David Keel, born 1716
We do not know where specifically he began his journey, but we presume he traveled down the Rhine River with other "New Worlders" and do know that he boarded a ship named the "Loyal Judith" in the spring of 1742. The ship stopped at Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, for permission to import foreigners to the American colonies.
David Keel, or David Kell, or Davit Schäll, entered America when he stepped off the "Loyal Judith" in Philadelphia on 3 September 1742. His name was written one way (David Keel) by the ship's crew (See Strassbuger-Hincke, #93A, for which only the transcription has been found -- not an image of the handwriting.), another (David Kell) by the clerk overseeing the "B" list (S-H, #93B), and yet another way (Davit Shäll or Schäll) in the book of those taking the oath (S-H, #93C). The latter was presumably by a fellow passenger, who translated the final "d" into "t" & "K" into "Sh" or "Sch", common Germanic usages. Below are images of his name & mark:
Other Spellings? Some have suggested other vowels or vowel combinations (such as "öe"), but none of these would have produced a sound in German similar to the English long a of "ale" or the short e of "tell".
The inconsistent spellings of English-speaking writers do not imply any attempt on his part to hide his identity; he would not have recognized when his name was being spelled differently.)Did he have family aboard? He may, or may not, have been accompanied by his wife and/or children; the passenger list does not include any women or children among the 76 passengers. However, at least one other of the men aboard -- Johannes Wolfskehl -- was known to have traveled with wife & daughters.
David took the loyalty oaths Pennsylvania required and, apparently, began indentured servitude in Burlington County, New Jersey almost immediately. He seems not to have had family in America, nor to have been sponsored by a Lutheran or Reformed congregation. A common practice of the time was for ship's captains to accept a contract of indenture as payment for passage and then to sell the contract on the open market in Philadelphia.
In 1754, he petitioned for and was granted naturalization as a citizen. It was that petition's statement that he was born in the Electoral Palatinate that gives us the best clue of his origin. Supporting his petition was a statement from Michael Houdin or Horedin, the pastor of St. Michael's Church in Trenton, that David had attended Easter Communion. (Apparently, to prove he was a Protestant.) The Court found that he had taken "the Oathe" and had been present in New Jersey for at least seven years (more like 12) without being absent more than two months.
The naturalization may have been necessary to buy real estate, because he shortly purchased land in Trenton and appears to have remained there for more than twenty years..
David married Aberdina Barthemia (or Parthenia) [--Cale?--], his only known wife. This author believes the second name to be a "middle" name and that her surname is unknown. No record of any family with a surname of Barthmeia, Porthemia, or other spelling variant has been found in New Jersey colonial records. Nor, has a record been found of a marriage, indicating they may have been married in the Electoral Palatinate & she possibly accompanied David on the Loyal Judith. At least one researcher believes that David & Barthemia were married in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. (About 60 miles west of Burlington County, New Jersey, across the Delaware River.)
In March 1770, David arranged a lease for 800 acres of land in Fauquier County, Virginia for his five sons.
By 1783, the family had settled in Augusta County, Virginia, David claiming on 30 acres.
David died in Beverly Manor, Augusta County, Virginia between 25 April 1786 (when he made his will) & 17 July 1787 (when his will was proved in court).
David & Barthemina had 9 children.
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