Yoder Newsletter Online

Issue Number 10 - - - October, 1987
Back to INDEX Back to CONTENTS

INDEX to main articles:

  • Amish Yoder Nicknames
  • The Yotters of Eppstein
  • Hans Yoder, Oley Twp Homestead & Conflict With the Indians
  • True Story of "Axie" Yoder
  • AMISH YODER NICKNAMES-- by Rachel Kreider

    How often genealogical researchers have groaned their way through family lists of early Amish Yoders which contained identical names from one generation to the next, including the collateral lines. In those days geography or distinct church affiliations could help a community keep individuals identified but even then it was inevitable that nicknames would arise to distinguish people of the same names in the same age bracket. Learned papers have been written about nicknames, even Amish nicknames, using learned words like patronymic, ethnographic, toponymic, hyhocoristic, endogamic, or onomastic in drawing conclusions about the development and significance of nicknames, but we leave all that to the scholars. For our part we simply enjoy taking note of what nicknames we have found among the Amish Yoders and guessing how they might have originated. Our readers have supplied a few of these and we hope more of you will add to our collection, especially when the name can be accompanied by a story explaining its origin.

    Naturally we are used to the usual variations of formal names when carried into common parlance--like Dave, Dan, Ike, Joe,or Jake. It gets more interesting when we get Jockey Dave, Dizzy Dan, Rich Ike, Reuby Joe, or Glades Jake, The German or Pennsylvania Dutch spoken at home made Leff out of Levi,

    Sep out of Yusep (Joseph) or Felty out of Valentine,Yohn or Yune was used for Jonathan, Mauny or Manny for Emanuel, and Check or Yockle for Jacob. Tobias became Duvas and in Somerset County PA, we found two Duvas Yetters (Tobias Yoders) who were cousins, a year apart in age, and who married sisters. For some reason one of them became Walnua (Walnut) Duvas and his name was written as Tobias W. Tobias S. on the other hand, was the son of Stiller Yusep, which probably accounted for the S (unless it was due to his mother's maiden name but this practice was not as common in Somerset County as in some other Amish settlements) .

    Women's names were also changed when taken out of formal context or carried from one language to another, Verena in the Swiss records was not pronounced as we would in English but sounded more like Freney or Frohna. Soon the early Franeys in America were also Fronica (Veronica), Fronia (Sophronia), Frances, and eventually Fanny--all essentially the same name.

    Nancy and Nannie in many cases were written as Anna in formal records longer ago, and Polly or Molly often written as Mary. Katie, Kitty and Ketty belonged to Catherine. Hettie to Esther, Tina or Dina to Christina. Sadie came from Sarah, Libbie Lizzie, Betsey from Elizabeth. Bevy was for Barbara and Magdalena branched out into Mattie, Lena, or Lana (pronounced Layne). Some of our great grandmothers would be surprised to see how their descendants sometimes anglicized their names into something they themselves likely never used. This was of course not true of many Nancys or Marthas but it happened often enough to confuse novice genealogists.

    These expected transformations from one language to another or even one generation to another do not rank in interest in quite the same way as the rise of a nickname due to some entertaining incident or personal trait. For example, Hog Adam let himself wittingly or unwittingly be weighed in with the hogs when he took them to market. Sammy Basket was found in a basket on a doorstep. Henry Harrison Yoder was called "Dutch" by his fraternity brothers because of his Pennsylvania Dutch background. Pie Mouth, called thus, as an avid admirer of the sweet delight, when asked what kind was his favorite, he replied, "Oh, I neffer saw a pie so vorse that I couldn't eat it"' Gnoche Mose is said to have gathered old bones to sell for pin money. Axie Joseph made fine axes. We wonder why one Dan Yoder was called Swifty Dan and another was Dizzy Dan.

    Physical characteristics were a natural source of nicknames and so among the Amish Yoders we have Red Yost, Lame Yost, and Deaf Yost--also Red John, Red Jake, Long Dave, Little Christ, Black John and Black Mose. Strong Jake in the first generation of Amish Yoders in America had a son Dick ("thickthrough") Christen, and a grandson known as Big Dan.

    Sometimes geography had something to do with it. Jacob Yoder, who took land along Casselman Creek became Casselman Jacob. Glades Christian took land in the Glades, and a related family had a River Sam. Bush John Yoder lived back in the woods along a seldom-travelled road. Did Dixie Dan's nickname have anything to do with geography?

    Mill Christ may have been so named because of location or also because of his occupation. Could that apply to Cheese Dan Yoder? When three daughters of Christian Hartzler each married a Christian Yoder it is no wonder that one of them became Cooper Christ, another Butcher Christ and the third Kiefer Christ. There was also a Butcher Ben Yoder.

    Adding Preacher or Bishop to a first name was a common distinguishing note, and the two outstanding Amish Bishops in Somerset County, father and son, were known as "Der Alter" and "Der Junger". The Christian Yoder one generation farther back was "Der Schweisz" or Schweitzer Christ.

    Still another source of nicknames was family relationships. Thus we have Yacob Dan, Nick Yoni, Henner John, Yoas Andy, and Yosia Dan. Nancy John and Nancy Jake, were brothers whose mother was Nancy.

    Charley Christ may have had the same kind of origin, but the Amish did not use the name Charles longer ago. Women too were distinguished by family connections especially linked with their husband's names-----Sim-Franey, Simon-Sarah. Mose-Katy, Noah-Fanny, Joe-Sally and many others.

    Who knows the reason for the name Gypsy Dan in our collection? Or Monkey Mose, or Pom Dan, or

    Beebla Jacob? Why was one Mose D. Yoder associated with the word Poodle? And why do you suppose that the well-known minister John Yoder (ca 1754) who lived in various communities was known as Jotter Hannes? Did he use a different spelling?

    What additions or corrections in Yoder nicknames can you share with us?

