Hans Peter Wampfler – Alsace to America

Hans Peter Wampfler was born in 1701 in Sparsbach, Alsace . Like his father, he became a linen weaver. He married Anna Veronica Lung of Zollingen about 1719. They lived in the village of Hinsingen but since there was not church there, the christening records of their seven children are in Keskastel and Atweiler nearby. It is in Keskastel that we find the record of the christening of Hans Peter Wampfler, Jr. – August 4, 1722. When Hans Peter Jr. was 18, he and his family embarked on a great adventure.

In the late 1600’s William Penn had traveled to Germany. There, he offered those farmers who were interested, land and religious freedom in Pennsylvania. At that time, the Province was British-ruled and only English was spoken. Immigrants had to swear allegiance to the British Crown and to the laws of Pennsylvania. Our ancestors spoke only Swiss/ German. Imagine the courage it must have taken to embark on such an adventure as this, with so many unknowns.

On May 3, 1741, Hans Peter Wampfler Sr., his wife Anna Veronica and their children boarded the ship “Lydia” for America. The journey was a difficult one, even before they boarded. The family had to travel by boat down the Rhine River to get to the port in Holland where they boarded their ship for America. This took 4-6 weeks. In Holland they had to wait again for 4-6 weeks, spending their money on food and lodging, and enduring frequent inspections and customs delays. From Holland they went to an English Port where they waited for favorable wind conditions before sailing 8-12 weeks to Philadelphia. The ships were crowded with inadequate food and water. There was little medical care and disease was common. Many on board died during the crossing. (FW)

Here, again, I must contradict Granddaddy’s story that “the mother died en route and was buried at sea.” Records indicate that, at the time of Hans Peter Sr.’s death in 1749, Veronica (his wife), Peter Jr. and Michael were summoned to make an inventory of “all goods, chattles rights and credits which were of the said deceased.” But I digress – back to the chronology of the immigration.

On September 29, almost five months after leaving their home in Germany, the family arrived in Philadelphia Harbor. The ship’s log shows three signatures of three male Wampfler males over the age of 16, as was the custom. At the Lancaster Historical Society, I saw a copy of these signatures. Wives, daughters and minors were not listed, but we assume that the entire family came. Since two of the infant daughters died previous to the trip, this would mean that besides Hans Peter Sr. – 40, Hans Peter Jr.- 18, Hans Michael -16, who were listed in the log, there were also three daughters, Anna Magdalena – 20, Anna Veronica- 15 and Anna Barbara -12 as well as Hans Peter’s wife, Anna Veronica. At the time of the crossing, for some reason, Hans Michael signed the log with an “X.” This does not necessarily mean that he couldn’t write. (At 16 he might just have been being