The following is based on the chronology on page 15 of „The Henckel Genealogy“:
1. Baptized October 27, 1668 at Mehrenberg, Germany.
2. Matriculated May 5, 1688 at Giessen University, Giessen, Germany.
3. Examined January 16, 1692 by the Theological Faculty of Giessen.
4. Ordained February 28, 1692 at Eschelbronn, Germany.
5. Called February 28, 1692 as pfarrer (pastor) of the Church at Eschelbronn by Baron John Anton of Pfeltz.
6. Called February 23, 1693 as pfarrer of the Church at Monchzell, Germany by Baron John Melchoir of Vestenburg.
7. Called in 1695 as pfarrer of Daudenzell and Breitenbronn, Germany by Baron Von Gemmingen.
8. Recalled in 1714 to the Church at Monchzell by Baron John Melchoir of Vestenburg.
9. Called in October 1714 as pfarrer of Neckergemund and Zuzenhausen, Germany.
He appeared to have served these churches until June 3, 1717 when he resigned and emigrated to the Province of Pennsylvania.
10. After his arrival at Philadelphia and settlement at New Hanover, now in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania he became pastor, in 1717, of the local Lutheran Church known as the „Old Swamp Church.“ Not only did he reorganize this church at Hanover but extended his work to the other districts in the area embraced in the original holdings of the Frankfort Land Company. He served the Swamp Lutheran Church as its fourth pastor from 1717 to 1728.
11. He preached occasionally at the „Old Trappe Church“ near Valley Forge, to the Tulpenhocken and Goshenhoppen Creek Congregations where he advised and aided in the organization of churches.
12. He founded in 1721 what is now St. Michael’s Lutheran Church at Germantown (now included in Philadelphia), Pennsylvania. This magnificent edifice has been repaired and rebuilt and is presently located at Germantown Avenue and Phillaenna Street. It is not far distant to Chestnut Hill where Reverend Anthony was killed by a fall from a horse. In the adjoining church cemetery he, his wife and son Anthony (2nd) lie buried.
RESEARCH in GERMANY:
The following is an account written by Dr. Burt Brown Barker of his research in Germany in the 1920’s concerning the Rev. Anthony Jacob Henckel. It is from pages 17-21 of „The Henckel Genealogy“. The addendum is on page 21.
Miss Cora C. Curry was the person who stimulated me to search for the records of the Rev. Anthony Jacob Henckel in Germany. She wrote me a letter dated March 23, 1923, and suggested that I begin at Frankfort-on-the-Main because there was a tradition in the family that he had been ordained there in February, 1692. Apparently this tradition was based on a diary which Anthony Jacob had kept. It had been read at one time by a member of the family, who remembered the date. That diary has never been located, although the search for it has covered many years.
The historians of the German Lutheran Church had for many years given scant credit to Rev. Henckel, I think possibly because of the story in their then church circles that he had ordained one Bernhard von Dueren, whose preaching among the early German settlements in New York was condemned. Henckel had denied the charge, but died in 1728, before he had time to clear himself. The Reverend Henry M. Muhlenberg added fuel to the flame by saying, in his Journal of 1750, that Rev. Henckel had ordained von Dueren. The condemnation of Henckel went so far that his own ordination was questioned (see page 234 The Henckel Family Records). The result was that the descendants of Henckel were anxious to locate all possible records of him in Germany and endeavor to clear his name. Practically nothing was known of him before he came to America. There was a tradition in the family, doubtless also from the lost diary, that he was a court preacher of some sort and had been forced to leave Germany because he had in some way offended some church patron by preaching against the patron’s actions. Thus a cloud had hung over Henckel’s name for two hundred years. The time had now come to make an investigation to see if any records could be found to determine his family, education, and ministerial services. Being a pastor, it was hoped that such records could be located.
On October 18, 1924, I sailed for Europe, determined to take time off for the research. I shall not here go into the details of my three visits to Germany, because my diaries have been published in full with many documented records in the Henckel Family Records, printed by the Henkel Press, New Market, Virginia, where they may be had while the small supply lasts. They will never be reprinted. Rather, I shall confine myself to reviewing the results of the study.