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    Photographs contributed by S. Aylmer Yoder of Pequa, PA, show various scenes of the HANS YODER homestead property in Oley Township, Berks Co. PA. Hans, with his brother Yost, were the progenitors of the Reformed Church Yoders (first Known Yoders to settle in the African colonies). We have covered them or their descendants in past YNL articles.

    These excellent pictures seem to set the stage for a story cited in Fragments of the Past by Dr. Peter Bertolet, who had gathered the data from Yoder descendants in the early 1800's:

    The barn built by Hanns Yoder. The farm originally consisted of l200 acres. Today 140 acres are owned by Mrs. Anna Yoder.

    "On or near the spot where now stands the stately mansion and other excellent buildings, was first erected a small house, the home of Hance Yoder and family. The precise date of this I was not informed; that at that time all around was yet a mere wilderness inhabited by Indians and beasts. His only neighbor was Yost Yoder.

    "One day Mr. Yoder, accompanied by his wife (a helpmate of those days), was engaged in extending their farmland by clearing away more of the forest in the field lying opposite the Pleasantville Hotel. The industrious parents had closed up their cabin with all their children in order to protect them from harm from the beasts which occasionally straggled along, and engaged themselves the more earnestly to their arduous toil, being assured that all was safe and secure at home.

    "Yoder and his wife were however not long at work in the field that day before they were alarmed by the report of a gun in the direction of the house. They hastened to the house and found a gang of neighboring Indians, who were intoxicated. They had come to the house to see Mr. Yoder who, by the way, was an intimate friend of theirs. But when they came to the house and found the door locked and yet somebody within, they thought they were intentionally refused admittance. They became enraged and indignant and, being drunk, without forethought fired through the door with a rifle. Mr. Y. was one of those that lacked not courage and was speedily amongst them and found them very boisterous and threatening, but without giving them time he gave them a thorough switching. With this the whole party left with threats of revenge. Neither was kept long in suspense for soon the company, with quite accession, returned demanding satisfaction. The later portion fortunately were sober. Yoder coolly told them all that had transpired and showed them the bullet hole in the door of the house and the helpless children within, and how easily they might have killed some of his very dear children. This had the desired effect. One Indians became enraged at the perpetrator, so that they would have murdered him outright had it not been for the kind intervention of Mr. Yoder, who with difficulty persuaded them to desist inasmuch as no harm had occurred. He advised them to go home in peace and do no more, which they agreed to do. The rifle ball fortunately had done no harm within.

    They had also carried off a bundle of Yoder's deerskins which were returned by the latter company but Y. refused them, on the ground that he was in fall satisfaction. They, however, insisted on returning them to Yoder.

    There are several other tales of the early Yoder encounters with the Indians, and we will likely present more in future articles.

    This farm of 100 acres is in an historic trust preventing a subdivision breakup of this valuable property.

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    In previous issues, we've outlined the European origins of a number of American Yoder lines. This has included: the Reformed Church Yoders (Hans and Yost) of the Oley Valley, Berks Co.PA (YNL#5); Joseph Ioder of Bureau Co.,IL (YNL 5&8); and Alsatian Yoders- Joseph of Darke Co.,OH (YNL4), Christ and Marie of Wayne Co.,OH (YNL 5) and ,Michael of Fulton Co., OH. Another line which contributed multiple immigrants to the US is that which came by way of Eppstein in the German Palatinate and took on the spelling of "Yotter".

    One of the Anabaptist Joder families which fled Switzerland was that of Christian Joder (b. Mar.20, 1687 in Steffisburg). This Christian married Margaret Gerber (a second cousin) and settled in Eppstein by 1711. As a point of reference, he is shown in "European Yoder Research" (YNL 2,page 7) 9.h.(2)). Their son Christian (1720-1799) who married Elisabeth Schwaar adapted the spelling Jotter and a number of his descendants came to America in the 1800s.

    One of the latter of these Yotter immigrant's is the one we'll address first. He was Peter Yotter (b-1865), a great-great-great grandson of Christian Elisabeth (see Yotter chart for your bearings). His parents were Johannes Jotter and Barbara Strefler, Mennonites, who moved from Eppstein to Galizien in 1872 where they lived until their deaths. Of their ten recorded children, three are said to have gone to the US, including Peter. Two cousins of Johannes had migrated to the US in 1850, and likely set the stage for the immigration by his own children. Peter appears to be shown in the 1900 Nebraska census and has present day descendants in Kansas City, Mo.

    The children of Johann Jotter of Eppstein and Agnes (Soebel) Eichelberger (see chart) were all born in Sembach. They were Elizabeth (12/1/1829), Christian (12/12/1831), Heinricn (11/27/1333) and Susanna (5/4/1336). Johann was born in 1303 and died in 1838 in Eppstein leaving his young family fatherless. Family sources report that the boys came to America to avoid military service. Descendant Donna Meszaros located the ship record which gives the arrival of Christian, age 18, and Henri, age 16, in the port of New York on 30 Oct l850. They came on the ship the "Wilhelm Tell" from LeHavre, Netherlands and were described as "farmers from Hessia".

    Christian and Heinrich (Henry) settled in Erie County New York which was a stopping point for many of the German Anabaptists of that time. There Christian married Katherine Boyer and his first child was born in 1855, reportedly in Buffalo. By 1859, Christian Yotter and his family were in Lee County,Iowa, where they were shown in West Point Township in 1860. On 21 Apr 1860, "Christ Yotter" of Bavaria was naturalized according to Lee County records. In 1870 they are shown in Franklin Township, but back in West Point 1880-1910. His first wife died and in 1862 Christian married Sarah Schmidt. Christian had 12 children and descendants reside in Iowa, Washington, Minnesota, and suburban Chicago. He died Jul 14, 1914 and is buried at West Point, Iowa.

    Brother Henry Yotter remained in Erie Co.,NY as a millwright and farmer. On Jul 7,1857 he married Eva Salome Asmus in Alden, NY. His naturalization appears in county records as being Oct. 9, 1860. Henry and Salome had a large family and descendants still reside in the area of Alden, where he died Feb. 15, 1925.

    Peter Yotter, born 1796 in Eppstein, was a linen weaver and farmer. In 1829 he married Margarethe Strupp. Their children are listed as: Anna Margarethe (1/1/1830), Jacob (1/21/1832) and , Elizabeth (4/8/1834). In the 1870 census records for Franklin Township, Lee Co. Iowa, Peter Yotter (age 74 b. Bavaria) is listed with wife Margaret (age 62, also b. Bavaria). This is believed to be he.

    Possibly the first Yotter in Lee County was Peter's brother Jacob (b.1804 in Eppstein). He did not seem to associate himself with the Mennonite congregation there but with the Methodist Evangelical Church. He may have died in 1864 at West Point, but more research is needed to clarify some of the piecemeal records at hand.

    In future articles, we'll give more details about the German Yotters of the Eppstein area. We'll also identify two other sources of the current day American Yotters who made that spelling adjustment after getting to the US. If our readers can expand on any of the information in this article, your input is encouraged.

    (sources for this article include the research of the late Karl Joder and Ottmar Jotter of West Germany, US census and county histories, and information provided by various descendants).

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    Feb. 16, 1898 Issue of Somerset Herald-

    "The True Story of Axie Yoder" (YNL NOTE:YR1212)

    A Somerset County Celebrity Whose Genius Was in Advance of His Generation


    The readers of the Herald will doubtless remember an amusing article which appeared in its columns in 1895 entitled "Axie and other Argonauts," the central figure or hero of which was the late Joseph J. Joder.

    Now, it is true that the legends concerning him as they are related in that article, do substantially exist among the older families of Elk Lick and Summit townships, where they have been handed down for several generations, and the talented author , when he condensed them into a newspaper article, was not drawing very much, if any, upon his imagination.

    These legions had their first origin among the more ignorant of his neighbors---people who did not really know nor understand a man who, notwithstanding his plain garb and the fact that he had been brought up among them, was, so far as education and general information were concerned, far in advance of many of his fellows--and they place him in a somewhat false light in the eyes of the present generation, among whom his name still lingers.His lines were cast in what may be called the primitive times of the settlement, days in which any man of an investigating turn of mind could expect to be accused of dealing in the "black art".

    A different story of this man's life can be told from that which would be looked for after hearing these legends as they are still related, and it is the present writer's purpose to try and tell something of the story.

    Jacob Joder, (the name in our time is usually spelled and pronounced Yoder) was one of the early pioneer settlers of Somerset County. He is said to have been born in Switzerland, or possibly in one of the German protestant provinces, and came to America when quite a young man. It is known that his father also emigrated to America, but his name is forgotten, nor is it known that he ever lived in Somerset County.

    Jacob Joder (or Yoder) took up a farm on the east bank of the Casselman river, about two and a half miles west of what is now Meyersdale, about the year 1780, possibly a year or two earlier, or perhaps a little later; the precise date can not now be determined. What is now known as Yoder station is on this farm. His wife was a daughter of John Hochstetler, who was the pioneer ancestor of the Hochstetler family of our day.

    The family of Jacob Yoder consisted of four sons and three daughters, as follows: John, Elizabeth, Joseph J., Anna, Sarah, Daniel and Solomon. Of these, John Yoder was married to a sister of the late Michael Sipe, and moved to Holmes County, Ohio; Elizabeth Yoder became the wife of Jost Schrock; Anna Yoder was married to Frederick Helmuth, and they also moved to Holmes county, Ohio in 1835.

    Jacob Yoder died in 1828, and his remains rest in a graveyard near the Casselman river.

    Daniel and Solomon became the owners of the home farm after their father's death and lived and died in Somerset county.

    Joseph J.Yoder was born on the Yoder farm on the 11th day of December 1788, and on this farm his early days were passed. In his time there were no common schools. His family were Amish.Now, the author does not wish to convey the idea that the early Amish people were against the educating of their children. To this they gave some attention, but it had to be in the German language; it was educating their children in the English language that they resisted.

    But notwithstanding the attitude of Jacob Yoder's co-religionists on the matter of educating their children, his son Joseph received what was for that day a fair English education. He wrote quite a legible English hand as specimens of his writing which have been preserved back to 1820, which have been preserved, will shown.

    Jost Miller, who lived near the mouth of Blue Lick's run, about a mile and a half down river from Meyersdale, will show. In 1810 Joseph Joder went to the shop and became apprentice to this Jost Miller, remaining with him more two years. He then seems to have worked at the trade two years longer with one Jacob Dietz. In 1814 he stayed with his father for a short time on the farm, and he later entered into a partnership with John Bittner, who was also a blacksmith. This continued until late in 1815.

    About this time he determined to go to Philadelphia, where he apprenticed himself to Elliot & Co., for the purpose of learning the art of watchmaking and repairing. This was in January 1816. He remained in the city something over a year employed in this business. deciding to quit the city, he laid in a considerable stock of the more fancy goods of the day, supplied himself with a set of watchmaker's tools and returned to Somerset county, when he engaged in the occupation of peddling, as well as repairing, watches and clocks.

    An old account-book shows that he sold goods on credit to one hundred and thirty-two persons in Somerset township, all of which accounts were settled and paid save two; these two persons living somewhat out of the way were never asked to pay. Would a peddler or any other business man fare so well in giving credit to these people in present day?

    In 1820 he established himself in Salisbury and opened a shop for the repairing of watches and clocks; but that section was then still sparsely settled and he soon left the town and returned to his father's farm.

    In December, 1820, he married Gertrude Schrock. he settled himself in a shop near the mouth of the Blue Lick run and resumed the blacksmithing business. This was in a general way, doing all sorts of work in this line as is required in a community of farmers. He was not long in finding out that there was a need and a call in the community for axes and edge tools, such as drawing knives, etc., and that none of the blacksmiths were able to make them; for hardly one in a hundred of them could weld caststeel upon iron. He therefore began to experiment in the way of welding caststeel and tempering it when it was welded, and in time mastered it thoroughly. But to do this,it was necessary to devote some time to the study of chemistry and metallurgy. He bought the needed books, supplied himself with an outfit of chemical apparatus,etc. needed for his experiments and investigation, and in time he became a rather expert chemist, at least so far as the working of iron and steel was concerned.

    Now a man cannot do a work of this sort in just the same manner that he would go about in the making of a horse-shoe or a cow-chain.He had to prepare for himself a sort of laboratory where he could carry on his experiments and keep his apparatus, etc., free from the hands of outside meddlers. Naturally he would keep it under lock and key; and just this is what gave rise to those legends that became current among the more ignorant of the community that he deals in the black art, and had entered into a league with the evil one; some even went so far as to say that he made counterfeit money in this secret chamber.

    Among other things used in the successful welding of steel was borax. He had a method of pulverizing and preparing this article for use the secret of which was jealously guarded; and when so prepared it was worth, perhaps, three or four times as much as was the raw article. We have said that he thoroughly mastered the art of welding and tempering steel.

    He now quit common blacksmithing entirely, and devoted his time to the making of axes, chisels, drawing knives and all sorts of edge tools that were needed in the community, as well as animal traps, forks and other implements of steel.The fame of his axes and edge tools for excellence speedily spread all through the surrounding country, and they were eagerly sought for as much as fifty and sixty miles away.

    The axes had a steel poll, as well as a steel edge. The weight, number, piece and maker's name was all carefully stamped on each axe, and they were not ground down to a sharp edge, as are the axes we buy in the stores in out own day; on the contrary, the edge was left at a thickness of perhaps a sixteenth of an inch, and was ground to an edge by the purchaser. Such as were not sold from the shop were taken out an left at stores through the surrounding country, to be sold on commission.

    In his work he always used a four-pound hammer. In time the patent axe of the present day,which was sold at a much lower price, came into competition with the Joder Axe in the stores; but in the community in which they were made, the Joder axe always held its own as long as Mr.Joder was able to make them. Of course, it was not possible for any one man to make all the axes and other tools that were called for,and he soon began to take apprentices, who were carefully instructed in the art, and who was, as they became free, were given employment as journeymen. The late Aaron Schrock of Middlecreek, who was his brother-in-law,was the first of these apprentices. The article of indenture bearing the date of September 22, 1821, and written by Joseph J. Joder himself in a fair clerky hand, is still in possession of Capt. Wm. M. Schrock, a son of Aaron Schrock, and, as it is something of a curiosity, is here given:

    "THIS INDENTURE witnesseth, that Aaron Schrack,of the township of Brothers Valley, in the county of Somerset, by and with his own consent hath put himself, and by these present doth voluntarily and of his own free will and accord, put himself apprentice to Joseph J. Joder, of the same place, blacksmith, to learn his art, trade, and mystery, and after the manner of an apprentice, to serve him from the day and date hereof, for an during the full end of term of three years next ensuing; during all of which term the apprentice his said master faithfully shall serve, his secrets keep, his lawful commands everywhere readily obey. He shall do no damage to his said master, nor see it done by others, without letting or giving notice thereof to said master. He shall not waste his said master's goods, nor lend them unlawfully to any. He shall neither buy or sell.he shall not absent himself day nor night from his said master's service without his leave, nor haunt ale-houses, taverns or play-houses, but in all things behave himself as a faithful apprentice ought to do during the said term.And the said master shall use the utmost of his endeavours to teach or cause to be taught or instructed the said apprentice in the trade or mystery of a blacksmith, and procure for him sufficient meat, drink, apparel, lodging and washing, fitting for an apprentice, during the said term of three years, and give him within the said term one month's schooling, and give him also yearly twelve days free in hay-making and harvest-time; and when he is free give him two suits of clothing, one good watch and one good rifle.

    "And for the performances of all and singular the covenants and agreements aforesaid, the said parties bind themselves each unto the other firmly by these present.

    "In Witness Whereof the said parties have set their hands and seals hereunto. Dated the first day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty-one.

    "Sealed and delivered in the presence of :

    Abraham Miller-----------------------------------------Aaron Schrack, Seal

    Peter Miller Jr.-------------------------------------------Joseph J.Joder, Seal

    Certainly a man capable of drawing up such an instrument of writing such as this is,was no ignorant mountebank, given to consulting "Hex doctors" "Erd Spiegles"and the like.

    Mr. Joder has left it as a matter of record that Aaron Schrock was the most obedient and faithful apprentice he ever had; and he also became the best workman. The late Michael Koontz, who lived several miles south of Somerset, was his second apprentice.

    Other apprentices seem to have been: David Frankhauser, John Swartzendruber, Samuel Judy, Gabriel Schrock, Leonard Berkey, John Yowler, Joseph Weimer, George Lichty, Benjamin J.Joder (his son), Thomas Moore and George Coleman. As soon as an apprentice or journeyman could really make or shape an axe he was allowed a stamp of his own, and was permitted to stamp his name under that of J.J. Joder.

    After Michael Kootz became free he located a shop about three miles south of Somerset, on the Centreville road. Joder sent the iron, steel, borax, etc. to him, his son Benjamin usually doing the hauling. Koontz then worked and shaped the material into axes, then they were hauled back to Mechanicsburg to Mr. Joder's shop, where he tempered them himself. Others of the journeymen may have done the same.

    We give here a statement of the number of axes made by Joseph J.Joder himself, as well as those made by the apprentices and journeymen, but which received the final tempering and hardening at his hands:

    No. made by Joseph J. Joder, -------4,550

    ------"---------Michael Koontz-------2,220

    ------"---------David Frankhauser-----360

    ------"---------John Swartzendruber---200

    ------"---------Samuel Judy-------------700

    ------"---------Gabriel Schrock---------900

    ------"---------Leonard Berkey--------200

    ------"---------John Youler-----------1,142

    ------"---------Joseph Weimer-----------25

    ------"---------George Lichty-----------430

    ------"---------B.J. Joder----------------418

    ------"---------Thomas Moore-----------29

    ------"---------George Coleman-----1,195




    Besides these were hundred of chisels, drawing knives, etc., made here also.

    These figures are from his books as he kept them and came down to 1857, when he quit work.

    We believe the last of his apprentices were Jerome Bowman and Jere.J. Livengood; the later now resides at Salisbury. Bowman went to war and lost his good right arm in the service, and could no longer work at the trade. Mr. Livingood became a worth successor to the great axe-maker, and we venture to say that, as a maker of steel and edge tools, he does not have an equal in Somerset county.

    About the year 1824, he bought a small tract of land from William Miller, which then was in Elk Lick township. Here he built himself a house, shop, and small barn.

    Later he laid this land off into town lots, filing the plot in the Recorder's office at Somerset. He gave his new town the name of Machanicsburg, though when a post office was established it could not keep this name, but took the name of Summit Mills. It was for a long time called "Yotter Stheddle" by the German-speaking portion of the people.

    In addition to his axe making, he also paid some attention to repairing clocks and watches. Indeed their were few things in the metal line he could not make. Doctors in that community in those days were but few, and for a long time he kept for sale a stock of simple family medicines. No one who ever knew him well will deny that he was not of an inquiring turn of mind and given to investigation, and he also had some talent for invention. The much talked of nail making machine was not an invention of his. His invention was a device for feeding a nail-making machine. The machines then in use did not permit the making of a cheap nail. His invention, attached to a nail-making machine, as a self feeder, enabled one man or boys to do the work of a dozen men of boys in looking after a machine or in feeding it.

    It goes without saying that this was a useful invention. It is also certain that he was unjustly robbed of his invention.

    This is said to have come about in this way: While he was a man of intelligence, he was of a confiding nature. He judged other men somewhat by himself, and he thought other men were as honest as he himself certainly was.

    It would seen that he lacked the means at that time of patenting the machine and getting it into use. the writer does not know how expensive the obtaining of a patent was in those days nor whether it was at that time possible as now to protect an invention for a reasonable time by filing a caveat at a trifling expense. At any rate he did exhibit his machine first among his neighbors in the hope that someone would join him in securing the patent and getting the invention into use, but none of these would make the venture. After some correspondence with a firm of patent lawyers, he took his model to Pittsburg, where he showed it to several men who were in the nail-making business, but failed to enlist their aid.

    Yet there can be but little doubt but that these men saw the merit of the invention, and that some one of their number took the good points of his model and forestalled him in the procuring of a patent.

    The old man and his oldest son have always claimed that there was rascality practiced somewhere in this matter.

    It is not true that he ever made a search for any hidden treasure, squandering a fortune therein, as many people believe. It is true that he did make a search for minerals and metals that he and others supposed might exist in that part of Somerset county.

    With regard to the search made in this direction along Pine run, in Greenville township, the following we believe is a true account, because it is derived from one yet living, who took some part in the work,which was done in 1836.

    Something in the nature of a company had been formed. Altogether $225.00 had been raised in this way. Three of the Bluebaughs, each had a share; a Mr. Hare of Hopwood, Fayette county, had two shares; Frederick Bealman and John McDonald had each a share; Joder himself had three shares; several other persons had each a share.

    The primary object of the search along the mountains was for iron ore, which was found, but not in such quantity as would justify working it. there were a number of excavations made along the run and the mountains.

    There was one made in the locality described in this new legend of the argonauts, but it was not made for the purpose of finding any hidden treasure-chest. "Die Erd Spiegel" of Moll Dell cut no figure. This particular excavation was made to a depth of perhaps eight or ten feet, and was on low ground and but a short distance from the run, the seepage of whose waters through the intervening earth and rock strata could not be kept out of the pit, and it had to be abandoned. It is true that watch was kept for any other metal or mineral that the rocks might carry, other than iron, and that Mr.Joder did carefully test the several rocks encountered and did find some traces of silver, but not of a paying character.

    The search was then abandoned. It was found that the sum of $195.00 had been expended,leaving a balance of $25.00 which was returned to the shareholders.The books and papers relating to the transaction ares still in existence and can be shown. This is the foundation for a legend what has been floating through Elk Lick township for fifty or more years, and in which what was a fortune in those days should have been wasted; and it has obtained even more than local circulation.

    How so intelligent a man as Professor Leslie,who was associated with Professor Rogers in the first geological survey of Pennsylvania, and was at the head of the second geological survey, could have been imposed upon as he certainly was, to believe in the truth of these absurd stories, in which there is not a word of truth, passes our comprehension. Yet such is the fact!

    In one of his lectures on "Man's Origin and Destiny" he says, "I have seen shafts sunk in the glades of Somerset county, Pennsylvania, under the dictation of an old scamp who would lay in his hunting cap a small looking-glass which had cabalistic characters on the back of it, and was called an "erd spiegel"," and then holding his own face over it, he would describe the depth to an inch of all the mineral wonders that he saw beneath the surface. So strongly did he the imagination of his fetish act upon the workmen-- simple old German immigrants from the motherland of superstition that they were--that the affirmed with all their faith that when at work at the bottom of the shaft they could distinctly hear invisible agents laughing, talking, pounding, picking beneath their feet, removing the treasures downward out of reach; for, of course, they never found it."

    Without doubt Professor Leslie saw the shafts; but the circumstances under which they were sunk are just as we have related them, and just as scores of others have been sunk in Elklick township, some in search of coal, others for limestone, and here and there others for iron ore; some rewarding the labor bestowed upon them, and others making no return whatsoever.And it is only by those toilsome and expensive searches that any of the treasures of the earth, whether they are gold, silver, copper, lead or iron, coal or limestone, were ever laid bare, except, perhaps, in a few isolated cases, when the discovery was the result of an accident; and it is the height of injustice to hand down the names of those who have failed, and their name is legion, as knaves or fools.

    In 1859 Mr. Joder removed to Holmes County, Ohio, where, we believe, he had some relatives, and where his coreligionists are quite numerous. He remained there only a couple years and returned to Somerset county, becoming a resident of Conemaugh township, where he died in the month of April, 1863, at the advanced age of seventy-four years and four months.

    His remains were interred in the Kauffman grave-yard. By his first marriage there were several daughters and one son, Benjamin J. Joder, Esq. now residing at Waterloo, Iowa, but who, for many years before going west, was a leading and well-known citizen of Greenville township.

    Levi J. Joder, of Meyersdale, and Reuben J. Joder, at one time a well-known school teacher of Somerset county, are sons of the second wife.

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    Both the Washington Star and the Herald reported on Aug.1, 1914, the visit by Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan to the hospital beds of his old friends Cong. and Mrs. S.S. Yoder. Both were then confined for treatment at the Garfield Hospital. It is interesting to note that one of the men to whom Bryan lost the Presidency , William McKinley of Ohio, was personally involved in preventing the political advancement of our only Yoder member of Congress.



    Ben F. Yoder, Goshen, IND Managing Editor

    Chris Yoder, Battle Creek MI, Historical Editor

    Rachel Kreider, Goshen, IND, Contributing Editor



    We are interested that all subscribers receive the Yoder Newsletter. If you have moved please do inform us of Your old and new address. We have quite a number of duplicated names and it helps identify you when your old address is given.

    Do any of you know the location of the following readers? Their newsletters were returned to us:


    Charles D. Yothers, 4501 Arlinrton BIvd, Arlington, VA.

    Thomas A. Yoder, 5140 Matterhorn Way, Alpharetta, GA.

    Mabel V. Brunk (old address was Charlottesville, VA) sent a card but did not state new address.------Card was postmarked Tampa, FL.



    (Please refer to Issue ,85, April 1985, p.2 and Issue #9, October 1987, page 2 (Letters to the Editors)

    My nephew's widow was in the Japanese raid at Pearl Harbor, December 7, l941. She later met my nephew while he was assigned to Naval Intelligence in Honolulu. Engagement for marriage followed.

    Her aunt, explaining to an island neighbor, that Lola was engaged to a young man named Yoda (as Yoder is pronounced in Hawaii). Everyone assumed she was to be wedded to a Japanese. Later, when the proposed groom visited the aunt, the neighbor remarked in surprise, "Why he doesn't look like a Jap."

    Who would think our old Pennsylvania Dutch name could cause such consternation?



    Jeremiah Yoder ( l856-1903) was the great grandson of Henry Yoder (1756-1829). The book is soft bound, good paper and compiled by Edward A. Yoder. The Jeremiah Yoder Centennial Farm now borders the city of Arthur IL. The cost is $5, Do ppd. and can be ordered from:

    Sylvan M. Yoder 1112 Irvin Carlsbad NM 88220



    Again, we'd like to warn our readers against such offers received through the mail as from "Halbert's,INC" in Bath OH or "Elizabeth Yoder Ross" of Scranton PA. for "YODER FAMILY ALBUM". Proceed with caution when you receive such solicitations. Many consist of "boilerplate" information on genealogy and only Yoder content is name and address listing of Yoders.



    20 pages. send $4 to Homer E. Swartzentruber, P.O.Box 331, Shipshewana,IN 46565. Samuel (1864-1933) was the son of Daniel I. (1836-1911) son of Isaac Y (1809-1880) son of Yost H.(1784-1871) son of Henry who a. Catherine Detweiler son of Yost b.l734.



    When we were in Florida last February for a short time, we journeyed across the state from Ft. Myers to W. Palm Beach on State #80. Somewhere along that road...there was an enormous greenhouse complex. Imagine my surprise when the sign said "YODER, Alva Farm". They were growing acres (yes, acres) of all types of plants under lights with plastic covers----Mrs. Dorothy Coffman, Malvern,PA.

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    "The photo of the Yoder family coat of arms (pictured in YNL #9) was given to me by Caspar and Christian Joder when I met them in Steffisburg in a very interesting way. I arrived there from Bern on a Sunday morning and stopped at the local hotel. I asked the desk clerk, who spoke English, to call the first Yoders listed in the phone directory, and tell them that I was an American Yoder and would like to meet them. Within 20 minutes Casper, Christian and their mother and father arrived. Their mother spoke fluent English...

    "On a subsequent trip, I met with Walter and his wife (the parents of Christian and Casper) again. They took me to lunch- which really was a huge feast of venison and excellent vegetables, venison and wild boar are very popular meats over there and very, very good.

    I gathered that all nine Joders listed in the phone book there are very close relatives. Walter has a brother there, Willi and two maiden cousins whom we visited, both very old. It would appear that the name Joder will disappear in Steffisburg as I believe there are only one or two young Joder boys to carry on the name. There certainly must be far more Yoders in the USA than there are in Switzerland and the rest of Europe.

    "Walter and his wife send greetings to all the American Yoders. I gave the good Walter and his wife copies of the Yoder Newsletter for which they were most grateful.Christian's mother-in-law is fluent in English and can translate...

    "Another very interesting thing happened in Lucern. I bought some gifts in a little gift shop and there is a Joder girl who works there. I also met a man on the trip from Nevada who has Yoder cousins and his Yoder ancestors came from Lancaster County.

    "Once on a Florida fishing trip, I met a Yoder from Goshen, My brother, about 30 years ago met a Yoder in Montreal Canada who said he was the only Yoder in the Canadian Air Force...

