I hope you will indulge me a little bit of a rant.
Normally, I work on the Canadian side of the family, however, after reviewing some of the correspondence I exchanged with Louis Duermeyer over the last few years, prior to his passing, I thought I would take a shot at attempting to track down something on Johann Heinrich Eschbach, during the first thirty years he was in Pennsylvania.It has always been difficult for me, to believe that Henry and family were squatters for some thirty years without leaving some trace.
I brought myself up to date by reviewing data I had in storage and then looking at what should be more current information on the inter-net.To say I was surprised at the substandard quality of information, or I should call it misinformation, stored in various so-called web family trees, would be an extreme under statement.Most GEDCOM and WFT, containing Eschbach/Ashbaugh data, are full of errors and therefore cannot be trusted.There are a few exceptions of course.
I have always thought that genealogy was much like science, that is, based on some form of proof, either documentary or situational.In science, this is referred to as, capable of being falsified.Or, in the case of genealogy, if you are wrong, documents or circumstances will demonstrate this or not.In the past, information collected about the Ashbaugh family was collected in this fashion, especially by Louis Duermeyer.Many of the tougher problems, such as, where was Henry before he went to Adams County, or what is Maria Elizabeth’s maiden name, or where are the baptismal records for all of Henry’s children, have lingered for years unsolved.
However, over the last decade, it appears that some of these tougher mysteries have been solved, if, I am to believe many of the family web trees currently on the inter-net.Conspicuous by their absence is the source or rationale, referred to as proof in genealogical circles, so I am told, for such conclusions.Also, there is a blatant acceptance as fact, of data that is clearly speculative and noted so by the original researcher.
Family researchers, such as, Louis Duermeyer, Rev, J.D. Ashbaugh, and I have to admit I do this more likely than anyone, have speculated, thought out loud if you like, on the possibilities to the answers to these issues.Likely due to my investigative background, I entertain a hypothesis and then try to prove or disprove with evidence. The reference however, is always noted as speculative in some fashion. There is nothing wrong with this approach, as it is a good investigative tool that shares data and can assist other researchers developing new approaches or ideas on how to solve these issues.
However, these thoughts or scenarios are just that, maybes.They were, and are not, expected to be taken as fact.Often words, such as possible, maybe, circa, likely, or, I am speculating, accompanies the information.Born abt. or ca. or before 1738, doesn’t mean 1738 precisely.Without some form of proof, genealogy is just mythology, good guesses, speculation or wishful thinking.The resultant damage done to possibly hundreds of family trees cannot be undone and will percolate through those trees for generations.Corrections are messy.
I have found some information on Henry’s first few years in the new world, and I hope to publish it on this forum shortly with their sources.However, if some of the newer insights into our family can be substantiated, then I would like to investigate their relationship and effect to what I have found, before publishing.
The conclusions I am referring to have been made by others, where no original or primary source was given, and after searching for considerable time, I cannot find any supporting proof to some of these conclusions.This does not mean that there is no proof.It just means that I can’t find it or it is unpublished.
So, I would like to identify five of these issues, report what I have found and then come to a conclusion.This conclusion may be contrary to what has been reported on other family web trees.If my conclusion is contrary to knowledge that you have, and you have proof for that knowledge, please share your insight and proof with your cousins, so we can all move on.I must admit, I have spent hundreds of hours researching many of these little gems and it may be that frustration is setting in.With your assistance we can solve these issues and move on.
First:Alcase Eschbach, b. ca. 1675, is the father of Johann Heinrich Eschbach, b. 1706, who arrived on the Winter Galley in 1738.
Findings: I have not been able to find any data on an Alcase Eschbach, anywhere.In fact, I have not been able to find anyone ever named Alcase in North America or Europe, including Germany.I have found an aluminum case called Al-Case, a person named Allen Case, but no person with the given name Alcase.Even my computer refuses to search Alcase and suggests I search Alsace.I can find Eschbach, Alsace, which is a town in Alsace France about six miles north of Haguenau, and I have often found it misspelled as “Alcase” on the inter-net.My conclusion is that I don’t believe Alcase Eschbach ever existed or was the father of Henry Eschbach, unless some proof can be brought forward to prove otherwise.
Second:Johannes Eschbach, of Faulkner Swamp, (New Hanover) and Johann Heinrich Eschbach, of Berks Co., Adams Co., and Huntingdon Co., are one and the same person.
Findings:At first blush, this was a consideration, but any reasonable amount of investigation would separate the two rapidly.The first hint was that records about John always use John and records about Henry always use Henry.There is no record of Henry spending time at Faulkner’s Swamp, although he may have passed through there or spent time there.Some web scribes, attempt to use Henry’s Saint’s name as his call name, which is contrary to early German naming traditions.When two first names are given, the first is a Saint’s name, such as, Johann and a shortened version is used, Johan or Johann, sometimes even Hans.The second name is the call name.Johann Heinrich Eschbach would be called Henry.When given one name, such as Johannes, the child was known as John, and usually the longer spelling is used on documents, such as, baptismal records.This practice faded by the third generation in America
John Eschbach was in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania for years before Henry showed up in 1738.John signed a frontier petition in 1728, along with Fredrich and Henry Antes, complaining about Indian raids.As part of that commuity, John Eschbach married Fredrich Antes’s daughter, Anna Elizabeth, sometime before 1734.On Feb 10th, 1734, Henry Antes and his wife Christina Elizabeth (DeWees) presented John Eschbach and his wife Elizabeth, as well as others, in the church at Faulkner Swamp in front of (Rev) John Philip Bohm, for baptism of a child named Elizabeth, born on 29 Jan 1734.The baptismal record says, Elizabeth, was named by the father’s sister.Obviously, this all took place before1738, when Henry arrived in Pennsylvania.
