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God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
- Romans 5:8
Updated December 2020
Jeremiah Hess was born about 1675. He first appears in Mutterstadt, Germany, at the beginning of the 18th century. (1)
Married a woman named Anna. (2)
Peter Hess, possibly born in 1703.
Hans Conrad Hess, born May 3, 1705. Died in Ireland.
Elisabeth Hess, born Oct. 21, 1708. Died in Ireland.
Christian Hess, born July 14, 1713. Died in Mutterstadt.
Hans Conrad Hess, baptized Aug. 19, 1714.
Balthasar Hess (usually Baltzar in America), baptized Dec. 8, 1717.
The Hess family first appears in Mutterstadt, which is southwest of Mannheim in the modern state of Rheinland-Pfalz. In her study of the immigrants from Mutterstadt to Pennsylvania, Annette K. Burgert says that the town was uninhabited following the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648). The village was slowly repopulated by migrants from France, Switzerland and other parts of Germany. (4)
However, the Pfalz continued to be a poor and troubled region, causing many to move elsewhere. Many fled to Ireland.
In 1709, Jeremy Hess and his family appear on the list of immigrants who arrived in England on June 2. Jeremy appears under the heading of husbandmen and vinedressers and is listed as 34 years old and Lutheran. In his party, were his wife; sons, ages 7 and 5; and daughter, age 2. Also on the list are Paul Heyn and Michel Andrus, both of Mutterstadt. (5)
Once again, life was hard. Two children – Hans Conrad and Elisabeth – died in Ireland. In 1711, the Hess and Heim families were among those who gave up on Ireland and migrated to Holland. (6)
The Hesses must have returned to Mutterstadt, where the births of three children are recorded after 1711. (7)
Almost 20 years later, Jeremiah and his family again left Germany.
In August 1730, Jeremiah arrived in Philadelphia aboard the Thistle of Glasgow, which had sailed from Rotterdam, Netherlands. Also aboard the ship were Thomas and Heinrich Hess, who may have been relatives. A Ludwig Has also appears on this list of immigrants, who qualified on Aug. 29, 1730. (8)
In 1730, Jeremias Hess appears as the baptismal sponsor of a child of Johan Georg Schweinhart at Falckner Swamp in what is now Montgomery County. (9)
On Sept. 9, 1734, Jeremiah received a warrant for 100 acres in Philadelphia County. (10)
Jeremiah and his family settled in Salford in Philadelphia County, according to his will. By the time Jeremiah wrote his will April 28, 1739, Peter and Eva had moved to Maryland. Conrad and Baltzer remained in eastern Pennsylvania.
Jeremiah died before April11, 1743, when his will was proved.
(1) “Early Pennsylvania Pioneers from Mutterstadt in the Palatinate,” by Annette K. Burgert, page 11. Also in “The Palatine Families of Ireland,” by Henry Z. Jones Jr., page 63. (2) Anna is identified by Jones as the daughter of Hans Paulus Heim of Mutterstadt. However, Burgert, who checked the same records, doesn’t make that connection. (3) Peter, Eva, Conrad and Baltzar are listed in Philadelphia County Will Book G, No. 73, as cited in “Collections of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, Vol., IV, Abstracts of Philadelphia Wills, Part II, 1726-1747,” page 823. A facsimile of Jeremiah Hess’ will appears in “I Shook My Family Tree,” by Thelma (Hess) Parsons, pages 170-171. The birth dates come from the Mutterstadt church books, as cited by Burgert, page 11. Irish immigration records cited by Jones and Burgert also indicate that Jeremiah and Anna has a 7-year-old son when he arrived there in 1709. This son may have been Peter. (4) “Early Pennsylvania Pioneers from Mutterstadt in the Palatinate,” page 2. (5) “Early Pennsylvania Pioneers from Mutterstadt in the Palatinate,” page 2. She cites The Tribbeko and Ruperti lists, Board of Trade Miscellaneous Vol. 2, no. D68. (6) “Early Pennsylvania Pioneers from Mutterstadt in the Palatinate,” page 11. She cites “Early Eighteenth Century Palatine Emigration,” by Knittle, Appendix D, page 281. (7) “Early Pennsylvania Pioneers from Mutterstadt in the Palatinate,” page 11. She cites the village church books. (8) “Pennyslvania German Pioneers,” Ralph Beaver Strassburger, page 31. (9) “Palatine Origins of Some Pennsylvania Pioneers,” by Annette K. Burgert, page 156. (10) “Pennsylvania Archives,” Series 3, Vol. 24, page 19.
