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Gangwyer, Jacob - Family History Knowledge Center

Gangwyer, Jacob

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Johann Jacob ‎[Gangeware]‎ Gangwyer is considered the first family member to arrive in the American colonies from the Palatinate area of Germany in the 1720s, according to family and other historical documents. The first reference to his name (Jacob Gangwyer [sic]) is the record of his arrival from Europe, though his name appeared in later documents with varying spellings (e.g., Gongwer, Gangaware, Gangwehr, Gangewere). His descendants can also be found with various spellings of this name (e.g., Gangaware, Gongaware, Gongwer). (See main article on the Gongwer (Gangaware, Gangwer, Gongaware, Gongwere, Gongewer) family). It is estimated that Jacob was born around the year 1677 and left Bavaria, Germany and traveled to Pennsylvania via Rotterdam (Netherlands) in 1727.[1] Sources vary regarding the year of his death, with one estimating that he died in 1779 at the old age of 102 in Upper Saucon Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. Another source indicates that he was born in 1705, which would have aged him at 22 years old when he arrived in Pennsylvania.

After arriving in Philadelphia in 1727, Jacob settled in Saucon Valley a few years later with his wife Susanna where they farm the land. Their arrival preceded the arrival of the Moravians more than ten years later who arrived and created the nearby settlement they called "Bethlehem". The Saucon Creek, which runs through the area, was named from the Indian word “sakuwit” or “sakung” which means “at the mouth of the creek.”

Contents

European origin and immigration to Pennsylvania

The first mention of Jacob Gangwyer is the name on the Ships List of the English ship "James Goodwill" which arrived at a Pennsylvania port from Rotterdam (Holland) via Falmouth, England, on September 27, 1727, carrying approximately 200 Palatine passengers.[2]


Immigrants in Pennsylvania from 1727-1776, p. 52
Rhein countries rev copy resize.jpg

While many of the immigrants were from the Palatinate region and could accurately be considered Palatines, the term "Palatine" was used loosely by English speakers and colonial administrators to refer to basically all German-speaking immigrants[3]. The term was simplistically applied to all, whether they were actually from the Palatinate region or whether they belonged to any of the diverse groups from German speaking areas in that part of Europe (e.g., German speaking Huguenots from Alsace, Swiss Anabaptists (e.g., Mennonites and Amish) from German-speaking Swiss cantons like Bern (canton), or Germans from Bavaria, Hesse, and Baden Wurttemburg) as well as the Palatinate.

The Ships List of the "James Goodwill" listed the names of 52 men and the number of family members who accompanied them. One of the names on the James Goodwill's passenger list was "Jacob Gangwyer"[4]. No accompanying family was specifically indicated, although a "1" beside his name may have indicated that he was traveling with a spouse (later documents indicates that he was married to a woman named Susanna), and later records listed "Bavaria" as his place of origin. His name (spelled "Ganwyer"[5] on this second document, a discrepancy that was common on documents penned by English immigration clerks who simply guessed at the spelling of German names) was also on a list of individuals who, on the same day of September 27, 1727, were sworn in as giving their allegiance to the King of England (since Pennsylvania was a British colony at the time).

However, another source [1] suggests that "Jacob Gangwehr"[6] [sic] was a soldier in Bavaria, a profession inconsistent with a basic doctrine of the pacifist Anabaptists, but not inconsistent with the Reformed faith of the Huguenots or that of the Lutherans. Religious persecution in France led to a widespread Diaspora of French Protestants, most fleeing across nearby borders (e.g., from Alsace into neighboring Bavaria).

For more information on the religious heritage of the family, see the main article on the Gongwer (Gangaware, Gangwer, Gongaware, Gongwere, Gongewer) family.

Other name references

According to historical texts, Jacob ‎Gangwyer (whose name was later changed in the records to Gangaware) was one of the founders of Saucon Township in 1743.[7] At the time he owned two tracts of land (Tracts 127, 128 – under name Jacob Gangaware) [8]. The first tract of land was obtained by occupation as a settler: “Jacob Gongwer first occupied a tract of one hundred and fifty acres, now owned by Jacob Gangaware and the Thomas Iron Company.”[9]

In December 27, 1781, the name "Jacob Gangware" was included on the tax list for Saucon Township.[10] The assessment for 1812 included the names of "David Gangeware", "Jacob Gangeware", and "Henry Gangeware". The total tax collected for roughly 300 landowners was $609 for the year of 1812.[11]

Marriage and family

Current location of original Gongaware tracts in Upper Saucon Township, Lehigh and Bucks Counties.
1791 map of Pennslvania counties (Lehigh County is carved out of Northhampton County in 1812).
Original plots/tracts (127, 128) deeded to Jacob Gangaware (Gongaware) in Upper Saucon Township.
1884 map of Lehigh County.
Current topo map of Upper Saucon Township, including golf course where Gangaware lands used to be

Jacob Gangwyer, whose name later showed up in records spelled Gongaware or Gangewere, was married to Susanna Margaret Heistern (1708-1794), whom some sources indicate was also born in Europe (Bavaria, Germany?).

It is unclear whether Jacob and Susanna were married by the time they arrived in Pennsylvania or were married after they arrived. The passenger list of the ship James Goodwill had an extra mark by Jacob's name, which may have indicated that he came with a member of his family (the primary passenger ticket holder's name was on the list, together with check marks for the number of additional passengers). In any case, Jacob and Susanna settled and raised their family in the predominately Lutheran settlement area which became Upper Saucon Township in Northampton County, Pennsylvania.

Northampton County was later divided into smaller counties, and Gangaware's tracts of land were located in what today is known as Lehigh County, and with a small portion falling in Bucks County.

Jacob and Susanna had the following children:

Later, some of Jacob and Susanna's children (e.g., Michael)moved further west in Pennsylvania, helping develop new settlements in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Some of the family was involved in starting the Harrold Church (in Hempfield Township in Westmoreland County), a Lutheran church and one of the oldest churches in the region. Most of the pioneering families in that areas, like the Gongawares (some of the family spelled the family surname as "Gangaware"), were of the Lutheran faith.[13]

Death and burial

Sources vary regarding the year of his death, with one estimating that he died in 1779 at the old age of 102 in Upper Saucon Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.

Descendants

Jacob Gangwyer's name shows up on a number of historical documents with slight variations in the spelling (e.g., Gangwehr, Gangewere). One of his sons, Michael (1738-1826), apparently changed the spelling of his family's name to Gongaware. Years, later, Jacob's great-grandson John Philip Gongaware (1786-1851), left Pennsylvania and moved west to Ashland County, Ohio, where his family changed the spelling of the last name to Gongwer. Many of the family members who remained in Pennsylvania retained the Gongaware spelling.


According to Geoff Gongwer:

“This Family Tree sprouts from immigrant Jacob Gangwehr, born 1677 (possibly son of Heinrich (Gangwehr)), who came from Germany to America on the ship "James Goodwill" in 1727. Jacob settled in Northampton Co., PA. In the 1850’s, one of his sons, Michael, moved to Westmoreland Co., PA, where the family name became known as "Gongaware". The family lived on a farm beside the Gongwer Woods near the site of the Battle of Bushy Run, and there is a Gongaware Road that runs along the edge of the battlefield present-day park, in Jeannette, PA. Subsequently, one of Michael’s sons, Joseph, and one of Michael’s grandsons, Philip* (son of Philip G. Gongaware) moved to Columbiana County, OH, and Richland County, OH, around 1803 and 1823, respectively. In their new lands, ~100 miles apart, both Joseph’s and Philip’s family’s last names became known as Gongwer, thus "giving birth" to this new spelling of the family name. Some researchers believe that the original family name (Gangwehr) itself was made up by Jacob, since there is no known record of such a name in Germany"


"He was of the Reformed faith, and was a communicant of Blue Church outside Coopersburg, PA. Jacob acquired his first 150 acres from the Penn family in 1734. This tract and subsequently-acquired adjoining land were farmed by Jacob Gangewer and his family until the end of the eighteenth century. Over time, he acquired hundreds of acres of land, and built a stone house, parts of which still stood as of 1884. Some sources have his name as "John". This apparently mistakes the religion`s universal name of "Johannes" before the individual`s name. As of 1930, the family graveyard still existed, "identified by a marker made up from surviving headstones", adjacent to Weyhill Course Hole #7 of the Saucon Valley Golf & Country Club, outside Friedensburg, PA."[14]

Other Sources

Notes

  1. Roberts,et.al. History of Lehigh County Pennsylvania,Vol.II. Lehigh Valley Publishing Co. Allentown,Pennsylvania, USA. 1914. Page. 413.
  2. A collection of upwards of thirty thousand names of German, Swiss, Dutch, French and other immigrants in Pennsylvania from 1727-1776 ... = Chronologisch geordnete Sammlung von mehr als 30,000 Namen von Einwanderern in Pennsylvanien aus Deutschland, der Schweiz, Holland, Frankreich u. a. St. von 1727 bis 1776 ... (1927 revision). Rupp, I. Daniel (Israel Daniel), 1803-1878
  3. Pfalzer in Amerika, by herausgegeben von Roland Paul und Karl Scherer, Institut for pfalzzische Geschichte unde Volkskunde Kaiserslautern, 1995, p. 48
  4. A collection of upwards of thirty thousand names of German, Swiss, Dutch, French and other immigrants in Pennsylvania from 1727-1776 ... = Chronologisch geordnete Sammlung von mehr als 30,000 Namen von Einwanderern in Pennsylvanien aus Deutschland, der Schweiz, Holland, Frankreich u. a. St. von 1727 bis 1776 ... (1927 revision). Rupp, I. Daniel (Israel Daniel), 1803-1878
  5. Source: Ship Passenger Lists, Pennsylvania and Delaware (1641 - 1825) page 49 - 50. By Carl Boyer, 3rd. 1980
  6. A history of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, from the earliest settlements to the present time, including much valuable information for the use of schools, families, libraries (1902), Hauser, James Joseph, 1854-, http://www.archive.org/details/historyoflehighc00hause
  7. History of the Counties of Lehigh and Carbon in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Alfred Mathews & Austin N. Hungerford. Publisher: Philadelphia: Everts & Richards. 1884, p. 427.
  8. History of the Counties of Lehigh and Carbon... p. 427.
  9. History of the Counties of Lehigh and Carbon... p. 426.
  10. History of the Counties of Lehigh and Carbon... p. 428.
  11. History of the Counties of Lehigh and Carbon... p. 429.
  12. Often spelled "Gangaware" or "Gangewere" in Lehigh County histories and "Gongaware" in Westmoreland County histories
  13. John N. Boucher, History of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Vol 1, p. 503
  14. http://gongwer.tribalpages.com/tribe/browse?userid=gongwer&view=0&pid=1116&ver=35#moreinfo_ Geoff Gongwer's research
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