Stephen Ulrich Sr., (born c1690), The Conewago Settlement and the Border War, 52 Ancestors #136

Unfortunately, we have very few records on Stephen Ulrich Sr., and those we do have often introduce more questions than they provide answers.

The Ulrich, Miller and Stutzman families reach back into Germany together. We first find records for Johann Michael Mueller, Jacob Stutzman and the Ulrich family in Lambsheim, Germany.

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.


By The original uploader was Romantiker at German Wikipedia – Transferred from de.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY-SA 3.0,

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.

Associated Families

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.

1727 adventure passenger list

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:


Oath 2

Lambsheim Records

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.

Ulrich Stefan;20.3.1724‚50.11.1725,(1995).

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”

Tom replies:

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.

Also states:

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:
  1. Childre Elis. born 1752
  2. Johann Heinrich 1752
  3. 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.

  • Stephen
  • George
  • Daniel
  • John
  • Elizabeth
  • Susanna

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.

PA-MD boundary issue

—“Cresapwarmap” by Kmusser – self-made, based primarily on the description at Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Commons

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.

Stephen’s Death

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.

Additional Research

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:

  1. 1743 Pennsylvania land grant on Conewago
  2. Land abutting Stephen Jr.’s 1742 grant
  3. 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.

In Summary

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.



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

Another Daniel Miller – A Y DNA Tale – 52 Ancestors #135

Just when you think you have the family all straightened out, a left hook comes along, sneaks up and sucker-punches you.

Indeed, as if there wasn’t enough confusion about the various Daniel Millers, we now have yet another very interesting twist in the Daniel Miller saga, thanks to DNA.

And a conundrum it is too.

In the article, “Daniel Miller (1755-1822), Musical Graves, 52 Ancestors #130” I provided this summary of the various Daniel Miller’s that we know existed in Montgomery County, Ohio at or about the same time that my Daniel Miller (1755-1822) lived there, or subsequent generations. Below is the summary from that article.

Daniel (1) is my ancestor and was born to Philip Jacob Miller and his wife, Magdalena, whose last name is unknown, on April 8, 1755 in Frederick County, Maryland. Daniel was married to Elizabeth Ulrich and died in Montgomery County, Ohio on August 26, 1822. Those are the easy dates. The rest are difficult.

Daniel (2) arrived in Montgomery County from Huntington County, PA. Daniel (2)’s wife was Susanna Bowman and Daniel (2) lived in what would become the City of Dayton proper where he settled on Wolf Creek in November of 1802, according to the History of the City of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio, Volume 1.   For those specifically interested in this line, the Brethren Heritage Center has an article available written by Gale Honeyman.

Daniel (3) is the son of Daniel (1). According to the family Bible he was born on March 30, 1779 and he died on June 25, 1812. He would have been 33 years old, and unless he was disabled in some way, he was likely married and may well have had children. He would only have been about 20 when his father Daniel floated down the Ohio on a raft, probably in 1799. Daniel (3) could have remained in Clermont County when his father and uncle, David Miller, left for Montgomery County sometimes around 1802. There is no mention of an estate for Daniel (3) in Montgomery County.

Daniel (4) is the grandson of Daniel (1) through his son Stephen Miller. Daniel (4) was born in 1797 in Bedford County, PA and died in 1879 in Preble County, Ohio.

Daniel (5) is the son of Michael Miller and Salome Cramer of Montgomery County. Michael is the son of David Miller who died in 1845. David was the brother of Daniel (1). Michael obtained and farmed his father’s farm in Randolph Township. Daniel (5) was born in 1822, died in 1903 and was married to Isabella Cook.

Daniel (6) is the grandson of Daniel (1) through son Jacob A. Miller born in 1776 who married first to Elizabeth Metzger and second to Catherine Zimmerman. Jacob farmed his father’s land in Randolph Township past 1851 and likely until his death in 1858. Jacob’s son Daniel (6) by his first wife was born about 1800, married Susanna Hardman on November 1, 1819 and died about 1835 in Montgomery County.

Daniel (7) born in 1815 is the son of Isaac Miller, son of Daniel (1) and his wife Elizabeth Miller who is the daughter of David Miller, brother of Daniel (1). I know nothing more about Daniel (7).

Daniel Y. (8) born in 1808 is the son of John Miller, son of Daniel (1).  John’s wife Esther Miller, daughter of David Miller, brother of Daniel (1). Daniel Y. (8) married Margaret Bainter and died in 1833.

Daniel (9) is the son of Daniel (2) and his wife, Susan Bowman. Daniel (9) was born about 1808 and died about 1863 in Montgomery County, marrying Susan Oliver.

Daniel (10) is the son of the Elder Jacob Miller by either his first or second wife, who are unknown. This Daniel was born on September 6, 1780 and died on November 15, 1858 in Monroe County, Iowa. Daniel (10) married Elizabeth Shidler or Shideler on April, 13, 1808 in Montgomery County, Ohio, but by 1813, it appears that they had moved on to Union County, Indiana. When Daniel lived in Montgomery County, he owned land near the 4 Mile Church, east of Cottage Creek, about one and one half miles west of the Lower 4 Mile Church.

Today’s article specifically deals with Daniel (2), referred to in this article as Dayton Daniel to keep him separate from Daniel (1) who lived in Montgomery County at the same time as Dayton Daniel (2).

To this group, we need to add two more Daniels. It’s OK to groan now. I’ve been groaning all week!

Daniel (11) who is the son of Lodowich Miller, brother of Philip Jacob Miller. Daniel (11) was born about 1752, probably in Frederick County, Maryland and moved with Lodowich’s family to the Shenandoah Valley about the time of the Revolutionary War. Daniel (11) died in Rockingham County, Virginia in 1819.

Daniel (12), the son of John Miller, also a brother to Philip Jacob Miller. This Daniel was probably John’s eldest son and was one of the executors of his father’s estate in 1794 through 1799 when the estate paid the heirs.

Therefore, Daniel (1), Daniel (11) and Daniel (12) were all first cousins to each other – and Daniel (2), Dayton Daniel, we’ve discovered this week, was also somehow related as well.

The question is, who is Dayton Daniel and how is he related?  And how do we know he’s related?

Michael Miller’s Sons

As a short review, let’s take a look at the immigrant Michael Miller’s sons. He has three proven sons, and only three; Philip Jacob, Lodowick (Lodowich) and John, parents of Daniel (1), Daniel (11) and Daniel (12), respectively.

For many years, every stray Miller male in a several-hundred-mile radius around Frederick County, Maryland was pinned to Michael Miller like tails on the proverbial donkey. To date, we have disproved every line that has tested utilizing Y DNA. In fact, that’s the purpose of the Miller Brethren DNA Project – to sort out the various Brethren Miller lines.  I expected several lines to match Michael’s descendants, but surprisingly, they haven’t – until now.

Before this week, not one line that was not from Michael Miller’s proven sons has ever matched Michael’s line utilizing Y DNA. But then came today and all that changed.

And of course, the end of line oldest ancestor for the new Miller Y DNA participant was none other than Daniel Miller (2), Dayton Daniel, found originally in what would become the City of Dayton, in Montgomery County, Ohio, very early – his arrival date stated variously as either 1802 or 1804 and having come from Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania.

If you recall from the article about “my” Daniel Miller, the son of Philip Jacob Miller, the son of Michael Miller, the immigrant, Daniel lived in Bedford County from sometime in the 1780s until around 1800 when he floated down the Ohio River and joined his father and siblings in Clermont and Warren Counties in Ohio. My Daniel migrated on to Montgomery County by 1805, about the same time as Dayton Daniel. In fact, when I first began researching Daniel Miller in Montgomery County, I found the information about the Daniel in Dayton and thought for some time that he WAS my Daniel, until I found additional information and pieces of the puzzle began not fitting. I figured out that there were indeed two Daniel’s living in Montgomery County at the same time, thanks to tax lists and other information. Actually, there were three Daniels until 1813 when Daniel (10), who is not descended from the Michael Miller line, did us the huge favor of moving on.

Dayton Daniel was also Brethren, but that alone does not mean he is related to my Daniel. Another man was Brethren too – the Elder Jacob Miller, who everyone thought surely WAS related to Michael Miller, but who, it turns out, is not – at least not through the paternal line. So just being a Miller male, a Brethren and being found in Frederick County, Maryland, then Montgomery County, Ohio does not guarantee a kinship relationship – as unlikely as that seems. I can see why people reached those earlier conclusions, before Y DNA testing, but they were wrong.

Michael Miller, the immigrant, had three proven sons – and only 3, who were:

  • John Miller who died in 1794 in Washington County, Maryland, formerly Frederick County, with a will which listed his children. This John had a son Daniel (12).
  • Lodowich Miller who died about 1782 and whose children (if not Lodowich too) moved south to the Shenandoah Valley about this same time also had a son Daniel (11) who died in Rockingham County, Virginia in 1819.
  • Philip Jacob Miller also had a son Daniel (1) who married Elizabeth Ulrich, moved to Bedford County, Pennsylvania, then on to Ohio where he was the Daniel who wound up in Montgomery County but did NOT live in Dayton. This is my Daniel.

After I published my article about Daniel, sorting through the various Daniel Millers in Montgomery County, a cousin, Doug, contacted me and was confused. Doug descended from Dayton Daniel (2), born in 1765, and he wondered, if his Daniel was not descended from Johann Michael Miller, why did Doug’s autosomal DNA so strongly match my mother and cousins. Obviously, I couldn’t answer that question, so Doug set about finding a male Miller, his second cousin, who descended from Dayton Daniel, to test. That participant is referred to as TM in this article.

Obviously, if TM’s DNA representing Dayton Daniel’s Y DNA had not matched my Daniel’s Y DNA, you either would not be reading this article right now, or it would be a very different story. But Dayton Daniel’s Y DNA does match the Michael Miller line.

Um….so now what? Who is Dayton Daniel (2) and who are his parents?  They can’t be the only three proven sons of Michael Miller – because all 3 of them had sons named Daniel and all 3 are accounted for.  So, who were Dayton Daniel’s parents?  Let’s walk through the possibilities and look a the DNA results.


Looking at the Miller Brethren project, we can see 5 men descend from Michael Miller. There are also two additional men, but they are not project members.   One is private, so I can’t even e-mail him.


The first thing I noticed was that marker 449 has two different values, shown at far right, in purple, above. I mapped them to the participants, with the hope that TM’s marker 449 would tell us which line he was from. In other words, I was hoping that 449 was a line marker mutation.


TM, shown at far left, has a value at marker 449 of 30. One of Philip Jacob’s descendants, RM as well as both of Lodowich’s descendants carry the same value. So no, marker 449 does not indicate a specific son’s line of Johann Michael Miller.

How can this same marker show up in two of Daniel’s sons’ lines, represented by HAM and RWM, but not in the third son’s line, represented by RM? Apparently this marker value has mutated in both Isaac and John’s lines, sons of Daniel, independently, someplace between Daniel and the testers, HAM and RWM today. We know that the original marker value is 30 because it is found independently in the lines of two different sons, Daniel and Lodowich, and probably a third son now with TM.

Ok, we know that marker 449 doesn’t help us, so where do we look next?  Let’s take a look at the genealogy.

Candidates for Dayton Daniel’s Father

Obviously, the first place to look for this Daniel is among the grandchildren of Michael Miller.

Dayton Daniel’s wife is Susanna Bowman who was born in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. They are both buried with tombstones that give their age at death, so we can extrapolate that information to obtain a birth date and year.  Thanks to the tombstone, we know that Daniel was born in 1765 and because he married Susanna who was born in the next county, we know that they were living there about 1785, marriage age.

Knowing Daniel’s birth year helps us rule out various grandchildren of Michael Miller.

We have already ruled out Philip Jacob Miller as Dayton Daniel’s parent, because his son was my Daniel (1), according to the family Bible.

Two of our other Y DNA testers descend from Lodowick’s son, Daniel (11), who was born in 1752 and died in 1819 in Rockingham County, Virginia. Clearly, this is not the Daniel living in Montgomery County, Ohio who died in 1849.

That leaves Michael Miller’s son, John, who also had a son Daniel (12).  Could Daniel (12) actually be Dayton Daniel?  Let’s see.

John Miller, Michael’s third son did us the favor of executing a will just days before his death listing his children.


Children named:

  • Daniel
  • John
  • Jacob
  • Abraham
  • Ludwick
  • David
  • Michael
  • Catherine
  • Susanna
  • Mary
  • Elizabeth

Underage sons were Ludwick, David and Michael.

Son Daniel Miller and son-in-law John Fisher were executors.

The will was made Dec 13, 1794 and recorded Dec. 20, 1794. Clearly John was literally on his death bed when he made his will.

On April 9, 1799, Daniel Miller and John Fisher, executors of John Miller’s estate made a distribution of 2010 pounds, 5 shillings and 9 pence, in equal parts to the 10 remaining children, all apparently now 21 years of age. The order of the named heirs is: Daniel Miller, John Fisher, Susanna Wissinger, Mary Studanbaker, Elizabeth Cameron, Jacob Miller, Abraham Miller, Lodwick Miller and David Miller. Michael is missing in the distribution list so he apparently died sometime between 1794 and 1799. Washington County Distribution Liber I, folio 80.

In 1799, when the estate was paid, all children would have reached the age of 21. The youngest child, Michael, apparently did not survive, so if we can presume he wouldn’t have become 21 until 1801, that means that he was born in about 1780. There were a total of 11 children, so a child was born every two years, with no deaths, then the oldest child, presumably Daniel, would have been born about 22 years before the youngest, or about 1758.

There is some confusion about John Miller’s name, because while most deeds and documents, such as his will, refer to him clearly as John, which would mean his German name was Johannes, with no middle name, one deed refers to him as Peter, not Johann Peter, just Peter. Was the deed in error, or was John really Johann Peter? We don’t know.

Did Michael Miller Have Other Sons?

The answer to this question is yes, he did, according to German church records. What we don’t know is if they lived, how many he might have had that are unrecorded, and if he had children after he arrived in Pennsylvania. Yes, there are a lot of unknowns.

In Frederick County, Maryland in the 1760s, there is a Michael Miller Jr. and a Hans Michael Miller, both of whom are involved with Michael Miller, the immigrant. It would be very unlikely for Michael to have two sons named so closely, but then again, stranger things have happened. One or both could also be grandsons. Or the two men could be one and the same.

In the Michael Miller article, I introduce both of these men. I did not follow either one forward in time, but it might well behoove the descendants of Dayton Daniel to pick up the trail where I left off.

Birth Records in Germany

My retired German genealogist friend, Tom, has found records of the births of several of Michael Miller’s children, in Germany. Unfortunately, the church records are missing for a time period, so we don’t know if all of the children lived, or how many more children might have been born. Tom is reading every single entry on every single page, just to be sure we don’t miss something.

Yes. Every. Single. Entry. On. Every. Single. Page.

Tom is my super-hero!

Michael Miller married Susanna Berchtol in 1714, who was born in 1688, in Konken, Germany. Their first child was born the following year, also in Konken.

  • Hans Peter Miller born January 19, 1715 (This might be John.)

The next children were born in Kallstadt.

  • Johann Jacob Miller baptized May 26, 1716
  • Regina Maria Elisabetha born August 30, 1717
  • Johannes Michael Miller born April 24, 1719 (This could be Hans Michael or Michael Jr.)
  • Johann Ludwig born April 10, 1721. (This would be Lodowich.)

Very unfortunately, by 1722, Johann Michael Miller and Susanna Berchtol had moved to Lambscheim where they live until 1726 where the records indicate they immigrated. I will be documenting these movements in a special update article about Michael Miller and Jacob Stutzman soon, but for today, we just needed the names of Michael’s sons.

We next find Michael’s immigration record, along with Jacob Stutzman, in 1727.

We know that Philip Jacob Miller was born about 1726, so he was probably a babe in arms on the boat.

If Michael Miller and Susanna Berchtol continued having children in the same pattern, they would have had another child in 1723.

Susanna would have probably had children until she was in her early 40s, so until about 1730. Therefore, in addition to Philip Jacob in about 1726, they could have had another child in 1727, 1729 and perhaps even 1731.

This gives us the opportunity for 4 additional sons (besides Philip Jacob) not recorded in existant church records. Of course, additional children may not have been male, and may not have survived.

Is John the Same Person as Hans Peter?

If John who died in 1794 is the same child as Hans Peter born in 1715, then he would have been age 43 in 1758 when his first child was born. That’s actually quite unusual for a man in that timeframe, so one of a number of situations have to be the case.

  1. The John Miller who died in 1794, brother to Philip Jacob is not the same Hans Peter who was born in 1715.
  2. The John Miller, brother to Philip Jacob who died in 1794 had more than one wife, and had children before 1758 who are all omitted from the will.
  3. The Hans Peter born in 1715 died and Johann Michael Miller had another son by the same or a similar name either in 1723, 1727, 1729 or 1731. This would make John between the ages of 27-35 in 1758, which is still on the older side for a Brethren man to be marrying, but more believable than age 43 for a first marriage.

However, even allowing for these possibilities, it still doesn’t seem reasonable that Dayton Daniel Miller who died in 1849 in Montgomery County, Ohio and was born in 1765 is the oldest child of John Miller. That would mean that the next 10 children were born beginning in 1767 and continue being born until 1787. However, we know that all of John’s surviving children were of age by 1799. Therefore, Dayton Daniel simply cannot be the son of John.

It’s also possible that John’s son Daniel was not the eldest, but the children seem to be listed in order, twice – once in the will and once in the distribution.  Daniel is listed first in both documents. It’s typical for the eldest son to be the executor.

Therefore, for all these reasons, I don’t think it’s feasible that Daniel Miller of Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania who was born in 1765 is the son of John Miller who died in 1794.

However, Dayton Daniel’s descendant matches the Y DNA of Johann Michael Miller. Furthermore, Dayton Daniel’s descendants match several of Johann Michael Miller’s proven descendants utilizing autosomal DNA, so he has to be related in a reasonable timeframe. Autosomal DNA becomes less and less likely to match with each passing generation beyond third cousins.

Other Candidates?

Our next best candidate as the father of Dayton Daniel is Michael Miller Jr. and/or Hans Michael Miller.

I did not track them forward in time, but other researchers have spent some time on this endeavor. It is reported that Hans Michael Miller lived in Franklin County, PA and what is now Mineral County, West Virginia, and had a will. He reportedly paid taxes in Antrim Township in Franklin County and New Creek, now in Mineral County, WV, according to the 1772 Frederick County Tax list. He was given money by Michael Miller to purchase land called Pleasant Gardens, which could be Garden’s Delight and Add Garden’s Delight on the 1772 tax list as well.  This information is detailed in the Michael Miller article.

Michael Miller could have had other sons that did not accompany him to Frederick County in about 1750 from York County, Pennsylvania, or who do not appear recognizably as his sons in the Frederick County records. Those sons would have been 20 or slightly older by the time that Michael left Pennsylvania and moved to Maryland. It’s certainly possible that one of Michael’s sons survived infancy, the voyage overseas and the frontier, married, and did not elect to move to yet another frontier – instead, remaining in York County or striking out on his own.  Possible, but not terribly likely.  There was safety and help in groups, especially for a small religious denomination who were known as “dissenters” and not terribly well liked because they would not defend themselves, or the neighborhood where they lived.  Brethren tended to stick together, moving in groups.  Young families would not be inclined to stay behind, especially not if the rest of the family moved on.

If Michael Miller’s son, Johann Michael Mueller, born in 1719 is the father of Dayton Daniel, he would have married sometime around 1740 and could still have been having children in 1765. It’s also possible that Dayton Daniel was the grandson of Johann Michael born in 1719, but to do so, both Johann Michael and his firstborn son would have bad to have married young.

DNA Findings

When Doug and I first realized we were cousins, and I mean via DNA, we didn’t know exactly how. Doug had always assumed that Dayton Daniel was indeed a descendant of Michael Miller, the immigrant. However, as the documentation surrounding Michael Miller’s life unfolded, we realized that we needed more information and documentation. Doug and I discovered additionally that we are also both descended through the Stephen Ulrich line, so Doug and I could have been matching through that line and not the Miller line. That’s when Doug reached out to Dayton Daniel’s Miller descendant, TM.

Unlike Doug, TM does not descend through the Ulrich line, so any of the known Michael Miller descendants that TM matches should be matching through the Miller line only.


TM’s matches are shown above, in red. Of course, he matches his second cousin, Doug, as expected. But aside from that, he matches four of Philip Jacob’s descendants, and none of Lodowich’s, as shown above and below on the chromosome browser.


It’s exciting to think that the segment on chromosome 14 is shared by four of Michael Miller’s descendants. A piece of Michael or his wife that still exists today and is identifiable. That’s just amazing for a man and his wife who were born before 1700.

Is this Michael Miller or Susanna Berchtol’s DNA?

I have access to the kits that TM matches, and the DNA segments that match the other Miller descendants do triangulate, so we know for sure that these segments do indeed belong to the Miller line, descended from Michael Miller or his wife, Susannah Berchtol.  We can’t tell which, of course, without matching someone from another Miller, like Michael’s brother, or a Berchtol.  So now, we can simply say this matching DNA comes from this couple.

I know what you’re going to ask next? Did Michael have a brother that could have also immigrated and father’s children who, in turn, had Dayton Daniel in 1765?  Great question.

There is absolutely no evidence that Michael had a Miller brother who immigrated. In fact, according to the church records in Steinwinden, Germany, no other children born to Michael’s parents survived. Michael was the last child born before his father’s death.

Autosomal Messages

Let’s look at what the autosomal DNA suggests in terms of how closely related TM and these 4 matching individuals might be. The table below shows TM’s matches to the 4 Miller descendants, except for Doug.  We already know how TM and Doug are related.

Shared cM Longest block Segments >5cM *Estimated Relationship **Shared DNA Range ***Predicted Relationship Average DNA****
Barbara 98 27 5 6C 0-21 2-4C 2C1r-2C2r
Donald 87 29 4 6C 0-21 2-4C 2C2r
HAM 77 35 2 5C1r 0-41 2-4C 3C
Cheryl 57 29 3 6C 0-21 2-4C 3C1r

*Estimated relationship presumes (I know, bad word) that Dayton Daniel is Michael Miller, the immigrant’s grandson. Dayton Daniel cannot be Michael’s son, because Michael married a widow woman about his same age by 1754, after his wife died. In 1765, Michael would have been 73.

** Shared DNA Range is the range of the lowest and highest amounts of DNA found for the estimated relationship in the Shared cM Project.  In other words, this is how much DNA someone of that Estimated Relationship is found to share.  6th cousins share a range of 0-21 cM DNA, not 98cM like TM and Barbara share.

***Predicted Relationship is the relationship level predicted by Family Tree DNA based on the amount of shared DNA.

****Average DNA is the best fit from the chart I compiled in the article, “Concepts – Relationship Predictions” that combines information from several sources on the expected, actual average and ranges of DNA for each relationship type. The average DNA is taken from the column titled “Blaine’s Shared cM Average” which are results from a crowd sourced project indicating the actual amount of shared centiMorgans from various relationships.  In this case, the best fit for Barbara and TM would be between second cousins once removed (2C1r) and second cousins twice removed (2C2r).

Even though the average DNA suggests that these people are some flavor of second or third cousins, we know from the proven genealogy that these relationships cannot be in the second or third cousin range, because we know beyond a doubt that Dayton Daniel born in 1765 cannot be more closely related to Barbara, Donald, HAM and Cheryl than the nephew of Philip Jacob Miller, their common ancestor.  In fact, they cannot be related more closely than the 5th or 6th cousin level, as shown in the Estimated Relationship column.

Clearly, the amount of shared DNA exceeds the expected average for 6th cousins or 5th cousins once removed, significantly, for all 4 matches – comparing the value in the Shared cM column with the Shared DNA Range column. The amount of shared DNA also exceeds the maximum amount of shared cMs in the range, by at least double. In the case of Barbara and Donald, they exceed the maximum DNA for 6th cousins by 400%.  That’s not a slight deviation.   What could cause this?

There can be three possible causes for the amount of shared DNA to so dramatically exceed the maximum amount found for the estimated relationships.  I’ve listed these in the order of probability.

  • TM is related to Barbara, Donald, HAM and Cheryl through a secondary line. However, TMs mother is English and his paternal line is well researched back through Dayton Daniel. If TM and Barbara, Donald, HAM and Cheryl share more than one line, that occurred in or before Dayton Daniel’s father’s generation and Philip Jacob Miller’s generation. We do not know the surname of Philip Jacob Miller’s wife, Magdalena, nor have we identified the parents of Dayton Daniel. This shared secondary line is the most likely scenario for why TM shares so much DNA with Barbara, Donald, HAM and Cheryl.
  • For some reason, a very large amount of common DNA has been passed to TM and Philip Jacob Miller’s descendants. This is not one “sticky segment” but multiple segments, which makes this scenario less likely.
  • All 4 matches, meaning TM to Barbara, TM to Cheryl, TM to Donald and TM to HAM are extreme outliers in the relationship range shared centiMorgans. This is the least likely scenario and it would have had to have happened independently four different times.

If Philip Jacob Miller and the father of Dayton Daniel married women who were related, that would cause a higher amount of matching DNA in the descendants of both lines – but not to people the Lodowich line, which is exactly what we are seeing.

It’s also possible that in addition to being related to each other, both of their wives were also related to or descended from the Berchtol line, which would also drive up the shared amount of DNA in the descendants. We know during that timeframe it was not unusual for people to marry their first cousins and there were not a lot of Brethren brides to choose from on the frontier.

What Have We Learned?

This exercise has been very interesting and we have learned a number of things.

  • Via DNA and genealogy combined, we have probably confirmed that the immigrant Michael Miller did in fact have another son that survived and had offspring. Based on records alone, that son may be Michael Jr., or Hans Michael Miller. Additional genealogy work needs to be done to follow the records for these men from Frederick County, Maryland forward in time.
  • Via Y DNA, we know that Dayton Daniel does positively share a common ancestor with the descendants of Philip Jacob Miller and Lodowich Miller, both sons of Johann Michael Miller, the immigrant.
  • Via genealogy records, we have proven that Dayton Daniel cannot be the son of Philip Jacob Miller, Lodowich Miller or John Miller, the three proven sons of  Michael Miller, the immigrant.  All three of Michael Miller’s sons had sons named Daniel, but all three Daniels are accounted for and eliminated as being Dayton Daniel born in 1765 by other records.
  • Via autosomal DNA, we confirm that the relationship between TM and the Miller descendants he matches is in a genealogical timeframe, not back in Germany several generations. Due to the fact that Michael had no Miller siblings that survived, if the relationship was further back in time, it would have to be at least two generations before Michael Miller, the immigrant, making DNA matching between TM and Michael’s descendants unlikely at all, and certainly not at the level they match, as they would be at least 8th cousins.
  • Via autosomal DNA, we suspect that there may be a secondary matching line, and the best candidates for secondary lines would be Magdalena, the wife of Philip Jacob Miller along with the mother of Dayton Daniel.
  • Given the very high amount of shared DNA, more than double the expected maximum amount, it’s also suggestive that in addition to being related to each other, than the wives of Dayton Daniel’s mother and Philip Jacob’s wife, Magdalena Miller, may also have been related to Michael Miller and Susanna Berchtol. We know that Susanna Berchtol had relatives in York County. Michael Miller did not, except for his step or half-brother, Jacob Stutzman, whose will we have and who did not have a daughter Magdalena who married a Miller, nor another unknown daughter who also married a Miller.
  • Because of the Brethren Miller DNA Project, we have gathered together the descendants of several Brethren Miller lines which allows us to compare the Y and autosomal DNA and work together to solve this ongoing mystery.
  • Doug and I have now confirmed that we are related on both the Miller and Ulrich lines – and now perhaps a third mystery line as well.

As with all genealogy, every question answered produces several new ones. What a wonderful puzzle to unravel and how lucky we are to have DNA tools in our genealogy toolbox today!!!



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

Stephen Ulrich (c1720–1783/1785), Twice Naturalized Brethren, 52 Ancestors #133

There is a lot of unsourced information about Stephen Ulrich (Jr.) on the web. As Dwayne Wrightsman, another of Stephen’s many descendants, said about Stephen, “so much has been said and so little is known.”

One of the documented but unproven items about Stephen is this “Oral History of Ulrick Family” from a private letter documented in Kinsey’s My Family Tree, which states:

Stephen Ulrick was born about 1680 near the German and Swiss border. Some records give His birthplace as Swebeland, Germany….He had two brothers, John and another whose name is unknown…all members of the German Baptist Church. Early in the eighteenth century they left their European home to escape religious persecution and came to the New World. They settled east of the mountains–probably first in northern Maryland and later removing to Huntingdon Co. Pa. near Hollidaysburg…Now Blair Co. These three brothers were all short and heavy set. They married three very tall sisters. Stephen (our ancestor) also had three sons, David, Samuel, and Stephen. They were all German Baptist preachers.

How much of the above letter is true? At least some.

We know that Stephen Ulrich (Sr.), the father of Stephen Ulrich (Jr.) born in about 1720 could well have been born in 1680. We also know there was a Mathias Ulrich in in York County, Pennsylvania living in the same group of Germans where Stephen Ulrich (Sr.) and (Jr.) were both living.

Holidaysburg is in Morrison’s Cove, just north of Bedford County where indeed, several of the children of Stephen Ulrich (Jr.), including Stephen (the third) settled – along with Stephen Jr.’s brother, John and probably his brother Daniel. And yes, Stephen Jr. did settle in northern Maryland, having moved from Pennsylvania and he did have three sons named David, Samuel and Stephen. So, we know that there is quite a bit of truth to this family letter. As for the rest, we don’t know, but given that there are some accurate items, it’s not unlikely that there are more.  There is, however, some generational intermixing of at least three generations.  Of course, in all fairness, there were (at least) three generations of Stephen Ulrichs.

I must admit, I’m fascinated by the physical description of these men and their wives.  That’s information that could only ever be forthcoming from a source like this.  Did the original Ulrich men marry sisters?  Would that have been Stephen Sr. the immigrant and two unknown brothers, or would this commentary have been referring perhaps to Stephen Jr. and two of his brothers?  Stephen Jr.’s brothers John, George and Daniel all moved with him to Frederick County, so it’s certainly possible that they could have married sisters and remained close.  There clearly weren’t a lot of Brethren females to choose from in the 1740 timeframe on the Pennsylvania frontier.

If anyone has documented information not included in this article, please do me the favor of sending it my way and I’ll be glad to update the article. I don’t however, want to be a party to spreading speculation or misinformation, so if it’s not documented, it’s not here, other than the above letter which I feel could provide important clues to the genesis of the Ulrich family.

I should probably explain, by virtue of introduction, that the Johann Michael Miller, Jacob Stutzman, Stephen Ulrich (Sr. and Jr.) families were all intertwined very early, certainly in the US if not in Germany previously. In fact, we do find the Miller and Stutzman families together in Germany, and possibly also the Ulrich family, but more on that in another article. In Lancaster, then York County, Pennsylvania, the Greib/Cripe family joins this group of Brethren families. In the US, the way to find any one of these families is to find any of these other families, because it seemed they were always together. They also intermarried, a lot, so sorting them out has proven challenging at best.

The Brethren Encyclopedia

For a Brethren family, a good place to check first is the Brethren Encyclopedia. It’s certainly not infallible, but often has valid information and equally as important, sources.

The Brethren Encyclopedia, The Brethren Press, 1983, p. 1285: Ulrich (Ullery, Ulery) Family

Families of this name of German/Swiss origins appear early in Pennsylvania records, but the first identifiable with Brethren communities (George, Matthew, Stephen, relationship unknown) settled in the Little Conewago valley (now Adams and York Cos., PA) ca. 1740. They were probably the Eldrick identified by Morgan Edwards among the founders of the Little Conewago congregation.

Stephen Ulrich, born abroad prior to 1725, took up land in 1742 adjoining his father Stephen Ulrich south of present McSherrystown, Adams Co., PA. In 1752 he moved to the Conococheague valley of Maryland (near Clear Spring), where he was active in Brethren affairs.

In 1767 Stephen Ulrick of Frederick Co., MD, was naturalized in Pennsylvania, an act which troubled his conscience as reported by Nicholas Martin to Alexander Mack, Jr., in 1772. His wife, Elizabeth Cripe (?) having died, he married in 1782 the widow of neighbor Jacob Stutzman. The children of the first marriage were three sons: David, Stephen, Samuel; and five daughters: Christina (m. Jacob Stutzman, Jr.), Elizabeth (m. Daniel Miller), Mary (m. George Puterbaugh), Hannah (m. Henry Puterbaugh), and Lydia (m. Jacob Lear). Daniel Ulrich, probably related, bought land from Stephen in 1754, then moved to Bedford Co., PA, where he died in 1792. John Ulrich, probably related, settled near Stephen in 1758, then moved west and died in Huntingdon Co., PA, in 1804. Numerous descendants of these pioneers, committed Brethren, including several eminent ministers, educators, and missionaries, spread along the frontiers of Pennsylvania, Ohio (by 1803), Indiana (by 1837), and west across the continent. In 1855 Jacob Ulrich was among the first Brethren settlers in Breckenridge Co., KS, where he knew John Brown and where his house and barn were burned by Quantrills raiders in 1863. JHS (John Hale Stutzman)

PA Land Records, Lancaster Co. Warrants 7 (U) and 8 (U), Feb. 16, 1742; Frederick Co., MD, Land Records Book E., 57-59; J. H. Stutesman, Jr., Jacob Stutzman (1982) index; Pennsylvania Archives, 2nd Series, 11:399; Washington Co., MD, Deed Book Co, 180-81; Washington Co., MD, Land Records Book D., 588-91; Colonial America (1967) 148, 184, 255, 266, 601; E. Pennsylvania (1915) index; Kansas (1922) esp. 13-26, 153-55.

Researcher Carol Henson tells us more:

Like other families, the Ulrich name changed quite a bit — especially in the first couple of generations in America. The family name generally appears as Ulrich or Ulrick — and then some of the Ulrich family members began using Ullery.

Ulrich and Ulrick has the same meaning as the old Germanic name “Uodalrich” or “Odalrik”. “Odal” means inheritance, and “rik” or “rich” means mighty or ruler, sovereign. Ulrich was the name of two German saints. There appear to be Ulrichs that were located in Baden Germany and Switzerland about the time of our first ancestor, Stephen Ulrich, Sr.

Ulrich family of Frebershausen in the Principality of Waldeck (is the first known Ulrich family), whose known roots first began in the 1500s. The earliest known Ulrich was Georg, a man whose story is clouded and whose parentage is uncertain. Waldeck in German means the corner of the woods. The area occupied by the former principality of Waldeck, even at this time, is a beautiful wooded region to which Germans and other Europeans come to vacation because of its beautiful woods, lakes, rivers, streams and spas.


Castle Waldeck, Hesse, By Christian Bickel – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.0 de,

Is this Ulrich family ours? We don’t know, but with Y DNA testing, we may one day be able to answer that question.

Being A Pietist Was Dangerous

The ongoing warfare in Europe, and in particular in Germany for centuries created a group of small fiefdoms where the ruler owned all of the land and dictated the religion of everyone who inhabited his fiefdom – generally meaning Protestant (Lutheran) or Catholic. This was legitimized by the Treaty of Augsburg on September 25, 1555.

If that ruler died, or was overrun, the new ruler, who might have entirely different views, took over – along with his religious preference, which became a mandate. The penalty for noncompliance was death, and people would run like rats from a sinking ship to escape into a friendlier fiefdom, often just a few miles down the road. However, with no land ownership and vacillating religious rules and policies, there was no reason for any peasant to develop much loyalty to any one place – other than family. And the family was also peasantry, so they weren’t tied either. More often than not, they moved together – sometimes leaving one or a few behind, like bread crumbs, along with the dead whose records might be found in church books, of course.

In the early 1600s, itinerant preachers roamed the German countryside preaching “unofficial doctrines” and working the populace into a lather. Local rulers tried to get rid of them, because social unrest of any kind was not a good thing to a landowner.

While all these groups are lumped together and called pietists, they often fought bitterly among themselves, but they were all united in their rejection of bureaucracy that could and did tell them what to do, and how. They each felt that they held the “only key” to salvation and grace. The church, both Catholic and Lutheran, dictated “correct” beliefs, but the pietist sects believed in a personal relationship with God and rejected all intermediaries.

To the pietists, the Bible was the doctrine, period, and all one needed to do personally was to read and follow the Bible. No interpretation necessary by churches, ministers or rulers…thank you very much.

Many of these groups also were opposed to infant baptism because they did not believe one could be “saved” before one had the capacity to choose salvation for oneself. The official churches condemned unbaptized babies to hell. The pietists sects began baptizing, or rebaptizing adults, an act punishable by death.

These groups were called Anabaptists, or rebaptizers, and the Moravians, Brethren, Mennonites, Amish and others fell into this general group.

The first recorded adult baptism happened in Zurich in 1525 and by 1574, more than 2500 Anabaptists had been put to death for adult baptism – the unrepentant being burned at the stake. If you repented, the men were beheaded and the women drowned. A quicker terrible fate, although all three just make me shudder.  And to think they were performed in the name of religion.

The official state religion kept changing too, first to Reformed, then to Lutheran, and each change caused more upheaval and more underground worshipers. Amazing that something that is supposed to be bring peace and comfort, like religion, caused so much pain and death.

By 1644, the foundation for immigration to Pennsylvania where William Penn openly recruited the downtrodden refugees and weary worshipers, specifically targeting the Quakers, Mennonites and other pietists and eventually, the Scots-Irish. Maryland welcomed Catholics, where Virginia was an English colony requiring membership in the Anglican church with stiff penalties otherwise.

In 1683, William Penn founded Philadelphia with 300 houses and negotiated his Great Treaty with the Indians. Later that year, the first German Mennonites arrived and established Germantown. The wave of German immigration had begun. On that wave, a few years later, would ride Stephen Ulrich.

Stephen’s Immigration

I have to wonder what would motivate someone to undertake an adventure into the completely unknown. What they were leaving must have been perceived to be worse than anything they could encounter where they were headed. Warfare was not unfamiliar to the pietists in Europe, and they had feared for their lives and property there as well. They must have felt like their entire existence was going from one conflict to the next. Maybe they felt these trials were sent by God to test their faith.

One big difference, and it may have made all the difference, is that in Germany, the rulers owned the land. In the colonies, the settlers had the opportunity to own land – something that would never happen in Europe. Indeed, even with its problems, America was the land of opportunity. That is, if you survived the voyage.

The voyage itself was dangerous and you could expect to lose part of your family. On some voyages, half the people perished. On some, more than half, two thirds, 80%. These were not anomalies. And the voyage took weeks. God forbid you were pregnant. I suspect that was a death sentence. What could have been so bad that one would choose uncertainly and a very, very high risk endeavor?

Justin Replogle in his book recounts both the 30 Years War that ended, finally, in 1648, only to be followed by the War of Spanish Succession from 1684 to 1713. Villages and farms were plundered and ruined and legions of people killed. From 1688 to 1697, every big city north of Cologne was plundered. On a single day, the Elector of Mannheim wrote that from the city walls he could see 23 villages burning. During this time, many Germans fled to Switzerland. A few years later, many Swiss would migrate to Germany for religious freedom and toleration – the price of resettling the naked German landscape. However, for the pietist sects in Switzerland, these were magical words.

So this landscape of warfare was sadly familiar to the German immigrants. They had lived with it, endured and survived for their entire lifetimes and the lifetimes of their parents and grandparents. Frightening? Certainly. But nothing terribly new. However, for a sect that refused to fight, even to protect themselves, they must have been sitting ducks. It’s amazing that any survived.

Many of the Pietist sects, meaning Mennonites and Brethren, immigrated between 1719 and 1729. We don’t know exactly when Stephen immigrated. We also have no information to suggest that he, or the families associated with Stephen, were pietist before immigration. What we do know is when he was naturalized.


The first actual piece of documented information we have about Stephen Ulrich is that he was born in Germany, because he, along with his father, also named Stephen, was naturalized in 1738, which would not have been necessary if he were born in the colonies.

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.” (Dwayne Wrightsman)

This could imply that Stephen Sr.’s wife had died, although at that time, wives were not individually listed and were simply included in their husband’s naturalization.

I have to ask why, if Stephen was living in Pennsylvania in 1738, near Hanover, was he being Naturalized in Baltimore County, Maryland. The answer to that question is  that the state border was in dispute and Stephen believed that his land was indeed in Maryland, not Pennsylvania. If Stephen’s land was in Maryland, Baltimore County would have been where it was located. Frederick County, Maryland was later formed from parts of Baltimore and Prince George Counties. As it turned out, Stephen was wrong and his land wound up being in Lancaster County (subsequently York County, now Adams County) in Pennsylvania, a few miles north of the Maryland/Pennsylvania state line, or where it would eventually be.

Also listed on pages 57-58 of “Commission Book No. 82” were six of Stephen Ulderey’s neighbors, all of whom were known to reside at or near Digges Choice on Little Conewago Creek in what turned out to be Lancaster County, PA. Stephen Sr. had purchased his initial land from Digges, so we know positively that’s where he lived.

People naturalized on this date – all ‘natives of High Germany now planters of Baltimore County’ were:

  • John Morningstar and his children Philip, Elizabeth and Joanna
  • John Martin Ungefare and his children George, Francis and Catherine.
  • Adam Furney and his children Mark, Nicholas, Philip, Charlott, Mary and Clara
  • George Coontz and his children John, Eva and Catherine
  • Stephen Uldery and his children Stephen, George, Daniel, John, Elizabeth and Susannah
  • John Lammon (of Prince George County, Maryland) and his children John, George, Louisa, Lenora, Catherine and Margaret.

Where is “High Germany?” According to Wikipedia, “High Germany is a geographical term referring to the mountainous southern part of Germany.” They also report that is was a common reference to Alpine Germany in the 16th century, but had fallen out of use by the 19th. When referring to language, it means the German spoken south of the Benrath line.


By Hardcore-Mike – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

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.

Little Conewago is near Hanover, PA, in present day Adams County, about 100 miles from Philadelphia. At that time, this area was still very much unsettled frontier. Just 20 years earlier, Conestoga, 20 miles west of Philadelphia, had been described as wilderness.

Researchers report that there is another Naturalization for Stephen Ulrick in Philadelphia County on April 5, 1741. However, that’s actually incorrect. He was naturalized a second time, but the document actually says that the naturalization was pursuant to an act in the general assembly in 1742. It’s easy to understand how the confusion arose, looking at the following page.

Miller Naturalization

Stephen Ulrick from Frederick County, Maryland was naturalized with Michael Miller from the same place, his son Philip Jacob Miller, and Jacob Stutzman from Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, just across the border from Frederick County, Maryland.

Ordering the actual document from the Pennsylvania Archives made a world of difference, because the month and year, April 1767, is right on the outside of the document packet.

Philip Jacob Miller naturalization 1

Philip Jacob Miller naturalization 2

Philip Jacob Miller naturalization 3

Philip Jacob Miller naturalization 4

The 1738 original naturalization date tells us that Stephen Ulrich Sr. immigrated before that date and possibly in or before 1731. I’m unclear on the Maryland requirements for naturalization in 1738, and each colony was different, but in some locations, naturalization required residence for 7 years.

We don’t know exactly when Stephen Jr., along with his father, immigrated, or exactly when he was born, but it was surely before 1720 because in 1742, we find Stephen Jr. obtaining land and he would surely not have been any younger than age 22 or so.

Land at Little Conewago

One of the issues with records from early Pennsylvania is that the counties changed.

The earliest records of what is now Adams County, PA are found in what was originally Chester Co., PA. which successively changed to Lancaster Co. in 1728, to York County in 1748 and to Adams Co., PA in 1800.

And it wasn’t just counties that changed, but the state line itself was in dispute, as was the actual land ownership – meaning that the Indians still felt they owned at least the frontier and borderlands, exactly where the Brethren families were living, until at least 1736.

Ironically, these people who eschewed all forms of conflict wound up right dab smack in the center of a protracted heated battle.

Both Maryland and Pennsylvania claimed the land where Chester (then Lancaster/York/Adams) County lay. Initially the Pennsylvania government complained when Marylanders settled this area, but since no one else, except the Indians, was complaining, nothing was done until 1728 when Pennsylvania ran the settlers off and burned their homes. By 1732, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia were all three competing for settlers on the frontier to stabilize the region and provide a buffer between the settled portions and the “savages.”

