The Netherlands and Germany in the early 1500s were referred to as being Dutch.
Both the Netherlands and parts of Germany were part of the Holy Roman Empire.
It appears the family of brothers Benjamin, Johann Christof and Johann Michael
Heiskell (Heuschel) fled
the Rhine Region wars in Germany to a new life across the German/Netherlands
border to Rotterdam Netherlands, where
the brothers were born and from which they then migrated to Pennsylvania in
America. Regardless of which country they resided in, they were "Dutch" at
that point in time.
DNA Match: 5th GREAT GRANDPARENTS, JOHANN (Joh) CHRISTOF
"Christopher" HEISKELL (Heuschkell) married EVA E. FITZGERALD
Your 5th GGfather Johann "Christopher", was born in 1727 in
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands. Per findagrave he was born not in
1727 as many sources claim, but instead in the month of Sept. 1724.
These three brothers Heiskell (Heuschel) (Heuschkehl) immigrated
to America via Philadelphia PA on August 25, 1750 on the Ship
arriving on 28 October 1750. The ship was captained by a John Mason and left
Rotterdam and came by way of Cowes, England This is one of the Palatine
German Immigrant Ships that arrived in Philadelphia.
Above is a transcription of the passenger list.
Johann Christof Heiskell married Eve E. Fitzgerald in 1752
in Virginia. Eve was born in 1730 in Amsterdam and immigrated to America
where she married. Eve died on September 2, 1788 several years before her
husband died in 1803. She evidently died in Frederick, VA. Her
origins may not have been other than the Netherlands.They had several children, including your 4th Great
Grandfather, Peter Henry Heiskell, Sr.
Christopher Heiskell was one of the founders of the original
evangelical German Lutheran Church in Winchester, VA. There are two plaques on
the restored wall of this church:
Johann died on
February 14, 1803 at the age of 76 in Winchester VA and is buried at the German
Lutheran Church Cemetery in Winchester City, VA. ï
DNA Match: 4th GREAT GRANDPARENTS, PETER
HENRY HEISKELL and SUSANNA WEITZEL
Your 4th GGfather Peter Henry Heiskell was born in Winchester,
VA when his mom was 30 and dad Johann Christof was 33. He married your 4th
GGmother on May 13, 1783.
Your 4th GGmother Susanna "Susan" Weitzel was born in 1765 in
Winchester VA to Christopher and Mary Bonnet Weitzel. Susanna was
2nd generation American. Her grandparents, Johan Jacob Weitzel and Mary
Barbara Geist Weitzel were both born in Germany. Johan Jacob died at age
Hoffenheim, Heidelberg, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany
Peter was commissioned as an Ensign in the Virginia militia. He is an
approved name for SAR and DAR lineages.
To me, the most fascinating thing about your 4th GGdad occurred
when Thomas Jefferson's family found themselves in deep debt following his
death. After struggling for several years, they had to sell Monticello due
the high debts of Jefferson. The Executor's Sale was held in the winter of
1831. James Barkley purchased the mansion then and owned it for three years
before selling to U. S. Navy Officer Uriah Levy who ultimately saved Monticello
from further ruin.
When the Barkleys made their purchase, they sold off or gave
away many of Jefferson's possessions that came with their purchase, including
the carriage, or gig, that Jefferson had ridden to Philadelphia to sign the
Declaration of Independence. This gig was presented to Peter Heiskell of
Staunton. This is an important and famous gift from the Jefferson estate
to your 4th Great Granddad!
I found this story on Ancestry, but am uncertain as to its
It is an interesting anecdote of Peter's time captured as Peter himself said it.
Peter died on November 4, 1841 in Staunton, VA, having
lived a full life of 82 years.
Susanna died on September l1, 1854, more than a decade after
husband Peter. She was 89 years of age.
September 19, 1854 Baltimore Sun obituary for Susanna "Susan" Heiskell:
She is buried at Rosethorn Cemetery in Staunton, VA, in Section 9.
PS: Here is a portrait of Peter's sister Amelia Heiskell
DNA Match: 3rd
GREAT GRANDPARENTS were Sarah Darnall Heiskell and her husband Joseph Benedict
Hill, parents of your GGGrandfather John Oswald Hill Sr.
