Clemens Engels


Clemens was born on 30 December 1748 in Klingenthal, Alsace,France about 30 km outside of Strasbourg. His baptism was performed in Klingenthal but it was recorded in the Evangelical Church in Wolfisheim a suburb of Strasbourg. His father was Johann Peter Engels (Sr) and his mother was Susanna Vautrin.

He immigrated to America arriving in Philadelphia on 14 September 1754 with his parents aboard the ship Barclay out of Rotterdam. Also on board were his siblings Joannes, Anna Elisabeth and Johann Peter (Jr) and his married aunt Anna Elizabeth Dellenbach and her husband Samuel.


The earliest record of Clemens Engels in America, is found in the German Reformed Church register at Frederick Maryland, where on 9 February 1767, Clemens (19 yrs) and Peter Engels Jr (18 yrs) were confirmed as members along with a married man by the name of Johannes Engels (22 yrs). It seems most likely that Johannes was the older married brother of Clemens. On Easter, the 17th of April of that year, the church records contains the names of Johann Peter a married man, (wife)Susanna a married lady, Susanna Barbara a married lady (wife of Johannes) and Maria Catherine Dellenbach, sister of Johann Peter Sr and Peter Sr. None of the three men confirmed two days earlier were at the Easter communion.
Clemens also appears in the church records as the sponsor of Johann Clemens Brost (Brest) son of Antonius and Regina baptized in November 1767. The female sponsor was Catherina Dern a single female.

Just when Clemens moved to Pennsylvania is unknown but it is thought to be about 1770. The next official record of Clemens is found on the assessment rolls of Somerset County, PA, where in 1775 and 1776 he was assessed as a single freeman residing in Elk Lick Township.

Oral history suggested that Clemens drove a wagon for General Braddock's expedition against the French at the age of 8. A brief description of Braddock's Road can be found on line at Brethren Church Migration Routes. The road was built to supply Braddock's expedition to the West which ended in disaster at the hands of the French and Indians. The route went through the Cumberland Pass and through what is now Grantsville from Frederick MD. Grantsville is 10 miles south of Salisbury PA. Peter Sr, Clemens uncle, most probably was paid for MD Militia service in 1756. Johann Peter Sr well could have signed on to provide service to Braddock as he was a skilled armorer. In 1756, Clemens was 8 years old. In 1758, General Forbes mounted another expedition to the West from Philadelphia through York County and Somerset County passing just north of Salisbury. Could Clemens and his Father been with this expedition as well? In 1759 Clemens brother Michael was born and his birth was not recorded in Frederick MD which suggests Johann Peter Sr had his family located elsewhere, York County? Could Clemens first seen Somerset County when driving a wagon on Braddock's or Forbes expedition?

Elk Lick Township (so named from a salt lick within the township which the elk and deer used to frequent) was organized as a division of Bedford County about the year 1785. It came to be part of Somerset County, when it was separated from Bedford in 1795. According to a census enumeration made in 1785, the male inhabitants between the ages of 18 and 43, in the whole of the present counties of Bedford and Somerset, where 1220, 623 of whom were in the territory, which subsequently became Somerset County. Those of Elk Lick may have been counted with Brothers Valley.

Somerset County was organized in 1795 from Bedford. It is rich in historic and scenic interest. The earliest military and pioneer trails to the west passed through Somerset County, beginning with the ill-fated Braddock Expedition against the French at Fort Duquesne. George Washington was responsible for building the first road through the county to make way for an attack on the French and their Indian allies at the head waters of the Ohio. A few years later, in 1758, the legions of General John Forbes and Colonel Henry Bouquet marched through the Somerset wilderness to triumph over the French.

The earliest pioneers came into the county soon after these expeditions had opened paths through its forested glades. About 1769, a number of settlers made their appearance near present day Salisbury in Somerset County. They had been preceded by scattered hunters and trappers, typical of the frontier in its earliest stages. The earliest land surveys were made in 1767.

A deed #1038 for 306 acres was granted to a Joseph Engle on Stoney Creek in Bedford County near Berlin based on a warrant dated Sept. 3, 1774. 1783 Federal Supply Tax for Quemahoning Township list as recorded Assessor Daniel Stoy for Bedford County listed a Joseph Engle, NonResident, as being assessed for 306 acres. No further reference to a Joseph has been found. This illustrates the problem of sorting out a sketchy record in the 1700's as there are a lot of other German immigrants with the last name Engle. There is no indication George ever lived in the county, so most likely he bought it on speculation.

A deed dated 26 September 1775 at Bedford Pennsylvania courthouse names John Rice Sr., and John Rice Jr., having sold to Clemens Engel, late of Frederick County, Maryland a parcel of land on Sinkler Run, a tributary of Castleman's River with the patent name "Negro Cabin". This tract of land is southeast of Salisbury, Pennsylvania and is evidently the original Engle farm which you accessed through the Cumberland Gap. In the 1784 census, Clemens had 2 horses, 3 cattle, 3 sheep, one cabin and five persons in his family, on 130 acres, located in Elk Lick Township. This is consistent with the birth records in the Berlin Reformed Church which indicated Clemens and Anna Elizabeth Graff had 4 children baptized between 1778 and 1784.

The 1782 Frankstown Township Class Tax was levied as the Revolutionary War was nearing its end, two situations existed which acted as threats against the well-being of the Patriot Cause for Pennsylvania: 1) Money was needed to continue the financing of the war effort, and 2) More recruits were needed for the Continental Army and the Militia. Clements Angle appears in tax Class 34. It is interesting to note the groupings are by land owner so a snapshot of Clement's landed neighbors in 1782 is given in these tax lists.
An excellent discussion of the role of Sommerset county in the Revolutionary War can be found at, Mother Bedford and the War.

From 1783 to 1790 Clement was on the Militia Roll in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. On 12 May 1786 he was an ensign in the 2nd Battalion under Lieutenant Colonel Abraham Cable (See tax Class 39). For service during the war, he was awarded 200 acres of land on 19 February 1785. In the Survey Book of Somerset County is recorded the survey of this land in 1786 as "336 1/2 acres of land on both sides of Piney Run, including his first improvements". This land patent was called "Union". No record has yet been found on the disposition of the original patent "Negro Cabin". His first wife Anna Elizabeth died about 1779, most likely during child birth as was so often the case then.

Clemens first married about 1778, one Anne Elizabeth Graeff daughter of Peter and Mary Graeff, an elder of the Berlin Lutheran church in Somerset County.

Children of: Clement Engle & Anne Elizabeth Graeff
Anna Marie 8 Feb 1779   Anthony Growall/5
Peter 17 Oct 1780 8 Apr 1854 Barbara Garletz/12
John Jacob 28 Feb 1782 bef 1790  
Anna Barbara 20 Nov 1783 bef 1790  
Michael 21 Jul 1785 bef 1790  
John S. 7 Oct 1787 1 Mar 1863 Salome Sterner/7

Anne Elizabeth Graeff Engle died after April 12 1789 and is buried on the Lowry/Engle farm in Salisbury, Pennsylvania as she is listed as a "Communicant" to Holy Easter Day at the Berlin Evangelical Reformed Church.

The census for 1790 lists:
1 male >16:Clement and son Peter
3 males <16: John Jacob, Michael, John S.
2 females: Anna Barbara and Anna Maria (Mother most likely dead by this time)

About 1790, Clemens married for the second time, a Margaretta Weimer, daughter of Johann Martin and Catherine Barbara Troutman Weimer. The "Confirmations" records for the Berlin Evangelical Reformed Church of Berlin includes a Margaretha Engle believed to be Margarette Weimer. It then is apparent that Elizabeth Graeff died sometime after April 1789 and Clemens married Margaret sometime before Feb 1791. While the first child of the second marriage, Adam (18 Nov 1791), was baptized in the newly formed Reformed Church in Casselmans River (Salisbury), Margaret's Uncle was an elder in the Berlin church and Clemens had baptized his first six children there as well.

An intriguing question arises when it is noted that a Hans (Johann) Peter Engle is also listed as a communicant to the Berlin Easter meeting in April 1789. It is doubtful Clemens would be listed that way and Michael was identified correctly in May of 1789 as being confirmed in the new Casselmans River Reformed Church with his wife Catherine. Could it have been Clemens younger brother Johann Peter Jr or his cousin Peter Engels Jr? We have records of his cousin in Frederick at that time so it more likely him than his brother who seems to have vanished during the Revolutionary War.

A description of Clemens and Margarette's wedding is beautifully described in "The Life and Times of Martin Weimer' by David P. Welfley, December 1885", where the original can be found in the Somerset County Historical Library.

"In the first years of the settlement of the country, weddings were rare and therefore engaged the attention of the whole neighborhood, and the frolic was anticipated by old and young with eager expectations. Even the humblest of families out did themselves in their demonstrations of festivity on these occasions. In all probability no expedients nor efforts were left undone by the parents of Margaret to make a joyous and happy demonstration of her marriage. The usual time for celebrating the nuptials was before dinner, when the groom and all the invited guests would assemble.
The gentlemen dressed in shod-packs (tanned leather) moccasins, leather breeches, leggings, linsey hunting shirts and all home made. The ladies were dressed in linsey petticoats and linsey or linen bed-gowns, coarse shoes, stockings, handkerchiefs and buckskin gloves, if any. The horses were caparisoned with old saddles, old bridles or halters and pack saddles with a bag or blanket thrown over them; a rope or a hickory-withe or string as often constituted the girth, as a piece of leather.
The guests arrived, the dinner was ready, the ceremonial attendants came forward and the ceremony was performed, in all probability by Ebenezer Griffith, the Justice of the Peace of Elk Lick Township. Even under the old constitution, before he received his commission from the Governor of Pennsylvania, the JP married as many, if not more, than the minister, for which he was not allowed to charge more than one dollar.
The ceremony being over, they seated themselves to a good backwoods feast of venison, bear meat, wild turkey, and sometimes beef, pork, and fowl with plenty of potatoes, cabbage, and other vegetables in season. The eating utensils consisted of some pewter dishes and plates, the rest wooden bowls, a few pewter spoons, much battered about the edges, were seen at some tables. The rest were made of horn. If knives were scarce, the deficiency was made up by scalping knives which were carried in sheaths suspended from the belt of the hunting shirt. Every man carried one of these.
After dinner, dancing or other sporting commenced in the house by some, and others would engage in all kinds of outdoor athletic amusements, such as running, jumping, wrestling, and others again in some kind of pleasure in which both sexes would engage. These amusing features would continue until night when they would all enter the house and continue the games, in the midst of which about 10 o'clock a deputation of young ladies stole off the bride and assisted her up the ladder behind the door of the loft, the floor of which was made with loose clapboards: over these she was conducted to the bed in which she was placed. This done, the deputation of young men in like manner stole away the groom and placed him snugly by the side of his bride. The amusements continued until midnight when refreshments were served.
The bride and groom were not forgotten, but were also served with bread, beef, venison, fowl and everything the good backwoods pantry or larder could furnish. Whiskey too, was not forgotten, which was dispensed liberally and often to the disgust of the more temperate.
The custom of stealing the bride's shoe while at dinner and holding it as a ransom was an old German custom: so also that of throwing the stocking, and the race for the bottle were also customs that afforded amusements for the company, often observed with the greatest eagerness and earnestness with which the contestants manifested to gain the prize.
The following day they would attend an affair at the groom's house, which was usually given by the parents, and was only a renewal or continuation of the festivities. In this instance, the entertainment would have been given at the groom's own house and by himself. Although Clement was a young widower whose wife had died a few years before, leaving him with three children, he was nevertheless an exemplary man with a large farm lying not more than a half mile due east of Salisbury and was at that day considered one of the best in the settlement."

In the census of Bedford County in 1790, Clemence Engle household is listed as having 2 males over 16, 3 males under 16, and 2 females. It is possible his brother Michael was living with him as later he acquired some property next to Clemens as his own farm. Michael was married by that time and had at least one male child living. Michael's wife Catherine Swartzel and Clemens daughter Anna Marie could have been the two females. Michael and Clemens would have been the two males over 16. Clemens sons Peter and John S. and Michael's son John could have been the 3 males under 16.

In the St Johns Reformed Church Parish Register for the period from 13 May 1789 to 4 Nov 1801, can be found the birth records for the first 6 children of this marriage that survived to adulthood. Adam was the first born in Nov 1791 suggesting that Clemens first wife died by 1790 and he remarried shortly thereafter.

Children of: Clement Engle & Margaretta Weimer
Adam 18 Nov 1791 1830 Elizabeth Mellinger/8
Martin 21 Jan 1793 1840 __Lovis,/4
Susanna 18 Aug 1794 30 Mar 1860 Jacob Deal/15
Clement 22 Feb 1796 Infancy  
Michael 5 Feb 1797 Infancy  
Barbara Magdalena 6 Apr 1798   Joseph Glotfley
Elizabeth 11 Nov 1799   John Robinson
Eva Catherine 27 Sep 1800 aft 1840 Adam Boyd/13
Frederick 8 Feb 1802   Mahala Shockley/10
Margaret "Peggy" 6 May 1804 1848 John Fuller *
Clement 13 Nov 1807 7 May 1887 Judith/4,Margarette Atchison/5,Sarah Atchison
Samuel 26 Aug 1809 28 Jul 1888 Elizabeth Shirer/6,Rebecca Broadwater/1
Catherine Ridgely/2
Jacob 6 Jun 1812 16 Jul 1859 Susan Sides/0
Louisa Probst/9

The1800 census for Elklick Township for "Clemmence Engle", can be reconciled with the birth records above. Anna Marie was 21 and apparently had left home already. 1 female 26-45 is Margarette, 4 females under 10 would be Susanna, Barbara, Elizabeth, and Eve. One male over 45 would be Clemens, 2 males 10 to 16 would be Peter and John S. 3 males under 10 could have been Adam, Martin and either Michael or Clement both of whom died about that time. 12 years after this census Clemens willed the Mill to his son John S. and farm to Margarette. While Peter was the oldest living he may have left off on his own by then.

millIn 1807, Engle's grist mill was erected by Jacob Deal ( a son-in-law), for Clemens at Piney Run, near Salisbury. Stones from this mill could still be located as late as 1979. The county road to the mill is still named Engle Mill Rd.

On the 19th May 1810, Clemens was "granted" or given title to the land originally patented as Union in 1785. A copy was published in the Laurel Messenger and is reproduced below. The original sheepskin version was in the possession of Sam Engle of Berlin and in 1995 Kenneth J Engle visited the Berlin Historical Society and obtained a Zerox of the sheepskin before Sam Engle passed away. The sheepskin was quite large so the copy took two 8.5X11 sheets. A large size scan of the two halves is found at: Union Patent. It was Sam's intention to leave the patent and all his other material in the Berlin site that he had built with the help of a few others after his death. He died in 1996.

Clement Engle land patent called "Union"
Clemens Engel , 336 acres 80 perches Somerset County.
To all whom these presents shall come, Greeting.
Know ye, that, in consideration of the monies paid by Clemens Engel a certain tract of land called 'Union' situated in Brothers Valley Township, Somerset County is granted by the said Commonwealth, the warrant hereinafter mentioned, the sum of fifty-three dollars and twenty-five cents in full since paid by him,into the treasury office of this Commonwealth. Beginning at a post thence by Martin Cook's Claim, north twenty-five degrees, East ninety-eight perches and seven tenths to Hickory, North four degrees, East sixty-seven perches and seven tenths to a post thence by lands of Chew and Wilcocks Esq. North sixty-four degrees East two hundred thirty perches to a dead white oak North twenty-six degrees, West fifty-six perches to a post thence by land of Jacob Mast, North fifty-seven degrees, East fifty-one perches to a white oak, South fifty degrees, East thirty-six perches and five tenths to a post, South twenty-one degrees, East forty-eight perches to a white oak, South twenty-five degrees, East one hundred seventy-three perches to a dogwood, thence by vacant land South sixty-five degrees, West one hundred seventy-three perches to a white oak, South fifty degrees, East thirty-six perches and five tenths to a post, South twenty-one degrees East forty-eight perches to a white oak, South twenty-one degrees., West one hundred seven perches and five tenths to a large red oak, thence by land of Solomon Glotfelty and John Markley's Claim, North forty degrees,, West fifty-nine perches and five tenths to a white oak, South thirty degrees, West one hundred six perches and seven tenths to a white oak, and North seventy-one degrees, West forty perches, and five tenths to the beginning containing three hundred and thirty-six acres, eighty perches and allowance of six per cent. Which tract was surveyed in pursuance of a warrant dated 19 Feb 1785 granted to the said Clemens Engel with appurtenances, To have and to hold the said tract or parcel of land with the appurtenances unto the said Clemons Engel and his Heirs to the use of him the said Clemons Engel his heirs and assigns forever, free and clear of all restrictions and reservations as to Mines, Royalties, fiat rents or otherwise, excepting and reserving only the fifth part of all Gold and Silver Ore for the use of this Commonwealth to be delivered at the Pit's Mouth clear of all charges.
In witness whereof John Cochran Secretary of the Land Office of the said Commonwealth, hath hereto set his Hand and Seal of the Land Office of Pennsylvania hath been hereunto affixed the nineteenth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ten and of the Commonwealth the thirty-fourth.
Enrolled in Patent Book H, No. 4. page 76. Richard M. Crain, Deputy Secretary Land Office.

