On September 10, 1731, a ship arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from Rotterdam, Netherlands called "The Pennsylvania Merchant". Commanded by Captain John Stedman, the ship carried 175 imported passengers, among them 57 Palantine passengers and among them my Moll (or Muehl or Mull) ancestors. Aboard was Christophel Moll, Rosian Moll, Johan Michael Moll, Margarite Moll, and under 16 were two children, Conrad Moll and another Margarite.
Philadelphia was growing in leaps and bounds as a market center and settlers from various parts of Europe were finding a home there. Initially settling in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, Christophel "Stoffel" Mull hailed from Weisenhelm am Sand, Bad Durkheim, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. His year of birth is estimated between 1700 and 1716. His ship was just one of many, over a course of decades, that would bring German and Swiss immigrants to America, some settling in New York, but many more in Pennsylvania and even at times, into North Carolina.
Two years after arriving to America, Christophel would marry another Palatinian refugee, Analyas Catherina Deihl. The couple would have 7 children and right in the middle, with 3 siblings older and 3 siblings younger, was Catherina.
Born May 24, 1733 in Goshenhoppen, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Catherina would become my 9th Great Grandmother.
|From the Montgomery County, PA historical society|
As in many of my ancestors journeys, theirs also seemed tied to the church. Church, War, Economic upheaval and the search for a good piece of bottomland. That's what drove my ancestors to migrate, move and found America.
Not much information exists for Catherina, besides her marriage and the birth of her children. What was life like for a Palantine woman in early Pennsylvania? Hard and teamly with strict religious bearings, from what I can tell. The area was highly Catholic. How did they relate to the arrival of strange Lutherans of a different language.
That may have been part of the family's removal to North Carolina. By 1753, Christophel had moved his family to Rowan County, NC. A Deed is recorded in Rowan for him in 1753 of 435 acres. Rowan covered a much larger area at this time and this plot was further west and not what we would considered Rowan at this time. Salisbury was the western frontier. Christophel would die in 1802, well into his 80's.
|The Great Wagon Road|
There is no doubt Catherina and her family traveled down the Great Wagon Trail from PA to NC. It was likely no more than an Indian Path at this time. There was already a steady and consistant population of Germans establishing in the area at this time in around Salem and in what is now Rowan and Cabarrus Counties.
This, my particular set of Germans had decided to settle along the Cawtawba River, west of the Yadkin, and a more dangerous, unsettled area.
Analyas, Catherina's mother, would die on January 16, 1761 in Rowan County. Her children would settle in Lincoln and Burke Counties. It was not that they were scattered miles apart. They would not. It was that over time, the counties would be subdivided and the names of the general area would change. Records for Catherina's husband, George Heinrich Weidner, can be found in Anson, Rowan, Burke, Lincoln and Cawtawba counties. While at times, Henry did move his family to safety due to Indian raids, the general area of his property on Jacobs's Fork and Henry's Fork remained the same.
His first records are in Anson.
1753 - Rowan is created from Anson
1777- Burke is created from Rowan
1778 - For a brief time Jacob's Fork lies in the defunct county of Tryon
1779 - Now their home becomes a part of the new county of Lincoln.
1842- Long after their death, the upper part of Lincoln becomes Cawtawba, so the area they settled is in current Catawba County.
Before they left for North Carolina, Catherina Moll married George Heinrich Weidner at Goshenhoppen Reformed Church in a ceremony conducted by Rev. George Micheal Weiss.
|The Fortress of Coburg|
As was common for the times, Catharina would marry young, at 16, to George Heinrich Widener or Weidner. He was an immigrant from Coburg, Sachsen (Saxon), Germany. The date was October 4, 1750. The young couple would follow her family to North Carolina.
Henry, as I shall call him from here forward, was a Saxon. He was born October 9, 1717 in Coburg, Sachsen (or Saxony), Germany. There are rumours that he was of noble birth somehow and that there was a feud among brothers and Henry had to leave Coburg to spare his life. Whether that is true or not, I haven't a clue and would probably doubt it. What is fact, is that he was a Palentine Immigrant and is hailed as one of the founders of Catawba County. With that, because of records available, I agree. He wasn't the only one. There were many others, some his own family, his wife's family and many more of his ilk and strain, who had traveled with him or came shortly after. He certainly contributed.
As per the day, it is easier to find information on Henry and not so much on Catherine, because she was a woman. It's also difficult to take a series of facts, presented over time by several different persons, in an original way.
