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Yoder Lineage - Other than Amish

Compiled by the Yoder Newsletter

The Conrad Yoder Family of North Carolina
--- A History ---

published by the Yoder Family Newsletter, Goshen, Indiana
data originally copyrighted by Christopher Yoder 1992,1994, 1998, 2000

These files contain a collection of Yoder family data which has been assembled since 1983 by the Yoder Newsletter (YNL), P O Box 594,Goshen, IN 46527 for subscription information). For content update, write Chris Yoder, 203 Lakeshire Rd., Battle Creek, MI 49015 or email at We apologize in advance for any typographical errors in this work. Please help us correct and extend any of the information in these records. In addition to being available for order on disk from the YNL, these files may be accessed over the Internet at:

last updated: Dec 2000

From the Notebook of Col. George M. Yoder, written before 1920

Conrad Yoder-----1790

Conrad Yoder, The original pioneer of the Yoder family in North Carolina is supposed to have come originally from Switzerland. No doubt he was one of the Palatinates fleeing from the religious and political persecutions which drove so many protestants from the country along the Rhine between the years of 1710 and 1760. He came with the great swarm of immigrants that landed in Philadelphia between 1729 and 1777.

Rupps History of 30,000 immigrants shows that Conrad Zoder or Koder (Yoder) landed at Philadelphia, Oct. 4, 1751. He had embarked at Rotterdam on the ship Queen of Denmark.

The name Yoder is spelled eight different ways in the Immigrant record of 1729-1777--- Soder, Zoder, Koder, Joder, Jotter, Yotter, Yetter, Yoder. (1) The name was probably spelled differently in the different localities of the Rhine country, some spelling it in French, some in German, and some in Swiss. But those in charge of the registration of immigrants at Philadelphia possibly could not understand the name very well as these immigrants could speak practically no English and probably misspelled the name in the record.

Yoders were in Penn. prior to 1727. Between 1720 and 1727 Barbara Yoder whose husband died at sea after they had embarked at Rotterdam came to Penn.(2). She had nine children--eight boys and one girl. Johan Yoder was naturalized in 1729, and Yost Yoder in 1730. Jacob, Melchior, Daniel, and Eve came later and settled at a little place called Shomoky, near Philadelphia. In 1744 Daniel Yoder came.(3)

On the same ship with Conrad Yoder in 1751 was Jacob Yoder, who was perhaps a kinsman. (4)

Conrad Yoder seems to have remained in Pennsylvania several years after landing at Philadelphia. He perhaps had kinsman there with whom he stayed for several years.

Sometime between 1755 and 1760, he came south with Henry Weidner, who was the first settler on the South Fork River and its tributaries. Conrad Yoder made his home with Weidner for several years. Then in 1762 he bought 200 acres of land from Weidner, lying on both sides of Jacob's Fork River. Here he erected a log cabin, near the place where Frank Miller lives now. Later he built another house here. This was close to a good spring and the land close about was rich and productive. No doubt, Conrad Yoder, like all the old pioneer Germans to this section, was troubled with that insatiable land thirst that has been the predominant portion of the teutonic race. He knew what was good land and when he purchased from henry Weidner he came into possession of low flat upland and good river bottom land. here in the wilderness several miles from any of his neighbors he cleared up his land and began farming.

Soon after or before building his little cabin, he married a daughter of Sebastian Klein who lived on the water of Clark's Creek. He had three children by this wife -- John, Jacob, and David. Then his good wife died and left him alone here in the wilderness with his three little boys. We can hardly imagine the deep sorrow that he must have felt over the death of his companion.

Soon after this he married a Miss Seitz who left no issue.

Then about 1775 he married Catherine Huffman who came directly from Germany. With her he had the following children, Elizabeth, Elias, Daniel, Catherine, Adam.

Tradition says that Conrad Yoder was short, stocky, and heavy-set, dark eyes and complexion, and somewhat ruddy faced. Amzie Yoder of Hickory is a good specimen of early Yoders.

Conrad Yoder spoke the German language or a dialect of mixed English and German called "Pennsylvania Dutch". Practically all the early settlers in South Fork Valley spoke this dialect. They were all the same people.

Tradition says that Conrad Yoder was a Mennonite. This is somewhat verified by the fact that he had a Mennonite hymn book. He had a large German Bible, containing the Augsburg confession. This old book has been handed down from generation to generation among Conrad Yoders descendants as a sacred heirloom and is now in the possession of Col. G. M. Yoder. All indications are that Conrad Yoder was a pious man. No doubt he spent many an evening away reading his big German Bible. It was perhaps the only book to be found in his household.

In this Bible Conrad Yoder wrote the names and the dates of the birth of all his children. It is written in German script and can still be read.

The early settlers of Conrad Yoders time endured many hardships in carving out their homes in the wilderness and getting their land cleared up. Conrad Yoder had to erect his log house and barns the best he could. His second house was built of poplar logs. His house was built about 30 yards from the spring which was on the south side of the branch between two white oaks. This spring was walled up with rock. The house was built over a walled cellar. John Yoder, the oldest son of Conrad Yoder, used some of the logs of the old original house when he built his house on the other side of the river. Then when his house was torn down some of the logs were used in building Daniel Yoder's barn, now used by his son James. Many of the rocks of the old cellar were used in building the kitchen chimney of Col. G. M. Yoder's house.

