Fetrow Family Biographical Information


Before going into detail about the Fetrow family’s ownership of the former Broband\Yinger family farm in Newberry and Fairview Townships of York County, Pennsylvania, it would be helpful to consider some brief biographical information about the Fetrow family.  Fetrow family members began ownership of the former Broband\Yinger family farm in the early 1800’s when John Fetrow Sr. married Nancy Yinger.


John Fetrow Sr. and Nancy (Yinger) Fetrow and their descendants owned the family farm for parts for four generations until 1917 when a great grandson of John Fetrow Sr. and Nancy (Yinger) Fetrow, William G. Fetrow, sold this farm to someone outside the Fetrow family.  In 1907 a “History of York County, Pennsylvania” was written by George Reeser Prowell and published by J. H. Beers & Co.: Chicago.  It is considered to be one of the most important reference works on York County and its history and citizens.


The following excerpts are taken from that important publication regarding the members of the Fetrow family of Newberry and Fairview Townships of York County, Pennsylvania.  Remember that the date of publication was 1907.


“FETROW FAMILY.  Among the many prosperous families who make up the agricultural class in York county none is better known than the Fetrow family, members of which are to be found in Fairview and Newberry townships, where the name has been known for four generations.  The family is of German origin, and the first to come to America was Samuel, great-grandfather of Samuel, Jacob and John Fetrow.  On arriving in the New World Samuel Fetrow settled in Fairview Township and devoted himself to farming.  His son John was born there and on reaching manhood married a Miss Yinger.  He also was a farmer.  John Fetrow died June 6, 1860, aged seventy-seven years, seven months, fifteen days, and both he and his wife are buried in the Fetrow cemetery, near Yocumtown.”


Before continuing on with the excerpts of Fetrow family biographical information, a couple editorial observations might be helpful to keep in mind.  First, these types of publications became widely popular to produce in the last part of the 1800’s and into the early 1900’s for counties across southeastern Pennsylvania.  I suspect that a general sense prevailed that early histories of the founding families from the earliest times of settlement were at risk of being lost in the absence of a concerted effort to preserve as many details as possible.


Efforts were made to gather information from family members about their family history to include in the publications.  However, by the late 1800’s often more than 150 years had already passed since the first European forefathers had begun to move into these areas. With the passage of that much time, some details were already murky or unknown to the later generations alive at the time the publications and their compilers sought information from the descendants of the early pioneers.


The declaration in the preceding quote from the 1907 Prowell “History of York County” is in error when it says that the original Germanic immigrant of the Fetrow family was named Samuel and that he was the father of John Fetrow Sr. who married Miss Yinger.  I have spent many hours in the York County archives and the York County Heritage Trust and online at ancestry.com and familysearch.org researching the Fetrow family because of the intimate association and connection members of that family had with members of my Yinger ancestral family.


To correct the errors in the 1907 Prowell History of York County which probably resulted from a loss of the factual history by Fetrow family members consulted about their own history in the early 1900’s the following information is presented based on multiple sources which I have consulted.


The immigrant forefather and American patriarch of the Fetrow family of Fairview and Newberry Townships of York County, Pennsylvania was not a man named Samuel.  In fact he was John Philip Fetrow or Johann Philip Fedrow if the more probable Germanic spelling is used.  He was born on May 12, 1719 somewhere in Germany and died on March 7, 1791 in Newberry Township of York County according to genealogies I have seen in the various sources I have consulted.  He married another native Germanic immigrant named Ann Mary Bose or Anna Marie Bose who was born in 1732 somewhere in the Rhineland of Germanic Europe.


The last will and testament for Philip Fetrow is preserved in the York County Archives.  The following excerpt names his wife and children who were alive at the time of Philip’s death in 1791:


“I give and bequeath unto Mary Fedrow my well beloved wife all my personal estate during her life and after her death my will is that all that remains of said personal estate shall be appraised and sold at publick sale and divided equally amongst my five children to wit Philip, Michael, Joseph, John and Andrew share and share alike.”


This recitation is consistent with genealogies I have seen from various sources which assert the following more detailed information about Philip and Mary Fedrow’s children:


1.     Philip Jacob Fetrow born February 12, 1755 in Newberry Township, York County, PA

2.     Michael B. Fetrow born in 1757 in Newberry Township

3.     Joseph Fetrow born October 10, 1759 in Newberry

4.     Andreas Fetrow born in 1760 in Newberry Township

5.     Johannes Fetrow born in 1763 in Newberry Township


The third child born to Johann Philip Fedrow and Anna Marie Bose was Joseph Fetrow.  According to the various sources I have researched mentioned previously he is believed to have been born October 10, 1759 in Newberry Township and died on May 18, 1818 in the village of Lewisberry in Newberry Township.  His wife was Catherine Fischer.  She was the second born child of Gottlieb and Ursula (Hoffstodt) Fischer.  Her birth date is not certain but she died on July 14, 1831.  Joseph and Catherine (Fischer) Fetrow had the following children according to the family tree information I have seen in the consulted sources:


1.     Joseph Fetrow Jr. born May 11, 1780

2.     Elizabeth Fetrow born March 7, 1781

3.     John Fetrow born November 1, 1782

4.     David Fetrow born in 1783

5.     Susanna Fetrow born November 28, 1784

6.     Martin Fetrow born in 1786

7.     Abram Fetrow born December 23, 1789

8.     Emanuel Fetrow born about 1790

9.     Catharine Fetrow born April 23, 1794

10.   Samuel Fetrow born in 1795

11.   Daniel Fetrow born December 26, 1798

12.   Esther Fetrow born in 1801


The third born child of this couple is the John Fetrow Sr. who married Nancy (Ann) Yinger the only child of George Yinger and Sophronia (Broband) Yinger.  Through his marriage to Nancy Yinger, the Fetrow family became owners of the former Broband\Yinger family farm. 


Incidentally, the fourth born son of Joseph and Catharine (Fischer) Fetrow, David Fetrow born in 1783 married Mary Yinger who was a daughter of Anthony Yinger and Magdelena (Broband) Yinger.  Two Brothers, John and David Fetrow married two cousins, Nancy and Mary Yinger.


To summarize, the John Fetrow Sr. mentioned in the excerpt of the Prowell “History of York County” given above was the grandson of the Germanic immigrant who was named Johann Philip Fedrow not Samuel.  Furthermore John Fetrow’s father was named Joseph Fetrow and he was the third son of the immigrant, Johann Philip Fedrow. 


The assertion that the immigrant was named Samuel and that he was the father of John Fetrow Sr. is thus disproved.  John Fetrow Sr. did have a younger brother named Samuel and perhaps this was the source of the faulty recollection of the Fetrow family members who contributed their family history to the writer of the “History of York County” in the early 1900’s more than a century and a half after the events occurred. 


Now that the erroneous record in the first section of Prowell’s “History of York County” has been corrected the following excerpts continue hopefully with greater accuracy owing to the lesser time they were removed from the personal experience of the contributors in the early 1900’s:


“John Fetrow (2), born in 1808 in Fairview township, was an only child.  He attended the public schools of Fairview Township, and after his marriage located in that section permanently.  He married Lydia Brubaker, daughter of Conrad and Elizabeth (Ziegler) Brubaker.  She was born in 1816 and died Jan. 20, 1889, aged seventy-two years, nine months, six days.  Mr. Fetrow was a large landowner, having about 700 acres of fine land.  His death occurred July 25, 1888, at the age of eighty years, three months, twenty-nine days, and he is buried in the family graveyard.  The children born to the worthy couple were as follows:  Samuel; Nancy (Mrs. Mathias Eicholtz, of Kansas); Jacob; Amburg, born Nov. 14, 1837, deceased June 6, 1877; Elizabeth, widow of Ephraim Miller; John; Henry, of Yocumtown, who married Sarah Ann Prowell, and William, deceased at the age of fifteen years.”


This recitation was for the only child and son of John Fetrow Sr. and Nancy (Yinger) Fetrow.  John Fetrow Jr. and his wife Lydia (Brubaker) Fetrow had the following children with their approximate birth years added based on genealogies I have seen; Samuel 1832, Nancy 1833, Jacob 1835, Amburg 1837, Elizabeth 1839, John 1843, Henry 1846 and William 1854.


Three of these children also received coverage in the Prowell “History of York County.”  Those recitations are as follows:


“SAMUEL FETROW was born March 5, 1832, in Fairview Township.  He attended the public schools until eighteen years of age and remained at home until his marriage to Caroline Wentz, daughter of George and Catherine (Gross) Wentz, of York County.  At that time he came to Newberry Township and engaged in farming, in conjunction with which he engaged in milling for fifteen years at his father’s old place of business.  In 1890 he removed to Yocumtown, where he has since lived in retirement.  Mr. Fetrow is highly respected in the community for his many sterling traits of character.  He has been very successful, has acquired a handsome competency, and has now retired to enjoy the fruits of his early labor.  Mrs. Fetrow died in 1900 and is buried at the well know Fetrow cemetery in Newberry Township.  Mr and Mrs. Fetrow had children as follows: Lydia, who married Jacob Kilmore (both are deceased.); Nancy, deceased, who married Wilfred Hoffstadt; Abram, who died at the age of twelve years, and John, of York Haven, married to Maggie Good.  In politics Mr. Fetrow is a Republican, but has never accepted office.”


“JACOB FETROW was born in Fairview Township, Nov. 14, 1835.  He received his education in the schools of Fairview Township, attending school until about seventeen years of age, and assisting his father on the farm until his marriage.  In 1869 he married Evaline Eppley, born Jan. 8, 1845, daughter of William and Sidney (Hays) Eppley, and after marriage located in Fairview Township for two years.  He then settled in Newberry Township on one of the paternal farms, to which he fell heir at the time of his father’s death.  Mr. Fetrow lives on a small tract of about twenty acres, but owns a fine farm of 125 acres in the township.  The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Fetrow were: Lucetta, died at the age of eighteen years; William Grant, married Semertha Shettle, and lives in Yocumtown, and Robert J., resides at home.  Mr. Fetrow is a Republican in political sympathy, but has never aspired to office.  He is a man of integrity and is very highly respected in the community.”


“JOHN FETROW was born July 28, 1843, in Fairview Township, on the old homestead where he now resides and of which his grandfather was the original owner.  He attended the public schools until about eighteen years of age and assisted his father on the farm.  In 1886 he married Sarah Prowell, daughter of James B. and Susan (Wilt) Prowell.  Mr. Prowell died Oct. 8, 1896, while his wife passed away Sept. 8, 1856, and both are buried at the Salem church, in Fairview Township.  The following children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Prowell: Catherine, George, Mary, Julia, John, Eliza Jane, Sarah, Harry, Lydia and Charles.  After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Fetrow located on the old homestead upon which Mr. Fetrow was born, and there he engaged in farming and made many improvements.  He is now considered one of the substantial men of the township and is the owner of several fine farms.  Two children were bon to him and his worthy wife: William G. Married Alda Wood; they follow farming at the old home, and have children--Sallie Matilda, John S., and Mary Elizabeth.  Cecelia G., who married William B. Fisher, resides on Mr. Fetrow’s farm in Fairview Township, and has these children—Grace Viola, Ruth Sarah and Helen Catherine. 

          Mr. Fetrow is a Republican, and he has served on the election board.  Mrs. Fetrow is a member of the U. B. Church.  In financial circles Mr. Fetrow is a prominent figure, being treasurer and a director of the Fairview Mutual Fire Insurance Company, both of which offices he has held for ten years.  The barn that stands upon Mr. Fetrow’s farm in Fairview Township was erected in 1818 by his grandfather, who also built a distillery, the latter building also remaining standing at this date.


These biographical portraits will be helpful to keep in mind as the ownership period of the former Broband\Yinger family farm passed from John Fetrow Sr. to John Fetrow Jr. to John Fetrow III and to William G. Fetrow before passing out of the hands of the Fetrow family.



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