Herman Op den Graeff: 1585 – 1642

November 26, 1585 – December 27, 1642 The Op den Graeff family – a name that in historical records can be seen as being spelled Opdegraf, Updegrave, Updegrove – is an old Dutch Mennonite family from Cleve and Crefeld. Herman Op den Graeff was born on November 26, 1585 in Aldekerk, Kleve, Nordhein-Westfalen, Germany. In…
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Note On The Founding of Germantown

Note About William Penn’s Invitation To The Thirteen Families In historical notes, it is sometimes mentioned that William Penn invited the first Thirteen Families of Germantown to settle in Pennsylvania. In other historical notes, it mentions that there is no record of this invitation, and that it is probably inconceivable that the invitation could have…
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Hans Peter Umstat Arrives In Pennsylvania

August 16, 1685 Hans Peter Umstat (1650-1711), my 9th great grandfather, arrives in Philadelphia on the ship Francis & Dorothy from London, England. The ship was commanded by Richard Bridgeman. Prior to arriving in Philadelphia, Hans Peter had purchased a tract of 200 acres of land from Crefeld merchant, Dirck Sipman. 25 of those acres…
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First Public Protest Against Slavery In America: 1688

April 18, 1688 On this day in 1688, four Germantown residents – Abraham Op den Graeff (my generation’s 9th great-grandfather), Dirck Op den Graeff (our 9th great uncle), Francis Pastorius, and Gerhard Hendricks – presented the first public protest against slavery in the colonies to the monthly meeting of Friends at Rigert Worrell’s. The following…
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The Naturalization Of First Germantown Settlers

March 7, 1691 Thomas Lloyd, Deputy Governor of Pennsylvania, granted naturalization to 62 of the first settlers in Germantown. This made them a subject of the British crown and all freemen. COPIA NATURALISATIONIS. Francis Daniel Pastorius and of sixty-one persons more. German Town. WILLI,IAM PENN, ESQ. “William Penn, Proprietary of the Province of Pensilvania, &c….
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Isaac Hermans op den Graeff: 1616 – 1679

Isaac Hermans op den Graeff, was born on February 22 in 1616 in Krefeld, Germany. He married Margaretha ‘Grietgen’ Peters/Doors around 1643 and they converted to Quakerism in 1679/80 with his entire family. Isaac emigrated to Philadelphia on The Concord with his wife and three sons, Herman Isaacs, Derick Isaacs and Abraham Isaacs (our 9th…
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Anabaptists and The Mennonites

This is not the complete story of the Protestant Reformation, the Anabapists, or the Mennonites. It is a short history to explain their, and our, arrival in Germantown. The Anabaptists Anabaptists (Greek ανα (again, twice) +βαπτιζω (baptize), thus “re-baptizers”) are Christians of the Radical Reformation of 16th-century Europe, and their direct descendants, particularly the Amish,…
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