Heinrich Sauvage / Sowash

Johan Heinrich "Henry" Sowash seems to have been born in Germany or France sometime between 1722 and 1731 and came with his parents to America.  Since he did not sign the Oath of Allegiance in 1738 when the family arrived, he had to have been under 16, so he had to have been born after 1722.  He married in 1749, so assuming he was at least 18, he would have to have been born before 1731. 

He married Anna Esther Schneider (birth date and place unknown)  on 27 Nov 1749 in Mertz Church, Rockland Township., Berks County, PA.  Marriage record  "1749 Nov 27 Heinrich Sawasch, son of Johannes Sawasch, and Anna Esther Schneider, daughter of Ulrich Scheider."  The early record book of the church was lost for years until some repair work was being done on the organ pipes.  The original book was found among the debris in the pipe cabinet.  This book was available for viewing at the 1995 family reunion in Reading, PA, but is no longer available to the public.  The earliest church was founded by Reformed and Lutheran members who shared the building.

The early Pennsylvania colony was for the most part peaceful and prosperous, influenced by the Quaker founders. The American colonists rallied to the British cause during the French and Indian Wars. Many families left northern Berks County because Indian raids aimed to steal goods and take captives to later kill or force into slavery. The Pennsylvania colony offered a bounty of $130 for male Indian scalps and $50 for women's. The local militias supported the British troops and developed closer relationships with them. However, after the war, the British returned to business as usual, "ruling" their colonies. The colonists' resentment of this treatment helped develop the desire for greater freedom which came to a head in 1776. It also heavily armed the colonists and gave them some military experience and training. The war also opened the lands west of the Allegheny River.

Henry Showash appeared in the 1757 tax list for Rockland Township of Berks County.  Soash_296

He took the Sacrament and was naturalized on 06 March, 1761, a short time after his father Johannes' death (PA. Archives, Second Series, Vol. 2, p. 351).  Soash_299  Because he did not take the Oath of Allegiance to the King in 1738 when the family arrived, it indicates he was under 16 at the time.  Upon his father's death, he became a landowner and was then required to take the oath.

After his father Johannes' death, the land became the property of Heinrich.  The survey was returned on the 147 acre farm on 11 May 1762.  The survey on the 37 acre plot on 20 Oct 1762. Soash_2227  Heinrich was issued a patent on the land on 22 Nov 1762.  Soash_295  All of this land was listed in Rockland Township, Berks County, PA.

In 1764, the original log building at Mertz Church was replaced with a larger church, which was replaced in 1789 with yet another larger church.

The 1767 Berks County tax listed Heinrich with 150 acres, two horses, two cattle, and four sheep, and he was taxed 8 pounds.  Soash_298

In the 1768 Berks County tax list, Heinrich was listed with 100 acres, 40 cleared, 10 acres corn, 2 horses, 2 cattle, 4 sheep, being taxed 8 pounds. His son Daniel was listed as a single laborer.  Soash_298

On 28 May 1771, Christian Folen (Faulk - his son-in-law) sold 7 acres 35 perches to Henry.

Heinrich and Esther Sowasche served as sponsors for their granddaughter Anna Elisabetha Falck, born 28 April, baptized 10 May 1772 at  Mertz Church in Rockland Towndship., Berks County.  Anna's parents were listed as Christoph and Maria Elisabetha Falck.  Maria was the daughter of Heinrich and Esther Sowash who married Chrisopher Faulk. Soash_2241

Henry and his son Daniel Sowasch enlisted in Captain Daniel Eyester's [Heister ?] Company in September 1776 until January 1777 in the Jerseys to fight in the Revolutionary War (PA. Archives, Sixth Series, Vol. II, p. 601).  Soash_297  Soash_2226   Descendants of this line can qualify to join Sons or Daughters of the American Revolution.

On 12 Oct 1777, Henry and Esther Sawatsch were sponsors for Maria Joanna Kieffer at her baptism at DeLong Church. Parents were Theobald and Maria Joanna Kieffer.  The Kieffers were no doubt related somehow as the Kieffer name appears often.  Soash_4643

In the 1779 Berks County tax list, Henry had 150 acres, two horses and three cattle. His son Daniel was also listed in this tax list with no property.   Soash_1956 Soash_298

26 Sep 1779 Henry and Esther Sowatch served as sponsors for their grandson John George DeLong at DeLong's Church.  Parents Henry & Susanna DeLong. Soash_4643  Susanna was Henry and Esther's daughter.

Henry does not appear in 1780 tax list though he still owned land in Berks County.

Sometime between 26 Sep 1779 and 1783, Henry's wife Anna Esther died as Henry was listed as a widower in a 22 Jan 1783 deed record.  Soash_3913 At this time he sold his land in Berks County as he is listed as "Henry Sowass of the State of Virginia, Widower." 

Jacob Gaumer, son-in-law of Henry, and Henry were both listed in the 1782 tax list of Berkeley County, Virginia (now West Virginia). Two of his other daughters Johanna Elizabeth (Sowash) Faulk and Susanna (Sowash) DeLong and a son Daniel also seem to have moved to Berkeley County.  It is quite probable that his other son John as well as his other daughter Maria Catherina (Sowash) Gaumer also moved to Berkeley County before moving back to western Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Henry bought land in Berkeley County, Virginia [now WV] on 17 November 1784.

