“A Biographical History of Lancaster Co. Being a History of Early Settlers and Eminent Men of the County” by Alex. Harris, 1827
Lancaster, Pa.: Elias Barr & Co., 1872
Pgs. 176, 177 EBY FAMILY.This family is an old and numerous one; its members being scattered over different parts of Pa., the adjoining States of New York and Maryland, and likewise reside in Canada and the west.
The ancestor who first came to America, and from whom the greater part of the family has sprung, was named THEODORUS.
THEODORUS, a Swiss by birth, and a Mennonite in faith, left his native country on account of religious persecution, and resided for awhile in the “Palatinate” or “Pfaltz,” an old division in Germany, whose chief towns were Manheim, Heidelberg, Simmern and Zwei Brucken.
When William Penn, by his agents, offered free homes to persons of all religious denominations, THEODORUS emigrated to America and settled on Mill Creek, Lancaster Co., at a place lately known as Roland’s Mill, situated south of New Holland, and near the line of Earl and Leacock townships.
It is said he had fix or six sons in his family, skilled in the various mechanical arts; so that with their assistance he built a mill, and erected such other buildings as were needed, without employing persons outside of his family, except for the purpose of burning charcoal to supply the smith forge, which they did not themselves sufficiently understand.The place of THEODORUS’ birth cannot now be definitely ascertained, there being no record in existence showing the fact.Family tradition has it, that he came from Canton “Schweitz.”
The date of his arrival in Pa. is fixed by the Colonial Records in 1715.And in the same year appears the names of Jacob Hochstetter, Jacob Kreider, Johannes Shenk and others.Five years later, in 1720, the family received an addition by emigration, in the person of PETER EBY, said to have been a relative of THEODORUS; and still another much later, whose kinship, however, was never recognized.
In 1728, it appears that two persons were naturalized under the name of“ABYE.”These may have been sons of either THEODORUS or PETER, and their names erroneously spelled by the government agent.It is to be observed that the descendants of THEODORUS have always scrupulously adhered to the literal translation of the name, while some of the others have adopted the pronunciation of the German into the English, and wrote themselves “EABY.”
The name of only one of the sons of THEODORUS is now certainly known, which was CHRISTIAN.
CHRISTIAN, married a MAYER, and settled on Hammer Creek, in Elizabeth Twp., about 3 miles north of Litiz.He died in 1756.His wife died in 1787.They left a family of ten children as follows: CHRISTIAN, JOHANNES, BARBARA, married to JACOB HERSHEY, PETER, ANNA, married to CHRISTIAN STAUFFER, ANDREW, GEORGE, ELIZABETH, married to JACOB HERSHEY, SAMUEL, and MICHAEL.
His oldest son, CHRISTIAN EBY, who married CATHARINE BRICKER, retained the mansion place on Hammer Creek, which he greatly improved by building a new stone dwelling house, the date of which is 1754, a large barn, and a new mill and a dwelling house and barn for his son, JOHN.He was an elder in the Mennonite Church, and wore a long beard, which in his later years had turned white.He died in 1807.His wife survived him several years.He left 11 children, as follows: 1. ELIZABETH, wife of JOSEPH BUCHER, resided near Litiz, and left descendants.2. CHRISTIAN, who resided on the home-place.3. PETER, who moved to Pequea Valley, and afterwards became a Mennonite Bishop.4. JOHN, who lived at the mill, adjoining the old place.5. ANDREW, who died, middle-aged, leaving several children, that afterwards moved to the west. 6. CATHARINE, wife of ABRAHAM BURKHOLDER, resided in Earl Twp.7. BARBARA, wife of JOSEPH SNYDER, moved to Canada.8. ANNA, wife of JACOB WISSLER, resided in Clay Twp.9. GEORGE.10. BENJAMIN, who moved to Canada, was made a minister in the Mennonite Church, and succeeded his brother PETER as Bishop of the Mennonites in Canada.11. MARIA, wife of JACOB BRUBACKER, resided in Elizabeth Twp.
