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
"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
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,
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
The "brief memorandum," appears to refer to Item #4337
Fol 42, of the original Kriegsheim documents. See "1684
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
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.
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