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Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Our 8th Great Grandparents Died at Sea on their Voyager to the New World

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Today we read about our 8th Great Grandparents Johann Valentin Laux and Anna Catharina Ruehl


Relationship Chart


Johann Valentin Laux (1658 - 1710)
is your 8th great grandfather
daughter of Johann Valentin Laux
daughter of Elisabetha Catharina Lauck
son of Magdalena Schauer
son of Henry Fiddler
son of Abraham Fiddler
daughter of Heinrich (Henry) Fiddler
son of Eldora Elizabeth Fiddler
daughter of Walter Edwin Pierce
daughter of Violet Mae Pierce
You are the son of Luella Mattson - (not you?)


Their Story

Johan Valentine Laux and Anna Catherine (Ruehl) Ruhl
     This family lived in was in Hesse Darmstadt, now a part of Hesse Nassau, in the area of the old town of Wallau. Wallau in what was called "The Palatine" in Germany.  After the Wars of King Louis XIV this area along the Rhine was totally devastated and starvation was a reality. King Louis the XIV was upset with this group of people and worked to destroy them.  Johan Valentine and family went with 30,000 other Palatines to London in 1708 and 1709.  The Queen had invited these German Protestants to live in England's American Colonies.  Some of these people ended up being sent to Ireland and others were returned to the ruined area of Rhine.  
     In 1708 Valentine and his family were sent to Limerick, Ireland per church records at Wallau.  At first he was not included in a group being allowed to go to the American Colonies.  As it turned out, Johan Valentine along with  his wife and children were among 4,000 Palatines that left on one of 10 ships from England on Christmas Day 1709 for the American Colonies. These people were destitute and looking for a new home and opportunity. 
      The ship arrived in New York on June 14, 1710, but it was not without casualties.  Among the 4,000 Palatines who set sail for America, seventeen hundred died at sea.  Both Johan Valentine and his wife Catherine were among almost half of the passengers on this voyage who died at sea  A number of their children did arrive in New York and among them was our ancestor Elisabeth Catarina (Laucks) Laux The hardship of the journey would not end here.  Problems continued into the next generation of our family that arrived in America. 


From THE LAUX OR LOUCKS FAMILY from web site (318) the Laux history is described.

The German home of the Laux family was in Hesse Darmstadt, now a part of Hesse Nassau, in the neighborhood of the ancient town of Wallau.
This area is called the Palatinate, which was the garden spot of Germany. However, the Thirty Year's War and the Wars of King Louis XIV had ravaged and desolated the palatinate of the Rhine. Where once were fields of grain and vineyards and contented villages, nothing was left but the blackened ruins of cities, towns and hamlets. Famine and pestilence was prevalent.

To flee from these horrors became the thought of thousands, who had given up any hope of ever seeing Germany the abode of peace again  where men might reconstruct homes, rear families and make a living.  Also, the Wars of King Louis the XIV had been directed particularly against the Palatinate because it was the home of thousands of his Protestant subjects, who'd fled from his tyranny, both before and after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. His desire was to see them completely destroyed, which he almost accomplished. In 1708 and 1709 30,000 Palatines left the valley of the Rhine and went to London where the kind-hearted English Queen Anne had invited "the distressed Protestants of Germany to make homes in her American Colonies.
Addition Information fits in well here

Beginning the Voyage
     The Palatines built rafts of logs to sail down the Rhine to Rotterdam. This was a voyage that would take them 4 - 6 weeks. There were fees and tolls to be paid, but often they were provided with food and money and clothing by pious countrymen. They worried constantly about being stopped and detained or turned back by the authorities. 
     While waiting for the English ship/sloop, one such vessel was the H.M.S. Drake, to cross the North Sea and English Channel, they camped outside of Rotterdam. The encampment outside Rotterdam was miserable. The shacks they made, covered with reeds, were the only shelter they had from the elements. The Burogmaster of Rotterdam took pity on them and appropriated 750 guilders for distribution among the destitute. Meanwhile, The British government employed three Anabaptist Dutch merchants, Hendrik van Toren, Jan van Gent and John Suderman, to supervise the loading and sailing of the emigrants to England. 
     The Palatines arrived in increasing numbers in Holland at the rate of nearly a thousand per week. On June 14, 1709, James Dayrolle, British resident at the Hague, informed London that if the British government continued to give bounty to the Palatines and encourage their migration, half of Germany would be on their doorstep. The immigrants were coming so fast it was impossible to care for them. So the British tried to turn back many Palatines, especially the Catholics, and by late July refused to honor their commitments to support the German arrivals. Many of those arriving, if not sent back, made their way to England by private charitable contribution or at their own expense. These people would most likely not have been catalogued so no record of their passage, except possibly a passenger list would exist. The Palatines would arrive in London and await a ship to cross the Atlantic in Blackheath settlement. The British government issued 1,600 tents for their use at encampments formed at Blackheath, Greenwich and Kensington, Tower Ditch and other areas. 
     The Palatines arriving in England beginning in May 1709 continued to have problems sustaining themselves. Some Palatines made small wooden toys to sell; some were reduced to begging, a task usually carried out by the married women. Many children born in the encampments died. Marriages and baptisms taking place in the encampments are registered at St. Nicholas Church in England. The longer the Palatines waited in England, the worse their condition became. They had to depend on alms and charity to survive. At first, the people of London were sympathetic, but as time went on the poor of London regarded them as competition for food and reduced the scale of their wages. Shopkeepers feared that their wares would not be sold with the continued presence of the unenfranchised Palatines. Mobs of people began attacking the Palatines with axes, hammers and scythes. The upper classes became alienated from them, fearing they were spreading disease and fever. Even Juries were prejudiced against them. 
     To alleviate the situation, the government began to ship groups of Germans back to Germany, many were sent to other parts of England where they were made day laborers and swineherds. Others were dispatched to Ireland, the Americas and British held Caribbean islands. The disbursement of the Palatines depended on British evaluation of the need to expand a Protestant presence in the British domain.   Source


Among the group of Palatines were three cousins, Phillip, Nicholas and Valentine Laux and their families. Of these suffering, starving and almost naked Palatines many were sent back to the Rhine in a heart-broken condition. Several thousand were sent to Ireland where they made homes in the County of Limerick. Thousands more perished at sea while on shipboard from fevers and lack of food and drink.

Among four thousand Palatines which left England in ten vessels on Christmas Day in 1709 were Phillip, Nicholas and Valentine Laux and their families. After a perilous voyage of nearly six months, they arrived in New York on June 14, 1710. Of the four thousand who left England, seventeen hundred died at sea. Among them were Valentine Laux and his wife.The remaining 2300 were encamped in tents on Nutting Island, now known as Governor's Island.

In the late autumn about fourteen hundred were taken to Livingston Manor, about one hundred miles up the Hudson River. The widows, sickly men and orphaned children remained in New York where they were treated shamefully. The children were taken from the remaining parent and were arbitrarily apprenticed by Governor Hunter to the citizens of New York and New Jersey. Many of these orphans never saw their fathers or mothers again.
Arriving at Livingston Manor were Phillip and Nicholas Laux. Also,Valentine's four children--Johann Jacob, Abraham, Elizabeth Catharina & Elizabeth Christina Laux--ended up there. Valentine's oldest son, Johann Jacob Laux, who'd married Anna Elisabeth Stemler 29 Oct. 1709 at Wallau, died there prior to 24 June 1711. His widow md. (2) 26 June 1711 at West Camp, Livingston Manor, New York THOMAS EHMANN, widower of Schornbach in Wurtenburg, Germany.

Since it cost Queen Anne a considerable amount of money to send the impoverished Palatines to the American Colonies, the emigrants were  expected to reimburse the government for the 10,000 pounds they'd spent getting them there. The government set up a contract with them to manufacture naval stores, such as making tar, pitch and raising hemp in America. However, the plan proved to be a failure, for the forests and soil in that region were not adapted to the production of naval stores. Thus, the condition of the Palatines again became desperate for the necessities of life.
Still the Palatines were men of honor and were willing to carry out the terms of their contract, but in a region where their labors would be rewarded by sure returns. Also, they showed their loyalty to Queen Anne by enlisting in the military expedition (French & Indian War--also called Queen Anne's War from 1709-1713) against Canada in 1711. One-third of their able-bodied men served in that campaign with the promise that they would receive wages the same as the other soldiers and that their families would be taken of while they were gone. Also, the arms they carried and fought with would be given to them on their return. After serving with great bravery and credit in this expedition, in which quite a few of them lost their lives, the survivors returned home to find their families in a famished condition. No food had been given to them by the Colonial Governor Hunter as he'd promised during their absence. Despite the government's promises made when they enlisted, the rifles they carried during the battles were also taken away from them.

