Behind the Story

Have you met my 5th-great-grandfather, Johann Christian Schneÿder?

Here is what we know about him:

 Christian was born around 1696, according to his burial record from Old First Reformed Church of Philadelphia. [April 4, 1784, age 88.] He spoke German and wrote in Old German.
He had at least two sons:
- Johann Jacob Schneider, husband of Maria Magdalena Lang/Long of New Goshenhoppen. Jacob moved to Upper Mount Bethel, Northampton County with a warrant for 165 acres and 16 perches adjoining land owned by Maria Magdalena's brother, John.

- Frederick Schneider/Snyder, husband of Barbara Wanner, Germantown. He was employed during the Revolutionary War by the Supreme Executive Council [Source: Minutes of the Supreme Executive Council, Colonial Records, Volume X to XVI.] Frederick lived in the family home on Sassafras [now Race] Street, Mulberry Ward, in Old Philadelphia.
And five daughters:
  1. Eve [Hartman]
  2. Margaret [Rido]
  3. Susanna [Miller]
  4. Veronica (Fronich) [Frantz]
  5. Sarah [Frey]

When entering into business or legal transactions, it was customary for those named in a document to state their occupation/profession. It is clear that Christian Schneÿder was a “man of many parts!” Below are some of his varied, self-described occupations:

  •  In 1741, he was a taylor.
  •  In 1749, he was a shopkeeper and a landowner.
  •  In 1751, he was a tavernkeeper.
  •  In 1755, he was an innkeeper.
  •  In 1756, he was a constable.
  •  In 1761, he was a yeoman.
  •  In 1774, he was a trader.
  •  In 1783, when he wrote his will, Christian Schneÿder was an 87-year-old Gentleman.
Throughout his lifetime, Christian Schneÿder was often an administrator of estates, including that of Rev. George Michael Weiss, founder of Old First Reformed Church of Philadelphia, and of New Goshenhoppen Reformed Church, UCC, East Greenville, Montgomery Co. The two churches celebrated their 250th anniversaries together in 2002. Rev. Weiss, who lived in Upper Hanover Twp. at the time of his death in 1761, was known as “the first ordained German Reformed minister in North America.” [Source: Old First Reformed Church Records, 1741-1976 © The Historical Society of Pennsylvania.]
- Christian Schneÿder’s earliest administration activities [from 1741] were on behalf of residents of Salford Twp., Philadelphia Co. and Bucks Co.

Initially, Christian Sneider/Snyder applied for four warrants in Philadelphia County, now known as Montgomery County:
  • 150 acres in Coweshoppen in 1737
  •   50 acres in Fredrick in 1739
  • 150 acres in Marlboro in 1743
  • 149 acres, 146 perches in Old Goshenhoppen in 1749.
The 1749 patent consisted of three tracts and some of the following details appeared earlier.

“ … On a small Branch of Perkiomie … beginning at a stone in a line of the said Christian Snyder’s other Land and from thence extending by the same south east one hundred and nine perches to a post, thence by Martin Terr’s Land … thence by Gabriel Shooler’s land and vacant land North-West one hundred and forty perches to a post, thence by vacant land North-East one hundred and fifty eight perches to the place of beginning containing one hundred and forty-nine acres and one hundred and forty six perches and allowance as aforesaid …. The said two above described tracts of land amounting in the whole to two hundred and ninety acres and one hundred and forty six perches and allowance as aforesaid as the same are now set forth bounded and limited as aforesaid….” [1 acre = 160 perches.]
Martin Terr/Ter/Deer, may have been “Johann Martin Deer,” uncle of Maria Magdalena Lang, who married Christian Schneider’s son, Johann Jacob Schneider. Magdalena’s mother, Anna Margaretha Deer was Martin Deer’s sister.
Jacob Schneider, single, Reformed, son of Christian Schneider, and Maria Magdalena Lang, single, Lutheran, daughter of Elias Lang, were married on Nov. 12, 1751, by Rev. Lucas Raus of Old Goshenhoppen Lutheran congregation. The marriage took place in the home of the bride’s father at New Goshenhoppen. Her brother, Georg Philip Lang, was married the same day to Anna Catharina Ditloh. [Source: Parish Register 1732-1828, Old Goshenhoppen Church, Woxall. Translation by Karl Schild.]