of the Month
Jakob Krebil (Krehbiel)
1693 d. before 5 Dec
Like so many others in our ancestry,
Jakob Krebil (Krehbiel) was an immigrant to this country from the Palantine area of Germany.
What we know of his early life is similar to what we have learned about all the early Palatines who came to this country
in the early 1700’s. He and his family were persecuted for their religious
beliefs and came to America as a result.
Jakob was a descendant of Ulie Jost
Krähenbühl (b. c1600-d.?) whose family had lived in Zaziwil, Grosshochstetten, Canton Bern, Switzerland in the Lucerne region
ever since the Fourteenth Century. Jost had a small farm named “Chrajbuel Hof” about one kilometer southeast of Zaziwil, Bern, Switzerland. At a time of religious turmoil, Jost held unpopular views. He was an Anabaptist who believed baptism and church membership should be for adult believers only. He was opposed to baptizing babies. He
also believed in nonresistance and the separation of church and state. He was
imprisoned for these beliefs and died in prison in Bern. His money and property
were confiscated, and his family was forced out of Switzerland.
(Note: The Krähenbühls—like the Hatchers and many of our other relatives—named their children the
same names. Keeping them straight requires diligence. I tried, but I may not have always been successful. Somewhere
along the way the name Krähenbühl began to morph through many changes, and by the time the family moved to Germany, Krebil,
Krepil, Krehbiel and other simpler forms were frequently used. Even more changes
occurred with the move to America. *See note in “Move to America”
From Switzerland to Germany
In 1671 when they were forced to
leave Switzerland, one of Jost’s sons, Michael, moved with his wife and her family to the American colonies. The other two of Jost’s sons—Peter and Jost II—and their families moved to the Palatine
region in Germany where they found themselves in a new country with no resources. Peter, our Jakob’s grandfather, lived
at several locations after the brothers were forced to leave the Swiss village of Zäziwyl, but finally obtained an inheritance
lease (whatever that is) dated 2 Feb 1682 of land and buildings in Weierhof (near Kirchheim-Bolanden in the Palatinate). A monastery had owned the land since the year 835, but the property was secularized
in 1564, destroyed in the Thirty Years' War, and finally awarded to Peter after he negotiated for the estate. He also petitioned that he and his family be allowed to worship there as they pleased. This request was granted with one major stipulation:
The church council is of the
opinion . . . that what the petitioner wants to read and pray in his house with his children
cannot be refused him, but it would have to be done with the express restriction that he will not take on any Anabaptist help
or admit any other persons of the Anabaptist sect and under any pretext or appearance form a congregation of them. Otherwise
he shall lose even this particular concession and be expelled….
Thus, although Peter was tolerated,
he was not accepted; in addition, he had the kind of life one would expect in a “Big Brother” state—one
of being under constant surveillance. At the slightest misstep, he and his family
could be kicked out.
By 1709 Jost II was also able to
purchase a farm called the Pfrimmerhof close to his brother Peter. Jost
II worked a number of years on this farm and was able to purchase a right of inheritance lease for it. (In 1993 one of
his descendants, Heinrich Krehbiel, still owned and
worked the farm.)
Jost II married Magdalena Unknown and had three sons: Peter
(b. c1630-d 24 Nov 1725), Jost III (b. c1655-d. ?), and Michael (b. c1660-d.?). The
two older boys were born in Switzerland; Michael was born in Weierhof, Germany (part of the Palatinate). Jost I’s son Peter was our ancestor, and Peter’s son (not brother) Michael (also
our ancestor) was our Jakob’s father.
Parents and Family
Peter’s son Michael (b.1667-d
1752)(our ancestor) spent his whole life in Weierhof, Germany and was buried there in 1752.
He married Anna Wehl (b1671-d.1757), and they lived on the same hill where his father’s farm, the “Pfrimmerhof,”
was located. Michael and Anna’s farm was called the "Uterhof”
and was located near a mill further
down the hill from Peter’s house. (Several Krehbiels—including
one Jakob Krehbiel—were millers. Unfortunately I was unable to determine
whether this occupation was the one chosen by our own Jakob)
In 1693 Michael and Anna became the
parents of our Jakob, and eventually the family grew to five children:
1. Jakob Krehbiel (b.1693-d, before 5 Dec 1791)
2. Heinrich Krehbiel (c1710-11Jul 1792) m. Katharina Ellenberger
3. Michael Krehbiel (2) (b.c1717-d. 7 Feb 1785)
4. Barbara Krehbiel (b. c 1711-d. c1771) m. Heinrich Kramer before 25 Oct 1752. (Heinrich was a linen weaver at the Alten Hofhauschen)
5. Susanna Krehbiel (b. c1720-d. c1785) m. Jakob Zuerger.
Jakob was a miller at Dannenfelser Mill.
Just as details about father Michael’s
life are sparse, we do not know much about son Jakob’s life in Germany either.
He may or may not have married. We do know that life there was bad enough
to make him want to leave. Many Swiss emigrants who were persecuted for their
religious beliefs left Switzerland, traveled to Germany, moved on to Holland, and then made their way to America. The Krähenbühls (Krehbiels) followed that pattern.
Move to America
In 1729 Jakob traveled from Germany
to Rotterdam where he boarded the ship Mortonhouse. After stopping in
Deal for supplies, the ship, under Captain John Coultas, made its way to Philadelphia, landing there on 19 Aug 1729. Apparently Jakob was traveling alone, for no family members are listed with him on
the ship’s passenger list. This would give credence to the idea that
he was not married at this time. However, perhaps he was a widower. Perhaps his wife had died in childbirth. The
date of son Christian’s birth (1718) gives weight to the idea that Jakob must have married in Germany before coming
to America, for Christian would have been about 10 or 11 years old when his father arrived in Philadelphia. I was unable to find Christian’s name on the Mortonhouse
passenger list, but since he
was under 16, he might not have been listed (although this would be unusual.) Maybe Jakob left his son in Germany for a time and came to the colonies alone. Some sources say his wife was named Catherine Unknown; others say her name was Anna
Geiger. Since church records mention Catherine as the wife of Jakob Krehbiel
in 1760, she was his wife at that time. Anna Geiger was born on 9 Jun 1701 in Röthenbach, Switzerland and died on an unknown date. Maybe she died in Germany after giving birth to Christian. She would have been 17 or 18 when Christian was born. Thus,
taking all of this into account, probably Jakob married Anna; she had Christian and died; Jakob and Christian came to the
colonies, and there Jakob married Catherine.
surname (Krähenbühl) is spelled Crebil on the passenger
list, and that misspelling is mild compared to what would come later. British
ship’s clerks often misspelled the unfamiliar and difficult names of the Palatine refugees, writing them phonetically
in English based on the sound of the name pronounced by the passengers. (Krähenbühl has been found spelled as Kraehenbuhl,
Kraehenbuehl, Krayenbuhl, Kreienbuhl, Kreyenbuhl, Kreyenbuel, Crayenbuhl, Creyenbuhl, Grenhenbuhl, Krahbuhl, Kraibil, Kraibill,
Kraybil, Kraybill, Kraibuhl, Krebil, Krepil, Krehbiel, Crabil, Crabill, Craybil, Craybill, Crebil, Crepil, Grabble, Grabil,
Grabill, Graybill, Graybeal and many other variations. [Note: Some say that the actress Betty Grable is a descendant of the Krähenbühl family.] A simple translation of the name Krähenbühl is “hill where the crows gather” or “crow
On board the Mortonhouse were
seventy-five Palatine men and their wives and children. The entire group totaled
approximately 180 people. The ship probably left Deal 21 Jun 1729, for that is
the date listed on the passenger list. If so, the trip to the colonies took about
two months, which was typical.
Jakob’s Marriage in PA
Jakob was probably about 29 or 30
years old when he arrived in Philadelphia. There he may have met his future
wife—a woman named Catherine—but we don’t know her surname. Somewhere
around 1730, the couple’s family name (Krähenbühl, Krebil, Crebil) was transformed again—this time to Graybill. The couple had at least three children:
1. Christian (b.1718-d.16
Jan 1787) m. Maria Landis (b. 17 Sep 1722-d. c1745) daughter of John Landis and Anna Nageli.
Maria was a direct descendant of Hans Landis, (one of the Swiss Anabaptist martyrs,
[like Christian’s own ancestor Ulie Jost Krähenbühl]) as well as a descendant of Hans Rudolph Nageli, a signer
of the Amish Meidung. (This document concerned the shunning or avoidance of those
who violated church law.) With this background the couple’s interest in
church work was to be expected. (They were members of the German Baptist Brethren,
a religious group commonly known
as “Dunkers” because they believed in total immersion baptism.) Some sources say Christian and his family later moved to VA where he was important in church work,
but records indicate that he lived, died, and was buried in PA. Christian and
Maria had seven children.
- Susanna (our ancestor) (b. c1735-d. bet 1805-1808) m. Daniel DeWalt, Sr. (b. c1735-d. bet. 1776-1788 ) The couple had six surviving children,
three born in PA and three in MD. A seventh child, Mary Magdalena died at about
3 ½ years of age in 1760. When another daughter was born in 1760, she was named
Mary Magdalena in honor of her sister. (The second Mary was our ancestor.) Church records in York County, PA, dated
22 Apr 1760 say, “Mary Magdelena [sic] died early in the morning, and was buried in the Reformed Churchyard in York.
Her godmother was her grandmother, Catherine, wife of Jacob Krebil.”
sources say there was another daughter named Catherine.)
By the time Jakob and Catherine’s
daughter Susanna married Daniel DeWalt, Graybill was sometimes shortened to Gray. (My family charts originally had Daniel’s wife listed as Susan Gray.) Susanna outlived Daniel DeWalt and married
again to a man named Wheedle, Whiddle, Windel, or Wendel. She wrote her will
in 1805, and it was proven in 1808. (To learn more about the DeWalts, go to
the top of this page and click the sentence about previously published articles. When
you get to the Archives, scroll down the left margin until you reach “Daniel DeWalt, Sr.” Click and Voila! You
know very much about what happened to Jakob and his wife during the thirty years after Mary Magdalene’s death in 1760,
but by that time they were getting elderly. Jakob was 67 years old in 1760. As pioneers and immigrants to this country, their life to this point would not have
been easy. It is highly likely that they were involved with church work, or,
from this point on, perhaps they just enjoyed their twilight years. If they did,
that lifestyle worked because Jakob lived to be 98 years of age. It was time
for their children and grandchildren to pick up the work and pioneering spirit Jakob and Catherine had started.
that they did.
- Mary Jane Koone (1793-1881), Jakob’s great granddaughter and Susanna DeWalt’s granddaughter,
would marry John Ownby (1701-1857) in 1812 and make her way to the Greenbrier area of Sevier County, TN. There the Ownbys
would become part of the early settlers instrumental in opening up the region, and there John and Mary Jane’s daughter
Mary Ownby (1814-1846) would grow up to marry Thomas McCarter (1811-1888).
(c1735-bet 1805-1808), Jakob’s daughter, moved with her husband Daniel DeWalt (c1735-bet
1776-1788) and a number of other DeWalt relatives to Newberry, SC around 1769 where the DeWalts became quite influential.
There David DeWalt (1794-1834), a great grandson of Jakob through Susanna,
built a large home in 1835 which is still standing and is today a bed and breakfast.
(See a 1909 photo of the DeWalt SC house on p. 7 in the Photo Album—link on homepage).
Walters DeWalt (1822-1874), another of Jakob’s descendants through Susanna,
traveled from SC to TX in 1845 where he established a large plantation and set aside a portion of the land as a cemetery.
The town that grew up around the plantation was called DeWalt, TX, but the community was eventually absorbed by the city of
Houston. The DeWalt cemetery, however, is still there and is distinguished by
a “Texas Historical marker.” Although the DeWalt plantation house
in TX is gone, a large tree where the “Emancipation Proclamation” was read to the slaves still stands.
· Christian Grebil (1719-1787), Jakob’s son, remained in PA, but acquired a good deal of land and was important
in church work—primarily the Conestoga
congregation of German Baptist Brethren at Leola, Pa.