Knowing that they had been unjustly wronged and mistreated, the Germans remembered that, while they'd been waiting in London for transportation to the American Colonies, a group of Indians from the Mohawk Valley, who pitied their forlorn condition, told them they could have lands in Schoharie when they came to America. Remembering this, they petitioned Governor Hunter, when he visited their village, if they could settle in Schoharie on the lands promised them by the Indians.. In a great fury, he insolently refused, saying, "Here is your land where you must live and die."

Determined to break away from the injustices inflicted on them and from the spot where nothing but treachery and starvation seemed eminent if they remained, one hundred and fifty families, among them Phillip Laux's family, made their preparations late in the year 1712 and started for Schoharie, about sixty miles northwest of Livingston Manor. With their women and little children, they had to make their way through a roadless wilderness without horses to draw or carry their belongings. So they harnessed themselves to crudely constructed sledges on which they loaded their baggage, children and the sick and then dragged them the best they could through the snow which covered the region they traveled through. Often they encountered long stretches of snow three feet deep. After three weeks of much hardship and suffering from exposure to the intense cold, they reached their destination.
After their arrival there, famine stared them in the face and, had it not been for the charity of the friendly Indians, who showed them where to gather edible roots and herbs, all of them would have perished. But their indomitable courage and energy enabled them to survive their dreadful plight and a year later they had made improvements on their land and had houses to live in.

For the next ten years, more Germans left Livingston Manor for the Schoharie Valley where they flourished. This caused vindictive animosity by Governor Hunter and his associates at Albany, so they set out to destroy what the Germans had accomplished. Due to defective titles cunningly contrived by unscrupulous land agents, the Germans lost their lands and improvements. Once more the victims of injustice, the Germans left the scene of their unrequitted labors to found new, and this time, permanent homes in more hospitable regions, the majority going to the Mohawk Valley where they soon became prosperous and where their descendants are found today. Among them are many of the descendants of Phillip Laux.
As for the German families who remained at Livingston Manor, they endured the hardships the governor inflicted upon them. But that
didn't keep them from trying to better themselves. When they heard Sir William Keith, Baronet and governor of the Province of Pennsylvania, extole the opportunities in his province as well as the protection afforded the pioneers, they were willing to risk their lives and property to locate within the borders of Pennsylvania.

So, in 1773 thirty-three families made the dangerous trip to Pennsylvania. Led by a friendly Indian, they started out with their meager household goods packed on horses or on their backs and headed over an Indian trail for the headwaters of the Susquehanna River in southern New York. They traveled over mountains, valleys and through forests until they reached the headwaters of the Susquehanna River. Here they constructed rafts upon which they placed their women and children and household goods. Under the most thrilling and adventurous experiences, they floated down the river for about two hundred miles to the mouth of Swatara Creek (south of Harrisburg, Pa.). Here they met the men who'd driven their cattle and horses along the river bank.
From the Swatara, they followed its windings until they reached the beautiful New Lebanon Valley and came to the source of the Tulpehocken Creek. (Tulpehocken is an Indian word that means "Land of Turtles.") This beautiful stream winds through the valleys and among the hills for seventy-five miles and empties into the Schuylkill. It was along this stream and in the northwest section of what's now called Tulpehocken Township that the Germans settled.

Five years later, more German families migrated from New York to the Tulpehocken settlement. Among these were Abraham Laux, Elizabeth Catharine Laux and her husband, Michael Schauer, and Elizabeth Christina Laux and her husband, John Van Hoosen. In German the surname is spelled LAUX, but the English interpreted it as Loucks or Laucks, which is the way it's spelled today in the United States.
JOHANN VALENTINE LAUX, the father of Elizabeth Christine Laux, was born at Wallau, Hessna-Darmstadt, Prussia (now Germany), the son of
Hans Laux and Anna Catharina Ruhl, the daughter of Henrich Ruhl and Elizabeth Schneider, the daughter of Lorentz Schneider of Medenbach. 
Hans Laux and Anna Catharine Ruhl were md. 8 Nov. 1681 at Wallau. Wallau is 10 kilometers south-east of Weisebaden, Germany. Although the church books begin in 1658, most of them are in poor condition and some are partially destroyed.


According to the church records of Wallau, Hans Laux and Anna Catharina Ruhl had the following children :

1. Jacob Laux, confirmed as the son of the late Hans Laux in 1667. He md. 8 Jan. 1678 Elisabetha Margreta Stiglitz at Wallau.
2. JOHANN VALENTINE LAUX, confirmed as the son of the late John Laux in 1672 at the age of 13 in Wallau, md. 8 Nov. 1681 at Wallau Hesse- Darmstadt, Prussia (now Germany) ANNA CATHARINA RUHL, who was confirmed in 1670 as the daughter of Henrich Ruhl & Elisabeth Schneider.

A note in the Wallau church records states that Velten Laux with his wife and four children went to Ireland in 1708 because they couldn't
go to the New Land.
According to the records of Wallau, JOHANN VALENTIN~ LAUX and his wife, ANNA CATHARINE RUHL, had the following children:
1. Johann Jacob Laux, chr. as Johan Jacobum 5 Apr. 1683 at Wallau; md. 29 Oct. 1709 at Wallau Anna Elizabeth Stemler;  d. before 24 June 1711.
2. (daughter) Laux, chr. at Wallau & d. 19 Jan. 1685 at Wallau.
3. Elisabetha Margaretha Laux, chr. 21 Dec. 1686 Wallau; bur. 20 June 1690 at Wallau.
4. Johann Reinhardt Laux, chr. 12 Trin., 1689 at Wallau.  NFI
5. Johann Abraham Laux, chr. Dom. Invocavit. 1691  Wallau; confirmed at Wallau in 1702, aged 15 yrs; md.
Marie Catherine Becker in 1710 in New York.
6. Johann Michael Laux, chr. 5 June 1694 Wallau; d. 19 Nov. 1695.
+7. Elisabeth Catharine Laux, chr. 7 Oct. 1696 at Wallau; md. Johann Michael Schauer in 1717.
8. Elisabeth Christina Laux, chr. abt. 1700 at Wallau. Her baptism record isn't found in the badly damaged church books. She md. 11 Apr. 1720 Johannes Van Hoesen at East
Camp, Albany, New York.
+(7) ELISABETH CATHARINE LAUX OR LOUCKS, was chr. 7 Oct. 1696 at
Wallau, HessnaDarmstadt, Prussia (now Germany), the daughter of Johann Valentine Laux & Anna Catharina Ruhl; bur. 17 Sept. 1772; md. abt. 1717 in Albany Co., N.Y., JOHANN MICHAEL SCHAUER or Shower, chr. 30 May 1699 at Massenbach, three kilometers north of Schwaihern Germany, the son of Michael & Magdalena Schawerin. He left a will  dated 17 Nov. 1771 and probated 26 Aug. 1772 in Berks Co., Pa. They had the following children:

 1. Johann Adam Schauer; md. (1) unknown &
    (2) 16 June 1748 Elisabeth Koch; will dated 27 June 1762 & probated 21 Aug. 1762.
 2. Elisabetha Schauer, chr. 1 Feb. 1720 Tar Boss; chr,. Loonenburg.
+3. Catharina Schauer; md. 30 Aug. 1743 at Heidelberg - Henrich Frey.
 4. Magdalena Schauer; md. 13 June 1744 Johann Henrich Fiedler (Fitler).
 5. Anna Maria Schauer, chr. 19 Nov. 1730 at Heidelberg. NFI
 6. Maria Catharina Schawer; named in father's will.
 7. Anna Christina Schawer; named in father's will.
 8. Ephrosina Schawer; named in father's will.
 9. Sybilla Schawer; named in father's will.
10. Susanna Schawer; named in father's will.
11. Eva Schawer; named in father's will. 
(318)