Saturday, February 4, 2012

Another Time

Bill Meyers, William F. Meyers, sent me three images of religious text written in German.

The first is the cover page of Johann Hübner's, Two times two and fifty select biblical stories from the old and new testament, composed for the benefit of youth, (published 1814). The second image shows the beginning two pages of the 44th biblical story, Von Peter Berlangnung, which translates as "the making of Peter". The last image is from the Gospel of Mark, On Easter Day, the first sermon, Mark, chapter  16, verses 1 - 8. The images are Bill's and permission to use them was graciously given.

Johann Hubner, Two times Fifty-Two Excellent Bible Stories
from the Old and new Testament, especially prepared for Youth.

Story 44, the Making of Peter


The Gospel of Mark, On Easter Day, chapter 16, verses 1- 8.

I have to admit that I was a little taken back to get them for several reasons. First, I had taken German in high school and college, so it would be fun to take a stab at translating the pages. Second, I love old books, and the history behind them. Finally, as Bill said in his email with the images, there is a bit of a mystery as to whether the books belonged to Mathias Van Huss or Valentine Felty Van Huss.

 Who spoke German?

Mathias was born in 1795, the year his father Valentine crossed into eastern Tennessee and settled near Fort Watauga, present day Elizabethton. Johan Hubner's book is the 1814 edition. That makes Mathias at least 19 years old at the date of publication of the one book. Of course, dad was considerably older. For that reason, Mathias seems to be favored as owner of the books. Unless, Valentine used the books in instructing other youth.

What is the case for Mathias? ... Mathias was the fifth child of Valentine Felty Vanhooser Jr. and Elizabeth Worley. Elizabeth, being descended from English stock, would not seem a likely candidate to teach her son German. That is unless we go back into Elizabeth's family history. She was the daughter of Valentine Worley and Anna Barbara Spraker. And, Anna Barbara Spraker was the daughter of Johann Christopher Sprecher and Elizabeth Reigher, both of whom were German to the core. Rutledge Family History.

For that matter, Mathias' grandmother on his father's side was Maria Barbara Zerwe ‎(Zerbe). She was thoroughly German on her side of the family. She and Mathias' grandfather, Valentine Felty Van Hooser, Sr. were married in the German Lutheran Church in a German community in Tulpenhocken, Pennsylvania. Valentine, Sr. had migrated with his parents to Tulpehocken, Lancaster (now Berks County, Pennsylvania near Reading). There he grew up in Heidelburg Township in the vicinity of what is now called Robesonia. He lived in a German community most likely speaking German, since his mother, aunts and uncles were also of that nationality. See Cox-Stewart Family History.

One last clue is Mathias name which is the German form of Matthew.

All this leads to the conclusion that the Vanhooser/Van Huss line went from Dutch to truly Deutsch, at least in language. Either Mathias or father Valentine would have spoken German.

Then, there is one other possibility. In 1814, Mathias Van Huss  went off with General Andrew Jackson to fight in the War of 1812. When he came back he settled down, got married to Elizabeth Worley in 1817, and next year had a child by the name of Valentine Worley Van Huss. Other children followed, Elizabeth died, and Mathias remarried in 1822 to Lovinia Dugger. The books could have been read by the children of Mathias.

As I live in Kansas with my wife who is descended from a Van Huss, it is not all that surprising. For Kansas gave rise to many communities in the late 1800's and early 1900's which were German, Swedish, and even Czech in origin. Language and culture have a way of hanging on. Sometimes time moves slowly.

Thank goodness.


No comments:

Post a Comment