Updated December 2020
See Conrad Ernst
LUCAS and ANNA KNAUSS
Lucas Knauss was born about 1633 in Germany. (1)
Married a woman named Anna, probably in 1663, based on the baptismal date of their first child, who was born in 1664. (2)
Johann Heinrich Knauss, baptized July 3, 1664.
Georg Knauss, baptized Nov. 1, 1665.
Anna Margaretha Knauss, baptized March 10, 1667. Died in 1673.
Eva Dorothea Knauss, baptized March 14, 1669. Married Christian Gass.
Elisabetha Knauss, baptized Aug. 13, 1671. Died Sept. 7, 1671.
Johann Caspar Knauss, baptized March 19, 1673.
Juliana Knauss, baptized May 15, 1676. Twin. Died in July 1676.
Anna Catharina Knauss, baptized May 15, 1676. Twin. Died in July 1676.
Anna Margareta Knauss, baptized July 15, 1677.
Maria Elisabeth Knauss, baptized Dec. 12, 1680. Died March 1692.
Johann Peter Knauss, baptized Aug. 13, 1682.
Ludwig Knauss, baptized March 29, 1685.
Lucas appears in the church records of Düdelsheim starting in the mid-1660s. The town is now part of Büdingen, which east of Frankfurt. In the years around 1635, Büdingen suffered through plague, witch trials and the impact of the Thirty Years War. Parts of the town still lay devastated in the early 1700s. (4) It’s possible that Lucas was a small child in neighboring Düdelsheim during these events, but it’s also possible that he moved to the town as an adult and missed this chaos.
All of Lucas and Anna’s known children were born in Düdelsheim. Sadly, at least five of them died in childhood, including a pair of twins who died when they were about 2 months old in 1676. In addition to the deaths noted above, the burial of a 25-year-old daughter of Lucas Knaus is recorded on Aug. 23, 1690. None of the couple’s known daughters fits these facts. Either this daughter’s age is listed incorrectly or the couple had another daughter before moving to Düdelsheim.
Anna died Feb. 12, 1710, in Düdelsheim.
Lucas died March 12, 1713, in Düdelsheim.
(1) Lucas Knauss’ approximate birth year is drawn from his burial record in Düdelsheim, Hessen, Germany. It is available at “Deutschland Tote und Beerdigungen, 1582-1958” at FamilySearch.org. Much of this information is also contained in “Knauss Genealogy: Lukas Knauss (1633-1713) of Düdelsheim, Germany, and His American Descendants,” compiled by Wilburg L. King, Bethlehem, 1930, page 11. Many of Lucas’ descendants are covered in an earlier genealogy: “History and Genealogy of The Knauss Family in American,” by James O. Knauss and Tilghman J. Knauss, Emaus, Pa., 1915. However, it does not mention him. (2) Anna’s approximate birth year can be drawn from her death record, which is available in the same database as Lucas’. (3) The children’s baptismal dates appear in “Deutschland Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898,” at FamilySearch.org. The deaths are available in the same database as those of the parents. Most of the information also appears in “Knauss Genealogy,” though some of the names are spelled differently and several of the children who died young are not mentioned at all. The marriage appears in “Deutschland Heiraten, 1558-1929,” at FamilySearch.org. (4) Büdingen’s problems are briefly described on its municipal website – www.buedingen.info.
LUDWIG and ANNA MARGRETHA KNAUSS
Johann Ludwig Knauss was baptized March 28, 1685, in Düdelsheim in Hessen, Germany. He was the son of Lucas and Anna Knauss. (1)
Married Anna Margretha Goerlach on Feb. 16, 1707, in Düdelsheim. She was the daughter of Johann Heinrich Goerlach and was baptized Nov. 23, 1687, in Düdelsheim. After Anna Margretha’s death, Ludwig married a woman named Anna Eva. (2)
Children of Ludwig and Anna Margretha, born in Germany: (3)
Gottfried Knauss, baptized Nov. 15, 1707.
Johann Peter Knauss, baptized Feb. 23, 1710.
Johann Henrich Knauss, baptized May 27, 1712.
Sebastian Henrich Knauss, baptized Nov. 6, 1714.
Anna Catharina Knauss, born Jan. 29, 1717.
Eva Dorothea Knauss, born Aug. 11, 1719.
Anna Barbara Knauss, born Nov. 23, 1721.
Children born in America, traditionally attributed to Ludwig and Anna Margretha. However, Anna Margretha’s date of death is unknown and she would have been 47 and 50 years old when they were born. It’s possible that they were actually daughters of Ludwig’s second wife, Anna Eva. They are: (4)
Maria Catherine Knauss, born Feb. 16, 1734. Married Andreas Gieiring.
Sophia Knauss, born Nov. 28, 1737. Married Ludwig Andres.
In addition, the 1930 “Knauss Genealogy,” compiled by Wilburg L. King, attributes several other children to Ludwig and Anna Margretha. However, it should be noted that documentary support for a link to these children is rather elusive. They are: (5)
Anna Margaretha Knauss. Married George Michael.
