THE FRENCH HUGUENOT
ROOTS OF THE ROYER FAMILY
OF LANCASTER COUNTY
By Prof. Donald M Royer
On Learning About My Roots
When I was a boy growing up by the Colalico Creek in Denver,
assumed that I was "Pennsylvania Dutch". After all,
in my neighborhood spoke the dialect; my maternal grandmother
in " Dutch." My mother learned her English in the
first grade, but to
her dying day was more fluent in the dialect than in English.
our high school basketball team played New Holland we were
there by the fans singing "Bretzels und Bier, Bretzels
und Bier, ach
du lieber , Denver iss heir". In my home, saur kraut,
knepp, latwarrich, fastnachts and shoo
fly pie were staples in our
diet. I was literally immersed in the "Pennsylvania Dutch"
life, and gave little thought to the fact that my family's
might have other roots.
One day, however, when I was about fifteeen, a rev. Francis
to our home to deliver a genealogy of the Royer family.- a
on which he had obviouly labored many years . He proceeded
us that the Royer's ancestors were really French Huguenots
province of Lorraine in the vicinity of Metz, Nancy and St.
Since our ancestors were Huguenots they were forced to flee
France during the 1670's or 1680's, and they chose the nearest
Available to them, the border area of Germany just seventy
The East. The area now known as the Rheinland-Pfalz (Palatinate)
The vicinity of Zweibrucken and Kaiserslautern became the home
the Royer clan until about 1718 when they emigrated to America
the invitation of William Penn, first to Germantown and then
following their fellow Palatine, Swiss and Huguenot immigrants
to the fertile limestone lands of Lancaster County. There,
the immediate ancestor of our branch of the Royer clan, Sebastian
Royer, bought land, from William Penn near Brickerville, and
there until his death in 1759 (Francis, 1928)
French Huguenot Roots
So, thanks to Rev. Francis,my own awareness of the Royer
roots began early in life, and grew into a certain fasination
by the time I became a college student with a strong interest
the historical development of all things.
During my college years I learned from my German mentor,
Professor Rose, that when my father called me his "glas
he was using a corrupt form of :Kleiner Bub" from the
I also learned that "Pennsylvania Dutch" was really
of "Deitsch" and "Deutsch", so that my
roots were actually French-
German. It was not until years later, though, in the 1970's
I was privileged to explore those ancestal origins in Lorraine
and the Palatinate personally.
Who Were The French Huguenots?
The French Huguenots constituted the French Reformed Church
the early days of the Protestant Reformation. John Calvin,
with the theologian de Beza and others established the French
(Huguenot) church in the mid 1500's. Both calvin and de Beza
were of French origin. While the origin of the name is
uncertain, some scholars believe Huguenot was derived from
Hughs, a swiss political leader. Others argue that it was a
of the Swiss-German word Eidgenoss (oath-fellow) (Stapleton,
What is more important is that during the 16th and
centuries the Huguenots became the emancipating force in French
society which toppled the centuries old feudal structure controlled
by the high nobility and high clergy in the top two Estates
league with the King who was bound by oath to " guard
the laws of
the Catholic Church and to destroy all hersey" (Zoff,
third Estate in the fuedal structure was composed of all other
free men including the lower nobility and clergy. By the 16th
and 17th centuries the third Estate also included
a growing group
of bankers, industrialists, and tradesmaen who formed the emerging
middle class. The Huguenots dominated the new bourgeoisie or
class which challenged the religious, political and economic
of the fuedal Catholic elite (Weber, 1930). During the Huguenot
in France, roughly 1560 to 1660, these French Calvinists were
prime movers in the prosperous trade and industry of that country.
They founded great merchant firms, established the silk industry
Lyon; as well as the textile, paper, lace and weaving industries
throughout France (Zoff, 1942).
Unfortunately, for them, the very success of the Huguenots
economically, and their growing political power posed a greater
and greater threat to the feudal Catholic hierarchy of France.
eventually the feudal elite in league with the King resorted
violence to eliminate the Calvinist hersey from its midst.
the violence had erupted into widespread massacres, the most
of which was the St. Bartholemew's Day Massacre in Paris during
which an estimated 2,000 Huguenots were killed along with 20,000
more throughout France (Zoff, 1942).
The remaining half million Huguenots, however, refused to
submit and by 1598 under a Huguenot King, Henry of Navarre,
of Nantes was enacted which granted them toleration throughout
country. Despite the Toleration Edict, however, the Huguenots
grew to an estimated 1,5000,000, were continually harassed
by a succession
of Catholic kings, and either fled or migrated in large numbers
Switzerland, Germany, England and Holland. Finally in 1685,
Louis XIV, the Edict of Toleration was revoked and the Huguenot
for all practical purposes was eliminated. The remaining Huguenots
either converted to Catholicism, or fled to America, England,
Holland, or Switzerland.
The Royers as Huguenots
Sometime during the 16th century, the ancestors
of the Royers,
Boyers, Forneys, Lorahs, Leshers, Rettews, Rollers, Rancks,
hundreds of other Pennsylvania-German families of French origin
left the fuedal estates for the towns and cities of France
become members of the new bourgeoisie which was in the process
toppling the old feudal society. Some Royers and other Huguenots
apparently came from the lower nobility- the Royers have
of arms originating in Touraine. Others came from lower clergy
and still others became businessmen and traders. Whatever their
trade or profession, the desire the Royers and other Huguenot
had in common was their to be free from the restrictions of
the feudal manor and the Established Church. They wished to
the Reformed faith of John Calvin which allowed them to be
pursuing their "calling" in life wothout restriction.
then, the Huguenots wished to be "their own bosses"
governed only by
the Calvinist principles to which they adhered.
Max Weber, in his classical sociological work The Protestant
Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism concluded that the
the Huguenots, the reformed in Switzerland, Germany and Holland,
and the Presbyterians in Scotland - contributed heavily to
establishment of a strong capitalist system in Western Europe
the 17th century. John Calvin's theology provided
rationale for banking, commerce, money lending and the accumulation
of private wealth in a manner that no previous Christian theologian
had done (1930).
In any event, the Royer ancestors moved either to Metz or Nancy
in the eastern province of Lorraine sometime during this period.
Some of them apparently escaped the Huguenot massacres of 1592,
but either during the period of renewed persecutions of the
or right after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685,
across the Saar River into friendly German territory were they
insert scan of dove
" Royer- Touraine- D'azur a un aigion au naturel
regardant un soliel d'or pose au canton dextra du chief."
"Royer- Touraine (an ancient province of France)-
Of azure with an eaglet to the life, looking into the sun of
gold, placed in the canton to the right of the head.
See Noe Royer. p.3.
Note.- The king of France in the days of Joan of Arc lived
in Touraine, where she appeared before him. After her popularity
had waned, she is said to have been cared for by Cathrine Royer.
While we have no records of the actual flight or emigration
from France, Zoff observes that by the 1660's the Huguenots:
"who sought to escape…. by flight abroad, the penalty
was death. In spite of it, many thousands each year
crossed the frontier. Men, women and children groped
forward barely passable forest trails…the sick
were dragged along; many fell by the wayside; all of
them, always were tormented by the fear that the next
bend in the road might bring the dragoons down upon
them. They fled over the Jura to Switzerland, over
the Vosges to the German Palatinate, through the Argonne
Forest to Holland, traveling at night, from one friend's
house to another's (1942).
The dragoons mentioned by Zoff were really mounted French
soldiers who either arrested the fleeing Huguenats or returned
them to their homes. In some cases the males were impressed
into service as galley slaves on French ships. (Stapleton,
The Royers in the Palatinate
Our ancestors were able to escape the dragoons, and made their
way from the Metz area of Lorraine eastward through the rolling
Vosges hills to the German border, a journey of less than two
by car, but likely one of two days and nights duration under
circumstances at the time. Saarbrucken on the German side of
Saar River at the French border was likely their first stop.
In my personal search for my roots in 1976 and again
I learned only that the family of Sebastian Royer settled somewhere
in the Rheinpfalz for about fifty years. Where they settled
clear. The Heimatstelle (Family Archives Place) in Kaiserslautern
simply listed Sebastian Royer as recorded on the following
The Heimatstelle is a remarkable Family Archive supported by
the Rheinpfalz government, containing the names of at
least six other Royer, Reyer, Royar families who had emigrated
during the past three centuries, none of them gave me a clue
concerning the actual villige or city where my ancestors had
settled. (Scherer, 1978).*
Concering the variety of spelling of the Royer name( Royer,
Reier) there are three theories. One is that, an obviously
French name, was changed to the more Germanic sounding Reyer
avoid detection and arrest by French authorities. Another is
fleeing Huguenots having been persecuted by the French for
made every effort to renounce their French idenity on settleing
their new homelands. (Mentha, 1980). A third theory holds that
emigrants in the 16th and 17th centuries
were illiterates, so immigration
officials and ship captains recorded the strange sounding French
phonetically or as they sounded to them.
*To my amazement my uncle Rufus Royer's name was also recorded
having been gleaned from a Denver Bank avertisment in the Reamstown
Bicentennial booklet of 1960.
ROYAR-ROYER-REYER EMIGRANTS FROM THE RHINELAND-PFALZ
Ausgewandert: 1848, U.S.A.
Also the name:
Kreis Lancaster, Pa.
Director of Denver National
Bank. From Reamstown, Pa.
Bicentennial Booklet, 1960
from the files of
Dr. Karl Scherer, Director
The best available evidence suggests that the variations on
Royer were due to errors in translation, or because Royar or
identified the Royers more easily with their German speaking
bors (Scherer, 1978)
Other Huguenot families who settled in eastern Pennsylvania
also either changed their names for protection or had them
changed by officials or ship captains along the way. So Le
became Leshar, Retteau became Rettew, Tonnellier became Kieffer,
Sumois became Sumey, Beauchamp became Bushong, Ranc became
Coquelin became Cockly and Le Baiseur became Bashore (Stapleton,
While it is not possible to establish the exact location
in the Palatinate where the Royers settled it was clear why
left germany in 1718.
In 1668 and again in 1774 Louis XIV had devastated the Palatinate
and in 1680 Worms and other cities in the area were burned
ground. Once more in 1707 French armies devastated the Palatinate
and the neighboring provinces of Baden and Wurttemberg. For
other reasons, religious and political in nature, a wholesale
exodus fro the Palatinate began about 1709. Using the Rhine
their escape route most of the thousands involved in the first
wave of emigration from the Palatinate arrived in Rotterdam,
sailed to England and finally either to Ireland, South Carolina,
Pennsylvania or other American colonies (Billigmeier, 1974)
The Royers apparently survived the destitution of the
Palatinate until 1718 when they joined the second wave of emigrants
composed mainly of anabaptists who settled in Lancaster County.
Penn's invitation to the disconted Huguenots. Lutherans and
had reached the Palatinate in the early 1700's. Consequently
thousands of them in the first and second emigrations already
knew when they were sailing down the Rhine to Rotterdam that
ultimate destination would be Philadelphia Germantown and then
the rich limestone soil of the counties such as Lancaster west
Philadelphia (Billigmeier, 1974)
While Sebastian Royer left the Palatinate in 1718 with the
Anabaptists migration- Amish, Brethren and mennoites- he was
apparently still Huguenot or at leeast a german Reformed throughout
his life. The land grant of nearly 300 acres he received from
Penn just east of Brickerville, Lancaster County is bordered
by a Lutheran
church on the north and a Zion reformed( long known as Royer's)
the west. The land for the reformed Church, organized in 1740,
first built on land donated by Sebastian Royer (Francis, 1928).
A number of other Huguenot families also settled in the
Brickerville between the 1720's and 1750's, presumably on land
granted them by William Penn. Included among these families
Jacques Simonett (1727); Nicholas Parrett (1730); Jacques LaTour
(1749); Martin Oberlin (1730) (Stapleton, 1901).
Having briefly described the origins, migrations and the
travail experienced by my Huguenot ancestors in France and
in the Palatinate, let me turn in the final part of my paper
my discovery of the Royar clan still living in the Palatinate.
The Royar Clan in the Palatinate- 250 years later
Certainly the most rewarding and exciting part of my search
for the Royar and Huguenot roots in 1976 and again in 1978
discovery of a Royar clan in the Palatinate near Zweibrucken
the Saarland near Saarbrucken.
While on a teaching assignment for my university in Zweibrucken
in 1976 it occurred to me to ask the local grocer whether she
of any Royers in the area. " Yes", she said I went
to school with
Kurt Royar, and he lives on a farm just eight kilometers south
So, on the following Sunday afternoon in June, 1976, I drove
Royar farm located in Bodinger Hof. I was greeted at the door
elderly man and his wife. Karl and Elfrida Royar, the fatjer
of Kurt. Speaking with a combination of High German and Pfalzer
( the original Pennsylvania Deitsch) I tried to identify myself
explain my search for my Royer roots. Having only spoken Pfalzer
Deitsch all of their lives, seldom having left the dairy farm
they had been tied for over fifty years, the elder Royars had
difficulty understanding me. So, they called Kurt, a handsome
rugged man in his late forties, and he immediately understood
I was about.
The German Hof (Bodinger Hof) I first visited that day in 1976
was a page out of German rural life as it must have existed
ago. The Royars had lived at Bodinger Hof for fifty years.
Freda in their 70's with Kurt, their son, and Elfrida, their
both in their 40's; working from dawn to dusk, caring for seventeen
milk cattle; using modern machinery for all farm labor, but
following a provincial peasant life style as it must have been
a century ago in terms of the food and the way it was served;
terms of the stark simplicity of their home and their wants.
The Hof is a collection of four houses and barns huddled
together in an area smaller than a city block. The Hof or Court
is, in turn surrounded by several hundred acres of rolling
land, along with meadows and pastures that have long since
from common to individual ownership. Even commonly owned tractors
and combines have been replaced by family owned equipment.
The four families in the Hof had lived in their barns over
livestock until post World War II period. With the recovery
the German economy, however, in the early 1950's each of the
families built their own homes. Despite this fact, the visitor
felt that he was stepping into a rural German commune not too
different from the one the Royers left behind them in 1718.
Returning to the Royar visit. the conversation soon turned
to our common origins and possible family relationship. Kurt
indicated thet they too had roots in Lorraine just twenty miles
to the west. When their ancestors arrived in the Palatinate
did not know, but he did relate that the Royars have always
members of the German Reformed church. How close or how distant
our family relationship we could not determine. What was important
at the first meeting in 1976 was the fact that they accepted
as a family member. Again and again in 1976 and later in 1978,
I was invited to share their simple meals. In return I worked
them in the fields during harvest time, and in time became
brother to Kurt. He responded to my curiosity about our common
Royer-Royar roots by taking me to visit to all of the Royar
he knew within a radius of thirty miles. Some of them were
others carpenters and farmers, but none of them had any family
records. This border area had been a battleground in every
since the days of Louis XIV. Family records were destroyed
fires, bombings and devastation that laid waste almost every
and city in the area in one war or another for the past 250
Despite the lack of geneological evidence, each family we
visited assumed we were relatives. So despite the slight difference
in the spelling of the family name and despite the fact that
of the Royars spoke a word of English, except for the two teachers,
there was a feeling of being "at home" or having
found my roots.
In the closing paragraphs of this paper I would like to convey
some feelings about the quality of life today at Bodinger Hof
I foundit in 1976 and 1978. In doing so, I hope to give each
you who might have either Huguenot or Palatinate roots some
of how life is lived by a family whose lifestyle has changed
since our ancestors left for America.
The following paragraphs are excerpted from the diary I kept
during my 1978 visit there. (Royer, 1978).
Working on the Royar Farm
I had hoped to work rather steadily with Kurt during July,
but Friday, August 4, was the first time he needed me - to
harvest hay. I spent the afternoon lifting about 100 thirty-five
pound hay bales with a pitch fork from the ground to the top
the hay wagon. Then at the barn my job was to stand high in
hay loft; catch bales as they came off the conveyer belt and
arrange them in piles around the loft. After four hours of
work, I was ready to drop from exhaustion. My legs were weak
from fatigue, and my lungs were full of hay dust.
Kurt observed that I could barely walk after haymaking,
so he chided me a bit by saying, "Donald, du bist nach
lehrboo ( apprentice boy) am hoi macha".
Our tractor driver during the haymaking was Herr Rudolf Pirrman,
Kurt's 82 year old uncle, a strong quiet man who in his time,
reported with pride, was the best farmer in the area. He was
is Kurt's idol and one of his best friends.
Uncle Rudolf related to me in the fields one day in his Pfalzer
dialect that the pride of his life had been his three sons
whom he hoped
would take over his sizable farm when they grew up. But World
came along and the two oldest and brightest of the three were
killed on the Russian front. This is a sorrow that he carries
him forty years later.
After our work at 4:30 or so on that hot afternoon in August
of 1978 we repaired to the kitchen as usual for beer and wurst.
Only this time, Kurt also served some schnapps along with coffee.
All of the wurst served in the Royar household is from their
butchering- Hausmacherwurst out of the can; along with links
Blutwurst and Leberwurst. These were heavy fatty bauerenwursts
that "stuck to the ribs" but were hard on the stomach
of one not
used to them. Still these were the kinds of home rendered wursts
that Kurt's grandmother and in turn her grandmother had served
their men after a hard day's work.
Again on Sunday, August 20, I helped load hundreds of bales
of straw. During harvest time Sundays are not sacred. About
o'clock that night totally exhausted from lifting bales all
I collapsed in the Royar living room in front of the TV set
Kurt and his sister, Elfrida, milked and fed cows. I wrote
in my diary at the time.
Kurt's strength and stamina are amazing . He works
fast from dawn to dusk. Working with him is like
working on a rural asswmbly line running at top speed.
Needless to say, when I am on that line (loading
bales of hay) the pace slows quite a bit, but
Kurt is patient with the Lehrling.
The whole operation on the Royar farm reminded me of a remark
by Dr. Sammler in Mr. Sammler's Planet by Saul Bellow. Sammler
says that the thing he resents about Germans is they have
too much system, they and their lives operate like machines
too little room for creativity imagination and warmth. He admired
only Max Planck and Albert Einstein among modern day Germans
considered the Nazi "machine" the ultimate expression
While the Royar farm does run like a well-oiled machine,
Kurt, the chief cog in that machine ( the dairy farm operation)
enjoys his work. He invests himself in it verve and vitality.
After years of back breaking work he retains a zest for life
allows him to operate like the master of the machine.
His sister, Elfrida, on the other hand, seems to be simply
a cog in the machine. She has milked cows all her like (now
milking machines) and that's all she knows besides gardening
housekeeping. She plods, she does her duty (Pflict), watches
some TV, and goes to bed.
One senses on this dairy farm that Kurt and sister are slaves
to their cattle, to planting and harvesting. It must have been
something like this generations ago when the first Royars tried
to eke out a living from the hills nd valleys which Kurt
and Elfrida are now tilling. Back breaking work day in and
out with little time for relaxation and pleasure.
Still, Kurt takes time occasionally to enjoy some of the
simple pleasures provided by the area, chief among which are
attending the numerous Weinfests celebrated from July to October
by the wine villages in the area. Through the years, Kurt has
become a connoisseur of German wine, and he takes great pleasure
in sipping a glass of white Rhein-Pfalz wine at a local Gasthaus
surrounded by acquaintances and friends.
Returning to the August 20, 1978 entry in my diary. That
morning I attended a mennonite church service in Ixheim near
Zweibrucken. The Mennonites have been there in scattered con-
gregations since their migration from Switzerland in the 1700's.
There is actually a Mennoniter Hof just down the road from
Bodinger Hof. The members of the Gemeinde were quite friendly
that morning, and offered to take me to the Royar homestead
just three miles south where I was to have dinner that day.
When we arrived, Kurt was well acquainted with the mennonites
who brought me, and after they left expressed great repect
the Mennonites in the area both as farmers and good citizens.
That Sunday dinner at the Royar homestead was unusual in
the sense that this was the first meal during which any meat
other than wurst was served. That day we had pork roast served
with parslied potatoes, pea soup, and fresh lettuce from the
Elfrida announced that she was going to serve me something
never tasted before- a Fastnacht. I remarked that Fastnachts
were peddled door to door when I was a boy on Shrove Tuesday,
that in all of my visits to Germany I had never seen or been
served one. She replied that the Royars had a family recipe
had been handed down from her great grandmother, and that they
were served during several religious holidays not just on Shrove
Tuesday, and last week there had been such a holiday.
The table setting on that Sunday was, as usual, quite simple.
On a bare table we were given a large soup bowl along with
fork, knife, and on this day a soup spoon. The one loaf of
was passed from one hand to another and each person sliced
or her own. For the bread there was butter and a thick dark
spread that resembled a boiled down apple butter. I asked Kurt
what was being served. The reply was "Lattwarrich"
I exclaimed, "I don't believe it". I explained that
Latwarrich was a staple in our diet in Pennsylvania, and that
in all of my travels throughout Germany that this was my first
taste of it.
So, on a farm in Rheinland-Pfalz I was finally beginning
to experience not only the roots of my own family, but also
sources of the distinctive "Pennsylvania Deitsch"
foods which all
of us have relished, but few of us have traced to Their origins.
Kurt, the Nazis and the Huguenots
Of all the Royars I met in Germany the one who, in my judg-
ment, best exemplified the traits usually associated with the
Huguenot view of the world, was Kurt Royar himself.
The Huguenot Weltanschauug was defined by Max Weber (1930)
as a form of "worldly asceticism" in which wealth
as a sign of God's reward for hid servant's obedience, industry
and good management on this earth. This was the worldly aspect
the ethic. The "ascetic" quality derived from the
the servant of God should not enjoy his wealth. His life should
be plain, simple and frugal. Weber argued that the Anabaptists*,
most of whom had been Calvinists, came to exemplify this ethic
better than any other Protestant group.
"Worldly asceticism" in the Calvinist or Huguenot
was combined with a strong sense of individual responsibility
freedom, a sense of "calling" about one's work, and
dealing with others. Finally the Huguenots from their inception
defied tyrannical powers which threatened their freedom, and
in Lancaster County did not identify with the
untill Emig Royer, one of Sebastian's sons became a
member of the
Middle Creek Church of the Brethren in the 1730's.
Emig was a
Landwirt on the Middle Creek, and was known as a good
friend of the
Indians with whom he traded his cider for baskets
willingly suffered torture and death for their beliefs.*
The Royar family at Bodinger Hof reflected this view of the
world admirably. For Karl, the father, and Kurt the son, farming
has been a " calling" to which they have dedicated
their lives. Kurt,
a creative inventive man, could have been an engineer, but
he chose the
life of the landwirt because he wanted to. The almost religious
dedication of the entire family to the work of their 63 acre
has produced some wealth for the family - a Mercedes Benz car,
tractors and a combine; but also contributed to the premature
of the father and mother in 1976. They literally worked themselves
If a sense of freedom, independence and rugged individualism
characterized the early Huguenots who left the feudal estates
towns and cities of France, then the Royars in Boginger Hof
day carriers of those values.
During the 1930's when loyal germans were expected to join
Nazi party or at least attend meetings and give the Nazi salute,
did none of them. He defied Hitler, the party and the local
leaders. His neighbors protected him and the family( Kurt was
in 1929) because the Royars were recognized as hard working,
Then in the late 1930's and early 1940's Kurt was pressured
join the Hitler Youth Group in the nearby village of Alt Hornbach.
at this tender age, Kurt, with his father's example od defiance
him, refused to join. He not only refused to join but he
*The familiar hymn, " Faith of Our Fathers" was written
by a French
Huguenot, Frederick Faber. Its central theme, keeping the faith
spite of "dungeon, fire and sword" was a direct reference
suffering of his ancestors.
declined to attend the meetings or to wear the Hitler Youth
which most of his peers were wearing at the time.
Then in 1944 the German High Command ordered all families living
within five miles of the French border to leave the area until
expected Allied attack in the winter of 1944 and spring of
were over. The Royar family was billited with another farm
some fifty miles to the east near the Rhine river. While they
there, Kurt now 15 years old received his military draft notice
from the board in Alt Hornbach just one half mile from Bodinger
Hof. He was ordered to report for military duty during December
of 1944 just before the battle of the Bulge which eventually
devastated the towns surrounding Bodinger Hof.
Kurt, however , had grown increasingly cynical about Hitler
the Nazis so he steadfastly refused to support the war or the
He simply did not report for induction, and since his family
billited fifty miles away, and all military effort in the winter
of 1944 was involved in the last ditch effort to stem the Allied
tide, no effort was made to search for and arrest him. During
time, however, from december, 1944 to April, 1945 he returned
on several occasions to check on the abandoned family farm.
first visit he discovered that a detachment of elite guard
Staffel) troops had taken over the farm as a base for spying
troop movements at the French border just a few miles away.
addition one of the barns in the Hof had been coverted into
hospital. One of the original tasks of the SS had been to spy
the Nazi movement and to ferret out unworthy persons as well
protect the body of the Fuhrer (Halperin, 1946). So when young
returned with the family horse and wagon to Bodinger Hof on
December day in 1944 only to discover that the feared SS troops
were there he felt his own life in danger. Instead of returning
to his own home he sensed he was walking into a trap.
To his utter amazement, however, the SS troops were more inter-
ested in using young Kurt as an errand boy since he alone knew
terrain intimately. They, too, according to Kurt were disillusioned
with Hitler and were fighting for their own survival. Soon
using his horse and wagon to haul medical and food supplies
Zweibrucken just six miles north. On these trips, however ,
had to pass the military draft office in Alt Hornbach. The
officials there knew Kurt and his family well, and on one of
trips for the SS he was spotted by the draft officials whose
he had defied. They took out after him and nearly caught him
approached Bodinger Hof, but the SS guards at the Hof intervened
and saved Kurt from sure imprisonment; if not death for defying
the Nazi regime. After that he was never bothered, and in his
was he helped his fellow Germans survive the fateful winter
of 1944 and
- Johann Reyer
- Geboren: 1687, Schwabach ( Ohringen)
- Ausgewardert (emigrated): 1732 nach Kreis (County) Montgomery,
- Penna., U.S.A.
- Sebastian Royer, Landwirt
- Geborn: Rheinpfalz
- Ausgewandert: 1718 nach Kreis Lancaster, Penna., U.S.A.
- Christopher Royer
- Geboren: Rheinpfalz
- Ausgewandert: nach Kreis Daupin, Ort (Town) Middleburg,
- Penna., U.S.A
- Conrad Royer
- Geboren: Rismingen bei Folklingen (Forbach)
- Ausgewandert: Ungarn (Hungary)
- Anna Royer
- Geboren: Kleinblittersdorf/ Saar
- Ausgewandert: 1766
- Fritz Royer, Landwirt
- Abstammungsort (Place of Departure) Neuhofen/Ludwigshafen
- Ausgewandert: 1882 nach Templeton, U.S.A.
1945 as an errand boy bringing the food and medical supplies
they needed to live. This went on until April of 1945 when
a city of 40,000 was almost completely leveled by the Canadian
After the German surrender a month later,
the Royars returned to their abandoned farm in Bodinger Hof.
Slowly they restored and rebuilt the land, their herd, and
home. Through it all and for the intervening thirty five years
they have maintained the view of the world which their Huguenot
ancestors passed on to them-- a sense of independence, a sense
"calling" about their work, honesty in dealing with
a certain " worldly asceticism". They have accumulated
property but their lifestyle continues to be a plain, simple
one. They do not attend the German Reformed Church in nearby
Alt Hornbach with any regularity, but I am sure on all other
John Calvin would have been proud of the Royar family in Bodinger
Hof almost 300 years after their ancestors had fled the Huguenot
massacres in France for the safety of the Palatinate hills
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