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Copyright 2010. Please do not copy or publish without permission & proper credit to this & other researchers who have generously contributed to this work. This is for education & research purposes only. If you note any errors, please contact me by email with your corrections & sources. A special thank you to the many researchers who have contributed to this family history. Certain historical figures are included in this work for research purposes only.

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  • ID: I55787
  • Name: JOHANNES CASSEL Immigrant 1
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 1639 in Griesheim (Kriesheim), Palatinate, Pfalz, Germany 2
  • Immigration: 20 JAN 1685/86 Germany to Pennsylvania on the ship Jeffries captained by Thomas Arnold, a voyage of 7 months.
  • Reference Number: 58759
  • Occupation: Weaver
  • Religion: Mennonite; converted to Quaker.
  • Event: Fact 20 DEC 1659 Married, Mary Greef, at Kreisham, Palatinate, Pfalz, Germany.
  • Event: YDNA Haplogroup R1a1 (James Bradley Castle Jr. tested).
  • Death: 17 APR 1691 in Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 3 4
  • Name: Hans Peter CASSEL 5
  • Name: Johannes CASTLE
  • Event: Fact 1664 Son, Arnold Cassel, born in Kreisham, Pfalz, Palitinate.
  • Event: Fact 1670 Daughter, Elizabeth Cassel, born at Kreisham, Pfalz, Palitinate.
  • Event: Fact 1672 Mennonite refugees from Bern, Switzerland, fled to the Palitinate in Germany.
  • Event: Fact 1673 Son, Peter Cassel, born in Kreisham, Pfalz, Palitinate.
  • Event: Fact 1678 Daughter, Mary Cassel, born at Kreisham, Pfalz, Palitinate.
  • Event: Fact 1678 His brother Heinrich published a broadside against Johannes that appeared in the "Exposer Exposed" in Amsterdam.
  • Event: Fact BEF 1681 Brother,Heinrich Cassell, a Mennonite bishop who was upset about his conversion to Quaker.
  • Event: Fact 1681 Father, Yelles Kasel, died in Germany.
  • Event: Fact 1682 Daughter, Sarah Cassel, born in Germany.
  • Event: Fact 25 OCT 1683 Germantown, Pennsylvania was founded. 6
  • Event: Fact 20 MAR 1685/86 Sailed for America.
  • Event: Fact BEF 20 NOV 1686 His wife, Mary Greef Cassel, died, possibly before Johannes and their 5 children arrived at Germantown.
  • Event: Fact 20 NOV 1686 Arrived in America with his five children. 3
  • Event: Fact AFT 20 NOV 1686 Lot holder, German Town, PA; by Daniel Francis Pastorus.
  • Event: Fact AFT 1686 Signed the original charter for Germantown
  • Event: Fact BET 1686 AND 1691 One of the leading men in Germantown, Pennsylvania. 7
  • Event: Fact 1687 His brother, Arnold, set out on his own to western Pennsylvania and is believed to have been killed by Indians.
  • Event: Fact 1691 Settled in Germantown, three years after its founding.
  • Event: Fact 31 MAY 1691 Charter of incorporation granted to Germantown; Johannes Cassel was one of the petitioners. 8
  • Event: Fact 31 MAY 1691 Councilman (committeeman) named in the Germantown borough chapter. 7
  • Event: Fact ABT 1700 His brother, Heinrich Cassel, immigrated to Pennsylvania.
  • Event: Fact 01 JUL 1716 His brother, Heinrich Cassell, died at Coventry, Chester County, Pennsylvania.
  • Note:
    YELLES and MARY KASEL's second-born son, JOHANNES CASSEL, was born in 1639 at Griesheim (Kriesheim), Palatinate, Pfalz, Germany. He died in 1691 at Germantown, Pennsylvania. He was married to MARY GRAEFF (possibly of the Op Den Graeff family). He and his brothers, Arnold and Heinrich, were infuenced by William Penn to come to America and settle in Pennsylvania.

    JOHANNES CASSEL and his family who had converted from the Mennonites to Quakers, sailed through London to Philadelpia on the ship Jeffries, leaving Europe on March 20th 1686 and arriving at Germantown, Pennsylvania on November 20th 1686, a seven month voyage. JOHANNES was age forty-seven at the time. He was accompanied by his wife, MARY, and children -- PETER, MARY, ARNOLD, SARAH, and ELIZABETH. Some old papers list PETER as HANS PETER but it seems more likely that his Christian name was actually JOHANNES (HANS) PETER KASSEL. His son, ARNOLD, was elected "Rekorder" of Germantown in 1691. Johannes signed the original application of the town of Germanytown which was necessary to incorporate a new village. His brother, HEINRICH, sent his children to the first school in Germantown established in 1702.

    In The History of the Mennonites it is recorded as follows: and on the 20th of March 1686, JOHANNES KASSEL, a weaver, and another Quaker convert from the Mennonites, from Griegsheim or Kreisheim, age forty-seven years, with his children ARNOLD, PETER, ELIZABETH, MARY, and SARAH, having purchased land from members of the Frankfort Company. S. W. PENNYBACKER has written that he has a medical work, published in 1622, that belonged to JOHANNES KASSEL.

    After hearing WILLIAM PENN speak at a 1681 meeting in Kriesham on the need for religious freedom, the family of YELLES KASEL, father of JOHANNES CASSEL/CASTLE, invited Mr. Penn to their home. Yelles and the other Kassels present were members of the newly emerging Mennonite Church. Penn told the Kassels of the free land that was available in the new world. JOHANNES and his brother, ARNOLD, were the first Cassels (Cassells, Castles) to come to America under the terms of a promise to William Penn. JOHANNES CASSEL, wife MARY, and brother ARNOLD, boarded the ship Jeffries for a seven month journey to the new world. Shortly after his arrival in Germantown, Pennsylvania, JOHANNES CASTLE learned that a large legacy, amounting to nearly one million dollars, was left to his family through the death of a relative. It was necessary for them to return to Germany to claim the legacy. A church council was called to discuss the matter. It was decided unanimously to NOT receive the money as it would make them proud.

    There was a Dutch settlement near Kreisheim for at Flomborn is a spring called "Hollander Spring." The Pannebakkers went there from there at some time from North Brabant in Holland. S. W. Pennybacker says, " I have a Dutch medical book, published in 1622, which belonged to Johannes Kassel." Many Dutch books were in the possession of Abraham H. Cassel.

    From Kolb's "History of the Cassel Family" we learn the following: William Penn met with many German groups during his three trips to Germany. In 1681 he went to Kassell, Frankfurt, Worms, and then to Kreisheim, arriving there on August 23rd 1681. Penn preached with Count Karl Ludwig's permission. Among the crow were three Kasel brothers to include HEINRICH KASSEL, YELLES KASSEL, and JOHANNES KASSEL, who lived in the region. Heinrich lived in Gerolsheim and occasionally used the name Heinrich Kassel von Gerolsheim (Gorlisheim). Heinrich and Yelles were Mennonite ministers. Johannes was a weaver. The three brothers were enthused by Penn and invited him immediately to their homes. Penn accepted the invitation to visit HEINRICH in nearby Gerolsheim; Heinrich was a minister in Lambartsheim in 1681, moving to Gerolsheim in 1690, and to Kreisheim in the early 1700s. Heinrich was a man of "considerable note" in Germany and was briefly tempted from his Mennonites to the Quakers because of Penn, as they were similar in many respects. Heinrich soon moved back to the Mennonites and avidly attacked other Mennonites who remained Quakers, especially his brother JOHANNES KASSEL. He wrote some "broadsides" as they were then called attacking JOHANNES. Some of the broadsides are owned by A. H. Cassell of Harleysville, Pennsylvania.

    From "Emigrants to Pennsylvania" being a "Partial List of the Families who arrived by Philadelphpis between 1682 and 1687" we learn the following: JOHANNES CASSEL a German, his children ARNOLD, PETER, ELIZABETH, MARY, and Sarah arrived on The Jeffries, Thomas Arnold (master) from London, arriving 20 January 1686. Note that there were a total of fifteen German immigrants aboard the Jeffries.

    Johannes' brother, ARNOLD CASSEL/KASSEL arrived at the same time; in about 1687 he headed out on his own into western Pennsylvania but is believed to have been kiled by Indians as he was never heard of again. Johannes and his family made their home at Germantown, Pennsylvania. Johannes was one of the leading men in early Germantown and one of the councilmen (committeemen) named in the borough chapter in May 1691. Though reared as a Mennonite in the Paltinate, he convered to Quaker. (Note that Germantown had five primary religious orders: Quakers, Lutherans, Reformed, Mennonites, and later Dunkards.)

    The KASELs brought over with them many of the manuscripts of YELLIS KASEL, a Mennonite preacher at Kreishem, born before 1618 and died after 1681, and some of these papers are still preserved. The most interesting is a poem in Germany rhyme that describes the condition of the country, and throws the strongest light upon the people and the causes of emigration. The writer says that it was copied with much pain and suffering on November 28th 1665. The document belongs to his descendant Abraham H. Cassell and reads as follows:

    "O Lord! To thee the thoughts of all hearts are known. Into thy hands I commend my body and soul.
    When Thou lookest upon me with Thy mercy all things are well with me.
    Thou has stricken me with severe illness, which is a rod for my correction.
    Give me patience and resignation. Lay not on me more than I can bear.
    O Lord God! Protect me in this time of war and danger, That evil men may not do with me as they wish.
    Take me to a place where I may be concealed from them, free from such trials and cares.
    My wife and children, too, that they may not come to shame at their hands.
    Let all my dear friends find mercy from Thee.
    (After a successful flight to Worms he continued)
    O Dear God and Lord! to Thee be all thanks and honor and praise for Thy mercy and pity, which Thou hast shown to me in this time.
    Thou hast protected me from evil men, as from my heart I prayed Thee.
    Thou hast let me in the right way, so that I came to a place where I was concealed from sorrows and cares.
    Thou hast kept the way cleared till I reached the city, while other people about me were much robbed and plundered.
    I have found a place among people who show me much love and kindness.
    Gather us into heaven of which I am unworthy, but still I have a faith that God will not drive me into the Devil's kingdom with such a host
    as which now in this land murder and robbery destroys many people in many places, and never once think how it may stand before God.
    Well it is know what misery, suffering, and danger are about in this land, with robbing, plundering, murdering and burning.
    Many a man is brought into pain and need and abused even unto death.
    Many a beautiful home is destroyed.
    The clothes are torn from the backs of many people.
    Cattle and herds are taken away.
    Much sorrow and complaint have been heard.
    The beehives are broken down; the wine, spilled."
    26 November 1665, Yelles Kasel

    Kolb tells us that around this time a strange event took place involving a death in the Kassel family in Germany and that a considerable fortune and possibly a title were to be claimed by one of the brothers, JOHANNES or HEINRICH. The entire matter was discussed in a Mennonite religious service, known because records exist of its discussion. The congregation decided that the money should be refused because it would make the recipients "too proud." That the matter was discussed in the Mennonite Church but not the Quaker Meeting indicates that HEINRICH who was still a Mennonite was perhaps the intended recipient, and not JOHANNES, who was by now a Quaker. The money, title, and land were refused which created a schism in the family that had still not healed as late as the time of World War II. There appears to be nothing left in writing to indicate what the title may haveb been but the church minutes doo mention an "enormous" fortune. HEINRICH and his family left Germantown -- perhaps due to the ill feelings from part of his family over being slighted so far as the inheritance was concerned -- and moved to Philadelphia, a short journey, and in 1712 to Coventry in Chester County, Pennsylvania where he died and was buried in 1726.

    Al Cassell writes of the same event: "Also around this time, a strange little event occurred. There was apparently a death in the Kassel/Cassell family in Germany, and word came that a considerble fortune and possibly a title was to be claimed by one of the brothers, JOHANNES or HEINRICH. We know that the entire matter was dicussed in the Mennonite religious service, since records exist of its discussion, and we also know that the congretation decided that the money should be refused because it would make the recipients "too proud." The author heard this story from his father and grandfather, and both Kolb's "History of the Cassell's", and the Cassel researcher Alice Bordeleon mention the same story. The fact that the matter was discussed in the Mennonite Church, but not the Quaker Meeting, seems to indicate that HEINRICH CASSEL who was still a Mennonite, was the intended recipient, and not JOHANNES CASSEL, who was a Quaker. Nevertheless the money was refused, as was the title and land and the refusal seems to have created a schism in the family which had not healed at the time of World War II. There seems to be nothing left in writing which indicates what the title may have been, but the church minutes do mention an "enormous" fortune. Perhaps due to the ill feelings from part of his family over being slighted as far as the inheritance was concerned, HEINRICH CASSELL left Germantown, Pennsylvania, with his family and and moved to Philadelphia, a short journey; and then in 1712 he moved to Chester County, Pennsylvania near the town of Coventry where he died and was buried in 1726."

