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Clif's Book World

Adventures from reading books captured within short reviews.

Johann - Everett J. Thomas This is a historical novel that recreates the story of the author's ancestral progenitor, Johann Thomas, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1747 at the age of eight. I was particularly interested in the book because it closely parallels the story of my own ancestral progenitor, Jacob Hochstetler who came to North America in 1738 at the age of twenty-six. His ancestors settled in Martic Township 60 miles west of Philadelphia; mine in Berks County 60 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

The author does a good job of putting together an interesting fictional story complete with suspense and pathos that fits within the historical events of the time. Some of the historical incidents that are incorporated into the fictional story include; (1) Trans-Atlantic slave trade, (2) Loss of Quaker control of Pennsylvania colonial politics, (3) General Braddock's failed expedition against French-occupied Ohio Country, (4) French-Indian war, and (5) British Navy impressment of sailors from other ships on the high seas. The book's narration also touches on other social/cultural/political issues such as pacifism, dueling, commerce & trade, and the newspaper business. This is a story of religious people, so the book also describes some of their religious scruples.

In the book's description of the Indian raids against white settlers during the French and Indian War, my progenitor's name is mentioned and the fate of his family described:
"An Amish family living south of Kauffman's Creek at Blue Mountain had been attacked by fifteen Delaware, Shawnee and French soldiers. The attackers burned the house while the Jacob Hochstetler family took refuge in the cellar. Many hours later, assuming it was safe to come out, the Hochstetler family emerged, only to find their enemies waiting for them. Mrs. Hochstetler was killed with hatchets in a most vicious manner. A son and an infant girl were also killed. Jacob Hochstetler and two other sons were taken captive, now lost in the great wilderness west of the mountains and controlled by the French and Indians."

More information about this massacre is at this link: