What do you know about your family from 200 years ago?
I’ve been on a search recently and I’ll tell you what I’ve found.
Isreal Rohrer was born in PA in 1820. He got married to Anna and became a miller by trade. Even though they had 14 children, they only saw a 6 of them reach adulthood. Interestingly enough 3 of their children died because one son visited Lancaster City when it was under quarantine for spinal meningitis, and brought the dreaded disease home.
The part about my great-great-great Grandad’s story that I was familiar with was the fact that he contracted a bunch of wheat at a high price and after the market crashed- took the loss in an honorable way, lost his business and moved to VA.
The Rohrer History confirmed this and also added the fact that Great Granddad x 3 Rohrer built a lime kiln on the bank of the Dry River and brought the tired soil around to the productive river ground that we all admire today. Apparently he brought this practice to the Valley and we’ve been spreading lime ever since.
His church efforts were another noteworthy attribute, enough so that it made the history books. “He was cautious about change and raised concern about trends in the church…”
Meanwhile also in Lancaster County, Micheal Horst was born (1824). His family moved to Maryland and he married Annie. They had 8 children- 5 of which survived to adulthood.
My Great Granddad x 3 Horst was a farmer by trade and was ordained a minister at 34 and then a bishop. According to the “Mennonites of the Washington County, MD and Franklin County, PA Conference” book, he was a moving speaker inclined to older customs.
He bought a second farm when an economic slump hit. Thus resulting in financial failure. Because of this, several churches rejected his leadership. His wife died and he moved to Kansas “to get his troubles off his mind”.
Amazingly his story changes because a fellow minister donated $1000 and started a 19th century “Go Fund Me”. Adam Baer worked tirelessly to restore confidence in my Great-great-great Grandad.
He returned from the west, remarried and took back the office of bishop.
He was shaving before a church meeting when he mentioned feeling sick and a few moments later, he had passed away. (Thank you history book for recording such detail 😂)
My parents purchased a farm this spring. The best way to fall in love with a farm is pick rocks on it. (I can’t believe I just said that) The farm was an orchard until a decade or so ago and someone spent hours and days turning it into beautiful crop land- so the rock picking was not very intense. But we came across an old graveyard and gave ourselves a break to get a better idea of who had loved this ground previously.
Immediately the time capsule stuck out to me. And per usual I had about 40 questions. The main one being “how would one expect his descendants to know to return to this spot in 200 years?” (I’ll be instructing the nephews to tell their grandchildren’s children about this) “What sort of thing will people find interesting about me in 200 years?” This began my quest to understand them better. And in turn to figure out a few things about my own people.
I will give the Baughman family credit- they are very organized with their history. I’ve enjoyed learning about the family who loved this land before us (Find that here) I find it noteworthy that like my grandfathers- Henry Jr was forced to sell the property. Apparently Dad had given 2 of the sons the land, but they were required to pay their siblings £300. Henry had to sell his portion of the inheritance to come up with the funds.
Life, Death, Love, Financial Stresses… Isn’t it crazy how it’s all a part of the human experience? It was for them. It is for us. And it will be for future generations as long as the world stands.
But through it all-for the Rohrer’s, the Horst’s, and the Baughman’s. God is good and He provides a way, every.single.time.
May those who come behind us, find us faithful.
200 years from now, it won’t matter that the Rhododendron bloomed this week. But wow I sure enjoyed an early morning hike with some of my favorites ❤️