Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Little Family History

(Next weekend I'm going to a family reunion and my dad thought he should bring some of the family history he has put together. He's doing the charts to show all the genealogy he's put together. I thought I would do some narrative about one of the earliest families in this branch. This won't interest non-family but maybe another researcher out there will see it and contact me with additional information they have.)

Researching your family history is a time consuming task that can take a lifetime. We (my dad and I) started doing research years ago and we are still not finished. For some reason, neither of us began by looking at the German branch of our family. We knew that my dad’s mother was of German and Irish descent but so are half the people in St. Louis. Family lore said that her paternal grandfather had come to the Midwest from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. We knew that he went by the name of “Iron Scheetz” but we assumed that “Iron” was a nickname. Perhaps because we had no idea of how to discover his real name we started with other branches of the family and saved the Scheetz Family for later.

Then, one day in the late 1990’s my dad was doing research at the library and he reached an impasse on whatever line he was following at the time. This happens often in genealogical research. You hit a wall and can’t go any farther with the resources that you have. Rather than beat your head against that wall it is best to simply pick another branch of your tree and see what you find.

He decided to wander over to the section on Pennsylvania history and see what they had on Bucks County families. He selected “A History of Bucks County Pennsylvania” edited by J.H. Battle. It contained a more or less oral history of Bucks County families that was done in 1887. The volume confirmed that the Scheetz family was a Bucks County family. He began to read about the various members of the Scheetz family and in a small biography of Charles Scheetz of Keller’s Church, Pennsylvania, and his wife Magdalena Hager, he found this:

“They have had eight children : Vestilla, wife of C. Y. Apple, of Haycock township ; Grier, in Perkasie ; Horace, in Norristown ; George, in Haycock ; Iron, in St. Louis; J. Edwin, at Keller's Church ; Charles with his brother, J. Edwin ; and Laura, living with her parents.”

“Iron, in St. Louis …” It seemed doubtful that there could be more than one Iron Scheetz in St. Louis in 1887 and later examination of census records confirmed this. And so with very little effort my dad had discovered the family history of the Scheetz branch of our family. Of course, true genealogists don’t rely on histories like this but go out to find source documents if they exist, so the search wasn’t completely over. But most of the hard work was done by finding this little volume.

Iron did indeed come from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, from a place known as Keller’s Church. He came from a large family and if Iron wasn’t his real name it was the only name we have ever been able to find for him. His father was Charles Scheetz who ran a store in Keller’s Church and was the postmaster and a justice of the peace. His mother was Magdalena Hager and he had lots of brothers and sisters all of whom seemed to have stayed in Pennsylvania. Iron’s grandfather was George Scheetz who started out life in Germantown, Pennsylvania as a hatter. George eventually moved to Keller’s Church where he became a teacher and was married to Hester Fluck. George was the son of Conrad Scheetz, also a hatter of Germantown. According to the Bucks County historians: “His wife survived him many years, dying at an extreme old age.”

In September, 2001 my dad, my sister Anne and I travelled to the Philadelphia area to see what we could see. The pastor at the church in Keller’s Church was very helpful even though we showed up without an appointment. We wandered around the church cemetery looking at the tombstones of Charles and Magdalena and George and Hester and many of their children and grandchildren. We drove around beautiful Bucks County seeing the various little towns where these people had lived. We went into Germantown and visited the Germantown Historical Society where, again, the people were very helpful. We discovered that the wife of Conrad Scheetz, who survived him for so long, was Christiana Pflieger and that she was from the Germantown area and her family was active in St. Michael’s Reformed Lutheran Church of Germantown. We visited that church and walked around that cemetery looking at tombstones that were barely legible any more.

We returned to St. Louis and tried to discover more about the background of Conrad Scheetz but hit a dead end. From the various genealogy message boards it seems that everyone has hit a dead end on Conrad. But I stayed on the mailing list for The Germantown Historical Society through which I eventually learned of a publication called “The Back Part of Germantown: A Reconstruction” which I ordered from The Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania. This is primarily a history of property in an area near Germantown called Chestnut Hill. By drawing timelines and sketching maps, and adding that information to what we learned in Pennsylvania and through other historical records, my dad and I were eventually able to piece together more of the history of Conrad Scheetz’ in-laws: Frederick and Christiana Pflieger. This was not easy since the Americanization of the name resulted in records for Pflieger, Pflueger, Flieger, Flueger, Fluger and Fleager, just as Scheetz is often Schutz or Schuetz.

The Pfliegers lived in Chestnut Hill before, during and after the American Revolution. This is their story as pieced together by my dad and me. I hope you enjoy it.

I

Germantown Road - 1757

What is today known as Germantown Avenue is a very old road that began as an Indian path. From the commercial part of old Philadelphia the old Germantown Road headed northwest, eventually climbing Chestnut Hill where it forked. One fork would take the traveler to Plymouth Meeting. The other fork was the Bethlehem Pike. In 1753, Frederick Pflieger traveled as far as the forks where, instead of choosing a direction, he settled down to raise a family.

Little is known about Frederick Pflieger and it is not clear when he arrived in America. He might be the Georg Friderich Pflieger who arrived in Philadelphia from Rotterdam on the ship Richard and Mary on September 17, 1753.[i] That Frederick Pflieger appears on the Captain’s list as “Jurg Fredk Fleger” but he signed the oath of allegiance and the oath of abjuration as Georg Friderich Pflieger. There were, though, other Frederick Pfliegers in Pennsylvania in 1753 and, perhaps, the Frederick Pflieger of Chestnut Hill was related to one of them. He may have been a brother of Maria Caterina Pflieger who, in 1757, was the wife of Martin Hauser and lived just down the road from Pflieger.[ii]

Even less is known of Frederick Pflieger’s wife except that her name was Christiana. Did she come with him from Germany or did he meet her in America? No one knows. What is known is that Frederick and Christiana had four children who survived: Godfrey (Gottfried), George, Sarah, and Christiana. His daughter Christiana eventually married someone named Conrad Scheetz and our family is descended from them.[iii]

Frederick Pflieger was not one of the first settlers on Chestnut Hill, although the settlement was not very large when he arrived. Seventy years before, in 1684, William Penn granted 5,700 acres of land that became known as “the German Township” to a group of immigrants from Frankfort and the Palatine who were seeking religious freedom. The settlement was originally intended to have four villages (Germantown, Cresheim, Sommerhausen and Crefeld) situated along the Germantown Road, or the Great Road as it was called then. But the southern village, called Germantown, predominated over the others so much that the entire area became known as Germantown. Sommerhausen would eventually be known almost exclusively by its descriptive name of Chestnut Hill.[iv]

At that time the Great Road was still little more than a path that was almost impassable in the winter when it was muddy. Although the center of Philadelphia was only five miles away it took more than two hours to travel there from Germantown. Because of this, Germantown became a meeting place for the rural farmers who did not want to travel all the way to Philadelphia and the merchants of Philadelphia who wanted to trade salt, fish, seeds and dry goods for the produce of the farmers. Inns and stores were strung out along the Great Road.[v]

But Germantown was also filled with craftsmen, most of them German. By 1790 there were seven workshops for every one store in Germantown.[vi] The German immigrants who settled Germantown were a people for whom crafts were commonplace. From the first they spun flax and made linen. Weaving was a big industry in Germantown (cloth, linen and fustian) but there were also tailors, shoemakers, locksmiths and carpenters.[vii]

In Germantown, occupations included the leather crafts, woodworking and building crafts, metal crafts, food preparation, professionals and others. But tax and probate records from 1773 show that fabric crafts was the single biggest occupation; 57 Germantown men listed their occupation as something to do with the fabric crafts. Those working in fabric crafts included stocking weavers, general weavers, tailors, hatters, dyers, fullers and breeches makers.[viii]

Young Frederick Pflieger was one of these persons. He was a blue dyer.[ix] A blue dyer was the equivalent of a master dyer because blue was the most difficult color with which to dye. In the days before synthetic colors were invented, indigo was the source of blue coloring and indigo was difficult to work with. Blue dyers knew how to make the color stick and were a specialized part of the fabric industry.[x]

II

Frederick Pflieger – Blue Dyer

When Frederick Pflieger settled on Chestnut Hill, he bought a small piece of property fronting on the Great Road just below the forks. From what we can tell by looking at contemporary maps, it would today be located on Germantown Avenue between Highland Avenue and Evergreen Avenue on the right side of the street as you head out of Philadelphia toward the suburbs (it is hard to tell if that is north or east). Only one-acre, it originally had a small log house that had been built about fifteen years previously by a butcher named John Slaughter. The property had changed hands multiple times since Slaughter built the house and Pflieger bought the lot from a fellow named Jacob Souder. It is not clear if the dwelling was still a simple logg house or if the house had been replaced.[xi]

