Editor's note:The following is excerpted from the exhaustive book "The Bordner and Burtner Families and their Bortner Ancestors in America," by the late Howard W. Bortner, who writes:
This work is dedicated, as a memorial, to the entire family, living and dead and yet to be born, including wives and husbands from other families.
Howard W. Bordner
Before 1740 Jacob received a Warrant from the Proprietors to buy 160 acres of land in Earle Township, Lancaster County, for about 25 pounds. He probably occupied this land as a tenant on a rental basis while he undertook to pay for it, as was the usual custom. In 1743 a Patent (Deed) for this property was given to somebody else, probably because Jacob had not made the required payments to obtain title for himself. These facts are found in the Bureau of Land Records of The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg. In one of these records Jacob's name was misspelled "Burtner," but in another place the correct spelling was shown.
Not long thereafter on July 14, 1746, Jacob voluntarily enlisted in a force of 400 men raised in the Pennsylvania Colony to be employed, with troops from other colonies and British Regulars,to invade Canada. This was during King George's War, one of several French and Indian Wars that finally resulted in conquering Canada for the British in 1760. We learn from history that this Pennsylvania force was raised by the Colonial Governor over the objection of his pacifist-minded, Quaker-dominated legislature. The Pennsylvania troops went into Winter quarters in Albany in 1746. They were discharged in October, 1747, the expedition having been laid aside, although the War continued another year.
One of the muster-roles for this force in the Pennsylvania Archives, listed "Jacob Bordner," age 26, in 1746. Whether or not for the reason of that misspelling, or possibly because of an accumulation of such misspellings by English-speaking officials, Jacob changed the spelling of his family name to "Bordner" and that spelling has been used by all his descendants who carry the family name. Later some of hia nephews and grandnephews also adopted that spelling. Incidentally, we also find from the muster-role that Jacob was about two years older than stated in the "Adventure's" passenger-list - - not unusual when it meant a savings in fare for hia ocean passage.
Jacob was released from military service just about the time that his father died. Probably he assumed responsibility for hia brothers until they became old enough to support themselves. Hia oldest sister, Anna Maria Barbara, married a man from York County in 1748 and went there to live. It is believed that she took her two sisters with her. Their brother, George, also went to York County in the late 1750's.
Jacob married Sarah Balt, according to records of certain of his Berks County descendants, This was doubtless in the early 1750's, because their first child, a son, Jacob, was born October 23, 1754.
On April 10, 1761 Jacob was naturalized as a British citizen by the Colonial Supreme Court in Philadelphia. Their records showed hia name to be "Jacob Bordner," and hia residence in Berks County.
Shortly thereafter, on June 20, 1761, Jacob acquired land in Bethel Township, Berks County, by Patent (Deed) from the Proprietors, Richard and Thomas Penn, upon default by the person who held tho Warrant. That property is just North and East of the present Village of Bethel; it lies on both sides of the Harrisburg-Allentown Road (U. S. Route 22). It is said to be good ~limestone" land, which was prized by the Pennsylvania Dutch. It is fairly level land, although the Blue Mountain lies within sight about five miles North.
In the 1760's Jacob's Bethel farm was on the Pennsylvania frontier. Occasionally settlers in that area were killed by the Indians. During the French and Indian Wars (for which a final peace treaty was not signed until 1763), the French incited the Indians to attack the English Colonial frontier settlements. There was a line of forts along the Blue Mountain for protection of the settlers. One such fort was within sight of Jacob's house.
Jacob was too old for service in the Pennsylvania militia during the Revolutionary War, but three of his sons, Jacob Jr., John, and William, were in the militia. Although the record shows that Jacob Jr. was fined for skipping militia drills during the latter part of the war, it appears that he must have had some active service, because he was voted a pension of $40 per month in 1836 by the Pennsylvania Legislature for his war service (only about one year before he died). His name is recorded on one of the plaques to the memory of Revolutionary War soldiers in the D. A. R. Chapel at Valley Forge. After the war, Jacob Jr. held the rank of Lieutenant in the Pennsylvania Militia.
When Jacob Sr. died in 1792, he Willed his 186-acre farm to Jacob Jr., but he made a settlement with his other children by requiring Jacob Jr. to make payments to them over a period of years. That was a normal pattern of handling estates in those days. Jacob Sr. was survived by five sons and one daughter, Anna Maria Schneider. Another daughter, Barbara, had died young.
Jacob's fourth son, Daniel, remained in Bethel Township, but his three other sons, John, William and Peter, went to Lykens Valley in the Upper End of Dauphin County to the West. All of them were farmer~.
Jacob's farm in Bethel Township was passed on from father to son, generation after generation. At one point, it was divided between two sons. One part remained in the possession of descendants for four generations until 1944, when the last Bordner owner died, leaving no children.
In the 1820's one of Daniel Bordner's grandsons, also named Daniel, moved with his family to Hanover Township (the part now in Union Township) in Lebanon County, about ten miles West of Bethel. There he established an inn on the road between Allentown and Harrisburg. Later one of hia sons, Daniel T., established a general store there, and the place became known as "Bordnersville." That name still appears on some more-detailed maps - - Just East of the Indiantown Gap Military Reservation (Pa. Route 934). The inn was abandoned many years ago, and the general store was closed about 1955. Today there are only a few homes there at a four-corners; it is not on the main road; and no sign is displayed bearing the name "Bordnersville." No Bordners live there now.
Several other descendants of Daniel Bordner also settled in Lebanon County over the years. Today there are many of hia descendants in that county, and there are none of his descendants who bear the Bordner name remaining in Berks County. However, Lebanon County, as well as Berks County, is also the home of some of the living descendants of Jacob Bordner Jr.
In Dauphin County, Just to the West of Lebanon County, there are many living descendants of John and William Bordner, who settled in the Lykens Valley. Many of them came from PoweIl's Valley (Jefferson Township), where one of William's sons, Jacob, settled sometime in the 1840'8. In addition, Dauphin County is the home of a few of the descendants of Daniel Bordner of Berks County. There are no Bordners living in Dauphin County who are descended from Peter Bordner who also settled in the Lykens Valley, since all of his sons went to Ohio.