In 1732, Pennsylvania began giving out “licenses” to settle west of the Susquehanna with the idea that the licenses could later be turned into warrants when the colony actually bought the land from the Indians. No wonder the Indians were unhappy.

Note on this present day map that all of the area near Hanover was significantly west of the Susquehanna, shown to the right, by about 20-30 miles.


Between 1733 and 1736, 52 licenses were issued, mostly to German families, although the original list created by Samuel Blunston later disappeared. Presumably some went to the group who settled in the Conewego area where the Ulrich and Cripe families were living at that time. These licenses were confirmed in 1736 when the land was purchased from the Five Nations and an order for a resurvey was issued in 1762. It could have been at this time that the list was lost.

This same land had been issued under Maryland grants as early as 1731, according to “The Beginnings of the German Element in York County Pennsylvania,” a wonderful paper written in 1916 by Abdel Ross Wentz, PhD, Professor of History at Pennsylvania College. Thomas Cresap had built a cabin west of the Susquehanna as early as 1728. Dr. Wentz’s document includes a great deal of historical detail that provides enlightenment about how our ancestors who settled in that area lived, and the conditions they were subject to.

Maryland still claimed this land and by 1730, things were getting ugly. Maryland granted the same land, much of it to Thomas Cresap, a very early pioneer and Indian trader. Pennsylvanians tended to paint Cresap as an aggressive villain who terrorized the region and Marylanders viewed him as a hero who saved the day. One thing is for sure, he became the spokesperson for the Maryland faction of the German community, joined the Brethren Church, and ultimately bought the land Michael Miller would purchase from him called Miller’s Choice on Antietam Creek near Hagerstown, MD.

Living on the west side of the Susquehanna River, in the disputed land were 40 Germans, Michael Miller listed among them in 1736, just before the “Revolt of the Germans” ensued.

Because of the uncertainty of boundaries and the questionable legality of the Digges Choice land transactions, the area was often referred to as ‘the disputed land” and later, the community was referred to as “Rogue’s Resort.” This didn’t reflect upon the settlers, but upon Digges himself who was selling land he didn’t have clear title to.

In the 1730s, local warfare ensued with both Maryland and Pennsylvania jailing people. At one point, Cresap got thrown off of his own ferry mid-river, but survived. In 1734, Cresap shot a Pennsylvania sheriff’s ranger who came to arrest him. I’m suspecting that perhaps he wasn’t yet Brethren at this time.

Some settlers returned back east at this point, having had enough – but turning back never seemed to be an option for the Brethren who also wouldn’t fight.

As militias on both sides became involved, the frustrated Brethren and German settlers must have become quite desperate because in 1736 they sent a resolution to the Governors of both states pledging their loyalty. However, when the duplicate loyalty was discovered, Governor Oglethorpe of Maryland offered rewards for the apprehension and arrest of nearly 40 men. John Wright was apparently the ringleader, because the bounty on his head was 40 pounds. However, Michael Miller was included but his bounty, and that of most of the other men, was only 2 pounds. We don’t know if this was the Michael Miller of the Ulrich/Cripe/Stutzman group, but it could have been. Cripe, Stutzman and Ulrich were certainly there by 1738, according to Brethren historical church records, but Michael Miller may have still been living in Chester Co., PA. His tax records don’t begin in this area until 1744. Certainly this regional war affected everyone.

Pennsylvania did purchase the land from the Indians in 1736 and land warrants were issued in 1738 – but given the uncertainty about who owned what and which state it would actually fall into, it was no wonder nothing much was done.

In 1738, a temporary line between Pennsylvania and Maryland was established, and the Digges Choice lands fell 4 miles north of that line.

In 1743, the German families had Digges Choice surveyed and exposed that Digges didn’t own all of the land he had sold.  In fact, he was about 4000 acres short.

In 1745, Digges attempted to obtain additional lands, in Pennsylvania, through his Maryland patent, claiming this was simply a resurvey and adjustment of his original survey. Unfortunately, this new Maryland patent and survey included some lands that had already been granted to German families from Pennsylvania. Needless to say, a great deal of consternation and hard feelings, to put it mildly, ensued, causing years of conflict.

In 1746, several German families petitioned Pennsylvania to protect their rights against Digges aggressions. Violence followed, and in April 1746 Matthias Ulrich and Nicholas Forney (son of Adam Forney), both men living on the disputed lands and refusing to surrender their patents to Digges, were arrested.

Digges attempted to continue to press the issue, trying to force these families to either surrender their land or repurchase it from him, but he soon learned just how stubborn and tenacious Germans can be. John Lemon, Lammon in the 1738 naturalization was one of the German men involved whose land lay outside of Digges original survey but inside the resurvey bounds.

Maybe this settlement should have been called “Digges Sorrow,” because certainly everyone who lived there was sorry about something!

Eventually, we find our Brethren families in the records, but things really didn’t improve. In fact, this conflict wasn’t settled for another 30 years with the running of the Mason-Dixon line, which, ironically cut right through Jacob Stutzman’s land – even after the Brethren had finally had enough and left Hanover in Pennsylvania for Frederick County in Maryland where they thought they would be immune to these issues.  They weren’t.

PA-MD boundary issue

“Cresapwarmap” by Kmusser – self-made, based primarily on the description at Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Commons

By the time the Mason-Dixon line was run, these families had been embroiled in this  mess for 30 years, or more.

Based on the location of Stephen Ulrich’s land, and the secondary information that Stephen 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, most of Heidelberg Township in York County and 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 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. We know that Stephen lived there as early as 1738 when he is listed 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.


It’s interesting to note on this page of Lancaster County Warrant Register that Stephen Jr. obtained two tracts of land and neither warrant was returned until in the early 1800s.

The Pennsylvania Land Warrants and Applications 1733-1952 data base on Ancestry shows the following:



Stephen Ulrich Junior, Lancaster County, 100 acres situate on Indian Creek a branch of Little Conewago adjoining Henry Eastle? (Castle?) land on the west side of Susquehanna River, 15 pounds 10 shillings and yearly quit-rent of one half penny sterling for every acre thereof.



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

I’m unclear about where Stephen Ulrich Sr.’s land is located. There is no warrant and no deed.

There is also a Lancaster Co. Warrant to Ansted Ulrick on Nov. 4, 1743 for 200 acres in Lebanon Twp, Lancaster County, although we don’t know who Ansted is and he may or may not be related.  The name Ansted does not repeat in the Stephen Ulrich family that I’m aware of.

John Hale Stutzman 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. Stephen’s land was described as adjoining his father, Stephen’s, tract.


Page 6, Jacob Stutzman (?-1775) by John Hale Stutzman, Jr.

Tract C was purchased in 1759 from John Digges by Jacob Stutzman.  Jacob also bought tracts A and B from Stephen Ulrich. This suggests strongly that the boundard 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 land was located about one mile south of McSherrytown, shown below in Adams Co., PA but was in Lancaster County originally, then in York in 1749 when it was formed, then in Adams beginning in 1800.

Hanover PA

You can see Stutzman’s drawing above on the map below from Google Maps. Indian Creek intersects with Little Conewago just below Narrow Drive and Hanover Pike is the old road.


If this drawing is accurate, Stephen Ulrich would have owned the land between the two 194 markers on Hanover Pike, meaning roughly between Race Horse Road and Pennville.

Here’s a satellite of the same area.  This is certainly nice farmland.


The photo below from Google Street View shows Indian Run Creek today from Narrow’s road. If the warrant is accurate, this would have been Stephen’s land although that’s not reflected in Stutzman’s drawing.   Indian Run is not very large.


Let’s drive down the road towards Hanover Pike.

This picture is just north of the intersection of Narrows Road and Hanover Pike. Stutzman’s drawing shows that this would have been Stephen’s land.


When Stephen first rode in his wagon on what would one day become this road, it would have been entirely wooded.  This flat farmland is just south of the same intersection.


If you are a farmer, flat is good.


This 1783 record further clarified that Stephen lived on the main road in York County, which would have been 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

Given that John Digges did not convey land to Stephen Ulrich Jr., this land, above, has to be that of Stephen Sr.

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.

Stephen Ulrich (Jr.) was reported to be a German Baptist minister based on Nicholas Martin’s notes. Stephen is believed to be the son of the immigrant Stephan Ulrich, given that their land was adjacent and they were referred to as Sr. and Jr, and Stephen Sr.’s 1738 naturalization record includes Stephen Jr.

About 1740, Stephen Jr. married his wife, reported, but not documented, to be Elizabeth Cripe. I sincerely believe that her surname was not Cripe, but I will delve into that topic in Elizabeth’s article.

Stephen Ulrich sold his Lancaster/York County land to his friend, Jacob Stutzman. This transaction is described in John Hale Stutzman’s book, “Jacob Stutzman, His Children and Grandchildren.” Unhappily for us, these two devout Dunkers, under the strictures of their church doctrine, avoided engagement with government authorities and did not record the deed of sale. “Heaven perhaps for the Dunkers but Hell for the genealogist,” as quoted by John Hale Stutzman. I’m glad I’m not the only Brethren researcher that feels that way!

We only know about this land sale because of a subsequent sale by Jacob Stutzman to George Wine. The Wine family intermarried with the Miller family through son Lodowich (Ludwig.). And around and around we go…

In 1743, another battle broke out and Stephen Ulrich was certainly in the middle of it, although his name is not specifically recorded. We know he was, though, because of John Digges and an unnamed Mathias Ulrich, possibly a relative.

In a deposition given August 29, 1746, Matthias Ulrich stated that he arrived in 1738 but he did not settle on Digges’ Choice until 1742 just before visiting Germany. So Mathias arrives at Digges Choice at least 4 years after Stephen Ulrich.

In 1743, the Germans sent one Martin Updegraf to Annapolis, Maryland to check on John Digges grant. It was found that Digges had sold some land he didn’t own, so he obtained a new grant from Maryland which included farms of 14 Germans under warrant from Pennsylvania. Both sides tried to intimidate the German farmers. The Pennsylvania surveyor warned them against violating royal orders. Mathias Ulrich apparently told the sheriff “to go to the devil,” an action very out of character for a Brethren. Eventually Digges son was killed but Pennsylvania would not surrender the killers to Maryland to be tried. It was clearly one hot mess on the frontier, and petitions and requests for help went unheard and unanswered by those back east who cared little if a bunch of Germans killed each other.

The Brethren tried to stick it out for a few more years, but in 1745, Michael Miller began buying land in Frederick County, MD, near present day Hagerstown and not long thereafter, the entire group of Brethren would sell out and remove themselves to what they hoped would be a more peaceful and secure, undisputed area.

The final straw, perhaps, came in 1748 when the sheriffs from both states insisted on collecting quick rent, which in this case, was in essence extortion money for being left alone. A 1748 deposition complaining to the Maryland governor said that “a great number of the Germans and some others were so much alarmed by the sheriff’s proceedings that several of them have already left the province and others have declaired they would go.” Many of the German families held land authorized by Pennsylvania.

In 1748, Frederick County, Maryland was formed from Baltimore and Prince George’s County.

On November 15, 1749, Stephen Ullery bought 150 acres in “Digges Choice” from John Digges and on June 3, 1758, “Stephen and Elizabeth Wollery of Frederick County, Maryland sold this land, according to Baltimore County, Maryland land records listed by John Hale Stutzman.  This land purchase from Digges is a bit confounding, knowing that Stephen Ulrich held land patented by Pennsylvania adjacent Digges land, so assuredly in the midst of the land that Digges tried to extort from the Germans by bullying them into either giving him their patents or making them repurchase their land from him.  This is also about the time Stephen Sr. is reported to have died.  Did Stephen repurchase his own land?  His father already had purchased land directly from Digges.  Would Stephen Jr. have purchased land in 1749, just before moving to Frederick County from the despised Digges?  We will likely never know “the rest of the story,” but surely there is more to the story than is readily apparent.

“Stephen Ullery” appears in the official records of York Co., Pennsylvania in 1749 in the Little Conewago area.

Frederick County, Maryland

However, by 1750, Stephen had had enough. Both Maryland and Pennsylvania tried to tax Heidelberg Township in the Conewago area. Stephen Ullery was taxed 7 shillings and Mathias Ullery, 2 shillings. It’s unclear whether this was Maryland or Pennsylvania tax, but regardless, Stephen sold his land and moved. Mathias apparently does as well, but I can’t find a deed.  Many of the Brethren simply passed the deed to the new owner and if they didn’t register the deed, it didn’t matter to the person who sold the land. In many cases, the deeds passed hand to hand several times and were never registered. Unfortunately, this plays havoc with any historical continuity.

By 1752 Stephen Ulrich Jr. had moved about 60 miles almost due west to Frederick County, Maryland, near today’s Hagerstown, but then it was the edge of the frontier. The closest village in 1752 was Conococheague where the creek of that name empties into the Potomac River. This is the area where Stephen would spend the rest of his life after purchasing land from one Hance (Hans) Waggoner in 1751.


To illustrate life on the frontier, Evan Shelby, who had sold Stephen’s eventual land to Waggoner also sold land to Indian trader, John Hager, 5 years after Shelby initially acquired the land. When Shelby sold the land to Hager, it had been improved with “two sorry houses” and “3 acres of cornfield, fenced in.” That was it – 5 years worth of improvements on the frontier.  According to land surveys in Frederick County, this was the rule, not the exception.

Most land in this area was entirely unimproved, but Stephen’s land that he purchased from Waggoner may have been. Another man purchased the other half of Waggoner’s land, and one of the two men received these improvements:

One dwelling house 20 by 16 feet made of hewd logs and covered with lap shingles, a stone chimney, one dwelling house 27 by 22 feet of hewd logs and covered with lap shingles, plankd above and below, a stone chimney, a new barn of hewd logs covered with lap shingles, 49 feet by 27, 69 apple trees, 72 peach trees and 6 acres of cultivated land well fenced.

In 1750 on the frontier, this was a palace. I do have to laugh, because true to form, the barn is much, much larger than the house, more than twice as big.

On September 25, 1752, Stephen Ulrich (Jr.), “of Frederick County, Maryland” bought 235 acres from a very early settler in the region, Hans Waggoner. The same day, Hance Waggoner sold another 200 acres of Germania to Walter Friendesburgh. The Waggoner family had lived adjacent the Ulrich family in York County as well.


Page 12, “Jacob Stutzman (?-1775)” by John Hale Stutzman, Jr.

The Ulrich’s settled right at the base of the first mountain range, about 8 or 9 miles northwest of today’s Hagerstown. John Hale Stutesman’s map has Stephen Ulrich’s original farm just below today’s Mason-Dixon line which forms the state line . This would be on Maryland 494 just below the state line where 494 becomes 75 in Pennsylvania.


Stutzman states that the X is near where highway 57 intersects 75, which would today be 494, although that appears to be about half a mile south of the state line.  Stutzman didn’t have the benefit of Google satellite when he wrote his book in 1982.


This picture above is taken just north of the intersection of 57 and 494.


Based on that description, this land should be Stephen’s, and there are the mountains in the distance.

You can drive for miles seeing nothing but farms and cornfields, punctuated from time to time by a very old house that is located very near the road. I always wonder if these houses stood when our ancestors passed by in horse and wagon.  This house may have been located on Stephen’s land.


This end of the house, which is the original portion, looks like it might have been fortified at one time. Other similar homes on the Tennessee frontier have these same strategically placed windows at the highest portion of the end of the home so that the men can gain a height advantage when shooting at their foes.  Note the two windows on either side of the chimney in the highest portion of the home.


Even the trees are ancient, as are the barns to the right of the house above.


Adjoining Stephen Ulrich’s land is the Jacob Stutesman place, purchased in 1761, straddling the state line and ultimately the Butterbaugh holdings were right here on both sides too, according to Stutzman. Jacob Cripe lived somewhere in this region too, northwest of John Hager’s house. The relationship between the Cripe and Ulrich families is unclear, but some individuals suggest that Jacob Cripe’s wife was the sister of Stephen Ulrich Jr. I have never seen documentation to this effect, but given the lack of Brethren records, it’s possible.

Stephen Ulrich and his wife raised a large family of nine children. Their daughter Christina married Jacob Stutzman, Jr., the son of their neighbor.

Frederick County Maryland Land Records Liber B Abstracts 1748-1752 by Patricia Abelard Andersen, p 4:

Stephen Ulary recorded Jan. 6, 1753, made Sept 5, Hans Willaree Waggoner of Frederick Co., farmer, for 340 pcm, tract called Garmina at first line of tract called Maidins Choice, m&b for 235 acres. Signed Hans Willarae Waggoner before Thomas Prather. Ack. Elizabeth Waggoner, his wife released dower. Receipt AF paid.

On February 19, 1753, Stephen and Elizabeth Ulrich sold 25 acres to Lodowick Miller, the son of Michael Miller. Michael Miller’s grandson, Daniel, through son Philip Jacob Miller would marry Stephen Ulrich’s daughter, Elizabeth some 20 years later. Also on February 19, 1753, Walter Friendesburgh sold 100 acres to Lodowich Miller.

Given this close connection with the Miller family, it’s also possible that either Stephen Ulrich’s wife or Jacob Cripe’s wife was Lodowich Miller’s sister.  I do need to state that this is purely speculative, and I almost hate to even mention it because they is no proof, in either direction.  There is only the possibility given the limited number of Brethren in York County at an early day when those men would have been marrying.

Jacob Stutzman was thought to have been the step-brother of Michael Miller, the immigrant and father of Lodowick Miller, but recent information that has come to light strongly suggests Jacob Stutzman was actually Michael Miller’s half-brother.

In 1753, Stephen Ulrich’s brother George had apparently also moved to Frederick County, and subsequently died.


Nicholas Martin and Stephen Willarick (Ulrich) as administrators of George Willarick (Ulrich) deceased late of Frederick County MD reported the value of the deceased property to the court on August 27, 1753.

1754 – 483-484 – Lodewick Miller recorded July 7, 1754 and made Feb 19 same year between Stephen Ulrich of Frederick County for 25 acres, Pennsylvania current money tract called Garminia (Germania) in Frederick County in his actual possession, metes and bounds given, signed Stephen Ulrich before Thomas Prather, Walter Tenderback, Elizabeth wife of Stephen Ulrich released dower right. Receipt. AF paid.

484–485 – Lodewick Miller recorded July 7, 1754, made Feb 19, 1754 between Walter Fundenberg farmer, for 100pcm, tract part of land called Garminia, m&b given. Signed Walter Gondeback, before Thomas Prather, Stephen Ulrich. Katern wife of the said Walter released dower right. Receipt. AF paid.

1754 – 590-591- Daniel Ularick recorded November 20, 1745 made May 31, 1754, between Steven Ularick of Frederick Co., farmer for 100 pcm MD, part of a tract called Garminia (Germania) beginning on the 10th line, m&b given for 86 acres, signed Stephen Ularick before Thomas Prather, Joseph Smith. Elizabeth wife of Stephen Ularick released dower right. Receipt AF paid.

In August of 1754, Stephen Ulrich was appointed overseer of roads in Conococheague Hundred in Frederick County for 1755.

Stephen’s Maryland lands butted up against the first rampart of the Alleghenies, called in whole “The Endless Mountains.” This particular mountain was called “The North Mountain” and his land was on the eastern flank.

The years of 1754 and 1755 signaled the beginning of the French and Indian war.

All was not tranquil on Conococheaque and the worst was yet to come. In 1755, the French and Indians smashed General Braddock’s column a few miles to the west, killed Braddock himself, and set the frontier aflame. In 1756, Gov. Sharpe of Maryland wrote, “The fine settlement of Conococheaque is quite deserted”.

Stephen Ulrich and family had hurredly abandoned ship, but where did they go?

The War Years

This land looks beautiful, idyllic and serene today, but it wasn’t always this way.

Philip Jacob Miller land Allegheny Mountains

During the time that the Brethren were settling, first near Hanover, PA, then Maryland, they weren’t the only people who felt they had a right to this land.

The Native tribes had good relations for decades with both Pennsylvania and Maryland. Both colonies bought land from the tribes. The problem was twofold.

First, the Native idea of land use and ownership was different from that of Europeans. While the Europeans “bought” the land from the Indians whose villages were physically on the land, those weren’t the only Indians with an interest in the land. Other tribes could well feel an ownership towards the land in terms of using it for hunting, or for travel. Once the Europeans owned it, they felt they owned it exclusively and anyone else that infringed in any way was trespassing. The worldview of the Indians and the Europeans was quite different, which put them squarely at odds with each other.

While Pennsylvania and Maryland were negotiating in good faith, others were not. For example, the Indians were promised land in the Ohio Valley, undisturbed, and that settlers would not cross the Proclamation line in 1763, promises which were immediately broken.  There was a long history of European misrepresentation, mis-set expectations, broken promises and treaties.


Secondly, both the French and English in the northern part of the colonies, and the Spanish in the southern tier were trying to do two things at once. They were trying to displace the Indians and at the same time, trying to win them over to their side in terms of warfare. This means that the Indians were in conflict with the French, English and Spanish and having internal conflicts between tribes as well. Old conflicts were not forgotten, and new injuries added to the list as the Indians sided with the French and raided the colonies of Pennsylvania and Maryland, for example.

The Braddock expedition, also called Braddock’s campaign or, more commonly, Braddock’s Defeat, was a failed British military expedition which attempted to capture the French Fort Duquesne (modern-day downtown Pittsburgh) in the summer of 1755 during the French and Indian War. Braddock was defeated at the Battle of the Monongahela on July 9, and the survivors retreated. The expedition takes its name from General Edward Braddock, who led the British forces and died in the effort. Braddock’s defeat was a major setback for the British in the early stages of the war with France and has been described as one of the most disastrous defeats for the British in the 18th century.

Before setting out on this expedition, Braddock had been warned about the Indians and their ambush style of attacks, which he poopooed. A decision he would regret, but did not live to regret. The families in Frederick County, Maryland would watch more than 200 of Braddock’s men move between the Potomac River and Antietam Creek on land owned by Brethren Johann Michael Mueller.

Braddock’s men marched through the woods in their red coats, in formation, in columns, drums and pipers playing and flags flying. They made one fine target of themselves. The Indians must have thought them insane.

General Braddock’s defeat in 1755 left the entire frontier at the mercy of the French and their Indian allies, who were both trying to displace the settlers in Pennsylvania, Maryland and part of Virginia against the “Endless Mountains,” the Blue Ridge and Alleghenies. Attacks on the settlements began at once with Braddock’s defeat.

There were plenty of British and German settlers who had moved to the frontier who were sitting ducks, and the Indians descended upon them.

By June 28th of 1755, Governor Sharpe of Maryland sent a document to the lower house: “a party of French Indians last Monday morning (June 23) fell on the inhabitants of this province and killed two men and one woman…eight other persons they have taken prisoners and carried off…”

In general, with some exceptions, you were far better off to be killed quickly than taken captive. The horrors that captives were subjected to are simply too gruesome to describe.

A French Captain wrote shortly after Braddock’s defeat that they had succeeded in “ruining the three adjacent provinces of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, driving off the inhabitants and totally destroying settlements over a tract of country thirty leagues reckoning from the line of Fort Cumberland.”  Thirty leagues is about 103 miles.  Fort Cumberland is at the right upper end of the map below.


Col. Adam Smith reported from Fort Cumberland that “the smoak of burning plantations darkens the day and hides the neighboring mountains from out of sight.”

“They kill all they meet…” wrote Claude Godfrey, a priest. Women and maidens were reported to be abused, then slaughtered or burned.

Fort Cumberland was about 65 miles west of the area near Hagerstown where the Brethren lived, and the border between Pennsylvania and Maryland.  Stephen’s land was well within the circle of destruction – and he would have had to go at least 40 miles east to be even remotely safe.


On October 9, 1755, the Maryland Gazette ran this story:

Last Wednesday morning the Indians carried off a woman from Frazier’s plantation…killed Benjamin Rogers, his wife and 7 children, and Edmund Marle, one family of 12 persons, besides 15 others, all in Frederick County. On Patterson Creek many families have within this month been murdered, carried away or burnt in their houses.” It goes on to say that “near Town Creek…a few miles this side of Cresaps more settlers were killed or carried away.

Patterson’s Creek is near Fort Cumberland and Town Creeks is west of Stephen Ulrich’s land.

By 1756, the territory around Cumberland was almost entirely deserted and George Washington wrote on April 22 that stories of the “butchering enemy melt me into such deadly sorrow that I would willingly offer myself a willing sacrifice…provided that would contribute to the people’s ease.”

And then on March 11, 1756, the Maryland Gazette reports this incident very close to where the Brethren families lived:

On the 26th instant…we found John Meyers house in flames and 9 or 10 head of large cattle killed. About three miles further up the road we found one Hynes killed and scalped with one arm cut off and several arrows sticking out of him. Further on they found a fortified house full of 40 women who told them they had been surrounded by Indians. But when the attackers tried to burn the house, the women extinguished it with ‘soapsuds’.

Never, never underestimate the ingenuity of a group of desperate women.

Those who didn’t leave were virtual captives in their home. Going to the fields to work or the creek for water was a life-threatening adventure. Many entire families lost their lives. Most families lost someone.

Near the close of the Revolutionary War, one Mr. Butterfield reported, “From Pittsburgh south…there are few families who have not lived therein any considerable length of time that had not lost some of their number by the merciless Indians.” (Replogle)

Living on the frontier was not for the faint of heart or spirit. But then again, being of a dissenting religion in Europe hadn’t been safe either.

On November 15, 1749, Stephen Ullery had purchased 150 acres in “Digges Choice” from John Digges and on June 3, 1758, “Stephen and Elizabeth Wollery of Frederick County, Maryland sold this land, according to Baltimore County, Maryland land records listed by John Hale Stutzman.

This 1758 record in Baltimore County may provide us with a very important clue. Stephen Ulrich claims he is from Frederick County, but this deed is filed in Baltimore County, where he may have taken refuge during the time the family was seeking shelter from the Indian raids. My assumption had always been that Stephen, and indeed the entire Brethren group had returned to Pennsylvania, but that appears to be incorrect – at least relative to Stephen.

Eventually things quieted down and the survivors returned to their homes. Just what became of the Ulrich family during this time is not known. But when he returned, Stephen Ulrich Jr. had his land resurveyed and named it “Good Neighbor” and was able to persuade his old friend Jacob Stutsman to buy land adjoining his in 1761.

On March 9th, 1761, Jacob Stutzman of the Province of Pennsylvania, farmer, paid 300 pounds to Bernard Stuller for 245 acres called “Good Luck,” with 24 acres of Flaggy Meadow lying on the northeast border of “Good Neighbor.”

On April 21, 1761, Stephen and Elizabeth Wollery of Frederick Co., Maryland sold 150 acres in “Digges Choice” to George Wain or Wine. The surname is likely Wine, because the Wine family married into the Johann Michael Miller family. One tract had been sold to Jacob Stutzman by 1759 and Stutzman sold his land to Wine as well, probably when Stutzman moved to Frederick County and purchased “Good Luck.” Deeds were made to clear the record.

1761 – April 21 – Deed – Stephen Ulrich of Manham Twp York Co for 10 pounds sold to George Wain of same place 200 acre tract of land whereon the said George Wain now dwells in Manheim Twp which was granted unto me by warrant dated Feb 17 1742…wit Jacob Danner, Ludwig Miller. Ackn April 21 1761 before Michael Danner . (B: pg 179)

Please note that Lodowick’s name is recorded as Ludwig here.

1761 – June 2, 1763, Deed George Wain of Manham Twp, York Co yeoman sold to Conrad Keefaver of same place yeoman one half of a 200 acre tract of land being part adj Martin Kitsmiller Digges and the same Conrad Keefaver…whereas in pursuance of a warrant dated Feb. 16, 1742 there was surveyed and laid out unto Stephen Ullrick a 200 ac tract of land in Manhiem Twp. and the said Stephen Ullerick on April 21, 1761 did convey the tract of land unto the said George Wain. Wit John Wagner, Henery Harris ackn June 12, 1763 before John Pope esqr justice (B: pg 183)

Land Records of York County, pa 1746-1764 by Mary Marshall Brewer p 177

The fact that this land, previously owned by Stephen Ulrich is adjacent the tract owned by Martin Kitsmiller is quite interesting. Martin Kitsmiller was a miller whose land was part of the “disputed land” caught up in the Digges resurvey. A cornerstone in the former mill is dated 1738 and the mill was located near the headwaters of the Little Conewago Creek. He bought his 100 acres on Conewago Creek which was contiguous to Digges Choice from John Lemmon in 1736. It was at Kitzmiller’s Mill in 1752 that John Digges’ son, Dudley was killed when the Baltimore County sheriff attempted to arrest Martin Kitzmiller when Digges tried to force him to repurchase his land. Kitzmiller’s son, Jacob, killed Dudley, but it may well have been accidental during the scuffle. Ironically, it was during this trial that it was determined that Kitzmiller’s Pennsylvania warrants were valid and Maryland, where Jacob Kitzmiller was being tried, had no jurisdiction to do anything at all, including collect taxes or arrest anyone, for anything, in Pennsylvania.

On September 29, 1761, Stephen Ulrick and Nicholas Martin of Frederick County, Maryland received a patent for 425 acres for which they obtained a warrant on August 27, 1759. This tract was called “Stephen’s Hope” and included a former survey, “Much Grumbling,” which had not been taken up by Jacob Funk.

Stephen Ulrick recorded a release September 24, 1762.

I, Charles Carrol of Annapolis, barrister, heir and executor of Charles Carroll the mortgage for 193 pounds 19 shillings paid by Stephen Ulrich, farmer and interest. Signed Chas Carroll. Duty paid.

Frederick County Land Records, Liber G and H Abstracts, 1761-1763, Abstracted by Patricia Abelard Andersen, p 56

More Warfare – Pontiac’s Revolt

However, in 1763, this area would see a repeat of the warfare that occurred in 1754-1756 in the French and Indian War – except even worse, if that can be imagined.

From Francis Parkman’s book, “History of the Conspiracy of Pontiac,” we learn frightening details about Pontiac’s Revolt. In May of 1763, with Indians from as far away as the Mississippi, Pontiac descended on the English settlers and garrisons from Detroit to the Carolinas in a concerted warfare effort.

Parkman tells us:

It was upon the borders that the storm of Indian war descended with appalling fury, a fury unparalleled through all the past and succeeding years. For hundreds of miles from north to south, the country was wasted with fire and steel…the ranging parties who visited the scene of devastation beheld, among the ruined farms and plantations, sights of unspeakable horrors; and discovered in the depths of the forest, the half-consumed bodies of men and women, still bound fast to the trees where they had perished in the fiery torture.

Somehow both Stephen Ulrich and Jacob Stutzman survived. We don’t know if they went back east and stayed with families there, or perhaps they took shelter in Fort Frederick, located 8 or 10 miles distant, as the crow flies. On the map below, the Ulrich property is just below Maryland/Pennsylvania border at Dry Run. Fort Frederick is on the Potomac River.


Today the fort is restored.


“Fort Frederick walls” by Acroterion – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons –

Here is an artist’s rendering of how the fort would likely have looked when these families would have been living in the vicinity – and perhaps taking shelter here.


“Fort Frederick, Hagerstown vicinity (Washington County, Maryland)” by Albert S. Burns, Photographer – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID hhh.md0835.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons –,_Hagerstown_vicinity_(Washington_County,_Maryland).jpg#/media/File:Fort_Frederick,_Hagerstown_vicinity_(Washington_County,_Maryland).jpg

There were other, smaller forts as well – basically fortified homes – probably similar to the home found on the land that may have been Stephen’s. We know at least one of these, the Philip Davis home wasn’t far from Stephen’s land, because Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, of the Mason-Dixon line fame stayed at his home while surveying the line that would eventually dissect Jacob Stutzman’s land into two states. On October 4th, 1763 the surveyors crossed a spring at the foot of the North Mountain. It’s quite surprising that the surveyors and homesteaders were still in this area.  Perhaps the warfare had not spread this far east yet.

I’m sure the families of Jacob and Stephen watched this surveying process with great curiosity and perhaps some trepidation, uncertain of what the results would mean.  I wonder if they were more frightened of the Indians or what the surveys could mean to them if they found themselves in the “wrong” state.  And as for Stephen, he had to worry regardless, given that it appears his land was in both states.

One thing is certain, the Brethren, including Stephen Ulrich, didn’t remain in their homes as warfare descended upon them once again. We have historical records stating that all of this area of Maryland was abandoned. We know that some of the area families took shelter in the Fort – although I would think the men in the fort would have been expected to defend it, were it to be attacked. Under those circumstances, the Brethren families were probably more likely to have taken their families back east and found refuge among family or church members. Perhaps Stephen went back to Baltimore County, again.

However, we do know where Stephen was on May 28, 1763. In 1763, in the midst of all of the wartime upheaval, which included vacating their land in Frederick County for several years, we find Stephen Ulrich and Nicholas Martin attending the Great Council of the Brethren in 1763 in Conestoga.

Conewago, in the book, “A History of the Church of the Brethren in Southern District Pennsylvania” is noted as being near current Ephrata, PA and also as being the current congregation of White Oak in Lancaster County.


Stephen’s name appears on an annual report with that of Nicholas Martin, Jacob Stutzman and both Nicholas and Daniel Leatherman in the Conestoga area, near Germantown, where the annual Brethren meeting was held. Does this imply that this is perhaps where the Brethren families on the frontier retreated to when their homes were in danger? Stephen may have been unwilling to fight, but he surely would not have left his family in danger to attend the meeting in Germantown.  Had the warfare not yet reached Frederick County?  Did they go back home to their families, only to have to vacate shortly?

We don’t know where these Brethren families lived from late 1763 until about 1765 when they returned to Frederick County, but it’s likely this entire area evacuated eastward and joined other Brethren families.

It was also about this time that these two families became even more intertwined. About 1765 Christina Ulrich married Jacob Stutzman Jr.

Stephen’s Hope

In 1766, an unusual transaction takes place, that upon analysis, is most likely a deed to Elizabeth Ulrich, sister of Stephen Ulrich (Jr.). We know that Stephen Ulrich Jr.’s daughter Elizabeth married Daniel Miller about 1774, so the only other known Elizabeth that this could be in Stephen Jr.’s sister – and the only reason that seems logical for a deed to be conveyed to Elizabeth, yet unmarried, is as an estate settlement.

On November, 18,1766, Elizabeth Ulrich is deeded part of the land called “Stephen’s Hope”, which was then sold to Anthony Hartman, 17 Nov. 1768, (Frederick County, MD deed Book L, page 559, 560) in consideration of the sum of “sixty pounds current money of Pennsylvania.”

Elizabeth was deeded this property by Stephen Ulrich, Jr.  and Nicholas Martin who had patented this land together in 1761, obtained originally in 1759. Elizabeth was not yet married to Jacob Snively in 1766. The “Stephen’s Hope” tract was located in the Middle Creek Valley in Frederick Co. some miles distant from the Ulrich and Shively homesteads.

On the map below, you can see Stephen’s “Good Neighbor” land near North Mountain at the state line in the upper left hand corner of this map, and the Middle Valley lies just north of Ellerton, in the south corner of this map.  As the crow flies, this land is at least 15 or 16 miles distant, and further as the wagon travels.


1766 – P 851-853 – Stephen Ulrick Jr recorded Dec. 8, 1786 made Nov 18 between Nicholas Martin and Stephen Ulrick for 48 pounds sells part of a track called Stephen’s Hope. M&b given for 141 acres. Signed in German Script by Stephen Ulrich, Nicolays Martin before Joseph Smith, Peter Bainfridge, receipt ack by partied and AF paid.

Pg 153-155 Stephen Ulrick Jr recorded Dec. 8, 1766 made Nov 18th between Nicholas Martin and Stephen Ulrick for 3 pounds part of a tract called Much Grumbling, m&b given for 21 acres. Signed same as before.

Pg 855 Elizabeth Ulrick recorded Dec. 8, 1766 made Nov 18 between Stephen Ulrick and Nichlas Martin of FC for 4 pounds sells part of tract called Stephen’s Hope.

Pages 856-858 are missing.  We have no idea what might have been held on these pages.  One this is certain, it likely had to do with this land because pages 859 and 860 still regard these transactions.

Pages 859-860 – m&b for 133 acres signed in German script by Stephen Ulrick, Nicholas Martin, Receipt from Elizabeth Ulrick for 48#. Ack and AF paid.

Frederick Co. Md Land Records Liber K Abstracts, 1765-1768 abstracted by Patricia Abelard Andersen, pg 71

Pages 922 – 924 – Daniel Gaver recorded January 9, 1767 (or 1761) made Dec 18 between Stephen Ulrick and Nicholas Martin for 48 pounds sells tract Stephen’s Hope m&b given adj to Much Grumbling containing 80 acres. Signed in german script by Stephen Ulrick and Nicollaus Martin before Thomas Price, P. Bainbridge. Receipt of deed. AF paid

Frederick Co. Md Land Records Liber K Abstracts, 1765-1768 abstracted by Patricia Abelard Andersen, p 76

When you read the survey narrative for Stephen’s Hope, it states:

30 day March 1753.  Surveyed for a certain John Leatherman added by a resurvey to a tract of land called Much Grumbling as any other vacant land thereto contiguous.

The patent info shows Leatherman’s tract ‘Much Grumbling’ is dated 1743, and was for 30 acres. It is hard to read, but the narrative lists a stream that runs into what looks like Kittowakin Creek. However, there is no stream that carries that name today in either Washington or Frederick County, MD. (Bill Thomas)

When Anthony Hardman bought this Frederick Co. MD farm in 1768, he paid in cash with Pennsylvania money.

Frederick Co., MD Land Record, Liber L, folio 559 dated 17 Nov. 1768, Anthony Hardman from Jacob Snively, sell tract, part of “Stephens Hope” for 133 acres.

Obviously Elizabeth had married “Jacob Snively” by this time.





This 425 acres wasn’t developed land.  The note on the survey says that there are about 4 acres of cultivated ground and about 500 “old fense logges.”

Stephen’s Second Naturalization

1767 – The division of Jacob Stutzman’s land between Maryland and Pennsylvania may ultimately have caused him to have to be naturalized in Pennsylvania, an act that went directly against his Brethren beliefs. The survey that established the Mason-Dixon line was begun in 1763 and completed in 1767, and the crew would have worked directly through Jacob’s land.  If indeed, part of Stephen Ulrich’s land was also bisected by this line, the same logic would apply as to why he would be naturalized a second time.


In the actual survey map of the Mason-Dixon line above, you can see this area just to the right of North Mountain which is located above the V.  Coneccocheague is the river between the I and the N in Province, below the drawing.  Little Conococheague Creek runs between North Mountain and the mountain range shown between North Mountain and Conecocheague Creek, right above the I.  It’s possible that Jacob Stutzman’s house is shown beside the mountain on the Pennsylvania side – which would be Cumberland County.  Both Stephen Ulrich’s and Jacob Stutzman’s land would have fallen between these two landmarks – the first row of mountains and Conecocheague Creek.

Jacob and Stephen’s naturalization record on April 10, 1767 says that Jacob Stutzman of Cumberland County, PA appeared before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia to be naturalized. Stephen Ulrich of Frederick Co. Maryland was naturalized as well as several other “foreigners…who conscientiously scruple to take an oath…but took the affirmation and made and repeated the Declaration according to the Directions of the Act of King George the Second.”

The only Stephen Ulrich that could be being naturalized in 1767 would be Stephen Jr., who we know was born in Germany due to the 1738 Maryland naturalization. His father was presumed dead by this time, and Stephen Ulrich (the third) would have been born in the colonies, so wouldn’t need to be naturalized.

I can just see this group of reluctant Brethren men, standing there uncomfortably shuffling and probably staring at their feet. There were at least two other Brethren too, Michael Miller and his son, Philip Jacob Miller. There were also a few other men from Frederick County who were also “affirmers” so likely Brethren as well. It’s no trivial feat to get from Hagerstown to Philadelphia, so this must have been important, regardless of the reason.  And for Stephen, he got to be “shamed” twice.  Being naturalized once wasn’t enough.  Perhaps he wasn’t yet Brethren the first time.

Map Frederick co to Philly

Good Neighbor

In 1767, Stephen Ulrich resurveys his existing Germania, along with two other tracts that are “vacant,” into a 694 acre tract called “Good Neighbor.”  Stephen lived on Germania (also spelled Germony) from 1751 until he died. His brother John lived nearby, reportedly (but no confirming deed) next to the mountains.  John could well have lived on some of Stephen’s land.

Stephen’s Good Neighbor survey, amended, is shown below.





This survey combines the original Germania property with two more and is now called Good Neighbor.  The improvements are listed as a quarter acre cleared and 230 old fence posts.  The survey says that Germania was originally purchased from Hance Waggoner on May 24, 1751 and that Hance held the original warrant for 435 acres.

1768 – Stephen Ulrich sells 60 acres to George Butterbaugh, 139 to Daniel Ulrich, 106 to John Snider and 40 to John Metzger. Elizabeth is no longer mentioned, so she may have died by this time. Replogle 117

This sale totals 345 of the total 445 acres.  Did Stephen retain 100 acres for himself?

A Butterbaugh descendant’s map of George Butterbaugh’s holdings places this 60 acre tract just slightly above the Mason-Dixon line. If correct, this means that in 1765 the Mason-Dixon line crossed the very top of “Good Neighbor.”

On May 24, 1772, Nicholas Martin, the Brethren minister in Frederick County wrote a letter to Alexander Mack Jr. in which he says, “as regards Brother Stephen…has now become more reluctant (to be ordained) because he thinks he has become estranged to the brethren throughout the country because he became naturalized…” This is supposed to refer to “Stephen Woller,” Martin’s assistant. This letter also said that brother Stephen’s brother John moved away, which is accurate, given that John Ulrich moved to Bedford County, PA prior to 1772. (Olds referencing Donald Durnbaugh in “The Brethren in Colonial America.”)

1773 – Jacob Stutzman wrote his will and Stephen Ulrich signed as a witness in German script. The Stutzman book says this will still survives in the archives of Cumberland County, PA probate court records, will Number 28. I’d love to obtain a copy of Stephen’s signature.    Jacob Stutzman’s will was probated February 3, 1775.

I wrote to Cumberland County, PA and Diane from the Clerk’s office was kind enough to call me, but the news wasn’t good.  Jacob Stutzman’s will had been “reinforced” with Scotch tape years ago, and is now so hard and fragile they were afraid to handle he document.  She told me they would have an archivist “look at it” which I figured was the kiss of death in terms of ever hearing anything.  But fortunately, I was wrong.

A couple weeks later, I received high quality photographs in the mail, printed on full size paper.  The archivist had managed to open the document, and insert the document into an archival quality plastic sleeve.  Diane then took photos for me.  I’m telling you this so that you will appreciate the effort that Diane and Cumberland County went to, and the photos below are the best we can do.

Diana also sent a copy of Jacob Stutzman’s will as it is written into the will book.  This helps decipher words and names, because the person who copied that will into the official will book knew the players.  Plus, it suggests that the original way Ulery or Ullery was pronounced probably sounded like Woolery to an English-speaker.



From these documents, we can see that the witnesses to the will were David Davis, Stephen Woolery (Ulery) and Daniel Woolery (Ulery).  Stephen Woolery (Ulery) also swore an oath when the will was probated, but this signature is partially obscured in the photos.

Now, let’s look at the original document.

The back of the document is shown below.


The back of this document holds something not recorded in the will book.  Hannah’s statement saying that she is fully satisfied.  Additionally, we find the signature of Stephen Ulrich witnessing her statement, in German script.


How do we know that the signature above David Davis is Stephen Ulrich’s signature?  By looking at the rest of the document compared to what is recorded.


Here’s the entire main page of Jacob Stutzman’s will.  It’s very difficult to see the signatures of the witnesses due to the glare.


Take a look at just the top half, above.  You can see that the translated version says there are three witnesses with the third being David Woolery and the second being Stephen Woolery and the first, obscured under the tape here, being David Davis.

Here’s just the witness signature section.


Even though there is glare, you can see the pattern of the signature pretty well.  Now, compare it to the top signature witnessing Hannah’s statement, below.


Furthermore, the second half of the main page shows part of Stephen Woolery’s signature under David Davis again.


The pattern of the two signatures identified in the clerk’s book as Stephen Woolery match the signature we can see best under Hannah’s statement.

This confirmed that indeed, we do have Stephen’s signature – not once, not twice, but three times. It’s a good thing, because it took all 3 to confirm it actually is his.

1776 – Deed. Joseph Rentch of Frederick Co Md and William Duffield of Peters Twp, Cumberland Co, Pennsylvania, executors to the will of Jacob Stutzman late of Cumberland Co, PA, decd in consideration of the premises and also 5 shillings sold to George Wine of Heidelberg Twp, York Co, yeoman a 55 acre tract of land in Heidelberg Twp….whereas on Nov 19, 1759 John Digges of Baltimore Co., MD sold to the said Jacob Stutzman then of Baltimore Co MD a 55 ac tract called Digges’ Choice then in Baltimore County but now in Heidelberg Twp, York Co adjacent Stephen Ullery (Book 4 fol 53 and 54 in Maryland) and the said Jacob Stutzman in 1761 sold the tract of land unto the said George Wine for which he hath been since fully paid and whereas the said Stutzman by a bond dated April 18, 1770 became bound unto the said George Wine of 200 pounds conditioned that they should execute unto the said George Wine a deed of conveyance for the 55 acre tract within 7 years, and he said Stutzman on March 15 1773 made his will and did appoint the said Joseph Rentch and he said William Duffield executors and shortly after died without having conveyed the tract of land unto the said George Wine….Wit. James Stevenson, David Moreland, Ack April 24 1776 before William McClean Justice (G:P 217)

This 1776 document confirms that Digges Choice was originally considered to be in Maryland, and that Stephen Ullery (Ulrich) at one time owned this land.

Remarriage and a Prenuptial Agreement

After Stephen’s wife, Elizabeth, died, he married Hannah Stutzman, widow of his devout German Baptist friend and neighbor Jacob Stutzman, Sr. and mother-in-law of his daughter Christina Ulrich Stutzman.

Stephen’s wife, Elizabeth Ulrich probably died between 1761 and 1768 and assuredly before March of 1782, for what now would be called a “Pre-Nuptial Agreement” was signed March 25, 1782 and recorded in the deed records, book C. P. 180 in Washington Co. MD. by “Stephen Ulrich and Hannah Stootsman,” both of Washington Co., Md. Hannah was the widow of Jacob Stutzman who died in 1775. The agreement stipulated that their individual heirs would have no claim to the estates of the other spouse.

This would be a case of Christina Ulrich Stutzman’s father, Stephen Ulrich, marrying Christina’s mother-in-law, Hannah Stutzman – so Christina became her own step-sister-in-law. Her mother-in-law was now her step-mother as well. Stephen was 70 – 72 years old at the time of this marriage and unfortunately, died sometime between 1783 and June of 1785.

Stephen’s Estate

The 1783 tax list of Washington County, Maryland which had been formed from Frederick County lists Stephen Wolery with 324 acres, 3 horses and 3 cattle.

Stephen Ulrich’s “Good Neighbor” consisted of 324 acres, 10 acres of “meadow”, 70 acres of ‘arable’ and 244 acres of ‘wood’. In 1785 his heirs sold this tract. Replogle 118

Jacob Replogle, whose research has been impeccable, tells us that the 324 acres is “Good Neighbor.”  I don’t know whether the tax list says this, or Replogle surmised this, but from the sale calculations, Stephen should only have 100 acres of “Good Neighbor” left.  Because of the missing pages, we don’t know how much, if any, of “Stephen’s Hope” Stephen retained in joint ownership with Nicholas Martin.

We are very fortunate indeed that Stephen Ulrich’s heirs sold his land, as follows:

This indenture made June 17, 1785…between David Ulrick, Stephen Ulrick, Samuel Ulrich, Jacob Stutsman, Christina Stutsman, Daniel Miller, Elizabeth Miller, George Butterbaugh, Jacob Liear, Lidia Liear, all of Washington County, Maryland, for 1510 pounds sold to John Cushwa…tract of land called Good Neighbour which contained 322 acres.

Without this important transaction, we would have no comprehensive record of Stephen’s children, nor who they married.  This record also seems to confirm that the land that Stephen retained at the end of his life was indeed, Good Neighbor.  Perhaps some of the 1768 land sold was Stephen’s Hope.

I can’t help but wonder if there is really a 2 acre discrepancy, of if this is a transcription issue.  Or, was part of Stephen’s land a cemetery?  He had to have buried Elizabeth someplace – as well as be buried someplace himself.

Where was Stephen buried? There was no Brethren church building in 1785, so no official Brethren cemetery. I wonder if he was buried on his farm, along with Elizabeth, in a now-lost cemetery.  Is that the 2 missing acres?  Two acres would be awfully large for a cemetery. 

A Visit to Frederick County, Maryland

When I set out to find Johann Michael Miller’s land in Washington County, Maryland near Hagerstown, in the fall of 2015, I’m ashamed to admit that never thought about the Ulrich land – probably because I didn’t think I could find it. The locations are vague at best.

Michael Miller’s son, Philip Jacob Miller, would marry a woman named Magdalena whose surname is unknown. By the time Philip Jacob’s son, Daniel would marry Elizabeth Ulrich, about 1774, I was under the assumption that they were already in Bedford County, PA…but they weren’t. I hate the word assume. Or more specifically, I hate it when I assume anything because it almost always turns out to be incorrect.

Daniel Miller and Elizabeth Ulrich were likely married in Frederick County about 1774. In reality, we don’t know for sure, but what we do know is that the Ulrich family was living in the area as part of the Brethren group that formed and continued to move together to new lands, eventually finding their way to Bedford County, PA, Dayton, Ohio, Elkhart County, Indiana and some on to points further west.  They generally established Brethren Churches along the way.

We also know that Daniel and Elizabeth Ulrich Miller were still (or again) living in Washington County in 1785 when Elizabeth Ulrich and Daniel Miller sold her father’s property.

After I was already on the road, I read in my Miller notes that John Hale Stutzman had placed the Ulrich family, by using deeds, west of Conococheague Creek, right on or maybe even spanning between the Maryland/Pennsylvania line, and near Fairview Road.

I looked on Google maps, and that’s all I needed. I was off!!!


I figured the best chance I had at actually driving across the Ulrich land is to drive across Wishland Road (unlabeled above) which runs from just north of Conococheague Creek, parallel with the Creek for a ways, then intersecting at the state line on Cearfoss Pike. I did just that.  I might have been a bit off in terms of location, slightly east, but come along anyway.  Certainly this land has not changed much, other than clearing trees.

Below, Conococheague Creek from the bridge.  Stephen would have been quite familiar with this waterway.  He probably forded this “creek” here, at least when the water was low.


Beautiful farm land.


The “Endless Mountains” are quite close here. It is reported that Stephen’s brother John lived near the mountains as well, before he moved to Bedford County prior to 1772. Stephen’s brother, Daniel, would have lived in the area too, buying land from Stephen, before he too moved to Bedford County.


This probably is not the actual Ulrich land, but this home is just stunning, as is the barn. I can see Stephen Ulrich here, can’t you? Hardly the “quarter acre cleared and 230 old fence posts“ anymore!


Looking close, you can see the satellite dish.  Times have changed, but not terribly visibly otherwise.


While much of Virginia and West Virginia are reforested, Maryland is not, and flat land here is farmed.


John Stutzman’s book provides a map and tells us that Stutzman’s land was where Pennsylvania 75 intersects Maryland 57 which is today’s 494, Fairview Road in Maryland and Fort Loudon Road in Maryland.  The road that continues to the west become 57 in Maryland.

On the map below, you can see all of the landmarks, North Mountain to the west, the three roads mentioned above, Cearfoss Pike and Conocheague Creek.  The total distance, as the crow flies, between Cearfoss Pike at the state line to North Mountain in about 4 miles.  Stephen lived here for about 34 years and probably knew these roads, which were no more than wagon trails at that time, like the back of his hand.  Someplace, both he and his wife are buried here.


Here’s the state line today, about where the barn stands, and the old road running beside the modern one.


Stephen’s Wife

Stephen’s wife’s name was Elizabeth, according to several deeds, who is reported to be Elizabeth Cripe, but with absolutely no documentation of any surname. It stands to reason that if Stephen bought land in 1742, he was probably recently married and he assuredly married within the Brethren community if he and/or his father were Brethren church founders in 1738. 

Stephen’s Children

Much has been written about the children of Stephen Ulrich, and much confusion exists between generations, mostly because the same first names were used over and over again.

I’m using the document written by Dan Olds in 2003, because his research is impeccable and he does not “add” children who are not present in Stephen’s estate settlement.

I should probably mention here that Daniel Ulrich of Bedford County is often attributed to Stephen (Jr.) but there is no Daniel mentioned in the 1785 estate distribution, and since there was no will, all of Stephen’s children would have been included in that distribution. We know that one Daniel Ulrich was the brother of Stephen (Jr.) The Daniel appearing in Bedford County seems to be too old to be a son of Stephen Jr. If he was Stephen’s son, he would have already purchased and been running a mill when he was about 20 years old, and that’s pretty much unheard of.

Stephen Ulrich Jr.’s children were:

  • David Ulrich born about 1746 and died in 1823, married Barbara and had 7 children. They lived in Montgomery County, Ohio.
  • Stephen Ullery born about 1750 and died in 1835. He married Susan Rench and they lived in Morrison’s Cove in Bedford County, PA and then in Montgomery County, Ohio.
  • Christina Ulrich born about 1752 and died about 1810. She married Jacob Stutzman (Jr.) who later became her step-brother when their widowed parents married. They eventually moved to Montgomery County, Ohio.
  • Samuel Ulrich born about 1754 and died in 1822. He married Mary Brumbaugh and they lived in Bedford County, PA.
  • Elizabeth Ulrich born about 1757 and died in 1832. She married Daniel Miller and they moved first to Bedford County, PA, then to Clermont County Ohio, then to Montgomery County, Ohio.
  • Mary Ulrich born about 1760 and died about 1842. She married George Butterbaugh and they lived in Bedford County, PA.
  • Hannah Ulrich born about 1762 and died in 1798. She married Henry Butterbaugh and they lived in Washington County, Maryland.
  • Lydia Ulrich born about 1764 and died about 1810. She married Jacob Lear, Jr and they lived in Cambria County, PA.

Stephen’s Y DNA

Unfortunately, no directly descended Ulrich males from either Stephen Jr. or Stephen Sr. have taken the Y DNA test. That’s hard to believe, I know, given how many children these Brethren families had. Stephen’s male children, whose direct male line descendants are eligible to take a Y DNA test are bolded above.  The test requires a male who descends from one of the Ulrich male ancestors and carries the Ulrich (by any spelling) surname.

The Y chromosome is passed from father to son, without any of the mother’s DNA, and the Y chromosome lineage follows the surname line of descent.

By testing a male Ulrich that descends from this line, we can determine Stephen’s deep heritage, his clan, for lack of a better word. In addition, we may match a male Ulrich from Germany who has tested – and there are some – which will help us determine where our Ulrich line is from.

If you are a male Ulrich who descends from this line, I have a DNA testing scholarship for the first male Ulrich to come forth.

If not you, do you know an Ulrich male who might be interested?

Sources and Acknowledgements:

  • Replogle – “Ancestors on the Frontier” by Justin Replogle (1998), self published and out of print
  • Wrightsman – “The Elusive Stephen Ulrich” (Dec 2004) Dwayne Wrightsman
  • Olds – “Ulrich Line” by Dan W. Olds (January 26, 2003)



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

Radegonde Lambert (1621/1629-1686/1693), European, Not Native, 52 Ancestors #132

The first Acadians began arriving on the island of Nova Scotia in eastern maritime Canada in 1604, settling in 1605 near to what is today Annapolis Royal.


By Mikmaq – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Today, the original location of Port Royal is a national historic site known as the Habitation at Port-Royal. After it’s destruction in 1613, Port Royal was re-established about 6 miles away as Annapolis Royal (Fort Anne), shown below, but was still called Port Royal at that time.

This drawing shows Port Royal in 1753. Even half a century after Radegonde Lambert’s death, this village is still very small.


The first decade in “New France” was difficult, at best, with many false starts. Most of the men that settled in this region were interested in fishing and fur trading, not farming. Politically, the land in Canada was subject to the political winds in Europe, so the “ownership” of the region was not only disputed, but changed hands, being ruled by the French, the Scots and the British.

Ships came and went. Many settlers died. Those settlers that lived, male or mostly male, intermarried with the Micmac Indians.

Beginning in about 1610, some French women may have arrived with their husbands, but the dates are uncertain, as are the number of woman.

Because of this, most of the early births are presumed to be a result of a marriage, “legal,” meaning Catholic and blessed by the church, or not. I’m guessing that young men with no available European women, not to mention no priests for many years, didn’t much care about the sacraments nearly as much as they cared about female company.

Radegonde’s Birth

Radegonde Lambert was probably born between 1621 and 1629.

It’s believed by some that she was born in Cap-du-Sable, according to the compiled records of professional genealogist, Karen Theroit Reader, assuming Radegonde is the daughter of Jean Lambert, which may not be a safe assumption at all.

However, Jean Lambert is the only Lambert male in Acadia at that time, so if Radegonde was born in Acadia, it would have been to Jean.

Cap-du-Sable, meaning Sandy Cape, is an island off the far southern tip of Nova Scotia that was settled by Acadians who migrated from Port Royal in 1620. The men who lived on this island specialized in the fur trade.

Radegonde in the Records

The first actual peek we get of Radegonde Lambert is in the 1671 Census, in Port Royal. Thankfully, the women are listed by their birth surnames. Thank you, Acadians! Without this information, we would surely be lost.

You can see the original script of the entire 1671 census at this link.


In case you can’t read the entry for Radegonde’s husband, Jean Blanchard, it says that he is a laborer, living in Port Royal, Acadia, age 60. His name is spelled Jehan and his wife is Radegonde Lambert, age 42. They have 6 children and 3 are married. They have 5 arpens of land under cultivation, 12 cattle and 9 sheep. An arpent of land is about .84 acres.

From this census, we see that Radegonde is born in 1629.

However, and in genealogy, it seems like there is always a “however,” in the 1686 census, Radegonde’s age is given as 65, which would put her birth year as 1621.

In the 1693 census, she no longer appears, so she died sometime between 1686 and 1693, between the ages of 57 and 72, depending on what year she was actually born and in which year she died.

Radegonde’s Mother

Many of researchers believe that Radegonde Lambert’s mother was Micmak (Mi’kmaq). Why?

Primarily because if she was the daughter of Jean Lambert, one of the earliest settlers, it was believed that his wife had to be Indian because there were no French women in Acadia at that time.

Several researchers have reported variations on the story for many years, causing significant controversy.

Adding fuel to the fire for Radegonde to be Native, genealogist Alexandre Alemann, the ex-director of the Drouin Institut, assembled a list of those he believed to be Native – and Radegonde was on that list.

A second story about the origins of Radegonde Lambert claims that she was French, and came to Acadia with her husband, Jean Blanchard.

The following excerpt is from “The Origins of the Pioneers of Acadia” by Stephen A. White in relation to depositions taken in France after the deportment of the Acadians from Canada in 1755:

It is well known that there is very little original documentation that provides data regarding the places of origin of the earliest settlers of the French colony of Acadia. None of the colony’s parish registers for the seventeenth century survive, except one slim record book containing the sacramental entries for Beaubassin from 1679 to 1686. Additionally, there are but a couple of extant notarial records from the same period. And, unfortunately, the various Acadian censuses, beginning in 1671, make no mention of places of origin, unlike the detailed enumeration made in the small neighbouring colony of Plaisance in Newfoundland in 1698. (For more information about the early records of Acadia and Plaisance, see the bibliography of the present writer’s Dictionnaire généalogique des familles acadiennes, Première partie, 1636 à 1714 [hereinafter DGFA-1] [Moncton: Centre d’études acadiennes, 1999], Vol. I, pp. xvii-xxv, xxxix-xl, xlv-l.)

On the level of racial origins, there is a source that provides a considerable amount of information. This is the series of fifty-eight depositions of the heads of the Acadian families that were taken down on Belle-Île-en-Mer between February 15th and March 12th, 1767, pursuant to an order from the parliament of Brittany at Vannes. The deponents were required to provide under oath, in the presence of witnesses including other Acadians, the local parish priests, and the Abbé Jean-Louis LeLoutre, former Vicar General of the diocese of Québec and “director” of the Acadian families settled on Belle-Île, all the details they could regarding their own civil status and that of their immediate families, plus their direct-line genealogies back to their first ancestors who came from Europe, “with indication of the places and dates as much as they can remember.” The depositions were intended to take the place of the registers of the parishes in Acadia that had been lost “during the persecution by the British.” In practical terms, they would also furnish the French authorities a means of identifying those who, as refugees from said persecution, were entitled to the King’s bounty and protection.

Two sets of the depositions were made up in 1767. One set of copies was left on Belle-Île, and the other was sent to the district court at Auray. Both sets have been carefully preserved, the latter of the two being now housed in the departmental archives at Rennes.

LAMBERT, Radegonde, came from France with her husband Jean Blanchard, according to Jean LeBlanc, husband of her great-granddaughter Françoise Blanchard (Doc. inéd., Vol. III, p. 43). The deposition of Françoise’s nephews Joseph and Simon-Pierre Trahan is to the same effect (ibid., p. 123). Both depositions mistakenly give Guillaume as the ancestor’s given name. Jean LeBlanc’s makes an additional error regarding the name of Jean Blanchard’s wife, calling her Huguette Poirier. The censuses of 1671 and 1686 meanwhile clearly show that she was named Radegonde Lambert (see DGFA-1, pp. 143-144). The source of these errors is probably a simple confusion arising from the fact that Jean LeBlanc’s wife’s grandfather Martin Blanchard had a brother Guillaume who was married to a woman named Huguette, as this writer explained in an article published in 1984 (SHA, Vol. XV, pp. 116-117). This Huguette was not named Poirier, however, but Gougeon, although her mother, Jeanne Chebrat, had married a man named Jean Poirier before she wed Huguette’s father Antoine Gougeon, and all her male-line descendants in Acadia were Poiriers. Unfortunately, we do not know just what questions Jean LeBlanc asked in trying to establish the Blanchard lineage, but he might certainly have had the impression that Huguette was a Poirier from the fact that so many of her relatives were Poiriers, including her grandnephew Joseph, who was also on Belle-Île in 1767 (see Doc. inéd., Vol. III, pp. 13-15).

It’s not surprising that the husband and nephews of Radegonde Lambert’s great-granddaughter were confused, three generations by marriage (the husband) and 4 generations by birth (nephews) later.  Most people today who aren’t genealogists can’t tell you their grandmothers’ maiden names. Did they perhaps have at least part of that story correct? Did Radegonde come to Acadia with her husband instead of being born there to Jean Lambert and his wife, either Micmac or European?

The quick answer is that we don’t know the exact circumstances of when or how Radegonde arrived, and probably never will. But we do have a very important clue about where she was born.

Radegonde’s DNA

Several descendants of Radegonde Lambert through all females have had their mitochondrial DNA tested. Mitochondrial DNA is passed from the mother to both genders of their children, but only females pass it on.

In Radegonde’s case, her DNA, for several years, also proved as puzzling as the records regarding her birth and mother’s ethnicity. No one but Radegonde’s descendants seems to match her DNA. It’s like Radegonde wanted to play a joke on all of her descendants. And a fine job she did too!

Fortunately, that question has now been resolved, and Radegonde’s DNA, haplogroup X2b4, which is exceedingly rare – as in chicken’s teeth rare – is found only in Europeans, to date, and not in any Native people.

Haplogroup X2b4 was born sometime around 5,500 years ago, in Europe, and given that the Native people migrated to the Americas sometime between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago across the land bridge from Asia into what is now Alaska, it would be impossible for X2b4, born in Europe, to be found among the Micmac women in 1621-1629. There were no European women in Canada in the early 1600s, early enough to be considered Micmac and be bearing children with French men by 1621.

I wrote an article recently about the evidence supporting the fact that Radegonde was indeed European, based on her mitochondrial DNA.

However, the question of whether Jean Lambert is her father, or if she came to Acadia with her husband still remains.

Radegonde’s Children

Karen Theroit Reader provides Radegonde’s children, as shown below. In two census records, in both 1671 and 1678, Radegonde and her husband, Jean Blanchard, are living next door to their son, Guilliame Blanchard who was age 35 in 1686.

  • Madeleine Blanchard born about 1643, probably in Port Royal, died 1678-1684 and married Michel Richard. She had 10 children.
  • Anne Blanchard was born about 1645, probably in Port Royal, died after 1714 in Beaubassin and married first to Francois Guerin, having 5 children, then to Pierre l’aine Gaudet, having 9 children.
  • Martin Blanchard was born about 1647, probably in Port Royal and died after July 4, 1718 in Cobeguit. He married first to Marie Francoise Le Blanc having 3 children, then to Marguerite Guilbeau having 8 children.

The three children, above, would have been the three that were married by 1671. The three below would have been the children still at home.

  • Guillaume Blanchard, born about 1650, probably in Port Royal, died before October 18, 1717 and married Huguette Gougeon, having 12 children.
  • Bernard Blanchard born about 1653, probably in Port Royal and died after the 1671 census but before the 1686 census.
  • Marie Blanchard born about 1656, probably in Port Royal, died after 1701, married to Pierre le jeune Gaudet, having 10 children.

Sadly, at least one and probably two of Radegonde’s children died before her, but as adults. She probably stood in the Garrison Cemetery overlooking the bay and buried these adult children, just as she buried the babies that had probably died decades earlier.

The youngest child of Radegonde was born in 1656, according to the 1671 census, in which Radegonde was shown to be age 42. This certainly makes me wonder why Radegonde had no children in her last 15 years of fertility.

The most likely explanation is twofold. First, this suggests that perhaps she was born closer to the 1621 date, which would make her 50 in 1671. If that was the case, then that would only leave 7 or 8 years of infertility to explain, not 15.

Jean Blanchard was age 60 in 1671. It’s possible that Radegonde was actually 60 instead of 42, although that’s a stretch in terms of the census taker not realizing that her age was in error. There’s a pretty big difference between 42 and 60. After all, there were only 392 people in total in that census, in all locations, including children, so about 65 families. Clearly, the census taker knew Radegonde and was unlikely to make an 18 year error.

More likely Radegonde had several children that died, some of which were probably born after Marie.

If Radegonde’s first child actually was Madeleine, and her first child did not die, then Radegonde’s marriage date would have been roughly 1642 which would suggest her birth year was closer to the earlier 1621 as opposed to 1629.

If Radegonde lost any children before Madeleine’s birth, that would push her marriage year back further, and possibly her birth year as well.

Radegonde’s Burial

The early burials in Port Royal took place in Fort Anne where an Acadian and English garrison cemetery are located. You can visit both on St. George Street at the Fort Anne National Historic Site, today.


Garrison Graveyard location courtesy of FindAGrave.

Radegonde’s daughter-in-law, Huguete Gougeon Blanchard, wife of Guilliame Blanchard is shown at FindAGrave as being buried in this Garrison cemetery which was established in 1632. She died in 1717. Guilliame Blanchard is reportedly buried at Amherst, but this makes little sense since he and his wife died the same year and presumably lived together in the same place prior to death. Amherst is not close to Port Royal, located just south of Moncton on the connecting peninsula to the mainland. Therefore, it’s more likely that the family is buried in the Garrison Cemetery known then as the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Cemetery.


Before the cemetery in Port Royal became the British garrison graveyard in 1710, it was the Saint-Jean-Baptiste parish cemetery and was used by the Acadian community of Port Royal and by the French Garrison.


When the British took the fort in 1710, they destroyed all of the headstones, except for 2, which are still standing today. Unfortunately, neither is for Radegonde.


I hope to visit Radegonde in the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Parish Cemetery, aka the Garrison cemetery, someday soon. I know she is there, even though her grave is no longer marked, and was probably originally only marked with a wooden cross.


I would like to thank cousin Paul LeBlanc for pointing me in the right direction with my Acadian research, for hosting the Acadian Rootsweb list, and for telling me that, “If you’re related to one Acadian, you’re related to all Acadians.”



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

Maria Margaretha Grubler (1748-1823), A Woman of Steel Resolve,52 Ancestors #129

Maria Margaretha Grubler or Gribler (present day spelling) was born on May 4th, 1748 and baptized the same day in Beutelsbach, Wurttemberg, Germany to Johann George Grubler and Katharina Nopp, both also of Beutelsbach. This family is indexed incorrectly at Ancestry, under the surname Brabler and a wide variety of other ways as well that don’t remotely resemble their actual surnames.

Maria margaretha Grubler

We don’t know much about Maria Margaretha’s youth, except that she was Lutheran much as everyone else in Beutelsbach, and she was an only child – a rare occurrence in a time when pregnancies routinely occurred every 18-24 months and there was little, if anything, one could do to prevent that aside from abstinence.

Like other German girls, she was likely called by her middle name, Margaretha – an enchanting and beautiful name.

Margaretha may have originally been a Scandinavian name, where it means pearl. It’s found in some format in almost all European languages.

Beutelsbach has provided an invaluable service to genealogists seeking their family by reassembling the historical families from church and other records and providing the information online, and for free.

Maria Margaretha Grubler history

These records allow us to search specifically at Ancestry in their Wurttemberg Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriage and Burials, 1500-1985 (which includes Buetelsbach) records collection for events like baptisms, marriages, births of children and burials. In German families in the 1700s, these are the activities and events that defined your life, especially if you were a female.

Margaretha grew up in this small village of just a few hundred people not far from the Rems River, where the hillsides sloped upwards and were filled with grapevines and vineyards. Beutelsbach is dab smack in the middle of the German wine region and the countryside is dotted with small villages, either within sight of each other or nearly so – scattered just far enough apart to have their own church and for people to walk to the nearby vineyards to work daily. In German villages, people lived centrally and walked a mile or so to their fields, or the fields they rented or worked for the landowners, the gentry. In Beutelsbach, the people who owned the fields would have lived in the Manor House, up on the hillside, overlooking the village. You can see the manor house in the drawing below.  Today, the manor house is a hotel and conference center.  I’d love to visit!

Beutelsbach 1598

This beautiful view of Beutelsbach from 1598 was found in the forest register books created by Andreas Kieser. It probably didn’t look much different in 1748 when Maria Margaretha was born.

Beutelsbach and other nearly small villages have been joined together today administratively as the city of Weinstadt.

Margaretha’s father, Johann Georg Grubler, died on November 27, 1764 when he was 55 and she was 16 years old.  They buried him the next day.  This was probably Maria Margaretha’s first dealing with death up close and personal, as two of her grandparents died before she was born, one died a year after her birth and one when she was 4, so she never knew her grandparents – nor would she remember their funerals.

Grubler, Johann Georg 1764

Church records don’t reflect any additional children for Maria Margaretha’s parents, but it would be highly unusual for a couple in that time who clearly could have children to have only one child. However, information unearthed by my friendly German genealogist, Tom, indicates that Maria Margaretha’s mother didn’t marry until she was 37 years old, on October 26, 1745, had Maria Margaretha in May 1748, at age 40, and never conceived another child. Knowing this, the fact that Maria Margaretha had no siblings makes a lot more sense – but she was probably the only “only child” in the entire village!

Eight years after Margaretha’s father’s death, she married Jakob Lenz, a vinedresser, on November 3, 1772. Given that Jakob’s parents had also lived in Beutelsbach their entire lives, Jakob and Margaretha likely had known each other since they were small children playing in the sunshine. They were only 3 months apart in age and were 24 years old when they married.JakobLenzmarriage

The document above, from the Lutheran church in Beutelsbach shows their marriage record.  It says they were “married the 18th Sunday after Trinity and that Jacob Lenz was the legitimate unmarried son of the citizen and vinedresser, Jacob Lentz from here.  Maria Margaretha is the legitimate unmarried daughter of the late Johann George Grubler, citizen and vinedresser from here.”

So both of their fathers worked in those vineyards above Beutelsbach. Their fathers had probably known each other their entire lives as well.

While Margaretha’s father didn’t join them on their wedding day, he was nearby, most likely buried in the churchyard just outside. The cemetery beside the church was the burial site for the House of Wurttemberg until 1311 when the official burials took place in Stuttgart. Certainly the local people continued to use the church burial ground.

Jakob Lenz and Maria Margaretha Grubler had 9 children, their first child being born just days after their first wedding anniversary.

  • Katharina Barbara Lenz was born November 17, 1773 and died September 4, 1817 in Beutelsbach of epilepsy. She never married. This makes me wonder if she was epileptic for her entire life. I expect she lived with her parents. Perhaps it was a blessing that she died before they did.

Lenz, Katharina Barbara birth

Katharina Barbara’s birth and baptism records are shown above, and death entry in the church records, below.

Lenz, Katharina Barbara death

Katharina Barbara’s parents, now age 69 would have weeped beside their firstborn child’s grave. They buried their first child 44 years after she was born. They buried their second-born within weeks of his birth.

Lenz, Jakob 1775 birth

Jakob’s birth record above, and death entry in the church records, below.

Lenz, Jakob 1775 death

On a late summer’s day, holding their first-born daughter, now 22 months old and perhaps with epilepsy, they would have buried their son, not yet 6 weeks old. This was not a happy family portrait.

  • Maria Magdalena Lenz was born October 1, 1776 and died November 1, 1849 in Beutelsbach of weakness of old age. She too never married.

Lenz, Maria Magdalena birth

Maria Magdalena’s birth is recorded above, and her death in the church records, below.

Lenz, Maria Magdalena death

  • Johannes Lenz was born January 16, 1779 in Beutelsbach and died October 29, 1813 in Beutelsbach. He was single and the cause of death; stickfluss (bronchitis or pneumonia). Occupation not given. Tom indicates that the word gebrachi is used which means frail or infirm, so he may never have been well.

Lenz, Johannes birth

Johannes’ birth record is shown above, and his death entry in the church records, below.

Lenz, Johannes death

Lenz, Philip Jakob birth

Philipp Jakob’s birth is shown in the records above, and his death, below. He lived to be almost 8 years old, past the dangerous first year or two. His parents must have been devastated at his death. His death record doesn’t indicate a cause of death.

Lenz, Philipp Jakob death

Maria Margaretha’s mother, herself a widow, likely lived very close to Margaretha, if not with Margaretha and Jakob. On July 26, 1781, Margaretha’s mother died. Being an only child, Margaretha would have laid her mother to rest beside her father who died 17 years earlier.

Nopp, Katharina death

Given that Maria Margaretha had no siblings, her mother’s death would have been her last immediate family member to pass over. Siblings help to cushion the blow, but with no siblings, Margaretha may have truly felt orphaned at 33.

On the other hand, with 4 living children at home, including a 3 month old infant, Maria Margaretha would have been very busy. Perhaps that was a good thing because she did not have time to dwell upon her mother’s death. On the other hand, in a small village, every time she would have passed by the house where she was raised, she would clearly have remembered her parents. Every Sunday attending church, she would pass by her parents graves. Did that make Maria Margaretha feel comforted that they were close, or sad that they were so close, yet so far away?

Life moved on, and Maria Margaretha continued to have 4 more children.

  • Jakob Lenz was born March 15, 1783 and left to emigrate to America just before his 34th birthday. This is my ancestor whose story is absolutely incredible. So incredible, in fact, that we had to tell the story in two parts, plus a third for his wife, Johanna Friedericka Ruhle whom he married on May 25, 1808 in Beutelsbach. The church records tell us that Jakob left with his family to immigrate on February 12, 1817.
  • Katharina Margaretha Lenz was born November 2, 1785, died January 6, 1858 and married Johann Conrad Gos on April 21, 1807 in Beutelsbach.

Lenz, Katharina Margaretha birth

Katharina Margaretha Lenz’s birth is shown above and her death is shown in the church records below.

Lenz, Katharina Margaretha death

At Katharina Margaretha’s death on January 6, 1858, she is listed as daughter of Jakob Lenz, vinedresser and Maria Griblerin, the trailing “in” often added to maiden names of single women.  Griberlin, the way it’s written, indicates that Gribler was her mother’s maiden, not married, name. Katharina Margaretha is also noted as the wife of Joh. Conrad Gos, bricklayer assistant who emigrated. She died of weakness of old age.

Katharina Margaretha had 5 children. Her husband, Johann Conrad left for Russia in 1817 where he died before the 1823 birth of Katharina’s last child, Jakob Freidrich Gos in Beutelsbach. Jakob Freidrich’s birth record is shown below.

Gos, Jakob Freidrich birth

Jacob Freiderich died in the poorhouse of emaciation and “wasting” in 1857, according to the church record below, which according to Tom, means he had tuberculosis. His occupation was that of a hafner (potter). He died the year before his mother.

Lenz, Jakob Freidrich death

It was initially unclear to me whether Jakob Freidrich was the son of Johann Conrad Goss, perhaps home for a visit, or the son of a different father. However, Tom translated the original records and answered that question, although it’s not exactly forthright.

Jakob Freidrich Gos’s baptismal record states:

Child’s parents: Katharina Margaretha, the late Konrad Gos, citizen and brickmaker, from here surviving widow.

The father according to the record extracts, noch ………..16 January 1824.

According to Tom, Jakob Friedrich Gos was considered illegitimate. His birth entry indicates his father was deceased and his death entry call him Jakob Friedrich Lenz, not Gos.

This is highly suggestive that Katharina Margaretha, while either married or a widow, conceived Jakob Freidrich and perhaps the clergy didn’t quite know what to say. Maybe the village knew Konrad Gos was dead, but didn’t know exactly when he died – and Katherina Margaretha wasn’t telling. Maybe the presumption of illegitimacy was not enough to pronounce Jakob Freidrich illegitimate at his birth.

However, the recording clerk or minister when Jakob Freidrich died 33 years later seemed to have no problem making that distinction by reverting him to his mother’s maiden name and labeling him “spurious,” meaning illegitimate.

In Tom’s words, “his father is clearly a mystery. If the child’s father acknowledged the birth at the time of his baptism or even later (in writing or as an affirmation to the minister), then the child would be considered legitimate. This was not done in this case as far as I can determine.”

We’ll never know for sure, because Jakob Freidrich Gos or Lenz never married, so never had children, at least none that we know about. If he had produced sons, we would have the possibility of Y DNA testing to see if his sons’ direct male descendants match Gos men or men by some other surname. Katharina Margaretha’s secret, if in fact it was a secret at all, has already gone to the grave. In a small village, there may have been very few true secrets.

While Katharina Margaretha was probably a bit scandalous as a widow bearing a child, we always have to consider the possibility that the conception wasn’t consensual and she may not have been the merry widow at all, but a victim. That would also be one reason the father would never have acknowledged the child.

Jakob Freidrich may never have been healthy, and Katharina Margaretha was apparently left to raise him alone. There was no happy ending to this story.

  • Johanna was born June 22, 1788 (although the Beutelsbach history information says July 2) and died October 10, 1788 in Beutelsbach.

Lenz, Johanna birth

Johanna’s birth record is shown above, and her death entry in the church book, below. Her mother only got to love her, in this world anyway, for three and a half months.

Lenz, Johanna death

  • Christina born January 1, 1793, died “8-13” but no year given. The Beutelsbach history information says “probably 1793,” but as it turns out, this was incorrect.

Lenz, Christina birth

Tom found Christina’s actual death record, shown below, on August 13, 1872 in Beutelsbach of cholera nostras, an acute bacterial disease caused by drinking fecally contaminated water.

There were cholera epidemics in Germany in both 1871 and 1873. The 1873 episode was noted as the worst cholera epidemic Germany had ever suffered. No cholera was listed in Germany for 1872, although obviously it was still lurking and was found in both Russia and Hungary in 1872. It’s only 400 miles from Beutelsbach to the border with Hungary, so that’s about the distance from Raleigh, NC to Washington, DC, an easy half day drive today.

Lenz, Christina death

Of Maria Margaretha and Jakob’s nine children:

  • 3 children, 2 boys and 1 girl, died as children at 2 months, 3 months and 8 years of age
  • 2 died as adults, but before their parents, having never married
  • 2 married and had children
  • The son who had children immigrated to America in 1817
  • The husband of the daughter who had children left for Russia in 1817
  • 2 daughters lived to adulthood but never married
  • Only 4 children outlived their parents
  • There were no sons left in Germany to care for either their aging mother or unmarried sisters upon the parents’ deaths
  • Two of Maria Margaretha’s sons were named Jakob. A third was named Philipp Jakob and was probably called Jakob. No confusion there!

It’s not terribly unusual in German records to name a second child the name of a child that died, but I still find that custom a bit disconcerting. In my very 20th Century American way of thinking, each child needs their own name so that you can remember and honor them properly.  How do you differentiate the first child Jakob who died from the second child Jakob who lived?  There were a total of 5 Jakobs in this family; grandfather, father, son who died, son who lived, son Philipp Jakob who would have been called Jakob, who also died, but after the second Jakob was born.  In other words, for a few years, they had two sons who would have been called Jakob.

When you speak about Jakob Lenz, for example, do you speak about the one who was born and died at just over 6 weeks of age in 1775 as “the first Jakob,” His father might have been referred to that way, or even his grandfather who was also Johann Jakob Lenz. Or do you refer to that first child as “the dead baby Jakob,” or do you just never refer to that child that passed? Unlike stillborn children or those who died shortly after death, the first Jakob survived for more than 6 weeks. Not in this family, but I have seen even a third child given that same identical name if the second child died. In this case, I suspect they wanted to have a child named Jakob after his father, and grandfather.

It’s somehow ironic that of 9 births recorded in the church records, only two of Margaretha’s children would give her grandchildren. One of those, Jacob left in 1817 for America, taking his four living children of course, who would have been ages 11, 8, 3 and 6 months old. Maria Margaretha never knew the rest of his children, born in America, and youngest two born in Germany would not have remembered their grandmother.

In 1775, Maria Margaretha buried her second-born child at about 6 weeks of age, in 1781 she buried her mother, then in 1788, she buried a child three months old. The next year, in 1789, another child died just before their 8th birthday. That must have been particularly difficult, because after infancy, you feel somewhat safe that they will survive.

Other than friends and distant family who lived in the village, Maria Margaretha had a reprieve for a few years, but the family deaths began again in October 1813 when her adult son, born in 1779 died of pneumonia.

Maria Margaretha would have stood by the small grave of her grandchild, Johannes, when they buried him five months later, on March 9th, 1814, a baby of 2 years and 3 months old, nearly the same age as one of her own children when she buried them. Another child she loved and lost.

A third grandchild, Elizabeth Katharina Lenz, died on the ship en route to America. In many ways, when Maria Margaretha kissed and hugged her grandchildren goodbye for the last time in the winter of 1817, they would have been functionally dead to her, given that she would never see them again. But receiving the letter that told of Elizabeth’s death, at age 4 or so, would have been devastating news. Maria Margaretha thought she was sending Elizabeth off to a new, better, life, not to a watery grave.

After son Jakob left for America in the later winter or early spring of 1817, he became shipwrecked in Norway in the fall after nearly starving to death on the high seas, and was stranded in Bergen, Norway for nearly another year. Surely, if Jakob was able to get a letter to Germany, Margaretha would have known about his predicament and been worried sick. Jakob and family managed to get themselves on another ship a year later, only to nearly perish on that voyage as well, and then had to sell themselves into indentured servitude to pay for their second passage after arrival in America.

Maybe Margaretha didn’t know those details. Maybe she did, afterwards, and was simply glad they were alive. Where there is life, there is hope. There were other Beutelsbach residents on those ill-fated ships as well, so Margaretha wasn’t alone in her grief.

In September of 1817, while Jakob’s ship was floundering on the high seas, Maria Margaretha buried another child, Katharina Barbara, who died of epilepsy at age 44. I have read accounts of people who died of increasingly worsening epileptic seizures and the reports are horrific. A small part of their brain is destroyed with each seizure and the damage is cumulative over the years, until they are often childlike, then infantile, as adults, ravaged by seizures they dread, terribly, can often feel beginning, and can do nothing to control. Maria Margaretha, after caring for her firstborn for 44 years, may have thanked God for taking her “home” so that she didn’t have to worry about if and how Katharina Barbara would be cared for after Maria Margaretha herself passed over. Maria Margaretha must have been keenly aware of her own mortality.

If Maria Margaretha believed in literal “Heaven,” she would have taken comfort in knowing that she would see her child again, on the other side of the pearly gates and Katharina Barbara would be “whole” in Heaven. That is probably what Maria Margaretha wanted more desperately than anything else in her life. But it was not to be in this world.

I can only imagine the horror Maria Margaretha felt to see her child convulse for the first time, and the second, and the third…for 44 long years. Maria Margaretha obviously took very good care of Katharina Barbara or she would never have lived for those 44 years.

Maria Margaretha’s other child who married and gave her grandchildren, her and her mother’s namesake, Katharina Margaretha, married on April 21, 1807 to Johann Conrad Gos. Katharina Margaretha had children in 1808 and 1812, but then in 1814, the third child died 12 days after birth, just before Christmas, on December 19th. This was the second grandchild that Maria Margaretha buried in 1814 with three burials of children and grandchildren in just over a year.  I have a feeling there was no joy in that Christmas season.

A fourth grandchild was born to Katharina Margaretha in 1817, the same year that her husband immigrated to Russia, leaving Katharina Margaretha and the children behind. This is an odd situation. We don’t know if Katharina Margaretha refused to leave for Russia, so he went without her. We don’t know if she planned to join him later, then didn’t. Did her pregnancy interfere? Did he go for work and perish? Did he return to visit in 1822, hence the conception of Jakob Freidrich?

What we do know is that Katharina Margaretha had another son, Jakob Freidrich, on February 19, 1823, according to the church records, whose surname was Gos at his baptism. She is mentioned as a widow, although the baptism didn’t take place until 1824. However, Jakob Freidrich’s death record shows him as illegitimate and with the surname of Lenz.

On July 2, 1821, Maria Margaetha’s husband, Jakob Lenz died of a fever typically found in people with tuberculosis. In other words, she likely had to take care of Jakob for weeks or months before his death. Maria Margaretha would have been 73 years old, no spring chicken herself, that’s for sure. Perhaps her daughters who never married and lived at home helped their mother.

On July 5, 1823, Maria Margaretha died – two years and 3 days after her husband, Jakob.

Grubler, Maria Margaretha death

Her death record in the church book, above, translates as follows:

Page 25.
Entry 22.
Maria Margarethe Lentz,
Born here 4 May 1748
Parents: the late Johann Georg Grubler, citizen and vinedresser here and Katharina nee Nopp.
Wife of the late Jakob Lentz, citizen and vinedresser here.
Age: 75y2m
Cause of Death: Dropsy or Edema
Place and Time of Death: here, 5 July 1823 at 3 pm
Place and Date of Burial: here, 7 July 1823 at 10 am
Folio 421 (Family Register)
Ist hier geschult und aufgezogen worden. Has been schooled and raised here.

They even tell us what time she died and what time she was buried.  Gotta love those precise Germans.

Dropsy is an old term for edema, which means the collection of fluid in the cavities of the body. Often, this is a symptom of congestive heart failure. People with pulmonary edema often pass away of pneumonia. I hope she died quickly and in her sleep without suffering so that she could see her children, grandchildren, husband and parents once again.

Maria Margaretha’s son, Jakob, was in America. Her daughter Maria Magdalena never married and didn’t die until 1849, so she must have been living at home with her mother, as was her daughter Christina who died in 1872. Perhaps the third daughter, Katharine Margaretha, whose husband left in 1817 and subsequently died, lived in the family home as well, along with her children and infant son born February 19, 1823, just under 5 months before her mother would pass away.

I have to wonder, who took care of these 4 women after Jakob Lenz died in 1821, and the three adult daughters after Maria Margaretha died in 1823? How did they earn money to survive? Did they become charity cases? Their death records don’t mention the poor house.

I’m sure friends attended Maria Margaretha’s funeral, but only three children and four grandchildren stood by her grave. That a very, very low number for a woman born in the mid-1700s in Germany. Of course, Maria Margaretha buried 3 offspring as children, two as adults, waved goodbye to one who emigrated to America and cared for 2 daughters who never married and outlived her. That only leaves one child in Germany having children among 9 who were born.

Maria Margaretha’s DNA

As hard as it is to believe, given the children that Maria Margaretha had, there is only one daughter who had children, and of those children, only one granddaughter. The church records tell us that Friederika Gos was born on January 12, 1817 in Beutelsbach and the Beutelsbach records indicate that she died after 1842 in Steinreinach. We don’t know if she married.

If she married and had daughters, she would have passed Maria Margaretha’s mitochondrial DNA on to them. If that daughter has descendants today who descend from her through all daughters, they would carry Maria Margaretha’s mitochondrial DNA.

You can see how the different kinds of DNA are passed to offspring in this short article.

If one of those descendants, through all daughters, took the mitochondrial DNA test, we could discover additional history for Maria Margaretha Grubler Lenz.

Mitochondrial DNA is passed unmixed with the father’s DNA, so it reaches back in time relatively unchanged, except for an occasional mutation, and we can tell a great deal about population migration and where our ancestors came from. The story of our ancestors is written in our DNA, and the story of Maria Margaretha’s matrilineal ancestors is written in her mitochondrial DNA, if it still exists in descedants today.

If someone does descend from Maria Margaretha through all females to the current generation, which can be a male, I have a DNA testing scholarship available for that person.

I hope that the final chapter for Maria Margaretha has not been written.

In addition to mitochondrial DNA, current descendants could well carry part of Maria Margaretha’s autosomal DNA – passed to her from both of her parents and representing her ancestors, which of course, are our ancestors too.

It’s possible that if someone descended from Maria Margaretha through any child (not just females) would match other descendants today autosomally. I would be fourth cousins with someone in my same generation descended from Maria Margaretha’s daughter, Katherina Margaretha. Some people who are 4th cousins don’t carry any of the same autosomal DNA of their common ancestor, but some do.

I would be third cousins with anyone descended from Jacob Lentz, Maria Margaretha’s son, through a child other than Margaret Lentz (also my ancestor). Third cousins share more DNA than 4th cousins, and I do match two Lentz third cousins.

If anyone else descends from Maria Margaretha Grubler/Gribler or Jakob Lenz, or these lines from Beutelsbach, I’d love to make your acquaintance.


I’m sure there were moments of great joy in Maria Margaretha’s life. Some of those are recorded as her marriage, her children’s marriages and the births of her children in the church records. Other than that, we don’t know what was joyful in Maria Margaretha’s life and made her smile. What did she like to do? Her favorite food? I wish we knew.

Great griefs and sadness are recorded in those ancient church books as well – the saddest of days were when parents, your spouse and children passed to the other side.

Aside from what is recorded in the church records, we know that beginning in 1803, the Napoleonic Wars spread fear, turbulence and social strife throughout Europe.

In 1816, following the eruption of Mt. Tambora in 1815 in Indonesia, the atmosphere was so full of particulate matter that 1816 was known as “the year without a summer” when the weather was so cold that crops failed throughout Europe and America. Some people starved. Harvests failed, including grapes. Prices skyrocket and riots for food ensued. This was not a good time to be alive and it probably seemed like the Biblical end of the world. Maria Margaretha was taking care of an adult epileptic daughter who clearly would never be able to take care of herself. Maria Margaretha must have worried increasingly about her daughter as she herself aged. Providence would soon step in and take care of that question, but what a grief-filled solution. There was no good outcome possible – only bad and worse.

Life was difficult and sometimes devastating for the last 20 years or so of Maria Margaretha’s life. However, she persevered.

In my mind’s eye, I can see her marching forward, through whatever she had to march through, scratched up, bleeding, perhaps very thin, a tearstained face, but head held high and still marching forward through whatever adversity fate served up next. That is the picture I will always hold of Maria Margaretha Grubler, a woman of steel resolve.



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

Jakob Lenz (1748-1821), Vinedresser, 52 Ancestors #128

Today, I get to write the article I thought I’d never ever write. For a genealogist, this is red letter day!  Not only the fact THAT I get to write about this person that I never thought I’d identify, but WHAT I get to write about him just defies any hope or expectation I could ever have had.  I could never have dreamed this big.  I’m really not exaggerating.  You’ll see!!!

Jakob’s story begins like all genealogy stories, but it ends very, very uniquely with information that was unknown to even Jakob himself!  No cheating and peeking ahead.

Jakob Lenz is the father of Jakob Lenz, or Jacob Lentz as he was known here in the States. The younger Jacob, Jacob Lentz, my ancestor, is the man who immigrated to America.

Until just recently, with the help of Tom, a retired genealogist who specialized in German records, no one had ever been able to determine where Jacob Lentz, the immigrant, was from, or who his parents were.  It wasn’t for lack of trying.  It was for lack of being lucky.

Partly, as you can see, it was because the first and last names were spelled differently in Germany, and partly because his wife’s name was remembered incorrectly, so I was looking for a marriage that didn’t exist, and partly because there were no online records until recently, so searching was a needle-in-a-haystrack proposition.

In the blink of an eye, that all changed with Tom’s discovery and opened the door into the world of my ancestors in the beautiful village of Beutelbach in Germany. Along with finding Jakob Lenz came several generations of ancestors, literally until the church records run out. Jakob and his ancestors were firmly planted in Beutelsbach and had probably been living there “forever” as far as they were concerned.

That’s what people in Europe often say when you ask where their family was from before where they live now. “We’ve lived here forever.” While that’s true from their perspective, which generally reaches back a couple to a few generations, sometimes, forever isn’t really ”forever,” as we’ll discover.

Jakob Enters the World

Jakob Lenz was born on February 1, 1748 in Beutelsbach to Johann Jakob Lenz and Katharina Haag.


Jakob’s baptism is shown here in the original church records, now available, albeit poorly indexed, at Ancestry. Genealogists must possess the minds of sleuths, and an intimate knowledge of German customs and records was critical for this process as well – skills I didn’t and don’t have and thankfully, Tom does.

His translation tells us that Jakob was born on February 1st and baptized the next day, on the 2nd and that his father was a vinedresser.


  1. Gottfried Jacob Bechtel, baker’s helper
  2. Maria Catharina, wife of Johann Reinhold surgeon (for minor wounds) here
  3. Anna Katharina, wife of Johann George Dobler, citizen and vinedresser, here

We don’t know how the godparents are related to the Lenz or Haag families, but they likely were.  The child was generally named after godparents, with the idea being that if something happened to both parents, the godparents would raise the child and assure their religious education.  In other words, without a will, this is how Germans universally provided for the possibility that both parents would die, a situation that happened all too often.

The records at Family Search originally discovered by Tom provided us with his birth information, and lists the source as well. We therefore knew this information was taken from the church records – we just needed to obtain that church record.


Beutelsbach has provided an invaluable service to genealogists seeking their family by reassembling the historical families from church and other records and providing the information online, and for free.


Here we find the records for Jacob with his parents listed at the bottom of the page, his siblings, his wife and his children, along with any notes found in the records.

In genealogy parlance, this kind of information is “to die for.” I had struck gold again on this line!  Twice in a month – I’m definitely on a roll!

Jakob’s Marriage

Jakob Lenz married Maria Margaretha Grubler or Gribler on November 3, 1772 in the church in Beutelsbach when he was 24 years old.


The document above, from the Lutheran church in Beutelsbach shows his marriage record.  It says they were “married the 18th Sunday after Trinity and that Jacob Lenz was the legitimate unmarried son of the citizen and vinedresser, Jacob Lentz from here.  Maria Margaretha is the legitimate unmarried daughter of the late Johann George Gr_bler, citizen and vinedresser from here.”

It’s interesting that his first name is spelled both Jacob and Jakob in various records and Lenz as both Lenz and Lentz.  No wonder we are confused today!  German spelling wasn’t any more standardized than it was in America during the same timeframe.

Maria Margaretha was the daughter of Johann George Gribler (as it is spelled in the Beutelsbach heritage book) and Katharina Nopp, also of Beutelsbach.


You can see the church spire in the center of Beutelsbach, like all European villages where the original church still exists. It is here that Jakob and Maria Margaretha sealed the union that lasted just 16 months shy of 50 years. A half century marriage in a time without antibiotics and where early death was far more common than elder years, is truly remarkable. They both, individually and together, certainly beat the odds.

Jakob’s Children

Jakob Lenz would not have been allowed to marry were he not financially stable and able to support a family. The last thing Germans wanted was people that the church and villages had to support, so they assured that people were truly financially “ready for marriage” before the marriage was authorized. Of course, that just meant that some children were born before the official marriage took place. Most people weren’t thwarted by administrative details.

Jakob Lenz and Maria Margaretha Gribler had 9 children, their first child being born just days after their first wedding anniversary.

  • Katharina Barbara Lenz was born November 17, 1773 and died September 4, 1817 in Beutelsbach of epilepsy. She never married. This makes me wonder if she was epileptic for her entire life. I expect she lived with her parents. Perhaps it was a blessing she died before they did.
  • Jakob Lenz was born July 12, 1775 and died less than 2 months later on September 1, 1775 in Beutelsbach.
  • Maria Magdalena Lenz was born October 1, 1776 and died November 1, 1849 in Beutelsback of old age. She never married.
  • Johannes Lenz was born January 16, 1779 in Beutelsbach and died October 29, 1813 at 34 years of age in Beutelsback, single, cause of death stickfluss (bronchitis or pneumonia). Occupation not given.
  • Philipp Jakob Lenz was born April 30, 1781 and died March 1, 1789 in Beutelsbach, just a few weeks before his 8th birthday.
  • Jakob Lenz was born March 15, 1783 and emigrated to America. This is my ancestor whose story is absolutely incredible. So incredible, in fact, that we had to tell the story in two parts, plus one for his wife, Johanna Friedericka Ruhle whom he married on May 25, 1808 in Beutelsbach. The church records tell us that Jakob left with his family to immigrate on February 12, 1817.

Wandert mit K. Erlaubnis vom 12.Februar 1817 mit seiner Familie nach Nordamerika aus.

Translated as:
Emigrated with children permission from the 12th February 1817 with his family to North America.

  • Katharina Margaretha Lenz was born November 2, 1785 and died January 6, 1858 in Beutelsbach at age 73 of old age. She married Johann Conrad Gos on April 21, 1807 in Beutelsbach and had 5 children. Johann Conrad immigrated to Russia in 1817 where he eventually died, but Katharina’s last child, Jakob Freidrich Gos, was born in 1823. Son Jakob Freidrich died in the poorhouse of emaciation and “wasting” in 1857, the year before his mother. Occupation: hafner (potter). It’s unclear whether Jakob Freidrich was the son of Johann Conrad Goss, perhaps home for a visit, or the son of a different father. We’ll never know, because Jakob Freidrich Gos never married, so never had children, at least none that we know about. If he had produced sons, we would have the possibility of Y DNA testing to see if his sons’ descendants match Gos men or men by some other surname. Katharina Margaretha’s secret has already gone to the grave.
  • Johanna was born July 2, 1788 and died October 10, 1788 at 3 months of age in Beutelsbach.
  • Christina was born January 1, 1793 and died “8-13” but no year given, probably 1793 at about 7 months of age.

Of their nine children:

  • 4, 2 boys and 2 girls, died as children at 2 months, 3 months, 7 months and just under 8 years of age, respectively
  • 2 died as adults, but before their parents, having never married
  • 2 married and had children
  • The son who had children immigrated to America in 1817
  • The husband of the daughter who had children left for Russia in 1817
  • 1 additional daughter lived to adulthood but never married
  • Only 3 children outlived their parents


Based on multiple church records, we know that Jakob’s occupation was that of a vinedresser in the vineyards surrounding Beutelsbach, the center of the wine region in Germany. The ancient vineyards on the sides of the hills, as you can see below, have been carefully pruned and lovingly cared for by generations of vinedressers, an occupation proudly passed from father to son.

Lentz Beutelsbach photo

In fact, according to the church records, we know that Jakob learned this occupation from his father and passed this occupation to his son Jakob who was also a vinedresser before he emigrated.

I can see the two Jakobs, father and son, working in the vineyard together, talking, making small talk, but the kind of small talk that sustains one’s soul after the other person is gone. Those are the moments that are bonding forever, even though at the time they seem routine and mundane. Like plowing the fields in Indiana or picking green beans on a hot summer morning when the grass was still slippery with dew. What I wouldn’t give today to pick a day, any day, to return back in time to visit the farm in Indiana – and I’m sure that Jakob Lenz, the son, especially during his hellish immigration to America, felt the same way.

War – The End of the Political World

In 1803, the Napoleonic War threatened and for the next 12 years, the Germans lived under constant threat of upheaval as Europe fought internal wars and redefined itself.  The French empire, led by Napoleon was pitted against an array of other European powers formed into various coalitions.


The battles were bloody and devastating, and the countryside was often laid to waste.  This History of the Kingdom of Wurttemberg tells us the following:

Once a Duchy within the Holy Roman Empire, on 1 January 1806, Duke Frederick II assumed the title of king Frederick I. He abrogated the constitution and united old and new Württemberg. Subsequently, he placed the property of the church under the control of the kingdom, whose boundaries were also greatly extended by the process of “mediatisation,” the loss of immediacy. Immediacy is the status of persons not subject to local lords, but only to a higher authority directly, such as the Holy Roman Emperor.

In 1806, Frederick joined the Confederation of the Rhine and received further additions of territory with 160,000 inhabitants. Later, by the Peace of Vienna of October 1809, about 110,000 more people came under his rule. In return for these favors, Frederick joined French Emperor Napoleon in his campaigns against Prussia, Austria and Russia. Of the 16,000 of his subjects who marched to Moscow, only a few hundred returned.

After the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813, King Frederick deserted the French emperor, and by a treaty with Metternich at Fulda in November 1813, he secured the confirmation of his royal title and of his recent acquisitions of territory, while his troops marched with those of the allies into France.

In 1815, the King joined the German Confederation, but the Congress of Vienna made no change to the extent of his lands. In the same year, he laid before the representatives of his people the outline of a new constitution, but they rejected it, and in the midst of the commotion that ensued, Frederick died on 30 October 1816.

The End of Jakob’s Personal World

For the decade beginning when Jakob was 55, war and the threat of war was ever present.  That alone would be enough to cause a great deal of stress in the life of a German citizen who lived not far from the French border.  Furthermore, many Germans lost their lives and Germany switched sides late in the war.  I’m sure the populace was both confused and disenchanted, not to mention, afraid for themselves, their children and the future.  Germany’s army was fueled by mass conscriptions and many Germans had already died in Napoleon’s war.

Beginning in 1813, when he was 65, Jacob’s personal world began to unravel as well. In October of 1813, his 34 year old son died of pneumonia.

In 1814, Jakob would have stood by the grave while his grandson was buried.

Towards the sunset of Jakob’s life, he would have lived through the year with no summer, as 1816 was called. Jakob had been born during what was termed the “Little Ice Age” in which Western Europe experienced a general cooling of the climate between the years 1150 and 1460 and a very cold climate between 1560 and 1850 that brought dire consequences to its peoples.

The colder weather caused social strife impacting agriculture, health, economics, emigration, and even art and literature. The eruption of Mt. Tambora in April 1815 in Indonesia propelled ashes into the atmosphere, blocking the sun, reducing temperatures even further – although at the time, no one could have put 2 and 2 together to deduce cause and effect. The Tambora eruption caused a particularly cold year in 1816 in which crops failed throughout both America and Europe, forcing prices for what little food did exist in Germany and other parts of Europe into record high territory. Riots ensued.

Additionally, this famine was added onto the effects of the aftermath of the Napoleonic wars which lasted from 1803-1815.


Notice on this map of 1812, Germany really doesn’t exist, although it would by 1815 with Napoleon’s defeat.

From Jakob’s point of view, it probably seemed like the world he knew was coming to an end, between the wars, the cold weather and finally, 1816 with no summer.

It was reported that many people in 1816 spent the summer around a fire. The grape vines in many places died and few, if any, produced grapes. If Jacob loved those vines and vineyards, knowing each one personally as most vinedressers did, he would have grieved for them and been sickened at the pathetic sight of his beloved vineyards, always within view, on the hillsides.

Jakob practiced his craft as a vinedresser probably for more than half a century – and maybe longer if his health held. He probably began working in the vineyards when he was perhaps 15, or maybe younger, joining his father.  He probably worked at long as he could. He died at age 73, so it’s conceivable that he walked to work in the vineyards every day for 58 years or so. I would wager that he found the hillsides and vineyards both beautiful and peaceful.

If Jakob had not already retired, perhaps it was the year of 1816 that prompted him to do so. He would have been 68 years old and may have wondered what the world was coming to. Many people interpreted the climate change as a whole, and 1816 in particular, in Biblical terms.

Furthermore, Jakob may have had tuberculosis.

Jakob, his only surviving son, left in 1817 for America in the springtime, the year after the worst of the famine and when his father was 69 years old. Both men knew they would never see each other again. This must have been a gut-wrenching goodbye.

Jakob, the father, must surely have been terribly torn – wanting a better life for his namesake son and family, but also wanting Jakob’s company and help in his final years. Perhaps Jakob walked up the hills into the vineyard to watch his son’s wagon disappear into the distance so that no one would witness the hot tears he surely cried.  With his only son gone, he must have felt terribly alone and vulnerable in the face of an  uncertain future combined with old age.

Jakob the son would likely have been terribly torn between providing for his future and that of his wife and children by immigrating to a land with more opportunity, and staying in Germany to care for his aging parents. Not knowing if 1817 was going to repeat the agricultural devastation of 1816, not to mention the political unrest, made the decision particularly difficult, but it’s obvious that Jakob wasn’t taking a “wait and see” approach, since he had clearly made and acted upon his decision by February and probably departed Beutelsbach shortly thereafter, perhaps looking back one last time to see if his father was in sight and to sear the vineyards on the hillsides above the village that he would never see again in his memory forever.

Jakob, the father, would say a different kind of goodbye to yet another child a few months later on September 4, 1817 when his firstborn, Katharina Barbara, would die of an epileptic seizure. Given that she never married, she very likely lived with her parents. At 45 years of age, if she had been epileptic for her entire life, perhaps her death was a release. Still for an aging parent, Katharina Barbara’s decline and death must have been utterly devastating and horribly traumatic to witness. Watching your children suffer and being powerless to help is its own special kind of hell on earth.  Your worst nightmare come true.

Having witnessed seizures where the person stopped breathing, I can only imagine with horror watching your child seize and die.  How many times had they literally held their breath as she seized, but eventually resumed breathing.  This time, she didn’t.  I shudder to even think.  My heart just breaks for them, almost 200 years later.

Yet another catastrophe visited this family in 1817, which Jakob may have come to regard as the year from Hell. Katharina Margaretha Lenz’s husband, Conrad Gos, emigrated to Russia, leaving his wife and children behind.  Their support may have fallen to Jakob.

Jakob may have wondered just how much more he could take.

Jakob’s Death

JakobLenz death

Jakob Lenz died July 2, 1821 at 6AM in Beutelsbach and was buried two days later, July 4th, at 10 AM, as shown in the church record, above. Jakob’s death entry in the church records, according to the Beutelsbach website is as follows:

  • Ist hier geschult und aufgezogen worden.
  • Todesursache: Zehrfieber
  • Beruf: Weingärtner

Translated, this means:

  • Has been trained here and raised.
  • Cause of death: Zehren fever
  • Occupation: Vinedresser or liternally, wine gardener

It also gives his parents names and his father’s occupation as a vinedresser.  The record gives Jakob’s age at death as 73 years and 5 months.

Zehren fever translates as “hectic fever,” which, according to the dictionary, is described as a remittent fever, with stages of chilliness, heat, and sweat, variously intermixed, usually present in wasting diseases, in particular pulmonary consumption or tuberculosis.

Jakob’s body may have died, but his absolutely incredible Y DNA lives on in his male Lentz descendants who carry his Y chromosome.  The Y DNA is passed from father to son and follows the surname path, so all Lentz males today who descend from this line through son Jakob/Jacob who immigrated to America, barring an adoption of some sort, carry Jakob’s Y DNA signature.  Let’s take a look!

Jakob’s DNA, Another Chapter

Several weeks ago, cousin C. Lentz, a descendant of son Jacob Lentz, agreed to test his Y DNA. Never, in my wildest dreams did I expect results so unbelievably unique. C. Lentz was not the first Lentz male to test, but my previous Lentz cousin who tested is now deceased, and if we wanted to test additional markers, and order additional tests, we needed to have a new candidate.

Am I ever glad cousin C. Lentz agreed, because the information forthcoming that was not available at the time the previous Lentz cousin tested is nothing short of phenomenal. As in jaw-dropping fall-off-your-chair incredible.

The last chapter, at least as of today, in the epic journey back in time comes from Dr. Sergey Malyshev, a geneticist at the Institute of Genetics and Cytology of Belarus National Academy of Sciences who specializes in plant genetics. Plant or human, genetics is genetics and the underlying foundation is the same. As Dr. Malyshev said, the methods of DNA analysis are universal. There are no big differences in the methodology between the DNA analysis for plants or humans.

Dr. Malyshev is one of the volunteer project administrators for the R1b Basal Subclades project at Family Tree DNA. Cousin C. Lentz is a member of that project. Dr. Malyshev asked me to request the BAM file for cousin C. so that he could analyze the results. I want to emphasize that Dr. Malyshev is not affiliated with any other company or organization, and the information went no place other than to Dr. Malyshev.

I received an e-mail from Dr. Malyshev detailing the SNPs, or mutations, and the order they are found on the Y DNA tree, grouped by the older haplogroup designations, in bold below.  Underneath the headings are the SNPS that must be found positive (+) to indicate the individual is a member of that sub-haplogroup.


  • CTS1078/Z2103+
  • Z8128/Y4371+
  • Z2105+
  • S20902/Z8130+
  • CTS9416+


  • Z2106+


  • Z2108+
  • CTS1843/Z2109+

The exciting part was yet to come.

Dr. Malyshev said:

Under Z2109, Mr. Lentz’s haplotype (his personal results) and 2 other kits form the new branch, KMS67:

  • 442223 (Lentz)
  • 181183
  • 329335

Unlike Lentz, kits 181183 and 329335 are much more closely related to each other. They have 45 common SNPs. Thus, they form an additional subclade of R-KMS67 which is KMS75. The R-KMS67 branch is probably a very rare subclade. 181183 and 329335 belong to Burzyan Bashkir people. The relationships between Lentz and these Burzyan Bashkir men is very ancient. For example, the KMS75 marker was found in ancient DNA samples of the Yamnaya culture.

Ok, now I’m sitting bolt upright and wide awake. And not believing my ears.

The Yamnaya culture, as in 5,000 years ago?? Seriously? This ancient DNA was only recovered about a year ago! In fact, ironically, I wrote an article about the Yamnaya discovery because I found it utterly fascinating. Now that just seems like an uncanny coincidence.

Dr. Malyshev continues:

Thus, the separation of Lentz’s line from the Bashkir line could have occurred even before the Yamnaya culture appearance. At the moment, the distribution of R-KMS67 line in Europe is completely unknown. It will take time to understand it. It is clear that this line is very rare. Germany could be an important place for the Z2109+ people because several different subclades of R-Z2109 were found here. It will be important to check the 14168106 (A/G) marker that was also observed in samples from the Yamnaya culture. This is only possible by using the BAM file.

I ordered the BAM file, sent it to Dr. Malyshev and attempted to wait patiently, which was no small feat, let me tell you. Not being a carrier of the patience gene, I wrote to Dr. Malyshev and asked if he had been able to discern anything in cousin C. Lentz’s BAM file relative to marker 14168106 and the Yamnaya culture?

Dr Malyshev replied:

Yes, 14168106 (a change from nucleotide A to G) is positive for Lentz. I have prepared a special chart combining all data for the R-KMS67 branch.

Next, I had to know if the mutation at 14168106 preceded the Yamnaya culture or did it emerge during the Yamnaya culture, or can’t we tell for sure? In other words, is there any way to know if our Lentz ancestor was part of the Yamnaya, or did his common ancestor with the Yamnaya reach perhaps further back in time?

Dr. Malyshev again:

I think the correct answer on your question is we can’t tell for sure. The problem is that we do not have ancient DNA samples from the Western Yamnaya culture. It occupied a very big territory from the Balkan peninsula to the Severski Donietz and Don rivers in steppes near the Black Sea. We have only ancient DNA samples from the Eastern Yamnaya culture that occupied a territory to East from the Volga river in steppes near the Caspian Sea. At the moment we can only speculate that the Western Yamnaya culture was a source of R-Z2109 for both Europe and Asia. In such case the R-KMS67 branch has appeared in the Black Sea steppes, and then a main part of this branch has migrated in the Eastern direction to the Caspian Sea and formed the Eastern Yamnaya culture. Its descendants can be found around the Caspian Sea in Bashkortostan or even Iraq. However, a second small group of the R-KMS67 branch (including Lentz’s ancestor) could stay near the Black Sea for a while and then migrated to Europe together with the R-CTS7822 and R-Y14414 lines. This is only hypothesis, of course.

Dr. Malyshev mentioned the extensive area covered by the Yamnaya culture, which is shown on the map below, from Eupedia.

JakobLenz yamna culture

Dr. Malyshev is kind enough to allow me to include the chart he created that shows the branch of haplogroup R that our Lentz ancestor belongs to. As you can see, so far, our Lentz family is the only one found in Europe but we distantly match two men from the Burzyan Bashkirs in Russia and one man from Iraq.

JakobLenz Malyshev chart

I wrote about the Bashkir and the Yamnaya and events in history which could have propelled these cultures into the part of Europe that would one day become Germany in the first article about Jacob Lentz, the immigrant.

You can see the region where the Yamnaya people are found, and the Yamna culture. The river transecting the middle of the yellow region North to South, passing between the n and the a on the map below, is the Volga.

JakobLenz Yamna

Now that we know a little more about the Yamnaya as a whole, I had to ask where, in Russia, are the excavations that produced the remains that match our Lentz ancestors? On the map above, the locations are just above the last a in Yamna, on the Volga.

However, we can be much more specific in terms of the locations of the Yamnaya burials.

JakobLenz Samara

The burials were found in close proximity to the city of Samara in Russia. Samara, today Russia’s 6th largest city, was home to “nests of pirates” before 1586, at the bend around the island on the map above. Samara was a frontier post that began with a fortress on the island that protected the eastern-most boundaries of Russia from forays of nomads. Samara was the gateway between east and west, a crossroads of many trade routes. The Yamnaya were likely early inhabitants and could have been traders as well, some 3500 years before the first written records of Samara appear.

Maybe our ancestors were early pirates or perhaps the equivalent of toll takers, assuring safe passage for traders needing to cross the Volga or pass by the island on the waterway. Maybe they were soldiers or traders, or all of the above at different times.

This website tracks the locations where ancient DNA has been retrieved, and the maps below show the locations of the ancient burials from this website.

Three of the 4 Yamnaya burials are found on this map and all were from about 5,000 years ago, or about 3,000 BC.

JakobLenz ancient 1

The first burial was located just above the curve in the Volga River, above the island, on the River Sok, shown above.  The mileage legend on the maps is in the lower left hand corner.

JakobLenz ancient 2

The second burial is shown just east of the Volga River bend, above.

JakobLenz ancient 3

The third burial is shown just below the bend in the Volga River, just below the island. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, there’s a theme here. I surely wonder about the importance of that island, perhaps a neutral ground for trade or a fortified island that was easy to defend? A settlement site perhaps, or a village maybe? All of the above at one time or another?

JakobLenz ancient4

There were additional burials found on the River Sok, above, but the quality of the DNA recovered wasn’t sufficient to determine if they are a match to our Lentz line and to the other burials.

JakobLenz ancient 5

Dr. Malyshev indicates that site 370 (above) can’t be eliminated either, although it is a bit further south and east.

JakobLenz ancient 6

Looking at the region as a whole, we can see the cluster of burials, above.

JakobLenz Stuttgart

Our Lentz line eventually settled in Beutelsbach, near Stuttgart, Germany, shown above on the same ancient burial map. Need I mention that Stuttgart is no place close to Samara, Russia? In fact, it’s more than half way across the entire Eurasian continent, as you can see on the map below.  That’s a massive distance interrupted by mountain ranges and inhospitable territory.

JakobLenz Eurasia

Looking at Google maps, you can see that it’s nearly an 8 hour plane ride.

JakobLenz Samara to Beutelsbach

This trip translates into about 3,500 miles, or the distance across the US diagonally from Key West, Florida, the furthest Southeastern point to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada which is in essence the end of the driving road in the Northwest.

jakobLenz Key West to Vancouver

I don’t know about you, but I have no desire whatsoever to make either one of those journeys, let alone by horseback, or chariot, or even perhaps on foot. If armies of that day and time moved at the same rate wagon trains did in the early US, they covered about 10 miles a day, on average. Of course, armies may well have stopped to fight and hunt and pillage and such – so their progress may have been much more sporadic and slower. One could not expect to travel for 3,500 miles through unknown terrain unimpeded and without being challenged by whomever the current residents were. People are funny that way – they don’t take kindly to invaders – especially not invaders that might have their eye on either their food or their women – or both. And an army has to eat!

That epic migration might not have been a single event, but a series of migration events separated by a significant amount of time, even generations.

Genetics and genetic genealogy, even though with our Yamnaya discovery we’re far beyond lineages we can track through paperwork back in time, isn’t much different than regular genealogy. You find one answer and it opens the door to hundreds of new questions. Genealogy and genetic genealogy are the pursuits that never end.

Now, of course, I want to know more about the Yamnaya and more about ancient Yamnaya burials with their ceremonial red ochre.

JakobLenz Yamnaya skull

More about these mysterious tall steppe-dwelling people who may well have developed the gene for and introduced lactose tolerance into the European population as they migrated westward, probably as unwelcome invaders.

More about men who will be found in eastern Europe who will carry our terminal SNP of KMS67, shared with the current day Burzyan Bashkirs and one man in Iran.

More about that intriguing DNA location 14168106, the location of an unnamed SNP just waiting to be named. Our SNP, our very own SNP, the one that belongs to us and some, but not all, of the Yamnaya, our relatives for sure and our probable ancestors. So far, that unnamed SNP belongs to no one else! No other living person so far discovered. No one else in the world except for our Lentz men and the ancient Yamnaya – reaching back some 5,000 years into the mists of time on the Volga River.

By Eternal Sledopyt – ru:Файл:Волга у Жигулей осенью.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0,



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

Catharina Schaeffer (c1775-c1826) and the Invisible Hand of Providence, 52 Ancestors #127

Catharina Schaeffer was born about 1774 to Johann Nicholas Schaeffer and Susanna DeTurk in Berks County, Pennsylvania. While many church records still exist and are available for the genealogist, it appears that none of Nicholas Schaeffer’s children are found in the existing records – at least none that I’ve been able to find.

Although we do have Catharina’s father’s estate documents, there is no final distribution that includes Catharina by her married name, nor a mention of her husband, Peter Gephart.  In fact, there is no final distribution in that estate packet at all.

Catharina didn’t marry until 1799, half way through the estate settlement, so it’s not like she is absent in something where she should be present. However, given this tiny shred of ambiguity, I was very pleased to have autosomal DNA matches to descendants of Catharina’s parents and Schaeffer grandparents through other children.

Catharina’s father, Johann Nicholas Schaeffer, died on November 2, 1796, according to his estate documents.

A petition filed on April 3, 1798 relative to real estate lists Nicholas’s children, as follows:

John Schaeffer, Esther wife of Jacob Miller, Catharine, Daniel, Susanna, Mary, Elizabeth and Jacob, the 4 last of whom are minors. Nicholas’s widow is noted as Susanna.

Catherine is the anglicized version of the German Catharina.  The one document where she signs her name with an X, her name is given as Catharina so that is the name I’m using.

The 1798 document from her father’s estate tells us that Catharina is at least 21 years old, meaning she was born before April 3, 1777. Furthermore, I suspect that these children are listed in age order, given that we know from other estate documents that John is the eldest (born on May 30, 1771) and we know from this document that the youngest are listed last.

If the children were born every 2 years, and none died, then the 4 youngest would have been roughly 19, 17, 15 and 13. By inference Daniel would have been 21 and Catherina 23.   So we can comfortably say that Catherina was born about 1775 and unquestionably between 1773 and 1777, even if the middle three children are listed out of order.

Initially, Susanna, Nicholas’s widow, is awarded executorship, but she petitions the court to find another executor, at which point Valentine Gephart/Gebhart is appointed.

Nicholas’ estate mentions several Gephart men both in the list of accounts and at the estate sale, so these families were closely affiliated and probably near neighbors.

Catharina Schaeffer married Johann Peter Gephart Jr., known as Peter, on March 24, 1799 in Christ Lutheran Church in Berks County, known today as Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Catharina Schaeffer Christ Lutheran

The church, built in 1743, is still functioning today and this beautiful photo is from their Facebook page. I would like to think that Catherina’s memories of this church were glowing and beautiful, full of the freshness and hope of new love.  That chapter in her life wouldn’t last long.

Catharina Schaeffer Christ Lutheran2

Peter was born on June 10, 1771 and was the son of Johann Peter Gebhart and Eva, last name unknown.

On November 2, 1799, Catharina had daughter Elizabeth Gephart followed by son, John Gephart born on February 26, 1801.

It’s likely that Catherina had a child that was born and died in 1803, or perhaps the child didn’t die until 1804 sometime. It would be terribly unusual for a woman to not become pregnant at that age from 1802 through December 1804 without having a child in-between those dates. According to Peter’s estate papers and later guardianship records, there was no child born, that lived, after 1801. Neither was Catherina pregnant when Peter died in December 1804.

The Western Fever

According to research by Kierby Stetler and Gene Mozley:

In the year 1803, four men from Tulpehocken Twp., Berks County, went to Ohio to see the country and if they liked it, planned to buy some property and move their families onto it. They found some land they liked about 60 miles east of Cincinnati which was owned by a man in Virginia. They met with the owners’ agent in Ohio and contracted to purchase 1000 acres, then started for Virginia to close the deal with the owner. However, by the time they arrived at the man’s residence, he had died. Disappointed and exhausted from the trip, they returned to their homes in Berks County.

They gave such glowing accounts of the State of Ohio that the “western ern fever” became an epidemic in the neighborhood. As a result, 24 families decided to sell out and move to Ohio the following spring. A few in the meantime had moved to Center Co, PA but arrangements to join the group were made with them by letter. It was agreed that all would start as such a time as to meet in Pittsburgh on or about the same day. In this group from Berks County were our George Stettler, his children and grandchildren. George was nearly 65 years of age at this time.

The Stettler family would be Catharina and Peter Gephart’s neighbor to the south, in Montgomery County, Ohio.

In 1804, as one of the group of 24 families from Berks County, Catharina and Peter Gephart, along with their 2 young children joined the wagon train and made their way from Berks County, Pennsylvania to Montgomery County, Ohio.

Catharina Schaeffer Berks to Montgomery

The distance between Maiden Creek Township in Berks County and Miamisburg, in Montgomery County, near Peter Gephart’s land, is about 513 miles, which equated to about 51 days in a wagon. I would have been a long and tiresome journey, that’s for sure. However, there was a better route.  The History of German Township, Montgomery County, Ohio tells us more:

The following are the names of those heads of families who came to this valley from Pennsylvania in the 1804 colony, some of whom, however, settled outside the present limits of German Township: Philip Gunckel, Christopher, John and William Emerick (who were brothers), George Kiester, Jacob Bauer, George Moyer, John Gunckel (who subsequently returned to Pennsylvania), John and Christopher Shuppert. Peter Gebhart, George Stettler and his five sons, William, Henry, Daniel. George and Jacob, John Barlet, Abraham Puntius and George Kern (who came with them as far as Cincinnati, where he remained two years, coming to this township in 1806). There were twenty-four families of them when they started from Pennsylvania, but they did not all get to the Twin Valley. Some dropped off on their way hither and settled elsewhere, while others remained so short a time that they cannot be claimed as pioneers of this valley. The names of all such have been omitted.

We can see from the above list that the 24 dwindled to 19, and then to 18 when one family returned to Pennsylvania, then to 17 with the death of Peter Gephart. The following year, in 1805, another group arrived that included Valentine Gephart, among others.

There is actually a very important clue in the History of German Township information, and that is that George Kern came as far as Cincinnati. This tells us that these pioneers only came part way by wagon, likely as far as Pittsburg, where they purchased rafts and floated downriver to Cincinnati. Had they come overland, they would not have dropped south to Cincinnati, as it would have been out of the way.

From Cincinnati, they would have headed north to what is now Montgomery County.

It’s “only” 270 miles to Pittsburg, or 27 days in a wagon, from Berk’s County.

Catharina Schaeffer Berks to Pittsburgh

From Pittsburg, the caravan of German settlers would have floated down the Ohio from Pittsburg to Cincinnati on a flatboat.


In Cincinnati they would have unloaded the flatboat and purchased or hired wagons once again in order to head for Montgomery County. It’s only 50 miles or so from Cincinnati to Miamisburg, in Miami Township, only a mile or so from where Catharina and Peter Gephart would settle, beside the Stettlers.

Catharina Schaeffer Cincy to Montgomery

This “Miami Township” article by Jacob Zimmer, probably written in the 1880s, given that John Gephart died in 1887, tells us more:

It was in the spring or summer of 1804, that John Shupert, wife and six children, Christopher, Frederick, Jacob, Eva, Peggy and Tena, came from Berks County, Penn., locating about one mile southwest of “Hole’s Station,” where he and wife lived until death. Christopher was married and had one son, John, when the family located here, the latter of whom is now residing in the township. In the same colony from Berks County, Penn., came Peter Gebhart, wife and two children, John and Elizabeth, settling a short distance southwest of the station, where Peter died the same year. His son, John, now a very old man, is still a resident of Miami Township. Most of this colony from Berks County settled in German Township.

Hole’s Station became Miamisburg in 1818.

Another account of the 1804 journey is given in the book “Twin Valley” b J. P. Hentz, published in 1883:

They set out on their westward journey in the spring of 1804. Such a journey was at that time no small undertaking. It required many weeks for its accomplishment and was attended by no small degree of danger and hardship. The goods, women and children had to be conveyed by wagon over rough mountain roads. The country through which the emigrants had to pass was yet but thinly settled; wild beasts such as wolves, bears and panthers were still abounding in the forests; and Indians, more savage than savage brutes, were still lurking in forest and mountain fastness. At night they usually encamped by some stream, and whilst one party laid down to sleep, another kept watch around the encampment. Exposure and malaria often caused serious illness, and not unfrequently one fell victim to disease and was buried by the wayside. Our friends, on their way through Pennsylvania experienced many of these evils; they arrived however, at the time agreed upon in Pittsburgh without having met with any serious accident. Here they engaged river boats, on which they put their chattels and families, and then paddled down the Ohio River. Cincinnati was their destination by water. After a trip of about a week they landed at the latter place. This event occurred on the 20th day of June, 1804. From Cincinnati they went to New Reading, a hamlet not far distant where they arrived a fortnight, considering what next to do or where to next to direct their steps. A few of them found employment here and remained, but to the majority this did not seem as their Canaan.

They again took up their line of march, this time their course lay northward. They had heard of the Miami Valley and desired to locate in it, but they had no definite objective point in view, trusting rather to fortune and the guiding hand of Providence. Some distance north of Cincinnati they entered this Valley and were delighted with the country. It was so very different from the rugged mountain country which they had left in Pennsylvania. No mountains and rocks were to be seen here. The forests were much taller, the soil was more productive and the surface much more level than in the country from which they came. They passed over many an attractive spot where they might have located, but they moved on, doubtlessly prompted and guided by the invisible hand of Providence, until they reached the vicinity of the present site of Miamisburg. Here lived a wealthy farmer, whose name was Nutz, who spoke German. They were glad to meet a gentleman who spoke their own tongue. With him they stopped to rest and refresh themselves and after forming his acquaintance and finding him a genial and kindhearted man, they concluded to encamp awhile on his farm. It was now midsummer and the weather being warm and pleasant, they took up abode in the woods where they lived in wagons and temporary huts, for about two weeks.

A Mr. Philip Gunckel, being a man of superior intelligence and the only person among them who spoke the English language with any degree of fluency was for these reasons looked upon as a leader of the group. He searched the area looking for a proper location to build a mill, as he was by occupation a miller, “and at last found the object of which he was in search on Big Twin Creek, a branch of the Miami River. The precise point chosen by Mr. Gunckel was about 6 miles from the mouth of this stream, now within the corporate limits of Germantown. When he made known his decision to his companions, they all concluded to settle near around him. Upon this the encampment on the Nutz farm was at once broken up, the immigrants forded the Miami River, crossed over to the western bank ascended the steep bluffs adjoining and then traveled on in the direction of the Twin creek. And here, by the side of this stream, they rested at the end of their long and wearisome journey. Here now was their future home.”

Before winter set in, they had secured land and erected some sort of dwellings. The first winter was a long and lonely one. They had harvested no crops the previous year, nor had they earned anything with which to procure the necessaries of life, having spent nearly the whole summer in their journey. Provisions, even if they had the means would have been difficult to procure, as the settlers were but few and had just begun to clear away the forest, and did not raise more than their own wants required. Game was plenty, however. They did not starve during this winter, but they were obliged to live on a small allowance.

Early the following spring, they went to work to clear away the trees, turn up the soil and sow and plant. Their hardest work such as clearing, log-rolling buildings and harvesting was mostly done by crowds, collected together for the purpose from the entire settlement. They made, as they called it, a frolic of it; that is they united into a sort of one-family arrangement, and did their work by succession, first on one place, then on a second and third, etc., until they had made the round and had got through with all. They continued this habit of mutual assistance for many years and great harmony and good feeling prevailed among them.

Religiously, they were either Lutherans or Reformeds, and as in those days it used to be said that all the difference between the denominations was that in the Lord’s Prayer, the one said, “Vater Unser,” and the other said “Unser Vater.”

Unser Vater translates to “Our Father.”

Catharina’s husband Peter Gephart along with George Moyer filed a joint land claim after their arrival in 1804 and agreed upon how they would divide the land.


By December 1804, Peter was dead and Catharina, about age 30, was left in Ohio just months after arriving with 2 small children and few resources.  Losing a husband is tragic, but losing your husband on the frontier just months after arrival and before becoming established, with no food or resources is a disaster. It’s a good thing there was a group of settlers, even though there were only 17 families, otherwise Catharina and her children might not have survived that initial winter.  They obviously shared their food with Catharina and her children. By the winter of 1805, Catharina had remarried.

Were it not for the fact that Catharina was widowed, we would have little information about her life. For that matter, were it not for the fact that she was widowed, she would not be my ancestor.

Daniel Miller was appointed by the court to be the executor of Peter Gephart’s estate. We don’t know why, especially given that Catharina was Lutheran and Daniel was Brethren, but regardless of why, it was a fortuitous turn of events. It could possibly have been because Daniel also spoke German, although so did the rest of the Berks County group, although perhaps the Berk’s county group was not yet considered “established” or could not post the required bond. Furthermore, Daniel Miller may have spoken English as well, an important asset in dealing with the court. Daniel was also an Elder in the Brethren Church, so certainly considered to be a respectable man. And he lived close by.

Daniel’s son, David Miller, was 5 or 6 years younger than Catharina and either unmarried or a widower himself. I’d wager a bet that David set about helping Catharina with clearing her land and farm chores. After all, Catharina had a 3 and 5 year old child and couldn’t leave them alone to go out to chop trees and work the fields.

Catharina Remarries

One thing led to another, and well, let’s say that human nature, being what it is, Catharina became pregnant in September of 1805, followed by Catharina and David’s marriage in Warren County, Ohio on December 13, 1805. Their first child, David B. Miller, was born the following June.   In a small, conservative, community, that must have been somewhat of a scandal, because it’s not like no one would notice. Furthermore, while they were both German, they were religiously “mixed,” she being Lutheran and he being Brethren. That probably didn’t go over well with either group. However, it’s not like there were other Lutherans to choose from in terms of a spouse – the community was quite small, so maybe marrying a German was “the best” they could hope for at that time and both communities were more tolerant than they might otherwise have been.  At least, I hope so.

Subsequently, David Miller was appointed guardian for Catharina’s two children, a very common event for a step-father. This guardianship would have been in relation to the land and any other resources that the children would stand to inherit from their father’s estate when they came of age, in 1820 and 1822, respectively.

The 1806 guardianship order records Elizabeth Gephart as being age 8 and John is noted as being age 5.

Probably about this time, Catharina would have converted to being Brethren from Lutheran. We know that David Miller remained a Brethren, as he would have been dismissed from the church had Catherina not converted. Whether she truly converted, or did so in name only to keep peace in the household and larger community, we’ll never know. One hint might be if we could determine whether or not her Gephart children were Brethren. If they were, she was. If they weren’t, then it’s unlikely that she converted in more than name only.

Given that Catharina’s son, John, is buried in the Stettler (Lutheran) Cemetery just down the road half a mile from Peter Gephart’s land and Elizabeth Gephart Hipple is buried in a non-Brethren Cemetery in Miamisburg, it’s unlikely that either child was Brethren. So, I’d wager that Catharina was technically Brethren, in name if not entirely in spirit.

In 1810, Daniel Miller as executor of Peter Gephart’s estate, Catherina Miller as his former wife and the mother of his 2 children, and David Miller as her current husband and guardian of her children petition the Montgomery County court and tell the court how Peter and George Moyer divided the land they patented together.

I wondered why this was done in 1810, and not before, or not later, for that matter. It turns out that the patent was applied for earlier, but not actually issued until October 1809 and then it was issued in the names of George Moyer and Peter Gephart’s two minor children, precipitating the need for a court order to sign deeds.

Catharina Schaeffer land patent

Montgomery Count court note on page 341 reflect the following:

May term 1810– Daniel Miller and Katharine Miller (late Katherine Gephart) with the consent of her husband David Miller administrators of the estate of Peter Gephart [state] that Peter together with George Moyer were [in] possession of 2 tracts of land as tenants in common in Township 2 range 5, section 9 and fraction of 10…land sold to Daniel Mannbeck, land sold to Christopher Shuppert…land sold to John Shuppert…to Miami River…corner George Moyer’s land…425 acres (Moyers share was 447 acres). Peter surveyed in his lifetime…sold quietly to George Jeaceable. Request to execute deed. Elizabeth and John Gephart are Peter and Catharina’s children. Daniel Miller, David Miller and Catharina Gephart sign.

This land is located on both sides of S. Union Road between Upper Miamisburg Road and Lower Miamisburg Road. Union Road divides sections 9 and 10.

Catharina Schaeffer land

Peter Gebhart/Gephart and George Möyer’s property ran between modern-day Upper Miamisburg Road and Lower Miamisburg Road from Jamaica Road east to the Great Miami River, across the river from Miamisburg. An irregular strip comprising a northern third of nearly 448 acres was allotted to George Moyer. Peter Gephart was allotted the middle third of over 445 acres. The southern third was arranged to be sold to Johannes “John” Shuppert (Shüppart), Christopher Shuppert, and Daniel Mannbeck, in three 106-3/8-acre parcels for $200 each, but Peter Gephart died prior to concluding the transactions, hence the petition to the court to complete the transactions as administrators of Gebhart’s estate.

Christopher and Hannah Shuppert sold their tract, the south-central tract, to Peter’s cousin, Heinrich “Henry” Gebhart, Sr., for $300 later in 1810.

Catharina Schaeffer land close

The middle third is shown above, probably the area roughly demarcated by the brown field to the right of Union Road, if you drew lines east and west on the top and bottom of the field east to the Miami River and west to Jamaica Road. In fact, you can see the field lines, which likely followed the property lines, although the tract was irregularly shaped.

Catharina Schaeffer mound drawing

Interestingly, the Miamisburg Indian mound, attributed to the Adena culture, is located less than a mile away from the Schaeffer land. This would have been a familiar sight to Catharina. While cleared today, shown in a Google street view today, the area would originally have been forested as depicted in the drawing above.

Catharina Schaeffer mound today

1811 – A Year of Change

In 1811, Catharina served as executor for the estate of Peter’s uncle, Valentine Gebhart (1751-1810). This may have been the same Valentine Gephart that served as Catherina’s father’s estate executor, which would explain how Catharine met Peter. It’s unusual that Catharina was chosen to serve as Valentine’s executor. Perhaps she had a particularly close relationship with Valentine. Catharina and Peter’s cousin, Philip Gebhart sold three 160-acres tracts in Township 3, Range 5 East, Section 2 (Jefferson Township) around the town of Drexel. To me, Catharine settling the estate and affairs of Valentine feels like life coming full circle.  Valentine probably functioned somewhat as a parental or favorite uncle role for Catharina.

Catharina’s mother died back in Pennsylvania on September 26, 1811. That sad news would have arrived by letter with the next courier coming to Ohio. It’s hard to imagine not being able to be with your mother at the end to comfort her, and to bury her once she had passed over. There was no closure, no life celebration, only the sad news and grieving alone or with anyone in the group who would have known her mother and shared Catharina’s sadness. To the best of my knowledge, none of Catharina’s siblings settled in Ohio, so other than Peter Gephart’s relative, Valentine, who arrived in 1805, Catharina was without family.

Fortunately, David Miller’s father, Daniel, lived just a couple miles away, so Catharina married into a new Brethren family when she married David.

Life on the Farm

Catharina’s life probably calmed down substantially and began to run much more smoothly after her marriage to David Miller, settling into the seasonal rhythmic routine of sew and reap, cooking and laundry, church on Sundays, marriages, births and burials in the churchyard. That never ending cycle.

From 1806 to 1818, Catharina had 7 children, so she was perpetually busy with 9 children and a husband to look after.

David Miller farmed the land that Peter Gephart owned, probably on behalf of the “orphans,” his step-children, and his wife’s share.

David Miller 1810 tax Montgomery

The 1810 tax list of Miller men shows David paying taxes on land in that same location, and the 1814 tax list is even more specific.

David Miller 1814 Montgomery tax list

On this list, the last column indicates the individual who entered the land, meaning the original grantee. The land David is farming is listed as Moyer and Gephart – confirming that indeed, David is farming the Peter Gephart land.  The second David Miller entry in Randolph Township is David’s uncle.  Millers and Brethren Millers in particular are often very difficult to unravel, so it’s fortuitous that our David Miller did indeed farm Catherina’s land – because the location and land identifies the family uniquely.

That farming arrangement would work fine, until Elizabeth and John came of age, which happened in 1820 and 1823, respectively. At that time, the part of Peter’s land that was not Catharina’s dower right, typically one third of the value of the estate, would have become the property of the children, or would have been sold and the proceeds divided between the children.

That would leave David only to farm one third of the land, if that much, because the house would have been considered in that valuation as well, so the total acreage allotted to Catharina would have been less than one third of the total.

The 1820 census schedule in German Township, Montgomery County, shows us David Miller living beside John Gephart, his step-son.

David Miller has the following household members:

  • Male 0-10 Samuel Miller b 1816
  • Male 0-10 John David born 1812
  • Male 10-16 David B. b 1806
  • Male 26-45 David (the father)
  • Male 45+
  • Female 0-10 Lydia Miller b 1818 or Catharine b 1814
  • Female 10-16 Mary b 1809 or Elizabeth b 1808
  • Female 16-24 Susan b 1802 or Esther
  • Female to 45 Catharina (the mother)

It looks like spaces for 3 daughters are missing, unless Esther has already married.

In 1822, David Miller’s father, Daniel dies. Apparently Peter Gephart’s estate has not yet been finalized, and David Miller along with Catharina both sign a receipt that was found in Daniel Miller’s estate papers.

David Miller 1823 receipt

This one “signature” of Catharina is her only known signature, and it appears that she cannot read and write. Obtaining Valentine Gephart’s estate packet might yield additional information about Catharina and additional signatures of hers as well.

Sadly, Catharina died about 1826, at about age 51, leaving 9 children in total, 7 of which had been born to Catharina and David Miller. Their youngest known child was born in 1818, when Catharina would have been about 44.

For a long time, for some reason, it was assumed that Catharine died in childbirth in 1826 – probably because so many women did. Now, based on her father’s estate records being located, we know that it’s very unlikely that Catharine died in childbirth in 1826, because she would have been roughly age 51, give or take a year. Given that her last child was born in 1818, this reinforces her birth year as about 1775 and reduces the probability that she died in childbirth 8 years later.


I wish we knew where Catharina was buried, but we don’t.

We can speculate a bit, based on what we know of the history of the area.

David may have buried Catharina near Peter Gephart. Of course, we don’t know where Peter is buried either, but the Gebhart cemetery was in use quite early – at least by 1815 and probably earlier. However, since Peter died so soon after arrival, it’s questionable whether a burial ground had been established in the location that would become the Gephart Church at that time.

David could have buried Catharina in a Brethren Cemetery, and if that is the case, it is likely Happy Corners, then known as Lower Stillwater, although that church was several miles away, in Randolph Township.

David could also have buried Catharina in the old cemetery on the land his father, Daniel owned up through 1815, which was only a couple miles away. It’s possible that if Catharine and David lost any children, they would have been buried there as well. However, since the Miller family no longer owned this land in 1826, this location is questionable as well.

David could have buried Catharina in the Old Lutheran Cemetery in present day Germantown. The cemetery was in use by this time.

David could have buried her in the Schaeffer Cemetery in German Township, although that’s probably not terribly likely either.  It is unclear if and how Catharina would have been related to these Schaeffers.

A Miami Township map drawn in 2001 and copyrighted by Tom Midlam shows an unnamed cemetery on the northern part of section 10 of Miami Township which is the land owned by Moyer and Gephart. If the cemetery “cross” is located accurately, it would appear to be on the Moyer land. This cemetery is not named on the map, nor is it in the Miami County Cemetery Index. Given that information, it’s clear that this cemetery is an old family cemetery about which little information is available.

The area today is wooded, although it was likely cleared at one time. If Catharina was buried here, and the cross on Tom’s map is accurate, the cemetery would have been someplace in the forested area bordered on the northwest by Upper Miamisburg Road and South Union Road, at roughly the arrow below.

Catharina Schaeffer poss cemetery

It’s also possible that Catharina was buried in the Stettler Cemetery, located about a mile to the south of where they lived. The Stettler Lutheran Church was formed when the Berks County group settled in the area and it’s also where Catharina’s son, John, is buried as well.

Catharina Schaeffer Stettler

Hill Grove, where Catharina’s daughter Elizabeth is buried wasn’t established until 1863, so we know Catharina’s not there.

My gut feel would be that either Catharina was buried in the cemetery on the land just north of theirs that was presumably in George Moyer’s portion of the tract, or that she is buried in the Stettler Cemetery, because it was close by and her son is buried there as well. We know that the Stettler church was established very early and the residents would have had to establish a group burying ground as well, with perhaps Peter Gephart being the first – especially if the Gephart church wasn’t established yet.

One thing is for sure – wherever Catharina’s final resting place, it was a very sad day with a long line of stair-stepped children, ages 8 to 27, weeping for their mother.

The Early Churches

The Stettler Family tells about establishing the Stettler Church on the land owned by George Stettler who died in 1815 and is buried in the cemetery at the Stettler Church. This is also where John Gephart was buried in 1887.

There were two church congregations established early, the Lutherans and the Reformeds, commonly referred to as the Gebhardt Church and the Stettler Church, respectively. The land for the Reformed church was donated by the Stettler family in 1808.

The Stettler church is located just a mile south of the land owned by Peter and Catharine Gephart, as shown on the map above.

The Gebhart Church and cemetery is located East of Miamisburg, about 4 miles, and across the Miami River, from where Catharina and David lived.

Catharina Schaeffer Gephart church

There are marked burials here as early as 1833, and likely burials long before that.

It’s possible that Peter Gephart may have been the first burial at the Gephart Church in 1804.

Interestingly enough, according to the History of the City of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio, Vol 1, the two churches shared a minister from 1808 until 1813. Lutherans living in Miamisburg declined to join either church, saying that the distance to Gephart Church was too great and the roads too bad, and that they were too poor to be ferried across the Miami River to the west side to attend the Stettler Church.

Catharina’s children with Peter Gephart:

Elizabeth Gebhart/Gephart was born November 2, 1799 in Berk’s County and died on August 29, 1884 in Miamisburg, Montgomery County, Ohio. Elizabeth married William Hipple on April 7, 1820 in Montgomery County, Ohio. She is buried in the Hill Grove Cemetery in Miamisburg, just a couple miles from where she grew up in Miami Township.

Catharina Schaeffer Elizabeth Hipple

Elizabeth Gephart and William Hipple had the following children:

  • Catharine Hipple (1821-1887) married Frederick Kolling (Colling) in 1842 and had 4 sons and one daughter, Mary Kolling/Colling.
  • John William Hipple born October 5, 1822 and died November 20, 1893. He married Elizabeth Sherrits and they had 9 children.
  • Sarah (Salone) Hipple (1824-1916) married John Tobias in 1846 and John Coleman in 1856. She had 2 sons and 3 daughters, Clara Elizabeth, Mary Hannah and Hallie Sue Coleman.
  • Caroline Hipple (1828-1865) married Isaac Weidner and had 2 sons and daughter Amelia Aurora Weidner.
  • Clinton Hipple (1830-1910) married Magdalena Tobias in 1849, Eliza Jane Stettler in 1852 and Catharine Stettler Shade in 1874. He had 14 children between all three wives.
  • Jeremiah Hipple born in June 1834, married Matilda Tobias in 1849 and had 7 children.
  • Rebecca Hipple (1826-1914) married William Roark and had 3 boys and two girls, Laura Jane and Ellen Roark. Rebecca later married Leonard John Dangler.
  • Elizabeth Hipple was born in January 1839, married John Beck and had no children.

John Gebhart/Gephart was born on February 26, 1801 and died on January 19, 1887 in Miami Township, Montgomery County, Ohio. He is reportedly buried in the Stettler Cemetery, according to the family, although he doesn’t seem to have a marker. There are many unmarked graves.

Catharina Schaeffer John Gephart

John Gephart married Julia Ann Brosius in 1819. They had at least three children and probably more. This line is not well researched.

  • Jacob Gebhart (1820-1902) married Sidney Ann Medlar and had 2 children.
  • Peter P. Gebhart (1821-1856) married Sarah Shupert and had 5 children
  • Magdalena Gephart (1823-1889) married George Schmidt Gebhart and had 17 children
  • William Gebhart (1825-1891) married Mary Ann Bebhart and had 8 children.
  • Margaret Gephart born in 1827 married Isaac Loy and died Nov. 23, 1900, age 73 years 6 months 17 days in Greenfield, Hancock County, Indiana. Margaret and Isaac had 9 children.
  • Philip Gebhart (1829-1920)
  • John Gebhart (1832-1904) married Elizabeth Kauffman and had 3 children
  • Sarah Gephart born December 20, 1836 married Jacob Loy, died on June 1, 1913 in Pendleton, Indiana and had 7 children.
  • Henry Gebhart (1837-1907)
  • George B. Gebhart (1839-1907) married Nancy Cramer and had 5 children.
  • Susan Catherine Gebhart (1843-1913) married George Washington Burnett and had 5 children

Indeterminate Children

David Miller had two daughters whose mother is unidentified. We do have an avenue to determine whether their mother was Catharina Schaeffer or a previous, albeit unknown, wife. If a descendant of Esther or Susan Miller through all females from Esther/Susan to the tester, took a mitochondrial DNA test, we could compare it against a mitochondrial DNA test of a descendant of Catherina through all females descended from known daughters. If their mitochondrial DNA matches, they share the same direct maternal ancestor. If not, they don’t. Easy as pie. In the current generation, the tester can be a male but he must descend through all females.

Women contribute their mitochondrial DNA to all of their children, but only the females pass it on. So everyone in the world carries their mother’s mitochondrial DNA that is passed to them directly from the matrilineal line, unmixed with any DNA from the father’s side.

I have a testing scholarship for anyone who descends from Catherina’s known daughters through all females to the current generation. I have bolded the candidate lineages for testing, above and below, through Catherina’s daughters.

The two indeterminate daughters are:

Esther Miller Lear/Leer was deceased at the time that her father David Miller’s estate was distributed in Elkhart County, Indiana beginning in 1853.

If Esther is Catharina’s daughter, she was likely named for Catharine’s sister, Esther Schaeffer. Esther is also a Biblical name.

We don’t know Esther’s birthdate, but one researcher shows her marriage to Abraham Lear (also spelled Leer) on December 30, 1824 and names their source as a DAR record.

We do know that Esther was married before 1827 based on her children’s ages. Unfortunately, these dates do little to narrow the range of her birth from “before 1806” to “after 1806” which is the dividing line in the sand that makes a difference in terms of the identity of her mother.

Esther Miller and Abraham Lear/Leer had the following children:

  • Elizabeth Lear was born December of 1827 and died in August 16, 1913 in Holmesville, Gage Co., Nebraska. Her descendants show her birth date as December 5, 1825. She married Samuel Irvin in Elkhart County on May 11, 1845 and had 8 children including daughters Hilinda and Hettie Irvin.
  • Susan Lear was born April 12, 1832 in Elkhart County, Indiana and died on June 5, 1907 in North Liberty, St. Joseph County, Indiana. She married Israel Irvin on April 23, 1852 in Elkhart County and had 7 children including daughters Mary Catherine, Matilda Jane and Dora Irvin.
  • John W. Lear born in 1838. He married Samantha E. Shafer on September 18, 1872 in Elkhart County, Indiana. They had two children.
  • Sarah Lear born in October 1840 (census indicated both 1840 and 1843 at different times) and died after 1910 in Marion County, Kansas. She married Israel Eliphet B. Riggle on October 2, 1862 in Elkhart County. They had 3 children including daughter Arvilla A. Riggle.
  • Mary Lear was born probably about 1827 and died about 1850. She married John Liveringhouse on November 7, 1847 and had two children, William and Eliza Liveringhouse.
  • Catherine Lear married Isaac Shively on December 26, 1852 in Elkhart County and died in 1886 in Allen County, Kansas. She had 8 childreni ncluding 2 daughters, Mary Alice and Sarah Shively.
  • Hetty Lear married Henry Stutsman on April 30, 1857. They moved to Douglas County, Kansas and had 6 children, including 2 daughter, Mary and Martha Stutzman.

Susan Miller was born June 5, 1802 and married Adam Whitehead on February 17,1825 in Montgomery County, Ohio. She died on July 17, 1876 and is buried in the Whitehead Cemetery in Elkhart County, Indiana. Her birth is calculated from her age on the tombstone. If Susan is Catharina’s daughter, she would have been named for Catharina’s mother and sister, Susanna DeTurk and Susanna Schaeffer.

Susan Miller and Adam Whitehead had the following children:

  • Mary Ann Whitehead (1828-1916) married Samuel R. Miller in 1847 and had 7 children including four daughters, Susan, Eva, Mary Jane and Sarah A. Miller.
  • Elizabeth Whitehead (1829-1853) married Jacob Riggles and apparently had no children that survived.
  • Esther Whitehead (1831-1910) married Daniel Shively in 1852 and had 3 children including 1 daughter, Susan Shively who lived to adulthood.
  • John M. Whitehead (1833-1912) married Sarah Smith and had 6 children.
  • Susana Whitehead (1836-1916) married Jacob B. Riggle and had 8 children, including 3 daughters, Catherine, Mary V. and Etta Riggle.
  • Catherine Whitehead (1838-1919) married John Riggle in 1855 and had 3 children, including Lillian J. and Luna May Riggle.
  • Margaret Whitehead (1841-1851)

Catharina’s Children with David Miller

David B. Miller was born June 3, 1806 in Montgomery County, Ohio, died on September 26, 1881 in Elkhart County, Indiana and is buried in the Baintertown Cemetery that is located on his father, David Miller’s, land. David B. Miller’s stone is 4 sided, with wife Christina buried on one side.

David Miller son David stone

Two of their children are memorialized on one side. The third side is David and the fourth side is an inscription.

David Miller son David closeup

David B. Miller would have been named for his father. No one seems to have any record of what the middle B. stands for.

David B. Miller married Christina Brumbaugh before coming to Elkhart County and had 11 children.

  • Catherine Miller who died before 1893
  • William Miller born November 2, 1831, died November 4, 1831, buried in the Baintertown Cemetery.
  • Jacob Miller (1832-1902) married Catherine Whitehead in 1855 and had 4 children, then married Catherine Harshman in 1871 and had 3 more children.
  • Mary Miller (1835-1893) married Joseph B. Peffley in 1853. She died in 1893 in Manuel, Brazoria, Texas and had 9 children.
  • Eve Miller born July 1836, died April 2, 1838, buried in the Baintertown Cemetery.
  • John B. Miller (1839-1897), buried at Baintertown and was living with his parents in 1880 and was a physician.
  • Michael M. Miller born December 1842 in Elkhart County, died Sept 5, 1854 and is buried in Baintertown.
  • Elizabeth “Betsy” Miller (1844-1925) married Samuel Pagen/Pagin, a physician, in 1899, had no children according to the 1900 census and is buried in Baintertown.
  • Daniel C. Miller (1847-1931) married Mary ? in 1885 and had no children according to the 1900 census. He then married Mary Kintigh in 1913 as a widower and is buried in Baintertown.
  • Susannah Miller (1849-1948) married Josiah Rohrer in 1870 and had 4 children.

Elizabeth Miller was born on April 6, 1808 in Montgomery County, Ohio, died on January 16, 1891 in Elkhart County, Indiana and is buried at Baintertown. She would have been named for Catharina’s sister, Elizabeth Schaeffer.

Elizabeth married Michael Haney in 1827 in Montgomery County, Ohio. They patented land very near David Miller in Elkhart County and had 5 children.

  • Matilda Haney (1834-1934) married John W. Baker in 1853. It appears that she died in Washington State.  Children are unknown.
  • Elizabeth R. Haney (1836-1900) married George Washington Alford and had 9 children including daughters, Eva, Jeanetta and Idealla Alford.
  • Joseph Beane Haney (1838-1920) married Lucinda Whitehead and had 5 children.
  • Mary “Molly” J. Haney (1844-1922) married Allen D. Gilkinson.  Children are unknown.
  • John Michael Haney (1847-1849)

Mary Miller was born in 1809 in Montgomery County, Ohio and married Jeremiah Bright on January 31, 1828 in Montgomery County, Ohio. Mary would have been named for Catharina’s sister, Mary Schaeffer.

According to the Elkhart County Pictorial and Biographical Memoirs, Mary and Jeremiah had five children, but I found evidence of 7 including two children who died young:

  • David Miller Bright (1829-1905) married Elizabeth Rinehart, died in Leelenau County, Michigan and had 9 children.
  • George W. Bright (1830-1852)
  • John Bright (1831-1928), died in Fairfield, Ohio.
  • Mary Bright (1833-1911) married John Garner Hall in and had one daughter, Sarah Jane Hall. Mary then married Jacob Alva Aurand and had 7 children including Mary Ellen Aurand.
  • William Bright (1835-1917) married Catherine Wagner and had 5 children.
  • Susannah Bright (1837-1838)
  • Daniel Bright (1838-1840)

Mary then married Christian Stouder on September 11, 1842 in Elkhart County and had four more children:

  • Lydia Stouder (1843-1893) married Samuel Neff in 1883 and had 6 children including Mary Alice, Anne and Desaline Neff.
  • Christian Stouder (1845-1927) married Elizabeth Hohbein and her sister, Catherine Hohbein and had 6 children between the two wives.
  • Samuel H. Stouder (1850-1891) married Margaret Rummell and had 5 children.
  • Unknown 4th child

David Miller daughter Mary Stouder stone

Mary died on October 22, 1863 and is buried at Union Center Cemetery, although her birth and death information was apparently never inscribed on her stone.

John David Miller was born April 6, 1812 in Montgomery County, Ohio and married Mary Baker there on January 24, 1832. They came to Elkhart County with or near the same time as David Miller. Perhaps John David is named for both Catharina’s father, Johann Nicholas Schaeffer and David Miller, his father.

Mary Baker and John David Miller had 10 children:

  • John Miller – died as a child
  • Catherine Miller – died as a child
  • Samuel Miller – died as a child
  • Unknown child
  • Hester Ann Miller (1833-1917 married Jonas Shively and had 8 children.
  • David B. Miller (1838-1922) married Susan Smith and had 9 children.
  • Mary Ann Miller (1841-1915) married Michael Treesh and had 7 children.
  • Aaron B. Miller (1843-1923) married Sarah Myers and had 5 children.
  • Matilda A. Miller (1844-1935) married John Dubbs and had 6 children.
  • Martha Jane Miller (1847-1935) married David Blough and had 7 children.
  • George Washington Miller (1851-1917) married Lydia Miller and had 6 children.

John David Miller married second to Margaret Elizabeth Lentz, widow of Valentine Whitehead. They had four children:

  • Evaline Louise Miller (1857-1939) married Hiram Ferverda and had 11 children.
  • Ira J. Miller (1859-1948) married Rebecca Rodibaugh and had 2 children.
  • Perry Miller (1862-1906) married Mary Jane Lauer and had 4 children.

Photo of John David Miller with Margaret and 5 of his children.

john david miller family

Catherine Miller was born March 17, 1813 and died September 24, 1876 and is buried at Baintertown. She was named for her mother.

Catherine married Conrad Brumbaugh in 1833 in Elkhart County and they had five children.

  • John W. Brumbaugh (1835-1910) married Sarah Peffley and had 9 children. He then married Mary Kintigh and had 2 additional children.
  • Lydia Brumbaugh (1838-1856)
  • Eve Brumbaugh (1840-1891) married Daniel Riggle in 1857 and had 12 children, including daughters Laura Ann, Anna J., Sarah Lilie, Jennie and Kittie Riggle.
  • Sarah A. Brumbaugh born about 1846, died after 1860.
  • Joseph Brumbaugh (1856-1921) married Ellen Martha Hissong in 1889 and had two children who both died young.

Samuel B. Miller was born in 1816 and married Rose Ann Bowser. He died March 1, 1877 and is buried at Baintertown. They had seven children:

  • Emanuel Miller (1838-1921) married Nancy Maurer and had 8 children.
  • Mary J. Miller born (1840-1920) married James Alford in1857 and had 3 children.
  • William H. Miller (1841-1915) married Delilah J. Alford in 1868 and had 5 children. He then married and Matilda J. Wahmeyer in 1898.
  • Desaline Miller born (1845-1904) married Gustavoius Alonzo Latta in 1870, died of strangulation according to her death certificate, no children reported in the 1900 census.
  • Albert J. Miller born (1846-1924) married Elizabeth Ulery and had 2 children.
  • Charles C. Miller born (1847-1910) married Sarah and had two children.
  • Cephus Miller born 1850, died after 1860.

Lydia Miller was born about 1818 in Montgomery County, Ohio and married John (Jonathan) Collier, also spelled Colyar, on September 18, 1834 in Elkhart County. She died about 1876. They had seven children:

  • David Colyar born in 1837, died in 1916 in Kapowsin, Pierce County, Washington married Susanna and had 2 children
  • Elizabeth Colyar (1838-1920), married Jesse Whitman and had one child, a son.  She died in Lone Star, Douglas County, Kansas.
  • Susan Louise Colyar (1839-1917) married George Jacob Hardtarfer and had 9 children including Lydia, Mary Louise, Minnie Bell and Ida Lenora Hardtarfer. Susan died in Douglas County, Kansas.
  • Mary Colyar born in 1842.
  • John Colyar (1845-1932) married Sarah Josephine Belden and had two children
  • Catherine Colyar born in 1848.
  • Louisa Emaline Adaline Colyar born in 1855.

Catherina Schaeffer’s Mitochondrial DNA

Mitochondrial DNA can provide us with an additional chapter in the life of Catherina Schaeffer Gephart Miller and her ancestors, taking us further back in time. Because mitochondrial DNA does not recombine with the father’s DNA, it’s passed intact from mother to child, but only female children pass it on.  On the pedigree chart below, you can see that the red circles are the path the mitochondrial DNA is passed down to a brother and sister, both of whom will carry the matrilineal line’s mitochondrial DNA, but only the sister will pass it on.  The brother’s children will carry their mother’s mitochondrial DNA.

yline mtdna

In order to view Catherina’s mitochondrial DNA, we have to find someone descended from Catherina through all females to the current generation. In the current generation, the tester can be male, so long as he descends through all females from Catherina.

I have bolded female candidates in her list of children and grandchildren.

I have a DNA testing scholarship for someone who descends from Catherina Schaeffer through all females to the current generation.


I’m sure that Catharina didn’t mean to live such an adventurous live. Her life probably didn’t start out that way either. From the time she was born in Berks County, Pennsylvania, until she left in 1804 on the wagon train, there’s a good possibility she was never more than a few miles away from home – maybe never even in another county.

That all changed in the spring of 1804 when she set forth on the adventure of a lifetime. By the end of 1804, Catharina’s life had changed entirely – and not in a good way.

The trip to Ohio must have been exhausting, and perhaps exhilarating too. I can’t imagine being on a flatboat with two young children. I would be constantly terrified that one of them would escape from my clutches and perish in a watery grave. Flatboats didn’t have guardrails. The only protection you had in that day and age was common sense and a dose of good luck thrown into the mix.

In general, the group knew where they were going, but not specifically. They knew they were going to Cincinnati, but beyond that, they were waiting on Divine Guidance to give them a sign. Flying by the seat of your pants, or in this case, riding in a wagon directed by the invisible hand of Providence must have been a bit disconcerting for Catharina. Maybe she just didn’t think of the danger. Maybe she didn’t understand the scope of the danger. Maybe she just gritted her teeth and clenched her jaw…and prayed for deliverance.

Regardless, not long after Catharina thought she can literally come through the Valley of the Shadow of Death unscathed and was finally safe, the danger became intensely real when Peter died before year end, leaving her on the frontier to fend for herself. I surely have to wonder how he died. He was a young man. Maybe he stood in the wrong place felling trees, or maybe there was some other type of accident.

A year later, in December 1805, Catharina was remarried and pregnant with her third child. On the frontier, an expeditious marriage was best for everyone. Being single meant survival was in jeopardy. Being a single mother was even worse. The answer was to join forces with another through the bonds of matrimony – and the sooner the better. Catharina did what she needed to do.

Catharina must have been somewhat of a renegade woman to be appointed as the executor of the estate of Valentine Gephart in 1811. The court obviously thought her capable, even though it was a very unusual move.

Catharina had small children in her life, sometimes several, from a few months after her original marriage in 1799 until her death in 1826. Her youngest child then was about 8 years old, but about the time that her own children were no longer toddlers, Catharina’s oldest children began blessing her with grandchildren. This could well have been the highlight of her life. Her golden years, so to speak, but they didn’t last long and there weren’t entirely golden either.

The blank spaces in-between known children’s birth years testifies to the 4 grandchildren Catharina likely buried. Two of those grandchildren were also probably born in 1826, which makes me wonder if there was some type of illness within the community that may have claimed Catharine’s life as well as two or more of her grandchildren.

It also appears that Esther Miller who married Abraham Lear and Susan Miller who married Adam Whitehead also lost children in or about 1826 as well. Esther may have lost two children. It wouldn’t have mattered if Esther and Susan were Catharina’s children or step-children, she raised them from the time they were toddlers one way or the other, and their children were assuredly her grandchildren as well.

If 1804 was tragic, 1826 was a grief filled year for the Miller and Gephart families as well, losing Catharine and four or five grandchildren in that timeframe in addition.

At the time of Catharina’s death she had 4 living grandchildren, three from daughter Elizabeth and one from son John. Additionally, it appears that Esther and Susan would have had three between them in the same time period, if they didn’t pass away at or immediately after birth. Catharina’s grandchildren fit right in at the end of her own stair-stepped children. There were always babies in her household, I’m sure. Laughing, giggling, lifting the spirits of the adults. There is nothing so infectious as a baby’s laughter.

Although Catharina didn’t know them, eventually she would have at least 78 grandchildren and 14 step-grandchildren through Susan and Esther, if they weren’t her biological grandchildren.

Get ready for a shocker here, because Catharina had more than 300 great-grandchildren and another 63 either step-great-grandchildren or bio ones, if Susan and Esther were her daughters. Wouldn’t Catharina, who only knew 4 of her grandchildren, briefly, be surprised. It’s sad that her grandchildren never knew her with her undauntable pioneer spirit.

As I reflect on Catharina’s life, I’m struck by both the tragedy and the tenacity that tragedy must have built in the young Pennsylvania Dutch wife in a foreign wilderness who didn’t even speak English. Whatever she had to do, she did it. Adversity separates those who would fail from those who would succeed, but success doesn’t mitigate either sorrow or fear, both of which had to be present on the Ohio frontier on a daily basis as she looked at her two children and wondered what would happen to them.

I’m sure Catharina wondered if she had made the wrong decision leaving Pennsylvania, whether they had let their heads full of dreams of the land tempt them into harm’s way, and whether she should go back to Pennsylvania and return home to her mother. Going back wasn’t nearly as easy as traveling westward, because there was no river to float down – the entire trip was by wagon. Men who went back typically just rode a horse, which was far faster but not an option for a woman with two children. For whatever the circumstances the future would bring, Catherina was firmly planted on the land above the bluffs near the Miami River here she would create a new life on the frontier, with a new husband, and build a family that would lay the foundation for the future of hundreds of her descendants.

Perhaps Catharina coped with tragedy by letting that “Invisible Hand of Providence” guide and comfort her not just during the trip to Montgomery County, but throughout her life and ultimately, through the experience of death.



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

John David Miller (1812-1902), Never In His Wildest Dreams, 52 Ancestors #125

John David Miller was born April 6, 1812 in Montgomery County, Ohio to David Miller and Catharina Schaeffer.

Catharina, his mother, was a widow with two children when she married David Miller on December 13, 1805.

Between their marriage and Catharina’s death in about 1826, she bore 9 children. She died when John David was just 14 or so, a difficult age for a boy made even more difficult by his mother’s passing.

John David’s father married a woman named Elizabeth before leaving for Elkhart County, Indiana four years later, in 1830. Elizabeth died in 1838 in Elkhart County and John David’s father remarried again to Martha Drake in June of 1839, having 3 more children. We have this late marriage to thank for the long drawn out estate settlement which provides us with a great amount of information, including lists of David’s children and in some cases, grandchildren.

David’s son, John David Miller married Mary Baker on January 24, 1832 in Montgomery County when he was about 20.  They applied for the license 10 days earlier, with her father registering “no objection.”

John David Miller Mary Baker marriage

Oral history tells us that John David went to Elkhart County, then back to Montgomery County to marry his sweetheart and brought her back to Elkhart County. Some honeymoon, bouncing around in a wagon, but as a love-struck newlywed, who cares!

Their first child, Hester, was born on May 26, 1833, and her death certificate says she was born in Ohio, but the 1850 census says she was born in Indiana. It’s believed that by 1832, John David was in Elkhart County, Indiana.  The 1892 Elkhart County plat map, created when John David was still living, stated that he was born in 1812 and came to Jackson Township in 1832. It’s likely that John David Miller and possibly his bride joined the Cripe wagon train headed north during the winter of 1831/1832.

When the wagon train first arrived in Elkhart County, the extended family would have lived together initially, constructing a log cabin. The oral history tells us that they didn’t have time to construct a cabin that first winter, and they constructed a lean-to and covered the door with skins and fabric. That’s was probably the longest winter of their lives! Northern Indiana winters are miserable and bitterly cold. The Indians still lived there and helped the settlers survive.

The first several years, the family would have worked together to clear lands and farm what they could. Clearing and farming were full time jobs. John David and his bride likely lived with his father and family during this time.

In the 1840 census, we find the Brethren families grouped together. We know that David Miller owned land and was living on land where the Baintertown Cemetery is located today, his wife, Elizabeth, being the first (marked) burial in 1838.

In order, on the 1840 census, we find:

  • William S. Baker
  • Elias Baker
  • Samuel B. Miller
  • Adam Mock
  • Jacob Stutzman
  • John Miller
  • David Miller
  • Conrad Broombaugh

David Miller is shown age 30-40 and John Miller is shown age 20-30. John David would have been 28. His brother, David, would have been age 34.

Their father, David, was shown on a different page because his land was in a different township, although only a couple miles away.

The 1840 census shows John David with 4 children. We can fit known children into slots as follows:

  • Male age 5-10 (born 1830-1835) Samuel died before 1850
  • Male under 5 (born 1835-1840) David B. Miller born 1838
  • Male under 5 (born 1835-1840) John N. died before 1850
  • Female under 5 (born 1835-1840) Hester born 1833?

There is another female child who was born and died between census years, Catherine. If Catherine is the female under 5, then where was Hester who appears to be missing from the census?

The binding factor between these families listed together on the 1840 census is that they were Brethren. The reason they were attracted to Elkhart County was the availability of land grants. The land in Montgomery County was already taken. The relationship between the Miller, Mock and Stutzman families reaches back 4 generations to Johann Michael Mueller, the immigrant, in Pennsylvania and Maryland.


John David’s father, David, applied for and obtained several land grants. This particular grant below, applied for in 1832, would become the land of his sons John David Miller and David B. Miller when he sold it to them in 1841 for $100 each for half of the quarter section (80 acres) each.

JDM David Miller land grant

David, John David’s father, signed the receipt below.

JDM David Miller receipt

John David Miller may have applied for some land patents himself, and subsequently sold them, probably to raise funds. There are many John Miller’s in Elkhart County so differentiating them without middle initials is troublesome.

John David Miller and David B. Miller had very likely been clearing and working this land since 1832 when their father obtained it as a grant.

John cleared the land and built a log cabin which still stands under a portion of the house that remains today.  The cabin is the center section, shown below.

Margaret Lentz home

I always wondered why this house is turned sideways, then I looked closely at the plat maps and realized that the road, 142, that now runs east and west behind the house at one time curved and went in front of the house, so the house wasn’t sideways when it was built and it sat on the north side of the road.

JDM closeup of map section

Today, it sits on the south side of road 142. The current driveway was the original road.

JDM satellite 2

It makes me wonder, which came first, John David’s log cabin or the road, which was then likely no more than a wide path.

JDM farm

Turkey Creek runs along and through David’s land, shown below hidden behind the trees. This area is still relatively wet and densely forested.

Turkey Ck

Creeks in pioneer times were the lifeblood of the community, assuring fresh water for people and livestock in addition to being the early highways.  Land creekside went first – although the land along Turkey Creek is low and wet, even yet today.

This aerial view shows the very green Y intersection between Turkey Creek, the treed area on the left, and the Elkhart River, which runs on the east side of the map.  John David’s house is marked with a small grey pin at the intersection of 142 and 21.  You can see the extent of the forestation along the creek and river.

JDM aerial

Lots of floodplain probably meant that John David’s house and fields never flooded.

JDM turkey creek 3

This is Turkey Creek from the bridge on 142, today, above, looking at the portion on John David’s land.

JDM Turkey Creek 2

This part looking north is a little brighter and more cheerful.  Looking at this dense forest, you can understand why the pioneers had issues with malarial diseases.  There are backwaters and swamps green with algae less than a mile north.  Mosquito heaven.

JDM turkey looking at John's land

On the Turkey Creek bridge, looking at John David’s land on the left.

Oral history states that the Native people helped the family pick good land.  If that’s true, we are indebted to them.  It’s a decision that in time, they surely came to regret – not necessarily in terms of the Miller family personally – but in more general terms.  They not only became overrun by successive waves of settlers, they were forced off of their lands.

John David’s Father’s Death

John David’s father, David, died on December 1, 1851 without a will. At the time of his death, he had a wife and small children, after a 4th marriage to a younger widow woman 20 years his junior in 1839. Their last child was born in 1845, just 6 years before David’s death.

Clearly David’s death was unexpected, even though he was 70 years of age, or he probably would have executed a will given that he had children by at least 2 wives, 3 of which were minors.

John David Miller was not his father’s executor, thankfully. David’s estate was not to settle smoothly. Initially Adam Whitehead, husband of David’s eldest living sister, Susan, was the estate administrator.

Then something very un-Brethren-like happened. In 1855, all of David’s heirs, including John David Miller, sued Adam Whitehead and Susan. Brethren simply did not “take someone to law,” let alone a relative, and would try absolutely everything else to resolve a situation. This is the first lawsuit I know of being filed in America in the Miller lines. That’s pretty amazing, given that David’s heirs are 4 generations downstream from the original immigrant.

Court was a last resort – and often Brethren would let a wrong “stand” rather than taking an oppositional position, through law or otherwise.  Often, the church got involved to help straighten things out. Therefore this lawsuit is shocking to say the least – and apparently all of David’s heirs uniformly agreed, as they are all represented by the suit. That’s even more shocking and probably speaks to the gravity of the situation at hand.  The fact that the lawsuit wasn’t file until nearly 4 years after David’s death suggests this was a measure of last resort.

Based on the court document filed by the plaintiffs, Adam Whitehead had taken possession of all of David Miller’s lands by right of descent, which apparently meant because he was married to the eldest child (or at least eldest living child.)

This must have been a very difficult situation, because Adam taking possession of David’s lands would have excluded Martha Miller, David’s widow, and David’s three minor children from the proceeds of his estate or utilizing his land. While the older children wanted their share, I’m sure, the widow and her three minor children depended on that land and his estate to live.

The court agreed with the plaintiffs and ordered that Martha be awarded one third of David’s estate as her dower right and the rest to be divided evenly between his 12 children.

David’s son, Samuel, then became the executor. David’s estate settlement dragged on for 13 years, the last distribution made in 1864 when his final living child reached the age of majority.

John David signed three receipts during the long probate of his father’s estate, one each in 1854, 1855 and 1857 when he accepted a final $100 as his share of his father’s estate. His signatures are shown below.

JDM estate receipt

JDM 1855 estate receipt

JDM estate receipt 2

Never in his wildest dreams would David have expected the family to be split in this manner. This is the kind of rift that never heals. Estates, then and now, bring out the worst in people. 

Widower and Remarriage

John David Miller’s wife, Mary Baker, died on March 12, 1855, leaving John with a houseful of kids and no mother.  She was buried in the Baintertown Cemetery, on David Miller’s original land.  Her headstone was nearly unreadable when I visited several years ago.

Mary Baker Miller

A year later on March 30, 1856, John David married a Brethren widow, Margaret Lentz Whitehead, who also had 5 young children.

Margaret Lentz John David Miller marriage

Margaret was born Dec. 21, 1822 in Pennsylvania to Jacob Lentz and Johanna Fredericka Reuhle, both born in Germany. Margaret moved with her parents in the early 1830s to Montgomery County where she subsequently married Valentine Whitehead and joined the northward migration to Elkhart County where she had lived for nearly a decade before Valentine’s death in 1851.

When they married, John David Miller had 7 living children although Hester had just recently married the boy next door. Margaret had 5 children, What a busy household they must have had with 11 children.

Margaret Lentz blended family

John David Miller and Margaret had 4 more children, only 3 of whom survived; Evaline Louise (my great-grandmother, Ira J. (Rex Miller’s grandfather) and Perry Miller. The name of the child who died, probably in 1861, is unknown.


About the time John David married Margaret, the Brethren built the Whitehead Church. It was the second Brethren church to be built in Indiana, and the only church in this vicinity. Prior to this, services were held in the homes and barns of members, with people traveling significant distances and sometimes staying overnight to attend.

Both John David and Margaret probably held church services at their homes when it was their turn – so they would have been well acquainted.

In the 1850s, land was donated by the Whitehead family for the church. The congregation would have had an old-fashioned “barn-raising” except in this case, it would have been a church raising. Margaret’s husband, Valentine, was buried across the road in 1851, so you can rest assured that Margaret and John David both participated in the building of the Whitehead church, later to be known as Maple Grove.

Of course, John David would have participated with the other men, constructing the building, and Margaret would have participated with the other women preparing food for the hungry crew.

In 2015, cousin Keith Lentz visited the now much more modern Maple Grove Church, the former Whitehead Church, attending services, and was kind enough to provide me with two pictures of the original church.

JDM whitehead church

The photo above is from a Brethren source, and the one below Keith took of a picture hanging inside the current church, in the old section. I suspect the top photo is older, based on the railings, but the building probably looked much like it did originally for a very long time.

JDM whitehead church 2

It does my heart good to know that John’s handiwork still remains in the present day church that retains the original posts, rafters and beams. The church members told Keith that the original building was raised in 1856, but the “History of the Church of the Brethren in Indiana” published in 1917 says the original building was built in 1851.

In these photos taken by Keith, you can see the original part of the building to the right of the main entrance today.

JDM Maple Grove

The Maple Grove church stands directly across from the Whitehead Cemetery.

JDM whitehead cem

Margaret Lentz Whitehead Miller wasn’t the only one with a tie to the Whitehead family or eventually to the Whitehead Cemetery. John David Miller’s sister, Susan, married Adam Whitehead in 1825 in Montgomery County. Adam Whitehead was one of the 9 Whitehead adult children who settled in Elkhart County with their father. Susan died in 1876 and is buried in the Whitehead Cemetery, across from the church.

When John David Miller died in 1902, he was a member of the Union Center church. He would have literally had to go past the Whitehead Church to attend Union Center which was located significantly further south. The Whitehead Church is 1.6 miles from John David’s farm and Union Center is a total of 7.7 miles distant.

JDM map to union

Something must have happened to cause that switch.

That something was very likely the ruckus that occurred after David Miller’s death, and the subsequent lawsuit. Making the situation even more awkward, in 1856, the year after the lawsuit was filed, John David married Margaret Lentz Whitehead, the widow of Valentine Whitehead.

The Millers may have been shunned in the Whitehead church for filing suit. Margaret may have been shunned for marrying John David Miller. One way or another, I’m sure it was uncomfortable for the Millers to attend the same church with the Whitehead clan during and probably after this time. Given that Susan is buried in the Whitehead Cemetery, it’s clear where her allegiance fell.

Union Center Church 1920

The Union Center Church was gracious enough to send me the photo of the church taken in 1920.  The indicated that their history says the church was build in 1866.

John David Miller’s switch to Union Center Brethren Church unquestionably occurred sometime before 1876 when John David’s daughter, Evaline married Hiram Ferverda. The Ferverda family lived south of the Union Center Church and were also Brethren. Evaline would have met Hiram at church functions. It would have been unlikely for her to meet him otherwise and have the ability to court, as the two families lived 10 miles or so apart. In essence, had it not been for that change of churches, my great-grandfather would not be my great-grandfather, and I would not be me today. You never know where those forks in the road will lead and how they will affect not only you but your children and descendants in perpetuity.

Union Center Brethren Church was organized in 1859 and had been meeting in homes since 1838 when it was administratively cut off from the Turkey Creek congregation which subsequently built the Whitehead Church. John David probably helped to build Union Center in 1859 too.

The book “History of the Church of the Brethren in Indiana” written in 1917 by Otto Winger tells us that:

In 1879 John R. Miller was called to the ministry at Union Center and was a cousin of Elder Alex. Miller, both of them being grandchildren of Elder John Miller, one of the first preachers of Elkhart County.

John Miller, the preacher, was called to the ministry in the Wolf Creek church in Montgomery County, Ohio. In 1835 he located on Elkhart Prairie, southeast of Goshen. He was an active colaborer of Elder Daniel Cripe, and did his share of the evangelistic work in those early days. He finally located in the Yellow Creek church, seven miles southwest of Goshen, where he died in 1856.

John Miller, the preacher, was the son of Daniel Miller and Elizabeth Ulrich. He married his first cousin, Ester Miller. John Miller, the preacher, was the Uncle of our John David Miller, being his father’s brother. John David Miller was likely named for his uncle John and his father David. John David’s father, David, died in 1851, John David’s wife died in 1855 and his uncle, John, died in 1856. In 1854, John David buried his daughter, Hester’s first child. Between deaths and the lawsuit, John David had a very rough few years.

The Lay of the Land

Cousin Keith did a significant amount of work on the Whitehead family and locating their land during his 2015 visit. He provided this map showing the approximate locations of the various homesteads.

Margaret Lentz Keith map

You’ll notice that Adam Whitehead and Susan Miller’s land was very close to that of John David Miller, shown on the composite map below. I can only imagine how awkward that became after the lawsuit.

Margaret Lentz Jackson Twp map

On this map, Valentine Whitehead’s land is the arrow at the bottom.  John David’s father’s land and the Baintertown Cemetery is the top arrow.  The arrow below that at 142 and 21 is John David’s home and the arrow below that on 46 is the Whitehead Church

On this 1874 plat map, you can see the exact location of John David’s land and his brother, David Baker Miller’s, as well. The Adam Whitehead land is the J. M. Whitehead land in 1874.  John M. Whitehead was the son of Adam Whitehead and Susan Miller.

Margaret Lentz 1874 Jackson Twp map

The colored legend on the 1874 map is:

  • Orange – David Miller’s lands (except his homeplace not shown on this map)
  • Green – David’s land sold to family members
  • Green dash – John David Miller and David B. Miller, David’s son’s lands

Messages in the Census

By 1850, we find the following families, in the census, in order:

  • Solomon Conrad
  • David B. Miller
  • Jacob Stutzman
  • Michael Haney
  • John D. Miller
  • Susannah Shively

Two of John David’s children/step-children would marry neighbors.

Jonas Shively is age 25, a carpenter and living with his widowed mother, right next to John David Miller. In 1851, Hester Miller married Jonas Shively, the boy next door. In 1860, John David’s second wife’s daughter, Lucinda Whitehead would marry Joseph Haney, son of Michael Haney. The Brethren generally did not marry outside their faith. If they did, one person or the other converted. There were no religiously “mixed” families at that time.

JDM 1850 census

The 1850 census shows us that two of the 4 children shown in 1840 have died. They are assuredly buried in the Miller, now Baintertown or Rodibaugh Cemetery, but their tiny graves are unmarked.

jdm 1860 census

The 1860 census goes hand in hand with the 1874 plat map and shows the following families, John’s neighbors, in order:

  • Michael Haney
  • Conrad Broombaugh
  • Solomon Conrad
  • John Banta
  • George Hanna?
  • David Rodibaugh
  • Daniel Shively
  • John D. Miller (with wife Margaret Lentz Whitehead)
  • David B. Miller
  • Adam Whitehead (with wife Susanna Miller) listed just below David B. Miller in the census schedule above

John David would bury his own child in 1861, likely in the Baintertown Cemetery in an unmarked grave, probably near his father and the 3 children he buried between 1832 and 1855.  If he and Margaret named this child, that information has not filtered down to us today.

John David’s daughter, Mary Ann Treesh’s daughter Chloe also was born and died in 1861, and is also likely buried at Baintertown.  Those babies are likely buried side by side near David Miller.

By the 1870 census, John David and Margaret were done having children. Their last child was born a few months before Margaret turned 40, in 1862, when John David was 49 years old. John David was a grandfather, several times over, before his last child was born. The span of years between his oldest child born in 1833 and youngest born in 1862 was 29 years. I can’t even imagine having young children in a household for more than 30 years straight – literally John David’s entire adult life.

Margaret Lentz 1870 census

As we look at the various census records, we see John David’s family shrink as they reach adulthood, marry and “set up housekeeping” on their own.

Margaret Lentz 1880 census

Ira was the last child to marry, in 1885.

By 1900, John David Miller and Margaret are living alone. It must have been quiet in that house, for the first time ever. Maybe too quiet, although I’m sure there were grandchildren in and out regularly, probably slamming screen doors.

Margaret Lentz 1900 census

This picture of John David and Margaret was probably taken between 1890 and 1900. John David looks to be in his 70s or 80s.

Margaret Lentz outside home2

John David Passes Over

I always view elderly ancestors as something of a miracle or akin to winning the lottery given that they lived in an age before modern medicine and in particular, before antibiotics. Living past childhood put you in the lucky half, and living to be elderly by any measure made you unique.

Unlike his father, John David did have a will, but he didn’t write his will until 1897, when he was 85 years old. Perhaps John was an optimist as well. People in earlier times didn’t write a will until they felt like they might need one, which is why so many people died intestate. They didn’t expect death to visit when it did.

John David Miller died on February 10, 1902.

John David Miller’s death certificate says that he was born in Pennsylvania in 1812, that he died in Jackson Twp, age 89, married, of senile gangrene, was buried in Baintertown and the funeral director was C.B. Stiver.

The informant was Perry Miller, John’s youngest child who was born in 1862, more than a decade after his grandfather, David, had died. Still, one would think he would have remembered his grandfather’s name, but he didn’t. Additionally, John David was born in Ohio, not Pennsylvania. Death certificates are often notoriously incorrect about anything to do with past history. People providing the information are very clearly stressed, if they ever knew the correct information.

JDM death cert

The Baintertown Cemetery is also known as the Rodibaugh Cemetery. David, his first wife Mary and second wife Margaret are buried on the North side of Co Rd 29 right off St Rd 15 in the community known as Baintertown. From 15, turn east at Co Rd 29, cross the RR tracks, then look on the left where the cemetery is obvious. The marker is at the end of the little cemetery road on the right.

JDM Baintertown map

On the map above from the Elkhart County Cemetery book, I have drawn the location of John David’s grave, near the north end of the cemetery, his father David’s grave to the right and his brother David B. Miller’s grave for reference. The Baintertown Cemetery is full of Millers and is located on the original David Miller land. Ironic that Perry couldn’t remember David’s name, but his parents are buried on David’s original land and within sight of David’s own marker.

JDM headstone

John David’s headstone cost $100

JDM headstone receipt

Apparently John David wasn’t buried in his own clothes, as a receipt submitted to the estate by the undertakers lists a casket for $95, a vault for $15 and a robe for $7.

John David had three different obituaries – a genealogists dream come true.

His first obituary appeared on February 10, 1902, a Monday, the day that he died, and reads as follows:

Aged Pioneer Dead

John B. Miller, Nearly 90 Years, Succumbed Today

John B. Miller, one of the oldest citizens of Jackson township who would have been 90 years old April 6th next, died at 2 o-clock this afternoon at his home 2.5 miles northwest of New Paris of senile gangrene, having been ill the past six months. For about seventy years he had resided on the farm where he died having entered the homestead originally from the government. He has since been one of the stalwart and highly esteemed citizens of his community. For many years he has been a prominent and influential member of the German Baptist church. He is survived by his aged wife and ten children. The children are; Aaron, David B of this county; Mrs. John Dubbs of Warsaw, Mrs Michael Tresch of Syracuse, Mrs. David B. Blough, east of Milford, D.W. Miller and Mrs. Jonas Shively of Goshen, Ira J. Miller, east of New Paris, Harry A Miller west of Waterford, and Mrs. Hiram Ferverda east of Leesburg. The funeral arrangements are not yet made.

A second obituary in the Goshen Democrat reads:

John B. Miller aged nearly 90 and one of the oldest residents of Jackson Twp. died yesterday afternoon at his home 2.5 miles NW of New Paris. He was a member of the German Baptist church and is survived by 10 children including DW Miller and Mrs. Jonas Shively of Goshen. The funeral will take place at his house Wednesday morning at 10 and interment at Baintertown Cemetery.

The third obituary is from the Brethren publication, Gospel Messenger:

Miller, Bro John D. died Feb. 10, 1902, in the Union Center congregation, Ind., aged 89 years, 10 months and 4 days. He was born in Montgomery County, Ohio, April 6, 1812, married to Mary Baker in 1831, moved to Elkhart County, Ind., took up a government claim which he still occupied at his death. To this union were born 10 children, seven yet living. His wife died May 11, 1855. He was married again to Margaret E. Whitehead March 29, 1857. There were born to this union four children, three of whom are yet living. He leaves a wife and ten children. He was a devoted brother nearly sixty-five years. Services by brethren M. E. Eisenhour and Henry Neff.

Senile gangrene is a form of gangrene occurring particularly in old people, and caused usually by insufficient blood supply due to degeneration of the walls of the smaller arteries. However, we know from a suit filed before John David’s death that he had dementia, by whatever medical diagnosis you call it, and it was apparently affecting his cognitive ability.

There are two things that strike me about these obituaries. First, the Brethren obituary says that he was a “devoted brother nearly 65 years,” putting the date at 1837 or so. However, we know that John David was raised Brethren, so I find this comment a bit strange. Perhaps they were referencing the “official” formation of the church in Elkhart County which occurred in 1838.

Secondly, John David’s funeral was at home, not at the church. However, looking at the map, it does seem futile to take him 7 or 8 miles south, only to bring him back past his house and another 2 or 3 miles northeast to the Baintertown cemetery – so this makes a lot of practical sense. However, in light of the rift in the family, with at least one of his siblings and the battle brewing between his own children, that funeral must have been “interesting” to say the least.  I wonder if everyone attended.

Again, never in his wildest dreams…

The Battle Begins

The battle over John David’s property began before he died.

John David Miller wrote his will in 1897, but in 1901, before his death, his son David B. Miller (by first wife Mary Baker) filed an injunction in court asking for a guardian to be provided for his father who, in his words, “had a substantial estate and could no longer manage his affairs.” I can only imagine what a ruckus this must have caused within the family. There had to be some event or situation arise to cause this level of concern. Given the suit after John David’s death, I suspect that the concern might have been a result of how close John David had become to his wife, Margaret’s great nephew, Edward E. Whitehead, the grandson of her first husband’s brother, Peter Whitehead. However, before the case was heard, John David Miller died.

His will was written as follows:

I, John D. Miller of Elkhart County Indiana, do make and publish this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills by me at any time made.

Item 1 – I give and devise unto my wife the farm of 160 acres in Elkhart county on which we now live, together with all the personal property thereon, to her during her life, to use as maybe necessary for her support and comfortable maintenance and also all money I may have on hand at the time of my death except so much as maybe necessary for the payment of the expenses of my last sickness and burial.

Item 2 – After my wife’s death all of the property then remaining shall be sold and after payment of debts and expenses of the administration of the estate, the proceeds shall be divided into three equal parts. Out of one third part there shall be paid to my wife’s nephew Edward Whitehead $300 and the remainder thereof shall be divided equally between the three children of myself and my said wife, viz: Ira Miller, Louisa Fervedy and Perry Miller. The remaining 2/3 portion shall be divided into 10 parts of which one part shall be paid to each of my ten children, viz: Esther Shively, David Miller, Mary Ann Tresh, Aaron Miller, Jane Blough, Matilda Dubs, Washington Miller, Ira Miller, Louisa Fervedy and Perry Miller, or if either of these is dead the share of such ones shall be paid to his or her heirs at law.

Item 3 – I hereby nominate and appoint Alonzo Rodabaugh executor of this my will.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 29th day of April 1897.   Signed John D. Miller

Signed by John D. Miller as his last will and testament in our presence and signed by us in his presence and in the presence of each other. Margaret Ellen Gowing, Wilbur L Stonex. (recorded in will book page 67).

However, things don’t always work out as intended. By law, Margaret had the right to one third of his estate as her dower. She elected to take her one third as indicated by the following widow’s election.

Widow’s election recorded on page 111.

The undersigned widow of John D. Miller decd late of Elkhart County Indiana who died testate and whose last will and testament has been duly admitted to probate and record in the Elkhart Circuit Court hereby make election as such widow to hold and retain her right of dower in the personal estate of said decedent and to hold and retain her right to one third of the lands of which her husband died testate notwithstanding the terms of the said will, and she refuses to accept any devise or provision whatever made by said will in her favor, for, or in lieu of her said statutory right as widow in and to the personal property and real estate of said decedent.

Margaret (x her mark) E. Miller

Signed May 12, 1902

John David’s estate was controversial, to say the least, and eventually the bank was appointed the estate’s administrator, although Perry, John David’s youngest son, submitted paperwork for administration initially. Perry, however, was having issues of his own at home. His daughter Maud was suffering from tuberculosis which would claim her life the following year within days of his mother, Margaret’s death.

Perry, along with Margaret’s nephew, Edward E. Whitehead had done a great deal in the years before John’s death to help the elderly couple and had never been reimbursed for their efforts or expenses. They submitted receipts to the estate and those charges were disputed by the older set of children by Mary Baker. There was obviously a great deal of resentment between the two sets of children, if not before, from this point forward.

Finally, in the end, Washington Miller refused to contribute $10 of his portion of the estate for his father’s tombstone. Edward Whitehead, the nephew, paid Washington Miller’s share. That is surely the last, final insult one could inflict on a parent and an ugly legacy to leave behind. Edward Whitehead obviously cared a great deal for John David Miller.

JDM george refusal

The inventory for John David’s estate is as follows, and the widow took everything except the wheat, rye and corn against her 1/3 dower.  She needed household items to live.

Number Items Appraised Value
1 Jewell oak heating stove 4.00
1 Eight day clock .25
1 Sewing machine .05
4 Rocking chairs 1.50
1 Bedstead and spring 1.25
1 Old rag carpet 25 yards .50
1 Bureau 1.00
1 Stand .10
1 Bedstead .05
1 Bedspring and bedding 2.00
1 Rag carpet 15 yards .50
1 Ingrain carpet 15 yards .50
12 Winsor chairs 1.50
1 Dining table .25
1 Cupboard .50
1 Dough tray .25
1 Kitchen sinc .10
1 Hanging lamp .25
1 Pantry safe .50
1 Churn .05
1 Milch trough 1.25
15 Milch crocks .45
1 Lounge .05
1 110 lb lard 11.00
1 Cooking stove and furniture .50
1 Cross cut saw and brush cythe .05
1 Bucksaw .10
1 Log chain .05
1 Horse 3.00
1 Cow 30.00
1 Ladder and maul 1.25
1 Wheelbarrow and ax .75
1 Spring seat .25
30 Chickens 7.50
30 Acres growing wheat land lord ½ 150.00
32 Acres rye landlords 2/5 40.00
66 Bushels corn 38.34
1 Small looking glass .05
A few Old dishes, spoons, knives and forks 1.00
20 Bushels corn in crib 9.00
Total 309.69

Controversial estates are boons for the genealogist because so much is recorded.

For example, there is a statement in the estate packet that Aaron Miller owed the estate for several items that he “took” or “got” in 1896 and 1898, including a Hoosier Bell Corn Plow that was new in 1895 and he took in 1896, a set of double harnesses and a Champion self rake machine that he took in 1898. This suggests that John David was no longer farming for himself at this time. He would have been 84 in 1896. What is remarkable is that this also suggests he did farm until that time, because he reportedly bought the plow new in 1895.

However, Aaron’s story differed and he filed a petition that stated that the rake machine was very old, given to him by his father to cut 10 acres of clover on his place, has never been used since and is of no value.

Aaron continues to say that the harnesses he bought of his father and paid in full and that the corn plow was old, out of date, and not being in manufacture, cannot be repaired. He bought if of his father for $5. That differs quite a bit from the claim that the plow was new in 1895 and Aaron took it in 1896.

John David signed a receipt in 1899 stating that Edward Whitehead had provided services to John David and his wife that were of a value of $1000. That is a significant amount at that time.

JDM Whitehead receipt

Edward Whitehead filed this receipt signed by John David Miller in 1899 against his estate. I’m sure that was the intention when John signed the document given that his entire household inventory didn’t come to half that amount and he only had $30 “cash on hand” at his death. John David’s son, Ira, signed the receipt.

JDM Whitehead official doc

The executor would not honor this receipt based upon the complaints of Mary Baker’s children. Ira, Perry and Evaline, John David’s 3 youngest children, and his widow all signed a document stating that this receipt was itself valid and for valid work – even knowing that would reduce their share of the estate. Witnesses were subpoenaed and expenses incurred against the estate in order for the court to hear the testimony and determine that indeed, this was a valid charge against the estate. Unfortunately, we don’t have that testimony today, but I would love to have been a mouse in that courtroom.  I’m surprised this story didn’t filter down to my mother’s generation.  John David was her great-grandfather and mother knew Evaline, her grandmother, quite well.

In addition to the $1000 note, Edward Whitehead also submitted a list of expenses he incurred providing services beginning August 21, 1901 and continuing through April 5th 1902.

JDM Whitehead list

From this list and other receipts, we garner quite a bit of interesting information about John David’s life.

Their rooms were painted and wallpapered and they had screens in their windows. They had window shades, a pump inside and a water tank. Now that indeed WAS a luxury. I remember my grandmother, John David’s granddaughter, having the same arrangement some 55 or 60 years later.

The biggest difference between 1902 and 1960 was that my grandmother had a brand spanking new inside bathroom, and electricity. No more outhouse like John David would have had and no more sponge baths. Those outhouses were miserably cold in the winter and just as miserably hot and STINKY in the summer.

A very surprising entry was the gin and alcohol. Apparently, John David drank at least some, or perhaps this was considered medicinal. If it made him feel better, it was medicinal. There was little else they could do for him.

John David may not have had a buggy anymore, although there was one horse listed in his estate, but he had a buggy shed.

He also had a hair mattress, which would have been horsehair, considered a luxury and certainly a step up from a straw mattress. I wonder if this was purchased to attempt to make him more comfortable in his final days.

We know John David was ill for several months before his death, because the last entry is for care and nursing for just over 5 months before he died. His obituary also mentions that he had been ill for about 6 months. The last six months of his life were probably pretty miserable.

This receipt is for an additional $1104 against the estate.

At his death, according to estate paperwork, John David owned the north half of the SE quarter of section 5 and the west half of the SW quarter of section 5, both in township 35 north, range 6 East containing a total of 160 acres.

JDM quadrant

On the 1874 plat map above, the north half of the SE quarter is the top box shaded green, which was John David’s original land. The west half of the SW quarter is the land labeled C. Peffly. Obviously John David purchased this land sometime between 1874 and 1902.

JDM sale of land

John David’s total estate was valued at $4969.88 with the sale of his real estate counting for $4483.34 of the total according to the final account provided to the court in March of 1903.

Perry Miller also submitted a list of expenses beginning in 1884 which would have been when his father was 72.

JDM Perry Miller list

From these various sources, we know that John David had hogs and chickens and obviously, blackberries which had to be picked. He raised corn, wheat, rye, hay, potatoes and clover and heated with coal, probably in addition to wood. A bill was also submitted by Joseph Peffley for pruning grapes and fruit trees.

Perry had to obtain a judgement to collect these funds as well, according to the final estate distribution where Perry’s bill is listed as “on judgement.” Apparently Aaron B. Miller also had to obtain a judgment for 30.49. This was obviously a very difficult estate to settle with a great deal of contention.

Seven of John David’s children hired a separate attorney, Warren Berkey, to collect their portion of the estate: George Washington Miller, David B. Miller, Aaron B. Miller, Jane Blough, Hester Shively, Mary Ann Treesh and Matilda Dubbs. Her nickname, Tilda was lined through. This looks like the battle lines were drawn – the children of the first marriage vs the children of the second marriage, his widow Margaret and Edward Whitehead.  What a sad situation.

A different attorney, Lou Vail worked on the estate as the executor for Elkhart County Loan and Trust and submitted his bill. It’s from this document that we discover there were indeed 2 trials. We already knew that Edward Whitehead had to sue to have his receipts honored in Elkhart County. The second trial was Joseph B. Haney vs Miller in Kosciusko County.

JDM lawyer bill

Interestingly enough, according to court documents, in 1890 or 1891 John David gave each of his children “the sum of $1000 and at that said time settled in full with each of his said heirs and treated the husbands of each of his daughters as such heirs.”

That’s a lot of money – $10,000 in total.  For that time, John David was a wealthy man, but you would never have guessed.  He clearly lived very simply is a very Brethren manner.

There were several distributions to John David’s heirs. I am struck by how much better off everyone would have been to get along. Instead, John David’s older children contested the will which drove up the settlement costs, caused Margaret to petition the court for her one third share instead of leaving it in the estate to be divided by all heirs later which decreased older children’s share.  Contesting the will also incurred attorney bills that were paid out of the estate before their share, along with their own attorney who was paid out of their share before they saw a penny.  All in all, it turned out to be a very bad idea, on multiple levels

Here’s an example of the estate distribution according to John David’s will versus what happened, presuming he had an estate valued at $10,000.

JDM hypothetical settlement

Of course, George Washington Miller received $10 more than the rest of the heirs because he declined to contribute $10 for his father’s headstone. The actual distribution to the heirs looked to be significantly more than this, although I’m not quite sure where all the money came from. The estate is a bit disjoint and many documents don’t have dates so it’s impossible to reconcile.

John David would have been mortified that his will was not honored and that his son refused to pay $10 towards his marker.  That, probably more than anything, would have been hurtful.

Never in his wildest dreams….

John David Miller’s Children

John David Miller had 7 living children from his first marriage and 3 from his second. He also had 3 additional children from his first marriage and one from his second that did not survive. I was given the names of 3 children that “died young” for John David Miller, with no additional information. Those three children were John N. Miller, Catherine Miller and Samuel Miller. There are gaps in the surviving children’s births along with children in the 1840 census not found later that are suggestive of deaths.

There were no children born between 1833 and 1838, which suggests at least two deaths. There is also a gap between 1847 and 1851, suggestive of another child. Lastly, there were no children born after 1851 when Mary would have been 39 years old. She died in 1855, so it’s certainly possible that she lost a child in 1853 and perhaps died in childbirth in 1855.

Unfortunately, unless a Bible survives, there are no records of children who died before a census could at least record a brief existence on earth. Before the 1850 census, no names were recorded except for the head of household. All we know about those children who died between 1840 and 1850 is that they lived and their approximate age.

None of the graves of the Miller children who died have markers – assuming they are buried in the Baintertown Cemetery, which is the only location that makes sense – given that it was on David’s father’s land and that is where all of the early Millers are buried – including John David and both wives.

Elizabeth Miller, the wife of John David’s father, David, is the earliest marked grave, dating from 1838.  That marker wasn’t placed until David’s father died in 1851.  Elizabeth and David’s Miller’s graves are back towards the west side, and have a lot of “space” around them, suggesting unmarked graves.  I suspect this is where John David’s children are buried.

David Miller grouping

Unfortunately, this is all we can do to remember them.  Anonymous children in forgotten graves.

rje camera january 2004 021

This photo is of John David Miller with his second wife, Margaret Lentz Whitehead Miller and 5 of his children.

john david miller family

Most of what we know about John David Miller comes from documents.  We have very little information about him as a person.

Cousin Rex told me a story about John David Miller. A man from Ohio came and challenged him to a fight. The man said that he heard that John David was the best fighter in the county, and John said he reckoned that he was. They went out in the field and went to it and finally, the man from Ohio conceded that indeed, John David was the best fighter. I told Rex that didn’t seem very Brethren-like, and he agreed, but said that John David didn’t take any gaff off of anyone, that he was very spunky.

John David Miller’s children with Mary Baker

Hester (Esther) Ann Miller was born May 26, 1833, reportedly in Ohio and died on February 27, 1917 in Elkhart County of stomach cancer. She is buried in the Oak Ridge Cemetery in Goshen. The 1850 census says she was born in Indiana, so this document may be incorrect.

JDm Hester Miller Shively death cert

Hester married Jonas Shively June 4th 1852 and had 8 children, 5 of them living in 1900:

  • Thomas E. Shively (1854-1854)
  • Amanda Shively (1858-1934) married Benjamin Berryman who died in 1880. She never remarried.
  • Reuben Shively (1860-1929) married Vicie Homan, wife’s name Lillie on death certificate
  • Alonzo Shively (1862-1933) married Daisy Wrightsman
  • Lydia Shively (1864-1865)
  • Joseph Shively (1866-1928) married Emma Larir
  • Mary Ellen Shively (1872-? ) married Alvin J. Stutzman
  • One child unaccounted for

David B. Miller was born August 18, 1838 in Elkhart County and died Sept. 25, 1922 of a chronic kidney inflammation and bronchitis. He is buried at Baintertown.

JDM David B Miller death cert

David B. Miller married Susan Smith on October 21, 1858. They had 9 children, 8 living in 1900, all born in Elkhart County.

  • Aaron Miller (1859-?) married Amanda Mason
  • John Melvin Miller (1861-1936) married Katherine Werner
  • Samson Miller (1864-1937) married Mary Werner
  • Mary Ann Miller (1867-1957) married William Sinning
  • Milton Miller (1868-1943) married Alice Yoder
  • Matilda Miller (1870-1926) married Ulysses Grant and Dora Carrier
  • Lydia Miller (1872-1953) married Orrin Whitehead
  • Amanda Miller (1874-1922 ) married David Saunders
  • One child unaccounted for

The following photo is of David B. Miller, son of John David Miller, with his family.

JDM David Miller family

Above – back row left to right – Milt Miller, Aaron Miller, Matilda Miller Grant, Samuel Miller, John Miller. Front row – Lydia Miller Whitehead, the mother Susan Smith Miller, Maude Miller, father David B. (probably Baker) Miller, Mary Ann Miller Sinning.

Mary Ann Miller born May 1, 1841 in Elkhart County and died on Sept 5, 1916, of double pneumonia.

JDM Mary Ann Treesh death cert

Mary Ann is buried at Baintertown.

JDM Treesh stone

Mary Ann married Michael Treesh on Dec. 23, 1858 and had 7 children, 4 living according to the 1900 census:

  • Aaron Treesh (1859-1928) married Ida Wyland
  • Chloe Ann Treesh (1861-1861)
  • Amanda (1865-1952) married Milton Stiver, then in 1917 to Melvin. D. Neff
  • Reuben (1868-1897) married Winnie Traster
  • John Milton (1875-1940) wife was Chloe at his death
  • Levi I. (1882-after 1900)
  • Michael Guy Treesh (1886-1886)

Aaron B. Miller was born in March 1, 1843 and died on February 20, 1923 in Cook County, Illinois. He is buried in the Baintertown Cemetery.

JDM Aaron stone

He married Sarah Ellen Myers on September 4, 1864 and had 5 children, all living according to the 1900 census:

  • Charles I. Miller (1866-1947)
  • Clara E. Miller (1869-after 1880)
  • Ida Miller (1871-1906)
  • Alonzo A. Miller (1875-1903) unmarried
  • Emry (Emery J.) Miller (1878- ) married in 1907 in Kalamazoo, MI to Louise Lathrop

Matilda A., also known as Tilda and Tillie Miller was born in May 26, 1844 in Elkhart County and died on February 6, 1939 in Kosciusko, County of a stroke.

JDM Matilda Miller Dubbs death cert

Matilda is buried in the Salem Cemetery.

JDM Dubbs stone

Matilda married John Dubbs on February 14, 1861 in Elkhart County.

JDm Matilda Dubbs

Matilda had the following children:

  • William Benson Dubbs (1862-1944 ) married Sarah “Dessie” Lentz, sister of Moses Lentz.
  • Margaret Amana “Emma” Dubbs (1864-1947) married Moses F. Lentz
  • Chloe Dubbs (1866-1942) married Jacob B. Neff
  • Mary Dubbs (1870-1929) married William Oldfield Scott
  • Franklin Dubbs (1873-1931) married Leora Myra Messnard
  • Charles Augustus Dubbs (1876-1939) married Maude V. Beegle

Martha Jane Miller was born March 26, 1847 in Elkhart County and died March 2, 1935 in Kosciusko County of myocarditis with heart failure and bronchitis.

JDM Martha Jane Blough death cert

Martha Jane is buried in the Salem Cemetery in Kosciusko County.

She married David Blough September 17, 1866 and had 7 children, all living according to the 1900 census:

  • Noma “Neoma” Ellen Blough (1867-1954) married William Melvin Tom
  • Charley Blough (1869-after 1900)
  • Hattie D. Blough (1872-1954) married Chester Juntz
  • Jesse Calvin Blough (1874-1936) married Lena Gibson
  • Albert “Birt” Blough (1877-1905) married Ora ?
  • Lulu Blough (1879-1966) married Milo Maloy
  • Mary “May” M. Blough (1886-1969) married Homer Lewis but had the surname Jontz on her death certificate

JDM Martha Jane Blough

Martha Jane Miller Blough with her hand on John David’s shoulder.

George Washington Miller was born Feb. 20, 1851 and died on March 11, 1917, both in Elkhart County. He is buried in the Oak Ridge Cemetery in Goshen, Indiana, but I don’t find him listed in that cemetery, or anyplace in Elkhart County, on FindAGrave.

JDM George Washington Miller death cert

George Washington was not wearing a beard and my not have been Brethren.

JDM George Washington Miller

George Washington, who I believe was called “Wash,” married Lydia Miller on May 25, 1871 and they had 6 children, 5 living as of the 1900 census.

  • May Miller (1873-before 1900)
  • Eunice Miller (1874-1944) never married
  • Ada (1876-before 1900)
  • Gertrude (1880-1965) married Howard W. Neff
  • Myrtle (1884-1958) never married
  • One additional child died before 1900.

John David Miller’s Children with Margaret Lentz

Evaline Louise Miller was born March 29, 1857 in Elkhart County and died on December 20, 1939 in Leesburg, Kosciusko County of a kidney infection followed by heart failure.

Margaret Lentz Evaline Miller Ferverda death

Evaline is buried in the New Salem Cemetery in Milford, Kosciusko County, Indiana.

Hiram and Eva Ferverda stone

Evaline, or Evy as she was called, married Hiram B. Ferverda on March 10, 1876 in Goshen, Indiana and had the following children.

  • Ira Otto Ferverda (1877-1950) married Ada Pearl Frederickson
  • Edith Estella Ferverda (1879-1955) married Tom Dye
  • Irvin Guy Ferverda (1881-1933) married Jessie Hartman
  • John Whitney Ferverda (1882-1962) married Edith Barbara Lore
  • Elizabeth Gertrude Ferverda (1884-1966) married Louis Hartman
  • Chloe Evaline Ferverda (1886-1984) married Rolland V. Robinson
  • Ray Edward Ferverda (1891-1975) married Grace P. Driver
  • Roscoe H. Ferverda (1893-1978) married Effie Ringo and Ruby Mae Teeter.
  • George Miller Ferverda (1895-1970) married Lois Glant and Elizabeth Haas.
  • Donald D. Ferverda (1899-1937) married Agnes Ruple
  • Margaret Ferverda (1902-1984) married Chester H. Glant

Grandma Evaline Miller Ferverda

This photo was taken during WWI when Evaline had three sons serving in the military based on the three stars in the window. This was decidedly un-Brethren behavior, although Evaline was indeed Brethren. Mother remembered her wearing her white prayer bonnet.

Ira J. Miller was born July 26, 1859 in Elkhart County and died December 17, 1948 of heart disease. He is buried in the Baintertown Cemetery. Ira married Rebecca Jane Rodibaugh in 1885 according to the 1900 census and had 2 children, both living as of the 1900 census:

  • Orba O. Miller (1873-after 1900) age given as 16 in 1900 census
  • Everett E. Miller (1897-1991 ) married Mamie Smoker

Everett’s son, Rex, conveyed the story that Perry Miller died of an appendicitis at age 18. Perry did not die at 18, but given that Orba Miller disappears after the 1900 census, I’d bet Orba is the person who died at 18. Orba would have been Perry’s nephew and Rex’s father’s brother.

Rex tells us that Orba and Ira attended the Baintertown school, a one room schoolhouse, eventually abandoned and located on Rex’s land.  He fixed it up as a barn and still continued to utilize the building.

Margaret Lentz Ira Miller

Ira Miller and Rebecca Rodibaugh.

Perry A. Miller was born June 25, 1862 in Elkhart County, Indiana and died Dec. 22, 1906 of a twisted bowel that resulted in a bowel obstruction. This could well have been the genesis of Rex’s information that he died of appendicitis. Perry is buried in the Violett Cemetery.

Margaret Lentz Perry Miller stone

Perry was married to Mary Jane Lauer on October 2, 1881 and had 4 children, 3 living as of the 1900 census:

  • Maud Miller (1882-1905)
  • Purl A. Miller (1885-1960) married Adeline B. Schrock
  • Ottie Miller (1889-after 1900)
  • One child unaccounted for

Counting the Uncounted

The 1900 census provides us with two very useful pieces of information. Column 11 is titled “Mother of how many children” and column 12 is titled “Number of these children living.” I must say that census day was probably a sad day for most women, being reminded of the children who has passed before them. And yes, most women who had been married had lost children.  Those few who hadn’t had siblings and friends who lost children.  Losing up to half your children was the norm, not the exception.

For genealogists, this allows us to do two things.

First, on a personal level, it allows us to identify how many children our ancestors had that died. Often, they weren’t recorded and are entirely unknown to us today, even just 116 years distant.

Second, on a more global level, it allows us to get a picture of what was “typical” before the widespread advent of birth control and before the introduction of antibiotics, both of which have dramatically tipped the scales toward smaller families with most children surviving. What was common and expected at that time, to some extent, is now very unusual and a crisis when a child is lost.

John David’s children’s 1900 census entries are reflected below, allowing us to count the previously uncountable.

Name Total Children Living Children Deceased Children
Hester 8 5 3
David 9 8 1
Mary Ann 7 4 3
Aaron 5 5 0
Matilda* 9? 6 3?
Mary Jane 7 7 0
George W. 6 5 1
Evaline 11 11 0
Ira 2 2 0
Perry 4 3 1
Total 68 56 12

Some children passed not long after the 1900 census. At least two more died within the next 5 years.

*The 1900 census for Matilda was incorrect, as it lists only one child for her. She had one child left at home, but we know from census and other documents that she, did, indeed have six living children. Her deceased child count is based on “gaps” between children of approximately 4 years.

Very few of the graves of the deceased children are marked, probably speaking more to the economic conditions than to how the parents felt. They may have been marked with wooden crosses at the time they were buried. The general feeling was that, other than the parents, no one would need to find the grave.  The parents would never forget the location and didn’t need a marker to find the stone. After the parents were gone, no one would care, so no marker needed.

John David lost 4 of 14 children himself. Of his 10 surviving children, above, he had a total of 68 grandchildren, 56 of which were still living in 1900, as was he.

Conversely, this also means that John David buried 12 grandchildren, plus his own 4. His daughter, Hester (also recorded as Esther) married in 1852, so John David buried 12 grandchildren in 48 years, plus 4 children of his own. That’s approximately one death every 4 years, although death wasn’t always spaced out in convenient increments – as if death is ever convenient. For example, one of his children, Perry, lost a child and his mother, Margaret, within a month of each other and two of John David’s children lost children the same year they lost him. Death, then, was a more accepted part of life than it is today. I wonder if the sheer quantity made one a bit immune.

If these rough numbers are applicable to John David’s siblings as well, then John David was attending at least 2 funerals a year, if not more, for children…and that’s in addition to adults – and just for his immediate family without factoring in the rest of the church.

Going to the graveyard was a somber event far too familiar to our ancestors. When you look at the magnitude of the deaths within a community, even a relatively small community, it’s no wonder only adult burials were permanently marked, and only some of those. A child’s tombstone before 1900 was very, very rare.     

John David Miller’s Autosomal DNA

In the article about Margaret Lentz Whitehead Miller, we utilized two Lentz men for autosomal DNA comparison to find snippets of Margaret’s DNA in her descendants. Let’s do the same thing with John David Miller, utilizing individuals who descend only from the Miller line upstream of John David. Any DNA they share with descendants of John David Miller and Margaret Lentz must be Miller DNA and not Lentz DNA.

I did an experiment called “Just One Cousin” some time back to illustrate the magnitude of genetic genealogy information that one can indeed obtain from having “just one cousin” in the data base. However, in my case, that one cousin was actually two, Cheryl and her brother, Don, both descendants of John David Miller and Margaret Lentz Miller through daughter Evaline who married Hiram Ferverda.

In “Just One Cousin,” I was trying to find all of the people who match Cheryl, Don and my mother, so that could potentially include some folks who are also descended from Lentz ancestors. What we’ll do in this article is to limit the people we’re comparing against to those who are known to be Miller only descendants, who share a common paternal ancestor with John David Miller.

We will use the same 4 descendants of John David Miller and Margaret Lentz for our comparison group of descendants from our family line.

How is Everyone Related?

Rex Miller, our cousin, matches 4 other Miller men utilizing Y DNA who have also taken the Family Finder test. This Y DNA match confirms that indeed, these individuals do share a common Miller ancestor. These men also have their genealogy proven back to Michael Miller, the immigrant, so they are excellent candidates for autosomal comparison.

JDM DNA pedigree

The men in green will be compared to all 4 individuals in the bottom row of the pink box, descended from John David Miller, to determine which of their DNA came from John David Miller as opposed to Margaret Lentz. The common ancestor is Philip Jacob Miller and wife, Magdalena.

The two men in red, JM and RM can’t be utilized in this comparison, even though their Y DNA matches Rex.

Unfortunately, JM and RM don’t match any of the individuals in the pink box, so son Lodowich’s line is not represented.

Here is how the green and red Miller men are related to the testers in the pink box descended from John David Miller.

JDM relationship chart

The relationships are somewhat distant, more distant than the third cousin Lentz relationships in Margaret Lentz’s article, so not all of the Miller men match the individuals in the pink box.

Given that 4th cousins aren’t “supposed” to match, although they often do, why do both of these 4th cousins match almost everyone in the pink group? Note the yellow boxes in the pedigree chart above where one man in each line married a Miller cousin. That gives that generation a double dose of Miller DNA, which has obviously carried down to the present, giving RWM and HM more Miller DNA than they would have otherwise. Still everyone doesn’t match everyone.

RWM matches Cheryl, but not Don, who are siblings, which illustrates why it’s so important to test your siblings if your parents aren’t available.

At Family Tree DNA, I compared all 4 of our pink individuals to both RWM and HM. The chromosome browser below shows the matches of our 4 John David descendants to HM.

JDM chromosome browser

  • Rex = orange
  • Barbara = blue
  • Don = green
  • Cheryl = pink

I downloaded their matching segment data and after removing the segments under 3cM, we’re left with the matches, below.

JDM match chart

Sorting in chromosome order shows us 4 red/pink (so you can tell where they start and stop) match groups, above. Keep in mind that all of these segments are indeed Miller segments (or identical by chance), because we know the common ancestor and that there are no other known common ancestors.  Please note the word “known,” because it’s important.

The 4 groups colored red and pink are match groups where 3 individuals or more match on the same segment.  These are not (yet) triangulation groups and we can’t assume, although it’s tempting.  Assume will get you every time!

Some, chromosomes 4 (red) and 12, match on smaller segments, but look at the yellow rows. Those are very robust segments that very likely have been passed down from Philip Jacob Miller and Magdalena, our common ancestors.

I went back to the chromosome browser and confirmed that yes, indeed, these red segment match groups do triangulate, meaning all of the matching participants match each other on that same segment…except for the segment on chromosome 3 where RWM matches Rex.  Rats!  I never expected a match of this size to NOT triangulate, but I knew something was wrong when RWM only matched Rex and not Cheryl, Don or Barbara.  Hmmm….

JDM triangulation

The segments that do triangulate are marked with green, meaning all people in the group matches every other person in the group on at least part of that segment, so we are unquestionably looking at John David Miller’s DNA in our pink group of Miller descendants – Don, Cheryl, Rex and Barbara.

JDM chr 3

On chromosome 3, three of four of John David’s descendants match each other and HM on a significant sized segment. The graphic above is the relevant segment of chromosome 3.  The background is Barbara and you can see that she matches Don (orange), Cheryl (green) and HM (blue) but even at 1cM, there is no trace of matching to either Rex (yellow) or RWM (pink).  Don and Cheryl’s chromosome 3 matches Barbara and HM, but not RWM or Rex, so the Rex and RWM segment does not triangulate to the rest of the group.  The chart below shows matching on this segment of chromosome 3.

JDM chr 3 triang grid

How is it possible for Rex and RWM to match each other on the same segment as Barbara, Don, Cheryl and HM match each other, but for Rex and RWM not to match either Barbara, Don, Cheryl or HM?  I also verified that HM and RM don’t match each other on that segment either.

There are only two possible answers.  Either that segment is IBC, identical by chance which is very unlikely for a segment of 16cM, or Rex and RWM share another, previously unknown, common ancestor.  I don’t have much information on Rex’s mother’s line.  This also calls into question other matches between only Rex and RWM – meaning they might not be from the Miller line either.

Hmmm….so glad I didn’t just assume, even WITH those large juicy segments.  Sometimes the DNA tells us a story even without the associated genealogy – in this case, that Rex and RWM may have another common ancestor they are unaware of.

It’s amazing what cousins, match groups and triangulation can tell us about our ancestors!

Pretty cool, huh!


It’s absolutely amazing to me as I sit here using a computer in 2016, surfing the web, accessing DNA information on a server in Houston, TX, records information from a server in Salt Lake, periodically checking to see what my friends and cousins are up to on Facebook which is located someplace distant (I have no idea where) and checking my phone for messages, how dramatically different my world and John David Miller’s world are, in just a little over a hundred years. John David didn’t even have electricity.

We’re not talking “change” but an exponential technological revolution that John David couldn’t have ever imagined.

John David died in 1902, I was born a little over half a century later when most farms still didn’t have inside running water and utilized outhouses. I remember taking a bath as a young child in a cold metal tub sitting on my grandmother’s kitchen table on Saturday night with water warmed in a kettle on the stove so I would be clean for church on Sunday, and I remember the water pump built into the back porch.

