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Johann Peter Assum

 

The Trip Across the Atlantic
Despite the persistent horror stories of the dangers of ship voyage across the Atlantic to North America, in the spring of 1752, Johan Peter Assum or Asseim made his way down the Rhine River, from Germany. Peter boarded the Ship Neptune, commanded by Captain John Mason [9]. The ship stopped for a brief time in Cowes, England for supplies and perhaps additional emigrants. John Mason had already made seven trips to America with shiploads of Swiss and German pioneers. Most emigrants had relatives or friends in the Colony who had made the trip sometime prior. Financial, social, and physical assistance was often provided to help the newly arrived immigrants to become established.

Before boarding the ships, ones who could not pay their passage were forced to sign contracts which were in English. Since many could not read or write German, let alone English, they were told that they would be required to a time of servitude after reaching their destination. In fact, however, the contract stated that they were to pay a certain amount of money at their point of disembarkation. If a man or woman died on board the ship, the spouse was responsible to pay their fee. If both parents died on board, the children were obligated to pay for their parents’ passage. Like all ventures, passenger shipping was an investment. English brokers would front money for the ships voyage for a return on their investment when the ship returned.

Passenger's in bold font would have some sort of relationship with Peter's family from Michelrieth and over the past several years, many of these family members had made the journey, settling in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The fellow passengers on the ship Neptune were:

Adam Hartman, Valentin Letman, Christophel Feichtner, Nicolas Boroon,*, Johann Ludwig Leib, Hans Michel Gutknecht, Hans Michael Dock, Hans George Hartman, Nickel Nahlich, Henry Henly*, Georg Mewes, Christian Schmidt, Johannes Bernhart, Stephan Nicklaus*, Georg Werner, Michael Hoak*, Stoffel Hussung, Daniel Stattler*, Daniel Conrad*, Anthony Roth, Johannes Conrad, Casper Fell*, Paul Hoffmann, Jacob Schwartz, Adam Pence*, Nicklaus Hoh, Michael Busch, Matheus Andras, Wendel Biesel*, Jacob Haberstich, Baltasar Schwartz, Paulus Seip, Theobald Schwartz, Philip Seip, George Meyer*, Jacob Kuhn*, Thomas Straub, Johannes Hortig, Johannes Kress, Henry Kress**, Kaspar Kress, Carl Kress*, Nickolas Schall, Andreas Schall, Conrad Rosch, Jacob Zieget, Simon Schmitt*, George Unckel, Johannes Feyly*, Matheas Ebener, Johann Jacob Wolff, Hans Peter Hertzog, Johann Valtin Walter, Hubert Baumgartner, J. Christian Bohnenblust, hans Nicolaus Pesser, Hans Georg Kurtz, Joh. Jacob Becker, Johan Henrich Nol, Hans Georg Kucher, Georg Freiderich Konig, Philip Jacob Roth, Christian Rohrbacher, Christian Hoffmann, Johann Georg Werner, Philip Christian Weller, Joh. Sigmund Hagelga??, Johann Jacob Dietrich, Johann Michel Harfer, Johan Adam Wild, Wilhelm Trautmann, Christian Haberstitch, Hans Georg Schwartz, Wilhelm Stauch, Michael Hutzner, Johan Adam Tietz*, Dewalt Witterspohn*, Johan Peter Assim, Nickolas Schall jr., Christopher Blumer Johan Georg Weber, Johan Philip Greich*, Johann Jacob Friess, Hans Adam Weber, Georg Lautenschlager, Johan Michael Heinecke, Johan Adam Heinecke, Nicklaus Schweyer, Johann Sebastian Gross, Johann Andreas Gross, Johan Henrich Niess, Johan Wilhelm Schneider, Joel Dormyer Andreas Dormyer*, Jocob Dormyer**, Peter Schneider, Conrad Schneider, Samuel Schultz, Ludwig Kuster, Philip Wentzel*, Johannes Geiss*, Mattheis Haller, Peter Molsbach, Johannes Schaffer, Henry Lipps*, Johannes Nickellas, Joseph Bernhart, Christian Laur, Peter Urich, Johannnes Zuplie, Johannes Hirni, Johannes Arris, Johannes Glass, Hans Kuntzi, Georg Meter*, Ulrich Sterchi, Christian Sterchi, Michael Spatz, Michael Hellser*, Johannes Blöckinger, Ulrich Feitz*, Peter Shneyder*, Peter Dunter*, Johannes Hoffer Senior, Johannes Hoffer Jr., Nicolas Lotz, Jacob Gross, Johannes Kautz, Johannes Conrad Streuber, Gebhart Bertholt, Georg Philip Kuster, Joh. Henry Lohmiller, Johann Georg Rubsaamen, Johann Georg Jung, Johannes Hufnagel, Joh. Michael Schmidt, Johann Philip Haffner, Christophel Keller, Heinrich Schaffer, Johan Philip Breuning, Johan Adolph Gilman, John George Nicholas, Peter Zongrig*, Johann Jacob Baumann, Johann Michael May, Johann Casper Domm, Johannes Schwatzer, Johan Heinrich Heiss, Joh. Adam Arris, Johann Jacob Hipge, Freiderich Zurbuchen, Johan Philip Muller, Johann Peter Muller, Valentin Lautenschlager, Johan Georg Kriegenmeyer, Johan Wilhelm Lotz, Johannes Lohmoller, Christoph Ensling, Johann Peter Schmidt, Johann Daniel Becker, Christian Kautz, Johannes Diehl, Johan Caspar Kindt, Johann Georg Nonys. [23]

As can be seen by the picture below, the ship’s passenger’s list was very poorly written and Peter's surname appears to be Issim. A subsequent published transcription of this name spelled with an "I" can also be seen during the Oath of Allegiance, [49]. The second letter in the last name is a latin character for a double "s" often looked liked a cursive lower case "f".

[9]

The men on the ships passengers list were the adult men who survived the trip to America. Some would have had wives and children with them, but often times the head of the household were the only members listed. Upon arriving at their port of arrival, the heads took Oaths of Allegiance pledging their loyalty to the English Crown as foreigners living in a Colony of England. This was a mutual benefit for both parties. The English would strengthen their colony against the French and boost their economy from trading with the colony, and the colonists could own hundreds of acres of farmable land.

The trip across the Atlantic Ocean was extremely difficult, sea-sickness and other illness would often afflict the weakened occupants of the ship and many would die before reaching America. Disease could easily spread due to the cramped and unsanitary conditions leading to outbreaks of yellow fever, small pox, dysentery, and other deadly afflictions. Tradition states that Peter's wife, Catharina (__) Assum died en route and was buried at sea [16]. However, more recent research has shown that he was living in Lancaster with a wife named Catharaina. Whether he remarried a woman with the same name or this is simply the same woman, is difficult to say. In all probability, Peter's wife dying at sea was erroneous tradition.

The foregoing is an account of a voyage recorded by a Moravian minister traveling from Germany to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

“Black clouds rested heavily on the southern horizon and foretold of an unusually severe storm…all port-holes and hatches were closed and fastened, the upper yards were lowered and the sails furled…Soon after 8 o’clock a hurricane broke loose, far more terrible than we dreamed an ocean could be…winds howled, roaring waves ran mountains high…All passengers were gathered in the cabins and a solemn stillness reigned about 10 o’clock there was a terrible shock…the side of the ship against which my wife was leaning was now the bottom and the bottom had become one of the sides of the cabin and we realized the ship had capsized…a cry was raised for axes to cut away the masts…the Captain bravely climbed the main mast, and under his blows it parted and went over. Instantly, the ship righted itself and floated on even keel!”

Johan Peter Arrives in Philadelphia
Mid-eighteenth century maps of Philadelphia show sixty-five docks covering a fairly extended area along the west bank of the Delaware River. Philadelphia had become the largest and single most important port in the American colonies. Immigration records reveal a very busy place. In one month alone, September 1753, fifteen ships arrived with German immigrants; on average they arrived every other day during that month. Other immigrants arrived as well, including the Scots-Irish, who came in numbers almost equal to the Germans. And, there was related activity—numerous ships in the harbor were used to transport agricultural products from Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware to Europe and the West Indies, and other ships brought manufactured goods from Europe.

A vivid account of the arrival of these passenger ships was given by the German born Rev. Henry M. Muehlenberg in the 1760's.

"After much delay, one ship after another arrives in the harbor of Philadelphia, when the rough and severe winter is before the door. One or more merchanst receive the lists of the freights and the agreement which the immigrants have signed with their own hand in Holland, together with the bills for their travel down the Rhine and the advances of the "newlanders" fro porvisions, which they received on the ships account. Formerly the freight for a single person was six to ten louis d'ors . Before the ship is allowed to cast anchor at the harbor front, the passengers are all examined, according to the law in force, by a physician, as to whether any contagious disease exists among them. Then the new arrivals are led in procession to the City Hall and there they must render the Oath of Allegience to the King of Great Britain. After that they are brought back to the ship. Then announcements are printed in the newspapers, stating how many of the new arrivals are to be sold. Those who have money are released. Whoever has well-to-do friends seeks a loan from them to pay the passage, but there are only a few who succeed. The ship becomes the market-place. The buyers make their choice among the arrivals and bargain with them for a certain number of years and days. Then they take them to the merchant, pay their passage and their other debts and receive from the government authorities a written document which makes the newcomers their property for a definite period of time"

The ship Neptune arrived in the Port of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania around October 4, 1752 [9]. This date given was the date of the signing of the ship’s passengers list and not necessarily the exact date of the arrival.

So, what did Peter Assum do after he left the Port? According to an article in the Pennsylvanian Gizette, 700 German immigrants arriving in the Port of Philadelphia in the year 1752 were sent to Mallagash harbor to perform works for the King’s duties near Halifax, Pennsylvania. Whether Peter joined these German workers is difficult to say. He did appear in the first appears in the 1752 Census for Philadelphia County (Philadelphia Township) [50]. His name, once again was transcribed as Johann Peter Isheim.

It’s likely that Peter sought the help from his friends and relatives who had traveled earlier to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. It is known that Peter was a shoemaker and probably set up shop as soon as possible to take advantage of selling boots to the Colonial militia. The French and Indian War would begin in 1755. As can be seen from early Censuses from Cincinnati, Ohio, several other Assum families who were also Shoemakers migrated from Bavaria, Austria and then to Cincinnati some decades after Peter .

It must also be mention that on October 1, 1754 John Ossim and George Fottel were witnesses to the Marriage of James Standings and Elisabeth Jamisin at St. Michael and Zion Congregation in Philadelphia [43]. It is not known who this person is and further research is needed. The names appear to be of English origin.

Peter Assum would soon settle on Duke Street in Lancaster County Pennsylvania, amongst his fellow Germans sometime prior to 1756 [48]. Peter's next door neighbor on the tax list is Philip Spoon (b. 1737). Other recognizable names on the list include: Christofer Breanneman, Michael Bouman, and several Ludmans.

1756 Lancaster County, Tax Records LR 209, Roll 15, Lancaster Borough. The first column is probably quitrents and the other three are probably farm animals that are taxable.

Name

?

?

?

?

Philip Spoon

7

0

3

6

Peter Asson

6

0

3

0

Peter Crouise

7

0

3

8

Christofor Breanahenn

7

0

3

?







Lancaster County is in the Piedmont region with occasional ridges standing above the rolling hills and limestone plains, the largest of which forms the central part of the county and is drained by the Conestoga River and Pequea Creek. The southern portion of the county rests in the Piedmont uplands which hold deposits of iron, nickel, copper, chrome and silver. It is the easily-eroded limestone soil, however, that gives the county its reputation as the finest agricultural land east of the Mississippi River, and the best non-irrigated farmland in the nation. The best limestone soil, known as Hagerstown or Frederick loam, is the largest connected body of that rich limestone soil in Pennsylvania. As a result, more than seventy-five percent of Lancaster County is farmland, with the majority of farms being family owned. Today, feed grains are most often cultivated, taking the place of leaf tobacco, once more extensively grown for cigars and chewing. In the past, the hard red Triassic rock or sandstone which extends across the northern portion of the county was used for millstones to grind the grain in the numerous grist mills located throughout the area [36].

