from England to America
Just before stepping into the coach, Elisabeth did something that surprised everyone. Johann offered to help her get into her seat by reaching out his hand, but she did not take it and reached for something else inside the coach. Johann was a little puzzled at first, but he could see what she was after, and he gave her a smile of approval. With her left hand still in the coach, Elisabeth motioned to Peter with her right. And in a whisper, she said to him, “I have noticed that you are a very bright young man, and you have the same curiosity of my cats back home.”
Her manors were so pleasant, and she talked directly to Peter, making him feel very comfortable. He followed her directions and joined Johann and her at the coach. The horses stirred a little as he approached them because he had jumped over a stump to get there. He took one more half stumble, and he joined them. Elisabeth held out her hand, “here let me help you” she giggled, I” have something for you.”
“here let me help you”
She had been watching Peter’s reaction when he saw a glass cup for the first time. His amazement really got her attention, and now she wanted his. She said, “nothing is sweeter than love, nothing higher, nothing stronger, nothing larger, nothing more joyful, nothing fuller, and nothing better in heaven or on earth.” Elisabeth put her hand on Peter’s shoulder as she gave him something wrapped in a cloth. She leaned over and whispered this time in Peter’s ear, “here, take this with you to remember the love we all shared today.”
Peter eagerly opened the cloth, and she continued saying, “I watched you, Peter, admiring this cup. And it gave my heart great joy, and now I receive even greater joy by giving it to you.” Opening the cloth, he saw it was the cup. The very same cup they had shared during the communion meal together. She smiled and said, “the nourishment of the body is food, while the nourishment of the soul is feeding others.” Peter could hardly speak, but he did, “thanks be to you, and pray tell me, how, you being a maiden, can you talk so smart like these men?”
Her answer was this, “If it were customary to send maidens to school and teach them the same subjects as are taught the boys. Then they would learn just as fully and would understand the subtleties of all the arts and sciences.”
woman with a cup
Elisabeth then put her arm around Peter and said one more thing. She spoke to him as if no one was there but the two of them. The lady talked to him like the mother he never got to know. She spoke to him with a love he could feel. “Keep this cup, Peter. Keep it safe and remember this day and the Lord’s supper. Then when you have your own family, your children, you can pass it on to them.” She smiled at him, but he was not too sure how to take what she was saying. He was not ready to have a family just yet.
the communal meal
But when he did have his own family, Peter remembered that day very well. He celebrated the Lord’s supper once a month with his family. While Peter broke the bread and passed the cup, he told the story of his first communion meal. He took special care of the cup, and his children looked at it while he spoke. Peter and his wife Anna Klink had 6 children together Johann Henrich, Maria Elizabeth, Eva Dorothea, Johann George, Juliana, and Johann Ludwig (1685 to 1746, 7th great grandfather.)
Johann Ludwig’s place of birth 1685
Peter gave his three sons the same first name of Johann after Martin Luther’s son Johann. It was a life-altering experience for Peter the day they met, even though it only lasted a moment in time. He wanted his sons to never forget and pass on the story about Johann so, he named each of them after him. Johann Peter, Johann Samuel, and Johann Ludwig Knauss.
Peter told many stories about the family’s past and tried to direct his children’s future paths. He had picked up the torch of storytelling from his father after he passed on. Knauss had told his son Peter when he was young, “a tale is but half told when only one person tells it.”
a medieval peasant family
He told the tales his father told him around the fire at night. He acted out the parts while playing a small lute. Peter thought to himself that he was not as good at it as his father was, but all the children love his performances. They said that “he was the biggest kid in the family.”
tales around the fire
Peter could remember how things used to be simpler when his father told the stories back then. The struggle of just living did not seem so hard back then as it had become now. Even in their tribe, there was a division of thinking. Some insisted on following the ways of the Roman Catholic Church. Others in the tribe found being released from the church’s control over everyday life to be a blessing.
The tribe rather quickly dissolved into separate families, all going in different directions. It seemed to Peter that his people did not talk to each other like they used to do. They were all more concerned with their lot in life and had less concern for others. Some members had left the tribe and moved on seeking out a living, any way they could.
The land that Peter and his family called home was good for its inhabitants, many of whom were farmers or owned vineyards. But unfortunately, its location was subject to invasion by the armies of Britain, France, and Germany. They did not leave much for the peoples that lived there and called this place home.
Thirty years war 1618 – 1648
During the 30 year war of 1618-1648, Peter Lee served in the Imperial Bavarian and Swedish Armies. He survived and returned home and became a small time farmer like his father before him. Peter Lee was appointed Capt. of the militia in his community. The first day on the job, he and his militia provided crowd control during the trial of a local witch. It was not clear what happened with the girl but Peter Lee was forced to watch when Margarett Kranz-called Black Margaret was beheaded. He said to himself, “I am a witness to how unjust mankind can be to their own kind.”
Imperial German forces during the Thirty Years War
The Protestant Reformation swept across Germany and Europe and many of Luther’s followers found themselves under considerable religious persecution. Peter Lee’s youngest son was baptized, Johann Ludwig Knauss at Dudelsheim, Germany in 1685. He had a thirst for reading the word and just like his fathers before him, he could tell a good story. On February 16, 1706, Johann Ludwig Knauss married 19-year-old Anna Margaretha Gorlach in Dudelsheim, Hesse, Germany. He was only 20 years old but already the tribe recognized him as a man of great faith. Johann Ludwig was a lover of music and he would often put memorized Bible verses to song. He knew who his father had named him after and he felt a responsibility to live up to that name. He was known as a man of prayer and he was very generous with whatever he had.
Johann Ludwig and his family, along with other families that shared the same beliefs, gathered together in what was known as the Palatine. The people came from many different placed but they all shared a common view on the new religious movement.
gathered together for safety
Johann Ludwig and Anna were blessed with a son born on October 6, 1714, Palatinate, Germany. For generations the people of the Palatinate selected strong names for their children, especially names for their sons. Peter Lee had chosen the first name of Johann for all his sons. This name was very popular, and it occurs upwards of eight thousand times out of thirty thousand immigrants listed in America. Johann has the meaning, “the gracious gift of God or the mercy of the Lord.” And Ludwig which has the meaning, “one who is renowned, celebrated or famous, a bold warrior.”
Keeping up with tradition Johann Ludwig and Anna named their new son Sabastian Heinrich Knauss (1714 to 1777, 6th great grand-father.) Sabastian means, “exalted, elevated, venerated, worshipful, reverend.” Heinrich tells of a courageous man, a spirited hero, possessing a large portion of courage, to overcome. Names were very important to these tribal peoples. Sebastian Heinrich was born in the village of Tittelsheim on October 6 1714 and baptized on the next day. His parents Johann Ludwig and Anna were of the Reformed faith.
Sabastian Heinrich Knauss was born here 1714
The Palatinate lay on the western edge of the Holy Roman Empire not far from France’s eastern boundary. The ruler of Bohemia called the “Winter King” led a struggle with the Protestants against the Roman Catholic Church, and he precipitated in the Thirty Years War that lasted from 1619 until 1648. The Palatinate was badly battered, and the land was left to waste. The armies had taken what little there was to harvest.
the Thirty Years War
The war was fought over politics and religious hatreds. Johann Ludwig and his people just wanted to be left alone to their own beliefs, but Roman Catholic armies were out to crush their religious freedom. All over Germany the peoples were under the sword. They were being pillage and plundered as unpaid armies and bands of mercenaries swept back and forth across the land. The world as they knew it was on fire and devouring the substance of their existence. Johann Ludwig became a refugee in his own land and his only option was to emigrate.
the location of Palatinate homeland
His people began to talk about a better chance at life waiting for them in the new world, on the shores of America. Most of the refugees in Palatinate all had the same goals. They simply wanted a free and safe environment to rise their families. This was becoming more and more impossible in their homeland. For these reasons groups of people traveled down the rivers west to the ocean to reach a ship to take them away to freedom, liberty, and the right to choose one’s own path and destiny.
