The surname Brecht (pronounced like "bright") was first found in Austria, where the name became noted for its many branches within the region, each house acquiring a status and influence which was envied by the princes of the region. The family's Coat of Arms was a black shield with a gold lion rampant, over all, a red fess.
   The name has many different spelling variations. This is because the German states were home to a diverse assortment of national groups during the medieval era. As a consequence, German surnames were subject to frequent spelling alterations and are distinguished by scores of regional variations. Surnames also evolved and changed with the German language, which was characterized by a multitude of local dialects and divided into the broad language groups of High and Low German. High German became the standard, Modern German language, whereas Low German, which was spoken in Westphalia, is closer to Dutch. Many German surnames may be recognized as belonging to a particular region by their suffixes.
   It was also common in Germany to add phrases to a name to express something about a person's place of origin, religious background, or character. Furthermore, since very few people were literate in the Middle Ages, names were often recorded in official documents by scribes who transcribed them according to how they sounded, rather than according to uniform spelling rules. The many spelling variations of the name brecht include Brecht, Brechte, Brechter, Breck, Breckt, Breckte and others. The spellings became even more diverse as the family spread into knew countries, with different languages.
   Our ancestry to this family can be traced to KUNTZ BRECHT was born Abt. 1565 in Neudorf, Karlsr, Baden. He married CATHERINE of NEUDORF and they had...

  • CHRISTOPH STOFFEL BECHT (b. Abt. 1591, Neudorf, Karlsr, Baden, Germany; d. August 03, 1665, Schriessheim, Mannheim, Baden, Germany) m. ANNA (She was born 1598, and died 1683)
  •    It is not often that a family is so fortunate as to trace its remote ancestors beyond the first emigrant. But in the case of the Bright Family, by the effort of George D. Bright of Philadelphia, a great-great grandson of the emigrant's eldest son Jacob, the dusty and mutilated records of the Lutheran Church of Schriesheim have been carefully searched at some expense. From them it appears that certain Christoph died there in 1665 at the age of 74 and his wife Anna in 1683 at the age of 85 and had removed thither from Neudorff where he was born in 1591.

  • BALTHASER BRECHT was born August 24, 1636 in Schriessheim, Mannheim, Baden, Germany, and died October 09, 1703 in Schriessheim, Mannheim, Baden, Germany. He married ANNA MARGARETHA CHRISTMAN August 24, 1668 in Schriessheim, Mannheim, Baden, Germany. She was born 1603, and died Unknown.
  •    The same records further disclose that Christoph Brecht had a son Named BALTHASER BECHT, born in 1636, who was married on the 24th of August, 1658 to ANNA MARGARETHA CHRISTMAN; that he was a councilman and almoner of the town; and had fourteen children, and that his death occurred September 9, 1703, at the age of 67. They had:

  • JOHANN LUDWIG BRECHT, b. October 12, 1659, Schriessheim, Mannheim, Baden, Germany; d. December 07, 1690, Schriessheim, Mannheim, Baden, Germany. (Info from Harold Bright, said he was born 12 Jun 1659)
  • ANNA MARGARETA BRECHT, b. February 24, 1660/61, Schriessheim, Mannheim, Baden, Germany; d. Unknown. Notes for ANNA MARGARETA BRECHT: Info from Harold Bright, said she was born 24 Feb 1660/61
  • JOHANNES MICHAEL BRECHT was born October 12, 1662 in Schriessheim, Mannheim, Baden, Germany, and died August 11, 1719 in Schriessheim, Mannheim, Baden, Germany. He married ANNA KATHARINA HOFFMAN (b. 29 Jul 1684 in Schriessheim, Mannheim, Baden, Germany).
  • HIERONYMUS BRECHT, b. April 02, 1665, Schriessheim, Mannheim, Baden, Germany; d. Unknown.
  • PAUL BRECHT, b. January 27, 1665/66, Schriessheim, Mannheim, Baden, Germany; d. Unknown.
  • ANNA MARIA BRECHT, b. June 21, 1668, Schriessheim, Mannheim, Baden, Germany; d. Unknown.
  • HANS BALTHASAR BRECHT, b. October 02, 1668, Schriessheim, Mannheim, Baden, Germany; d. Unknown.
  • DOROTHEA BRECHT, b. March 24, 1671/72, Schriessheim, Mannheim, Baden, Germany; d. Unknown.
  • MARIA MAGDALENA BRECHT, b. August 01, 1675, Schriessheim, Mannheim, Baden, Germany; d. Unknown.
  • WILHELM BRECHT, b. February 16, 1677/78, Schriessheim, Mannheim, Baden, Germany; d. Unknown.
  • EVA BRECHT, b. November 23, 1679, Schriessheim, Mannheim, Baden, Germany; d. Unknown.
  • ANNA BARBARA BRECHT, b. March 06, 1680/81, Schriessheim, Mannheim, Baden, Germany; d. Unknown.
  • HANS PHILLIPP BRECHT, b. June 17, 1683, Schriessheim, Mannheim, Baden, Germany; d. Unknown.
  • Hoffman
       Of those children, the third was named JOHANNES MICHAEL BRECHT. He was born October 12, 1662 and married July 29, 1684, to ANNA KATHERINE HOFFMAN, a daughter of Hans Yost Hoffman, a councilman of the village. She was born October 14, 1664 in Schriesheim-an-der-Bergstrasse, a market town in the Palatinate (now Mannheim, Baden, Germany), and died Aft. 1726 in Pennsylvania. (After the death of Johann, she sailed to America with his sons Michael and Stephen. The Germans from the Palatinate region of Germany had suffered from decades of war, five years of bitter winters and summer droughts. They were invited to the New World first by William Penn and then by England's Queen Anne in 1709. Most of the families who left Schreisheim were of the Reformed (Calvinist) faith because of the religious pressure at home. To go to America by the cheapest route through Antwerp cost 59 Gulden about a half year of pay.

  • ANNA MARIA BRECHT, b. June 17, 1685, Schriessheim, Mannheim, Baden, Germany; d. Unknown.
  • APOLLONIA BRECHT, b. March 09, 1685/86, Schriessheim, Mannheim, Baden, Germany; d. Unknown.
  • BALTHASAR BRECHT, b. February 26, 1689/90, Schriessheim, Mannheim, Baden, Germany; d. Unknown.
  • JOHANN STEPHAN BRECHT, b. February 17, 1690/91, Schriessheim, Mannheim, Baden, Germany; d. Unknown.
  • SUSANNA MARGARETE BRECHT, b. June 12, 1695, Schriessheim, Mannheim, Baden, Germany; d. Unknown.
  • JOHANNES/JOHANN BRECHT, b. May 17, 1699, Schriessheim, Mannheim, Baden, Germany; d. Bef. May 1750, Bucks Co., PA. was born May 17, 1699 in Schriessheim, Mannheim, Baden, Germany, and died Bef. May 1750 in Bucks Co., PA. He married ANNA MARGARETHA ROMER. She was born December 28, 1704 in Germany, and died February 09, 1756 in Bucks Co., PA.
  • ANNA KATHARINA BRECHT, b. March 25, 1704, Schriessheim, Mannheim, Baden, Germany; d. July 24, 1794; m. JOHN DEHUFF; d. Unknown.
  • JOHANNES MICHAEL BRECHT, b. May 30, 1706, Schriessheim, Mannheim, Baden, Germany; He married Margaretta SIMONE was born in 1708 in France. She died in 1778 in Schafferstown, PA. She was buried in Heidelberg Reformed Church Cemetary, Shaefferstown, PA. He died September 13, 1794, Reading, Berks Co., PA.
  • Simone
       Among the children was JOHANNES MICHAEL BRECHT JR., who was born on May 30, 1706, and was sponsored at his baptism by Hans Michael Hoffman. It would appear that Johann Mechael dropped his pre-nomen, probably to distinguish him from his father Johannes, and was known after he left for America only as Michael Brecht. He emigrated in Oct 1726 to America.
       Michael first settled at Germantown, Pa., in October, 1726. His stay at that place was brief. As the impelling desire of the German emigrant of that day was liberty and land, the newcomer soon pushed his way westward until he found fertile, unoccupied lands in the Lebanon Valley. Here, at the head waters of the Millbach, a small tributary that flows into the Tulpehocken Creek at the present town of Sheridan on the Lebanon Valley railroad, he settled. The locality was known as Heidelberg Township, originally in Chester County, but by the latter county. In its immediate neighborhood the village of Schaeffertown, now Lebanon County, was afterwards laid out by Alexander Schaeffer, who also emigrated from the Palatinate in 1740. Brecht received the oath of naturalization from the Philadelphia Supreme Court.
       Here Michael Brecht first met MARGARETA SIMONE (born 1708, and died 1778), daughter of Jacob Simone, a newly arrived emigrant from France (they came from Hagenau, France which later became Germany). Jacob came to Chester County in 1726. She was somewhat his junior in years, but after a short courtship, they were married on April 1728 in Berks Co., PA.
       After this happy event, Mr. Brecht turned his attention to the business of future support. Following the example of his neighbors, he had already marked out a tract of vacant land. It contained by a subsequent survey 78 acres and was located in the rich limestone region of Lebanon Valley, and covered with primeval forest of white oak and hickory. After building a log dwelling for the use of his family, he began the work of clearning [sic] the land. Year after year portions of the tract were brought under cultivation, buildings for his horses and cattle erected, and an increasing family provided for.
       It was the ambition of every settler to get a title to the land he occupied, but, it was only after 12 years of severe toil and rigid economy that Mr. Brecht, accumulated sufficient ready money to pay for his holding. On the 30th of July, 1741, he obtained a patent from John Thomas and Richard Penn for the 78 acres, he had occupied as a settler as stated in the patent, which is recorded in Patent Book Volume 8, page 353.
       In 1749, Mr. Brecht acquired by purchase from the Penns two other tracts of land in the same neighborhood, one of 100 acres, and the other of 64 acres, making the extent of his landed estate about 250 acres, and the patent is dated November 27, 1749 and duly recorded in Patent Book, Vol. 14, page 334.
       At the time of his last purchase his children were still at home, assisting in the work of the farm, Jacob, the eldest son being then 20 and David, the youngest nine years old. As a rule, when the children of a farmer become of legal age they desire to set up for themselves and the family of Michael Brecht formed no exception. By 1862, most of his children had drifted from the paternal domicile, and the stay of those who still remained (probably Sarah and Christina).
       Mr. Brecht concluded to give up his farm and on the 11th of May of that year he sold his estate of 246 acres and allowance which he had bought from the Penns to Yost Hoffman for 1200. He continues, however, to reside at Schaeffer town until after the death of his wife, Margareta in 1778. She was buried in the Heidelberg Reformed Graveyard, located at the village of Heidelberg, afterwards called Schaeffertown.
       There being no longer any of his family in the neighborhood—Mr. Brecht about this time removes to Reading, where his sons Michael and Peter were with their families, and included all of the children in his will. He signed the will on 29 Sep 1794, and it was proved before Jacob Bower.
       He and his wife raised a family of ten children, all of whom married and went to establish homes of their own.


  • JACOB BRECHT, b. April 13, 1729; d. 1802; m. SUSAN RITTENHOUSE, February 01, 1750/51. was born on 13 Apr 1729 in Heidelberg Twp., PA. He died in 1802 in PA. Jacob moved to Philadelphia in 1751. In 1770, he went into partnership with his brother in law, Christoper Pechin, shipping goods to the South. During the Am. Rev., he raised a company of 90 men and was given a Captain's commission. He was the first to leave the old homestead. He was married in the German Reform Church of Philadelphia on February 1, 1751, to Susanna Rittenhouse, a near relative of the celebrated, David Rittenhouse.
  • GEORGE BRIGHT was born on 9 Feb 1731 in PA. He died in 1769 in KY. Tradition says he was killed by Indians, when he was with Daniel Boone on a trip to Kentucky. Others say he died in 1814, in Reading PA. When his second son, George, left home does not appear, but from his adventurous disposition it is not likely that he worked on the farm after his majority in 1752.
  • MICHAEL BRIGHT was born, November 24, 1732, near Sheridan, Lebanon Co., Pa., and located at Reading about 1755. His father, Michale Brecht, emigrated from Schriesheim, in the Palatinate, to Pennsylvania, in 1726, when twenty years old. Mr. Bright carried on the trade of saddler until 1762 when he became an innkeeper, and owner of the Farmers' Inn, northwest corner of Fifth and Washington Streets, still standing but somewhat altered. In 1774 he was elected county commissioner, and served three years. he became a member of the Standing committee of Observation for the county, in December, 1774. He died at Reading, in August, 1814. In 1754 we find Michael, the third son, a resident of the town of Reading, Pa., to which place his fifth son, Peter follows him in 1760.
  • CATHERINA BRECHT (or KATHERINE), b. April 06, 1734; d. res. Heidelberg, Berks Co. PA; m. PETER SHEETS, of Heidelberg Township.
  • JOHN (JOHANNES) BRECHT, b. February 20, 1735/36, Heidelberg, Berks Co. PA; d. 1817, in Stumptown-Jonestown, PA. he married MARGARET SCHAEFFER, a daughter of Alexander Schaeffer, the founder of Schaeffertown. Family listed below.
  • PETER BRECHT, b. May 13, 1738 in Haycock Township, Bucks Co., PA. He married MARIA ELIZABETH UNKNOWN. When she died is Unknown. Peter was a saddler by trade. He and his brother Michael moved to Reading, PA in 1760. He lived there until 1775, when he purchased as 95 arce farm with Jacob Kern across the Schuykill River from Reading. They also had a tavern. He either died in 1793 near Reading, PA or in 1782 in Springfield Township, Bucks Co., PA.
  • DAVID BRECHT was born on 9 Aug 1740 in PA. He was living in 1784 in VA. He died in 1808 in VA. David was a miller. In1765, he moved to a mill in the valley of the Little Swatara Creek, Berks Co., PA. In 1771, he is on the tax rolls of Pinegrove Twp., PA. Tradition says he sold flour to the Continental Army at Valley Forge and went bankrupt when he was paid in Continental currency.
  • MARIA BRECHT, b. August 01, 1742, Berks Co. PA; m. LUDWIG WITTENMEYER, a neighbor.
  • SARAH BRECHT, b. January 19, 1744/45. Married "a Mr. Jones, who subsequently removed to Pittsburg."
  • CHRISTINA BRECHT was born on 12 Aug 1747 in PA. found a husband in Philadelphia when she was but 18 years of age. Her marriage to CHRISTOPHER PECHIN on April 4, 1765, is recorded in the First Baptist Church of that city. Christina and Christopher lived in the Society Hill section of Philadelphia's Front Street. The British commandered their house during the occupation of Philadelphia. He died in 1779. She died in 1835 in Philadelphia, PA.
  •    Michael died on 13 Sep 1794 in Berks County, at the ripe age of 88. He was buried in German Reformed Church, Reading, PA. His body was moved to Charles Evans Cemetery in Reading. The places of the grave is unknown. He was buried in Charles Evans Cementery, Reading, then located at the north east corner of Washington and Sixth Streets. When the Reformed Church sold the land, the graves and gravestones were moved to the new town cementery. His grave is just inside the gothic front gates.
       Whether a tomb stone marked his grave is not known, but, if so it was lost in removal of the dead to the Charles Evans Cemetery, and his place of burial is unknown.
       In the second generation of the Bright Family in America, the sons of the emigrant retained the same spelIing in early life, as witness the marriage record of the Reformed Church at Philadelphia in 1751 of his eldest son Jacob, the deeds of lease and release by Michael, the leder to his son Michael, J. in October 1761, above referred to and the early official as sessment rolls of his sons John and David and the signature of his son, Peter to deeds executed by him in his lifetime, as well as his signature to his last will filed in the Register's Office at Reading, Pa., in 1793. When the change from Brecht to Bright was made is uncertain. It began, however, in the second American generation.

    Muster Roll
    Name: John Bright
    Military Organization: 8th Pennsylvania Regiment
    National Number: M881
    Date Range: 1775-1785
    Pages: 4
    SOURCE: National Archives. Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War.
    Personal Information
    Census Image
    Name:   John Brecht
    Township:   Bern
    County:   Berks
    State:   Penns.
    Year:   1790
    Roll:   M637_8
    Page:   96
    View image
    blank census form
    SOURCE INFORMATION: Index created from United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States in the Year 1790.

       JOHANNES BRECHT (also known as JOHN BRIGHT) was born February 20, 1735/36 in Heidelberg, Berks County, Pennsylvania, and died 1817 in Jonestown, PA.
       John married MARGARET SCHAEFFER, daughter of ALEXANDER SCHAEFFER and ANNA ENGEL. Alexander Schaeffer immigrated in 1738 from Schriesheim and settled in Heidelberg Township (then in Lancaster County). He later relocated slightly and founded the town of Heidelberg, named after the well-known German city his hometown was nearby. After his death, the town assumed the name Schaefferstown. It is currently in Lebanon County, PA. Margaret was born 1744, and died 1816.
       John may have fought in the Revolutionary War. The lists of persons taking the Oath of Allegiance, 1777-78, in Schaefferstown and vicinity, include the names of John, his two sons, Jacob and John, and his brother-in-law, Alexander Schaeffer. The Oath of Allegiance probably had nothing to due with citizenship or foreign birth, but rather swearing allegiance to the patriot cause against Great Britain. Either John or his John Jr. was in the Eighth Regiment -- Pennsylvania -- Continental Line-Records of War Department -- Adjustant General's Office. John Bright's name appears under the head of Pennsylvania against U.S.A. for depreciation of pay (it was probably John Sr., as John Jr. was about 12 years old at the time of the Oath).
       John and Margaret moved to Fredericksburg, now in Lebanon County, Pa., in 1782. Together, they had the following children:


  • HENRY BRECHT, b. 21 Nov 1760, Shaefferstown, Lebanon Co. PA; Baptized at the Reformed Church. D. 1858, Hubble, Lincoln, Co. KY; m. ELIZABETH POPE
  • MICHAEL BRECHT, b. September 10, 1762, Shaefferstown, PA; Baptized in Reformed Church; d. March 06, 1847, Plum twp. Allegheny Co. PA; m. BARBARA WINTERS. He died in March, 1847. In religious profession they were Lutherans. At the death of his father Peter took the farm.
  • JOHN BRECHT, b. 1764.
  • CATHERINE BRECHT, b. 1767.
  • SARAH BRECHT, b. 1770.
  • SUSAN BRECHT, b. 1772.
  • JACOB BRECHT, b. 1774.
  • GEORGE BRECHT was born 1776, and died 1829 in Centre Co. PA. He married EVA ELIZABETH STOVER, daughter of JOHANNES STOVER and JULIANA WOLF. She was born in Centre Co. PA, and died 1819 in Centre Co. PA. Eva Elizabeth of John Stover (Stoever) and wife Barbara, b. Jun 5,1780; bapt. Jun 25, 1780. Spon: John. Wm. Ehrli and Eva Wolf, both single.

