Peter Engels Sr.


In the LDS microfilm death records of the Reformed Church of Frederick MD, on one of the pages for the year 1793, can be found the deaths of two Engels:
Sept. 2 -Maria Catherina w/o Peter Engels aged 65-4-0
Nov. 5 -Peter Engels aged 75-0-0

We now know that this is our Peter Engels Sr. Some of their children's births are listed in earlier Frederick Reformed records as well, that is, their birth parents are listed as a Maria Catherina and Peter Engels and subsequent marriages of two daughters were also found in the Reformed Church records. Extrapolating back to their birth dates, and taking into account the change in calendars in 1752, yields the probable birth dates of:
Maria Catherina: 2 May 1728
Peter Engels: 5 Nov 1718

There seem to be a lot of deaths for people on exact day of their birthdays on this page making them X-0-0 years old. This suggests that the minister/family either did not know the precise birth dates of the deceased or did not feel like calculating the days and months back to their birth. So it seems safe to assume that Maria Catherina was born in the month of May but more likely Peter was born sometime in 1717/1718.

The Gregorian calendar was adopted by the English in 1752 and until then, the Julian Calendar had the end of the year on the current March 25. So all birthdays before 1752 and for birth dates from Jan 1 to Mar 25 there are two birth years associated with them, Julian/Gregorian. For example, if Peter Sr had been born in the early part of the year, it should be listed as Day-Month-1717/1718. This is the so called "double dating" used by genealogists for dates before 1752. Therefore if we find a Julian dated birth record for Peter Sr it will be listed sometime from Nov 6 to Dec 31, 1717 , Jan 1-Mar 25, 1717, or from Mar 26 to Nov 5, 1718. This is the period less than 75 years to 11 months and 30 days before his death.

The LDS Evangelical Church registers of Solingen Germany, around 1717, according to the Julian calendar then in use at the time, contains many Engels and their baptisms, marriages, and births including the christening of several Peter and Clemens Engels. Of primary interest in the Evangelical Reformed Church are:
Christening: Clemens Engels 10 Dec 1708 s/o Caspar Engels
Christening: Caspar Engels (II)2 Jun 1716 s/o Caspar Engels (I)
Christening: Peter Engels 14 Nov 1717 s/o Caspar Engels
Marriage: Casparus Engels m Catherina Evertz on 9 Oct 1707

Since the above Peter was christened on the 14th of November 1717 , then his birth would most likely be in early November of the same year. "The practice at the time was to christen the baby about a day or two after birth, but they were sometimes baptized the same day, or even up to 10 days later"-EXAMPLES OF CHURCH RECORDS. Therefore, it is most likely, that our Peter Sr was born between 6 and 14 of Nov. 1717!. If on the 5th of November or earlier, he would have been 76 on the day of his death. The christening of Peter Engels s/o Caspar Engels conforms nicely with the forecasted birth date.

In the year 2000, we found a cousin living in France named Henri Engels, descended from Clemens s/o Caspar (II) who verified that our Peter Engels was the son of Caspar II and had been born in Solingen Germany on 14 Nov 1717!. Caspar II with his wife and children were recruited by the French government in 1733 to set up a military blade factory in Klingenthal France along with several dozen other blade makers from Solingen. The factory specialized in making bayonets for the French army for the period from 1733 to 1754 when Peter Sr and Johann Peter Sr immigrated to Maryland with their families. Henri was able to locate the ship Halifax and year 1754 that brought Peter Sr to Philadelphia. He found that two Frey brothers (Andreas and Jacob) were on the same ship and were the brothers to Peters first wife, Magdalena.


Church records in France indicate Peter Sr. first married a Magdalena Frey on 19 Nov 1748 in Eywiller, Bas Rhin, Alsace, France.

