12 May 2009

a little bit Amish & a little bit rock-n-roll


Martin Hochstetler family, part in-part out of the Amish faith

Growing up near one of the largest Amish enclaves in the United States made me appreciate things like television, plumbing, and rock-n-roll. But I knew that somewhere, in the deepest recesses of family history, there must be some connection between the Amish and my grandparents.....with a name like Hochstetler, how could there not be? Well, that, and horse and buggies showed up at family reunions.

Hochstetler reunion at original c. 1850 homestead
My great grandfather, Stephen, top & center


When the genealogy bug bit I was just coming out of highschool and going into college. My grandmother gave me a book entitled "The Descendants of Jacob Hochstetler". The book, now almost 100 years old, was enormous and meticulously traced family after family to our single ancestral source, Jacob. Jacob emigrated to the American colonies with his family in 1736 from Switzerland, arriving in Pennsylvania aboard the ship "Harle". Jacob and a few other Amish settlers formed the first Amish settlement in the colonies in Berks County, PA. His family's story would go down in Pennsylvania history under the "Northkill Amish/Hochstetler Massacre" when in 1757 his wife, daughter and son were killed by a raiding band of Indians with another son taken captive. Their beliefs in non-violence prevented them from fighting back. The ancestral farm still exists and I visited it on a trip to Pennsylvania in 1993.


Old Samuel Hochstetler Farm: still Amish & still Hochstetlers

Just shy of 100 years later, Jacob's great grandson, Samuel, was part of a group of families to form the first Amish settlement in Indiana. Samuel came with his family about 1850 to the northeast corner of Marshall County, establishing a farm on Beech Road. This farm still exists as well. Samuel's son, Martin, left the Amish Church very late in life and his son, Stephen, was the first to marry outside of the church. Stephen was my great grandfather.



Martin Hochstetler Farm: still Amish & still Hochstetlers


A one room schoolhouse and cemetery were located just north of the farm which is where the family attended school and "Old" Samuel, as he was called, is buried. The Amish constructed a new school at this site and the old one, which was the longest continually used schoolhouse in Indiana, was moved to a nearby farm. The school was constructed in the late 1850's. If you've never seen an Amish cemetery, you should. The "plain people" apply their standards even in burial. Other branches of the family include Millers, Livengoods, Yoders and most recently, Mullet-the name of my Amish ancestors buried near Nappanee.

Borkholder Amish School & Cemetery, before it was moved

Amish Cemetery: Mullet ancestors buried here



Fortunately for me there was this break in the Amish faith. I guess. Although there are times when I long for a simpler life and suggest converting to my wife. I know many like to point out the inconsistencies with Amish folk, but I have to hand it to them, to continue any since of their culture in the face of everything modern is really quite remarkable.

My life, on the other hand, would be a never-ending rumspringer.

5 comments:

Tabatha S. said...

Jacob was my 6th great grandfather im connected by there daughter Mary.. she married a Fredrick Bluebaugh. if you want to get in touch my facebook is Tabatha M. Seiberg ..hope to hear from you soon!

Anonymous said...

I am trying to find the borkholder cemetery...can you tell me how to find it?

hoosier reborn said...

Hi Anon!

I imagine there are several Borkholder Cemeteries, however, the one in Marshall County, IN is located at the northwest corner of Beech Road and Plymouth-Goshen Trail. It is behind a newer Amish School.

HR

Anonymous said...

There has been a correction to your information concerning the ship that Jacob came over on. He was actually on the Charming Nancy 1738. He was 26 years old. The Jacob on the Harle was non-amish.

hoosier reborn said...

Thanks Anon. I think I now recall having seen that. Have you been to the Pennsylvania homestead site?

HR