from switzerland to the pennsylvania colony: john gebhard / gerhardt hibshman

Immediately below is a repost of a February 13, 2015, post from Janice Harshbarger’s “Happy Genealogy Dance” blog:  “Harshbarger line:  Johann Gebhart (John Gerhardt) Hibshman 1708-1771 Immigrant.”1  Johann falls among my own 6th great-grandfathers.

Following Janice’s blog post, a brief biographical sketch from the 1904, Biographical annals of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania : containing biographical sketches of prominent men and representative citizens and of the early settled families,2 by J.H. Beers & Co., Chicago, Ill., on Johann Gebhart (John Gerhardt) Hibshman’s great-grandson William H. Hibshman.  I’m including it here as it gives information on Johann as well as William.

“Johann Gebhart (John Gerhardt) Hibshman 1708-1771 Immigrant”1

“This is a hard line to research and document, partly because the surname is spelled so many different ways in so many different records.  The simplest spelling (and the one I will use) is shown above.  From there it can go into Huppman or Huebschmann or any number of other spellings.

“Johann was born in Switzerland in 1713, or in Bavaria in 1708.  If he was born in Bavaria in 1708 then his parents have been identified as Christoffel Hupshmann and Anna Barbara Van Hoffen, who were married on November 22, 1701 in Pfalz, Bavaria.  If he was born in 1713 in Switzerland, no one has yet identified parents for him.  I tend to go with the 1708 date, pending further research, because it makes possible the married of Johann to Anna Elisabetha Brunner on July 4, 1730 in the Evangelish Lutherische, Bad Duerkheim, Pfalz, Bayern.  A 1713 birthdate would make this marriage very early.  Even a marriage at the age of 22 would have been early, in Bavaria, but it would be possible.

“All we really know for sure is that he was born and that he was married.  It is stated that he came to America in 1732, but I haven’t found documentation for that.  The story is that he went back to the Old World in 1732, and returned with a wife.  Had Anna Elisabetha Brunner been waiting for him in Bavaria all that time?  It’s possible that he was indentured and had to work off the debt before returning for his wife.  Did he also save enough money to make the trip and to bring his wife to America, or did he have another indentureship to serve after arriving for the second time?  Or was he really from Switzerland, and did he go home to marry a woman his family had picked out for him?

“We don’t know much more than that he arrived on the Saint Andrew Gallery, in Philadelphia, in 1737 with Anna Elisabetha (nee Brunner?).  They settled in Lancaster County and raised a family of at least five children, Anna Margaretha, Catherine Elizabeth, Maria Catherina, Wendel, and Henry (Heinrich).  Johann Gebhart died in July of 1771 in Lancaster County, possibly Cocalico Township.  The land he had purchased was about 4 miles north of Ephrata.

“We only have hints and guesses about his life.  Because he was married in a Lutheran church, we can guess that he was Lutheran by belief and attended a Lutheran church in Lancaster County.  We can guess that he farmed, but we don’t know what else he might have done to support his family during the winter months.  We can guess that he was a hard working man, because what we can find by looking at the lives of his sons shows that they had a good work ethic and were ‘successful’.  We can hope he and his wife were happy and that they raised a happy, close family, as most Germans (and Swiss) did.  We can hope that he was not involved in Indian frontier wars, and we can assume that he was in the militia at some point.  Finally, we can hope to learn more about him as more documents and more research notes are put on line!

“The line of descent [i.e., Janice Harshbarger’s] is:

“Johann Gebhart Hibshman-Anna Elisabetha poss Brunner
“Catherine Elizabeth Hibshman-Conrad Mentzer
“John Mentzer-Margareth
“Conrad Mentzer-Elizabeth Tullapen or Duliban
“Catherine Mentzer-Lewis Harshbarger
“Emanuel Harshbarger-Clara Harter
“Grover Harshbarger-Goldie Withers
“Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
“Their descendants.”1
~ ~ ~

My own line of descent from Johann/John Gebhart/Gebhard HIBSHMAN goes like so:

John Gebhard HIBSHMAN (Johann Gebhart HIBSHMAN); spouse Anna Elisabetha UNKNOWN.
John Henry (Henry) HUEBSCHMAN (1748 Pennsylvania Colony, America–June 2, 1818 Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, USA); spouse Catharine LEISE.
Henry HIBSHMAN (1778 Schaefferstown, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, USA–1823 Lebanon County, Pennsylvania); spouse Elizabeth KUMLER.
Elizabeth HIBSCHMAN (1803 Schaefferstown, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, USA–1882 Martinsville, Clark County, Illinois); spouse William M. (Uncle Billy) FASIG.
Catharine Ellen FASIG (1826 Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, USA–1915 Martinsville, Clark County, Illinois); spouse 1st cousin Christian FASIG.
Mary Elizabeth (Elizabeth) FASIG (1848 Clark County, Illinois, USA–1886 Clark County, Illinois); spouse Richard (Rich) BUCKNER.
Jesse Grant (Grant) BUCKNER (1882 Melrose, Clark County, Illinois, USA–1941 Missouri Baptist Hospital, St Louis, St Louis County, Missouri, USA); spouse Golda Ametta GREGER.
My father (1913 El Paso County, Texas, USA–2002 Four Winds Manor nursing home, Verona, Dane, Wisconsin, USA)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Title Page, Biographical annals of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania…, Archive.org3

And now, from the 1904 Biographical annals of Lebanon County…2:

“WILLIAM H. HIBSHMAN.  Jackson township, Lebanon county, is the home of manv excellent farmers and highly esteemed citizens, and one of these is William H. Hibshman, now retired from active labor.  Mr. Hibshman was born September 10, 1832, in Jackson township, a son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Lesher) Hibshman, the former of whom was a native of Lebanon county, and the latter of Lancaster county.

“The founder of the family in America was Johann (or John) Gebhart Hibshman. a native of Switzerland who came to America in 1732, at the age of nineteen.  Five years afterward he returned to his native land for his wife, returning with her to America September 24, 1737, in the ship ‘St. Andrew’, which sailed on that date from Rotterdam, Holland, for New York.  Upon landing in the New World, he located in Lancaster county, Pa., and purchased a tract of land four miles north of the borough of Ephrata.  He and his wife had four children : Wendel, born in 1740, married Hannah Heffley, and settled at Ephrata; Henry settled in Lebanon county; Catherine married an Albrecht, and lived in Selinsgrove, Pa., and Elizabeth married Conrad Mentzer.

“Henry Hibshman, the grandfather of William H., was the first of the family to locate in Lebanon county.  He married Catharine Leisey and became the father of three sons and five daughters : Henrv. who had two sons, Samuel (who married Mattie Gibble, and had three sons and two daughters), and Daniel, and one daughter, Mary; Wendel, who had two sons and one daughter, Frank (married to Sarah Reiter), John (married to Sarah Bomberger) and Lucetta (married to John Philip); Jacob, mentioned below; Maria, who married Adam Bassler; Elizabeth, who married John Lehman; Christina, who married Henry Creek; Eva, who married Daniel Weist; and Hannah, wife of Jacob Gockley.  Henry Hibshman and wife are buried in the old Schaefferstown cemetery.

“Jacob Hibshman of the above family was born as early as 1790, and he died in 1838.  In 1812 he was married to Elizabeth Lesher, and they became the parents of nine children: (1) Catherine married Henry Mace, and had three children, living: John H., who married Amanda Yingst, and had ten children; Sarah, who married John Smaltz, and had two daughters and one son; and Amanda, who married William H. Hunsicker, and had no children.  (2) Curtis married Rebecca Miller, and had no children.  (3) Elizabeth died unmarried.  (4) Henry married Elizabeth Spayd, and died May 16, 1880; she died in October, 1882.  They had ten children: Henry W., of Tremont, Schuylkill county; Jacob, of Strausstown; Samuel, of Philadelphia; Anna, of Jackson township, Lebanon county; Rachel, of Shillington, Berks county; Lizzie, of Philadelphia; Catherine, who died unmarried at the age of twenty-seven; George and Sarah, who both died in infancy; and Christina, who died at the age of twenty-four.  (5) Sarah married Christian Hostetter, and had two sons, one of whom died unmarried, and the other married but died without issue.  (6) Mary (Polly) died unmarried.  (7) Jacob married Henrietta Swope, and had seven children: William and John of Lebanon county; Frank and Augustus of Philadelphia; Amanda, who married and died in 1899; and Sarah and Elizabeth.  (8) Lydia married Moses Becker, and had two children, a son and a daughter.  (9) William H. is the only one of the family now living.  Jacob Hibshman and his wife Elizabeth sleep their last sleep in the old cemetery at Schaefferstown.

“William H. Hibshman was reared in Jackson township on his father’s farm, now owned by John H. Krall, and in boyhood attended the public schools of the township and the Myerstown Academy, securing an education which gave him a certificate to teach school.  This profession he followed for four years, and then began to farm.  In 1848 he was united in marriage to Miss Sariah Loose, daughter of William and Leah (Bicknel) Loose, of Berks county, and one child was born to this union, Harrison W., who was married to Agnes Zinn, of Jackson township, lately deceased.  The children born to this union were: Lillie, Mary, William H., Henry Z., Catherine, Howard, Clinton, Mabel, Bertha and Walter.

“Mr. Hibshman during his early life found it necessary to practice economy and to be industrious, and he has had the natural reward, owning now a fine farm along the Lebanon and Dauphin pike road, between Lebanon and Myerstown, on the line of the Lebanon & Myerstown Street Railway, whither he came in 1873.  This is one of the very productive farms of the locality, and on account of its location is very valuable.  When a boy of seventeen he learned the milling business with Peter Reist, of Annville, and followed it for some time, residing in Berks county from 1863 to 1873.

“In politics Mr. Hibshman is a zealous and interested Republican, and he has most efficiently served his township in the office of tax collector.  His connection with the Reformed Church has covered many years, and he has been deacon, trustee and elder.  Although Mr. Hibshman is approaching the age when both mental and physical powers usually show signs of failure, such is not the fact in his case.  His memory is excellent, and his reminiscences of old days in this section of the State are very interesting.

“Mr. Hibshman has many friends, his exemplary life and high moral
character giving him the respect and esteem of all who know him.”2

A “Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s” at does show  a “Gerhardt Hubschman” arriving in America in 1737 on the ship “Saint Andrew Galley,” offering possible substantiation for this from Biographical annals of Lebanon County…:  “Five years afterward he returned to his native land for his wife, returning with her to America September 24, 1737, in the ship ‘St. Andrew‘,…”

And the search / research continues.
1 Janice Harshbarger blog, “Happy Genealogy Dance,” post titled “Harshbarger line:  Johann Gebhart (John Gerhardt) Hibshman 1708-1771 Immigrant,” at , accessed Feb., 2018.
2 A, Biographical annals of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania : containing biographical sketches of prominent men and representative citizens and of the early settled families, by J.H. Beers & Co., Chicago, Ill., “William H. Hibshman,” pages 131-133, at , accessed Feb., 2018.
3 T
itle page, Biographical annals of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania : containing biographical sketches of prominent men and representative citizens and of the early settled families, 1904 J.H. Beers & Co., Chicago, Ill.,, at , accessed Feb., 2018.


master weaver william m. fasig (52 ancestors #9)

Week 9 (Feb 26-March 4):  “Close To Home”

Home being where the heart is, my choice for this blog post had to be, my 3rd great-grandfather, weaver extraordinaire in this 3rd great-grandchild’s eyes, William M. FASIG (Mar. 13, 1801 Lebanon Co., PA-May 30, 1885 Martinsville, Clark Co., IL; buried Ridgelawn — aka Fasig-Kettering — Cemetery, Martinsville, Clark Co., IL).


The frame- and loom-weaving course I took as an elective at university ranks among the most pleasurable memories of my past, and the connection I felt to William was immediate when in later years I “discovered” him as an ancestor. William also farmed & worked as a bricklayer, but it’s his beautiful work as a weaver that makes him special to me.