I also remember a wasps building a nest under the “seat” (boards with strategically placed hole) in the outhouse – a story that repeatedly and regularly amused my brother until his dying day. I still hate wasps and swear that they chase me.

Another half century later, exactly on the 100th anniversary of John David’s death, we would be testing DNA of people to discover what story our ancestors had to tell. That’s clearly within the lifetime of one person – my mother, Barbara in the pink descendant group, participated in both ends of the spectrum, being born only 20 years after John David died in a home a few miles distant with no electricity or plumbing, and having, thankfully, tested her DNA before her passing.

It’s difficult to grasp, and John David Miller would be incredibly shocked that we can isolate some of his DNA today. Of course, people didn’t even know about DNA then.  DNA wasn’t discovered until 1953 – and it would take another quarter century to discover anything much useful about DNA. However, by the year 2000, we knew how to sequence DNA and how to utilize it for genealogy, thanks to Bennett Greenspan, although it was clearly an emerging infant science.

Antibiotics hadn’t been introduced when John David lived, and died. That wouldn’t happen for another two decades and would be a life-changer for many. In fact, one of John David’s grandchildren died of tuberculosis, some of his children died of kidney infections, pneumonia and one died of sepsis. The medical profession knew enough to diagnose the ailments, at least part of the time, but couldn’t do anything about them most of the time.

In a century we have moved from expecting a roughly 50% child mortality rate, with children dying so often than their graves weren’t even marked to a genetic moonshot. John David’s children were lucky and only cumulatively experienced an 18% childhood mortality rate.  John’s own rate was 28%, 4 of 14 died. Today, it’s nearly zero.

Although genetic genealogy is not about medicine, the public awareness and acceptance of DNA testing fostered by genetic genealogy has rapidly helped move a generation of consumers from skepticism to acceptance – and with that will come, probably in this next generation and certainly the next 50 years – the ability to “cure” genetic diseases. John David’s children’s and grandchildren’s death certificates are ripe with potentially genetically connected causes of death; epilepsy, dementia, lots of cardiac and kidney issues, strokes and multiple instances of stomach cancer.

A new day has dawned and come bursting forth, not only in terms of losing fewer children and finding ancestors through distant electronic connections, but in terms of being on the leading edge of a technology that is the space race of our generation. DNA is the frontier inside of us – gifted to us by our ancestors.

Every person who has participated in genetic genealogy testing has been a pioneer on that frontier, much as John David Miller was a pioneer along Turkey Creek on what was known as the Elkhart Prairie. What a wonderful legacy to leave – a family of pioneers – different centuries, different frontiers. Wouldn’t John David Miller be surprised what four his non-Brethren great-grandchildren have done – Barbara, Cheryl, Rex and Don, those 4 individuals in the pink box – and what their DNA can tell us about him.

Never, in his wildest dreams….



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

Magdalena Miller, Probably Not Rochette (c1730-1800/1808), Grandmother to 97, 52 Ancestors #120

Magdalena, such a beautiful name. Biblical of course, but then her family was Brethren, so a Biblical name isn’t the least bit surprising.

It’s somehow a bit ironic that the only mention, anyplace of Magdalena’s name is in her husband’s estate records. And the name may be Magdalen, with no trailing a or e.  Spelling was far from standardized at that time.

Philip Jacob Miller died in early 1799 in Campbell County, KY. His estate was inventoried and probated, and sometime between 1800 and 1808 when the estate was settled, Magdalena became ill, was treated by a doctor and died.  Philip Jacob’s estate paid money at various undated times to Magdalena, then paid for her doctor bill; “pail cash to the amount of 3 pounds 3 shillings for necessaries during the illness of Magdalen Miller, widow of Jacob Miller, dec’d, which illness carried her off.”

The next entry shows her funeral expenses at 10 shillings. How did that equate in the money of the day?  Well, a small log chain in the estate was appraised at 10 shillings, so perhaps the only expense was the wooden box in which she was buried.  Vastly different from today.

Were it not for these notations, we would have no idea of Magdalena’s name. For more than 70 years, there was no record – and only with the death of her husband do we learn her name.  Had she died first, her name would forever be unknown to us.

The rest of what we know about Magdalena is by inference. For example, she had a daughter, also named Magdalena who is referenced in Philip Jacob’s estate settlement.  Magdalena, the daughter, shown by the family as having been born April 25, 1770, married Daniel Ullery and is unquestionably identified as the daughter of Philip Jacob Miller – but Magdalena’s birth is not recorded in Philip Jacob’s Bible.  She would have been born right about the time be obtained that Bible, so how could he forget the newest baby?  But, he did.  She’s not the only missing child in that Bible either.

Because some of the children are missing from the Bible record, and they appear to be the youngest 4 children, we have to make inferences about when Magdalena, the mother, was born. If her last child was born about 1774 or 1775, she would have been about age 45, so born about 1730, which makes sense.  Philip Jacob Miller was born no later than 1727, so they would have been about the same age.

We don’t know where Magdalena was born, or who her parents were. We don’t even know if she was born in the US or abroad.  What we do know is that she had to be in the same location as Philip Jacob Miller in order to meet and marry.  In roughly 1750, that would have been York County, PA living in the Brethren settlement there.

York County, Pennsylvania

The History of York Co, PA, written in 1907 tells us that the first Brethren congregation in York (now Adams) County was the Conewago Church which was established in 1738, “20 miles west from the town of York, on the Little Conewago,” which was in the vicinity of Hanover.

Surnames of the families who were among the early church members were Eldrick, Dierdorff, Bigler, Gripe (Cripe), Studsman (Stutzman) and others. Prominent members include Jacob Moyer James Henrick, preachers; Hans Adam Snyder, George Wine, Daniel Woods, Henry Geing, Joseph Moyer, Nicholas Hostetter, Christian Hostetter, Rudy Brown, Dobis Brother, Jacob Miller, Michael Koutz, Stephen Peter, Henry Tanner, Michael Tanner, John Moyer, Jacob Souder, Henry Hoff, John Swartz.  The wives of these persons named were also members of the church.  Unmarried members were Barbara Snyder John Geing, Maud Bowser, George Peter, Hester Wise, Christian Etter, John Peter Weaver, Barbara Bear, Elizabeth Boering, Grace Hymen.  Their first preacher was Daniel Leatherman, Sr, followed by Nicholas Martin, Jacob Moyer (Meyers), James Hendrich (Henry.)

In 1741, a new church was founded “on the Great Conewago, about 14 miles west from the new town of York.”  Founding members there include John Neagley, Adam Sower, Jacob Sweigard, Peter Neiper and Joseph Latshaw.  The first elder was George Adam Martin followed by Daniel Leatherman Jr. and Nicholas Martin.  In 1770 members included George Brown, John Heiner, Peter Fox, Anthony Dierdorff, Nicholas Moyer, Manasseh Brough, Michael Bosserman, David Ehrhard, Daniel Baker, Abraham Stauffer, Henry Dierdorff, John Burkholder, Andrew Trimmer, Eastace Rensel, Peter Dierdorff, Barnett Augenbaugh, John Neagley, Michael Brissel, Welty Brissel, Matthias Bouser, Laurence Baker, Philip Snell, Nicholas Baker Jr., Adam Sower, Adam Dick, Henry Brissel, David Brissel, Henry Radibush, George Wagner and George Reeson.  Unmarried members were Peter Wertz, Ann Mummert, Christian Fray, Samuel Arnold, Mary Latshaw, Catharine Studabaker, Nicholas Baker, Marillas Baker, Sarah Brissel, Jacob Miller, Rudolph Brown.

As you can see, these were not small churches and the population of Brethren in this region was fairly extensive. Of course, the 1770 membership list would have swollen since some families moved south to Frederick County, Maryland in 1751.  Nicholas Martin who was involved in the establishment of both York County frontier Brethren churches was the first preacher in Frederick County, MD on that new frontier as well, and it’s through his letter that we learn of the death of Michael Miller in 1771, Magdalena’s father-in-law.

Seldom did the entire family remove from an area – often leaving a married child or siblings behind who would establish the family in various areas – like seeds spread by the wind.  Some of these families did not remove and the surname is not found in the Maryland congregations.  Magdalena’s birth family may not have settled in Maryland.

Notably absent on the York County list is Michael Miller, who we know unquestionably lived there from 1744 to roughly 1751 or 1752 along with the entire Berchtol clan, who could well have been Mennonite. The Garber or Garver group is absent as well, and they were Brethren.  Michael Miller owned land with Nicholas Garber and Samuel Bechtol (Berchtol) near Hanover.  Also settled near Hanover was Stephen Ullery, a surname also missing from these lists. So while these are not complete, many of these names are also found among the Brethren in Frederick County, Maryland after 1750 – so it’s very likely that Magdalena’s family is found among this list.

Magdalena had to live in the same general area as Philip Jacob Miller. The Miller/Garber/Berchtol land was either the same as or near the York Road Cemetery and Bair’s Mennonite Church today.

York Co church

The church is set at the bottom of a hill. This photo overlooks the church, cemetery and hills in the distance and across the road, below, the newer portion of the cemetery on the hill.

York Co cem

We don’t know where, but Magdalena assuredly lived here someplace. This land would have been familiar to her.

Rochette, or Not?

There is a persistent rumor that Magdalena’s surname is Rochette, but for the life of me, I can’t find even one snippet of documentation relative to that surname – or any similar surname. Unfortunately, that has reproduced itself like a wild virus and nearly every tree in any public space shows Magdalena’s surname as Rochette – but to date we can find no evidence.  None.  Nada.

Merle Rummel, Brethren historian, says he had a note in his records and believes that he may have obtained the information when he was the minister in southern Ohio, around the year 2000, not far from where the Miller children inherited their land. It was their descendants who told him the surname was Rochette.  But where did they obtain that information?

Two other published sources have cross referenced other people, who both say they have no idea where the surname came from.

Gale Honeyman at the Brethren Heritage Center doesn’t know either. So, at this point, I think we’re going to have to chalk her surname up to a persistent rumor, for now.

I would still like to know if the information arose from older generations of the family, or if it took root from something otherwise published.  Rochette is such an unusual name – hardly seems likely to have pulled it out of a hat. If you have or find anything, please do let me know.

Here’s what I do know. There is not one single mention of the surname Rochette in Frederick County, Maryland, nor in the York Co., PA deeds from 1749 forward, nor in any Lancaster County, PA records that I could find, nor in any Brethren church records that I could find either, or in the county histories prior to 1850.

Furthermore, Rochette is very clearly a French name, not German, and it would be extremely unlikely for a French family to be found among the German pietist families of the Brethren (or Mennonite or Amish) church – not to mention that the German families by and large did not speak English and probably didn’t speak French either.

Had Philip Jacob married a non-Brethren, he would not have been welcome in the church at that time. The German pietist sects, meaning Brethren, Amish, Moravian and Mennonite, traded members back and forth, but their common link, aside from their pietist faith, was the German language which was spoken exclusively, not only in the church, but in their homes and communities.  Many of these families did not speak or understand English. As late as 1805, when later generations of these families were migrating to Ohio, they had to bring at least one man along who spoke both German and English to serve as their translator.

York County also had and has a pronounced Mennonite population as well. The Berchtol family was Mennonite. Clearly this did not cause a huge social rift if the Berchtel, Miller and Garber families owned land jointly.  If a Brethren male married a Mennonite woman, one or the other switched, because families were not “split” as they can be today.  The Mennonites and Brethren were far more alike than different.

So Magdalena was clearly of the Brethren faith too, at least after marriage, meaning her family was very likely found in the group of Brethren or even Mennonite families in York County, PA in the late 1740s, around 1750. The question remains, of course, which family?

A Brethren Bride

Based on the birth of their first child in 1752, or at least the first one in the Bible, it appears that Magdalena and Philip Jacob Miller were probably married in about 1751 – just about the time the Brethren moved from York Co., PA to Frederick County, MD.

What was life like during this time for a young Brethren bride? According to the “History of the Church of the Brethren in southern district of Pennsylvania” published in 1941:

Meetings were held in rotation over the district at private places — in barns or dwelling houses which were often built with an idea to throw two or more rooms together by large folding doors to accommodate a place for the meeting. A goodly number of brethren would come the evening before and a social time would be spent in Scriptural discussions and song and worship before retiring. Next morning breakfast was furnished by the host, assisted by guests, with the greatest delight to all present. The crowd began to swell to such a size that our attendance of today would be surprised.

The hospitality of the host was specially fine. Dinner was furnished, free to all, at meeting. Their horses were cared for during the night and all well fed at meal time. A number of hostlers were always engaged prior to meeting to help to care for horses. The greatest respect was shown to everyone present, members, as well as neighbors. Sometimes these rotations would come around every sixteen weeks; later ten to eight weeks, finally the church houses were built. The old brethren were afraid when churches were built “Something might be lost”.

These rotations of meeting places were scattered over a distance of 50 miles between Westminster, Carroll County, Maryland, and York, York County, Pennsylvania. Christian Royer, John Myers, and Samuel Miller in Manchester district,

The home of Christian Royer was built with moving partitions. Four rooms in one for meetings.

Another source said that church buildings weren’t actually built until about 1810, and even then it was with some reluctance.

Life was probably much the same, except more remote, in Frederick County. It’s likely that Magdalena, as a newlywed, left her family behind, whoever they were – unless they too were one of the families who migrated to Frederick County.  How I wish we knew.

New Life in Frederick County, Maryland

On October 26, 1751, Philip Jacob Miller obtained the land warrant from his father for Ash Swamp in Frederick County, Maryland.   It’s likely that he had just recently married and was “settling down.”  In October, Magdalena would have been 3 months pregnant, just enough to suspect strongly, before the days of pregnancy tests, so that would have been a good time to move, giving her time to set up housekeeping in the new location before the arrival of their first child.

This land had never been settled or cleared, so there was a lot of work to be done. Magdalena may have stayed back in York County while Philip Jacob felled trees and constructed at least a rudimentary home for his bride and soon-to-be family.

On March 7, 1752, Philip Jacob Miller’s father, Michael, sold the last of his land in York County, so the family is assuredly in Frederick County by this time.

This beautiful farm sits today on the land that Philip Jacob and Magdalena carved from the wilderness.

Miller farm sky 2

According to Philip Jacob Miller’s Bible, in April 1752, daughter Lizbeth is born at 3 o’clock at night.

On June 18, 1754, daughter Lidia was born. We don’t know what happened to Lidia, because she is never mentioned in the estate settlement, so the presumption would have to be that she died before her parents.

On April 8, 1755, son Daniel was born at 4 o’clock at night.

A month later, in May of 1755, Magdalena and Philip Jacob’s land was being resurveyed.

This was about the time history in Frederick County was unfolding. General Washington and Benjamin Franklin met with General Braddock in Frederick County, coaching him on military fighting styles in the colonies.  Red coated soldiers marching in a line appear as sitting ducks to Indians.  Braddock poo-pooed the warnings, and sure enough, on July 9th, general Braddock was not only defeated, but slain along with his men, opening the entire frontier to warfare from the French and Indians.  Braddock should have heeded sound advice.

Magdalena would have watched as the red-coated soldiers drilled and prepared for their death march westward. If she happened to visit her father-in-law, Michael Miller, she could have seen the encampment of the soldiers, likely within half a mile or so of his homestead on Antietam Creek.

Of course, Magdalena had a newborn baby, a 13 month old baby and a 3 year old, so she may not have gone visiting much. I suspect she had her hands full.

After Braddock’s defeat in the summer of 1755, the French and Indians began attacking the farms and settlements. The farmers in the region began to abandon their farms.  We don’t know where the Miller family went, but they assuredly went someplace for safety, because the Brethren religion staunchly opposed fighting, taking the life of another, even for protection, and the entire area was abandoned, so staying behind was not an option.  The only way to remain safe was to stay out of harm’s way.

Magdalena must have been terrified, not for her own safety, but that of her small children. I can only imagine belonging to a religion where you would choose to allow your children to be killed before defending them and taking the life of their aggressor and soon-to-become murdered.  But, that was a scenario played out over and over again on the Pennsylvania and Maryland frontier in Pietist families.

From 1755 to 1757, Alfred James writes, “Raid after raid from Fort Duquesne hit pioneer settlements along the Susquehanna and the Potomac.” It was unending and relentless. Another reports that “Frederick, Winchester and Carlisle became the new frontiers of the colony” and “Many even fled to Baltimore,” and “some to Virginia.” Arthur Quinn writes that families went as far east as Bethlehem “where there was no more room in the inns, or the shops or even the cellars.”  Nead writes, “Terror and desolation reigned everywhere.” Repogle 106

It didn’t end there, in October 1756, 20 people, including Jacob Miller and his wife and 6 children were scalped in Conococheague, the area where our Miller family lived. I don’t know if Jacob Miller was Brethren, or related to our family, but it certainly sounds like either he did not defend himself, or he was surprised and could not.  Whether he was our Miller family or not, rest assured, absolutely everyone knew what happened and it clearly struck widespread terror into the hearts of the settlers.  The Indians and French were both hopeful of driving the Europeans back from whence they came, but for slightly different reasons.

Son David was born December 1, 1757 at 3 o’clock at night.

We don’t know where David was born, because Frederick County was abandoned during both 1757 and 1758, so Magdalena gave birth to David elsewhere, wherever elsewhere was. The refugee family was growing.

Daughter Susannah was born March 2, 1759 at 7 o’clock in the morning.

The war officially ended in November 1758 and the attacks diminished, but didn’t end. It’s likely that daughter Susannah was born elsewhere too.  We know that Magdalena’s father-in-law, Michael Miller, was back in Frederick County by 1761, so it’s likely the entire family sought refuge together and returned together as well.

Daughter Christine was born December 4, 1761 at 10 o’clock in the forenoon.

Christine was very likely born in Frederick County.

Daughter Mariles was born ??? 1762 at 8 o’clock in the morning. A child by the name of Mariles is not mentioned again either, so I initially assumed this child is actually Mary – whose birth is not recorded in the Bible but whose existence is confirmed through the estate settlement.  After working with the various records, I don’t think Mariles is Mary.  I believe Mariles died.  Mariles is a very unusual name.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before, but I did notice Marillas Baker on the 1741 Great Conewago church membership.  That could be a clue.  There are also unexplained DNA matches to individuals with Baker heritage.

In 1763, Pontiac’s War began and once again, Frederick County was abandoned for the balance of 1763 and at least 1764.

This time, instead of taking 3 children when Magdalena and Philip Jacob evacuated, or ran for their lives, whichever scenario evolved, Magdalena had 7 children ranging in age from the baby born in 1762 to Lizbeth who celebrated her 10th birthday about the time that Mariles was born.  Her children were aged approximately 1, 2, 4 , 6, 8, 9 and 10 – truly stair-steps.  It’s hard enough handling a couple of children in difficult circumstances, but they had to find someplace to shelter with 7 children, and Magdalena was pregnant again.

All I can say is that this woman must have been extremely weary and somehow found the strength of Job.

Son Abraham was born April 28, 1764, someplace, but not likely in Frederick County.

By 1765, Michael Miller has returned to Frederick County once again, so it’s very likely that Philip Jacob and family returned as well.

Was there any home left to return to? The reports were that all of the homesteads and farms were burned.  Did they live in their wagon while the men constructed a quick home?  It surely would have been small because there would have been so many in need at the same time.  By this time, Magdalena had 8 children.

Magdalena may have lost a child between Abraham and Solomon, as there is a 3 year gap between children. If so, that child is probably buried in the now-lost Miller cemetery which was believed to be originally on John Miller’s portion of Ash Swamp.

Son Solomon was born March 20, 1767, most likely in Frederick County.

In April, 1767, Magdalena’s husband was naturalized in Philadelphia, PA, along with her father-in-law. Does this suggest that Philip Jacob was absent when Solomon came into the world?  Sadly, it appears that Solomon exited the world as well, as he is never heard of again either.  Did he die as an infant?  Were it not for the Bible entry, we would never have known he existed.

Pontiac’s War ends in 1768 and the western frontier opens.

Daughter Ester was born February 13, 1769, probably in Frederick County. Life had settled down once again by this time.

And then, there’s daughter Magdalene whose name is not recorded in the Bible but whose birth within the family is recorded as being April 25, 1770 and whose existence is confirmed in the 1799 agreement between siblings regarding Philip Joseph’s estate.

Magdalena’s father-in-law, Michael Miller, died in 1771. It’s unusual that Magdalena had no child named Michael, although an infant Michael could surely have died.  It’s also remarkable that they had no son named Philip Jacob either.  Perhaps another death.

Two daughters, Mary and Hannah were born sometime in this timeframe.  Based on the birth of Mary’s children with John Creamer, she looks to have been born sometime between 1770 and 1772.  Sarah is noted as deceased in 1799, but also noted as having “children” which would put her birth sometime before 1775.

Daughter Hannah’s birth is not recorded in the Bible, but is recorded elsewhere as June 7, 1774.  Hannah’s name is shown on Philip Jacob’s state settlement.

About 1774, son Daniel married Elizabeth Ulrich and on March 1, 1775, Magdalena welcomed her first grandchild, Stephen.  Philip Jacob penned in the Bible, “my son’s son is born,” along with his name and date.  That must have been a joyful day for Magdalena.  Everyone loves their grandchildren, and the first grandchild is not only special, they also carry the special significance of being the first of a new generation.  They get to carry the torch, but they just don’t know it yet.

The Next New Frontier Opens

Just west of where Philip Jacob and Magdalena lived in Frederick County, but within view, were the Appalachian chain of mountains, representing a physical barrier, as well as a realistic one. The unsettled and unprotected frontier was on the other side.  Safety, or at least relative safety was on this side.  This picture was taken from the northern boundary of the land owned by Philip Jacob and Magdalena Miller, looking towards those forbidding mountains.  Eventually, the land on the other side of the mountains would become inviting.

Beginning in 1775, events began to ramp up that would culminate in the Revolutionary War. The residents of Frederick County, after what they had already been through in the previous decades, must have been getting increasingly uneasy and nervous.

In 1776, Washington County was taken from Frederick County, and the Miller lands fell into the new county.

In about 1778, Magdalena’s sons, Daniel and David would set out and join the Brethren migration to Bedford, PA, in the Juniata Valley. I wonder how Magdalena felt as she watched the wagons pull away, carrying her 2 children and at least 5 grandchildren as well.

The Brethren, who would not participate in wartime activities, including voluntarily paying increased taxes because they would not serve in the militia were subject to having their lands confiscated. Oral history in the Miller family preserves the tradition that Magdalena’s brother-in-law, Lodowick, who owned the land adjacent to Philip Jacob on the south, did lose his land to confiscation.  I don’t know, but I do know that Lodowick left in 1782 or 1783 for the Shenandoah Valley.

We also know that Philip Jacob Miller was on the non-Associator’s list, telling us he was either a pietist or a Tory. The locals didn’t much care which – both were viewed by locals who supported the Revolution as traitors.  Pietists, who refused to take up arms were suspected of being Tory sympathizers.  To those defending the colony, it didn’t much matter.  What mattered was that you weren’t helping to defend the land you lived on and the responsibility fell to others.  Resentment and suspicion festered towards those of Pietist faith.

Life within the family and within the Brethren community went on.

Daughter Susannah married Daniel Ulrich about 1781.

By 1782, Daniel and David Miller may have been back in Washington County, seeking shelter as the Indians were raiding in Bedford County, PA. If so, they returned to Bedford County.

Abraham Miller married Catherine Maugans in 1783. Catherine was the sister of David Miller’s wife, Magdalena Maugans.  Brothers married sisters.

The cabin of their father, Conrad Maugans, found just north of the land where Magdalena Miller lived, in present-day Maugansville, is preserved.  Magdalena’s cabin probably looked much the same.

maugans cabin

The Revolutionary War ends in 1783. People began to heal, as best they could.  How do you ever heal after being suspected of what amounts to treason by your neighbors?  It’s no wonder that the Brethren community was so withdrawn into itself.

Magdalena’s son, David Miller married Magdalena Abigail Maugans about the same time, and their first child was born on May 10, 1784. It’s unclear whether part of the Maugans family also migrated to Bedford County, or perhaps David was smitten and either did not go to Bedford County as early as thought, or he came back and married within the Brethren community in formerly Frederick, now Washington County.

Magdalena’s daughter Christine Miller married Henry Snell sometime before 1786.

Daughter Sarah Miller married Henry Andrew Neyfong (Nifong), probably before 1795, given that she was dead by 1799 and Philip Jacob’s estate refers to her “children,” plural.

Based on when we know daughters Magdalena, Hannah and Ester married, we know that in 1790, Philip Jacob had at least 4 females living in the household.

What we can’t tell for sure is which whether Philip Jacob Miller is listed in the census as Jacob Miller or Philip Miller, nor can I tell by his neighbors. There were 7 John Millers, so finding his brother John isn’t helpful.  However, given that we know Philip Jacob had at least 4 females living in the household, that narrows the candidates to 1 Philip and 1 Jacob in Washington County.

None of them fit the bill exactly.

Daughter Mary married John Creamer or Cramer about 1792.

Daughter Elizabeth married Jacob Shutt in 1793. This is the only one of Magdalena’s children to obtain a marriage license in Washington County, Maryland, if this is the correct Elizabeth Miller and Jacob Shutt.

In 1794, Magdalena’s brother-in-law, John Miller died. Now this might not sound like a life changing event – but it surely was for Philip Jacob Miller, who had farmed the land beside his brother’s for the past 40+ years.  And in that time, if your husband experienced a life-changing event, your life changed too.

On April 6, 1795, Philip Jacob Miller, as administrator, sold the land of his brother John to Dr. John Schnebley. On September 25, 1795, Philip Jacob sold his adjacent land to the same man.

Daughter Magdalena Miller married Daniel Cripe about 1796.

Daughter Hannah Miller married Arnold Snider about 1796.

I wonder if these last two marriages occurred because the family was getting ready to set off for the new frontier and it was now or never.

On to Kentucky!

Talk about an amazing class last act.

Magdalena and Philip Jacob were getting ready to set out for their final frontier, and the fact that they were roughly 70 years old didn’t stop them. I wonder if that gave them pause for reflection.  I wonder if they were both anxious to move on, or if one person held back, needing to be convinced.  I would love to be a fly on the wall and hear that conversation, translated to English of course.

Miller farm west

The land they left looked vastly different than the uncleared, forest-covered land they settled in 1751.

Did they travel in the fall of 1795 or the spring of 1796? We can eliminate winter due to snow and ice on the roads and ice on the Ohio river.  Did they travel entirely by wagon, or did they go part way by wagon and then transfer to river raft, floating down the Ohio River to the area just upstream of Cincinnati?  That’s the most likely scenario.  If that was their path, then fall would have been much safer, as the Ohio floods often in the later winter and spring.  Did they take their wagon on the raft, or did they leave it behind, perhaps trading wagon for raft? What about their horse or horses?  When they arrived in Ohio, did they disassemble the raft and use the wood to build a shelter, or begin a house?

By August 16, 1796, Magdalena and Philip Jacob had arrived in Campbell County because he paid tax that day on 1 male over 16 (probably himself), 1 horse and 1 head of cattle. They probably also had hogs and chickens, neither of which were taxed.

Daughter Ester Miller married Gabriel Maugans about 1799, based on the birth dates of their children. Gabriel was a brother to both Magdalena and Catherine Maugans who had married David and Abraham Miller.  By this time, Magdalena had been in Campbell County for 3 years.  We don’t know where Ester and Gabriel got married, or if they actually married earlier, before the Miller family left Washington County.

Philip Jacob Miller’s Death and Estate

We don’t know exactly where in Campbell County, KY Magdalena and Philip Jacob Miller lived, but we do know that there is a persistent rumor that he was buried on an island at the mouth of 12 Mile Creek. Campbell County extends from just beneath Cincinnati upriver about 25 miles.

Campbell Co Ky map

Twelve Mile Creek is about half way, just above New Richmond on the Kentucky side of the river about half a mile.

If the 12 Mile Creek location is even remotely accurate, this is a picture from Google Maps of the 12 Mile Creek area from the Ohio side of the river, looking across to Campbell County. As you can see, the area is quite hilly. In many ways, it reminds me of Washington County, Maryland.  Magdalena and Philip Jacob would have been comfortable there.

Ohio River looking to Campbell co

In 1799, Magdalena’s husband, Philip Jacob, died. We don’t know if he was ill, if the death was unexpected, or what happened.  His estate was probated on April 8, 1799 in Campbell County, KY. There was no will.  He was at least 73 years old and possibly as old as 83.

Based on the tax lists and on Philip Jacob’s estate, it surely looks like he was actively farming. In 1797 and 1798, he had increased his holdings from 1 to 3 horses.  Philip Jacob is not listed in 1799, but David Miller is noted. This makes sense, because we know that Philip Jacob’s will was probated in April of 1799 and tax time was August, and David Miller was one of his father’s executors, explaining why David was suddenly on the tax list in 1799 when he had not been previously.

At least two of Magdalena’s daughters were living in Campbell County, KY in 1797 and 1798, Hannah who was married to Daniel Snider and Magdalena who was married to Daniel Cripe. In 1800, Hannah lived in Campbell County, as did Stephen Miller, Magdalena’s grandson through Daniel.  I wonder if Stephen came to live with his grandmother to help her.

At that time, when a man died, the entire household was inventoried and appraised, except for the wife’s clothing. And literally, that was it – all that was “hers.”  The wife was entitled by law to 30% of the value of the estate, but her 30% generally had to be bought at auction after bidding against anyone else who was interested.  I hope most people had the common decency to not bid against the widow.

Generally, the wife had to buy her kitchen utensils back, her pots and pans, her coffee mill and teapot, her silverware and plates and any furniture she wanted.

Hardly seems fair by today’s standards, but it was the way things were at that time.  Life wasn’t fair, especially not for women – and life was harsh.

Looking at Philip Jacob’s estate inventory tells us a lot about Magdalena’s life.

Much of the estate speaks to farming, but since everything was inventoried, except Magdalena’s clothes, we can also catch a glimpse of Magdalena’s life too by the items typically associated with females.

  • One full box of glass
  • One box part of the glass taken out

We know that Magdalena has glass, and quite a bit, not just pottery or wooden trenchers.  Glass was a luxury, especially on the frontier.

  • One large copper kettle
  • One iron kettle
  • Six boiler plated, 2 dishes and 2 basins
  • One small iron pot, some tin and wood ware
  • One bake oven, one frying pann, some pewter dishware

The kettles would have been hung over the fire in the fireplace (or outside) to cook their food. I would bet that Magdalena brought these two kettles with her from Pennsylvania, as copper and iron kettles were probably very scarce on the frontier.  Plus, you could pack things inside them.

Kettles and pots were used both inside and outside. They were used for cooking food, boiling water for washing clothes, making commodities like lye soap, making animal mash and for scalding the hair off of butchered pigs.

Not only was the food to be eaten daily prepared in these kettles, but so were the foods to be “put up,” like apple butter and in the later winter, maple syrup was boiled down in the kettles, generally in an “outside” kitchen or “sugar shack.”

  • One small copper tea kettle

Does this mean Magdalena drank tea? It couldn’t have been tea as we know it today, which wasn’t available on the frontier, but perhaps sassafras tea or willow bark or others, perhaps with medicinal qualities.

  • One coffee mill

Maybe this is where I got my coffee affliction. I asked Merle Rummel about coffee and he suggested that their coffee then wasn’t like our coffee today.  Coffee beans would have had to be imported, probably from New Orleans, and ground in the mill.  Merle said coffee then was likely toast toasted very crisp and then ground.  Maybe coffee beans were a true luxury.

  • One old broken iron skillet with sundry other little things

Did this iron skillet break after they arrived in Kentucky? How does an iron skillet break?  The handle maybe?  It’s Magdalena’s only skillet, but she does have a frying pann.  Even broken, it still had a value.

  • One side saddle with two girths

Women of that time rode side saddle, so this would have been Magdalena’s saddle. I’m amazed at her age that she was still riding a horse.  They did not have a buggy, so maybe that explains why she rode the horse.  Shye had to be an accomplished horse-woman because at her age, one fall would do her in.

  • One pocket looking glass

I’m really curious about this item. Looking glasses, meaning mirrors, where considered vain by the Brethren.  Merle suggests that perhaps this was a monocle, used instead of glasses – a single ground glass lens held up to the eye to see and kept in the vest or pocket.  That’s as good an explanation as any.  It could have been either Philip Jacob’s or Magdalena’s.  I can see him using it to read and her using it to thread needles.

  • One pair of hand mill stones and one grind stone

These items are fascinating. The hand mill stones would have been used for grinding things in small quantities.  The grind stones were probably similar to what the Native people used to grind corn.  But why would the Brethren, who took their corn and wheat to mills, have these kinds of implements?  Were the mills too far away?

  • Five low bags

I have no idea what this is.  If you know, please share.

  • One flax wheel an sifter

A flax wheel is a type of spinning wheel that was used to spin flax into linen threads to be woven into cloth. Interestingly enough there was no loom, so perhaps Magdalena spun and another woman wove.  A loom would have been very difficult to transport downriver, even disassembled.

  • Two old trunks

These two old trunks probably held everything of value to Magdalena as she and Philip Jacob undertook their last journey from Maryland through Pennsylvania to Ohio, some 450 miles, past age 70. The Bible probably rode from Maryland in one of these trunks. How I would love to take a day and look through the items in those two old trunks and talk to Magdalena about why she packed and took what she did – and why she left the rest behind.

Philip Jacob’s estate executors distributed money to Magdalena from the estate several times for a total of about 70 pounds. The only dated receipt was in January of 1800, but there were 4 in total.

They also paid Magdalena’s medical expenses of 3 pounds 3 shillings, but the “illness carried her off.” The estate then paid her funeral expenses which cost all of 10 shillings.  Unfortunately, these entries weren’t dated.

The only other dated information was the settling and closing of Philip Jacob’s estate on October 19, 1808.

So we know that Magdalena died sometimes between January of 1800 and October of 1808. My suspicion would be that she did not die for several years, since several payments were made to her.  If one payment per year was made, then her death would have been perhaps around 1805, but that’s pure speculation.

The Question About Magdalena’s Children

I’m still bothered by the fact that not all of the children reflected in the 1799 estate agreement are recorded in Philip Jacob Miller’s Bible. How could Philip Jacob have left four children out of the family Bible?  All four missing children were daughters, and if you look at the original Bible entry, there was obviously confusion about Lidia’s entry, as it was overstruck, like he was confused between two children’s births.

It begs the question of whether they were his children. However, the 1799 agreement clearly says that the people involved are the “sons and daughters of” Philip Jacob Miller. Since Philip Jacob did not have a will, the only clear record is the estate distribution and the sibling agreement.  The Bible omissions simply don’t make sense, unless Philip Jacob was tired of having daughters, or figured he would do the recording later – and never did.  However, he recoded the birth of his first grandson in 1775.  Maybe there was a loose page that is missing today.

I have always taken a family Bible to be the best possible record, but this situation very clearly shows that cannot be presumed as fact.

We’re also assuming (how I hate that word) that all of Philip Jacob’s children were from one wife, Magdalena, his wife at his death. We are assuming that because we have nothing to indicate otherwise.

Her name may actually have been Magdalene or Magdalen, not Magdalena – although spelling at that time was not standardized and was very inconsistent.  I will always think of her as Magdalena – the name is beautiful and lyrical and just sort of rolls of your tongue.

In the following chart, I have summarized the children listed in Philip Jacob’s Bible, the 1799 agreement where his children (and spouses if female) agree how to divide his 2000 aces and the later distribution of that land by deed.

Child Bible Entry 1799 Agreement with Spouse Estate Distribution Property Deed
Elizabeth Miller April 1752 Jacob Shott ?
Lidia Miller June 18, 1754 Apparently deceased
Daniel Miller April 8, 1755 Daniel Miller to Daniel Eltzroth
David Miller December 1, 1757 Executor of estate ?
Susannah Miller March 2, 1759 Daniel Ullery Daniel and Susannah Ullery
Christina Miller December 4, 1761 Henry Snell Henry and Christina Snell
Mariles Miller 1762 Apparently deceased
Abraham Miller April 28, 1764 Executor of estate Abraham Miller to William Spence
Solomon Miller March 20, 1767 Apparently deceased
Ester Miller February 13,1769 Husband Gabriel Maugans Gabriel and Esther Morgan (Maugans
Magdalen Miller Missing (date April 25, 1770 from other sources) Daniel Cripe Took Cash
Mary Miller Missing but born circa 1770-1772 John Cramer John and Mary Creamer (Cramer)
Sarah Miller Missing, but before 1775 because she had “children” and was deceased in 1799 Andrew Nifong (Sarah is deceased) Andrew Nifong
Hannah Miller Missing but June 7, 1774 from other sources Arnold Snider Arnold and Hannah Snider
Estate to Jacob Wise and Jacob Creamer
Estate to Gabriel and Esther Morgan

It’s worth noting in the 1799 sibling agreement that the male Miller children can all sign their names and all of the female children sign with an “X,” so they cannot write.

Here’s what we do know about the children listed in the Bible and the estate records, all presumed to be Magdalena’s children.

1. Daughter Elizabeth Miller was born in April 1752 and married Jacob Shott, according to the way he signed his name on the sibling agreement. Elizabeth and Jacob both signed the sibling agreement in December 1799 relative to the estate of Philip Jacob Miller.  There is a Jacob Shutt and Elisabeth Miller marriage record in Washington County, Maryland on January 4, 1793 shown in “Maryland Marriages, 1655-1850,” although Elizabeth would have been 41 at this time, if it is the same Elizabeth Miller.

2. Son Daniel Miller was born April 8, 1755 and died August 26, 1822, as stated in Philip Jacob’s Bible, later owned by Daniel. Daniel married Elizabeth Ulrich, daughter of Stephen Ulrich Jr. and Elizabeth, surname unknown.

Daniel Miller’s grave stone is in Sugar Hill Cemetery in Preble County, Ohio, but I’ll be telling you “the rest of the story” in Daniel’s article, shortly.

Daniel Miller stone

Daniel had the following children as recorded in the Bible:

  • Stephen Miller born March 7, 1775, married first to Anna Barbara Coleman and second to Anna Lesh.
  • Jacob Miller born November 20, 1776, died October 20, 1858 in Montgomery County, Ohio and married Elizabeth Metzger about 1799 in Bedford County, PA.
  • Daniel Miller Jr. born March 30, 1779 in Washington County, PA, died June 25, 1812, as given in the Bible.
  • David Miller born July 30, 1781.
  • Samuel Miller born March 17, 1785, died November 27,1867 in Elkhart County, Indiana.
  • John Miller born December 15, 1787 in Bedford County, PA, died June 11, 1856 in Harrison Twp, Elkhart County, IN, married in 1807 to first cousin Esther Miller, daughter of David Miller and Magdalena Maugans. This is the John who obtained Philip Jacob’s Bible from his father’s estate.
  • Isaac Miller born December 8, 1789 in Bedford County, PA, died August 1822 in Ohio, married July 2, 1812 to Elizabeth Miller, his first cousin, daughter of David Miller and Magdalena Maugans.
  • Abraham Miller born March 16, 1794 in Bedford County, PA, died May 19, 1855 in Marshall County, Indiana, married in 1827 to Elizabeth Lasure in Montgomery County, Ohio.
  • Elizabeth Miller born April 2, 1796 in Bedford County, PA, died November 8, 1871 in Miami County, Ohio, married in 1815 in Montgomery County, Ohio to Johannes Boogher.

3. Son David Miller was born December 1, 1757 in Pennsylvania and died August 18, 1845 in Montgomery County, Ohio where he is buried on a cemetery on the land he owned.

David Miller stone

David married Magdalena Maugans about 1783, probably in Washington County, PA. It’s believed by some researchers that he was married previously as well.

  • David Miller Jr. born circa 1780 to David and the unknown first wife.
  • Michael Miller born May 10, 1784 in Washington County, MD, died December 18, 1856, Montgomery County, Ohio, married Salome (Sarah) Cramer first and second in 1837 to Elizabeth Brumbaugh.
  • Catherine Miller born circa 1791, died after 1860, married in 1811 to Abraham Overholser.
  • Esther Miller born May 30, 1787, died April 21, 1861 in Elkhart County, IN, married John Miller, her first cousin, son of Daniel Miller.
  • Elizabeth Miller born 1793 in Bedford County, PA, died April 4, 1865 in Johnson County, Iowa, married July 2, 1812 to Isaac Miller, her first cousin, son of Daniel Miller.
  • Jacob Miller born March 17, 1796 in Kentucky, died October 8, 1861, married Mary Michael in 1816 and second to Mary Rohrer after 1842.
  • Nancy Miller born in 1800, died in 1823, married in 1818 to Joseph Martin who married her sister Susannah after Nancy’s death.
  • Susannah Miller born circa 1800, died circa 1851, married July 5, 1823 to Joseph Martin, her sister’s widower.
  • Lydia Miller married David Shively.

4. Daughter Susannah Miller, probably named for her grandmother, Susannah Berchtol Miller, was born March 2, 1759 and died before January 2, 1826. She married Daniel Ulrey, probably around 1790, the son of Stephen Ulrey and Christine Kunkle, and he died in Warren County, Ohio in June of 1823.  Their children are identified through deeds and marriage records.

  • John Ulrey died April 15, 1844 in Shelby County, Indiana, married in 1812 in Warren County to Jane Drake.
  • David Ulrey born about 1794 in Kentucky died July 9, 1879 in Rising Sun, Ohio County, Indiana. He married Phebe Post in 1816 in Warren County, Ohio.
  • Joanna Ulrey born Nov. 22, 1798 in Ohio, died March 27, 1875 in Hamilton County, Ohio, married David Buxton.
  • Sarah Ulrey born September 19, 1799 in Ohio, died November 15, 1883 in Davis County, Iowa, married David Hutchison in 1816 in Warren County, Ohio. He drown in the Ohio River in 1824 and she married a second time in 1836 to James Keith Sleeth in Shelby County, Indiana.
  • Jacob Ulrey died around 1840 in Shelby County, Indiana. He may have married Mary Shaver in 1818 in Warren County, but he did marry in 1825 to Phebe Pope.
  • Elizabeth Ulrey born May 6, 1803 in Ohio, died August 13, 1884 in Cass County, Indiana, married in 1822 in Warren County, Ohio to Israel Phillips.
  • Rhoda Ulrey died prior to 1850, married in 1818 in Warren County, Ohio to Daniel Babb. In 1850 he has remarried and is living in Shelby County, Indiana.
  • Hannah Ulrey born 1799-1803, married Benjamin Cripe, her first cousin.
  • Margaret Ulrey born about 1804 in Ohio, died between 1860-1870 in Shelby County, Indiana, married in 1818 in Warren County, Ohio to John S. Pope.
  • Susanna Ulrey, signed a deed in 1826, unmarried.
  • Daniel Ulrey Jr., signed a deed in 1827, single.
  • Isaac Ulrey married in 1829 in Warren County, Ohio to Rebecca Foster.

5. Daughter Christina Miller was born December 4, 1761 and died on March 7, 1815 in Warren County, Ohio. She married Johannes Heinrich Snell who inherited his parent’s farm near Hagerstown which he sold on December 5, 1796 before moving with Philip Jacob Miller to Kentucky, so they must have been close to her parents.  Henry remarried after Christina’s death to Permelia Aikens.  Christina’s children were:

  • Catherine Snell born March 4, 1781, Washington County, MD, died after 1850, married in 1803 in Fleming County, KY to Joseph Ford.
  • John Snell born January 7, 1782 in Washington County, MD, died 1840-1845 in St. Clair Co., MO, married in 1807 in Warren Co., Ohio to Mary Shively and second in 1829 to Margaret Wintermute in Darke County, Ohio.
  • Jacob Snell born December 6, 1783 and before 1832. He married in 1806 in Fleming Co., KY to Christiana Myers.
  • Adam R. Snell born July 21, 1786 in Washington County, MD, died in 1861 in Stark County, Illinois and married his first cousin, Susannah Creamer , daughter of John Creamer (Cramer) Sr. and Mary Miller.
  • Daniel Snell born March 22, 1788 in Washington County, MD and died November 18, 1869 in Warren County, Ohio, married in 1812 to Sarah Peckinpaugh.
  • George Snell born Mary 4, 1790 in Washington County, MD, died 1850-1860 in Montgomery County, Ohio, married in 1813 in Warren County, Ohio to Catharine Swank.
  • Henry Snell born April 12, 1792 in Washington County, MD, died September 28, 1876 in Warren County, Ohio, married in 1819 to Mary Runyan.
  • Elizabeth Snell born October 28, 1797 in Kentucky, married in 1818 in Warren County, Ohio to Levi Collins.
  • Samuel Snell born February 28, 1800 in Kentucky, married in 1818 in Warren County to Rachel Collins.
  • William Snell born November 5, 1801 in Kentucky, died July 29, 1886 in Warren County, Ohio, married in 1822 to Anna Cramer and second in 1863 to Christinia Tiger.
  • Sarah “Sally” Snell born March 17, 1803 in Kentucky, died March 17, 1829 in Warren County, Ohio, married in 1818 in Warren County to Peter Smith.

6. Daughter Mary married John Creamer.  Their children were born beginning in 1793 and continued to about 1812.  If Mary was daughter Mariles who was born in 1762, that means that she had her last child at age 50.  Possible, but not likely.  I suspect that Mary is not Mariles and Mary’s birth was not recorded in the Bible.  Mary’s children were:

  • Susannah Creamer born June 23, 1793, Washington County, Maryland and died March 11, 1872 in Stark County, Illinois, married in 1811 to Adam R. Snell, her first cousin, son of Henry Snell and Christine Miller.
  • Mary Creamer born about 1795 in Washington County, MD, died sometime after 1880 when they were living in Brown County, Ohio, and married John Morgan (Maugans), her first cousin in 1816 in Warren County. John was the son of Esther Miller and Gabriel Maugans.  The surname was Morgan from this generation forward.
  • Catherine Creamer was born December 23, 1798, died December 9, 1835 and married in 1819 in Warren County to John Fulks.
  • Elizabeth Creamer was born May 29, 1800 in Kentucky, died July 31, 1831 in Warren County, Ohio, and married her first cousin, Felix Morgan (Maugans) in 1812 in Warren County. He was the son of Esther Miller and Gabriel Maugans. The surname was Morgan from this generation forward.
  • John Creamer, Jr. was born in 1802 in Ohio, married in 1831 in Warren County, Ohio to Mary Jane Burger and again in 1843 to Jane Irwin.
  • Hannah Creamer born in 1804 in Ohio married John McMullen in 1834 in Warren County, Ohio. She died after 1880, probably in Brown County, Ohio where they were found in the 1880 census.
  • Daniel Creamer born about 1805 in Warren County, Ohio married in 1832 in Warren County to Rebeca McMullen.
  • Sarah Creamer was born in 1806 in Warren County Ohio and apparently never married as she was listed in the 1880 census, living near her sisters Nancy and Esther.
  • Nancy Creamer born June 11, 1808 in Warren County, Ohio, died September 18, 1883 in Warren County.
  • David Creamer born May 27, 1810 in Warren County, Ohio and died on October 7, 1872 in the same place. He never married.
  • Esther Creamer was born about 1812 in Warren County. She too was single and shared a home with her sister Nancy in 1880.

7. Son Abraham Miller was born April 28, 1764, according to the Bible, and died April 29, 1859 in Hamilton County, Ohio. Some reported that he died on his 95th birthday.  He married Catherine Maugans, daughter of Conrad and Rebecca Maugans about 1786, according to “The Gospel Visitor” published in April of 1860, page 128.  Unfortunately, Abraham did not have a detailed will, even though he was 95 when he died, but a simple directive given as a nuncupative will just before his death where he leaves everything to his wife and then to be divided according to law.

  • Abraham’s children are difficult to identify, but there appear to be 12. You can view an attempted list here.

8. Daughter Esther Miller was born February 13, 1769, according to the Bible, and married Gabriel Maugans sometime around 1788. Gabriel was the son of Conrad and Rebecca Maugans.  Gabriel died in 1815 in Warren County, Ohio, leaving several minor children.  An E. Morgan is listed in Hamilton Township of Warren County in 1830, with the proper number of children and ages, but I cannot find her in 1840.

  • Jacob Maugans married Mary. Interestingly, in the 1830 census, Jacob had 3 “deaf and dumb” individuals living in his household.
  • Daniel Maugans known as Morgan married Mary Ann Harkrader in 1821 in Warren County, Ohio and died in Darke County, Ohio December 19, 1835.
  • Esther Maugans married Daniel Swank in 1814 in Warren County, Ohio and died in October 1832 in the same location.
  • Elizabeth Maugans was born November 7, 1794 in Bedford County, PA and died January 12, 1863 in Clinton County, Ohio. She married in 1814 in Warren County, Ohio to Frederick Pobst.
  • John Maugans known as Morgan born about 1796 in Bedford County, PA died June 24, 1886 in Clermont County, Ohio. He married his first cousin, Mary “Polly” Creamer in 1816 in Warren County, daughter of John Creamer and Mary Miller. In 1880 they are found in the census in Brown County, Ohio.
  • Abraham Maugans known as Morgan, born August 9, 1798 in Bedford County, PA and died June 24, 1886 in Clermont County, Ohio. He married Nancy Evans.
  • Felix Maugans known as Morgan was born about 179 in Bedford County, PA and died between 1860-1870 in Warren County Ohio. He married his first cousin, Elizabeth Cramer in 1820 in Warren County, the daughter of John Creamer and Mary Miller.
  • David Maugans known as Morgan was born about 1801.
  • Joseph Maugans known as Morgan was born about 1804 and married in 1824 to Mary Ann Miller.

9. Daughter Magdalena was born April 25, 1770, married Daniel Cripe (son of Jacob Cripe Jr. and Barbara Shideler) about 1796 and died in Elkhart County, Indiana on May 25, 1842, according to the stones on FindaGrave. Daniel and Magdalena were among the first to move to Montgomery County, Ohio, near Dayton in May of 1807, and then were among the first to move on to Goshen, Indiana, in Elkhart County, in 1829.  Magdalena was originally buried in the Dierdorff Cemetery but in 1961 Magdalena’s and Daniel’s remains were moved to the West Goshen Cemetery, but the original headstones were preserved flat in front of new stones.

Magdalena Cripe stone

Submitted by Melanie Wheeler Popple

Magdalena Cripe original stones

Madgalena had the following children:

  • Mary Cripe born January 8, 1797 in Campbell County, KY, died April 11, 1868 in Elkhart County, IN and married June 17, 1821 in Montgomery County, Ohio to John B. Pippinger.
  • Samuel Cripe born Oct. 16, 1799 in Campbell County, KY and died June 22, 1862 in Elkhart County, Indiana. Married first to Esther Cripe, daughter of Jacob Cripe Jr. and Magdalena Bostetter.
  • Benjamin Cripe born August 6, 1801 in either Clermont of Hamilton County, Ohio and died November 9, 1955 in Elkhart County, Indiana. He married Hannah Ulrich, daughter of Daniel Ulrich Jr. and Susannah Miller. Susanna Miller was Magdalena Miller’s sister, so Benjamin and Hannah were first cousins.
  • John Cripe born October 11, 1802 in either Clermont or Hamilton County, Ohio, died November 4, 1886 in Elkhart County, Indiana, married Dec. 8, 1822 to Mary Cripe, daughter of Jacob Cripe Jr. and Magdalena Bostetter.
  • Daniel Cripe Jr. born May 29, 1805 in Montgomery County, Ohio and died Dec. 17, 1885 in Elkhart County. Married to Sarah Ulrich, daughter of Daniel Ulrich Jr. and Susannah Miller. Sarah died on November 26, 1868 in Elkhart County. Daniel and Sarah were first cousins.
  • Emanuel F. Cripe born October 7, 1806 in Montgomery County, Ohio and died June 11, 1893 in Elkhart County, Indiana. Married to Catherine Mikesell, daughter of Joseph Mikesell and Catherine Cripe in 1827 in Montgomery County, Ohio.
  • Elizabeth Cripe born 1808 in Montgomery County, Onio and died February 8, 1841 in Elkhart County, Indiana, married in about 1825 to Christian Stouder.
  • Susannah Cripe born Feb. 5, 1810 in Montgomery County, Ohio and died Feb. 3, 1876 in Elkhart County IN. Married to Joseph Stouder in 1827 in Montgomery County, Ohio. Married second to John Baker in Dec. 23, 1845 in Elkhart County.
  • Catharine Cripe born May 6, 1812 in Montgomery County, Ohio, died January 13, 1888 in Noedesha, Kansas and married in 1827 to David Mikesell, son of Joseph Mikesell and Catharine Cripe in Montgomery County, Ohio.

10. Daughter Sarah Miller is missing from the Bible, but married Henry Nyphong and died before the 1799 sibling agreement. The executors sign for the “children of Sarah Miller,” so we know she had children, we just don’t know how many, who they were or where they lived.  Henry Nifong did take the land in Warren County.  In the 1820 census, there is an Andrew Nifong in Clermont County, Ohio with one male age 26-44.  What happened to her children?  Are they grown, living elsewhere or did they die?

11. Daughter Hannah Miller was born June 7, 1774 in Frederick County, MD and died August 22, 1840 in Warren County, Ohio. She married Arnold Snider who died in 1813 at Fort Meigs, Ohio and married secondly to Samuel Shepley in 1815 in Warren County.  Hannah is buried in the Murdoch Cemetery in Warren County.

Hannah Shepley stone

Given that Arnold enlisted as a volunteer in the War of 1812, he was not likely Brethren. Hannah’s children are:

  • Jacob Snider born 1796 in Kentucky, probably married in 1834 in Warren County, Ohio to Catharine Roate.
  • Susannah Snider born November 28, 1798 in Kentucky, died January 1, 1841 in Auglaize County, Ohio and married in 1817 in Warren County, Ohio to James Hill Coleman.
  • Daniel Snider born December 9, 1800 and died January 23, 1889 in Brown County, Ohio. He married Susannah Bickmore.
  • Abraham Snider born August 10, 1802 in Warren County, Ohio and died August 27, 1849 in Clermont County, Ohio. He married in 1825 in Clermont County to Elizabeth Myers.
  • John Snider married Mary.
  • Mary Snider born in 1805 in Warren County, Ohio, died on December 30, 1849, married in 1822 in Warren County to Jacob Myers Jr.
  • Elizabeth Snider born June 5, 1808 in Warren County, died April 19, 1874 in Warren County and married there in 1826 to Benjamin Eltzroth.
  • Esther Snider born in 1810 in Warren County and married there in 1826 to Solomon Beach.
  • David Snider born December 9, 1811 in Warren County, Ohio and died May 5, 1841 in Clermont Count, Ohio. He married in 1833 in Clermont County to Sarah Wilson.
  • William Snider born October 23, 1812 in Warren County, Ohio and died October 25, 1869 in Clermont County. He married Elizabeth.
  • Hannah Shepley born October 11, 1816 in Warren County, Ohio, died June 18, 1849 in the same location. She married in Warren County in 1840 to Daniel Eltzroth, son of Jonas Eltzroth and Catherine Morgan.

Magdalena’s DNA

Magdalena Miller gave her mitochondrial DNA to all of her children, but only female children pass it on to their offspring. By looking at her mitochondrial DNA, we may be able to connect her to her family of origin, but even if we can’t do that, we can learn about her deeper ancestry. One thing I’d love to know is if her line has either French or German matches.  There’s a very big hint right there relative to the surname Rochette.

In order to find Magdalena’s mitochondrial DNA, we need to test someone, male or female, that descends from Magdalena through all females to the current generation, where the tester can be either male or female.

All of the grandchildren bolded above are females who married, so presumable had children themselves. If you descend from Magdalena through all females and have DNA tested, please, please let me know.  If you descend from Magdalena through all females and have not yet DNA tested, I have a DNA scholarship for the first person who can prove that descent genealogically and contacts me.

Here’s a list of the 25 grandchildren whose descendants may qualify if descended through all females, with their husband in parenthesis.

  1. Joanna Ulrey (David Buxton)
  2. Sarah Ulrey (David Hutchinson and James Keith Sleeth)
  3. Elizabeth Ulrey (Israel Phillips)
  4. Rhoda Ulrey (Daniel Babb)
  5. Margaret Ulrey (John Pope)
  6. Hannah Ulrey (Benjamin Cripe)
  7. Catherine Snell (Joseph Ford)
  8. Elizabeth Snell (Levi Collins)
  9. Sarah “Sally” Snell (Peter Smith)
  10. Susannah Snider (James Hill Coleman)
  11. Mary Snider (Jacob Myers Jr.)
  12. Elizabeth Snider (Benjamin Eltzroth)
  13. Esther Snider (Solomon Beach)
  14. Hannah Shepley (Daniel Eltzroth)
  15. Susannah Creamer (Adam Snell)
  16. Mary Creamer (John Morgan previously Maugans)
  17. Catherine Creamer (John Fulks)
  18. Elizabeth Creamer (Feliz Morgan previously Maugans)
  19. Hannah Creamer (John McMullan)
  20. Esther Maugans (Daniel Swank)
  21. Elizabeth Maugans (Frederick Pobst)
  22. Mary Cripe (John Pippinger)
  23. Elizabeth Cripe (Christian Stouder)
  24. Susannah Cripe (Joseph Stouder and John Baker)
  25. Catherine Cripe (David Mikesell)

Surely with this many candidates, there has to be someone out there who has tested or is available to test! Is that person you?  Do you carry Magdalena’s mitochondrial DNA?

The Life and Times of Magdalena Miller

If all of these combined resources are accurate, Magdalena had a total of 14 children, that we know of, plus any that were stillborn or died young and not recorded in the Bible, for whatever reason. There is a 3 year gap between children between 1764 and 1767 that look suspiciously like they lost a baby.

We know that Lidia, Mariles and Solomon never grew to adulthood. Did they die as infants, young children, or maybe in Indian raids?  Did Lidia and Mariles marry and succumb during childbirth perhaps?  How long did Magdalena get to know and love those children before they passed from this life.

We know that the Miller family had to evacuate in 1755, a year after Lidia was born and the again when Mariles was born in 1762. Did the difficult times contribute to their deaths, or, God forbid, were they lost in the warfare?  The gap in children between 1764 and 1767 may also reflect another uncounted casualty.

Solomon was born in 1767, after the family returned to the homestead, so things were quieter. Solomon is likely buried in the now-lost Miller Cemetery on Ash Swamp in Maryland.  Lidia and Mariles may have been buried near wherever they died, if the family was evacuated.  Were they buried someplace beside the wagon trail? I suspect many bodies line those early roads, marked with nothing except loose soil and perhaps a makeshift cross of twigs lashed together.

If Magdalena had to lose children, I only pray that she got to bury them in a respectful way in a place where she could at least visit their graves.

In addition to the children who died young, Magdalena’s daughter Sarah died after marrying, leaving children. Was Magdalena involved in the raising of those children, perhaps?

When Philip Jacob and Magdalena made the decision to remove from Maryland to Kentucky, at least three of their children were living in Bedford County, PA – David Miller, Daniel Miller and Esther Maugans. The rest most likely accompanied their parents from Maryland.  One couple, Christine and Henry Snell sold a farm in Maryland to join the wagon train.

While the trip initially sounds lonely, I don’t think it was. If they stopped to “pick up” the Bedford County families on the way, that means that a total of 11 families traveled together.  We don’t know when daughter Sarah Nifong died, other than before December of 1799, but we do know that her husband took his share of the Warren County land, so he was very likely living there with the rest of the family.

Magdalena had a total of at least 97 grandchildren. I said “at least 97” because some are uncertain and assuredly some are unknown, especially babies who died young.  Magdalena assuredly stood graveside while her grandchildren were buried, weeping with and for her children.  A grandmother’s heart is twice broken, once for the grandchild that died, and once for the pain of her child that she can’t salve.

Before they left for Kentucky, arriving in 1796, Magdalena had a total of 34 grandchildren….and those are the ones we know about. Her first grandchild was born in March 1775 to son Daniel.  Magdalena had just had her own final child in June of 1774, exactly 9 months earlier, so the generations formed a continuum, with one blending into the next.

That wagon train in 1796 would have included those 34 grandchildren ranging in age from newborn to about 20 years old.

These children born so closely together in 1774 and 1775 could have grown up as siblings were it not for the fact that Magdalena’s two oldest children, Daniel and David, removed to Bedford County about 1778 – taking their children, and at that time, all of Magdalena’s grandchildren, with them.

Daniel and David may have returned to Washington County, Maryland around 1782 for a reprieve from Indian problems, but returned to Bedford County, PA as soon as possible. In essence, Daniel and David didn’t see much of their parents – nor did Magdalena see much if any of her grandchildren from Bedford County until they moved to Kentucky in 1795 or 1796.  By that time, many of those grandchildren were grown or quickly approaching that age.  In fact, her great-grandchildren probably started being born around this time too.

By 1799, when Philip Jacob died, Magdalena had about 30 MORE grandchildren, for a total of 75 or so. We know Magdalena died sometime between 1800 and 1808 and by 1808, there were another 15 grandchildren – for a total of about 90 that she knew.  An additional 8 were born after her death.

It’s impossible for me to fathom 97 grandchildren, many of about the same age. How could you even tell them apart or remember their names?  Maybe you just claimed “old age” and didn’t even try!  Of course, you could always say grandmotherly things like, “Oh goodness, you’ve grown so much and become such a big girl that I didn’t recognize you.”

But one thing is for sure. As I ponder Magdalena, the widow, I really don’t have to think about her living alone, or being lonely – because I suspect that if she were alone, it was because she wanted to and chose to be.  Some days, maybe she craved time alone to cherish the silence.  Maybe she rode that horse with the side-saddle or walked in the woods for solitude.  Magdalena probably lived with a family member, most likely one of her children, in a bustling household with cousins and siblings and neighbors in and out all the time.  A constant beehive of activity.  Indeed, life was good, surrounded by family, on this, the final frontier.

As far as Magdalena was concerned, the late-in-life move to Kentucky, even though it meant leaving behind everything familiar, was probably well worthwhile.  It reunited her family on the frontier of opportunity – a gift, the benefits of which lasted many generations into posterity and assuredly changed the life and future of every child and grandchild who rode that wagon train to Kentucky.

Magdalena’s move and the sacrifices she made were truly one very classy and generous “last act” that defined her legacy.  Many of us would never have found ourselves born in Indiana or Ohio were it not for Magdalena’s move to Kentucky.  Thank you Magdalena!

References and Acknowledgements

Lots of researchers have written about and compiled information about the Miller family, and I have drawn liberally from their work. Suffice it to say that they don’t all agree – and in fact some contradict each other. So I’ve gone through each and compiled the information I found credible by evaluating the sources, where possible.  Where doubt remains or work needs to be done, I have said so.

Replogle – “Ancestors on the Frontier: Miller, Cripe, Ulrich, Replogle, Shively, Metzger” by Justin Replogle, self-published in 1998

Mason – “The Michael Miller and Susanna Bechtol Family Record” compiled in 1993 by Floyd R. and Catherine Mason, now deceased

Miller – “A History and Genealogy of David Y. Miller 1809-1898” by Gene Edwin Miller, self-published

Goss, Troy – The Miller Family History

Stutesman – “Jacob Stutzman (?-1775); His Children and Grandchildren” by John Hale Stutesman, Jr.

Tom and Kathleen Miller’s Johann Michael Miller Family History

I want to offer a special thank you to Reverend Merle Rummel for his numerous and ongoing contributions, not just to me personally, and there have been many, but to the Brethren research community at large. His insight and knowledge of the Brethren history and families is one of a kind.  He is a living tribute to the spirit of our ancestors.



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

Philip Jacob Miller (c1726-1799), Buried on a Missing Island?, 52 Ancestors #119

Philip Jacob Miller was born about 1726 in Germany to Johann Michael Mueller, spelled Miller here in the US, and Suzanna Agnes Berchtol (Bechtol, Bechtel) and was an infant or child when arriving in the colonies in 1727.

We don’t know exactly when Philip Jacob was born, but we do know he was born before his parents immigrated because he was naturalized in 1767, and had he been born after immigration, he would not have needed to be naturalized.  We also know that his parents were married in 1714 in Krotelback (Crottelbach), Germany, with their first child being baptized in the same church in 1715, so by process of elimination, Philip was born sometime between 1716 and 1727.

Philipp Jacob is a bit unusual, because parts of his life are virtually unknown, but others are well documented. His early life we can only infer because of what little we know of his parents.  His life after marriage and moving to Frederick County, Maryland is fairly well documented, comparatively speaking, but his final years in Campbell County, KY are a bit fuzzy.  He sort of drifts into and out of focus.

Philipp Jacob Miller was also somewhat unusual in another way too – in that he never seemed, with only a couple possible exceptions, to use solely his middle name, always using both his first and middle names.  Typically German men were called by and known by their middle name alone – for example Johann Michael Miller was Michael Miller.  That was unless their name was Johannes Miller, with no middle name, and then they would just have been called Johannes, or John.  Normally, Philipp Jacob Miller would be called Jacob, but Philipp Jacob wasn’t called Jacob – although when we see a Jacob I always have to wonder.  We can simply say that Philipp Jacob wasn’t your typical Brethren man and that would probably sum things up pretty nicely.  He seemed quite religiously faithful, except for these “tidbits” that creep up here and there – just enough to hint otherwise and make you really scratch your head and look confused.

Philip Jacob’s Childhood

Philip Jacob Miller would have spent the first part of his childhood after arriving in the colonies in Chester Co., PA where his father paid taxes until about 1744 when he bought land near Hanover, Pennsylvania, in the part of Lancaster County that would become York Co., PA in 1749. By 1744, Philip Jacob would be a young man of at least 18, perfectly capable of farm work and the manual labor required to wrest a living from the land.  Perhaps he drove one of the wagons as the family packed up and moved to the Brethren community near Hanover, PA in 1744 where his father bought land jointly with Nicholas Garber and Samuel Bechtol.

Philip Jacob’s wife, Magdalena

Philip Jacob Miller married Magdalena whose last name is stated to be Rochette, about 1751, probably in York County, PA.  Let me be very clear about one thing.  There is absolutely no confirmation or documentaion for her surname, despite hundreds of entries on and other online resources that suggest otherwise.  I thoroughly perused the Frederick County, MD records and there are no Rochette’s or similar surnames there.  York County, PA records need to be reviewed in their entirety as well, but it would be very unusual to find a French surname in the highly German Brethren congregation.  There are no Rochette deeds in York County from 1749 forward and no Rochette records in any Brethren church reference.  I found no Rochette names in the Lancaster County records either, although I have not perused every record type.  Until or unless proven otherwise, I do not believe that Magdalena’s surname was Rochette.

Frederick County, Maryland

Philip Jacob moved to the Conococheague area (Frederick, then Washington Co., MD) by about 1751 or 1752 when an entire group of Brethren migrated from York Co., PA following years of bickering about land ownership and border disputes that turned violent and was subsequently known as the Maryland-Pennsylvania Border War and also as Cresap’s War.

PA-MD boundary issue

Brethren, being pacifists, tried to remain neutral but eventually, simply sold out and left for an area they thought would be safer and less volatile. Little did they know about what the future would hold.

The first Brethren, Stephen Ullerich, by 1738, and Philip Jacob’s father, Michael Miller, by 1745, had crossed into the Antietam Valley and Conococheague Valley (either side of Hagarstown) and purchased land.

Philip Jacob Miller is one of 3 confirmed children of Michael Miller as proven by a series of deeds and surveys to property called Ash Swamp near Maugansville in Frederick County, MD, northwest of Hagerstown. Philip Jacob obtained this land in October of 1751 from his father who had clearly purchased it speculatively in 1745.

In 1753, Philip Jacob Miller had his land resurveyed.

Miller 1753 Ash Swamp resurvey crop

This land, Ash Swamp positively belongs to “our” Philip Jacob Miller, although there is another survey (and resurvey) for one Jacob Miller for 50 acres on “The Swamp” adjacent Diamond Square. Is that our Philip Jacob Miller too?  We don’t know – it’s that ambiguous Jacob name again.  Ash Swamp is definitely our Philip Jacob as is later proven through subsequent transactions.

1753 Ash Swamp resurvey 2

1753 Ash swamp resurvey 3

Ash Swamp is where Philip Jacob Miller lived, adjacent to his brother John Miller to whom he deeded part of Ash Swamp.

Miller page 27

The resurvey documents were plotted on top of a contemporary map to isolate the location just southwest of Maugansville.

Miller farm west 3

I visited Philip Jacob’s land in the  fall of 2015.  This view of the area is from the location of the Grace Academy school, just about dead center in Philip Jacob’s land, looking west. This land is discussed in detail in Johann Michael Miller’s article.

The third brother, Lodowick purchased adjacent land to the south.

Lodowick's land

Sometime between 1748 and 1754, Philip Jacob’s mother died because his father remarried to the widow of Nicholas Garber, the man that he co-owned land with in York County, PA. We know this because in 1754, Michael Miller was administering the estate of Nicholas who had died in 1748, implying of course that Michael’s wife, Philip Jacob’s mother, Susanna Berchtol, had died as well, probably in that same timeframe.

We know very little about the years between the resurvey of Ash Swamp in the early 1750s and 1771 when Philip Jacob’s father died. Most of what we do know is due to a history of the area and not from the family directly.  However, when a war is being waged where you live and the entire county evacuates, you can’t not be affected.

Philip Jacob Miller, along with the rest of the residents of this region would have abandoned their farms for safety, twice, as difficult as that is for us to fathom today. The first time was in 1755 when General Braddock was defeated and the Indians descended on this part of Maryland, burning, killing and running the residents off of their farms and back east.

Based on the resurvey document, we know that the surveyor was working on May 15, 1755 in Frederick County, surveying Philip Jacob’s land, and you can rest assured that Philip Jacob was right there with him, watching every move.

Braddock was defeated on July 9, 1755, less than two months later, leaving the entire frontier exposed.

From 1755 to 1757, Alfred James writes, “Raid after raid from Fort Duquesne hit pioneer settlements along the Susquehanna and the Potomac.” It was unending and relentless. Another reports that “Frederick, Winchester and Carlisle became the new frontiers of the colony” and “Many even fled to Baltimore,” and “some to Virginia.”  Arthur Quinn writes that families went as far east as Bethlehem “where there was no more room in the inns, or the shops or even the cellars.”  Nead writes, “Terror and desolation reigned everywhere.” Repogle 106

In the fall of 1756, Indians scalped 20 people in Conococheague including one Jacob Miller, his wife and 6 children. Were they related?  We don’t know.  If they were Brethren, they would not have defended themselves.

Most settlers fled east from Monocacy. George Washington received a report in the summer of 1756 that “350 wagons had passed that place to avoid the enemy within the space of 3 days” and by August the report was that “The whole settlement of Conococheague in Maryland is fled, and there now remain only two families from thence to Fredericktown…..”

The settlements remained abandoned in 1757 and into 1758 when General Forbes actions served to end the war. Were it not for Forbes, we might all be speaking French today.

In 1758, General Harris extended a road from Harrisburg, PA to Fort Duquesne on the Ohio River (Pittsburg.) Highway 30 follows this road most of the way today. Replogle 55

Forbes road went from Cumberland to Bedford and by August 1758, 1400 men had completed the road to Bedford, just wide enough to get a wagon through. A contemporary writer said it took 8 days to travel from Bedford to Ligonier, a distance of about 45 miles.  This military tactic succeeded.  General John Forbes took Fort Duquesne, now Pittsburg, the French abandoned it, and ended the French and Indian War on November 25, 1758.  Indian attacks diminished and by 1762, the French had given up Canada.  Replogle 107-108, 110

Forbes Road

There is one item of particular significance – during the war, a small fort was built at Raystown, which would eventually become Bedford, PA, a location that would, in the 1770s, become quite important to the Brethren Miller family. It was indeed the next stop on the frontier and two of Philip Jacob’s sons would find themselves traveling that road and settling in in Bedford County, PA for a few years, at least until their father rallied the family round once again.

Philip Jacob Miller would eventually float down the Ohio River to Campbell Co., KY, and settle one last time, on one last frontier, across the river and a dozen miles upstream from Fort Washington, now Cincinnati. The Forbes road may have been part of the route he took.

Return to Frederick County

When did the settlers return to Frederick County? We don’t know.  Certainly not before the end of 1758, and probably not until they were certain things had settled down and the attacks had abated.  They likely had to rebuild from scratch, their homesteads and barns all burned.  As difficult as this must have been, they obviously did rebiuld and we have absolutely nothing in our family history reflecting this extremely difficult time.  You would think there would be stories…something…but there is nothing.  These hardy people simply did what needed to be done.

The only hint we have in terms of when they returned is that Michael Miller is back in Frederick County by 1761 purchasing land and in 1762, paying taxes. Given that he was by that time, 69 years old, you can rest assured that he was not alone and was in the company of his sons.  Wherever they had taken refuge – the family had been together.

Something else was afoot too, because in 1762, the Brethren began to be naturalized, and this from a group of people who disliked government and oaths and any processes of this type more than anything else. Brethren leaders even shunned their children if they obtained a license to marry.  However, in 1762, Nicholas Martin was naturalized in Philadelphia, PA, a state that did not require a citizen to “swear an oath” but allowed to them to “affirm,” instead.  Michael Miller and Jacob Miller (possibly Philip Jacob Miller although another Jacob Miller was present in Frederick County at this time) were witnesses for Nicholas.

If Philip Jacob and his family thought they could rest easy now, they were wrong. In fact, they had probably only been resettled a couple of years, were probably still rebuilding when they, once again, had to run for their lives.

Pontiac’s War descended upon them and from 1763 to 1765, the Brethren families in this area had to take shelter elsewhere.  According to historical records, the devastation and fear was even worse than the first time.  And true to form, we don’t know where they went, or for how long.  What I wouldn’t give for a journal…even just one sentence a week…anything.

The Maryland Gazette, written at Frederick on July 19, 1763 said, “The melancholy scene of poor distressed families driving downwards through this town with their effects…enemies…now daily seen in the woods….panic of the back inhabitants, whose terrors at this time exceed what followed on the defeat of General Braddock.”

Ironically it also reported that the season had been remarkably fine and the harvest the best for many years. Once again, Frederick County put together two companies of militia and once again, no Brethren names appeared on the list.  Replogle 113 – 114

Perhaps the entire group of Brethren returned to Conestoga. I suggest this possibility because we know that two Brethren, Nicholas Martin and Stephen Ulrich, are found attending the Great Council of the Brethren in Conestoga in 1763.  Where you find one Brethren, or two, you’re likely to find more.

Conestoga is near present day White Oak in Lancaster County, PA and both Conestoga and Conewago, another Brethren settlement, aren’t far from the Brethren settlement in Ephrata. It would make sense for the Brethren to return to areas they knew and relatives with whom they could shelter for as long as need be.


In 1765, the Millers are once again back in Frederick County because Michael, now at least 73 years of age, is selling or deeding his land.  One must admit – the Miller’s didn’t give up and they were persistent.


In 1767, another surprising event took place. Michael Miller, Philip Jacob Miller and Stephen Ulrich (or Ulrick) all traveled to Philadelphia along with Jacob Stutzman (from Cumberland County) and were naturalized at the April term of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.  They were listed under the title, “Affirmers Names.”  This makes me wonder why Michael Miller wasn’t naturalized in 1762 when he witnessed Nicholas Martin’s naturalization?  He was already there and could have easily been naturalized at that time.  What had changed in those 5 years to make an entire group of Brethren men “affirm?”

Philip Jacob Miller naturalization 1

Philip Jacob Miller naturalization 2

Philip Jacob Miller naturalization 3

Philip Jacob Miller naturalization 4

Michael Miller, Philip Jacob’s father, had waited a long time to be naturalized. He was just a few months shy of 75 years old.  He must have felt a pressing need for the naturalization and it must have been very urgent for him to risk his religious affiliation he had so staunchly preserved throughout his entire life – even in the face of warfare and extreme adversity.  From the perspective of today, we’ll likely never know what exactly was so urgent that it prompted these men to make the trip from Frederick County, MD to Philadelphia, PA where they could do the lesser of two evils and affirm as opposed to swear their loyalty and become citizens.  Whatever it was, it had to be mighty important.

This was clearly a family group that included Jacob Stutzman, Johann Michael Miller’s younger “step-brother,” Stephen Ulrich whose daughter would marry the son of the fourth Brethren man, Philip Jacob Miller, less than a decade later. Oh course Philipp Jacob Miller was the son of Michael Miller.  Stephen Ulrich would also marry Hannah Stutzman, Jacob Stutzman’s widow in 1782.  So yes, indeed, these families where closely bound and would become even more so.  Of these men, Johann Michael Miller was the eldest, and Philip Jacob Miller, at just over 40 was part of the second generation of Brethren.  He was born in the old country, but was probably too young to remember. This list does beg the question of why John Miller, Philip Jacob’s brother wasn’t with this group, nor brother Lodowick.  It’s possibly that both John and Lodowick here born after immigration, and therefore did not need to be naturalized.

Map Frederick co to Philly

The trip from Maugansville, Maryland to Philadelphia, about 165 miles, was not trivial, then or now, and certainly not for an old man bouncing around in a creaky wagon. It makes me wonder if the reason that the entire group went was because Michael Miller, as elder statesman, got it in his head he was going and the rest of the men certainly weren’t going to allow him to go alone, at his age, so they all went and shared in the “shame” of taking an oath or affirmation, equally.  Or maybe Michael set the leading example.  Probably a matter of perspective!

New Frontiers Open

In 1768 and 1769, events began to unfold which did not necessarily affect the Miller family right then, but would have an profound affect upon them in coming years. Likely, the idea of more plentiful and less expensive land was alluring, at least to the younger generation.

In 1768, the defeat of Pontiac triggered mass migration westward over the mountains. Replogle 20

In November 1768, the British government bought large tracts of land from the Iroquois and Pennsylvania now owned all the land west of the Alleghenies to the Ohio River except for the northernmost part of the colony, opening the doors for a huge migration. However, the Delaware and Shawnee were left out of the negotiations, and the raids continued.  Replogle 115

1768-1769 – A list of persons who stand charged with land on Frederick County rent rolls which are under such circumstances as renders it out of the power of George Scott Farmer to collect the rents and there claims allowance under his articles for the same from March 1768 to March 1769: (Note there are several pages of these, so much so that it looks like a tax list, not a typical roll of uncollectibles.)

  • No Cripe, Greib, Ullrich, Ullery or Stutzman
  • Conrad Miller
  • Isaac Miller
  • Jacob Miller Jr
  • John Miller
  • Lodwick Miller
  • Michael Miller heirs
  • Oliver Miller, Balt Co.
  • Oliver Miller, Balt Co additional
  • Thomas Miller

Source: Inhabitants of Frederick Co. MD, Vol 1, 1750-1790 by Stefanie R. Shaffer, p 45

Philip Jacob Miller’s father died in 1771. A few years later, between 1774 and 1778, Philip Jacob’s sons, Daniel and David Miller would both set out on the road to Bedford County, wagons full, waving good bye to an aging Philip Jacob Miller and his wife who had probably crossed the half-century mark by this time.

It was about this time that Philip Jacob Miller bought a great Bible that was printed in 1770 in Germany. Perhaps he bought it when his father died in 1771, in his father’s memory.  Perhaps an earlier family Bible had been destroyed in the evacuations and depredations, or perhaps Philip Jacob Miller simply did not inherit his father’s Bible.  Whatever, the reason, Philip Jacob bought his own and began to fill in the important dates of his life.  He probably reflected on each occurrence as he wrote each child’s birth lovingly in his own handwriting.

Miller Bible cover

Philip Jacob Miller’s incredibly beautiful Bible is shown above.

The Revolutionary War

If Philip Jacob Miller thought his life was ever going to be peaceful and serene, he was wrong. Next came the Revolutionary War which began in 1775 and in many ways was just the continuation of the issues present in the Seven Years War, also known as Dunsmore’s War or the French and Indian War – the same beast that had run the Miller’s off of their land, twice now. They had only been back from the last evacuation for a decade before war raised its ugly head again.  Would there never be peace?

Philip Jacob Miller lived through the Revolutionary War in Frederick County, MD. This would have been his third war in 30 years, or fourth war in 40 years, depending on how you were counting.

Floyd Mason, in his book, “The Michael Miller and Susanna Bechtol Family Record,” tells us what he discovered about the Brethren in Frederick County during the Revolutionary War.

During the Revolution, the colonists held their national conventions and appointed certain committees of local leaders to carry out local responsibilities. In PA and MD, the main committee was the Committee of Observation who had the responsibility for raising funds to promote the war, select its leaders and furnish themselves with one committee member for each 100 families.  This committee had full power to act as it saw fit, answered to no one and there was no appeal of their decisions.

The militia groups were called Associations, later called Militia Companies. The Committee of Observation made lists of those not participating, whether Loyalist or members of the “Peace churches,” and they were called non-enrollers or Non-Associators.

The war issues divided the people’s loyalty. About one third favored the revolution, one third were Loyalists or Tories who favored the English and one third were neutral or did not believe in this manner of settling the issues.  This threw the Quakers, Mennonites and Dunkers in with the Tories or Loyalists and in opposition to the efforts of the Committee of Observation, at least as the committee saw it.

The churches were bringing discipline to bear on members who did not follow the historic peace teachings of the church. Annual Conferences were held each year and members were asked to remain true to the Church’s nonviolent principles, to refrain from participating in the war, to not voluntarily pay the War taxes and not to allow their sons to participate in the war.  This caused a lot of problems for the church members who wanted to be loyal to the church, loyal to the Loyalists who had brought them to the new country and loyal to the new government which was emerging.

As the war wore on and it looked as if the patriots efforts might lose, emotions raged. Non-Associators found themselves having to pay double and triple taxes.  Their barns were burned, livestock stolen or slaughtered and their crops destroyed.  They were often beaten and “tarred and feathered.”  Church members came to the aid of those who endured the losses.

Some members chose not to pay the war taxes or participate in the war activities and chose to wait until the authorities came and presented their papers to have taxes forced from them. This was in compliance with the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference Action. The Committee of Observation provided that non-Associators could take as much of their possessions with them as they could and then they would seize the property and remaining possessions and sell them to fill their war chests.

During this time, the Revolutionary War was taking place and the Brethren were known as non-Associators, those who would take an oath of loyalty, but would not belong to a militia unit nor fight. Many non-Brethren residents suspected them of secretly being allied with the Tories and resented their refusal to protect themselves and others.  Laws of the time allowed for the confiscation of property of anyone thought to be disloyal.  Records of this type of event have survived in the oral and written histories of some of the Brethren families, in particular some who migrated on down into the Shenandoah Valley.  Perhaps others thought it wise to move on about this time as well.

Taken from several sources, these are some of the names of non-Associators and others who were processed by the Committee of Observance that are descendants of Johann Michael Mueller (Jr.) who died in 1771.

  • Samuel Garber who may have married one of Michael Miller’s daughters, and their sons Martin and Samuel Garber
  • Jacob Good, Michael’s step-daughter’s husband
  • John Rife, Michael’s step-daughter’s husband
  • David Miller, the son of Philip Jacob Miller
  • Michael Wine, married Susannah, the daughter of Lodowich Miller, son of Michael Miller
  • Jacob Miller, son of Lodowich Miller
  • Abraham Miller, relationship uncertain
  • Another source lists Elder Daniel Miller, stated as Lodowick’s son, as being fined 4.5 pounds.

Susannah Miller Wine told her children and grandchildren that Michael Wine, Jacob Miller, Martin Garber and Samuel Garber had their property confiscated by the authorities for remaining true to the non-violent principles of their church.

Lodowich Miller’s family group removed to Rockingham County, VA about 1782 or 1783.

We know that in 1783, Philip Jacob Miller, John Miller and Lodowick were signing deeds back and forth in Frederick County. These activities may well have been in preparation for Lodowick’s departure.

William Thomas, on the Brethren Rootsweb list in 2011 tells us:

I have a copy of the 1776 non-enrollers list for Washington County, MD, that lists “Dunkars & Menonist” fines. The list includes Abraham Miller, David Miller, and David Miller son of Philip.  It goes onto list an appraisal of guns (whatever that means) in 1777 and includes a Henry Miller.

Point being there were several Miller’s in Washington County, some of who were Dunkers or Mennonites, a name common to both denominations.

If you move to the 1776 non-enroller list for Frederick County, MD, you have even more Millers. You have Jacob Miller, Jacob Miller s/o Adam, Abraham Miller, Peter Miller, Stephen Miller, Solomon Miller, Robert Miller, Henry Miller, Philip Miller, David Miller and Daniel Miller, all fined, and implying a Dunker/Mennonite/Quaker religious affiliation.

Washington County, Maryland was formed in September 1776 from the portion of Frederick County where Philip Jacob Miller lived.  Note that while David Miller, son of Philip is listed, Philip or Philip Jacob is not listed and neither is a Jacob.

However, there is also evidence that Philip Jacob Miller did participate at some level. Men 16-60 were required to participate in the local militia.

From the book, “Colonial Soldiers of the South, 1732-1774” by Murtie June Clark:

Capt John White’s Company Maryland Militia, 6 days, undated:

  • Michael Miller
  • Jacob Miller

Note that there were multiple Michael and Jacob Millers in the area, and not all of them appear to be Brethren.

Capt Jonathan Hager’s Company, Maryland Militia 6 days service, undated:

  • Jacob Miller
  • Conrod Miller
  • John Miller Jr.
  • John Miller
  • Jacob Miller Jr.
  • Zachariah Miller
  • Philip Jacob Miller
  • Jacob Miller (son of Conrad)

List of Militia 1732-1763 now before the Committee of Accounts lists John White’s militia as from Frederick County as well as that of Jonathan Hager.

Perhaps Philip Jacob Miller was trying, rather unsuccessfully it seems, to find a middle ground.

It’s difficult to understand how to interpret this information that seems to be conflicting.  To try to resolve or better understand the situation, I turned to the 1790 census where I found 2 Philips in Washington County, 5 Jacobs, 7 Johns and an Abraham in both Washington and Frederick County.  Unfortunately, the 1790 census did not add clarity.

The Sons Leave

Philip Jacob’s sons, Daniel and David, followed the migration to Bedford Co., PA about the time of the onset of the Revolutionary War. The brothers went to Morrison’s Cove (Juniata River) and possibly on to Brothers Valley, both early Brethren settlements.

Morrison's Cove fall

David and Daniel both moved to Morrison’s Cove (shown above) between 1774 and 1778, staying for about 20 years until they joined their father later in Kentucky, but Philip Jacob remained in Washington Co., Maryland, which was formed from Frederick County in 1776. There is a record of a Jacob and Daniel Miller taking the oath of fidelity to the State of Maryland in 1778 in Washington County (formed from Frederick County in 1776,) so perhaps they didn’t leave until after 1778.

It was a rough time for Philip Jacob Miller. In the 1760s, the family had to abandon their land for a second time, returning in about 1765.  We don’t know where they sheltered, but likely, the family group included Philip’s elderly father, Michael.  In 1771, Phillip Jacob’s father, Michael, died.  Between 1774 and 1778, Philipp Jacob’s two sons, Daniel and David left for Bedford County.  In about 1783, Philip Jacob’s other brother, Lodowick left for the Shenandoah Valley, possibly as a result of the Revolutionary War.  Family is getting scarce.  The final straw seemed to be when Philip Jacob’s brother, John, died a decade later, in 1794.  John had lived beside Philip Jacob for his entire adult life in Frederick (now Washington) County, and they assuredly depended on each other and helped one another farm.  Now John was gone too.

The Big Decision

I can see Philip Jacob and Magdalena talking by the fireplace one evening, perhaps as Philip Jacob stared out the window, over his land, pondering the bold and life-changing move he was considering. It would change his life, and death, and the lives of all of his children as well – not to mention Magdalena.

Philip Jacob had farmed with his brother John since they all moved from York County in 1751 or 1752 – more than 40 years earlier. They had likely all evacuated together, twice, and rebuilt together, twice.  When their father died, there were still the three brothers, but with Lodowick removed, now John gone to death, and both of Philip Jacob’s oldest sons having moved to Bedford County, Philip Jacob obviously felt uneasy and probably somewhat isolated.  Was he concerned that he wouldn’t physically be able to farm alone?  Was he concerned that there would be no one left to inherit Ash Swamp in Washington County while at the same time his two sons in Bedford County were renting land?

Was the allure of reuniting his family who was marrying and scatte