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Progenitor

 

JOHN GEORGE STAUCH

(1719-1803)

 

Some of you might be wondering what a "progenitor" is, just like I did the first time I heard that word. Below is the definition I found:

 

Definition of "progenitor"

  1. A direct ancestor. 

  2. An originator of a line of descent; a precursor.

 

There can be no dispute that one of the most important progenitor's of our family was the man who decided to leave his homeland for a new and better life. By the above definition, John George Stauch was a direct ancestor, and was the originator of a line of descent, our American line of descent. If he had not made the difficult decision to come to America, our lives would be drastically different.

 

This website is in honor of John George Stauch, for all he did to ensure the future of his family. It should also serve as a reminder, that despite how our ancestors lived, we would not be here without them.  Regardless of their wealth or fame, we have a part of them in us all, and we should be proud that we do.

 

 

IMMIGRATION

 

Please note:  It is difficult to say exactly what happened during the immigration of John George Stauch. While there are no written records to show what events took place, we can make an educated guess using the information we do have. The information listed below is what I believe may have occurred during George's immigration. Some of this information came from immigration records, the Baden-Wurttemberg mailing list, and also some researchers that shared their findings with me.

 

     It is extremely difficult to pinpoint the exact reasons John George Stauch left his homeland for a new and unfamiliar place. This homeland, Würtemberg, Germany, was a turbulent place to live in the 1700s. Many wars swept through the area, and persecutions were commonplace. Research has shown that William Penn attempted to "recruit" residents of Germany, enticing them to move to Pennsylvania. Brochures written in German were distributed, telling German's about plentiful and fertile land, as well as the tolerant religious policies in America. German immigrants were

known to be clever farmers and tradesmen, making them perfect candidates to develop this new land.  

 

     When the decision was made to emigrate, permission was needed from the "ruling authorities", which were in control of the area they lived in. Some people left without permission, facing some punishment if caught. On occasion, a family member had to stay behind, to fulfill a legal obligation that the family had. A tax had to be paid in order to leave, and at times, someone had to be named responsible for any outstanding debts. There is no record showing if George received the permission he needed to leave, or if he left without.

 

     In order to sail to America, George needed to travel to the port at Rotterdam, Holland. The journey to Rotterdam could have taken 2 - 6 weeks, depending on the transportation used to travel there. One could have used a boat, although it was very costly. Most people walked, perhaps with a pushcart to carry possessions. Tolls had to be paid at several "customhouses" along the way. These tolls are common to the taxes we pay at hotels and fees at airport landings. There were many places along the way where new tools could be purchased, but this was risky. These tools could have been confiscated at ports in America, since they were not made in England.

 

     Once in Rotterdam, these German travelers needed more emigration approval, and also had to wait for an ocean-going ship to arrive at the port. When they boarded the ship after its arrival, they were in for a long and uncertain trip to America. Like many other's, George's ship made a stop at Cowes, located on the Isle of Wight, in southern England, about 280 miles from Rotterdam. Many ships stopped there for additional food and water. While there, the passengers were delayed once again, waiting for favorable winds, and being forced to pay more tolls at customhouses. When they finally set sail through the English Channel, England could be seen on the left with a view of the city of Dover and its white cliffs. The coast of France was also visible in the distance on the right. This was their last view of land before an ocean voyage that could take 7 - 12 weeks. 

 

     Conditions on the ship was poor, due to several factors. There was no privacy on the ship due to overcrowding. Rationing of food and water was needed, since the provisions needed to sustain the passengers would not fit on the ship. The poor quality of food and water, and lack of correct nutrition created a perfect environment for ailments such as dysentery and scurvy. The poor sanitary conditions led to diseases, including typhoid and smallpox. Young children and the elderly were very susceptible to these ailments and diseases, and often died during the trip. If a woman was have problems with childbirth, she could have been thrown overboard. Death during immigration meant being buried at sea.

 

     The fee for passage to America was only due if a person survived more than half the trip. If a person's spouse died after half the trip was made, they were required to pay the fare for both of them. If a person could not pay the fare, it is quite possible they were sold by the shipmaster as an indentured servant. 

 

     George's destination was Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but it is not known who accompanied him on his trip. Only his daughter Jacobina appears to have made it to America with him. Perhaps his wife and other children died in Germany, or even during the journey. George and Jacobina were strangers in a new and unfamiliar place, but their future was much brighter, now. They could create a new life, a life that they were now in control of.

 

 

GEORGE FINDS LOVE

 

     When George came to America to escape the hardships Germany had to offer, he opened up a whole new future for himself. It is doubtful that he would have had the life and opportunity that he had in his new home. 

 

     George married his second wife, Anna Maria Christina Baumann on February 1 or February 2, 1753. There are conflicting records from two churches stating different dates. This union would be blessed with four sons, Leonard, Andrew, Jacob, and George. All of these children would lead long lives and have their own children, except Leonard. He disappears during service in the Revolutionary War, and presumably died during service. Andrew would serve in the war as well, most notably at Camp Security, a Revolutionary War P.O.W. Camp in Springettsbury Township, York County, Pennsylvania.

 

     George's second marriage ended with the death of his wife, the following being a transcript of the church records indicating this:

 

b. 1719, the 22d Dec. in Hohenberg, Wurtenberg area. Father Joh. Georg Bauman. Mother Barbara. Anno 1752 she came to America with her parents. Anno 1753 she was married at "Lichtmess" (2d Feb) to Joh. Georg Stauch, widower from Dettenhausen of Bebligen in the Wurtemberg area, now widower. By this marriage she was blessed with 4 boys, which are all still living. Her 7 (?) year sickness ended day before yesterday the 7th January at 9 o-clock in the evening. She took leave of this world and today, the 9th January 1772 she was buried in our church yard here. Thus her life totaled 52 years and 18 days.

 

     A few weeks after Christina had died, something unusual occurred. On February 18, 1772, just 6 weeks after her death, George married his third, and final wife, Anna Barbara Berner. It is unknown why, or even how he remarried so soon after Christina's death. Perhaps Barbara was caring for Christina during her "7-year illness". Barbara was a widow herself, being married to Henry Richter, and being left with a daughter to care for upon his death.

 

     George and Barbara would have eleven children, the last being born when George was 66 years old! It would be interesting to know what his children from his second marriage thought of him marrying so close to their mother's death. One would assume there were ill feelings for some time.

 

     George died on August 11, 1803, but his burial location is unknown, as there are no records showing where he was laid to rest. It is quite possible he was buried in Strayer's Cemetery, which is where his second wife was buried. He may also have been buried on one of his properties in the township. A search of one property led to no clues, but he is definitely out there somewhere, waiting to be found.