Created February 2021
By Brian Bowers
Michael Schlonecker was probably born in Germany in the early 1700s. (1)
Married twice. His first wife, whose name is unknown, died in 1751. Michael then married Eva Elisabeth, the widow of Caspar Wustin, on Jan 19, 1752. (2)
Children with first wife: (3)
George Schlonecker, born about 1732.
Anna Catharina Schlonecker, born about 1738.
George Adam Schlonecker, born about 1741.
Barbara Schlonecker, born about 1743
An unnamed daughter, born about 1744. Died Dec. 18, 1751.
An unnamed daughter, born about May 1746. Died Aug. 15, 1750.
Children with Eva Elisabeth:
John Schlonecker, born May 4, 1753.
Susanna Schlonecker, born about 1754.
Johann Jacob Schlonecker, born March 16, 1755.
Christian Schlonecker, born about 1759.
Nothing is known for certain about Michael’s early years. In 1760, he became a naturalized British citizen, indicating that he was born beyond American shores. However, available records don’t provide many good clues about his date of arrival. Michael does not appear on Philadelphia’s immigration lists, which start in 1727 – often an indication that someone arrived earlier. However, he also doesn’t appear in the Philadelphia tax lists for 1734 – possibly an indication that he had not yet arrived in the area. The fact that “Michael Schlonecker Jun’r.” was naturalized on the same day as his father might indicate that he too was born in Germany, even though family tradition holds that he was born in Pennsylvania. Michael Jr’s birth date is unknown, but he was confirmed in 1743. Since children were normally confirmed between the ages of 14 and 17 in the church they Schloneckers attended, the younger Michael was probably born in the late 1720s. If the younger Michael was indeed born in Germany, that would mean the family immigrated around 1730. It’s possible that Michael’s ship arrived at another port, which could explain the lack of an arrival record. (4)
The 1743 confirmation of “Michael Schlanecker, Michael Schanecker’s son” marks the immigrant’s earliest known appearance in American records. New Hanover Lutheran Church was in an area known as Falkner’s Swamp in what is now New Hanover Township, Montgomery County, Pa. When Michael was alive, the area was still part of Philadelphia County.
Over the next few decades, Michael continued to appear in the church’s records, often in confirmation records of his children. In 1748, Mich Schlonecker contributed to the improvement of the church’s property. (5)
Tragedy struck the family repeatedly in 1750 and 1751. In less than a year and a half, Michael lost two young daughters and his wife. On Aug. 15, 1750, the Lutheran church’s burial register includes “Schlunecker,” a 4-month-old daughter of Michael. On Nov. 20, 1751, the list includes “Schlanecker, wife of Michael.” And on Dec. 18, 1751, it includes “Schlanecker,” a 7-year-old daughter of Michael. The first names of these of these are unknown since they are not mentioned in the burial and baptismal records. (6)
A little more than a week before Michaels’ wife died, he purchased property in Hanover Township. On Nov 12, 1751, Michael Schlounecker purchased 191 acres, 153 perches for 63 pounds, 17 shillings, in Pennsylvania currency. On the same day his son – identified as Michael Slunaker Jr. – purchased a similar tract in the same area from the same group of men. (7)
The deed identifies Michael as a yeoman, or owner of a small farm.
About two months after his first wife’s death, Michael married again. In those days, it was common for widowers with small children to remarry quickly. On Jan. 19, 1752, the widower Michael Schlanacker married Eva Filicitas Wustin, the widow of Caspar. The wedding took place at Augustus Evangelical Church in Trappe, Pa. Although she’s identified in the marriage records as “Eva Filicitas,” she is later identified as “Eva Elisabeth” in baptismal records, deeds and Michael’s will. (8)
In 1760, Michael Schlonecker and Michael Schlonecker, Jun’r, became naturalized British citizens. On April 10, they appeared before the Pennsylvania Supreme to swear loyalty to King George II. They took their oath in connection with an act of Parliament granting citizenship to “Persons, being Foreigners and having inhabited and resided the space of seven years and upwards in his Majesty’s Colonies in America.” (9)
In May 1765, the Lutheran congregation in New Hanover adopted a new constitution. Both Michael’s approved the document – the younger man with his signature and the elder with his mark. Two years later, the younger Michael was elected a deacon. (10)
On June 28, 1765, Michael Shlunecker and Eva Elizabeth his wife sold some of the property he had acquired in 1751 to his son George Adam. The couple sold 133 acres, 73 perches, “for the Love favour and parternall affection which they hath and beareth unto their said son and also for and in consideration of the sum of Four hundred & fifty pounds lawful money of Pennsylvania to hem in had paid.” Michael also marked this document instead of signing it. (11)
Michael appears to have acquired other property through transactions that aren’t indexed in the land records of Philadelphia County or the province of Pennsylvania. In the listings for the 1769 proprietary tax, Michael and his sons Michael, George and Adam appear in the assessment for Frankford and New Hanover Township. The list says Michael owned 200 acres, two horses and three cattle. He was taxed 12 pounds, 10 shillings and 8 pence. (12)
Toward the end of 1769, Michael was feeling very ill and realized the end was near. David Shultze – who served as a legal adviser for German settlers in the area – noted in his journal that he “Wrote Michael Slonecker’s Will” on Dec. 10. In this will Michael says, “I Michael Schlounecker of New Hanover Township in the County of Philadelphia and Province of Pennsylvania Yeoman Do find myself very sick and Weak in Body, but of sound Minde Understanding and Memory, thanks be to God.” (13)
Shultze later noted: “On the morning of the 11th at 6:30, Michael Shlonecker, the elder, died. He was buried on the 13th.”
In his will, Michael bequeathed to his son John 58 acres, which was the remainder of the tract sold to George Adam in 1765. He also gave John livestock and implements needed for an 18th-century farm – two horses, a mare, two cows, “the new Waggon with the big chain and what belongs to it,” a plow and harrow, all the gears with the cutting box and the windmill. To his “beloved Wife Eve Elizabeth,” Michael gave his bed, new chest, side saddle, two cows and other household goods, tools and kitchenware. Michael also provided some vacant land on “the plantation” for Christian. Finally, Michael’s nine surviving children – Michael, George, George Adam, John and Christian, Anne Mary, Catherina, Barbara and Susannah – were to receive equal shares from the sale of his remaining personal property.
Apparently, Michael’s intention was for John to care for Eva Elisabeth because he stipulated that executors were to pay 75 pounds to John for subsistence of the widow. However, Johannes Schlonecker, age 24, was buried on March 30, 1777. (14)
In the following years, tax records refer to property owned by Widow Slonecker. In most years, the lists just indicate the amount Eva Elisabeth was taxed. However, the list for 1783 says Widow Slonecker owned 125 acres in New Hanover Township. (15)
(1) No information has turned up on Michael’s birthplace or date of birth. The fact that he attended a German church and needed to be naturalized indicates that he was born in Germany or Switzerland. A genealogy of the Schlonecker is available in “A History and Genealogy of the Slonaker Descendants in America Since Early 1700,” complied and edited by James R. Slonaker, Los Angeles, 1941. (2) The marriage is listed in the records of Augustus Evangelical Church, Trappe, Pa., in “The Pennsylvania-German Society Proceedings and Addresses,” Vol. VII, Reading, Pa.,1897, page 486. (3) Michael’s will mentions the following children: Michael, George, George Adam, John, Christian, Anne Mary, Catherina, Barbara and Susannah. The will is in Philadelphia County, Pa., Will Book O, page 466 – No. 347. The approximate birth years for many of the children can be calculated from confirmation records in “A History of the Lutheran Church in New Hanover, Montgomery County, Penna.,” compiled and arranged by the Rev. J.J. Kline, New Hanover, Pa., 1910. The details: Johann Juerg, age 17 in 1749, page 510; Anna Catharina, age 14 in 1752, page 512; Juerg Adam, “in his 16th year” in 1756, page 515; Barbara, “in 14th year” in 1756, page 516; Susannah, age 15 in 1770, page 524; and Christian, age 17 in 1776, page 530. The younger Michael’s 1743 confirmation is listed on page 507 but it doesn’t list his age. The births of John, or Johannes, and Johann Jacob are listed in “A History of the Lutheran Church in New Hanover,” page 449. (4) Michael might have been the son of an Adam Schlonecker, according to “A History and Genealogy of the Slonaker Descendants in America,” page 66. Adam lived in Philadelphia County in 1728, when he signed a petition asking for protection from attacks by Native Americans. The petition is transcribed, along with the signatures, in “A History of the Lutheran Church in New Hanover,” page 245. Unfortunately, this man is elusive. No name that’s similar to Adam Schlonecker appears in the indexes of Philadelphia County deed, or Pennsylvania land patents or land warrants. He also doesn’t seem to be in the 1734 tax lists for Philadelphia County that are available online. The Schlonecker genealogy also says Adam was probably the father of “four brothers” who are mentioned in family legend. Unfortunately, there are no records that indicate Michael had brothers, and no real proof is offered in the Schlonecker genealogy aside from the accounts of family members who heard the legend. In fact, the book admits that there’s no real evidence that two of the four ever existed and claims that one was possibly the Henry Stenecker who appears in Northampton County tax records in the 1780s. But based on the very late date and the spelling, it seems unlikely this man was related to Michael. (5) The contribution is mentioned in “Notes and Queries Historical, Biographical and Genealogical Relating Chiefly to Interior Pennsylvania,” edited by William H. Egle, 1898, republished by Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1970, page 183. (6) The burials are listed in “A History of the Lutheran Church in New Hanover,” page 687. (7) The 1751 transactions appear in Philadelphia County Deed Book H-11, page 220, for the elder Michael, and page 162, for the younger Michael. (8) The marriage record appears in the records of Augustus Evangelical Church, Trappe, Pa., as noted above. The baptisms are listed in “A History of the Lutheran Church in New Hanover,” page 449. (9) “Persons Naturalized in the Province of Pennsylvania, 1740-1773,” excerpted from Pennsylvania Archives, Series 2, Vol. II, Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1967, page 51. Interestingly, just below the Schoneckes’ names appears the name Diel Bauer. Diel was the first “Bowers” to live in America. Like the Schloneckers, he fails to appear in Philadelphia immigration records. (10) The signers of the constitution appear in “Notes and Queries Historical, Biographical and Genealogical,” pages 189-190. The younger Michael’s election appears in “A History of the Lutheran Church in New Hanover,” page 176. (11) The 1765 transaction is recorded in Philadelphia County Deed Book I-15, page 512. (12) The 1769 tax list appears in “Pennsylvania Archives,” Series 3, Vol. 14, page 42. (13) The journal entries appear in “The Journals and Papers of David Shultze,” Vol. II, translated and edited by Andrews S. Berky, The Schwenkfelder Library, Pennsburg, Pa., 1953, page 53. The will appears in Philadelphia County, Pa., Will Book O, page 466 – No. 347. The New Hanover church records list Michael’s burial on Dec 13, 1769, which is often give as his death date. This appears in “A History of the Lutheran Church in New Hanover,” page 687. (14) John’s burial is listed in “A History of the Lutheran Church in New Hanover,” page 687. (15) The tax records appear in “Pennsylvania Archives,” Series 3, Vol. 14, page 593; Vol. 15, page 393; Vol. 16, pages 5, 259 and 623.
MICHAEL and ANNA MARIA SCHLONECKER
Michael Schlonecker was born in the late 1720s to Michael Schlonecker and his wife, possibly in Germany. (1)
Married Anna Maria Heilig on March 26, 1749. She was the daughter of Heinrich and Susannah Heilig. (2)
Anna Maria Schlonecker, born March 31, 1749. Died before 1752.
