Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Old Trappe Church

On July 2, 1750 Joh Michael Hoffman (widower) was married to Engel Schedlerin in New Hanover township in what is now Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The marriage was recorded in the records of the Augustus Evangelical Lutheran Church in Trappe, Pennsylvania.

If my theory is correct, Michael and Engel would be my 6th great grandparents. Regardless whether they are or not, one of the places I wanted to visit while in Pennsylvania was the Old Trappe Church. It is reportedly the oldest unchanged Lutheran church still in use in the United States.

According to information posted on the bulletin board outside the church, the congregation was organized about 1730 by John Caspar Stoever, Jr. (who happens to be one of my 5th great grandparents). Worship services were held in a barn loaned by one of the deacons. At that time Stoever was not a regularly ordained pastor but in 1732 he was ordained in the presence of the Trappe congregation. He remained there for a few years before moving on to Lancaster.

Stoever's departure left the spiritual care of the congregation in the hands of a series of self-styled itinerant pastors until late in 1742 with the arrival of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg. In January 1743, members of the congregation began hauling stones to the site and the structure was erected through the spring and summer months. The first service was held in the unfurnished interior on September 12, 1743. The building was completed and dedicated on October 6, 1745. The congregation organized formally, adopting the name "Augustus Lutheran Church." By 1752, the interior of the church building was completed as it appears today.

In 1814, the exterior stone walls were stuccoed and painted to help preserve the building. A woodstove and wooden floor was also added to the interior. In 1860, a severe storm destroyed half of the roof of the Old Church and there was discussion of razing the building but funds were raised to pay for the repairs. In the late 1920s the interior was restored to the colonial appearance with the removal of the stove and the addition of a concrete and flagstone floor. It is now listed as a National Historic site.

In 1852 a new brick church was built a short distance away. The new building  is the current church building  used by the Augustus Lutheran Church.

The walkway leading to the Old Trappe Church is embedded with plaques from other Lutheran churches around the world. All photographs were taken on October 9, 2012.

I was fascinated by the shape of the church building.

The raised graves/crypts next to the church building are for members of the Muhlenburg family.

 Burials in the cemetery reportedly date from 1729. The oldest legible stone, which I did not find, is dated 1736.

 Some of the windows still have the old wavy glass, though I doubt that the panes are from the early 1700s.

Detail of the braces used to keep the shutters open. 

I had not pre-arranged for a tour, so was unable to go inside. Shots of the interior were taken by carefully holding the camera up against the window panes. The pulpit on the left side is the only piece of furniture that was not handcrafted by local craftsmen using native woods. It was made of European red walnut and imported at the time the church was dedicated. The top piece over the pulpit is a 'sound board' that amplifies the preachers voice. The offering bags on the far wall were used in the 18th century.

A portion of the concrete and flagstone floor is visible as is the staircase leading to the second floor balcony.

I am always amazed by the craftsmanship and engineering skills of the early builders. Even if this is not The Church of my Hoffman ancestors, it was an incredible feeling to walk around it and to be able to see this magnificent Old Church.

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "The Old Trappe Church," Kinexxions, posted October 27, 2012 ( : accessed [access date])

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

An Indentured Servant and the Farm Upon Which He Lived

Berks County, Pennsylvania was the home of at least six of my ancestral families: Alder/Alter,  Daniel/Daniels, Forster/Foster, Hoffman, Irion/Jerion/Yerion, Lederman/Leatherman, and a possible seventh lineage: Sch├Ądler/Schedler.

A total of five days was spent in Berks County earlier this month and on portions of several of those days I roamed around the back roads of Berks and neighboring Montgomery county. The area was MUCH hillier than I had thought it would be with sometimes narrow and usually winding, curvy roads. As a result, it always took me twice as long to get someplace as I thought it would. It was especially pretty with the leaves changing color, in spite of the dreary, wet weather.

One of the "family sites" on my list to visit was the Homestead of David Kaufman in Oley Township (seven miles east of Reading) in Berks County. David Kaufman is not one of my ancestors but he was the "master" of one of them.

My research on the Yarian family began in 1985 when my mother and I went on a trip to Pennsylvania. Considerable information has been gathered over the years which has been enriched by the work of other researchers.

The earliest publication I discovered was a small typewritten manuscript titled "Some Descendants of Mathias Jurian 1702-1763" by Miss Cecil H. Smith. It wasn't documented but it certainly provided lots of clues. The first Yarian researcher that I made contact with was Lowell Yarian who lived nearby in Warsaw, Indiana.  He was retired and he and his wife traveled the United States gathering information on anyone named Yarian. One side of his RV was lined with 3-ring binders full of family group sheets. He passed away in 1998 and I've often wondered what happened to all of his research papers.