Children of: Peter Engels Sr & Magdalena Frey
Peter (Jr) 17 Sep 1749 1 Feb 1832 (1)Anna Maria Faw/8
(2)Susanna Pugh/10
Johann Jacob 21 Sep 1753 1754-at sea  

1754 24 May From the Archives Departmentales de Strasbourg, is an act signed by Peter Engels. It mentions four people who owed him 65 Florins. A cow was then worth approximately 25 Florins. This probably represents a debt owed to Peter for selling of his property prior to immigrating to the English Colonies. He arrived at Philadelphia in October of 1754 after a sea voyage of typically three months. This means they traveled down the Rhine to Amsterdam in about a month or two.


Oral history suggests that Peter Engels Sr lost a wife and a son on the trip over.

A letter from Mrs Sarah Riggle Ward, Mill Creek West VA, 12 April 1972, gives this information passed down by her great grandfather Christian Engle, a grandson of Peter Engels Jr. of Greene County, PA: "John P. Engle came to America from Saxony in 1749, and settled near Frederick, MD. His wife and one child died on shipboard. One son Peter survived....John P. and his son Peter were gun smiths during the Revolution." Other information given by Mrs. Ward has proved incorrect, so we cannot confirm the above statement"

The shipboard deaths could have been Magdalena and son Johann Jacob as neither appear later in the MD records. Numerous records in Frederick include a Peter Sr and wife Maria Catherina. It must be therefore assumed that Peter Sr married a Maria Catherina shortly after his arrival in Maryland or about 1755 when she was 26 years old. Their first child's birth is recorded in 1756.

Unless otherwise specified, the church records in MD referred to below, are from the Evangelical Reformed Church in Frederick (Town). The original Reformed church building was completed in 1748. There were periods of time when there was no resident minister and often they shared the same building with the Lutheran congregation and of course they also inter married a lot.

1756 "Child" (Anna Maria) born 13 Aug 1756 to Peter and Maria Catherina.(Lutheran Church)
"Johannes Engle" and Maria Catherina witness birth of Johannes to a Johann Jacob Reinhard. (Lutheran Church) Johannes could be Johann Peter Sr brother of Peter Sr.

1757 "Daughter" (Catherina) bp. 4 Dec 1757 to Peter and Maria Catherina. A confirmation and marriage of a Catherina Engels about 25 years later suggests that the "daughter" was Catherina. Catherine Lantz was also an heir to Peter Sr. property.

1757-1758 From the MARYLAND HISTORICAL MAGAZINE, VOL IX, p 267-French and Indian War 1757-1758: "Peter Englas, for service-34 days, 272 shillings" Other accounts indicate the militiamen were paid only 1 pound 14 Shillings for 34 days service. Was Peter being also paid for supplies or is this a misprint?

The "Seven Years War" started in 1755 and many of the military operations by the French and their Indian allies were within Frederick County. Many if not most of the farms around Frederick Town were attacked and depopulated. Frederick Town was the military headquarters for operations against the invasion and all of the county extending from South Mountain to the western boundary of the province was laid waste.

In was in this environment, that Peter and Maria Catherina were raising a family and it is certainly understandable why few records were kept and fewer survived to date. The birth of daughters Maria Anna and Susanna have been found in the Reformed Church records of Frederick MD along with subsequent marriages of all three daughters.

1758 Peter attends Xmas communion.
Peter attends Easter as a "Communicant" in the hand writing of Rev. J Steiner the minister at the time. Also was a Jacob Stahely and Margaretha Stahely, possible relatives of Susanna Stahely who married Johannes s/o Johann Peter Sr. 44 adult males and 78 females were "communicants".
15 April, from the Archives Departmentales de Strasbourg, is an act which announces that Clemens Engles, brother of Peter Sr., demands the payment of a debt to his brother who immigrated four years earlier. (Cousin Henri found these letters in the Strasbourg archives.)

1759 Peter and Maria Catherina attend Easter communion along with Melchior, Margaretha and Jacob Staheli. Melchior was the father of Susanna.
1761 30 Dec, daughter Maria Anna born to Peter and Maria Catherina. Jacob Steiner and wife witnesses.

1763 4 May from the Archives Departmentales de Strasbourg, is an act where Clemens presents a letter of his brother dated 17 Nov. 1762 which again asks for payment of his debt. ( Six months for a mail from across the Atlantic seems not to bad for those days.) In the same file is a letter written in English from an Attorney, David Alspagh, from Frederick MD who is attempting to collect the same debt after having been given the power of attorney in this matter. Peter is referred to as a Cutler in the town. It is not recorded if the debt was ever paid.
17 Dec, Susanna born to Peter Engels and wife Maria Catherina. Witness: Tobias Reisner and wife.

Children of: Peter Engels Sr & Maria Catherina
Anna Maria 13 Aug 1756    
Catherina(?) bp 4 Dec 1757   Leonard Lantz
Maria Anna 31 Dec 1761
bp 2 Feb 1762
  Michael Kirshner
Susanna 17 Dec 1763
bp 19 Feb 1764
  Valentine Matter

1764 In the Frederick City Rents list are found these two entry's:

273-274 Maria Wall (or Whaling), of Frederick County, Inn Holder, recorded 1 Oct. 1753, made 29 Sept 1753, between Daniel Dulaney of the City of Annapolis, for 4 pcm MD, lot in Frederick Town, no. 100., 60 Ft to 393 Ft, to pay 10 May annual rents of 3 shillings, signed D. Dulaney, before John Darnall, Thomas Shlay. Receipt, Mrs Henrietta Maria Dulaney, released dower rights. AF paid.

(pcm stands for Pounds Current Money. AF =Recording Fee)

#524-525 Peter Angle of Frederick Town, cutler, recorded 18 May 1764, made same day between Daniel Delaney of the City of Annapolis, Esquire, Barrister at Law, for sum of one penny, sells lot in Frederick Town-, #100, containing 60 Ft. by 393 Ft., to pay yearly rents on the 3d Tuesday of November of 4 shillings. Signed Daniel Dulaney, Peter Engels in G.S. before James Dickson, Thomas Price. Receipt. Ack. AF paid

(G.S. is German Script which differentiates the handwriting style of Peter from the Englishmen)
Before the Revolutionary War you did not buy property but rented it from English Landlords who in this case was one Daniel Dulaney. It is significant that this Peter is listed as a Cutler which confirms that it is our Peter Sr.. Apparently the property was in use as an Inn for 11 years before Peter "bought" it for his business and/or home.

Also in the MD rent register for the year 1764:

#522-524. Thomas Schley recorded I June 1764, made 23 May between Daniel Dulaney of the City of Annapolis, Esquire, Barrister at Law, for sum of 33 pounds, 6 shillings, 8 pence, one penny, sells lot in Frederick Town, # 137, to pay yearly rents on the 3d Tuesday of November of 6 shillings. Signed Daniel Dulaney, Thomas Schley. Agreement to accept 3 shillings for 5 years., made before J. Dickson, Saml Beall Mrs. Rebecca Dulaney released dower rights before George Steilart. AF paid.

Thomas Schley, is the noted schoolmaster, who in 1735, led 100 families from the Palatine, into this territory direct from Germany through the Chesapeake Bay. They settled on land belonging to Patrick Dulaney and 10 years later, in 1745, laid out a town and called it Frederick Town, in honor of Frederick, son of Lord Baltimore. Schley built the first house in town and Dulaney deeded land in the town for the first Reformed Church and graveyard. HISTORY OF FREDERICK COUNTY.

It is interesting to note the difference in the language between the Schley Rent and Engle rent. Peter "buys" his lot for 1 penny and paid annual rent of 4 shillings. Schley "buys" his lot for 33+ pounds and pays annual rent of 6 Schillings. Did Peter have some kind of business relationship with Dulaney other than leasing a property?

c. 1760 The book "In and out of Frederick Town: colonial occupations", contains a chapter on glass making. It identifies Peter Sr. as a "glass cutter" or maker of window panes. Apparently he used his iron working shop in Frederick not only for cutlery manufacturing but also for the making of window panes. This account of Peter Sr. cutting glass also identifies the place of manufacture for the raw glass as a site on Tuscacora Creek about 3 miles from Frederick Town. (See map below) It might be possible that his brother Johann Peter Sr. had relocated his family to the Tuscacora Creek area and had been involved in the operation of the glass factory itself.

