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Schwab History

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A History of the Origins of the First Schwab, Schwob, Swope Families in Early Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and 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 power.

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 hundreds.

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.

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HUSBAND: SCHWAB, Jost or Justus (citizen and master-baker
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) county, PA
Husband's father: Schwab, Georg
Husband's mother: Zimmerman, Margaretha (1611-1695)

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)

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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 page1303).

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 years
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 Association),

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. 



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