Unfortunately, we have very few records on Stephen Ulrich Sr., and those we do have often introduce more questions than they provide answers.
If you research these families and this is the first time you’ve heard of Lambsheim, you can thank our trusty retired genealogist who specializes in German records, Tom – he found this treasure trove. This is the first time this information has ever hit the airwaves!
This early drawing of Lambsheim in 1645 is likely what the town looked like when Michael Miller, Jacob Stutzman and Stephen Ulrich lived there. You can see what looks to be the same church tower in the photo below. Also note the watch tower in the city wall. You can see the gate into the city, at left and the fields outside the walls where the farmers would go to work each day. Below, the city today.
In 2002, John and Eleanor Blankenbaker traveled to Lambsheim to visit where their ancestors lived and they have made two photos, below, available for genealogy usage.
Clearly, the tower is the old part of the church.
This photo shows the watch tower which is depicted in the 1645 drawing. The Blankenbakers indicated that the date in the stone wall was from the 1500s. Stephen Ulrich, Jacob Stutzman and Michael Miller would have seen and maybe stood watch in this tower. The town is even older, dating from at least the 1300s when the first reference is found, but the Millers, Stutzmans and Ulrich families came from elsewhere in the early 1720s, roughly 1721. I have to wonder what drew people to this town at that time.
We don’t have proof positive, yet, that this is the same Ulrich family – but it’s very likely, given various pieces of evidence. What evidence, you ask? Let’s take a look.
We find Johann Michael Mueller, called Michael Miller in this document, as he is referenced by his descendants today, in Lambsheim beginning in 1721 and until 1726 where the Lambsheim records indicate that both he and Jacob Stutzman immigrate. In addition, the same records indicate that both a Johannes and Christian Ulrich immigrate on the ship, Adventure, in 1727. Unfortunately, the Family History of Lambsheim is in German, but Tom helped sort through that.
Indeed, on the same ship roster where Johann Michael Miller and Johann Jacob Stutzman are found, we also find Johannes Ulrich and Christopher Ulrich. The ship’s name is Adventure and the list made upon arrival is dated October 2, 1727. These 5 men and their families embarked on a journey that would change their lives forever, as well as all of their descendants.
In Pennsylvania, ship rosters weren’t kept until 1727 when a law went into effect that all Germans, age 16 or over, were required to take an oath of allegiance upon arrival. No oath, and you didn’t get to get off the boat – except to march to the courthouse or the magistrates to take the oath. From volume I of the series, “Pennsylvania German Pioneers” by Strassberger and Hinke:
Once again, my friend, Tom, comes to my rescue, because Heaven knows, I’m way, WAY out of my league here.
In the Lambsheim city history, I found these records, and asked Tom what they meant.
Ulrich Christoph der Alt,oo Agnes NN;beide 2.3.1723‚20.
3.1724;”wei1and Christoph U.des Alten Erben u.
Kdr”:1.Gg.Phil.,oo Marg.(lebt 1725),(1991);2.M.
Marg.oo Deschler (2282);3.Stefan (1995);4.Jo— hannes (1994)‚3o.11.1725.
2388 Ulrich Joh.,oo Susanne NN‚verkaufen Haus,15.2.27.
(1996?) ““ ‘”
2389 Ulrich Joh.‚oo Kath.NN,beide 12.11.172}‚(1997?)‚
This is from page 264, above, and on page 22, we see
Ullrich Johannes, Taglöhner‚ ebenfalls 1727 auf “Adventure” aus— gewandert; Ullrich Christoph, Taglöhner‚ ebenfalls 1727 auf “Adventure”
Christoph Ulrich, Sr. and Agnes NN of Schriesheim, Heidelberg, Baden are the parents of Johannes and Christoph, Jr. who came to America with Michael Miller and Jacob Stutzman. Stephen is their brother.
The records seem to indicate that Stephen became a citizen of Lambsheim in 1721. It also indicates there are documents related to him for the period 1664-1712.
It further indicates that Christoph Ulrich, Sr. died in 1724 and his heirs were Georg Philip married to Margaretha (left in 1725); M. Marg. married to Deschler; Stefan and Johannes. No mention of Christoph Jr.
Ulrich Stefan: 20.3.1724; 30.11.1725
Additional information from the “Purchase Protocol of the Municipality of Lambsheim:”
(C 49) for the years 1719-49. Numbers in brackets refer to the Numbers in Part D.
The sale of fields and houses. The purchases had to be done at the town hall. The corresponding data have been collected, respectively.
The above paragraph is translated by Google from German. It is the prefatory material prior to the listing of buying and selling of land in Lambsheim.
It definitely mentions Johannes Ullrich and Christoph Ullrich sailing on the Adventure.
I find nothing definitive about Stephen Ulrich departing unfortunately.
From page 22:
- Ullrich, Johannes, daylaborer, likewise 1727 on the ?Adventure? emigrated.
- Ullrich, Christoph, daylaborer, likewise 1726 on the ?Adventure) emigrated.
