THE SHRIVER FAMILY OF LITTLE CONEWAGO 
[Kenneth K. Kroh, June, 1950]

The Palatines were thrifty and industrious people who lived in the lower regions of the Rhine. Situated on both sides of that noble rivers between Bavaria and Alsace and extending from above the city of Speyer northward to  near Cologne, the Palatinate was as fair a land as all Europe could show.  Itís fertile fields and vine-clad hills brought a good living and comfort to it's people, and sent an abundance of grain and wine to the other countries of Europe. Religion and education were so well diffused that there was no other people of their day to whom in these respects the Palatines stood second.  The situation of their native country, the highway from France into the heart of Germany; together with itís beauty and fertility raised the envy of Louis XIV of France, whose ambition was colossal. His schemes and plots made life a burden to the rulers of the Palatinate.  The death of Charles Louis of the Palatinate in 1685 without issue gave King Louis of France a claim to the Palatinate in the name of his brother who had married the sister of Charles Louis. The claim was opposed by Holland, Austria, Bavaria, Prussia and the other smaller German states, which under the leadership of the great William organized the Grand Alliance and prepared for war. 

[Click for two references on the Palatinate:  1    2 ]

King Louis, with the double purpose of wreaking vengeance on the Palatinate Ė a vengeance made more bitter by the refuge there given to the Huguenots, whom the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes had driven into exile, and also of making the country untenable for his foes,  seat an army of 50,000 men, with orders to itís commander to ravage the province with fire and sword and to make the land a desert.  The invasion took place in winter. The French army went through the length and breadth of the Palatinate; destroying itís cities and villages, stripping the people of their possessions, killing such as endeavored to save anything from the ruins and then driving them to the fields there to perish with hunger and cold. In the following spring the farmers were forced to plow under their crops. The whole land was filled with mourning and desolation. Many were killed and others were starved or frozen to death. In one day, Frederick the ruler of the Palatinate, standing on the walls of the city of Manheim counted 23 villages in flames. 

Then for a few years the people had rest and then in 1693 another invasion brought on more misery to the country. In 1701 the war of the Spanish Succession started and drew out itís miseries and cruelties for 13 long years.  Most of the fighting was done in Spain and Germany and the Palatinate came in for a full share of chaos. In 1707 Louis of France sent an army to repeat the misery to the Palatinate which he had done 20 years before. With the country ravaged again ó then began that remarkable exodus, which in the next four decades brought so many thousands  of the Palatines to America. 

It has to be noted also that to the afflictions by war also added wasan expelling power, a religious trouble which amounted to a little less than persecution.  Early in the Reformation period the ruler of the Palatinate gave his allegiance to the Protestant cause. His country became a stronghold of the Reformed faith. For 130 years no two successive rulers were of the same faith. Lutheran and Reformed princes succeeded each other in regular alternation; and each prince desired to bring his people into his own church. Finally, John William,  the ruler at the time of the Spanish War, deserted both Reformed and Lutheran, and adopted the ancient faith of the church at Rome.  He was a man of piety, but narrowness of mind, and endeavored to get his people back to the Roman Communion. Then the Palatines began to look for a new land of Peace and Freedom. 

The liberal system of government in the province of William Penn was the cause of encouraging Germans from the Palatinate, most of whom belonged to the Lutheran and Reformed faith; as well as the Mennonites from Germany and Switzerland and German Baptists from the upper Rhine, to cross the Atlantic and seek refuge in Pennsylvania. They first settled in Philadelphia in 1683, and the stream of immigration continued from that date until 1760. William Penn visited Germany three times and invited the distressed people to come to his province; and this invitation helped to cause the immigration which continued for more than half a century. 

In 1721 conditions in Alsenborn (a small town located 30 miles northwest of Speyer in the Palatinate) were so unbearable that Andrew Schreiber a resident of that place decided to leave Alsenborn, and with his family make the long trip to Pennsylvania.  On May 13th. 1721 Rev. John Mueller or (Miller) the mister of the Reformed church copied from the church protocol the baptismal and wedding records of this family. It consisted at this time of Andrew Schreiber, his wife Anna Margaretha, stepson David Young born 1699, Ludwig Schreiber born 1709, ,Andrew Jr. born 1712 and Anna Margaretha born 1715. The family had been members of this church for generations. Rev. Miller wrote the following certificate of recommendation at the same time for the family: 

"That the bearer of (or person showing) this, Andrew Schreiber, citizen and inhabitant of this place and his wife Anna Margaretha, who he has with him, confess themselves to be conformable to the pure word of God, of the Reformed Church, and have until nova assiduously observed the outward duties of Christianity in attending public Worship, receiving the Holy Sacrament, and otherwise as far as is known, have been irreproachable in their conduct, I attest, and whereas the said man and wife and their children, after having borne adversities, and about to turn their backs upon their country (God knows where) into a strange country. I would therefore recommend them to a willing reception by the preachers and elders of the said Reformed Church, wherever they may show this.

Alsenborn, Oberant Lautern, in the Electorate Palatinate.
13th. May 1721.
        John Mueller Pastor.  

The Rev. Mueller who signed then these documents served as parson in Alsenborn from 1714 to 1726. He was the father of John Peter Mueller (Miller) born in 1710 and who came to Pennsylvania in 1730. He served as the pastor of the Reformed Congregation at Goshenhoppen; later going to Ephrata and becoming the noted leader of the Brethern at the Cloisters.  

The Schreiber family landed at Philadelphia in the fall of 1721; the trip taking nearly 1/2 year. They then moved into the Goshenhoppen neighborhood, Perkiomen Valley which is in northern Montgomery county. Goshenhoppen was one of the oldest German settlements in Pennsylvania and many families from the Palatinate remained there among relatives and friends until the time that they could support themselves. The father soon died and his widow married John Herger, who lived in the same place. Andrew Jr. learned the trade of tanner and shoemaker. The business of tanning was carried on by succeeding generations of Shrivers. As late as 1890 Louis E. and H. Wirt Shriver (great-great grandsons of Andrew Jr) were engaged in this business at Union Mills, Carroll County Maryland.  

Andrew freed himself from his apprenticeship about 1732 and worked for one year in which he received 18 pounds (about $78). In June of 1733 he married Anna Maria Keyser; who was the daughter of Ulrich and Veronica Keyser.  They were both natives of Renche a small village which was five hours travel from Heidelberg. Ulrick Keyser was a tanner; and quite likely Andrew Schreiber served as apprentice under him. 

Andrew's brother Ludwig soon followed building a mill on the Conewago creek across from Conewago Chapel. Andrew Shriver's wife Anna Maria helped her husband in the tan yard and dressed deer skins by night. Their son David wore deer‑skin dressed as clothing; shirts excepted until 15 years old. Having  but little cleared ground at this time, the stock was left to run at large in the woods; and in the morning, David the oldest child had to collect them, much to his discomfort.  The vines and grass were nearly as high as himself, and covered with dew they soon made his deer‑skin dress so wet that it clung tight to his body. Deer and other game were at this time so plentiful and destructive to crops that hunting was necessary for self preservation. On account of his fatherís settlement on the frontier, remote from the centers of civilization, David, the first born grew up with scarcely any education. In his youth he aided his father in his business of tanning and farming. When he was 20 years of age he was employed in a country store. Here the want of education was felt, so he applied himself and in short time he had a pretty good knowledge of figures and learned to write a fair hand. At this time Lancaster had become quite a town and it was the custom to hold two fairs there every year; one in June and the other in October. At one of these fairs David Shriver first saw Rebecca Ferree; who had been sent to Lancaster to acquire a knowledge of ornamental needlework. He undertook to accompany her home and was received with becoming respect by her father; but with much displeasure and indignity by her mother. Standing well however with the daughter and father he persevered and married Rebecca Ferree in 1761. 

Other early settlers at Conewago were: Peter Middlekauff, David Young,  Michael Will, Ludwig Schreiber, John Jacob Kuntz all from Montgomery County. Martin Kitzmiller from Lancaster County, Peter Ohler, Conrod Eckert, George Froschauer, John George Kuntz, John Morgenstern, Henry and Abraham Sell, Andrew Herger, Conrod Dottora, Peter Risher, Adam Miller, Jacob Benker (Bankert), George Mause, John Jacob Feeser, George Sponseller and Peter Little. 

Many of the settlers bought their lands from Digges while others purchased tracts from the Penns. Their homes were made miserable by the turmoil arising out of the disputes between Digges and other settlers; which were aggravated by the conflicting claims of Penn and Lord Baltimore to the proprietorship. For many years the region was known as the "disputed land" and there was naturally much lawlessness  In 1752 forty persons lived within the limits of York County on tracts sold under Maryland rights. The Commissioners of York County undertook to collect taxes from the above as living north of the temporary line, but the provincial authorities prevented it on the ground that they held under Maryland rights and could not be taxed by Pennsylvania authority until final settlement. Andrew Shriver along with a number of his neighbors paid taxes to Maryland.  His deed from Digges bearing the date of Nov. 15th 1749, was recorded in Baltimore County Maryland.  There is a lapse of 15 years from the date of purchase until Shriver received a deed. This is exlained by the fact that Digges had mortgaged "Digges' Choice" to Charles Carroll of Annapolis and Squire Dulaney. This mortgage was not satisfied until 1749óhence Digges could not give clear title before that date. The deed also provided for rents to the Proprietor of Maryland. 

On February 26th, 1752 Dudley Digges the son of John Digges was killed  in a fight wits Martin Kitzmiller and his sons Jacob, John, George and Leonard. Kitzmiller had bought his tract from John Lemmon in 1736. Lemmon had recognized the right of Digges to the land but had not paid Digges for the land when he sold it to Kitzmiller.  When Kitzmiller came into the possession of the improvements he refused to acknowledge Digges' rights to the land and secured a warrant from the Penns for the 100 acres.  This plantation including a mill and a blacksmith shop, lay entirely outside the limits of Digges' original survey but within the bounds of the resurvay.  Accordingly Digges sought to force payment from Kitzmiller and the killing of young Digges resulted. The Kitzmillers were freed of the murder charge by the court at York. The running of the Mason and Dixon line in 1767 put an end to these border troubles forever.  

In as much as the Shriver family along with their relatives and their Reformed neighbors founded one of the oldest Protestant churches in this county; the writer deems it proper to include these few references to the early religious life at Conewago. Historians of this period say that after the completion of their cabins the pioneers soon erected a building which served as the school house and also as their church building. This was the pattern followed at Conewago. Records state that a schoolhouse was in existence in 1746. The schoolmaster in 1747 was John Henry Creutz from Neider‑Schelten, Palatinate. Rev. Michael Schlatter organized Christ Church on May 4th 1747. No Reformed minister served the people of Conewago until 1745, When Rev. Christian Henry Rauch a Moravian missionary wrote in his diary that the Rest. Jacob Lischy, pioneer Reformed minister in this region had started preaching at Conewago in that year. But the settlers being staunch in the Reformed faith it is only logical to suppose that they held services in some home or their schoolhouse where one of their number read a selection from the Bible or from the Heidelberg Catechism.  Records in existence show that the Reformed element at Conewago (later Christ church) was taken under the wing of the Lutheran Church as early as 1735. In 1731 Rev. John Casper Stoever, a pioneer missionary of the Lutheran Church in Pennsylvania, crossed the Susquehanna and visited the first settlers at the site of Hanover. While on this tour he proceeded as far as tire Monocacy river near Frederick Maryland where some Lutherans had recently settled. In 1732 he founded Saint Matthew's church at Hanover. From that time on Pastor Stoever came down every year from his home in New Holland,  Lancaster county to preach and to baptize among the people at Conewago and on the Monocacy. He kept an accurate record of baptisms and marriages. From this record of Pastor Stoever's we find that on the 22nd. of May 1735 he baptized David Shriver, the first son of Andrew Shriver, and children of David Young [sic], John Shriver, the first son of Andrew Shriver, and children of David Young, John Lemmon (Lehman) and Peter Middlekauff. These were Reformed families. A minister of their faith was not available, so what difference did it make. These children had to be taken into the Christian church. Rev. Stoeverís records indicate that he continued ministering to these Reformed people for a period of six year‑‑unti1 1741. In those years he records the children, of these additional Reformed families: John George Froschauer, John Schreyer, Nicholas Fischer, Jacob Klund, John Jacob Kuntz (Koontz) Ludwig Schreiber, Jacob Jungblut, Frederick Bruder and Martin Kitzmiller.  These early baptisms of 1735 are without a doubt the oldest Protestent church records in Adams county and bear testimony to the fact that a crude church organization did exist among to reformed element possibly 12 years before the organization  by Rev. Schlatter in 1747. In April 1755 Ludwig and Andrew Schreiber addressed a letter to Coetus (or the Synod) of the Reformed church asking that a minister  be sent to Conewago.  Christ Church is s recognized as the "Mother" of Reformed  churches in this region; including in nearby Maryland St. Marys (1761) at Silver Run and Kriders (1761) near Westminster, Md. 

In pioneer days the subject of religion was sometimes made part of a will. John Jacob Kuntz (Koontz) of "Little ConewagoĒ in his will dated February 23rd. 1754 an record at York writes "That if any of my children should depart from the "Reformed" religion and take up with any other they shall be left one English shilling from my estate". 

Andrew Shriver died in 1797 and his wife Anna Maria in 1801.  They are buried at Christ Church and their tombstones are an a good state of preservation. They were the parents of seven children:  

1. David. Born at Conewago 1735.  Married Rebecca Ferree.  Lived at  Avondale beyond Westminster, Maryland. He was a member of the Convention of 1776 which framed the Constitution of the State of Maryland and he represented Frederick County in the Maryland Legislature for about 30 years.

2. Veronica. Born 1737. Married  Heinrich Kuntz (Koontz). Lived in the Silver Run Valley, Carroll County, Maryland.  Many  descendants of this couple still reside in that section.

3. Catherine. Married George Kuntz, a brother of Heinrich. Catherine died at an early age and her gravestone at Christ Church with the year of death 1772 is the oldest legible stone in the cemetery.

4. Anna Maria.  Born 1745. Married  John Kitzmiller.

5. Elizabeth. Born 1747. Married Jacob Will.

6. Andrew. Born 1749. Parried Magdalena Mause Kause. Andrew represented Adams county in the Legislature at Harrisburg in the early 1800's.

7. Jacob. Born 1752. 

Andrew Shriver along with his sons and, sons-in-laws served this county in the Revolution; with the exception of Heinrich Kuntz who served in 1757 with a Maryland regiment in the French and Indian War. George Kuntz a son-in-law was a member of the York Committee of Observation chosen at the general meeting of the inhabitants of York county the 16th of December 1774.

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posted 10/06/01 by J. D. Klein