The Early Troutman Families in America
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Eight Adult Male Troutmans came to America before 1776
We know of eight Troutmans who sailed to America in colonial times. Troutman is the Anglicized version of the German name Trautmann or Trautman.
From Pennsylvania German Pioneers by Ralph Beaver Strassburger and William John Hinke:
Pioneer – Ship – Captain – Arrival in Philadelphia
Hans George Trautmann – Princess Augusta – Samuel Marchant - 16 Sep 1736
Johannes Trautmann – Robert & Alice – Walter Goodman – 11 Sep 1738
Hyronimus Trautmann – St. Andrew – Robert Brown – 7 Oct 1743
Johan Leonhart Trautmann – Neptune – John Mason – 24 Sep 1751
Johnann Petter Trautmann - Neptune – John Mason – 24 Sep 1751
Johann Melchior Trautmann – Neptune – John Mason – 24 Sep 1751
Wilhelm Trautmann – Neptune – John Mason – 4 Oct 1752
Christian Trautmann – Phebe – Capt. Castle – 19 Oct 1772
Note: Pennsylvania German Pioneers corrects many mistakes made in Rupp’s book Thirty Thousand Names of Immigrants in Pennsylvania, especially the names of the ships.
The men on the list above were the ship list signers, the adult men who survived the trip to America. They may have had wives and children with them, but these were not listed. The adult men signed the ship lists upon arriving in Philadelphia, and at the same time, they took oaths of loyalty to Great Britain.
There were 29,758 German signers of the ship lists in Philadelphia during colonial times. Only eight of these were Troutmans. Of these eight Troutmans, four came over on the Ship Neptune commanded by John Mason, three when he made the trip in 1751, and one in 1752. John Mason made the trip to America with shiploads of German pioneers eight times, once a year from 1742 to 1753. Mason would arrive in Philadelphia each year between late August and early November. He missed only the years 1745, 1746, 1747, and 1748. During this time, the total number of ships to Philadelphia fell drastically, with none arriving in 1745. This was due to the war in Europe between England, Spain, and France. England and Spain had been fighting since 1739 when France entered the war on the side of Spain in 1744. Before commanding the Ship Neptune (which he sailed to America in 1751, 1752, and 1753), John Mason commanded the Mary (1742), the Charlotta (1743), the Friendship (1744), and the Phoenix (1749 and 1750).
The odds that these four Troutmans who arrived with John Mason on the ship Neptune were not related are slim. Of these four, only two have been successfully traced back to Germany. Peter and Melchior Troutman were half-brothers who originated near Reichelsheim in modern-day Hesse, Germany. Before talking about the families of these four Troutmans (as well as the family of another Troutman who likely arrived as a boy aboard the Neptune), I want to discuss two topics: the Thirty Years War and the other four Troutmans from the Philadelphia ship lists.
The Thirty Years War
The Thirty Years War (1618 – 1648) was the reason why so many Germans later came to America. It was also the reason why many of the relationships between early German families, including the Troutmans, may never be discovered.
The war was fought over religion between Catholics and Lutherans. Martin Luther posted his famous 95 theses in 1517. At the time, Germany was supposedly part of the Holy Roman Empire, but was really ruled by dozens of minor rulers. Lutheranism had a strong appeal to many of these rulers, and most in northern Germany converted to Lutheranism. Of course, the people they ruled had to convert as well. War broke out in 1618 between the Catholic German princes and the Lutheran German princes. Other countries were involved, with Sweden on the Lutheran side and Spain on the Catholic side.
The Lutherans and the Catholics massacred each other and destroyed churches of the opposite faith. In most of Germany, over one third of the people were killed, and in some areas, over two thirds died. The population of Germany in 1618 has been estimated at 21 million. By 1648, the population was 13 million.
In those days, churches kept most of the records that pertain to genealogy – baptisms, marriages, etc. Uncountable records were lost during the Thirty Years War in the destruction of Catholic and Lutheran churches. Our Troutman ancestors were undoubtedly Catholic before converting to Lutheranism or other Protestant faiths. This loss of records prevents most researchers from tracing their families back before 1648. It is unlikely that anyone will ever find the records to tie all the Troutman lines together.
The Thirty Year War was also one of the major reasons Germans came to America. Although the first Troutman did not arrive until 88 years after the end of the war, the story of the war had been passed down, and the effects of the war were still evident. German Protestants of Lutheran and other faiths jumped at the chance to start fresh in a land free from religious persecution.
The Four Troutmans who did not arrive with Captain John Mason
George Troutman who arrived in Philadelphia aboard the Princess Augusta was from the town of Lambsborn in the Rhine-Palatinate, Germany. He settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I do not know a great deal more about this George, except that his records are hard to discern from those of George Troutman (born 1733), son of Heironimus Troutman (discussed below), who also lived in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
The last of the colonial Troutman pioneers to arrive was John Peter Christian Troutman in 1772 aboard the Phebe. He arrived as a single man and married in 1776 in Philadelphia County; his family remained near the city of Philadelphia after his death in 1789. Christian was from Zweibrucken in the Rhine-Palatinate, Germany. Zweibrucken is not far from Lambsborn, where George Troutman of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania originated.
John Troutman (born 1713) arrived on the Ship Robert and Alice in 1738, and his brother, Hieronimus Troutman (born 1708) arrived on the Ship St. Andrew in 1743. This is according to research done on this family and presented in The Trautman/Troutman Family History, Volume II, editor Steve E. Troutman. The bothers John and Hieronimus were born in Schreisheim, Heidelberg, Germany, the sons of Philip Trautmann and his wife, Anna Dorathea Buchacker. Schreisheim is only about twenty miles from Reichelsheim, where Peter Troutman and his half-brother, Melchior Troutman originated. Thus, the Schreisheim and the Reichelsheim Troutmans may be distantly related. The brothers John and Heironimus settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (from which Dauphin County was formed in 1785 and Lebanon County in 1815), and in the western part of Berks County, Pennsylvania.
The Four Troutmans who did arrive with Captain John Mason, plus Peter Troutman (c1738) of the Mahantogo Valley, Pennsylvania
As I wrote above, only eight of the 29,758 signers of the Philadelphia ship lists were Troutmans. In other words, fewer than one in every 3,700 signers was a Troutman. The odds that the four Troutmans who sailed with John Mason aboard the Neptune in 1751 and 1752 are not related are astronomical. Captain John Mason probably had a reputation as a good captain, unlike the terrible stories told about some of the captains who brought the German immigrants to America. Thus, the fact that William Troutman sailed with John Mason aboard Neptune a year after Peter, Melchior, and Leonard, is probably not coincidence. In fact, John Mason, as commander of the Phoenix in 1744, had brought to America the ancestors of the North Carolina Earnhardt family (of whom the race car driver Earnhardts are very famous) and the North Carolina Beaver family. Philip Earnhardt married Margaret Troutman (1759), daughter of Peter Troutman (1716). A Christopher Beiber (Beaver) witnessed the will of Peter Troutman (1716) which he wrote in 1792. Although I do not know where in Germany the Beavers and Earnhardts originated, I would not be surprised if they were from the same general area as Peter Troutman (1716) and his half-brother, Melchior Troutman (1729). Possibly these early Germans sent word back home about which captains to sail with and which to avoid.
