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Johannes Spittler, II
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Birth: Sep. 24, 1718
Basel, Switzerland
Death: May 16, 1757
Bethel (Lancaster County)
Lancaster County
Pennsylvania, USA

Johannes II was born in northwestern Bennwil, Switzerland where, exhausted by religious wars and persecution, agrarian Swiss Mennonite communities congregated in the solitary valleys and mountain slopes where they became outstanding farmers specializing in dairy and orchard agriculture.

The Swiss Mennonites were a branch of the Anabaptist movement of the Protestant Reformation. They believed in adult baptism and they were pious, withdrawn, contemplative, and embraced separation from the government and the outer world. Additionally, they were known for their integrity, hard work, frugality and simplicity of dress. They were religious idealists who believed that one's life should emulate Christ's. They believed that life should be defined by love, aid and concern for others in the Mennonite community and that they should reach out and share their beliefs with non believers. They rejected warfare, involvement with government, strife and taking life.

The Quaker Englishman William Penn provided the path and incentive that the Swiss Mennonites recognized as the opportunity to live their lives and practice their religion without interference. In order to populate the new colony, William Penn made numerous trips to the continent to recruit German and Swiss colonists. Leaflets were passed about promising 100 acres of land for 2 English pounds. Among the Swiss Mennonite emigrants who were enticed to Pennsylvania were the Meily family and the family of Johannes Spitler who along with his wife, Catharina and their 5 children left in the spring of 1736 and arrived in Philadelphia on September 16, 1736. No early diaries are available about the either the Meily or the Spitler families' early experiences in colonial Pennsylvania, Most emigrants served a period from 5 to 7 years in indentured service to pay for their passage, and it is likely both these families had a similar experience.

Johannes father purchased 200 acres in Bethel Township, Lancaster County, PA on March 1, 1744.and the family joined the Moravian Bethel Church, an Anabaptist sect with similar beliefs and customs as the Mennonites. Johannes II married neighbor girl Elizabeth Meily in Conestoga county, Pa. After their marriage they lived and worked along with Johannes' siblings Jacob, and Barbara on his fathers farm. The young couple had 3 children while living with their in-laws: Anna Catherina, Johannes III, and Catherine.

The French and Indian War spread through the Pennsylvania frontier. It was a violent struggle between the British and the French - both countries claimed all the land between the Allegheny Mountains and the Mississippi River. Initially, the French and their Indian allies enjoyed victories at Fort Necessity in 1754 and at the battle at Monongahela in 1755. Flush with victory, the French encouraged the Delaware Indians to take up the tomahawk against the British colonists who were arriving in droves and had taken their lands and had forced them west. Since the French were far fewer and seemingly less of a threat, and had won the early clashes with the British, the Indians agreed to serve as their agents of terror. In October 1755, Delaware Indian war parties began raiding the Pennsylvania frontier farms.

The Indian attacks were particularly savage and frightening to the peace loving Swiss and German farming families in the Pennsylvania frontier communities. The Indians did not distinguish between soldiers and civilians. Hundreds of women and children were brutally kidnapped, killed and scalped without compassion. Although the Moravian Brethren had strong convictions against taking up arms in warfare, they had no such scruples about defending themselves. The farmers were largely left to defend themselves until a series of forts were built and provided enhanced security until the French were routed at Fort Duquesne Pittsburgh.

In April, 1756, Johannes Spitler Jr. moved his family into a log cabin on a 153 acre tract adjacent to his in-laws' property and another son, Jacob, was born. Johannes began clearing the land, building fences and plowing the fields. On May 15, 1757, while building a fence Johannes Jr. was attacked by a hostile Delaware Indian war party. Elizabeth fired a rifle, and the Indians scattered, she then gathered her four children and ran to safety at her parents' fortified blockhouse. She watched while her log cabin was torched and later returned to her home site to find Johannes' body horribly mutilated. He was 38 and they had been married 12 years. In 1768, Johannes will was probated, giving eldest son John, his land and obliged him to pay his mother 4 pounds, 6 shillings a year for the remainder of her life.

Note: Read more on the Moravians and the Native Americans under "Indians" in this cemetery.

 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Johannes Spittler (1690 - 1757)
  Catharine Schaffner Spittler (1700 - 1773)
 
 Spouse:
  Elisabeth Meily Spittler Faber (1723 - 1773)
 
 Children:
  Johannes Spittler (1742 - 1820)*
  Anna Catharina Spittler Kapp (1745 - 1824)*
  Catharina Spittler Dieben (1752 - 1823)*
  Jacob Spittler (1756 - 1826)*
 
 Siblings:
  Johannes Spittler (1718 - 1757)
  Veronica Spittler Meily Xander (1720 - 1804)*
  Hans Jacob Spittler (1722 - 1794)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Inscription:
No 28 - also refering to stone block
Johannes
Spittler
Born 24 September
1718 Murdered
by the Wildmen
died 16 May
1757
37 years 9 months
3 days
 
Burial:
Hebron Moravian Cemetery
Lebanon
Lebanon County
Pennsylvania, USA
Plot: Stone #28
 
Created by: Paula Casale-Spitler
Record added: May 30, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 53040183
Johannes Spittler, II
Added by: Paula Casale-Spitler
 
Johannes Spittler, II
Added by: Paula Casale-Spitler
 
Johannes Spittler, II
Added by: Paula Casale-Spitler
 
 
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Requiescat in pace...
- Thomas L Spitler, Jr & Paula Casale-Spitler
 Added: May. 30, 2010
 
 
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