The Plethora of Jacob Brumbaugh’s

Jacob Brumbaughs in Washington County, Maryland, & Bedford County, Pennsylvania

Many other men named “Jacob Brumbaugh” lived around the time of this website’s Johan Jacob Brumbaugh (1726 b. Germany-1799 d. Bedford County, Pa., buried on his farm in Maryland), Dunker farmer and Distiller of his 900-acre farm “Resurvey of Claylands Contrivance,” Washington County, Maryland, north of Hagerstown, who died owning 12 additional farms in Bedford County, Pennsylvania.

The four sons of Johannes Henrich Brumbaugh (1709-aft 1761)— (1) Jacob called “Jockel,” (2) Conrad, (3) George called “Yerrick,” and (4) Johannes der Strump Weber (John the stocking weaver)– lived first after 1753 in and around Funkstown (southern border of Hagerstown), Washington County, Maryland, and after the 1780s on farms in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, where some of Johan Jacob Brumbaugh’s descendants also lived; thus, the potential for confusion.

From the Line of Johan Jacob Brumbaugh (1726-1799)

Jacob Brumbaugh Jr. (c 1768-1814 Md.), eldest son of Johan Jacob Brumbaugh (1726-1799)

Jacob Brumbaugh, son of Jacob Brumbaugh Jr. (c 1768-1814 Md.)

Jacob S. Brumbaugh (1800-?) son of John Brumbaugh son of Johan Jacob Brumbaugh

Jacob Benjamin Brumbaugh (1818-?) son of David Brumbaugh (1776-1842)

Jacob Brumbaugh son of John Brumbaugh son of Jacob Brumbaugh Jr.

Jacob Brumbaugh (1825-?) son of David Brumbaugh son of John Brumbaugh

From the line of Johannes Henrich Brumbaugh (1709-aft 1761) (according to a PDF labeled “Descendants of Tilman Brumback,” an ancestor of Johannes Henrich Brumbaugh, a well- researched document of uncertain authorship and origin):

Jacob Brumbaugh (1734-1816 d. Huntingdon Co., Pa.) called “Jockel,” son of Johannes Henrich Brumbaugh (1709-aft 1761)

Jacob Brumbaugh (1769-1855), son of above Jockel

Jacob Brumbaugh born in PA, son of Conrad and Anna Christina Hiser

Jacob Brumbaugh (1797-?), son of George “Yerrick” and Susannna Metzger

Jacob Brumbaugh (1803-1855), son of Henry Brumbaugh son of Jacob “Jockel” and Eliz Folk

Jacob Brumbaugh (1806-1890) son of George Brumbaugh & Maria Bowers

Jacob Brumbaugh (1837-?) son of Samuel Brumbaugh

Jacob Brumbaugh (1795-1881) son of William son of Jacob “Jockel”

Jacob Brumbaugh (1799-1880) son of Conrad son of Jacob “Jockel”

Jacob Brumbaugh (1798-1885) son of Jacob “Jockel”

Jacob’s and Mary’s son Daniel S. Brumbaugh (1772- 1824)

Daniel S. Brumbaugh

Born in 1772, fourth among the children, Daniel married ca 1797 Elizabeth Long, daughter of John Long. They had 10 children, 6 girls and 4 boys.

In 1785 Johann Jacob arranged for sons Jacob Jr. and Daniel to purchase a warrant for 400 acres in Pennsylvania, for what was later called “Springfield farm.” This land was not surveyed until 1805 when it was found to have 407 acres in Huntingdon County contiguous to Bedford and patented to Jacob Jr. and Daniel.

Daniel was 27 and lived on the family farm in Washington Co, MD, when his father died in 1799. His father-in-law John Long died about 1816 and Daniel served with brother-in-law John Long, Jr. as co-administrator of his estate.

In the course of the settlement of Johann Jacob’s estate, Daniel became co-owner of a farm in Bedford Co, PA, with his older brother Henry.

Daniel first appears in the federal census in 1800 in Elizabeth Hundred where he also appears in 1810 next to brother Henry. Then in 1820 he is shown in Woodbury Township, Bedford County, PA, after he and Henry acquired some land there from Johann Jacob’s estate. He then came back to the Hagerstown area, as did Henry.

Judging by his personal property articles left when he died at age 52 in 1824, he was a essentially a farmer: along with the usual horses, cows, sheep, and hogs, there were two stills and apparatus, a windmill, a weaving loom and gears and flax seed; one road wagon and a small plantation wagon; copper kettles; barley, wheat, and corn; also, 10 shares of the Hagerstown and Conococheague Turnpike stock. The loom could have been inherited from his father Jacob who when he first came to this country was identified as a weaver. This is reinforced in that Jacob Sr. also died owning copper kettles, a windmill and two stills; on the other hand, these items are not so unique that it is inconceivable that Daniel acquired them on his own rather than from family inheritance.

At his death in 1824, he lived 4-½ miles north of Hagerstown. He is buried at Salem German Reformed Church in Cearfoss, MD. His wife Elizabeth lived until 1860 and she is buried there too.

Their children were: Susanna, Elizabeth, Daniel David, Louisa, Maria (Bosteller), Thomas Jefferson, Isabella (Bentz), Rosanna Caroline (Barr), Joshua, and Samuel.

Compilation of the Stories Published About The Pioneer German Immigrant and Washington County, Maryland, Brethren Farmer, Patriot, and Landowner: Johann Jacob Brumbaugh (1726-1799) a/k/a Jacob Brumbach or Broomback

Compilation of the Stories Published About
The Pioneer German Immigrant and Washington County, Maryland,
Brethren Farmer, Patriot, and Landowner:

Johann Jacob Brumbaugh
a/k/a Jacob Brumbach or Broomback

by Norman E. Donoghue, II

Johann Jacob Brumbaugh is acknowledged as the original owner of the tract now known as the Brumbaugh-Kendle-Grove Farmstead owned by Washington County, Maryland, and forming part of the Regional Airport property.

Reprinted within are the several published stories, without primary source documentation, about the immigrant Johann Jacob Brumbach who is currently the subject of research by the compiler. Most of the included stories were originally compiled by genealogist Richard Lee Hartle of State Line, PA, in 1999, and credit is paid to him for originally bringing this material to people’s attention. This new compilation of 2011 includes new material and has been re-edited by
Norman E. Donoghue, II
and is the subject of ongoing research by Donoghue.

© Copyright 2011 Norman E. Donoghue, II; April 9, 2011

Table of Contents

1. From A History of Washington County Maryland by Thomas J. C. Williams; Vol.2, p.631 (Runk & Titsworth, 1906)
2. From the book Genealogy of the Brumbach Families… by Gaius Marcus Brumbaugh, M. S., M.D. (Frederick Hitchcock, New York; 1913)
3. From the book Pennsylvania German Pioneers, The Original Lists of Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1727-1808 by Strassberger and Hinke (1934)
4. From the genealogy “The Big Long Family”: this genealogy manuscript (unknown author and date) is held in the Western Maryland room of the Washington County Public Library in Hagerstown
5. From History of the Church of the Brethren in Maryland by J. Maurice Henry, Ph.D. (Brethren Press, Eglin, IL; 1936)
6. From Sidelights on Brethren History by Freeman Ankrum (Brethren Press, Eglin, IL; 1962)
7. From Two Centuries of Brothersvalley Church of the Brethren, 1762- 1962, An account of the Old Colonial Church, the Stony Creek German Baptist Church and the area of Bruedersthal (Somerset Co., PA) in which the Brethren settled in the summer of 1762 (1962) By H. Austin Cooper
8. From Daughters of the American Revolution application for patriot status for Johann Jacob Brumbaugh (1912)
9. From Maryland Historical Magazine of March 1914 a reprinted document intended for the Maryland colonial assembly in 1750s to compensate those who Quartered Soldiers, etc. for the British in French & Indian War in Maryland


Even if some parts or even all of these stories of tie-ins in 1755 between Johann Jacob Brumbaugh and George Washington are untrue or unverifiable, it is interesting that this myth of a common man as quiet colonial hero was ascribed by several historians and genealogists to one man. They ascribed these deeds not to an anonymous Brethren frontier farmer who they sought to hold up as a model, but to one particular specifically named frontier farmer who seems to have been an orphan German immigrant, a model farmer, a father of seven children, a pacifist yet revolutionary patriot, and a man-next-door of modest circumstances (of the ‘middling sort’, at least not a plantation owner or landed aristocrat) who successfully accumulated considerable land resources in two states.

G.B.B. stands for German Baptist Brethren. Adherents of this Anabaptist sect which formed part of the pietist movement, started by Alexander Mack in Schwarzenau, German in 1708, believed in adult baptism by “triune immersion,” dunking three times forward “in a flowing stream.” They are often referred to as Dunkers or Dunkards. Like Amish, Mennonites and Quakers, Dunkers were non-resistant or pacifist (would not bear arms or commit violence), would not swear oaths (including oaths of allegiance to their new country during the Revolution), and would not serve in governmental posts. Moreover, their creed was not written down; some say because they were ever conscious that it was evolving always and if they wrote it down they might find later that what they once thought was immutable, was about to evolve further. It is uncertain when Brumbaugh converted from a German Lutheran to GBB, but some say it was when he married a convert, Mary Elizabeth Angle, and that marriage may have been in 1760, which is post Braddock’s Campaign, or the marriage or his conversion may have been before then.

Ned Donoghue

1. From A History of Washington County Maryland by Thomas J. C. Williams; Vol.2, p.631 (Runk & Titsworth, 1908). In volume 2 the following is found:

Jacob Brombach (now spelled Brumbaugh) who was an orphan, emigrated to America from Germany between the years 1740 and 1750.

He located in the Conococheague District, Washington County. He is the progenitor of the Brumbaugh family of this County. Sometime after his arrival in this county he was married to Miss Angle, who was a German Baptist in religion. Mr. Brombach was a Lutheran but eventually joined his wife’s Church.

During Braddock’s memorable campaign, Jacob Brombach served under the great General as a pack-man, his religious ideas preventing him from taking part in the conflict. Besides owning large tracts of land in Washington County, he became the possessor of over six thousand acres in Bedford and Blair Counties, Pennsylvania. After residing for many years in Pennsylvania, he died in 1799 and was buried on the paternal homestead four miles north of Hagerstown. Jacob Brombach was the father of the following children, all of whom were born on the farm where he was buried: Jacob born in 1765; Mary born in 1767, married Samuel Ulrich; John born in 1768; Henry born in 1770, married a Miss Rench; Daniel born in 1772, married Elizabeth Long; David born in 1774 [sic 1776], married a Miss Kissicker; George born in 1775, married a Miss Gelwicks.

Daniel and Elizabeth (Long) Brumbaugh were the grandparents of John Nichols “Nick” Brumbaugh and Phillip Napoleon “Nap” Brumbaugh whose biographical sketches are printed in this book.

2. From the book Genealogy of the Brumbach Families… by Gaius Marcus Brumbaugh, M. S., M.D. (Frederick Hitchcock, New York; 1913) the following was copied:

Johann Jacob Brumbach, b. about 1728, is said to have been an orphan upon his arrival at Philadelphia, Pa. He supposedly had 50 pounds sterling in his possession. He arrived on the ship Nancy August 31, 1750- see his signature on the Immigrant List. He settled in the Conococheague District, about 1 mile south of the Mason’s and Dixon’s Line, and 4 miles north of Hagerstown, then Frederick Co., Md. In 1760, he married Mary Elizabeth Angle, b. 1740,… dau. Henry Angle of Washington county. The latter’s family in Heads of Families, Md., 1790, is given as three free white males over 176 years, and give free white females, including heads of families. He built a substantial house on his tract of land before his marriage. Jacob’s original house was built of rough hewn logs, 36 x 16 – two rooms below and two above, with large open fire places (since closed), and with heavy oak doors and shutters. Philip Napoleon built a porch and a two-story addition during his ownership.

Jacob seems to have immediately dropped the “Johann” from his name upon landing. Even though he signed “Johann Jacob Brumbach” on the immigration list, nowhere has any later signature other than “Jacob” been found, however, this was common practice. Originally a Lutheran, he united with the G. B. B. Ch., (German Baptist Brethren Church) of which his wife was a member.