CONRAD and MARIA HESS
Johann Conrad Hess was the son of Jeremiah and Anna Hess. He was baptized Aug. 19, 1714, in Mutterstadt, Germany. (1)
Married Maria about 1741. Her maiden name may have been Best. She was born about 1722. (2)
John William Hess.
Jeremiah Hess, born in 1751.
Maria Hess. Married Jacob Grotz.
Elizabeth Hess, bapt. July 23, 1758. Married Jacob Keller.
Ann Hess. Married Tobias Scholl.
(The Daughters of the American Revolution file for Conrad, which contains known errors, and “History of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania,” list a Henry Conrad as a son. A younger Conrad does appear as a witness in some records pertaining to the family but is not listed in Conrad’s will or a deed that records the sale of his property after his death.)
Conrad seems to have been a prominent man in the early history of Northampton County. He served in county government in the mid-1700s and also operated an inn known as Lofty Oaks on the outskirts of Easton.
Upon the formation of the county, Conrad was appointed a supervisor for Williams Township. The appointment was made June 16, 1752. Conrad was appointed a justice of the peace for Northampton County on Nov. 27, 1757. He was among the justices presiding over the Northampton County Orphan’s Court, beginning March 22, 1758 and continuing until at least 1761. On Nov. 27, 1757, a council of colonial officials approved Conrad and others for “the Commission of the Peace for Northhampton.” (4) In the 1761 tax lists for Williams Township, he is listed as “Conrad Hess, Esq.,” another indication of his standing as a member of the county’s legal community. (5) Conrad appears as a justice at most sessions of the orphan’s court until 1762. (6)
Conrad probably held other positions, but I have not confirmed them. “History of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania” says he was “prothonotary and Clerk of the Quarter Sessions and Oyer and Terminer from 1760 to 1771.” According to a manuscript in the Hess file at the Wyoming Valley Historical Society in Wilkes-Barre, he was appointed to the election board of Northampton County in 1756.
Much of the work of the county court may have been done at Conrad’s Lofty Oaks, according to a manuscript in the Hess family file at the Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society. “The name Conrad Hess Esq. appears on file in the records of the Orphan’s Court of the County of Northampton in Easton, Pa., for the period 1758-1771. Since the court sessions of the county were held in taverns before the courthouse was built in 1766 it is very likely the Loft Oaks tavern served in this capacity during this period,” the item says.
Loft Oaks was situated on 157 acres in Williams Township, which was just south of Easton. Conrad received a warrant for the property on March 8, 1743, according to the Hess file at the Northampton society. Land records say Conrad didn’t receive a patent on the land until Sept. 12, 1796. Upon his death, the land was divided among his children, who then sold it in pieces. (7)
A brief note on Conrad’s Lofty Oaks Inn is included in “Historic Structures of Williams Township”: “A small one and one-half story stone structure, now owned by the Joseph Link family, was once an inn and tavern operated by Conrad Hess. It is located at the intersection of Industrial Drive and Old Philadelphia Road at the northernmost limit of Williams Township. A search of the deeds does not permit an accurate dating of the structure nor a precise time period when is operated under Hess’s management, but a date prior to 1780 would appear plausible. Conrad Hess, son of Baltzer Hess [he was actually the son of Jeremiah], was a major landowner, citizen, and parishioner of the early Lutheran Church which stood on the site of the Easton Water Reservoir ... He is listed in the 1758 Horse and Wagon Census as Conrad Hess, Esq., and in the 1780 tax rolls as a well-to-do farmer. His son Jeremiah is listed as the innkeeper.” (8)
In the 1772 tax rolls for Williams Township, Conrad is listed as a farmer who owned 80 acres of cultivated land, 70 acres of uncultivated land, two horses, two horned cattle and six sheep. (9)
The family may have been Lutheran. Elizabeth was baptized in 1758 by the Rev. Daniel Schumacher “in the church at Williamstown across the river.” Schumacher was a Lutheran circuit preacher who served various parishes in the region. (10)
Maria probably died sometime before 1790 because Conrad is listed as living alone in the 1790 Census of Williams Township.
