Remembering Our Ancestors: John Chris(t)man

Our 4th and 5th great-grandfather John was a real Christman: He was born on 25 December 1763.

The Christman’s, who for a few generations spelled their name “Chrisman” but have the “t” added back in again by now, at least in our branch of the tree, are of German origin.  The “Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Chester County” (Chester Co, PA, that is) says the following about them:

The family is of German origin, tracing its ancestry back to the Fatherland, from whence came Daniel Christman in the good ship Alexander, William Clymer, master, ” from Rotterdam, last from Cowes,” as the vessel’s report shows. He landed in America September 5, 1730, and settled in Worcester township, then part of Philadelphia county, but now comprised in the county of Montgomery. He afterward removed to Frederick township, Montgomery county, where he died. He was a fanner by occupation, a member of the Lutheran church, and his remains lie entombed at Leedy’s burying-ground in Frederick township.

His children were : Anna E., married Johannes Grobb in December, 1749, and lived in East Coventry township, this county ; Felix, born in 1733, and removed to Vin- cent township; Elizabeth, born in 1734; Jacob, born in 1737, and died February 27, 1804; George, born in 1739, was a farmer, and lived in Frederick township, Montgomery county; and Henry , who was born in Frederick township, that county, in 1744.

Daniel Chris(t)man’s son Felix was our 5th (and 6th) great-grandfather, and today, we are remembering Felix’s son John, our 4th (and 5th) great-grandfather.  Before the Chris(t)man’s immigrated, they lived in southern Germany, in the Kaiserslautern area in Rhineland-Palate and in north-western Bavaria.

John Chris(t)man’s parents Felix and Rebecca had seven children altogether, as we have found out recently, and John was their third child and second son, the first son having been named after his father.  John was born on Christmas Day in 1763 in Chester County, PA – how very fitting, given his last name!

When John was 13, the colonies his grandparents had immigrated to turned into a nation, and his father Felix helped to bring it about, luckily surviving the Revolutionary War.

When John was 17, his mother Rebecca died, and when he was 31, his father passed on as well.  Until then, John had not found a wife, but in 1797, he married Jane Baer (or Blair), and the two still lived in the far south-eastern corner of Pennsylvania, in Chester County.


John and Jane had six children, and they consistently spelled their name “Chrisman”, it seems.  Would be interesting to research how many branches of the Chris(t)man family spell their name without the “t” until this day, much like the Denney’s with and without the second “e”, but we’ll leave it to another day.  Our direct ancestor in the Chris(t)man line is John’s first son Daniel, named (apparently) after his grandfather.

We do not know what John did for a living, but he stayed in the area with his family, for he died on 1 August 1830, tomorrow 190 years ago, in Vincent Twp. (not sure if East or West), Montgomery, PA, and he lies buried in Vincent Baptist Churchyard in Pikeland, Chester Co., PA.  From what I can see, that’s all rather close together.

Requiescat in Pace, Great-Grandfather John.  It’s good to know that at least one member of the Christman family was born on Christmas Day.

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Remembering Our Ancestors: Relief Howe

Relief Howe Everton was our 4th and 5th great-grandmother in the Denney line.

Our great-grandma Relief Howe was born on 10 October 1764, in Dover, New Hampshire.  Apparently, her family called her Leafy.  I must say that “Relief” is a very interesting first name.  Why might parents name their daughter “Relief”?  In this case, she was named after her own mother, but the question remains.  Whatever the reasons, however, Relief was to name one of her own daughters Relief as well, so it can rightly be said that this first name, much like Polly, Sally, Molly and other more common names of that time, runs in the family.

Relief and her three siblings grew up in the very north of this country, in the area of New Hampshire and later Maine, just when Colonial America was turning into an independent state:  The Declaration of Independence was signed when Relief was 11, going on 12 years old.  How much of what was going on did she see or realize, one has to wonder, and was her father involved at all?

One day before her 20th birthday, on 9 October 1784, Relief married Thomas Everton Sr. in Maine.  In the next 20 years, Thomas and Relief had ten children together (naming one of their daughters “Relief”, as mentioned), but they apparently left Maine around 1787 and lived in New York State for a while before settling in Rutland, Meigs Co., Ohio around the turn of the century.  Her husband Thomas was known in the community there as “Deacon Everton”: They belonged to the Regular Baptist Church in town, according to the “Pioneer History of Meigs Co, OH” by Stillman Carter Larkin.

Their third daughter, Jane Howe, born in 1790 in Oneida, NY, in time became Harvey Hamilton Lindsey‘s grandmother, who in turn was our great-grandfather (and 2nd great-grandfather) via Grandma Irene.

Relief Everton née Howe died this week 179 years ago, on 1 June 1841 at the  age of 76.  We assume that she lies buried in Rutland, but we have no record of her burial place, or that of her husband.

Rest well, Great-Grandma Relief, wherever they laid you to rest.



Remembering Our Ancestors: Johannes Stuttenbecker

Our 8th and 9th great-grandfather Studebaker died this week 292 years ago, only three days before his 66th birthday.

When Johannes Peter Stuttenbecker was born on 10 April 1662 in Solingen in the Bergisches Land in what we now call Germany, his hometown had just become a fortified city after having been a tiny village for about 500 years.  It had also weathered a severe outbreak of the plague with almost 2,000 deaths in town, as well as the Thirty Years’ War within the last 50 years.  Chances are Johannes was actually born in Dorp, a nearby town which was incorporated into Solingen in 1889 and in which his parents Peter and Anna both were born, but we can’t be sure.

Johannes had two older sisters, two older brothers and two younger brothers, which makes them seven children altogether.

Johannes married Catharina Rau in his home town on 9 May 1692, and the two of them had five children together, four boys and one girl.  At least two of their children, one of them being our direct ancestor Peter Studebaker, immigrated into the New World in the first half of the 18th century where the spelling of the last name was changed into something more palatable for English-speaking people.  But Johannes and Catharina, as well as at least two of their children, lived and died in Solingen.

After living all their lives in and around Solingen, Johannes passed away on 7 April 1728.  Catharina had already died 16 years earlier.  Their son Peter and his family arrived in Maryland only nine years after his father’s death.

Rest in Peace, Great-Grandpa Stuttenbecker.  According to information on Find-A-Grave, you and your wife lie buried in the Waldfriedhof of the city of Charlemagne, Aachen.

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Remembering Our Ancestors: Elizabeth and Nathaniel Kellogg

Our 9th (and 10th) great-grandparents appear to have both died on April Fool’s Day, and it’s not a joke!

What happened on 1 April 1762 in East Windsor, CT?  This is one of the mysteries in our family tree, the kind that hobby genealogists know only too well.  The records indicate that our 9th (and 10th) great-grandparents in the Andrews-line, Nathaniel Kellogg and his wife Elizabeth Williams, died both on the same day, so the question is, what happened to them on that day?  We have not been able to find out thus far.

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Elizabeth Williams was born on 13 February 1703, and her later husband Nathaniel Kellogg shortly thereafter on 8 May 1703, both in Colchester, CT, a little speck of a place that only four years previously had been named so, after the port city of Colchester in Essex, England.  In the year of Nathaniel and Elizabeth’s birth, it was ruled that the settlement could organize a church body there, and within a few years, several grist mills and saw mills were built to provide grain and lumber for the settlement.  In 1706, the first street was laid and called Town Street.  By 1714, there were nearly 50 English colonial families in town, among them our Kellogg’s and Williams’ ancestors.

Nathaniel and Elizabeth got married on 1 July 1725 in Colchester, just before Elizabeth’s mother Elizabeth Weeks, wife of Charles Williams, died.  The couple had eight children altogether, their daughter Delight, who married Lt. Robert Andrews, being our 8th (and 9th) great-grandmother.

The family lived in Colchester, CT for many years, but shortly before Nathaniel and Elizabeth died, they moved to East Windsor, CT, possibly with Delight and Robert who were living there by 1756.  Robert’s family was one of the founding families of Hartford, CT and among the first settlers in Windsor as well.

As mentioned, both Nathaniel and Elizabeth died on 1 April 1762, in Windsor, Connecticut.  She was already 59 by that time, and he was still 58.

Requiescat in Pace, Great-Grandparents Kellogg.  Maybe it is for the best that we do not know how you died.

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Remembering Our Ancestors: Elisha Andrews

Remembering Elisha Andrews and his wife Ruth Loveland takes us back to colonial America.

This past Wednesday 270 years ago, our 8th (and 9th) great-grandfather Elisha Andrews passed on in his home village in Glastonbury, Hartford Co., CT.  To the day half a year later, his wife Ruth (née Loveland) followed him.  On his Find-A-Grave memorial, the following is quoted (see also the featured image):

Elisha Andrews, eldest son of Stephen, of Glastonbury, and his wife, Sarah Gillett; record of his birth on the Hartford town books.  He lived in East Glastonbury, and succeeded his father as clerk of the school society; he was both mechanic and farmer, as was common in our early history. He married the 9th February, 1726, Ruth (Loveland).  He was the first of four of the name in as many generations, being great-grand-father of Capt. Elisha, of South Manchester, now, 1867, living at the age of 78.  Rev. A. B. Chapin. D. D., in his History of Glastonbury, says, Elisha Andrews, as clerk from 1743 to 1749, had few peculiarities of spelling, and wrote a respectable hand.  He died the 29th January, 1750, aged 43 years, 7 months. 19 days.  He seems to have been a school-teacher, in 1747.

Quoted from:
Genealogical history of John and Mary Andrews, who settled in Farmington, Conn., 1640: embracing their descendants to 1872; with an introduction of miscellaneous names of Andrews, with their progenitors as far as known; to which is added a list of some of the authors, clergymen, physicians and soldiers of the name.
by Andrews, Alfred, 1797-1876

Said birth took place on 10 Jun 1706, 13 years after Glastonbury was founded; he was the first of four children born to Stephen and Sarah.

Elisha and Ruth in turn had five children, their 4th child and last son Robert being our direct ancestor.  Both Elisha and Ruth died before they reached the age of 50:  He passed on at age 43, and she one day before her 48th birthday, only 6 days after their second son Benjamin had died at the age of 22.  The exact place of their burial is not known, but we assume they all were laid to rest in or around East Glastonbury.  Makes one wonder if smallpox were rampant in Glastonbury at the time since both parents and a son died within 6 months from one other.  After all, smallpox was a leading cause of death in 18th century Europe, and the widespread use of variolation in the North American colonies reduced the impact only during the latter part of the 18th century and mainly among the wealthy classes, too late and possibly not accessible for Elisha, Ruth and their son Benjamin.

Anyway, here we are in pre-revolutionary Connecticut, in a place where the now oldest continually operating ferry in the United States is located, the Rocky Hill – Glastonbury ferry, dating back to 1655.  Today, the trip across the Connecticut River takes approximately 4 minutes, but we assume it took longer back in the day:  Originally the ferry was a raft that was poled across the Connecticut River.  Later, it was powered by a horse on a treadmill before the ferry was upgraded to a steamship in 1876.

The Rocky Hill to Glastonbury (Connecticut) Ferry in 2007

There is another little historical curiosity concerning our ancestors and Glastonbury, CT:  Our Elisha and his father were succeeded in their teacher-position by a certain Noah Webster, who was born in West Hartford in 1758, eight years after Elisha’s death, and who taught in Glastonbury for “a short time” around 1779, approximately 30 years after Elisha.  The name Noah Webster is nowadays firmly associated with “dictionary”, especially with the modern Merriam-Webster dictionary that was first published in 1828 as “An American Dictionary of the English Language”.  Webster has been called the “Father of American Scholarship and Education”, and his “Blue-backed Speller” books taught five generations of American children how to spell and read.





Remembering Our Ancestors: Anna Margareta Aschauer

Not everyone who came over here lived in the New World for very long.

317 years ago today, our 7th (and 8th) great-grandmother Anna Margareta Aschauer was born in what is now called North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany.  By the time she was called home, she had given birth to twenty children and crossed the Atlantic Ocean to the New World.

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Anna Margareta Aschauer was born on 24 May 1702 in the Bergisches Land east of the Rhine river and south of the Ruhr, in the area of Solingen.  She married Peter Studebaker when she was almost 23 years of age, on 24 March 24 1725, and they had 19 children while they lived in Solingen, twelve sons and seven daughters.

Around 1735, the couple and their many children decided to immigrate to the New World, crossed the ocean and settled in Broadfording, Maryland, but Anna was not to live long in their new home.  In 1737, apparently while or shortly after giving birth to her 20th child and 8th daughter, she passed away.

Anna Margareta Aschauer was laid to rest in American soil.  Rest in Peace, Great-Grandmother Anna.


Remembering Our Ancestors: Ursula Mühlenhauser and the “Grüner Baum” Inn

The Fouts family used to be inn keepers for a couple of generations, it seems.

This week Tuesday 247 years ago, our 9th (and 10th) great-grandmother Ursula Mühlenhauser passed away.  She died on the same date as one of her sons, our 9th (and 10th) great-uncle Johann Michael Pfautz, and they both died in the New World, but he died three years earlier than she did.

Ursula Mühlenhauser was born in 1682 in the village of Mosbach in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, where she also met and married Hans Michael Pfautz on 10 February 1702.  The two quickly moved to Rohrbach (which is a part of Sinsheim in south-western Germany, in the Rhine Neckar Area of the state Baden-Württemberg halfway between Heidelbergand Heilbronn), where Hans Michael’s family lived and ran an inn.  Mosbach lies roughly twenty miles east of Rohrbach, and our featured image shows a chalcography of Sinsheim in the 17th century.

The village of Rohrbach was first named in a document on 1099.  It was located on the main road from Paris to Prague, a favorable trading route, and still today online mapping software will send you through Sinsheim if you search for a travelling route between the two cities.  So at one point before the 17th century, there were six inns in the village!  But the good position as a trading route was also a passage way for military forces.  Therefore, Rohrbach was heavily impacted by the multiple wars that raged in the area over the centuries.  During the Thirty Year War (1618-1648), Rohrbach was so war-ravaged that the town was unlivable for 18 years.

The inn the family owned in Rohrbach was named “Grüner Baum”, or possibly “Zum Grünen Baum”, and Ursula and Hans Michael, who had 14 children while they lived in Rohrbach, ran it together with his father Johann Michael for a while.  It appears that Johann’s grandfather Hans had first bought or built it and then passed it on to his son, and thus it continued for two more generations.  But when Ursula and Hans Michael were both 45 years old, they decided to sell the inn, take their many children and even grandchildren, and immigrate to America.  In 1727, they landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where the spelling of their last name quickly morphed from Pfautz to Fouts, and even Ursula’s maiden name was changed into Millhouse.  They settled in Lancaster County, PA.

Ursula lived to be 90 years old.  She died on 14 May 1772 in Strasburg, Lancaster County, PA.  Rest in Peace, Great-Grandma Fouts.

Hans Michael’s father Johann Michael did not immigrate with his son, for he was still in Rohrbach in 1730.  He actually was the mayor of the little town at one point.  At an official hearing concerning the state of the town after the Thirty Year War on 2 October 1730, Johann Michael Pfautz recounted “that in this time grass was grown in the rooms and houses”, but after 1648, the families returned and rebuilt their village.

There were at least five Pfautz generations (technically six) who lived in Rohrbach while they owned the “Grüner Baum“ Inn.

1) Hans Pfautz (1587 – ?), appears to have been among those who rebuilt the village after 1648, the earliest Pfautz ancestor we have record of at this time,
2) Ludwig Pfautz (1612–1672), who appears to have taken over the inn around 1657,
3) Johann Michael Pfautz (1660 – 1741), inn owner and at one point mayor of Rohrbach,
4) Hans Michael Pfautz Sr. (1682–1741), inn owner who sold the inn to pay the passage for his family to America in 1727, and
5) Hans Michael Pfautz Jr. (1709–1767).  He and his family went to America with his father in 1727.  His son Jacob Michael Pfautz, technically the 6th generation, was only 3 years old when they left Rohrbach.


Remembering Our Ancestors: Mabel Tullar

Mabel was our 8th (and 9th) great-grandmother.

Today, we remember our 8th (and 9th) great-grandmother Mabel Tullar.  She was the daughter of John Tullar, the American ancestor of the Tullar family in the United States, and Elisabeth (Case) Lewis, widow of Joseph Lewis, of Simsbury, Connecticut.  Elisabeth was John’s second wife after the death of his first, and after marrying in 1684, the two had six children, with Mabel being the youngest.

Mabel Tullar was born on 22 February 1699, that is, today 320 years ago, in Simsbury, Connecticut.  She married Samuel Chidester on 17 March, 1719, in her hometown, and as far as we know, they had at least two, but probably more children during their marriage.  Mabel died on 27 March 1761, in Roxbury, New Jersey, at the age of 62, and was buried in Succasunna, NJ.

Her great-granddaughter Sarah married into the Snyder-line of our family in 1797.

Of her life we know very little:  Mabel was only 19 when her mother died, and when her husband Samuel died on 17 Mar 1761, she followed him only ten days later.

Rest in Peace, Great-Grandma Mabel.  Just because we do not know much about you does not mean that we should not, or do not, remember you.

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