In some sources it is shown that Hans de Neus, was born in France about 1670. It also stated that he was a French Huegenot fleeing prosecution. However, the more research I do, it seems he was actually born in Germany so I have edited my post on Facebook. Maybe one of the places he fled to was France on his way to America.
He is on my grandmother Hilda Kunkle’s Father’s side of the tree.
His parents were Olletgen te Neuss and Nelis Wienands
He founded the Nice family in Philadelphia, more specifically, Nicetown (725 acres). He is believed to have gone to Holland to take refuge from religious (Mennonite) prosecution. There, in Holland, he met and married his wife, Janneke Bloemen. It is said that they celebrated the building of their house by breaking a bottle of schnapps over it and christening it and their plantation, Nicetown.
Wikipedia states “This original early 18th century structure burned in 1800. Hans and his brother Jan had emigrated from Amsterdam in 1698; Jan settled in Germantown. Both were Mennonite ministers and could read and write. Hans and his descendants were well known as zimmermen (builders of houses). One descendant was a member of the Carpenter’s Society of Philadelphia in the early 1800s. Another was Captain John Nice of Germantown, who led the charge at the Battle of Germantown during the Revolutionary War. Other authors provide varied suggestions for the origin of Nicetown. Finkel says that it was “[n]amed for de Neus, Dutch Huguenots who settled there about 1700”. Other spellings seen for the same surname are Neiss, Neisse, and, of course, the Nice seen in the placename Nicetown. There are 19th-century headstones in nearby Germantown marked with the surname Nice.”
The Nice Family History: Descendants of Bishop John T. Nice (1858-1931) and Elizabeth (Dutcher) Nice (1864-1950) of Morrison, Illinois by Hazel Nice Hassan begins by briefly recounting that the “te Neues” family had lived near Krefeld, Germany, at Lürrip since at least 1296. It includes a short history of Hans Neuss and his family who lived at Germantown, Pa. and recounts the migration of John Tyson Nice’s parents from Franconia, Montgomery Co., Pa., to Medina Co., Ohio, to Whiteside Co., Ill. Chapter on the Dutcher family of John Nice’s wife. (120pp. illus. index. Author, 1983. $10.75) 711.
In his 1911 book Colonial Families of Philadelphia, John W. Jordan gave Hans’ birthplace as Crefeld, but did not identify his source (Krefeld also known as Crefeld until 1929, is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany). Mt. Airy scholar J.M. Duffin tells us that the Krefelders were German-speaking and originally Dutch-speaking Germans Quakers. Krefeld is on the border of the Netherlands and Germany so it makes sense that they would speak both languages.
The Mennonite’s were named after Menno Simons , a former Catholic priest from the Netherlands.
It is now noted that the Nice family is one of families in The Ancestry of the Thirteen Krefeld Emigrants of 1683 as noted in the 1956 Article of the Franconia Mennonite Conference: The origins of the Franconia Conference are connected with the settlement of the Mennonites at Germantown near Philadelphia in 1683. The early Mennonite settlers of Germantown represented four distinct groups: (1) those from Krefeld who arrived in 1683 ff. and bore such names as Lensen, Op den Graeff, van Bebber, Telner, Umstat, Jansen, Neuss, Tyson, Sellen, and Hosters, William Rittenhouse, first Mennonite minister in America, H. Kasselberg, and Jacob Godshalk, the first American Mennonite bishop.
In other things I have read, Jacob Godshalk’s father was a servant of the Neuss family.
From the book, Pennsylvania German Roots Across the Ocean,
His wife, Jenneken “Jane” Blomen was born in Holland about 1670. More research needs to be done on her family.
His brother was Jan. Jan married Elisabeth Lucken who was a sister to one of the 13 founders of Germantown in Philadelphia. The two brothers and their wives went to Philadelphia to experience religious freedom in William Penn’s colony which was established for that purpose. Below is written in Appendix C of William Penn and the Dutch Quaker Migration to Pennsylvania:
Evidently, Hans was naturalized as “Nous” in 1709, but the name did not stick.
In the following PDF link is information and a black and white photo of a Silver Porringer made by Jan de Neuss. A Philadelphia Silver Porringer
It is interesting to note the relation of this family long ago to William Penn’s secretary, James Logan considering my grandmother Kunkle married a Logan.
Here is an extract from one of our Revolutionary War cousin’s diary located at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. It even shows his resignation letter to General George Washington! The Diary of Captain John Nice, of the Pennsylvania Line
Another interesting piece of history and how the families are connected is from Architectural Research and Cultural History . It seems that James Logan and Hans were neighbors. It is also interesting that the local tavern is call “The Rising Sun”. The same name John Logan named his hotel in Connecticut. Historic Preservation Consultants
“The Early History of the Germantown Congregation”, Germantown Meeting House History states “…in 1690, the Germantown Mennonites chose William Rittenhouse to be their minister, and Jan Neuss their deacon. For unknown reasons, Rittenhouse felt unable to supervise communition, so in 1702, Jacob Gottschalk and Hans Neuss were ordained ministers to assist him.”
The last name is now spelled Neis in our family. Bertolet’s Mennonite Church Cemetery was once Zachariah Neis’ farm. His daughter, Susanna Neis, married Michael Schlonecker, Jr. whose family came from Germany. They had Esther Slonaker who married Conrad Hawk, who had Esther “Hettie” Hawk who married Michael Kunkle, who had Charles who had Hilda!
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