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52 Ancestors, No. 27: John Hougendobler, Veteran of the American Revolution

July 4, 2014

John Hogendobler's Will - 1820

Today is the Fourth of July, and I can not think of a better way to spend the day than to write up a short profile on the first—and so far the only—direct ancestor I’ve found to be a Revolutionary War veteran! There are bound to be more, but let’s start with this one: Mr. John Hougendobler, an ancestor of my paternal grandmother. 

I still have not yet launched into a full investigation of this gentleman, preferring instead to first find all of the primary documents that prove my relationship to him. I first learned of my relationship to him about five or six years ago, when a Google searches led me to the meticulously arranged website of Diane L. Hougentogler, who seems to have since passed on, unfortunately, and taken her masterpiece with her. Some remnants of her great work are still visible as cached pages in Google’s database, but i imagine that even those will be gone before long.

The Grand Union Flag of Revolutionary times. Happy Independence Day!

The Grand Union Flag of Revolutionary times.

Further assisting with the location of original documents has been the website of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, which has made available online genealogical data from many of its members’ applications over the years. I share ancestors with one of the Society’s former members, one Florence Hipple, whose application data is available here. For a mere ten dollars, I purchased a record copy of the original application, which lists not only the vital data of each ancestor leading to Mr. Hougendobler, but also the documents that Mrs. Hipple used to prove their relationships. I’m trying to track down each of those documents in order before launching into a full-scale investigation of Mr. John and his service. I think I have only a couple more to go, actually.

Anything that’s good enough for the DAR, of course, should be good enough for me. So here is what I know about John Hougentogler, most of which came from either Diane Hougentogler’s website or one of its several imitators: John was born in Bern, Switzerland, in May of 1745, as the son of Nichlous Haugendobler and Helena Marie Mathews. Nichlous and Helena had at least three children in Switzerland before moving the family to America aboard the ship Osgood in 1750. They had at least seven more after settling in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

A fellow traveler by the name of Gottlieb Mittelberger wrote an account of the journey on the Osgood, detailing the illness, rotten food, worm-infested water, and the plight of the soon-to-be indentured servants aboard the vessel. Archive.org has the full English version. A condensed version, from which I pulled the following observation, is here:

Children from one to seven years rarely survive the voyage; and many a time parents are compelled to see their children miserably suffer and die from hunger, thirst, and sickness, and then to see them cast into the water. I witnessed such misery in no less than thirty-two children in our ship, all of whom were thrown into the sea. The parents grieve all the more since their children find no resting place in the earth, but are devoured by the monsters of the sea. It is a notable fact that children who have not yet had the measles or smallpox generally get them on board the ship, and mostly die of them.

As far as I can tell, Nichlous and Helena’s three children—Anna, John, and Nichlous, Jr.—all landed feet-first upon solid ground in the New World. What is not clear to me, yet, is whether the Nichlous managed to pay the family’s fare or whether the family was sold into servitude. I can’t venture a guess right now, but it is something I will have to look into.

Here is a ship. Maybe it's the Osgood. Click for a transcribed passenger list.

Here is a ship. Maybe it’s the Osgood. Click for a transcribed passenger list.

As far as concerns his Revolutionary War service, I know only from the aforementioned web sites that Private John Hougendobler  was a member of the First Company in Columbia, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which formed on September 1, 1775. According to Florence’s DAR application, he served under Captain James Barber. This artifact concerning a similar company in nearby Hempfield Township might entice the reader further, but I can not say more at this time. More research is in order.

Having survived the Revolution, John married Catherine Boyer on the 26th of October, 1868, and the couple had at least twelve children. I’m descended from Joseph, whom I believe to have been the sixth child, born on March 3rd, 1782. Web sites indicate that John purchased 600 acres of land near the Wrightsville Ferry, but consulting the original source for that information suggests that perhaps an uncle of John’s actually did this. I need to look into that to clarify it. The land was in the family’s possession for many generations, so John might have lived there at some point. Remaining a military man, John became captain in 1897, and later served in the War of 1812.

John died on the 12th of May, 1820, according to Florence Hipple’s DAR application. Had I located his grave, of course I would have used that for John’s featured photo. No, I have yet to find John’s final resting place, but I have found the graves of some of his relatives of his who lived around the same time. This leaves hope for finding the grave in one of my future bike tours of Lancaster County.

