John was the oldest son of the immigrant ancestor Jacob Hochstetler. Jacob immigrated in the year 1738 to William Penn’s new colony Pennsylvania. Jacob came with his wife and John who was 3 yrs old. Jacob settled in Berks county with good people of his own kind, the Amish. Their settlement was a success, and good times were at hand, with the Amish practicing their religion with the freedom for which they were searching. Then a unique event occurred in Amish history. As a prelude to the French and Indian War, in Sept of 1757, Jacob and his family were attacked by the Indians. His wife, youngest son and youngest daughter were killed by the marauding Indians. Jacob and his sons Christian and Joseph were captured and held by the Indians for up to 7 years. Legend has it that the two boys became quite involved in the Indian lifestyle and were hesitant to return. John at that time was married with his own family and lived nearby but they were unharmed.
History of John Hochstetler in Somerset County, PA
Largely as a result of the Indian massacre, John and his family moved to Somerset County in 1784. John was one of the first pioneers who settled Somerset County in the Casselman River Valley. Over his lifetime he and his sons acquired up to 2300 acres converting them into productive farmland. Legend has it the the Amish settled in Somerset County because it reminded them of their highlands in the old country of Switzerland, many years ago where they lived before they were forced from their lands due to their religious beliefs. The Negro Mountain is the highest elevation in Pennsylvania. John’s homestead was located east of this highest elevation, about 10 miles north of Grantsville, and about 2 miles southeast of Summit Mills.
John’s Little House
In 1800, John built a small retirement home on his original homestead, then owned by his son John. His wife Catherine, passed away shortly thereafter. John moved on marrying his second wife Anna in 1802. His will dated 1805, names his second wife as beneficiary of the little house. We still have his will today, published in the family history book "Descendants of Jacob Hochstetler". In his will, he pleads for his son John to allow his wife to live in the little house, "…for a reasonable rent"…. He defines in great detail his inventory of possessions and requests how his wife is to be maintained with gardens and produce and goods from the farm.