Tracing Our Roots
By Schuyler Brossman
Column No. 1584/February 26, 1997
Apple Family of PA and OH
In April of 1994 (Col. 1434), Michael C. Reeb whose address is 5800 Hwy. 95 North, Sandpoint, ID 83864, sent a sketch on the Appel family immigrants to Pennsylvania from Germany. The name has also been spelled Appel, Apbel, Abbel, Apel and Abel.
In a 52 page history accompanied with 42 family group sheets, he has carried the family history into Ohio. The title of the history is "William and Anna Maria Apple and Other Apple Families" compiled in 1995.
He has sent a copy for review in this column after which I am to give it to the Berks Co. Hist. Soc. in Reading. Copies have also been made for Lebanon Co. Hist. Soc. and the Tulpehocken Settlement Hist. Soc. at Womelsdorf, PA.
Anyone who has questions or comments please write to Michael C. Reeb at the address above. He writes about his history as follows:
"The history also includes info on the families of Lengel, Kreichbaum, Schnepp and Gebhart/Gepert/Kephert."
John Apple and family came from Wayne Township, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, to Montgomery County, Ohio, in the early 1800s. His descendants are well documented in Thomas Harp's, of Sidney, Ohio, book, "The Apple Gathering." Harp struggled, as have I, with the identity of John Apple's father.
My research has eliminated 14 of 16 Appel, Apfel, or Apple immigrants from 1654 to 1771 into the American colonies. Names of these immigrants came from various sources covering ports of New Amsterdam, New York, Baltimore, and, by far the largest, Philadelphia. As you can see the list has been narrowed to two. They are Wilhelm Apbel (1743) and Johann Appel (1749).
The preponderance of evidence, both circumstantial and prima facie, indicates Johann Wilhelm Apbel, a 1743 immigrant to the American colonies, was the father of John Apple. Wilhelm's, and his wife, Anna Maria, story will be presented based on information at hand, and where speculation is necessary to emphasize a point it will be so noted.
It is my purpose to put these findings to date on paper and into the hands of other Apple researchers. In this way the information can be compared and debated further, if necessary. One of the most informed persons on Wilhelm and Maria's son, Andrew Apple, is Mrs. Bonnie Andrews of Greenfield, Indiana. It was she who told me of Heinrich Apple's baptism at Millbach Church, now in Lebanon Co., PA. Our notes on Andrew Apple, arrived at independently, compare almost identically, with her having more information. My research into Heinrich Apple in Pine Grove Township, Berks County (now Schuylkill), Pennsylvania, and his descendants in Snyder County, Pennsylvania, adds more to this family history. The story of John Apple and his descendants has been told by Thomas Harp. I will add a few more technical details. The family history of John Christian Apple, Wilhelm's youngest son, will be told, however, there is no solid evidence to tie this John Christian to Wilhelm and Anna Maria. Some researchers have suggested John dropped Christian from his name, thereby being the child baptized in 1753. Others think he may have died young. The John Christian Appel of Lancaster County fits the time span requirement and religious preference. More on him later.
For several years I have worked hard on the 1749 immigrant Johann Appel's history, but have never found evidence that he had any sons. He was killed in November 1755 by Indians at the onset of the French and Indian War on Pennsylvanian colonists. A 1769 Berks County Orphans Court decree confused the issue for me because of what appeared to be a witness - John 2 Apple. I now believe the court scribe made the notation and what appears to be a 2 was a smudged B representing his daughter Barbara's mark. The possibility of the above Johann Appel being John's father would have to be considered purely speculation with no evidence to support the same.
The Northampton, Lehigh and Bucks counties Apples of the right age can all be found living in those counties during the time John lived. The Adam Apple who came to the colonies in 1749 lived in Berks County for about 15 years. He moved with his family to Gulliford County, North Carolina, before the revolution. Later in this report I will provide information on these Apples.
My research has utilized most available records for Northumberland, Union, Snyder, Lancaster and Berks Counties, Pennsylvania, and many other 18th Century New York, Maryland and Pennsylvania counties. Information was obtained from Salt Lake City Family History Center's microfilms and books; various Pennsylvania County Historical Societies; and visits, or correspondence, to County Courthouses.
Ohio is Apple Country! Several different Apple families were among the earliest pioneers of the state of Ohio. As previously mentioned, John Apple and his descendents settled in Montgomery County starting in 1806. Wilhelm Apple's oldest son, Andrew, and his family were established in Clermont County by 1802. The family of Henry Apple, originally from Pine Grove Township, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, John's brother, moved to Champaign County, Ohio, in about 1825. Other Apple families were pioneers of Pickaway County (1808), Columbiana (1808), and later Crawford, Seneca, and Wood Counties in the 1830s. The limited information I have on these families will be presented further on in this text.
The history goes on with more info on the family too lengthy to publish here. For more info on the Apple family write to Michael Reeb at the address in the first paragraph