Conrad Yoder became a large land owner, owning over 1000 acres when he died. On Jacob's Fork River, he owned over 80 acres of good bottom land. His home tract contained over 500 acres and he entered more than 500 acres near Baker's mountain, embracing all the fine land lying on the creek, which is now owned by Calvin Baker, the widow Abernathy, Otto Abernathy and others. This was unusually good land.

Conrad Yoder nor none of his descendants ever owned any slaves. Tradition says that they did not believe in slavery and that they never liked negroes. What little money they had to invest, was always invested in land rather than slaves.

The family of Conrad Yoder must have lived in a very simple manner. There were no markets in which to buy and sell. They had to raise and make practically everything used in their household. There was little money in the country. It was a typical primeval civilization.

Conrad Yoder was a warm supporter of American Independence. He with his other neighbors Henry Weidner, and John Wilfong never took the oath of allegiance. His son John volunteered in the Revolution when only sixteen.

Conrad Yoder must have had a fairly good education, as he could read and write well. he paid Henry Weidenr 45 pounds sterling English money for the 200 acres he bought from him.

Conrad Yoder died in 1790, supposed to have been about 69 or 70 years old. He was buried in the old Yoder graveyard, upon a high knoll overlooking the surrounding country and Jacob's Fork valley in many directions. There by his two first wives he was laid to rest. Brave, courageous pioneer, he learned the hardships of the wilderness life. He saw the life of primeval forest. He helped to carve out a home in the unbroken forest. He was one of those restless souls that left the din of civilized life, and helped to blaze the way for another civilization.

Like his other German neighbors, he perhaps took little part in politics at that time. Handicapped because they could not speak English and because they were not accustomed to English customs, manners and government, these old German pioneers went about their business on their farms, clearing up their land, erecting comfortable houses, and barns, raising good crops and tilling their fields well, fencing in their fields, and raising good cattle, horses, hogs, and sheep.

Here is a little community of their own kind they were content to live move and have their being, bring up their children according to the old German fashion, enjoy the good things produced by their own labor.

John Yoder. 1764-1835 -- (first son of Conrad Yoder)

John Yoder, the oldest son of Conrad Yoder, was born on his father's farm, Oct. 26, 1764. He was the first white child born on Jacob's Fork River. He worked on his father's farm helping to clear it up and get it into cultivation.

He volunteered in the American army at the age of sixteen. Afterwards he was a militia captain for a long time. He became a farmer and a surveyor and was one to help survey the boundary line between Burke and Lincoln counties.

He married Mary Barbara Reep in 1790. The Reeps then lived near Lincoln, close to Ramseurs Mill. They had originally come from Stanley County. The children of this marriage were:JohnJacobMichaelPeterChristinaMollieBarbara

John Yoder like his father was stocky, heavy-set, with dark eyes and complexion. He always wore his pants with belt.

He built his home on the West side of Jacob's Fork River, on a branch, near the river. Here on the overlooking the little river valley and many acres of fine bottom land he lived all his life. At first he built a one room log house. But as his family increased, he built three more additional rooms. He had good log barns and cribs. He had a blacksmith shop where he kept all his farming tools repaired, most of which he had to make himself. Near the house he also had a still where he made his surplus corn into whiskey.

When he died he had come into possession of over 1200 acres of land. Much of this was the rich bottom land on the river close to his home. Here he raised many bushels of corn. It is related that he always raised about 100 loads of corn. Michael Yoder, his son, always said that they would begin planting and working corn in the bottoms early in the spring and would work till the roasting ears began to come on the earliest corn planted. Afterward they would not get all the corn they planted worked out.

John Yoder raised a lot of wheat and oats for his time. At that time, there were no threshing machines, and the wheat had to be flailed out or trampled out by the horses. The old German farmers built their barns with a large driveway between the stalls. His driveway was floored. The wheat sheaves were laid in a circle on this floor and their horses driven around over the wheat till it was tramped out of the sheaves. The barn now owned by Peter Yoder which was built on the old homestead of Michael Yoder is a good example of the kind of barns that were built by the old German settlers.

John Yoder always kept lots of live-stock-- cattle, sheep, hogs. These he let run on the free range that lay west of his home for several miles. Out on this upland country the timber was sparse in many places and the land was covered with grass which made fine grazing.

Where wheat and oats was raised at that time, the old settlers followed the fallow plan, letting the land lie untilled every other year. The old settlers knew nothing about the improvement of the land by raising such crops as clover and peas.

Living in John Yoder's family was very simple. Breakfast generally consisted of a soup made of bread and milk. Coffee came only once a week, on Sunday morning. But in the kitchen pantry there was always an abundance of the vegetables and meat grown on the farm.

When John Yoder married he did not have much education. But when he became a surveyor he began his studies by the fireside with lightwood knots during the winter months. He became proficient in Mathematics and could read and write well. He took considerable interest in education and built a log school house in his yard for which he employed a teacher to teach his children especially the older ones.

John Yoder was a pious man. He was an elder in the German Reformed Church at Grace for many years. In 1825 he was delegated to get a preacher for the church. After some correspondence he secured Rev. Fritchie, from Pennsylvania. Rev. Fritchie was opposed to slavery and very sympathetic in his attitude toward the slaves. He wanted the people to allow them to attend the services. John Yoder never owned any slaves and always disliked negroes, so he and several other members opposed Rev. Fritchie's efforts to get the slaves to attend church. Finally the question was put to a vote, and the motion carried to allow the negroes to attend. Whereafter John Yoder an old graybearded man then somewhat exasperated over the situation arose and in his peculiar Pennsylvania Dutch said "Ich hauben die Kirchen helfen bauchen, und ich stageminde theren mit ein Staugel Briggel und slaug dare ersten Nager un das daren guen will". Translated: "I helped to build this church and I will stand there with a snake pole and kill the first n---- (expletive) that tries to come in". Over this event several of John Yoder"s sons left the German Refomed Church. John Yoder remained in the church till he died in 1835, but he was never the ardent supporter of the church as he had been before.

He did not believe in shouting. And on one occasion when there had been held a meeting at George Shufords and much shouting had taken place among members of the German Reformed Church. John Yoder, went around among his neighbors to learn whether it was true. Learning that it was, he went to Rev. Graeber, the Lutheran preacher then living near Startown and told him not to affiliate with Rev. Fritchie. Rev. Fritchie was the German Reformed pastor and who had coordinated the meeting. by that time, Rev. Fritchie got ready to leave. Before leaving he came to see the Yoder family. he sat down by the side of John Yoder's wife and said: "Well Mutter, ich will do Farlussan, und wast denken sie dafur?" She answered: "Well, Waren do nicht bleiben, will must farlussan und ist may sie." Translated: "Well mother, I'm going to leave here, what do you think about it?" Answer: "Well those that don't want to stay here must go, there will be more corn for the other hogs".

John Yoder was a peace loving man and popular among his neighbors. He had neighbors far and wide. He never quarreled with any of his neighbors. He had many devoted friends. John Dellinger and Henry Sigmon had planned to fight a duel. Dellinger selected John Yoder as his second. But before the duel came off, John Yoder went over to see both of them privately and made them promise to make friends, thus avoiding the duel.

In his late years, John Yoder was a well fixed man for his time. He accumulated a large amount of property and had his pioneer home well fixed. The sale of personal property at his death lasted three days. His personal effects sold brought over $800. People came from a distance of 20 miles all around. More than 1000 people attended the sale. This was an unusually large crowd to gather at a sale at that time. Col. G. M. Yoder who was a small boy then says that it was a muddy time just after a big snow. The executors furnished a free treat. Three bottles of liquor were kept going all the time, always a dram to the next bidder. He says that only three got drunk, no young people did.

John Yoder had a still in his own yard. It was much more profitable and economical to make corn in to whiskey and sell the whiskey than to try to find a market for corn. He would take a dram occasionally, and would sometimes get tight at election time. He always made cider wine out of his apples. The apples were beaten up and the cider pressed out. This was put into the still and the water boiled out. Some liquor was then put into it to make it keep. The family had this beverage to drink all the year. In 1814, the river got very high and backed up in the branch and the slop trough of the still was used for a boat in the branch.

In politics John Yoder was a democrat. When the candidates came to Lincolntown which was the county seat in his time they always inquired how John Yoder and the other Yoders were going to vote. Their influence in politics seems to have been all powerful in their community.

John Yoder died in 1835. He was buried on New Years Day at Grace Church. He was aged 72 years. He died from paralysis, with which he was afflicted some two months before his death. The day before he died he got very restless. Finally he made it known by signs that he wanted to be dressed for burial. Then he indicated that he wanted them to take the measure for his coffin. This done he motioned for them to go have the coffin made. At last he held up one finger, probably having some premonition that he would died the next day. The next day about one o'clock he passed away.

John Yoder was the progenitor of a large number of Yoders who lived and do live close by in the community where he spent all the days of his life. Among those living now are Col. G. M. Yoder, his grandson, P.R. Yoder, Lee Yoder, Calvin Yoder & Enloe his great grandsons.

He was a useful and well liked citizen. He belonged to the great throng of common people, the backbone of any country. His children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren have been among the substantial citizens of the community always standing for the best sort of community life.-



(1) There is no evidence that spellings Soder, Zoder or Koder are related to the Yoder surname.

(2) This tale confuses a story about the Amish Yoders with the report that Widow Barbara was "the first" of the family to arrive in US. It is believed that the widow Barbara was with the Amish Yoder family which actually arrived in 1742.

(3) Daniel arrived on the ship Hero in 1764.

(4) The Jacob Joder on the Queen of Denmark is a fellow who we've written about in YNL29. I find no Conrad "Koder" or similar spelling among two different listings of the ships list. The Ship NEPTUNE -- Oct. 25, 1746. however, does show "Conrad (X) Yotter".

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