Category Archives: Fraktur

Fraktur is an angular, broken-lettered calligraphy and/or typeface. It also is defined as Pennsylvania Dutch folk art.

Human Heritage and Divine Lineage

The best known of Pennsylvania Dutch Fraktur are the Taufscheins. It is the Lutherans, Reformed, and Moravians who believed in infant baptism, and who popularized the use of birth and baptismal certificates in America. These documents not only trace human heritage, but divine lineage as well for they almost always contain spiritual inscriptions such as verses from the Bible, hymnal, or religious poetry to focus one on God. The origins of the quoted passages can be as valuable as the genealogical data, and help us trace geographical, historical, and literary footprints. If we study them carefully, we can sense the mindset of the Pennsylvania Dutch, and admire their rare combination of commonsense and celestial awe.

The following three manuscripts belong to the Goschenhoppen Historians. The first two are Taufscheins and are representative of the pragmatic recordkeeping of life’s events, as well as its spiritual aspirations. The third is a Scherenschnitt or cut-out. Although it lacks physical genealogical information, it abounds in artistic revery, heavenly imagination, and childlike wisdom.

MANUSCRIPT I
Isaac Rommig
(1809 – 1895) Taufschein
Materials: Wove Paper; watercolor; ink
Dimensions 13 1/8” H x 15 7/8” W

This Taufschein was made sometime after 2 August1809 when Isaac Romig (1809-1895) was born to Johannes and Margretha Rommig in Beaver Dam Township, then in Union County, PA.   The anonymous artist-scrivener not only included birth and baptismal details, but also a German translation by W. H. Seel for Psalm 118:19-20, found in a psalter printed by permission of the House of Orange-Nassau in1786. Seel’s Psalm translations were a more modern alternative to those of the sixteenth century translator Ambrosius Lobwasser, whose versions had long been sung by German-speaking pietiests, especially by Reformed believers.

Isaac Romig is listed in the 1860 U. S. census as  living in Beaver Springs, PA with his wife Lydia, age 50; John Romig, age 25; Elizabeth Romig, age 18; Elizabeth Romig, age 14; Isaac Romig, age 2; Jane Dry, age 50; and Frederick Raught, age 15. He died October 12, 1895, and is buried in Beaver Springs, Snyder County, PA at the Adamsburg Cemetery.

TRANSCRIPTIONS/TRANSLATIONS
Diese beÿden Ehgatten als Johannes Rommig und seine Ehelichen hausfrau | Margretha ist Ein Sohn zur Welt gebohren wie weitters folget: | Isaac Rommig ist zur Welt gebohren Im Jahr 18 um [___] tag | [___] Jahr unsers Herrn Jesu 1809 den 2 ten tag | Augustus im [___] zwischen [___] de [____]   ist nach der leiblichen | geistlichen Wiedergeburt der heiligen Tauf befördert | und Von Conrath Walter Parre geTauft und genennet | worden Wie aber gemeldt Tauf zeugen Matheis Freÿ | und sein frau Wilhelmina aber gemeldter Isaac ist | gebohren und getauft worden in America in der | proVintz Pennsÿlvania in union Caunty in | büber Däm Taunschip.

Die thore der gerechtigkeit th[[u] auf. Ich geh hinein | den man seÿ lob und Danck ge weitt thu auf | thu auf Ich geh hinein – – – -die thore der gerechtig keit wer wer geth da |
hin ein Der man Von Reiner frömmigkeit | Der ists der geth hin ein

Translation
A son was born into the world to this married couple Johannes Rommig and his espoused wife Margretha as follows: Isaac Rommig was born into the world in the year 18 at [___] day [___] in the year of our Lord Jesus 1809 on the second day of August in [____] between [_____] [and] was christened and named according to the physical and spiritual rebirth of baptism by Pastor Conrath Walter. Sponsors were Matheis Frey and his wife Wilhelmina. Isaac was born and baptized in America, in the Province of Pennsylvania, Union County, Beaver Dam Township.

Open the gates of righteousness. I wish to enter. To Him be given praise and thanks. Open up! Open up! I wish to enter the gates of righteousness. Who? Who shall go within? The man of spotless piety shall enter in.

