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January 17, 2011


The Immigrant
Johann Friedrich Boyer
of Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania

 by Neil A. Boyer


            The ancestry of Lewis Elmer Boyer, of Easton, can be traced with accuracy to the area of Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania, back to Johann Friedrich Boyer, who would have been Lew Boyer's great‑great‑grandfather.  The burial records[1] of the “Old Red Church," located a mile southwest of Orwigsburg, in West Brunswick Township of Schuylkill County, note that "Johann Friderich Boyer," born in Germany, died (presumably near Orwigsburg) on September 11, 1804, at the age of 86 years, 4 months and 16 days.  He therefore would have been born on April 25, 1718.
            This chapter contains the following sections:

Children of Johann Friedrich Boyer
Grandson David Boyer, Gunmaker of Orwigsburg
Back to Orwigsburg Home Page
Neil Boyer's Home Page

The Red Church Cemetery

            Johann Friedrich Boyer's simple tombstone is located in the cemetery across the road from the Red Church, at the far end of the fourth row just inside the arched gate.  The tombstone, inscribed in German, has information that is slightly different from the church records.  In English translation it says, "here rests Johann Friedrich Boyer, born in Europe 1717, died in the year 1803, age 86 years." The year of death is one year earlier than the date given in the church record (although the age is the same).  Also, Friderich/Friedrich have different spellings.  Because the Red Church records are in sequence, it is more likely that the church account has the correct dates.  The tombstone would have been prepared later.  However, spelling preference should be given to that used on the tombstone, since the stone presumably was prepared by the family.

Johann Friedrich Boyer
Anna Maria, wife of J. Friedrich Boyer
Here Rests
Johann Friedrich Boyer
Born in Europe 1717
Died in the Year 1803
Age 86 Years
Here Rests
Anna Maria Mag.
Wife of Friedrich Boyer
Born in Europe 1719
Died in the Year 1805
Age 86 Years

          Johann Friedrich Boyer was married to Anna Maria Magdalena Boyer (maiden name unknown), and the Red Church records contain a notice of her death.[2]  (No written record of the marriage has been located, either in Europe or America.)  The church record book says "Ann Maria Bayer, born in Jackshausen, Europe, died November 18, 1805, aged 76 years, 10 months, and 23 days."  She therefore would have been born on December 26, 1728.  However, her tombstone also contains slightly different information.  In English translation, the German text says "here rests Anna Maria Mag., wife of Friedrich Boyer, born in Europe 1719, died in the year 1805, age 86 years."  Thus the church record and the tombstone both give the same year for her death, but the tombstone reports that she lived 10 years longer. American Boyers says that, judging by the birthdates of her children, it is more likely that she was born in 1728 and that the church record is the correct one.[3]

            Also of interest is the spelling of the name of Anna Maria Magdalena's home town in Europe.  The records relating to Johann Friedrich say only that he came from Europe.  In relation to his wife, the Red Church records use the name "Jackshausen," although no place with such a spelling is known to exist.  It could well have been "Jagsthausen," which does exist in Germany. In contrast, the 1915 edition of American Boyers[4] said that Anna Maria came from "Schaffshausen (?)," which is a town in Switzerland, about 10 miles north of Zurich near the German border.  It could be that the author simply guessed that the church secretary meant to say "Schaffhausen" but wrote "Jackshausen," or vice versa.  In the 1940 edition of the same book,[5] the question mark was deleted, indicating either more certain evidence or stronger editing.  The 1986 edition of American Boyers used the word “Jackshausen,” the same as in the church record.[6]

            About 1955, an American living in Germany tried to assist in solution of this mystery by looking for towns of this name.  Using a gazetteer and large-scale maps, he actually found two cities in central Germany named “Jagsthausen” and ten cities or towns named “Schaffhausen” or “Schafhausen.”  One logical possibility is that what was intended by the church secretary was the similarly pronounced town in Germany, "Jagsthausen," a small village east of Mannheim and north of Stuttgart, about 60 miles southeast of Frankfurt (it does not appear on all maps of Germany).  Although this Jagsthausen is east of the Palatinate area which was the home of most of the immigrants, it was also a logical base for emigration from Germany.   One family genealogist said he favored Jagsthausen over Schaffhausen, based on probable pronunciation.  “I can just visualize the English-speaking immigration clerks writing ‘Jackshausen’ after asking the immigrant for his origin and receiving a guttural ‘chockshausen’ rather than ‘chaffhausen.’”[7]  It is possible that this mystery might be resolved by a look at the original records of the Old Red Church outside Orwigsburg.  Those records were hand-copied into a new bound book in 1905, and the new book is the one that uses “Jackshausen.”  It is possible that a mistake in copying was made and that the original record would show something different.  If anyone has found or consulted the original record, that is not known.

            Curiously, Anna Maria Magdalene and Johann Friedrich Boyer are not actually buried in adjoining graves.  They are separated by 15 feet of open space.  Near the far end of the fourth row in the Red Church Cemetery, the stone of Johann Friedrich Boyer stands alone.  Fifteen feet further are three tombstones close together ‑‑ those of his wife Anna Maria Magdalena, Jakob Boyer (a son of Anna Maria and Johann Friedrich) and Jakob's wife, the former Magdalene Hartinger.

Rear View of Boyer Graves Front View, Boyer Graves
Rear View of Boyer Graves:
Left is Johann Friedrich Boyer,
15 feet of space,
then his wife,
his son Jakob Boyer, and

Jakob's wife, Magdalena Hartinger Boyer
Front View of the Graves:
From left, Magdalena and Jakob Boyer,
Anna Maria, the wife of Friedrich, and Friedrich:
Who is buried in the space between them?

            One possible explanation is that someone else was buried between Johann Friedrich and Anna Maria, although that would have been odd since the two died only 14 months apart.  The Red Church records cite the burial of a Daniel Boyer of Brunswick Township, who died on November 3, 1805, at the age of one year and three months.[8]  This was just 15 days before the death of Anna Maria.  Possibly Daniel was a grandson of Johann Friedrich and Anna Maria, and he might have been buried next to his grandfather at the start of what was to be a "Boyer's Row."  There was a Daniel Boyer baptized at the Red Church on July 29, 1804, and this could have been the child buried next to Johann Friedrich one year and three months later.  However, that Daniel was actually born on June 10, 1804, and was thus one year and five months old, too old to match the burial record, and his parents, Andreas and Catharine Boyer, are not known to be related to the family.[9]  Nevertheless, the person apparently buried next to Johann Friedrich could have been a Daniel who was a grandchild, but the mystery of the grave spacing is not solved.

            The tombstone's use of the name “Friedrich” as the husband of Anna Maria is not surprising, since Johann Friedrich apparently was known primarily by his middle name (as were Boyers many generations later).  This is the name that appears in tax records and the 1790 census, as well as in baptismal records of the grandchildren when Johann Friedrich and Anna Maria Boyer served as sponsors.  Nevertheless, some confusion exists because one of the children of Johann Friedrich was named “Frederick.”  (The wife of Frederick the son was reported to be Margaret Rabenold,[10] and he is believed buried in a different cemetery, although no burial record or grave had been found in 2005.)  The only other known use of the first name Johann is in the church record of death and on the tombstone.

            The name used in accounts of the Daughters of the American Revolution, "Johannes," is not duplicated elsewhere.[11]   Some may consider “Johann” and “Johannes” to be the same.  However, some genealogists believe they are different names.  Genealogists report that it was common among Germans for a male child to be given two names. The first one was “Johann” and the second one something else – the name that the person actually was called.  Thus, in this family there is a Johann Friedrich (known as Friedrich), Johann George (known as George), Johann Jakob (known as Jakob).  (Female children also were given two names, of which the first often was Anna or Maria – thus Maria Barbara, Maria Magdalena.)  One exception on the male side was that when “Johannes” was used, that was usually the primary given name.  A person named “Johannes” actually would be called “Johannes,” but a person named “Johann Friedrich” would be called “Friedrich.”  The American Boyers accounts, throughout its seventh edition,  often used these two names interchangeably or, going even further, called a person “John” when the records said “Johann” or “Johannes.”

NOTE: The differences in dates and name spelling seen in this section illustrate a common genealogical hazard.  Church scribes, tombstone makers, and even families were often only approximate in their use of dates and names.  Often family members did not know how to write or were inconsistent in their spelling of names and places.

