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Margaret Brumbaugh and Nicholas Fouse

posted Apr 16, 2010, 7:52 AM by James Wise   [ updated Aug 29, 2010, 11:53 PM by Travis Wise ]
[E8] Margaret Brumbaugh (Jacob, Johannes Henrich), born May 5, 1766, near Funkstown, Frederick Co., Washington Co., MD. In 1785 at Sharpsburgh, MD, married Nicholas Fauss (later the name became "Fouse"). 

Nicholas and Margaret went to Funkstown, MD, and there he resumed his trade of locksmith and blacksmith and Margaret kept house and being quite robust in build and strength, she is said to have become quite expert in handling the hammer and in otherwise helping at the anvil whenever necessity called. In the spring of 1789 all the household goods, clothing, smithing tools, food, etc., were packed into a Conestoga wagon and the family of parents and two infants, Margaret and Elizabeth, crossed into Morrison's Cove, then in Cumberland Co., entering at the southern end of the Cove. They traveled about 150 miles of rough, forest encompassed road, probably the route of the old Baltimore, Chambersburg, and Bedford road. Turning northward about where Evertt, Bedford Co., PA, was later built, and passing up Yellow Creek and on through the gap to where Loysburg, or Pattonville, was afterwards established. They temporarily settled on a part of the large tract pre-empted in 1788 by [E2] Jacob Brumbaugh, her father, near where Rebecca Furnace was later built.

The census of 1790 enumerates Nicholas Fouss in Huntingdon Co., as having "2 Free whuile males under 16 years" and a wife. The interesting photographic reproduction of the family record as kept by Nicholas in his "Tagbuch" establishes the fact that the enumerator should have recorded two females rather than two males. The Census five a wealth of information as to who their neighbors were - Anthony Bever, Jacob Brumbaugh, John Brumbaugh, Michle Garnur, Abraham Miller, etc..

Nicholas remained on the tract for about four years, and then bought 135 acres about 5 miles northward. This tract was deeded by Benjamin Tudor on Jan 3, 1793. On this tract they built a small log house of four rooms, with a crude chimney in the center and a fireplace on either side for cooking, and to measurably keep the family comfortable in the cold winters. The necessary blacksmith shop was built. All sharp edge tools were in great demand by incoming emigrants, besides nails, hinges, bolts, etc. all made by hand and mostly at night. During the day Nicholas had to clear the land of the great trees to prepare for the necessary crops, and when he went to make tools or repair such as were brought to him by his neighbors, often coming long distances, thses same friends would work in the forest while the blacksmith's skill fashioned their implements. Thus there was a close community interest and friendship amongst those devoted pioneer families.

"Aunt Margaret told us that grandfather frequently referred to these experiences as an important period in his life. Here amongst the tall oaks, with no part of the land under cultivation, it was necessary to eke out an existence for the small family."

As the family increased in size, an addition was made to the house, and June 24, 1805, Nicholas bought from Levi Roberts an additional 42 acres. 

As time advanced the shop continued to be the important factor in maintaining the growing family, as well as the source of income. All families were producers. There was an absence of internal improvements, and large markets or outlets for farm and other products, excepting by teams to Pittsburgh, and by rafts and canoes down the Frankstown and Raystown branches of the Juniata rive, thence down the Susquehanna river to Baltimore, or overland by the improving roads to Lancaster and Philadelphia. The extensive river trips were feasible only during the spring and fall floods.

The increasing population in this locality and the increased activities of all the settlers increased the income of Nicholas, and we find that he purchased an additional 34 acres from Patrick Dimond Aug 11, 1815, making the homestead farm then consist of 211 acres and allowances, or 226 acres.

Large landed possessions were not his aim in life, but rather true Christian contentment - at the same time making good use of what he owned and gradually accumulated. Like his neighbors and kinsmen he took good care of his land, and gradually invested his savings in other real estate. After his sons grew to manhood he gave little personal attention to the farm work, and was quite conservative in the matter of adopting new practices in threshing the crops. He favored flaying, because grains and straw would be less injured than by the tramping of horses. Threshing machines came into use long after his day.