James Weaver published "The Yerian-Yaryan Family: Mathias Jurian and his Descendants in America" in 1989 (though I didn't discover it until a few years later). I also made contact with Carl Bennett in 2002 and learned that he was the provider of much of the information in Weaver's book.

The immigrant ancestor is Mathias Jurian who arrived in Philadelphia on October 11, 1732 "Forty two Palatines, who with their families... were Imported in the Ship Pleasant, James Morris Master, from Rotterdam, but last from Deal..."

Matthias Jurian made his mark "M i" as shown on List 27B from Pennsylvania German Pioneers (Strassburger & Hinke, 1934)

 On List 27C his name (2nd name in left column) is written as Mathias Jeryon or Ieryon.

Since the publication of Weaver's book in 1989, church records of Tuttlingen in Talheim were found by other researchers that showed that Matthias Irion was married January 29, 1731 to Maria Magdalena Pfister. It is presumed that Magdalena was one of the 102 women and children on board the Ship Pleasant.

The "Biographical & Historical Cyclopedia of Indiana and Armstrong Counties, Pa." (pages 617-618) includes a biography of William Keppel and mentions his grandfather, it states "Daniel Keppel (grandfather), was born in this State in 1787, and died in 1824. He married Elizabeth Yearyan, a daughter of George Yearyan, of Westmoreland county. [Lists their 12 children.]... George Yearyan (maternal grandfather) was a "redemptioner," and was brought to this country by David Kaufman, a farmer, for whom Yearyan worked for three years to repay the amount of money his passage had cost. At the end of these three years' service he received from Kaufman a horse, a saddle and bridle, and two suits of clothes. His wife was a Miss Williams, of Welsh descent."

It was always suspected that it was actually Mathias Irion, the father of George, who was the redemptioner - baptismal records of Johann Casper Stoever show that John George, son of Mattheis Jergan of Oley was born October 18, 1733 and baptized December 10, 1733.

In October 2001 another Yerian researcher, Margaret Sopp, posted a message on GenForum that she had located the indenture for Mathias Jrion. Of course, at that time I was off researching other family lines and it wasn't until nearly a year later that I learned of this find from Carl Bennett. In the GenForum post, Margaret doesn't tell how she located the indenture but Carl forwarded the letter he received from her regarding that find - it's a really neat story.
It seems that Margaret was an active contributor to one of the surname lists on Rootsweb. One of the other subscribers was Ken McCrea who was going to be leading a research group to Salt Lake City. Margaret signed up for the group and in the process of preparing for the trip mentioned the Yerian surname to Ken who was also a  frequent lecturer giving talks on immigration, among others. As part of his immigration talk he discusses indentures, of which he had only ever seen one, and he uses it as an example in his lectures... and yes, it was the indenture was for Matthias Jurion!
A copy of the indenture can be found on the genealogy site of Carol Diane (Holland) and David Paul Knight. Additional information is also posted there on Matthias Irion.

My transcription, below, differs somewhat from that posted by Margaret Sopp.

This Indenture made the first day of November In the year of our Lord one-thousand
Seven hundred & thirty two. Witnesseth that Matthias Jrion late of Durlach in Germany ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ for & in Consideration of the Sum of Sixteen Pounds & Nineteen Shillings lawfull money of Pensilvania [paid for] his passage from Holland to Philadelphia in the province of Pensilvania of his own free & Voluntary Consent Doth bind himself a Servant unto David Kaufman of Oley in the County of Philada & province aforesaid. To serve him his heirs Execrs Adminrs or assigns from the day of the date hereof the full Term of Three years & Nine Months ~ ~ Thence next Ensuing to be fully Compleat & Ended During all which sd Term the said Servant his sd Master his heirs Execrs adminrs or assigns faithfully and honestly shall serve and the sd Master his heirs Execrs adminrs or assigns During the sd term of three years & nine months ~ ~ shall find & provide for the sd servant sufficient Meat Drink apparel washing & lodging fitting for a servant during the sd term and after the expiration of the sd term give the sd Servant two suits of apparrel one whereof to be new ~ And for the true performance of all & Every the sd Covenants & agreements Either of the sd parties binds himself unto the other firmly by these presents. In witness whereof they have Interchangeably herunto set their hands & seals. Dated the day & year first above written ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ David Kaufman
Sealed & Delivered In the presence us us } John Astancad  [?]Jnr [and] Henry Pastorius

In 1958 the Kaufman farm was included in an "Historic American Buildings Survey" by the National Park Service (HABS No. 1042), which provides a description of the house and also states "The buildings on the Kaufman farm are the finest complete known example of a Pennsylvania-German farm group in the Oley Valley." A second survey report (HABS No. 1059) includes several photos of the barns taken in 1958.

In 1983 the entire township of Oley was included in the "Oley Township National Register Historic District Survey." An article I found in the Reading Eagle dated November 7, 2002 showed that the David Kaufman farm was still owned by a descendant and had been continuously owned by a family member for 275 years - since 1727 when the farm was established.

