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The 23 ERB Families in the
1790 Census of Pennsylvania

FROM THE FIRST CENSUS OF THE UNITED STATES

[Click on the numbers in the first column to read the identifications.]

# Household Head County Township Page Males Females
1 ERB, Christopher Franklin -- 114 2M +16
2M -16
3F
2 ERB, Jacob Lancaster Cocalico 129 2M +16
0M -16
1F
3 ERB, David Lancaster Earl 131 1M +16
0M -16
1F
4 ERB, Musock Lancaster -- 133 1M +16
2M -16
4F
5 ERB, Christ Lancaster Warwick 146 1M +16
2M -16
3F
6 ERB, Christ Lancaster Warwick 146 1M +16
1M -16
2F
7 ERB, Danl Lancaster Warwick 146 1M +16
0M -16
4F
8 ERB, John Lancaster Warwick 146 3M +16
1M -16
5F
9 ERB, Peter Lancaster Warwick 146 2M +16
4M -16
2F
10 ERB, Christ Lancaster Warwick 146 2M +16
1M -16
3F
11 ERB, Joseph Lancaster Warwick 146 2M +16
1M -16
2F
12 ERB, John Lancaster Warwick 146 2M +16
4M -16
4F
13 ERB, Christ Lancaster Warwick 146 2M +16
0M -16
3F
14 ERB, Danl Lancaster Warwick 146 1M +16
0M -16
2F
15 ERB, Peter Montgomery -- 161 1M +16
2M -16
1F
16 ERB, George Montgomery -- 161 1M +16
0M -16
2F
17 ERB, Casper Montgomery -- 161 2M +16
0M -16
2F
18 ERB, Henry Montgomery -- 162 1M +16
2M -16
2F
19 ERB, Jacob Montgomery -- 168 1M +16
5M -16
3F
20 ERB, Lodewick Northampton Forks 171 1M +16
2M -16
3F
21 ERB, Michel Northampton Moore 177 1M +16
1M -16
4F
22 ERB, Jacob Northampton Moore 177 1M +16
0M -16
2F
23 ERB, Laurence Northampton Moore 177 1M +16
1M -16
3F
KEY: # = a reference number not present in the original census; Household Head = some names were abreviated by the census takers: "Christ" for "Christian" and "Danl" for "Daniel"; County = all the ERBs enumerated in 1790 lived in the four Pennsylvania counties listed in this table; Township = township information for Franklin and Montgomery Counties is not available; Moore Twp. is spelled "More" in the original; "Warwick Twp. is given as "Bart" in the original; Page = the page number from the original census can, in a rough way, be used to guage the geographical proximity of these families, and the table is organized according to this number; M +16 = the total number of adult males 16 or older, including the head of household; M -16 = the total number of boys under 16; F = the total number of females of any age, including a head of household, if any.

LINKS: The 1790 Census had an additional column to record the total number of Slaves which does not appear in the table above since the ERB households had no slaves. This does not mean, however, that slavery did not exist in Pennsylvania in 1790. To see the names of slaves and slaveowners, newspaper ads about escaped slaves and a discussion of slavery in Pennsylvania, visit the excellent Slavery in Pennsylvania web site. To find out who else was living in Forks Township and Moore Township, go here. And to download an LDS blank form for recording 1790 Census data from microfilm, go here.

IDENTIFICATION of the 23 ERB FAMILIES
1. Erb, Christopher [114-Franklin Co.] 2 - 2 - 3    [Updated 6 Jun 1999]
This was probably Christopher Erb (1748-1810), his wife Anna Margaret, and their children -- apparently two daughters, two sons under 16 and one son over 16. They are known to have had a son Peter, born in 1770, who would have been about 20 at the time of the census. He neatly fits the second male over 16 listed in the household. Christopher and his family later settled in Frederick Co., Maryland, where he died. But there is no evidence that they were there before 1790. Confirmation of the family's residence in Pennsylvania is lacking, but he is the only "Christopher" known from this period.

