Philip Brandt, of New Hanover1Dotterer, Henry. Perkiomen Past and Present, Vol. 1
BY HENRY S. DOTTERER.
Philip Brandt received a commercial education in Germany. On his journey to this country he lost his property, compelling him to begin life here under great disadvantages.
In 1734 he was the owner of 100 acres of land in Hanover township. His property was located in the immediate vicinity of tlhee Lutheran and Reformed churches in the present New Hanover Township.
On the 25th of November, 1742, Philip Brandt was in the city of Philadelphia. On the same day Rev. Henry Melchior Miihlenberg arrived in the city. They became acquainted, and formed a warm friendship. Mr. Muhlenberg, in his Selbstbiographie, 1711-1748, states what then occurred, in these words :
“I inquired of the English innkeeper, with whom I stopped, where New Provvidence and New Hanover were located. He did not know, but brought in a German from the country, who was just then in town but lived in New Hanover. The man’s name was Philip Brandt. He said one might ask a long time in vain for New Providence and New Hanover, for these places were known by the names Trappe and Falkner Schwamm. He said further New Hanover was thirty-six English miles distant, and that he must start this evening on his return home, although the roads were in bad condition. I was still weak and swollen from the sea voyage, but not wishing to lose any time resolved to accompany him, and had my effects brought from the vessel to my rented room. Mr. Brandt in the meantime hired a horse for my use, and in the evening we rode quietly out of town. We fed the horses ten miles out of town at a tavern kept by a German, and remained here for the night. Friday, November 26, we continued our journey with several Germans; but made slow progress, as we could only walk our horses, on account of the heavy roads. It was evening when we came to the two creeks, Skippack and Perkiomen, which we had to cross. The first was low, the other high. My companion rode ahead. I was to follow. My horse was light and weak, and the stream being violent he was carried down with the current a distance of several rods. Nevertheless, he made his way, diagonally, across the stream, and brought me up safely on the other side. I was soaked with water up to the chest, and still had ten miles to ride in the dark, to reach New Hanover. This gave me a severe cold. Reached Brandt’s home, under God’s gracious providence. Here I stopped over night, and was hospitably entertained. On Saturday, November 27, I rode with Brandt farther up to visit a deacon of the congregation, whom I requested to call a meeting of the officers. In the afternoon, two deacons and four elders met. At my request Mr. Brandt read to them the letter of the Reverend Court Chaplain Ziegenhagen.”
Philip Brandt died in July, 1744, about 50 years of age. He made a will, written in German, and signed Philipp Brandt. He appointed his wife, Elizabeth Brandt, sole executrix, and directed that she should assume the management of his plantation and the education of his children until they should reach maturity.
The real and personal estate was appraised by Henry Antes, Michael Feedle, Jacob Neuzeholtzer and Johann Michael Weygel. The plantation consisted of 250 acres, which, “with ye building,” these “four Judicious Men” estimated at £200, and the balance of the property was appraised at £ 3G 3 0. Mrs. Sprogle had the testator’s bond for £40, which was paid two years later with interest at the rate of 3h per cent, per annum. The names of some of the persons to whom small sums were paid out of the estate were : Jacob Bauchman, Valentine Haun, Moses Hayman, Adam Kamp, Adam Levengood, John Miller, Charles Nagle, William Parsons and Michael Weichell. Jno. Campbell made the settlement for the executrix, the closing account bearing date of April 26, 1754.
It will be observed that Philip Brandt prospered in the New World, notwithstanding the unfavorable circumstances under which he landed here.
Upon the death of Mr. Brandt, Rev. Mr. Muhlenberg wrote to the authorities at Halle concerning his “first fellow traveller” in Pennsylvania as follows :
“He led a Christian, quiet life; heard the word of God attentively; and at home found edification n the perusal of Arndt’s ‘True Christianity.’ In his youth he enjoyed good religious instruction, which enabled him to give a reason for the hope that was in him. Towards other sects he was circumspect and peaceable, and he sought to be neighborly with everyone, yet so to live as to give away nothing of love and truth. At length his maladies increased, and his end seemed near. I was with him a few days before his death. Regarding his walk in this life, he found therein numberless faults and shortcomings, but he believed that the Intercessor with the Father in Heaven had blotted all out and cast them into the depths of the sea for the sake of His promise. When he was yet living, he charged me in his name most sincerely to thank the worthy patrons and benefactors in Europe.”
Eiizabeth Brandt, the widow, died near the beginning of the year 1768. She made a will on the 28th of November, 1707. Her sons, Jacob Brandt and George Brandt, were named executors. Her son Philip, the will says, “is gone to some other country;” she therefore ordered that his share be kept for him or his heirs for ten years. She bequeathed to Michael Brandt’s daughter, Elizabeth, “my bed and bedstead, and my chest and drawers or clothes press, as a token of her grandmother;” and to Elizabeth Misemer, Elizabeth Henrich and Philip Witts, three pounds apiece, ” as a token of their godmother.”
The children of Philip and Elizabeth Brandt were:
- Michael born June 1724; died August 1794
- Christina, married November 8, 1748, Jacob Liebengut.
- Margaret, wife of Cassimer Misemer.
- Jacob, confirmed at Easter, 1749, aged 15; buried March 30, 1794, aged 60 years, 7 months
- Philip, confirmed at Whitsuntide, 1752, aged 16.
- George, confirmed at Whitsuntide, 1755, aged 16 years, married Susanna Reinert, daughter of Philip Reinert; died April 12, 1821, aged 81 years, 11 months, 8 days; buried at Limerick church. His wife, Susanna, died September 17, 1825, aged 80 years, and is buried at Limerick church.
The baptisms and confirmations of these persons are recorded in the Faulkner Swamp Reformed church book.
George Brandt, son of Philip and Elizabeth Brandt, made a will June 2, 1819, which was probated May 25, 1821. He lived in Pottsgrove township on a farm of 137 acres. His children were: Samuel; Elizabeth, married Henry Christman; Benjamin.
Sources & Notes
- 1Dotterer, Henry. Perkiomen Past and Present, Vol. 1