The following narrative was written based on primary and secondary sources, as well as a good bit of circumstantial evidence. Based on what evidence we have I have attempted here to “connect the dots” in a clear and concise manner. However, as with all such speculative writing, the following should be read with a critical eye. –James Climenhage, 18 Jan 2013
We know with certainty that this ancestor’s name was Henrich Kleimenhagen, that he hailed from Germany as stated in his land grant petition., and that Barbary was the name of his wife as stated in his will. We also know that Henry lived in Pennsylvania for a time before journeying to Upper Canada in 1797. Canadian federal census records for the years 1851, 1861 and 1871 in Bertie Township name the “United States” as the place of birth of Henry’s two oldest children, Anna and Martin. Anna (Climenhaga) Sider’s death record, dated April 27th, 1871, specifically names her place of birth as “Pennsylvania U.S. of America.”
Other documents, wherein Henry is named, may point to the specific county and township in Pennsylvania where he resided. Henry Climenhagen is mentioned as an executor of the will of Abraham Beam who was born and raised in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, first residing in Conestoga Township, and later in Bart Township before relocating to Upper Canada. Henry was also made executor of the will of Martin Beÿer/Byer who may have hailed from Martic Township in Lancaster County—specifically from an area near the tip of the township called “Byerland” from which the family lived and worked for generations.
There is some evidence of a direct connection between this Beÿer/Byer family of Bertie Township in Upper Canada and a Hoover/Huber family of Martic Township, Pennsylvania. A David Hoover/Huber of Martic who was serving as a soldier in Niagara gave Moses Byers of Bertie (son of aforementioned Martin) power of attorney to collect his inheritance of his father’s estate back in Martic.
“Know all men by these presents that I David Hoover soldier in his Majesty’s second Battalion of Royal Canadian volunteers, in the province of Upper Canada, have made, ordained, authorized, constitute and appoint Moses Byers of Bertie in the County of Lincoln and Province aforesaid yeoman, my true and lawful Attorney for me and in my name, and to my use to ask, demand, sue for, recover and receive of John Hoover of Martick Township in the County of Lancaster and State of Pennsylvania Executor of the Last Will and Testament of my Father the late John Hoover the elder deceased…this twenty first day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and one.”
Such a position of trust given to Moses Byers of Bertie Township by this former resident of Martic Township to act in his name strongly suggests that this Beÿer/Byer family must also hail from Martic. Therefore, as Henry was given a position of trust by acting as executor of the aforementioned wills it is believed that, by proxy, Henry also resided in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and perhaps more specifically, Martic Township. This point will be addressed in more detail later in the narrative.
Who was Henry Climenhagen?
Working backwards, a number of Mennonite families immigrated to Bertie and Willoughby Townships in Upper Canada in the late 1700s. Many of these families were neighbours in Martic Township or came from nearby townships in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Some of these family names were Boehm/Beam, Beÿer/Byers, Hershey, Hoover/Huber, Schaub/Shoup and Schenk/Shank, amongst others. The Beam family is especially of interest. Abraham Beam immigrated to Upper Canada in 1789 from Lancaster with his wife and son Martin and settled in Willoughby Township. His sister Anna (Boehm/Beam) Byers also immigrated to Willoughby Township in 1796 (She married a Martin Byers, a possible nephew of the aforementioned Martin Beÿer), as well as his nephew John Beam who settled in Bertie Township in 1802.
Back in Lancaster the Beam family were close with many of the families in that area. One family in particular—the Kägy/Keagy family—was very close. In fact, Abraham Keagy of Martic Township married Barbara Boehm, daughter of Martin Boehm, one of the founders of the United Brethren Church (the younger brother of Abraham and Anna). There is a note found in the Ontario archives attached to the will of John Beam of Bertie Township written by Abraham Keagy of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania–recently removed from Martic–to his nephew Adam (son of John), the executor of his father’s estate, regarding an unpaid debt.
