Descendants of Bishop Hans Herr
of Canton Zurich, Switzerland

Emblem of
Canton Zurich

Generation #1

Bishop Hans Herr of Canton Zurich, Switzerland

Bishop Hans Herr was born 9/17/1639 in Canton Zurich, Switzerland. In about 1664 in Canton Zurich, Hans married Elizabeth Kendig b. 5/1/1639 Canton Zurich, Switzerland. As a major figure in the Anabaptist Movement in Canton Zurich, Hans is reported to have been imprisoned for his beliefs.

At some time before the turn of the century, the Herr Family reacting to religious and physical pressures joined the ethnic German migration stream known as the Palatinate Immigration. Bishop Hans Herr led a group of Mennonites in their first migration to the Palatinate of the Rhine. The extended family is believed to have sojourned in Unterbiegelhof, Heidelburg, Palatinate of the Rhine where Swiss Mennonites were moderately accepted.

In about 1707 reacting to external pressures, the extended group chose to immigrate to the Pennsylvania Colony, following the promise of  inexpensive land and religious freedom. Son-in law Wendel Bowman, daughter Anna, and their children should be noted as the initial immigrant family in the Herr/Kendig/Bowman/Weber Family's migration chain from the Palatinate of the Rhine to south-central Pennsylvania.

By the time Wendel established himself in Germantown, Pennsylvania Colony, conditions in the Palatinate of the Rhine were intolerable. Facing invasion by the French Army, extreme winter, and possibly starvation, in 1709 the Herr Family et. al. began their journey down the Rhine River, arriving at the Port of Rotterdam in June. The next April, the family sailed to England where they had to wait for transportation to America. Hans and his son Christian were signers of a letter dated 1710 to the many Mennonite parishes of Rotterdam, thanking them for advancing the monies for the passage and purchase of land.

[These] Swiss Mennonites [were]. . .led by Martin Kendig and Hans Herr. After a delay of about two months, left London June 29, 1710 on the ship "Maria Hope." John Ennis. Master. The vessel contained a combined passenger and crew list of 94 persons. It sailed into Delaware Bay, Sept. 16, 17I0, and after a stop at Newcastle, it arrived at Philadelphia Sept. 23, 1710.

Arriving in Philadelphia on 9/23/1710, the group, including Wendel Bowman and family, purchased ten thousand acres on Pequea Creek from William Penn. The next Spring, the extended family continued their westward migration led by Bishop Hans Herr, pioneering the Pequea Creek Valley in what would become Lancaster Co PA. [Palatinate Migration Map to Lancaster Co PA]

In 1712 the group selected Hans as emissary to the Palatinate of the Rhine; however, he declined probably due to advanced age. His brother-in-law, Martin Kendig, went in his stead. Martin was exceptionally successful, gathering members of the extended family and inspiring many of their German neighbors to immigrate to Pequea Creek. Mennonite immigration was so successful that it is estimated that by 1732, nearly one-fifth of Mennonites living in the German Palatinate had emigrated to America.

Bishop Hans Herr continued to lead his flock at Pequea Creek until his death on 10/11/1725. The home in which he lived during his later years is known as the Hans Herr House. Built by son Christian in 1719, the house is the oldest extant dwelling in Lancaster Co PA and the oldest Mennonite Meeting House still standing in the Western Hemisphere.

Hans and Elizabeth are buried at Willow Street Mennonite Cemetery, Lancaster Co PA.

Herr Memorial
Willow Street Mennonite Cemetery, Lancaster Co PA

'Worthy and Beloved Friends'
'In addition to wishing you every temporal and spiritual blessing we wish to inform you that we have received the help which the dear friends have sent us so kindly for the continuation of our journey. This gracious contribution came very opportunely for us; for the journey cost us more than we had anticipated. May God bless the dear friends; and whatever may be wholesome to body and soul may the merciful God grant them, and be their eternal rewarder. As to our journey we wish to report that we were delayed here almost ten weeks before we entered the ship. But we finally went on board the 24th, and since then have been lodged and cared for. We are informed that we will set sail from here next Saturday or Sunday for Gravesend, where we will await the Russian convoy. May God be with us and may he bring us safely to America as he has brought us to England. Herewith we committ you to His tender mercies; and if we may never see one another again in this life may the good God permit us to meet one another in eternity. Herewith we command you all to Him, together with cordial greetings from all of us, and remain your true friends.
London, June 24, 1710.'
Martin Kindig; Martin Oberholtzer; Jacob Miller; Martin Maili; Christian Herr; Hans Herr

