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Nicholas Fouse


Birth:
07 May 1748 Rheinville, Rheinfelz, Bavaria

Death:
09 Aug 1825 Huntingdon Co, PA

Parents:
Theobad Fauss
Margaret __________

Married:
Margaret Brumbaugh, Nov 1785 in Funkstown, Washington Co., MD

Children:  

Margaret Fouse (1786 - 1855)

Elizabeth Fouse (1794 - 1825)

Catherine Fouse (1790 -   )

Jacob Fouse (1792 - 1845)

John Fouse (1794 - 1825)

William Fouse (1797 - 1874)

Frederick Fouse (1800 - 1873)

Theobald Fouse (1802 - 1873)

Adam Fouse (1805 - 1887)

Johnathan Fouse (1808 - 1879)

 

Homestead:


Migration:



Occupation:


Family Stories:
When the Revolutionary War ended, a number of the German mercenaries (Hessians) employed by King George, returned to their native land with glowing accounts of the new world. These accounts inspired Nicholas with the idea of coming to America. Nicholas was a lock and edge toolsmith by trade. The youngest son, Theobald, was a shoemaker, and resolved to accompany his brother. It was not an easy matter for subjects in those petty kingdoms, who were able to bear arms, to leave their country. The rulers were in constant fear of outbreaks on the frontiers, and these being well guarded, it taxed the ingenuity of the young men to get away.

In May, 1784, the brothers started out as journeymen and left their home in the quiet of the night. Of the three left behind, Jacob and Valentine were married, the former kept a hostelry and the latter was a baker. The last those in the states heard from those left behind was sometime prior to 1811. At this time the immediate locality was then all in confusion on the account of the encroachments of the French army, which led to the overthrow of Napoleon in 1815. Nicholas with a kit of tools for smithing and Theolbald with tools and materials for shoemaking found it an easy matter to make the ordinary guard believe that they were journeymen prosecuting their trades. The critical time came when they reached the border and documents were required to cross the border. No one subject to military duty should leave the country. Carrying their tools and having no luggage they were able to succeed. On their way to Frankfort they were challenged by the officer in command of the forces on the boundary of their own kingdom. After relating the story, he directed a clerk to fill out a passport. The clerk hesitated suggesting that the men might be on their way to leave the country. The officer overruled and the two were on their way.

There is nothing known regarding the date they sailed or the ship, but subsequent events indicate that they landed at Baltimore in October, 1784, after being on the Atlantic ocean fully five months. The brothers had a companion in the person of Conrad Nicodemus. Theobald remained in Baltimore where he obtained a position in the shoemaking trade. Nicholas decided soon after landing in Baltimore that it would be better for him to go to the frontier. Nicholas left Baltimore soon after landing and went to Sharpsburgh, Maryland and there became the village blacksmith.

There he met and married Margaret Brumbaugh. She was born May 5, 1766, the daughter of Jacob Brumbaugh, son of Johannes Henrich Brumbach. Soon after their marriage in November, 1785, they began housekeeping at or near Funkstown, Washington Co, Maryland. Here Nicholas started smithing and having no apprentice, Margaret helped when needed. When her services were called upon. She was considered an expert with the hammer. Their first child, Margaret, was born October 12, 1786. They remained at Funkstown until 1789. Margaret's father had taken a trip into central Pennsylvania and found a spot east of the Alleghanies, that was later called 'Morrison's Cove.' There in 1788 he preempted a large tract of land and the Brumbaugh family moved there in the same year. For Nicholas and Margaret hearing of this beautiful country was inducement for them to locate there, also. His friend Conrad Nicodemus, who had made the journey with him from Germany, also, located in the Cove. At the time the land was in Bedford County.

Nicholas and Margaret made preparations to emigrate there early in the spring of 1789. They had to procure a covered wagon and a yoke of oxen. In the wagon were packed the smithing tools, clothing, bedding, food and their other belongings. The wagon provided shelter for the family, now consisting of two children, Margaret and Elizabeth. The trips distance was about 150 miles through very rough, ungraded roads through the forest. The route was over the old Baltimore, Chambersburg and Bedford road. They turned north at Bloody Run, later Everett, PA., and then passing up Yellow Creek, through the gap to where Loysburg, PA was afterwards established. They entered the Cove at the south end, then proceeded north about 16 miles,a short distance from where Rebecca Furnace was later erected. There they settled temporarily on land owned by Jacob Brumbaugh?. They lived there nearly four years. Two other children, Catherine and Jacob were born at this location.

