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Yelles Kassel


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Yelles Kassel 1

  • Born: 1590, Switzerland
  • Marriage: Unknown
  • Died: 1681, Kriesheim (now Kriegsheim), Rhineland, Germany at age 91 1 2

bullet   Other names for Yelles were Julius Kassel and Yillisz Kassel.

bullet  General Notes:

In John Ruth's Maintaining the Right Fellowship, Studies in Anabaptist and Mennonite History

In Samuel Pennypacker's The Setlement of Germantown and the Beginning of German Emigration to North America

Cassel Family Roots p. 5:
He was a poet of some renown who resided in Kriesheim, in the Palatinate, and later became a humble Mennonite preacher. The sinking of the great Spanish Armada in the North Sea by a huge storm convinced Yelles Kassel that if God is on your side, the greatest naval armada in the world could not even touch your soil; for the Spanish Armada had sought to capture England for Spain. The poems of Yelles Kassel clearly depicted this philosophy.

Alfred Henry Cassell:
Yelles Kassel of Kriesheim was a Mennonite Bishop and had three identifiable sons. Johannes, Heinrich and Yelles. Johannes and Heinrich were also Mennonite preachers, with Heinrich in Gerolsheim. After being granted land in America, William Penn made at least three visits to Germany and on his third visit in 1681, to Kassel and Kreisheim in the Palatinate, he met Johannas and Heinrich and stayed in their house. (Several sources report this meeting) He was looking for farmers to come to Pennsylvania to populate his new Colony...all this is carefully documented in the archives. Johannas was anxious to come, so he changed to the Quaker religion, thinking it guaranteed him a swifter exit from Germany, thus creating a storm of protest among the other Mennonites, and his brother Heinrich, whose full name was Heinrich Kassel von Gerolsheim, wrote several broadsides about Johannnes being a "fallen away Christian". and a terrible schism in the family developed. This is all documented in Kolbs "History of the Cassell Family". Johannes asked for permission to emigrate and was given permssion and came to America from the Palatinate on Nov. 20, 1686 in the ship Friendship. landing in Germantown PA after a 7 month voyage. Heinrich also emigrated, but as a Mennonite, prior to 1708 with his four children, Ann, Nicholas, Sarah and Johannes Heinrich. It may be that the third brother, Yelles never came to he was in poor health. but that is still in dispute. He did however publish many poems and articles which are still in existence. The family schism was very deep and the two brothers and their families did not speak. A second event occured which widened the split.. Both Dan Kolb in his book and Alfred Harley in his history of the Cassells, claim that an emmisary of the family or of the German Lord Protector, came to Germantown to pass an inheritance on to Heinrich, which required that he return to Germany to accept it. The records of the Mennonite church in Germantown record that the matter was discussed at some length at a church meeting and the congretation felt that having money might make the Kassels "proud" which was a terrible sin to the Mennonites, so by unaminous vote of the church council, the money was declined. Johannes was reportedly furious at this as he felt that as a brother it should have come to him... and never spoke to the other side of the family again.
3 4 5 6

bullet  Noted events in his life were:

• Religion: Mennonite.

• Occupation: Minister.

• Alt. Birth, 1590, Kriesheim (now Kriegsheim), Rhineland, Germany. 2

• Alt. Birth, Bef 1618. 1

• Census, 1664, Kriesheim (now Kriegsheim), Rhineland, Germany. 7 8 Not sure that the Gilles Cassel listed in the census is this Yelles Kassel.

• Event: Attended William Penn's meeting, Aug 23, 1681, Kriesheim (now Kriegsheim), Rhineland, Germany.

Yelles married.


1 Daniel Kolb Cassel, A Genealogical History of the Cassel Family in America, Being the Descendants of Julius Kassel or Yelles Cassel, of Kriesheim, Baden, Germany (Originally published by Morgan R. Wiles, Publisher 1896, Norristown, PA. Reprinted 1989 by Selby Publishing, 3405 Zartman Rd, Kokomo, IN 46902, CS71.C28 1989, ISBN: 0832837679).

2 Russel N. Cassel and Milford H. Cassel, Cassel Family Roots, p. 3.

3 Russel N. Cassel and Milford H. Cassel, Cassel Family Roots.

4 Alfred Henry Cassell (

5 John L. Ruth, Maintaining the Right Fellowship, Studies in Anabaptist and Mennonite History, No. 26, a narrative account of life in the oldest Mennonite Community in North America (Herald Press, Scottdale, PA 15683 and Kitchener, Ontario 1984. Library of Congress #83-18579; ISBN 0-8361-1259-8). Chapter 1
"For the Sake of Their Faith"

Page 25

"In a little vine-growing village on the Pfrimm River a two-hour westward walk from the free imperial city of Worms, a man stared into the eastern sky before daylight in April 1665. A bright, long-tailed comet, seeming to point toward the earth, filled him with misgivings. It was the third of such stars to appear in the last quarter-year. 'What they mean,' mused Yillisz Kassel, father of one of a dozen local Mennonite families, 'I am afraid many people will learn with sorrow and misery.' The glowing tail of the star looked to him like a rod - the sign of God's wrath for disobedient human beings."

"Yillisz (Julius or Yillis) Kassel, whose family would carry his rough sketches of the three comets to the forests of a transatlantic colony, was hardly jumping to conclusions. 'For in the year 1618,' he recalled somberly, 'I also saw the great comet star.' (1) 1618! History pupils for centuries to come would recognize the year as the beginning of the sustained catastrophe they were taught to call the 'Thirty Years' war.' And the common people of the Palatinate who endured it, as had Yillisz and his family, could only recall this interminable 'great misery in Germany' with the bleakest of feelings.

"The fertile Rhineland, by virtue of its central location and wealth of food, had become the cockpit of brawling Christian nationalities - Catholic, Lutheran, and Reformed - trying to maintain or redefine Europe politically and religiously. It was a war to be remembered for its unspeakable bitterness, by the people whose farmland it tormented. No atrocity too gross had been left uninvented, no known store of food unrifled, no castle or farmstead or village within reach unwrecked."

Page 26

"And when, in 1648, it had ended in exhaustion in the Peace of Westphalia, with hardly a stone on top of another, wolves roaming empty lanes, once-lush fields scrub-forested, and, in places, a tenth of the population left, the old Catholic German Empire had become a shell. Sixty-one cities and some 300 petty princes paid lip service to it, the map of their holdings a splotchy puzzle.

"The largest piece in the Rhineland was the 'electoral' Palatinate (Kurpfalz), straddling the north-flowing Rhine, pocked by free cities like Worms and Speyer, and crazy-patched with dozens of other little duchies and earldoms. The elector was headquartered in Heidelberg, just east of the Rhine, where the huge castle looked down over the Neckar. Yillisz Kassel's hamlet of Kriegsheim was in Palatine holdings, and thus under the administration of the elector (Kurfürst) himself, but at one edge it touched the little Leiningen-Dagsburg-Falkenburg earldom. However small, each such hereditary realm had its ruined castle and wasted fields. Villages, or even single farmsteads, called 'hofs,' might be divided among two or three baronies or church properties, each with its peculiar set of taxes, tithes, and excises. Small farmers might own modest plots, but their feudal landlords still lived by inherited, multiple, and endless revenues.

"Some twenty communities in the general area of Kriegsheim, just west of the sprawling and multi-channeled Rhine, had in a recent census been designated as containing Mennonite inhabitants. Yillisz Kassel's name had been ninth on a list of such people as Jan Clemens of neighboring Niederflörsheim, Peter Bechtel of Gundersheim, Peter Schumacher of Osthofen, Heinrich Fritt of Aspisheim, Heinrich Kolb and Thomas Rohr of Wolfsheim, Jan Bliem of Spiesheim, Johannes Herrstein of Obersülzen, Heinrich Jansen of Rodenbach, and Heinrich Kassel of Gerolsheim. (2) These families, unlike the Mennonites of Holland, were not really citizens of their 'country,' the Palatinate (in German called the Pfalz). As 'Manisten' (Mennonites) they were rather 'tolerated' people who paid, as did the local Jews, special taxes for the privilege of living and working among the citizens. They did not fit any of the three religious categories - Catholic, Lutheran, and Reformed - that were recognized under the treaties made at the end of the Thirty Years' War. Nor were they appreciated by the clergy of the three official churches. These pastors felt that they had enough of a struggle to administer their decimated parishes without the irritating presence of people who looked after their own spiritual concerns, did not 'go to church' or the official statement, 'let their children run about unbaptized,' sometimes held 'their services boldly in the forest,' and even had the audacity to 'solemnize marriages' on their own. (3) What would happen to society in general if such social variety were tolerated?"

Page 28

"There had been a continuing presence of these stubborn people in the Palatinate since the early days of the Protestant 'Reformation,' shortly after Martin Luther had defied emperor and pope at the imperial congress in the nearby town of Worms. Before the Thirty Years' War they had been called 'Baptizers' (Täufer), or even, more ominously, 'Re-baptizers' (Wiedertäufer, Anabaptists), and they had often been linked in the popular memory to the violent Anabaptist radicals who had, in the early days of the Reformation, established by force an abortive 'kingdom' in the Westphalian city of Münster. A few years before the war had broken out, no fewer than 106 members of this group had been counted in Kriegsheim itself - between half and a third of the local population. (4) Though they could be harried from village to village, it seemed impossible to stamp out their fellowships. The Herrstein family, complained one local pastor, 'will not let themselves be instructed or converted, even if they were to be immediately fried in oil.' (5)

"Once the war was ended, however, their notorious diligence attracted the favor of the new elector, the Protestant Karl Ludwig <karlludwig.html> (1648-80), who needed nothing more urgently than settlers to restore his ravaged land. His mild immigration policies drew not only Catholics, Lutherans, and Reformed, but Mennonites and even a small Bruderhof of Hutterites from far-off Moravia as well. And so the surviving Palatine Anabaptist communities shortly became the base for new settlements of harassed fellow-believers from both north (the 'Siebengebirge' area) and south (Switzerland and Alsace). Whereas Catholic, Lutheran, and Reformed pastors jealously resented their coming, the government - or more accurately the elector himself - from economic motives - was more tolerant. Already in 1652 the church office in Niederflörsheim, the next village north of Kriegsheim, was complaining that foreign 'Anabaptists,' adherents of a 'dangerous, obstinate sect,' had slipped into their community. (6) In the same years, east of the Rhine in the Kraichgau district south of Heidelberg, secret forest meetings of newly arrived Swiss Anabaptists were occurring. Thus occurred that mixing of Dutch-speaking Rhenish Mennonites with German-speaking Palatine and Swiss Anabaptists that in another half century would establish strong new communities between the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers in North America.

"Shortly after the Peace of 1648, as a little room was being opened for Anabaptists in the wasted Palatinate, especially hard times descended upon Mennonites a hundred miles north in the 'Lower Rhine' area, above and below Krefeld 'in the land of the Muers,' in the duchies of Jülich and Cleves and in the Siebengebirge region of present-day Bonn. Here some five or six hundred Mennonites, toughened by a century of persecution, had first won a toehold in the cottage weaving industry of the region, and then threatened to dominate it. Since they tended to take such good care of each other, and had what seemed to others to be an uncanny network for letting each other know of available land or economic opportunities, they were sometimes resented. Like Jews, they were highly motivated, and knew their living lay not in their social status but in their work. They were by heritage religiously separate and self-sufficient."

Page 30

"The town of Krefeld itself had a long-standing reputation for extraordinary tolerance, and so Mennonite weavers, bleachers, and dyers tended to resettle there, bringing the town eventual wealth, by their productivity, that far surpassed that of the neighboring towns that had banished them. In this region lived the parents of the people who would be founders of 'Germantown.'

Cris Hueneke: Ruth goes on to discuss the Mennonites' mistreatment and expulsion from their towns, which led some to Krefeld, but since "Not everyone could move to the town of Krefeld ... it was the Palatinate, where 'High German' rather than 'Low Dutch' was spoken and where officials admitted there was 'more than too much open space,' that became for some of these harassed people the best option. We may observe Arnold Schomecker's widow and her children selling the family 'house and hof' at Niederdollendorf, 'for the sake of their faith.' Three of the six children are still minors. Loading their 'movables' on a boat, they sail upstream, toward Mainz, from which they will eventually reach and settle in Kriegsheim, the Palatine home of Yillisz Kassel. (8) Perhaps, for all we know, the Kassels themselves are part of this migration. In any case, Peter Shomecker (Schumacher), one of the oldest sons, will one day be a citizen of Germantown, and his Kolb grandsons will be among the founders of the daughter settlement, Skippack."

Page 36

"On … October 23, (1661), to their great dismay, the electoral regime decreed a major fine of 100 Reichstaler, each person having been caught at the meeting to be assessed proportionately to his means. (17) Again they protested in vain. They were told that they might now again meet in peace, but that on every such occasion there was to be a fine strictly reckoned for each person present, young or old. A religious head tax, in other words. The same arrangement was imposed on the other side of the Rhine at Wolfsheim, home of the Heinrich Kolb family northwest of Yillisz Kassel's Kriegsheim. There too an angry church inspector reported meetings of over 200 persons among the Anabaptists, whose fellowship had lately been augmented by new Swiss immigrants. Further, he claimed, the Anabaptists were trying to mislead members of the Reformed Church. (18)

"The consternation which now spread among the Palatine Mennonites was complicated at Kriegsheim by a recent division in the congregation. Some six years earlier, very soon after the Dutch-speaking immigrants from the Lower Rhine had arrived, an itinerating English Quaker minister named William Ames had been in the community, preaching a Christianity as stringent as that of the Mennonites, but much more outspoken, and with another kind of orientation to governmental authority. The Quakers preached against the payment of such taxes as served for military exemptions, or which purchased the right to hold public worship. No monetary price, they insisted, could be set on such things. Honor should be given to God, not human beings; thus, hats should not be taken off in deference to officials or anyone else."

Page 37

"Ames won not only a hearing but also a number of converts from the Kriegsheim community, including members of the Hendricks, Schomecker (now Schumacher), and eventually the Kassel families. Other Quaker missionaries traveled about the Continent preaching fearlessly, often with jail-stays as their reward, and winning small groups of converts, though only in Mennonite communities. One of the Kriegsheim converts, Jan Hendricks, traveled with William Ames on a preaching mission as far as Danzig.

"Ames and others who followed in the work actually made friends with the elector himself, as well as with his sister Elizabeth. On occasion they were invited to dine with this unusual prince in his castle, where he displayed a cordiality and willingness to hear the case of their 'Friends' which they interpreted as love. He gave no evidence of displeasure when they ate at the table in his or other noble persons' presence without removing their hats, or when they addressed him with the familiar 'du und dich' - 'thee and thou.' More than once, claimed these Quakers in their letters home, the elector told them not to obey the mean-spirited Reformed churchmen who denied them their normal rights. He excused the behavior of the state clergy by saying that their support was a political necessity in his state. At times the Quakers thought they were on the verge of receiving full tolerance by electoral fiat, but eventually they learned that the prince's personal friendliness was one thing, and the practical functioning of the Reformed and Lutheran clergy, whose friendship he also cultivated, another.

"At any rate, there were now two sectarian congregations for the Kriegsheim officials to worry about. The Quakers made more difficulty by their refusal of some of the traditional taxes the Mennonites had been willing to pay. When the local Reformed clergy understood that these people would now decline to pay the 'tithes' which helped pay salaries in the state church, the Quakers were regarded as 'the offensiveist, the irregularist, and perturbatiousest people that are of any sect.' (19) But as their leader, ex-Mennonite Hans or Jan Philip Labach protested, 'It seems strange to us that money is demanded from us for payment regarding the freedom of our conscience and meeting.' In such matters of faith 'no assessment can be made … nor money charged.' (20) The Mennonites, on the other hand, while they complained over the raising of their taxes for freedom from guard duty, mentioned only their poverty - they said they barely had bread - and the economically draining task of restoring unproductive fields. (21)

Page 38

"Holding out stoutly against the taxes, the Kriegsheim Quakers finally saw seven of their men jailed, with heavy confiscations made on their property. Eight cows were taken. George and Peter Schumacher, having arrived only five years earlier, each lost a bedstead, possibly the main furniture they had brought up the Rhine when expelled from their ancestral home. Hendrick Gerretsen, whose son would one day live in America, lost two cows. Cabbage and turnips and sheep and swine were likewise forcibly taken and sold to satisfy the guard-duty and meeting taxes in the spring of 1664." (22)

"All this unhealthy commotion deeply disturbed the mayor of Kriegsheim. By refusing the taxes, some of which, he claimed, were ancient and never previously questioned by the Mennonites, and not even letting crops lie in the field where they could be quietly picked up, the Quakers have caused, he complained, 'such confusion … among the common people that nobody wants to obey anyone else any more, so that an uprising is to be feared in the whole community, and the best inhabitants will leave the village of Kriegsheim and settle elsewhere. (23) At the same time the Mennonites filed a complaint of another kind of trouble - the attempts of certain people in the community to reclaim from Mennonite ownership, paying only the original price, the properties these recent immigrants had rebuilt. The Mennonites appealed directly to the elector that this practice of Auslösungsrecht should be disallowed. If this is not done, they inform their prince, 'very many people who have already pretty much made up their minds to move from Holland to the Electoral Palatinate will be frightened off an stay back.' (24)

The Mennonite-toleration issue was now reaching a crisis. English Quaker missionaries returned periodically to strengthen their precious flock at Kriegsheim, once with the ostensible reason of helping their friends with the wine harvest. Missionary Ames was able to visit the elector, where he told of the difficulties of the Kriegsheim Friends. Around the same time a written appeal came from the Mennonites of the Alzey district, which included Kriegsheim. This congregation too hoped for a better hearing from their prince than from local religious officials. The poll tax or fine for holding meetings, they claimed, was higher than they had the resources to pay. 'We had greatly rejoiced, certainly, when we heard that we might live in the dear fatherland … to enjoy freedom and the exercise [of our religion] and your Electoral most serene Highness's most gracious protection, and in response to this not only brought our possessions and livelihood, but applied and spent our bodily strength, in order to bring into a handsome up-building and improvement the wastage of houses and property, and we also caused many of our relatives in the faith to come into the land, so that it might be re-inhabited.' But now, if no relief from the recently imposed fines is to be had, 'dire need will force us to leave the dear fatherland and bring us into misery.' There is no danger, these Mennonites imply, of any civil disobedience on their part, outside of these impossible taxes. They are 'willing,' in fact, 'to render the most devoted obedience with body and property, so far as we can.'" (25)

Page 39

"The elector, who was loath to lose the economic benefit of his Mennonite farmers, finally reacted with a special 'Concession,' issued on August 4, 1664. Acknowledging the Mennonite peculiarity of abstaining from defense and war activities, he reminds his officials that the Palatinate nevertheless has the highest need for subjects who can 'rebuild and bring into proper condition' the emptied countryside. Therefore, after an exact registry of Mennonites had been drawn up, they may be allowed to meet in their villages for worship but in groups representing no more than twenty families, and without allowing any members of the official churches to attend. Any Mennonite who fails to be registered will be severely fined, and other inhabitants are to give such a person no lodging. In return for this declared 'freedom,' each Mennonite household will be charged six guilders a year, under the title, 'Mennonite Recognition Money.'" (26)

Page 40

"But hardly had the Mennonite Registry been recorded, listing some ninety families west and north of Worms, when another misery descended on the struggling local villages. Troops of marauding soldiers, involved in one of the recurrent border battles the elector was too weak to control, once again threatened the safety and prosperity of the area."

"After many months of suspense, the chaos subsided … The countryside was still in an appalling condition."

[In 1667], "the greatest single influx of Mennonite refugees into the Palatinate was still three or four years in the future. This was to result from the climactic efforts of the Reformed pastors of the Swiss Canton of Bern, several hundred miles south of the Palatinate, to convert or rid themselves, once and for all, of the Anabaptists in their parishes. Those who would not take an oath of allegiance to the Canton of Bern were given two weeks to leave."

Page 42

"By November 2, 1671, 200 of them were reported as arriving, destitute, in the Mennonite communities of the Palatinate, with bundles on their backs and children in their arms."

"By the beginning of 1672 no less than 787 of such Bernese refugees were reported as having streamed north into the Palatine Mennonite communities, 359 west of the Rhine, and 428 on the east." (31)

"The Dutch Mennonite churches, touched to the heart, send substantial gifts of 15,446 guilders back to the Palatinate during that 'Anxious Year' of 1672." (33)

Page 45

"Why all these strands of local history? Because they are the preparation of that spiritual family which, having mixed itself together in the Palatinate, would, first in 1683, and then again from 1707 to 1774, transplant a part of itself to American soil … Before we see that process of transplantation beginning, we must meet another man and another community - both Quaker.

"That man, of course, is William Penn … "

Page 46

"After a meeting with the Quakers of tiny Kriegsheim that was attended by 'a coachful' of curious dignitaries from nearby Worms, Penn's party went on to Mannheim in hopes of another Quaker interview with Elector Karl Ludwig <karlludwig.html>. The ruler having unfortunately just left for his headquarters in Heidelberg, Penn sent his thoughts in a letter. He commended the 'Great Prince' for his 'indulgence' to religious dissenters, and asked 'what encouragement a colony of virtuous and industrious families might hope the receive' to 'transplant themselves into' the Palatinate. It was, of course, far from Penn's imagination that he himself should, in another five years, be owner of a territory larger than the Palatinate. He called the elector's attention to the little flock of 'Friends at Kriegsheim,' who just the day before had been forbidden by local officials to hold meetings. This, Penn wrote, contradicted the indulgence the elector himself had allowed. (41)

"Making a quick trip by Rhine boat and on foot, Penn's little party arrived the next morning, a Sunday, back in Kriegsheim, where a good many of the villagers were present for a Quaker meeting." … "But as to Penn here issuing them an invitation to follow him to the New World, as historians have liked to suggest, there could have been small likelihood. As we have seen, Penn was still considering the Palatinate empty enough to be itself a goal for migrants.
"The Kriegsheim meeting, Penn felt, was a 'good' one, with 'the Lord's power sweetly opened to those present.' Behind the barn in which they met stood the local constable, suspiciously listening at the door. He heard nothing, he later reported to the local clergymen, 'but what was good.' In the evening the seven-family Quaker congregation met again by themselves, when their visitors were greatly impressed by the 'lovely, sweet, and true sense among' them. 'They were greatly comforted in us,' wrote Penn of those Hendrickses, Kassels, and Schumachers. 'Poor hearts! A little handful surrounded with great and mighty countries of darkness …' (42) The next day, after still another meeting, Penn's party walked back to Worms with several Kriegsheimers. He had begun an acquaintance which, in less than a decade, would blossom in an as yet undreamed of American village of 'Germans,' where he and George Keith, a Scottish Quaker who had come along on the tour, would meet again some of the people to whom he had preached here in Kriegsheim near the Rhine."

Page 47

"This missionary trip may have been the occasion, at Kriegsheim, when Johannes Kassel, apparently son of Yillisz, became a Quaker. Among his Kassel relatives this move caused unhappiness. Hinrich Kassel, minister or perhaps bishop at nearby Gerolsheim, issued a 'writing' about this time, entitled An Exposé of the Quakers or Tremblers, in which he expressed his deep grief that some of his Mennonite blood-relatives had become Quakers, and now stood in opposition to him and his family. A quick retort by a Quaker, The Exposer Exposed, appeared in Amsterdam in 1678. (44)

"Just at this time, another small Quaker congregation was taking shape some 200 miles down the Rhine from the Palatinate, in the old linen-weaving town of Krefeld." (Ruth continues with information on Krefeld).

Page 49

We have arrived at the year 1681, in which Charles the Second, 'By the grace of God King of England Scotland France and Ireland,' set his signature to an ornate parchment granting William Penn an unmeasured tract of land north of Maryland, west of the Delaware, and 'as far' northward 'as plantable.' For this colony, Penn preferred the name 'New Wales,' being 'much opposed' to 'Pennsylvania,' which he feared 'should be lookt on as a vanity in me …' But when the name was fixed, he accepted it, and confessed he believed God would 'bless and make it the seed of a nation.' (49)

Chapter 2
"Only Ancient Forest"

Page 56

"Of Sypman the Mennonite and resident of Krefeld, we know the least. He was the only one of the three [Sypman, Streypers, and Telner] who would never visit the planned-for colony in whose finances he was becoming involved. Most of his 5,000 acres would not even be laid out by the time he would sell his rights to them a decade and a half later. When they would be located for the next purchaser, they would turn out to be an area called 'Skippack.' (10)

Page 58

" … Pastorius was looking for a corps of workers to accompany him on the voyage, and help open the new settlement in preparation for the arrival of the Frankfurt Pietist owners themselves. One place he went as he got ready was a village we know - Kriegsheim, west of Worms down along the Rhine. We can guess that the reason he knew about Kriegsheim had something to do with Penn's earlier visit to both Kriegsheim and Frankfurt on his tour of five years before. At any rate, in Kriegsheim Pastorius conferred with Quakers (and ex-Mennonites) Peter Schumacher, Gerhard Hendricks, and Arnold Kassel, all of whom would, in a few years, follow him to America. At this moment, only one Schumacher, a Jacob said to be from Mainz, was ready to go along. (16)

Ruth's sources for these excerpts only - Chapter 1

(1) Yillisz Kasel, "Clagspruch in Krankbet," 22 pp. MS at MSHL, p.22
["Lamentation in Sickbed." Menno Simons Historical Library, at Eastern Mennonite College, Harrisonburg, VA]
(2) Harold S Bender, ed., "Palatine Mennonite Census Lists, 1664-1775," MQR, XIV (January 1940), 8-10.
[Mennonite Quarterly Review]
(3) "Palatinate," ME, IV, 110.
[Mennonite Encyclopedia]
(4) Gerhard Hein, "Zwei neue Quellenfunde zur Geschichte der Täufer in der Kurpfalz," Der Mennonit, XXV (January 1972), 208.
["Two New Resources for the History of the Baptizers in the Kurpfalz"]
(5) Gerhard Hein, "Die Herkunft der pfälzischen Mennoniten," Pfalzer-Palatines, ed. Karl Sherer (Kaiserslautern, 1981), 208
["The Origin of the Palatine Mennonites"]
(6) Christian Neff, "Geschichtliches aus der Gemeinde Monsheim," Mennonitische Blätter LIX (February 1912), 11.
["History of the Monsheim Community"]
(8) Walter Risler, "Täufer im bergischen Amt Löwenburg, Siebengebirge," II, Mennonitische Geschichtsblätter, XIII (1956), 40-41 [Baptizers in the mountainous Löwenberg, Siegengebirge District]
(17) "Wolfsheim," ME, IV, 970-971
[Mennonite Encyclopedia]
(18) Ibid
(19) William I Hull, William Penn and the Dutch Quaker Migration to Pennsylvania (Swarthmore, Pa., 1935), 175-276
[Hull's references to Hans Peter in Hans Peter Bibliography on this site]
(20) Paul Michel, "Täufer, Mennoniten und Quäker in Kriegsheim bei Worms," Der Wormsgau, VII (1965-66), 44 ("Sonderdruck aus 'Der Wormsgau" Siebenter Band").
[Michel's references to Hans Peter in Hans Peter Bibliography on this site]
(21) Neff, 11
(22) Michel, 22
(23) Neff, 11
(24) Ibid
(25) Ibid, 12
(26) "Palatinate," ME, IV, 110
[Mennonite Encyclopedia]
(32) Bender, 13
(33) J. Ijntema, "Mennonites of the Netherlands," MQR, XI (January 1937), 27.
[Mennonite Quarterly Review]
(41) Hull, 280-284
(42) William Penn, Journal of William Penn While Visiting Holland and Germany in 1677 (Philadelphia 1878), 79
(44) B.C. Rosen, Geschichte der Mennoniten-Gemeinde zu Hamburg und Altona, "Erste Hälfte" (Hamburg, 1886), 60n
[History of the Mennonites in Hamburg and Altona, "First Half"]
(49) Sylvester K Stevens, Pennsylvania: Birthplace of a Nation (New York, 1964), 31

Ruth's sources - Chapter 2
(10) Samuel W. Pennypacker, The Settlement of Germantown, 258-259
(16) Hull, 181n
. Ruth's book can be obtained from Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society, 2215 Millstream Road, Lancaster, PA 17602, phone: 717-393-9745, fax: 717-393-8751, email:

Excerpts transcribed by Cris Hueneke at

6 Samuel W Pennypacker, The Settlement of Germantown and the Beginning of German Emigration to North America (William J Campbell, Philadelphia, 1899.) (page iii) PREFACE

"As it seemed to be a duty which could not be avoided, I have written the following history of the settlement of one of the most interesting of the American burghs. A descendant of Hendrick Pannebecker, Abraham Op den Graeff, Paul Kuster, Cornelius Tyson, Peter Conrad, Hendrick Sellen, Hans Peter Umstat and probably of William Rittenhouse, all of them among the early residents of Germantown, for thirty years I have been gradually gathering the original materials from over the world."

