Hans Herr

As I mentioned recently, I’ve been researching my Dorwart line (maternal side). I am working on verifying that I am connected to a man named Hans Herr, this guy here. So far my research is correct, plus I certainly have a lot of DNA matches with his line.

His birth name was Hans Prefiot and he was born in Zurich, Switzerland on September 17, 1639. He became a bishop in the Swiss Brethren (later known as the Mennonites), and was the very first Mennonite bishop to emigrate to America. Because of religious persecution in Switzerland, and then later when he moved to Germany, he and others bought 10,000 acres of land, and colonized a portion of the western frontier of Pennsylvania, which is now Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Eventually they told their families and others that they should come and join them.

He married and had a number of children. There is a question about who his wife really was, and I will be reading about that during my research. How I am connected is through John Dorwart, the son of Martin and Maria (Spitzfadden) Dorwart, my maternal fifth great grandparents. I am not directly related to him as John’s brother George is my connection. But John married into the Herr family. Here’s a schematic to make it easier:

I’ve also seen some Nixdorfs thrown in his family history, so it’s very possible there is a connection through that line of mine.

In 1719, Rev. Herr’s son, Christian, built a stone house that is now known as the Herr House. It is the oldest surviving house in Lancaster County. According to the Herr House Museum’s website, it is also the oldest original Mennonite meeting house still standing in the western hemisphere, as it was also used to serve as a place for worship services. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Here’s one of the inside:

Rev. Herr died on October 11, 1725 in West Lampeter Township, Pennsylvania at the age of 86.

Thanks for reading!

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