In the Gen. Braddock Campaign of the French and Indian War he served as a packman, his religious scruples preventing service in actual conflict. His hearing was defective, and this tendency, together with his large stature and strong general constitution, seems to be hereditary in some later generations. He had an unusual faculty for acquiring land, and shortly before his death in the Bedford, Pa., area, on April 10, 1799, it is said he owned over 6000 acres [Note: this amount has never been substantiated, but Brumbaugh did have hundreds of acres of land documented in that area.] in the Bedford and Blair Counties, Pa., as well as other large tracts of land in what was then Frederick Co., Md. (now Washington Co., Md.) His remains were taken to the old Maryland homestead and buried in the small family graveyard. Mary, his wife, died November 28, 1803, and was laid to rest beside her husband. Both graves were marked by crudely dressed lime-stones containing the initials “J. B.” and “M. B.” The remains of their seven children also rest there. [Note – the family burial site remains there and is irregularly cared for. The statement that ‘their 7 children also rest there’ is not correct, with the exception, that his son, Henry, who acquired this land after his father’s death, was perhaps also buried there.]

Johann Jacob’s children seem to have united with different religious denominations, and in the main the descendants of each remained therein; Jacob and Henry became Pres.; Mary and John became G. B. B.; Daniel became Ref.; David and George became Lutheran, according to information supplied by David Stuckey Brumbaugh.

Gaius Marcus Brumbaugh in his Genealogy of the Brumbaugh Families on p. 349 also tells us that: Eve (Brumbaugh) Snoeberger, b. 1806, while yet in full possession of her excellent memory, in 1891 wrote and also said that she “always understood, from my father, that my grandfather (Johann Jacob Brumbach) was a cousin to Johannes Henrich Brumbach, and that Johannes Henrich’s son Johannes (John) was known as the stocking weaver.”
[Ed. Note – Johannes Henrich Brumbach was the progenitor of another line of Brumbaughs, Gaius Marcus Brumbaugh’s lineage. He originally settled in the Conococheague district, as did his alleged cousin, but it is believed that none of his descendants remained there very long. Most moved to the Morrison’s Cove area of Bedford Co., Pa., where Johann Jacob Brumbaugh also settled two of his children on hundreds of acres of farmland in Morrison’s Cove.]

3. From the book Pennsylvania German Pioneers, The Original Lists of Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1727-1808 by Strassberger and Hinke (1934), the following was copied:

[Immigrant List 155 C] At the Court House at Philadelphia, Friday, the 31st August, 1750. Present: Thomas Laurence, Esquire, Mayor.

The Foreigners whose names are underwritten, imported in the Ship Nancy, Thomas Coatam, Master, from Rotterdam & last from Cowes, did this day take the usual Oaths. By list 88. Persons 270. …Johann Jacob Brumbach….

4. From the genealogy “The Big Long Family”. [Note: Daniel Long Miller (D.L. Miller) was born near Hagerstown, Maryland in 1841, the son of Abram and Catherine Long Miller. He married Elizabeth Talley (1848-1926) in 1868. Miller united with the German Baptist Brethren Church in 1863. He was elected to the ministry in 1887 and ordained an elder in 1891. He wrote Some Who Led (1912) about Brethren history but it does not mention Jacob Brumbaugh.]
– what follows comes from p. 15 of this genealogy manuscript (unknown author and date) held in the Western Maryland room of the Washington County Public Library in Hagerstown:

Early Days On The Plantation – Baker’s Lookout

In the panhandle of Western Maryland, at the northeast corner of Greencastle Pike and Broadfording Road, four and one-half miles west of downtown Hagerstown, is the original frontier plantation of Peter Studebaker – “Baker’s Lookout.” This was the home also of the Long family, 1750 to 1845. As early as 1625 this western wilderness was a part of the Crown Colony of Virginia. Early in that century, King Charles I cut a slice out of northern Virginia in order to make a grant to his friend, Lord Baltimore. It included all of the land north of the further (south) bank of the Potomac River, north to the 40th degree latitude. This became Maryland.

The Proprietor bargained and sold parcels of the colony in various sizes. The larger ones of over 2,000 acres or more were called Manors. The Lord of each Manor in these frontier areas had judicial power. By 1753, two years after Long acquired “Baker’s Lookout” the National Trail (U.S. 40) was extended westward to Will’s Creek (later named Cumberland, Md.) The trail passed two miles south of “Baker’s Lookout.” Young Washington passed this way in 1753, when Elizabeth Long (3) was a baby. Governor Dinwiddie of the Virginia Colony sent him to confer at the forks of the Ohio River with the French, who were claiming all of the area north of the Ohio and west of the Alleghenies. Washington returned empty-handed.

Then two years later, 1755, as a matter of grave concern developed for the families and neighbors of John Long. General Braddock with two British regiments passed by on the National trail and met George Washington, aged 23, at the Potomac, with his command [Note: this is wrong; Col. Washington at this time served as an aide-de-camp of Braddock] of 450 Virginia Militia. Together they had a force of about 2000 men. It was thirty-two days and about 110 miles later, they cut their way west to Fort Cumberland through a trackless hardwood forest to a surprise meeting with the French and 1000 Indian Warriors. Braddock was killed on July 9th [Note: wrong again, he was shot that day and died July 13, 1755] and 977 of his men were killed or wounded out of the 1459 English engaged.

Young George Washington, ill and in command of the remnant, was lucky to have a civilian assistant who was of great aid in helping him back to Virginia. A compatriot of John Long, living in nearby Williamsport, an enterprising Brethren named Brumbach (Brumbaugh), refused a quartermaster commission, before joining the expedition as a civilian, caring for food and clothing. He declined a commission because of his pacifist, non-resistant religious background, having only recently left Europe to escape the military. He nursed young Washington back to Virginia and health. (Williams, History of Washington County, MD; Henry, History of the Church Of Brethren in Maryland.)

5. From History of the Church of the Brethren in Maryland by J. Maurice Henry, Ph.D. (Brethren Press, Eglin, IL; 1936) on pp. 31-34 the following is found:

The Pathfinders
JACOB BROMBACH was certainly one of the most remarkable pioneers among the Society of Dunkers in Colonial Maryland. He was an orphan lad who came from Germany about 1740 and made his way across the wild frontiers of Pennsylvania and Maryland. He found a home on Conococheague Creek in Maryland, and was apprenticed to a family until he was twenty-one years old. He was married to—- (Mary Elizabeth) Angle, daughter of (Henry Angle) one of the original pioneers in the Antietam Valley. This young woman was baptized at the age of sixteen and has been regarded as the first convert of Martin Urner in Maryland. Some records indicate that she was converted by George Adam Martin but the accounts agree that she was very young.

Jacob Brombach held to the Lutheran faith, and was in all probability christened in Germany. He was a very humble man with a quiet manner of speech.

A few years after his marriage he was baptized and united with his wife’s church. He was never elected to the ministry but was a devout leader in his day. He worked hard and lived frugally. Jacob was peculiarly endowed with good judgment and organizing power. His farm was considered a model for his day. Many men visited his place to learn the art of his success.

When General Edward Braddock was met at Frederick, Maryland, in April, 1755, by Benjamin Franklin, Governor Horatio Sharpe and George Washington to plan the campaign against the French and Indians, the advance scouts marked out the route. The army was to pass over South Mountain and cross Antietam Creek at Delemere. [Note – The official record covering the route can be found in the Congressional Library at Washington, D.C.]

The Orderly Books of General Braddock, two in number, are preserved in the Congressional Library at Washington. These books were secured from the library of one Peter Force, Esq. Two important entries appear to be in the handwriting of George Washington and it is presumed that the books were kept under his directions. The first book covers the period from Feb. 26 to June 11, 1755, and the second from June l2 to l7. The entry giving the route which Braddock’s army was to follow is interesting. Sir Peter Halkett’s regiment marched from Williamsburg, Virginia, to Winchester and Colonel Dunbar went to Frederick, Maryland. They were to reunite on the Virginia side. General Braddock joined Dunbar at Frederick and marched with that regiment.

The official order reads:
Frederick, Friday, April 25, l755.

Parole Appleby.
Colonel Dunbar’s regiment to hold themselves in readiness to march by (April) 29th.
After orders:
One Corporal and four men to march tomorrow evening to Rock Creek with four wagons that came up this evening. When the party comes to Rock Creek, they are to put themselves under Ensign Hench.
Sunday, April 27, l755
Parole Chester
Colonel Dunbar’s Regiment is to march ye 29 and to proceed to Wills Creek agreeable to the following route:

April Miles

29th From Frederick on Road to Conogogee 17
30th From that halting place to Conogogee 18

[All accounts seem to agree that these soldiers including Braddock and Washington camped on the Conococheague creek precisely the night of April 29, 1755, departing to cross the nearby Potomac on May 1. Brumbaugh’s land was described in the 1753 deed to Jacob Bromback of his 90-acre tract known as “Claland’s Contrivance” as “Near a Tract of Land Taken up by Col. Cresap” –see May 8 below–who was also involved in Braddock’s Campaign as a civilian supplier to the army.]


1st From Conogogee to John Evens 16
2nd Rest
3rd To Widow Baringer’s 18
4th To George Poll’s 9
5th To Henry Enoch’s 15
6th Rest
7th To Cox’s at ye mouth of Little Cacaph 12
8th To Colonel Cresap’s 8
9th To Will’s Creek 16


The men are to take from this place three days’ provisions. At Conogogee they will have more; at the Widow Baringer’s 5 days; at Col. Cresap’s one or more days and at all these places Oats or Indian Corn must be had for the horses but no hay. At Conogogee the troops cross the Potomak in a float.
The army of Braddock crossed the Antietam Creek at a place called “Delemere” near Devil’s Backbone and marched northwest into the more thickly settled region of the German colonists. A part of the army appears to have pitched camp for the night near the home of Jacob Bromback.

General Braddock—probably by invitation—put up in the home of Jacob Bromback. Both Braddock and George Washington appear to have spent the night in Bromback’s home. General Braddock was so impressed with the skill and ability of his host that a commission was offered [Note- not true as he had no such authority] Jacob Bromback in the army. This gave him the opportunity to explain the religious beliefs of the Society of Dunkers to the British general and George Washington. In the soft mellow light of the candle-lighted room these three sat. Jacob Bromback talked in quiet tones of voice with words fitly spoken like ‘apples of gold in network of silver.’ No one will ever know what impressions were made by this pious, humble servant of God on his guests. General Braddock insisted that Bromback accept a commission in his army. One record indicated that Jacob Bromback did not accept an officer’s commission, but was finally prevailed upon to accompany the supply train and care for the sick and wounded.

The army broke camp May 1, 1755, and started to Wills’ Creek at Fort Cumberland to make final preparations for the march against Fort Duquesne. The tragedy of Braddock’s death and the defeat of his army are well known facts of history. However, little is known about the pathetic hours which the soldiers experienced as George Washington, and others, led the wounded and battered forces back across the mountains. General Braddock never lived to return to the fireside of Jacob Bromback, but who can doubt that George Washington stopped at the hospitable home of Jacob Bromback and recounted, around his hearthstone, the trials and hardships of their disastrous campaign?

Years passed and Jacob Bromback continued to labor out on the frontier. “The meek shall inherit the earth” was literally fulfilled in the life of this pious, God-fearing saint, when, for some unaccountable reason, he was given a patent for a large tract of land in Blair and Bedford Counties, Pennsylvania [Note: nothing found yet to confirm any transfer to Brumbaugh of more than several hundred acres of land].

Why did Jacob Bromback come into possession of this patent? Who influenced the king’s proprietary of Pennsylvania to grant a patent to this unknown Dunker out on the frontier? Who would say that George Washington did not have a guiding hand in that grant? [Note: not likely!] Furthermore, it is fancy to believe that when George Washington was presiding over the Constitutional Convention, he gave counsel with others that a clause be put in the Constitution guaranteeing religious liberty and freedom of conscience? Amid all the turmoil and wrangling in the convention did George Washington recall the night when an unknown man out on the frontier expounded the doctrine of peace and goodwill to a British general? Did Washington ever forget the fervor of that sainted voice out in the wilderness?

It has been stated by a recent writer that George Washington was baptized by triune immersion in the latter part of his life. Again, who knows what impression was made by Jacob Bromback upon his guest in his humble home on Conococheague when Bromback explained the doctrine of triune immersion as practiced by the Dunker Brethren? What influence Jacob Bromback had on the life of George Washington will never be known. It does not matter, for Washington had come in contact with a great and good man.

It was enough to have discovered a saint of God out on the frontier. The accounts about him are meager, but the Eternal Father has the record of it all, and when Jacob Bromback finished his earthly pilgrimage in the year 1799, he could answer the call, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, thou has been faithful over a few things, enter thou into the joys of thy Lord.” Another sainted path-finder in Maryland had passed away.

It was a strange coincidence that George Washington had like-wise passed away. It was a damp, cold day on Thursday, Dec. 12, 1799, as Washington took his accustomed ride over his plantation. The next morning a snow blanketed the earth. He sat by the fireside and meditated with strange thoughts. Saturday night as the wind moaned in the boxwoods around Mount Vernon the beloved Father of his Country answered the call to come up higher, Jacob Bromback, the pathfinder, and George Washington, the patriot, had finished their earthly pilgrimage as the earth slumbered under a blanket of snow.

6. From Sidelights on Brethren History by Freeman Ankrum (Brethren Press, Eglin, IL; 1962), p. 21.

A Light in the Wilderness

Two hundred years ago there lived in Washington County,
Maryland, a young German immigrant named Jacob Bromback. (The pronunciation of the spelling of the name in later years may have been changed to Brumbaugh.) An orphan, he eventually found a home on the creek with the long Indian name, the Conococheague. He married a young lady of the Brethren faith who was said to have been Martin Urner’s first convert when he pioneered with the gospel in Carroll County, Maryland. Some time following his marriage he was baptized and united with the church of which he is wife was a member. His quiet manner of speech, with its accompanying humility, made the man feel at home with the brethren. All his life he was a farmer and a lay leader in the church. Men visited him there to learn of his farming methods. In numerous ways his home became one of the significant outposts on the frontier.

In April 1755 it was necessary for the English government to send forces to the western section of Pennsylvania to attempt to gain control over disputed territory. The English general, Edward Braddock, and his aide, young George Washington of Virginia, were assigned to the task, Braddock commanding the expedition and Washington heading up the Virginia provincials. They had outfitted a large number of men at Frederick, Maryland, with Benjamin Franklin aiding them by supplying of wagons. One of the teamsters was young Daniel Boone who was later to become a legendary character on the western frontier.

From Frederick they started their march toward the fort on Wills Creek in the narrows in what is now Cumberland, Maryland . They slowly made their way over the heights which now bear the name of Braddock. The beautiful valley known today as the Middletown Valley, was before them. Beyond this loomed South Mountain, which they crossed near the future site of Boonsboro. Their course from here was southwest over a succession of ridges known as the Devil’s Back Bone. The crossing of the Antietam was made near where the old colonial school of Delamere now stands, approximately six miles southeast of the present city of Hagerstown. Part of the army went over the site which later in 1763 was laid out as Sharpsburg. Marching on from here, some of the soldiers pitched tents near the home of Jacob Bromback on the Conococheague. Both General Braddock and George Washington, it seems from the available records, spent the night in the home of this progressive and successful farmer. [Note: At least he knew that sometimes historians consult records! Alas, he does not say what records. This account clearly has frustrating moments. It’s just not serious history.] Knowing Washington’s interest in agriculture, we may believe that his concern in talking with Bromback was more than military.

That night old Fairview Mountain, just to the west of them, looked down upon a scene which had much to do in shaping the destinies of people yet unborn. General Braddock at once recognized his host’s more-than-ordinary ability and is said to have offered him a commission in his army. This gave Bromback an opportunity—which he grasped—to explain to his guest the peace principles of the Brethren people. The general still insisted that Bromback accept a commission. After prolonged and serious discussion, they came to a compromise. True to his Brethren principles, Bromback refused to accept the offered commission but agreed to go with the supply train and care for the sick and the wounded. [Note: underlining added.] No one will ever know the full extent of the impression he made on his guests that night, but there is much evidence that the impression was both deep and durable. We might well conjecture, as an added matter of interest, that Daniel Boone, one of whose parents was a member of the Brethren Church, may have shared in these conversations.

On May 1, Jacob Bromback took leave of his family and accompanied the army on its way westward. The men slowly and laboriously chopped trails over the mountains and through the valleys. Today’s traveler over the highway known as the Old National Pike or U.S. Highway 40 [Note: Braddock’s Road is of course famous for becoming this important road to the West.] will be amazed, as he passes in rapid succession the markers indicating Braddock’s camps, at the slowness of the army’s progress. After much hard work they reached the fort on Wills Creek. On this tedious march Washington, who was plagued with poor health all his life, was ill and spent much of this time riding in a litter. Inasmuch as Bromback had gone along to care for the sick and the wounded, we may assume that he cared for Washington in his time of need. [Added.]

It is not our intention to give an account of the tragic defeat which befell the troops under Braddock and Washington on their way to Fort Duquesne. Every student of American history is familiar with it.

According to an old tradition, General Braddock was shot by the brother of a colonial soldier [Note: This is not the generally accepted view, but it is a minority view.] whom he had grossly mistreated. Trained in English methods of soldiery, the general failed to understand or appreciate the independent spirit of the American colonists. He was buried in a lonely grave by the side of the trail, Washington reading the burial service, and efforts were made to conceal the grave. Later his body was re-interred at the place now marked by the imposing monument about eleven miles east of Uniontown, Pennsylvania. We may readily believe that when the burial service was ready for the general, among those standing near by was the newfound friend in whose home Braddock had stayed and whom he had persuaded to come along on his campaign—the Brethren farmer, Jacob Bromback.

The road back east was long and the suffering was acute as Washington now in command, led the dejected survivors along the trails over which they had recently passed with their hopes high. It is possible, and even probable, that Washington availed himself of the opportunity to stop again in the hospitable home of Jacob Bromback. If he did, they must have talked seriously of the events of the recent past, of the many new graves in the wilderness, and possibly of the basic futility of trying to settle the quarrels of governments and of individuals by methods of violence.

Liking the country in which Jacob Bromback lived, Washington later selected a site on the Potomac where it is joined by the Conococheague for a possible national capital. The wide streets in the small city of Williamsport are a reminder of the dream that was never fulfilled. When Washington looked over the location he was entertained in the home of General Otto Williams near the village. The house is still standing and is pointed out to the tourist. However, it has been enlarged and changed since the days when its roof sheltered America’s foremost citizen.

For some reason never made public, Bromback was given a large tract of land in Bedford and Blair counties, Pennsylvania. If an inquirer could have called George Washington aside later, he might have become the possessor of the reason for this—the nights spent by Washington in the home of this man, as well as having had him for a companion on the march. That a Brethren farmer should be given a tract of land like this, far out on the frontier, would arouse questions in the minds of many people. Who can say that Washington’s hand was not back of the grant? Washington is gone. Braddock sleeps by the side of the road. And where Bromback rests perhaps no man knows; but his principles are as much alive as when these men met in his humble home at the foot of old Fairview Mountain.

Is there one who can say that when Washington, called to the highest place his country had to offer, presided over the Constitutional Convention he did not counsel the placing in the Constitution of the clause guaranteeing religious liberty and freedom of conscience? Washington from his lofty heights of state, may have remembered the lowly home where the humble and soft spoken Brethren layman expounded to the British general and himself the doctrine of peace and goodwill.

A light indeed was Jacob Bromback in the wilderness. Even though in later years the candle was consumed, the lights kindled by it still shone forth. They had come in contact with a man of God; and the fruitage of contacts such as that are not for just a day.

History is stingy with its records concerning the life and labors of Bromback. [Note: at least he gives us his excuse for not telling the source of this story.] The men of those days had little time to keep records. Their energies were spent in the stern necessity of wrestling a living from new and often unfriendly surroundings.

The work of Jacob Bromback reminds us that the laity have an important place in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ second only to that of the minister. Perhaps testimony from a consecrated layman is accepted when that of a minister may be considered more or less professional. The history of the church would be different and perhaps better had there been more consecrated laymen like Bromack giving testimony to their faith by both word and deed.

7. From Two Centuries of Brothersvalley Church of the Brethren
1762- 1962
, An account of the Old Colonial Church, the Stony Creek German Baptist Church and the area of Bruedersthal in which the Brethren settled in the summer of 1762, and organized by Elder George Adam Martin, presiding Elder. (1962) By H. Austin Cooper
p. 37-38:

Washington’s Illness—Nursed to Health by a Dunker

It was on the 1754 [sic 1755] campaign of General Braddock that Colonel George Washington fell sick with a fever at Wills Creek, the middle of May. The army of nearly two thousand men were a straggling group to behold. They suffered much from traversing the rough mountain roads and Indian trails over the Alleghenies. They had gone without proper food and rest. Braddock was not used to the terrain and the Indian type of warfare that Washington knew quite well would soon break unsuspectingly upon them. Therefore, he alerted General Braddock to what would soon befall them as they came into the heart of Allegheny-land. They hurried their troops to a faster pace. Washington walked, paid the soldiers to carry his gear. He took the gear of war upon his own well mannered and well trained riding horse, far from fort Cumberland. He tried to ride his faithful horse but each jolting step brought his fever even higher. He was delirious as they entered the bounds of Somerset County [Note: PA], near Pocahontas, and lay sick for fourteen days. There was a mill near there run by a Dunker by the name of Jacob Brumbaugh. This mill was located along the Sand Patch-Pocahontas Road. There is a series of old mills in this section of the county, some of them go beyond recorded history of the county—this was one of them. A few scanty notes from several of the older citizens of the area tell that some of the Deals who moved into Greenville Township at an early date from Lancaster County took over the Brumbaugh mill and ran it for some years. The old stones and some of the machinery were taken to Deal’s Mill and that mill was put into operation.

There are several accounts of this experience of General Washington having happened in Washington County, Maryland. In 1756, Fort Frederick, now in Washington County, was erected. In 1758, Frederick County boundaries were established. Following the Declaration of Independence in July 1776, Washington County was established. During those formative years the boundaries between Maryland and Pennsylvania were undermined [Note: It is a fact that there was a dispute between the proprietors of MD and PA over where the border was], and for a good many years afterward. The Mason-Dixon line was completed in 1768. This set the line between the two States. It was believed that Washington County, and Virginia reached to parallel 44, which is now Somerset. Therefore, Marylanders thought that many such narratives as the Washington illness and the Brumbaugh nursing goodwill act happened in Maryland.

Brother Brumbaugh would not accept anything for his act of brotherliness toward young Washington, by was of war supplies which were first offered to him by the young officer. Upon insistence by Washington to receive some gift for his good mercy toward him, Brother Brumbaugh accepted the gift of a horse from the man upon whom destiny was to place the burden and joy of being the Father of our Country, George Washington. This was the one thing needed more than anything else by Brother Brumbaugh for his travels in the backwoods of Somerset County.

10. From Daughters of the American Revolution application for patriot status for Johann Jacob Brumbaugh.

Excerpts from the
Proceedings of the Committee of Observation of
Elizabeth Town* [name changed to Hagerstown in 1815] District, Frederick County [this portion later became Washington County], Maryland

p. 18
Letter from Council of Safety, Annapolis, March 23, 1776
The great difficulty we find in providing blankets for regular forces raised for the defense of the province obliges us to apply to the committees of observation for the several counties and districts earnestly requesting that they would use their endeavors to procure from the House Keepers in their respective counties and districts all the blankets and the rugs that they can with all convenience spare for which the Council will pay such prices as the committee shall agree and as well as any expense that may arise in collecting these together and when you have procured any quantity you will send these to Annapolis to Col. Smallwood, etc.

p. 20
In consequence of the proceeding letter from the Hon. the Council of Safety of this province we have agreeable to their request furnished these with what quantity of blankets and rugs the inhabitants of this district can with any convenience spare….
No. 39 Jacob Brumbaugh 1 blanket 0-18-0 [£-shillings-pence]
No. 40 Jacob Do 1 Do 0-18-0…
Rec’d of Conrad Shiby 44 blankets for the use of this province —
12 April 1776 George Strieker

p. 31
Jacob Broombaugh Senr £-8-50 Yrs Adams to Capt John Cellars
Jacob Broombaugh Junior £-3-0 Common money to pay Do
John Broombaugh £-3-0 Do.

p. 232
Co. Stull Treas. for Washington Co. accounts:
Dec. 24, 1776. For so much received from the Dunkers [this is what members of the Church of the Brethren were called in common parlance—because of their belief in “triune immersion” or dunking 3 times those being baptised] and Menonists [Mennonites] for their fines*
Jacob Broombaugh Jnr. £ 3-0-0
John Broombaugh £ 3-0-0
(*fines paid by non-combatants)

9. From Maryland Historical Magazine of March 1914 a reprinted document (at page 348) intended for the Maryland colonial assembly in 1750s to compensate those who Quartered Soldiers, etc. for the British in French & Indian War in Maryland

Jacob Broomback 6 days of service 48 0..6.. 0..
Daniel Cresap 6 days of service 48 0..6.. 0..

End of the Stories

My continuing thanks to Richard Lee Hartle and Christine Brumbaugh Ellis for their many courtesies in bringing the bulk of this material to light.

Compiled and edited March 2011 by:
Norman E. Donoghue, II

1933 Brandywine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Jacob’s & Mary’s Son George Brumbaugh (1783-1837)

George Brumbaugh

George was the youngest of the seven children and seems to have been the most publicly well known member of the family. Although some say he was born about 1783, in the records of Rose Hill Cemetery in Hagerstown, he is listed as born in 1785. In 1807 at barely age 22, he married Mary Louisa Gelwicks in the Salem Reformed Church where her father’s Charles Gelwicks family also worshiped as did George’s older brother Henry.

George and Louisa had no natural children. They adopted one child, the young daughter of brother David and Eva Brumbaugh, named Eleanora L. G. [for Louisa Gelwicks?] Brumbaugh, who was born in July 22, 1829, was baptized in May 1831 and, sadly, died in 1834 before her 5th birthday. I suspect the young girl was named after her aunt Louisa, but Louisa was absent from the baptism as her parents were listed as sponsors. Two people made George a sponsor or god-father of their infants at baptism in the early 1810s. (1810s, p. 64 and 76).

In 1807 George bought the tavern The Sign of the Swan situated in Hagerstown and operated it until he sold it to a Mr. Meyer about May, 1811. He then started a brewery. In 1820 he was selling hops wholesale according to an ad in the Torch Light. During the 1820s he was elected one of the five commissioners of Hagerstown and served several years as the Clerk for the commissioners; when ads appeared in the newspapers related to their municipal duties, it was his name which appeared as Clerk at the bottom of the ad.

George opened a general store in the 1820s with a partner under the name Hess & Brumbaugh. On a Saturday night in January 1827 in the middle of the night, a fire was started in his stables— it burned them and the Town Hay Scales as well, which he may have also owned. According to the newspaper story, the buildings “were new and valuable buildings” (TL, 1-25-1827). In 1830, he was appointed by the Governor to the Levy Court in Washington County.

He settled his older brother Daniel’s estate as administrator in 1824, the estate of his father-in-law, Charles Gelwicks, in 1820, and also the estate of his brother-in-law, Daniel Gelwicks some time later. He also served in 1834 as both guardian and trustee for the estate of George Hess, with whom he had been in business.

He was a director of the Hagerstown Fire Company and also of the incorporated Hagerstown Savings Institution (Archives of MD, vol. 547 p. 20—laws of Maryland, chapter 24).

He may also have been Commandant of the Blues, the 8th Regiment of Maryland Militia which fought in the War of 1812.

He died in 1837 (Hagerstown Mail 6-2-37), his obituary noting that he “was long a respected inhabitant of Hagerstown.” (Helen Brown p. 77) He was followed in death by his wife Mary Louisa in 1840. They are both buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Hagerstown.

Jacob’s and Mary’s son David Brumbaugh (1776-1842)

David Angle Brumbaugh

Horse Fancier, Local Postmaster, Hotelier, and
Father of a Large Brood

A child of the Revolution, David Angle Brumbaugh was born March 17, 1776, the same month his Dunker father Jacob Brumbaugh contributed a blanket for the troops when the Committee of Observation collected such contributions down by the German Reformed Church. He was the fourth of six boys and the fifth of seven children.

David, raised on Clalands Contrivance, Jacob’s family farm since 1753, was married in October 1805 when he was age 29 in the St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church to Anna Eve Kiessecker (daughter of neighbor Simon Kiessecker). He and Eve had twelve children, nine of whom survived to adulthood.

David interested himself early on in beautiful and elegant horses and in cattle. In March 1802 when age 26, David advertised in The Maryland Herald & Weekly Hagers-town Advertiser that he had a “noted horse” named Shepard at his stable who would “stand the ensuing season” at his stable and would “cover” (i.e., “inseminate”) mares at a rate of $4.50 per season or $7.00 for “insuring a colt” (male foal—how he guarantees a colt is unanswered, though perhaps eagerly sought). In that era, the newspaper printed advertisements by private individuals for periodic horse races over four or two miles at a nearby course, and challengers for known race winners were encouraged to come forward (surprise: there was probably betting!).

David appears in the county tax list for 1803-04 as owning three slaves and three horses. He also was appointed by Sheriff Nathaniel Rochester a constable and a road supervisor in Elizabeth Hundred in 1804-05. In 1805 at age 29, David acquired the Johann Lodewick Kammerer limestone house built 1774 on the Maryland-Pennsylvania line, which was still standing until, sadly, it was demolished April 1999. It had long stood as one of the few remaining eighteenth-century stone houses in Washington County. I

In about 1811 David began to run the post office in Hagerstown. There are weekly ads in the Hagerstown newspaper where he lists the addressees of mail not yet picked up at the post office. Over time nearly all members of his family had their names appear at the end of these ads indicating that he probably retained the concession, but passed on the duties to other family members over a long period of time.

David, like his brothers, served often as a fiduciary of decedents’ estates or trusts for the benefit of family or friends. He settled the estate of his sister-in-law, Catharine Rentch Brumbaugh (died 1820), widow of his eldest brother Jacob, Jr. who died in 1814. In 1819, Samuel Spigler and David Brumbaugh were granted letters of administration on the estate of Jacob Spigler, deceased. All of the Brumbaugh sons served as fiduciaries for family or friends, settling estates, holding the auctions, selling real estate, paying the debts and administration expenses, and under court supervision distributing the net assets to the heirs.

David first appears in the federal census in 1810 at age 34 residing in Elizabeth Hundred, Washington County, Maryland, having two children under age ten and owning four slaves. In 1820 there are two David Brumbaughs, one in Election District 3 of Washington County, Maryland, and one just over the line in Washington Township, Franklin County, Pennsylvania. In 1827 David, according to family tradition, moved north across the state line into Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Consistent with this claim is the fact that in 1830 David Brumbaugh and his son Elias both show up in Antrim Township, Franklin County, Pennsylvania (adjacent, to the confusion of some, to both Washington County, Maryland, and Washington Township, Franklin County, Pennsylvania).

On May 28, 1834, David became the first postmaster of the little village of State Line, a mile north of the old family farm in Franklin County, Pennsylvania and this postal concession was continued after his death by his son Jacob Benjamin.

The village of State Line, Pennsylvania, straddles the Mason-Dixon Line, and the part of that village which lies in Maryland calls itself Middleburg. One farmer of that area even plopped his house down so that it clearly rested in both states, all the better to run to the other side of the house when the sheriff called to enforce a lawsuit in the first state!

The eventual village seems to have coalesced, as many villages would, around an early tavern called Pawlings Tavern owned by Henry Pawling sometime in the late 1700s. The tavern became a stopping point for coaches and pack trains carrying merchandise early traders took west into Indian country to exchange for furs. While some incorrectly credit David with founding the village of State Line, those who have studied the facts more closely credit Jacob Strickler or Spigler for founding in 1812 what was once called Spiglersburg. Its origins were when Strickler laid out forty lots beginning at the Mason-Dixon road and running north on both sides of the road from Hagerstown to Greencastle, approximately at the mid-point between those towns. It was then and remains now a village, but a focal point for an active community life, and a source of pride to its residents nonetheless. Its sense of history is assured by the presence of a crown 5-mile marker placed by the Mason-Dixon survey team in 1765, one side showing the Calvert insignia for Maryland and the other the Penn family shield for Pennsylvania.

David was in business and sought relationships of all kinds in that entrepreneurial era in the new republic. David was sued in the 1820s as a partner in Barr, Barr, Springer, Malotte and Brumbaugh. What business they were in is uncertain. In 1826 David gave a testimonial, appearing in the local newspaper called Torch Light, for a spring water business operating nearby as a spa:

I do hereby certify that my wife was subject to a violent headache for a number of years, and by attending the spring of Jacob B. Gilbert in the month of August, 1825, she has been relieved of same. David Brumbaugh.

Presumably, people understood that she was relieved of the headache, not her head.

David and Eve ran as a “public house” or hotel a building David had built in Middleburg or State Line, Pennsylvania. After David’s death, David’s son Jacob Benjamin Brumbaugh owned this place in 1859. In an interview for an article appearing in the July 2, 1897, issue of the Public Opinion of Chambersburg, he maintained that the anti-slavery firebrand John Brown stayed there with his sons and others in October 1859 when he was planning his electrifying raid on nearby Harper’s Ferry federal arsenal (30 miles away) in order to ignite opposition to slavery. (In a related Washington County tale, one of the David Brumbaughs — his brothers Jacob, Jr. and John both had sons named David in addition to his own son Elias David– was signed into the register of another hotel, called the Washington House, in Hagerstown on the same day as another visit from John Brown and his sons– under their known alias of “I. Smith and sons” — on Thursday, June 30, 1859—this original manuscript register page can be seen online at the Western Maryland Regional Library). David’s daughter Catherine Jane Brumbaugh Newman resided in the hotel residence from the late nineteenth century until her death at age 80 in 1904 and her daughter Elizabeth Newman Koontz and her husband George owned it after that.

David died a resident of Antrim Township, Franklin County, Pennsylvania, in April 1842 at age 66. The obituary in the Hagerstown Mail read:

At his residence in Middleburg, Franklin County, Pa. on Friday evening last Mr. DAVID BRUMBAUGH at an advanced age. On Sunday his remains were deposited in the Lutheran burying ground of this place, in the presence of a large number of relatives and friends.

Eve reportedly died later in 1845. He and Eve are both now interred in Rose Hill Cemetery in Hagerstown. Their bodies were moved there in the 1920s when the Lutheran church where they were initially buried needed to build a bigger educational wing and made the late David and Eve scooch over to make room.

David died at age 66 and his estate was a complex one. His assets indicate readily that he was much more than a farmer, if he was ever a farmer at all, which is doubtful. First, his estate was complex and was settled much like his father’s with both a three-part accounting in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, his legal domicile for the last decade or more of his life, with a second three-part accounting in Washington County, Maryland, where he still had some property and business activities. Like his father, he died intestate leaving to survive him a wife and 10 of his 12 children (one died young and one was adopted by his brother George and predeceased him at age 5). His eldest sons Simeon (then 36) and Elias David (31) were the administrators of his estate charged with collecting all the assets and paying his legal obligations before making distribution to his wife and ten surviving children.

David owned a reputedly once 300-acre tract of land southwest of McConnellsburg (now Fulton County, just west of Franklin County, and carved out of Bedford County, all Pennsylvania, in 1850) and according to family tradition “was very fond of spending his summers there on this mountain land and it was a great treat for the grandchildren to join him there.” After David’s death, his eldest son Simeon (sometimes also spelled Simon) acquired this property, called The Meadow Grand, but then only 72 acres, for $4,935.10 by electing to take this prize possession as his share of David’s estate by a deed executed by all his siblings October 11, 1851, nearly a decade after David’s death.

David’s estate assets were varied and from a study of the estate files in both counties, the whole can be reconstructed roughly as follows:

Franklin Co., PA assets:
Personal property per appraiser’s valuation $ 839
Cash 45
5 promissory notes from individuals 79
“The Meadow Grand,” a 72-acre tract, located near

McConnellsburg, PA (originally Bedford, later Fulton Co.) 4,935
7 building lots in boro of Middleburg, Md. 701
$ 6,599
Washington Co., MD assets:
Conococheague Turnpike stock $ 100
To 3 unrelated individuals $ 387
To brother Geo. Brumbaugh 1,660
To sons:
Simeon $ 174
Elias David 222
Nathan 670
Approximate Total Value of Estate $ 9,812

It is not so much the amount of the total that is impressive, which is not by any means a princely sum, but the make-up and variety of the property and how it leans away from an agricultural base.

There were some bushels of grains and a wagon on the McConnellsburg property, but the bulk of the assets in Franklin County overall consisted of household or, rather, hostelry furniture—14 tables, 36 chairs, 10 beds (featherbeds, chaff beds, and trundle beds), 7 quilts, 5 coverlets, 1 spread, and 4 “Comforts” along with a King’s ransom of pillow slips and bolsters, table cloths, yards and yards of linens, and the same for carpeting along with multiple stoves, and household kitchen appliances and living room accessories. Here was a couple who earned their living from the gracious hosting of overnight guests, not one who had to scratch his living from a hardscrabble landscape and unrelenting physical work. We have to suspect that Eve had a big hand in this, but the fact that David supported her efforts with financing them is still a sign that some of his father’s legacy had given them the means to support this business.

There were only five cows, a steer, and a bull, and four horses, a sort of basic starter set of livestock, and a smaller amount of tools than in the estate of his father. There was only one still and one barrel of rum, not nearly the volume of distillery items that his father or brothers Jacob or George owned.

The highest priced single item was a mass of 1,700 pounds of iron worth $68; although this may suggest blacksmithing, there was no forge. Nor was there any other set of items that would suggest an artisanal preoccupation. There were, however, 17 “German silver spoons,” one silver watch, one “Family Bibble,” “1 Picture & Glass,” and 3 “Corner Cupboards” with multiple chests, drawer stands, and other case pieces. Eve survived him and exercised her dower right over about 15% by value of the tangible personal property, allocating it to her share of the estate before the vendue.

Although there were no slaves present in David’s estate inventory, family tradition maintains that “he owned some slaves, never sold one, and later liberated them.” There is good reason always to maintain a healthy skepticism of ex post facto claims to liberality when it came to slaves. The Brumbaugh Genealogy goes on to relate that “One of the latter [i.e., one of those liberated] was Samuel Cole of Hagerstown, Md.” But, see earlier in this work the documented story of Samuel Cole’s manumission by George Brumbaugh. There may have been some confusion in the compiling of the genealogy.

The credit economy of the time was evidenced by the number of persons to whom David owed money and the number who owed him money at the time of his death.

What I like most about David’s estate is that its settlement took on a Dickensian Jarndyce v. Jarndyce character suitable for the era in which it was settled. In Franklin County an appraisement was filed on October 4, 1842, of the tangible personal property, as well as a list of the items sold at auction, about 156 items or groups of items.

The administrators’ first Washington County, Maryland, accounting was filed with the Orphans’ Court in January 1845, the second in quick succession in February 1845, and the third not until January 1848; while meantime in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, where he was domiciled, the first of three accountings was filed in September 1843, the second followed it only in October 1851, reporting the sale of his seven building lots and the tract near McConnellsburg, and the final one reporting the collection of miscellaneous assets, mostly interest payments, was not filed until twelve years later in 1863, during the Civil War. That would amount to more than 20 years to settle completely his estate worth less than $10,000! Today even a millionaire’s estate is settled in less than three years. This kind of business was settled at a snail’s pace in those times in small towns.

While I have mentioned most of the assets, I have mentioned none of the estate’s debts or expenses. There is only one expense worth mentioning. David’s son, Elias David Brumbaugh was paid “for driving cattle and hogs from Bedford County $4.00.” A thankless task that! I feel sure that he deserved every penny. He must have drawn the short straw among the ten children.

David Angle Brumbaugh: born March 17, 1776; died April 23, 1842, in Franklin County. He married October 1805 at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran church in Hagerstown, Maryland, Anna Eve Kissecker (various spellings) (daughter of Simon Keysacre born May 20, 1747, died August 25, 1818 and [unknown]) born March 26, 1789, and died July 22, 1845, in Franklin County, Pennsylvania.
David and Anna Eve had the following children:
i. Simon Keesecker born September 27,1806 died July 14, 1892. He married “on Tuesday the 20th of Jan. [1842] near Bedford before Rev. Ettinger to Miss Ann C[hristiana] Stuckey (daughter of David Stuckey, Esq. and Margaret Brake Stuckey [also spelled Stookey] of Bedford County, Pennsylvania) born January 2, 1825, Woodbury Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania; died February 11. 1906. Both died at Roaring Spring, Blair County, Pennsylvania. About this couple, see more below.
ii. George born November 12, 1808, died young.
iii. Elias David born April 22, 1811 ; died September 14, 1893. He married Marinda Etta Benner (daughter of Harry Benner and Elizabeth Showman Benner). She died August 26, 1878, both at Greencastle, Pennsylvania.
iv. Nathan Henry born May 23,1813; died April 24, 1892. He was married by Rev. J. Rebaugh on November 26, 1840, at Reformed Church of State Line, to Levina Myers (daughter of Jacob Myers and Susan Zent Myers) born January 5, 1819. She died May 28 1902, both Greencastle, Pennsylvania.
v. Elizabeth Louisa born November 15, 1815, baptized December 1815, married William Logan.
vi. Jacob Benjamin born June 23, 1818, baptized August 1819; died February 4, 1903. He married January 1, 1856, Rebecca E. Clopper (daughter Samuel Clopper and Catherine Maria Gordon Clopper) born March 15, 1834. She died April 8, 1914.
vii. Anna Maria born May 20, 1820, died young.
viii. Catherine June born June 11, 1822, baptized January1823; died December 30, 1903. She married July 4, 1842, Joseph Newman, born October 15, 1818; died May 7, 1862. After her husband died Catherine lived in the old State Line hotel, previously the home of her parents.
ix. Anna Maria born December 6, 1824, baptized June 1820; died December 18, 1867. She married Hiram Emrich Brumbaugh, her cousin, born April 13, 1825.
x. Indiana Dorothy (also written “Judianna”) born March 17, 1827, died Mansfield, Ohio. She married Henry Cook; both died Mansfield, Ohio.
xi. Eleanora Louisa G. born July 22, 1829, baptized May 1831, died February 10, 1834 before her fifth birthday. She was adopted by paternal uncle, George, and his wife, Mary Louisa Gelwicks Brumbaugh.
xii. George Washington Andrew Jackson (he signed only George W.) born July 8, 1833; died July 5, 1907. He married December 20, 1872, Anna Eliza Hartman (daughter Charles Hartman, Jr. and Susan Myers Hartman) born 1838. She died May 3, 1905, both Greencastle, Franklin County, Pennsylvania.
Those children of David, above, with dates of baptism were all baptized at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Hagerstown, Maryland.

David’s Eldest Son Simeon K. Brumbaugh and His Family:

A further mention must be added concerning David’s eldest son Simeon. Many years later in 1888 Simeon sold that mountain property and moved into a cottage in Roaring Spring (Blair County), Pennsylvania, where on January 27, 1892, during what was called the “gilded age” (the 1890s generally in America, so called for the opulently well displayed wealth) he and Christiana celebrated their golden 50th wedding anniversary. According to the newspaper report that week, the occasion began with a festive dinner for about 40 people at their home with a master of ceremonies, toasts, and all. It was recalled in particular that Simeon and his bride, as newly-weds had taken a horseback ride from their wedding before Rev. Ettinger in Bedford County to Simeon’s home in Hagerstown, Maryland, a trip of about 80 miles. Now in 1892 for their 50th five of their seven children and spouses dined at their home along with some friends and neighbors. For a golden wedding anniversary, these celebrants, reaped a treasure of the precious metal: a gold ring from their two sons, a pair of golden framed spectacles from their daughters, a gold watch and chain from their sons, a gold capped cane for father, two five-dollar gold coins (one from their grandchildren and one from friends), a rocking chair, and slippers, and for mother, a silk scarf and kerchief.

Much more importantly, however, this charmed couple, despite living in a remote, rural setting, had the good fortune to have raised two sons, one who was a lawyer in their home town (David Stuckey Brumbaugh, father of Roland E. among others) and one a doctor in Philadelphia (Simon Schmucker Brumbaugh), and four daughters, one married to a doctor, one to a Brethren minister, and one to a successful farmer. Sadly, one daughter, however, had predeceased them. Simeon and Christiana were devoted Lutherans.


Who Were the German Baptist Brethren?

The members of the German Baptist religious sect were known by their distinctive custom of baptism: full-body immersion by dunking (from tunken in German, to dip) three times forward while kneeling in flowing water  after a personal confession of faith, and often in full view of curious onlookers. Colonists consistently referred to this religious body as Dunkers, Dunkards, or Tunkards because of the peculiar physical act of baptism. Even the closest academic study of them done in the eighteenth century gave this unflattering description of them:

“They are called Tunkers in derision which is as much as to say Sops, from Tunken to put a morsel into sauce; but as the term signifies Dippers they may rest content with the nick-name, since it is the fate of Baptists in all countries to bear some cross or other. They are also called Tumblers, from the manner in which they perform baptism, which is by putting the party’s head forward under the water (while kneeling) so as to resemble the motion of the body in the action of tumbling.”[1]

Brethren were well known in this area, whether others thought of them as “Brethren” or by the more popular name ‘Dunkers’ is not so well known, as the colloquial name caught the public imagination and became another cross the Brethren had to bear. Elizabeth Drinker, a Philadelphia Quaker who kept a diary from 1758-1807 wrote a second-hand report of a Brethren baptism in Germantown as she temporarily resided there during the virulent yellow fever epidemic in 1793: “Seven persons Men and Women were this morning Baptiz’d or dip’d in a Creek about 1-½ miles from this place, they are of the Society of Dunkers, they … kneel in the water and are dip’d with their faces downwards as I am inform’d, great numbers went to see the performance.”.[2]

Drinker conveys accurately the sense of entertainment that non-Brethren, even a fellow sectarian, often expressed at viewing the physical manifestation of the Brethren ritual induction into the congregation. 

Throughout this work, these members will be referred to as Brethren, as they called each other and their community though if others have referred to them by different terms, this will be reflected accurately in the quotes used throughout this study. Although they shared much history and many religious practices with their fellow Anabaptists, the Mennonites, Brethren strongly disagreed with them over baptism. To Brethren, the Mennonite practice of merely pouring water to baptize was clearly wrong and, they believed, an insidiously evil thing to preach. 

The German Baptist sect had been formed in 1708 in the little village of Schwarzenau, Wittgenstein, Germany, by their first elder, Alexander Mack (b. 1679 Germany-d. 1735 Pennsylvania) who along with Peter Becker (b.? Germany- d. 1758, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania) and six followers practiced in the Pietist tradition then prevalent. They sought a personal experience with Christ rather than deep study of theology or participation in liturgy. They prayed together to make themselves more like Jesus in their everyday lives, and re-baptized each other as adults by total immersion in the flowing water of the Eder river, just as Jesus had done near Jordan.  The simple act of baptizing adults who had already been baptized as infants was illegal during this time in the Germanic lands. Taking on the name in Germany of Neue Täufer or new Baptists, to distinguish themselves from the Mennonites, also called Baptists, these early Brethren trod a very risky path.[3]

To put it simply, the Brethren were non-creedal, non-coercive, non-swearing, non-resistant, and non-conformist. They relied solely on the Bible, using the New Testament stories of Jesus’ teachings as their guide. Their ‘reform’ of previous practice lay in their methods of practice, not in new theology.  These individuals sought peace; they did not wish people to go against their consciences, and typically they did not serve in any public office because of the use of coercion or force in these positions. Brethren wanted above anything else for a person to follow his or her conscience. 

Refusing to take oaths, German Baptists believed that to swear and oath implied that one might not be truthful when not taking an oath. The Bible stipulated that one should not swear; therefore, they used the word of truth to bond them. Their word, they said, was their bond. They were willing to affirm by answering ‘yea’ or ‘nay.’[4]

One can classify these German Baptists as “nonresistants,” what we know today as pacifists. They used a metaphor with sheep and wolves to describe this complex ideology, and Brethren were the sheep.  Sheep have no defense or group mechanisms, no capacity to fight back or resist. Thus, when wolves attack sheep, they are just killed; they have no individual mechanism or reaction for fighting off an attacking wolf. This belief manifested itself in Brethren as a strongly felt, but meek pacifism; they saw war as anti-Christian. For Brethren “only spiritual weapons were thought to be consistent with Christian discipleship.”[5] Why did these sects believe so strongly in this pacifism, or, as they called it, this “nonresistance to evil”? What was the animating force or idea behind their belief? Following the example of Christ’s New Testament message answers this important question. The Gospel of St. Matthew, 5: 38-42 (KJV), read: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”[6]

On the cross Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke, 23:24 KJV).  There was never a finger lifted in resistance. When Indians attacked a Brethren settlement on the frontier, resulting in the scalping of women and children, the men stood and reportedly uttered, “God’s will be done.” (“Gottes will sei getan” in German)They did not put up any resistance. They modeled Christ’s behavior that demonstrated one should respond with love, not with aggression. In Romans, they found their creed:  “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans, 12:21 KJV).

The Brethren were non-conformist in that they sought separation from “the world” and “worldly” affairs like politics and other matters; such matters would only distract them from their concentration on the next world, where life everlasting awaited them through the intercession of their savior, Jesus Christ. They identified their lives most often with those of pilgrims; they just passed through this miserable world full of unimportant distractions.[7]

One extract from a Brumbaugh family Bible that a Brethren itinerant minister owned, made these revealing comments when recording his or her children’s birthdays:

             1783 …My daughter Mary was born into this burdensome world.

             1787 …My daughter Catharine was born into this world of misery.

             1792 …My son Jacob was born into this gloomy and troublesome world. [8]

Even at the birth of a child, which one associates with happiness today, brought Brethren, and people in the eighteenth century generally, stress and gloom.[9] Their general circumstances on the frontier included high infant mortality, frequent wars, clashes with worldly people and warlike situations, harsh frontier privation, and a sense that this world was just a woeful test to pass through as pilgrims in order to get to the next, glorious world.

[1] Morgan Edwards, Materials Towards a History of the American Baptists (Philadelphia: Joseph Crukshank and Isaac Collins, 1770), vol. 1: 64.

[2] 17 October 1793, Elizabeth Drinker, The Diary of Elizabeth Drinker, Elizabeth Foreman Crane, ed. (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1991), 1: 519. Brethren Elder Alexander Mack, Jr. confirms the fact of the baptism of at least seven persons at the Brethren congregation that fall in his entry for 19 December 1793, when he states that for their congregational love feast in Germantown that day “Present were eight newly baptized persons.” Mack, Day Book, 121.

[3] M.G. Brumbaugh, Hist. G.B.B., 29-34. 

[4] The Holy Bible, New Testament, Matthew, 5:34 (KJV). 

[5] Peter Brock, Pacifism in the United States: From the Colonial Era to the First World War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1968), 6. 

[6] The Holy Bible, Authorized King James Version (Philadelphia: The Westminster Book Stores under License from William Collins, Sons and Company, 1949), (hereafter Bible, KJV) New Testament, [page] 7, “The Gospel According to St. Matthew,” 5:38-42. 

[7] It is interesting, ironic maybe, to note that in 1776, famed British historian Edward Gibbon published in 1776 the first of his six volumes of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire which argued that because Christianity created a belief that a better life existed after death, with life eternal with the Lord Jesus, this belief fostered indifference to the present among Roman citizens, thus sapping their desire to sacrifice for the greater good of the Roman Empire and thereby contributing to its downfall.

[8] Ulrich Family Bible extract, Brumbaugh file, Pioneer Library of the Bedford County Historical Society. Record found in German Bible “published 1876” [sic] but inscribed “Samuel Ulrich, Bedford Co., Pennsylvania, Nov. 2, 1805” indicating likely a 1776 publishing date. Jacob Brumbaugh’s daughter, Mary, owned this Bible.

[9] See, for instance, Elaine Foreman Crane, ed., Introduction, The Diary of Elizabeth Drinker, xxxi, “new life was not always greeted [then, in the eighteenth century] with joy by parents (of any class).”

Jacobs Arrival in America, 1750

Jacob Brumbaugh arrived at the dock of Samuel McCall’s wharf in the port of Philadelphia on Monday, August 31, 1750, aboard the Nancy captained by Thomas Coatam, out of Rotterdam, Holland.[1] This ship was one among fourteen shiploads that year of German so-called “Palatines” docking in Philadelphia.[2] Palatines were German emigrants from what they called the Palatinate, an area in southwestern Germany. Upon the ship’s arrival, Captain Coatam, as required by Pennsylvania provincial law, immediately took his passengers to the courthouse. There, before Jacob Brumbach and the other German passengers could be admitted to the province, they were required to pledge and sign their allegiance. Examining this document closely, one can tell the percentage of male immigrants literate enough to sign their name versus non-literate immigrants. Of the eighty-two males age sixteen and over, eighty-six percent, including Brumbaugh, signed their full name, instead of a simple “X,” a fairly high rate for any eighteenth-century society. 

The pledge of allegiance repeated at the courthouse sounded innocuous enough: “We…[d]o solemnly promise and engage that we will be faithful and bear true allegiance to his present Majesty King George II, and his successors, and will be faithful to the Proprietors of this Province…to the utmost of our power and best of our understanding.”[3]

[1] See .

[2] See

[3] William Henry Egle, Names Of Foreigners Who Took The Oath Of Allegiance To The Province And State Of Pennsylvania, 1727-1775, With The Foreign Arrivals, 1786-1808 (Harrisburg, Pa.: E. K. Meyers, 1892).

Place Names in Brumbaugh Story

Bedford County (Pennsylvania): formed in 1771 out of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania; 80 miles NW of Hagerstown.

Conococheague district: (pronounced Conica-‘JIG); named for particularly sinuous creek starting in Pennsylvania and running south to Potomac river at Williamsport, Maryland; where Jacob settled in 1753 until his death in 1799.

Clalands Contrivance: name of Jacob’s first farm; when added to, “Resurvey of C.C.”

Elizabeth Hundred: the small administrative district where Clalands Contrivance lay;

Hundreds were bigger than a town, smaller than a county—obsolete after 1810.

Elizabeth town: founded by Jonathan Hager in 1762 and four miles south of Jacob’s 

farm; became Hagerstown officially in 1813, but was often called that much before then.

Franklin County (Pennsylvania)- county just across border north of Washington County, Maryland.

Frederick County (Maryland)- formed out of Prince George’s County 1748.

Frederick town- founded by Daniel Dulaney, the elder, 1745; became county seat of county of same name.

Great Valley: valley in which Hagerstown sits between North Mountain on the west and South Mountain on the east; fertile plain on bedrock of limestone where Clalands Contrivance lay.

Hagerstown: founded 1762 as Elizabeth town; Washington County seat since 1777.

Huntingdon County (Pennsylvania): formed 1787 out of part of Bedford County.

Morrison’s Cove: fertile, agrarian valley in northern Bedford and Blair counties.

Washington County (Maryland): county formed out of upper Frederick County September, 1776. This is believed to be the very first of dozens of counties and towns across the country named for George Washington, here they adopted the name in 1776 when GW was an unproven commander in chief with little success to stake his claim on.

Conclusion on Jacobs Religious Affiliation

Early on this study, tried to determine conclusively whether Jacob Brumbaugh was a true German Baptist Brethren. Throughout the narrative sifted through evidence of status and motivation of eighteenth-century men. It has described Jacob’s whole life, and learned a great deal about the Brethren. What can it now conclude? 

One should first review the verifiable evidence: On the one hand, there are pieces of evidence that might lead one to believe that he was not a Brethren at all. His name appears on no lists of Brethren congregation members from the colonial period. There are lists for churches in his neighborhood, but either his name was never on them or lists that contained his name no longer exist. Very little that Jacob ever wrote survived, except for a few business letters to Henry Drinker, and certainly no writings that would indicate a positive answer to this question. Others in the revolutionary period never recorded his Brethren status, although some inferred it. Since records indicate that he was over age 50, he was not subject to the militia law anyway. His name does appear on a muster roll for Captain Clapsadle’s company of Maryland militia. This would be an indication that he was not a Brethren because it may have meant he actually had served in the company of soldiers. Evidence, however, is indeterminate. 

Now, one must analyze the many pieces of evidence that point to Jacob being a Brethren. He “affirmed” in 1775 the facts set forth in an application for a warrant on land in Pennsylvania. Brethren affirmed these documents. The Brethren would never ‘swear on oath’ as most other people would. In 1776, Jacob was also listed among the “Menonists and Dunkers” in the minutes of the Committee of Observation, and his young sons even paid fines that Brethren forfeited during the Revolution. Evidence also exists indicating his son John became a Brethren minister in Bedford County, while his daughter Mary married Samuel Ulery, a Brethren minister. His son Jacob Jr. married a Brethren sister, Catharine Rentch. Jacob Sr. spent the last fifteen years of his life (1785-1799) acquiring land in Morrison’s Cove among many Brethren and Mennonites, which illustrates his association with this community. 

After his death, Jacob’s inventory listed a “table and 16 benches upstairs,” which is the most convincing piece of evidence supporting his religious affiliation. While these utilitarian kinds of furniture could be used for numerous kinds of occasions, it was also consistent with Brethren who held ‘home church’ in that era. Again, the lack of guns and slaves on the inventory also points to him being a Brethren.  

Jacob’s name also does not appear on any lists of men who took the test or loyalty oath following passage of the 1777 Security Act in Maryland. This act of omission was Jacob’s sole positive act of conscience. Secondary sources state that his wife, Mary Elizabeth Angle, converted as a young woman to the Brethren church. Although Mary’s membership cannot be positively confirmed, her alleged father, or brother, Heinrich Angle (or Engel) lived nearby in Washington County. He may have been the same man who owned a tract of land in Bedford County, who purportedly left a cash bequest to the local Conococheague district Brethren congregation. If this man was her father or brother, Mary came from a dedicated Brethren family. Finally, Henry Drinker’s correspondence reveals a convincing detail about Jacob’s Brethren status. Henry gave the only known eye-witness description of Jacob in a letter to a lawyer in Frederick town. Henry wrote that Jacob was “a bearded German,” code words for a physical trait of Brethren men.

One often quickly discerns an individual’s religion by finding out where they chose to be buried. Jacob, however, decided to be buried on his own property. He may, however, have left a clue for historians to trace that shows his true religious stance: he did not wish to be buried with others outside his immediate family. Most Germans in his time had traveled in groups, but Jacob never did that. Likewise, he did not associate closely with any of the men identified as probable Brethren from the May 7, 1776 minutes. These aforementioned facts indicate that Jacob Brumbaugh was a Brethren, but still an independent individual, a separatist of a sort. He likely kept his own counsel. This ultimate description finds a parallel in the life of Christopher Saur I. He has been described as “fiercely independent,” in both religious and political views. In order to understand him, it was said that one must grasp his religious views. Although Brumbaugh was similarly independent, the key to understanding him was his family. 

More on Settlement of Jacobs Complex Estate

Settlement of Jacob’s Maryland Estate

Five years after the father’s death, Jacob Brumbaugh, Jr. filed his petition in the Washington County court regarding the death of his father Jacob “Brumbach.” In granting the commission, the court reviewed the Maryland properties that Jacob Sr. had owned, and appointed five “discreet sensible men” to examine the real estate. The judge then instructed this group to determine whether his Jacob Sr.‘s real estate “would admit to being divided [among multiple heirs] without injury, or loss to all parties entitled, and to ascertain the value of said Estate in Current Money according to law.”  Through the hand of “O. H. Williams, Cl[er]k,” the court’s chief justice William Clagett, Esquire, issued such a commission to Walter Boyd, John Schnebly, Jacob Zeller, Ludwick Young, and George Cellars who all affirmed an oath to “well and truly, and without favor, partiality, or prejudice” judge what the estate was worth and whether it could be so divided or whether it needed to be sold intact.[1]

More than a year and a half later, in November 1805, daughter Mary Brumbaugh Ulery and John Brumbaugh agreed to allow eldest son, Jacob, Jr. to take the whole of the Washington County real estate at the valuation of £4,100. Taking this property as his personal share, he then paid the other heirs for that privilege.[2] To do so, Jacob, Jr. paid each of his six siblings their 1/7th of £4,100, which was quite a large sum for that time.

Just a year later in 1806, however, son Henry bought[3] Clalands Contrivance from his brother, Jacob, Jr. who had originally taken that land as his share of the estate[4] Henry thus acquired full title to Jacob Sr.’s original 1753 farm) until 1846. Henry in 1846 sold the farm to his son Andrew.[5] Andrew died in 1859 and the farm passed on to his wife Margaret and their children[6] until his son Upton S. Brumbaugh inherited it. Then Clalands Contrivance lost Brumbaugh ownership after 130 years in the 1880s transferred to persons outside the family. 

Thus was the Maryland estate of Jacob Brumbaugh Sr. settled six years after his death. What about the dozen farms in Bedford County? The Maryland court had no jurisdiction over real estate outside of Maryland. 

                                    Settlement of Jacob’s Pennsylvania Estate

Next, the heirs had to settle the Pennsylvania estate. The administrators of Jacob Sr.’s estate petitioned the Bedford County court June 3, 1806, through attorney William Raynolds for the sale of real estate. On August 4, Jacob, Jr. affirmed in open court that he had given notice to all the other heirs about the petition; therefore, the judge approved his advertising of the estate.[7] In October 1806, this notice appeared in The Maryland Herald:

Application of Jacob Brumbaugh [Jr.] for the sale of real estate of Jacob Brumbaugh, dec’d. Rule that Jacob Brumbaugh, John Brumbaugh, Mary intermarried with Samuel Ulry, David, Henry, Samuel [sic- Daniel] and George, heirs of Jacob      Brumbaugh dec’d to show cause at the court at Bedford [County, Pennsylvania]         why estate should not be sold.[8]

This was a typically worded official notice Pennsylvania courts required to alert all heirs in Maryland that they had a deadline when settling estates. If they could not do so then they had to show cause why, thus putting the matter before the court.  The Brumbaugh family settled the matter amicably outside of court. They showed up with deeds and money to divide the Pennsylvania real estate among one another. They also had to compensate those siblings who took less real estate with money of equivalent value.  

It was not until March 1807, shortly before the eighth anniversary of Jacob’s death, that Indentures (contracts) were filed in the Bedford County court, reciting the non-residency of the deceased and laying out in several deeds the privately reached overall settlement among the heirs by conveying the several tracts to the various heirs in return for monetary payments to the other heirs. Land tracts named Albania and Rich Barrens, for instance, were sold to Jacob, Jr. and Daniel Brumbaugh in return for payment by them of current money to the other heirs, with over thirteen land tracts, on and on it went as they passed deeds and IOUs across the tables.[9]

One of the farms in Pennsylvania, Springfield farm, originally in Bedford County, was now located in Huntingdon County). In 1805 the heirs petitioned for a valuation by what the Pennsylvania court called an “Inquisition” of twelve , one of them, a John Brumbaugh, likely Johannes Henrich Brumbaugh’s son Johannes, “the stocking weaver,” valued the property at £1493, thus the court ordered the property to be sold. However, it never found a buyer and apparently languished unsold. Twenty years later in 1826, son George petitioned the court again and the property was re-valued, though now 437 acres, at $2,348 again by an Inquisition of the High Sheriff and twelve men, this time including a Jacob Brumbaugh among them; no comment made as to his relationship to the decedent, but probably he was the son of Johannes Henrich’s son by that date the late Jacob called “Jockel” who had died in 1816. 

These transactions bring the total value to $13,567. Whoever led the family through the extended eight-year settlement of Jacob, Sr.’s complex estate with its many administrative challenges, was surely something of a hero. Mostly that credit fell to the court-appointed administrators and, after Mary’s death, to Jacob, Jr.[10]

To Jacob, Jr. fell the often-thankless position of serving as administrator of his father’s estate. This responsibility included the task of working through the cash flow problem the estate had, with nearly £1,000 owed to Henry Drinker for Dorfans Barn. Jacob had to notify Henry Drinker of the death of his father, telling him that he and Mary assumed legal authority. Three letters from Jacob, Jr. survive from this time, one dated January 20, 1800, one from May 1802, and one from April 1803. These letters, the only written words left from Jacob, Jr., reveal interesting facts about this family. 

As it happened, Henry Drinker found out first of Jacob, Sr.’s death before his family notified him of it— his local agent in Huntingdon, John Canan, then a state Senator, likely wrote him of the death. In December of 1799, eight months after Jacob’s death, Drinker wrote to Jacob, Jr., “It is not long since I heard of the decease of your father.” Drinker merely told him he would have the deed conveying Corunna ready once he got instructions to whom to convey it. He also asked Jacob, Jr. to the pay the past due balance on Dorfans Barn, which came to £988.[11] Jacob, Jr. wrote back the next month addressing Drinker as “Dear Friend,” telling Drinker that, as the eldest son, he served as administrator of the estate, along with his mother. The letter in part read like a word-for-word dictation composed by the estate’s lawyer to Drinker as the chief creditor of the estate. It is a formal notice detailing the facts and legal requirements. It also reminded Drinker that the court required Drinker to prove his claim to the land formally. 

Jacob, Jr. reintroduced the complaints his father had made about the lessee Stouder’s destroying the timber on the land, and also added that due to costs relating to his youngest brother George’s accident (“a white swelling on one of his legs…a considerable time under the hands of physicians….[costing] above fifty pounds”), he would be unable to pay the balance. He ended by asking Drinker to appoint someone in nearby Chambersburg to act for Drinker if Jacob, Jr. came in to pay installments or settle the matters.[12]  

Drinker advised Jacob, Jr. by letter the next month that he had instead arranged for lawyer Richard Potts, Esq. of Frederick, Maryland, to hold the deed for Corunna, and receive payments on Dorfans Barn.[13] Jacob, Jr.’s next letter of May 1802 advised Drinker of the alarming news that the Dorfans Barn tract was “sold…by the Marshal of Pennsylvania for Taxes on account of a Mortgage from Samuel Wallis,” and asked Drinker to advise him by return post what this surprising development meant.[14] With only a four-day delay, Henry responded with the details of his legitimate title to the property and added that he hoped to convince the Marshal that an error had occurred.[15]

In the second letter, Jacob, Jr. has to make excuses again for not sending money as previously agreed, which proved difficult. Jacob wrote in his own hand:

[W]hatsoever was in My Power to Do I expect to pay the Ballance before next harvest[.] I wold have paid the Ballance long before this time but on account of misfortune it was not in my power. I will give you a memorandum of it[;] viz, the widow my mother Mary Brumbaugh keep a grate part of the Personal Estate in Money and Goods and will not give me any assitons in paying the Debts of the Estate[.] I wold tank you kindly for to send a few lines onto him [sic- her] with Sharp Notice for making pay to you as she is one of the Administrators[.] plus not Mention in the letter it hath been my Desien [.] this moment there is a neighbor of mine in Hagerstown gaol [jail] owing father’s Estate about £173-0-0[.] he went on that account to clean him self by the law of Maryland as an in Sol vent [insolvent] Debtor. the Plantation father bought last of you [the land tract Corunna] I Rented out for three years for £60-0-0 in the whole to a certen George Replogle his son of in the Middle of this last winder the Rent be kame due Spring and perhaps I never git one cent of it. the £25-0-0 I had to pay John Stouder[.] Shold bin yours as part of pay[ment]s.[16]

These administrators had to ensure that the bills were paid, income collected, and goods sold to raise money. Widow Mary exercised her option to claim some of the personal and household goods, thereby reducing the cash flow that a sale of goods would have otherwise provided. It was therefore up to Jacob, Jr. to explain his way out of this financial crunch. A debtor of their father, as previously stated, went to jail claiming bankruptcy in order to cleanse his own account of the £173 debt.[17] Also, Jacob, Jr. rented out a property to a lessee who perhaps did not pay his rent.  The estate had to pay one of Henry Drinker’s lessees, who evidently cleared trees, which required Jacob, Jr. to pay him £25. This money otherwise would have been used to pay down the estate’s debt. Jacob, Jr. even asked Drinker to intercede and send Mary, his mother and co-administrator, a letter telling her that payments must be made to him in a timely manner. He even pleaded with Drinker to “ not mention in the Letter that it hath been my [Jacob, Jr.’s] desien [design].” It is not likely Henry was foolish enough to intervene between a widow and her son. 

Jacob, Jr. then explained how much he had paid and where he had made payments. He had paid Richard Potts at three different places: “his house Frederick Town . . . at Ragan Tavern, Hagers Town . . .  in Lower Shosshouse in Annapolis.” In this last letter, Jacob Jr. admitted, “this is my own hand writing the former letters I have sent was the handwriting of school masters of Hagers Town he lately Deaset [deceased] by so Doing you will much oblige your friend . . . Jacob Brombaugh.”[18]

The success of the estate administration with that many assets in two jurisdictions was a remarkable achievement. He had to work with multiple lawyers, as well as his mother to ensure that his father’s estate was properly settled. Once in August 1803 he personally traveled to Philadelphia to deliver money to Henry Drinker in order to close the Dorfans Barn deal. There he “breakfasted” with wealthy and prominent Quakers Henry and Elizabeth Drinker, as recorded in her diary, paid the balance due, and took away the deed. The estate settlement was both amicable and orderly.[19]

By the time the children had completely divided both the Maryland and Pennsylvania estates, the estate amounted to nearly 3,500 acres of land in two states, plus tangible personal property, worth in the aggregate approximately the following:

            Maryland: Personal Property

                        Inventory of personal property           £  937

                        Amount by which vendue proceeds

                                    exceeded inventory value           139

                        Debts owed to Jacob by others               335

                                                                                   £ 1411

                        Dollar value at £1411=                                   $  3,763           

            Clalands Contrivance valued at £4,100, dollar value   10,933

            Pennsylvania: 11 farms, Bedford Co., valued at           13,567

                                    Springfield farm, valued £ 1493              3,981

                                    Grand Total Estate Value                   $ 32,244 (= £12,091)

In an apparent oversight, tangible and intangible personal property located in Pennsylvania was never appraised or recorded. Half of his jointly-held real estate in Pennsylvania was never valued because the joint holder who survived (with Samuel Ulery, Daniel Brumbaugh, and with John Snyder) owned it. Thus, the above calculation is a conservative valuation of Jacob’s entire estate. 

Each child had inherited in excess of 400 acres of good farmland, and cash of about $1,000.[20] If Mary needed £35 (or $93.33) per year for her widow’s allowance or maintenance money, one child’s cash inheritance of $1,000 would be equal to enough money to maintain ten persons for a year. Jacob’s wealth evidently made him the equivalent, for his time and place, of a fairly well-to-do farmer.

Work done by historian Aubrey Land compared the three rungs of wealth among farmers in the Northern Chesapeake part of Maryland, and Dr. Land commented that “The ascent from straitened circumstances to affluence sometimes took place within the lifespan of a single person, the architect of the family fortune.” Dr. Land added to that this assertion, “Such a man, even though in the top bracket of wealth, could not forget his humble origin nor entirely forsake his ways.”[21] In Jacob’s case, this proved to be true. 

