THE FLORY/FLOREY/FLORA FAMILIES OF NORTHAMPTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA AND THEIR GERMAN ANCESTORS
153 Haverford St.
Hamden, CT 06517
May 20, 1997
Johannes Flory (whom Bunderman titles “John I “in his book about Flory families in America) was one of three Florys to arrive upon the ship The John and Elizabeth, commanded by Captain Peter Ham, in the port of Philadelphia on Nov. 7, 1754. Tradition now has it that the other two Florys on board that day, Adolph and John George, were Johannes’ brothers. It is not known where the three boarded the ship originally. The John and Elizabeth was registered in Portsmouth, England, but it made Palatinate, Hanau, Wirtemberg, and Rotterdam its main ports of call on the 1754 journey as it sailed down the Rhine to pick up German emigrants. While other English ships made similar voyages frequently along this same route, the John and Elizabeth apparently made but this one. It is also not clear as to whether or not any women accompanied the three brothers. The ship lists, following traditions of the time, did not record female passengers. They do enumerate “330 Whole Freights. 11 Roman Catholicks. 120 Protestants,” with the term “whole freights” likely alluding to women and underage children (i.e., those under fourteen) who were not otherwise listed. Thus, it is possible, although not necessarily likely, that the brothers may have been accompanied by their mother, a sister or two, or even a wife, who may or may not have survived the trip.
Until relatively recently, no one knew what town in Germany the brothers called home. Several earlier researchers had cited family traditions indicating that they had come from the Palatine region and were descended from Huguenots. In the 18th century, however, the term “Palatine,” was often used to describe virtually any German immigrant to America who came from an area near the Rhine Valley, so family tradition is not of much help in pinpointing their precise home area. In any event, early genealogical research on Johannes was more concerned about tracing the identity of his descendants in America as opposed to finding his ancestors in Germany.
An important clue as to Johannes’ origins in Germany did come about, however, in the late 1970’s when a James Florey was doing research on his ancestor, Adolph Flory, Johannes’ brother. Using the resources of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, Florey noticed from early German church records that a Nicholas Adolph Flohri was born in Birkenau, Darmstadt-Hesse, Germany in 1734. That this Nicholas Adolph and the 1754 Adolph are one in the same is suggested by the following: (1)they were about the same age. Adolph, who died in 1819, could not have been much older than twenty in 1754 when the John and Elizabeth arrived in America, otherwise his age at death would have been close to 100. Nicholas Adolph, as the Birkenau baptismal records indicate, was exactly twenty when the ship came to port; (2) the name “Adolph” was unusual in Germany at this time as was “Flohri.” The possibility that there could have been two contemporary Germans with this name seems especially remote. Nicholas Adolph, incidentally, was named after his godfather, Nicholas Adolph Hardwich, the town miller. “Adolph” was not a traditional name within the Flohri family; (3) there is no record in the Birkenau Lutheran Kirchenbuch of Nicholas Adolph subsequent to that of his birth–no marriage record, no death record, no record of his having witnessed a baptism–indicating that at some point early in his life, Nicholas Adolph left the town, perhaps to come to America; (4) finally, the spelling of “Flohri,” which Adolph used to sign the ship’s registry in 1754, is the spelling used for the family in the Lutheran Kirchenbuch at Birkenau. The International Genealogical Index, maintained by the Church of the Latter Day Saints, shows no example of this particular spelling by any other family in Germany in the 18th century.
Although James Florey’s studies concentrated on his own ancestor, Adolph, and not on either Johannes or John George, later researchers including Steve Flora, Tim Flora, and myself, along with Sabine Schleichert, a German genealogist we had contracted with, were interested in finding out more about the entire Flohri family from Birkenau, including who they were, where they ultimately came from, and whether this Nicholas Adolph had any brothers named Johannes and Johann George.
The Nicholas Adolph whom James Florey had uncovered in Birkenau did have siblings named Johannes and Johann George. All three were descended from a Hans Flohri, who arrived with his wife, Apollonia, in Birkenau sometime in the 1640’s when the town, devastated by both disease and the aftermath of the Thirty Years War, needed a carpenter, and the mayor and the minister sent out word to obtain one. According to tradition among his current descendants in the town, Hans came to Birkenau, possibly with a brother whose name is not recorded, from somewhere in Switzerland. He seems to have quickly risen to a position of some prominence in his new home. In a list of Birkenau residents in 1655, he is credited with property worth 200 gulden. The 1200 Year Book of Birkenau lists him as Kantzlerin Hofbauer ( “farmer on property owned by the Kantzlerin, the Kantzler’s wife”) on May 23, 1655 at city hall when a Zentgericht was held because of the unstable conditions in the town. There is only one child recorded for him, Peter Flohri, who was born in 1636 or 1646-the records are conflicting-and was a carriage maker as were many of his descendants. Peter married Anna Stutz in Birkenau on June 20, 1671, and the pair had their first child, Johann (Nicholas Adolph’s father), in 1679 and at least five others subsequently including an Adam and a Hans Georg.
The 1200 Year Book indicates the presence another early Flori (Vlori) named Lorenz, , who, in 1561, got into difficulty with the town authorities over the theft of chickens from a neighbor. However, Lorenz drops out of site from all records, and neither he nor any possible descendants from him are mentioned in the Birkenau Kirchenbuch, which begins recording events in the town in 1637. While there is a possible biological relationship between Lorenz and Hans because of the similarity of their surnames, any connection between the two at this point is completely hypothetical.
The description in the town record of the political situation in Birkenau 1655 that occasioned the Zentgericht at which Hans Flohri attended is somewhat confusing. Half of Birkenau was owned from 1649 to 1655 by the noble family of Bertram von Hersbach, and the other half until 1653 by the noble family of Landschad von Steinach, when that portion was sold to the family von Bohn. Both Landschad and Bertram seem to have used their power to tear down the few remaining wooden frame houses in the town and then sell most of the village, in some cases illegally, to interested parties. The new owners were a general of sorts, called a Rabenhaupt, and a Kantzler (probably an administrative chief) from Heidelberg, whose name may have been Zacharius Rochus. Precisely what specific issues were discussed that night or what Hans Flohri’s role in that discussion was are not known.
It is curious, though, that the 1200 Year Book refers to Hans as a farmer rather than as a carpenter. Other craftsmen who attended the 1655 meeting are identified by their professions, and they include the town tailor, glass maker, smith, and miller. Perhaps Hans had not been in the city long enough to acquire guild status, even though he might have been performing local carpentry work. Perhaps the actions of the nobles in removing the older wooden houses prevented newer ones from being built. Whatever the case, even Hans’ descendants in the city are listed in church records not as carpenters but as “carriage makers,” though they, like Hans, probably possessed general skills at woodworking.
If Hans Flohri of Birkenau is, indeed, the great grandfather of the 1754 Florys who came to America, as he undoubtedly was, the traditional “three brothers” legend needs some modification, for the other two Florys on the ship could, at best, have been half and not full brothers to Nicholas Adolph. Adolph’s father and Hans Flohri’s grandson, Johann, was married twice, the first time on November 17, 1711 to Anna Barbara Jacob, and the second on November 20, 1730 to Eva Barbara Vollrath, Nicholas Adolph’s mother. Nicholas Adolph’s two siblings that we are concerned about, Johann George and Johannes, were born to his father’s first wife, Anna Barbara, on November 28, 1718 and April 21, 1724, respectively. Nicholas Adolph was born on October 15, 1734.
Nicholas Adolph’s half-brother, Johannes, seems a very good possibility to be that Johannes Flory who appears on the 1754 ship list. While the given name “Johannes” was extremely common in Germany at this time, the surname “Flohri” or “Flory” was not, and it is unlikely that Nicholas Adolph would have found himself on board a vessel with a Flory of unknown origin. Moreover, that Nicholas Adolph would later take up residence in 1774 in Northampton Co., Pa. about twenty miles from this Johannes seems due to circumstances much more compelling than those of coincidence. Also, the 1754 Johannes was the founder of a family of farmer-carpenters, and the 1724 Johannes came from a family of farmer-carpenters. Finally, the Birkenau church records indicate that the 1724 Johannes was both present in the city in 1751 and unmarried, when he served as a witness to the baptism of his nephew, Johannes, son of his brother, Johann Georg. There are no further references to Johannes in these records which means that he neither married nor died in the parish. Johannes could conceivably have emigrated from Birkenau at any time, but since there are no marriage records pertaining to him in the Kirchenbuch and since he was 27 in 1751, he probably left within the next few years, just at the time the John and Elizabeth departed. Unless he intended on remaining a bachelor, it is unlikely that he would have put off marriage much longer in the town. Every other Flohri male in Birkenau who had been married before him had done so by the time he was 32.
Assuming that the Birkenau Johannes is the 1754 Johannes, the founder of the Northampton County lines of Florys, perhaps something should be said about his mother, Anna Barbara Jacob, who was born on April 19, 1693. Her father was Peter Jacob, and her grandfather was Veith Jacob, from the town of Mumbach. Peter married Catharina Schmidt, Anna’s mother, on April 11, 1676 in Birkenau. She was from Unterliebersbach, a tiny village so close to Birkenau that their residents attended church there. Her father, Georg Schmidt, was deceased at the time of her wedding. Anna had two brothers, Peter (b. May 15, 1681) and Johann Martin (b. Sept. 16, 1683) as well as four sisters, Christina (b. Nov. 18, 1677), Anna Margaretha (b. July 6, 1679), Maria Magdalina (b. Sept. 6, 1685), and Anna (b. Dec. 19, 1690).
The identification of the 1721 Johann Georg Flohri from Birkenau-brother to Johannes and half-brother to Nicholas Adolph–with the 1754 George of the John and Elizabeth, is far less definitive than it is for that of the other two Flohris, and there is a possibility, despite the similarity of names, that he may not have been the third passenger. The Johann Georg from Birkenau married Catharina Margaretha Shab in that town in 1749 and had a son, Johann, born two years later. If he was the 1754 George, he could not possibly have remained in America as his brothers did, for the Birkenau Lutheran church records list his death in that German city in 1777. His wife also died in Birkenau during the year following (1778), and his son, Johann, too, in 1830, after having fathered four children. Moreover, the town’s baptismal records indicate that in 1758, a Johann Georg Flohri, carriage maker, was a witness at a baptism. The 1718 Johann George did have a son named Johann George, but the record probably refers to the father. Thus, if this 1718 George did sail on the John and Elizabeth, his stay in America would have been very brief, about 3 1/2 years at most.
Still, there are no definitive records in Pennsylvania of the presence of the 1754 Johann George Flohri anywhere, so he theoretically could have returned to Germany at any time. Nevertheless, the brief period in which the Birkenau George could possibly have been abroad does raise serious questions as to whether or not he is, indeed, the 1754 George. On the other hand, with the possible exception of an elderly uncle who seems to have disappeared from the town early in the eighteenth century, there really is no one else named Johann Georg Flohri in Birkenau at this time who could have been a candidate for the “Hans Georg” who appears on the John and Elizabeth passenger list. Moreover, the identifications of both Nicholas Adolph and his half-brother Johannes with two of the Flory passengers on board the 1754 ship seem so strong that they almost compel one to accept the Birkenau George as the third emigrant.
Adolph’s father, Johann, had another son from his first marriage– Johann Christian, born in 1721–who warrants some attention. His first name, “Johann” or “Hans,” was the same as that of the Hans Florin who was aboard the John and Elizabeth. Since German naming patterns of the period focus on middle rather than first names, however, Johann Christian would probably have been known to his contemporaries as “Christian” or “Johann Christian” rather than as “Johann” or “Johannes. ” His brother, Johannes, born in 1724, was not given a middle name at his baptism, and, thus, unlike Christian, would have been called by his first name, which corresponds to that of the Johannes who came to America.
An intriguing possibility about this Christian, though, appears in Strassburger’s study of 18th-century ship lists, where he records a “Christian Flohrig, ” probably illiterate, as having immigrated to the port of Philadelphia in 1744. Perhaps, this Christian and the Birkenau Christian were one in the same, and ultimately there were four brothers, not three, who came to America. The 1200 Year Book of Birkenau indicates that the first known foreign emigration of a town resident occurred in 1738, although that resident is not identified. Thus there would have been a precedent for Christian. Unfortunately, the book also indicates that virtually all of the emigration records of the period have been lost, so it is not possible to verify the departures of any of the Birkenau Flohris from local sources.
At present, it is not known precisely in what town the ancestors of the Birkenau Flohris were born. There is no birth record at the Birkenau church for Peter Flohri, the grandfather of the 1754 half-brothers, although there is his 1671 marriage record. Nor are there records in the city of any possible brothers or sisters for Peter. All of this indicates that he, like his father, was not born in Birkenau. Although the 1200 Year Book of Birkenau indicates that Hans Flohri had been born in Switzerland, he and other Flohris may have first immigrated to Southern Germany . In a town called Schopfheim in that region there was a family of Floris, who, sources suggest, perhaps emigrated from Switzerland in the late 16th century. Included among these were a Gerg Flori, whose first son, Hans, was born on October 5, 1606, a Melchior Flori, father to Gerg on June 7, 1607, and a Barthli, whose eldest child, Verena, was christened on May 4, 1617. There is no known connection between the Floris of Schopfheim and the Floris of Birkenau, but , given the Swiss link, they may have had common ancestors. There are also scattered references in LDS Church files to Floris in the towns of Hohensachsen, Weinheim, and Heligkreuzsteinach in the first half of the eighteenth century. Since these towns lie between 3-12 miles from Birkenau, it is tempting to assume that the Floris there all derive from the same family tree.
The brothers’ arrival in America in 1754 had been preceded by that of another Flory, Joseph J., from Palatinate (possibly Wuertemberg although more likely Bayern) who had sailed on the ship Hope in 1733 with his sons, Johnnes F. (15) and Joseph (J) (19) and his daughters Hanliey (17) and Maria (21). Joseph himself was 51, when he signed his various oaths of allegiance to the King and the Mayor of Philadelphia on August 28 of that year. Bunderman theorizes that this group of Florys was related to the three brothers of 1754-perhaps Joseph was their uncle or, given his age, great-uncle. Such a relationship is possible, although the name “Joseph Flory” has not been found in any town near Birkenau or Schopfheim.. Still, there are so few Florys in Germany in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that one always has to consider the possibility that any individuals sharing that name might be related. Moreover, the first names of individuals in both the 1733 and 1754 families are peppered with similarities (Johann, Jacob, George, Maria, Elizabeth, Catharina, etc., although, admittedly these were very common names in 18th century Germany), and the state of Virginia seems to have been a popular destination for immigrants of both trees. No records have as yet been uncovered, however, that would indicate any communication between the two families in this country. Joseph’s wife, according to LDS records, was born in Bayern, and this indicates one possible area from which his own family may have originated, but there is no known connection of the Birkenau Flohris to Bayern.
Both the 1754 Johannes and his companion John Georg were illiterate. They both affixed “x’s” to their names on the ship and loyalty oath lists of The John and Elizabeth, names which appear variously in the records as “George” and “Johanes Flory, ” “George” and “Hans Florin,” and “Geo.” and “Hannes Florin.” Adolph, as previously mentioned, appears to have been able to write his own name, for the ship list does record the bold and practiced signature of “Adolf Flohri.” However, in Adolph’s will of 1819, probated in Wythe County, Virginia, he was only able to affix his mark to the name of “Adolph Flora,” which someone else had written out for him. He may have been too ill at the time to do much else. Since Adolph and his two brothers had different mothers, it is not difficult to imagine that they also had different educations. Still , for many Europeans of the eighteenth century, the concept of literacy did not necessarily extend much beyond the ability to sign one’s name.
Bunderman notes that “Florin” was the original spelling of the 1733 Flory family, and believes this version was the original form for the 1754 brothers as well. If so, that would predate the spellings of “Flohri” and the earlier “Flori” that appear in Birkenau church records. However, one must keep in mind that “-in” is a common German suffix that was optional in many names, although the practice does seem to have been confined to women. Also, since illiteracy was commonplace in the family, it is not the spelling but rather the pronunciation of the name that should be of consideration. Most of the early renderings of that name that we do have come from the pens of priestly scribes and not from the Flohris themselves. The current Flohris of Birkenau still follow priestly conventions that first appear in the 1750’s, and spell their name as “Florig,” which, in their dialect, is pronounced on the order of “Florich.”
Little can be said about the relationship among the three Flohris in America. Johannes died in 1801 and Adolph in 1819. If the Birkenau evidence is not to be taken as binding and if the Birkenau George was not the emigrant George, then the date for the latter’s death is unknown. The names of George and Johannes always appear together on the various passenger lists of The John and Elizabeth, most notably under the numeral 63 on LIST A that Strassburger, in his study of Pennsylvania Dutch pioneers, believes to be a cabin number. If his interpretation is correct, Adolph , listed under numeral 58 , shared a cabin or bunk with a Hans Geo. Miller. There were some cabins that contained room for three, so it is unclear why the brothers did not bunk together ( Since ships of the period were small, the term “cabin” has to be applied very loosely. ). If the Birkenau records are to be taken as relevant, Adolph, of course, would have been only half brother to the other two, and may not have been that close to them.
Upon arriving in America, the “brothers” departed for parts unknown, but the earliest records we have of them suggest that at least Johannes, probably Adolph, and possibly George lived for a time in the area around Philadelphia and to the West. Bunderman cites the evidence of Rev. Alexander Decker, through a Philadelphia genealogist, William H. Mervine, that Johannes married a Christina Hahnin (aus Bechlob) on April 7, 1760. Mervine researched the records at the Lutheran seminary at Mt. Airy, Pennsylvania, a repository for Lutheran records from the area. The church in question was probably St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Germantown, Philadelphia, which served as the only Lutheran church in the vicinity for German immigrants. Unfortunately, the pages in the register for 1760 have become illegibly faded and the entry for Johannes’ marriage can no longer be seen. Only expensive technology can, perhaps, restore what has been lost.
Johannes and Christina’s first child, Johannes II, was born in Philadelphia on October 10, 1761. According to Bunderman, the family then moved to Williams Township in Northampton County, Pa. in 1766, although the earliest record of their presence there that I have been able to verify is that of the birth of their son, Ludwig, in 1768. Johannes worshipped at the First Reformed Church of Easton , from which the German Evangelical Lutheran Church split off in 1831. Although he was not an officer in the church, Johannes appears to have been relatively religious and to have formed many friendships with other members of the congregation. He is included as “Johanes Flora” on a list of communicants for Aug. 16, 1770. He and his wife served as sponsors at the baptisms of Catherine Hertfield on July 28, 1782, James Otto on February 21, 1784, Samuel Hep on May 22, 1791, and Susanna Wudringer on Nov. 12, 1796. John and Christina were also listed as godparents to Johannes Krauss (?–the writing is unclear in the original church document), son of John and Elizabeth Krauss. This couple is probably the pair John Ludwig Knauss and his wife, who were sponsors at the baptism of John’s own son, Ludwig, on February 13, 1768. Ludwig Knauss was a church elder, and the oldest record of the church is that of the baptism of his son , Ludwig, on September 28, 1760. Johannes’ third and last son, John George, generally known as George, was born in Williams Township on July 4, 1777 and baptized at the First Reformed Church on October 5 of that year.
In addition to their three sons, Johannes and Christina also had a daughter, Elizabeth, who was probably born in 1772, although the church register is unclear. While Bunderman does not list her as having a husband, the records of the First Reformed Church of Easton record an Elizabeth Flore as having married a Peter Hill on Sept. 18, 1787. That this Elizabeth was undoubtedly the daughter of Johannes and Christina is indicated by the fact that they were sponsors at the christening of Elizabeth Flore Hill’s son, Johannes, on Sept. 18, 1788. Church records at Easton do not list any additional children for Elizabeth, nor do they indicate when she died; therefore, it seems likely that she and Peter left the area shortly after the birth of their child.
When the Revolutionary War began about ten years subsequent to his move to Williams Township, Johannes remained loyal to his adopted country and took his oath of allegiance to the state of Pennsylvania on May 25th 1778, abjuring George III. His half-brother Adolph had taken his on December 27th of the previous year from Samuel Rea. Upon giving his oath, Johannes received a certificate, without which he could have been arrested and imprisoned.
Johannes’ loyalty did not involve military service. He was too old. However, his son Johannes II did enlist as a private at the age of 20 in the Revolutionary War army (Capt. John Wagoner’s Company of Northampton Co. Militia, 4th Battalion, commanded by Stephen Balliat), but his service was short, lasting a little over a month from Aug. 20, 1781 to Sept. 22 of that year. It is not known why he left the army so soon after joining, although a muster roll for his company reprinted in the Pa. Archives (series 5, volume 8, p. 323) suggests that he may have found a substitute for himself. His uncle Adolph was also in the army as a 6th class private. Johannes II’s brother George, born in 1777 in Williams Township in Northampton County, was obviously too young to be a Revolutionary soldier, but, according to McCauley in the Historical Sketch of Franklin County, he was a member of the Greencastle Company in 1814 during the war of 1812.
It is always difficult to estimate the worth of an individual from Colonial times. Still, on the basis of existing tax lists preserved in the Pa. Archives, Series 3, Vol. 19 for Williams Township, Northampton County, Johannes appears to have been relatively prosperous. In 1785, for instance, he paid a tax of 9 pounds, 4 shillings on 100 acres of land, two horses, and 1 cow. In 1786, his tax was reduced by 4 shillings, even though he had added another cow. In 1787, both his tax and his property remained as constants. It is not clear whether Johannes owned the property that he farmed, however. There is no surviving deed in Northampton County Courthouse records listing his name, nor is there a reference to any land in his will. According to Jim Wirth, a descendent of Johannes’ son George and a family archivist, tenant farmers of the period, rather than the actual owners, were often taxed on the value of the property that they worked. This might help to explain why there are tax records for Johannes, but no property records. On the other hand, many early Pennsylvania German settlers were “squatters,” and this may also have been the case with Johannes. In any event, no records have been located tying in any of Johannes’ three sons with the property, so it seems to have been neither sold nor inherited by a Flory. Virtually all of the early Florys were farmers, but they probably had other skills as well. Many were carpenters and cabinet makers as was the original Birkenau Hans Flohri, his son, Peter, and also many of his grandsons. The woodworking tradition is carried on in America even today through Theodore Ernest Florey, a retired carpenter and clock maker. Johannes I’s son George was a cabinet maker, and Daniel Harmony, a foreman of the furniture factory of H. Sierer and Co. in Chambersburg, is cited in The History of Franklin Co. (1887) as one who “learned cabinet making under the instruction of George Flory and Son.” Keve, in his early 20th century genealogy that has some fascinating glimpses on the early Florey family, notes that a Mrs. Beck of Bangor, Pa. still had in her possession a grandfather clock which Johannes II had made. Johannes II had other skills as well. According to a family tradition, he traveled up the Delaware River from the Easton area, settled in Upper Mt. Bethel, built a brick factory, and then constructed one of the early churches in Centerville, Pa.
Johannes I died in May of 1801 and was buried in Old Lutheran and Reformed Cemetery of Easton, Pa. in an unmarked grave. In the will previously mentioned and dated April 2? 0f 1801 and probated on the 16th of May, Johannes left all of his goods to his son, Ludwig, and his wife, Christina, with the proviso, as was common in wills of that time, that the widow stay with the son. Included in the division were one wagon, the two best horses, and gear for those horses, all of which went to Ludwig, a skillet, two coffee pots, a lantern, a table, and other household goods, which were bequeathed to Christina. The rest of the horses were to be auctioned off to pay various fees and debts. The total value of the estate was estimated to be a little over 84 pounds sterling. Ludwig’s brothers, Johannes II and George, were excluded from the will. Presumably, Ludwig was the only son then living with the family, and Johannes wished to ensure the comfort of his widow through his son. For whatever reason, Ludwig eventually left Northampton County and moved to McConnelsburg in Fulton County, Pennsylvania. Whether or not he took his mother with him is not known nor is the place of Christina’s death.
Johannes’ will is easily obtainable from the Northampton County Courthouse in Easton, Pennsylvania. A description of the will, based on information supplied by John Garner Flora, also appears in Bunderman’s history of the family. However, this summary differs in so many significant details from the original will, that it is possible several wills were confused. Bunderman, following Garner Flora, incorrectly lists the name on the will as “John C. Flora” rather than “John Flory,” states that the entire estate “was left to wife” rather than the bulk to Ludwig, includes among the contents of Johannes’ belongings fifteen acres of land whereas the actual will makes no mention of such property whatsoever, and is incorrect about other features of the inheritance.
To date, no will has been found for Johannes’ son, Johannes II, although examples do exist for both Ludwig and his brother, George. Ludwig left a very small estate. His will, which was made May 16, 1850 and probated on December 20, 1851, can be found in the McConnelsburg Will Book, Vol. 1, page 20. His first wife, if living, was to receive 1/3 of the property; if she was not, that portion was to go to his daughter, Catherine, who was married to William Flencie. Of the remainder, the eldest son, Charles, was to receive $20 and the youngest, William, but $10.
According to the Franklin Co., Pennsylvania Will Book “F,” p. 266, George Flory’s will was drawn up on Dec. 1, 1857 and was probated on June 20, 1858. George was most concerned about his daughter, Christina Sophia, to whom he bequeathed his house and property on Main Street in Chambersburg, with the proviso that, following her death, the property be sold and the proceeds dispersed equally among his other children or their heirs. His son, William, also received land in compensation for “working for [George] after he was twenty one years of age,” along with George’s carpentry tools, but not the shop itself. The remainder of the property was divided equally among all of George’s living children, who, in addition to Christina and William, included Henrietta Amelia, Catherine Augusta, Caroline Maria, and Lucretia Juliana. Catherine was listed as “insane” by the 1860 U.S. Census. George and his wife were probably buried in the First Lutheran Cemetery in Chambersburg, but there is no marker for him, and all of the Church’s records were destroyed by Confederate troops during the Civil War. To date, the surname of George’s wife, Henrietta Barbara, remains unknown.
Johannes I’s brother, Adolph, also settled for a while in Northampton county after having possibly lived in Virginia and then at New Hanover in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. In settling to the west of Philadelphia, Adolph was following a pattern established by German immigrants at the beginning of the eighteenth century. There was a class among them called Neulaender, who made it their business to return to Germany to persuade other Germans to give up their property and come to America and settle within the Deutsch communities that were being established, Montgomery County being one of the more popular areas. Often these Neulaender were in the employ of British shipping companies who imported Germans (along with Scotch and Irish) to serve as cheap labor in the colonies.
Some German immigrants had no choice as to where they would settle once they arrived in the United States, and their immediate circumstances were often determined by the financial interests of English sea captains. Under old English Navigation acts, all traffic to and from a British colony, in this case America, had to be carried in British boats, manned by British crews. Even though the John and Elizabeth, for instance, carried German passengers, it was English owned and operated. If a German immigrant did not have the money for passage, he could “bond” himself to an English captain, who “sold” all of his indentures at public auction in Philadelphia, generally for a figure around ten pounds. Once in America, the indentured immigrant could theoretically avoid being auctioned as he usually had a grace period of fourteen days to raise the money to pay his debts. Few were able to do so. If he couldn’t obtain the money for his release, the immigrant then labored for a period of three to seven years to work off his bonds, although sometimes friends and family members would help out to reduce the time of service. These German immigrant debtors were called Redemptioners, and their numbers were especially large in the years of 1728, 1729, 1737, 1741, 1750, and 1751. While it is not entirely clear what the status of the three brothers was, Mrs. Eva Florey Chapman in a booklet that she wrote prior to her death in 1929, cites family tradition that the three brothers were sold to pay for their passage to America, Adolph, whom she calls Adam, to a man in Virginia, and the other two to a man in Pennsylvania. When the brothers arrived in this country, they must have been at least semi-skilled in a trade, considering their background in carpentry. Since the need for unskilled labor in America had diminished considerably once the century had reached its mid-point, the brothers, if auctioned off for debt, would have attracted interested bidders.
Because there are no records of any of the three brothers until 1759, the hypothesis that they may have been serving out their time as debtors is a viable one for both Adolph and Johannes. However, if the 1754 George was the 1718 George, his stay in America could not have lasted longer than 3-3 1/2 years, and it is unlikely that he could have both worked off a debt and raised passage money for his return within that period. If he were a typical German, he would have served out his entire indenture. Once indentured, German immigrants, though generally treated very poorly, seldom tried to escape. They may have felt duty bound to honor their agreements. If they did not, their lack of English skills acted as an invisible wall to any plans they may have had to free themselves. Most indentures, having served out their bonds, remained relatively poor and accumulated little property. If Adolph and Johannes were Redemptioners, they were fortunate in their ability to obtain at least a modicum of property.
The voyage to America from Germany in a ship such as the John and Elizabeth was rather long , typically beginning in the spring, around May, and lasting until October or November. The journey was lengthened by the fact that ships sailing down the Rhine from Germany to Holland had to pass by as many as 26 custom houses, where they were required to stop for inspection. Ships that carried passengers were often held up at these ports, and passengers had to spend money from their meager reserves for food. When the ships arrived at Holland, generally Rotterdam, they were detained for up to an additional six weeks. As a result, even passengers who boarded with full fare had to become indentured to the captain to pay off their debts. But the ordeal was not over. Ships then headed for the English port of Cowes on the island of Wight, then the principal port for immigrant traffic, although some also stopped at Dover, Plymouth, London, and, in the case of the John and Elizabeth, perhaps Portsmouth. The journey then from England to America lasted from seven to twelve weeks, with passengers, in exceedingly crowded conditions, suffering from boredom, thirst, hunger, disease, and storm. The mortality rate was high, particularly among young children.
The entire exodus from Palatine was regarded as a serious threat by the Pennsylvania English. According to Israel Daniel Rupp in his 1845 history of Northampton County, the Palatines moved onto vacant land, seldom worrying about deeds, mortgages, and taxes. One writer, Samuel Wharton, proposed in response to the situation in 1755 that the Palatine children be required to learn English, that all their bonds and deeds be written in English, and that all German newspapers be outlawed in order to acculturate the new immigrants. Clearly, the new immigrants felt threatened and restricted by the English and did not take well to their proposals. Many, sobered by their journey to America aboard an English ship and often cheated by English merchants once they were here, congregated in German communities for protection and safety.
Such bonding could be seen in particular at Pennsylvania churches where German immigrants usually worshipped together. Sometimes such strong friendships were formed that when one family left the area, others soon followed along. One such family who worshipped at the New Hanover Lutheran Church along with Adolph was that of Adam Breidinger and his wife, Anna Sibilla (surname unknown). Adam had arrived in America on the ship “Mary and Sarah” from Beerfelden (a town that is situated about twelve miles from Birkenau) in Germany in October of 1754, a month prior to Adolph’s arrival. At least three of Adam’s children were recorded as having been baptized at New Hanover Lutheran, John Michael, born January 23, 1759, Maria Eva, born March 21, 1761, and Elizabeth, born September 29, 1763. Adam eventually moved with his family to Plainfield Township in Northampton County, around the time Adolph migrated to the area, where he purchased 143 acres from Lawrence Broeder on August 16, 1777. Adam’s daughters, Maria Eva and Elizabeth were eventually to marry Adolph’s sons David and John. Adam’s friendship with Adolph, while probably developing in Montgomery, may actually have started back in Germany since Beerfelden, Adam’s hometown, is so near to Birkenau.
The earliest record that exists showing Adolph’s own migration to Northampton is a land survey on June 18, 1774, reprinted in the Pa. Archives, Series 3, Volume 36, page 77, indicating that he owned 16 acres of land. It is not known, however, when he first bought his holdings or when he first moved into the area of Mt. Bethel. Adolph’s sons, John and David, were, like their father, veterans of the Revolutionary War Army, with John serving as a 6th class private in the 8th Co., 5th Battalion of Northampton Co., and David as a Corporal in the 2nd Battalion of Northampton Co. in 1782 and 1783. Adolph’s term of service lasted approximately two years. References in the Pa. Archives list him from 1781-1782 as a class 6 private in Company 2, 2nd Battalion, of Northampton under Captain John Lyle in 1782 with his own son, David, as corporal above him. In a list from 1783, an “Adam Florn” appears in the same company. Even though Adolph appears as “Adam” in other records, the reference here is undoubtedly to an Adam Horn, whose name is appears with the same company in the preceding year. It is not known whether Adolph ever went by the name of Adam, even though his name appears as such in several records.
When Adolph’s son David came upon hard times later in Virginia, he attempted to use his war record to secure a pension, although he omitted reference to his Northampton County service in favor of what was apparently an earlier enlistment. The Order Book of Wythe Co., Virginia for June 8, 1819 contains his declaration that he joined the army in 1781 in a company commanded by Captain Baker attached to Colonel Monroe’s regiment. He enlisted in Berks County and served 18 months at one time and was in a few skirmishes in the lower part of South Carolina. One of these “skirmishes,” which he doesn’t identify, was fought in Charleston. David later served under Colonel Butler and Captain Dunn. At the time of the petition, he alleged that he was in reduced circumstances and “needed his country’s assistance.” The only proof of his service that he brought along was the sworn testimony of his brother, John. There is no record that David’s petition was acted upon favorably. On the other hand, according to a Decatur Illinois newspaper article from May 2, 1971 reporting on a marker that the DAR had installed on John’s grave, John Flora had refused such a pension himself, even though he had been offered one.
