Some of the data on our early ancestors is constantly changing or being updated as I read and learn more. Here is where I am at regarding the earliest HESS ancestors that came to America.
JEREMIAS HESS and ANNA MARIE HEIM
Jeremias Hess was born about 1675. He first appears in Mutterstadt, Germany, at the beginning of the 18th century. Jeremias married a woman named Anna (thought to be Anna Marie Heim). They probably had 7 Children: Peter, possibly born in 1703; Hans Conrad, born May 3, 1705, and died in Ireland; Elisabeth, born October 21, 1708, died in Ireland; Christian, born July 14, 1713 died in Mutterstad, Germany; (another) Hans Conrad, birth date unclear, but a record of his baptism is August 19, 1714: Balthasar (usually Baltzar in America), birth date unclear but was baptized December. 8, 1717; and Eva.
The Hess family first appears in Mutterstadt, which is southwest of Mannheim in the modern state of Rheinland-Pfalz. In her study of the immigrants from Mutterstadt to Pennsylvania, Annette K. Burgert says that the town was uninhabited following the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). The village was slowly repopulated by migrants from France, Switzerland and other parts of Germany. However, the Pfalz continued to be a poor and troubled region, causing many to move elsewhere. Many fled to Ireland.
In 1709, Jeremias Hess and his family appear on the list of immigrants who arrived in England on June 2. Jeremias appears under the heading of husbandmen and vinedressers and is listed as 34 years old and Lutheran. In his party, were his wife; sons, ages 7 and 5; and daughter, age 2. Also on the list are Paul Heyn and Michel Andrus, both of Mutterstadt. Once again, life was hard. Two children, the first Hans Conrad and Elisabeth died in Ireland.
In 1711, the Hess and Heim families were among those who gave up on Ireland and migrated to Holland. The Hess’s must have returned to Mutterstadt, where the births of three children are recorded after 1711. Almost 20 years late, Jeremias and his family again left Germany.
In August 1730, Jeremiah arrived in Philadelphia aboard the “Thistle of Glasgow”, which had sailed from Rotterdam, Netherlands. Also aboard the ship were Thomas and Heinrich Hess, who may have been relatives. A Ludwig Has also appears on this list of immigrants, who qualified on Aug. 29, 1730.
Jeremias and his family settled in Salford in Philadelphia County, according to his will. By the time Jeremiah wrote his will April 28, 1739, Peter and Eva had moved to Maryland. Conrad and Baltzer remained in eastern Pennsylvania. Jeremiah died before April11, 1743, when his will was proved.
JOHANN CONRAD HESS and ANNA MARIA BEST
Johann Conrad Hess was the son of Jeremiah and Anna Hess, who were German immigrants. According to some accounts, Conrad may have been born in New Britain Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. However, this may be disputed by some as his birth date is prior to 1714 AND his parents arrived in America in August of 1730. According to this account he would have been about 16 years of age when coming to America. Conrad married Maria about 1741 when he would have been about 27 years of age. Anna’s maiden name may have been Best. Anna was born about 1722. They had 8 known Children: Johann William; Elizabeth; Anna Maria; Maria; Christian; John; Jeremiah and Frederick.
The Daughters of the American Revolution “DAR” file for Johann Conrad Hess, which contains known errors, and “History of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania” list a Henry Conrad as a son also. A younger Conrad does appear as a witness in some records pertaining to the family but is not listed in Conrad’s will or a deed that records the sale of his property after his death. In my data, I have included a Conrad and a Henry as children of Conrad and Anna, at least until I can sort out more information.
Conrad seems to have been a prominent man in the early history of Northampton County Pennsylvania. He served in county government in the mid-1700s and also operated an inn known as Lofty Oaks on the outskirts of Easton. Upon the formation of the county, Conrad was appointed a supervisor for Williams Township. The appointment was made June 16, 1752. Conrad was appointed a justice of the peace for Northampton County on Nov. 27, 1757. He was among the justices presiding over the Northampton County Orphans Court, beginning March 22, 1758 and continuing until at least 1761.
On Nov. 27, 1757, a council of colonial officials approved Conrad and others for the Commission of the Peace for Northampton. In the 1761 tax lists for Williams Township, he is listed as Conrad Hess, Esq., another indication of his standing as a member of the county’s legal community. Conrad probably held other positions, but they have not been confirmed.
History of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania says he was prothonotary and Clerk of the Quarter Sessions and Oyer and Terminer from 1760 to 1771. According to a manuscript in the Hess file at the Wyoming Valley Historical Society in Wilkes-Barre, he was appointed to the election board of Northampton County in 1756.
Much of the work of the county court may have been done at Conrad’s Lofty Oaks Tavern, according to a manuscript in the Hess family file at the Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society. The name Conrad Hess Esq. appears on file in the records of the Orphans Court of the County of Northampton in Easton, Pennsylvania, for the period 1758-1771. Since the court sessions of the county were held in taverns before the courthouse was built in 1766 it is very likely the Lofty Oaks Tavern served in this capacity during this period, the item says.
The Lofty Oaks Tavern was situated on 157 acres in Williams Township, which was just south of Easton. Conrad received a warrant for the property on March 8, 1743, according to the Hess file at the Northampton society. Land records say Conrad didn’t receive a patent on the land until Sept. 12, 1796. Upon his death, the land was divided among his children, who then sold it in pieces.
A brief note on Conrad’s Lofty Oaks Inn is included in Historic Structures of Williams Township: A small one and one-half story stone
structure, now owned by the Joseph Link family, was once an inn and tavern operated by Conrad Hess. It is located at the intersection of Industrial Drive and Old Philadelphia Road at the northernmost limit of Williams Township. A search of the deeds does not permit an accurate dating of the structure nor a precise time period when it operated under Hess’s management, but a date prior to 1780 would appear plausible. Conrad Hess was a major landowner, citizen, and parishioner of the early Lutheran Church which stood on the site of the Easton Water Reservoir. He is listed in the 1758 Horse and Wagon Census as Conrad Hess, Esq.,
and in the 1780 tax rolls as a well-to-do farmer. His son Jeremiah is listed as the innkeeper. Conrad died before Feb. 6, 1797, when his will was probated. Maria probably died sometime before 1790 because Conrad is listed as living alone in the 1790 Census of Williams Township.
Much research has been done of Conrad, but some of it seems to be faulty. Manuscripts at the Wyoming Valley Historical Society indicate that several researchers have confused our Conrad and others of the same name. Conrad’s parentage has been a matter of great dispute. Secondary sources are confusing or conflicting.
JEREMIAH HESS and SUSAN ELIZABETH KELLER
Jeremiah Hess was born in about 1751 to Conrad and Maria Hess - probably in what is now Northampton County, Pennsylvania. Jeremiah married Elisabeth and later Susannah. Children of Jeremiah and Elisabeth: John, born September 20, 1776; Magdalena (Polly Stoudt), born March 23, 1780; Abraham, born Dec. 10, 1781; Anna (Nancy), born Dec. 6, 1783. Married Jacob Bauer; Elizabeth (Readler), born December 10, 1787; Rachel (Harter), born Oct. 19, 1794; Maria (Mary Snyder), born February 3, 1797; Margaret (Peggy Barger or Berger), born March 17, 1800; Lydia(Wolf or Walp), born Nov. 9, 1803. Also listed as Jeremiah’s heirs in real estate records in 1823, and probably Elisabeth’s children, were: Jacob; Jeremiah; Susannah (Knorr); and William, born 1789.
Children of Jeremiah and Susannah:
Philip; Sarah (Raber), born 1811; and Issac. These three are listed as minors in the real estate records.
Jeremiah was married twice. His first wife was Elisabeth and his second was Susannah. According to "A History of the Wapwallopen Region," Jeremiah married Elisabeth Keller in 1774-1775 and he married Susanna - thought to be the daughter of John Boyer and widow of Peter Lanehart - in 1806. Elisabeth was born in about 1756. Susanna was born in about 1775.
According to tax lists for 1785, 1786 and 1788, Jeremiah was a mason and lived in Williams Township in Northampton County, Pennsylvania. The Hess’s don’t seem to have owned any land at this time because the lists only note that Jeremiah owned livestock. The family worshiped at the Reformed church in Easton, where most of the children were baptized and Jeremiah served as a deacon in 1786.
Jeremiah served in the Northampton County Militia during the Revolution. He first appears in "Pennsylvania Archives," as a private in an undated muster roll from Capt. Frederick Kleinhantz’s company in the county militia’s 1st Battalion. Jeremiah is then listed as a lieutenant in Capt. Peter Hay’s company of the 4th Battalion of the Northampton County Militia in three subsequent records. That company was based in Williams Township and mustered May 11, 12 and 25 in 1780. There is also an undated listing and one for 1782.
Aside from several attacks by Indian who supported the British, no battles were fought in Northampton County. However, Easton was a strategic crossroads and Continental troops often passed through the area en route to campaigns in New Jersey and other areas. Following several battles in other areas, the wounded soldiers were treated in Easton.
In 1795, Jeremiah bought a 228-acre property in Plainfield Township, Northampton County. The property was known as Hempfield. Upon his father’s death, Jeremiah also came into possession of two portions of his father’s property known as Lofty Oaks in Williams Township. His father operated an inn on the property just south of Easton. I am uncertain at this point whether Jeremiah also inherited the inn, but one book says tax records list him as an innkeeper in 1780. Jeremiah sold his portions of the Lofty Oaks property in March 1805.
Sometime around April 1805, most of the Hess family moved north. That April, Jeremiah sold the land in Plainfield and bought land in Nescopeck Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. He is listed in records of the transaction as already living in Nescopeck. Upon moving to Luzerne County, Jeremiah probably took up farming because Nescopeck Township was very rural and probably couldn’t support a mason. He seems to have been successful because he had acquired more than 910 acres of land by the time of his death.
Elizabeth didn’t live long after the move north. She died Nov. 19, 1805. Jeremiah died Oct. 24, 1819. His second wife, Susannah, died Aug. 31, 1829. Jeremiah left no will but letters of administration were granted Nov. 9, 1819 to two of his sons.
The reason I have underlined JOHN above is because most of us living today in the HESS linage are direct descendants’ of JOHN.
For example, my lineage goes like this: Samuel – Jeremias – Johann Conrad – Jeremiah – JOHN – Aaron Sr. – Aaron Jr – Meldon – Marvin – Robert (me)