What's a good German doing being listed as of Huguenot ancestry, anyway? Well, Daniel's great grandparents left France when the Edict of Nantes of 1598, granting Huguenots a certain amount of liberty protection in France, was rescinded in 1685. Protestants were no longer free to worship or live as they pleased, and many, many families went to friendlier locations in Germany. If they chose the right city or village, they could continue to worship as Protestants. The family name was probably De Val or de la Val, in France.
Daniel himself may have come to the New World in search of religious freedom, or because of economic reasons, or a combination of both. He was born in 1716 in Budesheim, Rhein-Platz, in what would become Germany. His parents were Johan Daniel and Agnes Germanding Lawall, and he likely had siblings although I don't have any evidence of that. Most German families were large. Pictures on line show the village of Budesheim that at least from a distance probably hasn't changed much in 300 years, except this was in an area that was likely fought over during World War II, so perhaps the buildings are newer than they look. If I were a traveling person, this would be someplace I would want to put on my bucket list!
In Germany, Daniel married Barbara, who has not yet been identified further, to my knowledge. He arrived in Philadelphia in 1752, probably with Barbara and their five children. We don't yet know the story of his life in Pennsylvania, except that he was a farmer. By 1781 he was on the tax rolls in Lower Saucon township, Northampton County, Pa. At his death in 1796 he is listed as a yeoman, so he must have been a landowner.
I haven't yet found a will, but I have located the abstract. It names his wife, Barbara, and his children Ludwig, Anna Margaret (deceased wife of Christopher Ketterman), Gertraut, wife of George Seitz, Philip, and Bernina, wife of Valentine Horn. A nephew, Daniel Beidelman is also mention, and is one of the executors of the will. I wonder how Daniel Beidelman fits into the family? Is there a potential clue to Barbara here?
So far, this is what I know about Daniel. I'd like to know whether he knew that he was of French ancestry, or whether he thoroughly identified with his German village. I'd like to know where his land was, and how much he had. I'd like to know what this man thought of the events of the French and Indian War, and the Revolutionary War. How was he affected by these events? Was he glad he had come to America? I would like to sit down and talk with this man!
The line of descent is:
Anna Margaret Lawall-Christopher Kitterman
Mary Kitterman-George Harter
Johan George Harter-Mary M Miller
George Harter-Elizabeth Geiger
John Harter-Mary Bennett
Clara Ellen Harter-Emanuel Harshbarger
Grover Harshbarger-Goldie Withers
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks