Oberholtzer (Overholtzer, Overholser, Overholt) family

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Oberholtzer (Overholtzer, Overholser, Overholt), a Mennonite family name, probably of Swiss origin. One of the immigrants bearing this family name was a Martin Oberholtzer (1709-44) of Germany who settled in the Deep Run area of Bucks County, Pennsylvania. A Jacob Oberholtzer was living in Franconia Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, in 1719. The settlers of 1710 in what is now Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, included two Oberholtzers, Martin and Michael. Descendants of the family in Lancaster County included two deacons, a preacher (MC), and Bishop Jacob Oberholtzer (ca 1826-1888) of Bowmansville (GCM). The Franconia Conference Oberholtzers included at least six preachers, three deacons, and a bishop, Isaac Oberholtzer (1815-1887) of the Blooming Glen congregation. The Ontario Conference (MC) included a deacon and a preacher bearing the name. By far the most prominent representative of the family was John H. Oberholtzer (1809-1895), a preacher from 1842 in the Franconia Conference, founder of what is now the Eastern District Conference of the General Conference Mennonite Church in 1847, a bishop from 1847 (GCM), schoolteacher, locksmith, publisher, and author. He played a major role in the formation of the General Conference (GCM). In Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, one of the pillars in what became the Scottdale church (MC) was John D. Overholt (1797-1878), ordained preacher in 1830 and bishop in 1833. His uncle Abraham Overholt (1785-1870) was a successful distiller from 1810 (Old Overholt Whiskey) and a member (trustee at times) in the church (MC). This Overholt family descends from the above Martin Oberholtzer. A preacher Jacob Oberholtzer of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, moved to Mahoning County, Ohio, in 1806, and became the first ordained Mennonite minister in Ohio, organizing the congregation there.


Fretz, A. J. A Genealogical Record of the Descendants of Martin Oberholtzer. Milton, N.J., 1903.

Loomis, E. S. Some Account of Jacob Oberholtzer who settled about 1719, in Franconia Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Cleveland, 1931.

Author(s) John C Wenger
Date Published 1955

Cite This Article

MLA style

Wenger, John C. "Oberholtzer (Overholtzer, Overholser, Overholt) family." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1955. Web. 14 Apr 2024. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Oberholtzer_(Overholtzer,_Overholser,_Overholt)_family&oldid=119599.

APA style

Wenger, John C. (1955). Oberholtzer (Overholtzer, Overholser, Overholt) family. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 14 April 2024, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Oberholtzer_(Overholtzer,_Overholser,_Overholt)_family&oldid=119599.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 12. All rights reserved.

©1996-2024 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.