Jacobs Children & His Farm

     Jacob Brumbaugh Jr. (c 1758-1814): farmer, distiller, landowner.

           Wife: Catherine Rentch

     Mary Elizabeth Brumbaugh (c 1759-c 1828): minister’s wife, mother.

           Husband: Elder Samuel Ulery; Brethren minister.

     John Brumbaugh (c 1760-1829): farmer, Brethren minister.

           Wife: Mary Elizabeth Miller

     Daniel Brumbaugh (1772-1820)- farmer, weaver.

           Wife: Elizabeth Long

     David Angle Brumbaugh (1776-1842): farmer, postmaster, hotelier.

          Wife: Eve Kiessecker

     Henry Brumbaugh (1777-1854):  farmer; owner of Clalands Contrivnance.

           Wife: Margareta Rentch

     George Brumbaugh (1783-1837): brewer, tavern keeper, fiduciary, town           commissioner.

           Wife: Mary Louise Gelwicks

Looking at the lives of immigrants, whether dissident nonresistants or financially successful ones, one might ask how they did socially, especially after the revolution. Historians often inquire how they advanced the family’s fortunes. Did the children marry into other families of wealth? Did they gain political influence? Did they achieve success in business? These parameters that historians use do not entirely fit the Brethren. They never sought financial or social success except insofar perhaps as it kept the religious congregation stable and provided an advantage in reaching their goal of salvation in the next life. Nevertheless, one should examine how the parents’ goals and lifestyles in the Brumbaugh family are reflected in the children’s chosen paths and marriages. 

Of Jacob and Mary’s seven children, two, John and Mary, either became a Brethren minister or married one, and one, Jacob, Jr., married a German Baptist Brethren woman named Catherine Rentch while establishing other religious ties for himself. Three children, therefore, helped directly or indirectly to maintain the community of believers to which the parents belonged. Two children, Mary and John, moved to Morrison’s Cove in Pennsylvania, while five, Jacob Jr., Daniel, David, Henry, and George, stayed on or very close to Clalands Contrivance in Washington County, Maryland. At least five of the children married into families of German descent (Jacob, Jr.: Rentch; Mary: Ulery; David: Kiessecker; Henry: Rentch; and George: Gelwicks) and two married into families of could-be German names (John: Miller; and Daniel: Long) and very likely were, expressing a certain enduring German-centric-ness (the Fogelman study found that Germans rarely married non-Germans before 1800).[1] While the two children who stayed in the Brethren community produced numerous descendants who chose to become Brethren, even ministers, the other five were assimilated into more mainstream “church German” families: one became Evangelical Lutherans (David), and three chose the German Reformed Church (Daniel, Henry and George). Jacob Jr. was the only Presbyterian in this family.

Henry, as mentioned earlier, married Margaretha, a daughter of Colonel Andrew Rentch, who had served on the Committee of Observation, as a militia officer, and as a justice of the peace. This marriage indicates that Jacob Sr.’s refusal to bear arms did not significantly impede the social opportunities of his children, even though this was not a likely goal. 

All of the children were farmers except perhaps George, who became a beer brewer, tavern keeper, and had a thriving practice as a professional fiduciary. (He served as an executor or trustee for about a dozen families). Most of the sons continued to distill grains into alcoholic spirits, and Daniel continued the weaving that his father had done. Henry maintained a substantial portion of the home farm of Clalands Contrivance for another forty years, and then passed it on to his son. David farmed and his wife Eve maintained a hotel in nearby State Line, Pennsylvania. At least three, Jacob Jr., David, and John, engaged in numerous transactions in real estate caused by the wealth of real estate their father had left them. His sons thus appeared to third parties as wealthy men in their own right. 

As stated earlier, Jacob seems to have been a fairly good planner all his life, given all that he accomplished. Nevertheless, uncharacteristically, he apparently failed to make out a will before he died. When reaching a certain age, some farmers from that era would divide up their wealth. They would give small items to their daughters as their wedding dowries, and divide up the land and cash items among the sons, retaining only the right to live on the farm until death. 

Each child had inherited in excess of 400 acres of good farmland, and cash of about $1,000.[1] 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.


[1] 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. 

The Hagerstown Airport now sits on the land that was once farmed by Jacob Brumbaugh. His original home, added to in the early 19th century by Henry, and later by others, is now the #1 most threatened historic building in Maryland. The Airport would like to tear it down but historic societies have held them to place it for adaptive re-use, though no one has of yet come forward.


[1] Aaron Spencer Fogleman, Hopeful Journeys, German Immigration, Settlement, and 

Political Culture in Colonial America, 1717-1775 (Philadelphia: University of 

Pennsylvania Press, 1996), 149.

Jacobs Estate

Jacob died at an age of about 73, without a will, leaving to survive him his wife Mary and all seven children, of which only his youngest, George, was then a minor, about age sixteen.[1] His wife and eldest son Jacob, Jr. were appointed by the probate court as administrators to settle his intestate estate under the guidance of the court. Jacob Sr. owned at that time 394 acres of land in Washington County, Maryland, on three tracts, Resurvey of Clalands Contrivance, Timber Bottom, and The Chance. In addition, he owned nearly 3,000 acres of land on a dozen different tracts in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. 

The estate, however, had an immediate cash flow problem. Three events conspired to set the family of this prosperous farmer back on their heels. The contract price for the largest of Jacob’s Bedford land tracts (475 acres), Dorfans Barn, had not yet been fully paid. He had also not yet acquired title. He had contracted with Philadelphia Quaker Henry Drinker in 1797 for the purchase at £1,326, but had so far paid only £338, twenty-five percent of the full purchase price.[2] A significant balance of £988 remained. Then, one of Jacob Sr.’s debtors owing him the considerable sum of £173, had decided that rather than pay the debt to the estate, he would submit to his own voluntary incarceration in the county jail under a new law enabling “insolvent debtors” to be legally absolved of a debt.[3]

Not long after the vendue, the family received an aggressive letter from Henry Drinker who, unaware of Jacob’s death, threatened him, demanding payment for his land. In this letter, he insisted: 

Should I not receive the sums due or a considerable part thereof without much further delay, it is my intention to put thy Agreemt into the hands of an attorney, to be prosecuted as the law in such case warrants. Life being uncertain, I desire thou would come to this City and receive the deed for the tract of land I sold thee in 1785 [a tract named Corunna] or inform me to whom I shall deliver it.  

Thy Friend [signed Henry Drinker].”[4]           

Drinker himself was ill, old, and felt he was near death (he died in 1809). He also became indebted and desperately sought cash to save his empire from the ravages of failed land speculation. 

If the Brumbaugh family were not able to pay Drinker, the largest debt of the estate, they might not obtain the benefit of whatever bargain Jacob had struck for Dorfans Barn. They also risked losing Jacob’s earlier down payment, plus interest on the sum and attorney costs. In addition, Jacob had already paid the full price of £476 for a tract called Corunna, but there had been no conveyance by Drinker to Jacob. These crises called for resolute and unified family forbearance on the one hand, as well as action by the administrators. 

Whatever the case, Mary and Jacob, Jr., as administrators, turned quickly to the business at hand, raising the money to meet these demands. Although they rose to this challenge, they did not receive the payment of £173 from that one bankrupt debtor.  

In 1800 the Drinkers deeded the long-ago purchased land tract Corunna to the administrators of Jacob’s estate. Over the next three years the administrators of the estate made sure to pay enough pounds sterling annually to keep the Dorfans Barn contract and pay off the huge debt. By 1803, both land tracts were added to the estate’s portfolio, making that portfolio even more land rich and cash poor.

Settling the estate, Mary renounced her legal interest of one-third of all the assets in return for an agreement by all the children, enforceable by the court, to pay her an annuity of £35. Accordingly, each child received 1/7th of the entire estate, either in cash or in kind and an obligation to pay Mary each year 1/7th of the annuity.

Meanwhile, the administrators of Jacob’s estate filed a proper inventory for tangible personal property owned by his estate. This was in accordance with an appraisal conducted on May 21, 1799 by John Schnebely and Ludwick Young.[5] They valued his goods at $2,501.13. (See a transcription of the inventory on this site along with the author’s comments).

Some key facts are revealed by the inventory, which are pertinent to the story of Brumbaugh. He owned no firearms and no enslaved persons at his death, which was consistent with his Brethren beliefs, and unlike most non-sectarian farmers.[6] He owned “12 old books” confirming his literacy, likely half religious and half farming books. In confirmation of Brethren practice, the listing notes that he owned “16 benches and a Table Upstairs.” This fact is consistent with holding home church services. Second-hand stories also described how Brethren drew together with their neighbors as a congregation without a church building. 

Jacob also owned two stills (a total of 200 gallons capacity; George Washington’s still, begun in 1798, had a 600 gallon capacity) and all the accoutrements of a significant distillery along with 450 gallons of whiskey in inventory, confirming his secondary occupation as a distiller of what were then referred to as ‘ardent spirits.’ 

Brumbaugh’s farm was well stocked with grains on hand, bushels of wheat, oats, rye, and buckwheat plus a myriad of tools and equipment, and supplies and products to maintain his buildings and grounds, plus crops in the ground, mostly grains, and several species of livestock and many horses. His farm had all the indications of a thriving ongoing operation despite Jacob’s 73 years. 

This inventory also shows how self-sufficient the Brumbaugh family was on their home farm. This enables one to gauge the striking degree of their thrift, a major contributor to the accumulation of wealth. According to a recent study of a general store in a neighborhood like Jacob’s in the approximate time frame, alcohol and textiles (including clothing) made up 57 percent by dollar volume of sales that other people (mostly non-sectarians) similarly situated spent money on. As Jacob’s family did not need to buy these products, their cash outflow was reduced, and they could keep more of the gross receipts of the sales of their farm products. 


[1] No petition for a guardian of a minor (his youngest child, George was then 16) was filed, or anyway none is extant in the files of the Register of Wills for Washington County, Maryland. 

[2] Land Records of Bedford County, Pennsylvania, Book F, 348.

[3] J.B. Jr. to H.D. 20 April 1803, Box 22, Drinker Archive, HSP.

[4] H.D. to J.B., 8 June 1799 Henry Drinker Papers, MS Collection 176, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Box 21. Drinker had in March of 1797 rebuffed Jacob Sr.’s effort to renegotiate his payments, calling Jacob’s arguments “childish” and not worth a retort, and chiding him for “imprudently” paying a tax needlessly. This correspondence is related in detail in Appendix V. 

[5] Washington County, Maryland, Administrations, Book B: WK 937-2, 307-310 (images 253-256), MSA.                 

[6] A review of inventories filed in the estates of five of Jacob’s children also reveals an absence of any firearms. The remaining two children, for which there are no inventories extant, were John and Mary. John was a Brethren preacher and Mary was married to one, so it is unlikely as well that either of them owned firearms. 

Newspaper Ad for the Vendue of Jacobs Personal Property

TO BE SOLD

                                                At Public Vendue,[1]

            On Wednesday and Thursday the 5th and 6th of June next [1799], at the late dwelling house of JACOB BRUMBAUGH, deceased, about five miles from Hager’s-Town, and one mile from Dr. Henry Schnebly’s, in Washington county Maryland, the personal estate of said Jacob Brumbaugh, constituting of a number of Valuable Horses and Colts, Milch Cows, Two yoke of oxen, a number of fine young cattle, sheep and hogs—Three Waggons and one Cart, Geers, Ploughs and Harrows, a Wind-mill, two Still Kettles, one containing 135 gallons, the other 70, with Hogsheads and other utensils thereunto belonging — Whiskey by the barrel—an Eight day Clock, a Kitchen Dresser, Iron and Brass wash Kettles, &ct. &ct. Grain in the ground—Wheat, Rye, Oats and Buck-Wheat by the bushel, besides a great variety of Household and Kitchen Furniture and farming utensils, too tedious to mention—The sale to begin at 9 o’clock, A.M. on said days and place, and due attendance given, by

                                    Jacob Brumbaugh [Jr.], Adm’or.

                                    Mary Brumbaugh, Adm’trix.

            May 16, 1799.

            ALL persons indebted to the estate of the said Jacob Brumbaugh, deceased, are requested to make immediate payment; and all those who have claims against said estate, will be pleased to render the same legally authenticated for settlement.[2]


[1] Vendue is “a public sale of anything, by outcry, to the highest bidder, an auction.” The word comes from the past tense of the French verb vendre, to sell. Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1913.  

[2] Maryland Herald and Elizabeth Town Advertiser, 16 May 1799, Maryland Historical Society.

The Brumbaugh Men and the Revolution in Hagerstown

The Brumbaughs Among the Pacifist Families of Wash. Co., Md.,

During the Revolution

Washington County retained for posterity detailed minutes of nearly eighteen months of Committee of Observation activity and decisions, taking up over one hundred printed pages, meetings on nearly eighty separate dates, scores of committee members’ names and names of persons who sat “in the chair” between their first meeting on September 14, 1775, and their last on March 3, 1777. These priceless records were published over ninety years ago in the Maryland Historical Magazine of the Maryland Historical Society over several issues including the names of all people who served on the Committee or even came before it for aid, inquiry, or censure in relation to violations of the boycott or for statements “inimical to the interests of the united States of America.” It is an extraordinarily revealing source for the history of the Revolution at the ground level. If not for the committee and its business-like minutes, the history of how at the grassroots level neighbors and patriots of different stripes, creeds, nationalities, and even languages forged the United States of America would have been lost.[1]

The Committee of Observation of Elizabeth town and the militias in Jacob Brumbaugh’s area were largely made up of farmers, millwrights, blacksmiths, craftsmen, tradesmen, and the like. Unlike some other towns like Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which had a small corps of elite wealthy merchants, no significant corps of an elite existed in Hagerstown: no great merchants, no resident owners of large plantations over say 5,000 acres, no families of great wealth or prominent lawyers from old, established families who took a leadership position in local civic affairs. Jacob Brumbaugh’s neighbors were very much on a fairly level socio-economic playing field. Most individuals who acted as judges, sheriffs, and administrators were English with a few Scots or Scots Irish.  The one notable exception to this rule was the ubiquitous Jonathan Hager. In 1771, he had been the first German settler in Maryland elected to the colonial assembly. 

While many of Jacob’s German neighbors joined the fight, many others were members of the pacifist Brethren and Mennonite sects. The pacifists saw the coming storm. They had often loosely associated with one another in German territories before emigration and had, as historian Jan Stievermann recently asserted, a shared “martyrological mentality,” which they brought with them from the old world.[2] They were prepared to suffer for their pacifism. A delegation of Mennonites met at the Quaker Meeting House at Gwynedd near Philadelphia in January 1775. The Quakers who attended this meeting brought a paper in the German language that emphasized their peace testimony and counseled patience and nonviolence. The Mennonites later circulated this.[3] A second meeting of the peace churches, this time Quakers, Mennonites, Amish, Schwenkfelders, and Moravians, took place in Reading, Pennsylvania, on September 1, 1775.[4]  Christopher Schultz, the Schwenkfelder preacher, also met with a Mennonite leader, John Bechtel, in order to resolve that their communities were prepared to become martyrs to sustain the peaceful principles on which Pennsylvania had been founded and the promised ‘liberty of conscience’ which had lured them there.[5] Would martyrdom become necessary?

This story of one family’s interaction with the committee is offered only to give broader context to and understanding of why the names of the Brethren Jacob Brumbaugh and his sons Jacob, Jr. and John appear multiple times in the town’s revolutionary committee’s minutes, especially when he and his sons, like other Brethren, never served on the committee. Breen further claims of the committee meetings: “For ordinary people, they were community forums where personal loyalties were revealed, tested, and occasionally punished.”[6]

                                               The Association’s Oath

Since the purpose of the committees was to help enforce the economic sanctions of the Association, the Association itself deserves some examination. The Convention of Maryland’s “Declaration of the Association of the Freemen of Maryland” on July 26, 1775, sought to have every male member of the community enroll; if a male was between age sixteen and fifty, he also had to enroll in the militia. Maryland’s Declaration, stating that is “necessary and justifiable to repel force by force” approved of the opposition by arms to the British troops, engaged to promote the continental association, restrain commerce with Great Britain, as well as “to promote good order and the due execution of the laws . . . as shall be adjudged by the civil magistrate, continental congress, our convention, council of safety, or committees of observation.”[7]

The oath looked both backward and forward in this transitional year of 1775. It looked backward in their stated “ardent wish” of a “reconciliation with Great Britain,” and coincidently it looked forward in its statement that the signers were “persuaded that it is necessary and justifiable to repel force by force.” 

In July 1775 committees of observation in Maryland required freemen to sign a pledge specifically supporting armed resistance against England.  They came, he states, close to proclaiming independence in a statement that set forth their specific grievances in such a serious manner that “they justified repelling force by force.”[8]  In the spring of 1775 the Maryland Convention in Annapolis urged the committees to confiscate any arms from those citizens who might not associate or enroll—this included loyalists certainly, but it also included those who for religious reasons were “conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms,” a phrasing of the exemption that seemed to take hold. It took many meetings, however, before the committee carried out this law in Elizabeth town. 

The Committee of Observation took over governing Frederick County from the date of the first meeting, September 14, 1775, until at least March 1777 when a formal state governmental structure was formed. The Committee exercised legislative, policy-making, administrative, and judicial power. These Committees were answerable to no one, they claimed, except the populace who elected them and the Maryland convention meeting at Annapolis. They maintained that they received their authority from the public at large in their jurisdiction and if they have committed a fault in the execution of that authority, they must be responsible only to that same public. There was in Maryland some oversight by the Convention, and occasionally the local committee sent along a petition or issue in need of resolution by that higher authority. 

The royal governor of Maryland, Robert Eden, suspended the legislature in order to keep it from acting in support of Boston. In doing so, he effectively abolished his own job. Unlike several other colonial governors, who mostly fled, he stayed physically present in Annapolis until May 1776. Eden was the very last colonial governor to leave. William Eddis wrote to a correspondent in England that the “Government is almost totally annihilated, and power transferred to the multitude…[the] sword is drawn, and without some providential change of measures, the blood of thousands will be shed in this unnatural contest.”[9] Individuals, such as Eddis, did not know if fighting would erupt here as it had already erupted in New England, and if so, who would take up arms in the fight.

                         The German Sectarians’ Position in 1775

One German sectarian reflected on the atmosphere in the colonies, and what it meant to them. In a letter dated July 22, 1775, he wrote to a fellow German: 

Since the first blood was shed by the British you can not believe what a flame of war-spirit like a lightening stroke has set on fire all our provinces and caused them to glow. All are armed, in full battle array. In cities even the little boys form companies and conduct military exercises. Ducking and stooping and guarding of words must be studiously practiced if great danger and the military roll are to be avoided, which latter our people have thus far escaped.[10]

[No indent intended] A group of men in nearby York County, however, with a view to their neighboring dissenting pacifists enunciated a different view, stating that they had “ever since the beginning of the war been in some measure possessed of a sense of malignancy of the exterior enemies, and much more of the internal enemies of American independence . . . In this great struggle, he who is not with us is against us.”[11]

Many German immigrants felt torn. Many of them, such as Jacob Brumbaugh were genuinely grateful to the British for the relative freedom in America. Maryland had proven itself to be much better than the lands from which they had emigrated. There, along the upper Rhine they had suffered the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), closely followed by decades of murderous raids and widespread destruction by soldiers under Louis XIV of France, and later by The War of Spanish Succession (1701-1714).  

Another factor in the Germans’ response was that they did not have nearly the same stake in trade with Britain as many other colonists. They were mostly grain farmers and not tobacco planters. They were not city-dwelling tradesmen, merchants, and professionals who depended more on the Atlantic economy. German sectarians generally shunned British goods. Sectarians, Quakers, Mennonites, and Brethren alike, strongly discouraged vain display or “worldly ornament,” so many of the more expensive British goods were not even considered for purchase (there were exceptions among the urban Quaker merchants). 

As Benjamin Franklin supposedly commented wryly about the German inhabitants: “The Dutch under-live, and are thereby enabled to under-work and under-sell the English who are thereby extremely incommoded, and consequently disgusted.”[12] By this statement, Franklin meant that the Germans lived “down,” so to speak, or below the level of spending which corresponded to their level of income or wealth. 

One astute commentator, writing about the Saur family, contends that because Brethren were opposed to war and all forms of resistance, they “consequently support[ed] the conservative element in most crises and would attempt to appreciate the opponent’s point of view.” From the life of the elder Saur this author draws these examples: firstly, Saur published an article saying the Indians were likely to side with the French, given how “meanly” the Christians in the British colony had treated them; secondly, he showed a sympathetic understanding of the Indians’ argument that the colonial government did not respond to their claims quickly; and thirdly, when the Stamp Act crisis arose, Saur II proposed holding a convention to petition the British government for repeal of the tax, instead of the more aggressive promotion of the economic sanctions that were devised by patriots.[13]

One last tie of sorts that the Germans did have with England was this: immediately upon docking at the port of immigration in Philadelphia, non-British subjects had had to swear that oath of loyalty to the British king mentioned earlier that included these solemn promises: “I, A.B., do solemnly…declare that I will be true & faithfull to King George the Second… & to him will be faithfull against all traitorous Conspiriacies & attempts whatsoever which shall be made against his Person, Crown & Dignity.”[14]

For many of the German sectarians, they believed that ‘their word was their bond’ and even feared that breaking the oath might enable the government to take back their lands. They would not want to break that oath of allegiance to the King, even though some might have regretted that oath, which they made under duress minutes after landing after a two-month crossing. Swearing loyalty to the new revolutionary government would directly contradict their earlier oath and that, they said, made them uncomfortable. Some asserted to do so meant perjuring themselves before God, which would prevent their salvation.[15]

Lastly, to the German inhabitants of Pennsylvania and Maryland, such as Jacob Brumbaugh, the colonists’ cry for their “natural and Constitutional rights as Englishmen,” did not mean much to them. England’s system of rights was different from their limited experience of political matters in German lands. They therefore did not share this feeling that England was attacking their rights. 

Brethren and Mennonite men thought about war rather differently than their German, church-going neighbors. Because of their dubious expressions and unworldly understandings, they faced not only skepticism and doubt, but also serious personal and financial consequences if they did not persuade those neighbors that they sincerely believed in their religious duties. The core of their belief was that Christ taught them to be nonresistant.

In June of 1775 the city of Lancaster, similarly surrounded by many German sectarians, also grappled with this issue of how the sectarians and their pacifist principles fit into the general atmosphere that could occur during wartime. In Lancaster the Committee of Observation and Inspection had the wisdom to publish a broadside, the existence of which historians only recently discovered that served in a direct way to put this crisis into perspective for the entire community. 

The broadside, published in both English and German, addressed the situation of those who were “conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms.” The Continental Congress, the broadside stated, has taken into account the many pacifists in the colony and therefore made plans to protect all the people of the colony.  The local Committee called this:

[A] Measure so very indulgent to all…who are conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms and they urge those persons to contribute toward the necessary and unavoidable expenses of such proportion as may leave no Room, with any, to suspect that they would ungenerously avail themselves of the Indulgence granted them, or under a Pretense of Conscience and religious Scruples keep their Money in their Pockets and thereby throw those burthens upon a Part of the Community, which, in a Cause that affects all, should be borne by all.  [Italics are the Committee’s.]

“The issue of how to convince men to serve, and what to do about those who could not, troubled Pennsylvanians throughout the war, and it divided the Lititz Moravian community, in particular, in 1777,” says Scott Paul Gordon, a scholar of the Moravian experience. “This broadside shows a very early effort by Lancaster authorities to devise a plan to deal with conscientious objectors.”[16] As a general rule, events like this, which affected the German sectarians in Lancaster, traveled by word of mouth and letter to Hagerstown’s German community. In Philadelphia, where Quaker pacifists were a large presence, militants, spurning a Moravian pitch for exemption from the oath, maintained:

Many persons amongst us preferring a slavish dependence on the British King, from prejudice, expectation from lucrative offices, or the most unworthy motives, and screening themselves from the notice of Government, by a professed neutrality, have, nevertheless, as soon as opportunity offered declared themselves in favor of our Enemies, and became active against the liberties of America.[17]

In addition to being pacifist, Brethren and Mennonites also held on to the belief that God ordained Kings, or the notion of Divine Right.  Although the English generally shared that notion, many of those living in North America, other than Quakers, had lately shed that belief.

The Hagerstown district’s Committee of Observation, when carrying out its functions, certainly had to deal with Jacob Brumbaugh, his sons, and the other dissenting sectarian pacifists in their neighborhood. Their most pressing function, however, was that of supplying militia companies. This duty pushed the pacifists far to the background at times. 

The Maryland Convention asked for a regiment of militia to go to Boston, choosing Frederick County, home of frontier sharpshooters, as the county to send it. They sent their first regiment of militia to support General Washington, departing Frederick County on July 19, 1775. After a 550- mile march they arrived twenty-two days later on August 10 without losing even one man on the way.[18] Throughout the coming months, Frederick and Washington counties cultivated a reputation of meeting expeditiously and zealously whatever demands the Maryland Convention asked of them. 

                                    Elizabeth town District

According to the Maryland 1776 population census of Elizabeth town where Jacob lived, which included both the town and the rural area north of the town, encompassed approximately 2,914 white residents and 79 Negroes.[19]

The Mennonites had approximately fifty to seventy families, translating to a total of about 150 members in the Elizabeth town area.[20] Brethren could count among them about 155 families and about 373 baptized souls in this area.[21]

This was a deeply divided area, but the patriots, as opposed to the pacifists, had the distinct advantage in organizational support in that they received advice and intelligence from the Continental Congress funneling down through the provincial Maryland Convention to form local committees and carry out an agreed on program of economic protest. 

In the early days of the revolution, one’s patriot neighbors wanted to know where others stood; specifically they wanted to know that all male citizens aged 16-50 to joined by signing their signatures as an “enroller” in the militia or at least as an “associator.” There were many loyalists around who believed equally as strongly in their ties to the Crown and to England. Many loyalists sought to help the British retain the colonies by undermining efforts of the patriots, by spying, or at least by making it more difficult for the colonies to break away. 

In Philadelphia at the Second Continental Congress, different factions quarreled over whether a man who had ‘scruples of conscience’ and refused to bear arms should have to pay money in lieu thereof, or whether he could be exempted, too, from the money equivalent. Parties on all sides—Quakers, the Philadelphia Committee of Safety, the Officers of the Military Association of Philadelphia, as well as the Privates of Philadelphia, all filed briefs or petitions relating to this topic. Other than the Quakers, most felt that a man who did not bear arms must pay a monetary equivalent. At first the Continental Congress thought such persons should be encouraged to contribute liberally, but eventually the other groups’ notion that there should be a mandatory “tax” payable of £2..10, for starters, became the rule and that became the answer that went forward.[22]

If a man would not enroll in the militia or sign on as an associator, then the committee required that person to pay a fine.  If he would not pay the fine (between £2 and £10 possibly according to what assets you declared or what people thought you were “worth”) as a “non-enroller,” then the committee might suspect the individual was a loyalist or Tory. They could then summon the man, take testimony, and convict him of actions “inimical to the interests of the United States of America.” He could be exiled or have his assets confiscated and sold at public vendue for the war effort. If they found the man guilty, he could be jailed and required to pay the costs of his own jailing. Neutrality was not a popular stance in those days. The neighboring Pennsylvania revolutionary government confiscated over 43,000 acres of land from 112 loyalists.[23] Maryland’s new government pursued a similar path. 

The early war years truly were ‘the times that tried men’s souls,’ in the words of Thomas Paine’s best-selling pamphlet Common Sense. The local committees operated under immense pressure to assemble ever more companies of soldiers in support of General Washington and the Continental army. 

Whether the Brumbaughs’ non-sectarian neighbors would understand and tolerate their religious principles, no matter how sincere, in the face of this most practical and concrete of crises was a matter of great concern.

                                                 * ——— *

On Monday, November 6, 1775, a tragic blow struck the community hard: Jonathan Hager, the town founder, entrepreneur, and sole Maryland provincial legislator of German origins had been accidentally killed. The accident happened while Hager and others had been building the new Zion Evangelical and German Reformed church in a prominent place in Elizabeth town. Shockingly, Hager had been crushed when a large log that had broken free crushed him.[24] It must have been a psychological blow to all the community— a well-loved man, a large landowner (more than 10,000 acres during his lifetime),[25] the first and only German political leader (elected to the Assembly in 1771 and re-elected in 1773), suddenly killed in an accident while building a church. 

The year 1775 had been a roller coaster ride for colonists in America. Although 1776 is generally lauded in American history as one of the most significant years of the war, 1775 is now receiving increased attention as the seminal year of the forward movement towards revolution.[26] The colonists’ experienced victories at Lexington and Concord, then at Bunker Hill, a loss that was a pyrrhic victory for the British. Militias were forming and marching on the town greens, honing their skills to fight back. Washington had been appointed commander-in-chief of the Continental Army in June, taking actual control in July. In October, the King of England had formally declared the colonies in rebellion. The First Continental Congress had organized a boycott and other commercial measures to show the British their intention to resist, and in order to execute that plan, the committee was educating the populace at the grassroots level. 

In rural Elizabeth town, a local hero of sorts had been killed in a needless accident. For four years Captain Jonathan Hager had been a bridge between the Maryland Assembly, the legislative body in Annapolis, and the German community around Hager’s town. He likely had helped German settlers, such as Jacob Brumbaugh and his neighbors, become more comfortable with the British legal and legislative system with which most Germans were unfamiliar. He was even a spiritual seeker, befriending particularly Moravians and German Reformed, but also associated with Brethren like Jacob and sold land to Mennonites. Now, in the midst of an English civil war of sorts, that vital link was suddenly gone. That bridge no longer existed. A bond between an important civic leader and the German pacifists had suddenly disappeared. How would they cope with this loss? 

The conflict developed a fast pace in 1776. In January, Thomas Paine’s Common Sensewas published; its logic and tenor spread revolutionary sentiments like wildfire. By March 17 the British had evacuated Boston Harbor. The Maryland Convention and the local Committees of Observation were fully operational and their manner of working with the disenting sectarians constantly evolved throughout the year, which reflected events that were being experienced by Washington’s army in the field.

The need for locally recruited soldiers rapidly increased. The local Committee in Elizabeth town set a deadline of March 1, 1776, by which time it summoned all men who had not yet enrolled in the militia for questioning; if their answers were insufficient, they had to pay the fine of £2..6..0.. for not mustering and additional non-enroller fines that ranged from £2 to £10. They did not meet that deadline, but the date for a summons loomed on the horizon.This chapter traces direct references to Brumbaugh in the minutes as well as more indirectly how Brumbaugh’s cohort, the Brethren sect, was being treated in his district.[27]

                                             Blankets

As this mounting tension continued, the Committee needed to provision the current militias; they struggled to supply them with basic essentials, such as blankets. The Maryland Convention in Annapolis put out a strongly worded letter in March 1776 stating that the troops needed blankets.

Jacob Brumbaugh during this time was occupied with purchasing land and having his fifth child in March, but he still managed to contribute significantly to the war effort.[28] In the minutes of March 23, 1776, the Committee’s clerk recorded the collection of blankets and rugs, and in particular the collection of two blankets from Jacob “Breembaugh” (misspelling Jacob’s surname as was often done).[29] Blankets were sorely needed for the Continental army, therefore each county had been asked for contributions. Of the 41 men providing blankets to the army in Hagerstown, Jacob Brumbaugh contributed two blankets, which were appraised at the second highest value. This may have been Jacob’s subtle signal to his peers that while on religious principle he would not enroll to bear arms in the county militia, nor sign the Association, he would back his neighbors’ patriotic efforts. 

Those neighbors who served as committee leaders had to each head up a company of soldiers; at this point, the committee asked them to check with all eligible men in their district to find out where they stood, meaning whether or not they enrolled or became an associator. If not, these leaders sent them before the committee to explain their stance. Going before this governing body, these individuals had to answer why they would not enroll. They conducted these summonses in order to separate the truly religious or conscientious pacifists from those who might use religion to cover up an underlying sympathy for England. 

The Summons

In the committee’s minutes for April 29, 1776, the secretary alluded to what was to come:  

It is ordered that the Clerk Issue summons directed to the several Captains for the afores[ai]d Men to appear before the Committee of Observation at Hagers Town [even then they sometimes anticipated the day when the name would be changed from Elizabeth town] on the 7th day of May next, to show Cause why they do not enroll and associate, agreeable to the Resolves of the Convention, and shall not be fin’d and obliged to deliver up their fire arms except Pistols to this Committee. 

And also for the following Persons returned [i.e., named on a list turned in to the Committee—this may be the actual muster list detailing who appeared and who did not] by Capt[ai]n John Cellars viz Jacob Broombaugh Sen[io]r, Jacob Broombaugh Jun[io]r, John Broombaugh…John Miller Dunkard, … John Long… John Clapper…[there were 116 names in all].[30]  

Failure to appear before the committee was not an option. If they showed up, they could argue their cases. They could potentially plead exemption for various reasons, such as they were not of draft age, they were a member of the clergy, or had physical disabilities. They also had the option to take a religious stance by declaring that they were “conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms” in all circumstances.  This declaration would likely take some persuasion even if they proved that they belonged to a Mennonite, or Brethren congregation or a Moravian settlement or Quaker meeting.

The Committee of Observation had summoned Jacob to appear alongside his two eldest sons in front of more than a hundred other men on a matter of conscience and religious principles. This was an intimidating situation for those questioned. They showed up on Tuesday, May 7, 1776. Although the Committee of Observation in Elizabeth town did not keep records for the May 7 interrogation, if it occurred, there is a list of the people summoned in the following day’s minutes, along with judgments rendered by the committee for each one. 

The committee evaluated each man’s reasons, looking for any sign of loyalist sympathies. One can imagine that some men were much more believable or articulate than others..  

How did Jacob respond under the stress of interrogation? It is unlikely that he made a speech to the committee that day. There was no evidence that he acted as a leader or spokesman. 

If he or another Brethren had made a speech on behalf of their congregation, the speech would have likely made references to the promises of religious tolerance made by William Penn and the Calverts, and to the oath of allegiance to the king, which men took upon arrival in Philadelphia. A speech might have expressed gratitude for the liberties and opportunities afforded to the congregation in British North America. The speaker might have spoken of the biblical admonitions such as “Resist not evil” (Matthew 5:39, KJV); “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44, KJV); and “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13, KJV), all of which were central to Brethren belief.  The speaker might have spoken of a citizen’s duty to pay the tribute penny. At this time, their willingness to pay taxes and contribute blankets distinguished the Brethren and the Mennonites from the Quakers who by virtue of their denomination’s policy statements (the “Testimony of the People called Quakers” and the “Ancient Testimony”) refused all participation related to war. 

To put the Hagerstown summons before the committee in perspective, one must compare it to similar cases. In Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, for example, the process of recording the non-enrollers was done slightly differently. The committee recorded both the names of men who came before them and their declarations using short-hand: “Christian Witmer . . . don’t b[ear]. Arms; Marks Grove . . . conscientiously Scrupulous Bearing Arms . . . fined 9 pounds. Jacob Hoover . . . could not leave home twas seeding time. Conscientiously scruple: b[earing]. arms . . . fined 5 pounds, 5 shillings.”[31] [Emphasis added] These men were listed on the muster roll in “Colonel Hambright’s Battalion, Captain Lightner’s Company.”[32]

In cosmopolitan Philadelphia, the revolutionary committee served the same kind of summons, however, the audience before the committee differed from others. There, the Quakers were the main religious dissidents who had, hewing to a stricter practice, refused not only to bear arms, but also to pay fines associated with this refusal. Thomas Fisher and his brother Samuel, along with John Drinker, were brought up before the Committee of Inspection and Observation for refusing to accept the Continental Congress’ currency, claiming “scruples of conscience” against “money emitted for the purpose of war.” The Committee of Inspection and Observation on February 5, 1776, however, ruled against the defendants. Historian Sheila Jones asserted that “this defense was inconsistent with their business practices” since, the committee members charged, they had accepted provincial currency before when it had been emitted for mixed purposes of defense and normal public expenditures. As a result, the committee declared, “This Committee do hold up to the world the said John Drinker and Thomas and Samuel Fisher, as Enemies to their Country, and Precluded from all Trade and Intercourse with the Inhabitants of these Colonies.” Other citizens were admonished not to trade with these men.[33]

The Hagerstown committee minutes for the meeting on the next day, May 8, record that all eighteen of the committee members except three of the captains appeared on May 7 to participate in or at least hear the questioning of those summoned. These men had certainly stated religious objections against the orders. Had men cited the early charter of Maryland, that guaranteed religious freedom, the Toleration Act, or William Penn’s promises, Penn’s book Liberty of Conscience or the colony’s liberal charter, which had induced them to re-settle here?  It cannot be definitively determined. 

As previously stated, many Anabaptists read a famed book translated from the original Dutch into German called The Bloody Theater or The Martyrs’ Mirror. It compiled stories next to engravings of frightening scenes, depicting the last minutes at the stake of courageous Christians throughout the ages. By the terms of its own Introduction, it is a “representation or exhibition of the blood, suffering, and death of those who for the testimony of Jesus Christ, and for their conscience sake, shed their blood.”[34]

In the May 8 committee minutes, the clerk recorded that the Committee collected firearms from some, and fined those not among the “enrolled” or the “associated.” Here it listed more than 65 men’s names, exempting several who were disabled, or over 50 years old. The clerk also listed how many pounds the committee fined those who were “religiously and conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms”: 

Key: Do = ditto    3..0 = 3 pounds Sterling and the words “common money” mean currency valid in the province of Maryland.   
 
   Jacob Broombaugh Senr.   50 yrs. a Gun to Captn Jno Cellars
   Jacob Broombaugh Junr      3..0 Common Money to pay to    Do    [3 pounds Sterling]     
   John Broombaugh               3..0 [pounds paid to]                 Do  
   …
   Jno Miller Tunkard             Do 5..0             Do   [35]

The committee did not indicate that Jacob and his sons were ‘Dunkers.’ The minutes clearly indicate, however, that Jacob Sr. had claimed he was over 50, and therefore exempted from enrolling in the militia. As this was May of 1776, Jacob’s claim tends to confirm that the man born in Osthelden in February of 1726 was standing before the committee in Hagerstown.

As to his sons, the committee assigned three pounds Sterling (£3) fines as religiously scrupulous non-enrollers. From this notation, one can infer that they both were eligible for military service, but claimed exemption on religious principles. There was no reason for Jacob Sr. to self-identify as a Brethren, as he opted out on the age limit. The clerk did not identify any other men except John Miller by religion. No others were expressly identified in the minutes as Quaker or Mennonite. The clerk most likely identified John Miller’s religion because more than one John Miller attended the interrogation. He differentiated amongst them using unique characteristics. “John Miller, Constable,” mentioned in later minutes, is likely the other man present in the interrogation.[36]

Even when excused on the grounds of religious principles, the committee asked these men to deliver up their guns to a militia officer; Jacob Sr.’s went to Captain Cellars. The Committee could not in these treacherous times risk having a person they thought to be a religious pacifist turn out later to be a secret militant loyalist or Tory working against the cause.

                         The second Mennonite and Brethren petition:

                   “being truly sensible of the Justness thereof”

Little more than a month later, on June 29, 1776, the Committee of Observation recorded that the “Menonists and German Baptists” placed before the Committee a second petition — again, no copy survives in any of the relevant archives.  This time the minutes record simply: [a petition] praying Interposition with the Convention [of Maryland, meeting in Annapolis] that they [the petitioners] may be indulged with giving Produce instead of Cash for their [non-enroller] fines.”[37]

The sectarians asked if the convention would intervene with the local Committee on behalf of the dissenters. The dissenters wanted to pay their fines in produce such as wheat, rye, and barley, instead of currency because cash was scarce. The local Committee accepted the petition respectfully. They then sent a letter on July 3, 1776, to the Convention in Annapolis, stating that “the inclosed petition was laid before the Committee [and we have] therefore taken the Liberty (being truly sensible of the Justness thereof) to recommend the [petition] to your Consideration & that you will . . . grant such relief as your Hon[ora]ble house [the Maryland Convention] may think proper[.]. . . Sam[ue]l Hughes Chairman.” [38]

The sectarians had the temerity to ask this new governing body for a special, more complicated way to pay the non-combatant fine. In seeking an answer, the committee even ‘telegraphed’ by their parenthetical remark, “being truly sensible of the Justness thereof,” how they hoped those in Annapolis might favorably decide the issue. 

While these events were taking place, the Declaration of Independence was completed in Philadelphia and sent to the printer. The break with England had finally occurred and would be announced on July 8 with public readings. The Second Continental Congress asked General Washington to have the Declaration read publicly on the parade grounds in a stentorian voice to the troops under his command outside of New York City. Americans in towns and villages throughout the colonies repeated this act. While printer John Dunlap had the distinction of printing the Declaration of Independence’s first version in English, on July 5 or 6 German publishers in Philadelphia, Steiner & Cist, printed the Declaration in the German-language newspaper Pennsylvanische Staatsbote on July 8.[39] In Maryland, the Council of Safety told “the several Committees of Observation in each County and District of this Province” to proclaim the Declaration in whatever way seemed “most proper for the Information of the people.”[40] As they made history, they had to also amass more troops to fight. 

While the convention considered the second Brethren and Mennonite petition that fateful summer, the committee at Elizabeth town busily formed  “two Companys of Germans, and one company of Ryflemen to be raised for the continental Service by order of the convention.”[41]

Some German immigrants thus took the initiative to create their own companies of men to fight for their new country. While this act threw a kinder light on the German immigrant group as a whole, it may have placed an even brighter spotlight on those other Germans, the sectarians, who would not serve. Typically, it was the church Germans—the Lutherans and Reformed—who comprised the bulk of these recruits, but Moravians from their Graceham settlement in Monocacy, Maryland, also likely enlisted, in spite of the official prohibition against fighting.[42] Would the requests for indulgences by the Brethren and Mennonites continue to be respected?

 On August 17, the committee for Elizabeth town reported receiving a response from the convention: “On reading a Petition of the Society of Menonists and German Baptists

Resolved, that the several Committees of Observation may in their Discretion . . . may remit the whole, or any part of the fine by them assessed; and it is recommended to the Committee to pay particular attention and to make a Difference, between such persons as may refuse from religious Principles or other Motives.”[43]

The committee in Annapolis thus did not directly say whether the German Baptists could pay in produce rather than currency. Instead, it left this decision, as well as other details, to the discretion of the local committee in Elizabeth town. The convention did, however, urge them to discriminate between those persons who refuse “from religious Principles,” which seem at this point in time to have near universal respect in this colony, and those who refused on “other Motives.” If among the other motives the committee discerned a loyalty to the King over the colonies or a comment were to be made which the committee judged “inimical to the interest of the united States,” the practice was to bear down hard on that person with the goal of changing their minds. 

On October 10 the committee met again with these particulars in mind:

Jacob Huffer [identified by scholars as a Mennonite] Complained his fine        was too high the Committee took the same into consideration & made abatement of £2..10..0

Capt Cellar [captain of the company to which son Jacob Jr. was initially assigned] Fakler T Lersner and Clapsadles Lievtenant [sic- Jacob Sr. and son John were before May 7 assigned to this company] Complained [presumably of the fine being too high as above] Apply to Committee for authority to Enable them to Collect the fine of such [persons] in their Respective Companies as have Neglected to attend musters on which the Committee allows such fines to be Collected according to Resolve of Convention the Committee adjourns.[44]

This last comment indicated that the captains Cellar and Clapsaddle, of the companies to which the Brumbaughs had personally been assigned, requested approval from the Committee to collect from dissenters’ overdue fines for not attending weekly and monthly musters. It should also be said that the pacifists never wanted to “volunteer” these war fines; they felt comfortable only paying the tribute penny when forced to by the government.  This theological point made for a tricky landscape for these dissenters.

In September of 1776 the geographical area covered by the upper District of Frederick County was carved out of Frederick County and formally re-named Washington County— the first of 31 counties to be named for General Washington—over time. Going forward, the Committee proudly used that name in connection with the militia and indicated they would “support the union of the Colonies with our Lives and fortunes,” echoing the words of their more elite delegates in Philadelphia and Annapolis.  

Throughout the fall of 1776, the convention worked on a state constitution for Maryland, as did similar conventions in other states, at the suggestion of the Second Continental Congress. There was both a positive message for the Brethren in it and a negative one. On October 31, 1776, a Declaration of Rights was introduced into the Maryland legislative assembly in which the convention took the time to pass a resolution giving Brethren and Mennonites the same leeway to “affirm” legal documents as they had previously given Quakers.  It provided, however, a negative message in Article IV when it asserted that “The doctrine of non-resistance, against arbitrary power and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.”[45] Pennsylvania’s much more radical and liberal, new Constitution, though by contrast more generous to more people on the whole, nevertheless stated, “Nor can any man who is conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms, be justly compelled thereto, if he will pay such equivalent.”[46] In Pennsylvania a man not wishing to serve had to pay a substitute to serve in the militia in his place or pay a substitute fine in which case the company commander would find the substitute, and charge the cost to the person in whose place the substitute was marching. 

In December 1776 the committee in Elizabeth town resolved, “that the Dunkards and Menonists be advertised, to pay their respective fines, to the Committee, on Tuesday next, otherwise, they may depend, that rigorous measures will be immediately taken to Compel Payment.”[47]

The tone of these documents indicated that fines previously assessed had not yet been paid, and the committee now desired to collect the money in order for supply and equip the new troops. Given the companies to which they were assigned, this warning pertained to Jacob Brumbaugh’s sons, among others. Although the Maryland Convention had extended local discretion, it wanted to insure the money was collected and therefore the committee threatened “rigorous measures.” One wonders why the committee had an air of desperation surrounding its requests.

                           The Desperate December of 1776

There have been entire books written on how desperate the situation was that December of 1776.[48] Washington himself despaired, thinking he would not survive the year. It was that very month, those very days around Christmas that year when General Washington, with a sense of the greater desperation for the whole cause, crossed the ice-clogged Delaware River with a few companies of nearly barefoot men and organized a surprise attack on the British and Hessians at Trenton. He succeeded in not only surviving the year, but also winning a sorely needed victory to buoy morale and carry the troops through a hard winter. Perhaps that stress flowed downstream to Hagerstown. 

On the next Tuesday, December 24, when the Brethren and Mennonites had to pay their overdue fines, the committee passed a more aggressive resolve containing a series of five additional demands made, again in firm but genteel terms, towards the Mennonites and Brethren:

On motion of Col’l [Andrew] Rench & seconded by S Hughes [the Committee member and iron forge owner who wrote the tactful cover letter sending the second petition to the Maryland Convention] Resolved Unanimously that such of the young Dunkards and Menonists as have not enroll’d nor associated, shall immediately be requested to march with the Militia, in order to give their Assistance in intrenching and helping the sick and all such as will turn out voluntarily agreeably to the above Request, shall have their fines remitted [refunded].[49]

The committee offered Brethren the opportunity to provide an alternative service, “intrenching and helping the sick” while marching with the militia. These options lay at the origin of what today would be considered “alternative service” options for conscientious objectors. In the months just previous to this the committee had specifically addressed concerns brought up about Captain Clapsaddle’s Company and Captain Cellar’s company, the very companies to which we find the Brumbaughs had been assigned. It seemed clear that these new orders in December were likely directed specifically at, among others, the Brumbaughs. This was the stick—“march with the Militia in order to give their Assistance in intrenching and helping the sick”— and the carrot was that they “shall have their fines remitted [refunded]” for doing so.[50] This proposition tempted these frugal sectarians. It was very tempting indeed.

Whether the Brumbaughs did what the committee tantalizingly placed in front of them is a question. The lack of records on these militia companies prevents one from definitively knowing. Although it was possible, they most likely did not partake in this opportunity.[51]These men would have felt that marching with the army in whatever capacity would have tainted them too seriously with the brush of war. 

The saga of the committee and the pacifists continued. It formed teams “for the protection and relief of such families as shall be left without Assistance” These companies sent out a member once every two weeks to see if anyone in the company’s district or neighborhood needed assistance once the men had gone to war. If those families did not have enough supplies to provide aid, then the committee ordered that “they [these families in need] are required to apply to the Brethren and Menonists residing nearest to give their assistance.”[52] It was thereby acknowledged openly that many of these German sectarian men would not be marching off to war. The Brethren and their allies were thus given a social welfare mission in the community since they chose not to participate fully in a military one. If the Brumbaughs did not march off with the militia in their civilian entrenching and medical capacity, then they were likely home taking care of their neighbors, providing food to the hungry and drink to the thirsty, according to their religious principles. 

The Committee directed the Brethren to support the war effort in a way consistent with their consciences. If the Brethren wanted their fines refunded, their sons or fathers had to march with the militia performing non-combatant chores such as “intrenching” and caring for the sick and wounded. The committee exhibited a tough resolve towards the nonresistants. Its members determined further “to compel the Dunkers and Menonists to give their Assistance, if they should refuse upon Application.”[53]

That same day in December 1776, the committee ordered certain persons “impowered to collect from the Dunkards and Menonists, or from any other Person, all the Waggon Cloaths, that can be got, and make Return thereof [i.e., turn them in] to this Committee, who will appraise them and pay for the same.”[54]

“Waggon cloaths” referenced the coarse canvas fabric laid over the metal hoops forming the roof of a Conestoga wagon. Once the men obtained these from the sectarians, they were directed to turn them in to the committee for appraisal and payment. They would then be sent to the troops. The committee continued to act firmly, but showed respect by paying for them. At the same relative time “In western Maryland some of these men [not necessarily but possibly Elizabeth town men] mustered in heavy snowstorms during the month of December 1776 and began their own march to the Delaware River in bitter weather.”[55] One of the committee’s final statements read: “Resolved that the militia of Washington County be requested to march to the Assistance of General Washington to continue ‘till the 15th day of March next, unless sooner discharged.[56]

Jacob Brumbaugh’s immediate neighbors Adam Ott, the Schnebleys, and the Stulls remained involved in the leadership of the area’s military and civilian forces during this. So many of the names found on Committee-member lists  such as Schnebley, Ott, and Stull, are also found serving as witnesses to Brumbaugh family deeds in ensuing years. 

In this last note found in the committee’s minutes for December 24, 1776, Christmas Eve, it indicated sectarian payments. It read:

Dr. Col’l Stull Treasurer for Washington County:
         1776 Dec’r 24 For so much [an accounting of the amounts] received from the Dunkards and Menonist [sic] for their Fines v[i]z:
 
               …received from John Miller £54 paid to him by the following:
            Jacob Broombaugh Jnr. £3..0..0        [Jacob’s eldest son, three pounds]
             John Broombaugh         £3..0..0        [Jacob’s 2nd son, three pounds]
               …[others]….[57]

One finds here an even more positive indication that, indeed, Jacob’s two elder sons identified as “Dunkards or Menonists.” Their fines were even collected by “John Miller Dunkard” who elsewhere was specifically identified in the minutes as a Dunker.[58] This circumstantial evidence provides a solid foundation for making the argument that if his eldest teenage sons believed in the Brethren faith, Jacob himself and his wife Mary Elizabeth most likely did also. There were 67 men fined that day, of which Lehman, the Mennonite scholar, identifies 35 as Mennonites;[59] thus, the rest were likely Brethren[60]and maybe a few Quakers or a Moravian. 

Jacob’s sons had been fined that year £6..0..0—and Jacob had given up a gun, blankets, perhaps also wagon cloths. The newly independent nation’s fortunes were shaky that December and the Brumbaughs, while ostensibly accorded exemptions, were yet under the most relentless pressure they had ever faced. All in all the committee considered the position of the non-enrollers and non-associators on twenty different occasions during their eighty meetings. The committees of Maryland and Pennsylvania concentrated intently on handling the pacifist, non-enrolling, dissenters. 

                                    Service in the War

Questions remained whether Jacob and his sons served in the militia during the Revolution, whether they gave in to the pressures on them, whether they compromised their principles against war. If so, is there evidence, preferably primary source evidence, contemporaneous to the events?

This work has previously established that despite intense pressures from the local Committee of Observation, Jacob Brumbaugh and his sons remained steadfast in 1776 among the pacifist Brethren, a small minority not participating in the militia of their community of middling farmers and artisans. Instead they contributed needed blankets, a gun, wagon cloths; his sons also paid cash fines as non-enrollers. 

Brethren and Mennonites had been effectively exempted from military service in the early months of the Revolution. Locally, however, a man seeking exemption had to stand up in front of the committee and say that he actively practiced one of the pacifist sect religions. As previously stated, Jacob Sr. did not have to do this, as he was over the maximum age of service. 


Yet consider this seemingly contradictory evidence. The names of Jacob Brumbaugh and his son John are found listed on the muster roll of Captain Daniel Clapsaddle’/s company.[61] Jacob Jr. is also on the muster roll of Captain John Cellar’s company.[62] What does this contradictory evidence mean? 

Muster rolls often listed all persons in a district who were eligible for military service. The three Brumbaughs are listed as privates among the soldiers in the Washington County militia. Does this mean they actually served in that militia company when it marched off to war? Not necessarily, and most probably not. 

According to the muster roll, Jacob was assigned to Capain Daniel Clapsaddle’s Company, 1st Battalion in the Washington County Militia. [63]  Jacob Sr. is listed as a private in the 8th class in the Company of 80 men. Not surprisingly, it was a family affair, as at least 29 of the men shared a surname with at least one other man. The Downey family, for example, had seven men and another (Lighter) four scheduled to serve alongside each other in the same company. 

Some sources indicate that Clapsaddle’s company was part of the Continental Congress’s “flying camp” strategy for the first years of the war.[64] This military grouping’s duties included being available on short notice to move with lightning quickness to one or the other of several flashpoints in the middle colonies. They may also have guarded vulnerable supplies or ports. A Thomas Long of Washington provided food and drink for the companies of Captains Clapsaddle and Reynolds in January 1777. Therefore, this company may not have marched off to war, if they ever did, until some time later in 1777.[65]  

It is difficult to determine if these companies fought, and whether the Brumbaughs were fulfilling their agreement to march and aid soldiers. It is even hard to tell whether, despite their sect’s pacifist principles from day one, they had marched out of Maryland as ready, willing, and able soldiers in the fullest sense. 

Having a Brethren’s name found on a revolutionary muster roll, however, is far from conclusive proof of that person’s actual military service.[66] The muster rolls were similar to taking the census of all eligible men in the district. The Committee of Observation mandated that the officers take that census in their district. In doing so, they assigned these men, without first asking if they would serve, to specific militia units, and they were likely called to service. The officers told them to report at a certain place and on a certain day. Once there, they likely were asked to sign an enrollment list and take an oath of allegiance. Most German Baptists and Mennonites, however, could not remain true to their consciences if they bore arms or swore such an oath. There is simply no way to know what these men did because few records exist. Given their known religiously inspired pacifist principles, Jacob and his two sons very likely either stayed home from the war or, less likely, took the other option: marching and “entrenching and caring for the sick.” [67]  

There were, however, times when young men of Brethren families did serve in the military during the revolution. Many young men of Brethren families attended Brethren congregational services as non-members, and did not officially join the congregation (receive that cold, total immersion dunking in the creek) until they were older or when they got married. They, thus, could have served in the military when young, and later repented and still joined the church. The Brethren gave leeway for repentance in the process of joining the Brethren congregation.

