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Re: Predecessors of Henry Mohn
Posted by: Walter Mohn (ID *****6697) Date: September 25, 2011 at 06:09:22
In Reply to: Re: Predecessors of Henry Mohn by Barbara Uhl of 298

Hello, Barbara. Thank you for your message concerning the predecessors of Henry Mohn. Based on my more recent genealogical research, I agree that John Mohn (shown in the 1800 census for Northampton County) was most likely Henry's father. Little is known or documented about John Mohn who emigrated from Germany and founded the Mohn family in Northampton County, PA. What is known is that only one head-of-family person bearing the Mohn surname is listed in the 1800 Census for Northampton County, and that is John Mohn. In that document, he is shown to be living in Williams Township (just south of Easton, PA) and to be age 45 years or more, having a wife between 26 and 45 years, a son age 10 years or less, and 2 daughters, both age 10 years or less.

A thorough search of passenger manifests for commercial passenger ships arriving in Philadelphia, over the years spanning from 1749 to 1800, did not reveal any immigrants with the name of John Mohn, Johannes Mohn, or any close variations thereof. While these results are not conclusive, they suggest that John Mohn likely immigrated to America by means other than commercial ship.

Since it is documented that John Mohn was at least 45 years old in 1800, it is possible that he could have fought in the American Revolutionary War which began in 1776 when he would have been at least 21 years old. Further, it is possible that, in his homeland of Germany, he could have been conscripted into military service and transported by navy frigate to America in order to fight as a mercenary soldier for the British. Recruitment of men for mercenary forces was very common in Germany during the late 18th century, especially in the regions of Hessen-Nassau, Hessen-Darmstant, Pfalz, Wurttenburg, and Baden.

It is compelling that John Mohn was most likely a Hessian mercenary soldier who eventually changed his loyalty to America and remained in Pennsylvania after the conclusion of the Revolutionary War. He probably chose to settle in Williams Township, as many of the inhabitants there had previously immigrated from Germany. Consequently, German customs were commonly practiced there and the German language was widely spoken in that local region, both conditions which facilitated the integration of new German immigrants. In addition, The Northampton County militia also maintained it's headquarters in Williams Township where many Hessian captives and deserters, who were also farmers or trained craftsmen (such as shoemakers, blacksmiths, and weavers) were put to work during the war producing supplies needed by the American army. Some of these individuals, including John Mohn, likely remained there after the war and became Americans.

While living and working in Williams Township after the Revolutionary War, John Mohn probably maintained a low profile and did not disclose his past to anyone in order to avoid scorn, contempt, or rebuke from local patriots. It is probable that he worked quietly, either as a farm laborer or as a skilled craftsman, being careful to avoid situations which might draw attention to himself. He apparently continued that policy for the rest of his life, since the only documentation that has yet been found to confirm his existence in Northampton County is the 1800 census.

John Mohn's first son, who was indicated on the 1800 census, was born Aug. 16, 1800 in Williams Township and was named John Mohn Jr. Shortly thereafter, John Mohn and his family moved to Plainfield Township, just north of Nazareth, PA, where his second son, Henry Mohn, was born on October 4, 1803. Separate documentation concerning both John Mohn Jr. and Henry Mohn state that their father had immigrated to America from Germany. John Mohn's third son, Peter Mohn, was born in Plainfield Township on September 17, 1806.

As of this writing, no information has been found on John Mohn's family or ancestors in Germany, his profession or date of death, nor has anything been discovered about his wife, daughters, or any other children. It is possible that John Mohn may have been a shoemaker, since it is documented that his son Henry, as a young man, initially worked as a shoemaker and (by deduction) was likely taught this craft by his father.

John Mohn's three sons grew up in Plainfield Township and each sought their fortunes in different ways. John Mohn embraced the Moravian Christian faith and eventually migrated with his family to live in a Moravian community in Gnadenhutten, OH where he died on January 16, 1857. Henry Mohn pursued a number of different professions, including shoemaker, farmer, medicinal herb salesman, and hotel proprietor. He and his family lived in Plainfield Township, Belfast, Brodheads, and finally Salisbury Township where he died on March 13, 1876. Peter Mohn and his family farmed in Freemansburg, a suburb of Bethlehem, PA. He lived to be over 90 years old and died in Bethlehem on March 29, 1888.

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