The earliest established settlement in Lancaster County occurred in the fall of 1710 while it was still a part of Chester County. A small group of Mennonites made a deal for land with William Penn. He wrote to the Ambassador in the Netherlands in April 1710 telling him of a party coming to Holland in order to go to Pennsylvania.
We know their names because this group wrote a letter to the Mennonite leaders in Amsterdam dated 27 June 1710 to thank them for their assistance. They were on their way to Pennsylvania, expecting to sail within a few days to Gravesend, England and from there to America. The letter was signed by Martin Oberholtzer, Martin Kendig, Christian Herr, Jacob Müller, Martin Meili, and Hans Herr. Their ship, the Maria Hope, arrived in Philadelphia 23 September 1710.
On 8 October 1710 land warrants were issued to Martin Kundig, Martin Meily, Christian Herr, John Herr, Wendell Bowman, John Bundely, Christopher Franciscus, and Jacob Müller. Martin Oberholtzer, an original member of the group, did not participate in the land purchase. Surveyor James Taylor was ordered on 10 October 1710 to survey 10,000 acres for the Colony of “Swissers lately arrived in this Province” at Pequea. The area they settled includes present day Willow Street, stretching across West Lampeter Township over Pequea Creek and into Strasburg Township and Strasburg village. The purchase was divided amongst these men on 12 April 1711.
About 1715 or 1716, Martin Kendig returned to Europe to convince other Mennonite families to come to Pennsylvania. On 22 November 1717, Martin Kendig & Co. (John Herr) were issued a warrant for 5,000 acres in Chester County (now part of Lancaster County). I found the following in the Copied Survey Books:
(Seal) By the Commissioners of Property
At the Requests of Martin Kundigg and Hans Heer both of the Township of Strasburg in this Province that we would Grant them to take up Several Tracts among the late Surveys made on Conestoga and Paque Creek the quantity of ffive Thousand Acres of Land for which they agree to pay to the Proprietrs use ffive hundred pounds Mony of the said Province for the whole or in Proportion should there be Returnd upon the Survey thereof more or less and the Yearly quitrent of one Shilling Sterling for every hundred Acres These are to Authorize and Require thee to Survey or cause to be Survey’d unto the said Martin Kundigg and Hans Herr among the said late surveys according to the Method of Townships appointed in several Regular Tracts the quantity of ffive Thousand Acres of Land that hath not been already Survey’d nor appropriated nor is Seated by ye Indians and make Returns thereof into the Secretarys Office which surveys by thee mad by Vertue hereof in case the said Martin & Hans fulfill the above agreement by paying down the said sum of Mony upon the Returns of the said surveyes shall be Valid otherwise the same is to be Void as if it had never been made of this Warrant ever granted Given under our hands and Seal of the Province at Philada the 22d day of 9br [November] Anno Din 1717
To Jacob Taylor Surveyr General
In Testimony that the above is a copy of the original remaining on file in the Department of Internal Affairs of Pennsylvania made conformably to an Act of Assembly approved the 16th day of February 1833, I have hereunto set my Hand and caused the Seal of said Department to be affixed at Harrisburg, this Thirtieth day of March 1909
Secretary of Internal Affairs
The Chester County Old Rights Index notes a number of surveys associated with this warrant. They include:
- D78:3—10 Nov 1720, Joyst Lette, 190 acres on west side of Conestoga, adjoining Toris Ebys, Henry Funk, London Company Tract, and William Huse
- D78:4—28 8br [October] 1728, Hans Line, 200 acres on a branch of Pequea Creek, adjoining Martin Boyer (now Abraham Smith), Christian Stone (now Jacob Boyer), and Christian Prenaman
- D78:5—12 Oct 1731, John Long, 473 acres (325 by right of Martin Kendrick & John Heer), adjoining Jacob Stoner, Poston Fink, Abraham Miller, James Thornbury, Peter Lane and Henry Lane
- D78:37—12 9br [November] 1727, Abraham Burkholder, 250 acres, and Benjamin Wittmer, 150 acres; Benjamin Wittmer sold to Henry Bear, returned 26 Oct 1734
- D78:38—20 9br [November] 1727, Martin Kendrick, 50 acres on a branch of the Pequea, adjoining John Hess, Joseph Steeman, and Martin Kendrick
- D78:271—29 May 1718, John Snevely (son of John Jacob Snevely), 200 acres, Peter Yortee (now John Jacob Snevely), 200 acres, Jacob Funk, 200 acres, all three tracts northwest of Conestoga Creek
- D78:2722[4?] November 1717—John Snevely, Jacob Snevely, 137 acres, adjoining Robert Eares, Tho. Thornbury, John & Jacob Snevely; returned 3 Jun 1735
- D78:273—2[4?] 9br [November] 1717, John Snevely & Jacob Snevely, 76 acres, adjoining other land of John & Jacob Snevely
- D78:274—John Snevely, returned 3 Jun 1735
- D78:275—24 9br [November] 1717, John Funk, 100 acres on a branch of the Conestoga, adjoining Jacob Funk
- D78:282—13 January 1745/6, Michael Miller, 269 acres in Hempfield township, adjoining Jno Knisley, Felix Miller, Hans Adam Libhart, Wido Hipkin
- D78:293—2 June 1718, Henry Muscleman, 200 acres on a small branch of the Little Conestoga, adjoining land of Michael Costman’s children
- D78:294—30 May 1718, Roody Moyer, 200 acres on a branch of the Conestoga, adjoining John Funk
- D71:42—3 9br [November] 1729, Michael Graff, 100 acres on a branch of Beaver Creek, adjoining Jacob Graff, Isaac Herr, and Michael Graff
- D71:51—3 9br [November] 1729, Michael Graff, 125 acres, adjoining Michael Graff and Jacob Prowprather
- B22:45—31 May 1718, Martin Kundigg and John Heer, 200 acres on a branch of the Little Conestoga, granted to John Witmore, adjoining Andreas Coffman, Christian Peelman and Henry Pare
- D82:1—20 June 1719, Jacob Bheam, 57 acres on a branch of the Pequea; 9 9br 1720, Hans Hess, 125 acres, adjoining Jacob Bheam
- D82:2—25 8br[October] 1726, Hans Hoober, 50 acres [Earl Township], adjoining Hans Hoober and Hans Muscleman
- D82:3—23 June 1721, 3 tracts of 150 acres each for Hans Moyer, Hans Musleman (+50 acres), Hans Hoober (+50 acres), situate between Mill Creek & the Conestoga
- D82:16—18 8br 1728, Hans Hess, 195 acres, adjoining Philip Rudesille, Martin Kendrick, John Jacob Moyer, John Dehoof, Hans Hess and Christian Stoner
- D82:18—20 8br 1730, Hans Hess (see previous survey)
- D82:19—20 May 1719, Barbara, widow of Jacob Hoober, 102 (corrected to 105) acres, adjoining Hans Boyer, John Line and Martin Boyer
- D82:24—19 Mar 1747/8, Isaac Heer (father of Hans Heer), 260 acres (312 on resurvey in 1757), adjoining land formerly of Amos Strettle (Peter Musser and Christian Shoults), formerly of John Taylor (Jacob Beam, William Stewart, Martin Bear), Jacob Prowprather, Adam Thomas, and Henry Hoover
- D82:33—21 9br 1719, Jacob Graff, 400 acres on a branch of Beaver Creek, adjoining Thos. Smith, Michael Graff, Isaac Herr, and John Koyle
- D82:40—10 8br 1827, to John Bowman, father of John Bowman, 150 (corrected to 147) acres on a branch of Beaver Creek, adjoining Amos Strettle and Caspar Bowman, a warrant to accept this survey was dated 1 9br 1744
- D82:41—Hans Graff, 1419 acres +91 acres from later survey returned on 13 October 1742
- D82:47—22 June 1721, two tracts for Henry Bear, 200 acres (now his son Jacob Bear) and Martin Graff, 151 acres, between Mill Creek and the Conestoga
- D82:51—10 8br 1727, Hans Graff, 1419 acres in Earl Township, 250 acres of which is part of the Kendig/Heer warrant, the rest from a warrant to Hans Graff on 4 8br1718 for 1150 acres, tract adjoining Christian Winger, Hans Brady Negly, Conrade Roode, Adam Painter, Philip Shiesfer, Peter Goode, and Henry Bear
- D88:127—20 October 1728, Woolrick Hoober, 226 acres on a branch of the Pequea, adjoining John Dehoof, Jacob Hoober, and John Line
- D88:130—16 8br 1730, Jacob Hess, 200 acres on a branch of the Conestoga, adjoining Jacob Bear and John Ulrick Hoober
- D88:133—12 May 1731, Andrew Hershey, 424 acres (300 acres in right of Martin Kendig & John Heer) on a branch of the Shickasalungo Creek
