History and Biography of Henry Sechrist & his wives Anna Magdalena Flinchbaugh and Catherine Weinhold
Henry Sechrist was the 9th child and fifth son of Francis Sechrist and Veronica Feiser. He was born July 7, 1772 in York County, PA. Sometime in the early 1800’s, he married Anna Magdalena Flinchbaugh, daughter of Adam Flinchbaugh and Magdalena Seig. Anna Magdalena was born October 3, 1776 in York County, Pa and was baptized on November 17, 1776 at Blymire’s Church in York Twp, York County, PA.
Henry and Magdalena’s first child was not born until 1806, making him 34 years old and Magdalena 30. It is highly unusual for two individuals during this time in history to wait until their late 20’s/early 30’s to each marry for the first time. While no evidence exists that either Henry or Magdalena were married previously (Henry’s will and estate papers do not mention children from any other marriages besides his two known wives), one can only wonder if that might have been the case given the late start in life to their marriage and birth of their children. However, it is also possible they were married earlier and they had children born before 1806 who passed away during infancy. This possibility will be explored below.
Early records indicate that Henry first lived in Hopewell Twp., the 1800 and 1807 Pennsylvania Septennial Census both indicate that Henry was living in Hopewell Twp, as well as the 1810 Federal Census. Deed records indicate that Henry Sechrist bought his property in Hopewell (now North Hopewell Twp) on March 13, 1805 from Christian Bleymeyer Sr. Christian Bleymeyer Sr. had actually sold it to his Christian Blymeyer Jr in 1799, but Christian Bleymeyer Jr. died in 1804 and even though he was married, the property reverted back to Christian Bleymeyer Sr. When Christian Sr. bought the property from James McFarland in 1799, it mentions that it was originally warranted to Daniel McFarland who sold it to James McFarland. The below survey, done in 1813 by Henry Sechrist’s brother John, shows the property being originally warranted to Daniel McFarland.
York County Clerk of Court Quarter Courts records indicate that a tavern was operated on this property. Records show a Christian Bleymeyer operating a tavern in Hopewell Twp from at least June 1795 through May 1804 when he last obtained a license. Henry Sechrist obtained a license to operate a tavern in Hopewell Township in May 1805.
Circling back to the question of whether Henry Sechrist or Magdalena Flinchbaugh were married to someone else before they married each other, this property transaction raises interesting questions. As mentioned earlier, Christian Bleymeyer Jr. owned the property from 1799 to 1804, but when he died the property reverted back to his father, and not his widow. I have not been able to locate his widow’s maiden name, but her first name was Magdalena according to estate records. Even though ownership of the property reverted back to Christian Bleymeyer Sr, the widow Magdalena still lived at the property, as she obtained a tavern license to continue operating it in February 1805. So we know Christian Bleymeyer Jr had a tavern license in May 1804, then Magdalena Bleymeyer (his widow) had one in February 1805 and then Henry Sechrist got one in May 1805.
Based on this information, is it possible that Magdalena Flinchbaugh was first married to Christian Bleymeyer Jr, then he died in late 1804 and she married Henry Sechrist sometime in 1805? This timeline would make sense since Henry and Magdalena’s first child was born in 1806
Tax records last show Henry living in Hopewell Twp in 1811, so some time around then he likely sold the tavern property to this brother John Sechrist who had the property surveyed and patented. The 1820 census shows Henry was now living in Chanceford Twp., where he would reside for the remainder of his life. Henry’s property in Chanceford Twp. was located just to the north of Felton along Runkle Road.
By trade, Henry was a farmer and distiller. According to the two separate biographical sketches of grandchildren of Henry in the History of York County, Pennsylvania, volume 2 by George Powell in 1907, Henry was a distiller and had his son John drive team for him and deliver his product to Baltimore. To corroborate the story of Henry being a distiller, in reviewing the tax records for Chanceford Twp. for the late 1820’s and early 1830’s, it lists Henry as being a large landowner and also owning at least 1 still as well.
Henry and Magdalena had seven children together, from oldest to youngest they were named Elizabeth (married to Frederick Huson/Husson), Mary (married to Jacob Kohler), Henry, Sarah (married to Barnitz Knisely), John, Jonathan, and Charles. Sometime after Charles was born in 1820, Magdalena passed away. At this time, there are no records of when exactly Magdalena passed away and nobody has been able to locate where Magdalena was buried.
Henry did not stay as a widower long, as he soon married Catherine Weinhold in the mid 1820’s. Catherine was born August 25, 1794, making her 22 years younger than Henry. Since she was in her early 30’s when they married, Henry and Catherine had four children of their own, from oldest to youngest they were named Leah (married to Charles Grove), William, Susan (married to Charles Diehl) and Nancy (married to Emanuel Grove).
As with his first wife Magdalena, there are no records of where exactly Henry and his second wife Catherine were buried. In of those biographical sketches previously mentioned, it is stated that Henry and his two wives are buried in the cemetery of Chanceford Twp. Unfortunately, there is no specific Chanceford Twp cemetery, so it is uncertain which cemetery they are referring to. The closest cemetery to where Henry lived that is located in Chanceford Twp. is Trinity Cemetery, located at the intersection of Trinity Rd and Main St Extended just to the east of Felton. This cemetery is also located very close to where Henry’s son John lived.
Henry Sechrist born July 7, 1772 in York County, PA and died April 22, 1856 in York County, PA. He married (first) Anna Magdalena Flinchbaugh born October 3, 1776 in York County, PA, baptized on November 17, 1776 at Blymire’s Church in York Twp, York County, PA and died in the early 1820’s. He married (second) Catherine Weinhold born August 25, 1794 in PA and died October 16, 1856 in York County, PA.
Children of Henry Sechrist and his wife Anna Magdalena Flinchbaugh:
- Elizabeth Sechrist (1806 – September 1, 1880) married Frederick Huson/Husson (about 1811 – April 22, 1872)
- Mary Sechrist (February 20, 1808 – June 1861) married Jacob Kohler (January 12, 1808 – May 25, 1874)
- Henry Sechrist (April 22, 1809 – August 15, 1883) married Mary Yohe (February 24, 1814 – October 26, 1870)
- Sarah Sechrist (January 7, 1811 – September 5, 1850) married Barnitz Knisely (October 6, 1809 – November 6, 1809)
- John Sechrist (January 12, 1813 – January 14, 1901) married Susan Frey (December 1, 1820 – July 16, 1912)
- Jonathan Sechrist (1816 – August 27, 1878) married Henrietta Blouse (1813 – August 5, 1887)
- Charles Sechrist (February 20, 1820 – September 7, 1888) married Mary Magdalena Raab (November 13, 1828 – January 7, 1909)
Children of Henry Sechrist and his wife Catherine Weinhold:
- William Sechrist (March 12, 1827 – March 4, 1903) married Susan Grove (May 27, 1836 – December 16, 1901)
- Leah Sechrist (April 2, 1828 – August 15, 1905) married Charles Grove (August 11, 1827 – August 20, 1902)
- Susan Sechrist (March 5, 1835 – December 12, 1901) married Charles Diehl (December 15, 1831 – November 12, 1892)
- Nancy Sechrist (March 5, 1835 – June 18, 1888) married Emanuel Grove (September 29, 1829 – February 12, 1901)