Klaus Borntraeger
Martin Borntraeger
Andrew Borntrager
Andrew Burntrager
Bontrager Gallery
John Kempf
Jacob Hochstetler
Jacob Eash


Martin Bornträger

 The Immigrant of 1767

A Walk on the wild side


Martin was born in Treysa, Province of Hesse and baptized in the Lutheran church on September 12, 1723.  He wanted to marry Anna Elizabeth Hanauer from the neighboring town of Bischeisen.  She wanted to be an Anabaptist and the Lutheran Minister would not oblige.  They eloped to the Duchy of Zweibrucken in the Palatinate where the rules were a little different.

The Palatinate was known as the "bread-basket of Europe" because of the rich farm land.  Because of this it was the object of constant attack from all sides.  It  had been literally torched by the King of France destroying the houses, barns and crops.  Needing farm workers, the Count Palatines merely tolerated the Anabaptists because of their expertise in farming, but severely restricted their ownership of land.  In 1751 Martin was a laborer at Kirschbacherhof, a farm community 3 miles southeast of Zweibrucken.  It was leased by the Amish Andreas Leyenberger.  They traveled five miles southwest to Hornbach, another suburb of Zweibrucken, where the Lutheran pastor, after checking with his superior in Zweibrucken, legalized their marriage.  Their four children were born and raised on the farm.

In 1767 Martin, with his wife and four children emigrated to Philadelphia on the sail ship "Sally".  His wife is said to have died on the journey and subsequent events seem to indicate that Martin died very soon after their arrival although he did sign (x) his Oath of Allegiance.  It appears that Martin was unable to pay for their passage and that the children became "redemptioners".


Our Bornträger ancestors were first identified in Witzenhausen, Province of Hesse.  Third generation Kaspar graduated from the University of Marburg.  Fifth generation Johann Casper moved to Treysa where Johann Martin was born. Seventh generation Johann Martin moved to the Duchy of Zweibrücken.  He was a farmhand at Kirschbacherhof until 1767 when the family went to Rotterdam and emigrated to America.













  • Descendants and Ancestors of Johann Martin Borntraeger, Marion Bontrager, Hesston, KS, 1979.  A reprint of the original genealogy with an introduction based on the research of Martin Schlabach in Europe