Wie viele Mennonisten sich in dem OberAmpt Alzey befinden, weiß ich nicht, wohl aber, daß deren außer den Erb- und Temporal-Beständeren ein gantzes Land an Begütteten under ehanen 150 ohngefehrlich seindt [= ungefähr sind].
In meinem Ampt haben sich 15 Hausgesäß [= die mit einem Hause angessesene Familie] bekannd, welche sich recht exemplarisch still, fleiß [ig] und nachbahrlich ohne jemanden Ärgernuß zu geben verhalten. Es seind aber einige von ihnen benebst den Quäkern, so auch under obigen 15 Hausgesäß begriffen, nacher Pensylvania gezogen undt haben ... ihr Haus- und Gütter verkauft und vorhaben [im] nächst angehenden Frühling den anderen zu folgen.
Ihre Singularitäten bestehen darinnen, daß sie keinen Aydt [= Eid] schwöhren, keine Waf[f]en tragen, ihre Kinder nicht eher taufen [bis] sie verstehen, was die Taufe sey; in ihren Versamblungen lesen sie das Neue Testament, haben dan einen, der von ihnen Ermahner genennet wird - sonsten aber ein Bauer ist wie sie auch- welcher sie zu guten Werken erinnert, und wenn einer under ihnen etwas peccirt [von lat. peccare = sündigen], ihm solches vor der Versamblung ansagt; sie betten das Gebett des Herrn und den Glauben wie wir, so ist auch ihr Cathechismus aus dem Heydelb[erger] mehrerentheils gezogen.
Hochheim, der 24. 9br [ = November ] 1684 Schmal
I don't know how many Mennonites live in the Oberamt Alzey (larger overall Alzey District), but I do know that, not counting the ones who have inheritances, there are about 150 who own land.
In my district (presumably the Hochheim area including Kriegsheim) I know of 15 families who own houses, live quietly, work hard, are neighborly, and cause no trouble. A few, along with the Quakers, and among the above mentioned 15 households, are planning to move later to Pennsylvania, and have sold homes and belongings in order to follow the others next spring.
Their peculiarities consist of their not being willing to swear an oath or carry weapons; they don't baptize their children until they (the children) understand the meaning of baptism; they read the New Testament in their meetings; they have someone they call a "Reminder," who is otherwise an (ordinary) farmer like (the rest of) them are, but who reminds them to do good deeds, and when someone amongst them sins, will inform the assembly; they pray the Lord's Prayer and have a faith like ours, as well as having a catechism based for the most part on the Heidelberg Catechism.
Hochheim, the 24th of November, 1684. (signed) Schmal
In Germany, property is passed on from generation to generation within a family, so Schmal's statement would indicate that some of the Mennonites in his district had purchased their houses, which would infer that they had moved into the area from somewhere else, while others were of established families.
It would appear that the Umstatts were an established family in Kriegsheim, as least as far back as Nicholas's appearance on the 1661 Kriegsheim list of citizens. Although we can't be certain that Nicholas of the census was Hans Peter's father, we at least know that Umstatts were in Kriegsheim that far back. Due to Evangelische (Lutheran) records found and the absence of Umstatts in either Mennonite or Quaker records, there is still nothing to suggest that Hans Peter himself was either Mennonite nor Quaker.
Schmal's statement that that a few had sold their houses and belongings and were planning to "follow the others" to Pennsylvania suggests some knowledge of and connection to the Krefeld immigrants of 1683, which would follow since the missionaries had visited Kriegsheim and encouraged them to go to America.
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Copyright Cris Hueneke 2002
Updated 7 April 2002