of the Month
Johan Simon Durck
d. Feb 1787
Johann Simon Durck (Derk/Derrick)
was a hardworking immigrant from the Palantine area. He was born c1712 in Lippe,
Germany. His parents’ names are unknown, but as Lutherans or Mennonites
(sources disagree) both he and his parents probably suffered the religious persecution well known in the Palantine during
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Immigration to America
In 1738 when he was about
twenty-six years old, Simon left Germany, traveled down the Rhine, and made his way to Rotterdam, the departure point for
the thousands of Germans and Swiss who wanted to leave the Palantine area and immigrate to a new land. Although Ireland and Russia received a number of German immigrants, the American colonies were the number
one destination. By 1730-31 over 15,000 Palatine refugees had settled in PA alone. PA was the primary destination in America, but New York, the New England colonies,
and South Carolina also received large numbers of Palatine immigrants. (To
learn more about religious persecution in Switzerland and Germany and about the Palatine immigration check the McCarter Archives
for articles on other of our German ancestors including Henrich Stentz, Johannes
Meckendorfer, Daniel DeWalt, Benedictus Kuhn, Martin Shultz, and others. Just
click the link at the top of this page.)
On Board the St Andrews
from Rotterdam on the St. Andrew with Master John Stedman in charge as Captain.
Records show that the ship stopped by Cowes to load supplies for the voyage. There were 300 passengers on board, and
on the two-month voyage to the new world, many became ill. When the ship arrived
in Philadelphia on 27 Oct 1738, twenty-nine of the passengers were deemed too ill by local physicians Lloyd Zachary and Thomas
Bond to be allowed to disembark The doctors certified: "We have carefully
examined the state of health of the marines and passengers on board of the ship St. Andrew, Captain Stedman, from Rotterdam,
and found a great number laboring under a malignant, eruptive fever, and are of the opinion, they cannot, for some time, be
landed in town without the danger of infecting the inhabitants."
One of the afflicted
passengers was our Simon. Like all our other German ancestors, Simon by this
time had had his name misspelled by a ship’s clerk. Durck had become
Simon was the
only member of his family on board, and we do not know exactly what happened to him during the quarantine. A couple of strange things are noticeable in the available ship’s lists for the St. Andrew
on 27 Oct 1738. In one source, Simon Derrick is not listed on the St. Andrew.
On another list the ship is identified as “lately from Plymouth.”
The omission of Simon’s name may have been because he was one of the twenty-nine who were quarantined. Ships from Plymouth often docked at Cork or Cowes as their last stop for supplies before starting their
eight week voyage to the colonies, so that in itself is probably not significant. The ship could have left Rotterdam and made
brief stops at both Plymouth and Cowes. As yet I have been unable to discover
what happened to Simon and the other afflicted passengers and crew—where
they were held, for how long, or when they were finally able to disembark and “qualify” for citizenship.
Berks County, PA and the Stapleton Family
Simon must have been pronounced fit, for he moved to the area of Oley, PA in Berks Co
and within a short time he had met Catharina Margaretha (Catherine) Stapleton whom he married in 1739. Catherine was the daughter of Robert Stapleton and
one of his wives—either his first wife Anna Maria Turkin or more likely his second wife Catherine Reichard, a widow whose married name
is unknown. Simon himself had been married before, probably in Germany. We
learn this from Robert Stapleton’s will, which states that his daughter Catherine is the second wife of “Samuel
Dark” (yet another misspelling). (Records at Trappe, PA [Bucks Co.] on 6 Jul 1746, show the marriage of a Johan Simon Derk and Catharine
Dorothea Schultz. Although this appears at first glance to name Simon’s
first wife, the date would overlap with his second marriage; thus, this must have been a second Johan Simon Derk and not our
There are two
different accounts of the Stapletons. One is that they were from England.
In this version Robert Stapleton was from an English noble family. When he became a Quaker, his relatives ostracized him.
To escape the harassment, he brought his family to the colonies. The second account says that like the Durcks, the
Stapletons were Germans from the Palatinate. Their name, whatever it originally was, sounded like Stebelton, Steveleton,
or Stepelton. (Remember how the German Meckendorfer was morphed into McInturff, and Theobalt became
DeWalt.) Of these two accounts of the family’s origin, I lean toward
the German version. Since Simon had just emigrated from Germany and was
in all probability a speaker of German, I would suspect that Catherine, too, was from a German background. In addition, where the couple had their children baptized suggests a German influence. Church records at the Moselem church in PA read:
THERK, son of Simon and Cath. Margr. STEBELTONin, born 4/16/1752, bp 5/17/1752, spons: Jacob LANG and wife Maria Appolonia.
son of Simon and Catharina STEPELTONin born 3/1/1756, bp 3/13/1756, spons: Jacob
LANG and wife Apollonia.
of both Derrick (Durck) and Stapleton look like the misspellings we have seen with other German names. In addition, the “-in” added to Catherine’s surname is a German
language device that indicates the person in question is female. Moreover, I
doubt that a person of English nobility at that time would welcome a common German immigrant into his family, even if he and
his family were “on the outs.” Of course, as a Quaker, Robert might
have been more tolerant than some others might be. Still—a German background
for the Stapletons sounds more reasonable
(As a final
note for the German side: The Mosel is a river that flows into the Rhine in Germany.
The Mosel area was known for winemaking—if that matters. –Em
added to Mosel means “from Mosel.” Attending a church (Moselem) apparently
established by Germans from the Mosel area adds to the German side of the argument.
In addition, the Moselem Church, was not the closest church to Virginville, so the Derricks had to go a little farther
to it. It was located southeast
of Saucony Creek and Virginville On the other hand, the closer church was
the New Jerusalem Church which was a “Baptist Brethren” or “Dunkers”
church. The Baptist Brethren church was not like a modern Baptist church. It had grown out of a splinter group in the German Reformed church. They were called “Dunkers’ because they believed in total immersion for baptism. New Jerusalem church was located even closer to Virginville on Ontelaunee Creek. Both these churches were basically of German origin. Probably
all the churches in the area were German. In fact, that seems logical. The area was well known as a place for German immigrants. Why
would the Derricks and Stapletons be living in a German section of PA if they were not German?
This is, of course, speculation on my part and probably means little or nothing at all)
was born in 1722 and was therefore seventeen when she married Simon who was about ten years her senior. Catherine and Simon made their home just outside Virginville, PA, and over the fairly long period of about
24 years, they had nine children: (1) Johannes (John) Durck Derk/Derrick
(1740-1790); (2) Mary Elizabeth (Marilis) Derrick. (1742-1800; (3) Michael
(4) Anna Maria (Mary) Derrick (1747-before 1808); (5) Henry Derrick
(1748-1830); (6) Johann Jacob Derrick (1752-1831); (7) Simon Derrick (1756-?) died in infancy; (8) Johann
Jurg (George) Derrick (1764-1818), and (9) Female Derrick (1750-?) John H. Derrick, child number 1, is our ancestor. (So far,
the H remains a mystery.) (Remember from our other German ancestors
the tradition of naming children after the same saint—in this case Johann(es)—and then calling the child by his
middle name. If the Derrick girls had a common saint’s name, it is not
readily apparent unless the name was Mary or Maria)
Three of the
Derrick children brought sadness to the family. Simon, probably named for his
father, died in infancy; an unnamed daughter also died young, and Marilis was blind.
The Freight Shipping Business
Robert Stapleton, was a successful businessman. One source says he ran a freight
or drayage business between the villages of Virginville and Oley, and from those
villages to and from. Philadelphia. Although we do not know what if any occupation
Simon had had in Germany, the same source says that in PA he went to work for his father-in-law, as did two of his brothers-in-law. Simon apparently was successful in this “family” business, too, for some
say he worked in overland shipping for the rest of his life. The Stapleton company shipped freight and drove cattle overland
and may have even carried slaves into Maryland and other southern colonies. (I
was unable to find corroboration on the shipping business in multiple sources, so it is possibly incorrect.) (Three years later (2009) I still have not found support
for the drayage business; in addition, other Stapleton researchers who know far more than I say that this information is incorrect.)
Moving Further South
A common practice for Palatine
immigrants in PA was to stay in the area for several years and then move south and/or west.
Many went along the routes followed by earlier travelers—especially through the Shenandoah Valley. They usually traveled with other German settlers to the new lands.
Simon and his family apparently followed this practice. They gradually
moved their business and families south. I do not know whether the Derricks started
their own business or were still affiliated with the Stapleton freight company. They
may not have been involved in freighting at all. Both the Stapletons and Derricks
began acquiring land, and this practice seems to suggest an interest in either farming or tobacco growing since they moved
Records show that Simon began
acquiring land early. By 22 Oct
1746 he owned several land parcels totaling about 248 acres in Greenwich Township, Berks Co, PA. By 1776 Simon and sons John and Jacob and their families were living in the Locust Bottom Area of Virginia,
about 30 miles from Lexington. Simon had 420 acres, John had 400, and Jacob had 300 in Shenandoah County. Their lands were in close proximity to each other, but the title to the land was held for some time by
Lord Fairfax, making the Derricks tenants. In 1784 John bought 226 acres in Botetourt
County, VA. Simon, too, continued to deal in land and by the time of his death in 1787, he owned a sizeable portion. The 1785 census showed John’s
family living on the northern banks of the James River. The James River area
was known for its tobacco plantations. John’s occupation in 1785 was listed
as “farmer.” Tobacco planters were usually listed as “planter.” In addition to land dealings, there is some evidence that the family was still
involved in the overland shipping business. By 1783 they had pushed their freight
business (?) as far south as Tennessee, and by 1786 part of the family had moved there.
Possibly they were participating in multiple endeavors—tobacco planting, farming, and/or shipping freight
Simon died in 1787 in Mt Jackson, Shenandoah County, VA,
He was between 69 and 75 years of age. His will provided for his
wife, Catherine. ”It is my will that my said wife Catharine shall have possession of all my plantation
and land whereon I now live in the said county of Shenandoah during her natural life.”
Although Simon had prepared for her future comforts, after his death Catherine moved back to PA and lived with her brother Tobias Stableton [sic] and her daughters Mary and Marilis. She died in 1796 at 72 years of age. Simon had also provided for his daughter Marilis
in his will. He stated that the remainder of his horses and cattle “be sold to the Highest bidder and best advantage by
my Executors herein after mentioned and the money shall be applied for the use of my daughter Mary Elizabeth now living in
Pennsylvaini [sic] and being blind” (Marilis died in Berks Co in 1800), Marilis may have been Catherine’s reason for returning to PA.
During his life Simon had
made a long journey and had become the patriarch of a large family. He had moved
from Germany to PA to Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. It was up to his children
to continue the journey, and this they did. By 1783, some of Simon’s
sons had moved branches of the family (and perhaps the family freighting business) through the Shenandoah Valley and into
Tennessee. The plan was to form a caravan and move the Derrick families to this
new area. John died in 1790 before he could move to TN, but by 1786, a year before
Simon died, Elizabeth Derrick (John’s daughter) and her husband Adam Fox (Adam Fuchs) were already living in Sevier County..
More of the family were to follow.
is Mamaw’s 5 great grandfather. Elizabeth Derrick Fox is her 3 great grandmother. If you are Mary Elizabeth Hatcher's great great grandchild, Simon
Derrick is you 7 great grandfather.
Line of Descent from Simon Derrick to Mary Elizabeth Hatcher McCarter
Simon Derrick (1718-1787) + Catherina Margaretha
Frederick Derrick + Anna Maria Dunkelberger (1742-1796)
Derrick (1762-1830) + Adam Fuchs (Fox) (1760-1814)
Fuchs) Fox (1784-1842) + Nancy Patterson (1787-?)
Fox 1813-? + Joseph Sutton 1812-Unknown
Sutton (1834-?) + Elizabeth Ann (Betsy) Headrick (1736-?)
Susan Sutton (1862-1903)
+ Israel Alexander Hatcher (1860-1950)Mary Elizabeth (Betsy) Hatcher (1886-1969) + Rev. Eli McCarter (1886-1955)
Hatcher/McCarter Family charts
Kerchner, Charles F., Jr. “18th Century PA German Naming
“My Derrick Ancestors”
German Ships Lists – Ships from Germany to Philadelphia Carrying Palatines” http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~pagermanshipslists/
“Simon Derrick, Generation 1”
Family Genealogy Forum” http://genforum.genealogy.com/stapleton/messages/1557.html
“Will of Simon Derk/Derrick 1712-1787”
County, VA. Will Book A, pp. 310-312
Williams, Rose. “Descendants of Simon Durck”