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Peter Livengood Family of Somerset County, Pa.

pp 6, of The Laurel Messenger in Somerset Co., Pa. November, 1963
The German Swiss pioneer Peter Livengood
born 1730, single freeman, in New Jersey for about two years then returned to Europe. Later he settled in Berks County, Pennsylvania, where about the year 1760, he married Barbara Nafziger, and they are ancestors of all Somerset County Livengoods. Livengood being an anglicized form of the Swiss name Leibundgut. For some Ship and Passenger lists Go to (Authority W.S. Livengood, Myersdale Republican.
William St. Clair obtained warrant for 100 acre tract in Elk Lick (then Cumberland County) 12-Apr. 1769. He sold this tract to Peter Livengood in 1773. The site of the Livengood homestead, is between Salisbury and St. Paul, and nearby is the old Indian Trail and packers path, known as the Turkeyfoot Road. St. Clair had six acres of the tract cleared in 1772 according to record in tax assessment file. The Commonwealth land office records show that Peter Livengood obtained warrant for said tract under date 6-Feb.1775, the date of survey is 30-Mar.1785, date of patent 13-Jan.1797, named "Liverpool," area 156 acres.
Peter Livengood obviously prospered in his newly acquired plantation, since he obtained an additional land warrant dated 10-Mar.1785 for 297 acres nearby, for which he paid 10 pounds sterling per 100 acres; this tract surveyed 27-June1785, patented 13-Jan.1797, named "Denmark." A third tract was acquired by warrant dated 30-Mar.1799, surveyed 15-Nov.1802, patent issued 12-Dec.1805, named "Cork." Paid 50 shillings per 100 acres for the latter tract, containing 89 acres.
In a letter dated
Philadelphia, 25-Oct.1785, Chew and Wilcox have agreed to sell most of their lands in this area "and I take this opportunity of informing you that we are willing you should have the tract you applied to me for last winter when you were at my house...Mr. George Woods of Bedford promises to forward this letter to you with all possible dispatch..." This letter addressed to "Mr. Peter Livengood, Little Yogh," bears the personal signature of Benjamin Chew. A photostat copy of the original letter is in the file of Somerset County Historical and Genealogical Society.
Sugar baby Betsy
A family tradition tells of the coming of the Peter Livengood family from Berks to Somerset (then
Bedford) County. The time is calculated by determining the date of birth of a daughter named Elizabeth, in a crude shelter, beneath the spreading branched of a large sugar tree, at the site of their cabin homestead. It appears the family was camping out, pending the completion of their log cabin at this site when Elizabeth was born. The family Bible register of births fixes the date as 8-Jul.1775. (Note above warrant 6-Feb.1775).
Family Bible Register
Peter Livengood b. 1730
Switzerland d 27-Apr.1826 Elk Lick; m. Barbara Nafziger; had: Peter Livengood Sr. and brother Jacob Livengood from Switzerland 1750 settled Berks County, Pennsylvania.
Bella Hans
John C. Livengood born Elk Lick 1801, died 1859, was the son of Christian and Elizabeth (Forney) Livengood. He married Mary Hershberger and their children were Samuel J.; Jeremiah; John; Peter; Alexander; Eliza; Nancy; Sarah; Elizabeth; and Mary.
John C. Livengood acquired the large "Griffy" farm, later Wengerd farm, next to the Compton Mill property. He became prosperous and purchased a six horse team and six wheeled wagon, used for hauling freight on the old pike. His grown sons operated the farm. the wagon, built in 1822 at Summit Mills by a mechanic named Firl
, was unique in its features. It was provided with three sets of wheels with steel tires for inches wide and nearly one inch thick. The seasoned white oak spokes are mortised into the fellows, and had shoulder fitted against the inside curve of the fellows, as neatly and tightly as any fine cabinet work.
Drawn by six magnificent iron grey horses, with jingling bow bells on the fames of their harness, the musical tone of the bells and the magnificence of the team became legendary in the Dutch settlement and elsewhere. The owner of the superb outfit became known far and wide as "Bella Hans."
Convertible Vehicle
A six wheeled wagon may be regarded as a novelty in modern times, but only two pair of wheels are used at once on this particular vehicle. The smallest are four feet, the second pair five feet and the third pair six feet in diameter. For heavy short hauls such as lumber, limestone and farm crops, the four smaller wheels are used to make the wagon bed lower, and loading easier. For long distance hauling of merchandise freight the low front wheels are removed, the higher rear wheels moved up front and the spare high wheels placed on the rear axle.
For many years, "Bella Hans" was a wagoner hauling farm produce to eastern markets and on the return trip bringing store goods for lical merchants. Often he hauled freight from Baltimore to Wheeling, then a three weeks' trip. He used the high wheels on these trips and a Conestoga shaped wagon box with canvas top.
With the passing of "Bella Hans" Livengood, his widow sold the farm to William Kretchman
. Then at the public sale of implements which followed, Samuel Compton bought the six wheeled wagon. It was used on the Compton farm for three generations at the mill, in the sugar camp, hauling harvest crops. After 140 years of service, this antique wagon was given to the Springs museum by the Allen Compton family, reported in fairly good condition.
(The "Bella Hans" story is adapted from an article published in Meyersdale Republican 5-May.1938, by William S. Livengood, Sr., who is the grandson of John C. Livengood; courtesy of Mrs. Frances Imler.)

Peter Leibundgutt (Livengood) Early Settler

by Shirley Teets
Peter Livengood was the pioneer ancestor of all the Livengoods in present Somerset County. He was an Amish preacher, (later Peter became a Dunkard), a weaver, and a teacher, along with operating a farm.
Born in 1730, he was a single freeman in New Jersey for approximately two years, then returned to Europe. Later he returned to America and settled in Berks County, Pennsylvania where he met and married Barbra Nafziger.
Peter and Barbra, with 23 other Amish families, migrated across the state, probably via the Turkeyfoot Trail, to the Stoneycreek area in what is Somerset County, Pa. Tradition states that Peter was the first man to cross the Allegheny Mountains in a Conestoga wagon.
An item in the History of Bedford, Somerset and
Fulton Counties, page 553 states that Peter Livengood came to Elk Lick Township in 1760.
Peter Settles Near Salisbury
In 1775, the Livengoods settled on a farm located between West Salisbury and St. Paul, now owned by Bradley Keim.
In Welfley's history he relates this incident:
There is a story that Peter Livengood, who located near Salisbury, came in with his family. They meant to stop with the Saylors, but were overtaken by night without finding them, and so were forced to camp in the woods. It so happened that they were quite near the Saylors at the time, without being aware of it. After they built a fire, the Saylors noticed the light, made some investigation and found them. If the story has anything on which to rest, then it would look as though they were here at least as early as 1772 because shortly after coming in there was a happening in the family of Peter Livengood that would fix this as the date.:
Jacob and John Saylor evidently had migrated to Somerset County earlier that 1772 since they were settled and had a dwelling of some kind by that date.
Peter's Land Purchases
Peter purchased a one hundred acre tract of land in 1773 from William St. Clair who had acquired a warrant April 12, 1769. The Commonwealth land office records show Peter's warrant for said tract dated February 6, 1775. It was surveyed March 30, 1785 for 297 acres, for which he paid ten pounds sterling ber hundred acres. This tract was surveyed June 27, 1785, patented January 13, 1797 and named Denmark. A third tract of 89 acres was obtained March 30, 1799, surveyed November 15, 1802, patented December 12, 1805, and named Cork
. He paid fifty shillings per hundred acres for this tract.
The Casselman Chronicle Vol XXV
One is amazed at the distances the pioneers traveled in the 1700's over mere trails. There is a copy of an original letter in the file of Somerset County Historical and Genealogical Society dated October 25, 1785 from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Chew and Wilcox have agreed to sell most of their lands in this area "and I take this opportunity of informing you that we are willing you should have the tract you applied to me for last winter when you were at my house..."This letter, addressed to Mr. Peter Livengood, "Little Yogh," hears the personal signature of Benjamin Chew.
The family has a legend that daughter Elizabeth was born in a crude shelter under a large sugar tree at the site of their cabin homestead prior to the erection of a cabin.
Elizabeth married Jacob Breniser
of the Berlin, Pa. area.
The writer has a copy of Peter Livengood's work ledger. The original text is not pure German, but it contains a large amount of "Pa. Dutch" words which cannot be found in a German dictionary. It was translated by Dr. E. C. Saylor in 1935. Saylor states, "I have endeavored to do the best I could with the limited education in the German language at my command, and I tried as nearly as possible to give or convey the idea intended."
Militia Member
It is believed that Peter Livengood was a Private, 3rd Class, in the Pennsylvania Militia, September 29, 1781.[Pennsylvania Archives, Sixth Series, Vol II, pp. 439-443. Information provided by Dorothy DeGrunchy
who joined the D.A.R. through her research on her ancestor Peter Livengood.] Members of the militia included wagoners, Indian scouts, chaplains or ministers as well as soldiers, and Peter may have served in one of these noncombatant capacities.

