Johann Christian Pflueger

J. Christian Pflueger family on passenger list of Ship France, July 1832.

J. Christian Pflueger family on passenger list of Ship France, July 1832.

All in all, I was fairly successful in researching the Pflueger branch of my family, thanks in part to the records of Zion Lutheran Schumm. Those records told me the most important thing I needed to know in order to research an ancestor back in Germany—his town of origin. Those church records told me that Johann Christian Pflueger came from “Schrotzberg” [Schrozberg], Württemberg.

Once I knew that information, the Pfluegers were fairly easy to trace. Fortunately for me, the Family History Library had microfilmed the Evangelical Church records at Schrozberg and my good luck continued because the Pfluegers stayed in Schrozberg and attended that same church for years. They did not move around like the Müllers did. With those two FHL microfilms I was able to document J. Christian Pflueger’s marriage to Anna Barbara Sekel as well as the births and baptisms of nine of their children. Interestingly, Schrozberg is not too far from Ruppertshofen, the home town of the Schumms.

The Schrozberg marriage record of J. Christian and Anna Barbara contained a lot of family information. It told that J. Christian was the son of Johann Georg and Magdalena (Dumler) Pflueger of Schrozberg and that Anna Barbara was the daughter of Johann Michael and Elisabetha Maria Friederika (Hilgert) Sekel, from Rechenhausen. Both were farm families. J. Christian was born 12 May 1781 and Anna Barbara was born 23 June 1791. They were married 20 April 1814. All this from their marriage record! [1]

The Schumm church records mentioned that Christian immigrated in the 1830s. With that information I went on to find that J. Christian Pflueger applied for emigration in February 1832. This emigration record gives his place of birth as Schrozberg, OA Gerabronn, with his destination as North America. [2]

The Pflueger family sailed from Havre, France on the ship France and arrived at the Port of New York on 9 July 1832. Their name was listed as Pfleger on the passenger list and all family members were from Württemberg. Their names and ages agree with the information I found in the Schrozberg church records.

The Pflueger family in the 1832 passenger list of the Ship France:

Johann, age 50 [b. 1781]
Anna, age 41 [Anna Barbara Sekel, 1791-1846, wife]
Maria, age 18 [Maria Rosina, 1814-?]
Anna, age 12 [Anna Maria “Mary”, 1820-1903, m. Georg Martin Schumm]
Maria, age 10 [Maria Barbara, 1822-1908, m. Johann Ludwig Schumm]
Georg, age 8 [George “Michael”, 1824-1903, m. Catherine Brandt]
Eva, age 4 [Eva Margaretha “Margaret”, 1828-?, m.  George Reidenbach]
John, age 2 [unknown; died in Holmes county?] [3]

Soon after the Pfluegers arrived in America they settled in Holmes County, Ohio. Most immigrants traveled to where relatives, friends or neighbors had already settled and the Pfluegers probably did the same. New settlers wrote letters back to the home country, telling family and friends of the opportunities in the new land. Holmes County was established in 1824 and the little village of Winesburg in Holmes County was laid out in 1832. Winesburg was settled by German Lutheran immigrants who had hoped to establish a Lutheran college there. Many immigrants were from the Württemberg area. It appears the Pfluegers went to Holmes County to live soon after their immigration. Less than a year later, in 1833, the Johann Georg Schumm family arrived in Holmes County.

A congregation for the German Lutherans and Swiss Reformed was established in Winesburg in 1832. It was named Evangelical United Zion and is still called Zion today. While in Holmes County some of the Pflueger children married. Mary Pflueger married George Schumm, Barbara Pflueger married Lewis Schumm and Margaret Pflueger married George Reidenbach.  A daughter Elizabeth was born to J. Christian and Anna Barbara there in 1835. [4] These families eventually moved to Van Wert County within a few years.

Zion Church, Winesburg, Holmes County, Ohio. (2005 photo by Karen)

Zion Church, Winesburg, Holmes County, Ohio. (2005 photo by Karen)

Other families with familiar names also attended church in Winesburg in those early years: Brandt, Scar/Scaer and Reidenbach. I also have Scar/Scaer ancestors.

In 1840 the J. Christian Pflueger family was living in Holmes County. There were 7 children listed in the 1840 census. [5]

J. Christian Pflueger and his family moved to Van Wert County by 1846, where his wife died 26 September of that year. They very likely followed the Schumms to the area, who had settled in the area east of Willshire in 1838.

J. Christian Pflueger lived with relatives and/or friends in Willshire Township after the death of his wife. The 1850 census indicates that “Christian Filger” was living with the Jacob and Hannah Schumm family. [6] I’m sure Christian knew Jacob but to my knowledge there was no family relationship. On that census page, directly above the Jacob Schumm family was the Louis and Barbara (Pflueger) Schumm family. Barbara was J. Christian’s daughter and I wonder if the enumerator put J. Christian in the wrong household. I wonder if he was actually living with his daughter Barbara. Either way, Christian would have been living very close to his daughter.

In 1860 Christian was living with his daughter “Barbary” (Pflueger) Schumm and her family. [7] Barbara was the widow of Ludwig Schumm (1817-1855) and they were my great-great-grandparents.

In 1870 Christian was living with his youngest daughter Elizabeth and her husband Jacob Bienz. Christian was 89 years old. [8]

About the Sekel/Seckel family: I wonder if there might be a connection between J. Christian’s wife Anna Barbara Sekel/Seckel and Louis Breuninger’s wife, Maria Seckel. Louis and Maria were my great-great-grandparents and both were born in Württemberg. Shortly after the Civil War Louis Breuninger, also originally from the Schrozberg area, moved from Wisconsin to Atlanta, where he resided for a couple years. By 1870 Louis had moved to the Schumm area, near the Pfluegers. Why did he move to the Schumm area? No Breuningers were living there. Who did he know there? Was Maria Seckel related to Anna Barbara (Sekel) Pflueger? So far I have not been able to link the two Seckel families but I keep searching for that connection.


[1] Evangelische Kirche (Schrozberg, OA Gerabronn, Württemberg), Kirchenbuch 1634-1961, year 1814, unpaginated, record no. 2, Johann Christian Pflüger and Anna Barbara Sekel marriage, FHL microfilm #1528614.

[2] The Wuerttemberg Emigration Index, Volume Five, Trudy Schenk and Ruth Froelke, (Salt Lake City, Utah : Ancestry Publishing, 1988) p. 158.

[3] Passengers Arriving at the Port of New York, June 13-Sept. 29, 1832, microfilm publication M237 (Washington, D.C. : National Archives and Records Service), Roll 17.

[4] Marguerite S. Dickinson, compiler, Winesburg, Ohio, Birth Records, 1833-1897, (Millersburg, Ohio: Holmes County Chatper, Ohio Genealogical Society, 1993); originally published in 1955.

[5] 1840 U.S. Census, Millerburg, Holmes County, Ohio, p. 292, line, 3, Chris Filuger; digital image by subscription,, ( : accessed 29 May 2013); FHL film 0020168, from National Archives microfilm M704, roll 404.

[6] 1850 U.S. Census, Willshire Township, Van Wert County, Ohio, page 170A, dwelling 334, family 353, line 28, Jacob Schumm; digital image by subscription,, ( : accessed 29 May 2013); from National Archives microfilm M432, roll 736.

[7] 1860 U.S. Census, Willshire Township, Van Wert County, Ohio, p. 150 (penned) p. 425 (stamped), dwelling 1069, family 1063, line 15, Barbary Schumm; digital image by subscription,, ( : accessed 29 May 2013); FHL film 805045, from National Archives microfilm M653, roll 1045.

[8] 1870 U.S. Census, Willshire Township, Van Wert County, Ohio,  p. 437A, dwelling 107, family 108, line 10, Jacob “Bence”;  digital image by subscription,, ( : accessed 29 May 2013); FHL film 552774, from National Archives microfilm M593, roll 1275.



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