John Hochstetler’s “little house”

A restored frame  house of 1800 vintage, an extant stone house of 1810, a hand-written tally sheet of votes for ordination in 1809,  the conclusions of an Amish ministers’ meeting in 1809, the first Amish family migration to Ohio in 1809, the building of the famous stone arch bridge across the Casselman River in 1813 — these are points of reference in David I. Miller’s article on “The Amish Mennonite Church of Somerset County, Pennsylvania, 1800 to 1825” in The Historian issue of January 2018, now available. Excerpt:

It was in this period that John Hochstetler wrote his will in 1805 with mention of “this little house.” That house, as identified by historian Paul V. Hostetler, was built in this early period of sawn lumber, not logs. It is known that the area had two sawmills as early as 1795. Other events in the period were:

  • The first Amish emigration to Ohio in 1809,
  • The ministerial (1809) and bishop (1813) ordinations of Benedict Miller,
  • A Pennsylvania Amish ministers’ meeting and a statement of discipline in 1809,
  • The building of a large stone house at West Salisbury by Abraham Beachy, 1810,
  • The tragedy at Summit Mills – the death of little Susanna Hochstetler, 1810,
  • Construction of the stone arch bridge across the Casselman River and extension of the National Pike through the area, 1813.



Booklet by Jim Yoder now available on Casselman Historians website

Jim Yoder has contributed another valuable resource to the Casselman Historians website with the booklet he wrote and compiled. It is titled “From the Casselman Valley to Iowa Territory, 1846 – 1870.” You can click the link to read it and view the photos in it, many taken by Jim. Jim describes the purpose of the book this way:

In this booklet I have attempted to identify the Amish Mennonites who at one time lived in the Casselman Valley of Garrett County, MD, and Somerset County, PA, and eventually moved to Iowa Territory. The time frame is primarily from 1846 to 1870. Most were Amish Mennonite and some were German Baptist. Many, known as the second wave immigrants who came directly from Germany to Somerset County, PA, and Garrett County, MD, in the 1800s had intermarried with Amish Mennonites, Mennonites and German Baptists who had come to the Casselman Valley between the 1770s and 1790 primarily from eastern Pennsylvania. These groups from the Casselman Valley were well represented in Iowa. As an example, the New Germany, MD, settlement referred to in deeds as The Dutch Settlement had eleven Amish Mennonite families with ties to Hesse and Waldeck, Germany. They lived in New Germany from about 1828 to around 1856. Eight Amish Mennonite couples from New Germany eventually ended up in Iowa. These eight couples left New Germany with at least 33 children. They were: KPB John & ML2324 Salome (Miller) Kempf, 7 children. SE14 Daniel & SZD1 Helena (Swartzendruber) Shetler, 3 children. SZD Christian & Catherine (Kinsinger) Swartzendruber, 5 children. SZD4 Peter & HS1864 Barbara (Hochstetler) Swartzendruber, 4 children. SZ13 Jacob & Barbara (Oesch) Swartzendruber. SZ131 Joseph & BR6b Barbara (Brenneman) Swartzendruber, 5 children. SZ134 Frederick & YR23379 Sarah (Yoder) Swartzendruber, 1 child. SZB12 Christian & Catherine (Bergus) Swartzendruber (lived in Davis County, Iowa) 7 children. (Joseph and Barbara Swartzendruber were living near Bittinger, MD, when they moved to Iowa in 1856.)

Thanks, Jim, for this great contribution.

The Historians has a new web home

If you have arrived to this page, you have arrived at the Casselman Historians’ new website home. A couple of weeks ago our old site ( was hit with a vicious malware attack, and our web hosting service has done little to restore our site (though we paid for backup service in the event of such an attack). We’ve decided to go with a cheaper version (as in free!) instead of continuing to pay for the hosting that has turned out to be less than hospitable!

We think the new website you are viewing will provide the same services the old one did. You can find the entire set of back issues of The Historian quarterly bulletins in pdf form on the “From the Archives” tab above as well as other archival materials.

A special note to subscribers and members: you will no longer be able to use your old username and password for access to the full range of The Historian pdfs. Instead, the new system with is a password for the gated materials. Email me (Kevin Miller) or Alice Orendorf (find contact information in the Contacts tab above) for that password.

We will continue to rebuild the website over the next several months, including restoring the excellent blog posts from Keith Yoder that garnered high readership and appreciation, and I hope to work with David I. Miller and Jim Yoder and others to restore more content and photos that they contributed to the old website. If you have any materials that should be considered for the new Casselman Historians, please email me.  Thank you!