The family of Johannes Whitmer, aka John Whitmer, emigrated from Barbelroth, Pfalz, Germany about 1753 and settled in Frederick County, Maryland. It took a while to find the family in Germany and then trace John’s migration from Maryland through Rockingham and then Botetourt Counties, VA before he settled in Muhlenberg County, KY.
His wife’s family has not been so easy to identify. No clues whatsoever have been found in Kentucky or Virginia about her maiden name, parents or siblings. No marriage record has been located for John and Catherine, either, although they married about 1778.
If John and Catherine followed traditional German naming patterns for their children (first son named for father’s father, first daughter named for mother’s mother, second son named for mother’s father and second daughter named for father’s mother) and they may have since their first child was John and second daughter was Maria Elizabeth, then Catherine’s parents could have been Valentine and Mary Eva. Of course, it is possible that their names were also John and Maria Elizabeth, since they are not uncommon names, but let’s hope that her parents were Valentine and Maria/Mary Eva.
Here is a timeline for the Whitmer information gleaned from Frederick County, MD records:
1753 Johannes Witmer (Widmer) emigrated from Barbelroth, Pfalz, Germany.
1757 20 February. Elias, son of Johannes and Maria Elisabetha Wittmer was baptized. Sponsors: Elias and Albertina Bruner.
1758, 28 March. Maria Catharina, daughter of Conrad and Ann Catherine (Holtz) Dick was baptized. Sponsors: Johannes and Maria Elisabetha Widmer.
1760, Easter Monday. Johannes Michel, son of Johannes and Maria Elisabetha Wittmer was baptized. He was born Wednesday before Easter, which was 2 April 1760. Sponsors: Jacob and Susanna Margaretha Zinnet. Recorded 23 Feb 1767.
1766 Elisabetha Witmer received communion.
1768, 1 April. Johannes Witmer confirmed. (on list of “young people.”
3 April. Johannes Wittmer received communion.
10 April. Henrich Mayer received communion at Woodstock, VA.
1773, 25 January. Eva Margaretha Wittmer received catechetical instruction.
1 April. Maria Elisabetha Witmer received communion.
9 April. Eva Wittmer confirmed.
17 October. Eva Margaretha Wittmer received communion.
1775, 10 May. Members of congregation who signed named to membership list include Margaretha, Maria Elisabetha and Johannes Wittmer.
1777, 16 March. Henrich, son of Henrich and Eva Meyer, born 15 August 1887, was baptized. Sponsor: Johannes Witmer.
1778, 30 January. Michael Wittmer received catechetical instruction.
Maria Elisabetha Wittmer received communion.
27 September. Valentin Stockel received communion.
1779, 3 February. Margaretha, daughter of Henrich and Eva Margaretha Meyer, born 20 December 1778, was baptized. Sponsors: Parents.
21 March. Jacob, son of Johannes and Catherina Wittmer, born 15 January 1779, was baptized. Sponsors: Jacob and Anna Barbara Holtz.
23 April. Christian Juzler (Eutsler) and Elsabeth Dickkaut married. Witnesses: Balthasar Dickkaut, Jacob Schnoutiget, Elisabeth Etschbergern and Johannes and Catharine Widmer.
8 May. John Witmer, weaver, sold Lot 231 to Jacob Holtz, both of Frederick.
19 July. Will of Henry Meyer, shoemaker, proved. Will written 16 February 1779. Named wife Eva Margaretha, son Henry, daughter Anna Margaret. Witness: Michael Whitmore.
1780, 9 February. Nicholas Klein and Margreth Schmid married. Witnesses: Johannes and Catharina Widmer, Johannes and Catherine Kaufmann, Abraham and Magdalena Ditlo and Prt. Schober.
1781, 5 August. Johannes, son of Johannes and Catharina Wittmer, born 8 June 1781, was baptized. Sponsors: Johannes and wife.
1782, 21 April. Catharina, daughter of Simon and Sara Rapp, born 23 November 1781, was baptized. Sponsors: Johannes and Catharina Wittmer.
1783, 28 September. David Schultz and Eva Meyern married. Witnesses: Johannes Widmer, Conrad and Anna Maria Doll, Rudolph and Anna Margreth Rohr and Maria Schustlern. (Evangelical Lutheran Church)
26 October. Catherina, daughter of Johannes and Catherine Wittmer, born 10 September 1783, was baptized. Sponsors: David and Eva Schultz.
1784, 29 May. John Wittmer, weaver, sold half of Lot 230 to Michael Wittmer, both of Frederick. Wife Catherine relinquished dower.
1785, April. John Whitmer sold Lot 230 to Jacob Koehler/Kochler, both of Frederick. Wife Catherine relinquished dower.
15 May. Anna Maria, daughter of Michael and Catherine Witmer, born 18 August 1784, was baptized. Sponsor: Anna Maria Steckel, single woman.
2 October. Maria Elisabeth, daughter of David and Eva Schultz, born 19 August 1785, was baptized. Sponsors: Valentine and Maria Elisabetha Brunner.
8 December. Will of Jacob Kochler witnessed by Michael Whitmore.
1786, 21 February. Michael Schmit and Susanna Steckel married. Witnesses: Michael Witmer, Phillip Lipps.
14 June. Elisabetha, daughter of Michael and Catherine Wittmer, born 10 April 1786, was baptized. Sponsors: Parents.
20 June. Abraham Bayer and Eva Beringer married. Witness: ______ Witmer.
26 October. Thomas Maxwell and Margaret Steckel married. Witnesses: Michael Witmer and Simon Steckel.
1787, 17 April. Henrich Conradt and Maria Lath married. Witnesses: Jacob Kitweiler and Michael Witmer.
1788, 28 September. Susanna, daughter of Peter and Catharine, born 23 April 1788, was baptized. Sponsors: Nicholas and Susanna Holtz.
13 December. Michael, son of Michael and Catherina, born 20 June 1788, was baptized. Sponsors: Parents.
In this timeline, there are only four events which I believe don’t directly tie to John Whitmer’s family and may either relate to Catherine’s family or possibly just to their friends:
1. On 23 April 1779, Christian Juzler (Eutsler) married Elsabeth Dickkaut (Dickhaut). Witnesses were Balthasar Dickkaut, who has been identified as living in Loudoun County, VA, which borders Frederick County, MD, Jacob Schnoutiget, Elisabeth Etschbergern and Johannes and Catharine Widmer.
There is little documented information on most of the people at this wedding. Etchberger/Etschberger is an uncommon name. In 1790, there were only two men by that name in the census and both lived in Berks County, PA. Neither Schnoutiget nor anything like it comes up in any kind of search in Ancestry.com or familysearch.org or in Google. Little has been documented on Christian Juzler/Eutsler/Utzler or Balthasar Dickhaut.
These people are big question marks so it is possible that Catherine shared a family relationship with one of them.
2. On 9 February 1780, Nicholas Klein and Margreth Schmid married. Witnesses: Johannes and Catharina Widmer, Johannes and Catherine Kaufmann, Abraham and Magdalena Ditlo and Prt. Schober. Nicholas Klein likely was marrying his third wife here. He married Maria Margaretha Kauffman in December 1768. Maria Margaretha was born about 1726 and she, in turn, married (1) Daniel Ditlo about 1750, allegedly in Minfeld, Bavaria, Germany. Therefore, Johannes Kauffman was witnessing his former brother-in-law’s wedding here. Abraham Ditlo has been placed as a son of Daniel Ditlo and Maria Margaretha Kauffman. Assuming that the marriage dates are correct, Nicholas Klein was probably born about 1725-1730.
Prt. Schober is likely Peter Schober, who lived in Frederick County in this time period. His relationship, if any, to the bride and/or groom is unknown and there is no known relationship between the bride and groom and John and Catherine Whitmer either.
Nothing more has been found on Margreth Schmid.
Nothing more has been found on Nicholas Klein’s earlier life or children he may have had.
It is possible that someone at this wedding was related to Catherine Whitmer and more research is needed on these people.
3. On 21 April 1782, Catharina, daughter of Simon and Sara Rapp, born 23 November 1781, was baptized. Sponsors: Johannes and Catharina Wittmer. (Simon married Sarah Griffith on 8 Mar 1778 in Frederick County, MD.) Simon Rapp was born in Barbelroth, Germany, the same town as John Whitmer, in 1753, so the families knew each other before emigrating to Maryland. Names of the Rapp children born in Germany are very unlike those given to the Whitmer children so naming patterns would seem to eliminate the Rapps as relatives of Catherine.
4. On 20 June 1786, Abraham Bayer and Eva Beringer married. Witness: ______ Witmer. However, this witness could also be John’s brother, Michael, and I tend to believe that it was because John and Catherine Whitmer were living in Rockingham County, VA in 1786 so I am going to eliminate this event from the list. Abraham and his wife, according to Ancestry family trees, died in Pennsylvania, but they were of an age where either could have been a sibling of Catherine. I think this is not a likely scenario.
So here stands my brick wall. I am leaning towards the idea that Catherine was related in some way to the Kauffmans or the Ditlos or Kleins, but there is no proof whatsoever at this point.