JAMES M. HEILMAN, late of Kittanning, as president of Heilman Brothers Lumber Company was at the head of an important local industry and for years one of the leading business men of the borough. A descendant of prominent pioneer stock, he was born in Kittanning township, Armstrong county, Sept. 26, 1848, on his father's farm, and passed all his early life in the county.
The earliest known ancestor of this family was an eminent physician, "Veit, the Heilman" (literally cure-man, "heil" being the German for "heal"), who lived during an era when a man bore but a single name and was often distinguished by the name of his occupation attached thereto; through usage the definitive word became the family name or surname. Veit the Heilman was a German Palatine knighted in 1305 by the Emperor Albright (Albrecht, Albert), and given a nobility diploma, and his descendants called themselves Heilman or Heylman. (In old Pennsylvania documents and records the name is found written also Hileman and Hyleman.) 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. Their home and achievements were in the Rhine country. One of the descendants was a partner of Guttenberg, the inventor of printing, while another, Ludwig Heilman, in 1512 wrote a celebrate 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, in Germany: Peter, born in 1729 (there is a tradition in the family that he was born at sea, but this does not agree with the date of emigration), who married and had children; and Anastatia or Anastatius.
The records of the Hill Church (Egle's Notes and Queries, 1898) show that Anastatius Heylman and his wife Rosina Barbara had children as follows: Frederick, born Dec. 5, 1766, sponsors John Nicholas Marer and Elizabeth Heylman; Anna Catherine, born Dec. 3, 1768, baptized Dec. 3, 1768, sponsors Peter Heilman, Sr., and wife Salome; John Adam, born Sept. 29, 1771, baptized Oct. 12, 1771, sponsors Anthony (Anton) Stoever and wife; Mary Christina, born Sept. 14, 1773, baptized Oct. 21, 1773, sponsors John Heylman and wife; John, born October, 1778, baptized October, 1778, sponsors John Heilman and wife; and John George, born June 6, 1780, baptized Sept. 3, 1780, sponsors John George Heylman and wife Anna Mary.
From the same source we find that John Heylman and his wife Anna Mary had: Anna Mary, born Sept. 24, 1779, sponsors John George Heylman and Anna Magdalena Heller, both unmarried; John Henry Heylman and wife Christina had: Henry, born Oct. 14, 1779, baptized Oct. 17, 1779, sponsors Peter Heylman and wife Barbara; Mary Christina, born April 22, 1781, baptized April, 28, 1781, sponsors Anastatius and wife Rosina Barbara.
According to the Hill Church records Peter Heylman (or Heilman) and wife Barbara (nee Heyman, evidently intended for Heylman) had children as follows: Simon John, born Feb. 3, 1767, baptized March 1, 1767, sponsors John Heylman and Anna Mary Heylman; Anna Catherine, born Sept. 2, 1768, baptized Sept. 11, 1768, sponsors Adam Heylman and Catherine Heylman; John Frederick, born March 30, 1771,baptized April 17, 1771, sponsors Peter Eiderholt and wife Elizabeth; John Adam, born Nov. 27, 1774, baptized Dec. 12, 1774, sponsors Adam Heilman and wife Catherine; Peter, born July 22, 1777, baptized Aug. 10, 1777, sponsors George Heylman and Barbara Umberger. The father of this family died in 1778. In another account the children of Peter and Barbara are given as Anastatius, Peter, Magdalena, Elizabeth Fisher, Christina, Joseph, Stephen, Henry, John George, John and Christina Stover. We also find: One Peter, born 1715, married Barbara and died in 1778, and had Anastatius, Peter, Magdalena, Elizabeth (Mrs. Fisher), Cordelia (Mrs. Lach or Lough), Sophia, Henry, John, George, John and Catherine (Stover).
The following Heilmans appear among the taxables of Dauphin county, dates showing when they took the oath of allegiance to the Crown - Great Britain: Johannes, 1732; Martin, 1732 (a captain in the French and Indian war, 1755-63); John Peter, Aug. 17, 1732; Andrew, 1736; Hans Adam, 1749; Johannes, 1749; Conrad, 1752; Christian, 1753; Martin, 1764.
According to records in the office of the secretary of the Commonwealth, among those emigrants over sixteen years of age who took the oath of allegiance to the Province and the Crown on their arrival, we find Johannes Heilman, September, 1732; Martin Heilman, September, 1732; John Peter Heilman, August, 1732; Andrew Hilman, September, 1736; Hans Adam Halman, September, 1738; Johannes Hielman, September, 1749; Conrad Heilman, September, 1752 (ship "Brothers," William McNair, captain, from Rotterdam, last of Cowes); Christian Hielman, 1753; Martin Heilman, October, 1764. On page 243, Volume VI, are found John, Bastian (ship "Brothers," as above), Peter (ship "Brothers, as above), John Jacob Heilman.
Rupp's records of immigrants (1728 to 1777) show that among the passengers who arrived Sept. 25, 1732, in the ship "Loyal Judith" (Robert Turpin, master), from Rotterdam, last from Cowes, were the Palatines Jonas Wolf, Johannes Heilman, Frederick Schaeffer and Martin Heilman (the last named was a captain of a company of soldiers in the French and Indian war). In the same volume we find that Jacob Heilman arrived Aug. 21, 1750, in the ship "Anderson" (Hugh Campbell, captain), which carried 271 passengers. Frederick Heilman, son of Peter, who moved to Armstrong county from Dauphin county and settled on Blanket Hill, claimed relationship with the Heilmans of Hill Church, and was a nephew of one Martin Heilman, a taxable in Dauphin county in 1732 (this may have meant the year of his arrival), evidently the Martin previously mentioned. Possibly Martin was a brother of Christian, the immigrant ancestor of the line of which this article especially treats.
The Christian Heilman mentioned as taking the oath of allegiance in 1753 seems likely the ancestor of the Hilemans (Heilmans) of Armstrong county here under consideration, for Peter, the founder of the family in this county, was born it is said in 1750 in Alsace-Lorraine, son of Christian, and is said to have been about two years old when he came to America with his father and settled in Northampton county, Pa. The mother died during the voyage across the Atlantic. It is said that Christian married again, in Northampton county; his son, Peter had a brother or half-brother Michael, who remained in Northampton county when Peter removed to Armstrong county. In Egle's History of Dauphin and Lebanon Counties we find: "The officers and men of Lebanon county, May 10, 1756, French and Indian War, 1755-63: Capt. Adam Heilman, Lieut. John Hart, Ensign Adam Roulour." Among the privates: John Hartman, Balthase Heylman, John Heylman, John Adam Heylman, Michael Heylman, Etc. This may be the Michael said to be Peter's brother or half-brother. However, it may be he was a brother of Christian, Peter's father.
Peter Heilman was given only three weeks' schooling. He was married (in Northampton county supposedly) to Elizabeth Harter, and in 1795-96 they came to what is now Kittanning township, Armstrong county, and setted on Garrett's run. Here he became a prominent citizen. By trade he was a weaver, having learned the business in Northampton county. He was a zealous Lutheran, and in the "History of Lutheran Synod, Western Pennsylvania," 1795, is mentioned as one of the organizers and supporters of the first church, often called the Heilman Church, which he served as trustee, etc. he and one other were the principal factors in establishing this church. His wife also belonged. She died before him, passing away (according to the Kittanning Gazette) "Jan. 21, 1831....in the seventy-ninth year of her age." Her death was very sudden. Sitting in his chair, unable to move, Mr. Heilman called out, "Mother has fallen," and she was found to be dead. His death occured Jan. 27, 1833, at the age of eighty-two years. His will, registered (page 142) Sept. 19, 1832, was recorded in Will Book No. 1 (son Jacob and others give bonds; Simon Truby, executor). Mr. and Mrs. Heilman are buried in the old Heilman cemetery in Kittanning township. They spoke English imperfectly. They were well known and much beloved among their neighbors in this section, where their friendliness, high example and true Christian character endeared them to all who knew them. Mrs. Heilman was a remarkable woman in many ways. Handsome of feature, she was also finely built physically, and her small hands and feet were generally admired. Her physical strength was unusual for a woman. It is said that while standing in a half bushel measure she could shoulder from the ground three and a half bushels of wheat, a feat few men could equal. She was very skillful at spinning and weaving, weaving linen, jean, linsey woolsey and blankets, and making clothing. Her grandson, John Heilman, now over ninety-two years old, who waited on his grandparents before they died, remembers her; she would put him under one arm, and with the other raise from the ground a piggin of apples, containing half a barrel, and place in on her head with ease.
Twelve children were born to Peter and Elizabeth (Harter) Heilman: (1) Gertrude married Jacob Piser or Poiser (name also written Pieser, Beaser and Peaser). They had sons Adam (married), Jacob (who married a Miss Meals), Casper, and other children. Some of the Pisers lived near Slippery Rock, Pa. (2) Christina married Joseph Piser, brother of Jacob. Their daughter married John Ried or Reed and had William and Margaret (Mrs. Hershey). (3) Mary married Frederick Tarr (ancestor of Dr. Tarr, of Kittanning), and had children, Catherine (Mrs. William Orr), Rebecca (Mrs. William Gibson), William (married a Richison or Richardson), Sarah (married James Larkin and George Rimby), Elizabeth (Mrs. Michael Davis), Susy (Mrs. George Rummel), Caspar, Joseph (married Mary Croyl), Lobin (married a Miss Mainer) and George. The father, Mr. Tarr, died Aug. 17, 1825, according to the Kittanning Gazette. He was a son of Gasper Tarr, who helped to build Reids Station, on the Allegheny river above Kittanning, and a grandson of an emigrant from Germany (1760) who moved to Westmoreland county from Ellicott's Mills, Md., settling in East Huntington township. His children were Henry, Peter, Christian, Daniel and Gasper. (4) Susanna married John King (grandfather of President Judge J. W. King), and had children, George, Gideon (married Mary Wolf), John (married Christina Wolf), Mary (married John Heffelfinger), Selim, Esther, Susanna, Lydia, Eve, Helen (married George Slease) and Flora (married John Stivinson). (5) John married Elizabeth Yount, and their children were John (married Eliza Briny), David (married Jane Elliot), William (married Miss Rufner), Sarah (married by Rev. G. A. Reichert, May 7, 1829, to Israel Schall), Rebecca (married by Rev. G. A. Reichert, June 20th, 1832, to Daniel Schall), Lydia (married George Cook), Hannah (married John Blose) and Mary Ann (married John Long). (6) Daniel married Lydia Yount and had children, 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 father farmed in Kittanning township until his death, which occurred in 1832, when he was fifty years old. (7) Solomon, who lived in Kittanning township, married Hannah Yount (Youndt or Yunt), and their children were Jacob (married Catherine Iseman), Joseph (married Mary Iseman), William (marrried Margaret Iseman), Alexander (married Elizabeth Iseman), Adam (married Miss Goldstrom), Rachel (wid. Michael Chryster Kritzer), Mary (married Jonathan Farster), Ann (married Joseph Richard), Sarah (married George Schrum) and Susan (married John Schrum, brother of George). (8) Frederick is mentioned below. (9) Robert, twin of Frederick, died in boyhood, of small pox. (10) Margaret married John Stitt. (11) Elizabeth was injured in a fall when nine months old, never walked, and though not a mute, her speech was unintelligible to any but members of the family. (12) Jacob, the youngest, said to have been born in Northampton county in April, 1791, married Susanna Waltinbough. It is said he also had an attack of smallpox. He died Dec. 27, 1876 (tombstone says 1877), in his eighty-sixth year, and his wife died April 27, 1878, in her eighty-sixth year. They had three sons, John Adam (married Eliza Wilson), John (married Ellen Wilson) and James (married Magdalena Reichert). Jacob Heilman was a distiller, and it was he who made the celebrated Heilman whiskey. He lived on the Peter Heilman tract in Kittanning township where his parents settled in 1795-96.
Among the "orginal tracts within the present" (1883) "limits of this" (Kittanning) "township," we find mentioned the Charles Grubb tract, 330.4 acres, seated by John and Daniel Hileman; the John Schenck tract, 301.8 acres, seated by Frederick Hileman and George Olinger; the Peter Hileman tract, 200 acres, seated by himself; the Tobias Long tract, 341.5 acres, seated by Daniel Hileman and Adam Waltenbough; the Benjamin "Schreckengaust" tract, 200 acres, seated by himself. The Ourys, Waltenboughs and Schreckengosts intermarried with the Heilmans.