Family History Revealed by Livengood
By P.L. Livengood
In its issue of Nov. 21, 1934, the Somerset Herald made mention of a bible owned by J.R. Friend
, a Somerset merchant, which was printed in Edinburgh, Scotland, 145 years ago. The writer takes pleasure in stating that he is the owner of a bible a year older than the ancient bible owned by Mr. Friend. The bible owned by the writer was at one time the property of his great grandfather, Christian Livengood, eldest son of Peter Livengood, a native of Switzerland who was the first Livengood to settle in Somerset County, and Peter the 1st, as he is frequently referred to by his numerous descendants, was, to the best of their knowledge, the pioneer ancestor of all the Livengoods in Somerset County, as well as in many other counties throughout the Union. The old Livengood bible here referred to was printed in Nurnberg, Germany, in 1788, and is therefore 146 years old. It is printed in the German language, and is still in a fairly good state of preservation. It is a large volume, and profusely illustrated. Its dimensions are 15 3/4 x 10 x 4 1/2 inches, and it is covered with leather.
Christian Livengood, the original owner, was born in one of the eastern counties of Pennsylvania in 1761, and came with his parents to what is now Somerset County in 1775, when they settled on the farm now owned and occupied by Harry Keim
, situated in Elk Lick Township, about a half mile west of Salisbury. Christian was one of a family of twelve children, namely, Christian, Christina, Barbara, Peter, Maria, Analis, Sem, Catherine, Elizabeth, Sem, John and Franie. They were born in the order named. As will be noted, two were named Sem, and both died in infancy.
Christian, the eldest of the twelve children of Peter the 1st, was the father of fifteen children, and their names and birth dates, as well as the names and birth dates of the parents, are all neatly recorded on one of the blank leaves of the old bible referred to. The writing was done with a quill pen, and is still as clear and legible as when written. The old family record is here reproduced:

The foregoing family record in the old Livengood bible, now 146 years old, was copied just as written in the old book, and it is interesting to note that of the fifteen children born to the writer's great grandfather. Christian Livengood, Sr., seven or eight of them lived to be upwards of 90 years of age, one of them dying in her 99th year. The last of them to pass away was Esther, in her 93rd year, wife of William Glotfelty
, who resided in Garrett County, Md. The last of the sons to pass away was Sem, or Shingo, a nickname by which he was known for many years. He always wrote his name Samuel C. Livengood, but his real name, as recorded in his father's bible, was Sem. He had a brother Samuel who died in infancy. Sem, or Shingo as he was nicknamed, died in 1898, in his 93rd year. One of the daughters in this same generation, the wife of John Beachy of Garrett County, Md., was the mother of the late Jonas J. Beachy who died two or three years ago only a little more than a month short of being 100 years old. John Livengood, the writer's grandfather, also of this same generation, was the father of the late John J. Livengood, Civil War veteran and expert blacksmith of Salisbury for many years, who died last March in the 98th year of his age. It will be seen, therefore, that the children of Christian Livengood, Sr., as well as some of their descendants, have left a record for longevity that is truly remarkable.
The writer is sorry that he does not know just who all the children of his great grandfather Livengood intermarried with, and would be most grateful to anyone who may be able to supply him with that information, and take the time and trouble to supply it.
For the old bible containing the family record herein reproduced, the writer is indebted to his highly esteemed friend and cousin, Howard H. Keim of
Nampa, Idaho, who is a son of the late Silas C. Keim, and grandson of the late Judge Jonas J. and Sarah Livengood Keim. Cousin Howard purchased the old bible from the late Joseph Christner, whos wife was Mary Keim, a daughter of John Keim, Sr., and Barbara Livengood Keim, a couple who died at the ages of 96 and 94 years, respectively, and enjoyed each other's society as man and wife for a little more that 75 years. They were probably the only couple who lived and died in Elk Lick Township that could have celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary, had they so desired. Howard H. Keim, after preserving the treasured old Livengood bible for a period of 22 years, presented it to his second cousin, Peter L. Livengood of Salisbury, who is Peter Livengood the 5th, and was named in honor of his great great grandfather, the Swiss pioneer ancestor of the Livengoods of Somerset County, Pa., and of many other descendants now located in numerous other states. The old pioneer was a man of outstanding ability and of noble character, who figured in the early history and development of the southern portion of Somerset County. He was a preacher, teacher and a weaver by profession and trade, and was also a farmer. He died at the age of 96 years, and his remains were interred in Greenville Township, where he lived the latter years of his live at the home of his son-in-law and daughter, David and Franie Miller.
It may also be of interest to the many descendants of Christian Livengood, Sr., and his noble wife Elizabeth, daughter of Peter Forney, to know that Peter Forney was born in Alsace, a province of France, was educated in both the French and German languages, and was by profession a teacher in the earlier years of his life, and later a farmer. He spelled his surname Fornni
, and most of the Forney clan of Somerset County are his descendants.
From the Myersdale Republican --1934.

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