Peter Troutman (1716) had married Elizabeth Gartner in 1742 and then had five children in Germany. At least three of these, Adam (1743), Melchior (1744), and Eve (1746) made the journey to America. Sons Henry (1748) and John (1750) may have died as infants in Germany as no records of them have been found in America. Travelling with Peter (1716) was his half-brother, Melchior (1729). Melchior (1729) (not to be confused with his nephew of the same name) left Germany a single man, but married Anna Heist either at sea or soon after landfall in Philadelphia. According to North Carolina Troutman tradition, the widow Margaret Hartmann Troutman, mother of Melchior (1729) and stepmother of Peter (1716), also was aboard the Neptune in 1751. Of all these Troutmans who came over in 1751, only Peter, Melchior, and Leonard were adult males. Peter and Melchior settled first in Upper Milford Township of Northampton County (now Lehigh County), Pennsylvania. Later, Peter moved to District Township of Berks County, Pennsylvania. Between 1770 and 1775, these half-brothers and their entire extended families moved to Rowan County, North Carolina.
Leonard Troutman, who arrived with Peter and Melchior in 1751, and William Troutman, who was on the Neptune’s next trip to America in 1752, were almost certainly related to Peter and Melchior. Perhaps not all the records of Reichelsheim Lutheran Church have been transcribed. More likely, these Troutmans were cousins of Peter and Melchior from a neighboring parish. They probably attended a different Lutheran church, closer to home, and the records of this church have yet to be transcribed and published. Leonard Troutman was probably born about 1710. According to research done by Maria Troutman, Leonard’s wife was named Ann. They had sons John Michael (1738) and George Peter (1741), as well as a daughter, Margaret (c1740). We may safely assume that Leonard Troutman, his wife, and at least these three children were aboard the Neptune in 1751.
I have seen where several people have asked for the "proof" that Leonard Troutman (c1710) was the father of John Michael (1738) and George Peter (1741). Direct, irrefutable proof may never be found. However, there is plenty of circumstantial evidence that Leonard was the father of John Michael and George Peter, and thus the common ancestor of the entire Kentucky Troutman clan. First, Leonard is the first Troutman in the records of Maryland, appearing as early as 1754 when John Michael and George Peter were still boys. Second, both John Michael and George Peter named sons Leonard. Lastly, Leonard’s land in the Monacy Valley (near Creagerstown, Maryland) was later owned by George Peter. These facts are enough for me to be 99% certain that Leonard Troutman (c1710) was the father of John Michael (1738) and George Peter (1741). Thus, John Michael Troutman and George Peter Troutman, ancestors of the Kentucky Troutman clan, came to America along with the ancestors of the North Carolina Troutman clan.
In The Trautman/Troutman Family History, Volume II, editor Steve E. Troutman, researchers of George Troutman, born about 1757, and lived in Fayette Co, PA, believe that he was another son of Leonard Troutman (c1710). It is very possible that Leonard had sons named George Peter and George. According to family tradition, George Troutman (c1757) of Fayette Co, PA was born in Maryland, and his father was killed by Indians when he was about 12. It would be interesting to indeed prove that Leonard Troutman (c1710) was killed by Indians around 1769. According to this same family legend, three sisters of George Troutman (c1757) were carried away by the Indians. A grandson of George Troutman (c1757), George Washington Troutman (1814), settled in Iowa about 1855 and was the ancestor a large Troutman family there.
One possible connection between the North Carolina Troutmans and the Kentucky family Troutmans is the Beard family connection. In both Frederick County, Maryland, and Rowan County, North Carolina, there was a Beard family. How these families were related is unknown, but in both cases the name was originally German Barth and was Anglicized to Beard. John Lewis Beard (Johan Ludwid Barth) sold land to Peter Troutman (1716) in Rowan County, North Carolina in 1786. John Michael Troutman (1738) married Rebecca Beard, daughter of John Beard, in Frederick County, Maryland about 1762. A Peter Barth was naturalized along with Leonard Troutman (c1710) in Maryland in 1761.
