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THE WERT FAMILY




HISTORY ASSOCIATION

2004 NEWSLETTER











WERT FAMILY HISTORY ASSOCIATION
P.O. BOX 240
PORT ROYAL, PA 17082-0240
TEL: 717-527-4399
E-MAIL: jwert@mdi-wert.com www.mdi-wert.com



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“Preserving Our Past For Future Generations”







The reason you are receiving this newsletter is because you are a descendent of Johann Adam Wirth and his wife Eva Elizabeth Schnug/Snoke.

Before you think this is a scam or a gimmick, please, please, please understand that we are not going to badger you for money (although donations help and are appreciated), credit card information or social security numbers. We are merely a few individuals who enjoy tracing our ancestors history. As a result, through one lineage or another, we are all distant relatives that can be tracked back to Johann Adam and Eva Elizabeth.

If you have absolutely no interest or simply do not care about knowing how your family settled in America, send us an email to remove you from the list. If you would like to know more about your families history, than grab a cup of your favorite beverage, kick back and enjoy.

The Wert Family History Association’s goal is to research and preserve Wert history for the enjoyment of present and future generations. Membership is FREE and currently exceeds 700 individuals.

The Wert Family History Newsletter focuses primarily on the ancestors and descendants of Johann Adam Wirth who was born in 1727 in Borod, Westerwald, Germany, and died in 1806 in Upper Paxton Township, Dauphin County, Penna.

In order to document this history, we use the software “Brothers Keeper” for storing data and information. Currently we have over 45,000 names in the data base. Laird Bonn, who lives in Florida, is a descendant of Johannes Wirth b. 1758, has been keeping our data base up to date for many years. Laird can be reached at: l_bonn@hotmail.com

We share this information with anyone who is interested in researching their ancestors. We will help anyone who contacts us by searching our data base to make a possible connection. If we find a connection, we will provide the information to you FREE of charge. We also exchange information in order to have accurate and up-to-date documentation of all our Wert families.

Johann Adam Wirth came to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the Ship Two Brothers in 1753, and settled first near Lebanon which was then a part of Lancaster County, Penna.

In 1755, he married Eva Elizabeth Schnug/Snoke in Lebanon, PA. She was born in 1730 in Westerwald, and died in 1800 in Upper Paxton Township.

Johann Adam and Eva were buried in the Wirth’s Evangelical Lutheran Church Cemetery, Killinger, PA (approx. 45 minutes north of Harrisburg, PA.) This church and cemetery was called Wirth’s Church after Johann Adam Wirth from 1770 through 1814 because the land was donated by Johann Adam.

After the second and third generations in America, surname Wirth was changed to variations such as Wirt, Wert, Werth, Virt, Vert, Wertz, Virtz, Virts, Vertz, Verts, Werts, Wurtz, etc. Some of the sons of Johann Adam had the last name Wirth on their tombstones. Others used Wert, Wirt and Wertz, particularly after the third generation in America. Our records contain information on thousands of surnames that intermarried with these surname spellings, including yours. (Wert History continued on page 4.)

“The Wert Family of Dauphin County, PA” was published in 1996 and included approximately 15,000 names. Not knowing how many would sell, we only had 300 copies printed. Requests for this Wert history was overwhelming.

(ABOVE: Wert Family History book prepared by Jonathan Maxwell Wert, Jr., bond by Wert Book Binding, Grantville, Pa.)

All 300 copies sold within three months. A second edition is planned for the future. It will include many more names and biographies than the first edition. If you have old Wert photographs or wish to provide us with biographies to include, please contact us. Also, copies of the first edition may be found in all major genealogy libraries in the United States. We also need to hear from you if you want to be notified whenever the second edition is released.


Johann Adam Wirth was born on August 30, 1727 in Berod, Westerwald, Germany. Johann Adam Wirth immigrated to America on the Ship Two Brothers, Thomas Arnot, Commander, qualifying on September 28, 1753 at the Court House in Philadelphia, Pa. He was the son of Johann Jacob Wirth b. February 11, 1697 in Hochstenbach, Westerwald, Germany; died 1734 or 1735, and Maria Eva Sohn b. July 1, 1704 in Berod, Westerwald, Germany; died March 13, 1784. Maria was the daughter of Johann Peter Sohn who died on November 9, 1749 in Berod, Westerwald, Germany. The name of Johann Adam Wirth is spelled that way on the ship passenger list. The name of his mother’s brother, Johann Peter Sohn (b.18 Jan 1725) appears next to Johann Adam's on the ship list. There are emigration records specifying that Johann Adam Wirth left Berod where he was born and came to America on the Ship Two Brothers in 1753. (see more Palatine Families, Henry Jones, Jr., 1991 p. 506) His birth date was found in the Parish Records at Hochstenbach, Westerwald Region of Germany. This date corresponds to Johann Adam's birth, death date, and age given on his tombstone and found in the Old Wirth Evangelical Lutheran Church records at Killinger, PA.

Johann Adam Wirth married on August 3, 1755 by Rev. John Casper Stoever at Bindnagels Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lebanon, PA to Eva Elizabeth Schnug 1730-1800, daughter of J. Matthias Schnug/Snoke 1711-1795 and Elizabeth Schall. The Schnug’s, like the Wirth’s, were also from Berod, Westerwald, Germany, and they came to America in 1740. One of Eva’s brothers, Christian Schnug/Snoke was born at sea in 1740; d. in 1783, and he resided in the Berrysburg area of Dauphin County, PA not far from where his sister resided. Records on the Schnug’s can be found in the Parish of Hochstenbach, Westerwald, Germany.

Johann Adam Wirth may have first settled in Montgomery County, Pa., then removed to the Tulpehocken Settlement, and on to the Lebanon area, then finally to Clover Hill in Lykens Valley, Upper Paxton Township, Dauphin County. This area was then still part of Lancaster County. Records indicate that Johann Adam traveled from Lebanon on several occasions between 1763-1768 to claim and clear land in Lykens Valley. He was one of the first five families settling in Lykens Valley, others being Andrew and Jane Lykens, Ludwig Shott, John Rewalt, and Abraham Shora (Jury). Buffington's, Hoffman's, Umholtz's and Woodside's were also early settlers of Lykens Valley.


ABOVE: Taken by Bob Wert in 1989, this was one of the original buildings constructed by Johann Adam Wirth in Lykens Valley, PA.


The original Wirth homestead was located on what is currently known as the Harrisburg North Golf Course near Killinger, Pa. Wirth land holdings included numerous farms in and around Killinger, land which Johann Adam had divided among some of his sons. On June 6, 1774, John Adam had 352 acres warranted to him and again on June 18, 1774, he had 360 acres warranted to him from the Province of Pennsylvania. He had already cleared about 20 acres of the land by that time. One record, the HISTORY OF DAUPHIN COUNTY, indicates that he increased his land holdings to about 1200 acres.

In addition to dividing some land among his sons, he gave one farm to the Reformed Congregation and for Wirth's Evangelical Lutheran Church Congregation in Killinger. In the early years, both congregations utilized the same church.


ABOVE: The original Wirth's Evangelical Lutheran Church was located near the present day Old Salem Lutheran Church.

Originally, the Salem Lutheran Church was called Wirth's Evangelical Lutheran Church and Cemetery, and some references can still be found to support this. In the early years, armed members of the Church congregation stood guard outside during services to protect the preacher and congregation from Indian attacks. Johann Adam Wirth was very committed to Christianity and the Lutheran faith, and he served as an Elder and the Church treasurer for a number of years.

The script on Johann Adam Wirth's tombstone in the Old Wirth Evangelical Lutheran Church Cemetery at Killinger reads "The purchaser of the land and donor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church together with the burial places upon which his remains slumber until the morning of the resurrection."


