Ephraim Tyson and Anna Maust

Ephraim was born on 25 Feb 1829, the youngest of six children of Rynear Tyson and Eleanor Jeanes of Upper Dublin, Montgomery County. In June of 1831 his father died, leaving Eleanor with a family of small children: Edmond, Peter, Sarah, Seth, William and Ephraim. She must have gone to live with relatives. Five of the children lived to adulthood, but only two of them—Ephraim and his older brother Edmond—married and had children.1 Ephraim and his siblings must have struggled to find work, and several of them went to the crowded city, where they were susceptible to diseases of poverty. Edmond moved to Philadelphia and became a stationer. He died in his early thirties and all three of his sons died of consumption. Sarah went to Philadelphia and lived with her cousins Seth and Rebecca Holt. Sarah worked as a milliner and died of consumption at age 40. Ephraim’s brother Seth went west in the Gold Rush, lived in Nevada, then in Nevada County and Yuba County, California. William never married and died in the household of his nephew William.

In 1850 Ephraim was living in Moreland with the household of Samuel Robinson. They were both shoemakers; Ephraim was learning the trade from the older Samuel.2 Ephraim must have moved to Germantown by 1855, when he married Anna Maust, daughter of Peter Maust and Anna Unruh.3 She was from two German families, with no Quaker background. In 1860 Ephraim and Anna were living in Germantown, probably on land inherited from Anna’s father.4 Ephraim was 31 years old, working as a cordwainer. Anna was 26. Ephraim’s widowed mother Eleanor was living with them. The next year Ephraim, then living in Bristol Township, bought two lots in Upper Dublin from the estate of William Carney. Ephraim paid $3,130 for the two lots, for a total of fourteen acres.5 He and Anna moved there, and in 1862 he was taxed there as a maker of boots and shoes.6 He registered for the Civil War in June 1863.7 In 1868 Ephraim and Anna moved again, probably for the last time. They bought a tract of 26 acres from William and Martha Palmer for $6,200, on the road from Horsham Meeting to Dreshertown.8 A day before they had sold the two lots in Upper Dublin to Jacob McVaugh for $4,000.9 In 1870 they were in the Horsham house, just off the Susquehanna Road, with five children. Eleanor was next door in a separate house.10 By 1880 they had seven children at home.11

Ephraim died in 1897. According to his obituary, “his death was not looked for, as he was up and around the house, but was ailing somewhat…an industrious and prosperous farmer…a member of Eagle Lodge, No. 222, I.O.O.F.”12 In 1900 Anna was still living on the Horsham farm, with three of her children: John, Hannah, and Charles.13 Her son William and his wife Catherine were nearby. She joined the Baptist Church, possibly after Ephraim died, since he had attended Friends meetings.14 Anna died in 1915 and was buried at Hatboro, with Ephraim, William and Catherine, Robert, and several grandchildren.15

Children of Ephraim and Anna:16

Ida Ann, born in 1858, died in 1941, m. William DePrefontaine, the son of John and Mary. They lived in Upper Dublin where William was a farmer. By 1920 they had moved to Philadelphia, where William ran a hardware store and his daughter Minnie was a saleslady in the store. Children: Ethel, Minnie.17

Edmund Jeanes, born in March 1860, lived for only twelve days

Samuel Maust, born in 1861, died in November 1917, married in 1894 Amelia Mackel. In 1900 he was farming in Moreland Township, Montgomery County. After he died Amelia must have gone to live with relatives, since she died in Southampton, Bucks County, in 1922. They are buried at Hatboro. Children: George, Amelia, Winfred, possibly Louisa.18

Robert Ephraim, born in 1864, died in 1946, married in 1887 Ellen Sutton. She died in 1897 and a year or two later he married Mary Weaver. In 1900 Robert was a farmer in Horsham Township, Montgomery County. Mary died in 1936. They are buried at Hatboro. Children: Ida, Florence, Walter.19

William Jeanes, born in 1866, died in 1947, married in 1889 Catherine Rinker, daughter of Francis and Catherine. They lived in Horsham, at the corner of Easton and Dresher Roads, right across from the Horsham Friends Meeting House.20 In 1900 they were there with their four oldest children and Catherine Rinker, Catherine’s mother. In 1910 they were still farming in Horsham, with five of their children at home. 21 Ten years later they were living on their farm in Horsham. Their son Raymond, age 24, was married but still living at home with his parents. In 1930 they were still on the Easton Road in Horsham.22  William died on March 24, 1947, Catherine died on June 25, 1950. They are buried in Hatboro Cemetery. Children of William and Catherine:23 William Francis, Ralph Steward, Raymond LeRoy, Harry Edwin, twins Katie and Anna, Mildred Evelyn, Earl Jeanes.

John Maust, born in 1868, died Nov 25, 1925, did not marry, lived on the same property as William, worked as a construction worker. He died of fractured skull and broken neck after an “unavoidable” car accident.24 He was buried at Hatboro.

Thomas Edwin, born in Dec  1870, lived for only five weeks.

Albert Alvin, born in 1872, died Oct 10, 1938, married in 1894 Kate DePrefontaine, daughter of Charles and Emma. They lived in Horsham where he was a farmer25 Albert was buried at Rose Hill, Ambler.26 Children: Emma, Harold, A. Russell.

Anna May, born in 1875, died in 1957, married in 1894 Jacob Refsnyder, lived in Camden, later in Cheltenham, where he was a steamfitter.27 Jacob died in 1925. Anna lived until 1957. They are buried at Hatboro. Children: Edith, John, Oliver, Anna, Ella, Edgar, Robert.

Hannah, born in 1877, died in 1958, married Jesse Lenhart, probably the son of Morris and Lettia.28 In 1920 they were living in Philadelphia where he was a motorman. In 1920 they were living in Germantown.29 Jesse died in 1945. Hannah died in 1958. They were buried at Hatboro with their daughter Florence, who lived for a year.30

Charles Pattison, born in Nov 1882, died in Oct 1946, m. Anna Frances Wheatland about 1904, lived in Abington. He worked as a gardener for a private estate, moved to San Diego briefly, then came back to Montgomery County and worked as a inspector for a bearing manufacturer.31 Anna died in 1943 and in 1945 Charles married Olive Houpt, daughter of Benjamin F. Houpt and Ella Maria Rinker. Olive’s sister Catherine P. Rinker, was married William J. Tyson, Charles’ brother. Olive was a spinster who married late in life, but lost her husband after only one year of marriage. Charles died in 1946 and was buried at Hillside Cemetery with his first wife Anna.32 Olive died in 1955 and was buried at Rose Hill Cemetery in Ambler with her parents.33 Children of Charles and Anna: Charles E, Katherine.


  1. There are no definite records of Peter after 1831.
  2. 1850 census, Moreland, Montgomery County, image 20. In the 1860 census Samuel Robinson was still in Moreland, a shoemaker, with a new apprentice, Peter Tyson, age 19. Unless the age is off by ten years, this can’t be Ephraim’s brother Peter, listed in an Orphans’ Court petition in 1831, when their father Rynear died.
  3. They were married on 27 December 1855 by “Roert” Young, according to a record in a family Bible, sent by Donald Kellogg to me in 2003. He did not give a source.
  4. 1860 census, Philadelphia, ward 22, image 310. His name was spelled Ephram. The household also included Jacob Fisher, age 28, farm laborer, and William H. Tyson, age 17, apprentice cordwainer. William Tyson, age 57, a stone mason, was nearby. The age suggests this was not Ephraim’s brother William, who was about 32 when the census was taken.
  5. Montgomery County deeds, Book 122, p. 210, 2 April 1861, Ann Carney to Ephraim Tyson.
  6. IRS tax lists, 1862, Division 9, District 6, image 464, on Ancestry. Ephraim had to pay 10 cents tax.
  7. Civil War Registration Records, 6th Congressional District, image 503, on Ancestry.
  8. Montgomery County Deeds, Book 155, p. 495.
  9. Montgomery County Deeds, Book 155, p. 477. Jacob McVaugh may have been a cousin. Eleanor Jeanes Tyson, Ephraim’s mother, was the daughter of William Jeanes and Elizabeth McVaugh. The exact relationship has not been traced. The McVaugh family begins with Edmond McVaugh, the 1682 immigrant, but the records of his descendants are sparse.
  10. 1870 census, Montgomery County, Horsham, image 3.
  11. 1880 census, Horsham, district 9, image 25. Two of their children, Edmund and Thomas, had died in infancy. Samuel, the oldest surviving son, was living in Abington, in the household of George Williard, working as a laborer. Another children, Charles P, the youngest, was not born until 1882.
  12. The Eagle Lodge was part of the International Order of Odd Fellows, a fraternal organization.
  13. 1900 census, Horsham, ED 207, image 2.
  14. Ellwood Roberts, Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, vol. 2, 1904, written after Ephraim’s death.
  15. There are ten Tysons buried together: “Ephriam”, Anna, William J, Catherine, Harry E. 1897-1918, Ida May 1889-1924, Mary E. 1880-1936, Robert E. 1864-1946, Walter 1900-1902, Baby boy 1944.
  16. From the 1870 and 1880 (image 25) census, Helen Tyson’s recollections, and the Bible records passed to me from Donald Kellogg.  William was her father-in-law. I have a daguerreotype that shows a young couple and their young son. From the 1850’s heyday of the type, this could be Ephraim and Anna. Note: Ephraim spelled his name “Ephraim” in the family Bible; it was “Ephriam” in the cemetery records. 
  17. I have a lovely picture of Minnie, with her hair worn in two long coils.
  18. George died as an infant of cholera. (undated newspaper clipping). The daughter Louisa is a suggestion by Donald Kellogg, personal communication 2003. He was a descendant of Samuel and Amelia. The daughter Amelia married William Schumacher and died in 1917 at age 20 from complications of childbirth. (PA State Death Certificate for Amelia Schumacher. The name of her husband is from the Findagrave entry for Amelia, in Hatboro Cemetery).
  19. 1910 census.
  20. In the 1920 census George Maust was living very close to William in Horsham; is this a coincidence or inherited family properties?
  21. 1910 census, Horsham, image 2.
  22. 1930 census, Montgomery County, Horsham, ED 46, image 63 and 65, indexed as Lyson. Their son Earl was living with them, working as a payroll clerk in a hosiery operation. Raymond and Helen had moved out, but were living close by on the Easton Road.
  23. Recollections of Helen Worthington Tyson, wife of Raymond L. Tyson.
  24. His Pennsylvania state death certificate.
  25. Date of marriage from PA County Marriages 1885-1950, on FamilySearch.
  26. His PA death certificate.
  27. 1900 census, Cheltenham, Dist. 198, image 7, Jacob Reifsnyder, age 29, a steam fitter, with children Edith and John E. In the 1910 census, still in Cheltenham, district 68, image 19, with children Edith, John, Oliver, Anna, Ella.
  28. In the 1900 census there was a Jesse B. Lenhart age 29 living with his parents Morris and Lettia  on the same page of census as Anna Tyson and her children John Hannah and Charles. Jesse was working on his father’s farm.
  29. 1920 census, ward 22, district 574, image 48. Jesse was a motorman. They had no children at home. They were living next door to a Catholic convent.
  30. She may have been their only child. They had no children listed in the census of 1920 or 1930.
  31. Federal census for 1920, Abington, district 67, image 8; census for 1930, Abington, District 10, image 51; San Diego city directory 1938; Federal census 1940, Horsham, S.D. 17, image 18; World War II Draft Registration, April 1942. In 1920 Charles was a gardener for a private estate, apparently the summer home of James S. Merritt, whose household also included a cook, chambermaid, nurse and waitress.
  32. PA State Death Certificate for Charles P. Tyson, on Ancestry. It gave the names of his parents, his wife, and the dates of birth and death and burial. Hillside Cemetery is in Roslyn, Montgomery County. His estate was administered in Montgomery County by Olive E. Tyson.
  33. PA State Death Certificate for Olive E. Tyson. It gave the names of her parents, dates of birth and death and place of burial. The burial details are from Findagrave. The four Houpts were buried with one tombstone. The name Houpt is at the top, with the names underneath, including Olive E.

Rynear Tyson and Eleanor Jeanes

Rynear Tyson was born about 1793, the oldest son of Peter Tyson and Martha Kimble of Upper Dubin. Peter had been disowned by Abington Monthly Meeting for heavy drinking and suing a Friend at law. Around 1818, Rynear married Eleanor Jeanes, daughter of William Jeanes and Elizabeth McVaugh. The Jeanes family, like the Tysons, had originally been Quakers, but by William’s generation they were no longer part of the Society.

In 1830 they were living in Upper Dublin with five sons and a daughter.1 Soon afterwards Rynear died young, only a year after the death of his father. He left Eleanor with six children to raise. She might have gone to live with some of her Jeanes relatives.2 In 1860 she was living with her son Ephraim and his wife Anna in Germantown. Ten years later she was living in Horsham, in her own house next door to Ephraim and Anna. She died in 1876 and was buried at Upper Dublin Friends burying ground, in the same row as many of the Tysons. Rynear was buried there too; she had outlived him by 46 years.

Children of Rynear and Eleanor:3

Edmond J., born about 1819, died in Phila in 1852, m. Adeline —,  probably Shelmire.4 He was a stationer in Philadelphia; after he died Adeline took over the business.5 Edmund died in 1st mo 1852. He was buried at Monument Cemetery, but later reburied at Fairhill with Adeline and 2 of their sons. In 1872 Adaline was living on 1040 North 2nd Street in Philadelphia with her sons.6 She married a Haslett and died in 1923 after spending her declining days at the Aged Woman’s Home in Norristown.7 Children of Edmond and Adeline: Charles, Edmond, William.8 All three of the sons died in Philadelphia of consumption at a relatively young age.9

Peter, alive in 1831, no further record.

Sarah Ann, born about 1824, died in 1864 of consumption. She did not marry. In 1850 she was living in the family of her cousin Seth Holt and his wife Rebecca in Spring Garden, Philadelphia, where Seth was a confectioner.10 Sarah worked as a milliner. When Sarah died in Jan. 1864 at age 40 of consumption, the funeral was held from the house of her cousin W. J. Holt on Marshall Street.11 Sarah was buried at Monument Cemetery.

William J., born about 1828, in 1863 he was living in Moreland, working as a laborer.12 After that he disappears from the records until his death in August 1892. He was living in Horsham, in the household of his namesake nephew William Jeanes Tyson. The older William was probably unmarried, since his brother Ephraim was the administrator for his estate.13 There were few assets, mainly a share in the estate of Hannah A. Tyson, in litigation since her death, finally settled in October 1897.14 This was probably the estate of Rynear’s sister-in-law Hannah F. Tyson, who died in 1885; the settlement of her estate eventually went to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Seth Holt, born in 1826, headed west for the gold rush.15 For once a story passed down through the family turned out to be true. In 1860, he was living as a miner in Silver City, Carson, Utah Territory, surrounded by other unmarried miners.16 By 1870 he had moved west to Eureka, Nevada County, California, still surrounded by other unmarried miners.17 In 1872 he had moved west again, to the Slate Ridge township in the register of Yuba County, California. Slate Ridge was full of gravel mines where gold had been found.18 A date of death has not been found for him, and he probably never married.

Ephraim, born in 1829, died 1897. He apprenticed in Germantown as a young man and learned the cordwainer’s trade. That is where he met and married Anna Maust, from a Germantown family, that of Peter Maust and Anna Unruh. They married in 1855 and had nine children. In 1860 they were still in Philadelphia, with Ephraim’s mother Eleanor living with them.19 By 1870 they had moved out to Horsham and set up farming. Ephraim died there in 1897.20 Anna died in 1915. They are buried at Hatboro along with their son William and his wife Catherine, their son Robert, and several grandchildren.21 Children of Ephraim and Anna:22 Ida Ann, Edmund Jeanes, Samuel Maust, Robert Ephraim, William Jeanes, John Maust, Thomas Edwin, Albert Alvin, Anna May, Hannah, Charles Pattison.


  1. Spelled Ryner in the census; indexed as Rner.
  2. She has not been found in the 1840 or 1850 census, but appears in 1860. She was not listed as living with any of her grown children in 1850.
  3. From the Orphan’s Court record #4108, on the death of Rynear’s father Peter, which listed six children of Rynear (who was already deceased by then). This is the order they were listed in the record, but it may not the birth order. Also in the Orphans Court docket for Rynear Tyson’s estate, November 1831, Book 6, p. 92 (microfilm image 504).  The dates for Seth and Ephraim are from a letter from Harold Tyson in 1977, taken from the Tyson family Bible, passed down from Harold’s father Albert.
  4. There were several associations with the Shelmire family. In the census in 1860, Adaline was living next to Edward Shellmore, age 35, a bricklayer, and two doors down from Mary Shellmore, age 65. In 1870, Benjamin Shelmire, age 20, was living with Adaline and her three sons in Philadelphia.
  5. In the 1870 census she was listed as Adaline Tyson, age 42, stationer. (Federal census, Philadelphia ward 16, District 48, image 250, on Ancestry). Her three sons were living with her, as well as Benjamin Shelmire, age 20, a bricklayer’s apprentice. One of her sons, Edmund, was also a bricklayer’s apprentice, while William was a salesman at age 16.
  6. Philadelphia City Directories 1872 and 1873.
  7. There is no evidence that her husband was Samuel Haslett. There was a Samuel Haslett married to a woman named Adaline, but she was ten years younger and had different children.
  8. They are shown as children of Edmond and Adaline in the 1850, 1860 and 1870 federal census. Charles died unmarried in 1872. Edmund died unmarried in 1874; they were both buried at Fair Hill. William died in 1891, married, buried at Mount Vernon Cemetery on Lehigh Avenue, North Philadelphia. He was a storekeeper. He lived at 1142 North 2nd Street, just down the street from where his family was living in 1873. (Phila. City Death Certificates; Phila. City Directories 1872, 1873)
  9. From the Philadelphia City Death Certificates, on FamilySearch.
  10. Seth Holt, born about 1794, married Rebecca Jeanes, sister of Eleanor Jeanes Tyson, in 1824 and was disowned by Philadelphia Monthly Meeting for marrying contrary to discipline. Seth and Rebecca had known children William H, Cordelia, and Allan, and probably others. Seth died in 1876.
  11. Notice of death from the Phila. Press, Jan. 181, 1864, online at PSU Historical Newspaper Collection. Death record from Philadelphia City Death Certificates.
  12. Civil War Registration Records, June 1863, 6th Congressional District, image 503, on Ancestry. He was age 36; his brother Ephraim, age 35, was in Upper Dublin, working as a shoemaker.
  13. Montgomery County, estate RW20117.
  14. Since Ephraim died in the fall of 1897, the account was filed by William DePrefontaine in his place. William was the administrator for Ephraim’s estate as well.
  15. In a letter in 1977, Harold Tyson wrote to me a story he had heard from his father. “One of his uncle’s (great Uncle I think) went west in the Gold Rush of 1849. This could be the same Seth!” Harold was the son of Ephraim’s son Albert.
  16. 1860 census, Carson City, Utah Territory, image 3.
  17. In the census as S. H. Tyson, age 44, born in Pennsylvania.
  18. Thompson and West, History of Yuba County, California, 1879, online.
  19. They also had an apprentice cordwainer, William H. Tyson, age 17, living there. The age is wrong to be their nephew William H. Tyson, son of Edmond and Adaline.
  20. Pennsylvania state death certificate; his obituary.
  21. There are ten Tysons buried together: “Ephriam”, Anna, William J, Catherine, Harry E. 1897-1918, Ida May 1889-1924, Mary E. 1880-1936, Robert E. 1864-1946, Walter 1900-1902, Baby boy 1944.
  22. From the 1870 and 1880 (image 25) census and Helen Tyson’s recollections.  William Jeanes Tyson was her father-in-law. I have a daguerreotype that shows a young couple and their young son. From the probably date range in the 1850’s, this could be Ephraim and Anna. Ephraim’s name was spelled “Ephraim” in the family Bible; it was “Ephriam” in the cemetery records.

Peter Tyson and Martha Kimble

Peter Tyson was born in 1762, the oldest child of Rynear Tyson and Mary Cleaver of Abington, Montgomery County. Peter was named for his grandfather Peter Tyson, who lived until 1791 and would have known his grandson.1 Rynear and Mary lived in Abington and attended Quaker meetings at Upper Dublin. In 1774, Rynear was disowned for heavy drinking and suing a Friend in a court of law.2 His children were still considered birthright Friends, but only one of them married under the auspices of a Monthly Meeting.3 Peter did not, and in 1786 he was disowned by Abington Monthly Meeting for going “out in marriage with one not of our Society, by the assistance of an hireling Priest.”4 Yet years later Peter and his wife Martha would be buried at Upper Dublin Friends burying ground.5

In 1793 Rynear Tyson conveyed a house and 73 acres of land to his son Peter.6 This was probably the time that Peter married and started his own family. Peter’s wife Martha Kimble was living either in Abington or Buckingham in 1790; her family owned land in both places.7 It would have been easier for them to meet if she were living in Abington, since it adjoined Upper Dublin.

Although Peter was a birthright Quaker, Martha was not. Her parents were William Kimble and Sarah Worthington. Sarah’s family had been Quakers, but by Sarah’s generation some were marrying outside of the Society. William’s mother Matilda was from the wealthy Morrey family of Philadelphia. Her grandfather Humphrey was a Friend, but her father Richard became an Anglican before his death. William and Sarah did not marry as Friends, and neither did Peter and Martha. There is no record of their marriage at any of the Monthly Meetings, and the births of their children were not recorded.8

As the oldest son, Peter was responsible for his siblings after the early death of their father. In 1796, he petitioned the Orphans’ Court on behalf of his sister Hannah, since she had just inherited some real estate from the estate of their brother Thomas.9 Peter also petitioned on behalf of his brother Jesse and was appointed his guardian.10

For the windowpane tax of 1798 Peter Tyson was recorded as living in a stone house with a separate stone kitchen, like many of his neighbors in Upper Dublin. The house was 37 by 17; it had two stories and 10 windows, more than the average. The stone kitchen was 10 by 18, one story with just two windows. There was also a shop, also made of stone.11 This house was probably on the Welsh Road, one mile east of the crossroads at Three Tuns. In 1787 Peter’s father Rynear bought it, then conveyed it to Peter in 1793. Peter added 52 more acres in 1812 bought from Jesse Trump.12 Peter also owned property on the Horsham border, adjoining the Butler pike and half a mile north of Three Tuns.13

Peter was the administrator for William Kimble, his father-in-law, and acted as the trustee for his brother-in-law Christopher, a “lunatic”. In 1830 the administrators of Peter’s estate filed a suit along with Jonathan Kimble against Isaiah Kimble. John Kirk, a neighbor, wrote to his son Seneca in 1832 that “I am supremenated to attend cort next Second Day and Likely will be there several Days as the Tryal between Peter Tyson and Isaiah Kimble is Likely to come on.”14

Peter died in early 1830, before the census was taken. Martha was living in their house in Upper Dublin with her son William. Her sons Peter, Jesse, and Rynear lived nearby. Peter left no will, and his estate was administered by David Thomas, his brother-in-law. Martha died in November 1832 without a will. Her estate was administered by her son Peter. A record of her death was made in the records of Upper Dublin Preparative Meeting.15 Peter and his wife Martha are buried together in the Upper Dublin Friends Graveyard, along with Peter’s brother Jesse.

Children of Peter and Martha16

Rynear, born about 1793, died summer 183117, married about 1818 Eleanor Jeanes, daughter of William Jeanes and Elizabeth McVaugh. They lived in Upper Dublin and had six children before Rynear’s early death, only a year after his father Peter. Rynear did not leave a will. Eleanor lived until 1876 and is buried at Upper Dublin Friends with Rynear. Children of Rynear and Eleanor: Edmund, Peter, Sarah Ann, William, Seth, Ephraim. The children were not buried at Upper Dublin Friends.

William, born about 1795, died 1874, married in 1826 Hannah Fitzwater, daughter of Thomas and Catherine.18 They were married by Justice Mahlon Van Buskirk. They lived in Upper Dublin on a farm of 64 acres. William died in 1874 and left a will, naming only his wife Hannah and son Thomas; other children must have died before him.19 Hannah died in 1885 and is buried at Upper Dublin Friends, along with William and her son Thomas.20 She left a will, naming many of her nieces and nephews, since her son Thomas died before her.21 Children: Thomas, Sarah, Peter, a daughter.

Peter, born 1799, died in 1850, married in 1821 Sarah Fitzwater, daughter of Thomas and Catherine.22 They were married by Justice Mahlon Van Buskirk. In 1833 Peter and Sarah were received into membership at Horsham with their minor children John and Hannah. They lived in Horsham, on a 77-acre farm. Peter left a will, leaving his personal property and his Horsham farm to his wife Sarah, charged with maintaining their daughter Hannah Ann.23 Hannah Ann was “weak-minded” and could not manage her own affairs.24 His daughter-in-law Sarah, widow of his son Thomas, was to live with his wife if she chose to.25 The farm needed to be sold to pay the debts26. Children of Peter and Sarah: John, Hannah Ann, Thomas. Peter’s widow Sarah probably married Daniel Fisher in early 1857 at Horsham Meeting, but she died in May of that year.27

Martha, died in 1824, married in 1821 Benjamin Jones. They were married by Justice Mahlon Van Buskirk. They had a son Tyson Jones, born in 1823, who died in 1848 and was buried at Upper Dublin Friends.28 Another child died in 6th month 1824 and Martha herself died a month later.29 Benjamin later married Ann Warner and had children with her: John, George, Rebecca, and Susan.30 Benjamin died in 1877 and was buried at Upper Dublin Friends burying ground with Martha and their son Tyson Jones.31

Sarah, d. 1861, m. 1) 1831 Thomas Tyson, d. 1835, son of Thomas and Sarah (Kirk), 2) in 1838 William Michener at Abington Friends.32 William died in 1849, leaving Sarah a widow.33 In 1860 she was living with her widowed sister Rebecca Roberts in Abington.34 Sarah died the next year. She left a will, leaving her estate to her sister Rebecca, her nieces Sarah Ann Tyson and Mary Ann Folwell35, with the residue to be shared among the children of her three brothers: Rynear, William and Jesse.36 From the wording of the will it is apparent that Sarah had no surviving children with either husband.

Mary, alive in 1833, took care of Martha after Peter died, died unmarried in 1845.37

Rebecca, born about 1810, died in 1872, took care of Martha after Peter died, m. 1833 Morris Roberts (married by Justice George Pawling). She was his second wife. Morris Roberts had married Lydia Gibbons, and had a daughter Lydia with her before the older Lydia died in 1829.38 Morris himself died in 1839. In 1860 Rebecca was living with her sister Sarah Michener in Abington. Sarah died the next year, making provision for Rebecca in her will. Rebecca died in 1872. She is not believed to have had children with Morris.

Jesse, born about 1808.39 He married a woman named Sidonia about 1835 to 1840.40 Jesse had a son Benjamin, buried at Upper Dublin Friends burying ground in 1850. He also had a son William, born about 1842, who married Jennie Smith and moved to Ogle County, Illinois.41 Around 1899 a son of William and Jennie, William Harry Tyson, corresponded with his second cousin William J. Tyson, son of Ephraim, about the family genealogy, in hopes of finding a link to an Australian millionaire who had recently died, supposedly leaving an unclaimed fortune.42 Jesse probably had another child, a daughter Mary Ann, who served as the administrator for the legacy of Sarah Michener in 1872.43 Jesse died in 1847, ten days before Sidonia. He did not leave a will, and his estate was administered by his brother Peter.44 Presumed children of Jesse and Sidonia: Benjamin, William, Mary Ann, Clayton.45


  1. Peter also had an uncle Peter, who died unmarried in 1824. Because of the three men named Peter Tyson, it can be difficult to decide to whom the records pertain. By the time the grandson Peter came of age, his grandfather was no longer active in Quaker affairs and no longer buying land. The unmarried Peter lived in Abington, while the grandson Peter lived in Upper Dublin. This makes it possible to sort them out in census records, deeds, and tax lists between 1782 and 1824. There was a fourth Peter, the son of Peter and Martha, but he did not come of age until 1820, and it is not difficult to distinguish him in the records. The scribes of the time knew all about the Tysons and tried to differentiate them whenever possible.
  2. Abington Monthly Meeting, Men’s Minutes, on Ancestry.
  3. Sarah married Thomas Tyson in 1831 under the auspices of Abington Meeting. He was her cousin, the grandson of Peter and Mary.
  4. Abington Monthly Meeting, Men’s Minutes, on Ancestry.
  5. Burial records of Upper Dublin Preparative Meeting.
  6. Montgomery County deeds, Book 17, p. 387.
  7. 1790 census records for William Kimble.
  8. Harold Tyson, a cousin of my grandfather Raymond Tyson, had a family Bible, passed down for three generations in the family.  He wrote to me in 1977 with information about the family. The Bible named Ephraim Tyson’s parents as Rynear Tyson and Eleanor Jeans, and the father of Rynear Tyson as Peter Tyson, with dates 1762 to 1830. Peter appeared in Charles Barker’s detailed genealogy of the Tyson family as #113 (Charles Barker, “Descendants of Rynear Tyson”, Bulletin of the Montgomery County Historical Society, 1946, vol. 5). The Bible did not have the name of Peter’s wife, and the family lore was that she was a Hallowell. Fortunately there is abundant evidence tying Peter to the Kimble family of Bucks County.
  9. Montgomery County Orphans’ Court Dockets 1784-1812, vol. 1-2, p. 335, Dec 10 1796.
  10. Montgomery County Orphans’ Court Dockets, vol. 1, p. 314, March 1796.
  11. Suzanne Hilton, Yesterday’s People: The Upper Dublin Story, 1967, p. 37. The Abington Township Tax List of 1798 was reprinted in the Old York Road Historical Society Bulletin, 1971, vol. XXXII.
  12. Montgomery County deeds, Book 46, p. 146.
  13. Edward Mathews Papers, Montgomery County Historical Society, Norristown, Pennsylvania. Lewis Stanert sold it to Peter in 1808. It was conveyed to William Tyson in 1819 (by Peter and Jonathan Kimbell), then immediately back to Tyson. When Peter died in 1830 the property was sold to settle his estate.
  14. Formerly in a Kirk family newsletter at www.cleverlink.com/kirk/newsletters/97/newsletter.html, no longer available online in 2020. The letter had been saved, framed, and posted on the wall of the law office of a Kirk descendant.
  15. Upper Dublin Preparative Meeting, on Ancestry, Minutes 1817-1913, image 23. It is clear that Peter and Martha were considered members of the meeting by then, reconciling at some point after he had been disowned for marrying out.
  16. These names are listed in a deed at the time of Peter’s death in 1830, which named widow Martha, children Rynear, William, Peter, Jesse, Sarah, Mary, Rebecca, all of full age, and Tyson Jones, a child of Martha Jones, late Tyson deceased. They are also listed in the Orphan’s Court record of Bucks County, because Peter owned a one-third share in 115 acres there. By April 1852, according to another Orphan’s Court record, only William, Sarah and Rebecca were still alive. (Orphan’s Court Record, #6841, the estate of Martha’s brother Jonathan Kimble)
  17. From the OC files of his father’s estate, where the heirs signed several petitions.
  18. David Smith, “Fitzwater Genealogy”, online at: https://myowntimemachine.com/2012/09/08/fitzwater-genealogy-then-to-now/, p. 48, accessed June 2020. Thomas Fitzwater died in 1813 and is buried at the Fitzwater burying ground in Dresher, Upper Dublin.
  19. Montgomery County wills, Book 13, p. 567. From census records from 1840 through 1860 in Upper Dublin, they also had a daughter Sarah and son Peter, as well as another daughter.
  20. They are close together in the burying ground, all in row 13. The son Thomas died in 1881. The Friends of Upper Dublin grouped families together in the burying ground, except for children, who were in their own rows. The Tysons and Roberts’ and Jones’ in this family are grouped in row 5, then when that row filled up around 1850, in row 13. There is a reference to this practice of grouping families on page 107 in the register, to the “Hallowell row”. (Upper Dublin Preparative Meeting, record of burials, on Ancestry)
  21. Montgomery County wills, Book 17, p. 330. The will named three nieces and nephews on the Fitzwater side, two children of Hannah’s sister Catherine Comly (Lukens and Tacy) plus Tacy’s husband Howard Wood; also Hannah Tyson, daughter of Rynear’s son Ephraim, and one person who has not been identified, Mary Emma Tyson, daughter of Clayton Tyson (probably a son of Hannah’s brother Jesse). In the will, Hannah distributed the estate of her deceased son Thomas among his “first cousins” John Jones, Mary Follwell, Ephraim Tyson, William Tyson, Clayton Tyson, and another William Tyson. Mary Follwell was probably the daughter of Jesse and Sidonia, wife of Charles Folwell. One of the Williams was the son of Rynear and Eleanor; the other was the son of Jesse and (probably) Sidonia. The will book contains an unusual detail, in the name box at the beginning of the will; Hannah died at eight o’clock in the morning on Wednesday, February 18, 1885. The clerks who copied the wills were not usually so precise.
  22. David Smith, “Fitzwater Genealogy”, p. 47. In the 1850 federal census, Catherine was living with Peter and Sarah.
  23. Two sons, John and Thomas, had died before their father. Thomas died in 1848 at age 24.( Horsham Monthly Meeting, Births and Burials 1782-1889, p. 27, on Ancestry). These sons are not buried at Upper Dublin Friends.
  24. Her cousin Ephraim Tyson, son of Rynear and Eleanor, helped to manage her affairs. In 1860 and 1870 Hannah was living with her aunt and uncle Daniel and Catherine Comly.
  25. Montgomery County wills, Book 9, p. 167.
  26. Montgomery County Orphans’ Court Dockets, vol. 11-12, p. 173.
  27. The marriage is at Horsham Meeting minutes,  The date of death is from the “Fitzwater Genealogy”. David Smith did a thorough job of tracing the family. The only question is whether he conflated two different women named Sarah Tyson.
  28. None of the other estate records mention any other children of Martha and Benjamin.
  29. Upper Dublin Preparative Meeting, record of burials, p. 10, on Ancestry.
  30. 1860 Federal census, Whitemarsh Township. Benjamin was a farmer, age 64. His wife Ann was 56. The children’s ages ranged between 25 and 17, showing that they could not be children of Benjamin and Martha. John married Emma Wood in 1871 at Horsham Meeting. (Horsham Marriages 1844-1871, image 78, on Ancestry. Benjamin Jones and Ann W. Jones signed the wedding certificate.) John was named in the 1885 will of Hannah F. Tyson, widow of William, as a first cousin of her deceased son Thomas. If this account is correct, John was a cousin by marriage, as a son of Benjamin but not Martha.
  31. Upper Dublin Preparative Meeting, record of burials, p. 81, on Ancestry.
  32. Abington Monthly Meeting minutes. The marriage certificate was signed by Mary Tyson (her sister), Eleanor Tyson (her sister-in-law), William and Hannah Tyson (her brother and his wife), Peter and Sarah Tyson (her brother and his wife), Benjamin Jones, Jesse Tyson (brother), and more Tysons.
  33. Anna Shaddinger, More Micheners in America, 1970.
  34. Federal census 1860, Abington Township, image 42. The only problem with this identification is that Sarah’s age was given as 75, while Rebecca’s was 50. Could the 75 be an error for 57?
  35. Mary Ann Tyson married Charles Folwell in January 1857 at the Abington Presbyterian Church. The only Mary Ann in this generation is the daughter of Jesse.
  36. Montgomery County wills, Book 10, p. 498, written in January 1860, proved March 1861. The settlement of her estate was taken to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court after the death of Rebecca Roberts in 1872. The legal question was whether the grandchildren of Sarah’s three brothers, children of deceased children, should get a share. The court ruled that they should, and shares of Jesse Tyson were given to his administratrix Mary Ann Tyson and of Edmond T. Tyson to his administratrix Adeline Tyson. (Legal Chronicle Reports of Cases Decided in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, vol. 1, p. 276, on Google Books)
  37. She is not listed in the 1852 Orphan’s Court Record, #6841, the estate of Martha’s brother Jonathan Kimble. She was buried at Upper Dublin Friends, along with her parents.
  38. Miranda Roberts and Gilbert Cope, Genealogy of the Kirk Family, 1912, p. 158; other web sources.
  39. There were other men named Jesse Tyson at the time. Rynear Tyson and his wife Grace Fletcher had a son Jesse who died in 1769. Isaac Tyson and his wife Esther Shoemaker had a son Jesse, born in 1761, moved to Baltimore, and died there, probably in 1821.
  40. There is no record of this marriage and her parentage is not known. Sidonia Tyson died within ten days of Jesse in 1847 and they are buried next to each other in Upper Dublin Friends Burying Ground. The assumption is that she was his wife.
  41. William Harry Tyson was born in 1867 in Illinois, son of William Tyson and Jane Smith, both born in Pennsylvania. (Illinois Death and Stillborn index 1916-1947, on Ancestry)
  42. The letters descended through the family of Ephraim Tyson. They were sent to me by my grandmother Helen W. Tyson, daughter-in-law of William J. Tyson. I made notes of their contents, but did not photocopy them. They were lost in transit when I mailed them back to my grandmother. Needless to say, the family did not find a link to the Australian Seth Tyson. Ephraim did have a brother Seth, who went to California in the Gold Rush, but there is no evidence that he became wealthy or went further west than California.
  43. See the note about the estate of Sarah Michener in 1872, and the ruling of the PA Supreme Court. She was probably the Mary Ann Follwell named in the will of Sarah Tyson in 1861 and Hannah Tyson in 1885.
  44. Montgomery County wills, estate RW 16974. The inventory was taken on 20th 7th month 1847. It was sparse, amounting only to $86.11. Was Jesse living with someone?
  45. Clayton Tyson was named in the will of Hannah Tyson in 1885, as a first cousin of her deceased son Thomas. This is the only place in the family where he can be reasonably placed.

Rynear Tyson and Mary Cleaver

Rynear Tyson was born about 1735, the oldest son of Peter Tyson and Mary Roberts. He grew up in Abington, where his father was a carpenter, farmer and mill-owner. Rynear married Mary Cleaver in 1760 at Abington Meeting. She was the daughter of Isaac Cleaver and Rebecca Iredell.  Of the six daughters of Isaac and Rebecca, four married Tysons. Not surprisingly, the witnesses at the wedding of Rynear and Mary included many Tysons and Cleavers. In the marriage record Mary was described as a seamstress.

In 1769 Rynear and Mary were living in Abington, paying tax on 185 acres there.1 Besides the acreage, he paid tax on five horses and four cows. In the census of 1790, Rynear had ten people in his household.2 Rynear and Mary attended Upper Dublin Friends Meeting, a meeting for worship under the auspices of Abington Monthly Meeting. In 1774 Abington meeting reported that Rynear Tyson, son of Peter, had been drinking strong liquor to excess and suing a Friend at law. Testimony was prepared against him and he was disowned.3 This would explain why the children of Rynear and Mary did not marry as Friends.4 At least three of their children lived to young adulthood but died unmarried.

Mary died in 1787, at the age of forty-six. Rynear remarried, to a woman named Elizabeth, whose last name is not known. Since he had been disowned, the marriage was not recorded by Abington or Upper Dublin. In November (11th month) 1793 he wrote his will.5 He left a legacy of £12 per year for Elizabeth, plus £250 to each of his daughters Mary and Hannah, to be given to them when they reached the age of eighteen.6 The residue of the estate was to be divided among his eight living children: Peter, Rynear, Jacob, Benjamin, Thomas, Jesse, Mary and Hannah. The sons Peter, Rynear and Jacob were to be the executors.

Rynear died three years later, in 1796, just five years after his father, who had lived to be ninety-one. The inventory of Rynear’s estate shows him to have been a prosperous farmer. He owned a silver watch, silver cream jug, a clock, and more.7 The value of the estate came to £662. Elizabeth was not happy with the terms of his will and filed a caveat against it.8 In spite of her caveat, the sons were appointed executors, and they filed an account in March 1797, showing a balance of £2236 for the legatees after the debts had been paid.9

The next generation, sons of Rynear and Mary, were not successful in passing on the family name.  Five of them either died young or died unmarried. Peter and Benjamin were the only sons to leave descendants, and Benjamin only had one son.

Children of Rynear and Mary10

Peter, born 8th month 1762, died in 1830, married in 1768 Martha Kimble, daughter of William and Sarah. Peter was disowned by Abington meeting in 10th month 1786 for going out in marriage with the assistance of a “hireling priest”.11 In 1793 his father Rynear conveyed a house and 73 acres to him, on the Welsh Road, one miles east of Three Tuns.12 Peter also owned land on the Butler Pike, which became part of his estate. Peter died in 1830 before the census was taken. Martha died in 1832. A record of her death appeared in the records of Upper Dublin Preparative Meeting.13 Peter and Martha were buried at Upper Dublin Friends. Peter’s estate was administered by his brother-in-law David Thomas.14 Children of Peter and Martha: Rynear, Sarah, Mary, William, Rebecca, Peter, Jesse, Martha.15

Rynear, born 10th month 1763, a twin with Isaac, died in 1805 unmarried. He left a will,  describing himself as a lime burner, the grandson of Peter Tyson. Why didn’t he call himself the son of Rynear?16 In the will he gave legacies to his nephew Rynear, sisters Mary Hallowell and Hannah Thomas. He left his house and land in Abington to his brothers Peter and Benjamin. His brothers Isaac, Jacob, Thomas and Jesse were dead before him.

Isaac, born 10th month 1763, a twin with Rynear, died in 1784.

Jacob, born 3rd month 1768, died in 1795, unmarried and intestate.

Benjamin, born in 9th month 1770, died in 1849, married Grace —. Benjamin moved to Philadelphia and became an iron monger.17 They had only one known child, a son John, who married Rachel Tyson.18 In 1826 Benjamin petitioned the Orphans’ Court of Montgomery County on behalf of his granddaughter Hannah, daughter of his deceased son John. Grace died in 1834.19 Benjamin Tyson, died in 1849; they were buried at Abington.20

Mary, born 1st month 1774, died about 1856, married William Hallowell after 179721. They lived in Abington, where William worked as a carpenter. He died in 1824, leaving her with five children. He left a will, naming her and the children.22 After he died she lived with her daughter Mary.23 She died about 1856, since an Orphans’ Court petition in 1857 referred to her.24 She left two children Peter and Mary. Three other children died before her. Children: Peter, Mary, Hannah, Rebecca, and Grace.

Thomas, born 9th month 1776, died intestate and unmarried.

Jesse, born 11th month 1779, alive in 1799, died before 1824.25

Hannah, born 2nd month 1783, died 1817, married David Thomas, son of Jonathan and Alice26.


  1. Tax records of Abington, 1769. He was listed as Rynear Tyson Jr to distinguish him from his cousin Rynear Tyson, son of John and Priscilla, born in 1721, who was listed as Rynear Tyson Sr. The usage of Sr and Jr at the time did not mean father and son; it meant older and younger. By 1774 there was another Rynear Tyson of age in Abington, the grandson of John and Priscilla, born in 1751.
  2. He was listed as Rynear, son of Peter, to distinguish him from the other Rynear Tysons around.
  3. Abington MM Minutes.
  4. However, the son Peter was a member of Abington Meeting long enough to be disowned for marrying out in 1786.
  5. Montgomery County wills, Book 1, p. 491 (estate file RW6832). Note that in the Montgomery County index of probate proceedings, book 12, p. 229, the will of Rynear is combined with the Orphans’ Court proceedings of his son Rynear.
  6. If Mary was really born in 1774, as is believed, then she was nineteen years old when Rynear wrote his will. Either the date of birth is wrong, or he was thinking of their ages from memory rather than checking.
  7. It was taken on the 4th day of the 1st month (January) 1796.
  8. In the probate record RW6832. She filed the caveat on December 31, 1795.
  9. The account was filed by Peter and Rynear; Jacob had died in the interim, in 1795.
  10. The dates here are from William Jessup Cleaver, Descendants of Peter Cleaver, 1983. Since he gave specific dates, he probably had access to a family Bible, source unknown. (The births were not listed by Abington Meeting.) These children are named in the will of Mary’s father Isaac Cleaver in 1799, showing that they are Mary’s children with Rynear. Some lists also include a Priscilla who married Caleb Hallowell in 1778 at Abington Meeting, for example, William P. Hallowell’s Hallowell, Longstreth and Penrose Families, p. 18. However she was the daughter of Rynear Tyson and Sarah Michener, the other Rynear Tyson who lived in Abington at the same time.
  11. Abington Monthly Meeting, Men’s Minutes 1782-1797, on Ancestry.
  12. Scrapbooks of E. Matthews, at the Montgomery County Historical Society. The property was owned by the Humphrey family, who sold it to Peter Tyson in 1787.
  13. Upper Dublin Preparative Meeting, Minutes 1817-1913, image 23, on Ancestry.
  14. Account of David Thomas, administrator for Peter’s estate, Montgomery County estates RW 17047.
  15. From the Orphans’ Court record of 1831, estate of Peter Tyson, Bucks County O.C. #4108. Peter’s estate was relevant for Bucks County because he owned one-third of a property there. Sarah was married to Thomas Tyson. Martha married Benjamin Jones and died before her father.
  16. Montgomery County wills, Volumes 1-2, 1784-1808.
  17. A 1797 partition deed included him.
  18. Grace’s last name has not been found. It has been suggested as Michener, but this is a confusion with a different Grace Michener, who was twenty years older than this Benjamin.
  19. Charles Barker, “Descendants of Rynear Tyson”, Bulletin of the Montgomery County Historical Society, vol. 5, 1946, p. 103.
  20. Montg Co, OC docket books 1825-1836, vol. 5/6, I83, p. 110.
  21. From the will of Rynear, brother to Peter, who died in 1805. She was apparently one of triplets; the other two (Rebecca and Eleanor) died young. (William Jessup Cleaver, Descendants of Peter Cleaver, p. 17) The William Hallowell whom she married has not been placed in the large Hallowell family. In a partition deed of 1797 she was described as a spinster.
  22. Montgomery County wills, Book 6, p. 189
  23. 1850 census of Montgomery County.
  24. Montgomery County estates, OC file 7827.
  25. He was not in the 1824 will of his uncle Peter.
  26. Samuel T. Tyson, A Contribution … Tyson Fitzwater, p. 54. Samuel Tyson personally knew Mary, daughter of David and Hannah Thomas. David was the son of Jonathan Thomas and Alice Jarrett. The daughter Mary was a cousin of Samuel’s mother.

Peter Tyson and Mary Roberts

Peter Tyson was born in May 1700 in Germantown, one of nine children of Rynear and Margaret Tyson.1 Peter was one of the younger children; his brother Mathias was fourteen years old when Peter was born. When Peter was still a boy, the family moved to Abington, where Rynear and Margaret owned a large tract of land. Peter would have helped on the farm, but he was probably apprenticed out to a carpenter living nearby, since Peter later worked as a carpenter.

Peter’s Tyson family were Quakers, active in the affairs of Abington Monthly Meeting. They attended Germantown meeting for worship, later Abington meeting. Rynear and his sons appear often in the records of the Monthly Meeting, serving on committees and attending Quarterly Meetings. A few of their wives are known to be active as well, although the early minutes of the women’s meeting have not survived. It is possible that everyone Peter knew as he was growing up was a Quaker.

In 1727 Peter married Mary Roberts under the care of Abington Monthly Meeting.2 She was the daughter of Thomas Roberts and Eleanor Potts. Her family were Quakers, like the Tysons. Thomas and Eleanor had both been born in Wales. They lived in Bristol Township, where Thomas worked as a mason.

Peter and Mary lived in Abington, but also owned land in Horsham. The 1734 tax list for Abington showed Peter with 200 acres, more than his brothers Isaac, John, and Abraham. In 1769 he owned 279 acres, 5 horses and 4 cows and was one of the largest landowners in the township.3  He also owned a tract in Horsham on the Welsh Road, bought in 1752 and sold to his son-in-law Thomas Hallowell Jr in 1763.4 Peter was active in the Abington Monthly Meeting and in 1735 served as its representative to the Philadelphia Quarterly Meeting. His name appears as a witness in many of the weddings of his extended family.

In 1764, Peter became peripherally involved in a long-running land dispute. Peter’s aunt Anna, sister to his father Rynear, was married to Jan Strepers. Jan and Anna stayed in Germany, while Jan’s brother Wilhelm came to Germantown. Wilhelm was supposed to manage Jan’s extensive land holdings in Pennsylvania, but relations between the two brothers deteriorated. Jan refused to give Wilhelm title to the 100 acres he had promised him, while Wilhelm delayed surveying Jan’s land and refused to pay the ground rents. Finally in 1698 Jan gave complete power of attorney to Reiner Theißen and Heinrich Sellen. He had a falling out with them and Rynear relinquished the job to avoid conflict. Jan died in 1715 but years later some of his descendants in Germany still felt wronged and sent two emissaries to try to recover the land.5 One of them, Johannes Herbergs, kept a journal of his trip, and in 1764 they met with Peter Tyson, a “polite man”, who had been with his father Rynear when some of the Germantown land was surveyed in 1703.6 Peter invited them to stay with them and offered to take them to meet with Griffith Jones and Paul Krippner. They said goodbye to Peter with a promise to come back and visit soon.7

Peter wrote his will in 1788.8 He left the 180-acre farm to his son Peter, the youngest child, since he already given portions to the four oldest children. The son Peter was to allow his brothers Rynear and Thomas the privilege of digging limestone out of the quarry on the farm. The children were all to share a tract of 16 acres in the Manor of Moreland with a mill, probably the fulling mill that Peter had advertised for rent in 1754.9 Peter still owned the oil and fulling mill in 1787, when he paid taxes on it.10

There was no mention of Mary in the will; she must have died before him. She was still alive in 1752, when she signed the marriage certificate of her daughter Eleanor.11 Peter died in 1791, at the age of 91, and was buried at Abington. The inventory of his estate showed that he was no longer living on his own, but with one of his children, probably Peter, since he inherited the farm. The older Peter owned a few pieces of furniture, some cookware, carpenter’s tools, and some books. Most of his estate was tied up in bonds for debts owed to him. The total came to £1339.

The children of Peter and Mary were Friends and prosperous farmers. Out of the five children, four married. The one who did not marry left his estate to his nieces and nephews, keeping the money in the family. Most of them lived in Abington.

Children of Peter and Mary:12

Eleanor, born about 1730, died in 1777, married in 1752 Benjamin Hallowell, son of Benjamin and Mary. In the marriage record Eleanor was described as a seamstress. The marriage certificate was signed by many of her Tyson relatives. They lived in Abington. Benjamin died there in 1808, and left a will.13 He was a prosperous farmer; the inventory of his estate included a silver watch, twenty one sheets, twenty five pillow cases, nine table cloths, three stoves, and more. Children: Peter, Benjamin, Isaac, Tacy, Martha, Sarah, Mary.