David’s problem may have been more than simply financial. According to some researchers, David might have been a bigamist, at least a potential one. There is a reference in Wythe County Marriages (page 46) to a bond on Nov. 4, 1815, between David and Martha Gray, a widow. Eva, David’s first wife, did not die until 1826, and he served as the administrator of her estate. How formal an arrangement the “bond” was is difficult to determine from the records. Whatever the case, David is not as favored as his brother John is in Adolph’s will, reflecting, perhaps, Adolph’s concern over his son’s marital or financial problems.
John was far more prosperous than David in terms of both wealth and offspring . With his two wives, Elizabeth Breidinger and Mary Ott, he had at least 21 known children. When he left Virginia for Illinois in 1829, he needed four wagons to carry his family and his effects to his new home on John’s Hill in Decatur. In an article for the Central Illinois Genealogical Society in 1971, Mrs. Georgia Thompson records that he set up housekeeping in a log cabin and that the family lived “pioneer style,” dressed in buckskin and wearing coonskin caps. Their beds were made of poles, inserted between the logs and overlaid with clapboards. Although he owned a saw and gristmill in Virginia, he was primarily a farmer in his new home. He and his wife are buried in Old Florey Cemetery, which is located about one mile northeast of Long Creek in Illinois. A copy of his family Bible still exists, which lists fifteen of his children. The Bible indicates that he was literate and that he spelled his name as “Florey” rather than “Flora.”
John and David’s father, Adolph, was in his late forties when he was in the army, and there is little indication that he ever was involved with more than reserve duty. A rather curious entry, however, pertaining to his war record is found in the Pennsylvania Archives, Series 3, Volume 6, page 737. Samuel Rhea, probably the same man who earlier heard Adolph’s oath of allegiance, lists Adolph in a report on “Tour Fines” and sets the figure of 100 pounds next to his name. It is not clear what Adolph was fined for, or whether he was necessarily even being fined. 100 pounds was a rather large sum in those days, and perhaps the figure refers to money that was owed Adolph by the army, although that is unlikely.
Adolph had more of a wanderlust than did Johannes, and on June 4, 1787, he sold his lands and started a move that would eventually send him to Botetourt, Virginia with his sons and daughters. Presumably the family move included his wife, Catharina, but because she was not mentioned in his will and because no death record as yet has been found for her, it is impossible to place either her date or place of death. It is not known why or even when Adolph himself left Pennsylvania (some suggest as early as 1784), but if he had been fined 100 pounds by the army, he may have been deeply in debt. His Northampton lands were sold to John Beysher, a fact that was sworn to and recorded for some reason on September 25, 1820 by John Arndt, Justice of the Court of Common Pleas in Northampton. Having arrived in Botetourt, Adolph then moved again and bought 300 acres of land in Draper’s Valley in Wythe Co., Virginia, in 1791 from John Lowthain and an additional 88 acres five years later. These lands included 45 acres of Alexander Mack’s land, located on Mack’s Run, located east and south of the Draper homestead. It is not known how or where Adolph obtained the money for these purchases.
When Adolph died, he left all his land to his sons, John and David, with John obtaining the land that both he and his father resided on. David received the land upon which he lived, and a line was to be run by Francis J. Carter to separate the property of the two brothers. David, however, apparently had already sold some of the lands to John. Adolph willed 100 dollars to his married daughter, Christine Grabill, and money and household property to his unmarried daughter, Katherine, with the directive that she should live with John, who, along with John Draper, would act as her guardian. Adolph also freed his one slave, Jacob.
As was mentioned earlier, nothing definite is known about the third immigrant brother, George, once he arrived in America. Bunderman cites the Keve genealogy as indicating that George did locate in Lower Saucon Township in Northampton County, but later moved in Botetourt County, Virginia, where Adolph had once lived. Keve, however, confused George with Johannes, ascribing the latter ‘s children to the former; thus it is really Johannes, not George, whom he locates in Northampton. In the documents of the town of Fincastle in Botetourt, there is a record of the marriage of a George Flora’s daughter, Migy, with Frederick Taylor on Dec. 17th, 1797. While Bunderman assumes that this George Flora was, in fact, Adolph’s brother, no record that specifically links the two in this area has as yet been found, and it is not likely that the Botetourt George is the 1754 George, who, as we have seen, may have died in Germany in 1777.
What further muddles the questions of what happened to George Flory and where did he locate is that there were several other men with similar names living in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia in the latter half of the eighteenth century who could easily be confused with him. For example there are records of a Rev. George Daniel Flohr, also from Germany and approximately the same age as the brothers, who lived for a while in Wythe County, Virginia where Adolph eventually moved. Moreover, records of the Augustus Evangelical Lutheran Church and of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Barren Hill, Whitemarsh Township, both located in Montgomery County, along with the personal records of the Rev. John Casper Stoever dealing with Southeastern Pa., all indicate the presence in that area of a man named Johann George Flohr and his wife, Maria Catharina Metz. Their child, Christoph, was baptized at Augustus Evangelical Lutheran on Feb. 4, 1756, and they served as sponsors to the baptized infant, John Jacob Metz (Atolhoe) on April 6, 1755. Since Adolph and Catharina Flora’s first child, David, was baptized in the same county at New Hanover Lutheran Church on June 29, 1759, it is tempting to speculate that Johann George is the missing third brother, who possibly had abandoned his German wife. However, if Stoever’s dating is accurate, he apparently married this George and Maria on December 16, 1753, nearly a year prior to the three brothers’ landing in America. While his dating is probably correct, it is important to note that the dates found in early preachers’ records are not always reliable. Since America still had many sparsely settled areas that lacked their own churches, ministers did travel widely. When they married and baptized people, they often recorded the event in the registers of their home parish. Because they did not necessarily remember all dates when they returned home, entries were sometimes made in whatever space was available. Thus it is possible, although extremely unlikely, that the Johann George of Montgomery County is the Johann George of the John and Elizabeth.
Ruth Flory, a descendant of Johannes’, told me that it was a family tradition that the founder of the family was one of three brothers, that he stayed in Northampton County while the second went to the mid-west and the third went off to war and was never heard from again. It is not clear as to which war the tradition refers. The obvious choice is the Revolution, but there was a French and Indian War here in America that corresponded to the Seven Year’s War in Europe that lasted from 1758 to 1763. There are various stories of three brothers throughout various Flory lines, all of them known for their inaccuracies. The fact that there is a paucity of records relating to George, however, suggests that, if he did not in fact return to Germany, disaster may very well have befallen him, and he could, indeed, have become a casualty of war. It should be noted here, however, that Timothy Flora, who traces his family back to a George Flora, who settled in Baltimore around 1792, believes that this George may be the missing third brother. Moreover, there is still a slight possibility that George for a time may have lived in Northampton County. The records of the First Reformed Church of Easton, Pa. do list marriages of three women, Anna Margaretha, Sophia, and Catharina, all surnamed Flory, as having taken place in 1789, 1798, and 1801 respectively. That these Florys might have been daughters of George is based on the following: (1) there were no other recorded Florys in the area, apart from George’s brothers, from whom they might have descended, and (2) Sophia, who married Nicholas Dietz, named one of her children “George Flory Dietz.” Unless new records are discovered, however, is unlikely that all the questions surrounding George will be answered satisfactorily. It is entirely possible that the George aboard the John and Elizabeth was not the Birkenau George but a distant relative of Nicholas Adolph and Johann. If that were the case, it is conceivable that references in 18th century America to a John George Flohr or Flory could be to the 1754 George.
The wives of many of the early Floreys suffered from the anonymity in records that was common to women of the period. The family name of Johannes I’s wife, Christina (Hahnin or Hahn), survives only in one source, that of her marriage record. Nothing so far has come to light about her birth and death dates, her family, or even about the obscure “Bechtob,” from which Dinkey records she seems to have come. It is not known whether she was buried in the Old Lutheran and Reformed Cemetery in Easton along with her husband or whether she accompanied her son Ludwig to McConnellsburg, Pa. and was eventually buried there. Since it was common practice among Pennsylvania
Dutch couples to name the first son after the husband’s father and the second after the wife’s, it may be that Christina’s father’s name was Ludwig Hahn. The name “Ludwig,” appears nowhere else on the Flory family tree, and the early Germans were not disposed towards either originality or creativity when it came to christening their children.
Adolph’s wife remains equally mysterious. Her forename appears with certainty only once, and that is in the records of the New Hanover Lutheran Church as the mother of “David Floly” for his baptism on June 29, 1759. A second probable reference to her can be found in the register of the First Reformed Church of Easton relating to the baptism of Daniel Achenbach, son of Philip and Ann Maria on November 18, 1781. An Adam et Catharina Flori, uxor ejus (husband and wife) are listed as sponsors. That Adam was Adolph is prefigured by similar renditions of his name elsewhere. Moreover, a “Philip Achaback” appears on the list of passengers of the John and Elizabeth in 1754, and the new father may have been either that Philip or a son. Adolph, by any name, does not make another appearance in any document of the First Reformed. Could Catharina have been an Achenbach? The possibility is remote, but, in the absence of any other suggestion, intriguing.
A little more has come to light about Elizabeth Illick, wife of Johannes II and the ancestress of the Plainfield and Bangor Floreys. Her grandfather was Hans Rudolf Illig, who arrived at the port of Philadelphia on the ship Dragon on September 30, 1732, perhaps from the town of Buedigan near Frankfort on the Main, although Keve, in his genealogy, posits Switzerland. Rudolf and his wife, Magdelena, apparently had only one son, John Christopher, a weaver, who was born January 2, 1746 and died November 27, 1818. He married Elizabeth Huber on May 10, 1768. Elizabeth was born in Germany on September 15, 1746 and died on April 25, 1816. She is buried along with her husband, in Old Williams Township graveyard in Northampton County. Their daughter Elizabeth Illick Florey (11/9/1771-6/5/1831) was one of eight known children, the others being Johannes Philip, John, John Frederick, John Christof, John Philip, Christina and Anna Margaret. According to an obituary in The Northampton Democrat on Wednesday, July 5, 1837, Elizabeth died of dropsy in Upper Mount Bethel, about ten years after the death of her husband, Johannes II, and left eleven children and forty-five grandchildren.
Johannes I’s son, Johannes II, was the only one of his sons to settle permanently in Northampton County. He married Elizabeth in 1791 and stayed within Lower Saucon Township, in proximity to his father , until 1811 when he and his family moved to Upper Mount Bethel in the same county. Johannes and Elizabeth had fourteen children , not all of whom survived childhood, the most prolific being Johann, the ancestor of most of the Plainfield Township Floreys (Plainfield is the only area where the “ey” spelling predominates) and Peter, whose line leads to the Bangor Florys (including Milton Flory, founder of the Flory Milling Co., and after whom Flory Dam was named). Johannes II is buried alongside his wife at Stone Church Cemetery, located on Route 611 in Upper Mount Bethel, Pa.
While the European origins of the three brothers remains shadowy, many who have studied the matter believe that even the “Florin” spelling used to list Johannes and Johann George on the John and Elizabeth evolves from “Fleury, ” indicating the family’s ultimate French Huguenot ancestry although Switzerland may have served as an intermediary. A Pierre Fleury immigrated to America in 1732, another in 1804, a Francis Fleury in 1851, and a Victor Fleury in 1854 along with a Jerome Flury in the same year. The Huguenots were French Protestants (primarily Calvinists), for the most part a wealthier class who lived in the southern portion of that country and who derived their name from the fact that they used to gather around the castle of King Hugo in the evenings. On St. Bartholomew’s Eve on August 24, 1572, up to 50,000 of their numbers were massacred for political as well as religious reasons. Many of the survivors scattered throughout Europe, especially Holland. The Edict of Nantes reestablished religious toleration throughout the kingdom, but it was revoked in 1685, and it became unlawful for anyone to practice any religion but Roman Catholicism. This caused a second exodus. Bunderman theorizes that the Fleurys made their way to Palatinate and Wirtemberg, but if this was the case, they may have resided first in a country other than Germany, such as Switzerland or Holland, as most historians discount much of a significant initial German migration either in 1572 or in 1685. It is logical to postulate, as does Bunderman, that the appearance of French forenames among certain Flory immigrants to America was caused by the fact that their ancestors had emigrated from France after 1685 and that their families had not as yet been fully assimilated into the Germanic heritage. There is no doubt that the three brothers were fully acculturated Germans who were capable of settling quite nicely into the Pennsylvania Dutch society of Northampton County, even though their ancestors had only lived in Germany for a maximum of 175 years and probably less than that. The gravestones of Johannes II and Johann, his son, are inscribed in Pennsylvania Dutch, and the given names of the early Florys in America such as “Ludwig” and “Adolph” are consistently Germanic.
The migration of the three Flory brothers to America may have been occasioned by another historical event-the effort of William Penn to colonize Pennsylvania by reaching out to religious dissidents. Born in 1644 as the indulged son of a wealthy father, Penn eventually came under the influence of George Fox, who is credited with founding the Quakers around 1650. In March 1681, Penn obtained the large proprietary province in America that now bears his name. While many dissidents had already settled in Pennsylvania by the time the three brothers arrived, the date of 1754 is still within the parameters of the Penn-encouraged migrations.
Before leaving the subjects of name spellings and migration incentives, a few words should be said about another inhabitant of Northampton County who carried the Flory name, a Michael Flores, who, apparently, was born in Mecklenburg, Germany sometime prior to 1730 and who died in Upper Milford, Pennsylvania in 1773. He was survived by his son, Michael, and his daughters, Catharina, Elizabeth, Anna Margaretha, Barbara, and Maria. The surname “Flores” has puzzled some who thought that, despite the German pronomen, the family was Spanish. Actually, the name was probably spelled “Florus” at one time, reflecting the Latin word for “flower.” This was the form that was used by many of his great-grandchildren in Lehigh, Pennsylvania. Michael Flores may or may not have been descended from a John Heinrich Blum, who was born about 1550 in Schlitz in Oberhessen, Germany and died in Massenheim in 1628. Blum was a school teacher and scholar, who decided to latinize his surname, which, among his descendants, eventually became spelled “Flor.” The name “Flor” or “Flohr” does appear in the 18th century in America not only in Pennsylvania, but also Maryland and Virginia. It is difficult to determine whether the original Flors and Floris in America were ever at one time related.
The line of Johannes II as it evolves in Northampton County, is not a difficult one to trace, at least not in its rough outlines. A Bangor, Pennsylvania re-union group met until at least 1914 and collected many records; the descendants of Johannes II for the most part, remained in the area; and local tombstone evidence bears witness to the accuracy of much of the census data. While there are a number of graveyards in the relevant areas of Northampton County, the two principal ones of concern for Florys are St. Peters in Plainfield and St. Johns in Bangor. With some exceptions, St. Johns is the repository for the descendants of Johannes II’s son Peter, virtually all of whom spell their name as “Flory.” The one exception to this spelling occurs with Peter’s son Absolom, who, along with his descendants, uses the more southerly form of “Flora.” In St. Peters are buried Johannes II’s son Johann and most of his sons’ lines, including those of Jacob, Jesse, and Reuben. While there are some inconsistencies, most of Johann’s descendants are “Floreys.” A few scattered grave sites for Florys can also be found at Salem Methodist Cemetery in Bangor, where Peter’s wife, Mary, is buried, Benders Cemetery (once Lutheran but now Mennonite) near Pen Argyl, the United Church of Christ Cemetery in Flicksville (near Bangor) , the Stone Church Cemetery in Upper Mount Bethel along Route 611, and St. Peters in Seemsville in East Allen Township. Close by, but outside the immediate area, are Northampton Flory tomb sites at Greenwood in Nazareth, at Bath Cemetery in Bath, at Laurelwood in Stroudsburg, at Easton Heights in Easton, and at Evergreen Hill in East Stroudsburg. Most of the Flory gravestones have fortunately escaped much of the weather-caused illegibility that is often found on other stones in these cemeteries. In all likelihood, if one’s Flory ancestors were buried in Northampton County, their graves can be found. There are very few Florys who seem to have suffered the fate of Daniel Flory (1813-1895) whose gravestone at Benders is now missing.
The stones of Johannes II and his wife, Elizabeth, at Stone Church Cemetery were not always clearly visible. The Flory family historian, Rev. A. D. Decker reported that he had to make a thorough search one day in 1912 with Rev. Wenner, the Lutheran pastor of the church, through the cemetery to find where they were. As he writes “the moss has so overgrown the inscription on Elizabeth Florey’s tombstone that we mistook a three for the figure five and . . . [I mistakenly assumed] that she raised fifteen children, but after I had made diligent search in the Orphan’s Court at Easton and the church records at Hellertown and Centerville and could not find the names of the fifteen, I went again to the cemetery and scraped off the moss, and discovered that there were thirteen children [note-she had at least fourteen] instead of fifteen. I felt happy for I had located the entire thirteen.”
Today, both tombstones have been cleaned and the cemetery itself has been well maintained. A marker has been placed by the side of Johannes’ grave by the DAR indicating that he was a Revolutionary War veteran, however brief his service may have been. His stone, though, is very dark and difficult to read. His wife’s is much clearer, although the delicate marble from which it was made will likely suffer from air pollution that will obscure its lettering.
The first organized genealogical research in America on any of the 1754 brothers was initiated by the aforementioned Bangor Flory Association, whose purpose was defined as “the perpetuation of the good names of our ancestors.” It first met at the offices of Milton Flory on January 2, 1909, and Samuel Flory of Bangor was elected President, Mrs. T. J. Foster of Scranton as Vice President, and Milton Flory as Treasurer. The main business of the meeting seems to have been to plan for the first family re-union, which was held on August 9 of that year at Lutheran Grove in Bangor, where the Rev. Alexander D. Decker of Dalton Pennsylvania was named Family Historian. The Association continued to hold annual re-unions at the Grove every year, except for 1912, when the meeting was temporarily located at Wind Gap Park and in 1914, when it was moved to Slate Belt Park. At the first re-union, a photograph was taken of “the older Florys,” and according to the Tribune Republican of August 14, 1910, over 300 persons attended the second re-union.
It was at the 1914 meeting where the Reverend Decker first revealed to Johannes Flory’s descendants many of the facts and circumstances of early family history that apparently had become neglected and forgotten over the years. The invitation to the meeting promised that:
The Historian Rev. A. D. Decker will have important data to present at the reunion this year. He has found, after 5 years of research, the name of our emigrant ancestor-the time of his landing in Philadelphia-the record of his marriage and the record of the birth and baptism of his eldest son Johanus Florey. Our historian has traced the family from the landing in Philadelphia down to the present and will present positive proofs substantiating all the claims he makes. He has found where our emigrant ancestor attended church and his name and the names of his wife and children are recorded at the various times they partook of the Holy Communion.
In notes taken from the re-union, it appears that Decker was also aware of Johannes’ half-brother, Adolph, whom he speculated was Johannes’ father. He also had information that Adolph had migrated to Virginia, although it is unclear as to what his source of information was.
It is also unclear at this point as to whether there were any family traditions surviving among the Northampton Florys of this period about the existence Johannes I , let along the fact that he was one of “three brothers.” Decker, by suggesting that Adolph was Johannes’ father, seems to have been unaware of any “three brothers” legend. The officers of the Flory Association included the wealthiest and most influential of the Flory members of that time, people whom, one would suppose, would be repositories of family heritage. Moreover, their re-unions consisted of upwards of 300 persons from various branches of the family. And yet, the implication of the announcement for the 1914 re-union is that nothing was remembered of the 1754 immigration and its immediate aftermath or even of Johannes I. In the minutes to the 1914 meeting, Emanuel F. Florey is referred to as “grandson of the founder of the family.” Emanuel Florey was Johannes II’s grandson, not Johannes I’s, and the title “founder of the family” was clearly given to the former in recognition of the fact that it was his migration to Upper Mt. Bethel that established the line of Florys in Bangor and Plainfield. Since Johannes II was also one of three brothers, any legend still in the family about the “founder” and his brothers probably refers to him.
Where did the “three brothers” tradition of 1754 then come from? Bunderman suggests that it was ubiquitous within the family, but the materials from the 1914 re-union suggests that this was not the case. One must allow for the fact, of course, that Decker’s authority and early scholarship may have overridden unsubstantiated family legends. Thus, when John Fremont Keve wrote the first chapter on the history of the Johannes Flory family in America that exists in print, he still cited Decker as the reliable source for family genealogy. Decker, in this citation, now mistakes George for Johannes and makes him the father of Johannes II. Decker’s error here probably comes from one of his apparent sources, Daniel Rupp’s volume of ship lists of German immigrants to America from 1727-1776. In Rupp’s transcription of the list of the John and Elizabeth, he, for some reason, leaves out the name of Johannes, mentioning only George and Adolph. Decker, assuming perhaps that Rupp’s list was complete, may have concluded that George and Johannes were one. Such a mistake could only have been made if there were no real memories left in Northampton County of both a George and a Johannes.
The first written statement that there were three Flory brothers who immigrated here in 1754 can be found in Gertrude Flory Dinkey’s Genealogy of the Flory-Dinkey Family published in 1946. In compiling her study, Dinkey may have had access to Ralph Beaver Strassburger’s Pennsylvania German Pioneers in which Rupp’s earlier omission was corrected and where all three brothers were finally listed. In any event, she doesn’t cite any family traditions as substantiation for her brief discussion of the “three brothers.” Her own knowledge of the early family history is shaky , and she incorrectly lists Johannes I as having four sons instead of three and she omits reference to his daughter, Elizabeth.
Whatever memories may or may not have been left in the family about the John and Elizabeth, it is clear that the main source of the three brothers’ legend currently comes from Bunderman’s attempt in his 1948 book to list the genealogies of all Flory families in America. If the 1754 George was indeed the 1718 George from Birkenau, his quick return to his homeland would likely have been quickly forgotten by Johannes’ descendants. One could even make the case, therefore, that all present references to the “three brothers” go back to Bunderman and no one else, at least not to the Northampton Florys.
Little genealogical work has been done until recently on the Flory family in Europe. Reverend Decker , himself, confessed doubt in 1914 as to whether the family was of French or German descent. Keve and Dinkey both suggested Holland, probably on the basis that the ship lists from the John and Elizabeth mention both Amsterdam and Rotterdam, which was typical of most lists from ships coming to America from Germany in the 18th century.
But now , there are efforts that are underway that promise some even more encouraging findings beyond that of the recent discovery of the Birkenau origins of the family. Steve Flora, a member of the United States diplomatic service abroad and a descendant of Adolph, has formed an e-mail group along with Tim Flora of Kansas and myself. Together, we have hired the aforementioned German genealogist, Sabine Schleichert, to investigate not only the Birkenau branch, but to look at the possibilities of tying that branch in with other Flory families in both Germany and throughout the rest of Europe, including Holland, France, and England. The e-mail group has expanded to include about ten individuals, including Flory historian, John Marcinkowski, the editor of the Flory/Fleury/Flora newsletter, Bill Flory, a member of the U.S. diplomatic core in London, Brian Flora, and the first Flory descendant to have placed a Flory genealogy on the Internet, Pat Hageman.
Two genealogies of unrelated German Florys have been found by Tim Flora (one of which concerns the aforementioned family that originally was known as “Blum”), and Sabine Schleichert has collected numerous early references European Florys, including that of a letter written in 1735 by a Swiss woman named Flory, who notes that her brother and sister were now living in America. Indeed, enough references to Swiss Florys have emerged recently to lend significant substantiation to the supposition that the ancestors of the three brothers were originally Swiss. At present, I am working, along with Jim Wirth, at the genealogical facilities of the Church of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons) to analyze the microfilms they have of the kirchenbuchs of early German churches for references to Flory individuals and families. It is likely that many of the various Flory lines that immigrated to America in the 17th through the 19th centuries are ultimately tied together and that genealogists will soon discover these ties. One researcher notes that it was common for some ships to run a shuttle service back and forth from Germany to America, and several Florys may have returned to their homeland at one time or another to encourage other family members to join them. Because of the relative rarity of the name and the discovery of Adolph Flohri’s probable birthplace, a comprehensive genealogy that vastly exceeds the scope of Bunderman’s pioneering efforts is certainly both possible and plausible sometime within the near future.
