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BRUNNER Joseph Johann

Taken from One World Tree

Joseph Brunner was born in Rothenstein, Germany in 1678. He was baptized a short distance away, about 2 miles, in Grönenbach, at the Reformed Church of Grönenbach on 26 Aug 1678. At the age of 14, he was confirmed in the town of Lindenfels, and was working about 6 miles to the northeast in the town of Fränkisch-Crumbach, Odenwald.

According to Don Osborn's research, the confirmation record states that Joseph was the son of Heinrich Brunner, deceased inhabitant of Schifferstadt (located in the Palatinate or "Pfalz" of modern Germany, eight kilometers northwest of Speyer on the Rhine).

It is likely that, as a child, Joseph had lived in Kleinschifferstadt with his father, before he went to Fränkisch-Crumbach (of the Odenwald) to work.

At the time of his marriage in 1700, at age 22, Joseph was back in Kleinschifferstadt.

By 1721 he was listed in his daughter Anna Barbara's marriage records as being des Gerichts or "of the court." By 1725 he was an Eltester or "elder" in the Reformed Church of Kleinschifferstadt.

When he was 50 years old, on 31 Jan 1729, five months after his eldest son, Jacob, emigrated to America, Joseph requested permission to leave Germany. The manumission document states that Joseph Brunner of the Reformed Religion of Kleinschifferstadt, and his wife and four children want to go to the Island of Pennsylvania. The family traveled down the Rhein to Rotterdam. They embarked on the ship Allen, cleared Cowe on the Island of Wright on 7 Jul 1729, and arrived at Philadelphia in the British colony of Pennsylvania on 11 Sep 1729.

According to Osborn, Joseph Brunner's residences cannot be proved for the next seven years, until he arrived in Prince George's [now Frederick] County, MD.

Records did show that Joseph's son-in-law, Christian Getzendanner (m. Anna Barbara Brunner) purchased land in Montgomery County (formerly Frederick township) near Philadelphia in 1734. Also, that Joseph's youngest daughter, Maria Catharina Brunner served as a baptismal sponsor at the Lancaster Luthern Church, Lancaster Co, PA, on 26 Dec 1733. Then on 13 Apr 1736, Joseph witnessed the wedding of his younger daughter, Maria Catharina, to Stephen Remsberg in Lancaster Co, PA.

If one follows the migration trail of the "Great Indian War path" route that started in Philadelphia and ended in Chattanooga, TN, it passes through the cities of Lancaster, York, and Gettsburg PA, then curves south to Frederick, MD., where it intersects with the National Road heading west-north west from Baltimore to Chillicothe, OH.

Osborn speculates that Joseph's arrival in Frederick occurred between the dates his daughters were sponsors of baptisms in Lancaster (13 Apr 1736) and the dates they sponsored the baptism of Anna Maria Prey at Monocacy, on 16 May 1736.

On 28 Jul 1746, Joseph Brunner received a deed for 303 acres of land named "Sheverstadt" in the deed, in honor of the town in Germany where he married and his children were born. The price was £10. Speculation continues whether Joseph built a first home prior to the two story stone house that remains today as a museum of German architecture, or whether his son, Elias, who purchased the property from his father on 17 Jan 1753 built the stone house. It is generally believe that the house was built (completed?) in 1756 and that Elias probably contributed the larger effort in its erection. Joseph's name is found on one additional document, a deed of release on the Keller's property, dated 7 Feb 1753. Osborn says this is the last record he found concerning Joseph.

Joseph's wife, Cathrina Elisabetha predeceased her husband, but no record is found. Her name is absent in the document that transferred the Schifferstadt property to their son, Elias in 1753.

In his book "Joseph Brunner of Rothenstein, Schifferstadt, and Frederick", Don Osborn concluded the section on Joseph with a wonderful quote from a book by Dieter Cunz, "The M ryland Germans" (Kennikat Press, 1972, p. 429):

He [Joseph] was one of the many German settlers of Frederick County's Monocacy area who "wished to have freedom to pray to God in the manner to which they were accustomed, instead of having to unlearn their catechisms every time there was a new incumbent on the throne in the ducal palace. They came because they wanted freedom to buy and sell land; to cultivate it or let it lie fallow as they saw fit without having to follow the instructions of a feudal overseer. "Among the Germans who settled alongside Joseph Brunner in Western Maryland, "only a few were familiar with Thomas Jefferson's definition of freedom and democracy. The educated among them actually saw the gleaming light; the blind, ignorant masses only felt its warmth. But they all came because they shared the common vision of all immigrants, because they dreamt the dream of all wanderers seeking homes, and because they hoped that the New World would grant them what the Old World had denied: the right to pursue happiness."

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