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Yoder Lineage - Other than Amish

Compiled by the Yoder Newsletter

Chronik der Familie Joder-Jotter

This data was translated in 1997 by Mr. Fred Haines from the German text of Karl Joder and Ottmar Jotter in their compilation "Chronik der Familie Joder-Jotter". The YNL wants to express it's deep appreciation to Mr. Haines for his translating AND typing skills and for his willingness to volunteer his time for the benefit of all Joder/Yoder descendants around the world (particluarly those of us who speak English!).


A WORD OF WARNING- Karl Joder's notes, in their discussion of the Joder families which left Steffisburg, make certain claims about different lines which went to the United States. BUT ...

  • He presents no documentation which establishes this,
  • he sometimes gives data which is in conflict with itself, and
  • for one major line which he indicates would have been the source of the Amish "Widow Barbara", he is a generation off from time of actual immigration.
  • His European data should be considered as a help in ruling out one line or another, and in suggesting some other lines as candidates for the source of US immigrants.


    Joder - Jotter Family


    [image - coat of arms]


    On red shield a silver pelican, accompanied on the left by a silver head of grain - on top of which is a red and silver tangled, beribboned helmet with red and silver cover - in red helmet board a golden, diagonal chevron furnished with a black, striding bear. The coat-of-arms from the year 1376 of Ulli Joder of Huttwil and his wife Elsi, nee Zaugg (Zook), daughter of the smith at Sumiswald in the Canton of Bern-Switzerland.

    From a sale document dated 25 April 1392 it appears that Elsi Joder sold one of her smaller properties, located on the flats, to the Teutonic Order's chancellor for her region. [The Teutonic Order was composed of crusader knights.] This sales document contains the codicil that the seller 'pledges to hold the sale as in perpetuity' and not to reverse it. (The relevant extracts from the books allow one to conclude that this was carried out.)

    According to the country's history, a great plague must have descended on the region place at that time, for there were only thirty persons left alive in Sumiswald and it surrounds. It's possible our ancestor lost several children, for we know of only one son, Heini, from the Uli Joder family.

    It may also be that the gift to the Teutonic Order was a sort of vow or a thanksgiving that her children were spared by the plague. We don't know the details and are unlikely to find any more.

    Numerous places and geographical features bear the name Joder, such as the mountain called the Joderhorn in the French-speaking Alps, 3039 meters high, the small mountain church Saint Joder at Altzellen between Stans and Engelberg, the Joder Spring and the Joder Pass in the high Alps of the French-speaking region. In the village church at Niederwald in Canton of Valais there is a lovely ceiling painting with the legend 'How Saint Joder [Theodore] multiplied the wine.' All these may be taken as signs of the antiquity of our family, and the fact that volume 4 of the Historical- Biographical Lexicon of Switzerland lists ' JODER - very old, settled clan from Steffisburg' speaks for itself.

    Our ancestors were not however mere peasants and breeders of livestock. We also find them very early on in commercial ventures - grain mills, tanneries, sawmills, brick factories, oil mills, fulling mills [for making felt], and stamping mills.

    They are also represented from early on in high offices of the regional and village administrations, as for example a Jost Joder, who is mentioned in 1428 as a high official of at Lauenen by Thun. (For Staathalter we would say something like 'County Supervisor' or 'Magistrate' today.) In 1462 a Uli Joder was an official at Altburon, from 1552 to 1575 Hans Joder was an official at Altishofen, and his grandson Hans Joder was named judge at Altishofen in 1619. That only the most capable were elected or named to such offices, those who had the necessary knowledge, goes without saying.

    What we can add from the book Heimatkunde [local history and geography] von Huttwil illuminates the sale document of 25 April 1392 (State Archive, Bern, Trachselwald File) and the document of 5 April 1403 from the House of the Teutonic Order (also in the State Archive, Bern, Trachselwald File):

    Page 35: 'Furthermore, three witnesses from Huttwyl appeared in the matter of a deed of sale at Marxtag of the Holy Evangelist, 25 April 1392, as Els, the daughter of the smith from Sumiswald, sometime wife of Uli Joder, during the lifetime of her husband, sold a small property on the flats to the honorable chancellor Cunzen Kursener of Lugibach, for 13 pounds in Bernese coinage, and now, with the agreement of her appointed constable Cunzis of Schabulen, vows to make the sale in perpetuity. Witnesses are: Cunci Wildis of Huttwyl, Bartschi, master at Huttwyl, and Cunci Hugs of Huttwyl.'

    Page 36: The first mention of a mayor of Huttwyl appears in a deed from the year 1403. On the Thursday before Palm Sunday (5 April) Brother Andres of Morsperg, Comthur and the Convent of the Sumiswald House of the Teutonic Order, sold a certain Ulrich Pfister of Huttwyl, burger of Burgdorf, and Uli Fulback, his brother-in-law, in proven fee simple, the fields and properties listed herein for 67 pounds in good Stebler pennies, legal tender in the land - first the bog at Huttwyl, which belonged to Joder, then the swampy ground which is called Heinrich's Swamp, then the meadows at Nyfel, then one field lying on the Biseck which is called the 'Hen Field' - Witnesses are: Claus Mayor of Huttwyl, Cunci Hug, Heini of Nyfel and Cunci Kubler.

    Page 38: It is known how the other properties sold came into the possession of the Teutonic Order's House at Sumiswald, by donation or sale. It is likely that the bog at Huttwyl which belonged to Joders had also been sold or donated to the Order. In fact, neither the State Archive at Bern nor the Archive of the Order's House possess a deed of sale. It is however the case that at that time the Teutonic Order at Sumiswald undertook a crusade to Jerusalem and that Elsi Zaugg, wife of Uli Joder, gave extensive lands to the Order as her contribution to the costs of this crusade.

    There is no doubt that the Joders living in the Huttwyl-Altburen- Altishofen-Dagmersellen and in Muri near Bern and the Joders is the Steffisburg-Amseligen-Thun area and Sigriswil are a single clan from the earliest Middle Ages. However, our direct provable ancestors lived in Steffisburg and its environs, and for our family chronicle we shall research only this Joder line, of which the descendants still live in Steffisburg,.

    It can be assumed that our farthest removed ancestors had settled in Tuchtiwil and in Hezzenwil when Steffisburg was still a swamp and no house or hut had been built there. This country was called 'Freies Gericht' [Free Court] from the earliest Middle Ages to the year 1798, from which it can be concluded that only 'free' men lived there, rather than bondsmen or serfs.

    One Jost Joder was 'Statthalter at the Lauenen by Thun' in the year 1428. As 'magistrate' the freemen elected from their own ranks a man who would then be confirmed in office by the Count in the castle at Thun. Jost Joder presented a golden heraldic lily on a blue ground in his coat-of- arms, the same lily on blue ground seen in the arms of the officials Uli Yoder, 1462, at Altburen and Hans Joder, 1557, at Altishofen - further proof that all belonged to the same clan from the earliest days.

    As representatives of he Count, our ancestors took the chair of the Freigericht, where, on a village square [Thingstaette] under the open sky, they administered justice. Later, when the Court was separated into the Freigericht Sigriswil and the Freigericht Steffisburg, the court sessions took place in a chalet which the county built for this purpose. According to a description, the courthouse bordered on the street at the front and on one side, on Caspar Joder's estate above, and at the back on the estate of Hans of Farni. From this description we can all tell where the Caspar Joder family resided at that time.

    In the years 1611-12 a Caspar Yoder was again named 'Magistrate of the Free Court' at Steffisburg. Between his own farms and his business dealings as grain miller and sawmiller, he appears not however to have had the necessary time for the office of magistrate, as he soon gave it up.

    The Free Court at Steffisburg

    Magistrates administered the communities of Heimberg, Thungschneit, Fahrni, Unterlangenegg, Oberlangenegg, Eriz, Homberg Buchen, Schwarzenegg, Horrenback, Schwandiback, Goldiwil, Teuffenthal and Heiligenschwendi from the administrative seat at Steffisburg.

    Jost Joder served as magistrate at Lauenen by Thun from 1415 until 1428. His seal was a gold heraldic lily on a blue ground. In the Historical Museum in the Castle of Thun his seal is chiseled in stone and is also to be seen on the plaque of coats- of-arms in the church at Steffisburg.

    Caspar Joder, the magistrate of Steffisburg, had a black eagle's foot on golden ground. Caspar Joder was in office from the year 1611 into the first half year of 1613.

    As magistrates they were the representatives of the mayors of Thun and through them direct representatives of the regime.

    Hans Joder was Community Chairman [Burgermeister] of Steffisburg from 1727 to 1730. His seal was also a black eagle's foot on golden ground, but with the additional accompaniment of three red stars.

    Another Hans Joder was active as Secklemeister [community auditor and treasurer] from 1630 to 1640.

    On state occasions these officials wore a coat in the colors of red and black, the colors of Bern, which made them immediately recognizable as officials. We find the name Joder in countless offices in the course of the centuries. As magistrates of the Free Court they also exercised a legislative function.


    What does the name 'Free Court' mean?

    Before the French Revolution of 1798, men were divided into three classes, nobility, freemen, and bondsmen or serfs. Only freemen and free women lived in the Steffisburg area. This is apparent from a Landbrief [county document granting certain property rights?] which the administration in Bern issued on 26 November 1405:

    Friday before Catherine's Day (20 November, 1405) the mayor and council of the City of Bern granted 'to our dear loyalists, the people of Sigriswyl, Steffisburg, and the other places who belong to our Free Court at the Lowinen by Thun...'This was the first written confirmation of rights which both of the communities mentioned enjoyed, and it was no doubt set out in writing in order to clarify and preserve longstanding usages of the lower courts, for the lords of the land as well as their subjects. In this Landbrief, exclusively free men and free women are mentioned, and this document also provides the key to the concept 'Free Court.' One can also assume from this grant that the people enjoyed some right to make law, insofar as it provided for amending individual points of this right of inheritance.

    The well known Swiss writer Denis de Rougemont writes in 'The Alps,' in The Best from Reader's Digest, concerning the social position of the freemen: 'Only in these alpine districts do the farmers possess almost all the rights corresponding to those of the nobility.'

    And when Mayor Bachmann of the Castle at Thun provoked the residents of Steffisburg during the Swiss Peasant War [Bauernkrieg], the crowd shouted at him, 'We are not vassals, we are free men!'

    In Sigriswyl on the Lake of Thun there stands a small building in which the old Freedom Letters of the farmers and people of the district are preserved, with this painted on its facade:

    I preserve the ancient Freedom Letters of Sigriswyl's lands,

    The preservation of freedom itself is in your hands.


    [photo of small building]


    A document from Eppstein (preserved in the City Archive of Frankenthal), states that all residents are serfs, except for Mennonites and Jews.

    On 4 May 1798 all of these class distinctions, privileges, and feudal rights were abolished, with the words Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite. This was the greatest gift Napoleon brought to the people of the left bank of the Rhine.


    Coats-of-Arms of the Joders from the Sixteenth into the Eighteenth Centuries


    [image - coat of arms with legend 'Hans Joder from Muri and Anna Gfeller, his wife, 1779.]


    Arms of Hans Joder at Muri near Bern. 'On red [background] a silver band furnished with a blue sword.' (After a sample with seal affixed in the State Archive at Bern.)


    [image - coat of arms]


    Arms of Hans Joder in Glockenthal [Bell Valley] at Steffisburg. Councilman and Treasurer of the Free Court at Steffisburg. (In golden shield on red Dreiberg [? literally 'three mountain,' but it sounds like a fabric], a black, detached bird's foot accompanied by three red stars.) After a prototype in the State Archive at Bern.

    Our ancestors at Steffisburg in Switzerland were not however only farmers, farm owners, and cattlemen, they had also been active in business from ancient times. The documents in the historical department of Thun's City Archives show that they had been leading the waters of the Zulg River to their mills for more than five hundred years.

    We have chosen several of the many documents to this effect and include them here. It is apparent from them that our ancestors possessed extensive landholdings and many commercial establishments such as grain mills, sawmills, oil mills, and ironwork smithies.

    It is also clear from the documents that families linked to the Joders by marriage also had a role in these businesses as liable shareholders.

    According to document K-893 of 9 March 1580, the brothers Caspar and Nicolaus Joder, sons of the deceased Caspar Joder, bought, together with the families Stucker, Steinmann, Blank, Roth, and Zimmerman related to them by marriage, a large part of the March of Farni and jointly exploited it.

    In the year 1539 Caspar Joder, Niclaus Eymann, and Hans Russer, counselors to the Statthalter Peter Surer, bought a large landholding near their locality. It is remarkable that the individual families disposed of such large sums of capital, for just four years later, 1543, they also bought the Schnittwayer, an equally large complex of lands in the same area, for which they paid cash.

    The Zulg, a sluggish river in summer months, can however become in a few hours a raging torrent, which at high water often wreaked great damage on the mills and waterwheels, as it brought down enormous masses of gravel from the mountains, dammed the mill races, and flooded and wrecked the adjoining fields. This is readily apparent from two trials - from 13 January and 20 January - against 'defendant Caspar Joder, with his partners in the equipment and mills at Steffisburg.' (Documents in the historical department of the City Archive of Thun K-887 and K- 888.)`The 'Bosbach' which empties into the Zulg, earlier called 'the Evil Brook [bose Bach], is aptly named.


    [Extract from a printed book:]

    The millbrook must have been led out of the Zulg before a perpendicular weir had been built. The inlet had to be rebuilt after every flood. The first news of a perpendicular or perhaps angled weir on the millbrook is from the year 1480. At that time the Zulg swelled to flood as a result of a rainstorm that lasted three days and tore the already longstanding weir... [line missing] ...stood under water. The following morning they were rescued with boats.

    The large number of mills in Steffisburg was required by the extraordinarily large planting of grain in the fertile lowlands around Steffisburg, and, since eighteen millwheels were often turning around that time, it is a testament to the energy and enterprise of our ancestors. The miller family of Peter Joder owned the Au Mill (Aumuhle) for generations. However, our ancestors owned not just mills, but some Joder families also had brick works and a vinegar factory. Other Joder families were chiefly occupied with horse breeding, which was blooming at that time. The demand of foreign armies for horses often could not be easily met, and consequently horses brought good prices.

    Our ancestors had not just grain in their agricultural program but vineyards as well. The soft slopes and hills were planted everywhere with vines, and the consumption of wine was markedly greater than it is today. Potatoes were still bread, meat, wine, and various legumes were the daily fare. Farmhands and maids were paid with wine, along with other produce, and preachers and schoolteachers always received a specified quantity of wine in addition to their salaries. More white than red wine was cultivated, and if the quality was not always of the best, it could be spiked with pure bees' honey, of which there was always more than enough in every farmhouse.

