Hans Herr

Hans Herr (1639 - 1725)

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Rev. Hans Herr
Born in Zurich, Canton Zurich, Switzerlandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Brother of , [half], [half], [half], [half] and [half]
Husband of — married in Aargau-Baden, Switzerlandmap [uncertain]
Descendants descendants
Died in Lampeter Twp, Lancaster, Pennsylvaniamap
Profile last modified | Created 19 Aug 2011
This page has been accessed 9,946 times.

Categories: Swiss-German and Mennonite Immigrants to Pennsylvania | Descendants of Hans Herr | Willow Street Mennonite Church Cemetery, Willow Street, Pennsylvania.



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.[1]

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.[2]

Portrait shown in Profile.[3][4]

"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."[5]


17 Sep 1639
Zurich, Canton Zurich, Switzerland[6]


Aargau, Baden, Switzerland(?)


born 1 May 1639 in Zurich Switzerland
died 9 June 1730 in Lancaster Co., PA
Father: Hans HERR b: 1608 in Sankt Gallen, Switzerland
Mother: Catherina HAAS b: 1615 in Sankt Gallen, Switzerland


Marriage 1 Elizabeth Mylin KENDIG b: 1 MAY 1639 in Baden, Aargau, Switzerland, Married 1660[7] in Sankt Gallen, Zurich, Switzerland(?) or Aargau, Baden, Switzerland?
Note Davis website at www.mennosearch.com lists wife as Elsbeth Lotscher (b. 1649)--- Herr book says name Elizabeth Kendig. Correct name appears to be Kendig.

Emigration from Switzerland

In Switzerland, Hans Herr and other Mennonites suffered under the persecution of the ruling powers.
In the mid-1600s, Hans and his family were part of about 700 Mennonites who emigrated from Switzerland to the Kraichgau, east of the Rhine River, in the Palatinate, Germany.
They were tenant farmers, and did not own their land in Kraichgau. In 1671 a Christian Herr and a Hans Herr were recorded as renting land owned by a Lord von Venninge.
The Herr family lived at Unterbiegelhof, built in 1500, until emigrating again in 1710.
The larger Oberbiegelhof was home to 12 families, including that of Hans Kündig.[8]

Emigration from the Palatinate, Germany

In 1709, he and seven other Mennonites purchased 10,000 acres of land on the south side of Pequea Creek in Lancaster PA from William Penn.
They sailed from Gravesend, England on the ship Maria Hope, mastered by John Annis on April 29, 1710; they landed in Philadelphia on 16 Sept 1710.[9]

1719 Hans Herr House

The “Hans Herr House is the oldest extant dwelling of a settlement on ten thousand acres granted in October of 1710 to nine Mennonite men.
The house was built by Hans Herr's son, Christian Herr, in 1719.
It is now a museum, and a link to the website is found here: Hans Herr House and Museum in Willow Street, Pennsylvania

page iv
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.[10]

Death and Burial

11 OCT 1725
Lampeter, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA
Alt. Death
9 Jun 1730

Willow Street Mennonite Church Cemetery, Willow Street, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania[11]

(Note: other sources have referenced the "old brick Mennonite Church Cemetery" This is likely the same cemetery.)[12]


