Lancaster County

The land that became Lancaster County was part of William Penn's original 1681 charter, however there is no evidence that anyone actually settled there before 1709. The area was rapidly settled after 1709 by a mix of peoples: Swiss Mennonites, Scotch-Irish, English, Welsh, but predominantly Rhineland Germans. Established as a separate county in 1729, Lancaster was the first new county after Penn's original three: Chester, Philadelphia, and Bucks. Its rich limestone soil meant farming was destined to be its main attraction. Coupled with the charitable humanitarianism of its religious values, there also developed a tradition that the poor could find opportunity here. Although before 1776 the town of Lancaster was the largest inland city in Britain’s American colonies, farming has always been the main attraction; even today, two-thirds of Lancaster County is farmland; and animal products make up over 90 percent of farm cash receipts.

What has become evident to genealogical researchers is that emigrants travelled together in groups to new destinations.  Patricia Hatcher has detailed this practice specifically with respect to Bischwiller and Pennsylvania in her 2005 article in the Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine entitled "Connections between Bischweiler Alsace and America in the 1700s" in which she chronicles the journeys of nine family groups from Bischwiller to America, some of whom were on the same voyage of the Phoenix as our emigrant ancestor. Pat unfortunately overlooked our family, an omission she corrected in 2008 after your Webmaster called it to her attention.

But what is clear is that Bernhard and Salome were not the first emigrants from Bischwiller to settle in Lancaster County, and specifically Warwick Township, now Penryn.  When Bernhard finally gained title to his farm in 1766 from Daniel Schneider, the land had been previously been called Bishweiler (the German spelling of Bischwiller) as early as 1751, before Bernhard ever left Alsace.  We have not researched this Daniel Schneider, except to note that according to Strasssburger/Hinke, several Daniel Schneiders were recorded travelling to Philadelphia, the last on on 31 Aug 1750 from Rotterdam, last of Cowes.

 

(Add Jacob, Ephrata, and others)