Monday, August 11, 2014

Michael Schmeyer (1745 - 1800)

                                       Michael Schmeyer died in prison!  

What?   In prison?  Yes, but Michael was a true patriot to the end.  After the Revolutionary War, in which he served several terms, the Federal Government imposed a tax to support an anticipated war with France. This tax,  known as the Direct House Tax of 1798 or the "Window Tax"  was "for the valuation of lands and dwelling houses and the enumeration of slaves within the United States."  Assessors traveled around the countryside counting the number of windows in each house to determine the value of the house.  Michael, as well as  other German farmers, in the Macungie area didn't like the idea at all.  Opposition arose with many protesting what was thought to be an unfair taxation.   Soon Michael joined forces with  John Fries who lead the Rebellion.  The government responded with Militia enforcements  and the protesters were arrested and taken to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania for trail. Michael  was fined 400 dollars, given a sentence of 9 months and sent to prison with 27 other men.  These men were later taken to Philadelphia.   Among the  Macungie  residents who were active participants in Fries Rebellion, as it came to be called, was  Michael Schmoyer, who was  held prisoner in Norristown, Pennsylvania, contracted yellow fever and died on the 5th of November, 1800.   Read  more about Fries Rebellion.

Schmeyer, Schmoyer, Schmyer, Shmeyer, Shmyer,  Smeyer, Smyer, Smier, Smior ... his name is found with all of these spellings in different documents.  In the Daughters of the American Revolution index, he is ancestor # A100895, Michael Schmeyer.  Michael Shmeyer signed the Oath of Allegiance on August 6, 1777 and thereafter served terms for the duration of the Revolutionary War.   On May 14, 1778 the name Michael Shmyer appears in the 6th class of  5th company, 2nd Battalion Northampton Co. Militia under the leadership of Colonel George Breinig, Lt. Col. Stephen Bolliet and Captain Traxler.   In 1781 Michael Smyer is a 6th class private in the 6th company of the 1st Battalion under Captain John Trexler.  Michael Smier served 48 days in the company of John Jacoby as 2nd class private in the 1st Battalion in 1782.

Michael married Maria Magdalena Kuchel. He  became a farmer and in 1772 Michael Shmeyer  paid taxes on his property in Macungie where he eventually owned somewhere near 400 acres of land.  Their children were Catherine, who was born in September of 1769 and married Conrad Fehnel; Elizabeth, who was born in 1770 and married Frederick Fehnel;  Gertrude, who was born July 28, 1772 and married Abraham Schwartz; Maria Loves, Gertrude's twin married Adam Brouss;  John Jacob, veterinarian, born in Macungie  on June 25, 1774, married Maria Susanna Nein;  Magdalena, who married  Jacob Stephan was born April 22, 1778;  Abraham,  born July 10, 1783 married Susanna Stephen;  Rachel was born  October 19,  1789 and  married Samuel Yeager.

Michael, the son of Johan Phillip Schmeyer and Maria Salome Stefen,  was born in Lower Macungie Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania on New Years Day, 1745.  He died in Norristown on November 5, 1800.  His wife, Maria Magdalena Kuchel  was born March 18, 1748 and died October 23, 1814.  They are buried in the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery in Alburtis, Lehigh Co., Pennsylvania where his grave is honored with an American Flag and a  Revolutionary War Veteran bronze plaque.  A new memorial was erected to replace the original stones in 1979.
Find A Grave Memorial# 35968767
As I get more of these tributes to Revolutionary War Veterans completed I am able to show links and connections to stories already blogged.  Here I am showing the links back to the ancestors of Estella Kunkle Smith as she is the direct line descendent of Michael and Catherine Schmeyer.    Michael's daughter Catherine married Conrad Fehnell, son of Frederick Fennell, another Revolutionary War Veteran.  Their son Daniel married Sarah Lilly, a granddaughter of Andreas Lilly.  Daniel and Sarah had a son Samuel who married Eliza Marsh, a great granddaughter of Peter Laufer.  Sarah Jane Fehnel, daughter of Sam and Eliza Fehnel, married John Henry Kunkle, the great, great grandson of John George KunkleEstella May Kunkle married Arthur Smith and was the great grandmother of my husband Ron Smith.  Now you know the rest of the story.

  • PA Archives, 5th Series, Volume 8, pages 45, 55, 58, 63, 68, 104, 112.
  • "The Schmoyer Family (Schmeyer, Schmeier, Schmyer, Smoyer) Descendants of Philip Schmeyer of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania" compiled and privately published by Elmer Dickson, Chico, CA, 1986.
  • Find A Grave Memorial# 35968767, Michael Schmoyer
                         Please see this list of all My Revolutionary War Ancestors.
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