Chester was one of the three original shires, or counties, of Pennsylvania.[The others being Philadelphia and Bucks]
See A Discussion of the Petition for the Formation of Lancaster and the
Petition for the Formation of Lancaster itself -transcribed and with list of signing local residents
A)Description of the Frontier;
B) Lancaster County in Context of our Ancestors;
C) Brief History of Lancaster City Settlement;
D) Our Forebears of Lancaster and their precense by map;
E) Further Research Links
[linked to map showing regions
of Lancaster involved]
Intrroduction to Topic
Our first settlers of Lancaster County were in fact our first Americans in the Swope Allied ascendancy [ the Howard Allied surnames being present since 1682 in Philadelphia and its environs ]. Our first Lancaster countians were seeking sanctuary, and the western frontier of Pennsylvania most appealed to them. They had their land surveyed in 1710 in then Chester County and soon after went to their land north of the Pequea Creek in the Conestoga Valley now pertaining to Lancaster. See Our Mennonites of Lancaster County where their history is discussed. Our mennonites were shortly later joined by many more of our surnames in the county, commencing in the 1720s, those being mostly Reformed and Lutheran in faith. Our Lancaster surnames include the Irish, Scotch Irish found in the McCurdy allied bundle, but most of our surnames of Lancaster are German or Swiss German [McCurdy and Creighton being at present the only deviants ] .
Lancaster city was settled in 1718 before the formation of the county to which it now pertains; It recieved its name from John Wright, one of the 1st settlers, for his native Lancashire, England [See also Lancaster Tsp history]. Lancaster, the town, refers to itself as the oldest inland city in the United States . Because of its role in westward expansion & the opportunites relevant thereunto, Lancaster held attraction & meaning for 18th century Americans both well known and more obscure to history. It was here, apparantly , that George Washington was declared the "father" of his country.
Lancaster County was the first county formed  from the original three shires or counties of Penn's proprietary established in 1681 and in 1682 involving Bucks, Chester and Philadelphia [map] [excluding the three shires of Delaware he likewise held- In 1704 Delaware was liberated from Pennsylvania [map]. As a result of beourgeoning emmigration and expanded settlement [map] , Lancaster was formed from Chester's backwoods 1729 [map] . Eventually Lancaster too had to be partitioned forming York in 1749 [map], with a portion of York split to form Adams in 1800. In 1878, the counties of Penna were defined as they stand today [map]. These maps provided in the links preceeding show nicely the development of and final allocation of the lands of Lancaster as they presently stand and reveal the progress of the emmigration of our Pennsylvania forebears from Chester [Mennonite forebears and Swope and Lein family relevant before it became Lancaster] to Lancaster [see surnames involved] on to York [ also many of our lines] and finally to Adams County . "Lancaster County of today is in the Piedmont region with occasional ridges standing above the rolling hills and limestone plains, the largest of which forms the central part of the county and is drained by the Conestoga River and Pequea Creek." 1 See History of Lancaster City.
The following is relevant to our direct Herr & Brenneman ancestors, though the subject is Marie Ferreefootnote 2. with the area still pertaining to Chester county at the time she appeared. She probably arrived in the Peguea Valley around 1712, and this is nearly contemporaneous with our earliest Herr [Bishop Hans] ancestor, and about 5 years prior to our Brenneman [Melchior] immigrant. Rupp, in his ìHistory of Dauphin and Cumberland Countiesî etc, describes the arrival of Madam Le Fiere, a Huegenot, and her party in arriving in the valley of the Pequea. Her land was located along the Pequea creek about 55 miles west of Philly, and was part of the 10,000 acres granted by William Penn to Martin Kindig and Abraham Herr [ arrived 1709/10] and other agents of the Mennonite colony, the families of whom include Melchior Brenneman [arrived 1717] and Swope forebear [arrived ca 1720 settling apart from this and in Leacock Township] ìIt was on the evening of a summerís day when the Hugenots reached the verge of a hill commanding a view of the valley of Pequea; it ws a woodland scene, a forest inhabited by wild beasts, for no indication of civilized man was near; scattered along the Pequea, amidst the dark-green hazel, could be discovered the Indian wigwams, the smoke issuing therefrom in its spiral form; no sounds was heard but the songs of the birds; in silence they contemplated the beautiful propect which nature presented to their view. Suddenly a number of Indians dared from the woods; the females shrieked, when an Indian advanced, and in broken English said to Madam Ferre:îIndian no harm white;white good to Indian;go to Beaver-our chief-come to Beaver. Few were the words of the Indian. They went with him to Beaverís cabin, and Beaver, with the humanity that distinguished the Indian of that period, gave up to the immigrants hi wigwam. Next day he introduced them to Tawana, who lived on the great flats of Pequeaî At the time of the Ferree settlement in his dominions Mary Le Fiere took a present from Pennís agent to Tawana, and thus secured his friendship.History of Lancaster County in context of our Ancestors:
"The ìConestogoeî Settlement of Mennonites (so called because of its location near the Conestoga River), however, was remote from most other settlement in Pennsylvania. The nearest neighbors of the Conestogoe Mennonites were the Conestoga people, an indigenous group who held legal title to a ìManorî between the Little Conestoga Creek and the Susquehanna River, about five miles to the west of the Mennonite settlement. The closest European settlement was about twenty-five miles to the south-south east. This was called the ìNottingham Lotsî: lands granted by Pennsylvania, but including a number of tracts in what is now Maryland. In 1711, what is now Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, was part of Chester County, the westernmost of the three original counties of Pennsylvania. Lancaster County was founded in 1729, almost nineteen years after the grant of lands near the Conestoga to the Mennonites."3footnote 2
We hold no relationship to Madame Ferree, but she is present in the larger tree itself, as her descendants intermarried with our Swope Allied family group, making some of her descendants our distant cousins. Her story is significant enough that it bears further mention.
Madame Ferree refers to Marie WAREMBOURG [often found as Mary WARENBUER/WARRIMBERE, but the correct form of the name is as preceding] , who married Daniel Ferree in France. She emmigrated a widow, having gone alone to petition William Penn for land in London, called out to him when his carriage was pointed out to her, and eventually received a Land Grant From Penn, who was so impressed with her he introduced her to Queen Anne, who gave her tools for farming .
ìThe Pequea Valley comprised the western extremity of Chester County and was referred to as Conestoga Township. The valley was watered by two small, southwesterly-flowing rivers, the Pequea and, a few miles to its west, the Conestoga. Both emptied into the Susquehanna River.
Penn's west road had been extended through Chester County to the Gap in the Hills. Here it crossed the trading road running south to New Castle. By 1710 the west road from Philadelphia was being pushed southwesterly to the Susquehanna. It was called the Great Conestoga Road. It was over this dirt path that the Ferree-Schleiermacher caravan of wagons bumped west on a summer's day in 1710.î4
ìThe Pequa Valley, when 1st settled was in Chester Co.. At the 1st assessment 1718 it was Conestoga Township. In 1720 West Conestoga Township was formed on the west side of Pequa Creek. Lancaster Co, formed from Chester Co. 1729. Later it became part of Strasburg Township and from 1843 to present is Paradise Township ì 2
"The first record we have of a tavern within the bounds of Lancaster City is the statement by Rupp that one was kept by Gibson as early as 1722, at the sign of "The Hickory-Tree." It was situated on the old road from Philadelphia to Wright's Ferry, which was on the original plot of the town, called, as it now is, King Street. The site was for many years occupied by Slaymaker's Hotel, later by Benjamin Champney's residence, and is now covered by the building in which is High & Martin's crockery-store."5
