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Ahlbach and Albaugh Ancestors in Germany and America

Eichenberg/Eichenburg Eikenberry/Eikenbary Albaugh/Albach Groff
Naas Landis/Landes

Albaugh/Ahlbach Ancestors of George Monroe Eikenberry

George Monroe Eikenberry’s grandparents were Samuel and Mary Albaugh Eikenbary. Samuel’s sister, Elizabeth, married John Zachariah Albaugh, brother of Mary. The ancestor of Mary and John was Zachariah Albaugh who came to America on the ship Hope Galley in 1734.

The immigrant Zachariah Albaugh was the son of Anthonius (Thonges) Ahlbach, born in Ahlbach, Rhineland, Germany. He married Anna Margaretha Schneider in Flammersfeld, Germany, on March 31, 1688. Anthonius was the son of Hans Theis and Anna Margaretha Ahlbach of Flammersfeld. Hans Theis was possibly the son of Adam and Agnes Ahlbach of Ahlbach. This descent from Adam and Agnes has not been proven and may be suspect since names "Adam" and "Agnes" have not been found among the descendants of Hans Theis Albach. According to Ahlbach church records, Adam Ahlbach was born April 1, 1633, and died June 3, 1715, in Ahlbach. Ahlbach, even today is a very small community and the location and age of Adam Ahlbach make him a prime candidate to be parent of Hans Theis. Some current researchers claim a Swiss origin for the parents of Hans Theis and this is another area for further research.

Marjorie King, a descendant of Zachariah I, visited the Ahlbach area and reported in The Albaugh Project Bulletin that Ahlbach is a small community of about eight homes. There are several large barns and one building where they may have been making or storing farm products. Nearby are forests of fir and red fir. There are oak, red oak, maple, vine maple, birch and willow trees. Along the road were wild roses and cliff roses and buttercups. There was a lot of moisture and near the roadside were nettles and cattails. The soil was dark and moist. There were corn fields, cows, and a few sheep. Mrs. King stated the countryside looked very like the backcountry of Lewis County, Washington State. Your Web Master worked for awhile in Germany in the 1980’s and visited many small communities similar to Ahlbach. The relationship of Ahlbach to Flammersfeld and Eichen is shown on the attached map, followed by photographs of the areas, taken by Sharon Martin, an Ahlbach descendant.

The children of Anthonius Ahlbach and Anna Margaretha Schneider Ahlbach, and brothers and sisters of Zachariah Ahlbach, are well documented in Flammersfeld church records and the connection to Zachariah is definitely known (More Palatine Families, Henry Z. Jones). Henry Jones, who documented Zachariah’s family, is the same person who did the research on the Eichenberg family at Neuweid linked at the top of the page and also ancestors of George Monroe Eikenberry.

Immigration to America

Living conditions in Germany had been untenable for years before Zachariah and his family left Flammersfeld to come to America. Robert Weilacher in Albaugh Family Essays summarizes it very well: "The Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) was the last great religious war in Europe, ultimately involving nearly every Eurpean country. This seemingly ceaseless struggle between Roman Catholics and Protestants was particularly devastating to parts of Western Germany - the Rhineland and Bavaria - known as the Palatinate. This war, coupled with famine and disease, followed successively by the Dutch War (1674) and the War of Spanish Succession (1701-1714), so completely destroyed the Palatinate that its remaining inhabitants were in a state of utter poverty." We don’t know what triggered Zachariah to come specifically in 1734, but he was part of a mass exodus from Germany looking for a better life in the new world.

He was not the first Ahlbach to come to America, as a Christian Alibock in 1738 petitioned the Governor-General of Pennsylvania, along with forty-nine others, for protection from Indian attacks. Once again, you will begin to note a variation in spellings of a name. The spellings deriving from Ahlbach are legion, the most common modern one being Albaugh which we will principally use throughout the narrative. The name generally means "brook with eels" and probably originated as a place name, such as "Hans from near the brook with eels."

Zachariah’s arrival is included in two references of ships’ passenger lists: Rupp and Strassburger. The Strassburger book is most informative as it includes the names of women and children for the Hope Galley. List 37A includes the following:

" Men: Zacharias Ohlbach, age 36, Johan Wilhelm Ohlbach, age 28. Women: Anna Durnat Ohlbach, age 37, Anna Eliz Ohlbach, age 26. Children: Joanis Wilhelm Ohlbach, age 11, Joanis Gerard Ohlbach, age 6, Anna Margret Ohlbach, age 2, and Joanis Peter Olhlbach, age 2."