Peter and wife are witnesses to birth of Daniel s/o Daniel and Charlotta Weber.

1767 Peter attends communion in June.
Peter and Maria Catherina are god parents for Magdalena daughter of the Conrad Spahn (Lutheran Church)
1769 Peter and Maria Catherina god parents for Catherina daughter of Andreas and Susanna Frey (Lutheran. Andreas was brother of Magdalena, the first wife of Peter Sr. Is Maria Catherina possibly related to Andreas?

1768-1770 No preacher for Reformed Church

177011 August. Frederick County Wills, 1767-1776

This is quite an interesting document. Was he the only doctor in town at the time and Catherine had been his acting nurse or midwife? What was Christopher's relationship to the doctor? A Peter Lowdermilk (c. 1777) married Catherine Kirschner granddaughter to Peter Sr in 1801.

1771 Peter Sr buys town lot #50 for 150 pounds from John Weaver. Do you suppose he finally got his money from France?
1772 Sells lot #100 for 90 pounds to Peter Krebill
1773 Peter and Catherina attend communion on 17 Oct along with Peter Jr and Johann Peter (Jr or Sr?).
They stand up for the christening of Peter Jr. and wife Anna Maria first baby.
1775 Church list of members includes Peter Sr and Catherina. All people in tow who wanted to be considered members of the Reformed Church either signed their names or asked the preacher to sign for them. Total: 149 men and 148 women. Also included Peter Jr and wife Anna Maria, Samuel and Maria Catherina Dellenbach.

Confirmation of Peter Sr four daughters is found in the church records index of confirmations:

1776 Peter Sr. paid 57 pounds 13 shillings 9 pence by the government for weapons work.
Samuel Engels son of Johann Peter Sr confirmed, living with Peter Sr.?

1778 19th April, Peter and Catherina attend Easter communion with Susanna Maria Catherina Dellenbach. Samuel Dellenbach never appears in the record after 1775 suggesting he may have died in the War.
27 Sept. Catherine d/o Peter Sr marries Leonhard Lantz
(There is a Martin Lantz listed as a private in the German Regiment raised in Maryland during the Revolutionary War. Leonard Lantz becomes a prominent figure in Frederick during the War as a procurement agent of supplies for Washington's army.)

1779 22 Jan, Peter and Maria are listed as grand parents at baptism of Maria Catherina d/o Leonard and Catherina Lantz.
1780 March, daughter Susanna (17)confirmed.
1781 Peter and Catherina attend Easter communion with Susanna w/o Johann Peter Sr and Maria Catherina Dellenbach.
1782 24 Aug, daughter Maria Anna (21) marries Michael Kirschner.
(A Michael Kershner is listed as a private in a German Regiment raised by the State of Maryland during the Revolutionary War.)
1783 3 Jun, daughter Catherina (21) is born to Maria and Michael Kirschner.

1784 Peter and Catherina attend Easter communion in April with Maria Catherina Lantz and Maria Catherina Dellenbach.
5 Jun, Maria Anna baptized, daughter of Maria Anna and Michael Kirschner.

1786 Daughter Susanna (23) of Peter Sr marries Valentine Matter
1787 8 Apr, Peter Sr and Maria attend Easter communion with Maria Catherina Dellenbach.
Peter and Catherina attend church in Nov.
1788 Peter and Catherina attend communion with Maria Kirschner and Maria Dellenbach
1789 12 Apr, Peter and Maria Catherina attend Easter with Maria Dellenbach.
15 Nov Peter and Catherina in church with Maria Dellenbach and Maria Kirschner.
1790 Peter and Catherina attend Easter with daughter Maria Kirschner. (Maria Dellenbach is missing so it is likely she died in 1790)

In the 1790 census of Frederick County we find a Peter Ingle with 2 free white males over sixteen and 2 white females. Thomas Schley, founder of Frederick Town ,is listed a few names away so it is likely that Peter Sr. and his wife Maria Catherina were living on lot #100 for which he may have been able to obtain a clear title after the War. Maria Catherina Dellenbach (Peter's sister) appears in the church records frequently with Peter Sr and his wife so it is likely she was the female living with them. Her husband, Samuel Dellenbach, does not appear in the records after 1776 so it is possible he died in the Revolutionary War.