"As has been shown, Hamilton laid out the first and central portion of the town in 1730. Settlements had been made here in 1721 or 1722, and by 1730 the little cluster of houses is said to have attained a population of two hundred souls. The locality was known as the Indian Field and Gibson's Pasture. George Gibson kept a tavern here when Hamilton platted the town, and had probably been located for several years. His tavern was called "the Hickory Tree," probably from a tall hickory which stood near the public road, and which was said to have been a favorite one with the Indians, the place of their rendezvous for many years, and the centre of one of their small villages. "A swamp lay in front of Gibson's," we are told, "and another to the north." The one in front of Gibson's, nearly in the centre of the site of the present city, was the Dark Hazel Swamp, which was drained and cleared of wood in 1745. The other was the Long Swamp, extending beyond the
limits of the town-plat toward the northeast. Gibson's tavern is supposed to have stood about where the Slaymaker Hotel now does. His pasture, afterwards Sanderson's pasture, was rented by Mr. Hamilton about 1748, to Adam Reigart. The same year that the town was laid out, Stephen Atkinson, says Rupp, built a fulling-mill at great expense, but the inhabitants of the upper part of the creek assembled and pulled down the dam on the Conestoga, as it prevented them from rafting and getting their usual supply of fish." 5
"The Swan" was one of the most prominent and popular of the early taverns. The lot on which the house was located was known on the original map as No. 128, situated on Queen Street, bounded north by Penn (Centre) Square. It was granted by James Hamilton to Henry Bostler in 1736, and sold by him to Jacob Slough, March 6, 1747. Henry Bostler was licensed to sell beer in 1741, but it is not certain that he dispensed it here, as he owned several other lots in town. Matthias Slough is found mentioned in the various records as keeping the Swan as early as 1761. On the 23d of June of that year the burgesses of the borough met there. In a letter from Edward Shippen, Esq., to the Governor, dated Dec. 27, 1763, he says that "between two and three o'clock this afternoon upwards of a hundred armed men from the westward rode very fast into town, turned their horses into Mr. Slough's (an innkeeper's yard), and proceeded with the greatest precipitation to the work-house, where they stove open the door and killed all the Indians." . . . This body of men were known as the "Paxton Boys."5
" Indian history came to an end in Lancaster County on Sunday morning December 27, 1763, when a gang known as the Paxtang Boys broke into the local jail and murdered the last members of the Conestoga Indians tribe. The Indian men, women, and children had been placed in the jail to protect them from those gangs from Donegal and Paxton Townships which had staged a bloody raid on their villages on December 14th. Part of the old jail wall is still visible as part of the Fulton Opera House in Lancaster."6
Our Surnames in Lancaster County and where in Lancaster County they resided:
[There is a GREAT map of Lancaster County Townships for reference on the townships here given. The map is clickable into the townships for even more detail]
Yost Swope Arrived ca 1720 to Chester County [that portion that now pertains to Lancaster County] . The Swope line is evident in Upper Leacock Twp, Lancaster Co, PA having first been found on the Assessment Rolls Of Conestoga Township, Chester County (described in its history and now all that portion of Lancaster County west of Octorara Creek and north to the Conestoga Creek) for the years 1724-1725. Yost's son Johannes died 1780 in Bird In Hand, Lancaster Co, PA (Upper Leacock Township ). Johannes's son Johann Conrad "Conrad" Swope moved from Lancaster by 1758 at which time he is found in York County [Hanover-then region of Digges Choice and with some church records relating to him appearing indexed under Adams County, Penna which was formed less than 1 year after his death in 1799].
An early settler in Leacock Township, John Lein was Elder of the earliest Reformed Church, which at first was called The Hill Church and later Hellers, now officially called Salem. Naturalized October 14, 1729 in company with John Swope, his son in law and our direct mentioned above. Our last direct LINE ancestor, his daughter Anna Dorothea Line , died in or before 1742 in Upper Leacock, Lancaster County. She left her husband John Swope a widower .
Weaver;Minister Of Lancaster City; [lay preacher of the First German Reformed Church from 1733 to 1736] [ ministered at the New Holland Church of Lancaster, PA] .1st Pastor Of First German Reformed Church At Lancaster Founded June 1736 [ordained as that church's first minister on June 20, 1736.] It was the first church building erected in Lancaster, antedating Trinity Lutheran Church by two years. He died before 21 Jun 1766 in Manchester Township in the County of York. His [presumed] daughter married Swope and emmigrated to the Digges choice region with her husband. J J Hoke's son Andreus or Andrew, also our direct, like his presumed sister who married Swope, is Listed in Manchester Twp., York Co., PA in 1790 Census. He migrated to Kentucky in 1795.