Clement died in 1812 before the birth of his last child. His will #12 Somerset County, dated 22 February and probated 18 August 1812 reads as follows:

"In the name of God, amen-- I, Clemens Engel, of Elk Lick Township, Somerset County, Pennsylvania, yeoman, being of sound mind and memory and sensible of the mortality of this life, do make, constitute and ordain this my last will and testament in the manner following, viz.:
Imprimus-- I have given and demise unto my loving wife Margaret the Plantation together with appurtenances I now live on during her widowhood or natural life together with my personal property.
It is also my will that son John shall hold and enjoy the grist mill and saw mill together with 100 acres of land more or less, in consideration of which said John is to yield and pay unto said wife Margaret the one-half of the produce and income of the said grist mill and saw mill for the maintenance of the minor children and it is my will that son John shall hold and enjoy for his own proper use the other moiety of the said mills and land now in the tenure of said John Engle.
And it is my will that said John Engle shall and will keep the said grist mill and saw mill in good order and repair at his own proper costs and charge during the widowhood of said Margaret. It is my will that if any of the children should prove disobedient of their mother she shall bind them out to the trades.
And lastly, it is my will and desire that in case my wife Margaret should intermarry again, that all my estate both real and personal shall be sold to the highest bidder and to be equally divided to and among my children. I do hereby make, ordain and appoint my sons John Engle and Adam Engle my sole executors of this my last will and testament.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 22 day of February in the year of out Lord, one thousand eight hundred and twelve."
Signed, Clemens Engle
Witnessed by: Patrick Sullivan & Peter Welfley

The Clemens Engle family bible was reported to be destroyed by fire that burned the cabin on the homestead farm. Berlin Reformed church records list the children of the first family and the Salisbury church those of the second family.

As the reader may have noted, both the names of Clemens and Engle are spelled several different ways. This is the way they have been recorded at various times. Other spelling versions of Engle are: Engels, Ingel, Angel, Ingle, and Angle.

Clemens Engle is identified as a Yeoman in legal papers. Yeoman is an English term denoting a property owner of 100 acres or more, synonymous with freeman or freeholder, ranking next to Esquire.

See the map of the Salisbury area in the late 1700's showing the approximate location of the first 10 "plantations" in the area. Land Patents in Salisbury PA-1795.

Clemens is buried on the family farm in a cemetery called the Lowry/Engle cemetery. Once there was a small circular Revolutionary War marker over his grave but it to has vanished now. Cousin Mel McBeth of California submitted an application for the Sons of the American Revolution in 1976 which was approved. The narrative for his application can be seen here. Wife Margaretta died in 1848 and is presumed buried there as well. John Lowry was Clemens son in law and he bought the property from John S. Engle.

Clemens was 65 years old when he died and had led a remarkable life. Born in France in 1748 and survived the hazardous transatlantic crossing at the age of six. There is no record of where his Father had located the family for the years 1754 to 1762. If he did drive a wagon for General Braddock in 1756 then maybe the family was living in PA after they first arrived from Europe. 1754 to 1762 coincided with the violent French Indian War. Brother Samuel is baptized in the Frederick MD Reformed Church in 1762 which is the first indication the family is then in Frederick MD area. After 1767 he could have become an explorer for new lands in the Alleghenies and finally locating in Elklick Twp in 1775. He was joined by his brother Michael shortly thereafter.

Clemens married and established a successful farm in Elklick Twp and served in the local militia on the Western frontier. He built a successful water powered grain mill and sawmill operation. He fathered 19 children and at least 14 survived to adulthood with 9 of them males. He fathered his last child at the age of 62. There is no account of whether Clemens or Michael were involved in the "Whiskey Rebellion" of 1794 which caused President George Washington to mount an armed expedition to the Alleghenies. Bedford County was one of rebellion centers.

All in all, we descendants of Clemens Engels should be proud to have an 18th Century pioneer of his standing as our ancestor.

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