Mr. Hager took pains to point out the quality of the land which he intended to give

Posted by | December 13, 2016

The matter was brought about in this way. “I had proposals made to me,” Daniel Hiester, Jr. stated many years afterwards, “by the late Mr. Hager to be connected with his family. I was then young, and had not before that time had any serious thoughts of contracting a marriage. But those proposals came from a friend of my father’s, and a gentleman of respectability. They were advantageous and too expressive of friendship to be treated with neglect.”

Concerning this matrimonial alliance a tradition in the family runs thus: “It was brought about by the fathers of the contracting parties. Daniel Hiester, Sr., and Jonathan Hager had been friends in Germany. They came to this country about the same time. They settled respectively in Pennsylvania and Maryland. These gentlemen, after years of separation, met in Philadelphia while there on business. Both were delighted to renew old acquaintance.

They then and there expressed the desire that Daniel, Jr., should wed Rosanna. A short time after this Daniel rode to Maryland with the well-formulated design of offering himself to the fair Rosanna.

In course of time they were married. Daniel brought his bride to dwell at the Hiester homestead in Upper Salford, PA. Here they lived for some years in great style for those primitive times. Rosanna was wealthy, beautiful, brilliant; she was socially inclined, hence gay company was gathered about her. Sometimes she accompanied her husband to Philadelphia, Lancaster, York and Reading, when affairs of State called him to those principal towns.

Jonathan Hager House, Hagerstown, MD

Jonathan Hager, native of Westphalia, Germany, moved to Maryland in the 1730s and built this house c. 1740 over the 2 springs on his property. The cellar of the then 1 1/2-story house was damp, and even wet, as a result of the springs, but it protected the water sources from Indians.


Jonathan Hager arrived at Philadelphia in the ship Harle, whose passengers qualified September 1, 1736. He was then twenty-two. Daniel Hiester, Sr., arrived a year later in the ship St. Andrew, whose passengers qualified September 26, 1737.

From Scharf’s History of Western Maryland, (Philadelphia, 1882,) we learn that Jonathan Hager’s family Bible is still preserved by his descendants, and that in it is the family record, giving 1740 as the date of his marriage with Elizabeth Krischner, and the dates of the birth of their two children : Rosina, born April 21, 1752 ; and Jonathan, born December 13. 1755. His wife died April 16, 1765.

Captain Hager owned extensive tracts of land in the present Washington County, Maryland. In the year 1762 he laid out a town, which he named Elizabeth Town, in honor of his wife. It was afterwards called Elizabeth Hager’s Town, and is now known as Hagerstown. He was a member of the Maryland House of Delegates in 1776.

The ground upon which the Reformed church of Hagerstown stands was given by Jonathan Hager. He was a member of the congregation and was greatly interested in the construction of the church edifice. While engaged in sawing timber for the church, he was killed by the rolling of a log, on the 6th of November, 1775.

It was the intention of Jonathan Hager to give to his daughter Rosanna and her husband fourteen hundred acres of land in the vicinity of Hagerstown, one-third part of the ground rents of the town, worth about £13 per annum, and one house and five lots in the town. His wish was that his son-in law should engage in mercantile pursuits in the city of Baltimore.

The first time that Daniel Hiester, Jr., and his wife visited her father at Hagerstown, Mr. Hager invited them both to ride over the land with him, but Mrs. Hiester not finding it convenient, Mr. Hiester went with his father-in-law to see the land which was to be given to himself and wife. Mr. Hager took pains to point out the quality of the land which he intended to give. But he was not ready to make the transfer at that time. Ten or eleven days later he met with the accident which caused his death.

Captain Hager had not made the conveyance. His death caused a change in the plans for Mr. Hiester’s future. The purpose to engage in business in Baltimore was abandoned.

Public Domain, via

1774 Sketch of Zion Church in Elizabeth Hager’s Town, MD, as it originally appeared soon after construction.

About this time the question of deciding upon the place for the seat of justice of Washington County was before the Maryland Legislature. Daniel Hiester spent three months in efforts to have it fixed at Hagerstown. He was successful, and he thereby largely enhanced the value of the lands of the Hager estate.

Jonathan Hager, Jr., at first showed a disposition to carry out his father’s intention with regard to the gift of land and town lots to his sister and her husband, but he wavered in his purpose and postponed action.

Meanwhile the Revolutionary War broke out, young Hager entered the army, was captured soon afterwards by the British and sent a prisoner to Nova Scotia, and was not released for several years.

The adjustment of the matter of conveying the lands was thus delayed until the close of the struggle for independence, and then was attended with protracted litigation in the State of Maryland.


“The Perkiomen region, past and present,” edited by Henry S. Dotterer, Perkiomen Publishing Company, 1895

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