map of the new world
The scene was set for a mass migration. Johann Ludwig heard the news that was spreading not only across Palatine but across all western Europe. There was the chance of land ownership in the new world of America. All the land of Europe had been owned and controlled by the rich elite for centuries. The peasant farmers that worked the fields had no right to the bounty they produced or the homes they lived in. The thought of being able to raise your family on property that you self-owned was unheard of.
the peasant farmers
Johann Ludwig and his people remembered that a few years back in the spring of 1709 about 7000 harassed Palatines had enough. They left their homes, the dearest spot on earth, where their heart always returns. They left their close nit family and familiar surroundings and traded it all for a chance of a better life in the new world. They had heard the message of William Penn, pamphlets descriptive of his “Holy Experiment” were printed in English, Dutch, and German, and were scattered over South Germany. All the conditions were ripe for a speedy settlement of Penn’s province in Pennsylvania. So, at the invitation of Queen Ann they sailed down the Rhine river to Rotterdam and sailed on to America.
William Penn’s treaty with the Indians,
when he founded the province of Pennsylvania
Johann Ludwig had read the books and papers that were dispersed in the Palatinate. The Queen’s picture was on the book, and in gold letters it was called, “The Golden Book”. It was to encourage the Palatines to come to England, so they could be sent to one of Her Majesty’s colonies, to be settled there. But Johann Ludwig did not come with the first wave of immigrants. The first ones to leave were in a destitute condition. Once they arrived in England they became completely depended upon the charity of the people in England to provide for all their needs.
A large number that came to England, in 1709, and after having suffered great privations, returned half naked and in despondency to their native country of Germany. Thousands died for want of sustenance, medical attendance, and from other causes. Many perished while traveling on ships and were buried at sea. The survivors were transported to the English colonies in America. Several immigrants had embarked for the Silly Islands south-west of England, but they never reached their intended destination and were presumed to be lost a sea.
lost at sea
Shortly after Penn returned from America to England he made his third visit to Germany. Johann Ludwig did not hear him speak in person, but his message reached his ears. The people of the Palatines had been under persecution from one force or another most all their memory. Penn promised great opportunities were awaiting those who would emigrate to the land of promise in America. He was on a religious pilgrimage, preaching the tenets of the Quakers, whose society as a religious sect he founded.
The German converts to Quakerism had learned to honor and trust Penn. Some of their kinsmen came along with him on his third visit back to the Palatinate. They proclaimed to them his province in Pennsylvania had already established civil and religious liberty. Some interested parties who had visited the colonies returned to their homes in Europe and gave the most glowing and exaggerated accounts of the newly found paradise.
early map of America
The people did not hesitate long to leave their desolate homes in the land of their ancestors. For more than a hundred years these people had been victims of the fiercest religious and political persecution that, other than the Jewish Nation, was ever inflicted on any people in the world’s history. There were many families that left the comfort of their homes, rushed to the nearest seaport and embarked for the Americas. Despite their greatest effort and sacrifices many only found disappointment and frequently regretted ever leaving their homeland.
the Palatine Immigration
From 1682 to 1776, Pennsylvania was the central point of emigration from Germany, France and Switzerland. Penn’s liberal views, and illiberal course of the government of New York toward the Germans, induced many to come to this Province.
William Penn’s Pennsylvania
The homeland of Johann Ludwig and his father Peter Lee had faced the unparalleled ravages and desolations by the troops of Louis XIV. Now it was clear to him that a bloody persecution would soon follow. To escape the dreadful sufferings awaiting them, German and other Protestants emigrated to the English colonies in America.
