By Andrew Supplee
Andris Souplis was born about 1634 in the Alsace-Lorraine Province of France. His family were Huguenots (Reformed Protestants). Huguenots were openly critical of the Catholic Church, and hostilities between these religious groups led to major civil unrest. In the 1680s, Huguenots faced heavy persecution by the French monarchy; they were forced to convert to Catholicism or become refugees. A number of Huguenots fled to Holland for safety; Andris was among them. Shortly his arrival, Andris met and married his first wife, Anneke. While Holland offered political asylum to Huguenot immigrants, they were not given full rights as citizens. Perhaps this is why Andris and Anneke soon migrated to Pennsylvania. We do not have a record of their voyage across the Atlantic but Andris and Anneke were living in New York by 1685.
Andris acquired property in Germantown in 1686 and was living there by the 1690s. He soon became active and important member of the community. When the first officials of Germantown’s General Court were elected in 1691, Andris became its first Sheriff and its Crier of the Court. He also became a successful weaver.
In 1697, he moved as a widower to Aronameck (in Kingsessing Township) on a property that fronted the Schuylkill River. Today it is a part of Bartram’s Garden. Here he met and married Gertrude, a congregant of the Wicaco Church. Andris soon began attending services there, which took place in a temporary structure. The brick edifice that still stands today was consecrated on Jun. 2, 1700. Andris and Gertrude very likely attended this ceremony. The church was christened Gloria Dei.
Later in life, Andris became a leader at Gloria Dei Church. On May 7, 1719, he was appointed to the position of church warden. Andris died at age 92 in 1726. He was buried in the Gloria Dei churchyard, just steps from where the parish hall stands today. His gravestone was still standing in 1877, though the inscription was so severely weathered that it was misidentified. Gertrude
was buried beside him in 1738, along with four unnamed children. Two of his descendants, the children of Solomon and Rebecca Suplee, were buried in an adjacent plot in 1801.
This article was excerpted from “Andris Souplis, 1634-1726, immigrant to Germantown, PA” by the author. To read the full article with references, please visit: www.preserveoldswedes.org/souplis-history.
Inscription marker reading from 1877 which confuses Andris Souplis for Adam Duey:
Adam Duey Died March y 4 1761 aged 35 and his wife 4 children
The Life and Times of Andris Souplis
In this special edition of Founders Magazine, Andrew Supplee tells us the story of his ancestor, Andris Souplis. Andris was a French Huguenot, a weaver, the first sheriff of Germantown, and the progenitor of the Supplees in America.