C Line: Joseph Flory — An Introduction “The Search for Joseph’s Home”



     Much work has been done in recent years searching for answers to questions relating to Joseph’s origin and to the full identity of his wife. The two essays below represent the latest that is known about Joseph in our attempts not only to locate his European roots but also to explore his religious heritage.  The first essay, “Swiss Mennonites and the Hope Passenger List,” discusses Swiss persecution of Anabaptists, their expulsion into Germany, and historical factors that influenced their migration into Germany. It reveals how after many generations the name of Joseph’s wife, Anna Maria Bugh, was finally uncovered. Finally, it explores the backgrounds of other passengers on the Hope in an attempt to discover links to Joseph and his Mennonite heritage.  The second essay, “Joseph Flory’s Homeland,” is a discussion of an extensive effort to link the American Joseph to a specific Joseph Fluri from Seehof and the Solterschwand in Switzerland, who was possibly of an Anabaptist family and whose four youngest children are tantalizing similar to Joseph’s four eldest. While the link was not able to be established, we have learned much about Fluris of the Swiss Alps who had Mennonite connections. The second essay was written prior to the first and, therefore, does not contain all of the new information located therein.



Ken  Florey

       The story of the Swiss Mennonites and the journey of many to Germany and then to America is a long and complex one. This essay will attempt, therefore, to cover only the highlights.

       Two major developments have recently come forth with respect to the story of Joseph Flory and his wife, Mary: (1) strong evidence that when Joseph emigrated from Germany on the Hope in 1733 that he was part of a contingent of Mennonite refugees, at least some of whom were from Zweibruecken, a region near the source of the Saare River in the Duchy of Pfalz; and that many of these refugees, wherever they were living in 1733, were born in Switzerland; and (2) reasonable certainty that the full name of Joseph’s wife Mary, the subject of so much speculation, was Anna Maria Bugh (Buch or possibly Pugh).

These developments were researched and published by Richard W. Davis on his subscription website, MennoSearch.com, and were first reported to me by Jon Shidler. Mr. Davis’ site is devoted to research of the Mennonite families of Switzerland and Germany. It tracks them and their descendants who immigrated to America from the year 1709 to the early 1800’s. Mr. Davis has written 4 books on the subject, all of which are included on the site, and has done research for further studies. He is considered to be a leading authority in this area, and his hypotheses have to be considered seriously.

      Before discussing the highlights of the Hope- Zweibruecken-Mennonite hypothesis, it might be helpful to give a brief outline of Swiss Mennonite history in the 17th and 18th centuries, focusing on their migrations and expulsions into Germany and then to America.

    Mennonite/Anabaptist Activity in Switzerland in the 17th and Early 18th Centuries

      The main cluster of Mennonite activity in Switzerland in the 17th century was in the Canton (or State) of Bern, with some significant spillover into Solothurn. During periods of Mennonite repression in Bern, some Anabaptists fled across the Alps into Solothurn into the towns of Baltsthal, Barschwil, Champoz, and Matzendorf.  The parish of Matzendorf is particularly interesting as a number of individuals appear there in the period of 1650-1725 with the name “Joseph Fluri.” The German counterpart of this name, “Joseph Flory,” was unknown in Germany at this time. There was in the late 16th century and early 17th century Anabaptist activity involving people with the Fluri name in an area called Solterschwand in the Swiss Alps above the town of Aedermannsdorf, which was in the parish of Matzendorf. It is not known what connection, if any, these Fluri families had with Bern. Records involving various Fluris with Mennonite connections who were associated with the Solterschwand can be found in the second essay below.

       While there were Anabaptist influences in various parts of the Canton of Bern, the heaviest concentration was in the Emmenthal Valley, including the towns of Sumiswald and Langnau.. The first three heads of families listed on the Hope ship list, Ulrich Wissler, Ulrich Reinhard, and Hans Crumbacher, all apparently were born in Sumiswald. All three may have been related. Another head of the first 13 families on the ship list was Ulrich Longnecker, who was born in Langnau. Hans Jacob Gerber (Garver, Kerwar, Tanner) who appears later on the list and who migrated to York County also seems to have had some associations with Sumiswald. There may have been others—we know too little at the moment about the origins of the majority of Hope passengers.

      There seem to have been continuing links from the Emmenthal Valley across to the Canton of Solothurn. One of the Mennonite preachers from this era was Durst Aebi (Eby), who traveled throughout Mennonite strongholds in this region. His son later migrated to America. The Fluri-Hug report, which is partially included in the second essay below, indicates that a series of Anabaptist meetings was held as late as1732 in an area which extended from the Emmenthal Valley to Solterschwand in the Alps.

      In response to the Mennonites, the authorities of Canton Bern established the Taufer Kammer, the Office of Anabaptist Affairs, to crack down on Mennonite activity. Because of various repressions and imprisonments of Mennonites by the Taufer Kammer throughout the Cantons of Zurich and Bern, many Anabaptists (I am using the terms “Mennonite” and “Anabaptist” interchangeably) continued to flee to the Emmenthal Valley, where sympathizers called Halb-Taufer (Halfway Anabaptists) attempted to protect them. At one time the entire village of Sumiswald was sentenced to pay authorities a heavy fine for hiding Mennonites in their homes.

As a continuing result of the actions and decrees of the Taufer Kammer, the first mass migration, called “the first expulsion,” of Mennonites from the Cantons of Bern and Solothurn into Germany took place in 1671. Swiss authorities enforced departure orders for Mennonites moving to Alsace, Baden, and the Pfalz. Authorities in these regions accepted the Mennonites with certain restrictions, including a prohibition on conversions and the right to own property. They also were forced to pay a yearly tax.

Despite the efforts and hopes of the Taufer Kammer, Mennonite activity did not cease in Switzerland. In fact, in many ways it seems to have increased.  Many of the state preachers in the Emmenthal (Emmental) region, for example,  indicated that in some of their villages, the number of Halb-Taufer constituted the majority of the population. What resulted was another  was another crack down on Mennonites and their  sympathizers in the period from 1709 through 1717, called “the second expulsion.”

      Many Mennonites migrated to Alsace, which is in present day France. As you can see from the Hope “head of household” list below, several passengers seem to have had their family origins in Alsace, which may indicate that they were part of a Mennonite contingent that may have emigrated there during the second expulsion.   Sainte-Marie-Aux-Mines (Markirch)  in Alsace was where Jakob Ammann separated from the Mennonites to form the Amish. The situation in Alsace was complicated and interesting. After the THIRTY YEARS war between France and Germany, Alsace was ceded to France by the treaty of Westphalia on October 24, 1648, which insured religious freedom for its inhabitants. This was why it was an attractive area of refuge for fleeing Swiss Mennonites. However, the French king Louis XIV  in 1712 was disturbed by the presence of  the Anabaptists in the region, broke existing treaties, and ordered them expelled. Apparently part of Alsace was owned by the Duchy of  Zweibruecken in the Palatinate in Germany, and some of the Mennonites were taken in there. Richard Davis believes that many if not most of the 27 Mennonite families living in Zweibruecken in 1732, may have come from Alsace during this period.

      The Palatinate, however, was the first and not the second destination for most of the Mennonites fleeing Switzerland during the second expulsion. Most of the Mennonites who came to Lancaster County in the eighteenth century were from the Palatinate. There was a recorded Anabaptist presence there as early as the 1520’s.  During this period of the second expulsion,  Karl Ludwig, the elector of the Palatinate, was in part responsible for opening  up the way for Swiss Mennonites to occupy the territories under his control.. King Frederick I of Prussia on July 5, 1710 tried to intercede with the State government in Berne for the safety of the Swiss  Mennonites, and he offered to receive “these good people” and to aid them to make a new life. Some Mennonites went to Baden, where many of their descendants can still be found today.

Obviously, there were Mennonites in a variety of Swiss towns, villages, and cities. When they were expelled from Switzerland, they went to various areas in Germany, although the Palatinate appears to have been especially attractive to them. What the research done by Richard Davis may indicate, as we shall see below, was that some families fleeing from the Emmenthal Valley (especially Sumiswald) in the first expulsion emigrated to Alsace in 1671, and later, having been expelled by the French King, to Zweibrucken in 1712, and then to America in 1733 aboard the Hope. There were other ships that imported Mennonites with origins in either Sumiswald and/or Zweibruecken throughout the first half of the 18th century (including the Samuel and the Mortonhouse in 1733), but there is a possibility that the Hope was the principal carrier.  Obviously, some of the Hope Mennonites were too young in 1733 to have been born in Sumiswald prior to the first expulsion in 1671, but their fathers  and grandfathers may have come from there.

It is unclear as to how both Joseph Flory fits into this pattern of Emmenthal to Alsace to Zweibruecken and how ubiquitous this pattern was among the Mennonite refugees aboard the Hope. Not all of them  necessarily came from Sumiswald and the Emmenthal valley.  At  least, however, some did. Joseph Flory associated with a minimum of 4-5 Mennonite families to whom the pattern applies, and he is grouped with those families on the Hope ship lists. It is very likely that either Joseph or his father left Switzerland after the first or second expulsions in 1671 and 1709-1717. My guess is that they were part of the second expulsion, but this is only a guess.

Zweibruecken and the Identity of Joseph Flory’s Wife, 

     To return to the Davis hypothesis that the Hope was a ship carrying Mennonite families from Zweibruecken, the following circumstantial evidence seems compelling. In the years 1731 and 1732, there were lists of the numbers of Mennonite families living in the Pfalz that were sent to Mennonite leaders in Amsterdam in Holland. The list for Zweibruecken for 1732 indicated that there were 27 Mennonite families living in that town, although the list did not include the names of heads of families so we are not certain as to who they all were.  The report indicates that the Zweibruecken congregation was made up of exiles from Alsace in 1713 who had been expelled by Louis XIV as we have seen above. Many of these exiles were apparently born in Switzerland. Again, unfortunately, individual family names are not given on this list, but we do know that the ministers were Hans Grundtbacher, Hans Hieruli, and Christian Martin. The deacon was Christian Stouder. Stouder’s son, also named Christian, was baptized by the Church of Brethren at Conestoga in America, where several of Joseph Flory’s children were also baptized. Christian was 17 at the time, indicating that for the Brethren at least baptism took place at the “age of maturity,” which was not necessarily 21.

At least two of these leaders’ names (Hans Grundtbacher and Christian Stouder) appear on the passenger lists of the Hope indicating that a significant migration of Mennonites from Zweibruecken may have taken place in 1733.  Furthermore, Davis can find no evidence that Mennonites were living in Zweibruecken after 1732, although he does find reference to a few such families living in areas outside the town in Gersbergerhof, Kirschbacherhof, and at Heckenaschbacherhof.  Based on all of this, Davis theorizes that most, if not all, left as a group on the Hope in 1733. Because the census list of 1732 does not list names of the 27 Mennonite families then living in Zweibruecken, it is difficult to determine how many of the passengers on the Hope did indeed come from that area beyond the minister and deacon named above. Davis does find evidence that at least one other passenger onboard the Hope in 1733, Ulrich Longenecker (who settled in Rapho Township), was from Zweibruecken. In a quick search through the Internet, I found another Mennonite passenger, Henry Gerber, who was also from that region.

There were definitely other Mennonites on the Hope other than the four individuals named above.  The ship lists of the Hope are not  alphabetical listings. As indicated earlier, men and women are divided  in the A list into two groups by gender. However, within this list, families are grouped together (husbands with sons, and wives, apparently, with daughters, mothers, and sisters). Beginning with the first name on the ship list of males, that of Ulrich Wissler, running down to that of Christian Blank, Davis finds that the first 13 families all have Mennonite connections. Of these first 13 families at least 3, as we have seen, came from Zweibruecken (it is important to again note that he does not believe that these families were born there, but they probably immigrated there, and that many of them were Swiss).

When one runs down the corresponding list for the women on the A list, the first 13 families there seem to pretty much match the first 13 male families, at least when it comes to names of daughters (Steinman, Zimmerman, Flory). However, there are 5 or 6 women who correspond in age to the men on the male list, but who don’t appear to have husbands anywhere on the ship. This would have been highly unusual. Women did not travel alone. Why so many spouseless women?

      Davis’s explanation is a simple one. Many women were following the Swiss tradition of going by their family names, not by their husbands’ names. Ulrich Wissler, 36 (the first male name listed), for example, may have been married to Anna Ester (25) (the first female listed), Ulrich Reinhard (29) to Barbara Bechtel (29), Hans Grumbacher (26) to Barbara Reinhart (23), Hans Steinman (49) to Anna Grebel (48), Christian Stouter (45) to Elisabeth Schnebeli (44), etc. There may be one or two people out of place on this chart, but when daughter’s names are factored in, the idea that the families were charted together, with two lists kept for the sexes, seems pretty clear. When the male in question was old enough to have daughters 16 years or older (some children under this age were listed separately), a corresponding “spouseless” woman was generally listed before those daughters, in the place where one would expect to find a mother’s name.

      The name of Anna Maria Bugh appears just prior to the names of Mary Flory (21) and Hanliey Flory (17) on the ship list (and in the same handwriting as that used to transcribe the names of the Flory children). Her age of 40 is appropriate for that of the wife of Joseph (51). There is no male aboard the Hope with the name of Bugh, so she was not traveling with a husband by that name. Moreover,  German women as well as men went by their middle names rather than their first names. Anna Maria would have been called Maria, or Mary. She was Joseph’s wife. Flory researchers have been searching for the missing Mary Flory for decades, and it appears that she was in full sight all along. We just did not recognize her for what she was.

The alternative to this theory would be Bunderman’s, that somehow Mary was “overlooked” on the ship list–or perhaps that Joseph married Mary in America (eliminating the possibility that Katherine Eva was his child) or that Joseph married a 21 year old woman (the 21 year old Mary on the ship list). The most obvious answer is probably the correct one. Many of the Swiss women aboard the Hope were listed by their maiden names, and Anna Maria Bugh was the woman we know as Mary Flory. The name “Bugh,” incidentally, is German. The closest Swiss form would be “Bucher.” Considering the fact, however,  that the English scribe of the A list had a tendency to butcher spellings and to leave off the -er on other names, a Swiss origin, though unlikely, cannot be ruled out entirely. The ship list gives Anna Maria Bugh’s age as 40, which, if correct, probably indicates that she was a second wife to Joseph. To be his first wife, she would have had to have been 18 when she was married in order to have a child, Mary, who was 21 in 1733 when the Hope set sail.

From Zweibruecken to Lancaster County in America and William Penn

      The emigration of Mennonites to America after 1709 was occasioned by two factors: (1) the religious tolerance of German princes towards their Mennonite subjects was beginning to break down, and while conditions were  not as serious for those Swiss Mennonites as they had been in in their former country, many began thinking about another home; (2) there were large tracts of land becoming available in Pennsylvania as the result of King Charles II of England giving William Penn, a Quaker, a charter to that colony in 1681. When Penn returned to Europe in 1684, he printed circulars and gave lecture tours to try to induce Swiss and Germans to settle in his new land. Some Palatines responded, but it was not until the events of the next 25 years reached their crisis point that large numbers of Palatines, including Mennonites, heard the call.

      After the end of the Thirty Years War in 1648, the Protestant principalities of Germany encouraged Swiss Germans to migrate to their areas. Western Germany especially had become extremely depopulated because of the War and the subsequent scourge of disease. The Mennonites sought to be included in this general immigration to join the remnants of the Anabaptist movement then in place in Germany, and after some extensive effort on their part, those who had immigrated to the Palatine were granted some limited religious freedom from the Elector Charles Louis, despite opposition from the local Reformed Church. Their ability to worship was at first severely restricted, but finally on Aug. 4, 1664, they obtained permission to meet in groups of more than 20 as long as non-Mennonites were excluded from their gatherings.  In return, they had to pay a tax of 6 guilders a year, which was later doubled.

     The relationship between Mennonites and the German princes had its up and downs, but the situation remained relatively stable until the end of the 17th century and beginning of the 18th. Hostilities between France and Germany flared up again, however, and French forces attempted to use the Palatinate as a corridor to reach Holland. The Mennonites, who were pacifists, refused to fight for their adopted homeland, drawing the increased wrath of their German protectors. The relationship between the Mennonites and the Palatines continued to decline under the regime of Elector Charles Philip, 1716-42, who doubled their protection fees, limited their right to purchase land, and attempted to keep the number of Mennonite families in the Palatine under 200. By 1717, some 300 Palatine Mennonites were in Rotterdam, where they hoped to flee to Pennsylvania, where their right to worship would be unrestricted. In all of this, they received financial support from the Dutch Mennonites.

     Pennsylvania had become important because of William Penn. As we have seen, he received a charter from Charles II of England for vast land holdings in that colony.  As the persecutions of the Mennonites in Germany became worse, a Mennonite group approached Penn in 1707 about the possibility of settling in Lancaster County. Lutherans, who also wanted to escape the war, likewise sought Penn out seeking to relocate. Both groups met with favorable response, but so many Germans traveled down the Rhine to Holland in 1709 to sail to America, that the British government felt the need to intervene and send many of them back. A group of Mennonites in Rotterdam, however, held firm, and in late June of 1710, a small company set sail for America and Lancaster County on the ship Mary Hope.   Included in the group were Martin Olberholtzer, Martin Kuendig, Christian Herr, Martin Meli, Hans Herr, and Jacob Mueller. This began a flood of Mennonite immigration that lasted until the second half of the 19th century. By 1732 alone, the year before the departure of the Hope, approximately 3,000 Mennonites from the Palatine had arrived in America.

     Penn had divided the lower southeastern portion of his land into three distinct counties, Philadelphia, Bucks, and Chester. The Mennonite settlers chose Chester, in that area that was later to become part of Lancaster County when it was formed in 1729. Once in place, these settlers wrote back to their friends and relatives in Germany, urging them to come and join them. They decided to send their own recruiting agent, a post which Christian Herr declined  because of advanced age. A younger Martin Kuendig took it up, and became so successful at it that he brought back with him a considerable number of immigrants in 1712 and was appointed as Penn’s agent throughout all of the Palatine. He, more than any other man, was responsible for the German emigration from the Palatine. He sought out all groups, but obviously his heart was out for the Mennonites, and by 1718 there were 600 of the faith occupying 15,000 acres of land in Lancaster County.

     This, then, was the basic situation in 1733 when Joseph Flory set sail with a group of Mennonites and Palatine Germans on the Hope. While we know little of Joseph, circumstantial evidence suggests that like many of his fellow travelers he was born in Switzerland and had been exiled to Germany, probably during the period of the second expulsion from 1709-1717.  His wife’s name, Anna Maria Bugh, appears to be German, suggesting that he married her in exile. His first four children were probably those that he had with another wife, presumably Swiss. The name of his second daughter, Anneli, a Swiss diminutive, indicates that this first hypothetical marriage may have taken place in Switzerland. While his exact hometown is not known, it may have been in the area from the Emmanthal Valley to Matzendorf Parish in the Canton of Solothurn. He may have been related to a Fluri Mennonite family in a mountain area called the Solterschwand in the Canton of Solothurn that goes back to an Arnold Fluri in the late 17th century (see second essay below). This family had lands confiscated and suffered imprisonment because of their steadfastness to their religious beliefs. Undoubtedly, Joseph had a fair idea in Germany where he was headed in America once he arrived here.  He may have even purchased land before his journey. He probably had enough money to cover expenses himself, but he may have been aided by the contributions of Dutch Mennonites or by relatives over here. There is no evidence that he had necessarily settled in Zweibruecken in Germany after leaving Switzerland, but since at least four of his shipmates had come from that town, the possibility is there.  And this is what we either know or can speculate about Joseph in Europe.  Some of this speculation will undoubtedly be changed or altered as more facts become known.


    The above map has relevance for the places named in both this essay and in the essay below.  Despite the size of the map on this page, the total distance from top to bottom and from left to right is only about 25 miles.  On the bottom right, highlighted in yellow, you see the towns of Langnau and Sumiswald in the Emmenthal Valley, where probably the largest concentration of Mennonites in all of Switzerland lived and where Davis speculates many, if not all, of the Mennonite passengers of the Hope derived from.   Not all that far away at the top of the map, also highlighted in yellow, are also some towns and villages that are significant to Flory researchers. Under the red title of the Canton of “Solothurn” (to distinguish from the name of the village of “Solothurn” printed  in black), there are the names of three villages that contained significant numbers of Fluris, Herbetswil, Aedermannsdorf, and Matzendorf. Slightly above to the  left of these towns is the area in the Jura Mountains called Solterschwand, where there was significant Mennonite activity associated with some Fluri families, and which had some strong connections with the Mennonites of the Emmenthal valley. It was also the temporary home of a man I have called “Senn Joseph Fluri,” who is discussed in the second essay below.  To the left of Solterschwand is a tiny community called Seehof, where Senn Joseph was born (the print is obscured). Even further to the left is Envelier, home of Senn Joseph’s wife, Catharina Fluri.

To the right of the “n” in the title “Solothurn” lies the town of Haegendorf, where apparently Abraham Flory was born. This is the Mennonite founder of the “B” line, who settled in York, Pennsylvania sometime around the time Joseph Flory came to Rapho Township in Lancaster County. The fact that the two lived so close together in America may suggest that they were related.

Circumstantial evidence suggests that Joseph Flory was born somewhere within the area shown above, perhaps about 10 or 15 miles from Matzendorf.


     The following list includes only the male heads of families on the Hope. Wherever possible, it lists age of individual, where that person was from, and where that person settled in America. Known or suspected Mennonites are placed in italics. Those whose religion is unknown are set down in traditional Roman. Richard Davis speculates that up to 27 Mennonite households from Zweibrucken in Germany may have been represented on the Hope. If so, they have not been totally identified. Some wives on the ship went by their maiden names, others by their husbands’ names. There seems to have been some intermarriage among various marriage groups. Those who have connections to Sumiswald, Langnau, and Zweibrucken have been highlighted. There may have been a direct connection from the Emmenthal Valley in Switzerland (including the towns of Sumiswald and Langnau) to Alsace to Zweibrucken. There is no direct evidence that Joseph Flory was ever in these towns, but he may have had some connection to Zweibrucken. Much of this information was taken from individual genealogies, and there is no guarantee that it is necessarily accurate. This list will be updated frequently as more information comes in.

