Dr. Nikitas J. ZervanosSummer 2018 - Vol. 13, No. 2

Descendants of General Edward Hand
Lancaster Patriot, Military Officer, Physician, and Surgeon

Nikitas J. Zervanos, M.D.
Director Emeritus, LGH Family Medicine Residency Program

Editor’s Note: The last issue of the Journal contained a carefully researched and fascinating narrative by Dr. Nikitas J. Zervanos about the life and impact of General Edward Hand.*

When he submitted that article, Dr. Zervanos indicated that he did not yet have the full story of General Hand’s descendants and his estate. Having carried out the requisite research, Dr. Zervanos has provided the following interesting narrative, which completes an important part of Lancaster’s history. We are happy to help provide as complete a record as possible.

Edward and Kitty (Catherine) had eight children, five daughters and three sons. During his time in the military, Hand managed to get home often enough to father three daughters, Sarah (1775-1850), Dorothy (1777-1862), and Katharine (1779-1791), and one son, John (1782-1807). Born later were Jasper Yeates (1784 -1828), Mary (1786-1880), Margaret (1789-1800), and one more son, Edward, born on January 19, 1792.

Sarah, Dorothy, Mary, John, Jasper and Edward were still alive after Kitty died in 1805. The general left behind considerable debt, and died intestate (without a valid will). The children were saddled with managing his affairs, and had to sell nearly everything including the plantation, undoubtedly placing a great deal of stress on his survivors. Tragically, amid all this turmoil, their son John, just 25 years old, was found dead on the second floor of Rock Ford from a self-inflicted gunshot in 1807. It was just five years after his father had died, and three years after his mother. The plantation was sold on July 14, 1810, to William Montgomery for 5,000 pounds. Edward died in 1812 at age 20, while overseeing the sale of cargo on a merchant ship in Cuba.

Sarah was born on December 8, 1775, and died October 21, 1850. She married Samuel Bethel III, but they had no children. Mary never married, and died in her 90s in New Haven, Connecticut.

Only Dorothy (1777-1862) and Jasper Yeates (1784 -1828) had children. Dorothy married Edward Brien (1769-1816), an ironmaster, and they had five children, including Sarah Brien Rogers, who was notable because Sarah’s daughter, Catherine Brien Rogers, (1831-1902) married Dr. John L. Atlee Jr. (1830-1885), a highly regarded physician and the son of John L. Atlee (1799-1885), one of the most prestigious physicians of his time in America. He was a co-founder of Lancaster’s and Pennsylvania’s medical societies, and the president of the American Medical Association in 1882. This would make Catherine the great-granddaughter of General Edward Hand. They had eight daughters and three sons, none of whom became physicians.
Jasper Yeates Hand graduated from Princeton University and the Philadelphia Medical College after his father died in 1802. He moved to Chillicothe, Ohio, where his father was granted land for his role in the revolution. He then moved to nearby Hillsboro, Ohio, in 1809 where he had a partnership practice with Dr. George Smith, which included an apothecary. After George Smith died in 1811, Jasper Hand married George’s wife, Phebe (born 1790?), and they had seven children. Soon after their marriage, he served in the War of 1812 as a rifleman and later as a surgeon. Before his discharge in 1814, he reached the rank of brigadier general of the Highlands Militia.

Although he had a very busy practice, Jasper Hand made little money, as many of his patients paid him with produce raised on their farms. In 1825, he took on a partner, Dr. Jacob Kirby, who had just graduated from medical school. Sadly, Jasper died of consumption in 1828, a month or so after his last child, Molly, was born. Jacob Kirby married Jasper’s widow Phebe, and took responsibility for the Hand family, including their seven children, ranging in age from one month to 13 years. Their firstborn, John, became a physician and settled in Pittsburgh. Phebe died in 1850.

* Zervanos NJ. General Edward Hand; an extraordinary Lancaster patriot, military officer, physician, and surgeon. J Lanc Gen Hosp. 2018 (Spring); 13 (1): 22-26.


1. Ellis F, Evans S. History of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Everts & Peck, Philadelphia, 1883, p. 45.

2. Craig, MW. General Edward Hand, Winter’s Doctor, Rock Ford Foundation, Lancaster, PA, 1984, pp. 17, 100, 106-109.

3. Smith, Charles, Esq., Intestate, Edward Hand, Lancaster County Archives, Lancaster County Archives, 1803-1805, March 25, 1805, pp. 312-313 and July 31, 1805, p. 396, Lancaster County Government Offices, Lancaster, PA.

4. Edward Hand Reunion and Genealogy Collection, LancasterHistory.org, Lancaster, PA. Call number: MG-116, Folder 2, pp. 3,7 and Folder 3 (Chronology), 1805-1984.

5. https://www.geni.com/people/Dr. Jasper-Hand/600000001894904939