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The Orwigsburg Churches

            To obtain a full understanding of the early American roots of the Boyer family, it is necessary to dig a little bit into records of the churches of Orwigsburg.  The first, and most prominent in the history, is the old Red Church, which contains early records of the Boyer family.  The Red Church still existed in 2005, a mile outside of Orwigsburg, on land granted originally by John Penn, brother of William Penn, and Lieutenant Governor and Commander in Chief of the Province of Pennsylvania.  The grant, according to an introductory history in the church record book, was made "to certain members of the Lutheran Church living beyond the Blue Mountain, allowing them to hold a collection for the purpose of aiding them in building a house of worship."[12]

             Quiet and peaceful in appearance by itself, the church is now literally only inches away from the busy four‑lane Route 61, noisy with the traffic of heavy trucks.  Indeed, the church has been separated from its cemetery by the highway.  The proper name of the red clapboard church is Zion's Evangelical Lutheran and Reformed Church, reflecting the merger of two congregations in 1832.  The merger reportedly came about due to the hardship of a bad winter and the inability of the Reformed congregation to maintain its own church structure, located within a few hundred yards of the Red Church; it is reported that the merger did not sit well with many of the Lutherans.[13]

Red Church Cemetery Entrance
The Red Church Outside Orwigsburg Red Church from Cemetery Across the Road
Entrance to Red Church Cemetery,
across the highway from the church
The Red Church
outside Orwigsburg
The church as seen from the cemetery.

            The carved stone over the entrance records that the church was founded and the first structure erected in 1755, the second church built 1755‑1770, the third church built 1799‑1803, and the fourth (and present) church built 1883‑1884.  A sesquicentennial celebration in 1905 drew large numbers of people, including prominent clergymen and descendants of the original founders of the church.  The large church record book, developed at the time of that celebration, contains many photographs of the stylishly dressed congregation, with horse‑drawn carriages, at the ceremony outside the church.

            The first church structure, less than a year old, reportedly was burned by Indians, and it took almost 15 years to erect a new building.  The church apparently was a major goal of the Reverend Daniel Schumacher, who had organized the church in 1755 and was present for the dedication of the second church in 1770.  The Red Church records indicate that Reverend Schumacher was invited there by the Honorable Peter Schmelgert, elder of the community, "in the name of the Christian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation."  This is the same Peter Schmelgert who served as sponsor for two children of Johann Friedrich (as well as many others of the church).

            Daniel Schumacher was minister to the Red Church from April 1755 to July 1757, and again from December 1770 to July 1781.  Serving seven congregations, he baptized many children in the area, and his published baptismal records (with numerous comments) constitute a major source of information about the period.  His baptisms included at least Johann Jacob Bayer, a son of Johann Friedrich and Anna Maria, on May 31, 1772, and Maria Magdalen Hartinger, on August 23, 1771, who would marry each other some years later.  (They also included a Johann Daniel Beyer, of Schwarzwald, seven weeks old when baptized on August 22, 1756, who also may have been a son of Johann Friedrich and Anna Maria.)[14]  While there may be substantial accuracy in his records, it must also be noted that Schumacher apparently was the subject of some controversy, particularly relating to his theological education, or lack of it.  Also, he was not always polite.  His record of one baptism describes the sponsors as "Michael Hedinger and wife Anna Barbara, born a daughter of fat Ludwig Hans in Linn Township."[15]

            In 1799, construction started on a new and larger church building.  The cornerstone was laid on October 4, 1799, and the church dedicated on May 29‑30, 1803, just 16 months before the death of Johann Friedrich Boyer.  The walls of the log building were plastered with a reddish mixture, and thus it was called the Red Church.  Since Johann Friedrich Boyer died at age 86 in 1804, he likely was one of the first persons buried from the newly built third church. His is one of the first entries in the "burials" section of the church record book, and his grave is near the cemetery entrance.  The fourth Red Church structure, still existing in 2005, was completed in 1884 and is made of red clapboard.

            One may presume that the Johann Friedrich Boyer family was active in the Red Church, judging by the appearance of the Boyer name in numerous entries of baptisms, marriages and burials in the church record book ‑‑ even though several other branches of Boyers apparently are involved.  The Lutheran records show 89 baptisms of children named Boyer (or similar name) between 1771 and 1906, as well as the burials of 28 Boyers between 1804 and 1917.  The Reformed church records add four more baptisms and four more burials.[16]

            In 1830, just before the merger of the Lutheran and Reformed congregations at the Old Red Church, steps were taken by Reformed members of the Red Church to find a more convenient place of worship, and a cornerstone was laid on a lot at the corner of Tammany and Washington Streets in Orwigsburg, about a mile away.  It was the foundation of the current St. John's Evangelical and Reformed Church.  Known as the "White Church," to distinguish it from the "Red Church," the new structure was two stories tall and made of stone.  On July 2, 1835, the "German Reformed and Lutheran Congregations of St. John's Church in Orwigsburg" were incorporated.

            From the start, the new building was used by both Reformed and Lutheran congregations, but by 1843 the pastors of the two groups agreed on their opposition to a union church, and the Lutherans soon wanted their own building.  In 1844, the Lutherans built a red brick church on North Warren Street (known in 1986 as the Campbell Apartments) and adopted the name St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church.  A document in the cornerstone read that "the cornerstone of this church was laid on the 30th day of June, in the year of our Lord, 1844, and in the 68th year of the freedom of the United States, while John Tyler was President, and David R. Porter was Governor of this State."  Fifty years later, in 1894, St. Paul's erected the large brick church which still stands on North Warren Street.

            Similarly, the Reformed congregation at St. John's soon considered that it had outgrown the "White Church," and in 1907 it laid the cornerstone for a new church on East Market Street, which still exists.  The old "White Church" then was used temporarily as the Orwigsburg Grammar School, but on Sunday evening, June 11, 1911, lightning struck the historic building and burned it to the ground.[17]

            Many Boyers are buried within the town limits of Orwigsburg at the cemeteries of these two churches, which are separated by only a street.  At the Old Lutheran Cemetery, affiliated with St. Paul's, the graves of a number of Boyer ancestors may be found in the northwest corner, at North Washington and East Mifflin Streets.  The Reformed cemetery, affiliated with St. John's, is divided into two parts.  The earliest part is at the site where the "White Church" burned down in 1911.  Much of the original church property has been replaced by two private homes at the corner of Washington and Tammany Streets, but the earliest part of the cemetery may be found on the north side of the second home.  Because it is said to contain primarily the graves of Revolutionary War soldiers, the small cemetery, with about 25 tombstones, is maintained by the Daughters of the American Revolution.  Unfortunately, virtually all of the tombstones are illegible.  The remainder of the Reformed Cemetery is across the street, and it contains some graves moved there from the original site.  The graves in this cemetery include those of Johann Friedrich Boyer’s son George Boyer and George’s wife Anna Maria.

            Another unfortunate aspect of the St. John's role in history is that about 12‑15 years of the church records, from about 1872 to 1888, were kept not in the official church record books but by the pastor himself, who regarded the accounts of his baptisms, marriages and burials as his own property.  Although the records were handed down within the family for a time, and were seen by some historians, it is reported that a descendant of the pastor in the 1970s destroyed these valuable records.

            The St. Paul's church and cemetery are particularly important from the perspective of the family of Lewis Elmer Boyer.  While the church records may not be complete, they at least include the baptisms of Lewis Elmer himself, a brother (Walter Ellsworth), two uncles (William B. and Charles Boyer) and an aunt (Marie Barbara); the marriage of his parents (George B. and Sarah Boyer); and the burial of his grandfather (David Boyer), his great-grandfather (George Boyer), and two brothers of his great‑grandfather (Johann Jakob and Michael Boyer).  In short, at least four Boyer family generations in Lewis Elmer Boyer's line are represented in the records of St. Paul's.
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Friedrich Boyer's Travels in Pennsylvania

             Searching backwards from the burial records, historians have pieced together a number of references to the man believed to be Johann Friedrich Boyer.  Following what is understood to be his arrival in America in 1752, the chronology appears to be this:
  •     Johann Friedrich was located first in Lower Macungie Township, in what is now Lehigh County, not far from Allentown.  (It was then Lehigh Township of Northampton County.)  If the identification is correct, church baptismal records for two children suggest that at least from 1754 to 1756, he attended Zion's (Lehigh) Lutheran Church there.[18]
  •     Beginning about 1758, and continuing up to 1772, historians discovered references to a Frederick "Beier" in the tax records of Ruscombmanor Township in central Berks County, about 20 miles from Orwigsburg south of the Blue Mountains.[19]  This suggests that Johann Friedrich moved some 30 miles from Lehigh County between 1756 and 1758.
  •     From 1760 to 1765, birth records of three children indicate that the Boyers attended Christ (Mertz) Lutheran Church, in Rockland Township, which adjoins Ruscombmanor Township.[20]  This seems to indicate that Johann Friedrich lived in Ruscombmanor Township but attended church in Rockland Township.
  •     A baptism at the Red Church in 1772 indicates that by then the family had moved closer to Orwigsburg, which is about nine miles southeast of Pottsville.[21]
  •     Tax records also seem to confirm that the family was present in Brunswick Township, which borders Orwigsburg, from 1775 onward.  (Brunswick Township was then part of Berks County, but became part of Schuylkill County when that county was formed in 1811.)
  •     As shown below, the 1790 census appears to locate the family in Brunswick Township.  Johann Friedrich and family apparently spent the rest of their lives in and around Brunswick township, and he died there in 1804.
        Other facts potentially relating to the Orwigsburg‑area connection are these:

  •     In February 1764, about 12 years after Johann Friedrich arrived in America, a "Frederick Bayer" filed a suit in Berks County Civil Court seeking recovery of a debt of 60 pounds from one Christian Bohnenblush; it is not clear if this was the same Johann Friedrich.[22]
  •     Records of Brunswick Township prepared on October 1, 1771, appear to list "Fredk Boyer" among a group of "single men."  This is either an error in relation to "single" or it refers to another Frederick Boyer, perhaps to Johann Friedrich Boyer’s son Frederick, who was 16 at the time, if born in 1756.
  •    On January 4, 1772, "Fredk Beir" was listed among those who paid the "provincial tax on the inhabitants of Brunswick Township, over the Blue Mountains, Berks County."[23]
  •     According to information submitted to the DAR,[24] tax records of the same township from 1775 to 1778 show a "J. Frederick Bayer."
  •          In 1779, tax records listed a Frederick Boyer owning 130 acres of land, 4 horses and 4 cattle.[25]
  •          In 1780, there were 130 acres, 1 horse, 1 cow.[26]
  •          In 1781, there were 130 acres, 1 horse, 6 cows.[27]
  •          In 1784, there were 130 acres, 2 horses, 3 cows, 6 sheep and 10 people.[28]
  •          A 1785 tax assessment record for Brunswick Township also mentions a Frederick Boyer.[29] 
  •          And a 1788 tax record shows a Frederick with 135 acres, 2 horses and 2 cows.[30]  (No separate listing of tax records for this period has been located for Manheim Township, which also borders Orwigsburg; however, in a number of records it is clear that data for Brunswick and Manheim townships had been combined.)

           The first official census of the United States in 1790 lists in Berks County, for Brunswick and Manheim Townships, a head of family named “Frederick Boyer,” whose household contained five white males over 16, one white male under 16, and four females.[31]  There was no other Frederick, nor a Johann.[32]  No names of other family members were provided in this initial census, making it difficult to place the family.  However, if this was Johann Friedrich Boyer, those present in the household, judging by their ages in 1790, could have been Johann Friedrich himself, age 73; wife Anna Maria, 62; and their younger children -- Michael, 30; Johann, 27; Maria Barbara, 25; George, 21; Jacob, 28; and Gottfried, 17.  Others among the 10 people in the house might have been spouses of the children.  The 1790 census also showed a “John Boyer” in Brunswick and Manheim Townships, in a household consisting of only one male over 16 and one female.  This too might have been Johann Friedrich and his wife Anna Maria if they lived alone.

            There are two Frederick Boyers in the 1800 census, but neither appears to fit the Johann Friedrich under discussion here because they were too young.[33]  A list of "warrantees" in Berks county shows that a Frederick Boyer owned 8 acres of land when surveyed on January 9, 1804, apparently the year of the death of Johann Friderich.[34]  A problem with these records is that it is not clear whether the person mentioned is Johann Friedrich Boyer, the father, or Frederick Boyer, the son.  However, since there is only one Frederick mentioned during this period, it is presumed that the owner was Johann Friedrich, the father.[35]  If so, the eight acres would represent a considerably smaller property than the 135 acres taxed in 1785.  (See the discussion of census records in the discussion of Johann Friedrich’s son Frederick Boyer in the following chapter.)
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The Arrival in America

            Prior to the 1758 tax records in Ruscombmanor Township, there is no firm indication of the origins of Johann Friedrich Boyer.  There is only the tombstone inscription that he was born in Europe.  However, multiple sources[36] record the arrival in Philadelphia on September 27, 1752, of a man who signed his name "Johann Georg Friderich Bayer," on board the ship Nancy.[37]  The ship had embarked from Rotterdam in the Netherlands and finally left Europe from Cowes on the Isle of Wight at the southern tip of England, with 83 passengers.

            The document providing the "oath of abjuration" is headed as follows:

  At the Court House in Philadelphia
    Wednesday, 27 September 1752

              Joshua Maddon, Esquire

The Foreigners Whose Names are Underwritten
Imported on the ship Nancy, Captain John Ewing
from Rotterdam and last from Cowes
did this day take and subscribe the
     usual Qualifications.                  No. 83

           The 17th of the 83 names on the list is "Johann Georg Friderich Bayer," the last name spelled with an umlaut over the "a."

            The Nancy. According to a history of the American Revolution, the Nancy made a dramatic departure from the shipping scene just 24 years later.  The report said that in the summer of 1776, the Nancy was smuggling West Indian gunpowder into Philadelphia when it was trapped by British warships.  Under cover of fog, the crew beached the ship off of Cape May, New Jersey, and unloaded 270 barrels of powder but left behind enough for a large explosion.

On the 29th [of June 1776]  the armed brig Nancy, from the West Indies bound to Philadelphia with ammunition and military stores, was chased off the Delaware capes by six British men-of-war and tenders; she engaged the latter and beat them off. The Lexington and Reprisal came to the Nancy's rescue, and under cover of a fog she was run ashore near Cape May and the most valuable part of her cargo, including two hundred and seventy barrels of powder, was saved. The fog soon lifted and the British were seen to be very near and sending in boats. The Nancy's captain and crew then quitted her after setting her on fire, a large quantity of powder being still on board.

        Two or three of the British boats then came in, boarded the Nancy "and took possession of her with three cheers; soon after which the fire took the desired effect and blew the pirates forty or fifty yards into the air and much shattered one of their boats under her stern. Eleven dead bodies have since come on shore with two gold-laced hats and a leg with a garter. From the great number of limbs floating and driven ashore it is supposed thirty or forty of them were destroyed by the explosion."[38]

            At least two years and nearly 100 miles separate the mention of the man who arrived on the Nancy from the man of similar name who appeared in church and tax records of Lehigh and Berks Counties.  Nevertheless, the historian of American Boyers, writing about Johann Friedrich Boyer, concluded in 1915 that the one arriving in Philadelphia on the Nancy "was undoubtedly the man in question."  Apparently there is no other evidence to point to that conclusion, but it was left unchanged in the 1940 and 1963 editions of the book.  The 1986 text omitted this claim of certainty but nevertheless noted that a “Joh. Georg Friederich Bayer” came to America on the Nancy in 1752. 

            Johann Friedrich's wife Anna Maria was not included on the list of passengers.  However, that was not unusual since passenger lists usually included only males over 16.  Also, she may have come on a different ship.  (Indeed, an "Anna Maria Beyer" did arrive in New York on November 20, 1752, aboard the ship Irene, sailing from London,[39]  just two months after Johann Friedrich arrived in Philadelphia, but there may have been no connection between them.)  Also, there is no mention in the ship records of any children, particularly Frederick, believed by one source[40] to have been born in 1750, before the Nancy arrived.  However, ship records seldom included children under 16. 

            There is a hint in several records that Johann Friedrich may not have been married when he traveled to America.  In the 1752 tax list of Ruscombmanor Township, there is a "Frederick Bla" among the single men.  It is remotely possible that this is a faulty identification referring in fact to Frederick Beier; if so, it would suggest that he arrived in Philadelphia unmarried, went directly to Ruscombmanor Township, then went to nearby Lehigh County, and then back to Ruscombmanor Township.[41]  There is a baptismal record on August 9, 1767, in Heidelberg, Lehigh County, listing "Friderich Bayer, single," as a sponsor.  And there is a tax record including "Fredk Boyer" on a list of "single men" in Brunswick Township in 1771.[42]  However, the last two items are in conflict with the location of baptismal records for Johann Friedrich's children.

            Also casting doubt on the firm identification of the passenger on the Nancy in 1752 is the fact that a man giving exactly the same name ‑‑ "Joh. Georg Fried. Bayer" ‑‑ arrived in Philadelphia on September 25, 1751, just one year earlier, aboard the ship Phoenix, which had sailed from Rotterdam, and last from Portsmouth, with 412 passengers.[43]  The author of American Boyers was not able to trace this man, and thus no other evidence of him exists.  Since the arrivals were a full year apart, it is remotely possible that the same man made the trip from Europe twice.  However, this is unlikely, given the difficulty of trans‑Atlantic travel at the time.  Further, a comparison of the signatures of these two men as they took the oath of abjuration indicates they were different people.[44] 

            Certainty about the identification is also shaken by the American Boyers book of 1940.  In attempting to identify the point of immigration of a "Frederick Boyer" who founded an entirely different line of Boyers, the book said[45] that perhaps this Frederick was the "Joh. Georg Friedrich Bayer" who arrived in Philadelphia in 1752.  With that comment, one page of the 1940 American Boyers account seemed to cancel out the conclusion some pages earlier that the man who arrived in Philadelphia in 1752 was "undoubtedly" the ancestor of Lewis Elmer Boyer.  

            Besides the Boyers already mentioned, there were other people with similar names arriving about the same time.  

  •     There was a "Johann Friedrich Bayer" of Staudernheim, Germany, who reportedly left home in 1741 to go to America.[46]  
  •     There was a "Georg Beyer" arriving on October 9, 1747, aboard the ship Restauration, from Rotterdam, last from Leith.[47]  
  •     There was a "Johannes Beyer" and "Johannes Beyer, Jr.," arriving in Philadelphia on August 13, 1750, aboard the ship Edinburgh, from Rotterdam, last from Portsmouth.[48]  
  •     There was a "George Friederick Bayer" arriving in Philadelphia on November 3, 1750, aboard the ship Brotherhood.[49]  
  •     There was a "Friederich Beyer" arriving in Philadelphia on October 16, 1772, aboard the ship Crawford.[50]  
  •     And there was a "Friederich Bayer" arriving in Philadelphia on September 30, 1774, aboard the ship Union, a ship that also included a "Johann Georg Bauer."[51]  

          "Frederick Boyer" and the Indians - Conflicting Stories. There may also have been others of similar name who traveled to America at times for which ship records are not available.  There are other interesting but apparently misleading trails.  For example, there is a "Frederick Boyer," described in one book as a "progenitor of the American branch of the Boyer family," who has much the same background as that suggested for Johann Friedrich Boyer.  He journeyed from the Palatinate to America in 1733 (19 years before the man thought to be Lew Boyer's ancestor), settled along the Lehigh River near a place called Rockdale, about 40 miles from Orwigsburg, and had a son Frederick (as did Johann Friedrich).  The account notes that this man was a member of the Reformed Church and "no doubt his object in leaving his own country was that he might worship God according to the dictates of his conscience."  This Frederick Boyer, however, met an unfortunate end.  He had secured several hundred acres of land, mostly timber and underbrush requiring hard labor to permit cultivation.  "While working in the meadow," the account notes, "he was waylaid and shot by an Indian, who afterward scalped him in the presence of his son, Frederick Boyer."  An almost identical story concerns a John Jacob Beyer who was shot and scalped on his farm at Lehigh Gap, Carbon County, in 1758; his son Frederick Boyer witnessed the attack and, along with his sisters, was captured by the Indians and held prisoner in Canada for five years.[52]  See also the note below regarding a Frederick Boyer and Indians.

            Still another Frederick Boyer appears to have lived in Philadelphia about the same period, apparently a merchant.  A record of ship arrivals there indicates that on March 17, 1773, an "Anna Spess Fisher," servant to Frederic Boyer of Philadelphia, arrived from Rotterdam.[53]   However, the reported dates of birth of the first three children of Johann Friedrich make it impossible for the Frederick Boyer (and Anna) mentioned in the 1773 ship record to have been the ancestors of Lewis Elmer Boyer.

            The multiple spellings of the last name have increased the difficulty of accurately tracing the family, although most genealogists believe the multiple alternate spellings of the family name should be discounted as of minimal importance.  The man who arrived in Philadelphia in 1752 spelled his name "Bayer," written with an umlaut over the "a."  The man in the Ruscombmanor tax records in 1758 had his name spelled "Beier."  The baptismal records of two children, Johann Jakob and Johann Gottfried, born in 1771 and 1774, bear the name "Beyer."  In 1792, Friedrich and Anna Maria were sponsors at the baptism of Anna Maria Bayer,[54] and had their name recorded as "Bayer," without an umlaut.  In the church record of Johann Friedrich's death in 1804, the name is given as "Boyer," and his tombstone is the same. The tombstone of his wife Anna Maria also uses Boyer, but the church record of her death in 1805 uses the name "Baeyer" in the margin and then spells out the name "Ann Maria Bayer."

            In the end, the American Boyers conclusion that the Johann Friedrich Boyer of Orwigsburg actually arrived aboard the Nancy in 1752 may well be correct.  Nevertheless, there seems some room for uncertainty, and this casts doubt on the reliability of any search backward into Europe to learn more about Johann Friedrich Boyer.  Was the man buried in Orwigsburg in 1804 really the same man who arrived in Philadelphia aboard the Nancy in 1752?  We may never know.  Even if one could be positive about this identification, a search backward into Europe would be very difficult.  For one thing, centuries-old emigration records in Rotterdam, the port of the Nancy’s embarkation, were in part destroyed by Nazi bombings during World War II.  However, it is reported that they contained very little, if any, information on the people who were sailing and instead concentrated on the ships themselves. 

            Other avenues of research on these points may still be followed by future genealogists.  One would be naturalization petitions.  If Johann Friedrich Boyer applied to become a citizen, he would have had to file a petition explaining how and when he came to America and where he previously lived.  Although he took the oath of allegiance, and thus became a “patriot” for purposes of membership in the Daughters of American Revolution, it is not known whether he applied for citizenship.  The closest information located is a list of Persons Naturalized in Pennsylvania.  This list cited An Act of Parliament which entitled Foreign Protestants to be naturalized when they settled “in any of his majesties Colonies in America,” provided that the applicant had resided in the Colonies for seven years and could produce to the Court a Certificate of having “taken the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper in some Protestant or Reformed Congregation in this Province within three months.”  The list prepared on April 10, 1755, included a “John Boyer” of Berks County, who took the sacrament on March 29, 1755.  But this John Boyer probably was not the same as Johann Friedrich Boyer.  If Johann Friedrich had arrived aboard the Nancy in 1752, he would not have been in America for seven years and thus would not have been eligible for naturalization.  Furthermore, there is very little information to guide a search.  The facts quoted here are basically all that is available, unless an exploration of the state files would reveal a detailed application form.[55]

            Another route to learn more about Johann Friedrich would be to compare his signatures. Upon arrival in Philadelphia, he did sign the “Oath of Abjuration,” and a facsimile of that signature has been printed, as noted above, and is easily available.  Unfortunately, no other signature by this man has been located.  If it were possible to find something else signed by the man who lived near Orwigsburg – for example, naturalization, tax or land records, or a will – it would then be possible to establish firmly that his man was, or was not, the one who arrived in 1752.

            Still another approach would be to trace the origin of passengers aboard the Nancy in 1752.  Relatives, neighbors and friends often traveled together.  The full list of male passengers is available.[56]  If it were possible to trace one or more of the passengers back to their place of origin in Germany or Switzerland, it might be possible to get a better fix on the original home of Johann Friederich Boyer.
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European Origins

             Whether the ancestor of Lewis Elmer Boyer traveled to the New World in 1752 aboard the Nancy, or in 1756 aboard another ship, he traveled at what was reported to be one of the relatively rare quiet moments of this period for western European history.[57]  Hapsburg Emperor Charles VI, in 1740, just before his death, had made arrangements for his oldest daughter, Archduchess Maria Teresa, to have his throne.  But within six weeks after the death of Charles, Emperor Frederick of Prussia had invaded Hapsburg territory, beginning a period of off‑and‑on warfare that continued for 25 years.

            At first there was disagreement about Maria Theresa's succession to the throne, but a treaty of 1748 confirmed the inheritance, and the war quieted down for a while.  The period from 1748 to 1756 has been called "the eight years of peace" between the two empires.[58]  If the record is correct, it was then that Johann Friedrich Boyer, who was 34 in 1752, took the opportunity to get out, to travel to Rotterdam to take the Nancy to Philadelphia.

            One can only speculate on whether Johann Friedrich was directly involved in the conflicts of the time, although he was of what might be called "fighting age" and certainly could have been affected by the conflicts.  Whatever his motivation to travel, he apparently was caught up in the mass exodus from the Palatinate in the years 1749‑54, noted above,[59] when some 31,000 people changed their lives by sailing to Pennsylvania.  One must speculate as well on whether he had money when he traveled or was one of the "redemptioners" who had to work for others upon his arrival in order to pay for passage.  If he was one of the redemptioners, he apparently had "redeemed" himself at least by 1758, when he was recorded as a landowner and taxpayer in Berks County.[60]

            The trip to America itself is worthy of reflection.  According to one account, simply the passage from the Palatinate area down the Rhine to Rotterdam took "fully half a year."  There were 26 custom houses along the route, each one imposing long detentions while it inspected each passenger and attempted to extract from each one as much as possible of the savings being carried.  After the travel to Cowes in England, there was another delay of one to two weeks while the ship waited for customs clearance or favorable winds.

          A passenger who traveled to Pennsylvania in the year 1750 wrote that "the real misery begins with the long voyage [across the Atlantic].  For from there, the ships, unless they have good wind, must often sail eight, nine, ten to twelve weeks before they reach Philadelphia.  But even with the best wind the voyage lasts seven weeks."  There was much suffering and hardship aboard the ship.  Passengers were described as "packed like herrings, without proper food and water."  There were "all sorts of diseases ‑‑ dysentery, scurvy, typhoid and smallpox.  Children died in large numbers."  Then there were further delays in Philadelphia in order to protect the citizens of the city from the diseases being carried on the ship.  And finally, since most ships arrived late in the year, the passengers were quickly subjected to the hardships of the cold winter.[61]

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Orwigsburg in the 1700s

            It is reported that German immigrants were among the first to move north of the "Blue Hills," or the "Blue Mountains," after the land was purchased from the Indians in 1749.  The French and Indian War drove many of these people south again, but when peace came, many people returned after 1764.  Nevertheless, by 1793, the area that is now Schuylkill County was still a frontier area, with a population of less than 3,000.[62]  The 2000 census showed a county-wide population of just over 150,000.

            It is clear from various accounts that the early settlers had a difficult time.  There was, of course, the hard work of clearing the forests and preparing the soil for farming.  There were also difficulties with the Indians, although the historical accounts do not make clear who did what to whom first.

            At the dedication of the second Red Church, on December 2, 1770, Daniel Schumacher, the traveling Lutheran minister who served seven congregations in the area "over the Blue Mountains," referred to "the awful experiences which we suffered at the hands of these wild and heathen people, the Indians, so‑called, in 1756, etc."[63]  The first structure of the Red Church, it was said, had been burned by Indians in 1755 or 1756 within a year of its erection.

            Another writer said that West Brunswick Township was "the scene of more Indian depredations than any other in the county."[64]  On February 14, 1756, near the Old Red Church, a man and two children were murdered, and the house and barn, grain and cattle were burned.  The Indians then went to another house and killed one man, two women and six children.  On May 24, 1756, also nearby, Indians killed five and scalped four.  Historians concluded that "the descendants of these hardy and fearless pioneers, who endured so much to open the New World to civilization, can have no just conception of the trials, dangers and privations of their ancestors in laying the foundation of this great commonwealth."[65]Hotel Orwigsburg, 1985

            A man named Peter Orwig laid out the borough of Orwigsburg.  The town existed from 1796, but after it was chosen as the county seat in 1811, the settlement grew faster.  The town was incorporated in 1813.  In 1900, the population[66] was l,518.  In 1980, it was 2,700.[67]  The census of 2000 reported a population of 3,106.  Originally, Orwigsburg was a boat‑building center, despite its inland location.  Fifteen‑ton crafts rolled down the hill to the Schuylkill River at Orwigsburg Landing, later called Landingville.  In 1907, the town had nine shoe factories, two knitting mills, one box factory.  In 1986, the town industry was still dominated by knitting mills, and an underwear factory overlooked the corner of the Lutheran Cemetery where many Boyers were buried.Hotel Orwigsburg, 1985.

            The 1811 decision to select Orwigsburg as the county seat involves an interesting tale.  The citizens clearly wanted the designation, and believed that having a good source of water power would be a strong influence on those who would make the decision.  To reinforce that point, the citizens dammed up the streams in the vicinity to make it appear that there was a good water flow and a strong power source.  The visiting officials were duly influenced, and in 1811 Orwigsburg was made the county seat.  In 1851, however, the seat was moved to Pottsville, since coal had been discovered there but not in Orwigsburg.  Pottsville thrived, and Orwigsburg did not.  During its brief time as county seat, it was reported that a tavern served as the first courthouse.  When cases were being heard, since there was no jail, culprits waiting to be called were chained to trees outside the tavern.[68]
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Other Boyers in Orwigsburg

            Although Orwigsburg was small, other Boyers were present besides those in the line originated by Johann Friedrich Boyer.  In particular, there was another group of Boyers who traced their line to the immigrant Andreas Beyer, born in 1681.  One grandson of Andreas Beyer, a son of Philip Beyer (1718‑1769), was named Christopher Beyer (1750‑1811).  Christopher was married to Catherine Reifschneider.[69]  It is believed that they moved to the Orwigsburg area around 1785, although it may have been earlier, and they are listed as sponsors for a number of baptisms of their family in the Red Church record book.

            Christopher and Catherine had at least nine children, and two of them are prominent in Red Church records.  These are Christian Boyer (1781‑1869), who married Catherine Levan (born in 1783), and Daniel Boyer (born in 1784), who married Elnora Davis.  The families of both Christian and Daniel were very large, and there are numerous entries in the record books of their baptisms, marriages and deaths.  Indeed, there were a number of people named "Daniel Boyer" in the Andreas Beyer line, as there were in the Johann Friedrich Boyer line.  Christian and Catherine Levan Boyer are buried in the cemetery of the Old Red Church, not far from the tombstones of Johann Friedrich and Anna Maria Boyer.

            There is great uncertainty in keeping separate the lines of the various Boyer families.  For this reason, it cannot easily be learned which branch of the Orwigsburg Boyers suffered the tragedy of 1879, when three children of Theodore Frederick Boyer and his wife Sabina died of diptheria within seven days of each other, from March 26 to April 1; they were aged 4, 9 and 11.[70]

            The tradition of Boyers in the Orwigsburg area nevertheless continued.  In August 2005, the on-line white pages telephone directory included 7 Boyer listings in Orwigsburg, 17 in Schuylkill Haven and 19 in nearby Tamaqua.
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Johann Friedrich as a "Patriot"
            Johann Friedrich Boyer has been listed as a "patriot" in the records of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution.[71]  Under DAR terminology, patriots are those who "assisted in establishing American independence."  

            The specific act attributed to "Johannes Frederick Boyer" by the DAR is the taking of the oath of allegiance, sworn before Charles Shoemaker in 1778.  A photocopy of the handwritten list was included in the Patriot File of Johannes Frederick Boyer at the DAR Headquarters in Washington in 2005.  This shows:

A List of the Names who have taken the Oath and [Sworn?] the Afirmation of Allegiance before me from the 16th Day of May 1778.                                        Charles Shoemaker. 

           This chronological list shows the signers, day by day, from May 16, 1778.  There is one entry on the 16th, followed by “Frederick Beyer” on May 18, 1778.  Frederick’s signing, according to  the Historical Society of Berks County, Reading, Pennsylvania, is recorded in the Berks County Oath of Allegiance Book, on page 34.  However, contradictory letters from that society caused confusion in relation to the date of the signing.  One letter said the date of the oath-taking was May 10, 1778, and American Boyers (1986) used this date, but the photocopy of the signing page makes clear that the actual date was May 18, 1778.[72]  

            As of September 2005, six family women had claimed membership in the DAR by virtue of the patriot status of Johann Friedrich Boyer.[73]  Most of the DAR applications correctly used the date May 18, 1778, as the one on which he took the oath.  However, the DAR records use the name “Johannes Friedrich Boyer,” while the official record of oath-taking used “Frederick Beyer.”  

            Johann Friedrich would have been 60 years old at the time of taking the oath as a patriot, and thus it is unlikely that he would have seen military service.  The Charles Shoemaker mentioned here was probably the same one who in 1768 opened a boatman's tavern in a log house on the south side of Plum Creek in Berks County.  As a tavern owner, it is likely that Charles Shoemaker was one of the leading citizens and thus was vested with authority to administer oaths of allegiance.  The site of the tavern was first called Windsor Haven, and later Shoemakersville.[74] 

            Little is known about Johann Friedrich, except for the descriptions of his property cited above and the names of his children.  Apparently he and his wife were Lutherans, for the records of their death are in the Lutheran records of the Old Red Church in Orwigsburg.  Presumably, they died in Orwigsburg, although that is not certain.  Judging by the church records, Johann Friedrich lived to be 86, his wife Anna Maria to be 76.  It was reported by American Boyers in 1940 that they had five children,[75] ‑‑ Frederick, George, Johann Jacob, Johann Gottfried and Peter.  However, the 1986 revision[76] indicated that there were actually ten:

  1.  Johann (born 1754)
  2.  George Frederick (1756)
  3.  Johann Peter (about 1758)
  4.  George Michael (1760)
  5.  Johann (1763)
  6.  Maria Barbara (1765)
  7.  (an unnamed child)
  8.  Johann George (1769-1847)
  9.  Johann Jakob (1771-1852)
10.  Johann Gottfried (1774-1826)

See the genealogical chart on Johann Friedrich Boyer's family.
Details on this second generation are included in the following chapter.

            For more than 100 years after Johann Friedrich Boyer settled in the Orwigsburg area, most of his family could be found in nearby Schuylkill and Berks counties, especially near Orwigsburg.  It was not until 1872-74 that George B. Boyer, a great‑grandson of Johann Friedrich, and the father of Lewis Elmer Boyer, moved part of the family away from that area and went 60 miles east, to Easton, Pennsylvania.
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Note on Boyers in the DAR Patriot List

            The Patriot List assembled by the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) consists of individuals who had some degree of participation in the American Revolution and who are claimed as patriots by one or more women who can prove direct descent from the patriot.  Applicants for membership in the DAR must provide detailed links to themselves from a “patriot” and must prove the patriot’s participation in the Revolution.  (DAR genealogists themselves acknowledge that approval of a person as a patriot does not guarantee that the family genealogy is correct, but at least the research presented can help future genealogists examine information that has been developed.)

            The 2003 revised edition of the DAR Patriot Index runs to three volumes.  In Volume I, at pages 302-03, is a total of 61 “patriots” with the name Boyer.  (All people of similar name have been incorporated into this listing of Boyers.)  Included in this list are one Johannes Frederick Boyer, five people named Frederick Boyer, and four named George Boyer. These are:

Johannes Frederick Boyer, the subject of this chapter, born April 25, 1718, in Germany, died September 11, 1804, in Pennsylvania, married Anna Maria Magdalena.  Patriotic service in Pennsylvania. 

Frederick Boyer, born December 31, 1732, in Germany, died October 31, 1832, married Susanna Mehrkam.  Private from Pennsylvania.  Information in DAR Member Files 543429 and 433519.  This Frederick was reported kidnapped by the Indians and taken to Canada for five years.  Descended from Andreas (Andrew) Boyer, who immigrated and was naturalized in 1749, and from his son John J. Boyer, who reportedly was killed by the Indians in 1758 in the presence of Frederick.  Frederick later served in the Revolution in 1780-81 as part of a Northampton County contingent.  A similar story of an Indian attack on the family of a Frederick Boyer appears in American Boyers (1940), page 460, possibly confusing two Frederick Boyers.  See also the note above.

Frederick Boyer, born 1742, died January 7, 1806, in Pennsylvania, married Catherine Frey.  Private from Pennsylvania. 

Frederick Boyer, born May 31, 1746, in England, died February 3, 1825, in Pennsylvania, married Anna Martha Nowlane.  Private from Pennslvania.  Information in DAR Member File 255619 (Add 336).  He was cited in Chapter XX of American Boyers (1915) and on pages 299‑301 of American Boyers (1940).  He was a soldier from Bethlehem Township, Northampton County, and was buried at Dryland, Pennsylvania. 

Frederick Boyer, born June 20, 1756, in Germany, died December 4, 1840, in Pennsylvania, married Anna Elizabeth Scholl.  Trumpeter from Pennsylvania with the Army of George Washington, according to one record.  Information in DAR Member Files 541641 and 676497.  The soldier, widow and heirs all received pensions.  The DAR applicant, Mary Morris of Washington state, said his full name was Frederick August Boyer, and he arrived from Germany on the ship Union.  He is discussed in American Boyers (1940), page 499, and American Boyers (1963), page 186.  The account of his widow's application for a pension in 1843 is printed in the National Historical Magazine (DAR), Volume 77 (1943), page 386.  He resided in Newberry Township, York County.   

Frederick Boyer, Senior, born December 20, 1732, in Germany, died February 19, 1801, in Pennsylvania, married Ann Margaret Moyer.  Soldier from Pennsylvania. 

George Boyer, born October 31, 1760, in Pennsylvania, died May 24, 1831, in Pennsylvania, married, first, Anna Maria, and second, Susanna.  Private from Pennsylvania. 

George Boyer, born March 3, 1734, in Pennsylvania, died March 29, 1806, in Pennsylvania, married Elizabeth.  Private from Pennsylvania. 

George Boyer, born July 15, 1762, in Pennsylvania, died February 10, 1828, in Pennsylvania, married Mary Zieber.  Private from Pennsylvania. 

George Philip Boyer, born January 30, 1750, in Germany, died September 18, 1824, in Pennsylvania, married Catherine.  Private from Pennsylvania.

Children of Johann Friedrich Boyer
Grandson David Boyer, Gunmaker of Orwigsburg
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Neil Boyer's Home Page


[1]   The Red Church burial records were maintained in 1986 by Mrs. Grace Meck, the church secretary, at her home along Route 61 near the Deer Lake Inn, about one mile south of the church.  In 1905, all previous church records, including the early ones written in German, were copied, in English, into a large eight‑inch-thick book purchased for the celebration of the sesquicentennial of the church.  Johann Friedrich Boyer's death is recorded on page 154, in the section on Lutheran death records. 

          Weller, H. A., "A Documentary History of the Old Red (Zion) Church in West Brunswick Township, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania," Publications of the Historical Society of Schuylkill County, Daily Republican, Pottsville, Volume II, No. 3 (1910), page 187, found in the DAR Library, Washington, D.C., among other places, reproduces many of the Red Church birth, confirmation and burial records.  The book includes an address by the Hon. D. C. Henning, given October 5, 1905, entitled “Sesqui-Centennial of the Red Church: What Mean These Stones?” – a detailed analysis of the hard times suffered by the German immigrants who settled in the area near the Red Church. 

[2]    Red Church records, page 154. 

[3]    Boyer, Donald A., American Boyers, Seventh Edition, Volume II (1986), Association of American Boyers, Inc., Boyer Printing and Binding, Lebanon, Pennsylvania, page 580, agrees with this judgment on dates.  In 1990, the DAR published a “correction,” pointing out that the name of the wife of “Johannes Frederick Boyer” was not “Anna Maria,” as used in previous DAR documents, but “Anna Maria Magdalena,” apparently deciding that the name on the tombstone was definitive.  This name is also used in the DAR Patriot Index (2003), Volume I, page 302.  

          NOTE: Subsequent references to the 7th edition of American Boyers, Volume II (1986), will simply cite "American Boyers (1986)" and page number.  The chapter of Volume II that features Johann Friedrich Boyer and his descendants is Chapter 23, also called “AW,” beginning on page 580 of Volume II.  All descendants of Johann Friedrich Boyer are identified in that chapter with numbers that include the letters “AW.” As of 2008, the 7th edition of American Boyers included seven volumes, and several more were expected to come. See this chronology of the various editions and volumes of American Boyers. 

[4]    Boyer, Rev. Charles C., Ph.D., American Boyers, Kutztown Publishing Company, Kutztown, Pa. (1915), chapter on Johann Friederich Boyer, beginning on page 316. 

[5]    Boyer, Rev. Charles C., Ph.D., revised by Boyer, Melville James, American Boyers, Association of American Boyers, Allentown (1940), page 317.  See also Boyer, Donald A., American Boyers (1986), page 580. 

[6]   To add to the confusion, there is a record in the Historical Society of Berks County, Reading, Pennsylvania, that says Anna Marie was born in “Jachhausen, Europe,” still a different spelling.  In 1986, this record was in the “patriot file” of Johann Friedrich Boyer at the DAR Library in Washington. 

