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Holtry Family History


Johannes George Holtry came to America from Germany in the mid 1700s with his two sons, John and Matthias, as indentured servants. He died before 1770, probably could not read or write since neither of his sons were literate either. The place of his death has not been located, although there is a grave marker in the cemetery in Pennsylvania with the initials JH. The sons of Johannes George, John and Matthias both served in the Revolutionary War.

John Holdry, son of Johannes George was born about 1744 presumably in Germany. He married Eva about 1768, place unknown, and died in 1809 in Cumru, Pennsylvania at the age of 65.

At the beginning of the Revolutionary War in 1778, John would have been 34 years old, and his little son, John III would have been about 4 years old. This John was presumably the John Holtry who is on the muster roll each year from 1778 to 1792: in Captain Smuller's Company in 1778; again in Captain Jno. Smuller's Company, Ninth Battalion of Lancaster County Militia, commanded by Col. Jno. Huber in april and May of 1779; in Capt. Andrew Reim's Company of the 3rd Battalion of Lancaster County Militia dated Rems (sic) Town on December 20, 1780. In 1781 john Holtry is on the list of the Return of White Male Inhabitants in the 20th Company, 3rd Battalion, Lancaster county Militia. He is also on the 1782 muster roll of Capt. Reams' (sic) Company of the 2nd Class and 3rd Battalion of Lancaster county Militia. (Pennsylvania Archives, 5th Series, pp 884, 888, 904, 226, 280, and 318.)

John left a will, written in 1803, which has been translated from the Pennsylvania Dutch dialect. In this will he calls himself Johannes Holterin of Einrodannsheb, Berks County, Pennsylvania. His possessions include animals, farm equipment, a house and orchards which he gives to his son John III. He gives his loose goods to Eva, his wife. And he gives money to his daughter, Catherine, in the amount of 180 pounds (10 pounds a year). He died in 1809 at the age of 65.

John Holdry III was born about 1774 and died in 1822 at about the age of 48. John was probably born in Einrodannsheb, Berks Co, Pennsylvania and died in Cumru, Berks Co, Pennsylvania. He had a son, John IV. We do not know the name of John III's wife. We do know she gave birth to six living children between 1800 and 1810, and she renounced the will at her husband's death. According to the 1810 census, the year after his father's death, John III's household consisted of 3 males and 6 females. We can surmise from the census that John III had two sons, John IV and Samuel, and four daughters who may have been named Catherine, Elizabeth, Sarah, and Susana. Their marriages are recorded 1817, 1822, 1827, and 1830 respectively. Both sons are mentioned in the 1822 recording of John's will. The oldest female in the census may have been John's mother, Eva, or his wife's mother.

John IV was born in Cumru, Berks Co, Pennsylvania on August 6, 1795. He died in 1860 at the age of 65 in Gratis, Preble Co, Ohio. Before his westward migration he married his second cousin, Sarah Holdrie, in Reading, Berks Co, Pennsylvania, on March 18, 1821, the year before his father died. He was 26 and she was 20. John I's brother, Samuel, was married in the same year, November 25, 1821, to Esther Riem. John and Sarah had five children, all entered in the Parish register of the Trinity Lutheran Church in Reading. The first four were born on or before January 25, 1825. the fifth was born January 16, 1838, after a hiatus of 13 years.

John and Sarah, their children, and Sarah's parents, George and Elizabeth Holtry, moved to Ohio between 1821 and 1830. Sarah's brother, George Jr., also joined them in Ohio. Sarah's father, George Sr, died July 10, 1845 in Montgomery Co, Ohio. He was 72 years old. John IV wrote his will on July 9, 1858, and died February 17, 1860. In his will John gave Sarah two lots in the town of Winchester (today called Gratis) with all the household goods. He also gave her the interest on $1000, which was put in trust for her, unless she remarried. The rest of his personal property was to be sold and loans collected and put into a fund to keep the house and land in repair for his wife. This fund was also to be divided among his children: 1/3 to Levi, 1/3 to dianna, and 1/3 being put in trust for Otilla, the annual interest to be paid to her during her lifetime. Whatever was left in the trust at her death was to go to her children. the property remaining at the death of his wife was to be sold and paid to his children in the same was as before. However, if his son, jeremiah, "should return or be found living then in that case I direct that said last mentioned distribution shall be divided into four parts." After her husband's death, Sarah lived another 15 years.

Matthias, the second son of Johannes George, married Catherine Lausch, bn c1752, on December 10, 1770. He died about 1805 in Cocalico Twp, Lancaster Co, Pennsylvania, four years before his brother, John.

In the Revolutionary War, Matthias Holtry's name is recorded for the years 1781 and 1782: In 1781 in Captain John Lutz's Company in Breeknock Township Militia, 5th Company, 5th Battalion, Lancaster County under the command of Col. Carpenter; in 1782 on the muster roll for Adamstown District commanded by Captain Nicholas Lutz in the fore part of the year and as a return for Adamstown District commanded by Capt. Nick. Lutz in the last part of the year 1782. Again in 1782 listed in a "true and exact list of the names of each and every male white person inhabiting or residing within my district, in the fifth company, of the Third Battalion of Lancaster County Militia, between the age of eighteen, and fifty-three years." (Pennsylvania Archives, 5th Series, pp 477, 1136, 1138, and 305.)

The only one of Matthias and Catherine's children we know of is George Holtry. George was born September 15, 1773 and died at the age of 72 on July 10, 1845 in MontgomeryCo, Ohio. He would have been 5 years old when his father, Matthias, went off to the Revolutionary War.

George and Elizabeth Holtry had seven children beginning in 1799: Mary, Sarah, Peter, Lydia, Catherine, George Jr, and David. From George Holtry's will we learn he divided his Ohio farm land between his wife, Elizabeth, and his daughter, Mary. He gave his wife one cow, his share of the sheep, and all of the household furniture. At his wife's death, the remaining goods were to be divided among the seven children, three sons and four daughters. He also gave his children money: Peter $10, George Jr $10, and his youngest child, David, $100. The remaining property would be divided into five equal parts, one part going to David and the rest divided equally among the four daughters, perhaps omitting Peter and George because by then they had their own farms. Elizabeth died on May 2, 1847 in Montgomery Co, Ohio, at the age of 75.

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Email me at: nelhatch@hills.net

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Last updated January 11, 2000