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It is a German name, and although no one is exactly sure where it came from or what it means, we can translate and contextualize its component parts.
First off, the name appears to be a "Satzname" or nickname-a name that describes a personality trait that came out of the holocaust of the Thirty Years War. As such, in Old German, "schrecken" means "to jump because of fright" and "Gast" means "guest. Today, "Schreckengast" would be translated to "startle a guest!
The Middle High German, "schrecken" means "to jump" or "to cause to jump or startle" like a "Heuschrecke" or "hay jumper" grasshopper. A name like Schreckengast scare a guest would therefore be an funny innkeeper's name: These name meanings, however, may not apply to our family who traces its lineage to Jeremias Schreckengast, the first known person with the family name who lived in Wingeshausen, Wittgenstein-Berleburg late in the time of the Thirty Years War.
Franconia and Jena are a long way from Wittgenstein, for example, and the use of "schrecken" in Jena in is not proof of the meaning of "schrecken" in Wittgenstein in the s.
Also, None of the explanations takes into account what was happening in Wittgenstein, the Schreckengast Heimat homeland at the time Jeremias Schreckengast appears in history, when "schrecken" was a daily reality. So there was no more government or order in either religious or governmental affairs. They subjugated the poor people to huge, unbearable expenses, and physically beat and mistreated the people.
If a man said, 'I will report this to our merciful duke,' they beat the people even more saying, 'We are the rulers in this land, and not your duke. Every farmstead of Aue-Wingeshausen was pillaged by the godless Catholics, and the area was laid waste. In the year , 23 farms were able to pay the "contribution of oats" for the horses of Captain Vogt.
By , because of the occupation and horrible administration of the occupiers, only 17 farms could pay the contribution of oats. In , an epidemic, spread by the occupying soldiers, raged throughout the duchy and many farms and families had become extinct. A list of the farms, which could not give the Kontribution in for the troops of the Captain Vogt grew so large that it was nothing short of a catastrophe.
According to noted Thirty Years War historians C. Wedgwood and Geoffrey Parker: The gunmen were hired mechanics, who with their master gunners, grooms for their huge horse teams, wives and servants, formed a compact unit, separate from, yet essential to, the army.
Peasant girls dragged from plundered farms, children kidnapped for ransom and forgotten, hawkers, tricksters, quacks, and vagabonds swelled their ranks. In the army six or seven children were born in a week. The lords had a responsibility to all of these, which he must fulfill or let loose a disorder as dangerous to him as to the country in which they are quartered.
All that they have, whether it be arms or apparel, weareth, wasteth, and breaketh. If they must buy more they must have money, and if men have it not to give, they take it where they find it. They spare no person of what quality so ever to be, respect no place how holy so ever, neither churches, altar, tombs, sepulchers nor the dead bodies that lie in them. The first recorded "Schreckengast" sometimes listed as "Schreckegast" and the beginning of our story is one Jeremias Schreckengast who was from the village of Wingeshausen, Duchy of Berleburg-Wittgenstein, in the rugged, wooded mountains of the "Sauerland" western Germany, during the mids, during and just after the Thirty Years War had laid waste to much of the country.
Those who came to America have since morphed the name into "Schreckengost," "Schrecengost," "Schrecongost," "Shrekengast," etc. However the name is spelled, they're all related to Jeremias Schreckengast from Wingeshausen, Germany. Vogt's cavalry, part of Tilly's Imperial Army, which occupied the area from on.
The extinction of this family was complete-from the heavy oats taxes, pillaging, plunder, and Pestepidemie. The child may have been the "unschuldig Kind" living with Fiegen Andreas who was left to Charity um die Almosen gehet.
The nameless child may have lived in the unofficial orphanage in Andreas Koch's Hof "Lucas", later "Papiers". His birth was probably There was no resident pastor during this period and church records, if they were kept, have not survived.
When the child was baptized - as surely the chid would have been, pastor or no pastor, regardless of the absence of biological family-the people of the village had to give the child a name. For a Taufname they chose "Jeremias. I've read enough sermons from the era to know this was how a Pfarrer in Berleburg-Wingeshausen and the theologians in Marburg interpreted the 30 Years War.
The Taufname "Jeremias" was to point to God's judgment, esp. Why did they not give the child the Taufname "Jesus"? This would have been sinfully presumptuous! It is significant that no other child born in Wingehausen in the period was given the Taufname "Jeremias," and neither Jeremias nor any of his descendants passed this Taufname to any descendant. Only generations later would the name used again, by emigrant descendants of Jeremias in America: Schrecengost, born in Pennsylvania.
The family was extinct ausgestorben. So what shall be the child's Familienname? Because these were righteous Reformiertevolkes, not "gottlosen [Kriegesvolkes] welches In a way the child named Jeremias Schreckengast would be for them a parabolic man, in whose very persona was carried the most important story of their village: The shepherd God appointed to care for us failed us, we were almost destroyed; but unlike the godless who attacked us, ein Gast, der Schrecken verbreitet we responded with God's mercy to what they had inflicted on us.
