I always wanted to see Glattfelden, Switzerland and Otterberg, Germany — the towns our ancestors left in the early 1700’s. I did visit Otterberg several years ago but had not been able to stop in Glattfelden. Last summer Chris and I flew to Europe and rented a car for a few days. Having arrived in Frankfurt, Germany, we headed south and the first stop was at Horb am Neckar, a small village in Germany.
This mural of community members from the past really helped me imagine who might have lived here at one time.
After this we crossed the border into Switzerland and headed straight to Glattfelden.
In 1742 our ancestor, Johann “Peter” Glattfelder and his brother, Casper, decided to leave Switzerland for the New World with their wives and children. They began in a boat on the Rhine River in hopes of catching a ship to the colonies from Rotterdam, but sadly, Peter drowned in the Rhine River at the age of 41. I could only imagine the heartache of his wife, Salomea, and children (ages are approximate) — Elisabeth (18), Barbara (16), Felix (15) and Rudolph (11). Three children had died in childhood — Magdalina (9), Johannes (8) and Casper (2).
When this tragedy occurred, before they had even crossed the Swiss border, Casper and the other families returned to Glattfelden. Later they decided to try the journey again and did arrive in Philadelphia on August 30, 1743 on the Francis and Elizabeth, but not without more heartache. The record states that Casper was sick when they arrived. Casper’s wife, Elizabeth, had brought her elderly father along — Hans Jacob Lauffer — but he apparently died on the way because he did not take the required Oath of Allegiance in Philadelphia upon arrival. In addition, Elizabeth and the youngest son, John, either died on the journey or shortly after arriving.
In making a report of immigrants in 1744, the Glattfelden pastor wrote that six children accompanied Peter’s widow, Salomea, to America. However, we do not know if Salomea survived the ocean crossing, where she lived in Pennsylvania (if she did) or whether she remarried. The fact is that Salomea does not appear as a sponsor or godmother for any of the twelve grandchildren whose baptisms were recorded in York Co., PA, beginning in 1750. There are records in America for four of Peter and Salomea’s children, including our ancestor, Felix, who migrated to North Carolina with his brother Rudolph and sister Elizabeth Glattfelder Rein. Casper remarried and his children remained primarily in Pennsylvania, and in all there are hundreds or thousands of descendants, some of whom started the Casper Glattfelder Association of America. The name spellings in North Carolina and Pennsylvania are quite diverse though — Glatfelder, Gladfelter, Clodfelter and Glotfelty, among others. For more information read my earlier post about the Glattfelders.
Chris and I didn’t have much time in Glattfelden but we did have a look around.
We found a restaurant that was open in the small community.
I didn’t get any photos of the dinner we ate there, but I did get a photo of the guard cat.