In order to draw a more complete picture of Jacob’s standing in wealth, it is instructive to compare Jacob Brumbaugh’s inventory of goods and overall value with the inventory or the overall estate value of the following men that Jacob Brumbaugh was associated with in some way: 

Dr. Henry Schnebely, Jacob Brumbaugh’s neighbor and a post-Revolution Washington County judge, died in 1805 owning 2,800 acres of land in Kentucky, one lot in the District of Columbia, 500 acres in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, and a 2,300-acre farm in Washington County, Maryland.[22] This estate may have equaled or exceeded the value of Jacob Brumbaugh’s.

Philadelphia German publisher Christopher Saur II (1721-1784), a Brethren bishop-elder and publisher, died a poor man, but satisfied that he had paid all his creditors, despite his public humiliation for having given the appearance of being a loyalist. All his worldly goods were confiscated; his printing press and all other property was sold for the benefit of Pennsylvania at public auction in August 1778.[23]

* ——— *

Jacob Brumbaugh’s complex and valuable estate, the size of which far exceeded the £50 with which he had arrived as an immigrant, had been settled eight years after his death. Although to do so, required court filings his family had not “gone to law” to litigate or squabble relentlessly. They did not ask the court to decide how to settle the knotty questions of distribution. Such actions would have been frowned upon in the Brethren community. It is fair to suppose that Jacob may have verbally communicated his final wishes regarding his property, but unfortunately, that act cannot be definitively determined. There is, however, a comparative example. Mennonite Samuel Rohrer,who died 1786 in Washington County, gave land to his sons, as Jacob did, and those sons then made annual payments to Samuel’s estate until they paid the full amount. It was also the custom among local Mennonite farmers to provide each of their daughters a share of their estates equal in value to the shares of their sons in land or money.[1] In these respects, it is highly likely that the Brethren and Mennonites followed similar, if not identical, practices.  

What significance does the size of Jacob’s personal estate have? The late Jacob Brumbaugh’s estate, valued for the first time in this study at £12,091, proves that Saur was not the only German immigrant in this era whose estate exceeded that benchmark amount of £10,000.[2] This finding suggests that additional research by scholars might reveal other German immigrants of the era who achieved similar levels of financial success, and perhaps others who did so despite an earlier refusal to bear arms. 

There are caveats to consider when comparing one pile of wealth to another. First, there is the enormous complexity of eighteenth-century colonial monetary equivalents, which carried over into the new republic. Secondly, there is the issue of comparing one figure in 1784 to one in 1799, one form of asset may have fluctuated substantially in value. Thirdly, there is the disparity between English pounds sterling in England and in Pennsylvania. While these are the main caveats, it must be left to other scholars to sort out who was wealthier, and by how much, in more controlled studies than this author has the resources to make.[3]

What significance does Jacob’s wealth have in the larger Brethren narrative? For one, it means that Jacob Brumbaugh’s pacifism: his refusal to either bear arms or associate, and his refusal to take the test oath of allegiance to the new state and national government, did not adversely affect his economic prospects in the post-war world. He was not ostracized in that post-war economy. Nor did others hinder him commercially for his pacifist leanings. 

Secondly, it is a metric by which Jacob Brumbaugh can be compared to other German immigrants whose estates have been valued in similar historical studies of the German immigrant population. This is particularly important since historians have pointed to the Christopher Saur family, or more lately to the Caspar Wistar family, as the wealthiest family of Germans in colonial America. 

Thirdly, one can appreciate the significance of Jacob Brumbaugh’s wealth for a father of seven children. He may have been highly motivated to furnish each with enough resources to begin their pilgrimage into adult life. One can also understand that providing farms for his sons and daughter would have especially motivated the typical Brethren congregant. Nearly all brethren were farmers and the accumulation of such a large acreage in land tracts in Morrison’s Cove could well have been the eighteenth-century equivalent of the ‘American dream’ for the eighteenth century Brethren. This conclusion is buttressed by a similar study of Mennonite farmers in the geographical area of Washington County. It concluded that rather than avarice being the primary motivating force, the German sectarians were rather concerned “with accumulating and distributing enough property to provide their survivors with a good livelihood,” and “the capital necessary to provide a moderate and comfortable life,” which in turn was firmly linked to ensuring “the social and religious stability of the [local] spiritual community.”[4] This animating goal rings true of the Brethren. 

Lastly, the level of wealth may also say something about the value of mutual aid to one’s co-congregants, which was practiced in sectarian religious circles. These plain sect folk illustrated the material value of mutual aid in life’s journey.

                                    A Measure of Jacob’s AchievementJacob’s progress through life can be described roughly as follows—- in his twenties he was likely an educated young man in an overcrowded farmland in Germany. He became, at 24, a lone immigrant to British North America, where he made a living in 1753 as a weaver embarking on farming in the Maryland colony. When the French and Indian War began in his area, he became a scout and quartering party to soldiers. There was also a family tradition he served as a “packman” on the Braddock Campaign. Afterwards, in the 1760s, he returned to life as a subsistence farmer on his way to commercial farmer status, and a budding landowner. He then survived a protracted period where, as a member of an outlier minority religious sect, became a non-associator, non-enroller, and non-juror. Probably despite his religiously principled, apolitical stance, Jacob contributed blankets, sold grains to the Continental Army, and paid his taxes and fines promptly enough to thwart any opprobrium from his neighbors. He became a successful commercial farmer and major local distiller on a 500-acre farm, which operated on a near self-sufficient basis without the aid of slaves. The expansive, and in some years soaring market for wheat and grains following the war’s end, and his personal success at grain farming, enabled him to become a substantial landholder of nearly 3,500 acres across two states who upon his death at age 73 could settle his wife of over 40 years and his 7 children and numerous grandchildren in excellent circumstances on fairly good-sized farms of their own, together with a not inconsiderable cash inheritance. 

[1] Edsel Burdge Jr. and Samuel L. Horst, Building on the Gospel Foundation, The Mennonites of Franklin County, Pennsylvania, and Washington County, Maryland, 1730-1970 (Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 2004), 145-146. 

[2]Dr. Henry Schnebely’s estate may have approached or exceeded this sum. Another German merchant family, an even earlier immigrant, whose wealth exceeded this amount was that of Caspar Wistar (1695-1752), for which see Rosalind J. Beiler, Immigrant and Entrepreneur, The Atlantic World of Caspar Wistar, 1650-1750 (University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania University Press, 2008), 2. He referenced a letter of Govorner James Hamilton to Thomas Penn dated September 24, 1750. He referred to Caspar Wistar as “worth sixty thousand pounds,” even much more than the wealthiest second- or third-generation English merchants of Philadelphia. 

[3] There is a website where these comparisons are being made. Launched in 2010 by the German Historical Institute, Washington, D.C., Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies, 1720 to the Present is a new online project focusing on two important themes in American history: immigration and entrepreneurship, specifically listing personal wealth of German immigrants for different historical time periods where that wealth is known. .

[4] Burdge and Horst, Gospel Foundation, 145-147. 

[1] Otho Holland Williams was the nephew of a Revolutionary War general of the same name from Washington County who fought for the entire duration of the war. Of the five men appointed, Schnebely and Young (who had been a late appointment to the Committee of Observation, reportedly married to someone who was Mennonite) were also engaged to appraise all the goods and chattels. Schnebely went on to appraise the goods and chattels of Jacob, Jr. when he died in 1814. Washington County, Maryland, Estate Inventories and Appraisements, Book E, Folio 22-25. Jacob Zeller and George Cellers were likely sons of Capt. John Celler, commanding officer of the militia company in which Jacob, Jr. failed to enroll. 

[2] Land Records of Washington County, Maryland, Deed Book R, 484. 

[3] Ibid, 486. 

[4] Ibid, Deed Book S, 433. 

[5] Ibid, Deed Book I. N. 2, 335. 

[6] Washington County, Maryland, Estate Inventories and Appraisements, Book T, 530 (1859); Washington County, Maryland, Executors and Administrators Accounts, Book 20, 376 (1860). 

[7] Bedford County Orphans’ Court Abstracts-Docket 2, St. Clair’s Bedford, the History and Genealogy of Bedford County, Pennsylvania  6 (March 1987), 139. 

[8] The Maryland Herald, October 1806 (MHS). 

[9] Land Records of Bedford County, Pennsylvania, Book L, 322 and 329. 

[10] There is in the estate accountings filed with the court a substantial payment (£104..10..00) from Jacob, Sr.’s estate to Jacob, Jr., unexplained like all other payments, which may have been his commission due for serving as administrator. A “John Hager” (men of that name were numerous) is shown being paid in 1799 for “vendue two days.” 

[11] H.D. to J.B., Jr. 14 December 1799. Box 21, DC, HSP.

[12] J.B., Jr. to H.D. 20 January 1800, Box 21, Ibid. 

[13] H.D. to J.B., Jr. 17 March 1800. Box 21, Ibid. 

[14] J. B., Jr. to H.D., 27 May 1802. Box 22, D.C., HSP. Samuel Wallis (1730-1798) was a Quaker surveyor and pioneer entrepreneur, called the “Land King,” who got so caught up in leveraged land tract purchases and schemes that when he died shortly after the speculative land bubble burst, he left his wife and children penniless. It also turned out that, though he was an officer in the militia, he was a traitor to his country, secretly working for the British. This was only discovered in the twentieth century. Carl Van Doren, Secret History of the American Revolution (New York: Viking Press, 1941), 217-224.

[15] H.D. to J.B., Jr., 31 May 1802, Box 22, D.C., HSP

[16] J.B., Jr. to H.D., 20 April 1803. Box 22, D.C., HSP

[17] See Bruce H. Mann’s, Republic of DebtorsBankruptcy in the Age of American Independence (Cambridge, Mass.: The Harvard University Press, 2009), 78-109. This work addresses this phenomenon of that decade and the need for a new uniform federal law in the new Republic; Ibid, 184-186.  

[18] J.B., Jr. to H.D., 20 April 1803. Box 22, D.C., HSP. Richard Potts was not only Drinker’s local correspondent lawyer in Frederick, but he had been successively a member of the Frederick County Committee of Observation, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, the first U.S. Attorney in Maryland (appointed by President Washington in 1789), and the third U.S. Senator for Maryland. He was present at those various places to receive periodic payments delivered to him by Jacob, Jr. on behalf of the estate of Jacob Sr. Footnote to Letter to George Washington from Richard Potts, 12 June 1792, Founders Online, National Archives ( [last update: 2015-02-20]); source: The Papers of George Washington, Presidential Series, vol. 10, 1 March 1792-15 August 1792, ed. Robert F. Haggard and Mark A. Mastromarino (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2002), 452.

[19] The date was 23 August 1803. Elizabeth Drinker wrote: “We have heard twice from the Valley, since Jab Downing left us, yesterday by Jesse Kersey, and this morning by Jacob Brombaugh [Jr. of course] who breakfasted here—he called their [sic, there—in the valley, probably Downingtown in Chester County] on his way from MaryLand to enquire where he should find our house, — having money to pay to HD.” Mrs. Drinker wrote a diary for nearly fifty years. It is a valuable source for knowledge concerning persons and manners of Philadelphia in the late eighteenth century. Diary of Elizabeth Drinker, 2:1677. The account book of Henry Drinker on “9th month 21st day 1803,” records that on August 23, Jacob, Jr. paid Henry £234..7..6 and Drinker recorded in his account log the statement “which I have agreed shall be in full.” Box 26, Journal 1798-1809, D.C., HSP.

[20] Derived from these monetary equivalents in 1800 Pennsylvania: 1s (shilling) = 90d (pence); 7s (shillings) 6d  (pence) = 90d = $1.00 Pennsylvania dollar 1800. £1 = 20s (shillings) = 240d (pence); £4,100 = 984,000d (pence) divided by 90d (pence) per dollar = $10,933.33. 

[21] Eddis, Letters, xviii (Introduction by Land). 

[22] Archives of Maryland, MSA SC.

[23] This website (viewed 2013) is an excellent site for gaining a quick understanding of the Saur family along with a view of some of their printed products and hard assets.