Friday, April 2, 2010

Birckenbuel to Purkeypile

Source: Hancock county and it's people, Walsworth Publishing © 1990

NOTICE: I have been made aware that the information I have here, which is from the above source, may not be accurate. Keep this in mind if you refer to anything on this page and always try to verify your information no matter where it is from.

To better understand how the Purkey's came to America, one should know why they came. They were one of many families caught in a movement of disagreement with the Catholic Church. This movement was known as the "Mennonite Movement" which began in 1552 and lasted well into the seventeenth century. Originally, they were called Anabaptists, a Latin term meaning "to baptize again". At first it referred only to those who were re-baptized, but quickly the term identified all those who refused to have their children baptized as infants. Self-designations for the Anabaptists varied with the area. In other cases they referred to themselves as the followers of various leaders. The Amish, a division of the Mennonites, derives their name from the leadership of Jacob Amman, who was the center of the Amish division. The Anabaptist movement began in France, Switzerland, and Germany. Authorities publicly named Anabaptist leaders and put prices on their heads. Especially in Holland and Switzerland, official "Anabaptist Hunters" were sent out to catch the hated Anabaptist. The movement was indeed the acorn that produced the oak. Amish congregations migrated to Holland and subsequently to North America.

The Purkey's were one of many families to flee their homeland to avoid certain death by the Anabaptist hunters. They moved from the Jura Mountains of France, a wine producing area near the Swiss - French border, to a mountainous area Lake Lucerne, Switzerland. From here they traveled north on the Rhine River to Holland. According to the Pennsylvania state archives a list of male passengers sailing from Rotterdam included the names of Christian Bierkenbeyle and his brothers Jacob and Andru. They arrived at the port of Philadelphia in 1754.

For more info on Purkeypiles in Shenedoah CO Iowa go to

No comments:

Post a Comment