1707-1786 — Palatine, Germany; Lancaster Co, PA; Bethania, Forsyth Co, NC
Johannes Friedrich FISCUS was born in 1707 in Palatine, Germany. Secondary sources suggest that Freidrich married his first wife, Anna Elisabeth Schwind, in Germany about 1729 and that the couple had seven children: Maria Margaretha (1730), Anna Cunigunda (1734), Barbara (1736), Maria (1742), Eleonore Margaretha (1746), Jacob Frederick (1748) and Elisabeth (Liesel) (1750). Their daughter Maria Margaretha may have died in childhood.
In 1743, 36-year-old Friedrich and Anna Elisabeth decided to move their young family to America. They traveled aboard the Loyal Judith. The ship, under the direction of Captain James Cowey, left Rotterdam and traveled to Philadelphia by way of Cowes. The travelers arrived in Philadelphia, September 2, 1743. Also on the ship was a 48-year-old man named Gerhart Fishkes. This was likely Friedrich’s brother.
Freidrich and Anna settled in Lancaster County Pennsylvania where their children Maria, Eleonore Margaretha, Jacob Frederick and Elsabeth were born. Freidrich’s wife Anna died young, probably shortly after Elsabeth’s birth in 1750. Friedrich remarried Eva Marie (maiden name unknown) sometime before 1758. The couple had two children, a son Johann Adam (1759) and a daughter also named Eva Marie.
The family left Pennsylvania and moved to Bethania in Rowan County, North Carolina sometime between Adam’s birth in 1759 and January 1763, when Friedrich is first mentioned in the Moravian minutes. This area of Rowan County became Surry County in 1771. The Fiscus family may have been members of the Moravian Church but at the least they interacted with the Moravian Community.
Friedrich died January 19, 1772 at the age of 65. His death was recorded in the Bethabara Diary of January 1772, “Br. Ernst, from Bethania, informs us that last evening the elder Fiscus, who has lived behind Bethania, passed away, trusting in Jesus”. Eva Marie was left a widow with her two teenage children. Friedrich’s children from his first marriage were probably all out of the house by this time. In his will, Friedrich left to his 24-year-old son Fredrik “my plantation I now live on containing one hundred and twenty-eight acres more or less, situate lying and being on Mill Creek, adjoining to the land of Michael Houser and to the land of John Shore, deceased together with good right and deed for the same”. He also left to his son Fredrik, “two horses, two cows, two sheeps and all the hoggs belonging to me, one loom and all the taklings belonging to the same, one saddle, and one half wagon and all the horse teers thereto belonging and all the housal goods whatsoever”. Freidrich provided for Eve saying that “It is my will that my wife Eve Fishcus after my decease shall have liberty to live upon my place with my son Fredrik Fishcus and my son shall be obliged to maintain her all her life time and find her sufficient meat drink and necessary apparel and all the necessaries belonging to her subsistence whatsoever…. If in case it should happen that my wife Eve Fishcus could not peaceably and quietly live with my son Fredrik, then the said Fredrik Fishcus shall be obliged to give unto my wife Eve Fishcus yearly and every year as long as she remains widow twelve bushels of wheat, one hundred weight of pork and fifty pounds of beef, 50 butter and all other necessaries as aforesaid whatsoever”. Friedrich also left to Eve “One brown mare to her own property”. Friedrich allowed that his son Frederik was to pay to his siblings Adam and Eve the sum of twenty pounds as soon as they reached legal age. In the event that Frederik died without heirs, the plantation would revert to Adam. Friedrich willed that the rest of his cattle, horses and sheep were to be divided equally among the children from his first wife. Friedrich appointed his son-in-law, Michael Hauser, executor of his will.
Not long after Friedrich’s death, the American colonies went to war to gain their independence from England. Friedrich’s son Adam served in the Revolutionary War in the North Carolina and Virginia Continental Line. He was living in Moraviantown in Stokes County at the time of his enlistment. He later moved to Washington County, Indiana.
When her daughter Eve married Jacob Helsebeck around 1781, the widowed Eva Marie went to live with the young couple. The Bethania Diary of the Moravian Records records in May 1783, “Br. Philip Schaus came with three horses, and we rode with him to his plantation, stopping at the younger Hilsebecks, where only the wife and her mother, old Mrs. Fiscus, were at home”.
Eva survived her husband by 14 years and died in February 1786 in Bethania. Her funeral was recorded in the Bethania Diary for February 25th. “I held the funeral of the widow Eva Marie Fiscuss, who lived in this neighborhood. She had suffered much from a growth on her head which could not be cured”. The funeral was also recorded in the diary of the neighboring community of Salem, “In the neighborhood of Bethania, Br. Beck held the funeral of a widow, Eva Marie Fiscus, who was well known to the Brethren and Sisters. She had a bad growth on the head, which caused her much pain and could not be healed, so all thanked the Saviour that her end had come”.