"By the commissioners of property-Whereas we have agreed with John Rudolph Bundely, Martin Kendig, Jacob Miller, Hans Herr, Martin Oberholtz, Hans Funk, Michael Oberholtz and one Wendel Bowman, Swissers, lately arrived in the Province for ten thousand acres of land, situate on the northwesterly side of a hill, about twenty miles easterly from Connystogoe, near the head of Pecquin creek, for which said land, they are to pay the sum of five hundred pounds, sterling money of Great Britain, in manner following: that is to say, the sum of one hundred pounds, part thereof in hands, at ye issuing of these presents, the sum of one hundred pounds more thereof (together with forty-eight pounds like money, being the interest of four hundred pounds for two years) at the end of two years and six months, from the time of the survey of the said lands, (one-half year's interest of the whole being abated), one hundred and eighteen pounds further, part thereof with interest, included within one year, then next after one hundred and twelve pounds (the interest being included) further part thereof, within one year, then next after, the sum of one hundred and six pounds full residue thereof, that of all interest for the same, within one year, that next following, so that the said five hundred pounds and interest, as aforesaid, is to be paid in six years next after the time of survey.
And also that the said purchasers, their heirs and assigns, shall pay unto the proprietary and Governor, William Penn, his heirs and assigns, the sum of one shilling sterling aforesaid, quit-rent yearly forever, for every hundred acres of the said ten thousand acres of land, and that said purchasers shall have said lands free of quit-rent for the two first years next after the survey thereof, and the said purchasers requesting of us a warrant for the location and survey of the said land aforesaid.
These are, therefore, to authorize and require thee to survey or cause to be surveyed, unto the said purchasers, the full quantity of ten thousand acres of land (with reasonable allowance for roads and highways) in one entire tract, at or near the place aforesaid and subdivide the same (if they request it) into so many small tracts or parts as they shall agree or appoint to each of them his respective share to be holden by the purchasers, their heirs and assigns, under the rents, payments and agreements aforesaid, subject to distress for the said rent in case of non-payment; and of thy transactions and doings in the premises, by virtue of these presents thou art to make such returns into the Secretary's office, with all reasonable expedition.
Given under our hands and seals of the province, the tenth day of the eighth month at Philadelphia, A.D. 1710. [old calendar]
Edward Shippen
Griffeth Owen
Thos. Story

To Jacob Baylor, Surveyor General.
"Warrant Book, 1700-1714, p 229.
On the 23d of October, the land was surveyed and divided among the Meylins, Herrs, Kendigs and others of the company.
By warrant, dated July 5, 1712, there were surveyed, November 1, 1712, Pequea, now Strasburg township, for Amos Strettle, 3380 acres, who afterwards sold it in smaller tracts; the principal persons to whom he sold prior to 1734, were. . .Henry Shank, Ulrich Brackbill . . Martin Miller. . .John Bowman, Valentine Miller, Jacob Hain, John Herr. . . .
The Mennonite settlers having determined to send for their friends in Europe, a council of the whole society was called, at which their venerable minister and pastor, Hans Herr, presided. . .to decide who should return to Europe for the families left behind and others.  The lot fell upon Hans Herr. . .Their sorrows were alleviated by a proposal made on the part of Martin Kendig, that, if approved, he would take Hans Herr's place-this was cordially assented to by all.  Without unnecessary delay, Martin, the devoted friend of the colony, made ready-went to Philadelphia, and there embarked for Europe; after a prosperous voyage of five or six weeks, he reached the home of his friends, where he was received with apostolic greetings and salutations of joy.  Having  spent some time in preliminary arrangements, he and a company of Swiss and some Germans, bade a lasting adieu to their old homes, and dissolved the tender ties of friendship with those whom they left.  With his company, consisting of the residue of some of those in America, and of Peter Yordea, Jacob Miller, Hans Tschantz, Henry Funk, John Houser, John Bachman, Jacob Weber, Schlegel, Venerick, Guldin, and others, he returned to the new home, where they were all cordially embraced by their fathers and friends.


    1. Maria Margaretha Herr

    2. Abraham Herr

On October 12, 1719, ABRAHAM HERR and his brother, Hans, petitioned James Steel for a grant of 400 acres for their brother, Isaac, who had recently arrived. (1994 Supplement to the Third Edition of the Genealogical Record of Hans Herr, by Theodore W. Herr, originally published 1908, p. 788.)

    3. Rev. Christian Herr

    4. John (Hans) Herr

    5. Anna Herr

    6. Emmanuel Herr

    7. Isaac Herr b. c. 1687 Canton Zurich, Switzerland


This site is provided for reference only. Except where specifically cited, information contained is conjecture and should not be considered as fact.
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