KERSTs from Germany to Pennsylvania

(This is a work in progress) - rev. 1/28/2002 First KERST in Pennsylvania

John Henry KURSTEN and wife Anna Margaret:

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'.


Generation 4: (revised 1/22/2002)

3-1. Henry KERST (2Johann, 1Joh. Henry) and Appolonia GERICK had the following children:

4-1. Magdalena KERST

4-2. Anna Elizabeth KERST born abt 1765 married Jacob HILL (b 9/3/1764). It is believed they had two children.

4-3. Hannah KERST (11/8/1770 - late12/1821) m David HOCH (2/10/1765 - 8/9/1839) on 2/18/1794 in Oley. David was the son of Daniel and Katherine HOCH. They lived in Richmond Twp. on a farm at Willow Dale willed to him by his father. The Reading Adler Newspaper reported in the Tuesday January 1, 1822 Edition that the wife of David HOCH of RIchmond died the week before, in her 51st year. David and Hannah had 5 children.

4-4. Henry KERST(en) born 11/27/1777; died 5/26/1783

4-5. Julia KERST m ? BOYER and had two children. Julia died before her father did in 1787 as Henry Kerst's will mentions Henry BOYER, grandson and son of Julia BOYER and a granddaughter Molly(Magdalena) BOYER. In Appolonia's will of 1810 granddaughter Magdalena BOYER was then wife of Daniel ROADS.

4-6. Susanna KERST(GARSHT) - wife of Peter HOLLENBUSH mentioned in Henry KERST's will of 1787. Little is known of this family. Mother Appolonia's 1810 will shows Juliana was wife of Peter Hollenbush. Perhaps her name was Juliana Susanna or Susanna Juliana Kerst.

4-7. Samuel KERST 11/22/1774-11/11/1819) married Elizabeth LEVAN (abt 1792-4/4/1822). Elizabeth LEVAN was the daughter of Jacob LEVAN and Susanna LUDWG. Samuel died in Oley. His remains are in old Kerst burial ground off Bertolet Mill Rd on a bluff, formerly Rothermel farm, according to EPITAPHS, Handbook of Historic Family Graveyards, Berks Co., p149. The Kerst mill was forerunner of the Bertolet Mill. Samuel's will, proved 12/8/1819, provides for wife Elizabeth and to sons Henry and Jacob the plantation, mills, when of age, and to pay their other siblings Benjamin, Mary, Solomon, and Samuel. Abraham DeTURCK was executor with Elizabeth LEVAN KERST in 1819. Elizabeth (LEVAN) KERST afterward died 4/4/1822 in Oley. Her son, Henry, was appointed Administrator of her Estate and provided full acounting of her personal estate on 2/27/1824. Samuel and Elizabeth had 6 chidren.
4-8 Johannes KERST born 12/19/1760 and died 1763; buried in private Kerst burial ground with uncle Frantz KERST (1737-1763) and brother Samuel Kerst 11/22/1774-11/11/1819).
4-9 Henrich Kerst born11/27/1777-5/26/1783 per Schwartzwald death records.
3-2 Juliana KERST(KIRSTIN/GUERST) and Christian MERCKEL(MERKLE/MERKEL) had the following children:(named in their father's will of 1808):
4-10 George Merkel b 1759 d 1844; married Eva Barbara SPOHN (1765-1819)
4-11 Magdalena Merkel (7/21/1761-?) m WIlliam THOMPSON
4-12 Jacob Merkel (1763-1844) m Catherine FRICKNER (1763-1835)
4-13 Maria(Mary Ann) Merkel ( 1766-1804) married Isaac HAHN b 1765
4-14 Elizabeth Merkel (1769-1808) married John SHEFFER(Johannes SCHAEFFER)

3-3 George KERST (2Johann, 1Joh. Henry) and wife Elizabeth GELBACH had the following children:

4-15 Catherine KERST (3/16/1760 - 1841); married Samuel DeTURCK (1750-1815) on 5/21/1776. Samuel was the son of John DeTURCK and Deborah HOCH. They are both buried at Schwartzwald Cemetery. Samuel DeTURCK served as a private in Capt. J Sand's Company, 5th Battalion, Berks County PA Militia during the Revolutionary War. Catherine and Samuel had several children (at least 9). Catherine was bequeathed 725 pounds by her father in his will of 1807. He further bequeathed his granddaughter, Hannah DeTURCK, 25 pounds.

4-16 Magdalena KERST (c1760-12/11/1813) married Daniel RHOADS, son of Johann Jacob ROTH and Anna Elizabeth (unk) about 1780. Daniel was born on 5/19/1752 in Amity Twp, Berks Co, PA. He died 3/12/1825 in Amity Township. They are both buried in St Paul's Cemetery, Amityville. Daniel was a farmer near Yellow House. He served in the Revolutionary War and was in the Pennsylvania Militia under Capt. Joseph Sands and later under Capt. Jacob Rhoads. His will of 5/29/1823 was proved 4/18/1825. Daniel and Magdalena had at least 13 children. Magdalena was bequeathed 725 pounds from her father's will of 1807. Magdalena died in Amity Township 12/11/1813.

4-17 Christiana KERST (9/12/1764-3/8/1818) married Jacob GEIGER (3/31/1761-9/30/1826) on 9/12/1786. Jacob was son of Johann Paul GEIGER and Maria Eva KIESTLER. Jacob was administrator of his father's (Paul GEIGER) will proved 8/20/1798 who died in Robeson. Christiana was bequeathed 725 pounds from her father's will of 1807. Jacob and Christiana had 5 children.

4-18 Elizabeth KERST c.1767 married John STONER of Union Twp., born c1761, son of John STONER and wife Magdalena in 1786.
Her father bequeathed 400 pounds to his 5 grandchildren of John Stoner. Elizabeth was bequeathed 325 pounds and all movables given her during her father's life.

4-19 Jacob KERST (1/14/1771-09/3/1823) married Esther Yoder BERTOLET (10/21/1769-12/31/1846), daughter of Daniel BERTOLET and Maria YODER. They were married by Rev. WIlliam Boos in Oley on 4/9/1793. Jacob and Esther had 9 children and lived in Union Twp. Jacob was bequeathed 800 pounds from his father's will. Esther is buried in Bertolet #2 Private Burial Cemetery with one of their daughters, Elizabeth B KERST, who died at age 12 less 17 days. Reading Adler Paper of Tuesday 9/9/1823 Edition reports that Jacob KERST, of Union, Berks County, died last Wednesday (9/3/1823). It is unknown where Jacob is buried. Jacob and Esther had 9 children.

4-20 Daniel KERST (died11/12/1832) married to Catherine (died 8/1/1822- age 28y,3m,19d) according to records of St Gabriel's Church.
Daniel inherited 1/3 the land on Brushe Hill and the plantation where his brother George lived consisting of 185 acres; his father's horse and colt and saddle and bridle. Daniel purchased 50 acres with grist mill from John Fried in Union Twp on 4/2/1812.

4-21 George KERST Jr (6/9/1773-6/13/1808) married Mary ERGOOD (born c1775-10/21/1838) in about 1796. Mary was the daughter of Jacob EHRGUT and Anna RETGE. George Jr. received 120 acres from his father's will, with oil mill plantation and another 27 acres adjoining Matthew Brooke with specific water rights. George is buried at St. Gabriel's in Douglasville. George and Mary had 4 children.

4-22 Hannah KERST (10/8/1775-3/8/1824) m Samuel ROBESON(ROBINSON) (12/9/1765-10/11/1821) about 1800. Hannah inherited 725 pounds from her father. Samuel died in Union Twp and both are buried at St Gabriel's in Douglassville, Berks Co, PA. There are three adult daughters buried there.

4-23 John KERST (11/10/1777-4/18/1843) married Hannah GARRISON (10/30/1785-12/30/1830) on 12/20/1808 in St. Gabriel's Chapel in Douglasville. They are both buried at St Gabriel's Cemetery there. John was exeutor of his father's will along with John NEUKIRCH, son-in-law of George KERST. John inherited the plantation that George lived on in Union Twp consisting of about 236 acres and 1/3 land on Brushe Hill. John and Hannah had at least one child.

4-24 Samuel KERST (7/6/1779-12/11/1825) married Elizabeth ZERR (born c 1780) of Amity on 2/7/1809 at Trinity Lutheran Church. They lived in Union Township. Samuel inherited 200 acres from his father's will, the plantation where Joseph Lord lives, and 1/3 of land on Brushe Hill. Elizabeth and his brother-in-law George ZERR were administrators of his estate in 1825. Samuel is buried in St Gabriels Church Cemetery in Douglassville. They had at least two children.

4-25 Mary(Maria) KERST (1782-1849) married John NEUKIRCH, Jr (1/10/1777-11/8/1822) of Exeter on 5/27/1800 at Schwartzwald Church. Mary inherited 725 pounds from her father. Executors were John KERST and John NEUKIRCH, (spelled NICARIH) in her father's will). The Reading Adler death notice of Nov 12, 1822 edition states "General John NEUKIRCH, died last Friday in Exeter Twp., Berks County, in his 46th year". Mary and John had 5 children.

3-4 Mary KERST and Valentine(Phelty) HUFF had 7 children:
4-26 Eva Rosannah Huff born abt 1772; married Charles Hunter in 1795 in Rowan Co NC
4-27 Valentine Huff Jr b 1775 married 1)Jemima Hughes 6/4/1792 in Rowan Co NC and 2)Rebecca Jackson. He and Rebecca moved to Smith Co and died 1827 in Giles Co TN.
4-28 Elizabeth Huff m John Sain and also lived in Rowan Co NC
4-29 Esther Huff born abt 1771 married Jacob Roland, born abt 1771, and lived in Frederick Co MD. They had 5 children. The moved to Rowan Co NC and then to KY. John died in Harrison Co KY in 1814.
4-30 Mary m George DONNER
4-31 Frederick Huff
4-32 Henry Huff, settled in Hancock Co then Jackson Co which became Clark Co, GA in Watkinsville GA, ner the Univ of Ga area where he had 11 children.

If you have any further information for any of these families, please write me at


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