Friday, June 20, 2014

Harshbarger line: Daniel Shuey, Immigrant 1704-1777

I just love these immigrant ancestors.  It is so difficult to understand their bravery, from a distance of almost 300 years, but somehow, for some reason or reasons, they summoned up the courage to leave their family homes, get permission from the state authorities (which was a feat in itself), gather up their children, travel to Rotterdam (usually), and then spend weeks or months in a rolling, crowded, unsanitary ship, traveling to America.  Once they got here, the men had to declare their loyalty to the British king before they were permitted to leave the ship permanently.  Then they had to find a place to live, or possibly had to serve an indentureship (both husband and wife would have had to serve, and children, too). 

Most of the Germans settled in the areas west of Philadelphia, in Lancaster or Berks or Lebanon County, although not all the counties were named in the early years.  Then, when the families were free to go, they had to make a home for themselves out of what was a wilderness.  Land was purchased or rented, and then cleared. Log cabins were built at first, and barns and other out buildings followed, as the crops were planted and harvested.  It is hard to imagine how the families ate until the harvest came in. They would have brought grains with them from Philadelphia, and whatever else they could afford, but the only fruits would have been those naturally growing in the area (berries, mostly) and they would probably have also gathered nuts and honey from the surrounding forest.  As their crops and animals began to produce, the farm would have made an attractive offer to the wild animals of the area, which included panthers, wolves, and bears.  As if all this wasn't enough, there were the Indians to deal with and eventually fear and finally, battle.

Would Daniel Shuey and his wife, Mary Margaretha Shilling, have come to America if they could fully comprehend all that would be required of them once they arrived?  The answer perhaps is in their religion, and in their history.  The Shueys were members of the Reformed church, rather than the Lutheran Church in America (they attended the Swatara Church).  Daniel's family had been French Huguenots, with the name Jouy) in prior generations, but the family had been forced to flee to Germany when Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes which had allowed other religions in France other than Catholicism.   The stories Daniel would have heard of the escape of his grandparents from France to Germany due to religious persecution was probably a motivating factor in moving to America, since much of the German area was also going through religious disputes and wars.  Another factor may have been economic, as many of the French/German people had fled with little or nothing to their name, and it was hard to make a decent living as a refugee family. 

Daniel and his wife and oldest son came to America in 1732, on the ship Johnson, which sailed from Rotterdam to Philadelphia.  The 305 passengers on this ship are all referred to as "Palatinates", since they had lived in Palatine, an area of Germany near the French border.  Daniel owned land by 1746, but the original records have apparently been lost.  There is a record of a receipt for additional land purchased by Daniel in 1746, which adjoined Daniel's "dwelling plantation", so he had already been there for some time.  It appears from various additional receipts that he may have owned as much as 1000 acres of land by the time of his death, so he was apparently a successful farmer in America.

This Daniel was the son of Daniel Shuey or Jouy and Judith l'Avenant, and Mary Margaret Schilling was the daughter of Benedict Schilling and Anna Barbara Hoffman.  Daniel was born in 1704 in Oggersheim, Pfalz, Germany, and the marriage took place on October 16, 1725 in Dandstadt, Pfalz, Germany.  Several children had already been born to the couple by the time they immigrated, but it is unclear if they were all on this ship.  We know that Ludwig and Anna Margaret made the trip, and we know that several children were born after the couple arrived here, including Elizabeth, Barbara, and Peter.  The family was fortunate indeed that they lost no family members to the Indians, the reason apparently being that there was a fort very near the family home, and also the family farm served as a base for small contingents of soldiers.

Daniel died in May, 1777, and left a will written in German that fortunately has been translated.  He left his home and belongings and 200 pounds to his wife, and then gave instructions for what appears to be a separate sum of 200 pounds. He left some of his sons and sons in law only 1 shilling, explaining that they had already received their share of his estate.  At the time of his death it appears that Ludwig, John, Martin, Anna Margaret the wife of Nicholas Pontius, Catharine the wife of Jacob Giver, and Barbara the wife of George Feesers were living and were to share 200 pounds to be delivered in 1784.  Also Peter, Daniel, and Elizabeth were mentioned in the will.  Mary Margaretha is listed as having died in 1800 in Bethel Township, which would have made her 97 years old at the time.  This is a little confusing to me because in the will she is named as Mary Martha.  There is a possibility that this is not the wife of 1725, but further research needs to be done on this.

I think it's fun to find a "German" Harshbarger who actually has French roots.  Even in this most German of families, there are other lines involved, from other countries.  It's part of what makes family history so fascinating.

This post is taken largely from a book called "The History of the Shuey Family in America from 1732 to 1919" by Dennis Boeshore Shuey.  There is a 2008 paperback version of this available from Amazon, but it is also available on Internet Archive.

The line of descent is:

Daniel Shuey-Mary Margaretha Schilling
Anna Margaret Shuey-Nicholas Pontius
Mary M Pontius-Conrad Reber
Maria Margaretha Reber-Solomon Buchtel
Benjamin Buchtel- (brick wall) Barbara Long
Nancy Buchtel-Adam Kemery
Della Kemery-William Withers
Goldie Withers-Grover Harshbarger
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Harshbarger children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren