Narrative of Judge Abraham Shriver, 1826


(Page numbers from 1888 Green Book in [square brackets].)

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Andrew Shriver, Sr., of Conewago, Pa.

This narrative, by judge Shriver, is based upon information derived by him from his father, David Shriver, Sr., Joel Lightner and others.

Andrew Shriver was a native of Alsenborn, in the Electorate Palatine, Oberamt Lautern, Germany. His parents were Andrew Shriver, i.e. Schreiber, and his wife, Anna Margareta, who had been the widow of John Young. He was born September 6th, 1712, and baptized in the church of Alsenborn, by John Miller, i.e. Mueller, the Reformed preacher of that place. He came to America in the fall of the year 1721, with his parents, who paid the passage of the whole family, and landed at Philadelphia, after which they moved to the neighborhood of Goshenhoppen, near the Trappe, on the Schuylkill, where his father soon died. After his death his widow married John Steiger, or Huger, who lived in the same place. Andrew then learned the trade of tanner and shoemaker. Having attained his freedom in the year 1732, he worked one year after, in which time he had eighteen pounds in hand.

In the spring of 1733 he married Anna Maria Keiser, and in June following he removed to Conewago, where, after paying for sundry articles with which to begin the world, he had ten shillings left.

Anna Maria Keiser, his wife, was a daughter of Ulerich Keiser and Veronica, his wife. Both were natives of the Pfalz, Germany.   [14]

Veronica’s father was a tanner who lived five hours from Heidelberg, in a small village called Reuche. Her father and mother came with her to America in the fall of the year 1731. They arrived at Philadelphia and moved to the neighborhood where Andrew Shriver lived, and where her father, also, soon died, and she married Andrew Shriver.

In moving to Conewago, Andrew Shriver’s step-brother, David Young, came with them and helped to clear three acres of land, which they planted in corn, and Young then returned home. During this clearing-about three weeks-they lived under Young’s wagon cover, after which Andrew Shriver peeled elm bark and made temporary huts to keep off the weather, and by fall prepared a cabin. The wagon that brought him to this place passed through what is now known by the name of “Wills’ Bottom,” and in the grass, which was as high as the wagon, left marks of its passage which were visible for several years. There was no opportunity of obtaining necessary supplies, for the first year, short of Streamer’s Mill, adjoining Lancaster. One hundred acres of land, where he lived, were the first he bought, which cost him one hundred pairs of negro shoes, being the price agreed upon with Mr. Digges, the owner, of whom he shortly after bought more land, which was paid for in money.

At the time of his settlement in Conewago, the nearest neighbor of Andrew Shriver was a family of the name of Forney, living where the town of Hanover is now located. It is worthy of remark that these families were in after years united by marriage. For a long time the public road from the South came by Andrew Shriver’s house, and, at the time of his settlement, Indians lived near him in every direction. About this time, and for several years after, the Delaware and Catawba Indians were at war, and each spring many warriors passed by, after stopping at Andrew Shriver’s spring, which was a large flush limestone one. At this time they would display in triumph the scalps, painted and suspended from a pole, which they had been able to obtain from the enemy, and received the accommodation of free quarters as demanded. The consequence was they were very social, and smoked around the pipe of friendship freely, without any attempt at wanton injury.     [15]

His brother, Ludwig Shriver, David Young, Middlekauf, the Wills, and others followed in a few years and made settlements. Ludwig Shriver’s settlement must have been early, as he burnt coal out of hickory wood, and made the knife with which Andrew curried his leather, which was tanned in large troughs cut out of logs. Andrew Shriver’s wife occasionally helped her husband in the tanyard, dressing deer skins by night. David, their son, wore deer skins, dressed, as clothing, shirts excepted, until fifteen years of age.

Having but little cleared ground at this time, the stock were left to run at large in the woods. Such as were wanted, David, being the oldest child, had to collect every morning, much to his discomfort, the pea vines and grass being nearly as high as himself, and covered with dew, soon made his deer skin dress so wet as to render it like unto his skin, adhesive to his body. Deer, and other game, were so abundant, and so destructive to grain fields, as to render hunting necessary for their protection.

