Johannes Hodel was very likely born in Switzerland in approximately 1685. He and his wife, Elizabetha, were married by 1712 and spent their early years together in Germany in the region of Alsheim bei Gronau, in the Rhineland-Pfalz (Palatinate), southwest of Manheim and northwest of Speyer. Although the tax record for 1722 listed the land as poor, Johannes and Elizabeth made their home on a 10-acre farm that included a 1/4-acre vineyard. The couple had four children:
Anna Barbara (English name: Barbara), born Dec. 2, 1713
Johann Carl (English name: Charles), born Oct. 25, 1718
Johann Georg (English name: George), born Apr. 4, 1722
Catharina Elisabetha (English name: Elizabeth), born Nov. 17, 1725
On Dec. 22, 1726, a year after her last child was born, Elisabetha died and was buried at the Reformed Church in Alsheim bei Gronau.
Two years later, on June 23, 1728, Johannes married Maria Margaretha Steph Rheinwald (English name: Margaret) in the Reformed Church in Meckenheim, Germany. They had one son, Johannes (English name: John Jr.), born October 27, 1731.
The following spring, Johannes and his family traveled down the Rhine River to Rotterdam, where they lived for approximately 3 months while arranging passage to America. In June or July of 1732, the family boarded the Pennsylvania Merchant and sailed to the New World, arriving in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 11, 1732.
Johannes purchased one hundred acres of land in Oley Township, Pennsylvania on February 22, 1734. On March 23, 1742, the land was repossessed after he was unable to keep up the payments.
Early in this period, daughter Barbara married George Keller (who had arrived in Philadelphia on October 11, 1732) in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
In the early 1740s, sons Charles and George traveled to Virginia to look for new land to establish a family homestead. Having found that suitable lands were available, they returned to Pennsylvania to help their father and his family move to Virginia, including their sister, Barbara, and her husband, George Keller.
In Virginia they moved onto these new lands, built their first homes and began farming, all before they received land grants in 1750, in what was then Frederic County (now Shenandoah County). The first of those land grants was received from Thomas, Lord Fairfax in 1750.
It is uncertain if John Jr. moved with them or stayed in Pennsylvania. We know that John Jr. married Mary Magdalene Musselman in 1748, in Pennsylvania, and they had two sons: Michael born c. 1750 and Samuel born c. 1752. John Jr. then died in the late 1750s, before his father’s death in Virginia.
Johannes lived the remainder of his years in Virginia. He died in 1760.