Not much is known about my German-shoemaker seventh great-grandfather who traveled to America in 1734. What is known about Jacob Rumfelt is laid out in this biography by my distant cousin, the Rev. Daniel S. Rumfelt. He has done a lot of research on the Rumfelt family. Read about Jacob’s son, Heinrich, and his grandson, Henry.

Bio of Johan Jacob Rumfeldt by the Rev. Daniel S. Rumfelt

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Born about 1690 in the Palatinate, Germany

Johan Jacob Rumpfeldt ties a major branch of the Rumfelt family of the United States to origins in the Palatinate region of Germany. He first shows up in the records of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the city of Heuchelheim-bei-Frankenthal with his marriage to a widow named Anna Catherina Foltz Fruhmann, May 8, 1725. The church spelled his name “Rumfeld. The marriage record lists Jacob’s occupation as shoemaker.

Founded in the late 700s, Heuchelheim lays a few miles west of the Rhine River near the cities of Worms and Mannheim. The area served as a trade center connecting the Rhine and an important east-west land route.

The Heuchelheim Lutheran Church records show Anna Catherina Foltz married Jacob Fruhman on August 26, 1710. Jacob Fruhman was 21 years old; Anna Catherina was presumably about the same age. Jacob and Anna Catherina had six children, all baptized at the Heuchelheim Lutheran Church. Their children were:

  • Abraham, born May 21, 1711
  • Anna Barbara, born February 20, 1715
  • Anna Catharina, born March 22, 1717
  • Johan Jacob, born June 28, 1719
  • Anna Maria Elis, born December 14, 1721 (and died 1724)
  • Susanna Margaretha, born May 16, 1724

Jacob Fruhman died February 2, 1724, age 35. His death left Anna Catherina widowed with five children and pregnant with a sixth. Their three-year-old daughter Anna Maria died that same year. Three-and-a-half months after her husband’s death, Anna Catherina gave birth to their last daughter: Susanna Margaretha Fruhman.

Jacob Rumfeld married Anna Catharina the following year, May 8, 1725. Two years later Jacob Rumfeld and Anna Catherina had a daughter of their own: Catharina Margaretha Rumfeld. She was baptized November 20, 1727 at the Lutheran Church in Heuchelheim. Her baptismal sponsor was a woman named Catherina Margaretha Bauniger. In those days, children were typically named after relatives or friends who also then served as a baptismal sponsor. Miss Bauniger lived nearby in the town of Hessheim.

Nothing specific is known about Jacob Rumfeld prior to his marriage to Anna Catherina. Annette Kunselman Burgert in her book Palatine Origins of Some Pennsylvania Pioneers, AKB Publications, lists the Heinrich Rumpfeld on the Ship St. Andrew as Jacob’s son. Jacob, therefore, was presumably a widower prior to his marriage to Anna Catherina.

I have estimated that Jacob was born by or before 1690, assuming he was about the same age as Anna Catherina (if not older). A review of the Heuchelheim church records, however, suggests that Jacob and his first family may not have been from Heuchelheim. Church records span the dates in which Jacob’s first marriage and family would have been established. There are no entries for Jacob Rumfeld or his family, including Heinrich, prior to Jacob’s marriage to Anna Catharina in 1725.

Jacob Rumfeld and Anna Catherina Fruhman immigrated to Pennsylvania aboard the ship St. Andrew, arriving at the Port of Philadelphia on September 12, 1734. Also aboard were their children: Heinrich Rumfeld, Anna Barbara Fruhman, Anna Catharina Fruhman, Johan Jacob Fruhman, Susanna Margaretha Fruhman and Catharina Margaretha Rumfeld. Anna Catherina Fruhman’s first-born son Abraham was not part of emigrant party.

All references to Jacob Rumfeld virtually disappear after his arrival in Pennsylvania. He does not appear on naturalization records with Heinrich, nor does he appear in tax records or the register of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in which Heinrich and his family feature prominently.

Jacob’s signature appears along with Heinrich’s on a codicil to the will of Andreas Weltz, signed 7 October, 1765. Jacob would have been about 75 years old, presumably living in the area of Upper Saucon Township where the note was signed. Andreas Weltz appears to be an in-law of Jacob’s since other documents call Andreas an “uncle” of Heinrich.

Jacob’s daughter Catharina Margaretha married Andreas Gruber on 1 June 1750 in the Williams Township Lutheran Congregation, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. I have located no other information about Jacob’s wife Anna Catherina or her children. Jacob’s death is unknown.

Written by the Rev. Daniel S. Rumfelt

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