Our ancestors were German-speaking Alsatians. In the Alsatian dialect (properly called Elsässisch or Elsässerdeutsch), the name would have been pronounced as in standard German. That is, the "sp" would be lenitized and pronounced as "shp." The "ach" would be pronounced as an achlaut, as in Bach. In America, the pronunciation has drifted toward either "Spaw" or "Spock." Since the 19th century, many Spach family descendants have spelled the name Spaugh. Earlier spelling variations include Spag, Spaw and Spouch.
Our immigrant ancestors in this line were Hans Adam Spach, a sixty-year-old widowed Bildweber ("picture weaver", or weaver of tapestries) from Pfaffenhoffen, Alsace, and his thirteen-year-old son Adam.
Adam was the son of Hans Adam's second marriage, to Salome Müller. So far, no record of his first marriage has been found, but the record of the second marriage indicates that the first marriage ended in divorce due to adultery. The second wife, Salome, was much younger than Hans Adam, but she died at the age of 32, and Hans Adam was left to bring up Adam alone, "holding me firmly to church and school," as Adam wrote later.
The Spachs came to America in 1733 aboard the Charming Betty, landing at Philadelphia in October. The elder Spach was unable to pay the full fare, and on arrival, young Adam was indentured to a Mennonite for six years. After his term of service ended, he moved to Frederick County, Maryland, where he married and where his eldest son was born.
In his Lebenslauf (life story), Adam doesn't mention his father after their arrival in America, and the fate of Hans Adam Spach remains a mystery. He took the oath of allegiance to the Crown at Philadelphia on 12 October 1733, but no further record of him has been found. At sixty, he was already an old man for the time, and that combined with the rigors of the Atlantic crossing may have weakened his health, so it's possible he didn't survive long in America. On the other hand, he was hardy enough to have survived to a relatively advanced age and to have undertaken a difficult voyage, and his son and more than half of his grandchildren lived past the age of eighty. So maybe he settled down in America, perhaps trying to find work as a weaver, and perhaps trying to stay near his son. But it seems most likely that he passed away before the end of Adam's service, which would have been in late 1739.
In the mid-1740s, Adam was drawn to the Moravian Church, which had established a presence in Frederick County. It may have been through the church that he met John Gumpp, a German immigrant. In about 1750, Mr. Gumpp brought to his home a young indentured servant from Hüffenhardt, Württemberg. The young lady, Maria Elisabetha Hütter, had made Mr. Gumpp's acquaintance in Baltimore. Learning that she was from his home village, he purchased her indenture and allowed her to work out her obligation in one year, which no doubt considerably shortened her term of service. In 1752, she became Mrs. Adam Spach.
It was natural enough for the Spachs to be interested in the Moravian settlements in North Carolina, and in 1754 they moved there with their infant son. In North Carolina, they had eight more children, all of whom lived to adulthood, and all but one of whom married. When he was in his seventies, Adam wrote that he had lived to see forty-two grandchildren. Today, they have thousands of descendants all over America.
The Lebenslauf of Adam Spach.
A translation of his autobiography, with notes.
Müller Family of Oberbronn.
Adam Spach's mother's family.
The Rock House.
The Spach family home, built in 1774.
Friedberg Moravian Cemetery.
Images of some Spach family graves.
Descendants of Hans Adam Spach.
Webpages generated by PAF showing some of the Spach descendants.
More information than the charts.
Charts showing some of the Spach descendants.
Less information -- more of a visual aid.
Elisabeth Hütter Spach's family.