Historical Association of Tobyhanna Township

HATT | PO Box 2084 | Pocono Pines, PA 18350-2084

**The Eschenbach Family

Contributed by Gene Kerrick | 2014

Based on extensive genealogy study and written documentation by Ed Bassler, 2013.
Complete genealogy record on file at HATT Archives.


Another pioneer family in Tobyhanna Township was Eschenbach. Like many others, it had various spellings such as starting with an “a” and ending with “ugh.” For this biographic sketch, we will begin with its American origin in the colony of Pennsylvania.

The founding member in America for this family was Reverend Andrew Eschenbach, born June 10, 1710 in Naumburg, Saxony, where he was a shoemaker. He was sent to work as a missionary among the German settlers in Pennsylvania, arriving in Philadelphia on the ship Friendship, September 23, 1740. The ship left Rotterdam and stopped at Cowes, England, along the way because of the Navigation Acts.

In the American colonies, ministers of various denominations lived in private homes and preached the gospel to the people in their homes and barns. As an itinerant minister, Eschenbach’s sermons drew large crowds to whom he preached with power and conviction.

His work was centered in Oley, Berks County, Pennsylvania. where he founded a congregation consisting of members of differing denominations in 1742. His success apparently went to his head since he wanted to build a two-story brick church building such as existed for the Moravian church in Bethlehem. The majority of his congregation differed with him on this because of the cost. He harangued them, but to no avail. Andrew Eschenbach left the ministry and went into farming.

Andrew was married twice. First came Johanna Catharina Muniz (Minzer) in Bethlehem, on July 7, 1742. He had three children by this marriage.

His second wife was Anna Maria Bossert, whom he wed on June 10, 1747 in the Lutheran Church in New Hanover, Montgomery County. They had 10 children. In that same year he also withdrew from the Moravian denomination. He died in 1763 in Oley.

Andrew’s third child by his first wife, his namesake, settled in Tobyhanna Township from Carbon County early in the 19th century. He was listed as living in Towamensing Township in that county in 1800. This Andrew was born on Christmas Day of 1745 in Berks County. He married Susan Fink. They had 10 children, some of whom were born in Tobyhanna Township. By occupation he engaged in lumbering and the manufacture of handmade shingles. He died here in 1833 while his wife survived him for seven years until 1860.

Here is a list of Eschenbach children, but this story will then concentrate on those who lived in Tobyhanna Township for a considerable time:
  • Thomas, born about 1780.
  • Abraham/Andrew, born in 1785 and died by 1802. He was killed accidentally.
  • Hannah, born Nov. 18, 1790. She married A. Berry.
  • Benjamin, born 1792.
  • David, born in 1794.
  • Nathaniel, born in 1796.
  • John, born in 1800.
  • Andrew, born in 1802.
  • Joseph, born in 1807.
  • Samuel Greenleaf, the last child, born in 1810.

According to Alfred Mathews, whose 1886 account of the early history of this township is so valuable, Andrew Eschenbach came to Tobyhanna Township in 1809. There is no record of him in the census here until 1830, when he is listed as between 80 and 90 years old.

Of Andrew’s 10 children, there is no trace of two: Benjamin and Thomas. Abraham, (sometimes listed as the first Andrew), died as a young child. Hannah was the only girl among 10 children, was married and eventually went off to Wisconsin. Both Joseph and John moved to western Pennsylvania and Joseph on to Wisconsin about 1843.

The four sons who remained for a long time in Tobyhanna Township were David, Nathaniel, Andrew, and Samuel G. The latter occupied the original family homestead on Locust Ridge Road while the rest of the family mostly clustered around it. These men at first were shingle makers, but, reflecting the changing landscape, they ended as farmers.

Some of the family is buried in what has been called the Eschenbach cemetery, located on the back road to Locust Lake village from Locust Ridge Road. None of the markers bearing that surname is legible.

In various censuses, sons of the various Eschenbach family residents served as laborers in the woods and are listed as living with various families.

David was the oldest of the four sons staying in the township. He stayed here through the census of 1860, but died in Butler, Pa., in 1867. He married Christiana Gower with whom he had five children, including:
  • Elias lived here for many years, but moved to Carbon County;
  • Jacob was killed in the Battle of Antietam during the Civil War;
  • Benjamin, who also was in the Civil War, died in the township at the age of 62. He is buried in Pocono Lake Cemetery. (See “Our Civil War Veterans"

Nathaniel also sired five children, some of whom, such as James R., lived in the township for several years. Nathaniel’s wife was Ellen Scott.

The third son staying in the area was Andrew. His son, Samuel A., became prominent locally. A daughter, Ann, married Robert Warner, a well-known farmer and boarding house owner. Both children lived out their lives in the township. Andrew wed Lydia Bond and they had five children. He served as a township supervisor at one point.

Finally, Samuel Greenleaf lived his whole life in the township. He had 11 children, one of whom, Charles W., also spent most of his years in the township. His wife was Asenith Lefler. He served as a township supervisor at one point.

By 1910 there was only one family carrying the name Eschenbach. Samuel A. was a farmer, boarding house owner, township supervisor and also a justice of the peace. He married Sarah Warner and they had two children, Howard and Margaret, who lived with him. His house was near that of the Warner’s and was located on what is now Route 940. Sarah died soon after the birth of her children.

As commonly occurred in sparsely populated rural areas, brothers and sisters often married other family’s brothers and sisters. This was the case when Samuel A. married Elizabeth Warner, and Samuel A’s sister Ann married Elizabeth’s brother, Robert.

By the time of the 1920 census, a fourth Eschenbach was living back in the township, Charles W., son of Samuel G.

All of these four people died in the 1920s, marking the end of Eschenbach name in the township, as with so many other old time family names. The descendants continued to live here, but no one bears that last name.

The members of the family were very active in the community, serving as township supervisor, justice of the peace, and members of the school board. Some were active members of the churches such as the Blakeslee and Stoddartsville Methodist churches.