Tuesday, March 5, 2013

John M. Zander (1744-1815)

So you probably wonder, if I’ve said this is about the descendants of James and Ruth (Haskell) Zander, why I would start with John. Because he is, according to various anecdotal sources, James' father and our immigrant ancestor.

According to Ozias Zander (as told to his son Chester Zander), “Great grandfather’s name was John M. Zander; born in Wurttemberg, Germany; weaver by trade and left home when a young man.”

If you follow the thinking that a young man would be 21 years old, then John came to what would have been colonial America in 1765. If he settled in Huntington, Connecticut, which is listed in various obits as James’ birthplace, then it is possible that he came alone. At the time Connecticut was not an area that attracted many German settlers.

And while the trend is that families usually immigrate together, it is not unheard of that a single man would have emigrated. Especially as Ozias provided the additional information that John was a weaver.

He would have belonged to the weaver guild in Germany. Guild practice at the time meant that he would have been apprenticed to a master weaver and then became a journeyman. And journeyman meant exactly how it sounds: they would journey to other towns, working in the shops of various masters.

In the mid-18th Century, the guild system was breaking down and there were fewer opportunities for journeymen to become their own masters. If you had already left your town or city to work elsewhere and you heard there were great opportunities in a land across the ocean, you might decide to leave your native country and travel to the New World.

In the first two U.S. censuses in 1790 and 1800, a John M. Sander (the anglicized version of Zander) is listed as living in Huntington, Connecticut. By the time of his death in 1815, he had joined his son in Troy, New York. Death notices appeared in various newspapers of the day.

One paper wrote on April 21, 1815: Old Mr. Zander, a German. He was age 71.

The Troy, NY, Post, on April 25, 1815: Died in this village on Thursday last, Mr. John M. Zander in the 71st year of his age.

And he was included in the chapter, Necrological List of prominent citizens, in the History of the City of Troy, 1876, by A.J. Weise: 1815--John M Zander, 71.

Baden-Württemberg, Germany
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