A History of the Origins of the
First Schwab, Schwob, Swope Families
in Early Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
Some of Their Descendants
During the early part of the seventeenth
century, Germany was devastated by the horrors of the Thirty
Years War (1618-1648). Actually this was a series of wars which
began as a civil war between the Protestants and the Roman catholics
in the German states. When it ended, most of Europe was involved
and the war had become a struggle for territory and political
The Treaty of Augsburg (1555) recognized
only Lutherans and Catholics; not Calvinists or other Protestant
sects. German Protestants and German Catholics disagreed about
their interpretation of this treaty; this disagreemant was the
underlying cause of the war.
Civil War began in Bohemia in 1618 after
the Archbishop of Prague ordered the destruction of a Protestant
church. When the Emperor Matthias ignored the protests of the
Protestant people, they rose in revolt. The Protestant rebels
put into action an old Bohemian custom by throwing out of the
window two of their ruler's ministers. This action was called
the Defenestration of Prague (from the latin word fenestra meaning
window) and the war spread rapidly throughout Western Europe.
The Bohemian Protestants chose the Protestant
elector of Palatine, Frederick, to be their emperor, but the
Catholic king, Ferdinand, whom the Protestants had removed from
the throne, was chosen Holy Roman Emperor by the German Imperial
Electorate which was controlled by the Hause of Hapsburg. This
gave Ferdinand great power. The Bohemians were defeated in 1620
by Ferdinand's general, the Count of Tilly, at the Battle of
the White Mountain. The Protestant rebellion was stamped out,
the Bohemians lost their independence, and Catholicism again
became the state religion.
In 1623 the Protestant king of Denmark,
Christian IV, was aided by several other countries in opposing
Ferdinand's forces in Saxony. The emperor, Ferdinand, with the
assistance of the famous general Albrecht Eusebius Wenzel von
Wallenstein and his army of hired soldiers and adventurers, together
with the army of Count Tilly, defeated the Danish king, Christian
IV, again and again. After the Treaty of Luebeck (1629), Ferdinand
issued the Edict of Restitution which ordered all church possessions
the Protestants had acquired be restored to the Catholics. This
caused more friction between Protestants and Catholics.
Gustavus Adolphus, the Lion of the North,
the devoted Protestant king of Sweden who believed that if Emperor
Ferdinand became too powerful Sweden would be endangered, set
sail from Sweden in 1630 with 13,000 men to relieve the city
of Magdeburg which Tilly was besieging.
He arrived too late to save Magdeburg,
but in 1631 Gustavus Adolphus and the Swedish army defeated Tilly
at the Battle of Breitenfeld. He continued to defeat Tilly but
in 1632, although the Swedes won at the Battle of Luetzen, Gustavus
Adalphus was killed in battle. The Swedes continued to win until
1634 when their army was destroyed at the Battle of Nordlingen.
In 1635 Cardinal Richelieu of France, although
a Catholic, decided that the Hapsburg emperor was becoming too
powerful and sent a French army into Germany to join a new Swedish
army against Ferdinand and the Catholics. Under the leadership
of the French Vicomte de Turenne and Louis II, Prince of Conde,
they won a long series of victories. The Protestants now gained
new hope for peace and in 1644 the European countries sent representatives
to a peace conference in Westphalia. The Catholics met in one
city; the Protestants in another. It took four years of negotiation
before the Peace of Westphalia was finally signed in 1648. The
terms of the treaty gave Alsace and Lorraine to France, to Sweden
control of the mouths of the Oder, Elbe, and Weser rivers, and
to Calvinism an equal footing with Catholicism and Lutheranium.
This treaty left Gernany nearly helpless, open to the attack
of tyrants at home and robber kings from abroad.
At the end of the Thirty Years War Germany
was in ruins. More than half of the German population had been
killed. Some authorities estimate the population of the German
states prior to the Thirty Years War at between sixteen and seventeen
million and at not quite four million at the end of the war.
Two thirds of the property had been destroyed; whole cities,
villages, and farms had disappeared. The Rhineland continued
to be plagued by Louis XIV of France because he wanted more of
this territory. Some areas were left in vacant devastation for
twenty years before people from more populated areas of Germany
and Europe began to migrate there to build new homes. In the
latter half of the seventeenth century, Huguenots persecuted
in France migrated into these areas in Southern Germany, Swiss
from overpopulated areas of Switzerland migrated to the Rhineland
and Baden-Wuertemburg, and Germans moved from their home villages
to these less-populated areas. Many of the paarish records, both
Protestant and Catholic, which provide the most information for
the genealogist, were destroyed during this period, and it is
often very difficult, if not impossible, to trace a family back
beyond the middle of the seventeenth century Because of this
destruction and because of the movement of families from one
place to another. Even so, a great deal of research is being
done by both Germans and Americans in the German archives to
learn more about this period of history and the origins of the
families who migrated to southern Germany in the late sixteen
During the Thirty Years War, Switzerland
was almost untouched by its horrors and thrived vith peace and
prosperity. Foreigners, who came to Switzerland to escape the
horrors of the battlefields, brought with them money and valuable
property. Switzerland had a good market for her products. When
peace finally came to Germany in 1648, Switzerland suffered a
severe economic crash. Prices dropped and many persons were unemployed.
Overpopulation was a problem in Switzerland.
Germany bad been depopulated in the mass killing during the war.
Areas of Germany neighboring on Switzerland, such as Baden, the
Palatinate, and Alsace were completely desolate. Many Swiss from
the areas of Bern, Basel, and Zurich migrated into these areas
in Germany. A large number of those emigrating were Anabaptists
(Mennonite groups) who were persecuted severely in Switzerland,
but many were Swiss citizens who were members of the Reformed
church and sought better economic conditions in Germany now that
Calvinists (Reformed) had obtained equal rights with Lutherans
and Catholics through the Peace of Westphalia.
The earliest information we have about
Jost Schwab (Yost Swope) is his marriage to Anna Katharina Wolfhardt
in Duehren bei Sinsheim near Heidelberg, 27 May 1661 (17 May
1661 - see page 1288). George Schwab was the father of Jost.
He was a citizen and councilman in Sinsheim in 1681 which is
another village near Heidelberg. Jost Schwab's age was forty-six
when he transferred his citizenship from Duehren to Leimen in
1702. This indicates that he was born about 1656. Gilbert E.
Swope's History of the Swope Family and Their Connections states
that Yost (Jost) was born in 1678. If he were married in 1681
this would be impossible.
Many of the parish records of this area
were destroyed during the Thirty Years War, and again in 1689
bythe armies of Loui XIV of France. It was in 1689 that the parish
register of Sinsheim was destroyed, and so the record of birth
of Jost Schwab and bis brothers and sisters is lost to us.
HUSBAND: SCHWAB, Jost or Justus (citizen
Born: 1656 (age 46 in 1702)
Place: Sinsheim, Heidelberg, Baden-Wuerttemberg, GERMANY
Married: 17 May 1681
Place: Duehren bei Sinsheim, Heidelberg, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany
Died: 29 Jan 1727 L of Adm.
Place: Leacock (now Upper Leacock) township, Chester (now Lancaster)
Husband's father: Schwab, Georg
Husband's mother: Zimmerman, Margaretha (1611-1695)
WIFE: WOLFHARDT or WOHLFAHRT, Anna Katharina
Born: 9 Oct 1663
Place: Duehren bei Sinsheim, Heidelberg, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany
Wife's Father: Wolfhardt or Wohlfahrt, Hans Jorg (1639-1712)
Wife's mother: Hagi or Haagen, Anna (abt 1643-1673)
JOST SCHWAB, THE
HIS PARENTAGE, HISTORY, AND LIFE STORY
JOST or JUSTUS SCHWAB is the ancestor of
most Americans bearing the surname SWOPE and, as far as we have
been able to ascertain, is the first Schwab/Swope to migrate
to America. Through research in Germany and the United States,
a considerable amount of data has been gathered concerning him,
and this information gives to us the following story of his life.
According to these facts, more than one Jost Schwab lived in
the vicinity of Leimen near Heidelberg, Germany, and they were
probably all related to one another. Did they come to America
together? This is also possible.
Jost Schwab, the father of Johannes Schwab
(John Swope) who settled on the Mill Creek in Upper Leacock Township,
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in 1720, is easily identified.
