Created January 2021
By Brian Bowers
JOHN and ANNA MARIA SECHLER
John Sechler was probably born in Germany and immigrated to America in the early decades of the eighteenth century. It’s possible his father was Andrew Sickler, who lived in Chester County, Pa., around 1720. (1)
Married a woman named Anna Maria, about 1728. Her death record says she was born Dec. 25, 1709. There’s a strong possibility that Anna Maria’s father was Rudolph Maurer. (2)
Abraham Sechler, born in 1729.
Johannes Sechler, baptized Sept. 24, 1740.
Jacob Sechler, born about 1741.
Andreas Sechler, baptized Sept. 4, 1742.
Friedrich Sechler, baptized May 5, 1744.
Rutolph Sechler, baptized July 26, 1747.
Joseph Sechler, baptized July 30, 1748.
The earliest reference that certainly refers to John Sechler – actually Johannes Zechler – is a 1733 baptismal record from New Goshenhoppen Reformed Church. However, it’s likely he also was the John Sickler who appears in records from Chester County, Pa., about five years earlier.
John Sickler of Chester County was the son of Andrew Secler/Sickler, who appears in the county’s tax records from 1718 to 1722 in the “Skoolkill District.” “History of Chester County, Pennsylvania,” describes how Andrew acquired land along the Schuylkill River: “Hans George Schultz and Matthias Ringer obtained 500 acres, Jan. 20 1718, which were afterwards divided between Matthias Ringer, Hans Wolfmiller, and Andrew Sickler.” However, Andrew drops from the tax lists after 1722 and is replaced by John Sickler. A later land transaction indicates that Andrew Sickler died intestate and “his Son and Heir John Sickler” acquired the land, and sold it to John Steiner on Dec. 1, 1728. This property would have been about 15 miles southwest of the area where John Sechler lived in the 1730s. Though conclusive proof has been elusive, it’s likely that the John Sechler who settled in the Goshenhoppen area was the son of Andrew Sickler. (4)
Wherever he came from, John probably arrived in the Goshenhoppen area by 1728. This timeframe seems likely because his eldest son – Abraham – was born in the fall of 1729, an indication that John probably met and married his wife the previous year. And Anna Maria’s family probably lived in the Goshenhoppen area since she seems to be very closely linked to the local Maurer family, with the Sechlers and Maurers frequently serving as baptismal sponsors for each others’ children.
The family’s earliest mention in records of New Goshenhoppen Reformed Church occurs in August 1731, when Anna Maria Segler served a sponsor at the baptism of a son and daughter of Fridrich Maurer. The first specific mention of John appears in October 1733, when Johannes Zechler and his wife were the sponsors of a daughter of Andreas Loher. (5)
The Sechlers lived in Upper Hanover Township, in what is now Montgomery County. Before 1784, the area fell within Philadelphia County.
In 1734, John Seeclear appears on a list of property owners in Hanover Township, Philadelphia County. He owned 100 acres. On either side of John’s name appear the names of Rudolph Mowrer, Frederick Mowrer and Jacob Mourer – the same men who appear in connect with the Sechlers is baptismal records. Interestingly, Mathias Ringer, who shared the property along the Schuylkilll with Andreas Sickler, also appears on the Hanover list. (6)
On Jan. 14, 1737, John Sickler of Philadelphia County received a warrant for 150 acres of land from Pennsylvania’s colonial authorities. The property was “about a mile and a half from Richard Gregory and adjoining George Castor’s Line in the said County of Philadelphia.” According to the 1734 list, George Custor lived in Hanover Township and Richard Gregory owned land in nearby Colebrookdale. (7)
At some point, John acquired a fulling mill in Upper Hanover Township. After his death, his son Abraham acquired the business. Fulling mills cleaned and thickened woolen cloth. (8)
On May 29, 1753, John Seckler purchased 200 acres in “the Township of Alamingle & County of Northampton” for 320 pounds. (9) However, it seems unlikely that he actually moved to Northampton County property since two of their sons were confirmed at the Goshenhoppen church in 1759. And when John wrote his will in 1761, he states that he lived in Upper Hanover Township.
