The Old Homestead

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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


    Peter Erb lived in Eastern Pennsylvania around 1800. (1)
    Married Christina Kunz on Dec. 1, 1805, the daughter of John and Catherine Kunz or Kuns. (2)
    Children: (3)
    John, born March 24, 1806 and died April 23, 1806.
    George, born July 26, 1807.
    Theresa, born March 8, 1809.  Married Georg Alshaus
    Machtilde (or Matilda), born Dec. 22, 1810.  Married Johannes Seips.
    Julianna, born June 18, 1812.  Married Philip Heckart.
    John, born Feb. 27, 1814 and died April 11, 1828.
    Peter, born Feb. 11, 1816.
    James Reuben, born May 22, 1818.
    Aaron, born March 31, 1822.
    Catherine, born Jan. 4, 1824.  Married Wilhelm Kelker.
    Wilhelm (or Willoughby), born Aug. 2, 1827 and died Sept. 24, 1828.
    Although Peter was probably of Lutheran descent, Christina’s Catholic heritage led them to worship at Most Blessed Sacrament Roman Catholic Church in Bally, Berks County.  Their children were baptized there.  At that time, the woman’s religious preference often prevailed.
    About 1820, the Erbs moved to western Pennsylvania.  According to the 1820 Census a Peter Erb was a resident of Connoquenessing Township, Butler County, Pa.  The family is listed as containing four males 0-10, one male 10-16, one male 26-45, one female 0-10, two females 10-16 and 26-45. Because of the way the ages are listed, some overlap is possible.
    After the move, they worshipped at St. Paul’s German Lutheran Church in Zelienople.
    Peter died on May 30, 1828.  It is possible that some sort of epidemic swept through the Zelienople area in 1828 since in that year Peter and two of his sons died. (4)
    On Nov. 25, 1830, Christina married Johannes Kleinfelter. (5)
    (1) The birth of a Peter Erb is listed by “Early Immigrants from Germany and Switzerland to Eastern Pennsylvania,” by Russell George LeVan, page 265.  It indicates that this Peter’s parents were Johan George and Catharine (Renninger) Erb.  However, other secondary sources do not list a Peter among the children of George.  I have not found church records, wills or deeds that would confirm this.  (2) “The Goshenhoppen Registers 1741-1819,” reprinted from “Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia,” page 206.  These records contain information on two families with similar names.  I am trying to sort them out.  (3) The births of most of these children are listed in “The Goshenhoppen Registers 1741-1819”: John, page 201; George, page 226; Theresa, page 232; Mechtilde, page 237; Juliana, page 242; John, page 246; Peter, page 251; and James Reuben, page 258.  The births of Aaron, Catherine and Wilhelm appear in “St. Paul’s German Lutheran and Reformed Church, Zelienople, Butler County, Pennsylvania,” transcribed by Gertrude M. Zieger, page 27.  Oscar E. Moyer of Manheim, Pa., also listed a Jacob, who was born April 1, 1820.  The spouses of the women are listed in St. Paul’s marriage records for Catherine on page 118, Matilda on page 110; St. Paul’s confirmation records for Theresa, page 4; and St. Paul’s records, page 15, and Butler County Deed Book S, page 519, for Julianna.  The Deed Books lists Julianna’s husband’s last name was Neikart.  The marriage of Theresia Erb to Georg Alshaus is recorded in the April 28, 1827, edition of the Butler Sentinel.  (4) All three death records for 1828 appear in St. Paul’s records on page 149.  (5) St. Paul’s records, page 104.

    George Erb was born July 26, 1807 in Montgomery County, Pa., to Peter and Christena (Kunz) Erb. (1)
    Married Hannah Schwenk on Nov. 23, 1830 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Zelienople. (2)  Hannah was born Sept. 27, 1810,  to Johan Jakob and Elizabeth (Geissel) Schwenk, possibly in Montgomery County, Pa. (3)
    Children: (4)
    Sarah, born July 2, 1831. Married Jacob Gerwig.
    Johannes, born Feb. 17, 1833.
    Wilhelm Luther, born July 29, 1834.
    Johan Joseph, born Nov. 6, 1835.
    Marianna, born Dec. 11, 1837.
    Julianna, born Oct. 15, 1839.
    Phillip Ephraim, born June 28, 1842.
    Matilda, born Feb. 24, 1849.
    The Erb family moved from Montgomery County in eastern Pennsylvania to Connoquenessing Township, Butler County, Pa., before 1827. (5)
    The Erbs had their children baptized at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Zelienople.
    George died April 15, 1877 in Lancaster Township, Butler County. (6)  After her husband’s death, Hannah moved in with her daughter Sarah Gerwig, who lived in nearby Beaver County. (7)
    (1) “The Goshenhoppen Registers 1741-1819,” reprinted from “Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia,” page 226.  Confirmed in Butler County Deed Book S, page 519 and confirmation records in  “St. Paul’s German Lutheran and Reformed Church, Zelienople, Butler County, Pennsylvania,” transcribed by Gertrude M. Zieger, page 3.  (2) St. Paul’s records, page 104.  (3) Confirmation listed in St. Paul’s records, page 5.  That this is the correct Hannah is indicated in the 1880 Census of Franklin Township, Beaver County, Pa., which Hannah Erb as having been born in 1810 or 1811.  In addition, the children of Johan Jakob Schwenk serve as baptismal sponsors for the Erb children.  No other Hannah Schwenks have come to light.  The birthplace of Hannah’s younger sister Nancy is listed as Frederick Township, Montgomery County.  (4) St. Paul’s records: Sarah, pages 15 and 31; Johannes, page 35; Wilhelm Luther, page 38; Johannes Joseph, page 40; Marianne, 44; Juliana, page 47; Phllip Ephraim, page 50; Matilda, page 59. (5) St. Paul’s records state that George’s daughter Sarah lived in that township when she was married.  (6) “Butler County Register of Wills Index” says 1877 but no action appears to have been taken on his estate until late 1879, according to Butler County Estate File E62.  (7) 1880 Census.