A Tax for the Kings Use

Lancaster, To Paul Whitsell, collector of Lancaster Borrough, You being appointed Collector of the within Tax are hereby required to demand of the Persons within mentioned, the several Sums wherewith they stand charged. But if any think themselves aggreved with what they are here rated, acquint them that the Day of Appeal, is the Twentieth Day of December of at the House of Mathias Slough in the afformentioned Borrough.

 

But if you cannot meet with ther Persons of whom Demand, is to be made, leave Notice in Writing with some of the Family, or at the Place of their last Abode, signifying the Day of Appeal; at which Time you are to attend with the Duplicate, and the Names of such Persons in your District as you find omitted herein. Fail not at your Peril. Dated the Twentieth Day of November Annoque Domini, 1758 

Name

?

probably quitrents

?

Peter Assem

0

6

0

Bowman, Henry

0

7

0

Henry Bollinger

0

7

0

John, Bowman

0

4

0

Mich. Bowman

0

4

0

William Bowman

2

10

0

Boone, Andrew

0

6

0


 

 

 

 

The tax list for 1759 shows Peter as being a "shoemacker" [sic] and owning a half-lot with 7 quitrents. The quitrent is really more of a tax than a rent--owners of land in England were accustomed to the payment of an annual quitrent to the Crown in order to keep the land they already owned. Peter's neighbor is Henry Bollinger who also arrived from Germany on the ship Phoenix, captained by Ruben Honor in 1752. Also on board was Johan Adam Lotz, Jorg Michel Lotz and Johannes Wurtz.


1759 Lancaster, Pennsylvania (possibly City Tax)

Name

?

?

?

Peter Asom

0

6

0

Henry Bolinger

0

10

0






1759 Lancaster Borough, County Tax

Name

?

?

?

Peter Asom

0

1

6

Henry Bolinger

0

1

8






The subsequent tax list for Lancaster in 1763 shows Peter Asom on the same half-lot with 7 quitrents and owning one cow.

 

 

Naturalization (Act 13 of King George II c.7)

In 1740, an English law revised the naturalization process. The law provided that any person born out of the allegiance of the King of England who had resided in the Colonies for seven years and during that period had not been out of them at any one time for more than two months, could be naturalized by taking the oaths and subscribing to the declaration. A fee of two shillings was collected for the entry of the names in a public record book.

Naturalization was an act to further the assimilation of foreigners in the laws and customs of the British Crown and solemnly promise to be faithful and bear true allegiance to King George II and his successors of the crown as well as the Proprietor of the Province. Peter Assum would have witnessed his homeland destroyed by the French and now a great fever of British/Colonial patriotism had swept America after successive victories by the British and Colonial militia in the French and Indian War.

On September 10, 1761, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania naturalized many citizens living in the Colony. Nine years after arriving in North America, Peter Assum became a naturalized citizen while living in Lancaster Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania [10]. After proclaiming an Oath of Allegiance to the Crown of Brittan, Peter did not elect to take the Sacrament symbolizing the Lords Supper as did many Quakers, and Moravians or any other person who conscientiously scruple to take an oath. Becoming a naturalized citizen meant that Peter had now been given the same rights as a citizen of England, with certain limitations. As can be seen from the street map above, the City's (and County's) Courthouse was located on the same street at Peter, so convenience was possibley another reason to become naturalized.

Religion

Peter is found only once in church records, when on April 25, 1762, Peter Assem, is listed as a sponsor during the baptism of Peter Lutz (b. 30 Dec 1761), son of Stephen and Anna Catharina Lutz. The baptism took place at the First Reformed Congregation Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania [46]. If one were to view the ship’s passenger list for Stephen, you would find that Stephannus Lutz and Johannes Lutz traveled on the Ship Rawley, Captained by John Grove by way of Rotterdam 23 Oct 1752; Also on Board Peter Link, Leonhart Spong (Spoone?), Conrad Endres, Philip Fisher, David Jung, Christian Kress, Leonhart Bawman (Bowman), Johann Heinrich Kress. Most of these families can be seen as immigrants from Wertheim and also adjacent land owners to Peter in both Lancaster, Pennsylvania and in Augusta County, Virginia. Stephen Lutz can also be found as Affirming Allegience to the State of Pennsylvania while living in Lancaster in 1777.

The most probably explanation of the lack of church records for Peter is that he did not attend church.

Lancaster Borough

On May 19, 1764, while living on Duke Street in Lancaster, Peter and his wife, Catherina Assem sold a "half lot" to their current neighbor, Ludwig Lowman for 140 pounds of current Pennsylvania money.[47]

THIS INDENTURE made the Ninetieth Day of May in the year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty Four BETWEEN Peter Assem of the Borough and County of Lancaster and Province of Pennsylvania Yeoman and Catherina his wife of the One Part and and Lodwick Lowman of the County of Lancaster aforesd. Yeoman of the other Part. [Note a Yoeman is a free male who owns land]

NOW THIS INDENTURE WITNESSETH that the said Peter Assem as well in consideration of the afforsaid sum of Seventy Pounds and for the better to secure the payment thereof with its Interest unto the sd. Ludwick Lowman His Heirs and Assigns All that certain half lott Piece or Parcell of Ground Situate lying and being in the Borough of Lancaster aforesaid Containing in front on Duke Street Thirty Two feet two inches and a Quarter of an Inch and in Depth to a fourteen foot Alley Two Hundred and froty five feet Bounded to the north by another Half Lott of the said Lodwick Lowman to the East by the Aforesaid fourteen foot Alley to the South by a lott now of James Bickham and to the West by Duke Street Aforesd

PROVIDED always that if the said Peter Assem his Heirs Executors Administrators shall and do well and Truly Pay or Cause to be Paid unto the said Lodwick Lowman his Heirs Executors Administrators or Assigns the aforesaid Debt or Sum of Seventy pounds with Lawful Interest for the same on the Day and Time…

Peter Assem (Seal)
The mark of
Catherina X Assem (Seal)
Recorded the 22d Day of April 1764
Ludwig Lowman signed on the Thirty first day of October Anno Domini 1765

A month later, on June 21, 1764, Peter sold his land in Lancaster City to Peter Colhep of Bethel Township for 27 pounds. [47]

THIS INDENTURE Made this Twenty first Day of June in the year Anno Domini 1764 and in the fourth Year of Reign of our Sovern King George the Third of Great Britain and Came Peter Assum of the Barow of Lancaster in the Province of Pennsylvania of the one part and Peter Colhep of the Township of Bethel of the other part.

…give Grant Bargain Sell said Lott with Deed Bearing Date the Nineteenth Day of May in the year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred Sixty one.

…that if the above named peter Assom his Heirs Executors Administrators or Assigns the Just and full Sum of Twenty Seven pounds of Good and Lawful money of the said Province by in or upon the first Day of October in the year of our Lord One Thousand Seven hundred and Sixty four…

Signed Sealed and Delovered in the Presence of

John Snevely
Jacob Wiser
Peter Assim

I Peter Colhep the Mortagee in this Deed Named so hereby Acknowledge to have received the sum of Twelve Pounds and two shillings in part Satisfaction of the Principal and interest in this deed mentioned. Seventh Day of May 1765.

The afformentined Peter Collep (or Collup) arrived in the Philadelphia on August 13, 1750 and according to Ancestry.com's "One World Tree", he can be found living in Lancaster County, PA married to Christina Musser and having children between 1766 and 1783 born in Lancaster County.

Finally on October 1, 1764 Peter Assum of Lancaster city sold “All the Goods and Implements of Household contained in my Dwelling” to John Hoffnagle and David Razer for 35 pounds Eleven Shillings and Six Pence. [47]. It appears that Peter and his wife were liquidating their assets for their journey to Augusta County, Virginia.

KNOW ALL men by these presents that I Peter Assum of the County of Lancaster and Province of Pennsylvania Yeoman for and the consideration of the sum of Thirty five Pounds Eleven Shillings and Six Pence Lawful money of the Province aforesaid to me in hand …doth Grant Bargain and Sell unto John Hoffnagle and David Razer of the County aforesaid All the Goods and implements of household whatsoever Which are Contained in my Dwelling House in the Borough of Lancaster.

IN WITNESS whereof I have hereto set my hand and Seal this first Day of October 1764

Sealed and Delivered in presence of us Felix Donnaly and Joseph Boude

Peter Assim (Written in German) - [note: (Written in German) were actual words written on the receipt]

Recorded 12th October 1764

 

Peter’s Journey to Virginia:
Many Germans migrated to vacant tracks of land in small communities in Virginia. One of the major routes was from Pennsylvania to Frederick County, Maryland and then on down into the Valley of Virginia following the Great Philadelphia Wagon Road and eventually further south or west from there. From 1775 to 1800 more than three hundred thousand settlers traveled this road to the West.

 

According to early research by Harry L. Ausmus as mentioned in his published book, Thomas Lewis (1718-1790) performed a survey for Peter Assum for 110 acres in Augusta County on April 30, 1770. His parcel was bounded by Daniel Link (sometimes pronounced Zenk or Sink), Prunemor’s land, and Peter Fisher’s line [16].

Then on March 10, 1773, Peter Asam purchased 31 additional acres in the same vicinity near the headwaters of Humes Run, a branch of the Shenandoah River. He stated that this can be found in the Register of Deeds, Book 01, page 216 [16]. This deed has not been located, but the sale of the 31 in 1785 can be found and is shown below.

 

 

 

 

Peter’s main reason for moving from Pennsylvania to Virginia was probably to take advantage of the vacant tracts of land for farming and cultivation. But perhaps another reason Peter traveled to Virginia was to search for a fortune in the hillside of Peaked Mountain. According to USGS Quad maps, Peaked Mountain is also referred to as Massanutten Peak.

Peaked Mountain was originally called "Picked" or "Pick't" mountain according to the mentions in early court and probate records for Augusta County. It most likely derived its name due to excavations on its hillside. According to George Gilmer, early Governor of Georgia, the Peaked Mountain in the Shenandoah Valley had many excavations visible on its side. Upon inquiring about them, he was informed that they had been made by the neighboring Dutch people in search of hidden treasure. The Dutch had heard, and were credulous enough to believe, that a wealthy lord was one of the first settlers of the Shenandoah Valley, had quitted the country a long time before, and returned to Germany, leaving his money behind, hid in the Peaked Mountain.

I remained two months at this beautiful place (Augusta County), with the best and kindest people whom I have ever known. The house was of brick, situated upon the descent of a hill, about three hundred yards from the Shenandoah River, which was seen over a beautiful meadow, and through thinly scattered sycamore trees, flowing away with a strong current. From the top of the hill, back of the house, might be seen exceedingly fertile fields, enclosed in a semicircle, formed by the river, and mountains extending in every direction.

In the middle of the valley, between the North Mountain and the Blue Ridge, rose up almost perpendicularly, and to a great height, the Peaked Mountain. In a clear day, many excavations were visible on its side. Upon inquiring about them, I was informed that they had been made by the neighboring Dutch people in search of hidden treasure. A young fellow of he neighborhood, whose father was a man of some wealth and consequence, had a club-foot and was made a tailor of, as fit for nothing else. In following his trade, he went to many places, and became wise in the ways and some of the tricks of the world. After a while he returned to the neighborhood of the Peaked Mountain. The Dutch had heard, and were credulous enough to believe, that a wealthy lord was one of the first settlers of the Shenandoah Valley, had quitted the country a long time before, and returned to Germany, leaving his money behind, hid in the Peaked Mountain. There had been some effort to discover the treasure by digging several places in the mountain side. The tailor told them that, in his travels through Ohio, he had been in a factory of spyglasses, which so added to the power of sight, that he could see several feet into the earth with one of them. Having excited great interest about these glasses and the hidden treasure by his tales, he proposed to the money-hunters that, if they would make up a sufficient sum, he would go with it to this factory, and buy them a glass, by which they could find the concealed gold.

