Thursday, February 16, 2012

Along the Schuylkill River

By the third generation, the Van Hooser family was ready to move again. This time the family would move from upstate New York to the Township of Heidelberg in the County of Berks, Pennsylvania.

The Van Hooser family had come to America in 1639. The first Van Huss name was Jan Franz Van Husum, so called because he came from the small coastal town of Husum in North Friesland. He arrived in New York, along with his wife Volkje Juriens or Jurrianse.  She was from the neighboring island of Nordstrand which had been devastaed by the Nordstrand Flood of 1634.

Note. You will have noticed that I have already spelled the last name several ways. That is because over the years the name changed according to location and use. Jan was originally Van Husum, literally "from Husum". In New York the accepted spelling was Van Hoesen. This then became Van Hooser or Vanhooser. The "e" was sometimes left off, giving us Vanhoose. One wonders about the German influence on the name. One also wonders about the similarity to the Indiana nickname "Hoosier". Van Huss, which is the spelling of my wife's family, did not come into use until after 1795.

Eventually, Jan and Volkje would make there way to upstate New York, settling in the Rennsylaerwick colony. Jan did well, trading with the Indians for beaver, buying land and raising at least nine children. It was their seventh child Johannes Van Hoesen, who was to father a son, also named Johannes, who would emigrate from New York to Pennsylvania.

This Johannes, grandson to Jan and Vlokje, was born in 1697 in Kingston, New York. In 1720, he married Elizabeth Christina Laux (Lauck). They lived for awhile in New York, but in 1728, followed Elizabeth's brother Abraham to Pennsylvania. They settled on land in Heidelberg Township next to the Tulpehocken Creek along the Schuylkill River. The area is now an historic district.

Johannes and Elizabeth lived in Heidelberg Township until 1753 or 1754. Their neighbors included Conrad Weiser, an early settler who spoke Mohawk and help to mediate between the Indians who lived along the Schuylkill and the white settlers. See Conrad Weiser. When Johannes and Elizabeth left Pennsylvania for North Carolina, Conrad Weiser along with Abraham Laux would witness the deed selling their land in Pennsylvania.

Other neighbors included the Boone and Lincoln families. The Boone family arrived in Pennsylvania in 1717 and settled in Oley, near the settlement of the Vanhoosers in Tulpehocken, now called Robesonia. Mapquest shows it to be a scant 20 miles apart with Oley to the east of Reading and the Tulpehocken Creek to the west. Mapquest. The Lincoln family lived in Chester County for a period around the same time. The Lincolns would move to Augusta, Virginia. The Boones moved to Rowan and Anson counties in North Carolina, where Johannes and Elizabeth settled.

One can find online the deed of sale from Johannes and Elizabeth Vanhooser to John Joseph Derr and Henry Boyer. Joyce Lindstrom also reports the sale in her extensive family history. The deed reports the slae of 200 acres of land located between the properties of William Allen to the south and east and Abraham Laux to the north and west.

Note. Trying to exactly identify the location is difficult. Joyce Lindstrom reports that Johannes lived near present day Robesonia, near the larger city of Reading. Abraham Laux (Lauck) is buried in St. Daniel's Lutheran Church in Robesonia. Conrad Weiser's property is well to the west. William Allen owned property far to the south near Londongrove, but he also owned other property.

Johannes and Elizabeth's departure to North Carolina was well-timed. In 1754, the French and Indian War broke out along the Pennsylvania frontier. English General Braddock and colonial forces were defeated by French and Indian forces in the summer of 1755 in western Pennsylvania. In the fall the Indians killed 14 settlers and took hostage another 11 at Penn's Creek, which was much nearer to the Tulpehocken settlements.

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