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Re: Troyer family update
Posted by: Jon A. Troyer (ID *****5557) Date: May 04, 2005 at 06:55:25
In Reply to: Troyer family update by John F Murray of 264

I have been knocking around John Murray's conclusions about Michael Troyer/David Dreher and I am not totally prepared to accept them.

Like Murray, I do believe there may be a connection between Michael Troyer and the David Dreher on board the Friendship in 1741. However, I am not so eager to dispel the Seth Troyer narrative of Michael arriving in 1750 with his stepfather Holly. In order to accept Murray's theory, Seth would have had to have gotten his story very wrong. I happen to believe that far more error is created in secondary documental history because of the self perpetuating nature of it, than in oral history.

My theory, which is incomplete, is that David Dreher, born 1712 in Trub, Bern, Switzerland married Veronica "Frani" Holly in 1733 in Trub. (I am not completely convinced that Holly was not her maiden name, nor am I convinced that she either died on board ship in 1750 or that she married a Holly). Michael was born the following year in Trub and Veronica died in childbirth. Perhaps, being a young widower, David had his Holly inlaws raise Michael, hence Michael adopted the Holly name. David, perhaps fleeing persecution as a man of military age, left Switzerland and remarried in the Palatinate on April 26, 1740 to Anna Margaretha Weeber and departed for America aboard the Friendship the following year.

Additional information regarding David Dreher on board the Friendship says that David was from Thaleischweiler, m. 26 Apr 1740 Anna Margaretha Weeber at Dellfeldt, had children born in Lebanon Co., PA 1743-1755 and York Co., PA 1758. Source: (also lists a Maria Magdalean Dreher as wife of Jurgen Hert, all from Thaleischweiler-Fröschen, Bayern-Pfalz)

In the Baptismal Records of Rev. John Casper Stoever (first German Lutheran minister ordained in America) we find:
Dreher, John Heinrich, b 03 29 1743; bap 05 23 1743, Spon. John Heinrich Marcket & wife.
Dreher, Daniel, b 03 ll 1752; bap 04 12 l752, Spon. Daniel Born & Margaretha Speck,
Dreher, Maria Barbara, b 12 26 1755; bap 01 25 1756, Spon. Leonhardt Kneuget & his wife.

If David, the father of Michael, departed for America in 1741, Michael would have been about 8 years old. If Seth's oral history was that Michael's father came to America when he (Michael) was 8, that could have led to the assumption that Michael came at that same time. Also, if Michael didn't come until 1750, he would have been 16, old enough to sign the register. Another reason Michael may have been left behind is because of the hardship of passage on children. The Mittlelberger passenger account of the passage of the ship Osgood in 1750 states that children ages one to seven rarely survive.

In addition, an 1897 biography of Jonathan B. Hooley says his gggrandfather Andreas Hooley arrived on the ship Brotherhood in 1750 with his brother Michael Hooley, but "the family does not possess any certain information with regard to the latter from the time of their landing. Andreas Hooley is remembered as a consistent and earnest member of the Amish Mennonite Church." Perhaps the reason there is no record of Michael Hooley is that upon arrival in America, he met up with his father who had arrived in 1741 and returned to using his birthname which became Troyer. That would explain why there is a David Triar, Michael Troyer, and Andreas Holly together in 1756. (BTW, does anyone have a copy of the 1756 Bethel Township Tax List?)

That would also mean that Michael married at age 19 and had his first child a year later, a more plausible assumption than being single throughout his twenties. It also could explain why a Bible brought to America by David and perhaps given to Michael when he started his family would have Michael's children in it, but be called "David Troyer's Bible" by Moses Troyer in the oral history given to Jacob Hochstetler.

I have gone through Murray's theory point by point, and this theory fits every question and is supported by records. I could go into further detail, but I am still plugging in gaps and looking for holes. This is all supposition of course, but I am bothered by Murray's discounting of the Seth Troyer narrative and by the David Dreher records. I am not totally convinced that there is any connection between Michael Troyer and David Dreher, but if there must be a connection, I believe this theory makes more sense than Murray's. It also allows for greater weight to be given to the Seth Troyer story.

Any comments or critiques would be greatly appreciated.

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