Henry and son Daniel both appeared in the 1787 Berkeley County tax list.  Daniel had 4 horses and 3 cattle - no sons age 16-21. Henry had 1 horse & 2 cattle - no sons age 16-21.  Soash_4651

On 20 Oct 1789 Henry sold his land in Berkeley County, VA to his son-in-law Christopher Fulk [Faulk] for 500 pounds. Soash_2150

His son Daniel appeared in Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, PA  first U.S. Census of 1790.  Males - Under 16 - 5: Daniel's sons Daniel Jr, Isaac, Abraham, Jacob and perhaps Peter (born 30 Oct 1790); M 16 and over: 3 Daniel, and perhaps his father Henry and his brother John Sowash Sr. Females: 2 Margaret & ????.   Soash_3239

In 1791, the Whiskey Rebellion began.  Many farmers distilled their surplus rye, wheat, barley, corn and other grains in to whiskey to earn some money.  To repay debts from the Revolutionary War, President George Washington implemented a tax on distilled spirits.  Residents began to protest the tax, and Washington used troops to quell the protests.

Early history of Westmoreland County, PA.  Soash_569

Henry made his will on 07 May 1795 in Westmoreland County, PA. Soash_294

In the name of God Amen. I Henry Sowash of Westmoreland County and State of Pennsylvania, being sick and weak in body, but of perfect mind and memory, calling to mind the mortality of my body and knowing it is appointed unto all men once to die, I do make and ordain this to be last will and testament, and, first of all I give and recommend my soul into the hand of Almighty God who gave it & for my body I recommend it to the earth to be buried in a decent manner at the discretion of my Executors and as touching such worldly estate wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me with in this life I give and dispose of in the following manner and form and first, it is my will and I do order that all my just debts & funeral charges be paid out of the whole of my Estate. I will and bequeath unto my well beloved children the sum of three hundred and twenty seven pounds which is in several Bonds & is to be equally divided amongst them as after named viz Daniel Sowash or his heirs or assigns, John Sowash his heirs and assigns, Elizabeth Foltun [Faulk] her heir & assigns, Susanna DeLong her heirs and assigns, Katrine Commer [Gaumer] her heirs and assigns, Mary Strayer her heirs & assigns. I will and bequeath all my household goods, wearing apparel, bed and bedding & cattle to my son John. I likewise constitute, make and ordain my trusty friend John Wright to be my whole and sole executor of this my last will and testament & I do hereby revoke and disannul all and every other former testament, wills, legacies and executors by me before this time willed and bequeathed ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last will and testament in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this seventh day of May one thousand seven hundred and ninety five.

Henry Sowash his mark

The will was probated in Westmoreland County on 10 Jun 1799 (Bk 1, p. 151). No record of burial has been located. It seems highly probable that he was buried in Brush Creek Cemetery in Westmoreland County, PA.  A gravestone was erected by the Sauvage/Sowash/Soash Family Association in Brush Creek Cemetery near Irwin.  Next to the cemetery is the Brush Creek Church, established in 1782 to serve both the Lutheran and Reformed members in the area.  The two congregations shared the church until 1958 when the Lutherans built their new church next door.  Today it is known as Brush Creek United Church of Christ Soash_871

Heinrich and Esther had six known children based on Henry's will:

1. Johanna Elizabeth Sowash was born 13 Jan 1751 and was baptized 26 Jan 1751 in Mertz Church, Berks County, PA. She married Christopher Faulk (sometimes spelled Folkin/Foltum/Falck, born 26 Jan 1746 in __________ Co., __) about 1771, probably in Berks County.   Christopher died __ ___ 1812 in Berkeley County, VA.  Johanna Elizabeth died 11 Nov 1820 in Berkley County, VA.  They had 10 known children.

2. Daniel Sowash was born about 1752 in Berks County, PA.  About 1779, he married Margaret __________.  Daniel died __ May 1802 and was buried 14 May 1802, the same day his youngest daughter Eva Elizabetha Sowash was baptized at the Brush Creek Church in Westmoreland County.  There was no gravestone for him in Brush Creek Cemetery where he was probably buried so the Sowash/Soash Family Association had one installed.  Margaret died Abt 9 September 1822.  She was probably buried in Brush Creek Cemetery, but no stone was found.

3. Maria Catharina Sowash was born 30 Dec 1759 in Rockland Township, Berks Co., PA. She married Johann Jacob Gaumer, Sr (born 15 Apr 1756 in Northampton County, PA, son of Johannes Dietrich and Maria Elilzabetha (Meinert) Gaumer) on 10 Mar 1780 in Somerset, Somerset County, PA. Maria was listed as Commer rather than Gaumer in Henry's will.  She died 01 Sep 1814 in Salem Township, Muskingum County, OH.  Jacob died 05 May 1820 in Salem Township, Muskingum County, OH.  Jacob and Maria Catherine were buried in New Hope Lutheran Cemetery in Muskingum County, Ohio.  They had eight known children.

4. Susanna Sowash was born about 1757, probably in Berks County. She married Henry DeLong about 1774. She died after 1799 as she was listed in her father's will. This Henry DeLong may be the son of Henry and Susanna Margaretta (_________) DeLong. Susanna's family seems to be the De Longs listed in Bowers Church of Berks County. DeLongs can be found in Berkeley County, Virginia and later a family that matches this one appears in Pickaway Co., OH.  No other information on their deaths and burials.  They had four proven children and probably four more as yet unproven children.

5. John Sowash, Sr  was born about 1765, probably in Rockland Township.  He married Catherine Thomas about 1790, probably in Westmoreland County, PA.  She was born 2 Aug 1770 in Lancaster County, PA, the daughter of Garrett and Mary (Barnhart) Thomas.  John died 5 December, 1827 in Westmoreland County, PA and was buried in Brush Creek Cemetery.  Catherine died 4 Aug 1851 in Westmoreland County and was buried beside her husband in Brush Creek Cemetery.   They had 15 known children.

6. Mary/Farry Sowash was born in the 1750's or 1760's, probably in Berks County. She married ________ Strayer, so mentioned in her father's will.  No other information on this line.


Henry Sowash descendants

Tour of Westmoreland County, PA Sowash connections & sites