The new Pflieger property was next to a substantial two story stone building owned by John Shepherd (whom the Germans called John Schaeffer). Shepherd had purchased the property near the forks in 1738 and had constructed the building to be used as an inn where people traveling to and from Philadelphia could break their journey. Later he added a shop in which he sold goods to the locals as well as the travelers.[xii]

Living next to an inn may have been convenient for Pflieger especially if he was engaging in dye work for persons who weren’t local. Inns were where travelers stopped and that meant wagons and stage coaches stopped too. These vehicles could carry goods as well as passengers. Another Germantown blue-dyer, Jacob Beck, advertised in New Jersey that customers could “send their yarn, cloth, etc.,” to him by leaving it at a local inn in Trenton where the innkeeper would see that it was sent on to him. It is possible that Frederick Pflieger used Shepherd’s inn the same way. [xiii]

Although there is no record that explicitly states that Pflieger had his dye house on his property, there is no indication that he had any other property in the vicinity and most crafts did tend to be done at home. If Pflieger did his blue-dying at his Chestnut Hill property, what would it have been like? Asa Ellis published the first book in the United States on dying in 1798 and gave this advice:

"Your dyehouse should be sixteen or twenty feet square; well furnished with light and placed near a stream; water being essentially necessary for preparing your cloths, and for rinsing them when dyed. The floor should be made of leached ashes and it will soon become hard and render you more secure from fire.

"Your copper, or coppers, should be situated near the centre of the house; and the blue vat, about six feet from the coppers, in which you intend to heat the blue die.

"The size of your blue vat will be in proportion to the business you expect. The common size and dimensions are as follow; viz it should be five feet deep, three feet diameter at the top, and twenty inches at the bottom. Place your vat two feet in the earth, for the sake of conveniency; observe that its cover fit close. …"A copper or caldron is necessary for all dyers. The business cannot be carried on without one or more of them. Your largest copper should contain sixty, or seventy gallons. It should be set in a brick furnace; because that will heat your copper sooner. The top of the furnace, which encloses the copper ought to be six inches thick, so that you may plank the brick work, and nail the lip of the copper to the plank and plaister of the furnace. Then your copper, with care, can be kept clean, which is absolutely necessary.

…"Those, who intend to dye indigo blue, must have an iron kettle, that will hold a pailful, in order to grind indigo; and an iron ball, of twelve pounds weight; one of eighteen pounds is better. [xiv]

Operating a dye house would have been a smelly business because one of the key ingredients in blue dying was urine. The process of preparing the indigo was a delicate process.

The indigo had to be solubilized in order to be suitable for dyeing. In order to be solubilized the indigo had to be reduced or in other words "de-oxygenated." In the early days, the only satisfactory method for carrying this on was by a fermentation process wherein the required reducing conditions were set up. Both bran and madder as well as urine each contributed its own ferments and bacteria. One fermenting ingredient might give quick reducing action and then lose its power whereas another material might be slower but last longer. Hence the use of a combination of natural ingredients which would contribute various ferments to the bath. Only through long experience could a vat dyer tell when conditions were right. To plague him even more, the natural materials such as bran and madder varied from lot to lot in their fermenting power. An indigo vat had to be nurtured and tended as carefully as one might a child. The vat required the dyer's constant attention and care. No vat dyer of the old days could listen to a five o'clock whistle. In fact, the dyer's living quarters often were attached to the dyehouse so that he could constantly watch his vat and keep it in "the best of health."[xv]

That last sentence tells us that Frederick Pflieger’s dye house was probably on the one acre lot with the little log house.