However, several of John and Anna Maria’s sons turn up in the Allemangle are a few years later. In 1757, Abraham was living in the area when a group of settlers was attacked by Native Americans while harvesting. His wife was wounded and scalped and their child was killed. In 1761, Andrew and Jaocb appear on the tax list of Lynn Township, which covered the Allemangle area. (10)
During the summer of 1761, John must have fallen ill. When he wrote his will on June 20, he says he was “weak in body.” He died before Aug. 12, when his will was proved. (11)
In his will, John stipulated that his beloved wife Anna Maria should continue to possess their home for as long as she lived. This property is described as 100 acres “between the lines of Melcior Seizholk, Andreas Mowrer George Shulze as by my deed for the same of William Parsons John Ross and Robt Greeway bearing date the 16th day of May 1749.” His son John was to receive 28 acres in Douglass Township, Philadelphia County. And Jacob and Andreas received his “land and Planation situate by the blue Mountain in the Township of Linn Northampton County Containing two hundred and forty acres.”
After her husband’s death, Anna Maria lived with her son John – presumably on the homestead in Upper Hanover Township. The township’s 1774 tax list mentions that John Sechler “Supports an ancient Mother.” (12)
Anna Maria – “the old Mrs. Segler” – died Jan 5, 1777. (13)
(1) All that is known for certain about John Sechler’s early years is that he attended a German church in the 1730s in what is now Montgomery County, Pa. Most of the families attending the Goshenhoppen Reformed church at that time were immigrants from Germany and their families. (2) Anna Maria’s birth date is mentioned in her death notice, which appears in “A History of the Goshenhoppen Reformed Charge, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania (1727-1819),” by William J. Hinke, Pennsylvania German Society, Lancaster, 1920, page 357. Members of the Maurer family served as baptismal sponsors for many of the Sechler children and vice versa. This usually indicates a familial relationship. In fact, the very first baptismal record mentions Anna Maria Segler as a sponsor without her husband, usually a clear indication that a woman is related to the child. In addition, a 1734 list of taxpayers in Hanover Township, Philadelphia County, seems to list people in a geographical, rather than alphabetical order, John Seeclear is surrounded by Rudolph Mowrer, Frederick Mowrer and Jacob Mourer. Anna Maria is often identified as the daughter of Rudolph Maurer. The church records of Freinsheim, Germany, show that Rudolff Maurer and his wife Fronica has a daughter name Anna Maria baptized on Dec. 11, 1707. No children are listed closer to the birth date provided in Anna Maria Sechler’s death notice. It’s very possible the date in the death records is incorrect. The baptismal record is available at “Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials,” at Ancestry.com. (3) Abraham is listed in in John’s will, which is Philadelphia County Will Book M, page 168. His birth year is calculated through a mention of his 1783 death at age 54 years, 2 months, in “A History of the Goshenhoppen Reformed Charge,” page 359. Baptismal records for some children appear in “A History of the Goshenhoppen Reformed.” Johannes is on page 284; Andreas, page 285; Friedrich, page 285, even though the father is listed as “Jos” in the transcription rather than “Joh.”; Rutolph, page 287; Joseph, page 287. Jacob is listed as “son of the late Joh. Segler,” in his 1768 marriage record, on page 363. Samuel is identified as a younger brother of Abraham Sechler in Samuel’s estate administration, in Philadelphia County Administration File 100, Samuel Sechler, 1761, which is available at “Pennsylvania, U.S., Wills and Probate Records, 1683-1883,” Ancestry.com. (4) Andrew and John Sickler/Secler are mentioned in a profile of the Coventry area in “History of Chester County, Pennsylvania,” by J. Smith Futhey and Gilbert Cope, Philadelphia, 1881, page 172. The tax lists appear in Chester County tax rates, Film 007857857, from FamilySearch.org, and in “Tax and Landowner Lists, Petitions,” at Chester County Pennsylvania Genealogy Project – www.chester.pa-roots.com. The identification of John as Andrew’s son appears in land records transcribed in “Stoner Brethren: A History of John Stoner (circa 1705-1769) and His Descendants,” by Richard R. Weber, 1993, pages 23, 24 and 505. (5) The baptismal records appear in “A History of the Goshenhoppen Reformed Charge,” pages 277 and 280. Additional sponsorships for Maurer baptisms appear on pages 272 and 284. Maurers were sponsors of Jacob and Rudolph Sechler, pages 284 and 287. It should be noted that “Andreas Sechler and Anna Maria Sechler” are listed as sponsors of Johann Andreas Maurer, son of Andreas Maurer, on page 282. This could be a simple mistake or an indication that John’s full name was Johann Andreas Sechler. It’s unlikely that this refers to another man since the name Andreas Sechler doesn’t seem to appear in other records. (6) The 1734 list is available at “Landholders of Philadelphia County, 1734: PA,” at www.usgwarchives.net. (7) The warrant appears in “Pennsylvania, U.S., Land Warrants and Applications, 1735-1952,” at Ancestry.com. (8) The fulling mill is mentioned in records related to the estate of Abraham Sechler in Montgomery County Orphans Court Docket Vol. 1, pages 6, 13, 16, 29, 96 and 110. (9) The Northampton County land sales appears in Philadelphia County Deed Book H-6, page 670. (10) An account of the attack appears in “The Indian Wars of Pennsylvania,” by C. Hale Sipe, Harrisburg, Pa., 1931, page 348. He is identified as Abraham Secles in the original report. The Lynn Township tax list appears in “Miscellaneous Manuscript Records of Northampton County, Pennsylvania, 1727-1851,” at FamilySearch.org, Film 21680, Item 3, image 419. (11) John Sechler’s will appears in Philadelphia County Will Book M, page 168. (12) The tax list appears in “Pennsylvania, U.S. Tax and Exoneration, 1768-1801,” at Ancestry.com. (13) Her death is mentioned in “A History of the Goshenhoppen Reformed Charge,” page 357.
ABRAHAM and BARBARA SECHLER
Abraham Sechler was born about October 1729 to John and Anna Maria Sechler in what is now Montgomery County, Pa. (1)
Married Barbara Moll about 1755. She was the daughter of Michael and Anna Rosina Moll, and born in what is now Montgomery County. (2)
A child, born May 13, 1756. Died July 9, 1757.
Henry Sechler, born about 1758.
Johannes Sechler, baptized Oct. 7, 1759. Died before 1783.
Michael Sechler, born about 1763
A daughter. Died October 1766.
Abraham Sechler, born about 1766.
Anna Rosina Sechler, baptized May 31, 1767.
Jacob Sechler, baptized Sept. 15, 1768.
Anna Maria Sechler, baptized June 2, 1770.
Maria Barbara Sechler, baptized Dec. 7, 1771.
Ferenna Sechler, also Fronica and Froney, baptized May 13, 1773. Married Samuel Moyer.
Abraham was born and raised in the area that is now northwestern Montgomery County. At the time, it was part of Philadelphia County.
The fist mention of Abraham appears in the journal of his neighbor David Shultze, surveyor and legal advisor to the German settlers in what is now Montgomery and Northampton counties. Among the final entries for the month of May 1756, Shultze noted a child was born to Abraham Sechler on the 13th. (4)
It appears that soon afterward, Abraham moved north to live on property his father had acquired in 1753, in the area known as Allemangel. When John Sechler wrote his will a few years later, he described his “land and Planation situate by the blue Mountain in the Township of Linn Northampton County Containing two hundred and fourty acres.” Lynn Township now falls within Lehigh County. (5)
By 1757, the French and Indian War was in full swing and settlers in the area were frequent targets of raids by Native Americans. “History of Berks County in Pennsylvania,” says that about 150 people “were murdered by the Indians in the county during the ‘French and Indian War’ … Twenty-seven persons were taken prisoners and eight were reported missing. Many persons were wounded, some of whom doubtless died from their wounds.” The account then moves into a list of dozens of attacks from 1754 through 1763, with the bulk occurring in 1755 to 1757. Lynn Township is just beyond the boundaries of Berks County so some death from that area are listed, including: “July 1757 – One child of A. Sechler.” (6)
On July 9, 1757, several neighbors gathered to cut grain at or very near the Sechler farm in Lynn Township. As the settlers were eating their dinner, a party of nine Native Americans descended on them. The raiders killed about 10 people, mainly children, and wounded a woman. Five of the settlers fled, including a woman who rushed to get help from the local militia, which responded quickly. The militia officer, Lt Jacob Wetterhold, wrote the following report about the attack.
“These are to acquaint you of a murder happened this day at the house of Adam Clauce, in said Township of Lynn, where three or four neighbors was cutting said man’s corn; as they was eating their dinner, they were fell upon by a party of savages, Indians, and five of the whites took to their heels, two men, two women and one girl, and got safe out of their hands. Was killed and scalped, Martin Yager and his wife, and John Croushores, wife and one child, and the wife of Abraham Secles, and one child of one Adam Clouce, and the wife of John Croushore, and the wife of Abram Secles was scalped and is yet alive, but badly wounded, one shot through the side and the other in the thigh, and two children killed belonging to said Croushore, and one to said Secles, and one belonging to Philip Antone not scalped, and this was done at least three miles within the outside settlers and four miles from John Everett’s, and Philip Antone’s wife was one that took her Tilit [?], and came home and acquainted her husband, and he came and acquainted me, and I immediately went to the place with seven men, besides myself, and saw the murder, but the Indians was gone, and I directly pursued them about four miles and came up with them in the thick groves where we met with nine Indians, and one sprung behind a tree, and took sight at me, and I run direct at him, and another one flashed at me, and then both took to their heels, and I shot one through the body, as he fell on his face, but I loaded and after another that was leading a mare, and in the meantime he got up and ran away, and I fired one the other, and, I think, shot him.” (7)
The child of Abraham who was killed in the raid was doubtless the one who was born on May 13 of the previous year.