Frederick Heilman, son of Peter and Elizabeth (Harter) Hileman, and grandfather of James M. Heilman, was reared in Dauphin county, Pa., and came to Armstrong county upon attaining his majority, settling in Kittanning township, where he followed farming the rest of his file. It is said his father, Peter, was the warranter and patenter of land in Kittanning township in 1796, and in June, 1831, conveyed "Blanket Hill" (the historic old battleground) to his son Jacob. There were 301 acres seated by Frederick Heilman about this time. On June 30, 1834, he was one of the purchasers of a tract on Blanket Hill, where the fight between Lieutenant Hogg and a superior force of Indians took place. He died at the age of fifty-six years. He was a Whig in politics and a Lutheran in religion. He married Margaret Ehinger (Echinger or Eighinger), a native of Armstrong county, daughter of Peter Ehinger, whose wife was English - her mainden name was Cogley. Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Heilman had children as follows: Peter is mentioned below: Stephen married Nancy Graham; Reuben married Mary Everhart, daughter of Henry and Susanna (Keck) Everhart, and they had nine children, Rebecca (married Levandus Schall), Martha E. (married James Moore), Amos E., M. D. (deceased, married Rebecca Patton), Elmer (married a Miss Pitman), Henry F. (married twice, his wives being sisters), Susanna M. (unmarried), Margaret Hall (wife of Sloan Hall), Cyrus M. (married Rebecca Schaffer) and Laura N. (married Frank Brown); Martha married Michael Neale; Anna became Mrs. Henry Remayle (Remaley); Sarah married Cyrus Everhart; four died young, Rebecca, Eliza, Rebecca, and Priscilla J.
Peter Heilman, eldest son of Frederick, was born in July, 1819, on the home farm, where he died Feb. 25, 1878. He was a prosperous farmer, and energetic in business matters, operating a brickyard on his farm, and meeting with substantial success in his ventures. In 1871 he was elected county commissioner, being a member of the board which erected the Armstrong county jail, which has the reputation of being one of the finest and strongest structures of the kind in the United States. This building was completed in 1873, at a cost of $252,000. Its foundation is 24 feet deep, from the surface and 7 feet wide from the bottom. After his service as commissioner Mr. Heilman devoted all his time to his own affairs. He had previously been school director, and during the Civil war he served as enrolling officer. He was a Republican on political questions. He was an esteemed member and liberal supporter of Emanuel Lutheran Church, which he served officially. By his first wife, Susanna Helfrich, daughter of Anthony Helfrich (whose wife was named Schutt or Shutt), he had three children, namely: Amanda, who never married; Albert, who starved to death in Andersonville prison, while a Union soldier; and one that died in infancy. His second, Elizabeth (Remaley), daughter of Anthony Remaley, of Kiskiminetas township, was the mother of ten children, viz: James M., William M., Reuben (a hardware merchant), John F., George (who died aged twenty-one years), Frank (who died when sixteen years old); Eliza (wife of Frank McClister), Edward (in the hardware business), Charles C. (President of the Merchants' Trust Company Bank, of Greensburg - he spells the name Hileman) and Curtin A. (engaged as a furniture dealer at Greensburg).
Anthony Remaley, grandfather of Mrs. Peter Heilman, married a daughter of Anthony Schaeffer, who was a Revolutionary soldier, and afterward clerk in the State Senate. Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Remaley had a son, Anthony, whose daughter married Peter Heilman. The Heilmans worshipped at the old Heller Church, near Harrisburg.
James M. Heilman was given a common school education, and at the age of sixteen became an apprentice at the carpenter's trade, with Jacob Martin. After serving three years he went to work as a journeyman, being employed by different concerns in various sections of the country, which experience made him acquainted with the methods used by his several employers and equipped him for thorough and successful work. Returning to Kittanning in 1869 he engaged in contracting and building on his own account, he and his brother, William, becoming associated in business and later admitting their brother John to the partnership, which was known as Heilman Brothers. They built up an extensive and profitable business, and in 1889 they extended their operations by entering into the lumber and planing mill business, erecting a large mill. In 1905 the firm was incorporated under the name of Heilman Brothers Lumber Company, James M. Heilman being president of the concern until his death, May 11, 1913. This concern has been recognized for years as one of the most important and progressive of the kind in Armstrong county, and its value as one of the substantial factors in the upbuilding and development of Kittanning is thoroughly appreciated. Its work is of high quality, a fact which in a large measure accounts for its continued prosperity. The Heilman brothers are entitled to much credit for their success. Beginning with little capital, they forged ahead steadily, keeping fully abreast of the times in methods and ideas, keeping their equipment up to meet the growing demands of their trade, judiciously investing surplus money in town lots in Kittanning, which they improved with residences and other buildings, and in every way showing good judgment and shrewd management. Their standing is a credit to the county, though their business operations have by no means been confined to its limits.