Daniel Knauss, born July 27, 1726.
John George Knauss.
John Ludwig Knauss, born February 1730.
Child of Ludwig and Anna Eva: (6)
Unnamed child baptized July 28, 1741.
Ludwig grew up in Düdelsheim and raised his own family there until immigrating to America at age 38. Many early American sources refer to the town as Titelsheim in the Wetterau based on the spellings used in Sebastian Knauss’ obituary in Moravian church records. (7) The misspelling is understandable since Düdelsheim can sound like “Titlesheim” in some German dialects and spelling was rather haphazard in the 18th century.
The family sailed to America in 1723, according to Sebastian’s obituary. During this time, Philadelphia was the primary port of arrival for German immigrants so it’s likely the Knausses landed there. Unfortunately, immigration and naturalization records weren’t consistently kept in the city until 1727 so there doesn’t seem to be a record of their arrival. (8)
Ludwig settled in Whitemarsh Township in what is now Montgomery County, Pa. At the time, it was part of Philadelphia County.
Within five years of arriving in America, Ludwig became a deacon in the Reformed church in Whitemarsh. In July 1728, Ludwich Knauws was among the members of “the Consistories of the three Reformed Congregations of Falkner’s Schwamp, Schip Back, and Wit Marche” who signed a letter to the Dutch Reformed Classis of Amsterdam asking that John Philip Boehm be ordained. Their request was granted and Boehm became instrumental in the growth of the Reformed church in Pennsylvania. His biographer, William J. Hinke, even refers to him as the founder of the Reformed Church in the state. (9)
Ludwig continued to be listed as a deacon for the Whitemarsh congregation for the next few years. His signature appears on letters and reports from Boehm dated Jan. 29, 1730; Oct. 28, 1734; March 10, 1738; and Feb. 18, 1739.
The Whitemarsh congregation was among the smallest of Boehm’s charges. It had been founded in 1725 and met in the house of William De Wees. In reflecting on the “first beginning” of his ministry, the pastor wrote in 1744: “After I had preached a few times to my dear congregations, namely Falckner Schwam (which place is at present called New Hanover township), Schipbach and Weitmarsch, which had entrusted themselves to my ministry, we celebrated the Lord's Supper, and there communed for the first time on October 15, 1725, at Falckner Schwam 40 members; in November at Schipbach, 37 members; on December 23, at Weitmarsch, 24 members.” In 1739, 29 people took communion at the Whitemarsh church and Boehm noted: “In this congregation there are only two elders and two deacons, on account of the small number of members.” After the death of De Wees, this congregation quickly dwindled and disbanded in 1745. (10)
During this time, Ludwig owned land in Whitemarsh Township. A 1734 list of people who paid quit-rents to the Pennsylvania proprietaries includes Ludwig Knoss, who held 100 acres in the township. (11)
After 1739, Ludwig’s name appears in few records. Only a baptismal record and probate records at known at this point.
On July 28, 1741, an unnamed child of Ludwig Knaus and his wife Eva Knaus was baptized at the Egypt Reformed Church in what is now Lehigh County. The baptism was conducted by Ludwig’s old friend Rev. Boehm, with Nicolaus Kern and his wife Margaretha serving as sponsors. This indicates that Anna Margretha died before 1741 – perhaps many years before. And in his “Knauss Genealogy,” King also presented this as an indication that Ludwig possibly “took up his residence with either his son Gottfried or John George along the Jordan Creek, Lehigh County.” This seems possible since Egypt is less than 4 miles from Jordan Creek and Ludwig would likely have sought out Boehm for the baptism. (12)
Ludwig appears to have died in early 1746. Letters of administration for the estate of Lodowick Cnaus were granted March 26, 1746, in Philadelphia County. The administrators included two of Ludwig’s sons, identified here as Goodfried Cnaus and Peter Cnaus of “Lehay in the County of Bucks.” The signatures at the bottom of the letter spell their names “Gottfried Knauss” and “Petter Knauss,” written in German script. On a separate piece of paper, “Anna Eva Cnaus, Widow & Relict of Lodowick Cnausse Deced” renounced her right of administration of the estate. Since the estate was handled in Philadelphia and Ludwig’s residence isn’t listed as Bucks County, it seems likely that he was living in Philadelphia County just before he died – or at least owned property there. Unfortunately, no inventory of the estate appears in the file and early land records of Philadelphia County are not readily available online. These might answer the question of Ludwig’s residence in his last years. (13)
About two years later, Anna Eva – “widow of the late Ludwig Knauss” – married Albrectht Miller at Jordan Lutheran Church. The wedding took place on March 8, 1748. (14)
