History of the Kesler Family of Greenbrier County
The German word "kesler" means kettle maker. Peter Kesler
was born in Hess-Darmstadt, Germany in 1764. He married Catherine Sheetz in 1784. Catherine was born in 1766. Peter arrived in Hagerstown,Maryland and journeyed to and settled in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. He lived on a farm in Mt. Crawford in Rockingham County, a few miles below Harrisonburg. While there, Peter attended Friedens Church, which was a combination of German Reformed and Lutheran members. This church was organized in 1762. Peter and brothers Henry and Jacob are listed as members of Frieden Church in 1799. Jacob was a Lutheran deacon and Henry was a Lutheran Elder. Records of Rockingham County show a Wollery Kesler and son. I do not know if this is another brother or relative of Peter.
Peter owned 550 acres in 1789 near the Friedens Church Some of the German families that lived near each other and who attended the same church were: Tuckweider (Tuckwiller), Hutsinpiller, Dotson, Schady (Judy), Zimmerman, Kuffman (Coffman), Sheetz, Bunger, Rader, Baker, and Braun (Brown). Many of these families moved together to the Greenbrier Valley in West Virginia in the early 1800's.
In 1802 Peter moved from the Shenandoah Valley to the Richlands area east of Lewisburg in Greenbrier County, Va (W.Va). He had been in Greenbrier County years before to buy land. In 1802 Peter and Catherine bought 138 acres from Edward and Peggy Miller. In 1802 Henry and Barbara Kesler bought land from Adam Nisely in the Big Levels of Greenbrier County. In 1805 Jacob and Catherine Kesler bought land from Denis McLaughlin, Lewis Shelman, and Henry Harman. In 1807 they bought land from Jacob Hutsinpiller. In 1808 they bought land from John Bunger. In 1810 Peter bought land from Henry Crist. This land Peter sold to his son, Fredrick, who sold it to Michael Bunger. Peter's son, Jacob, bought land adjoining his on the west side in 1816 from Jacob Bunger. Peter and Catherine first attended the Old Stone Presbyterian Church in Lewisburg and then the Richlands Presbyterian Church on Rt. 60 west of Lewisburg.
Peter and Catherine had five children. All were born before moving to Greenbrier County. The children were Jacob (born July 10, 1785 in Hagerstown, Maryland and died February 13, 1857 in Clifty, WV and is buried in the Kesler Cemetery there), Fredrick (born April 24, 1789 and died December
1, 1843 in Keslers Cross Lanes, in Nicholas County), Catherine (born February 21, 1791 and died on October 7, 1844 location unknown), Sussanah(born October 16, 1797 and died on October 8, 1859 in Mt. Cove, Fayette County, WV), Mary Polly (born September 1, 1800 and died in 1883 in Summersville, Nicholas County, WV). Peter died in 1832 at Richlands, Greenbrier County, WV, (east of Lewisburg) and is buried in the Richlands Cemetery along with his wife Catherine and young son Michael.
Jacob married Elizabeth Funk on December 24, 1811 in Rockingham County, Virginia. She was the daughter of John Funk and Mary Rader. She was born on November 7, 1793 and died on April 5, 1881. Fredrick married Elizabeth Hutsenpiller on August 9, 1821 in Greenbrier County. She was the daughter of Anthony Hutsenpillar and Elizabeth Harpal. She was born on January 16, 1800 and died on December 12, 1861 in Keslers Cross Lanes in Nicholas County. Frederick and wife Elizabeth are buried in Zoar Baptist Church Cemetery in Keslers Cross Lanes,WV. Catherine married David Judy on September 24, 1814 in Greenbrier County. Sussanah married Thomas Dotson, Jr. on June 21 1815 in Greenbrier County. Mary Polly married Richard Dotson on February 7, 1821 in Greenbrier County. Thomas and Richard Dotson were brothers, the sons of Thomas Dotson, Sr.
Jacob and family moved to Fayette County, WV. Fredrick and family moved to McClung Meadows (later called Keslers Cross Lanes in Nicholas County. David and Catherine Judy moved near Williamsburg in Greenbrier County, WV. Both Dotson families moved to Nicholas County, WV to help Fredrick build his home. All five children lived in the Richlands area before going to other places to live. They lived on Peter's land or had bought land adjoining the land. Peter Kesler died in Greenbrier County in 1832. His will is in Will Book 1 in the Greenbrier County Courthouse. His heirs sold
his land to Matthew Arbuckle.
Jacob Kesler's occupation was cattleman and homebuilder. He built the first brick home in Clifty, Fayette County, WV. He attended Friedens Church in Rockingham County, Virginia and the Richlands Presbyterian Church in Greenbrier County, WV. He was baptized at the Zion Evangelical Church as a small child in Hagerstown, Maryland. He spoke fluent German
and exhibited an excellent penmanship. He owned property adjoining his father on Unus Rd, Richands, Greenbrier County, Virginia (WV). He purchased 640 acres in Fayette County and relocated there. He and his wife Elizabeth had 13 children: Mary (born on November 8, 1812): John (born on December 1, 1813); Samuel (born October 23, 1816); Frederick J ( ?? );
Michael (Feb 19, 1820); Nancy Jane (Sept 3, 1821); Joseph F.(May 20 1823); Rebecca (Aug 29, 1827); Elizabeth (May 4, 1829); Sarah (October 3, 1825); Sarah (October 3, 1825); Mahala (May 5, 1831); Jacob Lansford (March 23, 1823); Margaret (June 3, 1835).
Jacob's son, Jacob Lansford Kesler, was born on March 23, 1833 and died in August 1896. He married Jemima Hawver. He was the 12th child of Jacob and Elizabeth Kesler. His son, Joseph, was a Methodist minister. He married Patience McCutcheon. He decided to become a Methodist minister instead of the Presbyterian faith of his family. The reason that he chose to do so was that the Presbyterian Church required their ministers to be seminary trained. The Methodist did not. Joseph pastored several churches including the Methodist Church at Paint Creek, WV. He and Patience had nine children. They were Arnold, Russell, Ira Jacob, Catherine, Iva, Austin, Eccles, and two girls who died. Joseph was killed by a car while attending a Methodist convention in Chicago. Patience died in South Charleston, WV.
Russell, Iva and Catherine married into the Fain family. Russ married Mary Fain. Iva married Mary's brother George Fain Catherine married William Fain, brother of George and Mary. Their parents were Jeremiah and Pheobe Sadler Fain. They were originally from Grayson, Kentucky. =
They moved to Winona, Fayette County, WV in the late 1800's.
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