigrants of this age and older. Some 20th Century Heizer families relate a tradition that Valentin stowed away on the ship by hiding in a barrel and not making his presence known until they were well out to sea. If Valentin was indeed a stowaway, the authorities may have required a landing record regardless of his age.
Many family historians believe that Johannes and his first wife and
mother (name unknown) of Valentine married in Germany, probably somewhere near
Worms about 1720/21. Valentin was born about 1722.
Shortly thereafter, the mother dies and, for reasons not known, Johannes leaves
his infant son with relatives or guardians and relocates to
Valentin’s guardians in
It is then recorded that Valentin applied for and received British citizenship in his new
country. Philadelphia Archives, Volume
2, page 316, Second Series, lists persons being "Quakers", who were
conscientiously scruple to take an oath, being foreigners and having complied
with the terms required by the Act of Parliament. On
Valentin Heyser, a cabinetmaker, a foreigner, and a Quaker became a citizen.
Sometime about 1745-1746, Valentin meets a
young lady who would become his wife.
Sadly, her name has been lost but she and her family were probably
living in or near Skippack. In the summer of 1746, the couple learns that they
will become parents in the spring of the coming year. It seems that the pregnancy was difficult and
she died soon after their son, John, was born on
Valentin then married Anna Howe
at the old
There were two children of
Valentin’s marriage to Anna Howe:
Sometime after Maria’s birth Valentin rented a nearby tavern and inn. Pastor Muhlenberg noted in his journal that the establishment was well known to the Skippack community. Most certainly Valentin left farming and cabinetmaking to focus on the success of his enterprise, the camaraderie of friends, and a life of personal and economic rewards.
18th Century inns,
taverns and coffeehouses in
Coffeehouses and taverns were required to mark
themselves with a large sign hanging outside of the premises. Most taverns had simple names, usually nouns,
with a corresponding illustration for those who could not read.
Valentin was familiar with the nearby community of Trappe, where there were three taverns operating there prior to the Revolutionary War. The oldest and most well known tavern was started in 1717 by John Jacob Shrack and was called “The Trap”. This tavern was advertised in 1760 as being operated by the son of John Jacob Shrack. It is possible that Valentin rented “The Trap” in the intervening years but this no more than clear speculation.
There are two more promising possibilities in Skippack that show some evidence for Valentin’s tavern:
Welker – Innkeeper: In 1756
Dietrich Welker owned a licensed hotel that was located at the northeast corner
near the present intersection of Skippack Pike/Route 73 and
Upper Hotel - This site is
across the street from the Welker Inn.
In 1747 the property began as a 49-acre tract of land that Peter Johnson
left to his daughter, Mary, who was married to Phillip Markley. James Heckler opined that Phillip Markley
built a house on this site and on
Source: James Y. Heckler – The History of Skippack – 1896.
Initial research indicates the
Upper Hotel may be the most probable location of Valentin’s inn. The site is
along the north side of Skippack Pike, about 200-feet west to the
In 1743, John Keiter’s
father-in-law, Gerhard Indenhofen, had a licensed inn at the eastern end of
Skippack village, in the house at the southwest corner of Skippack Pike/Route
73 and the
A further piece of information giving more weight to Valentin’s inn being in Skippack rather than Trappe are purchase records found by Michael Dickey showing Valentin’s purchased a “hog’s head” (70 gallons) of hard cider from Jacob Clemens, a farmer near Lederach, in June 1753. Lederach is a community just north of Skippack and relatively close to the two Skippack inns. Clemen’s ledger shows that Valentin paid ₤1, 11 shillings for the cider.
In August 1753, Pastor Muhlenberg Journal Volume I, page 369, records the events leading to Valentin’s death (Translated from German):
same month of August a young man, whom I instructed and confirmed several years
ago and who was a member of the congregations in
a broad way and a narrow way. Many wander down the broad way, but only a few on the narrow way. We also know that itis impossible to please God without faith and that no one who is not sanctified will see the Lord. The mother suggested that, as a result of the dream, he might possibly have repented and turned to God. The merciful Lord, she said, does not desire the death of a sinner, but what is best for the children of men; through this accident God, in His wisdom, may possibly delivered her son from a greater danger and further temptations, etc. I replied: This is a possible supposition. It flows from her motherly love, and that her motive must be reckoned as good. But let no one sin in reliance upon grace.
