There is some confusion among students of Landiss history as to who were the founders of the family in Pennsylvania. Some authorities claim that three brothers bearing the names Felix, John and Benjamin arrived in Pennsylvania in the year 1717. That Felix and Benjamin settled in Lancaster County, and John in Bucks County.
Other authorities endeavor to show that Jacob, Felix and John were the heads of families that first settled in Pennsylvania; but what relationship existed between them is not shown, other than that the Benjamin mentioned above was not the brother of Felix and John but the son of Jacob.
I have not gone into this controversy of relationship and claim of first settlement, because I am not interested other than in a general way. I give the following facts, which are easily obtainable from authentic records, as a matter of information to those interested in reading these pages.
It is to be remembered that there were several migrations of Landises from South Germany, the first being in 1683. Not much is known of this migration. The only record I know of is that there was a Landis living in Plumstead Township, Berks County, in the year 1684.
All of these earlier migrations were supposed to have been to Pennsylvania, but there may have been some who went to some of the other colonies.
Among the earliest records of the Landis family in Pennsylvania is that found in the Minutes of a meeting of the Commissioners of the Property of the Province of Pennsylvania held at Philadelphia April 8, 1717. These Minutes tell of an agreement entered into by the Commissioners with Martin Kendig and John Herr for 5000 acres of land about Conestoga and Pequea Creeks to be settled by several of their countrymen lately arrived in Philadelphia.
In the list of those lately arrived is found the name of Jacob Landis. It is further noted in the records that Jacob Landis and Ulrik Hawry, jointly, took of the 5000 acres afore mentioned, a tract of 150 acres. Jacob Landis took the south half of the tract, 75 acres, and held it until October 7, 1724, when he sold it to Andreas Schultz. In March 1722 Jacob Landis bought 200 acres from the London Company.
Just how old Jacob was when he arrived in Pennsylvania is not definitely known, but from collateral evidence it is assumed he must have been about fifty years of age. This would fix his birth about the year 1670. He died about 1740.
Jacob Landis had but one son, Benjamin. In the records Benjamin is mentioned as an alien, that is not born on English soil. As both Jacob and Benjamin are listed in the tax roll of 1718 one can safely assume Benjamin to have been at least 21 years of age at the time. This is supposed to be the Benjamin Landis known in the Pennsylvania records as Rev. Benjamin Landis, the Mennonite preacher. He had three sons, Jacob, Benjamin and Henry. Miss Beulah F. Mumma compiled a very complete record of his descendants in 1925.
Records in the Register's Office in Lancaster evidence the fact that Foelix Landis purchased two 400 acre tracts from the London Company under dates of February 19 and 20, 1718.
Foelix and his wife Rosanah had the following heirs:
Fronica, who married Abram Miers
Foelix Jr. (alien) married a woman named Mary.
Foelix Jr. left four sons, Peter, Jacob, Felix and Henry.
John Landis, Bucks County
This John Landis, on arriving in Philadelphia, stayed for a time in Germantown, then followed the old Indian trail up the Schuykill and settled in Bucks County, in what is now known as Richland Township. Here he took up a large tract of land which was held by his descendants for several generations. His eldest son, John, was born in Bucks County in 1720, and from this we can fix the time of his probable settlement in Bucks County as well as the time of his arrival in America.
In 1730 we find his name - Johannes Landis - signed to a petition asking for the organizing of Richland Township out of a part of Milford Township. He died in 1750 leaving five sons and two daughters. The names of his children were: John, Jacob, Martin, George, and Samuel. John moved to Montgomery County; Jacob settled in Jersey; Samuel inherited the homestead. What became of Martin and George I do not know.
John Londus bought 200 acres of land August 21, 1717, in Lancaster County, somewhere between what is now Leola and Bareville. The first service of the Baptist Church of Conestoga was held in his home, in May 1725.
He left no sons and there is no Landis branch to this family. He has interest in the fact that he was among the early arrivals, coming no doubt in 1717.
John Landis, Ephrata
This John Landis was born in 1696. He came to Philadelphia in the ship Pink Plaisance, arriving September 21, 1732. At that time he was 36 years of age. He purchased land near what is now Akron, in Lancaster County, under warrant of February 24, 1734. He left five sons: John, Henry, David, Benjamin and Abraham. He was the progenitor of that branch known as the Ephrata Landises, a great many of whom are scattered throughout Pennsylvania and other parts of our country.
Although not one of the earlier arrivals the family of Fredrick Landis deserves mention here because of the prominence of some of his descendants. He was born in Germany on March 4, 1739 and came to Pennsylvania when about 10 years old. He was the youngest of ten brothers and was twice married. By the first marriage there was one son, Henry, who lived to be 74 years of age.
In 1763 Fredrick Landis took for his second wife Elizabeth Hock. They had eight children, three of them died in infancy. Those living were Phillip, Fredrick, Jacob, Nancy and Magdalen.
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This material was scanned from Rev. Landiss's original manuscript by Dan Landiss