From the lands of the Rhine to America
Also spelt - Creler ,Kruler, Cruller, Kroler, Keeller, Craller, Crellior, Crouler , Cullen , Cheller ,Treller
and possibly Crawler
(perhaps more spellings to follow)
From what we have been able to gather, the Creller family ( perhaps spelt Kreller in the beginning) originated in the Palatine area of Europe, (what we know now to be Germany). There was an on going history of feudal fighting in this area becausee the separate states were forged into one united Germany (almost similar to what we find in Yugoslavia in the 1990's ). Strong feudal lords or Princes of small realms, (to a Canadian or American perhaps the area of a large modern farm) each with his own alliances, political, economic and religious were rebelling against greater forces of the mostly Prussian feudal Lords, as they did not want to give up any territorial privileges to join a larger ruling body . A situation very similar on the Canadian political scene (except for the violence) as each Provincial Prime Minister wants to keep his powers ( mostly taxing and spending powers) for himself rather that allowing himself and his province to join the Federal body for the benefit of the whole ( almost like in CANADA)).
The17th century in southern Germany, as well as in all of Europe is a nightmare scene. Swedish, French Austrian English Spanish and Hungarian troops battled each other, as well as those Dutche speaking forces, on what is now German soil. The troops engaged in fighting were outnumbered five to one by the hordes of camp followers. This horde was made up of men, women and children,no army regulations controlled these followers who lived a parasitic existence.
Armies marched two days ahead of the camp followers who acted as beast of burden, lugging the cooking utensils, a little furniture and the children. They were a ragged, poor , dirty ,emaciated, sickly part of humanity. As an army advanced through a territory they helped themselves to whatever food and tools that they needed from the local farms. The camp followers lived off the soldiers leavings, and took what the soldiers might have over looked. After an area had been pillaged, famine plague, typhus and/or cholera was certain to follow.
In 1688 Louis the XIV, King of France ordered that the earth of the Rhine Valley be burned. The only castle to survive was the Marksburg. History tells us that the Elector Wilhelm stood on the walls of his castles at Mannheim and counted in one day, twenty three villages on fire.
That any church and court records, somehow managed to survive the ravages ia a miracle. This disturbance or feudal conflict is part of what inspired the people to leave the Rhineland. In addition to which the rulers of the individual German states, burdened their subjects with unreasonable taxes and forced military service. Of course there were also the " Golden Books " , written by various good doers, such as the Rev Kocherthal, a German Lutheran pastor. The books prepared on the most part from hearsay evidence, extolled the life in a new land, the Island of the Carolines. They told of a land without taxes, free transportation to get there, and that farming tools would be provided to till the rich land. It was propaganda at its best and behind the scheme was the government of England.
England was the protector of the Protestant cause in Europe. Queen Anne came to the throne in 1702, and the War with the Spanish Succession began in 1707. England attempted to secure religious rights and civil rights for Protestants on the Continent. Queen Anne's consort was a Lutheran, who had brought many of his co-religionists to England. Under Queen Anne's influence , the government of the time recruited and proposed to finance the emigration to America.It was decided that the newly appointed governor to New York would sail in 1710 with 2,800 Palatines, they were to be transported in 11 ships . The trip down the Rhine took from 4 to 6 weeks. Boats didn't move on the Sabbath nor on holidays, there were 36 customs houses to pass and tolls to pay at each. At each toll, the cargo was inspected, at the major points every thing had to be unloaded, those who chose to follow this route were taxed in various forms and many arrived penniless at Rotterdam. The Palatines however flooded Rotterdam by the thousands in the spring of 1709. They filled inns, houses, they camped on beaches in reed shacks and in the open air without shelter. They weren't expected in these numbers and were not welcomed. Food and shelter hadn't been provided and there was no transportation to England. Finally ships that were transporting military troops to the Continent were used to transport the Palatines to England on their return trips. England itself was caught unawares. The English gouvernment had instigated the mass exodus, but had not prepared for the number of people who wanted to take advantage of the offer in the new lands. Once again the people were crushed together in barns, tents and on shipboard, awaiting what would be the hellish trip to New York.
Those of the Catholic faith who had left the Rhineland were given the opportunity to convert or to be sent back., many were simply sent back, of those Protestant who arrived some 3000 of then were sent to Ireland against their desire
The English government had rounded up the eleven boats in which to transport the Palatines. They were boats that had been declared unfit to transport cattle to the colonies, and of course the owners were delighted to have cargo. Each of the eleven boats had a German list master. Of the first 2,814 Palatines who set sail for New York 446 died on the trip, and 250 died upon landing, there were by family count 847 in number.
When they disembarked from the ships they found a life as bad or more so then the one from which they were fleeing. New York did not want them, the city council was angry that 2,500 or so disease ladened newcomers were on their door steps, so the Palatines were force together into tents set up on Hutten Island, off shore from New York.