    ---S. Aylmer Yoder,Pequa, PA


    I have read all the issues of YNL#1 through #9 and find them very interesting. I was born Jan.22,1911 near Smithville,OH and my husband Carl and I have lived in Bluffton,Oh since 1946. My Yoder background first appeared in YNL#5 written by Mary Helen Yoder Wade, Sterling,IL. I am a first cousin of her father.

    Our son David and his wife Judith went to Switzerland from April 1,1985 to June 1, 1986 where he engaged in genealogical research. He traced my direct ancestry back six generations. Several were traced back eight to ten generations.

    My Yoder grandfather was Christian J.("Bee Christ") b. 1827 Danjoutin, Belfort Territory, France; d. 1909 bur. Oak Grove Mennonite Cemetery. He m. 1851 Catherine Decker.

    If there are interested persons who wish to know more about these families, the April 1987 issue of Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage includes my "Readers Ancestry" as written by my son David Smucker.

    --Irene Yoder Smucker, Bluffton,OH


    The first farmer was the first man, and all historic nobility rests on possession and use of land. --Emerson

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    Many thanks to all of you who sent in copies of the Mar.30, 1987 issue of "People" magazine. This item detailed the travails of the poor confused postman of Kalona, Iowa. One has 114 Yoders on his route and another has 150. The YNL wrote to "People" for an okay to excerpt parts of the article or included photographs, but has had no response at this point. ************************************************

    An interesting note from a new subscriber, Pattie Yoder Hooper who stated: Yoder "Trivia Coincidence" "I married a man whose Mom was born and educated in Yoder, Wyoming. My husband's great-grandfather was responsible for the heading-up the building of the first community hall in Yoder. Also great-grandfather Ver Strutter opened the first drugstore in Yoder WY!


    Esther Yoder m 16 Jun 1821 in the Oley Lutheran Church at Spangsville, to Sebastian Reifschneider/Reifsnyder who was b. 17 Jan 1803. Sebastian d.1823 and William Yoder (believed to have been the son of George Yoder (1752-1833)) was appointed administrator. Esther may have married again, but nothing further is known of her. Reply to: Adam R. Moyer, 1152 Wycoff Ave., Jacksonville, FL 32205


    Were ISAAC YODER and Mary "Polly" Lantz the parents of BENJAMIN YODER (1837-1887) who m. in Miami Co.,IN on Aug.12,1858 to Sarah Dewalt? Reply to: F. Chagnon, P.O. Box 464, Peru, IN 45970 and George A. Yoder, 409 E. Wheeler St., West Burlington, IA 52655


    What was ancestry of JAMES L. YODER m. Alameda Hinkle, d. Bellefontaine, OH.James F. Yoder, Box 1263, Alhambra, CA 91802.


    Would like to hear from descendants of WILLIAM HENRY YODER 3/22/1845-8/17/1921, who married Catherine Adelaide Buskirk 12/1/1864. resident of Rock Grove, Iowa.. Descendant of Conrad Yoder line of North Carolina. Had children Albert Henry 1866, Isaac 1868, Lewis M. 1870, Wm. Arthur 1874, Hester 1881. Reply to Cindy Holsapple-Boone, 12923 Sutters Lane, Bowie, MD 20715.


    Ancestry wanted for EPHRAIM YOTHER b.l815. m. 8/1/1838 Lumpkin Co,GA to Susan Matthews. He d. 6/25/1894 Gilmer Co., GA. Ephraim was also called "Adam " in some census records. reply to Buford F. Yother, Rte 3, Box 470, LaFayette, GA 30728


    Would like to exchange data on family/ ancestry of ABRAHAM YODER b. Feb.8,1837 m. Jan 19,1861 to Lydia Oberholtzer. A descendant of Mennonite Yoder line. Reply to Ken Wm. Yoder, 2236 Marlboro Dr., K Henderson, NV 89015


    What was ancestry of JACOB YODER, of Lewisburg,PA. B. 1733 d. 4/11/1864, married Mary Sterner (1793-1863).They had sons Peter, Nathaniel, Charles, Jacob S., Jonn S. and daughter Mary A. James. Reply to : N.R. Yoder, 933 Pleasant Ridge Rd., Bloomington, I'd 47401


    Also Want info on above JACOB YODER of Lewisburg, PA. Reply to Mrs. Walter E. Moore, Rt.l, BOX 619, New Columbia, PA 17856; and Jerry W. Yoder, 504 Pine Drive, York, PA 17402


    Seek Information on these Yoder brothers: Jeremia b 28 Apr 186l; Alfred Charles, b. 13 Act 185_; John b 6 March 1857: Messiah, b. 92 0ct l863. All born in Berks Co., PA. REPLY to William E. Yoder - 380 High St., Souderton PA 18964


    Need info on William Scott Yoder, b. 1887 or 1888 in La Plata Co., CO. Married Florence Maggie Lehman around age 31. Four children, Grace Alene in 1919; Helen Frances and John Franklin (twins) in 1921, John died the same day; Dolores Jean, 1923. William died 1925 of Bright's Disease and heart failure and possibly buried in Bayfield CO. He had some brothers around Durango. Would appreciate an answer. Dolores (Yoder) Parker, P.0.Box 304,Brownsboro TX 75756


    Who was CATHERINE YODER b. 1812 Alsace. M. to Peter Stucky. She d. 1833 Fulton Co., OH. Who were her parents, brothers, sisters? Reply to: Anna R. Bumann, 308 Mullen, Lamar, Colo 81052.


    What is the ancestry of JACKSON YOTHERS,born in GA circa 1839, OK by 1910. Reply to Marsha Pearson, Box 561, Healdton, OK 73438.