We must strive earnestly to enter the strait gate,
not forgetting what today may bring forth. The body of the deceased was buried
Rev. Muhlenberg describes Valentin as a ". young man whom I instructed in his tender
youth “ and infers that he was not as strong a
Christian as the Pastor would have liked.
The Pastor's use of "young man" and “tender youth"
reinforces earlier assumptions of Valentine’s age when he arrived in
The fact that Rev. Muhlenberg’s
Journal tells us that Valentin “had not
received (religious) instruction during his tender youth” could indicate
that Valentin may not have been in a nuclear family during his early years in
The name of the tavern Valentin rented and managed has not been discovered, but the large number of people Rev. Muhlenberg recorded at the funeral gives testament to its popularity. More importantly, Pastor. Muhlenberg’s comment that Valentin was ‘modest and respectable’ might concede that a person need not be a good Christian to be a good person.
As John Keiter was an investor,
it is probable that he rented the Upper Hotel after his
Valentin’s lack of intense
religious instruction, at a time when German Lutheranism flourished, hints of
youthful rebellion or neglect by his home country family or guardian. The type of personality such circumstances
can create gives no cause for surprise if Valentin was independent minded,
resourceful and indeed stowed away on a ship bound for
There is an interesting contrast between Pastor Muhlenberg’s descriptions of Johannes and Valentin. Johannes is the consummate suffering Christian who denigrates himself with guilt and unworthiness, and longs for a better life in the hereafter. Valentin, who was left in Germany as an infant, may have had to care for himself and live by his wits until he was old enough to join his family in America, and moved on to enjoy life and all of its material assets.
Valentin died intestate leaving
Andreas as the eldest male survivor of the family. On
Anna Widow Relict Age 26
John Bachelor Age 6
Samuel Bachelor Age 4
Mary Spintress Age 1
Coincidental with the time,
relations between the German Protestants and the court of King George of
The French were determined to
erect a fort on the site of the present city of
The hostilities between
Under the circumstances, it is
not surprising that William Burke and Anna decided to leave Skippack taking
their adult children to relocate in
Dorothea died in Skippack on
Last Will and Testament
is to certify to whom it may concern that I, Dorothea Heiser of Perkiomen and
Skippack Township, in the County of Philadelphia, a widow of John Heiser,
deceased, and sickly and weak in body but, thanks be to God, of good
understanding and memory do make this my Last Will and Testament in manner
following (viz): First I recommend my soul
in the hands of the Almighty by God my Creator and my body to the earth to be
decently buried at the discretion of my Executor. And as for my worldly effects and affairs, I
dispose and order the same as followeth:
It is my will that all my just debts and funeral expenses be fully and duly
paid by my Executor. Item: It is my total will and I give to my son,
Andrew Heiser and to his heirs forever all the whole third part which was left
to me by my beloved husband John Heiser in his Last Will and Testament, which
my son Andrew was to give to me for which case I have lived with him in
peace. Therefore that nobody whosoever
it may be shall ever make any demand on him for the same. Item: It is my will and I give further to my
son Andrew Heiser and his heirs forever all my household goods (viz) what in
the kitchen and house is used as pewter, copper, iron, earthen ware or wooden
ware as also my black walnut cloth press and bedstead to his use and profit
only without giving and body and amount thereof. Then it is my will and I do give to my
beloved grand daughter Rebecca Rigg to her and to her heirs forever the sum of
one hundred pounds. I say one hundred
pounds lawful money of Pennsylvania as soon as she will be one and twenty years
old, but if she should happen to die before she will be one and twenty years
old and should have no issue then such her heirship shall be equally divided
between her youngest brothers and sisters.
Item: It is my will and I do give
to my youngest daughter, Barbara Graff, now wife of William Graff, to her two daughters,
Dorothea and Margaret, the sum of fifty pounds moneyof
Signed, sealed and declared by the said testatrix as her Last Will and Testament in the presence of us as witnesses-
Dorothea Heiser X (her mark) (seal)
Henry Heylman X (his mark)
Comm. Benjamin Chew, Reg. Gen.