The first trip covered the period of October 18 to December 23, 1924. I went at once to Frankfort-on-the-Main, as directed, and satisfied myself that the church there had no records of Henckel. That was disconcerting, as that was the only clue I had on which to work. Then began a wild goose chase. My well-meaning interpreter sent me to Leipzig. In the files of the University I found records of many Henckels, but no Anthony Jacob. From Leipzig I went to Halle, where I searched the records of Halle and Wittenberg Universities. Again many famous Henckels but no Anthony Jacob. A search of the Universal German Biography of 1880 gave the same results.
Having wasted ten days in fruitless search, I determined on a new plan of campaign. I returned to Frankfort, talked with my old interpreter, and asked him if a Lutheran pastor of the time of Anthony Jacob in Germany would have had to be educated for the ministry. His answer was „Yes.“ Then I asked the name of the nearest University which he probably would have attended. He said „Giessen University.“ We departed immediately for Giessen, a ride of one hour by fast train. Knowing Henckel’s age, we estimated the date of his possible matriculation and asked the University librarian for a list of the students attending between 1675 and 1692. On being shown the list, I turned at once to the name Henckel, and there read „Antonius Jacobus Henckel, Mehrenburg.“ Imagine my joy, for at last I had found my first record and realized that we had the key which might lead to success. While I was thus contemplating the possibilities of the find, the librarian came again into the room with the record of the original registration, and pointed to the original signature of Anthony Jacob Henckel. I could scarcely believe my eyes. There before me was the original signature of our common ancestor! The thrill of this discovery I shall never forget.
The record indicated that he had matriculated in Giessen University, May 5, 1688, under Professor Michael Heiland, Doctor of Philosophy and Medicine and Professor Ordinary. That signature was in the same condition as when written 236 years before. This discovery was thrill number one.
Our next step was to go to Mehrenberg and see if we could find the record of his birth. Another train ride of an hour brought us to Weilberg, the nearest railroad station. There followed a walk of forty-five minutes uphill. But on reaching the top we saw Mehrenberg in the valley below. It nestled peacefully at the foot of a hill on top of which were the two remaining towers of a ruined castle. Another thirty minutes‘ walk and we were in Mehrenberg. Here we learned that the old records of the church were in the neighboring village of Allendorf. It had begun to rain before we left Mehrenberg, so when we arrived at Allendorf we were thoroughly rain-soaked. Here Pastor Gustav Schmidt received us most cordially. We told our story. He produced his records. We knew young Henckel had matriculated at Giessen in 1688. We guessed his birth at 1668, but were so anxious not to overlook anything that we began the search at the record year of 1660. It was an anxious time. The pastor read every entry in order to be sure nothing was overlooked. Each year following 1660 produced no name Henckel. When we reached 1667 I was so nervous and cold that I sat down. The pastor and my interpreter read names while my teeth chattered. Suddenly the pastor called out „Henckel!“ and I was on my feet in a flash, only to hear the disappointing word, „daughter.“ However, the name had been found, and again the search continued, now into the year 1668. Each passing month of the records increased my nervousness, for this was the year in which we had expected to find our answer. Now I stood and shook, far too nervous to remain seated. I watched each name as it was called. Suddenly the pastor again almost shouted, „Henckel!“ and in the next breath, „ein sohn!“ and before I could catch my breath came, „Antonius Jacobus.“ I was spellbound, and dropped into my chair. The long search was ended, and the record of the birth of our common ancestor had at last been found, on Nov. 21, 1924. This was my second thrill.
I spent the night in the house. A son of the pastor spoke English fluently. But in a cold guest bed, chilled to the bone, I passed a restless night trying to realize what had happened. The record showed that the child was baptized on October 27, 1668; that his father was George Henckel, the village teacher, and possibly preacher; his mother was Eulalia; one godfather was Jacob, brother of George, and a godmother was Anna Maria Dentzer, a sister of Eulalia. That night before retiring the pastor had produced a small pamphlet history of Mehrenberg, printed in 1819. This showed that George Henckel, the father, had been born in 1635, became a schoolmaster in 1662, and married Eulalia Dentzer, daughter of Othmar Dentzer af Steinmerk, in 1666; that he had five sons and one daughter, and died in 1678 at the age of 43, and that his last son was born after his death. It also showed that one son studied for the ministry and went to the Palatinate. The widow remained in Mehrenberg until after the birth of her posthumous child, put up a marble monument in memory of her deceased husband, and then returned with her children to her hometown of Steinmerk (Steinberg).