(Page 14, FOOTNOTE #29): "William Ames, an accession to Quakerism from the Baptists, was the first to go to Holland and Germany, and it was he who first made the converts in Amsterdam and Kriegsheim."

(Page 15ff): "William Sewel, the historian, was a Mennonite, and it certainly was no accident that the first two Quaker histories were written in Holland. It was among the Mennonites they made their converts. In fact, transition between the two sects both ways was easy. Quakers became members of the Mennonite Church at Crefeld and at Haarlem, and in the reply which Peter Henrichs and Jacob Claus, of Amsterdam, made in 1679 to a pamphlet by Heinrich Kassel, a Mennonite preacher in Kriegsheim, they quote him as saying 'that the so-called Quakers, especially here in the Palatinate, have fallen off and gone out from the Mennonites. (34)

These were the people who, some as Mennonites, and others, perhaps as recently converted Quakers, after being unresistingly driven up and down the Rhine for a century and a half, were ready to come to the wilds of America. Of the six original purchasers Jacob Telner and Jacob Isaacs Van Bebber are known to have been members of the Mennonite Church; Govert Remke (36) January 14, 1686, sold his land to Dirck Sipman, and had little to do with the emigration; Sipman selected as his attorneys here at various times Herman Op den Graeff, Hendrick Sellen, and Van Bebber, all of whom were Mennonites …"

(Footnote 34) "This valuable pamphlet is in the library of A. H. Cassel."

(Footnote 36) "Johann Remke was the Mennonite preacher at Crefeld."

Page 51 begins a biography of Francis Daniel Pastorius from which I have excerpted as pertains to Kriegsheim:

(Page 54) "On the 24th of April, 1679, he made a journey to Frankfurt on the Mayn and there had a private school of law for some students and practiced a little. The opportunity arose to visit Worms, Mannheim and Speyer."

(Page 56, and some time after November, 1682) "He presented his books to his brother, John Samuel, and after many letters obtained the consent of his father, together with two hundred rix dollars, and thereupon went to Kriegsheim, where he saw Peter Schumacher, Gerhard Hendricks, and Arnold Kassel, and made ready for the long journey."

(Later on the same page, the year would be 1683): On the 11th of April he went down the Rhine to Urdingen and from there on foot to Crefeld, where he spoke with Thones Kunders and his wife, and with Dirck, Hermann, and Abraham Op den Graeff and many others, who six weeks later followed him. On the 16th of April he came to Rotterdam and stopped with his friend Mariette Vettekuke, and saw there Benjamin Furly, Peter Hendricks, Jacob Telner and others. On the 4th of May he sailed from Rotterdam …"

(Page 57) "When Germantown was laid out he [Pastorius] opened what is called the "Germantown Grund and Lager-Buch," containing the record of the conveyances of lands …"

(Page 111) "In addition to the emigration from Crefeld, and the association at Frankfort, there was a third impulse which was of moment in the settlement of Germantown. On the upper Rhine, two hour's journey from Worms, one of the most interesting and historic cities of Germany, the scene in our race legends of the events of the Nibelungenlied, later the home of Charlemagne, and hallowed as the place where Luther uttered the memorable words, "So hilf mich Gott, hier stehe ich. Ich can nicht anders," lies the rural village of Kriegsheim. It is situated in the midst of the beautiful and fertile Palatinate and is forever identified in its traditions, religion and people, with our Pennsylvania life. When I was there, in 1890, it had a population of perhaps two or three hundred people who lived upon one street."

Comments: Kriegsheim is "on the way" from Worms to Flomborn. Translation of Luther's statement: "So help me God, here I stand. I can not (do) otherwise."

(Page 112) "The meetings established were visited by preachers sent out by Fox, among others by William Ames, who spoke Dutch and German. In 1657 Ames and George Rolfe went to Kriegsheim and succeeded in making some converts among the Mennonites living there. It was the farthest outpost of Quakerism in Germany and was cherished by them with the most careful zeal. The conversion of seven or eight families was the reward of their indefatigable energy and effort." This success alarmed the clergy and incited the rabble "disposed to do evil, to abuse those persons by scoffing, cursing, reviling, throwing stones and dirt at them, and breaking their windows." The magistrates directed that any one who should entertain Ames or Rolfe should be fined forty rix dollars. In 1658, for refusing to bear arms, the goods of John Hendricks to the value of fourteen rix dollars were seized and he was put in prison. In 1660, for the same reason, his goods valued at about four and-half rix dollars were seized. In 1663 the authorities took from him two cows, from the widow of John Johnson a cow, from George Shoemaker bedding worth seven rix dollars, from Peter Shoemaker goods worth two guilders. In 1664 George Shoemaker lost pewter and brass worth three and a-half guilders, Peter Shoemaker three sheets worth three guilders, and John Hendricks three sheets worth three guilders. In 1666, John Shoemaker, Peter Shoemaker and John Hendricks each lost a cow." (73)

(Footnote 73) "Besse's Sufferings of the Quakers. Vol II, p. 450."

(Page 114ff) "Stephen Crisp says in July, 1669, 'But the Lord preserved me and brought me on the 14th day of that month to Griesheim near Worms, where I had found divers (sic) who had received the Everlasting Truth and had stood in a testimony for God about ten years, in great sufferings and tribulations, who received me as a servant of God; and my testimony was as a seed upon the tender grass unto them. I had five good meetings among them and divers (sic) heard the truth and several were reached and convinced and Friends established in the faith.' Just at this time they were in sore trouble because of the fact that the Prince of the land, or Pfalzgraf, had imposed an unusual fine of four or six rix dollars upon every family for attending meetings, and upon failure to pay, goods of three times the value were taken. Crisp went to Heidelberg to see the Prince and warned him of the danger of persecution. The prince received him graciously, discoursed with him about general topics, and promised him that the fines should be remitted, which was accomplished."

Comment: Griesheim is another early spelling of Kriegsheim.

(Page 116) "On the 22nd of August, 1677, William Penn left Frankfort on his way to Kriegsheim. The magistrate of the village, upon the instigation of the clergyman, attempted to prevent him from preaching, but with the friends there and a "coachful from Worms," he had a quiet and comfortable meeting. From there he walked to Mannheim, in an effort to see the Prince concerning the oppressions of the Quakers, which had been renewed. Failing to find him he wrote to him a vigorous letter upon the subject. On the 26th Penn walked out from Worms, six English miles, and held a meeting, lasting five hours, in the course of which 'The Lord's power was sweetly opened to many of the inhabitants.' He describes them as 'Poor hearts; a little handful surrounded with great and mighty countries of darkness.' The meeting was held in a barn. The magistrate listened from behind the door and subsequently reported that he had discovered no heresies and had heard nothing that was not good. On the 27th, after two more meetings, Penn, accompanied by several grateful attendants, returned to Worms.

"The climax of the story of the Quaker meeting at Kriegsheim is given by Croese. He says that having nothing of their own to lose, and hearing of the great plenty in America, and hoping to gain a livelihood by their handiwork, they in the very year that preceded the war with the French 'wherein all that fruitful and delicious country was wasted with fire and sword' forsook the cottages which could scarcely be kept standing with props and stakes, and entered into a voluntary and perpetual banishment to Pennsylvania, where they lived in the greatest freedom and with sufficient prosperity.

"Jacob Schumacher, the servant who accompanied Pastorius, may have been one of the family at Kriegsheim but up to the present time no evidence of the fact has been discovered. It is not improbable.

"October 12, 1685, having crossed the sea in the "Francis and Dorothy" there arrived in Germantown Peter Schumacher ….Gerhard Hendricks …. and his servant Heinrich Frey, the last named from Altheim, in Alsace. Peter Schumacher, an early Quaker convert from the Mennonites is the first person definitely ascertained to have come from Kriegsheim." Fortunately we know under what auspices he arrived. By an agreement with Dirck Sipman, of Crefeld, dated August 16th, 1685, he was to proceed with the first good wind to Pennsylvania, and there receive two hundred acres from Herman Op den Graeff, on which he should erect a dwelling, and for which he should pay a rent of two rix dollars a year. "Gerhard Hendricks also had bought two hundred acres from Sipman. He came from Kriegsheim …

(Page 119) On the 20th of March, 1686, Johannes Kassel, a weaver, and another convert from the Mennonites ….came to Germantown from Kriegsheim, having purchased land from members of the Frankfort Company. In the vessel with Kassel was a widow, Sarah Shoemaker, from the Palatinate, and doubtless from Kriegsheim … and that there was a Dutch settlement in the neighborhood of Kriegsheim is certain. At Flomborn, a few miles distant, is a spring which the people of the vicinity still call the "Hollander's Spring."

(Page 120) "The Kassels brought over with them many of the manuscripts of one of their family, Ylles Kassel, a Mennonite preacher at Kriegsheim, who was born before 1618, and died after 1681, and some of these papers are still preserved."

(Page 122) "On the road leading from Worms out through Kriegsheim, but perhaps five miles further from the city, is the village of Flomborn. Thither, about twenty years before the period we are considering, a Dutch family named Pannebecker, whose arms, three tiles gules on a shield argent, were cut in glass in the church window at Gorcum in Holland, came to escape the wars still raging in the Netherlands. There March 21, 1674, was born Hendrick Pannebecker. He came as a young man to Germantown, where, in 1699, he married Eve, the daughter of Hans Peter Umstat."

(Page 124) A more accurate survey, December 29th, 1687, determined the quantity of land in Germantown to be five thousand seven hundred acres, and for this a patent was issued. It was divided into four villages: Germantown with two thousand seven hundred and fifty acres, Crisheim (Kriegsheim) with eight hundred and and eighty-four acres, Sommerhausen with nine hundred acres, and Crefeld with one thousand one hundred and sixty-six acres, and thus were the familiar places along the Rhine commemorated in the new land.

