Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Beeks Line: Philip Raub, Immigrant

I admit it. I am fascinated with the immigrants in our families.  Why did they come when they did? How did they finance their move across the ocean?  Once they were here, did they feel they had made a good choice, or were they incredibly homesick?  And how did those poor women survive the whole ordeal?

The origin of Philip Raub is something of a mystery, although the best guesses I have seen put his birth date at 1681 and the location as Hagsfeld, Stadt Karlsruhe, Baden-Wuerttemberg, in what would become Germany.  There is a church there called Laurenskirche, and it may have been in operation at the time of Philip's birth.  If so, they may have records of Philip's birth.  If not, then perhaps the other stories are true, that this was a Mennonite family that possibly came from Switzerland. Further research needs to be done to pin down this information.

We know nothing of Philip's life, but we do know that Hagsfeld was a very small village, of less than 100 homes, when Philip was born and raised.  It is likely, then, that Philip's family had a garden they could tend for themselves, and farm land they would have tilled for the lord of the area.  It would have been a hard life, with weather uncertainties, and with the uncertainty of what the lord would be doing next in terms of requiring taxes.  Fortunately, there would have been a council to intercede between the peasants and the lord, and they may have been able to have some mitigating influence if the taxes were to be raised too much.

Philip married Maria Sarah Schoffel, daughter of Heinrich Schoffel and Maria Zwillinge, in 1719.  There was probably an earlier marriage, as Philip is credited with having three sons born from 1705-1710, and then there is a gap of 10 years.  The known children that he had with Maria Sarah were Maria Barbara, Ann Margaretha, and Andreas.  There is a gap between 1720 and 1727 so it is possible that other children were born and died young, or there were miscarriages.

In 1732, probably for economic reasons but perhaps for religious reasons, Philip and his family came to Philadelphia on the ship "Loyal Judith".  This was in about the middle of the German immigration influx.  The immigrants on this ship were mostly Mennonite, but there were a few others that were from different areas than the Baden-Durlach Mennonites.

Philip was fortunate enough to buy land in what became Springfield Twp, Bucks County, Pa in 1738.  This may indicate that he served an indentureship before being able to buy land, or perhaps he was simply a tenant farmer who made good. The land that he purchased was 130 acres near Durham Creek.  If he had been Mennonite, he soon began worshiping at Trinity Lutheran Church, as there are records there (apparently a list of communicants) in 1751. 

Philip died in December of 1753, after conveying his 130 acres of land to his youngest son, Andreas, in February of that year.  I have not located a will for him.  His wife, Maria Sarah, died in 1764 in Upper Sucon Township, Bucks County, Pa.  She is buried at St Paul's Blue Church near Coopersburg, Lehigh County, Pa, and that is his place of burial as indicated on Find-a-Grave.

There is more of Philip's story to be found.  I'd like to know whether there were Indian incursions in Bucks County after Philip's arrival, and after he bought his land. I'd like to know whether he was in fact Mennonite, or whether he had always been Lutheran. I'd like to know why he came to America, and whether he felt his decision was a good one.  And of course, I'd love to know who his parents are!

The line of descent is:

Philip Raub-Maria Sarah Schoffel
Andreas Raub-Maria Charlotta Weber
Charlotte Raub-Johan Jacob Weiss
Andrew Wise-Mary Serfass
David Wise-Matilda Martin
Elizabeth Wise-John Beeks
Wilbur Beeks-Greta Cleo Aldridge
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Harshbarger children, grand children, and great grandchildren