  • Winters
       MICHAEL BRIGHT, SR. was born on 10 Sep 1762, in Heidelberg twp, Lebanon, Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania. He married @ 1781 in Shaefferstown, Lebanon, to BARBARA ANN WINTERS (@1761 - 28 Aug 1823). In religious profession they were Lutherans. They relocated to the vicinity of Pittsburgh in the year 1814, on what was then known as Coal Hill. They lived there for two years, at the end of that time moving twelve miles up the Allegheny River, where he purchased a tract of land comprising about three hundred acres, running back from the river three quarters of a mile. He bought a farm where Oakmont now is. (If you are a golf enthusiast you will have heard of it.) There were no improvements thereon at the time of his arrival except a log house. Mr. Bright at once built a new and comfortable log house, and afterward the small brick residence in which he lived until his death. This little brick house is still standing and in good repair.
       He married Barbara Winters, of Lancaster county, Pa. Mrs. Bright died Aug. 28, 1823.
       Michael married a second time, to MARGARET BEAMER (no other information).
       He died in March, 1847. At the death of his father, Peter took over the farm. The Bright cemetery is on Fourth Street in Oakmont. Michael and his wife Barbara Ann (Winters) are buried there.


  • JOHN BRIGHT (23 Dec 1781) was born in 1781 and was the oldest child in the family. He died before his father made his will in October 1845. He may have been married twice, and one wife might have been a Snyder. He had at least six children: William born in 1810; John born 1813; Rebecca whose husband's name was Beck; Benjamin born 1820; Mary born 1821; and G. Washington born 1826. William married Elizabeth McLaughlin; John Jr.'s wife was named Mary and nickname was Casy;
    Benjamin married Martha Shook; Mary married John Snyder and Washington married Elizabeth Saylor. Mary lived in Lower Paxton Twp., Dauphin County, PA. was in West Hanover Township, Dauphin County when son Benjamin was born in June 1820.
  • JACOB BRIGHT (5 Jun 1783).
  • CATHERINE BRIGHT (1 Oct 1784).
  • MARGARET BRIGHT (14 Jan 1787).
  • MICHAEL BRIGHT JR. (27 Mar 1788 - Before 1845).
  • HENRY BRIGHT (16 Apr 1789 - @1836).
  • SARAH ELIZABETH BRIGHT (27 Apr 1792). See a Genetic Match from here.
  • BARBARA BRIGHT born February 22, 1793 in Pennsylvania. She married ROBERT GRAY, born February 1796 in Washington County, Pennsylvania. He died December 2, 1868 in Cass County, Indiana. She died 1868. And twin....
  • ELIZABETH BRIGHT (22 Feb 1793).
  • GEORGE BRIGHT (15 Aug 1795).
  • DAVID BRIGHT (30 Nov 1797).
  • SAMUEL BRIGHT (25 May 1799).
  • WILLIAM BRIGHT (18 Jun 1801).
  • ANN MARIE BRIGHT (19 May 1803).
  • PETER BRIGHT, born in Lancaster county, Pa., Jan. 6, 1805, died Nov. 19, 1858. By trade he was a potter, having served his apprenticeship in Greensburg, Pa., but he made farming his business after the death of his father. He always took an active part in township affairs, was a member of the school board, and held other offices in the township. He gave the lot on which the United Presbyterian church was built. He erected a fine residence on the bank of the river in which his daughters now reside. By his marriage to Margaret V. Parsell, of Plum township, Allegheny county, were born eleven children as follows: Harriet, Mrs. McNickle, deceased; Margaret B., Mrs. Samuel Fullerton; Adam, who married Elizabeth Hilton, and died at Andersonville, Ga., in 1863, at which time he had been serving two years in the Union army; Charles R., who enlisted in the Union army in October, 1861, passed through the battle of Gettysburg, and was killed July 10, 1863, near Boonesboro, Md.; Sarah B., who married James Remaley, of Springdale, Pa., and has children, Charles, Stella, Roy, Margaret and Jay; Michael, who died in infancy; Salinda, Mrs. William Anderson, deceased; Peter Winters, who died in March, 1868; Rachel R., deceased; Eliza A., and Mary J., who are unmarried and live at the old home. The mother of this family died July 2, 1872; she was a member of the United Presbyterian Church.
  • ADAM BRIGHT (26 Sep 1806) - 1872.
  • Snyder
       HENRY BRIGHT (16 Apr 1789 - @ 1836) m. MARY SNYDER (Daughter of Christopher and Elizabeth Snyder) . In the orphan's court at OC 2-138 on 12/26/1849, "James C. Miller Lavinia his wife formerly Lavinia Bright and heir of Henry Bright late of Center Twp, Butler County, Pennsylvania" petitioned the court to partition the estate of Henry. It states that "Henry Bright died many years ago interstate and also his wife that he left ... six children to wit: Barbara, married to Jacob Brown of Center Twp., Margaret married to Harvey Moore, Emilia married to Alexander Clark of Greensburg, Westmoreland Co., Lavinia married to James C. Miller of Center Twp. Sons Christopher and Henry (the last four minors) "who are yet in their minority and Jacob Brown is their guardian.; and seized of two lots in the City of Allegheny. The court ordered the property sold.


  • ANN BARBARA A. BRIGHT was b. @1818 and died 22 Jan 1888. She married Jacob Brown, Jr. in 1840 and they had the following children: Ann Maria, Margaret A., Matilda/Tillie, and Amelia.
  • HENRY BRIGHT JR. b. @ 1833.
  • LOVINA BRIGHT, b. 07 Aug 1828 in Pa. She married JAMES C. MILLER. Children listed below.
  • EMILENE (EMILY or AMELIA) BRIGHT Allegheny County, Penns. (Pittsburgh). She married Alexander Clark, then Samuel G. Means on 04 Nov 1853.
  • The will of Henry's grandfather, Michael, can be found in the Allegheny County, Pa, Register of Wills: No. 162 Vol. 6, dated 28 Oct 1845. "Allegheny County, Plum Township, November 28th, 1853. Recieved by Peter Bright executor of Michael Bright dece'd Fifty Dollars in full revised to will by me by my grand father Michael Bright Dece'd for which I forever relese the above named Peter Bright his hairs and administrators eexecutors and asines. Henry D. Bright ("D" could be symbol for "junior"). Lavina got a share of Henry's inheritance:

    "Plum Township June 10th, 1853. Recieved of Peter Bright executor of the estate of Michael Bright dece'd five Dollars being my share in full will to the hairs of Henry by his father Michael Bright. Lavina (X) Miller"

    Farmer JAMES C. MILLER of Center Twp, Butler County, Pennsylvania, married LOVINA (or LUVINA) BRIGHT (b. 7 Aug 1828 in Pennsylvania - 23 Feb 1904 in Missouri).


