I think I answered a question that’s been bothering me for a while yesterday. But I didn’t do it by researching my ancestors.
My ancestor Johan “Hans” Adam Hacker emigrated from Germany to Pennsylvania aboard the ship Ann, landing in Philadelphia on 28 Sep 1749. He was the first to immigrate. His brother Johan Georg followed in 1751, then his parents—Christoph and Anna Margaretha (Jock) Hacker—and his sisters Christina (Hacker) Lang and Margaretha (Hacker) Haushalter with their husbands in 1752.
When my distant cousin John Garrett Hocker was in Germany in the 1990 (I believe) he found that the Hackers applied for permission to become citizens of Gräben. They were denied. So, they applied for permission to emigrate to “norde-amerika.” John wrote about his trip to Rußheim and my great uncle William Wingeard included John’s essay in his book A German-American Hacker-Hocker Genealogy. No date was given for this application, but it had to be prior to their emigration in 1752 and possibly before Hans’ emigration in 1749.
So, that tells me why they left Germany. But why did they settle near Brickerville, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania? It’s known that the Germans tended to move in groups and settle amongst people they’d known in a prior location. But I found no other family already in the area.
The answer has less to do with immediate family and more to do with the larger community. In Feb 1749 three widows from Rußheim applied for permission to move to Pennsylvania. They apparently wanted to remarry, but their prospective spouses were denied citizenship in Rußheim—possibly because they were only tenant farmers/farmhands. They were granted permission to leave.
One of these women was Margaretha (Heger) Elser.1 She was engaged to a man named Mock from Gräben. His given name was not provided, but a Henrich Mock and Peter Elser appear on the passenger list of the ship Ann which arrived in Philadelphia in Sep 1749. Both of these names appear in the records of the Warwick congregation (now Emanuel Lutheran Church) at Brickerville.
Hans’ name appears just below theirs on the ship list. So, it’s probable that he was traveling with people that he knew from his village.2
But why did they settle near Brickerville? Looking at the other names in the Warwick congregation records, you’ll see Stober, Weidman, Ness, and Oberlin. All of these names appear as residents of either Rußheim, Liedolsheim, Gräben or Linkenheim in 1709 lists.3 The Hackers intermarried with some of these families—Hans and his brother Georg both married Wiedman sisters. Additionally, the names Haushalter and Lang/Long also appear in the church records. It’s quite possible they were relations to Hans’ brothers-in-law Lorentz Haushalter and Johan Michael Lang.
So while there were no Hackers waiting to receive him when he arrived in 1749, Hans settled amongst people he may have known—or their relatives—from the villages surrounding Rußheim.
- The others were Catharine (Heger) Zimmerman and Barbara (Speck) Schmied. Schmied was engaged to a man from Leidolsheim, no name given. ↩
- There may have even been a family relationship between Hans and Margaretha (Heger) Elser. His mother’s step-father was Fridrich Hager from Rußheim. Margaretha (Heger) Elser and Catharina (Heger) Zimmerman may have been related to Fridrich. Also, his grandmother married Johann Georg Schmid, a widower, who most likely raised Christoph Hacker and taught him the shoemaker’s trade. Thus, Hans may have been familiar with Barbara (Speck) Schmied, too. ↩
- 1709 residents lists for the Baden-Durlach towns of Hochstetten, Linkenheim, Durlach, Staffort, Spöck, and Eggenstein, GenWiki, <http://wiki-de.genealogy.net/>, viewed Feb 2012; citing Hermann Jacob, Einwohnerbuch der Markgrafschaft Baden-Durlach 1709 (Schopfheim, 1935). ↩