A less likely possibility is that this is a census taker's mis-hearing of "Christian". If so, he could have been the person mentioned in the following deed. "TITLE [Indenture] 1794 May 30, between Christian Erb and his wife Mary of Peter Township, Franklin County, Pa., and John Erb of Warwick Township, Lancaster County, Pa., for a certain tract of land in Warwick Township [of] 65 acres and 48 perches... ."

Christopher/Christian may or may not be a descendant of Nicholas Claus Erb. It's not at all clear who his parents were. The only other Erbs known to be living in Franklin County at the time were Mary, Elizabeth, and Magdalena -- all married daughters of Christian Erb 1734. So a third possibility is that this is their brother Christian Erb 1758, who "settled in Cumberland County", but is not listed there in this Census. His wife's name was "Elizabeth", not "Mary". [ BACK ]

2. Erb, Jacob [129 - Cocalico Twp., Lancaster Co.] 2 - 0 - 1
This would have been Jacob Erb (1724-1810), the third son of Nicholas Claus Erb. In 1790 Jacob would have been about 53, living with his wife, Magdalena (Johns) Shrantz, whom he met when they were both teenage immigrants on the ship "Charming Nancy" in 1737. Since their two sons John 1756 [#12] and Christian 1766 [#6] both had their own households by this time, it is unclear who the other adult male in the census might have been. Jacob, a miller, was in George Washington's army during the Revolutionary War, and would have been just completing a term as a member of the Pennsylvania State Legislature.
[ BACK ]

3. Erb, David [131 - Earl Twp., Lancaster Co.] 1 - 0 - 1
The only known David Erb old enough to be a head of household in 1790 would have been the son of Jacob Erb (abt 1746-1819) and grandson of John (Hans) Erb 1713. His exact birthdate is unknown but he might have been about 18 or 19 in 1790, recently married and childless. He was born in Mannheim Twp. and later settled in York Co., PA. But other members of his family owned property in Earl Twp., and David may have been living there in 1790. [ BACK ]

4. Erb, Musock [133 - Lancaster Co.] 1 - 2 - 4    [Updated 23 Oct 1999]
This is Messach (or Meschak or Mefshach) Erb who was born about 1756, lived in Lampeter Twp., owned property in New Providence Twp., and left a will that was probated in Lancaster Co. in 1833. In 1790 he and his unknown wife would have been about 34, living with their five children -- Esther, Elizabeth, Catherine, John, and Joseph. Catherine (who later married Adam LeFevre 1745 and had a son named Meshack) is the only one with a firm birthdate. She would have been about 9 at the time. John died in 1825, predeceasing his father. Go here to read John's will. Go here to read Messach's will. Messach's parents are unknown, but he was probably a descendant of the Henry Erb who immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1783 on the ship "Brittania". The Esther Erb, born about 1760, who married Georg Nailer and also lived in Lampeter Twp, was probably his sister.[ BACK ]

5. Erb, Christ [146 - Warwick Twp., Lancaster Co.] 1 - 2 - 3
This was probably Christian Erb (1755-1812), third son of John (Hans) Erb 1713. He would have been about 35 in 1790, living with his wife Anna Bomberger, their two young sons Christian Jr. and Jacob and their 9-year-old daughter Maria. The identity of the third female is unclear. This family also appears in the 1810 Census of Warwick Twp. [ BACK ]

6. Erb, Christ [146 - Warwick Twp., Lancaster Co.] 1 - 1 - 2
This was probably Christian Erb (1766-1822), the youngest son of Jacob Erb 1724 [#2], who would have been about 24 in 1790, and recently married to Susanna Hostetter Bomberger. The children would have been their 2-year-old son David and their infant daughter Magdalena. [ BACK ]