- D88:134—20 June 1719 and 10 October 1731, Jacob Behme, 381 acres total (including 57 from previous survey) on a branch of Pequea Creek, adjoining Hans Hess, Robert Creage, Christian Prenaman, Henry Hoober, Christian Heer
- D88:135—28 January 1733, Jacob Hoober, 210 acres on the Pequea, adjoining Jacob Good and Samuel Buyer
- D88:136—30 May 1718, Toris Ebys, 300 acres on Conestoga Creek, adjoining lands of Henry Ffunk and Michael Shank
- D88:137—30 May 1718, Toris Ebys, 300 acres on Conestoga Creek, adjoining Henry Funk and Michael Shank
- D88:138—10 May 1719, Hans Boyer, 210 acres on Pequea Creek, adjoining Widow Hoober, Ulrich Hoober, and John Ffarrer
- D88:139—20 8br 1729, Samuel Boyer, 115 acres on Pequea Creek, adjoining John Goughnower, Christian Stone and Jacob Hoober
- D88:140—12 9br 1720, 4 tracts on Pequea Creek surveyed for Hans Boyer (88 acres), Jacob Hoober (81 acres), Martin Boyer now Abraham Smith (84 acres), Christian Stone now Jacob Boyer (164 acres)
I don’t know if these add up to 5,000 acres—some of the surveys are duplicates or overlap previous surveys; some include land from separate warrants. But they should be a good representation of the Kendig & Herr 5,000 acre warrant as divided amongst Lancaster settlers after November 1717.
If you’re searching for information on early immigrant ancestors who settled in Lancaster County, you can find land information at the website of the Pennsylvania State Archives. The warrant registers for Lancaster County will list warrants issued starting in 1733. For earlier records, try the Old Rights Registers for Philadelphia, Bucks and Chester counties—Chester is the best place to start for pre-1729 Lancaster records.
If you know who the land was patented to, but not who it was warranted to, try the Patent Indexes. That will give you the warrantee and warrant date. The warrantee township maps are also a good place to look if you’d like to see where your ancestor’s property was located. The files are listed by the modern townships, so you’ll need to know the relationship between the historical townships and the modern ones. If you don’t, try this map at the Lancaster Historical Society’s website.
Lancaster deeds for this period are also available online. You can read more on how to use the online reader and where to find images from the Grantors index. Unfortunately, the Grantees index is not online, so you may have to get creative to find what you’re looking for.
Have you found a Lancaster County ancestor in online records? What did you learn about them?
- Wenger, Samuel E., Mennonite Historical Society, “1710 Pequea Settlement Tour Resource Information Booklet,” PDF, page 1. ↩
- Eshleman, H. Frank and A.K. Hostetter and Chas. Steigerwalt, “Report on the True Character, Time, and Place of the First Regular Settlement in Lancaster County,” Historical papers and addresses of the Lancaster County Historical Society, Volume 14, Number 2, Feb 1910: page 61. ↩
- Rupp, Israel Daniel, History of Lancaster County: to which is prefixed a brief sketch of the early history of Pennsylvania (Gilbert Hills, 1844), page 79. ↩
- Eshleman, H. Frank, “Report on the True Character, Time, and Place of the First Regular Settlement in Lancaster County,” page 60. ↩
- Hoover, Harry M., Huber-Hoover Family History: a biographical and genealogical history of the descendants of Hans Huber from the time of his arrival in Pennsylvania down to the eleventh generation (Scottsdale, Pa.: Mennonite Publishing House, 1928). ↩
- Martin Kendig & Co (#8), Old Rights Index, Records of the Land Office, Pennsylvania State Archives, Records Group 17, Series #17.78, Chester County, page 61 ↩
- Pennsylvania Copied Survey Books D74:32 (online; viewed 24 Dec 2011), Pennsylvania State Archives, Records of the Land Office, Records Group 17, Copied Surveys, Series #17.114, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania ↩
Cite This Page:
Kris Hocker, “5,000 Acres—Where Did It All Go?,” /genealogy the genealogy & family research site of Kris Hocker, modified 24 Dec 2011 (http://www.krishocker.com/5000-acres%e2%80%94where-did-it-all-go/ : accessed 26 Jul 2014).
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