Three Rivers
Hudson~Mohawk~Schoharie
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

THE WINDECKERS AND RELATED FAMILIES

A Family History donated by: Harry Windecker

Coming to America.

Hartman and family arrived on the Hartwell, one of several ships that arrived between July 1 and July 10, 1710. The other ships included the Fame, the Tower, the Herbert, the Baltimore, the James and Elizabeth, the Sarah and the Mary. The Herbert sunk off Long Island, and on the 7th, the Midford arrived with the Herbert passengers, including Conrad Weiser, most famous of the early Palatines. The Berkeley Castle, returned to England, and arrived in August. Predecessor ships, the Lion of Leath, June 13th, the Lowestoffe, with governor hunter aboard, June 14th, and the Globe, may have arrived earlier, possibly in May.

The Palatines boarded ship prior to Christmas, 1709, and were retained there until the ships were ready for departure on January 20th. Most of the ships may not have departed, however, until April 1710. Conditions aboard ship were reportedly terrible, with people loaded into the steerage deck, which was typically only five-feet high. The compartments were dirty, cold, had a terrible stench, had vermin, sickness, and generally deplorable conditions. Only hardy individuals survived these voyages. In fact, children under five or six years of age were not expected to survive.

The statement that only hardy individuals could survive proved correct, as about 470 Palatines died en-route, and another 250 died after landing. About 30% of the 2247 (total or remaining?) Palatines died, including Anna Catherina Birx, wife of Hartman. Prior to departure from London, about 80 Palatines died while aboard ship, with many others sick. The disease was called "Palatine Fever" and resulted in quarantine on Nutten Island in New York Harbor until they recovered or died.

Hartman, still a young man in his thirties, became Listmaster for the Palatines who traveled aboard the Hartwell after the designated leader, Peter Christian Wormbs died. Hartman was not the choice of the English, but was named so at the insistence of his fellow Palatines, indicating his apparent good character and good standing with fellow Germans. The Hartwell Palatines, upon transport to East Camp, were assigned the Village named, Annsbury. Other villages included Huntertown, Queensbury, Haysbury, Elizabethtown, Georgetown and Newtown.

The evidence that Anna Catharina Birx died enroute, or shortly after arriving in America, is that a marriage of Hartman to Barbara Elisabetha Bellinger is recorded in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1710, with the birth of their first child, Johann Henrich, recorded in 1711.

In Germany, Hartman and Catharina had two children, Anna Catharina, 1704, and Johann Henrich, 1708 (not the same as Johann Henrich, born 1711, of Barbara Elisabetha Bellinger), both earlier children were born in Stockheim (Rohrbach). The duplicate name may indicate that the earlier Johann Henrich died aboard ship, but is not substantiated by other evidence supplied in the next paragraph. Hartman's younger brother, Conrad, may have died also, as his name does not appear on the rosters of the time. More probable however, is that Conrad elected to remain in Germany.

With minor exceptions, these conclusions are supported by results of a census taken in 1710 and a second one in 1712. The 1710 census indicated one family member over ten years of age (Hartman) and two, under 10 (his children). The later census indicated three individuals over 10 (Hartman, Barbara Elisabetha and a ten+ year old child. According to the births indicated below, Anna Catherina Windecker, first child of Anna Catherina Birx, would have been eight-years old. (Bookkeeping errors of this time do occur frequently, unlike massive computer screw-ups of our time.) This census information indicates that both children born in Germany probably survived. The name Anna Catherina Windecker also appears in later historical documents, as does Jurgen Windecker, heretofore, unknown. It is not impossible that the age recorded in the census or date of birth of Anna Catherina and names (Jurgen vs. Henrich) could be wrong, or the birth of Jurgen, simply not reported. Jurie (Jurgen) is also a nickname for Johann, and Johann Henrich may have chosen this form of his name.

Upon his arrival in New York, Hartman immediately became a prominent member of the Palatine community. As a List Man, he was in charge of a group of the migratory Germans, becoming, of sorts, a representative of the English Queen. Captain H. Windecker (Hartman) is also recorded in New York State historical documents as a participant in an ill-fated English mission to take Quebec from the French. For these and other reasons, his name briefly occurs in histories of upstate New York. Other List Men included Conrad Weiser, Johanes George Schmit, William Fox, Elias Garlock and John Henrich Kersterskern. These men were possibly chosen as List Men because they were literate, or carried respect amongst the Palatines.

Copyright 2001. Harry Windecker. All rights reserved.

Contents Introduction Links Home