Monday, November 3, 2014

Why Mecklenburg?

My secret is out--I love history and I love incorporating my family history into my needlework.  Some needle workers have Adam and Eve walls, I have a Grandmother Bessie wall. 

Some people count sheep at night, I plan needlework projects.  As I am working on one needlework project, I am thinking/planning the next project.  Why Mecklenburg?  Mecklenburg 1775, the sampler was designed by Cynthia Bradford, Little by Little. The design was released several years ago, I'm not sure of the year.  Here is why I chose Mecklenburg as my next (Colonial Gatherings) in between project.

Dr. Johan Martin Shultz is my Great-Great-Great-Great-Great Grandfather.  (If he didn't have such a wonderful story, I would nickname him Five G for short.)

Johan Martin Shultz was born in Lancaster County, PA in 1740.  He was the son of Johan Velten (Valentine) Shultz and Maria Eva Stocker.  Valentine and Maria had come to the new world from Germany before the American Revolution and settled in Lancaster County, PA.

As a young man, Martin was apprenticed to a cordwainer.  A Cordwainer is a shoemaker of fine boots and shoes.  He uses finer leather and is considered more of a craftsman than a regular shoemaker or cobbler.  Cobblers repair shoes and use old leather; cordwainers use only new, finely tanned leathers.  The word is connected with word cordovan which today refers to a color and a vegetable tanned leather used only for the highest quality shoes. 

Apprenticeships usually lasted for seven years or until the apprentice became of age.  Martin completed his apprenticeship in 1721 when he was 21 years old.  Several important things happened that year:  Martin married Juliana Stenz and he agreed to become the guardian of Philip Bayer, Juliana's fifteen year old orphaned nephew.  By age twenty-one, Martin had a business, a wife an apprentice and a legal responsibility.  Martin and Juliana and their children made their home in York County, PA.  (Their eight children were born in PA only six of the eight children would survive to adulthood)

After 1760, the shoe trade was booming in New England, Virginia shipped her tanned leathers there.  Martin may have felt a falling off in trade or difficulty in obtaining good leather in PA or there could have been too much competition from New England bootmakers.  Whatever the reason, he began planning a move to  Carolina.  He consulted with a number of his neighbors and they agreed to accompany the Shultzes in their move to the wilderness.  Because of the move, Martin had to go to court and be relieved of his responsibility for Philip.  Rather than abandoning Philip, Martin made arrangements for Philip to be apprenticed to another cordwainer. 

By 1764 Martin and Juliana had made all their preparations for the journey and set out with their group of friends and neighbors for Carolina.  The group made their way to Mecklenburg County, NC  they settled in an area near Killian's Creek and Leeper's Creek or Lick Run which is now the eastern part of Lincoln County, North Carolina.

Martin was made a constable by the Court of Pleas and for the next few years witnessed a number of deeds for people in the area, many of whom had come from PA with him. By 1777, Martin was identified on the deeds he signed as Doctor Martin Shultz.  Apparently between the time he had moved from PA and 1777, he had taken training as a doctor in Mecklenburg.  It is unknown why Martin gave up his profession of cordwaining and took up medicine.  He probably had little if any source of fine leather in NC and the area needed doctors.  Some early historians say there were no doctors in the area.  If this is true, he was simply filling a need and may have trained himself. 

Feeling the itch to move again, the Shultz family moved to Washington County NC in 1778.  They arrived in the summer and settled near the Holston River. 
The Revolutionary War was well under way by this time.  Martin may have thought that moving further west might be a way of escaping the war.  It was not meant to be and he enlisted in the militia and served as surgeon under Colonel Shelby and Colonel Campbell.

Battle of Kings Mountain Marker Photo, Click for full size

The Battle of King's Mountain has two faces.  It was a decisive American victory and changed the tide of the war in the South.  The battle also had elements that were shameful and disgraceful.  It was a short battle lasting a little over an hour.  Every single British soldier was killed, wounded, or captured.  Some sources say there were no doctors at King's Mountain, other sources says the British had one doctor, Dr Uzal Johnson and the colonists had Dr. Martin Shultz.  There were no supplies: no medicine, no bandages, no splints.  Amputations were carried out with whiskey and brute force.  The British reported 225 killed, 163 wounded and 715 prisoner; the colonists reported 28 killed and 62 wounded. 

Dr. Shultz left with the other Overmountain Men and made his way back home.  The area continued to change--more settlers, changes in county names and the creation of a state--Tennessee.  Grandfather Martin died in the fall of 1787 he was 47 years old.  Grandmother Juliana outlived him by several years.  After his death, she moved from Sullivan County to Emert's Cove in Sevier County. 

Johan Martin Shultz married Juliana Stenz
Their son, Martin Shultz married Barbara Ann Emert
Their son, Frederick Jackson married Hannah Lindsey
Their son, Jesse Derrick married Sarah Evans
Their son, James Lawson married Laura Jane Noland
James Lawson and Laura had five daughters one of those daughters was Bessie Ann--my cherished Grandmother.

Note about the Mecklenburg sampler.  The sampler contains some Quaker motifs.  The Shultz family was not Quaker they were Lutheran.  Some of the information about the family came from the records in Christ Lutheran Church in York County Pennsylvania. 


  1. Your family history is so interesting. I love the way you put the information into your needlework.

  2. It must be so amazing to know so much of your family history. I'm always envious of people who have that knowledge. I enjoyed reading about your ancestor. I do wonder why and how he became a doctor. So cool!

  3. Your needle work is a beautiful way to record your family history and I loved reading your story.

  4. He is my 5th great grandfather on my mothers side. Funny enough on my fathers side my 6th great grandfather John Childress was shot in the belly in King Mountain Battle. Wonder if he cared for the other? My parents met and married in Michigan.