Next morning a sister of Pastor Schmidt came to the house. She spoke fluent English. We returned in the rain to Mehrenberg and made a long but fruitless search to find the grave of George Henckel. We were told that after a family had left the town for a long time and no descendants remained, often a stone would fall and others would take it and have it re-cut with other names. This may hove been the fate of the stone of George Henckel. We found no plat of the burial ground.
I returned to Giessen. The records of the University showed that George Henckel had matriculated in the Fourth Class on July 25, 1650, from Allendorf-ad-Lumbda. We also learned that the records of Steinmerk were at Watzenborn, a suburb of Giessen. I took a teacher of the English department of the University and we went to Wetzenborn. The oldest record the pastor had was 100 years later than the date of the marriage of George Henckel and Eulalia Dentzer. By persistent inquiry and the help of a young German researcher whom I located, we found the earlier missing record book in the hands of another young researcher, and returned it to the astonished pastor. He had been pastor there for three months only and did not know of the earlier record. He turned at once to the date, and there was the record of the marriage of George Henckel exactly as reported in the history of Mehrenberg.
A further search revealed: Othmar Dentzer was an assistant Judge — and Church Senior and his father was village mayor. He married Louisa Wagner, a daughter of Ludwig Wagner, a well known Lutheran pastor of his day. Othmar’s three sons studied at Giessen University and became Lutheran pastors.
The family covered a period of 62 years in the Church, and during this time various members of the family were godparents 14 times, far more times than any other family — a truly remarkable Lutheran family. Ludwig Wagner, the maternal great-grandfather of Anthony Jacob, was a Lutheran pastor and must have been a late contemporary of Martin Luther. Thus the Henckel blood goes back well to the beginning of Lutheranism.
After the examination of the records of the Church of Steinberg, I returned to the United States.
Having located Anthony Jacob and his family, and having learned that he had had a call to Palatinate, I determined to go to Heidelberg, the seat of the Palatinate. Accordingly I left New York July 3, 1926, for London. I arrived in Heidelberg July 26, where I found an interpreter. We went on the theory that there was a list of Lutheran pastors covering the period. We found such a list in the church records showing no name of Henckel. That certainly set us back on our heels. Then we went to the head librarian and told him our problem. He referred us to one of his skilled researchers, who soon found two petitions under date of April 23, 1708, and January 15, 1710, on each of which the name of Anthony Jacob Henckel appeared as pastor of Breitenbronn. Thus again the closed gates of research opened to us, but with the haunting fear that the early records had been destroyed.
On July 31, we went to Breitenbronn, where we found only the church, but no parish house; and again the ghost of lost records arose. We went to the Burgomeister (Mayor), who told us that what records there were could be found in Daudenzell, a half-hour’s walk away. At Daudenzell the pastor, Hermann Esselborn, greeted us and when asked if he had any records of Anthony Jacob Henckel, at once replied „Yes.“ He soon returned with his books showing pages and pages of records in the handwriting of Anthony Jacob. Imagine my joy, for I had now located him as an active pastor in a church. And again the doors of research were opened.
Here we found that he was pastor of two churches, the one at Daudenzell was the parent church, and the other in Breitenbronn was a filia (daughter) church. His pastorate was from August 23, 1695 to the fall of 1714. The records indicated that he had baptized 151 children, had officiated at 51 burials, and 22 marriages. A further examination of the records showed the birth and baptism of his own children the same as named in his will in Pennsylvania. Also we learned of the birth and death of three other children. There were two gaps in the chronology: where was Anthony Jacob Henckel located (1) before going to Daudenzell, and (2) after he left there. We found an entry in a record at Daudenzell which indicated that he had gone from there to Monchzell.
On August 2, 1926, we started for Monchzell. The nearest railroad station was Meckesheim. Before starting to walk from there to Monchzell we called on the pastor of Meckesheim. We told him of our proposed trip and he told us that Meckesheim was the mother church and Monchzell was a filia, and that he had its records. He produced them and then we got still another surprise, for these records showed that on February 23, 1693, Anthony Jacob Henckel, pastor pro tempore of Eschelbronn, had been called to the church at Monchzell. This proved to be his first pastorate. But when we reached Monchzell still another surprise, the greatest in the list, awaited us, when the pastor produced the record of the ordination of Anthony Jacob. Had the heavens fallen we could not have been more astonished. But there it was, in Anthony Jacob’s own handwriting, and it confirmed the tradition in the family that it was February 1692, for it was February 28, 1692. Thus the one thing I wanted to find above all else fell into my lap with complete surprise.
