Johan Henrick Amerine

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Johan (John) Henrick (Henry) Amerine

Birthdate: (72)
Birthplace: Germany, Switzerland
Death: October 05, 1804 (72)
Bedford, Pennsylvania, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Jean Henri Amerine and Florette Ammarine (Amerine,Amrein,Amrine)
Husband of Sarah Amerine and Mary Amerine
Father of Fredrick Amerine; George Amerine; Abraham Amerine; Phillip Amerine; John Henry Amerine, Jr. and 4 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Johan Henrick Amerine

Emigrated on ship to Halifax from Switzerland on the Rhine German boarder in 1754

Taken from Amerine-Amrine Genealogy 1754-980 By Wesley W. and Velma Amerine Winn.

We often wonder what John Henry Amerine was thinking of when he sailed into the harbor of Pennsylvania in 1754 with probably several years of servitude in front of him, no resources other than two bare hands, and no friendly governmental services or private agencies to assist him. We do not imagine that Henry was thinking of his unborn children and grandchildren, and their helping to populate half of the North American Continent, or that two hundred years hence there would be states not even dreamed of in 1754; or that his children's children would be as numerous as the leaves on a tree. Nor do we imagine that Henry dreamed of a time when his children's children would set aside the saddle horse and pack mule to take a ride on a rocket, to the moon and back, two hundred years hence. He was probably trying to get his first glimpse of an Indian which he had been told of on the frontier, not dreaming that he land he was looking at would contain giant coal mines and huge steel mills which would one day help to build a nation.

As you probably remember from your history lessons, Pennsylvania (as you now know it) was at one time a huge grant given by King Charles II to William Penn for payment of a debt of sixteen thousand pounds owed to Penn's father in 1681. It was the largest tract of land ever granted to any one person in America. Under the terms of the charter, Penn was the Governor of this grand of land which he and his sons were in charge of until the Revolutionary War in 1776. In reality, Pennsylvania was not a colony of any foreign power; but, since Penn was a subject of Britain, he was committed to the rules and laws of the British Empire. Of course it was necessary for Penn and his sons to provide settlers for this land of his, so they went to the peaceful valleys and the fields of the Rhine provinces and searched for political and religious outcasts. Through his own efforts and those of various agents, Penn scattered the news of his new colony and asked the suffering Rhinelanders and the Palatinates to help him make a state in which religious and civil liberty would prevail. Beginning with the Germantown settlement in 1683 under the leadership of Pastorius, a large-scale immigration followed which spread not only through Pennsylvania bu into the South and the New West influencing every phase of American life. The agents who handled the arrivals of the newcomers were Penn's agents, all of whom were Englishmen. The English language was used and English law prevailed. It finally became a matter of concern to these Englishmen, who were Penn's agents, that the pioneers were bringing with them a foreign language and alien customs. Therefore, in 1727 a law was passed that required all settlers who came to Philadelphia to take an oath of allegiance to the British Crown. Later they were required to take an oath of Abjuration. These lists of oaths became very important as they were the only lists that were recorded in any of the American colonies. Though settlers entered by the thousands in such ports as Boston, New York, Baltimore, Charleston and Savannah, no records were kept of them. Pennsylvania was the only port which required accurate lists of all immigrants that entered the state. These lists became important to those of us who are interested in genealogy. Fortunately, Henry was on immigrant who entered the American colonies through Pennsylvania. Therefore, we have the date and his name on the shipping lists and on the lists of oath signers. The lists of signers of the oath were preserved in bound books and, in their complete state, these lists are printed in a present work for the first time, and were published by the State of Pennsylvania in 1852 under the title, "Colonial Records."

Our ancestors were more than immigrants, they were more than refugees from their beloved and despoiled homeland; they were pioneers. They came to a land which was virgin, inhabited only by savages. They blazed the trails that helped to transform that wilderness into the America that we enjoy today. They set our standards and molded our nation. John Henry Amerine, the son of Henry Ammarine and Florette Vattier, was born in 1732, as stated in the book entitled, "Daughters of the American Colonists," a lineage book, John Henry was a French Huguenot refugee. According to the book entitled, "Pennsylvania German Pioneers," a publication of the original lists of arrivals in the port of Philadelphia from 1727 to 1808, By Ralph Beaver Strassburger, edited by William John Hinke, Vol. I, 1727*1775, published in 1934 by the Pennsylvania German Society, Norristown, Pennsylvania. Among Those immigrants listed in the captain's list 227A, on page 652 of this book is Johan Henrdrick Amering. This captain's list, 227A, is headed, "List of Men's Names imported in the Halifax, Thomas Coatam, Master, from Rotterdam and Plymouth, October 20, 1754." The endorsement at the end of the list reads: "List of Foreigners imported in the ship Halifax, Captain Thomas Coatam, from Rotterdam. Qual. 22d October 1754. No. 106. Signed, Stedman." On page 654 of this same book, among those listed as signers of the oath of Abjuration is John Henry (X) Amerin. This list is headed "List 227C", "At the State House at Philadelphia, Tuesday, Twenty Second Day of October 1754 the Foreigners whose names are underwritten imported in the Ship Halifax, Capt. Thomas Coatam, from Rotterdam but last from Plymouth, did this day take the usual Qualifications to the Government...From Wirtenberg, Hesse, Franconia and the Palatinate." It seems evident that these two lists were written by two different clerks at two different desks, which would account for the two different spellings of many of the names on the two lists.

Some of our readers may be interested in the type of oath the government of England required of the immigrants, who were coming to their colonies. We include here a copy of the of the oath which can be found on pages 342/343 of the publications "Thirty Thousand Names of Immigrants" -Rupp. Among the lists of names arriving on October 22, 1754 on the Ship Halifax, Thomas Coatam, Capt. from Rotterdam, last from Cowes -inhabitants from Wirtenberg, Hesse, Franconia and the Palatinate - ten Roman Catholics,...was John Henry Amrein. All mail persons above the age of sixteen did repeat and subscribe their names or made their mark, to the following Declaration:"We subscribers, natives and late inhabitants of the Palainate upon the Rhine and places adjacent, having transported ourselves and families into this Province of Pennsylvania, a Colony subject to the Crown of Great Britain, in hopes and expectation of finding a retreat and peaceable settlement therein, do solemnly promise and engage, that we will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His present Majesty, King George The Second, and His successors, Kings of Great Britain, and will be faithful to the proprietor of this Province, and we will demean ourselves peaceably to all His said Majesty's subject, and strictly observe and conform to the Laws of England and of this Province, to the utmost of our power and the best of our understanding.

The trip from Switzerland to America was no simple act during the mid-eighteenth century when Henry undertook the journey. It took at least six months and was a costly and rigorous undertaking. We give an account of the trip given in the publications "Pennsylvanian German Pioneers" by Strausberger: "The journey to Pennsylvania fell naturally into three parts. The first part, and by no means the easiest, was the journey down the Rhine to Rotterdam, or some other port. This journey (from Switzerland to America) lasts from the beginning of May to the end of October, fully a half a year, amid such hardships as no one is able to describe adequately with their misery. The cause is because the Rhine boats from Heilbronn to Holland, have to pass by Customhouses, at which all the ships are examined, which is done when it suits the convenience of of the custom-house officials. In the meantime, the ships with the people are detained long, so that the passengers have to spend much money. The trip down the Rhine lasts therefore four, five and even six weeks. When the ships come to Holland, they are detained there likewise five to six weeks. Because things are dear there, the poor people have to spend nearly all they have during that time. The second stage of the journey was from Rotterdam to one of the English ports. Most of the ships called at Cowes, on the Isle of Wight. This was the favorite stopping place, as 142 ships are recorded as having sailed from Rotterdam to Cowes. Other ships touched at one of seven other Channel ports..."So many of the passengers by this time were out of money; therefore, many had to pay for their passage through servitude upon reaching America.

John Henry was seeing Pennsylvania for the first time, in the fall of the year after the frost had painted the forest in a multitude of colors. We saw Pennsylvania during the spring after the trees and the meadows have had a wintertime of rest and seem so refreshed and green. It is beautiful country with its gentle rolling hills, many trees, many little valleys that are farmed, and meadows for the livestock. We were more interested in Bedford County, where John Henry spent most all of his life. Bedford is itself a small country town, but there we could find no physical evidence of any kind left of the Amerine Family.

The early settlers in Pennsylvania developed the low flat coastal plain along the ocean. There they found the soil ideal for growing tobacco, which they shipped to various parts of Europe and to the other colonies in America. Gradually, as this land was settled, it was necessary for the settlers to move in farther to find new land to populate. Also, along this great coastal plain were waterfalls and rapids, marking the limit of river navigability. Mills of all kinds were build which could use water power and mills to grind the grain for use by the farm; also mills to saw the timber needed for building purposes. This area led to the rapid expansion of shipping and milling centers, such as Baltimore, Wilmington and Philadelphia. All of these were ideal ports because they were close to the markets and easily accessible to the ocean.

John Henry went inland to Bedford County to settle, a virgin land, of beautiful rolling hills, and wonderful valleys. Here Henry met Sarah Picony, and in 1757 they were married. Early history records are scarce. We have little information on Henry's first few years of settling in America; only the tax records where he paid his tax bills and, after his son's were married, their tax records. When Henry Amerine lived in Pennsylvania, the majority of the people made their living farming. The major part of what they were able to produce was consumed by themselves, with the remainder being sold to pay the taxes which the British forced upon the settlers. Many immigrated to America to escape religious persecution.

From New England the pioneers moved west and south to escape the exorbitant taxes loaded upon them by England. They followed the wild animal trails, or traces as the trails were then known, or they followed the rivers into Tennessee to the South or to Ohio to the west, leap frogging each other to a new land, often trespassing into Indian territory which meant further uprising by the Indians and new treaties only again to be broken by the settlers. Your ancestors did not move from Pennsylvania until after the Revolutionary War. As after every war, there seemed to be a shifting of the population, and the same held true in the post Revolutionary War period. Should you be interested in the early settling of Ohio or Tennessee, we recommend you read the following boods: "The Great Smokies and the Blue Ridge," edited by Roderick Peattie and "The Frontiersman," by Alan W. Eckert. These books confine themselves to facts not fiction.

After arriving in the colonies, Henry used his middle name for his first. This was not unusual then and it is not unusual now. The practice of the census takers or the clerks who made up the tax lists to use the first, middle, or a nickname indiscriminately has mad the task of identification difficult sometimes. The reason draw this to your attention is that you will find that the handwritten will of John Henry Amerine uses only his middle name. We can verify this as our ancestor's will by the fact that within it he speaks of his "eldest son George and youngest daughter Mary"; these children correspond definitely with the family of John Henry.

Since he was the only Amerine immigrating to this country and to this location in this country in the mid 18th century, this further satisfies any remaining doubt that this was indeed our ancestor. The paragraph found in the book entitled "The Dictionary of Alabama Biography", page 36 reads as follows: "The Amerine family were originally from Pennsylvania whence descendants migrated to Alabama. The first Amerine ancestor was John Henry Amerine coming upon the Ship Halifax from Rotterdam, last from Cowes. His descendant Abraham Amerine served in the "Rangers on the Frontiers", 1778-83 in Bedford County Pennsylvania. Other descendants fought in the Revolutionary War. Family tradition preserved the statement that the family originally was from one of the German speaking cantons of Switzerland.

You will notice, if you study the family of John Henry 1, that his second son was Abraham 2, who married Mary Wolford; looking at the will of John Henry 1, you will see that the people who witnessed it were also Wolfords, but spelled with tow o's. Here again we must not let the spelling of names confuse us; also the name Charlotte is spelled in different ways on the same document. The Wolfords, witnessing this will, were very probably related to Mary Wolford, the wife of Abraham 2 and evidently the Wolford family must have followed Abraham 2 to Ohio or visa versa, as several of Abraham's2 descendants married other Wolfords after their migration to Ohio.

We shall henceforth refer to John Henry as Henry Sr. and to his children as George 2, Abraham 2, and so on, as not to be confused with descendants later in the book. The different spelling of Henry Sr.'s last name was the first problem that we found necessary to become accustomed to. We had to keep in mind an important fact in gathering the earliest history of the family; there were very few people who immigrated to this hemisphere who could read or write. Therefore, you will notice when Henry Sr. Amerine arrived to the colonies and was listed by two different clerks, he was unable to correct the spelling of his name. We have found in our search into the family history the name spelled in several different ways, and you will probably wonder how we know that they are or were parents of certain children or visa versa. Remember that the population was rather sparse in each county in the earlier history of the colonies and not too many people have a name such as Amerine without being related. An example in census spelling, George Amerine in the 1850 census, fifth civil district, Blount County, Tennessee, his name was spelled Ammerine with his wife's name spelled Huldy, together with certain children of different ages and names. While in the 1860 census, fifth district, Blount County, Tennessee, P.O. Box Gamble Store, George's name is spelled as Amerine and his wife's name is spelled Huldah, with the same children, only older, so we know they are the same family in both census. Another interesting spelling variation of the Amerine name can be found in the will of Henry Sr., where it is spelled in two different ways on the same document.

Also we wish to draw your attention that on the different census records of the same family, the ages may vary in one way or another. Throughout these former years, people were not that concerned with time nor age nor was there the need to be as accurate as we are today. The first census taken by the United States was in 1790 and, as most historians will agree, it was very poorly done. For several decades afterwards subsequent censuses recorded only the head of the household by name and indicated that so many males and so man females of an approximate age also lived within that household. The first census to contain the names of the children and the name of the wife was in 1850. Later came birth, marriage and death certificates but it was years before the use of the certificates was enforced. We will try to list for each family the census records or the tax lists or where other information was acquired that affected this particular family. You will find question marks concerning some dates as this data was arrived sometimes by conclusions, not necessarily accurate. It is quite possible some members of our family will disagree with certain names or dates found entered herewith. Quite possibly some information that we were unable to obtain should be added. But we have entered only what we could prove or felt strongly our conclusions were fairly accurate.

We believe that Sarah Picony was Henry Sr's. first wife. It would seem logical because of his age at the time of his marriage, but we have good reason to believe that he did have a second wife. This reasoning can be found later in the manuscript concerning Mary, the daughter of Henry Sr. All of Henry Sr's. sons were subject to serve in the militia as shown on page 26 of the Pennsylvania Archives, sixth series Volume III. Listed among the inhabitants of Londonderry township of Bedford County, Pennsylvania were his sons Abraham2, Frederick2, Phillip2 and Henry2. Land grants were officially awarded on June 9, 1794 to all of his sons. All of these land grants were sold by the sons before they were even patented. Therefore, their names were not found on land deeds. This is the last time we were to see the name Phillip on any document, record or census. Therefore, we feel certain that some thing must have haoppened to Phillip soon after this time. The only clue we have to this matter is a paragraph we found written in a notebook of a descendant of Abraham2, which stated that the sons of Henry Sr. had gone swimming in the Ohio River, one son had drowned that day. Later, one son went to Tennessee and others went to the state of Ohio. Could it be that Phillip was the one who drowned? This may be the reason that we do not find his name mentioned in history again.

...In the early days of America, land was the only thing that was held that was of any real value. Usually all one had to do was to clear the land of the trees, get rid of the worthless timber, put up a little cabin and there you were. You, were a man with a home, you owned some property--you owned a part of God's creation. During this period of time, there really were no western boundaries to the New World. Maps were in existence that showed that the colony of Massachusetts reached as far west as to where Detroit or Chicago is today. In the Ohio Valley, the land could be acquired by asking the Governor of Connecticut for it. Also the Governor of Virginia thought his colonies stretched far south into Tennessee. The settlers kept their axes sharp and kept them busy clearing more and more land each season, hewing their way back farther from the rivers and streams, each little part that they cleared was added to their farms and was handed in due time down to the next generation. As generations and decades moved along, the land assumed more vlaue to each owner the longer it was possessed by him or his family.

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Johan Henrick Amerine's Timeline

Germany, Switzerland
Age 27
Bedford County, Pennsylvania
June 1, 1761
Age 29
Bedford Co., Pennsylvania
Age 31
Bedford, Pennsylvania
Age 33
<, Bedford County, Pennsylvania>
Age 38
Bedford, Pennsylvania, United States
Age 40
<, Bedford, Pennsylvania>
Age 59
Bedford, Pennsylvania, United States
November 14, 1800
Age 68
Virginia, United States