  • HENRY JAMES MILLER was born on 4 Jul 1849 in Butler, Pennsylvania. He married (1) Nancy J Parker (1841-1900); after she passed, Henry married (2) Oran Inman (1881-1906) and they had three children: Grace (b. 1901), Goldie (b. 1902) and Henry II (18 Mar 1905 - 19 Aug 1977). Henry I died on 5 July 1906 in Moniteau, Cooper, Missouri, and is buried with Nancy at Green Ridge Baptist Church Cemetery in Eldon County, Missouri.
  • MARY MALISSA MILLER was born on 21 Nov 1851 in Butler, Pennsylvania. She married John Pritchard (family listed, below). "On the 12th of Oct 1886 Mrs Pritchard died after a short illness. She was a woman who had endeared herself by her many good qualities of head and heart to all who knew her and her loss both to the family and the community is sincerely mourned." The image at right is a charcoal portrait made from a photograph. The rendering is in the posession of Irene Wenk-Poley, Mary's great grandaughter, through her son, William Pritchard, and his daughter, Dorothy Pritchard-Wenk. It hangs in the main room of her Michigan house, framed and proudly displayed with a similar portrait of John.
  • CLYNE MALISSA MILLER was born on 7 May 1854, in Butler, Pennsylvania. He married Margie and they lived in Burris Fork Township, Moniteau, Missouri. They had Charley A (b. 1886), Bertha (b. 1890), Jessie (b. 1893) and Lilly Miller (b. 1899). Clyne died on 10 Jun 1903 in Oktaha, Muskogee, Oklahoma.
  • MAHALA ANN MILLER was born on 20 Apr 1856, in Butler, Pennsylvania. On 20 Apr 1880 she married Frederick Schlup (1837-1905) and they had the following children: Samuel Cline (1881-1970), Henry Miller (1883-1984), Charles A (1886-1928), Albert William (1889-1967), Ovey Farrington (1894-1977), and Frank Forrest Schlup (1896-1977). Mahala died on 27 Jul 1951 in Cooper, Missouri, and is buried at New Zion Church Cemetery in Pisgah, Cooper County, Missouri.
  • ALBERT BRIGHT MILLER, was born on 14 Dec 1858, in Butler, Pennsylvania. He was in the military, then on 12 Apr 1896 he married Nola Ellen Piatt (1874-1957) in Moniteau, Cooper, Missouri. They had no children but raised of nephew of Nola's named Lawrence H Hatfield (22 May 1916 - 04 Jan 1999). Albert died on 10 Jun 1943 in California, Moniteau County, Missouri, and is buried at New Zion Church Cemetery in Pisgah, Cooper County, Missouri.
  • AMELIA BARBARAH MILLER was born on 12 Mar 1861, in Pennsylvania. She had a son, Audie Oscar Miller (1893-1967) with an unknown father. On 21 Oct 1915 she married Albert Taylor Patterson (1861-1948) in Boonville, Cooper Co, Missouri. She died on 11 Mar 1949 and ia buried at Crown Hill City Cemetery in California, Moniteau Co, Missouri.
  • MELINDA JANE "LINNIE" MILLER was born on 10 Apr 1864, in Pennsylvania. She married Robert Lee Patterson (1856 - 1910) the older brother of Amelia's husband, Albert, and they had the following children: Stewart B (1886-1919); Stella Amelia (1887-1985); Nola Dell (1889-1986); Maggie Ellen (1891-1981); Pearly May (1893-1913); Charles L. (1896-1976); Emma Lovyna (1900-1976); George C. (1902-1921); and Bernice E. (1908-1908). After Robert's death, she married Will C. Dyer (1856 - 1932). Melinda died on 4 Sep 1942 in Benton, Missouri and is buried at Bethel Campground Cemetery in Edwards, Benton County, Missouri. See her with her grandkids Karl and Geraldine Gemes here. (Courtesy of Geraldine Gemes Wise)
  • MARTHA JANE MILLER was born on 26 Apr 1867, in Somerset, Pennsylvania. She died on 22 Sep 1871 from Scarlet Fever and is buried at Sappington Cemetery in Clarksburg, Moniteau County, Missouri.
  • ADDIE MARGARET "MAGGIE" MILLER was born on 11 Feb 1871 in Cooper, Missouri. On 20 Oct 1892 she married Orpheus "Robert" Blalock in Moniteau, Missouri, and they had the following children: Addie Mae (Howe, 1895-1995), James T (1897-1979), William J (1900-1959), and Henry Deacon Blalock (1902-1985). Maggie died on 7 Apr 1932 and is buried at New Zion Church Cemetery in Pisgah, Cooper County, Missouri.

    KUNTZ BRECHT (b. 1563) m. CATHERINE of NEUDORF and they had...

    CHRISTOPH STOFFEL BECHT (b. 1591) m. ANNA and had...

    BALTHASER BECHT (b. 1636) married ANNA MARGARET CHRISTMAN and they had...

    JOHANNES MICHAEL BRECHT (b. 12 Oct 1662) married ANNA KATHERINE HOFFMAN (b. 29 Jul684) and they had...

    JOHANNES MICHAEL BRECHT JR. (b. 1706), who married MARGARETTA SIMONE and begat...

    JOHN BRIGHT (b. @ 1735), who married MARGARET SCHAEFFER and they had:

    HENRY BRIGHT (16 Apr 1789 - @ 1836) m. MARY SNYDER and begat...

    LOVINA BRIGHT (b. 1828) who married JAMES CAMPBELL MILLER (b. 1826) and begat...

    MARY MELISSA MILLER (1851 - 1886), who married JOHN PRITCHARD (1832 - 1897) and begat...

    WILLIAM PRITCHARD (1880 - 1958), who married NELLE WINTERS (1885 - 1974) and begat...

    DOROTHY PRITCHARD (b. 1918), who married ERWIN WENK (1910 - 1982) and begat...

    MARTHA WENK (b. 1940), who married CARLETON MARCHANT HAUSE, JR. (1939 - 2014) and begat...

    JEFF (who married LORI ANN DOTSON), KATHY (who married HAL LARSEN), ERIC (who married MARY MOONSAMMY), and MICHELE HAUSE (who married JOHN SCOTT HOUSTON).

    SPRING BLESSING (1785): The return of spring is celebrated in this decorative example of fractur, the term used to designate illustrative records of the Palatines.

    TOP IMAGE: A vineyard in Schriessheim, Mannheim, Baden, the home base of the early Brechts.


