Saturday, August 13, 2005

The Erb Family

The Erb family owned Jacob Huber's Tavern (now known as the "Forgotten Seasons Bed & Breakfast") for about 40 years , from 1802 through 1844. The history of this family has been widely documented. They have a very interesting history that can be traced back to the mid 1500's.

The research has traced the lineage back to Ulrich Erb and his wife, Barbli Schoni Erb, both born about 1545 in the Emmental Valley, Canton Bern, Switzerland. Their children were at christened in the Reformed Church located in Rothenbach, Canton Bern.

The connection from Ulrich and Barbli to the property owners of Jacob Huber's Tavern is as follows:

Ulrich and Barbli Schoni Erb
Peter and Magdalena Kupferschmid Erb
Hans and Anna Haldiman Erb
Nicholas (Claus) and Catrina (?) Erb
In the publication called "A Biographical History of Lancaster County - Being A History of Early Settlers and Eminent Men of the County" written by Alexander Harris, October 1872, you'll find several pages devoted to the Erb Family. In this publication, their story picks up with Nicolas (Claus) Erb.
Nicholas (Claus) Erb
Hans Erb, Nicholas' father, wanted Nicholas to become a Catholic priest. However Nicholas joined the Mennonites instead. He left Rothenbach, Canton Bern, and went into hiding for some time at a place called "West Walter Hoof" (or "Westerhoof"). The location of West Walter Hoof is not known, but is speculated to be a farm in Germany.
This was around 1720 and a very dangerous and turbulent period which followed the 30 year war in Europe. If you didn't follow the State Religion, you had a problem. Non-conformists either lost their property, ended up in jail, were executed or were forced to leave the region.
William Penn was establishing his experiment in the New World at a place called "Pennsylvania" providing for the freedom to express individual religious beliefs. William Penn actively pursued bringing the displaced Palatinates to his land because he knew that they would help bring stability to the area. They were hard workers and knew how to farm the land. He also knew that these people tended not to move, that once they established a home, they tended to remain there for many generations.
The accounts report that Nicholas (Claus) Erb lived under the protection of the property owner at "West Walter Hoff".
In 1737, the entire family packed up and made the trip to the Port of Philadelphia, arriving on October 8, 1737 on the ship "Charming Nancy". Joining them on this voyage was also the first group of Amish families to Pennsylvania. They made up the "Cocalico Amish" community.
Nicholaus (Claus) Erb settled on 285 acres located on Hammer Creek in Warwick Township, Lancaster County.
It is documented that Nicholas and Catrina had 8 children, 5 sons and 3 daughters. They were all born in Canton Bern and ranged in ages of 24 years to about 1 year old when they made the journey from Europe to Pennsylvania.
Nicholas (Claus) and Catrina are reported to be buried on the Greystone Manor Farm.
Their oldest son was John (Hans) Erb. He was born in Canton Bern on March 13, 1713. John married Barbara Schrantz about 1744 in the Erbdale Meeting House located between Manheim and Lititz. Barbara was born in Baden Germany on January 19, 1716 and also came to Pennsylvania on the "Charming Nancy".
John and Barbara eventually moved to a property located between Lititz and Manheim. They raised 6 children and 1 daughter there.
John and Barbara are buried in the Erb Cemetery located on the Fairview Road, west of Evans Road, near today's Fahnestock Fruit Farm.
Christian Erb (Sr)
One of their sons was Christian Erb (Sr). He was born on February 6, 1755 on the family farm.
In "A Biographical History of Lancaster County" written by Alexander Harris, it is written that Christian Erb...married Anna Bomberger....she is reputed to have been a stately and prim old lady, who, being a Mennonite, wore her dresses plain, but of rich materials, with a snowy kerchief and cap. She was well versed in Scriptures.
Anna Bomberger was a descendent of Christian Bomberger, owner of the adjacent property.
Christian Erb (Sr) bought the Jacob Huber's Tavern property from his sister, Magdalena, and her husband, Joseph Gingerich on May 3, 1802.
Christian (Sr) and Anna had two sons, Christian (Jr) and Jacob and a daughter, Maria.
It is speculated that Christian (Sr) removed the old log cabin and built the east addition that exists today. When Dale Groff renovated the east kitchen, hand split lathe and nails were recovered that indicate a 1800 to 1810 construction time frame.
In Christian (Sr) Will dated April 13, 1812, he mentions "I do give....unto my wife, Ann, the small room with the small kitchen and the small room in the upper story of this my dwelling house wherein I now reside...and also the cellar and to the bake oven for baking her bread as she may have occasion for..." This would match the existing east addition.
When the renovations took place in 2002, indications of a stairway leading to the second floor was uncovered. The current steps leading to the basement match the configuration of that stairway. It is assumed that when the stairway to the second floor was relocated in the mid-1900, that the original steps that Christian (Sr) built were reused to lead to the basement.
In Henry H. Bomberger's article written for the Lancaster County Historical Society titled "Pioneers and Transportation on Newport Road", published 1932, he writes "Jacob Huber passed this farm to Christian Erb. A distillery, and later, a hotel was on his farm. Mr. Erb had a team of six black horses on the Newport Road and delivered goods. In looking over the accounts of Eby's Mill, the writer found that only a few shipments of flour were made to Reading; later, most all shipments were made to Newport and some to Philadelphia. Mr. Erb's team was above the ordinary. Erb was a brother-in-law of Bomberger. No doubt each wanted the best. It seems there was much pride among these teamsters."
Christian (Sr) willed his property to his two sons, Christian (Jr) and Jacob. Christian (Jr) then sold his half of the property to Jacob and then moved to Dayton, Ohio. Maria married Henry Hostetter and moved to Hanover, York Co., PA.
Jacob Erb
Jacob, son of Christian (Sr), remained on his parents property.
He married his neighbor, Elizabeth Becker. She was the oldest child of Christian and Anna Brubacher Becker and the great granddaughter of Valentine Becker. (The Valentine Becker farm is located adjacent to the Nicholas (Claus) Erb farm.)
Jacob and Elizabeth had 6 daughters and 3 sons.
Jacob was a very active business man, farmer and, according to tax records, ran a distillery on the farm.
The summer of 1812 was a sad period for the Erb Family. On June 30, 1812, Elizabeth gave birth to Barbara and on July 1, 1812, she gave birth to Mary. Elizabeth died on July 5, 1812, due to complications from that child birth. On August 1, 1812, Jacob's father, Christian (Sr), died. It is reported that Barbara died in infancy.
....more details to come....