Schrecongost Family History
Researched by Don May Schrecongost-Ryan
January 1991

    During the 1700's in what is today Germany, there was a farming area and parish known as Birkelbach, in the state of Westfalen/Wesphalia in the northern past of the Rhineland region. Because of economic, political or religious oppression, many people left Germany to make a new home in the America's during the t 1700s and 1800s. The land was advertised in Europe, as free and plenty of everything for everybody.

    Johann Jost Schreckengost, Jr. is listed in a European record as baptized in Birkelbach on November 19, 1726. The names of his parents were listed as Anna Catherina Schmids and Johann Jost Schreckengost.

    Johann Jost Schreckengost, Jr. and his family left the Birkelbach area by river boat for Rotterdam, Holland. In August of 1764 the family boarded a ship named "Polly" at Rotterdam bound for Philadelphia. The captain was Robert Porter. The ship carried about 200 passengers on that trip. It docked in Philadelphia September 19, 1764.

    It is believed Johann Jost Schreckengost, Jr. had a wife with him, her name is not listed. Their sons, Henry and Conrad were born in Germany and probably were with them on the trip. Son George was born 1766 and John, 1770. There may have been daughters with Johann and his wife. The names of children and females were seldom written down on ship and immigration records.

    According to church and tax records, Johann Jost, lr. and his family, including sons, Henry and Conrad first settled down as farmers in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, in 1764 when they arrived in America. They later moved west to Dauphin County. Their next home was in present- day Northumberland County. The Schreckengost's were listed as tax payers in Mahanoy Twp., Northumberland County in 1782/1785. The first federal census in 1790 lists John, Conrad and Henry in that county. Their next move was to Berks County in the 1800's. About 1801, three of the sons, John, Conrad and Henry settled permanently in Armstrong County, where their descendants remained to this day. George and his family never left Dauphin County.

    The Schrecongost name was originally spelt Schreckengost in Germany. The English recorders on the ships and in the colonies spelled and recorded the name in various ways at various times In the early years. The first federal census in 1790 listed it as Shecilcross in Northumberland Co. The 1800 federal census listed it as Shreconcust in Dauphin County where George lived and Schreckengart and Schreckengart in Berks County where Henry, John and Conrad lived. When Johann Jost, Jr. signed the oath of allegiance, he spelled his name Johann Jost Schreckengost. The copy of the actual signature is in Strassburger's Pennsylvania Gennan Pioneers.

    Henry, oldest son of Johann Jost Schreckengost Jr. married Maria Catherine (Last name unknown). They had 10 children. probably as an error in bookkeeping, the youngest son, Samuel's name began to be spelt Schrecongost and the rest of the family remained the original Gennan spelling, Schreckengost.

    Samuel married Nancy Bowser/Bouser in 1820 in Kittanning Township, Annstrong County. Samuel and Nancy lived in various places in Armstrong County. They never owned land. Their first child, Jacob, was born in 1821. He was raised in the Elderton area. In 1844, he married a distant cousin, Catherine Schreckengost, grand-daughter of Conrad Schreckengost. Jacob's wife Catherine, died March 1857, two years after their youngest son, Darwin Phelps, was born. Their five children were raised by the paternal grandparents, Samuel and Nancy Schrecongost.

    Samuel and Nancy officially adopted little Darwin in May of 1864 after Jacob was killed while serving in the Union Army during the Civil War at the battle of Spotsylvania Court House in Virginia. Samuel Schrecongost died about 1870 and was probably buried in the cemetery at Gastown. There is no gravestone there with his name on it, but church records of the Gastown German Lutheran Church list Samuel and Nancy among those who took communion in 1868. Jacob was a fanner and laborer. He joined the Pennsylvania Infantry on February 25. 1864. to volunteer his services in the Union Army. He was assigned to the 138th Regiment, Company B. In just a little over two months after enlisting. he died of a leg wound. He was shot in the leg on May 5th and by May 12th he was dead from infection and loss of blood.

    Darwin Phelps grew up in the home of his grandparents, Samuel and Nancy Scbrecongost in the Gastown area. He attended Plumcreek Nonnal College at E1derton. About 1878 he married Sarah Jane Miller at their church, St. Thomas German Reforme/Lutheran Church in Gastown. They made their home on the Miller farm in the Dutch Run area. Their first child was born in 1879. The family grew to six children by 1888. Sarah Miller Schrecongost suddenly died September 19.1889 at the young age of 30. She is buried at the Oastown Cemetery. Darwin married second wife, Edith McCoy. They had one child who died when small.

    Jesse Calvin Schrecongost was the second of Darwin and Sarah Jane's six children. He grew up in the Dutch Run area near Elderton. He married Maud Sheasley. They had five children. Mabel A., Earl Deem, Paul Kenneth, Glenn Raymond and Ruth Maxine.

    Glenn Raymond Schrecongost was born April 27, 1924 at the family home near the village of' Girty. He attended first to eighth grade at the Girty Grade School. He stayed with relatives and attended Vandergrift High School as there was no bus transportation to Elderton High School at that time. His junior year the school district provided transportation and he graduated from Elderton High School in 1943.

    Glenn Schrecongost was inducted into the Army July 24, 1943 and reported for duly August 14. 1943. He served with the Gun Battalion of 135 Antiaircraft Artillery. After a year of training. he left for Europe August 28, 1944. After the European War was over, Glenn served with the Occupation Forces until March 1946. He received an Honorable Discharge April 2, 1946 and returned home.

    Glenn Raymond Schrecongost maITied Margaret Helen Dunmire October 19, 1951 at the St. Jacob Reformed Church. (now St. Jacob United Church of Christ). They lived at the family home near Girty for one year, then moved to a small house on the farm of James Smith, Helen's grand- father until moving to Elderton in 1965. Glenn and Helen had four children; Kathleen Patricia, Glenda Susan, Jennifer Ellen and Richard Glenn. Glenn died September 13, 1981 of a heart attack and is buried at the South Bend Cemetery.

    The last three paragraphs were added by Helen Schrecongost.