The descendants of George Weiand 1745/50 - 1824
updated August, 2014
I have revised my "John Wiant of Mifflin County" (1976) and with the help of several other descendants have been able to add missing branches. There are still many details to add and I am grateful to hear from descendants who can help.
If you are looking here for the first time to see where you might fit into this family, I have created a full index.
Variations in our family include
Wian, Wiant, Wyant, Wyan, Weyant, Weyandt, Wion
Most of our ancestors were immigrants to Pennsylvania from the Palatinate, an independent state of Germany, which lay on either side of the Rhine river. Throughout European history this area has been a center of fighting for power and religious freedom. In the late seventeenth century the decision of Louis XIV to invade the Palatinate led to one such period of devastation which, in turn, encouraged many thousands of survivors to seek freedom in North America.
In 1681 the Quaker, William Penn, obtained a grant from the British Government for the land in North America north of Maryland and east of the Delaware river. He set up a government there at Philadelphia in 1682 and, after making treaties with the Indians, began offering land for sale. He then returned to Europe to encourage migration to this province of Pennsylvania.
The farmers of the ravaged Palatinate eagerly listened to Penn's offer of land and freedom to follow their protestant faith, and began a migration which was to continue through much of the eighteenth century. It began slowly, but increased rapidly as word came back to friends and relatives that there was indeed fertile land and tolerance in the new world.
The trip down the Rhine to Rotterdam started a journey many months long that, at its best, was both dangerous and dreadful. The boat owners found the transportation of the migrants to be a profitable business if handled correctly. This meant overcrowding, unsanitary conditions and food, and, frequently, sickness and death. Many unfortunate migrants agreed to be indentured upon arrival in order to pay for their passage. Yet for these at least safe arrival was in the captain's interest. Those who paid in advance generally fared less well - indeed if they died early they consumed less provisions!
The strongest withstood the rigors of the journey and arrived at Philadelphia. After the doctor came aboard to ascertain that the ship was free from disease, the migrants were taken on shore to swear their oath of allegiance to the British crown. Many of these lists of signatures still exist to record the arrival of our ancestors. Those who had paid their way now headed up the rivers and across country to take up new land on the fringes of the settlements. For some there were friends and relatives to join - others probably followed friends made on ship. Those who had to pay off their passage were sold to settlers who now had the use of their services for a period of years, the exact time depending on the considered value of such services.
Slowly, over the generations, children sought new land, moving ever westward, becoming ever more American. As they went they left a record of their lives their births, marriages, and deaths - their wills and land transactions their taxes and military service. At first the civil records were minimal, indeed vital statistics were not kept until the twentieth century. Also the civil servants were British and had little interest in recording correctly the unusual German names.
The migrants were deeply religious however, so we have been left a heritage of baptismal registers in the hand of the current preacher - sometimes the property of the church, sometimes carried by him from village to village. It is our loss that the registration of marriage and death were not considered as important. Although many records have been lost irretrievably, others are continually being discovered in attics and cellars. So if we can only present at this time a partial history, we can hope that it may one day become more complete.
GEORG WEIAND (1745/50 - 1824)
Our first record of Georg Weiand is in Manor Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. In July, 1770 the records of Trinity Lutheran church in the town of Lancaster noted that "after threefold proclamation Georg Weigand and Anna Catharina Kuchlerin in Manor township" were married. The following year, for the first and only time, "George Weyand" appeared on the tax list of Manor township, where he was renting from Caspar Lutz - his only property was a cow. On May 1, 1771 "Johann Weygandt" was born to Georg and Anna Catharina. On May 9 George made the trip to Trinity to announce his intention to take communion on May 19 (Pentecost). Then on June 2 the couple had their first child - our ancestor - baptized. Although the pastor wrote "Weigand" and "Weygandt" in the record, Georg was not a regular member of the church - it is reasonable that the pastor misheard or confused him with another Weigand family that he knew about. Georg could read and write, and signed his name "Weiand". (The "signature" below is actually a scribe's attempt to copy the signature on an original deed of 1793 at the time of recording the deed into the deed book.In German script a cursive e looks more like r.)
As Georg's name did not appear on the list for 1772 it would appear that he had already left the area with his new family.
It is not yet known who Georg's parents were. It was traditional for German Lutheran parents to name their children after relatives according to a formula. The first son was usually named after the father's father. With this in mind we are looking at immigrants named Johannes. While not all arrivals were recorded, two seem worth researching: "Johannes Weiand" arrived on the ship Two Brothers in 1748, taking the oath of allegiance to the British crown on September 15; and "Hannes Weygandt" arrived on the ship John and Elizabeth in 1754, swearing the oath on November 7. In neither case were the names of the accompanying family listed, but it is likely that Georg Weiand was born in Germany, and arrived with his parents. It is also possible that Georg arrived as an adult, the arrival record being lost. From his marriage date and later census information he was born 1745/50. From the year of birth of his wife, indicated at her death as 1748, his birth was probably 1745/7.
"George Wiand" next appeared on the 1774 tax list of Maidencreek Township, Berks County, PA - northeast of Lancaster County. By this time he would have had two or three children, but no further birth records have been found.
In 1778/9 he moved again - to Richmond Township, just to the west, where he was listed in 1779 as "George Weyandt" with 25 acres of land. In 1781the listing was for "Wyandt Geo Taylor."
In 1782/3 he moved west again - to Bern Township, first appearing on the 1783 list as "Wyand Geo". More information was provided by the 1784 list which showed "George Wyand" had 50 acres and six children.
He was listed for the last time in 1785 then moved west again, this time to Northumberland County where he appeared on the 1786 list for Penn Township as "George Weiland" with 150 acres. He was listed in the first census of the US in 1790 as "George Waint" with seven children (one of whom at least must have died young). The following year he purchased some 230 acres of land, and saw his oldest son, John, come of age. We learn this from the tax list of 1792 listing John as a single adult. In 1792 "George Weiant" and his wife Susannah were listed as sponsors for their granddaughter Susannah Heisler. The name of George's wife was either mis-transcribed or written incorrectly by the pastor. The location of the original record is unknown. In 1796 George's property became a part of the newly formed Mahantango Township and in May the following year he and his wife Catherine sold it and bought around 300 acres in Greenwood Township across the border in Mifflin/Cumberland County. It would become a part of Perry County in 1820.
He and his wife became members of St Michael's Lutheran Church where Catherine's death was recorded in 1805. "the 3rd of November Georg Weÿant's wife at the age of 57 years and 3 months." George married for a second time another Catherine by 1809 when they sponsored a baptism, and had another family: Elizabeth in 1810, Sara in 1812, and Catherine in 1823.The 1810 census lists a male under 10 and two females (one under 10 and one 16-25) who were not mentioned in George's will. It is possible that they were children of his new wife. In 1821 George deeded a piece of his land to John Gansyl, and specified in his will that he was to be allowed to take timber for a house from his land, and in 1825 Catherine Wiant was the witness at the baptism of John and Elizabeth Gensel's daughter, Margaret. It would seem clear that George's second wife was the widow of ---------- Gensel.
George wrote his will in 1821 listing his eight children: John, Catherine Heisler, George, Henry, Mary Steffe, Maria Waggoner, Elizabeth, and Sara. He signed his will with a shaky "W", a far cry from his well formed Georg Weiand of twenty years earlier.
At the end of 1822 George borrowed $373 from one Thomas Cochran with half to be repaid within the year. As security he mortgaged his land. He signed the indenture of January 1, 1823 with his full signature - a shaky version of his earlier one but an improvement over the "W" of 1821. He seems to have been in somewhat better health but in great need of cash. He failed to make the first payment.
He last appeared on the 1825 tax list and the following year recorded "the heirs of George Wiand." As the lists were for tax due the previous year it seems that George died sometime in 1824.
Thomas Cochran sued George's heirs for non-payment of his debt. Although the court instructed the sheriff to contact the heirs only the two young daughters seem to have been reached. A protracted case was finally settled with the public sale of George's land by the sheriff in 1829 for $370.
George's widow moved to the village of Millerstown after the sale of the property, and gave her age in 1830 as over 60. If this is correct she would have been 53 when her last child was born. She was last listed on the 1843 tax list, and George's will was probated the following year. Following the sale of a house and two lots in Millerstown only $58 was left after expenses.
The children of George and his first and second wives are described further below.
