Historical documents of the Overholser Family Association are available in PDF
format. The OFA website search includes all of the contents of these documents.
Some documents and letters are provided in JPG format.
Family Coat of Arms – Oberholzer of Wald
The coat of arms on this letterhead is the coat of arms which was adopted at
the annual reunion of the Overholser Family Association on August 14, 1958 at
Long’s Park, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This coat of arms was recommended by Dr.
Hans Klaui, Genealogical Investigation Office, 287 Rychenberg Street,
Oberwinterthur, Z.H. in a letter dated February 29, 1956 to J. Spencer
Overholser after several conversations with Dr. Winfred Overholser, then Supt.
of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. and after several exchanges of
letters with Spencer Overholser.
OFA Coat of Arms 1
OFA Coat of Arms 2
Wappen Oberholzer von Wald/ZH
Historical Notes on the early days of Terre Hill
This folder is issued for THE 1977 OVERHOLSER FAMILY REUNION held at Memorial
Park, Terre Hill, Pennsylvania Saturday, August 27, 1977
Lineage of Samuel Oberholtzer
Samuel Oberholtzer, Jacob Oberholtzer, Martin Oberholtzer, Elizabeth
Oberholtzer, Ann Oberholtzer, Magdalena Oberholtzer, Veronica Oberholtzer
Abraham Overholser Who Died in 1971 in Morrisons Cove, Bedford Co, PA
Abraham Overholser, his wife, and his family were part of a group of members
of the Church of the Brethren who lived in the Morrisons Cove area of northern
Bedford County, Pennsylvania. It appears that Abraham served as minister to the
congregation there. Page 126 of James M Sell’s A HISTORY OF THE CHURCH OF THE
BRETHREN IN THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA states, “In a manuscript written
by Samuel Teeter who lived at New Enterprise and died in 1901, the following
statement is made concerning the beginning of the Yellow Creek congregation.
A Surveyors House in Paradise Township, Lancaster County, PA
The year of 2010 was the 300th anniversary of the first German Settlement in
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. There has been monthly activities in which to
celebrate the first major group of Europeans who were willing to make the
sacrificial journey from their familiar homelands to an unknown territory only
known as a “wilderness”. The dangers of unfamiliar Indian tribes as neighbors,
the old time superstitions they brought along from Europe, the erratic weather
at the end of the Little Ice Age, and multiple countries mingling together as
they competed for “new lands”, all played an integral part in the emotional
struggle in which the settlers had to struggle and survive.
OFA Reunion Program (1960)
50th Annual Overholser Reunion Program
August 11, 1960
Long Park, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
OFA Reunion Announcement (1976)
Dear Relatives and Friends: Happy Bicentennial to you all, and here is our
second letter of this momentous year. We’re reminding you of our special
Overholser 66th Reunion to be held, as I’m sure you’ll remember, at the home of
our President, and his wife, Spencer and Ruth Overholser, in Oley, Pa. on
Saturday, August. 21, 1976 (the third Sat. in August).
OFA Reunion Announcement (1978
Dear Members of the Overholser Clan: This is perhaps early for an announcement
of the Overholser Reunion which will be held at Terre Hill, Pa., on the 4th
Saturday in August. However, there are two items that I want to bring to your
attention at this time.
OFA Reunion Announcement (2004)
CALLING ALL OVERHOLSERS! You read about it in the Overholser Family
Association “Bulletin”, now come see it in person! The 95th Annual Overholser
Reunion is coming soon and has been expanded to become the biggest and best
gathering of our clan ever!
OFA Reunion Announcement (2006)
Greetings! Thank you for attending the 96th reunion of the Overholser Family
Association on August 5 & 6! We are glad that you could come and hope that you
enjoyed the weekend as much as we did. It is always a treat to spend time with
our very extended “family”.
OFA Reunion Attendees List (2000)
GREETINGS! It was gratifying to see so many wonderful people at the 91st
Overholser Reunion in Terre Hill on August 19. Thanks for coming!
OFA Reunion Minutes (1985)
The 76th annual reunion of the Overholser Family Association was held on
Saturday, August 24, 1985, in the Terre Hill Fire Hall. After a delicious
covered dish luncheon, President Spencer Overholser called the meeting to order.
OFA Reunion Minutes (2014)
The 108th reunion of the Overholser Family Association convened at St. John’s
Center United Church of Christ on Saturday, August 2, 2014. Thirty-six people
were in attendance.
OFA Reunion Minutes (2015)
The 109th reunion of the Overholser Family Association convened at St. John’s
Center United Church of Christ on Saturday, August 1, 2015. Twenty-five people
were in attendance.
OFA Reunion Minutes (2017)
The 111th reunion of the Overholser Family Association convened at St. John’s
Center United Church of Christ on Saturday, August 5, 2017. Twenty-seven people
were in attendance.
OFA Task Force Meeting Minutes (1986)
1986 Reunion, 1987 Reunion, Fund Raising, Saleable Items, Consolidation, Addendum
Overholser 50th Birthday Song
Let’s toast 50 years,
And most without tears,
Our friends — Overholsers,
Let’s give them three cheers!
The Oberholsers Origin
The Oberholsers are undoubtedly of Swiss origin. The family is represented in
at least one Canton of Switzerland (Zurich) to this day. Kuhns says that the
name had its origin in one or all of several villages by that name in Canton
Bern. It is a matter of history that, together with a large body of defenseless
Mennonites, Martin Overholtz and Michael Oberholtz fled from relen tless
persecution in Canton Zurich, Switzerland into Alsace, above Strasburg, about
1672, where they remained till they emigrated in 1709 to London, where they
received assistance from Quakers to go to Pennsylvania. In 1710 the party to
which these Oberholtzers belonged received a grant of 10,000 acres of land in
Pequea, now included in Lancaster County. They were among the first settlers in
OFA Bulletin – 1984 Bulk Mail Rates
Postage rate: 11¢/piece (5.2¢ non-prof. orgn)
The Christian Oberholser Story by David Ray Heisey
The Christian Oberholser, Jr. Family Letter to the Jacob E. Heisey Family
Describing the Confederate Invasion of Franklin County, Pennsylvania, in 1863
The original was a presentation by Dr. David Ray Heisey at Messiah Village in
2008, and an edited version by Franklin County Historical Society is in their
2009 publication Kittochtinny.
In looking through some old papers from my father’s collection recently, I
discovered a ledger book with many handwriting exercises, arithmetic exercises,
and handwritten essays that obviously had been written by a schoolboy. The name
at the top of the papers was Henry L. Heisey (1844-1912). I knew from my
genealogy records that he was my great-grandfather, but I never had known
anything about him. I then learned that he was a bishop in the Brethren in
Christ Church in the Manor-Pequea District, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The
finding of his papers sparked my interest in discovering more about him. My
subsequent research resulted in a published biographical article, “Henry L.
Heisey: Bishop of Manor-Pequea District, Lancaster County,” in Brethren in
Christ History and Life (2007).
An Overholtzer Teamster with the Braddock Expedition, 1755
The most complete account of the Pennsylvania German teamsters which were
recruited by Benjamin Franklin for the support of the Braddock Expedition is
given by Arthur D Graeff in “The Relations between the Pennsylvania Germans and
the British Authorities (1750-1776)” published by the Pennsylvania German
Society in Volume 47 of their proceedings in 1939. The paper was read in Hershey
PA in 1934 and contains 271 pages. The Braddock expedition is described in
Chapter IV, pp 77-94. The same event is described by Douglas Southall Freeman in
“George Washington”, Volume II, chapters II through VII, and contains a good
account of the preparation of the campaign and the battle
From Adam to Alemanni to America
It is hard for us to imagine the ability to trace our family tree to the very
beginning of civilization with God’s first eternal creation - Adam and Eve. But
amazing as God’s grace is, so also He has preserved enough documentation to show
our family tree directly linked through Noah to Adam. The above is the direct
tree line to the Oberholtzer family. Many Swiss Anabaptist lines also come from
the Alemani tribe and come through this same lineage.
In Central Europe between the years of 4800 to 2400 bce, there was a change
toward a drier and more strongly seasonal climate. This came due to the rapid
depletion of the cloud canopy which covered the Earth. Trees in Central Europe
began to slowly and irregularly disappear, according to modern pollen records.
In the 15th Century bce, the North Balkan States sent molten iron to Cyprus
for the iron manufacturing. Tin was being added, as well as carbon, in the
earliest attempts to create a harder steel. The Philistines on the Gaza strip
would greatly enhance the process during the 13th Century bce.
Letters to Reverend Jacob Oberholtzer (JF)