Woven through this record of births, deaths, marriages and other factual material herein, is a saga of people seeking homes in a new land with horizons beckoning to the westward. It begins with the arrival of Hans Michael Strieby, age 17, on the ship St. Andrew in Philadelphia, October 7, 1743. He pledged allegiance to the crown of England along with other sturdy immigrants from the Palatinate, or lower Rhine Valley, who were to make a distinct contribution to the development of America. Accompanying the signature of Hans Michael was that of Jacob Strieby; their exact relationship to each other has not been ascertained.
The locale which presented both a challenge and opportunity to these newcomers, after the casual period of orientation in the Germantown area, was that part of the Penn Colony constituting one-ninth of the whole, which historians have referred to as "Old Northampton County." Originally it encompassed the upper part of Bucks County for seventy years, 1682-1752. Its creation from the vast region stretching from the Delaware to lands beyond the Susquehanna, and from the New York border to the country below the Lehigh River, was followed by seven decades of dismemberment, during which ten modern counties of Pennsylvania were errected either directly or indirectly from it.
Although history highlights settlements such as Bethlehem and Gnadenhutten by the Moravians, the colonization of the new region began with individual immigrants who purchased proprietary titles to the plots of land, sometimes large, sometimes small, after they had some degree of assurance they would not be molested by Indians. By 1752, the population of what was known as "Upper Bucks" had increased to approximately five thousand persons and the Provincial Assembly established Northampton County one year preceding the coming of Hans Michael to the Area.
Life on the frontier presented hardships encountered in clearing land for cultivation, absence of communications with others, lack of educational facilities, and difficulty of obtaining the basic necessities of living. Actual warfare was experienced within the borders of the county during the French and Indian Wars with seven treaty conferences held in Easton between 1756 and 1762, as well as the first phase of the Yankee-Pennymite War -- the civil strife that led to the dismemberment of the county which began prior to the Revolution.
"Many of these early Pennsylvania German settlers, motivated by their spirit of independence and attachment to their new fatherland, participated in the American Revolution, furnishing both men to the Continental Army and to the groups of militia enlisting for shorter tours of duty. They experienced with other colonists the pangs of departure from families, the privations of food, clothing, and shelter during the years 1775-1781, and shared with them the joy over the outcome of the War for Independence.
From that time began a gradual exodus of Hans Michael's descendants, first into the newly created Pennsylvania counties to teh west and later penetration into the states formes from the Northwest Territory. Others turned their sights along the states along the Blue Ridge; indeed a few may have joined the trek to the Shenandoah Valley at a much earlier date. Migration to the far west, initiated by the "gold Rush," claimed its quota of Strieby families so that today there may be as many descendants beyond the Mississippi as there are east of it.
Since many had come seeking religious freedom, the life and times of the early Strieby families would not be complete without mention of devotion to their church, in defense of which they had suffered privation and even persecution. The Jordan Evangelical Lutheran Church in South Whitehall Township, now Lehigh County, was the spiritual home of Hans Michael Strieby and those of his family who first made their abode near him. Here both Lutherans and those of the Reformed Church worshipped. There were periods in which no pastor was available; hence church records are incomplete for those periods. A historical discourse, presented at the Sesquicentennial of the church in 1894, high lights many interesting events of the 150 years of its existance. In the exodus from this congregation, descendants of the early members were influential in establishing churches in the new homes on the ever widening frontier.
Byard B Strieby
This introduction first appeared in the book "Strieby Genealogy and History, 1726-1967" compiled by Byard B Strieby, B Beatrice Strieby, and Irene M Strieby.