American Pioneer Chronicles:
Colonial Women, The Heart & Backbone of Our Nation
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Tenacious and role-bending Sarah Heidrichs was born in the Palatine village of Kresheim. Life was initially simple for Sarah’s family, but it would became ever-challenging. Sarah would marry fellow Mennonite George Schumacher and produced eight children, three of whom died in infancy. Living in fear of religious persecution the family relocated to Dutch controlled northern Rhein, converting to the Quakerism, but the persecution persisted. However, at one of their Quaker meetings, Sarah heard William Penn espousing religious freedom in the Colonies. Shortly thereafter, a determined Sarah and her family made the arduous trek from mainland Europe to London, waiting weeks in a refugee camp to ultimately board the ship “Jeffries” bound for Philadelphia. The disease-infected, arduous trip took a burdensome seven months and George died enroute. Arriving in Philadelphia in January 1686, the coldest month of the year, trail-blazing Sarah began securing land, 200 acres in Cheltenham and another 160 acres in Pennapecca. Sarah would settle her family in Cheltenham, ultimately being named Shoemakertown to honor her family, and begin attending the local Quaker Meeting. Widow Sarah, losing three children, immigrating to a foreign land, and owning land, nearly unheard for women at the time. Sarah finished her formidable life having raised and educated her remaining five children and over a dozen grandchildren. At the commanding age of seventy, avant-garde Sarah died a as fulfilled fierce pioneer woman, mother and community server.