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Wildasin family arrives in America

This information courtesy of Arthur H. Laube.

Soon after they arrived in Philadelphia three families of Wildasins, Matters and Runkles joined several others of like mind and religion and determined to claim land on the western frontier, west of the Susquehanna River.

In the early 1750's a permanent boundary between Penn's Trust and Lord Baltimore's land had not yet been established and Lord Baltimore had issued several warrants in what was later to be Manheim Township, York County, Pennsylvania. One of them, Digges Choice, warranted by Lord Baltimore in 1727, was so large, surveyed at 6,822 acres and patented in 1738, that it approximately conformed to a very large original Heidelberg Township. Digges Choice included what is today the borough of Hanover and Penn and Heidelberg Townships and also extended west into what is now Adams County.

There had been so much violence in this disputed area that King George issued a Royal Order in 1739, decreeing that no further land grants were to be made by either side until a permanent boundary was established. And Penn honored this edict and issued very few warrants/surveys but the violence persisted and Dudley Digges was killed when he attempted to extend his holdings to 10,000 acres.

Even though they knew that it might be years before Penn's Proprietors could issue them warrants, survey their land and patent it to them, these Wildasin, Matter and Runkle families came seeking land on the eastern edge of Digges Choice. There was no one else there to contest their choice. They chose a large parcel of well watered fertile land, and divided it up into several individual tracts of 100 to 200 acres. Having chosen the location of their cabins they marked their boundaries, cleared their fields and built cabins and barns. They joined each other in prayer, thanking God for blessing them with this abundance. And as they checked their rifles to make sure they were ready for use, they prayed for Divine help in protecting their claim. As soon as they had provided shelter for their families and their animals they began to attend St. David's Church (Sherman's) which was organized in 1753.

Catharine Wildasin paid interest (taxes) from March 1, 1756, which means she and no doubt her husband and their family were living on and developing their tract.

Also, George Charles Wildasin paid interest (taxes) from March 1, 1758, and therefore, must be living, developing and defending his tract.

Penn and Lord Baltimore, in December 1763, agreed to the eastern starting point of the long disputed boundary. This starting point had been established by Mason and Dixon and the surveyors then began to extend the line to the west and the location of the boundary beyond the Susquehanna River was apparent. Penn could now issue warrants to such early settlers as the Wildasin, Matter and Runkle families. June 24, 1764, Catharine Wildisin was granted a warrant for 100 acres and April 30, 1765, George Charles Wildasin was issued a warrant for 125 acres. December 9, 1766, survey 521 reporting 165 acres called Meadow Land was returned to Catharine Wildisin the same survey reporting 125 acres called Chestnut Hill was returned to George Charles Wildisin.

Another George Wildasin, probably a grandson of Catharine, was issued a patent, June 26, 1809, on these two parcels in the patent they total 329 acres (survey 521.)

For reasons which we will publish later, we think it is likely that Catharine's husband, perhaps named Jacob Wildisin, died between 1754 and 1766, and that Jacob, George Charles and Samuel are their sons. Perhaps Vanessa and others have boat records or other information that will help determine these relationships.

Georg and Anna Maria Matter were on hand at St. David's Church (Sherman's), March 24, 1754, when their neighbors, Jacob and Ann Maria Runckel, Baptized their son Johannes. The church is on the present day border of Pennsylvania and Maryland, about 6 miles south of the Matter and Runkel property.

The tracts of land marked out and claimed by Jacob Runkle, George Morter, and George Wildisin were contiguous - as documented in surveys 516, 517 and 521. Runkle's land is in Manheim Township. The other two tracts are divided by the present day Manheim/West Manheim Township border.

This first Heidelberg Township was later completely absorbed by other townships as they were formed and expanded. No part of the first Heidelberg is to be found in the present day Heidelberg Township. We are indebted to Neal Otto Hively who in 1989 published Index and Summary to Connected Draft Maps - West Manheim and Penn Townships, York County, Pennsylvania.

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