Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Hendrick Pannebecker, Surveyor for William Penn

     The first of the Pennybaker family to come to America was Hendrick Pannebecker.  He arrived soon after the "first thirteen" settlers who formed Penn's first settlement at Germantown (now part of Philadelphia).  The record of his arrival has not yet been found, but there is record of his marriage to Eve Umstat in 1699 in Germantown.
     Hendrick was born in Flomborn, Germany, not far from Worms, where Martin Luther was put on trial for his writings that led to the Reformation.  Hendrick was born March 21, 1674.  His family was of Dutch ancestry.  He was well educated, being fluent in three languages: Dutch, German, and English.  He was also a very religious man, who suffered in Germany for his religious beliefs.  He has been described variously as a Quaker, which most of those who settled in Germantown were, a Mennonite, and as a Dutch Reformed.  His children were taken to a Dutch Reformed church in New York to be baptized, as there was no Dutch Reformed church in Germantown.  It is known that many of the Pannebecker family refused military service because of their religious beliefs, and paid fines because of their lack of military service. 
     Hendrick was trained as a surveyor, and was used by William Penn to prepare deeds and other legal documents in the earliest days of Pennsylvania.  Most of the roads in and around Germantown were laid out by Hendrick. 
     In 1702, Hendrick moved to a new settlement, called Skippack, in what is now Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.  He became administrator of the settlement.

Land Grants in Skippack, PA
     Notice the names Panebeker, Umstadt (Hendrick's brother-in-law), and OpdeGraf (another family in our ancestry).  Also notice what is in the lower left corner.......Valley Forge!  There is another family in our ancestry(the Pawlings)  whose family homestead is now a part of Valley Forge National Park.  As mentioned in an earlier post, the Panebeker family homestead became known as Pennypacker Mills, which served as George Washington's headquarters twenty years after Hendrick's death on April 4, 1754.


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