Johann Heinrich Zumwald [Henry Zumwalt] was the first of my Zumwalt line to be born in the land we now call the United States of America. He was born in 1738 in York County, Province of Pennsylvania, to Johann Wilhelm Andres Zumwald and Anna Catharina Margretha (Jacob) Zumwald. His older sisters, Maria Elisabetha, Maria Susanna, and Anna Ottilia were christened¹ in Contwig found today in the Rhineland-Palatinate in western Germany.
Many records from that time Americanized German names, and Johann Wilhelm Andres Zumwald became Andrew Zumwalt. He and his wife and daughters were transported aboard the Virtuous Grace across the Atlantic Ocean to Philadelphia, arriving on 24 Sep 1737.² While in York County, many changes occurred to the family. George was born. Anna Catharina died, and Andrew married Ann Regina Fite. Between Anna Catharina and Ann Regina, Andrew would father eleven children.
In the 18th century, the majority of roads were Indian trails cut in the wilderness.³ Roads often had wagon ruts and tree stumps in the middle of the road. They became swampy, mires when it rained. Traveling over long distances would have required mules or oxen to pull the heavy wagons loaded with goods. Most likely, these are the conditions the Zumwalt’s encountered when they moved from York County to Tom’s Brook, Frederick County, Virginia. Tom’s Brook sits to the west of the beautiful Shenandoah Mountains.
In 1762, Henry informed the Proprietors Office that there were 400 acres of ungranted land in Frederick County, Virginia.⁴ He asked for a survey of the land. To the south, the acreage almost extended to Tom’s Brook, on the east was Andrew Zumwalt’s property, and on the west, the land crossed the wagon road. This road became known as the Great Valley Road. Between 1745 and 1775, thousands of immigrants used this road resulting in many western settlements.⁵
Andrew died sometime in 1764/65. In 1767, after paying the annual quick rent fee to Thomas Lord Fairfax, Fairfax granted four hundred acres on Tom’s Brook to Henry and Christopher Zumwalt [Henry’s brother]. Regina received one-third of the land as her dower right, indicating that this had been Andrew’s land.⁶
Henry, and his family, lived in Tom’s Brook until about 1796, when the tax rolls of Bourbon County, Kentucky, show that he is living there. Several of his brothers, including Christopher, Jacob, and Andrew, had preceded Henry to Kentucky. Once again, the Zumwalt family would have transported their family over rough roads to their new home. This time they would have traveled over the Great Valley Road to the Wilderness Road to Bourbon County, Kentucky.⁷ Eventually a portion of Bourbon County, where they lived, became Harrison County.
Solomon Zumwalt, son of Adam Zumwalt, wrote his recollections which were included in a Zumwalt Family History⁸compiled by George R. Zumwalt. Adam was Henry’s brother. Solomon wrote, “His brother Andrew Zumwalt had moved to the Louisiana Purchase in 1799. In the 1800’s Adam sold his farm, dug a large canoe 60 feet long and wide enough to lay four wagon wheels flat down on the bottom, loaded his goods, including stills to make whiskey, not withstanding he and his wife were members of the Presbyterian Church, hired a number of hands and descended the Licking River to the Ohio and down the Mississippi and on to Peruque, a small stream some distance above the mouth of the Missouri, and left his goods at his brother’s. He then made choice in the north part of St. Charles county, 21 miles from St. Charles at what is Big Spring, now a railroad called Renon.” Perhaps Henry and his brothers used this method of transportation for the last leg of their journey.
In 1799, Henry followed his brothers to the St. Charles District, Upper Louisiana Territory where he purchased 450 arpens (380 acres) of land. He died in 1804 leaving his land to his nephew Henry Zumwalt, Jr. Henry Jr. was the son of Jacob Zumwalt and was married to Barbara, Henry Seniors daughter.
Much has been written about the Zumwalt brothers. Most of them at some point in their lives were soldiers and adventurers. Through the years their ancestors have written many histories about their adventures. Not much has been written about Henry. Henry was the father of eight daughters. Perhaps, because he had no male heirs, he had no one to take over the farm while he was away thus limiting his adventurous activities. During his lifetime he traveled from York County, Pennsylvania Province to the St. Charles District in Louisiana Territory. He traveled over difficult roads transporting family and whatever he had accumulated during his life. In his sixty-five short years on this earth, he traveled over 900 miles and seeing much of the prettiest country in the eastern half of the United States. The going was tough, but he did it. In my mind, Johann Heinrich Zumwalt is a hero.
Note: There inaccuracies in Solomon’s recollections and the Zumwalt Family History, but the writings include a lot of great information.
¹Evangelisch Reformierte (Contwig, Pfalz, Bavaria), “Deutschland Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898,” Christening record, 2 Feb 1736; FHL microfilm 193,807.
² Archives.org database and images (http://www/internetarchive.org : accessed 27 Jul 2018); Listing for Andreas Sumwald; Citing “Foreigners Who Took Oath of Allegiance in Pennsylvania Between 1725 and 1775, Egle, William Henry, P. 137.
³18th Century History, https://www.history1700s.com/index.php/articles/24-science-and-technology/34-18th-century-transportation.html
⁴ Henry Summerwalt’s [Zumwalt] survey of 10 Sep 1762 and Assigning of land to Michael Summers, Doc. 0437-0440, Land Office/Northern Neck Patents & Grants; Library of Virginia; digital images, Library of Virginia (https://lva.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/discovery/browse?vid=01LVA_INST:01LVA : accessed 31 Jul 2019).
⁵Map Guide to American Migration Routes, 1735-1815, William Dollarhide, Heritage Quest, Bountiful, Utah, 2000
⁶ Library of Virginia, Northern Neck Grants (http://image.lva.virginia.gov/LONN/NN-5/296/1-100.html : accessed 12 Aug 2018), Deed Henry & Christopher Zomwald, Northern Neck Grants, O, 1767-1770, P. 49, Reel 296.
⁷18th Century History, https://www.history1700s.com/index.php/articles/24-science-and-technology/34-18th-century-transportation.html
⁸ George R. Zumwalt, Zumwalt Family History; PDF Download, Central Texas Crafter (http://centraltexascrafter.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/ZumwaltFamilyHistory.pdf}