Selected Text from The History of the Nafzger Family in America
Copywrite 1939, Glea Brown Richer
[Scanned in by Ben Noffsinger, 1999. I have tried to keep the original spellings and typographical errors. Page numbers marked in <>. Comments in ]
Back | Home
Those who love history never find it dry because they visualize the figures of the past as being much as people are today, striving to better their condition, to preserve their ideals and to find happiness and security for themselves and for their children. Family history may be used to illustrate the setting of past generations in their cultural and religious background. It becomes more a matter of family pride, and by reflecting political change and historical events, the movements of certain groups may demonstrate history in miniature.
When we view the struggles and achievements of the generations past, in the light of our own endeavor, the past is neither dusty nor dead. Through sympathetic eyes we read their history to find its figures live, and to have a deep interest in their way of life.
The history of the family with which this brochure is concerned has become such a living thing to the writer. Its background is rooted in the old world. Its achievements through centuries of oppression to its successful quest for security and religious liberty furnish the underlying motive for this sketch.
I am deeply indebted to Dr. Ernst Correll of the University of Munich who was at Goshen College 1927-29. He was engaged in writing a thesis on the Mennonites in America, and in an interview concerning certain records of the Nafziger family in the possession of my family, his enthusiasm fired my imagination, and I began at once adding to the material already in my possession, and to make this record as far as possible at record or the Nafziger family as a whole.
Consulting genealogies in state and national libraries I find that no printed record of the Nafziger or Noffsinger family has ever been compiled. So, as one who is most interested in the preservation of this material reflecting the causes which led our forefathers to seek a new home in America, 1 beg to submit this history as a gesture of deepest regard for those conscientious men and women whose attempt to live Bible Christianity apart from war and strife brought persecution from European governments, forcing them to flee to a land where they could make Church and Home coincide.
I acknowledge with gratitude the help given me by members of this family all over the United States, without which I should have been unable to compile this book. it is incomplete as it stands and many who read these pages may be able to add many things of interest, but I have used all data I have been able to gather by correspondence and personal interviews.
GLEA B. RICHER
THE NAFZGERS IN EUROPE
Various forms of spelling of this old name in the different localities of Europe where the branches of the family have lived may be explained by the political influences of the time which caused them to shift their residence from place to place.
Dr. G. Kurz, head of the State Archives in Berne, Switzerland, is authority for the statement that the present Swiss spelling is Nafzger. lie traces the origin of the family to the city of Thun and to the village of Uttendorf near which place Nafzgers are still living.
That there are Nafzgers, or Nafzigers, in Germany and Alsace as well as in Switzerland today is borne out in a letter received by Mr. Lee Nafziger of Goshen, Indiana, from a Mr. Adolf A. Nafziger of Fairmount, West Virginia, in 1930.
The letter follows, in part, —
"In 1919 I visited my relatives in Alsace and learned a little more about the Nafzigers there. A relative of mine who traced the family, finds that they reach back over 300 years. They came from Emmenthal1 Switzerland, lived a number of years in Alsace, and later moved farther north and settled in Lorrain and the Palitinate.
"The story of Johannes Nafziger, Bishop of Essingen, is well known to me. He is my forefather in direct line -- his grandson was may [my] grandfather, born ‘Gundersberghof," in Lorrain. My grandfather had two brothers, Georg and Peter,-- these three lines have descendants in Lorrain and Palitinate, today. One of my brothers married a Nafziger in Luxemburg."
A letter from John S. Noffsinger, Director of the National Home [unreadable] dy Council, Washington, D. C., gives additional information concerning Nafzigers in Europe at the present time. --
"In 1930, when Mrs. Noffsinger was at the University of Grenoble, in France, she met a Madame Nafziger, who was a tutor to a royal German princess, and from her, learned a great many things about the Nafziger family.... We still correspond with her and visit her when we go to Europe.... We understand that the name is significant in Europe, that the family originally came from Switzerland and came into notice when a leader in the family became the backer of Menno (Simons), the founder of the Mennonite faith. All Nafzigers we have met in Europe are still adherents to the Mennonite faith.
"Menno Simons was a priest of the Catholic Church, but forsook his vows, being disturbed by Luther's tracts, and in 1537, became elder of the group at Groningen. This group was the beginning of the Mennonite Church, which has since its founding, carried the name of Menno, in tribute to his leadership.
