Jacob Maust and Catherine Schmeyer

Jacob Maust appeared in Bedminster, Bucks County, as a young man, part of a tide of Germans who settled in upper Bucks County.1 They dominated the northern townships—Bedminster, Haycock, Tinicum, Nockamixon—townships dotted with their churches.2 From there they spread out into other nearby areas. This hilly country was still the frontier at the time, thinly settled compared to the dense Quaker townships to the south. As latecomers to the county the Germans had to take what land they could afford; they formed a buffer between the pacifist Quakers and the unsettled region further north and west.

In 1755 global politics touched the lives of the Germans in upper Bucks County. The battle for empire between France and England reached Pennsylvania when the French used the native Lenni Lenape people as allies. The Lenni Lenape had been angered by the Walking Purchase in 1737, when Penn’s sons bent the rules of an agreement in order to seize more land than the natives had agreed on. Encouraged by the French, the natives attacked settlements in Berks County. Families fled south and east into Bucks County and stayed with fellow members of their church until the crisis was over.

One such family was that of Johann Philip Schmeyer and Maria Salome Stephan. They had immigrated with two young children in 1733, sailing on the brigantine Pennsylvania.3 They settled in Lower Macungie Township, Berks County, where Philip got a grant of 200 acres in 1735.4 There they added more children to the family before Philip’s death around 1750. In 1755, there are no records to show where the surviving family went during the violence, but the daughter Catherine met and married Jacob Maust, who lived 25 miles east of her family. She stayed behind while the rest of the family went on with their lives in Lower Macungie.5 Jacob and Catherine spent their lives in Bedminster and neighboring Nockamixon, and had eight known children.6

They were probably Lutherans. It was common at the time for Lutheran and Reformed Churches to share a building. Tohickon Union Church was such a shared building. It is believed that Jacob and Catherine were buried there. It lies on the extreme western corner of the township, three miles from the other Lutheran Church there, Keller’s Lutheran, “standing upon a prominence along the Ridge road with the Tohickon creek winding along its base.”7

In 1773 Jacob bought 150 acres of land in Bedminster from John and Nancy Boaz. He paid taxes regularly on that land at least through 1785. By the 1780s the children of Jacob and Catherine were grown and beginning to marry and form their own families. In 1794 he sold the 150 acres to his son-in-law Michael Young, married to Jacob’s daughter Elizabeth.8 In 1800 Jacob and Catherine were still in Bedminster.9 Six of the children were living nearby: George in Tinicum with four young children, and John in Tinicum, also with four young children. Two of the daughters lived in Bedminster, while the others were in Nockamixon and Tinicum. Frederick and Jacob were in Lower Saucon, Northampton County, just over the northern border of Bucks County.

Catherine died in 1803 and was buried at Tohickon Cemetery as old Mrs. Mast.10 By the time Jacob made his will in September 1807, he was living in Nockamixon, perhaps with one of his children.11 The will was written in September 1807 and proved a month later.12  In it Jacob named four sons Jacob, John, George, and Frederick and daughters Magdalen, Mary and Elizabeth.13 His daughter “Kathren”, wife of Michael Young, was deceased, so he designated her share to her children. The executors were George Maust and Stophel Trauger (Magdalen’s husband).

Most of the children of Jacob and Catherine stayed in northern Bucks County or neighboring counties. The exception was the youngest, John Frederick. Perhaps because he was the youngest, he had the best opportunity to cross the mountains and settle one hundred miles to the west, in Sunbury on the Susquehanna River. This was the frontier until after the Revolution, and settlers were under constant threat of attack by the native Americans.

Children of Jacob and Catherine:  This family followed one of the German naming patterns, giving the sons the first name of John.

Catharine Elizabeth, born about 1756, died before 1807, married about 1778 Michael Young.14 They had at least five children, baptized at Tohickon Lutheran and Kellers Lutheran.15 They lived in Bedminster, where Michael was taxed in 1778. Catherine died before 1807, when her father’s will named her as deceased. Michael moved to the Northern Liberties and died there in 1822, leaving a will.16 George Maust and Stophel Trauger assisted in settling his estate.17 Children: William, Mary, Margaret, George, Christian, Barbara, Elizabeth.18

Jacob, born 1758, married before December 1788 Anna Maria Reifschneider, daughter of Philip. In 1793 Jacob bought land from Philip Reifschneider in Lower Saucon Township, Northampton County, about fifteen miles north of Nockamixon Township. In the deed Jacob was described as a weaver. In 1803 William Reifschneider of Berks County, only surviving son of Philip, granted a release indenture to Jacob Mast of Lower Saucon, as co-heirs of Philip’s estate. Jacob was in Lower Saucon for the 1800 census, with six children, but back in Nockamixon by 1810 with two sons and three daughters, all over 26.19 Known children of Jacob and Anna Maria: Anna Maria, Jacob20

Magdalen, born 1760, died 1828, married about 1780 Christopher Trauger, known as Stoffel, son of Christian and Anna Barbara. Stoffel and Magdalene owned two tracts of land in Nockamixon and a tract of timber land in Durham. Stoffel died in 1844. He left a will, naming eight children.21 He and Magdalen were buried at St. Luke’s Evangelical Lutheran Church.22 Children: Jacob, John, Christian, Elizabeth, Solomon, Sarah, Catherine, Joseph.23

Mary Margaret, born 1764, died 1842, married in 1783 William Keeler. They lived in Bedminster. She died in 1842; William died a year later.24 They are buried at Keely’s Church Cemetery in Schwenksville, Montgomery County. Children: Catherine, Susanna, Elizabeth, John, Henry.

John, born about 1766, married Maria Magdalena —. Maria’s last name is not known; it might have been Schumann.25 In 1794 their son Jacob was baptized at Tinicum Union Reformed Church. In the same year John bought a tract of land in Haycock Township.26 He and his wife were living in Tinicum in 1800 with four children.27 He was named in his father’s will in 1807.28 Maria probably died in 1823 and was buried at Tohickon Cemetery.29 It is probable that John is buried there also, but a record of his death or probate have not been found.30  Children: Jacob, Elizabeth, John, Catherine. 31

George, born 1767, died June 1849, married about 1793 Maria Magdalena Stein, daughter of Peter Stein and Margaret Deemer.32 Their son Peter was probably named for his grandfather Peter. George and Magdalene were members of Keller’s Lutheran, later at Tohickon Lutheran. In 1807 they were living in Tinicum. George died there in 1849. He did not leave a will. The inventory was taken on June 18. It showed the goods of a prosperous farmer, including the usual farm and household goods.33 Maria had died before him, in 1840 and is buried at Lower Tinicum Union Cemetery, Tinicum Township.34 Children: Sarah, Mary Magdalene, Jacob, Susan, George, Samuel, Peter, Mary, Catharine, Elizabeth. 35

Elizabeth, born 1771, died 1851, married about 1792 John Jacob Wildonger. They lived in Lower Tinicum. Jacob died in 1834. He left a will, naming his wife Elizabeth and five living children, plus one deceased, a son John.36 The next year the heirs signed a receipt acknowledging payment of the estate by the executors.37 From the inventory of his estate, he was a prosperous farmer, with  bountiful livestock. Children: John, Jacob, David, Abraham, Moses, Catherine.38

Frederick, born 1773, baptized in 1774 at Keller’s Lutheran, died in 1815 in Sunbury, Northumberland County. He married Sarah McHose and had seven children with her, before his early death.


  1. Oscar Kuhns, The German and Swiss Settlements of Colonial Pennsylvania, 1914. The assumption is that Jacob was German. There was a Jacob Maust from Guggisberg, Switzerland, who settled in Berks County, with a wife Barbara and son Jacob. However the son Jacob moved to Somerset County. They were Mennonites, unlike Jacob of Bedminster, who was probably Lutheran. (The Swiss Maust family is from the WikiTree page of Jacob Mast.)
  2. There are other early emigrants with the Maus/Mauss/Maust surname. (It is a common surname, probably originally a shortened form of Thomas.) They appear in Philadelphia records starting in the 1730’s. But since none of them appear more than once, they were probably people who immediately left for the frontier counties. The only Maus who stayed in Philadelphia was the watchmaker Frederick Maus. He made a will in 1785/86 which named his wife Susanna, and children Philip, Daniel, Frederick Jr., Matthias, Elizabeth, and several grandchildren. Jacob of Bedminster did name one of his sons Frederick, but there are no other names common to both families.
  3. Penn Germania, vol. 1, 1912, p. 879.
  4. This family used one of the German naming patterns, where all of the sons were baptized with the first name of Johannes or John, adding a middle name. They actually used the middle name in most of their dealings. Sometimes a son would simply be baptized as John; in this case he was known as John. Many of the women also had double names, frequently using their middle name, but it is not a simple pattern.
  5. Her name is believed to be Catherine Elizabeth. In some records she is called Catherine, in others Elizabeth. There is no reason to assume that Jacob was married more than once.
  6. Jacob named seven living children and one deceased daughter in his will.
  7. William J. Hinke, Church Record of the  Keller’s Lutheran Church in Bedminster Township, Bucks County, on Ancestry.
  8. Bucks County deeds, Book 27, p. 484. The deed explicitly states that this was the tract granted to Jacob by John and Nancy Boaz. In the deed Jacob’s wife was named as Elizabeth. There is no reason to believe that he married twice, as her full name was Elizabeth Catherine.
  9. 1800 census, Bedminster, Bucks County. Unfortunately the names are in alphabetical order, depriving us of information about neighbors and family clusters. In the 1790 census Jacob’s household had three males and three females. It is likely that four of the children were still at home.
  10. Findagrave, from church records. There is no tombstone.
  11. The son Jacob was living in Nockamixon by 1810, shown in the census. Perhaps the older Jacob was living with him in 1807.
  12. Abstracts of Bucks County Wills 1785-1825, p. 125.
  13. Bucks County wills, Book 7, p. 287. His name was written as Jacob “Most”. He was living in Nockamixon Township. The executors were son George and son-in-law Stophel Trauger. The sons were Jacob, John, George and Frederick. The daughters were Magdalen wife of Stophel Trauger, Mary wife of William Keeler, Elizabeth wife of Jacob Wooldonger. The grandchildren were children of Kathren, wife of Michael Young deceased. The witnesses were Hugh Jamison and Frederick Trauger. Jamison was probably a neighbor; Trauger is probably related by marriage. The published will abstracts, made in 1998, listed only three sons, one named “John George”. In the original will he specifies that he has four sons and names them as “Jacob, John, George and Frederick”. A comma makes all the difference. John and George were both having children at about the same time, in different churches. Confusingly they both married women named Maria Magdalena. In addition there is a census record in 1800 of a George Most in Tinicum with four children and a John Most in the same township with four children.
  14. She is referred to as Catherine or Catherine Elizabeth in the baptismal records of her children, and as Kathren in her father’s will.
  15. These were John Jacob, Maria Magdalen, Elizabeth, George William, Anna Elizabeth, The choice of church probably depended on which church had a minister in residence at the time.
  16. Philadelphia County wills, Book 7, p. 591. There was also a man named Michael Young with wife Catherine who died in Upper Hanover, Bucks County, in 1832, leaving a will. (Bucks County wills, Book 11, p. 73). However, the association of George Maust and Stophel Trauger with the Michael Young in the Northern Liberties place him in this family, not the Bucks County man.