    —The original spelling of the family name was Brecht as is shown by the Lutheran records at Schrlessheim in the Palatinate in which the names of the ancestors of the emigrant for three consecutive generations are so written. In addition to this, the emigrant always wrote his name "Brecht" as in the deeds of lease and release of lot on the corner of Thomas and Callow hill Streets, in the town of Reading, to his son Michael in 1761, in the writer's possession, as also in his last will and testament on file in the Register's Office, the same spelling is preserved.
       The first use of the word Bright, I find in the signature of Michael, the third son, to the administration account on the estate of Conrad Bower, whose widow he married, filed in 1768; which he signs jointly with her. He here, signs his name Michael Bright and in the deed to him for a tannery and twelve acres of land in Alsace given to him as grantee by James Boone, in 1775, he is likewise named Michael Bright.
       So in a deed to him from his son Jacob for a lct in Reading, in 1793, he is named as Michael Bright; and in all documents subsequent to 1778 signed by him, including his last will in 1814, he signs his name Michael Bright, which after his father's death ln 1794 is changed to Michael Bright, Sen., as he had a son by the same name. He does not appear to have written his own name as Michael, Jr., probably for the reason that his father used Brecht as the family name while he wrote Bright. His oldest brother Jacob, of Philadelphia seems to have changed his spelling of the family name to Bright at an early day as in a commission to him as Captain in 1776, he is named as Captain Jacob Bright.

    —"Will of Michael Brecht, the Elder" written in 1789 in German it was proved September 29, before Jacob Bower, and contains the names of his ten children. Michael's will is a long document and appears to be the testor's own composition. As it contains, any material facts as to his own life and his children's we give a summary of it with some fullness of details. He begins by calling himself Michael Brecht, the elder, of the Reading, Pa. Next he orders his executor to give to each ten children, vix., Jacob, George, Michael, John, Peter and David and his daughters Katherine Sheetz, Maria Wittemeyer, Sarah Jones and Christina Pitchin, as much as he shall hereafter __t. He then gives Jacob five shillings, because he is his first born son; and after reciting that he has already given is several children as much of his estate as he chose or according to his means, he provides for a settlement of with them by his executor as follows: Having loaned Jacob $150 in August 1786 for which he takes his bond with interest, the executor is directed to collect from œ 50 with interest and then give him back his bond. As to his son George, the executor is to give to his lawfully begotten children œ40 in equal shares. To Michael who had given his father a bond dated April, 1784 for œ 150, the executor was to return his bond upon the payment of œ 50 with interest, In the case of his son John, recites that as he has already before given to him for his portion the same as his brothers and sisters received and has since lent him in ready cash $40 for which he gave his bond dated October 1786, he directs his executor to return his bond upon payment of the interest in full. As to Peter to whom he loaned œ 200, and took his note dated in April, 1788 he directs that upon his paying œ100 with interest his bond should be returned to him. To his son David, he had loaned "in ready cash œ27 anno 1765." He accordingly directs that his bond be handed back to him and that he should be paid in addition œ80 for his inheritance.
       For his daughter Katharine, he provides that in addition to what he has given her, she shall yet receive the sum of œ30 for portion. For his daughter Maria, inasmuch as he holds the bond of her hus band, Ludwig for œ50 dated in April 1773, she is to receive back the said bond with the interest accrued and in addition the sum of œ20 for her inheritance; and to his daughter Sarah Jones in addition to what he had advanced her, she is to be paid the sum of œ80. To his youngest daughter, Christina Pitchen, he directs that œ100 be paid in addition to what she has already received. Perhaps nothing so clearly shows the peaceful and fatherly character of the testator as the closing portion of the will Apprehensive that some of the children might be dis- satisfied with the division he has made of his estate, he "ad vises such to have patience and to learn from his own mistakes and be wise; and that each of them may at once do right and be at peace." He then appoints his loving son, Michael, as his executor, with full power to give satisfaction to any just and reason able complaint which may be made.

    Sources for the Bright Family:

  • "History of Allegheny county, Pennsylvania : including its early settlement and progress to the present time ; a description of its historic and interesting localities ; its cities, towns and villages; religious, educational, social and military history ; mining, manufacturing and commercial interests, improvements, resources, statistics, etc. ; also, biographies of many of its representative citizens." Chicago : A. Warner Co., 1889.
  • "The Bright Family History," self-published by Patricia Woods-Cooke. Jan., 1882. Copy at the Oakmont Library.
  • "Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present," J.H. Beers & Co., 1914. P. 579
  • "History of Shaefferstown," p. 147
  • "Pennsylvania German Pioneers," v. 1, p.213. Pages 438,439
  • "The Pennsylvanie-German in the Revolutionary War, 1775-1783," by Henry Melchior Muhlenberg Richards. Genealogical Publishing Co., IN.
  • "A Brief History of Schaefferstown," by A. S. Brendle, 1903.
  • Pennsylvania Archives; Publications of the Lebanon County Historical Society, Vol. 1, page 14.