This is a drawing of a type of ship common in the 18th century called a “Snow”. A particular English “snow” by the name of “Samuel” left Rotterdam Holland, made a stop at the port of Deal England, and arrived in Philadelphia (after sailing up the Delaware) on August 17, 1733. On that ship was our Ancestor, Hans George Ruch and his wife and children. Hans George was the son of Melchoir Ruch of the northern Alsace. 

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1. Melchoir RUCH was born on December 25, 1644. He is known to have lived in the Northern Alsace which is now known as Bas-Rhin in Northeastern France.

His forefathers, the earlier Ruchs, appear to have probably originated in Emmental (now part of Switzerland), having moved to the northern Rhineland sometime during the 17th century. Many Germanic people were leaving the area at that time because of hardships resulting from "The Thirty Years War" of 1618-1648.

Melchoir was a shepherd. Old church records indicate that he moved with his family from one small village to another, but always in that small area to the north west of the city of Strousbourg.

Melchoir was recorded in the year 1676 in the church register at Oberbronn where he was mentioned as a Shepherd from the Village of Schillersdorf.

He is mentioned in a church register in 1679 as a Citizen and a Shepherd at Ingweiler. That same year (August 21, 1679), at Ringendorf, he married his third wife, Maria (Anna Maria) Jaenck. Prior to her marriage to Melchoir she was the widow of Hans Rauscher. Melchoir and Maria were in Alteckendorf in 1680 for the birth of their son, Lorentz.

He appears in the record in 1682 as a "shepherd at Zutzendorf". This was in the record of the birth of his child (our probable direct ancestor), Hans George. This son (Hans George) moved to America in 1733 and in so doing left many descendants in the Colony of Pennsylvania and the United States of America. Many of these descendants (particularly those through grandson, Michael) eventually came to be known by the surname "Rugh".

In December of 1688 Melchoir's child, Johannes Adamus (Hans Adam), was born. Many of Hans Adam's descendents retained the surname "Ruch" and eventually came to reside in Canadian America.

He apparently married three times. About 1660 he married Eva Maria. She died on January 29, 1677 in Ingwiller. On August 2, 1677 in Ingwiller he married Susanna Margaretha. On August 21, 1679 in Ringendorf he married Maria (Anna Maria) Jaenck.

By 1689, Melchoir and 3rd wife Maria were in Schalkendorf, and by about 1704 were living in the vicinity of the village of Uhrwiller.

Maria died in 1715 in Uhrwiller. Melchoir died on August 25, 1720 in Altechendorf.

Melchoir Ruch and Eva Maria had the following children:

2 i. Johann Ruch. In 1711 he was living in Zinswiller where his occupation was listed as a "erzknapp". This is thought to translate into English as a miner or someone working in (or around) a mine. About 1675 he married Anna Barbara. Anna Barbara was born in 1651. She died on February 16, 1696 in Uhrwiller, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France).

3 ii. Jacob (Johann Jacob) Ruch. About 1690 he married Anna Maria.

4 iii. Melchoir Ruch was born in 1672. In 1717 he had been a Royal Swiss soldier now living in Pfaffenhofen. In 1726 he was a poor shepherd who had stopped for a time in Ingwiller. He died on March 20, 1726 in Ingwiller, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France). On July 6, 1717 in Pfaffenhoffen, Alsace, (now in Bas Rhin France) he married Margaretha Baehr.

5 iv. Christina (Maria Christina) Ruch was born in Ingwiller, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France) on February 16, 1676.

Melchoir Ruch and Maria (Anna Maria) Jaenck had the following children:

6 v. Lorentz Ruch was born in Alteckendorf, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France) on April 19, 1680. The old records show that in 1715 he was a shepherd living in Oberaltdorf. In 1762 was a shepherd living in Altekendorf. He died on May 4, 1762 in Alteckendorf, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France). On June 23, 1699 in Alteckendorf, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France) he married Margaretha Eschrich. Margaretha Eschrich was born in the Northern Alsace (now Bas-Rhin, France) on February 7, 1683. Margaretha was the daughter of Urban Eschrich and Brigitta. She died on March 7, 1763.

7 vi. Barbara (Maria Barbara) Ruch was born in Zutzendorf, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France) on December 23, 1681. About 1705 in Gundershoffen, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France) she married Jacob (Hans Jacob) Dammeron.

8 vii. George (Hans George) Ruch (Rouk) (The Sr.) was born in Zutzendorf, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France) on December 29, 1682. (You will find more about Hans George the immigrant and his family below).

9 viii. Michel (Hans Michel) Ruch was born in Zutzendorf, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France) on October 5 1684. He was baptized at the Zutzendorf Lutheran Church in Zutzendorf On October 8, 1684. The old records indicate that In 1708 he was a swine herder in Uhrwiller. In 1714 he was a shepherd in Langensoulzbach. In 1715 he was a shepherd at Mitschdorf and in Froeschwiller. In 1719 he was a shepherd at Mertzwiller. These were little villages in the Northern Alsace, now in Bas Rhin France. He died on September 11, 1764 in Mertzwiller, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France). Before 1707 he married Anna Maria Weiss-Peter. Anna Maria Weiss-Peter was born in 1680. She died on May 29, 1751 in Mertzwiller, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France).

10 ix. Catharina Ruch was born in Alsace, (now Eastern France) about 1686. She was baptized at Zutzendorf Lutheran Church in Zutzendorf on March 22, 1686.

11 x. Jacob (Johann Jacob) Ruch was born in the Northern Alsace (now Bas-Rhin, France) in 1688. He died in 1693 at age 5 years in Zutzendorf, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France).

12 xi. Adam (Johannes Adamus) Ruch was born in Zutzendorf, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France) on December 12, 1688. The old church recorded indicates that in 1711 he was a "gentleman" shepherd in Gumbrechtshoffen. From 1712 to 1714 he was a swine herder in Uhrwiller. In 1715 he was a shepherd at Pfaffenhoffen and in 1720 a shepherd in Niedermodern. At the time (1724) of the marriage of his daughter (Anna Margaretha) he was recorded in the church record as: "a Shepherd at Sultzbach". By 1741 he was a tenant of the manorial sheep-farm at Gumbrechtshoffen. He died on February 14, 1759 in Langensoultzbach, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France). He married twice. Before 1708 he married Anna Margaretha. Anna Margaretha was born in 1682. She died on April 4, 1712 in Uhrwiller, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France). On July 5, 1712 in Zutzendorf, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France) he married Maria Eltern Wendling. Maria Eltern Wendling was born in Ringendorf, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France) in 1680. Maria was the daughter of Jacob Wendling. About 1705 she married Michael Striegel. She died on December 15, 1755 while in her mid-seventies in Langensoultzbach, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France). She died tragically when she froze to death on a country lane near her home.

13 xii. Martin (Johann Martin) Ruch was born in Zutzendorf, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France) on Saturday April 1, 1690. He was baptized at the Zutzendorf Lutheran Church on April 4, 1690. He was a "herder" in 1713 at the time of his marriage in Uhrwiller. On February 7, 1713 in Uhrwiller, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France) he married Maria Elizabeth Long. Maria Elizabeth Long was born in Uhrwiller, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France) on October 4, 1696. Maria was the daughter of Hans Michel Long and Anna Margaretha Mentz. She died on December 13, 1762 in Uhrwiller, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France).

14 xiii. Maria (Anna Maria) Ruch was born in Zutzendorf, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France) on March 30, 1692.

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The Immigrant

 

1. George (Hans George) Ruch, son of Melchoir Ruch and Maria (Anna Maria) Jaenck, was born in Zutzendorf, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France) on December 29, 1682. The old church record at Zutzendorf found recently on LDS microfilm indicates this birthdate of 29 Dec 1682. This record also shows that on January 2, 1683 he was baptized at the Zutzendorf Lutheran Church. The old records inicate that he was a shepherd living in 1712 in Pfaffenhoffen and in 1715 in Eckendorf. Years later George brought his wife and family to America by way of Rotterdam Holland and the British merchant ship "Samuel", arriving in Philadelphia at a recorded age of 48 on 17 Aug 1733. (This age record tends to indicate he was born about 1685). On arrival in the colonies all "foreigners" (they were Germans in an English colony) were required to report immediately to the local courthouse at the port of entry to take an oath of allegiance to the British Crown. This courthouse, (in the case of our Ruch family) is thought to have been the very Philadelphia courthouse where the liberty bell once hung and where the declaration of independence and the constitution were drafted. It is now known as "Independence Hall". Hans George and his family settled in America in Whitehall Township, an area that is now just north of the town of Allentown in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. His second wife, Catharina, died not long after her arrival in America and George took a third wife, Susanna, from whom he had more children. He (and members of his family) attended the Jordan Lutheran Church which today still stands within a newer structure upon its original site in Walberts, Pennsylvania. He died in 1769 in South Whitehall Township, Northampton (now Lehigh) County, Pennsylvania. He was buried at Jordan Lutheran Church Cemetery in Walberts, South Whitehall Township, within the present Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. His tombstone still existed as late as 1939. A photograph of it is in the published history of the church. During a 1992 visit, a thorough search was made for the stone (it had a very distinctive shape), but it could not be located. It has apparently finally succumbed to the passage of time. There has been a controversy surrounding this tombstone inscription as depicted in the church history book. It gives his death date as shown here, but mentions that he died at 104 years of age. Ship passenger records which give his age at the time of his arrival in Philadelphia as well as other indications have convinced this compiler that the tombstone (for some peculiar reason) was inscribed in error and that George would have actually been 84 years old in 1769.

He married three times. On November 13, 1704 in Uhrwiller, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France) he married Catharina Burkhard. Catharina Burkhard was born in Brumath, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France). Catharina was the daughter of Johann Burkhard. She died in 1707. On August 9, 1707 in Niedermodern, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France) he married Catharina (Anna Catharina) Reiss. Catharina (Anna Catharina) Reiss was born in Engwiller, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France) on November 30, 1683. Catharina was the daughter of Balthasar (Hans Balthasar) Reiss and Elizabeth Loewenguth. She married an unknown person. She died in 1735 in South Whitehall Township, Northampton (now Lehigh) County, Pennsylvania. In 1735 in Northampton (now Lehigh) County, Pennsylvania he married Susanna Zigler. Susanna Zigler was born about 1710. On July 28, 1741 she appears on the record as sponsor for Frederick Traxel who was baptized German Reformed at the Egypt Reformed Church in Northampton (now Lehigh) County, Pennsylvania.

George (Hans George) Ruch (Rouk) (The Sr.) and Catharina (Anna Catharina) Reiss (the 2nd wife) had the following children:

2 i. George (Hans George)1 Ruch (the Jr.) was born in the Northern Alsace (now Bas-Rhin, France) in 1709. He came to America with his father's family on the ship Samuel arriving in Philadelphia on August 17, 1733. He settled (with his father's family) in Whitehall Township of old Bucks (later Northampton, now Lehigh County) Pennsylvania. He became a Naturalized British subject at the courthouse in Philadelphia on February 2, 1745. He was listed in this record of naturalization as a resident of the Bucks County of that time.

3 ii. Jacob (Hans Jacob) Ruch was born in Alteckendorf, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France) on February 28, 1716. He came to Pennsylvania with his parents arriving in Philadelphia on the ship Samuel from Rotterdam Holland via Deal England on August 17, 1733. There is an item found in the 27 July 1749 issue of Benjamin Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette as follows: "A Mill near Germantown where Christian Kinsing formerly lived to be sold by Jacob Ruch". So Jacob may have lived for a time in Germantown, which today is part of Philadelphia. He was naturalized as a British subject at the courthouse in Philadelphia in 1745 and was listed in the record at that time as being a resident of Philadelphia County (Pennsylvania). This naturalization event most likely happened on February 2nd, which was the same day recorded (at the same place) for the naturalization of his two brothers (George & Michael Ruch).

4 iii. Michael Ruch (Rugh) (the Sr.) was born in Gumbrechtshoffen, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France) probably on January 5 (or) July 26, 1723. Most researchers date his birth as "January 5, 1723/24", but a church record found in the Archives Nationales in Strasbourg by researcher John Ruch of Canada shows "Johann Michael" born to "Hans Georg Ruch and Catharina of Gumbrechtshoffen" on "July 26th 1728". This date obviously differs from the above and the year (1728) also conflicts with his age as recorded on the following ship's record. One can't help but wonder if the old faded church birth record wasn't misread and it actually had a date of "1723" (the "8" actually being a "3"?). The ship record (as reported by Egle) shows that he came from Rotterdam Holland via Deal England with his parents and siblings on the ship "Samuel", landing (at age 10) in Philadelphia on August 17, 1733. This Ruch family is known to have settled in Whitehall Township, which was first part of Bucks then Northampton and now present-day Lehigh County (Pennsylvania). On February 2, 1745 Michael Ruch swore an oath to the English King and thus was naturalizedas aBritish subject at the Philadelphia Courthouse. This courthouse is known today as "Constitution Hall", the place where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution was written some 30-40 years later. In 1743 Michael applied for a warrant and in 1747 was awarded land by the Penns that was located on "Truckers Creek" (now known as Jordan Creek) in old Bucks County (now in Lehigh county) Pennsylvania north of what is today Allentown. Records indicate he was one of a group of members that in 1744 contributed to the construction of the original "Heidelberg Lutheran/Reformed (Union) Church" log building. The church still exists today in a newer form at 5187 Irvin Road, Slatington, Pennsylvania and is about 2 miles due east of Jordan Creek and where Michael's land was probably situated. The 1747 land survey map shows a branch in the creek on Michael's property which appears very much like an existing branch one can see on a modern map of the area. Records show that in 1769 he and his wife were sponsors for the baptism of John Michael Kassner at the Heidelberg Church. Later, in 1771, he left Eastern Pennsylvania, taking his family west into the wilderness beyond the Allegheny Mountains. With the able help of his adult sons and their families they homesteaded a very large tract of land in Southwestern Pennsylvania. They constructed cabins and a sturdy stockade used by both family and neighbors for protection from Indian attack. This "fort" became well known in that part of early Pennsylvania as "Rugh's Blockhouse". It was located on a site just a mile or two south of the present City of Greensburg and was on the old Hannastown-Beesontown road. He built a large two-story log house which had musket portholes and where a large company of people could stay and defend themselves during times of indian attack. In the year 1773, along with a small handful of other individuals, he played a large part in the formation of the new County of Westmoreland. He was appointed by the Pennsylvania governor of the day as one of the 14 original Westmoreland County "Justices". He was also one of a very small group of men named to set up the new county seat at the home of Robert Hanna. The town thus erected soon became known as "Hannastown". A few years later, in 1782, Hannastown was totally destroyed during an Indian attack inspired by the British. Michael was one of five individuals then chosen by the Governor of Pennsylvania to "purchase and take assurance" land for the creation of yet another county town. That new town, first known as "New Town" eventually became known as Greensburg, and is the county seat of Westmoreland County to this day. Much of the original land of Michael (the Sr.) has now become known as "South Greensburg". Michael served for severalterms as County Coroner, beginning in 1780. He and friend Anthony Altman were the trustees of 106 acres of land provided for the church and school of the Zion Lutheran Church at Harold's (so designated in 1789). During the Revolution, he was the Westmoreland County Militia "Commissioner of Purchases". The Rugh Blockhouse was apparently considered then what today would be known by the military as a "supply depot". He appears on a county tax listing for Hempfield Township in 1789 and is in the nations first census (1790) as the head of his household within Hempfield. The old house of Michael (the Sr.) located today in South Greensburg still exists in a remodeled state (1991), and is occupied by an Attorney at Law at 1213 Broad Street. The original existing stone walls are said to be 2 feet thick. The location of this house is but a few blocks from a road presently called "Rugh Street". Michael died about 1800 in Hempfield Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. He married twice. On April 16, 1745 in Moselem Springs, Richmond Township, (now in Berks County), Pennsylvania he married Franzina (Anna Franzina) Mercklin (Merkel)(Markle at the Moselem Lutheran Church. Franzina (Anna Franzina) Mercklin (Merkel)(Markle was born in Lambsheim, the Palatinate (now part of the Pfalz in Germany) about 1716-1717. Old records show that on February 2, 1717 she was baptized at the church in Heuchelheim, the Palatinate (now in Frankenthal, the Pfalz, Germany) Franzina was the daughter of Christian (John Christian) Mercklin (Merkel) Sr and Catharine (Anna Catharina) Benner (Bender). Franzina died in (or about) 1782 in Hempfield Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. It is considered very likely (but not completely proven) that Franzina died during the Indian attack at "Millers" on July 13, 1782. This is the incident where her son, Michael Jr., and his wife and children were taken captive. The Indians were part of the same band that also attacked and destroyed Hannastown. On June 15, 1784 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania Michael married Lucy Waltz (Walts). Lucy Waltz (Walts) was born sometime after about 1725.

5 iv. Maria Eve Ruch was born in Gumbrechtshoffen, Alsace, (now in Bas-Rhin France) in 1725. As a child, she came to America with her father's family from Amsterdam Holland, arriving in Philadelphia in 1733 at the young age of 8. She spent much of the remainder of her childhood in Whitehall Township of old Northampton County, Pennsylvania (north of the present City of Allentown, Lehigh County).

George (Hans George) Ruch (Rouk) (The Sr.) and Susanna Zigler (the 3rd wife) had the following children:

6 v. Catherine Ruch was born in Whitehall Township, Northampton County (Now Lehigh County), Pennsylvania about 1735.

7 vi. Conrad Ruch was born in Whitehall Township, Northampton County (Now Lehigh County), Pennsylvania about 1737. Conrad is thought to have moved to Westerm Pennsylvania in adulthood. Probably the Indiana County area.

8 vii. Anna Ruch was born in Whitehall Township, Northampton County (Now Lehigh County), Pennsylvania about 1738.

9 viii. Mary Ruch was born in Whitehall Township, Northampton County (Now Lehigh County), Pennsylvania about 1739.

10 ix. John (Johannes) Ruch (the Sr.) was born in an area of Bucks County, which later became part of Northampton, then Lehigh County, Pennsylvania on October 7, 1740. In January of 1741 he was baptized at the Jordan Lutheran Church in South Whitehall Township, Bucks (later Northampton then Lehigh) County, Pennsylvania . Baptismal sponsors were Johannes Lichtenwaller (Lichtenwalner) and Julianne (Juliana) Trachsel (Trachselin). On November 5, 1765 in Pennsylvania he married Eva Fetzinger. Eva Fetzinger was born about 1743. Eva was the daughter of George Fetzinger.

11 x. Lorentz (Laurence) Ruch was born in Whitehall Township, Northampton County (Now Lehigh County), Pennsylvania on November 14, 1744. In 1773 he took out a warrant for 92 acres of land in Northampton County that became known as "Westminster". He gradually added to his land until he eventually owned 212 acres. The little village of "Ruchsville", (north of Allentown, PA.) came to be located on this land. Lorentz served during the Revolution as a Private in Captain Adam Serfoo's Company of Northampton County Pennsylvania Militia. He appeared (as Larance Roegh or Rogh and the head of his household) in the nations first official census taken in 1790 in Whitehall Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania. He died on October 27 (sometime after 1828) in Whitehall Township, Northampton County (Now Lehigh County), Pennsylvania. His original tombstone in the Egypt Reformed Church Cemetery has been replaced with a newer one. The death date "1825" on this newer stone is considered to be in error. There is a probate record which shows him as a living excecutor in 1828. He was buried at the old Egypt UCC Cemetery in Egypt, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. On November 5, 1769 in Pennsylvania he married Charlotta Barbara Knouse. Although not proven, the marriage event most likely occurred in old Northampton County in or near Whitehall Township. Charlotta Barbara Knouse was born on June 20, 1750. Charlotta was the daughter of George Knauss and Maria Charlotta. She died on March 28, 1810 in Pennsylvania.

12 xi. Peter Ruch was born in South Whitehall Township, Northampton (now Lehigh) County, Pennsylvania on February 7, 1746. On March 16, 1746 (in South Whitehall Township) he was baptized Lutheran at the Jordan Lutheran Church. Baptismal sponsors were: "Peter Traschel and A. Teschler". In adulthood he became a patriot soldier, serving as a Major in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. He appeared (as the head of his household) in the nations first official census taken in 1790 in Brecknock Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He died on December 22, 1823 in Pennsylvania. About 1770 in Pennsylvania he married Maria Elizabeth. Maria Elizabeth was born on November 27, 1753. She died on April 12, 1831 at age 77 years, 4 mo, 15 da in Pennsylvania.

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