The Phlegar Family

Photos of Wiernsheim

by Virginia Semrau

Place - Germany

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Pflüger Origins

In 1700, in the countryside between

Pforzheim and Stuttgart, there was a

village by the name of Wiernsheim

near the Schwartzwald or "Black

Forest."  In that town lived a Pflüger

family:  the father was Hans Jerg

Pflüger, and the mother was Maria

Hübsch.  Hans Jerg and Maria had five

children, all of them today listed in the

town's Church Register

(Kirchenregister).  They named their first son Hans Jerg (Hans George) after his father and perhaps other ancestors.

This son was born in 1703, on the first of January.  Other children followed:

Anna Margarete, born 21 Sepember 1704

Maria Barbara, born 19 July 1706

Jakob Sebastian, born 15 July 1707

Johann Friedrich, born 1709

Nothing is known of this young family of five as they grew up.  On 10 May 1718, the father Hans

Jerg the elder remarried so it is assumed that his wife, the mother of his five children, died before

that time.  His second wife was Sophie Margarete Reyle, and she was from nearby Iptingen.  This

marriage added five more children to the household:

A child, unnamed, who was born and died in 1720

Georg Adam, born 24 November 1722, a twin, see next

Christian Gottfried, born 24 November 1722

Elisabeth Judith, born 16 March 1724

Maria Sophie, born 16 March 1724

After the younger Hans Jerg reached maturity, when he was 22, he married Anna

Elisabeth Strobel.  Hans Jerg and wife Anna Elisabeth soon had two children of

their own:

Anna Elisabeth, born 27 August 1726, died 7 January 1807

Ursula Catharina, born 22 August 1728, died 10 March 1772

Entries for the children of Hans Jerg and Anna Elisabeth end here in the

Wiernsheim Kirchenregister.  At the same time, a strange entry for a marriage attributed to Hans Jerg the elder,

presents a puzzle:  Hans Jerg to Eva Franzisk Jost from Pinache, another neighboring village.  The solution to the

puzzle may be explained in the events that followed the marriage of Hans Jerg to Eva.

On the Kirchenregister Pflüger family page it says that "nothing more is known about the son Hans Jerg Pflüger,

linenweaver in Wiernsheim."  This comment is similar to others in the Palatinate area of Germany when young men

suddenly disappeared. The young men could not leave their community without permission of their sovereign because

they were required to serve in the militia of their province.  So, many young men disappeared one day, gone forever.

Their families surely knew the circumstances, but how sad for these families.  How sadder still for the Pflüger family.

Their first-born son was 27 or 28 years old.  He had remarried after his first wife died in 1728 to a woman named Eve

(the name found on the 1731 ship's manifest).  When  Hans Jerg and Eve left, they also left behind the daughters born

to Hans Jerg and Anna Elisabeth Strobel.  The circumstances and reasons for leaving these daughters behind are lost in

time.  Those reasons may have been the best of reasons:   ship voyages were very risky;  the Pennsylvania frontier

looked idyllic in the brochures being distributed in the Palatinate, but it was unknown and foreign;  the devastated

Strobel family may have pleaded for their granddaughters to remain behind.

The Journey Begins

The Neckar River runs past Wiernsheim and empties into the Rhine.  A boat voyage down the Rhine was the easiest

way, though not the cheapest way, to get to Rotterdam where so many ships departed, filled with German emigrants.

Perhaps Hans Jerg and Eve, and now a Maria Barbara, chose one of the Rhine vessels headed for Rotterdam.  Even

once they arrived in Rotterdam, they may have had a long wait to board a ship headed first to England—required by

the British government—and eventually to America.

Finally, in August 1731, the Ship Samuel landed at the port of Philadelphia.  The ship's manifest (list of passengers)

duplicated the list presented to the colonial government in Philadelphia.  It included four Pflüger passengers:  Hans Jerg

or Georg, Eve, Maria Catarina, and Maria [suspected to be Maria Barbara].  Maria Catarina was the surprise voyager,

but she was the daughter of Hans Georg and probably of his wife Eve, a fact we know because Maria Catarina was

named in Hans Georg's later Will.  Both Marias were listed with the children on the passenger list.  Maria Catarina may

have been a toddler when she left Wiernsheim with her parents or she may have been born enroute.  Maria [Barbara]

may have been Hans Georg's younger sister, then twenty-five.  There is a marriage for Maria Barbara Pflüger on 8

March 1734 to Michael Nold in Rev. John Casper Stoever's Register of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

The Mystery of Maria Barbara

Maria Barbara could not have been a daughter of Hans Georg and Eve.  Her birth was not registered as their child in

Wiernsheim, and if she were born about the time they married, she would have been under six years old in 1734 when

the marriage to Michael Nold took place.  There were no other Pflüger immigrants in Pennsylvania at this time.  Maria

Barbara was not named in Hans Georg's will as Maria Catarina was, suggesting that she may not have been a daughter.

If she were Hans Georg's daughter, she was the only child omitted.  She may have received her inheritance early or she

may have died before her father.

The other possibility is that she was a sister of Hans Georg.   The list of Hans Georg's siblings in the Kirchenregister in

Wiernsheim included a Maria Barbara.  If she traveled with her brother, she would have been 25 years old at the time

and would not have been considered a minor, to be listed with the other children onboard the ship.  Age comes into

question a second time:   Maria Barbara would have been a 28 year-old spinster in 1734 when the Nold marriage took

place, so the solution to the puzzle is not simple.   Attempts to find Maria Barbara after the Pennsylvania marriage date

have been futile.  Has she been lost forever?

(Photos taken by descendant Virginia Semrau on her first trip to Wiernsheim.  Many thanks to Virginia.)