There is no clear way to distinguish which were the children of Zachariah and which were the children of his brother Johan Wilhelm; however the age of Johan Wilhelm would indicate the older children were not his. Henry Jones places Anna Margret and Joanis Peter with the Johan Wilhelm family. There are records that Zachariah had a son Peter, although he was probably born later. One hundred twenty seven persons were imported in this ship as reported by the Master Daniel Reid. When the ship cleared Cowes in England, the names of Zacharias and Johan Wilhem were recorded as Ahlbach. At the Courthouse in Philadelphia on September 23, 1734, Zacharian and Johan Wilhem signed the Oath to their new government as " Zachariah Ahlbach" and " Johan Wilhelm Ahlbach."

The Move to New Jersey

Sometime shortly after the Ahlbach’s arrival in America, another son was born to Zachariah and Anna and was named Zachariah. His birthplace is tentatively given as New Jersey, although it could be anywhere, from on the ship, to Pennsylvania, to New Jersey.

After the ship landed in Philadelphia, the Ahlbach families moved to New Jersey as evidenced by Weilacher’s quote from A Genealogical Dictionary of New Jersey, by Charles Gardner: "All settled almost immediately upon the 100,000 acre ‘Great Tract’ of the West Jersey Society, which covered a large part of present northern Hunterdon County, and Zachariah and William Alback each took out leases of 100 acres from the Society’s agent in 1735...No further mention of Zachariah is found and no description of his leasehold."

The Move to Maryland

Likely the reason there is no further mention of Zachariah is that he soon moved on to Maryland. He is listed as taking out a lease on 224 acres at Monocacy Manor, Frederick County, Maryland, on February 28, 1748. It is in this lease that his sons John Albaugh and Peter Albaugh are mentioned. Zachariah and Anna took out two further leases, 22 acres on June 4, 1763, and 77 acres on June 16, 1763. The survey of Monocacy Manor and its approximate location in Maryland are shown on the map attached. Zachariah and Ann leased lots 60, 61, and 62.

These so-called "manors" were on land set aside by the first Proprietor of Maryland, Lord Baltimore, to be leaseholds and not patents. This would save the land for the Lord’s heirs and provide income from leases. Initially the term of a lease was designated for a period equal to the natural lifetimes of three individuals selected by the leaseholder, thus the inclusion of sons Wilhelm and Peter in the first lease.

We believe that Zachariah also took out a lease at Conocheague Manor in Washington County, Maryland, as such a lease was passed on to his son Johan Wilhelm as his heir in 1765. The passing of this lease is the only indication that we have of a death date for the immigrant Zachariah since by it we know that he died prior to 1765. His wife, Anna Demuth Schuman, died in 1773 and is buried in Liberty Chapel Lutheran Cemetery at Libertytown, Maryland. Her tombstone still survives.

A bit of a mystery surrounds the religion of Zachariah I and II. According to Durnbaugh in The Brethren in Colonial America in describing a German Baptist congregation at Monocacy, "The minister is Rev. Daniel Leatherman, who has John Carver to his assistant. They originated as a Society in 1749 by means of ________Ahlbach who removed here from Jersey." According to the Monocacy Manor history, Zachariah and his family were the only Ahlbachs at Monocacy and they did arrive in 1748, the year before the German Baptist Society was founded. John Carver is found subleasing Lot 52 on the manor. Leatherman is not found there, but the German Baptist ministers were often itinerant in order to serve several congregations. It seems clear that Zachariah is referred to as founding the German Baptist Congregation, yet Zacharia I’s wife is buried in the Lutheran Cemetery as are many, many Albaugh descendants, including the first wife of Zachariah III.

To further complicate matters, two histories of Frederick County, Maryland, one by Williams and McKinsey in 1910 and one by Nead in 1914, give a different version of the Church of the Brethren origins in Frederick County. In The Pennsylvania-German in the Settlement of Maryland, Nead mentions that the church at Monocacy was Lutheran and all of the settlers on the Manor were of the German Reformed faith. He states that the small log church at Monocacy was shared by Lutheran and German Reformed congregations with alternating meetings being held. In History of Frederick County Maryland… Williams and McKinsey agree that the church at Monocacy was Lutheran. They state that a German Reformed church existed in nearby Frederick Town and that the Albaughs were members of that congregation. They list the first Church of the Brethren congregation as organized by Daniel Leatherman in 1756. They list a second congregation being organized at Beaver Dam at an unknown date and list the Albaughs as members of this congregation. They indicate that the Church of the Brethren was not organized at Monocacy until 1842 and that it was a spinoff from the Beaver Dam congregation.

The only thing we know for sure is that the Albaughs in Frederick County were surely members of the Church of the Brethren at some point in time. This is borne out by the fact that they did not participate in the French and Indian War which raged across Frederick County in about 1763 and by the fact that Zachariah II’s oldest son, David, was an elder in the Church of the Brethren in Blair County, Pennsylvania, after the Albaughs left Maryland. Descendants of Zachariah were members of the Church of the Brethren into the twentieth century. Descendants of Zachariah III’s brother Stephen, are shown in typical German Baptist dress in about 1925 in the attached photos.

The very existence of the Brethren, German Reformed, and Lutheran religions in Catholic Maryland was due to the fact that they were looked upon as a buffer between the coastal areas of Maryland and the "savages" in the interior.

The French and Indian War began in about 1755. General Braddock campaigned across Frederick County, Maryland, in 1756, and after his defeat and death depredations on the settlers were terrible. The settlers were often forced to flee their land and take refuge for long periods of time. This continued up through about 1763. Although the Albaughs did not participate in the fighting (likely due to the pacifism of their Brethren religion), the unsettled way of life and constant danger may have taken a toll on Zachariah, leading to his death sometime before 1765.

Zachariah II continued to live on the Monocacy Manor leasehold after his father’s death. Monocacy had excellent soil and virtually all lots were heavily wooded and most were self-sufficient in water supply. Almost all Monocacy houses were sturdy log structures averaging 20 x 28 feet, considerably larger than homes found on other manors. Many of the manors concentrated on tobacco as a crop, but it was not suitable for small leaseholders. Settlers on Monocacy were largely of foreign background and accustomed to taking care of their own needs first. They were closer to Pennsylvania markets than the other manors and did not depend on tobacco, relying instead on the more profitable grains such as wheat, corn and rye.

Tenants at Monocacy were twice threatened with wholesale eviction. The Sixth Lord Baltimore tried to sell off the lots between 1766 and 1771 but was unsuccessful because of the scarcity of money. After the American Revolution, a confiscation sale finally succeeded as soldiers had pay vouchers to pay for the land. All the lots were sold by 1781. The tenants had no capital, only the improvements on their households and the sale was devastating. Zachariah II died within the year after the sale, but his will indicates the he had acquired about 125 acres of land of his own outside the manor (only one leaseholder had been able to buy the land he leased and it was not Zachariah).

Zachariah’s wife Susannah was joint executor of his will, along with his 20 year old son, Zachariah III. Zachariah II left his land to Susannah and Zachariah for a term of nine years, after which it was to be sold and the proceeds divided between Susannah and all his children, share and share alike. He mentions that Susannah was to have her feather bed and furniture and two cows from his herd. He mentions the grain and wool on the plantation and the meat to be killed in the fall to be used for the support of the family. He gave his oldest son David, five pounds, but it was his second son, Zachariah, that he entrusted with handling his estate. David had recently married Maria Harter and was perhaps involved in establishing his own household Zachariah II signed his will with his mark indicating he was unable to write. His mark was the letters A and B joined which was a little different than the X typically used as a mark. Since his father was able to write, this indicates that the first priority of the settlers was survival and attention was not focused on education.

Zachariah III married Maria’s sister, Dorothea Harter, on March 20, 1785. She died on April 26, scarcely a month after their marriage. It is clear they still lived near Monocacy as Dorothea is buried near Anna Demuth Albaugh in the Liberty Chapel Cemetery. (Following are the directions to the cemetery: Take route 270 to just beyond Gaithersburg. Turn right on 27 to Taylorsville on 26 to five miles beyond town. Rte 26 veers off left at Daysville Road. Follow Daysville Road to top of hill. Cemetery on left. The internments are posted on Findagrave. Caution: there is a death date listed here for Zachariah Albaugh I but no headstone. We have a much earlier death date from other sources and also note that the death date given for Zachariah on Findagrave coincides with the will dates for Zachariah II so is clearly an error. There is no sign of a tombstone for either Zachariah I or II in the Liberty Chapel Cemetery)

Zachariah III married again sometime before 1790 when Mary Albaugh, his first child, and future wife of Samuel Eikenbary, was born. We do not know the name of Zachariah’s second wife. He signed a deed as a widower in 1798 (sold 124 acres 29 Aug 1798) and married again sometime before 1800 to Catherine (last name unknown).

The Move to Pennsylvania

There is little doubt that Zachariah II’s farm was sold as he directed, as Susannah and son David are later found in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. Susannah had married Jacob Zook of the German Baptist Church (another indication of a possible German Baptist connection for the Albaughs). Susannah was again a widow and died in Huntingdon County in 1821 and it is her will (written in 1816) that names the children of Zachariah II who were all underage when Zachariah II died. The additional children were Stephen, Hannah, Susan, Elizabeth, and Catherine. Hannah married Samuel Stoner and Catherine married Jacob Stoner. Their history can likely be found in Stoner family history which we did not pursue. Son David died in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, and son Stephen lived out his life in Juniata County, Pennsylvania. Two sons of Stephen: Stephen, Jr., and John, walked to Preble County, Ohio in 1812 according to the History of Preble County, Ohio.

Zachariah II’s farm may not have been sold in the nine year time span he specified,which would have been about 1791. In addition to Mary, Zachariah III and his second wife had two sons, David and John Zachariah (later married Elizabeth Eikenberry). John Z. Albaugh, according to his own report in census records, was born in 1796 in Frederick County, Maryland, so the farm may not yet have been sold then. Catherine Albaugh, daughter of Zachariah II and third wife, Catherine, was born in Pennsylvania in 1801, so they had left Maryland by that date. The deed that Zachariah III signed as a widower in 1798 had to do with land in Conoceaghue Manor in Washington County, Maryland. This was likely clearing title to land left to his uncle Johan Wilhelm by Zachariah I and there is little likelihood that Zachariah III ever lived there. That it is our Zachariah III is of little doubt as he signed jointly with his mother, Susannah Zuck, and his brother, David.

If the reader is thoroughly confused at this time by Zachariah I, II, and III (not to mention John Zachariah!) it is time to point out to any potential researcher that all the children of Zachariah I as well as Zachariah II had sons named Zachariah. Zachariah Albaughs are legion and, as can be deduced from the Albaugh Project Bulletin, separating them out is practically hopeless. If we had not had the kind assistance of two Albaugh descendants who are also professional genealogists (Roberta Miller Herbert and Gale Spitler Honeyman), we would never have been able to sort out our own line. Gale is a descendant of David and Maria Harter Albaugh and Roberta is a descendant of John Z. and Elizabeth Albaugh Eikenberry. Having issued this cautionary warning, the Albaugh Project Bulletin is worth pursuing as it contains interesting historical bits of information about the family, but the genealogy can be mind bending and confusing. In particular the greatest mixup seems to be between a Zachariah Albaugh, son of Peter Albaugh, who was a Revolutionary War Soldier, and our Zachariah III who definitely did not serve in the Revolution.

Zachariah III purchased land in Pennsylvania in Washington Township, Franklin County, from Philip Reed, sometime after 1800. The land was near the Maryland border on Antietam Creek, 2 miles east of Waynesboro, adjoining the land of Henry Bonebrake. Zachariah erected the first buildings on the land. These consisted of a log house, part of which was two stories high, and a small stone bank barn. These buildings were removed in 1850 by Henry Bonebreak. In 1816 Zachariah had sold the farm to Conrad Bonebreak.

The Move to Ohio

On December 17, 1816, Zachariah was in Preble County, Ohio, where he bought his first tract of land from David Lehman, consisting of 95 acres in the SE corner of the west half of Section 17, Township 5 East, Range 3 North. This 95 acres he later passed on to Samuel and Mary Albaugh Eikenbary when they named a son Zachariah. Zachariah had no doubt heard glowing reports of the fair and fertile Ohio land from Stephen and John Albaugh who had walked there and settled in 1812. The relationship of Eikenbary and Albaugh lands in 1820 is shown in the map attached.

In December 1821, Zachariah’s oldest son, David, 29 years old, died in Preble County. Among the possessions of David Albaugh sold during the probate were eight books, a notebook, and a dictionary, showing that the Albaugh family believed in education. One each of the books were purchased by David’s stepsisters, Catherine and Susannah, and Samuel Eikenbary purchased the dictionary. Samuel also purchased a pair of fire tongs that were part of his own estate 50 years later. David left, among other things, a "grant of land lying in Dark County." His stepmother Catherine later lived in Darke County, perhaps on this piece of land.

In 1829 Zachariah bought an additional 40 acres which he deeded in 1837 to his son John Zachariah, husband of Elizabeth Eikenberry. When Zachariah wrote his will in 1834, he was living on this land in Preble County and he left it in his will to John Zachariah. He likely deeded it to John Zachariah in 1837 and went to live with Samuel and Mary Eikenbary in Union County, Indiana.

Zachariah died at the home of Samuel and Mary Eikenbary on October 5, 1843. Samuel Eikenbary had been appointed administrator in Zachariah’s will. It is not necessarily strange that Zachariah appointed his son-in-law rather than his son as administrator. Samuel was skilled in legal matters having acted as administrator for several people in Union County. Also, perhaps Zachariah had already been invited to live with Samuel and Mary at the time he wrote his will and knew it would be more convenient for Samuel to handle the probate. Zacharaih left his entire estate to his wife Catherine, stating that his daughters, Mary Eikenbary, Catharine Adney, and Susannah Michael, had received advancement during his lifetime that was fully a share of his estate. He also excluded the children of David from the will, stating that he had given David in his lifetime more than his fair share of the estate. Because of this omission we have been unable to determine the names of David’s children. Since all Zachariah’s personal property was left to Catherine and there were evidently no debts owing, there was no sale of assets and we do not then have a list of Zachariah’s possessions.

Zachariah’s wife, Catherine, died in Darke County, Ohio, in 1847. She likely lived with Susannah and her husband, Henry Michael, as Henry Michael submitted into probate a bill for board and care of Catherine for two years "in 1845 and 1846 and until May 1847." Henry was the administrator of her estate. Her small list of possessions include a pair of "specticles" purchased by one Jacob Harter for 13 ½ cents. Jacob Harter was the appraiser for the estate and Samuel Harter was the clerk for the sale. An examination of Darke County census records shows a number of Harters, born in Maryland, living in Darke County at that time. One might speculate that Catherine’s maiden name was Harter and that she was perhaps a sister or other relative of Zachariah’s first wife, Dorothea Harter. If it is ever proven that Catherine was second wife and not third, and was mother of Mary Albaugh, this is a good point for further research.

Long Lives of Albaugh Ancestors

The further history of our Albaugh line is included in the Eikenberry/Eikenbary history linked at the top of the page with the story of Samuel and Mary Albaugh Eikenbary and their life together. We have no photographs of our Albaugh ancestors to know what physical characteristics may have been passed on in the family, but we have included a sketch and photographs of descendants of Stephen Albaugh, brother of Zachariah III. We do know that the Albaughs were generally long lived. The Revolutionary War Zachariah, cousin of our Zachariah III, lived to the age of 99, teaching school, it is said, to the age of 90. There are a number of instances in the Albaugh family of people living to near, or over, 100 years of age. This is remarkable considering that Maryland was a hotbed of malaria in the 1700’s. Malaria does not kill, but weakens so that other fatal diseases may take hold. Zachariah’s cousin Stephen who walked to Preble County lived to be 91. Mary Albaugh, herself, lived to be 84 years old, or nearly 11 years longr than Samuel Eikenbary, who died at the age of 73.

This page was created June 2007.

References: Albaugh Family Essays, American Origins, Robert R. Weilacher, 1979

The Albaugh Project Bulletin, Vol 1, No. 3, August 1995

Genealogical Dictionary of New Jersey, Charles Carroll Gardner (as quoted in other New Jersey publications)

The Brethren in Colonial America, Edited by Donald F. Durnbaugh, The Brethren Press, Elgin, Il, 1967

History of Frederick County Maryland From the Earliest Settlements to the Beginning of the war Between the states T. J. C. Williams, Folger McKinsey, Two Volumes, 1910

History of Preble County, Ohio H. Z. Williams and Brothers, 1881.

More Palatine Families, Some Immigrants to the Middle Colonies 1717-1776 and Their European Origins, Henry Z. Jones, Jr. 1991

The Pennsylvania-German in the Settlement of Maryland, Daniel Wunderlich Nead, M. D., Lancaster Pa, 1914.

Pennsylvania German Pioneers, a Publication of the Original Lists of Arrivals in the Port of Philadelphia from 1727 to 1808, R. B. Strassburger and W. J. Hinke, 1980

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