Francis Buchwalther [Frantz Bouch Walder] and his wife Mary Mellinger

Francis (Frantz) (Bouch Walder) Buchwalter
BIRTH 1665 • Canton, Zurich, Switzerland
DEATH 20 JUL 1723 • Phoenixville, Chester, Pennsylvania

Francis Bouch Walder came in September of 1720 to Chester County, Pennsylvania, where he purchased 620 acres in the Manavon Tract from David Lloyd, along the French Creek and Schuylkill River, near Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. His sons Joseph, Johannes, Jacob, and Durst {Theodorus} and daughter Mary came with him.

According to Futhey and Cope, History of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Vol 2, p 484 in Heritage Books reprint in 1995 of 1881 original, the Buckwalters in the Phoenixville area in the 1880’s were all descended from the German immigrant Francis Buckwalter, a Protestant refugee. In 1713, the Manovon tract where Phoenixville is now located was patented to David Lloyd. Francis Buckwalter was the first settler, purchasing 650 acres in 1720 for 195 pounds.

History of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Futhey and Cope, 1881.

“In 1713, the Manovon tract, at what is now Phonizville, was patented to D. Lloyd. The earliest settler upon it was Francis Buckwalter, to whom Lloyd sold 650 acres in 1720 for [pounds] 195. Buckwalter, a Protestant refugee from Germany, was subjected when in the fatherland to many persecutions because of his faith. It was a matter of family history that he was compelled to read his bible in stealth, concealed in a cow trough. He finally concluded to flee and after leaving his home was pursued for three days by his vindictive Catholic brothers who were determined to cause his destruction. His children were Joseph, Jacob, Johannes, Mary, and Yost, and from him are descended all of the Buckwalters in this country. Of these, Johannes’ son John, b. Sept 15, 1777, married in 1800 Mary Bachtel, b. Jan 2, 1775, and their children were Samuel, John, Henry, James, and Elizabeth, who married James Wynn. Of these children, the eldest was born May 5, 1801, in East Nantmeal Township, and in 1817018 went to Charlestown Township to live with his grandfather, Johannes [John], on the farm on which John Henry Buckwalter now resides. In 1832, he was married by Rev. O. Wample to Mary, daughter of Daniel and Margaret High, of Schuylkill township, by whom he had seven children–Charles C; John Henry; Samuel R; Elizabeth, married to E. Davis; and Helen Caroline, all living; and two deceased, David and Margaret died young. Samuel Buckwalther died Feb 26 1869, and his wife Mary died, 4 1850. He was a second time married, in 1855, to Anny Pennypaker, widow of James Pennypaker. He was one of the most systematic farmers in the county and was, with his family, a member of the Mennonite church., a Mennonite farmer, married Mary Durst Mellinger in 1692 and they immigrated with their family to America in 1717.

Thanks to Lori Gilbert for the following:
He could have been buried on his farm, long since overgrown and gone. He owned the land only 3 years prior to his death and at the time of purchase was ‘the only white settler’ in the area. This indicates that the only ‘cemetery’ could have been an old Indian burial ground.
The cemetery in what is now Phoenixville [possibly the very same ‘old Indian burial ground’] has since been built upon. Records indicate the bodies were moved prior to construction, but Francis is not on the lists. Not that the list would be 100% accurate; perhaps they did not remove all the bodies? No way to know. The Mennonites were so poorly treated in Germany, that the elders did not keep records after coming to America out of habit; thus the severe lack of anything on Francis. His sons began appearing in records mostly after Francis’ death.
The county courthouse was not built for some time after Francis died, so no records there. Perhaps a newspaper, family record, letter, bible will turn up someday with information. Right now, there is just quite a bit of repeated misinformation and ‘assumptions’.
Mary Durst Mellinger Buchwalter
BIRTH 1668 Solothurn, Switzerland
DEATH 20 Jul 1723 (aged 54–55)Lancaster, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA
BURIAL Non-Cemetery Burial, Specifically: Old Indian Burial Ground, Phoenixville, Chester Co., PA Mary Mellinger, a Mennonite daughter of Durst Mellinger, married the farmer Francis Bouch Buchwalter in 1692 in Switzerland. They immigrated to America with their family in 1717.
Francis and Mary are thought to have been buried in an old Indiana cemetery that is now under what is downtown of Phoenixville, PA.

One response to “Francis Buchwalther [Frantz Bouch Walder] and his wife Mary Mellinger

  1. wendy lyons (Buckwalter)

    I have one question, why did Francis and Mary die on the same day?

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