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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 2023

Recent research has proved that George Hartzel of Beaver County, Pa., was the son of Jacob Hertzel of Bucks County, Pa.  Most researchers - including myself - had believed that he was the son of George Hertzel of Upper Salford Township, Montgomery County, who died in 1795.  This was under the assumption that the George Hartzel of Beaver County was the George Hartzel, esquire, who lived in Franconia Township, Montgomery County, and was indeed the elder George's son.

Clemens Hirtzel was born 20 Feb. 1659 and lived in the town of Reihen, which is near Sinsheim in modern Baden-Wuerttemburg, Germany. (1)
On Nov. 23, 1680, Clemens married Anna Sinter, daughter of Hans Sinter.
Hans Henich Hertzel, baptized Sept. 25, 1681.
Hans Georg Hertzel, baptized May 30, 1686.
Maria Esther Hertzel, baptized May 9, 1688. Married Hans Leonhard Doerr.
Christopher Hertzel, born about 1692.
Hans Jonas Hertzel, born July 1, 1694. Died 1714.
Anna Christina Hertzel, baptized Feb. 3, 1697. Died 1714.
Joh. Jacob Hertzel, baptized Dec. 27, 1699. Died 1708.
Maria Margreta Hertzel, baptized Sept. 24, 1702. Married Johannes Leipp.
Hans Ulrich Hertzel, baptized Aug. 21, 1705.
The Hirtzels’ children were baptized in the Reformed church in Reihen.
Clemens died March 25, 1707.
(1) All information in this item comes from “Eighteenth Century Emigrants from German-Speaking Lands to North America, Vol. 1: The Northern Kraichgau,” by Annette Kunselman Burgert, page 160. The information is attributed to the Reihen Reformed Churchbooks.

Ulrich Hertzel was born Aug. 20, 1705, to Clemens and Anna Hirtzel in the town of Reihen, which is near Sinsheim in modern Baden-Wuertemburg, Germany. (1)
Married a woman named Anna Margaret. (2)
Children: (3)
Ulrich Hertzel.
Henry Hertzel.
Johann George Hertzel, baptized May 20, 1733.
Jacob Hertzel.
Johann Marx or Mark Hertzel, born 1746.
Anna Margaret Hertzel.
Barbara Hertzel. Married Adam Smith.
Another son who died before Ulrich, who died in 1771.
Ulrich arrived in Philadelphia on Sept. 18, 1727, aboard the William and Sarah, which sailed from Rotterdam, Netherlands. The Philadelphia immigration list indicates that he was heading to “Skipach” and had two people in his party. (4)
He was one of the earliest settlers in the Goshenhoppen Valley in what is now Montgomery County, Pa., arriving there in 1733. (5) On Feb. 20, 1734, he received a warrant for 200 acres in Philadelphia County. (6)
Ulrich worshipped at the Old Goshenhoppen Reformed Church, which served German immigrants in the area. He is listed as a worshipper, appears in baptismal records, had his children confirmed there, paid out 13 shillings, 6 pence “on account of the building expenses of the parsonage” and his death is recorded there.
On July 3, 1761, Ulrich received a patent from the proprietaries of Pennsylvania – Thomas and Richard Penn – for 150.5 acres in Upper Salford Township in what was then Philadelphia County, Pa. (7) In 1769, he was taxed for 150 acres in Upper Salford Township and two horses and three cows. (8)
Ulrich was buried on Feb. 12, 1771. Ulrich’s son Mark was buried the same day and is said to have been buried in the same grave at Dietz graveyard as his father. (9)
(1) The date comes from death records in “A History of the Goshenhoppen Reformed Charge Montgomery County, Pennsylvania (1727-1819),” by the Rev. William John Hinke, page 419. His parents are mentioned in “Eighteenth Century Emigrants from German-Speaking Lands to North America, Vol. 1: The Northern Kraichgau,” by Annette Kunselman Burgett, page 160. The information is attributed to the Reihen Reformed Churchbooks. (2) Will listed in “Collections of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, Vol. VI,” page 1726, taken from Philadelphia County Will Book P, page 71. (3) The children are listed in Montgomery County Deed Book 6, page 450, which cites Ulrich’s will, dated Jan. 24, 1771. However, only George, Jacob and Anna Margaret are mentioned in the will. George’s baptism is recorded in the Goshenhoppen Reformed Church records, page 279. Mark’s year of birth is noted in his burial record in the same church records, page 419. The unidentified son would be the sixth among “Ulrich Herzel’s six sons” confirmed by the Rev. George Michael Weiss at Goshenhoppen between 1748 and 1761, page 309. (4) “Pennyslvania German Pioneers,” by Ralph B. Strassburger, page 8. Some have linked Ulrich to the Urig Hartsell who arrived aboard the Pink Plaisance on Sept, 21, 1732. Urig Hartsell, age 18, immigrated with several other Hartsells, as listed in “Pennsylvania German Pioneers,” page 79. However, our Ulrich was born in 1705, according to the Goshenhoppen records, making him too old to be this person. (5) “A History of the Goshenhoppen Reformed Charge,” page 14. (6) “Pennsylvania Archives,” Series 3, Vol. 24, page 19. (7) Montgomery County Deed Book 6, page 450, refers to the patent, saying it is recorded in Philadelphia Patent Book Vol. 1, page 459. (8) “1769 Tax List (Proprietary) Montgomery County, Pennsylvania,” transcribed by Janet Brittingham and Mildred C. Williams, page 22. (9) Burial dates for both men come from “A History of the Goshenhoppen Reformed Charge,” page 419. The “same grave” information comes from “History of Lehigh County, Pa., Vol. II,” by Charles R. Roberts, page 507. This book states that the funeral was on Feb. 14, 1771.