“Mr. Adam Beam, Upper Canada. Esteemed nephew, Clarefield, December 29 1816 by this opertunity I will let you know that we are all well, and hope this will find you and your mother and brothers & sisters injoying the same blessing, as for ware I live and how wee com on your Br/r (Brother?), John and Abraham K can giv you a full account, we are still trying to serve the Lord and to workout our souls salvation for without saving faith in Crist wee cant bee happy, the same blessing I recoment to you and all of you for without it you cant be hapy hare nor hare after—–Your father was at my house in 1803 and was in need of mony I lend him forty dollars for which he gave his note and to pay mee long before this time, I have sent the note by my son A. S. K and hope you will sent the mony with him as I am in need of mony at this time and will oblidge me very much. Mother Keagy and the children joine me in love to you and your mother and brothers and sisters. I am yours with esteem [Signed] Abram Keagy”
The importance of this note written to Adam Beam by Abraham Keagy, which establishes a direct connection between Abraham Keagy and former residents of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania living in Upper Canada, will soon be made apparent.
Johann Henrich Wilhelm Kleimenhagen
A notice appeared April 10th, 14th, and 21st of 1789 in the Maryland Journal, a newspaper published in Baltimore, stating that a William Kleimenhagen from Upper-Waroldern in Waldeck, Germany had arrived in Baltimore and was looking for his brother John Henry Kleimenhagen. It also stated that he would be staying with Abraham Kegy of Martic Township. Luckily, the church of Ober-Waroldern [Upper Waroldern in English] kept very good records, and the Kleimenhagen family had not resided in Ober-Waroldern for more than three generations, so it was easy to track down who William was.
According to church records his name was JOHANN HENRICH WILHELM KLEIMENHAGEN born December 14th, 1758. He was the son of JOHANN CHRISTOF KLEIMENHAGEN and ANNA MARIA GÖEL. Wilhelm had an older brother named JOHANN HENRICH KLEIMENHAGEN born August 18th, 1755 that travelled to America in 1776 as a Hessian Mercenary. He deserted the 3rd Waldeck Regiment in April of 1777. There was another JOHANN HENRICH KLEIMENHAGEN born August 3rd, 1763—a first cousin—who’s family came to live with Wilhelm and Johann Henrich’s family after the unexpected death of Christof at the age of 42 (21 Feb 1768). Cousin Henrich lived and died in Germany. It may have been the case that, to distinguish between the three Henrich’s in that household, the cousin went by Henrich, the oldest brother by Johann Henrich and the younger brother, Wilhelm. All that changed apparently when they separated as all three appear to have gone by Henrich later on. However, it made sense to use the name William rather than Henry in his newspaper notice as William was likely the name by which his older brother would better recognize him. For a more detailed description of this family see Kleimenhagen’s of Ober-Waroldern.
After the American War of Independence, Johann Henrich Wilhelm (who we are assuming to be Henry Climenhagen), received a letter from his older brother, Johann Henrich, sent sometime between 1784 and 1787 that told him his brother was alive and living near to Baltimore, Maryland. No doubt John Henry spoke of the opportunities in America. It is also probable that William may have heard the descriptions of the ‘New World’ from his cousin Henrich. This time period in America was characterized by a large number of German immigrants, and by an especially large and increasing number of servants. Typically, Germans having established themselves in the new colony would write to their friends, many of whom were poor, persuading them to leave their homes and sell themselves as servants for a term of years in return for passage where they would find more prosperous conditions.
“To the German peasant supporting a family on a few acres in southern Germany where every foot of soil had to be tilled with the greatest care to meet the actual necessities of life, [America] offered flattering returns for this labour” (Geiser, 1901, p. 11).
Journey to the New World
Although we don’t know the name of the ship Henry travelled on, he would have departed either from the port at Amsterdam, or from the port at Rotterdam. From Ober-Waroldern both of these ports were a distance of about 400 km—too far to travel by foot. As such, Henry may have travelled by boat down the Rhine River (to Rotterdam), or by wagon. If by wagon, Henry would have travelled with a number of other Germans travelling to the port who also had been enticed to give up their lives of mediocrity for the riches and excitement foretold of in the New World. Many an immigrant was tricked in this manner by so-called ‘Neulanders’ who typically received one half doubloons for every redemptioner sent to the colonies. It would have been a hard temptation to resist as these persons were often dressed in flowing robes and jewellery and their horses and wagons were decorated in ribbon—the men and women would sing joyous songs as the wagon would make its way to the port (Henninghausen, 1909).
Sailing from his port of departure in Holland, the ship would first arrive at a port on the English south coast, the most common being Cowes. The conditions under which Henry would have endured were uncomfortable to say the least.
“Both in Rotterdam and Amsterdam the people are densely packed, in the large vessels. One person receives scarcely two feet width and six feet length in the bedstead, while many a ship carries four to six hundred souls; not to mention the innumerable implements, tools, provisions, water barrels and other things which likewise occupy much space” (Geiser, 1901, p.46).
Once in England there may have been a delay of up to two weeks or longer for customs duties to be collected and the ship to be loaded with a full cargo for the ocean voyage; these long delays often used up whatever rations these immigrants had saved for the long passage to America (Geiser, 1901). When the voyage was once again under way, the time it took to reach America depended largely on the weather and could take anywhere from two months under favourable conditions up to six months in very poor conditions (Geiser, 1901; Grubb, 1986). At best Henry would have left his home in Ober-Waroldern at the beginning of January 1789; at worst, sometime during the fall of 1788.
The Redemptioner System
Henry (using his middle name William) arrived in Baltimore April 9th, 1789. At the time of Henry’s arrival, Baltimore was the fourth most populous city in America which saw a lot of building activity with the raising of brick houses “in every corner of the town” (Gilbert, 1984). As stated in his newspaper notice, he went to stay with Abraham Keagy in Martic Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. This suggests that Henry was likely indentured with him. These redemptioners, as they were called, would sell their labour for a number of years in order to work off their passage to America. The indenture system was very popular. In fact, the majority of immigrants that came to America in the 17th and 18th centuries used this system.
The cost of travel to America was out of the reach of most immigrants. A lot of trade was going on from the new colony to the old—ships often would return empty which greatly reduced profit. Immigrants became the best return cargo. Although most immigrants could not afford to finance their journey to America shippers took on this duty in exchange for the immigrants pledge to repay the loan in America. As a redemptioner Henry would have been given passage to America, and perhaps a small amount of money for provisions and port expenses, before leaving the Netherlands in exchange for repayment of the debt once they reached America. The advantage of traveling under the redemptioner model was that Henry would have been able to negotiate his own contract terms, and most importantly, choose his own Master—a choice unavailable to those immigrants who signed contracts of indenture before coming to America (Grubb, 1986).
Under law an indenture was considered an apprenticeship; a service voluntarily entered into by a free person, wherein wages were advanced (by who becomes Master upon the signing of the contract) for their passage to America in exchange for a contract to bind himself for a definite period (Henninghausen, 1909). During the period specified in the indenture the servant promised to serve his Master “honestly and obediently in all things as a good and faithful servant ought to do.” The Master, on the other hand, was under obligations to provide for the servant during the time of indenture, food, clothing, and lodging, and, at the expiration of the term, “freedom dues,” which varied in different contracts but in nearly every case were two complete suits of clothes, though frequently other articles were added such as a monetary payment —a servant who violated his or her contract was subjected to corporal punishment or imprisonment. As the servants were redeeming themselves by performing a service they were called “Redemptioners” (Henninghausen, 1909).
The average cost of the journey in 1789 was about $50 (or roughly about 30 pounds; Geiser, 1901) and the amount of time in servitude varied in Pennsylvania more than in any other colony but was usually shorter than 4 years (Geiser, 1901). Unlike Black slaves, White indentured servants, particularly in Pennsylvania, were not seen as much different from ordinary freemen. There was no stigma attached to servitude. In fact in the later part of the 18th century indentured servitude was viewed as a natural method of employment. In Pennsylvania, German redemptioners were typically bought by Germans or their descendants of earlier immigration. At the end of the contract the redemptioner enjoyed all the right and privileges of citizenry (Geiser, 1901; Henninghausen, 1909). For Henry, his indenture would have been a great experience as he was guaranteed the necessities of life for three years, which, in an unfamiliar county, gave him time to become acquainted with the laws and customs. All in all it must have been very much a relief (Geiser, 1901).
Upon his arrival in Martic Township Henry would have first noticed the beauty of the flora growing along the north and north-west borders of the countryside, the land spread out in a level valley rich and abundant with rolling fields, and trees of magnificent growth, violets, lilies, milkweed and evening primrose dazzling the senses. Henry’s new Master, Abraham Keagy, lived in the region known as “Byerland”–a stone’s throw from “Frogtown” (present day Marticville). The richness of the northern region of Martick (old spelling), was due to the skirting of a limestone belt along the northern portion of the township which made the soil very fertile and farming very productive. Martic was organized as a township in 1729 when Lancaster County was born from Chester County that same year. Modern day Martic is bordered by Conestoga and Pequea Townships to the north, east by Providence and Drumore Townships, south by Drumore Township, and west by the Susquehanna River (Stevenson, 1883). In Henry’s day, Pequea was part of Conestoga Township and Providence Township was part of Martic.
Henry’s new Master, Abraham Keagy, a son of Abraham Keagy and Anna Brenneman, was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, 4 July 1757. Abraham Keagy senior died in 1788, the year before Henry’s arrival. Abraham Keagy junior was an upright member of the Pequea Mennonite Colony, as it was known. He was a Mennonite leader who was married to Barbara Boehm/Beam, daughter of Rev. Martin Boehm, and later was ordained a minister in the Methodist Episcopal church (Keagy, 1899). He was very much an enterprising man. He was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, and practiced medicine in Lancaster county (and later Clearfield, PA). He owned many acres of farmland and a number of flour mills. By all accounts he was very successful. Abraham and Barbara had nine children as follows: Ann (4 August 1782), Catharine (10 November 1783), Martin Boehm (3 August 1786), Mary (15 June 1788), Abraham Stoner (11 July 1790), John Miller (31 August 1792), Eliza Lavina (20 August 1796), Adam Litzenborg (January 1799), and Henry Boehm (12 August 1809).
In the 1790 US Federal Census Abraham Keagy’s household is listed as containing two free white males of 16 years and over, including heads of families (Abraham and two unknowns—one is believed to be Henry Climenhagen), two free white males under 16 years (sons Martin and Abraham jr.), and five free white females (wife Barbara, daughters Ann, Catharine, Mary and an unknown).
Marriage and Children
Anna Climenhaga, Henry’s first born child, was born in June of 1793. As she would have been conceived about September of 1792, this coincides with the end of Henry’s three year indenture. If he signed his indenture in April of 1789 he would have been released from service in April or May of 1792 giving him approximately five months to marry his beloved Barbary. Henry’s wife is believed to be Barbary Byers, daughter of Martin Beÿers/Byers. A Martin Byers owned land bordering the Keagy property–this land was subsequently sold in the early part of the 1790s.
The laws regarding indentured servitude at that time likely stopped Henry and Barbary from marrying sooner. A marriage between a servant and a free person required the consent of the Master – if consent was not garnered the servant was required to pay twelve pounds or one year’s labour. In religious societies, like the Mennonites, servants were allowed to marry while still under indenture without risk of penalty provided the Master was given notice at least one month before the marriage was solemnized. However, a fine of 50 pounds could be levied against any officer that solemnized a marriage of any persons without the proper credentials (Geiser, 1901). It is also possible the Henry didn’t court Barbary until his indenture had ended so as to have the time to dedicate to providing a place of their own. It was no disgrace to be or to have been a servant, and intermarriages between Masters and servants were not of rare occurrence (Henninghausen, 1909).
A son, Martin, was born to Henry and Barbary in 1794. Henry and family spent an additional three years in Pennsylvania before making the long trek to Upper Canada in 1797.
