Other Leyendecker Family Groups of Uncertain Relation.



            One particular familial group of Leyendeckers in Berks County merits some mention.  The primary immigrant, Casper Leydacker, arrived via the port of Philadelphia in 1739 aboard the ship Loyal Judith (Strassburger 73 A, B, C).  There are three separate lists which have survived concerning this ship and his name is spelled in three different ways:  "Casper Leydicker" (73A), "Casper Letecker" (73B) and "Caspar Leydacker" (73C).  He was not able to sign his own name so the name was written by clerks when he took the Oath of Allegiance (list B) and Oath of Abjuration (list C) - he simply indicated his acquiescence with a mark. (Strassburger 73)   Accurate birth and death dates are currently unknown, although he is believed to have resided in Philadelphia and subsequently Berks Counties.  There is a good volume of supposed genealogical information available regarding this man via various descendants, however much of this information remains unverified.  I have chosen not to include the majority of these suppositions other than to mention that his full name is believed to have been Johann Casper Leyendecker and his place of birth is currently assumed to have been Wuerttemburg.  Along with the naturalization records exhibited in Strassburger, there exists a single land warrant issued in 1759:  in 3 PA Archives XXVI (Warrantees of Land in the Several Counties of the State of Pennsylvania, 1730-1898) on page 287, "Casper Lloydacre" bought 100 acres in Berks County on February 15, 1759.  No township is noted in this record.

Looking to the state archives in Harrisburg, within the old records of the Land Office (record group RG-17, series 17.88 "Warrant Registers, 1733-1957") a bit of additional information can be found regarding this warrant.  The Berks County property was in the township of Hereford, which is in the extreme southeastern corner of the County:  it is bounded by Longswamp township (Berks) to the north, Milford and Macunji [Macungie] to the east (Northampton, now Lehigh) and Upper Hanover to the south (Philadelphia, now Montgomery).  The date the warrant was issued [the initial warrant does not imply nor grant private ownership], as mentioned above, was February 15, 1759.  A survey was made and accepted.  The date of the return [description of property sent from Surveyor General to the Secretary of the Land Office] was February 7, 1769, and the acreage listed upon the return had been increased to 233.102 acres.  The name of the patentee [the individual who thence took private ownership, official deed] was "Samuel Leaser."  Leyendecker/Leidecker family history (private correspondence) has hinted at close family ties between some of the Leideckers and the Lieser family of Berks County, however I have not as yet seen documented evidence to this effect.  Casper's original warrant was listed immediately adjacent to warrants issued to Samuel Leaser, Benedict Leaser and Joseph Leaser, so there likely is some truth to this association.  At some point within the ten-year span 1759-1769, Casper must have sold or willed his land to Samuel Leaser; what exactly happened to him is unknown. Casper Leydecker was present upon a 1759 list of taxables for Hereford township as was one "Philip Leydecker," Philip being listed as a single man.      

"Philip Leytentecker" was naturalized in Philadelphia in 1765 (Giuseppi 125) and is assumed to have been Casper's son.  Philip next appears upon two assessment lists for Douglass township in the County of Philadelphia [Montgomery County after 1784]:  for the year 1769, "Philip Leidicker" was taxed upon 100 acres with one horse and one cow (3 PA Archives XIV, 445) and again in 1774, "Philip Leidiger" was taxed upon 100 acres with two horses and two cows.  (3 PA Archives XIV, 321)  Douglass township is in a very interesting location in terms of the study of the Leyendeckers in general, as it lies against the Berks County line in the region of the upper Perkiomen Creek; this is completely within the region historically referred to as Goshenhoppen.  [It is also this same general region in which we first find mention of Simon Leidecker/Lagundecker (subsequently of Northampton Town) ca.  1758-60, and continue to find reference to Simon (following the move to Northampton) within the records of St. Paul's Mission, Goshenhoppen.]  Knowing where Philip lived ca. 1769-1774, a systematic search of the known churches within the Goshenhoppen area yields the following baptism within the records of the New Goshenhoppen Reformed Church (1731-1832): 


"Philip Leyendecker [no wife mentioned], son Conrad, born 29 June 1766, no baptism date, sponsors Conrad Ludwig and wf, Anna Abell." 

(Irish 594) 


The New Goshenhoppen Reformed congregation was located in Upper Hanover township, this township comprising the extreme northern "point" of Montgomery County [Philadelphia County at the time].  This area borders on Berks, Lehigh and Bucks Counties and drew members from all four counties; it lies immediately to the northeast next Philip's home in Douglass township.