In lieu of a colorful gravestone photo, I leave you instead with a microfilm copy of John’s will of March 1820, as recorded, from the Lancaster County Archives. To read it, you can click for a larger version, but when you get tired of squinting, here is a transcription, prepared by Yours Truly. I attempted to preserve the capitalization and punctuation of the original, and I placed words that I had trouble deciphering in brackets:

399

John Hogendobler
deceased} In the name of God amen I John Hogendobler of West hempfield Township in the County of Lancaster and State of Pennsylvania yeoman do make this my last Will and Testament in the manner following Viz. Imprimis. It is my will that I may be buried after my decease with as little expense as decency will permit, and that all my debts and funeral expenses be paid as soon after my decease as conveniently can be. Item I give and bequeath unto my son John fourty nine acres of land and seventy four perches on which he now resides, bounded and described as follows. to wit. Beginning at a white oake on the line of Samuel Haights and Christian May, thence by said Christian Mays land north twenty five degrees west twenty five perches to a white oake, thence north thirty nine degrees East fourty three perches to a Stone, thence north thirteen degrees and one fouth of a dregree West twenty seven perches to a Stone, thence north twelve degree and a half of a degree west twenty four perches to a Black oake Stump, thence by the same South eighty nine degrees and one half of a degree west fifty perches to a Stone, thence North eighty eight degrees and half of a degree West twelve perches and nine tenths of a perch to a chesnut, thence by other land of, mine, South fourty nine degrees west, twenty perches and six tenths of a perch to a chesnut, thence, by land of Jacob Hogendoblers South twenty nine degrees East, Sixty perches to a Stone, thence, South thirty two degrees Six perches to a hickory, thence, south fifty two degrees and one fourth of a degree west thirty four perches to a Stone, thence South twenty one degrees East fourty six perches and eight tenths of a perch to a stone, thence by Samuel Haights land North sixty three degrees East. Sixty three perches to the place of Beginning which I give him at twenty five dollars an acre, amounting to twelve hundred and thirty six dollars and fifty six and one quarter cents. Item I give and bequeath unto my son Jacob the tract of Land on which he now lives bounded and described as follows, to wit, Beginning at a chesnut near the marietta and columbia Road, then by land of mine South fifty degrees west fifty seven perches to a stone thence South twelve degrees and a half of a degree west Seventeen perches to a stone thence my Samuel Hogendoblers land South sixty nine degrees east, seventy six perches and eight tenths of a perch to a chesnut oake thence south fifteen degrees and one fourth of a degree east, thirty two perches and seven thenths of a perch to a Stone thence by Samuel Haights land, North sixty one degrees and one half of a degree east, twenty three perches to a Stone thence, by other land of mine North twenty one degrees west fourty six perches and eight tenths of a perch to a Stone, thence North fifty-two degrees and one fourth of a degree east thirty four perches to a hickory thence north thirty two degrees east, six perches to a stone, thence, by the Road aforesaid North twenty nine degrees west sixty perches to the place of beginning containing fourty three acres and fourty four perches, which I give unto him at thirty dollars an acre amounting in value to twelve hundred and ninety eight dollars and twenty four cents. Item I give and bequeath unto my son Samuel all the tract of land which he now lives on bounded, described

400

as follows. to wit. Beginning at the river Susquehanna on the line of Samuel Haights, thence South sixty nine degrees and one fourht of a degree east eighty two perches to a black oake, thence, south eighty seven degrees east fifty five perches to a Gum thence North sixty seven degrees and one fourht of a degree east twenty perches to a stone, thence, by Jacob Hogendoblers land north fifteen degrees and one fourth of a degree west thirty two perches and seven tenths of a perch to Chesnut oake thence north sixty nine degrees west ninety perches and eight tenths of a perch to a stone, thence, by land of mine South fifty six degrees and one half of a degree West Sixteen perches to a pine, thence, south seventy three degree [sic?] degrees and one half of a degree east fourty four perches to the said river, thence, by several courses thereof seventeen perches to the place of beginning, Containing fourty acres and sixty eight perches, which I give unto him at thirty dollars an acre, amounting to twelve hundred and twelve dollars and seventy five cents Item I give and bequeath unto my sons Joseph and Nicholas all that tract of land now occupied by my son Nicholas, Bounded and described as follows to wit. Beginning at a Stone [?] corner of Samuel Bethel and Steven [Chrisines] land, thence by the ladder [sic?] South seventy five degrees west Sixty eight perches and two tenths of a perch to chesnut oake, thence south eighty nine degrees and one half of a degree west Seventy six perches to a chesnut oake, thence South, fifty degrees west, one hundred and five perches to a Stone, at the river Susquahanna, thence down the several courses thereof, one hundred and fourty two perches, and five tenths of a perch to Samuel Hogendoblers line, thence, north Seventy three degrees and one half of a degree east fifty three perches to a pine thence, north fifty six degrees and one half of a degree East, Sixteen perches to a Stone, thence, South sixty nine degrees east, fourteen perches to a Stone, thence, by Jacob Hogendoblers land north twelve degrees and one half of a degree east seventeen perches to a stone, thence, north Sixty degrees east forty eight perches to a black oake, thence North fifty degrees east fifty seven perches to a chesnut, thence, North fourty nine degrees east, twenty perches and six tenths of a perch to a chesnut, thence, south eighty eight degrees and one half of a degrees east, twelve perches and nine tenths of a perch to a Stone, thence, by land of Christian May North two degrees [west] one hundred and nine perches to the place of Beginning containing one hundred and eighty six acres and Sixty seven perches which I give them at thirty dollars an acre amounting to five thousand five hundred and ninety two dollars and fifty six and one quarter cents, The whole of the above described tracts of land composed the whole of the tract of land which I purchased of John [Sonn] the younger and John [?onn] the Older Reference unto the deed for the same being had, Recorded in the Recorders office at Lancaster in Book [R. R.] page 153 Reference thereunto being had will fully appear and as subject to the following reimbursements, Item I give and bequeath unto my daughter Catherine intermarried with Jacob Mays eleven hundred and sixty seven dollars and fifty one and one half cents which is to paid [sic] to her in eight annual payments without interest on the first day of April in each and every year by my sons John Jacob Samuel and Joseph and Nicholas in the following manner to wit, John is to pay sixty nine dollars and four and three fourths cents, Jacob one hundred and thirty dollars and Seventy four and a half cents, Samuel fourty five dollars twenty three and a half cents and Joseph and Nicholas nine hundred and seventy two dollars and fourty eight and