This Jost Schwab was born in Sinsheim, Baden in 1655 or 1656,
the son of Georg Schwab, citizen and counselor in Sinsheim, and
Margaretin born Zimmerman. Jost had a brother Georg, born in
1659, and another brother, George Albrecht, who was a baker (Jost
was also a baker) and seminary director at Sinsheim. He had also
a sister whose name is unknown, who had a child, Anna Christina,
born in 1678. Georg Schwab, father of Jost, is thought to have
been the brother of another Jost Schwab, the mayor of Sandhausen,
a village which was part of the parish of Leimen in 1700. (See
Jost Schwab, our American ancestor, son
of Georg and Margaretha (Zimmerman) Schwab, grew up in Sinsheim
and became a baker as did his brother, Georg Albrecht. On the
17th of May 1681 when he was twenty-five years old, Jost married
his betrothed, the seventeen year old, Anna Catharina Wolfhardt,
in the beautiful Choir Roorn of the Lutheran Church at Duehren,
a village near Sinsheim. Jost was a member of the Reformed Church
in Sinsheim. Anna Catharina, born 9 October 1663, was the daughter
of the Mayor of Duehren. Hans Jorg Wolfhardt/Wohlfahrt and his
wife, Anna Haagen. (See Chapter 2). Her grandfather, Georg Johann
Wolfhardt/Wohlfahrt, was the Minister of the Lutheran Church
in Duehren during the Thirty Years War. Her father, Hans Jorg,
was born in the Steinsberg Fort (the ruins of this fort can still
be seen near Duehren (picture page 1293) where his father, Georg
Johann, had taken his family for protection.
Jost and Anna Catharina settled down in
Duehren where he earned his living as a baker. For almost twenty-one
years the family lived in Duehren and six of their children were
baptized in the Lutheran Church there. The 27th of March 1695,
Jost's mother, Margaretha Schwab, died and was buried in Sinsheim.
At the time of her death she was a widow; her husband, Georg
Schwab, died sometime after Jost was married in 1681 and before
1689 when the church record of Sinsheim commences.
In 1702 Jost moved his family to Leimen
(see map page 1290) where they enrolled as citizens the 27th
of April 1702. Jost declared that he was 46 years old and was
born in Sinsheim on the Elsenz river, Kreis (county) Heidelberg,
Baden and that he was a member of the Reformed Church. His wife,
Anna Katerina, was 38 years old and a Lutheran. They brought
with them the following seven children:
Hans Jorg, 19
Jost Conrad, 13 years
Anna Elisabeth, 11 years
Anna Margaretha, 7 years
Anna Magdalena, 5 years
Anna Maria, 3 years
Anna Katharina, 1/2 year
On the 26th of May 1704 their son, Johannes,
ancestor of many Arnericans, was born, and was baptized the 28th
of May 1704. In 1707 another son, Hans Ulrich, was born in Leimen.
The 7th of September 1709, Anna Catharine, gave birth to her
last child; the infant was stillborn.
Shortly after the move to Leimen, their
eldest son, Hans Jörg or Georg, married Anna Eva (some researchers
say her maiden name was Schaeffner, but do not give the source
of this information). They named their first child, Johann Georg,
at his baptism, 9 January 1706. The sponsor at the baptism was
Johan Georg Wohlfarth (or Wolfhardt) of "Duehren bei Sinsheim",
the grandfather of Hans Georg Schwab and the great grandfather
of the child.
On the 5th of April 1712 Jost and Anna
Catharina Schwab's eldest daughter, Anna Elisabetha, now nineteen
years old, married Johann Eberhard Riehm. Both are listed as
of the Reformed religion. Their first child was christened Johann
Jacob Riehm at Leimen 14 June 1713. Jost Schwab wrote in his
records, ,,My daughter, Anna Eliss' child born 1 Brachmond (June)
1713." (See page 1304) Another child, Anna Katharina, daughter
of Johan Eberhard and Anna Elisabetha Riehm, was christened,
19 January 1716. In 1717 the Riehms (spelled Ream in America)
left for Pennsylvania. Their third child, Abraham Riehm, was
born in Philadelphia (according to the records of the Ream Family
Jost and Anna Catharina Schwab and the
rest of the family must not have left Leimen in 1717, because
their daughter, Anna Maria, married the widower, Andreas Meixel,
19 Septenter 1719. The marriage record states that ,,Anna Maria
is the legitimate, single daughter of Jost Schwab, citizen and
baker at Leimen" as though he were still living here.
Jost Schwab, his family, and possibly other
relatives are believed to have departed from Leimen for the trip
down the Rhine to the sea in May 1720. We do not know how many
of the children came to America with Jost. The parish registers
of Leimen infer that all of them left Leimen in 1720 except Hans
Georg, who made the trip in 1727.
by EMILY SWOPE
MORSE & WINIFRED MORSE MCLACHLAN