Eventually the child came to live with the Stremmel family in Reitzen Hof. The Stremmel family was clearly one of the most, if not the most, influential, successful, powerful, and highly regarded of the Wingeshausen families.
They would have been a natural choice of the village for the family to raise Jeremias Schreckengast. Because the oldest daughter, Elisabeth, married to Kaspar Fischer, died childless as did Kaspar's second wife, Johannes Stremmel's third daughter, Gertraud , Jeremias Schreckengast became Hausherr of Reitzen. So also in due course Jeremias Schreckengast became one of the two Kirchenmeistern of the village church. The Familienname "Andreas" is extinct ausgestorben despite the surviving "unschuldig Kind," possibly a grandchild of Andreas, because the unnamed child was no longer an "Andreas" but the first "Schreckengast", Taufname "Jeremias".
Berleburg was part of the Graftschaft von Sayn-Berleburg-Wittgenstein-Homburg, which were tiny German-speaking Lutheran-Reformed duchies in the Holy Roman Empire that were loosely united under one family of landlords, the Wittgensteins.
Although each part, Sayn, Berleburg, Wittgenstein, and Homburg, were governed as separate entities, they were collectively called the Duchy of Wittgenstein when dealing with the empire writ large. Sayn was a Graftschaft medium duchy and Homburg was a Herrnschaft small duchy south of Berleburg, near the imperial city of Frankfurt and were a stand alones, meaning that they were not connected to any of the others.
Berleburg and Wittgenstein, however, were both Graftschafts and were connected to each other, Berleburg becoming the "capital" of Sayn-Berleburg-Wittgenstein-Homburg. Berleburg-Wittgenstein were therefore the heart of the confederated duchy.
Locals call the area "Wittgeschtee. The capital of Wittgenstein was Berleburg or "Bear Town. Because the area was so out of the way-an inland European wilderness-the duke offered very liberal terms to peasants if they would come to his duchy, pay his relatively low rent, and build his province.
Not to be opaque, but the area was, and is still, basically known as the "West Virginia of Germany. One visitor described the people of the area as being "Stout and strongly built, which matched their country that was rough and wild, abounding in woods and hills…the air was cold but wholesome, the food not luxurious but nourishing.
The area from which Berleburg arose was never a part of the Roman Empire. It was a mountainous, primeval forest, in which only a few German-speaking people-the recluses-occupied. After and the fall of Rome, German culture and political systems reasserted themselves across Western Europe.
The strongest Germanic tribe, the Franks, founded modern day Belgium and northern France; other tribes, such as the Angles and Saxons, would dominate other areas, such as northern Germany and Celtic Britain. During the s, the Frankish King Karl Charles expanded his holdings from modern-day Belgium and northern France to the Elbe River in the east, the Atlantic in the west, and to the Mediterranean and to Rome in the south being crowned by the Pope , founding what has become known as the "Holy Roman Empire.
This is called feudalism. Each Herzog then further subdivided his duchy into: The level of duchy, Level 1 being the highest, was determined by its size, wealth, and location. By the s, some Herzogs were elevated to "Kurfuersts" or "Elector Princes. The area that became Berleburg, in the forested mountains where the rivers Lahn, Sieg, and Eder emanate, was part of the Graftshaft von Wittgenstein, governed by Graf Siegfried von Wittgenstein, in the name of the Herzog von Franken.
By , the Wittgensteins began to build the castle and town called Berleburg, and farming villages, such as Aue and Wingeshausen, were built to service the town. By, , Berleburg-Wittgenstein was an independent duchy, answerable only to the emperor, as by this time the centrifugal forces of the empire had reached its apogee.
This made the empire a veritable "patchwork quilt" of disparate duchies and kingdoms, an entity that the French philosoph Voltaire exclaimed, "the Holy Roman Empire is neither holy, Roman, nor an empire. As one took the road south out of town, he would hit the west flowing Eder River. If he turned left or southeast, he would head up the headwaters of the Eder, over a mountain to the border with Hesse, and on to the university town of Marburg.
If he turned right or west, he would walk down the river a few kilometers to the farming villages of Berghausen, Aue, Wingeshausen, Birkelbach, Birkefehl, and Womelsdorf-the heart of the duchy. It was in these places that the story of the Schreckengast family unfolds, specifically in Aue-Wingeshausen.
An unfortunate fire has returned the village of Wingeshausen in Wittgenstein to the origin of its name Few Houses. Berleburg and Wittgenstein were both Graftschafts and were connected to each other, the town of Berleburg becoming the "capital" of Sayn-Berleburg-Wittgenstein-Homburg as it was centrally located.
Berleburg was nestled in the forested mountains between the Herzogthum von Westfalen to the north, the Graftschaft von Nassau to the west, and the Landgraftschaften medium duchies of Hessen-Darmstadt and Hessen-Kassel to the south and east.
