1697-October 16, 1755
Father: Hanss LEININGER (c.1675-?)
- BIRTH: 1697, Ofterdingen, Germany
Mother: Anna Maria UNKNOWN (?-?)
Regina WUCHERER (January 2, 1698-?)
- IMMIGRATION: 1748, Reutlingen, Wurtemburg, Germany to Berks County, Pennsylvania
- DEATH: October 16, 1755, Ft Schamockin, Union, Pennsylvania (Penn's Creek Massacre)
Barbara LEININGER (1743-September 6, 1805)
Regina LEININGER (?-?) *see narrative below
Hanss LEININGER |
|Anna Maria _________|
Excerpt from unknown source.
THE INDIAN WARS OF PENNSYLVANIA
Regina, the German Captive
We close this chapter with the interesting narrative of "Regina, the German Captive," first quoting it as it appears in "The Frontier Forts of Pennsylvania," and then adding some comments which show that its inclusion in the present chapter is not inappropriate. The story is as follows:
"The Rev. Henry Melchior Muhlenberg [a son-in-law of Conrad Weiser] relates in the 'Hallische Nachrichten,' page 1029, a touching incident, which has been frequently told, but is so 'apropos' to this record that it should not be omitted. It was of the widow of John Hartman who called at his house in February, 1765, who had been a member of one of Rev. Kurtz's [a Lutheran pastor in Berks County] congregations. She and her husband had emigrated to this country from Reutlingen, Wurtemberg, and settled on the frontiers of Lebanon County. The Indians fell upon them in October, 1755, killed her husband, one of the sons, and carried off two small daughters into captivity, whilst she and the other son were absent. On her return she found the home in ashes, and her family either dead or lost to her, whereupon she fled to the interior settlements at Tuipehocken and remained there.
"The sequel to this occurrence is exceedingly interesting The two girls were taken away. It was never known what became of Barbara, the elder, but Regina, with another little girl two years old, were given to an old Indian women, who treated them very harshly. In the absence of her son, who supplied them with food, she drove the children into the woods to gather herbs and roots to eat, and, when they failed to get enough, beat them cruelly. So they lived until Regina was about nineteen years old and the other girl eleven. Her mother was a good Christian woman, and had taught her daughters their prayers, together with many texts from the Scriptures, and their beautiful German hymns, much of which clung to her memory during all these years of captivity.
"At last, in the providence of God, Colonel Bouquet brought the Indians under subjection in 1764, [at the end of Pontiac's War] and obliged them to give up their captives. More than two hundred of these unfortunate beings were gathered together at Carlisle, amongst them the two girls, and notices were sent all over the country for those who had lost friends and relatives, of that fact. Parents and husbands came, in some instances, hundreds of miles, in the hope of recovering those they had lost, the widow being one of the number. There were many joyful scenes, but more sad ones. So many changes had taken place, that in many instances, recognition seemed impossible. This was the case with the widow. She went up and down the long line, but, in the young women who stood before her, dressed in Indian costume, she failed to recognize the little girls she had lost. As she tood, gazing and weeping, Colonel Bouquet compassionately suggested that she do something which might recall the past to her children. She could think of nothing but a hymn which was formerly a favorite with the little ones:
'Allein, und doch nicht ganz allein,
Bin ich in meiner Einsamkeit.'
[The English translation of the first stanza of this hymn is as follows:
'Alone, yet not alone am I,
Though in this solitude so drear;
I feel my Saviour always nigh,
He comes the very hour to cheer;
I am with Him, and He with me,
E'en here alone I cannot be.']
"She commenced singing, in German, but had barely completed two lines, when poor Regina rushed from the crowd, began to sing also and threw her arms around her mother. They both wept for joy and the Colonel gave the daughter up to her mother. But the other girl had no parents, they having probably been murdered. She clung to Regina and begged to be taken home with her. Poor as was the widow she could not resist the appeal and the three departed together."
The foregoing account is all based on the original account written by the Rev. Henry Melchior, Muhlenberg, D.D., in his "Hallische Nachrichten," with the exception of the family name of the mother and daughter. Muhlenberg does not give the name of the family and does not definitely give the location of the tragedy. In time the belief became quite general among Pennsylvania historians that Regina was a daughter of John Hartman, born June 20th, 1710, and that the scene of the tragedy is at or near the site of the town of Orwigsburg, Schuylkill County.
Captain H. M. M. Richards, a descendant of Muhlenberg, contends in his "The Pennsylvania-German in the French and Indian War" (Vol. XV of the Publications of the Pennsylvania German Society), that Regina was none other than Regina Leininger, who, as we have seen, was captured at the Penn's Creek massacre of October 16th, 1755, the very date Muhlenberg gives as the date of the tragedy described -in his account. In addition to the date of the alleged Hartman tragedy being the same as the date of the Leininger tragedy, the following points of similarity in the narrative of Rev. Muhlenberg and the narrative of Marie Le Roy and Barbara Leininger will be noted: In each tragedy, the mother was absent, the father was killed, a son was killed and two daughters, one named Regina and the other Barbara, were captured.
Furthermore, Muhlenberg says that the father "was already advanced in years, and too feeble to endure hard labor;" but John Hartman would have been only forty-five years old at the time of the tragedy. Also, there is no record of Indian outrages east of the Susquehanna until after the attack on John Harris (October, 25th), and none in the neighborhood of Orwigsburg until at least the middle of November.'
We believe that any one who will closely compare the narrative of Barbara Leininger and Marie le Roy with Muhlenberg's account will agree with Captain Richards that each narrative describes the same tragedy-that Regina "Hartman" was Regina Leininger, and that she became permanently separated from her sister Barbara at the time of the flight of the Indians and their captives from Kuskuskies to the Muskingum, after General Forbes captured Fort Duquesne.
"Regina, the German Captive," and her mother are said to be buried in Christ Lutheran Cemetery, near Stouchsburg, Berks County. Whether or not the dust of this daughter of the Pennsylvania frontier reposes in this cemetery, and whether her name was Regina Leininger or Regina Hartman, God knows where she sleeps and has written her name in his book of ever-lasting remembrance.
[note:Regina is buried at Christ Lutheran and her sister Barbara married Peter Ruffner]
INDEX OF SURNAMES
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