Ban de la Roche Family History Project

The Princess Augusta Experience

Ban History
Christman Tree
Princess Augusta
Passenger Lists
Registries 1637-1700
Registries 1700-1750
1534 Report
1655 Census
1655 Families
Verly Tree
Loux Tree

Of the families represented in the Ban de la Roche Registry included within this section, is Jacob’s next of kin found on the Princess Augusta Ship Manifest of 1736 -- his stepfather, Peter Brüllhard; uncles Didier Verly, Peter Binggeli and Jacob Müller; cousin, Christian Teppe; and, future in-laws, the Heckendorns. Were it not for the St Blaise vital records of Ban de la Roche, the ship manifest of the Princess Augusta that sailed in 1736 may have looked like a document about individuals and not an entire region from Alsace. However, placing the manifest alongside the Ban de la Roche records, one sees that such a journey was not individual but collective. The people on the ship were not strangers to one another but a community making an exodus out of harm’s way.

While many relatives of Jacob Christman are listed in the published records of the Princess Augustus Manifest of 1736, he is probably omitted because he was 16 years old and therefore represented by his head of house, Peter Brüllhard, as it was the order that all children 16 and under, along with the females no matter what age they were, to be represented by head of house and not reported by name. Thus Jacob is omitted from the list, but there is a Jacob Christman age 25. Efforts have been made to locate this person in the Ban de la Roche registries but no record has been found for him nor a 40-year-old Jean Christian (Christman). Current discovery suggests that perhaps the Jacob Christman and Jean Christian mentioned in the Augusta manifest may have originated from the neighboring Plaine community east of Fouday but closer to Barr where some Christmans migrated after 1700. Barr is in proximity to Württemberg where Christman researchers claim as place of origin, while others favor Rotterdam where Jacob of 1711 departed on the Princess Augusta.

The Ban families made their exodus along the Rhine which took them about three weeks until they reached the port of Rotterdam, Holland. Once settled, the elders went about securing a passenger ship that would first take them to Cowes, England where they would exchange their possessions even though they were handmade. With newly acquired English-made products, the families believed they would be spared of taxation in Pennsylvania as England decreed all foreign goods would be subject to an import tax.

With their belongings stowed among the cattle and freight merchandise, the passengers boarded the Augusta and patiently sailed for three long months through summer weather. The ship, while called Princess, was not a luxury liner. Some three hundred and thirty passengers along with fifty or so crew sailed across the Atlantic in the most dreadful of conditions. Only the strong survived. One who did not was Sebastian Caquelin, age 22 . From the letter of a passenger who sailed the Princess Augusta, there is this accounting:

“Philadelphia, October 20, 1736 My friendly greetings and service to you, my much beloved Reverent Mr. Candidate Annoni and your beloved wife Ester Annoni, born in Zwingerin.

I cannot desist from writing to you and to tell you in a few words that I with my family - the loving faithful Father in Heaven be praised for that - have come into this land fresh and healthy. But at sea our two younger sons became sick with ship fever but, thank God, have regained their previous health. But I now know nothing further to write because we have come so late into this country and everything has already been harvested.

As to the journey, we were detained for 5 weeks, have slept on the Rhine for 2 weeks and traveled from Rotterdam across the sea for 12 weeks and 4 days until Philadelphia, but only 8 weeks from land to land, and we did not have good wind save for 8 days, more contrary winds than side wind. And as we saw land a new pilot came to us and we thought all was well and won. All evening we got good wind from behind so that the ship moved vigorously. The new pilot, however made cast anchor because it was not far (from there) dangerous; in the morning when the anchor was lifted again and on had barely gone 30 feet the boat ran into a rock, and it crashed that one thought it would break in the middle. The anxious crying began, and one could see where there was faith or not. Then the captain had a warning shot fired and had a flag of distress hoisted, but we drove far out to the sea so that we saw no land anymore for days and even thought we would never see it again.

As far as illness are concerned, the Mannheim skippers had two of the boats sidewise together; in the one besides ours 7 children died of small pox and a woman of spotted fever, and in our boat 19 people died until Rotterdam. Those people who have means and are interested in this land and need not go into debt, those I advise to stay where they are because the journey is onerous and very dangerous. Thus who wants to come to this land shall be well provided with butter and bacon, dried apple snips and plums, and flour, wine and brandy and dried bread, tea and sugar. And if young people come and cannot pay fare, there are enough people to redeem them from the boat, and they must serve them a certain time for it. There are people with whom I have talked myself who had brought not a penny into the land and had to serve for their fare, now (they) are very rich people. But I do not know to write much of the land because we came into it quite late and everything had already been harvested, and one should not rely much on the talk of other people, thus am willing, if it were to please the Lord in Heaven, to send very accurate news in the future when I have investigated things my self.

But I have not yet taken up the land, but I am also willing to wait until I know the land better or have approached trusted friends so that I may believe them. I could have already taken up, however, more than to 3 to 400 acres that have been much planted, and there would remain in my hands quite a good portion of my imported wealth. What has already been cleared of that place, meadow and fields, is for 6 horses, 8 cows, 12 goats, 14 pigs. We are very sorry that at home we have not lived according to Christ's demand on occasion, as we should have done. Durs Thommen formerly of Niederdorff your servant.”

Having arrived to the New World, and eager to take their belongings to their new homes, the passengers were detained and their belongings, every scrap, seized. In other words, they were pirated. In the following document from the German-Swiss Ancestors' Forfeited Goods and Disposal of the Same , there is this accounting of the pilgrims losses:

“The following petition (4 Col. Rec. 173) and the added item show how our ancestors fared in the difficulties mentioned in the preceding item. "To the Honorable Charles Read, Esq., Judge of the Court of Vice Admiralty of the Province of Pennsylvania. The humble petition of Nicholas Tainy, Benedict Youghly, Bastian Graffts and George Braffts, passengers in the plea of the aforesaid Samuel Merchant, mentioned on behalf of themselves and others, the passengers aforesaid, humbly showeth:

That the said petitioners and others, the passengers aforesaid whose names are contained in a schedule hereunto annexed, were owner and now claim property in Thirty Stoves, in the information exhibited, called Chimney backs, five hundred and ninety-six Syths, One hundred and three large Iron Instruments called Strawknives, Fourteen Iron Instruments called Drawing knives, Twenty seven Iron stew pans, eighty one Iron Ladles, Five dozen and three Iron Shovels, Twenty-seven Iron pot lids, Twelve Iron dripping pans and frying pans, Thirteen axes and one hatchet, three small and one large crosscut saws, one gross of Shoemakers' and two of Saddlers' awls, six box Irons and six Chissels, Six Iron baking stove pans, Twenty three dozen of Clasp-knives, One dozen of Steels, One dozen of Plyers and Hammers, Six Iron Lamps, Six Trowels, One spade, One cask of nails and a smith's Vice, Fourten copper kettles, Five Copper stills, Two dozen scissors, one packet of sleeve buttons and Studs, four Umbrellas, Four dozen and one half of Worsted Caps, Two dozen of printed linen caps, Six pair of worsted stockings, Four pieces of Striped cotton Handkerchiefs, Twenty five pieces of Tape, Two dozen black Girdles, One piece of black Crepe, One piece of striped Cotton, Nineteen pieces of Bedtick, Two pieces of brown Linen, One piece of blue and white Lined, Two dozen of ivory Combs, Two dozen and one half of tobacco Pipes with brass covers and a brass box, Two dozen of Ivory needle cases, Three handbrushes, Three dozen of Pewter Spoons, Three dozen of Spectacles, Eight looking Glasses, Eight Flutes, Six wooden Clocks, and one dozen briarhook Sickles, in the information aforesaid mentioned; that to them they belong and were imported for their own private use, and not for sale; And say they are advised and hope to prove that the sentence against the Goods, Wares, and Merchandise aforesaid ought not to be put in execution, for that the proceedings in the cause aforesaid against the said goods are Null, void, invalid, and of not force and effect in the law, for the several causes following, viz: for that it appears by the plea of the said Samuel Marchant the goods aforesaid were the goods of those Claimants, and therefore, ought not to have been condemned with a hearing first given them, And also an opportunity of examining witnesses, by which it might have appeared to the Court here that the said goods were not liable to be condemned as forfeited; also, for that by the practice of this Court and Law in such cased, at least a third proclamation ought to have been made before the goods aforesaid could legally be condemned; also for that the information aforesaid is altogether uncertain and illegal, which has rendered the sentence grounded thereupon, altogether null and void; the said information being exhibited on behalf of the Governor or President, whereas, at the time of exhibiting of that information, the Government, by the death of the late Lieutenant Governor and the laws of this province, devolves upon and still continues in the President and Council and not in the President only, and therefore the information aforesaid ought to have been in the name of the President and Council of the Province of Pennsylvania(in whom the power and authority of a Governor of this Province, by the death of the said late Lieutenant Governor, Patrick Gordon, Esq., deceased, is vested) and sentence ought to have been pronounced accordingly. And even had this been done, as your Honor is a member of that very Council, and consequently interested in the event of the forfeiture, if any be, They submit it to your Honor whether it be consistent with the rules of Justice and Equity that any sentence should be given in the premises at this time and in this Court.

For which reason they humbly pray, that the said sentence may be reviewed, reheard, & not put in execution; but that the proceedings for the causes aforesaid may be declared invalid, null and void, & that the goods, wares, and merchandise aforesaid be restored to their owners. And they, as in duty bound pray.

Nicholas Tainy Benedict Youghly Bastian Graffts George Graffts.

A schedule or list was likewise annexed to the foregoing petition, containing the names of One hundred and sixteen foreigners. Which petition and papers annexed, are contained under consideration. All of these goods were condemned and sold and the moneys given to the use of the English Government.

Perhaps the pilgrims would take some comfort in knowing that while all their worldly possessions had been outright stolen from them and they were left without the clothes on their backs, that as luck would have it, they were not on board the ship that chartered them from Europe to Pennsylvania when it sank in 1738 :

German ship Princess Augusta, Captain Brook, carrying 350 German immigrants from Amsterdam to New York was wrecked on the northern tip of Sandy Point, Block Island. Previous to the disaster, 250 immigrants and some of the crew died from contaminated water. The ship was reported to be carrying a considerable amount of personal treasures belonging to the immigrants. How Jacob came to settle into Guilford is a story about a man who while just trying to stay afloat in life, managed to do so through upheavals in his homeland, an exodus across the great Atlantic Ocean, and arriving to manhood with hardly a scrap to call his own. His mother, a daughter of a man who left his home in Walhern for religious freedom, passed on the stamina and trust in God that would make their survival possible. Little did Jacob know that the silver lining journeyed alongside him the whole while as they sailed through Summer over the Atlantic on a ship that would not last another voyage. Come Fall of September 1736, two teenagers, Jacob Christman and Barbara Heckendorn, arrived into a new world, an Adam and Eve in their own right.