Christian Henrich Sr.

1718 - 1798

  • Born: 13 Dec 1718, Germany 3

  • Marriage: Mary Margaret Unknown

  • Died: 13 Dec 1798, Albany Twp. Berks Co, Pennsylvania at age 80

  • Buried: 13 Dec 1798, Albany Twp. Berks Co, Pennsylvania 1

  General Notes:

The following was provided by Vikki Henry

Christian Henrich's birth date is assumed to be 1718 because his tombstone inscription (broken tombstone) reads "Christian Henrich, d. 13 Dec 1..., age 80 yrs." Since his will was probated 17 Dec 1798, the death year is assumed as 1798 and the birth year as 1718.

Researcher Marilyn Conlon states birth date December 13, 1716

Burial records of Most Blessed Sacrament Roman Catholic Church, Bally
Heinrich, Christian d. Dec 12, 1798 aged 83 years

Christian Henry arrived in America on 3 November 1752 on the ship Queen of Denmark from Hamburg through Cowes. On the same ship were J. Thomas Kuhn and Johan Gustavus Kintz was both listed as sick when they landed. (Rupp, Daniel I., Thirty Thousand Names of Immigrants)

[ Note: Alternative Fact
Other records list Christian Heinrich arriving on the Ship St Andrew Oct 27, 1738 (source 30,000 names in Penna page 126 and Penna German Pioneers 1727-1775 page 238 and 239) ]

The exact age and birthplace of Christian Henry's children has not been ascertained and they are placed in this record according to the date of their marriage. Since it is unlikely that Christian and Margaret married before 1745 (and they quite possibly married even later than that) at least the younger children must have been born in America. It has not yet been ascertained where the family lived between their arrival in Philadelphia in 1752 and the time the house was built in Albany township, Berks Co. in 1760.

Christian Henry's house, which he built in 1760, was one and half story stone house. This house was used as a chapel by the Roman Catholic priests who traveled from the Goshenhoppen area to serve the people in the northern part of their parish. There was a hollow, or hole, in the corner of one wall where the Holy Bible was kept. Many weddings and baptisms were performed there and the house also served as a schoolhouse. Years later, the house was owned by the Dietrich family and served as a very popular hotel. The house is still standing (1991) and has been lived in continuously since it was built. The house is now privately owned. The house is located not far from a mountain crest called "Round Top" or "Spitzenberg" near Lenhartsville in Albany Township, Berks Co., Pennsylvania.

The following material is taken from DIOCESE OF ALLENTOWN by Rev. Felix Charles Fink as published in GLEN ECHOES OF MOUNT TREXLER, Monthly Monograph for Patients and Friends, SACRED HEART CONVALESCENT HOME, Mt. Trexler, Limeport, Pennsylvania., Leo Gregory Fink, Editor. Wednesday, May 4th, 1966. Vol. 1, No. 2:

Today there are many large and beautiful cathedrals and churches, which are inspirational for everybody who understands the sacrifices and years of hard work, which were involved in their construction and practical use by millions of worshippers. In Colonial days, when it was said that "Catholics were scarce as comets", the days were tempestuous and truly hazardous for Catholics; however, the old missionary trails were "life-lines" which were thrown out over the entire country in order to save Catholic souls and convert others to the Church of Jesus Christ through the medium of Mass-Houses which were owned and highly respected by out-standing Catholics who sheltered missionaries under their roofs and thus enjoyed the privilege of hearing Mass and receiving the Sacraments. In addition to the educational work of the missionaries in conducting Sunday-Schools and even Day Schools in these so-called Mass-Houses, the Circuit Judges of the State used these homes as Polling Places and even temporary Courthouses and non-Catholics often used them for their Prayer Meetings and Religious Services. Many patriots enlisted in the armies of Washington and Lincoln and their formal enlistment took place in these self-same Mass-Houses. The laity of primitive America, although they possessed few churches, loved and served their God and America through the Mass-Houses as Bases of Faith and Patriotism!....

The caption of this monograph indicates that we shall describe only one of the Mass-houses of the Allentown Diocese, namely that of Christian Henry near Lenhartsville and Hamburg in Berks County which was truthfully the "House of God" and the "Gate of Heaven" for our parents and forefathers who were members of the Bally Parish in Berks County.

