From then til Now Generation One and Two

The Huffman family and their migration

This is a work of love, dedicated to all who follow.  The Huffman facts have been documented, but fiction has been added to make the Huffman story more enjoyable.  This is the story of the Huffman Family from  Then till Now.  By Bernna Huffman Suba


Early Germany. 


In 1677 William Penn visited the small town of Darmstadt, in the Palatine region of Germany.   He was there searching for people who were willing to emigrate to his colony, Penn's Colony at Philadelphia in America. His colony was made up of common folk from all parts of Europe, immigrants that worked hard to make a living, and knew the virtues of hard work.  America was a land of opportunity, a land that was free of religious persecution and many of the problems that plagued the people of Germany. Penn's Colony permitted them the freedom, to retain the fruits of their labor.  Land was bountiful and free to those who were willing to farm it.  The way to independence was cleared for them if they could just cross the ocean.


 In 1702 their country was thrown into the Thirty Year War.  An era that held little hope for the future.  It was a bleak period with no fuel for the winter fires and little to eat as the crops withered and died in the fields. Johannes Hendrick Hoffman lived with his parents near the small village of Darmstadt, they owned the land on which they lived; but could not afford to pay the high taxes.  When they did not pay their taxes they were evicted and their house demolished.  After they lost their home they lived and slept on the frozen, snow-covered ground.  One third of all Germans perished, some starved to death others froze to death.  Many of them considered leaving their friends and family forever.


In 1709 after France had invaded their land and ravaged their towns, thousands of Palatines boarded their small boats and started the arduous trip to America. The Hoffman's and their neighbors were fearful of the long trip ahead of them.   Most of them were very poor and a trip to America was very expensive.  Some were lucky enough to have the money for the long trek, or relatives that would finance the trip for them, some would eventually sign indenture contracts, in which they agreed to become servants for several years to pay for their trip.  It was a trip that would take several months some would not reach America for many years and others would never reach America.   Johannes Hendrick Hoffman's parents packed up their family and started down the Rhine River, a scow was used on the first leg of the journey down the river to Rotterdam. The river trip took about five or six weeks, often in bitter cold weather.  Many did not survive.  Some of the Palatines left their homeland with only what they had on their backs and what they could carry in a wool bag slung over their shoulder. Once they reached Rotterdam they had to provide for themselves and their families for long periods of time, while they were able to obtain passage aboard a ship leaving Germany. 


In June Rotterdam was hot and overflowing with people who were trying to leave the country.  The German Elector issued an edict forbidding any German to migrate to other countries.  Those who could flee did so in spite of the edict. From there some went to England, Ireland and Amsterdam before obtaining passage to America.   There were very few   transport ships    most were merchant ships women dressed as men to get aboard merchant ships, as women were thought of as bad luck aboard a ship.   Think of the   Concorde   today how few of us have actually flown on the   Concorde   that is an apt comparison to the few who were able to book passage on a   transport ship.     Only the  fortunate were able to board a ship in Rotterdam that would take them to America.  


It was not until 1743 that Johannes Hendrick Hoffman had enough money to gather his brood and begin the long sea voyage, leaving his parents and siblings behind.  In May of that year Johannes his wife, their six children boarded the Good Ship   Lydia   in Rotterdam.   The ship-dropped anchor at the English Port of Cowes a few days later, where it was detained for eight days.  They were all required to renounce their allegiance to their native country, swear allegiance to Great Britain and then make preparations for the final voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. 


NOTE:  I have been told that Jacob, John William and Michael Shick sailed on the  Lydia ; and arrived in Philadelphia on October 9, 1747, and that they were on the same ship as Johannes Hendrick Hoffman.  On the  Lydia ; page is an article from the October 22, 1747 edition of the Pennsylvania Gazette that states the   Lydia   did arrive on October 22, 1747, but there is no passenger list available for this arrival date.  There is a passenger list for the September 19, 1743 arrival of the   Lydia   and Johannes Hendrick Hoffman is on this list but not the Shick brothers.  I don t know if the Shick brothers actually arrived in 1743 and weren’t on the passenger list or if they actually arrived on October 9, 1747 and only came on the same ship as Johannes Henry Hoffman but on different dates.  It is not unusual for people who came in steerage, the sick, women and children under the age of 16 to be excluded from the passenger list.  There is also listed on the manifest, Johannes Koenig who could also be an ancestor.  Eventually a Huffman married a Koenig.  I don t have any proof that this Koenig is one of our ancestors but the possibility is there. 


