THE 1700s

Maria Barbara Knappenberger arrived in 1732

Johan Michael Knappenberger arrived in 1738

Johan Erhard Knappenberger arrived in 1749


THE 1800s

Joh. Christian Knappenberger applied to emigrate in 1845

Johan Georg Knappenberger arrived about 1848

Caroline Knappenberger arrived in 1854

Christian Knappenberger arrived in the 1870s

John Frederick Knappenberger arrived in 1881

Elizabeth Rosine [Knappenberger] Ruth arrived in 1883


The journey from Germany to the American colonies was arduous and many died on the passage due to the hardships.   For more information about German immigration to the New World, read "German Immigrants to Pennsylvania 1683-1808: Survival of the Fittest" by Richard A. Newhouse.  The article includes  fascinating information related to early German immigrants to this country.


Three Knappenberger siblings (Maria Barbara, J. Michael and J. Erhard) arrived in Pennsylvania and settled west of Philadelphia in what was then Northampton County (and later became Lehigh County in 1812).   The Knappenbergers were farmers though they also had great skill in carpentry and building.   They were part of the communities that came to be called Pennsylvania "Dutch" which is a corruption of the German language word "Deutsch" which means German.  It is likely that the Knappenbergers came to America not only for land but also for religious freedom.  William Penn considered his colony, Pennsylvania, a "Holy Experiment" where he established religious toleration, a fairly democratic system of government and sold land on liberal terms both to individuals and to groups.


The Knappenbergers were part of the German Reform religious movement.  The Protestant Reformation had begun in Germany in the 1500s under the leadership of Martin Luther.  Once the siblings arrived in the colony, the two brothers were instrumental in starting churches and remained active in them.  Future generations would follow on the same path.  As the family moved to new areas of the country,  the Knappenbergers would help establish new churches (primarily Lutheran and German Reform which later became United Church of Christ) and remained active in their workings.  Through the generations up until present day, many Knappenbergers have been pastors and church leaders.






Maria Barbara Knappenberger was born 30 April 1699 in Widdern, Jagstkreis, Wuerttemberg, the daughter of Johan Albrecht Knappenberger.  She died 27 January 1772 in South Whitehall Township of Northampton County, PA (which later became Lehigh County).  She was the first of the three siblings to arrive from Wuerttemberg in 1732.  She arrived alone which was quite unusual.   No records have been found of a marriage in Wuerttemberg for Barbara.  Upon arriving in Pennsylvania, she married Conrad Kolb, a widower in 1733.  Conrad arrived on the ship "Pleasant" on 11 October 1732 losing his wife and two of his four children on the journey.  It was common for people to not survive the journey especially young children.


Barbara's husband, Conrad KOLB Sr., was born 31 March 1697 in Meckesheim, Baden and died 15 April1781 in South Whitehall Township, Northampton  County, (later Lehigh County), PA.   Conrad's oldest son was Conrad, Jr. born 20 May 1723 in Baden with his first wife, Anna Elisabeth Gerichts.  His daughter by his first marriage, Anna Elisabeth Kolb, married Johann Michael Maurer.


Barbara Knappenberger and Conrad Kolb's children can be located on the Maria Barbara Knappenberger Kolb Family page.  Just click on her name above.




J. Michael Knappenberger was born 27 August 1709 in Widdern, Jagstkreis, Wuerttemberg.  He died 13 June 1751 in Macungie Township, Northampton County (later Lehigh County), PA.  He was a younger son of Johan Albrecht Knappenberger.  He married Anna Magdalene KNOEPFER in Wuerttemberg and had three children.  No records indicate that his wife and three small children survived the passage to Pennsylvania.  J. Michael arrived in Pennsylvania in 1738 as a widower and took the loyalty oath on 19 May 1739.  He married Catharina HEILIG on 15 May 1739 in Six Corner Church, Red Hill, Montgomery County, PA.  Catharina was born about 1719 in Montgomery County, PA and died about 1766 in Northampton County, PA.  Information about J. Michael's children with his first wife, Anna Magdalene Knoepfer, and his second wife, Catharina Heilig, can be found by clicking on his name above.




J. Erhard Knappenberger was born 30 June 1704 in Widdern, Jagstkreis, Wuerttemberg and died August 1776 in Whitehall Township, Northampton County (later became Lehigh County), PA.  He married Sophie Helene WEISMUELLER on 29 July 1730 in Widdern, Neckarkreis, Wuerttemberg.  Sophie was born about 1708 in Widdern and died 12 May 1786 in Whitehall Township, Northampton County, PA.

J. Erhard brought his wife and three sons to Pennsylvania - arriving on the ship "Christian" in Philadelphia on 13 September 1749 and taking the oath of allegiance.  He was the last of the three siblings to arrive possibly because he wished to wait until his children were older and stronger to survive the hazardous journey.   As the oldest son of Johan Albrecht, he also waited until both of his parents had passed away.  J. Erhard and Sophie's children can be located on the J. Erhard Knappenberger Family page by clicking on the name above.



AT  http://www.kerchner.com/1812.htm






The Wuerttemberg, Germany Emigration Index lists a Joh. Christian Knappenberger (no birth date) as applying to come to North America in May 1845.  His birth place is listed as Olnhausen and he was applying from the District of Neckarsulm.   Nothing further is known of him at this time.  Anyone with information is urged to email us at jsappleton@windstream.net.




Johan Georg Knappenberger was born 28 February 1820 in Schornbach, Germany and died 15 August 1859 in Bucyrus, Crawford County, Ohio.  He married Rosina BAHLER on 20 June 1843.  She was born 3 November 1823 in Steinach, Germany and died 15 April 1906 in Crawford County, Ohio.  This couple came to Ohio about 1848 with their two oldest children.  They had eight children in all.  For more information on this family, please click on the name above.




Carolina Knappenberger, age 24, arrived in New York on the ship "Heidelburg" on 17 May 1854.  This ship embarked from the Havre in France.  Records indicate that her country of origin was Bavaria.  In March of 1854, a Karoline Knappenberger applied to come to North America from the District of Neckarsulm.  Karoline was born in Lampoldshausen.  Nothing further is known of her at this time.




Christian Knappenberger was born December 1854 in Germany and arrived in the United States in 1870.  He was a farmer.  He married Catharine KRANZ, daughter of Joseph Kranz, born October 1849 most likely in Austria and arrived in the United States in 1874.  Christian Knappenberg(er) is listed in the 1880 census for Upper Salford Township, Montgomery County, PA, as age 27 and born in Wurtemberg, Germany.  He was living with his wife, Catherine, who was listed as 33 years of age and born in Austria.  In 1880, they were living in her father's household, Joseph Kranz, who was listed as 70 years old and born in the Tyrole.  Christian Knappenberger's mother's name was Christiana [maiden name unknown]; she was born September 1825 in Germany and, in the 1900 census, was living with her son as a widow with the last name of WHITMAN.  This Knappenberger family was also listed in the 1910 census for Montgomery County, PA.  In 1910, Christian was listed as age 55 and born in Germany while his wife Katie was listed as age 64 and born in Germany.  No children were listed in the 1880, 1900 or 1910 census.  Christian died 3 February 1935 in Perkiomen, Montgomery County, PA.  His death certificate indicates that he was widowed so we know that Katie died between 1910 and 1935.  If you have connections to this family, please contact us at jsappleton@windstream.net.




John Frederick Knappenberger was born 6 November 1846 in Wuerttemberg, Germany and died 28 October 1920 in Waldo Township, Marion County, Ohio.  His parents, who never left Germany, were George Frederick Knappenberger (11 January 1808-27 July 1888) and Anna Marie Agathe WEBER (1 December 1807-26 October 1857).  John had an older sister, Elizabeth Rosine [Knappenberger] Ruth, who also immigrated to Marion County, Ohio with her husband, Frederick John Ruth [see below].