"This sect had its origin in Zurich. It owned no authority outside the Bible and man's enlightened conscience. It limited baptism to the believer, and lay stress on the sanctity of human life and man's word. Many of these people suffered severe religious persecution from Catholic and also Protestant authorities because of their views on baptism, on military service, and for the form of marriage service used by their bishops. They wished to have their marriages consecrated within their own church, as they considered the family the unit of the church. One of the last methods of suppression used by the Swiss authorities in the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries was that of tearing apart family relationships, nulli fying marriages, confiscating family fortunes and -- as in 1740 (in the
Palitinate), reversing the order of 1644, a decree that announced that without mercy, forty-four families had to leave the country."
This cruel decree sounds strangely familiar today, as the persecuted of another religion are, in the same manner, being torn from loved one~ and banished for no~reason except that of their faith.
Intolerance against these people was still very much alive at the end of the eighteenth century, a remarkable example being that of Johannes Nafziger, born 1706. (See ref. in letter, preceding p.)
Johannes Nafziger, Bishop of Essingen, became involved in a trial brought him by the Catholic party in which he was accused of apostasy. A large volume concerning this trial and his famous defense exists. The records are partly at Karlshrue and partly at the University of Heidelberg. (Memoranda concerning this trial was published in the "Mennonite Review" for January, 1928.) The manuscript is in possession of Dr. C. Henry Smith, of Bluffton College, Bluffton, Ohio.
Bishop Johannes Johannes Nafziger was a tenant on the estate of one Baron von Dalberg and being ordained a preacher in 1731, became a leader of the group which met for worship at Essingen. He was 75 years of age when the Palitinate government brought him to trial for "alleged rebaptism" of two young girls whose parents had been Mennonites, but whose father had been expelled from the congregation for leading a disorderly life, after which he had put his children in a convent which claimed them for the Catholic Church.
Despite the fact that these two young girls had repeatedly requested that they be admitted to the Mennonite congregation, and despite all efforts exerted in his behalf, Bishop Nafziger was fined five hundred gulden, probably his entire fortune, and he was exiled from the province.
The personality of Johannes Nafziger is a strong one and is reflected in his writings which have been preserved. It has been suggested by those who have made a careful study of his life, and existing letters, that a most interesting biography could be written concerning him. His birthplace was Switzerland, having emigrated to the Palitinate with his parents about 1711.
The first Mennonites to emigrate to America were the thirteen families who came to Germantown, Pa., in 1683, led by Francis D. Pastorius who established its first school.
It is not surprising that they came to Pennsylvania, for was not that experiment founded on "brotherly love"?
In Pennsylvania, then, many sects of Ana baptist origin found a home. Along the Philadelphia- Allentown road is the Old East Swamp Mennonite cemetery. Here, many of these people are buried. Near her[e] the Quakers, Moravians, Mennonites and Dunkards lived in harmony.
The first Bible printed in America in any European language was published in Germantown by Christopher Sauer, a preacher of the German Baptist Brethren, who in 1739, established Germantown's first news-paper. The Quakers built a meeting house here in 1693. The Mennonites built a log church in 1709 and their present stone church in 1770.
The Methodists came in also, and by their emphasis on the "inner light", attracted many people. Among these was one Martin Boehm, a Mennonite preacher who had been chosen by lot, as was their custom. Boehm was at first associated with the Methodists, later he became interested in the preaching of Otterbein, the founder of the United Brethren Church. Many of the younger generation were attracted to the preaching
of Boehm and Otterbein, between 1775 and 1800, as may be noted in the church affiliation of the different branches of the Nafziger family after 1800.
The Nafzgers in America, 1719-1800
In searching all available records for traces of the first Nafzgers to come to America, the name of Joanna "Noethinger", wife of Andreas Bonney is listed as one of the original group of eight German Baptists, followers of Alexander Mack, to settle in Pennsylvania, 1719.
Rupp's 'Thirty Thousand Names" listing immigrants arriving 1727- 1775 gives the following:
(No. 1) 1741- Naffzir, Ulrich. Landed Philadelphia, Sept. 1. Ship, "Marlbourough."
(No. 2) Nafzger, Matthais. Landed Philadelphia, Sept.15. Ship, "Phoenix."
(No. 3) Nofsker, Peter. (Signature in clerk's hand.)
Same date and ship as above.
(No 4) Nafzger, Rudolf.
Same date and ship as above.
(No.5) 1750 -Naftziger, Jacob. Landed Philadelphia, Nov.13. Ship, "Brotherhood."
(No.6) 1752 -Naffzir, Hans Georg. (Signature in clerk's hand.) Ship, "St. Andrew."
When these young men landed in Philadelphia, they no doubt had friends to whom they could turn.
No existing information has been found leading indefinitely to Ulrich, (No. 1), but family legend kept alive among the descendants of Rudolf, (No.4.), has it that the three on the ship "Phoenix" were brothers. The fact that Peter, (No. 3), had his name recorded by the clerk may account for the spelling. He may have been ill and unable to write. It is unlikely that he would be entirely uneducated if his brothers could read and write.
These names listed indicate that they were associated with the Swiss Mennonite people who had suffered from governmental decree.
According to Dr. Correll, "The economic and social importance of these families was an important one. This was especially true of the Swiss group where the movement started. Because of decrees making marriages outside the stablished church difficult, many young people were forced to emigrate."
Matthais Nafzger settled in Lancaster County, later moving. into Berks County, Pennsylvania. His daughter, Dorothy, married John Kenege (Hist. Mast Family). Other descendants moved westward and in the present generation, the Bible, once owned by Matthais, is in possession of a direct descendant, in the family of Joseph K. Mast, Urbana, Ohio. (Hist. Mast Family.)
This Bible, printed in 1687, is, according to Dr. Correll, one of the Froschauer Bibles, popular among the Swiss Mennonites.
Froschauer was a radical, and he succeeded in putting Luther's High German translation into Swiss dialect and illustrating the work, somewhat. The Bible fell under the ban of the authorities and all available copies were confiscated. The Swiss Anabaptists defended not only their belief, but their Bibles, and this particular copy is of a date proving the Swiss origin of the family."
It is said among the descendants of Rudolf, (No.4), that he and his companions left their home, near the Swiss- German border to escape punishment for destroying a statue in a local church: A so called miracle was said to shed tears upon command by the priest. These young men entered the church secretly, being skeptical, and found the head of the statue hollow, the top of the head lifting off at the level of the eyes. The basin thus formed was filled with water and a slight jar would cause tiny drops to trickle down the face of the statue. This jar could be caused by stepping on a piece of loose flooring.
In anger at. the deception, Rudolf broke the statue and then realizing that they all would surely be punished, they fled. Making their way to the port, they secreted themselves on a boat carrying a cargo of flour and remained in hiding until the boat was well out to sea. The stowaways, when discovered, were allowed to work their passage and to land in Philadelphia.
Rudolf Nafgzer brought with him his Bible. This copy was published in 1704, in Leipsic, and is in the possession of a lineal descendant of Rudolf, Mrs. Ida Brown, of Union City, Indiana.
This Bible was printed by John Ludwig Gleditsche and published "By approbation of His High Scholarship, Johannes Georg of Andern, of the Theological Faculty of Leipsic." This would appear to be a High German translation of Luther.
In compiling the data on the various branches of the family in America, contact has been made with descendants in many states. All records bear out the fact that the ideals of the zealous and courageous men and women who first came to America were a guide for their children, and gave them a heritage that builded for good citizenship and an industrious character.
The records in possession of the family descended from Peter Naftziger, (No. 3), show the spelling of the name has been Americanized.
The above spellings have been taken from legal papers in Pennsylvania,, Virginia and Kentucky, where this family lived.
The first census of the United States was made in 1790. This was done in the face of much opposition by many of the citizens, on religious grounds "that the people should not be numbered," and by many who feared additional taxation. So the first census was not in all places a complete one. But, consulting the record of the census of Pennsylvania, we find the following families in the state listed under the various spelling of the name Nafzger.
Matthais Noffsger, Berks County, Tulpehocken Township.
Family, one male over 16, one female.
Above is no doubt Matthais, (No.2), who immigrated in 1749.
The census of 1790 does not give ages, it puts all in three classes: (1) Males over 16; (2) Males under 16; (3) Females (including the mother in the family).
From this it may be concluded that the above family in the year 1790 was an elderly couple living alone.
(No.7) Matthew Nafziger, Berks County, Bern Township. Family, four males over 16, three males under 16, five females.
(No.8) Henry Noftsicker, Lancaster County, May Township.
Family, one male over 16, four males under 18, four females.
(No.9) John Noftscur, Bedford County.
Family, one male over 16, four males under 16, four females.
(No.200) Peter Nossenger, Washington County.
Family, one male over 16, one male under 16, one female.
(No.11) John Nossenger, Washington County.
Family, two males over 15, two males under 16, four females.
Rudy Nossenger, Washington County. (Same as No.4.)
Family, two females.
From this data it may be concluded that Rudolf, (No.4), was in 1799, deceased. His widow, "relict" of Rudy Nossenger, and a daughter, remained in the home. From records on file in Washington County. Pa., there is proof that sons of Rudolf had gone to western Pennsylvania before the Revolutionary War. Where Rudolph died it not definitely known, but his widow died in Washington County, between 1790 and 1800.
There is no further record of Jacob Naftziger, (No.5). He may have been closely related to the three brothers on the "Phoenix," as he followed them only a year later. He either died or left Pennsylvania before 1790, as he is not mentioned in the census.
John, (No.11), was the eldest son of Rudolf, and in 1790 was head of a family of his own.
(No.8), Henry may have been a son of Jacob, (No.5), who had either died or left the state before 1790.
Various spellings here noted were caused in part by errors made in writing names, by the census takers. These men were some times poorly educated and they spelled names as they were pronounced to them, often in error of spelling. The census department states in a foreword to the printed copies that many times the lists were on merchant's paper and written in pencil, which blurred easily.
So it must be concluded that the forms such as Nossenger, Noftscur, and Noffsger were errors or provincial spellings.
John Noffsinger, (No.11), was a soldier in the Revolution. His name appears in "The Class Roal of Captian Ezekiel Rose."
Fifth Battalion, Washington County Melitia
(Pennsylvania Archives, 6th Series, Vol 11.)
The land patents recorded for the "Vicinity of Ten Mile Creek," later East Bethlehem Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania, are dated 1785, following the signing of the Treaty with England. The Washington County "Meletia" was not disbanded until 1784, because it was needed for border duty in protecting the settlers in western Pennsylvania from attack by Indians and renegade bands that harrassed that region. From land records it is found that John Noffsinger was granted 246 1/2 acres on Ten Mile Creek as compensation for military service. Four years later he purchased an adjoining tract of the same size from a surveyor "for eighteen pounds, lawful money." This complete estate was called "Jan"
Another son of Rudolf, Samuel, (No.12), purchased a survey of land on "Casteel Run," Jan. 4; 1790, paying one hundred and twenty pounds. Capt. Ezekiel Rose, above referred to, witnessed these deeds.
The military service is noted as being unusual in the history of the Noffsinger family, as they were known for their scruples against bearing arms.
The town of Frederick, or Fredericktown, East Bethlehem Twp,, Washington County, Pa., was surveyed and laid out in 1790 and named for its founder, Frederick Wise. Work on the town site was in progress when its founder died. The widow Wise evidently a woman of spirit, carried on the work with the help of Peter Noffsinger, (No.10), and she later married him. Among the first purchasers of lots in Frederick were Peter Noffsinger. and Andrew Noffsinger, another son of Rudolf.
The town of Frederick was a model community, according to the "History of Washington County." It had a Quaker Church and one of its trustees was Isaac Jenkinson, justice of the peace, who attested all legal documents. The religious life of this community was similar to that of the Germantown district. Quakers, Mennonites, Moravians, German Baptists and Methodists.
"Blough's History of the Brethren," says that Elder John Wise organized a small congregation there in 1759. Frederick Wise was one of his descendants.
Wayne's Treaty with the Indians in 1795 at Greenville started a great migration to Ohio. Burr's "History of Montgomery County, Ohio," says: "The Ohio country seemed indeed a land of milk and honey with its prairies and meadows to support cattle, bogs full of cranberries, and as one lawyer said, 'as he rode his circuit, his horse's legs were stained to the knees by the juice of the wild strawberries, that abounded'."
So, the Noffsingers in Pennsylvania, began to sell their land there, and to move westward. John, (No. 11), sold "Jan" to his eldest son, Daniel, and emigrated, with his second wife and several of his children, to Montgomery County, Ohio, in 1802. He purchased land there, 640 acres, from the government. and the deed, signed by Thomas Jefferson1 remained in the possession of the family until 1929.
Matthias, II, evidently a son of Matthais, (No.2), moved into Green County, Pa., following the Revolutionary War. We was a soldier in Wayne's army. and about 1800, moved into Ohio, and settled at Powhatan Point, on the river.. His wife was Nancy Brill. Their descendants spread into West Virginia and through southeastern Ohio. This branch of the family became identified with the U. B. Church.
Peter Noffsinger (Nofsker). No.3, evidently went into Virginia from Lancaster County, Pa., about 1760, or before 1770, the records show, he was the owner of several thousand acres of land in West Augusta County. This county was later divided, and Botetout County was formed, which is still the home of many descendants of this land owner.
These Noffsingers in Virginia, were partly Baptists and partly German Baptists or Dunkards. Those moving into Kentucky about 1807, were largely Baptists. The group going to Illinois, in 1865, were German Baptist. Many of the children of Mennonites had been attracted to the German Baptist, or Dunkard Church by the evangelistic methods of the latter. (C. Henry Smith, Hist. of Mennonites.)
The Noffsingers at Dayton became at once supporters of the Dunkard Church at that place. They gave land for a site, and money toward the building of a church at a place called "The Hollow." Elder Miller, from Frederick, Pa., organized the congregation here in 1802, and later it became known as the Noffsinger Church.
From Pike County, Pa., a Noffsinger family came to Somerset Pa., then in Westmoreland County about 1790, and their son John was born there, 1790 In 1817, this John Noffsinger emigrated to Stark County, Ohio. A number cf the descendants of this man live in Stark and adjoin-
ing counties today. As Pike County, Pa, was a part of Northumberland County, before 1790, no census figures appear for it separately in the 1790 census. As all names which do not appear are otherwise accounted for, it must be concluded that the parents of the above John Noffsinger were not contacted by the census taker (which often happend), or they may have been Henry, (No. 8), and wife. This couple were the parents of two young children on that date.
To avoid confusion, the desendats of the Nafzgers found on early records will be traced separately. The numbers 1 to 10 are considered heads of lines.
No. 11, second generation, following the word "generation" is the figure number (4) for the record of the father of No. 11. Then follows the descendants. When the family of the eldest son of No. 11 has been completed, we return to the second child of No. 11, and trace that family though. This method is carried out through the entire record.
Where marriages occur between the members of the same branch the husband generally carries the record.
Notes on each family are added where it is thought that they are of generaly interest, and where available data has been sent.
There are blank places in this record and it is not complete because in some instances records have been lost and in other cases families have been indifferent to requests for information.
Because it is believed that Rudolf, (No. 4), was the eldest of the three brothers on the Ship Phoenix, the record of his descendants appears first.
<pages 12 - 109>
The military record of Pennsylvania give the name of John Noffsinger, above, as a soldier in the Revolutionary War. He was a member of the Washington County "Melitia" from 177 to 1784. He was granted a survey of land, evidently for military service, along Plum Run, near Ten Mile Creek in East Bethlehem Township, Washington County, and after adding to it by perchase, made it their home. This grant of land was called "Jan".
As his children grew to maturity, they established homes near their father, and in some cases, they purchased tracts of land from their father, according to land records on file at Washington, Pa.
A part of this original land grant was retained by the eldest son until 1829, when the last of the family left the state.
Record of some of the members of this family have been lost. One son became very friendly with the Miami Indians after the family moved to Ohio. He became an interpreter, and when the Miamis were moved westward, he accompanied the tribe. Two sons, whose names are lost, went by way of the Ohio, farther west. Their descendants appear in Missouri and western states in the next generation.
