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Nicholas Vieillard

Male 1635 -

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  • Name Nicholas Vieillard 
    Born 1635  Otterberg, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died Erlenbach, Pfalz, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I3901  Puffer Genealogy
    Last Modified 10 Oct 2018 

    Family Katherine Grosjean,   b. Abt 1639, Ardennes, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Germany Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married Bef 1660 
     1. Jean [Vieillard] Willard,   b. 6 Nov 1664,   d. Yes, date unknown
     2. Jakob Willard,   b. 15 Sep 1667, Erlenbach, Pfalz, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 29 Sep 1717, Erlenbach, Pfalz, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 50 years)
     3. Anna [Vieillard] Willard,   b. 8 Apr 1670,   d. 13 Apr 1670  (Age 0 years)
     4. Ann [Vieillard] Willard,   b. 11 Jan 1670/1,   d. 6 Jul 1672  (Age 1 years)
     5. Casper [Vieillard] Willard,   b. 1676,   d. Jan 1728/9  (Age 53 years)
     6. Elizabeth [Vieillard] Willard,   b. 17 Nov 1677,   d. Yes, date unknown
     7. Vincenz [Vieillard] Willard,   b. 20 Aug 1683,   d. Aug 1751  (Age 67 years)
    Last Modified 22 Oct 2018 
    Family ID F4797  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Source: http://willardfamilyassn.org/Goodevening.htm

      Willard Family Association

      The German Willards Come to America

      By Karin Kincaid

      Good evening.

      My name is Karin Kincaid, and Im supposed to be your evening entertain ment. After a long hard week of work and a big meal, Im here to make s ure you get a good nights sleep by listening to me talk about a bunch o f people youve never heard of who lived a few hundred years ago. I was a ll set to come here and tell you all about my magnificent Williard fami ly and how incredible they were. Then, this past May, my husband and I w ent to England. We visited all sorts of old and wonderful places, and w hen we were in Cantebury Cathedral, down in the crypts, we found a memo rial placed there to the memory of Major Simon Willard. We also found a p ainting of a man named Villar (from the same root name as Willard) hang ing in Leeds Castle. I began to get nervous. It would seem that your f amily is very well connected. I began to have visions of saying the wr ong thing and creating an interfamily incident. Youd go back to callin g us the Maryland dirt farmers, all of Karen Willards good efforts on h elping us get to know each other would fall apart, maybe even restartin g the Civil War and then your New England ancestors would call England , and my Mid-Atlantic ancestors would call Germany, and we would start W orld War III. I get a little carried away when I get nervous.

      But seriously I have been spending the past 3 months trying to figure o ut what to say tonight; how to communicate my passion about my family a nd their history to you. Most importantly, Ive been trying to figure o ut how to condense 400 years into something less than a 4 hour lecture a nd to make sure I dont sound like the Book of Genesis with a list of be gats. It wasnt easy. But then I realized that there is one thing that o ur families have very much in common, despite their different backgroun d and origins. Both our stories reflect the story of this country and v ividly demonstrate the heart and diversity of American history. The co lonial pilgramages, the French and Indian War, the quest for religious f reedom, the Revolution, and the great westward expansion All of these a re American history, and Williard family history, too -- yours and mine .

      You may have noticed that I just said Williard. That is was my grandmo thers maiden name. Ill discuss the differences in the name in more det ail later. I will also say that I have brought lots of materials with m e for anyone to look through if you want more information about anythin g I talk about. My focus in my research has been on the big picture of t he family as a whole. If any of this strikes a chord with anyone, I al so have information from researchers who have focused in detail on cert ain segments of the family, and I can put you in touch with them.

      So, after all that anxiety, let me begin. Lets start with the name, Th e German Willard Family. Its a great nickname. I use it myself all the t ime. In fact, though, it is misleading. My Willards are German like I m royalty. I once had an ancestor who was a Count. Its also a bit lik e my college roommate who was a 4th cousin to Diana, Princess of Wales. W hat does it all mean? Absolutely nothing. My Williards did not start i n Germany, and they didnt stay there very long; although, by the time t hey came here, to Philadelphia, the family was speaking German. Ergo, t hey became The German Willards. And from now on, I would appreciate it i f you all refer to me as the Lady Karin.

