A wonderful Dreisbach Reunion took place at St. Peter's Tohickon Church!


The Dreisbach Family Association Reunion took place on Friday and Saturday, June 18 and 19, and concluded on Sunday, June 20, 2010 by sharing Sunday morning service with our hosts at St. Peter's Tohickon United Church of Christ. 

What Happened at the Reunion!

Thursday - June 17 - Many of us met up in the lobby of Marriott Spring Hill Hotel and then went to the Quakertown Family Restaurant, just down the road, for an informal supper and a chance to meet old and new 'cousins'.

Meeting in the lobby of the Marriot Spring Hill Hotel on Thursday, just before supper.
Friday - June 18
- ALL DAY BUS TOUR: The bus picked up many of us at the hotel and drove us to St. Peter's Tohickon Church where we met the rest of the people going on the bus tour.  A "small" coffee and tea break was scheduled before we started off.  When we went inside the church to grab a quick cup of coffee we were greeted by the friendly women of St. Peter's AND by a whole selection of homemade baked goods plus juice, and fresh fruit, tea, coffee and soft drinks.  There were snacks, soft drinks and bottles of water to take along on the bus tour and even paper bags to stow the snacks! 

Breakfast at St. Peter's Tohickon on Friday morning - stocking up for the all day bus trip to follow!

The weather could not have been more perfect - temperature ranging from mid-70's to low 80's, plus blue skies with white puffy clouds and low humidity. 
On and off the bus. On and off the bus.  On and off the bus :-)

Our first stop was a lovely stone farm house from about 1820 which was newly discovered to be the home of the son of Henry Dreisbach (1754 immigrant to this area). 
Rockhill (Bucks Co.) Henry Dreisbach descendant's stone farmhouse, built about 1820.

From here we drove a short way to Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Almont where we went inside and sat in the pews to admire the church while Ardis Dreisbach Grosjean gave us a brief history of the church and its relationship to Henry Driesbach and his sons.   We also discovered the church has a stained glass window in memory of Susanna Triesbach.  Her relationship to immigrant Henry remains to be clarified.  We spent a fine time in the lovely old cemetery visiting the graves of Henry Driesbach's wife, Magdalena, and many of their descendants including Hilarious Driesbach.  It was a lovely morning to poke around old tombstones.
Window in memory of Susanna Triesbach in Jerusalem Almont Church.

Cemetery of Jerusalem Almont Church.

Next we drove a short distance to Indian Creek United Church of Christ - another church frequented by 1754 immigrant Henry Driesbach and his family.  Here a member of the congregation, Merrill Yoder, gave us a short history of his church and took us out into the cemetery to find the few Dreisbach stones that remain. 
Merrill Yoder telling us about his church, Indian Creek United Church of Christ.

After working up an appetite, we drove a short way to the Mennonite-run, Family Heritage Restaurant, where we were seated together and got a chance to chat over lunch.
Lunch at the Mennonite-run, Family Heritage Restaurant.

From here the bus went to the Mennonite Heritage Center where we saw a movie about the history of the Mennonite faith and then were shown a Bible from the 1500's which at one time belonged to the Bachman family.  As we had more than 20 people on the tour who were somehow connected to the Bachman family, this was a special treat for them - and for the rest of us as well. 
The Bachman Family Bible from the 1500's, at the Mennonite Heritage Center.

The last stop of the day was the Henry Antes "Plantation".  This is a beautiful stone house built in 1736 by Henry Antes, a revolutionary war patriot but also a keen business man and an educated man.  Now - as then - it stands by itself out in the countryside.  The interior has been restored to about the 1760 era.  We were skillfully guided through the house and the lovely garden by docents from the Goshenhoppen Historical Society.  Many agreed this was the highlight of the day.
Visiting the Antes Plantation house and period garden.

FRIDAY CHURCH SUPPER:  Those of us lucky enough to be able to attend the Friday evening Church Supper had a most wonderful experience!  In our absence the church basement had been given a cheerful appearance with red table cloths, Amish straw hat centerpieces, and gifts of candy packages at each place.  We sat down to a homemade dinner that began with warm Pennsylvania Dutch bacon dressing to put on top of a tossed salad.  On the table were dishes of cottage cheese and "lotwarrick" - mahogany colored Penna Dutch apple butter - to be mixed together as an appetizer.  Also waiting for us were large bowls of homemade picked red beets.  Inside the centerpiece hats were black napkins holding warm buns and butter.  Soon the women of the church, dressed in red shirts, black slacks and white aprons, brought HUGE steaming bowls of chicken pot pie - one for each person at the table.  One spoonful convinced each of us that this was no ordinary chicken pot pie and in a little while we were told that the pot pie dough had been hand made, the evening before, especially for us!  When we were full to bursting, out came home made shoo fly pies and funny cakes.  No need to choose - have one piece of each we were urged!  And we did.  Then a quick hunt underneath dinner plates to see who had the penny and got to take home the straw hat centerpiece - see photo of the winners below.  An amazing day!  A day full of good sights, interesting places, wonderful food and deep feelings of peace and joy! 

Hungry people filing in to St Peter's Tohickon for the Penna Dutch Pot Pie Supper!

Pastor Steve helps to cut shoo fly pie and funny cake for dessert.

The lucky people modeling the hats that were part of the centerpieces, which they got to take home. 

Reverend Steven Hamilton, Kathy Hamilton, and the women and men of  St. Peter's Congregation went beyond wonderful in making us feel welcome and at home.  They were always helpful, always cheerful and always surprising us with new Pennsylvania Dutch delights as well as with just plain love and caring.  We all extend a HUGE THANK YOU to each and every one of them!  Without them, the reunion would have been good - but with their contributions the reunion was outstanding!
Rev. Steven Hamilton and the women from St Peter's congregation - who served us breakfast, lunch, dinner and coffee!

Saturday - June 19 - The Main Event

People began arriving at 8:30am to be greeted by another lavish breakfast - this time including homemade sticky buns (with and without nuts!), as well as fruit, juice, as much coffee and tea as you could drink - and other goodies as well.  A very fine way to begin the main part of the reunion.  Sisters, Ardis (left) and Marcia (right) arrive at St. Peter's Tohickon  early Saturday morning to help set up for the talks that day.
Reunion organizers - Ardis Grosjean (left) and Marcia Falconer (right) arriving early on Saturday morning to help set up for the reunion program.

Don Dreisbach, Professor (retired) of Philosophy and president of the DFA gave a short welcoming speech then handed the mike over to Rev. Steven Hamilton who talked a bit about the history of his church, St Peter`s Tohickon, and about the amazing coincidence that two lines of Dreisbachs (the Simon Sr. line and the Rockhill-Bucks County Henry line) were associated with this congregation in the 1750`s and later!

Pastor Steve talks about the history of St Peter's Tohickon Church while DFA Pres Don Dreisbach listens.

Craig McDonald videotaped the entire Saturday event and will have CDs available for purchase so you can relive the whole day!

Carol Comp - the only person from the Rockhill (Bucks Co) Henry line present for the Saturday meeting - gave a fine presentation about the people in her line, ending with her discovery of Rockhill Henry, aka Bucks County Henry.  Ardis Dreisbach Grosjean, the Simon Dreisbach line genealogist, gave an excellent presentation about Dreisbach settlements, in Wittgenstein Germany and then in Lehigh Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania.  This included the new discovery that Simon Dreisbach Sr's sons, Jost, Adam, Simon Jr and John warranted lands so that they controlled access to the northeast corner of the Indian Tract.

A marvelous coffee break followed - put on by the women of St Peter's Tohickon congregation - then it was back to learning more Dreisbach genealogy.

Dr. Phil Ritter, from Stanford University, Calif and head of the Baughman Y-DNA Project gave a most interesting talk on the uses of Y-DNA testing for genalogical purposes and then showed how testing Y-DNA in the Baughman/Bachman family and in the Dreisbach/Dressback family resulted in a most unusual match.  One line of Baughman descendents carries Dreisbach Y-DNA and has done so since 1759.  What happened at that time remains a mystery.

After this Marcia Dreisbach Falconer, head of the Dreisbach/Dresbach Family Y--DNA Project spoke about the results our DNA testing has produced - one of which is that Dreisbach DNA has remained relatively stable for a long time and that of the 18 members of the project, all but 4 are clearly related to the Abraham of Balde line coming from Wittgenstein.  There were 9 members of the Dreisbach Y-DNA project attending the reunion!
Members of the Dreisbach Family Y-DNA Project at the reunion
Left to right: Rick Driesbach, Tristan Dreisbach, Farrell Dreisbach, Martin Dreisbach, Tom Dreisbach, Randy Dresback, Jack Dreisbach (in rear), Leonard Snyder, Gary Baughman.

An update on the DFA website was given by Linda McCoy, our webmistress.

LUNCH - The women (and men) of St Peter's Tohickon Congregation outdid themselves yet again - providing us with a selection of homemade hoagies, drinks, chips, other snacks and strawberry/blueberry shortcake with ice cream for dessert. 
Kathy Hamilton (Blue shirt) and other women from St Peter's serve a hoagie lunch.

After lunch Ardis Grosjean began giving a talk about the parents of 'mysterious' Henry (born 1800) when, an apparition, clad all in black (except for the sun hat) walked in through the back door.  It was Elizabeth Waldman Dreisbach (born 1742 - died 1821) - the grandmother of 'mysterious' Henry and mother of Henry's wayward father.  Elizabeth (played by Marcia Falconer) recounted the story of her life and in so doing gave us an idea of what might have happened the year Henry was conceived and born.
A skit with Marcia Falconer portraying Elizabeth Waldman (1742-1821)

After this Martin Dreisbach, who, with his wife, Dagmar, came from Wittgenstein, Germany for the reunion, presented a great photo tour of the area in Germany where most Dreisbachs originated.  He showed how the towns and houses look today and he took us on a trip through the area where he lives.
Martin Dreisbach from Wittgenstein, Germany, shows photos of the area where the Simon and Martin Dreisbach/Dresbach lines came from.

Next Jeanne Finley, a genealogist from New York State talked about the contingent of Dreisbach families who moved up to New York State in the early 1800's.  She showed where they came from in Pennsylvania and where they settled in New York and talked a bit about how and why they might have made this migration.

Finally, Ann Wohlhueter, Martin line genealogist regaled us with some great stories about Martin descendants and the troubles they had, including the apparent poisoning of a wife!  All agreed this was 'good listening' and would make a fine movie!

Meanwhile - an assortment of posters (of the High School Science Fair variety) were arranged at the back of the room.  People could browse and read more about some of the topics discussed during the Saturday Program.  There was also a 'book corner' featuring books written by our Brazilian cousin, Rodrigo Trespach.  Here people could also pick up a copy of "The Dreisbach Book", the book with a general introduction about Dreisbachs in 1700's Germany, Dreisbach immigrants, and then the genealogy lists of Dreisbach descendants as they were available in 1995 when this book was first published.  Since then, copies of this book have been kept available through the efforts and good will of Fred Varker.  Finally there were copies of the Nora-Robert Dreisbach Family book.  Written about one Dreisbach family that lived from the 1870's to 2003, this book shows ways that 'you' might consider preserving your own family history.

Poster 'corner' including a poster about our cousin Rodrigo Trespach and the books he's written about Dreisbachs in Brazil.

BUSINESS MEETING  The general business meeting, held Saturday afternoon, had several orders of business.  One was to present a "Certificate of Thanks" from the DFA members to Fred Varker for his years of faithfully reproducing and mailing copies of The Dreisbach Book after no more printed copies were available for purchase!  A "Certificate of Thanks" was also awarded to Fran Randazzo for her years of faithful service as the DFA Treasurer.  She was unable to attend the reunion, so her certificate will be mailed to her.

The state of the DFA Treasury is always of interest.  Fran Randazzo sent a Treasurer's report.  Alas, there was no way to print it out, so Marcia Falconer summarized it - the net result being that when all current reunion expenses are paid, the treasury will still have about $4000 in it - enough for the next reunion to get a good start.

Finding somebody or somebodies to organize and hold the next reunion in 2013 was a difficult job.  Eventually a group of first and second cousins agreed to form a committee and to organize the next reunion.  The Reunion Committee consists of Tim Dreisbach, Tom Dreisbach (sons of Ted Dreisbach), Jeff Dreisbach and Scott Dreisbach (sons of Dick Dreisbach), three sisters (daughters of Marian Dreisbach Persons), Pauline Brookfield, Debbie Brooke Persons, and Carla Hatfield Persons, agreed to take on this job. 

AUCTION AFTER THE BUSINESS MEETING  After the business meeting, Randy and Donna Dresback (the reunion welcoming committee) organized a silent auction which netted $315 for the DFA Treasury, of which $115 was used to pay for on-going expenses at the reunion and the remaining $200 was deposited into the DFA bank account.  Our thanks go to Donna and Randy for organizing the auction and also for making up and giving out the registration folders!
Donna and Randy Dresback - Welcome Committee for the 2010 Jubilee Reunion

:  Saturday was packed with things to do and learn, people to talk to and information to exchange.  That did not prevent almost everyone from driving a short distance down the road to Revivals Restaurant for our Saturday Evening Banquet.  Here informality was the rule... with a chance to move around and chat with family from far off places.  To cap off the evening, and to reinforce the Pennsylvania Dutch theme of the reunion, we were treated to entertainment by Keith Brintzenhof, an able musician and specialist in Pennsylvania Dutch folklore and dialect.  He got us all tapping our feet to songs on the autoharp, mountain dulcimer and more.  With humor and music, he brought us back to our Pennsylvania roots!

SUNDAY- June 20th:   We concluded our Dreisbach Family 2010 Jubilee Reunion by joining with the congregation of St Peter's Tohickon United Church of Christ for Sunday morning service.  Pastor Steven Hamilton led the service, welcoming the Dreisbach Family to his church.  He put into words something that everyone felt - that we had all just experienced something out of the ordinary.  Throughout the weekend, something quite special was developing - a feeling of family, warmth, and kindness.  A feeling of being "one".  Each person who took part in the weekend events brought something special to the reunion so that the sum of all these contributions was much greater than the whole.  As we sat together, on Sunday morning, I believe we all felt that the people who came to the reunion and the people of St. Peter's who helped to make things possible had experienced a unique joining together - something both special and sacred.  It was a reunion that will long be remembered.

Pastor Steven Hamilton greets congregants and Dreisbach guests on Sunday morning.




For general genealogy information visit the Dreisbach Family Association Website,
Linda McCoy webmistress, at: