|THE C LINE||
JOSEPH FLORY--AN INTRODUCTION
|Much work has been done in recent years searching for answers to questions relating to Joseph's origin and to the full identity of his wife. The two essays below represent the latest that is known about Joseph in our attempts not only to locate his European roots but also to explore his religious heritage. The first essay, "Swiss Mennonites and the Hope Passenger List," discusses Swiss persecution of Anabaptists, their expulsion into Germany, and historical factors that influenced their migration into Germany. It reveals how after many generations the name of Joseph's wife, Anna Maria Bugh, was finally uncovered. Finally, it explores the backgrounds of other passengers on the Hope in an attempt to discover links to Joseph and his Mennonite heritage. The second essay, "Joseph Flory's Homeland," is a discussion of an extensive effort to link the American Joseph to a specific Joseph Fluri from Seehof and the Solterschwand in Switzerland, who was possibly of an Anabaptist family and whose four youngest children are tantalizing similar to Joseph's four eldest. While the link was not able to be established, we have learned much about Fluris of the Swiss Alps who had Mennonite connections. The second essay was written prior to the first and, therefore, does not contain all of the new information located therein.|
SWISS MENNONITES AND THE HOPE PASSENGER LIST
The story of the Swiss Mennonites and the journey of many to Germany and then to America is a long and complex one. This essay will attempt, therefore, to cover only the highlights.
Two major developments have recently come forth with respect to the
story of Joseph Flory and his wife, Mary: (1) strong evidence that when Joseph emigrated from Germany on the Hope in 1733 that he was part of a
contingent of Mennonite refugees, at least some of whom were from Zweibruecken, a
region near the source of the Saare River in the Duchy of Pfalz; and that many of these refugees,
wherever they were living in 1733, were born in Switzerland; and (2) reasonable certainty that the
full name of Joseph’s wife Mary, the subject of so much speculation, was
Anna Maria Bugh (Buch or possibly Pugh).
Before discussing the highlights of the Hope- Zweibruecken-Mennonite hypothesis, it might be helpful to give a brief outline of Swiss Mennonite history in the 17th and 18th centuries, focusing on their migrations and expulsions into Germany and then to America.
Mennonite/Anabaptist Activity in Switzerland in the 17th and Early 18th Centuries
The main cluster of Mennonite activity in Switzerland in the 17th century was in the Canton (or State) of Bern, with some significant spillover into Solothurn. During periods of Mennonite repression in Bern, some Anabaptists fled across the Alps into Solothurn into the towns of Baltsthal, Barschwil, Champoz, and Matzendorf. The parish of Matzendorf is particularly interesting as a number of individuals appear there in the period of 1650-1725 with the name "Joseph Fluri." The German counterpart of this name, "Joseph Flory," was unknown in Germany at this time. There was in the late 16th century and early 17th century Anabaptist activity involving people with the Fluri name in an area called Solterschwand in the Swiss Alps above the town of Aedermannsdorf, which was in the parish of Matzendorf. It is not known what connection, if any, these Fluri families had with Bern. Records involving various Fluris with Mennonite connections who were associated with the Solterschwand can be found in the second essay below.
While there were Anabaptist influences in various parts of the Canton of Bern, the heaviest concentration was in the Emmenthal Valley, including the towns of Sumiswald and Langnau.. The first three heads of families listed on the Hope ship list, Ulrich Wissler, Ulrich Reinhard, and Hans Crumbacher, all apparently were born in Sumiswald. All three may have been related. Another head of the first 13 families on the ship list was Ulrich Longnecker, who was born in Langnau. Hans Jacob Gerber (Garver, Kerwar, Tanner) who appears later on the list and who migrated to York County also seems to have had some associations with Sumiswald. There may have been others—we know too little at the moment about the origins of the majority of Hope passengers.
There seem to have been continuing links from the Emmenthal Valley across to the Canton of Solothurn. One of the Mennonite preachers from this era was Durst Aebi (Eby), who traveled throughout Mennonite strongholds in this region. His son later migrated to America. The Fluri-Hug report, which is partially included in the second essay below, indicates that a series of Anabaptist meetings was held as late as1732 in an area which extended from the Emmenthal Valley to Solterschwand in the Alps.
In response to the Mennonites, the authorities of Canton Bern established the Taufer Kammer, the Office of Anabaptist
Affairs, to crack down on Mennonite activity. Because of various
repressions and imprisonments of Mennonites by the Taufer Kammer
throughout the Cantons of Zurich and Bern, many Anabaptists (I am using
the terms "Mennonite" and "Anabaptist"
interchangeably) continued to flee to the Emmenthal Valley, where
sympathizers called Halb-Taufer (Halfway Anabaptists) attempted to
protect them. At one time the entire village of Sumiswald was sentenced to pay
authorities a heavy fine for hiding Mennonites in their homes.
Many Mennonites migrated to Alsace, which is in present day France. As you can see from the Hope "head of household" list below, several passengers seem to have had their family origins in Alsace, which may indicate that they were part of a Mennonite contingent that may have emigrated there during the second expulsion. Sainte-Marie-Aux-Mines (Markirch) in Alsace was where Jakob Ammann separated from the Mennonites to form the Amish. The situation in Alsace was complicated and interesting. After the THIRTY YEARS war between France and Germany, Alsace was ceded to France by the treaty of Westphalia on October 24, 1648, which insured religious freedom for its inhabitants. This was why it was an attractive area of refuge for fleeing Swiss Mennonites. However, the French king Louis XIV in 1712 was disturbed by the presence of the Anabaptists in the region, broke existing treaties, and ordered them expelled. Apparently part of Alsace was owned by the Duchy of Zweibruecken in the Palatinate in Germany, and some of the Mennonites were taken in there. Richard Davis believes that many if not most of the 27 Mennonite families living in Zweibruecken in 1732, may have come from Alsace during this period.
The Palatinate, however,
was the first and not the second destination for most of the Mennonites
fleeing Switzerland during the second expulsion. Most of the Mennonites
who came to Lancaster County in the eighteenth century were from the
Palatinate. There was a recorded Anabaptist presence there as early as the
this period of the second expulsion, Karl Ludwig, the elector of the Palatinate,
was in part responsible for opening up the way for Swiss Mennonites to occupy the territories under his control.. King Frederick
I of Prussia on July 5, 1710 tried to intercede with the State government
in Berne for the safety of the Swiss Mennonites, and he offered to
receive "these good people" and to aid them to make a new life. Some
Mennonites went to Baden, where many of their descendants can still be
Zweibruecken and the Identity of Joseph Flory's Wife,
To return to the Davis hypothesis
that the Hope was a ship carrying Mennonite families from Zweibruecken,
the following circumstantial evidence seems compelling. In the years 1731
and 1732, there were lists of the numbers of Mennonite families living in
the Pfalz that were sent to Mennonite leaders in Amsterdam in Holland. The
list for Zweibruecken for 1732 indicated that there were 27 Mennonite
families living in that town, although the list did not include the names
of heads of families so we are not certain as to who they all were. The report indicates that the Zweibruecken congregation was
made up of exiles from Alsace in 1713 who had been expelled by Louis XIV
as we have seen above. Many of these exiles were apparently born in Switzerland.
Again, unfortunately, individual family names are not given on this list, but we do know that the ministers were Hans
Grundtbacher, Hans Hieruli, and Christian Martin. The deacon was Christian Stouder.
Stouder's son, also named Christian, was baptized by the Church of
Brethren at Conestoga in America, where several of Joseph Flory's children
were also baptized. Christian was 17 at the time, indicating that for the
Brethren at least baptism took place at the "age of maturity,"
which was not necessarily 21.
Davis’s explanation is a simple one. Many women were following the Swiss tradition of going by their family names, not by their husbands' names. Ulrich Wissler, 36 (the first male name listed), for example, may have been married to Anna Ester (25) (the first female listed), Ulrich Reinhard (29) to Barbara Bechtel (29), Hans Grumbacher (26) to Barbara Reinhart (23), Hans Steinman (49) to Anna Grebel (48), Christian Stouter (45) to Elisabeth Schnebeli (44), etc. There may be one or two people out of place on this chart, but when daughter's names are factored in, the idea that the families were charted together, with two lists kept for the sexes, seems pretty clear. When the male in question was old enough to have daughters 16 years or older (some children under this age were listed separately), a corresponding "spouseless" woman was generally listed before those daughters, in the place where one would expect to find a mother’s name.
The name of Anna Maria Bugh appears just prior to the names of Mary
Flory (21) and Hanliey Flory (17) on the ship list (and in the same handwriting as that used to transcribe the names of the Flory
children). Her age of 40 is appropriate for that of the wife of Joseph (51). There is no male aboard the
Hope with the name of Bugh, so she was not traveling with a husband by that name. Moreover,
German women as well as men went by their middle names rather than their first
names. Anna Maria would have been called Maria, or Mary. She was Joseph’s wife. Flory researchers have been
searching for the missing Mary Flory for decades, and it appears that she was in full sight all
along. We just did not recognize her for what she was.
From Zweibruecken to Lancaster County in America and William Penn
The emigration of Mennonites to America after 1709 was occasioned by two factors: (1) the religious tolerance of German princes towards their Mennonite subjects was beginning to break down, and while conditions were not as serious for those Swiss Mennonites as they had been in in their former country, many began thinking about another home; (2) there were large tracts of land becoming available in Pennsylvania as the result of King Charles II of England giving William Penn, a Quaker, a charter to that colony in 1681. When Penn returned to Europe in 1684, he printed circulars and gave lecture tours to try to induce Swiss and Germans to settle in his new land. Some Palatines responded, but it was not until the events of the next 25 years reached their crisis point that large numbers of Palatines, including Mennonites, heard the call.
After the end of the Thirty Years War in 1648, the Protestant principalities of Germany encouraged Swiss Germans to migrate to their areas. Western Germany especially had become extremely depopulated because of the War and the subsequent scourge of disease. The Mennonites sought to be included in this general immigration to join the remnants of the Anabaptist movement then in place in Germany, and after some extensive effort on their part, those who had immigrated to the Palatine were granted some limited religious freedom from the Elector Charles Louis, despite opposition from the local Reformed Church. Their ability to worship was at first severely restricted, but finally on Aug. 4, 1664, they obtained permission to meet in groups of more than 20 as long as non-Mennonites were excluded from their gatherings. In return, they had to pay a tax of 6 guilders a year, which was later doubled.
The relationship between Mennonites and the German princes had its up and downs, but the situation remained relatively stable until the end of the 17th century and beginning of the 18th. Hostilities between France and Germany flared up again, however, and French forces attempted to use the Palatinate as a corridor to reach Holland. The Mennonites, who were pacifists, refused to fight for their adopted homeland, drawing the increased wrath of their German protectors. The relationship between the Mennonites and the Palatines continued to decline under the regime of Elector Charles Philip, 1716-42, who doubled their protection fees, limited their right to purchase land, and attempted to keep the number of Mennonite families in the Palatine under 200. By 1717, some 300 Palatine Mennonites were in Rotterdam, where they hoped to flee to Pennsylvania, where their right to worship would be unrestricted. In all of this, they received financial support from the Dutch Mennonites.
Pennsylvania had become important because of William Penn. As we have seen, he received a charter from Charles II of England for vast land holdings in that colony. As the persecutions of the Mennonites in Germany became worse, a Mennonite group approached Penn in 1707 about the possibility of settling in Lancaster County. Lutherans, who also wanted to escape the war, likewise sought Penn out seeking to relocate. Both groups met with favorable response, but so many Germans traveled down the Rhine to Holland in 1709 to sail to America, that the British government felt the need to intervene and send many of them back. A group of Mennonites in Rotterdam, however, held firm, and in late June of 1710, a small company set sail for America and Lancaster County on the ship Mary Hope. Included in the group were Martin Olberholtzer, Martin Kuendig, Christian Herr, Martin Meli, Hans Herr, and Jacob Mueller. This began a flood of Mennonite immigration that lasted until the second half of the 19th century. By 1732 alone, the year before the departure of the Hope, approximately 3,000 Mennonites from the Palatine had arrived in America.