These lists evidently are from documents in the Lambsheim City Hall that concern the buying and selling of land. Emigrants would be usually selling land and disposing of property before emigrating if they had anything to sell.
Your crew is definitely “interesting.”
Tom, you’ve surely got that right!!!
So it looks like Stefan is the son of Christopher who died in 1724 and his wife Agnes. This is a great day!!!
Then Tom started digging a bit deeper and found the following:
According to the Lambsheim yome, noting that the bracketed numbers are reference numbers, not years:
Christoph Ullrich Sr. married Agness NN, children:
- Johann (1994)
- Stefan (1995)
- Christoph (1993)
Christoph (1993), Jr. was married to Anna Margaretha Miller:
- Children: Peter born 1720 who was a soldier in 1744
- Georg who married in 1751 to Dorothea Haack:
- Childre Elis. born 1752
- Johann Heinrich 1752
- Georg Friedrich 1758
Stefan (1995) married NN in 1716
Johann (1994) the middle one) who became a citizen in 1712, born in Schriesheim, apparently the one who came to America??
Christoph Ullrich who came to America in 1727 is obviously not Christoph Sr. who died in 1724. I would think it not probable that Christoph Jr. (1993) would appear not to be the one who came to American as he has kids who were born in 1720’s and stayed in Lambsheim.
Who were the Ullrichs who came to PA on the Adventure? Pretty complicated at best. Will be hard to determine without some better records. Schriesheim records might shed some light.
Oh NOOOooooo, this might not be our Stephen after all? Why do the records say nothing about Stephen immigrating? Was this information just omitted? And why, oh why, oh why couldn’t they have listed Stephen’s wife’s name??? The lack of a few pen strokes in 1716 means this information is forever lost to us because the church records in Lambsheim don’t exist for this period.
These Lambsheim records are so confusing and frustrating and to some extent, contradict themselves, if not directly, then by virtue of omission. I’m sure, at the time, everyone knew everyone and there was no question about who stayed and left and did what to whom and when. But nearly 300 years later, we don’t have the luxury of personal insight.
But if this isn’t the right family, then who was Christopher Ulrich who immigrated on the adventure with Johannes Ulrich in 1727? Were there three Christophers, one who immigrated in 1726 and another one in 1727 and one who remained in Lambsheim? Clearly the Christopher who immigrated didn’t leave his small children behind, did he???
If this is our Stephen, he must have taken another ship, because he is not listed on the roster of the Adventure in October 1727, nor any other ship that year or in future years. My bet, at this point, is that if this is our Stephen, and I do believe it is, then he left in 1726 with the Christopher who immigrated.
If this is our Stephen, his 1716 marriage is dually frustrating because his wife’s name isn’t mentioned. However, if he immigrated 10 years later, in 1726, with 6 children born before arrival, that means that either they had 6 children in 10 years or this wasn’t his first marriage. Six children in 10 years is one child every 20 months, which is certainly possible. That does assume that all of those children lived, which would be unusual, but again, not impossible.
It’s certainly feasible that if Stephen sold his land in 1724 and 1725, that he immigrated in 1726, before the lists of immigrants were required, or recorded. The fact that he did not take an oath of fidelity might explain why he was naturalized in 1738 and Michael Miller and Jacob Stutzman were not. They had taken those oaths in 1727.
Per the records, George Philip Ulrich left two years earlier. I wonder what happened to Georg Philip and his wife, Margaretha.
It is of note that one of the persistent family oral history stories is that Stephen immigrated with (or had, in America) two brothers, one named John and the other name not recalled.
If this is the case, then those two brothers were likely Johannes and either Christopher or Georg Philip.
Given that we do find these families co-located in Germany, and members of all three families sailed on the same ship for the colonies, I’m going to make the leap of faith here that the Ulrich family in Lambsheim is one and the same with the Ulrich family later found in Lancaster, which becomes York, County, Pennsylvania with Jacob Stutzman and Michael Miller.
Just keep in mind that this may not be an accurate leap of faith, but given the evidence, I feel that it is certainly reasonable, at least until those Schreisheim records totally upset my apple cart.
Tom has made inquiry to the City of Lambsheim for additional information, but to date, no reply has been received.
The first glimpse we have of Stephen Ulrich in the colonies is his naturalization in 1738, in Baltimore County, Maryland. Typically, Brethren declined to be naturalized, although several were naturalized in 1767, probably in order to protect their land. This could well tell us that in 1738, Stephen had not yet become Brethren, or he bent the rules because he had never taken the original oath. If he was already Brethren, perhaps he too was attempting to protect land. For whatever reason, thank goodness for this rule bending.
On page 57 of the Council of Maryland, “Commission Book No. 82,” which contains miscellaneous entries from 1733 to 1773, we find an entry that says: “Ulderey, Stephen, Planter of Baltimore county, native of High Germany, naturalized 4 June, 1738; and his children Stephen, George, Daniel, John, Elizabeth and Susanna.” (provided by Dwayne Wrightsman)
If you’re wondering why Stephen would have been naturalized in Maryland and not Pennsylvania, that’s a great question. The area of Pennsylvania where Stephen lived was disputed between Pennsylvania and Maryland, and the residents in 1738 believed they were living in Maryland.
The absolutely wonderful thing about this naturalization document is that it lists his children born in Germany. If the children had not been born in Germany, there would have been no need for them to be naturalized. It’s worth noting that additional children could have been and probably were born after arrival, especially if Stephen was around the age of 20-25 in 1716, as was his bride.
Thank goodness for this list!
We don’t know and have never discovered Stephen’s wife’s name, although family trees are full of the first name of Elizabeth and various surnames, one of which is Waggoner. No proof has ever been found of any wife’s name, to the best of my knowledge, although perhaps the Lambsheim or Schriesheim records might give up some gems with further mining.
I suspect that the genesis of the name Elizabeth Waggoner is that the Waggoner family was a neighbor to the Ulrich family both in Lancaster County (1743 land grant on Conewago) and in Frederick County in 1751. However, for Stephen’s wife to be Elizabeth Waggoner, the Waggoner family would have to be found with the Ulrich family in or near Lambsheim, Germany before immigration.
We don’t know when Stephen immigrated, but we know it’s not before 1725 and not after 1738. I would hazard a speculative guess that it was about 1726, because that’s the year that the other Ulrich men who were selling property in Lambsheim began immigrating, along with Michael Miller and Jacob Stutzman. 1726, as opposed to 1727 or after would also explain why Stephen Ulrich’s name is not found on any ship’s passenger list from 1727 forward when oaths of allegiance were required.
The Land at Conewago
We believe Stephen Jr. was born no later than 1720 based on the fact that be obtained land in 1742 in Lancaster County, PA, adjacent land of Stephen Sr.
We know that indeed, Stephen Sr. did own land before 1742, although we don’t have a land grant.
Based on secondary information, Stephen Ulrich Sr. purchased his original tract directly from John Digges, who originally settled “Digges Choice in the Back Woods,” a supposed 10,000 acre parcel near present day Hanover, PA under a Maryland land grant. Today Digges Choice includes all of Penn Township and most of Heidelberg Township in York County, along with part of Conewago, Germany and Union Townships in Adams County. This land was surveyed in 1732 but a patent was not issued until October 11, 1735.
Some of the “squatters” that had originally settled west of the Susquehanna on what were still Indian lands were attracted to Digges Choice. Digges was advertising these lands as early as 1731. The first land record given by Digges was to Adam Forney in October of 1731, but clear title couldn’t have passed at that time, so Digges gave Forney his bond upon which he identifies himself as “of Prince George’s County, Maryland,” clearly indicating that he believed this land to be located in Maryland, not in Pennsylvania. Note that Adam Furney is one of the men naturalized along with Stephen Ulrich in 1738.
The Conewago Settlement, where Stephen Ulrich Sr. lived, was also on Digges’ Choice and is now located in Adams County.
On Feb. 16, 1742, Lancaster County, PA issued warrants 7-U and 8-U for Stephen Ulrick, Junr. to take up lands west of the Susquehanna. He staked out adjoining tracts in what was then a dense wilderness on Little Conewago Creek on land adjoining that of his father according to the warrant descriptions. We know that Stephen lived there as early as 1738 when the family surname is listed retrospectively in 1770 as a founder of Little Conewago Church.
Stephen Ulrich Sr. and Stephen Ulrich Jr. both owned land in or near Digges Choice in York, now Adams County. Hanover was at the center of Digges Choice, which was laid out about 1739.
Stephen Jr.’s warrant tells us where Stephen Sr.’s land is, approximately.
Stephen Ulrich Junior of Lancaster County, 100 acres of land situate on Little Conewago Creek adjoining his father Stephen Ulrich’s land and William Hoolerd? On the west side of Susquehanne River for 15 pounds 10 shillings and yearly quit rent of one half penny sterling for every acre thereof.
Stephen Jr.’s second warrant mentions Little Conewago and Indian Run, locations we can identify today.
I’m unclear about the exact location of Stephen Ulrich Sr.’s land that he purchased from Digges. There is no warrant and no deed, but original records do need to be checked. However, we do have hints from other sources.
In addition to Stephen Jr.’s 1742 warrant, we’re very fortunate to have a 1783 deed that provides us with a little more information about Stephen Sr.’s land.
This 1783 record further clarifies that Stephen Sr. lived on the main road in York County, which would have been present day Hanover Pike.
1783 – Deed – May 17th – George Adam Stum of Heidelberg Twp, York County yeoman and Mary Apelone his wife for better securing the payment of….sold to Sebastian Opold a 150 ac tract of land in Heidelberg Twp part of larger tract called Diges’ Choice adj the Conestoga Old Road which tract of land John Digges conveyed unto Stephen Ullery and the said Ullery conveyed unto Peter Neffziger….
