1790 Dauphin County, PA Vellum Deed - Revolutionary War Soldier Signatures
This is a Pennsylvania vellum deed or indenture from October 8, 1790, seven years after the end of the Revolutionary War. It is for two tracts of land in Heidelberg Township that was once in Lancaster County PA and was switched to Dauphin County at the time of this deed. This Heidelberg Township (there is one in Berks County) finally became part of Lebanon County in 1813.
This deed or "patent' is for land first purchased by a George Michael Wiess (born in 1726 in Germany) that was bought by a Fredrick Kaller who then died intestate (without a will). At Fredrick's death, the two parcels of land became the property of his two daughters Elizabeth and Maria who, with their husbands, George Smith and Henry Zimmerman respectively, sold the land to Michael Kapp of Harrisburg. The deed specifically lists everything that came with the land parcels and they included houses, outhouses, barns, stables, and other buildings; woods, watercourses, gardens, orchards, hedges, ditches, trees, fields, fences, profits, commodities, privileges, advantages, hereditaments, and rights of the land.
The signatures of the people involved in the buying and selling of the deed are unfortunately very faint and difficult to read but the names of one witness and the Justice of the Peace (John Dentzel) are strong and easy to read. Captain Dentzel's personal wax seal as a JOP is intact and by his name. The wax seals of the buyers of the land are also intact and covered with their original paper covers. The seal of Dauphin County, PA is intact and complete down to its pointed edges.
Alexander Berryfield and John Dentzel were both Revolutionary War officers and below is information on both men:
Alexander Berryhill (1738–1798) served in the Lancaster County militia during the Revolutionary War and was an early resident of Harrisburg. Berryhill was a justice of the peace. Alexander Berryhill, 1738-1798, a prominent Harrisburg citizen. ... Muster and pay rolls of the war of the revolution, 1775-1783 (Volume 48)
Alexander Berryhill, son of Andrew Berryhill, was born in Paxtang township Lancaster now Dauphin county in 1738. He secured a good education served in the war of the Revolution as an officer and was prominent and influential in the organization of the new county of Dauphin. He became one of the first residents of Harrisburg on its being laid out in 1785 and after its incorporation as a borough he was appointed one of its justices of the peace by Governor Mifflin. He was one of the burgesses of the town in 1794 and signed the address to President Washington on his way westward to quell the so called Whisky Insurrection. He died at Harrisburg September 7 1798 at the age of sixty years. Mr Berryhill was an excellent penman and many of his papers still extant are models of chirography.
John Dentzel (1745-1803) was a native of Holland on the Rhine and was born about 1745. He received a thorough university education including law and medicine. An illustrious family in Pennsylvania caused him to come to America at the outset of the Revolution and he warmly espoused the cause of the colonies and was in active service as a captain in the Pennsylvania Militia. After the war, he moved to Harrisburg where he became quite a prominent man. He seems to have practiced both law and medicine and in 1792 he was appointed one of the medical examiners for invalid pensioners and was also a lawyer. Dentzel commanded a company during the Whisky Insurrection of 1794 and was then a justice of the peace, an office he held at the time of his death. On the 8th of December 1803, he accompanied the citizens of Harrisburg who had gone to escort the remains of their old comrade Maj Brooks who had died at Elizabethtown. After only a short distance, the bridle of Capt Dentzel's horse broke and he was thrown against a fence and almost instantly died. He was an intrepid officer, a good citizen, and a polished gentleman. Mr Dentzel was twice married with his first wife Eve Dentzel dying on March 18, 1795. She was a lady much respected and admired. On the 10th of February 1799, he married Jane Gilchrist who survived her husband by several years.
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