A notice in a local newspaper, Sauer’s or Sower’s Newspaper, dated “May 16, 1752, Friedrich Eschbach and Johannes Hugel are going to Germany after the Harvest.They will take letters if forwarded to Johannes Eschbach or Johannes Hugel, Falckner Swamp (Montgomery county).”Also, dated “July 16, 1755 Friedrich Eschbach, Falckner’s Swamp, Philadelphia County (now Montgomery), offers a plantation for sale.”So, it appears that John possibly had a brother Friedrich and a sister.And, just to add to the mix, he may have had a brother or possibly a cousin Andrew.
In, Past and Present, Vol, No. 9, May 1895, it is reported that, in 1779, one Benedict Mintz purchased 100 acres, thirteen perches, adjoining lands of John Eschbach.(John would be getting up there in age so this possibly could be a son of John)Also, according to Rev. Mr. Muhlenberg, Benedict Mintz’s only daughter married Andrew Eschbach by the direction of Count Zinzendorf.Andrew Eschbach was a preacher but was poor and could not obtain support.He, (Andrew) then went back to shoemaking, settling, as did his father-in-law, six miles from New Hanover, in the hills.I can’t find proof of the relationship between Friedrich, John and Andrew Eschbach, or his sister’s name, but I believe Johannes is John and did not ever use the name Henry.
In September of 1738, Johann Heinrich Eschbach arrives aboard the Winter Galley in Philadelphia.Henry Eschbach likely visited Germantown and may have visited Faulkner’s Swamp.He may even be related to these other Eschbachs, we don’t really know.But, we do know he warranted land in Philadelphia County, Allemangle Twp., which is now Greenwich Twp., Berks Co.His first warrant was registered on March 4, 1742 and his second warrant was registered on February 14, 1744.Henry is listed as a taxable in Greenwich Twp., in 1756.His wife, Maria Elizabeth Eschbach, sponsors a baptism in Allemangle Church in 1758.In 1759, Henrich Eschbach and Maria Elizabeth sponsor a baptism in Greenwich Twp. Berks County.As of today, I have not found any references beyond this date in Berks County, although I am expecting further information in a few days on this topic and will publish sources when it arrives.
In 1768, Henry Eschbach applies for a warrant of re-survey and division of land he purchased from James Semple, in Mt. Joy Twp., York County.Half of this land is later patented to Andrew Eschbach, Henry’s son.Henry then sells the other half to Francis Helm, by deed, on March 30, 1773.Henry then moves to Huntingdon, in Huntingdon County.Johann Heinrich Eschbach did not use John on any of these documents.While his surname, is continually misspelled by registrars and surveyors, Henry used Henry in each of these transactions.My conclusion is, John is not Henry and Henry is not John.They are two different people.
Third:Johann Heinrich Eschbach married Maria Elizabeth Antes.
Findings:Well, Henry Eschbach did marry a Maria Elizabeth, but, as far as we know, it was not Elizabeth Antes.The Antes/Eschbach marriage took place before Henry arrived in Pennsylvania.And, without splitting hairs, John Eschbach of Faulker Swamp, did not marry a Maria Elizabeth Antes either.John Eschbach married Anna Elizabeth Antes, as named in her father’s will.I believe the problem with Maria started with the book, “On the Frontier with Col. Antes,” published in 1900, and authored by Edwin MacMinn.On page 19, he writes, “There is no mention of any of the children (Referring to Frederick Antes’ children) but Henry and a daughter, Maria Elizaberth, who married John Eschbach, of Oley, a prominent man among the settlers.”However, on page 476, of the same book, there is a copy of Philip Frederick Antes’ will, the father of both Henry and Elizabeth Antes.Frederick Antes gives the name of his daughter as Anna Elizabeth in his will and bequeaths her 50 pounds.History books are good investigative leads, but are not considered original or primary documental proof, however the will is convincing.My conclusion is that Johann Heinrich Eschbach did not marry Anna Elizabeth Antes.
Fourth:Maria Elizabeth’s maiden name was Merck or Mercklin.
Findings:I can’t rule this hypothesis out, but I have not found any proof to support it neither.Mercklin is likely the feminine of Merckle,Merckel or Merck.The German language feminizes the surname of females by adding an “in” as a suffix.At times it appears that other letters are added so the name flows.I have found the rule for “in” on names but nothing about the extra letters to ensure the name flows.These extra letters could just be spelling errors.
Henry’s son, John, married Catharine Merck, according to the consensus on various web trees, which may account for Merck family members attending baptisms of Henry’s grandchildren.I have attempted unsuccessfully to located baptismal records of Henry’s children but have not, as yet, pursued all of his grandchildren’s data.If anyone has a proof for Merck as Maria Elizabeth’s maiden name, please post same.At this time my conclusion is that her maiden name is unknown.
Fifth:John Eschbach of Faulkner’s Swamp moved to Mt. Joy Twp, Adams Co. and then in later life moved to Huntingdon.
Findings:There is no evidence that John, from Faulkner’s Swamp, moved out of Montgomery County before his death.All land documentation in Berks, York, Adams and Huntingdon Counties are in the name of Henry Eschbach not John.John Eschbach of Faulkner Swamp did not at any time use the name Henry.One web tree has John passing in Montgomery and his children moving to Cecil Co. MD. and Union Co. OH., but I have not followed this up, so this is speculation.At this point in time, it appears that Henry moved to Mt Joy Twp., circa 1768 and purchased land from a James Semple, as reported above.
I am awaiting one last piece of the puzzle for Henry’s time in Berks County, which will hopefully arrive in the next few days.As soon as it arrives and I can prepare a report, I will post that information here.If anyone can shed light on any of these issues it would greatly be appreciated.
David R. Ashbaugh