Anna Maria Schlonecker, born Jan. 8, 1752.
Susanna Schlonecker, born Jan. 21, 1754.
Catharine Schlonecker, born Nov. 17, 1755.
Johann Michael Schlonecker, born April 2, 1758. Died within a year.
Johann Michael Schlonecker, born June 23, 1759.
Johann Heinrich Schlonecker, born June 26, 1761.
Johannes Schlonecker, born June 18, 1763.
Anna Margareth Schlonecker, born Oct. 17, 1765.
Johann Jacob Schlonecker, born 23 March 1768.
Elisabeth Schlonecker, born July 12, 1770.
Maria Dorothea Schlonecker, born 20 Dec 1773. Died November 1776.
No record states specifically where Michael was born, but it seems most likely that he was born in Germany. The fact that he was naturalized in Philadelphia in 1760 seems to indicate that he was born outside British territory. (4)
After arriving in America, the Schlonecker family had settled in what is now New Hanover Township, Montgomery County, Pa. Until 1784, the area was part of Philadelphia County.
In 1743, “Michael Schlanecker, Michael Schanecker’s son,” was confirmed at New Hanover Lutheran Church – often called Falkner’s Swamp church. For much of his life, Michael was associated with this congregation. Six years after his confirmation, he was wed there. Over the following 24 years, his children were baptized there. And at several times, he served as an official there. (5)
On Nov. 12, 1751, Michael Slunaker Jr. purchased 189 acres of land in Hanover Township for 621 pounds, 14 shilling in Pennsylvania currency. His father purchased a similar amount of land from the same people on the same day. (6)
Michael is listed as a yeoman, indicating he was the owner of a small farm.
In 1760, Michael Schlonecker and Michael Schlonecker, Jun’r, became naturalized British citizens. On April 10, they appeared before the Pennsylvania Supreme to swear loyalty to King George III. They took their oath in connection with an act of Parliament granting citizen ship to “Persons, being Foreigners and having inhabited and resided the space of seven years and upwards in his Majesty’s Colonies in America.” (7)
In May 1765, the Lutheran congregation in New Hanover adopted a new constitution. At this time, “leading men of the congregation were constituted Trustees,” including Michael Schlanecker. On Jan. 19, 1767, Michael Schlonecker, Jr., was elected deacon. In 1768, the congregation completed a new church building. On Sept. 10, 1768, Michael Schlanecker jun. was among the church officers to sign a letter inviting members of the Lutheran synod to comes to New Hanover to consecrate the building. (8)
In 1769, tax records provide a glimpse at the family’s holdings. The assessment for Frankford and New Hanover Township, Philadelphia County, reveals that Michael Sloanaker, Jun., owned 130 acres, three horses and three cattle. He was taxed 10 pounds and 10 shillings. (9)
On March 31, 1769, Michael purchased two tracts of land in nearby Douglass Township. One covered 150 acres and the other covered 40 acres. The larger property contained a sawmill, according to later tax records. Michael paid 1,100 pounds in Pennsylvania currency. The deed mentions he was a yeoman who lived in New Hanover Township. (10)
After what appears to be a hiatus of several years, Michael once again was elected to an office in the Lutheran congregation in 1778. In that year, Michael Schlonecker was elected to the church council as an elder. He continued in that role at least through 1780, when he is listed as an elder in the congregation’s annual settlement. (11)
By this time, the Revolutionary War was in full swing. Pennsylvania required all able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 53 to participating in a local militia unit. In 1776, Michael would have been almost 50 years old and approaching the upper boundary for militia service. In 1777, his namesake son would have been about 18 years old. As a result, it seems very likely that militia rosters mentioning service by a Michael Schlonecker refer to the younger man.
