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Descendants of Hans Rudolf Herli

By Willard F. Harley

Section 12: The Harley Family

The following is an excerpt from Section 12 of the book. It is added "as is" and is not to be taken as entirely accurate as to contents. After receiving many requests which require finding and copying parts of this document, I decided that it would be beneficial to have it included on the Harley Surname site for all to view.

Table of Contents

Hans Rudolf Herli

The Second Generation


Will of Rudolph Harly

Will of Barbara Herli

Hans Rudolf Herli

Hans Rudolf Herli was probably born in the Rhenish Palatinate, or Pfaltz, in 1692 [his cemetery marker has the inscription “72 1764”, his age and year of death]. He spoke and wrote in German. But the spelling of his name would indicate that his family was originally from Switzerland or Holland. There are two cantons in Switzerland where the family name of Herrli can be found, namely Cantons Berne and Fribourg. It is also remotely possible but very doubtful that the family was of Welsh origin.

He was married to Barbara, surname unknown, about 1713. Their first daughter, Mary, was born August 1714 and their second, Elizabeth, was born in 1716.

According to the historian Abraham Harley Cassel, Herli was a Life Guard in the service of Frederick William I in Potsdam. Since Life Guards were required to be seven feet tall or taller, it is assumed that Herli was at least that tall.

It is unusual today to find men who are seven feet tall, but in the 17th century it was even more unusual. So if the King of Prussia could not induce these giants to serve voluntarily, he would abduct them.

As one of the king’s recruiting officers, Herli saw a good candidate in Johannes Naas who was traveling with Jacob Priesz as German Baptist [Brethren] Evangelists from Creyfelt to Marienborn and Epstein. Priesz, a short man, was not molested. Naas, a very tall man, was taken to the king’s presence, who definitely wanted the tall, handsome evangelist in his Life Guard. But Naas said he was already enrolled in serving in the army of a greater King, the Lord Prince Emmanuel. Naas was tortured by being hung up by his thumb and big toe, but still did not give in to the king’s wishes. The king was so impressed that he gave Naas a gold coin and his freedom.

Herli was so impressed with their witness that he joined Naas and Priesz as they resumed their travels. He finally asked to be baptized which Naas did by immersing him three times face downward in running water. It was a big jump for Herli from being a military man for the King of Prussia to that of becoming a member of the newly-formed religious organization, who called themselves the German Baptist Brethren. Later, in Peter Becker’s group, Herli became on of their ministers.

This group was persecuted by the civil authorities and was forced to flee to Holland for refuge. Here Herli was not a popular minister. One reason for his unpopularity can be placed, as in most cases of converts to all religions, on his over-zealousness. Another reason was the way he answered one or two skeptics, who would attend the meetings. He would lose his temper and shout at the men. One in particular who asked, "If Jesus sitteth on the right hand of God the Father, who sitteth on the left hand?" Another disturber of the peace said, "Why don’t you tell the truth? The reason many married men leave their wives of long standing for a younger woman is because a rosebud is more attractive and desirable than a full-blown rose." Herli had to be restrained from fighting with the man.

One expression attributed to Herli was, "If there is not a God, there certainly is a conscience, which works invisibly inside one." Another was, "The most outrageous and unchristian expression is a Holy War." It made sense to him to abandon his previous military life for the non-violent doctrine of the Baptist Brethren. He could not understand why the Roman Catholic religion held so many masses: at 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 o’clock. To him it seemed unwise and self-defeating. To justify one’s existence, one should leave the world a little better than one found it.

Another Brethren minister who had fled to Holland with Herli, Peter Becker, organized a group of 20 families to travel to Pennsylvania where they could practice their faith without fear of persecution. Herli was particularly concerned, since he could have been put to death for having left the Life Guard before his six year term was expired. Herli, wife Barbara, and two daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, were part of this group. They left for Pennsylvania in the summer of the year 1719. What impressed Herli was what William Penn was reported to have said: “There are no witches in Pennsylvania. [But] if there were, they would have a perfect right to fly through the air.”

Herli and the others left their homes in Creyfelt and embarked from Friesland in a large Flemish vessel thought to have been named, Patience, with several hundred passengers on board. From Friesland, the vessel stopped at a port in Wales where they loaded more passengers.

The suffering, sickness and distress in crossing the wide ocean was almost indescribable. And what made matters worse, during the voyage Barbara gave birth to a son, Rudolf II , on 14 July 1719. About halfway over, as they encountered a storm that was so furious and continued so long that most of the passengers lost hope. Much of the merchandise on the vessel was thrown overboard. During the storm, the captain came down into the hold of the ship which was occupied by the Brethren families. He found them fervently engaged in singing and prayers, and was moved to tears by the sight. He went back to the crew encouraged by the thought that the Almighty would not let such pious men perish in the deep. Soon afterward, the storm abated and the passage was completed without further danger. The voyage that began in May 1719, was finally over in October when it entered the bay which later came to be known as Delaware Bay.2

Herli and his family were unregistered and classified as excess cargo. This was probably a safety measure. The German king had alerted his officers to search the villages, countryside and also all departing ships for his former recruiting officer.

The next step for the group of 20 families of the Baptist Brethren was to discover the location of the Town of the Germans. Many of the settled Germans had come down to the riverside in carts, wagons and carriages to meet the ship and offer their help and hospitality. Herli was fortunate in having Dr. Christopher Witt give him and his family a lift and shelter. They traveled six miles up the North Wales Road to Witt’s home and botanical gardens. Witt and Francis Daniel Pastoruis were very generous in their assistance to fellow German immigrants as they would arrive.

Here, in the Town of the Germans, the Herli family stayed until another daughter was born. She was name Helena and was born between 1720 and 1721.

From the Town of the Germans, Herli moved to Somerset County, Hew Jersey, perhaps to be with his father, and English soldier with the name Harley. Peter Becker baptized the soldier while Herli lived there. The soldier was in Wales at the time Herli’s group stopped to pick up more passengers. He could have made contact with his father at that time, and the father would have told him where he would be living two years later.

The English soldier tried to help Herli become established, but he had just married for the second time and the arrangements may not have worked out. In any event, Herli left Somerset County shortly there after and moved to the next county, Hunterdon, where he purchased 176 acres from Nathan Allen on 5th and 6th December 1721. He built a house and became a farmer.

In 1724, Henry Graff, a German from Neuwied, Germany, came to Philadelphia and Germantown. His friend, Henry Landis, about 11 years old, who was an apprentice to Theobald Ent, a saddle-maker in Germantown, took Graff to Amwell in Hunterdon County, West Jersey and to Herli’s farm. Herli hired the immigrant German to help him with the farm chores. Later Graff married Herli’s eldest daughter, Mary, when she was 17 [1731].

A story from Jacob C. Harley, told by Alvin P. Harley, describes Herli’s size and strength. “At that time almost everybody had a wine press to make his won wine, and used a horse to press the grapes with its hoofs. On one occasion they were having difficulty getting the horse up into the press. Rudolf cried, ‘Aussem weg’ or ‘Out of the way’. He lifted the horse up on to the press without any assistance.

On 25 August 1726, Rudolf sold 25 acres of his farm to Theophilus Ketcham,, an innkeeper. John Ringo, for whom the village of Ringoes was named, has been considered the first innkeeper at this locality, but it would seem Ketcham preceded him. Instead of the village being named Ringoes, it might have been named Ketchamville. The wife of Ketcham was Elizabeth, daughter of Andrew Heath. Theophilus died, or his will was recorded, on 4 March 1729/30. Rudolf signed this deed with his full name, Hans Rudolf Herli. This is the only known instance where he used his three names. At this period of time, the first name of a son was usually in honor of his father. It was not ordinarily used or written.

On 25 June 1730 it was necessary for Herli to go to Perth Amboy to appear before the Board of Naturalization and become naturalized. This was done and he became naturalized. This was done and be became a British subject. It became effective 8 July 1730.

Two important events happened in the year 1733. The one was the death of the English soldier. It is not known, but Herli may have buried him in the little family plot of one acre, reserved on his farm. The Englishman died at the age of 74 years, and was born in England in 1659.

The other event of 1733 was the coming to Philadelphia of Johannes Naas. Rudolf was overjoyed. At once upon hearing the good news, he arranged to journey down to Philadelphia to meet and greet him. So Herli and three other Brethren, namely, Jacob Moore, Antony Dirdorff, and Johannes Peter Lawsche gave the evangelist the kiss of charity and brotherhood.

By this time there were a few Brethren in the Amwell Valley, but they did not have a meeting-house. They worshipped in various homes. Naas encouraged the five families to build a log meeting-house, which they did with his help. Naas also went to Bucks County, Pennsylvania and founded a meeting place. He died in 1741 and was buried in the Moore Family Burying Ground near Ringoes, New Jersey.

In the year 1734 Herli was elected Constable, probably due to his experience in the Life Guard. The first recorded town meeting held in Amwell lists Rudolph Harley as the first constable3 and he may have served informally prior to that meeting. The duties of a constable in those days were to serve writs and subpoenas and to make arrests. He received his orders from the Justice of the Peace, a very important man at that time. The job of constable was somewhat undesirable, and citizens would take turns fulfilling that obligation. On one occasion, Herli was called upon to stop a fight caused by some drunken men who were holding a meeting in a public house. Herli refused to go saying it would be foolish for one man, whether he were a constable or not, to try to bring order to a bunch of roughs acting violently. A good example of “Discretion is the better part of valor.” So far as is known he served only one year as elected Constable.

Rudolf and Barbara came down from Amwell to attend a religious meeting held in the Town of the Germans. It is thought is was the first of Count Zinzendorf’s Synods held on 1 January 1742. Rudolf would not stay but said he had to go home to attend to his cattle. Going home he was forbidden to cross over on the ice of the Delaware River. He took Barbara out to the middle of the river, ran back, brushed aside the officer, dashed across in the sleigh, reached out and grabbed up his wife. All the time the ice was breaking and cracking under the runners of the sleigh, but he made it to the Jersey shore. A few days later, the officer and a big burly Irishman came to the Herli farmhouse to arrest him. Rudolf grabbed the officer and threw him over a picket fence and off his property. The Irishman met the same fate, and that ended the matter.

On 1 July 1743 Rudolf sold eight acres of his homestead farm to Johannes Justus Ganze. He may have been a son or relative of the George Balzer Gantz who was one of the 20 families of the Becker group. Rudolf II, who owned a 50-acre farm in Amwell, sold it to a Justus Gans on 23 June 1744. It is likely that Ganze and Gans were the same person. Since Helena, Herli’s daughter, married a man named Gans, it was probably the son-in-law of Rudolf Herli.

On 6 May 1747 Rudolf signed a bond in connection with the estate of Antony Dirdorff, a Brethren of the Amwell Valley, Hunterdon, West Jersey. Perhaps Antony was a brother of Barbara, and that could explain why Herli settled in Amwell.

On 29 March 1754, Rudolf and Barbara conveyed their property to their son, Rudolf II, by a deed of release. He later sold it to his brother-in-law, Henry Graff, who in turn sold it to his son-in-law Henry Landis on 1 May 1772. From the Town of the Germans, Herli moved to Somerset County, Hew Jersey, perhaps to be with his father, and English soldier with the name Harley. Peter Becker baptized the soldier while Herli lived there. The soldier was in Wales at the time Herli’s group stopped to pick up more passengers. He could have made contact with his father at that time, and the father would have told him where he would be living two years later.

On 26 June 1758 Nicholas Austin and his wife, Sarah, widow of Nathan Allen, executed a quit-claim deed. Herli was enumerated as having 142 acres. Twenty-five acres sold to John Ganze, eight acres sold to Theophilus Ketcham and one acre reserved for the burying grounds adds up to the original 176 acres.

From 1754 to 1764, the year of his death, Rudolf Herli may have lived in Lower Salford Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, with their son and daughter-in-law, Mary Becker Harley. Another possibility is that they lived with Henry and Mary Herli Graff, who could have owned the homestead farm during that time since Rudolf II had sold it to his brother-in-law.

After Rudolf’s dath in 1764, it is known that Barbara lived with her son Rudolf until she died in 1765. Her stone reads B. H. May 17, 1765. She was taken to the family burying ground in Ringoes, West Jersey, and buried there where her husband Rudolf had been buried.

Rudolf Herli was not the quiet, acquiescent, peace-loving Brethren that was the ideal of the faith. He was a big, strong, crude, rugged and entirely independent man. Barbara was a small woman who could walk under her husband’s outstretched arm.5

He married Barbara about 1713. She was born about 1695 and died 17 May 1765 in Franconia Township, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. Hans Rudolf Herli died in 1764. He resided in Ringoes, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, and was buried in the Harley Burying Ground, [Landis], Ringoes, New Jersey.

The children of Hans Rudolf and Barbara Herli were:

  1. Mary Herli: she was born about 1714 and died 15 September 1764, Burial in Harley Burying Ground, Ringoes, NJ. She married Henry Graff, son of Johann Bertram Graff and Anna Catharina Ackermann October 1731 in Amwell Township, Hunterdon, NJ.
  2. Elizabeth Harley: she was born in 1717. She married John Stager, son of Jacob Stager.
  3. Rudolf Harley II: [See Second Generation, below]
  4. Helena Harley: [See Second Generation, below]

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The Second Generation


Rudolf Harley II2 [Rudolf1] was born 14 Jul 1719 and died 9 July 1809. He lived in Lower Salford Township, Montgomery, PA, and is buried in the Harley Burying Ground, Harleyville, PA at the Brethren Church. He married Mary, daughter of Peter and Dorothy [Partman] Becker about 1740.

On 29 March 1754, the Harley estate passed to Rudolf Harley II who later sold it to his brother-in-law, Henry Graff.

Rudolf Harley II first settled in Amwell, NJ but soon removed to Lower Salford Township [then] Philadelphia County [now Montgomery County], where he became the owner of considerable land. He was a member of the Brethren Church and was one of the Directors of the Poor for Lower Salford in 1764 and 1782. His children were:

  1. Johannes [John] Harley: born 16 August 1741 and died 3 December 1814. He married Margaret Rebecca, daughter of Henry and Elizabeth [Naas] Landis, and resided in Pikeland Township, Chester, PA. He is buried at the Union Meeting, East Coventry, Chester County, PA.

  2. Johanna [Hannah] Harley: born 21 April 1743 and died 30 August 1820. She married Hans Ulrich, son of Christian and Elizabeth ____ Stauffer. She and her husband lived first in Upper Salford and later in Norrison Township, Montgomery County, PA. The children of Christian and Hannah Stauffer were:

    1. John Stauffer: born 1 July 1764; married Mary Dettra [1770-1839]
    2. Catharine Stauffer: married Jacob Whisler.
    3. Mary Stauffer: married Johannes Freed, Jr. of Franconia Square.
    4. Christian Stauffer: [1769-1840] married Susanna Kulp [1782-1849] and they lived in Towamencin Township near Kulpsville. He was called Little Christian to distinguish him from his cousin.
    5. Elizabeth Stauffer: married David Titlow, a German Baptist farmer.
    6. Rudolph Stauffer: lived in Chester County and married Beata Reiner.
    7. Jacob Stauffer: was a twin to Hannah and died young.
    8. Hannah Stauffer: [twin] married Benjamin Frederick and had 19 children.
    9. Abraham Stauffer: [1776-182] married Esther Stauffer [1778-1830] of the Jacob Stauffer line.
    10. Henry Stauffer: [?-1840] was a farmer in Gwynedd Township, Montgomery, PA. He married Anna Stauffer: [1780-1870]; they had no children.
    11. Sarah Stauffer: was the wife of Jacob Grove; they had no children.
    12. Rachel Stauffer:was the wife of Isaac Oberholtzer

  3. Lena [Magdlena?] Harley: was born 4 May 1745

  4. Maria Harley: was born 12 March 1746; baptism, 19 April 1772 in Germantown, Philadelphia County, PA. She married #1, Jacob, con of Henry Naas and Elizabeth Landis ; #2, Frederick, son of Simon Jacob Dielh. She is said to have had nine children, many of whom moved to western states.6

  5. Rudolph Harley III: born 7 January 1748/49, and died 1 January 1827. He married #1, Barbara, daughter of Jacob Bach and Barbara Stager; #2, Sarah Bomberger. He lived in Coventry Township, Chester County, PA, making his living as a farmer.

  6. Sarah Harley: born 20 June 1750 and died 25 September 1799. She married John “George”, son of Daniel Price and Hannah Weickerd [Weicher].

  7. Elizabeth Becker Harley: born 9 September 1750 and died 17 September 1838. She married Christian, son of Conrad and Elizabeth Dettere on 4 October 1769. They resided in Worcester Township, Montgomery County, PA. Burial in the Brethren Cemetery in Lower Prividence, Montgomery County, PA.

  8. Jacob Harley: born 8 June 1752, and died 17 January 1819. He never married and was killed by a kick from a horse.

  9. Heinrich Harley: born 1 July 1754 in Harleysville, Montgomery County, PA, and died 13 August 1840; burial in the Brethren Cemetery, Brethren Church, Lower Providence, Montgomery County, PA. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Keeley and resided in Franconia Township, Montgomery County, PA.

  10. Samuel Harley: born 6 March 1758 and died 24 March 1839; buried in the Harley Burying Ground, Harleysville, PA. He married Catherine, daughter of Christopher Sauer and Catherine Sharpnack on 10 May 1785. He was an innkeeper.

  11. Joseph Harley: born 14 March 1760, and died 9 November 1835; buried in the Harley Burying Ground, Harleysville, PA. He married Catherine, daughter of Jacob Reiff and Catherine Schneider, about 1810. When he was about 50 years of age. He died without children.

  12. Mary Margaretta Harley: born 13 July 1762 in Harleysville, Montgomery County, PA, and died 27 July 1842; burial in Lower Skippack, Mennonite Church, Montgomery County, PA. She married Jacob Reiff Detweiler, son of John and Susannah Detweiler. They resided in Perkiomen Township, Montgomery County, PA.

  13. Abraham Harley: born 14 June 1765, and died 20 September 1833; burial in the Harley Burying Ground, Harleysville, PA. He married Christiana or Catherine Geitz, and was a farmer.

Helena Harley2 [Rudolf1] was born about 1720 and married John Justus Ganze. “On earth the broken arcs, in Heaven the perfect round.” It seems that John Justus Ganze was destined to be a man of mystery. Very little is on record about him. While it is thought that George Balser Gantz, one of the 20 families in the first group of Brethren to come to Philadelphia, was his father, it cannot be stated with surety. George Balsar Gantz had a son, Jacob, and a daughter, Elizabeth. It is thought there were other children. This family lived near Chestnut Hill [then Sommerhausen], some miles north of Philadelphia. It should be noted that both George Balsar and John Justus were coopers. This seems significant.

This much is known: John Justus Ganze was in Amwell Twohship as early as 1739. He bought land from Rudolf Herli in 1743, and from Rudolf II in 1744. Rudolf’s youngest daughter married a man named Gans, as mentioned in the will of her mother, Barbara. Also, on 7 June 1756, when Helena was 36 years old, Christopher Sower II married in Germantown, a Sister Helena to a Justus Kantsel, or Kautsel.

John Justus Ganze was naturalized at Perth Amboy, in 1755. There were other Ganses living at New Jersey at the time Justus was active in Amwell Township, Hunterdon County. They were:

  • “In the administration of the estate of John McDowall, of Hackensack, County of Bergen, NJ, physician, on October 26, 1742, a book debt of Peter Gans is included.” (NJ Wills)

  • “In the inventory of estate of John Marsh, of Elizabethtown, Essex County, NJ, on December 21, 1744, notes of Jeffrey Gons, etc., are included.” (NJ Wills)

  • Jacob Gons, a Palatine, came to Philadelphia from Rotterdam on the ship William and Sarah, William Hill, Master, 18th of September 1727.” (Hinke‘s PA German Pioneers)

  • An Act for naturalizing Michael King and others: passed 20 August 1755, includes the name of Justus Gans. (from Samuel Allinson‘s Acts of General Assembly of NJ)

  • Abstract of Deed: "Rudolf Herli to John Justus Ganse: This indenture made the 31 day of July 1743, in the 18th year of our Sovereign Lord George II, between Rudolf Herli, yeoman, of Amwell Township, Hunterdon County, in the Western Division of the Province of New Jersey, and John Justus Ganse, cooper, of Amwell Township, Hunterdon County, in the Western Divisionof the Province of New Jersey, for and in consideration of £80, the said Rudolf Herli doth grant all that lot or parcel of land situated in Amwell Township, Hunterdon County, in the western division of the Province of New Jersey, containing 8 acres."
    Rudolf Herli
    Witnesses: Johannes Houschilt, Rudolph Harly, Jr. (from original deed)

  • Abstract of Deed: "Rudolph Harly, Jr., to Justus Gans.
    This indenture made the 23rd day of July, Anno Domini 1744, between Rudolph Hurly, Jr. of Amwell, in the County of Hunterdon, in the Western Division of the Province of New Jersey, and Justus Gans, of Amwell, in the County of Hunterdon, the said Rudolph Hurly, Jr., did bargain and sell 50 acres of land situate in Amwell Township to the said Justus Gans."
    Rudolph Hurly, Jr. (from Record of Justus Gans deed of 1745, at Trenton)

  • In the Pennsylvania-German Society publications is found the following record:
    "John Gansel was an ensign in the Fifth Pennsylvania Battalion, January 8, 1776. If this were John Justus Gans, the possibility of his being killed in the Revolutionary War would explain why few records for him have been found."

  • In a deed of release by Nicholas and Sarah Austin, at Burlington, New Jersey, dated the 16th day of June 1758, Justus Gans’ name [among others] is spelled Justice Kanszel.

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Reverend N. B. Grubb of Philadelphia, had in his possession a letter written by Rudolph Harley when 79 years of age, to his friend Reverend Alexander Mack 2d. It was originally written in German, the following is an English translation:

Skippack, May 3, 1798

Your dear little letter was received in due time and I observed therein your loving remembrance and hearty well wishes which greatly rejoiced me.

Now dear brother I greet you heartily and in a childlike spirit I press your hand in the spirit of love. My dear wife also heartily greets you and we wish that God's grace will grant you a rich blessing in this period of your life and your endurance in patience to a blessed entrance to the eternal rest for here we can expect little good in this poor life.

Yes, you will have patience with me and my scribbling for my memory is short and my hand trembles.

Well, I would like to see you once more dear brother, if it could be, but if not in this poor life thn I hope if it is the Lord's will, we shall see each other in the eternal world.

Once more I heartily greet you, also the dear sister, your wife, and remain your meek brother.

Rudolph Harley

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Will of Rudolph Harley


In the Name of God, Amen. I Rudolph Harley of Lower Salford Township in Montgomery County, Yeoman, being so far advanced in years but being of good health and perfect mind, memory and understanding (Blessed by God) have also thought proper to order and make my last Will and Testament in manner following (viz). That is to say first I recommand my soul, to God, whom dit givit and my body to the earth to be decently buried at the discretion of my Executors. And all my reasonable debts and funeral charges to be paid first. And then I give and bequeath unto my well beloved wife Mary the lower and upper room in which we now sleep and live and the kitchen at the east side of the said room for her only proper use and possession during her widowhood; further I give and bequeath to her all the furniture, beddings, bedsteds and clothes-press and what is in the same in the said room for her use and needful kitchen furniture for her use and a cow of the chusing which cow shall be cept and fedd somer and winter by my son Jacob on my premises as he shall ceep his own and yearly dung to be brought on the same by my son Jacob: She shall have part of the cellar with free passage to and from her rooms or anywhere else as she pleases. My said son shall deliver her sufficient fire wood to the house reddy cut for use at the fier and give her yearly six bushel wheat and six bushel rey, five pound wool, ten pounds of flax and one fat hog of at lest one hundred and fifty pounds weight and fruit out of the orchard as much as she may chuse for her use, all the aforesaid articles shall be kept and performed by son Jacob his heirs and assigns yearly and every year to my wife so long as she remains my widow. Item; I further give and devise to my wife the sum of one hundred and fifty pounds in good gold and silver money, which money shall be raised by the sale of my moveable estate and fifty pounds thereof shall be paid to her in twelve months after my decease and the one hundred pounds in three years after my decease all the goods and money given to my wife shall be for her use and maintenance in her natural life but what shall remain of the goods or money after her decease that shall then be equally devided among my children then living or the heirs of their body. And whereas I do own and possess several plantations and tracts of land, I do give and bequeath to my son Jacob part of my plantation whereon I do live with all the buildings and improvements and one hundred and twenty acres of land with the appurtenances thereunto belonging (it being the same more or less) to have and to hold the same to my son Jacob his heirs and assigns forever, And I do value the same to him the sum of seven hundred and fifty pounds in good gold and silver money, his share of inheritance shall be deducted out of the said sum and the residue therof shall be pay in payments of thiry pounds yearly, the first payment in one year after my decease and so forth yearly till fully paid. But nevertheless it is my will and I order in case my son Jacob shall die without issue and reason he is not married then the said land given and bequeath to my son Jacob eight hundred pounds in money aforesaid to have and to hold to him his heirs and assigns forever under the limetation and conditions given and bequeath to my son Jacob.

Item, the remaining part of my plantation whereon I do live I do give and devise to my son Abraham to have and to hold the same to my son Abraham, his heirs and assigns forever and I do value the same to him the sum of five hundred and twenty-five pounds in money aforesaid, his share of inheritance first deducted and then the residue of the said sum shall be pay in payments of twenty-five pounds in money aforesaid, his share of inheritance first deducted and then the pounds yearly the first payment thereof one year after my decease and then so forth yearly till fully paid and my land and plantation situated in lower Salford aforesaid whereon my sons Henry and Samuel doth live I do give and devise the one part thereof (as it is divided) to my son Henry will all the building and improvements on that part where he doth live. To have and to hold unto him his heirs and assigns forever for the value of seven hundred pounds in money aforesaid in payments of twenty-five pounds yearly the first payment thereof in one year after my decease his share of inheritance first deducted out of the said sum and then the yearly payments till fully paid. Item, the other part of the plantation with all the building and improvement thereon (as it is divided) I do give and devise the assigns forever and the value of two hundred and fifty pounds in money aforesaid and in case his share of inheritance shall not come to this sum the residue he shall pay in one ear after my decease.

Item, it is my will that each of my sons shall have twenty-five pounds more than each of my daughters out of my estate and then all the residue of my estate left both real and personal whatsoever I give and devise in equal shares to be divided share and share a licke among my twelve children or to the heirs of their body and it is further my will I order that all in the ground on the place whereon I dwell or what grain, hay or oats in the barn or fat hogs or beef or meat in the house at my decease that shall be for the use of my sons Jacob and Abraham without charge to them. And my Berleborough Biblia I give and devise to my son in law Friederich Diel and my other large Biblia I give and devise to my son Abraham to have and to hold to them forever.

Item, it is my will and I order that the payments of my Real Estate of my sons shall be shared the first payments in two equal to my daughters Hanna and Mary and the second to my son Rudolph and my daughter Elizabeth, the third to my son Joseph and daughter Sara and the fourth years payments of my sons to my daughter Margreth and Whol, and then to begin at the first again as beforesaid till all have their full share each of them and it further is my will and order that all my moveable estate which are herein not all ready given or bequeath shall be sold on publick sale and the money raised by the sale thereof to be paid and shared as is herein before mentioned. And whereas I dit give to my children which are married in household goods cattle and money for which they are charged in my account book and bonds and nots given by any of them to me I will and order that what each of my children in my book is charged and respectively stands against each or any of them or their bond or note that shall by reckoned to his share and portion do nevertheless it is my will in case my eldest son, John, has received of me more than one equal share with the rest of his Brothers he shall ceep the whole that he has received of me but in case he has not received so much all reddy of me then he shall be made equal out of my estate with the rest of his brothers and lastly I do nominate my two sons Rudolph and Jacob to be my executors that this my last will and testament may be duly executed to my intention by them and for their trouble they are each of them to have and to receive three pounds and none more in money aforesaid. And I do hereby revoke and macke void all my other and former made Wills and Testaments ratifying and declaring this as my only active last Will and Testament

In witness whereof I the said Rudolph Harley set my hand and seal thereunto dated the fourteenth day of May in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety-six. N.B. the words in the first page enterlined (and what is in the same in the said room) one before signing and sealing.

Rudolph Harley (seal)7
George School
Henry Landis
Isaac Landis

Will proved 1 August 1809 and letters granted same day to Rudolph Harley and Jacob Harley.

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Will of Barbara Herli

(Philadelphia Will Book, page 331)


In the name of God my Creator, by Whose Grace I do find myself at present of sound mind memory for which grace I am thankfull from the bottom of my heart unto my Beloved God that in presence of my Friends and Relatives I am able to make my Last Will and Testament, wherein I make known how I will have my estate disposed after my decease, viz.:

Imprimis, I recommend my soul unto God my Creator and Jesus my Redeemer and my body unto the earth whereof aforesaid is taken.

Secondly, I constitute as Executor hereof whose name shall be hereinafter nominated and who is to act according to my mind and will as followeth, viz.:

Thirdly, my said Executor shall pay all my debts first faithgully.

Fourthly, all the remainder of my estate considering either of ready money or value thereof shall be shared in manner following, viz.: at first my daughter Elizabeth Steyer is to have one share, and my son Rudolph Harley is to have one share, and my daughter Helena Gans is to have one share, and them three are to have equal shares, share and share alike, and my son-in-law Henry Graff if he repays me them thirty pounds in my hands again in my lifetime, which I have lent unto him then he the aforesaid Henry Graff is to have likewise one equal share with my other above named children: but if he doth not repay said sum untome in my lifetime, then the aforesaid Henry Graff is to have and get no more of my estate besides that which he hath had.

All these presents is my true and firm will which I hope my herein named Executor Rudolph Harley shall and will execute and perform the same exactly and fiathfully and which I hereby with sound mind and memory (Thanks to God) conclude.

In witness whereof I have set my hand and seal in the presence of the underwritten wittnesses the 15th day of April 1765, in the Lower Salford Township.

Barbara (X) [her mark] Harley

sealed and declared in the presence of
Henry Landes
Daniel Prize

Faithfully and idiomatically translated to the best of my skill and from the German original affirmed before me, Abraham Heiderich

Philadelphia, December 5, 1766, then personally appeared Daniel Prize and Henry Landes the witnesses to the foregoing will did affirm and declare they saw and heard Barbara Harley sign, seal, and publish the same to be her Last Will and Testament.

  1. Volume 1, September 1990
  2. Another account says the came on the ship Allen and arrived in Philadelphia on 15 September 1719.
  3. Snell's History of Hunterdon and Somerset Counties.
  4. The property then was sold to Solomon Landis, youngest son of Henry and Catherine (Graff) Landis, then sold to John Runkle (son-in-law to both Graff and Landis by his two wives), then sold to John Rue, then sold to Peter Ogden Holcombe whose widow sold it to her son-in-law Orville H. Dilts, who is the present owner.
  5. Edited by Willard F. Harley, Jr. from report written by J. Herbert Harley.
  6. History of Harleysville and Lower Salford Township, by James Y. Heckler.
  7. Signature has Harley without "e".


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Web Author: Dianne Elizabeth, © 1999
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Web Site: Dianne Elizabeth's Family History, Created July 17th, 1999
Page Title: Descendants of Hans Rudolf Herli
Page Created: May 26th, 2000
Revised: September 2nd, 2000
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