About 1800, John and his wife, with their married children, left Pennsylvania and moved to the Ohio country. They settled near Dayton, Montgomery Count. he lived here, surrounded by his descendants, until his death about 1825. His signature appears on a land transfer amde in 1824 to one of his sons, as "Johannes Noffziner," written in an unsteady hand. He lies buried in the Noffsinger cemetery near the church which his sons helped to found. His grave is marked by a boulder from the creek bed, near by the plot.
Daniel remained in Washington Count, Pa., when his father moved to Ohio, and retained a part of his father's land there. the land records show that he purchased a part of the estate, "Jan".
In 1829, he sold his land and with his entire family, moved to Knox, Co., Ohio. He died there in 1844, and his widow, with three of the sons, moved to Iowa, near South english. Two of the daughters, married, followed. (also, two grandchildren) and sttled near each other.
Lucy Ann Noffsinger died in South English, Iowa, in 1869. Two daughters and three sons are buried near her grave, which is marked with a bronze tablet--placed there by the Daughters of the American Revolution -- as she was a duaghter of a Revolutionary soldier.
The children by Daniel Noffsinger's first marriage remained in Ohio, and a great grandson today owns the original homestead. for one family to hold continuous ownership of land for over a century in this era of change is an unusual thing. It denotes an inherited stability, and a love for the soil. The Swiss pioneers, Nafzger, were noted for their advanced agricultural ideas, as had been their forefathers two hundred years before they firest emigreated to America.
Only about one hundred miles separeated Daniel Noffsinger form his brothers at Dayton, but in the third generation, all knowledge of each group had been lost to the other. Poor transportaion and communication was perhaps the cause. In 1937, an accidental contact caused the address of a greaddaughter of Daniel to fall into the hands of the writer. A correspondence followed with Miss Kate Noffsinger, of South English, Iowa, which yielded almost complete records of the "lost hundred years" in the history of this family.
This made possible personal contact with the members of the family reamaining in Knox Co, Ohio. Familiar characteristics and even physical likenesses were noted, as there do recur in different generations. A rare friendship has been the reward of this unusual incident.
The descendants of the daughters of Daniel, (No. 12), are acattered, mostly remaining in Ohio. Sarah (Frey) died in 1833, and one of her sons, James Frey, went to join his relatives in Sourth English, Iowa.
Rebecca (Sayer) and wlizabeth (Rinehart) appeared in open court and made choice of Joseph Hill of East Bethlehem Twp, for thier guardian, of which choice the court approved. This record is dated December, 1821. It would appear that they had an inheritance fro their mother, who had died in 1807, and by reason of the father's second marriage, they preferred a guardian outside the family.
These two daughters married in Pennsylvania, and nothing is available concerning ther descendants.
Catherine (Jenkins) married in Ohio. and one of her sons went to Iowa, married, and had a family of four children, Mary, Adeline, Frank, and Jay. The family lived near sourth English. All these were married, but we have record of no descendants wxcept Bernice (Zaki), dauther of Mary jenkin, who died in 1896. Bernice lives in Sigourney, Iowa.
Maria (Britton) was married in Ohio, and died at the age of fourty, no record of her desendants.
Nancy (Hardman) married in Ohio. One of thier daughters married a Mr. West, and lived in Iowa, where a son, Samuel West, was born. This man returened to Ohio to study law, and became federal judge ot ther northern Ohio district in 1928. He died Oct. 5, 1938.
Lucy (McWilliams) had four children, Married in Ohio, she moved to Iowa, where her descendants live. She had one son, James, and three daughers, Lucy, Nuke, and Clara.Montgomery County, Ohio
Daniel Jr. came to Knox Co., Ohio, with his father in 1829. His descendants have retained possession of the original homestead there and the log ouse erected in 1830 is still standing overlooking a fertile valley between the beautiful hills of that region.
The Nafzigers (Nafzgers), emigrating after 1800 from Alsace Rhine, Prussie, Bavaria and Luxembourg have largely retained the German spelling, while those from the Bernese-Swiss group have varied it somewhat in the second and third generations. The common faith of these families as of the Mennonite group of Anabaptists is clearly shown in items of family record, Bibles, song books, and the Ausbund and varied religious literature of the type used by these people have been preserved and furnish much information.
Certain items of folk-lore and family legend have helped in connecting much fragmentary information.
According to Morgan Edwards, "History of the Brethren," one Christian Naffziger, of Bavaria, landed in New Orleans in the early 1800's. He made his way to Ontario, where the Mennonite settlement had been founded in 1786. His mission there was evidently one of organization, as he returned to Bavaria and in 1826 brought a company of refugees to America.
The earliest pioneers to Waterloo County, Ontario, went into that region from Pennsylvania for various reasons having to do with the period of unrest during and immediately following the Revolutionary War. They settled on the Grand River and were soon followed by others seeking cheap lands. In 1807 a stock company, acting in connection with the Pennsylvania Brethren purchased 65,000 acres of land in Woolwich Twp., just north of Waterloo.
Complete records kelp by the descendants of Peter Naffziger of Hesse-Darmstadtt, show that he came to Canada in 1826, evidently one of the party headed by Christian, above mentioned. The parents of Peter, Hesse-Darmstadtt, were Peter, of Groversheim and his second wife. This son became known in America as Peter "The Apostle." A son of the step-mother of Peter, the Apostle, (also named Peter), married the daughter of Peter Naffziger, of Uberau, and emigrated to America following other members of this family. They all settled near Danvers and Washington, Illinois, where a Mennonite settlement had been founded.
Another family intending to go to relatives in Canada, was that of Peter Naffziger, of Illbach. This family consisted of the parents and six children, embarked on the ship "Henry Clay," sailing from Amsterdam, Sept. 1, 1827. Tragedy beset them, first one of the children died and on Sept. 26 the father died. Both were buried at sea. The widow and her remaining children landed in Philadelphia on Nov. 17, 1827. They had no one to turn to, but a fellow passenger, perhaps a relative, named Casper Schwartzentruber, being befriended by one Christian Zook was always ready to help these immigrants. He at once, "drove speedily to Philadelphia in his Conestoga wagon,hitched to four horses and brought the widow and her children to his home, where he gave them food and shelter for three months.
They lived in the loft of the spring house which is now used as a shop for cobbling." (History of the Mast Family).
John Nafziger and his wife, Mary Wyse, emigrated to Fulton County, Ohio, in 1847, from Alsace Lorraine, with his family.
<page 111> Valentine Nafziger and his wife, Jacobina Schantz, came from France to Fulton County, Ohio, on 1831. The sons and daughters of Christian Nafziger and Catherine Schantz, all born in Rhine, Prussia, emigrated to Wayne County, Ohio 1838 to 1847. These three families were related and intermarried. They have held annual reunions as one group, in Fulton County, Ohio for many years. Joseph S. Naffziger, born 1820, in Alsace Lorraine, married his cousin, Jacobina Naffziger in 1840. They emigrated to Canada and later to Wheatland, Mo. The above families, with relating ones, are listed in the pages following. Because three generations separated their entry to America from those emigrating before the Revolutionary War, it has been thought best to compile their histories separately, thus avoiding much confusion. There are descendants of these Mennonite settlers who made their homes in Ontario, during the early part of the past century living there today. One Nafziger family, which is, no doubt closely related to other families from, Alsace, who have come to the United States, is the family line represented by Bishop Nicholas Nafziger, a resident of Brenner, Ontario and of the present generation. All these men and women of the most earnest religious principles, they had been shuttled about from one European country to another for their religious convictions. It must have been with boundless gratitude that they found a refuge in America, where although pioneer life was devoid of many comforts, they had peace of mind. These Swiss-Germans were of Teutonic stock, stern, virile frugal and industrious. Their home was their castle, their fire-side, their refuge, and the family circle a place of contentment. Among their descendants are names that have won high regard and much success in business and professional life, but those whose lives may be numbered as among the quietly good, must be remembered and revered as well, for it is upon the ideals and lives of such that the foundations of state and society are builded. The man or woman of sturdy ancestry is fortunate. Environment has its bearing, but an inheritance of spiritual and physical well being is worth far more than environment. The twentieth century has brought so many changes, that it is well to reflect upon the way of life of our ancestors. "Essentials are the same in every age - Contentment, honor and integrity. Love of home and a home to be glad in."
<pages 112 – 170>
[These pages contain the genealogical data credit is given in individual citations, and notes are included in the citations.]
Top | Back | Home
Copyright 2012 Benjamin Noffsinger
Last Modified: 2003-09-28