Be it remembered that on the nineteenth day of February, 1771 the Last Will and Testament of Dorothea Heiser, deceased, in due form of law was proved and probated and letter testamentary thereof were granted to Andrew Heiser, Executor, in the said Will being first and duly sworn will and truly to administer the said deceased’s estate and bring an inventory thereof into the Register General’s Office in Philadelphia on or before the Nineteenth day of March next and render a true and just account of the said administration on or before the nineteenth day of February 1772, or when thereto legally required under the seal of the said office.
NB: Andrew Ziegler, witness to
Dorothea’s Will, is believed to be the well respected Mennonite Bishop in
It is also worth mentioning at this point that Andreas Heyser (sic) married Sara Zeiber. They were the parents of five daughters and two sons:
Married John Bernard (or Barned)
John Markley on
Isaac Markley on
Married Susanna Smith on March 2, 17??
Sarah Born 1776 Died (?)
Married John Drukenmiller
Married Peter Wanner
Sarah Odbegrove on
This history of the Heizer family does not include details on the life and time of Andreas and his children. Unfortunately, several attempts to trace Andreas have been unsuccessful. It does appear, however, that Andreas, Sarah and most if not all of their children lived their full lives in Skippack.
the threshold of the 21st Century, the Heizer descendants of Johannes
and Valentin are well established across
Andreas and his wife Sara are also buried
here. Records refer to him as “Old Andreas Heyser” and note he was interred
in Plot #69. Photo courtesy of Faith
Hutchins - 2001.
Andreas and his wife Sara are also buried here. Records refer to him as “Old Andreas Heyser” and note he was interred in Plot #69. Photo courtesy of Faith Hutchins - 2001.
The American Revolutionary War and the Heizer Farmstead
At the time of the American Revolution, Andreas Heizer owned the original farmstead of his father, Johannes, located at the north corner of Evansbugh and Township Line Roads. There is some evidence that a Court of Enquiry may have been held at this site during the Revolutionary War.
As the British converged on
Archives also cite:
J. McGuire wrote the following in his book, “The
smoke from the battle of
writings of George Washington, from the Original Manuscript Sources 1745-1799,
edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-1944) Volume 9, cites George Washington’s
General Orders sent from Head Quarters in Towamencin on
The Court of Enquiry of which Lord Stirling is President, now sitting at the President’s orders, is to inquire into the charge against Brigadier General Wayne – viz ‘ That he had timely notice of the enemy’s intention to attack troops under his command on the night of the 20th ult. and notwithstanding that intelligence, he neglected making a disposition until it was too late either to annoy the enemy, or make a retreat with the utmost danger and confusion. The President will give notice of the time when the court can enter on the enquiry; when the parties and witnesses are to attend.
Lord Stirling’s quarters were at a house whose owner’s name was “Houfer”. This information and name is in the Court of
Enquiry Document, List of Evidences, which was dated, “At a Court of Enquiry
held at the House of Houfer in Camp
McGuire surmises the following in his note on the “House of Houfer”:
to this, there was a prior encampment in the Trappe area, in mid-1777, that extended
eastward about two miles just east of the
Valentin’s sons, John and Samuel served in the Revolutionary Army.
5. SAMUEL 1749 - 1812
As social and political unrest
continued to escalate in
Samuel Heizer's name first
In the decades that followed,
Samuel purchased several parcels of land in
Samuel and Elizabeth had nine
children, all born at
2a John Heizer was born on
2b William Heizer was born on
2c Nathaniel Heizer was born on
2d Samuel Heizer (Jr.) was born on
2e Rebecca / Rebekah Heizer was born on
2f Mary Heizer was born on
2g Joshua Heizer was born on
under a Captain Sowers and received Bounty Land Warrant N°16,024 for 80 acres
of land. Joshua later moved to Warren
2h Elizabeth Heizer was born on
2i Edward Heizer was born
Edward died in
NB: The Town of
The Augusta County Deeds and Records Book 30, Page 114, records that in 1798 Samuel Heizer purchased from Edward Burke approximately £1200 of personal property, which appeared to be all of the assets of his stepbrother. The inventory included household goods, farming equipment and implements. It would seem that Edward Burke was raising funds to leave farming or move to some other part of the country.
