Friday, February 13, 2015

Harshbarger line: Johann Gebhart (John Gerhardt) Hibshman 1708-1771 Immigrant

This is a hard line to research and document, partly because the surname is spelled so many different ways in so many different records.  The simplest spelling (and the one I will use) is shown above.  From there it can go into Huppman or Huebschmann or any number of other spellings.

Johann was born in Switzerland in 1713, or in Bavaria in 1708.  If he was born in Bavaria in 1708 then his parents have been identified as Christoffel Hupshmann and Anna Barbara Van Hoffen, who were married on November 22, 1701 in Pfalz, Bavaria.  If he was born in 1713 in Switzerland, no one has yet identified parents for him.  I tend to go with the 1708 date, pending further research, because it makes possible the married of Johann to Anna Elisabetha Brunner on July 4, 1730 in the Evangelish Lutherische, Bad Duerkheim, Pfalz, Bayern.  A 1713 birthdate would make this marriage very early.  Even a marriage at the age of 22 would have been early, in Bavaria, but it would be possible.

All we really know for sure is that he was born and that he was married. It is stated that he came to America in 1732, but I haven't found documentation for that.  The story is that he went back to the Old World in 1732, and returned with a wife.  Had Anna Elisabetha Brunner been waiting for him in Bavaria all that time?  It's possible that he was indentured and had to work off the debt before returning for his wife.  Did he also save enough money to make the trip and to bring his wife to America, or did he have another indentureship to serve after arriving for the second time?  Or was he really from Switzerland, and did he go home to marry a woman his family had picked out for him?

We don't know much more than that he arrived on the Saint Andrew Gallery, in Philadelphia, in 1737 with Anna Elisabetha (nee Brunner?).  They settled in Lancaster County and raised a family of at least five children, Anna Margaretha, Catherine Elizabeth, Maria Catherina, Wendel, and Henry (Heinrich).  Johann Gebhart died in July of 1771 in Lancaster County, possibly Cocalico Township.  The land he had purchased was about 4 miles north of Ephrata. 

We only have hints and guesses about his life.  Because he was married in a Lutheran church, we can guess that he was Lutheran by belief and attended a Lutheran church in Lancaster County.  We can guess that he farmed, but we don't know what else he might have done to support his family during the winter months. We can guess that he was a hard working man, because what we can find by looking at the lives of his sons shows that they had a good work ethic and were "successful".  We can hope he and his wife were happy and that they raised a happy, close family, as most Germans (and Swiss) did.  We can hope that he was not involved in Indian frontier wars, and we can assume that he was in the militia at some point. Finally, we can hope to learn more about him as more documents and more research notes are put on line!   

The line of descent is:

Johann Gebhart Hibshman-Anna Elisabetha poss Brunner
Catherine Elizabeth Hibshman-Conrad Mentzer
John Mentzer-Margareth
Conrad Mentzer-Elizabeth Tullapen or Duliban
Catherine Mentzer-Lewis Harshbarger
Emanuel Harshbarger-Clara Harter
Grover Harshbarger-Goldie Withers
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendents