Written with Bob Hostetler.
In 1738 Jakob Hochstetler and his family arrive in America, seeking sanctuary from religious persecution in Europe and the freedom to live and worship according to their Anabaptist beliefs, which include the doctrine of nonresistance. Along with other members of their church, they settle in the Northkill Amish Mennonite community on the Pennsylvania frontier between civilization and wilderness. They build a home near Northkill Creek, for which their community is named.
For eighteen years, the community lives at peace. Then, while the French and Indian War rages, the Hochstetlers’ way of life is brutally shattered. Early on the morning of September 20, 1757, their home is attacked by a party of Delaware and Shawnee warriors allied with the French. Facing certain death with his wife and children, Jakob makes a wrenching choice that will tear apart his family and change all of their lives forever.
Northkill is closely based on an inspiring true story of the authors' Hochstetler ancestors, well-known among the Amish and Mennonites. It has been documented in many publications and in contemporary accounts preserved in the Pennsylvania State Archives and in private collections.
“Based on a true happening in Pennsylvania history, Northkill is one of the finest novels of the American frontier I have ever read. Convicting, moving, evocative, vivid and more, this is a story that stays with you. The issues raised within had me examining my own faith and convictions and marveling at how well the authors linked present and past as they shared their family heritage. A novel to savor again and again.” —Laura Frantz, author of Love's Fortune
“There are few better ways to learn history than through the well-told story. Northkill is one such incredible story of my family torn asunder by massacre and kidnapping, barely patched back together by faith, fortitude, and sheer luck. Read this book if you love suspense and survival against the odds. Read this book to learn about the settling and unsettling of America at the time of the French and Indian War.
Read this book to discover how one family’s commitment to peace was tested beyond measure, whose legacy lives on in a trail of descendants who still ponder what the cost of such peaceful convictions mean for us today. Read this book!” —James Hostetler Brenneman, President, Goshen College
“A masterpiece. Northkill stole my breath and my heart. With expert skill, the authors blend nail-biting suspense, blood-pumping drama and heartbreaking history into a tale that will both haunt and inspire. A book this rich and multi-dimensional deserves to be read more than once. The second book in the series can’t come quickly enough for me!” —Jocelyn Green, author of Yankee in Atlanta
“Northkill is based on the life of the Hochstetler family. Jakob Hochstetler and his family left Europe in the late 1730’s, searching for a place where they could practice their religion in peace. They, and others like them, found that place in a small settlement called Northkill located in Pennsylvania. For many years those from the settlement lived in peace with their Indian neighbors. But with the advent of the French and Indian Wars, attacks came. Neighbors were burned out and many of the peaceful souls in the Mennonite community were killed. Hochstetler lost his wife, an infant daughter, and a son in one such attack, while he and two remaining sons were taken prisoner.
The heart-wrenching story of this family is told by descendents of the family. The book is both a history lesson from a little talked-about time in American history, as well as the story of the peace-loving Jakob Hochstetler family and their struggles to follow their beliefs while living in the savage lands of the new world.” —R. J. McKay