7. Erb, Danl [146 - Warwick Twp., Lancaster Co.] 1 - 0 - 4
This is probably Daniel Erb (1760-1837), son of Christian Erb 1734 [#13]. In 1790 he would have been about 30, living with his first wife Elizabeth Longnecker and his infant daughter Elizabeth. The identity of the other two females is unclear. About 14 years later Daniel emigrated to Ontario, Canada where he married a second time. Indeed it was Daniel, along with John Bricker, who transported by Conestoga wagon the $40,000 in coins that paid off the mortgage of the Canadian land purchased by the German Land Company which later became the cities of Waterloo and Preston. [ BACK ]

8. Erb, John [146 - Warwick Twp., Lancaster Co.] 3 - 1 - 5
This might well have been John Erb (1764-1832), the second son of Christian Erb 1734 [#13], who would have been about 26 and living with his wife Magdalena Shantz and their infant daughter Elizabeth. The two additional adult males could have been John's brothers Jacob 1768 (about 22) and Abraham 1772 (about 18); the male under 16 might have been his brother Benjamin 1799 (about 11); and the three additional females might have included one or more young wives or daughters of Jacob and Abraham. John also appears as a head of household in the 1800 Census of Warwick Twp. About 1805 the family emigrated to Ontario where John became the founder of the city of Preston (now Cambridge). [ BACK ]

9. Erb, Peter [146 - Warwick Twp., Lancaster Co.] 2 - 4 - 2
Peter Erb (1759-1832) was the youngest son of John (Hans) Erb 1713. He would have been 31 in 1790, living with his wife Anna Schaffer and their four young sons and a daughter. (They eventually had 8 sons and 5 daughters.) Peter and Anna are buried in the Erb Burial Ground in Lititz, PA. [ BACK ]

10. Erb, Christ [146 - Warwick Twp., Lancaster Co.] 2 - 1 - 3
The identity of this person is murky. But it might have been Christian Erb (1758-1820), eldest son of Christian Erb 1734 [#13], who grew up in Warwick and later settled in Cumberland County, PA, where he died. He would have been about 32 in 1790, living with his wife Elizabeth Hershey, whom he married about 1785, and three of their young children. [ BACK ]

11. Erb, Joseph [146 - Warwick Twp., Lancaster Co.] 2 - 1 - 2

The information about Joseph Erb (1758-1830), the second son of Christian Erb 1734 [#13], is sketchy. He would have been 32 in 1790, and was apparently living with his wife, a son under 16, a daughter, and another adult male. The daughter would have been 6-year-old Maria, who later married Christian Bomberger and emigrated to Canada. One source has Maria's mother's name as also Maria (with no surname), but another source has Joseph marrying a Barbara Shirk or Shirkin in1804. He may have married twice. [ BACK ]

12. Erb, John [146 - Warwick Twp., Lancaster Co.] 2 - 4 - 4
This would have been John Erb (1756-1810), eldest son of Jacob 1724, living with his wife Judith Hull, four young sons (Samuel, Joseph, Jacob, and John), two daughters (Magdalena and Elizabeth), and another unidentified female. He would have been 34 in 1790. Earlier, like his father Jacob Erb 1724 [#2], he had served as a teamster in George Washington's army during the American Revolution. One source indicates that this military service, quite unusual among the Amish Erbs whose religion prohibited it, caused a break with their church for both father and son. [ BACK ]

13.
Erb, Christ [146 - Warwick Twp., Lancaster Co.] 2 - 0 - 3
The absence of young sons in this household suggests that this was Christian Erb (1734-1810), the youngest son of Nicholas Claus Erb. He would have been 56 in 1790 and living with his wife Mary Shirk. Their son Abraham would have only been about 18 and might have been the additional adult male enumerated in the census. Their youngest son Benjamin would have been only 11 and is surprisingly absent from this enumeration. Christian emigrated from Europe in 1737 with his father and, late in his life, would emigrate again to Ontario, Canada, where he an Mary lived briefly with one of their daughters before they both died there. [ BACK ]