Conrad died in early December 1796 and his burial is recorded on Dec. 12. The entry in his burial record says he was 82 years, 3 months and 22 days old when he died. (11)
(1) Conrad’s birth date and parents are listed in “Early Pennsylvania Pioneers from Mutterstadt in the Palatinate,” by Annette K. Burgert, page 11. Conrad is also mentioned as Jeremiah’s son in Philadelphia County Will Book G, No. 73, as cited in “Collections of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, Vol., IV, Abstracts of Philadelphia Wills, Part II, 1726-1747,” page 823. A facsimile of Jeremiah Hess’ will appears in “I Shook My Family Tree,” by Thelma (Hess) Parsons, pages 170-171. Much research has been done on Conrad, but some of it seems to be faulty. Manuscripts at the Wyoming Valley Historical Society indicate that several researchers have confused our Conrad and others of the same name. Conrad’s parentage has been a matter of great dispute. Secondary sources are confusing or conflicting. “Historic Structures of Williams Township,” page 8, says his father was Baltzer Hess. It seems that there was a Baltzer who was his brother. Conrad’s file with the Daughters of the American Revolution says he was born about 1726 to Swiss immigrant Nicholas and Catherine Hess. However, Nicholas’ son Conrad was born in the 1740s, far too late to be our Conrad. The DAR file frequently confuses this Conrad with others of the same name. Concerning his birthplace: I have obtained an abstract and two transcripts of Conrad’s will but have not obtained a copy of the original yet. They are at odds. The will was in German and had to be translated, which probably explains some of the confusion. Conrad was a resident of New Britain Township, according to a transcript in a manuscript focusing on the Hess family, which is available at the Wyoming Valley Historical Society in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and “Abstracts of German Script Wills,” page 117, which is available at the Marx Room in the Easton Public Library. (2) Wedding and birth dates and maiden name come from “A History of the Wapwallopen Region,” by the Wapwallopen Historical Society, page 54. Other secondary sources cited here mention the connection to the Best family. (3) The children are listed in Northampton County Will Book 3, page 119, and in Northampton County Deed Book, E-2, page 143, the second of which lists the married names of the females, except Ann. The females’ husbands are named in “History of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania,” by Charles Rhoads Roberts, page 566. Elisabeth’s baptism is listed in “The Record Book of Daniel Schumacher 1754-1773,” translated by Frederick S. Weiser, Page 77. (4) Source for posts are, respectively: “History of Northampton, Lehigh, Monroe, Carbon and Schuylkill Counties,” by I. Daniel Rupp, page 22; “Pennsylvania Archives,” Series 2, Vol. 9, page 812; Northampton County Orphan’s Court Records B 1758 to 1762; and “Colonial Records of Pennyslvania,” Vol. 7, page 769. (5) “Northampton County Tax List for the Year 1761,” by the Works Progress Administration, page 25A. (6) “Genealogical Abstracts of Orphan’s Court Records, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, Vols. A-E 1752-1795,” by Candace E. Anderson, pages 7-24. (7) By Northampton County Deed Book E-2, page 143. Patent in Pennsylvania Patent Book 28, page 398. (8) “Historic Structures of Williams Township,” by the Williams Township Bicentennial Committee, page 8. (9) “Pennsylvania, Tax and Exoneration, 1768-1801,” available at Ancestry.com. (10) “The Record Book of Daniel Schumacher 1754-1773.” (11) Records of the First United Church of Christ in Easton, available in “Pennsylvania, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985,” via Ancestry.com. The German-script records say he died in Wilhelms township and was 82 year, 3 months and 22 days old.
JEREMIAH and ELIZABETH HESS
Jeremiah Hess was born about 1751 to Conrad and Maria Hess – probably in what is now Northampton County, Pa. (1)
Married twice. About 1775, Jeremiah married Elisabeth, who was born about 1756. About 1806, Jeremiah married Susannah, who was born in 1774 and was the widow of Peter Lenhart. Secondary sources state that Elisabeth’s maiden name was Keller and Susannah’s was Boyer. (2)
Children of Jeremiah and Elisabeth: (3)
John Hess, born July 20, 1776.
Jacob Hess, born March 10, 1778.
Magdalena (Polly) Hess, born March 23, 1780. Married Christian Stoudt.
Abraham Hess, born Oct. 10, 1781.
Anna (Nancy) Hess, born Oct. 6, 1783. Married Jacob Bauer.
Elizabeth Hess, born Sept. 10, 1787. Married Philipp Readler.
William Hess, born Feb. 14, 1789.
Jeremiah Hess, born Nov. 19, 1791.
Rachel Hess, born Oct. 19, 1794. Married Jacob Harter.
Maria (Mary) Hess, born Feb. 3, 1797. Married Conrad Snyder.
Margaret (Peggy) Hess, born March 17, 1800. Married John Berger.
Lydia Hess, born Nov. 9, 1803. Married Anthony Walp.
Susannah, married a man named Knorr.
Children of Jeremiah and Susannah, who are listed as minors in the real estate records:
Sarah Hess, born 1810. Married Michael Raber.
Jeremiah grew up in Williams Township, Northampton County, where his father held several government offices and owned an inn known as Lofty Oaks.
Jeremiah served in the Northampton County Militia during the Revolution. He first appears in “Pennsylvania Archives,” as a private in an undated muster roll from Capt. Frederick Kleinhantz’s company in the county militia’s 1st Battalion.
Jeremiah is then listed as a lieutenant in Capt. Peter Hay’s company of the 4th Battalion of the Northampton County Militia in three subsequent records. That company was based in Williams Township and mustered May 11, 12 and 25 in 1780. There is also an undated listing and one for 1782. (4)
Aside from several attacks by Indians who supported the British, no battles were fought in Northampton County. However, Easton was a strategic crossroads and Continental troops often passed through the area en route to campaigns in New Jersey and other areas. Following several battles in other areas, the wounded soldiers were treated in Easton. (5)
According to tax lists for 1785, 1786 and 1788, Jeremiah was a mason and lived in Williams Township in Northampton County, Pa. The Hesses don’t seem to have owned any land at this time because the lists only note that Jeremiah owned livestock. The family worshiped at the Reformed church in Easton, where many of the children were baptized and Jeremiah served as a deacon in 1786. (6)
In 1795, Jeremiah bought a 228-acre property in Plainfield Township, Northampton County. The property was known as Hempfield. Upon his father’s death, Jeremiah also came into possession of two portions of his father’s property known as Lofty Oaks in Williams Township. His father operated an inn on the property just south of Easton. It is uncertain whether Jeremiah also inherited the inn, but one book says tax records list him as an innkeeper in 1780. Jeremiah sold his portions of the Lofty Oaks property in March 1805. (7)
Sometime around April 1805, most of the Hess family moved north. That April, Jeremiah sold the land in Plainfield and bought land in Nescopeck Township, Luzerne County, Pa. He is listed in records of the transaction as already living in Nescopeck. (8)
“History of Luzerne County” mentions the family’s move northward in a profile of Conyngham Township, which was formed in 1875. “The first settler was Martin Harter, who came in 1795 and made his improvement near the mouth of Little Wapwallopen creek. His immediate followers were James McNeil, James Santee, Philip Fenstermacher, John Andreas, Michael Weiss, John Fenstermacher and Jeremiah Hess. These came up from Northampton county; were nearly all Germans, whose descendants are now the leading men in the township.” As the narrative mentions, many of these families intermarried and their children and grandchildren are mentioned in the records of Wapwallopen Union Reformed & Lutheran Church, or Old River Church. (9)
Upon moving to Luzerne County, Jeremiah probably took up farming because Nescopeck Township was very rural and probably couldn’t support a mason. He seems to have been successful because he had acquired more than 910 acres by the time of his death.
Elizabeth died Nov. 19, 1805. (10)
Jeremiah then married Susannah, the widow of Peter Lenhart. The Lenharts had at least one child, Catharine, who was born in 1798 and married Philip Meixell. (11)
Jeremiah died Oct. 24, 1819. Susannah died Aug. 31, 1829. (12)
Jeremiah, Elizabeth and Susannah are buried Old River Church Cemetery in Wapwallopen.
