Friday, October 25, 2013

The Road Back: A letter written in 1737 by two Studebaker immigrants ; Congenial Wild Indians, freed slaves and our Williams clan

Many thanks to Debbie Williams for finding, preserving, and sharing this important document.

Our Williams Family Line

 Studebaker History beginning 1605 to the Williams family

Most of this is quotes....
Life in early 18th Century Germany had become very difficult for anyone who valued their personal freedom. Wars, religious conflicts, rapacious rulers and a stifling guild system tended to make it difficult for anyone who desired a better life. Hearing of a freer life in the new world, a family named Staudenbecker decided they wanted to worship however they chose, and have more freedom for their personal lives. The Staudenbeckers were blade-makers in the City of Solingen, which was (and still is) famous for its cutlery. Leaving was not as simple as it might seem.

Fearful of exporting their blade-making skills, the cutlers guild required that anyone leaving the guild had to work at another trade for five years in another city before they could emigrate. The Staudenbeckers did so, and moved to Hagen, Germany for the required five years. In 1736 they finally were free to move to the new world. Two brothers, Clement and Peter, a cousin, Heinrich, and their families journeyed down the Rhine. Various petty noblemen stopped them every few miles and forced them to pay "tolls", which amounted to whatever they could extract from the traveler. An unconfirmed family tradition says that the highly skilled Staudenbeckers built false sides and bottoms in their luggage and shipping crates, where they hid the bulk of their money. Once they reached the sea, they booked passage on the Harle, arriving in Philadelphia. When they arrived, the immigration clerks, unfamiliar with German pronunciations, recorded their names as "Studenbecker." Other records recorded their names as Studebaker, Studibaker, Studabaker and other variations.

The three families began farming in what were then frontier lands. At this time, the French were stirring up their Shawnee and Delaware Indian allies against the English colonies. On March 3, 1756, they raided Heinrich's farm, south of Welsh Run Creek. Heinrich was killed almost immediately; his wife and three of his four children were taken prisoner. Eager to get out of the area before other settlers could come to the rescue, the Indians began a forced march in which they killed Heinrich's expectant wife and a baby. Years later, three of the children were rescued, and two of them eventually married and raised families.
Several of the Studebakers went into blacksmithing and wagon-making. They settled on a design which became world famous- the Conestoga wagon. With settlement in Ohio beginning to open up, they found a ready market for their wagons. Several Studebakers moved west in the early 1800's with many settling in southwestern Ohio. One of them, John Studebaker, began a blacksmith shop; he raised five sons who built wagons. Two of the sons, Clement and Henry, joined together as the Studebaker Wagon Company.
Another of the sons, John Mohler Studebaker, headed to California in 1853. Stories had come back to Ohio of men quickly gaining fabulous fortunes during the 1849 gold rush. When he arrived at what is now Placerville, California, he quickly realized that all of the good claims had long been taken. He also realized that an industrious man could make a better living by serving the needs of the miners than by panning for gold. John took his wagon-making skills and began making rugged, durable wheelbarrows. His sturdy wheelbarrows quickly became popular, and he acquired the nickname, "Wheelbarrow Johnny." When the gold boom receded, he took his profits and returned to Ohio. At home, the five brothers agreed to take John's $8,000 nest egg from California, expand operations as the Studebaker Wagon Corporation and begin building wagons on a large scale. The Studebaker wagons proved to be extremely durable, and the Studebaker Wagon Corporation was able to obtain contracts to build wagons for the Union army. During the Civil War, the reliability and ruggedness of the Studebaker wagons became legendary, and the Studebaker Corporation was on its way to a place in history.

The Road Back
(Edited from an article by Emmert Studebaker)
In 1962, two strangers were riding a cross-country train. A conversation started, and Ford Studebaker introduced himself to Al Studebaker. The two quickly realized that they were probably related. During their conversation, Ford mentioned that he had a copy of a letter written in 1737 by two Studebaker immigrants to unknown persons back in Germany. The letter had been discovered by a German researcher, Dr. Albert Schafer who published it. It was republished in America by Dr. Otto Piper of Princeton University, and by some means came into Ford Studebaker's possession.

Translated Text of The Letter
[Editor's notes in brackets]
America and Pennsylvania, October 16, 1737
Dearly beloved brothers, we received your esteemed writing dated March 21, 1737 of John Cueper, and we learn from it that you are in good health and prosper, a fact over which we heartily rejoice. Concerning ourselves, we are, thanks to God, well and in good health, too. As to your question regarding brother John, there is, thanks to God, no reason for complaint, for life is pleasant here. For we are better off than in Europe, because anyone who is willing to work can make a good living here, except for certain craftsmen.
The craftsmen are not organized here as with you. [The reference is probably to the toolmakers of the district from which the writers came]. Yet things could be better organized here, if only there were some masters here. For steel and iron are plentiful in this country. Good steel and iron and coal and grinding stones are imported from England, and the coal is for sale here as with you. Also there are many rivers.
Yet anybody who wants to work on a farm, can live a life without worries, for not much has to be paid to the sovereign, the maximum is six shillings per one hundred acres in the national currency. Some give corn and some give peppercorn and others give one shilling per one hundred acres and some don't pay anything, once the sovereign has received his money. Much that was bought from the late Count [William Penn], as indicated above, has to pay one shilling per one hundred acres.

Furthermore let me tell you how a poor man be able to come across, who lacks the money to pay the passage. There is the following agreement: If a man has children, he can put them into service. A boy has to remain in service until he is twenty one. The girl has to stay until eighteen years of age. For this, people pay a lot of money. In that way, a poor man is able to free himself and his wife.
Those, however, who have no children, must put themselves to service. In that case, they are given good food and drinking and clothing. Once the years of service are over, they receive fresh clothing from head to foot. And it is done very honestly and seemingly. If they are husband and wife they can get rid of their obligation in a short time.
Furthermore we have to write you how amazed we are about the difference that there is between this country and Germany. For the trees here are bearing good fruit in their branches and not wild ones. There are all kinds of apples, much better than with you, and whatever kind one wants. You should see the grain, and the turnips here are 7 lb. of weight and they taste much better than with you. This country is abundantly fertile.
Furthermore a word about the authorities. The authorities here are good ones. You can go to a person in authority in the same way as to a peasant. You don't have to take your hat off for a person in authority. They administer justice. Nobody suffers violence or injustice from them. They live a pious and God-fearing life. They don't harm or vex anybody as they do with you. When you sell something here, e.g., inheritance or tools, it does not concern the authorities.
When something is for sale here, the owner posts a notice by the wayside or in the street and in the inns. Over in Philadelphia, a notice is posted at the courthouse, as they call it in English, or in German language the chancery. However at Germantown it is posted at the marketplace halfway toward the Reformed Church. Also there is one who announces it publicly in the streets and fixes the day. Then people gather in great numbers. Then the goods are sold at auction to the highest bidder. With all these transactions the authorities are not concerned.

As far as religion in this country is concerned, it should be said that there are all kinds of faiths here. Firstly, where authority is as it were, within; congregations, in which they have no baptism, neither for infants nor for adults. Then there are also here whole congregations of Baptists and Seventh Day Baptists [i.e., Dunkers] who also practice adult baptism, and they keep their Sunday on Saturday, yet lead a good life. There are also many "monists" [Unitarians?] as well as Reformed and Lutherans, and also a few Catholics in Philadelphia, whom the late Count [William Penn] wanted to expel, but they insisted on the franchise granted to them by the late Lord. So he had to keep his peace. But afterwards both we and all new arrivals of the male sex must go to the town hall before the magistrates to give up and renege allegiance to the Pope in Rome [illegible] of Great Britain in England. For the rest the authorities permit all faiths. If a person lives a quiet and pious life, he may believe what he likes.
This is here a richly blessed country. The greatest difficulty is when somebody needs workers. He has to pay very highly for them. Any man who is able and willing to work can make a lot of money here. For a carpenter demands three sh. per day, i.e. one dollar (Cologne money) in your currency. It is the same with the joiner and the mason. A linen weaver gets three times what he receives over there, a shoemaker gets for a pair of man's shoes six and 1/2 sh. in our currency, that makes two dollars (Cologne money) and 13 fatmen (pennies), and leather sells at the same price as with you. Similarly a blacksmith makes also a lot of money. In conclusion, anybody who is willing to work here can prosper and live well. The rich people, who are eager to engage in commerce, will prosper here. For there is a lot of commerce here from this country with wheat and other things, to Holland, to England, to Maryland, to the south east, Virginia and to Catalonia [Carolina?] and to Schenecken [Jamaica?] and to East India and to many other places there is a good deal of business from here. Hence many people in Philadelphia do big business with the ships and the goods which the ships carry in. Whenever the ships come, which carry many goods with them and are anxious and hard pressed to leave again, the business people of Philadelphia will come and bargain with the captains of the boats and make big profits.