Samuel's parents, Johann Peter Sr and Susanna Vautrin do not appear in any records after 1767 when he was 5 years old. So it appears Samuel was orphaned at a young age and raised by his Uncle Peter Sr and could have been the other male in the 1790 census.

1790 Census lists a Peter Ingle and a Peter Ingle junior in District 2. This is Peter Sr and son. Peter Sr is listed as having 2 males and 2 females in his household. This is likely Peter Sr, wife Maria Catherina, widow Maria Catherina Dellenbach and orphan Samuel son of Johann Peter Sr.
The census also lists a Leonard Lontz (Lantz) with 4 males over 16, 4 males under 16, 6 females and 3 slaves. He only had four children at that time so he might have had more relatives living with him as well.
1791 Peter and Catherina attend communion at Easter in April with Maria Kirschner.
Peter and Catherina attend communion in November with Maria Kirschner.
1792 Peter and Catherina attend communion in Oct with Maria Kirschner.
1793 19 May, Catherina attends communion with daughter Maria Kirschner
15 Jun, Peter mortgages Lot #50 for 84 pounds to George Burkhart. The loan was due Xmas 1795.
2 Sep, Maria Catherina w/o Peter Sr dies.
20 Sep, Deposition of Michael Raemer for suit against Joseph West Plummer for overdue payment of bond and interest. Plummer owes Peter Engels Sr 50 pounds and 8 schillings.
5 Nov Peter Sr. dies. It is most likely both buried in the yard of the Frederick Reformed Church.

1795 13 April, the heirs sell lot #50. 3/4 for 166 pounds to Valentine Matter Sr. 1/4 for 25 pounds to Michael Kirschner. The sale of Peter Sr. land in Frederick Town after his death in 1793 lists his heirs eligible for division of the proceeds. This is the first mention of Samuel as an heir. Clearly Peter Jr is the son of Peter Sr..
A transcription of the deed of sale is written for the sale of three quarters of Lot no. 50 where the proceeds are to be divided by the heirs of Peter Engels Sr. who died intestate! The heirs are: Peter Engels Jr and wife Susanna., Samuel Engels, and the two married daughters, Maria Kerschner & Susanna Matter. They sell the property to Valentine Matter Sr, father-in-law of Susanna.
The sale of the remaining quarter also lists the same heirs and neither suggest Samuel is a married man. The oldest daughter Catherina Lantz is not mentioned and it must be assumed she was married and forgave all claims against the estate as she did not live in Frederick Co.

It is interesting to note the different spelling within these documents for the same last names. It appears the body of the document is drawn up by a non German speaking scribe or lawyer but the signatures on the deeds are executed by the heirs themselves.

From the History of Frederick County

Jacob Bentz owned a large tract outside of Tasker's Chance immediately on the West side of town. It extended from Bentztown, a portion of Frederick named after Jacob Bentz ,to the Hamburg road. In 1775 Bentz conveyed to the German Reformed church the ground afterward used for the graveyard of the congregation.

With prominent citizens like Peter Sr and his wife dying in 1793, you might expect them to be buried with well made tomb stones in this cemetery. Prior to that, they would have been buried in the graveyard behind the church. The only record of the old cemetery is in an article in 1800's which described how the graves were removed from the Reformed Church graveyard and relocated in to the Bentz graveyard. No Engels names were included in that article.

It is most likely that Peter and Catherina were among those removed and with no family in town of concern, any tombstone if it existed was discarded.

Peter Sr lived a full and exciting life. Born in Germany, he became a bayonet maker in France, and lost a wife and son on the ship when immigrating to America in 1754. Arrives in the beginning of the French Indian War, marries a Maria Catherina in the US and four daughters were born in Frederick MD. He became a cutler and glass cutter in Frederick where he and son Peter Jr were prominent citizens during the Revolutionary War. All in all in had a meaningful 75 years of life.

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