Lydia Manifest and Pennsylvania Gazette Articles


 The morning breeze filled the sails, and the Good Ship   Lydia   sailed out of Cowes.  The Hoffman family clung to the rails as they got their last look at England.  Back at the docks people were waving to their family and friends.  It was a sad, yet joyous good-bye.  They realized they would probably never again see those loved ones they left behind. And yet, Johannes welcomed the challenge of beginning a new life in America. 


Once at sea the   Lydia   began to pitch and roll in the rough waves of the Atlantic.  The ship creaked and groaned.  The Square sails strained before the wind.  With the bad weather the passengers were not allowed on the deck.   The ship was over crowded, they were tossed about, and there was barely enough air to breathe.  They could not walk, sit or even lie down comfortably.  Many of the passengers became seasick.  There was not enough food or water for everyone.  Their diet consisted of dried fish and beef, cheese and dried biscuits. The food was old and dirty, the biscuit's green with mold.  The drinking water was smelly and full of debris.  The treatment of the passengers was atrocious.  Below decks it was cold and damp, there were little or no facilities for sanitation or sickness.  Most passengers in steerage were given little more than an area of a single cot, and were expected to stay in that area for the entire three to four month voyage.  Some, never saw daylight the entire trip.  Many were robbed, many got sick and some perished on the long voyage. 


During the sixth week they encountered a storm.  The winds and heavy rains hit the   Lydia   with such force they thought the ship would sink.  The wild Atlantic seemed set on destroying the sailing ship.  Gigantic waves rose like mountains around the ship.  Salty seawater washed across the deck.  The wind howled through the sails.  Icy water poured down into the passenger s quarters.  The storm raged on for three days and the ship was blown off course.  


The passengers rode out the storm as best they could.  Frightened mothers tried to comfort crying babies.  Nearly everyone was seasick.  Moans and cries filled the foul air.  Some people prayed silently.  Many prayed aloud.  On the fourth day the storm ended and the sun was shining.   Some of the passengers gave thanks, those that were able crowded the deck to breathe the clean air. 


During the last month at sea the food supply and water grew dangerously low.  The captain ordered the daily rations to be cut.  Moldy crust of bread was what they survived on.  As the tenth week at sea began, illness and disease spread through the ship.  People grew weak and ill.  Eleven people died during the voyage. 


To keep the people's spirits up, they sang hymns and preached sermons.  They read passages from the bible.   When the sun was shining and the waters calm, the passengers were allowed on deck.  They danced to the hornpipe and sang songs.  Their hopes began to rise knowing that the voyage would soon be over.  On the ninety-first day at sea nearly everyone was on deck.  It was a fine sunny afternoon and a breeze was carrying the ship along.    Suddenly, a lookout in the crow's nest shouted,  Land Ho!!!


Soon Johannes and his family could see the shores of their new homeland.  After three months they had finally made it to America.  They laughed and hugged each other.  Some fell to their knees and prayed.  Others wept for joy.  At thirty-five years of age Johannes Hendrick Hoffman had reached the port of Philadelphia. 


Note:  The Origin of the Name Hoffman: German nicknames...hoef(hof with 2 dots over the o=umlant) means court or small farm and Hoffman is a nickname for a farmer who owned his land rather than rented it.  The Anglican version of Hoffman is Huffman. 


The New World


 By 1749 thirty thousand Palatines had migrated to Pennsylvania.  Among them were our Huffman Ancestors.  Sailing from Rotterdam, with ship's passengers coming from the Palatinate region in Germany, was the good ship Lydia, ; Captain James Abercrombie was at the helm.  The good ship  Lydia ; arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 19, 1743.  Abroad the ship were three brothers Jacob, who was probably the oldest, John William and Michael Shick who was only 9 years old.  The Shick brothers settled in Nockamixon Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  Also aboard the good ship  Lydia ; was our first Huffman ancestor, John Henry Huffman.  Little did they know that 77 years later, Elizabeth Shick the great great-grand daughter of Michael Shick and Henry H. Huffman the great-great grand son of John Henry Huffman would marry.  There is no record of the Shick boys being on the Lydia this was passed down through the generations by word of mouth.  Women and children, the sick and poor, or those who signed on to work were frequently omitted from the ships manifest. 


When arriving in America the Huffman family knew only the people who they met on the ship during the crossing. The passengers were also expected to take an oath of allegiance, forsaking their homeland for a foreign country.  


They were in a strange land with little likelihood of ever seeing their homeland again.  Life in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was difficult, they had no money and jobs were scarce, they did not speak the language, which made life harder still. As they could not read English, the German immigrants would follow signs with pictures painted on them. These signs were specially made for the German immigrants they pointed the way to the Germantown the German section of Philadelphia.  The passengers who had signed indentures had it the hardest.  Often times the people they were indentured to were harder on the indenturees than slave owners were on their slaves.  Slave owners considered the slaves their property so most took good care of their slaves.  The people who had indenturees worked them night and day knowing that in a year or two they would be free to leave.  Many of the people who had signed indentures for their passage ran away because of the harsh treatment. 


Our forefathers were a hardy group who weathered all the hardships and survived, and we are here today because of them. 

Life in Philadelphia,  The City of Brotherly Love 

In 1693 the officials took a census, there were 188 families in and about Philadelphia.    The first inhabitants were from two ships the   Key of Kalmar   and the   Flying Griffin.      Most were convicts transported by the law abiding Swedish government.  One for shooting elk, two for committing adultery 3 times.   Most were hardy hunters and woodsmen.    Thousands of Germans were attracted to the colony ,  and by the time of the revolution  comprised on third of the population.  The volume of German immigration increased after 1727, coming mostly from the Rhineland.  


When  the Huffman clan arrived about 1738-1740 the country was ready for their Independence from England and only a war was going to bring that about.  Philadelphia was a buzz in the mid 1700's, with people like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson who was a frequent visitor to the city. Any visitor would find a neat town laid out by William Penn in the 1600's the streets going North and South being named after trees and the East and West streets were numbered most of the streets were still not paved.  All streets met at right angles.  Philadelphia     City of Brotherly Love   was the largest city in the Colonies and also known as the most beautiful of the Colonial cities.  


This is where John Huffman lived perhaps down near the docks on Water Street, or in Germantown.  He loved to roam these quaint streets. John might find farm animals roaming the cobblestone streets, or a lamplighter at dusk.  In 1751 the first Night Watchman walked the streets of Philadelphia.  Crying   All's Well.     He  patrolled the East and West Streets Chestnut, Walnut, Filbert  and Locust Street, and the numbered streets which ran north and south, watching for fires.   In the afternoon he might stop at   Bradford's London Coffee House   to talk politics or have lunch with friends. He would spend the afternoon at the   Pennsylvania State House   near Seventh Street and Walnut.  The   Pennsylvania State House   would soon become   Independence Hall.    Perhaps he would stop at Benjamin Franklin's newspaper the  Pennsylvania Gazette ; and place an ad looking for kinfolk who had come to America after him, or read a list of passengers that had just arrived from Germany..  He probably attended the  College and Academy of Pennsylvania ; which began in 1740.


Philadelphia was the center for trade, there were bookstores, a fire department, a hospital, and many shops located in the Colony. George Washington was often seen walking the streets, and he would stop to shake hands with John Huffman when they met.  Stopping to say hello and discuss the weather.  Colonel Washington frequently wore his red white and blue uniform, his white hair would be tied with a ribbon and would hang down his back.  He was a tall man, who would always take the time to stop and say hello if he met you on the street. Houses had lightning rods on their roof, and were heated by wood in fireplaces and Franklin Stoves named after Ben Franklin their inventor. 


