Name: Elizabeth OTTERBACH
Given Name: Elizabeth
Birth: 1689 in , , , Germany
Death: AFT 1772 in , Fauquier, Va.
Burial: Germantown,Fauquier,Va., Old Germantown Cem.
One thing that I noticed about the list concerning the female members of the First Colony is that some of the Otterbach daughters, and others, are listed and some aren't, i.e., Ellsbeth Otterbach, the second wife of Peter Hitt, isn't listed, but Anna Margreth Otterbach, the wife of Jacob Holzklau, is listed. All of them left Germany with their parents and married into the First Colony, albeit not all of them were "adults" but were teenagers upon arrival in Virginia. I'll list them and some of the other women that are missing from the DNA List:Adult women in the First Colony not on the DNA List:Ellsbeth Otterbach, the second wife of Peter Hitt--she was 25 in 1714Mary Elizabeth Fischbach, the wife of Melchior Brombach--she was 27 in 1714Anna Catherine Friesenhagen, the wife of the Rev. Henry Haeger--she was 41 in 1714Minor females in the First Colony not on the DNA List:Alice Cathrina Otterbach, the wife of John Kemper--she was 17 in 1717Maria Cathrina Otterbach, the wife of John Joseph Martin--she was 15 in 1714Mary Elizabeth Fischbach, the wife of John Spilman--she was 18 in 1714, you have her listed as Mary Spilman in the 1714 Fort Germanna section, but she wasborn in Germany in 1696Agnes Haeger, the wife of John Fischbach--she was 17 in 1714Anna Catherine Haeger, the wife of John Hoffman--she was 12 in 1714Catherine Weaver, the second wife of Joseph Cuntze--she was 17 in 1714
Change Date: 20 Mar 2002 at 01:00:00
She was probably born in Trupbacnh and might have lived in the house we saw on our visit in 1999.
The one thousand and eighty-eighth note in a series on the Germanna Colonies
Recent inquiries about the Richter family, usually known in the U.S. as
Rector, have been answered partially. The name Richter in Germany occurs
quite often so it should not be assumed that all Richters and Rectors in
the U.S. are related. (The Richter scale for earthquake measurement was
invented by a Richter who I believe was at the California Institute of
The Richter history is rich in knowledge. The house that Johann Jacob
Richter lived in in Germany (at Trupbach) stood until about fifty years ago
when it was destroyed during World War II. Pictures of it exist and one is
displayed on the German Photo Page for Trupbach. The actual site of the
home is known and even the door threshold still exists. An implement shed
for a farmer now stands on the site.
I thought that we might go back to Trupbach as of 1707. There were 25 homes
in the village then and the occupant of each is known. Incidentally, each
house had a name and I believe that the names have continued down to the
present. The surnames of the inhabitants of the village in 1707 were Jung
(Young), Zimmerman, Becker, Heide, Otterbach, Heite, Richter, Schneider,
Goebel, Becker, Schneider, Otterbach, Otterbach, Wisse, Fischbach, Jung,
Hugo, Fischbach, Lück, and Schneider. One house had no named occupants. One
of the houses is claimed to have been built in 1563 but the rest were built
in the 1600's. Two of these 25 houses are no longer standing and one was
rebuilt in 1948. Buildings don't die in Germany; they are just born again.
The locations of the 25 houses are known. Usually the ownership can be
traced down to the present. Several farmers live in the heart of the
village even today. In 1707, each house was the home of a farmer even if he
had another means of earning a living. Almost universally, the houses were
built on three levels. The first level was the stable or barn for the
animals which always included at least one cow, usually pigs, and commonly
sheep. The number of horses was very limited and the basic draft animal was
Above the ground floor used for the animals were the quarters in which the
family lived. Then above this was the hay mow. The hay mow was excellent
insulation for the humans and the animals and people were mutually
supportive. This arrangement, not unusual in Germany, was particularly
important in Trupbach because iron processing was done in the region and it
consumed prodigious amounts of wood for charcoal. For every pound of iron
that was smelted, it took about fifty pounds of wood to make the charcoal.
Wood for heating a house was scarce. Essentially, what was available were
the twigs and small branches that were left after heavier wood was taken
for charcoal. So it was very important to conserve the heat in the homes.
Many of the homes were large enough that, without the animals, they would
be too large today. So many have been converted to duplexes and split in
the middle to make two homes.
I am quoting here from a recent article in Beyond Germanna. It in turn was
based on the book, "Trupbach 1389 - 1989, Ortgeschichte in Texten und
Bildern." The book was published in German by individuals in Trupbach who
were interested in its history.
The one thousand and ninety-first note in a series on the Germanna Colonies
The overall picture of Trupbach, the home of the Richters, Otterbachs, and
Fischbachs in the Germanna Colonies, is a small village that was a
dependency of a larger city, in this case, Siegen. In 1713 it had 25 homes
up slightly from the century before. It still did not grow until the
nineteenth century when mining became important. However, even in the early
twentieth century it retained the flavor of a smaller agricultural village.
Today, it is much larger with hundreds of homes at the core of the older
village and in the surrounding area.
In 1713 it was definitely an agricultural village. The design of the older
homes has been maintained and they show the agricultural flavor. Nearly all
of the 1713 homes had an interest in the "Hauberg" cooperative which grew
wood, bark, grain, and was used for some pasturage. These haubergs had been
established centuries earlier in an effort to supply the region with bark
for tanning, large wood for charcoal, and small wood for heat.
The photographs that exist from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries,
even up to 1950, show a major element in the labor force was females of all
ages. They harvested grain and hay and stripped the trees in the hauberg of
their bark. It was not a division of labor. More exactly, both sexes worked
at everything. (The practice continues until today. The men ride the
tractors and mow hay and the women use the scythes to cut the edges and the
corners missed by the mower.)
Some of the men were trained in other activities. John Jacob Rector was a
metal worker. His family had been clockmakers for a few generations. The
Fishbacks seem to be carpenters. John Huffman who came from Eisern seemed
to be in training as a carpenter. His brother, Henry, who came later,
apparently was a master carpenter. The process of becoming a master in any
of these trades was extensive and took many years. Depending upon the
trade, it might take ten or more years of training before could say he was
a master of the trade and able to go into business on his own.
How did one become a "Master" of anything? The process was controlled by
the guilds, one for each trade. They admitted individuals into training
under the immediate supervision of a master in the guild. This lowest level
was the apprentice and the training might start as early as the age of ten
years. The responsibilities at this age were minor but, as the apprentice
was growing, the master was judging whether the boy had any potential.
Eventually, if the apprentice did show an aptitude for the work, he would
advance to the level of Journeyman. Then he would work with other masters
and broaden his knowledge and skills. Eventually, when he was in his late
twenties, he would pass an examination and be called a master.
Johann Jacob Richter was a member of the Guild of Steelsmiths and
Toolmakers of the Freudenberg District having been admitted at the age of
37 years. Just the previous year he had married Elisabeth Fischbach. This
was typical as people in training were not allowed to marry. Philip
Fischbach was apparently a carpenter. I will presume he was a Master also
as he was said to be a carpenter in the church records and one was not
entitled to the title until the level of Master had been reached. The two
sons of Philip seemed to have been in training as carpenters but they were
not old enough to have reached the level of master.
WHY THE GERMANS CAME TO AMERICAby Anita L. OckertTo discover the root causes of why so many German emigrants, includingour ancestors, would leave their homeland forever, and take a hazardousocean voyage to an unknown distant land, we must journey back through thecenturies to that period of time called the Reformation and the events thatfollowed that great turning point in history.The success of the Reformation was in part due to the wonderfulinvention of the printing press in 1450 by Johann Guttenberg. Martin Luthercompleted his translation of the Bible into German in 1535. When it was putinto the hands of the people, it loosened the grip of the corrupt andpowerful leaders of the Roman Catholic Church on the hearts, minds and pursestrings of those people. By reading the Scriptures for themselves, theylearned that the Lord Jesus Christ had already paid for their sins onCalvary's cross. By faith in Him alone they could go to Heaven. No longerdid they have to pay for sins, past, present and future, or purchase theirway to Heaven, as the priests had taught them. The Priests thereby, liningtheir own pickets and growing rich.' The result of this newly acquired truthhowever, was not entirely pious on the part of some of the German princes.They had long objecated to the power of the Roman Catholic Church in theirkingdoms and resented paying taxes to the pope in Rome. They desired morecontrol over their people and the vast Church lands in their kingdoms. Bysupporting Luther these princes declared their independence from Rome.As might be expected, it was not long before war broke out between theRoman Catholics and the Protestants, which eventually resulted in a treatygiving each German prince the right to choose whether his princedom shouldbe Catholic or Protestant. The princes in the southern part of the countrygenerally choose to remain Catholic, while most of the north becameProtestants. A time of peace followed.During this time, the yeomanry of Germany were in a state ofprosperity. Their homes were comfortable, their barns capacious, theirstable well stacked with horses and cattle, their crops were plenteous andmany had considerable sums of money safely stored away against a rainy day.Outside of Germany, Protestantism was spreading to other parts ofEurope. Gradually, unrest developed in Germany over the fact that princeshad the right to choose the religion of their people.One hundred years after Luther had nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to thedoor of Wittenberg Church, a religious war broke out in Bohemia. It was thefirst faint rumble of the coming tempest. Before long the full fury of thestorm of war broke over Germany itself.The Thirty Years War 1618-1648The Thirty Years Was which began between the Catholics and the Protestants,but evolved into a political struggle for power, was one of the mostdestructive wars in history. Most of the countries of Europe took part inthe conflict, but nearly all of the fighting was done on German soil. Notonly were city, town and village devastated in turn by friends as well asfoes; not only did poverty, hardship, murder and raping follow in the wakeof these strange armies, with their multitudes of camp-followers; but thewhole intellectual, moral and religious character of the German peoplereceived a shock that almost threatened it with annihilation..Houses, barns and crops were burned. Horses and cattle were carriedoff by the various armies which shifted back and forth over the length andbreadth of the land. The master of the house was frequently subjected tofiendish tortures, in order that he might thus be forced to reveal thehiding-place of his gold; or, as often happened, as a punishment for havingnothing to give. At the approach of a hostile army the whole village wouldtake to flight and would live for weeks in the midst of forests, marshes orcaves. When the enemy departed the wretched survivors would return to theirruined homes and carry on a painful existence with the few remains of theirformer property, until they were forced to flee again by new invasions.There were villages where three-fourths of the inhabitants were killed andsome where the entire population had been wiped out.The Thirty Years War left Germany a weak and broken country. When itended thousands of castles and villages lay in ruins, farming and trade werepractically at a stand-still and the country which had been so prosperouswas now a wilderness. The population of Germany which numbered 17 millionin 1618 had been reduced to 8 million by 1648. Over half of the people hadbeen killed.The Treaty of Westphalia of 1648 divided Germany into a patchwork quiltof over three hundred individual dominions. Each German price was now asovereign ruler, having power to govern his state as he chose. He couldmake war or peace without the permission of the emperor. He maintained theright to choose the religion of his people but they had they had the rightto emigrate if they were dissatisfied.Limited RespiteAs the people recovered from the blows of the Thirty Years War, farmsand villages were rebuilt, towns were again refurnished with patricians andburhers' houses, business and trade were re=established and the Germancreative talent blossomed forth once more, for this was the age ofRembrandt, Bach and Handel.Unfortunately, it was not long before the territorial princes beganruling their towns and lands with an iron rod. These Baroque princes nowhad absolute power, with no participation from the lower classes, with nolaws and no moral values. These overlords needed money and lots of it tofinance their splendid courts, their hunts and festivals, their extravagantmistresses and corrupt officials and to build their magnificent castles.Monstrous taxes and the labors were squeezed out of their peasants. InHesse and Wurttemberg young men were sold as soldiers to foreign powers. Inthe Palatinate, to court the favor of Rome, religious persecution was yetagain inflicted on the Protestant Inhabitants.The PalatinateThe province of the Palatinate was located in the southwest section ofthe Germanies. It contained what later would be known as the RhineProvince, Baden, Hesse, Bavaria, Württemberg and the Alsace-Lorraine. Thelatter being sometimes under French rule and sometimes under German.Its inhabitants were the descendants of the group of German tribescalled the Rheinfraken, with an admixture of the Alemanni (Swiss). Theywere known for their indomitable industry, keen wit, independence and highdegree of intelligence. They were and still are among the best farmers ofthe world. During the Middle Ages the Palatinate had been among the mostpowerful and influential of the German states. The country along the Rhineand Neckar Rivers was known as the garden of Germany; the University ofHeidelberg was one of the oldest and most influential seats of learning inEurope.The terrible disorders of the religious wars dealt a deadly blow atthis prosperity and glory. Situated as it was along both sides of theRhine, the great water highway of Europe, and bordered on the west byFrance, it laid in the most vulnerable area of the land, constantly exposedto the ravages of the contending armies. Armies of every nation,principality, kingdom and tribe marched across it in times of war. Theinhabitants that survived the death and destruction left in the wake ofthese armies, faced hunger, pestilence and desolation. Where once werefruitful farms and vineyards, now whole bands of wolves roamed unmolested;instead of the former flourishing villages a few wretched huts were foundhere and there. Both banks of the Rhine and Neckar had become a desert, thevineyards gone, the fields covered with thorns.The Peace of Westphalia in 1649 brought respite for a time to thistroubled area. Under the rule of the good Elector Karl Ludwig, the landbegan slowly to recover from its desolated condition. So favored by Heavenwas this fertile land that the improvements once begun proceeded rapidly.Many who had fled returned; lands were plenty, taxes were light andreligious freedom was enjoyed. Colonists came from Switzerland, Holland,France and even England. Thus, the country in a short time began to prosperanew. A traveler who had passed through the devastated land in 1646 wasfilled with amazement at the change just twelve years later, "as if no warhad ever been there".War broke out between France and Holland in 1674 and by 1675 two Germanrulers had been drawn into the fray. The Palatinate was once more in thepath of destruction. Nobleman, citizen, and peasant were plundered; fieldswere laid waste, cattle carried off and even the clothing was torn off thebacks of the wretched victims. What could not be carried away was burned.Starvation once more threatened the homeless peasant. This however, was buta prelude to the infamous destruction of 1689.Although King Louis XIV of France had no legal right to claim the ruleof the Palatinate, he did so at the death of its Elector. All the princesof Northern Europe leagued themselves against him. England, Holland andGermany stood as a solid mass against him. Denied the golden opportunity tolegally acquire the Palatinate, he vented his rage by having his armieslevel its cities to the ground. "If the soil of the Palatinate is not tofurnish supplies to the French it shall be so wasted that it will at leastfurnish no supplies to the Germans." With this he approved the famous orderof his war-minister, Louvois, to "bruler le Palatinat."The historian Macaulay gives a vivid description of the scene thatfollowed. "The commander announced to near half a million human beings thathe granted them three days of grace, and that after that time they mustshift for themselves. Soon the roads and fields, which then lay deep insnow, were blackened by innumerable multitudes of men, women and childrenflying from their homes. Meanwhile the work of destruction went on. Theflames went up from every market-place, every parish church, everycounty-seat, within the devoted province. The fields where the corn (wheat)had been sowed were ploughed up. The orchards were hewn down. Not a vine,not an almond-tree was to be seen on the slopes of the sunny hills roundwhat had once been Heidelberg." Mannheim and Heidelberg were leveled and intime twenty-three more cities were burned to the ground by the scorchedearth policy of the French armies. The devastation of the Palatinatefinally ended with the Treaty of Rijswick in 1697. Once again the respitewas of short duration. Although all of Germany was not involved, there waswar and rumors of war, between individual provinces or with foreign powersfor the next hundred years.But war was not the only problem for the common man. A large majorityof the inhabitants of the land were Reformed or Lutherans; there were butfew Catholics. Yet the ruling Elector, with a show of tolerance, issued adecree to the effect that all churches should be open to the threeconfession's This tolerance, however, was only apparent, for while theProtestants were obliged to give up part of their churches, the Catholicsremained in undisturbed possession of theirs. The Protestants were requiredto bend the knee at the passing of the Host and to furnish flowers for thechurch festivals of their rivals. To refuse meant beatings, fines or prisonThe Swiss Mennonites, the Walloons, and the Huguenots, who for many yearshad found refuge in the Palatinate, were now driven from the land; makingtheir way to Prussia, Holland and America.The Reformed Church stood firm. It was bold and self-sacrificing andwould not change in spite of violence; the pastors were unyielding. It hasbeen said to be a subject of legitimate pride on the part of the descendantsof these people to know that they could not be crushed.These conditions prevailed throughout the whole of the eighteenthcentury. From time to time the Protestant rulers of Europe interfered, andpromises would be made, only to be broken. It is tedious repetition to givefurther instances of this persecution; what has already been given may standfor what went on for nearly one hundred years.
Father: Herman Johann OTTERBACH b: ABT 1659 in Trupbach,Nassau-Siegen , Ger.
Mother: Elizabeth HEIMBACH b: 1662 in Seelbach, , , Ger.
Peter HITT b: 1680/1683 in Kaan-Marienborn, Nassau-Siegen, Westphalia, Germany
in , Fauquier, Va.
- John HITT Sr. b: 1715 in Germanna, Essex, Va.
- Joseph HITT Sr. b: 1717 in Germanna, Essex, Va.
- Henry HITT b: ABT 1717/1719 in Germanna, Essex, Va.
- Harman HITT b: ABT 1721 in Germantown,Stafford, Va.
- Mary Ann HITT b: 1723 in Germantown, Stafford Va.
- Peter HITT II b: ABT 1726 in Germantown, Stafford,Va.