Christian Henry who once signed his name as "Christian Heinrich", was the owner of the Christian Henry Mass-House, which was used as a homestead, a Mass-House and a Courthouse for the Circuit Judges. It was also used for services of certain non-Catholics and became a place of assembly for rallies of the local citizens in the greater interests of their national government and civic betterment. While a personal visit to the shrine of Colonial Catholicism might be the best way to appreciate the historical value of the estate, we realize that many readers will never visit the place and others in their attempt to find the location, will be lost in the glens and ravines of the Sharp Mountains; therefore, in few words we shall endeavor to describe the exact location of the building and narrate its traditions gleaned from the pens of antiquity and friend of the Jesuit Missionaries.

From an informative letter of Attorney Walter S. Hare, Esq., of Phila., in the year 1940, we abstract the following lines:

'In the spring of 1940, there was a real estate settlement for a farm in Albany Township, Berks County, near Lenhartsville, and among the old deeds turned over to the purchaser was one showing title to Christian Henrich about 1760 to this identical farm. His son, John, was a successor in title. The Farm is located not far from a crest known as "Round Top" and is now owned by a man named Pelletier, from New York, I believe. In exploring this farm, I came across a gravestone made of ordinary fieldstone, broken into four or five pieces, the pieces lying near a shed. The stone had marked the grave of Christian Henrich, who died in 1790, as I recall, aged 80 years. The inscription on the stone is in German and still can be read. Presumably, Christian Henrich was buried on this one-time farm and the gravestone became dislodged. Lying out in the fields on the same farm, face up is another stone that once marked or now marks the grave of Christian Henrich's wife, Margaret.

'The original house, which I assume is the Christian Henrich House, referred to in your article, still stands. Nearby is a barn bearing the name of one of the recent owners of the farm, Morris Bauscher.

'There is a tradition, I understand, that the house was once a "Church" but, after reading your article, its use as a "Mission Station" explains the tradition.

Sincerely yours,
(signed) Walter S. Hare

....Rev. Theodore Schneider, S.J., formerly Rector Manificus of Heidelberg University, Germany, was the first apostolic missionary to flair the mission trails of Eastern Pennsylvania and it is interesting to note that they always began at the Mission-Base of St. Paul's Church in Bally. One of these lengthy trails can be traced upon the pages of the old Register as follows: Bally, Reading, Mount Pleasant, Obolds, Moselem Springs, Kutztown, Allentown, Macungie, Cedar Creek, Hamburg, Port Clinton, Pottsville, Minersville, Ashland and Sunbury. In leaving Reading, the Missionaries would take the turnpikes, which were built, close to the Schuylkill River. Near the town of Leesport, the road divided, one continuing the course of the Schuylkill River, while the other road followed the course of the Maiden creek. The Maiden creek led through the territory called Moselem Springs, where a Mass House or Chapel was built in 1823, from which spot the missionaries traveled towards the hill called Spitzenberg (Sharp Mountain) near to Lenhartsville and Hamburg in Berks County. It must be noted that in Colonial History, every ridge or "arete" is termed "sharp mountain" but strictly speaking the "Sharp Mountain" is that ridge which lies to the south of the

  Noted events in his life were:

• Sailing Ship: Queen of Denmark from Hamburg through Cowes, 3 Nov 1752. 4

• Residence, 1760, Near Lenharstville, Albany Twp, Berks Co., Pennsylvania.

• Military, Between 1777 and 1778, Patriot First Battalion/Capt. Folck's Company. 4

• Alt. Death, 12 Dec 1798, Albany Twp, Lehigh Co, Pennsylvania. 3 5

• Burial Alternat: Sharp Mountain, 14 Dec 1798. 6

• Will, 17 Dec 1798, Will Probated In Berks County, Pennsylvania. 7

Christian married Mary Margaret Unknown. (Mary Margaret Unknown was born on 3 May 1725 in Germany,3 8 died on 14 May 1795 in Albany Twp. Berks Co, Pennsylvania 2 9 and was buried on 16 May 1795 near Sharp Mountain 6.)

Tamaqua-Pottsville Highway
and the next ridge is properly called the "Second Mountain" after which comes the main spur of the Blue Ridge Mountain.

The Mount known as the Spitzenberg is also called the "Round Top" and is part of the Shochary Ridge close to Klinesville, but north of the
Harrisburg State Highway
. This is the exact location of the Christian Henry Mass-House in which the first Baptism was performed in the year 1766. Exactly sixty Baptisms were performed in this Mass-House of Christian Henry from 1766-1785.....