Again, those who are particularly rich, will make very large profits. They will buy many hundreds of acres from the sovereign at a low price and with the understanding that for all times they and their heirs will have to pay low taxes. With that money the sovereign builds jails for thieves and wicked people.
Furthermore we have to report concerning the wild Indians. They are as black as the pagans with you. But they are conscientious people. They believe that ...[illegible]... they call God in their language ...[illegible]... and refer to him with fear. They are anxious not to commit sins. They believe also, that after death when their life was not pleasant to the Pure and Omniscient, they will come to the North, where it is very cold and where they will have an evil regent, were they will freeze severely and where they will be badly tormented, whereas those who lived a good life will come to the South after their death, where they will have a good regent who will receive them in a friendly manner.
They put to shame the majority of nominal Christians. They are intelligent and of childlike simplicity, e.g., if you give them apples, they will take one and give the other ones to their fellows they should bite like children. For everything among the common people is according to good Christian order.
When one comes to see another one, the one coming will say to the other in the English language "Day" [probably "Good Day"] and they give each other the hand with great kindness and friendliness. When they part from each other, they say "Well" [probably "Farewell"] in the English language and they shake hands again with each other in decency. You may walk here through the whole country without ever hearing any cursing or swearing. When you think of Germany, you feel pity and horror.
There is further to be reported that to many rich people work is done in a cheap manner. This is how it is done: the sea captains bring many black negroes from the negro countries, who are sold here. They have to serve for the rest of their lives, and if there are among them who get married and have children, the children too, are the master's. They may be sold or kept as one pleases. In that manner the rich people are able to have their work done well. Anybody else who needs workers, must pay heavily for them. That is the greatest burden in this country.

God bless America.

Clemens Studenbecker Peder Studenbecker
Some of this is my own work and some is quotes from other sources.

The winter of 1708-1709 was very long and cold in Germany. It was a very bleak period. People huddled around their fires as they considered quitting their homes and farms forever. By early April, the land was still frozen hard. Since 1702 their country had been enduring war and there was little hope for the future. The Thirty Years War lay heavy on their minds, a period in which one out of every three Germans had perished. As if that wasn't enough, they were heavily taxed and endured relentless religious persecution. The hardships caused by this devastation went on for decades. You can see why the Stutenbecker (Studebaker) & Shutt families had to leave their homeland.

To go to America meant a long, dreadful ocean voyage and a future in an unknown land, away from their past and family. Still yet, streams of Germans went to America, with many going to Pennsylvania. The ocean voyage was harsh, with over-crowded, under-supplied, and unsanitary ships. What provisons were supplied were generally the least expensive available to the ship's master. Water frequently ran out, as did food. Dreadful mortality occurred on many voyages. In addition to those woes, they faced robbery, deception, and worse from those transporting them. As bad as the voyage was, they considered themselves blessed to have made that trip.

Estimates on the number of Germans in Pennsylvania during this period varies from author to author, but a common estimate is 10,000-15,000 by 1727 and 70,000-80,000 by 1750. There were even more after 1750.


ANDREAS (DREES) STAUDENBECKER, our earliest established Studebaker ancestor , was born about 1605 and buried in 1684. He had one son, PETER STAUDENBECKER, born about 1632 and buried before 1692. Peter , in turn, had a son, Johannes Staudenbecker.

JOHANNES STAUDENBECKER, was baptized in 1662, married to CATHERINE RAW in 1692, and was buried in 1728. Catherine Raw was born in 1670 and was buried in 1712. Among the children born to Johannes and Catherine were three sons, all of whom immigrated to America. Johannes, the youngest was baptized in 1712, and was thought to have immigrated to America in 1732; however, no record has been found of him if he did arrive in America. Peter, baptized in 1695, and Clemens, baptized in 1701, immigrated to America in 1736, along with a cousin, Johann Heinrich. All of the over 250,000 Studebakers in America in modern times are reputed to be descended from these three immigrants. Peter is the direct ancestor of our branch of the family and Clemens (Clement) is the direct ancestor of the more famous branch which manufactured wagons and automobiles. Peter, age 38, Clement, age 36. and Heinrich, age 29, along with their wives and some children, were imported in the ship HARLE , from Rotterdam, and arrived in the port of Philadelphia on September 1, 1736. Also arriving on the HARLE at the same time were Jonathan Hager, age 22, and Christian Schreyack, age 18. Jonathan Hager was the founder of Hagerstown, MD. and Christian Schreyack may turn out to be our ancestor for the Shryock line (to be discussed latter). Mr. Emmert Studebaker of Tipp City, Ohio has a letter in his possession, dated September 16, 1737, written by Peter and Clement Studebaker, to their relatives back in Germany. This fact indicates persons of some social and intellectual achievement; relatively few people in those days could read or write. An English translation of this letter is contained in STUDEBAKER FAMILY IN AMERICA, published by the Studebaker Family National Association, 6555 South State Route 202, Tipp City, Ohio 45371, and copyrighted in 1976. All of the preceding information and much of that following on the early Studebakers was taken from this publication. Much, much more about the Studebakers is contained in this book , a copy of which is owned by Keith Fisher.

PETER STUDEBAKER was baptized 16 Oct 1695 in Solingen, Germany and died before 8 Jun 1754 in Frederick Co. ( later Washington Co.). MD. He married Anna Margaretha Aschauer on 24 Mar 1725 in Solingen, Germany, from another family of cutlers in Solingen. Anna Margaretha died after 1737 and before 1749. Peter then married SUSANNA ________. probably about 1740; Susanna died around 1753. Peter had at least 16 children, but only nine lived to maturity. Eight of the children were by Anna Margaretha and another eight by Susanna. Peter first settled for a short time near Germantown, PA, but around 1738 moved with his family to the Conogocheaque and Hagarstown area, which was then a part of the back country of Prince George's County, MD. Peter was active in affairs of that area and bought and sold at various times substantial acres of land. Jonathan Hagar, the founder of Hagarstown, served as Administer of Peter Studebaker's Estate at the time of his death.

One child by Susanna was, Peter, born around 1740 in Germany, who is our next direct ancestor. He is the one who moved to Muhlenburg Co, KY and died there around 1816. He married Mary Miller and they had several children, one of which was Jacob Studebaker.

Jacob was born 11-21-1766 in either MD or PA and died in Muhlenburg Co, KY He is buried in the Studebaker-Wood Cemetary in Penrod in the Southern end of Muhlenberg. He married Salome Nette Grable in 1794. They had 14 children and their daughter, Lydia, is who married J William Williams.

Lydia was born in 1803 and died in 1880 in KY. J William Williams was born around 1799 in NC and died in KY before October 1855. J William Williams was a planter and slaveholder. He disposed of his slaves in 1847, but some of the family held them until the rebellion. The sentiments of his people were divided and represented both sides. His paternal ancestors were of Welsh origin, but as most American born people whose forefathers settled in this country, he is a mixture of several nationalities -- Welsh, English, Scotch, and especially German.
His father was William Williams. {William Williams was American born and a soldier in the Revolutionary War. He was one of twelve sons and one daughter. They all arrived at maturity, but during the Revolution became seperated and lost to one another (although he was the only patriot of the family) and many of them never reunited.} Lydia's marriage to J. William Williams produced 11 children. Their son, Russell McCrey Williams is next in our direct line.

Name: Russell A.WILLIAMS (His middle is really McCrey, they made a mistake)
Sex: M
Birth: Abt 1831 in Kentucky
Williams, Russell A., Private, B Co, 24 yrs, 6 Nov 61 at Camp George D. Prentice (Greenville), KY. Mar-Jun 62 sick at General Hospital Nashville, TN. Wounded (severely) at the battle of Atlanta (Atlanta, GA) on 6 Aug 64 and sent to General Hospital #1 Nashville, Tn. Had gun shot wound to left shoulder resulting in fractured clavicle. Discharged 17 Dec 64 at Bowling Green, KY. He received $46.00 quarterly for his pay. He worked as a farmer outside of the War. Sometime between 1870 & 1880 Matilda's mother came to live with them. Her name was Margaret Shutt. Seems like I heard that he died resulting from an accident on his farm.

Russell & Matilda Shutt Williams had 8 children, 2 of which pay a very important role in our lives. They are John Henry Williams (my Great Grandpa) & his brother, Alfred Canous Williams.

That's the way we became the Williams Bunch!
Well, I guess we don't all have the Williams name, but we all have some Williams in us, none the less.
Going out on another branch here. This one goes back through the Williams family to Russell McCrey Williams' wife Maltilda Shutt Williams and her ancestors. Goes back to my GGGGG Grandfather Shutt

As I said before, Russell McCrey Williams married Matilda Shutt. This is our ancestors through her.

