EARLY, Thomas
Back Up Next

Early (Oehrle), Thomas, was an active member of the Evangelical Lutheran church at Ensengen, in the Kingdom of Wurtemberg. His son, John Early, born January 9, 1724, came to America at the age of twenty-four years. After he had received his diploma as a carpenter, he traveled through different parts of Germany to perfect his trade. He was also a Master Free Mason. He came to America in 1750, landing first at Philadelphia, and subsequently walking to Reading. He was here elected trustee and building master for erecting the First Evangelical Lutheran church there. This edifice has been rebuilt and Is one of the largest churches in the place. He married Susan Brombach and moved to Manada Gap, now in Dauphin county, Pa. He built a grist mill on the foundation of the present mill which is still there. He also built the mill at Bow creek, now owned by Israel Early. Both of these mills have always been and are now in the possession of the Earlys. He had one son, Christian Early, when his first wife died in 1753. From her spring all of the mountain Earlys and those near or along the Jonestown road. He married, secondly, Regina Siechle, in 1755, daughter of John Albrecht Siechle, and moved to Swatara creek, near the mouth of the Quittapohilla creek, where he joined Hans B Bendnaughle, George Berger and others in the building of the First Evangelical Lutheran log church, when the region was almost an unbroken wilderness. The church is called the Bendnaugle’s Evangelical Lutheran church to this day. By his second wife he had three sons and two daughters, namely: John, from whom all the valley Earlys spring, from near Palmyra, now Lebanon county; William, Thomas, Catharine and Anna Margaretta. He was also one of the principal and original subscribers, together with his sons John, William and Thomas, in 1803, to build the present beautiful substantial Bendnaugle’s church, the pride of the region. His son, William Early, moved to Centre county, Pa., in the beginning of the present century, where he and his father took up a large tract of land, and laid out a town in 1797, called Earlysburg, also Williamsburg. He built a saw mill there and donated a tract of land to the Evangelical Lutheran church and the Reformed, called Emanuel church, and aided in building a log church. He was one of the first officers of the church, which was rebuilt in 1837. He was one of the first esquires and his brother was the first constable of Centre county. William Early, Esq., was also on the first grand jury in Centre county. From him spring the Southern and Western Earlys. The second son of the first John Early was esquire of Londonderry township, as was his brother William in Centre county, and the second son William of the second son John, father of D.S. Early, was also esquire of Londonderry township for forty years. None of his suits were ever settled in court. This William Early, the father of Aaron Daniel Seth Early, was born in Lancaster county, and married in Dauphin County, and died in Lebanon county, and was never out of the county or Londonderry township. All of the Earlys were Whigs until the Republican party was organized. The second John Early, son of Christian Early, the only son of the first John Early, by his first wife, was also esquire in West Hanover township, Manada Gap, Dauphin county, until he died.

The family of William, the second son of John Early, were all born on the farm called Beetime, in the present house which he built, and consisted of fourteen children, eight sons and six daughters. Jacob, the oldest son of the second John and brother of William, was one of the promoters of the Campbellstown Lutheran and Reformed church, and his descendants are buried there. William, the second son, was one of the main pillars and supporters of the Bendnaugle’s Evangelical Lutheran church, and deeded a plat of ground to said church, and he and his family are buried there. His son, Joshua Heater, stood in his place after his death, and his son John supported the same church. A.D.S. Early, the son of William Early, assisted liberally with his means and deeded a half acre of land to the same church, for the sake of Christ, and for his ancestors. He desired to beautify the church and have a dwelling on the premises, and to preserve them as memorials of the virtues of his ancestors and to have some one to dwell there to keep the church and burial place always in order. William Early and Martin G early, sons of William Early, were among the founders and principal donators of the first Evangelical Lutheran and Reformed church in Palmyra, Pa., and Martin G Early was also one of the movers and supporters of the Second Lutheran Church in Palmyra. Rev John William Early, the son of William Early and brother of D.S. Early, is a minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and is a graduate of the Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, Pa.