WHY did Samuel W Pennypacker think that Hans Peter Umstat came from Krefeld???

Cris Hueneke March, 2000

This study is based upon THE SETTLEMENT OF GERMANTOWN and the Beginning of the German Emigration to North America, by Hon. Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker, LL.D., Philadelphia, 1899.

As we work through the Hans Peter Bibliography, it becomes apparent that many later writers used Pennypacker's material without questioning it. Pennypacker was clearly convinced that Hans Peter came from Krefeld.

Before anything else, and with deep gratitude, I must COMMEND Governor Pennypacker on this outstanding work and all that he put into it. In his own words, "for thirty years I have been gradually gathering the original materials from over the world." (Preface). His book was published in 1899, long before we had computers, copy machines, fax machines, or the Internet. The scope of the material presented is astounding.

My comments here are based solely on this book. Governor Pennypacker published other material and I will endeavor to find and consider any additional information that bears on the question. The book is, as of this writing, the earliest and the most widely-quoted source I have found for the traditional belief that Hans Peter Umstat came from Krefeld. It has now been proven that Hans Peter resided in Kriegsheim just prior to his departure to America and that his Germantown land purchase was made in Rotterdam (Holland), not in Krefeld. See Hans Peter Passport and Rotterdam, as well as the Bible notation regarding Nicholas's death NOT being shown as in Krefeld in the Bible notation - Nicholas Original Documents.

Pennypacker states, on page 128: "October 12, 1685, there arrived in the ship "Francis and Dorothy," … Hans Peter Umstat, FROM CREFELD, with his wife Barbara, his son, John, and his daughters, Anna Margaretta and Eve. Umstat was the son of Nicholas Umstat, who died AT CREFELD at four o'clock in the morning of October 4, 1682."

So, why DID Pennypacker think that Hans Peter Umstat came from Krefeld and that Nicholas died there? When one views his book as a whole, some patterns emerge that give us a reasonable explanation.

1. The book was written according to the subject as titled - THE SETTLEMENT OF GERMANTOWN. It was not meant to be book about Hans Peter Umstat nor his beginnings. Pennypacker lists his own ancestry in the preface: "As it seemed to be a duty which could not be avoided, I have written the following history of the settlement of one of the most interesting of the American burghs. A descendant of Hendrick Pannebecker, Abraham Op den Graeff, Paul Kuster, Cornelius Tyson, Peter Conrad, Hendrick Sellen, Hans Peter Umstat and probably of William Rittenhouse, all of them among the early residents of Germantown ..." Certainly with this lineup, it is easy to see why he perceived it as his personal duty to write the book. Not all of his ancestors were well-known, and he presumably focused on those individuals whose information he could find. Logically it was those who came from Krefeld, as most of those listed did.

2. The fact that the majority of the early Germantown residents not only were from Krefeld, but that they were also known to be Quakers both in Germantown and in Krefeld, apparently led him to simply assume that Hans Peter Umstat was also a Quaker. And he may have been correct in that assumption - Hans Peter Umstat may have converted to Quakerism either in Germany just prior to coming to the U.S. or upon his arrival here. There has been nothing solid found to date to substantiate that or to disprove it.

3. At first I wondered whether Pennypacker even knew about Kriegsheim, but he did, since he discusses it in the book. The most ironic and tragic aspect of this is that Pennypacker visited Kriegsheim. He wrote, "WHEN I WAS THERE, IN 1890, it had a population of perhaps two or three hundred people who lived upon one street." (Page 111). He traveled the very street his ancestor Hans Peter Umstat had walked 200 years earlier and apparently didn't realize it. How long he stayed in Kriegsheim or his purpose there is not spelled out in the book. It may be that he only passed through it as it one would, en route to Flomborn from Worms. I think it simply never occurred to him to look in Kriegsheim for Hans Peter, or, if it did, he only looked at Quaker or Mennonite records and didn't find him listed.

4. Pennypacker's discussion of Kriegsheim is limited to that of general information. Had he read his own work focusing only on Hans Peter Umstat, he might have seen some clues. One is found on page 56, where he is discussing the travels of Pastorius: "He presented his books to his brother, John Samuel, and after many letters obtained the consent of his father, together with two hundred rix dollars, and thereupon went to Kriegsheim, where he saw Peter Schumacher, Gerhard Hendricks, and Arnold Kassel, and made ready for the long journey."

Had he compared the above with his own text from page 118, Pennypacker might have considered Kriegsheim as the possible home of Hans Peter. He states: "October 12, 1685, having crossed the sea in the 'Francis and Dorothy' there arrived in Germantown Peter Schumacher ….Gerhard Hendricks …. " It's interesting that Pennypacker does not include Hans Peter Umstatt as a passenger on the ship on this page. He does mention Hans Peter's arrival on the "Francis and Dorothy" on page 128, but on that page he does not mention Schumacher or Hendricks.

He states further on page 118: "Peter Schumacher, an early Quaker convert from the Mennonites is the first person definitely ascertained to have come from Kriegsheim. Fortunately we know under what auspices he arrived. By an agreement with Dirck Sipman, OF Crefeld, dated August 16th, 1685, he was to proceed with the first good wind to Pennsylvania, and there receive two hundred acres from Herman Op den Graeff, on which he should erect a dwelling, and for which he should pay a rent of two rix dollars a year. Gerhard Hendricks also had bought two hundred acres from Sipman. He came from Kriegsheim …" Schumacher and Hendricks were clearly contemporaries of Hans Peter Umstat and traveled together with him in the same ship, two years later than the Krefelders.

In the above reference, Dirck Sipman is shown to be OF Crefeld, which may also have led Pennypacker to assume that the land transactions of Schumacher, Hendricks and Hans Peter Umstat were actually made IN Crefeld. Most references use the phrase "OF Krefeld," as regards Sipman, but we now know that the transactions took place in ROTTERDAM. The fact that Hans Peter's deed was never recorded in the "Germantown Grund- und Lager Buch" [Ground and Lot Book] didn't help.

It appears that Pennypacker believed Hans Peter to have come from Krefeld and that that was as far as he thought about it. Although he writes quite a bit about Kriegsheim itself, Hans Peter Umstat is never mentioned in those passages, with the single exception of his discussion of Flomborn as the birthplace of Hendrick Pannebecker:

(Page 122) "On the road leading from Worms out through Kriegsheim, but perhaps five miles further from the city, is the village of Flomborn. Thither, about twenty years before the period we are considering, a Dutch family named Pannebecker, whose arms, three tiles gules on a shield argent, were cut in glass in the church window at Gorcum in Holland, came to escape the wars still raging in the Netherlands. There March 21, 1674, was born Hendrick Pannebecker. He came as a young man to Germantown, where, in 1699, he married Eve, the daughter of Hans Peter Umstat."

Hendrick Pannebecker was a learned man and apparently made his Flomborn origins known to his family, since, to the best of my knowledge, there is no original documentation to prove Hendrick's having come from Flomborn. Had he not done so, Pennypacker might just as easily have assumed that Hendrick too was from Krefeld. Krefeld was certainly full of displaced people from the Netherlands. In fact, Krefeld was part of the Netherlands (Holland) until 1702, when it became a part of Prussia (Germany). Gorcum, mentioned above, is in the Netherlands.

There are various items in Pennypacker's material that show how general information could have led him to believe that Germantown was made up almost exclusively of Mennonites and Quakers from Krefeld. One example can be found on page 141: "In 1702 began the settlement on the Skippack. This first outgrowth of Germantown also had its origin at CREFELD … " Another is on page 142, "Van Bebber immediately began to colonize it, most of the settlers being Mennonites. Among these settlers were Hendrick Pannebecker, Johannes Kuster, Johannes Umstat …"

Pennypacker himself alludes to this being an assumption in the following, which actually refers to the "Original 13" families from Krefelt, but still speaks to his mind set:

From page 5: "It is now ascertained definitely that eleven of these thirteen immigrants were from Crefeld, and the PRESUMPTION that their two companions, Jan Luken and Abraham Tunes, came from the same city is consequently strong."

On page 6, regarding Pastorius, Pennypacker states: "In his reference to the places in which he stopped on his journey down the Rhine he nowhere mentions emigrants except at CREFELD, where he says, "I talked with Tunes Kunders and his wife, Dirck Hermann and Abraham Op den Graeff, and many others WHO SIX WEEKS LATER FOLLOWED ME."

The Kriegsheimers came to America two years later than Pastorius, so Pastorius would not have discussed them as emigrants at the time he made that statement, even though he did mention having been to Worms. Although Pennypacker was aware of Pastorius's having made earlier trips to Worms and Kriegsheim, he apparently did not consider that as regards Hans Peter. Since he did deem the above worth mentioning, it may have clouded his thinking in general.

On page 6, discussing letters from James Claypoole, Pennypacker further states: "As he had the names of the thirty-three persons, this contemporary evidence is very strong, and it would seem safe to conclude that all of this pioneer band, which, with Pastorius, founded Germantown, came from CREFELD."

This is based on a letter written during the time when the Krefeld immigrants of 1683 were delayed between Rotterdam and London, again prior to the emigration of Hans Peter Umstat in 1685. Claypoole, a Quaker merchant from London, traveled on the ship "Concord" with the Krefeld immigrants. These items demonstrate the mind set with which Pennypacker was working as a whole.

Pennypacker adds on pages 157 and 158:

"The incorporation of Germantown rendered necessary the opening of a court. In its records may be traced the little bickerings and contentions which mark the darker parts of the characters of these goodly people. Its proceedings conducted with their simple and primitive ideas of judicature, written in their quaint language, are both instructive and entertaining, since they show what manner of men these were, whose worst faults appear to have consisted of the neglect of fences and the occasional use of uncomplimentary adjectives. From among them is extracted whatever, during the course of about thirteen years, relates to the Op den Graeffs.

"James de la Plaine, Coroner, brought into this court the names of the jury which he summoned the 24th day of 4th month, 1701, viz: Thomas Williams, foreman; Peter Kuerlis, Herman op den Graeff, Reiner Peters, Peter Shoemaker, Reiner Tyson, Peter Brown, John Umstat, Thomas Potts, Reiner Hermans, Dirk Johnson, Hermann Tunes. Their verdict was as followeth: We, the jury, find that through carelessness the cart and the lime killed the man; the wheel wounded his back and head, and it killed him."

John Umstat was probably Hans Peter's son Johannes. Had op den Graeff not been Pennypacker's ancestor, he might not have included this particular item which just happens to mention John Umstat.

5. Pennypacker does not mention nor does he appear to have known about the passport requests made by Schumacher, Hendricks, and Hans Peter Umstat, together, in Hochheim, near Kriegsheim, just prior to their leaving Germany. It would not have made sense, had Hans Peter been living in Krefeld, which was part of Holland in 1685, for him to travel to Kriegsheim, Germany, to apply for a passport to go to Holland. Krefeld is about 300 km (220 miles) northwest of Kriegsheim, DOWN the Rhine River. Had Hans Peter been in Krefeld and had he returned to Kriegsheim to obtain the passport, he'd have had a very long journey UP the Rhine River to get there.

6. Pennypacker was evidently not aware of the Evangelical (Lutheran) Church records of the Umbstatts in Monsheim/Kriegsheim, nor of the Umstadt family that had been living in the area since about 1625, a remnant of which is still there today. There was no visible evidence of the Umstadt family, such as graves, in Kriegsheim or in Monsheim when I visited there in 1997. It was only by asking around that I was directed to Hohen-Sülzen, where I found old Umstadt graves from the late 1700's and the 1800's. Hohen-Sülzen is a tiny village about 5 km outside of Monsheim.

Had Pennypacker been aware of these last two items, I feel quite certain that he would have reconsidered his belief that the Umstats were from Krefeld.

Although I do not think it necessarily affected Pennypacker's thinking, on page 124, he wrote: "A more accurate survey, December 29th, 1687, determined the quantity of land in Germantown to be five thousand seven hundred acres, and for this a patent was issued. It was divided into four villages: Germantown with two thousand seven hundred and fifty acres, Crisheim (Kriegsheim) with eight hundred and eighty-four acres, Sommerhausen with nine hundred acres, and Crefeld with one thousand one hundred and sixty-six acres, and thus were the familiar places along the Rhine commemorated in the new land."

Various additional or fuller excerpts from the book ...

(Page 2) "On the 10th of March, 1682, William Penn conveyed to Jacob Telner, of Crefeld, doing business as a merchant in Amsterdam, Jan Streypers, a merchant of Kaldkirchen, a village in the vicinity, still nearer to Holland, and DIRCK SIPMAN OF CREFELD, each five thousand acres of land to be laid out in Pennsylvania."

(Page 3) "On the 11th of June, 1683, Penn conveyed to Govert Remke, Lenart Arets, and Jacob Isaacs Van Bebber, a baker, ALL OF CREFELD, one thousand acres of land each, and they, together with Telner, Streypers, and SIPMAN, constituted the original CREFELD purchasers."

(Page 2 FOOTNOTE 1) "It is probable ... from the German names that the deeds to the CREFELDERS, except that to Tellner, were dated and DELIVERED BY BENJ. FURLY, Penn's agent AT ROTTERDAM, for the sale of lands. In both Holland and Germany the present system of dating had been in use for over a century."

(Page 4) "On the 7th of June, 1683, Jan Streypers and Jan Lensen entered into an agreement AT CREFELD …"

(Page 5) "On the 18th of June the little colony were in ROTTERDAM, whither they were accompanied by Jacob Telner, DIRCK SIPMAN, and Jan Streypers, and THERE MANY OF THEIR BUSINESS ARRANGEMENTS WERE COMPLETED. Telner conveyed two thousand acres of land to the brothers Op den Graeff, and SIPMAN MADE HERMANN OP DEN GRAEFF HIS ATTORNEY."

"It is now ascertained definitely that eleven of these thirteen immigrants were from CREFELD, and on the PRESUMPTION that their two companions, Jan Luken and Abraham Tunes, came from the same city is consequently strong."

(Page 6) Discussing letters from James Claypoole, Pennypacker states: "As he had the names of the thirty-three persons, this contemporary evidence is very strong, and it would seem safe to conclude that all of this pioneer band, which, with Pastorius, founded Germantown, came from CREFELD. (6) Henry Melchoir Muhlenberg says the first comers were platt-deutsch from the neighborhood of Cleves. (7)"

(Footnote 6): "Letter book of James Claypoole."
(Footnote 7): "Hallesche Nachrichten, p 665."

(Page 15ff): "William Sewel, the historian, was a Mennonite, and it certainly was no accident that the first two Quaker histories were written in Holland. It was among the Mennonites they made their converts. In fact, transition between the two sects both ways was easy. Quakers became members of the Mennonite Church at Crefeld and at Haarlem, and in the reply which Peter Henrichs and Jacob Claus, of Amsterdam, made in 1679 to a pamphlet by Heinrich Kassel, a Mennonite preacher in KRIEGSHEIM, they quote him as saying 'that the so-called Quakers, especially here in the Palatinate, have fallen off and gone out from the Mennonites.' (34)

"These were the people who, some as Mennonites, and others, perhaps as recently converted Quakers, after being unresistingly driven up and down the Rhine for a century and a half, were ready to come to the wilds of America. Of the six original purchasers Jacob Telner and Jacob Isaacs Van Bebber are known to have been members of the Mennonite Church; Govert Remke, (36) January 14, 1686, sold his land to Dirck Sipman, and had little to do with the emigration; Sipman selected as his attorneys here at various times Herman Op den Graeff, Hendrick Sellen, and Van Bebber, all of whom were Mennonites …"

(Footnote 34): "This valuable pamphlet is in the library of A. H. Cassel."
(Footnote 36): "Johann Remke was the Mennonite preacher at Crefeld."

SWP obviously thought the Umstats were Quakers and, even if he did look for them in Kriegsheim, he presumably looked only at Quaker/Mennonite records, and not at the Evangelische (Lutheran) church records. Hans Peter Umstat does NOT show up in the records as either Mennonite or Mennonite converted to Quaker. See Schmal Documents and Kriegsheim Mennonite-Quakers.

(Page 124) "Crefeld is named as one of four villages into which Germantown was divided."

(Page 128 - full quote) "October 12, 1685, there arrived in the ship "Francis and Dorothy" Heinrich Buchholz and his wife Mary, and HANS PETER UMSTAT, FROM CREFELD,with his wife Barbara, his son, John, and his daughters, Anna Margaretta and Eve. Umstat was the son of Nicholas Umstat, who died AT CREFELD at four o'clock in the morning of October 4, 1682. He had bought two hundred acres from Dirck Sipman, which were laid out in Germantown toward Plymouth, and there he spent the remainder of his days. Among the possessions he brought across the seas with him was a Bible, printed at Nuremberg in 1568, which had belonged to his father, Nicholas, at least since 1652, and which I inherited through his daughter Eve. In it, in addition to the family entries, are among others the following: "In the year 1658 the cold was so great that even the Rhine was frozen up. On the 21st of January so great a snow fell that it continued for four days. There was no snow so great within the memory of man," and "December 16, 1680, the Comer Star with a long tail was seen for the first time." The comet which so impressed him is the one that appeared in the time of Caesar, and with a period of about five hundred years, is the most imposing of those known to astronomers. In 1685 came also Heivert Papen and about the same time Klas Jansen."

(Page 141 full quote) "In 1702 began the settlement on the Skippack. This first outgrowth of Germantown also had its origin at CREFELD, and the history of the CREFELD purchase would not be complete without some reference to it. As we have seen, of the one thousand acres bought by Govert Remke, one hundred and sixty-one acres were laid out in Germantown. The balance he sold in 1686 to Dirck Sipman."

(Page 148) "In the council of the Mennonite Church, which set forth the eighteen articles of their confession of faith at the city of Dordrecht, April 21, 1632, one of the two delegates from Kreveldt, or Crefeld, was Herman Op den Graeff."

(Page 149) Pennypacker discusses Pastorius's trip to Crefeld and his speaking to Thomas Kunders and the three Op den Graeff brothers who … "Six weeks later the followed Pastorius. At ROTTERDAM, on the way, on the 11th of June, they bought jointly from Jacob Telner two thousand acres of land to be located in Pennsylvania."

References on pages 168 and 169 to others from Krefeld who later joined the population of Germantown certainly would indicate that they WERE mostly Quakers.

Final thoughts:

Barbara Wentz, who thoroughly edited this piece for me, wondered what a rix dollar was, so she looked it up - "any of various old dollar coins of Germany, the Netherlands, or Scandinavia" and "any of several silver coins formerly issued by England for colonies."

As has happened in the 100-plus years since Governor Pennypacker published his book in 1899, additional new information will come to light that will affect what I've written here. Genealogical research, particularly as it involves the Umstead family will never be static. There is always something new, or a new angle from which to consider the traditional beliefs. We move forward, even as we look backwards. I welcome any further or new information, as long as it is well-documented. Were this to be the final word on this question, I would be disappointed.

My intention here has been solely to study the information presented in the book in light of today's knowledge. I have quoted as faithfully as I know how, I believe I have presented the material in appropriate context. I have endeavored not to abuse any copyrights that may be held on the book. Pennypacker Mills holds copyrights to all of Governor S W Pennypacker's materials and I have cleared this article with them.

This article may NOT be published by anyone else in any medium, including the Internet, without WRITTEN permission, but may be freely copied and passed along in its entirety to any interested person or organization, that it might become a foundation for further research, just as Governor Pennypacker's book was for me.

Copyright Cris Hueneke
March 26, 2000

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last updated December 8, 2001