Part of the first group of Mennonite settlers from Switzerland and Germany to settle in the Pequea Valley in William Penn's lands
However, possibly he came to Conestogo with the second group in 1717. Land records show Hans Herr Sr. purchased land in 1717. His son, John (also known as Hans) purchased land in 1711.
The Hans listed on the 1710-1711 documents could have been his son, John.
Portrait and Physical Description
Hans Herr description published by the Hans Herr Memorial Association in 1895: "In person, he was of medium height, with long gray hair curled under at ends and parted in the middle; had heavy brows, dark hazel eyes, aquiline nose, mouth rather small with heavy lips, his complexion was florid, with full beard covering the face, the whole lighted by a countenance in which sweetness and austerity were gracefully blended.
"Clad in coursest homespun, his feet shod with wood, he at last arrived in the far off land in wich some strange prophecy told him his people would be prosperous and happy, however poor when arriving."
It is to the Swiss Mennonites, followers of Menno Simon from the cantons of Berne and Zurick, however, to whom is given the credit for making the first permanent white settlement in what is now Lancaster County. Several families of these hardy pioneers took up a tract of 10,000 acres north of Pequea creek in what is now West Lampeter Township, on a warrant dated October 10,1710|R17|r. Here they settled under the pastoral care of their Bishop, Rev. Hans Herr, and soon one of their number, Martin Kendig, was sent back to the Rhineland for other kinsmen. Here they put into practise the German methods of farming they had learned during their sojourn in the Rhine Valley, and it is to these Swiss and Germans from the Palatinate that Lancaster County is largely indebted for making of it the richest agricultural county in the United States. Though the Mennonites have never participated in any of the wars in which this country has been engaged, they have willingly and generously contributed at their Nation's call in times of distress in war, flood or famine. These early settlers have been well characterized by Lloyd Mifflin in his sonnet.
Ellis, Franklin and Samuel Evans, "History of Lancaster County," Philadelphia: Everts and Peck, 1883
Eshleman, H. Frank, "Historic Background and Annals of the Swiss and German Pioneer Settlers of Southeastern Pennsylvania, and of Their Remote Ancestors, from the Middle of the DArk Ages, Down to the Time of the Revolutionary War," Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 1917.
Friesen, Steve, "A Modest Mennonite Home: The Story of the 1719 Hans Herr House, an Early Colonial Landmark," Good Books, Intercourse, PA, 1990, ISBN 0-934672-90-3
↑ Ellis and Evans, based on the portrait by Leon Von Ossko
↑ Portrait painted by Leon Von Ossko, 1895, commissioned by Hans Herr Memorial Assocation, based on a previous painting done after 1800 by John Funck (1755-1831), who married Ann Herr in 1775, a great grand-daughter of Hans Herr.
T.W. Herr included the following description of the ancestry of Hans Herr in his 1901 genealogy. His source is the German historian, E.B. Vien. This ancestry has been largely disproved by Friesen.
"The family of Herr descended from a very ancient family; is free - that is to say of noble origin. Likewise from time immemorial, its knights were brave and worthy. Possessing in Schwaben vast and rich estates, the name of which was called and written "Herrn von Bilried."
"The father of this race was called the Schwabish Knight Hugo, the Herr or Lord of Bilried. In the year 1009 flourished and was known to all, the family from whom Herr is descended. But in the fifteenth century several of the race resigned their nobility and settled as citizens..."
Hans Herr , our first direct American immigrant in the Swope and Allied lines thus far discovered was a Mennonite Bishop and is surely among our oldest immigrants at time of arrival, being in his 7th decade at the time of passage with his wife, born Barbel Kundig, about 4 years his junior. The spiritual leader of his people, the group with whom Hans and Barbel came was a close knit one with longstanding European connection. Barbel's nephew was the Martin Kendig who brokered the land deal with Penn, and he became land agent for the Conestoga Settlement of our Mennonites, discussed below. The Mennonites, our first German Immigrants and the first of any of our direct ancestor immigrants in the German heavy Swope ascendancy , [The Howard ascendancy lacking any German surnames at all] caused them to leave Europe with grateful hearts, pleased to forge into the furthest and unsettled reaches of the Pennsylvania frontier involving the Conestoga Valley of then Chester, and now Lancaster County. By 1717 more of our Mennonites of Europe were waiting to join their brethren of Lancaster. Included in this second group joining our Herr ancestors are our Brenneman forebears. All our Mennonites belong to the Swope and Allied Ascendancy group. See Conestoga Settlement Survey 1717 with names of settlers and identification of our direct lines amongst them, which includes all of our direct line Mennonite forebears
Ruth Rhodes..Munson, Bollinger family research
A Brief History of Why Our Mennonites are Our First Germans in America
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Hans by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA.
However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line.
It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Hans: