Northkill (Site of the Hochstetler Massacre)

Some years ago on a drive across Pennsylvania, I had the opportunity to stop near Shartlesville (off I-80) and visit the site of the Sept. 20, 1757, Hochstetler massacre (the historical marker, above, records an incorrect date). On that morning, during the French and Indian War, a small Delaware war party surrounded the home of Jacob Hochstetler, my great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather. The young teenage sons Joseph and Christian reached for their hunting rifles in an attempt to kill or scare off the attackers, but their father, true to their Christian pacifism, did not allow them to kill the attackers even at the risk of their own lives. 
The photo above shows the drive leading to the site of the homestead. The war party killed the mother, an infant daughter, and the youngest son. The father, Jacob, and his sons Joseph and Christian were taken captive and sent to three different clans; all three eventually escaped or were released into white society. 

Above is the Northkill Creek, for which the area and the Amish settlement--the first organized congregation in North America--were named.
The clearing above, west of the massacre site, may have been traversed by the raiding party as they led the Hochstetlers into captivity.
The European-born children, Barbara and John, were already married in 1757, living on farms nearby, and were unharmed. The rise on which the farmhouse above sits may be the approximate site of John's home at the time.

Though I was not able on that visit to see the actual massacre site (the current owners were not at home), I hope someday to return. Even without standing on the exact spot, it was a "pinch me" place for me.

The Hochstetler family website contains more information about the massacre here.

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