There was a tidal wave of “New lander” emigration from Europe to the shores of America and many different dreams road on that wave. There were many reasons for migrating, merchants and importers contributed much to induce Germans to leave their homes. Shipowners saw sources of large profit in the transportation of emigrants and they employed every means of attracting them.
the pilgrimage to America
Yet among them was another class of people that were active in prevailing upon the inhabitants of Germany to abandon their country for the new world. These speculators, resorted to diverse arts to affect their purposes. They gave these New landers, whom they desired to abandon their homes, assurances, endorsed by solemn promises, that the, “new garden of Edan” had at last been found in America.
The offer of an asylum in Penn’s province came at an opportune time. The Palatinates were longing for some spot-on earth, where they could go and live in peace, freed from their cruel oppressors. Penn pointed to his province in America as the solution of the problem which confronted them. He wanted colonists, and the Palatinates wanted to leave their desolate and ruined homes in the land of their birth. Under such circumstances the start of the emigration from the Patatinate was easy.
1681 title page of William Penn’s
invitation to Pennsylvania–written in German
Like the generations that came before him, Johann Ludwig was tired of religious persecution by the church. Political oppression was driving him, along with thousands, to Pennsylvania. He told his people, “take what you can carry, and onward to the asylum from the harassed and depressed sons and daughters of the relics of the Reformation.” Johann Ludwig was very outspoken about the Luther movement. Peter Lee, his father, had a passion for Luther’s message and he passed on this passion to him. Both men felt very blessed to know the truth of the Gospels and have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Like his father, Johann Ludwig was found many times alone on his knees in prayer. He was the undesignated spiritual leader among his community. Johann Ludwig felt the responsibility and he carried it well.
Johann Ludwig also heard the other side of the story from people who had been to America and had come back to their homeland. He had spoken directly to a man named Wolfgang and he told him, “I took my entire family and put them under the trust and leadership of the notorious John Law.” Wolfgang went on to say, “he misled my people by promising that the garden of Eden was waiting for us on the banks of the Father of the Western Water.” The man broke down and sobbed uncontrollably. It took Johann Ludwig several minutes before he could calm him down enough to be able to continue telling his sad story.
After he had a few sips of water Wolfgang was able to say, “John Law dropped us off on the land bridge at Biloxi near Mobile. We were left there exposed to the weather without any shelter or enough provisions. We had no protection against many different foes that did not want us there. For over 5 years there was no way to leave that place. Not one of us entered the promised paradise.” As in all new countries, the Palatines were exposed to trials, privations and hardships of trying to settle on land that is already occupied. Johann Ludwig had already heard by word of mouth the story about one hundred of them were massacred by the Tuskarora Indians, Sept 22, 1707.
colonists and Indians at war
Johann Ludwig ask him, “what happened to your family?” He was not ready to hear what Wolfgang told him next.
“Two thousand of my people were consigned to the grave. I lost my wife and two small children in the first year.” Again, sobbing Wolfgang cried out, “I had no time to grieve them for the fight just to stay alive each day was a battle itself.” He told them that, “far as I could tell there was about three hundred of us pallid survivors and we finally seated on the banks of the Mississippi about thirty or forty miles above New Orleans. Our hopes were to catch a ship back to our homeland before the new world took us all.”
Johann Ludwig and all who head this man were faced with a serious decision. They all had to choose between excepting things the way they were or taking a big unknown risk at a chance of getting to America safely. Johann Ludwig was not about to put his family in more harms way. He would have to put some great thought and prayer into his decision for his future.
John Law had, through his agents, engaged twelve thousand Germans and Swiss to leave everything, trust him, and go to America. Johann Ludwig was not going to make the same mistake. The sad fate of those of Biloxi was spread abroad, which deterred others from coming to participate in the promised blessings of the Edan fields, or to possess the Eldorado.
the fabled city of gold Eldorado
These stories filtered back to Johann Ludwig’s homeland. Their telling was quite worrisome to each man, woman, and child that was looking towards America for a better chance at living. What was the right thing to do? They were being driven from their country and their homes, because of their unswerving attachment to the principles of the Gospel. Johann Ludwig called for a group prayer to express their unfeigned gratitude to the Lord, who had been to them a storing rock, a house of defense to save them from the world.
