Genealogy of the Kochersperger, Kochersberger, Kochensperger, Kochensparger, Kokensparger, Cochensparger, Cogansparger, Guggisberg, Guggisperg and Gugisperg families with origins in Rittershoffen, Alsace, France and the Swiss villages of Belp, Englisberg, Köniz, Niedermuhlern, Obermuhlern, Oberbalm and Zimmerwald, all in Canton Bern, Switzerland. © 2006, 2007
This website is dedicated to the Kochersperger, Kochersberger, Kochensperger, Kochensparger, Kokensparger, Cochensparger, Cogansparger, Guggisberg and Gugisperg families, all of whom share a common ancestral origin in the Canton of Bern, Switzerland, in the villages of Belp, Englisberg, Köniz, Niedermuhlern, Obermuhlern and Zimmerwald.
Guggisberg family have long recorded ancestry in the Längenberg region
just southeast of the City of Bern in Switzerland. The oldest
documentary evidence of the family is a hereditary lease agreement for
a wineyard on Gurten mountain between the Teutonic Knights of the
village of Köniz with Niklaus Guggisberg, a local farmer, dated in the
years 1366 and 1370. This document provides the earliest evidence of the
family's existence in the geographic region they can still be found
Around the year 1660 Bendicht Guggisberg, his wife
Catherine and at least one son, Hans, left Bern, Switzerland and
emigrated to the neighboring French province of Alsace, settling in the
farming village of Rittershoffen in the lower Rhine district. Alsace is
German speaking and the Guggisbergs were one of but several hundred of
other Bernese farming families that emigrated to Alsace, France and also to the
farther distant German Palatine State, also known as the Rhineland.
While in Rittershoffen,
the family's surname was initially recorded under the then correct
spelling of "Guggisperg/Guggisperger", as is evident on the occasions of the
marriage of Hans Guggisberg to Anna Sommer on June 7th, 1664 and the births of
their first two children. Thereafter, a new pastor arrived in
Rittershoffen who did not very well understand the guttural
Bernese-Swiss dialect of the Guggisberg family and wrote the name down
the way he believed to have heard it and henceforth Guggisberg became
Kochersperger. The pastor appears to have mistaken the surname with the
name of a nearby hill called "Kochersberg".
The family prospered
and expanded in Rittershoffen and surrounding villages, mostly engaging
in produce farming and in the taylor trade. Around the year 1770 the
first Kochersperger decided to find his luck in the New World following
thousands of his compatriots to Pennsylvania in North America. Johann
Martin Kochersperger, accompanied by his younger sister Maria Eva, farmed near Strasburg Township in Lancaster
County, Pennsylvania. When the American Colonies declared their independence, he joined in August of 1776 Colonel John Feree's First
Rifle Battalion and in May of 1777 became a 7th Class Private in
Captain John Slaymaker's 5th Company seeing action in various
skirmishes during the American Revolutionary War.
After the war,
Johann Martin Kochersperger relocated to the outskirts of the city of
Philadelphia to farm in what was then called Northern Liberties
Township. He died at his home in 1822. Johann Martin Kochersperger is
the patriarch of the oldest and largest group of the family in the
Between the 1820's and 1870's several more
immigrants of the Kochersperger family arrived in America, settling in
Sullivan County, PA, Oneida County, NY, New York City, the city
of Buffalo, NY, Perry County, OH, Branch County, MI, Louisville, KY and
Randolph and Jay Counties, IN. The surnames of some of these later
arrivals got changed in subsequent generations, some due to errors and
misunderstandings, others deliberately. Hence the Kocherspergers in
America spell their names not only in the original version, but also
Kochersberger, Kokensparger, Kochensparger, Cochensparger,
Kochensperger and Cogansparger.
Genealogical data may be perused at:
(please cut and paste):
© Daniel A. Guggisberg, Redondo Beach, CA, USA
e n g l i s b e r g [a t ] gm a i l [d o t] c o m
view of the villages of Englisberg and Zimmerwald in Canton Bern, Switzerland, the ancestral origin of the
Guggisberg family and the Kochersperger family, who are descended from them.
[© Photograph by Andreas Blatter, Münsingen, Switzerland]
view of the City of Bern, capital of the ancient Republic and Canton
of Bern and since 1848 also the capital of the Swiss Confederation.
Photograph dated about 1880.