It’s uncertain from Wetterhold’s account whether Abraham’s wife was killed or was grievously wounded. At one point, it indicates the dead included “the wife of Abraham Secles.” But just a few words later, it says, “the wife of Abram Secles was scalped and is yet alive, but badly wounded, one shot through the side and the other in the thigh.” One of these references is obviously a mistake and probably refers to a different woman. (8)
A clue about the fate of Abraham’s wife lies in the records of New Gosphenhoppen Reformed Church. These seem to indicate that Abraham Segler married Barbara Moll before the attack, which means that Barbara was the woman who was wounded and that she survived.
Unfortunately, there’s no date attached to this wedding in the Goshenhoppen records. The heading for that section covers more than a decade, saying: “Those persons who from the Year 1747 to the Year 1758 have been married by me, by Rev. George Michael Weiss, V.D.M.” However, it’s easy to narrow the possibilities to a date before July 9, 1757. First, dated entries begin with Jan. 7, 1758, which means that Abraham and Barbara were married before that date. And that was just shy of six months after the attack in Lynn Township. It seems unlikely that Abraham would remarry so quickly unless there was some degree of urgency, like having several small children to care for. But that doesn’t seem to have been the case, judging from fact that all of his identified children were born after the attack, except for the child who was killed. Second, the Sechler-Moll wedding is identified as No. 47 out of the 185 recorded by Weiss on this list. It’s most likely that Weiss kept a running list of weddings even before he started dating them and that the entries appear in roughly chronological order. That means that the Sechler-Moll wedding probably occurred in the early or mid-1750s. Third, at least three couples listed near Abraham and Barbara’s were having children before the attack or less than nine months after it – indicating that their weddings occurred months or even years before the attack. For example, the marriage of Jacob Weidknecht and Margaret Boehm is listed four below Abraham and Barbara’s on the list. One of their children was born March 11, 1757. The marriage of Ulrich Greber and Creth Labar appears 20 entries below the Sechler-Moll wedding and they had a child baptized Sept. 26, 1756. And the wedding of John Huth and Barbara Zimmerman appears 12 entries before that of Abraham and Barbara’s and one of their son Jacob was baptized on Jan. 19, 1758. Several others whose weddings are listed near the Sechler’s had children within a year of the attack and probably had other children even earlier. This all seems to indicate that it’s most likely that Abraham and Barbara were married before the attack. And that means Abraham’s wife survived the attack, despite serious wounds. (9)
An additional matter that touches on the Sechler family is the location of the attack. Wetterhold says it occurred “at the house of Adam Clauce, in said Township of Lynn.” However, a strong local tradition holds that the attack occurred at the Sechler’s farm. It’s possible that Wetterhold was mistaken about the farm’s owners, or that Clauce/Claus actually rented a portion of the farm. It’s also possible that the tradition is wrong. It’s easy to see how foggy memories could turn into a traditional account when it’s considered that Abraham soon left the area and his brothers took control of the farm. Just four years later, Andrew and Jacob Sechler appear on the Lynn Township 1761 tax list, but Abraham is absent. It’s very likely that descendants of Sechlers who didn’t have a direct connection to the attack could have been mistaken about certain details. The farm remained in the Sechler family for several generations and eventually became a local landmark because of its alleged connection to the raid. (10)
If Barbara was indeed a victim of the attack, she survived for another 23 years – dying on July 8, 1780, the anniversary of the deadly raid. Other people who survived scalping were left with hideous scars on their heads. It’s very likely she had the same. (11)
The Sechlers did not remain in Lynn Township after the attack. In 1761, Abraham was listed as living in Windsor Township, Berks County, when he was named administrator of his younger brother Samuel’s estate. (12) Windsor is about 30 miles west of Lynn Township. It is also a distance from Goshenhoppen, which probably explains why many of the Sechler children don’t appear in the baptismal records there. (13)
In 1761, Abraham’s father died. At some point, Abraham acquired his father’s fulling mill and 12 acres of land in Upper Hanover Township. (13a) It seems likely that Abraham returned to Philadelphia County at this time.