Margaret related that, as a little girl she would often make hasty trips to distant houses for coals of fire, when the home fire had gone out, rather than use the slower process of kindling by friction. The practice was to cover embers or coals from the great logs with ashes in a corner of the huge fireplace, and it was usually thus comparatively easy to keep fire or preserve live coals throughout the night.

Margaret further said "The forests were being subdued, and cultivated fields with abundant crops compensated the united efforts of father, mother and children. Economy and care had brought us to a point where we considered ourselves in comfortable circumstances. We girls were well satisfied with calico dresses for Sunday. The boys wore lindsey pantaloons, and thought it a great improvement over the coarse linen weekday clothes. Coffee was used only once a week, and that always on Sunday morning. Being a rare thing it was much relished by younger members of the family, and they always looked forward to this weekly treat with great delight.

"The goods for the clothing were all home spun. The flax was raised on the farm. The men cared for it until it reached the switch stand, then mother and my two sisters took charge of it until it was ready for the loom. The same was necessary with the wool from the sheep's back. It had to be prepared for our Winter clothes and comfort. Nearly all my brothers learned how to weave, and alternately employed their evenings in that way. We had a weave shop at the South end of our house where the weaving was done by the hand loom, by either daughters or sons. Some of the boys were not so apt at this work. Hard work through the day was frequently offered as an excuse to mother to get out of it, but she always managed to have them weaving during the Winter evenings."

Owing to Margaret's long continued illness and confinement to her bed or chair she became the seamstress for the family. She often spoke of the good health enjoyed by the family, aside from her own crippled condition. "No serious illness came into the home until the summer of 1814, when Jonathan, the youngest of the family and a bright healthy boy of six years, became seriously ill with fever and spasms. His general health was later restored, but his mind was so impaired that he could not tell one letter from another or memorize anything. It was a source of deep distress, especially to mother.

"The early settlers were home makers, scattered along the streams and springs, and through mostly Germans, or their descendants, were not always true to the religion in which they were reared. Religious exercises were observed in the homes under difficulties and the influx of settlers brought with them peculiarities of doctrine, causing no little confusion among those of so called orthodox faith."

"Many of the would be ministers had no theological training. Father did not approve of their methods and ascribed the confusion to the lack of church facilities, therefore labored earnestly to give his family and near neighbors intelligent conception of their spiritual needs."

Dec, 1809, Nicholas took part in the purchase of a lot containing 82 perches from Tobias Hanline on which to erect a house of worship. It was deeded to Nicholas Fouse and Abraham Miller, trustees for the German Brethren Church, and Christian Acker and Adam Sorrick, trustees for the Lutheran Church - as elders and charter members of their respective denominations  - the first organization of the kind in Morrison's Cove and these families continuously worshiped therein. The remains of these trustees rest in the graveyard, part of the original plot, four miles south of Williamsburgh, on Clover Creek, Blair Co., PA. Nicholas lived three miles distant and continued an active and faithful member of this congregation.

Nicholas was confirmed in 1762 in the Reformed Church at Zweibruecken, Bavaria. Margaret was confirmed int he Reformed Church at Funkstown, MD, 1780 (age 14). The home was turned into a place of worship each Sabbath evening, there being no regular public house of worship until 1810, the services prior thereto being held in the different homes. No labor was permitted about the place on Sunday, except that which was absolutely necessary for the welfare of the family and the live stock. Social visiting on the Sabbath was discouraged, but time was always taken to speak words of comfort and cheer to the sick neighbors. Both Nicholas and Margaret, and all the children were actively and continuously interested in furthering the interests of the German Reformed Church and the parents were especially zealous to set good examples and to give careful personal instruction in religious matters. 