In 2008, Carl Bennett sent me a more extensive survey done by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. I have not found this document online.  The report was dated March 30, 2007 and stated that the farm had passed out of the hands of descendants. It went on to say that the "Current owners are conducting a comprehensive maintenance, preservation, and documentation project with the objective of preserving the integrity of all historic elements of the property.  Restoration consultants are carefully inspecting and analyzing construction elements and techniques to determine the history of each building and collecting and interpreting archeological findings.  Their goal is to provide for the future establishment of a museum that will depict an historic Oley Valley family farm of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries."

The "Manor House" was constructed circa 1763 but "Two of the barns David built still exist; the stone ground floor barn mostly original and the log barn, altered after the wooden members of this building burned and were replaced by a frame barn on the same foundation."

Jacob Hill Kauffman, the 3rd generation to live there, owned the farm from 1804-1843. "He took down the original log house and replaced it with the existing stone cabin at a higher elevation. He designed the new cabin to be nearly identical in dimensions, making it possible to remove structural elements of the cabin and reuse them in the stone house.  He used the summer beam, the fireplace lintels, and the floor joists."

It is possible that Mathias Irion had a hand in the construction of the older barns. Even if he didn't, it was still exciting to visit the area just knowing that he had lived on the farm for a few years. There did not appear to be anyone at home so I stopped the car alongside the road and took the photos below without going onto the property.

The west side of the Manor House.

 The Manor House from the front (south side).

I could be wrong, but I think the larger of these two buildings is the Stone Cabin built in the 1800s that used some of the elements of the original log cabin. The smaller building is the spring house.

Photos of the Kaufman farm were taken on October 4th and October 9th, 2012.

Mathias Irion is my 6th great-grandfather. The surname has been found in records under numerous variations but descendants in my line adopted the spelling of Yerian or Yarian.

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "An Indentured Servant and the Farm Upon Which He Lived," Kinexxions, posted October 24, 2012 ( : accessed [access date])

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It's About Time...

For those of you who have been wondering where I've wandered off to... let's see... I left Maine on the 28th of September and spent a few days in New Hampshire.

One of many lakes in northern New Hampshire, this one near Milan on Route 16.

 As it had been for much of the previous week, it was a foggy, cloudy, rainy day.

But the fall colors were gorgeous.

Then it was a quick drive through Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania to spend the first weekend of October with my Aunt and Cousin and her family in Rockville, Maryland.  It was great getting caught up on all the family happenings of the past 3 years! The kids, Connor and Melanie have gotten so big! Thank you to Carol and Eric and Aunt Shirley for their hospitality.

After leaving Rockville, I returned to Berks County, Pennsylvania for two days then headed west to Ohio. Not wanting to return exactly the same way I came into the state in early September (on US 30) and not wanting to take the Toll Road, I took US 22 from Harrisburg all the way through Pittsburg. It is a mostly 4-lane highway through some beautiful countryside. It wasn't quite as "challenging" as driving US 30 but it still had plenty of hills to get over and curves to go around.

After spending one last night in Pennsylvania (at Keystone State Park, east of Pittsburg) I made my way next morning (October 11th) to Lisbon, Ohio and stopped in at the Columbiana County Archives and Research Center. This is a wonderful resource for anyone with Columbiana County ancestors. One of the ladies that works there (both are unpaid volunteers who devote a huge amount of time organizing and indexing their material - a huge Thank You to both of them and the other volunteers) happens to have the "other" John Hoffman in her husband's lineage so we compared notes trying to figure out if or how they might be related.

The next morning, I returned to the Columbiana Archives for a few hours before heading westward once again. It was about then that I realized that I could probably make it to Fort Wayne for the Midwest Geneabloggers 2012 Fall Meetup! It was about noon on Saturday when I got to the Allen County Public Library where everyone else was already hard at work. After the library closed we all converged at the home of Tina Lyons for a Pizza Party.

I'm so glad that I was able to make it to the meetup and see "old" genealogy-friends again and meet a few new ones too. I had a great time - thanks to everyone there and thanks especially to Tina for organizing it and to her and her husband for hosting the after-research party.

So, here it is, October 23rd, and where am I? Still in Indiana, where I'll be for a little while longer until I get a few "things" resolved. And then? I'll be heading out to somewhere a bit warmer, at least for a little while...

And, because my grand-nephew, Zachariah, was born 18 years ago on this date, I want to wish him a very special birthday...

Ah, yes! We were both much younger back then! Happy Birthday, Zach.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Glimpses of Maine

September 13th. Checking lobster traps on the Nauti-Gal II in Somes Sound, Mount Desert Island.

September 19th. Lobster boats in the harbor at Lubec.

September 21st. An old building on the Schoodic Peninsula.