Samuel’s record of acquisitions
does not end here. In March 1794, William and Letty Johnson deeded to Samuel Heizer
130 acres of land on the
and his older brother John served as foot soldiers in the American
Revolutionary War. Some family
historians tell us that Samuel served under George Washington at
Samuel’s records are sparse, John’s records are more specific and document his
several efforts to gain a military pension for his service as a soldier during
the American Colonial period. He first
enlisted as a private for three months on September 1777 under Captain Thomas
Smith and Colonel Dickason of
“..went out as a volunteer for three months under the following named officers, viz, Colonel Dickason, as near as he can recollect, Captain Thomas Smith and Lieutenant Charles Baskins and (sic) that they went down to Point Pleasant and their boys killed old Cornstalk and three other Indians at the guard house and started home again.”
application was rejected “.because of
lack of proof of the military service which he alleged.” A more cynical view would suggest that John’s
pension was rejected because of his presence at the death of Cornstalk (circa
1720-1777), a prominent Shawnee Chief,
Cornstalk’s son, Ilinipsico, Red
Hawk, and a fourth
Cornstalk’s death was ordered by Colonel Lewis and carried
out by Captain (later colonel) Dickason and his men. Cornstalk’s death brought down the enmity of
Samuel Heizer died on
was born on
2a2 Samuel was born on
2a3 Hezekiah was born on
2a4 William was born on
2a5 James was born on
2a6 Robert was born on
2a7 John Chapman was born on
2a8 Ruth Evans was born on
2a9 Edward was born on
No children are
known of this marriage. Edward died on
to information recorded by his youngest son, Robert Samuel, Hezekiah farmed in
A Larew descendant, Daniel Davis
and Eliza worshipped at the Mount Carmel Presbyterian Church in Steels Tavern,
Virginia and raised their children in a strict Blue Stocking
Presbyterian home. Hezekiah became an
Elder at this church in the mid-1850s.
Sometime later, he moved his family a few miles south to the
Their children were-
a John Joseph was born on
2a3b Elizabeth Agnes was born on
2a3c William James was born on
2a3d Clinton Hall was born on
2a3e Robert Scott was born on
2a3f Benjamin Franklin was born on
W. and Elizabeth Agnes (nee Heizer) McClung and their children.
W. and Elizabeth Agnes (nee Heizer) McClung and their children.
2a3g Nancy Jane Hall was born on
2a3h Margaret Ann was born on
2a3i Edward Newton was born on
2a3j Mary Rebecca was born on
2a3k Robert Samuel was born on
NB: Robert Samuel told his daughter that he was the youngest of twelve children. It is assumed that a sibling preceded him did not come to term or died at birth.
Hezekiah and Eliza appear to have been reasonably well known in the social fabric of Augusta and Rockbridge communities. The Augusta County Courthouse, Index to Deeds, Part 2 E-M, show that Eliza and Hezekiah granted property to Eliza’s brother, Robert Larew, in May 1838. In another instance, Hezekiah purchased 120 acres of farmland that bordered his farm and a nearby creek.
of Benjamin Franklin Heizer. Married Harriet Boone. Benjamin was inducted
by the Confederacy and died in 1862 from injuries and infection.
Photograph of Benjamin Franklin Heizer. Married Harriet Boone. Benjamin was inducted by the Confederacy and died
in 1862 from injuries and infection.
Family Record maintained by Hezekiah Heizer
The first shots of the American
Civil War were fired in 1861 and a terrible tide began to turn against the
family. Eliza died on
While the Confederacy did not
lack in spirit, it fell far short of supplies and the infrastructure needed to
successfully resist the Union Army. Hezekiah, because of his age, and John
Joseph, rejected for health reasons, were not combatants but joined the cause
for the South. They farmed and hauled goods and equipment in the Shenandoah.
According to Robert Samuel’s biography, three brothers fought for the
Confederacy and served under Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Presumably,
this refers to William James who later moved to
the twilight of the civil war, Northern troops peeled the
In late 1864, U.S. General
Sheridan and his men wintered in
believed to of Lucy Goolsby taken about the time of her marriage to
Hezekiah Heizer on March 7, 1867.
Photograph believed to of Lucy Goolsby taken about the time of her marriage to Hezekiah Heizer on March 7, 1867.
