Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Rev. George Joseph Wichtermann

George Joseph Wichtermann was the grandfather of Edward Holben and the great great grandfather of Neil Mabry. He was born in about 1858 in Germany, the son of George Michael Wichtermann. When he was about 32 years old, George Joseph sailed for America from Amsterdam on the Brig Mary, arriving in Philadelphia on October 10, 1790.

George was a Lutheran minister, and supposedly was sent to America by the German Lutheran Church. After arriving in Philadelphia, he headed north to the Hudson Valley. On June 15, 1794 George J. Wichtermann married Anna Catharina Brosius at St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, New York.

After their marriage, the Wichtermann family moved north along the Hudson river to Brunswick, Rensselaer County, where George became pastor of the Gilead Evangelical Lutheran church in 1792. According to the History of Schaghticoke in Landmarks of Rensselaer County, New York, Rev. George Joseph Wichtermann was also the "first pastor" of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran of Schaghticoke, founded in 1776. It is not clear if this was before or after (or at the same time as) his pastorship at Gilead Evangelical. When the 1800 Census was taken, the Wichterman family was enumerated in the nearby town of Troy. (County Map, Google Map).

In 1801, George was recruited as a minister for the German Lutheran Church in Thorold, in the Niagra region of Ontario, Canada. Apparently he did not gain the support of the congregation, and he left the position in 1803.
... in 1801 there was a German Lutheran church in Thorold that needed a minister, so the members persuaded George Joseph Wichtermann to come from New York state to serve them. The members made substantial promises to Wichtermann, but two years after he came, only thirteen members had paid their share of what had been pledged. One member is quoted as saying, "I will pay if he GOES -- if he stays, not a farthing." (From The Word Comes to Niagra Land).

In October 1803, the congregants signed a petition to "rid the German Church ... of its minister, the Rev. George Joseph Wichtermann". (From the biography of Andreas Hensel).

The Wichtermann family returned to New York, and are found in the 1810 Census of Amsterdam in Montgomery County.

In 1818, George returned to Gilead Lutheran in Brunswick, to perform his final baptism:
... Magdalena (Hayner) was the last child baptized by Rev. Georg Joseph Wichtermann, who had retired but came back for a final baptism and preached a final sermon on 21 Sep 1818 in the then new church building. The families evidently were close; Johannes Hoener and wife Catharina were sponsors at the 1796 baptism of Anna Catharina, daughter of Georg Joseph Wichtermann and wife Anna Prosiuss.(Information from The History of Gilead Evangelical Lutheran Church, by Rev. J. N. Barnett (1881), p. 58, cited in the Hayner family history)

At about this time, the Wichtermann family moved east to Seneca County in the Finger Lakes region, where George was a minister at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Fayette in Bearytown, Town of Fayette and now known as Christ's Church. The Wichtermann family was living in Romulus Township when the 1820 Census was taken.

Some Wichtermann biographies indicate that George worked with the American Bible Society in translating the bible he brought from Germany "into one of the first English Bibles in America". This seems exagerated to me - presumably many of the colonists from England had English bibles prior to George's arrival in Philadelphia.

George Joseph Wichtermann died September 11, 1825, one day after his wife, Anna Catharine. They are both buried in Burgh Cemetery, Fayette Township, Seneca County, New York.

Two years after George and Anna Catharine died, in 1827, their daughter Ulrike Jacobina Wichtermann married Johnathan Holben in Romulus Township in Seneca County.

Links
Estate papers of Rev. Geo. J. Wichterman
New York State regional map"
The German American Experience in Rensselaer County, New York
History of Brunswick, Rensselaer County, New York, including the Gilead Lutheran Church.
Map of Seneca County, NY (note: very large file).

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3 Comments:

At 9:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rev. George Joseph WICHTERMANN is also my GrGrGrGrGrGrandfather coming down thru George Joseph, Jr. Would like to make contact with you @ bevvy@bright.net sometime. This is an EXCELLENT website.

 
At 11:17 PM, Blogger Peggy said...

Glad you like it. I'll send you an email.

 
At 2:38 PM, Anonymous Rick Burns said...

I am also a decendant of George Joseph Wichterman and I actually have a lot of his personal belongings pictures documents and books any interest contact Rick Burns @ rburns_7@msn.com

 

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