Thursday, September 20, 2012

M is for Maria Barbara Miller

Two year old Maria Barbara Miller arrived  in Philadelphia in the arms of  her parents, Bernhardt and Eva Maria Miller on  September 19,  1749.   She traveled to the new world  from Bödigheim, Germany first down the Rhine River to Rotterdam and then aboard the ship  "Patience" to cross the ocean.  From the book, "Pennsylvania German Pioneers, A Publication of the Original Lists of Arrivals In the Port of Philadelphia" by Ralph Beaver Strassburger, it is learned that the child was one of 270 people who had made the journey aboard the ship "Patience" from the the Palatinate & Duchy of Württemberg regions of Germany. 

Her parents, Bernhardt Müller  and Eva Maria Müllerin (who may have been his cousin) were married June 9, 1747 in Bödigheim.  Maria Barbara was born nine days later!   Her baptism  record  from the church in Bödigheim says that she was born between 1 and 2 in the morning on June 19, 1747.  Maria Barbara Miller, became known as Barbara throughout her lifetime because of the old German custom of a child being called by their middle name.  In old German naming patterns, the first name was a "church" or "baptism" name, so children would have been called by their middle name.   Here is a photo copy of her  record of baptism from the church in Bödigheim, Germany, supplied to me by another researcher.

Given the opportunity for a fresh start in the New World, and to cover the stigma of their love affair before marriage,  Bernhardt  and Eva Maria  changed Barbara's birth year to 1751 when they got to America.   No one seemed to be the wiser for it, 1751 is the date recorded on her gravestone!
Soon after arriving the Bernhardt Miller family settled in Northampton County Pennsylvania.  Bernhardt,  who was a bauern (farmer) in Bödigheim and planned to continue making a living in agriculture here, had received a patent for 87 acres of land in Williams Township, near Easton, Pennsylvania from the Penn Family.  Barbara grew up there with her eight siblings, who were George, Henry, Bernard, Valentine, Elizabeth, John, Jacob, Eve and Frederick, all  born in Northampton County, Pennsylvania. You can read more about the Miller clan.

When she was 20 years old, Barbara married Paulus Brodt. He was  born September 19, 1733 in Lixhelm, Lorraine, France.    Barbara and Paulus had ten children.  Mary, Barnet, Frederick, Conrad, Margaret, Michael, Catherine, Anna Rosina, Jacob and Susanna.  But soon after Susanna was born Paulus died in December of 1782; he was 48.   He was a tanner and transported his hides up and down the Delaware River.  It is said that he died as a result of a boat accident.

With ten children to care for, Barbara soon remarried to  William Gruver.  He was born in 1733 and is reported to have lived to be  108 years old.  Together Barbara and William had five children. They were Johannes, Daniel, Elizabeth, William and Maria Barbara. 

Surviving the ocean voyage to get here  and raising 15 children  was  enough for one woman to accomplish in her lifetime!  She lived to be 77 years old and was buried  at  the Forks Cemetery -  The inscription  on her gravestone reads:
                                GRUBER, Barbara, b. 1751,  d. 20 Mar. 1825 
Maria Barbara Miller Brodt Gruver is my great, great, great, great, great  grandmother!  She became the ancestor  of thousands of descendants.   I am a descendant of her daughter Susanna Brodt who married Christopher Illick.  It just so happens that Ronnie is  a descendant of her son Johannes Gruber.  I have calculated that that relationship makes us seventh half cousins, once removed.   Gotta love genealogy research... never know what you will find out! ♥

                                       This page and all contents © 2012 Cynthia H. Smith
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Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. It is with pleasure that I am able to present this information here for you to enjoy. If you discover a relationship here, I would very much enjoy hearing from you.


  1. Wow, what a story. And fabulous detective work going there!

  2. Hello, what a great article. My grandpa recently passed away and helping go through his things this last weekend I came across a genealogy book that he filled out all the way to Maria and Paulus. I'll have to bring the book back home so I can write on here how exactly the line goes all the way down to me, but my grandfather's mothers side came from Maria and Paulus son, Jacob. Somewhere along the line down to my grandpa's grandparents, they moved to Newton KS. My Grandpa Bannon (who had 1 brother) had 3 children, one of which is my mother. We all for the most part still live in Kansas. When I get back to their house again I will write on here what all he wrote down.
    Thanks for the great article!
    Weston Defoor

    1. Awesome! I love connecting with "cousins." Please share your date here for others to see or you can also email me at to share your story. Thanks for commenting.