Nicholas Meyer – My Immigrant Ancestor by Lawrna Myers

Watching a recent episode of TLC’s Who Do You Think You Are? where actress Angie Harmon traced her fifth-great grandfather, Michael Harmon’s, journey from Germany to the United States began my thinking of my own fifth-great grandfather, Nicholas (Nikolaus) Meyer, who made the same trip.

On August 30, 1737 at the Port of Philadelphia landed the immigrant ship, Samuel. The publication, Pennsylvania German Pioneers: A Publication of the Original Lists of Arrivals in the Port of Philadelphia from 1727 to 1808 by Ralph Stassburger and William Hinke records a 22 year old passenger by the name of Nichols Meyer appeared on the Captains list of passengers. He signed both the Oath of Allegiance to the King and the Oath of Abjuration from the Pope with an ‘X’ indicating that he was illiterate and uneducated.

In the Deutschland, Gerburten und Taufen, 1558-1898 index there is a record of a Nicolaus Meyer christened on December 6, 1715, son of Michael and Anna Meyer, at Stiftskirche Katholisch, Baden-Baden. Many researchers have attributed this christening to the immigrant Nicholas Meyer however no proof exists to definitively state this. In addition there are a number of Nicholas Meyer’s in the same index that were born and/or christened in the same year.

For the first five years of Nicholas’ time in the United States it is unclear where or what he was doing. It is presumed that he was working as an indentured servant. Indentured servitude was a labour system where immigrants to a new country paid for their passage by working for an employer for a certain number of years. It was a system that was widely employed in North America in the 18th century.

On August 19, 1742, a warrant was issued by William Penn, granting Nicholas the right to purchase and settle on 100 acres “on the west side of Susquehannah River” in Lancaster County. When surveyed the land consisted of 145 acres located in present day Adams County within the Huntington and Reading Townships. Mud Run flows through the land and Pennsylvania Route 94 crosses it. The land is north of Hampton on the north side of Round Hill at the intersection of Lake Meade Road.

William Penn received a charter in 1681 from King Charles II declaring his the owner of land that is now Pennsylvania. Meaning he had the authority to dispose of the land with little restriction. A settler would apply to the land office for land. After the application, a warrant was issued to survey the land. When the warrant was issued, orders were sent to the surveyor to survey the property and draw a map of the courses and bounds, the acreage and the neighbours. After the survey was complete, the applicant would pay for the land and provide evidence of their improvements to the property. Once the survey was complete and the land purchased, a warrant of return was sent to the surveyor general, who sent it to the secretary’s office to issue the patent. The patent transferred the ownership of the land to the settler.

Family lore states that the land was heavily wooded but with one horse, a plow and a mattock, Nicholas made the necessary improvements to the land in order to receive the patent.

Having established his property, Nicholas married on November 17, 1743 at the Trinity Lutheran Church to Anna Margaretha Albert. In the Deutschland, Gerburten und Taufen, 1558-1898 index she was christened on July 20, 1727, daughter of Johann Sebastian and Anna Catherine Albert, at Eckersweiler-Reformierte, Baumholder, Rheinland, Prussia.

Nicholas and Anna remained in Pennsylvania for the remainder of their lives. They had at least thirteen children including: John, David, Nicholas, Mary, Barbara, Anna Margaret, Susannah, Ludwig, Jacob, William, Elisabeth, Philip and Peter.

In his 60’s, Nicholas served as a Private in the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783) in the York County Militia under Captain Abraham Furrey.

Nicholas died in the spring of 1787. His Last Will and Testament written on January 24, 1787, was proven on May 22, 1787. The will, signed with an ‘X’, contained a personal bequest to his beloved wife, Margaret; a small bequests to sons John and Ludwig who had received their shares of the estate before their father died; to son William a tract of land adjoining the Mud Run homestead, to son Philip the Mud Run homestead; to son Peter a monetary bequest until he reaches the age of maturity. The residue of the estate was to be given to the remainder of his children: David Myer, Nicholas Myer, Mary Weaver, Margaret Cimbel, Susannah Albert, Jacob Myer and Elizabeth Weaver.

Anna lived only a few years after her husband, dying between 1789 and 1791. Both are buried at the Lower Bermudian Lutheran Church Cemetery. The exact location of their graves is not known however descendants of Nicholas and Anna installed a monument to the couple in 1987.

Image - Monument to Nicholas and Anna Meyer Lower Bermudian Lutheran Church Cemetery

Monument to Nicholas and Anna Meyer Lower
          Bermudian Lutheran Church Cemetery

John was baptized on September 20, 1747. He married Margaret Sherman, they had seven children. John died about 1816. Both John and Margaret are buried in the Lower Bermudian Lutheran Church Cemetery.

David was baptized on March 27, 1749. He married Anna Maria Sultzback, having three daughters with her. David passed away in November of 1805. David and Anna Maria are buried in Abbottstown, Pennsylvania.

Nicholas was born in July of 1750. He married twice, first to Salome Weaver then to Mary Chronister. Between his two wives he is believed to have fathered up to twenty-six children (although records for only twenty-one have been found). Nicholas died on October 14, 1823 and is buried between his two wives in the Lower Bermudian Lutheran Church Cemetery.

Mary was born about 1751. She married a man with the surname of Weaver. Mary died sometime after her father did in 1787.

Barbara was baptized on August 4, 1752; she died between 1771 and 1787. No marriage or death records have been found for her.

Anna Margaret was baptized on August 19, 1753 and is believed to have passed away around 1798. She married Anthony Kimmel and had at least two sons and two daughters with him.

Susannah (Susan) was born September 16, 1755. She married Andreas Albert around 1780. The couple had two daughters and a son. Susan died on March 15, 1831. Both she and Andreas are buried in the Lower Bermudian Lutheran Church Cemetery.

Ludwig (my fourth great-grandfather) was born in January of 1757 and baptized on April 3, 1757. He married twice, first to Catherine Erb and then Maria Barbara Dull. Between both of his wives he had eighteen children, including twelve sons and six daughters. Ludwig died on August 17, 1829. He is buried in the Lower Bermudian Lutheran Church Cemetery along with both of his wives. My third great-grandfather, Benjamin J. Myers and second great-grandfather, Joseph L. Myers were both born in Adams County. It was Joseph who eventually left the area first moving to Ohio, then Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma and finally Texas where he died at the age of 100 years.

Jacob was born September 15, 1758. He married Hannah Smith, having four sons and one daughter with her. Jacob died in New Oxford, Pennsylvania on October 17, 1840. Both he and Hannah are buried in the Lower Bermudian Lutheran Church Cemetery.

William was baptized on May 16, 1763. He married Louisa Erb, sister to Catherine Erb. The couple had a son and a daughter. William died after 1791 in Virginia.

Elisabeth was baptized on March 10, 1764. She married Michael Miller.

Philip was born December 25, 1766. He married Anna Maria Heikes, they had seven sons and a daughter. Philip passed away on September 30, 1839. He and Anna Maria are buried in the Lower Bermudian Lutheran Church Cemetery.

Peter was born between February 1769 and July 1769. He married Eve Erb, sister to Catherine and Louisa. They had a daughter and three sons. Peter died on December 22, 1833. Peter and Eve are buried in the Lower Bermudian Lutheran Church Cemetery.

Today the descendants of Nicholas and Anna Meyer number in the thousands and over time have moved far and wide from Mud Run. After watching the Angie Harmon episode on Who Do You Think You Are? I have decided that one of my next trips will be to Adams County, Pennsylvania to walk the steps of my ancestors.