  • Jane Evans Best, "Martin Kendig's Swiss Relatives," Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage, Vol. XV, No. 1 2-18, January, 1992
  • Brackbill, Martin H., "New Light on Hans Herr and Martin Kendig," L.C.H.S. Pub., Vol.XXXIX.
  • Brumbaugh, Dr. G. M. and Faust, A. B., "Swiss Emigrants in 18th Century to American Colonies," 2 vols., 1920 & 1925.
  • Casanova, Arturo Y., "A Carpenter Family of Lancaster," Lebanon, PA: A.Y. Casanova, ©1910; Reprinted from The Pennsylvania-German, Vol XI, No 2, Feb 1910; FHL film #1015845
  • 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
  • Harris, Alexander, "A Biographical History of Lancaster County : being a history of early settlers and eminent men of the county; as also much other unpublished historical information, chiefly of a local character," Lancaster, PA: Elias Barr & Co., ©1872; FHL film #928247
  • Herr, Theodore W., "Genealogical record of Reverend Hans Herr and his direct lineal descendants : from his birth A.D. 1639 to the present time containing the names, etc. of 13223 persons," Lancaster, PA: T.W. Herr, The Examiner Printing House; ©1908; FHL film #985738
  • Landis, Ira D., "A Landmark Moves Every Two Hundred Fifty Years," Mennonite Research Journal, Vol. 1:9, April, 1960
  • Patricia A. (Simon) LaPlante, website The Cameron and Paige Report, <patty.laplante@gmail.com> Publication: Everett, WA: Compiled 2001-2006; <http://wc.rootsweb.com/~laplante> Date: 7 Apr 2006
  • LeFevre, George Newton and LeFevre, Franklin D., "The Pennsylvania LeFevres," Strasburg, PA: LeFevre Cemetery and Historical Association, ©1952, 1970, 1979, Edition 1998; 929.273 L521Lf 1979 FHL book; <http://www.pennsylvanialefevres.org/>
  • Martin, C. H., "The Emigration of Herr Hans," L.C.H.S. Pub., Vol.XXIX.
  • Mifflin, Lloyd, "The Pioneer of Peace: The Mennonite Farmer, 1710-1910," L.C.H.S. Pub., Vol.XIV.
  • Moses, Betty M. (Grandstaff), Research: Grindstaff-Meeker-Tritt-Stapp, <BMoses4999@aol.com> Publication: Tulsa, OK: B.M. Moses, ~2002 Files
  • Ober., Rev. H. K., "Plain People of Lancaster County, Pa.," Klein's History, pp.360-383.
  • Rupp, I. Daniel, "A collection of upwards of thirty thousand names of German, Swiss, Dutch, French and other immigrants in Pennsylvania from 1727-1776 : with a statement of the names of ships, whence they sailed, and the date of their arrival at Philadelphia, chronologically arranged, together with the necessary historical and other notes, also, an appendix containing lists of more than one thousand German and French names in New York prior to 1712," Philadelphia, PA: Leary, Stuart Co, ©1876; 974.8 W2ra 1985 FHL book
  • Seyfert, Hon. A. G., "Migration of Lancaster Co. Mennonites to Waterloo County, Ontario, Canada, from 1800-1825," L.C.H.S. Pub., Vol.XXX.
  • Smith, C. Henry, "Mennonite Immigration to Pennsylvania in the 18th Century," Norristown, Pa. 1929. Pub. by Penna. German Soc. Vol.XXXV.
  • Weaver, Martin G., "Mennonites of Lancaster Conference," Scottdale, Pa., Mennonite Pub. Co., 1931.
  • Weaver, Martin G., "Weaverland," New Holland, New Holland Clarion, 1933.
  • Wenger, Samuel S., "The Wenger Book," Pennsylvania German Heritage History Inc.
  • Biographical Annals of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania : containing biographical and genealogical sketches of prominent and representative citizens and many of the early settlers, Chicago, IL: J. H. Beers & Co., ©1903; FHL film #0908995
  • "Two Hundredth Anniversary of First Permanent White Settlement in Lancaster County", L.C.H.S. Pub., Vol.XIV.
  • "Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s," Gale Research, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc, 2010
  • "U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900," Yates Publishing. U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004


  1. Friesen, p.111
  2. Ellis and Evans, based on the portrait by Leon Von Ossko
  3. 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.
  4. Friesen, p.112-3
  5. ref needed
  6. TW Herr
  7. Herr, Theodore W.
  8. Friesen, p.18-21
  9. Rupp
  10. Brackbill, p.117
  11. Findagrave
  12. Eshleman, p. 250

The Legend

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.[13]

"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



  • WikiTree profile Herr-146 created through the import of Most 2011_7b.ged on Oct 17, 2011 by Mike Saufley. See the Changes page for the details of edits by Mike and others.
  • WikiTree profile Herr-99 created through the import of Abraham Herr.ged on Aug 18, 2011 by Cody Coggins. See the Changes page for the details of edits by Cody and others.
  • WikiTree profile Herr-244 created through the import of Reichard Martin Family Tree.ged on Apr 2, 2012 by Ryan Myers. See the Changes page for the details of edits by Ryan and others.
  • WikiTree profile Herr-234 created through the import of Reichard Martin Family Tree.ged on Apr 2, 2012 by Ryan Myers. See the Changes page for the details of edits by Ryan and others.
  • WikiTree profile Herr-241 created through the import of Reichard Martin Family Tree.ged on Apr 2, 2012 by Ryan Myers. See the Changes page for the details of edits by Ryan and others.
  • WikiTree profile Herr-238 created through the import of Reichard Martin Family Tree.ged on Apr 2, 2012 by Ryan Myers. See the Changes page for the details of edits by Ryan and others.
  • WikiTree profile Herr-250 created through the import of JOSEPH~1.GED on Jul 14, 2012 by Joseph Stalnaker. See the Changes page for the details of edits by Joseph and others.
  • WikiTree profile Herr-116 created through the import of Ellen Kropp_s Family Tree.ged on Sep 7, 2011 by Ellen Kropp. See the Changes page for the details of edits by Ellen and others.

Thanks to Charles Seamon for starting this profile. Click the Changes tab for the details of contributions by Charles and others.

Thank you to Sandy Minder for creating WikiTree profile Herr-302 through the import of Delong gedcom.ged on Apr 27, 2013. Click to the Changes page for the details of edits by Sandy and others.

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DNA Connections
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:

Have you taken a DNA test for genealogy? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.

Images: 3
1719 Hans Herr House
1719 Hans Herr House

Hans Herr Portrait by Von Ossko
Hans Herr Portrait by Von Ossko

Herr Memorial
Herr Memorial

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Hans is 16 degrees from Kay Sands, 19 degrees from Grant Wood and 15 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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