1983 Ruth

"The Emigration From Krefeld to Pennsylvania 1683," an article in Mennonite Quarterly Review, Vol LVII, #4, October 1983, does not discuss Hans Peter specifically, but states, on page 314:

"Of the second main investor, the Krefeld Mennonite merchant Dirck Sipman, we know even less. American readers are disappointed to find that Krefeld historians can give us no access to his acquaintance. Sipman, having made only a few sales from his 5000-acre purchase, would give up entirely and sell out of the venture within seventeen years. Already in 1685, when he did convey a few hundred acres to Pennsylvania-bound Quakers coming from Kriegsheim in the Palatinate, he seems to have been discouraged, or at least apprehensive that his investment might not prove secure. Herman op den Graff, one of the original thirteen and designated by Sipman to be his agent there, was requested by Sipman to see that there would be no reductions whatever in the annual rent Spiman's purchasers were to pay."

I see no specific source cited for the above.

 

1984 Ruth

"Krefeld Immigrants and Their Descendants," Vol 8, #2, pages 65 and 66 quotes Ruth, John L, MAINTAINING THE RIGHT FELLOWSHIP, Studies in Anabatist and Mennonite History, No. 26, Herald Press, Scottdale, PA 15683 and
Kitchener, Ontario 1984. Library of Congress #83-18579; ISBN 0-8361-1259-8.

"On Peter SHOEMAKER, John L Ruth from his book, MAINTAINING THE RIGHT FELLOWSHIP, says: (page 30), 'Likewise in the Löwenberg or Siebengebirge district, a little farther south along the Rhine near Bonn, an inventory of Anabaptists was called for in 1652. Sixty-one households were listed, including such names as … HENDRICKS, … and SCHUMACHER. …. The newly Catholic government gave these people, many of whom owned only a few acres of land, two years to vacate the territory. NOT EVERYONE COULD MOVE TO THE TOWN OF KREFELD; some of those who tried to do so had to stay on neighboring farms. And so it was the PALATINATE, …. that became for some of these harassed people the best option. We may observe Arnold SCHOMECKER'S widow and her children selling the family 'house and hof' at Niederdollendorf, 'for the sake of their faith.' ….. ' Loading their 'movables' on a boat, they sail upstream, SOUTH toward Mainz, from which they will eventually reach and settle in Kriegsheim …'"

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The following is now quoted directly and more fully from Ruth's book, pages 67-69, so some of the "Krefeld Immigrants" version posted earlier on this page has been replaced. See also the link below to previous pages from Ruth's book which discuss earlier Kriegsheim history, which IS UM HISTORY!!! Material quoted on this page deals only with that relating to Hans Peter and Kriegsheim during his time. Ruth's material adds an overall richness to the story and gives us a better perspective on the original documents we've seen, as well as on what others have written. Ruth has done his homework and has used several German sources I've not yet seen quoted by anyone else, which, to my way of thinking, lends a greater degree of credibility to his work that that of others. He is to be commended!!!!!

Chapter 2
"Only Ancient Forest"

"And what of the village of Kriegsheim of which we heard so much in the last chapter, where Penn and Pastorius had also visited Quakers? Here, where church officials continued to complain, the Quakers were definitely having a harder time than their Mennonite relatives. The latter were typically reported to be 'quiet, industrious, and neighborly.' One officer observed, 'It must be acknowledged by everyone that they behave quietly, secluded, and peacefully … and are diligent in their work, are always more obedient than others to the government … and have contributed with a good will to the bearing of all burdens.' (49) But a negative bias could also appear, as the expressed toward Tielman Kolb of Wolfsheim, son-in-law of the Quaker Peter Schumacher. With his wife and seven children, observed one critical official in 1685, Tielmann 'behaves very neighborly, but is still malicious, and so should not be considered unworthy of legal punishment.'" (50)

COMMENT

Ruth's material consistently points out the gentle, obedient nature of the Mennonites as opposed to the defiant attitude of the Quakers. This adds a new twist to our understanding of the original Schmal documents. Ruth's source (49) of the info above is Monsheim history, Monsheim being virtually the same place as Kriegsheim.

"The 'injuriousness' of the Mennonites in the critics' minds consisted in the fact that 'they do not want to fill any office, and draw away from the sustenance of the other subjects,' presumably by their unusually hard work. 'They are useful people as fas as paying the rent goes,' argued another report, 'and they have the appearance of being pious, but in actuality they are not, as they are real masters in helping each other whenever a good piece of land becomes available, in order to bring it into their possession.' (51) Another local report simply states that 'their peculiarity consists in the fact they swear no oaths, carry no weapons, do not baptize their children before they understand what baptism is, [have] an exhorter who is otherwise however a farmer, as they are too, who encourages them to good works and if one of them sins, brings such a person before the meeting …' (52)

"But when it came to the tax-resisting, publicly testifying Quakers, the official reaction was much stronger. They are a 'foolish sect,' maintained one officer, 'a kind of brothers who are generally irritating and regard no one but themselves.' (53) And when, in May 1685 three such men - Gerrit Hendricks, Peter Schumacher, and Hans Peter Umstat - handed in a request for a certificate allowing them to 'cross over into Holland' with their belongings, the official reported that the news gave 'great joy' to 'the whole community.' (54) Still, the document was so long in coming that the Quakers had to ask for it again. Their experiences of years past, when their cattle and crops had been confiscated for nonpayment of taxes, had toughened them so that they were not easily intimidated. One of the prospective émegrés was, in fact, the elderly Hendrick Gerrits, who had lost two cows in 1663, and was now ready to go to Germantown with his young son, Gerrit Hendricks.

"By August 16 we find the Hendrickses and old widower Peter Schumacher in the seaport of Rotterdam, signing an agreement with Dirck Sypman of Krefeld, who had not been able to get settlers for the land he had so hopefully bought over three years before. Now 'Pieter Schoenmaker last residing in Krysheim in the palatinate' promised to settle with his children on 200 acres in 'Jerman town,' for which he would pay Sypman an annual quitrent of 'two Rix dollars' which would be remitted 'exactly in sound current money without and reduction, whatsoever the pretence many be …' (55) Apparently Sypman had not been finding his land investment very dependable. But with no down money required, he now granted tracts to both Schumacher and Hendrick. Having signed the indentures on the very 'point of departure' for London, they were met in the latter city by the Quaker George Fox, who came up to visit these 'Germaine frids yt were going to pensilvania.' (56)

"Less that two months later the party of nearly twenty Quaker souls, the majority of the Kriegsheim Friends' Meeting, arrived on the Francis and Dorothy at Philadelphia. "Gerhardt' Hendricks and his father took two lots on the undeveloped eastern side of the main street in Germantown, behind which was a stream where Gerhardt planned to build a mill. Schumacher and Umstadt took lots on the other side. Half a year later the rest of the Kriegsheim Quakers arrived, led by forty-seven-year-old Johannes Kassel. (57) This helped to make Germantown so full that three new villages were planned, the first to be called 'Krisheim' in reference to the European home of the most recently arrived contingent."

COMMENT

It's interesting that Ruth mentions Hans Peter more or less only in passing, but does not seem to consider him to have been a major character, and definitely not a Mennonite. Ruth may have known, for instance, that Hans Peter bought his Germantown land along with Schumacher and Hendricks, but he doesn't mention it, although he does mention him as being one of the three requesting the passport. He seems to lump Hans Peter into "the party of nearly twenty Quaker souls, the majority of the Kriegsheim Friends' Meeting" and "three such men." This, although not constituting proof in the face of contrary evidence of Hans Peter's family's Lutheran affiliation, certainly adds to the possibility that Hans Peter may have been a Quaker, at least by association - perhaps it was his wife who was the Quaker. There are several statements in Ruth's earlier Kriegsheim history (link below) which may speak to this as well - that converts to Quakerism seem to have come primarily from Mennonites, which Hans Peter pretty clearly was not, and that there were laws against attempting to convert members of the local churches. As a member of a Lutheran family, Hans Peter may perhaps have kept his conversion secret, or he may never have converted. He may have wanted to protect his wife from persecution or he may have simply wanted to join his Quaker buddies in America. I have no reason to not want him to have been a Quaker, I'd just like to find solid proof one way or the other.

Another question addressed above, although further study might be needed to be sure its accuracy, is Ruth's statement (quoting Hull, and I don't always trust Hull) that no down payment was required by Sypman. If it is true, it would greatly decrease the amount of money Hans Peter had to have available to him for the journey and his land.

The name Krisheim obviously comes from Kriegsheim.

"This migration from Kriegsheim, which was not much smaller than the original one from Krefeld, bolstered the Quaker community to the point that collections could be taken for a meetinghouse (1686). Perhaps this is the place to note that Germantown was, in the beginning, a predominantly Quaker affair, though to be sure these Quakers were all converted Mennonites. The Quaker way of life had made them more trouble than even the Mennonites had experienced, and so the Quakers had found the Pennsylvania dream attractive before the Mennonites. The presence of the latter built up much more slowly; it was fifteen years before a minister would be selected among them, and twenty-five before they would have baptisms and a meetinghouse. Germantown was never a 'Mennonite' town, and we serve no factual accuracy in claiming that more than one of the 'original thirteen families' was Mennonite."

COMMENTS

Here again, if it is true that the Germantown Quakers were all converted Mennonites, then Hans Peter's being a Quaker is further questionable, since no one seems to think he was ever a Mennonite, and certainly records do not suggest it. There is no source cited for this particular paragraph, so this is apparently Ruth's own statement.

In the same issue of Mennonite Quarterly Review as the 1983 Ruth article, there is also an article by Robert F Ulle entitled "Research Notes - Materials on Mennonites in Colonial Germantown, under which is is shown "Descriptions and Accounts of Germantown Mennonite Meeting." One item is the account of a Rudolphus Varick written in 1690 (only five years after Hans Peter's arrival), which says, in part, that the village (of Germantown) "consists of forty-four families, twenty-eight of whom are Quakers, the other sixteen of the Reformed Church, among whom I spoke to those who had been received as members of the Lutheran, Mennonites, and Baptists ..." See full quote in Hans Peter Bibliography (1983 Ulle).

 

Ruth's sources for this material - Chapter 2

(49) Christian Neff, "Geschichtliches aus der Gemeinde Monsheim," Mennonite Geschichtsblätter, LIX (April 1912), 27
[History of the Monsheim Community]

(50) H[arold] S. Bender, ed., "Palatine Mennonite Census Lists 1664-1774," MQR, XIV (January 1940), 17 [Mennonite Quarterly Review]

(51) Ibid, 18

(52) Neff, 27

(53) Paul Michel, "Täufer, Mennoniten, und Quäker in Kriegsheim bei Worms," Der Wormsgau, VII (1965-66), 47
[Some of Michel's material can be found elsewhere on this site on various pages, more to be added]

(54) Walter Fellman-Monsheim, "Kriegsheimer Mennoniten und Quäker in ihrer Verschiedenheit," Beiträge zur Geschichte der Mennoniten (Weierhof, Germany, 1938), 23
["Kriegsheim Mennonites and Quakers in their Diversity," Contributions to the History of the Mennonites]

(55) (19) William I Hull, William Penn and the Dutch Quaker Migration to Pennsylvania (Swarthmore, Pa., 1935), 291
[Hull's references to Hans Peter in Hans Peter Bibliography on this site]

(56) Ralph Beaver Strassburger, The Strassburger Family and Allied Families of PA (Gwynedd Valley, Pa., 1922), 384 [Strassburger's material can be found elsewhere on this site]

(57) Pennypacker, Settlement of Germantown, 170-172
[Pennypacker's material is discussed elsewhere on this site]

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Following is a bit more information shown just below the footnotes in the "Krefeld Immigrants" excerpt, Vol 8, #2.

"Peter SCHUMACHER'S residence in Kriegsheim until after 1683 is further documented in PALATINE ANCESTORS, 1644-1689 by Newman & Groff, Hershey, PA, 1984; Part-B Index to the Palatine Lists - Badische Generallandessrchiv, the collection is housed at the HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF PA."

"The Quakers at Kriegsheim formerly Mennonites but now (converted) are: HEINRICH GERHARDS, PETER SCHUMACHER …." 11 August 1684 - Kriegsheim Office, Florsheim." (see comments below on Florsheim)

"Of a son-in-law of Peter SCHUMACHER'S this book notes the following: PA #809. PG #4337-69/71. (12) PAGES FOLIO DATED 28 OCT/09 NOV 1685. MQR# P13/15. GERMAN FROM: LOCAL MAGISTRATE IN: HEIDELBERG, GERMANY TO: ELECRORAL GOVERNMENT IN: HEIDELBERG, GERMANY. SPECIFICATIONS: "Various Mennonites, on the on the lands of the Electoral Palatine, found in the (jurisdiction) of the Main Office of Alzey ... Kriegsheim ... " (see comments below) [Mennonite Quarterly Review]

For important earlier Kriegsheim history according to Ruth, some of which was previously on this page see ADDITIONAL BITS AND PIECES FROM RUTH.

 

MORE COMMENTS

Löwenberg or Siebengebirge district/Bonn - south of Krefeld, far north of Worms/Monsheim/Kriegsheim. This 1652 listing is earlier than those included in the book PALATINE MENNONITE CENSUS LISTS 1664-1793.

Anabaptists is another word for Mennonites, according to a statement made in PALATINE MENNONITE CENSUS LISTS 1664-1793, in the introduction on page 2, by Hermann and Gertrud Guth, which states: "The first Swiss-German Anabaptists or Mennonites immigrated to this area in 1664." This is also confirmed in 1929 Smith.

Schomecker and SCHOENMAKER - assumed from the text to be variant spellings of Schuhmacher.

"House and hof" - the word Hof in German means yard or farm, or in this context, property.

Niederdollendorf is just south of Bonn down the Rhine near Königswinter.

Seck, as it is spelled in the original document, is Sekt in modern German, and has been translated into English by various authors simply as sect. But Sekt in German is not a nice word, it means "cult," as opposed to our use in English as a "branch" of Christianity. This is a critical distinction.

Pieter SCHOENMAKER last residing in Krysheim - Krysheim is another spelling of Kriegsheim. The Rotterdam deeds were written in Dutch and this is a quote from the original deed of Peter Schuhmacher, which is worded exactly the same as that of Hans Peter. (See Rotterdam deed).

Kriegsheim Office, Florsheim - The document being discussed is dated at HOCHHEIM, NOT FLORSHEIM. See 1684 "Hochgebohrner." There IS a town called Flörsheim just north of Kriegsheim, but the original document STILL says Hochheim, not Flörsheim).

#4337-69/71 - Item (Fol) 69 is the 1685 list of Mennonites in Kriegsheim. I have a copy of the original. It does not include Hans Peter. Item (Fol) 71 is shown in PALATINE MENNONITE CENSUS LISTS 1664-1793 and is not relevant.

There is more to be done - several of Ruth's sources still need to be found and investigated, and the various towns mentioned in this article need to be checked for records of UMs prior to the 1661 CENSUS (NOT Mennonite, see "1661-1682 Nicholas Original Records") records found in Kriegsheim. It remains to be determined whether the UMs were always in Kriegsheim, as may perhaps be evidenced by the Census and Evangelische (Lutheran) church records there, or whether they came to Kriegsheim around 1647 with others. It's entirely possible that some of Hans Peter's family became Lutherans in Kriegsheim in order to escape persecution. Without any birth records at all on Hans Peter and his children being found so far, one cannot rule out the possibility that they may have originally been something other than Lutheran.

Ruth's book is primarily an "interpretive history of three centuries of Mennonite life in eastern Pennsylvania," and since it's unlikely that Hans Peter was ever a Mennonite, one might be tempted to overlook it beyond specific references to him. However, the early UMs in the US were much associated with Mennonites and some married into Mennonite families. This book is one of few books written in English that gives us reasonably accurate information about Hans Peter, and much of the general historical information may be considered to be part of Hans Peter's history. I recommend it.

It may be obtained from Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society, 2215 Millstream Road, Lancaster, PA 17602, phone: 717-393-9745, fax: 717-393-8751, email: lmhs@lmhs.org.

 

Back to Hans Peter Bibliography

See also Schmal Documents

See also Hans Peter's Passport Request

See also Hans Peter's Rotterdam Deed

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Updated 2 August 2002

Cris Hueneke