Posts Tagged With: Baden-Wurttemberg

Five Enduring Foutz Family Mysteries

Jonathan Foutz

Great-Great Grandfather Jonathan Foutz would probably agree with Dory — looking for answers to genealogy questions? Just keep sleuthing!

Genealogy Never Rests

Just keep sleuthing, just keep sleuthing….

Dory from Finding Nemo (and her own eponymous sequel) was really a genealogist at heart. The motto that kept her moving — swimming — kept leading her to families, no matter the leagues between them. First, Nemo’s, then happily, her own.

Aside from occasional bursts of full-contact hereditary rummaging, my genealogical quest has been more of an occasional thing. Some early-a.m. flipping through old newspapers here, some peeks at the burgeoning pile of electronic detritus on there. Day job, Dad duties, mindless TV — all conspire to slow my family-sleuthing from mad scramble to meandering marathon.

And that’s OK. This blog is a record of where we’ve been before, and an open lane to the depths we’ve yet to discover. And often, the way to latch on to new currents is to back-paddle to places we last left off. Dive around. Pick up the tidal pull again.

What do we do? We sleuth….

Questions to Keep Sleuthing By

My goal for this space the next six months is to share, at least once a week, some tidbit or tale that I’ve kept under glass the last few years, or lately untangled from the historical net. These discoveries spark conversations, which in turn spark connections — people with answers, and questions of their own. Keep ’em coming.

For now, here are five of the biggest, most-enduring mysteries I’d like one day to solve, bringing further clarity to the muddy waters of Foutz, Ley, Weible, Morgan, Fisher, Johnson, Palmer, Zeigler origins.

1. Where did Michael Pfouts come from?

Yeah, we think we know. Württemberg. Along the lower Neckar River region in Germany. Where Foutzes of old farmed, fought, made little Foutzes.

So says John Scott Davenport’s Foutz Newsletter of the 1980s: Michael Pfoutz emigrated to America in 1787, settled in Washington County, Maryland, and by 1810 or so was on his way to Harrison County, Ohio, where multiple records pretty definitively trace the Pfouts-Fouts-Foutz story through the succeeding two centuries.

But: Where exactly did Michael come from in Germany? Why did he cross the ocean, at 18? Did anyone come with him? Where else did those possible brothers and sisters, and father and mother, end up?

As the Davenport newsletters grow yellowed, and the originators of that work pass away, we’ve got to look for new answers, new connections. One I may have found, that I’ll reveal in a post soon (to echo Star Wars’ original trilogy): “a sister(rrrrrrrrr)?”

2. What happened to Rachel Foutz?

As traced in the years since an original summation of Foutz mysteries, we now know what became of every brother and sister of my great-grandfather, Vance Foutz, and even have a pretty good bead on their descendants, save for one sister, Rachel (Foutz) Coleman.

Rachel was one of three older sisters to my great-grandfather. We know what became of Lila and Ida. And it’s through Ida’s son Sherman’s diary — and the useful transcribing of distant cousin Dawn James — that we gain a little color around the facts we know, and a window on life in Dover, Ohio after Rachel and family followed younger brothers Charles, Vance and Mom Rebecca Foutz there in the first decade of the 1900s:

  • Born June 3, 1871 to Jonathan and Rebecca Foutz,in Harrison County, Ohio
  • In 1891, at age 20, Rachel married a war vet, William Coleman, more than 20 years her senior, and became stepmom to at least one living son, Berttie
  • They had at least four kids — Carl, who died of tuberculosis at my great-grandfather’s house in 1915 (same spring as Rebecca Foutz and her oldest son, Sherman); Blanche, Frank and Bessie.
  • Bessie, born in 1906 in Dover, disappears, along with mother Rachel, from the record. No other census, death or burial records have been found.

We later find William living in a veterans’ home in Canton, Ohio. And Frank lives until 1959 in Canton (he has a family I have not further explored – could be connections there). Meanwhile, sister Blanche lives until the ripe old age of 97, passing away in 1994 in Kent, Ohio. A few years back, I spoke to a family who knew her well, and shared photos. Story to come.

But what became of Rachel? There’s a mystery even more vexing for all we’ve assembled about our now-distant Foutz relatives.

Kaiserslautern Coat of Arms

Kaiserslautern Coat of Arms. The Leys emigrated there from The Netherlands sometime in the 1600s.

3. What can we learn of the Netherlands Leys?

According to A Short History of the Ley Family, a pamphlet passed down from our Port Washington, Ohio Ley ancestors, the Ley family originated in the Netherlands and came to Kaiserslautern in Germany, probably in the late 1600s.

We can trace the family back through my fourth-great-grandfather, Karl Ley, coming to America in 1833 and settling first in Shanesville, Ohio, and later, Port Washington, making his career as a saddler. And then further back through his father, Frederick Charles Ley, a minister at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Pfalz, Bavaria; and then through his father, John Frederick Ley, also pastor at that parish (succeeding, in fact, his father-in-law, who succeeded his own father).

Neat trick, and probably an amazing place to visit someday for all that family mojo.

But we don’t know much about Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandfather Ley — not his name, date of birth, city of residence, or death — save that he had a large, rural estate and was mayor, for a time, of his unknown city. And that his dad, Great Ley x 8, was first to move from the Netherlands and settle in Kaiserslautern, where he set up a cloth “manufactory.”

What can we learn from detailed German records, which seem to have been maintained through the tenuous political jigsaw puzzle of those centuries, and through war, etc., but weren’t so far recorded by our relatives?

Who were Thomas Johnson’s parents?

We’ve got names, known to my grandma, Erma (Johnson) Foutz, and her sisters. Just not much else. Maybe because his name was so common?

George Johnson was probably born in England, so says family legend, and he married a, well, Mary, and they settled in Guernsey County, Ohio. That’s the sum total of our knowledge about fourth-great-grandfather Johnson.

Admittedly, it doesn’t get too much clearer with Great-Great-Great-Grandfather Thomas, who died at 42 in the Civil War. Though just where in Mississippi, and of what, is a matter of some debate. (Possibly also due to his fairly common name?)

We hear he was a mule skinner in the army — something to do with nabbing available meat from local farms the army passed through and butchering it for the fighting boys. But we don’t even know that much about the wife he left behind, Nancy Valentine, back home in Guernsey, at first, and then, by 1910 in Jackson, Ohio. There’s a tid bit about her maybe not getting his pension — why? We also don’t know her death.

This is odd, because we know all their descendants, and their paths through Harrison and Tuscarawas counties, Ohio. Time to start sleuthing….

5. Where, in Wales, were the Morgans?

Also in the common name department are my second-great-grandparents, Thomas and Jannett (Rees) Morgan. We know their lives after they emigrated from Wales quite well — from their marriage in Philadelphia in 1872, to their settling in western Pennsylvania, and eventually, in Carnegie, where Thomas ran the Hotel Morgan before he died, in 1897.

What is a continued vexation — a problem not cleared up by the terse obituaries of the 19th century — is just who their parents were. When Thomas first came over; when Janet did. What happened to their sisters and brothers (if they had any) and parents. Even how “Reese/Rhys/Rees” is spelled.

We have theories about where they were from in Wales, and family stories of Jannett and her children going back to visit. We’ve gained their photos, and a hunch about Jannett’s Dad’s name, Daniel.

Everything else? Time to get sleuthing.

Categories: Foutz, Johnson, Ley, newsletter, Weible | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

For the Record | Elizabeth Zeigler, 1928 Obit

Duerr Siblings 1903

Great-great Grandmother Elizabeth (Duerr) Zeigler — seated in the front row, second from right — and her siblings and siblings-in-law, at a family reunion, circa 1903. From left, front row: Margaret Stallecker Duerr, Mary Duerr Welsch, Anna Duerr Arnold, Elizabeth Duerr Zeigler, Susan Myers Duerr. Back: Michael Duerr, John Krantz (husband of Catherine Duerr) and Sam Duerr. Courtesy of Thomas Bitticker.

Elizabeth Duerr Zeigler, 1845-1928

From 87 years ago today, Great-Great Grandmother Elizabeth (Duerr) Zeigler passed away in the home of her daughter, Great-Grandmother Laura Foutz.

She was 83 and a native of Germany. Just where in Germany is pretty nailed down, and what’s more, that area lines up pretty neatly with her spouse, Jacob Zeigler’s, neck of Deutschland. But more interestingly, the place our Foutzes (over there, Pfoutses) are likely from, too.

How they all ended up in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, is a story that bears digging into.

But for now, record transcriptions report the Zeiglers (sometimes Ziegler) came from Hohenacker and the Duerrs came from Schlaitdorf. Both are towns near the southwestern German city of Stuttgart, in the Neckar River region. Pfoutses are said to have come from the lower Neckar River region in what is now Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Well, the trouble with certain German towns from the 18th and 19th centuries is that they were small then — some aren’t even in existence today. And, to complicate things further, sometimes there are more than one of them.

In the case of Hohenacker, birthplace of the Zeiglers, you can find the village in Bretzfeld, Waiblingen and Esslingen. Record transcriptions for the baptisms of Great-Great Grandfather J.J. Zeigler, in 1827, and sister Barbara, in 1810, show that they were born in Hohenacker, Waiblingen — which also happens to be the district that eventual wife Elizabeth Duerr and family called home, in Schlaitdorf. But family records claim these Zeiglers were born in Hohenacker, Esslingen.

Which is correct? Both villages are found near Stuttgart, both near that famed Neckar River which also produced the Pfoutses.

Baptismal records are probably the most authoritative when pinpointing our German ancestors. But I have seen more errors in transcription — and interpretation, such as family records that mutate Wuerttemberg into Wittenberg, which, as the German eagle flies, is aaaaaaall the way up in northeast Germany toward Berlin, but maybe our cute little relative researchers were thinking of the college in Ohio? — than I have seen dead-on accuracy.

So finding the actual records and eyeballing them is key. Until then, we have the swirling mists and a general geographic idea of where our Germanic roots got growing.

From the Jan. 23, 1928 edition of the New Philadelphia, Ohio Daily Times:

Mrs. Ziegler Dies Monday


Mrs. Elizabeth Ziegler, 83, widow of Jacob Ziegler, native of Germany, but a resident of Dover township since she was eleven years old, died at 10:20 p.m. yesterday at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Vance Foutz, 515 Race street, Dover, where she had made her home for the past six months.

Mrs. Ziegler, who became bedfast seven months ago tomorrow, died of a complication of diseases and infirmities of old age. Prior to her removal to Dover, Mrs. Zeigler had resided for twelve years with her son, David Ziegler, Russlin Hills, Dover township, four miles north of Dover. Mr. Ziegler died June 1, 1897.

Surviving are eight children: John, Zoarville; Mrs. Samuel Lengler, Parrall; Mrs. Edward Archinal, 515 West High street, this city; Jacob, David, Edward, all of Route 4, Dover; and Mrs. Foutz, at whose home she died; one brother, Samuel Duerr, Zoar; and a sister, Mrs. Constantine, Michigan.

Mrs. Ziegler was a member of St. Paul’s Evangelical church, Ruslin Hills.

Funeral services will be conducted at 9 a.m. Thursday at the Foutz home where she died, and at 10 a.m. at the St. Paul’s church. Rev. Paul Kaefer, Bolivar, will officiate. Burial will be made in the church cemetery by the Lewis Funeral Home, Dover, and Uhrichsville.


Zeigler Elizabeth Duerr grave Ruslin Hills Cemetery Dover Ohio

Great-great Grandmother Elizabeth (Duerr) Zeigler is buried in Ruslin Hills Cemetery north of Dover.


Categories: Foutz, General Genealogy, Milestones | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What’s In a Name? #1 | Christina Laurina Katherina (Zeigler) Foutz

Foutz Vance Zeigler Laura c. 1907

Vance Foutz and Laura Zeigler, about the time of their marriage in Canal Dover, 1907.

Christina Catherina Luithardt | Ruslin Hills Cemetery

I remember the first family tree I ever had to fill out, tripping over the name. Heck, I could barely fit it in the little rectangles they provided to record our ancestors’ names: Christina Laurina Katherina Zeigler.

It was probably third grade or so. We were assigned a sort of combination interview/research project. I dutifully called my grandmothers Ley and Foutz and recorded their answers.

The names were all new to me then, of course. I had only grown up knowing one of my great-grandparents, and it turned out M.A. Ley, as we knew her (really Florence (Jones) Ley), had been my grandpa’s stepmother. And so I dutifully scribbled Robert Earl Ley Jr. and Zula Lucrece Fisher (that was another fun name) in their appropriate rectangles.

Grandma Ley’s side gave me Robert Ohio Weible and Beatrice Ethel Morgan.

Grandma Foutz’s side gave me Charles Arthur Johnson and Viola Mae Palmer.

Grandpa Foutz’s dad’s name I may have known. You take Vance Cleveland Foutz and Robert Ohio Weible from Mom’s side and you get the name they considered for me for a time — Cleveland Ohio Foutz. I think I had heard that story by age 8 — and been thankful they’d reconsidered.

But Grandpa Foutz’s mom’s name was new, and wholly unique. Grandma said it several times, spelled it out: Christina Laurina Katherina Zeigler.

Laura Foutz By Any Other Name

I wondered about a name so exotic. What were its origins?

Back then, I understood the Foutz side of my family to hail from Germany, and that was true of the Zeiglers as well. Great-Grandma Laura’s mom (Elizabeth Duerr Zeigler) only spoke German in the house — or so the legend went. I figured Laura’s unique name was a part of that heritage.

But how?

Years after that first family tree assignment, I began to burrow into my family’s history in earnest. As I began to accumulate records — 1910, 1920 and 1930 censuses for Vance and Laura’s family, their 1907 marriage record, the 1947 deed selling their Front Street bungalow to my grandparents, her 1956 funeral card and obituary — none of them recorded the unique name my grandma Erma Foutz had related.

Even her shared gravestone with Vance in Dover Burial Park etched her name, simply, as Laura K. Foutz.

Certainly, no relatives other than my immediate family seemed to recall the melodic string of names being associated with Laura. Could it just be a family legend?

Ah, but then, some documented evidence, at last. And of the most authoritative kind, historically speaking.

Laura’s 1885 birth record lists her name as “Christine Catharine Ziegler,” born to John J. Ziegler and Elizabeth Duerr. Aside from the marring of the family name — back in Germany, at least, it was “ie” but we switched to “ei” here — bango! The name had to have been given to her by her parents.

Furthermore, the 1900 census, the only census Laura appears on as a child (the 1890 federal census having been lost to fire) records her name as Christina, youngest child (then 14) of 5 living with a widowed Elizabeth Zeigler. (William, Jacob, David and Edward are the others, sisters Anna and Bertha having already been married off, and brothers Samuel and Gottleib having died young, accounting for the census record of 10 children born to Elizabeth, 8 of whom were then living.)

So, some confirmation at least of the name I’d learned in elementary school. But where did it come from?

Jacob & Catharine Zeigler – Coming to America

As noted above, Great-Grandma Foutz’s siblings’ names are interesting, but not nearly so… suspiciously sing-song, say, as Christina Laurina Katherina.

You have, according to my synthesis of records from the 1860s through 1974, when her last sister passed away: Johann Heinrich, Samuel, Charles William, Matthias Gottleib, Mary Anna, Susanna Bertha M., Jacob Phillip, David Wesley and Edward Daniel. Not exactly Transylvanian, right?

It wasn’t until this year that I placed her name in proper ancestral context, even if some mysteries remain.

Thomas Bitticker, a distant cousin from the Duerr line, not only lives in the Ruslin Hills today — old stomping grounds of our 19th century Zeigler ancestors — but attends the same church building at the edge of the Zeigler homestead where most of great-grandma’s siblings were confirmed and married, and knows his way around Ruslin Hill Cemetery to boot.

Thomas shared a remarkable artifact of an ancestor I had not previously been able to trace my family to. Turns out, Great-Grandpa J.J. Zeigler’s parents were Jacob Friedrich Zeigler and Christina Catharina Luithard.

Armed with a name, I unearthed some other documentation that further confirms Jacob and Christina as third great-grandparents — and traces their emigration from Wuerttemberg, Germany to Ohio in the mid-1800s.

Birth certificates show Jacob and Christina as parents to my great-grandfather Johann Jacob, born May 20, 1827 in Hohenacker, Waiblingen, Wuerttemberg; and to an older sister, Barbara, born Sept. 12, 1810 in the same city and district.

The Wuerttemberg, Germany Emigration Index records “Ziegler, Jacob Friedr” as applying for emigration from Hohenacker, Waiblingen in April 1834.

Ship’s records in New York show the family arriving on July 17, 1834 from Le Havre, France on the ship Francis Depeau. The passenger manifest, recorded in the captain’s hand, shows the family at that time to include: Jacob F Ziegler, 50; Catherine Ziegler, 46; Mattias Ziegler, 21; Rosine Ziegler, 19; Gottlieb, 14; Frederica, 11; and “Jean”, age 9, born in 1827; as well as sister Catherine, 4, and a Jacob Ziegler, age 41, possibly a relation of Jacob F.

The 1850 census records Jacob F. and Catharine living in Lawrence Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio. Son Jacob, 23, is the only child living with them.

Now, I’m not certain where the rest of their children went. And though an connection reports sister Barbara as having married in Hohenacker and eventually settling in Stark County, Ohio, where she is buried, all of that has to be substantiated.

What is substantiated, though, is my great-grandma’s connection to her own grandmother Zeigler’s name. The elder Christina Catherine is buried in Ruslin Hill Cemetery, her stone broken, and barely legible, but the dates of birth and death unmistakably hers.

As to where the “Laura” name came from, or the sing-songy variation Christina Laurina Katherina (not to mention the conversion of Catherine to K), I don’t know. Perhaps it’s a game a youngest child of 10 played with her own name? Or another family legend, etched deep.

Zeigler Catharine Luithard Ruslin Hills 2012

The broken gravestone of third great-grandmother Christina Catherina Luithard lies on its side in Ruslin Hill Cemetery, north of Dover, Ohio.

Categories: Foutz, quickie post | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Good Countenance #1 — Elizabeth (Duerr) Zeigler

Duerr Siblings 1903

Great-great Grandmother Elizabeth (Duerr) Zeigler -- seated in the front row, second from right -- and her siblings and siblings-in-law, at a family reunion, circa 1903. From left, front row: Margaret Stallecker Duerr, Mary Duerr Welsch, Anna Duerr Arnold, Elizabeth Duerr Zeigler, Susan Myers Duerr. Back: Michael Duerr, John Krantz (husband of Catherine Duerr) and Sam Duerr. Courtesy of Thomas Bitticker.

Elizabeth (Duerr) Zeigler — Campfire Countenances

I’ve been contemplating a way to jump back into the blog, to give it a good kickstart.

All I end up doing is making lists of topics and themes and fretting about the perfect way to include the most interesting and comprehensive of information.

Which, of course, leads to utter inaction.

So, in an effort to enliven this space, and unburden my archives of all the material recently accumulated there, we’re going to go — as they say in journalism: “light, tight and bright.”

Every other day, in ad nauseam, in ad infinitum, I’ll throw a random dart at the stack. Wherever it sticks is what I’ll pull out and post for you here.

Let it be a starting point for further discussion — and discovery.

Today’s installment is the first of what I’ll label “In Good Countenance” — a look at pics from the past of our oldest ancestors.

Here, we catch a glimpse of my great-great grandmother, Elizabeth Duerr Zeigler, mother of Laura (Christina Laurina Catherina, as legend would have it), mother-in-law to Vance Cleveland Foutz.

This pic, as far as we know, was taken a few years before those families merged. At about 1903, shortly after brother Sam Duerr (son of third-great-grandfather Samuel Duerr) built this house along Dover-Zoar Road across from where the golf course would one day sit (according to the inscription).

The remaining sons, daughters and in-laws of Samuel Duerr are shown here. The Duerrs emigrated from the Tuebingen district of Wuerttemberg, Germany in January 1857. Sailing from Le Havre, France, they arrived in New York on the ship William Nelson that May.

As far as we know, Katharina Weinmann bore Sam Sr. 5 children in Germany before passing away in 1850 at age 36. He remarried, to Barbara Maurer, who is buried with him in Strasburg Cemetery. (More on them later.)

Elizabeth, if the dating of this photo is correct, had been widowed about 6 years. She would live another 25, passing away in the home of my great-grandparents, Vance and Laura, at age 82.

The photo below is also from the same reunion. Again, if 1903 is the date, Great-Grandma Laura would have been a mere 17, 18 years old. My only guess is that she is perhaps pictured at the top of the stairs on the left, wearing a white blouse. Elizabeth is pictured in the front right, seated to the left of her brother Sam.

Duerr Family Reunion, 1903 full group

Duerr Family Reunion, 1903 full group

Categories: Foutz, quickie post | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Little Drummer Boy | Weible Ties to the American Revolution

drummer boy

Johann Friedrich Metzger – Weible Family History

After months of attention devoted to my father’s branches in the family tree, it’s time to get back to the buds and boughs on Mom’s side. Specifically, the Weibles.

July is a month with more than its share of Weible milestones, including my grandmother’s (Sue Weible Ley, July 6), great-grandmother’s (Beatrice Morgan Weible, July 27) and great-great grandmother’s (Esther Bliss Goddard Weible, July 4) birthdays, as well as the birthdays (Andrea, Sam) and anniversaries (Dan & Laura) of a few descendants.

So it’s as good a time as any to wrap up our look at the latest pictures, documents and newspaper clippings I’ve collected over the last few months, since two brief visits home and a stay over at my parents’.

We begin with a look at the life of my fifth great-grandfather, Johann Friedrich Metzger, and a boyhood that was partially occupied with serving our fledgling nation during its fight for independence.

For the Record: Sons of the American Revolution Membership

My ties to Frederick, as he is commonly known in our family, run this way: He was the father of Anna Metzger Weible, who was mother to Frederick Weible, who was father to Franklin Eli Weible, who was father to Robert Ohio Weible, who was father to Suzanne Abbott Weible, who was mother to Janet Ley Foutz, who is better known as Mom to me.

Anna Nancy Metzger, remember, is an ancestor we have in common with Ella Metzker Milligan, whose 1940s history recounts the exploits of generation after generation of Metzgers, Weibles and the like.

One story shared by Ella Milligan is the time Anna and her parents were honored in 1894 or 1895 by a visit from George Washington. As the story went, Anna, then merely 4, was face to face with the President and father of our country when “He laid his hand on her head, in departing, and said, ‘Sei ein gutes Kind!’ (Be a good girl.)”

This probably took place in the family’s Lehigh River Valley home in Pennsylvania, near Northhampton, where Anna and her father were born. By the time Anna was 10, the family was on the move, bound for Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, where Anna would eventually meet an adventurous Swiss immigrant named Hans Jakob Weible, marry him, and head for Ohio, where the family’s fate awaited.

Anna’s parents, Johann Frederick and Anna (Schliefer) Metzger, would remain in Barren Run, PA, where Frederick died in Oct. 1842 at age 83, and Anna would outlive him another 14 years, ripening to age 97 before her passing on July 4, 1856 (incidentally, the fourth birthday, in Vermont, of her great-grandson Franklin Eli Weible’s eventual wife, Esther Bliss Goddard).

I don’t know anything, yet, of how Johann made his trade, or why the family moved from that part of Pennsylvania where his father, Christian Metzger, settled after emigrating from Wuerttemberg, Germany in the early 1750s. (And there’s another of our family from Wuerttemberg, predating the Foutzes, Weibles, Leys and Zeiglers in roughly that order.) But we do know what he was up to from about age 17 to 23, as he served in various militias connected to Northampton.

This month, published several hundred pages of applications to the Sons of the American Revolution from various chapters around the United States. Information on our ancestor is culled from three applications:

* January, 1940 — Robert Ohio Weible (second great-grandson of Frederick Metzger, through Frederick Weible’s son, Franklin Eli) to the Benjamin Franklin chapter, Ohio

* May, 1951 — John Richard Wible (third great-grandson of Frederick Metzger, through Frederick Weible’s son, David) to the John Stark chapter, Ohio

* Dec., 1952 — Glen Roy Metzker, Sr. (second great-grandson of Frederick Metzger, through his son Christian Metzger and grandson Christian Frederick Metsker and great-grandson Louis Alexander Metsker) to the Oregon Society, Oregon

Served at Valley Forge under Washington’s Generalship

Glen Metsker’s application traces the family’s roots most thoroughly, stretching back three generations beyond the relevant Revolutionary connection (as noted by a checkmark in the reviewer’s hand) to my eighth great-grandparents Johann Georg and Anna Maria Hubner Metzger, born in Germany in the 1650s. But his application is studded with incorrect or missing sources, as indicated by “not there” and “not in this paper”, among other notations. (All three applications I’m referencing were ultimately approved.)

My great-grandfather Robert Weible’s application is the most thoroughly sourced, citing no fewer than eight references to Pennsylvania archives, tax rolls and muster records of the militia, but not Ella Milligan’s book, which had not yet made its way into his hands. Helpfully, R.O. does list his children on the application (no grandchildren, not yet); so Arry, Sue and Bill’s descendants should be able to reference his application, if that ever becomes necessary for anyone’s aspirations.

John Wible’s application does quote from Ella Milligan’s book, which saves me a trip to the Newberry Library in Chicago to dig up the winning text on or about page 88, which I’ll share below.

What we learn is that Johann Frederick Metzger was living on about 113 acres of land with his family in Northampton, Pa. In November, 1776, he enlisted in Heidelberg Company — the first company of the second battalion in the Northampton Militia, under the command of Col. Henry Geiger, according to all three applications.

He enlisted as a private and drummer. He was 17 years old. There were six other men with him in Class 4 of his company.

Frederick was active as a soldier in campaigns throughout 1777-78 and 1778-89. According to muster rolls and a letter from Frederick to his family, he was with the battalion in 1777 when they wintered at Valley Forge. The letter, dated Feb. 14, 1777, reads:

“We are at Valley Forge. I am in the First Company, 4th Class. We are in the Second Battalion. Philip (no sibling of his matches this name — Colt) and four other men are in my class. We have a little log cabin, and we eat together. General George Washington rode by our hut today. He stopped and spoke to us. He saw the warm coat you made for me, and was glad.

When it gets too cold I play the drum and we march around past the other huts. As soon as it warms up we are going south around Philadelphia. Some apple and peach brandy, or some cherry bounce would taste good.


John Wible’s application notes that Frederick appeared on muster rolls until 1781, the year before his marriage to Anna Schleiffer in Zionsville, Lehigh, Pa. R.O.’s application reports that the Battalion saw action as late as 1783, but doesn’t say whether Frederick was still among them.

They would go on to raise 10 children, and apparently enjoy an audience with George Washington again, long after the freezing winter in Valley Forge, as the nation they fought to establish was enjoying its first flourish of independence and democratic self-rule.


Weible Anna Nancy Metzger

Great-great-great-great Grandmother Anna Nancy (Metzger) Weible, a true daughter of the American Revolution. Her father, Johann Frederick Metzger, served at Valley Forge.

Categories: Ley, newsletter, Weible | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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