Biography and children of Johann Ludwig Wissinger


From Darmstadt, Hesse, Germany to Frederick Co., Maryland

The first discovered member of the Wissinger family to arrive in this country was Johann Ludwig Wissinger. Born March 6, 1703  in Darmstadt Providence near Gross-Gerau, state of Hesse, Germany to Johann Georg Wissinger and Anna Felizitas Runger. And the grandson of Georg Wolfgang Wissinger (1613-1688) and Ursula Unknown (1623-1688). This family was from the Mittelramstadt area of Bavaria, Germany. Johann Ludwig left Rotterdam, Germany on the ship Friendship at the age of 22 arriving in Philadelphia, Pa. on September 23, 1740. He swore allegiance to the Government of the English Colonies that very same day.

In 1742, Johann Ludwig married Catherine, born around 1720 in York Co., PA. and together they had 10 children (there is differing opinions on the identification of these children - see below).

Shortly thereafter (around 1750), along with several other immigrants, Johann Ludwig traveled to the western part of Maryland where he settled in the beautiful valley between the Catoctin and South Mountains in the town of Middletown in Frederick County.

From the 1778 Tax Assessment for the Middle Monocacy Hundred, Frederick County, Maryland we know that Johann's estate included a 20 acre farm ("Whisfinger, Ludwick, 3 cattle, 20a, L59" - Vol. 14, No. 3, pg 122). This farm was located near the first church (see below) about a mile or so southwest of the area called Smithfield - which later became part of Middletown.

Middletown originally was named "Smithfield." Records at the Frederick, Maryland County Courthouse show that on October 10, 1750, a man by the
name of Richard Smith had 44 acres of land surveyed and called it Smithfield, presumably after himself. Smith transferred the land to Josiah Beall,
and on July 8, 1766, Beall sold the 44-acre plat to Michael Jesserong. Jesserong laid out building lots, and in 1767 began selling these lots as being
in the town of "Middletown." To this day, it is not known why Jesserong picked the name "Middletown," however it may have been because 
Middletown lies halfway between two Mountains, in the Valley. (From: Middletown Lions Club, Middletown History)

Johann Ludwig and Catherine were of the Protestant faith and in 1750, Johann and his friends built a crude log structure for their church. This building was used by the Lutheran and Reformed congregations until 1783 when the group disbanded. In 1771, the Lutherans purchased an acre of land from Conrad Crone and in 1773, they built a sexangular log structure for their church. This building was used until 1814 at which time they built a brick structure replacing it in 1859 with a larger brick structure, which is still standing, and in use today. This building was also used by the government as a lookout and hospital during the Civil War.

On March 20, 1771, a deed was signed by Conrad Crone for a parcel of ground in Middletown, giving it to the trustees of a Lutheran church to be built on the site. On September 24, 1815, the second Lutheran Church in Middletown was dedicated. It was built on the same site as the first church which was on a lot sold to the church in 1771 by Conrad Crone. The third church replaced this one on the same site in 1860.

Johann Ludwig lived and raised his family in this area until his death on April 12, 1779. According to church records, he died of a stroke at the age of sixty ("60 Jahre Verheated [sic Verheirathet])." Johann left a will leaving his possessions to his wife, Catherine, to use until she died at which time his son, Peter, was to divide all of his possessions equally among his sons and daughters. Some of the items in the will were: one spinning wheel, six pewter plates, six pewter spoons, six cups, pepper mill, copper coffee pot, milk pail with handle, all of the grain in the house, all of the grain in the field and two cows. There seems to be no record where Johann Ludwig is buried. Peter was also named to settle his father's estate which was located near "the first church," a mile or so southwest and at that time known as "Smithfield" (it later became part of Middletown).  The will was recorded by Catherine on May 8, 1779.


From Frederick Sheely Weiser, Records of Marriages & Burials in the Monocacy Church in Frederick Cnty, Md and in the Evang. Luth. Congr. in the City of Frederick, Md 1743-1811, (The National Genealogical Society, Washington, D.C., 1972), pg 96, #6. 

"1779, April 13. Ludewig Wissinger born 1718 in Dermstadt [Darmstadt] Province near Grossen Gera [Gross-Gerau]. Married 1742 his surviving widow with whom he had 6 sons and 4 daughters of whom 1 little son and 2 daughters are dead. He died of a stroke on April 12, aged 60 years."

Catherine, however, had different ideas about the will and on September 5, 1793 she made her own will naming her daughter Catherine as beneficiary to most of her belongings, the balance to be divided between Catherine and another daughter, Barbary (Elizabeth). Catherine died September 13, 1793 and there is no record of where she is buried.


From: Some Frederick Deaths 1788-1802 by Margaret E. Myers. Western MD Genealogy Vol. 2, No. 4, Oct. 1986. This is one of a number of death notices found on loose scraps of paper in the handwriting of the Rev. John William Runckel, pastor from 1784 to 1802, First German Evangelical Reformed Church, Frederick, Maryland.

"Wissinger, Catherine, wid. of Lewis, d 9 Sep, 1793, age 74y."

In May of 1960, the Lutheran congregation decided to remove a small cemetery from the rear of the church to make room for an elementary annex. About 100 graves were moved to a nearby larger cemetery. Johann Ludwig's grave could have been one of them or he may have been buried on his farm about a mile out of Middletown where three of his children were laid to rest.


There are conflicting views regarding the children of Johann Ludwig and Catherine. All are included for reference below. We know from Johann's obituary that he had six sons and four daughters of whom one little son and two daughters died before him. Let's look at each of these. If you have any information (corrections or additions) regarding this family and their children, please contact me (Bob Wissinger).

Children according to the research by Bob Wissinger as of March, 2008
Peter 1744 (c) using age April 6, 1822 at age 78 Maria Susanna Weil Married: 1791
7 children
Surname spelled: Wesenger, Wisfinger, Wisinger and Wissinger
Feb. 10, 1746 Mar. 22, 1789 Elizabeth Beck, b abt 1750 Married: Nov 13, 1774
8 children
Surname spelled: Wiesinger, Wiessinger, Wisinger and Wissinger in church records
ABT 1748 (c) AFT Sep 1793 Christian Miller Married: Oct 1791
3 children
George ABT 1751
ABT 1773 (c) using age
Oct. 19, 1855 at age 82 1. Unknown
2. Elizabeth Margaret Watson
3. Hebe G. Lowrey
At least 5 children
2nd marriage: Mar 5, 1813
3rd marriage: Oct 23, 1838
Catherine 1753 (c) Mar 4, 1830 at age 77 George Thomas Schley Married: Aft 1771
4 children
Mr. Schley had 6 children from a previous marriage
Ludwig 1756 Mar. 6, 1842 Susanna Miller Married: Abt 1781
13 children
Jacob 1764 AFT 1810 Unknown  
Rebecca BEF 1779 BEF 1779 None  Died as an infant
Henry BEF 1779 BEF 1779 None Died as an infant
Note: There is a Henry Wissinger listed as serving in the Revolutionary War as a Private
Sophia BEF 1779 BEF 1779 None  Died as an infant

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Children according to the research by Donald O. Wissinger and 1976 publication, The Wissinger Genealogy:
Melchior 1744 (c) 1819
Will abstract dated:
April 19, 1819 
1. Anna Maria (Mary) Stous (Stauss, Stowes) 
2. Anna Christina Seitz

Melchior not recognized by Howard's research

Donald indicates parentage unclear; surname spellings found: Weisinger, Weissinger, Weissner, Wisenger, Wisinger, and Wissinger.

Proven not a child of Johann Wissinger. Immigrated with parents Johnann Michael Wiesinger and Barbara Shurer and naturalized in 1765.

Balthasar Feb. 10, 1746 Mar. 22, 1789 Elizabeth Beck 8 children
Surname spelled: Wiesinger, Wiessinger, Wisinger and Wissinger in church records
Catherine 1753 (c) Mar 4, 1830 at age 77 George Thomas Schley 4 children
Mr. Schley had 6 children from a previous marriage
Barbara 1750 (c) UNK UNK  
Ludwig 1756 Mar. 6, 1842 Susanna Miller 13 children
Peter 1758 (c) April 6, 1822 at age 78 Maria Susanna Weil 7 children
1760 (c) UNK Christian Miller 3 children
George 1762-3 Oct. 19, 1855 UNK 2 children
Jacob 1764 BEF 1779 UNK  
Daughter UNK BEF 1779 UNK This could be Sophia is listed by Howard

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Children according to the research of Howard Earl Wissinger:
Balthasar Feb. 10, 1746 Mar. 22, 1789 Elizabeth Beckin  
Catherine 1753 (c) 1830 George Thomas Schley  
Ludwig 1756 Mar. 6, 1842 Susanna Miller  
Peter 1760 (c) BEF 1824 Maria Susanna Unknown 7 children
1770 (c)   Christian Miller  
Leonard 1774 June 12, 1855 Catherine Winpeagler 4 children
Donald places Leonard as a son of Balthasar
George 1780 Oct. 19, 1855 1. Margaretha Kaufman
2. Elizabeth Lake
2 children
Donald places the George as a son of Balthasar
Sophia       Possibly the unknown daughter listed by Donald
Rebecca   Died as an infant    
Henry   Died as an infant    

References to Johann Ludwig and Catherine Wissinger and some of their children can be found in the records of the Lutheran Congregation of Zion Church, Middletown, Maryland. Also County Court Records, Hannah M. Ljungstedt - Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1972; Vol. X, p 46, June 1931 - lists "Lodowick Wisinger & Catherine Wissinger" as having seven children: Peter, Balser, Barbarah, George, Catherine, Lodowick, and Jacob. According to the Church record obituary of Johann Ludwig, one son and two daughters preceded their father in death.

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