The required sum was collected, and the tailor went to Ohio. Upon his return, he informed his employers that he had purchased a glass better than he had ever seen before; that he had no doubt but that they could have seen through the Peaked Mountain, if he could have got it to them; but unfortunately, as he was traveling home with it, he was obliged to cross a rapid run, which proved more swollen than he supposed. He was washed down by the strong current, lost his saddlebags, with the glass in it, and came very near losing his life. Another sum of money was made up with which the Irish club-footed tailor left the neighborhood of the Peaked Mountain, never again to be seen there. He laid out the money in the purchase of a tract of land, whilst some had theirs sold to repay the money which they had borrowed to supply the tailor with the means to buy the wonderful glass.

The Revolutionary War:
There is no evidence that Peter Assum participated in any war in the Colony or the United States, he was simply too old take up arms. Typically, well-assimilated young English speaking and American born citizens took up arms, not older German farmers/shoemakers with large families. However, some of Peter's children did:

This aforementioned Felix Gilbert was a well known citizen of Rockingham, wealthy and prominent with many connections. He lived and kept a store at or near the place since known as Peale’s Cross Roads, five miles or so southeast of Harrisonburg, near Peter Assum's’ home.


"Smithland," now the residence of Geo. W. Liskey, stands on the southeast side of the Valley Pike, just a mile or two below Harrisonburg. It is one of the finest old country homesteads in many a mile. Situated near the brow of a lofty eminence (probably Peaked Mountain), it commands a splendid view of vales, hills, and distant mountains. At the sharp turn of the pike just below the house, on the high bank at the left-hand side, the site of an old building may still be discerned; there, tradition says, the first justices of the county sat in their initial sessions.

At the same time that Smithland was selected as the temporary seat of justice, it was ordered that Daniel Smith and Josiah Davidson be empowered to contract with some person for building a "square Log Jayl or prison 12 feet square, laid with square Logs above & below, 8 inches thick at the least, with one Window & a Door made of Iron barrs so as to suit the public Jayl when built, with a good Lock & a Cabin roof over the upper flour, (sic) to be fixed on the most convenient spott of the sd. Daniel Smith's plantation, and in the meantime that the Sheriff be empowered to hire a Guard to watch such prisoners as are taken into his Custody." [34]

At the court held June 22, 1778, it was ordered that William Nalle, Gentleman., take the list of Tithables for Rockingham County: Abraham Lincoln’s grandfather was named was named in the Tithables. The following is verbatim of President Abraham Lincoln in his autobiography:

I was born Feb. 12, 1809, in Hardin County, Kentucky. My parents were both born in Virginia, of undistinguished families-- second families, perhaps I should say. My mother, who died in my tenth year, was of a family of the name of Hanks, some of whom now reside in Adams, and others in Macon Counties, Illinois. My paternal grandfather, Abraham Lincoln, emigrated from Rockingham County, Virginia, to Kentucky, about 1781 or 2, where, a year or two later, he was killed by indians, not in battle, but by stealth, when he was laboring to open a farm in the forest. His ancestors, who were Quakers, went to Virginia from Berks County, Pennsylvania.


On April 8, 1783, Anthony Brunaman (Brenneman) purchases 240 acres of land adjacent to his current parcel. The sale was granted by current owner Peter Conrad. Peter Assum is mentioned as an adjacent property owner:


Patrick Henry Esquire Governor of the commonwealth of Virginia to all to whom these presents shall come greeting; Knowyee that in consideration of the ancient composition of twenty five shillings sterling paid by Anthony Brunaman into the commonwealth. Here is granted by the said commonwealth unto the said Anthony Brunaman assignee of Peter Conrad a certain tract or parcel of land containing two hundred and forty acres by survey bearing date the Eight day of April One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty Three. Lying and being in the County of Rockingham on the waters of Humes Run and bounded as followeth to wit; Beginning on a white oak on aline of his patent land and running thence forty seven degrees west twenty eight poles crossing Humes Run to a white oak on a line of Peter Asoms land and with or near the same north twenty one degrees west twenty poles to two pines near said Asoms line and running thence north sixty two degrees west one hundred and twenty poles to a pine north fourteen degrees west one hundred and fifty four poles crossing a branch to a pine north twenty degrees east one hundred and sixty poles crossing a run to a pine north east one hundred and ninety four poles to a pine on or near aline of his Patent Land south sixteen degrees west fifty nine poles to a pine in said Branaman’s line thence north seventy six degrees west nine poles to two pines corner to his own land and with the lines of the same north fifty six degrees west sixty six poles to a pine south fifty seven degrees west eighty eight poles crossing arun to a white oak south sixty eight degrees east one hundred and sixty poles to a pine in aline of his Patent Land with the same south six degrees west one hundred and fifty nine poles to the beginning…

As mentioned in the above survey, the Governor of Virginia, Patrick Henry held office after Thomas Jefferson. Patrick served in the Virginia House of Burgesses and the Continental Congress and delivered the famous "Give me liberty or give me death!" speech.

On December 6, 1783, Daniel Price purchased 25 acres adjacent to his own property located next to Brenaman’s land. This gives a better description of the location of the Peter Assum's parcel.

…Being in the County of Rockingham between the peaked mountain and Shanado River and bounded as followeth, to wit; Beginning on a black oak on aline of his own land and running thence south forty five degrees west ten poles to an ash and white oak in aline of Peter Brenaman’s land north seven degrees east forty poles…

On March 20, 1785, in Rockingham County, Patrick Henry Esquire Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia granted the sale of 31 acres to Anthony Bruneman, assignee of Peter Asam. The purchase was given to the treasury of the commonwealth and is the last known record of Johann Peter Assum's existence. 

Patrick Henry Esquire Governor of the Common Wealth of Virginia, to all to whom these presents shall come, Greeting: Knowyee, that by virtue and consideration of the Ancient composition of five shillings sterling paid by Anthony Bruneman into the treasury of the commonwealth there is granted by the said commonwealth unto the said Anthony Bruneman Assignee of Peter Asam a certain tract or parcel of land containing 31 acres by survey bearing date the tenth day of March one thousand and seven hundred and seventy three lying and being in the County of Rockingham on the waters of Humes Run a branch of the Shenandoah River and bounded alloweth to wit. Beginning at a black oak near a branch runneth thence north forty four poles over a hill to three pines north then by five degrees east forty six poles crossing Humes Run to a white oak on the side of a hill and along the same north fifty degrees west seventy eight to a pine and south eighty degrees west fifty poles crossing a branch to a white oak south fifteen degrees east and twenty six poles to a white oak by Humes Run and down the same south seventy seven degrees east ninety two poles to two white oaks south twenty nine degrees west fourteen poles crossing the run and up the hill to a hickory and white oak south west forty two poles to assum [? smeared]; White oak and black oak near a branch south five degrees west fifty six poles crossing a branch to a pine on the point of a hill north thirty five degrees east and twenty poles to the beginning with its appurtenances; to have and to hold the said tract or parcel of land with its appurtenances to the said Anthony Bruneman and his heirs for ever In witness Whereof the said Patrick Henry Esquire Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia…

...Knowye that by virtue and in consideration of part of a Land Office Treasury Warrant November Sixteen [One] Thousand seven hundred eighty five and issued on the eleventh day of June One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty Three unto Daniel Price there is granted by the said commonweatlh unto William Price, assignee of Daniel Price a certain tract or parcel of land containing thirteen acres by survey bearing the fifth day of December One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty Three lying and being and being [sic] in the County of Rockingham between the Peaked Mountain and the Shenado River and bounded as followeth To Wit; Beginning at a Hickory on a line of Peter Brenemans land and with the same south forty two degrees west twenty five poles to a pile of stones south seven degrees west two hundred poles passing a corner with another line to two white oaks, thence south sixty five degrees east six poles to a pine on aline of Daniel Sinks...

No further records of Peter Assum have yet to be uncovered...

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