Land Records of York Co, Pa 1775-1793 by Mary Marshall Brewer, p 70-71
Interestingly enough, there is a 1754 will for one Ulrich Naftsiger in Lancaster County, which surely makes me wonder – although Ulrich seems to be a much more popular first name at that time than as a surname.
Unfortunately, the location of this deed seems to introduce some ambiguity and discrepancy in terms of the location of the land of Stephen Ulrich Sr. The land of Stephen Ulrich Jr. is unquestionably in Conewago Township in what is now Adams County, not Heidelberg in York County. The mention of Heidelberg Township really threw men for a loop for awhile.
However, additional research in “Conewago: A Collection of Catholic Local History,” page 25, states that the area that is now Conewago Township in Adams County was previously Heidelberg Township.
I’m beginning to suspect that Stephen Ulrich Sr. may have owned more land than we know about today. Finding John Digges conveyances might answer a lot of questions.
Locating Stephen’s Land
As luck would have it, the area in York (now Adams) County owned by Stephen Ulrich and his son includes a section of the old road, laid out in 1740 and 1741, that was bypassed by the current Hanover Pike.
On the map above, you can see the short stretch of the old road just below Hanover Shoe Farms. Below, the aerial view satellite view. It just does my heart good to know that I’m looking at Stephen’s land, even if I don’t know the exact location. However, we can get pretty close utilizing several pieces of information.
The arrow above shows where Little Conewago Creek crosses the road. Little Conewago can be followed visually by following the treed area.
Apparently, the bypassing of the old road occurred long ago, because the old road appears to be very narrow, probably one lane or two if moving very slowly.
Today, utilizing Google Maps Street View, we can see the current Hanover Pike at the location where it intersects with Old Hanover Road, now privately owned. Above, the southern end of the old road. It just looks like a driveway today and you’d never know the difference without satellite view.
Below, driving on down Hanover Pike to the northewast, we can see the location of the south branch of Little Conewago Creek. This is the only intersection of Little Conewago Creek and what was then the main, and only, road.
Below, we can see the field beside the creek, at left, between the current road and the remnants of the old road.
You can see the “old road” in the distance if you look closely through the trees.
Unfortunately, Google doesn’t “drive” privately owned roads, so we can’t drive down this one lane old road today, sadly.
Here’s another peek at the old road that Stephen Ulrich lived along and certainly traveled often, from the north end of the Old Hanover Road.
The new road, Hanover Pike, is to the left and you’re looking directly down the old road. Only about half a mile of the old road is preserved today.
Here’s an aerial of just this area. The intersection above is at the top right beside the 194 road marker. There had to be a cemetery and an original homestead. Death was a constant, and both Stephen and his wife likely died while living here. I wonder where the homestead and cemetery were located. Sometimes you can see a very old structure, but that’s not the case here. There has been significant development today, so they could have been obliterated. If the graves were not marked with more than wooden crosses, they could simply have been overtaken by nature after the children moved on to the next frontier. It doesn’t seem that any of Stephen’s children remained in this area, at least none that we know of. There was no one to visit or maintain graves.
I’ll look more closely to see if I can spy anything that could possibly be an old cemetery. Oh look, there’s a quilt shop! Now I HAVE to visit. (Note that you can click to enlarge any of these images.)
The only way this could get better is if I walked into the quilt shop to find a deed from Stephen framed on their wall, and they tell me that the old family cemetery is just out back. I dream about things like this.
Pardon my little fantasy flight of fancy there…back to reality!
John Hale Stutzman, when writing his book, Jacob Stutzman (?-1775), was apparently able to locate the land of Stephen Ulrich, Jr.
On the document below, the outlines of tracts A and B from John Hale Stutzman’s book are based on official survey, patent and deed records. This land was purchased by Jacob Stutzman from Stephen Ulrich Jr., and one of Stephen’s two land warants was described as adjoining his father, Stephen Sr.’s, tract.
Page 6, Jacob Stutzman (?-1775) by John Hale Stutzman, Jr. (JHS)
The Old Monacacy Road is today’s Hanover Pike and was referenced in a later deed as the “Conestoga Old Road.”
Tract C was purchased in 1759 from John Digges by Jacob Stutzman, according to JHS. Jacob also owned tracts A and B which he purchased from Stephen Ulrich (Jr.). This suggests strongly that the boundary of Digges Choice was between tracts A and B which were obtained in Warrants from Pennsylvania and tract C which was obtained by purchase from John Digges. This also suggests that tracts A and B were very likely in the area contested by Digges as lawfully his, which means that life likely became a living hell for Stephen Ulrich because the contested lands were the central flash points in the “Border War.”
Interestingly, based on the map above and the Google map today, it’s possible that Stephen Sr. owned the land roughly bracketed by Schiebert Road today (top left arrow, below), which crosses both old Hanover Road and Hanover Pike, then continues southeast to intersect with Sheppard Road (bottom arrow) which turns north to intersect with Narrow Drive (right arrow). Narrow Drive, just to the right of the intersection where Lovers Drive and Narrow Drive intersect, where the woods is seen on both sides of Narrow Drive (bottom right arrow), is the location indicated by Stephen Ulrich Jr.’s land grant. That area of foliage is Indian Creek and it intersects Little Conewago between Narrow Drive and Sheppard Road. This area between the arrows forms roughly an oval.
