The Catholic archbishop of Austria ordered all protestants out of the country in 1722. They had two weeks to pack up and leave. Several hundred Austrians roamed about Europe searching for homes. When General James Oglethorpe learned of the persecution, he welcomed these people into Georgia. However, by then, the numbers of homeless was diminished as they situated themselves around Europe, with only about 100 people remaining to emigrate. Maria Kraher emigrated to Georgia from Austria with her first husband, Hans Mosshammer. After he died, she was married to Peter Gruber in Ebenezer, Georgia, and after his death, married a third husband, Charles Floerl. Peter Gruber was born in Taxenbach, Berchtesgaden, Germany. Later on, the name was changed to Groover, especially as descendants moved into Bulloch County.
Origins of Some of the Early Settlers to Effingham County
Thomas Wylly was born in Tortola in 1762, an island located in the British Virgin Islands. This is the small island which was noticed by Christopher Columbus when he was in the Virgin Islands in behalf of Spain. The Spanish made several attempts to settle the islands, but pirates such as Blackbeard and Captain Kidd were actually the first permanent residents. During the 16th century when the Dutch lost control of the area, the British established a permanent plantation colony on Tortola and the surrounding islands. Settlers then developed large plantations for the sugar cane industry.
His parents died and he was transported to the Georgia colony while still a young boy by his uncle. This explains his rank promotions during the Revolutionary War. He joined the 4th Georgia Battalion and was appointed Second Lieutenant. Later was made Deputy Quarter Master under his uncle Richard Wylly who raised him. He fought in the Battles of Medway as Church and Briar Creek and was on the outskirts when the British seiged Savannah.
He saw General Screven of the Georgia Militia killed and Captain Strouder as well. He acted as a spy for General Moultrie. Ironically, after the Revolutionary War, Tortola was a destination for Loyalists who escaped from being hanged.
Passenger Lists of other emigrants to Ebenezer are available to members of Georgia Pioneers
The first settlement after Savannah was Ebenezer, a village founded by Saltzburgers who came to America to escape persecution by the Catholic Church. Mr. Van Zant from Switzerland was the founder of the first site of the village which proved to be unsuitable; the site later removed further north. Effingham County was created in 1777 from the parishes of St. Matthew and St. Philip which were established in 1758. Effingham County was named after Lord Effingham who resigned his position of Colonel. in the British Army to serve in America. Earliest Settlers: David Ambrose, Henry Cook, Samuel Dasher, William Downs, Emanuel Dugger, John W. Exley, Micajah Futrell,John K. Heidt, Joshua Glover, Jesse Hurst, John Ihly, Christopher Bailey, Thomas Blitch, and others.
Effingham County Marriages, Baptisms, Immigrants, Births, Colonial Records, Wills, Estates
Effingham was created on February 5, 1777 from the colonial parishes of St. Matthew and St. Phillip. The county was named after Lord Effingtham, an English champion of colonial rights. Its first settlers were from Austria who had suffered religious persecution under the Catholic Church and was given two weeks to remove themselves from the country. They spent two or three years trying to obtain passage from England to America and succeeded when General Oglethorpe heard of their plight and had them brought to the colony of Georgia.
Many of the original records at the Effingham County Court House remain intact. When tracing families in this county please refer to the Colonial Records of Georgia by Candler as well as the Saltzburgher books found in most regional libraties.
Effingham Records Available to Members of Georgia Pioneers
Effingham County Wills
Effingham County Probate Records
- Effingham County Wills 1826-1845 (abstracts)
- Index to Effingham County Wills, Vol. 3, 1829-1858.
- Index to Effingham County Wills, Vol. 4, 1866-1898.
- Index to Effingham County Inventories and Appraisements, Vol. 3, 1827-1865.
- Effingham County Marriages 1757-1845.
- Saltzburgher Marriages 1754-1769, New Jerusalem Church (Images in the original handwriting).
- Saltzburgher Marriages 1769-1778, New Jerusalem Church (Images in the original handwriting).
- Saltzburgher Births and Baptisms 1756-1761, New Jerusalem Church (Images in the original handwriting).
- Saltzburgher Births and Baptisms 1761-1766, New Jerusalem Church (Images in the original handwriting).
- Saltzburgher Births and Baptisms 1766-1770, New Jerusalem Church (Images in the original handwriting).
- Saltzburgher Births and Baptisms 1768-1787, New Jerusalem Church (Images in the original handwriting).
- Saltzburgher Births and Baptisms 1773-1777, New Jerusalem Church (Images in the original handwriting).
- Ebenezer Town Map.
- Auspurg Emigrants.
- Kaufbeuern Emigrants.
- Kemten Emigrants.
- Leutkirch Emigrants.
- Liebrach Emigrants.
- Lindau Emigrants.
- Lindaus Emigrants.
- Memmingen Emigrants.
- Nordlinger Emigrants.
- Constitution and By-Laws of The Georgia Saltzburger Society 1734-1925.
- Exley, James J., deceased, Partition of Lands (1899).
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