Pertained to Lancaster Pa/ York Co., Manheim Twp., PA. [On September 13, 1743, he obtained a land warrant from the proprietaries of Pennsylvania for 175 acres of land in Manheim Township, Lancaster Co., Penn. He remained in Lancaster County until 1754, when, on April 28, 1761, he purchased a warrant of Conrad Low for 220 acres of land in Manheim Township, York Co., Penn.] Dtr Barbara married J J Hoke and migrated to Kentucky with her husband in 1795.
[James McCurdy settled in Salisbury Twp, Lancaster County with his wife Polly Cooke. Their son Robert served for Leacock Township, Lancaster County in the Revolution before emmigrating to what is now Adams County , but was at the time of his removal part of York. He lived to see Adams formed from York thus inhabiting three counties of Penna though is known to have moved only twice. His grandaughter Nancy Moor[e] McCurdy married a Swope of Gettysburg, at which time our McCurdy line moved as a result of marriage to Gettysburg proper and away from the land her grandfather had obtained in Adams County's southern aspects near Marsh Creek and at one time part of The Manor Of Maske.
Present in Leacock Twp Lancaster County by 1752 at which time he advertised a runaway indentured servant. His daughter Anne Creighton was born there and emmigrated with husband Robert McCurdy to Cumberland Twp, York County [now Adams] to the region formerly part of the disputed [and squatted] Manor Of Maske.
arrived 1732 settling with his wife in that portion of Lancaster now known as York .On November 22,1749 John Bentz of Dover Twp. In the new county of York, was given a Proprietors Warrant for 163 acres of land in Manchester Twp. His son through to his g g grandaughter were born in York County. The G G Grandaughter, Anna Kate Stair, emmigrated to Gettysburg in marriage with her Swope Husband of that place.
These Mennonite forebears pertained to Chester County in region now known as Lancaster in form of Melchior [ New Danville, Lancaster Co., Penna-(Conestoga Township?) and Melchior's son Christian who died 1757 in Conestoga Twp., Lancaster Co., Pa.] and Christian's son also named Christian who died in 1771 in Lancaster County, Penna. [See page herein entitled The Mennonites in Lancaster]
[he and other of our Mennonites purchased 10,000 acres of land on the south side of Pequea Creek in then Chester, now Lancaster PA.in what was then wild frontier Penna and are among the first residents of now Lancaster county ] . His wife Barbel KUNDIG accompanied him to Pennsylvania-her nephew was Martin Kendig, land agent of the Conestoga settlement who had sealed the 10000 acre deal with Penn. Barbel and Hans' son Abraham died Conestoga Twp, Chester Co, PA [in what is now Lancaster County] , Abrahams son Rudolph died Manor Twp, Lanc Co, PA and Rudolph's daughter Anna [born Manor Township, Lancaster County] married Christian Brenneman above mentioned who died in 1771. [See page herein entitled The Mennonites in Lancaster]
There is a [GREAT map of Lancaster County Townships for reference on the townships here given. The map is clickable into the townships for even more detail]
Links Outside These Pages
Lancaster County in form today with
Counties of our surnames coloured
Sources not given in page contents where appear include:
LANCASTER COUNTY Diversity of People, Ideas and Economy" written
by John Ward Willson Loose, F.L.C.H.S. President Emeritus, Lancaster County
2. Michael A Smoke in his family history webpages. Michael A.Smoke's FTM Home Page
3 Mennonite history and the Conestoga settlement of Lancaster
4 Family History Website citing Captive's Mansion by S. R. Slaymaker II Harper & Row, NY 1973
5. History of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, with Biographical Sketches of Many of its Pioneers and Prominent Men Chapter XXIX. City of Lancaster cited by www.irishgenealogy.com
6 Discover Lancaster County History Museum
" Indian history came to an end in Lancaster County on Sunday morning
December 27, 1763, when a gang known as the Paxtang Boys broke into the local jail and murdered
the last members of the Conestoga Indians tribe. The Indian men, women, and children had been placed
in the jail to protect them from those gangs from Donegal and Paxton Townships which had staged a
bloody raid on their villages on December 14th. Part of the old jail wall is still visible as part of the
Fulton Opera House in Lancaster." Discover Lancaster County History Museum
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