(1) Ludwig’s baptism is listed in “Deutschland Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898,” at FamilySearch.org. Much of this information is also contained in “Knauss Genealogy: Lukas Knauss (1633-1713) of Düdelsheim, Germany, and His American Descendants,” compiled by Wilburg L. King, Bethlehem, 1930, page 11. Many of Lucas’ descendants are covered in an earlier genealogy: “History and Genealogy of The Knauss Family in America,” by James O. Knauss and Tilghman J. Knauss, Emaus, Pa., 1915. (2) The wedding date and the name of Margretha’s father are listed in “Deutschland Heiraten, 1558-1929,” at FamilySearch.org. “Knauss Genealogy” says that Anna Margretha was baptized on Nov. 23, 1687, and a corresponding listing appears in “Deutschland Geburten und Taufen.” The marriage to Anna Eva is supported by the baptism of an unnamed children, cited below, and Ludwig’s estate papers, which list his widow as Anna Eva and also mention his sons Godfried and Peter. The estate papers appear in Philadelphia Administration Files, No. 3, available at “Pennsylvania, Wills and Probate Records,” which is available at Ancestry.com. (3) The children who were born in Germany are listed in “Deutschland Geburten und Taufen.” The children are also listed in “Knauss Genealogy,” though with some different spellings and slightly different dates. (4) Information on Maria Catharine and Sophia appears in their obituaries in the Moravian records of Emmaus, which are partially transcribed in The Pennsylvania-German, Vol. VII, No. 6, “The Knauss Family,” by Ex-Supt. J. O. Knauss, Harrisburg, Pa., page 287. Images of the original Emmaus records are also available at “Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records,” at Ancestry.com. These records list Maria Catharine’s birth date and place, but don’t name her parents. The fact that she was born in Whitemarsh Township and baptized by the Rev. Philip Boehm, help with the identification. Fortunately, the obituary mentions that she moved to be with her brother Johannes when she was 7 years old. This brother was Johann Heinrich, who was also a member of the Emmaus community. This confirms she was the daughter of Ludwig, but doesn’t necessarily proved she was the daughter of Anna Margretha, who would have been 47 at the time. The record for Sophia is not as conclusive. Like her sister, the records list her birth date and place, but not her parents. It appears that earlier researchers based the identification of her parents on the location of her birth – Whitemarsh – and the fact that many of Ludwig’s other children ended up in Emmaus. It should be noted that it’s possible she was a daughter of Peter. Little is known about him other than he was born in 1710 and appears in his father’s estate papers in 1746. A will for Peter Knaus of Worchester, Philadelphia County, was filed in March 1748, in Will Book J, page 88. This Peter did not have a daughter named Sophia. However, this Peter doesn’t seem to be a good match for Ludwig’s son. He lived in Philadelphia County and made a mark on his will, rather than a signature. Ludwig’s son lived in Bucks County two years earlier and could sign his name. (5) These children are listed in “History and Genealogy of The Knauss Family in America,” page 14. Because documentation is sparce at best and other Knauss families lived in southeastern Pennsylvania, it’s difficult to say with certainty that most of these children were actually Ludwig’s. The best support I have seen for any of them is a reference to Anna Margaretha being “Ludwig Knauss’ daughter,” in her marriage record from the Upper Saucon Lutheran Church, which is transcribed in “History and Genealogy of The Knauss Family in America,” by James O. Knauss and Tilghman J. Knauss, Emaus, Pa., 1915, page 21. (6) The unnamed child’s baptism appears in Records of Egypt Reformed Church, in “Pennsylvania Archives,” Series 6, Vo. 6, page 6. Since images of the original records are not readily available, it’s unknown whether the name is left blank in the transcription because no information was entered or because it was illegible. If the name was truly blank on the original records, it’s likely this child was born sickly and baptized quickly. It’s also possible this child was baptized well after birth and appears elsewhere on the list. (7) Sebastian’s obituary is transcribed in “History and Genealogy of The Knauss Family in American,” page 18. Images of the original appear among the Emmaus records at Ancestry.com. (8) It should be noted that Johann Heinrich’s obituary in Emmaus’ Moravian records state he had immigrated in 1732. This is obviously a simple transposition of numbers since Ludwig starts appears in American records in the 1720s. (9) The letter appears in “The Life and Letters of the Rev. John Philip Boehm, Founder of the Reformed Church in Pennsylvania,” edited a by the Rev. William J. Hinke, Philadelphia, 1916, pages 168, 191, 257, 261 and 284. A facsimile of Ludwig’s signature in a tight, angular Germanic script appears on page 35. 10) The mention of Boehm’s “first beginning” appears on page 409 of “Life and Letters.” The Whitemarsh status in 1739 appears on page 273. Other details appear on page 481. (11) The quit-rent is mentioned in “A Collection of Upwards of Thirty Thousands Names of German, Swiss, Dutch, French and Other Immigrants in Pennsylvania from 1727 to 1776,” by I. Daniel Rupp, Philadelphia, 1876, page 478. (12) The passage quoted is from “Knauss Genealogy,” page 13. Many of the same basic facts and analysis appear in “History and Genealogy of The Knauss Family,” page 21. (13) Administration of Lodowick Cnaus, deceased, # 14 – 1746 in Philadelphia Administration Files, No. 3, available at “Pennsylvania, Wills and Probate Records,” at Ancestry.com. King mistakenly says the letters of administration were granted in Bucks County. In addition, it should be noted that Anna Eva’s renunciation is dated March 17, 1745. It seems mostly likely that this action took place in 1746 and that Gottfried didn’t wait an entire year to seek his letters of administration. (14) Anna Eva’s wedding is among the records transcribed in “History and Genealogy of The Knauss Family in America,” by James O. Knauss and Tilghman J. Knauss, Emaus, Pa., 1915, page 21.
SEBASTIAN HENRICH and ANNA CATHARINE KNAUSS
Sebastian Henrich Knauss was baptized Nov. 6, 1714, in Düdelsheim in Hessen, Germany. He was the son of Ludwig and Anna Margretha Goerlach Knauss. (1)
Married Anna Catharine Transue on Jan. 1, 1741. She was born March 6, 1722, in Mutterstadt in Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany, to Abraham and Elizabeth (Muenster) Transue. (2)
Heinrich Knauss, born Dec. 3, 1741.
Catharina Knauss, born April 21, 1743. Married Conrad Ernst.
Leonhard Knauss, born Jan. 8, 1745.
Anna Maria Knauss, born April 26, 1747. Married Tobias Moyer and later Philip Philbert.
Johannes Knauss, born Nov. 17, 1748.
Joseph Knauss, born Oct. 22, 1750.
Elisabeth Knauss, born Jan. 29, 1753. Married Frederick Romig.
Abraham Knauss, born March 1, 1755.
Jacob Knauss, born Jan. 26, 1757.
Johann Ludwig Knauss, born May 19, 1759.
Magdalena Knauss, born Sept. 3, 1761. Married Joseph Clewell.
A small son who died on March 18, 1764.
Anna Johanna Knauss, born March 31, 1765. Married George Clewell.
Philip Knauss, born Oct. 25, 1767.
Sebastian’s family left Germany in 1723, when he was about 9 years old. The family settled in Whitemarsh Township in what is now Montgomery County, Pa., but was part of Philadelphia County at the time. His father, Ludwig, was a deacon for the township’s Reformed congregation for many years, a devotion that he appears to have passed on to his son. (4)
Sebastian’s own story of faith began when he went to learn the wheelwright trade from Henry Antes, a pivotal figure in the history of the Moravian Church and of Bethlehem, Pa. It seems that Sebastian turned to a family friend for training. Antes’ father was an elder at the same Reformed congregation where Ludwig Knauss was a deacon. Antes married Christina DeWees, the daughter of William, in whose house the Whitemarsh church met for worship. And Antes even lived in the DeWees household for several years. As a result, it is certain the Knauss and Antes families were well acquainted. (5)
Sebastian’s obituary in Moravian Church records explains what happened. “With reference to his connection with the Moravian Church, in which he has been for so many years a worthy and beloved member, the following may be said: While he was learning his trade in the employ of our dear Brother Henry Antes, he at the same time was benefited so much spiritually that he was led to meditate deeply about the condition of his soul. Fearing that all was not well, he began to meditate and his soul was filled with restlessness and anguish. In the meantime his marriage took place. In 1742, together with his wife, visited Bethlehem; their visit was the occasion of a new spiritual experience.” Sebastian and Anna Catharine joined the Moravian Church at the height of the Great Awakening, a Christian revival that swept America and England in the 1730s and 1740s.
In 1741, Sebastian married Anna Catharine Transue, the daughter of Abraham Transue, who appears to have died the year before. She was 19 years old and her family had emigrated from Germany in 1730, sailing aboard a ship named Thistle of Glasgow. After arriving in Philadelphia, the Transues moved north and settled in what eventually became Salisbury Township in Lehigh County. (6)
Over the next 26 years, Sebastian and Anna Catharine had 13 children. Sebastian’s obituary in Moravian records states: “From this most happy wedlock there survive him thirteen children, eight sons and five daughters. Furthermore he was permitted to see twenty grandchildren.” By the time Anna Catharine died in 1799, the total had reached 91 grandchildren and 36 great-grandchildren, of whom 73 grandchildren and 32 great-grandchildren were living, according to her obituary.
After their wedding, the couple settled near the Transue family. Anna Catharine’s obituary says their son Heinrich was born in Salisbury Township in 1741 – though the township didn’t actually exist until a little more than a decade later.
In 1747, Pennsylvania’s land office granted Sebastian Henry Knauss a warrant for 200 acres of land. The tract was “situate upon Leehaig Runn” in what was then Upper Milford Township, Bucks County. (7) In 1752, the property became part of the newly established Northampton County, and fell within Salisbury Township when it was formed soon afterward. In 1812, the township became part of Lehigh County.
It’s believed that the Knausses’ home was at the property known today as the Knauss Homestead on Knauss Lane in the town of Emmaus. The book “They Came to Emmaus,” written by Preston A. Barba in 1960, describes the 200-acre tract that Sebastian received in 1747 and then says: “Some of this land is today a part of the Borough of Emmaus; some of it, at East Main Street and Knauss Lane, with peach orchard and pine grove, is today owned by Dewey Marks, Esq. The old house on it, built by Henry Knauss, son of Sebastian Knauss, in 1777, we believe to stand on or near the site of the early log house of Sebastian Knauss.” (8)
This homestead was to be the location where Sebastian made his greatest impact by helping to establish the Moravian community that became the village of Emmaus. The work of Sebastian and other early Moravians is described in “The Emaus Moravian Congregation,” compiled for the Lehigh County Historical Society in 1910, and in “They Came to Emmaus.” (9) The town’s name has been spelled Emaus as well as Emmaus through much of its history.
The impetus for establishing a church in Salisbury Township came from a visit by Count Nicolaus Zinzendorf to the newly established Moravian community of Bethlehem, according to the history of the congregation.
“In the fall of 1741 did God especially bless the mission in Pennsylvania in the person of Count Zinzendorf, who made known his willingness to preach the good word of life to all hungry souls wherever it was desired. Immediately the brethren, Jacob Ehrnhardt and Sebastian Knauss, united in a request to Zinzendorf, to preach in the house of the former. This request was complied with and the Count soon thereafter preached in Ehrnhardt’s house to a large company, but very briefly, on the words, ‘Straight is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life and few there be that find it,’ Matt. 7:14.
“Not long after the three brethren, Sebastian Knauss, Jacob Ehrnhardt and Andrew Schaus, petitioned Zinzendorf that the church at Bethlehem might take them under their spiritual oversight and that through the brethren the word of the Gospel might be preached unto them. The request was granted ... Some time in the fall of 1742, a log church was begun.”
“They Came to Emmaus” describes the little church and the community’s next step. “The building of a place of worship in Maguntsche through the efforts of Jacob Ehrenhardt and Sebastian Knauss, the supply of preachers from Bethlehem, and the continued work of the itinerant evangelists sent out by the Moravian Brotherhood had done much to bring about a more regulated life among the settlers. The little log church built in the fall of 1742 had become a beloved gathering place. At last there was a place to worship and some one to baptize their children, marry their young people and bury their dead in a community God’s Acre. It was much and – yet it was not enough. Who would teach their children to read and write and use numbers and teach them to live and grow up properly in relation to God and man in those frontier days? Here too the Moravian Brethren were to bring them what they needed.” Sebastian and his neighbor again stepped forward to make things happen. “Jacob Ehrenhardt and Sebastian Knauss drew up plans for a schoolhouse in Maguntsche on February 20, 1746. It must have been these plans which they presented at another official discussion and which led to the establishment of a school there. … This first schoolhouse was built of logs on land donated by Jacob Ehrenhardt and Sebastian Knauss. We do not know its dimensions, but it must have been a rather large structure to accommodate both the boarding-pupils and so large a teaching staff. … On this plot, though somewhat reduced, the buildings of the Moravian congregation stand today.” (10)
The following year, the believers in Salisbury Township were ready to form a congregation. Again, the “Emaus Moravian Congregation” article outlines their actions. On July 23, 1747, Moravian leaders in Bethlehem called township residents to a love feast to discuss the matter. They decided to take action the following Sunday. On July 30, residents of the Salisbury area traveled to Bethlehem, where they worshipped, participated in a love feast and began organizing their congregation. They selected leaders, including an elder, deacon and superintendent for the boarding school. “Finally, Brother Sebastian and Sister Anna Knauss and Brother Jacob Ehrnhardt and Sister Barbara Ehrnhardt were set apart by the laying on of hands to the office of church wardens,” according to the history of the congregation.
The organizational activities concluded with the celebration of communion, which was administered to only a handful of the charter members of the congregation. This event is noted in the Emmaus Moravian Church’s record book. Sebastian Knaus is the first name on the list of eight male communicants, followed by Jacob Ehrenhardt. And Catharina Knausin was the first of the seven females, followed by Barbara Ehrenhardt. (11)
A little more than a decade later, Moravian leaders decided to establish a village in Salisbury Township. “Ever mindful of the growing importance of Salisbury among their rural missions the authorities in Bethlehem now began to plan for a more permanent settlement, a Gemein-Ort, or closed congregational village in which residents of kindred spiritual needs and desires could live and work together harmoniously,” according to “They Came to Emmaus.” (12) Again, key movers in this initiative were the Knauss and Ehrenhardt families, who together provided more than 100 acres for the village. On May 1, 1759, Sebastian sold 45 acres, 25 perches, in Salisbury Township to leaders of the Moravian church for 50 pounds. The land was part of the 200 acres Sebastian received in the 1747 warrant. Three days later Jacob Ehrenhardt sold them 55 acres of adjoining land for 30 pounds. The author of “They Came to Emmaus” characterizes the transaction as a donation, based on references in Moravian records to “the land which Jacob Ehrenhardt and Sebastian Knauss are giving in addition for the Gemain-dort.” (13)
Because of their roles in establishing the church and the village, Sebastian Knauss and Jacob Ehrenhardt are often referred to as the “Fathers of Emmaus.”
“They Came to Emmaus” offers a brief description of the portion of Emmaus that was originally part of Sabastian’s land. “The Sebastian Knauss plot (45 acres, 25 perches) is today approximately that part of Emmaus bounded on the North by North St.; on the West by Second St.; on the South by Railroad St.; and on the East by a line just beyond Kline’s Lane (and Front St.).” (14)
Since it was a settlement open only to Moravians, the congregation established a set of regulations for inhabitants. These encouraged Christian ideals and banned criminal and uncouth behavior. For example: “All fraud and overreaching of one’s neighbor; likewise any premeditated mischief done to the wood, fences, fields, fruit trees, etc., belonging to the owner of the soil or any other, shall be deemed infamous; as generally all other gross heathenish sins, to wit: gluttony and drunkenness, cursing and swearing, lieing and cheating, pilfering and stealing, quarreling and fighting, shall not be heard of in Emmaus; he that is guilty of such cannot be suffered to continue here.” They also frowned on pastimes that would seem relatively benign in most other communities. For example: “No dancing matches, tippling in taverns (except for the necessary entertainment of strangers and travelers), beer tappings, feastings at weddings, christenings, or burials, common sports and pastimes, gaming with cards, dice, etc. (nor the playing of the children in the streets), shall be so much as heard of among the inhabitants. They whose inclination is that way bent, cannot live in Emmaus.” Sebastian Knauss was one of the four subscribers to these regulations.
The village finally received its name in 1761, “when at a lovefeast on April 3rd, conducted by Bishop Spangenberg, it was announced that the place hitherto called Maguntschi and Salzburg was now to be called by the Scriptural name of Emmaus,” according to “The Emaus Moravian Congregation.”
In addition to organizing and controlling many aspects of village life, church officials kept records of most activities. Sebastian’s name frequently appears in the diary kept by the pastor and minutes of the Community Council. Most entries covered routine matters. For example, on April 12, 1759, the diary says, “Our cow yields such bitter milk. Br. Sebastian Knauss will exchange it for a better cow and add 5 s. to the cost.” On Sept. 10, 1762, it records, “The Brethren Sebastian Knauss, Giering, Rauschenberger, Andersen, Leibert, Wuensch, and Wandel came today and mutually to repair the gable end of the church.” On Nov. 18, he “walked to Bethlehem and took letters.” And on Dec. 8, “Br. Sebastian brings a cord of fuel wood.” Other entries involve selling cattle, digging a well, plowing fields, fetching letters and handling finances. (15)
At times, the entries describe less mundane matters. On June 6, 1763, the diary reads, “The minister and his wife, together with Seb. Knauss, rode to Philadelphia to attend Synod, June 8-12.” On June 16, 1764, the diary mentions serious illness in the Knauss home: “Visited the Sebastian Knausses. Their little Marie Magdalena is down with the smallpox and their Ludwig will soon be recovered from them.” And on Jan. 26, 1765: “Br. Sebastian Knauss and his son Johannes went through deep snow to bring old Stephen Meissens some flour. They were very welcome. These dear old folks can’t get away.”
During these early years, Sebastian built a house in the new village. Emmaus’ diaries from 1764 mention the house. On May 8, the diary notes, “Br. Schoen comes from Bethlehem and helps Sebastian Knauss put windows in his new house.” And on Nov. 7: “Today Sebastian Knausses moved into their new house in Emaus (sic) and in the evening eleven members and their eldest children had a lovefeast in the Knauss home.” “They Came to Emmaus” says Sebastian owned house lots 31 and 32 in the village and notes that the diary’s “Reference is no doubt to the stone house built in 1763 on lot 32, NW corner of Main St. and Keystone Ave., last known as the Walter house.” This is probably the house and property referred to in a 1786 deed as the “stone messuage and lot in Village of Emaus, Salisbury Township, where Sebastian Knauss had lived.” (16)
Sebastian served as the church’s warden – or steward – from its foundation in 1747 until his death in 1777. He also served on the Community Council. His obituary in Moravian records describes his work in the church in glowing terms.
“He also had the good fortune and the joy of serving the newly started work of the Lord in this neighborhood as a steward, besides furthering the good cause energetically in every possible way; yes, his cheerfulness and readiness were an inspiration to others.
“In this state of heart and mind he did his duty as steward and Sacristan with faithfulness and punctuality through all these years, until his Creator’s hand relieved him from further duty.
“As far as a eulogy is concerned, it is best to leave that to Him who said: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’ Our departed brother never desired to seem anything else before God, angels and men, than a sinner, to whom had been given the grace of God through the sacrifice of Jesus.”
The book “History and Genealogy of The Knauss Family” adds a few more tidbits: “The following, also found in the church records, will be of interest: ‘He (Sebastian Heinrich Knauss) was of small stature, had auburn hair, was a good conversationalist, and good natured.’ The children of the Institution often went to his home and received honey-bread (Honich-Schnitten).” (17) The “Institution” was probably the church’s boarding school.
Over the years, Sebastian acquired several properties in Salisbury Township and in nearby Upper Milford Township. In addition to the 200 acres he acquired from Pennsylvania authorities in 1747, he received patents from the province for 33 acres, 88 perches, on Jan. 11, 1760, and for 75 acres on Oct. 10, 1761. These must have been in Upper Milford because they are listed among four contiguous tracts in that township when Sebastian’s executors sold land to his son Jacob in 1786. In addition to these two tracts, the deed mentions 61 acres, 58 perches, that Sebastian had purchased from Philip and Frederick Kratzer in 1765 and 25 acres, 60 perches, he had purchased from Peter Miller in 1769. The 1786 deed also mentions the “stone messuage.” In addition to these properties, Sebastian purchased 71½ acres on a branch of the Saucon Creek in Upper Milford from Martin Ginchinger on March 20, 1765. (18)
Sebastian’s holdings put him among the top five taxpayers in the 1761 tax assessment of Salisbury Township. He was assessed 22 pounds. (19)
Salisbury Township’s tax list for 1772 provides of good overview of Sebastian’s holdings. Bastian Knouse is listed as a farmer who owned 80 acres of cultivated land, 270 acres of uncultivated land, four horses, five horned cattle and six sheep. (20)
In early 1777, Sebastian came down with a cold that was to prove fatal. His obituary describes his final days:
‘“The cause of his, at this time, unexpected demise, was a cold which developed into inflammation of the chest, (pneumonia) and was so malignant that he clearly recognized it as the will of the Lord that this sickness should soon lead to the consummation of his election by grace through the wounds of Jesus. Thereupon he wisely set his house in order: commended his dear wife unto the everlasting Husband; blessed his children in a truly patriarchal manner — then busied himself only with the one thing needful.
“The frequent singing of hymns was the joy of his heart.
“Yes, amid pain and when the mind was wandering, the hearty singing of hymns revealed what filled his heart.
“Under these circumstances our Brother Knauss finished the course of his life, Feb. 26, 1777, aged 62 years, 5 months, and 3 weeks. ‘Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, for they rest from their labors.’”
Sebastian wrote his will two days before his death, noting he was “sick and weak in body but of sound memory and understanding.” He outlined what should be done with his various properties and provided for his wife and younger children. For example, Sebastian gave his son Jacob the property where he was living at the time of his death. However, this farm was to be rented to him for seven years, with the proceeds going to his “beloved wife, Anna Catharine … for the maintenance of her and the children that she be with her.” At this point, Philip was only 9 years old and Jacob himself was only 20. Anna Catherine was also to have use of “two rooms and the kitchen … in the stone house wherein I do live now that she may live in it.”
Because of Sebastian’s standing in the community, the Emmaus diary provides frequent updates on his status and passing. On Feb. 24: “Today Sebastian Knauss made his last will.” On Feb. 26: “Sebastia Knauss died at 4:30 this afternoon.” On Feb. 28: “The remains of our beloved brother were laid to rest in God’s Acre. The many people and the attentiveness with which they listened to the sermon indicated the esteem in which he was held.” And on March 2: “After service today a lovefeast was held for the entire congregation as requested by the late Sebastian Knauss.” (21)
Anna Catharine died June 26, 1799. She and Sebastian were buried at the Moravian Cemetery in Emmaus. (22)
(1) Sebastian’s baptism and parents are listed in the Düdelsheim records in “Deutschland Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898,” at FamilySearch.org. Sebastian’s obituary in Moravian church records states: “Our departed brother Sebastian H. Knauss was born Oct. 6, 1714, in the village Titelsheim, Wetteravia.” The date seems plausible, even though children were usually baptized more quickly than that. The variant spelling of the town’s name isn’t a concern because of the dramatically different pronunciations used in Germany even to this day and the haphazard spelling practices of the 18th century. The obituary is transcribed in “History and Genealogy of The Knauss Family in America,” by James O. Knauss and Tilghman J. Knauss, Emaus, Pa., 1915, page 18. Images of the original German-language church book are available in the Emmaus Moravian records in “Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669-2013,” Ancestry.com. (2) The marriage is mentioned in Sebastian’s obituary. Anna Catharine’s parents are listed in her burial record in “The Old Moravian Cemetery at Emmaus, Pennsylvania,” compiled from the Emmaus Moravian Church Books and Genealogical Records of Henry Koch Jarrett, Emmaus, Pennsylvania, 1939. It’s available in “Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669-2013,” Ancestry.com. Her birth date and place and her parents are also recorded in the Emmaus Moravian Church records, written in German, which are available through the same Ancestry.com database. (3) The births and the names of the daughter’s husbands are listed in Anna Catharine’s Moravian obituary and in the Emmaus Moravian Church Records, both of which are available in “Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669-2013,” Ancestry.com. The children are also listed in “Knauss Genealogy” and “History and Genealogy of The Knauss Family,” both of which generally provide dates about a month before those in Anna Catharine’s obituary and the church records. It should be noted that Magdalena’s parents are incorrectly named in the transcription the records of the Old Moravian Cemetery in Emmaus, which are available at “Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records,” on Ancestry.com. This record says that Magdalena’s parents were Michael and Anna Elizabeth Knauss. Michael Knauss was another son of Ludwig’s and his daughter named Maria Magdalene was born in 1775. (4) Much of the information in this biographical sketch comes from Sebastian’s obituary in the Moravian church records. (5) “On the Frontier with Colonel Antes,” by Edwin MacMinn, Camden, N.J., 1900, pages 22-24. (6) The Transues’ arrival is listed in “A Collection of Upwards of Thirty Thousands Names of German, Swiss, Dutch, French and Other Immigrants in Pennsylvania from 1727 to 1776,” by I. Daniel Rupp, Philadelphia, 1876, page 62. Interestingly, another set of passengers of the Thistle of Glasgow was the family of Jeremiah Hess, who was another ancestor of our family. Concerning Abraham’s death, many researchers believe that he lived until about 1770, but this is based on records that actually refer to his son, also named Abraham. However, it is virtually certain that he actually died 1740 and his estate was recorded under the name Abraham Transon, in Philadelphia County Administration Book D, page 140. This is the view held by Annette K. Burgert in “Palatine Origins of Some Pennsylvania Pioneers,” Page 349. (7) Sebastian’s warrants can be found in “Pennsylvania, Land Warrants and Application, 1733-1952,” Ancestry.com. It was actually the second warrant for the tract. The land was originally given to George Hoffman in 1736 but he defaulted on payments. Hoffman’s warrant is the one that describes the location of the tract. (8) The log house is described in “They Came to Emmaus,” compiled by Preston A. Barba, Lehigh Litho, Inc. Bethlehem, Pa., 1960, page 23. (9) “The Emaus Moravian Congregation,” by the Rev. Allen E. Abel, in “Proceedings and Papers Read Before the Lehigh County Historical Society,” Vol. II, Allentown, Pa., 1910, page 47-53. (10) The church and school are discussed in “They Came to Emmaus,” pages 26-28. (11) Records of the Emmaus Moravian Church which are available at “Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669-2013,” at Ancestry.com. (12) The foundation of Emmaus is described in “They Came to Emmaus,” pages 48-49. (13) The deeds involving the land for Emmaus are in Northampton County Deed Book B-3, pages 178 and 180. (14) The description of the property appears in “They Came to Emmaus,” page 52. The book provides another description on page 23. Here, it says: “Some of this land is today a part of the Borough of Emmaus; some of it, at East Main Street and Knauss Lane, with peach orchard and pine grove, is today owned by Dewey Marks, Esq.” (15) The diary entries and Community Council minutes appear in “They Came to Emmaus,” pages 72-76 and 92-105. (16) The diary entries appear in “They Came to Emmaus,” pages 97 and 98. The author also mentions the Knauss residence on page 18, writing, “Where he lived at the time of his death is not clear. We know that in 1761 he was the lessee of Lots 31 and 32. On Lot 32 a stone house was built in 1763, later known as the Everett house and still later the Walter house at the northwest comer of Main St. and Keystone Ave.” (17) Sebastian’s description appears in “History and Genealogy of The Knauss Family,” page 18. (18) The patents appear in “Records of the Land Office, Patent Indexes, 1684-[ca. 1957],” Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission website at www.phmc.state.pa.us. They are on pages 165 and 166 of the indexes. The parents appear in Patent Book A, No. 19, page 392, and Patent Book AA, No. 2, page 421. The deed involving Ginchinger appears in Northampton County Deed Book B-1, page 35. The deed involving the executors and John Knauss appears in Deed Book H1, pages 180-182. It is abstracted in “Abstracts of Deed and Other Property Records Northampton County, Pennsylvania,” vol. 4, by Candance E. Anderson, Closson Press, Apollo, Pa., 2003, 31. (19) The 1761 tax list appears in “Abstracts of Public Records, Northampton County, Pennsylvania (and surrounding counties), 1727-1779,” vol. 1, by Candance E. Anderson, Closson Press, Apollo, Pa., 2001, page 124. (20) The 1772 tax list appears in “Pennsylvania, Tax and Exoneration, 1768-1801,” Ancestry.com. (21) The diary entries coving Sebastian’s death appear in “They Came to Emmaus,” pages 116. (22) Anna Catharine’s obituary.