Seibert-Sturgis History
Seibert Family History
by Mrs. H. L. Grimmell

This letter is from Mrs. H. L. Grimmell "Aunt May", daughter of William Penn Seibert, to Ethel Grace Seibert Lowe, daught of Ralph Spurgeon Seibert Sr., and granddaughter of William Penn Seibert. Although the letter is not dated, the date is approximately December 1948.

Dear Grace:

Here is the family history I promised you. I hope you are still interested and not disgusted with me. In order to keep the Great, Greats straight, I am writing to you.

About 1759, Joseph Sturgis, a lad of 18, was on his way to a certain log-built meeting house in New Jersey, not far from New York City, on a Sunday afternoon. At this meeting house there was to be a meeting to take measures to protect the people from depradations by the Indians. The house was full of people. As Joseph came to a rise in the road, where he himself was not observed, he saw the Indians setting fire to the house at different places and preparing to keep the people from coming out. All the Indians were armed and were in considerable force. The lad took in the situation at once and, unseen, he turned and ran as swiftly as possible and roused the neighborhood, who rallied around the meeting house, beat off the Indians and, though the buildings were burned, non of the Whites were injured.

About ten or more yeare before, two families crossed the Atlantic in the same ship from England bound for New York. Two of these children continued the acquaintance made a-ship-aboard after their arrival on this side. After the incident above referred to, these two were married and were your Great, Great, Great Grandfather and Mother. Their daughter married John A. Seibert who, year before, came to America from Frankfort-on-the Main. He was a surgeon and his son, your Great, Great Grandfather was a druggist.

It was a current fact in the family that your Great, Great, Great Grandfather, Joseph Sturgis, was on Washington's staff and was in the battles of Valley Forge, Brooklyn Heights, Harlem, and Washington Heights and other places during that long and eventful struggle.

Great, Great Uncle Peter Speaker was in the War of 1812.

In 1846, Great, Great Uncle Emmanuel Seibert gave his life fighting the Indians in Texas.

Great, Great Aunt Elliott's husband, Captain Joesph E. Elliott, was cousin to J. Edgar Thompson, the President of the Pennsylvania Rail Road, who really made the road, the first in the country.

Great Grandfather was in touch with railroad people; he was one of the pioneers. It is proverbial that "pioneers" lay down health, wealth, and life that others following may ride over the rails to fortune. This was literally true, as he lost all his own and Great Grandmother's accumulations. He made much money after this but never in railroads.

President James Buchanan, a stiff democrat, and Great Grandfather, a dyed-in-the -wool Whig, were good friends, too good, for Mr. Buchanan was a lawyer and Great Grandfather's advisor about the railroad interest.

Your Grandfather's family came to Pittsburgh from Lancaster, Sept. 1, 1849. He died March 23, 1920.

Grandmother Seibert was Mary Harper, born in London, England. Her Grandfather was James Payn, a banker in London.


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