Sources:
W. H. Seel, trans., Neues Gesangbuch, zum Gebrauch bey dem öffentlichen Gottesdienst und der häuslichen Erbauung. Mit fürstl. Oran. Nassauischem gnädigsten Privilegio (Herborn: Johann Ewald Brückner, 1786), Psalm 118: 12-13, Mel. 7, 99. https://books.google.com/books?id=ZXZWAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA99&lpg=PA99&dq=der+Gerechtigkeit++Ich+geh+hinein&source=bl&ots=QuUgLNzxKf&sig=C5lnLipzl_B_bN2i6XCVH60Nm18&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CB8Q6AEwAGoVChMI4YKroPv2yAIVxfAmCh1GNASp#v=onepage&q=der%20Gerechtigkeit%20%20Ich%20geh%20hinein&f=false (accessed 4 November 2015).

1860 U.S. Census, Population Schedule. NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.

MANUSCRIPT 2
Johannes Heinrich Eichert (1777-1859)
Taufschein & Church Credentials
Materials:   Laid Paper; ink
Dimensions:   [Folded leaf] 13 ½” H x 8 ½ ” W; [Whole leaf] 13 ½” H x 17″ W

Johannes Heinrich Eichert (1777-1859) immigrated to America in 1805 on the Ship Verney (Capt. Elisha King). He grew up in Haigerseelbach, a rural village on the western edge of the Westerwald belonging to the Princely Counts of the House of Orange-Nassau. His Pastor H. F. Schmidt furnished him with this Taufschein and church credentials as proof of his origins and reliability. Little is known about him. However, this document continued to be his curriculum vitae for another hand noted on it that Johannes Heinrich Eichert “died in the year 1859 on January 8th around 11:00 o’clock.” He was married to Elizabeth Heckler and is buried in Hetzels Cemetery at the Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church, Pine Grove, Schuylkill County, PA.

TRANSCRIPTIONS/TRANSLATIONS

Transcription
[Aussenseite des Mss]

Taufschein und Kirchenzeug= \niß für Johannes Hen= \ rich Eichert zu Haigerseel=bach.

[Mss]
L.B.S.

Nach dem hiesigen Taufprotokoll wurde Jo= \ hannes Henrich Eichert, Sohn des Jost Hen= \rich Eichert und dessen Ehefrau Maria Chri= \ stina zu Haigerseelbach in dem Jahr 1777. \ den 6ten Julius gebohren und und den 13ten = \ getauft. Gevattern waren Johann Henrich Hel= \ genhöfer und Elisabeth Margretha, Christian \ Müllen Ehefrau daselbst.

Da der genannte Johannes Henrich Eichert zu Hai= \ gerseelbach eine Reise nach America zu unterneh= \ men entschlossen ist, so wird ihm auf sein Verlan= \ gen nicht allein dieser Taufschein mitgetheilt, son= \ dern ihm auch das Zeugniß gegeben, daß er we= \ gen seines bisherigen ehrbaren Betragens, als \ ein Glied der reformirten Gemeine, auch an an= \ dern Orten aufgenommen und zum heiligen Abend= \ mal gegelassen werden kann. Haiger, in dem Oranien-Nassau-Dillenburgischen, d. 15ten \ Mai, 1805.

[Siegel]

H.G. Schmidt
Pfarrrionrius [?]

[in einer anderen Hand]

Gestorben im jahr  — 1859 – 1 – 8 Jan so um 11 Uhr
Geboren   im jahr  —  1777 – 7 – 6 July
Alt                                     81 – 6 – 2

Translation
[
Outside of Mss]

Baptismal Certificate and Church Credentials for Johannes Henrich Eichert of Haigerseelbach.

[Mss]
As per the local baptismal procedure, please be informed that Johannes Henrich Eichert, son of Jost Henrich Eichert and his spouse Maria Christina, was born at Haigerseelbach on July 6, 1777, and baptized on the 13th [July]. His sponsors were Johann Henrich Helgenhöfer and Elisabeth Margretha, wife of Christian Müllen.

Since the aforementioned Johannes Henrich Eichert of Haigerseelbach is determined to undertake a trip to America, he requests that not only this baptismal certificate, but also church credentials be included with this document. This is to certify that he has comported himself honestly, and as a member of the local reformed church, should be received elsewhere and also be admitted to Holy Communion.

Haiger, in the Principality of Orange—Nassau—Dillenburg, May 15, 1805.