In sum, the evidence presented regarding who Henry Climenhagen was, and where he came from, suggests the following: that a Johann Henrich Wilhelm Kleimenhagen arrived in America in 1789. Using the Anglicanized version of his name—Henry Climenhagen—he indentured with Abraham Keagy of Martic Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania from 1789 to 1792 whereupon he married Barbary (Beÿer/Byers?). He spent upwards of five additional years in Pennsylvania, in which he and his wife had two children, before immigrating to Upper Canada where he was granted 200 acres of land in Willoughby Township in Lincoln County (later day Welland County). In 1799, he purchased an additional 300 acres of land in Bertie Township where he later moved his family. He subsequently died in 1805.
Read more about Henry’s journey to Upper Canada here.
Eilers, H.K. (May, 1981). Herr. Hobbies, 86, 114-115.
Geiser, K.F. (1901). Redemptioners and indentured servants in the colony and commonwealth of Pennsylvania. New Haven, Conn: Tuttle, Moorehouse & Taylor.
Gilbert, G. (1984). Maritime enterprise in the New Republic: Investment in Baltimore shipping, 1789-1793. The Business History Review, 58, 14-29.
Grubb, F. (1986). Redemptioner immigration to Pennsylvania: Evidence on contract choice and profitability. The Journal of Economic History, 46, 407-418.
Henninghausen, L.P. (1909). History of the German Society of Maryland. Baltimore, Maryland: Sun Job Printing.
Keagy, F. (1899). History of the Kagy Relationship in America, 1715-1900. Harrisburg, PA: Harrisburg Publishing.
Mayer, B. (1871). Baltimore: Past and present, with biographical sketches of its representative men. Baltimore, MD: Richardson & Bennett, p. 271.
Stevenson, S.C. (1883). History of Martic Township. In F. Ellis & S. Evans (Eds.), History of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania with Biographical Sketches of Many of the Pioneers and Prominent Men. Philadelphia: Everts & Peck.
- James Climenhage, “What was the original family name?,” Climenhaga, Climenhage, Climenhegg & Glimanhaga, The genealogy and family research site of James Climenhage, modified 23 Dec 2012 (http://www.jamesclimenhage.com/2012/12/23/original-family-name).(↵)
- James Climenhage, “Henry Clymenhagen: Land Grant Petition 1797,” Climenhaga, Climenhage, Climenhegg & Glimanhaga, The genealogy and family research site of James Climenhage, modified 27 Dec 2012 (http://www.jamesclimenhage.com/2012/12/23/henry-clymenhagen-land-grant-petition-1797).(↵)
- Archives of Ontario. Registrations of Deaths, 1869-1938. MS935, reel 3, p. 145.(↵)
- “Shortly after her husband’s death, Barbara (Herr) (Nissley) Beam returned to Pennsylvania. In a letter dated 8 April 1801 from Strasbury Township, Lancaster Co., she addressed the following letter to “Mr. Henry Klinemenback & Vinicker in oper Canata,” the executors of her husband’s will: Dear Friends: This is to let you know that I came save with my son in law Jacob Beam to his house, and am well at present God be thancks for the same, and all the rest of the family are well. I hope this will find you all in good health. All my goods l left behind me in your care, l am willing my son Martin Beam shall have it as his property my bed only Excepted, provided he sends me twenty dollars, but if he should refuse to do so, you please to sell as much of my linnen to the amount of twenty Dollars and send the same by the bearer for which he will bring an order. And for this year’s Dower coming to me out of my husband’s estate l make no Demand. I give you a Clear discharge for this and if l should live longer and made no Demand in June every year before my said dower comes due, then no demand shall be made afterwards the bed I excepted before you please to give in my Son’s care along with the rest. You please to give up the Bond which you have got from my Son in Law Jacob Beam to the bearer Martin Miller no more for this time. God be with you all… this much from Barbara Beam (her mark). On back of letter: Jenerary 13. 1802. Received of Christian Vinecker and Henry Climenhagen the Bond of Jacob Beam’s for Six hundred pounds New York currency. Witness: Martin Miller” (Eilers, 1981)(↵)
