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1755 Penn's Creek Massacre and the Aftermath

Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2000 20:44:48 -0800
From: (Ramsey, Lynne)

Hi Listers,

I am a descendant of Adam BERNHARD/BARNHART, b. ca. 1775, PA.; m. Elizabeth LININGER; the first record I have of them is on the 1850 West Salem Twp., Mercer Co., PA., census, living near their daughter and her family, Lovina (BARNHART) and William NELSON (my GGGgrandparents). Also living in Adam and Elizabeth's household is Joseph BARNHART, age 33, and Margaret BARNHART, age 20.

Several days ago, I received a wonderful story from Chris MORELAND, a descendant of Joseph and Margaret (MORELAND) BARNHART, which told about
Joseph's mother, Elizabeth LININGER'S, grandfather and young uncle being murdered by an indian party, and two of her aunts, Barbara and Rachel Lininger, abducted by the indians. Barbara was exchanged three years later, after escaping, and Rachel seven years later. There was also one brother who was spared because he had gone to town with their mother. This brother married and had a large family; Elizabeth Lininger was one of his children. Only two of Elizabeth's brothers, George and Henry, are known to exist, although it is thought that there were other siblings who stayed in York Co., PA.

Does anyone have any connection to this family? I am trying to compile a list of the children of Adam and Elizabeth (LININGER) BARNHART. So far I have three known children: Catherine, b. 1804, Joseph, b. 1817, and Lovina, b. 1824. Since there is a lot of time between these children, I'm fairly certain there were other siblings. Can anyone shed some light?

Regards to all,
Lynne Ramsey

 Early in the year 2003, I found this email at the right ►on as I was researching an ancestor, Adam Barnhart and his wife, Elizabeth Leininger.  I hadn't had much luck in finding Adam's predecessors.  I read with interest the part of the email about Elizabeth's parents and grandparents and their horrific encounter, including kidnapping and murder by Indians, in Pennsylvania.  I too, thought it a grand story but needed to make clear and definite connections with Adam and Elizabeth.  I set it aside until 2010 as I could not connect to

I have since added at least two more children of theirs to the list given in the email from Lynne Ramsey.  They are Elizabeth, b. 1810 and Saloma, b. 1812.  I believe I have made some headway into the ancestry and descendants of Adam Barnhart which the reader can find by clicking the middle two hyperlink buttons at the top of this page.  I believed I have figured out a plausible theory as to his parentage and have dug up, with luck and help, the ancestry of Elizabeth. 


I tried to connect with Lynne Ramsey and the "Barnhart-L" email addresses given at the top of the letter but to no avail. I wanted to find out if they had learned anything new. Perhaps they will someday see my website when searching online and then connect up with me.


Here below ▼I have several hyperlink connections to various historical documents that show further details and give credence to the first part of the email account about Barbara and her sister Rachel/Regina and their father, Sebastian Leininger, who I have come to believe is Elisabeth Leininger/Lininger Barnhart's Grandfather. Read all and tell me what you think.


 Just click here ▼to connect to me:

      Marla Hembree at

Here is an overview of what happened that fateful day on Oct 16, 1755.  It is a excerpt from John Blain Linn's book entitled, Click here ► the ANNULs of Buffalo Valley, Pennsylvania  It was published in 1877 and shows that Linn had done his research homework. He sites many historical documents and looks as if he interviewed people and close relatives of people who lived though those dangerous days including years of the French and Indian Wars precluding the Revolutionary War.  What you will see here is just a short excerpt of the book (pages 7-12) pertaining to the massacre at Penn's Creek and the Leiningers and Le Roys.  Click on the title of this book. 

This next document here is named: The narrative of marIe Le Roy and Barbara Leininger, who spent three and one half years as prisoners among the indians.  This is the personal deposition of two young colonial girls who in 1755 suffered the murder of their families, the separation from their siblings, and the hardships of captive servitude among a very different culture than their own. It shows their bravery and fortitude which led one of them to attempt an escape and face a dangerous unknown wilderness while fleeing their captors and to return home unguided but for their own instincts, resourcefulness and a unfailing faith in God.   Click on the title of this book, above. It is a good read.


There are many versions of what happened to the Leininger family during and after the massacre. The email above talks about one son who was "spared" by going to town with his mother, Regina.  That son was George, b.1737. He was 18 in 1755 and so accompanied his mother to Gabrils/Gabriels Mill to grind some grain.  Gabrils Mill was located on the west side of the Susquehanna river near the mouth of Penn's creek.  Mr. Gabril also owned a blockhouse located in the same area with a few other houses but not what you would call a "town".   See  JOSEPH SHIPPEN'S MAP drawn in 1756


                 Please click on the button below to find out what happened to Barbara after her return from 3½ years of Indian captivity.

                                                  Barbara Leininger comes home

Below is a short Genealogy Report for Marie Le Roy, her father and her brother. If Marie married when she returned, I do not know. Once she marries, her maiden surname is lost on census records. If anyone should read this and has reliable account of what became of her, I would be glad to record it here.
Jean Jacques Le Roy or John King b. 1704. wife unknown
           Children of Jean Jacques Le Roy

              i.  Jacob Charles Le Roy (King) b. 1730 in Switzerland. He was also captured at the same time as Marie by the Indians on Sept
.16, 1755.

                  He married Charity Pennington b. 1735 - d. 1776. Jacob died Feb or March of 1789.They had eight children, all whose surname is King.

              ii.  Marie Le Roy, b. 1743

               Click here if you wish to see the historical marker placed where Jean Jacques LeRoy was murdered by Indian in 1755.

                  This location is near the town of New Berlin, PA and is located on the north side of Penn's Creek. The Leininger land was about 1/2 mile southeast of the LeRoy land.  I took several photos there.

What happened to Barbara Leininger's older sister Regina (anglicized "Rachel"), named after her mother, who also was kidnapped that fateful day in 1755?  In the late 1700s and 1800's, the story of the Penn Creek Massacre including Barbara and Regina Leininger became quite sensationalized.  We today can understand how that may have occurred.  What is written on the following link is an investigative report into the matter accepted and read before the Berks Co. PA Historical Society in 1905.
Click on title  Transactions of the Historical Society of Berks County: embracing papers contributed to the society, Volume II, Pages 130 -140
If you have questions or if you want to make additions or corrections to these pages, please contact me,
Marla Hembree at:


Click on the following link to a short excerpt from: A Church of The Pioneer’s Faith,  pgs.8-9, Christ Lutheran Church at Tulpehocken Creek, PA.  It holds more details to the story of Regina's (Rachel's) return home.  This church is located near Stouchsburg, in Berks County and is where she is buried  Below is a short history of this church.▼ A photo of this church is on the former Page.

TULPEHOCKEN or CHRIST Lutheran: Organized by a German Reformed congregation in Tulpehocken Township in 1738, but existence dates from the 1720s congregation at Reed's (Rieth’s) Church who worshiped in the center of the settlement.  When the size of the settlement demanded establishment of additional places of worship and after they lost their property to the Moravians, they dedicated a well-built frame church in 1743 in Marion Township, 1/2 mile west of Stouchsburg.  It is this congregation which is generally meant when the simple term "Tulpehocken Church" is used today. A new parsonage erected in 1771 and a massive stone church begun by this congregation in 1786 are still standing. Two pastors served this church over a period of 63 years. They recorded some 3300 baptisms and 2000 marriages. They were Nicholas Kurtz and Emanuel Schultze.

The three photos here were taken by Greg and I when we visited the Tulpehocken church located in Berks Co. PA, Aug 2011.  It is a beautiful church and Regina "Rachel" Leininger's grave is marked by the large grave stone seen in the foreground inside the church cemetery in the above photo.  You can view the front of that gravestone on the above right.  They refer to her as a being captured as a "small" child.  You can see that the "other Regina", who was falsely reported as being the real Regina by gossip and legend, is also engraved on the stone. This means that the false story was still being circulated when the stone was erected by the Berks Co. Cemetery  Assoc.  The plaque on the top of the grave diplomatically shows only the name "Regina".  I believe the "Regina Hartman" tale has been thoroughly debunked and proven false by the Berks County Historical Society Investigation conducted in 1905.  See here

Perhaps this difference of opinions is the result of three different and competing historical organizations with members of different and strongly held beliefs about the matter.  It happens!