ABOVE: Tombstones for Johann Adam and his wife Eva Elizabeth Schnug Wirth


Both tombstones for Johann Adam and his wife Eva Elizabeth Schnug Wirth were made of white marble. They were badly eroded, but still were legible in 1991. The author installed a new granite tombstone for Johann Adam and Eva in 1992.

One early account on Johann Adam states that when he came to Lykens Valley, his family used the broad branches of a stately white oak tree, then monarch of the forest in the valley, for their shelter. The leaves of this tree protected them from the scorching rays of the noonday sun and from the pelting rains, and it was at this site where he lived until erecting his first log cabin. Two old Wert homes remained standing on the Lykens Valley Golf Course (currently Harrisburg North Golf Course) until 1989. One was a two story log house. The other dated back many years and contained an excellent spring in the cellar.

The record says that Johann Adam built his first cabin by a hillside and close to a fine spring, which today sends forth its cool sparkling water as it did when the red man came to slake his thirst. Since the old house was torn down, the above spring now feeds a large pond on the Harrisburg North Golf Course.

Johann Adam's original farm was believed to be an Indian village at one time. He had become very friendly with the local Indians as various stories indicate. In the early settlement, a wounded Indian was brought to his home, whom he and his family nursed back to health, and the gratitude of the local Indians was shown in their every act thereafter. However, this was a time of Indian wars and Johann Adam did not remain long in his new home to be. Before he had finished his log cabin in the forest, he, with the other settlers of the area, were driven away by savages. Johann Adam then returned to his earlier home in the Lebanon area until the Indian wars subsided in the Susquehanna Valley, and then once again returned to occupy his land in Lykens Valley.


With advancements in the world of communication technology, finding and researching information on any topic has significantly increased. Searching Wert history on the world wide web certainly is no exception.

The Wert Family History may be found on the Internet at: www.mdi-wert.com Our Home Page is also connected to the “WERT FAMILY GENEALOGY FORUM.” You can contact us by e-mail or place a query on the Forum. There are separate Forums available for surnames WIRTH, WIRT, and WERTZ. On the Wert Family History Association Home Page, you will also find an alphabetical listing of all the surnames in our data base, and a guest book is available for you to sign.




& Eva Elizabeth Wirth


Johann Adam and Eva Elizabeth Wirth had eleven known children, two daughters and nine sons:

  1. Johann Adam Wirth, Jr. b. 18 Dec 1755 in Lebanon, PA. He married to Mary Elizabeth Preece/Priess, Nye, widow of John Philip Nye 1750-1782. Adam was a Revolutionary War Soldier.

  2. Johannes Wirth b. 25 Jan 1758 in Lebanon, PA; d. on 08 Feb 1805; Revolutionary War Soldier. He married to Anna Maria Miller b. 16 Feb 1759; d. 09 May 1836. Johannes and Anna Maria are buried at Wirth’s Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery. They had 7 known children.

  3. Johann Christian Wirth b. 07 Dec 1759 in Lebanon, PA; d. 22 Sep 1819 in Snyder County, PA, buried in Grubb’s Lutheran Church Cemetery, Chapman Township. He married Catharine Magdalena Bretz b. 1763, d. 1816. Christian and Catharine had 12 known children. Several of the descendants from this line used the last name spelling of Wertz. Christian served in the Revolutionary War.

  4. Anna Catharina Wirth b. ab. 1762, married to Sebastian Metz and lived around Berrysburg, PA, Dauphin Co. They had 10 known children.

  5. Johann Jacob Wirth b. 21 Mar 1764 in Lebanon, PA; d. 03 Jan 1833, buried in Wirth’s Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery, Killinger, PA. Married Sophia Miller b. 02 Aug 1776; d. 22 Oct 1842. They had 9 known children.