Next to Pflieger, along the Great Road, was a three acre lot bought in 1751 by Jasper Scull son of the provincial Surveyor General. Scull was a blacksmith and built a small house on the property.[xvi] But in 1758 the Sculls sold the property to Martin Erdman, a shoemaker. It isn’t clear if this happened before or after the Pfliegers moved to Chestnut Hill. Martin Erdman lived until 1798 and his son stayed on Chestnut Hill, so the Erdmans would have been fixtures in the lives of the Pfliegers.[xvii]

Behind Pflieger, without any frontage on the Great Road, was a small tract of land with a house that had originally been built by the husband of one of John Slaughter’s daughters, Andrew Campbell, who was a carpenter. Presumably Campbell was still living there when the Pfliegers moved in although his wife, who is not listed in her father’s 1759 will, was probably dead. John Slaughter had another daughter, Elizabeth, who married in 1758, the year the Pflieger’s moved in. Her husband was Michael Millberger “a young victualler from the city” and, in 1760, Campbell sold the land to Millberger who was buying up land during that year. It isn’t clear if the Millbergers lived on that land or one of the other pieces of land that Millberger owned near that portion of the road, although if Campbell was a decent carpenter it was probably a fairly nice house. [xviii]

III

Frederick Pflieger and his Neighbors

The early years in Chestnut Hill could not have been easy for the Pfliegers. The winter of 1759 was severe and included a March snow that lasted 18 hours.[xix] There was also a war going on. The English colonists of Pennsylvania were fighting the French and Indians as part of a great world war known in Europe as the Seven Years War. The attacks by the French and Indians did not reach as far as Philadelphia, but it would have been a time of anxiety as travelers brought back news from the western reaches of Pennsylvania where fighting was going on.

In 1763, with the war finally over, the Pfliegers found they had a new neighbor. John Shepherd had sold his inn and his other acreage to Samuel Bachman, a saddler and innkeeper from Northhampton County.[xx]

That year also saw the opening of the first stagecoach line that went all the way to Bethlehem from Philadelphia. The stage stopped near the forks twice a week, on the way to and from Bethlehem.[xxi] Perhaps the Great Road had been improved as part of the war and could now handle wheeled traffic better than before.

Bachman only kept the Shepherd property a little more than ten years. In addition to running the tavern/inn, Bachman was a skin dresser. In 1774 he sold the portion of the property nearest the Pfliegers to Henry Cress, a hatter who had lived in the Chestnut Hill community a long time.[xxii] According to local lore, Cress continued to operate an inn while he carried on his trade as a hatter. In those days hatters worked mainly with animal skins, particularly beaver skins. The guard hairs of the beaver pelts would be removed by hand and then the remaining fur would be removed via a process using mercury. The removed fur, called fluff, was processed into hats. The hats would eventually be dyed.[xxiii] Perhaps Henry Cress worked with Frederick Pflieger to dye his hats.

Bachman sold the remainder of the Shepherd property to John Biddis, who like him was a skin dresser.[xxiv] Biddis would work with tanned or partially tanned hides and finish them with dye and glaze. Again, perhaps Frederick Pflieger worked with Biddis in dying his finished skins. One can only imagine what this portion of Chestnut Hill smelled like with Pflieger operating a dye house, Cress creating hats and Biddis dressing skins. Any smell must not have bothered the locals and travelers because, in addition to his principal trade, Biddis also operated a tavern called “The Bonny Jockey” on his premises.

IV

War Comes to Chestnut Hill

In 1775, Elizabeth Millberger, the neighbor of the Pfliegers, died.[xxv] Then, in April 1775 news reached Chestnut Hill of the altercations in the Massachusetts Bay colony between the colonists and the British army. Meetings were called to discuss the matter in Germantown.[xxvi] Whether Frederick Pflieger, Henry Cress and John Biddis attended the meeting is not known. Over the next year and a half the residents would learn that the British colonies were declaring independence from Britain, the colonial army had held off the British army in Massachusetts, the British had taken New York and, finally, armies were converging on Philadelphia.

In 1777 a Militia Act was passed ordering the enrollment of all able bodied men between the ages of 18 and 53. The new recruits in Chestnut Hill were made part of the First Company of the 2nd Battalion of the Philadelphia County Militia. The First Company was further divided into classes which were to be called into service in rotation. Frederick Pflieger was in the 6th Class.[xxvii] The first three classes were called up in the beginning of the summer.

Washington arrived at the beginning of August and on August 8, 1777 the residents of Germantown and Chestnut Hill watched as 11,000 troops made their way from Philadelphia to Whitemarsh. The troops would have passed in front of the Pflieger’s home. The object was for the troops to encamp at Whitemarsh but news that General Howe was advancing caused a change in plans. The fourth class was called up to assist[xxviii].