On Dec. 8, 1778, Michael Slownacker and Henry Slownacker were mustered for active service in Capt. Philip Hahn’s company of the Fourth Battalion of Philadelphia County Militia. They were in the service of the United States until Dec 22. In 1780, Michael Slonacre and Henry Slanecker appears on the muster roll of Capt. Frederick Beitenman’s company of the Fourth Battalion of the Philadelphia County Militia. (12)
During the early 1780s, tax records list a Michael Schlonecker in connection with land in three different townships. In 1780, the name is associated with property in Douglass and New Hanover townships. In 1781 and 1782, it also appears in connection with land in Upper Hanover Township. It’s very likely that Michael’s namesake son took control of the New Hanover property at some point. But properties in Douglass and Upper Hanover were problem held by the elder Michael. (13)
In 1783, a better picture of these holdings is available because tax assessors included a breakdown of land and livestock that each person owned. Douglass Township appears to have been the elder Michael’s home. He is listed as a farmer who also owned a sawmill, 190 acres of land, three horses, four cattle and 10 sheep. In New Hanover Township, it appears most likely that the younger Michael Slonecker owned 128 acres, two horses, two cattle and four sheep. And in Upper Hanover Township, “Michael Slonecker’s est.” covered 20 acres. In tax records from this era, the term “estate” was often used to designate land that was held by a non-resident owner. (14)
About 1785, it seems that Michael, who would have been almost 60 years old, started to divide his holdings among his sons. In Douglass Township, Michael Slonacre was taxed for only 60 acres of land and a dwelling, a sawmill, a horse and two cows. And John Slonacre was taxed for 130 acres and a welling, two horses and two cows. Henry Slonacre, a weaver, was tax for two cows. The following year, Michael disappears from the tax list and the 60 acres and its accompanying sawmill were owned by Henry. Michael continued to hold on to the 10 acres in Upper Hanover Township until 1787, but he disappears from all of the Montgomery County tax lists after that. (15)
A deed from Nov 27, 1787, describes the sale of Michael’s land in Douglass Township to his son John. Michael Scholecker and Anna Mary his wife of the Borough of Reading in Berks County sold 130 acres contained in two tracts to their son John Schlonecker for 1,000 pounds in gold and silver money of Pennsylvania. The deed mentions an adjoining parcel – the portion of the property with the sawmill – had already been acquired by Henry. (16)
Michael and Anna Maria had actually moved to Reading the year before. Pennsylvania’s septennial census for 1786 lists Michl Slonecker in the borough, which lies about 20 miles west of Douglass Township.
The 1790 U.S. Census lists Michl Slonecker Sen in Exeter Township, Berks County, Pa. His household contained two males 16 and over and one female. Michl Slonecker Jr lived in the same township. His household contained a male 16 and over, two males under 16 and five females.
In Berks County, Michael worshiped at Trinity Lutheran Church in Reading. He contributed to the construction of a new church building between 1790 and 1794. And in his will, he left $20 “to the Trustees, Elders, Deacons of the German Lutheran Congregation in the Borough of Reading in the said County of Berks for the use of the said Congregation.” (17)
Michael wrote his will on May 30, 1809, when he was “far advanced in years but yet of good sound memory and understanding.” He was still living in Exeter Township at the time. Since the will doesn’t mention Anna Maria, it’s likely she had already died.
Michael died in 1812. His will was proved on July 4, 1812, which means that he died before that date.
