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The Mohlers in America Dot Join Us in Ephrata, PA for the Reunion August 17, 2008
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Ludwig's MonumentOurs is the story of the Mohlers hailing from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Tradition has it that Swiss born Ludwig Mohler, Sr. arrived in Philadelphia on August 29, 1730 aboard the "Thistle" from Glasgow with sons Jacob, Henry and either John or George. A monument in the Ephrata Mohler Dunkard Church Cemetery between the tombstones of Ludwig and his frau celebrates his arrival in America. Many sources point to the record of Ludwig aboard ship. Baptismal, land and naturalization records confirm his existence in Lancaster County. The Ludwig Mohler Reunion Committee organizes an annual family reunion held on the third Sunday each August. Ludwig, having been the only recognized Mohler in America born before 1720, must be the Palatine immigrant ancestor of all Ephrata and Lancaster Mohlers and certainly the father of Henry Mohler born 20 Jan 1728. Or was he?

Who was the father of 1728 Henry Mohler? Ludwig? Or possibly someone else? This is a very important question to most of us with Lancaster roots because it is the 1728 Henry lineage that remained in the Lancaster County area. "Is It Immigrant Henry or Ludwig Mohler ?", an article in the July 1995 issue of Mennonite Family History, discusses these brothers [if not of blood - certainly in the church].

Page 37 of "A New Index Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Before Federal Census, Volume 4", by Gary T. Hawbaker and Clyde L. Groff, records a Henry "Moler" paying taxes at the Conistogoe rate in 1726 (four years before Ludwig's 1730 arrival). This Henry certainly was not Ludwig's son born in 1728. Recorded Lancaster County deeds [including Deed N-9] establish that a Henry "Mohler" and wife Elizabeth began purchasing land in Cocalico Twp in 1736. These purchases extend around the 140 acres warranted to a Henry "Maler" in 1735. Subsequent land transactions make it clear that the 1735 Henry "Maler" and the 1736 Henry "Mohler" were one in the same.

Although we know that 1728 Henry Mohler married Elizabeth Landes, land acquiring Henry was married to an Elizabeth in 1736 and therefore could not be 1728 Henry. Even if the land deals were made in the name of a minor son as has been postulated by some researchers, it is hard to imagine an eight year old married man. How, then, is the land acquiring Henry married to an Elizabeth in 1736 related to1728 Henry?

The last land transaction with names of both Henry and Elizabeth was on 10 Jan 1763, when Henry and Elizabeth gave a portion of their estate to son Henry, Jr. [Deed N-7]. Henry, Sr.'s will, signed 22 Aug 1769 and proved 22 Sept 1769 named son Henry Mohler and friend John Landes as executors for the estate and guardians over "all my minor children until their lawful age" [Lancaster will book B-1-637]. On 14 April 1774, a court hearing was held at the house of Henry Mohler. Henry Mohler and John Landes, executors for the estate of Henry Mohler, Sr., directed the distribution of money to Martin, John, Elizabeth and Susanna [Orphans Court Record, April 1774]. On 9 July 1774, Martin, who has evidently come of age, received his inherited land [Deed S-33]. This deed reads: "And whereas the said Henry Mohler one of the Executors in the said last Will named died before the said Deed was executed whereby the sole Power of Executing the said Deed or Titles for the said lands is now vested in the said John Landes party hereto."

From other records including execution of his will, we know that the Henry born 20 Jan 1728 died 20 April 1774. 1728 Henry was alive on 14 April 1774 and died before 9 July 1774. This evidence strongly suggests that 1728 Henry was Henry, Jr., son of Henry, Sr. - not son of Ludwig. Genealogist Lawrence Brainerd reached this same conclusion in a 1922 report  found in the Tipp City, Ohio Studebaker Family Foundation.

Because it is our belief that 1728 Henry was the son of Henry, Sr. and not Ludwig - as tradition led us to believe and because we wanted to honor other well documented early Mohlers whose graves and markers have been lost, Betty and I, from donations by members of the family, erected a monument in the Ephrata Mohler Dunkard Church Cemetery very near the Ludwig stone. It marks the passing of Henry Sr., his wives, Elizabeth and Barbara. Their children, Jacob, Henry, Martin, John, Susanna, and Elizabeth are listed on the right side of the monument. An East Cocalico Warrant Map c1760 shows land belonging to a George Mohler very near those of Henry and Ludwig. George Mohler is probably a brother to Ludwig and Henry and is remembered on the stone. Other than his owning land, nothing is known of this early immigrant. Ann Mohler (nee Bollinger wife of Johannes) is remembered on the left side and is probably buried beneath the site of the Henry Sr. monument.

Little is known of Ludwig Mohler after his voyage aboard the Thistle and warrant of land by the Penns. Ludwig died intestate and no distribution of his estate has been found. Therefore, positive identification of his children is lacking. Ludwig is thought to have had a son Ludwig, Jr. who moved to Maryland. He also is thought to have had a daughter, Ann or Anna, who married John Landes, Jr. brother to Elizabeth Landes, wife of 1728 Henry Mohler. John and Ann's father was referred to as Ephrata John Landes. The Mohler Family Tree website now contains much more data on Ephrata John and his lineage within our database.

Before leaving the subject of Ludwig, we've been asked to clarify the part of the Ludwig story that deals with the Thistle. The traditional story is that the ship Thistle is from Glasgow. The story is chiseled in stone. The Ludwig monument in the Ephrata, PA Mohler cemetery reads, "Ludwig Mohler from Switzerland with his family on ship Thistle from Glasgow Aug. 29,1730 in America". The words on the monument are a translation of the German written on Ludwig's original red rock tombstone which reads Shiff Thistle von Glasgow. The more proper translation of "von Glasgow" in this instance is "of Glasgow". The 1730 Thistle of Glasgow summer voyage left Rotterdam, Germany sometime during late May or early June 1730, subsequently departed Dover, England on 19 July and arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 29 August.

In addition to Henry and Ludwig, no discussion of Mohler ancestry in America should go without mentioning some other early Mohlers. Some believe Ludwig had another son, George Adam, who eventually moved to West Virginia and became George Adam Moler. However, the diary of a John Moler written in 1841 disputes the Ludwig relationship. In his account, John Moler says his greatgrandfather Adam immigrated to New Jersey with two brothers. John's journal goes on to identify all of the children of the man known as George Adam Moler.

John Mohler, the husband of Magdaline Rinehart, was proprietor of Weyer's Cave prior to the Civil War. Weyer's Cave, now known as the Grand Caverns, is a still a popular Virginia attraction. Tradition has it that John's family came from Pennsylvania to Virginia about 1800.

There was also a Henry Mohler (1711 - 1797) who bought land in Berwick, York County, Pennsylvania in 1753 and later moved to Frederick, Maryland. This Henry (Heinrich Johann Mohler) is thought to be the son of Mathes Mohler from Hassloch, Pfalz, Bayern and is often referred to as Maryland Henry.

Janice Roden, a Zullinger family researcher, believes her great-great-grandfather was a Samuel Mohler who died in Chambersburg, PA in 1870. There was another Samuel Mohler(1786 - 1880) who arrived in the Pittsburgh area of PA. In 1806, he married Mary Linhart. This Samuel and Mary eventually wound up in and founded Aurora, Oregon. There was a Peter Mohler (1821 - 1899) who immigrated about 1840 and settled in Cumberland County. We currently are unable to relate John, Heinrich Johann (Maryland Henry), the Samuels and Peter to the Lancaster Mohler families.

Thanks to the hard work of several researchers, we now include all these families and other early Mohler lineages in our database to assist Mohler descendants in search of their roots. We thank Joyce Denton, Brent Glad, Linda Hopp, Melodee Sherman, Gary Coates, Mike and Jean Mohler, John Mohler, Marion Scott, Phillip Martin and all the many others that helped us in researching the early American pioneers.

Most notable of the present day 1728 Henry researchers is Ned Mohler Drees. Our hard working colleague privately published his version of the line of 1728 Henry and wife Elizabeth Landes. Ned's work can be found at the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society Library in Lancaster, PA, the Lancaster County Historical Society, and the Historical Society of Cocalico Valley in Ephrata, PA. Other published sources of Mohler genealogy include: C C Moler's book, Mohler/Moler Genealogy focused on the lineage of George Adam Moler, Cora Garber Dunning's 1921 work, Ludwig Mohler and his Descendants, and Louise Martin Mohler's book, The Mohler Family of Ohio.

As we continue our quest in recording the Mohler lineage, we acknowledge the hard work and honor the memory of Don Mohler. His notebook passed on to Betty inspires our search for all the Ephrata Mohler descendants and the elusive record of Henry, Sr.'s arrival in America.

Betty Landis Carson
Lance Mohler
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