The Ferree Family Branch.

An account of the ancestors of the Ferree Family, and, of course, of Rebecca Ferree, the daughter of Abraham Ferree, furnished by Joel Lightner, son of Leah Lightner, as given to him by John Ferree, aged 84 years; Joseph Lefevre, and Leah Lightner, aged about 63 years at the time, about the 16th of September, 1823, and from some of the original title papers of land purchased by them of William Penn, proprietor of the Province of Pennsylvania.

In 1685, the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, just granted by Henry IV., and confirmed by Louis XIII., deprived Protestants of the exercise of their religion. About this time, John Ferree or Verree, resided in the town of Landau, not far from the Rhine, in the kingdom of France. His family consisted of himself, wife and six children-three sons, and three daughters. The names of the sons were Daniel, Phillip and John, and the daughters Catharine, Mary and Jane. John Ferree, the father, was a silk weaver by trade, and his religion Calvinistic; consequently he became one of the sufferers by the revoking decree. They had no other resource than to change their residence. They went to Germany, not far from Strasburg,   [16]   where they resided two years. On their leaving France, they were accompanied by a young man named Lefevre. He continued as one of the family until he arrived in America, and then married Catharine Ferree, from whom, as far as is known, all of the Lefevres in this country have sprung.

During their residence in Germany, John Ferree, the father, died, and it is singular that Mary Ferree, his widow, after she came to America, was not pleased to be called by any other name than Mary Varrenburse,* that being her maiden name. [*Record preserved by a descendant gives the name Maria Warenbuer. — S.S.S.]

While residing at Strasburg, hearing of a fair province called Pennsylvania, in North America, and that the proprietor, William Penn, resided in London, she determined to set out for that place, and if she received sufficient encouragement from Penn, would try to get to America. She accordingly set out for London with her family, and when she arrived employed a person to conduct her to Penn’s residence. While on their way their guide pointed out to her Penn’s carriage which was approaching them. She being of a determined and persevering disposition, called to Penn, who immediately stopped his carriage, he being well acquainted with the French language, which was very pleasing to her, as she could not speak nor understand the English language. Penn, understanding her business, invited her into his carriage, as he was then on his way home, where he would be more particularly attentive to anything she had to say. Penn told her he had an agent in Pennsylvania, to whom he would give her a recommendation, so that her business, he hoped, would be done to her satisfaction. Penn treated her very kindly while she was at his house. They remained in London about six months, when a vessel was about to sail for North River, New York, in which they took passage. On their arrival at that place, they moved up the river to a place called Esopus, where they remained two years, then removed to Philadelphia, and, thence, to Pequea settlement, previous to which they had taken up three thousand acres of land. Before they left London, a variety of implements of husbandry were presented to them by Queen Anne, which they found of great use to them in cultivating their lands.   [17]

Phillip, the eldest son, was now about twenty-one years old, and had a desire to earn something for himself. Having formed acquaint­ance with several families at Esopus, he pushed for that place, where he lived one year with a respectable farmer called Abram Dubois, and while in his family formed an attachment for Dubois’ daughter Leah, whom he married at the expiration of a year, and brought to his family in Pequea settlement.

He commenced improving lands on the north side of Pequea Creek, that had been previously taken up by his mother and family. Some of their first labors were to cut grass in the woods for the pur­pose of making hay, no land having been cleared on the part allotted them.

They placed timbers in the ground forked at the top, laid poles across them, and built their hay upon the top of that, and under this they lived. During their stay in this shelter their first son was born. They lived to have eight children-five boys and three girls. The names of the sons were Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Philip and Joel. The daughters were Lena, who intermarried with William Buffington, Leah with Peter Baker, and Elizabeth with Isaac Ferree. Abraham was married eighty or eighty-five years since to a woman of the name of Eltenge, or Eltinge. She was of Esopus, and her parents Low-Dutch. He lived on a part of the land taken up by his grandmother and her children. They had several children. He was buried in a place called Carpenter’s Graveyard, about a mile from where he was born, it being a burial ground pointed out by his grandmother Mary. His widow married a man by the name of Sergus. They moved up the Susquehanna river and it is not known what became of them.

