William and Anna Pennebecker

William and Anna Pennebecker

William was born in 1740 in Skippack and died in 1815 in Chester County.1 He was the fourth son of Peter and Elizabeth. On April 20, 1767, at the Reformed Church in Germantown, he married Anna Maria Haas, the daughter of Johan Hendrick Haas and his wife Anna Elizabeth. Johan Heinrich was born in Germany, emigrated with his father, and died in 1751 in Montgomery County. Johan and Anna Elizabeth had seven known children, of whom at least three married into the Pannebecker family.

In 1770 William’s father Peter sold him a tract in Perkiomen and Skippack of 200 acres adjoining Valentine Haus and others, and including a wind mill. William had to pay Peter £300 for the land, an interesting stipulation at a time when many fathers conveyed land to their sons without payment, for “love and affection”. Elizabeth Pennebaker, William’s mother, acknowledged receipt of £50 from William a few days later, perhaps a down payment.2 In Peter’s will of 1765, proved in 1770, he left William a plantation that William’s brother John was living on, subject to payments to the estate. The tax lists of 1788 note that William was lame.

In the fall of 1777, before and after the battle of Germantown, Washington’s army encamped on the Perkiomen. The depredations of the army must have fallen just as hard on William and Anna as they did on his brother Samuel. The army foraged for anything edible, and any blankets or clothing that had not been hidden. The fences were probably torn down for firewood. It is believed that some of the wounded were taken to Wlliam’s house after the battle. Worst of all, Susannah, the five-year-old daughter of William and Anna, was burned to death, “after the soldiers left”. It is hard to imagine the scenario, but easy to imagine the sorrow.3

It is believed that William and Anna lived in Montgomery County until about 1796, when they moved to Pikeland Township, Chester County.4 All of their children were born in Montgomery County. Only three of them survived to adulthood. William wrote his will in 1815; it was proved in 1816.5 He left property to his sons Jonas and Jesse, and to daughter Elizabeth and Jonas’ wife Mary. Jonas was to get the plantation in Pikeland, “whereon I now live”, at his death to Jonas’ son Nathan. Jesse was to get the plantation in Montgomery County where he (Jesse) now lives, then to Jesse’s son Amos. Elizabeth was to have £50, since she had already had her portion of £135. Daughter-in-law Mary was to have £50. The remainder went to the sons to share.6

An inventory of his estate was taken on February 15, 1816. It included his clothing, books, and fittings for a comfortable room, but no livestock or farm implements. He must have been living with one of his children, probably Jonas and Mary. His bonds and notes had a value of $3830.68, equal to about £1400 at the time. Jonas was the administrator, and he filed an account in 1821.

Anna had died before William, in 1800, at age 53.7 He outlived her by fifteen years. They were buried together at the Reformed Church in East Vincent Township, Chester County.8

Children of William and Anna:9

Salome, b. Nov 3, 1768, not named in her father’s will in 1815, probably died young

Susanna, b. Jan 9, 1770, d. Aug 21, 1778. A record in the baptismal record of the Old Goshenhoppen Reformed congregation says that Susanna, daughter of Wilhelm Panebecker, was born June 9, 1771, “burned to death when the soldiers left”, October 3, 1777.10

Jesse, b. 1773, d. at four months of age

Jonas, b. 1776, d. 1845; married Mary Schneider (or Snyder) and had children Nathan, Hannah, Elizabeth, Mary, Susan, Jonas, Sarah, John. Lived in Chester County near his father. Inherited his father’s farm in Pikeland. Mary died in 1874, buried at East Vincent Reformed.11

Elizabeth, b. December 25, 1777, d. July 1864, m. her first cousin William Pannebaker, son of Samuel and Hannah, moved to Fermanagh, Juniata County. William died in 1852, Elizabeth made her will in 1863 and died in 1864. Both are buried at the Messiah Lutheran Cemetery in Mifflintown.12

Jesse, b. 1783, d. 1839, married 1) Salome Bergey, 2) Anna Livingood. He had children with both wives: with Salome: Jesse, Elizabeth, Esther, Mary, Anna, Hannah, Amos, Susanna; with Anna: Elias, Catherine, Sarah, Sophia, Moses. Lived in Montgomery County.13

  1. Multiple sources, including Samuel Pennypacker’s Genealogy of the Pennypacker Family, 1880 mss.
  2. Philadelphia County Deeds, 1 9, p. 131. May 24, 1770. The deed was recorded on February 27, 1771. By that time Peter was dead.
  3. Samuel W. Pennypacker, Pennypacker’s Mills in Story and Song, 1902 pamphlet, at Pennypacker Mills.
  4. Roach, Skippack Deaths. There is no record of them buying land there in the Chester County Deed Book Index 1681-1865 (online at chesco.org)
  5. Chester County wills 1801-1825. p. 234.
  6. In the will William names his son as Jonah; elsewhere it is usually given as Jonas. It appears both ways in the administrative papers on William’s estate.
  7. Samuel W. Pennypacker, Genealogy of the Pennypacker Family, 1880 mss, on Ancestry
  8. Research of Ron Mitchell.
  9. Hannah Benner Roach, Skippack Deaths, #110; dates from Pennypacker, 1880 mss.
  10. H. S. Dotterer, Perkiomen Region.
  11. Findagrave
  12. Ancestors of Joseph Pannebaker mss.
  13. Roach, Skippack Deaths, #582 and 584.

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