BIBLIOGRAPHYBirkenau Lutheran Church Kirchenbuch, Filmed Records of the Church of The Latter Day Saints, Numbers 1340344, 1348721, and 1348722.There is considerable duplication in these films. However, no one film contains the complete records of the church. Parish register of baptisms, marriages, deaths, and confirmations. Includes Hornbach, Rohrbach, Kallstadt, Unter Liebersbach, Morlenbach, Zotzenbach, Mumbach, Weinheim, Bonsweiher, Vorkelsbach, Geisenbach, Kreidach, Steinach, Weiher, Markenheim, Waldmichelbach, Reisen, and Schimbach.
Bunderman, Walter Q., Flory, Flora, Fleury Family History, Reading Eagle Press, Reading, Pa., 1948.An attempt to compile statistics on every single Flory family in America. Although outdated and containing some inaccuracies, an essential starting point for anyone interested in Flory, Flora, Fleury family history. A Xeroxed reprint of this work is available for about $14.00 from Leslie E. Flory, 153 Philip Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540.
Chapman, Eva Florey, Florey Booklet. Privately Printed.No known copy exists of this booklet, which may have been intended originally for a family re-union. Some notes taken by Don Copeland do exist, in which Eva Almira Chapman, great-granddaughter of Adolph, records that all three brothers were bonded to other men when they first arrived in this country.
Dinkey, Gertrude Flory, Genealogy of Flory-Dinkey Family, Privately Printed, 1946.A personal genealogy that traces the author’s ancestry from Johannes Flory of 1754 down to herself, with some commentary about her father, Curtis Bertram Flory. Interesting introduction detailing Dutch Florys. Some errors in the list of Johannes Flory’s descendants. Copies available at many research libraries.
Donson, Gladys, and Lawrence F. Athy, The Thomas Flora Family of London, Maryland, & Virginia, Donath Publishing, Houston, Texas, 1995. Out of Print.Although the Thomas Flora family does not overlap with the family of the 1754 brothers, this volume is an impressive compilation and should be viewed. Although the book is out of print, questions about the family can be directed to Gladys Donson, 13534 Beerbower Rd., Bryan, OH 43506-9619.
Flora, Adolph, Will, Wythe County, Virginia Will Book 2, p. 276. Flora, Joel Cephus, A Genealogy and History of Descendants of Jacob Flora of Franklin County, Va., Privately Printed, Dayton, Ohio, 1951.Much of this material originally was supposed to appear in Bunderman’s study. Flora does devote a section of his study to the 1754 brothers and adds to Bunderman’s account of Adolph.
Flory, George, Will, Franklin County, Pennsylvania Will Book “F”, p. 266. Flory, John, Will, Northampton County, Pennsylvania Will Book, number 2005 Gardner, Joseph I., The Ancestry of the Joseph Schoch Family, Onetime of Metamora, Michigan, Privately Printed, Hazel Park, Michigan, 1951.Contains some information about the Flory family, primarily because Daniel Schoch and Samuel Schoch married Ann Margaret Flory and Lydia Flory, daughters of John Flory II and Elizabeth Illick. Xerox copy of booklet available from William Dopke, RD #1, Box 1455, Mt. Bethel, PA 18343.
Heavener, the Rev. Ulysses S.A., German New River Settlement: Virginia, Reprinted with a New Index by Anita Comtois, Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, 1976.Contains a brief account of the activities of the Rev. Dr. George Daniel Flohr, who was pastor of the New German Settlement beginning about 1795. Probably not connected with the 1754 George Flory.
Humphrey, John T., Pennsylvania Births-Montgomery County, 1662-1800, Gateway Press, Baltimore, Md., 1993.Records David Flora’s birth in 1759 and some tantalizing references to Johann Georg and Maria Catharina Flory, who probably aren’t the 1754 Johann Georg and his wife.
Pennsylvania Births-Northampton County, 1733-1800, Gateway Press, Baltimore, Md., 1991.Records births in Northampton County from 12 different sources, including church records. Information primarily about Johannes I and II, but also reference to David Flora, son of Adolph.
Kegley, Mary B., Early Adventurers on the Western Waters, Volume II, The New River of Virginia in Pioneer Days, 1745-1800, Green Publishers, Orange, Virginia (no date).Includes a chapter on Adolph Flora and his descendants, focusing on their activities in Virginia.
Volume III, Parts I and II, Kegley Books, Wytheville, Virginia (no date).
Keve, John Fremont, Keve Genealogy, Privately Printed.Early genealogy by John Fremont Keve (born July 25, 1863), who was descended from Johannes Flory (whom he mistakenly calls “George”. Contains several errors. Interesting contemporary account of several early Florys.
Keiffer, Rev. Henry Martyn Keiffer, DD., Some of the First Settlers of the Forks of the Delaware, Being a Translation from the German of the Record Books of the First Reformed Church of Easton, Pa., Family Line Publications, Westminster, Maryland, 1990 reprint of 1902 edition.Birth, marriage, and death records of one of Easton’s most historic churches. Records of Johannes, Adolph (Adam), along with several unaffiliated Florys.
Marcinkowski, John P., Flory. Flora, Fleury Family History, 1973 Supplement, Privately Printed, 1978.A supplement to Bunderman’s work that is keyed to the page numbers of the original. One must have Bunderman’s original work in hand to use the supplement. Hardbound copy available for about $10.00 from John Marcinkowski, 27 Valley Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610.
Monroe County Historical Society, Monroe County, Indiana: Family Heritage 1987, Taylor Publishing Company, Dallas, Texas, 1987.Contains accounts of some of the early settlers of Monroe Co., Indiana, including Peter Thrasher, who marriedAdolph’s grand-daughter, Catherine Flory.
Peterson, John E., “Letter to James R. Wirth,” July 21, 1986.In this letter, Peterson, the curator of the Lutheran Archives Center of Philadelphia, confirms that the parish register page on which Johannes Flory’s marriage to Christina Hahn was probably recorded is now illegible.
Rupp, I(srael). Daniel, A Collection of Upwards of Thirty Thousand Names of German, Swiss, Dutch, French and Other Immigrants in Pennsylvania From 1727 to 1776 (Reprint-Originally published 1876), Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1985.A classic catalog of ship lists, the first comprehensive study of its kind. Later superseded by Strassburger. Rupp, in transcribing the list of passengers on the John and Elizabeth, mistakenly left out Johannes Flory’s name, setting back investigation somewhat on the origins of the Northampton Flory branch. Keve, in his work, for example, confuses George Flory, who is listed in Rupp, with Johannes, who is not.
A History of Northampton, Lehigh, Monroe, Carbon, and Schuylkill Counties (Reprint-Originally published 1844), Arno Press, New York, 1971.An early account of Northampton County with several contemporary lists. Interesting discussion of Redemptioners and English attitudes towards them.
Salinger, Sharon V., “To Serve Well and Faithfully: Labor and Indentured Servants in Pennsylvania, 1682-1800, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1987.An exhaustive study of Indentured Servants and Redemptioners for the period in which the three brothers may have been auctioned off as servants to pay their transportation to America.
Schopfheim Evangelische Kirchenbuch; Filmed Records of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, 1189748 and 1189749Parish register of baptisms, marriages, deaths, and indexes for Schopfheim. Includes Fahrnau, Eichen, Wiechs, Langenau, Raitbach, Hofen and Gundenhausen.
Smith, Margaret and Nedra Patrick, History of Monroe County, Pennsylvania 1725-1976, Pocono Hospital Auxiliary, East Stroudsburg, Pa., 1976.Contains an account of William S. Flory, who raised a company of militia during the Civil War, which was mustered in on July 3, 1863. Monroe County was originally part of Northampton County.
Stoever, John C., Early Lutheran Baptisms and Marriages in Southeastern, Pa., Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1988 reprint of 1896 edition.The record of John C. Stoever, one of the first clergymen to serve the Pa. German settlers, 1730-1799. Includes information about Engelhardt Flohry and John George Flohr.
Strassburger, Ralph Beaver, Pennsylvania German Pioneers, Volumes I and II, Edited by William John Hinke, Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1992 reprint of 1934 edition.The current standard source for passenger lists of ships that brought German immigrants to the port of Philadelphia in the eighteenth century. Corrects Rupp’s error in that he lists all three brothers as having been on the John and Elizabeth. Also includes photocopies of many of the original lists.
1200 Jahre Birkenau. Ein Dorf und seine Zeit, Bitsch, Birkenau, Germany, 1994.A fact and list book put out by the town of Birkenau. Includes references to Flohri family members and their part in the developing history of the town. Home