Posts Tagged With: George Washington

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

Know Thy Patriarchs | 13 Weible Generations

Suzanne Abbott Weible Ley

Grandma Suzanne Abbott Weible Ley

Ancestral Anthology, Part 3 – Weible Family

Growing up, maybe we were all suffering from a lack of information, or maybe I just wasn’t listening closely enough whenever my grandparents talked about the places our families came from.

Probably it was more of the latter than the former.

But maybe that makes my fascination with discovering just which “homeland” fits with each main branch of my family tree all the richer.

Though how I wish I had the opportunity to go back and discuss my findings with my grandparents. I know I’d be all ears about what they’d have to say now.

Anyway, my understanding back then went something like: Leys – Switzerland; Weibles – Wales; Foutzes – Germany; Johnsons – England.

And as it turns out, at least where the first ancestors to immigrate are concerned, it goes like this: Leys – Germany (Rheinland-Pfalz); Weibles – Switzerland (the Morgans were from Wales); Foutzes – Germany (Baden-Wuerttemberg); and Johnsons, well, we’ll get to them in the next post.

Remember what I said about not really listening?

As it turns out, then, three out of the four main branches of my family tree are from the same basic area — that region of southwestern Germany and northwestern Switzerland that is bordered primarily by France, and within alpenhorn’s hearing distance of Luxembourg, Belgium, etc. It’s around 343 km from Boeckten, Switzerland, hometown of the Weibles, to Kaiserslautern, Germany, landing place of the Leys, who were originally from the Netherlands. That’s about 212 miles, as the crow flies — no daily commute. But it’s less than the distance from Dover to Cincinnati.

All right. Not even the same state, really, as far as politics, industry, etc. are concerned. But closer than I’d thought.

We’ve got a lot of info about our Weible ancestors. Not all of it has been confirmed. And there’s a certain letter from Dorothy (Cook) Wible, wife of David Augustus “Scoop” Wible (a descendant of both the Leys and Weibles; we’ve previously covered the modified Weible spelling) to my mother in the 1970s that may shed some further light. We’ll get to that later. For now, consider these whisperings a conversation-starter.

Weible Ancestry – Looking Back 13 Generations

1. Jonah Robert Foutz and Benjamin Peter Foutz

Born in Illinois, Sept. 6, 2006 and Sept. 9, 2008.

2. Frederick Colt Foutz (married Kathryn Marie Knutson)

Born in Dover, Ohio, June 2, 1976. Educated at Carnegie Mellon University and Columbia College Chicago. Newspaper reporter and columnist in Ohio and Illinois, freelance writer, musician. Currently manages a creative team at a Chicago advertising agency. Married Sept. 21, 2002 in Olathe, Kansas. Katie was born Dec. 8, 1977 in Rochester, Minn. Parents of Jonah Robert, Benjamin Peter.

Janet Louise Ley

3. Janet Louise Ley (married Frederick Charles Foutz)

Mother. Born in Dover, Ohio, May 25, 1952. Educated at The Ohio State University, Kent State University, Ashland College. Teaches art. Married Dec. 21, 1975 in Dover. Fred was born June 5, 1952 in Dover. Parents of Frederick Colt, Daniel Morgan, Jacob Ley, Samuel Chase.

Suzanne Abbott Weible Robert Earl Ley Jr.

4. Suzanne Abbott Weible (married Robert Earl Ley Jr.)

Also pictured above. Grandmother. Born July 6, 1918 in Dover, Ohio. Died January 15, 2007 in Dover. Educated at Miami University (Ohio). Homemaker, volunteer. Married Oct. 16, 1943 in Oxford, Ohio. Robert Jr. was born Sept. 18, 1918 in Dover. He died July 28, 2008 in Dover. Parents of Robert Earl III, Sally Ann, Jeanne Abbott, Suzanne Elizabeth, Janet Louise, Mary Lynn, Heather Beatrice.

Robert Ohio Weible

5. Robert Ohio Weible (married Beatrice Ethel Morgan)

Great-grandfather. Born May 30, 1892 in Dover, Ohio. Died July 16, 1947 in Dover. Furniture store owner and salesman (second generation). He was a Mason, Shriner and president of the Dover Elks Club. He was appointed superintendent of purchases and printing for the state of Ohio, and served as executive secretary of the Ohio General Salvage Divisions of the War Production Board. He was an avid gun collector and a member of the Ohio Gun Collector’s Association. Married May 6, 1914, probably in Carnegie, Pa. Beatrice (M.A.) was born July 27, 1892 in Carnegie, Pa. She died May 17, 1974 in Dover. Parents of Robert Colt, Suzanne Abbott, William A.

Franklin Eli Weible

6. Franklin Eli Weible (married Esther Bliss Goddard)

Second great grandfather. Born Dec. 10, 1845 near Dover, Ohio. He died Feb. 5, 1917 in Dover. Furniture store owner and salesman. President of Dover Elks Lodge. Married Feb. 12, 1869 in Henry, Ohio. Esther was born July 4, 1852 in Londonderry, Vt. She died Jan. 23, 1915 in Dover. Parents of Otheo Martin, Albert Lowell, Clara A., Rose Ella, Frank Abbott (twin), Charles Forrest (twin), Robert Ohio.

Frederick Weible 1809-1885

7. Frederick Weible (married Susan Schrock)

Third great grandfather. Born March 13, 1809 in Westmoreland, Pa. Died Nov. 16, 1885 in Crooked Run, south of New Philadelphia, Ohio. Farmer, Sunday school teacher, choir member, Moravian Church. Was an early pioneer of Tuscarawas County – his wife’s family was one of five to settle just south of New Phila in 1812. Married Nov. 11, 1833 in Tuscarawas County. Susan was born March 31, 1814 in Tuscarawas County. She died Dec. 13, 1893, probably in Crooked Run. Parents of Joseph Blough, William Reinhart, Lydia Jane, Simon S., Franklin Eli, David, Albert Jones, Mary Elizabeth.

Jakob Weible gravestone 1849

8. Hans Jakob Weible (married Anna Nancy Metzger)

Fourth great grandfather. Born Dec. 15, 1780 in Bockten, Switzerland. Died around July 1849, probably in St. Louis. Farmer, pioneer, adventurer. Emigrated from Switzerland about 1804, at age 24. Stopped first in Westmoreland County, Pa., where he met and married Nancy Metzger. Continued on to Tuscarawas County, probably following John Weible (maybe his brother, maybe his father), who was among five families to settle just south of New Philadelphia, in Crooked Run. He was just past 70 when he lit out for the Rocky Mountains, seeking fortune. He died of smallpox. Married Dec. 2, 1806 in Westmoreland County. Nancy was born Dec. 2, 1790 in Northhampton, Va. (Her parents were friends of George Washington.) She died March 26, 1886 in Delphos, Ohio. They were parents to 13: John Jacob, Frederick, William, Fanny, Ann, Elizabeth, Mary, Catherine, Jacob, Daniel, Henry, Mattie, George Christian.

9. John Weible or Johannes Waibel (married Ursula Freyburger)

Fifth great grandfather. Born June 23, 1757 in Bockten, Basel Canton, Switzerland. It is thought that he died Nov. 22, 1826 in St. Clair, Illinois, a town southeast and over the border from St. Louis, which is where his son succumbed to smallpox 23 years later. He could be the trailblazer Jakob followed to Tuscarawas County. Or that could be another son. He doesn’t seem to have left Switzerland until after 1787 – half of his kids are born in Switzerland; beginning with William Noah, the rest are born in Pennsylvania. Married Feb. 29, 1780 in Bockten. Ursula was born March 29, 1757 in Ormalinger, Basel Canton, Switzerland. Her death date is unknown. They were parents to eight: Hans Jakob (John Jacob), Johannes (John), Heinrich (Henry), William Noah, Elizabeth, Anna Maria, Henry.

10. Hans Jakob Waibel (married Anna Buser)

Sixth great grandfather. Born 1726 in Bockten, Switzerland. Died July 13, 1784 in Basel, Basel-Town, Switzerland. Married Aug. 1, 1752 in Bockten. Anna was born 1732 in Ormalinger, Switzerland. She died June 8, 1784 in Bockten. Parents of 11: Hans Jakob, Johannes, Anna, Fridli Friedrich, Elizabeth, Anna, Katharina, Martin, Rudi Rudolf, Salome.

11. Hans Jakob Waibel (married Anna Madori)

Seventh great grandfather. Born Feb. 27, 1707 in Bockten, Basel Canton, Switzerland. Died March 2, 1786 in Bockten. May have married as many as three times. The wife we’re concerned with is his first: married Oct. 15, 1725 in Bockten. Anna was born Dec. 1, 1705 in Ziefen, Switzerland. She appears to have died in childbirth, March 3, 1737. To them were born: Hans Jakob, Johannes, Martin, Heini Heinrich, Hans Georg, Benedikt, Anna. Following, Anna Madori’s death, Hans Jakob married Elisabeth Gass (1707-1751) on Nov. 3, 1739. To them was born Rudi Rudolf. Hans Jakob married Elisabeth Borlin (1725-1786) on Feb. 9, 1751. To them were born Fridli, Elisabeth, Barbara, Anna Maria, Rachel. But this is all a bit sketchy to me at this point….

12. Hans Jakob Waibel (married Elisabeth Wurz)

Eighth great grandfather. Born May 9, 1678 in Bockten, Basel Canton, Switzerland. Died Feb. 9, 1744. Married Jan. 20, 1705 in Bockten. Elisabeth was born 1682 in Gelterkinden, Basel-Country, Switzerland. She died May 18, 1760 in Bockten. Parents of Anna, Hans Jakob, Fridli Friedrich, Johannes, Elisabeth, Barbara, Basche Sebastian, Hans Georg.

13. Hans Jakob Waibel (married Anna Socin)

Ninth great grandfather. Born 1650 in Bockten, Basel Canton, Switzerland. Died 1720 in Bockten. Married in 1675. Anna was born about 1650 in Bockten. Only known child is Hans Jakob.

Some very misty mist-gazing this time around….

HANSES AND JAKOBS AND JOHANNES, OH MY — What’s in a name? Maybe everything. And, well, maybe nothing, too.

I’m pretty confident in my research back eight generations, which is backed up by sources such as Ella Metkser Milligan’s The History of Christian Metzger, Founder of an American Family. But before that, things get a bit squirrely.

Previous researchers have traced our line back through the series of Johannes and Hanses and Jakobs outlined here. I haven’t had a chance to double-check and confirm all of it. That doesn’t mean they’re wrong, but it doesn’t it’s all right, either.

As the journalism adage goes, “If you’re mother says she loves you… check it out!”

For now, though, seems like a pretty good roadmap, and it leads us through Bockten.

WAIBEL TO WEIBLE TO WIBLE (IN CERTAIN CASES) — As the link in the intro should remind you, we’ve already discussed the change in spelling, a couple generations after the Swiss “Waibels” hit the United States, from Weibel to Wible, as perpetrated by my second great grandfather Franklin Eli and his brother, David.

Probably it was a ploy to have the name easily sounded out by lumber and furniture customers in late 19th-century Canal Dover. (The spelling appeared on those advertisements.) But one descendant of David (and the Leys, too, remember?), “Scoop”, a friend to my grandparents, was buried a Wible just last year.

By any indication, though, Waibel seems to be the preferred spelling in Switzerland. At least, that’s what the previous research is indicating.

SMALL PLACE, BOCKTEN — And forgive my lack of umlauts. Looking at some photos of Bockten today, there’s a striking similarity to the hills and valleys of the Weible’s new hometown of Dover, Ohio. And the population is merely a fraction of tiny Dover.

According to Wikipedia, Bockten underwent a building boom in the 1980s, and its population topped out about 700 as of 1991. It sits under that now, but still boasts elementary and primary schools, and the usual Swiss-German-Austrian preference for a local sports club — kind of like our YMCAs.

The nearby bigger cities include Gelterkinden, Sissach and Rickenbach, with Basel to the west. The main river is the Ergolz, an old Roman source for drinking water, and from which the valley Basel is situated in gets its name.

Regard the whole “canton” business as a Swissified county. There is the county that is organized around the city of Basel, and everything outside of it falls into the Basel-Country canton. Starting to get it?

What I am still getting a feel for is how the numerous wars and conflicts affecting this region — religious and political — from the closing centuries of the Roman Empire on might have affected our ancestors and their families. There’s a whole mess of time in which Catholics are persecuting Christians, and Christians all the new denominations of belief (Anabaptist-branding, anyone?), and the French just want to jump the border and bring our ancestor’s states into the fold for king and ya-da, ya-da, ya-da. And all these minor princes and fiefdoms that oversee everyone for a time.

Today, you’ve got the regular old (by European standards, anyway) Swiss government and the municipal and canton governments (Bokten official website). But then, we’ve got our own issues in the U.S. of A.

Boeckten Wappen

Ah yes. More wappen for you. In this case, the village of Boeckten's.

Categories: Ley, newsletter, Weible | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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