JACOB FLURY (ca
1685–aft 1749) AND FAMILY, BALLY, (HEREFORD
TOWNSHIP), BERKS COUNTY,
The name of Jacob’s wife is unknown. Her
name may have been Schwartz and she may be a sister to Barbara, the
wife of Ulrich Beidler. Michael Swartz may be their brother. Abraham Flury and Michael Swartz were witnesses who
confirmed the age of Anna, daughter of Ulrich and Barbara Beidler at
the estate settlement of Ulrich Beidler in
in 1757. Anna was born in 1728 when all three
families lived in Berks
Swartz owned property adjoining the Beidler property in Hellam Twp.
In 1796 an Adam Schwartz of Reading Twp hired an attorney to
make a trip to Germany
to receive his portion of the estate of his deceased father John
Schwartz who lived at Florsheim in the Alsey district.
Florsheim is near the villages where Jacob and other members
of the Flury family lived. Just after Florsheim
is Oberflorsheim, where the Dietrich Schwartz family lived. He
had three daughters. Niederflorsheim
is near Florsheim and a Julius Cooper lived there in 1664.
He is probably a relative of Cornelius Cooper, son-in-law of
Jacob Flury. R. W. Davis has included other
Schwartz families in his books but not any of the above names or
these particular villages. I am not aware of
what names he has on his website (Emigrants, Refugees and Prisoners,
Vol. I-III). Research this area might be
The names of three of
Jacob's children are known.
Since large families were the norm, they may have had other
children, some of whom are still unidentified, and some who died in
childhood. If they had a son who died, he was
probably named Ulrich after Jacob’s father and grandfather.
CHILDREN OF JACOB FLURY
(1710-1777) and Susanna Neff (abt. 1717-1777).
Two of their children, Isaac (1739) and Jacob (1742) were born in
In 1741 Abraham
bought 250 acres of land from Quaker John Wright in what was then
Lancaster Co. but later became York
County. The family
did not move to York Co. until after Abraham took the oath of
allegiance in Philadelphia
on April 3, 1743.
The move must have been a relief for Susanna to be near her
parents and siblings as she was pregnant with their third child in
the spring of 1743. She and her two young boys
probably spent time with her parents and family in Manor Twp. when
Abraham went to Philadelphia
to take the oath and during the transition from
to Springettbury Manor and possibly during the birth of Barbara in
August 1743. Abraham and the Beidler brothers,
Ulrich, Peter and Christian, took the oath on the same day.
Ulrich and Peter owned property adjoining the property of
Abraham on the west side of the Susquehanna.
They must have been very busy in 1743 with construction and moving.
Susanna’s family lived just south of the towns of Donnervile
and Columbia in
The Neff properties were near Hwy 462 (Great
Road) that continued into
and ran along the front of the property of Abraham and Susanna in
Springettbury Manor (now Wrightsville,
PA). Visiting back and
forth would be easy except for one having to take Wrights Ferry
across the Susquehanna River.
Elisabetha (Annele) (died 1775). In a court
document in York
Jan 17 1759, Anna Elisabetha Cooper renounced her rights
to administer the estate of her husband Cornelius Cooper (deceased).
She chose Abraham Flury and Jacob Strickler as
administrators. While Abraham signed his named
twice on the document, Annele (nickname) signed an X by her name
which was listed as Anna Eliza on the signature line.
Excerpts of the 1759 Cooper
estate inventory are listed below:
Partial Listing: land, two bonds, a
still “and what belongs with it.” Some other
items were shoemaker tools, gun, clothing which included a great
coat and hat, household furnishings: (chest, bed, stove, books,
lamps, table cloths, iron kettle, woman’s ladle and fire tongs, pot
and ladle, earthen dishes, kitchen utensils, iron, a pair of
skillets and glass bottles) flax and yarn, bees wax, horse
creatures, cow and two heifers, hogs, wide variety of farming tools
and equipment, produce (clean oats, wheat, beans, onions, dried
apples and a capping knife, falon (?), Indian corn and winter
grain). Some other items were not readable.
Total English LBS: 132.4.7.
It is not known when Annele moved to Hellam Twp.
She was probably in her late twenties or early thirties in
1743 and may have already married Cornelius Cooper. After the death
of her husband Cornelius in 1758, Annele married a man named Reist.
His first name may be John. A John Reist is on the muster
rolls for York
County along with Abraham’s sons.
He is probably the son or step-son of Annele and a descendent
of Hans (John) Reist (b 6 Nov 1636) and Barbara Goots (Good) who
were exiled from Switzerland in 1671 (RWD).
Annele died in 1775 and is buried near the grave of her brother
Abraham in the Flury
3. Jacob II.
Official records for Berks
July 1 1752 when Berks
County was carved out of
A new township named Maxatawny was created.
Jacob is listed on the Philadelphia
County tax list for Jan –Jun 1752 and on
the Maxatawny Twp list, Berks
County for July-Dec 1752.
Maxatawny is on Hwy 222 (between Reading
and Allentown) and is
now in Reading
County. He owned no
land but was listed under the category of "Single Men."
Paying the tax gave him voting rights. No research has
been done in the area where he lived.
SOLVING A FAMILY
of information from Berks
County might solve a mystery.
Abraham and Susanna had a son named Lies who
died before 1777. Never able to find anyone in
any records named Lies, I thought the name had been
mistranslated from their German bible. An article “Churches in
listed the old Schwarzwald Reformed Cemetery. Among
the names were Louisa Lies and Amos Lies.
The old cemetery was dug up and a plaque was left in
It is not known
if this Schwarzwald cemetery has any connection to the Schwartz
family. It appears that Lies, the 13th
child of Abraham and Susanna who was born in 1763, may have been
named after a relative in Berks
County. This entire
area is an untapped resource. A trip to the archives and history
centers in the Berks and Reading
area might provide valuable information about Jacob II and other
members of the family.
HISTORY: WILLIAM PENN AND THE MENNONITE
English Quaker William Penn made the Mennonite emigration to
On a preaching tour in Holland
he came in contact with Mennonites in Rotterdam,
Amsterdam and other places.
Three years later he petitioned King Charles of
England for a grant of land in what
is now PA in payment of a large debt which the king had owed Penn’s
deceased father, Admiral William Penn. On
March 14, 1681 Penn received a royal charter granting him
40,000 square miles of land now called
agent published Dutch and German pamphlets advertising Penn’s offer.
It raised a great deal of enthusiasm among the German
Mennonites and other sects along both sides of the
Then in 1683 Penn granted 6,000 acres of land to Daniel
Pastorius, a Pietist of Frankfurt and to a group from
who were influenced by Jacob Telner, a Mennonite merchant.
He had visited America
and later became one of Penn’s agents. It is
estimated that forty Mennonite families came to
Philadelphia from 1683-1709 and these
families are listed by name and the place they came from in
Germany (Source: History of the
Mennonites of the Franconia Conference by J. C. Wenger, 1937).
THE PLACES WHERE THEY
LIVED AND ATTENDED CHURCH
The earliest data available of Mennonites holding worship
services in a church is in the History of Pennsburg.
It is in the extreme northeastern section of the “Manatant”
region, about three miles from Bally. In 1716
John Henry Sproegel, a Mennonite near present day Pottstown, donated
50 acres for a church to be built for use by a combination of the
congregations in the district (Mennonite, Calvinists, Lutheran).
Bally is the present day name of the town where the Hereford
Mennonite church was located. The general area
was called Butter
settlement was first called Gossenhoppen and later Churchville and
then Bally. It was given the name Churchville
after several churches located there:
(Mennonite, Reformed, Lutheran and Schwenkfelder).
When the residents applied for a post office in 1860, the
town was renamed for the presiding priest of the Catholic Church,
Augustin Bally (1837-1882). Bally is on Hwy 100
about half way between Pottstown and
Gossenhoppen was in Colebrookdale Twp until 1720.
The township was named Washington
from 1720-1836. It became Hereford Twp in 1869.
It was Philadelphia
June 30 1752 and became Berks
July 1 1752. Part of
is now in Reading
This congregation is one of the three oldest permanent
Mennonite settlements. The new church and
cemetery was built on the 121 acres of land owned by Ulrich Beidler
that he bought from Casper Wistar on
March 11 1729. The log church was
built in 1732 with George Bechtel as minister.
The Stauffer and Beidler families were the largest landholders.
(Source: History of the Hereford
Mennonite Congregation, Bally, PA, Amy Histand Gehman, 1936)
MAKING A LIVING IN
COLONIAL BERKS CO
Many of the early immigrants to
Germantown and to Hereford Twp were linen
weavers. Jacob must have been a weaver as
Abraham and his two oldest sons were weavers.
Abraham’s estate inventory revealed 71 yards of linen cloth, three
spinning wheels, two looms and five categories of flax.
They were not all
farmer and weavers. Quakers Thomas Rutter and
Thomas Potts began manufacturing iron ore in the “Manatant” region
in 1716. Small iron works were numerous in the
early days of Hereford Twp where plowshares, gun barrels, hardware
and cutlery were made by hand (Gehman)
AND FAMILY ARRIVED BY SHIP IN 1715
The above factual history lends credibility to the claim that
Abraham Flury came with his father Jacob and family in 1715 when he
was five years old. Most of the early associates
of Jacob and Abraham Flury were in Penn’s colony by 1716.
The ship probably arrived in September 1715 but not
necessarily in Philadelphia.
Dr. Fritz Baun (A Century of Emigration from the
New York, Boston
and Annapolis were some
of the ports used by early emigrants to PA. He
said they would have made their way to
Germantown and spent the winter there.
In the spring of 1716 they would have located their property,
applied for a warrant and received a survey.
Those owning land would then be listed on the 1717 tax list. The 1717
tax list for Chester
(now Lancaster Co) was preserved but the one for
Philadelphia (Berks) Co was not.
EARLY MENNONITES OF
HEREFORD TWP AND HEMPFIELD TWP
The Mennonites of Hereford Twp, Berks Co and Hempfield Twp
(earlier Manor Twp) Lancaster
CO probably came on the same ship in 1715 as
both groups were in their permanent locations by 1716.
There was a close relationship between the two groups that is
hard to explain otherwise. The Hempfield
Mennonites were mostly from the Mennonite settlement of
Ibersheimmerhof on the east side of the Rhine.
Jacob Flury and others were from Mennonite settlements on the
west side of the Rhine.
There was contact and inner-marriage between the two groups in PA
even though there was some distance between their two locations.
They attended churches that were in different Mennonite
conferences (Franconia and
Lancaster). John Furry, a
neighbor of Henry Neff in Hempfield Twp. had a survey of his property
conducted June 22 1716.
The 1717 tax list showed both Henry Neff and John Furry.
Those who went to Berks were there by 1716.
The following are some of the intermarriages:
Henry Strickler Sr. of Hempfield Twp,
married Susanna Stauffer of Hereford Twp,
Susanna Stauffer’s family owned property adjoining the
Ulrich Beidler property in
Anna Beidler, daughter of Ulrich Beidler, married
Henry Strickler Jr., son of Henry Strickler and
Susanna Stauffer of Hempfield Twp.
That also helps to explain how Abraham Flury of
and Susanna Neff of Lancaster
RELIGIOUS SECTS AND
INDIANS LIVING IN HARMONY
There is quite a contrast between religious life in
Europe in the 17th and 18th
century and life in colonial Philadelphia
(Berks) County in the late 17th century and the early 18th
century. In Europe the
authorities kept tight control over religious beliefs and practices.
Severe consequences resulted in disobeying the authorities. In
Europe there was not much interaction between the
various religious sects. (See German and Swiss
section for details). In Berks CO the various
sects cooperated and got along well. Other parts
of New England had witch hunts and gave
severe punishment for minor infractions. The
earliest settlers (Quakers, Dutch and Swiss) were all pacifists and
that might explain it.
There were 10 Indian tribes with 6,000 members in 1681 when
the English Quakers arrived. The Berks C0
settlers reported favorable relations with the Indians. This is due
in large part to Conrad Weiser (1696-1760), the settlers and the
local Delaware Indians. Conrad and his parents
landed in New York in
1710 and settled near Womelsdorf in Berks C0).
He learned the Indian language and became an interpreter.
He could communicate their beliefs in God (Great Spirit) to
others. When under the influence of liquors or
treated unfairly, the Indians became enraged, fought and acted
In 1742 a meeting of church leaders (Mennonites, Friends,
Lutherans, Moravians, German Baptists, Swenkfelders and Separatists)
was in progress when three Indians from the
Delaware tribe presented themselves for
baptism. Christian Henry Rauch baptized them in
Kaufman’s Creek. They were renamed Abraham,
Isaac and Jacob. They were said to have been
immediately filled with the spirit of God and very joyous (Gehman).
SEEKING RECORDS OF
JACOB FLURY IN GERMANTOWN
In 2000, I made email contact with a Mennonite who was in
charge of the early immigrant records in
Germantown going back to 1683.
He said he had seen the name Jacob Flury in the
Germantown files and offered to meet me in
Philadelphia if I would contact him at least
two weeks in advance. I was attending a meeting
in April in 2002. Three weeks before my
scheduled meeting, I tried to contact him by email.
His email address was no longer valid and all efforts to find
him failed. I had no address or telephone number
for him. While in
Philadelphia, I went to the
Germantown address. There
was one staff person and two volunteers who had nothing to do with
the historical records which were warehoused upstairs.
These old records filled two complete rooms and were kept in
file cabinets and in boxes stacked on shelves reaching to the
ceiling. That area was used only for scheduled
meetings and appointments had to be made in advance. She
could not remember the name of the man in charge and tried to find
his name and phone number in the files without success.
He lived outside Philadelphia
in a nearby town where he taught something.
BOOKS THAT LIST OTHERS
AS THE FATHER OF ABRAHAM
No one would question the name Jacob except for two published
books that incorrectly named the father of Abraham.
John Forrer//Forry/Furry is identified by John F. Murray in
the 1991 NEFF NAF FAMILY as being the father of Abraham Flury
based on circumstantial evidence. He surmised
that John Furry a neighbor of Henry Neff of Hempfield Twp, Lancaster
Co, father of Susanna must be the father of Abraham Flury.
The Furry and Neff family were neighbors in Hempfield Twp and
had been since about 1716. Henry Neff II,
(Susanna’s brother) was a witness to the John Furry will.
John Furry also had a son named Abraham.
John Furry bought land in Hellam Twp in
near Abraham and Susanna Flury. Mr. Murray
concluded that Abraham Flury was the son of John Furry.
The authors have since acknowledged the error.
The book is well written with pictures and illustrations that
portray the Naf/Neff family in
Walter Q. Bunderman (FL0RY, FLORA, FLEURY).
Mr. Bunderman made a mistake in identifying
Pierre as the father of Abraham Flury.
What should be remembered is that his books provided a wealth
of information about the family: names, birth dates, marriages,
courthouse land and estate records, militia records, etc.
This enables descendents today to access those same records
and obtain valuable information. I am grateful
to him as it has given me access to information I would not have
Unfortunately his book also misled descendents who were the
most interested in their family history. One
descendent spent years having genealogists search for Pierre Fleury
in the US
and in Europe without success. Some
have written their own genealogy based on Pierre Fleury and placed
it in archives and libraries. Others have heard of the controversy
and don’t have access to the out-of-print book.
They would like to know what the book said. For
their benefit, the following is provided.
1948 Walter Bunderman wrote a book about families that he believed
had Huguenot ancestry even though they were from
Germany. One of
those three immigrants was Pece/Perce Flewies (Pierre Fleury) who
arrived in 1732. Mr. Bunderman believed that
Abraham Flury who took an oath in 1743 was his son.
Mr. Bunderman would not accept it when the Flury family told
him Jacob was their earliest immigrant ancestor.
He dismissed it, saying they probably had him confused with Jacob
who was about five years old when he came with his parents to Rapho
Twp, Lancaster Co in 1733. Bunderman quote
(p. 9): “Many family
legends are disproved by legal records. For
instance, the York Florys thought their ancestor was Jacob, but the
courthouse records definitely proved it to be Abraham.”
Mr. Bunderman attributed the following statement to Mr. Frank
Flory: “Jacob Flory with his parents came to
America at the age of five years in
1715.” The statement above is not what was
distributed at family reunions. That statement
said “Abraham came to America
with his parents in 1715 at the age of five.”
Frank Flory (then age 79) had been the family historian for many
years. As stated before, Abraham’s old German
Bible said his father was Jacob.
The statements Mr. Bunderman made on pages 233-234 are also
incorrect. He offered the following “proof” that
Pierre was the father:
No other immigrant carried the Fleury name
through the ship lists and county records except Pierre Fleury.
Reply: A Pierre and Sarah Fleury baptized two sons at
Christ Church (Anglican) in Philadelphia in the 1730's. He was
most likely a Huguenot who fled to London and then came to
Philadelphia. I believe his sons were named Benjamin and Andrew.
This Pierre Fleury may have come to Philadelphia prior to 1727.
I do not believe that Pierre Fleury is the Perce Flewries who came
in 1732. A thorough search for Pierre Fleury and/or Pece or
Perce Flewries was made in Philadelphia County, Chester County,
Lancaster County and York County. Other than Pierre and Sarah
of the City of Philadelphia, no such individual was found. The
spelling of his name is more similar to Belgian and Dutch names.
The ships that came to Pennsylvania were from Rotterdam and their
operators spoke the low German dialect. Those in the middle of
Germany spoke middle German. The Swiss spoke the High German
dialect. The ship record is the most accurate for the name of
the incoming immigrant. The name on the Oath of Allegiance is how
the English official thought the name should be written on official
Pierre Fleury settled in
in 1738. Reply:
Pierre Fleury is not on any York
Abraham lived in Berks Co. until 1743.
Abraham was probably under 15 years of age in 1732 and that is why
he took the oath in 1743. Reply:
Abraham was age 22 in 1732.
April 3, 1743 was a special occasion for men who entered
the country before 1727 to take the oath so their children could
inherit their land.
Abraham’s first land grant in 1751 spelled the name Fleuree.
Reply: That is how
English officials wrote it, not Abraham.
Abraham’s grave marker spells the name Flury. Reply:
Flury is the Swiss spelling.
Susan Flory Kauffman (b. 1834) says the family is of Huguenot
origin. Reply: Susan
Flory Kauffman’s ancestors call themselves Mennonites: (a)
Genealogy and History of the Kauffman-Coffman Families of
North America 1584-1937 (Published in York
Co). Abraham Flury and Susanna Neff are also in
that book. Just after WW I and II no one wanted
to be German.
America loved their French allies.
Of the thousands of Florys in this family history only those
County use the spelling Flury, Fleurie,
Fluerrie, Fleury and Flory. On the basis of this
evidence, Abraham is considered the son of
Pierre in this book. Reply:
Abraham Flury and his children wrote their name
in Swiss German with an umlaut. No one in the
family ever used the Fleury spelling.