The family definitely returned to the area by 1763. On Sept 30, 1763, David Shultze surveyed land for Peter Hillegass in Douglass Township, and noted that Abraham Sechler was one of the neighbors. (14) The following year on March 13, “Abraham Sechler of the said Township, yeoman,” paid 28 pounds, 18 shillings and 6 pence to purchase 17 acres, 84 perches, in Douglass Township. The deed mentions the property was in line with his deceased father’s land. (15)
Although Abraham owned property in Douglass Township, he lived in Upper Hanover Township at least part of the time. In 1769, the Upper Hanover tax records show that Abraham Sechler owned 50 acres, two horses and two head of cattle. He also operated the fulling mill, where water-powered machinery cleansed and thickened woolen cloth. (16)
By this time, Abraham had become involved in local government. David Shutlze’s journals notes that an Upper Hanover Township election was held on Sept. 27, 1769. Michael Rader was elected assessor and Abraham Sechler was elected inspector. (17)
On July 5, 1770, Abraham purchased 64 more acres in Upper Hanover Township for 245 Pounds in Pennsylvania money. The deed lists Abraham as being “of Douglass Township.” And a land draft drawn up by Shultze on Jan. 18, 1771, indicates Abraham owned land beside William Geyer in Douglass Township. (18)
In 1774, Shultze surveyed a property he called “Mannor Hill – Sechler’s Mannor” on March 9. The editor of Shultze’s journals points out that Abraham Sechler, Andrew Mowrer and Peter Hillegass purchased 125 acres in Douglass Township on that date. (19)
That fall, Abraham was elected tax assessor of Upper Hanover Township. However, something prompted a switch in assessors about a month later. Shultze’s journal mentions that Abraham Sechler was elected assessor on Sept. 27, 1774. On Oct. 21, the journal says: “The new Assessor chosen at Lauers – Peter Hillegass.” The introductory pages of the county tax records for 1774 mention that Abraham had been elected assessor. But the list itself says Hillegass was the assessor. No explanation for the switch is given by either Shultze or the tax records. (20)
In that year’s tax records, Abraham Sechler is listed as owning 100 acres of land and a dwelling in Upper Hanover Township, two horses, two cows and four sheep. He operated a fulling mill. And he had eight children. (21)
The next available tax lists are from 1779. In that year, Abraham and his brother John were taxed in both Upper Hanover and Douglass townships. Neither list provides details about the brothers’ property. However, in Douglass Township, the listing includes “Abraham Sechler & Col’s Est.,” “Abraham Sechler’s Est.” and “John Sechler’s Est.” The designation “Est.” stood for “estate” and covered people who owned property in the township, but lived elsewhere. Later tax records reveal that the property owned by Abraham Sechler & Co., covered 120 acres and included a saw mill. The other property covered 57 acres. (22)
By 1779, the Revolutionary War was in full swing. In Pennsylvania, all abled-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 53 were required to join the local militia. Those who refused to participate were labeled non-associators and usually fined. The 1779 list of non-associators for Douglass Township includes Abraham Sechlers and Abraham Seekler, probably indicating that he was fined twice. Many men who appear on these lists are Mennonites, Moravians or members of other pacifist denominations. Abraham was neither and it’s impossible to say for certain why he appeared on the list. It’s possible that the listing was a mistake since other records seem to indicate that he lived in neighboring Upper Hanover Township at this time. (23) However, that wouldn’t explain why Abraham doesn’t appear on surviving militia rosters. Although militia lists from early in the war are not available, Philadelphia County rosters for 1780 and 1781 are preserved in the volumes of the “Pennsylvania Archives.” In those years, Abraham would have been 51 and 52 years old and still eligible for duty. However, he does not appear on any of the rosters, though his sons Henry and Michael do. (24)
Whatever the reason for his appearance on the non-associator list, it does not appear to have affected his status in the community. On Oct. 6, 1780, he was again elected inspector for Upper Hanover Township. (25)
Earlier in 1780, Abraham’s wife Barbara died. Shultze mentions her passing in his journal on July 31. “Abraham Sechler’s wife died on July 9th, after a lingering sickness, and was buried on the 10th.” (26)
Through most of this period, Abraham’s fortunes appear to have remained the same. The tax lists from 1779 until his death in 1783 show little change. The 1783 list for Upper Hanover says Abraham owned 12 acres, two horses, three cattle, two sheep and the fulling mill. (27)
However, something must have changed in 1783 because Abraham sold off a good deal of his livestock and personal property. On Sept. 16, 1783, “Abraham Sagler of upper Hanover Township” sold the animals and goods to his brother John Sagler and Andrew Mowrer – probably his cousin – for 150 pounds. The deed covered “All my Personal and Moveable Effects, that is to say one horse one Cow, One Heifer, Eight swine, two sheep, all my Grain in the Straw and in the Ground and what is thrashed Also all my household Goods & Furniture Bed and Beding and my other good whatsoever name they may have and is in my Possession and Custody To have and to hold the sayd Goods Household Stuff Implements of Husbandry and every other of them.” A note following the deed clarifies that Abraham Sagler was actually Abraham Sechler. (28)
The deed doesn’t explain by Abraham sold off so much, but it’s possible he had decided to consolidate his remaining holdings at his property in Douglass Township. Records from just a few months later, indicate he was from Douglass rather than Upper Hanover.
Whatever prompted Abraham to sell his goods, it was one of his last appearances in the records. Abraham died in an accident less than three months later. The records of New Goshenhoppen Reformed Church list his burial on Dec. 5, saying, “Abrham Segler, his age 54 years, 2 months. He fell from his horse near his house and was found dead in the water.” (29) Unfortunately, David Shutlze’s journal for 1783 is missing so we don’t know what he said about his neighbor’s death.
Since Abraham’s death was unexpected, he didn’t write a will. And since he had several minor children, the orphans court of the newly established Montgomery County addressed his estate.
During the court’s session on Dec. 1, 1784, Henry Sechler asked the court to partition three tracts of land that his father had owned in Douglass Township. Henry mentioned that he was Abraham’s eldest son and was “upwards of twenty-one Years of Age.” He also listed his six siblings: Michael, Abraham, Rosena, Jacob, Mary and Franey, each of whom was younger than 21. (30) The court agreed to Henry’s request. The valuation showed the property could not be divided without hurting its value, so Henry asked that the entire property be adjudged to him.
Three years later, Henry again approached the court, apparently to deal with his father’s property in Upper Hanover Township. On March 24, 1788, Henry presented accounts covering a variety of items, including the fulling mill and 12 acres of land. On Sept. 22, the detailed were entered into the record.
(1) Abraham’s approximate birth date can be determined from his death record, which says he was 54 years, 2 months old, when he was buried on Dec. 5, 1783. It appears in “A History of the Goshenhoppen Reformed Charge, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania (1727-1819),” by William J. Hinke, Pennsylvania German Society, Lancaster, 1920, page 359. His parents are identified in his father’s will, which appears in Philadelphia County Will Book M, page 168. (2) The wedding of Abraham Segler to Barbara Moll is mentioned in “A History of the Goshenhoppen Reformed Charge,” page 302. The wedding occurred “from the Year 1747 to the Year 1758,” probably toward the beginning of the time since it is 47th out of 185 weddings listed. Barbara’s parents and birth date are not mentioned in the church records, but Michael Moll is the only man of that name in the area. In addition, Michael Moll and others in his family served as baptismal sponsors for several Sechler children. (3) The birth of the Sechler’s first child is mentioned in the journal of the family’s neighbor David Shultze. “The Journals and Papers of David Shultze,” Vol. 1, 1726-1760, translated and edited by Andrew S. Berky, Schwenkfelder Library, Pennsburg, Pa., 1952, page 177. Some of the other children are mentioned in records in “A History of the Goshenhoppen Reformed Charge.” The following baptisms are listed: Johannes, page 295; Anna Rosina, page 315; Jacob, page 316; Anna Maria, page 318; Maria Barbara, page 320; and Ferenna, page 321 (also identified as Fronica in her confirmation record on page 377). Goshenhoppen church records mention “Abraham Segler’s little daughter was buried,” in 1766, page 353. She doesn’t seem to appear in other records. And Henr Segler, age 16, was confirmed in 1775, page 371. And the younger Abraham Sechler was confirmed in 1782, but his age is not provided. However, since he was confirmed a year before Anna Rosina, it’s likely that he was born a year before her too. Henry and Abraham and the other surviving children appear in Montgomery County Orphans Court records for 1784: Henry, who is over 21, and Michael, Abraham, Rosena, Jacob, Mary and Franey, who are younger than 21. That would mean that Michael and the rest were born after 1763. This information appears in Montgomery County Orphans Court Docket Vol. 1, pages 6, 13, 16, 29, 96 and 110. (4) The birth is noted in “The Journals and Papers of David Shultze,” Vol. 1, page 177. (5) John Seckler’s purchase of 200 acres in “the Township of Alamingle & County of Northampton” appears in Philadelphia County Deed Book H-6, page 670. John Sechler’s will appears in Philadelphia County Will Book M, page 168. (6) The toll on the settlers is mentioned in “History of Berks County in Pennsylvania,” by Morton L. Montgomery, Philadelphia, 1886, page 136. This list says the attack occurred in “Greenwich,” but it actually occurred in Lynn Township, according to contemporary sources. (7) This transcription is from “The Indian Wars of Pennsylvania,” by C. Hale Sipe, Harrisburg, Pa., 1931, pages 348-349. Aside from corrected spellings, it matches that in Pennsylvania Archives, First Series, Vol. 3, page 211. (8) Local historians split on whether Abraham’s wife was killed or was wounded in the attack. However, most beyond the boundaries of Lehigh County only mention the child’s