The Ephrata John Landes Family in America


John Landes was born 6 March 1696, and married Margaretha Naas who was born 19 April 1707.  He is called "Ephrata" John to distinguish him from the other John Landis European emigrants who came to the Lancaster area in the 1700's.  Our “Ephrata” John Landes died 14 May 1756 and Margaretha 22 Sept 1780.  John and Margaretha are said to be buried in the Landis-Kemper Cemetery in the borough of Akron, Lancaster Co.  All the stones are lying flat, overgrown with grass and only tiny parts of a few stones are visible.  This cemetery appears to be the far upper end of the 135 acre property that “Ephrata” John Landes patented from the Penn’s on 16 March 1738/9 (patent A-1-189, can be seen on microfilm at the PA Historical Society in Philadelphia).  Standing at the cemetery on Scenic View Drive in Akron, one can look down the hill and across the fields and see the rusty old oil tanks just off Rothsville Road that are on part of his property.  Rothsville Road cuts his property in half. Tthe lower half (northern half) is bounded by Cocalico Creek and Rothsville Road, the creek makes a big loop and at the northern end both Hammer and Middle Creeks join Cocalico Creek.  This is bottomland and does get flooded.  There is an old stone house on the south side of Rothsville Road at Millway Road.  We wonder if this could have been the family home.  The old barn across Rothsville Road was torn down in 1999.  An old brick house, down by the juncture of the three streams, burned about 1998.


The following maps show Ephrata John’s land and it’s relationship to the Rudolph Bollinger and the Henry Mohler, Sr. lands.

It is quite possible that “Ephrata” John Landes had a first wife, name unknown, since the first child Mary was born 1722 when Margaretha would have been 15.  Son John came the following year and then there is a gap of 8 years before the third child, Elizabeth, was born in 1731.  There were at least 15 known children. 


Emmert Bittinger has written a twopart article on the first several generations of this family in the quarterly Mennonite Family History, Jan. & April 1994.


The name seems to have been spelled Landes, at least in the beginning.  However many of the wills and deeds, as transcribed by the clerks in to the will and deed books, spell it Landis, although in some cases, the “i” has been crossed out and “e” written on top.  Some of the descendants use Landes and some Landis.  I have tried to stick with the spelling found on tombstones, deeds and wills.


There is some controversy about the parents of “Ephrata” John Landes.  Here are several versions.  I do not think there is definite proof yet, although some people are working on it.


In a letter to me on 9 March 1994, Jane Evans Best, on the basis of new information thought that Ephrata John might be a son of Hans Heinrich Landes, b. ca 1645 who was a son of Hans Heinrich Landes, bap. 13 Nov 1621, who was a son of Hans Landes & Elsbeth Erzinger.


From the website comes the following ancestry, however, we are unsure of Ephrata John descendence from Hans Heinrich & E. Hirt. 

Johannes Landes (1520-?), died Hirzel, Switzerland, m. Katherina Schinz, _1524-?)

Rudolph Landes (1547-?), died Hirzel, Switzerland,

Hans Landes, (1575-?), m. Anna Bruppacher/Brubaker

Rudolph Landes (1603-?), m. Elsbeth Schnewlin

Hans Heinrich Landes, (1641-?), Richterswill, Switz., m. Angelika Trumpler

Hans Heinrich Landes, (1683-1727), m. Elizabeth Hirt, died in Hunterdon Co., NJ

Ephrata John Landes, (1696-1756), died Hunterdon Co. NJ, m. Margaretha Naas


Our information proves that Ephrata John died in Ephrata. PA and although one of Hans Heinrich Landes’ (1683-1727) sons marries an Elizabeth Naas, we can no relationship between Elizabeth and Margaretha, John’s wife.


There is also controversy about the immigration of John and Margaretha.  Did they marry in Europe and come together, or did they meet and marry in America?  Some said that John came on the ship Pink Plaisance and landed on 21 Sept 1732.  However that ship list has a John Landis, age 20.  Records by Eileen Myers in the York Historical Society, Volume 30, p 76, claim that John Landis, born 1696 in Switzerland, settled in Ephrata in 1717. 


