Ludwig Mäintzger is considered the patriarch of all of the
Mansker and many of the Minsker families in the United States. Most of us, with a
few notable exceptions (e.g., the descendants of brothers Samuel and Hyman Manskirch (see the
Manskirch Manskers Page),
John Mansker who married Elizabeth Dugger
– see also the
Missing Manskers Page, and,
of course, the
are able to trace our direct lineage back to him.
For many years, Ludwig was thought to have come from the small village of
Neureut, which is near the Rhine River
in southwestern Germany. It is now a northwestern suburb of Karlsruhe,
in the German State of Baden-Wurttemburg. But there was some
controversy over exactly where and
when Ludwig was born, and
later research indicates that he probably
came from the village of Merchingen, farther east in Baden-Wurttemburg.
We do know that Ludwig arrived at the port of Philadelphia on 13
September 1749 on the ship Christian. The ship's
passenger manifest has his name
spelled as shown above, but for most of the rest of his life,
he spelled it "Minsker". (But it also appears as "Mintsker"
The ship's manifest listed only males, but the passengers numbered
300 persons from "Wirtemberg, Alsace, Zweybrecht"; it seems likely
that other states/provinces/principalities were represented as well.
He arrived in the New World in the first year of a five-year wave that
saw 90,000 Germans arrive on American shores.
It isn't known for sure if he was married before he left Europe, but
some family stories hold that his sons John and George were born in
Germany, and numerous pioneer Tennessee legends have it that his son
Kasper Mansker was born at sea during the voyage
to the new world.
The branch of the family that stayed in the Pennsylvania area kept the
spelling of "Minsker" and those that went south and west, into Tennessee,
Arkansas, Missouri, and Illinois, changed the spelling to "Mansker".
In many early records, however, especially those in Tennessee regarding
Kasper, the name is spelled "Mansco".
On 3 May 1751, when his daughter Maria Agnes was baptized, Ludwig first
appears in the parochial records of the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran church at
New Holland, Earl Township, Lancaster Co, Pennsylvania.
The name of Ludwig Minsker has long been closely associated with Clark's
Valley, Middle Paxton Township, and Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.
One legend about Ludwig which has been endlessly repeated in county histories
and other places, states that Ludwig was an "immigrant from the Palatinate", who, in the
spring of 1756, in order to save them from marauding Indians,
hid his wife and child in a large chest, where they remained until the
Indians had left the area. According to the legend, this child was supposed
to have been Ludwig Jr. See
Ludwig, the Chest, and the Indian for
the full account of this family legend.
Like all legends, this one has some problems fitting in with the known facts:
Ludwig Jr. wasn't born until 12 February 1761, and Ludwig's
daughter, Maria, would have been about five years old at the time of the alleged
incident; there were also several other small children (including John, George and Kasper).
One has to wonder exactly how large this chest really was, if they all were hiding
In the year 1758, "Ludwig Minzger" was assessed taxes on 50 acres of
land (10 acres cleared & 4 acres of grain), 2 horses, 4 cattle and
2 sheep in Brecknock Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
Brecknock Township lies in the eastern part of the county, bounded north by
Berks County, southeast by Caernarvon Township, southwest and west by Earl
Township, and northwest by Cocallico Township.
As the crow flies, it is about thirty miles from Clark's Valley to Brecknock
Twp, but to travel there would have meant either a difficult crossing of
several mountains or, more likely, following the Indian trails (which
apparently are followed by the present-day route of the Pennsylvania
Turnpike to Harrisburg), then heading north along the Susquehanna to
Clark's Valley, not an easy trip in the 18th Century. It remains a mystery
to this day, but the possibility exists that he had two households and
split his time between them.
Ludwig had at least seven children: in his will, he mentions sons John,
George, Kasper, and Ludwig Jr., daughter Mary, and two unnamed daughters
who were married to Peter Hashouer and Henry Albright.
The John Minsker who appears in the 1790 census
of Dauphin County, PA, is undoubtedly the son of Ludwig, and the James
next to him is John's son. In John's household are two males over 16 and
Ludwig's sons George and Kasper do not appear in the 1790 census of
Pennsylvania; Ludwig Jr. appears in Dauphin County with one son under 16
years of age and three females in his household. Peter Hashouer,
(spelled Housare), also appears in Dauphin County with four
sons under 16 and two females in his household, quite close in the census
to a Catarina Albright who reportedly may have been another of Ludwig's daughters.
Mary, who was born in 1769, married William Haschauer around 1786,
and he is probably the William who was listed in 1790 in Brecknock Township,
Lancaster County, with two females in his household.
Ludwig's oldest daughter, Maria Agnes and probably called Agnes,
may have been married to Peter Hashouer. It is believed that William
Hashouer was the son of Peter, and Mary Agnes may well have been Peter's
By January of 1776, Ludwig appears on the account books of the
Pennsylvania Militia. On 2 May, 1776, he
wrote his last
will and testament.
Ludwig Minsker died in service in the Revolutionary War near Coryell's Ferry,
Pennsylvania, on 24 November, 1776 (see the
Manskers at War Page),
but the cause of his death is not known. His place
of burial has never been determined, although some family legends hold
that he is
buried in Clark's Valley.
See six generations of the
descendants of Ludwig Mäintzger