Wilhelm (William) Best Jr.
- Born: 30 Nov 1713, Ralatinata, Germany
- Marriage: Anna Susanna Schaeffer on 5 Sep 1732 in Pfalz Palatinate, Bayern, Germany-Prussia
- Died: 24 Nov 1762, Lehigh Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania at age 48
- Buried: St. Paul Lutheran Cemetery, Indianland, Lehigh, Northampton County, Pennsylvania
From boyhood Wilhelm planned to emigrate to America and had saved some money toward the journey when he learned that the parents of the girl he planned to marry , Adam and Anna Margaret Schaeffer, were about to emigrate to America themselves. He had not planned to marry so soon, but if he didn't, Anna would have been obliged to go with her parents to America. She did not want to go without Wilhelm, but he had to earn enough more money to make the trip. So to prevent this, they moved up the date of their marriage and then the rest of the Schaeffer family left for America. Wilhelm gave to his father in law what money he had saved towards his own trip with instructions that when Mr. Schaeffer found where he wished to settle in America, he was to buy extra land so Wilhelm and Anna could settle near her family when they eventually saved enough for their own passage. They would also need enough money for the necessities to see them through the first year until they could clear land and raise a crop. Adam Schaeffer purchased land in Lehigh Township, Bush Co., Pennsylvania. Wilhelm and Anna arrived in America on the ship Winter Galley, Sept 5, 1738,from Rotterdam, under Master Edward Paynter. Wilhelm, at age 26, arrived in the port of Philadelphia with his wife and 3 children, one who was born on the voyage. His brothers Jeremiah, George, and Nicholas were also on this ship
There were less than 100 people living in Lehigh Twp when Wilhelm received official title of his land. Wilhelm and Anna worked very hard to clear the land, fell trees, and stayed up many nights to keep the wolves away until their shelter was built. Wilhelm fought in the French and Indian War. It is said that Wilhelm's health was seriously undermined by all the hardships.
Wilhelm's land was near an old Indian trail from the North Branch of the Susquehanna River, not far from the Lehigh Gap. It led to Shamokin, an Indian town, now Sunbury, and on to what was later the site of Bethlehem and Easton, PA. Lehigh Twp suffered greatly during the Indian invasions and was virtually abandoned in 1755/56, the inhabitants seeking refuge in Bethlehem and Nazareth. A stockade was built to protect the town from Indians.
Wilhelm and his family were Lutherans and members of the Union Congregation of St Paul's near the village of Cherryville in Lehigh Twp, founded about 1750; it was then called Indianland Congregation at the Blue Mountains on the Lehigh.
Wilhelm died without a will, and William Jr bought the land and was to pay his siblings their share within a year. However, it seems the homestead later went to his brother Henry and William Jr moved to western PA. The Best home is said to have been burned twice, once by Indians and later by the Hessians. The Bests followed the German custom of double naming the children, with John being a favorite for the sons, Maria and Anna for the daughters. The Best families used John as the first name of all their sons for several generations although they were generally referred to by the second name.
Wilhelm and Anna had 9 children. After Wilhelm died, Anna married Peter Lobaugh and had 2 children. Wilhelm is buried in St Paul Lutheran Cemetery at Poplar Grove; Indianland Lehigh Twp, Northampton County. His death was due to complications of a severe cold.
Wilhelm married Anna Susanna Schaeffer, daughter of Adam Schaeffer and Anna Margaret Weiland, on 5 Sep 1732 in Pfalz Palatinate, Bayern, Germany-Prussia. (Anna Susanna Schaeffer was born in 1717 in Palatinate, Germany, died in 1769 in Indianaland, Lehigh Twp., Northampton County, Pennsylvania and was buried in Cherryville, Northampton County, Pennsylvania.)