Before the Palatines had left England for America they were read the terms under which they would live once they arrived in the Colony. They all agreed to the version read to them in their own Germanic language. They agreed to pay the cost of their settlement out of the profits that they would make from manufacturing tar for the British Navy. Once these costs had been paid, each would receive 40 acres of land in the area of New York called Schoharie.
The Gouvernment of England however had come up with another plan, in Henry Jones's " The Palatine Families of New York 1710 'Volume I' " there is a brief outline of this planOn Sept. 29 1710, Governor Hunter entered into an agreement with Robert Livingston, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, to purchase a tract of 6,000 acres on the east side of the Hudson for the purpose of settling the Palatines there to manufacture naval stores. In October, many of the Germans began going up the river, clearing the ground and building huts on the Livingston Tract. Gradually, small distinct settlements appeared at East Camp called Hunterstown, Queens-bury, Annsbury and Haysbury : the villages on the west side of the Hudson were Elizabeth Town, George Town and New Town. The settlements on the East side of the Hudson is now the town of Germantown . The camps on the west side is know today as West Camp Rev Kocherthall established a congregation there and it continues today as the Lutheran Church.
Records have been provided information indicating that a Peter Kreller left an area near Dresden, travelling to Rotterdam where he embarked on his journey to the New World.
On June 17 1734 we find records of Johanne Peter Creller taking the oath of Allegiance to the British Crown, becoming a naturalized British subject in the colony of New York (Remec NY)
Records also show that Peter married Anna Maria Dorethea Wollenben (born in West Camp, New York 19 Nov. 1714) and brought up a family in or around Rhinebeck NY . It is from this family that a branch of the Creller is connected to the Macfie of Clarenceville Quebec.
The only Creller family records that have been found so far are records that show a Maria Catharina Creller born about 1692, in Daudenzell ( Dresden) ,marrying a Leonhardt Hans Erkenbrecht (b 1687). They had one child named Anna Maria Dorotea,( Peter appears as witness the baptism (in the new world)) . It is assumed that this Maria is Peter Creller's sister and she named her child after his wife, who may have been her best friend in America.
We have been fortunate enough to have been provided with some information on Anna's family line, her great grandfather apparently was a Pastor named Johann Paulis Wohleben of Steinbocken, Westphalia . Johann Paulis arrived in America with two sons who were named , Johann Philipp and Vanentin. Johann Wollenben married Anna Margreth and had a daughter Anna Maria born May 12 1713 in West Camp, NY and Vanentin was married to Susanna. (There is one family name attached to the births of the children of these two couples, Caputzgin, so it could be assumed that the two women, or at least one of them may have carried this as their family name. It is noted that often two brothers of one family married the two sisters of the other family).
Unfortunately at this time (2001 to 2010) we do not have very much information regarding the life and times of Peter Creller and his family as they lived their life in the 13 Colonies, we do know that they in the majority remained loyal to the British Crown, and the event of the American Revolution caused them difficulties. There appears to have been a split in the Creller family with one family moving north into Canada while the other remained in the northwestern part of New York State.
NOTE: The Library of Congress ( USA) have very kindly made thier possession readable on line : I have linked several volumes here that you might want to review if you want to fully understand the turbulent times that our Creller family lived in. There is however no reference to Kreller or Creller ( or to any of the other spellings) but much mention of " and other families " . As we find many names of those who may have been neighbours, I have assumed that there is a good chance that we were lumped in with the " and others" . The facts remain the same, with the hardships on the wilderness, the conflict of the French - Indian wars of 1759, the conflict of the Rebellion of the 13 Colonies, and the presence of terrible sicknesses, we can assume that our family member were not immune and have been lost to us. The burning of towns and villages, including Churches and town meeting places certainly brought about the loss of many records that might have provided us with much valued information. We have managed to accumulated enough information to make this skeleton family portrait , even if some of the dates cannot be confirmed.
Enjoy reading the following, and I trust you will bave a better idea of what our family among others went through once they arrived here in the new world.
- Book 1
- Book 2
- Book 3
- Book 4
- Book 5
- Book 6
We find one Creller family with new residence in the upper part of the continent ( upper Vermont state as we know it today). Three Creller fought with the Loyalist forces at Bennington , they were Peter John and Phillip . Peter and phillip listed among those taken prisoner by the revolutionary forces. It is believed that John was killed during this encounter, however no records of his capture nor death have been found .
As the American Revolution began in earnest in 1774, some forty years after Peter Creller became a British subject, we are uncertain that we can assume that he himself or his wife Anna Maria Doretea was still living. If they were,they would be probably in their early 70's. No records have been found attesting to thier deaths, nor burials.
Many people did not survive to the promised three score and ten, and we cannot assume that Peter and his wife were any different. They had already progressed through many difficulties, wars in Europe, overseas travel, beginning again in a new land, a land of English where they were the foreigners.( This is one area that remains to be researched in more detail and at this time there are several particulars working on these details ).
While the Creller name does not appear very often in any documentation regarding the history of the area where it has been assumed that they first settled we have found many other family names with whom the Creller have associated themsleves, either though marriage,or simple association.
Colony of New York