“Hannes” Graybill (1748-1818), grandson of Jakob Krebil and son of Christian Grebil (1719-1787), moved his family
about 1780 from Lancaster Co., PA to Botetourt Co.,
VA and began the VA branch of the Graybill family. (“Hannes” and
his siblings seem to have been advocates of the Graybill spelling in Jakob’s family whereas their father Christian
evidently preferred Grehbiel, Grebil, or Krebil. Their Aunt
Susanna apparently used the Graybill spelling, at times, too.) (If
you plan to research any of these people, they can generally be found under all these names.)
- Samuel Graybill (1760-1841), son of Christian, had enough
of his grandfather’s pioneering spirit to move his family from VA to OH, even though such a move in those days took
descendants of Jakob Krehbiel moved to other areas, and, as folks say, the rest is history.
died in Warwick Township, Lancaster Co., PA sometime before 05 Dec 1791. (This
date is probably the day his will was probated.) He was buried in the Graybill
Cemetery in Lancaster Co., PA, as were his son Christian and daughter-in-law Maria.
At this point, Catherine’s date of death and place of burial are unknown.
Krehbil was Eli McCarter’s 4-great grandfather. If you are Papaw’s
great great grandchild, Jakob is your 8-great grandfather.
Line of Descent from Jakob Krehbiel to Rev. Eli McCarter
Krehbiel (1693-1791) + Catherine Unknown (1700-?)
Graybill (1735-1805/1808)+ Daniel DeWalt, Sr.(1735-1776/1788)
DeWalt (1760-1844) + Nicholas Koone (Kuhn) (1753-1831)
Koone (1793-1881) + John Ownby (1791-1857)
Ownby (1814-1886) + Thomas McCarter (1811-1888)
Hill McCarter (1842-1923) + Marriah Reagan (1842-1923)
Eli McCarter (1886-1955) + Mary Elizabeth Hatcher (1889-1969)
of Richard Alan Lebo, The” Lebo.myweb.uga.edu/graybill_geno.html
of the Barnham / Strawser Families” http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~barnham/pafg29.htm
Mennonite Historical Society Bulletin” #44
of Hans KRAHENBUHL: Seventh Generation” http://graybeal.info/familytree/aqwg07.htm
“Descendants of Jost KRAYENBUHL”
of Peter KRÄHENBÜHL” http://www.geocities.com/worldkrahenbuhl/genealogies/pkrahen2/desc01.htm
DeWalt Family Genforum. http://genforum.genealogy.com/dewalt/messages/211.html
Floeck, Mike. Reproduction of 1909 photo. “DeWalt Plantation House,
Newberry, SC, 1908.” firstname.lastname@example.org.
Floeck, Mike. email@example.com. e-mail correspondence. 27
Sep 2008 and 06 Sep 2008.
Graybill Family Genforum. http://genforum.genealogy.com/cgi-bin/pageload.cgi?jakob,krehbiel::graybill::163.html
“Graybill Line, The.”
Graybill, Lois N. “The Graybill Family of Virginia….”
Gratz, Delbert L. "Krehbiel (Krehbill,
Krebell, Kraybill, Krayenbuhl, Crayenbühl, Craybill, Grabill, Graybill) family." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia
Online. 1957. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 June 2008 http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/K733ME.html
“Jost Krehbiel” http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~vlvriesen/fam00315.htm
“Krahenbuhl Family Directory”
Krehbiel Family Genforum. http://genforum.genealogy.com/krehbiel
“Ladd Family.” http://www.laddfamily.com/19955.htm
McCarter Family Charts
Church Historical Committee.” http://www.mcusa-archives.org/personal_collections/Hochstetter-Jac.html
“Norma Shantz’s Genealogy.” http://www.ournetwork.net/NonLiving/May-June/p210.htm
OMMIII GENEALOGICAL PROJECT
Michigan, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa)
NEWSLETTER NO. 7, May. 7, 1997
David L. Habegger, 6929 Hillsboro Ct. Ft. Wayne, IN 48635
(Rheinland-Pfalz/Germany).” Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (GAMEO) http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/W447.html