Johannes Hunsicker 1 2
- Born: 24 Aug 1722, Schalbach, Nassau, Germany
- Marriage: Maria Magdalena Pierson on 30 Apr 1743 in Schalbach, Nassau, Germany
- Died: 17 Dec 1800, Northampton Co, Pennsylvania at age 78 3
- Buried: Alt. Heidelberg Twp. Lehigh Co., Pennsylvania
The Hunsickers came to Pennsylvania on the ship "Two Brothers" which docked at Philadelphia on Sept 15, 1748. The family at this time consisted of Johannes and his wife Maria, and two sons Jacob and Theobald. The first record of Johannes in Heidelberg Twp. occurs on May 18, 1750 when he took up a land warrant for 43 acres of land southeast of the present village of Saegersville.
Although Johannes was over "militia" age, he performed active duty by serving as a member of the "Committed for Observation" which met at Easton on Oct 2, 1776 to outline plans for four battalions of militia for Northampton County. Johannes was one of two people representing Heidelberg Twp., and did so again on May 30, 1776, and July 17, 1776. Later in the war, five of Johannes' sons served in the Northampton Militia - Theobald has already moved to North Carolina, and Peter was still too young to enroll in the Militia.
In all Johannes accumulated over 1200 acres of land in Heidelberg Twp., which he enumerated in his will.
In the "Genealogical History of the Hunsicker Family" by Henry Hunsicker, he said that Johannes arrived in Pennsylvania from Switzerland, Sept 24, 1737, emigrated in the ship Virgusnus Grace, John Bull Master from Rotterdam.
From a paper by Raymon E. Hollenbach, June 27, 1961
Johannes Hunsicker Family of Heidelberg
The name Hunsicker is a fairly common one and in "Pennsylvania German Pioneers" which lists all foreign immigrants into Pennsylvania from 1727 until the time when the United States government took over immigration matters in 1815 there came into Pennsylvania twenty four persons named Hunsicker with the name spelled in various ways. Generally speaking, the names listed are only those of male persons 16 years old or older, so that the total number of Hunsickers that came to Pennsylvania during that time, is much greater.
Only one Hunsicker family settle in Heidelberg - that of Johannes Hunsicker. But here there was still a problem. The lists of immigrants mentioned above include four Johannes Hunsickers - one who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1732 at the age of 23 years, one who came in 1731, another who came in 1737 and still another in 1748. By various processes of elimination it was determined that Johannes Hunsicker who arrived at Philadelphia on the ship "Two Brothers" on September 15, 1748, was the one who settled in Heidelberg. However, until the studies were made by Jonas Hunsucker and Thomas L. Hunsucker of Conover, Catawba County, North Carolina, and published in a little booklet "History of the Johann Theobald Hunsucker Family" there was no actual knowledge of the origin of the Hunsicker-Hunsucker family in Europe.
The original Hunsickers are said to have come from Switzerland and at various times around 1700 and earlier said to have settled in the various provinces along the Rhine River in what is now Germany and France. The Hunsickers of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania are said to be descendants of Valentine Hunsicker who came direct from Switzerland in about 1717. These Montgomery County Hunsickers, however, were members of the Mennonite Church, whereas the Hunsickers that settled in Heidelberg Township, Northampton County (now Lehigh County) were members of the Reformed Church.
Johannes Hunsicker who settled in Heidelberg, according to the evidence furnished by a baptismal certificate of Johann Theobald Hunsicker, his son, now owned by descendants in North Carolina, came from a place called Schallbach, a small village now laying in the Department of Alsace, in France, about midway between the town of Saverne and the City of Saarbrucken. Johannes Hunsicker had his children baptized in the church in the neighboring village of [Ratmueiller].
According to the certificate, Johann Theobald Hunsicker was baptized on January 24, 1744. The day of his birth is not given, but children were generally baptized when they were only a few days old. The names of his parents are given as "Johannes Hunziger, citizen of Schallbach" and Maria, his wife, nee Pier (or Bier). There were four witnesses or sponsors - Theobald Rich; Elizabeth Pier, dau. of Henry Pier; Johannes Ulrich Rige; and Johannetta Kende, dau of Joseph Kende; all citizens of Schallbach.
Johannes Hunsicker must have taken his family to the Heidelberg area almost immediately after his arrival. At that time this part of Pennsylvania was still a part of Bucks County, one of the three original counties of Pennsylvania. In the year 1752 the upper part of Bucks County was cut off to form Northampton County. The area north of the southern most mountain (called the Lehigh Mountain in this part of the state) was not opened for settlement until 1738 and when the Hunsicker family arrived there were still unclaimed lands. To establish ownership a person applied for what was called a "land warrant" which was an authorization to have a tract of unsettle land surveyed. For the "land warrant" the individual paid a nominal sum of a few cents per acre and when the land had been surveyed he was supposed to pay an additional sum to secure a "patent" or an original deed to the land, for which an an additional sum had to be paid. In many instances the latter part of the transaction was neglected and land was frequently bought and sold with no more title than the land warrant. Johannes Hunsicker secured his first such land warrant in 1750.
In 1753 he was already a citizen important enough to sign a petition to have a public road, or "king's highway" built from Helffrich's Springs near Allentown into the territory that is now Heidelberg Township. Heidelberg Township was officially organized in 1752, the same year that Northampton County was formed. The township when it was formed included all of what is now Heidelberg and Washington Townships. In all this area there was only one church - Heidelberg Church. This church however was a "union" church and had two congregations, a Reformed and a Lutheran, worshiping in it.
The early records of Heidelberg Church are fragmentary. The Lutheran records begin in 1768, with some earlier records in the papers of Reverend Daniel Schumacher. The Reformed congregation formerly had records beginning 1762, but these are now lost. There are however a few records that were copied and printed before they became lost, including a list of members in 1746 and a list of members of the Reformed congregation in 1757. The Hunsicker family were still in Europe in 1746, but the names of Johannes Hunsicker and Jacob Hunsicker, his oldest son, appear on the list of 1757. Since children usually were not confirmed until they were at least 14 or 15 years old, Jacob Hunsicker must have been a year or two older than Johann Theobald.
At this time (1757) there were in all of Pennsylvania only about half-a-dozen Reformed ministers, and each one had to serve a wide area. Many of these churches were served irregularly which accounts partly for lack of proper records. At this time Heidelberg came within the area served by Reverend Hgidius Hecher who kept at least partial records at the church on the Tohickon in Bucks County. Tohickon is more than twenty five miles in a straight line from Heidelberg, but this only illustrates the tremendous difficulties under which some of these ministers worked. In the church book at Tohickon, under date of April 2, 1758, the confirmation of Johann Theobald Hunsicker is recorded with the name written as "Dewalt", one of the many variations in spelling Theobald. The confirmation is clearly marked as having taken place at Heidelberg, and not at Tohickon. After this the name of Theobald does not appear in any church or public records, and is only remembered from family papers and the will of his father when he died in 1800.
The name of Johannes Hunsicker, the father, however, appears repeatedly at various places. In 1762 Johannes Hunsicker was still the only Hunsicker on the Heidelberg tax list and at that time he himself was tax collector.
When the Revolutionary War came along Johannes Hunsicker was already above regular military age. (Since Jacob, his oldest son, was born about 1742 or earlier, Johannes must have been born about 1720 or earlier and therefore was 55 years old or older in 1775). Johannes Hunsicker however took an active part in performing patriotic duty by serving as a member of the Committee of Observation" which met at Easton (the county seat) on October 2, 1775, to organize the county into four battalions of militia or "associators" to fight for American independence. Each township in the county had two representatives on this committee - Johannes Hunsicker and Michael Ohl represented Heidelberg township. He was again one of Heidelberg's representatives on this committee on May 30, 1776 and July 17, 1776. At this last meeting they paid an assessment of nine pence per pound of valuation on each property owner to pay for the expenses of sending four companies of infantry to the "Flying Camp" which were sent to Washington's army on Long Island, and later took part in the Battle of Long Island. Besides this duty which Johannes, the father, performed, each of his five sons who remained in Pennsylvania, were actively enrolled in the militia. Theobald, or Dewalt, had already migrated to North Carolina. For record of the service of these five sons, see Volume VIII, Series 5, Pennsylvania Archives.
Noted events in his life were:
• Military: Patriot From Pennsylvania. 4
• Occupation: Tax Collector for Heidelberg Twp. 5
• Residence: Alternate Residence Alsace France. 5
• Probate, 17 Dec 1800, Easton, Pennsylvania.
• Will, 17 Dec 1800, Easton, Pennsylvania. 6
Johannes married Maria Magdalena Pierson, daughter of Heinrich Pierson and Elizabeth Schweitzer, on 30 Apr 1743 in Schalbach, Nassau, Germany. (Maria Magdalena Pierson was born on 11 Jan 1722 in Diedendorf, Krzabern, Germany, died on an unknown date in Pennsylvania 7 and was buried in Pennsylvania 5.)