The Peffley, Peffly, Pefley Families in America, A historical and genealogical record of the Peffley, Peffly and Pefley families from 1729-1938; Published in 1938, By May Miller Frost and Clarence Earl Frost
Call Number: R929.2 P375
1 - Nicholas Peffley was born in Kanton Bern, Switzerland about1705. Died in Lancaster County, Penna., about 1741. He was married in Germany about 1723 to BARBARA( Possibly 'Wermuth' - Jeffery Scism, 2007). They arrived at Philadelphia Aug. 19th, 1729, in company with 74 other families of reputed Palatinates on the Ship Mortenhouse, James Coultas, Master, from Rotterdam, Holland. It is known that Jacob, their oldest son accompanied them, and that possibly their daughter Catherine as well, and that she may have been sea-born. Nicholas took the Oath of Allegiance in the Courthouse at Philadelphia on the day he arrived. By March 2nd, 1737, Nicholas had 150 acres of land in Bethel Township, Lancaster County, (after 1785 Dauphin Co., after 1818 Lebanon Co.) Penna., at a place called the "Hole among the Hills," this land was adjacent to that of Peter Bichsel (Bixler). Here he spent the rest of his life, about 4 years. It is said that he was killed by Indians in 1748. (However further research indicates he died in 1741, Barbara remarried to Peter Bischel (Bixler) and raised a second family, see the memorial at the homesite in the Cemetery, about May 1742) Before his death, as shown by the accompanying deed, he was in the act of securing 320 acres more in the vicinity. Purchase of the property was completed by his heirs in 1749. Nicholas Peffley was a member of the Church of the Brethren. For some reason (Likely because she was already remarried and no longer "a widow") his wife's name is not mentioned in the land transaction referred to above, but the name "Widow Peffley" appears on the earliest assessment list that exists for Bethel Township, 1751.(Note: Since Barbara is married to Peter Bischler. the "widow" referenced is still a mystery, further research needed.)
1 - JACOB PEFFLEY, b. about 1724 in Germany, d. 1778, Lan. Co. Pa.
2 - CATHERINE PEFFLEY,born about 1729, died prior to 1764, Lan. Co. Pa.
3 - ANN PEFFLEY. Probably adopted by Peter Bischler.
4 - BARBARA PEFFLEY. Adopted in 1741 by Peter Bichsel [Bixler], later married to Nicholas Wolff.
5 - DAVID PEFFLEY(I), b. 1740, Bethel Twp., Lan. Co. Pa., d. 1807.
Nicholas was apparently ill when he was required to take the Oath of Allegiance, upon arrival. He signed his name by a mark, (it looks like a "O" in the register, and some have mistaken this for a middle initial. He was listed as Peffele on the Oath.)
The Pfaffele and Bischel families were from Eggiwil, Signau, Kanton Bern, Switzerland, and apparently knew each other there. The Bischels came over before the Peffele family and established the homestead next to where the Peffele family settled. The "normal" immigration route from Switzerland was down the Rhine to Rotterdam Holland. This was a very expensive process as there were many "tolls" to be paid along the way, designed to glean as much revenue from the immigrants as possible before they left the continent. Usually immigrants would ship to Cowles, england, where they would either stay a while and prepare for a vessel, or would continue to the new world. Beginning in about 1709, the Palantines were being run out of their homeland,a nd they immigrated to the new world, Many Swiss joined in this immigration and became identified with it.
RE: Barbara's remarriage - it isn't uncommon for a new widow to quickly remarry, especially if there are younger children that need raising. Often an available neighbor or even a brother or sister of the deceased will marry the remaining spouse to provide a stable household. The custom (in someplaces law) was also that children under 14, were appointed a guardian, even if there was a remaining mother. Children between the ages of 14 and 21 were allowed to choose their own guardian. The guardians were required to post a bond to assure that the interests of the child were adequately managed. The widowed wife if she had not remarried, was allowed usually full use of one or two rooms of the house, including a bedroom and kitchen use, allowed her Dowery in kind, and usually put under the custody of her oldest son, who had the responsibility as primary heir to maintain her.
If a widowed wife remarried, her bonds to the family were usually (legally) severed, and she was now the responsibility of her new Husband, who would usually "adopt" her under 14 years of age children. Those over 14 were usually apprenticed out.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (DAVID PEFLEY)
To: email@example.com (scism)
Dear Jeff, That chance encounter with your Peffley Genealogy web page rekindled an almost forgotten interest that I pursued in fits and starts over 20 years ago. And that is: what is the European origin of the Peffley, Pefley, Pefly families in America? The 1938 Frost book on our families in America is a definitive work, and one that I have referred to numerous times over the years as I have had occasion to find the links with cousins.
Anyway, in 1960, one of our cousins, Irwin Peffley of Amarillo, Texas, sent me some information that indicated that our common European ancestor had lived in the Signau District of the Canton of Bern, Switzerland in the early 1700s. His name, according to the research done by Irvin, was NICLAUS PFAFFLY. His family name, with various spellings, appears in the records at Signau as far back as 1530.
In one of my previous letters I described my several trips to Signau and to Nicholas and Barbara's first homestead in Pennsylvania. In the Signau-Bern area I found the family name to be spelled three different ways, i.e., PFAFFLI, PFAFLI, and PFAFFLY. I believe that the latter spelling is the one that Nicholas got off the ship with at Philadelphia in 1729. I also believe that he changed the spelling of his (German) name because of the English pronunciation of the word. I must say that there are no PEFLEYs, etc., in the Signau-Bern area now or in the 1700s.
One other piece of detective type reasoning revolves around the BICHSEL family granite plaque located near the entrance road to Nicholas and Barbara's first American homestead. By the way, I was incorrect in my first letter when I said that Nicholas had preceded Peter Bichsel to America. It was the other way around according to the date on the granite plaque. Peter Bichsel came to America from Egg(i)wil, a neighboring town to Signau, in 1727, that is, two years before Nicholas and Barbara arrived in 1729. A few hours worth of computer searching via Google.com revealed that the surname BICHSEL is listed in the Signau records as early as 1606, i.e., Anni BICHSEL, born 5 Oct 1606. I Think you can see how important the BICHSEL granite plaque (a collateral genealogical search) has become. Because of all of this, I am postulating that Nicholas and Peter Bichsel were acquainted, and very possibly were friends, in the early 1700s in Signau, Switzerland, and, that Peter told Nicholas (by letter ?) about his good life in Pennsylvania and invited him to come and be his neighbor. Considering all of the circumstances, this shouldn't be too much of a stretch. PENNSYLVANIA WILLS, 1682 - 1834 ABSTRACTS OF BERKS CO., PA. WILLS 1752 - 1785
BIXLER, PETER, Berks Co. March 13, 1771 - May 11, 1772. And my 4 children, Barbara wife of Nicholas WOLFF, Remainder to my 7 children, viz, 1. Peter, Exr: son Joseph of Bethel Twp. Here is a transcription of the Bichsler Monument near the Nicholas Peffley Home In loving memory of the Peter and Barbara Bicksler (Bichsel) family and their seven children, Peter Jr., Joseph, Daniel, Christian, Barbara, Anna and Susannah. Their family burial plot is on this knoll where many of family were laid to rest. Peter, Sr. Was an immigrant from Eggwil, Switzerland and arrived as the first Bicksler in America on the ship "Friendship" in October 1727 after almost four months in crossing the Atlantic ocean. Incomplete records do not give dates of the family. Peter born in 1691 died in 1772. The last family member to be buried here was a 91 year old grandson, Daniel, born in 1777 died in 1868.
I hope this isn't too long winded, but I did want to present the details I have gathered over the years to show where NICLAUS PFAFFLY came from and how he spelled his name. It shouldn't be any wonder that we have three different spellings of Nicholas' name in America. The map I sent is the same map as in the 1938 book. Best regards, David Pefley
To wife Barbara, 1/2 of what my son Daniel owes me according to the agreement.
Anna my second dau,
son Christian and
dau. Susanna, shall have the money son Daniel owes me after my death which is £233.
Also the £30, son Joseph owes me.
5. Barbara, [Note: daughter of Nicholas and Barbara Peffley]
6. Anna, [Note: daughter of Nicholas and Barbara Peffley] and
Wit: Bernhard FABER, Peter WOLFF.
PENNSYLVANIA WILLS, 1682 - 1834
ABSTRACTS OF BERKS CO., PA. WILLS 1752 - 1785
BIXLER, PETER, Berks Co. March 13, 1771 - May 11, 1772.
And my 4 children, Barbara wife of Nicholas WOLFF,
Remainder to my 7 children, viz,
Exr: son Joseph of Bethel Twp.
Here is a transcription of the Bichsler Monument near the Nicholas Peffley Home
In loving memory of the Peter and Barbara Bicksler (Bichsel) family and their seven children, Peter Jr., Joseph, Daniel, Christian, Barbara, Anna and Susannah. Their family burial plot is on this knoll where many of family were laid to rest. Peter, Sr. Was an immigrant from Eggwil, Switzerland and arrived as the first Bicksler in America on the ship "Friendship" in October 1727 after almost four months in crossing the Atlantic ocean. Incomplete records do not give dates of the family. Peter born in 1691 died in 1772. The last family member to be buried here was a 91 year old grandson, Daniel, born in 1777 died in 1868.