In 1907 Mr. Heilman was elected vice president of the Kittanning Plate Glass Company, and the year following was elected president, serving one year, the term for which he was chosen. He afterward devoted his principal energies to the lumber business, and he had always private interests of considerable importance, particularly the development of gas and oil properties, which which he was identified for over twenty years. He served as vice president and manager of the Garrett's Run Gas Company, was interested in several other oil and gas companies, and was to the time of his death a stockholder in the Franklin Oil & Gas Company, of Bedford, Ohio.
Mr. Heilman was quite prominent in fraternal circles in Kittanning as a member of the I. O. O. F. and of the B. P. O. Elks. He was a past noble grand of the local Odd Fellows Lodge, and a past chief patriarch of the emcampment. When the Elks' Home was erected in Kittanning he served as superintendant and manager of construction, a position for which he was thoroughly fitted, and the handsome building is not only a credit to the order, but an example of fine architecture of which the borough is proud.
On Feb. 27, 1873, Mr. Heilman was married at Mosgrove, the residence of his wife's parents, to Esther Eliza Quigley, daughter of Sharon Mateer and Mary (Mateer) Quigley, of Armstrong county, who were distantly related. The latter was a daughter of Sharon and Jane (Reed) Mateer, pioneers of East Franklin township, Armstrong county. Sharon M. Quigley was born in East Franklin township, son of John and Esther (Cook) Quigley, who came from eastern Pennsylvania and settled in that township. They had eight sons and three daughters. Mr. and Mrs. Heilman had two children, Sharon Peter and Arthur M., both of whom became practicing physicians, following the profession in which the family has been numerously represented.
Mr. Heilman held membership in the Presbyterian Church, and was a man of fine Christian character, high principled, a representative member of a family noted for moral courage, fearless in defense of the right, strong family ties and pride of race. Without pretense in any relations of life, he was frank and strong in his likes and dislikes, and people always knew where James M. Heilman stood. He had the greatest respect for real Christianity, and endeavored in his own life to live up to its tenets. He was a member of the John Orr Bible Class. He died very suddenly, May 11, 1913.
Sharon Peter Heilman, M. D., was born March 27, 1874, at Kittanning, and there received his preliminary education in the public schools, graduating from high school. He then entered Princeton College, from which he was graduated in 1896, after which he took a medical course in the medical department at the University of Pennsylvania, at Philadelphia, receiving his degree of M. D. in 1900. Before this course and during the time he was pursuing it he read medicine under Dr. Thomas H. Allison, one of Armstrong county's most distinguished physicians. The year of his graduation from medical college he began practice in the borough of Kittanning, where he met with unusual success in his profession. He had an extensive practice, the needs of his patrons demanding all his time and energies, and attained good standing in the profession, belonging to the Armstrong County Medical Society, the American Medical Association, the Physicians' Protective Society and the Judson Deland Society of Philadelphia. Fraternally he was a member of the Elks, Eagles, I. O. O. F., Owls and Red Men. His death occurred May 10, 1914, at Phoenix, Ariz., where he had gone on account of his health.
In 1898 Dr. Heilman married Lupah Obrien, of Hagerstown, Md. They had no children.
Arthur M. Heilman, M. D., graduated from Washington and Jefferson College, and then graduated from the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania, in 1902. He is now engaged in practice at Butler, Pa., and has met with most gratifying success, having every prospect for a bright future. He married Alice Patterson, of Butler, Pa., daughter of John N. and Emily (Stein) Patterson, the former a retired merchant of Butler. Dr. and Mrs. Heilman have two children, John P. and James M.
Source: Pages 963-968, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed November 1998 by Joyce Sherry for the Armstrong County Beers Project
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