Matilda, sometimes called Mary, was the daughter of John Shutt and Margaret Groves. Both John & Margaret were born in Ky. He was born in 1799 and she in 1815. They married February 1, 1835 in KY. I haven’t found a lot of info on them, really. By 1850 a gentleman, by the name of John Groves, came to live with them. He was 43 years old. I’m thinking it must be an uncle from Matilda’s Dad’s side of the family. She didn’t have any brothers named John that I could find. Anyway, on the 1850 census record he was listed as an “idiot”. Can you believe they had such a thing like that on there at all? (Although I think we can all think of some in our families who are idiots! Hahaha) By the time the 1860 Census was done John Shutt had died, leaving Margaret a 43 year old widow and farmer. She was either dead or moved on to somewhere else by 1870 because she wasn’t listed in their household on the 1870 Census. Margaret was the daughter of Joseph & Margaret Groves. She was one of 5 children. John Shutt was born to Jacob Henry Shutt and Elizabeth Groves, in Muhlenburg County KY and was actually married twice before Matilda. In 1819 he married Catherine Gates, then in 1825 to Elizabeth Groves. I don’t have any record of any children from these two unions. I also don’t know if all these Groves women were related……...makes one wonder.

John Shutt’s Dad, Jacob Henry Shutt, was born July 17, 1763 in PA. He was orphaned as a young child and lived with friends in PA and had no sisters or brothers. Jacob was 13 years old when he wanted to fight for his country's freedom during the Revolutionary War, but being too young to serve as a soldier, he was assigned to serve as a fifer and drummer boy on Jan 20, 1776. He served in Capt. Caleb North's Co. (also known as Capt. Caleb North's and Capt. John Christy's Company) in Colonel Wayne's Regiment (5th Pennsylvania Regiment) raised in the State of Pennsylvania. He appears on a company muster role of January 5 - November 26 1776 at Camp Ticonderoga as "Henry Shutt". This muster roll is on file at Military Service Records (NNCC National Archives G.S.A, Washington DC). There’s no record of a discharge, so not sure how long he was in the military. After the war days he went to North Carolina and ended up marrying Elizabeth Groves in 1785. She was born in North Carolina in 1768. They had 4 children while living in NC. They moved to Muhlenberg County Ky., and had three more children, then along with all of his children except Jonathan, moved to Sangamon County, Illinois in 1829. Both Jacob Henry Shutt and his wife Elizabeth Groves Shutt, lived out their lives and died in Sangamon County. Henry died at the home of his son, Henry in l852 in Auburn, IL. Mrs. Elizabeth Shutt had preceded him in death in 1840. Both Henry & Elizabeth are buried in Wimmer Cemetery near Auburn, IL.

Jacob Henry Shutt’s Dad, Jacob Shutt hails from Wirtemberg Southwest Germany. He went to Holland at about 14 years of age and boarded the ship "Peggy". Captain James Abercrombie was at the helm. The ship started from Pottersdam and then went to Cowes, England, before leaving for America. They came to Pennsylvania as a group of Germans known as the "Pennsylvania Dutch" He arrived in Philadelphia on Oct. 16, 1754. As I said before, Jacob and Elizabeth died very young, leaving their only child behind.

Seems we have a whole lot of German in us considering all the branches that go back to Germany.


82. ii. LORANZA R. LIVINGSTON5 FLATT, b. September 1879, Jackson Co. TN; d. October 21, 1945, Christian,
Muhlenberg, KY; Adopted child.
iii. WILLIAM FLATT, b. May 1882, Jackson Co. TN.
1900 census, lived with Tinsley, next door to Jonas F. Jr.
Census: 1900, Jackson Co. TN, E.D. 23, p 119, ac 1
Census: 1900, Jackson Co. TN, E.D. 23, p 119, ac 1
v. LURA BELLE FLATT, b. September 1887, Jackson Co. TN.
Christening: 1900, Jackson Co. TN, E.D. 23, p 119, ac 1
vi. MARTHA FLATT, b. January 1890, Jackson Co. TN; m. UNKNOWN WILLIAMS. (John Henry Williams)
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Kentucky Death Index, 1911-2000
about John H Williams

John H Williams
Death Date:
19 Feb 1955
Death Place:

Census: 1900, Jackson Co. TN, E.D. 23, p 119, ac 1
83. vii. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN FLATT, b. May 04, 1894, Jackson Co. TN; d. February 28, 1974, Ashland, Boyd Co.
viii. BIRDIE FLATT, b. March 1897, Jackson Co. TN.

Social Security Death Index
about Martha Williams

Martha Williams
Last Residence:
41101  Ashland, Boyd, Kentucky, United States of America
30 Jan 1890
15 Jun 1967
State (Year) SSN issued:

iv. SARAH ALICE FLATT, b. March 1885, Jackson Co. TN; m. ALFRED CANOUS WILLIAMS.


vi. MARTHA FLATT, b. January 1890, Jackson Co. TN; m. John Henry WILLIAMS.(Poppy)

Martha Livingston Flatt Williams  John Henry Williams
Sarah Alice Livingston Flatt Williams  Canous Williams

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