From Zwischenfluh to the Valley
The first Wampflers were from an area in Switzerland near what is now Bern. There are several very small villages, some of no more than two or three houses, that are in the Diemtig Valley and the first records of our family are found in a church in one of these villages called Zwischenfluh.
In Dr. Wampler’s book there is an aerial picture of the valley where the first Wampler’s lived and it is no wonder our ancestors continued their immigrations to mountains and valleys so like this one, first in Germany, then Pennsylvania and finally the Shenandoah Valley. The alps rise high on either side of a fertile valley, then come directly down to meet the earth. There are no foothills and the walls of rock are visible reaching straight upward from the valley. They look much like Chimney Rock near Ken and Margaret Smith’s in Broadway.
The first records that Dr. Wampler and his associates found were at a church in Diemtigen in 1559. Our ancestor, Hans (Johann and later of course, John) Wampfler was probably born around 1616 in Zwischenflue, Switzerland. Christening records seem to indicate that his parents were Heinrich and Verena (Herren) Wampfler. He and his wife Madlena Knutti were married there in 1647. Their five children’s christening records are found there – Christian, their third child, was christened on December 3, 1654. He was the first to leave Switzerland and settle in Alsace, Germany. Many Swiss/Germans in the late 1600’s moved to this area after the Thirty Years War. Christian Wampler settled in Sparsbach, Alsace. Dr. Wampler states that it “is meaningful to speak of our ancestors as being Alsatian” rather than either French or German.
Christian Wampfler was a linen weaver by trade. He and his wife (name unknown) had seven children. The fourth of these children was Hans Peter Wampfler, who was the first Wampler to come to America and our direct ancestor. That journey would be quite an adventure as we will see.