(Page 141) "In 1702 began the settlement on the Skippack. This first outgrowth of Germantown also had its origin at Crefeld, and the history of the Crefeld purchase would not be complete without some reference to it. As we have seen, of the one thousand acres bought by Govert Remke, one hundred and sixty-one acres were laid out in Germantown. The balance he sold in 1686 to Dirck Sipman. Of Sipman's own purchase of five thousand acres, five hundred and eighty-eight acres were laid out at Germantown, and all that remained of the six thousand acres he sold in 1698 to Matthias Van Bebber. who, getting in addition five hundred acres and four hundred and fifteen acres by purchase, had the whole tract of six thousand one hundred and sixty-six acres located by patent, February 22, 1702, on the Skippack. It was in the present Perkiomen County, and adjoined Edward Lane and William Harmer, near what is now the village of Evansburg. (107) For the next half century, at least, it was known as Bebbber's Township, or Bebber's Town, and the name being often met with in the Germantown records has been a source of apparently hopeless confusion to our local historians. Van Bebber immediately began to colonize it, most of the settlers being Mennonites. Among these settlers were Hendrick Pannebecker, Johannes Kuster, Johannes Umstat, Klas Jansen and Jan Krey in 1702; John Jacobs, in 1704; John Newberry, Thomas Wiseman, Edward Beer, Gerhard and Hermann In de Hoffen, Dirck and William Renberg, in 1706; William and Cornelius Dewees, Hermanus Kuster, Christopher Zimmerman, Johannes Scholl, and Daniel Desmond, in 1708; Jacob, Johannes, and Martin Kolb, Mennonite weavers from Wolfsheim, in the Palatinate, and Andrew Strayer, in 1709; Solomon Dubois, from Ulster County, New York, in 1716; Paul Fried, in 1727, and in the last year the unsold balance of the tract passed into the hands of Pannebecker. Van Bebber gave one hundred acres for a Mennonite church, which was built about 1725, the trustees being Hendrick Sellen, Hermanus Kuster, Klas Jansen, Martin Kolb, Henry Kolb, Jacob Kolb, and Michael Ziegler."

(Footnote 107) "Exempt. Record, Vol I, p 470"

(Page 157) "The incorporation of Germantown rendered necessary the opening of a court. In its records may be traced the little bickerings and contentions which mark the darker parts of the characters of these goodly people. Its proceedings conducted with their simple and primitive ideas of judicature, written in their quaint language, are both instructive and entertaining, since they show what manner of men these were, whose worst faults appear to have consisted of the neglect of fences and the occasional use of uncomplimentary adjectives. From among them is extracted whatever, during the course of about thirteen years, relates to the Op den Graeffs.

(Page 158) "James de la Plaine, Coroner, brought into this court the names of the jury which he summoned the 24th day of 4th month, 1701, viz: Thomas Williams, foreman; Peter Kuerlis, Herman op den Graeff, Reiner Peters, Peter Shoemaker, Reiner Tyson, Peter Brown, John Umstat, Thomas Potts, Reiner Hermans, Dirk Johnson, Hermann Tunes. Their verdict was as followeth: We, the jury, find that through carelessness the cart and the lime killed the man; the wheel wounded his back and head, and it killed him."
. Excerpts transcribe by Cris Hueneke.

7 Paul Michel, Täufer, Mennoniten und Quäker in Kriegsheim bei Worms; Der Täufertum bis zum 30 jährige Krieg" [Baptists, Mennonites, and Quakers in Kriegsheim near Worms; The Practice of Baptism up to the Thirty-years War] (Der Wormsgau, July, 1965). 1664

Die erste Liste der mennonitischen Einwohner stammt aus dem Jahre 1664 und enthält folgende Namen:
[The first list of the Mennonite residents dates from the year 1664 and contains the following names:]
Valentin Hüthwohl
(Die Familie stammt aus Groß-Bockenheim)
[The family comes from Groß-Bockenheim]
Hans Gram
(stammt wahrscheinlich aus Rorbach, Amt Lautern)
[probably comes from Rorbach, Lautern district]
Peter Buchholts
Valtin Eberts
Peter Engers
Gilles Cassel
Heinrich Blom
Johannes Cassel
(später zu den Quäkern übergetreten)
[later converted to Quaker]

Matthias Bonn


Die zweite Liste aus dem Jahre 1685
[The second list from the year 1685].

Matthias Bonn
(Schwager des Quäkers Peter Schumacher)
[brother-in-law of the Quaker Peter Schumacher]
Peter Buchholtzer
Henrich Blöhm
Hans Gram
Valentin Hüthwohl
Simon Cassel
Nikolaus Gram
Gerhard Becker
Arnold Schumacher
Johann Gebhard
Peter Schumachers Pflegesohn Peter

. Transcription by Cris Hueneke at

The Michel article may be obtained from:
Hessische Landes- Und Hochschulbibliothek
64283 Darmstadt
Cost is DM 20,00 (Twenty German Marks)

8 Hermann and Gertrud Guth and J. Lemar and Lois Ann Mast, Palatine Mennonite Census Lists 1664-1793 (Mennonite Family History, Elverson, PA, 1987.) 1664

page 10
Archive Number 77/4336a - 1664
folio 108:

Valentine Heutwohl, for himself
for Peter Cuester's heirs
Vollmar Janson
Ewaldt Schumacher
Hans Gram
Peter Buchhalter (Burkholder?)
Valentin Eberts
Peter Obiger
Gillis Cassel
Heinrich Blem (Bluem?)
Matthes Bonn
Johannes Cassel

folio 109 or 110?
Heinrich Cassel


Archive Number 77/4337 - 1685
Mennists living in the Palatine territory
Folio 69:
OBERAMT ALZEY [District or higher office for the area of Kriegsheim was Alzey. Alzey today is the county.]
Matthias Bonn
Peter Buchholder
Heinrich Bluehm
Hans Gram
Valentin Huethwohl
Simon Cassel
Nikolaus Gram
Gerhard Becker
Arnold Schumacher
Johann Gebhard
Peter Schumacher's foster son, Peter Otto (?)

All [the following] are Quakers:
Gerhard Heinrich
Agnes, Conrad Gebhart's widow
Georg Schumacher
Peter Schumacher's widow
Johannes Cassel
Philipp Lehnbusch
. In the introduction to the book, the authors state: "Credit is due to Dr. Christian Neff and Professor Harold Bender to have discovered and published these lists for the first time in the Mennonite Quarterly Review in 1940 and 1941."

Register of Mennists assessed quarterly taxes living in the Oberamt Alzey territory 1664.

Transcription by Cris Heuneke at

PALATINE MENNONITE CENSUS LISTS 1664-1893 may be obtained from:
Family Line Publications/Willow Bend Books
65 East Main Street
Westminster, MD 21157-5036

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