(1) Parents named in Conrad’s will, Northampton County Will Book 3, page 119. Year comes from a photo of Jeremiah’s tombstone, which appears in “A History of the Wapwallopen Region,” by the Wapwallopen Historical Society. The birth date was Nov. 19, 1751, according to “Daughters of the American Revolution Patriot Index,” page 325, and “DAR Lineage Book,” see below. (2) The timing for the marriage to Elisabeth is based on the birth of their first child in 1776. The timing for the marriage to Susannah is based on Elisabeth’s date of death. The wives’ approximate birth years are based on their tombstones at Old River Church Cemetery in Wapwallopen, Luzerne County. The surnames appear in “A History of the Wapwallopen Region,” but primary sources have not been found to support this. Susannah’s marriage to Peter Lenhart is supported by a baptismal record that lists Jeremiah and Susannah as sponsors and grandparents of Elisabetha, daughter of Philip Meixell and Catharina, need Lenhart. The record appears at the Luzerne County GenWeb site under “Wapwallopen Union Reformed & Lutheran Church (Old River Church); Baptismal Records 1813 to 1876; Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.” (3) The births and baptisms of John, Magdalena, Abraham, Anna, Elizabeth, Rachel and Lydia are listed in the records of Easton’s First United Church of Christ in “Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985,” at Ancestry.com. They also appear in “Some of the First Settlers of The Forks of the Delaware and Their Descendants,” by the Rev. Henry Martin Kieffer, pages 96, 109, 111, 115, 122, 132 and 173. In several cases the months listed in the book do not correspond with the months listed in the original document, which appear in images on Ancestry.com. The baptisms of Maria and Margaret are listed in “Church Record of the Plainfield Reformed Church, Plainfield Township, Northampton County, Pa. Vol. I,” compiled by W.J. Hinke, pages 38 and 44. All of Jeremiahs’ surviving children and the surnames of some the married daughters are listed in property records covering the sale of Jeremiah’s estate by his heirs. The sale is mentioned in Luzerne County Deed Book 22, page 611; and Deed Book 27, page 110. These records related to property sold by Jeremiah’s heirs. The name of Lydia’s husband comes from the 1850 Census of Briar Creek Township, Columbia County, Pa. Most of the husbands’ full names are listed in baptismal records from “Wapwallopen Union Reformed & Lutheran Church (Old River Church),” which is available on the Luzerne County GenWeb site. The birth dates of Jacob and William are listed on their tombstones recorded at “Wapwallopen Cemetery,” which is available at the Luzerne County GenWeb site. The birth dates of Jeremiah and Sarah are available at FindaGrave.com, where photos are available of the tombstones, and are supported by census records. (4) “Pennsylvania Archives,” Series 5, Vol. 8, pages 89, 349, 361 and 565. Also listed in “DAR Lineage Book,” Vol. 131, page 285; Vol. 133, page 221; Vol. 155, page 301. (5) “History of the Lehigh Valley,” page 110. (6) Tax lists in “Pennsylvania Archives,” Series 3, pages 86, 187 and 293. Church records in “Some of the First Settlers,” pages 78 and 79. (7) Land purchase in Northampton County Deed Book B-2, page 464. Lofty Oaks sale in Northampton County Deed Book A-3, page 143. Mentioned as innkeeper in “Historic Structures of Williams Township,” by the Williams Township Bicentennial Committee, page 8. (8) Land sale in Northampton County Deed Book H-3,page 342. Land purchase in Luzerne County Deed Book 10, page 19. (9) “History of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania: With Biographical Selections,” Volume 1, by Henry C. Bradsby, published in 1893, page 541. (10) Dates of death for both wives come from “Wapwallopen Cemetery,” at the Luzerne County GenWeb site. (11) Jeremiah and Susannah are listed as grandparents and sponsors at the baptism of the Meixell’s daughter, Elizabeth, in 1817, as listed at the Luzerne County GenWeb site under “Wapwallopen Union Reformed & Lutheran Church (Old River Church); Baptismal Records 1813 to 1876; Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.” (12) Date of death comes from “Wapwallopen Cemetery,” at the Luzerne County GenWeb site and from photo of tombstone in “A History of the Wapwallopen Region.” Jeremiah left no will but letters of administration were granted Nov. 9, 1819 to two of his sons. They are recorded in Luzerne County Deed Book 21, page 431.
Grave of Jeremiah Hess in Wapwallopen, Luzerne County, Pa.