[Insignia]

H.G. Schmidt
Pastor

[In another hand]

Died in the year 1859 on January 8th around 11:00 o’clock.
Born in the year 1777 on July 6th.
Age 81 years, 6 months, 2 weeks.

SOURCES:

William H. Egle, M.D., Editor: Names of Foreigners who took the Oath of Allegiance to the Province and State of Pennsylvania 1727-1775, With the Foreign Arrivals, 1786—1808 (Harrisburg, Pa: E.K. Meyers State Printer, Pennsylvania Archives Second Series, 1892), vol. XVII, pp. 637, 639.

Find A Grave: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=107349243&ref=acom (accessed 4 November 2015)

Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church Records. Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Collection Name: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 507.

MANUSCRIPT 3
Elisa Beth Hachman . Scherenschnitt, 182
Materials: Wove Paper; watercolor; ink
Dimensions 12 ¾ ″ H x 16 ″ W

A Scherenschnitt or cut-out created in 1824 most likely by Elisa Beth Hachman yields very little earthly genealogical information. We know that if it gets lost, we’ll see her name and know where to return it! However, it is an amazing creative design of flower-faces, floral hearts, birds, and cartouches that must be turned every which way to read not only Elisa Beth’s name, but also the spiritually-oriented inscriptions meant to keep her focused on God and her divine lineage.

Transcription: Dieses Bild Gehöret Mir | Elisa Beth Hachman sein Bild | soll Er verlohren Gehren kan Mann | so den name sehen
Translation: This picture belongs to me. Elisa Beth Hachman owns this picture. If it gets lost, one can see my name.

[Right Heart – Blue]
Transcription: Das Herze | Lein soll | werde | n
Translation:   My little heart will become

[Left Heart – Red]
Transcription: Dir Allein | Geschrieben | Jahr | 1824
Translation:     yours alone. Written in the Year 1824

[N. B. Cartouche Horizontal]
[Upper cartouche]
Transcription: Der name des Herrn Unsers | Gottes Sey Gelobet Und Gebendeyet | von nun An Bis in Ewigkeit Amen
Translation: The name of the Lord Our God be blessed and praised from now until all eternity. Amen.

[Right Heart – Green]
Transcription: Gedenke an | deinen | Schöpff | er
Translation:     Stay focused on Your Creator

[Left Heart   – Blue]
Transcription: In deiner | JuGend
Translation:     during your youth

Many thanks to the Goschenhoppen HIstorians and Bob Wood.

© 2015 by Del-Louise Moyer

John Daniel Eisenbrown: Fraktur Artist and Grave Monument Engraver

Monroe Fabian in his 1974 Pennsylvania Folklife article “John Daniel Eisenbrown, Frakturist,” introduced a totally unknown artist-scrivener. Fabian enthusiastically hoped that more Fraktur examples would one day come to light, but the years have passed, and, if there is a cache of his illuminated manuscripts, they have remained well hidden among family members. Fortunately, one more can now be added. In May of this year an anonymous donor gifted a New Testament containing a bookplate and birth record to the Goschenhoppen Historians Fraktur collection. Eisenbrown made it in 1824 for his student Joseph Weber of Upper Saucon Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.

Fig. 1a Weber New Testament Title Page Germantaun: Michael Billmeyer, 1822. Courtesy of (1) Goschenhoppen HIstorians

Fig. 1a Weber New Testament Title Page Germantaun: Michael Billmeyer, 1822. Courtesy of Goschenhoppen Historians

Fig. 1b Book Plate and Birth Record, Weber New Testament. By John D. Eisenbrown, 4/10/1824. Courtesy of Goschenhoppen Historians

Fig. 1b Book Plate and Birth Record, Weber New Testament. By John D. Eisenbrown, 4/10/1824. Courtesy of Goschenhoppen Historians

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is signed and dated in the lower corners of the bookplate: [LL corner] “Upper Saucon Township April 10, 1824,” [LR corner] “made by John D. Eisenbrown as a memento for his student.” The main body in the center reads: “This New Testament belongs to Joseph Weber who was born June 27, 1815.”

Joseph Weber has left no footprint, and although John D. Eisenbrown remains obscure as a Frakturist, represented by only four Fraktur pieces done during his early career as a school teacher, he is remembered for his calligraphic skills as a carver of tombstone memorials.

