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Michael Burkhalter 1694 Switzerland-1762 GA
Posted by: Ann Blomquist (ID *****0763) Date: June 21, 2002 at 12:37:53
  of 680


MICHAEL BURKHALTER was born Apr 06, 1694 in Lutzelfluh, Berne, Switzerland, and died Jan 06, 1762 in Vernonburg, Colonial GA. He married (1) ADELHEIT KOBEL c 1715 in Berne Switzerland. She was born Dec 18, 1696 in Luetzelflueh, Switzerland, and died c 1718 in Switzerland. He married (2) BARBARA WALTHUER c 1719 in Switzerland. She was born c 1700 in prob Switzerland.

Little is known of the early life of Michael Burkhalter (spelled various ways), but he was born in 1694 in Switzerland. Michael married at least twice and had children with both wives. Currently, it is not certain which mother had which children, but they were all born in village of Lutzelfluh, Canton Berne, Switzerland.

Because the Swiss authorities wanted to discourage its citizens from leaving, a tax was levied on anyone wishing to leave. Unable or unwilling to pay the tax, Burkhalter and his family left in secret. In Nov 1735, "Hans Knobel of Schaufelbuhl in the commune of Lutzelfluh in the district of Brandis bought the homestead of Michael Burckhalter who is believed to have emigrated secretly to Carolina, and still owes him a sum of 90 crowns. Since Burckhalter emigrated without permission and paid no emigration tax, these 90 crowns are confiscated by the Landvogt for the use of the government." (Faust)

Since the town of Luetzelflueh is located on the Aare River, they probably traveled down the Aare to the Rhine River and on to Rotterdam. There they embarked on a ship to Dover, England. They pledged loyalty to the British crown and they were received by the Trustees for the colony of Georgia. Their pledge of loyalty was probably similar to one included in Faust's book, "We Subscribers Natives and late Inhabitants of the Canton of Bern in Switzerland and places adjacent, having transported ourselves and families into the Province of Pennsylvania a Colony subject to the laws of Great Britain in hopes and expectation of finding a Retreat and peaceable settlement therein, Do Solemnly promise and ingage that we will be faithful and bear true Allegiance to his Present Majesty King George the Second and his Successors Kings of Great Britain, and will be faithfull to the Proprietor of this Province, and that we will demean ourselves peaceabley to all his said Majesties Subjects, and strictly observe and conform to the Laws of England and of this Province to the utmost of our Power and best of our understanding." (Faust, plate 14)

It is not known for certain which of these early transports carried the Burkhalter family. Numerous records state that the family arrived in 1735, but there were 3 transports that arrived in GA that year. Unfortunately, the Burkhalter family is not included in any of the surviving lists of passengers. Because the Burkhalter family paid their own way to Georgia, they were not indentured servants and could immediately begin building a new life for themselves. When German-speaking immigrants arrived in British Georgia, the authorities sometimes incorrectly identified them. Burkhalter is variously referred to as a Salzburger, German, or a Swiss. However, he was really Swiss.

This Swiss family proved to be excellent farmers. In 1738, William Byrd described the area and people, writing, "Burgholder, Holstatler, Houlster, and Dester are all industrious and laborious men." (SalzSaga, 83)

Most of the Swiss and German immigrants were placed in the villages of Ebenezer and Purysburg. Ebenezer was located a few miles northwest of Savannah while Purysburg (Purisburg) was established on the South Carolina shore of the Savannah River nearly opposite Ebenezer. But our Burkhalter family settled in the village of Hampstead which was founded about 4 miles southwest of Savannah and was "peopled by twelve families." In 1736, a visitor described the village thus, "These settlers were engaged in gardening, and their principal business was to supply the inhabitants of Savannah with vegetables." The visitor added that the town was very "pretty" and that "the planters are very forward, having built neat huts and clear'd and planted a great deal of land." (C. Jones, 248)

In Oct 1741, Michael received a grant of 500 acres near Hampstead GA. His petition states, "At a Meeting of the president and Assistant for the County of Savannah, Oct the 16th 1741. Michael Bourghalter of Hampstead having requested that a Grant of 500 acres of land may be made to him, for benefit of himself and his numerous family (which consists of 5 sons and 2 daughters, one of which is likewise married) he intending immediately to raise a build a water mill for grinding corn, there being a proper run of water within the said 500 acres whereon he may erect the same, and we knowing the said Michael Bourghalter to have a good genius for such undertaking and withal having approved himself to be a very industrious man; we have thought proper to comply with his request so far as in us lies, by allowing him to make a beginning thereon, without any further loss of time, not doubting but the trust upon the same being duly represented, will order such a grant to be made; his intention and design being to make a division of the aforesaid land in such proportion amongst his sons and daughters that the good and bad land may be divided amoungst them so, as he the said Bourghalter shall see meet: This land he now desires lying by computation two miles or upwards south east from Hampstead, where he and his family have for 5 years past well cultivated and improved two fifty acres lots which they never design to forsake or cast away." (CR 6)

In 17--, Michael was mentioned as "of Hampstead, considered of all others in the whole colony the best planter, skillful, industrious, master of several hand craft trades such as millwright, wheelright, cooper and carpenter." The record further states that his eldest son was a shoemaker and carpenter, the eldest daughter was a tailor, and the five other children were trained daily in these trades. The family was careful to observe the Lord's day and perform religious duties (CR 23). [date?] The oldest son would have been Michael, Margaret would be the tailor, and the five younger children would have been Rodolph, Peter, John, Barbara, and Christian.

In Feb 1742, the local residents sent the following petition to the Trustees, "May it please your Honours, We who names are hereunto subscribed, in the behalf of our selves and the rest of the inhabitants of Vernonburg and the villages adjacent, wherein by Divine Providence and the paternal care of your Honours we are, we hope, happily settled; finding our selves at the great loss for want of a Minister to carry on the worship of God; and to instruct us in our duty towards man, that so we may become useful to the colony and receive on our endeavours the blessing of God; do humbly request your Honours to give us a Pastor, a man fearing God and hating coveteousness; one that is well grounded & settled in the Calvinistical principles of religion those being them we were brought up in and which we steadfastly adhere unto." The petition further specifically requested the Rev. John Joachim Zubly, who still resided in Switzerland, be their minister. The list of names of the petitioners is headed by Michel Burckhalter. (CR 23)

According to Charles Jones, the village of Hampstead had been abandoned by 1740. However, other records continue to name Hampstead into the 1770s. Records concerning the Burkhalters include both the villages of Hampstead and nearby Vernonburg which can be found on modern maps. Burkhalter's industry made him a prominent citizen. In 1746, new immigrants on the ship Judith were distributed to him, "the previously mentioned Burgholder now the leading inhabitant of Vernonburg." (G. Jones, Detailed, 158) The Rulen family was also indentured to Michael who wrote to the colony Trustees, "thanking the Trustees for the gift of 4 servants." Burkhalter rewarded his servant Johann Adam by sending him to school. (SalzSaga, 89)

In Apr 1749, Burkhalter was a witness to the sale of a town lot in Vernonburg from Lorentz Rehtnauer to John Barger. In 1754, a deed between Ulrich Schonholtz and Gasper Herbach mentions that the 50 acre tract was part of the 500 acres formerly granted to Burkhalter. (Beckemeyer, 118) In 1755, Michael "Burghalter" of Acton registered his stock mark, the manner in which he marked his cattle, horses, sheep, and swine. (Dumont, 45)

In 1753, 1755 and 1757, Burkhalter's lands were mentioned in deeds. In August 1759, Michael "Burghalter" and John Joachim Zubly were among the residents of Vernonburg and Acton who petitioned the Governor to allow land set aside for a minister to pass to the residents (CR 8).

In Nov 1759, Burkhalter received a grant for 102 acres in Christ Church Parish, the parish area around Savannah; in Nov 1760, he received 483 acres in Christ Church Parish; in Dec 1761, he received 50 acres in Hampstead village.

In Jan 1762, Michael wrote his will in German which states, "In the name of God Amen. This is the last will of Michael Burkholder, Planter. My will is that whenever I am taken out of this world, my executors hereafter mentioned shall sell everything that belongs to me who [words missing] consisting of land, negroes, household goods, or anything else, nothing [illegible] except my wife's bed and a few necessaries toward housekeeping which [illegible]. The purchase money said executors shall lay out on interest on sufficient security and from the interest my wife and daughter shall be [illegible words] maintained during her natural life & if the interest should prove insufficient for that purpose, the executors may break in upon the principal yet they make it their care to preserve it as much as may be possible [illegible] my will that after the decease of my wife all that remains shall be equally divided between all my children of the first and second bed whereas my daughter-in-law Catherine always behaved obediently and dutifully to me, I do ordain that her child Mary Catherine shall inherit and equal portion [words missing] all my children. I appoint the Revd. Mr. Zubly, Mr. William Russell, and Mr. Christopher Ring my executors, [I] revoke all former wills and declare this to be my last will and testament done January first 1762." Michael signed with an X which probably means that he was too ill to sign because he usually signed with the initials MB in earlier years. The witnesses where John Eppinger and George Derick. On Jan 8 1762, the will was presented in court by Rev. John Joachim Zubly and Christopher Ring.

Michael died in 1762 at age 67, having made the hazardous voyage across the ocean to become a founding citizen of a new world colony. It is interesting to note that after living in Georgia for about 26 years, he wrote his will in German rather than English.

An inventory was made of the estate, dated January 12, 1762, which included 6 slaves, crops of rice and rye, 12 cattle, 2 horses, potatoes, corn, peas; household items such as a spinning wheel, pots, kettles, books, carpenter tools, furniture, for a total value of L211.12.10.

[what happened to wife and land? how settled? when?]

It is not known what happened to his wife Barbara. He may have even had a third wife. He mentioned a daughter in his will, implying that she was a dependent. It is not known which daughter this was.

The children of Michael are not known for certain. Unfortunately, he did not name them in his will. This compiler is just making a best guess which matches the 1741 description of his family as 5 sons and 2 daughters (one was Margaret from his first marriage) and the 1742 recommendation of a grant to Michael and his 5 sons. So, I have not included men who have sometimes been listed as Michael's sons: Abraham Burkhalter, Joshua Burkhalter, George Burkhalter. Since Michael specifically mentions children "of the first and second bed," meaning from both marriages that produced children, I assume that Margaret was still living in 1762. Also, even though Michael named his "daughter-in-law" Catherine, this terminology of daughter- in-law often meant daughter "by law" or stepdaughter (from a third marriage). In his will, he did not call Mary Catherine his grandchild, so it is more likely that Catherine was his step-daughter.

1694 - 1735, Canton Berne, Switzerland
1735 - 1762, Colonial GA near Savannah

Beckemeyer, Frances. Abstracts of GA Colonial Conveyance Book C-1, 1750-1761.
p 30- 31,118-119.
Candler, Allen D. The Colonial Records of the State of GA (CR): 1-404-405; 2-406; 5- 554,661,662; 6-83,401; 7-195,551,553,581; 23-143,473,476, 483-485; 24-143,179.
Dumont, William H. Colonial GA Genealogical Data 1748-1783. p 45.
English Crown Grants in Christ Church Parish in GA 1755-1775. p 24, 215.
Faust and Brumbaugh. Lists of Swiss Immigrants in the Eighteenth Century of American Colonies, Vol 1, p 38; Vol 2, plate 14.
Jones, Charles C. The Dead Towns of Georgia. p 248.
Jones, George F. Detailed Reports of the Salzburger Emigrants Who Settled in America, Vol 10, 1743. p158.
Jones, George F. The Germans of Colonial Georgia, p 12.
Jones, George F. The Salzburger Saga, Religious Exiles and Other Germans Along the Savannah. p 83, 89, 100.
RJ Taylor Foundation. An Index to GA Colonial Conveyances and Confiscated Lands Records 1750-1804. p 12
RJ Taylor Foundation. Index to Probate Records of Colonial GA 1733-1778, 1983. p 7.
RJ Taylor Foundation. An Index to English Crown Grants in GA 1755-1775. p 20.
Entry of Claims for GA Landholders 1733-1755. p 112, 124.
Abstracts of the Colonial Wills of the State of GA 1733-1777. p 22.
Warren, Mary Bondurant. GA Governor and Council Journal 1761-1767. p 29, 37, 46, 51.
Brown, Kathleen S. The Burkhalters and Our Kin, 1993.
This was researched and written by Ann Blomquist. 5/2002

Warren, Mary Bondurant. GA Governor and Council Journal 1761-1767. p xi, xii.
RJ Taylor Foundation. "Colonial Georgia," Index to Probate Records of Colonial GA 1733-1778. p 3.
Jones, George F. Detailed Reports of the Salzburger Emigrants Who Settled in America, Vol 4, 1737. p viii.
Jones, George F. Detailed Reports of the Salzburger Emigrants Who Settled in America, Vol 10, 1743.

References with Errors
Gnann, Pearl. Georgia Salzburger and Allied Families. p 32. (numerous errors)
Colquitt, Delores B. "Burkhalter Family of GA, Pioneers and Patriots," DAR Magazine, March 1922, p148-152. (This article which has many errors was published in the early days of the DAR when romanticism prevailed over research and documentation.)

MARGARET BURKHALTER, b. c 1716, Lutzelfluh, Berne, Switzerland; d. Aft. 1762, colonial GA; m. UNKNOWN, Bef. 1741, Colonial GA.

PETER BURKHALTER, b. c Mar 19, 1717/18, Switzerland; d. 1727, Switzerland.

MICHAEL BURKHALTER, b. c Feb 11, 1719/20, Lutzelfluh, Berne, Switzerland; d. Bet. Jan - Feb 1807, Edgefield Dis SC; m. ANNA DENZLER, Bef. May 18, 1745, colonial GA; b. c Jul 21, 1726, Illnau Parish, Zurich, Switzerland; d. Aft. 1800.

DAUGHTER BURKHALTER, b. c Aug 24, 1721, Switzerland; d. Bef. 1741, prob died young.

RODOLPH BURKHALTER, b. c Jan 05, 1724/25, Lutzelfluh, Berne, Switzerland; d. c 1789, GA; m. UNKNOWN, c 1751, GA; b. c 1730; d. Aft. 1767, GA.

PETER BURKHALTER, b. Mar 14, 1726/27, Lutzelfluh, Berne, Switzerland; d. c 1803; m. MARIE STECKLE.

JOHN BURKHALTER, b. c Feb 06, 1728/29, Lutzelfluh, Berne, Switzerland; d. Jan 28, 1784, St Paul's Parish, Wilkes Co GA; m. (1) SARAH MILLEDGE, c 1756, Christ Church Parish GA; b. c 1740; d. c 1773, GA; m. (2) ANN NEWSOME, c 1775; b. c 1755; d. 1817, Sumter Co AL.

BARBARA BURKHALTER, b. c Jan 26, 1729/30, Lutzelfluh, Berne, Switzerland.

CHRISTIAN BURKHALTER, b. c Dec 19, 1732, Lutzelfluh, Berne, Switzerland; d. 1798, Edgefield Dis SC; m. MARY EVA FLEEK, c 1768, SC; b. c 1748, Europe; d. Aft. 1810, prob Edgefield Co SC.

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