Generations of Henckels…
The Reverend Anthony Jacob Henckel Family National Association, Inc. is dedicated to the preservation and the education of Henckels (Henkel, Henkle, Hinkle, Hinkel, and other various spellings) family history and genealogy.
The Henckel Family is fortunate to have incredible ancestral records dating back to the year 1500 AD in Germany. Many of these records are attributable to their involvement in the Lutheran Religion and in the churches where the Henckels preached and worshiped.
Anthony Jacob Henckel was born in Merenberg, Germany in 1668. He studied at Giessen University in Germany and was ordained into the Lutheran Church on February 28, 1692. The Reverend Henckel came to America with his wife and seven of their children and arrived in Philadelphia in 1717. He was hired as the Pastor, of what was known then as the “Swamp Church” prior to leaving Germany by The Frankfort Land Company. After helping, what is now, New Hanover Lutheran Church build a new church and school, Pastor Henckel help form and organized several Lutheran churches in the Pennsylvania area including: Christ Lutheran Church in Tulpehocken, Goshenhoppen Lutheran, and St. Augustus Lutheran, then known as the the Trappe Lutheran Church. In 1721, Reverend Henckel helped to form and established St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Germantown, Pennsylvania. St. Michael’s Lutheran is where Reverend Henckel and his wife, Maria Elizabeth Dentzer Henckel, are buried.
The descendants of Reverend Anthony Jacob Henckel are divided into branches designated for each of his seven adult children who migrated to Pennsylvania in 1717. These descendants who are now scattered across the United States continue to research, celebrate, and share their rich heritage through the work of Reverend Anthony Jacob Henckel Family National Association, Inc.
New Hanover Lutheran Church
The Reverend Anthony Jacobs Henckel’s first church in America – 1717
Anthony Jacob and his family, before leaving Germany for America, bought 500 acres of land from the Frankfort Land Company in what was know as the “Falkner Swamp”. The land was so named because it was manged by a Lutheran Pastor named Daniel Falkner. As Anthony and his family discovered upon arrival the land was anything but a “swamp”. It was some of the most fertile farm land that had been discovered in America.
Pastor Faulkner and two other Lutheran Pastors had organized and built a congregation of Lutherans starting around 1694. It had grown and a log church was build in the early 1700’s. When the Henckels arrived Anthony Jacob became the second Pastor of the New Hanover Lutheran Church located near the land his family had purchased. The artist rendering below shows what Pastor Henckel new church probably looked like when he arrived. Anthony Jacob was pastor at the church from 1717 until his death in 1728.
Reverend Henckel was helping to establish St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Germantown, PA during much of the 1720’s. He would attend meeting and conduct services in Germantown as part of his duties. During the 40 mile horseback ride, which would take a couple of days, he would stop along the way to minister to other Lutherans. On his last trip, his horse threw him, he died the following day at a friends home just outside of Germantown. St. Michael’s Lutheran was completed shortly after Pastor Henckel’s untimely death.
New Hanover Lutheran Church as it looked in 1743, when Rev. Henry Melchior Muhlenberg dedicated it in 1743.
St. Michael’s Lutheran Church as it looked in 1865
I was studying the history of St. Michael’s Lutheran Church recently and ran across a website for The Germantown Historical Society. On the site, I found all kinds of great information on Germantown’s history, fantastic homes that remain from the 17th and 18th Century, and was able to purchase a picture of the second St. Michael’s Lutheran Church. The first church was completed in 1730 after Anthony Jacob’s death. The church was enlarged in 1746, and the second church was built in 1816 and demolished in 1865, to make room for the current structure completed in 1896. The picture below is from 1865, right before the second church was demolished. I wonder what they did for a church during those 31 years? The cemetery and fence looks similar to the way they look today, a little less worn I must say. I read that the new church was built much further back from Germantown Road than the second church, on the same plot of land and did not disturb the grave sites.
I look forward to visiting The Germantown Historical Society on my next trip to Germantown in 2017 with you all!!! Thanks to them for allowing me to publish this picture.