Moritz Zug


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Moritz Zug

  • Born: 1715, Darmstadt, Germany
  • Marriage: Unknown
  • Died: 1808, Whiteland Township, Chester Co., PA. at age 93

bullet  General Notes:

[Brøderbund WFT Vol. 21, Ed. 1, Tree #1275, Date of Import: June 8, 2004 from]

Moritz Zug was born in Germany circa 1718 and is believed to be the son of Hans (Johannes) Zug and the grandson of the imprisoned Swiss Anabaptist minister Hans Zaug. Following the promises proffered by William Penn, and after several months
of dangerous and difficult travel, Moritz arrived at Philadelphia, Pa. from Rotterdam, Holland September 21, 1742 aboard the ship Francis and Elizabeth, along with Christian and Johannes Zug, (probably his cousins), and Jacob Kurtz and several other Anabaptist immigrants. Circa 1747 he married Maria whose family name remains unknown. Moritz founded the most progressive Amish community in the area and his home became a haven for both Mennonite and Amish new arrivals. Moritz gradually acquired hundreds of acres of prime farmlands and Pennsylvania tax rolls substantiate that he did indeed prosper. However, in addition to enduring periodic Indian raids, certain battles of the Revolutionary War took place on or near his property, i.e. The Battle of Brandywine. Hungry soldiers from neaby Valley Forge often foraged on his land. Records indicate that he never filed a claim for damages for the lost properties. Maria and Moritz were parents of seven children (the sixth named Abraham), and were Nana and Papa to 62 grandchildren. The Zug residence, in Exton, Pennsylvania, has been restored and is listed as the "Zook House" in the National Registry of Historical Places and the Pennsylvania Historical Places.


We begin the story of our Swiss ancestors and our Mennonite-Amish family history in the Canton of Bern, Switzerland at the time of Martin Luther....a tumultuous time when the medieval world of 16th century Europe was broken open by the Protestant Reformation, bringing tremendous challenge to the heretofore all powerful Catholic church. Within this struggle of religious protest, in Zurich, Bern, and the Emmental, yet a third group emerged, calling themselves the "Swiss Brethren". About 1525 A.D. this group included Zaugg family members (later called Zug in Germany, and later yet Zook in the New World) who fervently believed that the grace of God and forgiveness of sins were available to ALL by FAITH ALONE, and that there must be absolute separation of church and state (a most radical concept in the 1500's). They also believed in adult baptism following conversion (as opposed to infant baptism) and thus became known as the Anabaptists.

The Swiss Brethern, or Anabaptists, grew in numbers and their beliefs spread to other parts of Switzerland, down the Rhine to Alsace, and to the German Palatinate. It is documented that a Kaspar Zaugg led a religious debate in Bern, March 1538. Soon however, the church state decreed the death penalty for anyone teaching or preaching the Anabaptist beliefs. Disaster struck!!! Many Anabaptists were executed... over 5,000 in ten years...the men beheaded and the women drowned. Some fled to the Swiss mountain, hiding in caves, and many others fled to the south of Germany.

About this time, in the mid-1500's, Menno Simons, a Dutch Catholic priest who had joined the "Anabaptist Brethren persuaded the government of Holland to intercede with the Swiss on their behalf and the name "Mennonite" was born. Conditions did improve for a period of time because of his efforts.

The lovely lands our ancestors were forced to flee were a virtual fairyland of forested hills and fertile farms, punctuated by the picture perfect Bernese architecture. The peaceful appearance of this valley near the Emme River belied the deteriorating real life situation as their children were declared to be illegitimate and their property seized by the Swiss church-state. Some were imprisoned, including, in 1659, Hans Zaugg of Signau, who was held at the Castle Tower at Trachselwald, Canton Bern. Hundreds fled their Swiss homeland with little more than their children in their arms. Persecution of the Anabaptists was not a case of Catholics versus Protestants but rather a conflict between the government supported Reformed (Protestant) church against an independent non-conformist sect.

The Anabaptists were fearful and felt their marriages and births were no business of the Swiss State and, thus there are lost generations of Zauggs. In addition, as they fled to the German Palatinate, they were denied citizenship there, and were, unbelievably, again caught up in the turmoil of religious and civil revolt culminating in the devastating Thirty Years War. Finally in 1648 and 1649, Karl Ludwig prevailed and granted the "Ministen" certain relligious concessions, certain land rights, and even sought more Swiss Brethren from Switzerland to farm the rich Bavarian soil. It appeared these people would at last be allowed to live their lives in peace and have religious freedom, but this was not to be! The Palatinate was in turmoil once again as the French determined to crush all Protestantism on both sides of the Rhine, and so, The Lutheran, and the Reformed people, as well as the Swiss Brethren became oppressed.

Many years passed and records of this era are virtually non-existent but we do know some of the Brethren were struggling amongst themselves, led by Jacob Amman and others. In 1693 this resulted in the splitting of the Brethren and the formation of the "Amish", a division which continued when they arrived in the New World.

In addition to the devastation brought to South Germany and the Zug family by the French, high taxes were being imposed on all the people. To add to their misery the winter of 1708-09 was the longest and coldest in a century. Life was difficult.

The Englishman William Penn, a Quaker, had visited the New World and was actively seeking settlers. He issued invitations through books, pamphlets, and messengers. Word spread quickly that Penn welcomed the oppressed from the Rhineland....promising a haven of political and religious freedom and economic opportunity. Oh what promise! But could you or I accept such a challenge?

To depart from the German Palatinate one was first required to pay 10% of his assets. Next one had to move family and provisions to a major river by wagon or raft, then arranage travel on the Rhine River for more than 700 miles to the North Sea, paying tariffs along the way to cross political boundaries. Then the Trans-Atlantic boat crossing must be arranged and prepaid. Crossing could take weeks or months depending on the weather. Many died at sea, others finally arrived in the New World somehow "owing" the English ship owners and were sold into servitude for two or three years to pay for passage. Legend says our immigrant Moritz Zug was such a person when he arrived in Philadelphia aboard the "Francis and Elizabeth" on September 21, 1742.

[Brøderbund WFT Vol. 12, Ed. 1, Tree #4384, Date of Import: June 8, 2004 from]

Moritz Zug was born in Germany. After his arrival in America as a single man, with his two brothers, he settled in Bern Township, where he married and reared a family of five sons and one daughter. Tradition says that he was named after Mourice Nassua, who helped the Zug family when they were imprisoned in Switzerland with other Mennonites from 1659 to 1771, because of their religious faith.

He bought a farm with a large house at Exton, PA. It was in this home that many religious assemblies have occured over the years. The house had sixteen rooms, including a library where the family Bible was kept, which had come from Germany with Moritz and his brothers. Moritz was an intelligent, kind, and amiable man, with an ambitious, but yet cautious nature. He was emphatic in his religious faith.

His grandson (or great grandson) was Samuel K. Zook, who had a law practice in New York City before the Civil War. He was an officer during the war and received wounds at the battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorville. He was elevated to
Brigadier General and Brevet Major General of U. S. Volunteers. At the battle of Gettysburg, while leading his brigade into action near the peach orchid, he was fatally wounded. A statue marks the vicinity of where he fell in action. He was
first buried in New York, but now rests in Montgomery Cemetery, Montgomery, PA.

Moritz Zug decendants are noted for their excellant character and intelligence. Shem Zook, of Mifflin County, Pa, is one of these who is noted as writer and Amish/Mennonite historian.

The following was taken from a Memo 10/22/1932 from A.E. Lacy, Detroit, Mich. based on data from Mae (Zook) Van Derem

Abraham Zook was son of Moritz Zug, first American ancester who, with his two brothers Christian (d. 1787) and Johannes (d. 1790), arrived at Philadelphia Sept 21, 1742 on the sailing vessel "Francis and Elizabeth" , from Rotterdam, Holland.
They first went to the Mennonite Colony at Germantown near Philadelphia, and shortly afterwards settled on lands alloted to them by Penn's agents near Reading, where Moritz lived and raised his family till 1770, when he boutght a large amount
of land and a great stone mansion in West Whiteland Twp, Chester Co, Pa, which is still standing on the Lincoln Highway about 25 miles west of Philadelphia, and which his still owned by direct descendants, seven generations of his family having
lived in this mansion which is over 100 feet long.

Moritz Zug and his brothers came from Darmstadt, Germany, near Heidelburg and was known to be (traditionally) the son of John Zug of Darmstadt.


Moritz married.

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