Oldest historical document linked to the Guggisberg family dated in 1366 and in 1370. Niklaus Guggisberg, farmer, enters a hereditary lease agreement with the Knights of the Teutonic Order, seated in the village of Köniz, for a
wineyard on Gurten mountain. [Courtesy Staatsarchiv Bern, Urkundensammlung, Fach Köniz]
Oldest version of the Guggisberg family coat of arms, attributed to Hans Guggisberg [ca. 1500-1561], member of
Council of the Sixteen of the City of Bern. His father, Ulrich Guggisberg, was born about 1480 in the hamlet of Niederhäusern, village of Obermuhlern which is located in the nearby countryside. The above genealogical excerpt
is from S. R. Walthard, Genealogien, dated about 1820 [Courtesy Burgerbibliothek Bern, Manuskript Sammlung]
Brigadier-General Sir Frederick Gordon Guggisberg, K.C.M.G., D.S.O., R.E. - governor and
commander-in-chief of the Gold Coast and British Guyana. Photograph taken during World War I
in France in 1917 when in the rank of Colonel. [© Daniel A. Guggisberg, Redondo Beach, CA]
On the 7th June of 1664 in Rittershoffen, Lower-Rhine District, Alsace, France, Hans Guggisberg, the natural son of Bendicht Guggisberg from the Land of Bern was married to the virgin Anna Sommer, the daughter of the late Lorenz Sommer. This event marks the beginning of a new family. Marriage Register of the Protestant Church of Rittershoffen, Alsace, France.
Birth record of Johannes Guggisberg, the son of Hans Guggisberg and Anna Sommer dated 16th January 1666.
Birth Register of the the Evangelical Reformed Church of Rittershoffen, Alsace, France. As of the year 1673, upon
the arrival of a new pastor, the family's surname is henceforth being recorded as Kochersperger. The change of
the spelling of the name is due to a clerical error and misunderstanding.
Main Street of Rittershoffen, Alsace, Bas-Rhin, France - taken in about 1900. Bendicht Guggisberg, his wife Catharina and their son Hans left their home in Bern, Switzerland and settled in Rittershoffen sometimes before 1664. Due to misunderstanding and clerical error the spelling of their surname got changed around 1673 from the original Guggisberg to Kochersperger. It was from Rittershoffen in about 1770 that their descendant, Johann Martin Kochersperger and his younger sister Maria Eva departed for Pennsylvania in what was then British North-America. Between January 9th and 21st, 1945, during the Second World War, the village of Rittershoffen was completely destroyed in a fierce tank battle between the U.S. 14th Armored Division and their German adversaries of the 39th Panzerkorps. There were 31 civilian casualties.
Village scene of Rittershoffen, Alsace, France, taken around 1900.
Village scene of Rittershoffen, Alsace, France, Postoffice and Grocery Store of Leon Götzmann, taken around 1920.
Old village center with the old cemetery of Rittershoffen, photographed in the late 1930's or early 1940's.
This entire section of the village was completely destroyed in early January 1945.
[Courtesy of Marguerite Ravez, née Lenig, France]
Gray's Ferry Inn, also known as Kochersperger's Hotel and Sans Souci, located on Darby Road in Philadelphia. The property was owned for many years by the Kochersperger family of Philadelphia. The photograph shows the residence of the innkeeper and was taken approximately in 1870. The actual inn was a few yards' distant on the side of the road.
Kochersperger's Hotel, also known as Sans Souci and Gray's Ferry Inn as it appeared in August 1864. The aquarell by David J. Kennedy depicts the actual inn. The innkeeper's residence was a few yards' distant further down closer to the water's edge of the Schuylkill River. Neither structure survives.
[Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Historical Society in Philadelphia ©]
Martin Henry Kochersperger, businessman and innkeeper of Philadelphia, PA. Martin Henry Kochersperger
was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania on November 1st, 1779. He died in Philadelphia on June 12th 1859.
He was interred at St. James PE Church burial ground in Kingsessing, Philadelphia. The portrait is dated about
1830's to 1840's, possibly earlier. [Courtesy of Jane Kochersperger, Washington DC]
Civil War commemorative document of Josiah M. Kokensparger / Cogansparger, who perished
at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 2nd, 1863. Josiah was the son of Georg Kochersperger, an immigrant
from Reimerswiller, Alsace, France and of Catharina E. Cranmer. He was born in Bradford County,
Pennsylvania on March 13th, 1845. [Courtesy of Mr. Russel Cogansparger, Elmira, NY]
Captain Charles Kochersperger [center, bearded with a pipe], 71st Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, Company F - taken in August 1861 in Washington DC. Charles Kochersperger was born in Philadelphia, PA on February 8th 1826, the son of Charles Kochersperger and of Jane McDonnell. He owned and operated Blood's Penny Post, a private mail carrier service. Charles Kochersperger died in Philadelphia on December 26th, 1867 and was buried at Odd Fellows Cemetery.