Washington’s army was defeated at the Brandywine and marched back through Germantown in defeat a week later. The 5th and 6th classes, which included Frederick Pflieger, were called out to build “small redoubts” along the Schuylkill. The Great Road was filled with people fleeing Philadelphia.[xxix]

For a week, there was no news. Then on September 23, 1777 came word that the British were marching on Germantown. The defenses had not held. Two days later, on September 25 the predominantly German-speaking people of Chestnut Hill watched a column of the British Army go past heading into the village of Germantown. As the British Army settled into Germantown and September turned into October, the people tried to go on with their lives. The 5th company with Frederick Pflieger was still presumably out with the colonial army while the people of Chestnut Hill made hay.[xxx]

Then on the morning of October 4, 1777, the people of Chestnut Hill woke to find that Washington was sending troops down the Great Road into Germantown. The Battle of Germantown had begun. Fortunately for the Pfliegers and their neighbors, Chestnut Hill was far enough away from the village of Germantown that they sustained no damage.

Washington’s action was unsuccessful and eventually the colonial troops streamed back past the Chestnut Hill residents in defeat, pursued by some British troops. On October 17 the British requisitioned all the horses in the area and entered Philadelphia. As the British moved out of Germantown the colonial forces cautiously moved in, leaving a force at Henry Cress’ place next door to the Pfliegers.[xxxi]

On October 22, 1777, the 7th and 8th classes were called out because the tours of the 5th and 6th classes were due to expire. Frederick Pflieger presumably came home with the others who had survived. Despite the nearby battle of Germantown, he would have found that Chestnut Hill had not suffered much damage.

The fortunes of the Chestnut Hill residents would change when, on December 5, 1777, General Howe, knowing the state of Washington’s army, decided to attack the American forces. 12,000 British troops headed to Chestnut Hill. In the lead were troops led by General Cornwallis.

Arriving at the forks about eight in the morning, the British Army halted to survey the situation. . Entering Matthias Busch’s house, General Howe found Matthias’ son Solomon in bed recovering from wounds received in battle and Matthias’ wife an expectant mother. Posting guards over the invalid and threatening the poor woman, General Howe established temporary headquarters in the place.

Once established on Chestnut Hill, Howe didn’t move at once.

All during the 6th, the Army lay at Chestnut Hill, threatening such inhabitants as ventured out of doors, invading the houses of the defenseless villagers to ransack them for hidden arms and supplies … Informed by some disaffected person that Henry Cress’ house had been used as barracks by the outpost, the British plundered the house and set it afire.[xxxii]

After the war was over, Henry Cress’ widow Amelia would ask for restitution, stating that “during the invasion, the valuable house her husband owned near Germantown was occupied as a barrack by the Continental troops [and] that by information to the enemy it was consumed by fire.” In fact two of Henry Cress’s buildings were destroyed by fire. The damage to the Cress place was placed at ₤1275, second only to a claim by Julius Kerper who had one of the “best developed” farms in the area. The area near the forks appears to have been hard hit. Cress’s neighbor, Frederick Pflieger, claimed damages of ₤200 as did Pflieger’s neighbor on the other side, Martin Erdman. Michael Millberger estimated a loss of about ₤680 although it is not clear from which property. [xxxiii]

Eventually the British moved off the hill. But the war wasn’t over for Chestnut Hill. Through the winter the British passed along the Great Road regularly. Then in the spring, 2,000 British troops appeared at the forks. Although battle sounds could be heard in the distance, the troops on Chestnut Hill did not move.

It was not until later that the hill learned that the entire operation had been part of an abortive attempt by General Howe to surprise and trap the French general Lafayette who had been established with a fair force as an outpost at the Barren Hill church.

This was the last major action that Chestnut Hill and the Pfliegers witnessed. By July of 1778 the British had evacuated Philadelphia and the Continental Army was off in pursuit. But although the military was finished with Chestnut Hill the inhabitants were still affected by the war, especially because of the requisitioning of supplies and the devaluing of the continental currency.

The residents of Chestnut Hill tried to pick up the pieces left from the British. Some people left. John Biddis bought the small bit of property between his property and Henry Cress’s property that had a two story stone house on it which had been occupied by Michael Berndollar. The Hausers moved to Lancaster, so if Mrs. Hauser was Frederick Pflieger’s sister he lost a nearby family member. Although the militias were still called out, it seems that many men from Chestnut Hill preferred to pay the fines than to leave their homes.[xxxiv]

V

After the War

In 1783, with the war over, changes started to come to Chestnut Hill. John Biddis decided to move to Philadelphia and sell his property, presumably including the two story stone house he had purchased from Berndollar. Biddis, in addition to operating the Tavern and practicing the art of skin dressing was also a tinkerer. He invented a new white lead paint and decided to move to the city to exploit this idea.[xxxv] In July 1784, Frederick Pflieger purchased the portion of the Biddis place that had been the tavern for ₤425 and he and his wife moved down the road. Four years later they purchased the remainder of the property for ₤300. They rented their original property to their daughter Christiana and her new husband, Conrad Scheetz. They were married on November 11, 1784 at St. Michael’s church in Germantown.[xxxvi]

The origins of Conrad Scheetz are almost as much of a mystery as the origins of Frederick Pflieger. Conrad Scheetz came to Chestnut Hill during the revolution but it is not clear why. Although there were other residents on Chestnut Hill with the name of Scheetz (or, sometimes, Schutz), it does not appear that Conrad Scheetz was related to them. Among the group of original Crefeld investors who had purchased land from William Penn, one was named Scheetz but, although he purchased the land, he never emigrated and his wife eventually sold it back to the investor group. Some think that the various Scheetz families who showed up in Pennsylvania over the next fifty years were related to him and, so, indirectly related to each other. But this is simply a guess, no one ever proved it.

Conrad Scheetz was a hatter by trade. Of course the Pfliegers’ neighbor, Henry Cress, was also a hatter by trade so it seems probable Christiana Pflieger met Conrad Scheetz through Henry Cress.[xxxvii]

Some say Conrad Scheetz was the son of a papermaker named Scheetz who had settled in Germantown in 1737 and then moved away. But others say he is the Conrad Scheetz who emigrated aboard the ship Loyal Judith in 1743.[xxxviii] If he was, then he may have been as old as, or older than, Frederick Pflieger who may have immigrated in 1753 which might account for why Christiana outlived him by so long. According to Conrad Scheetz’ grandchildren, Conrad Scheetz was originally from Philadelphia and then moved to Germantown. Perhaps he was displaced by the war. According to his great-grandson Grier Scheetz, Conrad had two brothers, Philip (who settled in Montgomery County) and Jacob (who settled in Berks County). [xxxix]

On December 12, 1785, Christiana Scheetz gave birth to George Scheetz.[xl] When George was five years old, in 1790, his parents, who had been renting the house in Chestnut Hill from the Pfliegers, purchased the property for ₤22. They would also eventually buy the old Millberger property next door, giving them a frontage of 150 feet on the Great Road.[xli] According to the 1790 Federal Census Conrad Scheetz was living in Germantown in a household with four free white males of 16 years or older, three white males under the age of 16 years and 1 free white female. The female was obviously Christiana and the three children were George and his brothers Johannes and Jacob. One of the men was Conrad. Who were the three other men? They could have been workers. Or maybe at least one was related to Conrad or Christiana. The census records at the time have no additional information.

Christiana Scheetz’ father, Frederick Pflieger, died on November 19, 1806 according to probate records (according to his tombstone in St. Michael’s churchyard he died November 20, 1806, aged 80 years, 2 months and 18 days). His will was probated on January 2, 1807 in the Germantown Township, City of Philadelphia. He left the profit of his estate to his wife Christiana (that means she could use all the property but not sell it). After her death, the executors were to sell the “house wherein I dwell in Germantown Township” and the proceeds from the sale were to go to his son Godfrey “Pfleager”, his daughter Sarah Dedier (making clear that her husband Peter Dedier was to have no claim) and his grandson John Dedier. He also left a legacy to his daughter Christiana, the wife of Conrad “Schuetz”. The residue of the estate was to go to his sons George and Godfrey and his daughters Sarah and Christiana. His executors were his wife Christiana and his nephew George Jarrett. (We have not traced the connection to the Jarretts yet). The will was witnessed by, among others, George Cress who must have been the son of Henry Cress.[xlii]

We do not know how long his wife Christiana lived after Frederick died. Conrad Scheetz is said to have died not long after his father-in-law, in 1812.[xliii] We do not know when Christiana Pflieger Scheetz died, only that she survived Conrad by “many years”. Their son, George Scheetz, would also become a hatter but would eventually move to Bucks County where he became a teacher and was a founding member of Keller’s Church. He has descendents throughout Bucks County but one grandson, Iron Scheetz, moved west to St. Louis giving him descendents west of the Mississippi also.


[i]Strassberger and Hinke, Pennsylvania German Pioneers, Volume I, 531-53-55, Lists201-A-B-C.

[ii]Roach, Hannah Benner. The Back Part of Germantown: A Reconstruction. The Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, Monograph Series No. 7 (2001), p. 29. I tried to trace the Hausers to see if that would lead me anywhere but could find nothing.

[iii] Wills: Abstracts, Book 2 - Part A: 1806 - 1807: Philadelphia Co, PA , see will of Frederick Pflueger. There may, of course, have been other children who did not survive but these are the only children listed in his will.

[iv]Wolf, Stephanie Grauman, Urban Village: Population, Community and Family Structure in Germantown Pennsylvania, 1683-1800, Princeton University Press Princeton New Jersey 1976, p. 23.

[v] Wolf, p. 25.

[vi] Wolf, p. 103.

[vii] Wolf, p. 105

[viii] Wolf, p. 107

[ix] Roach, p. 29. The age of Pflieger can be computed from his tombstone. It was apparently the custom among the Pennsylvania Germans to put the exact number of years, months and days that the deceased had lived. Roach, per her footnotes, must have gotten her information on his profession from the Pennsylvania deed books which we’ve not been able to examine.

[x] Edelstein, Sidney, Coppers, Kettles and Vats: Equipment in Early Dyehouses, Transcribed from The American Dyestuff Reporter Vol 44, April 1955.

[xi] Roach, p. 29 and pp. 9-10. Roach’s book is the result of her examination of all the deed records for Chestnut Hill in the early years. The deed, which we have not yet been able to see, must describe the dwelling on the property. The original owner of the property was John Streeper William Streeper had come to Germantown with the first batch of settlers in 1683 and his land grant was very large. One of his children was John Streeper who ended up with a great deal of property. The land was mostly farmland and when Streeper died in 1740 his widow began selling off pieces including the one acre lot sold to John Slaughter in 1741 and the adjoining land sold to John Shepherd for use as an inn. It was Slaughter who erected a “logg house” on the lot. Streeper’s widow also sold a small half-acre lot below the Shepherd property to Samuel Channel. Later, Streeper’s son sold nine acres of land on the other side of the Channel property to Shepherd, and Shepherd used a narrow passage across the back of Channel’s lot to reach that property. Later part of this lower Shepherd land was sold to John Biddis who erected the tavern on it that Pflieger bought in his later years. According to Roach, the present Highland Avenue runs through part of the Channel property. In 1750 the Slaughters sold their lot and furnishings to a John Bertholt who must have been a speculator because he only held it ten days. (I suspect he was a creditor of Slaughter’s.) He sold it to John Rudolph of Roxborough who held it for three years and then sold the property to George Sterner. In 1753 Sterner sold the property to Jacob Souder. In 1758 Pflieger bought the lot from Souder.

[xii] Roach, p. 9. There is no explanation for why the Germans’ called Shepherd “Schaeffer”.

[xiii] http://trentonhistory.org/His/landmarks.html (See reference to the tavern called The Indian King).

[xiv]See, Edelstein.

[xv] See, Edelstein.

[xvi] Roach, p. 20 descrbes the purchase of the Scull land from William Streeper and the transfer of land to Campbell, p. 20 describes the sale to Martin Erdman .

[xvii] Roach, p. 65 gives the date of death of Erdman and transfer of the land to his son Andrew Erdman.

[xviii] Roach, pp. 20-21 describes the Campbell purchase and presumed death of Campbell’s wife; pp. 28-29 describes the various Millberger transactions.

[xix] Roach, p. 20

[xx] Roach, p. 32.

[xxi] Roach, p. 35.

[xxii] Roach, p. 45 describes the transaction with Henry Cress and his longevity on Chestnut Hill.

[xxiii] See, Tunis, Edwin, Colonial Craftsmen and the Beginnings of American Industry. The Johns Hopkins University Press (June 17, 1999) for a description of the art of colonial hatmaking.See also, http://www.whiteoak.org/learning/furhat.htm

[xxiv] Roach, p. 44 describes the transfers of the Bachman land to Cress, and Biddis. The old Channel property between Cress and Biddis was now owned by Michael Berndollar who was also a skin dresser..