Penn had divided the lower southeastern portion of his land into three distinct counties, Philadelphia, Bucks, and Chester. The Mennonite settlers chose Chester, in that area that was later to become part of Lancaster County when it was formed in 1729. Once in place, these settlers wrote back to their friends and relatives in Germany, urging them to come and join them. They decided to send their own recruiting agent, a post which Christian Herr declined because of advanced age. A younger Martin Kuendig took it up, and became so successful at it that he brought back with him a considerable number of immigrants in 1712 and was appointed as Penn's agent throughout all of the Palatine. He, more than any other man, was responsible for the German emigration from the Palatine. He sought out all groups, but obviously his heart was out for the Mennonites, and by 1718 there were 600 of the faith occupying 15,000 acres of land in Lancaster County.
This, then, was the basic situation in 1733 when Joseph Flory set sail with a group of Mennonites and Palatine Germans on the Hope. While we know little of Joseph, circumstantial evidence suggests that like many of his fellow travelers he was born in Switzerland and had been exiled to Germany, probably during the period of the second expulsion from 1709-1717. His wife's name, Anna Maria Bugh, appears to be German, suggesting that he married her in exile. His first four children were probably those that he had with another wife, presumably Swiss. The name of his second daughter, Anneli, a Swiss diminutive, indicates that this first hypothetical marriage may have taken place in Switzerland. While his exact hometown is not known, it may have been in the area from the Emmanthal Valley to Matzendorf Parish in the Canton of Solothurn. He may have been related to a Fluri Mennonite family in a mountain area called the Solterschwand in the Canton of Solothurn that goes back to an Arnold Fluri in the late 17th century (see second essay below). This family had lands confiscated and suffered imprisonment because of their steadfastness to their religious beliefs. Undoubtedly, Joseph had a fair idea in Germany where he was headed in America once he arrived here. He may have even purchased land before his journey. He probably had enough money to cover expenses himself, but he may have been aided by the contributions of Dutch Mennonites or by relatives over here. There is no evidence that he had necessarily settled in Zweibruecken in Germany after leaving Switzerland, but since at least four of his shipmates had come from that town, the possibility is there. And this is what we either know or can speculate about Joseph in Europe. Some of this speculation will undoubtedly be changed or altered as more facts become known.
JOSEPH FLORY'S HOMELaND
The search for the homeland of Joseph Flory,
who immigrated here with his family in 1733, had always been a fruitless
one for his descendants until recent research has opened up the
possibility that Joseph or his ancestors might have come from Switzerland,
specifically in or near the Canton of Solothurn. Walter Bunderman,
in his 1948 study of the Flory family, assumed that Joseph was from the
Palatine, since the ship list of the Hope, the vessel upon which Joseph
sailed here, seemed to indicate that the passengers were from this region
of Germany. However, no one was able to pick up even a trace of
Joseph in any city or town in the Palatine; moreover there was no known
record of him in any other region of Germany. What many today do not
realize is that the term "Palatine," although referring to a
specific part of Germany, tended to become used as a generic term for all
German immigrants of the first part of the 18th century. Moreover,
approximately 1/3 of these "German" immigrants were actually
Swiss. Germany ravaged by wars with France and by disease, was
severely under populated at the time. A number of Swiss from
Germanic areas of the country were invited to travel north, where they
quickly became acclimated to their new homes. When they emigrated from
Germany to America, they were generally regarded in their new homes as
"Germans," not Swiss.
The discovery of Joseph's possible
country of birth came
about indirectly as a result of the search for the homeland of the three
Flory brothers of the E line, who sailed here in 1754. Bunderman
assumed that the two Flory families were related; perhaps Joseph was an
uncle to the three brothers. The assumption was logical. There
was communication back and forth between families here and in Germany, and
the Flory name was rare enough so that kinship was a possibility. As
we searched for the German birthplace of the brothers, we kept this idea
in mind; indeed, several descendants of Joseph supported our researches in
the hope that the discovery of one family would lead to the discovery of
We were able to locate the origin of the brothers in
Birkenau, Germany, but even though we were able to construct a fairly
extensive genealogy of the family, there was no hint of Joseph, and it
looked as if Bunderman's premise was incorrect, at least in a specific
sense. But what we did learn about Florys in general was an enormous
help in redirecting our attention to the country of Switzerland, where
Joseph may have come. Bunderman assumed that Flory was a
French name and that Joseph's ancestors were Huguenots, who had fled the
country following the Massacre of St. Bartholomew on August 24, 1572.
But the ancestor of the Birkenau brothers, Hans Flori, who migrated
to Germany prior to 1650, was Swiss, not French. Moreover,
as research continued into other Flory families in America and Germany,
their source was Swiss also. Abraham Flory, founder of the
B-Line, came from in Switzerland (in his case, Haegendorf, Canton
Solothurn), as did the Floris of Harthausen in Germany.
Flori families in St. Ilgen also appear to have Swiss roots. It
became increasingly clear, then, that whatever similarities there were
between the names "Flory" and "Fleury," that the
immediate source of the Flory name was probably Switzerland, not France,
and that it would be fruitful to look for Joseph's origins in that
country. There was another issue. Joseph's ancestors
could have been Swiss, but was Joseph actually Swiss born himself?
THE NAME OF JOSEPH While
there are very few clues as to Joseph's continental origins, there are
some. One of the more obvious is the name of what was presumably his
first born son, that of Joseph. Bunderman assumed that the son was
named after the father, but this does not necessarily fit German naming
patterns. Germans of the period tended to name their
first-born sons after their own fathers, not themselves. The
fact that Joseph gave the name of Joseph to his son is a possible
indication that his father might have been a Joseph also. Certain
names tend to run in families, and the possibility was also strong that
Joseph may have come from an extended group in which the name of Joseph
Flory may have been common, whether or not his own father bore that name.
I did look through the International Genealogical Index of the Church of
Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints to see if the name of Joseph Flory
was to be found anywhere in Germany at the end of the 17th century or
beginning of the 18th century. I wasn't necessarily hoping to find
Joseph (the records of the IGI are not all that complete), but if I could
find a Joseph somewhere, it might have been possible to find his
corresponding family. Alas, there were no records in the Index
of any Joseph Florys anywhere in Germany during this period.
Where there was a record of a substantial
number of Joseph Florys, however, was in the Kirchenbuch of the village of
Matzendorf in the Canton (state) of Solothurn in the northwest and German
speaking portion of Switzerland, within the Jura Mountains. The
Kirchenbuch covers not only Matzendorf, but also the neighboring villages
of Herbetswil and Aedermannsdorf, which did not have their own separate
parishes until late in the 18th century. The name of Joseph Flory
(in the form of "Fluri") first appears in the records in about
1650, but becomes extremely common quickly thereafter. Between 1671
and 1690, the parameters surrounding Joseph's assumed birth date of 1681
or 1682, there were no fewer than 13 Josephs born in the area including a
Joseph born to Peter Fluri and Anna Christ in 1678, another to Claus Fluri
and Maria Stampfli in 1681, another to Joggi (familiar name of Jacob) and
Maria Fluri (whose family name, like that of her husband’s, apparently
was “Fluri.”) in 1681, another to Johannes Fluri and Anna Meister in
1682, and one born in 1684 to Johannes and Maria Fluri. The name continues
to be popular into the first part of the 18th century, at a time when the
American Joseph had a son by that name. The only problem with this
plethora of Josephs is that it is virtually impossible to distinguish the
records of one Joseph from another. I am told that the Fluris of the
area cannot compute their own family histories from the Kirchenbuch alone
and have to resort to civil records to find links. At any rate, the
area seemed to be extremely promising, the only difficulty being that
their were too many possibilities and that without additional information
it was difficult to link any children born later to any specific Joseph.
The search was put aside for the moment when the
Flory/Flora/Florey/Flori/Florea Website project was started.
What we needed to return to the search was
some sort of break, and we needed information to link one of these Josephs
(if indeed one of these Josephs was the one whom we sought) to the profile
that we had on the American Joseph. This profile involved the fact
that the 1733 immigrant may have come over here for religious reasons
rather than to earn his fortune--he was at least 51 and had some money (he
paid for a minimum of 6 ship passages on the Hope, not an inconsiderable
amount, and he seems to have left a decent sized estate after being here
but a few short years). Thus his reasons for emigration were
probably not economic. Joseph may have been Mennonite/Anabaptist, for he moved to a
section of Pennsylvania where there was extensive Mennonite/Anabaptist activity, and
some of his children were baptized at the Conestoga Congregation, a known
"Dunker" or Anabaptist church. Immigrants did not move
into areas by accident. He was probably also a farmer, not a
merchant or craftsman, since he started a farm almost immediately upon his
arrival to this country. He brought with him at least 4 children according
to the ship list (Mary, 21, Joseph, 19, Hanliey, 17, and John, 15) in
addition to a wife, so the
Joseph we were looking for needed to have children who could have been
about that age in 1733. Of course, if Joseph were Anabaptist, the
likelihood of finding baptismal records would be difficult, since
Anabaptists did not believe in infant baptism, and hence no records of his
children's births might be extant. Walter Bunderman also speculated
on the basis of other records that Joseph might have brought with him on
ship two younger children, Jacob and
Barbara. He also suggested that Joseph's wife had another child named
Katherine on the passage over here, and gave birth to a final child,
Abraham, after the couple had settled in Lancaster County in Pennsylvania.
THE SEARCH FOCUSES ON THE SWISS PARISH OF MATZENDORF
A possible break in our
search came when I received an email from Anton Fluri,
a present-day resident of Matzendorf, who was responding to the website
and the questions that were raised about Joseph's possible origin in that
area. Mr. Fluri, who is interested in local history, pointed out the
following for my information:
(1) The Fluri (or Flury) name has a long
history in Switzerland, especially in the Canton of Solothurn. The Swiss
“Familiennamenbuch” lists 23 towns or villages where Fluris (or Flurys)
are known as citizens prior to the beginning of the nineteenth century.
Records from the Matzendorf parish indicate the presence of a Fluri in
Herbetswil at least as early as 1508 and that several Fluris were living
in the village of Matzendorf itself in 1515. So there were Fluris in
the area long before the Huguenots were massacred in France.
(2) Many of these “Fluri villages” (including,
Matzendorf, Aedermannsdorf and Herbetswil) are surrounded by the Jura
mountains, which contain farms known as “Sennhoefe” that are cared for
by alpine farmers known as "Senn." These alpine farms are
far away from the villages, and some of them even today have but narrow
and simple paths to the "outside world." In the winter,
they are often isolated for weeks. These farmers generally had far
more communication with each other than with people in the villagers, and
they often traveled great distances in the mountains to interact with one
another and, at times, to intermarry. Their lifestyle differed from
that of the villagers, and many practiced a different sort of
religion. Some of them became Taufers, a type of Anabaptist.
It appears that some of these Taufers stayed nominally Catholic and
participated to a degree in at least a portion of the big events of
village church life such as marriage, baptism, and funerals. Economically,
a Senn was generally better situated than an ordinary farmer or laborer
(3) There is a record of an Arnold Fluri who, prior to
1602, owned an alpine farm in the region called Solterschwang.