CHILDREN OF GEORG (1745/50 - 1824) AND CATHARINA (1748-1805) WEIAND
JOHN was born May 1, 1771 in Manor Twp, Lancaster Co, Pennsylvania. He moved, via Berks County, to Penn Township, Northumberland County with his parents, being first listed as a single adult in 1792. He married soon after Catherine Mertz, daughter of Philip and Eva Mertz of the same township. We learn this from Philip's 1804 will; the connection was confirmed by mtDNA comparison between direct female descendants of John's wife and a known daughter of Eva Mertz. The first two children of John and Catherine were registered at Morr's church in Freeburg - Philip in 1794 and Catherine Elizabeth in 1795.
The 1800 census of Union Township shows that John Wiant and his wife were both between the ages of 26 and 45, and that they had a son and 5 daughters under the age of 10.
John Wiant first appears on a tax list in 1803, with the indication that he owned horses and a cow.
From the 1805 tax list we learn that John Wyan owned 30 acres, though there is no record of him buying it or selling it. Indeed in later assessments he is listed as an "inmate" or renter of land. In 1810 he was recorded as being 45 (though he would have been just 40) and had 3 sons and 8 daughters. Of these, 2 sons and 4 daughters were born in this decade. One of the daughters from the previous census seems to have died. In a listing of property attached to the 1810 census we learn that he owned woolens, flax, cotton, hemp, 2 spinning wheels, as well as 2 horses and 2 cows.The 1812 tax list confirms that John Wian, "inmate," was a tailor like his father.
In 1816 a new name appears as son Philip, "single freeman," becomes 21. (I believe such references are to events of the previous year, meaning in this case that Philip came of age in 1815.)
The absence of John Wiant from the 1820 census first led me to wonder if he had moved from the area, but a closer look shows that there are two John Wills listed in Union Township, though there is only one in both 1810 and 1830. I believe it is reasonable to assume that one of these is actually our John, miscopied by the scribe. The statistics fit.He is over 45 (he would have been 50) and his wife still under 45. They have 1 son under 16, 3 sons under 10, and 2 daughters under 16.
The next extant tax list, 1823, shows John Weiand and Philip Wyam both back again with one cow each. The same list gives us a new source of information. For the first time the usual lists are followed by one titled "Poor children returned to the assessor." There follows
John Wyans children
Benjamin Wyan Born Decr. 25, 1811
James Wyan Born Decr. 25 - 1811
Christiana Wyan Born Jany. 28 - 1815
In 1825 the same three children are listed along with John and Philip Wiant and a new name is discovered "Solomon Wiant, single freeman," so presumed to have been born in 1803. Solomon is listed thus until 1827 after which he disappears for ten years.
1827 also gives us another name when the list of poor children records "John Wyant's child George Wyant 8 years," so presumed to have been born in 1818.
How the family of John Wyant has changed by the time the 1830 census is taken! He is now over sixty, all his daughters have left home, two twentyish sons (the twins) and their younger brother (George) are all that remain. Philip now has his own family of seven children. He must have married about 1818 as two of his children were born before 1820.
Catherine appears as a taxpayer in 1838. Presumably John died the previous year. Interestingly, in 1837 Philip disappears but Solomon reappears and the final son to appear in the records, "John Jr," is listed (just this year!). It would seem reasonable that this gathering of the sons (and perhaps daughters too) related to the poor health and death of their father. The youngest son, George, would have turned 18 in 1836. If his father had died before that one would expect there to be Orphans Court records regarding a guardianship. No will was recorded; there was no estate to settle; we have found no tomb-stone.
The tax lists go on, adding Benjamin Wian in 1838 - George Wian in 1841 - James Wian in 1842 - John Wian (Jr) returning in 1845, as the sons of John and Catherine begin their own families.
Catherine lived on to see her grandchildren grow up, living with her son Solomon until 1850, at least,when the census reported her age as 72. The Lewistown Gazette noted the death of Catherine Wion, 80, of Brown Township, on February 4th, 1852.
We would know no more than this about the Wiants were it not that the one hundredth anniversary of United States Independence prompted the printing of local histories and biographies all over the country. Those citizens whose biographies appeared were both the prominent, and the less prominent who had agreed to buy a copy of the history when published. For which ever reason, we are fortunate in our search that the "Commemorative Biographical Encyclopedia of the Juniata Valley" (1897) included a biography of Ephraim Wian of Lewistown, Mifflin County.
He was a grandson of John and Catherine Wiant and his memory, while not always accurate, has added considerably to our knowledge of our family.
To our surprise he says that his grandparents were William and Catherine Wian, both of Geman descent. However his grandfather was dead when he was born, his grandfather's children were dead by the time the biography was written, and indeed Ephraim Wian himself was to die the following year. A biography of another grandson does speak of "John Wyan" as being the ancestor.
He says his grandfather died at 60 and his grandmother at 80. The latter could be about right as discussed above, but John Wian was about 66 when he died.
Ephraim says, incorrectly, his grandmother was Catherine Holzapfel. We learn finally that John and Catherine Wiant had 17 children. Four died young and the six sons, named as we have learned above, and seven daughters - Mary, Christine, Catherine, Elizabeth, Susan, Martha and Fanny - that grew to maturity are given. Without this record we would probably never have known the daughters' names.
With the information so far available we can now at least suggest the growth of the Wiant family as follows: 1794 Philip, 1795 Catherine, 1796 Elizabeth, 1798 Mary, 1799 daughter died, 1800 Martha, 1801 Susan, 1803 Solomon, 1804 Fanny, 1805 John, 1807 daughter died, 1809 daughter died, 1811 Benjamin and James, 1813 child died, 1815 Christiana, 1818 George. The lives of the thirteen children who grew to maturity are described in the second generation.
CATHERINE was born about 1772 according to her 1843 tombstone at the Old Heisler cemetery in German Township, Harrison County, Ohio where her age was given as 71. She married Henry Heisler (died Nov.21, 1834 aged 66 years, 9 months, 7 days) around 1789 and had Elizabeth ca 1790, Susannah March 26, 1792 (baptised Grubbs Church, Northumberland County - sponsors George and Susannah (Catherine) Weiant), M. Margaret August 1, 1793, Henry July 12, 1795, Mariah June 10, 1798, Frederick April 16, 1799, Christiana ca 1801, John July 6, 1806, Catherine, Sarah. In 1828 court documents relating to the estate of George Weiand, the husband of Catherine Heisler is given as Abraham, but there is no appropriate Abraham Heisler in either the 1820 or 1830 census and the Heislers had gone to Ohio almost thirty years earlier. George and his first wife were both dead and none of their children seem to have been in the area, so it would not be surprising that the husband's name was incorrect. Details of the Heisler family come from "A Record of the Descendants of John Adam Stephen ... Frederick Steffy ... and of Henry Heisler ..." compiled by Mrs. Harold A. Cook and others 1974.
GEORGE born ca 1773 married Mary Magdalena Hahn, daughter of Michael Hahn according to the latter's Northumberland County will of 1800. The 1794 tax list of Penn Township listed "son of George Weyant" as a single man. This would seem to refer to George Jr. In 1797 Maria was born to George and Magdalena (Grubbs church). The family was not listed in the 1800 census. In January 1802 George and Magdalena released land of Michael Hahn to Henry Heisler (see Catherine above). In December 1804 George Wiand Jr of Mahantango purchased land - the deed being witnessed by George Wiand Sr. (This does not prove that these were father and son but is a strong indication.) The 1810 census lists 3 sons under 10, 3 daughters under 10 and 1 daughter 10/15. George Wient was listed in an 1814 roster of the company of Captain Middleswarth during the war of 1812. George and Magdalena registered the birth of Sara at Grubbs church in 1815. They moved to Ohio some time before June 1818 when they were already selling a piece of land in Ohio. The tax lists for Salem 1816-19 show a George Wyant with 50 acres but it is unclear which George this is (see below the children of Jacob Weiand). In 1820 the 50 acre property becomes a 139 (137.5) acre property and, as indicated in later records, was in NE section as opposed to the SE section where the 50 acre property was. This is clearly George son of George. George and his wife were listed in the 1820 Ohio census of Salem Twp, Jefferson Co where they have been confused by researchers with the son of Jacob Sr who had actually died before 1820. They were listed as being over 45 with 3 sons under 10 (David, Frederick, Jacob) and 1 son 10-15 (John) [oldest son George was already married] and 1 daughter under 10 (Sarah) and one over 16 (Elizabeth). George stayed on the Salem tax lists until 1829. (He sold the 137.5 acre property in 1828.) They were listed in Union Twp, Harrison County in 1830 aged 50-59 with 2 sons 15-19 (David and Frederick), one son 10-14 (Jacob), one daughter 20-29, and one daughter 15-19 (Sarah). In Perry Township, in newly formed Carroll County in 1840, both were aged 60-69. George wrote his will in 1838; it was proved February 23, 1845 in Carroll County, Ohio. George Wiant's tombstone at Mt. Tabor cemetery in Perry Twp, Carroll Co. gives his date of death as December 23, 1844. When this information was recorded the stone was broken and the age at death was missing. His will listed his wife Magdalena and children Mary Crist (oldest daughter), Susanna Kessel, Mary Magdalena Grobing, Elizabeth Thompson, Sarah Cahill, George (oldest son), John, David, Frederick, and Jacob (youngest son). These children are described in the second generation
HENRY born ca 1776 was a communicant at St Michael's church, Perry County on December 18th, 1803 and was listed on the 1808 tax list for Greenwood Twp. The register of St Michaels lists the birth of Anna Catharina on August 21, 1809 to Heinrich and Barbara Weiant (George and Catharina were the sponsors). Henry was not listed in the 1810 census or the 1811 list. A Henry Wyant was listed in the 1830 census of Salem Twp, Jefferson Co OH aged 50-59. His wife was aged 40-49. They had a son 10-14, a daughter 5-9, a daughter 10-14, and a daughter 15-19. In 1850 Barbara Wayant was listed in Springfield Twp, Jefferson Co aged 56 with Jacob (33) and Rachel (23) In 1860 Barbara Wyant was listed in Springfield Twp, Jefferson Co aged 70, born in PA, living with Jacob (54 b Ohio) and Rachel (47 b Ohio) Wyant. The three were listed again in 1870 when Barbara gave her age as 84. As there was no listing at all in 1840 it could be that Henry died before then and Barbara was living with a married daughter. The statistics of these records fit quite well with the Henry, son of George. He was born 1771-80 and had a wife Barbara. Without any earlier census records it is not known yet what other children they may have had. Tax lists for Salem 1816-1837 make no reference to Henry.
MARY MARTHA born ca 1778 married _________ Steffy before 1821 according to her father's will. As her husband's name was not known for court records after George's death it can be assumed that she and her family had already left the area. Indeed she probably moved west with other Heisler and Steffy families around 1800 when the Weiand family was still in Northumberland County. In the court documents she was called Martha.
MARIA born ca 1780 married John Waggoner before 1821 according to her father's will. Georg was born Apr 18, 1799 to Johann Wagener and wife Maria Catharina. The godparents were the grandparents, Georg Weiant and his wife. Johannes was born Oct 7, 1800 to Johann Wagener and wife Maria Catharina. The godparent was Johannes Weiant (presumably the bother of Maria Catharina). Sarah was born Jan 18, 1806 to Johann Wagener and wife Maria. The godparents were grandparents Georg Weiant and Catharina Wagnerin. John 74 and Mary 70 Wagner, both born in PA, were listed in 1850 German Twp, Harrison Co, OH with Eliza Griffeth 26 and George Griffeth 6 both born Ohio. In 1840 they were in New Jefferson Twp: 1830 German; 1820 Green.
CHILDREN OF GEORG (1745/50 - 1824) AND CATHARINA (1765/70-1842) WEIAND
ELIZABETH was born May 24, 1810 according to the records of St Michael's in Pfoutz Valley, Perry County. It is not known what happened to her after 1828 when she was listed in court procedings relating to her father's estate.
SARA was born October 15, 1812 according to the St Michael's church records. As the baptism is given as October 16, 1813 it is possible that one year is incorrect. She was presumably the female aged 15/19 living with Catherine Wiant in 1830. It is not known what became of her.
CATHERINE was born September 1, 1823 according to the St Michael's church records. There is no mention of her in the court procedings following George's death so it is assumed she had already died.
JACOB WEIAND (1745/50 - 1807/9) was a brother or cousin to George Weiand. One branch of his children stayed in Pennsylvania and still spell their name Weiand. All the others moved west and spell their names either Wiant or Wyant.
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