Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Beeks line: Johan Wilhelm Altomus 1675-after 1719 Immigrant, or not?

First, I take absolutely no credit for the information in this post.  It was mostly taken from the Altemose Family Genealogy site at RootsWeb, authored by Dale Berger.  He has tons of information there so head on over after you've read this very much condensed version.  It is wonderful that people like Dale have been able to devote so much time, effort, and money to teasing out the story of our ancesgtors, and they deserve all the credit for it.

We don't know a lot about Wilhelm, not even his birthday.  His father was possibly Becht Altemuss of Kaulbauch, who was baptized on September 18,1648 and buried on May 29,1713, and Becht's father was likely Hans Altemuss and Maria.  Hans was a cowherd and Becht became a linen weaver and beadle.  A few words of explanation: Kahlbach is more or less in the center of Germany, running north to south and a bit to the west of the center of Germany running east to west.  It seems that it must have been a small town back in the 1600's.  it was likely affected by the Thirty Years War but I haven't determined to what extent.  Since Becht didn't follow his father's profession, he was likely apprenticed to someone else in town, and this would have been a highly regulated situation.  It's likely that Hans had to grease some palms in order to get him into an apprenticeship program, even if he was placed with a relative.  Becht became not just a linen-weaver, but a beadle, which is a minor judge, dealing with petty criminals.  So he must have been respected in the town. 

Wilhelm was likely Becht's son, although Berger is careful to say there is no proof of that yet.  They were in the same area and many of the family were linen weavers.  (If a man was a linen weaver, it often meant that his wife and children did most if not all of the work of raising the family's food and caring for the family's farm animals.)  Sometimes, but not always, linen weaver's had a physical challenge of some kind that kept them from more vigorous work, and sometimes they were just good linen-weavers. 

Johan Wilhelm Altomus married Anna Caecilia Reinmuller on January 16,1700 and the two had at least six children together..  Their last known daughter was Maria Catharina Altomus, who was born July 29,1719 in Offenbach, Hundheim, Germany.  She was the youngest of their children, and she is the one who married Johann Philip Servass.  The Altomus family was apparently of Lutheran belief so it's not know when the Servassor Serfass family became influenced by the Moravians. 

Evidence has not yet been found for the death of Wilhelm, although it seems likely that he died in Germany. At least three of his children emigrated to America in 1739 and 1740, so perhaps his estate helped finance the move.  Or perhaps he came to America with one or another of the families, and died either at sea or shortly after arrival.  At this point, we don't know whether or not he was an immigrant, or whether he intended to be one.  We suspect that he at least gave his family a dream, to come to America, and they followed that dream. 

I've written before of the life of Philip Servass, one of poverty, hard work and dedication to the Lord, interrupted by terrible Indian raids on his land.  Wilhelm did well to have such a son in law, and daughter, who were given values in Germany that helped them cope with their new home.

The line of descent is:

Johan Wilhelm Altomus-Anna Caecilia Reinmuller
Maria Catherina Altomus-Johan Philip Servass
Frederick Serfass-Sabina
George Philip Serfass-possibly Eva
Mary Serfass-Andrew Wise
David Wise-Matilda Martin
Elizabeth Wise-John Beeks
Wilbur Beeks-Cleo Aldridge
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Their descendants