      The Hope, like other ships, actually had three passenger lists, “A,” “B,” and “C,” and it was from these three lists that the head of household list below was extracted. The first list or the “A” list was the Captain’s list, which was basically a manifest, usually compiled before the ship left Europe. It was required by English law beginning in 1727. The lists were normally written by the English captain or crew whose spellings of unfamiliar German names was generally phonetic and highly creative. The last names of members of the same family on these lists could differ significantly in spelling, even when they appear next to one another. Even though the Hope lists the ages of passengers, the law did not require that it did so. Generally women’s names and the names of male children under 16 were excluded from these lists. Again, the Hope is an exception. Only 24 of the extant 324 A lists show all the passengers and their ages. The Hope A list indicates that the ship carried 88  adult males above the age of 16, 81 adult females, and 61 children under the age of 16 for a total of 230 passengers (the captain, in making his report, indicated that there were a total of 226 individuals on board, but the subtotals on each column of the original list, when added, give a total of 230, not 226).. At least some of the Swiss wives went by their maiden names, as was the custom in that country, so it is sometimes difficult to tell in a family who is a wife and who is a sister.

     The original requirement for the ship list (list A), as Dick Gethmann points out is that it should contain a listing of all passengers, their origins, destinations, and occupations.  The actual part of that declaration reads “‘Tis ordered, that the Masters of Vessells importing them shall be examined whether they have any Leave granted them by the Court of Great Britain for the importation of these Foreigners, and that a list shall be taken of the Names of all these People, their several occupations, and the Places from whence they come, and shall be further examined touching their Intentions in coming hither . . .” It is unfortunate that the extant A list does not contain all of the required information.

      The “B” list was compiled after the arrival of the ship to America. The captain of the ship was required to deliver to the Philadelphia court a list of all males above the age of 16. The list consisted of signatures to the oath of allegiance to the Crown. This list was also required by the English law of 1727. Persons who could not sign had their names written by the court clerk, and they generally indicated their acceptance by writing in an “x” or an initial between their first and last names. Joseph Flory’s mark was misinterpreted by Flory researchers for decades as a middle initial. The court clerk generally had a better grasp of spelling and German names than did English crew members, and names are more recognizable . The oath to the Crown  was technically not required upon arrival. However, one could not own land in the colonies until taking it.

      The “C” list   contained the names of persons signing the declaration of abjuration against the Pope and the Stuarts. They became a requirement after an English law passed on August 19, 1729. Again, only males over 16 were required to sign. These lists were kept by a different clerk, so some of the names can be different. Moreover, the term “literate” was a rather inclusive one in the 18th century, with some “literate” people barely able to write more than their own names. Their own spellings could be phonetic and differ from occasion to occasion.  In the list below, I have provided several alternative spellings, including modern spellings where appropriate.

       If you would like to see a full transcription of all three lists from the Hope that was done by Richard Gethmann, click on Hope Passenger List.


Ulrich Wissler–Wissler, who was born around 1697, lived at Manor of Springettsbury, in York County, Pennsylvania. Richard Davis records him as being born in Sumiswald in Switzerland and perhaps married to Anna Ester, who was also on the Hope.  A Heinrich Wissler, who was born around 1690 in Langnau, Berne, Switzerland was probably his brother. Heinrich married around 1725 in Langnau and died in 1755 in Donegal Township in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Another Heinrich Wissler (b. 1657), the father of Ulrich, may have been living in Zweibrucken in 1732.

Ulrich Reinhard (Ulrig Rayenhart)–Reinhard, who was born in 1704 and died in 1787, settled in Coventry Township in Chester County, Pennsylvania.  Davis thinks that he probably came originally from Sumiswald in Switzerland. His wife’s name was Barbara, and Davis thinks that she may have been the Barbara Bechtel, who arrived with him on the Hope. Other sources list his wife as Barbara Sauer. He is known to have a son, Peter, who was born in 1733.

Hans Crumbacker (Crombacker)–Crumbacker’s dates are 1707-1744. He lived in Coventry Township in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Davis thinks that he also came originally from Sumiswald in Switzerland and that he emigrated from Zweibrucken in Germany. Davis also postulates that he might have been married to Barbara Reinhart (Raynhart), who is listed as 23 year of age on the Hope ship list.

Hans Steinman (Staymen, Steiman, Steman)–(1684–?). Richard Davis notes that he settled in Springettsbury, York County, Pa., and may have been married to Anna Grebel, a passenger on the Hope. His children were Peter (b. 1707), Hans (b. 1712), and Madlena (b. 1715). ILLITERATE

Christian Stouder (Stauffer)–Stouder was born approximately 1688 and was one of the few passengers on the Hope to settle in Rapho Township in Lancaster County along with Joseph Florey. His son Christian, who was born in 1723, was baptized at Conestoga in 1740 at the age of 17, indicating that in the Church of the Brethren people were not baptized at 21 but at “the age of maturity.” According to Davis, he emigrated from Zweibrucken in Germany and may have been the husband of Elizabeth Schnebeli, who, at 44, was also aboard the Hope. He may or may not have been the same Christian Stouder who was listed  as a deacon of the congregation at Zweibrucken. ILLITERATE

Hans Rott (Rood)–Davis is unclear about his Mennonite origins, although he is listed with other Swiss Mennonites. He believes that he may have been married to Anna Rott (19) or Anna Gisler (22). Hans Rott is listed as 22 on the ship’s list.

Nicholas Zimmerman (Timmerman, Timberman)–Davis indicates that he went to Montbeliard in Alsace before coming to America. He was born at Steffisburg, Bern, Switzerland and settled in  Earl Township of Cocalico Township in Lancaster County. His wife may have been Anna Bonghart (Burkhart?), age 55, who is listed next to Nicholas’ (Claus) daughters, Barbara and Anna. Nicholas also brought over his sons Hans and Christian on the Hope. Among many of his descendants the family name became “Carpenter,” since that is what the German equivalent was interpreted to be. ILLITERATE

Michael Witmer (Migiel Witmanage)–According to Richard Davis, Michael Witmer was probably from Hersfeld, Germany and settled in Warwick Township in Lancaster County. His children were Ulrich (1702), Peter (1712), Hans (1713), and Anna (1718). ILLITERATE

Christian Kerr (Christian Keerage)–Christian Kerr, whose name appears immediately below the names of the male Florys on the Hope ship list, was executor of the will of Nicolaus Gerber. Gerber arrived here with a large group of Mennonites on August 17, 1729 on the ship Mortonhouse, and settled in York County, adjacent to Lancaster County. This Nicolaus was probably related to the Hans Jacob Gerber (Kerwar) who came over with Joseph Flory on the Hope in 1733.

Peter Eshelman (Pitter Eslman)–He was born in 1683 in Langnau, Canton Bern, Switzerland. Accompanying  him were his children Christian (1714), Barbara (1717), Jacob (1722) and Peter (1724).  Peter settled in what was then Cumru Township and later a part of Brecknock Township of Berks County.  Christian Eshelman, connected to the family who came over with Joseph on the Hope, lived in the Jura region of Switzerland in the
1740’s and was married to a woman named “Anneli.” It is unclear whether this Christian Eshelman was the specific person  who came here aboard the Hope and possibly returned to Switzerland, or another Eshelman entirely. Still, the reference does indicate that the name Anneli (Hanliey) was known in the approximate area where Joseph Flory may have come from and that Joseph had given his daughter a Swiss name or a diminutive. ILLITERATE

Ulrich Longenecker (Olrige Langnecker)–There is some disagreement as to his record, but he was definitely a Swiss Mennonite. Davis indicates that he was born in Langnau and emigrated from Zweibrucken, with his wife, Anna Blaser and his sons Ulrich (1711) and Jacob (1714). He was born on October 7, 1664 (one record says Zurich) and died on Nov. 15, 1752 in Rapho Township in Lancaster County, where Joseph Florey lived. His father was David Longanegger and his mother Madlena Gerber. Davis states that his wife was Anna Blaser, but another source says “Feronica,” family name unknown. He may have been  a book printer in Zurich, although he is listed as illiterate. ILLITERATE

Jacob Berky (Burki, Benke))–Jacob’s dates are 1698-1763. Upon arrival here, he settled in Bern Township, Berk’s County.  He was not married when he arrived, and he later became Amish.

Hans Snabley (Schnebele, Schnabel, Snavely, Snively)–While little is known specifically about Hans Snabley (37), he was one of a number of Snableys who came over here on various ships during the period of Mennonite migrations. Many settled in Lancaster County, others in Maryland. An Ulrich Schnebele was a Mennonite who was recorded as being at Oberhof near Hornberg in 1733. ILLITERATE

Christian Blank–Little is known about Christian Blank, whose dates are 1699-1771. He came here unmarried and settled in Virginia. No known Mennonite connections, but Davis does list him with the family of 13 Anabaptists. ILLITERATE

Jerick Wiedner (Hans George Wittner)Age 41. Perhaps related to Whitmer family above. If so, probably Mennonite.

Hans Jurig Brimer–Listed as 27. Nothing else known, although the name of Brimer does occur in Lancaster County.

Frederick Becker–Listed as 48.  Nothing else known. In the 1720’s, a Peter Becker was very active in the Coventry Brethren Church. ILLITERATE

Jackop Lughboom (Lochbaum)–Listed as 34. Nothing else known.

Rudolph Brack (Brock)–Listed as 47. Nothing else known. ILLITERATE

Cristian Riblet (Ribolet)–Probably a Mennonite, but no confirmation. He seems to have come from Mimbach in Bayern, Germany. He and his son Bartholomew settled in Northampton County. An Abraham Riblet came over in 1749 in a ship that carried passengers from Wirtemburg, Alsace, and Zweibrucken. ILLITERATE

Barnard Kelder (Keller)–Listed as 37. Nothing else known.  ILLITERATE

Conrad Rauff (Rouf)–Listed as 40. Nothing else known. ILLITERATE

Jourge Righter (Jerick Rigtar)–Listed as 47. Nothing else known. ILLITERATE

Heinrich Schmidt–Listed as 31. Nothing else known.

Peter (Pitter) Arant–Listed as 21. Nothing else known. ILLITERATE

Andreas Lauck–Listed as 45. Nothing else known. ILLITERATE

Herman Arand–Listed as 50. Nothing else known. May be related to Peter (Above) ILLITERATE

Daniel Ratt (Root)Listed as 30. Nothing else known. Perhaps brother to Mennonite Hans Rat listed above. His sister, Anna Madlena Roth (Ruff-34), the wife of Hans Jacob Schreiber, also came over on the Hope.

Hans Hindrig (Von Rath)–Listed as 20. Nothing else known. May be related to Daniel above. Not listed as Von Rath on all of the lists.

Johan Adam Reiffel (Rayfel)–Listed as 24. Nothing else known.

Hans Jerg Eichelberger (Ayslburg)–Listed as 29. Arrived here with his wife, Juliana Ayslberger, also 29. Nothing else known.

