In the Vol. 3, No. 3 issue of Beyond Germanna (May 1991), Margaret
Brown Altendahl wrote about Susanna Clore Weaver Crigler Yager (using the
English version of these names). As implied by the four surnames, Susanna
Klaar (her maiden name in Germany) was married three times. She, with her
first husband and their family, were members of the Colony of 1717.
Some of this information has become known only since 1989. Furthermore,
two daughters have been confirmed in recent years and marriage partners for
four daughters have been identified, some for the first time. Her story is
a testimony to research.
On 26 January 1706, Susanna Klaar married Phillip Joseph Weber in Gemmingen,
Baden. She was born before the church records for Gemmingen began but another
record allows us to put her birth year at about 1692. Thus, she was not very
old when she married Joseph Weber. The Gemmingen birth records show that six
children were born to the couple in 1707, 1708, 1709, 1710, 1713, and 1715.
The first three died at a very young age and the sixth died not far past
his first birthday. The two surviving children were Hans Dieterich (Peter)
and Maria Sophia born in 1710 and 1713, respectively. At least one more daughter
in this family was born after the departure from Gemmingen.
When the families from Gemmingen left in 1717, the sexton at the church
made an entry in the church book noting their departure. For the Webers,
it was (translated):
“Joseph Weber and wife Susanna. He is 30 and she is 25 years old.
Hannss Dieterich, seven years old (he was studying for his confirmation).
Sophia, not yet four years old, an infant [i.e., too young for confirmation].”
[The ages for Joseph and Susanna may have been estimates.] One other family
who left at the same time was Susanna’s brother Michael Klaar, his wife Maria
Barbara, and their family. The sexton gave the reason that the families were
leaving which reads in translation:
“On July 12th of this year the below listed parents including their children
moved away from here at night with the intention to sail over to Pennsylvania
in order to earn their piece of bread better than here through the hard work
of cultivating the wilderness. Yet quite many people went away not only from
here but also from other places, and all went with the same intention.”
The group that left was unfortunate in their choice of a ship and captain
who took them not to Pennsylvania but to Virginia. The Weavers, as they became
known in Virginia, were indentured to Alexander Spotswood who placed them
along the north side of the Rapidan River just above Germanna. Later they
moved to the Robinson River Valley “at the Great Mountains.” Spotswood later
used their headrights in payment for a tract of land. There the Weaver family
Hans Fredich Wever,
Maria Sophia Wever,
This is the only record in Virginia where the name of Joseph Weber appears.
The last name in this list of five does not appear in the Gemmingen church
records so the best assumption is she was born en route to America. The name
Wabburie is most likely a nickname for Walburga. Later in life, she became
known as Burga and appears as such in the “Hebron” church records. There is
no evidence that any children were born to Joseph and Susanna after arrival
With the death of Joseph Weaver, Susanna Clore Weaver married Jacob Crigler.
(The German spelling of Crigler is unknown.) To this union, four surviving
children were born:
There had been speculation that Jacob and Susanna had at least one daughter
Margaret but the evidence for this was erroneous. By an intensive analysis
of the German Lutheran Church records (“Hebron”), it is possible to say with
a high probability, better than most cases, that there were the two daughters.
Jacob Crigler died about 1734 when Susanna was appointed administratrix
in April. She later married Nicholas Yeager. They had no children but the
church records show that the earlier children of Susanna were very much at
home in the Yeager home.
At least eleven children born to Susanna have been identified. Seven of
these lived to become active and reproductive members of the Germanna community.
The oldest child was Peter Weaver who converted his calling name of Dieterich
to Dieter and then to Peter as a close English sound. Peter married Elizabeth.
Some people believe that they have identified Elizabeth’s family but I’ll
refrain from repeating it, not because I think it is wrong but because I have
never made a study of the case. The Germanna Records have identified Peter
Weaver as a “later comer” but this is clearly an error as he did arrive in
Maria Sophia Weaver, the second child, married Peter Fleshman. The analysis,
quite involved but very conclusive, shows this to be the case (see Beyond
Germanna, Vol. 13, No. 5, p. 767). Very extensive use of the church records
(Baptisms and Communicants) was made and shows the power of association among
people as indicators of relationships.
Burga or Wabburie were probably nicknames for Walburga (Weaver). She married
John Willheit, son of Michael Willheit the early immigrant. Germanna Record
13 says John’s wife was Margaret (Peggy) Weaver, the daughter of Peter and
Mary (Huffman) Weaver, Jr. The problem with this assignment is that John’s
wife would have been younger than some of her children. By using the headright
record above and the church records, it is possible to say John Willheit’s
wife was Walburga Weaver. An extensive analysis of this situation was made
in Beyond Germanna, Vol. 6, No. 3, p. 321.
Christopher Crigler, born prior to 1723 by the analysis of B. C. Holtzclaw,
married Catherine Finks. He has eleven children given in the German Lutheran
Nicholas Crigler married Margaret Kaefer. The names of nine children, two
of whom are dead, are given in the church records.
Susanna Crigler married Michael Utz. Susanna was probably older than her
sister Elizabeth and both were probably younger than their two brothers. There
is an outside chance that Susanna and Elizabeth were daughters of Joseph Weaver
but when the ages of their spouses are considered, it is likely that they
were daughters of Jacob Crigler (Beyond Germanna, Vol. 15, No. 3,
Elizabeth Crigler married Michael Yager. Many records say that Michael Yager
married Elizabeth Manspiel but there is no support for this idea. A detailed
analysis of the church records shows that Elizabeth Crigler was the very probable
wife of Michael Yager (Beyond Germanna, Vol. 15, No. 4, p. 869).
Germanna Record 6 suggests that Jacob and Susanna Crigler had a daughter
Margaret who married Henry Aylor. This is a mistake as Henry Aylor married
At different times, many people have contributed to this research. The first
published information on the Gemmingen church records was by Gary Zimmerman
and Johni Cerny. Suggestions and analysis of the Virginia information were
made by Craig Kilby, Nancy Dodge, and John Blankenbaker who wrote up the conclusions.
In the last fifteen years many errors connected with Susanna Clore have
been corrected and omissions filled. The church records in Germany and in
Virginia were extremely important in accomplishing this. Some of the information
is given explicitly and much of it is given implicitly. The implicit information
requires hours to draw out the conclusions but the value of the information
is not weakened in any way. As to circumstantial evidence, “when the milk
contains fish, you may assume that it has been watered.”
It is a help to study the community, not an individual family.