One of his fondest memories of his father Peter Lee, was the communion celebratory meal that he served once a month to each member of his family. The cup that Elisabeth Luther had given to a young Peter Lee had been passed on to Johann Ludwig when both men were older. The story that was passed down of the Knauss family’s first communion meal was very real and personal to Johann Ludwig, it was as if it had happened to him. He remembered his father’s voice was so full of hope and blessed assurance with each telling. The family gathering together and celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was a bond that could not be broken.
Johann Ludwig always trusted his father’s teachings and he relied on that knowledge to make his decisions now as a husband, and father himself. But, his family now included other families that trusted and relied on him to make the right decision. What he should do next was obvious to him.
He asked all his people to gather together, sit down, bow their heads, and have a word of prayer with him. When everyone was still he prayed, “Our precious Heavenly Father Jesus Christ, we know you are the creator of all things.” He was forced to pause before continuing because he got a little choked up. Johann Ludwig had a personal relationship with Jesus and he felt humbled just saying his name.
the creation of the world
He began again, “by your word we know the truth through the Gospels and we are thankful for all who have passed this on to us.” He paused to think, then he spoke softly, “like little children, we can come to you when we have a problem and pretend to just drop it in a basked at your feet. We know you hear and answer all our prayers, Lord. We know you always give us one of three answers, yes, no, or wait. We can not wait any longer, Lord. So, bless us while we unite together as one people and move to this land that is promised there for us in America.”
He took out his bible and read to them, as their heads were still bowed, “We will put on the Whole Armor of God, so we may stand and defend ourselves against all our enemies. We will gird our loins with the Truth and put on the Breastplate of Righteousness. Our feet will be shod with the Gospel of Peace and we will stand together against the wisdom of the Devil. In Jesus’s name we pray, Amen.” One by one each person lifted their heads after they had finished their own personal pray to the Lord.
Then Johann Ludwig took out a small leather bag from his bedroll. Inside was the small glass cup he saw his father use many times. As he looked at it again, it held the same beauty that his father saw in it many years before. After dusting it off, he carefully set it down using a rock for a table. Just how he found a small bit of dry bread was a mystery to everyone, and he used the river’s water for the wine. After the meal he put the glass cup back into it’s safe place ready for travel.
From the very beginning of the Knauss family there was a character personality trait that was passed down through-out the generations. This was the willingness to leave one’s home at the time and emigrate to some other land. They would take root and build new homes for themselves and their children and their children’s children. It was this inner-being that led them to trade their native country of the Palatinates for Pennsylvania.
The scarcity of land in Europe forced peoples to look toward the open spaces in the new world. Social and religious conditions became intolerable, unacceptable and unlivable to them. Famine and war had left the land so desolate it was unable to support the Knauss family and the other people that lived there. It was all this, that in the eighteenth century sent the Palatinates and Swiss to Pennsylvania.
famine and war left the land desolate
Now, new and very scary stories were being spread around Johann Ludwig’s community. They told of terrible mistreatment by the military along with some of the local people on their own neighbors. Families were being forced out of their homes and put into boats, canoes, and just on rafts, to be set adrift in the river. These people were being sent anywhere down stream with out a paddle. There was also reports of persons being thrown into the river left there to drown. Johann Ludwig knew he could not wait any longer and he made his decision to pack up his family and follow William Penn to the new world.
Rhine river travel
Johann Ludwig was a great fisherman and he always had his own boat. This time when he shoved off from shore he knew he would never land his boat there again on his homeland. He had only one regret, “I wish we had a bigger boat, so we could take more people with us, hopefully to a safer spot.”
1600’s Rhine river map
The trip down the Rhine took the Knauss family 6 weeks to get to their destination at the sea port. All along the trip, as they floated through different territories, tolls and fees were demanded by the authorities or they would not let them pass. Each member of the family saved what ever they could to help pay for the journey to America. Sometime their stored food stock and dried fruit had bought them more than gold or silver could. All the peoples in that area were hungry, and food was more precious than precious metals.
six weeks on the river
The Johann Ludwig Knauss family, along with a small band of his persecuted brethren, Mennonite German immigrants, embarked to America in the year 1723. There were twelve families comprising men of various order and occupation, including both clergy and physician, farmers, carpenters, and trades men. They were all ready to risk it all for a chance of a better life in the New World. They had heard the stories of fortune and tragedy, but they were still willing to take the risk of the long and dangerous voyage traveling across the Atlantic Ocean. They stood together and held onto the belief that thru their prayers for the Lord’s guiding hand, and with their faith in Him, He would protect them on their journey.
Many of the immigrants were too poor to pay for the journey and therefore indentured themselves to wealthier colonialists – selling their services for a period of years in return for the price of the passage. When one has served his or her term, he or she is entitled to a new suit of clothes at parting; and if it has been so stipulated, a man gets in addition a horse, a woman, a cow.
It often happened that whole families, husband, wife, and children, are separated by being sold to different purchasers, especially when they have not paid any part of their passage money. Johann Ludwig thank the Lord that he had enough money to pay for his whole family.
None of the stories that they all heard had prepared them for the misery of sea travel that typically lasted seven weeks. The immigrants and families from different parts of Europe were overcrowded into a small wooded ship, rocking and rolling at the mercy of the sea.
alone at sea
Men, women and children, endured hardships and tried to survive living in terrible misery. Because of the cramped quarters there was nowhere aboard the vessel to avoid the horrible stench of man and animal. Each passenger experienced seasickness, vomiting and dysentery. Many died miserably from the lack of provisions and very bad foul drinking water. The lice thrived so terribly, particularly on sick individuals, that they could be scraped off the body.
Passengers and sailors alike were always too cold or to hot living in dampness and anxiety. Each hour Johann Ludwig was awake he tried to encourage his brethren to stay strong for their families. “The Lord Jesus himself is with us, any time there is two or more gathered together in My name sake I AM there also” he told them, and he believed this.
Children under the age of seven years rarely survived such a treacherous voyage. If a child had not been exposed before, they easily caught measles or smallpox on board the ship and most of them died from it. Their parents are forced to watch as their children miserably suffer and die from hunger, thirst, and sickness, and then see them cast into the water. Johann Ludwig watched and prayed over as no less than thirty-two children who were thrown into the sea during his passage.
Women in this confinement had to bear the suffering of their innocent children during the trip from Europe to America and few escaped with their lives. Many a mother was cast overboard into the sea still clutching her child as soon as they were both dead. One day during a heavy gale a woman was to give birth but was not able to under the circumstances. At the extreme objection of the passengers led by Johann Ludwig, the men working the ship pushed her out through a porthole and dropped her into the ocean because she was far in the rear of the ship and could not be brought forward in the rough seas. Sharks were always present over the side rails. They were used to following slave ships as they ejected their dead and it would only be moments before a body would be pulled under the water deep out of sight.
sharks at sea
Their faith was tested when a gale raged for two days and three nights. The wooded ship was tossed around out of the control of its navigators. Every rope and board that held the small ship together was tested to its endurance and you could hear them cracking and moaning. Each person believed that the ship would go to the bottom of the sea with all on board. There was someone praying all the time, a voice heard over in the corner, someone shouting “God Save Us”, or that silent prayer said only to one’s self.
