the oldest homestead in lancaster co., pa (52 ancestors #25)

Week 25 (June 18-24) – The Old Homestead


The 1719-built homestead of my 6th & 7th great-grandfathers, Mennonite bishops & ministers Christian HERR (1662-’80 either Switzerland, or, the Palatinate, Germany-1745-’60 PA, America; buried Willow Street Mennonite Church Cemetery, Willow Street, Lancaster Co., PA, U.S.A.) and his father, Hans (1639 Switzerland-1725 PA, America; Willow Street Mennonite Church Cemetery) stands yet today in what is now Lancaster County, Pennsylvania:


Built by Christian and wife Anna, and, home to their family as well as Christian’s father Hans in his later years, the house served as the first Mennonite meetinghouse in Lancaster County and is now a registered historic landmark and museum.

Religious persecution in Switzerland caused Hans HERR and many of his congregation to emigrate to the Palatinate in Germany, “which was then governed by a ruler who promised them protection and religious freedom. This was satisfactory until the Palatinate fell into the hands of other rulers, when the Mennonites were again subject to severe religious persecution.”[1]

A number of Bishop HERR’s Mennonite congregation then consulted William PENN — founder of the Province of Pennsylvania, the British North American colony that became the U.S. state of Pennsylvania — who, in circulars and pamphlets distributed in Europe in several languages, had extolled the American colony, especially for its “freedom from religious persecution” that “settlers would enjoy.”[1] A Quaker, PENN had himself experienced persecution for his faith and was sympathetic to the groups’ plight.

The result was that Mennonites “Hans HERR, John R. BUNDELY, Hans MYLIN [aka John Martin MYLIN; my 5th great-granduncle-in-law; married Christian HERR’s daughter Anna per my data], Martin KENDIG, Jacob MILLER, Hans FUNK, Martin OBERHOLTZER, Wendel BOWMAN and others bought 10,000 acres of land on the south side of Pequea creek in the Pennsylvania Province. A warrant was issued for the land October 10, 1710, and it was surveyed Oct. 23, 1710.”[1]

On this 10,000 acres sits yet today what’s come to be called the “Hans Herr House,” the oldest existing dwelling on the property.[2]

Reads “The Hans Herr House was home to several generations of Hans Herr’s family until the early 1900s, after which it was used as a barn and storage shed. It was restored to colonial-era appearance in the early 1970s. It is now part of a Museum complex which includes three Pennsylvania German farmhouses, several barns and other outbuildings, and an extensive collection of farm equipment spanning three centuries. The 1719 House is perhaps the most frequently pictured building in Lancaster County.”[2]

Wikipedia states that the house is “a 1 1/2-story, rectangular sandstone Germanic dwelling” measuring “37 feet, 9 inches, by 30 feet, 10 inches.”[3]

Above the front door of the house, is a “17,” Christian’s initials — C H H — followed by a symbol meaning “in the year of our Lord,” and, “19” for the year 1719:


Images of the Hans HERR House abound, from this beautiful, quilted fabric version by descendant Elsie Vredenburg…


….to this famous watercolor by Andrew WYETH (who claims HERR decendancy):


I am not quite as confident as others in definitively naming a wife for Bishop Hans HERR. I have seen various given. From the “Janet and Robert WOLFE Genealogy 2013/05/29” website: “Disputes about the name of Hans HERR’s wife: Some report that Hans HERR married Elizabeth KENDIG, daughter of John KENDIG and Jane MYLIN (HERR Lineal Descendants). Some report that Hans HERR married Elizabeth KENDIG, daughter of Jorg KENDIG and Barbel HUFFELLBERGER (Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage, 1992 January page 5, 9). Some report that he married Barbara KUNDIG born 1643, sister of John Jacob KUNDIG, and a daughter of Hans Jacob (Jagli) KUNDIG.

“Richard DAVIS at Mennosearch and Jane BEST in the GROFF Book Vol 2 suggest that he married Elsbeth LOTSCHER, as shown here. ‘Elsbeth LOTSCHER may have been a daughter (of Hans LOTSCHER and Anna KAMMER of Erlenbach, Bern, Switzerland), and/or she may have been related to the Rudolph LOSCHER, Mennonite, living in 1685 at Gaiberg, Germany, near Hohenharter Hof, where Christian HERR is also recorded in 1685 and 1710.’ (BEST, The GROFF Book, Vol 2, part 1, p 35).”[4]

Bishop Christian HERR’s wife is generally “agreed upon” as, Anna UNKNOWN. 😉


My own descent from the Bishops HERR is through my paternal great-grandmother, Mary Elizabeth FASIG (1848 Clark Co., IL-1886 Clark Co., IL; buried Ridgelawn Cemetery, Martinsville, Clark Co., IL), wife of American Civil War veteran, Union allegiance, Richard (Rich) BUCKNER (1846 IL-1932 TX; Hillcrest Cemetery (Section A, Lot No. 17), Temple, Bell Co., TX).  I descend from Hans HERR to Mary E. (FASIG) BUCKNER thusly: Hans HERR > Christian HERR, I > Maria HERR > Barbara Ann BACHMAN > Mary STAUFFER > Christian FASIG (1825 PA-1901 IL) > Mary Elizabeth FASIG.



1 Genealogical Record Of Reverend Hans Herr And His Direct Lineal Descendants : From His Birth A.D. 1639 To The Present Time Containing The Names, Etc., of 13223 Persons, Compiled, Arranged, Indexed In Alphabetical Order, And Pubished By Theodore W. HERR, Genealogist, Lancaster, PA., 1908., at , accessed June, 2015.

2, “Herr House History,” at , accessed June, 2015.

3 Wikipedia, “Hans Herr House,” at , accessed June, 2015.

4 “Janet and Robert WOLFE Genealogy 2013/05/29” located at when accessed June, 2013; currently “Janet and Robert WOLFE Genealogy,” .


This entry was posted in 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2015 Edition, Hans HERR House and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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