[7]    Commentary and letter from family genealogist Mark L. Saylor, M.D., of Columbus, Ohio, August 8, 1997.  Dr. Saylor, born in 1921, is descended through Johann Friedrich Boyer’s son Gottfried Bayer (1774-1826).  His Boyer family identification number is 7-AWA92621. 

[8]    Red Church records, page 154. 

[9]   Red Church records, page 63.  Sponsors were Bernhardt and Catherine Freyer. 

[10]   American Boyers (1940), page 318, and Volume II (1986), page 581.  See the next chapter of this account, focusing on the children of Johann Friedrich Boyer. 

[11]   National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR), Patriot Index, Washington, D. C. (2003), Volume I, page 302.  The name “Johannes” may have been used because the first family member to apply for membership in the Society on the on the basis of the patriotism of this ancestor used "Johannes" in her application.  This was Bertha Rohrer of Orwigsburg, who applied in April 1956.  All other uses of the name, including the one apparently in his own handwriting upon his arrival in America (see notes below) spell the name "Johann."  A photocopy of the list of people who took the oath of allegiance in May 1778 shows that it was “Frederick Beyer” who took the oath and that the date was May 18, 1778.  However, this list was not signed by the oath-takers, and the names were recorded instead by the person administering the oath.  

      It is curious that, despite the total absence of evidence that this man’s name was “Johannes,” the DAR insisted that that was his first name.  When other women claimed membership in the DAR using his correct name, “Johann Friedrich,” DAR staff inserted “es” by pen or pencil in the application to make the name read “Johannes.” 

[12]    Red Church records, pages 8‑9. 

[13]   Conversation with Mrs. Meck, August 1985. 

[14]   Schumacher, pages 363, 361 and 230, respectively. 

[15]   Daniel Schumacher's Baptismal Register, Pennsylvania German Society, Allentown (1968), Volume I, page 349. 

[16]   Schalk, Adolf W., and Henning, D. C., eds., History of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, State Historical Association (1907), page 322.  This history cites a "Gottfried Beyer" as being one of the people most responsible for construction of the 1770 church building, but this could not have been the son of Johann Friedrich, for that Gottfried was not born until 1774.  The Red Church record book lists this man as “Gottfried Berger,” seeming to confirm that this was not a relative of Johann Friedrich Boyer. 

[17]   See Zerbey, Joseph H., History of Pottsville and Schuylkill County, The Pottsville Republican (1934‑35), Volume III, pages 1007‑08.  See also historical accounts printed in documents of St. Paul's and St. John's churches. 

[18]   Hollenbach, Raymond E., records of Lehigh Church (Zion's) Lutheran Church, Lower Macungie, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, 1750‑1896, typed manuscript (1964), DAR Library, Washington, pages 4 and 6.  Possibly contradicting this is evidence of two other children born in 1756, one in Windsor Township and one in Schwarzwald, Exeter Township, both in Berks County, to parents of similar names.  Three children born in 1756 cannot all be the offspring of Johann Friedrich.  However, they add to the complexity of pinning down the whereabouts of Johann Friedrich after his arrival in America.  See descriptions of the likely children of Johann Friedrich in next chapter. 

[19]   American Boyers (1940), page 317, and (1986), page 580, mention the 1758 tax list.  Historian Donald A. Boyer said that the 1758 list was found at the State Library in Harrisburg. 

[20]   Egle, William Henry, Notes and Queries: Historical, Biographical and Genealogical, Relating Chiefly to Interior Pennsylvania, Annual Volume 1900, Harrisburg Publishing Company (1901), pages 76, 78 and 82, for birth records of the children.   Another record shows that a Peter "Boger," who was buried at the Red Church in 1818, was born in 1762 in Weisenberg Township, Lehigh County.  This may be a misleading trail, but similarities in name and location are worth considering in tracking down Johann Friedrich Boyer.  See Weller, page 264, for reference to Peter "Boger." 

[21]   Red Church records, page 50 (baptism of Johann Jacob Boyer). 

[22]   Berks of Old, Volume I, No. 2 (August 1983), page 21. 

[23]   Mormon Church microfilm 1603, Kensington, Maryland. 

[24]   Submitted by Dorothy Boyer Weiser Seale, National DAR Number 567501, Add. 520. 

[25]   Pennsylvania Archives, 3d Series, Volume 18, page 195. 

[26]   Ibid., page 330. 

[27]   Ibid., page 457. 

[28]   Ibid., page 585. 

[29]   Pennsylvania Archives, 3d Series, Volume 18, page 716.

[30]   Mormon Church microfilm 1603, Kensington, Maryland. 

[31]   Government Printing Office, The First Census of the United States, Taken in the Year 1790, Heads of Families, Washington, D. C. (1908), page 30.  This is also available through the genealogical website 

[32]   There was, however, a John Boyer, in a household in Ruscombmanor Township, of one male over 16, one male under 16, and four females; this was possibly the son of Johann Friedrich born in 1763.  However, the family description in American Boyers (1986), page 589 (designated 2‑AW5), does not appear to match the census report.  Perhaps the census relates to the "Johannes Bawyer" who owned 50 acres, 2 horses and 2 cows, as mentioned in the 1794 Brunswick Township tax records, available on Mormon Church microfilm 1604 and seen in the church library in Kensington, Maryland.  However, Ruscombmanor Township was far from Brunswick, far south of the Blue Mountains, and it is thus not likely this was someone from the Johann Friedrich Boyer family. 

[33]   Jackson, Ronald Vern, and Teeples, Gary Ronald, eds., Pennsylvania 1800 Census Index, Accelerated Indexing Systems, Inc., Salt Lake City (1972), page 32.  One was under 45, the other under 26.  Also see Stemmons, John D., ed., Pennsylvania in 1800, Salt Lake City (1972), page 59. 

[34]   Pennsylvania Archives, 3d Series, Volume 26, page 250. 

[35]   There is listed, however, a "John Boyer" who owned 250 acres of land surveyed on July 18, 1788 (see Pennsylvania Archives, 3d Series, Volume 26, page 248).  This could have been Johann Friedrich himself if he had moved up from 135 acres to 250 acres, or it could have been his son Johann Boyer, born in 1763, and then age 25. 

[36]   Strassburger, Ralph Beaver, ed. by Hinke, William John, Pennsylvania German Pioneers, Pennsylvania German Society, Norristown (1934), Volume I (printed ship arrivals lists), page 491, and Volume II (facsimiles of signatures on the same lists), page 585. 

          Pennsylvania Archives, 2d Series, Volume XVII, Harrisburg (1892), edited by Egle, William Henry, M.D., containing on pages 361‑62 the "List of Foreigners Imported in the Ship Nancy, Capt. John Ewing, from Rotterdam, Last from Cowes.  Qualified September 27, 1752."  Johann Friedrich’s wife, Anna Maria, is not listed among the passengers. 

          Egle, William Henry, ed., Names of Foreigners Who Took the Oath of Allegiance to the Province and State of Pennsylvania, 1727‑1775, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore (1976), page 362 (basically a reprint of the Pennsylvania Archives item noted above). 

          Rupp, Israel Daniel, A Collection of Upwards of Thirty Thousand Names of German, Swiss, Dutch, French and Other Immigrants in Pennsylvania From 1727 to 1776, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore (1965), pages 282‑83. 

[37]   The list of ships carrying passengers from the Palatine to Pennsylvania from 1683 to 1808 can be seen on the genealogical website ProGenealogistsMany of the entries provide the names of the passengers.  Unfortunately, the names of passengers of the Nancy as it arrived in Philadelphia on September 27, 1752, were not available on this website in June 2008.  

[38]    Allen, Gardner W., A Naval History of the American Revolution, Boston, Houghton (1913), excerpted on the website, quoting Force, Peter, American Archives, Series V, volume I, page 14, Washington (1837). 

[39]   Tepper, Michael, ed., Emigrants to Pennsylvania 1641‑1819, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore (1975), page 45. 

[40]   American Boyers (1940), page 317.  The 1986 revised text, however, indicated that Frederick was not born until 1756, page 581. 

[41]   Schumacher, page 331, recording the baptism of Elizabeth Uber, born on Ascension Day 1767, daughter of Peter and Maria Uber, with Friderich Bayer, single, and Elizabeth Sternen, a widow, as sponsors.  Heidelberg is one mile east of Saegersville in Heidelberg Township, Lehigh County.  The 1752 tax list mentioning "Frederick Bla" can be found in Montgomery, Morton, Berks County, Pennsylvania: Historical and Biographical Annals, Chicago (1909), page 15. 

