The Family Farm in Newberry Township of York County, Pennsylvania
Introduction and Summary
Perhaps the most important material goal of 17th and 18th century German speaking immigrants to Pennsylvania was to acquire their own farmland. This was generally not possible in their homelands for reasons discussed at length in previous sections of this web site. Johann Paul Jünger arrived in Philadelphia in 1748. Throughout his life in America, his appearances on tax lists always depict Paul as a “tenant” or “renter” not as an owner of his own “plantation”.
Paul’s last discovered appearance on a tax list was in 1780 where he appears in Newberry Township of York County, Pennsylvania. On that list he is indicated as not owning any acres of land. His only possession for taxation purposes was a single head of cattle, probably a milk cow. From a previous section of this web site covering Paul’s movements between his arrival in Philadelphia in 1748 until his settling in Newberry Township in 1780, the following discussion is excerpted:
It is important to note that Paul Yenger’s name on the 1780 tax list of Newberry Township appears very close to the name of “Ann Probant, Jacob’s Widow” on the list. In other sections of this web site significant details are presented from the estate file documents for Jacob Broband’s estate. Jacob Broband died in 1777 leaving his widow Ann alone to raise six daughters without a man in the home. Two of those daughters, Sophronia (aka Freney) Broband and Magdelena Broband eventually married Paul Junger’s two oldest known sons, George Yinger and Anthony Yinger.
George and Sophronia only had one child who they named Ann who was born in 1784. Anthony and Magdelena Yinger’s eldest child Jacob Yinger was born in 1783 according to his tombstone in the Bear family cemetery which is discussed in another section of this web site. Therefore, it seems likely that these two sons of Paul Junger married two of the daughters of Jacob and Ann Broband (aka Probant) between 1781 and 1783, at a time when the Revolutionary War was in its final stages. After a very dubious beginning, the conflict had become more certain for a victorious outcome by the American colonies.
Widow Anna Broband had a large farm of 140 acres and no son’s, only daughters, to help her with the farm after her husband died in 1777. Paul Junger (Yenger) had no land of his own but he had three sons, George, Anthony and Martin, the oldest two of whom were able bodied young adult males willing and able to work and they lived in the general vicinity of Anna Broband’s plantation. It seems likely that what began as a mutually beneficial partnership developed into matrimony for two sons of Paul Yenger and two daughters of Anna Broband.
In another section of this web site the estate file documents for the estate of Jacob Broband are presented and discussed in a narrative. Two of the documents in the estate file pertain to the handling of the 140 acre “plantation” after Jacob’s death. The following discussion is an excerpt from the estate file narrative of Jacob Broband’s estate presented elsewhere on this web site:
On October 27, 1788, which was about three years and five months after the accounting was filed settling Jacob Broband’s estate, George Yinger and Freney (Broband) Yinger petitioned the Orphan’s Court to have the 140 acre farm (plantation) partitioned fairly among the heirs. Or, if such an equitable partition was deemed not possible without a detrimental outcome, to value the property fairly in its entirety. The court ordered the sheriff and a committee of “twelve good and lawful men” to make a partition or determine a fair valuation of the whole.
On November 27, 1788, at the next Orphan’s Court meeting, John Edie, the sheriff of York County reported to the court that the 140 acre plantation was not able to be partitioned among the heirs without prejudice and without spoiling the valuation of the property taken as a whole. Accordingly, a valuation for the plantation as a whole was determined to be three hundred four pounds, six shillings and eight pence in gold or silver (304.6.8).
George Yinger and Freney (Broband) Yinger asked to be permitted to purchase the property at that value by committing to pay the widow, Anna Broband, Freney’s mother and the other heirs, Freney’s sisters, according to the following terms of payment. First George and Freney were allowed to deduct seven pounds, four shillings and six pence (7.4.6) from the appraised value for the cost of the appraisal and court proceedings. This left a net valuation of two hundred ninety seven pounds, two shillings and two pence (297.2.2) to be apportioned among the heirs as the purchase price for the 140 acre plantation.
However, George and Freney first committed to pay her mother, Anna Broband, Jacob’s widow, a lifetime annuity of five pounds, eighteen shillings and ten pence (5.18.10), gold or silver yearly as long as she lived. This amount of money was not deducted from the net purchase price for the plantation to be paid to the other heirs, namely Jacob and Anna Broband’s daughters and\or their descendants or heirs or legal guardians.
Because Freney Broband was one of the 6 daughters, she and George Yinger received credit for her share. Anna Oyman’s heirs, her two children, Jacob Oyman jr. and Ann Oyman, received her 1/6th share. Anthony Yinger (George’s younger brother) and his wife Magdalena (Broband) Yinger (Freney’s younger sister) received a 1/6th share. Each of the remaining three daughters of Jacob and Anna Broband, Esther, Elizabeth and Catherine or their legal guardians also received a 1/6th share.
Two thirds of the amount due to each heir equaled thirty three pounds, zero shillings, two pence and three farthings (33.0.2 ¾). (A farthing was 1/4th of a pence). This amount was committed by George and Freney to be paid to each heir in one year from the date of this petition. After the death of Anna Broband, each heir was also to receive the final 1/3rd portion of the purchase price which amounted to sixteen pounds, ten shillings and one and a half pence (16.10.1 ½).
Therefore, each of the six heirs (daughters of Jacob and Anna Broband) were to receive 33.0.2 ¾ plus 16.10.1 ½ for a grand total of 49.10.4 ¼, 49 pounds, ten shillings, four pence and a farthing. Multiplying this amount by a factor of six following the rules of 12 pence to the shilling and 20 shillings to the pound yields exactly the net purchase price agreed to by George and Freney Yinger of two hundred ninety seven pounds, two shillings and two pence (297.2.2) in gold or silver.
When this agreement was struck, it represented the first time anyone in Paul Jünger’s family actually owned, albeit heavily indebted, a significant amount of property in America. This dream motivated Paul and many thousands of other European immigrants to take the calculated risks to leave their war torn homeland to come to the new world and seek a better life for themselves and especially their children and future descendants of which I am a part. Tax list appearances for Paul throughout his life indicate he did not own any land and, therefore, probably he was only a tenant farmer-laborer.
Paul came to America in 1748. Not until 1788, forty years later, did his eldest son become the first in the family to actually own his own land on which he could work hard and, hopefully, enjoy the fruits of his labor and eventually have something of increasing value to pass on to future generations. This deeply yearned for goal which motivated thousands of Palatine immigrants from the impoverished Rhineland area of Europe was simply not even remotely possible for the vast majority of people living in those regions because they were peasants with no upward mobility prospects.
Before going into further detail about this 140 acre Yinger “family farm” after it came into the ownership of Paul’s oldest son George Yinger and his wife Freney Broband Yinger, a look backward provides some interesting historical perspective.
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