An important meeting was taking place in Philadelphia; it was the Second Continental Congress.  There was talk of war.  There had already been the battle at Lexington and most of the colonist s thought that England was already at war.  The English would not give up the stamp tax, and the people in Massachusetts had already dumped a load of tea into the harbor in retaliation. 


Most nights Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson would be in the Assembly Chamber working until dawn.  They were busy planning a new country.  


Our Quaker Ancestors 


The Quaker movement grew out of one man s personal religious experience.  That man was George Fox.  


The son of a weaver, Fox was born in 1624 in central England.  Even as a boy, he spent hours each day in the study of religion.  By the age of nineteen, he was disgusted by what he viewed as a huge difference between the way most Christians talked and the way they lived their lives.  He became what was known as a  Seeker.


Those who followed him first called themselves Friends of Truth, the Society of Friends or simply Friends.  They got the name  Quakers after George Fox warned a judge who was about to put him in jail that he should  Quake at the word of the Lord.


Quaker beliefs were simple.  They believed, that the church was a gathering of people all trying to experience the inner light, not a building made of stone and mortar.  They believed that, at their meetings any Quaker, whether man or woman, could preach the truth, and that it was not necessary to hire or pay clerics.  They refused to bear arms because they believed that violence and war was wrong and that men and women were to love one another as they were told to do in the Bible.  They refused to swear legal oaths because they believed that a man or woman should always speak the truth and because of what they viewed as a biblical injunction against swearing oaths. 


Quakers refused to take off their hats in the presence of nobility because they believed all people were equal and that only the Lord deserved special honor.  The family probably spent their Sunday evenings in Philadelphia at the Friends Meeting House on Arch Street.  The Shick Family has long been known for these same religious beliefs.  They come from a strict sect of Quakers.  The Shick's were strict Pacifists who did not believe in war.  They were part of the Lancaster, Pennsylvania Quakers who migrated to Ohio in the early 1800.  The son of Michael Shick, Lawrence Shick, married Lydia Lamina in 1794 in Bucks County Pennsylvania then moved his family to Ohio in the early 1800's.


The Cumberland Trail


Our Huffman ancestors were pioneers, they began a long journey from Darmstadt, Germany to the Port of Philadelphia, and from there they scattered across the entire continent.  They moved from Philadelphia along the Cumberland Trail. 


The journey over the mountains, not less than a hundred and twenty miles, was not what it is now.  ...A horse path over rocks and precipices, and marshes, was the only way of access to what was significantly called   The Back Woods.    Nor could the direct route through Chambersburg and Bedford be taken with safety.  Parties of Indians hovered around, and murdered many families on their way to the West.  On that road there are places whose names to this day indicate the barbarous acts of that period.    Burned Cabins     Bloody Run ; To avoid the tomahawk and scalping knife, a southern route through Hagerstown and Cumberland Maryland, was usually taken. 


Thence came the Huffman Clan.  Nothing is known about the wife of John Huffman, we do know they had at least six sons John, George, Peter, Rudolph, Joseph, Henry, and three daughters one of whom was Maria.  John Huffman died in Berkley County, Virginia.  His oldest son John Huffman had at least three sons, Henry 1760, John May 11, 1769, and Michael September 4, 1774, and three daughters Elizabeth 1761, Eva Catherine October 30, 1767, and Maria, May 18, 1771.


While the Huffman Clan was on the move, Michael Shick and his family remained in Nockamixon, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  He married Margaretha  Guth there on July 3, 1759; they raised their eight daughters and four sons in Bucks County.  In 1765 their first son Lawrence Shick was born in Nockamixon, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  In 1794 Lawrence Shick married Lydia Elizabeth Lamina and they began the Shick migration.  They had five children; Jacob, John, Elizabeth Lydia, David and Samuel and moved to Muskingum County Ohio.  Jacob Shick the first born of Lawrence Shick and Lydia Elizabeth Lamina Shick married Barbara Cline in 1820, in Muskingum County, Ohio.

 Generation Three and Four