Friday, March 25, 2016

Harshbarger line: Johann "Hans" Wendel Laber, 1701- , Immigrant

I've found another Harshbarger line ancestor to write about, and no surprise, this family is German.  It's also no surprise that there are differing birth locations, and different death dates, for him.  However, I'm going to write of what I've found so far in the hopes that someone will see this and straighten me out.  Wendel was born on or before March 10, 1701 (this is probably a christening date) in Steinsfurt Parish, Northern Kraichgau, Germany.  This area is in southwestern Germany and would track closely with the history of other Harshbarger ancestors.  . 

Wendel was the son of Johannes Balthasar Lauber and Anna Elisabeth Wanner, and was one of at least eight children born to this couple.  I've not found any information as to his father's occupation, but it was likely to have been farming.   

We do know that Wendel married Anna Margaretha Mueller or Muller in Steinsfurt in 1726.She was the daughter of Andreas Mueller.  The young family stayed only in Steinsfurt only a few short years after their marriage.  They arrived on the ship "Dragon" in Philadelphia on September 30, 1732, along with their  two daughters.  I don't yet have birth dates for all of their children, so I am unable to say whether the family was already expecting another birth while en route to the New World, but there were 8 children born after the first two daughters. 

Again, it is hard to trace the first few years of their life in America.  The family probably first settled in Germantown, but by 1746 they had saved enough money to purchase 180 acres of land in Clay Township, Lancaster County, Pa. This is on the northern edge of the county, bordering on Berks County, and was probably excellent farm land. The Old Zion church was founded about 1747, and the Laber's apparently attended there.  His death date is actually unknown and is variously given as 1739 (wrong), 1749, 1757 and about 1762.  We know that his estate was probated December 27, 1762., although I have yet to find it on line.  He was buried in the Brickerville Lutheran and Reformed church cemetery, probably about 16 months after his wife had died, if we use the 1762 date as his date of death.

There is obviously much more I would like to know about this family.  Why did they come to America?  How long did it take them to finally obtain permission, and how much did it cost?  Had the family "always" been Lutheran?  How did they support themselves in Germany, and here in the New World?  Did they have to serve a period as indentured servants?  What was life like on their farm?  
While the general outline of his line may be known, sort of, I'd always like more details!

The line of descent is:

Wendel Laber-Anna Margaretha Muller
Martin Laber-Anna Catharina Enck
Henry Dulibon or Tulipan-Catherine Laber
Elizabeth Tullepen-Conrad Mentzer
Catherine Mentzer-Lewis Harshbarger
Emmanuel Harshbarger-Clara Ellen Harter
Grover Harshbarger-Goldie Withers
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendants