The Weaver Way: Zurich → Pennsylvania → Ohio

Sharon (née Weaver) Vitter's line of Weaver ancestors originally hailed from Zurich, Switzerland, although we only know for sure of her 4th great grandfather Jacob Joachim Weaver Sr. Jacob was born in 1748 in Kyburg, Zurich, Switzerland and emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1767 on the ship Sally out of Rotterdam.

We tentatively list Jacob's parents as Johann Heinrich Weaver and Anna Gertrude Sasse, but that assignment is highly speculative because Johann is said to have died in Pennsylvania in 1755, even though his son Jacob didn't emigrate until 12 years later in 1767. Several genealogists even have Johann as born in Virginia, in which case he is extremely unlikely to be Johann's father.

When Jacob landed in America in 1767, he went to Weaverland (!) in Lancaster County in eastern Pennsylvania, where he met and married his wife Magdalena Oberholtzer. Jacob, Magdalenda, and their young family ultimately settled 160 miles west in what is now Somerset County, site of the 11 September 2001 crash of United Airlines flight 93. Although Mennonites were generally against violence and armed conflict, Jacob served on behalf of his new land in the Revolutionary War in the Columbia County Militia and the 1st Batallion headed by Colonel James Johnston. Jacob and Magdalena had a total of 11 children. After Magdalena died in 1791, Jacob married Elizabeth and ultimately passed away in 1820.

Jacob Weaver Headstone Jacob Weaver Headstone, immigrant from Zurich, buried in Quemahoning, Somerset, Pennsylvania, USA.

Weaverland, where Jacob first went in his new country, was the home settlement of the extensive Weber/Weaver clan of Mennonites headed by Rev. Jageli Heinrich Weber (Jakob Henry Weaver), who emigrated there from Switzerland in the 1710–1717 time period. Weber (which is German for "Weaver") was the original name of the Weaver family. A big open question is whether Sharon's line of Weavers represented by Jacob is related to the Weber/Weaver family of Rev. Jageli Heinrich Weber. There are several roundabout connections of the two families through marriage after their arrivals in America, but we do not know of any blood relation. Our guess is that they are related through common ancestors back in the old country, but we don't yet know if and how.

One thing both lines of Weavers had in common was that they were Mennonites, and Mennonite families had lots and lots of children, so Sharon has many, many relatives! For example, one of Rev. Jageli Heinrich Weber's many sons, Christian Kendig Weber/Weaver (1731–1820), had at the time of his death a total of 309 living descendants: 17 children, 99 grandchildren, 188 great grandchildren, and five great great grandchildren!

Some of our Jacob Weaver Sr.'s family didn't stay long in Pennsylvania. Three of his sons Jacob Jr., Peter (Sharon's 3rd great grandfather), and Samuel moved to Holmes County, Ohio and established farms circa 1814–1815. Their younger brother Michael went further west in Ohio, settling in Prebler. Some in subsequent generations moved on to Indiana, near Elkhart and Kokomo. For example, Peter's son David, who married Barbara Kauffman, sister of Sharon's 2rd great grandmother Catherine (née Kauffman) Yoder, settled in Nappanee in Elkhart County, Indiana.

Later generations continued moving west. For more details, see the history of Peter's grandson Martin Samuel Weaver, who established the Weaver Homestead in Kansas about 39 miles SSW of Kansas City.

More Weaver Histories