(This is a work in progress) - rev. 1/28/2002 First KERST in Pennsylvania
John Henry KURSTEN and wife Anna Margaret:
(Surname has been variably reported as KERSTEN, KIRSTIN, CARSTENS, KERST, GERST, KARST, GARSHT, GUERST, KURSTEN, KEARSON, KIEURSEN, KIURSEN, KUIRSON, and KERSEN).
John Henry KURST(en) was from Langeresalza, Thuringen, Germany.
The first occurance of this line in Pennsylvania was when John KUIRSON, woolen draper and citizen of LandereSalza, Thurengia, Germany, appeared before the Pennsylvania Commissioners 9/19/1705 and 'produced a deed, translated and certified by Daniel Pastorius, dated 8/5/1704, from Frederic de Redegoldt, Colonel and Essay Master Generall of the Province of Pensilv'a and Terr's annexed, in America (so runs ye Deed), for 750 a's of Land, Part of 10,000 acres purchased of the Prop'ry, as is said, in England, by the said Redegoldt, to be taken up between the Rivers Susq'a and Delaw'e, Rent Free for 7 years.' Another person had a 'like deed for 250 acres which quantites they desire Warrants to Take up. Ord'd Warrants and that before any Confirmat'n, Redegoldt's Deeds or Copies of them be produced, Warrant to Dan'l Powell and Is. Taylor both. (Pennsylvania Archives, Minute Book "G", meeting of the Commissioners in Philadelphia)
Then, 'John Henry KIEURSEN having formerly purchased 100 acres of Land, Part of the 10,000 acres granted by the Prop'r to Coll. Rhedegelt, obtained a Warrant for laying of it out and afterward a Patent; but the Grant to Rhedegelt being then disputed, a Bond was taken of Kieursen to pay --- if the Grant to Rhedegelt did not appear Good, and now the s'd Kieursen supposing the same to appear Satisfactory, desires his said Bond may be deliv'd up to him.' (Minute Book H, meeting of 1/18/1717 of Commissioners Isaac Norris, Richard HIll and James Logan.)
'John Henry Kuirson having purchased 1000 acres, part of 10,000 ac granted by the Prop'r to Coll. Rhedegelt, formerly obtained a warr't for laying out the same and afterwards a Patent, but the grant to Rhedegelt being disputed, a Bond was taken from Kuirson to Pay &-- if this grant from Rhedegelt did not appear Good, and now the said Kuirson supposing the s'd grant to be sufficient, desires his bond may be delivered to him cancell'd, which is left to the consideration of the Commissioners next meeting.' (Minute Book I, meeting of Commissioners Isaac Norris, James Logan, Richard Hill on 1/18/1717-8.)
'Agreed with John Henry Kiursen for 300 acres of Land at Oley, at &14 p. C't and 1 shill. Ster. quitr't, for w'ch a Warr't is signed and dated 8/2/1718.' (Minute Book H, Commissioner meeting 1718)
In Minute Book I dated 2/5/1720, the Commissioners agreed to take up John Henry Kuirson's business.
According to the PA Archives, 2nd Series, Vol VII, John Henry 'KIRSTEN' immigrated before 1683 and was recorded in 1708, confirmed by the Queen in Council on 2/20/1713 as being in PA for 5 to 20 years earlier 'of Protestant or Reformed religion and formerly inhabitants of High or Low Germany, embraced by invitations &c.'
1. John Henry KERSEN married Anna Margaret UNK. It is not known if they emigrated to PA with family or if their children were born in PA. There were 4 children shown in his estate file:
Will of John Henry KERSEN , Oley, filed in Book D 444, Philadelphia, dated 1/29/1725/6; proved 3/4/1725/6.
Widow Anna Margaret, administratrix; sons John and Henry and two daughters. Witnesses Stephen Messerschmidt and Peter Formwold/Furnwald.
Estate inventory showed a fan to clean corn, 5 milk cows, 2 steers and a bull, 6 2-yr old cattle, 1 yr-old cow; 21 sheep and 14 lambs, 3 working horses, 1 yearling colt, 10 hogs, 12 ducks, 20 fowls, 230 bushels of cleared corn, plow and barrow, and other misc farming tools and implements total value of 198 pounds/10/8.
Tax rolls for Oley in 1734 show Margaet KEARSON with 300 acres. Son John KEARSON with 100 acres -appearantly the widow and a son.
Nothing is known of the other son Henry or the two daughters.
John Henry KERST and Eva Rosina RITTER:
In c1727, son John KERSEN/KERSTEN, married Eva Rosina RITTER, daughter of George(Jerg) RITTER, also of Germany (died in 1760-61). They had 5 children born to them. John KERSON died in fall of 1739. Administrative papers, filed in Philadelphia, Book F 131 on 10/18/1739, show John KERSON, miller in Oley, Philadelphia County. Wife and Executor was wife Rosina. Children shown in the papers were Henry, George, Margaret (probably Mary Margaret) Kersen/Kerst. Overseers were Peter Bolly/Baaly (sp) and Abraham Levan(t). Inventory of his estate shows land with mill and improvements, cows and calves, horses, mares and colt, swine, sheep corn in the ground, farming tools, 15 bushels of rye, 130 bu of wheat, 15 bu of Indian corn, 4 sows, 9 stocks of bees, and other misc. items. Peter Baaly and Abraham Levan also lived in Oley and were on the lax list in 1756.
Widow Eva Rosina died shortly before 1/24/1783, as papers filed in Berks Co Wills Office, show that Henry GERST/Kerst of Oley, eldest son of Eva Rosina GERST, widow, was granted Letters of Adminstration on 1/24/1783 for his mother's estate. Inventory and appraisal of her personal effects was made by Daniel Guldin and George Focht on 2/4/1783. Accounting was made to the Berks Co. Orphan's Court on 3/30/1784 by son Henry. In 10/1784, Juliana MERCKEL, daughter of Eva Rosina, protested the accounting by Henry and requested an audit. Auditors found a 50 pound error and on 1/31/1785, after ordered to redistribute balance to heirs, share and share alike, the file was closed.
Johann KERST and Eva Rosina RITTER had the following children:
3-1. Henrich (Henry) KERST born 9/2/1728 - 5/15/1788 m Appolonia GERICK (died abt 1808), dau of Hans Mirtel GERICK and Catherine of Exeter. Both Hans Gerick's will of 1757 and his widow Catherine's will of 1771 mention son-in-law Henry KERSTEN. Hans bequeathed him 70 acres in Exeter and two houses in Reading. Henry and Appolonia lived in Oley. Death records of Schwartzwald Church, Exeter, show Henrich GERST died 5/15/1788. Also, son (unnamed - assumed to be Henry KERST, Jr.) born 10/27/1777, died on 5/26/1783. Henry KERSTEN was shown on the 1752 tax list of Exeter as well as the 1767 tax list for Oley where he owned 100 acres, 4 horses, 4 cattle, 5 sheep and paid 20 pounds tax. Based on this, it is assumed he lived in Oley. In the tax list for 1784 in Oley, Henry KERST had 100 acres, 3 horses, 5 cattle and 7 sheep. Widow 'Appalona' GERST was shown on the 1790 census in Oley with 1 male over 16, 1 male under age 16, and 3 females. Henry and Appolonia had 7 children.