    JOHANNES CASSEL died at Germantown, Pennsylvania, on 17 April 1691, having been in America for ten years. He was the father of five known children and twenty-six known grandchildren. One of his great-grandchildren, JACOB CASTLE the Longhunter (son of JOHANNES PETER CASSELL) is believed to have been an albino, greatly revered by the Native Americans, and a man who had four known Native American wives of Shawnee and Shawnee-Cherokee blood, and possibly three others whose names are unknown.

    Mennonite Census: List of 1664 - Kriegsheim
    The list as shown in the Michel article, page 50, with reference to BGLA 4337 folia 108: Die erste Liste der mennonitischen Einwohner stammt aus dem Jahre 1664 und enthält folgende Namen: [The first list of the Mennonite residents dates from the year 1664 and contains the following names:]
    Valentin Hüthwohl (Die Familie stammt aus Groß-Bockenheim) [The family comes from Groß-Bockenheim]
    Hans Gram (stammt wahrscheinlich aus Rorbach, Amt Lautern) [probably comes from Rorbach, Lautern district]
    Peter Buchholts
    Valtin Eberts
    Peter Engers
    GILLES CASSEL (Gilles Cassel)
    Heinrich Blom
    JOHANNES CASSEL (später zu den Quäkern übergetreten) [later converted to Quaker]
    Matthias Bonn

    PALATINE MENNONITE CENSUS LISTS 1664 -1793, page 10, shows the list as follows: Archive Number 77/4336a - 1664 (according to Neff*) In the introduction to the book, the authors state: "Credit is due to Dr. Christian Neff and Professor Harold Bender to have discovered and published these lists for the first time in the Mennonite Quarterly Review in 1940 and 1941." Register of Mennists assessed quarterly taxes living in the OBERAMT ALZEY territory 1664. folio 108: KRIEGSHEIM
    Valentine Heutwohl, for himself
    for Peter Cuester's heirs
    Vollmar Janson
    Ewaldt Schumacher
    Hans Gram
    Peter Buchhalter (Burkholder?)
    Valentin Eberts
    Peter Obiger
    Heinrich Blem (Bluem?)
    Matthes Bonn

    Note that in 1681 JOHANNES CASSEL immigrated to America and settled at Germantown, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.

    Mennonite Census: List of 1685 - Kriegsheim
    [The list as shown in the Michel article, page 50, referencing BGLA 4337 folia 69: Die zweite Liste aus dem Jahre 1685.
    Matthias Bonn
    (Schwager des Quäkers Peter Schumacher) [brother-in-law of the Quaker Peter Schumacher]
    Peter Buchholtzer
    Henrich Blöhm
    Hans Gram
    Valentin Hüthwohl
    Nikolaus Gram
    Gerhard Becker
    Arnold Schumacher
    Johann Gebhard
    Peter Schumachers Pflegesohn Peter

    PALATINE MENNONITE CENSUS LISTS 1664-1793, on page 11, shows a copy of the original and on page 19 shows the list as follows:
    Archive Number 77/4337 - 1685 Mennists living in the Palatine territory Folio 69: OBERAMT ALZEY [District or higher office for the area of Kriegsheim was Alzey. Alzey today is the county.]
    Matthias Bonn
    Peter Buchholder
    Heinrich Bluehm
    Hans Gram
    Valentin Huethwohl
    Nikolaus Gram
    Gerhard Becker
    Arnold Schumacher
    Johann Gebhard
    Peter Schumacher's foster son, Peter Otto (?)
    All [the following] are Quakers:
    Gerhard Heinrich
    Agnes, Conrad Gebhart's widow
    Georg Schumacher
    Peter Schumacher's widow
    Philipp Lehnbusch