- Martin Byers was a son of Samuel Beyer of Martic Township, Lancaster, PA. He is mentioned in the will of Jacob Boehm, father of his wife Anna. A record is found in the Lancaster, PA Orphan’s Court, March 4, 1790 (p. 217) which states, “ANNA BEYER the wife of Martin Beyer appearing in Court and praying that the distributive share of her said husband of and in his deceased father Samuel Beyer’s estate may be paid unto her for the support of her and her children, she the said Anna on her Solemn affirmation did declare and say that her said husband hath for theses fifteen years past, and now is, a lunatic, and not capable of managing his estate, the Court therefore directs that the executors of the last Will and Testament of the said Samuel Beyer deceased pay into the said Anna Beyer the distributive share of her said husband of and in the estate of the said Samuel Beyer deceased for the purposes aforesaid.” It is unlikely he immigrated to Upper Canada with his wife and children as it appears he died sometime around 1803 in PA.(↵)
- Peter Hoffman & Sons (23-27 E. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD) ran a dry goods mercantile. Peter was a German immigrant who came from the Frankfurt area and would have spoken fluent German–the store was about 4 blocks from the docks (Mayer, 1871).(↵)
- He may have been Henry Clymenhawk of Warriors Mark, Huntingdon County, PA. According to Hessische Truppen im Amerikanischen Unabhangigkeitskrieg (Hetrina), a kind of military census, Johann Henrich Kleimenhagen deserted April 5th, 1777 near Elizabethtown, New Jersey. Six miles away in Westfield, New Jersey Henry Clemens/Clymenhawk enlisted with Maxwell’s Jersey Brigade. In his pension application Henry Clemens states he enlisted at Westfield in May (actual US military records show he enlisted at March 20th 1777). According to his Revolutionary War Pension application Henry Clemens was 63 years and nine months old at the time of his application in 1818 which makes him born in August approximately 1754 (a one year discrepancy). He also states that he lost his discharge papers in Baltimore, Maryland. There is a disparity of 15 days between the date of desertion and the date of enlistment that has not yet been resolved.(↵)
- He may have travelled to America with the 4th Waldeck Regiment in 1782 and returned to Germany in 1783 at war’s end if the Hetrina, a type of military census, reflects two people named Henrich Kleimenhagen and not just one as is currently believed.(↵)
- Abstracts of the register of vessels for the port of Baltimore begin in October of 1789—six months after Henry’s arrival.(↵)
- The principal departure ports that ships sailed for America from in the late 18th century were Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Although some ships occasionally sailed from Hamburg and Bremen, these German ports did not become popular departure points until the 19th century (Geiser, 1901).(↵)
- Climenhag* family lore passed down from David Climenhaga, son of Martin, to his children and grandchildren states that Henry had to work for three years to pay for his passage to the New world.(↵)
- There is a distinction between redemptioners and indentured servants. Indentured servants signed a contract, called an indenture, before embarking, in which the ship’s Captain (their Master) sold them for their passage to whom he pleased (usually to the highest bidder). A redemptioner was transported without indenture. On landing in America he or she was given a short period of time in which to find relatives or friends to redeem him by paying his passage. If unable to find someone, he or she would be sold to the highest bidder (Geiser, 1901).(↵)
- First Census of the United States, 1790, Martick, Lancaster, Pennsylvania (NARA microfilm publication M637, Roll: 8; Page: 57; Image: 747). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.(↵)
- Climenhag* family lore passed down from David Climenhaga, son of Martin, to his children and grandchildren states that Henry had to work for three years to pay for his passage to the New world.(↵)
- Indentured servants were typically given “freedom dues” upon completion of their indenture such as clothing, money, and/or other items. In Henry’s case, a Conestoga Wagon may have been part of his freedom dues, as among the relics that are believed to have been owned by Henry is a wagon jack from a Conestoga Wagon with the year ‘1792’ engraved. Conversely, Henry may have built the wagon as a means to mark the year he gained his freedom in the new world.(↵)
- In Henry’s will dated 14 December 1804 he names “Barbery my beloved wife” as an executor. In the will of Martin Beÿers/Byers of Bertie Township he considers “my well beloved daughter Barbary” and states “I do hereby constitute and appoint…Henery Clymenhagen…of the aforesaid township of Bertie to be my Executor.” Henry’s inclusion as an executor suggests he may have been related by marriage to one of Martin’s daughter’s—specifically Barbary.(↵)