It was a fairly straight religious arrow, starting with the Swiss Mennonites persecuted by Zwingli, through the Amish migration to north Germany, across with the Brethren to Pennsylvania, then across America as Old German Baptist Brethren.
I think I do have one significant qualification to make from last week. Although we have always referred to my grandmother's family as Dunkards, it seems more accurate to call them Old German Baptist Brethren, a slightly different group than the Dunkard Brethren. More on this topic below, but here's the accumulating data for now:
- I had found last week that Daniel Miller had founded an Old German Baptist Brethren church in Ohio.
- In a conversation of my mother with Don Mohler, my Dad's cousin who turned 90 last week, he had always known his mother, Sarah's family as Old German Baptist.
- I also drove through Flora, Indiana, last weekend taking my two youngest to Camp Tecumseh, and there was the white church where I attended my great uncle Calvin's funeral in the summer of 1995. It is an Old German Baptist Brethren church.
- I've discovered this week that the Wise family I write about today were Old German Baptist as well, indeed, that there used to be an Old German Baptist church near the Wise cemetery.
|Flora Old German Baptist Brethren Church|
2. Amsey Miller, my grandmother's father, married Salome Wise in the year 1900 just east of Delphi, Indiana. She was 21 years old, as was he. When they were married, they moved onto her family's farm, just west of Camden, Indiana, in between Wise Cemetery and Deer Creek. I guess there used to be a bridge called Wise's Ford Bridge that crossed Deer Creek, probably where 300 W crosses the creek going south today.
John B. Miller, Amsey's ancestor, was born in 1787.
One of the reason we have such good records of this Old German Baptist genealogy is how tightly knit these communities were. In fact, not only were the great grandfather of Amsey (John) and the great grandfather of Salome (Samuel) born in the same Pennsylvania community four years apart. But Samuel's mother (Elizabeth Ulrich, 1723-1815) was actually the aunt and namesake of John's mother (Elizabeth Ulrich, 1757-1834).
While the Miller family wound its way around a bit before finally settling in Carroll County, Indiana, Samuel Wise was one of the original settlers of the county. Born in 1783 in Pennsylvania, he was married in the area of Dayton, Ohio in 1807. And he claimed a homestead just north of Deer Creek from 1826 to 1830, some 1440 acres. Somewhat awkwardly, it would seem that Samuel and his wife Elizabeth were first cousins, their mothers being sisters (Mary and Catherine Cripe).
Samuel's property had orchards on it and a saw mill. He would die in 1841. Then his sons would continue to farm the land, including his son Leonard (1810-1889). Then Leonard's sons would farm the land, including his son Elias (1850-1929). Eli begat Salome, who begat my grandmother.
3. You can see the steady migration of these Brethren from Pennsylvania to Ohio to Indiana, like so many others at the time. My father's family (Dutch and German) were moving in from the north, while my mother's family were moving in from the south, through North Carolina and Virginia (Welsh, English, and Scots-Irish).
OK, what about Eli's father, Leonard (1810-1889). Where was his wife from? His wife was Catherine (Kitty) Eyman (1816-1872), and they married in 1836. Her grandfather was born in Pennsylvania in 1762 and her father married her mother in Ohio in 1814. Both her grandfather and father ended up in Carroll County, Indiana.
And now we get to the Dunkards and a fascinating (but unfortunately typical) story of American church history. My grandmother Esther was born of Salome who was born of Eli who was born of Leonard. Leonard married Kitty Eyman. Her father was an Old German Baptist Brethren preacher in Carroll County, Indiana, Peter Eyman.
It would seem that the Old German Baptists of Carroll County got into a bit of a disagreement in 1848. Eyman and another minister were questioning a candidate for baptism of their faith before baptism, while the standard practice was to do so afterwards. They were also practicing footwashing before the Lord's Supper rather than the standard practice of doing it afterwards. Other pastors in their area questioned their practices and a meeting was called.
In the end Peter organized a new church out of his home, a new Dunkard movement they called the "Church of God." So he was the founder of a group of new Dunkards.
4. All of these lines of German Baptists also came over from Germany in the early 1700s.
- The line of Samuel Wise came over from the Rhineland of Germany in 1733. Frantz Weiss came over on the ship Elizabeth and landed in Maryland. He gave birth to Johannes Jacob that year in Pennsylvania, who gave birth to Samuel's father John in 1754. One naturalization record describes this line as "Moravian."
- Samuel's mother's family also came from Germany (Mary Cripe), although they may have originated just west in France. What was Greib in German became Gripe/Cripe in the US. A lot of the German immigration in the early 1700s was a result of the French invasion of this western area of Germany in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14). The area was devastated.
- I might add that one of the brothers of the Elizabeth Ulrich above, whose niece and daughters married into my line, was one Bishop Samuel Ullery, a bishop in the more mainstream Church of the Brethren in 1785 in Morrison's Cove, Pennsylvania (first pastor of that Brethren church).
- If we return to the Eymans--remember the Peter Eyman who started the new Dunker's movement in Indiana in 1848--his father was also a German Baptist Brethren minister who fought in the Revolutionary War. And his father, Jacob Eymann, came over from the Rhineland in 1749. His grandfather, like the Millers, came from the Bern area of Switzerland.
2. The Revivalin' Twenties
In the Year 1920 (Dorsey Schenck)
From Quaker to Pilgrim (Harry Shepherd)
The Great Generation (my parents)
3. The Depression Thirties
North Carolina Flashback (Eli Shepherd)
4. Passing Generations
A Dunkard Heritage 1 (Amsy Miller)
A Dunkard Heritage 2 (Salome Wise)
7. The Divisive Sixties
Flashback to Jamestown (Champion Shelburn)