The immigrant Johann Jacob RUPP came from Oberhoffen-lès-Wissembourg, Northern Alsace, present-day France, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1752 with his wife Maria Barbara NONNENMACHER and their three sons Johann Jacob, Johann Michel, and Johann Martin.
In the Beginning, There was Family Tradition
From the following report given by Johann Jacob RUPP’s great-great-grandson Redmond Ira ROOP at a family reunion in 1927 in Carroll County, Maryland, the family very likely took the Great Valley Road in green in the map above (with some continuing on the dotted green road).
Traveling on what was once the Baltimore and Memphis Turnpike, the Rupe caravan crossed the Potomac at Harper’s Ferry in 1796. The caravan included Henry, his wife Catherine, and their family of several sons and daughters, the three older brothers of Henry, and their families. In crossing the Potomac the cattle and other larger animals were forced to swim, and the sons of Henry held the ropes attached to the horns of the cows. One wild cow pulled one of the unsuspecting Rupe boys overboard while crossing and he might have been lost had they not missed the cow, which finally reached shore with the boy swinging to her tail some distance down stream. The three brothers of Henry split with one of them going to Ohio, one to Western North Carolina, and the other to Georgia. Henry and family journeyed through the Shenandoah Valley and into Rockbridge County, bound for the southwestern section of the state, then rather sparsely settled. When they reached Buffalo Creek, four miles north of Natural Bridge, a great flood overtook them and they were forced to remain for several days. A report reached them that Natural Bridge had washed away, and it being the only passage, it would require four years to restore the bridge. They settled on Buffalo Creek and built a mill there, which they operated for years before they learned that the report of the bridge destruction was like Mark Twain’s comment on the first report of his death, considerable exaggereated (sic). Early in the year 1800 they left Rockbridge Co. and wound up in Lunenburg Co., VA where they had at least one child before settling on Pelham’s Branch, near Little River, about eight miles southwest of Christiansburg, Montgomery Co., VA. The first recorded document for Henry in this area was the purchase of 326 acres on Aug. 17, 1804 from Abner Lester, to whom it had been granted by the Commonwealth in 1795.
Who doesn’t have a story of several brothers? My 5th great-grandfather Henry RUPE was the youngest son of Johann Jacob RUPP and Maria Barbara NONNENMACHER. I would like to believe he traveled with three older brothers but this may be “exaggereated” (to use Redmond’s spelling). To simplify things I’m dropping the Johann from the father and his three sons’ names as, after they came to America, the second name was found in records.
This is where I’m seeing the families from 1752 to 1820.
- Henry’s parents Jacob and Barbara and his three oldest brothers Jacob, Michael, and Martin came to America in 1752 arriving in Philadelphia. This will be discussed in a later post. The length of time they remained in Pennsylvania is unknown.
- Henry’s father Jacob RUPP was in Frederick and Baltimore County, Maryland, from about 1759 to 1792. Church records, as well as three sets of newly found records, confirm his residence in Pipe Creek Hundred in Baltimore County. They will be discussed in more detailed upcoming posts.
- Family tradition (above) tells of Henry and his brothers crossing the Potomac at Harpers Ferry in 1796. The transcript of the report by Redmond ROOP may not be reliable. The information has been copied many times and cannot be traced back to its origin. Theron Rupe, another researcher for the family, wrote the family left Maryland in 1793 after Henry sold 100 acres of the original 115 acres owned by his father Jacob.
- Family tradition (above) tells of Henry’s family remaining at Buffalo Creek in Rockbridge County, Virginia, until about 1800. I have not found proof of this or of their building or running a mill at this location. Henry ROOP was in Rockbridge County on 13 January 1801 when Polly NULL, from Baltimore County, Maryland, and daughter of Anthony NULL married James HART. Henry gave an oath of the bride being of age. [I have images of both records] The 1800 census for Virginia is not available and tax lists have been used as substitutes. The 1801 tax list for Rockbridge was used as a substitute. James HART was listed but Henry RUPE/ROOP appears to have already left the county as he was not on the list. There for the marriage, gone for the tax list!
- Henry RUPE was seen in Montgomery County buying land in 1804 from Abner Lester. He continued to acquire land and deeds show his name spelled Roop. In the 1810 through the 1840 census, the surname was spelled Roop, Roope, and Rupe. He lived in Montgomery County until his death in 1845.
- Martin RUPE was a resident of Surry County, North Carolina from 1795 to about 1810. He may not have taken care of all business in the county before moving on as he was seen on the 1812 tax list. George WEAVER was a resident of Stokes County, North Carolina in 1800. By 1820 the WEAVER family was living next door to Henry RUPE in Montgomery County, Virginia. George’s wife was the sister of Henry RUPE.
- Martin ROOP (indexed Roap) was in Union County, South Carolina, by 1810. The area became Cherokee County. Many of his descendants lived there as well as across the state line in Rutledge and Cleveland counties in North Carolina. His descendants in the Carolinas used the surname spelling RUPPE.
- Places of birth of the children of Henry RUPE indicate he was in Maryland in 1786-1792, Virginia from about 1794.
- Places of birth of the children of Martin RUPP indicate he was in Maryland in 1779, Pennsylvania 1780-1788, Virginia 1790, North Carolina 1796-1805.
- Places of birth of the children of George WEAVER indicate he was in North Carolina in 1778* and back in Maryland in 1781-1790.
*Another family tradition, which I will be discussing in a future post, suggests Jacob RUPP and his family, during the American Revolutionary War, “bought land in a North Carolina land company and after the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783 the family resurfaced in Baltimore County.” Records I’m finding show Jacob was in Baltimore County during this time and do not support the theory of his being in North Carolina. George WEAVER’s oldest child was listed on the 1850 census as born abt. 1778 in North Carolina. She died before 1860, her children died in 1848, 1865, and bet. 1860-1870. This left no possibility of confirmation of the mother’s place of birth on the 1880 census.
It was important for me to map the migration pattern of the family during this period. I am convinced it will help me prove or disprove the family tradition by pointing me in the right direction at the right time. Of course, any suggestion on a course of action would be greatly appreciated.
 C. T. Zahn and Frederick S. Weiser, translators and editors, Maryland German Church Records Volume 10, subtitle: Zion Church “The German Church”, Manchester, Carroll County — today Trinity United Church of Christ Records, 1760-1836 and Immanuel Lutheran Church Records, 1760-1853 (published by the Historical Society of Carroll County, Westminster, Maryland).
© 2016, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.