The Heidelburg catechism served as on of the important books in the home, and Nicholas taught the children German, which loanguage he used throughout his life. At first the nearest private school was two an a half miles distant - the instruction was indifferent and the term of school was of but two or three months in mid-winter.

As showing the habits of life prior to 1810, the following incident is given: "Grandfather Fouse and Conrad Nicodemus lived eight miles apart and belonged to the Reformed Church and the services were held alternately throughout the membership. Nicodemus was a progressive man and wealthier than most of his neighbors. For one of these meetings they prepared their house of the occasion and put carpet on the floor, the first carpet in the community. Many people looked with astonishment, thinking pride had caused Nicodemus to cover the floor with "coverlids."

Nicholas was keenly appreciative of the livery guaranteed under the comparatively new government. He was an earnest advocate of free schools, the separation of  church from state; the establishment of a strong central government and though not active in politics he supported Washington, Federalism, and later the National Republican Party. When the War of 1812 was declared Jacob and John belonged to the local militia. "Father was very anxious on the day the drafting took place, fearing it might require his boys to go. He had them prepared for it, telling them that if it fell to their lot they could not do other than go. Their names were not drawn. He had a great horror of the scalping and butchering practiced by the allies of the English army. He was loyal and advocated vigorous prosecution of the war, and had no use for anyone who sympathized with the enemy. Some of the neighbors, descendants of the Germans and Hessians whom King George had brought over to fight our patriots, were subject to adverse criticism and nick named 'hirelings.' Father thought these criticisms unjust because these people were forced by their petty rulers to go and fight for the English. When they laid down their arms many of them became good American citizens, and he thought such persons justly deserved to be respected by their neighbors because their sympathies were really with the Americans. It fell to the lot of the son of these Hessians to go to the frontier with the others who took their departure at the muster of the militia on the Fouse premises. He bravely took up arms in defense of his adopted country. The prayers and benedictions of these German fathers being pronounced, they took their departure for the War of 1812.

Margaret was a large woman of strong bones and muscular, round faced, inclined to be fleshy, and of about the same weight as grandfather. She had a kind and true heart, was very fond of her children and grandchildren, loving them dearly. In return they loved her, ere faithful and true to her, and tried to reward her for her kindness toward them."

Theobald occupied the original house (not large enough for two families) and it was decided to build a small house for the mother, Margaret, and the crippled sister, Margaret. This house was erected in 1826 about midway between the houses occupied by the brothers, Frederick and Theobald.

As a probable result of overexertion in the early pioneer days, Margaret long suffered from hernia. It became strangulated and she died in much suffering Aug 8, 1829, aged 63 years, 8 months, 4 days. Remaining conscious until within a few minutes of her death, she was concerned about the two dependent,s Margaret and Jonathan. Turning to the former she said "Peggy, such de zuflucht bci dem Friedrich." Turning to Adam she said, "Adam, begst du acht auf den Jonathan." All the children assured her that hose mentioned by her should never be in want, and after such assurance her spirit took flight. She was laid to rest by  the side of her husband in the old cemetery adjoining the place where the entire family had been baptized and confirmed by Rev. John Dietrich Aurandt, German Reformed missionary, and the latter also gave Rev. Theobald Fouse his first systematic theological instruction. Plain marble tombstones mark their resting places.

These devoted parents were both revered and respected by all who knew them. They had nobly fulfilled and important mission in family and community, and each member of the family singleness of purpose has reflected the excellent parental training i9n honesty, industry, and upright lives. Of these children it is said, "Like parents they had strong constitutions, were hale, hearty, naturally industrious and willing to earn their livings by the sweat of their brows. They were frugal and economical, as well as charitable and willing to help their neighbors in time of need. They dealt honestly with their neighbors and with each other, and their integrity has never been doubted. They loved character and a good name more than money, as shown by their records in their communities. They esteemed each other as a family, tried to contribute to each other's happiness, and frequently visited each other. They paid their hones debts, and sought by integrity, industry and frugality to secure homes and a competency for themselves and their children."


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