21. Johann Dietrich Hafner

I present the profile below on our 5x-great-grandfather. I found it on the internet, written by a Charlie Heavner; I give him full credit. I saw no need to “re-invent the wheel” when a perfectly good one already exits.


Pioneer, Johann Dietrich Heffner, Emigrant from Palatinate in Germany, landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 20, 1744, on the ship, Phoenix, and made his oath of Allegiance this day. The Palatinate in Southwestern Germany was a province ruled over by a Prince having a certain royal prerogatives and called a “Court Palatinate”. This Prince, as lord of his domain, exercised royal power, held imperial prestige, and reigned in surroundings of regal splendor. Lying just west of the Rhine, between Mainz and Karlsruhe, it is one of the choicest, richest, and most fertile realms in all Europe. It was then, and ever has been, the coveted pearl of great price in that undulating borderland between France and Germany. Old Heidelburg was the abode of proud Princes and Princes’ sons. Johann Dietrich Heffner’s arriving is authenticated in Volume I, Page 365, and Column II, Page 374, of the Pennsylvania German Pioneers, by Ralph Strassburger and William Hinke. It reads, “Phoenix, 1744, the Foreigners whose names are underwritten, imported in the Phoenix, William Wilson, Captain, from Rotterdam and last from Cowes, did this day take the foregoing Oaths to the Government.”

The first of the Heffner name to settle in this section are thought to be two brothers, Dietrich and George. George settled in what is now Catawba County and Dietrich settled on Rock Dam Creek about four miles west of present day Lincolnton, NC. It is believed that Dietrich Heffner was born in the year 1723 in Germany. He was married to Elizabeth (thought to be “Farmer”) in the year 1742 when he was 19 years old. It is known by the court records that Dietrich had arrived here and had built his home prior to June 21, 1766. Elizabeth died after 1790. Dietrich died in 1787.

The name Heffner or Heavner is a German dialect word meaning potter and is still standard Pennsylvania German. Reference H.J. Young, Research, The Historical Society, York, Pennsylvania.

Dietrich Heffner settled in present Lincoln County, North Carolina, by 1766, if not much earlier. On June 21, 1766, one “teeter Havener, Blacksmith,” purchased three hundred acres of land on Fisher’s Creek from Daniel Warlick and his wife, Maria Barbara Warlick. The deed was registered in Mecklenburg County since Lincoln County was not formed until 1779. Fisher’s Creek, named for Nicholas Fisher, was changed to Howard’s Creek. The Pioneer Nicholas Fisher was scalped by the Indians in the eighteenth century. Dietrich Heffner had previously settled on the land for the description of the land includes “the said Teeter Heavners house”. Perhaps Heffner had met Daniel Warlick in old Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, (then Philadelphia County) and Warlick had helped him get started near his mill. In the deed which was conveyed to Heffner it is said that he was a blacksmith and this would have been a valuable addition to the Warlick settlement on the Catawba frontier. (Mecklenburg County Deeds, Charlotte, NC, Deed Book 4, Page 66.). Dietrich Heffner no doubt settled in Lincoln County before 1766. The deed in 1766 from Daniel Warlick; a land grant on April 29, 1768 and the purchase of the land for the Schoolhouse Church on July 5, 1768 prove that he permanently settled in Lincoln County, NC by 1766. 1768 land grant is mentioned in deed on October 21, 1768 when he sold this land to Henry Helderbrand. (Mecklenburg County Deeds, Deed Book 4, Page 884 and the Deed for the SchoolHouse Church, Mecklenburg County Deeds, Deed Book 4, Page 437.) If the Revolutionary War pension statement of his son is correct, the family was in Lincoln County ten years earlier. Nicholas Hafner said he was born in Tryon County, NC in 1756. Since Tryon County was not formed until 1769 the place of birth must have been in Anson County from which Tryon County was formed. (Nicholas Hafner’s Pension Papers, National Archives, Washington, D.C.) Dietrich Heffner was definitely of German descent. He settled in the German settlement around Daniel Warlick’s Mill and the Schoolhouse Church which was known as the Warlick settlement. The land he bought from Daniel Warlick and the lands he owned when he died were along Howard’s Creek on the branch known as Rock Dam Creek where he built a mill and a dam. The creek to this day is called Rock Dam Creek.

Dietrich Heffner was probably of Lutheran Faith. Along with five other men who had settled in Lincoln County: Daniel Warlick, Frederick Wise, Urban Ashebranner, Peter Statler and Peter Summey purchased from Matthew Floyd on July 15, 1768, a fifty acre tract land on Lincoln County, then Mecklenburg County, for the use of a church meeting house, school house and other buildings for the promotion of religion and learning…including a school house there on built. On January 9, 1774, Nicholas Warlick, Frederick Wise, Urban Ashebranner, Peter Statler, Peter Summey and Teter Hafner conveyed this land to the two United Congregations of Lutheran and Calvinist (Reformed). The two congregations of this deed are the Daniel’s Lutheran and the Daniels Reformed Churches. They were known as the School House Church until 1830 when the name was changed to Daniel’s Church.

The only signature found of Dietrich Heffner is affixed to a pledge he made in 1787 which is self explanatory and reads as follows, “July 25, 1787, I do hereby promise to pay upon my honor that if there is a pulpit made in the meeting house in Lincolnton in one year from this date that I will pay the joiner five pounds when the work is completed.” It was signed in German. This obligation was paid for by his administrators. It is thereby presumed that the pulpit was made. On the outside fold of the jacket or wrapper containing receipts supporting vouchers in the settlement of the estate of “Diedter Heffner” that Clerk of Court wrote “Dierk Hevener”.

Dietrich Heffner probably died in April 1788 for at the April Session of the Lincoln County Court of Pleas and Quarter Session, Elizabeth Hafner who was his widow relinquished her right of administration of the estate of “Deter Hafner” deceased, to her sons, Jacob and Abraham Hafner. They had previously qualified as administrators of their fathers estate on January 8, 1788. Deter was alive on July 25, 1787 and was deceased on January 8, 1788. His family probably began the settlement if his estate in 1788. (Lincoln County Court Records, Lincolnton, NC, April 1788, Office of the Clerk of Court. “Settlement of the Estate of Tetrich Havener, Deceased, January 1794. Papers filed in the Clerk of Court’s Office, Lincolnton, NC).

Dietrich Heffner did not leave a will. It is known that he had six sons who are mentioned in two deeds at Lincolnton, NC. In a Deed, dated October 14, 1800 and in another Deed dated April 10, 1813, Jacob Hafner, Abraham Hafner, Martin Hafner, Nicholas Hafner, Fredrick Hafner, and Daniel Hafner are called the six sons of Deter Hafner. On October 14, 1800, the six sons made an arrangement whereby Jacob Hafner purchased 247 acres of his fatherland on Howard’s Creek from his five brothers. The important phrase in this deed describes the heirs of Dietrich Heffner: “the said Warlick conveyed to Deter Havener, deceased, he dying intestate and aforesaid land falling to his six sons, to wit: Jacob, Abraham, Martin, Nicholas, Frederick and Daniel Havener.” (Deed Book 30, Page 160, Lincoln County). On April 10, 1813, Jacob Hafner sold a tract of land which belonged to his father to Lawson Henderson of Lincoln County. In this deed, it is recorded that Deter Hafner, deceased, left about 500 acres of land on Howard’s Creek, joining Anthony Horse, Adam Reep, and John Houser. He died without a will and this land by law descends to his six sons, viz.: Jacob, Abram, Martin, Nicholas, Frederick and Daniel Hafner.” (Deed Book 26, Page 86.). There was at least one daughter since the 1790 Census Lists Elizabeth Heffner and an additional free white female.

The site of the first Heavner settlement is located near the Silas Hauss home. The Hauss home has burned but the chimney is still standing. His daughter, Mrs. Beulah Hauss Carpenter, owns the old Hauss homeplace. Across the Rock Dam Creek from the Hauss home is where Dietrerich Heffner first settled. Mr. Hauss stated to me that he had always been told by Mr. Dan Reep of the exact location. Near the home of Dietrich he built his mill on the creek. The entrance to the mill faced West. Large rocks still rests beside the mill race where the mill wheel., which was undershot, was supported. Portions of the rock dam are clearly seen on each side of the creek by the dam was torn down many years ago. The site of the first Heavner cemetery is across the creek and near two tenant houses. In all probability, Dietrich and Elizabeth are buried there.

State of North Carolina

County of Mecklenburg

This indenture made the 21st day of June in the year of our lord, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty six (1766). Between Daniel Warlick, Planter and Maria Barbara Warlick, his wife, of the county of Mecklenburg and providence of North Carolina of the one part and Teeter Heavner of the county and providence aforesaid, Blacksmith, of the other part. That the said Daniel Warlick and wife Maria Barbara Warlick, his wife, in hand paid by the said Teeter Heavner at and before the unveiling and delivery here of the receipt whereof they both acknowledge and discharge the sale to Teeter Heavner and his heirs forever. They, the said Daniel Warlick and Mary Barbara, his wife, hath given, granted and bargained, released and confirmed and by these present doth give Teeter Heavner on track or parcel of land containing by estimation three hundred acres more of less lying and being in the county of aforesaid on both sides of Fisher’s Creek the said three hundred acres of land was granted to the said Daniel Warlick by patent bearing the date of the 3rd of April, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Fifty Two (1752) and bounded as follows: Beginning at a Red Oak thence East 72 poles to a Red Oak in Samuel Wilson’s line thence along his line North 162 poles to his corner Hickory thence South 60 and East 40 poles along Wilson’s line to a White Oak thence North 20 and East 54 poles to a White Oak thence North 65 and West 20 poles to a White Oak thence South 90 and West 200 poles to a Red Oak in the line of another Oak and thence to the beginning including the said Teeter Heavner’s house. The said Daniel Warlick and Maria Barbara, his wife, their heirs, executors, administrators of assignees forever to have and to hold the said three hundred acres of land and premises with all the said land to him the said Teeter Heavner, his heirs, and assignees forever. The said Daniel Warlick and Maria Barbara, his wife, their heirs, executors, administrators doth and forever will, warrant and defend a good sufficient and lawful right in the bargain of sale made between the said Daniel Warlick and the said Teeter Heavner, his heirs and assignees forever and to warrant the land and premises clear and free from all manner of encumbrances whatsoever and from the just claim or claims of any person or persons whatsoever by these present to him the said, Teeter Heavner, his heirs, executors, administrators or assignees forever in witness whereof the said Daniel Warlick and Maria Barbara, his wife, hereunto set their hand and seal the day and year written above.

Signed, Sealed and delivered in the presence of:

William Sims Daniel Warlick (Seal)

John Reinhardt Maria Barbara Warlick (Seal)

Rufus Preslmor January Term 1767

Ludwig Whitner North Carolina

Mecklenburg County: This is to certify that the indenture was proved in open court and recorded in the Clerk’s Office according to Law.

Robert Harris, CC

Deed Book #4, Page 66, Mecklenburg County

Deed to Teeter Heavner from Daniel Warlick

Know ye by these present that we Jacob Heavner and Frederick Heavner who are firmly bound to Elizabeth Heavner, widow of Deitrich Heavner, do pay the final sum of three hundred pounds of money of North Carolina for the payment of which sum to the said Elizabeth Heavner, her heirs and executors and for this consideration we bind ourselves and our heirs to jointly provide and set our hand and seal the 7th of April 1795.

Whereas Deter Heavner died without making a will leaving valuable tracks of land on which he had lived situated and being in Lincoln County lying on Howard’s Creek and joining the land of Adam Reep and others, we do obligate ourselves to the widow of Deter Heavner in that she is entitled to her dowry rights from the said estate during her lifetime and whereas the said Elizabeth Heavner is willing to relinquish her dowry rights provided a satisfactory allowance can be made for her yearly during her life and whereas the said Jacob Heavner and Frederick Heavner consent and are willing to provide a proper home for the said Elizabeth Heavner and to make such allowances and maintain in lieu of her dower rights as shall be satisfactory to her. The conditions of the above obligation is such that if the said Jacob Heavner and Frederick Heavner doth permit the said Elizabeth Heavner to have a convenient and comfortable lodging in the dwelling house upon said place and further provide for her at said dwelling place wit: Sixty bushels of corn, twenty five bushels of wheat, forty weights of brown sugar, six weights of tea, two bushels of salt, sixty weights of beef, and sufficient quantity of hay to feed two cows during winter and place two hogs at her use and have a small portion of ground for a garden. Make use of peaches and apples and other fruit as may be necessary for drying, And the said Elizabeth Heavner is allowed one quarter of an acre of land yearly for the purpose of sowing flax upon the place. The time agreed upon for the bond and conditions thereof to take place the fifteenth of July 1796 and do so annually from and to the said periods during the life of said Elizabeth Heavner. The grain mentioned to be delivered as soon as the season for same will permit. The said Elizabeth Heavner shall give at least ten days notice if the above conditions are not met.

The above mentioned Jacob Heavner and Frederick Heavner shall faithfully, truly, and punctually comply with all the above conditions and the bond will remain in full force forever.

Signed, Sealed and Delivered in the presence of:

Wallace Alexander Jacob Heavner (His Mark) Seal

John Reinhardt Frederick Heavner (His Mark) Seal