Marc Chapelle and Antoine Simon:
In Search of Religious Freedom


Descendants of Isaac Martin Chapelle

Descendants of Antoine Simon







An ancient route from Finiels to Pont-de-Montvert in France, perhaps used by members of the Chapelle family. (Photographer:  Louis-Michel DESERT)



Marc Chapelle and his family left their village of Finiels in southern France in the late 1600s to avoid persecution as  protestants.  They arrived first in Switzerland (perhaps after living in the Piedmont area of Italy for a few years), and were finally permitted to settle in Germany in 1699.  Marc died there in 1733, referred to as a "Waldenser from Schmie" [Schmie is a village in Germany].  The Waldensian movement began in the middle ages, and eventually integrated into the Reformed Church.  In the time period around 1700, the term "Waldenser" in Germany was applied to all of the reformed refugees coming from southern France or the piedmont area of Savoy, regardless of whether the ancestors of these families were originally followers of the Waldenser faith.

Antoine Simon and his family lived in Arvieux, a village in the Queyras area of the Hautes-Alpes department in southeastern France, near the border with Italy.  The Queyras area was one of prime locations in southern France where the Waldensers lived.  The Simon family, like the Chapelles, was forced to leave in order to continue to practice their faith.  Their long residence in this region and association with the Waldenser community in Germany clearly suggest they were Waldensers as well.   Even if they were not originally followers of the Waldenser faith, they could certainly be considered as reformed, or Calvinists.

In Germany, the two families joined through marriage of their children.  The family formed by this union journeyed to Pennsylvania in 1751, settling in Berks County, and beginning the Schappell population of eastern Pennsylvania.  This series of web pages summarize the history of these families as they searched for religious freedom and a better quality of life.   


Table of Contents



The sources of information in the web pages that follow are listed at the bottom of each page.

I wish to acknowledge the work of a number of Schappell family researchers that have documented the family structure descending from the two brothers, Jeremie and Eberhart Chappelle.   Their work has made it very easy for new researchers such as myself to rapidly construct their own Schappell pedigrees.  Their willingness to share and help others stands as a model for all genealogists.

Above all others, Phyllis Schappell has done the most to further the family history, serving as the unofficial (or perhaps it is official) Schappell family historian.

On the Eberhart side of the family (my side), Deanna Banonis is a name I see frequently credited as the contributing researcher.   Sisters June and Carol Shapbell gathered alot of the family information from primary sources (churches, cemeteries, etc).   Bill Shapbell provided assistance and encouragement in completely this series of web pages.  Russell Shopbell, who had one of the first Schappell family websites, was my first contact in my quest for the family's history.   It was through him I became connected to the work of these other people.   I thank them all.

                                                                           Rich Thomas




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