Years ago the Peoria, Illinois, Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences had an exhibit of IL coverlet weavers’ work which included coverlets woven by both William M., and, his son-in-law, Christian FASIG.  The 1999, “Illinois Jacquard Coverlets and Weavers: End of a Legacy,” by Nancy Iona Glick & Katherine A. Molumby, documents the exhibition, a blurb on the book at reading:

“Eighteen Illinois weavers produced figured and, figured & fancy coverlets from 1841 until after 1871.  Most, if not all, were working on looms with Jacquard attachments.  By the 1840s coverlet weaving had become competitive in areas of Pennsylvania and Ohio that were already saturated with skilled weavers; the craft also faced increasing competition from industrialization.  Illinois, in comparison, was much less densely populated, with unclaimed land and virtually no professional weavers producing fancy goods.  Less competition for the marketing of coverlets was probably viewed as an attractive prospect for Eastern weavers considering the move westward to the frontier.  This exhibition catalog includes essays, biographies of the weavers, a bibliography, and a checklist of documented Illinois coverlets.”[1]

1858: MY FAVORITE JACQUARD COVERLET BY WM. M. FASIG — I LOVE THE BLUE & WHITE. This photo found by me at a “ Online Store;” the 91″x80″ coverlet sold for $456… (Breaks my heart; I hope the owner appreciates what they have!)

A search for some of the Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences exhibit images for inclusion in this blog post led me to a Wikipedia article revealing that the Lakeview Museum closed in September 2012[2], shortly before the Peoria Riverfront Museum opened in downtown Peoria.  Although the Peoria Riverfront Museum website hints that it may now contain Lakeview Museum‘s collection — under “Midwest Folk Art,” the Peoria site reads, “All 18 weavers who produced figured & fancy Jacquard coverlets in Illinois between 1841 and 1871 are represented by the 43 examples in the Lakeview Museum collection.”[3] — the website doesn’t include the 18’s names or, photos of their work, so, I can’t say for certain…

As the Peoria Riverfront Museum notes, “Most of [the IL weavers of Jacquard coverlets in their collection] wove coverlets to order during the winter months when farming activities slowed down, although a few worked at their looms year-round as their primary occupation.”[3]

What’s the big deal about woven coverlets?, you may ask, but then, that tells me right off that you’re not a textile enthusiast, not particularly into “folk art,” &/or, definitely have not done any loom weaving yourself, 😉 as, loom weaving, particularly jacquard, involves a huge amount of skill, work, & artistry!


I’ll let the Bedford, PA, National Museum of the American Coverlet, “the first independent, year-round institution devoted to American woven coverlets,” have a voice here:

            “Coverlets are woven bedcovers, used as the topmost covering on a bed. The weaver worked on a loom to construct the textile itself one row at a time, and the pattern was woven in as part of the process.”

            “The two main types [of coverlets] are…geometric and, figured & fancy. The pattern motifs in geometrics are based on circles and squares,” while the patterns in figured & fancy coverlets are curvilinear & realistic and can include floral, animal, architectural and other motifs.


“These are the coverlets that most often contain inscriptions. Inscriptions can include the weaver’s name,…location, the year…made, the name of the person it was made for, and sometimes a slogan… Figured & fancy coverlets were virtually all made by professional weavers – men.”

            “Coverlets were generally made of wool and cotton, although some are all wool. The wool was usually hand-spun and dyed with natural dyes. The cotton was most often machine-spun and left undyed.”

            “Coverlets are reversible… That is why, when a coverlet has an inscription, it is almost always woven in backwards and forwards, to enable [it to be] read it on both sides…

            “Because most looms were narrow, coverlets were often made of two woven panels joined with a center seam. Many geometric coverlets [are] three panels joined. That is to say, the weaver had to weave the entire length of the coverlet twice, or three times, and hand sew them together next to each other in order to create a textile that was wide enough to cover the bed!”[4]

Great-Grandpa Wm. M. FASIG’s obituary, newspaper unknown to me, gives such a succinct yet broad picture of his life that I see no need to repeat the data in it in my own words–

          “Mr. William FASIG, or ‘Uncle Billy’ as he is called died on Friday morning Last. He had been ailing for a few days, but the chief cause of his death was old age. He had long looked for the hour when he would be released from the cares of this life, he often spoke of the time and said he was ready to depart to the joys of that realm whence no travelers returns. Uncle Billy was 84 years of age on March 18th the last – therefore in his 85th.

