The Origin and Name of the Hendershot Family
This is taken from "Hendershot Ancestors Genealogy"
Revised 1988 by Wm. E. Hendershott page 4
Origin and Name of the Hendershot Family
The immediate forebears of Michael Hendershot(1674-1749) lived in the Rine
Palatinate, but his father Wilhelm had come from the Old Duch of Berg
farther north. Wilhelm was among many people, some of them relatives,
who immigrated to the war-ravaged Palatinate to redevelop it's farms
and towns about 1670. Nothing is yet known of his previous life except
that he was a lapsed Catholic. He and his brother-in-law Mathia Krebs,
a trained carpenter, tried their hands at various employments, and finally
took on the lease for the larger part of a neglected hill-farm of 450 acres
names "Naumburger Hof". Wilhelm married a Lutheran girl, Ann Maria Balter,
and raised a family of at least eight children, in her religion.
They experienced very hard times for warfare
and plagues, bad weather and poor crops were normal at the
time. Within 15 years Wilhelm died leaving his tough-minded
widow to care for their children and run the farm. At this point the French
were in power, and the Catholilc religion
was in favour. A mixed marriage such as Wilhelm and Anna Maria's
became a target for church intervention. Franciscans forcibly removed
the four younger children from teh widow's home and placed them in
Catholic surroundings until their conversion was achieved.
Michael was the eldest son of this family. In certain parts
of Europe in thos days it was the custom for youngest sons
to inherit family property. The reasoning was simple and practical,
by the time the parents died the elder children would have readed
maturity and moved out to earn a living
for themselves while the youngest were just reaching that
stage of maturity. However the inheritor was required to
reach a settlement with his brothers and sisters so that each
would receive a payment equivalent to their fair share. Long
before this happened to Wilhelm's family howerever Michael
had become independent, started his own family and had
immigrated in debt to America.
We do not have to search far for reasons that inspired
Michael to immigrate. Conditions in his own familiy, split by religious
quarreling, the scarsity of good land, extremely bad climatic conditions
in 1708-09, and constand threat of
armed invasions, all combined to dreive many peopel out.
Colonial developers, especially Wiliam Penn, visited the
Rhineland singing the praises of America-cheap land, religious
freedom, opportunity, etc. It is not surprivsing
that thousands of Palatines and their neighbors paked up
and left home. Under the sgernal label of "persecurted
Protestant Palatine" all sorts of people floked to Rotterdam
to England to gain Queen Anne's protection in 1709. Many then were
shippedto New Yorke to earn their keep by
working on a government project in the Hudson Vally. Michael
and his famiily before long found themselves at a pine-tar
camp where he seems to have acted as foreman or overseer.
The project failed in a year or two and Michael with some
friends moved southwest into New Jersey where the Quakers
hald land and rented it cheaply to settlers. This is how it
came about that the ancestral territory for America
decendants is thought of as centered in Hunterdon County, NJ, where
he finally put down roots.