Hans Lenar Stein (Leonard Stone).  Stein was one of the original founders of New Holland, Pennsylvania, along with Theodore Eby, son of the famous Mennonite preacher, Jacob Eby of Zurich. The town seems to have been founded by Mennonites, implying strongly that Leonard Stein was also a Mennonite, although he is not listed by Davis as one of the 13 Mennonite families from Zweibrucken on the Hope.

Hans Jerg Kohler (Koller)–Listed as 23. Nothing else known. Kohler is a known name in Lancaster County.

Johann Michel (Michael) (Buss) Busch–Busch, who was listed as 36 on the ship records, came with his wife, who is listed as Eiffa Busing (36), from Daisbach, Germany, where he apparently attended a Lutheran Church. He settled in Berks Co. and attended Christ “Little Tulpehocken” Lutheran Church. Accompanying Michael and Eiffa were their children, George Adam (13–baptized at Zuzanhausen, Germany), Johann Ludwig (11); Maria Margaretha (9); and Johannes (7). Three more children named as George Michael (5); Anna Barbara (3) and Johann Adam b Feb 1733 may have been  left behind in Germany, assuming that they were alive, until the family became settled. Father, Hans Michael, was recorded as buried “on his own land” 29 Jul 1749.

Hans Jurig Hoffner (Hofnar)–Listed as 22. Nothing else known.

Peter (Pitter) Schmuck (Smook)–Listed as 20. Nothing else known.

Daffid Esler (Johann David Deschler)–Listed as 20.  Nothing else known.

John Jacob Mickley (Muckli). He is not listed by Davis as one of the 13 families that he assumes were Mennonites from Zweibrucken, but records do indicate that he also came from that town. He was born around 1697 and went, originally, to Berks County on his arrival to this country. He was probably a member of the Egypt Reformed Church and was single when he came here. According to the family genealogy, his father was Louis Michelet, who was a Huguenot (but who died in Metz, France). His parents were married in Zweibrucken. I don’t know enough about the Egypt Reformed Church to say whether or not John Jacob ever had Mennonite connections, but again, this is another connection to Zweibrucken.

Karl Gramp (Johann Carl Grop)–Listed as 30.  Nothing else known.

Bastian Scyster (Tryster)–Listed as 23.  Nothing else known. ILLITERATE

Heinrick Humberg. Heinrick Humberg, listed as 45 on the Hope ship list, was born on October 3, 1688, the son of Rudolph and Elsbeth Humberger from Reyhen, Germany. He was married on January 24, 1713 to Juliana Steeger, born in 1686 to Hans Steeger and listed on the Hope list by her married name. He came over here with sons Hans Leonard Humberg (18) and Miegel Humberger (15), who is recorded as having been sick, along with three daughters. Hans Humberg’s will is found in the Dauphin Co., PA book of wills as “Henry Umberger, Lebanon”.

Peter Sayler (Pitter Selar)–Listed as 31.  Nothing else known.

Christian Yonily (Jonliey)–Listed as 20.  Nothing else known. ILLITERATE

Andreas Besinger (Besnar)–Andreas was born in Helmstadt, Germany about 1709. His first marriage to Maria Barbara Rizhaupt, daughter of Adam Rizhaupt, occurred on February 26, 1733 in Hoffheim, Germany. His second marriage was to Maria Elizabeth Miller. Andreas was naturalized at Lancaster County, Pennsylvania 19 May 1739 and subsequently moved to New York . Andreas and Maria Elisabeth were at Stone Arabia 1743-45 (Book of Names, page 62). Although he lived in Lancaster County, he eventually was in military service, which indicated either that he was no longer a Mennonite or had never been a Mennonite in the first place. Sergt Andries Besinger and Andries Besinger jr. were in Capt. Philip Schuyler’s militia company at Rennselaerwyck, Albany County NY, 14 Jun 1755.

Jurick Kraysman (Gerg Kreissman)–Listed as 32.  Nothing else known.

George Michael Treitter (Migel Drayter)–Listed as 20.  Nothing else known.

Hans George (Jerick) Gobl (Coble)–Coble was born on June 4, 1693 in Hoffenheim, Sinsheim, Baden, Germany and died on February 2, 1765 in Orange County, North Carolina. His father was Johann George Coble and his mother was Eva Sonss. His first wife was Maria Barbara Geisler, who died in York County prior to 1761. His second spouse was Anna Barbara Wittner.

Hans Jacob Gerber (Kerwar, Tanner). Gerber, who was born around 1693, arrived on the ship Hope with Maria Barbar Kerwar (b. 1703), and children Jacob Kerwar (b. 1723), Hans Jerick Kerwar (b. 1724), and Jan Kerwar (b. 1726). Hans Jacob Gerber was probably brother to Nicolaus Gerber of York. The family originally came from Sumiswald in Switzerland. A Christian Gerber was one of the Mennonite signers of a petition for naturalization in Conestoga on April 1728. York County, where Nicolaus lived, was also home to Abraham Flury, a known Mennonite and founder of the B-Line. Christian Kerr, executor of the 1748 will of  Nicolaus Gerber, was also on this ship. On Mar. 7, 1742 Jacob Kerber bought a tract of 150 acres in Manchester Twp., York Co., adjoining Francis Worley and George Swoopes.  On June 2, 1748 Jacob Garber assigned this land to his son George Gerver. Hans Jacob and Marie Barbara had 5 children.

Johan Christoff Cumm–Listed as 48.  Nothing else known.

Franz Klebsattel (Francys Kestelipsger, Clapsaddle)–Listed as 32.  Nothing else known.

Abraham Miller–Listed as 22.  Nothing else known. A lawsuit was brought against an Abraham Miller in Frederick County in 1747. Whether or not this was the same Miller is not known. ILLITERATE

Jacob Bart–Listed as 26.  Nothing else known. ILLITERATE

Heinrich Tace (Feess)–Listed as 24.  Nothing else known. ILLITERATE

Benedict Wise (Benedick Weess)–Listed as 36.  Nothing else known. ILLITERATE

Marti Spitlenmayer–Listed as 54.  Nothing else known. What may be a son, Hans Adam (18), is listed directly below him on the lists. Adam, unlike Marti, was illiterate.

Michael Abley (Migeel Ibeliey)–Listed as 45.  Nothing else known. ILLITERATE

Jacob Rulman (Jacobes Rolleman)–Jacob Ruhlman was baptized  February 5, 1696. He is listed as 35 on the Hope ship list. He was born at Sultzbach, Alsace, France.  He married Appolonia Herkel (Aplon Rollman on Hope list) at  Longensaultzbach, Alsace, on February 16, 1719. Appolonia was born at Roth/Wissembourg, France . Their daughter Maria (baptized Dec. 16, 1733) apparently came aboard the Hope with her parents, but there is no listing for her. She married John Casper Eckhart in Carcoosing, Pa. on Nov. 29, 1743. The presiding minister was John Casper Stoever.

Wilhelm Krauss (William Grous)–Listed as 27.  Nothing else known.

Hans Heinrich Figley (Foglie)– was born 1684 in Hoffenheim-Sinsheim, Baden, Germany, and
died After October 1745 in Montgomery Co., PA. He married Anna Maria Gilbert, February 05, 1708/09 in Hoffenheim, Germany. She was born about 1687 in Hoffenheim, Germany, and died after October 1745 in Montgomery Co., PA. ILLITERATE

Hans Michael Strumber? (Migel Stenbrand)–Listed as 37.  Nothing else known.

Jacob Linck–Listed as “50” and as “sick” on the Hope ship list. Linck was born October 20, 1682 and died April 1738. His first wife was Elizabeth König  whom he married in 1708, and his second was  Ana Madlenga Neuwirth , their marriage date being Sept 3, 1720. Accompanying Link on the ship were Ana and their children, John Adam, Oct 13, 1721, Rosina Elizabeth born around 1728, and Ana Maria Magdelena,  born 1731. Another son, John Matthias, was born in Pennsylvania. Jacob Link’s place of origin was Grossgartach, Württemberg.

Abraham Kreutter (Abraham Grutson)–Listed as 19.  Nothing else known.

Hans Jacob Schreiber (Hans Jackop Skruhgefier)–Jacob  was born 1699 in Niederbronn, Alsace. He married his wife, Anna, on April 28, 1733 in Niederbronn. Their first two children were born in Skippack Township Montgomery Co. Pa. and their third in Lehigh County.

Daniel Hueselman (Daniel Hislar)–Listed as 29.  Nothing else known.

Rudolph Schnebli (Sneibliey)–Listed as 25.  Nothing else known. He may be related to the Hans Snabley who appears earlier on this list.

Hans Jerg Schreyack– Jerg Schreyack, who came with his wife, daughter, and two younger brothers on the Hope with Joseph, was the son of Frederick Schriek and Hildegarde von Steuben. His ancestors came from the Northern part of the Kingdom of Prussia. At this point there are no known Mennonite connections.



Ken Florey

     The search for the homeland of Joseph Flory, who immigrated here with his family in 1733, had always been a fruitless one for his descendants until recent research has opened up the possibility that Joseph or his ancestors might have come from Switzerland, specifically in or near the Canton of Solothurn.  Walter Bunderman, in his 1948 study of the Flory family, assumed that Joseph was from the Palatine, since the ship list of the Hope, the vessel upon which Joseph sailed here, seemed to indicate that the passengers were from this region of Germany.  However, no one was able to pick up even a trace of Joseph in any city or town in the Palatine; moreover there was no known record of him in any other region of Germany.  What many today do not realize is that the term “Palatine,” although referring to a specific part of Germany, tended to become used as a generic term for all German immigrants of the first part of the 18th century.  Moreover, approximately 1/3 of these “German” immigrants were actually Swiss.  Germany ravaged by wars with France and by disease, was severely under populated at the time.  A number of Swiss from Germanic areas of the country were invited to travel north, where they quickly became acclimated to their new homes. When they emigrated from Germany to America, they were generally regarded in their new homes as “Germans,” not Swiss.

    The discovery of Joseph’s possible country of birth came about indirectly as a result of the search for the homeland of the three Flory brothers of the E line, who sailed here in 1754.  Bunderman assumed that the two Flory families were related; perhaps Joseph was an uncle to the three brothers.  The assumption was logical.  There was communication back and forth between families here and in Germany, and the Flory name was rare enough so that kinship was a possibility.  As we searched for the German birthplace of the brothers, we kept this idea in mind; indeed, several descendants of Joseph supported our researches in the hope that the discovery of one family would lead to the discovery of the other.

    We were able to locate the origin of the brothers in Birkenau, Germany, but even though we were able to construct a fairly extensive genealogy of the family, there was no hint of Joseph, and it looked as if Bunderman’s premise was incorrect, at least in a specific sense.  But what we did learn about Florys in general was an enormous help in redirecting our attention to the country of Switzerland, where Joseph may have come.  Bunderman assumed that Flory was a French name and that Joseph’s ancestors were Huguenots, who had fled the country following the Massacre of St. Bartholomew on August 24, 1572.  But the ancestor of the Birkenau brothers, Hans Flori, who migrated to Germany prior to 1650, was Swiss, not French.  Moreover, as research continued into other Flory families in America and Germany, their source was Swiss also.  Abraham Flory, founder of the B-Line, came from in Switzerland (in his case, Haegendorf, Canton Solothurn), as did the Floris of Harthausen in Germany. Flori families in St. Ilgen also appear to have Swiss roots.  It became increasingly clear, then, that whatever similarities there were between the names “Flory” and “Fleury,” that the immediate source of the Flory name was probably Switzerland, not France, and that it would be fruitful to look for Joseph’s origins in that country.   There was another issue.  Joseph’s ancestors could have been Swiss, but was Joseph actually Swiss born himself?

