No More Elijah

Remember this post, where I waxed eloquent about poor Elijah—my 5th great-grandfather, who died just before arriving in America from Germany?

Well, turns out that was a lie.

Things like this happen when researching ancestry. I try to be diligent. To check sources. Review information to see that it makes sense (you know, no children bearing children, times and places that make sense, that sort of thing). But even with all that, sometimes mistakes happen.

It makes me feel a tad better that this mistake was also published, in both pamphlet and book form. I mean, it was in writing; it must be true, right?

Thankfully, a fellow researcher (and distant relative) took the time to set me straight. Here’s what she told me…

The thing is, there was a pamphlet (also a published book or two) floating around which began with a Michael Weddle and said he had a son Elijah and that began the line, so someone went onto ancestry passenger lists and picked a Michael Weidele at random just because of the name. I started digging into it because it seemed too late to be right and because we couldn’t find an Elijah anywhere.

I found German church records for the Michael who had been chosen at random and was able to i.d. all but one of his children (who died in infancy) as matching a passenger list of a family on a boat into Pennsylvania in something like 1754 which was far too late to be the right one. There was no Elijah, no Martin and no one who could have been pregnant at the right time.

Meanwhile, I kept looking and ran into accurate info that Calvin [editor: another researcher, and distant relative of our Weddle clan] had paid a researcher in Germany to find that made a lot more sense, and I verified that. The 1726 [emigration date] Hans Michael the younger was given permission to emigrate from Dossenheim and he did have a son Hans Martin and two daughters who came to Pennsylvania (York Co) and some children who stayed in Dossenheim whose descendants are still there. I compared the notes from Calvin’s researcher, taken directly from the church records, that he was kind enough to share, to online German church records in the evangelische church nearby and they all fit, including that Hans Michael left property to Martin in Pennsylvania and to the daughters of the same name and there were records showing without doubt that Benjamin was his son.

So the 1726 Michael is the correct one, not the one who was married to a Vogler (if I recall) and who didn’t arrive until long after these SOLID records.

The Martin, son of Benjamin, who became a miller in Lee Co, Va was a descendant of Hans Martin, and married a daughter of Elijah Hylton,(which is where we think the name Elijah got into the mix) and Calvin had tracked that line of Hyltons back to the original immigrant in New Kent County as well, which I also verified and expanded. John Hilton is first mentioned in St peter’s parish in a land grant that two members of the church got for importing him into the county as a servant and he became for decades the sexton of the church. He and wife Eliz unknown had many children but almost every one of them died before marriage except George, who is my ancestor and probably yours. [editor: I have not tracked the Hylton family at all, but George, son of Martin (Martin was our 3rd-great-grandfather David’s brother) & Elizabeth Weddle would be my first cousin five times removed, which means any of his direct descendants who are my contemporaries would be my 5th cousins. Confused?]

The online pamphlet also mentions that Benj’s German Bible was lent out and never returned but that is no longer true. I just saw it in a glass case at the Topeco Church of the Brethren in Floyd Co, Va. where it was recently returned. David Weddle’s Bible is also there (pretty sure it was David’s?) The Weddles and Hiltons were very active in that church and there is a tremendous amount of historical info about them in the church’s family history museum, including their prayer bonnets, and several old photos. We went to the old cemeteries, as well. (Calvin as guide). Benj Weddle isn’t buried under that headstone and his actual grave hasn’t been located, so the marker with his children on it is a memorial stone in the Weddle cemetery in Floyd County.

*everything in the above section in italics and flanked with square brackets [ ] are my notations.

So, in case you lost track of the mistakes…

  • 6th great-grandfather is not Johann Michael Weddle —> he is instead Hans Michael Weddle Sr.
  • 6th great-grandmother is not Anna Vogler —> she is instead Anna Schlepp, married 24 Jan 1713
  • 6th-great did not emigrate from Sinsheim Germany —> we came from Dossenheim, Germany (Dossenheim is about a 40-minute drive northwest from Sinsheim, although, in the 1700s it would have taken over 8-hours to walk between them, not taking into account any terrain issues)
  • 6th-great did not emigrate in 1742 —> instead, immigration is 06 may 1726
  • 5th-great is not Elijah Weddle —> our forefather is really Hans Martin Weddle
  • From here, so far, we seem to be error free… Well, except for the part about the missing Weddle Bible, which is, in fact, alive and well and living in the Topeco Church of the Brethren in Floyd, Va.


Next month

A foray into the McPhaill family, part of the Taylor family tree. Hopefully without mistakes. 🙂

2 thoughts on “No More Elijah

  1. The bible in the Topeco Church in Floyd Co, Va. belongs to Andrew Weddle and his children. He is the son of Benjamin it was published in 1814. I visited this church and took pictures of the births and deaths of family members. Their is a gavel that is suppose to be made from Benjamin’s old home I have pictures of the old home and the gavel. I also visited the cemetery. If you would like to see this let me know.


    • Jerilene,
      There are actually 2 bibles located in the Heritage room of Floyd County’s Topeco Church of the Brethren. The first was bible owned by Johann Michael Weddle (Hans Michael Weddle or Michael Weidle) or however you may have it. Finetta Weeks, a descendant of david, in North Carolina owned it and it was lent out under research purposes. The bible was never returned. A few years later, it was dedicated by the descendenats of Alexander and Susanna (Davids son and daughter-in-law) through the help of Kate Ruth (Weddle) Ratliff (who was also responsible for writing a history specific for our family and fixing up the Weddle Cemetery). **This is a touchy subject with the church. The second bible is Andew’s bible that has the birth, death, and marriage dates of all of his children. Its located in a seperate glass case beside Michael’s bible.
      I’d be intertested in seeing that gavel pictures that you have. I’m really close with Calvin Weddle (mentioned above) and we have talked and researched extensively about it, but can’t find anything about it. The picture that we have – shows to gavel sitting on the case where the Michael Weddle bible is, but if that was the case its no longer in the heritage room as of January 2018 and even before that. We came to the conclusion that it the gavel wasn’t actually weddle related or made from the cabin. – It might very well be, but haven’t seen anything to prove otherwise.
      I would definitely like to see your photos of the old home. I only have one that included in a Newsletter that was once published by Benjamin Harrison Weddle, Jr. of Front Royal, Virginia.
      I have letters that Calvin recieved from Dr. Martin Jordan regarding our family in germany, if anyone is interested in seeing them.
      Calvin (mentioned above) was the one that questioned Elijah’s existance and proved the connection of Benjamin to Martin and then Martin to Michael, through (Michael and Martin) Wills and the a resurvey of land that was granted to Michael in Manheim (now Heidelberg) township of Pennysylvania. This land was granted to Michael on May of 1739, which disproved the theory of our Michael being the same Michael that married Anna Barbara Vogler. He traveled to York (which was once Lancaster) County to find these records before a family reunion, where he presented this information to the family.


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