Among the sources include:
Catawba Cousins Vol 14 No 4 Page 16 Dunkers and Sabbatarians in South Carolina
by Max Emery Miller, who claims Henry Weidner (later Whitener), was from a Dunker family affiliated with the Ephrata.
|Ephrata Cloister in Pennsylvania|
I had to look that one up. It was a Religious Sect that began in Germany and flourished around Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Below is a link to the Wikipedia page. The last resident of the Cloister eventidentally died in 2008, at the age of 98.
George and Catherina and their family were instrumental in founding the town of Hickory. It's said that his brother-in-law, Henry Robinson, had built a tavern under a large Hickory tree, and that is where the place got its name.
In Rowan County Court of Pleas and Quarters, Book 16, we find where Henry Whitener came into open court and applied for Naturalization. He was the only one of his brothers to do so. Henry was a Patriot. In 1781 a meeting was held at his house in which Colonel McDowell of Mecklenburg convened the militia officers to raise supplies. Vouchers for Henry's contributions are in the Revolutionary War archives. He was, by then, too old to serve in the army itself, but he did his part by supplying goods and implements. He is listed, however, as a Captain in 1784, when a militia unit was formed, comprised of men from the area that is now Catawba County.
|Name:||Henry Whitener Junior|
[Henry Weidener (Whitener) Sr.]
[Hines Whitner Junior]
|Home in 1790 (City, County, State):||Lincoln, North Carolina|
|Free White Persons - Males - 16 and over:||1|
|Free White Persons - Females:||2|
|Number of All Other Free Persons:||10|
|Number of Household Members:||13|
In the 1790 census, Henry is listed as Head of Household with 2 women in the home, probably Catherina and his unmarried daughter, Mary Ann.
Catherina served as hostess to a continued migration of Germans from Pennsylvania to North Carolina. It is recorded she and Henry hosted the families of George Wilfong, Conrad Yoder, Michael Weidner, Jesse Robinson, Conrad Hildebrand, and many others, until they could build lodging of their own. The inland road into the county from Sherrill's Ford was known as the road to "Father Weidners" on maps and court records.
George Heinrich and Maria Catherina Muehl Weidners children had Anglicized their surname to Whitener. Catherina's maiden name had changed to both Moll and Mull, depending on where their descendants traveled. Sometimes Weidner would be seen as Widener, instead of Whitener. A matter of accent, I suppose.
|Tombstone for Catherina Muehl Weidner|
There was trouble with Indians, as with all frontiersmen. Henry would send his family to safer accommodations several times during the years, reflecting the tension between Indigenous and Immigrant at the time and reflected in the places of birth of their children, who were:
1) Daniel Whitener b 14 Oct 1750 d 8 Jan 1833 Lincoln County. It is said Daniel was the only child born in PA and that Henry had first come down with his gun and his dog, and a small band of men, including brothers and brothers-in-law, leaving Catherina home in the safety of PA at the time because she was in the last months of maternity. The date of his first deed in Anson County (current Catawba), Caterina would have been 7 months pregnant. Daniel lived to be 82.
2) Captain Henry Whitener b 1752 Lincoln County d 1811 Madison County, Missouri, aged 59. He inherited his father's wandering gene.
3) Abram (or Abraham) Whitener b 1754 Anson County (calculated as the part that would soon become Montgomery. Died 17 Oct 1781 Kings Mountain, North Carolina, age 26.
4) Catherine Whitener II b 1756 Lincoln County, NC d 1838, Same, aged 82. Married cousin John Mull.
5) Barbara Whitener b 1760 Lincoln County d 1840 Catawba County, age 80. Married John Phillip Dellinger.
6) Molliana Whitener b 1763 Mecklenburg County, NC d 1799 Lincoln County, NC age 32 Married Jesse Robinson.
7) Elizabeth Whitener b 1 Jan 1764 Lincoln County, NC d 21 Oct 1827 aged 63. Married George Summerow or Summerour. My Line.
8) Mary Ann Whitener b 31 Mar 1765 Anson County, NC d 11 Aug 1837 Lincoln County, NC aged 72. Married Lightfoot Williams.
The Whitener/Widener Spread was a substantial one. Henry's first grant was one of 1000 acres on the west side of the South Fork of the Catawba. He would eventually recieve grants of 2840 acres.
|Henry Weitiner's North Carolina land platted by Kathy Gunter Sullivan.|
1750 is pretty much settled as the year the family left Pennsylvania for the journey to the Catawba Valley. Henry witnessed the marriage of a kinsman, Tiars Weitner in Philadelphia in May 15, 1750.
In August of 1750, he and Catherine, included, executed a deed in Lancaster County, PA, conveying land that belonged to his Mom, Catherine Schneider Weidner. They were selling for the journey.
In the account book of one Abraham Bertolet, a blacksmith in Oley Township, is recorded that in 1750, he fortified Henry Weidner's wagon with 437 lbs of iron, including a strong tongue and a number of farming implements. He was about to set out on the journey, which would have taken an average of 3 months.
|First Deed in Anson|
The Weidners did not always have trouble with the Indians. The Cherokee Cheif, named Wauhatchie, had helped the colonists in the French and Indian Wars. Army officers would be assigned to escort the tribe from Virginia to the Cherokee Nation. In July of 1757, Dr Andrew Cranston and others had traveled with the tribe from Fort Dobbs, in Iredell County near Statesville, to Captain Henry Weidners. On July 8, Henry certified that the Cherokee had arrived at his home with a group of 200 men and 8 horses. In the days between July 8 and September 3, he went with them to the Lower Town settlements in Northwest South Carolina. It was a 20 day round trip. He supplied the Cherokee with a fat beef cow, 200 lbs of wheat, a buckskin vest and a horse that got loose during the journey.
Catherina must have been very afraid during the times Henry was absent. They had not a fort nor an army at their beckon call. Only a handful of related settlers lived on the creeks and their properties were substantially spaced apart. And the Cherokee would not remain peaceful.
On May 4, 1759, Nathan Alexander, another kinsman of mine, wrote to the South Carolina Governor, William H. Littleton that "the Indians supposed to be the Cherokee did on the 25th and 26th days of April last murder and scalped three white persons on the Yadkin River and 8 persons on 4th Creek and 3 persons on the South Fork of the Catawba (The location of the Weidner family), which has put all our frontiermen in sad confusion." This caused several of the settlers to return to safer ground, some east into the Carolina coastal plains or south into the more settled areas of eastern South Carolina and Georgia, and even back North to Pennsylvania or the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
In 1790, precluding a will, Henry Widener executed a series of deeds to his sons, sons-in-law and to his youngest, unmarried daughter, Mary Ann. The following is the deed intended for their daughter, my ancestor, Elizabeth, who married Henry Summerow.
June 11, 1790, Lincoln County Deed Book 15 Page 363.
Several books, blogs and articles have been written on my ancestors, the Wideners, Molls, and Summerows and the associated families. I will include links at the bottom of this blog.
Newton, North Carolina19 Jan 1917, Fri • Page 3
The will of Henry Weidner/Whitener
This page explores the Saxon origins of both the Weidner and Summerour (Summerow) families from which I descend.
The Yoder family was an associated family, neighbors and close associates of the Weidners.
This blog post is on the cemetery and German markers
Catawba County History
The book "Through Four Generations" on the Weidner/Widener/Whitener Family
DAR Page on Fold3 for Henry Whitener
Blogpost About the Family
The Will and Epitah of Henry
Rest in Peace Grandma Catherina. Your place in history as a North Carolina frontier woman is solidifed.
The Baptism Record of Maria Catherina Muehl (later Weidner)
She was born Catholic but later joined with her husbands church.
|An excerpt from Catherina's Will.|
- The Will of Mother Weidner
- Memorandum of the nuncupative will of Catherine Whitener, Widow, of Lincoln County, in the State of North Carolina, now deceased is as followeth: - On or about the 7th of August last, she being then in her last sickness, she then sayeth & pronounced, after her death her money to be equally divided amongst her sons and daughters. And her negro woman, Phylis – Catherine Yoder, wife to Jacob Yoder, is to have her. And all her clothing is to be devided equally among her daughters, and her spinning wheel to be fore Jacob Yoder’s two twins. The above was said by the said Catherine Whitener in the presence of us Jesse Robinson and Richard Johnston who were requested by her to bear witness thereunto, as witness our hands and seals this 26th day of September 1804, Jesse Robinson, Richard Johnston.
- Lincoln County, October Sessions 1804} The above was proved in the Open Court and recorded. Witness:
|Site of the Weidner Homestead|
Rest in Peace Grandma Catherina. Your place in history as a North Carolina frontier woman is solidifed.