However, I do want to add another family story about Sarah and Joseph and their
Joseph and Sarah Heiskell Hill married in 1817 and resided at Prospect Hill
in Prince George's County, MD. One of their children, your 3rd
Great Aunt, was daughter, Emily Riddle Hill, who married 1850 Immigrant
Gustavo Adolphus Guiseppe Maria Finotti from the Palazzo deo Diamante, Ferra,
Emilia-Romangna, Italy. Whew! That was a mouthful! They
married in PCG, but did not remain there.
Gustavo's brother was Priest Joseph Maria Finotti who established St.
Ignatius Catholic Church in Oxon Hill, MD.
Sarah and Joseph's daughter Emily and Gustavo may have been the first
Italian-American family in Prince George's County, MD. A banker and
merchant in Italy, Gustavo ventured into the realm of tobacco plantation
farming in Prince George's County, near his brother's church.
Sarah soon had five grandchildren by her daughter Emily Riddle Hill; and
Gustavo acquired 10 slaves by 1860...the time of the Civil War.
Gustavo had seen battle in his native Italy, but the Civil War cost him
dearly, as it did so many families. Tobacco farming was a bad choice
for him and it collapsed further when Lincoln freed the slaves in DC,
causing mass desertion of the plantation masters.
Sarah' and Joseph's daughter Emily Riddle Hill and her family left Maryland,
moving in 1864 to Boston where Father Joseph was now located. Gustavo
tried and failed at another business venture in Boston, but also become the
first consular representative in Boston for the newly established Kingdom of
Italy! These are pictures of the family of Gustavo and Emily:
With their first two children (Rosina and Frank)
Finotti family in Boston late 1860s (most Finotti pictures from findagrave
By now Sarah and Joseph had 9 grandchildren by Emily and then suffered their
daughter's huge move to Dakota territory. Gustavo moved them to
Yankton, SD, so very far from both Maryland and Boston. Yankton was
deep in warring Indian territory. They arrived there about a year
after Custer's Last Stand and a decade or so before the battle at Wounded
Knee, the last major stand of the Sioux tribe. Sarah had to be frantic
at times over her daughter and grandchildren living in the wild west!
Emily and Gustavo's children:
Somehow, some way, some of Sarah's family did journey
back to Maryland which had to have delighted their parents!
and Joseph's grandson,3Gustavo Finotti, Jr.
married Mary Susan Heiskell of Kildare (a home in Oxon Hill), and then
returned with his new family to Yankton, SD. Susan and Gustavo Jr.
were listed in the Yankton 1920 census, where he had established himself as
the postmaster for Mission Hill SD. Also he owned in part a mercantile
named Finotti & Brothers. They lived in Yankton, SD the remainder of
their lives. Mary Susan Heiskell is your first cousin, 3x removed.
It is believed that the marriage period was the only time he returned to
granddaughter Sarah Mary Hill Finotti returned from SD and married James
Alexander Heiskell, the brother of Mary Susan Heiskell (Mrs. Gustave Finotti
Jr. above). They remained in PGC and are both buried at St. Ignatius.
James was also your cousin, 3x removed.
grandson Frank Mary Finotti was a clerk for the Italian consulate while they
resided in Boston. Then they moved to Yankton too. Eventually
Frank came home and married Paulina Edelen of
Anacostia DC. He remained in DC and worked for 25 years at St.
Elizabeth's Hospital, as did so many of your ancestors. Frank was the chief
clerk at St. Elizabeth's for many of his years of service and even testified
before Congress regarding conditions at St. Elizabeth's. That must
have been interesting! Note: He is buried at Mt. Olivet cemetery in DC.
She is buried at St. Ignatius cemetery.
grandson John Bernard Fitzpatrick Mary Finotti of PGC married Ella E.
Brooke, moved to Yankton, and then returned to DC. They are both buried at
Congressional Cemetery in DC. Ella was also your cousin, 3x removed.
The Italian pioneer Gustavo was born in Italy in 1812 and died in Yankton in
Parts of this story are based on information contained within "Prince
Georgeans in the Old West" By Alan Virta.
Please share information....