The reasons for their emigration to America can only be surmised. It could have been political, religious, or economic conditions that propelled them to our shores. Most likely it was a combination of factors. Whatever the reason, they left their home in Aarmuhle in the Prefecture of Interlaken, in the Canton of Berne, in Switzerland in the spring of 1832. Two months passed between the time they were issued their passport and the time they sailed for America. Another four months went by and Johannes B'hend purchased land for their new home in what is now Carroll County, Ohio. The hardships they endured during their travels must be left to the imagination. Suffice to say, it could not have been an easy journey.
The name of the ship on which they sailed is not known. Neither is it known at which port they finally arrived though the passport indicates that they were "bound for Baltimore". The passport, which in 1991 was in the possession of a grandson of Sophia Phend Ernest, daughter of Jacob Phend, tells us that they were natives of Aarmuhle which is an older name for the present-day city of Interlaken. It also states that they were going to the state of Ohio with the intention of settling there. This would seem to indicate that perhaps there was family or friends in Ohio.
Issued on April 3rd, 1832 the passport provides a brief description of Jean B'hend: He was fifty years old, was of average stature, five feet two inches in height. He had light hair, an open and frank countenance. He had light eyebrows, grey eyes, and a small roman nose. His mouth or lips were average. He had a round chin and a long face. There were no distinctive marks. His signature appears near the center left side of the document.
The back of the passport contains the seals and written remarks of the officials who endorsed the passport as he passed through their jurisdictions. Most of the remarks are illegible. In April 1832, he obtained the seal of the Ambassador of France in Switzerland. On June 11, 1832 there is a seal, then the words Vupour Baltimore... bound for Baltimore.
We do not know exactly when they arrived in America. I have not found them on the Baltimore passenger lists. But upon arrival, they traveled to Stark County, Ohio and on October 3, 1832 John Phend purchased land there from Christian and Susanah Best paying $420 for 80 acres in the NE 1/4 Section 6 Township 16 Range 4 (Recorded in Deed Book J page 669). The section of land in which they settled became a part of Carroll County which was formed in 1833.
The next record we have of John Phend is in May 1836 when he declared his intentions to become a citizen of the United States. The record is on file at Carroll County, Ohio in the Common Pleas Journal "A" page 211.
"John Phend, an alien came in to Court and filed his report agreeable to law thereupon the said John Phend did in open Court on solemn oath declare that it was his bonafide intention to become a Citizen of the United States and to renounce and abjure all alegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince potentate State or Sovernignty whatever particularly the Republic of Switzerland."Two years later, as recorded in Common Pleas Journal "A" page 492 in April 1838, John Phend became a United States citizen.
"John Phend, an alien came in to court and made application to become a Citizen of the United States and it appearing to the satisfaction of the Court here that more than two years ago the applicant did in the Court of Common Pleas of this County file his report and declare his intention agreeably to law, and it appearing from the testimony of Isaac Mofly a Citizen of the United States that the applicant has resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the five years last past one of which within the State of Ohio, that during that time he behaved as a man of good moral character attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same, the Court require and the said John Phend now doth in open Court on Solemn oath declare that he will Support the Constitution of the United States and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same, the Court require and the said John Phend now doth in open Court on Solemn oath declare that he will Support the Constitution of the United States and now doth absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all alegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince potentate State or Soverignty whatever particularly the Republic of Switzerland."
John Phend and his wife, Susanna, sold their land in Carroll County, Ohio on August 18, 1849. In November of that year, their son Jacob had purchased land in Taylor township, Greene county, Indiana near where his half-sister, Barbara Phend Feutz, and half-brother, John Phend, had settled. Their other daughter Margaret Phend Weiss remained in Ohio, settling in nearby Holmes County. It is at this point (1849) that John and Susanna seem to have disappeared. All of their children were located in the census records for 1850 but no record of John and Susanna has yet been found for that year. John and Susanna were not listed with any of the children.
Records in the possession of another grandson of Sophia Ernest, daughter of Jacob Phend, indicated that when Jacob moved to Marshall county in 1852 his parents, John and Susanna, lived near them. These records also give the dates of death for both John and Susanna and state that they are buried at Hepton Union Cemetery in Scott township, Kosciusko county, Indiana. A small, very worn, illegible gravemarker was located near Jacob's, but it is not known if it is that of John and Susanna. According to those family records John died on December 22, 1859 and Susanna on September 9, 1856.