Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small has issued a challenge: write one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It can be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem – anything that focuses on one ancestor.
It is timely and appropriate this week as Americans are enjoying 4th of July picnics and fireworks that we celebrate those patriots in our family who fought for this country’s independence. Most of the patriots in my family that I have already written about survived long enough to apply for pensions. However, there is at least one exception: George Hinkle.
George Henckel/Hinkle was my 6X great-grandfather. He was born August 30, 1727 in Berks County, Pennsylvania, son of Johann Gerhard Anthony Henckel and Anna Catherine. About 1752 or 1753 he married Barbara Rowland. Together they had a large family.
A card on file with the Pennsylvania Revolutionary War Battalions and Militia Index indicates George served the colony. However, a search for service records on Fold3 produced nothing. Supposedly George died not long after attending the wounded at the Battle of Brandywine. This battle was fought between the American army under General George Washington and the British army under General Sir William Howe in September 1777. A decisive victory for the British resulted in heavy losses for the Americans forcing them to retreat. Whether George himself had been wounded or whether he had contracted a disease is not known at this time.
But it is not service in the war that George Hinkle is known for. There’s a mill – an inn – a bridge – and a town. According to Historical Papers and Addresses of the Lancaster County Historical Society, “George Hinkle should be regarded and remembered as a great public benefactor. . . .” For years he operated a mill and an inn on his land lying on both sides of the Conestoga Creek not far from Ephrata in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The road passing through there was the one followed by travelers and Conestoga wagons traveling from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. Often the creek was difficult to cross, sometimes even dangerous due to ice in winter and heavy rain in summer. Drownings were common. Travelers were often delayed for days and weeks at a time.
|The bright pink arrow marks the intersection of Route 322|
and the Martindale Rd where the Hinkle mill was located
until recent years when it was torn down to widen Rt. 322
Even though bad conditions were good for the inn business, George unselfishly erected a bridge of wood and stone on his own property at his own expense. Although it is not known when he started or finished the project – best estimates indicate as early as 1760 – according to Deed Book P in the Recorder’s Office in Lancaster, it was March 26, 1772 that he conveyed the bridge to the county of Lancaster. The county commissioners decided to compensate George Hinkle for both the bridge and the land, so grateful were they for the “convenience and usefulness of the bridge.”
And the town? It is Hinkletown, an unincorporated town not far from Ephrata and Lancaster. George Hinkle is considered the founder.
George Hinkle died March 13, 1778 at the age of 51. He is buried in the Bergstrasse Cemetery in Ephrata.
In Memory of
Who Departed this Life
March 13th 1778
Aged 51 years
My Life is done my Glass is run
Here I ly under Ground
Surrounded in clay until the day
I hear the Trumpet sound.
Battle of Brandywine. Wikipedia. Web. 29, June 2015.
Lancaster County Historical Society (PA). Historical Papers and Addresses of the Lancaster County Historical Society. Vols 23-24. Harvard University: 1918. Google Books. Web. 1 July, 2015.
© 2015, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.