    From a contemporary document we learn that the village treasurer, Hans Joder, rode to Bern on 16 February 1636 and requested, on behalf of the local farmers, an enlargement of the area under oenoculture. This was granted him, and we see from this that already at that time, as today, not everyone could enlarge his vineyards as he saw fit.


    [Excerpt from printed material:]


    On 16 February the village treasurer Hans Joder appeared before the City Council of Bern, in order to request permission, in the name of the village community at Steffisburg, to plant a piece of land formerly held in common, amounting to eighteen Jucharten [old Swiss or Alemanic land measure, the amount of land which could be worked by one yoke of oxen in a day, anything from thirty- four to forty-seven hectares] with vines. To compensate for this, another piece of land, which belonged to the community as free property and was called until then 'Ritschart's Wife,' was set aside as commons. This piece of land has been called from then on, to the present day, 'the set-aside meadow.'

    In the twenties of the seventeenth century a Caspar Joder married one Barbeli Burki. The ancestors from both families had married before and their descendants would continue to marry each other.

    Barbeli Joder nee Burki was known round about as the 'Little Herb Woman.' A daughter of this marriage, Anni Joder, born 5 November 1626, also married into the Burki family. The Buchholderberg, a high moorland with peculiar flora rarely found today, was her home country. She appears to have inherited a predilection for botany from her mother, since she occupied herself into old age with natural medicine. Pharmaceuticals or pharmaceutical factories as we know them today did not exist, so she was, with her knowledge of individual herbs, both collector and pharmacist. She appears to have had good results, especially with treating gallbladder disease with petersilia and moor mudpacks (turf is still harvested on the Buchholderberg), and she used the roots and leaves of ivy to heal illnesses of the lung, using only ivy which grew in oak woods, winding on the trunks of oak trees.

    Among the descendants of this Joder-Burki family we make out a Christian Burki as a 'winder' in the twenties of the eighteenth century, and Hans Burki as a 'winder from Buchholterberg,' who also married an Anna Joder. Doctors who treated wounds were known as 'winders,' so we find these 'winders from Buchholterberg' practicing as natural healers and 'bathers.' They used the waters and earth from the deeper levels of the turf trenches for moor mudpacks and mudbaths for topical application, while for internal use they preferred the healing herbs and roots which the Buchholterberg produced in abundance.

    The excellent healing which these natural means produced must have been widely noted and respected over the years, for soon springs with water rich in iron and sulfur were located on a piece of moor belonging to a Gungerich family, and influential capitalists set about building a sanitarium for natural healing, the so called Rohrimoosbad.

    The fauna and flora of the Buchholterberg is well known to experts. A great bearded vulture had been shot there in 1758 by Bartholome Spring of Steffisburg.The last wolves and bears were also shot there in the years 1802 and 1803.What was family life of our ancestors like in the area around the village in the eighteenth century?

    We know from the local registry that most families had many children. Infant mortality was relatively high, as the sanitation picture was anything but rosy. Soap was not known everywhere, coffee, sugar, and potatoes were not yet available. Breakfast consisted of a milk soup with bread, a later morning meal of bread, bacon or other smoked meat, and wine. The midday meal was again bread, meat, pea or bean soup (called Mus, puree), and wine. The evening meal was also of bread, wine, meat, and various kinds of fruit. Meal, bread, meant, wine, and honey were plentiful, and various mushrooms and berries from the woods provided a certain variety in the diet. Brandy distilled from blackberries, rosehips (the ripe fruit of the wild rose), and wild plums (sloes), also had their connoisseurs.

    Compulsory schooling for children from the age of eight existed already in the late sixteenth century but only in the winter months. The teachers were so called wandering scholars. Students or other people who could reckon, write, and read, could find employment as schoolteachers. The remuneration was not, however, princely. The first schoolhouse in Steffisburg was built in the year 1674. From then on school was compulsory both summer and winter. The teachers were better too, often serving the schools for decades. Well-to-do families sent their children to school in the city, where the education was somewhat better.




    Our picture shows both of the first schoolhouses in Schulgasli [School Alley] in Steffisburg. Before the first was built, lessons were held in private houses.

    That education in Switzerland at that time was essentially better than it was in other German countries is clear from the earliest church books and community registers, for in the time from 1557 to 1875 there is not one instance of someone signing his name with three Xs or other sign.

    The people living in the area chose from their ranks, in accordance with the needs of the Statthalter, the 'Waibel' (Burgermeister), the Seckelmeister (auditor, bookkeeper, tax collector), the Obmanner (jury foremen) and jurors.

    These elected officials had to be well-spoken and able to reckon, read, and write. Since in 1428 one Jost Joder was already Statthalter or magistrate on the Free Court, one assumes that great worth was early on placed on school education by the Joder families.

    [Photocopy from Karl Manuel's journal notes [in 12 Schreibkalender?], Year 1687, page 51. (Civic Library Bern, Mss.hh.XXII.38a.)


    Estate Settlement


    I traveled to Steffisburg on 4 March 1687 and arranged an amicable distribution of the estate of the late Caspar Joder, in his house, between the heirs from his first marriage and those from another marriage. I valued the goods of the estate, and both parties were satisfied by my valuation, took it up, and accepted it.

    On the 5th of the same month I rode again to Steffisburg in the matter of the same abovementioned, deceased Joder's heirs and made over the goods to them, with which all parties were satisfied and which they all accepted.

    NB, above mentioned distribution completed in good order on 1 September 1687. The heirs also compensated me for my pains.


    [photocopy of journal pages]


    The Joders and Anabaptism

    Soon after the Reformation a religious movement arose in Steffisburg and in the Emmenthal [Valley of the Emme River],, one for which the zeal and ideas of Luther and Zwingli did not go far enough. They named themselves 'baptism-committed Christians'; the authorities called them Baptists or Anabaptists [Taufer or Wiedertaufer, literally 're-baptizers']. They refused three things to the regime: 1. the bearing of arms, 2. the oath of loyalty, and 3. infant baptism. They cited the Bible, the Ten Commandments, and the Sermon on the Mount. Thou shalt not kill - therefore not bear arms. Thou shalt not bear false witness - therefore no oath of loyalty in order to discriminate between Yes and Yes and between No and No. And the children should be first taught and then baptized only when they were able to recognize the meaning of the rite. The first two points were directed at the regime, the third at the clergy then in power.

    The war of the regime and the high clergy against their fellow Christian citizens lasted over two hundred fifty years. They unleashed a literal manhunt against these people, and countless victims were caught, tortured, murdered, beheaded, hanged, and drowned. Monstrous fines were exacted when children provided parents - or parents children, depending on which clung to the new belief - food, drink, or shelter, even for a single night, or attended any Anabaptist meeting.

    Robbery, dispossession of property, and confiscations were the regime's order of the day against these devout Christian, and often the so called officials of the regime consciously and deliberately enriched themselves with their victims' property.

    One Heini Joder, a teacher of preacher of this religious community, a Mennonite, as he would be called today, was imprisoned for months in Basel solely because he had preached the Evangels. To this day we do not know what became of him, as our inquiries to the Archive were answered evasively or not at all.


    [Printed extract from a book:]


    The Anabaptists provoked the anger of the authorities chiefly on two grounds: they wished to render obedience to the regime only insofar as their consciences permitted, and further, they refused to bear arms or serve the fatherland. The latter point clearly did not suit the Bern Free Court, since every means was used to impede the spread of the Anabaptist sect. Although it was a well known fact that it was precisely these people who were by far the most pious and pure of the inhabitants, the laws dedicated to stamping them out were ever more severe. Still, we frequently encounter examples of noble tolerance from officials and clergy.

    To the credit of many religious leaders and officials of the time, it can be said that they condemned the campaigns against the Anabaptists and recognized them as wrong, for all of them knew exactly what was happening in their communities and that the most decent and best families were reckoned among the Anabaptists. They knew and kept silent - often to their own disadvantage.

    Our ancestors in Steffisburg were also thoroughly committed to the Anabaptists. The brothers Jost and Nicolaus Joder (Jost being our direct ancestor) were married to two cousins, both named Anna Trachsel. The marriages of both pairs took place on 14 October 1642. The children and grandchildren of both couples were committed to Anabaptism, as were their spouses.

    Jost Joder was at that time a 'Consistory Judge' [Chorrichter] and was chairman of the 'Consistory Court' [Chorgericht]. At that time the Consistory Court was everywhere in Switzerland a church body which dealt with morals and mores and supervised school and church attendance. It was divided into the village district [literally 'third,' in the sense in which we use the word 'quarter' for a part of a city] under Jost Joder, a Langenegg district under Peter Roth of Farni on the Langenegg [river?], and a Homberg district under Hans von Fahrny from Horrenbach in the Eriz.

    The Bernese provincial governor at the time, Karl Manuel - mayor of Thun from 1686 to 1692 - was a declared enemy of the Anabaptists and precisely in those years when the sect was stronger in Steffisburg and environs than it had ever been. Pastors and officials saw but kept silent about the growth of the sect; they did nothing to further it but also did nothing against it.

    The regime in Bern insisted on an accounting of people named as members of the Anabaptist community, but the pastors and officials refused to name names. On 21 March the regime had three Consistory Judges from Steffisburg, Jost Joder, Peter Roth, and Hans von Farny, arrested and brought as hostages to Bern, where they were lodged in the most expensive inn at their own expense for six months in the expectation that the pressure on their purses would be the most effective means of loosening their tongues. Nothing came of it.

    According to the Bernese regime's Council Manual [Minutes] 222/15 of 16 July 1690 (in the City Archive of Bern): 'The regime orders Provincial Governor von Trachselwald to inquire whether the Anabaptists Jost Joder and Christen Blank from Steffisburg are staying, as reported, in Schangnau and whether they have brought their property there. As soon as this is confirmed, it should be reported to the Anabaptist Chamber [Tauferkammer].'

    Further extracts from the Anabaptist documents in the City Archive of Bern:


    1597, 6 April

    Thun Urbar 6/IV/259


    The stepmother of Jakob Joder (Frau Neuenschwender- Neuschwender} is a disobedient, stiffnecked Anabaptist. Her son-in-law Jakob Joder, at Amsoldingen, pays a fine of two hundred pounds as the authorities share of her property. The other sons-in-law, Thomas Neuschwender and Benedicht Mettler, also at Amsoldingen, are guarantors.

    (The current value would be about fifty thousand Deutschmarks.)


    1695, 8 April

    Thun, Official Accounts


    The Anabaptist Christen Joder has emigrated and has left Steffisburg. He must pay an emigration fee of five percent for the property he takes with him.


    1695, 4 April

    Thun, Official Accounts


    The Anabaptists Hans Rupp and Catryn Joder of the Steffisburg [Free] Court have left the country. They must pay an emigration fee of five percent for the property they take with them.


    1695, 4 April

    Thun, Official Accounts


    The Anabaptist Hanns Rupp of [Free] Court Steffisburg has moved out of the country. He must pay a five percen emigration fee of 368 pounds.


    1710, Marz 17

    Turmbuch 1705/ii P. 21 [page 21 - 'Turmbuch' - 'Tower Book'] Hans Rupp of Sigiswil is to be found on the list of Anabaptists who were deported to Pennsylvania but escaped [became free, were freed?] en route.

    [Translator's note: While 'became free' doesn't necessarily imply 'escaped' or 'were freed,' both are plausible, since we learn elsewhere in this document that this couple settled not in Pennsylvania but in the 'Enkenbach-Alsenborn (Hetschmu1hle) area' of the Pfalz. Note also that this entry is dated fifteen years after the preceding ones.] 1671, 3 August


    Thun, Official Accounts

    From the large number of Anabaptists currently housed in the prisons of Bern, four young, healthy men were sentenced to the galleys. They are: Hans Burckhard, 28 years old, Peter Brand, 46 years old, Niclaus Balli and Ulli Zaugg, both 30 years old. The sentences, however, were not carried out, as the sending of six Bernese Anabaptists to the galleys of Venice six months earlier had provoked the unfavorable notice of foreign regimes. For that reason these four Anabaptists were expelled from the country along with many others.


    [Printed extract:]


    The Anabaptist Mandate passed by the regime of the city of Basel in 1530 provided that 'Lapsed Anabaptists or those returning from exile will be first dunked and again banished; should they show themselves again in the country, they will be drowned, without mercy, where they are found.'

    This mandate was soon strictly executed: on 16 January 1531 an Anabaptist was for the first time dunked, 'forced under three times according to custom.' It frequently happened that witnesses to the punishments spoke up to express their sympathy for the victims. Others were executed. Only two names are known to us, Hans Madlinger and Peter Linggscher, who were drowned in a brook on 10 February 1531.

    However, these frightful measures could not fully stamp out Anabaptism in Baselland [the countryside, now a canton, surrounding the city of Basel]. Mathys and Anna Gysin, Bastian and Uli Schmidt, August Buser, Heini Joder are names of Anabaptists who could not be persuaded to give up their beliefs even after months and years of imprisonment. Jakob Hersberger was clamped in neck irons on 14 July 1535 in Basel, the hangman cut out his tongue as a perjurer, and chopped off two fingers of his right hand. In fact, there is evidence that the faith persisted in the Hersberger family for another four or five generations.


    [Several pages of photocopies of the handwritten documents cited above, with the typed notations that they were photocopied by 'Karl Joder in Ludwigshafen {Germany) on 8 July 1975' and 'co- researched by Otmar Jotter, Grunstadt.' Also stamped 'Family Archive Ludwigshafen-Grunstadt, Joder -Ioder - Jotter - Yoder.']


    Photocopy from Karl Manuel's daily journal notes in '12 Schreibkalendern,' year 1692, page 75. (Civic Library Bern, Mss.hh.XXII.38a)






    On 21 March 1692 I sent three men from the Free Court Steffisburg as hostages to Bern (in accordance with orders given to me), because of the growing Anabaptist sects in the same Free Court. They are:

    Jost Joder from Steffisburg - an elder Consistory Judge,

    Peter Roth at Fahrny from the Langenegg and

    Hans v. Farni at Horrenback in the Eritz


    The three abovementioned men handed over a document addressed to the Anabaptist Chamber to the ferryman Kuntzi. I have paid the ferryman for transporting the men to Bern.


    [photocopies of handwritten journal entries]


    According to the Thun Urbar of 6 April 1597, the mother-in-law of Jakob Joder in Amsoldingen (Frau Neuschwender) was served with a confiscation order in the amount of two hundred pounds, merely because she was Mennonite and would not recant. (See preceding page) Her daughter's husband, Jakob Joder, signed a warrant for this amount, for which both his brothers-in-law were guarantors. Two hundred pounds was, in today's currency value, a huge sum. The Jakob Joder family had an especially large and well located forest of fir trees which was coveted by a Bernese, patrician councilman, who sought it out for a summer residence he wished to build. The Bernese councilman believed that he could now get his hands on this fir forest on foot of the fine warrant, but the sons of Jakob Joder confounded his scheme by cutting down eight hundred of the most beautiful trees in a few days. Heini Joder, the eldest son of Jokob Joder, was punished for this by being forced to do 'bell work.'

    The term 'bell work' comes from the fact that the city of Bern had no sewers, and where pretty shops now stand in the streets of Bern were once stalls and privies. The stink, filth, and muck of these privies flowed into the streets and puddled in front of the houses. In order to get rid of it, some people were sentenced to 'bell work.' The shoes of these convicts were bound with a short leather strap so they could make only very short, small steps. The leather straps were furnished with three bells, which jingled with every step - hence the name 'bell work.'

    Influential people in Bern succeeded however, in having Heini Joder's bell work rescinded because of his good reputation. All eleven of the councilmen present voted in his favor.


    [See photocopy from the Council Manual of the City of Bern for Friday, 28 March 1690.]


    The Council recognized the wrongdoing of one of its own members. The bell work for Heini Joder was rescinded and the Bernese aristocrats learned that they could not dispose of other men's property on a whim, even where the property owner used a hymnal other than theirs.


    The Anabaptist Families

    The brothers Jost and Niclaus Joder, sons of Caspar Joder, the magistrate and mill owner, and his wife Margret Hennig were both married to an Anna Trachsel (both were cousins). Their families follow:

    Jost Joder, born 30 November 1607 in Steffisburg

    married Anna Trachsel 14 October 1642


    1 Hans Joder born 21 April 1644 married Cathrin Ru[e]sser 17 July 1671

    2 Anna Joder born 19 April 1646 (died as infant)

    3 Verena Joder born 12 September 1647 married [First Name Unknown] Ruff

    4 Peter Joder born 1649 married [First Name Unknown] Sta[e]hli

    5 Jakob Joder born 4 April 1652 married Verena Kaufmann 9 January 1685

    6 Anna Joder born 17 July 1653 married Christian Blank 13 December 1680

    7 Barbara Joder born 28 October 1655 married [First Name Unknown] Berger

    8 Christian Joder born 17 July 1657 married Barbara Gerber 10 March 1684

    9 Caspar Joder born 1660 married Verena Stauffer 21 January 1681

    10 Cathi Joder born 8 July 1666 married Hans Rupp 9 January 1685


    Niclaus Joder, born 26 March 1609 in Steffisburg married Anna Trachsel 14 October 1642


    1 Barbly (Barbara) Joder born 8 March 1644 married Hans Rupp 30 November 1666

    2 Anna Joder born 13 April 1645 married Hans Berger 7 January 1670

    3 Caspar Joder born 4 June 1648 married Anni Zoug (Zook) 7 January 1670

    4 Adam Joder born 22 ???? 1650 (twin of Hans) married Barbara Ogsenbein

    5 Hans Joder born 22 ???? 1650 (twin of Adam) married Anna Eichner 9 March 1688

    6 Madle (Magdalena) Joder born 29 February 1652 married Peter Meyer 26 April 1629

    7 Marget (Margarete) Joder born 10 April 1653 married Ulrich Ru[e]sser

    8 Jost Joder born 13 January 1655 married Barbara Rupp 9 January 1685

    9 Salome Joder born 13 April 1656 married Hans Gerber 7 March 1678


    Niclaus Joder died at the end of August 1680.


    The Migration of the Mennonite Joder Families of Steffisburg

    As a result of the religious persecutions and to escape the continuing oppression of the Bernese regime and live their lives in accordance with their faith, the following Joder families left Switzerland and emigrated to the Alsace and the Pfalz (Palatinate).

    1 Hans Joder and Cathryn Risser, with their children Cathryn, Anna, Jost, Barbara, Christian, Hans, and Verena.

    2 Jost Joder and Barbara Rupp, with their children Barbara and Anna.

    3 Christian Blank and Anna Joder, with their children Christian, Anna, Hans, Jost, and Barbara.

    4 Verena Joder and her husband [First Name Unknown] Rupp.

    5 Peter Joder and his wife [First Name Unknown] Sta[e]hly

    6 Jakob Joder and Verena Kaufmann with their children Hans, Christian, and Anna.

    7 Barbara Joder and her husband [First Name Unknown] Berger.

    8 Christian Joder and Barbara Gerber and their children Peter and Christian.

    9 Caspar Joder and Verena Stauffer with their children Anna, Barbara, Hans, Christian, and Peter.

    10 Cathryn Joder and Hans Rupp and their children Hans and Cathryn.

    11 Barbara Joder and Hans Rupp and their children Christian, Christina, Anna, Jakob, and Benedikt.

    12 Anna Joder and Hans Berger.

    13 Caspar Joder and Anni Zaugg (Zoug, Zook) and their children Anna, Margaret, Hans, Barbara, Christina, Caspar, Verena, Cathryn, and Niclaus.

    14 Adam Joder and Barbara Ogsenbein and their children Hans, Niclaus, Barbara, Jost, and Caspar.

    15 Margret Joder and Ulrich Risser.

    16 Salome Joder and Hans Gerber.

    17 Magdalene Joder and Peter Meyer and their children Caspar, Magdalene, Hans, Verene, Anna, Magret, and Christian.

    Of the seventeen Mennonite Joder families who, because of religious persecution, left Switzerland, their ancestral homeland where their forefathers had lived and worked for more than a thousand years, some settled in the Alsace, in the Belfort, Montbeliard (Mumpelgard) area, others in the Saint Maris-aux- Mines (Mariakirch or Markirch) area and environs. We found the descendants of one Joder family, the family of Francois-Xaver Joder, son of Antoine Joder of Hecken, Canton Dammarkirch, in Geiswasser-am-Rhein, north of Mulhouse.

    Antoine Joder, born 24 February 1831 in Hacken, Canton Dammarkirch, Alsace, teacher by profession, son of Sigmund Joder and Katherine Bussinger. His father had also been a teacher.

    Antoine Joder was married to Mari-Rose Jonett on 27 October 1853, born 16 July 1834 on the beautifully situated estate Der Guthof in Geiswasser. Der Guthof, which is ringed by a moat, appears to have formerly been a small castle.

    The children of this family with birthdates:

    Mari-Rose 29 September 1854

    Sebastian Emil 9 September 1857

    Mari-Eugenie 24 June 1859

    Alfons-Josef 14 February 1861

    Therese-Mari 1 June 1862

    Colestin-Josef 2 February 1864

    Francois-Xaver 5 July 1865

    Josefine-Mari 16 May 1867

    Josef-Lac 23 October 1868

    Catherin-Helene 7 June 1870 (twin)

    Augustine-Mari 7 June 1870 (twin)

    Karl-Josef 31 October 1874


    Josef-Xaver Joder, from this marriage, married Virginia-Maria- Josefine Baumann. Children of this marriage, as far as they are known:

    Josef-Maria-Antoin, born 15 March 1896 in Geiswasser.

    Anna-Maria, born 11 November 1899 in Geiwasser.

    Josef-Maria-Antoin Joder was a pastor in Bettlach, a small peasant village between Mulhouse and Basel, until he died. His sister Anna-Maria Joder was the housekeeper of his household. We visited Pastor Josef Joder several times and always found him in his garden with his bees. We passed some lovely hours doing family research in his little study, stuffed full with books and bundles of dry herbs. The bees and healing herbs were his hobby.


    The majority of the Joder families which emigrated from Switzerland, however, chose the Pfalz (Palatinate) as their domicile.

    We found descendants of family four above, Verena Joder and [First Name Unknown] Rupp, in Donnersbergkreis [Donnersberg district] and around Alzey. They can be traced to many Mennonite families living there.

    We found descendants of family five in Erbesbudesheim.

    The Berger families, numbers seven and twelve, settled in the Bad-Durkheim area and environs and their descendants are still resident there.


    The Migrations of the Joder Families: Alsace, Pfalz, USA

    Family 1, Hans Joder and Cathryn Risser, emigrated to the USA.

    Also family 2, Jost Joder and Barbara Rupp. The number of children grew in the Alsace and the Pfalz, so that seven children were present at the emigration. The husband, Jost Joder, died on board the sailing ship during the passage. His grave is the Atlantic Ocean. The widow, Barbara Rupp Joder, and her children found active support among those of the her faith in Pennsylvania.

    Family 3, Christian Blank and Anna Joder, settled in the region of Kaiserslautern and Otterberg. Their descendants are still found there today.

    Family 4, Verena Joder and [First Name Unknown] Rupp, family 5, Peter Joder and [First Name Unknown] Stahly, and family 6, Jakob Joder and Verena Kaufmann, also emigrated to the United States.

    Family 7, Barber Joder and [First Name Unknown] Berger, and family 12, Anna Joder and Hans Berger settled in the region of Wachenheim, Bad-Durkheim, Grethen, and Hardenburg. Descendants are still found there.

    Family 8, Christian Joder and Barbara Gerber, and family 16, Saloma Joder and Hans Gerber, moved in 1709 to Oggersheim, and in 1711 from there to Eppstein, and family 16 moved moved to Fischbach-Weidenthal, since acquaintances from their home town Steffisburg were already living there. Saloma Joder and Hans Gerber are the ancestors of many Gerber families in present day Ludwigshafen, and all of the Gerber families in the area of Kaiserslautern, Sembach, Enkenbach, and Alsenborn share these ancestral roots. Pastor Doctor Gerber, born later in Fischbach, also stems from this family.

    Family 9, Caspar Joder and Verena Stauffer, settled in Weissenburg (Wissembourg in French) and Sankt-Germanshof and later on the Salzwoogerhof.

    Families 10 and 11, Cathrin Joder and Hans Rupp and Barbara Joder and Hans Rupp, settled in the Enkenbach-Alsenborn (Hetschmuhle) area. The descendants are strewn over the whole Pfalz.

    Family 13, Caspar Yoder and Anni Zaugg (Zougg, Zuk, Zook) emigrated to the United States and their descendants can be found in many Amish, Mennonite, and Reformed families there.

    Family 14, Adam Joder and Barbara Ogsenbein, and the family of his brother, Hans Joder and Anna Eicher, lived for a time after emigrating in the Pfalz, in the Branschweilerhof, Lachen- Speyerdorf, Mussbach district. Some descendants of both families later emigrated to the US, while others moved to Erbesbu[e]desheim and Kriegsfeld.

    Family 15, Margret Joder and Ullrich Russer, settled in Wachenheim and Friedelsheim, and family 17, Magdalene Joder and Peter Meyer settled in the Trippstadt-Lauberhof area. The first descendants are entered in the Church Register at Trippstadt from 1706 on. The family has branched into the entire Pfalz region.

    Individual descendants of the seventeen named families were already married at the time of their emigration from Switzerland and settled in the Belfort, Montbeliard, Etabon, Bavans, Mariakirch (Markirch) area [of the Alsace].

    For our Family Chronicle - Pfalz branch - we have intensively researched only family 8 (Eppstein, Friesenheim, Hemshofe, Scharrau area, and later the Hofe im the Donnersberg District) and family 9 (Germanshof, Salzweg, Horbacherhof, Vogelstockerhof, and the southern Pfalz area). Further research would lead, finally, into the boundless, and one who bears the name will certainly be found in later generations to build on our work and research further.


    The Migrations of the Mennonite Family of Hans Gerber and Salomae Joder

    The ruins of several old dwellings which originally comprised the so called Langenthaler-Hof [Long Valley Farm] stand in the northern Diemerstein Forest, near the Forest House on the Kaiserslautern-Grunstadt Autobahn, in the middle of the woods. I was there several times with my family last summer to take a couple of photos, because this so called Langenthaler-Hof plays a role in our family chronicle.

    Today not much remains to be seen of the houses built around 1750 to 1760, except for the cellar foundation walls and cellar stairs, several window and door walls of hewn sandstone, a few rinsing stones which show where the kitchens were. They are surrounded by elderberry bushes, here and there a few rosehips, the fruit of the wild rose, and over everything the forest of foliage.

    We often asked ourselves what could have moved the Gerber family to settle here in the middle of the forest, far from any traveled road. The strenuous exertions and sacrifices which they took upon themselves were not small, for, if they ran out of matches or salt, they had to figure on a walk of five kilometers or more to fetch such necessities, and that in wind and weather in summer and in rain, snow, and ice in winter.

    The men were indeed at home in the woods as foresters or gamekeepers, but for the children, who had to go five kilometers to school in Alsenborn and five kilometers to return home in winter when it was still dark at eight in the morning and dark again in the woods at four in the afternoon, the burden was not petty.

    It was Mennonite practice, however, to live and work on a remote farm, and the residents must have been healthy and spry, under conditions under which Mennonite pioneers also lived in the USA, in the Batschka or the Rumanian Banat at the beginning of the eighteenth century.


    (Attached is a photo of Langenthaler-Hof in Diemerstein Forest)


    Karl Joder


    The Mennonite Family of Hans Gerber and Salomae Joder (family 18 on the preceding list)

    The Consistory Court Manual [minutes] of the Steffisburg Church Commune in Switzerland states of this family: Hans Gerber and Salomae Joder are Anabaptists.' (Chorgerichtsmanuale of 26 July 1691)

    After they had to leave Switzerland to flee from religious persecution, they came with two other Joder families to Oggersheim in 1709 and took up residence shortly thereafter in Friesenheim.

    The family had two sons and two daughters, Peter, Magdalene, Margarete, and Johann.

    Peter Gerber married Anna Barbara Rupp. Magdalene Gerber married Jost Joder and emigrated with their children to the USA in 1718. The second daughter, Margarete, was the wife of Jost Joder, born on 20 March 1687 in Steffisburg in Switzerland. These families were the first Joder families which came to Eppstein.

    Jost Joder, the oldest son of the latter family, born 1711, leased land from the Haumuller Estate and married Katharine, the daughter of Peter Gerber and Anna Barbara Rupp.

    Anna Barbara Joder, the daughter of Jost Joder and Katherine Gerber, was baptized as a Catholic when she was eighteen, under the name Elisabeth Auguste, at the wish of the Princess Elector Elisabeth. She will be mentioned again in this chronicle as 'The Good Innkeeper of Oggersheim.'

    The youngest son from the marriage of Hans Gerber and Salomae Joder, Hans Gerber, took up residence in Fischbach, where several other families from Switzerland had settled. The Gerber families living today in the Fischbach, Sembach, Alsenborn, Weidenthal, and Kaiserslautern area all stem from this Hans Gerber, while the Gerber descendants in Friesenheim, Oggersheim, Ludwigshafen, and so on, are from the family of Peter Gerber and Barbara Rupp. The Rupp families in these places also came from Steffisburg in Switzerland and belong to the same clan as the Gerber and Rupp families. All of these families were at that time Mennonites, some still are today.


    Doctor Friedrich Gerber, the Pastor of Fischbach

    Hans (Johann) Gerber, the youngest son of Hans Gerber and Salomae Joder, who moved to Fischbach, probably married there, although we haven't been able to determine who his wife was. We do know, however, that they had two children, a son Peter and a daughter Anna Margarete. This Anna Margarete Gerber married Peter Biahl of Jettenbach in 1759.

    Heinrich Gerber, the youngest son of Peter Gerber, married twice, first to Anna Barbara Markar on 12 February 1764, and, after she died in Sembach on 15 March 1777 [?], to Catherine Theobald on 13 April 1779.

    Five children may have been born from these marriages. We know of the son Heinrich, born in 1767 of the first marriage, who then married a Katherine Fischer from Fischbach. A daughter from this marriage was Sofia Theresia Gerber, who married thirty-nine-year- old Johann Kunz on 8 March 1823, at the age of thirty-three.

    Johann Kunz was a widower who had been married to Katherine Wieser. (Church Register Weidenthal, volume 1A)

    Barbara Gerber, the daughter of the Mennonite Peter Gerber, who died at Fischbach in the year 1795, entered into marriage with Johann Martin Muller of Erpolzheim on 2 February 1779. We have not yet researched the descendants of this marriage.

    Johann Gerber, brother of the abovementioned Barbara, was married in Fischbach to Sofia Therisia [Last Name Unknown]. We know of five children from this marriage. The family later moved to the so called Glashutte [Glass Huts] near Fischbach. Children of this marriage were Georg Jakob Gerber, born at Fischbach on 4 May 1769, married to Dorothea Ammelung; Maria Magdalene Gerber, born 10 April 1772, died 30 June 1772; Johann Philipp Gerber, born 25 June 1776, confirmed 1791; Susanna Charlotte Gerber, born 17 January 1775; and Frederike Charlotte Gerber, who never married. Judging from the 1791 confirmation, this family was Evangelical rather than Mennonite by that date.

    Georg Jakob Gerber - born at Fischbach on 4 May 1769, married to Dorothea Ammelung - had, as far as we know, four children: Georg Jakob Gerber, born at Langenthal-Fischbach; Johann Gerber, born at Langenthal-Fischbach, confirmed in Alsenborn in 1821; married to Maria Elisabetha Menges on 20 May 1838; George Gerber, confirmed at Alsenborn in 1830; and Philipp Gerber, confirmed at Alsenborn in 1833.

    It is striking that in all generations of this Gerber clan the same forenames occur, such as Hans (Johann), Georg, Jakob, Philipp, Peter.

    The eldest son of the Georg Jakob Gerber-Dorothea Ammelung family - Georg Jakob, a forester at Langenthal-Fischbach - had in turn a son with the forenames Georg Jakob. He was born in 1833 and married Eva Weber.

    A son was born to the latter family - George Jakob Gerber and Eva Weber - on 24 May 1863 and later became Pastor Doctor Friedrich Gerber, married on 22 June 1893 in Kaiserslautern to Maria Carl, daughter of the Head Forester Heinrich Carl, born 1823, and Elisabeth Schatz, born 1829, at the Forest House at Fischbach.

    The Carl family were also immigrants from Switzerland, originally from Steffisburg in the Canton of Bern. At that time the family name was written Carle. The coat-of-arms of the Carle clan is painted in its colors on the plaque of arms in the church at Steffisburg.

    Pastor Friedrich Gerber was in Oggersheim, where his ancestors had their first residence in the Pfalz, Pfarrverweser. He was later pastor in Imsbach and in Waldfischbach.

    Johann Gerber (confirmed in Alsenborn in 1821), of the family of Georg Jakob Gerber and Dorothea Ammelung, married Maria Elisabeth Menges on 20 May 1838. Of the children of this marriage we know of: Georg Jakob Gerber, born on 28 June 1839 in Langenthal; Georg Gerber, born on 23 July 1842 in Langenthal; and Peter Gerber, born on 19 January 1851 in Langenthal.


    The Beautiful Innkeeper of Oggersheim

    The Joder families who fled religious persecution in Switzerland in 1709 by way of the Alsace and came to Oggersheim [in Germany?] were: Jost Joder, born 15 January 1655 at Steffisburg in Switzerland, married to Barbara Rupp on 9 January 1685; and Christian Joder, born on 10 May 1657 at Steffisburg, married to Barbara Gerber.

    Oggersheim counted 249 inhabitants at that time (chronicle from Karl Kreuter) and still had towers and gates, city walls, and a city moat.

    The family of Jost Joder and Barbara Rupp emigrated with their children to America in 1718.

    The family of Christian Joder and Barbara Gerber moved in 1711 from Oggersheim to Eppstein, where they bought some fields, but also cultivated large leaseholds.

    The eldest son of this family, Jost Joder, born 1711 in Eppstein, married Katherine Gerber. The couple lived in Oggersheim, where they leased the 'Von Haumuller'sche' Estate. The family had a daughter named Anna Barbara. Anna Barbara Joder was born in Oggersheim in 1750 and must have been a very pretty girl.

    It was the time when Princess Elector Elisabeth Auguste had her castle built.

    At that time the official language on the left bank of the Rhine was French; French was taught in the schools and the sermons in the churches were in French. It was also the language spoken by the so called better circles. Anna Barbara spoke a perfect French as well as the Swiss German dialect. The beautiful girl with the proper sounding French speech appears to have come to the attention of the Princess Elector, for she took her into her service after her parents died in 1768.

    At the wish of the Princess Elector, Anna Barbara renounced her Mennonite faith and was baptized as a Catholic by the pastor, Ferdinand Krieger, under the name Elisabeth Auguste. Her godmother was the Princess Elector. (This rebaptism is entered in the Church Register.)

    According to a letter from the Catholic pastoral office at Oggersheim dated 7 September 1976, Anna Barbara Joder, or as she was then known, Elisabeth Auguste Joder, married Johann Michael Wenz, the son of the mayor of the city. Seven children issued from this marriage. Five of them died in childhood. The husband Johann Michael Wenz died on 22 December 1783.

    Anna Barbara Joder entered her second marriage, with Bernhard Adam Herboth, son of the court cooper Georg Herboth from Kittelsheim, on 18 May 1784.

    The Joder-Herboth couple then bought the house of the Marktplatz [Market Square] in which Anna Barbara had been born, which was however 'Haumuller'sches Erbpachtgut' [leasehold]. The building was auctioned by then mayor Lanjus and sold to court cooper Georg Herboth for 2240 Gulden. His son, Bernhard Adam Herboth, and his wife then opened an inn there, today called the 'Pfaelzer Hof.'

    The second husband of our 'Beautiful Innkeeper' died on 19 November 1790. From the second, Herboth, marriage there were two children, Thomas Herboth, born 21 August 1785, and Daniel Herboth, born 6 January 1791.

