24 July 2011

Johannes Heinrich Hohman (1806-1878)

Johannes Hohman was born in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany about 1806.  Johannes came to America in about 1850, possibly preceded by his son, Henry.  Mr. Hohman became known as John Hohman in America.  Prior to his arrival, he married Gertraude Catherine Pepler (or Fritz).  He continued his shoemaking trade, settling in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.  He lived in the North Side of Pittsburgh for some years, before moving to Ohio Township, Pennsylvania, where he purchased a farm.

John Hohman made his declaration of intent to become an American citizen on 10 Jan 1854.  He became fully naturalized 16 Aug 1856.  On his naturalization papers, his good friend (and eventual neighbor) John George Schoop bore witness to Mr. Hohman's renouncing of allegiance to the Grand Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt.

The surname Hohman was used as a middle name to his grandchild, John Hohman Nestel, my Great Great Grandfather.  As of the 1870 Census, John and his wife could not read nor write in English.

Prior to his death, John's will was written on 16 Jun 1875 as follows:

"]It is signed John Hohmann.  In it, his son Adam is named executor.  After debts were paid, he made the following bequests: to son John - all property not otherwise disposed of; to son Henry and daughter Anna Catherine, wife of Martin Nestle of Philadelphia, such portion of the mortgage which he held against his son Adam as may then remain unpaid to be divided among them share and share alike said portion or balance; since he had sold him the farm at a generous price, Adam was to receive $5.00 and the feather bed; his son John was to receive ever;ything not otherwise assigned.  The family belonged to the German Lutheran Church.  Gertrude is buried at St. John's Evangelical Lutheran 
Church, Perry Highway, Pgh.  They had 4 grown children."

John and Catherine had the following children:
  • George Heinrich (Henry) Hohman (11 Sep 1827 - 30 Jan 1907)
  • Adam Hohman (Feb 1829 - 26 Sep 1907)
  • Anna Catherine Hohman (1840 - 31 Mar 1899)
  • John Frederick Hohman (1843 - 1910)

09 July 2011

Martin Greider (1718 - 1785)

Martin Greider's signature as it appeared on his will in 1785.
The Greider surname is of German descent, and has been translated into several variations, i.e. Crider, Croyder, Cryder, Grider, Greiter, Kreiter, Kryder, Krider.  The Greider's of my family are known to be of Pennsylvania Dutch, which simply means people of German descent, living in Pennsylvania.

Martin Greider was born in, or near Ittlingen, Germany about 1718.  Martin was the son of Michael Shenk Greiter/Kreiter and Barbara Graff/Groff.  Martin married Elizabeth Myers.  Martin was known for purchasing and selling land throughout Lancaster County, PA.  Martin was known to purchase the following land amounts:
  • 17 Nov 1740: 300 acres from the heirs of Isaac Norris.  Primarily situated in Rapho Twp.
  • 25 Apr 1761: 150 acres from John Reiff.
  • 12 Jun 1766: 135 acres from his nephew, Michael Cryder.
  • 11 Dec 1769: 226 acres from Michael Myer.
  • 22 Mar 1784: 260 acres, known as the Musselman-Tate tract.
The Musselman-Tate tract is one of his most important purchases, as it kept his entire family close by, in Hempfield Twp, Lancaster Co, PA.  

Upon Martin's death, his final inventory was noted and accounted for.his religious library of books:

"The number of religious books and their titles strongly suggest that he was a minister or church leader, or even that church services were held in his home.  It doesn't seem likely that any person but an ordained man would have such a library."  
- Noah G. Good, of the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society

"...based on the books in the inventory, Martin was most likely a minister, probably at the Landisville Mennonite Church.  The "Guilt Apple" is a Swiss-Mennonite devotional book, Golden Apples in Silver Bowls..."
- R. Martin Keen

"...Already in the 18th century, Lancaster Mennonites were publishing books with the intention of remembering and passing on a certain faith."
- Leonard Gross

A sermon book called Decknatels Sermons was one of several works by Johannes Deknatel, a Dutch Mennonite preacher and auther of many widely used spiritual and devotional books.  