William Troutman was born about 1730 and came to America on the 1752 voyage of the Neptune. He married to Elizabeth ___ soon after arrival, and they settled in Greenwich Township of Berks County, Pennsylvania, not very far at all from where Peter Troutman (1716) and Melchior Troutman (1729) were living in Upper Milford Township of present-day Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. Two sons of William (c1730), Peter (1754) and William (c1760) moved to Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Another son of William Troutman (c1710) was John Troutman (c1762). In the 1790 Census of Berks County, Pennsylvania, John Troutman (c1762) was listed right next to Anthony Mussgnug. The Mussgnug name was later Anglicized to Moose, and researchers of the Moose family have identified Anthony Mussgnug/Moose as the brother of Jacob Moose, who settled in modern-day Cabarrus County, North Carolina, within ten miles of where Peter Troutman (1716) settled in Rowan County, North Carolina. A grandson of Jacob Moose, Levi Moose, married Lovina Troutman (1813), a great-granddaughter of Peter Troutman (1716). The Ship Neptune connection, the Moose family connection, and the proximity of William Troutman (c1730) to Peter (1716) and Melchior (1729) when they lived in Pennsylvania, all lead me to believe that William Troutman (c1730) was related to Peter (1716) and Melchior (1729) and from the same general area near Reichelsheim, Hesse, Germany.
Peter Troutman (c1738), ancestor of the Mahantongo Valley, Pennsylvania Troutmans, would have been too young to be a signer on the Neptune’s voyages in either 1751 or 1752. However, Steve E. Troutman, descendent of Peter (c1738), firmly believes, and I am inclined to believe, that Peter Troutman (c1738) came to America aboard the Neptune in 1751 or 1752 and was thus related to Peter (1716), Melchior (1729), Leonard (c1710), and William (c1730). Certainly, the name Peter runs in every one of these families. One possible scenario is that the father of Peter Troutman (c1738) died in Germany and his mother remarried. Then, Peter (c1738) would have been a stepson of one of the signers aboard Neptune in 1751 or 1752. Peter Troutman (c1738) settled in Cumru Township of Berks County, Pennsylvania, not far from Peter (1716), Melchior (1729), or William (c1730). Peter (c1738) first appears in records from 1760. Later, his family moved to the Mahantongo Valley in what is today Shuylkill County, Pennsylvania.
There is a connection between Peter Troutman(c1738) and Peter Troutman (1716) through the Hepler and Scheible families. The land that was warranted to Peter Troutman (1716) in 1754 in Upper Milford Township of present-day Lehigh County, Pennsylvania was later owned by Michael Scheible. Michael Scheible’s sister, Susanna Scheible, was the wife of Casper Hepler, who lived within a half mile of Peter Troutman (1716) in Upper Milford Township. One of Casper Hepler’s sons, Christopher Hepler, moved to what is today Davie County, North Carolina in 1785. Davie County, North Carolina is adjacent to Rowan County North Carolina where Peter Troutman (1716) settled. Another of Casper Hepler’s sons, Casper Hepler, Jr., moved to the Mahantongo Valley, where some of his descendents married Troutmans, descendents of Peter Troutman (c1738). These Hepler and Scheible family connections between the North Carolina Troutman clan and the Mahantongo Valley, Pennsylvania Troutman clan may be coincidental, but I doubt it.
The ancient German connections between the various American Troutman clans may never be known, primarily due to the massive loss of records incurred during the Thirty Years War. Some or all of the connections between Troutman clans described in the preceding paragraphs may be coincidental. I, for one, believe that the North Carolina Troutmans, the Kentucky Troutmans, and the Mahantongo Valley, Pennsylvania Troutmans are all related. In addition, William Troutman of Greenwich Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania, and his descendents in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, were also related. George Troutman of Fayette County, Pennsylvania and his descendents in Iowa were probably also related. The Troutmans from Schreisheim, John and Heironimus, were probably more distantly related. Although I chose not to discuss the Troutman families who came to America after the Revolutionary War, most of these came from the same areas in Germany as the earlier Troutmans.
In summary, I believe most of the Troutmans in America are related. However, I also believe that this will never be irrefutably proven.
Robert E Burke
19 August, 1998
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