"My Ziegenfus Family"

Early Pennsylvania Pioneers

Story by Luella Mae (Ziegenfus) Smith, written August 5, 1956

Photo of Luella Smith, 1960
Hans Jacob Ziegenfus was born in Germany about 1694. He lived in the Rhine Valley near Strassburg-Alsace Lorraine. He, with his wife, Amelia, son Andrew (b. 1723) and 6 younger children sailed from Havre, France for America on board the ship Thistle. The boat was in the charge of Commander George Houston. They arrived at Philadelphia, on October 28, 1738 after 13 weeks of sailing. Leaving Philadelphia, the family settled in what is now Springfield or Nackomixon Township, Montgomery County. Here some time later, Andrew bought from Henry Stover 51 acres 56 peches of land and a grist mill for 550 pounds. Hans probably died in the year 1778, aged 86 years.

Andrew (the first) and his wife, Catherine, had six children. Three daughters (names not known); three sons - Jacob, George, and Andrew the 2nd, the youngest child, born in 1747. In March 1773 Andrew the 2nd married a Miss Reichard of Bucks County. They had seven children. Four girls (names not known) and three boys - John, George, and Andrew with 3rd who was born March 30, 1787.

In the year 1800, Andrew the 3rd, and his brothers John and George crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains, and settled in the wilderness, where the village of Aquashicola, Carbon County, now is. Here they built the first grist mill in all that section of the country. George was drafted for service in the War of 1812, but having six small children to care for, his brother, John, generously volunteered as his substitute.

Andrew the 3rd died January 14, 1876 - aged 88 years, 10 mo., and 14 days. His wife, Catherine, who was born Nov. 13, 1790, died November 10, 1886, aged 75 years, 11 mo. and 27 days. Three girls, Sallie, Katie, and Elizabeth; and five boys - David, John, Rev. Andrew (of Lutheran faith), James and Isaac.

James Ziegenfus, my great-grandfather, was born May 7, 1822. He was married to Miss Mary Eckhart, who was born December 29, 1829. James was a farmer and blacksmith. They had seven children. One girl, Catherine, and six boys, Lewis, Adam, David, Wilson, Alfred, and Samuel. James, my great-grandfather, died June 17, 1899, aged 77 years, 1 mo. and 10 days. His wife followed him in death April 3, 1910 aged 80 yrs., 3 mo. and 4 days.

Lewis, my grandfather, the oldest of the seven children was born August 22, 1849 and died May 14, 1915, aged 65 yes., 8 mo. and 22 days. He was a Mining Contractor of the Price Metallic Paint Co. and for a number of years was Constable of Lower Towamensing Township. He was married to Miss Harriet Wentz, born July 7, 1854 and died June 22, 1930, aged 75 yrs., 11 mo. and 15 days. They had eight children. Two girls, Lillian (died in infancy) and Laura. Six boys, Edwin, Charles, Stanley, Jesse, Harvey and Warren.

Charles, my father, the second oldest, was born in Aquashicola, February 13, 1877 and died July 13, 1956 aged 79 years and 5 mos. Click here for Charles Ziegenfus family He was married to Miss Mary Ann Shindler of Bowmanstown, Pennsylvania. They had seven children - three children who died in infancy, and four girls - Hilda, Luella, Della, and Alma. Click for 1700's Ziegenfus history.

My father was a graduate of Polytechnic Institute, Gilbert, PA, in 1901. He taught in the public school, Lower Towamensing Township, for 4 years. He was an Insurance Agent and served for several years as County Auditor of Carbon County. He was appointed Postmaster of Palmerton, PA in July, 1941, after serving five years as acting Postmaster. He retired in 1948.

I, Luella, am the third oldest child. I was born January 13, 1909. I was married to Stanley A. Smith from Weissport, PA, February 10, 1930. We have three children - Mary Louise, Charles Warren, and Leah Jane. I am a graduate of Kutztown State Teachers College and am at present teaching in Northampton County. Previously, I taught for 3 years at the Parryville Public School, and 2 years at Ash's School in Lower Towamensing Township. For information on the Smith Family History click here.
Photo of Luella and Stanley, 1954
My ancestors were all members of the Lutheran faith, up to my father, Charles. He became a member of First Church of Christ Scientist, Allentown, PA, a branch of the Mother Church of Boston, Massachusetts. I am also a member of the branch church and The Mother Church.

It is assumed that when these immigrants landed, their names were taken at the port of entrance (Philadelphia) and spelled by the officers according to pronunciation. Hence, the name is spelled according to various records ten different ways: Sigafus, Sigenfus, Siegenfoos, Seganfus, Ziegenfuse, Ziegenfus, Sigafoos, Sekefoose, and Ziegenfuss.

Some years ago, Rev. Samuel Ziegenfuss, now deceased, had been to Germany and met some of the tribe still there. The proper way, he was told, to spell the name was Ziegenfuss. Others throughout Bucks and Philadelphia Counties, as well as throughout New Jersey, still spell their names Sigafoos, but - we are all one family with only a difference in spelling of a name as stated above.

This story had been written to me by my Uncle Warren, now deceased. I lost the letter, so, to the best of my knowledge, I am writing it as follows:

This incident took place some years after Andrew the 3rd, and his brother, John and George, had settled in the village of Aquashicola. Which of the boys was involved, I can't remember. But, one day, when the father, with his son and daughter were working in the garden, they were captured by the Indians. They showed a scalp to the son and asked him if he knew to whom it belonged. He answered, yes, to his father. The daughter was made to marry an Indian Chief, and the boy was sold to another tribe of Indians. He was taken north to New York State. While there he was very homesick. After a few years he was asked whether or not he wanted to go home. They let him go, but he had to find his own way back to Aquashicola.

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