September 25th.  A view of Mount Katahdin from Interstate 95. The summit of Katahdin is the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.

September 25th. Along State Road 11 in northern Maine. Yeah, I got lucky with this one!

September 25th. A little further north along State Road 11 in northern Maine.

September 27th. Seagulls at Schoodic Point.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Ebb and Flow of the Tide...

On my first visit to the Schoodic Peninsula, when the tide had been low, we had noticed a little house along an inlet that had a dock on stilts. We had driven past it before we realized what we had seen. On the 17th when we left Acadia National Park and headed 'down east' I stopped and photographed that little house. I would go by it on two more occasions, when the tide was at different levels. I guess you could say I was a little fascinated by the tides and how different it looked under the various conditions. If you ever get there, this little spot is on the right side of the road, just as you exit the National Park on the Schoodic Peninsula.

 At high tide, or thereabouts. 12:43 pm on September 17th.

 Not quite low tide, at 10:48 am on September 21st. It was a cloudy, rather dreary day.

At low tide.  3:14 pm September 27th.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Campobello Island :: Sunset

Thursday, September 20th - -   Another very nice day was coming to an end. I was driving around Campobello Island looking for a good spot from which to view the sunset. The weather had been as close to perfect as you can get for this time of year and clouds had developed in the western sky, foretelling of the rain that was forecast for tomorrow.

 Do you see that streak of color on the left? I had seen something like that a few days before but had not been in a place where I could stop to photograph it. Today I was able to pull safely off the side of the road... It wasn't a rainbow since it wasn't raining and it certainly wasn't in the shape of a traditional rainbow. The streak of color remained in the sky for about 10 minutes then gradually faded away.

And the sunset? Oh, yes. It was magnificent. As an old man I spoke with the next morning put it "The sky just went ballistic!" He was so right. And the photos don't really do it justice.

I couldn't resist taking a panoramic shot, which included the moon (that little white streak in the upper left-hand corner). You're gonna have to double-click the image to view a larger version.

I moved to a location a little further along the road for a slightly different viewpoint. A few minutes later the color had disappeared from the sky.

My one day on Campobello Island was almost over. The next day (Friday, September 21st) I would travel west, back to Belfast, where I would spend 3 days with my cousin Anita (my dad and her mother were brother and sister) and her husband Tom. We got caught up on everything since my previous visit 3 years ago. We talked about so many things during our time together, reminiscing about our younger days and discussing various family members (both living and dead). Yes, it was a very good visit. Thank you, Tom and Anita! I treasure the time we had together.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Campobello Island :: Mulholland Point and Seals in the Narrows

Thursday, September 20th - - In 1958 the governments of Canada and the United States entered into an agreement to construct a bridge across the Lubec Narrows to provide easy access to and from Campobello Island.

The Roosevelt Memorial Bridge was opened for operation in 1962. A portion of Campobello Island can be seen on the left while the town of Lubec, Maine is on the right. Taken from Mulholland Point.

 There is a small park at Mulholland Point, which includes the Mulholland Lighthouse. Several signposts provide information about the bridge, the lighthouse, and give a brief history of the town of Lubec, Maine.

But what fascinated me, not visible in that first photo, was the high waves caused by the out-going tide. And then, there were those little black specks in the water, which upon closer examination with the help of the zoom lens, turned out to be seals!

I happened to arrive just as the tide was starting to go out. The water was moving very fast out in the middle of the narrows where the waves were the highest.

The larger seals would fight their way up the current and then rapidly float back downstream. They were certainly having fun, and I was certainly enjoying watching them.

There were probably about 25-30 seals in the group. I'm guessing that it must have been a good feeding area. The seagulls were flying all around also dipping in and out of the water.

 The seals were continually diving and disappearing into the water, resurfacing some distance away from where they went under.

The next morning on my return to the United States, I stopped to get a shot of the Mulholland Lighthouse and the town of Lubec, Maine on the other side of the narrows. Even though the tide was low and not moving rapidly, there were seals floating in the water. I even saw an eagle flying amongst the seagulls.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Campobello Island :: Head Harbour Lightstation

Thursday, September 20th - -   Also known as the East Quoddy Head Lighthouse, the Head Harbour Lightstation sits on a small island at the northeastern tip of Campobello Island. Built in 1829, it is the oldest surviving lighthouse in New Brunswick and one of the oldest in Canada. Its distinguishing feature is the red St. George Cross on the front.

However, at low tide, this island is no longer an island. I arrived at Campobello too late to take advantage of the low tide and visit the station. Ladders, partially visible in the second photo, allow visitors access to go down and walk across the bay.

The first three photos were taken between 12:45 and 1:30 while the last three were taken between 5:30 and 5:45 (Eastern Time, in reality though they were an hour later because Campobello Island is in the Atlantic Time Zone).