3-2. Juliana KERST born 3/2/1734-12/13/1803 m Christian MERKLE (3/18/1728- 1/27/1814), of Reading, son of Christian MERKEL and Anna Catherina BENNER(BRUCKER). Christian was born in Mossillium, Philadelphia according to Family Bible of his father Johann Christian MERCKLIN. They were married 11/14/1758 at St Michael's/Zion Lutheran, Philadelphia PA. They lived in Reading and were members of Trinity Lutheran Church, baptising their children there. 'Juliana GERST (KERST) wife of Christian MERKLE died 12/13/1803' as reported in records of Trinity Lutheran Church, Reading. Christian was a blacksmith by trade and also in the milling and banking business. He was County Commissioner for Berks County 1767 to 1770. He was a captain in the Revolutionary War with the Third Co of Berks County Militia. Juliana and Christian sold a lot 11/14/1758 to the German Lutheran Congregation of Reading being Lot no 32 on Callowhill Street. Christian MERKLE was shown on the 1781 Reading Tax list as owning 3 acres. Christian's obit from the Reading Adler Newspaper on Tuesday February 1, 1814 Edition reported 'Christian, for many years he was a well known and esteemed resident of Reading. He died, in his 86th year, last Thursday in Cumru Twp., Berks county, at the home of his son.' His will of 4/1/1808 was proved 6/16/1814 and ordered that all real estate be sold and divided into five parts with each of his 5 children to receive a share. Executor was his son George MERKEL and Mathia LUDWIG, witnessed by Isaac Adams and George R Wurtz.
3-3. George KERST (6/24/1735-10/16/1807) m. Elizabeth GELBACH/KILBACH (3/7/1741-11/19/1809) on April 19, 1759 at St Michael's/Zion Congregation Church in Philadelphia. Witness was Christina Kilbacherin, the bride's mother, a widow of Johann Gelbach.
Johannes Gelbach's will of 6/17/1758 was proved 8/30/1758. He bequeathed his son, Jacob Gelbach, his land in Oley and 2/3 moveable estate and his daughters Modalena, his land in Amity, and to Elizabeth and Catharina $500 pounds each provided they lawfully wedded, subject to their mother's approval and had children. When Christina Gelbach died in Amity, her will of 8/18/1794, bequeathed 1/3 of her estate to Elizabeth, wife of George KERST, 1/3 to her late daughter Catharine, wife of Daniel Guldin, and 1/3 to Magdalene, wife of Christian Hunter, and appointed son-in-law George KERST as one of her Executors. Christina 'Ghelbach' died 1/19/1804 according to records of Schwartzwald Church, Exeter.
George and Elizabeth KERST lived in Union Twp. George had a pioneer mill on 120 acres in Six-Penny Creek afterward known as Linderman's. He also had 236 acres on Brushe Hill where he lived and two other tracts of land, which he willed to two of his sons. George KERST was a Lieutenant of the Berks County Militia during the Revolutionary War. He and wife Elizabeth are buried in St Gabriel's Cemetery in Douglasville, Berks County near Amity where he has a Revolutionary War Marker. George's will filed in Berks County Register of WIlls Office in Reading on 11/6/1807 shows his last name was spelled KARST. He appointed his son John KARST and son-in-law, John NICARIH (NEUKIRCH), as executors and on that date they were appointed. George and Elizabeth had 11 children.
3-4. Mary (Margaret) KERST - dates unk - married Valentine HUFF, a native of Germany. Valentine HUFF emigrated in late 1744 on ship 'Phoenix' from Germany. Mary HUFF was named in her brother Franz KERST's will, signed 1/23/1765, and was shown to be living in Maidencreek in Berks Co PA. Tax records for Oley show Valentine Huff paid taxes in 1756, 1760 in Oley, 1763-4 in Maidencreek and was naturalized in Oley in 3/1761. He and Mary had 7 children. They moved to Frederick Co MD at least by 1771 when he purchased 2 lots in Funkville MD then, and moved on to Rowan Co, NC. by 1776. Valentine was also known as Phelty Hoof, Huff, Huf.
3-5. Franz KERST (1737-1763) - no issue. He was a witness at the wedding of his sister, Juliana Kerst, to Christian MERCKEL. Franz died without wife or children. Abstract of his will probated 10/20/1765 shows he died in Exeter. He left ¬150 to his mother Eva Rosina KERST; to brothers Henry and George, sisters Juliana of Reading and Mary HUFF of Maidencreek, his plantation in Exeter and Alsace to be evenly divided between them. Executor was his brother-in-law Christian MERCKEL. Franz KERST is buried in Private Bertolet Cemetery off Bertolet Mill Rd near Oley according to 'Genealogical Guide to Berks Co Private Cemeteries'.