The final Pennsylvania record of note concerning Philip appears within an interesting little text entitled John Michael Huber and His Descendants.  This text annotates the life of a fairly prosperous man who also settled in Douglass Township, Montgomery County; Huber's genealogy is unrelated to this study, however two very important notations can be found within the text.  First, it mentions that "One of the earliest conveyances on record is dated March 1, 1775 and reads:  Philip Leidecker and wife to Michael Hoover [Huber] for 118 A.[acres], 29 P.[perches] of land in the township of Douglass and county of Philadelphia, the consideration being 575 pounds lawful money of Pennsylvania."  (Huber 7)  The text goes on to explain that the property is mentioned a second time in the Last Will and Testament of John Michael Huber, Sr., as follows: 


"But then my oldest son Michael Huber shall have the liberty to accept my second plantation and occupy the same, also situated in said Douglass township which I bought lately of Philip Leidecker, containing 119 acres which said land and plantation with all belonging thereto, I give, bequeath, and devise unto my said oldest son Michael Huber, his heirs and assigns for the sum of 600 pounds lawful money of Pennsylvania..."

(Huber 10)


This will is dated February 28, 1777 and was (and still remains) housed within the archives of the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center, Pennsburg, Pennsylvania.  These two records, then, indicate that we now find a second Leyendecker selling off his Pennsylvania property, this time in 1775 [note:  recall that Simon Leidacre sold his Allentown lot in 1769], and disappearing.  But did Philip truly disappear?

The 1790 Federal Census for the state of North Carolina may shed some light on this situation.  In Mecklenburg County can be found a "Phillip Lidaker" with two males of sixteen years and upwards, two males under sixteen, five females and one slave.  (M637 Roll 7, 539)  This indicates at least three sons and four daughters living with him at the time.  Also listed is his son, "Conrad Lidaker" with one male of sixteen and upwards and two females.  (M637 Roll 7, 539)  Next door, in the 1790 census for Rowan County, North Carolina can be found "John Letaker" with one male of sixteen years and upwards, three males under sixteen and two females.  (M637 Roll 7, 516)  Conrad and Phillip were living in the northern portion of Mecklenburg county which was taken to form Cabarrus county in 1792, and this is where Phillip ("Philip") and Conrad "Litaker" were still living at the taking of the 1800 Federal Census:  Salisbury, Cabarrus County, North Carolina.  (M32 Roll 29, 198)  In 1800, both men as heads-of-household were listed as being at least forty-five years of age or upwards.  [This is curious in regards to Conrad, as being born in 1766 he would have been only 34:  perhaps he was illiterate or not certain of his own birth date.]  Philip in 1800 had six slaves and Conrad had one.  Also in Salisbury, but on the Rowan County side, was listed "John Litaker" who likewise was of forty-five years of age or upwards.  (M32 Roll 33, 247)  Throughout the 1810 and 1820 Censuses, Conrad and John continue to manifest as well as a few additional Litakers/Lydekers who are surely various sons of the three men.  The 1830 Census is particularly valuable because the records of age are broken down into ten-year increments.  Two individuals worth noting in Cabarrus County, North Carolina are (1) "George Lytaker," who is between 50 and 60 years of age, (M19 Roll 119, 200) and (2) "Jacob Lytaker," who is also between 50 and 60 years of age.  (M19 Roll 119, 196)  Family tradition has held that these two men are additional sons of Philip, and their given ages would tend to verify this.  These ages would indicate that they were born between 1770 and 1780, however as Philip moved from Pennsylvania to North Carolina in 1775, they could have been born in either state.  I have not as yet found any church records in Philadelphia County or North Carolina to this effect. 

Furthermore, a "Barbara Lydekher" married David Botton [David Bastian, son of Andreas and Magdalena Bastian, b. 17 Nov. 1761, bapt. 20 Dec. 1761; sponsors David and wf. Susanna Streib; Upper Milford Union Church/Dillingersville Church records; Northampton County, PA (Berky)] on November 3, 1789 in Rowan County, North Carolina (NC Marriage Index), "Christina Lydecker" married Francis Vanderburg on November 25, 1795 in Cabarrus County (NC Marriage Index) and "Mary Lydecker" married George Mitchler on November 8, 1802 in Cabarrus County (NC Marriage Index).  Philip is nowhere to be found, however, as he was known to have died in 1801:  he is buried in St. John's Lutheran Graveyard, Cabarrus County and the inscription upon his stone is in German.  It translates thus:


"John Fillib Leidiker was born in the year 1736 on the 28 of March and died in the year 1801 on the 10 of May.  Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from hence the Spirit saith they shall rest from their labors.

(Blackwelder 9)



Conrad died in 1825:


"On Saturday the 19th Dec. a man by the name of Conrad Litaker, about 50 years of age, was killed by being thrown from his horse, while running a race with his son...the old man's horse 'flew the track,' and dashed his rider against a tree, and fracctured his skull so badly that he died."

(Western Carolinian, Feb. 1, 1826)


Conrad is also buried in St. John's Lutheran Graveyard, Cabarrus County, where his stone ("Coonrod Litecker") lists his birth date as January 29, 1766 and death on November 15, 1825.  (Blackwelder 9)  This is probably the more accurate date for his death as the newspaper description, written and published a few months following his death, could easily have mixed-up the date by a month.

            A few additional hints of information can be had concerning this family:  a note concerning "John Lytaker" of North Carolina has survived dating to 1789 within a deed transfer:


"...1789 June 1 between John Lytaker of the county of Rowan and State of North Carolina to Conrad Sloop, Jacob Bostian, Adam Correll and Jacob Correll, Elders and Trustees for the United German Congregation of Presbyterians and Lutherans..."

(Rowan Deed Book 17, 269)


Philip is mentioned in two Mecklenburg County deeds, one in deed book 7/77: 


"James White, Jr. and wife Mary to Paul Barringer...on both sides of Dutch Buffalo  Creek...Wit:  Adolph Nussman and Phillip Littiger Prvd in Oct. 1784 Ct. by oath of Phillip Littiger, Sam Martin." 

(Mecklenburg 7/77, 395)


Also, there is mention of Philip in Cabarrus [previously Mecklenburg Co.] Deed Book 8, entry number 47 [completely unrelated deed of July, 1811]:  "...two-thirds interest of 387 acre Philip Lytaker tract (Grant no. 75)..."   This was noted as being upon "Dutch Buffaloe Creek" and had adjoined the lands of Andrew Sides [Seitz], Henry Sides and Mechor Fogleman.  Philip evidently had prospered in North Carolina as this would seem to be a respectable piece of land.  It can be seen, therefore, that Philip Leytentecker/Litaker of Douglass Township, Philadelphia County sold his land in Pennsylvania in 1775 and moved his family to North Carolina.  His origins are still somewhat confusing, the possibility of any relation to Simon and/or George of Northampton County is currently unknown and whether or not he had any adult children other than Conrad (and possibly John) at the time of his move (1775) is uncertain (unverifiable). 

There can be found additional Leyendeckers/Leideckers which also seemingly have their origins in the Goshenhoppen area of upper Montgomery and Berks Counties.  Whether or not a relation exists between these individuals (noted below), Philip and/or Casper is also unknown, although it is very hard to view this small surname pool all clustered in one particular region and not draw the conclusion that a relationship exists.  All of the places mentioned throughout this narrative - Douglass township (Philadelphia/Montgomery), Allentown and Whitehall (Northampton), Longswamp and Hereford (Berks) - are within a twenty mile circle.

Within the birth, baptismal and marriage records of the Zion's Lutheran Church ("Lehigh Church"), erected ca. 1750,  in Macunji, Northampton County [in what is now Weilersville, Lower Macungie township] are found the following entries: 


"Melchior Weber and wf. Margaretha, son Jacob, b. 1 Jan. 1769, bapt. 17 Feb. 1770.  Sponsors Jacob Leidecker and wf. Elisabetha."


"Peter Kudman and wf. Catharina, daughter Anna, b. 24 Aug. 1773, bapt. 15 Sept. 1773.  Sponsor Maria Leidecker."  [Maria Gauger - see marriage below.]


"Daniel Jus and wf. Catharina, daughter Maria, b. 30 Aug. 1771, bapt. 1 Oct. 1774.  Sponsors Johannes Leidecker and wf. Maria Gauger."


Marriage:  "21 Jan. 1773, Johannes Leidecker and Maria Gauger of Macunji."

(Lehigh Church Records, LCHS)


The man named "Johannes Leidecker" who married to Maria Gauger/Gaugher in 1773 is believed to be the same "John Litaker" later noted as being a resident of Rowan County, North Carolina (family, private correspondence).  Based upon a speculative generalization of his age, approximately twenty-one years in 1773 at the time of marriage, this would then indicate a birth date of roughly 1752 (or thereabouts).  This would therefore render it impossible for him to have been a son of his NC neighbor, Philip Lytaker.  Possibly he was a younger brother or a cousin; the proximity of location would surely seem to imply some form of familial connection.

No further information can be found regarding Jacob Leidecker, but a John Leydecker/Leidecker was a resident of Albany township in Berks County [one of the upper townships along the base of the Blue Mountain] as per tax lists and legal documents ca. 1811-1817 as well as either dwelling upon or owning ground in adjoining Greenwich township by 1821.  He first ["John Leydecker"] is noted as selling ground in Ruscomb Manor township in 1804 (Berks Co. Deed Book 21, pg. 25) but his origins prior to this are a complete mystery.  Birth and baptismal information relating to his children within the Jerusalem 'Red' Church records variously note the name as Leidecker and Leindecker.  In 1820 he was the sole executor and beneficiary of the estate of Catharine Fry ("John Leydecker of Albany"); he then died himself in 1825 ("John Leidecker").  (Martin/Smith)  He was a farmer and miller and some of his property adjoined that of gunsmith Jacob George [who was one of the witnesses at the signing of his will:  "John Leidecker of Greenwich Township, Berks County, Yeoman, deceased."].  His wife Maria (maiden name Bachman) was still living in 1833 when records indicate the passage of "...an act authorizing compensation to...Maria Leidecker...of Albany Twp. Berks County...in consequence of a state road..."  ("Statutes," no. 100)  While John Leidecker's will does note several outstanding debts disbursed by the estate which went to gunmaking-related individuals [Adam Ebertz, Daniel Christ, Henry and Jacob George] it does not appear that he was in any way involved in arms manufacture. 

Neither of these 'other' Leideckers - Jacob, Johannes or John - can be found within assessment or census records for the area [save later info relative to John Leydecker, above], although the aforementioned information certainly proves they were living there:  why so many such individuals, having been proven via various official records to be residents of particular areas, are not to be found upon tax or census lists is beyond my ability to explain.  It is a relatively common occurrence when viewing many such historical records.

Within the will of John Nicholas Finck of Hereford township, Berks County [extreme eastern corner, touches upon both Montgomery and Lehigh Counties] which was proved on May 9, 1774, he mentions a daughter named Mary Elisabeth Leidecker.  This is probably the wife of the aforementioned Jacob Leidecker as "Mary" or "Maria" were common German 'Christian' names [typically derived from Old Testament or Saints' names] bestowed upon children as a prefix to a secular name, i.e. Johan [John] Georg, Maria [Mary] Elisabeth etc.

Within the will of a man named John Hignight/Hignutt, we find one more teasing reference:


"In the name of God, Amen.  I, John Hignight, senior, of Montgomery County & State of Tennessee, being weak in body but of perfect mind & memory...I bequeath to my Daughter Elizabeth Lytaker one mare to be held & enjoyed by her & her heirs forever..."

November 23, 1815

Recorded at Summer Term 1816

(Montgomery Co. TN Film Roll 91, 429)


Family researchers within the Hignight family have tracked John Hignight/Hignutt from his origins in Baltimore County, Maryland to Guildford County, North Carolina by 1790 (1790 Census) and thence to Montgomery County, Tennessee by 1803.  His daughter Elizabeth is held to have married Peter Lytaker of North Carolina and obviously Hignight's will verifies that she was, at the least, married to a "Lytaker."  I have not been able to find Peter within any record prior to the 1820 Federal Census for Montgomery County, Tennessee, but he is listed within that record as "Peter Litaker" and between 26 and 45 years of age.  (M33 Roll 33, 177)  This then verifies that Peter Litaker/Lytaker was the correct individual.  I am not certain which of the early NC Litakers - Philip, Conrad or John - was his father, but he continued to move west and eventually died in Bond County, Illinois.  Within the biographical entries for the 1882 History of Montgomery and Bond Counties [Illinois] there is information given concerning the File family, and a notation is made concerning John. F. File of Greenville, the son of George File and Mary Lyttaker ("...born in Tennessee..."):  "He began business as a blacksmith with his grandfather, Peter Lyttaker..."  (Perrin 40)