A report of a leak in the boat reached the passengers and death seemed inevitable. All able body men were called to duty to help the sinking ship either with stopping the leak or bailing out the water that was coming in. Every effort was made to save the ship, but after resorting to every possible proposition without success, all persons left alive expected the ship would soon sink. When they had exhausted all ideas of finding and fixing the leak Johann Ludwig tried to hold his people together.
the ruff voyage
He gathered to himself as many that could and told them, “I have been thinking that perhaps it might be encouraging to us to pray for future generations of the Knauss family that have not yet been born. We must remember our history and pass on the truthful information relative to our ancestors. Thereby to trace the goodness and faithfulness of a convent-keeping God. He will preserve himself a people in this lineage for many generations.”
all aboard the ship in peril
The seas were so rough now that Johann Ludwig had to stop speaking and even thought he was setting down he still had to stabilize himself from falling over before he continued, “I pray that the succeeding descendants of this family may recognize that faithfulness of God in covenant-keeping and mercy with their ancestors. These men and women walked before HIM in truth and we humbly hope and trust that Almighty God will reserve in this family a seed to serve HIM from one generation to another until Christ shall appear the second time without sin to salvation.”
At this time even the very sick and all the children now fell upon their knees on the flooded floor and prayed to God. They prayed for a time that every minute seemed like hours. As they prayed the water around them slowly stopped rising and it started going down a little as the men kept bailing with whatever they could. The leak had stopped, and each person aboard said, “Thank you Lord” in their own personal way. After the storm had passed, they were able to sail for two days more before they reached dry land in America.
They landed at Philadelphia with seventy souls that survived the voyage. After landing, an examination was made of the ship, and to their astonishment it was found that a large shark had thrust its head through the opening in the ship’s hull were the leak was.
Philadelphia immigrant city
Johann Ludwig told his family that, “the shark had become an instrument in the hand of God in preserving their lives.” This loathsome fish was already in a state of decomposing, only the head remained, the rest of the body had probably been eaten by other sharks. This dead carcass could not have held back the leak if their voyage had lasted another day.
After getting resupplied the twelve families traveled many miles into the forest and bought a section of land from the Indians to set up their new township. They cut out a nice settlement from the virgin forest, but after a time the Indians title was proven a fraud. The land they had settled on was the possession of another tribe and they came to drive them away.
buying land from the Indians
Johann Ludwig and his family had a good and friendly relationship with the original Indian tribe. Each group of peoples benefited from trade between them. These friendly Indians were warmly attached to these foreign speaking white settlers. They gave them timely warning to leave the settlement because the other tribes were going to burn it down. The Indians told Johann Ludwig, “know your days by the fingers on your hands.”
trading with the Indians
Anna Knauss his wife, very discreetly secured a large quantity of silver and gold from a hiding place in their cabin and along with her children the entire settlement left for Boston. Johann Ludwig having so much confidence in the friendship of the Indians, and not wanting to leave the settlement unguarded, ventured to stay behind and see how the situation would play out.
a night ride to safety
Johann Ludwig could not think that those friendly Indians would take his life, or even compel him to leave, but in this he was badly mistaken. Finally, the chief of the other tribe along with ten of his braves stood before his cabin and gave him a ten days-notice.
“leave our land or death”
They said to him in hand sigh language, “if you value your life, pack up and be gone.” They also told him that, “they should fire the settlement, and if he was not gone at the expiration of ten days,” the chief counted on his fingers and pointed to the ten braves, “then his time would be no more.” Each day as the sun was just rising the chief returned outside his cabin, with one less brave, and held up his fingers to let him know the number of days he could stay. Then they left him to make his own decision.
a war party
One friendly Indian that always help Johann Ludwig during the harvest time loved him dearly and he came to him every day during the ten-day-standoff counting each day a finger less. And as the Angles took hold of Lot to hurry him out of Sodom, so did the poor Indian hurry this crazy white man to leave the forest and save his life.
Johann was stubborn and regardless of all the warnings he tarried until the tenth day when the whole tribe came and fired their guns at his house. They were carrying burning torches and shooting flaming arrows onto his roof. He had already sent his wife with the valuables and the children to safety. In haste he threw a sack of wool upon his back, the only thing left worth anything, and fled for his life into the wilderness.
As he made his escape the Indians were in close pursuit. They constantly fired upon him long after he cleared the settlement. The shooting only stopped about a mile outside of Boston and he rejoined his family there. Anna his wife took from his back the sack of wool and found deposited therein seven bullet balls and an equal number of holes in the bag.