[42]   Tax List of Brunswick Township compiled on October 1, 1771, on microfilm roll 1603, Mormon Library, Kensington, Maryland. 

[43]   Rupp, page 264; and Strassburger, Volume I, page 472.  American Boyers (1915) said incorrectly on page 13 that the Phoenix arrived on September 25, 1752, rather than September 25, 1751.  No mention of this arrival has been located in the 1986 version of American Boyers. 

[44]   Strassburger, Volume II, pages 556 and 585. 

[45]   American Boyers (1940), page 405. 

[46]   Yoder, Don, ed., Pennsylvania German Immigrants 1709‑1786, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore (1980), page 302, name included in the "List of Emigrants from Zweibruecken 1728‑1749." 

[47]   Rupp, page 178.  See also American Boyers (1915), page 12. 

[48]   Rupp, page 227.  See also American Boyers (1915), page 12. 

[49]   Rupp, page 243.  See also American Boyers (1940), page 392. 

[50]   Rupp, page 400.  See also American Boyers (1915), page 13. 

[51]   Rupp, page 416.  See also American Boyers (1940), page 499. 

[52]   Jordan, John W., and others, Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, Lewis Publishing (1905), Volume II, page 164, contains the first story.  The same account is briefly noted in American Boyers (1940), page 460.  The second story appears in American Boyers (1940), pages 184‑85.  Both stories are also recounted in Roberts, Charles Rhoads (and others), History of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, Lehigh Valley Publishing Co. Ltd., Allentown (1914), Volume II, pages 139 and 142. 

[53]   Tepper, page 216. 

[54]   Red Church records, page 60. 

[55]    The 1755 list and related information can be seen on this website 

[56]   Strassburger, Pennsylvania German Pioneers (1934), Volume I (printed ship arrivals lists), page 491, and Volume II (facsimiles of signatures on the same lists), page 585. 

[57]   Dill, Marshall, Jr., Germany, University of Michigan (1970), pages 45‑51; Hawgood, John A., The Evolution of Germany, Methuen, London (1955), pages 6, 76, 81‑83; and Detwiler, Donald S., Germany: A Short History, Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, page 89. 

[58]   Dill, page 51. 

[59]   Dunaway, Wayland Fuller, A History of Pennsylvania, Prentice‑Hall (1935), page 83. 

[60]   For another historical account of the origins of the Boyer family, and speculation on what may have led one branch of the family to migrate to America (the line of John Philip Beyer, 1695‑1753), see Boyer, Carl III, Ancestral Lines, Newhall, California (1975), pages 47‑50. 

[61]   Strassburger, Volume I, pages xxxiii‑xxxiv, quoting Mittleberger, Gottlieb, "Journey to Pennsylvania in the Year 1750." 

[62]   Glatfelter, Charles H., Pastors and People, Pennsylvania German Society, Breinigsville, Pennsylvania (1980), Volume I, page 423.  

[63]   Weller, especially pages 196‑97, also quoted in Glatfelter, page 427.  For a good account of the times, see also Schumacher, introduction by Frederick S. Weiser, beginning on page 186, and Henning, David C., "Tales of the Blue Mountains," Publications of the Historical Society of Schuylkill County, Daily Republican, Pottsville, Volume II (1911), page 445. 

[64]   Schalk and Henning, page 321. 

[65]   Schalk and Henning, page 53.  This book, on pages 50‑54, includes an excellent account of the difficulties of the period in clearing land and building houses, beginning in 1749.  See also Schuylkill Classics, Fifty Years' History of the Reformed Church of Schuylkill County (1934), manuscript at DAR library. 

[66]   Schalk and Henning, page 323. 

[67]  1983 Rand‑McNally Commercial Atlas and Marketing Guide, drawing on the 1980 census. 

[68]   Nolan, J. Bennett, The Schuylkill, Rutgers University Press (1951), pages 37‑39. 

[69]   American Boyers, 7th edition, Volume II (1986), beginning on page 90.  The section on the Andreas Beyer’s grandson Christopher Beyer begins on page 192, and the section on his great-grandson Christian Boyer begins on page 240. (This family is also mentioned in the 1940 version of American Boyers, Chapter IX, beginning on page 184, and the 1963 edition, beginning on page 55.) 

[70]   Burial records of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Orwigsburg; the children were Henry Peter, Frederick Bernhard and Catharine Theresa Boyer. 

[71]   The DAR actually uses the name “Johannes Frederick Boyer,” although many of the tax and church records use the name “Johann,” and none has been seen that uses “Johannes” except for the DAR records.  American Boyers (1986) uses “Johann.”  Indeed, in all of the applications for membership in the DAR that used “Johann,” someone in the DAR genealogical section added “es” to the typed application by hand to make the name “Johannes.”  On the other hand, the record of the taking of the Oath of Allegiance shows the name as “Frederick Beyer,” and many of the tax records also use the name “Frederick.”   See the listing for “Johannes Frederick Boyer” in Patriot Index, Daughters of the American Revolution, Vol. I, page 302 (2003). 

[72]    A letter from the Historical Society of Berks County, signed by Mrs. LeRoy Sanders, Director, on June 4, 1957, correctly said the date was May 18, 1778.  However, a later letter from the Historical Society, dated January 6, 1976, addressed “To Whom it May Concern," said: 

We certify that Frederick Beyer took the OATH OF ALLEGIANCE before Charles Shoemaker on May 10, 1778.  This record appears on the original Oath of Allegiance Book D. in the archives of the HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF BERKS COUNTY. 

      Judging by the photocopy of the Shoemaker handwritten text, the first letter contains what is clearly the correct date, May 18, 1778. 

[73]       Member 271049 (File Add 403).  Bertha Scharadin Rohrer, of South Warren Street, Orwisgburg, Pennsylvania, born March 11, 1889 (application approved by the DAR of May 9, 1958), descended through Johann Gottfried Boyer and his son Abraham (1795‑1870), his daughter Anna Maria Boyer Fegley (1834‑1883), and her daughter Elenora Fegley Scharadin (1859‑1942).  American Boyers Number 6-AWA245x. 

          Member 567501 (Roll Add 520).  Dorothy Weiser Seale, resident of Arvada, Colorado, Texas, born on October 2, 1916, in Houston, Texas (application approved by the DAR on December 1, 1977), descended through Johann Gottfried Boyer and his son Daniel (1812‑1884), his son Marquis (1836‑1916), his daughter Mary Boyer Weiser (1863‑1939), and her son Harry Boyer Weiser (1887‑1950).  American Boyers Number 7-AWA92411. 

          Member 632432.  Mildred Boyer Harris, resident of Belvidere, New Jersey, born on March 16, 1932, in Easton, Pennsylvania (application approved by the DAR on October 12, 1978), descended through George Boyer (1769-1847), his son David (1806‑1883), his son George (1839‑1907), his son Lewis Elmer (1869‑1948), and his son S. David Boyer (1911-2006).  Sister of DAR Member Nancy Boyer Sandt.  American Boyers Number 7-AW845461. 

        Member 733637.  Barbara Anne Moyer, of Cressona, Pennsylvania, born July 10, 1943, in Pottsville, Pennsylvania (application approved by the DAR on December 6, 1990), descended through Johann Gottfried Boyer, his son Abraham (1795-1870), his son Godfrey (1826-1899), his daughter Mame Boyer Deibert, and Leon Moyer (1910-1974).  Contributed copies of the extensive wills of Abraham Boyer (1795-1870), a son of Johann Gottfried, and his son Godfrey Boyer, who died in 1899, to the DAR library for the Patriot File of Johann Friedrich Boyer.  American Boyers Number x-AWA22Cx. 

        Member 733723.  Jane Lohman Sharadin, wife of Edward Sharadin, of Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania (application approved by the DAR on December 6, 1990), descended through Johann Gottfried Boyer and his son Abraham.  American Boyers Number x-AWA2xx. 

        Member 711135.  Nancy Louise Boyer Sandt, of Easton, Pennsylvania, born on June 25, 1937, in Easton, Pennsylvania (application approved by the DAR on April 13, 1996), descended through George Boyer (1769-1847), his son David (1806‑1883), his son George (1839‑1907), his son Lewis Elmer (1869‑1948), and his son S. David Boyer ( 1911-2006).  Sister of DAR member Mildred Boyer Harris.  In 2005, Nancy Sandt was regent of the local DAR Chapter in Easton, Pennsylvania.  American Boyers Number 7-AW845462. 

[74]   Nolan, pages 68‑69. 

[75]   American Boyers (1940), page 317. 

[76]   American Boyers (1986), page 580.

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