Solterschwang is technically part of the village of Aedermannsdorf,
although it is in the hills above it, near the bishop's territory.
And here is where the story becomes particularly interesting. There
are records of Arnold's having received several
"punishments" from officials in Solothurn and also from
the district governor in Delsberg (Delemont today, the capital of the
Canton Jura) for Anabaptist activity. Arnold
also had a son named Hans, who was forced to leave the territory in 1603
(or 1608--the records are unclear) because of the fact that he "was
inclined towards Anabaptism." Hans fled
towards the Bishop's Territory (the Canton of Berne) before he could be captured by the
officials of the Canton of Solothurn In 1602, Arnold's
grandchildren wanted the right to settle in the area as it was "their
grandfather's will," so apparently they had not left the region with
There are other indications in local records
that this family continued to have difficulty with local authorities
because of their Anabaptist tendencies. In 1622, 10-15 local
Anabaptists were put in prison for their beliefs. Included
among the group were Hans Fluri and Joggi (Jacob) or Joerg Kummer from
the Solterschwang. According to Anton Fluri who has
consulted an expert on early Anabaptism in the region, a phrase in the
records ("Der halsstarrige Wiedertaufer Fluri soll gefangen
bleiben, aufpassen dass er nicht entrinnt") indicates that Hans
Fluri was a bedrock Anabaptist. Furthermore, the Matzendorf
Kirchenbuch (church book) notes that on September 7, 1633 that Barbara
Fluri from Solterschwang "died without sacraments, to the guilt of
her husband." This condemnation does not conclusively prove
that the Fluris of the alpine region were still Anabaptist, but it is
(4) The next known record of a Fluri in Solterschwang
is that of a Joseph Fluri, who, with his wife, Catharina Fluri, baptized
at least two children at the parish church in Matzendorf, a Joseph Fluri
on March 15, 1711 and an Urs Johann on October 3, 1716. In my own
research, I have found at least four other Fluri couples with a husband
named Joseph and a wife named Catharina who have children during the same
period, but this particular Joseph is the only one designated in the local
Kirchenbuch as having come from Solterschwang. One other note--church
records of the time generally listed a woman by her maiden name, even if
she was married. The fact that Joseph's wife is listed several times
as "Fluri" is a strong indication that a Fluri married a Fluri.
(5) There do not seem at this point to be any
records of Joseph in the area after 1716, but another Fluri appears on the
records in 1732. A Franz Fluri is listed as having three children,
Maria Elizabeth on July 30, 1732, a Johann Jacob on October 23, 1733 and
an Anna Theresa on March 2, 1736. His wife's name was Anna Habegger.
Franz Fluri appears to be from Wiler (Envelier), a part of the community
of Vermes (French speaking) in the Canton of Jura, which was at one time
part of the Canton of Berne. Vermes,
incidentally, is an area known for a number of families with the name “Fleury,”
but there are indications that some “Fluris” in Wiler (Envelier)
changed their name to “Fleury” around the year 1650. It is unclear as
to what connection, if any, there was between Joseph (or Catherine) and
Franz, who appear to be about a generation apart in age. If Franz
occupied Joseph's property, and there is no indication that this is the
case, it would be a strong argument for the fact that Joseph had left the
area in plenty of time to board the Hope in 1733. Again, however,
the connection between the two is not clear.
REFLECTIONS ON ANTON FLURI'S INFORMATION
My immediate thought was that the Solterschwang Joseph could be our Joseph
who came to America in 1733 and founded the C-line. The
similarities were very intriguing. Both were farmers in probably
relatively good financial circumstances (the Swiss Joseph is
identified in church records as a Senn or farmer); both were
associated in one way or another with Anabaptists (The Swiss
Joseph may have had at least three Anabaptist ancestors, two of whom were
punished for their beliefs--at least he came from a region in which
Anabaptists had been active--and the American Joseph, who may have been
Anabaptist himself, had several children who were baptized at the
Conestoga Congregation in Pennsylvania and were affiliated with the
Dunkers, an Anabaptist type church); and both had children named
Joseph and John, who were born in the same sequence approximately the same
number of years apart. Where they differed was that Swiss
children were two to three years older than their American counterparts as
indicated by the ship lists of the Hope. Also the Swiss Joseph had a
wife named Catharina, not Mary, who was the surviving widow of the
The latter difference should not be troublesome. The only two references to the American Joseph's wife, Mary, were on the "A" passenger list of the Ship Hope in 1733, where she is listed under her maiden name of Anna Maria Bugh (Pugh), and in the property inventory taken after Joseph's death in 1741. If Bunderman is right in assuming that this Mary was the mother of a Jacob 1727, a Barbara in 1732, a Catharina in 1733, and an Abraham in 1735, she would have had to have been younger woman than Joseph's original wife. Basically Joseph first had a group of four children, all born about two years apart, did not have a child again until 9 years later, and then had a second grouping of four children in the space of 8 years. This is likely the pattern of a man having more than one wife. Moreover, this second wife would probably have been a younger wife than the first--one who was likely to have a number of children in a relatively short period of time.
The second problem was that the Swiss Joseph's
sons were about two to three years older than their American counterparts.
At this point, though, this was a minor stumbling block, just as long as
the Swiss counterparts to the other Florys on board the Hope (Mary and
Hanliey) were also consistently two years or so older than ship records
indicated. Additionally, one might wonder how the name of the Swiss
"Urs Johann" got transformed into simply "John."
Keep in mind, however, that if a German of the period was given a
middle name, he went by that middle name for the remainder of his life,
not by his first name. He signed all legal
documents, including wills, with his middle name, not his first name.
Even marriage records would sometimes drop the full name in favor of a
middle name. Urs is a common Swiss name of the time coming from the Latin
Ursus or "Bear." At any rate, the name Urs Johann would
have quickly become Johann or John.
CHECKING THE MATZENDORF KIRCHENBUCH FOR
PROOF A close examination of the Matzendorf church records
proved that Anton Fluri's information was correct, that a Joseph and
Catherina Fluri from the Solterschwand did have a child named Joseph born
on March 15, 1711 and another named Urs Johann on October 3, 1716 as
photocopies of those records illustrated below indicate:
POSSIBLE COUNTERPART TO HANLIEY While the records for John
and Joseph were encouraging and suggestive, more proof would have been
helpful. I went through the baptismal records to see if I could find
any more of Joseph's children, preferably Hanliey, who was born
approximately equidistant from Joseph the younger and John. Two
considerations here. One is that the name of Hanliey is unknown in
Germany and Switzerland and has never appeared there before or since.
A genealogist in Germany, Sabine Schleichert, who was of enormous help in
tracking down the three brothers from Birkenau and the E line, suggested
to us at one time that "Hanliey" was probably a Swiss
diminutive for "Anna" or "Anneli." Since
Joseph did not enter the name himself on the ship list, the spelling of
the name was probably confusing to the recorder, who may have been English
and who may have been unfamiliar with the nickname. At any rate, if
the two Josephs were one in the same, I should have been able to find the
name of "Anna" or some version of "Hanliey" in the
Matzendorf baptismal records. Moreover, to be consistent with the
fact that Joseph and John were born about two years earlier than the
Hope's records indicated, this "Anna" should be found in the
entries for the Kirchenbuch around 1713 or 14, not 1716 as Bunderman
When I checked the Kirchenbuch, this is
precisely what I found, an entry for August 10, 1713 that suggested
that a child whose name might have been Anna Fluri had been born to Joseph
and Catherine Fluri of Solterschwand. The entry fell precisely
where it should have fallen. We now had three children
who were exact counterparts between the two Josephs.
The Third Child:
ANNA (?) OR HANLIEY
I did look in the Kirchenbuch for
names of other children who might have been baptized to Joseph and
Catherine, particularly that of Mary, the fourth child of Joseph
(possibly not his child but a second wife) who was on the Hope. I did not
find any more names of baptized children to the couple, but under the year
1715 Joseph and Catherine did have another child named Catharina, who was
confirmed. And it was this entry that gave a plausible explanation
for the missing name of Mary.
Catholic Church rules mandate that a child not
be confirmed until he or she "reaches" the age of reason."
What this "age of reason" is can differ from parish to parish,
but generally a child is not confirmed until he or she reaches at least
the age of seven. The confirmation ceremony is generally not
performed by the parish priest who did the initial baptism. In
Matzendorf, it appears to have been a very special ceremony, perhaps
conducted by the bishop himself. Local records indicate that mass
confirmations were held in 1695, 1708, 1715, 1730, and 1739.
Families who had multiple children reach the age of reason in those
intervening years between ceremonies, brought them all to the church to
the next large public ceremony to have them confirmed.
If Catharina were at least seven in 1715, her
parents would have had to have been married around 1708 or before.
No marriage records exist in the Matzendorf Kirchenbuch for this
particular Joseph and Catherine Fluri from any date, however. That,
and a lack of a baptismal note for Catharina, suggests that Joseph and
Catharina might have been out of the area when they were married and had
their first children. Thus lack of a baptismal record for Mary is
not a problem if we are trying to tie in the two Josephs. Moreover, the
fact that Catharina did not accompany her parents to America is not much
of a problem either. At a minimum, she would have been 25 in 1733,
and, therefore, perhaps married with a family of her own.
catharina's confirmation record
One additional note before we move on.
Joseph and Catharina's three other children, Joseph, Anna?, and John,
do not appear in the records of the ceremony of 1730. There are a
number of reasons, obviously, why this might have been so. However,
one possibility is that the family had left the area. Since no
known death record has as yet been discovered for Joseph in the Matzendorf
church records, it was not unreasonable to assume that Joseph had
begun the journey that would take him to America sometime between the
birth of his last child in Solterschwang in 1716 and the confirmation
event of 1730, a date where we might expect to find some record of him if
he had not moved on.
The next question was if Joseph of America is Joseph, the alpine farmer
descended from Anabaptist ancestors in Solterschwang, who were his
parents? As we have seen, at least four Joseph Fluris were born in
the region about the same time as Joseph the Senn, and there is very
little in the church records to directly link any adult Joseph to his
parents. There was also the possibility that Joseph's father might have
been living temporarily outside of the parish of
Matzendorf when Joseph was born and baptized. Alternatively, the
father could himself have been born and lived most, if not all, of his
life in one of the other villages in the Canton Solothurn where Fluris
were known. Another
possibility was that Joseph’s father was Anabaptist himself, not
allowing the baptismal rite to be performed on his son, even though it
might have been dangerous for him to not give the appearance of at least
being outwardly Catholic. So,
the question of who were the parents of Joseph of Solterschwang could not
be answered at this point.
WE EMPLOY A
Because local records were not accessible to us, we followed Anton Fluri's
suggestion and employed the services of Werner Hug, a local historian,
whom Mr. Fluri had obtained for us. His fees were paid for by a
coalition of volunteers, including Leslie Flory, William Flory, John
Marcinkowski, Brian Flora, Betty Naff Mitchell, Richard Gethmann, William
Lucas, Michael Barnhart, David Blocher, Merikay Mestad, Jane Belmont, and
myself. Mr. Hug was charged to find out in the “Archive of the
Canton of Solothurn” anything additional that he could about Senn
Joseph and his wife, Catherine, as well as to obtain information about the
Solterschwang (d) farm and Anabaptist activity in the region. When Mr. Hug
completed his research, his data was summarized and analyzed for us by Mr.
Fluri. While the results did not link Senn Joseph directly with the
American Joseph--in fact, Anton Fluri has concluded that they were not the
same person--the information that Mr. Hug uncovered is invaluable for any
search for Flory or Fluri ancestors in Switzerland, particularly for those
with possible Anabaptist antecedents. In the interests of future
research, that material is summarized below.
