Captain Johan Adam Zerfass

Male 1742 - 1806  (64 years)


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  • Name Johan Adam Zerfass 
    Title Captain 
    Born 25 Jan 1742  Salisbury, Delaware Co., Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Christened 02 Feb 1742 
    Gender Male 
    Military Service 1777-1784  Northampton Co., Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • French and Indian War (British)
      American Revolution (US) - Northampton Militia
      Battle of Brandywine, Germantown, Wyoming Valley
      Frontier Indian Wars (US) - 1784
    Died 18 Aug 1806  Whitehall, Lehigh Co., Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Egypt Reformed Church Cemetery, Egypt, Lehigh Co., Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Captain Adam Zerfass
    Captain Adam Zerfass
    Notes 
    • By W.K. Williams: When he was about 60 years of age, Johann Adam Zerfass recorded in his family bible the following: "I, Adam Zerfass, was born in 1742 on the 25th of January and 8 days later, on the 2nd of February, I was brought to the Holy baptism and there the name Adam was given to me. The Godparents were Adam Blank and his wife. I was confirmed when I was 15 years old by the Reverend Paster Hofer, who has preached in Salzburg. The above was written down according to the testimony of my father. My father's name was Gottfried Zerfass. My mothers name I do not know because she died when I was a child".

      Actually, Adam was born after his family emigrated to America from Hundsbach, Germany, in 1739. He was the fifth of five children born to his parents Johann Gottfrid (or Gottfried) Zerfass and Ann Elisabeth Renner. They included Johann Ulrich, Maria Barbara, Johann Adam, Anna Elisabeth and Johann Adam (Susannah's father). Unfortunately, Barbara and the first Johann Adam died in 1732, so when the second Adam was born in 1742 there were only three children in the family still alive, namely, Ulrich (15), Elisabeth (9), and Adam, a baby.

      Adam's mother died three years after his birth and he was raised by his widower father. Fourteen years later, his father married again, to Ann Sophia Krischer. By this time, Adam was approaching manhood - he was about 17 years old - but he, nevertheless, benefitted from the association he had with his new step-mother. Up until he left home at age 26 to get married, he helped his father to farm their acreage.

      Adam is shown as having married Mary Elizabeth Shafer in 1768 at Whitehall Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania. She was the daughter of Peter Shafer and had grown up in Schuylkill Heights, Pennsylvania. She was about 22 when they married. After the wedding, they apparently settled in Whitehall Township and raised their family there.

      When the Revolutionary Way broke out, Adam enlisted in the Continental Army to fight the British. He attained the rank of Captain and commanded a considerable number of troops. Later, after the war ended, he fought in several Indian Skirmishes while still holding the rank of Captain.

      Johann Adam Zerfass died 18 August 1806 at Whitehall Township, Northampton, Pennsylvania, and is buried there. He lived to see his new country, the United States of America, established; a constitution adopted that guaranteed religious liberty; and the successful transition of the Presidency from Washington to Adams. He was a true patriot, a defender of freedom, and a respected citizen.
    • Adam is said to have served in the latter half of the French and Indian Wars. In the American Revolution, Adam was a first Sergeant and then a Lieut. in the Fourth Company of the Second Battalion of Northampton Militia, 1777-1778, under Major Frederick Limbeck and Col. George Breinig. The 11th of May, 1780 he was commissioned Captain of the First Company of the First Battalion of Northampton Troops. Also it is known that on July 22, 1781, he was in the same company and holding the same rank, under Col. Stephen Balliot. Adam was a gallant soldier and was in the Battles of Brandywine, Germantown, and Wyoming Valley. After the Revolution he engaged in fighting Indians in the
      Pennsylvania Frontiers. Adam was a Captain of Militia in the Frontiers Indian Wars of 1784, in the First Battalion, under Col. Balliot. Both Adam and his wife died the same year, 1800. Many have joined the D.A.R. on his record. His family bible, printed in 1767, is still in existence and in the possession of one of his descendants, Virginia Zerfass Deal, of San Marcos,TX. Some sources show Adam as being the son of John Nicholas Zerfass, but Adam himself states in his bible, "My father's name was Gottfried Zerfass. My mother's name I do
      not know because she died when I was a child."(translated from German to English). Adam's Godparents were Adam Blank and his wife. Also Adam wrote that he was confirmed when he was 15 years old by the Rev. Pastor Hoffer who preached in Salzburg.
    Person ID I416  OurNorthernRoots | Andrew Burdett Ancestry
    Last Modified 29 Aug 2011 

    Father Johann Gottfried Zerfass,   c. 07 Dec 1702, Meisenheim, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1768, Pine Grove, Schuylkill Co., Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 65 years) 
    Mother Maria Elisabeth Hellwig,   c. 23 Jan 1708, Kirschroth, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1742/1745, Salisbury, Delaware Co., Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 36 years) 
    Married 10 Apr 1725  Meisenheim, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F2791  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Maria Elizabeth Shaffer,   b. 11 Feb 1746,   d. 16 Mar 1800, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 54 years) 
    Married 08 Mar 1768  Whitehall, Lehigh Co., Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
    +1. Maria Margaretta Zerfass,   b. 22 Dec1768, Whitehall, Lehigh Co., Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1831  (Age ~ 61 years)
     2. Anna Catherina Zerfass,   b. 26 Aug 1770
    +3. Abraham Zerfass,   b. 27 Nov 1772, Whitehall, Lehigh Co., Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Dec 1837, North Dansville, Livingston Co., New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 65 years)
     4. Maria Elizabeth Zerfass,   b. 12 Jun 1775
     5. Johan George Zerfass,   b. 15 Jan 1778
     6. Maria Magtalena Zerfass,   b. 6 Oct 1780
     7. Susannah Zerfass,   b. 17 Sep 1783, Whitehall, Lehigh Co., Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Nov 1856, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake Co., Utah, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 73 years)
     8. Maria Magtalena Zerfass,   b. 15 Sep 1786
     9. Maria Sara Zerfass,   b. Oct 1791
    Family ID F1218  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 08 Mar 1768 - Whitehall, Lehigh Co., Pennsylvania, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMilitary Service - 1777-1784 - Northampton Co., Pennsylvania, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 18 Aug 1806 - Whitehall, Lehigh Co., Pennsylvania, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Egypt Reformed Church Cemetery, Egypt, Lehigh Co., Pennsylvania, USA Link to Google Earth
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