Thus my second trip established the ordination of Anthony Jacob at Eschelbronn and his pastorate there, and also at Monchzell and Daudenzell. But still we wanted to know: (1) did he graduate at Giessen University? (2) Where and when he married? (3) Where did he go after 1714 until he came to America? (4) Why did he come to America?
With these questions unsolved I left on my third trip, again for Heidelberg, on June 27, 1930. The records at Daudenzell said that Anthony Jacob had gone to Monchzell. When searching the records there previously I found a note saying he had gone to Neckargemund. Accordingly, on July 28 I went there. We learned that the old records were in the Evangelical Church. The pastor produced them. They were in two small books, written partly by Anthony Jacob. The earliest record was October 11, 1714. That was soon after he left Daudenzell. The second book was the record of Zuzenhausen, showing that he was the pastor of both places. The last entry in his own handwriting was June 3, 1717. Inasmuch as he came to America in 1717 it was evident that this was his last parish. Thus we found that he served the following pastorates: Eschelbronn and Monchzell from Feb. 28, 1693 to 1695, Daudenzell and Breitenbronn 1695 to 1714, Monchzell possibly second time in 1714, Neckargemund and Zuzenhausen from Oct. 11, 1714 to June 3, 1717.
The next question was, did he pass his examinations at Giessen University? Before leaving home I had received a letter from Dr. Diehl, Prelate of the church at Darmstadt, dated May 2, 1930, saying that Anthony Jacob had been examined at Giessen on Jan. 16, 1692, by the department of theology. Armed with this letter I returned to Giessen, on August 3rd. This time I was successful. Given the date and the fact that his examination was in theology, the librarian produced the record and thus confirmed the facts I had. The previous efforts at Giessen failed probably because I did not have the exact date and without it the librarian was uncertain what we wanted. But we had now established the fact that Anthony Jacob was University trained and duly and regularly ordained.
Our next effort was to try to ascertain why he left Germany. The tradition in the family indicated that it had to do with some activity on his part, either of being critical of, or openly opposed to certain church patrons or over-lords. It must be borne in mind that originally all of the German churches were Catholic. Then came Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation, which resulted in many of the churches changing from Catholic to Protestant. The Catholics naturally fought to prevent this. The civil rulers were brought into the conflict, and in some cases took sides accordingly to their religious beliefs. This was true in the Palatinate. Hence when the ruler was Catholic that church was in the ascendency, and when he was Protestant, that church controlled the churches. This was the case when Anthony Jacob was pastor at Daudenzell and Breitenbronn where the Protestants had held both churches for many years. When the Elector of the Palatinate became Catholic, the Catholics endeavored to have equal rights of worship in the churches. This was the case in Breitenbronn because it was under the Elector of the Palatinate.
We had now traced Anthony Jacob to his last pastorate and still had no evidence to indicate why he had gone to America. Thus far we had seen church books only. I kept trying to explain to my interpreter that I wanted to find other records than these books. But my efforts were unsuccessful until we were with the pastor in Neckargenmund, where he was showing us his filing cabinet. There was a big wide shelf at the bottom where the church books stood upright. I noticed the upper part of the cabinet was divided into pigeonholes large enough to hold legal size papers. There were papers in these. I asked the pastor in my poor German what they were. „Dies sind die Akten,“ he replied. „Akten,“ that was a new word. He explained they were the acts of the church and its correspondence. I felt that at last I was on the right track, and asked to see his old Akten. These, he explained, had been taken from all the churches a few years before and deposited in an archives building in Karlsruhe. This meant that by going there we would have access to all the Akten of all the churches where Anthony Jacob had been.
