Yoder Newsletter Online

Issue Number 23 - - - April 1994
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The Estate Records of Bishop Christian Yoder Sr of the Glades

A Somerset County, PA Treasure Trove


The Registrar of Wills office in Somerset, Somerset County,

Pennsylvania, contains a veritable treasure trove of original material. For

researchers of the Amish Yoder lines which came through that

southwestern Pennsylvania county, the records go into great detail of the

sales which occurred in settlement of the estates involved. In addition to

itemized inventories of what was to be sold, the files also include

original sales rosters of who purchased what, and for how much, and

notes signed by various parties involved in the settlements.


In this Article, we'll present details from the file of Bishop Christian

Yoder Sr (1758-1838) (YR233). At the conclusion we'll give an

inventory of the other Yoder holdings in the Registrar's files and

infomation about how you can access these records.


Bishop Christian Yoder Sr was born in Berks County, PA in 1758

("about October" according to one source). He was the son of immigrant

"Schweitzer Christian" Yoder (1728-1816) and his first wife whose

name is not known. On December 2, 1773 Schweitzer Christian was

issued a warrant for 300 acres of land in what was to become Somerset

County. He moved there with his children in 1775. In 1779 Christian,

the son, married Madlena (Magdalena) Troyer. That year he is shown in

township tax records as owning one horse and one cattle.


His appointment as Bishop of the Glades community in Northern

Somerset County occurred between 1783 and 1788. In the words of his

son, who was to become Bishop Christian Yoder Jr "He served in his

Bishop ministry between 50 and 55 years and died in his eightieth year,

on April 29, 1838."


Christian and Madlena had fourteen children: Madlena, 1780; Maria,

1781; Abraham, 1782; Joseph, 1784; Yost, 1786; John ("Jannes"), 1788;

Christian, 1790; Solomon, 1793; Jacob, 1795; Sarah, 1797; David, 1799;

Barbara, 1801; Jonathan, 1803; and Anna, 1808. Yost, Jacob, Sarah,

David, and Barbara died young.


The first item in sequence in his Somerset County file is his will.

Know all men by these present that I Christian Yoder of the Township

of Stoney Creek in the county of Somerset- Considering the uncertainty

of mortal life and being yet of good sound mind and memory, Blessed be

the Almighty God for the same, I do hereby make and publish this my

last will and testament in manner and form following, that is to say, after

my death my body is to be buried in a Christian like manner and the

funerl expenses to be paid out of my personal estate- 1st first I give and

bequeath to my wife Magdalana the tinplated stove now in the room, one

clock, two beds and bedsteds, one corner cubboard, the two chests now in

the house and as much household and kitchen furniture as she thinks

necessary, and I further give and bequeath to my wife Magdalana all

such books, now in my possession as she wants and that my wife

Magdalana Yoder is to have and to hold the above mentioned articles

during her natural lifetime and after her death my Executor is to make




- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

SOMERSET COUNTY RECORDS- Linda Jo Berkey is the Register of

Wills in Somerset County, PA. Her office is located in a building

adajacent to the Courthouse in Somerset which is open from 8:30 to 4:00

Monday through Friday. They have all original papers for the estates

files in that office. Wills are kept with the original papers in the estate.

Copying charges are a $5 minimum for a will, probate papers are by the

page (50 cents per page).


The following estates are on file under the Yoder surname:

























For inquiries by mail, address your order to: Somerset Co. Register of

Wills, Orphans' Court Division, P.O. Box 186, Somerset, PA 15501.

Phone (814) 445-2096. Please enclose a self addressed, stamped

envelope with your request and the $5 minimum charge.




We are deeply saddened to announce that

H. Harold Hartzler, a YNL Contributing

Editor, died on Dec. 9, 1993 at the age

of 85. Dr. Hartzler earned a doctorate

in physics from Rutgers University and

had an active teaching career at several

Colleges and Universities. In retirement,

he pursued his interests in Amish and

Mennonite genealogy and history, contri-

buting to many national publications.


The Ortbuhl Yoder Estate in Steffisburg

In the words of Ottmar Jotter, prominent Joder/Jotter researcher in

Germany.. "All who bear the YODER name, wherever they live in the

world- Europe- America- Canada - Brazil or elsewhere- as far as their

heritage is concerned, they originate from this house!" (See YNL 2 and 5

for articles by Lois Ann Mast and Dr. Don Yoder on the Swiss Yoder




As to the town of Yoder (Wyoming) they had several wonderful years.

Then the railroad pulled out and that really left nothing to bring the

ranchers and farmers to town. The consolidated school cares for four

communities. Jess Yoder gave acres to the Union Pacific Railway if they

would build a railroad and a rail center. he wishes a roundhouse to be

constructed but they put that in Torrington. Carl Gray, President of the

Union Pacific Railroad, accepted this offer and the name "Yoder" was

given to the town that was built. The Springers wished it to be called

"Springer". One of the Springers wrote a poem saying- "remove the Y

and all you will have is a bad odor". Vowed never to ride on the train.


Frances Schultz, Torrington, Wyo.( Daughter of Homer Yoder)



Yoder Poem Appears in "New Yorker"

"Freundschaft", an interesting poem by Julia Kasdorf, appeared in the

Jun 8, 1992 issue of the "New Yorker" magazine. The poem is centered

around a Yoder Reunion.




Sarah of the Boarder Wars, by James D Yoder. This work of historical

fiction portrays the impact of the Civil War times on the peaceful

Mennonite and Amish communities of central Missouri. The book joins

his earlier work The Yoder Outsiders which grew out of his boyhood

experienced in Cass County, Missouri. Paperback 186pp. $9.95. (order

from Faith and Life Press, 718 Main, Box 347, Newton, KS 67114 or

call Toll free (800) 743-2484.)

Too Many Crooks Spoil the Broth, by Tammy Myers. This humorous

murder mystery by a Yoder descendant takes place at the fictional

PennDutch Inn, and features a Yoder heronie-- proprietor Magdalena

Yoder! Available from Doubleday, 256pp hardcover, $17.

Internationally know photographer Doyle Yoder is the author of

America's Amish Country, featuring 313 color photographs from across

the United States. Available for $24.95 from: America's Country

Publications, P.O. Box 424, Berlin, OH 44610.



We have learned that the Departments of Transportation (DOT) in

each state is required by Federal law to have detailed county maps

available for public sale. These maps, identifying features such as

cemeteries, roads and township boundaries, can be very useful for family

historians. Write to your state DOT. (Penna. county maps- 36" x 49"-

can be had for $2.50 (add 6% within PA for sales tax) from: PA

DOT, P.O. Box 2028, Harrisburg,PA 17105)



Thanks to Charlotte Nedros of Taylorsville, KY for these recent

photos taken at the cemetery of Rev. War soldier Jacob Yoder (1758-

1832). The YNL featured this gentleman and his Spencer Co, KY

homestead on pages 6 and 7 of Issue #12 (Oct 1988). The close-up shows

the stone of one of Jacob's daughters (Eliza who married david Poignard

in 1824). At the rear of the second photo, the iron tablet memorializing

Capt Jacob can be seen.



based on information provided in YNL #10, Dr. Hatten Yoder Jr had

this beautiful reproduction made of the 1636 crest of Hans Joder of

Steffisburg, Switzerland. It now hangs on the door of his study. Mr.

Stephen Erb, a wood carver in Intercourse, PA did this 18 inch work of

art. Hatten reports that the model for the design was "Pelicanus

onocrotalus" (the Old World Pelican).



Bessie's grandparents were Jonas Yoder (YR2395b) & Mary Zerfus.

Thanks to Elwood Yoder of Friedens, PA for this clipping.


Somerset County Historical Society


"Christian Ioder" Loom


Our feature article gives details of the Somerset County Clerk of Wills

Office. If you find yourself in the area, it would be well worth your time

to stop by the Somerset County Historical Center on RR2 (phone 814-


Among their many items of local history is an old loom which was

known to have been purchased at an auction in the middle of the 19th

century. The head piece says "John Miller 1777 Jan the 27. CHRISTIAN

IODER". This appears to be the same Christian Yoder (YR233) as

shown in our feature article. He and his family had moved to Somerset in

1775. Two John Miller's (ML2 and ML22 per Gingerich/Kreider) were

also in Somerset county around that time. It would have been a natural

project for the younger John (b c1752) and Christian Yoder (b 1758) to

jointly undertake.

A reveiw of the estate sales of Christian ad his wife Magdalena in

1838 and 1843 show no loom being sold. When their son Christian Jr

died, his daughter Elizabeth (later married Samuel Beachy and moved to

Indiana) is shown to have paid $12.00 for a "loom and gears".. a price

equivalent to what wagons and cattle brought. Transport to Indianan was

not an easy thing in those days. Elizabeth's brother Reuben, is know to

have gone by ox-cart, when he took this trip. An item as bulky as a loom

couldn't have been spared the space and was doubtlessly left behind in

Somerset County. Was this the same loom we see in this photograph?


Christian Yoder/John Miller Loom

(photo complements of Thomas Olen Yoder, Coroapolis, PA)


Inscription Carved into the Head Piece




"Yoder Station" -Samuel Yoder Farm


In his 1973 Family Life series on "Towns Named Yoder", David

Luthy wrote of this spot named "Yoder" in LaGrange County, Indiana.

We are glad to see it get a bit of present day prominence and, thanks to

the efforts of Carl Dintaman, its history will be preserved.


photo and article from the "LaGrange News" 12/10/1993





Claude H. Yoder, Charles A Dana Professor of Chemistry at Franklin

& Marshall College, Lancaster, PA., has been recognized with the "ACS

Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution". While his record

of publications, 86 since 1963, reveals a strong research program,

perusal of the titles also indicates that Yoder is a committed educator.

More than 80 undergraduates are listed as coauthors of these researchj

papers. Yoder is a founding member of the Council on Undergraduate


In addition, Yoder has coauthored two textbooks.. and is working on a


Yoder has been the recipient of numerous reserach grants... With

Marcus W. Thompson and Kenneth R. Hess, he has developed

"ChemGuide", a hypertext computer-assisted instruction program for use

in general chemistry courses.

Yoder received a B.A. degree from Franklin & Marshall College in

1962 and a Ph.D. degree from Cornell University in 1966. He joined the

Franklin & Marshall faculty in 1966.


(Excerpted with permission from Chemical and Engineering News, Nov.

1, 1993, 71 (44), pp 52 and 54.)


Oley YODER Cemetery book Published


We are pleased to announce the publication of "Pleasantville Union

Cemetery-A Photographic Review" edited by Richard H Yoder of

Bechtelsville, PA and published with the support of the Yoder


This cemetery marks the earliest known burial place for members of

the Yoder family in America. The book includes a full identification of

the stones in the cemetery and has dozens of excellent photographs of the

individual stones of Yoder occupants. The earliest of these goes back to

1747 and is still legible. This 24 page booklet preserves these stones

pictorially, regardless of the subsequent ravages of time and acid rain. It

also provide family group information from the YNL files for the Oley

families who have members and descendants resting here.



Photo of Gate


Gate and Drive to the Pleasantville Union Cemetery, Inc.



The Pleasantville Union Cemetery is located in Oley Township, Berks

County, PA, approximately 1/8 mile south of the intersection of Covered

Bridge Road and Route #73 at Pleasantville.

This was originally a Yoder family cemetery located on the original

461 acres Hans Yoder acquired on 25 March 1714. It remained a private

family cemetery until 6 August 1886 when Lydia Yoder, widow of Isaac

(OH1452) deeded it to the Pleasantville Cemetery Company with her son

Henry S. Yoder being one of the trustees of the company.



Daniel stone


In Memory of Daniel Yoder, died 1747 age 31


The deed agreement as taken from Berks Co. Deed Book (Vol 180 Page

456 6 Aug 1886) is excerpted as follows:

"Between Lydia Yoder of Oley Township, Berks Co., and state of

Pennsylvania, widow, of the first part and Franklin R. Cleaver, Isaac

Angstadt, James Harline and Henry S. Yoder, trustees of the

Pleasantville Cemetery Company of Oley Township, county and state

aforesaid of the second part. witnesseth that the said party of the first

part for and in consideration of the sum of eighty dollars ($80.00) of

lawful money of the United States of America.

"Beginning at a stone a corner thence N45 1/4 o E 105 ft to a

corner, S 44 1/4 o E 270 ft, to a stake a corner S 45 1/4 o W 105 ft to a

corner N 44 1/4/ W 270 ft, to place of beginning containing 92 1/2



The land of the immigrant brothers Hans and Yost adjoined each

other. The cemetery lies approximately 450 yards from the Hans cabin

and 650 yards from that of Yost.


At one time, there were two other smaller Yoder family cemeterys.

One was on the Lloyd Zook farm (Yoder Newsletter #17) and the other

on the Jacob Yoder/Maria Keim farm (Yoder Newsletter #16), neither

cemetery exists any longer.



Photo of John Yost Yoder stone


John Yost Yoder Stone- age 94 yrs 14 days

b 1718 d 1812 Married for 66 yrs


Order: from Richard H Yoder, 47 Bause Road, Bechtelsville, PA 19505.

Price per book is $8.50 plus $1.50 for postage and handling.


SOME YODER HUMOR- contributed by Ivan I. Miller

A Yoder got on a bus, sat next to a gentleman. After some time the gentleman complained, "I'm stiff from bowling." The reply- "I'm Yoder from Middlebury."

********************************************************* Reprint Available of 1923 JOHANN MARTIN BONTRAGER book by

John E Bontrager & Sons. Eight new pages of Bontrager information

from Switzerland. Hardback. $15 plus $1 post & handling. Dan A

Hochstetler, 4185-S 500W, Topeka, IN 46571.


The YNL will publish Yoder related inquiries or exchanges at no charge.

Please limit as possible and include a full return address. All inquiries

are checked against our own records to see if we can help too. If you

receive significant added info please share it also with the YNL for our

files. Send to: Chris Yoder, Unit 61306 Box 56, APO AE 09803-1306.


Want names of grandchildren of Jacob S Yoder (s/o Solomon Y and

Elizabeth Gindelsperger) and Mary Ann Plank of Elkhart County, In.

Their children include Rebecca, Elizabeth, Martha, Mary, John J.,

Manasses, Cornelius, Adam, David J, Peter T, Lydia, Menno J, and

Solomon. Please reply: Melody Dunithan, 339 W Garfield Ave, Elkhart,

IN 46516.


Would like more information on husband of Widow Barbara Yoder.

Have heard somewhere that his first name could have been Jacob. Can

anyone confirm or deny? Would like to hear any stories or sources on

this family. Please reply -- Melody Dunithan, 339 W Garfield Ave,

Elkhart, IN 46516.


Want information on Yeaters/ Yoders who married into Deirdorff

family. Anyone researching this Penssylvania connection, please contact

Edward P Yeater, 2433 Lauren Dr S W, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52404-3723


For information on the Yeater-Yater-Yetter-Yeatter family

association,also contact Edward at the address above.


Looking for descendants of Ezra Yoder (YRB1115) and Harriett Briscoe.

Ezra b 1841 PA and d 1893 in Guthrie, OK. Had following children:

Edith May Barnes (once lived Covington, KY); Anna Josephine Weber;

Louise Margaret Bennett; Samuel Sankey Yoder (once lived Los

Angeles). Edith and Josie were both officers with the Salvation Army.

Louise and Sankey once lived in Lawrence, KN. Any family who read

this, please contact: Mabel V Brunk, 1325 Greencroft Dr #347, Goshen,

IN 46526.


The Yoder Newsletter- Founded 1983 by

Ben F Yoder (1913-1992); Chris Yoder & Rachel Kreider



Chris Yoder, Editor, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; John W. Yoder, Circulation

Manager, Middlebury,IN; Fred C. Yoder, Distribution Manager,

Goshen,IN ; Rachel Kreider, Senior Contributing Editor. Other

Contributors: Fred C Yoder, Goshen,IN; John W. Yoder,

Middlebury,IN; Richard H. Yoder, Bechtelsville, PA; Hubert A. Yoder,

Charlotte, NC; Dorothy Yoder Coffman, Malvern, PA; Dr. Don Yoder,

Devon, PA.



-Dealing with circulation issues such as new or renewed subscriptions,

changes of address, orders for back issues to: Yoder Newsletter, P.O.

Box 594, Goshen, IN 46527-0594.

-Dealing with ancestral queries or contributions for future YNLs or

archives (such as reunion notices, letters to the Editor, copies of Bible

records or other historical information) to: Chris Yoder, Unit 61306, Box

56, APO AE 09803-1306 (allow 3-4 weeks for reply)



The YNL subscription is on an annual basis and the rate is $3. As the

YNL is not-for-profit, we have generally been able to offer one or more

bonus issues in each subscription period. BACK ISSUES of the YNL are

$1 per issue ($23 for a complete set of issues 1-23). These may be

ordered from the Goshen YNL address.

****************************************************** SUMMARY-OF-OTHER-YODER-SPELLING-VARIATIONS:-

















We recently have purchased a 70 million name and address directory

on CD/ROM (Compact Disk/Read Only Memory). This has allowed us

to develop some interesting statistical data about the Yoder population

which may be of interest to our readers. These figures are based on folk

who have a telephone number so are likely to exclude our Amish family

members, and also we find that husband and wife are often listed

separately, and the areas of the country covered seem less than complete.

These factors make the counts imperfect, but still somewhat reflective of

the family distribution:
















It is interesting to note that there is at least one Yoder shown in EACH

STATE of the Union! (NOTE: The CD/ROM product is "PhoneDisc

USA". Inquiries should be addressed to DAK Industries, Inc., 8200

Remmet Ave., PO Box 7120, Canoga Park, CA 91309-7120


PENNSYLVANIA Patent Information (continued from last issue)

(see separate document on PA Patents)



I'd like to thank you for the article on Albert Yoder. Albert was my

great-grandmother's brother. I had heard stories of the uncle who had

stayed out west and his visit(s) home dressed in buckskin. It was exciting

to see a picture of the way he must have actually looked...

Two of the names on the reunion invitation you featured in the last

newsletter looked familiar. Menno and Manasses Yoder. My great-great-

grandmother Martha (Yoder) Yoder had brothers by that name. They

would have been sons of Jacob S Yoder and Mary Ann Plank.

- Melody Duntithan, Elkhart, Indiana

(Editors Note: Rachel Kreider also identified these two folk (sons of

YR23383) as likely candidates. It would have been natural for Allen

Yoder to have this invitation as these folk are from the same family line)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Dear Editors

Somewhere in the newsletter it mentions the Yoder's as being "tight".

You don't know what tight is until you have been around my mother. She

always said she could live on what other people threw away and I believe

it. She's in a nursing home now, makes her bed before breakfast, and

after breakfast she makes up the other two beds in her room. Strong


She descends from Matilda Yoder, John Yoder, Elias Yoder and

Conrad Yoder. Keep up the good work, all us Yoder descendants enjoy

it. -Lula Vaughn, Bunker Hill, IL






The book Counting Kindred by Christian Deppin presents a history of

Christian Ruchty and collateral family lines. On page 226 of this

volume, it mentions that after Henry Weidner first went to North

Carolina he returned to Pennsylvania and on "one return trip brought a

wife Mary Mull and a youth Conrad Yoder- ancestors of a large and

esteemed posterity."

Richard H Yoder of Bechtelsville checked with Helen Weidner in

Reading (a historian of the Weidner family), who said that Henry

Weidner was from the Epharts area in Berks County and had been

disowned by his mother since he would not stay on the farm. He was

rather "footloose". He married Mary Mull in 1748, and if the above

statement is correct, that may have been the year Conrad Yoder joined

the growing community of ex-Pennsylvanians in North Carolina.




We are deeply saddened to announce that H. Harold Hartzler, a YNL Contributing Editor, died on Dec. 9, 1993 at the age of 85. Dr. Hartzler earned a doctorate in physics from Rutgers University and had an active teaching career at several Colleges and Universities. In retirement, he pursued his interests in Amish and Mennonite genealogy and history, contri- buting to many national publications.


1994 Edition Published of YODER FAMILY INFORMATION on Disk


The YNL has published a 1994 Edition of its "Yoder Family Information" on IBM compatible disk. This edition includes a variety of Yoder information not previously published in this form (almost 500,000 characters of new data). It also includes replacements for selected files from the 1992 edition (See p 7 YNL #19) which have been updated to varying extents (thirteen files, affected by a total of 18,000 added characters of information). Several individuals deserve special acknowledgement for their contributions to the new edition. Dorothy Yoder Coffman of Malvern, PA has contributed a full spousal index. This index cross-references wives and husbands to the Yoder mates in the family groups of the 1992 Edition (the index is current as of that issue- it does not include any additions presented in the 1994 update). Also included is extensive Pennsylvania information collected by Richard H Yoder, of Bechtelsville, PA including : Patent, Warrant, Orphans Court, Court House, Cemetery and Church records. Counties represented include Berks, Lehigh, Northumberland, Schuylkill, Columbia, Lancaster, Northampton, and Union Steffisburg, Switzerland Birth records are included as transcribed by the late Karl Joder and his fellow researcher Ottmar Jotter from the official birth and marriage registry of the village (1551 thru 1756). For Price Information write to John W. Yoder, 57195 County Rd 35, Middlebury, IN 46540. Tell him the format you want (3 1/2, 5 1/4).


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