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Mennonite BURKHOLDER Family of Switzerland, Ontario & Pennsylvania

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The Burkholder Family of Switzerland

In the 5th century, an ancient Germany tribe, the Alemanii, moved to Switzerland from the southwest of Germany . Later in the 10th century one Alemen colony settled in the hills east of Ruegsau and northeast of Lutzalfluh. The farm was Burghalden, the "castle slope" and this is reported to be where all Burkholder families stem. Since farms were passed to the oldest son the other sons had to find new places. Over the generations, some found their way to Langnau, 30 miles from Burgdorf. The first named is Rudolf von Burghaldon in Burgdorf. By the 16th century, the Burkholders were attached to the early Anabaptist movement. In 1567 it was recorded that the "old woman Burghalter paid her leaving tax because of Anabaptist" as well as her son's.

In 1692 Johannes Mozart, the Reformed State Church pastor of Langnau, visited Hans Burkholder and Daniel Grimm to convert them from the Anabaptist religion but to no avail . As we shall learn, Hans will undergo many hardships but remain a firm Anabaptist. At this time Hans served as Poor Warden and Daniel as petty judge. Daniel was older then Hans and was aleader in the Peasant War of 1653. From July 1708 to March 18, 1710 Hans Burki of Langnau was imprisoned.On March 18th he and 55 people embarked at Bern on a voyage down the Rhineriver to go to America. He was being deported for his Anabaptist beliefs. On March 29th twenty-eight feeble passangers were released at Mannheim. On April 6th, Hans Burkholder, Benedict Brechbuhl and Melchiuor Zahlers, the three clergymen, were at Nimwegen where Hans decided to return for hisfamily.

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On January 3, 1711 the Dutch Ambassador to Switzerland, Runkel,reported that Hans Burki led a company to Bern and was imprisoned for life.On July 11th, the children of Hans Burkholder, Daniel Grimm, and Christian Neuenschwander with Hans hired hand, Uli Gerber, attacked the prison with pitch forks and sticks to prevent their fathers from being deported, again.This obviously failed as July 17th Hans Burkholder was placed on the ship Emmenthaler and told not to return to Bernese Territory but Hans jumped ship at Breisack. Hans Jacob Burki, this may be Hans or his son as three went to America with him: Johannes, Jacob, and Abraham, settled in Kampen.

In February 1717 Hans Burkholder with others asked the Dutch Committee in Mannheim to help them move to America. On March 1st, they started their travel from Frankfort to Rotterdam. On March 20th more than 100 Swiss began the trip to America. Ministers leading these included Hans Burkholder and Benedict Brechtbuhl. Henry Kendig and son George (brother of Martin?), Jacob Kendig (brother to Martin?)(he died in Conestoga township in 1727) and Jacob Kendig Jr (not a son to this Jacob). These were friend and relatives of Martin Kendig and Hans Herr. The First Assessment list of Conestoga township in 1718 of old Chester County (now Lancaster) included Hance Bugholder and several Kendig families including Jacob Kendig Jr.

Although Hans wrote that he had twelve children they are not accounted for in the remaining records. Also there is no mention of his wife or if she came to America. It also is believed Hans was between 40 to 50 years oldwhen he came to America, placing his birth between 1667 to 1677.

Burki, Borcholder, Borcholter, Borckholder, Borgholder, Borkholder, Burckhalter, Burckholdr, Burgholder, Burgholdter, Burkhalter and Burkholder. Swiss form: Burkhalter. The Swiss form of Burkholder came from Langnau and Ruderswyl, Emmental Valley, Canton Bern, Switzerland; 1670's an Anabaptist Burkhalter at Mattenberg
The Burkholder family came from the Ementhal valley outside Berne, Switzerland. A house and barn standing where the Burkholders farmed has the date 1410 cut into the gable. Many of the family were followers of Menno Simons, who started the Mennonite movement in Holland. The Mennonites were opposed to war and many were imprisoned, exiled or burned at the stake.

Jacob Burkholder, my 5th great-grandfather, was born in Switzerland in 1747, but his father moved the family north to Mannheim, Germany on the lower Rhine River to escape persecution. Here, they joined other Palatines and Jacob learned weaving.

Jacob Burkholder and his two brothers, John and Christian sailed for America in 1765 on the ship Myrtilla. They landed at Philadelphia, 21 September 1765. John and Jacob Burkholder settled in Lampeter Twp., Lancaster Co.,  Pennsylvania, while Christian Burkholder settled near Newbury in Franklin Co., Pennsylvania.

Several French Huguenot refugees were among the Myrtilla's 81 passengers, including Abraham and Sophia De Roche. Sophia was a French girl, supposedly of Huguenot descent. Jacob married Sophia De Roche in 1765 in Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania. Their signatures may be seen in Pennsylvania, where they took the oath of allegiance to the British Crown in 1765.

Following the American Revolution, Jacob Burkholder wished to remain under British rule. It is important to note however that they were not Loyalists. After his eldest sons made an exploratory trip to the head of Lake Ontario, Jacob, Sophia and family left Pennsylvania for Upper Canada (now the province of Ontario). With their son Christian as their guide, they came by Conestoga wagon drawn by oxen, crossing at Buffalo and arriving at Niagara in present day Ontario province, in October 1794. They obtained 800 acres on the Hamilton mountain and were the first family to settle east of the Caledonia highway.

They settled on the escarpment in the  eastern part of Barton Township, Wentworth County on lot 9 concession 6. Eventually in 1817, the various members of the family received crown patents to some 600 acres on lots 8-11 Concession 6 and lots 9-10 Concession 5.

In 1808, Jacob was living on Lot 9, Conc. 5, Barton Tp, Wentworth County. Jacob's trade as a weaver helped support them in difficult times. During the first winter, Burkholder turned to tailoring to supplement the family income and Peter Horning, who had been wearing buckskins up to this time, was reputedly his first customer.

Once settled, the Burkholders espoused the Methodist faith, probably influenced in part by the circuit riders who visited the district. The family made their home available for religious meetings. A family cemetery was established by 1800, the earliest interment being Burkholder's son Joseph, who died of a broken back after falling from a shed roof. The family gave its name to a small community, the Burkholder settlement, which developed at the intersection of what is now Mohawk Road and Sherman Avenue in Hamilton, Ontario. In 1839, a small log building was erected to serve as both church and school. It was replaced by the Mountain Chapel in 1850. This was renamed Burkholder Methodist Church in 1886 and after 1925, became known as Burkholder United Church.

Jacob Burkholder's date of death is not certain.   Different sources give 2 March 1812, 1813, and 1817 as possible dates. Many of his descendants still figure prominently in the Hamilton area.

From : pp 38 & 39 The Hamilton Dictionary of Biography, Vol.1

BURKHOLDER, JACOB, pioneer, farmer, weaver, tailor; b. April 1747 in Switzerland; m. Sophia de Roche (Raich) in 1765 and they had four sons and two daughters; d. in Barton Township, Upper Canada, buried in the family cemetery (now part of Burkholder United Church Cemetery).