Parents of Margaretha Naas:  Was she a daughter of Bishop Johannes Naas and wife Margaret Rehnen?  Johannes Naas, 1670-1741, was from Norten in Westphalia.  He wrote a letter to his son Jacob Wilhelm Naas of his trials on the voyage in 1733.  According to records, he came with his wife and daughter Elizabeth.  Elizabeth, b. 1693, married Henrich Hans Landis who settled in Amwell, NJ.  We know there was travel between Amwell, NJ, and Germantown and Ephrata in PA.  I have found nothing to suggest that Johannes Naas and wife Margaret had a daughter Margaretha.


Lancaster deed book BB-530, 23 Aug 1766, heirs of "Ephrata" John Landes sign off on the transfer of 65 acres of land to brother David.  They each received 20 pounds.  The following signed on this deed: John Landes, Henry Landes, Mary & Jacob Sunday, Ann & Jacob Hernley, Elizabeth & Henry Moller, Margaret & Christian Hase, Barbara & Jacob Keller, Susanne & Daniel Bowman, Magdalena and Michael Bear the younger.


On 20 March 1770, Catharine and Samuel Bowman sign the release [BB-533]. And on 27 June 1774, Jacob Landes, Benjamin Landes, Abraham Landes, and Salome Landes sign their release [BB-534].  This is 66 + acres of land that "Ephrata" John Landes purchased 16 March 1738/9, Philadelphia deed book A-189.   In 1802, David Landes, Sr. deeds 42+ acres to son David, Jr.  The Historical Society of Cocalico Valley has the actual deed for this 8 May 1802 transaction and it cites the previous deed as occuring 23 Aug 1756.  It also mentions that some of the 66 acres was set aside for burial ground for family and neighbors. Ephrata John's original purchase was for 135 acres of land.


The book The Landes Genealogy, by Norman A. Landes, Dr. H. K. Stoner and James B. Landes, in 1935 (found in the PA State Library in Harrisburg) says that the John Landes who settled in Brothersvalley, PA was a descendant of the John Landes who settled in Ephrata in 1720, (page 11) and on page 13 "According to tradition, two brothers also accompanied John Landes into Brothersvalley.  It is possible that the Abraham Landes, joiner, who resided at East Liberty in that township.was a brother of John.  Abraham's will dated 1835 was witnessed by John Landes (III)."  We are missing several of the children of John Landes, Jr. but his son Abraham is the one married to Rosina Gunkle so Stoners Abraham cannot be the missing son of John Jr.


In the spring of 2001, Del Landis and Wayne Landis have reissued the book by Abram Yost titled "The Family and Descendants of Samuel Landis", originally published in 1981.  They have added new information to it and found data that proves that Samuel Landis was a descendant of "Ephrata" John Landes.  Samuel Landis was a son of Jacob Landis, second son (8th child) of Ephrata John and Margaretha.  Jacob was married first to Susanna/Veronica ___, 1746-1785, whose only known child was John Landis, 1767-1842, who married Hannah Fahnestock and moved to York Co., PA.   After Susanna/Veronica's death, Jacob married Salome Hummer and the only three known children were Catharine, wife of Jacob Wolf; Rebecca, wife of Daniel Hollinger; and Michael, 1799-1861 who married Rosanna Goodyear and moved to Montgomery Co., OH.  Del and Wayne Landis found court records of the distribution of the estate of Michael Hummer, brother of Salome Hummer Landis.  This record names other children of Salome and Jacob Landis and their location.


I would like to thank the following people who have supplied much data: James E. Landis, Glenn Miller, Hal Ferguson, Emmert Bittinger, Anna Strenk, Colleen Payton, Byrnece Gibney, Bernice Brungard, Del Landis and Wayne Landis.  Books I have used heavily are: "The Bauman/Bowman Family of Cocalico Valley", by Clarence Spohn and Cynthia Marquet, published by the Historical Society of Cocalico Valley; "A Keller History" by Rachel Keller Spease, 1998;  "The Wenger Book", Editor in Chief, Samuel S. Wenger, 1978 and "Genealogical Records of the Royer Family in America", Rev J. G. Francis, 1928.


John’s first generations are listed on the following page.  A more complete listing can be found by following the “Ephrata” John link into the Mohler/Landes database.