  6. Johann Peter Wirth b. 21 Mar 1766 in Upper Paxton Township, Dauphin County. d. 28 Aug 1844 and buried in the St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, Carlisle Springs, Cumberland County, PA. He married Elizabeth Sheesley b. 14 Feb 1771 in Lancaster County, PA, and d. 26 Oct 1843. Peter and Elizabeth had 8 known children with several moving to OH. Several families spelled the last name Wirt.

  7. Johann Henrich Wirth b. 22 Dec 1769 in Upper Paxton Township, Dauphin County, PA d. on 02 Jun 1846, buried in the Zion Lutheran Church Cemetery, Hickory Corners, Northumberland County, PA. Married Elizabeth Enterline b. 30 Nov 1771, PA; d. 6 Sep 1838. They had 12 known children. Several families used the last name spelling of Wirt.

  8. Johann George Wirth b. 10 May 1770 in Upper Paxton Township, Dauphin County, PA, d. 13 Feb 1845 and buried in Wirth’s Evangelical Lutheran Church Cemetery, Killinger, PA. He married to Anna Catharina Miller b. 25 Jun 1775; d. 27 Apr 1842, sister of Sophia Miller who married J. Jacob Wirth above. George and Anna had 6 known children.

  9. Anna Margaretta Wert b. 22 May 1771 in Upper Paxton Township, d. ab. 1824, and buried at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Berrysburg, PA. She married to George Michael Radel b. 1768; d. ab. 1828. Anna and George had 11 known children.

  10. Johann Philip Wirth b. 31 Mar 1773 in Upper Paxton Township, d. 1841, burial place not known. He resided in Perry Township, Snyder County, and married Elizabeth Loos. Philip and Elizabeth had six known children.

  11. Johann Joseph Wirth b. 28 Apr 1775 in Upper Paxton Township, Dauphin County, PA, d. 01 Jan 1855 in Crawford Co., OH and was buried in Biddle Cemetery, Sandusky Township, Crawford County, OH. He moved from PA to OH by wagon train in 1826. Joseph married to Barbara Kitch b. 04 Jan 1778, d. 31 Aug 1855. Joseph and Barbara had nine known children.


The tombstones of Johann Adam and Eva Elizabeth Wirth, and their sons: J. Henrich Wirth, J. Christian Wirth, Johannes Wirth, and J. Joseph Wirth/Wert have been restored. All of these are in Killinger, Penna. except the one for Joseph Wert which is in Crawford County, OH. It is our goal to locate and restore the tombstones of the other children of Johann Adam and Eva Wirth. This will be done as time and funding permits.



Keeping a mailing list on everyone is almost a full-time job!!! Bill Wert, a descendant of J. Jacob Wirth b. 1764, has been maintaining our mailing list. Bill may be reached at: wvu95@yahoo.com

We currently have a mailing list of about 700 people who have contacted us with either an interest in receiving the Newsletter or requesting information about their ancestors. Please send us your name and address, and do this whenever your address changes. Also, if you know of others who would be interested in receiving the Newsletter, please send us their name and address.

The Association operates solely on donations, and because of the generous donations of a few, there is no membership fee. We are looking into the possibility of establishing a 501c(3) so that all donations would be tax deductible.

There is no charge for copies related to your history, the newsletter, or answering your questions. We have grown to where we are receiving about 10 queries a week helping those researching their history.

Any assistance, either through research and Wert documentation or financially, your help will be greatly appreciated in our goal of preserving our Wert history. Any donations received are used to pay for reproduction of documents, the Newsletter, for copies of material donated to major libraries, and for tombstone restoration.

If you would like to assist us in preserving Wert History, contact Jonathan Maxwell Wert at: jwert@mdi-wert.com or email at: Checks can be made payable to: THE WERT FAMILY HISTORY ASSOCIATION.

To keep our history up-to-date, we need your help. If you are a Wert or have connections to that surname or the other spelling variations above, please contact us and we will be happy to help you locate your ancestors.

In exchange for any information that may be available, would you please provide us with information about your family (grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren, etc.) or whatever you have. To contact us, please visit our website at: www.mdi-wert.com