Even today the reputation built by John Daniel, and later his son Penrose Frederick lives on in the P. F. Eisenbrown Memorials Co. in Reading Pennsylvania. Although no longer owned by the Eisenbrown family, the present owner of this marble and granite business continues to retain the P. F. Eisenbrown brand name for the trustworthiness, honesty, and prestige the Eisenbrown family achieved in its principled business transactions. That is a legacy well worth remembering!

Johan Daniel Eisenbraun was born on December 2, 1795 in Adelberg near Stuttgart in the Duchy of Baden-Württemberg. There is no documentation to support Morton L. Montgomery’s statement in his Historical and Biographical Annals of Berks County Pennsylvania that Eisenbrown landed in Philadelphia from Germany at age sixteen. However, we know from a birthday Fraktur he made for his future wife Charlotta Wolf (1798-1832) of Egypt, PA—the only Pennsylvania Dutch birthday Fraktur example presently known—that he was in America by the spring of 1817 for Eisenbrown dated and signed his greetings “April 16, 1817, Johan Daniel Eisenbraun.”

Sometime after November 4, 1818, the date Johan Heinrich Wind purchased a family Bible in Philadelphia, Eisenbrown was engaged to create a double-leaf bookplate for the Bible.

Fig. 4a Leaf 1 of 2. Wind Bible bookplate by John Danial Eisenbraun sometime after 11/04/1818. Courtesy of (3) The Library Company of Philadelphia

Fig. 4a Leaf 1 of 2. Wind Bible bookplate by John Danial Eisenbraun sometime after 11/04/1818. Courtesy of  The Library Company of Philadelphia

Fig. 4b Leaf 2 of 2 Wind Bible bookplate by John Danial Eisenbraun sometime after 11/04/1818. Courtesy of (3) The Library Company of Philadelphia

Fig. 4b Leaf 2 of 2 Wind Bible bookplate by John Danial Eisenbraun sometime after 11/04/1818. Courtesy of  The Library Company of Philadelphia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first leaf reads: “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.  [St. Luke 11:28]; purchased on November 4, 1818 in Philadelphia; made (written) by the former schoolmaster in Upper Saucon, John Daniel Eisenbrown.” The second leaf reads: “Bible for John Henry Wind.”  Johann Heinrich Wind (1779-1842) was active in the Friedens Lutheran Church, and is buried in the old churchyard cemetery at Friedensville, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. From this Fraktur we know that Eisenbrown was a teacher in Upper Saucon Township, Lehigh County, PA. by 1818. His association with Wind, as suggested by Monroe Fabian, could indicate that Eisenbrown was the schoolmaster for the congregation at Friedensville.

A family Bible register, kept by John Daniel Eisenbrown to note the births and baptisms of his children, records Charlotta’s and his life from 1821-1832.

The following nine children were born to John Daniel and Charlotta Barbara:

  1. Maria Franziska: born 10/15/1821; Upper Saucon Township, Lehigh County; sponsors: grandparents J. George and Anna Maria Wolf; baptized by Rev. Conrad Yeager
  2. + Constantin Edward: born 9/8/1822; Upper Saucon Township, Lehigh County; sponsors: parents; baptized by Rev. Conrad Yeager.
  3. Charlotte Mathilda: born 8/6/1824; North Whitehall Township, Lehigh County; sponsors: parents; baptized by Rev. [Frederick William] Mendsen.
  4. Anna Maria: born 11/12/1825; North Whitehall Township, Lehigh County; sponsors: grandparents J. George and Anna Maria Wolf; baptized by Rev. [Frederick William] Mendsen.
  5. Carolina Lowina: born 1/25/1827; North Whitehall Township, Lehigh County; sponsors: Daniel Rösler and his wife; died in the year 1828.
  6. Charlotta: born 3/24/1828; North Whitehall Township, Lehigh County; sponsors: parents; baptized by Rev. [Frederick William] Mendsen.
  7. Wilhelmina: born 6/11/1829; Kutztown, Berks County; sponsors: parents [and] Johann Knoske, Lutheran minister, and his wife; baptized by Rev. [H.] Knoske.
  8. Friderich Penrose: 4/3/1831; Kutztown, Berks County; sponsors: Friderich Wolf and Elisabeth Knoske, unmarried; baptized by Rev. H. Knoske.
  9. William Jonas: 10/12/1832; North Whitehall Township, Lehigh County; the mother died from this childbirth; sponsors: Jonas and Sara Troxel took the baby and adopted it.

