Between 1874 and 1887, 13 families and three individuals of German (Pennsylvania Dutch) descent from the Williamsport, Pennsylvania vicinity, who were related to each other, migrated to the Dawson, Nebraska area where they formed what is called the “Pennsylvania Colony in Nebraska.” Those families included the Jacob G. Heim family (1874), John Gross and the John Sippley family (1879), the Frederick Marquardt family (1879), the Christian Wuster and David Wagner families, (1880), the John “Johnnie” Heim family and Emanuel Ulmer (1881), the John J. Heim family (1882), Henry W. Heim (1883), the John Kerr and Catherine Ulmer (widow of Martin) families (1884), the John Eckard family (1885), the William Stoltz family (1886), and Ella, Emma, and George Eckard (1887).

The ancestors of these families came mostly from southwest Germany, province of Wuerttemberg, beginning in 1804 with the voyage of the “Margaret.” The Heim family descends from brothers Christian and Jakob, who arrived in America in 1817 and settled at Blooming Grove north of Williamsport. The Blooming Grove Historical Society maintains a museum there and has extensive records on the families which settled and remained there. For information on the genealogy of the colony in Nebraska and their antecedents in Germany, contact John Fiala (e-mail
A family picnic has been held annually in August at Dawson or Humboldt since 1922. This year is 135 years in Nebraska for the colony.  A special two day celebration is planned on Saturday, August 8th and Sunday, August 9th, 2009.  Find more information of those plans on the “Annual Picnic” page.   The Pennsylvania Colony of Nebraska Historical Society was formed in 1996 and publishes a newsletter, “The Colony Penn,” three times a year. The Society’s address is 71329 638 Ave., Dawson, NE 68337