Johann Jacob Christman (1711 - 1761)

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Birthplace: Wurtemburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Death: Died in Milford, Northampton, PA,
Managed by: Brian Christman
Last Updated:

About Johann Jacob Christman

Jacob Christman from Germany:There were apparently a several Christman families on at least 3 ships over several years. They were from Palatine, Germany. Jacob and his wife came over in 1736 and seem to be on the first of the ships. As their ship held 330 men (they didn't count the women), you can imagine quite a few from Germany were on board.


You can look it up on Google Maps (Zweibrücken, Zweibrücken, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany) if you are interested. This is southwest of Frankfort and northwest of Strasbourg.

http://maps.google.com/maps?tab=ml

for background of Jacob and Eva Margaret see "Early Christman Ancestors in Pennsylvania" on http://home.stny.rr.com/wniehoff/roots/christmans_in_pa.htm

Jacob Christman1 was born in 1711 in Würtemburg, a former German state.  The region is a part of the present-day state of Baden-Würtemburg, whose capital is Stuttgart.  To the northwest, also along Germany's present-day border with France is the state Rhineland-Palatinate (Rhenish Palatinate), whose capital is Mainz.  These lands often saw territorial and religious conflict.

Immigration

"This Province has been for some years the asylum of the distressed Protestants of the Palatinate and other parts of Germany; and I believe it may with truth be said that the present flourishing condition of it is in great measure owing to the Industry of those people; and should any discouragement divert them from coming hither, it may well be apprehended that the value of your Lands will fall, and your Advances to wealth be much slower; for it is not altogether the goodness of the soil, but the Number and Industry of the People that make a flourishing Country." per Governor George Thomas 1738


In the late Seventeenth Century, during the War of the Grand Alliance (1689-97), Louis XIV's troops ravaged this region, beginning the flood of early German settlers to America (the Pennsylvania Dutch). Eventually, during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, some of the region would be incorporated into France. Portions would change hands again following every major conflict since. Part of the problem was Catholic-Protestant religious conflict - the Rhenish Palatine was a center of the German Reformation.

Although life in the Palatine was undoubtedly unsettled around 1736, it does not appear to have been a time of crisis. So, the reasons for Jacob Christman's decision to emigrate can only be speculated. But it is known that, in the period between 1728 and 1751, agents (known as Neulaenders) for passenger ships swarmed the Palatine looking to fill orders for ship-owners.2 Those who were convinced by the sales pitches to emigrate often did not have the money to pay for their passage or "grub stake." In many cases, they "sold themselves" to the ship's owner as Redemptioners before they embarked. Upon arrival at Philadelphia, a Redemptioner was sold at public auction (typically for £10) and entered servitude to the buyer for 5-10 years.

The fact is that Jacob Christman left from Rotterdam, via Cowes, to America in that year aboard the ship Princess Augustus, Samuel Merchant, Master3. The ship arrived in the port of Philadelphia on September 16, 1736. The Master's report states that the number of "Palatines with their families" is "in all 330." There listed is Jacob Christman, age 25. Jacob Christman appeared at the Court House in Philadelphia, where he took the oaths required of all immigrants, and, on all documents, he wrote his name Jacob Christman.

Jacob Christman settled with other German immigrants in Upper Milford Township, Northampton County.1 (Northampton County was later partitioned, and the place where Jacob settled would become Lehigh County, as it is known today.) He settled in a place close to the Berks County line known as Sigmund's Furnace. The Jacob Christman Homestead was a land grant executed by Thomas and Richard Penn.

Marriage

It is known that Jacob Christman married Eva Margaret (surname unknown), but no marriage date is recorded. However, their first child was born about 1738; hence it is likely that they were married soon after Jacob's arrival in 1736. However, it is altogether possible that they arrived together, having been married in Germany.

Their Family

Eva Elizabeth (b. c. 1738, d. ?) married Melchior Baer Jr. (b. 6 Jan 1726, d. 2 Feb 1773), a native of Zwiebrücken in the Palatinate. (His body reposes in a small cemetery near the Reformed Church, Zionsville, Lehigh County.) She was considerably younger (16 years) than her husband.4

John George (b. c. 1742, d. Oct 1801). Children were John, George, Philip, Elizabeth, Salome, Catherine, David, Gertrude, Daniel, and Joseph.

Jacob (b. 3 Sep, 1744, d. 13 Nov 1811).

Susanna (b. Jul 1748, d. 22 Jun 1813).

John (b. c. 1750, d. c. 1779)

Philip (b. 18 Aug 1755, d. 19 Jun 1809).

Henry (b. 9 Jul 1758, d. 21 Nov 1842).

from the website: http://home.stny.rr.com/wniehoff/roots/christman_properties.htm

 go to the website for pictures

Early Christman Properties in Pennsylvania

Jacob Christman's Homestead

In a deed1 executed October 9, 1760 (recorded December 18) and signed by James Hamilton, Lieutenant Governor, Thomas and Richard Penn, Governors in Chief of Pennsylvania, conveyed to Jacob Christman 150 acres of land in Berks County (partially in Upper Milford Township, Northampton County):

Beginning at a marked Black Oak Saplin thence by Land of John Tecter jun. and vacant Land North West two hundred and twelve perches to a stone, thence by vacant Land South West One hundred and twenty perches to a stone in a line of George Sailor's Land, thence by the same and vacant Land South East two hundred and twelve perches to a post in a line of John Westkay's Land thence by the same North East One hundred and twenty perches to the blace of beginning, Containing one hundred and fifty Acres of Land and the usual allowance of six Acres. $, Cents for roads and Highways.

The price paid was 23 pounds, five shillings.

Charles Kerchner is undoubtedly the Dean of Christman Genealogy Research, and he has identified the location of the original Christman homestead. See http://www.kerchner.com/christman/jacobchristmanland.htm .

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The Christman Mill


Location of the Christman Mill, a few miles south of Macungie, Pa.

Source: millanno.psd.

Image courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey and Terraserver.

Christman's Mill is a four-story building less than one-half mile from the northern border of Hereford Township, Berks County.2 It is located on the north side of Weaver Road (Township Route T922) where Perkiomen Creek crosses the road west of the intersections of T922, T893, and T916. Nearby is a five-way intersection:

T922 is Weaver Road to the northwest and Deer Hill Road to the southeast.

T916 is Five Points Road to the southwest and Sigmund Road to the northeast.

T893 is Township Road to the west.

Across the road from the mill is a house.

 

The Christman Mill, from the road looking east. In the back, looking southwest.

Philip purchased the property from Peter Keyser and his wife on March 20, 1801. (Prior to this, the mill was in the hands of the Buzzard family and was known as "Buzzard's Mill.") Philip sold the mill to son Henry (John Henry) on May 8, 1805 . In 1830, Henry sold it to his son Jacob.

In 1850 Jacob tore down the old log cabin and in 1857 the old log mill, which was 36 x 44 feet. He then built the stone structure still standing. (Jacob's brother Jonas was also a miller, and all three of Jacob's sons became millers in Berks and Lehigh Counties.)

Young men were said to gather at the Christman mill:3

At this mill it was customary for the young heroes of the neighborhood to stand on top of a half bushel measure and then shoulder three bushels of grain. This accomplished the fellow would get inside the half bushel measure, provided his feet were not too big, and do the trick all over again.

One day a young man six feet tall, with broad shoulders and muscles, came along and took three three-bushel sacks of wheat, placed one bag on one shoulder, the second bag on the other shoulder and then bridged the two bags with the third and walked up a flight of stairs to the floor above. This same man hung what was termed in those milling days a "fifty-six" to his little finger and wrote his name on the white-washed wall.

By 1866, Philip's grandson Jacob (born 27 Mar 1802) was proprietor of the mill. On March 30 (Good Friday), 1866, Jacob fell out from the upper door of the mill upon a discarded mill stone used as a step at the entrance to the mill and was instantly killed.4 Jacob's son James then became owner, and he passed it to his son Calvin J. Christman, great-great-grandson of Philip. In 1990, the mill was owned by Dr. Nicholas O. Prusack.5

 

A ground-level window on the southeast side. Image gain boosted inside the boundaries of the window. Is there something floating in there?

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The Swabia Creek Farm

When John Henry Christman (son of Philip and Anna Margaret) was a young man, he went to Montgomery County where he became a miller.6 Soon afterwards, he married and moved to a mill near Sigmund's Furnace. Later he moved to a farm on Swabia Creek located midway between Macungie and Alburtis on the line of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad. His father, Philip, sold on May 18, 1805 unto "Henry Christman, son, a miller," the property in Hereford Township, Berks County known as Christman's Mill. The property consisted of a grist mill, saw mill, water rights and course, and two tracts of land comprising 66 acres plus 126 perches.


The farm of John Henry, handed down to Jonas, was described as being on Swabia Creek midway between Alburtis and Macungie and along the railroad. The eastern edge of Alburtis appears on the extreme left of the strip, and the western edge of Macungie appears on the extreme right. The railroad runs west-to-east through about three-quarters of the strip. Although difficult to see here, Swabia Creek enters the picture from the south along the first north-south road (Chestnut Road/Church Street) on the left (along the right side of the dark woods). It makes a hard eastern turn where the road intersects the railroad and runs eastwardly along the railroad. At the point where the second north-south road (SchoeneckRoad) intersects the railroad, the creek crosses the road and then the railroad running northeastwardly through the dark woods (exiting the photo). It then re-enters the picture, crossing the third north-south road (Orchard Road) roughly midway between the railroad and the top edge of the photo. (This location, between the railroad and the creek, is an excellent candidate for the farm. See A on the Reference Map below.) Looping southerly toward the railroad and then northerly, it continues generally parallel and to the north of the railroad until it crosses the fourth north-south road (Gehman Road) off the top of the photo. Then, it immediately turns south east and flows into Macungie (immediately to the north of the large building at the top right of the photo).

Source: alburtis-macungie.psd

Image courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey and Terraserver.

 

A promising candidate for the Swabia Creek Farm, including the barn and farmhouse shown here, is located on the west side of the segment of Orchard Road between the railroad and the creek. (See A on the Reference Map below.)


Another farm is located on Orchard Road, but is halfway between the railroad crossing and Mountain Road. (See B on the Reference Map below.) The lettering on the barn says "1840 T. R. BAATZ 1971."

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Aaron Christman's Farm

Aaron Christman is known to have owned a farm "on the mountain road" between Macungie and Alburtis. Today, that road is known as "Mountain Road."

 

These two houses are on the segment of Mountain Road closest to Alburtis (between Chestnut Road and Schoeneck Road). (See C on the Reference Map below.)

 

This house is on the north side of Mountain Road between Schoeneck Road and Orchard Road. The barn is immediately across the road. (See D on the Reference Map below.)


This farmhouse is located on the north side of Mountain Road between Orchard Road and Gehman Road. (See E on the Reference Map below.)

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Reference Map

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Footnotes and Cited References:

Recorded in the Office for recording of deeds for the City and County of Philadelphia in the Book A.A Vol. a Page 125 December 1760.

The Christman Mill can be reached by traveling southeast out of Macungie on Route 100. About a quarter mile past the intersection where Route 100 merges with Route 29, turn right at the sign for St. Peter's Church. After about three miles, pass St. Peter's on the right and, at the intersection about a quarter mile past the church, turn left onto what is Weaver Road. (This is a four-way intersection. There is an earlier left-hand turn at a three-way intersection. If you pass Salem Church on your left, you've taken the too-early turn.) The mill is about .8 mile away at the bottom of the hill where the creek crosses the road. If you reach the five-way intersection shown in the photo above, you're traveled about a quarter mile too far.

Among the Older Mills, Pennsylvania German Society, p 21.

Magunshie Thal (Macungie Valley)

Dr. Nicholas O. Prusack, DDS, Foxglove Farm Ltd., P.O. Box 121. (His office is at 1251 S. Cedar Crest Blvd., Allentown, PA, (610) 821-7021.)

History of the Counties of Lehigh and Carbon in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Alfred Mathews and Austin N. Hungerford, 1884, p 332. (Reproduced 1995 by Lehigh Gap Historical Society.)

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Johann Jacob Christman's Timeline

1711
1711
Wurtemburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
1738
1738
Age 27
1741
1741
Age 30
1742
1742
Age 31
1744
August 29, 1744
Age 33
1748
July, 1748
Age 37
July, 1748
Age 37
1750
1750
Age 39
1755
August 18, 1755
Age 44
Upper Milford Lehigh, Pennsylvania
1758
July 9, 1758
Age 47
Upper Milford, Lehigh, PA