GEOGRAPHY OF THE REGION
researcher into Swiss Flory families needs to know a little about the
geography of the region as well as the different ethnic divisions of the
towns. The information below is essential to understand the following
discussion about Senn Joseph.
Canton or State of Solothurn, which is home to the parish of Matzendorf (which includes Matzendorf,
Herbetswil, and Aedermannsdorf [where the two farms that comprise the
Solterschwand are located]), is located entirely within the German
speaking part of Switzerland.
nearby Canton of Jura and the northern part of the Canton Berne
are in the French speaking part of Switzerland. One
exception to this is the small community of Seehof (Elay), which
even today is primarily German speaking, but is part of the French
speaking district called Moutier (Munster).
Canton of Jura was part of the Canton of Berne until 1978.
the northern part of the Canton of Berne (including what is today
the Canton of Jura) belonged until 1815 to the so-called "Bishop's
Territory" after the Bishop of Basel. The earlier records that
were alluded to above about Hans Fluri, son of Arnold Fluri, having to
"flee to the Bishop's Territory" because of Anabaptist activity
means that he went somewhere in the Canton of Berne.
JOSEPH AND CATHERINE FLURI
While the Kirchenbuch of the parish of Matzendorf was unable to tell us
anything more about Senn Joseph and his wife, Catherine, Werner Hug was
able to access the corresponding church book from the parish of Vermes
that dates from 1661-1742. Vermes is in the "Bishop's Territory"
in that area that is part of the present day Canton of Jura. These
records included more information about Joseph, including his original
marriage date and the baptismal dates of previous children who were
conceived prior to Joseph's apparent relocation to the Solterschwand.
The marriage record is as follows:
1696--Josephus Flury ex Sehoff et Catharina filia Andrea Flury ex Viller.
Anton Fluri, these means that Joseph originally came from Seehof in the
Canton of Berne and that his wife, Catherine, was the daughter of Andrea
Flury from Wiler (Envelier in the area of Vermes). Catherine, by the
way, was born on December 12, 1674. Her mother's name was Aloysia.
The baptismal records for the Vermes parish indicate the following
children for Joseph and Catherine Flury (which is how the name Fluri is spelled in the local church records):
Anna Maria Catherina
Joseph (perhaps died in infancy)
Joseph (this is the same date in which Senn Joseph had his son baptized
also in the Matzendorf parish. For some reason, the event is
recorded in two church books. It is fortunate that this occurred,
because it is a definite link between the Joseph of Seehof and the Joseph
of Solterschwand, the original subject of our search). Remember, the
Matzendorf parish records indicate that Joseph of Solterschwand and
his wife Catherine had the following children baptized:
Joseph (presumable the same Joseph as 5.)
Unnamed girl child, perhaps Anna
Urs Johann (would have been referred to as Johann or John.)
WHEN AND WHERE
WAS SENN JOSEPH BORN ?
It seems reasonable to conclude that Senn Joseph was born somewhere in the
Vermes parish, but the baptismal records do not identify any child
named Joseph of the period as having specifically been born in Seehof.
Remember, Senn Joseph's marriage record indicates that he came from
Seehof. At any rate, the Vermes church book does list baptismal
records for the following Josephs from the area for the period in question
who might have been Senn Joseph. There is no definite link,
unfortunately, between any of the Josephs listed below and Senn Joseph.
This is not to say that Senn Joseph was not one of the Josephs listed
below. He may very well have been. But we cannot prove this to be
Josephus Fluri (Wiler/Envelier)
Josephus Fluri (Wiler/Envelier)
Josephus Fluri (Solterschwand)
Josephus Fluri (Wiler/Envelier)
Josephus Fluri (Montsevelier)
Josephus Fluri (Vermes)
The original parish records from Matzendorf in the Canton of Solothurn
where references to Senn Joseph and his wife, Catharine, were originally
uncovered, do not contain any known references to this family after 1716,
as we have seen. However, since this family was also connected with
the area around Vermes in the Canton of Jura, as Mr. Hug's research had
uncovered, it seemed appropriate to look at the death records in that area
also. Below is a chart listing all known death records of either a
Joseph or a Catharina Fluri from Vermes. While there were a number
of individuals with the name of either Joseph or Catharine Fluri who died
in the Vermes parish during this period, "no obvious link," in
Anton Fluri's words, "can be made to the couple 'Josef and Catharina
Fluri,' we are looking for." If this is the case, these
additional records may also suggest that Joseph and his family may have
left the area sometime after 1716. Whether that eventually culminated in a
migration to America, of course, cannot be determined from these records.
One of our concerns was with Anabaptists in the region. As we have
seen, there were several Fluris from Solterschwand who had been punished
by authorities in Solothurn for their Anabaptist activities. A Hans
Fluri in 1608 escaped to the French speaking "Bishop's
Territory" (the Canton of Jura/Berne) to escape punishment.
Senn Joseph came from Seehof, a German speaking community within that
Bishop's Territory, prior to his location at the Solterschwand. The
questions that we wanted to know included: (1) were there any additional
records involving Fluri families and Anabaptism after 1622; and (2) was
there still Anabaptist activity in the region.
As the chart below indicates, there are no known civil records connecting
any Fluri with Anabaptism after 1622. However, the records also
indicate that around 1731 that there were Anabaptist meetings in
the area and that at least one of these meetings occurred on the
Solterschwand. The records indicate that most of the 1731
Anabaptists came originally from the Emmenthal –region (in the southern
part of the Canton of Berne). We have no record of Senn Joseph living on
the Solterschwand during this time. However, the Solterschwand
consisted basically of two farms. If he was still living in the area
(and we don't know that he was), he certainly would have been exposed to
Anabaptist influences. One might speculate (and this has to be
considered speculation) that the meeting of 1731 was the incentive for him
to leave for America. Moreover, if there had been at least one
meeting in 1731 on the Solterschwand, there most likely would at the
minimum some previous Anabaptist influences in the Solterschwand.
