Mark (Marx) Bigler

Born: 17 April 1705, Ingolsheim, Alsace, France
Married: 14 December 1733, Mrs. Mary Catherine Bigler
Died: 25 April 1787
Parents: Hans Thomas Bigler & Anna Maria Vogler
Profession: Farmer

Mark Bigler was born “Marx Bigler”, the name appearing on his christening record. it is assumed that when Marx immigrated to the United States that the X was mistaken to be a K.  Since most with the name “Mark” spelled their name with a K, we further assume that Marx changed his name to “Mark” to assist with his assimilation into his new culture.

MARK BIGLER, THE IMMIGRANT 1705 – 1787 by Norman Burns, 1960 with editorial comment in italics by Franklin K. Brough, 1981 and rev. made by Edwin Bigler from research of Mark Bigler and family. 30 December 2006 Mark Bigler, our earliest known ancestor in America, came from Ingolsheim, Alsace, France, which is near the Rine River. Marks father had four sons: Hans Jacob of 1701, Hans Georg 1703, Marx 1705, Hans Michael 1707.

Mark is the forefather of the Presbyterian Biglers of Virginia; Jacob is the forefather of the Mormon Biglers of Utah; and Israel, ancestor of the Baptist Biglers of Western Pennsylvania and the Church of Brethren Biglers of Ohio and Indiana. It is interesting to contemplate Biglers scattered from coast to coast, paying homage to the immigrant Mark Bigler. The relationship of the Utah, Ohio and Virginia Biglers was not known until Norman Burns, a descendent of Israel Bigler, made these discoveries and published them in his book, The Bigler Family, 1960. The origin of the Bigler name is in Switzerland. It is a common surname in the rural area surrounding Bern. After the Reformation, religious persecution was prevalent in Berne, since any departure from the official Reformed Church was regarded as heresy before God and virtual treason to the State of Berne. The anabaptists, known in America as the Mennonites, were subjected to over two centuries of the most severe persecution. Anabaptists men and women were dunked in the River Aare in a scientific way to prolong their torture as long as possible until life became extinct. Others were sold to the Venetians to work as galley slaves on Venetian ships plying the Mediterranean. Great numbers had all their property confiscated and were expelled from Berne as destitute refugees. In the period between 1671 and 1711 several hundred Anabaptists left Berne for Alsace, among them being Grabers, Biglers, Mullers, Lehmanns – names frequently associated together in America. Against this background, it seems likely that Mark Bigler’s grandparents Henrich Bigler of 26 November 1645 fled Muri Bei Berne during the wave of religious persecution after 1671, They settled by the Rine River in Ingolsheim, Alsace, France now called, and that is where Mark was born with his brothers. Beginning about 1720, the “America fever” spread throughout the Palatinate and a growing number of members of the dissident sects in the German Swiss and German Rhine country moved down the Rhine Valley to Rotterdam, the great seaport at the mouth of the Rhine in Holland, from whence so many sailed for the promised land. This great wave of emigration went mainly to Pennsylvania, for William Penn, who thrice visited the Palatinate, encouraged the migration of all those who sought freedom from religious persecution of the Old World in his Quaker land of Pennsylvania. Mark Bigler’s name was listed three times on the list as Marx and was changed to Mark when he arrived at Philadelphia, September 28, 1733 on the Brigantine Richard and Elizabeth. Master Christopher Clymer in command, that sailed from Rotterdam. On ship documents was a list of Palatines (Rhinelanders) on board including Marx Beegler, age 28. Another list of “Palatines imported in the Brign Richard and Elizabeth” and reported as having taken the oath of allegiance to the Province of Pennsylvania included Marx Bigler. No other Biglers were reported on this ship. Family tradition has it that three Bigler brothers came to America, Mark, Georg, and Michael. We do not know where Georg went once in America,The other two came to Pennsylvania from the old country. Many Biglers arrived in Pennsylvania in the decades 1733-53 none reported as arriving before 1733, but of these I have been able to trace relationships only between the brothers Mark and Michael Bigler. This relationship was discovered only through the accidental finding of Michael’s will of September 21, 1763 at Frederick, Maryland: where he mentions his brother Mark. Michael Bigler arrived in Philadelphia, May 30, 1741 on the Snow Francis and Ann from Rotterdam. He and Mark appear to have been close associates all all their lives, and his name has been carried on by some of Mark’s children. The question is asked sometimes whether William Bigler, Governor of Pennsylvania 1852-55, and his brother John Bigler, Governor of California 1852-56, were related to our family. I have not been able to discover any direct relationship. Our meager knowledge of Mark Bigler in the New World comes from a few legal and church records. That he moved about considerably and that he prospered is evident from those fragmentary records. It is a pity that the early Brethren were so little inclined to write about their own lives. From the legal records alone they appear to have marched stiffly through the pages of history, clothed in an austere legal atmosphere, whereas in fact they must have been sturdy and vibrant personalities with interesting stories to tell if only the tale had been told. The first record is that of a land warrant issued to Marcus Bigler by the Province of Pennsylvania, on October 18, 1738, for 200 acres in Lancaster County. This may have been in the Manor of Springetbury on the Little Conewage River, adjacent to the land of Leonard Leyst or Lease. However, neither the Lancaster Court House nor the York County records which I examined personally (York County having been carved from Lancaster County in 1749) indicates that Mark Bigler converted this warrant into a deed of actual ownership. The York County records do not show any land ownership in that county by Mark Bigler from their beginning in 1749. Michael Bigler, Mark’s brother had various land transactions in what is now York County. There is some tradition that Mark was in Bucks Country, Pennsylvania, north of Philadelphia, for a time, and that some of his children were born there. Henry W. Bigler mentions it, and lists Bucks County as the birthplace of Jacob Bigler in temple ordinances performed in St George. Mark Bigler moved from York County to nearby Frederick County, Maryland, presumably in 1743 the date of his first recorded acquisition of land in Frederick County. In his continuing historical search, Norman Burns in June 1981 discovered a deed for 200 acres known as Hull’s choice that was bought from the Governor of Maryland. The deed is found in the Provencial Court Record of Maryland. The Court House records of Frederick County indicate that Mark Bigler acquired several tracts in Frederick County, Md., in 1743, 1750 and 1761. These tracts Upon his death were passed to his son Mark II-who in turn transferred them (and possibly some Iand of his own) to his brother Israel in a deed of April 13, l802. This latter deed described the various tracts, all contiguous and converted into one tract, that had been acquired by Mark I over the years, namely: “a tract called Mark’s Delight originally on the first day of March 1743 granted Mark Biegler, A tract called Bigler’s addition to Hulls Choice originally on the thirtieth day of October 1750 granted to the said Mark Biegler And a tract called the Resurvey on Hull’s Choice originally on the 29th day of September 1761 granted the same Mark Biegler … Containing two hundred and fifty nine and a half acres of land”for the sum of four hundred pounds current money. The deed was signed by Mark Bigler and Catherina Begeler. Mark Bigler and Mary Catherine had ten children: 3 sons and 7 daughters. Mark 1734, Elizabeth B. 1735, a Daughter B. 1737, Salme B. 1739, Phebe B. 1741, Catherine B.1743, Hester B.1745, Israel B.1747, Julianna B.1
0, Jacob B.1752, and Barbary b.1754. Mark Bigler made his last will on March 19, 1787, when he was near his journey’s end. Soon thereafter, on April 25, 1787, his son, Israel appeared in the Frederick County court testifying that this document was the true will of his deceased father. Mark Bigler voiced his devout spirit in the words of his will. “I, most Humbly bequeath my Soul to God my Maker Beseeching his most Gracious Acceptance of it.” He showed a tender solicitude for the welfare, of his “dearly beloved wife Catherine in the requests to his son to “keep two Cows for his Mother winter and summer as his own are kept” and to his tenant to harvest her share of the grain and to “Carry it up Stairs for her”. His cherished “plantation …containing two hundred and thirty five Acres (in) Pipe Crick hundred and Frederick County” was bequeathed,in accord with European tradition, to one son Mark. Named in the will were his other nine children, each of whom received specified sums of money namely, Israel, Jacob, Catharine, Elizabeth, Salme , Phebe, Julianna, Hester and Barbary, and two granddaughters. Thus Yeoman Mark Bigler, wandering immigrant from the Rhineland, after more than four score of eventful years, blessed with sons and daughters and many fertile acres came to his last resting place in Frederick County, Md., in 1787. He had lived through stirring times when the American colonies struggled for and gained their independence. Now (1787) they were on the verge of formulating that great document, the Constitution, that made America the kind of country where the descendants of Mark Bigler, and of all others like him, could enjoy a heritage of freedom. Mark Bigler’s descendants are now legion, of many different religious faiths, engaged in varied materials pursuits and living in many states from the eastern seaboard to the Pacific Ocean.

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  1. Hello,
    I am happy to have found your site. My mother, Gertrude Bigler Helms told me that her father, Emmanuel Bigler, came from Berne, Switzerland. My mother passed away at the age of 93 in 2001.
    I never knew my grandfather but have always been fascinated with the Bigler family history. My grandfather was a dairy farmer in southern Ohio. He also was a maker of cheese. He married Ella McCoy Bigler and they had eight children of their own. I understand that my grandfather was married before and had one son, so all in all, there were nine children. Not to clear on the first marriage.
    Now that my mother is gone, I think of all the things that I should have asked her about the Bigler family. Hopefully I have found out a little by the information on your site.
    Thanks, Karen

    1. Dear Karen, I have a CD of Muri bei Bern, Bern Switzerland where the Biglers started from when they went to France, and on to America If you think that it would help let me know, I would be glad to do what I can. Sincerely Edwin Bigler

  2. Hi Edwin,

    First off, Thank you for all your hard work preserving the Bigler family history. From all indications, I get my Bigler family name from decenants of Mark Bigler’s son Israel via George Washington Bigler b.1835 in Greene Co. PA. I have immensely enjoyed reading the information you have posted regarding the Bigler family. I have spent some time documenting and building “Thebiglerfamily” tree on and have discovered many interesting things about my ancestry. Your website has been a big help in putting my ancestry together.

    1. Hello Steve, It is good to hear from you. I am very interested in your your Israel Line. I have not been able to find much on him, when he left the family and mover to another place. It seams like that he left because of hard feelings. Could you help me and give me some history on Israel born about 1747 in Frederick, Montgomery, Penn. died 15 Dec 1838 Married Catherine Garber. Maybe his children’s spouses. What child of Israels do you come through? What can I do to help you? Much Thanks Edwin Bigler

  3. My father’s name is George Bigler Parkes. He passed away a decade ago, but was raised as a Mormon in Nephi, Utah.

  4. Thanks Carl, Jacob G Bigler started Nephi, Utah and was the mayer of it. Who brought in the Bigler name to your family. Sometimes the maiden name was to a child. Is there any help I can give to you. Thanks again, Edwin Bigler oldboo@comcast,net

  5. Thank you for your note. Jacob G Bigler started the Nephi town and was the mayer for a while. Where did your dad get his middle name? Is there any help I can give you? Thanks Edwin Bigler

  6. My father is Omer Bigler, his father was William Bigler from Indiana and Texas. I don’t know much about the family and am not sure if I am related at all. Any insight would be greatful.

  7. Edwin,
    Thank you for all of your hard work. I have been interested in tracing my pedigree for some time now and you have given me a good insight and a great start.

  8. Hi, I am the 8th generation granddaughter of Hans & Anna Bigler, 7th generation granddaughter of Mark & Catherine Bigler, the 6th generation granddaughter of Henry & Elizabeth (Bigler) Eller, 5th generation of Rev. Jacob & Mary Magdalene (Eller) Garber. Wow, think I have this all right now. Would love any further information. thank you

  9. Hola…Soy de Paraguay, quiero saber si tengo algo que ver con esta familia..mis bisabuelos se llaman Hans Bigler y Olinda Carolina Bigler Sholler que llegaron aca entre los años 1910 al 1915 provenientes de Berna, Suiza…gracias..

  10. I’m 24 and from Canton, Ohio–but I moved to Auburn, Alabama 3 years ago. My paternal grandfather was Darwin Bigler, 1926-1997, and his father was Edward Stanley Bigler, 1892-1981. That’s as far back as I’ve gotten thus far. Thank you for your research. I’m just guessing from your information that since we’re from Ohio, that I could possibly be descended from Israel Bigler. I’m going to have to keep looking for more information, but I certainly also would love to find out if their were any relations to Governors John and William Bigler, as that would be quite interesting.

  11. Hi, my great grandmother was a Bigler and a descendent of Israel, ancestor of the Baptist Biglers of Western Pennsylvania and the Church of Brethren Biglers of Ohio and Indiana. I live in Indiana and am in my 60’s but do remember my great grandmother. She was born in 1875 and died in 1959. Her husband (born in 1879) lived until 1968. My cousin has pictures of both of them and says that there is a book about the Bigler family at the Nappanee Library in Elkhart County, IN. She has promised to send me all the pictures and information she has. There are still Biglers in Elkhart & Kosciusko County, Indiana as well as their spouses, Garbers, Mauers & Brumbaughs.

  12. Thank you so much for your hard work and research. I have lots of information about Indiana Biglers but am just starting to research the brothers and sisters of my grandparents & great grandparents.

  13. Hi Edwin, I believe we are the generation from Michael. He would have been 5th generation back. I really appreciate all the hard work you have done. I am wondering if you have any information on Michael?

  14. Dear Edwin,

    I believe I am your first cousin, that is if you are the son of Ed Bigler whose father was Louis Burtran Bigler. Do you remember me- Beverly? I really enjoyed reading your history of Marx.

    I do have an interesting story to tell you regarding Israel Bigler. I have been writing my father’s history (Oril David Bigler) and was doing some research on Marines in China when I happened upon a site of 1920 memorabilia of China Marines. There I found a picture of an envelope with a Chinese post mark addressed to L Bigler, Gettysburg, Darke County, Ohio. I did a little research and discovered that one of the descendants of Israel Bigler, Cyrus Bigler lived in Darke County. I found Cyrus’ obituary and found a lovely turn of the century picture of Cyrus and his family. Then I found a section on Cyrus in a historical record of Darke County written in 1900-, Cyrus’ father was named Moses Bigler. Moses is the son of David Bigler. David is the son of Israel Bigler. Cyrus had a son, Harvey Earl Bigler and a grandaughter, Bernice, who both died in Gettysburg. I assume the envelope I discovered was addressed to a member of this household. Quite a coincidence don’t you think?

    I have pictures of the farm called Mauer where Marx and his family lived at the time he emigrated to America. It is thought that some of the buildings on this farm were built by the Bigler family. If you are interested let me know and I can email them to you.

  15. I am come from the Indiana Church of the Brethren Biglers. You have filled in some details for me. Thank you.

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