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Krebil, Jakob
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Kuhn, Benedictus
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Ancestor of the Month

October 2008

 

Jakob Krebil (Krehbiel)    

b. 1693   d. before 5 Dec 1791                 

 

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. 

 

Family history

 

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” below.)

 

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.

 

Jakob’s 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 "Uterhofand 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.

 

(*Jakob’s 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 hill.”)

 

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. 

  1. Michael (b?-d?)
  2. 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.”
  3. (Some 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 are there.)

 

Later Years

 

We don’t 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.

 

And 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).

 

  • Susanna (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).

 

  • Thomas 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.

 

  • John “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 courage. 

 

  • Other descendants of Jakob Krehbiel moved to other areas, and, as folks say, the rest is history.

 

Jakob 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.

 

Jakob 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

 

Jakob Krehbiel (1693-1791) + Catherine Unknown (1700-?)

Susanna Graybill (1735-1805/1808)+ Daniel DeWalt, Sr.(1735-1776/1788)

Mary DeWalt (1760-1844) + Nicholas Koone (Kuhn) (1753-1831)

Mary Koone (1793-1881) + John Ownby (1791-1857)

Mary Ownby (1814-1886) + Thomas McCarter (1811-1888)

Thomas Hill McCarter (1842-1923) + Marriah Reagan (1842-1923)

Rev. Eli McCarter (1886-1955) + Mary Elizabeth Hatcher (1889-1969)

 

Sources:

 

“Ancestors of Richard Alan Lebo, The” Lebo.myweb.uga.edu/graybill_geno.html

“Ancestors of the Barnham / Strawser Families” http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~barnham/pafg29.htm

 

 “California Mennonite Historical Society Bulletin”  #44

http://72.14.205.104/search?q=cache:rqwtormklBMJ:calmenno.org/bulletin/sum06.pdf+Jost+Krayenbuehl&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us

 

“Descendants of Hans KRAHENBUHL:  Seventh Generation” http://graybeal.info/familytree/aqwg07.htm

 

“Descendants of Jost KRAYENBUHL”

http://home.comcast.net/~dctebbetts/desofkrehb.htm

 

“Descendants 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.”  mikefloeck@sbcglobal.net.

 

Floeck, Mike.  mikefloeck@sbcglobal.net.  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.”

http://lebo.myweb.uga.edu/graybill_geno.html

 

Graybill, Lois N.  “The Graybill Family of Virginia….”

http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/g/r/a/Lois-N-Graybill/

 

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.” 

http://www.houseofnames.com/xq/asp.fc/qx/krahenbuhl-family-crest.htm

 

“Krahenbuhl Family Directory” http://www.geocities.com/worldkrahenbuhl/diaspora.htm

 

Krehbiel Family Genforum.  http://genforum.genealogy.com/krehbiel

 

“Ladd Family.”  http://www.laddfamily.com/19955.htm

 

McCarter Family Charts

 

“Mennonite 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

(Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa)

NEWSLETTER NO. 7, May. 7, 1997

Editor, David L. Habegger, 6929 Hillsboro Ct. Ft. Wayne, IN 48635

http://72.14.205.104/search?Q=cache:uNKjFTA2B5MJ:www.saga-omii.comm/tng/documents/news07.pdf+Ulie+Jost+Graybill&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=3&gl=us

 

“Weierhof” (Rheinland-Pfalz/Germany).”  Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online  (GAMEO) http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/W447.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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