14. Erb, Danl [146 - Warwick Twp., Lancaster Co.]
1 - 0 - 2
This was probably Daniel Erb (1756-1828), the fourth son of John (Hans) Erb 1713. In 1790 he would have been about 34, living with his wife Elizabeth Hostetter Bomberger and their infant daughter Barbara in the Hammar Creek homestead established by his grandfather Nicholas Claus Erb. [ BACK ]

15. Erb, Peter [161-Montgomery Co.] 1 - 2 - 1
Peter was the fourth son of Casper Erb 1724. Born in 1765, he would have been about 25 in 1790, and was apparantly living with his wife Christina and their 2 young sons. Also living in New Hanover Twp. and enumerated in the Census of Montgomery Co. were Peter's brothers John George [#16], Henry [#18], and Jacob [#19], and his father Casper 1724 [#17]. [ BACK ]

16. Erb, George [161-Montgomery Co.] 1 - 0 - 2
John George Erb (1763-1842) was the third son of Casper Erb 1724. He was a miller in New Hanover Twp. who married three times. In 1790 he would have been about 27 living with his first wife, Maria Catherine Renninger, whom he had married five years earlier. The second female might be a young daughter, though his 6 known children were all products of his second marriage. Also living in New Hanover Twp. and enumerated in the 1790 Census of Montgomery Co. were John George's brothers Henry [#18], Jacob [#19], and Peter [#15], and his father Casper 1724 [#17]. [ BACK ]

17. Erb, Casper [161-Montgomery Co.] 2 - 0 - 2
This is probably Casper Erb (1724-1801), a miller, who immigrated to Pennsylvania from Wurtemburg, Germany in 1754 on the ship Edinburg and who lived in Pottstown. He would have been about 66 years old in 1790 and living with his second wife, Catharina Reinheim, whom he married in May, 1787 -- two years after the death of his first wife Catherina Margareth Metzger. The additional adult male might have been his youngest son Johannes, who would have been about 17, and the additional female might have been his youngest daughter Sophine Margareth, who would have been about 19. The other Erbs living in New Hanover Twp. and enumerated in the 1790 Census of Montgomery County were his sons John George [#16], Henry [#18], Jacob [#19], and Peter [#15]. [ BACK ]

18. Erb, Henry [162-Montgomery Co.] 1 - 2 - 2
Henry (or Heinrich) Erb was born in 1759, the eldest son of Casper Erb [#17]. He served as a Private in the Pennsylvania Militia during the Revolutionary War and started receiving a military pension when he was 73. He would have been about 31 in 1790, living with his wife Catherine, their two young sons, and their daughter. Also living in New Hanover Twp. and enumerated in the Census of Montgomery Co. were Henry's brothers John George [#16], Jacob [#19], and Peter [#15], and his father Casper 1724 [#17]. [ BACK ]

19. Erb, Jacob [168-Montgomery Co.] 1 - 5 - 3
Jacob was the second son of Casper Erb 1724. He was born in 1761 and would have been about 29 in 1790. He was apparantly living with his wife Elizabeth and their three children -- plus, it would appear, some young boys from another family. Also living in New Hanover Twp. and enumerated in the Census of Montgomery Co. were Jacob's brothers John George [#16], Henry [#18], and Peter [#15], and his father Casper 1724 [#17]. [ BACK ]

20. Erb, Lodewick [171 - Forks Twp., Northampton Co.] 1 - 2 - 3
This would have been Ludwig Erb, born about 1755. In 1790 he would have been about 35, and living with his wife Anna Maria and their four children. His relationship to Jacob Erb [#22], Michael Erb [#21], and Lawrence Erb [#23] -- sons of Casper Erb (abt 1734-1788) who resided in nearby Moore Township -- is unclear. He was not their brother, but may have been related in some other way. His father is unknown, but he was probably not a descendant of Nicholas Claus Erb. [ BACK ]