Among the papers of Joel Ferree, grandfather of Joel Lightner, is found a copy of a will of Abraham Dubois, from which it appears that a person of the name of Elting, as it is spelled in that instru­ment, is recognized as a son-in-law by marriage to his daughter Leah, and the name of Philip Ferree is spelled Feire, and by a release given to Philip Ferree and Leah, his wife, by Abraham Dubois, Roeloff Eltinge, and Sarah his wife, the name is spelled Eltinge by Roeloff himself, as appears in the release.                                                 JOEL LIGHTNER.


Memoir of a Branch of the Eltinge Family.

This extract was compiled by judge Shriver in 1826.

Elizabeth Eltinge intermarried with Abraham Ferree; both are long since deceased. It appears by a certain deed of partition, on record in Frederick county, made by sundry persons as devisors of Isaac Eltinge, dated 18th of April, 1771, that he was a resident of Frederick county, now Montgomery, in the State of Maryland, anterior to the 13th of March, 1756, the date of his last will and testament; and that he died without issue, in which case he disposed of his estate in fee simple to his sister E. Ferree, and the children of his sister Yacomintye Thomas, to be divided into three separate parts, one of which was to descend to his first married sister, and the other two-thirds to the children of the married sisters, viz.: William Thompson, Cornelius Thompson, and Anna McDonald.

As relates to the descendants of Elizabeth Ferree, she had two sons and four daughters — Israel, Cornelius, Rebecca, Rachel, Elizabeth and Mary. Israel married and had one son; both have died without descendants. Cornelius is living with a second wife (the first having died), and a numerous family who, with himself, have emigrated to the western country. Rachel was married to David Muskimmins, and resided near Bath, Virginia. Elizabeth married William Miller, who is dead. Mary married a Mr. Graff, who died, and then Griffith Willet, who is believed to be dead, and Rebecca married David Shriver.

David Shriver, Sr.

David Shriver, son of Andrew Shriver, and Anna Maria, his wife, was born in York County, Pennsylvania, at a place called Conewago, south of Hanover about six miles. His parents had been but a few years from Germany, and recently married, when they settled at Conewago, in the woods, surrounded by Indians. David Shriver, the first born, grew up with scarcely any education, the opportunity and means being both wanting. The time of his minority was, of course, occupied in rendering his father assistance in the business in which   [19]   he was engaged. On arriving at age, he attracted the attention of Andrew Steiger, residing in Baltimore, who was an enterprising man engaged in extensive business. Steiger employed him as store, keeper in a country store, which he located not far from the residence of David’s father. The want of an education being immediately experienced, he so applied himself to attain what his business required, that, in a short time he acquired a very good knowledge of figures, as well as wrote a fair hand, and otherwise improved himself in knowledge and address.

At this time Lancaster had become a considerable town, and it was a custom, which had been continued to the present period, to hold semi-annual Fairs, which drew together vast numbers of people. At one of these fairs David Shriver first met Rebecca Ferree, who had been placed at school in Lancaster to acquire a knowledge of ornamental needle work. He accompanied her home, and was received with becoming respect by her father, but with much displeasure and indignity by her mother, she having imbibed high notions in consequence of the opulence and distinction enjoyed by her family in New York. Standing well, however, with the daughter and father, he persevered and succeeded in his object. Previous to this he had settled on a tract of land provided for him by his father, at Little Pipe Creek, Frederick County, Maryland, where he had erected some buildings and cleared lands. To this place he brought his wife, and thereupon built a mill, which, though of little value in after time, was, nevertheless, of considerable importance to himself, and neighbors, at that period, the settlement being in its infancy.