This would be a very logical location for Stephen Ulrich Sr.’s land and it meets all of the criteria – adjacent to Stephens Jr.’s, the old road and Little Conewago Creek.
Here’s the exact same image without the foliage so you can see the creek locations. Indian run, owned by Stephen Jr. crosses Narrow Drive and dumps into Little Conewago just below Narrow Drive, at right. At left, we can see where Little Conewago Creek runs between the old Hanover Road and today’s Hanover Pike (194).
Aha – We can’t drive down Sheppard Road, as it’s privately owned too.
Below, we can see Sheppard Road across the field, from Narrow Drive.
The intersection of Lovers Drive, Sheppard Road and Narrow Drive is closed too. It looks like many of the old roads are privately owned now. I bet that field that we’re looking at from this interesection was Stephen’s.
Given that John Digges did not convey land to Stephen Ulrich Jr., the 150 acres described in the 1783 transaction has to be that of Stephen Sr. and is likely his original land. Given that we have the owners name in 1783, it might well be possible to bring this deed to current and locate the land, exactly, today.
I did not find a deed to Peter Neffziger, but I also have not viewed the original deed books for Lancaster County, where this transaction would have taken place before 1749 when York was formed. If the transaction took place in 1749 or later, then it would have been in York County. Variant spellings for both Ulrich and Neffziger also need to be considered and researched.
It is believed that in 1738, during the time Stephen Ulrich lived here, he and his friend Jacob Stutzman organized the Conewago Congregation of the German Baptist in Conewago Twp. near Hanover, Pennsylvania. Notice I didn’t say church, because at that time, Brethren met in their homes and barns and didn’t build church buildings until much later. Even then, many were against building church buildings, fearing it would destroy the camaraderie of staying with other Brethren families who were hosting “church” on Sunday. Eventually, the Black Rock Church of the Brethren was established in 1876, about 10 miles distant from the area near Narrow Drive, shown below.
Given that the Millers, Stutzman’s and Ulrich’s lived near Hanover, they likely had church in their homes in that vicinity.
Michael Miller lived near or at the location of Bair’s Mennonite Church today, shown on the map below, in Heidelberg Township.
Brethren descendant and researcher, Dwayne Wrightsman says:
According to Morgan Edwards, writing in 1770, the Little Conewago congregation of Brethren was started in 1738, by “Eldrick, Dierdorff, Bigler, Gripe, Studsman and others under the leadership of Daniel Leatherman.” It is commonly thought that Eldrick was Ulrich, Gripe was Greib/Cripe, and Studsman was Stutzman. All were Brethren, friends, neighbors, and related by marriage. It is also commonly thought that Eldrick and Ulderey were one and the same.
That “all related by marriage” comment bothers me a bit. I hope he was referring to 1770 and not 1738, because if they were related by marriage in 1738, which means in Germany, we’ll never get this figured out.
We know that Stephen Ulrich Sr. was in Lancaster County, near present day Hanover, before 1742 and that he was naturalized in Baltimore County, Maryland in 1738.
The land where he lived was in a border area claimed by both Pennsylvania and Maryland, and was embroiled in what become known as the Border War until 1767 when the Mason-Dixon line was finalized.
Stephen Ulrich Sr., was actually probably one of the more fortunate souls, because he purchased at least some land directly from Digges, himself. That land did not seem to be in dispute, other than the fact that Digges sold some 4,000 acres more than he actually owned. The land that Digges sold that he didn’t legally own is he same land that Pennsylvania issued land warrants for. Since the 1783 deed says that Stephen Ulrich purchased the land from Digges, and not that he obtained it by warrant, this suggests that Stephen’s land purchase from Digges was deemed to be legitimate and was not in the contested area. However, his 1743 land warrant and those in 1742 of his son, Stephen Jr. abutted the original Digges Choice grant and were assuredly in the contested area. In fact, the “war” with Digges erupted at their neighbor, Martin Kitzmiller’s home.
Digges attempted to file a modified survey for his Maryland patent, to extend it to the full 10,000 acres, but in the interim, several men, likely including Stephen Ulrich Jr. in 1742, and Stephen Sr. in 1743 had already been granted warrants by Pennsylvania on this same land. Stephen Sr.’s 1743 grant is shown below.
Stephen Ulrich of Lancaster County, 100 acres of land situate on the west side of Susquehanna River adjoining the land of George Wagoner on great Conewago. The closest portion of “Great Conewago,” known simply today as Conewago, was 7 or 8 miles, as the crow flies, north of the land at McSherrytown where Stephen Sr.’s original land abutted that of Stephen Jr. Stephen Sr. likely did not live on this land on Conewago patented in 1743..
On the map above, Stephen Jr. and Sr.’s land was just south of Pennville on 194 (bottom arrow). Conewago Creek, known as “Great Conewago” to differentiate it from Little Conewago, is the blue ribbon at the top of the image, running left to right between 15, 394, 94 south of Hampton and then to East Berlin at 234 (top arrows).
The great irony in this is that mother and I visited the Gettysburg National Battlefield years ago, located just slightly to the west, and while we appreciated the history at the historic site, we had absolutely no idea that we had our own history within ten miles or so. It makes me heartsick to think we were so close, but didn’t know, and now it’s too late to take Mom back again.
One Hot Mess – The Border War
This 1743 patent by Stephen Ulrich does not say “Jr.” so I’m presuming the patent is to Stephen Sr. If so, this land would likely have been in the contested area where Pennsylvania granted land to settlers and Digges thought the land fell within his patent. That may have been solely wishful and opportunistic thinking on Digges part.
Digges subsequently attempted to bully the men who had obtained grants from Pennsylvania into releasing their land in the disputed area to him. When that didn’t work, he tried intimidation and wanted them to repurchase their land, from him. That didn’t work either, and emotions escalated until the situation exploded like a tender box at the neighbor, Martin Kitzmiller’s, mill, shown below. Kitzmiller’s land abutted that of Stephen Ulrich Jr.
According to an 1886 edition of the Gettyburg Compiler, quoted in the book “The Murder of Dudley Digges – 1752,” this mill had the year 1738 inscribed on a log in the gable 14 feet from the ground. So this building is the very structure that Stephen Ulrich saw and assuredly visited, standing inside, probably chatting, in German, of course, with Martin Kitzmiller as his grain was ground. The brick portion of the structure above was added in 1755 and in 1886, the article states that the older folks still remembered a house standing beside the mill. The article further states that the mill was located near the headwaters of Little Conewago, in Conewago Township and was a major hostelry stop on the main road. Locating this land would also give us a boundary on Stephen Ulrich’s land, because Kitzmiller owned the land adjoining Stephen Ulrich Jr.
John Digges’ son, Dudley, was shot and killed at the mill in 1752, and the situation became an untenable tenderbox. Most of the Brethren left at this time or had already fled for Frederick County, Maryland.
This wasn’t the first time that violence had erupted in the area known as Digges Choice, nicknamed Rogue’s Resort, reflecting on the general perception of Digges.
Another rabble-rouser, Thomas Cresap who became somewhat of a spokesman for the German community had killed a man in the 1730s as well, before returning to Frederick County, Maryland, becoming a Brethren and selling land to Michael Miller.
It seems that the group sympathetic to Maryland left for Maryland and the Pennsylvania contingent tried to tough it out in York County. For the Brethren, who wouldn’t take up arms, even to protect themselves and their families, it must have seemed like a good time to consider other options. There wasn’t an option without risk though, so the options boiled down to the one that seemed “less bad” at the moment.
Needless to say, it was one hot mess on the frontier in York County. It was also about this time, or a few years earlier as the situation began to escalate, that many of the Brethren began purchasing land in Frederick County, Maryland, about 50 or 60 miles due west, believing that this land was not involved in the border dispute. They began moving about 1751 and many relocated together. While we know that Stephen Ulrich Jr. moved in 1751, there is nothing to suggest that Stephen Ulrich Sr. did so. He may have passed on by then. It’s hard to believe his sons would leave an elderly parent behind in that volatile and hostile environment.
What we don’t know is when Stephen died. Some descendants report his death in 1749, but there are no sources listed. I found no will or estate in either Lancaster or York County, although I have not looked at the books personally. Indexes are listed online. Unfortunately, unless you can browse the index, it’s hard to find misspelled surnames. If we could find the deeds where Stephen Sr. sold his land, that would be helpful, as it would at least bracket the date of his demise. More effort should be expended in this regard.
If Stephen had 6 children when he immigrated, in roughly 1726/1727, and they were born every two years, and one was an infant, and none died, then Stephen would have married about 1714. Of course, he could have married significantly earlier or the children could have been born closer together, as we already discussed.
If Stephen married in about 1714, he was born no later than 1694, and possibly significantly earlier.
I don’t know if his children would have had to be naturalized under their own names if they were of age or not, or if they could still be covered by their father regardless of age, so long as they immigrated with him when they were children.
If those children were listed in birth order on the naturalization document, Stephen Jr. was born between 1716 and 1720, assuming it was our Stephen Sr. who married in 1716, the younger children would have been born every year and a half to two years, so possibly before 1726 or 1727, or perhaps as late as 1732.
If Stephen Ulrich Sr. was born in 1694, he would have been 49 years old in 1743 when he applied for his land grant in Pennsylvania. If he was born earlier, he would have been older.
Stephen Sr.’s Children
We do know something about some of Stephen Sr.’s children.
- Stephen Ulrich Jr. was born about 1720, or possibly somewhat earlier. If the Stephen who married in Lambsheim in 1716 is his father, and assuming our Stephen was the eldest, he was likely born in either 1716 or 1717. Stephen Jr. died about 1785 in Frederick County, Maryland. He married Elizabeth whose surname is unknown, probably around 1742. His children are documented by the sale of his land following his death.