21. Erb, Michel [177 - Moore Twp., Northampton Co.] 1 - 1 - 4
[Updated 10 Jun 1999]
Michael, born about 1750, was the brother of Jacob Erb [#22] and Michael Erb [#21], who were also 1790 residents of Moore Township, and Lawrence Erb [#23]. They were all sons of Casper Erb (abt 1734-1788] whose will was probated in Northampton County. On June 6, 1786 Michael and Jacob each received 400-acre land grants in Northampton County. On the same day, a similar grant was given to their father Casper 1734, who died in 1788 and doesn't appear in this census. This Casper is not to be confused with [#17] Casper 1724 of Montgomery Co. -- though they may have been related. In 1790 Michael would have been about 40, and living with his wife Barbara and their two children. The extra two females have not been identified. [ BACK ]

22. Erb, Jacob [177 - Moore Twp., Northampton Co.] 1 - 0 - 4
[Updated 10 Jun 1999]
Born about 1748, Jacob would have been about 42 in 1790 and appears to have had a wife and four daughters. He was the brother of Michael Erb [#21] and Lawrence Erb [#23], who also lived in Moore Township. They were all sons of Casper Erb (abt 1734-1788] whose will was probated in Northampton County. [ BACK ]

23. Erb, Laurence [177 - Moore Twp., Northampton Co.] 1 - 1 - 3
[Updated 10 Jun 1999]
Quite a bit is known about Lawrence (or Lorentz) Erb, who was born about 1755. He fought at the 1776 Battle of New York during the Revolutionary War, and was in the military again in 1782-83. He owned property in Northampton Co. and became a distiller and co-owner of a stage coach line. In 1790 he would have been about 40, living with his wife Anna Maria Dreisbach, one son under 16 and one daughter under 16. The additional female is unidentified. He was the brother of Jacob Erb [#22] and Michel Erb [#21], who were also 1790 residents of Moore Township, and the son of Casper Erb (abt 1734-1788] whose will was probated in Northampton County. [ BACK ]

CAUTION: The identifications above must not be looked upon as proven. The Census of 1790 does not contain specific ages or the names of anyone but heads of household. Further, where there is more than one head of household with the same name living in the same area, they cannot be distinguished by the names of their wives, which are not given, or by middle initials, which were not in use. Add to this the fact that much of the non-census information on these families is also incomplete or uncertain and the difficulty of making clear-cut matches should not be hard to understand. On the other hand, there were only a limited number of adult Erbs living in Pennsylvania in 1790 (only 43 years after Nicholas Claus Erb's family arrived) and there is usually enough information to eliminate all but one as the best candidate to fit a specific enumeration.

When interpreting the three broad age and gender groups given in the 1790 Census, it is not unreasonable to presume that in most cases one of the adult males is the father, that the young males are his sons, that one of the females is his wife, and that the other females are his daughters. But none of this is necessarily true in any particular family. What would appear to be a daughter may in fact be a mother or mother-in-law; what would appear to be sons or daughters may be adopted children or live-in domestic help; what would appear to be an older son may be a father or a father-in-law or a hired hand; and what would appear to be a nuclear family may be a father and his widowed daughter and her children.

Altogether, this list presents a cross-section of all the Erb families in Pennsylvania in 1790. As such, it can be a valuable reference tool. But, its users should keep clearly in mind the difference between the initial table, which is based on a primary source, and the list of identifications, which consists of my interpretations of that data in the light of other information in the Erb / Larkins Database -- most of which is from secondary or tertiary sources. Other researchers might reach different conlclusions and there may be other data that I am unaware of. So it would not be surprising to find some of these identifications changing as new evidence is uncovered. (I have already modified the description of 5 of the 23 families in the two months since the list was first posted.)

I encourage anyone who has corrections or additional infomation to get in touch with me so I can include it here.


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John Larkins 1999 Last updated: Send email to: jhlarkins@msn.com