Carl & Elaine (Grove) Rhodes' Genealogy Pages

Hans Graf

Male - 1746


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  • Name Hans Graf 
    Born Steinsfurt ?, Zurich, Switzerland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 1746  Earl Twp., Lancaster County, PA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I290  Carl
    Last Modified 20 May 2012 

    Father Marx Graf,   c. 1 Nov 1640, Baretswil, Zurich, Switzerland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Bef 26 Apr 1716, Baretswil, Zurich, Switzerland Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 75 years) 
    Mother Unknown,   d. Aft 26 Apr 1716 
    Family ID F176  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Susanna Kendig,   b. Abt 1680,   d. Aft 1746, Lancaster County, PA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 67 years) 
    Married 1704  Germantown, PA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. Peter Graf
     2. Hannah Graf
     3. Samuel Graf
     4. Fronica Graf
     5. Marcus Graf
     6. Daniel Graf
     7. Mary Graf
     8. David Graf
     9. Hans Graf, Jr.,   b. Abt 1697-1698, Lancaster County, PA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1780, Keedysville, Washington County, MD Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 82 years)
    Last Modified 18 Jan 2014 
    Family ID F173  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Oberholtzer? 
    Children 
     1. Jacob Graf
    Last Modified 18 Jan 2014 
    Family ID F175  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • "DESCENDANTS OF HANS GRAF" by Lindsey M. Brien (hand-typed book at
      Allen County Public Library, Ft. Wayne, IN, 1966) "From notes of Miss
      Julia Grove of Shepherdstown, who died Jul 26, 1923, aged 83 years.
      'Hans Graf was born in Switzerland in 1661, and during the persecution
      of the Mennonites in his native country, he with others fled to
      Alsace. In Alsace he bore the title of Baron von Weldon. His coat of
      arms is in possessions of his descendants; he was the brother-in-law
      of Lieut. Col. Duke of Metzer, Govenor of Breda, and it was from him
      the Grafs or Groves were entitled to the immense wealth in the father
      land. At one time none stood nearer in confidence to the throne that
      Hans Graf, but owing to this very prominence he became the target for
      false accusations and his wealth confiscated. The accusations were
      proved utterly false and he was publicly exonerated, given invitation
      to return and his wealth and property and position would be fully
      restored to him, but Hans Graf scorned their overtures and declined to
      return. He came to America and became in the new world a man of
      wealth and prominence.' 'Hans Graf arrived in PA about 1695, moved
      westward to a stream now known as "Groff's Run" in Lancaster County,
      where he established a trading post with the Indians, exchanging
      blankets for furs which he hauled to Philadelphia on a stout wagon
      drawn by six powerful horses. Subsequently he purchased from the sons
      of Wm. Penn a tract of land containing some 1400-1500 acres and laid
      our Earl Twp. (so named from his title). Later East Earl and West
      Earl Twp. were formed. He was always called "der Graf" (the Earl) and
      lived to be a very old man and was buried in the grave yard attached
      to Groff's Meeting House. His grave is marked with a rough sand stone
      slab on which the letters H.G. are still decipherable.' 'According
      to Ellis and Evans History of Lancaster County, the first settler in what
      is now Earl Twp. was Hans Graf. He was a refugee from Switzerland,
      and about the year 1696 emigrated to Germantown, PA., where he
      remained several years, then removed in 1717 to Pequea
      Valley...."Upper Leacock Twp.- the whole eastern part of this Twp. was
      included in a warrant of land granted to Hans Graf...Hans Graf with
      one of his brothers were among the early persecuted Christians who
      fled from Switzerland to Alsace, then a province of France. About
      1695-6 he came to Germantown and remained a short time, afterward
      settling in the Pequea Valley, but not being content there he settled
      in Groff's Dale, which was named in honor of him." (Ellis and Evans
      "History of Lancaster County", p. 925)' 'Rupp's "Collection of Thirty
      Thousand Immigrants to PA" Hans Graf was naturalized Oct. 14, 1729.
      His brother Martin was first constable. Hans Graf was one of the men
      appointed to lay out the Kings Highway in 1733, from Lancaster to
      Philadelphia.'
      Mr. Diffenderfer (1876) is quoted as saying:
      "...Hans Graf, a Swiss refugee, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1696
      and after remaining some years at Germantown, first located in the
      Pequea Valley. While in pursuit of his strayed horses, he found his
      way into what is familiarly know as Groff's Thal, within the limits of
      West Earl Township. Pleased with the country, he had his wife,
      children and chattels conveyed thither and located on the stream, now
      called Graf's Run, where he soon took up land. He was the earliest
      settler in these townships, so also was the wealthiest citizen at the
      time of his death in 1746.
      This Hans Graf was a man of more than ordinary force of character.
      He was the principle person in the new settlement that sprung up
      around him, even to the time of his death in 1746; his name frequently
      occurs in the Colonial Records; he was one of the persons named to lay
      out the King's High Road from Lancaster to Philedelphia in 1733.
      Along with many others he was naturalized on Oct. 14, 1729, in the
      third year of the reign of George the Second. He had already built a
      mill prior to 1729, and when in that year the township was organized
      the citizens honored both themselves and him in giving his name 'Graf'
      in its English equivalent, Earl, to the new district."
      "THE GROFF BOOK" by Clyde Groff, Walter Groff, and Jane Evans Best,
      (Groff History Associates, 1985) "The transition of Hans Groff from
      'husbandman' in 1715 to 'wagoner' in the 1724 tax list is verified by
      his great-grandson, John Groff, who said he conducted trading between
      Philadelphia and the Indians and dealt in blankets and other articles
      of merchandise which he procured in Philadelphia. He took them to a
      ferry on the Susquehanna River and exchanged them for skins and furs.
      He spoke the Indian language fluently. According to Levi Groff, "Hans
      Graf started a Big 6 horse Team." The inventory of his estate dated 5
      May 1746, included an 'old waggon', valued at L 5.0.0, a 'little
      waggon' valued at L 3.15.0, and a 'big waggon' valued at L 12.0.0. It
      also inclued smith tools, ropemaker tools, potter tools, and 'several
      sorts of Tools'." "The German word 'graf' translates into 'earl' in
      English. West Earl was separated from it (Earl twp.) in 1833, and
      East Earl was established in 1851." "The inventory of 'Hance Graff of
      Erltown' was dated 5 May, 1746 and totaled L648.3.10, including L300
      for the plantation and L 123 credits. Bibles and other books included
      the 1580 Froschauer Bible he had brought with him from Europe, and
      which is still in the family in Lancaster County They were valued at L
      8.14.3 and 'Spectaculs' at L 0.8.0. His gold scales, valued at 15
      shillings, are on exhibition at the Lancaster Mennonite Historical
      Society."

      Originating in B