Jacob Hertzel was born about 1734 to Ulrich and Anna Margaret Hertzel in what is now Upper Salford Township, Montgomery County, Pa. (1)
Married Catharine Hertzel about 1761. She was the widow of John Gittleman. Catharine was born about 1740 to George Henry and Martharetha Hertzel in Rockhill Township, Bucks County, Pa. (2)
Children: (3)
Henry Hartzel, eldest son, probably born between 1762 and 1764.
Catharine Hartzel, born about 1765. Married Michael Bleiler.
Mary Hartzel, born about 1766. Married David Penrose.
Jacob Hartzel, born Nov. 26, 1768.
John Hartzel, born Feb. 11, 1769.
George Hartzel, born Sept. 26, 1770. (4)
A son, born Jan. 24, 1772. Died February 1773.
Elizabeth Hartzel, born March 8, 1773. Died November 1773.
Elizabeth Hartzel, born March 29, 1774. Married Jacob Stoll.
Paul Hartzel, born Dec. 22, 1775.
Hannah Hartzel, born March 1, 1777. Married Daniel Markley.
Michael Hartzel, born April 7, 1778.
Abraham Hartzel, born Dec. 1, 1782.
Isaac Hartzel, born March 30, 1784.
Jacob’s father immigrated from Germany in 1727 and settled in Upper Salford Township in what was then part of Philadelphia County, Pa. Ulrich attended the Old Goshenhoppen Reformed Church, where Jacob would have been one of “Ulrich Herzel’s six sons” who were confirmed together, probably in the late 1750s. (5)
About 1761, Jacob married his distant cousin Catharine, who was the widow of John Gittleman.
When her first husband died, Catharine was pregnant with their son. The boy was born in late 1759 and named after his deceased father. Little John soon became a pawn in a dispute over his father’s property. The legal tug-of-war involving Jacob Boyer – the deceased’s stepfather and one of the administrators of his estate – and the newlywed Hertzels is described in the orphans court records of Philadelphia County. (6)
On June 10, 1761, Boyer petitioned the court about his step-grandson’s estate. He complained that the Hertzels occupied two tracts of land in Rockhill Township without paying rent to the estate. He said they also presumed to charge the estate for expenses related to raising the child. Boyer claimed he would care for the child for free and pay a reasonable rent for the land. He then asked that guardians be appointed to take care of the child’s estate.
Apparently seeing the Hertzels as freeloaders who were trying to bilk the estate, the court appointed Boyer and Michael Bishop to be guardians and “take care both of his Person and Estate.” In addition, since Boyer offered to care for the infant free of charge, the court ordered that the boy “be Immediately committed to his care and keeping.”
It seems that the Hertzels were not present at the court session in Norristown since no comments from the couple are recorded and they later said they were not informed of the petition. In any case, the couple pretty much ignored the court’s orders.
As a result, Boyer returned for the court’s next session on Sept. 15 with a list of complaints against Jacob Harzel. He said Jacob refused to deliver the child, pay any rent, deliver the property’s deed or pay money “which appears to be in his hands upon Settling the Personal Estate” of the deceased.
However, Jacob and Catherine were prepared for this court date and had their own petition – one that painted a very unflattering portrait of Boyer.
First, they attacked Boyer’s original petition. They pointed out that Boyer was only one of the estate’s administrators – the other was Catharine’s father, Henry Hertzel. They seem to be implying that Beyer should have consulted his co-administrator before filing his petition. They also said Beyer filed his petition without letting them know – implying their nemesis made a sneaky move that prevented their response. They then said Boyer’s petition “asserted many Falsehoods, and Misrepresented the matter.”
Next, the Hertzels raised questions about the guardianship arrangements ordered at the previous session. They pointed out that the court appointed Boyer and Biship as guardians even though “the Mother of the said Infant is its Lawful and Natural Guardian.” They then said that, as one of the estate’s administrators, Boyer was unfit to serve as guardian because he would not be accountable to anyone but himself. And they also said that Michael Bishop lived a distance from the farm and would require reimbursement for travel costs, which would be charged against the child’s inheritance.
The Hertzels then asserted that Boyer couldn’t be trusted with the deed to the property at the center of the dispute. They point out that Boyer had sold the property to his stepson and Catharine in return for an annual payment. (Later in their petition, the couple said they would continue to make the payments.) And since the deed had not been recorded, it was “therefor not to be Trusted in the Custody of the said Jacob Boyer and it is feared he has a design to keep the Same to himself or to Destroy them.”
On top of that, the Hertzels stated that Boyer had already “Endeavoured to hurt the said Estate” by claiming several items that actually belonged to the estate.
In addition, they said that Boyer denied that he had granted to his stepson another tract of land, and Jacob and Catharine feared Boyer would “use means to Come to said Land” because he had already said he would help his own son to acquire the property. This was presumably the second of the two tracts Boyer referred to in his original petition.
Finally, the Hertzels stated they were “Desirous and willing to keep the said Infant, which is under two Years of Age, to bring it up and to give it Education.” They asked the court to remove Boyer and Bishop as guardians and appoint them as guardians.
After hearing the Hertzels’ arguments and supporting testimony by a Mr. Johnson, the court sided with the couple and rejected the scheming Boyer’s petition. It ruled that the couple should be the child’s guardians and that Jacob should maintain possession of the property. Jacob was to pay 10 pounds in annual rent, with £6.13.4 going to Bishop for the use of the child and the remainder going to Catharine. Finally, Jacob was to discharge the estate of all demands made by Boyer in accordance with the grant he made to the deceased John Gittleman.
Sadly, the little boy at the center of this dispute died less than three years later. In a deed dated April 5, 1764, Jacob and Catharine sold three parcels of land in Rockhill Township. Henry Gittleman, eldest brother of John, paid 200 pounds for the property. The deed notes that the property had been acquired by John Gittleman, and then passed to his wife and son upon his death, and that the son had since died. (7)
In 1767, Jacob purchased the property that would serve as his primary residence. On Jan. 29, he paid Christian Climber 650 pounds for 139½ acres in Rockhill Township. (8)
The Hertzel farm was fairly typical in size for Rockhill Township. From 1779 to 1799, Jacob was taxed for 140 acres and somewhere between two and four horses and four and eight cattle. Detailed tax records from 1798 show that Jacob owned a 1-story dwelling that was made of stone and measured 32 feet by 24 feet. A majority of the neighboring homes were made of logs and slightly smaller. (9)
In 1771, both Jacob’s father and his younger brother Mark died. Jacob and his older brother George were executors for both estates. In relation to this, “Jacob Hertzel of Rock Hill Township, Bucks County, yeoman and Catharine his wife” were among the heirs who sold Ulrich’s property to George on May 7, 1773. The following year, Jacob and George sold Mark’s share of their father’s estate to provide for his widow and two young children. (10)
Jacob picked up an additional 153 acres of land on Aug. 4, 1775. He held that property until Jan 21, 1793, when he conveyed it to his eldest son Henry. However, Jacob does not seem to have been taxed for this land, which raises a question of whether he rented it out before giving it to Henry. (11)
In 1775, the Revolutionary War broke out and Pennsylvania soon required all abled-bodied men to enlist in a local militia unit. Those who refused to serve or failed to appear for muster were fined. Militia service could last a few days or several weeks and involve anything from escorting supplies to battling the British or their Native American allies. However, Bucks County was far from the frontier and was rarely the scene of action. The most dramatic events that occurred there were Gen. George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River to attack the British in Trenton on Christmas 1776 and a skirmish during the Philadelphia campaign of 1778.
Bucks County militia records show that Jacob Hartzel was among “Persons turned out in their towor of Duty in Rockhill” in 1780 with Capt. Abraham Kachlein’s company of the 2nd Battalion. (12) The Pennsylvania State Archives index card that points to the record says, “The basic record proves active duty.” However, since Jacob’s service is not mentioned elsewhere, it seems likely it involved relatively mundane duties.
Jacob’s service is not actually mentioned on any duty roster, but on the records of fines issued by the 2nd Battalion to men who failed to appear for muster. In fact, no rosters of Kachlein’s unit appear among the Pennsylvania Archives’ printed or online collections. However, it seems fairly safe to surmise that Jacob reported for duty any time it was required because he never appears on the lists of Kachlein’s militiamen who were fined during the war. (But Jacob does make one appearance on a fine list on June 4, 1784, after the war had ended.) Interestingly, the fine lists contain frequent references to Jacob’s brothers-in-law, Henry and Paul Hertzel, who also lived in Rockhill Township. (13)