     THE NAME OF JOSEPH  While there are very few clues as to Joseph’s continental origins, there are some.  One of the more obvious is the name of what was presumably his first born son, that of Joseph.  Bunderman assumed that the son was named after the father, but this does not necessarily fit German naming patterns.  Germans of the period tended to name their first-born sons after their own fathers, not themselves.  The fact that Joseph gave the name of Joseph to his son is a possible indication that his father might have been a Joseph also.  Certain names tend to run in families, and the possibility was also strong that Joseph may have come from an extended group in which the name of Joseph Flory may have been common, whether or not his own father bore that name.  I did look through the International Genealogical Index of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints to see if the name of Joseph Flory was to be found anywhere in Germany at the end of the 17th century or beginning of the 18th century.  I wasn’t necessarily hoping to find Joseph (the records of the IGI are not all that complete), but if I could find a Joseph somewhere, it might have been possible to find his corresponding family.  Alas, there were no records in the Index of any Joseph Florys anywhere in Germany during this period.

    Where there was a record of a substantial number of Joseph Florys, however, was in the Kirchenbuch of the village of Matzendorf in the Canton (state) of Solothurn in the northwest and German speaking portion of Switzerland, within the Jura Mountains. The Kirchenbuch covers not only Matzendorf, but also the neighboring villages of Herbetswil and Aedermannsdorf, which did not have their own separate parishes until late in the 18th century.  The name of Joseph Flory (in the form of “Fluri”) first appears in the records in about 1650, but becomes extremely common quickly thereafter.  Between 1671 and 1690, the parameters surrounding Joseph’s assumed birth date of 1681 or 1682, there were no fewer than 13 Josephs born in the area including a Joseph born to Peter Fluri and Anna Christ in 1678, another to Claus Fluri and Maria Stampfli in 1681, another to Joggi (familiar name of Jacob) and Maria Fluri (whose family name, like that of her husband’s, apparently was “Fluri.”) in 1681, another to Johannes Fluri and Anna Meister in 1682, and one born in 1684 to Johannes and Maria Fluri. The name continues to be popular into the first part of the 18th century, at a time when the American Joseph had a son by that name.  The only problem with this plethora of Josephs is that it is virtually impossible to distinguish the records of one Joseph from another.  I am told that the Fluris of the area cannot compute their own family histories from the Kirchenbuch alone and have to resort to civil records to find links.  At any rate, the area seemed to be extremely promising, the only difficulty being that their were too many possibilities and that without additional information it was difficult to link any children born later to any specific Joseph.  The search was put aside for the moment when the Flory/Flora/Florey/Flori/Florea Website project was started.

     What we needed to return to the search was some sort of break, and we needed information to link one of these Josephs (if indeed one of these Josephs was the one whom we sought) to the profile that we had on the American Joseph.  This profile involved the fact that the 1733 immigrant may have come over here for religious reasons rather than to earn his fortune–he was at least 51 and had some money (he paid for a minimum of 6 ship passages on the Hope, not an inconsiderable amount, and he seems to have left a decent sized estate after being here but a few short years).  Thus his reasons for emigration were probably not economic. Joseph may have been Mennonite/Anabaptist, for he moved to a section of Pennsylvania where there was extensive Mennonite/Anabaptist activity, and some of his children were baptized at the Conestoga Congregation, a known “Dunker” or Anabaptist church.  Immigrants did not move into areas by accident.  He was probably also a farmer, not a merchant or craftsman, since he started a farm almost immediately upon his arrival to this country. He brought with him at least 4 children according to the ship list (Mary, 21, Joseph, 19, Hanliey, 17, and John, 15) in addition to a wife, so the Joseph we were looking for needed to have children who could have been about that age in 1733.  Of course, if Joseph were Anabaptist, the likelihood of finding baptismal records would be difficult, since Anabaptists did not believe in infant baptism, and hence no records of his children’s births might be extant.  Walter Bunderman also speculated on the basis of other records that Joseph might have brought with him on ship two younger children, Jacob and Barbara.  He also suggested that Joseph’s wife had another child named Katherine on the passage over here, and gave birth to a final child, Abraham, after the couple had settled in Lancaster County in Pennsylvania.


      A possible break in our search came when I received an email from Anton Fluri, a present-day resident of Matzendorf, who was responding to the website and the questions that were raised about Joseph’s possible origin in that area.  Mr. Fluri, who is interested in local history, pointed out the following for my information:

    (1) The Fluri (or Flury) name has a long history in Switzerland, especially in the Canton of Solothurn. The Swiss “Familiennamenbuch” lists 23 towns or villages where Fluris (or Flurys) are known as citizens prior to the beginning of the nineteenth century. Records from the Matzendorf parish indicate the presence of a Fluri in Herbetswil at least as early as 1508 and that several Fluris were living in the village of Matzendorf itself in 1515.  So there were Fluris in the area long before the Huguenots were massacred in France.

    (2) Many of these “Fluri villages” (including, Matzendorf, Aedermannsdorf and Herbetswil) are surrounded by the Jura mountains, which contain farms known as “Sennhoefe” that are cared for by alpine farmers known as “Senn.”  These alpine farms are far away from the villages, and some of them even today have but narrow and simple paths to the “outside world.”  In the winter, they are often isolated for weeks.  These farmers generally had far more communication with each other than with people in the villagers, and they often traveled great distances in the mountains to interact with one another and, at times, to intermarry.  Their lifestyle differed from that of the villagers, and many practiced a different sort of religion.  Some of them became Taufers, a type of Anabaptist. It appears that some of these Taufers stayed nominally Catholic and participated to a degree in at least a portion of the big events of village church life such as marriage, baptism, and funerals.  Economically, a Senn was generally better situated than an ordinary farmer or laborer

   (3) There is a record of an Arnold Fluri who, prior to 1602, owned an alpine farm in the region called Solterschwang.  Solterschwang is technically part of the village of Aedermannsdorf, although it is in the hills above it, near the bishop’s territory.  And here is where the story becomes particularly interesting.  There are records of Arnold’s having received several “punishments” from officials in Solothurn and also from the district governor in Delsberg (Delemont today, the capital of the Canton Jura) for Anabaptist activityArnold also had a son named Hans, who was forced to leave the territory in 1603 (or 1608–the records are unclear) because of the fact that he “was inclined towards Anabaptism.”  Hans fled towards the Bishop’s Territory (the Canton of Berne) before he could be captured by the officials of the Canton of Solothurn   In 1602, Arnold’s grandchildren wanted the right to settle in the area as it was “their grandfather’s will,” so apparently they had not left the region with their father.

     There are other indications in local records that this family continued to have difficulty with local authorities because of their Anabaptist tendencies.  In 1622, 10-15 local Anabaptists were put in prison for their beliefsIncluded among the group were Hans Fluri and Joggi (Jacob) or Joerg Kummer from the Solterschwang.  According to Anton Fluri who has consulted an expert on early Anabaptism in the region, a phrase in the records (“Der halsstarrige Wiedertaufer Fluri soll gefangen bleiben, aufpassen dass er nicht entrinnt”) indicates that Hans Fluri was a bedrock Anabaptist. Furthermore, the Matzendorf Kirchenbuch (church book) notes that on September 7, 1633 that Barbara Fluri from Solterschwang “died without sacraments, to the guilt of her husband.”  This condemnation does not conclusively prove that the Fluris of the alpine region were still Anabaptist, but it is highly suggestive.

    (4) The next known record of a Fluri in Solterschwang is that of a Joseph Fluri, who, with his wife, Catharina Fluri, baptized at least two children at the parish church in Matzendorf, a Joseph Fluri on March 15, 1711 and an Urs Johann on October 3, 1716.  In my own research, I have found at least four other Fluri couples with a husband named Joseph and a wife named Catharina who have children during the same period, but this particular Joseph is the only one designated in the local Kirchenbuch as having come from Solterschwang. One other note–church records of the time generally listed a woman by her maiden name, even if she was married.  The fact that Joseph’s wife is listed several times as “Fluri” is a strong indication that a Fluri married a Fluri.

     (5) There do not seem at this point to be any records of Joseph in the area after 1716, but another Fluri appears on the records in 1732.  A Franz Fluri is listed as having three children, Maria Elizabeth on July 30, 1732, a Johann Jacob on October 23, 1733 and an Anna Theresa on March 2, 1736.  His wife’s name was Anna Habegger. Franz Fluri appears to be from Wiler (Envelier), a part of the community of Vermes (French speaking) in the Canton of Jura, which was at one time part of the Canton of Berne.  Vermes, incidentally, is an area known for a number of families with the name “Fleury,” but there are indications that some “Fluris” in Wiler (Envelier) changed their name to “Fleury” around the year 1650. It is unclear as to what connection, if any, there was between Joseph (or Catherine) and Franz, who appear to be about a generation apart in age.  If Franz occupied Joseph’s property, and there is no indication that this is the case, it would be a strong argument for the fact that Joseph had left the area in plenty of time to board the Hope in 1733.  Again, however, the connection between the two is not clear.

     REFLECTIONS ON ANTON FLURI’S INFORMATION  My immediate thought was that the Solterschwang Joseph could be our Joseph who came to America in 1733 and founded the C-line.  The similarities were very intriguing.  Both were farmers in probably relatively good financial circumstances (the Swiss Joseph is identified in church records as a Senn or farmer); both were associated in one way or another with Anabaptists (The Swiss Joseph may have had at least three Anabaptist ancestors, two of whom were punished for their beliefs–at least he came from a region in which Anabaptists had been active–and the American Joseph, who may have been Anabaptist himself, had several children who were baptized at the Conestoga Congregation in Pennsylvania and were affiliated with the Dunkers, an Anabaptist type church); and both had children named Joseph and John, who were born in the same sequence approximately the same number of years apart.  Where they differed was that Swiss children were two to three years older than their American counterparts as indicated by the ship lists of the Hope.  Also the Swiss Joseph had a wife named Catharina, not Mary, who was the surviving widow of the American Joseph.

     The latter difference should not be troublesome.  The only two references to the American Joseph’s wife, Mary, were on the “A” passenger list of the Ship Hope in 1733, where she is listed under her maiden name of Anna Maria Bugh (Pugh), and in the property inventory taken after Joseph’s death in 1741.  If Bunderman is right in assuming that this Mary was the mother of a Jacob 1727, a Barbara in 1732, a Catharina in 1733, and an Abraham in 1735, she would have had to have been  younger woman than Joseph’s original wife.  Basically Joseph first had a group of four children, all born about two years apart, did not have a child again until 9 years later, and then had a second grouping of four children in the space of 8 years.  This is likely the pattern of a man having more than one wife.   Moreover, this second wife would probably have been a younger wife than the first–one who was likely to have a number of children in a relatively short period of time.

     The second problem was that the Swiss Joseph’s sons were about two to three years older than their American counterparts.  At this point, though, this was a minor stumbling block, just as long as the Swiss counterparts to the other Florys on board the Hope (Mary and Hanliey) were also consistently two years or so older than ship records indicated.  Additionally, one might wonder how the name of the Swiss “Urs Johann” got transformed into simply “John.”  Keep in mind, however, that if a German of the period was given a middle name, he went by that middle name for the remainder of his life, not by his first name.  He signed all legal documents, including wills, with his middle name, not his first name.  Even marriage records would sometimes drop the full name in favor of a middle name. Urs is a common Swiss name of the time coming from the Latin Ursus or “Bear.”  At any rate, the name Urs Johann would have quickly become Johann or John.

     CHECKING THE MATZENDORF KIRCHENBUCH FOR PROOF  A close examination of the Matzendorf church records proved that Anton Fluri’s information was correct, that a Joseph and Catherina Fluri from the Solterschwand did have a child named Joseph born on March 15, 1711 and another named Urs Johann on October 3, 1716 as photocopies of those records illustrated below indicate:


 In the left corner of this record, the date of March 15 is indicated (the year precedes all entries born that period) followed by the Joseph’s name, the name of the parents, Joseph and Catharina Fluri, the name of his god parents, and the region from which the parents came–Solterschwand. The word “Senn” precedes the name of the area, indicating that the father was an alpine farmer.


This record may seem a little confusing.  The numeral “3” in the left column refers to the baptismal day, and the numeral “8” in “8bris” refers to “October” not August, because the root of the word for “October” is the word for “eight.”  This is followed by the Latin form of Urs Johann, which is Ursus Jo[h]annes, by the names of John’s parents (Josephus and Catharina), by the godparents’ names (one of which is Magdelena Fluri), and by the name of the area from which the parents came (Solterschwang)

     A POSSIBLE COUNTERPART TO HANLIEY  While the records for John and Joseph were encouraging and suggestive, more proof would have been helpful.  I went through the baptismal records to see if I could find any more of Joseph’s children, preferably Hanliey, who was born approximately equidistant from Joseph the younger and John.  Two considerations here.  One is that the name of Hanliey is unknown in Germany and Switzerland and has never appeared there before or since.  A genealogist in Germany, Sabine Schleichert, who was of enormous help in tracking down the three brothers from Birkenau and the E line, suggested to us at one time that “Hanliey” was probably a Swiss diminutive for “Anna” or “Anneli.”  Since Joseph did not enter the name himself on the ship list, the spelling of the name was probably confusing to the recorder, who may have been English and who may have been unfamiliar with the nickname.  At any rate, if the two Josephs were one in the same, I should have been able to find the name of “Anna” or some version of “Hanliey” in the Matzendorf baptismal records.  Moreover, to be consistent with the fact that Joseph and John were born about two years earlier than the Hope’s records indicated, this “Anna” should be found in the entries for the Kirchenbuch around 1713 or 14, not 1716 as Bunderman logically estimated.

     When I checked the Kirchenbuch, this is precisely what I found, an entry for August 10, 1713 that suggested  that a child whose name might have been Anna Fluri had been born to Joseph and Catherine Fluri of Solterschwand.  The entry fell precisely where it should have fallenWe now had three children who were exact counterparts between the two Josephs.

The Third Child: ANNA (?) OR HANLIEY

In this entry  there are several matters of note: First, it is not clear if the name “Anna” belongs to the Fluri record or is connected to the name of “Elisabeth Nussbaumer,” whose baptism is recorded directly below that of the Fluri child. Second, there is a godfather listed with this Fluri child (Leonard Fluri) but no godmother. During this time, it was the tradition of the area that a girl baby was baptized with the name of her godmother. Thus there is a possibility that both the names of the child and her godmother were, for some reason, left intentionally blank  But in both cases “Anna”  does have the appearance of an add-on.

What  we have then is the fact that Joseph and Catherine Fluri  baptized a girl child on this date whose name could have been “Anna” or a variant, thus providing us with a possible counterpart to “Hanliey.”

What also is of interest in this record is that the godfather’s name, Leonard(us) Fluri, cannot  be found elsewhere in the Matzendorf Kirchenbuch records at this time. There was a Leonard Flohr who immigrated to America not long after Joseph Flory did.  Any relationship between these two Leonards is highly hypothetical at this point.  It was not unusual during this period, however, for one immigrant to take the journey here to join relatives. No known record of this Leonard Flohr in America has as yet been uncovered.

     I did look in the Kirchenbuch for  names of other children who might have been baptized to Joseph and Catherine, particularly that of Mary, the  fourth child of Joseph (possibly not his child but a second wife) who was on the Hope. I did not find any more names of baptized children to the couple, but under the year 1715 Joseph and Catherine did have another child named Catharina, who was confirmed.  And it was this entry that gave a plausible explanation for the missing name of Mary.

     Catholic Church rules mandate that a child not be confirmed until he or she “reaches” the age of reason.”  What this “age of reason” is can differ from parish to parish, but generally a child is not confirmed until he or she reaches at least the age of seven.  The confirmation ceremony is generally not performed by the parish priest who did the initial baptism.  In Matzendorf, it appears to have been a very special ceremony, perhaps conducted by the bishop himself.  Local records indicate that mass confirmations were held in 1695, 1708, 1715, 1730, and 1739.  Families who had multiple children reach the age of reason in those intervening years between ceremonies, brought them all to the church to the next large public ceremony to have them confirmed.

     If Catharina were at least seven in 1715, her parents would have had to have been married around 1708 or before.  No marriage records exist in the Matzendorf Kirchenbuch for this particular Joseph and Catherine Fluri from any date, however.  That, and a lack of a baptismal note for Catharina, suggests that Joseph and Catharina might have been out of the area when they were married and had their first children.  Thus lack of a baptismal record for Mary is not a problem if we are trying to tie in the two Josephs. Moreover, the fact that Catharina did not accompany her parents to America is not much of a problem either.  At a minimum, she would have been 25 in 1733, and, therefore, perhaps married with a family of her own.

catharina’s confirmation record

If you look carefully at the bottom of the page, you will see the name “Catharina” above the designation of her region as Solterschwang in the left margin next to her parents’ names, Joseph and Catharina Fluri.  A note in the right margin indicates that she was grouped for some reason with children from Herbetswil. There are several other Fluri children recorded on this page, including a tantalizingly similar Joseph Fluri and Catharina Fieg (Füeg) from Herbetswil, whose children Josephus and Maria were confirmed on the same day.

     One additional note before we move on.  Joseph and Catharina’s three other children, Joseph, Anna?, and John,  do not appear in the records of the ceremony of 1730.  There are a number of reasons, obviously, why this might have been so.  However, one possibility is that the family had left the area.  Since no known death record has as yet been discovered for Joseph in the Matzendorf church records, it was not unreasonable to assume that Joseph had begun the journey that would take him to America sometime between the birth of his last child in Solterschwang in 1716 and the confirmation event of 1730, a date where we might expect to find some record of him if he had not moved on.


     The next question was if Joseph of America is Joseph, the alpine farmer descended from Anabaptist ancestors in Solterschwang, who were his parents?  As we have seen, at least four Joseph Fluris were born in the region about the same time as Joseph the Senn, and there is very little in the church records to directly link any adult Joseph to his parents. There was also the possibility that Joseph’s father might have been living temporarily outside of the parish of  Matzendorf when Joseph was born and baptized. Alternatively, the father could himself have been born and lived most, if not all, of his life in one of the other villages in the Canton Solothurn where Fluris were known.   Another possibility was that Joseph’s father was Anabaptist himself, not allowing the baptismal rite to be performed on his son, even though it might have been dangerous for him to not give the appearance of at least being outwardly Catholic.  So, the question of who were the parents of Joseph of Solterschwang could not be answered at this point.


     Because local records were not accessible to us, we followed Anton Fluri’s suggestion and employed the services of Werner Hug, a local historian, whom Mr. Fluri had obtained for us.  His fees were paid for by a coalition of volunteers, including Leslie Flory, William Flory, John Marcinkowski, Brian Flora, Betty Naff Mitchell, Richard Gethmann, William Lucas, Michael Barnhart, David Blocher, Merikay Mestad, Jane Belmont, and myself.  Mr. Hug was charged to find out in the “Archive of the Canton of Solothurn” anything additional that he could about Senn Joseph and his wife, Catherine, as well as to obtain information about the Solterschwang (d) farm and Anabaptist activity in the region. When Mr. Hug completed his research, his data was summarized and analyzed for us by Mr. Fluri.  While the results did not link Senn Joseph directly with the American Joseph–in fact, Anton Fluri has concluded that they were not the same person–the information that Mr. Hug uncovered is invaluable for any search for Flory or Fluri ancestors in Switzerland, particularly for those with possible Anabaptist antecedents.  In the interests of future research, that material is summarized below.


   Any researcher into Swiss Flory families needs to know a little about the geography of the region as well as the different ethnic divisions of the towns. The information below is essential to understand the following discussion about Senn Joseph.

1.      The Canton or State of Solothurn, which is home to the parish of Matzendorf (which includes Matzendorf, Herbetswil, and Aedermannsdorf [where the two farms that comprise the Solterschwand are located]), is located entirely within the German speaking part of Switzerland.

2.      The nearby Canton of Jura and the northern part of the Canton Berne  are in the French speaking part of Switzerland.  One exception to this is the small community of Seehof (Elay), which even today is primarily German speaking, but is part of the French speaking district called Moutier (Munster).

3.      The Canton of Jura was part of the Canton of Berne until 1978.

4.      Most of the northern part of the Canton of Berne (including what is today the Canton of Jura) belonged until 1815 to the so-called “Bishop’s Territory” after the Bishop of Basel. The earlier records that were alluded to above about Hans Fluri, son of Arnold Fluri, having to “flee to the Bishop’s Territory” because of Anabaptist activity means that he went somewhere in the Canton of Berne.


      While the Kirchenbuch of the parish of Matzendorf was unable to tell us anything more about Senn Joseph and his wife, Catherine, Werner Hug was able to access the corresponding church book from the parish of Vermes that dates from 1661-1742. Vermes is in the “Bishop’s Territory” in that area that is part of the present day Canton of Jura.  These records included more information about Joseph, including his original marriage date and the baptismal dates of previous children who were conceived prior to Joseph’s apparent relocation to the Solterschwand.

      The marriage record is as follows:

29 October 1696–Josephus Flury ex Sehoff et Catharina filia Andrea Flury ex Viller.

      According to Anton Fluri, these means that Joseph originally came from Seehof in the Canton of Berne and that his wife, Catherine, was the daughter of Andrea Flury from Wiler (Envelier in the area of Vermes).  Catherine, by the way, was born on December 12, 1674.  Her mother’s name was Aloysia.

      The baptismal records for the Vermes parish indicate the following children for Joseph and Catherine Flury (which is how the name Fluri is spelled in the local church records):

1.      10/2/1698   Catherina

2.      5/6/1703     Joannes

3.      10/6/1705   Anna Maria Catherina

4.      5/28/1708   Joseph (perhaps died in infancy)

5.      3/15/1711   Joseph (this is the same date in which Senn Joseph had his son baptized also in the Matzendorf parish.  For some reason, the event is recorded in two church books.  It is fortunate that this occurred, because it is a definite link between the Joseph of Seehof and the Joseph of Solterschwand, the original subject of our search).  Remember, the Matzendorf parish records indicate that Joseph of Solterschwand and his wife Catherine had the following children baptized:

6.      3/15/1711   Joseph (presumable the same Joseph as 5.)

7.      8/10/1713   Unnamed girl child, perhaps Anna

8.      10/3/1716   Urs Johann (would have been referred to as Johann or John.)


      It seems reasonable to conclude that Senn Joseph was born somewhere in the Vermes parish,  but the baptismal records do not identify any child named Joseph of the period as having specifically been born in Seehof.  Remember, Senn Joseph’s marriage record indicates that he came from Seehof.  At any rate, the Vermes church book does list baptismal records for the following Josephs from the area for the period in question who might have been Senn Joseph.  There is no definite link, unfortunately, between any of the Josephs listed below and Senn Joseph.  This is not to say that Senn Joseph was not one of the Josephs listed below.  He may very well have been. But we cannot prove this to be the case.

1.      1/6/1666    Josephus Fluri (Wiler/Envelier)

2.      7/11/1672  Josephus Fluri (Wiler/Envelier)

3.      2/2/1677    Josephus Fluri (Solterschwand)

4.      2/22/1678  Josephus Fluri (Wiler/Envelier)

5.      1/31/1681  Josephus Fluri (Montsevelier)

6.      9/1/1681    Josephus Fluri (Vermes)


     The original parish records from Matzendorf in the Canton of Solothurn where references to Senn Joseph and his wife, Catharine, were originally uncovered, do not contain any known references to this family after 1716, as we have seen.  However, since this family was also connected with the area around Vermes in the Canton of Jura, as Mr. Hug’s research had uncovered, it seemed appropriate to look at the death records in that area also.  Below is a chart listing all known death records of either a Joseph or a Catharina Fluri from Vermes.  While there were a number of individuals with the name of either Joseph or Catharine Fluri who died in the Vermes parish during this period, “no obvious link,” in Anton Fluri’s words, “can be made to the couple ‘Josef and Catharina Fluri,’ we are looking for.”  If this is the case, these additional records may also suggest that Joseph and his family may have left the area sometime after 1716. Whether that eventually culminated in a migration to America, of course, cannot be determined from these records.




Wife of Joannes Fluri





Wife of Petri Fluri





Wife of Joannis Fluri





Daughter of Joannes Fluri





Wife of Nicolai Fluri





Wife of Petri Fluri





Widow of Anthony Fluri





Daugther of Jacobi Fluri





Daughter of Udalrich Fluri





Jüngling (not married)





Daughter of Joseph Fluri





Daughter of Georg Fluri





Wife of Petri Fluri





Daughter of Jacobi Fluri





53 years old





63 years old





Wife of Henrici Fluri





Daughter of Peter Fluri





Daughter of Joannis Fluri



     One of our concerns was with Anabaptists in the region.  As we have seen, there were several Fluris from Solterschwand who had been punished by authorities in Solothurn for their Anabaptist activities.  A Hans Fluri in 1608 escaped to the French speaking “Bishop’s Territory” (the Canton of Jura/Berne) to escape punishment.  Senn Joseph came from Seehof, a German speaking community within that Bishop’s Territory, prior to his location at the Solterschwand.  The questions that we wanted to know included: (1) were there any additional records involving Fluri families and Anabaptism after 1622; and (2) was there still Anabaptist activity in the region.

      As the chart below indicates, there are no known civil records connecting any Fluri with Anabaptism after 1622.  However, the records also indicate that around 1731 that there were Anabaptist meetings in the area and that at least one of these meetings occurred on the Solterschwand.  The records indicate that most of the 1731 Anabaptists came originally from the Emmenthal –region (in the southern part of the Canton of Berne). We have no record of Senn Joseph living on the Solterschwand during this time.  However, the Solterschwand consisted basically of two farms.  If he was still living in the area  (and we don’t know that he was), he certainly would have been exposed to Anabaptist influences.  One might speculate (and this has to be considered speculation) that the meeting of 1731 was the incentive for him to leave for America.  Moreover, if there had been at least one meeting in 1731 on the Solterschwand, there most likely would at the minimum some previous Anabaptist influences in the Solterschwand.  Joseph could have left the Solterschwand prior to 1731 and still have been exposed to Anabaptism.  He was nominally a good Catholic, having gotten married in a Catholic church and having had his children baptized as Catholic.  However, as we have seen, Alpine farmers who were affected by the Taufer movement, often retained ties to the Catholic church.  At any rate, the following chart is the result of Mr. Hug’s research of Anabaptism in the area.  The translation is Anton Fluri’s:





Children of the Anabaptist son of Arnold Fluri (in Bishop’s territory) ask to settle in the Solterschwand as it was their grandfather’s will.
Grandfather had received several punishments from Solothurn and Delemont because of his son.



Solothurnerschwand: The Anabaptist “who begin to stay there” shall be pulled away

RM 1602


Solterschwand: Anabaptist and the brother of Blarer Oswald have been pulled away

RM 1606


Hans Fluri in Solterschwand has escaped to the Bishop’s territory, as he should be kept as prisoner

RM 1608


Anabaptists who are willing to convert „shall be disponed to the believe“ by capuchins and priests. The “insistent” (halsstarrig) Fluri shall be kept in prison, be careful that he does not escape.

The Anabaptist in prison who wants to convert back shall – as before the “Claude” – do a  “professio fidei”. The other “a Calvinist” and also the Fluri shall ongoing be instructed, the same for the two women.

… shall be kept in prison the following Anabaptists

  • Hans Koler and his wife

  • Christen Zimmermann and his wife

  • The wife of Claude, named Anna, who lives in “Graben” and is a sister of Ch. Zimmermann

  • Two women in the “Solterschwand” named Sara and Margret

  • At the “Glashütte” (glass factory) an invalid women

  • Peter Stähli and his women

  • A maid called Christini

  • Anthoni Christen and his wife on the “Malsenberg”

  • The brother-in-law of Claude in the “Wäscheten”

… and keep their goods, …. and to be named ..

  • Heini Stäli, living in „Wehrgrellen“

  • The wife of German Stäli on „Montfallen“

  • and Jacob and his wife on “Mieschegg”

RM 1622-126-304

RM 1622-126-320


The total sum (for this “police action”) shall be paid by Hans Fluri and Joggi Kummer , both in “Solterschwand”

But both do not accept this



Assembly of the Anabaptists on the mountains with ceremonies.

Meeting places: Schwengimatt, Mieschegg, Solterschwand, Montpelon, Brunnersberg, Glaserberg, Tscharandiberg

Margrit Loosli and Cäthi Obersteg named as Anabaptists

Hans Kaufmann von Stäfisburg (= Steffisburg BE) 34 years old, Claus Gerber and Christian Sagmann named as Anabaptists

Falkensteiner­schreiben Bd 54

p. 325, 339, 343

p. 353, 357
p. 356


    One other area that Werner Hug researched was that of the ownership of the farms on the Solterschwand.  If Senn Joseph sailed to America with at least four family members, and perhaps three others, he needed to have enough wealth to purchase their passages, a not inconsiderable sum.  Mr. Hug’s researches indicated that in Solterschwand the population could consist of either  owners of these farms, tenants who rented these farms, and, perhaps, workers or servants on these farms.  If Joseph fell into the first two of these categories, he conceivably could have enough property to have afforded the trip.  If he fell into the third category, he would not.  It is here that the records are unclear.  They do indicate that from around 1600 to at least 1642 that Arnold Fluri and his descendants owned the Solterschwang.  In 1728, the sons of Arnold Schmid sold a farm or farms to the family Vesperleder. There are no known records of any owners or renters from the period 1642 to 1728, although it is likely that the Schmid family owned property there prior to 1728.

    There are, then, no known civil records then that cover the period from 1711 to 1716 when Senn Joseph was known to have lived on the Solterschwang.  Because of this, we don’t know whether Joseph was an owner of land, a renter of land, or a servant.  However, it appears likely that he was one of the first two categories, because the church records of Matzendorf refer to him as “Senn,” a term that would not in all likelihood be applied to a servant.

    We don’t know if the Solterschwand continued to stay in the hands of the Fluri family long after 1642.  It could have, or it could have been sold.  We don’t know either if Senn Joseph either owned any of the lands or whether he was a descendant of the original Fluri owners.  Keep in mind, however, is that at least one of the original Fluris, Hans Fluri, had to leave the Canton of Solothurn because he was an Anabaptist.  He fled towards the Bishop’s Territory in the Canton of Berne, a largely French-speaking region.  There is a village, though, in this area called Seehof that was German speaking.  Although we don’t know the village to which this early Fluri fled, it does seem plausible that he would go to a German speaking area, which would have been Seehof, close by his family and friends, but out of the jurisdiction of the Solothurn authorities.  Senn Joseph came from Seehof.  We do not know who his parents were, but his father could very well have been a descendant of the fugitive Fluri.


   Apart from problems dealing with the corresponding ages of the two Josephs and their families, which I will deal with shortly, the facts uncovered by Mr. Hug reveal some tantalizing similarities. To review:

  • An Arnold Fluri and his grandchildren own land in an area called the Solterschwand, in the mountains above Aedermannsdorf in the parish of Matzendorf in the Canton of Solothurn, a German speaking region.

  • Their ownership begins no later than 1602 (probably earlier) and extends to at least 1642 and theoretically as late as 1727 (but probably earlier). The Solterschwand contains a forest area and two farms, so the community itself is extremely small.

  • This early Fluri family who owned the land was in frequent difficulties with the Solothurn authorities because of their Anabaptist beliefs.  These difficulties included both imprisonment and exile.  One member of this Fluri family, Hans, escaped to the “Bishop’s Territory,” or somewhere in the Canton of Berne (which at the time included the present day Canton of Jura), which is French speaking.

  • We do not know where in the Bishop’s territory Hans fled and if he ever came back to the Solterschwand.

  • In 1622, a Hans Fluri was imprisoned because he refused to renounce his Anabaptist beliefs.  It is unclear as to whether or not this is the same Hans Fluri who at one time fled the area.

  • After 1622, there is no further mention in the civil records of the area of any Fluri being involved with Anabaptism. In February and March of 1731 (two years prior to the time that a Joseph Flory came to America), however, there was a series of Anabaptist assemblies in the Jura mountains inside the Canton of Solothurn and its neighborhood.  Most of the Anabaptists of the time came from the Emmenthal region of the Canton of Berne.  Significantly, at least one of these meetings took place on the Solterschwand, home to the early Fluris and later to Senn Joseph.