    In the 1971 Council Minutes at Oggersheim, the presence of the Herboths and the name of their inn is given as 'Zum Pfaelzer Hof' ['At the Pfaelzer Court or Farm'] The widow Herboth (The Beautiful Innkeeper) continued to operate the business. The Pfaelzer Hof was the house where Anna Barbara was born and must have then been one of the best hotels in Oggersheim, as it still is today, over two hundred years later.

    Anna Barbara Joder, the widow Wentz and widow Herboth, married a third time on 18 July 1893, to Josef Gaa from Mutterstadt. The children of this marriage are Margarete Gaa, born 2 July 1794; Balthasar Gaa, born 12 February 1796; and Lorenz Gaa, born 22 February 1797. Anna Barbara is the ancestor of many people named Wenz and Herboth living in Oggersheim and those named Gaa in Mutterstadt.

    That she was not only a beautiful woman but had her heart and her tongue in the right place, and that she was a capable businesswoman and excellent cook, must be assumed, for otherwise she would not have managed and led the hotel Pfaelzer Hof, still known today as one of the best in Oggersheim, for fifty long years.

    She is called 'The Beautiful Innkeeper of Oggersheim' in the Almanac of Characters of the Revolution by Court Counselor Girtanner (Chemnitz 1796) and in the Chronicle of Oggersheim (Karl Kreuter).

    As the commander of the French Army of the Mosel, General Hoche, installed his headquarters in the Pfaelzer Hof in Oggersheim in 1794, the beautiful innkeeper, through her courage and presence, got her own back on him.

    Our picture [missing] shows the General, as he occupied the city, on horseback with following troops, as the beautiful innkeeper, surrounded by a crowd of curious onlookers, addresses him. Our Anna Barbara appealed to the Frenchmen's sense of honor with a little courage and a couple of well expressed flatteries, and thereby achieved what she wanted.


    (See the following description)


    [printed material. This appears to be a nearly contemporary printing - early nineteenth century - as the type is hand set in a very old font. The entire extract is set in quotation marks:]


    In Oggersheim, where General Hoche of the Army of the Mosel, after his withdrawal from Worms, where he had his headquarters, I found everything which defines the actual character of the Hun, wildness and licentiousness of barbaric hordes - to the everlasting shame of the victorious French Republicans.

    The magnificent palace of the Countess Elector of the Pfalz and the precious, neighboring gardens were laid to waste, the beautiful chapel desecrated, and the altar most unworthily profaned. Oggersheim had been totally looted and everything, even the bell of the City Hall, carried away.

    Oggersheim lies under the cannons of the newbuilt [Fieschen?] of the Rhein fortifications of Mannheim. When one notices the location of this village vis-a-vis the Mannheim fortress, one cannot conceive of how the French General could, in full view of a garrison 14,000-men strong, indeed a whole army, establish his headquarters in a village lying practically under the cannons of the Rhein fortifications. This too belongs to the mysteries of the present war.

    I was convinced by the following anecdote of the extent to which the excitable honor of the Frenchman and some flattery could protect the property of many a clever Pfalzer, and how much one could, in spite of the spoiled national character of the Frenchman, build on this peculiar basic trait:

    The wife of a rich and respected innkeeper had the courage not to send away any of their property and to await the arrival of the French and their behavior. She let her fearful husband flee to Mannheim with the cash, promising him that she would save everything else by her presence. As General Hoche, at the head of his column, entered Oggersheim and inquired after the best quarters, the courageous woman stepped forward and spoke with uncommon courtesy: 'General, I am honored to offer you my house for quarters. Do me the honor of accepting it and the pleasure of returning your most kind compliment.' The General smiled, and said, 'Well now, I shall stop with you!'

    As the General entered the inn, the woman met him with charming friendliness and said, 'General, my husband had less confidence in you than I. Don't be angry that the good but frightened man isn't here to serve you. I'm sure that it cannot displease a generous Frenchman if I convince him of my full, unlimited confidience in his humanity and assure him that I have sent away or hidden absolutely nothing. See here, General! Here are all of my equipment, my victuals, everything I have. If your people loot it, I can be of no use to either you or your people. However, if you will protect my property, you and your people can live here as long as you like and well looked after.'The general looked kindly on the woman and assured her that he would do all in his power to see that her property was protected.

    The woman replied, with a great deal of naivete, 'Be generous, General, to me and my fellow citizens! Everyone says that it is not in the character of the French or their new laws to ruin good, peaceful citizens. And that you make war only on the princes and not against the wretched goods of innocent country people. Do your nation honor, and fulfill that promise!'

    The general hesitated and blushed. He immediately took it in hand to strengthen the watch on his quarters and gave the appropriate order against plundering, on pain of death. The woman saved all of her property in this way. The rest of the village was indeed plundered by the unbridled National Guard, which was not under the General's command, but the looters brought the stolen property back only to the General's innkeeper, and the courageous woman had the pleasure of returning it to the plundered.


    The Family Record of Michel Yoder of Germany


    Marriages from year 1370 to 1825 (Switzerland, Pfalz, USA)

    Michael Yoder, who was married to Magdalene Oesch, daughter of Samuel Esch and Catherine Frey, was a miller and lived at the Weisendorfer Mill near Heidelbach-Alsfeld in Hessen-Waldeck.

    Michael Yoder had seven brothers and sisters: Jakob, born in July 1769; Anna, born 24 May 1772; Helene, born October 1774, Catherine, born 10 June 1777; Maria, born 13 January 1780; Barbara, born in June 1783; and Christian, born in 1786 or 1787.

    Michael Yoder was born in 1788. Catherine and Maria were born at the Heidelbacher Mill, Christian and Michael at the Weisendorfer Mill.

    Michael Yoder emigrated to the United States in 1825.

    The father of Michael Yoder was Samuel Yoder. He was born in 1745 in the Haxthaeuserhof Commune at Jngelheim, in the Oppenheim district, and he married Maria Gugerich.

    Samuel Joder had five brothers and sisters: Ullrich, born 1736; Johann-Hans, born 1737; Veronica, born 1741; Peter-Gemini, born 1745; and Catherine, born 1750.

    The family lived on the Hexhaeuserhof, a very beautiful area which is very fertile and where a lot of magnificent fruit grows. (We went there and took several photos.)

    The father of Samuel Joder was Jakob Joder, born in 1708 on the Salzwoogerhof in the Pfalz, where my Great-Great-Great- Grandfather Christian was born.

    Jakob Joder, the father of Samuel Joder, had sister, Veronica, born 1707, who married Johann Eichelberger, and a brother, Ullrich Yoder, born 1710, whose spouse we do not yet know. He emigrated to the USA in 1749.

    Jakob Joder, the father of Samuel Joder, was married to Anni Oesch. Jakob Joder was born in 1708 on the Salzwoogerhof in the Pfalz.

    The parents of this Jakob Joder were Hans-Johann Joder, born on 24 October 1686 in Steffisburg, Switzerland, and married to Catherine Esch. He was a brother of my Great-Great-Great- Grandfather.

    We will list the generations back and the families with children on the next page, back to the year 1370.

    Jakob Joder died 10 October 1752 on the Haxthaeuserhof, Jngolheim- on-Rhine. (Archive 65 [?], no 2095, page 202)



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    Yoder Newsletter - © Christopher K. Yoder, 1992, 1994