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Oley Lutheran and Reformed Churches


Dec 18, 2013


    The Oley Lutheran and Reformed Churches are situated in the heart of the famous Oley Valley, near the eastern extremity of Berks county, Pa.  The congregations are considerably over a hundred and fifty years old, and the burying ground is one of the oldest in the county.  The original church, a log structure, stood on the present site of the Reformed Church, which is the third edifice.

    Many emigrant ancestors of some of the leading citizens of the Commonwealth repose here.  The old tombstone inscriptions are all German.  Among the worthy ancestry whose dust repose here are the Griesemers, Fochts, Shalls, Spangs, Yagers (German for Hunter – ancestors of Col. Daniel Hunter of the Revolution).  Near the Reformed Church are a number of very fine mural crypts with marble slabs, the inscriptions of which attract our attention because of the distinguished dead who repose there.  The first is that of General Udree, who in his day was one of the leading men of Pennsylvania.  He was the son of Henry Udree, who came to Philadelphia from Germany, Nov. 20, 1741.  After the Revolution William became a noted iron-master.  His furnace was situated four or five miles north of the churches, near the present town of Friedensburg.  The Shalls and Schneiders were also associated with him.  They all repose in close proximity to each other.  
The following is the inscription on the tablet of General Udree:
Zum Andenken
General Daniel Udree.
Er wurde gebohren in Philadelphia
Den 5ten August, 1751.
Er diente im Revolutions grieg als Capt-
ain,  Spaterhin als General.
In der Gesetzburg, Pennsylvaniens,
Und in Congress, Immer
beschaftiget fur das wohl seines
Er Starb den 15st July, 1826.
Seines Alters 76 Jahr. 11 Monat. Und 10
Aus Kindlicher liebe setzten Ihm die
Sein’gen Dieses Denkmal.

    The purport of the inscription is that General Daniel Undree was born in Philadelphia, August 5, 1751, served in the Revolution War as Captain and later as General; served also in the Legislature of Pennsylvania, and in Congress, and was always occupied in the welfare of his country.  He died July 15th, 1826 aged 76 years, 11 months and 1 days.  Out of filial affection this memorial was erected by his relatives.

    Next to that of General Udree is the tablet of Jacob Schneider, b. 1729, d. 1835.  
Then comes Daniel Udree Schneider, and heir apparent of General Udree, as he was a grandson, if I mistake not.  He was b. 1805 and d. 1825, and that fact is recited on the memorial that his early demise caused the deepest anguish to his grandparent.  
There are five tablets, side by side, devoted to the Yagers (Hunters), the oldest being that of Nicholas, b. 1757, d. 1828.  He was a son of the emigrant, whose grave is lost, and presumably a brother to Col. Daniel Hunter, of the Revolution.
His wife, who reposes by his side, was Hannah, b. 1765, and d. 1823, a Van Reed.  The Van Reeds (Von Reth) came to Pennsylvania in 1733, and were among the first settlers of Oley.  Of the ancestor John Heinrich Von Reth, I know nothing further except that he was presumably the father of Jacob Von Rith whose indecipherable tombstone is near that of the above tablets, and by the side of his wife, Margaret, b. 1728, d. 1807.  They were doubtless the parents of Mrs. Nicholas Hunter, as above, and of Elizabeth Knaus, b. 1762, d. 1800, wife of Henry Knaus, Esq.

    The fine memorials of Tobias Shall and his wife, Elizabeth, are also close to the foregoing.  He was b. 1771, and d. 1749.  She was b. 1774, and d. 1854.  They were, if I am correctly informed, the grandparents of General Schall, of Norristown.
Lewisburg, Pa,

Source: Notes and Queries; Historical, Biographical and Genealogical Relating Chiefly to Interior Pennsylvania.  Edited by William Henry Engle, M.D., M.A.; Harrisburg, Penna.; Harrisburg Publishing Company, 1898, pages 161-162.

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