The Children of Henry Antes
There’s a German saying,
“Es ist im Blut”—It’s in the blood.
Henry Antes now has thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of descendants world wide.
Many of them are prominent people whose lives have benefited their communities and posterity.
Henry Antes had eleven children, eight of whom survived into adulthood. When he left the Bethlehem community the children then in Bethlehem had the choice of remaining with the Moravians or returning as he did to the plantation in Frederick. The girls stayed, but the boys, except John, went back with him to the plantation.
The first born of the girls (b. 1726) was Anna Catharine who in 1753 accompanied a small Moravian group to a 100,000 acre tract in North Carolina recently surveyed by her father. Her life-long diary, which also briefly describes her childhood in Swamp, was expanded into the book The Road to Salem. Married four times, she is described as “a woman of great sweetness and character and intelligence.”
The second daughter, Anna Margaretta (b. 1728), at age 14 accompanied the famous German reformer, Count Zinzendorf, to London to complete her education in a Moravian school there. She married Rev. Benjamin Latrobe, a Moravian minister. The second of their four children was the architect Benjamin Latrobe who designed many historic buildings in America including the nation’s Capitol in Washington DC.
As was the German custom, the first born son (b.1730) was named after his grandfather, Philip Frederick. He is best known as an ardent patriot. He was a member of the state and general assembly of 1776, and superintended the casting of the first cannons at Warwick Furnace for the coming war.
Antes was the colonel of the Philadelphia County militia and because he was an official of the Crown (Justice of the Peace for Philadelphia County) who had risen in rebellion, the British put a 200 pound bounty on his capture. A story (true or not?) goes that he narrowly escaped being taken by a band of loyalist at his home on Colonial Road. They burst in one door while he fled out the other. However he was one of those who signed the issue of $200,000 worth of paper money in 1777. In constant danger of being captured by loyalists, in 1779 he moved to Northumberland County (now Lycoming) where he joined his brothers. Now living in the same area as his brothers he became a Justice of the Peace, County Commissioner, and judge in the court of common pleas. Philip Frederick died in 1801.
The second son, William Antes (b. 1731) was a lieutenant in the Philadelphia County militia under his brother’s command. He is best known as a gunsmith and may have practiced his trade for a time in Fagleysville. He too removed to Northumberland County and became County commissioner. He died in 1810 and is buried in Canandaigua Cemetery, NY. As of 1965 a descendent, Miss Alice Chase of Canandaigua, said she had the old clock that belonged in the first Antes family when they came to America in 1720. She said it still runs.
Another daughter, Elisabeth (b. 1734) married into the Dotterer family of Frederick. Left a widow with many children, she next married Rev. Nicholas Pomp the Reformed minister of Falkner Swamp with whom she lived quite happily.
John Henry [Jr.] (b. 1736) was the co-inheritor of his father’s farm in 1755 with his brother Philip Frederick who soon bought him out. John Henry seems to have owned an inn along the Germantown Pike for a time, but like his father eventually moved to the frontier which was then upstate Pennsylvania. In 1773 he was involved inbuilding Fort Antes in Northumberland County near Antes Creek. A few years later the Antes’ were driven from that valley by Indians who had allied with the British at the start of the war. Later he returned, built and operated mills as well as various industries in the locality and became sheriff, county commissioner and presiding judge. John Henry was a friend of Conrad Weiser whose daughter, incidentally, was the wife of Rev. Muhlenberg.
b 1738, d 1739
Finally, John Antes (b. 1740) was a musician, composer and missionary. His works are still sung by Moravian choirs. He moved to England and was to some degree associated with the composer Hayden. He was a missionary to Egypt where he was tortured; not over religion but simply to extort money from him. After an eventful life he died in England in 1810.
Mary Magdaline (b. 1742) moved to Germany.
b 1745, d 1746
Benigna (b. 1748) died at age twelve during an epidemic at the school in Bethlehem.
Adapted from The Reading Eagle