We went then to Karlsruhe. In as much as Breitenbronn was in the Palatinate where the Elector was Catholic we felt this was the first place to examine. We were given the Akten. It proved to be a bundle of manuscripts in a coarse heavy wrapping paper cover, tied with a string — marked „Breitenbronn.“ We opened it with great hopes. I noticed that my interpreter seemed puzzled. He kept looking at the papers and turning them over and over. Finally, he said that he could not read them as they were not in modern German. We looked them all over. They were all the same and we were again frustrated. We went to the director and explained our difficulty. He looked at the papers and told us they were written in ecclesiastical Latin, but that there was a man connected with the Archives who could translate them into modern German, so my interpreter could then translate them into English. We were told to take out the papers we wanted translated and he would have the work done. How simple it sounded, but how were we to tell what papers to take out when we could not read them? Again we were frustrated until I told the interpreter that we would run our eyes over each line, and whenever we found the name „Henckel“ or „Pfarrer of Breitenbronn“ we would take out that document.
In this way we covered every paper during the time Anthony Jacob was pastor there. Naturally we had no idea whatsoever of their contents. All we knew was that Henckel’s name was there or he was referred to. We did not go beyond 1717 because that was the date when he went to America. We did the same with the records of the church at Monchzell, because Anthony Jacob seemingly had a second appointment there in 1714. We continued this search through 1717 also.
After that we had finished, I continued to turn over the subsequent papers more in idle curiosity than anything else. While doing this my eye again caught the name Henckel in a document in 1722, or five years after he had gone to America. Again we began to look for documents in that year showing the name Henckel or „pfarrer of Monchzell.“ We were curious to know why his name was still in the records five years after he had gone to America. In this way we had picked out about 32 manuscripts and letters to be handed to the expert who was to put them into modern German. Some of the papers were several pages long so the translation was a formidable job. Thus we left Karlsruhe without the faintest idea of whether or not we had found anything of importance or solved any of our problems. This done, we returned to New York to wait patiently for the translations.
After several months the modern German text reached me at my home in Montclairs, N. J. I looked longingly at them, wondering whether or not they contained answers to the questions which had remained unanswered since the death of Anthony Jacob Henckel in 1728. I sent them to Professor William J. Hinke, of Auburn Theological Seminary, Auburn, N. Y., who translated them for me, and did an excellent job, for which I am most grateful. These documents (set up in full in the Henckel Family Records previously referred to) reveal two conflicts in which Anthony Jacob was involved.
The first was while he was pastor at Breitenbronn in 1708-1709. The Catholics endeavored to get the use of the church half the time — Anthony Jacob resisted, basing his rights on an old ecclesiastical order, and refused to recognize a later order of the Catholic commission. Finally a Catholic priest broke into the church with an axe. The contest was spirited and Anthony Jacob was successful until force was used. He reported it to the patron of the church who dropped the contest. In this case Anthony Jacob was on the defensive.
The second contest was different. In this he was on the offensive. He complained that the patron of the Church of Monchzell was using lands belonging to the church and keeping the tithes. He appealed to Prince Ernst Ludwig. The Patron, Baron John Melchoir von Festenburg replied. denying everything and attacking the character of pfarrer Henckel. Prince Ernst Ludwig made no effort to obtain the facts, but brushed aside the charges as unfounded. This was in 1714, and probably was the reason pfarrer Henckel came to America.
But the documents we found dated 1722 revealed that Henckle’s successor had renewed the charges and this time Prince Ernst Ludwig appointed a friend of Baron von Festenburg to examine the case. He did so and reported that von Festenburg was guilty. This came as such a surprise to the investigator that he asked to be relieved of any further connection with the case.
In conclusion, whether or not Anthony Jacob heard of his vindication, which came in 1722, or six years before he died, is unknown. Again one wonders if he had been vindicated when he filed charges against von Festenburg, would he have come to America. If he had not come, it is certain that there would have been no Anthony Jacob Henckel family in the United States and this book would not have been printed, and you would not be reading it. Thus, defeated in a just cause, he refused to bow, and came to the United States and the founding of our family is the result. This is indeed a proud heritage.
In P. R. Diffenderfer’s „German Immigration into Pennsylvania,“ page 39:
„September 9, 1717. Captain Richmond landed with 164 passengers.
Captain Toner (Tower), with 91 passengers.
Captain Eyers, with 108 passengers.“
These ship arrivals, received in letter dated July 22, 1926, from Charles R. Roberts, historian, of Allentown, Pennsylvania. He suggested Reverend Anthony Jacob Henckel probably on one of these ships.
In „The Acta Historica Ecclesiastica,“ Volume 41. page 1054, published 1738 by Wiemer.
„In 1717, three small vessels were fitted out to bring to Philadelphia, certain German Lutheran.“ By the compilers.
The following is on pages 25-26 of „The Henckel Genealogy“:
THE NUNCUPATIVE WILL OF REVEREND ANTHONY JACOB HENCKEL
Anthony Jacob Henkel (Henckel) of Hanover Township in the county of Philadelphia, in the province of Pennsylvania, Clerk (Minister) being sick and weak in body, but of sound mind and memory, did in the presence of us the subscribers declare this last will and testament in manner hereinafter following, that is to say:
First, that the testator did give and bequeath unto his wife Maria Elizabeth during her widowhood the possession and enjoyment of all his the said testators estate, real and personal, and that if said wife should marry again that then she should have only a third part of his personal estate, and one-third part of the income of his real estate as usually allowed by law.
Second, also he the said testator did give, devise, and bequeath unto his two youngest sons John Justus and Anthony Jacob, and to their heirs and assigns forever, all of his the said testator’s plantation and tract of 250 acres of land situated in New Hanover Township aforesaid, to be equally divided between his said two sons share and share alike whereof they shall be possessed after their mother’s decease or marrying, which ever should first happen, after which possession they, his two sons, John Justus and Jacob Anthony, should by equal contributions pay out of the said testator’s real estate the full sum of 100 pounds of lawful money of Pennsylvania to be equally divided amongst and paid unto the testator’s five other children, namely, Gerhard Anthony, George Rodolphus, Johanna Fredrika, or her heirs, Maria Elizabeth, and Maria Catherine, share and share alike.
Third, also, the said testator did give, devise, and bequeath unto his aforesaid eldest son, Gerhard Anthony, the sum of five shillings, or the value then of over and above his equal share of ye 100 pounds aforesaid.
In testimony to the truth whereof we the subscribers have set our hands in evidence in witness hereunto.
Dated the twelfth day of August, Anno Domini, one thousand seven hundred and twenty-eight.
Herman Groothausen (L. S.)
Hans Michael Schwenstock (L. S.)
George Ruger (L. S.)
Philadelphia, August 17, 1728
(To whom it may concern). There personally appeared Herman Groothausen, Hans Michael Schwenstock, and George Ruger, witness to the foregoing nun-cupative will, and on their oath did declare that the testator Anthony Jacob Henkel, on the twelfth day of this instant, August, fell off his horse on the road from Philadelphia to his house in New Hanover Township, which disabled him, and he was carried to the house of the deponent Herman Groothausen in the manor of Springfield, where the testator lying very ill, bid the deponents take notice that the contents of the within and above writing was his will, and the deponents do say that the testator at the time of his speaking the said nun-cupative will was of sound mind, memory, and understanding, to the best of their knowledge and belief.
Peter Evans, Reg.-General.
Letters of Administration. Reg.-Office,
Philadelphia, Book C, page 109.
On September 14, 1728, Maria Elizabeth, the widow of Reverend Anthony Jacob Henckel, was granted letters of administration on the estate, and gave bond of 200 pounds for the proper performance of her duties.
APPRAISEMENT OF THE ESTATE
An inventory of all and singular, the lands, goods, chattels and credits of Anthony (Jacob) Henkel, late of New Hanover, Township, in the County of Philadelphia, deceased, taken and appraised the twenty-seventh day of August, Anno Domini, one thousand seven hundred and twenty-eight, by us whose names are herein written:
Imprimis -- The plantation 150
Item -- The wagon, 7 horses and gears 50
Item -- Three mares 12
Item -- Cows and young cattle 20
Item -- Corn in the barn 20
Item -- Books 3
Item -- Pewter 3
Item -- A fire shovel 0 5
Item -- Two saddles 1 10
Item -- One pot and iron plate 0 10
Item -- One bed 1
Item -- Share and colter and harrow with iron tines 2 10
Item -- Parcel of sheep 1 10
Item -- Hogs 1
Total 266 5
Item -- Debts due (estate) 76 15
(Signed) Adam Garman
Note: Words in parenthesis explanatory and for clarification.