PERKEY, Christian, of Fayette Co PA

1. Christian Perkey (probably not Berkey[1]) was born ca 1732 in Canton Bern, Switzerland. He died 29 Aug 1801 in Saltlick Township, Fayette County, Pennsylvania.[2] Christian was married to Mary Magdalena Mueller. She was born 1747 in Mid-Kenheim, Prussia, and died 21 Sep 1827.

There was a Berkey family in Somerset Co PA as early as 1776.[3] Many of the given names in this family resemble the names in the family of Christian and his wife, Mary Magdalena Mueller, yet as I study gedcoms and other records, [4] It seems to me that there is no close connection. This has been confirmed by a source which considers Christian Berkey the earliest known representative of his branch in America: William Albert Berkey and Ruth B. Reichley, The Berkey Book, 2nd Ed., R.B. Reichley, 1995, page 620.[5]

All of the records I have found for Christian’s family go back to Saltlick Township, Fayette Co PA. For example, “Salt Lick Township History” at the Fayette County genweb site says the following: “Many pioneers settled in Salt Lick from eastern Pennsylvania (Somerset County and other counties) and from Maryland. They came as early as the Revolutionary war – some earlier. [First listed is] Christian Perkey, lived on Indian Creek near the north line of the township and partly into Westmoreland county. Perkey had sons named Daniel and Christian.”[6] An additional detail is given in the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Quarterly, Pittsburgh, PA, Nov. 1977, Vol. 4 No. 2, p.48… “Christian Perkey… built the first mill along Indian Creek about 1780.” Franklin Ellis wrote, “Concerning some of the pioneers but little can be said. They removed from the township more than half a century ago and the bare record of their having lived in Salt Lick alone remains. To that class belonged Christian Perkey. He made early and noteworthy improvements on Indian Creek near the north line of the township, his lands being partly in Westmoreland county…. Perkey had sons named Daniel Perkey and Christian Perkey and a few other children but none of their descendants are left in the county.”[7]

Christian and Mary Magdalena Perkey had their children christened at the Good Hope Lutheran Church from 1774 to 1784. Christian appears on a members’ list for the church in 1796.[8]

The “first church-book” of Good Hope Church, Fayette Co PA, lists five children for this couple and many of the children of the sons.

2. Daniel PERKEY. Born on 3 Dec 1774 in Fayette Co PA. Daniel died in Fryburg, Holmes Co OH, on 28 Mar 1848; he was 73. 1800 census: Saltlick Twp, Fayette Co PA, Daniel Perky: 10010/10100. 1810 census: Saltlick Twp, Fayette Co PA, Daniel Perkey: 11010/31010. 1820: Green Twp, Columbiana Co PA, Daniel Perky: 310101/113100. Good Hope Church, Back Creek, Fayette Co PA, confirmed 1 Jun 1800. On 3 Aug 1796 Daniel married Sarah FIRESTONE in Columbiana Co OH. Born on 4 Apr 1778. They had the following children, the first three christened at Good Hope Church:

                        i.            Maria (1797-)

                        ii.            David (1799-)

                        iii.            Catherine (1801-)

                        iv.            Sarah (1804-)

                        v.            Elizabeth (1806-)

                        vi.            Daniel J (1808-)

                        vii.            Benjamin F (1809-)

                        viii.            John Firestone (1813-)

                        ix.            George W (1815-)

                        x.            Eleanor (1818-)


3. Christopher PERKEY Jr. Born on 28 Aug 1776 in Salt Lick Twp, Westmoreland Co PA. Christopher died in Bloom Twp, Seneca Co OH, on 28 Aug 1823. 1800 census: Saltlick Twp, Fayette Co PA, Christopher Perky Jr: 10100/00100, same page as Christopher Sr and Daniel. 1810 census: Donegal Twp, Westmoreland Co PA, Christian Perkey: 21010/31010, same page as brothers and Alexander Hanna. Before 1800 Christopher married Elizabeth SLAUGHTER in Fayette Co PA. They had the following children:

                        i.            Christopher (1799-)

                        ii.            Josep (1800-)

                        iii.            Catharina (1803-)

                        iv.            Heinrich (1805-)

                        v.            Amy Emylia (1809-)

                        vi.            David (1811-)

                        vii.            Bernice (ca1815-)

                        viii.            Martin (1819-)


4. David PERKEY. Born on 16 Dec 1778 in Fayette Co PA. His wife was Magdalena. 1810 census: Donegal Twp, Westmoreland Co PA, David Perky: 00020/30100; he is possibly with his brother Frederick here. Children:

                        i.            Eleanor (1803-)

                        ii.            David (1807-)


5. Frederick PERKEY. Born on 30 Jan 1782 in Fayette Co PA. Probably with his brother David in 1810 Westmoreland Co PA.


6. Julianna PERKEY. Born on 15 Sep 1784 in Fayette Co PA. Julianna died probably in Somerset Co PA, after 1830. 1810 census: Westmoreland Co PA, Donegal Twp: Alexander Hanna, 20010/00101, with her mother, and 2 brothers on the same page. 1820: Somerset Co PA, Somerset Twp: Alexander Hanna, 320001/20010. 1830: Somerset Co PA, Somerset Twp, p 92: Julianne Hannah, 0/0100001. Julianna married Alexander HANNA. Alexander died in Somerset Twp, Somerset Co PA, after 1820. They had the following children, plus an additional three sons and one more daughter:

                        i.            Daniel (1804-1881)

                        ii.            Robert (1800-)

                        iii.            Catherine (1819-1862)



© 2009, Kathy Alvis Patterson

[1] The Somerset Co PA family used Berkey; this man and his children used Perkey. Only the Good Hope baptismal records called him “Bercki.”

[2] Various gedcoms at have these dates and places for Christian and his wife, no sources given. Her maiden name is also without a clear source. This possibly comes from “Amy Vozar’s Rootsweb GEDCOM

[3] Somerset Co PA genweb site says the Berkeys were among the earliest settlers in the county, as early as 1776; History of Bedford, Somerset, and Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania: with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its pioneers and prominent men, 1884, p 547, on a list of residents, Elk Lick Twp, 1796: Christian Perkey. Also, Cassady, John C. The Somerset County Outline, 1932, p 144, Brothersvalley Twp tax assessment, 1783, Christian Perkey, 200 acres, Jacob Perkey, 300 acres. Page 159, same twp, taxables in 1784, Abraham Perkey, 2 whites, Christian Perkey, 10 whites, Jacob Perkey, 8 whites, Peter Perkey, 6 whites.

[4] From Somerset Co PA genweb site: This region had at least some settlers at a very early date. Tradition has it that very soon after the Indian title was extinguished, in 1768, a colony of some fifteen or twenty families was formed to emigrate and settle in this section, and that most of them were Mennonites. The date assigned we think too early by several years, because not a single one of the names that may be considered as being of this colony is to be found on the first assessment list, although their absence from the list would not be entirely conclusive as to the time of their coming. It is also more than likely that the Amish and not the Mennonite element predominated, and there may also have been some Brethren, or Dunkards, among them. Indeed, if we are to judge from the church affiliations of their descendants, there must have been some of the Dunkard faith. Some of these traditions even go so far as to say that it was this colony as a whole from which the name Brueders Thal, or Brothers Valley, had it origin. This we think is erroneous. Nor can we believe that this particular element came in as a colony, if we are to understand by that term that they came in a body, or at the same time. This must have come in at different times. Of these early settlers we have these names. Jacob Saylor, John Saylor (father and son), Christian Knaigey, Christian Berkey (or Perkey), Peter Fahrney (Forney), Michael Buechley, John Olinger, John Burger, John Miller. Also the Burntragers, and possibly some of the Houpts. Of these the Saylors, Fahrneys, Buechleys, Knaigeys and Berkeys may be looked on as being among the first to come, and except the Berkeys, all of these are still well known names in the county. The Berkey family in the northern past of Somerset county is not known to be of this stock, which is not known to have any representatives here. [Note: Donegal Twp, Westmoreland Co, and Saltlick Twp, Fayette Co, touch the northwestern part of Somerset County.]

[5] Original from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, digitized Apr 24, 2007.

[6] “From Nelson’s Biographical Dictionary of Fayette County.”

[7] Franklin Ellis, ed. History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia: Everts and Co., 1882, page 742. Page 486 of this book states that Christian Perkey owned 245 acres in 1787; the next page has the statement that a survey dated 1789 was made for Christian Perkey on Salt Lick Creek, “on the middle road from Cherry’s to Jones’ mill, and situated partly in Westmoreland County.”

[8] Ellis, op cit, page 749. Ellis mentions to the “first church-book,” stating that some records were transcribed from other churches’ records. Ellis says the first baptisms are for 1788 but as seen here they actually started as early as 1774. “The first date of any authentic moment is Aug. 23, 1795, when a list of communicants is given, which embraces the names of Mathias Kern… In February, 1796, the names of the Reformed members of the ‘Good Hope’ are given as follows: … Christian Perkey…”

Published on April 5, 2009 at 4:40 am  Leave a Comment  

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