401

and three fourths cents, Which sum of money is to remain a lien on the lands bequeathed to them respectively until paid and it is my will that Jacob May my said son-in-law shall have no part of said money, and if any Surplus of money [????????] at my said daughter Catherine decease not spent by her, it is to be divided among her children share and share alike but if she should have no surviving children then it is to be divided [?????] the nearest heirs. Item I give and bequeath unto my Grand Children the issue of my daughter Mary which was intermarried with Henry Clair, The said Grand Children names are Elisabeth Catharine and Mary I say I bequeath unto them the sum of eleven hundred and sixty seven dollars and fifty one and a half cents in share and share alike to be paid unto them by my Sons Joseph and Nicholas to be paid in eight equal annual payments without interest the first day of April in each year to be the time of payment and which sum of money is to remain a lien on the land bequeathed unto them until paid. Item I give and bequeath unto my daughter Elisabeth the interest of eleven hundred and sixty seven dollars and fifty one and a half cents during her natural life to be paid to her by Sons Joseph and Nicholas on the first day of April in each year during the same and at her decease to be divided among her Children when they arrive of age, share and share alike. And the said sum of money is to remain a lien on the land bequested unto my Sons Joseph and Nicholas until paid. And I further bequeath unto my said daughter Elisabeth all my household and kitchen furniture except one bed, the clock and corner cubboard and desk and two milch Cows. Item It is my will that if any surplus of money remains after paying all of my debts it is to be divided among my said heirs share and share alike. And lastly I nominate constitute and appoint my sons Joseph and Nicholas Hogendobler my executors revoking all former wills by me at any time made. In witness whereof the said Testator hath hereuntoset his hand and seal this twenty fifth day of March one thousand eight hundred and twenty 1820 ~ John Hogendobler {Seal}

Signed sealed pronounced delivered and declared in the presence of us, who at the said Testators request have subscribed hereunto as witnesses Interlined on the 2nd page the eighth line the word, five, in the fifth page on the fourth line the word, [north], before signing.
Codicil Item it is my will and I do order and decree that all other lands and personal property, not disposed of by this will, shall be sold by my Executors aforesaid as soon as conveniently may be after my decease giving them power to make sufficent Titles for the same Witness Interlined before signing the seventh page the 21st line the words, except one bed the clock corner cubboard and desk

~ Philip Shneider, Philip Swartswelder
Abm Brenner John Hogendobler

Lancaster County ss. on the 15th day of May A. D. 1820 before me the subscriber personally appeared Philip Sneider Philip Swartswelder and Abm Brenner the three subscribing witnesses to the hereto annexed will who upon their affirmation according to law, did severally declare and say that they were present and saw and heard John Hogendobler, the Testator therein named sign, seal, publish, pronounce and declare the annexed instrument in writing as and for his last will and testamentand Codicil and that at the time of the doing thereof he was of sound and well disposing mind memory and understanding according to the best of their knowledge observa-tion

402

tion and belief ~

Benj Bauman Register

Be it remembered that on the 15th day of May A. D. 1820 the last will and testament and codicil of John Hogendobler deceased was proved in due form of law, and Letters testamentary thereon were granted to Joseph and Nicholas Hogendobler the Executors therein named, they having first been duly qualified according to Law, well and truly to administer the estate of said deceased and especially to exhibit a true and perfect Inventory into the Registers office at the city of Lancaster within one month from the date hereof and to render a just and true account of their Executorship on said estate in one year or when thereto lawfully required. Given under the seal of said office
Exd Benj Bauman Register

Boy, would I love to find the stones and hickories and chestnut trees referenced in this will, but I really have no hope of actually accomplishing that.

Many thanks the the genealogists who have come before me, who have made my work so much easier, especially Diane L. Hougentogler, Florence Hipple, and the authors and editors of the Biographical Annals of Lancaster County. Thanks also to berserkers like John Hougendobler, his brothers, and all the other Revolutionary veterans who fought the world’s greatest army 238 years ago—and won.

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