Above: The Eby Homestead on Google Maps Street View.
This house is the earliest house associated with the Eby family in America. It was built in 1754 by Christian Eby (1704-1756) and wife Elizabeth (Mayer) Eby (ca. 1714-1787). Christian was the son of the immigrant Theodorus Eby (Aebi / Ebe / Ewi), who was the first Eby-family immigrant to America. Theodorus Eby (a. k. a. Durst Eby) emigrated to America prior to 1718. He had previously emigrated from the Emmental, Switzerland, to near Mannheim, Germany.
Theodorus' sons Hannes and Peter were skilled in the millwright trade in Europe, before their arrival in America, suggesting Theodorus might have been a millwright also.
Above: Deer antlers above the Eby Homestead's datestone on Google Maps Street View.
The datestone is inscribed "Christian Ebi / Elisabetha / 1754."
View this farm in a larger Google map.
Above: Farmhouse at the Eby Homestead (blue pin). Eby Graveyard (purple pin).
Below: Eby Graveyard and tractor tracks on Google Maps Satellite View.
Historic Objects associated with this Eby Homestead:
A Show Towel Made Here in this Eby Farmhouse in 1812:
By Elizabeth Eby (great-great-granddaughter of the immigrant Theodorus Eby)
Below: Detail of the Drawn-Work Panel with the "O Noble Heart" Motif.
Above: This linen show towel is dated 1812 in cross-stictch, with the name "Elisabeth Eby." Elizabeth was a daughter of Christian Eby and Veronica (Hershey) Eby, Mennonite farmers who lived here in this Eby farmhouse. Elizabeth married David Gingerich (1791-1858).
The drawn-work panel at the bottom of the towel has a heart with the initial "O E H B D D E" for "O Edel Herz Bedenk Dein Ende" (O Noble Heart Consider Your End.) This “noble-heart” motif, was popular with Mennonite needleworkers here in Lancaster County. (Show towel: Clarke Hess Collection)
A 1785 Mennonite Hymnbook Owned and Inscribed by Christian Eby:
He was a Mennonite Deacon Living here at the Eby Homestead.
Above: This 1785 Ausbund hymnbook was owned and inscribed by Christian Eby (1734-1807), who lived here at the Eby Homestead with wife Catherine (Bricker) Eby (1743-1810). Christian was a grandson of immigrant Theodorus Eby.
Christian inscribed his ownership on the book's flyleaf. Later, Mennonite preacher John Hess (1768-1830) inscribed his own ownership on the adjoining flyleaf, after purchasing the book from Christian. Preacher John Hess and his family lived at the 1740s Hess Homestead. (Hymnbook: Clarke Hess Collection)
Two 1794 Deeds Signed by Mennonite Deacon Christian Eby,
While Living here at the Eby Homestead:
Above: Mennonite Deacon Christian Eby was living here at the Eby Homestead when he signed his Ausbund hymnbook, shown previously. During this same era, he also signed these two 1794 deeds, shown above, which are accompanied by red-wax seals and pink-silk ribbons.
Deacon Eby signed these deeds using English-language script, although he used his German-script penmanship to sign his hymnbook. Apparently the deacon felt a more peronal attachment to the German language than to English, but he knew it was appropriate to use English lettering for these official English-language documents. For him, the English language was a second language, and his language of choice was Pennsylvania German. Christian Eby, in these two deeds, was executor of the estate of Christian Balmer of Warwick Township. (Deeds: Private collection)
An 1814 Fraktur Motto Made for Susanna Eby.
She was born and raised here at the Eby Homestead:
This fraktur motto (above) was made for Susanna Eby (1805-1882) by an unidentified artist who worked in northern Lancaster County. Susanna was the daughter of Christian and Veronica (Hershey) Eby who lived in this 1754 Christian Eby House. Susanna married Henry Stauffer (1802-1891).
This fraktur was probably penned by an anonymous schoolmaster teaching in the schoolhouse located on the farm of Susanna's uncle Johannes Eby. The uncle's farm adjoined this Christian Eby Homestead to the south. The same artist penned two bookplates for Johannes' daughters. Another fraktur artist, the schoolmaster Jacob Andreas (1797-1873), likely taught at this Eby school. Jacob Andreas also made fraktur for Johannes Eby's daughters. (See the book Mennonite Arts, p. 134, by Clarke Hess, where Jacob Andreas is first identified.)
This fraktur's text is English-language, which is highly unusual at this date, when fraktur was typically German-language. The fraktur is mounted in its original walnut frame. This frame is also unusual, as fraktur was seldom framed or displayed when it was created.
The frame's backboard is inscribed in pencil, stating that this fraktur descended through three generations of Susannas and Susans: grandmother to daughter to grand-daughter. The inscription reads, “The date is 1814. Grandmother Susanna Stauffer got this when ten years of age in school. Susie B. Brubaker, granddaughter. It is my will that this motto after my death shall belong to Susie B. Brubaker, daughter. Then to Susan V. Brubaker granddaughter, Susan E. Brubaker daughter of Susanna E.” (Fraktur: Clarke Hess Collection)
An Eby Wallpaper Box, ca. 1820
Owned by Catherine Eby (1789-1866) at the Eby Homestead
This dome-lid wallpaper box (above) was owned by Catherine Eby, daughter of Christian Eby and Veronica (Hershey) Eby. Catherine was born and raised here at the Eby Homestead.
Catherine never married. After her parents died, she lived with her brother, Preacher Benjamin Eby and his wife Veronica (Witwer) Eby.
A pencil inscription on the bottom of the box indicates that Catherine gave this box to her niece Fanny Eby (1832-1912). Fanny was the daughter of Preacher Benjamin Eby and wife Veronica Eby. Fanny married Preacher Jacob H. Risser, and moved to Washington County, Maryland. Fanny was surrounded by Mennonite preachers. Her father, her husband, and her father-in-law were all ministers.
The box is wood, covered with wallpaper, and would have been made by a cabinetmaker. Boxes of this sort were often used to hold correspondence and other documents. (Wallpaper box: Clarke Hess Collection)
An Eby Sampler, ca. 1808, attributed to Elizabeth Eby (1793-1863)
Made here at the Eby Homestead.
(She also made the decorated towel shown at top of this page.)
Elizabeth Eby stitched this sampler (above) in her teen years, while living at the Eby Homestead. The sampler includes several motifs that were popular on Lancater County Mennonite textiles, including peafowl, a tulip tree, a communion table with chairs, and various geometric designs. The unusual horse-and-carriage motif appears on only a few Pennsylvania German historic textiles.
Elizabeth stitched this sampler is stitched in silk and cotton thread on homespun-linen ground. She stitched her initial “E” in the floral wreath. (Sampler: Clarke Hess Collection)
Two Mennonite First Editions,
Written by Pioneer Bishop Benjamin Eby in Canada.
He was Born here at the Eby Homestead.
Mennonite Bishop Benjamin Eby (1785-1853) was the pioneer leader of the Mennonites in Waterloo, Ontario. He settled there on a farm that is now part of Kitchener. This community was first known as Ebytown, named for the Eby family. It later was named Berlin, until the name was changed to Kitchener during World War I.
Bishop Eby was born here at the Eby Homestead. He was a great-grandson of the Eby immigrant Theodorus Eby. The bishop's grandparents built this Eby house. Benjamin Eby moved to Canada in 1806 and founded the first Mennonite church in western Upper Canada. The bishop was married to Maria (Brubacher) Eby (1789-1834), who was born at the Brubacher Homestead near Lititz.
Bishop Eby was also a farmer and schoolmaster. He wrote two school books. The first was this book: Neuws Buchstabir- und Lesebuch (1839), and the second was Fibel (1843). He also wrote this book about Mennonite history titled, Kurzgefasste Kirchen-geschicte und Glaubenslehre der Taufgesinnten Christen oder Mennoniten (1841).
This ABC book was inscribed for nine-year-old Betsy (Elizabeth) Hess (1836-1891). She was the daughter of Christian and Barbara Huber Hess, who lived at the Hess Farm on Rothsville Road. She received the book from her uncle Peter Huber who emigrated to Ontario in 1819 from the Huber-Brubacher Farm which is now Zig's Bakery.
During her teen years, Betsy lived with her sister Barbara and brother-in-law Jacob Bomberger (1824-1885) on the Bomberger-Wenger Farm. Perhaps she was living with the Bombergers as a hired girl. During this era it was not unusual for a young girl to live away from home with an older sibling to assist with household chores.
Elizabeth later married Isaac Bomberger and they lived in Penn Township near White Oak. See the fraktur birth record of Isaac Bomberger's father, also named Isaac, on this website, Here. This book came from the 2001 auction of Elizabeth's great-grandson Emanuel R. Bomberger. (Books: Clarke Hess Collection)