From: Mast, Christian Z., A brief history of Bishop Jacob Mast and other Mast pioneers; and a complete genealogical family register and those related by intermarriage, with biographies of their descendants from the earliest available records to the present time; 1911. http://archive.org/details/briefhistoryofbi00mast
Life Sketch of Bishop Jacob Mast
Bishop Jacob Mast was born in 1738 in Switzerland, Europe, of Swiss parents. He immigrated to America an orphan boy in company with his four sisters and younger brother John, all were in care of their benevolent uncle Johannes Mast, whom we have no record of his remaining days in this country, by tradition he was an aged widower or bachelor, and was presumably buried on the farm now owned by Mr. George D. Fahrenbach of Penn Twp., Berks Co., Pa. The old cemetery is in a dilapidated condition, by which a new barn has been erected, almost covering the whole burial plot.
The above is a true tracing of the names Johannes Mast, Andreas and Michael Holly as written on the original Immigrant List, Now on file in Division of Public Records, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The following record of their emigration is in evidence:
Mar. 13, 1911.
To whom it may concern:
I hereby certify that the above is a true tracing of the above names as written on the original Immigration List. Ship, Brotherhood, Captain, John Thomson. Date, Nov. 3, 1750. Sailed from Rotterdam and last from Cowes, and arrived at Philadelphia. Now on file in Division of Public Records, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
(Signed) Luther R. Kelker.
Custodian of the Public Records of the Pennsylvania State Library.
(The seal of the Department of the State Public Records is affixed to the document).
The party had sailed from Rotterdam in the ship Brotherhood, John Thompson, Captain, landing in Philadelphia, Pa., on Nov. 3, 1750. They selected their home near the site of the Blue Mountains, tradition says. All other early Amish Mennonites formed their first settlement in America at this place, which was known for nearly a century as the “Northkill congregation.” The early members had located in Heidelberg, Lower Heidelberg, North Heidleberg, Penn, Bern, Upper Bern, Center, Upper Tulpehocken and Jefferson townships, Berks Co., Pa. The majority had lived in the vicinity of the Schuylkill River between Irish Creek and Northkill, where they had opened out farms, From 1754 to 1764 and even at a later period the settlement was exposed and almost exterminated by the torch, hatchet and scalping knife of the savages, and their midnight assault and slaughter.” Hundreds fell victims to the relentlessly cruel savages, along the Blue mountains south and north of it, and along the Susquehanna, as far north as Penn’s Creek.
Among the massacred were many Germans—more than three hundred in all. including such as Hochstetler, Miller, Hartman, Hellman and Schleich which are family names popularly known in this history. Bishop Jacob Mast and his new life companion and father-in-law, Michael Holly, who had immigrated to America on the same vessel with the remaining members of the Mast family had now resided nearly ten years in the district of the Northkill congregation of Amish Mennonites. While thus in 1760 they were attacked by Indians and forced to seek another asylum from persecution by settling in Conestoga Valley, on a fertile tract of land forming the watershed between the Schuylkill river and the few larger tributaries of the beautiful Conestoga Creek, which name bears the signification of an Indian tribe, while on its banks are still found numerous Indian relics, such as darts and tomahawks.
A warrant was granted to Bishop Jacob Mast and a certain John Holly, Nov. 19, 1764, and the latter on Apr. 13, 1769 lawfully discharged all the rights and half part of the land to the former. The tract contained 170 acres and an allowance of six per cent for roads which was situated partly in the counties of Berks and Chester. It was purchased from Samuel Martin of Tredyfrin township, Chester Co., Pa., for £325.
On this tract of land Bishop Jacob Mast erected a comfortable log farm house, close to a lusty spring which flows directly from a stratum of limeless sandstone.
His brother John wandered through the wilderness to Randolph Co., N. C., which the reader may notice a brief account of his lineal descendants contained in the latter part of this volume and also a sketch of his sister Magdalena. The other three sisters are supposed to have died unmarried and buried near the spot of our progenitor, representing marked graves without inscriptions.
Here the once and again persecuted and oppressed Swiss family, separated from friends and much that makes life agreeable, hoped to unmolestedly begin the world anew. Here, surrounded on all sides by several clans of Indians they located in the gloomy, silent shades of a virgin forest, whose undisturbed solitude was yet uncheered by the murmurs of the honey bee, or the twitterings of the swallow, those never-failing attendants upon the woodman’s ax. For the hum and warblings of those, they had not only the shout and song of the tawny sons of the forest, but also the nocturnal bowlings of the ever watchful dog, baying at the sheeny queen of night as she moved stately on, reflecting her borrowed light. By way of variety, we imagine their ears were nightly greeted by the shrill, startling whoop of the owl or the crickets wail in the contiguous thickets.
Presumably the Mast family were the first Amish Mennonite settlers to establish and organize a congregation of its kind in Conestoga valley which was the third settlement and the first permanent one in America. It is still known as the “Conestoga congregation.” Bishop Jacob Mast was elected to his office in 1788, was well educated for the times, and was a man of extensive influence. He always visited the various congregations on horseback, riding through dense forests, over great mountains and fording swelling streams, in which his life was also endangered by the red man of the forest. Yet he was in every way adapted to this situation.
His preparation was of the best order; and being undoubtedly driven from his native land by religious persecution, he must have rejoiced in finding such a pleasing situation, such inviting conditions. He knew the suffering of his forefathers through the days of martyrdom, his uncertain condition in his native land, and thus a sense of well-being induced his uncle Johannes to leave with him and his brother and four sisters. But in leaving the valley and the beautiful mountain scenery of Switzerland so dear to him, he came to possess and enjoy a country equally favored for beauty, for health and for profit; and it was more highly favored in respect to a condition which was to him more
important than all others combined —- freedom. He was sound, hopeful and trustful in religious convictions, which had fitted him admirably for his vocation.
He made many visits to his congregations, at least semi-annually, of which there were three located in Somerset and Cambria counties, Pennsylvania, known as “Gladyes,” “Conemaugh” and “Castleman’s River,” two in Chester county, Pennsylvania, (called Chester Valley and Compassville), two in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania (called Conestoga and Pequeau), and three in Berks Co., Pennsylvania —- one in Cumru, one in Maiden Creek and the third in Bern township (called Northkill).
The Mast family in America have sprung from an ancestry whose lines are well marked as far as they can be traced. These lines however are mainly found within the limits of agricultural industry, genuine morality and sincere earnestness in the performance of the duties of the Christian religion, coupled with a firm faith in its saving power. There are only several incidents where fame of arms-bearing or military skill was ever attached to any bearing the name of Mast.
The records of American history are practically silent and have little knowledge of the name. But the records of the Christian Church, especially of that branch of it known as the Amish Mennonite Church, are alive with the names of pioneers and heroes in the several generations of Masts that have lived since the establishment of the Church in America. First and foremost among these stands the name Jacob Mast, whom fancy pictures as a tall man, having a large and well-proportioned frame, very muscular, with light hair and blue eyes, a face indicating great firmness and resolution, and a body capable of enduring great hardships. How nearly this fancied representation of him may correspond with truth, cannot be said. But of this there is proof, that he was of great mental and moral force, practiced simplicity in attire, being a faithful and zealous servant for his Master and did much to advance the interests of his church.
In the year 1808 he gave up the wonderfully busy life when in the same year his neighbors carried his body out of his old home and buried it in a quiet spot on the broad acres he had tended and loved. His grave is marked with a carved sandstone bearing inscription near the northwest corner of the wall of what is known as Pine Grove Cemetery. His wife, Magdalene Holly, died Oct. 26, 1820, aged 80 years, and is buried by his side.
Their children had strong constitutions and in general had good health and lead temperate, moral, honest Christian lives and imparted these same good qualities to their children and grand-children, for which give God the glory. During their childhood days they were commanded hefore retiring at night to all repeat our Lord’s Prayer in concert.
(1) John Mast, m. to Mary Kurtz.
(2) Magdalena Mast, m. to Christian Zook.
(3) Barbara Mast, m. to John Hochstetler; m. as her second husband, John Zug.
(4) Jacob Mast, m. to Barbara Kenege.
(5) David Mast, m. to Mary Kurtz.
(6) Mary Mast, m. to John Coffman.
(7) Nancy Mast, m. to Adam Kurtz.
(8) Fanny Mast, m. to John Zug.
(9) Elizabeth Mast, m. to Christian Holley.
(10) Christian Mast, m. to Susan Kurtz.
(11) Esther ]Mast, m. to Christian Zug; m. as her second husband, Peter Holley.
(12) Daniel Mast, m. to Charity Zook; m. as his second wife, Catherine Kurtz; as his third wife, Mary Morgan.
Family heads, members of the Amish Mennonite Church.
The will of Jacob Mast and the memorandum account from his will which was written by his own hand in the German language. As there are in it provisions and composition somewhat singular in documents, and as they have lessons of instruction to the sincere Christian, and to a large number of the descendants of the author, they are full of interest and are here– with reproduced in full.
As I consider my mortality and feel my weakness and imbecility, but of a good understanding, I have proposed to myself under the assistance of God to make my Will.
I order also when I die to be buried into the earth from which I came in a Christian manner and my soul I commend to the grace of God, further I order that the house in which we dwell shall be kept in order for my dear and beloved wife.She shall have it for her widow’s seal and she shall have beforehand the farm of two hundred and twenty five pounds to her use so as she want it, of which part of this money shall be one hundred and seventy pounds which I have lent to my son-in-law Peter Holly, thus he shall pay to my widow when she will have it, or to my guardians for her use so as she desires it in her life’s time, further has my widow the right to keep beds, chest and cloth-house and kitchen furniture what she want,further I order that my guardians shall pay the costs of my funeral and burial after they have paid all debts and collected what is to come it shall directly be divided to my twelve children all the property I leave in equal parts,
further is my Will that my plantation shall be oversigned to my son Daniel by my two guardians and he shall have it on such price for twenty four hundred pounds shall be the price of the purchase money paid down. Shall be twelve hundred pounds in two parts, when he takes possession of it, he shall give five hundred pounds and to have one hundred pounds in the place, the other six hundred pounds shall remain till his mother is dead, then shall he give five hundred pounds to his eleven brothers and sisters one hundred has he in the plantation the payments shall be one hundred pounds a year, he shall pay them to his brothers and sisters according to their age,
first to Hannes, next to Magdalena, and Barbara and Jacob and David and Maria and Anna and Freni and Elizabeth and Christen and Esther, the maintenance for my reliot widow shall be given hearty out of the plantation by my son Daniel such shall be, twelve bushels of wheat, three bushels of buckwheat, two bushels of Indian corn that shall he bring to the mill and fetch the flour home, one milk cow he shall keep in feed and pasture with his own, the flesh of a fat swine and fifty weight but and fifteen pounds combed flax and the tow of it, five pounds of wool she shall have,
further if there is any, chickens and eggs she shall have, further shall she have the fire wood splitted and brought to the house if she desires it, the payments shall begin one year after he takes possession, one hundred pounds shall be paid yearly till the plantation is paid, the last part of the purchase money to be paid down shall be without interest till after the death of his mother.
Further I order my two sons Hannes Mast and Jacob Mast as guardians over my reliot children and widow to take care of her during her life in all her infirmity and necessity, such I declare as my last Will and Testament written in the year of our Lord, one thousand and eight hundred and eight, written and attested before witnesses today the eighteenth January.
Jacob Mast (L. S.)
And if anything should be wrong in my will then I give to my executors full power to make it right to give deeds as if I was present myself as witnesses.
Jacob Mast (L. S.)
(Memoranda from the will of Jacob Mast, as translated from the original German by Emil Max Leube and E. Bruce Alexander, attorney at law of Belleville, Penna., on the 30th day of December, A. D. 1909).
Date June 17th, 1787, my son John Mast got married, and I the father, Jacob Mast gave on that day to my son —- One bed with covers, one chest, two cows and one heifer, at the cost of nine pounds in money, one hog, at one pound and five shillings, one horse at fifteen pounds, one saddle at two pounds, one mattock at nine shillings, one wagon at seven pounds, two sheep and three lambs at one pound, five bushels of wheat at five dollars, one new plow with clevis at two pounds and ten shillings, and also gave him in cash one hundred pounds.
Date, November 2, 1783, my daughter Magdalena Mast got married to Christian Zook, and I, Jacob Mast gave her that day. Three pounds in money, one kettle and two crocks, two pans, at the cost of two pounds and ten shillings, cooking utensils at eleven shillings, spoons one dozen at five shillings and six pence, one chisel, at two shillings, one chest, one bed with two covers, two sheep and one lamb, five bushels of wheat, and one sack at twelve shillings, and on Mar. 10th, 1791, Christian Zook got in money one hundred pounds.
Date, June, 17th, 1788, my daughter, Barbara Mast got married to John Hochstetler, and I, Jacob Mast gave her that day, one kettle, crocks and pans, at two pounds and plates and cups, at one pound, four shillings and ten pence, one hog at two pounds and four shillings, pewter ware, at sixteen shillings and eight pence, one bed at eighteen shillings, one bed with two covers, one cow, one heifer, two sheep, one lamb, and one chest, and on April 3d, 1792, John Hochstetler got one hundred pounds in money, and also got the money for five bushels of wheat which John Hochstetler acknowledged.
Date, February, 6th, 1791, my daughter Mary Mast got married to John Coffman and I, Jacob Mast, gave her that day, One chest, one bed with two covers, one kettle at one pound four shillings, pans and meat fork, at one pound two shillings and six pence, pewter ware, at eighteen shillings, one bed at eighteen shillings, one cow, one calf, one heifer and two sheep, and one lamb, one dollar for crockery ware, four dollars for wooden ware and cooking utensils, and on the 2d, of May 1793. I gave John Coffman one hundred pounds in money and five dollars for wheat.
Date, April, 22d, 1792, my son Jacob Mast got married, and I, Jacob Mast gave to his housekeeping, one horse at fifteen pounds, one cow, one heifer, two sheep, one lamb, two hogs at fifteen pounds, one wagon at eleven pounds and five shillings, five bushels of wheat, one saddle at two pounds, also a new plow, and on May the 2d, I gave Jacob for his farm land one hundred pounds in money, and in 1804 I paid for one horse four pounds, also one horse at fifteen pounds.
Date, January, 13th, 1793, my daughter Anna Mast got married to Adam Kurtz, and I, Jacob Mast gave her for housekeeping, one bed at one pound, one bed with two covers, one cow, one heifer, and wooden ware, at cne pound and one shilling and six pence, iron pots and pans, at one pound and sixteen shillings, pewter ware, at one pound one shilling and seven pence, one chest, two sheep, two hogs, at two dollars, cooking kettle at five dollars, stone ware at one dollar, one stallion at fifty pounds, and on March the 8th, 1794 gave Adam Kurtz fifty pounds in money.
Date, November, 20th, 1796, my daughter Freni Mast got married to John Zook, and I, Jacob Mast gave to her for housekeeping, one chest, one bed, one bed with two covers, also kettle and pans, cooking spoons, pewter ware, one dozen of spoons, wash tub and bucket, butter churn, one cow and one heifer, three dollars for sheep, two dollars for a goat, I gave John Zook one hundred pounds in money, and also gave him for his share of wheat the money.
Date. January, 13th, 1709, my daughter Elizabeth Mast got married to Christian Hooley, and I, Jacob Mast gave her for housekeeping, one chest, one bed, one bed with two covers, kettles, pots and pans, cooking spoon, pewter ware, one dozen of spoons, also wash tub and bucket, one cow and one heifer, three dollars, for sheep, two dollars for hogs, five dollars for wheat, also gave to Christian Hooley one hundred pounds in money.
Date, November, 5th, 1799, my daughter Esther got married to Christian Zook, and I, Jacob Mast gave to her housekeeping the same as to her other brothers and sisters, and also gave to Christian Zook one hundred pounds in money.
Date, January, 5, 1800, my son Christian Mast got married, and I, Jacob Mast, gave to him the same as to the other children, and I also gave one hundred pounds’ worth of horses and cattle.
Date, 1801, my son David Mast got married, and I gave him the same as his other brothers, and also one hundred pounds in money.
Date, June 15th. 1806, my son Daniel Mast got married, and I gave him the same value as his brothers, and also gave him one hundred pounds’ worth of horses and cattle, Which you will take in acknowledgement.
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- A brief history of Bishop Jacob Mast…
- Mast, Jacob (1738-1808) Mast, C. Z. “Mast, Jacob (1738-1808).” Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Retrieved 21 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M3789.html.
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