Four Generations of Billmeyer Family History; from the Immigrant Jacob to Andrew to Daniel to Charles
Charles Billmeyer, one of the founders of the railcar builders Billmeyer & Small in York, Pennsylvania, died on November 25, 1875. His son George S. Billmeyer died on January 13, 1917 and George’s obituary notes his grandfather was Andrew Billmeyer; a “fact” which carried over into several bibliographies and various bits of Internet information about George S. Billmeyer. This “fact” reported within George’s obituary is Not True.
This post points out that people giving ancestry information for obituaries, at the time of death, occasionally make mistakes. Primary sources, in this case church records, indicate that Daniel Billmeyer is the father of Charles and the grandfather of George S. Billmeyer.
Copies of the illustrated Billmeyer Vital Record Cards were obtained at the York County Heritage Trust. Think of these cards as a quick lookup index to primary source information in hundreds of church, civil and census records available at the York County Heritage Trust.
The first Vital Record Card contains the birth and baptism information for Charles Billmeyer, son of Daniel & Salome Billmeyer; as recorded per Source 430: Christ Lutheran Church in York. Charles Billmeyer, son of Daniel, is born on March 7, 1824 and baptized on August 27, 1824.
The second Vital Record Card contains the birth and death information for Charles Billmeyer; as recorded per Source 441: Zion Lutheran Church in York. The birth date of March 7, 1824 matches Charles Billmeyer vital records on the first Vital Record Card, thus we have the correct Charles Billmeyer.
The information on these cards can be traced back directly to the church ledgers recorded at the time of Charles’ baptism in 1824, naming his parents as Daniel & Salome. This is without a doubt more substantial than information on the name Charles’ father provided by someone 93-years later, in 1917, for the obituary of George S. Billmeyer.
Related posts include:
- George S. Billmeyer of York enters the 1867 Freshman Class at Princeton; another Capital of the United States
- Resemblance is remarkable between Goodridge image of Charles Billmeyer and photo of his son, George S. Billmeyer
- Billmeyer Printers of YorkTown; 2014 Journal of York County Heritage
- The Quest for Early Billmeyer Photos, with some Success
- George S. Billmeyer; All American Football Player in 1869
- Letter referring to George S. Billmeyer is in the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library
- George S. Billmeyer (1849-1917); Biography from Pennsylvania A History
- RAILCAR GOLD Chapter 11 . . Princeton
Continue reading for additional details from Billmeyer Cards & Files at the York County Heritage Trust on four generations of Billmeyer Family History; from the immigrant Jacob to Andrew to Daniel to Charles.
Jacob Billmeyer arrived in America on the ship Loyal Judith at the Port of Philadelphia during September 25, 1732. Upon arrival, the Captain’s list reports his age as 18-years-old, therefore born during 1714; which agrees with the birth year chronicled by Lewis Miller. Lewis Miller was a well-known Pennsylvania German Folk Artist who recorded every day life by his words and sketches, primarily in his native York, Pennsylvania. Lewis Miller included several Billmeyer family members in his earliest notations and sketches.
Jacob Billmeyer is reported to be one of the earliest settlers in York Town. Lewis Miller notes he came to York in 1738 and “built a house in Main Street near the corner of the Market Square north.” Jacob Billmeyer married Helena Holtzender; she was born in 1717. They had nine children: John Jacob, Susan, Rosina wife of Leonard Weigle, Michael, Andrew, Elizabeth, Ann wife of Henry Shaffer, Mary Juliana and Jacob. Michael Billmeyer and Andrew Billmeyer became printers; Michael eventually establishing a business to Germantown, Philadelphia, while Andrew kept his business in York Town.
A book containing Sketches and Chronicles of Lewis Miller was published by The Historical Society of York County in 1966. On page 2 of this book, Lewis Miller sketches buildings near York Town square from 1799; during which time Billmeyer households occupy the first three houses, next to the square, along the north side of what is now East Market Street. The house of the widow of Jacob Billmeyer in shown in this detail sketch from page 23 of the Lewis Miller book.
Jacob Billmeyer died on February 16, 1777 at the age of 63-years-old. Helena Billmeyer died on November 14, 1803 at the age of 86-years-old.
Andrew Billmeyer, son of Jacob & Helena Billmeyer, was born May 21, 1754 in York Town, Pennsylvania. On page 23 of the Lewis Miller book is this sketch of Andrew Billmeyer playing the old horn that his father Jacob brought from Germany. Andrew Billmeyer, established a printing house for the printing religious and other books in York Town during 1799. The collections of the York County Heritage Trust contain several religious books printed by Andrew Billmeyer. Andrew was the first publisher of the German language newspaper Der Volks Berichter in York Town.
Andrew Billmeyer and his wife Barbara had eight children; Elizabeth married Jacob Lotman, Daniel, Sarah, Hannah (Helena), Hetty (Hester), John Sensenig, Charlotte and Mary. Andrew Billmeyer died on March 8, 1835, at the age of 80-years-old.
Daniel Billmeyer, son of Andrew & Barbara Billmeyer, was born March 5, 1788 in York Town, Pennsylvania. Daniel married Salome Musser (sometimes spelled Moser) in 1812 per records of Christ Lutheran Church in York. Salome was born August 15, 1792. They had seven children: William, Charlotte, Rebecca, Eliza, Jacob, Maria Elizabeth, and Charles.
The initial Vital Record Card, at the beginning of this post, contains the birth and baptism information for their son Charles Billmeyer; as recorded per Source 430: Christ Lutheran Church in York. Charles Billmeyer is born on March 7, 1824 and baptized on August 27, 1824. Charles’ brother Jacob Billmeyer was married to Catharine Small; I’ve yet to determine how Catharine is related to Charles’ business partner David E. Small.
Charles’ father Daniel Billmeyer was a printer in York. He was the publisher of the third German language newspaper printed in York; Der Wahre Republicaner. This newspaper was actually a revival of the Berichter, started by his father Andrew. Daniel was this newspaper’s publisher until the time of his death, on July 9, 1828, at the age of 40-years-old. Thus Charles Billmeyer is 4-years-old when his father Daniel died. From the age of 4 until 11-years-old, his grandfather Andrew was probably Charles Billmeyer’s father figure.
Charles Billmeyer, son of Daniel and Salome Billmeyer, was born March 7, 1824, in York, PA. On August 18, 1844, Charles married Elizabeth Ann Kolb; she was born June 14, 1825. Charles and Elizabeth had six children: Elenora Maria, Daniel, George S., Charles Musser, William Daniel, and Mary Salome. Charles Billmeyer and David E. Small established the railcar building firm of Billmeyer & Small in 1852. Elizabeth Billmeyer died August 22, 1872 and Charles Billmeyer died November 25, 1875, at the age of 51-years-old. The second Vital Record Card, at the beginning of this post, contains the birth and death information for Charles Billmeyer; as recorded per Source 441: Zion Lutheran Church in York.
Summarizing four Billmeyer generations:
- Jacob Billmeyer (1714-1777) lived to be 63-years-old.
- Andrew Billmeyer (1754-1835) lived to be 80-years-old.
- Daniel Billmeyer (1788-1828) lived to be 40-years-old.
- Charles Billmeyer (1824-1875) lived to be 51-years-old.