Rynear, born about 1735, died in 1796, married in 1760 Mary Cleaver, daughter of Isaac and Rebecca. Rynear and Mary attended Upper Dublin Friends, but he was disowned in 1774 for excessive drinking and for suing a Friend in a court (instead of taking the matter before the Meeting for arbitration, in the approved Quaker manner). He was a farmer and a limeburner. After Mary died Rynear married a woman named Elizabeth, who survived him. Rynear left a will, providing for an annuity for Elizabeth and naming his living children.14 The inventory showed typical household goods and farm animals, for a total of £2236. Children: Peter, Rynear, Isaac, Jacob, Benjamin, Mary, Thomas, Jesse, Hannah.

Margaret, born about 1740, married in 1763 Thomas Hallowell, Jr, of the Manor of Moreland, son of Thomas the weaver and Mary Craft. Margaret and Thomas were married at Abington Meeting in 11th month 1762/63 (January 1763). Margaret was living in Abington, Thomas in the Manor of Moreland. Thomas did not leave a will.15 Margaret and Thomas had five known children, three of whom married Shoemakers.16 Children: Mary, Sarah, Eleanor, Thomas, Margaret.

Thomas, born about 1740, died in 1821, married in 1767 his second cousin Sarah Kirk, daughter of Rynear and Mary.17 In 1766 Thomas’ father Peter had given him forty acres in Abington, where Thomas and Sarah settled. He was a limeburner. All but one of their eight children lived to adulthood. Thomas died in 1821. He left a will naming his wife Sarah and six daughters and a son Thomas.18 Thomas got the clock and the farm and the “best desk”.19 Children: Martha, Mary, Sarah, Elanor, Elizabeth, Hannah, Susanna, Thomas.

Peter, died in 1824 unmarried. His kinswomen Margaret Bird kept house for him for many years.20 He owned land in Abington, on Susquehanna Street Road, and in Upper Dublin. In his will, proved 17 February 1824, he named many of his nieces and nephews.21


  1. Peter is not a common name in the early Tyson family, appearing only in this line. If an early record refers to Peter Tyson, it could mean this man, his son Peter, or his grandson Peter.
  2. They got approval from the meeting on 1st month (March) 1727 and the marriage was reported as done at the next monthly meeting. (Abington Monthly Meeting, men’s minutes, on Ancestry)
  3. Property Tax List of Philadelphia County and City.
  4. He sold 100 acres to Hallowell in 1763 and kept nine acres, which he transferred to Hallowell in 1773. (Charles Smith, Settlement of Horsham, 1975, p. 164)
  5. They were Johannes Herbergs, married to one of Jan Streper’s granddaughters, and Peter Heinrich Strepers, a great-grandson of Jan. The whole story is in Dieter Pesch, Brave New World: Rhinelanders Conquer America, 2001. Pesch’s museum, the Rhenish open-air museum in Kommern, mounted an exhibit based on Herberg’s journal.
  6. If the date of 1703 was correct, it is hard to imagine what a three-year old would remember about details of land ownership, but Herbergs and Strepers were pursuing every lead they could find.
  7. Pesch, p. 101.
  8. Montgomery County estates, RW-6825.
  9. Abstracts from the Pa. Gazette, available online at genealogy.com, p. 315.
  10. Bean, History of Montgomery County, chap. 64.
  11. No record of her death has been found in the records of Abington Monthly Meeting.
  12. The births were not recorded at Abington meeting. The order here is taken from Peter’s will and from the dates of marriage. The first four were named for their four grandparents.
  13. Montgomery County wills, Book 3, p. 32.
  14. Montgomery County wills Book 1, p. 491. The inventory and vendue sale are in Montgomery County estate files, RW6832, Montgomery County Archive, Norristown.
  15. He is not the Thomas Hallowell in Montgomery County wills, Book 1, p. 167 or Book 5, p. 363. He may be the one whose estate was administered by James Paul in early 1830. The Hallowells were a large family, as were the Tysons. To make things confusing, there were three women named Margaret Tyson who married Hallowell men: in 1729, 1746, and 1763.
  16. Listed in the 1824 will of Margaret’s brother Peter.
  17. Rynear Kirk was the son of John Kirk and Sarah Tyson, so Sarah and Thomas were second cousins on the Tyson side.
  18. Montgomery County wills, Book 5, p. 274.
  19. Montgomery County estate files RW 6865 and OC 13754.
  20. She may have been the daughter of Albrick Bird and Abigail Tyson, who were married in 1763.
  21. Montgomery County wills, Book 6, p. 197.

Rynear and Margaret Tyson

Rynear Tyson’s family lived in Kaldenkirchen in the Rhineland of Germany in the 1600’s, after the end of the Thirty Years War. At that time the established churches were protected by the local government, while the Quakers and Mennonites were persecuted. Rynear’s father Theiss was a shopkeeper, like Theiss’ father Peter. At some point Theiss became a Mennonite and was harassed because of it. In 1655 he was fined 100 gold guilders for refusing to pay a tax, and his goods were confiscated. The family was threatened with banishment from Kaldenkirchen. Theiss joined the Reformed Church, possibly to deflect further persecution. It seems to have worked, because the Reformed pastor appealed to the Duke, who allowed them to stay and ordered that their goods be returned and the fine remitted. Some of their children would take the religious dissent one step further and become Quakers.

Quaker missionaries had visited the Rhineland on multiple visits starting in 1657. William Ames, Steven Crisp, Roger Longworth, Benjamin Furley, and William Penn himself—they had traveled through the region, visiting nobles and townspeople, spreading the creed of the Quakers.1 The most receptive to the message were the Mennonites, so the missionaries focused on towns where Mennonites already lived.

Those who supported the Quakers faced additional persecution. At the Synod of Julich the pastor from Kaldenkirchen, Pastor Eylert, complained that he had not been able to “restore to their senses” the women of the town who had become Quakers; he thought they were bewitched.2 When Quaker missionary Elizabeth Hendrick visited in 1680 with two companions, they were only able to meet with those who were already Quakers; the other townspeople called them evil names and threw dirt at them. As Elizabeth’s husband wrote, “Ye Calvinist priest stood by and countenanced it, there are both papists and Calvinists in that place; and ye papist have proclaimed it from theire pulpits that none was to Entertaine or take into their houses any quaker….”3

By 1680 there were Quakers in Krefeld. They held regular meeting for worship, and in 1681 they held a wedding.4 Derrick Isaacs op den Graeff and Nolcken Vijten had declared their intentions of marriage, and in 3rd month 1681 they married each other. The certificate was signed by nineteen witnesses, nearly all of the members of the Friends’ Meeting.5 Almost all of the signers would emigrate to Pennsylvania just a few years later.

Theiss and Neesen had eleven known children, six of whom emigrated to Pennsylvania.6 They were close-knit, acting as sponsors for the baptisms of each others’ children, and selling land to each other.

In June of 1683 a group of Quakers, including Rynear and four of his sisters and their husbands, assembled in Krefeld on the first stage of a journey to Pennsylvania. They traveled up the Rhine to Rotterdam, then to London, where passage had been booked for them to Pennsylvania. The arrangements were made by letters back and forth between Benjamin Furley and James Claypoole, two wealthy Quaker merchants, one of Amsterdam, and one of London. Claypoole intended to sail with his own family on the same ship.7 The Krefeld Friends were delayed between Rotterdam and London, and Claypoole was quite anxious about their arrival. There would be a penalty of £500 if they did not arrive to pay their passage and sail by the 6th of July. As Claypoole wrote to Benjamin Furly, “He [the Captain] is not to stay beyond the day for one person, but to sail if with 60. So now I having engaged by thy order I desire thee not to fail, but send me the money, and let the friends get here in good time to take up their goods and ship them again, and buy such necessaries as they want, which will take up 6 or 8 days time. So before the last day of this month [June] they ought to be here.”8 They still had not arrived by July 3rd and Claypoole was “fain to loiter and keep the ship at Blackwall upon one pretense of another, for when she comes to Gravesend the owners will not suffer her to stay many days. And indeed it would trouble me very much to go away without them, besides the great loss it will be to them, for the master will abate nothing of the ½ freight.” They had still not arrived by the 10th, but eventually they did show up and the Concord began its voyage across the Atlantic.

The Concord, under Captain Jeffries, weighed over 500 tons and could carry 26 cannon, 40 sailors, and 180 passengers, although there were fewer on the October 1683 voyage. The passengers brought butter, cheese, clothing, iron, tools, rope, fishnets, and guns. Claypoole wrote that the voyage was comfortable and that no one died on board. In fact two babies were born at sea.9 They were within sight of England for the first three weeks, then 49 days out at sea, about average for the time.10 They successfully avoided the three main perils—storms, contagious illness on board, attack by Barbary pirates—and landed in Philadelphia in early October.11

When they landed in Philadelphia, ferried on shore in small boats, they found a few houses and many trees. Francis Daniel Pastorius had arrived a few months earlier. He reported that the city “consisted of three or four little cottages; all the residue being only weeds, underwood, timber, and trees.”12 He got lost several times just a few blocks from his house. The “house” was probably just a dug-out cellar. The settlers began to build their houses by digging out a hole for the basement. They were sometimes forced to live in this shelter through the first winter until they could finish erecting the rest of the house above His “cave” was at the present-day Front and Lombard Streets.13 Pastorius wrote that he built a house there with an inscription. “A little house, but a friend to the good: keep away, ye profane.” The Krefeld Quakers met there and drew lots for their tracts where they were to settle—their little territory of Germantown, six miles north of the center of the town.14 It was unusual for Penn to allow settlers to choose their own land. The usual procedure, as specified in his warrants to the Surveyor General, left the location to the discretion of the surveyor.15

Penn had previously sold rights to large blocks of land, to be laid out in Pennsylvania, to three merchants of Krefeld and Kaldenkirchen—Jacob Telner, Jan Strepers, and Dirck Sipman.16 Each of them bought 5,000 acres. In June 1683, three more men bought tracts of 1,000 acres each—Govert Remke, Lenert Arets, and Jacob Isaacs van Bebber—all of Krefeld. These well-off buyers pledged to send colonists to settle the land, since Penn did not want large tracts to stand empty.17 Along with Benjamin Furley in Amsterdam, they served as facilitators for the Krefeld settlers, who bought some of their land. Telner sold some of his land to the op den Graeff brothers, who then sold 116 acres to Rynear Tyson. He also bought 50 acres from Lenert Arets.

The Germantown settlers faced hardships in their first few months and years. Their most pressing need after landing was for food and shelter. “Their first business, after their arrival, was to land their property, and put in under such shelter as could be found; then, while some of the got warrants of survey… others went diversely further into the woods to different places, where their lands were laid out, often without any path or road to direct them… A chosen tree was frequently all the shelter they had against the inclemency of the weather. The next coverings of many of them were either caves in the earth, or such huts as could be most expeditiously procured.”18 The historian was writing about the English Quakers who arrived in 1682, but the shared experience of settling in the new colony was common to all. The Germans probably helped each other build simple log cabins at first, a trick learned from the Swedes. Felling trees was risky; an early settler in Bucks County was killed when he misjudged the direction.19 These early houses were crude, but would later be replaced by houses built from the distinctive Germantown “glimmerstone”, a type of schist flecked with mica.20

To get through the first winter and spring, until they were able to harvest a crop, they needed to buy provisions. In a letter written for friends in Germany, Pastorius wrote from Philadelphia, “Two hours from here, lies our Germantown, where already, forty-two people are living in twelve dwellings. They are mostly linen weavers and not any too skilled in agriculture. These good people laid out all their substance upon the journey, so that if William Penn had not advanced provisions to them, they must have become servants to others.”21 They also got support from other Friends. In early 1684 the minutes of Philadelphia Monthly Meeting reported that “Derrick Isaacs, a Dutch friend of Germantown, acquainted this meeting of the wants of some of the dutch there.”22 The Quakers who came in 1682 and 1683 had the advantage of being able to buy food from the Indians and the Swedes, who were happy to provide deer, corn and other provisions.23 Although there was no starvation, there was still hardship. Some “grim humorists among them transformed the name into ‘Armen-town,’ or ‘Povertytown.’”24

Germantown was not on a navigable waterway; it was north of the falls of the Schuylkill.25 The road to Philadelphia was a rough dirt track, muddy when it rained. “trodden out into good shape” by frequently traveling back and forth.26 Wissahickon Creek, the nearest large stream, was almost a mile away, but there were closer small creeks, like Monoshone Creek (later called Paper Mill Run). It was probably the job of the women to go for water while the men cut down trees and built houses.27

When they had built their houses, it must have looked a little like the towns they had left. “For companionship as well as protection they built their first quaint houses in two rows, one of either side of the rough track. By day they would scatter to the lands in the rear of the houses; by night they would be in close touch with each other. This arrangement, so popular in the homeland, had even greater advantages in the new country.”28 Rynear and Margaret Tyson were not only surrounded by fellow Quakers speaking their own dialect of Dutch-German, they were also surrounded by family, both his and hers.

There is no record of the marriage of Rynear and Margaret. The early vital records of Abington Monthly Meeting, which handled the business of Germantown meeting, were not carefully kept.29 They were not married in Krefeld, and must have married soon after arriving in Pennsylvania, since their first son was born in 1686. Her first name was Margaret.30 (In 1727 Rynear and Margaret Tyson granted 250 acres of land in Abington to their son Isaac.)31  Her last name has often been said to be Kunders or Streepers.32 However, there is strong circumstantial evidence that she was the sister of the three op den Graeff brothers—Abraham, Herman, and Derrick—and the daughter of Isaac and Grietje.33 The evidence comes from several sources: the names of their sons, the close relationship with the op den Graeff brothers, the suggestion that they were cousins, and the judgment of German researchers who had access to original records.34 Margaret, daughter of Isaac and Grietje, is believed to have emigrated in 1683 with her three brothers. She is sometimes confused with two of her nieces, also named Margaret.35

Rynear and Margaret named their first son Mathias, for his father Matheis, and their second son Isaac, presumably for her father. They also named sons Abraham, Derrick, and Henry, presumably for her brothers.36 In May 1684, Rynear bought 100 acres in Germantown from Dirck and Herman op den Graeff. He paid them £3.37 The following year the three op den Graeff brothers sold 25 acres to the new arrival Peter Schumacher for £5.38 This is considerably more than they had charged Rynear. This favorable treatment would be explained if he were their brother-in-law.

There is some evidence that Margaret and Rynear were first cousins. Charles Kirk in 1892 wrote “I recollect hearing him [John Kirk] relate that his grand-father, Reynier Tyson, was not married when he first came to this country, and being disposed to marry his first cousin and our Discipline not allowing it, they made preparation to go back to Germany to accomplish their marriage, but Friends seeing their sincerity allowed them to proceed.”39  First-cousin marriages occurred occasionally among Friends, even though they were disapproved of.40 How could Margaret and Rynear be first cousins? Isaac Op den Graeff’s wife Grietje signed her name Grietje Peters at the 1681 wedding of her son Derrick. Some researchers believe that she was the daughter of Peter Doors, father of Matheis/Theiss Doors and Rynear’s grandfather.41 This leads directly to the idea that her daughter Margaret married Rynear Tyson, accepted by several researchers.42

In any case, Rynear and his wife settled into life in Germantown and started their family. Their house was used as a public center, for a meeting in 1692.  He was elected as a burgess in 1692, 1693, 1694, and 1696. His fencing was found insufficient in 1696; and he performed jury service in 1701.43  As burgess he participated in the affairs of the town. For example, in 1692 Paul Wulff conveyed a lot to the commonality of Germantown for a burial ground. Reinier Tison signed the deed with his mark along with Peter Shoemaker and other burgesses.44 In 1689 he replaced Pastorius as a bailiff. In 1702 he sent his children to the school, taught by Pastorius. His children would learn to read and write, even if he could not.

Rynear was also active in Abington Meeting. In 1695 he was selected as an overseer of youth for Germantown. The overseers were responsible for guiding the youth in the Quaker way. As the minutes of Abington Monthly Meeting stated, “It is agreed upon at this Meeting that four Friends belonging to the Monthly Meeting, be appointed to take Care of ye Youth belonging to Each Meeting, as Concerning their Orderly walking, as becomes ye Truth they make profession of; according to ye good advice of Friends in an Epistle from ye yearly Meeting at Burlington 1694; whereupon Richard Wall is appointed for Cheltenham, Richard Whitefield for Oxford, John Carver for ye upper township, and Ryner Tyson for Ger.Town.”45 Rynear became an elder of the church. He represented Abington in the Quarterly Meetings in 1695, 1698 and again in 1728. He was several times appointed to visit with families; in 1735 this was with Thomas Roberts, whose daughter Mary was already married to his son Peter.

Rynear’s family could be a source of trouble to him. His sister Anna stayed in Germany with her husband Jan Streepers, while Jan’s brother Wilhelm came to Germantown. Wilhelm was supposed to manage Jan’s extensive land holdings in Pennsylvania, but relations between the two brothers deteriorated. Jan refused to give Wilhelm title to the 100 acres he had promised him, while Wilhelm delayed surveying Jan’s land and refused to pay the ground rents. Finally on May 13, 1698, Jan gave complete power of attorney to Reiner Theißen and Heinrich Sellen. He soon accused them of looking after the interests of Wilhelm and Lenssen rather than his. This may have caused Reiner to try to avoid further conflict. In March 1700 he declared before the bailiff that he relinquished the job.46

In 1683 Tyson bought 50 acres from Lenert Arets for 3 pounds Pennsylvania money. This was lot number five; his immediate neighbors were Arets and John Lucken.47 In 1684 Dirck and Herman op den Graeff sold 100 acres of land in Germantown to Tyson for 3 pounds Pennsylvania money. Around 1700 he bought 250 acres in Abington Township, Montgomery County and later resettled his family there. Why did he leave Germantown? He may have wanted more land for his sons. Jesse Tyson, a descendent, reminisced in 1870. “Reynear Tyson continued a resident of Germantown until it became thickly settled, then he sold his possessions there, which had become very valuable, and united with his wife’s property (for she had some property as well as spirit), he was quite independent. He purchased a large tract in Abington Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Here by industry, prudent land management, and judicious investments he accumulated much wealth and lived to good old age.”48

Rynear wrote his will in December 1741. He named his eight living children, but not his wife Margaret. She had died before him. He left a cash legacy to all of the children, plus his “Dutch books” to his daughter Elizabeth Lukens and his riding horse to his granddaughter Abigail. When he died in December 1745, the inventory of his estate was sparse, just the furnishings for one room, plus his apparel and a riding horse. He owned a bed and bedding, a chest of drawers, a cupboard, four chairs and a table, and an old white horse. 49  With the money that people owed him, the total came to £310.50 He must have been living with one of his children by then. A memorial of him published in The Friend, said that “He was innocent and inoffensive in life and conversation, and diligent in attending his religious meetings.”51

The family of Rynear and Margaret included nine children and over twenty grandchildren. Rynear and his sons owned large farms in Abington and Upper Dublin. On the list of landowners there in 1734, Rynear, Abraham, Isaac, John, Peter, and Derrick Tyson together owned over 500 acres.  In addition to farming they also built limekilns.52 Their descendants intermarried with English Quaker families and stayed around Abington and Upper Dublin for generations.

Children of Rynear and Margaret:53

Mathias, born 6th month 1686, died 1747, married in 1708 Mary Potts at Abington Monthly Meeting. Mary was one of the orphan children of John Potts of Llangirig, Wales. Mathias and Mary lived in Abington, where he was a farmer. After Mathias died in 1727 she married Thomas Fitzwater, son of Thomas and Mary.54 Children of Mathias and Mary: Margaret, Mary, Rynear, John, Sarah, Elizabeth, Isaac, Martha, Elizabeth, Matthew.

Isaac, born 9th month 1688, died 1766, married in 1727 Sarah Jenkins, the daughter of Stephen and Abigail and granddaughter of noted Quaker Phineas Pemberton. They lived in Abington on a 200-acre tract.55 After Sarah died in 1759, Isaac married Lydia Robinson. Children of Isaac and Sarah: Thomas, Abigail, Lydia, Margaret, Isaac, Sarah, Israel, Rynear, Hannah, Levi.

Elizabeth, born 8th month 1690, married in 1710 William Lucken, son of Jan and Merken. They lived in Horsham, where William died in 1739 and left a will naming Elizabeth and nine children.56 Children: John, William, Mary, Sarah, Reinear, Mathew, Jacob, Elizabeth and Joseph.57

John, born 10th month 1692, died 1775, married in 1720 Priscilla Naylor, daughter of Robert and Elizabeth. They lived in Abington, where John is supposed to have discovered the limestone deposits and set up kilns for burning it to make quicklime.58 Priscilla was an elder of Abington Meeting. She died in 1760 and in 1764 John married the widow Sarah Lewis. John died in 1775. He left a will naming Sarah and eight of his children, but she had died in 1768. Children of John and Priscilla: Rynear, Elizabeth, Margaret, Sarah, John, Mary, Susanna, Joseph.59

Abraham, born 8th month 1694, died 1781, married in 1721 Mary Hallowell, daughter of Thomas and Rosamund. Like several of his brothers, Abraham lived in Abington and was a farmer. He died in 1781, and left a will naming his wife Mary and children Samuel, Abraham and Rosamund.60

Derrick, born 9th month 1696, died 1776, married about 1727 Ann Hooten. They lived in Hatboro, where he was a whip maker. Ann died in 1734 and he married Susanna Thomas in 1738. Derrick died in 1776, leaving a will naming his six living children.61 Children of Derrick and Ann: Deborah, Mary, Margaret, Benjamin. Children of Derrick and Susanna: Hannah, Jonathan, Daniel.

Sarah, born 12th month 1698, died in 1780, married in 1722 John Kirk, son of John Kirk and Joan (Ellet). They married at Abington; he had a certificate from Darby Mtg62. John died in 1759 and left a will naming Sarah and seven living children.63 She died in 1780.64 Children of John and Sarah: John, Rynear, Margaret, Elizabeth, Mary, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah.

Peter, born 3rd month 1700, died in 1791, married in 1727 at Abington Monthly Meeting, Mary Roberts, daughter of Thomas and Eleanor (Potts). They lived in Abington, but also owned land in Horsham. In 1769 he was one of the largest landowners in Abington township.65 He was active in Abington Monthly Meeting. Peter died in 1791, leaving a will naming his children Eleanor, Rynear, Margaret, Thomas, Peter.66 Mary had died before him, and he was living with one of his children (at age 91).

Henry, born 3rd month 1702, married in 1735 Ann Harker at Wrightstown Meeting. They moved to Wrightstown in 1738 but were back in Abington when the birth of their daughter Margaret was recorded there. He died after 1764 when he signed the wedding certificate of his son James. Children: Elizabeth, James, Margaret.


  1. William Hull, William Penn and the Dutch Quaker Migration to Pennsylvania, 1935, pp. 191-196; Claus Bernet, “Quaker Missionaries in Holland and north Germany in the late seventeenth century”, Quaker History, vol. 95(2), 2006, on JSTOR.
  2. Hull, p. 234.
  3. Hull, pp. 234-5.
  4. The marriage certificate is unique, “so far as known, the extant marriage-certificate issued by a meeting of Friends on the continent.” (Hull, p. 209) Were there none from the early 20th century?
  5. Hull, p. 209.
  6. The ones who emigrated were Gertrude and her husband Paulus Kuster, Leentien and her husband Thonis Kunders, Elisabeth and her husband Peter Kurlis, Reynear, Agnes and her husband Leonard Arets, Herman. Once they got to Pennsylvania, Rynear used the surname Tyson, while Herman used Doors (with spelling variations). Cornelius Tyson, who emigrated around 1703, is frequently claimed as a brother of Reynier’s, but there is little evidence to support this. The names Rynear and Cornelius gave to their sons don’t match, except for Matthias or Theiss, which simply means that their fathers were both named Theiss. They practiced different religions. Cornelius was a Mennonite, while Rynear was a Quaker. They seem to have had no property dealings with each other. There is no mention of Cornelius in Niepoth’s research into the Dohrs family of Kaldenkirchen.
  7. Samuel Pennypacker, Settlement of Germantown, 1899, p. 16.
  8. James Claypoole’s Letter Book, 1967, edited by Marion Balderston.
  9. Edward Hocker, Germantown 1683-1933, 1933.
  10. Claypoole’s letters, p. 223.
  11. Most of the ships that brought Quakers to Pennsylvania in 1682 and 1683 avoided serious illness. An exception was the ship that Penn himself came on, the Welcome. It was ravaged by smallpox. Another ship, the Morning Star, lost many passengers to dysentery. (Jean Soderlund, ed, William Penn and the Founding of Pennsylvania, 1983.)
  12. Patrick Erben et al, The Francis Daniel Pastorius Reader, 2019, p. 179.
  13. Thomas Brandt and Henry Gummere, Byways and Boulevards in and about Historic Philadelphia, 1925, p. 42.
  14. Pastorius noted that his cellar could hold twenty people, “when the Crefelders lodged with me”.
  15. The surveyors based their choice of land placement according to several factors. Obviously there needed to be vacant land of the right size. But they also placed people in family groups, in immigration groups (people from the same location in the old country), and in townships they were currently laying out. It is likely that new arrivals wished to go out with the surveyors to have some say in where their land was placed, but we have little information on the surveying process from contemporary accounts.
  16. Samuel Pennypacker, Settlement of Germantown; Minutes of the Board of Property. There is a question about the date because of the ambiguity of dates in March in the old-style calendar. James Duffin, in Acta Germanopolis, 2008, gives the date of the conveyance to Telner, Strepers and Sipman as March 1683 instead of 1682.
  17. When the land was laid out in Pennsylvania, Penn did not want their 18,000 acres (plus the 25,000 acres bought by the Frankfort Company, another group of wealthy Germans) to be laid out so close to Philadelphia. That is why Germantown was laid out for 6,000 acres. The other land that the buyers were entitled to would be laid out further north. In 1702 Mathias van Bebber obtained the rights to Sipman’s purchase and had a large tract laid out on the Skippack, known for a time as Bebber’s Township. (Ruth, Maintaining the Right Fellowship, 1984; Pennypacker, Acta Germanopolis)
  18. Robert Proud, History of Pennsylvania, 1798, vol. 1, p. 224.
  19. This was George Pownall, killed within a month after landing, who left a wife Eleanor. She gave birth to a son just two weeks later.
  20. George Wertmuller wrote in a 1684 letter that “the houses in the country are better built than those within the city”. (Hull, p. 319)
  21. Pastorius, “Positive information from America”, in Jean Soderlund, ed, William Penn and the founding of Pennsylvania, 1983, p. 356. Also in Julius Sachse, Letters relating to the settlement of Germantown, 1903.
  22. Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, men’s minutes, available on Ancestry.
  23. Peter Kalm, Travels in North America, Dover Edition, 1966, p. 266. He said that the Swedes bought corn from the Indians when they first arrived, but later produced a surplus themselves.
  24. Edward Hocker, Germantown 1683-1933, 1933, reprinted 1997.
  25. Penn refused to grant them so much land on the river.
  26. Pastorius, in Soderlund, p. 356.
  27. As John T. Humphrey noted, “Faced with the task of building a shelter and clearing the land of trees, settlers did not want to dig a well too!”, “Life in mid-18th century Pennsylvania”, formerly online, no longer accessible in 2020.
  28. John Faris, Old roads out of Philadelphia, 1917, p. 204; Stephanie G. Wolf, Urban Village, 1976.
  29. The minutes were gathered together and transcribed in 1718 by George Boone. They start in 1682 for the men, much later for the women. The early records of births, burials, and marriages are not well organized. Some events which are known to have happened were not recorded, such as the death of Grietje op den Graeff, mother of Margaret and her brothers.
  30. This is obvious, even in the absence of records, given the number of Margaret’s in the third generation. In 1724 a “Margaret Tissen” subscribed toward building a wall around the Upper Germantown burying ground. This was probably the widow of Cornelius Tyson, since he was buried there. (Peter Keyser, “A history of Upper Germantown Burying Ground”, Penna. Magazine of History and Biography, 1884, vol. 8, p. 415.
  31. Philadelphia County deeds, Book I-16, p. 416. Margaret signed the deed, while Rynear signed by mark.
  32. Many secondary sources cite her last name as Streepers or Kunders. Rynear Tyson seems to have written to several of the other thirteen heads of families as “brother”, which could also mean brother-in-law. As Steward Baldwin noted in his online article on the Paxson family, “cousin” could mean “relative”, a “nephew” could be male or female, “son-in-law” commonly meant stepson, and in-law relationships were often not noted. (Steward Baldwin, “The Paxson Brothers of Pennsylvania”, Nat. Gen. Soc. Quarterly,  1995, vol. 83, pp. 39-43.) Even Margaret’s first name was uncertain for a time. Hull thought it was Maria. (Hull, p. 221)
  33. Other researchers, including Cathy Berger and Maurine Ward, have come to the same conclusion about Margaret Op den Graeff. See Kathryn Sims, “Food for thought”, Krefeld Immigrants and their Descendants, 1993, vol. 10(2), also discussions on the Original-13 mailing list on 02 Dec 2001 and 14 July 2005.
  34. Pesch noted that Reiner called the sons of Isaac op den Graeff his brothers.
  35. Margaret Updegrave, daughter of Herman, one of the brothers, married Peter Schumacher Jr. in 1697. The other Margaret Updegrave, daughter of Abraham, married Thomas Howe. Both of these women were much younger than their aunt Margaret.
  36. Henry was an anglicized form of Herman.
  37. Acta Germanopolis, p. 450.
  38. Acta, p. 465.
  39. “Recollections of Charles Kirk”, 1892, mss. collection, Bucks County Historical Society, Spruance Library, Doylestown.
  40. For example, Abington Meeting disowned first cousins John Lucken and his wife Sarah in 1741, but apparently reinstated them three years later. In 1742 the meeting noted that Samuel Hallowell had married his first cousin “some years ago”.
  41. Peter was not a common name among the Mennonites of Krefeld and surrounding towns. An alternative explanation sometimes given is that the wife of Theiss Doors, whose first name was Neesen, was a daughter of Herman op den Graeff and a sister of Isaac op den Graeff. The only evidence for this is a dubious writing called the Scheuten manuscript, which is not considered a reliable source.
  42. Dieter Pesch, editor, Brave New World: Rhinelanders conquer America, 2001. As part of an exhibit at the Rheinisches Freilichtmuseum, Pesch hired a German research firm to study the genealogy of the original settlers of Germantown and their relatives. See also the excellent summary of Randal Whitman, “The Settlement of Germantown 1683-1714”, online at: http://gmm.gfsnet.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/-settlement_of_germantown/The_SETTLEMENT_OF_GERMANTOWN_in_1683.pdf, accessed 2020. Also the article by Kathryn Sims, “Food for thought”, Krefeld Immigrants newsletter, 1993, vol. 10(2) and the subsequent discussion in the Original-13 mailing list by Maurine Ward (7/14/2005) and Howard Swain (02 Dec 2001). On the other hand, Chester Custer said her name was Kunders or Strepers. (Chester Custer, “The Kusters and Doors of Kaldenkirchen…”, reprinted in Krefeld Immigrants, 1986, 3(2). Wilhelm Niepoth, in his widely quoted “The Ancestry of the Thirteen Krefeld Emigrants of 1683”, PA Gen Magazine, vol. 3, said only that Rynear came to Pennsylvania in 1683.
  43. Hull, p. 221.
  44. Deed published in the Germantown Crier, 1987, vol. 39, p. 38.
  45. Minutes of 29th 2nd month 1695, quoted in John Jordan, Colonial and Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania.
  46.   Pesch. The entire museum exhibition documented in Pesch’s book was based on this quarrel, which took years to resolve. The Streepers papers are in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
  47. James Duffin, “Germantown Landowners, 1683-1714”, Germantown Crier, 1987, vol. 39.
  48. Cited in Thomas Maxwell Potts, The Potts Family, 1901. Rynear’s oldest son married Mary Potts.
  49. Philadelphia County wills, Book H, p. 63. He left to his grandson Matthew Tyson (son of his son Matthias) £6; this to bar all heirs of Matthias Tyson from further claim; said Matthias having received his full share in his life time; to his sons, John, Abraham, Derrick, and Peter, six pounds each; to son, Henry, eight pounds; to daughters, Elizabeth Lucken and Sarah Kirk, six pounds each; to daughter, Elizabeth Lucken, “all my Dutch Books;” certain goods to be equally divided between sons, John, Abraham, Derrick, Peter and Henry, and daughters, Elizabeth Lucken and Sarah Kirk; to granddaughter, Abigail Tyson, “my riding horse;” residue of estate to his executor for his personal use, said executor to be his son, Isaac Tyson.
  50. Philadelphia County wills, 1745, #39, City Hall, Philadelphia. The inventory is not online. Rynear’s estate should not be confused with that of his grandson Rynear who died in 1750.
  51. The Friend (Philadelphia 1857, vol.  XXX, p. 229), quoted in Jordan.
  52. The story was passed down that lime from their kilns was used for the mortar in Independence Hall. (E. Gordon Alderfer, The Montgomery County Story, p. 85.) Limekiln Pike in Upper Dublin was named for the limekilns of Thomas Fitzwater and the Tysons.
  53. The lists of descendants are mostly taken from Charles Barker, “Descendants of Rynear Tyson”, Bulletin of the Historical Society of Montgomery County, 1946, vol. 5. Some dates of death from Jordan.
  54. The Fitzwaters and Tysons were the largest landowners in Abington for years. At the wedding of John and Mary in 1742, “Riner Tison, sener” was one of the signers. Rynear was not literate; someone must have written the name for him. (Samuel Traquair Tyson, A contribution to the history and genealogy of the Tyson and Fitzwater families, 1922)
  55. 1734 tax list.
  56. Philadelphia County wills, Book F, p. 152.
  57. Theodore Roosevelt was descended from the daughter Elizabeth and her husband Thomas Potts. They were his great-great-grandparents.
  58. When mixed with water, quicklime makes mortar, useful for making stone buildings. (J. Carroll Johnston, “The Tyson Lime Kilns”, Old York Road Historical Society Bulletin, 1939, Vol. III, pp. 47-49) Johnston wrote that the line of John Tyson passed down the story that their lime was used for the building of Independence Hall.
  59. Philadelphia County wills, Book Q, p. 117.
  60. Philadelphia County wills, Book R, p. 553, not p. 425 as given in Jordan (Colonial Families of Philadelphia).
  61. Philadelphia County wills, Book Q, p. 264.
  62. Miranda Roberts and Gilbert Cope, Genealogy of the Descendants of John Kirk, 1912.
  63. Philadelphia County wills, Book L, p. 325.
  64. Findagrave, citing burial records of Abington Friends.
  65. 1769 Property Tax List of Philadelphia County and City.
  66. Montgomery County estate file #RW6825.

Matthias (Theiss) Doors and his wife Neesen

Matthias Doors and his wife Neesen lived in the valley of the lower Rhine River as it winds its way north toward the Netherlands.1 The countryside is flat, with meadows, moors and heaths. It was dotted with small towns in the 1600s: Kaldenkirchen, Krefeld, Gladbach, Dahlen. Some of them were little fortified places with city walls. The walls were more than just boundaries. When Matthias and Neesen were growing up, the Thirty Years’ War was raging across the countryside. Mercenary armies devastated the land, looting from the inhabitants, leaving death, plague and famine.

When, in 1648, it had ended in exhaustion in the Peace of Westphalia, with hardly a stone on top of another, wolves roaming empty lanes, once-lush fields scrub-forested, and, in places, a tenth of the population left, the old Catholic German Empire had become a shell. Sixty-one cities and some 300 petty princes paid lip service to it, the map of their holdings a splotchy puzzle.

… However small, each such hereditary realm had its ruined castle and wasted fields. Villages, or even single farmsteads, called ‘hofs,’ might be divided among two or three baronies or church properties, each with its peculiar set of taxes, tithes, and excises. Small farmers might own modest plots, but their feudal landlords still lived by inherited, multiple, and endless revenues.2

It was a difficult time to live in the northern Rhineland, and doubly difficult for Mennonites such as Matthias and Neesen.

[The]…Mennonite inhabitants… did not fit any of the three religious categories—Catholic, Lutheran, and Reformed—that were recognized under the treaties made at the end of the Thirty Years’ War. Nor were they appreciated by the clergy of the three official churches. These pastors felt that they had enough of a struggle to administer their decimated parishes without the irritating presence of people who looked after their own spiritual concerns, did not ‘go to church’ or the official statement, ‘let their children run about unbaptized,’ sometimes held ‘their services boldly in the forest,’ and even had the audacity to ‘solemnize marriages’ on their own.3

As a persecuted minority, Mennonites often moved from one area to another, seeking places where they were tolerated. At a time when the religion of the ruler became the official religion of the state (“cuius regio, eius religio”), they had no reliable protector. They were welcome in only a few areas, when the local ruler needed to repopulate the land. Matthias lived in Kaldenkirchen, near the border with the Netherlands. It was one of the centers of religious and political unrest, and Theiss and his wife had trouble with the authorities because of their religion.

Theiss was a son of Peter and Lyssgen Doors. He was baptized as a Catholic in 1614, but his mother Lyssgen was on a list of Mennonites by 1638.4 Theiss worked as a grocer, like his father and brother Reiner.5

“At least two large families of Doors lived in the Kaldenkirchen vicinity during the seventeenth century. One family lived in a marshy area near the village, whereas the Theiss Doors family lived in a little house on a small piece of land near the town wall. Theiss was a shopkeeper as was his father before him.”6 In 1652 he owned a house and lot and a small plot of arable land and some fishing rights.7 Perhaps Theiss sold fish in his shop. In larger medieval cities, merchants would cluster on streets or in quarters, based on their specialty. Butchers, cordwainers, and others would be found on the same street. Sometimes the clustering was dictated by needs, for example dyers needed running water and fishmongers were forced to live in less-central areas.8 Was Kaldenkirchen large enough to have areas where sellers would cluster?9

At some point Theiss married, probably about 1640. His wife’s family name is not known. Her first name was Neesen; the English equivalent would be Agnes. Some have speculated that she was a daughter of Hermann op den Graeff and his wife Grietje Pletjes. Hermann and Grietje didn’t have a daughter Neesen, but Theiss’ wife is claimed to be their daughter Hilleken, a claim that has no good evidence to support it.10

Whether Theiss was raised as a Mennonite, or whether he became one later in life, he was in trouble with the authorities in 1655, when his and his wife’s names appear in a court record.11 After the Treaty of 1648 the rulers of Jülich and Cleves were particularly hostile to Mennonites, many of whom fled to Krefeld, an “island of toleration”.12 Theiss and Neesen had stayed in Kaldenkirchen, possibly because of the difficulty of moving their business. In 1655 he was fined 100 gold guilders for a violation, probably refusal to pay taxes. He was unable to pay the fine and the authorities confiscated the goods in his shop.

In the middle of July 1655, the Governor of Brüggen, in whose jurisdiction Kaldenkirchen lies, is ordered by Duke Philip Wilhelm, the Count Palatine at Rhein, also Duke of Jülich, to collect a fine of 100 Gold Ducats from Theiß, for disobeying a submission. Should he disobey the ducal decrees, he would be denied to remain in the country any longer. He could have someone tend his house for him, the person couldn’t be a Mennonite or even have Mennonite servants, but rather had to be a local person and a citizen of Kaldenkirchen.13

The bailiff went into Theiss’ house to read the decree and argued with Neesen. She tried to tear the document from him and he struck her in the face. She was heavily pregnant at the time. To avoid further persecution, Theiss and Neesen took several steps. They entered their children in the Reformed Church school, then switched them to the Catholic school, and had their newborn Margarita baptized as a Catholic.14 Neesgen had “played with the idea of becoming Catholic, but only if she wouldn’t be forced to walk in the procession to the Niederrheinische well-known place of pilgrimage, the town of Kevela. That she didn’t have to, since the meantime she had joined the Reformed, the Calvinist faith.”15

“Theis Gohrs or Peterschen, born at Kaldenkirchen of Catholic parents, later adhering to the Anabaptist sect, joined the Reformed Church three months ago but did this only to escape persecution.”16 Then the Calvinist Pastor appealed to the Duke Philip Wilhelm about the treatment of Theiss and Neesen, and the Duke of Jülich, Philipp Wilhelm, ruled in his favor, allowing the family to stay in Kaldenkirchen and for their goods to be returned to them. They were to be recompensed for any goods already sold in Venlo, outside the country. The bailiff reported that he still had the 100 guilden and agreed to repay it to Theiss.

Whether their conversion was sincere or not, Theiss and Neesen did have their youngest child, Herman, baptized in the Calvinist church. As a descendant put it, “My (reputed) ancestor was baptized a Roman Catholic, persecuted as a Mennonite, joined the Reformed Church, and sent his children first to a Reformed Church school and then back to a Catholic School.  He and his wife (Agnes) were probably devout Mennonites, but they kept changing their religious affiliation to avoid political and economic persecution.”17

The records of the family are incomplete, but Thiess and Neesen had at least nine children.18 There are numerous references to Theiss’ children in the church records, where they acted as sponsors for the baptisms of each others’ children.19 Most of them became Quakers and immigrated to Germantown, where they formed the nucleus of the town of Germantown.20

Children of Theiss and Neesen21

Anna (Enke), baptized in July 1641 at the Reformed Church at Kaldenkirchen, married first in 1663 Hendrich Kürlis, son of Johan and Mechtild, had two children with him, Mechtild and Jan. In May 1669 at the Reformed Church in Kaldenkirchen she married Jan Streepers, son of Wilhelm and Gertrude22. Anna and Jan did not immigrate. They were close to the families of Anna’s sisters, and Jan referred to them as his “five families” when he bought land in Germantown.23 Children of Anna and Jan: Leonhard, Hendrik, Katharina, Agnes, and Anneken.

Peter, born in 1643. No definite information is known about him. Some researchers have him marrying Judith Preyers about 1686.24

Gertrude, born about 1645. In 1668 she married Paulus Küsters, son of Arnold and Katherine, at the Reformed Church in Kaldenkirchen; in the marriage record they were both of Kaldenkirchen. In 1674, when their son was baptized in the Reformed Church, the pastor made a note that Gertrude was unable to use her mental faculties, and her mother served as sponsor. This may have been a ruse to allow her children to be baptized.25 Gertrude and Paulus emigrated to Germantown, although not on the Concord in 1683. Paulus died in January 1708 and named her as executor, but she died the next month.26 Children: Arnold, Johannes, Matthias, Rainer, Elisabeth, Hermann, Katherine.

Johanna, no further information

Leentien/Helene, born about 1650, baptized as an adult in 1670 at the Mennonite church in Goch. In 1677 she married Thönis Kunders, son of Coen and Anna (Entgen) at the Reformed Church in Kaldenkirchen.27 They came on the Concord in 1683. Thönis (Dennis) died in 1729 in Germantown. Many of the first settlers of Germantown attended his large funeral.28 Children: Jan, Konrad, Matthias, Anna, Agnes, Hendrik, Elisabeth.29

Elisabeth, married in 1675 Peter Kürlis, son of Johann and Mechtild from Waldniel30, came on the Concord. Peter was an innkeeper in Germantown. Children: Mechtild, Johannes, Agnes, Peter, Matthias.

Margarita, baptized in 1655 in Kaldenkirchen, no further information.

Maria, born about 1657, married Joachim Hüskes.31 Their daughter was baptized in 1674 at the Reformed Church in Kaldenkirchen. The record said, “’the little daughter of Jochim Huiskens and Maria Doors with the witnesses Thonis Huiskens and Nys Doors”.32 They did not immigrate. Children of Joachim and Maria: Ummel, Jan, Leonard, Mathias, Agnes, Elisabeth.33

Reinier, born about 1659, came on the Concord in 1683, married about 1685 Margaret Op den Graeff, possibly daughter of Isaac and Grietje.34 Reiner and Margaret settled in Germantown, later moved to Abington, Montgomery County, where he died in 1745. Children: Matthias, Isaac, Elisabeth, John, Abraham, Derrick, Sarah, Peter, Henry.

Agnes, married Lenhard Arets, son of Arendt and Katherine. They immigrated to Germantown, where Lenhard worked as a weaver. He died in 1714 and left a will naming his daughters.35 Children: Katharina, Margaret, Elisabeth.

Herman Dohrs, born about 1663, immigrated in 1684, died in 1739 in Germantown.36 He used the surname Dohrs or Dauers. He did not marry.37


  1. The name could be spelled in different ways, such as Daers, Dorss, or Dohrs. Here we will use the simplest spelling, that of Doors. The primary sources for the Doors family are the population lists of the German towns in the 1600s, lists of Mennonites, tax records, court records and church records. These are not easily available to American researchers, but are referred to in Wilhelm Niepoth, “The Ancestry of the Thirteen Krefeld Emigrants of 1683”, originally published in Die Hiemat, Krefelder Jahrbuch, translated by John Brockie Lukens, reprinted in PA Gen Magazine, vol. XXXI, 1908, also reprinted in Genealogies of Pennsylvania Families, vol. 3 (available on Ancestry). Another article that includes original research is by Chester E. Custer, “The Kusters and Doors of Kaldenkirchen, Germany, and Germantown, Pennsylvania”, PA Mennonite Heritage, vol. 9(3), 1986, reprinted in Krefeld Immigrants and their Descendants, vol. 3(2), 1986. Custer visited Kaldenkirchen and studied church records there, in Krefeld, and in the Dusseldorf State Archives of North Rhine Westphalia. Another source of original research is Dieter Pesch, Brave New World: Rhinelanders Conquer America, 2001, compiling work of the archivists at the Rheinisches Freilichtmuseum. Numerous others have discussed these families on web mailing lists and in issues of Krefeld Immigrants and their Descendants, a newsletter published from 1984 through 2004, edited by Iris Carter Jones. For a good discussion of this family see Iris Jones, “Dohrs or Theißens according to Neipoth”, Krefeld Immigrants and their Descendants, vol. 12(1), p. 15-18.
  2. John L. Ruth, Maintaining the Right Fellowship, p. 26.
  3. Ruth, p. 26.
  4. Niepoth. It is not known whether Peter also became a Mennonite.
  5. Niepoth.
  6. Niepoth.
  7. Niepoth, citing a Mennonite record of 1652. This is an odd source; it seems more like a tax list than a list of Mennonites.
  8. Colin Platt, The English Medieval Town, 1976, p. 47. Platt was discussing Salisbury, Ipswitch, and London. There is no reason to believe that towns in Germany would be any different.
  9. It is difficult to find population numbers for these towns. Niepoth estimated that Krefeld had a population of 1350 in 1650. (Wilhelm Niepoth, “The Mennonite Congregation in Krefeld and its relation to its neighboring congregations”, Krefeld Immigrants and their Descendants, 4(2), p. 56, translated by Charles Haller, originally published 1939.
  10. There are two problems with this assertion. The first is that Hilleken is not the same name as Neesen or Agneesen. In a thoughtful discussion on the Original-13 mailing list (8 Aug 2001) Howard Swain pointed out that Hilleken can be the diminutive of names such as Hillegond, Mathilde, or Hilde, while Neesen, Niesje, Niesgen Neisken are diminutive of Agnietje. As Swain says, there is “no similarity between any of the Hilleken names and any of the Agnes names.” The other problem is that the only evidence for this claim is a suspect manuscript called the Scheuten Manuscript, passed down through some op den Graeff descendants. One of the three known copies seems to have been altered in order to extend the op den Graeff ancestry to the descendants of Theiss and his wife. (Iris Jones, Krefeld Immigrants and their Descendants, fall 1997 and 1998). Dieter Pesch, Brave New World, p. 218, lists her name as unknown.
  11. The original is a 22-page handwritten document, according to Chester Custer. (“Kusters and Doors…”, 1986, p. 52) He gave the source as the State Archive of Nordrhein-Westfalen (North Rhine Westphalia) in Dusseldorf, in the records of Jülich-Berg, II, no. 252, Folio 80ff. It is widely quoted, but only a few researchers have actually seen it. Custer quotes from it. Niepoth does not cite the original document in his “Ancestry of the Thirteen Krefeld Emigrants of 1683”. He cites instead a 1931 article by Johannes Lenders that covers the court case. It seems likely, however, that Niepoth did see the original file at some point. He wrote “many small articles in various journals and left a mass of hand-written and typed notes which were given to the Stadtarchives in Krefeld (sic, actually in Dusseldorf).” (Charles Haller, “Wilhelm Niepoth/John Brodie Lukens References”, Krefeld Immigrants, vol. 13, p. 4.) In an article, “Dohrs or Theißens according to Neipoth”, in Krefeld Immigrants newsletter, vol. 12(1), Iris Jones quotes details from the court that were not in either Custer or Niepoth. She apparently got these from another article by Niepoth, referred to in Jean White’s book on the Descendants of Paulus and Gertrude Kusters, which included Chester Custer’s research. That research could have started with either Niepoth or Custer. The account of the court case given here is from Niepoth, Custer, and Jones.
  12. Custer, p. 52. Krefeld was just outside the boundaries of Jülich-Berg-Cleves.
  13. Iris Jones, “Dohrs or Theißens according to Neipoth”, Krefeld Immigrants newsletter, 12(1), p. 16.
  14. Custer, p. 53; Niepoth.
  15. Jones, p. 16. Some of this is clearly taken directly from the German.
  16. Custer, quoting Niepoth.
  17. John R. Tyson, August 7, 2001, no longer online in 2020.
  18. Cornelius Tyson, who emigrated in 1703 and died in 1716 in Germantown, is frequently claimed as a brother of Reynier’s. However the names Rynear and Cornelius gave to their sons don’t match, except for Matthias or Theiss, which simply means that their fathers were both named Theiss. They practiced different religions. Cornelius was a Mennonite, while Rynear was a Quaker. They had no property dealings with each other. Rynear did not name a son Cornelius. Finally, there is no mention of Cornelius in Niepoth’s researches into the Dohrs family of Kaldenkirchen.
  19. Niepoth. Also in Custer, p. 56.
  20. They were not the first Germans in Pennsylvania, as in sometimes claimed. A man named Jurian Hartsfelder was living at Marcus Hook as early as 1677 (Records of the Court at Upland). He had 150 acres surveyed for him after the Quakers arrived in 1682. A few other Germans intermingled with the Swedes along the Delaware before 1682, such as Hans Geörgen. Penn’s private secretary, Philip Theodore Lehnmann, was apparently German. But the 1683 Concord immigrants were the first to form a settlement together.
  21. Niepoth; Pesch; Krefeld Immigrants, vol. 12(1), pp. 15-18. The approximate dates of birth are from Pesch. Peter was named for Theiss’ father. They apparently did not name a son for Neesen’s father unless he was named Herman. (This is the only bit of evidence that Neesen might have been the daughter of Hermann op den Graeff, but it is very weak evidence.) Niepoth noted that the Mennonites had a strong tradition of handing down the grandfather’s name to a son, while the Reformed were less consistent.
  22. Pesch, p. 244.
  23. Pesch, p. 17, suggests that the five families were Tönis Kunders and wife Helene Doors, Peter Kürlis and his wife Elisabeth Doors, Leonard Arets with Agnes Doors, Reiner Theißen with Margret Isaaks op den Graeff. The fifth was either Herman Doors or Jan himself.
  24. The family tree in Pesch’s book does not have this marriage. Pesch shows Judith Priors as marrying Johannes Bleickers/Blaker. On the other hand, Niepoth said that the Judith Preyers who witnessed the Quaker marriage ceremony in Krefeld in 1681 was a sister or cousin of Bleickers. He does not give a source for his inference.
  25. Claudia Sullivan-Davenport suggested a “true translation: father was Roman Catholic; mother was member of Reformed Church, therefore her mother Agnes Doors was placed in her stead as sponsor”. (Her Ancestry tree page for Gertrude at: https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/72329624/person/402036042439/facts, accessed May 2020.
  26. Philadelphia County wills, Book C, p. 72. His will was probated just three days after the will of Aret Klinken, a 1683 immigrant on the Concord, and just four days after Hyvert Papert, another Germantown settler. There must have been something contagious in the town that February.
  27. Niepoth, p. 508. They may have married there so that their children would be recognized as legitimate.
  28. Thomas Chalkley’s Journal.
  29. “The Low-Rhenish Ancestors of Theunis Koenders/Kunders/Conradts/Heckers”, Krefeld Immigrants, 3(1), 1986, author unknown, possibly Wilhelm Niepoth. When Henry Kunders married Catharine Strepers in 1710 in Germantown, many of the early settlers signed their marriage certificate, including Reinier and Margret Theissen, Herman Dors, Peter and Elizabeth Keurlin, Jan and Mary Lucken. (PA Genealogical Magazine, vol. 2)
  30. Pesch. p. 234; “Some background material on Peter Keurlis/Kürlis”, Krefeld Immigrants, vol. 13(9).
  31. Pesch, p. 18, 219. He said they were married in 1674 at the Reformed Church of Kaldenkirchen and named two of their children Matthias and Agnes. This is fairly persuasive evidence of a relationship.
  32. Post to Original-13 mailing list, 24 Oct 2006 , for the baptism. Some believe that she married Jan Lucken, son of Wilhelm and Adelheid, and came with him to Germantown in 1683. This idea probably started with William Hull, William Penn and the Dutch Quaker Migration to Pennsylvania, 1935. It was repeated by John Jordan, “Lukens Family”, Colonial Families of Philadelphia. The issue has been repeatedly discussed in the Original-13 mailing list, where there are arguments on both sides. Pesch has Jan Luckens marrying Maria Gastes, as do Niepoth and Chester Custer. Guido Rotthoff argued in 1982 that Jan married both women. (cited in Custer, p. 55 and Pesch, p. 18) Apparently some believe that Theiss’ daughter Margaret was actually the wife of Hüskes, leaving Maria free to marry Lucken. This is based on questions of spelling and difficult to resolve. It is generally thought that Margaret died young.
  33. Pesch.
  34. Not all researchers support this identity for Margaret, but the circumstantial evidence is very strong. She was not a Kunders or Streepers, as many claim. The received wisdom about the relations between the Concord group, before the research of Niepoth became known, claimed that Rynear Tyson was married to a sister of Kunders or Streepers, and that Kunders and Arets were married to sisters of Streepers. In fact the Tyson sisters were the center of the family interrelationships, not the Streepers sisters, as Niepoth showed.
  35. Philadelphia County wills, Book D, p. 16.
  36. As it was described in a paper of the time, rather sadly, “One Herman Dorst near Germantown, a Batchelor past 80 Years of Age, who for a long time lived in a House by himself, on the 14th Instant there dyed by himself.” (American Weekly Mercury, Oct. 18, 1739, cited in Pennypacker, p. 55)
  37. Hull believed that he was married to Trinken Jansen, since their names were close on the wedding certificate in the Quaker ceremony in Krefeld, but Niepoth showed that she was married to Abraham op den Graeff.

Peter and Lyssgen Doors of Kaldenkirchen

Peter Doors and his wife Lyssgen (Elisabeth) lived in Kaldenkirchen, in the lower Rhine in the late 1500s and early 1600s.1 This was a border town, just a few miles from the Netherlands, where the Dutch had been fighting for their independence from Spain since the 1560s.2 It was a time of upheaval and religious wars, when different religions vied for the allegiance and faith of the people. We can assume that Peter and Lyssgen were resilient in their ability to make a living and raise a family.

In the 1600s Germany was not a unified country. It was a patchwork of hundreds of duchies, counties, margraveshafts, and other jurisdictions, each ruled over by different rulers. Sometimes a few villages were under the control of a count and in other cases hundreds of towns might be under the control of a neighboring duke.3

Kaldenkirchen belonged to the Duchy of Jülich, also known as Jülich-Berg. The dukes were historically wealthy, because the flat country of the northern Rhineland was fertile.4  At the time when Peter and Lyssgen married, it was ruled by the Duke Johann Wilhelm, son of Wilhelm the Rich. When Johann Wilhelm died childless in 1609, the duchy was plunged into a struggle for the succession, which helped lead to the Thirty Years’ War in 1618.5

Peter and Lyssgen were probably not directly affected by the wars. “The civilian population—except in the actual area of fighting—remained undisturbed at least until the need for money caused an exceptional levy on private wealth. Even in the actual district of the conflict the impact of war was at first less overwhelming than in the nicely balanced civilization of to-day. Bloodshed, rape, robbery, torture, and famine were less revolting to a people whose ordinary life was encompassed by them in milder forms.”6

Life in early modern Germany was very different from ours, almost beyond our ability to imagine. “Underneath a veneer of courtesy, manners were primitive; drunkenness and cruelty were common in all classes, judges were more often severe than just, civil authority more often brutal than effective and charity came limping far behind the needs of the people. Discomfort was too natural to provoke comment; winter’s cold and summer’s heat found European man lamentably unprepared, his houses too damp and draughty for the one, too airless for the other.”7

The family surname in the late 1500s was Doors (sometimes spelled Daers, Dorss, Dohrs, or some other variation). An early record of Kaldenkirchen suggests that the family had been there for generations.8 A population record for the town in 1473 to 1475 includes Peter an gen Daere.9 In March 1615, a Tisken Doors died in Kaldenkirchen.10 If Tisken was a form of Theiß, short for Mathias, then Tisken might have been the father of Peter Doors.11 Tisken was a Catholic, and Peter was too, at least initially.

Peter was a grocer. In some records he was called “an gen Door alias Küppers”. “Küpper” could mean barrel-maker (like the English name Cooper), but apparently could also mean merchant (possibly someone who sells goods in barrels). Both of his sons were listed years later as retail merchants, presumably inheriting the business from their father Peter.

By 1638, Lyssgen appeared in a Mennonite record.12 In a land where most people were Catholic or Reform, she had turned away from the official religions in favor of an often-persecuted sect. Mennonites or Anabaptists, as they are also called, followed the teachings of Menno Simon. They rejected infant baptism, refused to fight, and often did not respect the authority of civil governments. It is not clear whether Peter shared Lyssgen’s faith, but at least one of their children, Mattheis, became a committed Mennonite.

Peter died in December 1638, possibly of bubonic plague, “which raged in that area at the time”.13 A Mennonite record made at the time referred to “Lyssgen Daers widow whose husband died a few days ago. Their property, after all debts are paid off out of principal, shall be worth about 36 Reichstalers.”14 Did Peter’s sons inherit his property? Presumably they did, since two of them were in business in Kaldenkirchen for years to come. It is not known when Lyssgen died. Peter and Lyssgen are believed to have three sons and at least one daughter. Perhaps she lived with one of them after Peter died.

Children of Peter and Lyssgen15

Reiner, m. Trinken —, died after 1663, lived in Kaldenkirchen. In 1638 he was listed as owning three acres of orchard and fields, and in 1652 as a retail merchant, with two acres and about thirty rothen, worth about 220 Reichstalers.16 He had a daughter Trinken (Katharina) baptized as an adult in 1663 at the Reformed Church in Kaldenkirchen. The witnesses were Jan Strepers and Neesen Doors, wife of Theiss.17 The records of the Reformed Church are lost before 1663; Reiner probably had other children as well.18

Peter, baptized 1609, no further record.

Mattheis (Theiss), christened at the Catholic Church in 1614, married about 1636 Neesen —, became a Mennonite19, died after 1663. In 1652 list he was listed as a “retail merchant, with a building lot and small house and a quarter of an acre of arable land and alongside it a quarter of an acre of fishery rights, worth altogether about three hundred and fifty Reichstalers”.20 The fishing rights were presumably in the Königsbach creek, which flows through the town and into the Nette, which in turn flows into the Rhine.21 Theiss and his wife Neesen were Mennonites and faced fines and penalties for their refusal to pay the war tax. They raised a large family in Kaldenkirchen. It is not known when Theiss or Neesen died. Children: Anna, Peter, Gertrude, Johanna, Leentien, Elisabeth, Margarita, Maria, Reinier, Agnes, Hermann.

(probably) Grietjen, married Isaac Op den Graeff, son of Herman and Grietjen22, a Mennonite23. After Isaac died in 1679, she immigrated in 1683 with her three sons and a daughter to Pennsylvania, and died soon after their arrival. Known children of Isaac and Grietjen: Adolphus, Dirck, Herman, Abraham, and Margaret.24 Adolphus stayed in Germany, while the others immigrated.

  1. The name could be spelled in different ways, such as Daers, Dorss, or Dohrs. This narrative uses the simplest spelling, that of Doors. The primary sources for the Doors family are the population lists of the German towns in the 1600s, lists of Mennonites, tax records, court records and church records. These are not easily available to American researchers, but are referenced in Wilhelm Niepoth, “The Ancestry of the Thirteen Krefeld Emigrants of 1683”, originally published in Die Hiemat, Krefelder Jahrbuch, translated by John Brockie Lukens, reprinted in Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, vol. XXXI, 1908 and in Genealogies of Pennsylvania Families, vol. 3 (available on Ancestry). Another article that includes original research is by Chester E. Custer, “The Kusters and Doors of Kaldenkirchen, Germany, and Germantown, Pennsylvania”, PA Mennonite Heritage, vol. 9(3), 1986, reprinted in Krefeld Immigrants and their Descendants, vol. 3(2), 1986. Custer visited Kaldenkirchen and studied church records there, in Krefeld, and in the Dusseldorf State Archives of North Rhine Westphalia. Another source of original research is Dieter Pesch, Brave New World: Rhinelanders Conquer America, 2001, compiling work of the archivists at the Rheinisches Freilichtmuseum, who documented the immigrants from the Rhineland in preparation for an exhibit at the museum. Numerous others have discussed these families on web mailing lists and in issues of Krefeld Immigrants and their Descendants, especially relevant is Iris Jones, “Dohrs or Theißens according to Neipoth”, Krefeld Immigrants and their Descendants, vol. 12(1), p. 15-18.
  2. The Twelve Years Truce was established in 1609, but it only held until the beginning of the Thirty Years’ War in 1621. (Wikipedia entry for Eighty Years’ War, also called the Dutch War of Independence).
  3. Gary Horlacher, The Palatine Project, online at palproject.org, accessed 2004, no longer online in 2020.
  4. The northern part of the Rhine is called the Lower Rhine, because the river starts in Switzerland and flows north, losing altitude as it goes. North Rhineland Westphalia, where Krefeld and Kaldenkirchen are found, lies north of the Palatinate, forming the western boundary of present-day Germany.
  5. Wikipedia entry for John William, Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg.
  6. C. Veronica Wedgwood, The Thirty Years War, 1938, reprinted 2005, p. 14.
  7. Wedgwood, p. 15.
  8. Wilhelm Niepoth, “The Ancestry of the Thirteen Krefeld Emigrants of 1683”.
  9. Dieter Pesch, compiler, Brave New World: Rhinelanders Conquer America, 2001, p. 218-220, family tree of Doors/Theißen. Pesch and the team of researchers at the Rheinische Freilichtmuseum in Kommern gathered church records, population records, tax records, lists of Mennonites, and more, and assembled family trees of the original 13 families who settled Germantown, as well as many of their relatives and associates who stayed behind in Germany, providing the data for the family trees in the book. In a puzzling omission, the book includes a list of Doors families there in 1624-26, those of Ummel, Goert, and Johan. Shouldn’t Peter’s family be there as well? (p. 218) The “an gen” portion of the Peter’s name is also puzzling. Charles Gehring, who translated thousands of pages of 17th century Dutch documents for the New Netherlands Project, commented on the name Wilhelm an Gen Eick (unrelated to the families in this narrative). “Unless I missed some divergent or parallel development in the system of definite articles in Early New High German when I studied Germanic Linguistics, the name should be recorded as Wilhelm an den Eick. It would appear that the D in the Frakturschrift has been mistranscribed as a G. This should be noted, as “an Gen Eick” makes no sense.” Is it possible that even Pesch’s team of researchers have made an error for “an den Doors”?
  10. His death is variously given as March 1614 and 1615. Before 1752, the year started in March, and a March date was ambiguous. It was presumably 1614/15, that is 1615 by our (Gregorian) calendar.
  11. This relationship is accepted by Dieter Pesch’s research group and by Jean White, in The Descendants of Paulus and Gertrude Kusters of Kaldenkirchen, Germany and Germantown, Pennsylvania, 1991.
  12. Pesch, p. 218.
  13. White, p. 48.
  14. Niepoth.
  15. The identity of Peter and Theiss are from baptismal records. The identity of Reiner come from tax lists showing his presence in the right place and the right time. In addition, when his daughter was baptized at the Reformed Church in 1663, Theiss’ wife Neesen was a witness. (Niepoth) The placement of Grietjen in this family is uncertain. She used the patronymic of Peters when she signed a Quaker marriage certificate in 1681. (William Hull, William Penn and the Dutch Quaker Migration, 1935)
  16. Niepoth. A rood is a quarter of an acre. The 1652 list was made by bailiff of the district of Brüggen according to Pesch, p. 20.
  17. Niepoth. The Strepers family became related to the family of Theiss Doors when Anna Doors, daughter of Theiss and Neesen, married Jan Strepers in 1669. But the families may have been related further back, as suggested by this baptism sponsorship.
  18. Pesch, p. 20.
  19. In a record of the Catholic church in Kaldenkirchen, Theiß was listed as the son of “Pietter agen Door and Leißken”. (Krefeld Immigrants and their Descendants, vol. 4)
  20. Niepoth.
  21. In 1970 Kaldenkirchen was merged other towns to form the city of Nettetal.
  22. As one writer put it, “Krefeld had a larger thriving Mennonite community than often comes across from descriptions of the history of the group who left for Germantown, and they had close relations with the Mennonite community in Cresheim or Kriegsheim. … This Margaret was the daughter of someone named Peter. It could have been any Peter, and it could well have been a different Peter. Theiss’ father was Peter Doors, and he is the only Peter in the area I’ve seen any mention of, anywhere.” (“Ancestors of Russell D. Smith”, online at https://sites.rootsweb.com/~villandra/fatheri/index.htm, accessed May 2020)
  23. There is no proof of her identity as a daughter of Peter and Lyssgen. The circumstantial evidence is from her patronymic (when she signed the Quaker wedding certificate) and the tradition that Rynear Tyson and Margaret op den Graeff were first cousins, which could be explained if his father and her mother were both children of Isaac op den Graeff and his wife Grietje. (Maurine Ward, post to Original-13 Mailing List, 7/14/2005 and Krefeld Immigrants, vol 10(2), pp. 58-60.)
  24. There may have been other children as well, but they almost certainly did not have the seventeen children sometimes attributed to them.

Peter Shoemaker and his children

The Schumacher family was prominent in the records of religious persecution in Kriegsheim on the Upper Rhine.1 Peter Schumacher was born around 1622, the son of the Mennonites Arnold Schumacher and Agnes Roesen. Peter was an early convert to Quakerism through the efforts of traveling missionaries. In 1665 he was fined two guilders for attending a meeting of Friends at Worms, a two-hour ride away from Kreigsheim.2  He and his brother George and other Quakers were fined for refusing to bear arms, and for holding religious meetings. The fines included one shilling sterling (imposed upon every Friend for attendance at each religious meeting), numerous cows, “a fat sow”, an ass, bedding, pewter, and from one-seventh to one-fifth of their garden produce.”3 When the local people protested this treatment of the Friends, the Burggraff John Shoffer “forbade their speaking much about it.”4

In 6th Month, 1677 Penn himself visited this part of the Rhineland.

“… we returned that night by the Rhine to Worms, from whence we … Walked on Foot to Crisheim, which is about six English miles from Worms. We had a good Meeting from the Tenth until the Third Hour, and the Lord’s Power sweetly opened to many of the Inhabitants of the Town that were at the Meeting; yea, the Vaught or Chief Officer himself Stood at the Door behind the Barn, where he could hear, and not be seen; who went to the Priest and told him, that it was his Work, if we were Hereticks, to discover us to be such, but for his Part, he had heard nothing but what was Good, and he would not meddle with us. … Poor Hearts, a little Handful surrounded with Great and Mighty Countries of Darkness…”5

In 1678 Peter Schumacher, his brother George, Christoffel Morrel, Hans Laubach, and Gerret Hendricus circulated a daring poem as a broadside, showing their defiance of the authorities.

“Let our proud foes fume and rage,
Let their power vainly storm!
God is with us in this age;
He regards their threats with scorn.
Though they hold us for their sport,
Our hope still is stayed on God!”6

The Quakers continued to be a thorn in the side of the authorities, until in May 1685 the government threatened to banish them.

“The Friends of Krisheim had still to meet the church-tithes and the Turkish-war taxes which were demanded of them, both of which they steadfastly refused to pay as being contrary to their religious principles. Their refusal also to stand sentinel at the town’s walls was the last straw which broke the patience of the electoral steward at Hochheim, Herr Schmal by name, who [petitioned] the government to order the banishment of ‘the foolish sect’.”7

On the 8th of May, Gerhard Hendricks, Hans Peter Umstat, and Peter Schumacher petitioned for permission to leave Kriegsheim. They needed passports to travel up the Rhine and out of German lands. It is not clear whether they received passports, but they probably did, since they appeared in Rotterdam by early August. There they signed contracts with the merchant Dirck Sypman for land in Germantown. Peter paid two rix dollars for 200 acres. Sypman, a wealthy Mennonite merchant of Krefeld, had no intention of immigrating himself; he had bought rights to 5,000 acres in Pennsylvania, to be laid out on condition that he settle a number of families there. Schumacher was to proceed “with the first good wind” to Pennsylvania, where the land was to be laid out.8 At the same time that Schumacher signed his deed, Gerhard Hendricks and Hans Peter Umstat signed similar deeds. It is possible that Sipman paid their passage as part of the deal.9

From Rotterdam they would catch a boat to London, and then journey across the Atlantic to Pennsylvania. Peter was traveling with four of his children. He had been married about 1655, but his wife’s name is not known.10 They had five known children before her death, sometime before 1685. One of the daughters, Agnes, was married to the Mennonite Dielman Kolb, and would stay in Germany. The others—Peter, Mary, Frances, and Gertrude—sailed with Peter on the Frances and Dorothy, and arrived in Philadelphia on 12 October 1685.11 Passengers arriving in Philadelphia were supposed to register their arrival with the authorities. This was largely ignored, but many of the passengers from the Frances and Dorothy were registered, including Peter Schumacher’s family and his cousin Sarah, Isaac Shepherd, Hans Peter Umstat, Garret Hendricks, Henry Pookeholes, John Saxby, and Aron Wonderley.12 Sarah Shoemaker, the widow of Peter’s brother George, came on the Frances and Dorothy with seven children and settled on 200 acres in Cheltenham.13

When Peter arrived he found that Sipman’s land was not convenient for settlement. “Pieter acknowledged that he had received 200 acres in Germantown from Sipman, which shall be delivered according to measurement by Herman Isaacs op den Graeff, for a yearly rent of two rix-dollars a year, “without any reduction, whatsoever the pretense may be”.14 But when he arrived in Germantown he found that Sipman’s land was “so far out of the way that said Peter Schumacher upon his arrival could not possibly go thither”.15 Therefore Herman Isaacs op den Graeff tried to preserve the contract between Sipman and Schumacher by granting to Shoemaker 25 acres in Germantown (adjacent to land Shoemaker bought from Abraham op den Graeff), plus 25 acres further north in Krisheim, and the remaining 150 acres in land of Sipman’s not yet laid out.”16

Peter and his family settled into the life of Germantown. In 1691 he was naturalized and made a citizen, along with his son Peter, nephews George and Isaac, and cousin Jacob. The Germans living in Pennsylvania at the time were eager to be naturalized, to ensure the legality of their land ownership. At the time Germantown had some independence, as Penn had promised, electing their own burgesses and enacting ordinances. Peter (now Anglicized to Shoemaker) served as a burgess and a justice.17 The Germantown people still had to pay taxes, and in 1693 Peter Shoemaker was on the tax list. He served on juries. One memorable case was in June 1701, when the jury decided that “the cart and lime killed the man, the wheel wounded his back and head and it killed him.”18 In 1704 Daniel Falkner went into the Germantown court and abused the justices, including Peter Shoemaker, railing most greviously” and using “foul language”. He went out crying, “You are all fools.”19

Peter was active in the affairs of the Germantown friends.20  Before they built a meeting house, they sometimes met at his house, “’in the meadow’ a quarter of a mile east of Germantown Road on Shoe-maker’s Lane now Penn Street, where William Penn preached to the people from the doorstep.”21 Peter served as a witness for Quaker marriage in Germantown, attended Quarterly Meeting as a delegate, and contributed to the building of a stone meeting house in 1705.22 Two of his children married under the auspices of Abington Monthly Meeting.23

Peter died in 1707 in Germantown. He had outlived his wife by over twenty years. “It is not known where he was buried, but it is presumed he was laid to rest in the old Shoemaker Burying Ground…on the south side of the present Cheltenham Avenue…just west of York Road…In the early Friends meetings, it is referred to as the Cheltenham Burial ground.”24


Children of Peter Shoemaker:25

Agnes, died 1705, married Dielman Kolb, stayed in Germany, where Dielman died in 1712. They had seven children. Several of the sons became Mennonite ministers and came to Pennsylvania.

Peter, born Germany, died 1741, married in 1697 Margaret Op den Graeff, daughter of Herman.26 Peter was a carpenter, active in public life in Germantown and in the affairs of the monthly meeting, acting as an overseer and repeatedly serving as a representative to the Quarterly Meeting. In 1701 he served as overseer for the school. 27 In 1703 he was appointed, with Isaac Shoemaker, to arrange for building a prison house and stocks. In 1717 he was chosen, with Thomas Canby, Morris Morris and Everard Bolton, to “comprize ye Mo: Meeting Minits, whereby they may be Transcribed according to ye mo: Meetings order.” He died in 1741 and left his land to his three sons, Isaac, Peter and John.28 Children of Peter and Margaret: Peter, Isaac, John, Mary, Margaret, Elizabeth, Agnes, Sarah.

Mary, married Reynier Herman van Barkelow. Van Barkelow was born in the Netherlands and came to New York as an infant. Along with his brother Harman, he became involved with the Labadists, a Pietist sect based in Holland that had obtained land from Augustine Hermann in Bohemia Manor, Cecil County, Maryland. Mary and Reynier moved to Maryland and had a large family.29 Reynier’s will was probated in 1713 in Delaware.30 In it he named his wife Mary, children Peter, Mary, Margarette, Daniel, Susanna, William, Herman, Jacob, Samuel and Rebecca.

Fronica, married about 1690 Isaac Jacobs van Bebber, son of Jacob Isaacs van Bebber, a Mennonite of Krefeld. Along with Fronica’s sister Mary and her husband, Isaac and Fronica moved from Germantown to Bohemia Manor.31 Isaac died there in 1723, leaving a will naming children Jacob, Hester, Christina, Veronica, Peter and Isaac. His wife Fronica had died before him.32

Geertje, married Peter Cleaver the emigrant, in 1695 at Abington Meeting. Her name is often anglicized to Catherine. Peter had immigrated to Germantown about 1689 and worked as a weaver. In 1699 Peter and Catherine moved to adjoining Bristol Township, Philadelphia County and raised a large family. Peter died in 1727 and named seven children in his will; Catherine had died before him. Children: Christine, Peter, Derick, Eve, John, Isaac, Agnes.33


  1. Hull, William Penn and the Dutch Quakers. There are several published histories of the Shoemaker family, including Benjamin Shoemaker, Genealogy of the Shoemaker Family of Cheltenham, 1903; Benjamin Shoemaker III (grandson of Benjamin Shoemaker), Shoemaker Pioneers, 1975; and Thomas H. Shoemaker, The Shoemaker Family, 1893. They primarily follow the line of George and Sarah Shoemaker.
  2. Davis, History of Bucks County, p. 296.
  3. Hull, p. 276.
  4. Hull, p. 276.
  5. Thomas H. Shoemaker, The Shoemaker Family, 1893.
  6. Hull, p. 285, translated from the German. Gerret Hendricks traveled to Pennsylvania along with Peter Schumacher, signed the petition against slavery in 1688, and should not be confused with Gerret Hendricks Dewees.
  7. Hull, p. 289. Hull erroneously substituted Hans Peter Cassel for Hans Peter Umstead. The correction is made on the Umstead web site of Chris Hueneke, at http://www.umstead.org/umstead.html, accessed April 2020. This site has extensive documentation on Hans Peter Umstat, his family, and the background of the immigration to Pennsylvania.
  8. Pennypacker, Settlement of Germantown, 1899.
  9. Umstead site. The site has an extensive discussion of their departure from Kriegsheim and dealings with Sipman/Sypman.
  10. Some researchers said that her name was Dorothy and that they had a daughter Frances, probably a confusion with the name of the ship, the Frances and Dorothy. The part about the daughter Frances (Fronica) is true at least. Another name that has been proposed is Anneke Westenraede. There is no evidence for this. Yet another name sometimes proposed is Sarah Hendricks, but this is probably a confusion with his sister-in-law, wife of his brother George, whose first name was known to be Sarah. Her last name is not known, but is often said to be Hendricks.
  11. Hannah Benner Roach, “The Philadelphia and Bucks County Registers of Arrivals”, in Walter Sheppard, Passengers and Ships prior to 1684, p. 166.
  12. Some of these people founded families that spread through the colony, while others, such as Wonderly and Pookeholes, never appear in records again.
  13. Because of her numerous descendants, this area was later called Shoemakertown. Known children of George and Sarah were George, Barbara, Abraham, Isaac, Elizabeth, Benjamin and Susanna. Jacob Shoemaker, who was signed the marriage certificate of Peter Shoemaker Jr in 1697, was probably a cousin of Peter and George. He came as an indentured servant to Francis Daniel Pastorius, married Margaret Potts, settled in Bristol Township, and died there in 1722. He left a will. (Philadelphia Wills, Book D, p. 351).
  14. Op den Graeff was acting as the local agent for Sypman. Although Op den Graeff had become a Quaker, his family were originally Mennonites of Krefeld, and must have known Sypman well.
  15. Acta Germanopolis.
  16. Duffin, Acta Germanopolis, 2008, p. 467.
  17. Stephanie G. Wolf, Urban Village, 1976.
  18. Acta Germanopolis, p. 311. This is a rare American example of a deodand, a term from English common land for an object that caused a person’s death. The owner of the deodand had to pay a fine equal to its value. (Wikipedia entry for deodand) In 1701, William Penn wrote to James Logan, his receiver, “…look carefully after all fines, forfeitures, escheats, deodands, and strays, that shall belong to me as proprietor or chief governor”. (Correspondence of William Penn and James Logan, vol. 1) It is possible that the juror in this case was Peter Shoemaker Jr, but the record does not indicate this.
  19. Acta, p. 327.
  20. Wolf, p. 170.
  21. Horace Lippincott, An account of the people called Quakers in Germantown, 1923.
  22. Hull, p. 188.
  23. In 1695 Geertje married Peter Cleaver, and in 1697 Peter Jr married Margaret op den Graeff, daughter of Herman.
  24. Shoemaker, 1903; Ralph Strassburger, Strassburger Family and Allied Families, 1922. For a list of early burials there, see the Minutes of Abington Monthly Meeting 1629-1812, on Ancestry, US Quaker Meeting Records 1681-1935, pp. 305-6. This is actually a book of births and deaths, with an index in the front.
  25. Compiled from various sources.
  26. The certificate was signed at the top of the list by Peter Shoemaker Sr and Herman op den Graeff. Some researchers confuse this Margaret with her aunt Margaret Shoemaker, Herman’s sister, who married Rynear Tyson about 1684. Abraham op den Graeff also had a daughter Margaret, who married the tailor Thomas How.
  27. Not surprisingly, they hired Frances Daniel Pastorius, who had served the town for years as an official. As a literate man, he worked as a scribe, writing deeds and other documents, and recording the town records. Often called “the founder of Germantown”, he actually lived in Philadelphia at first and only moved to Germantown in about 1687. (William Hull, “The Dutch Quaker Founders of Germantown”, Bulletin of the Friends Historical Association, 27(2), 1938, pp. 83-90)
  28. Philadelphia County wills, Book F, p. 201.
  29. Mrs. John Spell, “The Van Barkelo Family in America”, New York Biographical and Genealogical Record, 1953, vol. 84.
  30. New Castle County wills, Book C, p. 16.
  31. Isaac’s brother Matthias also moved to Maryland.
  32. Maryland wills, vol. 5.
  33. Philadelphia County wills, Book E, p. 72.

Arnold Schumacher and Agnes Roesen

The Mennonites of the Rhineland in the 1500s lived at the whim of the rulers. They were not citizens, nor one of the three recognized religions (Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed). They were resented by the clergy and sometimes their neighbors, because of their independence and refusal to pay war taxes.1 Initially they were welcomed in some places, because the land had been decimated by the Thirty Years’ War, and people were needed to resettle it.2 Where they were welcome, they established colonies and made an industrious living especially as weavers.3

Arnold Schumacher and his wife Agnes were some of these Mennonites. They were married about 1620 lived in Neiderdollendorf on the Rhine, near the Siebengebirge (“Seven Mountains”). Arnold died before 1655, when Agnes, as a widow, sold their lands there, including meadows and vineyards, as ordered by the ruler.4 She appeared before the rent controller with her son-in-law Matthias Bonn, and two grown sons Peter and George, to assign guardians for her under-aged children.5 Nießen, widow of the late Arndt Schumacher, and Tisza Bonn, their son-in-law, as heirs, as well as Peter and Georg, their adult children, as well as Daniel Behren and Peter Rößen as prescribed guardians [for] the underage children of both Arndt Rößen and Tisza Bonn, namely Berndtgen, Arnold, Freuchen and Adlege.” Frohnhaus pointed out that it is ambiguous whether the four children belonged to Arndt and Agnes or Tisza (Matthias) Bonn, their son-in-law.] One of the guardians was Peter Roßen, apparently her father. The properties were sold to Gerhardt von Bonn and his wife Catherine for 1440 taler. After they paid 300 taler for debts, the rest was divided among the children.

The Schumacher family of Dollendorf may have moved to Dollendorf from another area of the Rhineland. It is possible that Arnold Schumacher, husband of Agnes, was the son of Arndts Henrich and his wife of Monschau, 120 km to the west.6

“… it is possible that their roots go back to a small Mennonite colony at Monschau, in the Rhine Province of Germany, just south of Aachen and a few miles east of the Belgian frontier. … At Monschau in the year 1597, is found a Henrich Schumacher and his wife and Arndts (Arnold) Henrich and his wife, Dedenborn…When persecution began in this area, and these Mennonite families began to lose their possession by confiscation, the colony appears to have moved to Dollendorf, near Lowenburg in the Siebengebirge hills on the east bank of the Rhine River, south of Cologne.”7

By the time Peter Schumacher was middle-aged, he was living in yet another town on the Rhine. In 1665 he was fined for attending a Quaker meeting near Kreigsheim, where he was living. Kreigsheim is 200 km south of Niederdollendorf, along the Rhine. Peter was an outspoken member of the Quaker community there, and had goods impounded for refusing to bear arms and for attending religious services.8

“Once the war was ended, however, their notorious diligence attracted the favor of the new elector, the Protestant Karl Ludwig ([ruled] 1648-1680), who needed nothing more urgently than settlers to restore his ravaged land. His mild immigration policies drew not only Catholics, Lutherans, and Reformed, but Mennonites and a even small Bruderhof of Hutterites from far-off Moravia as well. And so the surviving Palatine Anabaptist communities shortly became the base for new settlements of harassed fellow-believed from both north (The ‘Siebengebirge’ area) and south (Switzerland and Alsace)… Already in 1652 the church office in Niederflörsheim, the next village north of Kriegsheim, was complaining that foreign ‘Anabaptists’… had slipped into their community.”9

Finally Peter decided to immigrate. By 1685 his mother, wife and brother George were all dead. His brother-in-law Matthias Bonn remained a Mennonite and stayed in Kriegsheim.10

Children of Arnold and Agnes:

Peter, b. about 1622, immigrated in 1685, died in 1707.

George, b. ab. 1625, married Sarah, died before 1685 in Germany.

a daughter, married Matthias Bonn

possible others

  1. John Ruth, Maintaining the Right Fellowship, 1984, p. 26.
  2. Ruth, p. 28.
  3. Ruth, p. 30; Benjamin Shoemaker III, Shoemaker Pioneers, 1975, citing research by Wilhelm Niepoth and Walther Risler.
  4. Probably the Elector Philip William.
  5. The record was found and published by Wilhelm Niepoth and Walther Risler in Germantown Crier, 1957. The text can be found in several places online. The most helpful discussion is that of Andreas Frohnhaus of Niederdollendorf, who corrected some errors in the transliteration and translation. Viewing a copy of the original document, he noted that the German word “Eithumb” is not a man’s name, but instead means “son-in-law”, and corrected the name Treinchen (little Catherine) to Freuchen (little Veronica or Fronica). Frohnhaus’ comments can be found in a post at: https://www.genealogy.com/forum/surnames/topics/schumacher/946/. His corrected version reads roughly as “[The four judges announced that before us appeared
  6. Dedenborn is a German surname. Her first name is not known.
  7. Niepoth and Risler, quoted in Shoemaker Pioneers.
  8. Numerous sources, including Hull, William Penn and the Dutch Quakers; Pennypacker, Settlement of Germantown; Davis, History of Bucks County.
  9. Ruth, p. 28.
  10. If in fact Peter did have a brother Arnold, he stayed in Germany. The 1655 record is ambiguous, as Frohnhaus pointed out.