    Signed the original Charter for Germantown, PA. Naturalization papers for both Johannas and Arnold, dated March 07,1691 are presently in the Library of Juniata College, Huntington, PA.
    Copia Natuuuralisationis, Naturalizations, Germantown Pennsylvania, March 7, 1691
    "Copina Naturalixationis of Francis Daniel Pastorius and of 61 person more of German Town from William Penn, Esq."
    Francis Daniel Pastorius, Jacob Telner, Dirick Osaacs op de Graef, Herman Isaacs op de Graef, Tennis Conderts, Abraham Isaacs op de Graef, Jacob Isaacs, JOHANNES CASSELS, Hewart Paper, Herman Bon, Albertus Brandt, Jacob Schumacher, Walter Simesns, Dirick Keyser, ARNOLD CASSELLL, Dirick Keyser Junr., Jan Lensen, Clas Temsen, Hans Milan, Dirick Sellen, Hendrick Sellen, Paul Wolff, Lenart Arens, Arent Klincken, Paul Kastner, Willem Streipers, Koendradt Backer, Viet Scherkes, Hans Peter Umstad, Anthony Duplouvys, Heinrich Kesselberg, Reinert Tisson, Jan Lucken, Peter Klever, Jan Duplouvys.
    "high and Low Germans, Inhavitants and Owners of land in German-Town and in the county of Philadelphia, being forreiners, and so not freemen, according to the acception of the Law of England, Have requested to be made freemen of the said Province, pusuant to the Powersgranted by the King's Letters patent, and Act of Union and Naturalization, etc. made in this Government. Now Know ye that for the further Incouragement of the Industry and Sobriety of the said inhavitatnts, And for the better and further Security for the better and further Security of thier Estates recall and person for them and their heirts. They . . . " Thus William Penn endoresed the naturalization of the first Cassel Immigrants to America.

    Father: YELLES (Yillisz) KASEL b: 1590 in possibly Holland or Germany
    Mother: MARY b: 1614 in Griesheim (Kriesheim), Palatinate, Pfalz, Germany

    Marriage 1 MARY OP DEN GRAEFF Immigrant b: 1643 in Griesheim (Kriesheim), Palatinate, Pfalz, Germany
    • Married: 20 DEC 1659 in Greisheim, Palatinate, Pfalz, Germany
    1. Has Children Arnold CASSEL Immigrant b: 1670 in Kriesheim, Palatinate, Pfalz, Germany
    2. Has Children PETER CASSEL Immigrant b: 1673 in Griesheim (Kriesheim), Palatinate, Pfalz, Germany
    3. Has Children Elizabeth CASSEL Immigrant b: 1675 in Griesheim (Kriesheim), Palatinate, Pfalz, Germany
    4. Has Children Mary CASSEL Immigrant b: 1677 in Griesheim (Kriesheim), Palatinate, Pfalz, Germany
    5. Has Children Sarah CASSEL Immigrant b: 1680 in Kresheim, Palatinate, Pfalz, Germany

    1. Title: William Penn and the Dutch Quaker MIgration to Pennsylvania
      Text: Hans Peter Cassel
    2. Author: Russel N. Cassel & Milford H. Cassel
      Title: Cassel Family Roots
      Publication: Name: 1978, Project Innovation, Chula Vista, CA 92010;
      Source Medium: Book

      Page: page 15
    3. Author: Daniel K. Cassel
      Title: History of the Mennonite Church
      Publication: Location:;
      Source Medium: Book

      Page: 351
    4. Author: Russel N. Cassel & Milford H. Cassel
      Title: Cassel Family Roots
      Publication: Name: 1978, Project Innovation, Chula Vista, CA 92010;
      Source Medium: Book

      Page: p 15
    5. Title: William Penn and the Dutch Quaker MIgration to Pennsylvania
    6. Author: Charles R. Haller
      Title: Across the Atlantic and Beyond
      Publication: Name: Heritage Books; Location: googlebooks;
      Source Medium: Book
    7. Title: William Penn and the Dutch Quakers
      Page: p 400
    8. Author: John Woolman, Amelia Mott Genmere
      Title: The Journal and Essays of John Woolman
      Publication: Name: 1922, Macmillan and Company; Location: googlebooks;
      Source Medium: Book

      Page: 80

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