A Genealogical History of the Gottshall Family
Webmaster's Note: The above title refers to the book published in 1924 by the Gottshall Family Association, compiled by Rev. N.B. Grubb of Philadelphia, PA.
The material on this page and the pages linked from it is a verbatim conversion to ASCII text. The HTML pages at this site comprise only the front matter and first chapter of Grubb's book; the rest may be found within the ASCII file that contains the entire book. Transcription has been done both by hand and by optical character recognition software. I have endeavored to avoid or correct as many transcription errors as possible, especially with regard to proper names and dates. Any misspellings or typographical errors should be attributed to me and not to the original authors, although in the book there are several instances where surnames are spelled differently in the same sentence. In these instances I have kept both spellings. All images listed on this page are from the book.
While this work contains a massive amount of genealogical data, it of course only covers some (maybe 5 percent or less) of the descendants of Jacob Gottshall. Also, since the book was published in 1924, it no longer records all of the descendants of William Ziegler Gottshall. This work should be of special value to the family researcher interested in the Mennonite branches of the Gottshall family in eastern Pennsylvania. All of the spelling variations on the Gottshall name shown are as they appear in the book. Family researchers should note that not everyone with the surname Gottshall (or a spelling variation thereof) in the United States is a descendant of the Rev. Jacob Gottshall. This page was last updated on December 5, 1996.
A Genealogical History of the Gottshall Family: Descendants of Rev. Jacob Gottshall, With the complete Record of the descendants of William Ziegler Gottshall. Compiled by Rev. N.B. Grubb. Copyrighted 1924 By Rev. N.B. Grubb.
This Publication of the Gottshall Family is Gratefully Dedicated to the Memory of Rev. Harvey Gottshall Allebach
Images from Rev. Grubb's genealogical history
- Rev. N. B. Grubb
- William Z. Gottshall and His Wife, Magdalena Hunsberger
- The Mennonite Meeting House at Schwenksville
- Rev. Jacob Gottshall, Home in Germantown, Built 1702
- Imaginary Appearance of the Log Mennonite Church, Built 1708, Germantown
- The Gottshall Homestead, Occupied by Five Generations
- Eden Mennonite Church, Schwenksville, PA.
- Rev. Moses H. Gottshall
- Rev. H.G. Allebach, B.S.
- Mrs. S.T.S. Wagner, Adam H. Gottshall, and Moses C. Gottshall
- Josiah G. Umstead
- Andrew H. Gottshalk
- Harry L. Godshall
- Mr. and Mrs. Joseph H. Gottshall and Their Daughters, Mrs. Mary Blanchford and Mrs. Salome C. Grubb
- Rev. William H. Grubb and his Family, of Normal, Ill.
- John W. Gottshalk
- Rev. Moses S. Godshall, D.D.
- Rev. Robert J. Gottschall, A.M., B.D; Anna M. Gottschall; Frank C. Gottschall
- Rev. William S. Gottshall
- The Clemens Family Arms
Back to Gottshall Home Page
For more than twenty-five years the undersigned has been collecting data of the Gottshall Family with the hope that some day it might be used for publication. At the same time the late Rev. H.G. Allebach who was also interested in the history of his ancestors, was collecting data; neither knowing what the other was doing. In 1905 Rev. Allebach with several others invited the Gottshall clan to join in a reunion to be held at the homestead of the late William Z. Gottshall, then the property of the late Moses. C. Gottshall. On August 24, 1905, in response to the invitations sent out, a large number of Gottshalls gathered and enjoyed a pleasant social time, renewing the friendship of old acquaintances and meeting and making many new friends. Some family relics were on exhibition as also an incomplete record of the descendants of William Z. Gottshall which was prepared by Rev. Allebach. An organization was then effected to be known as the Gottshall Family Association with the following officers:
President, Rev. William S. Gottshall.
Vice-President, Moses C. Gottshall.
Secretary, Anna M. Gottshall.
Treasurer, Rev. Harvey S. Gottshall
Historian, Rev. Harvey G. Allebach
Since then reunions were held every year except 1916 and 1920.
At the 1922 reunion it was decided that the genealogy and history be published. Meanwhile Rev. Allebach had died and Rev. Robert J. Gottschall was elected historian with the undersigned as assistant. At the meeting a year later the undersigned was elected historian with the request that he prepare the history for publication.
After the death of Rev. Allebach all his Gottshall records were turned over to me. Most of this collection was in very bad shape and much of it was either mutilated or partly destroyed so that it became difficult to use. All, however, was very valuable to help straighten out the family connections.
To collect the needed data and compile the record was not an easy task. Several hundred letters were written and sent to the different families, soliciting the needed facts. Many of those receiving letters responded promptly, while in a number of cases a second and a third letter went out before any result was obtained. A number of trips by rail, trolley and auto had to be made to finally get the facts desired. It is to be regretted that a few families were indifferent and could not be interested enough to give the desired information. This fact accounts for the incomplete records of several of the families.
In the following pages is given the record of the descendants of William Z. Gottshall, the fifth generation. To this is added an appendix showing the different lines of ancestors dating back to 1550.
Philadelphia, Pa., August 1, 1924.
Following are the present officers of the Association:
President, Rev. Robert J. Gottschall.
Vice-President, Frank C. Gottschall.
Secretary, Anna M. Gottschall.
Historian, Rev. N.B. Grubb
NOTE: The Roman Numerals in front of the names indicate the generation, from Rev. Jacob Gottshall, viz.:
I Rev. Jacob Gottshall
II Gottshall Gottshall
III William Gottshall
IV Gottshall Gottshall
V William Z. Gottshall
July 15, 1924
N.B. Grubb, Historian
In these days of family reunions and the publication of family histories, there seems to be a justifiable reason for the publication of a history of the Gottshall family. Our ancestors were among the pioneer settlers of the State of Pennsylvania and a pious people they were of a sturdy stock of which their descendants may well feel grateful. Their sterling qualities made them important factors in the early days of our country's history in shaping the religious, moral and educational conditions of the communities in which they lived. Their numerous descendants are now scattered over a wide extent of territory where they are wielding a wholesome influence for good; but this fact greatly lessened their opportunity for personal contact and has the tendency of estrangement between those of near kin.
About twenty years ago the need for holding a family reunion for the purpose of preserving our acquaintance and filial relationship was felt by some members of the family, and three of these, of which the writer is the sole survivor, assumed the responsibility of arranging for such an occasion. These annual gatherings have been a great pleasure to those who were privileged to participate.
To honor our ancestors properly and appreciate our family history of which we were more or less ignorant, it became necessary for some one to gather facts and data. In this great task the Association had called Rev. H.G. Allebach who proved a very competent person for the position of a family historian, but his early demise left the work incomplete. The Association then called upon Rev. N.B. Grubb to complete the family history as near as possible and this volume is the result of the faithful and untiring efforts of the family historian.
Every loyal member of the Gottshall family will greatly appreciate the distinctive service our historians have rendered to the family, and no doubt this volume will greatly increase their interest in the history of our family and its distinguished personalities, and make them all better acquainted with those who are still living; and be an inspiration to all to prove ourselves worthy of our noble ancestors and create an ambition in the present generation to be the progenitors of an equally noble posterity.
June 16, 1924
If we want to find the reason for the coming of our ancestors to America it will require but a brief investigation of conditions as they existed in Europe at that time, especially in Germany, to show that in the hearts of thousands there was a longing desire to forsake the Fatherland and seek homes elsewhere, where they might start life anew under more favorable conditions.
The ravages of the Thirty Years' War had left Germany almost a wilderness and the cruel invasion of the Palatinate by the French in 1693 with its consequent pestilence and famine only added to the desperation of the many who felt that no matter where they might cast their lots they could not be worse and perhaps better their condition. Some few had already left for America. The safe arrival of the first thirteen families in Philadelphia, and founded Germantown, was known to the extent that many others hoped to join them in that new country from which favorable reports were filtering in. As early as 1677 William Penn and his fellow Quaker missionaries had been circulating in numerous quarters in Holland and Germany and his "Brief Account of the Province of Pennsylvania," published in 1681 found readers whose interest was aroused in a country under the rule of so staunch an apostle of peace as Penn. Naturally the thoughts of numerous inhabitants of the war-torn countries turned in the direction of this Province. To the Mennonites agreeing so largely with the Quakers in their attitude toward the waging of war, Pennsylvania seemed the Promised Land waiting for them.
Religious intolerance in Europe continued without interruption. In Switzerland the Government was still persecuting Mennonites and continued to drive them out for many years following. The Rhine Valley was full of refugees, wandering in search of a land where they might be left alone to worship God as their consciences dictated and in accord with what they believed to be the plain teaching of the Scripture. Like them, the Quakers had endured for their faith and been fugitives on the face of the earth until they found the opportunity for their commonwealth beyond the great Atlantic, but unlike the Quakers, the Mennonite had no great leader in fortunate circumstances who might be found for them a haven and a refuge away from the war-torn lands in which they lived. Penn's invitation to come and live in peace and plenty in his fair province appeared to them as nothing short of providential.
The extreme poverty of the time from which the poor had no chance of escape in Europe had its bearing upon the determination to emigrate. In America at least there was land in abundance waiting for the application of brawn and energy that was to make it fruitful enough to insure all they hoped for--enough to keep body and soul together. From the first Mennonites have been a traditional pioneer people, a characteristic they have maintained to this day. With them the spirit of adventure and the desire for wealth was hardly a motive for their brave undertaking in anew land. What they wanted most was a place where they might live in peace and bring up their children in the fear of God and the faith in Him for which so many had to pay so dearly in lives and possessions.
Silas M. Grubb.
July 15, 1924
The first Annual Reunion of the Gottshall family was held near Schwenksville on the Gottshall farm, August 24, 1905. This was due to the general interest in Family Reunions prevalent at that time and to the personal stimulus of Rev. Harvey G. Allebach, of Green Lane, Pa. Who had made researches into the history of the family. Reunions have been held annually since that time with two exceptions, 1916 and 1920.
Mr. Allebach was Family Historian from 1905 to the time of his death in 1921. He had always expressed a desire to place in permanent form the results of his labors. To this end, personally, he published in August, 1910, a booklet entitled "Who's Who" in the Gottshall family. This book contains forty-two sketches of Representatives of the Family. In a succeeding volume he had planned to publish sketches of members of other branches of the Family. Volume One had a wide sale among the members of the Family, but the author did not live to finish his work.
After the death of Mr. Allebach, Rev. Robert J. Gottschall, of Pennsburg, Pa., was elected Family Historian. The material which Mr. Allebach had collected was transferred to Rev. N.B. Grubb, of Philadelphia, who was a member of the Family and knew intimately the family history. Much of the material which Mr. Allebach had gathered was missing and a good deal of it had been mutilated, much to the regret of the compiler. At the next reunion Mr. Grubb was elected Family Historian and he at once began to compile more material. With the help of the Officers of the Association, plans were laid to publish this material. This book is the result of these labors.
In addition to the record of the members of the Family in America the editor has inserted a brief sketch of conditions in Europe which led their ancestors to emigrate from their native land. It had always been my hope to have this account as a part of the permanent record of the family.
We point with pride to the record. The list of ministers, educators, physicians, editors and public officials is a testimony to the life and training given us by our forefathers, who were God-fearing men and women. We hope that we the younger race may find in our own lives their love of peace and kind and their lowly, lofty mind. So doing we may perchance "wear their crown."
Robert Jacob Gottschall
June 23, 1924
Rev. H. G. Allebach
Tune--America [Webmaster's Note: "My Country Tis of Thee"]
On this Reunion Day
Honor we come to pay
To fathers brave,
Who under God o'ercame,
Suffered from sword and flame,
In Truth and Freedom's name
Their all they gave.
Pray God who gave them grace
That we the younger race
From farm and town,
Their love of peace and kind,
Their lowly, lofty mind,
In our own lives may find,
And wear their crown.
Beyond the stormy sea,
In Pennsylvania free,
A home they found;
Here in the fear of God
They tilled the virgin sod,
Blossomed the quickened clod
Their hearthstone round.