Our Family Heritage: Founders of Hellertown, Pen Argyl, Saylorsburg, Appenzell, perhaps Wind Gap too and more. 



                            Johan Christopher Heller’s farm house, circa 1760.


In 2004 I toured east central Pennsylvania, a land area stretching from northern Philadelphia suburbs to East Stroudsburg in the Poconos.  I spent a day in the Hellertown Library, Saylorsburg cemetery, and Penn Argyll downtown district researching our family line and discovered a transformative origin - Johan Christopher Heller and four of his six sons settling the land in 1740 after the Leni Lenape Indians were pushed out by the colonial Pennsylvania government located in Quaker Philadelphia.

Pen Argyl in 1894


      We had a problem - we could not prove our connection to Christopher Heller and his six sons beyond grandfather Albert E. Heller’s birth in 1891 in Appenzell, PA.  With the assistance of www.MyHeritage.com, we traced our heritage to Johan Christopher Heller leaving Pheddersheim, Germany in 1738 and finally to Conrad Heller, Brandenburg, Germany born in the late 1400’s. 



The above map showing Pen Argyl in center and Appenzell to the northeast does not include either Hellertown and Saylorsburg located southeast of the area.  Lee Widener, author of Hellertown, “Images of America”, Arcadia, 2003, describes his small city.


“Nestled in the Saucon Valley, Hellertown lies just south of Bethlehem, bordered on the Saucon Creek.  While the creek derives its name from the Native America sakunk meaning ‘place where a small stream enters a large stream,” the town inherited its name from Christopher Heller and his sons, especially Michael who started the first farm and grist mill.  The 1800’s brought a wave of Deutsch (German) immigrants to this corner of the Pennsylvania Dutch (Deutsch) country.”




The Genealogy of Christopher Heller and his six sons, a paper read by William Jacob

Heller at the Fifth Reunion of the Heller Family Association at Island Park, Easton, PA, August 29, 1908, Library of Congress, describes a history of Christopher and four of the six sons; Dieter, Simon, Michael and Daniel.



Michael Heller’s Grist Mill


LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

Heller and Pennsylvania Ave., main intersection, Penn Argyll, PA


Founder Joseph Saylor’s wife was a Heller (Elizabeth? Louise?) 


Saylorsburg’s main commercial corridor, circa 2005


The names of these two wives are unknown and their identities will probably never be discovered.  He lies buried at the Lime Kiln School house, the ancient burying ground near Hellertown.  I have purposely left the typos and grammatical mistakes intact out of respect for their time. 


Daniel, the Fourth Son


May be wife of Milton Heller, grandfather Albert Heller’s older brother.  Burial site is in Saylorsburg, PA. 


In a History of Bucks County, PA Volume 3, William H. Davis writes:




Heller family genealogy chart Johan Simon Heller through Hoyt Bernard Heller, pictured age 10.


William Davis text continues:



Appenzell, located near Jackson Township, Monroe County, is where our grandfather Albert grew up; also, where our father Bernie spent occasional extended periods of time when his mother Freda joined Albert on the road when he managed a traveling carnival.  In the near future we hope to visit Appenzell, a place we’ve never known and are a little lesser for it. 



Our connection to the Heller family history in Pennsylvania is through our beloved grandmother Freda Belford Heller who married Albert in 1910.