  17. Philadelphia County wills, Book 7, p. 591, Bucks County Orphans Court file #3199 and Bucks County Misc Deed Dockets, p. 109, 160. Since this Michael named grandchildren in his will, proved January 1823, he could not have been a son of Michael and Catherine. Since he also named a wife Elizabeth, then he must have remarried. If this is in fact Catherine’s husband, then they also had children Christian, Margaret and Barbara. Christian was the executor of the estate in 1825.
  18. These children were named in Michael’s will. The daughter Elizabeth was deceased, her name given only in reference to her daughter Mary. It is assumed that all of the children were with Elizabeth Maust, not his second wife, but this may be incorrect.
  19. This is too early to be a Jacob of the next generation, because of the ages of the children. Who was the Jacob who died about 1829 in Nockamixon leaving a widow Elizabeth who later married Christian Trauger and children Samuel, Catherine, Jacob and possibly Ann? There was an Elizabeth Rufe (daughter of George Rufe of Nockamixon) who was an Elizabeth Mast in 1831. Is this the widow of Jacob before she married Christian? “Christian Trauger Jr. of Nockamixon Twp. and wife Elizabeth (late Elizabeth Mast, widow of Jacob Mast) acknowledge payment from Frederick Rufe, administrator to Jacob Mast, last of Nockamixon”. (Bk 6/pg 241  Feb 2, 1832, in Bucks County Misc. Deed Dockets, p. 163)
  20. Anna Maria and Jacob were both baptized at Trinity Reformed. The list is incomplete.
  21. Bucks County Wills book 12, p. 407.
  22. Findagrave.
  23. From his will.
  24. Findagrave, which has photos of their tombstones. There is another William Keeler in the census of 1810 in Nockamixon. He had young children, so he was a younger man. His wife may also have been named Mary. He died in the spring of 1835. It is possible that the dates given here are confused with the other man.
  25. One Ancestry tree gave this name for her, presumably as the Maria Magdalena Schumann, daughter of John and Maria Elizabeth, baptized in April 1767 at Tohickon Union Church.
  26. Bucks County deeds, Book 27, p. 485.
  27. 1800 census, Tinicum, Bucks County, image 1. He was listed as John Most.
  28. A John Maust died in Bedminster in 1855 and left a will. He was a much younger man, with a son under 21.
  29. Findagrave has an entry for Maria Mast, died in 1823, with a tombstone photo. John was the only Maust of his generation with a wife named Maria who could fit here. His brother George’s wife Maria died about 1840.
  30. There was a John Mast of Bern Township, Berks County, who died in 1823 (Berks County will records), but he was probably part of the Mennonite family from Switzerland. See Note 1 above.
  31. The four children are named for their grandparents. Jacob is from the baptismal record. The younger three are linked as siblings through the will of John Maust, Bucks County wills, book 14, p. 14. John Maust of Bedminster died in 1855 leaving a son Phillip (under 21), sisters Elizabeth Groover, and Catharine Wambold. Elizabeth Maust, wife of Joseph, was born about 1798, lived in Tinicum, buried there with Joseph (census records, Findagrave). She is commonly said to be a daughter of George and Maria Magdalena, but a 1865 tax list of heirs of Jacob Maust shows that this is incorrect; that Elizabeth was the wife of Joseph Meyers. John Maust was born about 1802, lived in Haycock (probably on land inherited from his father John), had a son Philip, widowed by 1850, died in Bedminster in 1855. (census records, his will). Catherine Maust was born about 1804, married Henry Wambold, and lived in Rockhill. (census records)
  32. A baptismal record for a child of George and Magdalena in 1795 said that Magdalene was a Stein.
  33. Bucks County probate records, #8782, Bucks County Courthouse, Doylestown.
  34. Findagrave.
  35. From baptismal records, and the list of heirs of the estate of the son Jacob Maust, including several of his siblings. The son George is placed in the list because he had a son named Jonas and Jacob’s estate included a nephew Jonas.
  36. Bucks County probate records, #6624, Bucks County Courthouse, Doylestown.
  37. Bucks County Misc Deed Dockets, Book 7, p. 207, 31 Mar 1835. The heirs who signed were Elizabeth Wildonger (the widow), John and Mary Swope, Sarah Wildonger, Moses and Hannah Leer and Magdalena Wildonger, all of Tinicum Twp, Joseph and Catharine Fly of BedminsterTwp, and Abraham Worman of Tinicum (guardian of minor children Abraham and Moses Wildonger).
  38. This list is probably incomplete. It is difficult to match the names in the estate settlement with the names in the will.

One thought on “Jacob Maust and Catherine Schmeyer”

  1. Thank you for sharing the story of Jacob and Catherine Maust. They are my 6th great grandparents and I descend from their daughter Maria Magdalena, wife of Christopher/Stophel Trauger.

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