Saturday, October 8, 2011

Kobel Indian Massacre

The second day of my recent and too short visit to Mom began with a discussion of a tragic event that had us searching the internet for even more information: the Kobel Indian Massacre. Oh how we love mining the internet for details of the ancestor's lives:)

On my Mother's Whetstone side, going back 7 generation, was a family named Koble. Jacob Kobel was born about 1682 in Germany and died in Berks County Pennsylvania. He Married Anna Marie Egli (1684 - 1774) in 1708 in Germany. The couple arrived in New York in 1710 having had an infant son die at sea. Once here, they went on to have nine more children, one of them was our ancestor, Maria Barbara Kobel born about 1712 in New York.

They were part of the great Palatine Migration. You can read about  about the Palatine Migration here and the Kobel Indian Massacre here .

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania also has a write up about the massacre with images of original documents at

One of the afore mentioned Anna Marie and Jacob Kobel's offspring was Johanna Heinrich "Henry" Kobel born 20 July 1712, who married Marie Salome Hoffman about 1740. They both died on 16 November 1755 in the massacre that bears their name.

As the Newhouse web site states, "After killing Henry and Maria, the Indians pursued, captured and then scalped at least five of the eight children, as they fled into the neighboring woods. The Indians fled only upon hearing other settlers coming to the Kobels' aid. Two of the scalped daughters survived, one to tell the story of the family tragedy,...."

A contemporaneous letter included the following description of events:
"One Kobel, with his wife and eight children, the eldest about fourteen years and the youngest fourteen days, was flying before the enemy, he carrying one and his wife a boy, another of the children, when they were fired upon by two Indians very nigh, but hit only the man upon the breast, though not dangerously. They, the Indians, then came with their tomahawks, knocked the woman down, but not dead. They intended to kill the man, but his gun (though out of order, so that he could no fire) kept them off. The woman recovered so far, and seated herself upon a stump, with her babe in her arms, and gave it suck; and the Indians driving the children together, and spoke to them in high Dutch, 'Be still, we won't hurt you.' Then they struck a hatchet into the woman's head, neck and tore off the scalp. The children then ran: four of them were scalped, among which was a girl of eleven years of age, who related the whole story; of the scalped, two are alive and like to do well. The rest of the children ran into the bushes and the Indians after them, but our people coming near to them, halloed and made a noise. The Indians ran and the rest of the children were saved."

It was rough on the frontier. I sometimes forget how difficult and scary it must have been for the ancestors... until I run headlong into something like the Kobel Indian Massacre.


  1. I have German immigrants too. Thanks for this story, especially for the link to the story on Palantine Migration.

  2. We share Kobel ancesteors who immigrated to PA from Hoffenheim-Sensheim Germany.

    1. Oh, cool! Don't know who you are, but if you ever do a DNA test it would be fun to run some numbers:) Thanks for stopping by!