1929 Smith


Smith, C. Henry "The Mennonite Immigration to Pennsylvania in the Eighteenth Century," Part XXXIII, Prepared at the Request of the Pennsylvania-German Society," published in the Proceedings of the Pennsylvania-German Society, Norristown, PA, 1929, Part II, pp. 1-412.

On page 93, Smith prefaces this section with the statement: "It is not the purpose here to enter into a detailed discussion of the general history of the Germantown settlement. That has been done well by others. It is only the Mennonites of Germantown and their history with whom we are here concerned ..." He continues: "Among the Mennonites who came the second year ...," names several from Crefeld who arrived in 1684, and then moves into the following statement:

Page 94 - "In 1685 were added the names of Hans Peter Umstat from Crefeld; Heifert Papen, Klas Jansen, and two families from the Mennonite-Quaker congregation of Kriegsheim - Peter Schumaker with his family and his servant Peter Frey, and Gerhard Hendricks with his wife and daughter Sarah. Johannes Cassel, the last member of the Kriegsheim congregation arrived in 1686. (24)"

Footnote (24) "The Kriegsheim colonists had been Mennonites before they had become Quakers as is proven by the following records found in the Karlsruhe Archives, -- 'Kriegsheim Balliwick, Florsheim August 11, 1684. The Kriegsheim Quakers formerly Mennonites but now Quakers -- Heinrich Gerhards, Peter Schumacher, George Schumacher's widow, Johannes Castle, Stofel Morett, Johannes Gerhard's widow.'"

"Jacob Schumacher, who came with Pastorius as servant in 1683, no doubt was of the Kriegsheim Schumacher family, and may have been the Anabaptist referred to by Pastorius in his account of his voyage to Pennsylvania. But that is not certain. Anabaptist meant Mennonite at that time, and there is no record of any other Mennonite who came on this ship."

Comment: Smith does not cite any documentation in the above that would prove Hans Peter to have been a Mennonite, but Hans Peter's ABSENCE from the list of Mennonites who converted to Quakerism speaks more loudly than does Smith. His "Kriegsheim Balliwick, Florsheim" refers to Item #4337 Fol 42, of the original Kriegsheim documents. See "1684 Hochgebohrner," THIS DOCUMENT IS DATED HOCHHEIM, August 11, 1684, NOT Kriegsheim District or Florsheim.

Smith does not cite a source for showing Hans Peter as being from Crefeld, but it was undoubtably S. W. Pennypacker (ca 1899), as he refers to Pennypacker's work later on and so we know he was familiar with it.

On page 95, Smith states: "... in a list of men who applied for naturalization in 1691 there appear to be these additional names which seem to be Mennonite, --" and he lists the names (no Ums), then follows with, "Among those who followed in the years immediately succeeding were," and again a list of names (no Ums), which includes Heinrich Pannabekker.

Comment: Heinrich Pannabekker (Pannebecker) was the husband of Hans Peter's daughter Eve. No source document is cited.

"Thus far the Mennonite colonists were nearly all of Dutch descent, and came either from Holland or from the Dutch congregations in lower Germany, but in 1707 began the steady immigration of the Palatines ..."

On page 96 - "From the membership list of the Germantown church of 1708, which fortunately has been preserved, we learn that exclusive of the Skippack congregation the following names compose the Mennonite contingent of the Germantown settlement by that time, -- (33)"

There is no one named UM on the list.

Footnote (33): "This list is found in Morgan Edwards, Material for a History of the American Baptists, published in 1770. It has been reprinted a number of times since in various books, including Cassel's Mennonites, p. 114."

Comment: Land Rec. H-17 refers to Hans-Peter as "of Germantown" in a 1706 Release from Van Bebber and also in a 1710 land sale. If he had been a Mennonite in Germantown in 1708, he would surely have been on this list.

On page 97: "In 1712, it was reported that both Germantown and Skippack together had a membership of ninety-nine members. That would be a total population of perhaps two hundred and fifty. (42) By this time the Skippack and Pequea colonies had been established, and the Palatines, who were all farmers, passed the Germantown village by for the better farm lands in the rich lime stone valleys farther west."

