Mathias Slaymaker: A Giant in the Woods (52 Ancestors #38)

I recently began researching Mathias Slaymaker at my dad’s request.  A preliminary search turned up a few historical books.  That is usually the case when I research an ancestor who lived in early Pennsylvania, which is why I love researching in Pennsylvania.  So much of it can be done online.  I can only imagine what I might turn up if I can ever make the trip.  The story of Mathias is as follows.

Mathias Schleiermacher was born in 1670 in Hesse-Kassel, Germany.4,5,8 He married Catharine Sciebel.1,4,8 While in Germany, Mathias and Catharine had two children, Lawrence and Margaret.3,4,5,6,7

The family came to America from Strasburg, Germany in about 1710.3,4,5,6 The family name was changed from Schleiermacher to Slaymaker.1,3,4,6 Mathias purchased one thousand acres of land from the Pennsylvania land office of the London Company. This acreage was called the “London Lands” and was located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Mathias named this area Strasburg Township (now Paradise Township).2,3,4,5,6,7

Mathias built a log cabin near a clear spring and cleared the land for farming.3,6,7 Here, he and Catharine had five more children, Barbara, Matthias, John, Henry, and Daniel.3,4,5,6,7

Mathias was remarkable for his almost gigantic stature and great strength.3,6 Also, “his honesty and kindness in dealing with the Indians won for him their respect and friendship.”6 These qualities, along with his excellent German education, made him an asset to the people of Lancaster County, especially since the county was mostly wooded and filled with Indians.3

Mathias loved Lancaster County and contributed greatly to its improvement. Among many other contributions, he cleared lands, built school houses, and encouraged religious movements.3,6

Image from History of Lancaster County by I. Daniel Rupp, 1844.

Image from History of Lancaster County by I. Daniel Rupp, 1844.

Mathias Slaymaker lived a long and purposeful life. He died in Lancaster County on November 25, 1762.1,7


  1. C&P LaPlante Files. “Mathias Schleiermacher Slaymaker (1670 – 1761).” N.p., 14 Mar. 2006. Web. 12 Sept. 2015. Memorial# 13617411.
  2. Egle, William Henry, ed. Pennsylvania Archives: Third Series. Vol. 17. Harrisburg: Wm. Stanley Ray, State Printer, 1897. Web. 22 Aug. 2015.
  3. Harris, Alexander. “Slaymaker Family.” A Biographical History of Lancaster County … Being a History of Early Settlers and Eminent Men of the County; as Also Much Other Unpublished Historical Information, Chiefly of a Local Character. Lancaster, PA: Elias Barr, 1872. 536-38. Print.
  4. “Murdoch Kendrick.” Colonial and Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania: Genealogical and Personal Memoirs. Ed. John W. Jordan. Vol. 1. New York: Lewis, 1911. 626-27. Print.
  5. Rupp, I. Daniel. History of Lancaster County: To Which Is Prefixed a Brief Sketch of the Early History of Pennsylvania. Lancaster, Penn.: Gilbert Hills, 1844. Web. 22 Aug. 2015. p.127.
  6. “Slaymaker.” Biographical Annals of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Containing Biographical and Genealogical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens and Many of the Early Settlers. N.p.: J.H. Beers, 1903. 50-51. Web. 22 Aug. 2015.
  7. Slaymaker, Henry Cochran. “Will of Mathias Slaymaker.” History of the Descendants of Mathias Slaymaker Who Emigrated from Germany and Settled in the Eastern Part of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, about 1710. Lancaster, PA: Publisher Not Identified, 1909. 38-39. Web. 22 Aug. 2015.
  8. Yates Publishing. U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 [database On-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004.  Accessed 12 September 2015.

4 thoughts on “Mathias Slaymaker: A Giant in the Woods (52 Ancestors #38)

  1. Mathius’ son John, son John, son James Hamilton, son William D. William D Slaymaker had a daughter named Elizabeth Jane. She married Henry S Tucker and they were my Dad’s parents.

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