Charlotta died from complications in childbirth on October 18, 1832, six days after giving birth to William Jonas, who was adopted and raised by his godparents Jonas and Sara Troxel.

John Daniel’s second wife was Mary Troxel with whom he produced an additional eight children, two of whom died in infancy. During this time period, he successfully transferred the tombstone-cutting business he had begun in Minersville, PA in 1844 to Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1855, and located it on the northwest corner of 9th and Hamilton Streets—the later site of the famous Hess’s Department Store!  Penrose took up the same business as his father establishing himself first in Minersville, and then Pottsville, and finally in 1874 in Reading. Father and son built up the mutual respect of their customers, were known for prompt service and reasonable prices, and, as already noted, were very successful businessmen. Per St. Pauls Lutheran Church Records in Allentown Pennsylvania John Daniel Eisenbraun died March 16, 1874, aged 73 years, 3 months, and 14 days.

When Monroe Fabian wrote his 1974 article, Paul Eisenbrown, John Daniel’s great grandson, enthusiastically collaborated with the author, and located the birthday Fraktur, a cabinet photo by Hafer Studio, Reading, Pennsylvania reproducing a now lost daguerreotype of John Daniel Eisenbrown ca. 1850, as well as the J. D. Eisenbrown Family Bible Register among his relatives. If anyone knows the present whereabouts of any of these items, I would be very grateful for an email reply to this blog post.


Illustration Links

(1)      Find a Grave Photos

(2)       Find a Grave


Sources

“Charlotta Eisenbrown, Where Buried,” in Find a Grave. Accessed 4 September 2015. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=62209197&ref=acom

John Daniel Eisenbraun. Death Entry by Rev. Minnig in St. Pauls Lutheran Church Records, Allentown Pennsylvania,” in Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Record collections, Philadelphia, PA, Reel: 545, 373 of 558.

“John Daniel Eisenbrown,” in Russell D. and Corinne P. Earnest’s Papers for Birth Dayes, Guide to the Fraktur Artists and Scriveners. York, PA: 2nd ed., 1997, vol. 1, 229.

“John Daniel Eisenbrown, Where Buried,” in Find a Grave. Accessed 4 September 2015.
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=76230372&ref=acom

P. F. Eisenbrown Memorials of Reading, PA. Accessed 3 September 2015 http://eisenbrownmemorials.com/about-us/3647772

“Penrose F. Eisenbrown” in Morton L. Montgomery’s Historical and Biographical Annals of Berks County Pennsylvania (Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1909), vol. 1, part 1, p. 82 of 227. Accessed 3 September 2015. http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/morton-l-morton-luther-montgomery/historical-and-biographical-annals-of-berks-county-pennsylvania-embracing-a-co-003/page-82-historical-and-biographical-annals-of-berks-county-pennsylvania-embracing-a-co-003.shtml

Monroe Fabian’s “John Daniel Eisenbrown, Frakturist,” in Pennsylvania Folklife,
Winter 1974-1975 vol. XXIV, No. 2, pp. 31-35.

“Johann Heinrich Wind, Where Buried,” in Find a Grave. Accessed 3 September 2015
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=Wind&GSfn=Johann&GSmn=Heinrich&GSbyrel=all&GSdyrel=all&GSob=n&GRid=79963152&df=all&

© Del-Louise Moyer 2015

Elisabet Mertz’s Birth Record: Freeing the Spirit in the Fraktur

Every time I hold a Pennsylvania Dutch illuminated manuscript in my hands, the text begins to pulsate with life. A bit of history has long been waiting to escape the confines of the paper, and it’s so much fun to bring the words to life.  First I have to transcribe the Fraktur and/or German script; assess the information; and finally research names, dates, places, and possibly quotes with the hope that I’ll find enough material to free the spirit in the Fraktur and resurrect a person, or a cultural moment in time that would otherwise not see the light of day.