They selected a place about five miles north of their temporary home and bought 135 acres of land. They paid 56 pounds sterling for the land in gold and silver. In 1793 they built a small log house of four rooms with a crude chimney in the center, with a fireplace on either side for cooking and to provide heat on either side. This was near where Beavertown, PA. was later located. Here among the tall oaks, with no part of the land under cultivation, it was necessary to eke out an existence for the small family. The greater part of his time was occupied in manufacturing, sharpening and repairing tools, so much needed in clearing the land.

The country was rapidly filling up with emigrants who bad to be supplied with tools suchas axes, mattocks, and shovels for the wooden plough. Carpenter tools were in great demand, such as the broad axe, adz, chisels, plane-bits, etc. All these were manufactured in the original blacksmith shop. After the house work was done and the children had been put to bed, Margaret would often go to the shop and there assisted Nicholas in doing important work. There were no railroads nor means of transportation, other than by wagons, for their crude iron and steel, from which all kinds of wares could be produced. Nails, hinges, locks and bolts were in great demand, and all these were made by hand, mostly at night. The greater part f the day had to be utilized in clearing he forest, and bringing the land under cultivation. It was said that when Nicholas was engaged in the clearings and some of the neighbors came with an axe, or some other tool to be repaired, they would work in Nicholas's stead while he went to the shop and fixed the tool.

During this period six additional sons were added: John, William, Frederick, Theobald, Adam and Johnathan. On June 24, 1805, an additional 42acres was bought from Levi Roberts, to be added to the homestead. With the increasing members of the family, the need for space multiplied, and this need was met by building an addition to the house. The children in due course of time were trained to work and help, which increased the income and helped support the family. Matches had not yet been invented. If fires went out then hasty visits to neighbors' houses for fire were made. Rather than to kindle by friction they would run to the neighbors to borrow fire and had sometimes to go to several houses in succession. The practice was to cover embers or coals in the huge fire places with ashes and preserve the fire, which was not always a success, and often caused much trouble. Cook stoves were unknown, all cooking had to be done on the hearth.

It was Nicholas' custom on Sabbath evening to turn the home into a place of worship, as they had no church until 1810. All services prior to 1810 were held in the homes of different members of the church. The missionary circuit was very large, so they could not have preaching oftener than once in ten or twelve weeks, and then the people had to go over rough roads ten to fifteen miles to get to each other's houses, Houses of the time were small and poorly furnished. The people were poor, and all had bare floors in their dwellings.

In December 1809, Nicholas took part in the purchase of a lot on which to erect a house of worship, deeded to Nicholas Fouse and Abraham Miller, trustees for the German Reformed Church and Christian Acker and Adam Sorrick for the Lutheran Church. The cemetery attached is where they are all buried. Nicholas took special care to have the children learn to read and write. The Heidelberg Catechism had to be studied and served as one of the textbooks. He did not think it so essential for the girls to learn to write, but he thought differently for the boys.

Nicholas was a big supporter of the liberty provided by the new government. He was an earnest advocate of free schools, wanted church separated from state; though he never took an active interest in politics, he supported Washington, Federalism and the national Republican Party. He was an advocate of a strong central government. When the war of 1812 broke out, the two eldest boys belonged to the local militia. Nicholas was anxious on the day the drafting took place, fearing it might require his boys to go. He had them prepare for it, telling them that if it fell to their lot, they could not do otherwise than go. They were not selected. He had such a horror of the scalping and butchering practice by the allies of the English army. He was loyal and advocated vigorous prosecution of the war. He had no use for anyone sympathizing with the enemy, and advised them to go where they belonged. Some of the neighbors, descendants of the Germans and Hessians whom King George had brought over to fight out patriot fathers, were subject to adverse criticism, and nicknamed 'hirelings.' Nicholas thought these criticisms unjust; and denounced it as wrong, that they were forced, through their petty rulers, to go and fight for the English.

There was no outlet for the products of the farms as all were producers. The nearest markets were Pittsburg and Baltimore. At the end of the war with Great Britain, Nicholas purchased an additional property adjourning the homestead or 34 acres. About 1812 John Royer built Springfield Furnace, in Woodberry Twp, about five miles northwest of the Fouse house. He preempted a large tract of land, some of which was rich in hematite iron ore, and most of it was well covered with forest trees from which he made charcoal. In about 1817 Rebecca Furnace was built in Huston Township?, four miles south of the original Fouse farm. All this activity gave the pioneers a ready market for produce. Extensive hauling was necessary, as the pig iron had to be conveyed from the furnaces ten miles to Maria Forges and twenty miles to Petersburg.

In common with many others in Morrison'sCove, the Fouse sons earned money by chopping wood at thirty-five cents per cord in the winter. The success of the iron works soon led to the establishment of other similar furnaces and forges, and Morrison's Cove became a veritable hive industry offering good home marker for everything the farmers could produce. Prior to the completion of the canal and Portage Railroad, in 1833, there were a large number of charcoal-furnaces and forges in this portion of Huntingdon County. There product was hauled to Pittsburgh at a cost of from twenty to thirty dollars per ton.

After an illness of almost a week, Nicholas died August 9, 1825, aged 77 years and was buried in the Union Cemetery, now Lutheran, on the Clover Creek Road, four miles south of Williamsburg, PA. Nicholas and Margaret had disposed of their land and possessions before his death. Nicholas was 5' 8" in height, heavy set with strong muscles, broad shoulders, ruddy face, medium fleshy, weight 180 pounds. Margaret was a large sized woman of strong build, strong bones and muscles, was round faced and more inclined to be fleshy that Nicholas, about his weight. Margaret died August 8, 1829, aged 63 years. She was buried along side Nicholas at Union Cemetery.

Census Information:
1790 Census Sheet

Gravesite:
Union Cemetery, now Lutheran (St. Johns Church), on the Clover Creek Road, 4 miles south of Williamsburg, PA

Nicholas Fouse - Families Migrating West


He was born May 7, 1748, son of Theobald Fauss, who was born in 1725 and lived in Rheinville, Rheinfalz, Bavaria. About 1746, Theobald married Margaret ________, and moved to Zweibruecken, where he died at age 40, and was survived by his widow and five children: Nicholas, born May 7, 1748 (confirmed 1762 in the Reformed Church of Zweibruecken); Jacob, who kept hostelry; Valentine, a baken; Theobald, Jr., and Margaret. Their mother Margaret died early in 1784. 

In May, 1784, the brothers started out as journeymen and left their home in the quiet of the night. Of the three left behind, Jacob and Valentine were married, the former kept a hostelry and the latter was a baker. The last those in the states heard from those left behind was sometime prior to 1811. At this time the immediate locality was then all in confusion on the account of the encroachments of the French army, which led to the overthrow of Napoleon in 1815. Nicholas with a kit of tools for smithing and Theolbald with tools and materials for shoemaking found it an easy matter to make the ordinary guard believe that they were journeymen prosecuting their trades. The critical time came when they reached the border and documents were required to cross the border. No one subject to military duty should leave the country. Carrying their tools and having no luggage they were able to succeed. On their way to Frankfort they were challenged by the officer in command of the forces on the boundary of their own kingdom. After relating the story, he directed a clerk to fill out a passport. The clerk hesitated suggesting that the men might be on their way to leave the country. The officer overruled and the two were on their way. 

There is nothing known regarding the date they sailed or the ship, but subsequent events indicate that they landed at Baltimore in October, 1784, after being on the Atlantic ocean fully five months. The brothers had a companion in the person of Conrad Nicodemus. Theobald remained in Baltimore where he obtained a position in the shoemaking trade. Nicholas decided soon after landing in Baltimore that it would be better for him to go to the frontier. Nicholas left Baltimore soon after landing and went to Sharpsburgh, Maryland and there became the village blacksmith. 

Nicholas went to Funbkstown, MD and there resumed his trade of locksmith and blacksmith. There he met and married Margaret Brumbaugh.

After an illness of almost a week, Nicholas died Aug 9, 1825, aged 77 years, 3 months, 2 days, and was buried in the Union Cemetery (Salem Reformed Cemetery), now Lutheran, on the Clover Creek Road, four miles south of Williamsburg, PA.

No letters of administration were taken out, as he had disposed of his real estate before his death. The family agreed to adjust all matters of personal property amongst themselves, and all were imbued with the idea that justice and equity had been shown to then by their father (giving each a start in life, so far as he was able, etc.) and that such fairness must prevail in the division of his personal estate.

In personal appearance Nicholas was a ruddy complexion, broad across the shoulders, muscular, 5 feet 8 inches high, and weighed about 180 pounds. He was a splendid example, kind and indulgent to his children, yet firm, for his word was law and had to be obeyed.



Nicholas Fouse Census 1790 - Families Migrating West