Thirty Years War Thirty Years War was fought between and , principally on the territory of today's Germany, and involved most of the major European continental powers.
Although it was ostensibly a religious conflict between Protestants and Catholics, the rivalry between the Habsburg dynasty and other powers was a more central motive, as shown by the fact that Catholic France under the de facto rule of Cardinal Richelieu supported the Protestant side in order to weaken the Habsburgs, thereby furthering France's position as the pre-eminent European power. This increased the France-Habsburg rivalry which led later to direct war between France and Spain.
Germany's male population was reduced by almost half. The population of the Czech lands declined by a third. The Swedish armies alone destroyed 2, castles, 18, villages and 1, towns in Germany, one-third of all German towns.
The major impact of the Thirty Years' War, in which mercenary armies were extensively used, was the devastation of entire regions scavenged bare by the foraging armies. Episodes of widespread famine and disease a starving body has little resistance to illnesses devastated the population of the German states and, to a lesser extent, the Low Countries and Italy, while bankrupting many of the powers involved.
The war may have lasted for 30 years, but the conflicts that triggered it continued unresolved for a much longer time. For the average German-speaking peasant, though, politics and religion didn't matter much when marauding armies entered their town or village.
This war was in fact so bad, that even the rugged wooded mountains of the Sauerland failed to protect its reclusive inhabitants. They pillaged, raped, and burned entire provinces into submission. There were some attempts to create uniforms, however clothes soon wore out and require replacement by items plundered or stripped from the dead. Regiments were identified by their "colors," a six foot regimental standard./p>
For this transgression, Jost was "pursued" but managed to elude capture by leaving the duchy "im Nacht und Nebel. Beers' Armstrong County, Pennsylvania: Her People, Past and Present it states: But he was caught a second time, and to make matters worse shot one of the lord's dogs.
He was sent for at once, but managed to escape and come to America. Henry would have been 13, George 6, and Conrad 3. Albert Hof, an historian for Berleburg, states that there is no official record in the Berleburger archives that Jost was either fined or that an arrest warrant was issued. Either way, in the spring of , a few months after peace was formally declared in Paris, Jost secretly left Berleburg with his wife and three sons. We also know that Jost's step brother Georg Heinrich, eventually took over as Hausherr of "Goergeshaus," but not right away, further denoting that Jost simply took off as one needed formal permission to leave a duchy within the empire.
Family genealogist Alice Long writes: It was not until in the marriage contract of Georg Henrich's eldest daughter that he is mentioned as the Hausherr of Goergeshaus. This is an indication that Jost left secretly. It is not known if it was his intent to "sail to America" when he left probably did as the Penns had a great marketing program in the German Empire.
But once Jost hit the Rhine River, there is little doubt that he was informed what to do and where to go. In Rotterdam, Jost boarded the British merchant vessel Polly, which made regular trans-Atlantic journeys. On this trip, however, the Polly was more than likely hauling Dutch sundries to Philadelphia and the extra space was taken up by wayward German-speaking immigrants.
During this particular voyage, Robert Porter was captain of the ship and there were listed passengers, including Johann Jost Schreckengast, who signed his name on the ship's manifest. Northumberland County On September 19, , after two months at sea, the Polly docked in Philadelphia.
What happened next is unclear as with many of the details of this story. Assuming that George was indentured i. As such, Jost became another Hausherr of sorts, as the Penns did not want to sell the ground outright as it was too valuable. Several manors dotted the province, the Penn's securing rents from them all, if only infrequently. The valley itself is actually a giant bowl where the Mahantango Mountain in the south converges with Line Mountain in the north to form a "V" with the Susquehanna River forming its base about 10 miles to the west.
Many of the local inhabitants call it a "Kessel" or "kettle. As was already stated, this was Pennsylvania's northern frontier in The British provincial outpost of Fort Augusta was located but 50 miles north of Jost's settlement where the east and west branches of the Susquehanna converge at present-day Sunbury.
All around Jost were free holders, or people who outright purchased land from the Penns, and they were almost exclusively German-speaking immigrants, many from the Rhineland near Heidelberg.
To get to Spread Eagle Manor, Jost was probably met by one of Penn's agents in the spring of or who offered him the rental property. Jost obviously accepted, more than likely took a boat up the Schuylkill River up to Reading, which also had a large number of Germans in this very English-sounding town named after Lord John Penn's home town in England , and then took the Tulpehocken Path which connected Pennsylvania with the Mohawks and Onondagas of New York and northern Pennsylvania.
This path, used by Iroquois Indian agent Conrad Weiser, went right through the strategic Mahantango Gap and that's where Jost dropped anchor-right along the road. We don't know what they had, how he lived-nothing. One can assume that he built an austere log cabin and barn with the help of his neighbors. Granted, log cabins were not built in Berleburg so help was more than likely given and this was the beginning a long journey of cultural assimilation, which manifested itself in different ways.
Aside from the fact that Jost and many of his neighbors were German speakers in an English province in North America, most of the Germans who surrounded Jost, Elisabeth, and their sons spoke a different dialect of German as they came from the region of Germany that surrounds Heidelberg, usually called the "Palatine" or "Rhineland.
The only saving grace is that all peoples in the Pennsylvania backcountry, whether they were Scots, Irish, English, Germans, or Indians, they were all performing a cultural give and take forming a new society in which elements of all became known as "American culture" by the s. This is evidenced by their general individualistic "Don't Tread on Me" attitude, their building practices, their invention and use of the Pennsylvania Long Rifle, the Pennsylvania Bank Barn, etc. In , Elisabeth and Jost gave birth to the first Schreckengast born in America: Because there were no churches in the area at the time the first church to be built north of the mountain, Himmel's, was only built in , we have no official baptismal record for Jacob.
So what was it like to live in the Mahantango Valley in , the year of Jacob's birth? It was without doubt a frontier area where "Pennsylvania Dutch" a sub-culture of American provincial culture thrived. These "Dutch" were particular in that they were "frontier Dutch," German-speakers who did not live in the more settled and safer areas of the province like in present-day Philadelphia, Montgomery, Lancaster, and Berks Counties.
These people were in fact called, "Mountain Dutch" and were a little rougher than their low country cousins. They were also exclusively Lutheran or Reformed peoples who did not accept the pacifism of the Amish, Mennonites, and other Anabaptists Widder Taufers who tended to populate Lancaster County, especially. So what made the "Mountain Dutch" different? First was their early blending with the more wild Irish and Scottish members of the backcountry and their acceptance of the nascent backcountry ethos: It was here where the "Don't Tread on Me" flag of the revolution, soon to come, was born.
To them, freedom meant rugged individualism: They didn't mind the hard scrabble existence as long as they were left to their own devices. This is seemingly a recurring theme with Schreckengasts: Another theme that bound the backcountry people together was the need for local defense. Granted, the British had defeated the French, Spanish, and their Indian allies in the last war, and had basically subdued Pontiac's uprising in , but the British government still only placed the border of British settlement just north Fort Augusta.
From this line to the Mississippi, a giant Indian reservation to keep the peace and to keep the lucrative Indian trade active was created. So by this time, most, but by no means all, of the farmsteads had a firearm.
Those who did not own a firearm did so not because they were against them, but because they were so expensive. Cheap Indian trade muskets could be had up at Fort Augusta, to be true, and one of them was probably Jost's first firearm.
Very expensive and well-made long rifles, crafted from gunsmiths in northern Lancaster present Lebanon or northern Berks present Schuylkill Counties could also be procured, although it is unlikely that Jost had the resource to acquire such a weapon.
In Thomas Metzgar and James Whisker's work , Gunsmiths of Western Pennsylvania, they note that "Yock was a gunsmith by trade, although nothing is known of his work. They had to learn how to fix the cheap trade guns in order to survive and may have begun to assemble their own guns-which were probably ugly as sin but worked. Their sons, grandsons, and great grandsons, steeped in this tradition, apparently took it to the next level, William and Lincoln Schreckengosts, ancestors of Conrad, being the most well known.
While on the vast manor, Jost and his sons would clear the land, plant corn, beans, and other items, trap and hunt, and save enough money to eventually buy a couple cows and a horse.
Procuring food was their number one concern. While carving out this meager but relatively free existence as "the duke," one of Penn's land agents, was in Reading and he was mostly concerned with the "wild Irish" who liberally squatted on Penn lands without paying and then moving on , Jost and his family became members of "Himmels Kirch," Heaven's Church , which was built north of the Mahantango Creek along Swaben Creek called Schwowe Grick by the locals just south of Line Mountain in present Rebuck in , the same year that Northumberland County was spit away from Berks.
The Schreckengasts apparently belonged to the Lutheran congregation. During the s, the more settled coastal regions of British America began to outwardly question many of the new trade and taxation policies promulgated by the imperial government that ran contrary the traditional way of doing things.
Although resentment was most demonstrative in Boston, Massachusetts, it was by no means limited to New England. For the backcountry people of the Mahantango Valley, British Indian policy was the most important issue of the day-not that it wasn't tied to trade and economics. For many poor back country people and wealthy coastal land speculators like George Washington and Ben Franklin , the fact that the British government basically stifled western settlement of European colonists after the Treaty of Fort Stanwix, New York in most history text books blithely call it the "Proclamation of " by establishing the settlement line just west of Fort Stanwix and Augusta all the way down to the Gulf, cut their dreams off at the knees as less land, land that they helped fight for from , as it was basically "given back to the Indians-friend or foe.
In essence, the French War was fought for nothing-the raids that some of Jost's neighbors suffered from at the hands of the French and their Indian allies were for nothing; Washington's hard-fought campaigns in the Ohio Country were for nothing. By , many of the backcountry people started to actively fight the powers that be, whether the Quaker-led assembly in Philadelphia, the Penn family, the king and his agents, or the Indians themselves by forming "extra legal" militias called "Associations" and by passing several resolves, the most famous being the "Hanover Resolves" of Lancaster present Dauphin County.
As the situation deteriorated, in , Jost's eldest son, Henry, aged 24, married Maria Catharine Stutzman. They lived on Lot 3, acres, which was in a bend of the Mahantango Creek and across the road from Jost's house. George was aged 16, Conrad Roethger was 12, and Johann Jacob was 4. During the early summer, news reached the valley that members of the Massachusetts Provincial Militia, some called "Minutemen," had fought British regulars at Lexington and Concord and had driven them back to Boston with great loss.
They also heard that other provinces had also moved expel royal authority almost spontaneously and that at least twelve of these provinces, Pennsylvania among them, had formed a "Continental Congress" to pool their resources for the sake of self defense. A few weeks later, the people of the Mahantango were further informed that volunteer militias were being raised and that Captain John Lowden, and Irishman of Fort Augusta, was accepting volunteers of "expert riflemen" for service in the 1st Continental Regiment, a battalion that was created by Congress on June 14 for one-and-a-half year's service to reinforce the New England militiamen who were surrounding Boston.
This regiment would consist of eight companies of Pennsylvania riflemen, one of them being Lowden's Irishmen. They also heard that a similar company, led by Captain George Nagel, was being formed in Reading. These were mostly Germans. Johann Jost's farmstead was along the road that connected them both.
For various reasons, few, if any, of the Mahantango Germans enlisted for Continental service. It was also feared that Indian activity in the west would pick up, the British regulars being sent east to squash the rebels. A few days after his birth, on July 4, , Pennsylvania, as well as twelve other British American provinces, formally declared their independence as opposed to seeking equilibrium within the empire once they learned that the British government intended to reoccupy the provinces by force-including the use of foreign allies the Hessians, soldiers who Jost, also now known as "Yock," knew all to well.
With the declaration of independence, and the subsequent passage of the Pennsylvania State Constitution, all of the Penns' lands were seized and placed into commonwealth status. In the short term, this meant that Jost wouldn't have to pay rent anymore.
But in the long term, it may mean that they would either have to buy the land from the state, receive it gratis, or be evicted; but more on that later. In , while the Continental Army and the New Jersey Militia fought the British at Monmouth, Yock was assessed for " acres, one horse, and two cows.
But all was not well in the Mahantango. Since the war started, the valley had been largely untouched by the conflict. Although a few of its more adventurous members had gone off to enlist in the Continental Line, most stayed at home and in the local militias.
Pennsylvania Germans, in general, have a very provincial outlook. For them, the family and the local community was all that usually mattered-in peacetime or wartime. Active involvement in politics, even at the local level, was voodoo.
Order and relative freedom was all that mattered. They wished merely to live their own life and to be left alone. When others tried to impose their will upon them, however, they would fight back with a vengeance. I believe that this best matches the "Schreckengast Creed" if any can be made for such a disparate group of people. We know first hand what it's like to be savaged.
Our very name commemorates what happens when "scary guests" or "terrible enemy occupiers" invade our lives today, al-Qaida members living in sleeper cells in the US would be considered "Schreckengasts".
And this time, the Schreckengasts would be armed to the teeth. With the entry of the French in the war in , the British were forced to consolidate their forces in America in some coastal key cities-namely New York-and redeploy the rest of them to defend more important parts of the empire like England itself or the rich islands of the West Indies.
The British also chose to more heavily arm their Indian allies in the West and lead them in raids toward "rebel settlements" that dotted the frontier to draw the Continentals away from the coast. Today it is known as the infamous "Wyoming Massacre. This entitles any Schreckengast to be a member of the Sons or Daughters of the American Revolution if he or she has the patience to fill out the pedigree paperwork grandparents' birth certificates, etc. It wasn't illustrious service, mind you, but it was service.
Henry was also of age, but he apparently fled the valley with his small family as his third child, John Henry, born June 10, , at the height of Cornplanter's raid, was "baptized in Klopp's Church on July 19, Henry's second child, Catharina, was born in Johann Jost Schreckengast of "Goergeshaus," aged 55, first served in the Northumberland County Militia from April 18 to May 3, , to help secure the southern reaches of the county.
He then reentered service on July 27 when news reached valley that some raiders were approaching Fort Freeland, about twenty miles north of Fort Augusta. On July 28, the militiamen, wholly surprised and outnumbered by Cornplanter's Indians, agreed to surrender if they and their families' lives would be spared as prisoners at Fort Niagara. While the surrender terms were being finalized, the commander of Fort Augusta had ordered Captain Hawkins Boone's militia company to reinforce Freeland. As the relief force approached the farm, however, Cornplanters' Indians ambushed it.
In the ensuing struggle, the local militia lost 40 men killed, including their commander, Boone. With the battle won but resistance growing, McDonell and Cornplanter ordered the retreat with prisoners in hand. Needless to say, not a single enemy soldier ever set foot in the Mahantango Valley and Jost was relieved from militia duty on August 9, Jost was now 59 years old, Henry was 28, George was 25, Conrad was 22, and John was In , George and Conrad married the daughters of some local German-speaking landowners as opposed to mere occupants of the manor.
George, with the help of his father, brothers, and in-laws no doubt, purchased Lot C on the south side of the Mahantango Mountain in the present Lykens Valley, Dauphin County the area in which the Schreckengasts lived is where three counties meet to form a triangle-thus the sometime confusion for historians: Northumberland [split away from Berks in ], Lancaster [present Dauphin which was split away from Lancaster], and Berks [present Schuylkill, which was split away from Berks].
The five men never lived farther than four miles apart from one another. Sometime around , Jacob married Catherina Anna Stutzman and they lived with Jost on Lot 5 and would rear six children: I have tread the area with Earl Troutman, a native of the valley whose family has lived there since the s, and we believe that we found Henry's original foundation next to a spring on a lot currently owned by the Troutmans.
Although Schnee Dahl is a beautiful place, Troutman and I both believe that it's bad farming country as it's too rocky, too hilly, and stays colder longer as the Hooflander Ridge blocks the sun.
It is well watered, though, like the entire valley, and is great for hunting. It was also the first land that a Schreckengast ever owned outright. Troutman admitted that the Schreckengasts were known to be hunters, trappers, and woodsmen, and not necessarily farmers. This reputation will be further enhanced when most of the family moves out to Armstrong County in All told, John and Anna Maria would rear 11 children: More and more people were beginning to settle the area, especially in the upper valley, or "Kessel," where the Line and Mahantango Valley meet, as Pennsylvania Germans from the Lehigh were moving in.
More people were also settling just south of the mountain, in the Lykens Valley of Dauphin County. Because of this influx, the Schreckengasts, as well as other native Mahantango Valley inhabitants, who were mostly hunters and trappers, may have begun to feel a little "squeezed.
A new church was also built in , "Klinger's," and it is still located just south of the manor in the gap. Johann Jost and Anna Catherine also died sometime during this period, although it is not clear where they are buried. It is more than likely that they are buried on the grounds of Klinger's Church although I found no record nor head stone as of , as much of their family appears on Kilnger's Church Records from October 1, in Mahanoy Twp.
It was also during this time that Conrad and Jacob Schreckengast were apparently being pressured by the state to buy the manor warrants. The Penns wanted to sell off their remaining lands as soon as possible, as the rest of their lands had been confiscated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with the Divestment Act of and they wanted out. Lawyers for the former proprietors more than likely approached Jost and Conrad to purchase the newly-divided lots but they apparently turned down the offer for in , Lots 2 and 3 were "granted to John Bickle, by attorney for John and Richard Penn, Jan.
In , the last year that Johann is listed on official documents, Lot 5 was "granted to Wm. It is very probable, however, that the Schreckengasts were given some money to vacate.
It seems that Conrad left the manor with his family for newly surveyed Armstrong County north of Pittsburgh in or as his son Daniel was listed as being born in Valley Township, Armstrong County in Conrad and his family were followed by Henry, George, Jacob, and John Schreckengast who departed with a "large Mahantango Valley wagon train" for Armstrong County in , Henry selling his property in Snow Valley and George just south of the mountain.
When the Schreckengasts moved to Armstrong County, they changed the "a" in "Gast" to an "o" to better match the pronunciation of the area. Western Pennsylvanians pronounce their "o's" "aw. The bottom line is that every Schreckengast in America and Germany nonetheless , no matter the spelling, traces their lineage back to little Jeremias Schreckengast, born in the village of Wingeshausen during the Thirty Years War , and Hausherr of "Reitzenhaus.
No wonder they immigrated. The youngest child in the family, Elisabeth Gertrud, died on April 20, at the age of At her death only Maria Elisabeth age 24 and her next older sister, Anna Elisabeth age 27 , were left unmarried and under the age of At the time, of course, this was simply a dirt path through the wooded mountains with few way stations along the way.
The trip had to take a least one month. Conrad had already purchased acres in Valley Township, near the river. Further inland, and Jacob and John purchased lots in Redbank Township, in the extreme northeast corner of the county near Putneyville. The Tax Assessment lists all five men as property owners in northern Armstrong County: In short, they became key members of the founding of the county and the heart of the family, to this day , remains in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania-even more so than Berleburg, Germany.
In he moved from Cowanshannock Township to Valley Township [one township to the west], Armstrong County and gave up making guns in favor of the more stable and profitable life of farming.
Conrad died in the summer of age 78 and his estate was inventoried on 6 July, The estate showed many tools of the gunsmith's trade. Most items were bought by family members according to the vendue list. A few early tax lists confirm Conrad's occupation. Many tools of the gunsmith's trade were again published by family members. He is reputed to have made and repaired guns in Rural Valley, Armstrong County [i.
The vendue list of his estate, from the sale conducted on March , showed clearly that he had been engaged in gunsmithy at the time of his death, for it contained many tooks, parts, and mountings, a rifle, and a pistol.
In later life he moved to [the town of] Rural Valley [the major town in Cowanshannock Township], remaining there until his death. He was a thrifty, industrious, and prosperous man, followed his trade of gunsmith as well as farming and tavern keeping, and acquired the ownership of three hundred acres in [the] township. He was a staunch [Jeffersonian] Republican [and soon-to-be Jacksonian Democrat] and active in the work of his party in his locality, at one time being its candidate for sheriff of Armstrong County.
For several years he held the office of constable. He was a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Although North American wolves aren't nearly as dangerous as European wolves, most Pennsylvania Germans not only saw them as varmints but as threats to their families' lives-like in Germany. It was also here where the story of Johann Jost shooting the duke's dogs was written down in the official history of Armstrong County.
In The History of Clinton County it states: It is said that during his life he killed four hundred deer, ninety-three wolves, seventy-four bears, and a large number of dogs.
It may seem strange that a hunter should intentionally kill what are generally considered his best friends, but Schreckengast did not believe in chasing and worrying game with dogs. He preferred what is called 'still hunting,' and therefore every dog found chasing deer were considered 'game. On one occasion, having shot a bear, he was reloading his gun to shoot another, which was being hard-pressed by dogs, when the animal, in his endeavors to escape his tormentors, made a blundering plunge directly towards the hunter and attempted to pass between his knees, whereupon the man 'closed in' upon him, and drawing his knife stabbed him in the heart.
At another time, while hunting, he came to a hollow tree, in which he thought there might be a bear; on examining the tree he discovered a hole in the trunk, into which he thrusted his hand, which was instantly seized by the jaws of the invisible bruin. As the animal loosened his grip, probably for the purpose of getting a better hold, the hand was quickly withdrawn, and Schreckengast went a short distance from the spot, with gun ready, to await the result.
Soon after the bear made his appearance at an opening high up in the tree, and was immediately shot. Federalists were supporters of the Constitution of , of a stronger federal government, and of the presidential administrations of George Washington and John Adams. The area, however, was more Democratic-Republican in nature, as the Scots and Irish were still upset with President Washington's handling of the Whiskey Rebellion of , generally favoring a weaker federal government stronger states , low taxes, and the presidential administrations of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
In February , Henry died at the age of In his last testament, he left everything to his wife, Maria Catherine: I, Henry Shreckengost of the county of Armstrong in the state of Pennsylvania, being sick and weak in body, but sound of mind, memory and understanding, blessed be God for the same, do make and publish this My Last Will and Testament in manner and form following to wit; principally and first of all I commit my immortal soul in the hands of God who gave it and my body to the earth to be buried in a decent and Christian like manner at the descreation [sic] of my Executors herein after named.
Leonard, Alexander, Anthony, Samuel and Michael until each of them arrives to the age of twenty one years, my said sons to assist their said mother to work in order procure a living as they arrive to an age fitting to do labouring [sic] work. And further I do allow all such sum or sums of money as may be recovered and coming to me from William Peirt of Armstrong County as will appear from a suit entered into said county aforesaid, to be paid over to my said Executors to my said wife and she is bound by these present to lay out said money when it comes to her hand in a tract of land to the best advantage she can, which land is also to be applied to the use and for the benefit of raising my said five youngest sons until each of them arrives to the age of twenty one years and at the decease of my said wife she is at free liberty to will such tract of land to whom she thinks proper and lastly I nominate and appoint my son [John] Henry Shreckengost, and my trusty friend, Peter Richards, to be my Executors of this, my Last Will and Testament.
Two [militia] companies, the Wayne Artillery and the Pine Creek Infantry, and a large number of citizens celebrated the Fourth of July, , at Martin Shreckengost's house. The Declaration of Independence was read, and some remarks were made by Mr. The other features were the parade and evolutions of those military companies, and volunteer toasts of a decided partisan tone given by members of both of the political parties, Whig and Democrat.
The Armstrong Census lists 10 "Secondgart" males: His wife, Mary, with eight plus children, married Christopher Rupp and they had a few more children of their own. The lot was numbered 4, and was part of "General Orr's Share. The Census of Armstrong County lists 17 "Shrickengort" males: Harman Leonhard to Miss Hanna, daughter of Mr. Martin Schrecongost of Wayne Twp. By mid-century, Jeremiah had eight younger siblings: It was also during this time, during the s and 50s, when the most well-known Schreckengost family gunsmiths, descendents of Conrad, William , Levi, and Lincoln Schreckengost , started to create their particular firearms.
He was an unusually good engraver. He lived in Putneyville, Armstrong County, all his adult life. He married three times: His tools, guns, and gun parts were sold at public vendue on 8 October A number of guns, ranging from a heavy barrel target model to a double barrel rifle over-under were offered.
They purchase their locks and imported German silver for inlay work from a Pittsburgh firm. The butt-stock design of the rifle is a "roman nose" pattern and was designed to be fired from the upper arms, and not the shoulder, for better accuracy. As was already noted above, William and Lincoln also built exotic guns such as "over-under" rifles, heavy target rifles, or short sporting rifles. All rifles build by William, Levi, and Lincoln Schreckengost were percussion cap.
In the fall of Alexander Foster and his son of the same name laid out the new plot of Rural Valley adjoining the old one on the west. Purchasers of the new plot: Owing to its location at the forks of the Blairsville and Franklin roads, it is also called the "Crossroads church.
Frederick Wise, Reformed preacher, to force his congregation to accept his choice of site in erecting a church in For some years the Reformed denomination had held services in the Schaum schoolhouse, but they decided in to build a home. Some favored the crossroads site, while others the one on Pine creek.
Wise agreed to let the party taking the largest subscription decide the matter, but after the crossroads people collected the greater amount he refused to agree to their choice. He then agreed to compromise, but as soon as the books were in his hands he arbitrarily said, "we will build on the old site at Pine creek. Rupp and Benjamin Geiger as a committee. When their cornerstone was ready to be laid Rev.
Wise refused to have anything to do with it or to permit another Reformed pastor to come to the field. That settled the matter for the congregation, and they went over to the Lutherans in a body. Hundreds of other federal offices or posts had also been taken or surrounded. Instead of negotiation, placating, or doing nothing, Lincoln, using executive authority, declared a national emergency and mobilized , National Guardsmen for three months service and called for a special session of Congress to obtain authority to suppress the Southern rebellion.
As loyal National Guard organized state militia units moved out to stabilize the federal capital, in July, Congress authorized the president to use whatever force was necessary and voted money to raise , volunteers for three years service. Over Schreckengosts answered the call from and fought for the US during the Civil War, serving mostly in Pennsylvania infantry outfits.
Most of these units served at one time or another in the eastern-based Army of the Potomac, however. The th Pennsylvania, for example, served in the Army of the Potomac starting with the battle of Antietam where it, for a time, held the Dunker Church, tangled with the Confederates at Chancellorsville, held Culp's Hill against Ewell's Corps, and was then transferred out west with the XI Corps to form the hard-hitting XX Corps.
There it was assigned to the Army of the Cumberland, helped take Lookout Mountain, drove down to take Atlanta their battle flag was the first US banner to fly over Atlanta since , the March to the Sea, and the North Carolina Campaign.
On July 18, , Jackson Schrecengost, one of Eli's sons and Jeremiah's brother, was drafted into Company B, th Pennsylvania the "Wildcat Regiment" , a unit that had been decimated while fighting at the Peach Orchard during the battle of Gettysburg with Brig.
Jackson was 24 at the time of the draft, "5'-6" in height, light hair, fair complexion, and blue eyes; occupation: Eli Schrecongost and Hannah Gould. Jackson's regiment, was subsequently assigned to the II Corps and fought from the Wilderness to Appomattox. He was discharged on June 17, , three months after the major Confederate armies surrendered to US forces. Soon after Jack was drafted, Jeremiah either enlisted or was drafted into the Army like his younger brother.
He "enrolled 24 August at Putneyville, Pennsylvania. Mustered in 3 September as a private in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania [i. Two other Schreckengosts, Adam and Levi, were also in the regiment in Company D, and they had enlisted during the early months of the war at "Camp Orr," which located on the Kittanning Fairgrounds and staffed by Sergeant Isaac Schreckengast, grandfather of the famous Philadelphia Phillies catcher, Ossee Schreckengost. Levi, son of William, the gunsmith from Putneyville, left his father's gunshop to enlist.
The colonel commanding was Theodore Lehman of Pittsburgh, a German immigrant who was trained at the Prussian Military Academy for a time. The rd had seen hard service. During the battle, Levi was wounded. Breeding can start as soon as early May although this date is advancing because of climate change , and can end as late as July. The species is generally socially monogamous , with high levels of extra-pair paternity. An aerial insectivore , the tree swallow forages alone and in groups. German-American Day in the United States.
An automatic watch , also called a self-winding watch, is a mechanical watch in which the natural motion of the wearer provides energy to run the watch, making manual winding unnecessary. The watch contains an oscillating weight that turns on a pivot, which is attached to a ratcheted winding mechanism. The earliest credible evidence for a successful automatic watch is the watch made by the Swiss watchmaker Abraham-Louis Perrelet in late or early Wikipedia is hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation , a non-profit organization that also hosts a range of other projects:.
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