NameJacob Treitz Sr. , 6G Grandfather, M
Birth1726, probably the historical state of Baden in southwest Germany106
Death1792, Westmorland County, New Brunswick106
OccupationFarmer, possibly Blacksmith90
Marriageca 1750, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A105
ChildrenRosanna , F (ca1751-ca1820)
Notes for Jacob Treitz Sr.
His place of origin in Germany is unknown at present. “If the frequency of occurence of the name and adverse conditions are any indication, then...Jacob Treitz...emigrated from the Palatinate or Saarland during the main exodus of the late 1740’s and early 1750’s. He probably took the Rhine as the traditional means of transportation to Holland and from there a ship to America.”90
From Les Bowser’s analysis, it is likely that he arrived in Philadelphia on Sep 26, 1749 on the Dragon
, under Captain George Spencer, from Rotterdam by way of Deal.110,111
Although transcribed in different ways the signature is said to be a close match to the later signature on the Articles of Agreement to settle Monckton. As in the case of fellow Monckton settler Carl Schantz, the nearby signatures in the passenger list from 1749 belong to emigrants from towns in Baden, west of the Rhine.
[Some thought he was the “Jacob Tritsch” who arrived in Philadelphia on Tue, Sep 24, 1751 on the ship Neptune which had departed from the port of Rotterdam (source: PA German Pioneers, Strausberg & Hinke) but this was evidently a different person as there is a line of descent from Tritsch remaining in Pennsylvania.]
His marriage to Christina Gmelin was gleaned from Christina’s father’s will which bequeathed her 80 pounds which was paid to “Jacob Treitts”, her presumed husband.105
The Treitz surname was anglicised to Trites.
His was one of the five original German families who were contracted by the land speculation company of John Hughes of Philadelphia (with silent partner Benjamin Franklin), and settled in Monckton Township on June 3, 1766 by the company’s represenatative John Hall. The family arrived on the 50-ton sloop “Lovey” under Captain Nathaniel Shiverick.112
It is thought he may have been a blacksmith since Hughes’ company initially provided bar iron and steel to the colonists and hand wrought nails were used in the Treitz Haus which was built on Treitz property around 1775.90
The family’s first winters on the lands of Monckton Township were gruelling as documented by several sources. A letter from William Franklin to his father Benjamin Franklin on Oct 23, 1767 reports: "Mr. Jacob [sic - John] Hall (who keeps a Tavern at the Wheat sheaf near Frankford, and has been lately at Nova Scotia with Settlers for your Company of which he is likewise a Member) complains heavily of the narrow spiritedness and Mismanagement of Mr. Hughes and the other Members. They impowered him it seems to conduct there a Body of Settlers, and to furnish them with such Necessaries as they should have Occasion for till they could subsist themselves; but tho’ he gave them Nothing but what was indispensably [necessary] they refus’d on his Return to acc[ept his] account. This put it out of his Power to return again to Nova Scotia, he having bought Provisions, &c. there on his own Credit. By this means Numbers who had engag’d to accompany Mr. Hall, on his Return, were deterr’d from going, which has greatly retarded the Settlement. And the poor People who were left there last Fall, and who, as they were not yet able to raise any Thing for themselves rely’d on a further Support to be brought by Mr. Hall were during the whole Winter in the greatest Distress imaginable, and must infallibly have starv’d had it not been for Lieut. Gov. Franklin and Capt. Houston an old Settler in that Province, taking Compassion on them. These Gentlemen sent them Supplies from Time to Time in Confidence that the Company were Gentlemen of too much Honour not to repay them."
A later letter from surveyor Charles Baker to John Hughes on July 24, 1769 reports with the interesting spelling of the time: "They beg you would let them have some Working Cattle and Some Cloaths and Provisions untill they will be able to Raise it to themselves which they think will not be long. I think it is a Very Great Pitty that they should be lett Suffer so much as they have done ever since they went there as they are a Set of the Best Settlers in them Parts it has Surprised every one that knew them to see how they have lived since they went there Mostly on Herbs which they gathered in the Marsh in the Spring etc."113
Jacob Trites is known as “The father of Moncton” since his portion of the settlement and subsequent land grant in 1778 was in the eastern portion of the Township on the land between Hall’s Creek and Jonathan’s Creek in modern day Moncton.
“The earliest date of a German settler suing another is November 19, 1788, when Jacob Treitz Sr., was awarded £7:2:11 in a decision against Martin Beck.”114
From the Chignecto Post published in Sackville, Westmorland County, New Brunswick, January 14, 1886:
“The Pioneers of Westmorland (Judge Botsford lecture) .. The next immigrants who settled in Westmorland came to Petitcodiac (West. Co.) They left the Rhine in the year 1749 and proceeded to Pennsylvania then a British Colony. They ascended the Deleware and purchased and improved lands on the Schuylkill about twelve miles above Philadelphia. After remaining about 14 years they removed to this county under the impression that they could easily obtain large tracts of lands. It is said that these immigrants consisted of eleven families, but after much inquiry, I can only identify nine, being - STEEVES, LUTZ, SMITH, RICHIES, SUMMERS, TRITES, JOHNS now JONES, WORTMAN and COPPLE. They left the Deleware in the year 1763 and touched at Digby, N.S. That part of the country at that time to which settlers were first attracted, Port Royal (now Annapolis), was a large garrison town. They remained there but a few days and proceeded up the Bay and finally landed at Hall's Creek (port of Moncton) at that time called Panscada Creek. Hall was master of the ship which brought the immigrants and landing gave his name to the Creek. This I had from one of the oldest inhabitants who is now dead. Old Mr. STEEVES settled in Hillsborough and some of his sons on the Petitcodiac. Old Mr. Steeves family on his arrival consisted of seven sons. ... May 21, 1772, another lot of immigrants came from Yorkshire, England. The late Charles DIXON with a few families, 62 persons in all, arrived at Fort Cumberland and in the following year some forty families joined them. Their names were METCALF, WELDON, DIXON, KEILLER, HUMPHREY, FAIRWATHER, HARPER, BALLOU, WELLS, ROBERTS, WATSON, GRACE, STONE, HARRISON, RICHARDSON, CHAPMAN, COOK, DOBSON, FOSTER, FRASER, OULTON, COLPITTS, FENTON, MITTEN, THOMPSON, BULMER, RIPLEY, BROWN, CARTER, KING, SIDDAL, TRUEMAN, TOWER, ROBINSON, SMITH, LOWERISON, LUSBY, BLACK, Chas. THOMPSON, TURNER, WRY, SNOWDON, FAWCETTS, ATKINSON, TRENHOLM, COATES, BLINKHORN, PIPES. Some settled in Sackville; some in Dorchester; the Colpitts, Fentons and Mittons in Cumberland. In Oct. 1782, the late Amos BOTSFORD arrived at Digby, N.S., moved to Fort Cumberland in 1785 and finally settled in Sackville. The CHANDLERS also arrived at the same time.”49
Researchers continue hunt for Jacob Treitz
Identifying wife of Moncton's founding father latest break in search for story of pioneer spirit
BY ALAN COCHRANE
TIMES & TRANSCRIPT STAFF
Published Monday January 21st, 2008
Appeared on page A6
It's a pity Jacob Treitz didn't keep a diary.
It would have saved genealogists a pile of work and allowed historians to marvel at the man who had to go through at least three countries before he found a place to settle down away from politics, violence and famine.
Treitz is generally considered to be one of the founding fathers of Moncton. His name is attached to the Treitz Haus next to the downtown Bore Park, which was built in the late 1700s and believed to be among the oldest buildings in the city. But more than 200 years after his death, researchers are still scratching away at old documents and records to piece together an intriguing story of pioneer spirit.
The details of Jacob's life remain a mystery, but his main claim to fame is that he came to what is now Moncton in June of 1766 from Philadelphia as part of the first settlement of farmers. His tract of land was located at "The Bend" of the Petitcodiac, which eventually developed into what is now Downtown Moncton.
"When they arrived in what is now Moncton, they were basically abandoned on the banks of the Petitcodiac River and left on their own," says Les Bowser of Omemee, Ont., a genealogical researcher and Treitz family descendant. "It's a miracle that they survived at all. They must have been very hardy and determined."
According to previously published material, Jacob Treitz was born in Germany in 1726 and died in Moncton in 1792. Some sources say he was buried in Moncton, others say he was buried in Albert County. Bowser says Jacob's place of birth, date of death and place of burial are still unproven. A deed signed by him in 1790 indicate he was still alive at that time.
The hunt for the truth about Jacob Treitz came in a letter found in 1980. The letter, from John Hall to his partners back in Philadelphia, tells of the pioneers' safe arrival at The Bend on June 3, 1766. Treitz's name is on the list. They came here with land grants issued by the Philadelphia Land Company, one of the principal investors of which was legendary U.S. statesman Benjamin Franklin.
"They were all farmers and had no land, so when the opportunity to get free land on the Petitcodiac River, they signed up and off they went," Bowser says.
There have been suggestions the 11 settler families all moved together from Germany to Philadelphia and were all part of the same church, so it is likely they wanted to find a place where they could make a fresh start.
Researchers believe they have found a key piece to the puzzle by positively identifying the wife of Jacob Treitz as Christina Gmelin, the daughter of Matthias Gmelin (pronounced Gmay´-lin), a notable landowner and glazier in Methacton, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Matthias originated in Vaihingen, Wurttemberg, near Stuttgart, and settled in America before 1734. Christina's name was thought to be Elisina but Bowser says that information is incorrect -- a misreading of an old deed.
It is presumed that Jacob was born around 1726 somewhere around Stuttgart, Germany. Around 1751 (at the age of 35), he joined thousands of his countrymen who wanted to escape from famine, politics, war and religious persecution. He sailed down the Rhine to Rotterdam, where he found a boat to take him across the Atlantic to Philadelphia.
It is presumed Jacob married Christina around 1749 or 1750. According to a newspaper article found by researchers, her previous husband, Gottfried Leibgeb, died in July of 1749 due to injuries suffered in a fall from a wagon. She already had two children when she married Jacob, but there is no paper trail to indicate what happened to them.
Jacob and Christina lived in Germantown, near Philadelphia, but it may have gotten too crazy for him. In the 1750s and 1760s, the colonies were beginning a fight against taxation without representation in a show of civil unrest that led to a revolutionary war against Britain. He hopped a boat for another new world that, at the time, was still part of Nova Scotia.
According to Bowser, Jacob and Christina's first son, Sebastian, was born Dec. 7, 1753 and baptized in Germantown north of Philadelphia. Sebastian apparently died young because he didn't come to Monckton township with his parents.
The next son, Jacob Jr., was born Feb. 11, 1755 and baptized in Germantown. Bowser says Jacob Treitz Jr. certainly came to Moncton because thousands of his offspring are living here today under the name of Trites. They number among possibly 50,000 descendants of the first Treitz couple. Bowser says the baptismal record of Jacob Treitz Jr. was undiscovered until recently because the name had been mistranscribed as Creutz.
Several other of the future Monckton children were baptized in St. Michael's Lutheran Church in Germantown in the same period: John Jones, the eldest son of Charles Jones, in 1754; and Frederick Stief, the fourth son of Heinrich Stief, in 1755.
Christina Gmelin's family traces its roots to Michael Gmelin, born about 1510 in Weilheim an der Teck near Stuttgart. His son Wilhelm (1541-1612) was a pastor in nearby Gärtringen and is today the patriarch of that town. The Gmelin family gained a measure of fame in 1777 when George Washington made his headquarters in Worcester Township, Pennsylvania at the home of Rosina Gmelin, Christina's sister. The house is now preserved as an historic site.
Bowser's article on the Treitz-Gmelin family was recently published in Generations, the journal of the New Brunswick Genealogical Society. The Gmelin history in America was published several years ago by Dr. Richard Simpson in the Bulletin of the Historical Society of Montgomery County. Kathie Weigel, a genealogist in Reseda California, found the link between the Pennsylvania Treitz family and the Jacob Treitz who came to Moncton. Both Dr. Simpson and Weigel are Gmelin descendants.
Bowser says the research into the Gmelin family has been ongoing for years. People often don't understand, he says, how much work is involved in digging up obscure facts and piecing together the evidence until a picture emerges from the past. "No one is going to come knocking on your door to tell you everything you want to know. You'll have to do your own searching for ancestors."
The story of Jacob Treitz, if it is ever really uncovered, is one of pioneer spirit, but Bowser doesn't like the term "the father of Moncton," a moniker apparently conceived by Moncton historian and newspaper publisher Edward Larracey in 1970.
"I'm not comfortable calling Jacob Treitz the father of Moncton and I doubt Jacob Treitz would have been comfortable with it either," he says.
"Jacob was an ordinary farmer, practical and unpretentious, and he probably would have found the suggestion preposterous."
Larracey, who passed away in 1992, was a former publisher of the Moncton Times and the Transcript and wrote two books about Moncton: The First Hundred and Chocolate River. As well, he co-authored Moncton's two-volume history, Resurgo. Bowser thinks that putting Jacob Treitz on a pedestal diminishes the efforts of the first Acadian families who settled on the Petitcodiac River in the early 1700s, many of whom returned after the deportation.
"The idea," he says, "also discounts the Mi'kmaq natives who interacted with both the Acadians and the Pennsylvania-Germans. And if Jacob Treitz was the father of Moncton, does that make his wife the mother of Moncton? You can see how the idea becomes slightly absurd."