Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Johan Martin Obermüller

Genealogy has been an on-and-off passion for many years. I dabble a bit, get frustrated, and put it aside until later. Recently, in response to my Mother's desire to find out what her grandfather did for a living, I found this document

which answer'd her question as well as some of my own.

Johan Martin Obermüller and Maria Christiana Manbeck came to America and settled in York County, Pennsylvania. He was educated, but not so far from the land that he could not manage a farm. Now he and his wife lie under plain field stones about 14 miles from where my son is attending college. In Baden, Johan could have become a tutor to the children of a wealthy family, like the poet Hölderlin. Or he might have gone east to find a new life in the growing state of Prussia, where his descendants would have suffered a terrible fate in 1945.

Johan's youth was dominated by the Seven Years' War, and his adulthood by the Rebellion of England's 13 colonies. He found a refuge in school from French troops marching to fight Frederick the Great (his son was named Frederick). In America, his farm was close by the Continental Congress when it met in York in 1777. What did he think of them so close by? Did he even have time to care? Perhaps the survival of his family was enough to keep him occupied.

When Johan died in 1803, his little Frederick was only 7 years old. Was there enough time to pass on any more than a fading memory? Johan and Maria left their homeland to start a new life on the edge of their world, leaving one war only to find another. I do hope that they found some bit of the joy of life here on their farm near the Susquehanna River, the Rhine of Pennsylvania.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you found my Family Tree Maker link. I need to update it though.