Ill. 1 Elisabet Mertz Fraktur B

Ill. 1 Elisabet Mertz Fraktur, Courtesy of Goschenhoppen Historians

Such is the case with one very exciting birth record recently gifted to the Goschenhoppen Historians Fraktur, Manuscript and Rare Books collection by an anonymous donor. The Fraktur was made for Elisabet Mertz (1777-1848), born to Johan Jacob Mertz (1741-1811) and his wife Catarina (1747-1826), née Schelkopf, on July 11, 1777. The manuscript measures 8 x 13 inches; is hand-drawn, hand-colored, hand-lettered with ink and watercolor on laid paper. Water damage, and traces of scotch tape used to repair a major central horizontal tear are evident. Subsequently someone attempted to rectify this tear by mounting the piece on pressed board. The work is a candidate for conservation, and it is hoped that this can be undertaken in the near future.

Prominent decorative elements include tulip vines with red, green, and yellow blooms.  On each side a vine rises vertically out of a double-handled brown and yellow pot to frame a quintet of birds. Three are perched on an undulating banderole that runs horizontally across the upper middle portion of the work and is supported at either end by two vertical green stems: The central bird is red and green, faces left, and is flanked by two much larger inward facing brown and orange singing birds. There is a Fraktur text that has been penned in red ink within the banderole. At the bottom two more singing birds face inwards, flanking a heart from which yellow and red blooming tulip vines flow symmetrically to the left and right. Centered between the upper text banderole and the lower bird scene is the birth record in black Fraktur script:

[Original]
Elisabet wurd geboren den 11 July 1777 seine | Eltern waren der ehrbare Johan Jacob Mertz und Seine Hauß frau | Catarina p Tauf zeigen war die Ehrbare Friedricke Schelkobin

[Translation]
Elisabet was born on July 11, 1777. Her parents were the honorable Johan Jacob Mertz and his housewife Catarina, etc. Baptismal sponsor was the honorable Friedricke Schelkob [Schellkopf].

A sawtooth border in yellow, green and brown (damaged around outer edges) encloses this imaginative and picturesque work. Unusually vibrant and fresh colors indicate that care has been taken to keep it out of sunlight. The last owner purchased the illuminated manuscript at the Pennypacker Auction Center, Reading PA in May 1971. Oh, that more were known about its provenance!

Elisabet’s birth record is unusual in a number of ways.  Firstly, most all texts found on illuminated manuscripts are taken either from the Bible or religious poetry.  The text that appears in this Fraktur, however, was chosen intentionally from a morally-oriented secular text [1] to inspire others to live righteously on earth.  The banderole phrase is taken from a very popular book of manners for young people written by Johann Leonhard Rost (1688-1727), an astronomer and poet who spent most of his life in Nuremberg, Germany.  When not writing treatises on astronomy, Rost amused himself by writing romance novels about the nobility and improving the manners of gentile off-spring under the

[Original]
Wer sich läst Welt und wolust freuen den wirts dort ewig reuen Peter Scheurer

[Translation]
He who delights in temporal pleasures here, will eternally regret them there. Peter Scheurer

pseudonym Meletaon.  One would not expect a quote from his Well Considered and Newly Conceived Book of Manners [… ] for the Pleasure and Instruction of Young People, [2] published in Nuremberg in 1739, to appear on a Fraktur birth record produced in or around rural Ruscombmanor Township in Berks County Pennsylvania in 1777.  Please note that original church records situate the church in Ruscombmanor Township.[3]  Elsewhere one finds references to its location in Rockland Township.  The Book of Manners was illustrated with copper engravings, and it is on the second engraving that we find the referred to passage warning children of impending doom if they enjoy too much of the world’s pleasures.

Engraving from J L Rost’s Book of Manners: In Hell; In Paradise

Ill. 2 Engraving from J L Rost’s Book of Manners: In Hell; In Paradise

The same hand that wrote Rost’s quote on the banderole also signed Peter Scheurer at its end.  Although he is not known to have been a Fraktur  artist/scrivener, Peter Scheurer and Johann Jacob Mertz, along with their families worshiped together at the Mertz Church.  The many Scheurers who were members of this church were most likely friends of the Mertz family.  Peter also appears in the church records as a sponsor for baptisms during the same time period as the Fraktur was created. It is quite possible, therefore, that Peter Scheurer was signing the document as its artist/scrivener.