If a man is known to have been a German Baptist or Mennonite, and then is found on a muster roll, the researcher must look for other evidence, such as the word “served” contemporaneously scrawled after his name. Thus, some experienced Brethren historians today believe that many men from the revolutionary era whose names were listed on muster rolls never actually served in that war.[68] Given their religious sect’s determined stand, one can infer that the Brumbaughs refused to bear arms or take any oath of allegiance to their new government.[69]

The actions of their religious sect nevertheless played an integral role in this country’s history. Those who fought in the Revolution did so for certain principles. Those among the dissenting sectarians who did not fight with guns struggled nevertheless in their own fashion to establish important principles— principles like freedom of conscience and freedom of religion— that formed an important part of the culture and tone of this country. How Americans treat the still non-conforming Mennonite and Amish citizens in Central Pennsylvania today has always been an important part of American culture. In struggling with the committee to maintain their liberty of conscience, these people worked out in practice some of the founding principles of alternative service. These principles were later applied to those who became known as “conscientious objectors.” The term first applied in the 1890s to those objecting to vaccinations. In World War I, the meaning of the term expanded to include those exempted from the military for their religious convictions, as long as they performed non-combatant service or went to jail. These principles and options have been applied during most of the American wars that followed the revolution. 

One must also consider how the Committee of Observation treated dissenters in Elizabeth town following a mysterious shifting of membership. What happened to the committee in its final stages after December 1776 until it shut down on March 3, 1777? Historian Lehman found that by January 15, 1777, it was composed of a largely different body of men; only six of the seventeen members it previously had still served; the others mysteriously dropped out of sight, including Ludwig Young with Mennonite associations—December’s meetings could have been hard on his personal relationships at home. Some may have gone off to war, some may have resigned, some may have died, and some may have rotated off for a rest. Lehman, the Mennonite scholar, asks and answers this critical question regarding the changed composition of the group: 

Could another reason have been that the Committee received adverse community reaction against harassment of certain peoples? [By which he means the German sectarians.] It is possible to reach such a conclusion from the evidence. At any rate, from this point until March 1777 when the Committee dissolved, no more general fines or strong measures against Mennonites and Dunkards appear.[70]

Historian Lehman’s assertion that the committee likely received “adverse community reaction against harassment” of the pacifists, is not totally convincing. It is likely that the Washington County community acted harshly toward the pacifists at times, but not unduly so under the circumstances— who could fault them at a time when others were dying for what many people felt was a necessary fight against a tyrannical foe? And, if they lost this fight against the British, the penalties on all those who fought would be severe. Despite this, it is possible that that those who were in favor of that fight could have been much less respectful of the Brethren and Mennonites in this area than they indeed were, and we shall see how they could have been harsher in several instances across the border in Pennsylvania, where admittedly there were more battles and many more troops encamped for long periods. Leaders locally in Washington County had warded off vigilantism in the early going, after that they respected the “conscientiously scrupulous” exemption and worked honestly and openly at finding alternative means of service for the Brethren and Mennonites. There appears for the most part to have been amicable cooperation between the committee and the sectarians. The clerk of the committee, perhaps expressing his own weariness from the months of intensity, rather than his personal piety, said it well when the committee’s last minute was written on March 3, 1777: “And the committee adjourned forever Amen.”[71]

Had the Brethren and Mennonites been forced to march with the militia, Jacob and his two eldest sons would have left on their farm at home in 1777 to fend for themselves wife Mary (then about age 37) and daughter Mary, the eldest child at home, probably 18, as well as sons and adolescents Daniel (5) and newborn infant David born on March 17, 1776. Son Henry was born in that March of 1777. Son George was not born until 1783.

Among loyalists there was movement, too. It was only on June 6, 1777, however, that our commentator, customs and currency commission staffer, William Eddis, in Annapolis, his leader Governor Eden having exited the capital fifteen months earlier, could finally board a ship for return to his native England whence he had come eight years earlier looking for his own path up the economic ladder, which had been denied to him at home.[72]


[1] Minutes of the Proceedings of the Committee of Observation of Elizabeth Town [Washington County] for 1775, 1776, 1777, the originals of which are at the Maryland Historical Society (Papers 1775-1776, MS 577, Maryland Historical Society). They were published in the Maryland Historical Magazine (Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society) in the following volumes: 12: 142-163, 261-275, 324-347; 13: 28-53, 227-248 (hereafter Minutes, MHM, vol.: page); Extracts of the minutes were formerly published in John V.L. Findlay, Extracts from the minutes of the proceedings of the Committee of Observation for the Elizabethtown (now Hagerstown) District during the years 1775, ’76, ’77  (1862). There is also a selective narrative summary of these minutes consisting of about twenty-five pages, but absent of any contextual background, in Bernard C. Steiner, Western Maryland in the Revolution (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1902), part of Series 20, Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science, J.M. Vincent, J.H. Hollander, W.W. Willoughby, editors; and also a narrative loosely based on those minutes in Edsel Burdge Jr. and Samuel L. Horst, Building on the Gospel Foundationthe Mennonites of Franklin County, Pennsylvania and Washington County, Maryland, 1730-1970 (Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 2004), 109-120.   

[2] Stievermann, The Politics of Martyrological Self-Fashioning, 288-289, 294, 296. 

[3] The Blackwell Encyclopedia of the American Revolution, Jack P. Greene and J. R. Pole, eds., (Cambridge, Mass.: Basil Blackwell Inc., 1991), 1046.

[4] Richard K. McMaster, Conscience in Crisis, 257-260, cited in Stievermann, “Defining the Limits of Liberty, Pennsylvania’s German Peace Churches During the Revolution,” in Stievermann, Peculiar Mixture,__page________.  

[5] Stievermann, Peculiar Mixture, 220. 

[6] Breen, Insurgents, 185. 

[7] William Hand Browne, ed., Archives of Maryland / Journal of the Maryland Convention July 26–August 14, 1775 / Journal and correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety August 29, 1776–July 6, 1776 (Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1892), 66–67; also in Proceedings of the Conventions of the Province of Maryland, the City of Annapolis, 1774, 1775, & 1776 (Baltimore: James Lucas & E. K. Deaver,
Jonas Green, 1836), M.A., 78, 17. The original of this document is held by the Archives of Maryland, in the Hall of Records, Annapolis. (Emphasis added). Breen, Insurgents, 238.

[8] Breen, Insurgents, 238.

[9] Eddis, Letters, 26-27 July 1775, 21:113. 

[10] Howard Wiegner Kriebel, The Schwenkfelders in Pennsylvania, (Lancaster: Pennsylvania German Society, 1904, 150.

[11] Gregory T. Knouff, The Soldiers Revolution (University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2004), 214. 

[12] Ruth, ‘Twas Seeding Time, 21.

[13] Knauss, Christopher Saur The Third, 3-4. 

[14] Reprinted in William Henry Egle, ed., Names of Foreigners who took the Oath of Allegiance to the Province and State of Pennsylvania 1727-1775 (Harrisburg: Myers, 1892), 3.

[15] Francis S. Fox, Sweet Land of Liberty, The Ordeal of the American Revolution in Northampton County, Pennsylvania (University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000), 87.

[16] Lititz Record Express, 22, September 2011, “Moravian Document Provides Glimpse into Local Colonial Life.” http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/464763_Moravian-document-provides—glimpse-into-local-colonial-life.html?page=1#ixzz2J0UubDYf (viewed Jan. 2013); The History Blog, http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/12712(viewed June 2014).

[17] Peter C. Messer, “‘A Species of Treason & Not the Least Dangerous Kind’: The Treason Trials of Abraham Carlisle and John Roberts,” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 23, (1989), 312-313.

[18] Scharf, Hist. W. Md., 131. That amounts to 25 miles a day without rest for three weeks. 

[19] Gaius Marcus Brumbaugh, ed., Maryland Records: Colonial, Revolutionary, Court and Church from Original Sources vol. 1 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., reprint; 1975), 256.

[20] Lehman, Mennonites, 201; Burdge and Horst, Gospel Foundation, 96. 

[21] “Morgan Edwards on Maryland Congregations,” in Durnbaugh, Brethren Col. Hist., 187-188. The Conococheague German Baptist Congregation (founded 1743) claimed forty families and 130 persons baptized; the Antietam congregation (1750) claimed another forty families and ninety persons; Middle Creek (1747) about the same at 40/52; and Pipe Creek (1756) at 35/70. The population of Brethren adherents in the overall thirteen colonies at the time of the Revolution is said to have been either 800 or 1500 baptized souls. The former figure is from Peter Brock, Pacifism in the United States From the Colonial Era to the First World War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1968), 170; and the latter is from Donald Durnbaugh’s The Church of the Brethren Past and Present (Elgin, Ill.: The Brethren Press, 1971), 48. The author of the report on the Brethren congregations, Morgan Edwards (who was not himself a Brethren), adds “It is to be remarked that there is no [Brethren] meeting house in any of these places; they preferring to assemble in each other’s private dwellings in imitation of primitive Christians.” The Brethren and the Mennonites totaled 523 out of a total of 2,993, thus seventeen percent or one in every six of the overall population. This corresponds closely to the 19 percent that Wellenreuther found did not associate in Washington County. Many commentators say that approximately 20 percent to 33 percent of the general population, 600 to 1,000 people here in this area, were loyalist Tories, so the balance of 50 percent to 63 percent were the very militant, pro-rebellion patriot population. That comes down to one pacifist, two Loyalists, and three patriots out of every six persons. 

[22] Philip Hamburger, “Religious Freedom in Philadelphia,” Emory Law Journal, 54 

(2005), 1606-1622. 

[23] Norman B. Wilkinson, Land Policy and Speculation in Pennsylvania, 1779-1800, A Test of the New Democracy(New York: Arno Press, 1979), 1. This sum did not include the 24 million acres of land confiscated from the proprietary Penn family.

[24] Some say he was killed on the grounds of the church construction, others at the saw mill; Nelson, What God Does, 47; J. Thomas Scharf, History of Western Maryland, vol. 1, 1060; Williams, Hist. Fred. Co., vol. 1, 66. While some think Hager affiliated with the Reformed church, others note his closeness with many Moravians and his expressed desire to visit their Bethlehem headquarters, but his personal religion is a mystery according to his chief biographer, Nelson, in “What God Does is Well Done.”  

[25] Ibid, 22. 

[26] See, for example, Breen, Insurgents and Kevin Phillips, 1775, A Good Year for Revolution (New York: Penguin Group, 2012). 

[27] By way of comparison, in Pennsylvania the fine increased in April 1776 to £3..10..0 from £2..10..0. Both states added additional monetary fines on the pacifists as the months of war continued. Pennsylvania’s fines seem heavier than Maryland’s, but the evidence is more anecdotal than precise.

[28] Land Records of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, warrant 60, 10 February 1763; patented as Albania (described as “12 Mi. from Head Morrison Cove nr. South Mt.”) to “Jacob Broombaugh” per patent P 14-363, 17 November 1788; survey C44-114, 22 April 1766. On 11 March 1776, Jacob had bought in a transaction with a Philadelphia lawyer a 280-acre land tract named Albania in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, eighty miles away. Then six days later his fifth child, fourth son, David, was born on 17 March.

[29] There is a large, bronze plaque attached to a stone in front of Zion Evangelical (German) Reformed Church (today’s Zion Reformed United Church of Christ) at 201 North Potomac street in Hagerstown. The one Hager was helping build at his death, and for which he donated the land, recording that the blankets for the revolutionary army had been collected from the local populace right there at the church. It reads, “Captain Wilhelm Heyser, builder of the church, led a company of Germans in the American Revolution. Guns, powder, tomahawks, grain and blankets collected here were sent by wagon to General Washington. Eleven patriots of the American Revolution are buried in the church yard.”  

[30] Lehman, Mennonites, 211.  Of the 116 men cited in the text of the minutes above to be summoned, Lehman (a Mennonite scholar) maintains that 45 are believed to be Mennonites, which would leave 71 Brethren, less any men that are Quakers or men that Lehman might not have been so bold as to guess were Mennonites (it was an inexact science), and yet actually were Mennonites. M.H.M., 29 April 1776, vol. 12:160.

[31] This report, with the wryly humorous excuse for not mustering, is likely the inspiration for the title of Ruth’s ’Twas Seeding Time.

[32] Rollin C. Steinmetz, Loyalists, Pacifists and Prisoners (Lancaster: Bicentennial Commission, 1976), 29, 43. This book, though well targeted in subject matter, contains no source citations. 

[33] Peter C. Lloyd, “In Committee of Inspection and Observation, Feb. 5,1776,” Pennsylvania Gazette, 4 February 1776, The Pennsylvania Gazette, 1991, 3. Sheila Jones article ____.

[34] Martyrs’ Mirror, Introduction ____________.  

[35] In the text as printed in Maryland History Magazine in 1917, next to JnMiller it 

says “Dunkard,” but in the original manuscript of the Minutes it clearly uses the Germanized word for the same thing, “Tunkard.” MinutesM.H.M., 8 May 1776, vol. 12: 263.

[36] MinutesM.H.M. 6 April 1776, vol. 12: 268. 

[37] Ibid, 3 July 1776, vol. 12: 328.

[38] Hughes and his brother Daniel owned iron foundries where some of this country’s first cannon were manufactured, including those at a site called Mt. Aetna in northeastern Washington County. They were “major suppliers of arms to the Revolutionary army and [the Mt. Aetna foundry] the largest military iron-processing facility in Maryland.” See Michael Robbins, “Maryland Iron Industry During the Revolutionary War Era” (Baltimore: Maryland Bicentennial Commission, 1973), and Thomas J. Scharf, History of Western Maryland (Baltimore: Regional Publishing Co., 1968), 983, 1011; Minutes, M.H.M. 3 July 1776, vol. 12: 328. 

[39] Karl J.R. Arndt, “First German Broadside and Newspaper Printing of the Declaration of Independence,” Pennsylvania Folklife, 35 (1986), 98-107. Peter Miller of Ephrata, the official German translator for the Continental Congress, translated this document.

[40] Pauline Maier, American Scripture, Making the Declaration (New York: Vintage Books edition, 1997), 159.

[41] This became the 8th Maryland regiment authorized by the Continental Congress in May in Philadelphia. 

[42] 27 June 1774, congregation count in church register for Graceham Moravian Church 

(opened 1758), Graceham, Maryland. In 1774, it had 137 people; register located at Moravian Archives, Northern Province, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 25. A. L. Oerter, “Graceham, Frederick County, Md., An Historical Sketch,” Transactions of the Moravian Historical Society, vol. 9, (1913), 119-305.

[43] M.H.M., 17 August 1776, vol. 12:335.  

[44] M.H.M., 10 October 1776, vol. 12:337.  

[45] This constitution was framed by a convention which met at Annapolis 14 August 1776, and completed its labors 11 November 1776. It was not submitted to the people. It was led by long entrenched legislators who owned vast amounts of property and other wealth. Gary Nash, Unknown Revolution, ___. 

[46] The Great Law of 1682 (Document #26.2.7), website of Pennsylvania State Archives http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_2_141033_20421_998171_43/http%3B/pubcontent.state.pa.us/publishedcontent/publish/cop_environment/phmc/communities/extranet/history/ourdocumentaryheritage/documents_from_1681___1776/great_law/great_law_3.htm.

[47] M.H.M., 18 December 1776, vol. 12: 341. 

[48] _________________________.

[49] M.H.M., 22 December 1776, vol. 12: 341.

[50] M.H.M., 29 November 1776, vol. 12: 341

[51] Ruth, ‘Twas Seeding Time, 98. Ruth interprets the fact that the Committee collected £206 from the Brethren and Mennonite non-enrollers to mean that they did not accept the offer to come along with the militia and do the entrenching which would garner them refunds of their non-mustering militia fines. The payments were also an indication that the local committee had not let the pacifists pay “in kind” with farm produce as they had requested. 

[52] M.H.M., 29 December 1776, vol. 12: 342. 

[53] M.H.M., ___________________. 

[54] CITE_M.H.M., 30 Dec. 1776, v. 12: 345. __CHECK________________.

[55] James H. F. Brewer, History of the 175th Infantry (Fifth Maryland) (Baltimore: 1955) and Robert K. Wright, Jr., The Continental Army (Washington: 1989), 109 cited in David Hackettt Fischer, Washington’s Crossing (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004) (hereafter Fischer, Washington’s Crossing), 151. 

[56] M.H.M., 30 December 1776, vol. 12: 346.

[57] Identified specifically as a Brethren earlier in these minutes, he may be the father of son John Brumbaugh’s wife. Mary Elizabeth Miller. As John Brumbaugh was later known as a Brethren elder, it seems likely that he married a young woman in the faith, although it has also been said that the woman named Miller that he married came from Bedford County, Pennsylvania. M.H.M., 24 December 1776, vol. 12: 345.

[58] M.H.M., 8 May 1776, vol. 12: 263. 45; as opposed to the “John Miller Constable” who was a local law enforcement official, not a Brethren].

[59] These thirty-five men are identified, per pages 214-215 and footnote 6 on page 201 of Lehman’s article, as Mennonites by Amos C. Baer who was reported to have done the “most extensive research on early Mennonite families” and lived at the time of the article (1976) in Hagerstown, Maryland: Henry Avey, Isaac Bachley, Samuel Bachley, Jr., John Bomberger, John Bowman, Joseph Bowman, Henry Funk, Henry Funk, Jr., John Funk, Joseph Funk, Martin Funk, Samuel Funk, Abraham Gansinger, Abraham Good, Christian Good, John Good, Jacob Hess, Christian Hoover, Jacob Hoover, John Hoover, John Hoover, Jr. Olerick Hoover, Abraham Houser, Jacob Huffer, Abraham Lidey, Christian Newcomer, Jacob Rohrer, John Rohrer, Martin Rohrer, Christian Shank, Michael Shank, Samuel Vulgamet, John Washabaugh, and Chrisley Weldy. By default, but not by positive identification, these 32 men from the same list of Lehman’s article, not having been identified as Mennonites on pages 214-215, as above are at least “likely” Brethren or others who were religiously scrupulous of bearing arms: Samuel Baker, Michael Boovey, Jacob Broombaugh, Jr., John Broombaugh, Joseph Byerly, Henry Calgesser, Christian Coogle, Christian Coogle (Jr.), Jacob Coughinour, Michael Gerber, Jacob Herr, Henry Keedy, Jacob Lesher, Jacob Line, Bar Miller, David Miller, David Miller (son of Philip), John Muskberger, Benjamin Noll, Adam Pifer, Andrew Postalar, Jacob Sook, Jacob Sook, Jr., Matthias Stauffer, Jacob Stover, Jacob Studebaker, Christian Thomas, Jacob Thomas, Jacob Thomas, Jr., Michael Thomas, and Peter Thomas. Thomas J. C. Williams, A History of Washington County, Maryland (Baltimore: Regional Publishing Company, 1968 reprint) 45; Red Books, Maryland State Archives, MdHr4590: 72; Revolutionary War Military Collection, Manuscript Division); F. Eugene Clemens and F. Edward Wright, eds., The Maryland Militia in the Revolutionary War (Silver Spring, Md.: Family Line Publications, 1987),  236. M.H.S., Manuscript Division, 1146: 236.

[61] Muster rolls. 

[62] ____________________________.

[63] Daniel Clebsadle, age 42, appears on the 1776 census of Maryland, G. M. Brumbaugh, Colonial Records, 1:239. 

[64] M.H.M., 25 January 1777, vol. 12:51. 

[65] Worthington C. Ford et al., eds., Journal of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789 (Washington, D.C.: 1904-37), 5:762. 

[66] See Emmert F. Bittinger, “The Maryland Brethren During the Revolutionary War: Interpretations and Clarifications,” Mennonite Family History, 12 (1997), 33-34. He writes that “It is quite ironic that many Mennonites and Brethren have been accepted by family researchers as war ‘patriots,’ when examination of the lists of those fined would reveal the fact that many of those same persons had repeatedly refused to affirm loyalty, to enroll, to attend muster, and had never fought.” Bittinger’s article corrected an earlier article in the same journal by John Hale Stutsman, “A Revolutionary War County of Maryland Militia Which Included Members of the Brethren Community,” Mennonite Family History, 12 (1996), 41, where the author had taken the appearance of names of known Brethren on Revolutionary muster rolls as evidence that those men had actually fought in the war. Bittinger also maintains that if several young men did associate or muster, it was often because they were still young and had not yet been “baptized into the faith,” further asserting that some even became Brethren ministers later.  

[67] There were no Revolutionary War pension applications made by these Brumbaughs or on their behalf; nor is there any claim on John Brumbaugh’s twentieth-century tombstone that he fought in the Revolutionary War. 

[68] Discussions of such matters online can be had by joining the Brethren History and Genealogy Listserv (http://www.cob-net.org/listbhg.htm). Particular surnames and congregations are often mentioned in this informal forum. See also Burdge and Horst, Gospel Foundation, 117. 

[69] Their names do not appear in any of the lists made by the Justices of the Peace of Washington County of those men who took the Loyalty or test oath to the new government. Maryland Archives, Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland.

[70] Lehman, Mennonites, 216. 

[71] M.H.M., 3 March 1777, vol. 13: 239.

[72] Eddis, Letters, xxx (Introduction by Dr. Land). 

Learning Gained from the Inventory of Jacob’s Estate in 1799

These are some things I deduced from a careful review of the estate inventory of tangible personal property prepared for my 4GGrandfather Jacob Brumbaugh’s 1799 estate in Hagerstown, Washington County, Maryland, where he lived on a 900-acre wheat and grain farm, while owning 12 more farms in Morrisons’ Cove, Bedford Co, Pa,; he was survived by his widow Mary Elizabeth and 7 children (1 daughter Mary married to Dunker minister Samuel Ullery, and 6 sons: Jacob, John, David, Daniel, Henry and George):


Some key facts pertinent to the Brumbaugh story are confirmed and others revealed by a close examination of the inventory. He owned no firearms at his death which supports the conclusion he was a Dunker and in further confirmation the listing notes “16 benches and a Table Upstairs.” This fact is consistent with holding home church and with stories that many Dunkers homes had second stories where they drew together with their neighbors as a congregation. 

Brumbaugh also owned two stills and all the accoutrements of a significant distillery along with 450 gallons of whiskey in inventory, confirming his secondary occupation as a distiller of what were then referred to as ardent spirits. 

Brumbaugh’s farm was well stocked with a myriad of tools and equipment, supplies for a rainy day, and products to maintain his buildings and grounds, plus crops in the ground mostly grains, and several species of livestock . His farm had all the indications of a thriving ongoing operation despite Brumbaugh 73 years . 

In addition, Brumbaugh owned “12 old books,” an indication of some literacy (though letters he wrote were probably scribed by the schoolmaster). Lastly the inventory shows how self-sufficient the Brumbaugh family was on their home farm. This enables one to gauge their thrift, a major contributor to the accumulation of wealth . According to a recent study of a general story in a neighborhood like Brumbaugh’s in the approximate time frame, alcohol and textiles (including clothing) made up 57% by dollar volume of sales that other people spent money on. As Brumbaugh ‘s family did not need. to buy these products, their cash outflow was reduced and they could keep more of the gross receipts of the sales of their farm products. 

A review of inventories filed in the estates of five of his children also reveals an absence of any firearms. The remaining two children, for which there are no inventories extant , were John and Mary. John was a Dunker preacher and Mary was married to one, so it is unlikely as well that either of them owned firearms. 

The List of Articles Sold at the vendue of Jacob Brumbaugh, deceased, was also illuminating: 

The vendue held on Wednesday and Thursday, June 5 and 6, 1799, drew more than 77 people to bid on the 330 lots into which the auctioneers had arranged his goods and chattels. Brumbaugh family members bought in 138 items or 41% of the total number of lots. The widow Mary only bought in 15 lots for herself with four of her seven children buying in the rest. Son David had a fondness for horses and furniture, sons Jacob, Daniel, and Henry for farm equipment and supplies. Neither daughter Mary (or husband Samuel Ulery) nor son John, who all lived 80 miles away, nor youngest son George, a minor, purchased anything. 

Over 77 persons purchased at least one lot, and the only women doing so were widow Mary and one other. Of those persons who purchased one lot or more, 33 men or 43% of the purchasers had German surnames (e.g., Engle, Butterbaugh, Volgamott, and Ridenour, etc.) and the rest either English, Scots, or Scots Irish names (e.g., Watt, Halbert , McFerrin, McLaughlin, Johnson, Jones, and Ferguson, etc.). 

Probably many persons attended who bid on nothing, coming principally for the liquid or other refreshments as 49 men or 64% of those who purchased something purchased three items or less. Another hint that a good time was had by all is that 440 gallons of whiskey had been inventoried, yet only 356 gallons were listed as sold at the vendue. All of 84 gallons of good whiskey seemingly disappeared into thin air! About a gallon per person. 

Of the 16 benches listed in the original inventory as found “Upstairs,” only 9 were disposed of at the sale and they were bought in for £1 and change, purchased by son Jacob, Jr. whose wife was a confirmed Dunker per her obituary (chances are they were passed on to whoever was currently holding house church). 

The eight-day clock, often viewed as an heirloom  in many estates, had been appraised at $25 and was sold outside the family to a Hershberger for £12. A gray mare and a gray gelding were the highest priced items, selling for £45 each. 

A sign of the confusing monetary system at the time is that while the estate inventory and appraisement was listed in dollars and cents, the list of articles sold at the vendue was listed, and the auction presumably conducted in pounds, shillings, and pence. 

List, Washington County Register of Wills (Accounts of Sale), 1787-1802, Maryland Hall of Records #16,278, pp. 259-269. 

Inventory of Personal Property of Jacob Brumbaugh, deceased, 1799.

Jacob Brumbaugh, deceased: Inventory of Personal Property

Liber B, Folio 307, 4 pages (images 253-56), Maryland Archives

[Author’s transcription of manuscript appraisal filed in Washington County court, but now kept in the Hall of Records in Annapolis.]

Inventory of the Goods and Chattels of Jacob Brumbaugh late of Washington County Deceased appraised in Dollars and Cents by the Subscribers being lawfully authorized and Sworn this Twenty-first day of May 1799.

To wearing apparel                                                                            $        8.00

To 1 Bed and Bedstid the old womans                                                      18.00

To 1 Bed Do.                                                                                             12.00

To 2 Beds and Bedstids upstairs                                                                24.00

To Womans Saddle 5.  1 Table 4                                                                 9.00

To 8 Windsor Chairs 6.  1 old Clock 32                                                    38.00

To 3 old chairs .45  1 ten plate Stove & pipe & port Mantau 25               26.45

To 1 old Stove Do. 5.  1 old chest  12 old Books 3.60                                9.50

To 1 flower Chest and Dough Trough                                                         6.50

To 1 Table & 16 Benches up Stairs                                                             4.00

To 1 Cross Cut Saw 5.   1 spinning wheel .50                                             5.50

To 1 Copper Kittle                                                                                     20.00

To 1 old Chest & 13 old flower Barrels                                                      4.00

To 1 pickling tub 1.  2 Brass Kittles 12                                                     13.00  

To 1 Butter Tub .50  3 old Back & pan 3 old spinning wheels                  4.60

To 1 Check reel old .30. dry apples @ .50 p. Bushel                                  .30

To Salt & Pepper Leather 3.  9-½ B. Buckweat 4.75                                7.75

To 1 Woollen Cloth @ 50 Cents per yard                                                 9.50

To 295 lb. of Bacon @ 12 Cents per                                                       35.52

To 1 old Chest & 1 old Bell .50  1 pt of hackels 4                                    4.60

To 88 Bushels of Oats                                                                              25.40

To hemp Tod [sic?] & flax Yarn 6. m. of Wool 3.50                                9.60

                                                                                             [Subtotal  $ 295.22 ]

 [page 2]

To 16 old Bea? Scabs 1.   2 Big Spinning wheels 1.50                             2.50

To 2 Bed Stids 2.50  2 old Chairs and 4 old Baskets .50                           3.00

To 1 washing tub & 2 riddles 2. 1 Cleaner 1 rope 1.60                             3.60

To 1 Shovel Plough, tub & Branding Irons                                                 .90

To 1 Gusting? how & 2 Choppers 2.50  5 Iron Forks 1.                            3.50

To 2 Shovels & 1 Spade 1. Mouth rings & Wedges .60                            1.60

To Plough Irons & Crow Bar 2. 4 halter Chains & 

            Neck Bands 3.60                                                                         5.60

To Cow Chains 8. old Scythes & Cuting Knife .50                                8.50

To Augers 1 saw square & Chizels                                                         3.20

To allo pinchers tongs & Tar box                                                            1.10

To 2 old Stan?s Ditto 3 Ra??                                                                   5.00

To 1 old Plough 1. 1 new Plough Irons & hinges 6.                               7.00

To 2 pr. Steelyards & harrow Teeth                                                        6.00

To 1 new Plough & Irons 7.  2 pr. Door hinges1.40                               8.40

To 6 shoes & 2 spaids 2.50  old Iron 2 hamer & 

            Iron chains 2                                                                                6.50

To Iron rings & chains 1.60 Iron hoops & scrapers 2.50                        4.50

To 2 old scythes & Chadle? and Oxen yoak                                           1.40

To old Sickels rakes and forks 8.50 1 old hand screw 4.                        4.85

To 1 Aps? & 1 hemp Brake 1.20 1 Gridstone 4.                                     5.20

To 1 Cow harrow 1 pr. Sheep Shears 2.25  3 old Aprs. 1.50                  3.75

To 15 Barrels for Cyder & Whiskey                                                      11.00

To 1 old Double Do. 1.30  4 Cyder Hhds* 5                                           6.30

To 24 Still Do. 24.  2 Stills & utensils 160.                                         184.00

To 450 Shingles 2.25  1 apple Mill  & Slop Trough 7.                           9.25

To 1 Shearing How & Drawing knife                                                      .50

To 1 funel 1 hogg. & 2 old tubs $1.                                                        1.00

To 1 Copper Gallon, half Gallon and funel                                            2.00

To 8 Gallons apple Brandy & hegg.                                                       4.50

To 115 Gallons Whiskey & Hhds.*                                                      58.00

To 66 Gallons Whiskey & 2 Barrels @ 50 Cents                                 33.00

To 1 Barrel Do. 32 Gallons @ 50 Cents                                               16.00

To 1 Churn & 2 small tubs 1.60                                                              1.60

To 1 Iron Griddle .60 old milk crocks 1.00                                             1.60

To 11 pewter Dishes and plates and Spoons                                           6.00

To Coffee pott. Sugar Box. Strainer and Cups 1.                                   1.00

To 1 Kitchen Drapes                                                                               6.00

To 1 Tea Kettle 1.30 Flesh fork & Ladle .50                                         1.80

To knives & forks 1 frying pan                                                              2.50

To 1 tin Bucket and watering Can                                                          1.20

To 1 Conk Shell Pott rack, and Chair                                                     1.80

To fire Irons 1 Pott & Lid 1.80  2 Duch Ovens

            & 2 Potts 2.80                                                                             4.60

To Candle Sticks 2 Lamps and xxx knife                                                .50

To Bottles, Jugs, and Tea ware 1.                                                           1.00

To 1 Sett Gold weights and looking Glass                                             100.

To 1 pr. Saddle Bags. 1 paper Mill                                                       2.00

To 1 Iron Kittle 3.00 1 Ditto Broken .50                                               3.50

To 1 half Bushel 2. Buckets 1.  2 Tubs 1 Bucket 1.50                          3.50

To 7 Barrels Whiskey Containing 227 Gallons @ 50 Cents             113.50

To 2 Shovel Ploughs 3. 1 Cart 10. 1 Beyrs Sythe .50                         13.50

To 1 pr. Wood Lathers 1.30 1 Open Waggon 25.                               27.30

To 1 old Waggon 20. 11 old harrow teeth 1.25                                       21.25

                                                                                          [ Subtotal      626.80 ]

[page 3]

To 1 road Waggon                                                                                $ 50.00

To 1 pr. hay Lathers 1.30  Sheep racks 1.                                                2.30

To 1 Waggon Cloth 1.  1 Cating Box 1. Chop rye box 2.                        4.00

To 1 pan 10.   1 Wheel Barrow 1.  2 pr. Gears 7.                                   18.00

To 1 old Saddle & Brick Band 1.50  1 mans Saddle 6.                           7.50

To 1 old Scythe 1 Sett Plough Irons & hangars 4.                                   4.12

To 1 pr. Gears 3.50  1 pr. Do. 3.                                                              5.50

To 32 Bushels Wheat @ 1.30 Cents                                                       41.60

To 70 Bushels rye @ 50 Cents                                                               44.40

To 5 head hoggs. 30.  1 Corn Barrel .50                                                30.50

To 18 head Sheep 15.  Iron Lumber 1.50                                               16.50

To 1 Waggon Whip .50  1 yoke Oxen 50.                                              60.50

To 1 Yoke Do. 50. 1 Big Bull 20. 1 Brindle Stear 18.                            98.00

To 12 spotted Steer 17. 1 Brindle Steer 14. 1 Ditto 14.                          45.00

To 1 red Steer 14.  1 spotted Do. 13.  1 red heifer 13.                            40.00

To 1 black Do. 12.   2 heiffer Calfs 12.  1 heiffer 11.                             35.00

To 4 yearling Bull Calfs $12.  1 Cow & Calf 15.                                   27.00

To 1 Cow & Bull 15.  1 Small red Cow 10.  1 red Ditto 1                      48.00

To 1 Big red Cow 18.  1 red Spotted Cow 18.                                        36.00

To 1 Cow white faced 14.  1 Brindle Cow 16.                                        30.00

To 3 Spring Calfs 4.50  2 small Calfs in the Stable 3.                              7.50

To 2 old Studs 5.  2 hoos & old Iron .40                                                   5.40

To 1 old Brown Mare & colt                                                                   52.00

To 1 Gray Mare 5 years old                                                                   120.00

To 1 Bay Mare 5 years old                                                                      90.00

To 1 young Mare 50.  1 yearling Colt 30.                                               80.00

To 1 yearling Do. 22.  1 old Bay Horse 45.                                             67.00

To 1 Gray Horse 5 years old                                                                 100.00

To 1 young Mare 4 years old                                                                 100.00

To 1 old Hemp Brake .25  3 Box hendo? 3.00                                          3.25

To 21 old Bags 10.50.  2 Acres Wheat by the House 16.                        24.50

15 acres Wheat on the Big field                                                             195.00

To 3-½ acres rye by the corn field                                                           14.00

To 4-¼ acres rye in the Big field                                                              21.00

To 2 acres rye Ditto 5.  14 lbs Tallow 1.75                                                7.75

To 62 Locust Posts 7.44.   1 lock & old Iron .60                                       8.40

To 100 feet Oak & Walnut planks                                                             1.00

To 250 Bundles rye Straw 3.75  1000 Shingles 5.                                      8.75

To 4 small trunks with old papers                                                               2.00

To 3 old Blankot & 1 Chaf Bag                                                                  2.00

To 1 Wedge  1 saw & heckel .50  1 Masher & Spade 1.                             1.50

To 2 old hogsheads 1.50  1 hog chain 2.50                                                  4.00

To 2 Brass Casks 2.  1 Barrel with Chop rye .60                                         2.60

To 1 hammer                                                                                                    .50

                                                                                            [ Subtotal     $ 1563.07]

 [Total  $ 2485.09 + 16.04]                                                                                                                $2501.13

John Schnebely, Ludwick Young, appraisers

Daniel Brumbaugh, David Brumbaugh, Henry Brumbaugh, 

Washington County : On the 3 day of August 1799 came Jacob Brumbaugh, [Jr.] one of the admrs. of Jacob Brumbaugh Deceased and made Oath* on the holy Evangels of Almighty God that the foregoing is a true and just Inventory of all and singular of the Good and chattels of the said Deceased, that hath come to his hands and Possession at the time of the making thereof and that what hath been or shall hereafter come to his hands or possession he will return an additional Inventory that he knows of no concealment being part of parcel of the Deceased Estate by any person whatsoever, and that if he shall hereafter discover any Concealment or suspect any to his he will acquaint the Judges of the Orphans’ Court with such concealment or cause of suspicion that it may be inquired into according to Law. 

                                           Certified by Thomas Belt, Register 

[Editor’s note: *If Jacob Brumbaugh Jr. “made oath” by swearing to the truth of this Inventory so publicly, he surely was making a statement that he was no Brethren.]

Jacob’s Status as farmer and father by 1783 when the Revolution Ended

Although Jacob owned a successful farm, surviving records do not indicate that Jacob owned slaves; grain did not require year around labor unlike tobacco. A tax assessment from 1783 included a column for slaves, and he was listed as having none.[1] “The economically rational antebellum wheat farmer almost always employed wage labor,” concluded historical geographer Carville V. Earle, because the crop’s seasonal labor requirements made hired farmhands “decidedly cheaper and more efficient than slaves.”[2]

Jacob had as many as three to six sons at home working his fields from the late 1770s to the late 1790s, along with a wife and one daughter who did necessary harvesting, spun wool and prepared meals and drinks.  They fulfilled traditional female roles within this household. Jacob gave or sold his son John a piece of the big farm to cultivate as his own in 1780, after turning twenty.  He also gave or sold his eldest son Jacob, Jr. a 140-acre tract named Good Luck in Antietam Hundred at about the same time.

The 1783 Washington County Tax Assessment indicated that Jacob Sr. owned 431-½ acres on Clalands Contrivance and Timber Bottom. Although incorrectly listed to Jacob, Jr., documents revealed that Jacob Sr. owned them at death. His son John was listed in the same tax assessment for Salisbury and Conococheague Hundreds.  “Jacob, Jr.” — his father’s real listing— owned 332 acres of woods, nine acres of meadow, ninety acres of arable land, nine horses, and twenty black cattle, according to this document. His son John had at the time 34 acres of woods, three acres of meadow, 35 acres of arable land, four horses and ten black cattle. Neither of the Brumbaugh property owners paid a tax on slaves, although some neighbors did so.[3]

A farmer such as Jacob could look out on his surroundings before the Revolution, and sense the bustling activity, the mounting population, and men and women of about four ethnic strains and diverse religious beliefs. The population of Maryland had swelled rapidly during the eighteenth century. While at the beginning of the century in 1700 there were about 34,000 people, of whom twelve percent were slaves, by 1782 there were over 250,000 of which thirty-three percent were slaves. In 1770, Eddis sent this account of his view of Maryland back to England: “the inhabitants are enterprising and industrious, commerce and agriculture are encouraged; and every circumstance clearly evinces that this colony is making a rapid Progress to wealth, Power and population.”[4]

By the 1770s, however, Hagerstown, or Hagerstaun as the German language printer Adam Gruber called it in his later almanacs, no longer sat on the Maryland frontier where people could find inexpensive, unoccupied land. For that, one would have to look further west. In 1770, Maryland’s populace included about five percent planters and merchant elite at the top, twenty-five percent middling farmers and townspeople such as Jacob. 


[1] Assessment of 1783, Index, MSA S1437, MSA, A. Online at http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/stagser/s1400/s1437/html/ssi1437e.html (accessed 2012).

[2] Max L. Grivno, Gleanings of Freedom, Free and Slave Labor along the Mason-Dixon Line, 1790-1860 (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2011), 92. He cited Carville V. Earle, “A Staple Interpretation of Slavery and Free Labor,” Geographical Review 68 (January 1978), 51-65.

[3] ____________________.

[4] Eddis, Letters, 8 June 1770, 32. 

Jacobs Parents, Birth, and Early Years

Jacob Brumbaugh’s original name was Johann Jakob Brombach.[1] His parents were Jakob Brombach and his wife, Anna Catharina. They lived in the tiny village of Osthelden where they recorded Johann Jakob’s birth as having occurred between two and three in the afternoon of February 8, 1726, in the area around Siegen, Westphalia, Germany. They were part of the Protestant parish of Ferndorf, Kirchenkreis Siegen. They had Jakob baptized there, recording it in the baptism registry book on February 17, 1726. His parents asked Johannes Plim[m] to serve as his sponsor.[2] There in nearby Ferndorf was an “Evangelisch” church, which indicated that parishioners followed either the Lutheran or Reformed tradition.[3]

Jakob’s parents had married on the first of February, 1720, Jakob’s father, born April 1, 1690, died October 12, 1738, and was buried two days later at the age of 48 years. Jakob was the eldest son and had five siblings: one older sister, Anna Maria, born 1723, and three younger sisters, Anna Christina, born 1728, Anna Catharina, born 1734, and Maria Catharina, born 1737. His probable younger brother, Johannes Heinrich, was born 1731.[4]

Back then his small village offered the Brombachs marginal agriculture, and few raw materials, including stands of beech and oak trees on steep slopes. The valleys of the surrounding area were not broad. Forests covered the majority of the territory mid-way down the Rhine River valley, toward the port of Rotterdam in Holland.  The Brombachs lived on the edge of this forest with a little farming, some pasturing, and a trade. This served to circumscribe their lives; they barely eked out a living for their growing family. 

Most German immigrants to America in that era were palatines. Oddly, Jacob was from a land area then known as the Principality of Nassau-Siegen, now the German state of Westphalia, but located just a couple miles outside what was commonly thought of in the eighteenth century as the Palatinate. In 1743, these lands became part of the territory united under Prince William of Orange-Nassau and he was the ruler, dying in 1751, from whose territory Jacob emigrated. Siegerland, as it was sometimes called, had iron mines and forges. Forges require high-quality fuel to smelt ore, and the forests could provide that. The forests had many charcoal burners’ huts producing charcoal, which they transported westward, overland to the forges of Siegen. Jacob could have stayed and become part of that limited economy, but he chose not to do so. 

In the era of Jakob’s birth, the areas surrounding Jakob’s home village still operated as feudal states. Farmers, such as his father, were subjects of the legal authority of minor nobles. The nobles had enormous power over the personal and economic circumstances of their subjects. There was not enough land for men such as Jacob to earn sufficient money to support their families. Men in his position therefore leased extra land for eight-year periods from the Count or the parish. Taxes and fees consumed any possible profits the farmer could have—fees on cattle, poultry, other livestock and firewood, charges were imposed for the Count’s messengers, watchmen, and threshers as well. One-tenth of the farmer’s grains, hay, sheep, and calves had to be delivered to the Count’s farms. Alone these fees and taxes were not great, but in the aggregate they caused a great deal of hardship on men like Jakob. In addition, a farmer had to perform certain services for the Count, including hunting for him, transporting wood for him, and working for set periods on the Count’s farm. The cumulative effect of these taxes, fees, and service obligations created altogether a crushing economic weight.[5] From 1700, for the better part of the next century, the Germans in Osthelden and surrounding communities began to migrate to whatever region they thought offered better opportunities for their families. 

However, to do so, a man like Jakob could either travel east, where by far the greatest number of emigrants went, to Russian or Ukrainian or other Eurasian towns whose princes sought good farmers and settlers. One could also travel west a few miles to board a boat on the Rhine traveling downriver through various, additional fee-charging points  to the city of Rotterdam, in Holland. There it was possible to board a ship bound for the British colonies in North America for payment of fee about £5 or board without paying anything on the condition that upon arrival, the ship captain could sell by indenture of servitude the passenger’s time for five to seven years working for a settler there, either another German or a person of English or other origins who became one’s master.[6]

To get to Rotterdam, Jakob needed to travel 200 miles. To emigrate from most places in the Rhineland or near it, most people had to apply first for manumission. The overlord had the power to grant it, and it often came with taxes imposed. Because of these taxes some emigrants did not apply for a visa. One study says that about twenty-five percent of émigrés left without the exit visa; they left secretly.[7] Those who left without express permission forfeited any inheritance from family one may have left behind. As Jakob is alleged to have arrived with £50, he may have carried his inheritance with him (as we previously learned, his father died in 1738), and he seems never to have revealed his birth family or village of origin. At least we have found no record of his revealing these matters. 

Once in America, Jakob dropped his Germanic name Johann, in favor of his second or ‘call name,’ the spelling of which he Anglicized to Jacob, while his last name became Anglicized, his full name thus becoming Jacob Brumbaugh. Because eighteenth-century individuals treated spelling casually, Jacob’s name appeared in many various spellings, mostly as Brumbach, Brumback, Brombach, Broombach, Brumbaugh, Brombaugh, or Broombaugh. Although not a common German name, other individuals arrived and resided nearby with the same surname, even with the same Christian names as those of his children. These were Jacob’s probable brother, Johannes Henrich Brumbaugh, and his four sons and his daughters.[8]  


[1] Anne Schmidt-Lange-Brumbaugh Report dated June 7, 2014 (author’s copy), based on LDS Film 0596749, Protestant Church Records of Ferndorf, Kirchenkrais Siegen, Principality of Nassau-Siegen (in 1726), now Westphalia, Germany; Baptisms, 1716-1781, p. 86, no. 8 for the year, top of page. Gaius Marcus Brumbaugh’s compiled study Genealogy of the Brumbach Families including those using the following variations of the original name, Brumbaugh, Brumbach, Brumback, Brombaugh, Brownback, and many other connected families (New York: Hitchcock, 1913) became the bible for research and study of families of this surname and for its time was one of the best of the genre, not only for its comprehensiveness, but also for its liberal reference to and reproduction of land records and its dozens of primary source documents illustrated throughout the book. It did not, however, solve the mystery of where Jacob Brumbaugh was born or when. A typescript genealogy “Descendants of Johann Jacob Brumbach” showing the line of descent from Johann Jacob Brumbaugh was published in 1999 in limited form by Richard Lee Hartle. It is available in the John Clinton Frye Western Maryland Room of the Washington County Free Library in Hagerstown, Maryland. Mr. Hartle added a good deal of information on many branches of the tree and had a hand in inspiring the present work before, sadly, passing on in 2012, his 91st year. G.M. Brumbaugh (1861-1952) was a descendant of Jacob’s brother, Johannes Henrich Brumbaugh (1731-ca 1760), and a physician who for twenty-five years, 1917 until 1942, served as editor of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. G.M. Brumbaugh’s Genealogy contained many and varied clues to the villages of origin of the Brumbaughs, but not to Osthelden from which German genealogist in 2014 found Brumbaugh to have emigrated. The city of Müsen had been suggested by other sources, and near there the towns of Osthelden and Ferndorf were found, particularly the Protestant church in Ferndorf, where Brumbaugh was baptized. 

[2] LDS Film 0596749, Protestant Church Records of Ferndorf, Kirchenkreis Siegen, Westphalia, Germany, Baptisms 1716-1781, 86:8. All secondary sources searched to date used a birth year of 1728, which is inconsistent with Jacob’s own later assertion in 1776 that he was age fifty.  No other source had ever been found prior to the 2014 report with any further explanation or reference to primary sources for that year 1728; accordingly, 1726 has been established for his birthdate. See, e.g., G.M. Brumbaugh, Genealogy, 144. 

[3] It consists of a late Romanesque hall church and a western tower and three-halled nave with a tower built before it. (A current photo of the church can be found online).

[4] LDS Film 0596756, PCRF, KS, G, Deaths, 157; LDS Film 0596749, Ibid, Baptisms 1716-1781,  68, 107, 138, 167, and 199. 

[5] _______________.

[6] Wokeck __________.

[7] Duane M. Broline and Robert A. Selig, “‘Emigration and the ‘Safety-Valve’ Theory in the Eighteenth Century, Some Mathematical Evidence from the Prince-Bishopric of Würzburg,” in Yearbook of German American Studies 31 (1996): 145. 

[8] Johannes Henrich Brumbach arrived in Philadelphia on the ship Neptune in 1754. He had four surviving sons, Jacob (called “Jockel”), George (called “Yarrick”), Conrad, and Johannes (called Johannes the Strump Weber in German or “the stocking weaver” in English).  Documentation of the father is hard to find, but the sons are well documented. G.M. Brumbaugh, Genealogy, 349. Martin Grove Brumbaugh, governor of Pennsylvania 1914-1919, and Gaius Marcus Brumbaugh, M.D., the genealogist who wrote that 1913 book of family genealogy, were both descendants of Johannes Heinrich.

Bibliography

Sources, Annotated

Primary Sources (printed, digitized, and otherwise):

Archives of Maryland, Edward C. Paperfuse State Archives Building, Annapolis, Maryland. 

            Ledger of Commissioners for Emitting Bills of Credit, vol. 1767-1779 (manuscript accounting); MSA No. S752.

            Archives online for Land Records, especially images of pre-1800 manuscript surveys and records of land warrants issued. 

Archives of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: 

            Land Records including images online of pre-1800 manuscript surveys as well as chronological registers of land warrants issued. 

Bedford County, Pennsylvania, 1786-1791 Tax Duplicates, images of manuscript found on Brethren Archives, Ministers & Congregations site http://mincon.brethrenarchives.com. Thanks to A. Wayne Webb and Gale E. S. Honeyman for posting these documents. 

Daughters of the American Revolution (National Society), Library, Manuscript Collection 277 (Genealogical Archives of Gaius Marcus Brumbaugh, M.D.—National Genealogical Society editor, 1917-1942), photographic copy of manuscript Minutes of the Committee of Observation of Hagerstown, Maryland, 1775-1777, Washington D.C.

Drinker, Elizabeth Sandwith, Diary of Elizabeth Drinker, Elaine Forman Crane, ed., (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1991) 3 volumes. Drinker mentioned thousands of names in her fifty years of diary writing, and when she mentioned “Jacob Brombaugh” for a visit Jacob, Jr. paid to her husband, Quaker merchant Henry Drinker, she added that he had breakfasted with HD on that August 23, 1803, to pay him some money (vol. 3: 1677). 

Drinker, Henry (1734-1809), Henry Drinker Papers 1756-1869; Henry Drinker Business Collection #176, Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

Duplicate [Tax Roll] for the Residentors in Woodberry township for the Year 1786, photocopy of manuscript (Bedford Springs, Pa.: Pioneer Library of Bedford County Historical Society, unknown date).

Eddis, William, Letters from America, Aubrey C. Land, ed. (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of the Harvard University Press, 1969). 

Edwards, Morgan, “Materials Towards a History of the American Baptists” (Edwards, 1770), http://archive.org/stream/materials00edwa#page/64/mode/2up (viewed Aug. 2014). 

Faris, William, The Diary of William Faris, The Daily Life of an Annapolis Silversmith, Mark B. Letzer and Jean B. Russo, eds. (Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 2003). A wonderful accomplishment, creating a history of personalities on many levels of Maryland society in old Annapolis from this modest diary of an observant craftsman, father, friend, active citizen. It contains many beautiful surprises. 

Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789, Worthington Chauncey Ford, ed., vol. VIII 1777 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1907). 

Juniata College, Beeghly Library, Archives: Manuscript Collection #1, Archives of Martin G. Brumbaugh; Manuscript Collection #2, Archives of Gaius Marcus Brumbaugh, M.D.; Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. Collection #2 contains much primary source material submitted by Brumbaugh descendants in connection with publication by G.M.B. of the 1913 family genealogy. 

Lancaster County Committee of Observation, Broadside dated July 11, 1775, imprint of John Bailey, King’s-Street, Lancaster. Lititz Moravian Museum and Church, Lititz, PA. 

Lowry, Jean, A Journal of the Captivity of Jean Lowry and her Children, Giving an Account of her being taken by the Indians, the 1st of April 1756, from William McCord’s, in Rocky-Spring Settlement in Pennsylvania, With an Account of the hardships she suffered, & c. (Philadelphia: William Bradford, 1760; reprint of the original text Mercersburg, Pa.: Conococheague Institute & Museum, 2008).

Mack, Alexander, Jr., The Day Book/Account Book of Alexander Mack, Jr. (1712-1803), Weaver, Brethren Elder, Apologist, and Chronicler in Early America, transcription and translation by Edward E. Quitner, annotated by Donald F. Durnbaugh (Kutztown, Pa.: The Pennsylvania German Society, 2004). A remarkable resource concerning Brethren in the eighteenth century both in the city and in rural areas, written by a sensitive and thoughtful minister with much good wisdom to impart. 

Minutes of the Proceedings of the Committee of Observation of Elizabeth Town [Hagers town, Washington County] for 1775, 1776, 1777 in the Maryland Historical Magazine (Baltimore, Md.: Maryland Historical Society, 1917-1918) volume 12 (1917), 142-163; 261-275; and 324-347; and volume 13 (1918), 28-53; and 227-248. Photographic copy of manuscript Minutes of the Committee of Observation of Elizabeth Town [Hagerstown, Washington County], Maryland, 1775-1777, in archives of Gaius Marcus Brumbaugh, M.D., Library of National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), Washington D.C.

Mittelberger, Gottlieb, Gottlieb Mittelberger’s Journey to Pennsylvania in the year 1750 and Return to Germany in the year 1754, Containing not only a Description of the Country According to its Present Condition . . . ., Carl Theo. Eben, trans. (Philadelphia: John Jos. McVey, 1898).

Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania:

            Ettwein Papers; Revolutionary War Documents

            Website of the Bethlehem Digital History Project,    http://bdhp.moravian.edu/about/about.html

Register of Wills of Washington County, Maryland:

            Wills, administrators’ accounts in Hagerstown office.

            Estate papers before 1800 in Archives of Maryland, Hall of Records, Annapolis.

Return for different species of Grains Purchased by Henry Schnebley in Washington county, by order of an Act of assembly, April 16, 1780; Maryland State Papers, Red books, vol. 23, location: 01/06/04/022 MdHR#4590: MSA: S989-34.

Revolutionary War Military Collection, Manuscript MS.576 (Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, Manuscript Division). The treason trial in Frederick town, Frederick County, Md., 1781. 

Western Maryland Historical Library, online at www.whilbr.org.: online collections:

            Tax Assessment for Washington County, Maryland, 1783

            Tax Assessment for Washington County, Maryland, 1803-04,

            Washington County, Maryland, Land Patents 1730-1830

            Washington County Maryland, Court Dockets 1779-1793,

            Sheriff Nathaniel Rochester’s Records, Washington County, 1804-06         

            Slavery in western Maryland.

This resource is invaluable for 18th c.-Washington County research and it is a great credit to the library that it publishes this online in a very accessible format. 

Brown, Helen W., ed., “Marriages and Deaths 1830-1837 Recorded in The Republican Banner;” typescript, compiled 1962 (Hagerstown, Maryland: Washington County Historical Society, 1962).

Weiser, Frederick J., trans. and ed., Maryland German Church Records, vols. I-XVIII.

Coldham, Peter William, ed., Settlers of Maryland, 1751-1765 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1998).

Strassburger, Ralph Beaver, and William J. Hincke, eds., Pennsylvania German Pioneers (Philadelphia: Pennsylvania German Society, 1934).

Pennsylvania’s Civil War Conscientious Objectors Database found online at the public portion of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania website: http//:gsp.org.

Proceedings of the Maryland Convention, 1775 to October 1777.

Revolutionary War Military Collection, Manuscript MS.1146 (Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, Manuscript Division).

Wahll, Andrew J., ed. and compiler, Braddock Road Chronicles 1755 (Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, Inc., 1999).

Secondary Sources:

Adams, Willi Paul, “The Colonial German-language Press and the American Revolution,” in The Press & the American Revolution, Bernard Bailyn and John B. Hench, eds. (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1981), 151-225. 

Africa, J. Simpson, History of Huntingdon and Blair Counties, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts, 1883). 

Anderson, Fred, A People’s Army, Massachusetts Soldiers and Society in the Seven Years War (1984).

_______, George Washington Remembers: Reflections on the French and Indian War (New York: Rowan and Littlefield, 2004).

_______, The War that Made America (New York: Penguin Group, 2005). 

An Index to Hager’s-town Newspapers, Jan. 1820-Dec. 1824 (Hagerstown, Md.: Washington County Free Library.

Ankrum, Freeman, Sidelights on Brethren History (Elgin, Ill.: Brethren Press, 1962).

Arnold, Joseph and Anirban Basu, Maryland: Old Line to New Prosperity (Sun Valley, Ca.: American Historical Press, 2003).

            David Skaggs, The Roots of Maryland Democracy; Ronald Hoffman, A Spirit of            Dissension; and U.S. Census Bureau, historical statistics of the U.S.

Bach, Jeff, Voices of the Turtledoves, The Sacred World of Ephrata  (University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2004). A wonderful resource for feeling the eccentricities of this community of Brethren outliers of outliers. 

Bailey, Chris H., compiler, The Stulls of “Millsborough,” A Genealogical History of John Stull, “The Miller,’ Pioneer of Western Maryland (compiler, 2000), 2 volumes.

Beiler, Rosalind J., Immigrant and Entrepreneur- The Atlantic World of Caspar Wistar, 1650-1750 (University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2008). Beautifully researched and constructed. 

Bell, Herbert C., History of Leitersburg District, Washington County, Maryland (Leitersburg, Md.: author, 1898). This is a marvelously well researched little volume which is very useful for people tracing their ancestors from this region, which is northeast of Hagerstown and immediately to the east of Jacob Brumbaugh’s property. 

Besse, Joseph, A COLLECTION of the SUFFERINGS Of the PEOPLE called QUAKERS for the Testimony of a Good Conscience, from the TIME of their being first distinguished by that NAME in the Year 1650, to the TIME of the Act, commonly called the Act of Toleration, granted Protestant Dissenters in the first Year of the Reign of King William the Third and Queen Mary, in the Year 1689 (London: Luke Hinde, 1753), 2 volumes; found online at https://archive.org/stream/collectionofsuff01bess#page/n3/mode/2up). The Quaker equivalent of the Martyrs’ Mirror.

Bittinger, Emmert F., Allegheny Passage, Churches and Families, West Marva District Church of the Brethren(Camden, Me.: Penobscot Press, 1990).

_____, “The Maryland Brethren During the Revolutionary War: Interpretations and Clarifications, Mennonite Family History, January 1997 (Lancaster: Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society, 1997).

Bodle, Wayne, The Valley Forge Winter, Civilians and Soldiers in War (University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002; paperback edition, 2004). 

Breen, T. H., Tobacco Culture: The Mentality of the Great Tidewater Planters on the Eve of the Revolution (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1985).

_____, American Insurgents, American Patriots—The Revolution of the People (New York: Hill & Wang, 2010).

Brethren Genealogy List, archives: http://archiver.rootsweb.com/th/index?list=brethren . Join the list for guidance by some very long experienced and generous Brethren genealogists and researchers all over the country. 

Bricker, Calvin, Jr. and Dr. Walter L. Powell, Conflict on the Conococheague, 1755-1758 Terror in the backcountry of Pennsylvania and Maryland (Mercersburg, Pa.: Conococheague Institute & Museum, 2009).

Browne, William Hand, ed., Journal and correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety July 7-December 31, 1776,Archives of Maryland, vol. XII (Baltimore: 1893).

Brugger, Robert J., Maryland: A Middle Temperament, 1634-1980 (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988; Merrick edition). 

BrumbaughGaius Marcus, Genealogy of the Brumbach Families Including Those Using the Following Variations of the Original Name, Brumbaugh, Brumbach, Brumback, Brombaugh and Brownback and Many Other Connected Families (New York: Frederick Hitchcock, 1913). The book is a magnificent work for its comprehensiveness and for all the primary source documents reproduced photographically and transcribed for inclusion. Dr. Brumbaugh (1862-1952), a direct descendant of Jacob’s brother, Johannes Henrich Brumbaugh, was a medical doctor and genealogist who became editor-in-chief in 1917 of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, serving in that position for twenty-five years while also publishing some books of his own. He was also a devoted lay leader of the Church of the Brethren and a long time board member of his alma mater, Juniata College, one of seven Brethren colleges. 

_____, ed., Maryland Records: Colonial, Revolutionary, Court and Church from Original Sources (Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co., reprint, 1975), 2 volumes.

Brumbaugh, Martin Grove, A History of the German Baptist Brethren in Europe and America (Mount Morris, Ill.: Brethren Publishing House, 1899). This Dr. Brumbaugh (1862-1930) was a direct descendant of Jacob’s brother, Johannes Henrich Brumbaugh. Dr. Brumbaugh was the first Brethren to earn a Ph.D. (1894- University of Pennsylvania), a leading educator nationally of his time, a leading historian of the Church of the Brethren at that time as well, the first professor of pedagogy at the University of Pennsylvania, president of Juniata College (two terms, the first beginning when he was 32), a Brethren lay preacher, the Superintendent of Schools of Philadelphia (1906-1915), and, though an avowed pacifist, the proud “war governor” (elected as a Republican) of Pennsylvania (1915-1919). 

_______, Acceptance Address, Upon Presentation of the Memorial Arch by the United States to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Valley Forge, June 19, 1917, (Harrisburg: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 1917) (Delaware State Archives). 

_______,  “The Church in the Homeland,” chapter One of Three Centuries of The Church of the Brethren or the Beginnings of the Brethren, Bicentennial Addresses at the Annual Conference Held at Des Moines, Iowa, June 3, -11, 1908 (Elgin, Ill.: Brethren Publishing House, 1908). 

Burdge, Edsel, Jr. and Samuel L. Horst, Building on the Gospel Foundation, The Mennonites of Franklin County, Pennsylvania and Washington County, Maryland (Scottdale Pa.: Herald Press, 2004).

Christopher Saur (variant spellings Sauer, Sower), website curated by John Byer, http://www.johnbryer.com/saur.htm. A very helpful site for a quick view of the impressive Saur legacy and some images of Saur objects. 

Clemens, S. Eugene, and F. Edward Wright, eds., The Maryland Militia in the Revolutionary War (Silver Spring, Md.: Family Line Publications, 1987)

Cooper, H. Austin, Two Centuries of Brothersvalley Church of the Brethren 1762-1962An account of the Old Colonial Church, the Stony Creek German Baptist Church and the area of Brudersthal [Somerset County, Pa., contiguous to Bedford County on the west] in which the Brethren settled in the summer of 1762, and organized by George Adam Martin, presiding Elder (Somerset, Pa.: Cooper, 1962). 

______, A Pleasant View, Pleasant View Church of the Brethren, Burkittsville, Maryland (Baltimore, Md.: Pleasant View Church of the Brethren, 1998). Rev. Cooper, who was minister of this church, elaborated on the Johann Jacob Brumbaugh Braddock Campaign story here late in his life, but provided no primary sources. 

Crackel, Theodore J., “Revolutionary War Pension Records and Patterns of American Mobility, 1780–1830”
in Prologue Magazine of the National Archives and Record Administration, vol. 16, no. 3 (Fall 1998), found online (1/2012).

Dalzell, Robert F., Jr., and Lee Baldwin Dalzell, George Washington’s Mount Vernon: At Home in Early America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998). 

Davey, H. D., and J. Quintner, eds., Minutes of the Annual Meetings of the Brethren (Dayton, Ohio: Christian Publishing Association, 1876).

Davis, Vernon A., Early Hagerstown as Seen by John Gruber (Hagerstown: Venture Enterprises, 1976).

Dreisdach, Daniel L. and Mark David Hall, eds., The Sacred Rights of Conscience, Selected Writings on Religious Liberty and Church-State Relations in the American Founding (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2009).

Drinker, Henry S., “History of the Drinker Family,” typescript (1961) (Historical Society of Pennsylvania). 

Durnbaugh, Donald F., ed., The Brethren in Colonial America (Elgin, Il.: The Brethren Press, 1967). 

____, “Was Christopher Sauer a Dunker?,” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 93 (1969), 383-391.

____, ed., The Brethren Encyclopedia (Philadelphia, Pa.: The Brethren Encyclopedia, Inc., 1983), vol. 1.

____, The Donald F. Durnbaugh Archive, The Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania.

Eby, Lela, The History of the Church of The Brethren in the Middle District of Pennsylvania (1924). 

Eshleman, H. Frank, Historic Background and annals of the Swiss and German Pioneer Settlers of Southeastern Pennsylvania, and of their Remote Ancestors, From the Middle of the Dark Ages, Down to the Time of the Revolutionary War (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1917, reprint, 1982). 

Fischer, David Hackett, Washington’s Crossing (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004)

Fogleman, Aaron Spencer, Hopeful Journeys: German Immigration, Settlement, and Political Culture in Colonial America, 1717-1775 (Philadelphia, Pa.: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996).

Fox, Francis S., Sweet Land of Liberty, The Ordeal of the American Revolution in Northampton County, Pennsylvania(University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000). An independent researcher’s quirky but excellent collection of essays on the American Revolution in this backcountry county with numerous sectarians. 

Fuller, Marsha Lynn, ed., Naturalizations of Washington County, Maryland Prior to 1880 (Hagerstown, Md.: Desert Sheik Press, 1997). 

Gerzina, Gretchen Holdbrook, Mr. and Mrs. Prince: How an Extraordinary Eighteenth-Century Family Moved Out of Slavery and Into Legend (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2008). Inspirational research and close analysis. 

Gillis, John, The Affirmation for Quakers, Menonist [sic] and Dunkers, MSS, Red Book, vol. 19, folio 83, Archives of Maryland, Annapolis.

Gilpin, Thomas, Jr., Exiles in Virginia: With Observations on the Conduct of the Society of Friends during the Revolutionary War, comprising the Official Papers of the Government Relating to that Period, 1777-1778(Philadelphia: Thomas Gilpin, 1848).

Gould, Clarence P., The Land System In Maryland, 1720-1765 (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1913).

Grivno, Max, Gleanings of Freedom- Free and Slave labor along the Mason-Dixon Line, 1790-1860 (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2011).

Gutheim, Frederick, The Potomac (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1949).

Hartle, Richard Lee, “Descendants of Johann Jacob Brumbaugh,” typescript (Hagerstown, Md.: Washington County Free Library, 1999). 

_______, “Descendants of Heinrich Angle (Engel),” typescript (Hagerstown, Md.: Washington County Free Library, 1999). 

Henry, J. Maurice, History of the Church of the Brethren in Maryland (Elgin, Ill.: Brethren Press; 1936).

Hess, Clarke, Mennonite Arts (Atglen, Pa.: Schiffer Publishing Co. Ltd., 2002). 

History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania (Chicago: Waterman, Watkins & Co., 1884).

Hoecker, Edward W., The Sower Printing House of Colonial Times (Norristown, Pa.: The Pennsylvania German Society, 1948), 1-125. 

Hofstadter, Richard, America at 1750: A Social Portrait  (New York: Vintage Books Edition; Feb. 1973; Random House, Inc., 1971).

Hooker, Edward W., Genealogical Data Relating to the German Settlers of Pennsylvania and Adjacent Territory from Advertisements in German Newspapers Published in Philadelphia and Germantown, 1743-1800 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1981). A real find for those who cannot read the German newspapers of that era. 

Houpt, James W., Jr., In His Own Words: The Diary of James McCullough, 1722-1781, One Man’s Chronicle of Colonial History (Mercersburg, Pa.: James W. Houpt, Jr., 2013). Images and editorial comment on a surviving manuscript diary by a Scotch-Irish farmer and linen weaver residing in the Pennsylvania portion of the Conococheague district between 1753 and 1758.

Hunter, Brooke, “The Prospect of Independent Americans: The Grain Trade and Economic Development During the 1780s” in Explorations in Early American Culture, vol. 5 (2001) (University Park, Pa.: Historical Association for the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, 2001). 

Jones, U. J., History of the Early Settlement of the Juniata Valley (Harrisburg, Pa.: The Telegraph Press, 1940). 

Kaylor, Earl C., Jr., Out of the Wilderness, 1780-1980, The Brethren and Two Centuries of Life in Central Pennsylvania(New York: Cornwall Books, 1981). 

_____, Martin Grove Brumbaugh, A Pennsylvanian’s Odyssey From Sainted Schoolman to Bedeviled World War I Governor, 1862-1930 (Cranbury, N.J.: A Juniata College Publication at Fairleigh Dickenson University, 1996).

Kessel, Elizabeth Augusta, “Germans on the Maryland Frontier: A Social History of Frederick County, Maryland, 1730-1800,” unpublished Ph.D. dissertation (Rice University, 1981). Based on case studies of many immigrants and government records, the author of this valuable resource refers to “the subtle balance between cultural persistence and accommodation these settlers achieved” by the end of the eighteenth century.

Knauss, James O., “Social conditions Among the Pennsylvania Germans in the Eighteenth Century, as Revealed in the German Newspapers Published in America” in Pennsylvania — The German Influence in its Settlement and Development (Lancaster: The Pennsylvania- German Society, 1922). 

_____, “Christopher Saur The Third” (Worcester, Mass.: American Antiquarian Society, 1931). This is an incisive article on the prominence of the Saur family dynasty of German printers in Germantown. 

Kraybill, Mary Jean, Gerald R. Brunk, and James O. Lehman, “A Guide to Select Revolutionary War Records pertaining to the Mennonites and other Pacifist Groups in Southeastern Pennsylvania and Maryland 1775-1800” (typescript) (Harrisonburg, Va.: Eastern Mennonite College, 1974).

Kurtz, Elder Henry, ed., The Brethren Encyclopedia, containing The United Counsels and Conclusions of the Brethren, at their Annual Meetings carefully collected, translated (from the original German in part) and arranged in alphabetical and chronological order, accompanied with Necessary and Explanatory Notes, &c. (Columbiana, Oh.: editor, 1867).

Lehman, Daniel R., Mennonites of the Washington County, Maryland and Franklin County, Pennsylvania Conference(Lancaster: The Publication Board of the Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonite Church and Related Areas, 1990).

Lehman, James O. “The Mennonites of Maryland During the Revolutionary War,” The Mennonite Quarterly Review, vol. 50 (July 1976), 200-229. 

Lemon, James T., The Best Poor Man’s Country, A Geographical Study of Early Southeastern Pennsylvania (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1972). A classic study of immense value. 

Long, Henry Lawrence, “The Big Long Family In America, 1736-1979, Descendants of John Long, 1728-1791, of Bakers Lookout, Washington County, Maryland” (Mount Morris, Ill.: Henry L. Long, 1961). 

Main, Jackson Turner, The Social Structure of Revolutionary America (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1965).

Mann, Bruce H., Republic of Debtors, Bankruptcy in the Age of American Independence (Cambridge, Mass.: The Harvard University Press, 2002).

Manning, Barbara, ed., Genealogical Abstracts from Newspapers of the German Reformed Church 1830-1839(Baltimore: Heritage Books, Inc., 1992).

_____, ed., Genealogical Abstracts from Newspapers of the German Reformed Church 1840-1845 (Baltimore: Heritage Books, Inc., 1995).

Maryland Historical Magazine (Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1900 to present). 

Meacham, Sarah Hand, Every Home a Distillery: Alcohol, Gender, and Technology in the Colonial Chesapeake(Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009). 

Mekeel, Arthur J., The Quakers During the American Revolution (York, England: Sessions Trust, 1996). 

Messer, Peter C., “‘A Species of Treason & Not the Least Dangerous Kind’: The Treason Trials of Abraham Carlisle and John Roberts,” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 123, no. 4 (Oct. 1999), 303-333. 

Miller, Mrs. Warren, and Mrs. S. L. Greenawalt, eds., Records of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Hagerstown, MD (1966, indexed), vol. 1 (The John Clinton Frye Room, Washington County Free Library, Hagerstown, Maryland).

Morrow, Dale W., ed., Washington County, Maryland, Cemetery Records (Westminster, Md.: Heritage Books, 2009), vol. 6.

Nelson, John H., “‘What God Does Is Well Done,’ The Jonathan Hager Files” (Hagerstown, Md.: City of Hagerstown, 1997).

Christian Newcomer, The Life and Journal of the Rev’d Christian Newcomer, Bishop of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, John HIldt, transc. and trans. (Hagerstown, Md.: F.G.W. Kapp, 1834). 

Ousterhout, Anne M., A State Divided, The Opposition in Pennsylvania to the American Revolution, 1775-1783 (New York: Greenwood Press, 1987). A fascinatingly detailed narrative of the politics in Pennsylvania, mostly Philadelphia, which concentrates much more on the Whigs, Tories and the Quakers, and contains relatively little, if any, on the specifics on the other pacifists.

Overfield, Richard A., “A Patriot Dilemma: The Treatment of Passive Loyalists and Neutrals in Revolutionary Maryland,” Maryland Historical Magazine, vol. 63 (summer 1973). 

Palmer, John G., “The Palmer Papers” (Papers of Surveyor and Genealogist, John G. Palmer (1867-1956)), Conococheague Institute & Museum, Rock Hill Farm, Mercersburg, Pa.

Pastorius, Francis Daniel, “Pastorius’ Essay on Taxes,” Henry J. Cadbury, ed., Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 58, no. 3 (1934), 255-259. 

Peden, Henry C., Jr., ed., Revolutionary Soldiers of Washington County, Maryland (Baltimore: Family Line Publications, 1998). 

Pinkett, Harold T., “Maryland As a Source of Food Supplies During the American Revolution,” Maryland Historical Magazine, vol. 46, No. 3 (Sept. 1951) p. 157 et seq.

Ridenour, C. William, compiler, Marsha L. Fuller, CGRS, ed.; Washington County Maryland Obituary Locator, 1790-1943 (Westminster, Md.: Willow Bend Books, 2001).

Roeber, A.G., Palatines, Liberty, and Property: German Lutherans in Colonial British America (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993). 

Russell, George Ely, Washington County, Maryland Genealogical Research Guide (Catoctin Press, 1993).

Ruth, John L., ‘Twas Seeding Time, A Mennonite View of the American Revolution (Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1976). This is a marvelous book for inhaling the Mennonite view of this seminal series of events. This book cites no sources in its text, but nevertheless has a good bibliography. And one can feel the texture of the emotions of the plain folk of that time. 

Sachse, Julian Friedrich, The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania, 1708-1800: A Critical and Legendary History of the Ephrata Cloister and the Dunkers, 2 vols. (Philadelphia: Sachse, 1899-1900; reprinted by AMS Press, New York, 1971).

Saladino, Gaspare John, “The Maryland and Virginia Wheat Trade From Its Beginnings to the American Revolution,” unpublished master’s thesis (University of Wisconsin, 1960).

Scott, Kenneth, and Janet R. Clarke, eds., Abstracts from the Pennsylvania Gazette 1768-1755 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co.; 1977). 

Scharf, J. Thomas, History of Western Maryland (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. reprint, 1995), 2 vols.

Schooley, Patricia, Architectural and Historic Treasures of Washington County, Maryland (Hagerstown: Washington County Historical Society, 2004). 

Steinmetz, Rollin C., Loyalists, Pacifists and Prisoners (Lancaster, Pa.: Lancaster County Historical Society, 1976). Lamentably, this book contains no references to original sources.

Stievermann, Jan, “A ‘plain, rejected little flock’: The Politics of Martyrological Self-Fashioning among Pennsylvania’s German Peace Churches, 1739-1765,” William & Mary Quarterly, 3rd series, vol. 66 (2009), 287-234.

____, “Defining the Limits of American Liberty: Pennsylvania Peace Churches During the Revolution,” in Jan Stievermann and Oliver Scheiding, eds., A Peculiar Mixture, German-Language Cultures and Identities in Eighteenth-Century North America (University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2013). 

Stoner, E. W., compiler, History of the Pipe Creek Church, Maryland (Hagerstown, Md.: compiler, 1906) (Durnbaugh Collection, Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, Pa.; Box A, Folio 25).

Stotz, Charles Morse, Outposts of the War for Empire—The French and Indian War in Pennsylvania: Their Armies, Their Forts, Their People, 1749-1764 (Pittsburgh: Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, 1985).

Tappert, Theodore C. and John W. Doberstein, eds., The Notebook of a Colonial Clergyman: Condensed from the Journals of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg (Philadelphia: Fortress Press: 1959; first paperback edition, 1975).

The Committee Appointed by the District Conference, History of the Church of the Brethren of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Lancaster: The New Era Printing Co., 1915).

Vining, Elizabeth Gray, The Virginia Exiles (New York: J. B. Lippincott Co., 1955). The novel written about the exile to Virginia of 20 men, mostly Quakers, from Philadelphia in 1777-1778. 

Wellenreuther, Hermann, ed., The Revolution of the People, Thoughts and Documents on the Revolutionary Process in North America 1774-1776 (Göttingen, Germany: Universitätsverlag Göttingen, 2006). Wellenreuther, a German scholar, is a careful and engaging interpreter of these 18th century German immigrants.

Western Maryland Genealogy, vol. 7. 

Whisker, James B., Bedford County Archives (Apollo, Pa.: Closson Press, 1986), vol. 3.

Williams, Thomas J. C., History of Frederick County (Baltimore: Runk & Titsworth, 1906) vol. 1.

____, A History of Washington County, Maryland (Baltimore: Runk and Titsworth, 1906).

Wright, F. Edward, Western Maryland Newspaper Abstracts 1786-1798 (Silver Spring, Md.: Family Line Publications, 1985).

____, Western Maryland Newspaper Abstracts, vol. 2, 1799-1805 (Silver Spring, Md.: Family Line Publications, 1986).

_____, ed., Washington County Church Records of the 18th Century 1768-1800 (Silver Spring, Md.: Family Line Publications, 1988).

Weaver, William Woys, trans. and ed., Sauer’s Herbal Cures, America’s First Book of Botanic Healing (New York: Routeledge, 2012). 

Wroth, Lawrence C. A History of Printing in Colonial Maryland, 1686-1776. (Mansfield Center, Conn.: Martino Pub., 2009). 

Young, Alfred F., The Shoemaker and the Tea Party, Memory and the American Revolution (Boston: Beacon Press, 1999). A remarkable work and the source of much positive inspiration to the present author to recreate as fully as possible the life of an eighteenth-century person of modest means, who was not a celebrity, but who was present and accounted for in connection with historic events or dealings with personages of greater notoriety. 

Research was conducted at the following institutions (Aug. 2010- Aug. 2014):

Archives of Maryland, Hall of Records, Annapolis, MD

Bedford County Historical Society, Pioneer Library, Bedford, PA

Blair County Historical Society, Hollidaysburg, PA

Braddock Monument, National Road, Uniontown, PA

Brumbaugh-Kendle-Grove Farmstead, family cemetery enclosed with iron railing, north of Hagerstown, MD, in the cornfield alongside route 11

Bucks County Historical Society, Spruance Library, Mercer Museum, Doylestown, PA

C&O Canal National Park in Williamsport, MD

Cecil County Library, North East, MD

Conococheague Institute & Museum, Mercersburg, PA

Carroll County Historical Society, Westminster, MD

Chester County Historical Society, West Chester, PA

Courthouse, Washington County, Hagerstown, MD

David Library of the American Revolution, Washington Crossing, PA

Delaware Pubic Archives, Dover, DE

Dr. Don Yoder Library, Devon, PA

Elizabethtown College, Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown,   PA

Ephrata Cloister, Ephrata, PA

Frederick County Historical Society, Frederick, Maryland

Free Library of Philadelphia, Rare Book Dept., Philadelphia, PA

Ft. Frederick, Big Pool, MD

German Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 

Germantown Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA

Haverford College, Megill Library, Special Collections, Haverford, PA

Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

James A. Lowry, Mennonite Library, Hagerstown, MD

Jonathan Hager House and Museum, Hagerstown, MD

John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, Williamsburg, VA

Juniata College, Beeghley Library, Archives, Huntingdon, PA

Lancaster County Mennonite Museum and Library, Lancaster, PA

Library of the American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, PA

Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Lititz Moravian Museum and Church, Lititz, PA

Lutheran Theological Seminary, Krauth Memorial Library, Philadelphia, PA

Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore, MD

Mennonite Historical Library, James and Mattie Lowry, Hagerstown, MD

Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, PA

Morrison’s Cove, Bedford County, PA:

            Brumbaugh cemetery (Blair County, but Bedford before 1846)

            Brumbaugh Mountain

            Brumbaugh road

            Frankstown township

            Martinsburg Library, Martinsburg 

            New Enterprise 

            Roaring Spring, Blair County 

National Archives and Records Administration, Philadelphia, PA

National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, Washington, D.C.

New York Public Library, New York, NY

Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, PA

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Library, Perelman Building, Philadelphia’

Register of Wills of Washington County, Hagerstown, Maryland 

Schifferstadt Architectural Museum, Frederick, MD

South Mountain, Washington County, MD

Schwenkfelder Library and Museum, Pennsburg, PA

Swarthmore College, McCabe Library & Friends Historical Library, Swarthmore, PA

The Library Company, Philadelphia, PA

U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center (Library), Carlisle, PA

Washington County Historical Society, Hagerstown, MD

Western Maryland Room, Washington County Free Library, Hagerstown, MD

Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society, Winchester, VA

Websites Visited by Correspondence

Brethren Heritage Center, Brookville, OH.

Brethren Historical Library and Archive, Elgin, IL.

Courthouse, Huntingdon County, PA

Courthouse, Franklin County, PA

Franklin County Historical Society Kittochtinny, Chambersburg, PA.

Maryland Historical Trust, Annapolis, MD.

National Society, Sons of the American Revolution, archives online

Western Maryland Regional Library, Hagerstown, MD.

Huntingdon County Historical Society, Huntingdon, PA.

The Jacob Brumbaugh Correspondence with Philadelphia Quaker, Mega-Landowner Henry Drinker (1734-1809)

 

The Jacob Brumbaugh-Henry Drinker Correspondence (1797-1799)

When examining most of Jacob’s long life, one must rely for the most part on official government records. There is, however, a cache of correspondence from Jacob and his eldest son Jacob, Jr. to the Quaker merchant prince Henry Drinker between the years 1797 and 1803, with some interesting connections also found in Drinker’s 1785 correspondence with others. 

Henry Drinker was one of the wealthiest and most well connected Philadelphia merchants. He was a leader in Quaker Meeting circles as clerk of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, as a member of the Meeting for Sufferings, as a trustee of the Westtown School, and as a Quaker martyr, having notoriously been exiled for nearly eight months during the British occupation of Philadelphia which began on September 26, 1777.[1] Despite his notorious exile, Drinker continued after the occupation to be a key connector— he was on the board of the elitist American Philosophical Society, a treasurer of various Quaker committees and an elected member of the town council in 1790. He also became one of the leading land tract speculators, and even survived the bursting of that speculative bubble. 

By the time of their correspondence, both men had aged—Jacob was 71 and Henry, 63. They were two hundred miles apart, but still found ways to bicker over contract details in their correspondence. At this time, Henry found himself beset by financial troubles, but still had a firm hand on the tiller of commerce, while Jacob was optimistic, energetic, and ingratiating even if forgetful, and struggling to keep himself on top of the deal.

The correspondence was certainly not on its face personal or intimate in any way even though Drinker calls his correspondent “Friend.”[2] It was the Quaker custom, even to the point, one might suppose, of disarming a business correspondent. How so? In common parlance the word implies that there is a special relationship of trust between the parties. With someone on the other side of a purely business deal, however, one should probably never infer that trust existed without some previous, clear and positive action indicating true friendship.

Partly, too, reviewing the correspondence can give one an insight into both Quaker modalities of speech as well as the difficult task of negotiating by mail. These letters also demonstrate how big city merchants used a network of agents in the country to carry out their business. Most importantly, it gives one a window into the personality and behavior of Jacob Brumbaugh, as well as Henry Drinker. 

These letters focused on the Brumbaughs’ purchase of two land tracts from Drinker, located in Bedford County. Jacob had already paid for one, called Corunna (381 acres), but Drinker had not yet conveyed it to him because Jacob had not instructed him how precisely he wanted Drinker to do so at that time. Jacob also purchased Dorfans Barn (475 acres), on which he made a partial payment of £338 in 1797. He still owed a £988 balance at the time of Jacob’s death in April 1799. 

Jacob’s first letter in 1797 to Henry Drinker discussed his payment of £338..90..0 to Drinker’s local agent John Canan. This statement illustrated that Drinker stood to make money in this deal. He added, “my son Jacob is concerned with me in the purchase as well.” He declared that he and Jacob, Jr. “wish to have articles of agreement with you for the purchase of said land.” He claimed the land had been formerly sold or leased to John Stouder. Commenting on the lease, he wrote, “I understand [the lease] is to continue for nine years which I did not know when I purchased.” One thus sees in this statement the lack of information he and other land purchasers dealt with as they tried to make deals. Launching into a complaint about the lessee Stouder, he argued:

I hope Stouder can be restrained from destroying the timber unnecessarily and confined to clear land where there is least timber. I am told his Brother is here who is a wagon maker [who] destroys a great deal [presumably of timber to make wagons]. [3]  

Jacob then volunteered to bring the money himself to Philadelphia, if Drinker instructed Canan to return it. He added that when in Philadelphia, he would “settle the balance of the three spring tract,” as well as “the cost of the Caveat you entered for me.” Evidently, these two had conducted business before, including the transaction that occurred in 1785. He further added, “the rest of the payments for the Yellow Creek land shall be regularly remitted to you by Mr. Jas. Ferguson of the place who goes to Philadelphia four or five [times] a year.” The “three spring tract” was the tract called Corunna.[4]

Drinker replied to Brumbaugh in September to say that John Canan had not come to Philadelphia for the convening of the assembly. On November 7, Drinker wrote again, telling Jacob that he had heard from Canan, which allowed Drinker to ratify and confirm the written agreement Brumbaugh signed with Canan.. Brumbaugh, however, wrote back explaining that he had given Canan the money already, and had asked for a receipt, which Canan refused to give. Jacob intended to deposit some money on the property, then “settle the price and the rest of the payments with you, and all I wanted of him was a receipt.” Canan, however, instead gave Jacob an agreement to sign. Brumbaugh retorted, “if I coud not make the two first payments my money was to be returned” which was never, of course, a part of the written contract he had signed.[5]

Brumbaugh agreed to “confirm the bargain on the following terms”: he would pay Drinker £261..11..0 by next June, which together with the first payment, would make a total of £600. He then agreed to pay Drinker a second £600 payment in four yearly installments of £150 in November 1799, 1800, 1801, and1802.  He told Drinker that he had signed the agreement with Canan because Canan would not otherwise provide a receipt. So, having already signed an agreement for a £1327 purchase price, he countered with an offer of £1200, adding it “is double what was marked on the platt of the land and I hope you will think it enough for the land, should you agree to this proposition you may rely on punctuality in the payments.” He then wrote, “should the dispute not be settled with Fifes [another party] I shall expect Interest on the payments already made and to be made in the spring until possession is given me.”[6]

Henry Drinker then sent his next letter to Jacob on June 9, 1798, full of the measured tones of a systematic businessman: 

while I am favoured with life & health, it is my desire, & I think it ought to be thine, that the Deed for the Tract formerly sold thee in Morrisons’ Cove should be executed, which may be done as soon as thou informs how the conveyance is to be made, to whom, the Township & County &tc as requested in my last Letter & when Executed how it is to be conveyed to thee? 

He added that Fifes, the party with a claim to the property, gave up their claim and confessed judgment, so that the title to the land Jacob had bought from John Canan “is now clear of all incumbrance or debts…I therefore hope thou’ll speedily make the payments.”[7]

Two months later in August 1798, Jacob replied, “Honor’d Friend Sir, I hope to make you payment in and by sending you 100 Barrels of good Merchantable Flower [flour] well packed in [torn] Barrels and if you would rather have it sent around to Philadelphia it shall be Done at my proper Cost.” 

Jacob did not want to leave any contingencies uncovered, so he added, “if said flower is not sufficient I will make up the Deficiency in Either Apple Brandy or Rie Liquor to the same Merchant.” Again he focused on the timber destruction by the lessee, Mr. Stouder: 

“I hope you will write to Mr. Cannan to settle with said Stouder concerning the said land as he occupies it in every respect as if it were his own…What he has done is done but I will pay him for nothing but if after he gets notice what he does in good order is to be settled for but not for Clearing land for that he has nothing to do with nor is he to be settled for by any means. [Give] notice [to] said Stouder to refrain from selling and Destroying timbers in and on said premises and not Destroy and let the fruit Trees be Destroyed nor the fences or house or Barn be demolished.” 

Again Jacob threatened to unravel the deal:

if you cant comply to these my proposals …I am willing to take my money that I paid you with Simple Interest which I think is no more than Reason between Man and Man in behalf of the same as I found the land not to be what I bought [the letter is torn here]… [the] plow land to be Barny [barrens or rough land] and Pine Land [page torn]. I Conclude and remain your Wellwisher,  [8]

This letter contained strong, well–practiced, even modestly elegant, language. It is hard to determine, however, if this letter was written in Jacob’s hand. Jacob Jr. had help writing his letters, so his father may have also. This letter also  contains legal phrasings, meaning Jacob likely contacted a lawyer about the points he wished to make.  Jacob was a determined old man who tried to insert completely new terms at this juncture in the negotiations for payment of the purchase price to be delivered to Baltimore not in cash but in kind, viz., produce of Jacob’s farm such as “Merchantable Flower [sic- flour]” or “Apple Brandy or Rie.” Henry Drinker replied sternly to Jacob after three months. Again, in his measured tones, he chided Jacob: 

All thou says about 100 barrels of Merchantable Flour, Apple Brandy, and Rye liquor is nothing to the purpose…in short Friend all thy long Story about the Land bought of Canan, the quality of it with many other ridiculous circumstances are too childish and affronting to common sense, that they deserve not serious notice. After having entered into a written contract, paid part of the purchase price, & prevented a sale of the property to other purchasers, to come forward with a number of new conditions and terms is really extraordinary. 

Henry ended this firm rebuff to Jacob’s last attempt to renegotiate by calling attention to the payment dates and amounts, and warns that a resort to federal court might be his next move, closing with “thou art warned by thy Friend.”[9] This was strictly business, not the relation of friendship.[10]

One must wonder if Jacob declined in his energy and drive. Looking, however, at his multiple purchases at the age of 72 and his feisty correspondence, one sees a hustling, yet ingratiating old man determined to get a deal.  


[1] See Wendy Lucas Castro, “‘Being Separated form My Dearest Husband, in This Cruel Manner’: Elizabeth Drinker and the Seven-Month Exile of Philadelphia Quakers,” Quaker History, 100, (2011), 40-63. 

[2] This was one of the ways that Quakers set themselves apart from the world as all the peace sects also sought to do. Other ways the Quakers reminded themselves and others of their commitment to their strict religious principles were disciplines that included plain dress, plain talk, an emphasis on ethics, a numerical way of listing the date (3rd month, 2nd day, not March 2), affirmation rather than swearing, asceticism, and moderation in all things. See J. William Frost, The Quaker Family in Colonial America (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1973). 

[3] J.B, Jr. to H.D., 21 August 1797, Box 21, D.C., HSP

[4] Ibid. 

[5] H.D. to J.B., Jr., 7 November 1797, Box 21, D.C., HSP

[6] J.B, Jr. to H.D., 15 November 1797, Box 21, D.C., HSP.

[7] H.D. to J.B., Jr., 9 June 1798, Box 21, D.C., HSP.

[8] J.B. to H.D., 15 August 1798, Box 21, D.C, HSP

[9] The day Drinker wrote that warning letter, he himself warmed up for some tough negotiating by dictating a letter firmly rebuffing the attempts to renegotiate a bigger deal by another client, the then U.S. Senator from New York, Aaron Burr (later Thomas Jefferson’s vice president). See H.D. to Aaron Burr, 9 November 1798, Box 21, D.C., HSP.

[10] H.D. to J.B., Jr., 9 November 1798, Box 21, D.C., HSP