    Descendants of Jacob Burkholder
1  	Jacob Burkholder	b: Apr 1747 in Ementhal Switzerland	
d: 02 Mar 1817 in Hamilton, Barton Tp. Wentworth Co. Ontario
+Sophia De Roche	b: 21 May 1748 in France	
d: 09 Apr 1839 in Hamilton, Barton Tp. Wentworth Co. Ontario
 2   	George Burkholder		
 2   	David Burkholder	b: 10 Sep 1772 in Lancaster Co. PA	
 d: 05 Oct 1843 in Barton Tp. Lincoln Co. Ontario
		+Elizabeth Gingerich	b: Abt. 1775 in Lancaster Co. PA	
  3   	Abraham Burkholder	b: 1804	
  d: 08 Jun 1875 in Lexington, Sanilac, MI
		+Caroline	b: 1819	d: 1870
  3   	Isaac Burkholder	b: 09 Mar 1805	
  d: 27 Dec 1884 in Saltfleet, Wentworth Co. Ontario
		+Hannah Smith	b: 13 Nov 1811	
        d: 15 Sep 1899 in Stratford, Perth Co. Ontario
  3   	Jacob Burkholder	b: 1806 in Ontario	
  d: 1894 in Maladide Tp. Elgin Co. Ontario
		+Janine Vollick	
        b: Aft. 1806 in Ontario	
        d: Bef. 1848 in Nelson Tp. Halton Co. Ontario
		*2nd Wife of Jacob Burkholder:		
		+Eliza Follick	b: Abt. 16 May 1817 in Ontario	
        d: 05 Jun 1892 in Malahide, Elgin Co. Ontario
  3   	Peter Burkholder	b: Aft. 1806	
  3   	David Burkholder	b: 1808 in Ontario	
  d: 09 Jun 1882 in Middleton Tp., Norfolk Co.?
		+Margaret Vollick	
        b: 14 May 1815 in Upper Canada	
        d: Bef. 12 Jan 1852 in Middleton Tp. Norfolk Co. Ontario
		*2nd Wife of David Burkholder:		
		+Laura	b: Abt. 1809 in USA	d: Aft. 1881
  3   	Sophia Burkholder	
  b: Abt. 1810 in Hamilton, Barton Tp. Wentworth Co. Ontario	
  d: Bet. 1881 - 1891 in Kilbride, Nelson Tp. Halton Co. Ontario
		+Isaac Vollick	
        b: 24 Apr 1796 in Nelson Tp. Halton Co. Ontario	
        d: 30 Apr 1864 in Nelson Tp. Halton Co. Ontario
  3   	Henry M. Burkholder	b: 1811	
		+Eliza J. Coombs		
  3   	Catharine Burkholder	
  b: 23 Mar 1812 in Hamilton, Barton Tp. Wentworth Co. Ontario	
  d: 18 Jan 1864 in Hay Tp., Huron Co. Ontario
		+Matthias Follick
        	b: Bet. 1798 - 1800 in St. Catharines Ontario	
        d: 11 Jan 1870 in Hay Tp., Huron Co. Ontario
  3   	Samuel Burkholder	b: 1815	
		+Magdalena Rosenberger	b: 1823	
  3   	Elizabeth Burkholder	
  b: Abt. 1816 in Hamilton, Barton Tp., Wentworth Co. Ontario	
  d: Bet. 1871 - 1881 in Hay Tp., Huron Co., Ontario
		+Richard Vollick	
        b: Oct 1809 in Upper Canada	
        d: 17 Jul 1891 in Hay Tp., Huron Co. Ontario
  3   	John Burkholder	b: Aft. 1816	
  3   	Joseph Burkholder	b: 1818	d: 1886 in MI
		+Veronica Shupe	b: 1826	
		*2nd Wife of Joseph Burkholder:		
		+Sophia Holm		
  3   	Susan Burkholder	b: Abt. 1820	
		+Isaac Gingerich		
  3   	Hannah Burkholder	b: Abt. 1823	
		+John Lewis	b: Abt. 1806	
  3   	Sarah Burkholder	b: 1825	
  3   	George Burkholder	b: Aft. 1825	
 2   	Christian Burkholder	b: 14 Dec 1772 in PA	
 d: 17 Sep 1843 in Ontario
	+Catherine Mary Hess	b: 05 Sep 1777 in PA	
    d: 1862 in Ontario
 2   	Jacob Burkholder	b: 18 Nov 1774 in PA	
 d: 25 Mar 1814 in Ontario
		+Catherina Maria Hess	b: 16 Nov 1770	
        d: 1838
 2   	Barbara Burkholder	b: 1776 in PA	
		+Peter Thomas		
 2   	Joseph Burkholder	b: 1781	
 d: Bef. 1794
 2   	Magdalena Burkholder	b: 18 Jul 1781 in PA	
 d: 15 Mar 1874 in Ontario
		+John Neff	b: 1771	d: 30 Jan 1821 in Ontario
	*2nd Husband of Magdalena Burkholder:		
		+John Keagy	b: 20 Jan 1770 in PA	
        d: 24 Oct 1860 in Ontario
 2   	Peter Burkholder	b: 24 Feb 1795 in Ontario	
 d: 21 Dec 1867 in Ontario
	+Susanna Damude	b: Bet. 14 Feb 1793 - 1797	
    d: 04 Sep 1875


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