I am sending you an interesting page regarding the Meinert/Minor/Miner family which we Gaumer decendants are connected to. I hope this is helpful to you and your wife.
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Friedrich Meinert Sr.
( ? -1751)
Be sure to visit these pages with other research findings:
The Immigrant Brothers: Meyndert and Carsten Fredericksen
The Immigrants: Jacob and Anna Elisabethe Weber
The Kochertal Party
Friedrich Meinert Sr. was our German immigrant ancestor. He married Eva Maria 'Mary' Weber, and together they are thought to have come to Pennsylvania from Germany in about 1730.
The Meinerts had 8 children -- Maria 'Elizabeth' Gaumer, Jacob Minerd Sr., Borkhard Meinder, Friedrich Meinder Jr., Catharine Eigner, John Meinert, Mary Bohm and Johannes Heinrich Meinert. At least one of their children -- Elizabeth -- was born in Germany. (To read an account of what their ocean voyage might have been like, click here. To read about the influence of the German language and culture they brought to America, click here.)
The Meinerts arrived in America sometime between June 10, 1730, when their daughter Elizabeth was born in Germany, and January 3, 1731, when she was baptized in America.
The family name became Americanized after their arrival, and afterward was spelled many different ways. Friedrich's first name became "Frederick," while Eva Maria's name became "Mary." The spellings of the children's last names also varied widely. However, their German language continued to be spoken fluently at least until the time of the Civil War.
They settled in the Oley Valley near Reading, Berks County, to the northwest of Philadelphia. A picturesque view of the area is seen here.
The 1st known record of the Meinerts in Pennsylvania is the baptism of daughter Elizabeth by Rev. Joh. Caspar Stoever on Jan. 3, 1731.
Although Frederick may have been an indentured servant, his name has not been found on any such lists, though few have survived to today. It's thought that he had to work a few years to accumulate enough capital to buy a farm.
The 2nd record of the family is from 1734. That year, on April 10, Frederick had a survey done on a 150-acre farm in Oley. The survey shows that Manatawney Creek flowed through part of his tract. The precise location of the farm is found on his patent record, seen below, marked by the arrow, and in Philip E. Pendleton's excellent 1994 volume, Oley Valley Heritage - The Colonial Years.
The old, handwritten survey plat also shows that one of the Meinerts' neighbors was George Boone, grandfather of the famous American explorer and pioneer Daniel Boone. Daniel Boone was born in nearby Exeter Township, Berks County, on Oct. 22, 1733. The two-story, stone house where Daniel was born, surrounded by a picturesque white picket fence, is seen here, and apparently was still standing when photographed for use on a colorized postcard early in the 20th century.
The Meinerts may also have been neighbors with Abraham Lincoln, grandfather of President Abraham Lincoln. Seen at left is the old hillside home and farm of President Lincoln's great-great grandfather, Mordecai Lincoln, in nearby Lorane, Berks County.
In September 1740, Frederick and other local men signed a petition to have the Oley Valley region recognized as a separate political entity.
In addition to farming, Frederick also was a blacksmith. He may have provided repair and maintenance services for local foundries, such as the Hereford Furnace, (with its ruins seen at left), in nearby Hereford Township. The furnace is said to have produced the first cook stove made in America.
Frederick died in Oley in 1751, leaving widow Mary and children, including three under age 21. His farm was sold to pay his debts and to provide support for the younger children until they reached age 21. At his death, his estate was valued at £1,755.
About a year after Frederick's death, widow Mary married their longtime neighbor and Quaker friend, Benjamin Longworthy. The marriage was controversial, and the "Exeter Meeting officially expelled him from membership for marrying a non-Quaker, ... nonattendance at meeting, and 'disorderly practices'," says Oley Valley Heritage.
The book also says that for years before his marriage to Mary Meinert, Benjamin owned a black slave named Violet, who in turn had 3 children. Benjamin planned to free the 4 slaves, and to bequeath his farm to his nephews. But just before he died in 1765, Mary allegedly induced him in his "weakened, distraught mind" to re-write his will to give her more favorable terms:
She had talked him out of his longstanding plan to free Violet's children .. and into the making of a new will. Evidently, neither old nor new will freed Violet. The new will retained the inheritance by Longworthy's devout Quaker nephews Moses and Joseph Roberts of the Longworthy farm, while reserving to the widow tenure of the house and its homestead appurtenances. The new will's real bonus for Maria was the right to sell Violet's three children.
Several concerned neighbors sued, and argued in court that Benjamin was "not of sound mind" when he rewrote his will, and the Berks County court ruled the document was not valid.
Mary then left the farm for good and moved into the residence of her son Friedrich Jr. The slaves are thought to have been freed, though their ultimate fates are unknown.
Benjamin is mentioned in the 1844 volume, History of the Counties of Berks and Lebanon, compiled by I. Daniel Rupp.
In 1776, the year of our nation's independence, Mary died in Oley. She wrote in her will, seen here, that "I Rewmand my Infinite Soul into the Hands of Almighty God who gave it me and my Body to the Earth, whence it was taken in Sure and Certain Hopes of Joyfull Resurrection through the Merits of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
Her passing thus ended the era of the first generation of the family in America. The burial sites for Frederick and Mary are not known.
Click here to visit the website of the Oley Valley Heritage Association and the Berks County Historical Society.
Copyright © 2000-2003 Mark A. Miner and Eugene F. Podraza
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