[xxv] Roach, p. 45, fn. 141 states that Elizabeth Millberger aged 41 was buried in St. Michael’s Lutheran Cemetery on February 9, 1775.

[xxvi] Roach, p. 45 describes the news of the Revolution reaching Chestnut Hill.

[xxvii] Roach, pp 47-48 describes the Militia Act; see fn. 149 regarding the composite roll of the company and the Pennsylvania archives.

[xxviii] Roach, pp. 48-49 describes the passage of the troops.

[xxix] Roach, p. 49; fn 154 gives citations for the work of the 5th and 6th classes.

[xxx] Roach, p. 49-50; The haymaking was the week of September 27.

[xxxi] Roach pp. 50-51 describe the further activity by the British; see fn. 158 regarding billeting at Henry Cress’s place.

[xxxii]Roach, pp. 51-53 describes Howe’s intrustion upon Chestnut Hill which Roach claims comes from Ancient and Modern Germantown, by Hotchkiss.

[xxxiii] Roach, p. 53 and p. 51 fn. 158 describe the damage claims.

[xxxiv] Roach, pp. 55-56 deals with the remainder of the war.

[xxxv] Scharf, John Thomas, History of Philadelphia 1609-1884, L.H. Evarts & Co. (Philadelphia, 1884) p. 2229.

[xxxvi]Roach, p. 59.

[xxxvii] Roach, p. 59. All of Conrad’s grandchildren recalled that he was a hatter.

[xxxviii] Davis, pp. 383-384.

[xxxix] Battle, A History of Bucks County p. 1082 contains the recollections of Grier Scheetz. He recollects that his great- grandfather Conrad came from Germany and was one of three brothers: Philip, Jacob and Conrad. Philip settled in Montgomery County, Jacob settled in Berks County and Conrad settled in Philadelphia. Grier’s father was Charles and his grandfather was George Scheetz. Grier’s uncles Samuel (p. 1062), Edwin (p. 1062)) and Albert (p. 872) merely recollects that Conrad came “at an early date from Germany” and settled in Philadelphia. Grier’s father, Charles, (p. 744) recollected that Conrad “came from Germany and settled in Philadelphia, whence he went to Germantown, but later returned to the former place, where he died.” Since Grier is the next generation it is not clear why he would know more than his father and his uncles but maybe he did. In any event, the Philadelphia Directory for 1811 (the year before Conrad died) shows Conrad Scheetz, hatter, at 415 North Front Street (p. 278).

[xl] Conrad and Christiana Scheetz would eventually have eleven children: George (December 12, 1785); Johannes Georg (August 21, 1786); Jacob (September 19, 1788); William (Wilhelm) (November 25, 1793); Elizabeth (November 28, 1795), Maria (April 15, 1798), Charles (Carolus) (March 15, 1800), Christina (December 14, (1801), Samuel (February 23, 1804), Sarah (no known date) and Christina Jacobina (August 20, 1806). See Records of St. Michael’s Evangelical Lutheran Church Germantown 1741-1841 Volume I compiled and edited by Frederick S. Weiser and Debra D. Smith GGRS, Picton Press, Rockport Maine 1998 and tombstone of George Scheetz. The Christina who was born in 1801 died April 10, 1804 per her tombstone in St. Michael’s churchyard. The information about Sarah and Samuel comes from Grier Scheetz’ biography in Battle’s A History of Bucks County. Grier says that Conrad had eight children: Sarah, Eliza and Mary; and Smauel, Jacob, William, Charles and George. Perhaps Sarah was really the last Christina that didn’t die. Samuel is a mystery but there is no Johannes listed in Grier’s memory.

[xli] Roach, pp. 59-60. Roach identifies Conrad as the son of Conrad Scheetz the papermaker but there is no documentary evidence of this. Roach does cite certain records in the Orphans books but this seems inconclusive. The Millbergers had sold their property in 1781 to Michael Friedly and in 1791 Friedly sold the property to George Consor who was married to Michael Millberger’s daughter Barbara. Six months later the Consors sold to Conrad Scheetz.

[xlii] Wills: Abstracts, Book 2 - Part A: 1806 - 1807: Philadelphia Co, PA

[xliii] I am not sure where the date 1812 came from, I'm still checking that out.