....The homestead was evidently built in two sections. The original section consists of a living room and kitchen on the first floor and bedrooms on the second floor. Evidently, when it began to be used as a center of civic activity and a Mass-House for the missionaries, an addition was added which consisted of one large room on the first floor and another room on the second floor. In the wall at the rear of the large first-floor room, there was built a closet in which was kept the Missal and equipment necessary for the celebration of Mass; therefore, it always retained the name of the "Bible Safe" by the residents of Lenhartsville and Kleinsville. The older residents of these places also insist that the homestead was used by the circuit judges for the administration of justice and by non-Catholics for religious services. There were some minor changes made in the building by former owners, while the present owner, Mr. Pelletier has personally endeavored to restore its primitive Colonial architectural construction so that it will become for future generations an historical shrine of Colonial Catholicism, on the rising slopes of the Spitzenberg or Round Top.

In 1988, Henry descendant Mary Skinner of Clio, Michigan visited the Henry house on Sharp Mountain and took pictures of the house and spring house which are included in the scrapbook attached to this file. Mary's purpose was to find and photograph the tombstones of Christian and Margaret Henry. The owners of the home at the time of her visit were cordial and showed her not only the property but also the room containing the "Bible Safe". She found at that time that they had used the broken tombstones as a foundation for a beehive. She photographed the beehive and the photo clearly shows it is sitting on tombstones. However, the inscriptions cannot be read.

Excerpts from the American Catholic Historical Society Records, describe the Goshenhoppen registers as having formerly belonged to the old mission church of St. Paul, which has since 1837 been known as the church of "The Blessed Sacrament, at Goshenhoppen, now Bally, in Washington township, Berks Co., Pennsylvania.

Christian Henrich will was made March 9, 1798. Kay Markle Connelly has copy of the original will. He appointed and elected his son, Christian Henrich, and his son-in-law, Andreas Grett, as administrators and executors for the execution of the will. Signed Christian Henrich and witness by Peter Berck and Jacob Merckel.

Christian Heinrich was executor of the will for John Foos, a Catholic of Greenwich Twp. who died in 1777. Will Book 2, p. 326 lists many family members.

The following notes are from a family tree file provided by Ronald Thren

Date of birth is from "Catholic Trails West". Date of Death is from Goshenhoppen Registers p185 "Henrich, Christian, aged 83 years; died December 12, 1798; buried on the 14th near Sharp Mountain." Tombstone inscription (broken stone) contains following information (translation): "Christian Henrich died Dec 13, 17__ aged 80 years. Out of the depths, I cry to thee, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice - Psalm 130". WFT Vol 26 Tree # 753 indicates date of birth of Dec 13, 1716. Family group sheet on file at HSBC lists date of birth as 1713 in Steinfeld, Germany.

Christian's will written March 9, 1798 lists the following survivors: Christian, Philip, Johannes, Eva Maria, Margreda, Elisabeth and Magdelena. Son Christian and son-in-law Andreas Grett were administrators. The estate was valued at 836.19.10 with no mention of real estate. The inventory included 715.12.4 in bonds & notes and 46.11.8 in cash. The remaining were household items including bed, clock and case, saddle, gun, 2 cows, etc. There were quite a few entries of varying lengths of linnens, several barrels of whiskey, 12 bushels of Buckwheat, 24 bushels of Rye and an entry for grave stones at 1.2.6.


1 Schwar, Elaine D, ed. Tombstone Inscriptions of Berks County, Pennsylvania, Page 1.

2 Edmund Adams and Barbara Brady O'Keefe, Catholic Trails West Volume 2 (Gateway Press, Inc. 1001 N. Calvert St Baltimore, MD 21202 c. 1989), Page 484.

3 Ibid, pg 484.

4 Vikki Henry, Researcher.

5 Goshenhoppen Registers 1741-1819,The (Baltimore Genealogical Publishing Co. 1984), pg 185.

6 Edgar Zimmerman, St Paul's Catholic Cemetery at Most Blessed Scrament Church (Reported by Ron Thren), pg 31.

7 Christian Henrich Sr, Will of Christian Henrich 1798 (Civil Record).

8 Edgar Zimmerman, St Paul's Catholic Cemetery at Most Blessed Scrament Church (Reported by Ron Thren), Page 484.

9 Goshenhoppen Registers 1741-1819,The (Baltimore Genealogical Publishing Co. 1984), pg 184.