Berks County, Pennsylvania, Family Sketches
An American Adventure
Bitler - The Bitler family of Berks and Schuylkill counties in Pennsylvania was established by John Bitler, who may have been the Johannes Bütler who immigrated in 1736 on the ship Harle. He established his home in Robeson Township, Berks County and left a 1790 will naming his three sons: John known as "Long John," Daniel, and Michael.
  • John "Long John" Bitler and his wife Elizabetha Wolff raised their family of ten children in Robeson Township, Berks County, with many baptisms performed by Lutheran Rev. J. W. Boos. The entire family relocated to Union Township, Schuylkill County about 1812. John Bitler served in the Berks County Militia during the Revolutionary War and was receiving a pension when he died in 1837. In 1832, son Daniel Bitler and wife Elizabeth Clevenstine moved to Franklin County, Ohio, and by 1834 their family of eight was settled in Auglaize County, Ohio, founding St. Johns in Clay Township. Daniel and Elizabeth's oldest son William Bitler married Rebecca Snyder in 1828 in Schuylkill County. Middle son Daniel Bitler, Jr., founded the town of Olpe, Lyon County, Kansas.


  • Daniel Bitler remained in the Berks area with his wife Elizabeth Aschbrentzi. According to Montgomery's Historical and Biographical Annals of Berks County, Daniel owned 214 acres, later known as the Robeson Dairy Farm.
  • Michael Bitler and wife Hannah Yocum established their home in Catawissa and Roaring Creek townships in Columbia County.
Johan Henrich Kliebenstein signature from immigrant ship manifest
Clevenstine - Johan Henrich Kliebensteinn (or Henry Clevenstine) sailed into the port of Philadelphia on the Ship Sally in 1770. Henry served in the Berks County Militia during the Revolution. At the time of his death in 1805, Henry's thirteen children petitioned the court to appoint guardians and to protect their rights to his estate, which consisted of land rather than cash. While many descendants remained in the Berks and Chester counties area, daughter Elizabeth Clevenstine married into the Bitler family and moved to Franklin and then to Auglaize counties in Ohio about 1834. Daughter Mary Clevenstine married Amos Beard in 1800. Son Christian Clevenstine became a cobbler in Walker Township, Centre County and named his two sons for US presidents.

Filsmeyer - Philip Filsmeyer and wife Anna Margaretha Stamm married in Langenselbold, Hesse, Germany before arriving at the port of Philadelphia about 1733. Philip's sister Rachel Filsmeyer married Johann Adam Stamm in 1726, also in Langenselbold. Philip and Anna Margaretha established their home in Heidelberg Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania and raised a large family, many of whom remained in the area.

Frederick Fromm Revolutionary War Service Marker
Fromm - Frederick Fromm arrived in Philadelphia on the ship Samuel in 1737 and established his home in Bern Township, Berks County. He died in 1774 in Berks County, with many family members relocating to Centre County. The gravestone of son Frederick Fromm in Tusseyville, Centre County, carries a Revolutionary War marker. Frederick's daughter Sarah Fromm married Daniel Stamm and established a home in Stark County, Ohio.

Lerch - The Lerch (or Lörch) family, headed by Caspar Lerch, immigrated in 1738 on the ship Queen Elizabeth and made their home in Heidelberg Township, Berks County. Daughter Anna Elisabetha Lerch was baptized in 1741 in Christ Little Tulpehocken Church; Caspar himself appears in a 1754 tax list for Berks County. Caspar's granddaughter Catharine Lerch married Nicholas Stamm sometime before 1775.

Stamm - The Stamm family, led by Johann Adam Stamm, immigrated in 1742. Son Werner Stamm settled in Bern Township and son John Jost Stamm settled in Heidelberg Township. The focus is on Nicholas Stamm (a son of Werner), his wife Catherine Lerch, and his thirteen children. Middle son Daniel Stamm and wife Sarah Fromm left the Berks area for Stark County, Ohio, in the late 1820s.

Wolff - Johannes Paulus Wolff (or Paul Wolff) arrived on the ship Halifax in the port of Philadelphia in 1753; he died about 1775 in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Paul's widow, Anna Elisabetha Wolff, married second John Bitler in 1781, and Paul's daughter Maria Elisabeth Wolff married John Bitler's son, known as John "Long John" Bitler. The other children of Paul Wolff and Anna Elisabetha were Jacob Wolff, Dorotea Wolff, Mark Wolff, and Anna Wolff.