Footnote (42): Jacob Gotschalk in a letter written to Holland in 1773.

"In the meantime those of other religious faiths were also finding their way in increasing numbers to all these colonies. In 1694 a mystic by the name of Kelpius, a disciple of the German religious mystic Jacob Boehm ... came ..." "With Kelpius came also a party of Lutherans, who held their first religious services in the house of the Mennonite van Bebber. (44)

Footnote (44): Pa. Ger. Soc., XI., 79.

Comment: This may be important to the question of whether burial in the Lower Skippack Mennonite Cemetery constitutes proof of one's having been a Mennonite. This question is discussed in on the LSM Cemetery page, elsewhere on this site.

On page 98: "There were also a number of Quakers who for the most part were proselytes from the Mennonites in various congregations in Europe, but principally Crefeld and Kriegsheim."

"There seems to be considerable uncertainty in the minds of the writers on this subject as to the relation of these various denominations one to another in the early stages of Germantown history. This confusion is largely due to the fact that in the early years, while the community was still small, and the different religious denominations were without organization and preachers, the settlers worshipped in common irrespective of their previous religious affiliations. The little meetinghouse erected in 1686 was no doubt a community house of worship, though dominated by the Quakers. It was only as the different denominations grew in numbers that separate organizations developed. The Quakers built their first meeting house following that of 1696, in 1705; and the Mennonites in 1708, though the latter had reserved a lot for that purpose as early as 1702."

"The entire Kriegsheim contingent of the Germantown settlement is known to have been of Mennonite origin."

Comment: Smith cites no specific source for this statement. He does in the next paragraph mention the work of Governor Samuel W Pennypacker with a footnote reference to "Pennypacker in Pa. Ger. Soc., IX." The fact that Hans Peter was of Kriegsheim in 1685, not, as Pennypacker insisted, of Krefeld, along with the fact that records have been found to prove that at least some of the Kriegsheim UMs were Lutherans, has muddied the waters so that any general statements made regarding which of the Germantown settlers was Mennonite or Quaker cannot necessarily be applied to Hans Peter.

On page 101: "After their arrival in Pennsylvania, however, all but a few affiliated themselves with the Quakers in religious worship. How many of them had exchanged their Mennonite for Quaker connections before the emigration, and how many because Quakers after that time, of course we do not know."

On page 102: "These Quakers who had once been Mennonites, together with the additionsl Mennonite-Quakers from Kriegsheim as well as a few Mennonites who had remained true to their faith constituted the first, and for some time the strongest religious body in the settlement. To this group, too, Pastorius, who had once been a Lutheran Pietist, attached himself, and remained faithful to it to the end; for his name also appears often in the records of the Abbington Meetings in an official capacity. The fact that he had his two sons baptized by the Lutheran pastor proves only that he took no chances in their hope of salvation, since he remained with the Quakers even after the Lutherans had organized their church in Germantown."

" ... a report made early in the century of the origin of the church by Jacob Gotschalk, the second Mennonite preacher in America. Gotschalk says, 'the beginning of the community of Jesus Christ here at Germantown who are called Mennonites took its rise in this way, that some friends out of Holland and other places in Germany came here together and although they did not all agree, since at that time the most were still Quakers, nevertheless they found it good to have exercises together but in doing it they were to be regarded as sheep who had no shepherd, and since as yet they had no preachers, they endeavored to instruct one another. In that year, 1690, more friends from Crefeld and elsewhere, came into the land, and were also of our brothers. and added themselves to us and attended our exercises in the house of Isaac Jacobs. (48)

Footnote (48): "This report by Gotschal is incorporated in a lengthy letter written to Holland in 1773, by Andreas Ziegler, and others from Skippack. This letter which contains almost the only source of information on the early history of the church in America was accidentally discovered in Holland by Governor Pennypacker, and bought by him at auction. Pennypacker printed it some years ago in his "Hendrick Pannebecker." It is now in the possession of the Perkiomen Seminary Historical Library. It appears in the Dutch language, and consequently must be a translation of the original; for none of the original writers, Andreas Ziegler, Isaac Kolb, or Christian Funk, were able to write in Dutch."

From page 103: "It is thus seen that as the colony prospered and the various religious groups grew in numbers and in wealth, the different sects began to differentiate and to chrystalize (sic) into separate organizations. There were a number of reasons why the parties which at first worshipped in common did not keep on doing so any longer than the exigencies of the situation demanded. Strongest of all the causes of separation of course was that of religious differences. Language was also a disturbing factor. German and Dutch Mennonites did not always feel at home among the English speaking Quakers of either Germantown or Philadelphia. A hint of these growing differences is found in a letter written on June 7, 1690, by Dominie Rudolfus Varick, a Reformed pastor visiting at the time in Pennsylvania. In reporting to Amsterdam he says, ---

'I came to a German village near Philadelphia, where among others I heard Jacob Telner, a German Quaker, preaching. Later I lodged at his house in Philadelphia. The village consists of 44 families, 28 of whom are Quakers, the other 16 of the Reformed church, among whom I spoke to those who had been received as members of the Lutherans, Mennonites and Baptists, who are very much opposed to Quakerism, and therefore lovingly meet every Sunday when a Menist Dirk Keyser from Amsterdam reads a sermon from a book by Jobst Harmensen. (49)'"

Footnote (49): "Pa. Ger. Soc., XV. A translation."

On page 104, Smith goes on to discuss the 1690 Mennonite withdrawal from the Quakers.

Comment: This gives us a good overview of the social and religious climate in which Hans Peter lived in Germantown. Although no specific conclusion can be drawn as to Hans Peter's religious affiliation, it is apparent that he had opportunity in Germantown to be Mennonite, Quaker, or Lutheran, or even, albeit unlikely, Baptist or Reformed, or some others not mentioned in Smith. It is probable that he had SOME religious affiliation. Note that Smith wrote this in 1929, so the location of the Gotschal letter may no longer be accurate.

The one interesting possibility from the Varick letter, if it can be deemed reliable, is the mention of the 44 families and the breakdown. If Germantown consisted of only and exactly 44 families in 1690, and if any group of them is identified in any records, we might, by process of elimination, get closer to determining Hans Peter's religion. If there is someone who'd love to take this on as a research project, please let me know!!!!

From page 121: "Another prominent settler in the Germantown colony was Heinrich Pannabecker. (66) Pannabecker was originally of the Reformed faith, but soon after his arrival at Germantown he affiliated himself with the Mennonites of Skippack whither he had removed from Germantown; (67) and his wife Eve was the daughter of the Mennonite Hans Peter Umstat. Many of their descendants were Mennonites including a great grandson, Matthias, who was a well known Mennonite minister during the Revolutionary War."

Footnote (66): "For the facts regarding the life of Hendrick Pannebecker see Pennypacker, Hendrick Pannebecker."

Footnote (67): "S. W. Pennypacker, in Pennypacker Reunion 1877, p. 31. While at Skippack Pannebecker has his two children baptized by a visiting Reformed pastor. At that time, 1710, there was no Reformed church at Skippack, and Pannebecker no doubt worshipped with his wife's people, the Mennonites.

Comment: There is much conflicting and often circumstantial evidence such as the above that can point to possibilities for Hans Peter having been Mennonite, Quaker, or Lutheran. Governor Pennypacker's work will be discussed fully elsewhere on this site. The absence of any UMs in the Kriegsheim Mennonite records would dispute Pennypacker's claim that they were Mennonites. Remember that Pennypacker was convinced, erroneously, that Hans Peter was from Krefeld. This is perhaps a case of circular reasoning on the part of Pennypacker - if Hans Peter was from Krefeld and all or most of the Krefeld immigrants were Mennonites, then so must Hans Peter have been Mennonite. Since it's been proven that Hans Peter was from Kriegsheim, based on the passport requests, any conclusion drawn by Pennypacker as to Hans Peter's religion has to be considered in that light, and perhaps even completely discounted.


Smith as quoted elsewhere:

Smith is quoted in 1935 Hull, on page 289 in footnote number 365 states: "There is a brief memorandum in the Karlsruhe archives, dated Kriegsheim District, Florsheim, August 11, 1684, as follows: 'The Quakers at Kriegsheim, formerly Mennonites but now Quakers: Henrich Gerhards, Peter Schumacher, Georg Schumacher's widow, Johannes Castle, Stofel Morett, Johannes Gerhard's widow." Pfals Generalia, 4337 (quoted by C. H. Smith*, op. cit., p.94, footnote). He is referring to Smith's footnote #24, above.

Comment: The "brief memorandum," appears to refer to Item #4337 Fol 42, of the original Kriegsheim documents. See "1684 Hochgebohrner," THIS DOCUMENT IS DATED HOCHHEIM, August 11, 1684, NOT Kriegsheim District or Florsheim.

Smith is also quoted in the book BERNESE ANABAPTISTS, Delbert L Gratz, The Mennonite Historical Society, Goshen College, Goshen, Indiana 1953. This book contains no direct reference to Hans Peter, but this statement needs to be considered.

Page 41 of BERNESE ANABAPTISTS states: "The first emigrants from the Palatinate to leave for America left from Kriegsheim in 1685 (33). Two brothers, Peter and Isaac Schuhmacher, joined the Germantown, Pennsylvania, Mennonite-Quaker settlement that had been founded by persons from Krefeld two years earlier (34). However, the Mennonite stream of emigration did not begin until 1707, when a number of of families arrived at Germantown. Later this settlement spread north into the Skippack region."

Footnote (33): "Possibly descendants of the earlier Schuhmacher family of Safenwil, Aargau. See J Heiz, Täufer im Aargau (Taschenbuch des historischen Gesellschaft des Kantons Aargau,) (Aarau, 1902), 158. [Pocketbook of the Historical Society of the Canton Aargau].

Footnote (34): "Smith, C. Henry The Mennonite Immigration to Pennsylvania in the Eighteenth Century (Norristown, PA), p 75-94. "It is certain, however, that these and all other emigrants from Kriegsheim and the Palatinate to Pennsylvania before 1707 were Quakers. Although they had once been Mennonites, they were members of the Kriegsheim Quaker congregation which emigrated en masse and all joined the Quaker congregation at Germantown. The first real Mennonites to emigrate from the Palatinate to Pennsylvania were members of the Kolb family who arrived in Germantown in 1707."

Comment: Unfortunately Smith does not cite anything to document this statement, as discussed above. Although it may be true, and it certainly adds to circumstantial evidence that Hans Peter may have been a Quaker, the UM Evangelicalische (Lutheran) records found in Monsheim/Kriegsheim continue to prevent us from being able to firmly determine Hans Peter's religion.

BERNESE ANABAPTISTS also states on page 40: "As early as 1650 Swiss Anabaptists arrived at Kriegsheim ... "

Anabaptist means Mennonite. Since we have Nickel Umbstatt in Kriegsheim on the 1661 Kriegsheim census list, and the 1663 Evangelische confirmation record, both of which are probably OUR Nicholas, I think it's safe to say that NICHOLAS was probably neither Mennonite nor came with this group to Kriegsheim from Switzerland.

Smith's book is also discussed in 1933 Bender regarding his listing Hans Peter Umstat as a Mennonite. Of further interest is Bender's discussion of Heinrich Pannebecker's probably not being a Mennonite.


Smith's work, and any other that uses it as a source, as it regards Hans Peter UM, MUST be evaluated in consideration of later discoveries. Beyond that, there is much to be learned about early Germantown, but the book is long out-of-print, so access to it is limited.

I only have copies of pages discussed here, not the entire book. Copies of some pages were obtained from the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society, 2215 Millstream Road, Lancaster, PA 17602-1499, phone 717-393-9745 and others from the Pennsylvania German Society, P O Box 244, Kutztown, PA 19530-0244, phone 610-894-9551, fax 610-894-9808.



Back to Hans Peter Bibliography

Nicholas Original Records




September 2001