          “He was a native of Pennsylvania was married there in 1822 to Elizabeth HIBSCHMAN [daughter of Henry / Heinrich HIBSCHMAN (c 1778 PA-c 1823 PA) & Elizabeth KUMLER (1779 Berks Co., PA- ), 3rd- & 2nd-generation Swiss immigrants respectively] and emigrated to the State of Ohio in 1834, lived in that state several years, then emigrated to Missouri, but not liking it on account of it being a slave state, they came to Martinsville [IL] in 1847 where he was lived ever since. He was a brick-layer by trade. Samples of his work can be seen in the Odd Fellows Hall, the E. H. Vaughn building and the old part of the brick hotel.

          “His companion died three years ago. He was the father of 12 children, but three survive him, 1 son and two daughters, S.A. FASIG, and Mrs. Chris FASIG of our village and Mrs. EDMUNDS of Charleston, who were all present to see him laid beside his departed companion in the Kettering Cemetery. Mr. FASIG was a man loved by every one for his good kind and sociable nature. He was a devoted Christian almost all of his life, never departing from the path of right, no matter what misfortunes ever took him.

          “He died at the residence of his oldest daughter, Mrs. Chris FASIG. The funeral took place at 10 a.m. and was very largely attended, nearly every one in the village and the immediate vicinity joining to pay the last tribute of respect to the departed patriarch. Services were conducted by Elder BERNARD, assisted by elders HART and JONES.

          “— Unintentionally emitted form the above – after 1847, they resided on what is now known as the KETTERING farm, till 1861, when Mr. FASIG gave up farming and moved with his family to town where he has lived ever since.”[5]


William M. is the son of 2nd-generation German immigrant Dewalt Throbalt / Theobald FEASIG / FESSIG / FORSIG (1771 Berks Co., PA-1841 Lebanon Co., PA), among other variations of his name, & Catharina PETRI (1770 PA-1843 Lebanon Co., PA).  (Both Dewalt & Catharina were buried originally in PA, but descendant William WATSON, locating their graves in the late 1970s or early ’80s in an “abandoned graveyard…located in a weed-grown, dilapidated trailer court,” removed the stones and brought them back with him to La Porte [IN], later taking them to Martinsville [IL], “where the two sons had homesteaded long before the Civil war, coming here by covered wagon” and relocating them “in the old section of Ridgelawn Cemetery, next to the grave of one of the pioneering sons who came here in 1847.”[5])


I’ve only determined two “for sure” siblings to-date of William’s, an older brother Daniel, and, a younger sister Susanna.

My own descent is from William & Elizabeth (HIBSCHMAN) FASIG’s (Aug. 23, 1803 Schaefferstown, Lebanon Co., PA-Dec. 4, 1882 Martinsville, Clark Co., IL; Ridgelawn Cemetery) daughter Catharine (1826 PA-1915 IL), who married, Yes, her first cousin — one of those Genealogy Research Surprises; a story for another blog post… 🙂 — Christian FASIG (1825 PA-1901 IL).



1, at , accessed Mar., 2015.

2 Wikipedia, “the free encyclopedia,” at , accessed Mar., 2015.

3 Peoria Riverfront Museum website, at , accessed Mar., 2015.

4 The National Museum of the American Coverlet, at , accessed Mar., 2015.

5 “The Sons of Dewalt Fasig,” RootsWeb genealogy database of FASIG descendant Minga STIVERS, at , accessed Mar., 2015.

IMAGES of William M. & Elizabeth:  My thanks to Denise DUFFY-WEAVER for (i.) the original from which this badly-cropped miniature of Wm. was swiped by someone and now floods the web :-/ ; &, (ii.) the also badly-cropped miniature of Elizabeth’s larger portrait (the originals of both of which live for now on a crashed hard drive in a corner of my clothes closet). :-\