Having experienced the want of an education, he sought, at an early period, to have his children taught; and for this purpose sent his eldest son abroad for some time, there being no school within reach of them. His efforts were unceasing to promote education in his neighborhood, and he so far succeeded as to obtain for his children a good English education; indeed, the neighborhood was much indebted to him for exertions in this respect; and many persons are in the enjoyment of useful knowledge which, but for him, they would not have acquired. Possessing an inquisitive and discriminating   [20]   mind, he added rapidly to his stock of information. As a self-taught mathematician, he made considerable advance, and was instructor to his sons in the art of surveying — the compass, and other instruments used, being of his own manufacture. His mechanical talents were no less remarkable. He was carpenter, farmer, joiner, cooper, blacksmith, silversmith, combmaker, wheelwright; in short, everything that was wanting, as well as maker of the tools the occasion called for. He was, moreover, the umpire of the neighborhood, in the settlement of controversies. Having a great aversion to law suits and litigation, he did much to preserve peace and harmony. His house was the resort of much company, and the place where travelers regularly sought shelter and repose; they were always received with kindness and liberality, and treated without reward.

The disputes between the colonies and mother country early attracted his attention, and he became as early an active Whig. So warm was he in the support of the rights of his country that his friends were alarmed for his safety, and his clergyman emphatically warned him to beware; that the powers placed over him were of God; that he would be hung for treason and his family made beggars. He treated the admonition with marked contempt, and persevered, taking an active part in committees of vigilance and public safety, and urging his countrymen to vindicate their rights. He was, in consequence, elected member of the convention of 1776 to frame a Constitution for Maryland, and was afterwards continued, with the exception of a year or two, a member of the other branches of the Legislature for thirty years, and until the infirmities of age admonished him of the propriety of retirement. He ever abhorred debt as a restraint upon his independence and freedom of action. Of course, his advancement to wealth was slow, but certain; and at his death, without one cent of debt, he was worth seventy thousand dollars.

At the time of his marriage, his wife’s parents gave him a negro girl, yet living, from whom sprung a progeny of more than forty in number, thirty of whom remained in his possession at the time of his death. These he liberated by will, and in the same instrument divided his estate equally among his children, and provided for the   [21]   enclosure of a burial ground, where his remains, and those of his wife and some of his children repose.

David Shriver had two brothers and four sisters who all married, and are now dead. The names of the brothers were Andrew and Jacob. The former continued to reside on the home plantation, and raised a large family. The latter moved to Littlestown, had one son, who died young and his father shortly after. The names of the sisters are not distinctly known. One married Henry Koontz, another George Koontz, the third John Kilzmiller and the fourth Jacob Will. They all lived to an old age, and within a few miles of their father. They all raised large families, except the wife of George Koontz, who had but three or four children and died early in life. Although their father began the world in humble circumstances, he succeeded so well in the acquisition of property as to be able to render his children considerable assistance.

The character of Rebecca Shriver was almost entirely domestic. At an early period her mind became imbued with piety, and the duties of religion were at no time neglected or disregarded by her. On the contrary, she delighted in devotion; she habitually spoke of the hour of her dissolution with complacency, and while yet afar off prepared to meet it as a matter rather to be desired than avoided. Death, indeed, had no terror for her. In her religion there was nothing, however, of gloom or austerity. She freely took part in the rational enjoyments of life, and was highly social and benevolent, ever happy to receive all who called upon her, whether relative, friend or stranger. The best refreshments from her table were always presented to them by her own hands, and their wants liberally supplied.

But it was in the character of mother she was truly affectionate, ever sympathizing in the afflictions, and ministering to the welfare of her children with a tenderness that could not be surpassed. Her husband having occasion to be much from home, the management of the family, which was large, devolved mainly upon her, which she met without a murmur, and discharged with the utmost propriety.

She was the oldest of the family, and had two brothers, Israel and Cornelius, and three sisters, Rachel, Elizabeth and Mary.   [22]

It may be observed, it being omitted elsewhere, that Abraham Ferree, the father of Rebecca Shriver, was of a kind and benevolent disposition, and confessedly upright and exemplary in all his dealings and concerns.

Rebecca Shriver died 24th of November, 1812, aged seventy years, ten months and three days.

David Shriver died the 29th of January, 1826, in the 91st year of his age. He was the oldest of his brothers and sisters and survived all of them.

The remains of David Shriver and his wife were interred in the family burial ground, Little Pipe Creek.