Hershey Family 300th Anniversary Program

Saturday, September 16 – Manor Church

Those who arrived early browsed through displays by various Hershey families.

I took my Grandpa Hershey’s book and the Jacob and Annie (my great grandparents) Hershey book I helped with in 2012.

The Hershey Chocolate Corporation donated many chocolate bars.

9:00 AM – Bradley Hershey, Moderator

Congregational singing – led by Clair Leaman

Our Hershey Story Prior to 1717

I think it was during this video that four Hersheys in four different villages in Switzerland had their DNA tested to see if it matched our DNA. Three of them did.

“Furgge” presentation by Joanne Siegrist and Ruth Schwertfeger

Furgge is written by Katharina Zimmermann and translated from German by Ruth Schwertfleger. It’s a novel about the persecution of the Anabaptists in Switzerland in the early eighteenth century.

Ruth, a university professor from Milwaukee – and originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland – told us a bit about her experience in translating the book.

Each attendee received a free book.

Bradley introducing Darvin Martin (Benjamin Hershey descendant) who told us about Early Native American and Mennonite Relations. He knows an incredible amount of information about the history of this area of Pennsylvania.

One thing that impressed me was how the Native Americans developed good corn crops. At the end of each season they saved the best seed for the next year.

Following a break, Henry Benner told us some “Hershey” stories. One of my favorites was the one about his Grandma Hershey who went to bed after Grandpa Hershey died and just smoked her pipe. They were worried that she would burn her bed clothes or sheets because of the ashes. 🙂 He said if she was feeling especially bad, she took a shot of whiskey from the jug on the nightstand by her bed. (He is holding the jug.)

He said it was fairly common for some conservative Mennonite women (in certain areas) to smoke pipes. Remember that was long before anyone knew that tobacco was dangerous to their health. Whiskey was medicine in those days.

We had a delicious lunch in the church gymnasium.

During lunch break we took more time to browse the displays.

We were welcomed back into the sanctuary by a worship team – Regan Hershey and Messiah College Band.

Bradly introducing David Johnson who gave us information on the Early American Hershey Families. My note next to his name says that he is a descendent of Christian Hershey’s daughter Anna Hershey Long.

When the Hersheys came to America in 1717 there were the parents – Christian, his wife, Ade, and three of their four children: Benjamin, Andrew, and Anna. The oldest son Christian stayed behind. Some people think that Christian was not permitted by the authorities to travel with the others.

David was a wealth of knowledge on the early Hersheys.

Notice: the Swiss spelling of Hershey is Hirschi. There are many other spellings of the same name.

We learned today that before the Hersheys were Swiss, they were Celtic.

I took photographs of  some of his slides – just for my information.

I didn’t make a note next to this gentleman’s name, but I think this is Bradley’s dad, Arthur D. Hershey who told us about “Three Hershey Railroad Tragedies.”  I didn’t take photos of the two speakers before him – Darvin Martin and Donald Brubaker. I am not sure how I missed them. Darvin had spoken earlier (on Native Americans) and Donald Brubaker told us about J. Hoffman Hershey.

Myrna Burkholder told us the story of Fannie Hershey Lapp a missionary to India.

Carl Hershey was my contact to this event. I am thankful that he made an effort to get in touch with the Manheim Hersheys.

Clair Leaman closed the day with a short hymn sing.


Thanks to everyone who put a lot of time into organizing this event. I hope you do go forward with the tentative plan of taking a Hershey Family tour to Switzerland in 2019.

If you are interested in more Hershey information, go to http://www.christianhershey.doodlekit.com/home/links

4 thoughts on “Hershey Family 300th Anniversary Program

  1. This is so interesting. One of the houses in your first post about the Hersheys looked a lot like the house we rented when we lived near Biglerville and Heidlersburg, PA. It was built in 1803.
    In Africa, the only people who smoked were the old women, and they made clay pipes and smoked tobacco that they grew. I think probably that is not as bad for a person as modern day cigarettes.

  2. Thanks for sharing these additional photos and your comments from the program. It was fun to get a glimpse into the tour and reunion…and to recognize a couple people! My mom will thoroughly enjoy seeing these posts too! I plan to show them to her when I get a chance.

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