Landisville Mennonite Meetinghouse
There is reason to believe that Martin served as minister at the above Landisville Mennonite Meetinghouse.   Martin died land-rich, and cash-poor, having deeds to 947 acres, but just £ 1.10.0 in cash. We know Martin was widely respected in the community, as his debts were only to others of very prominent status.  Presumably he took out loans, to purchase his large amounts of land.  Adam Reigart (1739-1813), was the owner of "The Grape" tavern, a popular gathering place of the wealthy.  The tavern was the used as the local gathering of organizations formed to carry on the local war effort.  Reigart was elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1780.  Adam was offered the rank of colonel to command the battalions and forces of Pennsylvania, during the Revolutionary War, but he declined, stating he did not have enough war experience.

Another well to do gentleman that Martin owed to was John Hopson, a local shopkeeper.  Although a shopkeeper, his main occupation was to loan out money, and collect, almost an early form of banking, mortgages, etc.

Martin Greider was well-known and evidently well-respected in the rural community in which he lived as well as among the business and trading population in the borough of Lancaster.  He was likely a religious leader and tow of his sons, Martin and John, played significant roles in the development of the Chestnut Hill Mennonite community.  Martin also left a sound financial legacy to his family that would lead to further expansion of the family into the Rapho and Hempfield Township areas.

Martin Greider and Elizabeth Myers had the following children:
  • Elizabeth Greider (b. abt 1750, married Henry Hershey)
  • Veronica Greider (b. abt 1752, d. abt 1821; married Abraham Hershey)
  • Michael Greider (b. abt 1755)
  • Barbara Greider (b. abt 1758, d. abt 1795; married Samuel Nissley, a Mennonite Bishop)
  • Anna Greider (b. 29 Sep 1758, d. 10 Oct 1813; married Martin Peifer)
  • Martin Greider (b. abt 1760)
  • John Greider (b. 17 Feb 1764)
  • Jacob Greider (b. abt 1766)

04 July 2011

Bertram Levering Binns (1884 - 1959)

Bertram Levering Binns was born on 12 Dec 1884, in Germantown Township, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA to the parents Emma Jane (Burnheater) and Horace Binns.  The middle name Levering was always a family question mark.  Mainly because of all the Levering things in and around Germantown.  Was he named after the famous Levering family?  Is there a deeper connection of the Binns being related to the Levering family?  Unfortunately, no.  My conclusion is that his father, Horace, must have had a deeper connection with his sister, Susan Binns (1860-1937) who married Edwin A Levering (1842-1918).  I don't have an exact answer, but it is the only place I have seen the name Levering in the family tree.

Bertram learned hard work at a young age.  In the 1900 Census, Bertram is shown as a 15 yr old "Office Boy".  An office boy was usually a young boy or junior clerk that was hired to do odd jobs, such as running errands or making copies.  He was not attending school at that time.  I can not say he never attended school, but he surely wasn't in 1900.  In the 1910 US Federal Census, Bertram is shown as a "house and decorating" painter, working for his father, Horace Binns.  In 1914, Bertram married Florence Marie Holt, daughter of Sanford Edwin Holt and Anna Louise Kerns.

Bertram took over his fathers painting company, and was very successful.  He was a member of the International Society of Master Painters and Decorators.  

While registering for the World War I draft in 1918, Bertram was 33 years old, and still had his own painting business.  He was never chosen to fight the war.  He also registered for World War II, and again, was not drafted.

Bertram and Florence had two children, Anita Louise and Nancy Bertine Binns.

Bertram was a founder of the Germantown Lions club, and a Mason.  A mason (freemason) is a member of a fraternity, or brotherhood so to speak.  They are to believe in a supreme being, and not to discuss politics of religion in the lodge.  Some people take this in a way that the "supreme being" is not God, but something entirely different.  The "Supreme Being" that masons believe in is up to the individual person.  The Mason logo is on his tombstone.  He died in September of 1959, and was buried on 23 Sep 1959 at Greenwood Cemetery.

Children of Bertram Levering Binns and Florence Marie Holt:
  • Anita Louise Binns (1918 - 1958)
  • Nancy Bertine Binns (1920 - 1997)