Anna Knauss proclaimed to her husband, “this simple sack of wool was another instrument in the hands of God saving his life and preserving the Knauss posterity in America.” She looked upon her misfortune as grievous to born, and in bitterness of soul she would often exclaim, “Alas, alas, what have I come to”
Johann Ludwig after his escape from the Indians, was gracious to let renew the past, and in tracing the providence of God in the preservation of his life by land and by sea. And in the view of so much prosperity he dedicated himself to the service of Almighty God. He had been converted by Martin Luther’s preaching, in his own mind he was saved two times by the Holy Spirit, and he was soon after ordained a preacher of righteousness by the elders.
The Knauss family finally settled in Whitemarsh county, Pennsylvania. There Johann Ludwig became a land owner, being mentioned among 47 landholders in 1734, at which time he was the owner of 100 acres of land. He also dropped the first name of Johann and went by the name Ludwig. He told his family, “I will start with a new name in this new world.”
old Battle of Whitemarsh map 1777
There would also be new members added to the Knauss family. Ludwig and Anna had 14 other children together. As the family spread out they always stayed in touch writing letters whenever they could, and keeping safe the ones they had received to be read over-and-over again. All the Knauss family children took great pride in their penmanship. They were also very good readers and had a strong knowledge of the Bible.
Ludwig donated some land and helped fall the trees to build the first log cabin church. And in July 1728 he was deacon in the Whitemarsh Reformed Church. But this church dispersed in 1746 because of the dwindling membership. He is included in a list of Germans who were naturalized 1738-1739 the Philadelphia records.
log cabin church
James Logan the Colonial Secretary voiced his concerns about the great influx of German emigrants, “They are unscrupulous about complying with the rules of the Land Office. They come here in crowds, and as bold indigent strangers from Germany, where many of them have been soldiers. All these people go on the best vacant lands and seize upon them as common spoil.” Logan went on to complain that they rarely approached him on their arrival for the purpose of purchasing land. He said, “They justify their right to occupy the land because they had been solicited by publications in Europe to come there and be colonists. They came in pursuance of those representations, without bringing with them the means with which to pay for any land.”
From 1735, settlements in Pennsylvania multiplied rapidly. It extended over vast regions, west of the Susquehanna, where the Scotch-Irish had led the way through the wilderness. The German settlement kept pace with the native peoples.
Susquehanna seller map
While the Spanish and French war in 1746, was being fought, some settlements were laid to ashes by Indians down from Canada. Some of the settlers were massacred, others were abducted and taken far away from their homes. There were a few that made their escape and were dispersed in the north.
But, most all of these people were never heard from again. A great many died from the ill-treatment received at the hands of the native people. They thought the settlers were invaders and squatters on their homeland. The raided settlements remained in ruins for years.
The native people called the mountain range that extended from the Delaware river hundreds of miles westward the Kautatnchk, (ca-oo-ta-tin-chunk). But, they were call the Blue Mountains by the New Landers. They did not find them to be an insurmountable barrier and they crossed over into the Indian homeland and laid out farms. They should have remembered in their own life experiences with invaders, the inhabitants, like themselves, will fight to keep their homes.
Now these immigrants from the Old-World oppression, were exposing their wives and children to the torch, hatchet, and scalping knife by the savages of the New-World. Hundreds fell victims to the relentlessly cruel savagery of the midnight assault and slaughter along the north and south of the Blue Mountains.
There was more than 300 Germans massacred by the hostile tribes. They had come to America and settled in Pennsylvanian about the same time the Ludwig Knauss family traveled there. Ludwig’s small group of families were well armed and banded together. They were familiar with defending themselves against marauding armies and mercenaries. All they had to do in the past was just cooperate with them a little and they might just leave them alone.
But, when they tried this with the native people the Indians saw this as a sigh of weakness. And with great force and cruelty they attacked. There was no communication between the Indians and the New Landers, just fighting on sight.
fighting between two peoples
Word count: 7,165