Elisabet Mertz was an important addition to a very special family. Her grandparents were Johann Heinrich Merz (1708-1788) and Anna Maria, née Rosmann, who are known to have emigrated from Württemberg to Pennsylvania in 1733, and to have donated the land on which Christ Church was built. The church itself was organized in 1747 by Rev. Tobias Wagner, who began the Evangelical Lutheran Church Records with the first five births and baptisms of this couple’s children. The initial three children were Johann Philipp, Johann Wilhelm, and Johann Jacob, the latter of whom was born 18 August and baptized on 30 August 1741. It is interesting to note that one of the sponsors at his baptism was Anna Magdalena Scheur. Johann Jacob married Catarina Schelkopf, and is known to have served in the American Revolution in Captain Crouse’s Company from 1777-1778 (Second Battalion). Unlike his siblings he never strayed from his place of birth. Both his wife and he are buried in the Mertz Church Cemetery
(Row 1, graves 35, 36).

Tombstone of Catarina (née Schelkopf) Mertz

Ill. 3a Tombstone of Catarina (née Schelkopf) Mertz

Catarina’s maiden name, as is clearly discernable on the tombstone that appears online at the Find a Grave website,[4] was Schelkopfin,[5] not Schaller. It is not known when this image was posted on Find a Grave, but in the interim acid rain has erased the gravestone lettering. The face of the stone as of June 2015 is almost completely blank.

Ill. 3b Christina Mertz's tombstone with acid rain damage and Johann Jacob Mertz's replaced gravemarker d

Ill. 3b Christina Mertz’s tombstone with acid rain damage and Johann Jacob Mertz’s replaced grave marker

Knowing Catarina’s surname before marriage helps to solve another curious peculiarity of Elisabet’s Fraktur. The name of her baptismal sponsor appearing on the illuminated manuscript is Friedricke Schelkobin, but in the church records Friederica Emertin.  An entry in the church birth and

Ill. 4 Birth & Baptismal Entry in Mertz Evangelical Lutheran Church Records

Ill. 4 Elisabetha Mertz Birth & Baptismal Entry in Mertz Evangelical Lutheran Church Records

baptismal records confirms that Friederica Emert must have been very pregnant when she stood for Elisabet on 10 August 1777, for she gave birth to a baby girl Maria three days later on 13 August 1777. The father and mother are listed as the deceased Emert; wife Friederica. Catarina Mertz’s and Friederica Emert’s surname before marriage was Schelkopf (Schelkob; Schellkopp), and were more than likely sisters.

Ill. 5 Maria Ebert Birth & Baptismal Entry in Mertz Evangelical Lutheran Church Records

Ill. 5 Maria Ebert Birth & Baptismal Entry in Mertz Evangelical Lutheran Church Records

At present very little is known about Elisabet except that she grew up attending Mertz Church, stayed in the same vicinity, and married perhaps a cousin whose name was also, like her father’s, Jacob Mertz (1774-1845). Both are buried in the New Jerusalem Union Cemetery in Fleetwood, Berks County, Pennsylvania.


Endnotes
[1] For another example see Del-Louise Moyer, “Amyntas, The Story of Christina Schneider’s 1777 Vorschrift,” Der Reggeboge: The Journal of the Pennsylvania German Society (Kutztown, Pennsylvania, 2012), Vol. 46, no. 1, pp. 53-67.
[2] Johann Leonhard Rost, Die wohlangerichtete, neuerfundene Tugendschule, in welcher 24 anmuthige Historien zu erlaubter Gemüths-Ergöztung der Jugend auf eine erbaulich Art vorgetragen und mit nützlichen Anmerkungen und Lehren begleitet werden (Nürnberg 1739/ Nürnberg: Bieling, 1800 ), second copper engraving.
[3] See:  Evangelisch Lutherische kirchen buch von die Gemeinde in Ruscombmanner und die umligende nachbarschaft, Ms. at Christ Mertz Church, Dryville, Pennsylvania.
[4] Find a Grave: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=53657558&PIpi=29550788 (accessed 1 June 2015).
[5] An –in at the end of the surname in German signifies female gender, but is not included in the English translation.

Many thanks to Sandra Highouse and Bob Wood of the Goschenhoppen Historians, as well as Eleanor Dreibelbis, Pastor Cheryl Meinschein, and Stef Boyer of Mertz Evangelical Lutheran Church at Dryville, PA.

© Del-Louise Moyer  2015