      The earliest ancestor that we have been able to trace was born in Franc e, in the Sedan region, in 1635. His name was Nicolaus Vieillard (spel led V*I*E*I*L*L*A*R*D). Vieillar means Very Old Man. We dont know muc h about Nicolaus. We know he had a brother named Pierre and a cousin n amed Pierre, but we dont know which was which. Sometime, when Nicolaus w as in his 20s, he and the two Pierres fled France for Germany to escape r eligious persecution. They were Protestants, fleeing Catholic France. A ll 3 of the Vieillards married and had descendants. The focus of the s o-called German Willard research has been on the descendants of Nicolau s, as they are the ones whose sons came to America and multiplied like r abbits. It is worth pausing to talk about one of the Pierres, though. P ierre Vieillard (one of them) married Catherine Boye. Their daughter A nna Margretha married Abraham Cherdron, and their descendants settled d ue west of here in York County, PA, and include a great many of the Ge rman families that live in York County, PA today. Pierres grandson mar ried into the Harbaugh family, which we will meet again in another stor y.

      Back to Nicolaus and the Pierres. The Vieillards went to the Pfalz reg ion of Germany, near Kaiserslautern. Apparently, there was a significa nt French settlement there, because we can find records from that time p eriod for both the German Reformed Church and the French Reformed Churc h. Also, in 1663 in Germany, Nicolaus married Katherine Grosjean, also b orn in France. Katherines surname means Fat John. It makes me wonder w hat her family looked like.

      Katherine and Nicolaus had seven children. Their eldest son was a man n amed Jakob, born in 1667, in Germany. It has been reported that he was a s urgeon who died in 1717 at the age of 50, in Germany. It is with his w ife and children that the American adventure of the Williard clan begin s. Jakobs wife was Mary Elizabeth Gordier (or Cordier), and she and Jak ob had 3 children, Caspar, Dewalt (or Theobald), and Johann Peter (or P eter). Mary Elizabeth, as you probably have already guessed, was also o f French descent, but she was born in Germany in 1682. That made her a bout 35 when her husband died.

      For reasons we have yet to discover, Mary Elizabeth, her grown boys, th eir wives, their children, and a relative named Catherine packed up the ir belongings and left Germany for America. They did not all leave Ger many together, but it seems reasonable that their journey was planned t ogether, as they all reunited a couple of hours by car from where we ar e sitting tonight. This second migration of the family from their home c ame only about 100 years after Nicolaus was born in France. His daught er-in-law and grandchildren left Germany, and arrived at various times i n the 1740s in Philadelphia. Even though the family was of French desc ent and only one generation away from France on the Vieillard side, th ey were clearly very German by the time they arrived in Pennsylvania. T hey spoke German and were part of the German communities across the Mid -Atlantic.

      We know quite a bit about Mary Elizabeth and her family, including wher e and when they entered into this country. I dont know about you, but a l ist of ship names and passenger lists is about as riveting as the begat s. Lets just say that Mary Elizabeth came here with her son Peter and t he relative Catherine. Catherine is a bit of an enigma. She is referr ed to in the records as the sister of Casper, Peter, and Dewalt, but sh e was born after Jakob died. We dont know who Catherine Williards pare nts were. We do know she married first a man named Bender and then a m an named George Harbaugh after the death of her first husband. We kno w this for sure because she is referred to in the church records as the w idow Bender. Now, as I said a few moments ago, a grandson of Pierre al so married into the Harbaugh family, as did other members of the Willia rd clan. In many cases, the Williards and the Harbaughs are interchang eable. Now, being a die hard football fan, I find this fascinating, be cause Jim Harbaugh is a rather prolific NFL quarterback, and I think th is means he is my cousin.

      Back to Mary Elizabeth and her children. Caspar was the oldest, and he c ame over first. He settled in York County. Several family records, in cluding that of your own Major Simon Willard, claimed that Caspar never m arried. Although we cannot prove to scientific certainty that this is u ntrue, it seems very likely that Caspar did marry and had several child ren, and his descendants populated southern and southwestern PA. The re ason we think that Caspar did marry is the children of Mary Elizabeth ( including Catherine Bender Harbaugh), as witnesses to baptisms of child ren born to a Caspar Williard in York County, PA. Coincidence? I doubt i t.

      Mary Elizabeth came over with her son, Peter, and his family. They cam e through the port of Philadelphia and apparently went west to be with C aspar, as they joined him in York County for a time. Dewalt also came t hrough Philadelphia, with his family, and can briefly be found in York C ounty. Eventually, everyone but Caspar and his family left York and we nt south to the Monacacy region of Maryland, were they became prominent m embers of the community and substantial landholders. The Monacacy regi on is due south of Gettysburg, along Route 15. If you go out the turnp ike toward Gettysburg, and take Route 15 south, you will end up in Fred erick in about an hour and a half. This is where the multiplying like r abbits part really begins. Pennsylvania was just a way-station on the r oad to populating the new continent.

      The Monocacy region was another strong concentration of German peoples, a nd many of the old tombstones were written in German. Peter, his mothe r Mary Elizabeth, and his family settled north of Frederick near Thurmo nt. They, along with the Harbaughs, became members of the Graceham Mora vian Church. Their tombstones can be found in Graceham Church Cemetery , and they are among the oldest found in Maryland. The original tombst ones have been replaced by dedicated family members, but Mary Elizabeth s stone once read Our Mother in German, a very fitting epitaph for her i ndeed, as we can number her descendants today in the several thousands a nd those are only the ones we have found to count. She died in 1770 at t he age of 88. At this point the original VIEILLARD name can still be f ound, although derivations are common, like WILGAR.

      Peters first American-born son was Johann George, and he was a Moravian p ioneer. He was one of the earliest members of the Moravian settlement i n Salem, Carolina, now Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He, too, was a p rolific ancestor, whose descendants number in the thousands, many, many o f them in North Carolina. Like all children of pioneer spirit, his des cendants didnt stay in one place but spread out across the country. Thi s branch of the family was spelling their surname W*I*L*L*Y*A*R*D and, o f course, all variations thereof.

      The children of Peter that stayed in Maryland were nearly as prolific, a nd a great many Williards in Maryland can trace their ancestors to Pete r. The rest can trace their line back to Mary Elizabeths other son Dew alt, who is my ancestor. Unlike the rest of his family, Dewalt did not b ecome a Moravian. He remained a member of the German Reformed Church, a s did his descendants. Dewalt also did not live in Graceham, but inste ad in Burkittsville, a short bit away from Frederick toward the west. O f all family in this time period, Dewalts grave is the only one that is l ost to us. Dewalt was 75 when he died. He was reportedly buried on hi s farm in Burkittsville, but his gravesite can no longer be found. Acc ording to the History of Frederick County Maryland, Dewalt's farmland i n Burkittsville had apparently belonged to Josephus Harley, and it is o n that land, in Mr. Harley's house near the spring, that the Burkittsvi lle Congregation Reformed church had its origin. The land came to Dewa lt in 1752, when his son Elias was 12 years old.

      One of the current mysteries about Dewalts family is exactly how many c hildren he and his wife Anna had. There seems to be evidence in German y that they had at least a few children who did not come to America wit h them, but we do not yet know why. The evidence is supported by the f act that Elias and his wife gave their children names that seem to be c onsistent with Elias lost family in Germany. In any respect, for the f amily that came to America, Elias was the oldest son and the second chi ld. His younger brother was named Dewalt Jr. Both Elias and Dewalt Jr . fought for the crown in the French and Indian War and for the Marylan d Militia in the war for Independence. According to Revolutionary Patr iots, Elias was a Second Lieutenant in the 34th Battalion of militia on J une 11, 1776 under Captain George Poe, his brother in law.

      Elias is buried in Middletown at the Reformed Church and, but for the m arker placed by Daughters of the American Revolution, his gravestone wo uld be virtually unidentifiable, as time, the winds and rain have worn i t almost smooth.

      A few descendants of, Elias, went west and became among the very first s ettlers in eastern OH, in Columbiana County, a short drive south of p resent-day Youngstown. Philip, Dewalts grandson, arrived in OH aroun d 1805-1810. Phillips family, like his cousins in Carolina, were havin g their name spelled W*I*L*L*Y*A*R*D, and pronounced Williard. In OH , the Williard name is the more common, unlike in Maryland where the na me quickly abbreviated even further to WILLARD.

      On his homestead, Phillip built a house. This house was later owned by P hillips son John and, in later generations, referred to as the Williard M ansion. John was known as Squire John Willyard, presumably because he h eld so much land. Eight generations of Willyards lived in that house u ntil it was torn down in the 1980s. We cant know today exactly what th at house looked like, but Phillips brother George also built a house in M iddletown, Maryland, near Burkittsville. This house is known as New Fr eedom. It is a federal style home that has been excellently restored b y its current owner, James Bealle. Jim is not a Williard descendant, b ut he has become a friend to many of us and has a great interest in the f amily. The house has been registered as a National Historical Landmark , and Jim and his wife Sandy have restored it to the George Willard era ( but they have not, I should add, removed the plumbing, electricity, or t he kitchen appliances. After all, they do live there, and there is a p retty cool swimming pool on the property, too). In the summers, Freder ick Community College conducts archeological digs at the old house, in t he well and under the kitchen. One of the things they found that I fou nd most interesting is a set of silverware buried beneath the kitchen f loor. The running theory is that when soldiers were coming through in t he Civil War, the valuables were hidden under the floor and, for some r eason, forgotten.

      (Note: A report of the archeological digs may be seen at http://www.fre d.net/jbeall/pub1.html)

      In addition to migrations to North Carolina and OH, the Williards mig rated to Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana, and points west, with a sign ificant number ending up in Collingsworth, Texas. As the country expan ded, so did the family. And as they expanded, they left their mark on c ountry, and countryside. The Williards saw conflict in the French and I ndian War, in the Revolution, in World War II, and almost certainly eve ry conflict in-between. They founded Heidlberg College, in Tiffin, Ohi o. They were US Senators, lawyers, and actually held some respectable p ositions, too.

      As we all know, though, it is the stories, and the tangible reminders, t hat make family history so captivating. I want to tell you a few of th ose stories. In the George Willard House that is owned by Jim Bealle, t here is a window in the bedroom containing original glass from Georges d ay. In the lower left-hand corner of the window, there are initials sc ratched into the corner. Jim believes that they came to be there when J acob Remsburg came to visit and to propose to Georges daughter Elizabet h Willard. Apparently, before she agreed to marry Jacob, Elizabeth dec ided to test the ring to make sure it was real.

      It also seems that by the late 1800s, the supply of unique names for Wi lliard children was starting to run low. (Although, if you read the ch urch records and find out there actually were more than two boys named D ewalt Willard in the area, it may be that the name supply has been runn ing short for a lot longer than just since the 1800s.) Anyway, there w ere three first cousins born in Columbiana County, OH in the late 180 0s, all of whom were named John Williard. I dont know what it was abou t those ancestors and that name, John but there sure were a lot of them . These John Williards all, thankfully, had different middle names, s o for their entire lives, they were known as John N., John L. and John A . My grandmother used to tell stories about her childhood, and she nev er referred to an Uncle John but always to an Uncle John N.

      There is also some evidence that, in the present day, this naming trend h as gotten even worse. My great grandfather was named William Cool Will iard. He named his first son, my great uncle, William Clarence Williar d. Thus, there were two WCWs in the family, with different middle name s. Uncle Bill followed the trend by naming his son William C. Williard . By that time, there were too many Bill Williards, and far too many W CWs, so we all just called him Three. That is a nickname that, to his c hagrin, he still bears to this day.

      The William Cool Williard family has, for most of my life, been excited a bout being a family and all that being a family means. My grandmother h ad six sisters and two brothers, and they have been getting together wi th their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren once a year s ince the 1950s. In my lifetime, this Williard reunion has generally be en on Fathers Day, and almost always around Canfield, OH. Although r ecently, the number of attendees sits around 50, there have been many a p rior reunion in which the number of people that showed up were so great t hat we all had to where nametags that not only gave our names, but how w e fit into the family. In those years, I was known as Evies granddaugh ter. In retrospect, it was an improvement to the years when great-gran dma Doris called me Connie thinking I was my mother, and my cousins cal led me Cheryl thinking I was my sister. (They are sitting over there, b y the way.)

      This mix up isnt just senilty, though. In looking at all my relatives, i t is very clear that the Williard genes are strong. As my mother has o ften said, we have one mans face and one womans face, and you can see i t at any age, any weight, and with any color hair. It is certainly tru e that many of us look more like siblings than cousins, and for the sib lings, the resemblance can be extraordinary.

      One year, in the 1970s, my grandmother and her sisters decided to get t ogether to evaluate, physically, what it means to be a true Williard. T hey took a census of the hundred or so people who were at the reunion t hat year, and they concluded that a true Williard had light brown hair, b lue eyes, a very big nose, could cackle like a witch when laughing and h ad a propensity to snort when laughing or when surprised. I was graded n ear Williard because my nose wasnt big enough.

      I always thought it was the William C. Williard family that had such st rong genes so that we all looked alike. In recent years, however, we h ave learned that that the Williards at large have looked alike for hund reds of years. I have pictures here on my computer of Uncle John N. an d his two brothers that are virtually indistinguishable, and which are e xtremely similar to that of their grandfather, the Squire. So, its the J ohn Williard family that looks so much alike and has such strong genes. O r at least, that is as far as weve got pictures.

      In connection with my study of the George Willard family that lived in N ew Freedom, Squire Johns uncles family, I began corresponding with Geor ge Willards several times descendant. We agreed to meet one day and vi sit the old farmhouse. Not knowing how I would recognize him in a publ ic place, we agreed to meet at the old cemetery in Graceham, because, w hile public, there probably wouldnt be a ton of people wandering around . My mother and I arrived at the cemetery first, and while we were pho tographing some tombstones, we were very surprised to see my mothers fi rst cousin Brian Kirby walk into the cemetery. Last time we checked Br ian was in Houston, Texas and had no interest in genealogy whatsoever. T his cemetery was an extremely strange place for him to be. Well, there i s no point in dragging this out any further, as Im sure you have alread y guessed, this was not Brian, but Georges many great grandson. He was a c ousin, but definitely not a first cousin. The family resemblance was st ill strong even that far back.

      So, that brings us to the present day, from 1600s in France, to 21st ce ntury America. Weve come a long way from the days of Major Simon Willa rd and the Maryland Dirt Farmers. Nicolaus was my 9 great grandfather, 1 0 generations ago. Mary Elizabeth has 10 or more generations of descen dants in this country, which, as you know, represents an almost uncount able number of people. But I have one more story to tell.

      This past Fathers day, at the annual reunion, my grandmothers sister ha nded me a printout of a history book about the Allegheny Valley. In it , she had highlighted biographies of some Willard men. These men were f rom England, and were related to Major Simon Willard and his brother-in -law John Davis. When I told her this was not our family, she was disa ppointed and offered to throw all the research away. My mother, though , took the pages from me, flipped them over, and I read the following t ext, Richard Willard, father of Margery, the wife of Captain Dolar Davi s, lived at Horsmonden, England, it being claimed that he was a lineal d escendant of Richard Willard, Baron of the Cinque Ports, in the time of R ichard II. The Willard family of Eastbourne, Sussex, England, original ly named Villiard, came from Caen, Normandy . . . . France. Perhaps we a rent so far apart after all.