An Amish Veteran of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812

Not all Mennonites or Amish in Pennsylvania maintained neutrality during the Revolutionary War. Herman Hostetter, the grandson of Amish bishop Jacob Hostetter of Manor Township in Lancaster County, joined the Bucks County Volunteers, and linked with General William Howe’s British forces in Philadelphia in 1778. It has been suggested this was in response to General Howe’s offer of 50 acres of land to any able-bodied men who were willing to join in the King’s army.

Shortly thereafter, Howe withdrew from Philadelphia, and Hostetter was among the first evacuees to Port Roseway, Nova Scotia (now called Shelburne), where he purchased a farm among other loyalists. In 1780 (at the earliest), in Nova Scotia, he married Ann Newman Kennedy, the daughter of an Irish loyalist, John Kennedy, who had made only a short stop in Canada before returning to Ireland. Herman and Ann’s first child was born in 1783.

Hostetter Cemetery

Herman Hostetter’s burial location at Port Weller, Ontario. Google map.

Hostetler was by then a member of the Anglican Church. By 1793 Hostetter moved to Upper Canada on the Niagara Peninsula and brought his family a year or two later. He owned property in several places, but lived in Grantham Township at the end of his life. He died in December 1812 from an illness he contracted at age fifty-nine during service as a private with the First Regiment of the Lincoln Militia. He likely participated in the Battle of Queenston Heights in the War of 1812, in which general Isaac Brock was killed. Hostetter had been a leader in the Anglican Church located in what became the city of St. Catharines, though many of his grandchildren became Methodists and Baptists.

Some of the information about Herman Hostetter is not consistent. The Hamilton branch of the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada in an article on its website by Ken Simmons provides earlier dates for immigration to Canada and marriage to Ann Kennedy than those proposed by Hostetter’s biographer, Brian K. Narhi in Hostetter, U.E.L.: Origins and History of an Ontario Family. (St. Catharines, ON: Ganymede Press, 1992). Some accounts of Herman Hostetter link him to a different parent. I have generally followed Narhi.

If you wish to know more about Amish and Mennonites and the Revolutionary War, read In Search of Promised Lands.

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One thought on “An Amish Veteran of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812

  1. Thanks for that timely information – I came across my 4th Great Grandmother – a Hostetter born in Shelburne Nova Scotia back in the late 1700s, she ended up in Ontario marrying a Goring in Grantham Ont. I was trying to figure out how Hostetter ended up in Ontario – I think I have a good idea after reading your information. It’s kind of ironic that part of the family ended up moving back to the Maritimes many years later.


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