Hans Hauri "the Woolweaver"

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Hans Hauri "the Woolweaver"'s Geni Profile

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Hans Hauri

Also Known As: "Hans J. Houwery"
Birthplace: Schöftland, Kulm District, Aargau, Switzerland
Death: 1717
Amsterdam, Government of Amsterdam, North Holland, The Netherlands
Immediate Family:

Son of Melchior Hauri and Verena Hauri
Husband of Elsbeth Hauri and Anna Maria Hauri
Father of Hans Howry; Ulrich "Uli" Hauri; Jakob Hauri; Salome Daetwyler; Hans Ulrich* Howry and 1 other
Brother of Ulrich "Uli" Hauri; Baschi Hauri and Elsbeth Hauri

Occupation: Wool weaver
Managed by: Paul Hildebrandt
Last Updated:

About Hans Hauri "the Woolweaver"

The Hans Hauri who was baptized 25 December 1641 in Schöftland was probably a Mennonite and is the best candidate for the Hans who left Switzerland in 1711.

He is a good candidate for several reasons. His marriages were not recorded at Schöftland -- Mennonites resisted marriage in the established church. He left no descendants in the Schöftland area; indeed, the family disappears about 1700. Hans the Mennonite emigrated to Alsace in 1707. He would have been 69 when he emigrated, but he had sons Hans and Ulrich who are the right age to have married upon reaching Pennsylvania about 1717. Finally, his wife Elsbeth Widmer probably belonged to those Widmers who, with the Hauris, were a locally prominent Mennonite family. However, this Hans does not have the middle initial "J, " which is shown for the Mennonite Hans in Dutch records.

Another possibility is the Hans Jacob Hauri born 7 August 1670 in Reitnau, Aargau Canton, Switzerland, son of Hans Hauri and Maria Bachman. This Hans (born 1670) married Elizabeth Meuller. He disappears from local records in the early 1700s (Lerdall).

A Jakob Hauri left Hirschthal in 1696/7. He paid an immigration tax of 16 florins (generally about 3/16 of the whole propery), indicating that he was very well-off. He was probably a relative of this Hans.

The Hauris at Hirschthal in Schöftland Parish embraced the Mennonite faith from its earliest introduction to that area. The faith began in 1523 and was named for a leading spokesman, Menno Simmons. The Mennonites are part of a larger group of similar sects (Radical Protestants) collectively known as Anabaptists or, in America, as Pennsylvania Dutch.

At the time of the Reformation the common people of a given area were required to conform to the faith of their ruler. Since no ruler in Europe adopted the Radical Protestant faith, these people were persecuted everywhere except the Netherlands and Moravia (now in Czechoslovakia). The Swiss were expected to conform to the religion established in their canton. Some of the cantons remained Catholic, while others were Calvinist (Presbyterian or Congregationalist). Bern, which ruled the Aargau during this time, was Calvinist. None of the cantons permitted freedom of religion to Mennonites.

The oligarchic patriciat that governed Bern and its subject territories issued oppression mandates against the Mennonites in 1693, 1695, 1707, and 1709. These mandates prohibited Mennonites from leaving the country, prohibited non- Mennonites from purchasing the property of Mennonites (who might then secretly leave the country), and imposed fines and imprisonment on Mennonites who held religious meetings or preached their faith. Many Mennonites were sent as slaves to the galleys for breach of these laws. Hans Hauri of Staffelbach was ordered to pay a fine of 100 florin for his sister who had secretly fled to Moravia.

After the Thirty Years' War (a religious war between Catholics and Protestants throughout Europe) many Mennonites left Switzerland to settle in Alsace and the depopulated Palatinate (Pfalz), particularly in 1671. Those remaining in Switzerland rallied around the Bachmann family in Bottenwyl and the Hauri family at Waldgraben in Uerkheim Parish which borders on Schöftland. These Mennonites met at Schöftland and at Kulm, places near the border, over which they could escape if their middle of the night meetings were discovered.

Although the Mennonites were persecuted by the government at Bern and were required to have their children baptized in the established church, no baptism records have been found for Hans' sons. Steiner suggests that Hans might not have been living in his home town at the time his sons were born. If this is true then it will be nearly impossible to trace this family except by accident. It seems clear however that the best place to look would in Waldgraben in Uerkheim. The cantonal archives of Aargau states that there was no Hauri family in Uerkheim, but nevertheless cites an Uli Hauri who was condemned there for having illegitimate relations. This was the manner in which the government characterized the marriages of Mennonites which did not have the sanction of the government church.

Under the 1707 Oppression Mandate the Government at Bern repealed the law forbidding the Mennonites to emigrate and instituted an emigration tax of 3/16 of the entire estate of the emigrant. This same year Hans Hauri of Staffelbach paid the tax (16 florins) and left the country. He is said to have lived two years in Alsace (apparently 1707-1709, but Spotts says 1709-11). In 1709 Hans, his wife and two sons arrived in the Upper Palatinate giving their origin as the Judicial District of Lenzburg, which includes Schöftland.

This same year Queen Anne of Great Britain invited the people of the Rhine Valley and Switzerland to settle in her American Colonies. The response was overwhelming. Some 30,000 people came to England hoping to settle in America. The English government set up a temporary camp to care for all the immigrants. The Protestants among them were sent to America and Ireland. The Catholics were returned to Germany. No Hauris or Howrys appear in the lists of Germans who went from the Palatinate to England in 1709 (Tepper).

Hans is said to have used a common trick of the time, which has made research more difficult. He became a citizen of the Upper Palatinate, then returned to Switzerland, where as a foreigner he enjoyed the freedom of religion he had not known as a Swiss citizen. So many Mennonites used this ruse and stirred up so much trouble for the government at Bern that the government became anxious to find a permanent solution to the Mennonite problem. Dutch Mennonites enjoyed religious freedom and were able to pressure the Holland government into intervening on behalf of their persecuted brethren in Switzerland. At the request of the Dutch government the Swiss authorities proclaimed an amnesty at Bern on 11 February 1711 for all Mennonites who would leave the country. This decree carried a death sentance for any who ever returned. On 13 July 1711 the Mennonites left in four ships carrying 436 passengers up the Rhine to Holland. Among the passengers from the Emmenthal District* were Hans Hauri, a weaver, with his wife and two sons from Lenzburg District. They arrived at Amsterdam on 3 August 1711, where their arrival is recorded: Hans J. Houwery, woolweaver, his wife, and two sons. Further information might be found in the records of the Committee on Foreign Needs in the archives of the Mennonite Church in Amsterdam (but note that other genealogists have had letters returned as addressee unknown).

[*The Emmenthal is a valley that contains Solothurn, Bergdorf and Eggiwil.]

Although the American colonies are popularly believed to have been a haven of religious refuge for those who were persecuted in Europe, the truth is that they were only a refuge for those of the same religion as the founders of each colony. The Masschusetts Bay Colony, for example, was for Puritans only. Other religious minorities were as rigorously persecuted in Massachusetts as the Puritans had been in England.

An exception to this rule was Pennsylvania. William Penn, the founder of the colony, received it as a grant from the king to discharge a very large debt of money which the king owed to Penn's father. Penn himself was a Quaker, a group which was then considered to be wildly heretical. Penn invited religious refugees of many different faiths to settle in Pennsylvania, including the Anabaptists (radical Lutherans including the Mennonites, Pietists, Dunkers, and Amish). Their descendants have become collectively known as the Pennsylvania Dutch.

The first Mennonites came to Pennsylvania in 1688. They were closely followed by the Pietists, led by John Kelpius in 1694. In 1702 the Mennonites purchased large tracts of land on the Shappack River and later in what became Lancaster County. These tracts were intended for re-sale to future colonists. In 1719 the Dunkers (German Baptists) settled in Lancaster County, particularly near Germantown and Ephrata. As a general rule, the different groups of Anabaptists occupied the area now comprising Northampton, Berks, and Lancaster Counties, as well as parts of northern Bucks, Philadelphia, and Chester Counties.

About 1706 or 1707 a number of the persecuted Swiss Mennonites went to England, and made a particular agreement with the Honorable Proprietor, William Penn, at London, for lands to be taken up in his new colony. They came primarily from the Swiss Cantons of Bern, Zürich, and Schaffhausen. These Mennonites organized a Swiss company to emigrate to America and settle in Pennsylvania. In 1709 the first company of them came to Pennylvania and founded the Pequea settlement in what is now Conestoga in Lancaster County. (But many of Rupp's list seem to have arrived on the Mary Hope, 23 September 1710.) The pioneers were Wendel Bowman, John Rudolph Bundely, Hans Herr, Martin Kendig, Jacob Miller, Martin Oberholtz, Hans Funk, Hans Maylin, his sons Martin and John Maylin, Michael Oberholtz, and others. They received a patent for their lands on 10 October 1710, and recorded it on 23 October 1710. After several years, the colony decided to send a representative back to Europe to bring over the families they had left behind. They drew lots and the choice fell on Hans Herr. However, the community did not want to live without its pastor, so Martin Kendig made the trip. In 1715, Kendig brought back Jacob Boehm, Melchoir Bremmeman, Theodorus (Durst) Eby, Christian Hershey, Ulrich Howry, Hans Kägy, Peter Leman, Henry Funk, Hans Mayer, Michael Miller, Hans Pupather, and Michael Shank (Schenk). Jacob Boehm followed the path that was probably the same for all of this group: from Philadelphia, to Germantown, then to Lancaster, and finally to Pequea, Conestoga township (Keagy). Others say that Kendig made the trip in 1715, but brought 300 settlers in 1717, then brought back others on the Molly in 1727.

Kendig was born in Ittlingen, near Heidelberg, to a family originally from Pfaffikon in Zürich. Jacob Boehm is thought to have come from the Palatinate. Durst Eby came from Zürich. Christian Hershey came from Apenzell. Michael Schenk was born at Hinten Eggiwil in Bern, and went to the Pfalz about 1672. These origins might be a clue to the origins of the others.

Nothing certain is known of the subsequent life of Hans the Woolweaver. Perhaps he died in Holland, or perhaps like many others on those four ships he eventually travelled to the British Colony of Pennsylvania and settled in Chester (now Lancaster) County. The Hans and Ulrich who appear in Pennsylvania about 1718 are generally thought to have been his sons.

  • Emigration: 1707 - Alsace, France
  • Immigration: Aug 3 1711 - Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands


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Hans Hauri "the Woolweaver"'s Timeline

December 25, 1641
Schöftland, Kulm District, Aargau, Switzerland
December 25, 1641
Schöftland, Kulm District, Aargau, Switzerland
February 18, 1672
Oberentfelden, Aarau District, Aargau, Switzerland
October 5, 1678
Schöftland, Kulm District, Aargau, Switzerland
April 2, 1682
Schöftland, Kulm District, Aargau, Switzerland
April 6, 1684
Schöftland, Kulm District, Aargau, Switzerland
August 21, 1687
Schöftland, Kulm District, Aargau, Switzerland
July 15, 1694
Schoeftland, Aargau, Switzerland