CHRISTIAN EBY, son of CHRISTIAN the second, was married to a HERSHEY, and left the following children: 1. CATHARINE, died unmarried.2. ELIZABETH, wife of DAVID GINGRICH, resided in Lancaster Co.Left 8 children, among whom are SAMUEL, CHRISTIAN, and JOHN, who followed farming; the latter being an active school director, (pg. 179) and treasurer of the board of East Hempfield.3.ANNA, wife of SAMUEL NISSLEY, residing in Rapho Twp., had a family of children.4. MARIA, wife of PETER EBY, resided in Penn Twp., and left two sons, SETH and JOEL.5. BARBARA, wife of ABRAHAM REIST, resided in Penn Twp., and had a family of children.6. REV. BENJAMIN, served as a minister among the Mennonites for many years, up to the time of his death.Retained the old mansion place at Hammer Creek the greater portion of his life, and afterwards moved to Washington Co., Maryland, where he died.He left four sons and one daughter, all residing out of the county.7. CHRISTIAN resided in East Hempfield Twp., and left 3 children.FANNY died unmarried; ANN, wife of JOHN GINGRICH, and ELIZABETH, wife of ABM. ROHRER, both residing in Hempfield Twp.8. SEM resides in Leacock Twp., follows farming, and father of a numerous family.9. SUSAN, wife of HENRY STAUFFER, resides in Rapho Twp., and has two sons and two daughters.
Pgs. 179, 180, PETER EBY, married to MARGARET HESS, moved to Salisbury Twp., near the Gap, in 1791, and followed farming when his time was not taken up by his duties as a minister of the gospel or bishop in the Mennonite Church.He was ordained a minister in 1800, and the second among his denomination in that neighborhood.
The ministers in the Mennonite Church are not educated for the pulpit, nor adopt the ministry as a profession; they are chosen by lot, whenever a position is to be filled, from a small number of the congregation considered most worthy.On communion days, and other special occasions, a Bishop is required to be present.The bishops have also certain districts allotted to each, and the privilege (pg. 180) of presiding among them is generally accorded to the senior in office, or the most eminent in abilities.This position PETER held for many years, up to the time of his death; and his authority also extended over the church in Canada, until he was succeeded there by his younger brother, BENJAMIN...(continues to pg. 182) PETER died April 6, 1843, in the 78th year of his age.His family consisted of 9 children who arrived to adult age; the names of only 3 were furnished the author, viz.: PETER, CHRISTIAN and HENRY, and one of the daughters, married toSTAUFFER.
JOHN EBY resided at the mill adjoining the old mansion place.A miller and a farmer by occupation, he dealt extensively in produce, which he had transported to Newport and Philadelphia.
He had roads laid out; one to open communication between the town of Manheim and the Ephrata turnpike, at Durlach, and one from his place to Brickerville, besides others.The first school house in the neighborhood was built on his farm.
It was mostly through his influence that the Mennonites of Lancaster Co. purchased a large tract of land in Canada, to assist their distressed brethren in that part of the world, and which subsequently became the home of many of their descendants.He left 8 children, viz.: 1. CATHARINE, wife of JOHN HOSTETTER, who resided in Manor Twp., her family consisting of 7 children, JOHN, ELIAS, JONAS, ABRAHAM D., MARTHA, MARY and CATHARINE.2. JONAS, married to FANNY NISSLEY, resides in West Hempfield Twp.; family consisted of 6 children, who arrived to adult age, JOHN N., ELIAS, (now a school director of Rapho), SAMUEL N., SIMON J., HENRY N., and FANNY.3. MARY, wife of JACOB YUNDT, resided formerly in Elizabeth Twp., but moved to Neipersville, Illinois; family consisting of 7 children.4. REBECCA, wife of JOHN BOMBERGER, resided near Manheim borough, and left three children, MARTHA, CHRISTIAN and SEM.4. ELIAS resided at the mill in Elizabeth Twp., followed (pg. 183) farming and milling; was elected sheriff of Lancaster Co. in 1851, serving 3 years; died September, 1862, in the 57th year of his age.Left three children, SIMON P., a practicing attorney in Lancaster City; MARY, and ELIZA.6. ELIZABETH, wife of SAMUEL RISSER, resided in West Hempfield Twp., now in Mt. Joy borough.Her family consisted of 7 children, ANN, wife of JACOB K. NISSLEY, MARY, LEVI, JONAS, REUBEN, SAMUEL and JOSEPH.7. LEVI resided in Rapho Twp.; followed farming, and left 5 daughters, MARY, SARAH, FANNY, FIANNA and REBECCA.8. ANNA, wife of REV. SAMUEL HERSHEY, resides near Manheim borough.Her family consists of four children, viz.: LEVI, HENRY, MARY and ANNA.