Years ago I did some genealogy of my family. I worked on my paternal side and also on my maternal side. Then it was harder to obtain information because that as before Ancestry was available to help with your search. I had to write to courthouses and any other organization I could find to get me some information on my family tree. I didn’t even have the computer at that time to help.
I went to a genealogy seminar in Kansas City and happened to meet a guy that was descended from my family tree. He had been trying to run down our family tree for many years. He had gone over to England before World War II and brought back a lot of information. This was information I could never have found on my own because after the war he went back and all the records had been destroyed in the bombing.
He had our family tree on my paternal side back into the 1500’s. He’d traced one family from France to England and then over to the colonies. Jonathan Heacock and his family made the pilgrimage for religious reasons as did a lot of the early settlers.
My family members settled in what is now Pennsylvania in the mid 1700’s. The head of the family, Jonathan Heacock was a Lutheran minister in England and was the leader of a very large church. At that time when the monarchy changed rulers the religion of the whole country was to change to go along with the new king or queen.
While he was still a minister of the Lutheran church in England a new monarch was crowned and the new king was a Catholic and the whole country was to change to go along with his religion. My great Grandfather was just stubborn enough that he wasn’t going to change his religion. Nor was he going to change his church over to Catholic.
The story goes that when he was told he had to convert and change his church he decided after some thought that he was not going to do that. He said his church was not going to change. If he did not change it would have been a serious problem for him and his young family. He may even have been arrested?
So one day when a ship was in the harbor and was going to be sailing back to the colonies, he made his decision. He and his wife packed their few personal belongings and procured passage on the little ship for the trip across the ocean.
He told the family that his church was Lutheran and he was not going to change it to Catholic and he was not going to change from his Lutheran beliefs and upbringing. When they were ready to leave for the ship he made one last trip to his church. He went back to his church to get his personal belongings from his office. While he was in the church he took the extra key to the church door on his way out. He left by the front or sanctuary door of the church and locked it behind him.
Once he had the door of the sanctuary locked he put the 2 church keys in his pocket and went home. He gathered up all their belongings and he and his wife boarded the boat for the trip to what is now Pennsylvania. They settled in what became Lancaster which was one of the early settlements in the colonies. He established the first Lutheran church in what became the United States of America.
Jonathan and his wife Ann were two of the first settlers in the area and they made friends with the Indians living nearby. It is said that the first winter they spent in the colonies that it was the Indian tribe that kept them alive by hunting for them.
He established his church there and all their kids and my ancestors were born there in Lancaster. When Jonathan and Ann died in Lancaster while he was still preaching they were both buried in the cemetery of that little Lutheran church he established.
I always believed that my stubbornness came down my maternal Grandmother’s side as there was a lot of Irish in her family, but I do believe a large slice of my stubborn streak came from Jonathan Heacock, the Preacher in the Family, who was from France and England before he came to Pennsylvania. To contact Sandy: [email protected]