French In Name Only

A Genealogical Blog about the French and Grace Families

Month: November 2015


A Sinner, a Hamburger and a Tsarina

This is a story of immigration on a global scale. The starting point for the tale is Helen Maul, the daughter of Henry and Anna Maul.  Her father, Henry or Heinrich, was born in Norka, Russia, a 4th generation Volga-German.  Although Henry represented the 4th generation of Maul’s born in Russia, when he came to America he identified as a German.

Helen was born and raised in Hastings, Nebraska and later married Jack Cronin.  Helen Cronin is my daughter’s maternal great grandmother.

Catherine763.jpg.pagespeed.ic.nKSWQjT8OKIn 1763, Russia’s tsarina Catherine the Great signed a manifesto inviting foreigners to settle in Russia. A German national herself, Catherine’s decree marked the beginning of the journey of the Maul family from Germany to Russia and then America. As we move back through the generations, Maul men married women who were Sinner’s and Hamburger’s. These families moved from Germany to Russian in an effort to escape religious strife and economic hardship. A century after the first Germans settled in Russia, Czar Alexander III revoked many of the privileges promised to them by Catherine the Great and it was time to find another promised land.

Click here to see the rest of the story!

Manifesto2The manifesto promised the immigrants: exemption from military service, self-governance, freedom of language, tax breaks, initial financial aid, 75 acres of land per settler family, and “the free and unrestricted practice of their religion according to the precepts and usage of their Church.”

VolgarivermapBetween 1763 and 1768 more than 25,000 Germans established 104 colonies in Russia. The families highlighted in this story resided in Isenburg, which was a former county located in the German state of Hessen near Frankfurt and settled in Norka, Russia. The trip to the Volga region of Russian (map) was no easy exploit; it was a 1,600-mile trek from the Hesse region to Norka, Russia. It is estimated that 17% of those who attempted this journey did not survive the trip.

Tsar Alexander III in the 1870’s revoked Catherine’s privileges. Rather than face compulsory schooling in the Russian language and five years of service in the Russian Army, many Volga German families decided to emigrate to America.

The Hesse-Norka Families

Maul Family

  • Carl (Karl) Maul b: 1747 in Isenburg, Hesse, Germany d. 1799 in Norka, Russia Married: Anna Margaretha Doerr b: 1749 in Hesse, Germany d. 1798 Norka, Russia.

Original Norka settler, 1st wife Anna Margaretha Dörr, 2nd wife Margaretha Weigandt in 1775, daughter of Konrad Weigandt.  Carl was an apprentice to Konrad Weigandt, a craftsman from Isenburg. Reformed faith church, farmer from Isenburg, arrived in Oranienbaum (not far from St. Petersburg) on Sept. 9, 1766 by the ship Elephant, arrived in Norka colony on Aug. 15, 1767.

  • Johannes Maul b: ABT 1784 in Norka, Balzer, Saratov, Russia d. 1819 Russia. Married: ?
  • Conrad Maul b: 22 Aug 1809 in Norka, Russia d. 1876 in Norka, Russia. Married: Anna Margaretha Gobel b: 26 Jul 1812 in Norka, Russia d. 1851 Russia.
  • Heinrich Maul b: 2 Feb 1835 in Norka, Russia d. 1888 in Norka, Russia. Married: Magdalena Hamburger b: 21 Oct 1835 in Norka, Russi.
  • Heinrich Maul b. 17 Sep 1863 in Norka, Russia. Married: Elisabeth Sinner b: 3 Sep 1862 in Norka, Russia.
  • Heinrich Jacob Maul b. 1 Apr 1886 in Norka, Russia. Married: Anna Schwenninger b: 1887 in Iowa, USA.  Daughter: Helen May (Cronin) b. 1919.

Hamburger Family


Hamburger Family

  • Johannes Hamburger b: 1744 in Isenburg, Hesse, Germany d. 1821 Norka,Russia. Arrived in Norka colony on 15 Aug 1767. Handicraftsman, Tailor – Reformed Church. Married: Anna Catharina Bauer b: 1747 in Germany.

Johannes brother, Philipp, served in the Hesse-Hanau Regiment of the Crown Prince on the side of the British in the American Revolution. During this time he was captured and ransomed.

  • Philip Hamburger b: 1775 in Norka, Balzer, Saratov, Russia d. 1829 Norka, Russia. Married: Elisabeth Huck b: 23 Nov 1777 in Norka, Russia.
  • Johannes Hamburger b: 15 Mar 1808 in Norka, Russia. Married: Catharina Schreiber b: 2 Feb 1808 in Norka, Russia. ( I believe both are in photo above)
  • Magdalena Hamburger b. 1835 in Norka, Russia.  Married Heinrich Maul.

Sinner Family

  • Johann Sinner b: Abt 1715 in Isenburg, Hesse, Germany Married: Anna Maria ? b: Abt 1720 in Isenburg, Hesse, Germany.
  • Conrad Sinner b: Abt 1747 in Isenburg, Hesse, Germany. Married: Elisabeth ? b: 1752 in Isenburg, Hesse, Germany.
  • Johann Heinrich Sinner b: Abt 1774 in Balzer, Saratov, Russia. Married: Elisabeth Loos b: 25 Sep 1776 in Norka, Russia.
  • Conrad Sinner b: 1 Aug 1798 in Norka, Balzer, Saratov, Russia. Married: Margaretha Koehler b: 22 Jan 1801 in Norka, Russia.
  • Georg Heinrich Sinner b: 11 Oct 1823 in Norka, Russia d. 1885 in Russia. Married: Magdalena Scheidemann b: 19 Dec 1826 in Norka, Russia.
  • Elizabeth Sinner b. 3 Sep 1862 in Norka, Russia. Married: Heinrich Maul Jr. on 5 Feb 1885 in Norka.

Captain Jonathan, Gentleman

JnoDanforthThe following story is about Jonathan Danforth, my 8th great grandfather.  Jonathan was born on February 28, 1627 in Framlingham, England and died at the age of 85 on September 7, 1712 in Billerica, Massachusetts.  By all historical accounts, he was a respected community leader and a gifted surveyor. In the inventory of his estate, he is referred to as “Captain Jonathan, Gentleman.”

Part Two touches on Jonathan’s involvement and response to conflicts between Native Americans and colonists.  The closing part provides a brief story about Jonathan’s brother, Thomas Danforth, who played a role in the Salem witch trials.

Click here to see the rest of the story!

Part One – Early New England Colonist, Gifted Surveyor, Community Leader

When Jonathan was five years old, he came to America with his father, Nicholas Danforth, brothers Thomas and Samuel and his three sisters, Anna, Lydia, and Elizabeth. Jonathan’s mother had died a week before he was a year old.

The Danforth family sailed on the Griffin, departing England on August 1,1634 arriving in Boston on September 18. The Griffin weighed 300 tons and carried about one hundred passengers and cattle for the colonies plantations. It is believed that he spent his youth in New-Towne (later Cambridge) living with his father until his death in 1638 and then lived with an elder, married sister. At the age of twenty, he left Cambridge and was a founding father of Billerica, Massachusetts. He married Elizabeth Poulter in Boston on November 22, 1654 and together they had eleven children.  Elizabeth died on October 7, 1689. Their daughter, Sarah (1676-1747), married William French (my 7th great-grandfather).

Jonathan was a noted land surveyor and his descriptions of this service fill some 200 pages in the first volume of Land Grants. He held many public offices: deputy for the town, town clerk, selectman and he also represented the town at the General Court in 1684/5.Survey of Samuel Nowell Farm by Jno. Danforth, 1679

“He rode the circuit, chain’d great towns and farm, To good behavior, and by well marked stations, He fixed their bounds for many generations.  His art ne’er failed him, though the loadstone faile.  When oft by mines and streams it was assailed.  All this is charming, but there’s something higher.  Gave him the lustre which we most admire.” Poem by his nephew, the Rev. John Danforth of Dorchester.

Part Two – King Philip’s War and the Fate of Indian Children

It was also an especially bloody war—the bloodiest, in terms of the percentage of the population killed, in American history. The figures are inexact, but out of a total New England population of 80,000, counting both Indians and English colonists, some 9,000 were killed—more than 10 percent. Two-thirds of the dead were Indians, many of whom died of starvation. Indians attacked 52 of New England’s 90 towns, pillaging 25 of those and burning 17 to the ground. The English sold thousands of captured Indians into slavery in the West Indies. New England’s tribes would never fully recover. Blood and Betrayal: King Philip’s War

Starting in 1646, colonists began to establish “praying towns” in an effort to convert New England tribes to Christianity.  By the year 1675, there were an estimated 1,100 Praying Indians in Massachusetts located in fourteen Praying Towns. These towns were situated so as to serve as an outlying wall of defense for the colony. Wamesit, a praying town, was located within five miles of Billerica.

Jonathan Danforth served during King Philip’s War under Major Daniel Gookin. The town of Billerica had twelve garrison houses, each was providing a defensive space for four to seven families. The homes of Jonathan Danforth and Jacob French’s (8th great grandfather) house both served in this capacity.  During the war, Daniel Gookin, Jonathan and Thomas Danforth were protective of their neighbors, the Praying Indians, resulting in threats on their lives for interceding….

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 9.17.24 PM

Following the war, some Indian children where placed into servitude in the homes of local residents where they “were to be provided religious education and taught to read the english tounge.”  According to published accounts, “a boy of twelve, son to Papa Meck, alias Dauid, late of Warwick or Cowesit, Rhode Island, was apportioned or bound out to Jonathan Danforth.” The boy, later known as John Warrick died on January 15, 1686 at Billerica.

The following extract from the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 1854 (Indian Children Put to Service) provides a listing of the children, the names and status of their parents and to whom they were been placed.

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 4.34.09 PM

Part III – Thomas Danforth – Judge not lest ye be judged

Thomas DanforthJonathan’s brother Thomas Danforth (portrait) was the first treasurer for Harvard College and elected president of the province of Maine, then independent of the colony of Massachusetts.  One published account observed, “Perhaps the most intriguing characteristic of Thomas Danforth was his willingness to stand up for his convictions despite opposition.”  Considered a progressive advocate for colonists’ rights, he also was persecuted for his decent treatment of the Praying Indians during King Philip’s War.

Deputy Governor Thomas Danforth traveled to Salem in the early months of 1692 as part of a preliminary inquiry into the matter of witchcraft being practiced.  He was not appointed to serve as one of nine judges name to the Court of Oyer and Terminer (hear and determine) established for the Salem witch trials and was vocal in his distaste for the manner the witchcraft proceedings were conducted.  As a demonstration of his sympathy for those swept up in the hysteria, he provided sanctuary on his own property (Danforth Plantation) for Salem families seeking asylum, including Sarah Cloyes and her husband and children. (Check out this great post – Witch Caves & Salem End Road)

Additional Sources:

History of Framingham, Early Known as Danforth’s Farms 1640-1880; with a Genealogical Register by Temple, Josiah Howard; published Framingham 1887.

The Danforth Family in America – Fifth Meeting; published Boston 1886

© David R. French and French in Name Only, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David French and French in Name Only with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

© 2017 French In Name Only

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