Hezekiah’s widowhood and
emotional emptiness in the aftermath of the Civil War must have been
enormous. He called on Lucy Jane Goolsby
and asked, in spite of the difference in their ages, if she would be his wife. Rev. Harvey Gilmor married Hezekiah and Lucy
In the waning years of the 19th Century, the Shenandoah Virginians were tired. Their land was torn, homes and farms were destroyed; death had visited all but a very few families. Reconstruction was painful and the life these Virginians knew was gone forever. There was a widespread urge to leave and start anew.
The Presbyterians at
The present structure at
James Paine 1840-1856 James H. Smith 1879-1881
John Miller 1857-1858 Alfred Jones 1882-1889
Wm. Pinkerton 1858-1869 Henry White 1892
J. Harvey Gilmore 1870-1874 John H. Davis 1893-1895
David C. Irwin 1874-1877 J. Layton Mauze 1899-1902
J. Harvey Gilmore 1877-1889
Robert Samuel Heizer: Mamie Heizer wrote and undated narrative about her father, a portion f which follows:
converted when a lad of eleven or twelve years old, and joined the Presbyterian
Church (sometimes called the “Old School” or “Blue Stocking”
Presbyterians). Even at that young age
he did not accept some of their teaching, but since his father was a Ruling
Elder in the church and the other Elders said, “With his father teaching him,
he will come to believe these doctrines,” and they took him into the
church. But the older he grew, the more
he couldn’t accept them, so he joined the Methodist Episcopal Church South in
1876 and was a member of that church for 60 years, but was a church member for
73 years. He was licensed to Exhort when he joined the
There is a problem with the
statement that Robert was a Sunday School Superintendent in
A faded photograph of John Joseph (2a3a) shows a handsome man with a high forehead, possibly dark blonde hair, and eyes more blue or hazel in color than dark. Not at all dissimilar to the physical appearance of my father, his brother, and their father, as well as a number of the Heizer family who attended the 1982 Family Reunion in Dublin, Texas. However, the question persists: Who was John Joseph Heizer? What was his temperament and personality?
the early 1960’s, I contacted a Charles Robert Heizer who was listed in the
Heizer (2a3k2) was Robert Samuel’s youngest son. He was born in
Charles said that he and my grandfather, John Franklin, were as close as brothers when they were boys in Stephenville. Sometime later, his father forbade him to associate with his cousins “because of some troubles”. When I asked Charles to elaborate, he said that all of the events happened long ago and he did not remember any details. Charles did say that in spite of his father’s direction, he and John Franklin maintained regular contact until the latter’s death in 1948.
My visit with Charles was friendly, brief, not very informative and singular. It also left me wondering what caused the rift between Robert Samuel and my family. Later attempts to visit with Charles or discuss family history were politely declined.
In time, bits of information did fall into place and it became increasing obvious that Robert Samuel was the source of much misinformation about John Joseph. This is typically evidenced in an undated biographical sketch by Robert Samuel’s daughter, Mamie, with the only known reference to his eldest brother:
John Joseph Heizer B. March 29, 1829
He first married
In keeping with late 19th
century family dialogue, numerous photographs were made, kept and exchanged
between the several relatives who came to
John Joseph has not been easy or very unsuccessful.
John Joseph was the first child born to Hezekiah and Eliza Cartwell (nee Larew) Heizer, and was named for his two grandfathers- John Heizer and Joseph Larew. He likely had had a disproportionate responsibility as the eldest of eleven children living in an age of high infant mortality, strong patriarchy, and strict 19th Century Presbyterianism. The fact that he alone followed his father as a Church Ruling Elder and did not marry until his thirties may be significant.
Hezekiah’s religion was stern, and the Sabbath was a singularly for church and bible. Robert Samuel recalled that if any of the children failed to focus their undivided attention to the pulpit during church services, their father had them memorize long bible passages, psalms or hymns. Hezekiah’s ‘Blue Stocking’ Presbyterianism was so rigid that he even forbade a casual Sunday stroll through the farm. No casual walking, no idle conversation, no singing, you dare not whistle, and there was no reading of any book other then the bible. Sunday was a day for God and rest.
