This week’s writing prompt word is help. I decided to write the story of how Chief Tuccamirgan of the Delaware Tribe helped and befriended my ancestor Johann Philip Kaes (John Philip Case).
First a little biographical information about him:
Johann Philip Kaes was born about 1679 in Anhausen, Neuwied, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany, the son of Hans Henrich Kaes and Anna Veronica ____. He is found near Rückeroth at Anhausen in church records. Anhausen is 5 miles northeast of Neuwied.
He married first to Anna Elizabetha Jung, daughter of Frantz Henrich Jung and Veronika Remer, on 29 November 1703 in Anhausen, Germany. His first wife Anna Elizabetha Jung died 21 September 1721 in Anhausen, Germany, and Johann Philip Kaes immigrated to America. He was naturalized in New Jersey on 8 July 1730. He married second to Rachel Houser/Hauser in Hunterdon County, New Jersey.
He and his first wife Anna Elizabetha Jung are my direct ancestors.
The site of the Case-Dvoor farmstead lies near the eastern end of a 5,000-acre tract that stretches along the northern edge of the Amwell Valley. Pennsylvania founder William Penn owned the land, and when he died in 1718, his three sons inherited it. Those sons — John, Thomas and Richard — subdivided the property, selling a 374-acre portion straddling Tuccaminjah Creek (later Mine Brook) to German immigrant Johan Philip Kaes (later Anglicized to Case) in March of 1738.
Johan Philip established his pioneer farmstead beside the Walnut Brook, which flows through property. After Johan’s passing, the property was split between heirs and some of it was sold. In 1798, Johan’s son Philip built the stone farmhouse that still stands today. Throughout the years the property has passed through a number of hands and has seen various uses including copper mining, a tannery, a dairy barn, and a stock farm. The Dvoor family, Latvian immigrants, were the last to own it before the Land Trust and sought to preserve it as a surviving example of the Flemington area’s agricultural heritage.
Today the site hosts a popular farmers market and winter market, featuring local fruits, vegetables, grass-fed meats, cheese, bread, wine, honey, live plants, alpaca woolens, and a variety of organic produce. Visitors can enjoy various trails through the property that connect to nearby nature preserves.
A rather peculiar story handed down in the Case family evokes the frontier conditions current throughout much of Hunterdon County well into the 18th century. One of Johan Philip’s sons used to talk about his mother getting lost in the woods. She went to hunt her cow and wandered around for several hours and finally saw a column of smoke curling above the tops of the trees. Going in that direction she came to a house, and, after knocking at the door, discovered it to be her own dwelling. . . The wolves would often howl around the Case house, and one of these animals came on the doorstep and attacked the dog, when Mrs. Case drove him off with a stick.
Johan Philip Case replaced his pioneer dwelling with a substantial stone house cemented with mud that stood on the east side of the creek (the land currently owned by St. Magdalen de Pazzi Roman Catholic Church). When Hugh Capner tore the house down around the 1850s, he found the walls solid and strong.
Philip Case (Johan Philip’s son) acquired the property on the west side of the creek encompassing the present farmstead, which had been sold out of the family some years earlier. He lived and farmed here throughout his life.
The land on the east side of the creek, including Johan Philip’s stone house, was sold to John Capner, whose family had recently emigrated from England. We know much about the Case family thanks to the Capners, who corresponded regularly with the relatives and arrived in America with a trunk full of letters from them. These letters now belong to the Hunterdon County Historical Society.”
A Delaware Indian Chief named Tuccamirgan lived nearby, and John Philip and the Indian became very close friends. John Philip would not have survived on his settlement without the help of Tuccamirgan. The Indian assisted John Philip with the building of his cabin and provided protection from the hostile nearby natives. They protected the Cases from the dangers of the wilderness and showed them how to live off the land.
As time went on, the Delaware Chief and Case’s bond became stronger. The Cases had many young children, and the Delaware Chief and his wife, having none of their own, would frequently “borrow” some of the Case children. They would bring the children back to their wigwam up the creek, taking good care of them and spending the whole day together. They would then return the Case children to their father at the end of the day.
It is also believed that Chief Tuccamirgan carved a crib out of a tree and gifted it to John Phillip Case to use for one of his babies. The Chief and his wife found great joy in the Case children, and they gladly spent their days babysitting and becoming second parents to the Case children.
The friendship Tuccamirgan and Case shared was an unbreakable bond. The Chief referred to John as his “blue brother,” and together they would smoke “the pipe of peace” over the course of their friendship. The ancient pipe bowl that accompanied Tuccamirgan’s pipe, an artifact which was already hundreds of years old at the time, was gifted to John as a sign of their friendship. It was passed down in the Case family until it was donated to the Hunterdon County Historical Society in 1925.
As he was nearing his death, Chief Tuccamirgan requested that he be buried near his good friend so Case buried him on his land. This became the first grave in what was afterward known as the Case burial ground. The burial was attended with great ceremony (there was a wild dance about his grave, which was kept up all through the night). The grave was dug very deep, and the Chief was placed in a sitting position facing the East. His war and hunting implements were buried with him. Six years later John Philip Case joined his Indian friend in the little cemetery. The hallowed ground is less than a hundred feet wide. It is located in Flemington’s residential area on Bonnell Street surrounded by houses on all sides. In 1925 the Flemington Historical League restored the cemetery. The lot was regraded and re-seeded; stones were reset. A protective stone wall was erected at the front of the property and a monument to the Indian Chief who had befriended the first settler John Philip Case was raised. Seven hundred citizens attended the dedication of a marble obelisk in memory of Chief Tuccamirgan. On one face is written ‘In Memory of the Delaware Indian Chief Tuccamirgan 1750′; and on the other, “Erected by the Citizens of Flemington As a Tribute to this Friend of the White Man’.”
To learn more about Johann Philip Kase (later known as John Philip Case), his roots in Germany, his children and descendants, and their life in America, please visit my blog post about him here: My Ancestor Johann Philip Kaes (John Philip Case) of Anhausen, Germany, and New Jersey, and his Interesting Relationship with Chief Tuccamirgan of the Delaware Tribe.
- The Case Family: Pioneer Settlers of Flemington (1) – Hunterdon Land Trust
- Johann Phillip Kaes (wikitree.com)
- Chief Tuccamirgan: a legacy of friendship – The Delphi (dvrhs.org)
- Tuccamirgan’s Pipe Rediscovered in HCHS Archives (hunterdonhistory.org)
- CASE-DVOOR FARMSTEAD at journeythroughjersey.com.
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