Heinrich Adam Hermann

Maternal 5th Great Grandfather

As a part of the 52 Ancestors Challenge by Amy Johnson Crow, this first week of January is dedicated to writing about a first in relation to our ancestor. Heinrich Adam Hermann was the first of my Harman ancestors to immigrate from Germany.

Heinrich, known as Adam, was born around 1700 in the Southwestern part of Germany. Some texts give Baden-Wurtemberg area. He married Louisa Katrina on October 8, 1723. Living conditions did not favor the Hermanns as they belonged to a religious group that during the time period was persecuted. Louisa gave birth to their first child, Adam, in 1724 while in Germany. She was pregnant with their second child, Henry, when they made the decision to immigrate to America. Their son, Henry is believed to have been born in route on the Isle of Man off the British coast @ 1726. Their migration to Pennsylvania was accomplished in 1726-1727 where they lived and paid quick rents as a part of a larger German immigrant community around the Germantown area. Their sons, George and Daniel were born in Pennsylvania in 1727 and 1729. Many of these Germans migrated further south as a group along the Great Wagon Road. Some, such as my own ancestors, stopped along the way in what was to become the town of Strasburg in the fertile Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Others continued on and settled in Rowan, North Carolina forming  what was then called Bethabara, current day Salem, North Carolina. Part of Adam’s own extended family eventually settled in Rowan County and Adam remained in contact and visited them in North Carolina.

Adam and his family are believed to have one of the first settlements along the New River, possibly as early as 1736 when his son Mathias was born. Old records from 1745 use Adam’s home as an established landmark in reports. “… had a block house at Gunpowder Springs (now called Eggleston Springs).”  The road survey lists the crew as George Harman, Jacob Harman and 3 sons, and Valentine Harman.  This was the year that Augusta County, Virginia was formed. Their remaining children were born here: Christinia, Catherine, Philipinia, Valentine, Jacob and a daughter of unknown name. The New River settlement was a part of the frontier during this time period with families surviving on game and small farms.  While trade occurred with the Cherokee nation people, clashes with the Shawnee were not uncommon.

After 23 years of marriage, leaving their home in Germany to find a life free of religious persecution, and raising 11 children on the Virginia frontier, Adam lost his wife, Louisa in 1749.  It was this same year as the death of his wife, Louisa and son George, that the Harman farm was raided and many of his furs and stores were taken. Histories of the area lists numerous such clashes with casualties on both sides and settlers if not killed, were sometimes taken captive by the tribes.

Adam continued on in Virginia with land deeds from 1750 showing transactions on the north side of the New River near Wolf Creek and another on Tom’s creek near the Horseshoe Bottom. He qualified as Captain of Foot and served as a constable in 1752.

In 1755, when a local settlement was raided and captives taken by the Shawnee one such young woman, Mary Ingles,  managed to escape with a fellow captive from western Pennsylvania and they made their way through the wilderness. After becoming separated, it was the Harman farm that Mary stumbled onto and where she recuperated before being escorted by the Harmans back to the fort to be reunited with her remaining relatives. At Mary’s urging, Adam then went in search of the other woman captive and returned her to the fort before she made her journey back to Pennsylvania with a wagon train.

In Captain Wade’s journals of 1758, Adam had continued to serve.

Adam died in January of 1763 at age 63.  Adam is said to be one of seven brothers who migrated from Germany in the early 1700s fleeing from religious persecution. He was the first of our Harman family to leave Germany for America and he was among the first of the white settlers to make a home on the frontier lands of Virginia.


Compendium of American Genealogy, Volume V

Annals of Tazewell County Volume I

Harman Genealogy Southern Branch with Biographical Sketches

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