08 - Henry Hiestand Settled on Land Acquired from William Penn's Sons

Outline of the 226 acre tract Henry Hiestand settled on and had surveyed in Lancaster County, PA.

And who were Henry Hiestands parents? Exactly where did he live in Lancaster County, PA? Why did he owe so much money to Caspar Wistar?  Who were Jacob and John Hiestand who lived near him in PA?  And what about pioneer cowboy movie star Tom Mix?  And more!

1728 - Henry in Western Lancaster Co, PA

In the previous article, you learned that in April 1728 Henry Hiestand signed a petition to become a naturalized citizen of Pennsylvania, a British colony.  That petition was signed south of Lancaster, PA in a community of Mennonite immigrants.  So in a year or less, Henry had apparently moved westward across the Pennsylvania colony to the area that was becoming predominantly settled by Deutsch-speaking Mennonites.  This suggests that he did not have to become an indentured servant to some Englishman in eastern PA.  He was probably helped get his start in America by a family he was already acquainted with back home in the Rhineland.

Henry's 226 Acres in Lancaster County, PA

On May 10, 1729, Lancaster County was created out of Chester County and was named for Lancashire, England.  Hempfield Township was one of the original townships, so-named because of the abundance of hemp raised in that area.  Hemp was a valuable product, used for making rope, canvas, burlap, linen, and other commonly used materials.  The lands currently in East Hempfield (created 1818), West Hempfield (created 1818), and Manor Townships (created 1759) were all parts of the original Hempfield Township.

Hempfield Township was largely settled by SWISS-German Mennonites.  “In the 1730s, at least fifty-five surveys for Mennonists totaled close to ten thousand acres.”[i]  Many of these families were associated with Hiestands back in the Palatinate of Germany, or even some in Canton Zurich of Switzerland—Neff, Strickler, Garber, Brubaker, Forrer, Gochenaur, Reiff, Hershey, Baughman, and others.

[i] Ruth, The Earth is the Lord’s, 240.

Henry Heestant had 226 acres surveyed in Hempfield Township on May 20, 1735.  This was step #3 in the process of purchasing land from William Penn’s sons.

Step 1 – Application
Step 2 – Warrant to conduct a survey
Step 3 – Survey
Step 4 – Return of survey
Step 5 – Patent – which was the first conveyance title land ownership.

Today, the beautiful Landisville Middle School campus, Landisville Primary Center, and Intermediate Center are located on property that Henry Hiestand settled.

Clue as to Henry's Hiestand's Mother's Family?

If you have been following this series carefully, you may recall that Henry Hiestand’s father (Daniel Haston’s grandfather) was most likely one of these three men:

Review: Article 05a – Our Hiestands (Heystandts) – Refugees on the North Sea 

And these were their wives:  (Heystandt is a variant spelling of Hiestand by Hollander friends.)

  1. Hans Jacob Hestandt (Heystandt) and Antie Beyers
  2. Hendrick Heistandt (Heystandt) and Barbara Mellingers
  3. Hans Hendrich Hestands (Heystandt) and Maria Gognouwers (Gochnauer)

One possible clue (among others) is that Joseph Goghanour (Gochnauer) purchased 403 acres adjacent to Henry Hiestand’s Hempfield Township land, his land was the only other land of the area that was surveyed on the same day as Henry’s 226 acres (May 20, 1735), his name appears five names above Henry’s on the 1728 Naturalization Petition, and he–like Henry–apparently also arrived in America prior to the fall of 1727 when passenger lists were required.  Perhaps they came to America together.

Why did Henry Hiestand owe Caspar Wistar such a large sum of money?

Caspar Wistar grew up in the Rhineland, not far from Henry Hiestand.  Caspar came to America in 1717 and became very wealthy.  He loaned money to other less-fortunate German-speaking immigrants, one of which was Henrich Hiestand.

Heinrich finally paid off his debt to Wistar at about the same time he was preparing to move to Virginia, about nine years after securing the loan.  If Heinrich never paid to finalize the purchase of the Hempfield Township tract and did not purchase the Virginia land until ten years after securing the loan from Wistar, what did Henry do with the 130 gulden, 2 Kopfstück (14 pounds sterling) that he borrowed from Caspar Wistar prior to 1733, which was finally paid to Wistar in early 1742?  Perhaps he got the loan with an intention to purchase the Hempfield Township land, but for some reason decided not to settle there and later applied the funds to purchase the purchase of 205 acres on the South Branch of the Shenandoah River in what was then Orange County, VA.  Or, perhaps he needed the money to pay the ship captain for his voyage to America.

Jacob & John Hiestand - Who Were They?

While Henrich Hiestand was just beginning to adjust to life in the New World, two other Hiestand men were crossing the Atlantic, en route to Philadelphia.  Jacob Hiestandt and Johannes Hiestandt arrived on the ship Friendship from Rotterdam by way of Cowes, England on October 16, 1727, and signed the Declaration of their Fidelity to King George II on that day. 

The name of Abraham Swartz (Swarts) appears immediately below the names of Jacob and Johannes Hiestandt on the passenger list.[i]  Abraham Swartz was the husband of Elizabeth Hiestand, who was the sister of Jacob and Johannes.  According to the Abraham Schwartz’ Bible record, Abraham and Elisabeth “were married by Hans Burkholder of Gerolsheim, Germany” (approximately 26 miles [16 km] southwest of Ibersheim).  She was born at Herrnsheim, the daughter of Heinrich Hystandt.” Elisabeth was Abraham’s second wife.  She died in what is now Montgomery County, Pennsylvania on November 5, 1727, about four weeks after she and Abraham reached their transatlantic destination.[ii] [iii] Like many transatlantic passengers, Elisabeth probably died because of an illness that began on the ship.  Montgomery County was formed out of Philadelphia County in 1784. 

[i] Ralph Beaver Strassburger, Pennsylvania German Pioneers, Volume II, Facsimile Signatures, 1727-1775, ed. William John Hinke. (1934; reprinted, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2009), 16-17. 

[ii] Richard W. Davis, Hiestand, 5.

[iii] Ruth, Maintaining the Right Fellowships, 105.

Were Jacob and John Hiestand brothers of Henry?  Cousins, perhaps?  I am guessing they were cousins.  And a comparison of my DNA with a descendant of Jacob Hiestand seems to confirm my cousins theory–but, frankly, I don’t know for sure.

Jacob Hiestand

Based on a warrant issued by the Proprietaries of Pennsylvania (Penn family) on May 14, 1735, a 300 acres tract was surveyed for Jacob Heestant on April 8, 1736.  The survey was returned on June 30, 1740 which would indicate that the land and fees were paid in full at that time. 

Jacob Hiestand’s Land Today

Route 283 now runs diagonally east and west across what was Jacob Hiestand’s land.  Much of what is now Salunga-Landisville, PA was originally part of Jacob’s 300 acres.  And the Spooky Nook Sports complex (currently the largest indoor sports, events, and entertainment complex in America) is located on the land originally owned by Jacob Hiestand. 

John (Johannes) Hiestand

In 1719 William Penn had 16,000 acres of mostly flat, rich, and well-watered land surveyed that was probably originally set aside for Conestoga Indians to live and hunt.  This Manor of Conestoga was located on the east side of Susquehanna River in the southwest corner of the Hempfield Township.  See the 1730 map above.  The Conestoga Manor became Manor Township in 1759, four years before the vigilante “Paxton Boys” gang came down from Dauphin County to massacre remaining members of the Conestoga tribe in two separate attacks.  

John Hestont’s 150 acres was also originally in Hempfield Township.  But when Manor Township was formed out of Hempfield in 1759, the border of John’s tract became part of the northern border of Manor Township that separated Manor from Hempfield.  John’s home would have been approximately four and a half miles south from a spot between Henry and Jacob Hiestand’s tracts.

Tom Mix - His Mother was a Hiestand

Tom Mix (1880-1940) was the forerunner of movie and television western stars, such as Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, John Wayne, and many others.  He was the “king of the cowboys” during the 1920s.  His screen career spanned the periods of silent movies and “talkie” movies.

Tom’s mother, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Hiestand (descendant of Jacob Hiestand), was born in the Susquehanna River town of Marietta in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  She was a small woman of Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry.  Her mother’s name was Rebecca Smith, and her father’s name was John Hiestand.  Elizabeth was raised by her grandparents, Mary Feltenberger and Samuel Smith, who ran a tavern called the Halfway House, located midway between Marietta and Mt. Joy, Pennsylvania.  During the Civil War, when Elizabeth was about seven, she and her grandparents moved to Shiremantown, just west of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where Elizabeth was educated and spent most of her childhood.[i]

[i] Paul E. Mix, Tom Mix: A Heavily Illustrated Biography of the Western Star, with a Filmography. (Jefferson, NC: McFarland Company, 1995), 9.

Henry Hiestand Moves to the Shenandoah Valley of Northern Virginia

A warrant to accept the May 20, 1735 Henry Hiestand survey of the 226 acres was issued to John Coffman on June 8,1743.[i] And a patent for the tract was issued to John Coffman two weeks later, June 22, 1743.[ii]  Apparently, Henry (Henrich) did at least intend to purchase the land, but before a patent was issued for the land he sold or gave rights to the land to John Coffman who already owned land adjacent to, on the south side of, this tract.  

[i] “Lancaster County Warrant Register Page 34.” (On file: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission –
Pennsylvania State Archives, RG-17, Records of the Land Office, Warrant Registers, 1733-1957, series #17.88, page C-34).  http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/dam/rg/di/r17-88WarrantRegisters/LancasterPages/Lancaster34.pdf

[ii] “Patent to John Coffman.” (On file: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission –
Pennsylvania State Archives, RG-17, Records of the Land Office, Microfilm #17.142 – Patent Books, A and AA Series, 1684-1781; Patent Book A-8, page 277 to patent Book A-11, page 274).

Note: Regardless of what you might see in somebody’s genealogical records, the identification of Henry Hiestand’s wife (Daniel’s mother) is not known for sure.  There is speculation (no proof!) that she was a Coffman (Kauffman), related to this John Coffman.  There is a Kauffman Cemetery in Virginia–just a mile or so up-river from where Henry Hiestand settled in what is now Page County, VA.

Our Henry Hiestand only lived in Pennsylvania for 15 or 16 years, but there is much that we have learned about him from his time there—his earliest years in America.  In the 1730s and early 1740s, many Pennsylvania Mennonites began to move south into the back country of Virginia, the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.  For reasons not clearly known to us, Henry chose to join this movement and became a part of the Mennonite settlement, the 5,000 acres Massanutten Tract, near what is now Luray, VA.  But that’s the topic for the next article.

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