Lizzie Fohl‘s father was German.

John R. Fohl (son of Reverend John Fohl) was not from Germany; in fact, no one from his family had immigrated from Germany in 4 generations. But every last one of his ancestors were German, migrants from the Rhine River valley to the colony of Pennsylvania who settled in an arc of counties to the north and west of Philadelphia – Northampton, Berks, Adams, York, and Franklin.


Eastern Pennsylvania counties in the 1791 Reading Howell map. Adams County, where much of the family settled before moving to Franklin County, was formed out of the western portion of York County adjacent to Franklin in 1800.

There were a surprising number of pre-Revolution German immigrants to the American colonies, about 84,500 in the first 75 years of the 18th century, compared to 66,000 Scotch-Irish, 35,300 Scots, 44,100 English, and 29,000 Welsh during the same time period (all were individually dwarfed by involuntary African immigration of 278,400). Most arrived in Philadelphia before spreading out to western Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, and elsewhere. Continue reading


Fohl and Flight


Reverend John Fohl

In Indiana on Thanksgiving Day 1859, the Reverend John Fohl (grandfather of Lizzie Fohl) was delighted to perform the wedding ceremony of his good friend and colleague Reverend Milton Wright and bride Susan Koerner. Reverends Fohl and Wright were both ministers in the United Brethren Church, and Wright would go on to become a Bishop in the church and the leader of a breakaway faction seeking to stay true to the denomination’s founding ideals. Milton and Susan Wright were the parents of 7 children, two of whom were named Orville and Wilbur. Continue reading