Famous Kochersperger stamp from Blood's Penny Post, a private mail
service owned and operated by Charles Kochersperger [1826-1867],
dated about 1859. The company was eventually shut down by a ruling
of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Tombstone of Daniel William Kochersperger at Mount Vernon Cemetery in Philadelphia, PA.
Daniel William Kochersperger was born in Philadelphia on November 10th, 1820, the son
of Daniel Kochersperger and of Margaret Ulrich. He died on December 20th, 1862. Also
buried at the same spot is his wife, Mary Ann Engelmann who died in Philadelphia on
August 20th, 1899.
William Silvy Kochersperger, magistrate of Philadelphia, PA. William Silvy Kochersperger was
born in Philadelphia in March 1843, the son of Daniel William Kochersperger and of Mary Ann
Engelmann. He died in Philadelphia on September 7th, 1907 and was interred at Mount Vernon
Election campaign ribbon for magistrate of Philadelphia of the
Republican party of William Silvy Kochersperger, dated 1900.
Captain Stephen Morris Kochersperger, U.S. Army. Stephen Morris Kochersperger was born in
Philadelphia, PA on December 19th, 1872, the son of William Silvy Kochersperger and of
Rebecca Ann Haines. He graduated in 1896 from West Point and embarked on a distinguished
military career. He died in Philadelphia on January 3rd, 1916 and was interred at Arlington
National Cemetery in Alexandria, Virginia.
Wedding announcement of Captain Stephen Morris Kochersperger to
Nora B. Baker, Chicago Tribune, society page, October 20th, 1902.
Daniel H. Kochersperger was born in Philadelphia, PA in September 1851, the son of Daniel William Kochersperger
and of Mary Ann Engelmann. He died in Chicago, IL on April 9th, 1907 and was interred at Oakwoods Cemetery.
George William Kochersperger was born in Philadelphia, PA on November 11th, 1847, the son of
Daniel William Kochersperger and of Mary Ann Engelmann. He died in Philadelphia, PA on
December 11th, 1911 and was interred at Mount Vernon Cemetery.
Edmund Stanley Kochersperger, prominent tax attorney in Washington, DC. Edmund Stanley Kochersperger
was born in Philadelphia, PA on March 31st, 1883, the son of Hiram Miller Kochersperger and of Rosabel
Knorr Givin. He died in Washington, DC on September 7th, 1952.
Tombstone of Samuel A. C. Kochersperger at Mount Moriah Cemetery in Philadelphia, PA.
Samuel A. C. Kochersperger was born in Philadelphia on May 7th, 1824, the son of Henry
Kochersperger and of Elizabeth Deshong. He died in Philadelphia on June 28th, 1904.
Also interred in the same spot is his first wife, Mary E. French who died in Philadelphia
on November 15th, 1859.
Elizabeth Deshong Kochersperger, wife of Nelson Wanamaker, photograph dated about 1860. She was born in Philadelphia, PA on February 13th, 1818, the daughter of Henry Kochersperger and of Elizabeth Deshong. About in 1838 she was married to Nelson Wanamaker, a brickmaker. Their eldest son, John Wanamaker [born 1838] was the founder of Wanamaker's Department Stores of Philadelphia, New York and Paris. Elizabeth Deshong Kochersperger Wanamaker died in Philadelphia on June 27th, 1881 and was interred at Mount Vernon Cemetery.
John Wanamaker, son of Elizabeth D. Kochersperger and of Nelson Wanamaker, photograph dated March 6th, 1893. John Wanamaker was born in Philadelphia, PA on July 11th, 1838. He is the founder of Wanamaker's Department Stores of Philadelphia, New York and Paris. In 1889, President Benjamin Harrison appointed John Wanamaker as Postmaster General of the United States, an office he held until 1893. John Wanamaker died in Philadelphia on December 12th, 1922 and was interred at Saint James the Less Episcopal Church burial ground.
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© 2006-2010 BY DANIEL A. GUGGISBERG, REDONDO BEACH, CA, USA
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