Hezekiah and his family first
worshiped at the Mount Carmel Presbyterian Church at Steels Tavern and later at
the Fairfield Presbyterian Church in
John Joseph appears in the 1860
1981 I corresponded with Daniel R. Davis of
Timber Ridge Presbyterian Church as it appears today. The
Timber Ridge Presbyterian Church as it appears today. The
the break of the American Civil War a number of Heizer men fought for the
Confederacy, including three of John’s brothers. John Joseph was conscripted in Brownsburg on
1870 Census for
#41-41 Heizer, John J. 44 M W Farmer Laborer
Laura 7 F W At Home
Walker, John 17 M B Laborer on farm
Gibbs, Ann 23 F B Cook
Frank 5 M B At Home
Charles 10/12 M B At Home
#41-42 Heizer Hezekiah 66 M W Farmer
Lucy J. 40 F W Keeping House
Robert S. 18 M W At Home
N.B: Subject to further research, John Walker, Ann Gibbs and their parents may have been slaves in pre-Civil War days. Robert S. Heizer’s ‘At Home’ census entry in interesting as most males of this age would be working or engaged in learning a trade.
Laura’s name posed a problem
until it was found that she became John and
Photograph believed to be of Laura Heizer,
daughter of Benjamin and Harriet Heizer.
Laura was orphaned when she was five years old, and was cared for by
John Joseph and
Photograph believed to be of Laura Heizer,
daughter of Benjamin and Harriet Heizer.
Laura was orphaned when she was five years old, and was cared for by
John Joseph and
Effie Clemmer, the Texas Heizer family historian, gave me a photograph of an attractive and fashionably dressed young girl that had been given to her by Grandmother, Nancy Jane Hall (nee Heizer) Snapp. The photo came from a collection of old Heizer family photographs. The young girl has not been identified with any known family member, but was in the same packet that contained the photos of John Joseph and Lydia Heizer.
In 1987, Pastor Betty Sutherland
of the Fairfield Presbyterian Church searched old records and found two
enigmatic entries. The first appears
in the Session Minutes Book for April 1,
1873 stating: “J. J. Heizer dismissed
1879 Rockbridge Records note that John J. Heizer reported the death of his
niece, Laura Heizer (age 16). According
to letters in the possession of Effie Clemmer,
Nancy Jane (Heizer) Snapp would recall that a Heizer child died in a fire but her grand daughter, Effie Clemmer, who was quite young at the time, did not remember a name, time, or place of this tragedy. Effie did say that her grandmother had a bisque doll that ‘belonged to the young Heizer girl who died in the fire’.
death was a certainly profound shock to John and
A Fairfield Church Session entry
Line 186-194 Heizer, John J. 50 Widower
A detailed search by Pastor
Sutherland failed to reveal details, dates of
1880 John Shewey, a wagon maker, was the deacon of the Fairfield Presbyterian
Church. John Shewey’s wife was Nancy
Jane, the daughter of Archibald Griffin. The Shewey children were
Rockbridge records show that 52-year-old
John Joseph Heizer and 19 year old Anna Sydney Shewey eloped to
It is impossible to imagine how Annie’s family and John rationalized the age differences. We have no idea how John viewed himself as a childless widower of a fourteen year marriage, one brother, William James, with whom most if not all contact was lost; brothers William Newton and Benjamin Franklin casualties of the Civil War; a dear niece who lived with he and his wife dead at 16 years of age; and his youngest brother, Robert Samuel, the father of three children.
John hastened his plans to return
were made to move to
The following lists Heizer men of Rockbridge and
Benjamin Franklin Heizer
Age 22. 6th District,
Edward Newton Heizer
Private. 6th District,
George H. Heizer
Captain Gaber’s Company. Virginia Light Artillery (
Although more than 50 years of age,
he served in the Confederacy with his sons, James Francis and John Howard
Heizer. Believed to have enlisted with
the 2nd Rockbridge Artillery.
Source: Effie Clemmer, family historian -
James Francis Heizer
Private. Born Churchville,
James J. Heizer
Sergeant, Company E, 5th Virginia Infantry, Stonewall Brigade. Died in 1886. James J. was the son of William A. and Susan (Brownlee) Heizer.
Source: Brownlee family.
John B. Heizer
F&S. 14th Virginia Calvary. Unconfirmed.
John Howard Heizer
14th Virginia Cavalry. .The
Staunton Artillery. McClanahan’s
William A. Heizer
William James Heizer
The John Joseph and Robert Samuel Heizer
families, their in-laws and relatives moved to
As the original experiences recede into the past, as we move farther and farther away from 1882, we tend to cobble those memories and events with brilliant simplicity and unrequited tunnel vision. The feelings and causes, loves and hates, desires and anxieties are much clearer to us than they were to the individuals who lived through them more than a century ago.
and railroads pictured
The train terminated at
1882 Stephenville had a population
of about 2000. Dirt streets surrounded the Courthouse Square, there were a
several small stores, a national bank, two relatively decent hotels, a number
of boarding houses, three weekly newspapers (The Empire, The Tribune and The
Journal), and several saloons were doing a fine business judging from the
number of drunks and fights in the streets.
Passing buffalo hunters and frequent Indian raids capped the fabric of
the town. Six churches did their best to
offer salvation from the Wild West scene that was watched over by the eye of Sheriff
J.C. Gilbreath. As far as Robert was concerned,
October, J. Frank Wilson sold Robert 2.3 acres of land on the south side of
Long Street between Baxter and Ross Streets.
The rear of the lot bordered the
Parcel of land on Block 113). This area, known as College Hill, and home for John, Annie, young John Franklin and Annie’s sister, Alice Lee.
The brothers built a large two-room box house on Robert’s lot. Work then began on John’s house, and they sent for their wives, children and other family members.
son of Silas and Margaret (nee Heizer - 2a3h) Baber, would recall in later
years that families boarded the train in
and sister Alice Lee Shewey.
Luther Marvin and Charles Robert.
William and Frances married just before they left
· Mary Alice Snapp, who would later marry George McPherson
· William Joseph Snapp
children, Alice and Hezekiah William
Hezekiah L. Snapp (son of George and Nancy Snapp) with
his infant son, Charles
winter of 1882 was followed by a severe drought. Watering holes and ponds evaporated, the
Robert worked as a blacksmith, carriage maker and part-time preacher. He contacted The Empire to announce that a local blacksmith had hired him. Hezekiah Snapp would soon build a small hardware store and smithery adjacent to his house, and Robert became his partner.
A late 20th Century
reconstruction of a typical pioneer log cabin. This would be typical of the
one built by Robert Samuel and John Joseph Heizer in the fall of 1882. Stephenville
A late 20th Century reconstruction of a typical pioneer log cabin. This would be typical of the one built by Robert Samuel and John Joseph Heizer in the fall of 1882.
John farmed as
much as the ruthless weather would allow. He worked as a carpenter and hauled
goods into the community from the railroad lines that spurred into nearby
Cisco, Alexander and
days were punctuated with frontier lawlessness and twisted justice. Masked
“Night Raiders” regularly brought their version of order to
To complete the Stephenville scene, sundry disagreements were regularly resolved with the pull of a trigger or an arc of a knife. The law or what there was of it, rarely interfered and was more disposed to let dissidents take matters in their own hands. The rationale was quite simple-- the quicker the riff-raff killed each other; the sooner peace would come to the community.
Left: Margaret Ann (nee Heizer) Baber.
Daughter of Hezekiah and Eliza Heizer.
Married Silas Baber on Right:
George Washington and Nancy Jane Hall (nee Heizer, daughter of
Hezekiah and Eliza) Snapp. Married on Photos circa 1882
Left: Margaret Ann (nee Heizer) Baber.
Daughter of Hezekiah and Eliza Heizer.
Married Silas Baber on
Right: George Washington and Nancy Jane Hall (nee Heizer, daughter of Hezekiah and
Eliza) Snapp. Married on
Photos circa 1882
An idea of Stephenville life may be sampled from town records:
1854: John M. Stephen moved a Negro family to the Post Oak Grove, now Stephenville, to open a store and trade with the Indians for honey, hides and buffalo hams. The following year Stephens returned with the first thirty white settlers.
1865: On Dove Creek,
1871: Stephenville has three saloons, one blacksmith shop, a gunsmith, four physicians, and a shade tree meat market selling beef at two to three cents a pound.
1872: Stephenville was under martial law enforced
by former Negro slaves empowered as reconstruction state police. They were promptly dispatched by a group of
Stephenville men. In October, unidentified Erath vigilantes lynched several people
for unknown reasons. One of the victims, Jim Lathan, survived and reported the
incident to civil authorities in
1877: John Wesley Hardin, the ruthless
1878: The Fort Worth Democrat
1879: Wheat sowing in
1880: Friends of the notorious gunman Bob Hollis attempted to rescue him from the Stephen-ville jail. His stocks were broken, his irons cut, and a hole was burned through the jailhouse floor when the attempt was discovered.
