A Hepler Connection

Week 10: #52 Ancestors – Name’s the Same

By Eilene Lyon

The older I get, the less enamored I am with celebrity culture. The names I know mostly date to the last century; about today’s stars I’m clueless. But, I’m still amused when I discover famous cousins. For example, Bette Midler is supposedly a 10th cousin on my Crandall line, or something like that.

This week’s celebrity relative is actor Rob Lowe, my 7th cousin (one of uncountable thousands). Rob’s middle name is Hepler (his mother’s maiden name). I have to climb up to my 3rd great-grandmother, Catherine Hepler, to reach this branch on my family tree. When I become a prominent author, Rob can boast about being my cousin (yeah, right!).

My 7th cousin, Rob Hepler Lowe (b. 1964). Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Our common ancestors are our 6th great-grandparents, Casper Hepler and Susanna Scheibel. They resided in Vaihingen an der Enz, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The couple, with their first two sons, arrived in Philadelphia in 1748 on the ship Patience out of Rotterdam. They settled in Upper Milford Township in Northampton County (now Lehigh), Pennsylvania.

Their four surviving sons – Jacob, Christopher, Casper, Jr., and George – all served in the Revolutionary War. Rob is descended from Jacob, and I am from Casper, Jr. down to his granddaughter, Catherine. Though much is known about Catherine’s family, we know almost nothing about her.

Memorial to Casper Hepler, Jr. for his Revolutionary War service. (Ancestry.com)

Catherine’s parents are Peter M. Hepler (the second son listed on the plaque above) and Anna Maria Wagner. They owned land in Upper Mahantongo Township, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, and belonged to St. Jacob’s (Howerter’s) Lutheran Church. They both died in 1842 and are buried in the church cemetery. She had two sisters: Salome (Hepler) Bolich (1798-1874) and Maria (Hepler) Neischwender (1808-1869).

Salome Hepler Bolich. (Ancestry.com)
St. Jacob’s (Howerter’s) Church cemetery. (Ancestry.com)

Catherine was baptized in 1811, along with Maria, but her birth date remains unknown. She married Samuel Paul about 1828 (no record) and had five children up through 1838, when she is believed to have died and been buried with her parents. However, no record seems to exist to confirm her death or burial, either. Her daughter, Mary Paul Boyer Reams, is my 2nd-great-grandmother.

The Hepler clan still owns large parcels of land in the Schuylkill/Northumberland County area. Casper and Susanna’s descendants occasionally hold family reunions in Pennsylvania. I’ve yet to explore the area, but it’s on the list.

Map of Upper Mahantongo Township from an 1875 atlas. Note the Hepler names in the upper right (pink section). Click to enlarge.

The Heplers are just one of my many German Lutheran family lines. I could (and hopefully will) spend months traversing the German countryside visiting all my ancestral villages. It’s probably much more likely than meeting cousin Rob!

Feature image: Marktplatz in Vaihingen an der Enz, Germany (Wikimedia Commons)

46 thoughts on “A Hepler Connection

Add yours

  1. I only have one famous (infamous) relative that I know of, John Doyle Lee. I’d take Rob Lowe over that.
    I was thinking about you the other day when a Ransom was in the news over in Northport. Funny though, after all of the posts I’ve read here I haven’t found a common ancestor yet. But surely? Haha.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m sorry but everything was a blur after you being distantly related to him. Love him. I’ll tape his Atkins commercials….FYI…he is one of my best irl celeb sightings. We were flying from I think Big Island to Maui and we sat behind him in the plane. Freaking out. Somewhere we have a picture of his backside as we were exiting plane

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Fun research. Best I’ve got to offer is my great-great grandfather’s brother held horses for the James boys while they robbed banks. He list the use of one arm after being shot during the robbery in Russellville, Ky.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Looking at the photos of Salome and Rob for some resemblance…maybe the nose! An aside, noticed a typo in your caption of Rob Lowe…as much as I wouldn’t mind him being a Rowe…!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, he should! Ha ha. I would suspect he has very little interest in genealogy, and certainly wouldn’t want to know how many cousins he has out there. Having adoring fans would be bad enough!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I still think The West Wing was at its best when he was in it, and all those teen movies! How did you discover the connection? Geni? Or did your paper trail just bring you to him?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree about West Wing. I was working on my project of downloading documents from Ancestry for my 4th great-grandparents and ran across a story mentioning his connection to the Heplers. So, just for fun I did a quick trace from his mother back to our common ancestors.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I have seen Rob Lowe in person. I was going into the women’s restroom in the Dayton airport and he was standing by the doorway waiting for his girlfriend to come out. I did a double take, stared at him. He smiled and tipped his ball cap to me. He was UNBELIEVABLY handsome.

    Liked by 1 person

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