(1) Michael’s father is identified in confirmation records in “A History of the Lutheran Church in New Hanover, Montgomery County, Penna.,” compiled and arranged by the Rev. J.J. Kline, New Hanover, Pa., 1910, 507. Michael’s birth date is listed as July 29, 1727, in “A History and Genealogy of the Slonaker Descendants in America Since Early 1700,” complied and edited by James R. Slonaker, Los Angeles, 1941, page 68. Unfortunately, there are problems with this information. First, even though the genealogy lists the sources for much of its information, there is no source cited for Michael’s birth date – or his death date. The dates haven’t turned up in other research, either. The format seems likely to have come from a headstone: “July 29, 1727, and died July 7, 1812, age 84 years, 11 months and 18 days.” There is no headstone listed at the New Hanover cemetery for Michael at Findagrave.com, though it’s possible that the stone has disappeared or simply been missed. Another problem is that calculating the birth date based on the death date and age yields July 19, not July 29. But it’s possible an error was made in the transcription or on the headstone itself. The 1743 confirmation record doesn’t state Michael’s age, but most children were confirmed between the ages or 14 and 17 at the New Hanover church. This makes a birth year between 1726 and 1729 most likely. (2) The marriage is listed in “A History of the Lutheran Church in New Hanover,” page 629. Anna Maria is listed as a daughter of Henry Heiligh – Heinrich Heilig – in his will, in Philadelphia County Will Book Q, page 149. (3) Baptisms of the children appear in “A History of the Lutheran Church in New Hanover,” pages 449, 450 and 468. Maria Dorothea’s burial is listed in the church’s records, page 687. (4) The naturalization is mentioned in “Persons Naturalized in the Province of Pennsylvania, 1740-1773,” excerpted from Pennsylvania Archives, Series 2, Vol. II, Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1967, page 51. A birth in Pennsylvania is advocated in “A History and Genealogy of the Slonaker Descendants,” page 68. It seems likely this is based on the idea that the elder Michael Schlonecker immigrated to American before 1727, since he doesn’t appear in the arrival lists in Philadelphia. However, this isn’t proof of an earlier arrival. Records of his presence in Pennsylvania before 1727 have not been found. It’s possible he arrived at another port. It should be noted that the name of Diel Bauer appears just below the Schlonecker. Diel, who was the first “Bowers” to live in America, also fails to appear in Philadelphia immigration records. (5) The confirmation appears in “A History of the Lutheran Church in New Hanover,” page 507. (6) The 1751 transaction appears in Philadelphia County Deed Book H-11, page 162. (7) As mentioned above, the naturalization appears in “Persons Naturalized in the Province of Pennsylvania, 1740-1773,” page 51. (8) Information on Michael’s church activities appears in “A History of the Lutheran Church in New Hanover,” as follows: 1765 trustee, page 169; deacon, page 176; signer of letter page 29-30. (9) The 1769 tax list appears in “Pennsylvania Archives,” Series 3, Vol. 14, page 42. (10) The 1769 transaction appears in Philadelphia County Deed Book I-13, page 376. (11) The election as elder is mentioned in “A History of the Lutheran Church in New Hanover,” page 177. (12) The active duty is listed in Pennsylvania Archives, Series 6, Vol. 1, Part 2, page 781. The 1778 service appears in Pennsylvania Archives, Series 6, Vol. 1, Part 2, page 781. The full roster of Beitenman’s company in 1780 appears on page 773, and an undated list appears on page 789. Michael Slonecker also appears on a list of non-associators in New Hanover Township in 1779. Non-associators were those who refused militia duty. However, the editors of the Pennsylvania Archives explain in a note that these particular lists seem to record the names of property owners, not true non-associators. Many of the names that appear on these lists also appear on militia rosters. The list appears in Pennsylvania Archives, Second Series, Vol. 14, part 1, page 30. (13) The 1780 lists are in Pennsylvania Archives, Third Series, Vol. 15, pages 393 and 514. The 1781 lists are in Vol. 16, pages 5 and 54. The 1782 lists are in Vol. 16, pages 168, 257 and 259. (14) The 1783 lists are in Pennsylvania Archives, Third Series, Vol. 16, pages 524, 623 and 624. (15) The tax lists for 1785 through 1789 for Montgomery County appear in “Pennsylvania, Tax and Exoneration, 1768-1801,” at Ancestry.com. (16) he 1787 transaction is recorded in Montgomery County Deed Book, 3, page 445. (17) The contribution is mentioned in “The History of Trinity Lutheran Church, Reading, Pa., 1751-1894,” by Jacob Fry, Reading, Pa., 1894, page 287.