J.J. Rushing, an
intelligent and rather prepossessing young man “who was wanted all over
1882: (October) Sickness is all over
On November 25, The Empire reported, “Quite a number of white topped wagons passing through Stephenville, loaded with immigrants.”
A flock of 3000
sheep was driven through Stephenville. They were from
1883: (December) The Empire reported that fence cutters had destroyed several miles of barbed wire.
1884: Fence cutters destroyed five miles of barbed wire belonging to the Erath Cattle Company.
1884: Women of Stephenville complained that men….”ugly enough and old enough to know better stand on the boardwalks like wooden Indians, forcing women to walk around them in the muddy streets.”
1885: The Wallace & Company Circus came to Stephenville in October. By the end of the performance, nineteen men had been arrested for fighting.
Sheriff John Gilbreath (1882-1885) “…discovered evidence that prisoners confined in the jail have a set of saws and files in their possession.” The prisoners were refused coffee and fed only bread and water until they voted to give up their tools.
1887: Vigilantes in nearby Comanche,
1891: Ceremonies were held on December 3rd with the laying of the new courthouse corner stone. Also in Stephenville today, a pit fight between a bear and a wolf drew a crowd of 700.
The outlaw John Hardin was released from prison after a long sentence. While in prison Hardin read the required law books and passed the bar.
A man was killed six miles south of Stephenville in August after arguing with another for spilling Johnson seed in his pasture.
1922: The Ku Klux Klan published the following on March 1st: “Remember, the all seeing eye of the Invisible Empire, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan is upon you.”
John Joseph died on
of John Joseph Heizer located near the southwest corner of the Inscribed:
Gone from our home but
of John Joseph Heizer located near the southwest corner of the
Gone from our
home but not
from our hearts.
John Hyzer of Stephenville but formerly
Based on interviews with Charles Heizer and Effie Clemmer, the more likely scenario is that he was fatally injured when he worked for the railroad.
Annie was in great anguish not only from the death of John and the tedious relationship with Robert, but also because she was three months pregnant.
Hezekiah and Alice Lee (nee Shewey) Snapp
and their children, Haskell and
Elmer Earl. Alice Lee accompanied her sister, Anna, to
Hezekiah and Alice Lee (nee Shewey) Snapp and their children, Haskell and Elmer Earl.
Alice Lee accompanied her sister, Anna, to
John Joseph’s will conveyed one half of the family farm and other real estate to Annie, and the balance to his issue, John Franklin and Glenwood Griffin.
Joseph’s farm, savings and possible assistance from the family provided a
reasonable life for Annie and her children.
A move back to
the spring of 1886, Robert’s blacksmith partnership with Hezekiah Snap was busy
and growing. However, Robert was
determined return to
reflected on his situation. He concluded that preaching would offer greater
satisfaction, better personal opportunities and a more stable financial
situation. Soon he was sermonizing full time at the
the turn of the 20th Century, Rebecca fell ill while Robert was
assigned to the
he was a pastor in
* * * * *
Comments regarding the weather conditions of 1883:
It was a clear and sunny day on the
swept away whole communities and recontoured coastlines, leaving swamps and mud
flats where thriving ports and market towns had been. The convulsions ravaged
the seabed, sinking reefs and islands deep under the rolling waters and
throwing up new shoals and ledges that made mariners charts useless
overnight. The monster waves were more
than four meters high when they arrived in
sound, meanwhile, was deafening and heard as far as the
went haywire in
The pulverized particles of Krakatoa’s 790-meter peak rocketed into the stratosphere and took well over a year to dissipate. In the interim, spectacular sunsets were seen around the world, bedeviling firefighters who frequently took the red glare in the night sky to be a nearby conflagration. The airborne ash filtered the sun’s rays and lowered world temperatures in the range of 1.5 Degrees Celsius. The disruption caused global floods, droughts and vicious windstorms that lasted for several more years.
E N D
10. A Final Word
this research is far from finished, it has accomplished the original intent to bring
light to the events and circumstances when our German ancestors came to
The reader is encouraged to add information, correct errors and expand on the data accumulated here. Please contact-
G. F. Heizer