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 African-American Manskers) 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" in his will).
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 it...
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 Minsker next to him is John's son. In John's household are two males over 16 and nine females.
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 second wife.
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