John George Aye


JOHN GEORGE AYE has been a resident of Bethel township, Armstrong county, for many years, and is one of the prosperous farmers of that section. He has held various township offices, and is a citizen of honorable standing whose worth is universally recognized. Mr. Aye was born April 14, 1845, in the city of Allegheny, Pa. His parents, George and Barbara (Schafer) Aye, were Germans, born in Obermondstat, Bavaria, and his grandfather, also named George, was a contractor in Germany, where the name was spelled Oh or Oeh. The family is of ancient origin.

George and Barbara (Schafer) Aye came to this country in 1833. Settling near Freeport, Armstrong Co., Pa., Mr. Aye worked as a farmer, and later lived in Allegheny City for a number of years. He then moved to near what is now known as Red Mill, in Kittanning township, Armstrong county, onto what is called the Billy Love farm, and thence to what was known as the Ross farm near Rosston, Armstrong county, on which place he died in 1873, aged sixty-two years. He and his wife were members of the Lutheran Church at Kittanning. They had a family of eleven children, seven sons and four daughters, all but the eldest born in the United States, viz.; Catherine, married to William Schwem; Elizabeth, wife of Philip Weaver; John George; Frederick, of Kittanning, engaged in the grocery business; Marcus, who, died when seventeen years old; Thomas, of Beaver Falls, Pa., who married Sallie Williams; Albert A., of Kittanning, who married Emma Deane; Mary, unmarried; George, a farmer, living in the old homestead in Manor township, unmarried; and Augustus, who married Minnie Fehrer, and lives at Wickboro.

John George Aye is early life learned the trade of cooper. He moved with the family to a farm in Manor township, this county, purchased after the death of his father, and for a few years ran a huckster wagon, during that time meeting his wife. Farming has been his principal occupation, however, and he lived at his present place in Bethel township for twenty-seven years. He has taken considerable interest in local public affairs, has been overseer of the poor, and for several years has served as tax collector. He was formerly a Republican, but is now a Democrat in political sentiment. In religious connection the family are members of the Lutheran Church, belonging to the Bethel congregation.

On May 4, 1876, Mr. Aye was married to Katherine A. Heilman, of Kittanning township, a native of Armstrong county, Pennsylvania, and one of eight children born to Solomon and Elizabeth (Schreckengost) Heilman. Mr. And Mrs. Aye had two sons; Thomas Lee, born March 30, 1877, who is a physician, in practice at Kelly Station, Armstrong county; and William George, born Nov. 13, 1862, who is a civil engineer by profession.

Mrs. Aye's parents and grandparents were all of German descent, and both the Heilmans and the Schreckengosts are of old and honorable standing. Mrs. Aye's great-grandfather, Peter Heilman, moved into this region from Northampton county, Pa. we find that their ancient ancestor was an eminent physician, "Veit, the Heilman' ( literally cure-man, "heil" being the German for "heal"). He lived in 1305, during an era when a man bore but a single name and was often distinguished by the name of his occupation attached to that name. Through usage the definitive word became the family name or surname, and his descendants have become known under the name Heilman or Heylman. In old Pennsylvania documents and records the name is found written also Hileman and Hyleman. About 1305, the Emperor Albright (Albrecht, Albert) conferred knighthood on Veitthe Heilman, granting him a diploma of nobility, and thence down to the sixteenth century the name is found in the German Genealogical Register. Many of his descendants were members of the German order of nobles, had their family coat of arms, and occupied many places of trust and honor as generals, feudal lords,and church dignitaries. The home and achievements were in the Rhine country. One of the descendants was a partner of Gutenberg, the inventor of printing; while another, Ludwig Heilman, in 1512 wrote a celebrated hymn of triumph upon the Reformation. Philipp Veit (1793-1877), the noted German painter, was of this stock.

John Jacob Heilman, of Zutzenhausen, in the Palatinate, Germany, came to America in 1732, and to "Lebanon" township, Lancaster Co., Pa., and died there in 1753, leaving a wife , Anna Maria. Among their children were; John Adam, born in 1715; Peter, who married and had children; and Anastatia or Anastatius.

The following Hilemans appear among the taxables of Dauphin county; Johannes, 1732; Martin, 1732; John Peter, Aug. 17, 1732; Andrew, 1736; Hans Adam, 1749; Johannes, 1749; Conrad, 1752; Christian, 1753; Martin, 1764.

One Peter, born 1715, married Barbara and died in 1778, and had Anastatius, Peter, Magdalena, Elizabeth (Mrs. Fisher), Cordelia or Christina (Mrs. Lach or Lough), Sophia, Henry, John George, John and Catherine (Stover).

Peter and Elizabeth (Harter) Heilman, who came with their family in 1795-96 to what was known as the Peter Heilman tract, in Kittanning township, had twelve children; Gertrude (Mrs. Jacob Piser), Christina (Mrs. Joseph Piser), Mary (Mrs. Frederick Tarr), Susanna (Mrs. John King), John, Daniel, Solomon, Frederick, Robert, Margaret, Elizabeth and Jacob.

In the asseeement list of Allegheny township, 1805-06, we find the following, indicating that the persons named were then residing (and had perhaps for several years before resided) within the present limits of Kittanning township: Peter Heilman, 200 acres, one horse, two cattle, $170 in 1805 and $180 in 1806; John Heilman, single man, $5 in 1806; Daniel Heilman, single man. Christopher and Adam Oury, and Adam,Jacob and Peter Waltenbough, also appear in the list. In 1849-50 John Heilman was assessed with a sawmill, and thereafter Daniel Heilman---probably the one near the schoolhouse, on a run flowing southeast into the west branch of Cherry run. The Heilmans in the early days were evidently also engaged in distilling, the "Heilman" whiskey being regarded as good quality among good judges.

Daniel Heilman, one of the sons of Peter who settled in what is now Kittanning township in 1795, married Lydia Yount, and their children were; Solomon (father of Mrs. John G. Aye and Mrs. Levi G. Cook), Daniel, George (who married Henrietta Hengst and left children), Samuel, Isaac, Simon, Harry, Eve (married Harry Shafer), Lydia (Mrs. George Eiman), Susie and Elizabeth (both deceased in childhood). The farmer farmed in Kittanning township until his death, which occurred in 1832, when he was fifty years old.

Solomon Heilman, son of Daniel, was born in Kittanning township. He married Elizabeth Schreckengost, daughter of Benjamin and Susanna (Oury) Schreckengost, and they had children as follows; Benjamin died in childhood; Levi never married, Abraham married Mary Cook, sister of Levi G. Cook, of Bethel township; Mary married Levi G. Cook; Katherine A. is the wife of John G. Aye, of Bethel township; Lewis married Jennie Walker (who was a school teacher for eighteen years) and they reside on the old homestead place of Solomon Heilman, in Kittanning township; Daniel died when a young man, unmarried; Uriah Oury, M.D., of Leechburg, married Essie Heckman.

Source Pages 403-405 Armstrong County, Pa. Her People,Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed September 1998 by Rodney G Rosborough for the Armstrong County Beers Project.
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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