- George Ulrich died in Frederick County before August 1753, his estate being administered by Stephen Ulrich and Nicholas Martin who were listed in the court document as “Protestant dissenters.”
- Daniel Ulrich moved first to Frederick County, Maryland and then to Bedford County, Pennsylvania, owning the mill at Roaring Springs. This Daniel is often attributed to Stephen Ulrich Jr., but there is no Daniel shown as the heir of Stephen Ulrich Jr. in 1785, nor would one of Stephen Jr.’s children be old enough to have purchased land and built a mill prior to 1775. Therefore, the Daniel in Bedford County must be the son of Stephen Ulrich, Sr., not Jr. This Daniel is also not the Daniel Ulrich who married Susanna Miller, born in 1759, the daughter of Philip Jacob Miller.
- John Ulrich lived on his home place in Frederick County and had 300 acres, 4 horses, 8 cows and two negroes (I believe this is from a 1782 or 1788 tax list.). John had started accumulating land years before with 50 acres. In 1802 he bought 2252 acres on the middle branch of Frankstown Creek (Bedford County, PA) about 2 miles west of Hollidaysburg, a town that came into being about 5 years later. He was 82 when he bought this land and he died the next year. Justin Replogle, Ancestors on the Frontier, pages 163-164. If this is accurate, it places John’s birth in 1719. The “negroes” who I presume were slaves surprise me, as the 1782 Brethren annual meeting spoke against slavery, according to Brethren church historian, Reverend Merle Rummel.
- Elizabeth Ulrich is probably the Elizabeth to whom Stephen Ulrich and Nicholas Martin deeded land in Frederick County, Maryland in 1766. Elizabeth had apparently married by 1768 when this land was sold by Jacob Snively. The only explanation set forth by researchers for why Stephen Ulrich and Nicholas Martin would have been deeding Elizabeth land is as part of her estate settlement from her father, although that could explain Stephen but not Nicholas unless they were both administrators. If this is the case, Elizabeth was at least age 28 given that she was listed in her father’s naturalization in 1738. She may well have been significantly older. However, this calls the 1749 date for Stephen Ulrich’s death into serious question. If he died in 1749, his estate would have been distributed to his children, at the latest, when they came of age, which for Elizabeth would have been no later than 1759. Furthermore, if this deed was as a part of her father’s estate settlement, why was Elizabeth the only Ulrich to who a transaction was made? Elizabeth has also been rumored to be the wife of Nicholas Martin, but given that we know, from the 1766 deed that she was an Ulrich in 1766 and a Snively in 1768, she clearly was not married to Nicholas Martin at this time.
- Susanna Ulrich, about whom nothing more is known. Mary Kay Coker, a descendant of Nicholas Martin reports that his wife was named Susanna. Susanna Martin did not sign the 1766 deeds to Elizabeth Ulrich, but she did sign a 1794 deed with Nicholas. Susanna Ulrich could have been the wife of Nicholas Martin, but there is no proof. Finding any estate or land sale information about Stephen Sr. could go a long way in resolving the identity of his children.
Based on multiple land records, of Stephen Ulrich Jr. and others, it appears that Stephen Ulrich Sr. owned at least two and possibly three parcels of land, as follows:
- 1743 Pennsylvania land grant on Conewago
- Land abutting Stephen Jr.’s 1742 grant
- Land purchased from Digges, date unknown, but in 1783 located in Heidelberg Township, York County (now Conewago in Adams County) along the old conestoga road.
Items 2 and 3 could be, and probably were, the same land, given that Stephen’s land is referenced in Stephen Jr.’s grant.
Finding these deed conveyances from Digges to Stephen Ulrich and from Stephen Ulrich to the subsequent owners would be extremely useful. Of course, Brethren often times did not register deeds, but in the case of Digges, these deeds may not exist. Quoting from research about John Digges and Digges Choice, we find:
John Digges…settled on Digges’ Choice with his wife and children. His financial position can be gleaned from surviving information. He was heavily in debt in 1743 to Charles Carroll and Daniel Dulaney of Annapolis, Maryland. Digges was unable legally to deed land to settlers until after repaying these debts. A number of deeds were issued by Charles Carroll in the early 1750s to various settlers of Digges’ Choice. There is never a cost mentioned in these deeds. They appear merely to give clear legal title to the settlers for land for which they had already paid Digges.
These debts may be the reason for a resurvey of Digges’ Choice in 1745. There is evidence that Digges traveled east of the Susquehanna River to recruit settlers for Digges’ Choice, and by the 1740s he may be attracted an appreciable number of them. There was only one problem: many of these settlers were buying patents from the Pennsylvania authorities and settling on the borders of Digges’ Choice, rather than paying Digges for land inside of it. Consequently, by 1743, Digges realized little profit from land sales in Digges’ Choice. This, coupled with the fact that between 1735 and 1743 Digges may have had financial difficulties, might explain the resurvey of 1745.
It should be remembered that the original warrant to Digges was for 10,000 acres, but that the survey in 1735 was returned for only 6,822 acres. In 1743, Digges applied to the Pennsylvania authorities for a resurvey of the full acreage, blaming the error on the surveyor of 1735. Take notice of the year of this request. We know that Digges was in debt by this time. The application was refused. In 1745, he applied for, and obtained, a resurvey for 10,501 acres from the Maryland authorities.
The resurvey was illegal. It was in direct opposition to the terms agreed to in the Royal Order of 21 May 1738, which authorized the survey of the Temporary Line of 1739. That Order guaranteed legal rights to original tracts in Pennsylvania warranted and surveyed by Marylanders, and vice versa. However, it prohibited the owners of these tracts authority over land contiguous to the tracts, and also forbade resurveys of the original tracts. Because of these terms, the resurvey of Digges’ Choice was illegal.
In many instances, individuals tended to settle a tract and set up farming before buying a warrant for the tract. In some cases, a son of the original settler paid for a tract of land a generation after the fact. For settlers inside Digges’ Choice, pinpointing settlement dates can be no more accurate. As mentioned earlier, John Digges was unable to deed land to settlers until after 1750. Because of this unfortunate situation, some of the earliest settlers escape our notice entirely. We can discover cases of settlers moving into the area, settling for several years, and then moving west or south, all without leaving a record in official deeds, warrants or patents.
In the case of Stephen Ulrich, if we could find the land conveyance to Peter Neffziger or from Neffziger to Adam Stum, even that could potentially be helpful.
Additional research into estate records, inventories, administrations, court or any other records that may not be quite as popular as actual will records might yield some clue as to the death of Stephen Ulrich Sr. Even land records, if we could find them, might help narrow those dates.
Access to original records for both Lancaster and York Counties could prove very useful, as could every name indexes. It’s also possible that Baltimore or Prince George’s County, Maryland could hold early records as well, since that’s where Stephen believed that he lived.
I don’t believe every stone has yet been turned. I hope that other researchers, if they have researched these records will step forth so we can eliminate them as possibilities, and that future researchers will finish the due diligence in the early records that Stephen Ulrich Sr. so richly deserves.
I will post updates if they are forthcoming.
We certainly could benefit from some types of DNA testing.
If a male Ulrich who descends from any of Stephen Sr.’s sons takes a Y DNA test, we can obtain useful information about our Ulrich ancestors via the Y DNA results. There are several Ulrich males that have tested whose ancestors are from Germany, and it would be very useful to know if we match any of those Ulrich men.
I have a DNA testing scholarship for the first male Ulrich who steps forth who descends from this line.
Unfortunately, the mitochondrial DNA line of Stephen’s wife seems to be dead to us. We know nothing of daughter Susanna. If daughter Elizabeth is the same Elizabeth who married Jacob Snively, there is only one reported child, a son, Jacob – although that doesn’t mean additional children didn’t exist. If Elizabeth was born in 1726, just before leaving Germany, then she would have been 40 years old in 1766 when the land was deeded to her. There are a lot of assumptions here, some of which may be incorrect, because she apparently did have one child, so she may not have been quite 40 when she married.
Mitochondrial DNA is inherited by all children from their mother, but is only passed on by the daughters. Therefore, to obtain Stephen Ulrich’s wife’s mitochondrial DNA, we would need to find someone who descends through her daughters through all females to the current generation. It appears that we have no candidates unless someone discovers what happened to Susanna or that Elizabeth had a previously unknown daughter.
Autosomal DNA, passed to all descendants, but divided in (roughtly) have in each subsequent generation might be interesting if descendants of Stephen Sr. match each other AND don’t also share other lines in common. One of the great challenges of Brethren genealogy and endogamous groups is that these lines are often so intermarried after generations of living together and migrating in communities that the DNA is extremely difficult to sort through and assign to specific ancestors. However, if any of Stephen Sr.’s descendants have taken autosomal DNA tests, please do let me know and let’s see if we share any of his segments.
We don’t have Stephen’s signature or even know exactly where his land was located, nor can we visit his grave. Perhaps if we can identify a segment of Stephen’s DNA that would be something very personal of his that still remains, intact and viable more than 300 years after his birth in Germany – in us, his descendants.
It’s amazing to think, in world so large, through an Atlantic crossing so perilous, and amid constant warfare on the frontier for all of Stephen’s adult life – that he survived and gave part of his DNA to me. I am the carrier of the torch, Stephen Ulrich’s torch, through many generations. But it’s only through the comparison of my DNA to other descendants who are also torch carriers and have tested their DNA that we can discover, collaboratively, which pieces of Stephen still exist. Assuredly, something of Stephen remains.
Finding the DNA that exists from Stephen must be a “we” and not a “me” endeavor, bringing the descendants of Stephen together one more time…to find what remains of Stephen today.
Thank you so much.
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