  • There is no evidence at this point to specifically link Senn Joseph to Arnold Fluri or his descendants, but the facts are suggestive that the relationship is quite plausible.  The obvious connection, of course, is that both Arnold and Senn Joseph were connected intimately with the Solterschwand. Moreover, Senn Joseph came from Seehof, a small German-speaking village in the mostly French speaking “Bishop’s Territory.”  Geographically seen, Seehof and the Solterschwand are located in the same valley, which is only separated by an old border line

  • Even if Senn Joseph was not related to Arnold, and the evidence is suggestive that he was, he still lived in an area where there was Anabaptist activity both prior to and  subsequent to his stay there (which, at a minimum, is documented from 1711-1716).

  • On the surface, Senn Joseph appears to have been a good Catholic in that he was married in a Catholic church and had his children baptized as Catholic.  However, as we have already seen, many Anabaptists in the mountains maintained a nominal Catholicism, while at the same time practicing their Taufer beliefs. To have done otherwise would have invited arrest and imprisonment.

  • It is unfortunate that at present we don’t know any records of property ownership or rental agreements from the Solterschwand from 1642 to 1728.  We don’t know, therefore, what relationship Senn Joseph had to the land apart from the fact that he lived there for a period in his life.  However, the church records in the parish of Matzendorf refer to him as “Senn,” a term which could indicate that he was more prosperous than a typical farmer.  There is no evidence to suggest that he did not have enough in the way of material goods to afford a minimum of five passages to America.  In fact, his title of Senn suggests that he very well may have.

  • There is no known record of Senn Joseph living in the area after 1716 (he could have lived there–it’s simply that we have no record). In the period between 1709-1717 there was a general purging of Mennonites/Anabaptists in Switzerland and they were forced into Germany. Senn Joseph could have been forced to leave the country at this point.

  • There were periodic purges of Anabaptists from the Canton of Berne. Many fled into the Jura Mountains and some into the Canton of Solothurn, including the parish of Matzendorf. There are similar baptismal records for Joseph’s son Joseph in the parish of Vermes and the parish of Matzendorf, both giving his baptismal date as 3/15/1715. Could Joseph have been fleeing the authorities in Berne for his Anabaptist beliefs, and, in an attempt to show local authorities in Solothurn that he was indeed a Catholic duplicated the baptismal record somehow?

     While the above records are not as complete as we would like to have had them, they do suggest a profile of the Senn Joseph that is both consistent with and complementary to what we know of the American Joseph.  The Swiss Joseph lived in a region of active Anabaptist activity that enveloped his presence there, and he may have had Fluri ancestors who were both imprisoned and exiled for their strong Anabaptist beliefs.

     It is not until we get into the area of Senn Joseph’s family and their correspondences to the family of the American Joseph that problems occur.  Even here, the similarities are tantalizing.

  • As we have seen, the four recorded children that the American Joseph brought over on the Hope were Mary, Joseph, Hanliey, and John, who, according to their ages that were recorded on ship records from 1733 as 21,19, 17, and 15, would have been born in 1711-12, 1713-14, 1715-16, and 1717-18 respectively. The exact year of their births would depend, of course, on what months they were born in and in what month their ages were recorded on the Hope in 1733.

  • Senn Joseph’s four youngest children, the children who would have been most likely to accompany him if he did go to America were Mary, Joseph, Unnamed girl (possibly named Anna or Hanliey), and John, born in 1705,1711, 1713, and 1716.  They were born in the same sequence as their American counterparts, and, except for Mary, approximately the same number of years apart from each other. Senn Joseph’s children are 2-3 years older than American Joseph’s, but it is a consistent two to three years older.   Mary was born about 6-7 years earlier than her American counterpart.

     However, now the problems arise.

  • Senn Joseph got married in October of 1696 to a Catherine Flory, who was born in December of 1674, and thus would have been 21 years old (and 10 months) at the time of her marriage.

  • The Joseph aboard the Hope was recorded as being 51 sometime in 1733, which would have made him 14-15 at the time of Senn Joseph’s marriage and 6-7 years younger than Senn Joseph’s wife.

  • Senn Joseph and Catherine did have several children baptized in Vermes prior to coming to the Solterschwand.  The last child, prior to the Joseph mentioned above, was Anna Maria Catharina, who, based upon German naming patterns, could very well have been known as Maria.  This would give us four correspondences in children between the Swiss and American Josephs, all with perhaps the same names and all born in the same order.  The only problem is that the Maria on the Hope is listed as being 21 years of age, which would place her year of birth somewhere around 1711-12.  We do know, however, that the Swiss Anna Maria Catharina was definitely born in 1705, making the American Maria 6-7 years younger than her Swiss counterpart.

  • The 1696 marriage record of Josef and Catharina Fluri indicates, that both grew up, married and had their first children in the “Bishops territory” (Seehof and Envelier). Then they lived for some period “just opposite the border” in the Solterschwand – but here they have been officially “foreigners” (not citizens of the Canton of Solothurn). So if they left from Solterschwand again, there is an obvious possibility that they went back in the “Bishops territory”.

     Based in part on the overall discrepancy in ages between the two sets of families, Anton Fluri has concluded that the two Josephs are not the same person, although he does suggest that based upon the popularity of similar names in the region, “there is a good chance . . . to find the roots of the five Hope passengers somewhere else in the northwest of Switzerland.”  I would have to agree that despite uncanny similarities between the two Josephs, they are not the same.  However, my conclusion rests upon the accuracy of the records of the Hope.  If those records are inaccurate, then the question remains an open one. And these records were not necessarily accurate. Spelling of names on these lists has always been a problem.  One genealogist of the Sumi family, a Mennonite group that came over her in the same year as did Joseph, 1733, although on a different ship (Richard and Elizabeth) notes that of the three family members whose ages are known to have been recorded elsewhere, there are inaccuracies to each one.  A daughter, Maria, is listed as being 24, but she was 27 at the time, and a son, Johannes, was listed as 5, but he was actually 10. Even on the Hope, records were not always accurate. A Jacob Ruhlman is listed as 35, but he was baptized Feb. 5, 1696.

    Still, unless we find definite evidence to the contrary, however, we have to accept the Hope list at face value.  If that is the case, it is unlikely that the two Josephs are the same person.


     Up to now all research activities relating to Senn Josef Fluri have taken place only in the “Staatsarchiv of the Canton Solothurn.” To find any additional civil records about Josef and Catharina Fluri (including records about their parents and children), however, other archives must also be taken into consideration, especially the “old bishops archive” in Porrentruy (JU) or the “Staatsarchiv of the Canton Berne.” More generally we should continue to look for Joseph’s homeland in other areas to the Northwest of Switzerland (the Canton Solothurn, the northern part of Canton Berne, Canton Jura).  But while this research should be on going, we should not entirely abandon Senn Joseph. He is too close to the American Joseph to dismiss entirely.  Moreover, a study of his life could give us valuable clues to the other Joseph.

One thought on “C Line: Joseph Flory — An Introduction “The Search for Joseph’s Home”

  1. NOTE: Translation below Comment.

    zsu commented:

    Zu C-Linie: Joseph Flory – Eine Einführung “Die Suche nach Josephs Heim” ANABAPTISTISCHE AKTIVITÄT Frage 2.
    Der erstmals im Jahr 1575 bezeugte Name Solterschwang
    ist eine Verschmelzung und meint «Solothurner Schwand»; dieses Gebiet
    liegt abgelegen an der Kantonsgrenze zur Gemeinde Seehof und damit zum Berner Jura, früher zum Fürstbistum Basel. Solterschwang (Aedermannsdorf,Herbetswil)
    Falsch ist Solterschwand in denSchweizer Alpen,Richtig wäre Schweizer Jura.
    Geographisch es Lexikon der Schweiz Band 1: Emmengruppe. 1902. 704 Seiten:
    Im Jura gibt es noch viele Wiedertäufer, meist einstige Deutsch – Berner, die im Laufe der letzten Jahrhunderte nach dem Münsterthal und den Freibergen auswanderten. Das neuere Sektenwesen hat, ausser im Emmenthal, Oberland, und in den Städten wenig Boden gefasst.
    Man zählt im Thal von Le Chaluet 12 Höfe mit 59 Ew., die zum grössern Teil Wiedertäufer sind.
    Hochplateau der Freiberge und Olten: Ehemals Eisen- und Glashütten. Als im 17. Jahrhundert Bern die Wiedertäufer aus seinen Landen vertrieb, fanden sie Schutz beim Fürstbischof von Basel, auf dessen Gebiet sie sich nun mehr ansiedelten. So liessen sie sich zum Teil auch im Thal von Le Chaluet nieder, dessen bisher unbebauten Boden sie als treue und ergebene Untertanen der Bischöfe in Frieden urbar machten.
    La Chaux d’Abel -Les Bois ein Torfmoor und Weier, deren Wasser eine Säge treibt u. dann durch einen Trichter unterirdisch abfliegst. 12 zerstreut gelegene Höfe mit 89 Ew., die zum grössten
    Teil Wiedertäufer sind. Die Mehrzahl der Höfe bei 2610 St.Imier am Sonnenberg /MontSoleil wird von Wiedertäufern bewirtschaftet, deren Ahnen zu Ende des 16. Jahrhunderts aus dem
    deutschen Kantonsteil von Bern /besonders aus dem Em- menthal) vertrieben worden sind und denen der Bischof von Basel hier die freie Ansiedlung gestattete. Sie sind ihren alten Sitten und ihrer deutschen Muttersprache bis heute treu geblieben.

    Translation (Rough):

    To C-line: Joseph Flory – An Introduction “The Quest for Joseph’s Home” ANABAPTISTIC ACTIVITY Question 2.
    The first testified in 1575 name Solterschwang
    is a fusion and means “Solothurn Schwand”; this area
    lies secluded at the border of the canton to the municipality Seehof and thus to the Bernese Jura, formerly to the Principality of Basel. Solterschwang (Aedermannsdorf, Herbetswil)
    Solterschwand in the Swiss Alps is wrong, correct would be Swiss Jura.
    Geographically it encyclopedia of Switzerland volume 1: Emmen group. 1902. 704 pages:
    In the Jura there are still many Anabaptists, mostly former German – Bernese, who emigrated in the course of the last centuries to the Münsterthal and the Freibergen. The newer sectarianism, except in the Emmenthal, Oberland, and in the cities has taken little ground.
    One counts in the valley of Le Chaluet 12 yards with 59 Ew., Which are for the most part Anabaptists.
    High plateau of the Freiberge and Olten: formerly iron and glassworks. In the 17th century, when Bern drove the Anabaptists out of their lands, they found shelter with the Prince-Bishop of Basel, in whose territory they now settled more. In part, they also settled in the valley of Le Chaluet, whose undeveloped soil made them arable as faithful and devoted subjects of the bishops in peace.
    La Chaux d’Abel -Les Bois a peat bog and weir whose water drives a saw u. then fly underground through a funnel. 12 scattered courts with 89 Ew., The largest
    Part of Anabaptists are. The majority of the farms at 2610 St.Imier am Sonnenberg / MontSoleil is run by Anabaptists, whose ancestors at the end of the 16th century from the
    German canton part of Bern / especially from the Emmenthal) and which the Bishop of Basel allowed here the free settlement. They have remained loyal to their old customs and German mother tongue to this day. UNQUOTE.

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