    ALFRED W. YEOTHER (b.c.1848 in GA) m. Sarah Ann Tipton, resident as of 1910 in Stephens Co.,OK. What was his ancestry. Reply to: Mr & Mrs John C Kleiber, 1773 Roberts Road, Ceres, CA 95307


    Who was HENRY YODER m. Kate Latschar (1796-1878).Was buried in Mennonite Cemetery Franconia, PA. Reply to S. Leslie Jones, 15048 Old Lincoln Hwy, East Liverpool, OS 43920.


    Who were ancestors of SIMON M. YODER (1861-1939) m. Abbie L. Frantz. Resident of Bellefontaine,OH. Reply to .Ross E Yoder, 5280 Butternut Ct. E., Columbus,OH 43299


    NEW DATA ON CONRAD LINE: Thanks to Lula Vaughn of Bunker Hill, Ill, we now have dates of birth of a set of grandchildren of Conrad Yoder of North Carolina. These are children of his son Elias (31 Oct 1777-1817), who moved to Indiana. They are: Joseph- born 3 Oct 1801; Conrad- born 16 Dec. 1802; John- 24 Dec 1805; Barbary 26 Feb 1808; Jessey- 21 Feb 1810; and Jonas l8 Sept 1812. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time these precise dates of birth have been published anywhere. Ms. Vaughn is a descendant of Elias' son John. Anyone having further information regarding the descendants of the other children are asked to notify the Yoder Newsletter. Thanks Lula!!


    Family crest of HANS JODER- Steffisburg-1636, Mayor and Chairman of the Council. On red, a silver pelican on the left accompanied by a silver ear of grain. On top is a red/silver raised helmet with red/silver covering. Above this all is a red backing with a golden bar at a slant, upon which is a black roaring bear. Symbolism: The pelican is an ancient religious symbol. The ear of grain denotes the calling (an ancient farm family). Silver and red are the colors of Switzerland, and the bear is the symbol for the province of Bern. (translated by Greg Yoder of Grand Rapids)


    NEWSHERALD,Perkasie, Pe., Wednesday, July l, 1987

    Yothers Family Holds Reunion

    St John's Evangelical Lutheran picnic grove, Spinnerstown was the gathering place for the 64th annual Yothers Reunion with 45 people present, Sunday June 21.

    Hans (John) Yoder was born either in Germany or Switzerland about 1680. He died in Lower Milford Township. He purchased a tract of 99 acres in Lower Milford Township (then known as the Great Swamp") from Joseph Growden of Trevose in 1720 for 15 pounds. His wife's name was was Anna (maiden name unknown), Hans and Anna Yoder were ancestors of this family clan. The Yothers were Mennonites--most of the Yoder pioneers were Amish and lived either in Berks and Lancaster counties or farther west.

    Hans and Anna Yoder had two sons, John and Casper. They may have had more children, but no records were kept and the Yoder family Bible was sold in 1778 at a family sale and has never been recovered.

    John Yoder Jr bought land from his father in Northampton County (now Leigh County) and later sold it to his sons. He donated a small tract of land to the Saucon Mennonite Church, near Coopersburg and is most likely buried there.

    Casper Yoder owned tracts of land in both Richland Township and Doylestown Township. His Doylestown Township farm was sold to his son Jacob Yoder in 1781. Jacob changed his name to Yothers, all the Bucks County Yothers are his descendants.

    John Hunsberger of Perkasie, president, awarded the following prizes: The couple married the longest, 56 years, Dwight and Betty (Yothers) Moyer, Lansdale; the couple who celebrated their 25th anniversary most recently, Derwin and Martha Yothers, Perkasie.

    Bob Yothers, Glenside and Erwin Yothers Jr, Perkasie, were the winners of the traditional guessing game.

    The officers are as follows: President: John Hunsberger, Perkasie; vice president, Bob Yothers, Glenside; and secretary-treasurer Alverna Hunsberger.

    The next reunion will be held the same place the third Sunday in June 1988.

    To the top of this file:

    Charles T. Yoder (1843-19__)

    Charles T Yoders was born in Pittsburg,PA in July 1843 of Charles Yoder and Ann Kennedy. He married Anna Warder and for his second wife Emma L. ________. He served on the Civil War as a Major, the highest ranking Yoder to our knowledge on either side of that conflict. Charles lived in Washington, DC and is known to have been involved in family research during the last century. He was cited as a source for Descendants of Jacob Hochstetler.

    His children included: Edith (Mrs. Albanus Johnson) b.Apr.1879; Clara (Mrs. McGee); and Frank W. b. Mar.1883. When his widow died in 1927, his son Frank was a resident of Albuquerque,NM.

    WHAT A TREASURE his accumulated Yoder notes would be if they could be found today. Do any of you know this gentleman? (Photo complements of Mrs. Petrena Shea, found among papers of Cong. S. S. Yoder)


    Those of our readers who are familiar with the Old Yoder Cemetery in Somerset County, Pa will be interested in seeing this picture taken in June by Tom Yoder of Coraopolis, Pa. For years, strip mining had made the graveyard a virtual island. The mining his been " reclaiming" the land and has now backfilled the deep pit which surrounded the cemetery in the past. This cemetery is north of Brotherton, and is on the original homestead property of "Schweitzer" Christian Yoder (1728-1816). It holds many early Yoders of that line, few stones are markled (see YNL #6)


    YODER INDUCTED INTO THE HALL OF VALOR---YNL reader Charles Yoder, of Millsboro, Delaware,has been inducted into the Soldiers and Sailors Hall of Valor in the Pittsburg,PA Civic Center for his service in WWII. Charles, a medic under Gen. George S. Patton, was awarded the Silver Star, two Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars. The Coraopolis Record, July 22,1987, describes how he twice risked his life to carry two wounded men to safety through a shelling barrage... being wounded himself during this act.


    Aylmer Yoder of Pequea PA asked that anyone ordering a post Joder coat-of-arms photo (as shown on page 5 of Issue #9 to please made the check out to S. A Yoder RD#1-Box 23l-A Pequea PA l7565.


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    Yoder Newsletter - © Christopher K. Yoder, 1992, 1994