Joseph could have left the Solterschwand prior to 1731 and still have been
exposed to Anabaptism. He was nominally a good Catholic, having
gotten married in a Catholic church and having had his children baptized
as Catholic. However, as we have seen, Alpine farmers who were
affected by the Taufer movement, often retained ties to the Catholic
church. At any rate, the following chart is the result of Mr. Hug's
research of Anabaptism in the area. The translation is Anton Fluri's:
SENN JOSEPH A PROSPEROUS FARMER?
One other area that Werner Hug researched was that of the ownership of the
farms on the Solterschwand. If Senn Joseph sailed to America with at
least four family members, and perhaps three others, he needed to have
enough wealth to purchase their passages, a not inconsiderable sum.
Mr. Hug's researches indicated that in Solterschwand the population could
consist of either owners of these farms, tenants who rented
these farms, and, perhaps, workers or servants on these farms. If
Joseph fell into the first two of these categories, he conceivably could
have enough property to have afforded the trip. If he fell into the
third category, he would not. It is here that the records are
unclear. They do indicate that from around 1600 to at least 1642
that Arnold Fluri and his descendants owned the Solterschwang. In
1728, the sons of Arnold Schmid sold a farm or farms to the family
Vesperleder. There are no known records of any owners or renters from the
period 1642 to 1728, although it is likely that the Schmid family owned
property there prior to 1728.
There are, then, no known civil records then that cover the period from
1711 to 1716 when Senn Joseph was known to have lived on the
Solterschwang. Because of this, we don't know whether Joseph was an
owner of land, a renter of land, or a servant. However, it appears
likely that he was one of the first two categories, because the church
records of Matzendorf refer to him as "Senn," a term that would
not in all likelihood be applied to a servant.
We don't know if the Solterschwand continued to stay in the hands of the
Fluri family long after 1642. It could have, or it could have been
sold. We don't know either if Senn Joseph either owned any of the
lands or whether he was a descendant of the original Fluri owners.
Keep in mind, however, is that at least one of the original Fluris, Hans
Fluri, had to leave the Canton of Solothurn because he was an Anabaptist.
He fled towards the Bishop's Territory in the Canton of Berne, a largely
French-speaking region. There is a village, though, in this area
called Seehof that was German speaking. Although we don't know the
village to which this early Fluri fled, it does seem plausible that he
would go to a German speaking area, which would have been Seehof, close by
his family and friends, but out of the jurisdiction of the Solothurn
authorities. Senn Joseph came from Seehof. We do not know who
his parents were, but his father could very well have been a descendant of
the fugitive Fluri.
SENN JOSEPH AND THE AMERICAN JOSEPH THE SAME PERSON ?
Apart from problems dealing with the corresponding ages of the two Josephs
and their families, which I will deal with shortly, the facts uncovered by
Mr. Hug reveal some tantalizing similarities. To review:
While the above records are not as complete as we would like to have had
them, they do suggest a profile of the Senn Joseph that is both consistent
with and complementary to what we know of the American Joseph. The
Swiss Joseph lived in a region of active Anabaptist activity that
enveloped his presence there, and he may have had Fluri ancestors who were
both imprisoned and exiled for their strong Anabaptist beliefs.
It is not until we get into the area of Senn Joseph's family and their
correspondences to the family of the American Joseph that problems occur.
Even here, the similarities are tantalizing.
However, now the problems arise.
Based in part on the overall discrepancy in ages between the two sets of
families, Anton Fluri has concluded that the two Josephs are not the same
person, although he does suggest that based upon the popularity of similar
names in the region, "there is a good chance . . . to find the roots
of the five Hope passengers somewhere else in the northwest of
Switzerland." I would have to agree that despite uncanny
similarities between the two Josephs, they are not the same.
However, my conclusion rests upon the accuracy of the records of the Hope.
If those records are inaccurate, then the question remains an open one.
And these records were not necessarily accurate. Spelling of names on
these lists has always been a problem. One genealogist of the Sumi
family, a Mennonite group that came over her in the same year as did
Joseph, 1733, although on a different ship (Richard and Elizabeth) notes
that of the three family members whose ages are known to have been
recorded elsewhere, there are inaccuracies to each one. A daughter,
Maria, is listed as being 24, but she was 27 at the time, and a son,
Johannes, was listed as 5, but he was actually 10. Even on the Hope,
records were not always accurate. A Jacob Ruhlman is listed as 35, but he
was baptized Feb. 5, 1696.
And these records were not necessarily accurate. Spelling of names on these lists has always been a problem. One genealogist of the Sumi family, a Mennonite group that came over her in the same year as did Joseph, 1733, although on a different ship (Richard and Elizabeth) notes that of the three family members whose ages are known to have been recorded elsewhere, there are inaccuracies to each one. A daughter, Maria, is listed as being 24, but she was 27 at the time, and a son, Johannes, was listed as 5, but he was actually 10. Even on the Hope, records were not always accurate. A Jacob Ruhlman is listed as 35, but he was baptized Feb. 5, 1696.
Still, unless we find definite evidence to
the contrary, however, we have to accept the Hope list at face value. If that
is the case, it is unlikely that the two Josephs are the same person.
Up to now all research activities relating to Senn Josef Fluri have taken place only in the “Staatsarchiv of the Canton Solothurn.” To find any additional civil records about Josef and Catharina Fluri (including records about their parents and children), however, other archives must also be taken into consideration, especially the “old bishops archive” in Porrentruy (JU) or the “Staatsarchiv of the Canton Berne.” More generally we should continue to look for Joseph's homeland in other areas to the Northwest of Switzerland (the Canton Solothurn, the northern part of Canton Berne, Canton Jura). But while this research should be on going, we should not entirely abandon Senn Joseph. He is too close to the American Joseph to dismiss entirely. Moreover, a study of his life could give us valuable clues to the other Joseph.
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