|Northkill Creek near the former Hochstetler farm|
|18th Century Amish Man|
The land they settled occupied a lovely part of the Great Valley. Small, rounded hills shoulder one another, and brooks meander through the little valleys between the hills. Unfortunately, the Amish chose an extremely vulnerable position. The settlement lies at the foot of the Blue Mountain, which runs along the very edge of the legal boundary of English settlements, according to treaties with the Native Americans. However, white settlers continued to pour over the mountains into territory claimed by the French and their native allies, which caused tensions between France and England to rise to the breaking point.
|18th Century Amish Woman|
The Northkill settlement included nearly 200 families at its height. It remained the largest Amish settlement in America into the 1780s, when it slowly declined as families moved westward in search of better farmland. Although it existed for only a brief period, this settlement was fundamental in establishing the Amish in North America. Settlers included the progenitors of many widespread Amish families, such as Yoders, Burkeys, Troyers, Hochstetlers (or Hostetlers), and Hershbergers.
My ancestor Jacob Hochstetler is the subject of Harvey Hostetler’s groundbreaking book The Descendants of Jacob Hochstetler. In addition to listing the genealogy of thousands of Jacob’s descendents, this book includes a detailed history of the religious persecution the Amish suffered in Europe, their immigration to America in the 1700s, the attack on the Hochstetler farm, and the kidnapping and subsequent escape of Jacob and his sons.
~~~J. M. Hochstetler is a descendant of Jacob Hochstetler’s oldest son John. An author, editor, and publisher, she is the daughter of Mennonite farmers and a lifelong student of history. Northkill, Book 1 of the Northkill Amish Series, won ForeWord Magazine’s 2014 INDYFAB Book of the Year Bronze Award for historical fiction. Her American Patriot Series is the only comprehensive historical fiction series on the American Revolution. One Holy Night, a contemporary retelling of the Christmas story, was the Christian Small Publishers 2009 Book of the Year. Check out her website at http://www.jmhochstetler.com/.