death. The most significant source that claims Abraham’s wife was killed is “History of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania,” by Charles R. Roberts, Allentown, Pa., 1914. The incident is mentioned on Vol. 1, page 90, and Vol. 3, page 1193. The version in Vol. 1 says, “On July 9, 1757, occurred the last invasion of Lynn township by Indians that is recorded. On this day ten persons were killed at the house of Adam Clauss, in Lynn township. They were Martin or Adam Yeager and his wife (one account gives the name as Martin and another as Adam) Abraham Sechler’s wife and one child, John Krauhaar’s wife and three children, a child of Adam Clauss and a child of Philip Anthony. The house in which the Sechler family resided is still standing and is now owned by Senator Miller. It has been reproduced on this page, showing the yard, in which tradition says that Mrs. Sechler was killed.” This is followed by a transcription of Wetterhold’s letter about the attack. However, there are reasons to question the book’s synopsis of the attack. It glosses over some problems with Wetterhold’s list of victims and adds some additional complications. First, it doesn’t address the reference to Mrs. Sechler’s survival despite her serious wounds. It also offers a questionable interpretation of the passages concerning the family of John “Croushore.” In Wetterhold’s report, the death of Croushore’s wife is mentioned twice, and one passage says one of his children was killed and another says two died. The synopsis in “History of Lehigh County” tackles this by saying his wife and three of his children were killed. Finally, synopsis starts by saying the attack occurred at “the house of Adam Clauss,” but then seems to indicate it happened at the Sechler home, without explaining the switch. The version in Vol. 3 says, “Abraham Sechler, the probable ancestor of those who bear this name in eastern Pennsylvania, is of Swiss origin. He settled in Lynn township, Lehigh county, before the French and Indian War and his homestead, situated near New Tripoli is remembered as the ‘Sechler House,’ around which centers much local history. The building is one of the landmarks of Lehigh county. It is built of logs, and its high gable ends and general quaint appearance are evidence that it is the same house where a cruel massacre was committed on July 9, 1757.” Of course, one has to wonder why high gables and a quaint appearance would be evidence that the house had witnessed a massacre. But that’s just a matter of poor logic and bad writing. A bigger problem is this passage reveals how little was actually known about Abraham. He was not “the probable ancestor of those who bear this name in Eastern Pennsylvania.” That would be either his father John Sechler or his possible grandfather Andrew Sickler. The men who settled permanently in Lynn Township were actually Abraham’s brothers, not his sons. This might also explain the rise of the tradition that Abraham’s wife was killed. Abraham did not stay in Lynn Township, but his brothers did. Since they were not directly connected with the incident, family memories might have been foggy on the details. A tax assessment compiled four years after the attack doesn’t list Abraham, but it does list his brothers Andrew Sechler and Jacob Sechler, who was identified as a “Singleman.” It also lists three of the men who suffered loss in the attack, Philip Anthony, Adam Claus and John Craushaar. The assessment appears in “Miscellaneous Manuscript Records of Northampton County, Pennsylvania, 1727-1851,” at FamilySearch.org. Film 21680, Item 3, image 417-420. (9) The weddings all appear on page 302 of “A History of the Goshenhoppen Reformed Charge.” The baptism of Johannes Huth appears on page 289. The baptism of the Grebers’ daughter Christina appears on page 313. The birth date of the Weidknecht’s child appears on his death notice, which is on page 357. This was probably Phil. Wetknect, who was confirmed at age 16 in 1773, indicating he was born in 1757. See page 371. (10) For details on the tradition concerning the farm, see the footnote above. The house was still standing in 1914, but fell into disrepair and “met its demise” a few decades later, according to the website of the Lynn-Heidelberg Historical Society, www.lynnheidelberg.org. Also, this website goes with the belief that Mrs. Sechler survived the attack. (11) Barbara’s death is mentioned in the journal of David Shultze. See “The Journals and Papers of David Shultze,” Vol. II, translated and edited by Andrews S. Berky, The Schwenkfelder Library, Pennsburg, Pa., 1953, page 123. Interestingly, Shultze did not mention the attack on July 9, 1757. He lists other attacks, including some in Allegmangel, so it seems odd that he didn’t mention the fate of a former neighbor. Almost all of his entries for that July involved the produce of his farm.
(12) Samuel’s estate papers appear in Philadelphia County Administration File 100, Samuel Sechler, 1761, at “Pennsylvania, U.S., Wills and Probate Records, 1683-1883,” Ancestry.com. It’s possible that the family moved earlier. In 1759, Abraham and Barbara’s son Johannes was baptized in the Reformed church at Goshenhoppen. However, it’s possible they traveled to have their son baptized at their families’ church. (13) It should be noted that Abraham Segler appears among the “Head of Families who in New Goshenhoppen Belong to the Congregation of the Rev. George Michael Weiss,” a list that appears on page 275 of “A History of the Goshenhoppen Reformed Charge.” Weiss served as pastor from 1746 to 1761. It’s possible that the list was compiled soon after Abraham was married. The list is followed by two others, which do not include his name, which would seem to support the idea that it predated the move to Lynn Township. However, the author of “A History of the Goshenhoppen Reformed Charge” suggests the list was made in 1758. (13a) The origins of the fulling mill is mentioned in records related to the Montgomery County Orphans Court and later tax records. See Orphans Court Docket Vol. 1, pages 6, 13, 16, 29, 96 and 110. (14) The 1763 land draft by Shutlze appears in “The Journals and Papers of David Shultze,” Vol. II, page 250. (15) The 1764 purchase appears in Philadelphia County Deed Book I-11, page 363. (16) The 1769 tax list appears in “Pennsylvania Archives,” Third Series, Vol. 14, page 60. (17) The 1769 election is mention in “The Journals and Papers of David Shultze,” Vol. II, page 47. (18) The 1770 deed appears in Philadelphia County Deed Book I-11, page 243. The 1771 land draw appears in “The Journals and Papers of David Shultze,” Vol. II, page 261. (19) The survey is mentioned in “The Journals and Papers of David Shultze,” Vol. II, page 64. (20) The journal entries appear in “The Journals and Papers of David Shultze,” Vol. II, pages 77 and 79. The tax records appear in “Pennsylvania, U.S. Tax and Exoneration, 1768-1801,” at Ancestry.com. The editor of Shultze’s journals add this note: “Less than a month after Abraham Sechler was elected to the office of township assessor, a committee met at Lauer’s to select a new assessor. What happened to Abraham Secher? Later in the month David says that George Wiegner went to Shamokin on October 17. Several years later David mentioned the face that one Christian Fisher is married to John Sechler, ‘now at Shamoky’. This would suggest that the Sechler family had gone to Shamokin on October 17 with George Wiegner and had elected to remain there. However, the New Goshenhoppen Church Records have this burial listing under date of December 5, 1783: Abraham Segler, his age 54 years, 2 months. He fell from his horse near his hours and was found dead in the water.’” However, a move to Shamokin seems unlikely since Abraham continues to appear in Philadelphia County records on a regular basis until his death. (21) The 1774 tax information comes from “Pennsylvania, U.S. Tax and Exoneration, 1768-1801,” at Ancestry.com. Slightly different figures are mentioned in Pennsylvania Archives, Third Series, Vol. 14, 449. It says Abraham had 100 acres, two horses and 2 head of cattle. This was for the Provincial Tax, which apparently was collected earlier in the year. The assessor is listed as Conrad Fisher rather than Abraham Sechler or Peter Hillegass. (22) Tax lists from 1779 to 1783 appear in “Pennsylvania, U.S. Tax and Exoneration, 1768-1801,” at Ancestry.com. (23) The non-associator list appears in “Pennsylvania Archives,” Second Series, Vol. 14, Part 1, page 27. (24) The militia rosters including Henry and Michael appear in “Pennsylvania Archives,” Sixth Series, Vol. 1, pages 765, 767, 775 and 786. (25) The 1780 election is mentioned in “The Journals and Papers of David Shultze,” Vol. II, page 130. (26) Barbara’s death is mentioned in “The Journals and Papers of David Shultze,” Vol. II, page 123. (27) These tax lists are among those in “Pennsylvania, U.S. Tax and Exoneration, 1768-1801,” at Ancestry.com. (28) Abraham’s final deed appears in Philadelphia County Deed Book D8, page 316. (29) The burial is listed in “A History of the Goshenhoppen Reformed Charge,” page 359. (30) The court records appear in Montgomery County Orphans Court Docket Vol. 1, pages 6, 13, 16, 29, 96 and 110.