John Frederick was first married in Germany on 24 August 1871 to Carolina Dorothea THEOBOLD.  Carolina was born 19 April 1846 in Germany and died 16 December 1878 in Germany.  With his first wife, he had two daughters who lived beyond infancy: Elizabeth Magdalena and Sophia "Nona" Magdalena.  John Frederick then married Catharine Rose LEIS in Germany on 11 December 1879.  Catharine Rose was born 14 May 1852 in Wuerttemberg, Germany and died 31 January 1921 in Waldo, Marion County, Ohio.  John Frederick arrived in the United States in 1881; Catharine Rose arrived in the United States in 1882.  Catharine Rose and the two daughters from John Frederick's first marriage, Elizabeth and Nona, arrived on the ship "Rhynland" in New York on 1 June 1882.  The immigration information for Catharine Knappenberger lists her as 30 years of age upon her arrival in the United States and her country of origin as Wurttemburg.  Both John Frederick and Catharine Rose received their citizenship in 1888.  John and Catharine are buried in Prospect Cemetery in Waldo, Marion County, Ohio.  Are you a member of this family?  Please contact us jsappleton@windstream.net.  Thank you!  For more information on this family including information about their children and grandchildren, please click on the name above.


John Frederick Knappenberger and Elizabeth Rosine [Knappenberger] Ruth were a nephew and niece of Johan "George" Knappenberger born 28 February 1820 in Schornbach, Wuerttemburg, Germany and died 15 August 1859 in Crawford County, Ohio.  Therefore, he died prior to their arrival in Ohio in the 1880s.   George Frederick Knappenberger (1808-1888), father of John Frederick and Elizabeth Rosina, and Johan "George" Knappenberger (1820-1859) were half brothers.


Their father was Johan George Knappenberger (18 September 1783-17 December 1840) and their mothers were Eva Barbara CLASS, mother of George Frederick, and Maria Katharina CLASS, mother of Johann George.  They were most likely sisters.


Their father was Friedrich Carl Knappenberger (24 November 1766-18 May 1833) and their mothers were Maria/Eva Katharina KRAMER (09 June 1779-18 August 1840), mother of George Frederick, and Eva Barbara KRAMER (born 27 April 1774), mother of Johann George (born 1920 so date conflicts).  They were sisters.




Elizabeth Rosine Knappenberger was born 20 April 1843 in Wuerttemberg, Germany and died 26 June 1921 in Marion County, Ohio.  Elizabeth was a daughter of George Frederick Knappenberger (1808-1888) and Anna Marie Agatha Weber (1807-1857).  She was the older sister of John Frederick Knappenberger [see above].  She came to the United States in 1883 and was naturalized in 1888 along with her husband, Frederick John RUTH, whom she married 26 April 1863 in Wuerttemberg, Germany.  Frederick "Fred" Ruth was born 24 May 1836 in Wuerttemburg, Germany and died 30 May 1920 in Marion County,Ohio.  They are buried in Windfall Lutheran Cemetery, Marion County, Ohio.  They had eleven children based on baptism records in Germany.  We are continuing to research this family line and would love to learn more.  Please contact us at jsappleton@windstream.net.


1.  Elizabeth Christiane "Lizzie" Ruth was born 15 May 1863 in Wuerttemberg, Germany and died 18 May 1935 in Westfield Township, Morrow County, Ohio.  She married John Fife LONG, son of John Fife Long and Madeline Hagerty, in 1890.  John was born 21 February 1861 in Washington County, PA and died 6 March 1930 in Morrow County, Ohio.  They are buried in Marion Cemetery, Marion County, Ohio.  They had seven children.


a.   Emma Amelia Long was born 7 September 1890 in Morrow County, Ohio and died October 1977 in Morrow County, Ohio.  She married George Abraham GRUBER on 14 August 1910.  George was born 20 November 1889 in Marion County, Ohio and died 23 April 1976 in Delaware County, Ohio.  They had seven children: Wilbert J. Gruber (21 February 1911-7 November 1966), Ralph George Gruber (16 July 1912-July 1975), Grace Emma Gruber (born 1914), Ruth Lillian Gruber (February 1914-12 October 1914), Cecil Isaac Gruber (23 July 1916-1 October 1995), Ina Elizabeth Gruber (born about 1921) and Kenneth W. Gruber (21 May 1923-22 January 1985).


b.  Clarence Arthur Long was born 6 September 1982 in Morrow County, Ohio and died 29 May 1956 in Ohio.  He married Rosetta TERRY on 6 March 1915.  Rosetta was born 6 March 1895 in Ohio and died 19 June 1937 in Morrow County, Ohio.  They had two sons:  Terry Arthur Long (21 July 1917-14 July 2005) and Foster William Long (born about 1921-19 March 1967).


c.  Lily Madaline Long [twin] was born 18 September 1893 in Morrow County, Ohio


d.  Lulu Elizabeth Long [twin] was born 18 September 1893 in Morrow County, Ohio.


e. John F. Long  was born 18 October 1894 in Morrow County, Ohio


f. Ralph B. Long  was born 6 September 1896 in Morrow County, Ohio


g. Harold Ray Long was born 14 February 1908 and died 15 October 1982 in Marion County, Ohio.  He married Flossie D. [maiden name unknown] who was born 29 July 1911 in Ohio and died 31 March 2000 in Marion County, Ohio.  They had a daughter: Vera Long.


2. Christian H. Ruth was born 19 May 1864 in Wuerttemberg, Germany and died 18 January 1937 in Crawford County, Ohio. He married Mary J. ZENTLER on 13 February 1896 in Marion County, Ohio.  Mary was born 1871 in Germany and died 1945 in Ohio.  They are buried in Broken Sword Cemetery, Crawford County, Ohio.  They had seven children.


a.  George Martin Ruth was born 11 May 1896 and died 14 September 1985.

b.  Christian F. Ruth was born 22 May 1898 and died 2 February 1974.

c.  Oscar C. Ruth was born 25 November 1899 and died 11 September 1974.

d.  William F. Ruth was born 11 January 1902 and died in 1972.

e.  Adolph A. Ruth was born 20 September 1904 and died 29 March 1990.

f.  Lena M. Ruth was born 30 July 1907 and died 28 June 1992.

g.  Ernest Robert Ruth was born 15 March 1910 and died 15 March 1999.


3.  Caroline Christiane Ruth was born 20 July 1865 in Wuerttemburg Germany.


4.  Christina Rosine Ruth was born 21 April 1867 in Wuerttemberg, Germany.


5.  Frederick John Ruth, Jr. was born 6 January 1869 in Wuerttemburg, Germany  and died 10 October 1947 in Waldo Township, Marion  County, Ohio.  He married Louise Catherine ACKERMAN on 12 March 1903 in Ohio.  Louise was born16 October 1878 in Wuerttemberg, Germany and died 4 August 1969 in Marion County, Ohio.  They had four children.


a.  Frederick "Harry" Ruth was born 17 February 1904 and died 1 July 1993 in Marion County, Ohio.  He married Mabel Rengert who was born 30 May 1910 and died 4 August 1968.

b.  Erwin C. Ruth was born about 1906.

c.  Gertrude E. Ruth was born in 1906 and died 23 November 1956.

d.  Edna Lydia Ruth was born 24 March 1908 and died 19 October 1989.


6.  Caroline Rosina "Callie" Ruth was born 5 November 1870 in Verrenberg, Wuerttemberg, Germany.


7.  Christiane Rosina Ruth was born 18 February 1872 in Verrenberg, Wuerttemberg, Germany.


8.  Karl Heinrich Ruth was born 11 November 1876 in Wuerttemburg, Germany.


9.  Wilhelm Heinrich Ruth was born 4 September 1880 in Verrenberg, Wuerttemberg, Germany.


10.  Frank Conrad Ruth was born 18 September 1883 in Marion County, Ohio and died 19 March 1950 in Marion County, Ohio.  He married Mary RENGERT, daughter of George Rengert and Bertha Slagle about 1908.  Mary was born 22 February 1882 in Morrow County, Ohio and died 25 December 1942 in Hamilton County, Ohio.  They are buried in Windfall Lutheran Cemetery, Morrow County, Ohio.

11.  William George Ruth was born 12 December 1884 in Waldo, Marion County, Ohio and died 1 September 1947 in Summit County, Ohio.  He married Grace B. FARGO who was born in 1890 and died in 1974.  They are buried in Glendale Cemetery, Morrow County, Ohio.


More research is continuing on this family as we make connections back in Germany and bring it up-to-date as of May 26, 2017.