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
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.