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Some Paternal Ancestors of Edwin Brown (“Big Doc”) KUGLER Sr

The Umbstatt Bible

Hans Peter and Barbara Umbstatt brought with them to America an old German Bible published at Heidelberg in 1568. An inscription in the Bible by Nicholas Umbstatt says the book was given to him in 1652 by his brother-in-law Matias Wasselet. It contains various family records and other observations. The Bible was inherited by Pennypacker descendants. Judge (later Governor of Pennsylvania) Samuel Pennypacker had it rebound about 1877. It is currently housed at Pennypacker Mills, Pennypacker’s former home, now a historical site at Schwenksville, PA, operated by the Montgomery Co Department of History and Cultural Arts.1 Because of its fragile condition the Bible is not available for public inspection.

Page from Hans Peter Umbstatt's Bible
Death records of his daughter and wife in Hans Peter Umbstatt's Bible Note about a comet and death record of his father in Hans Peter Umbstatt's Bible

1696 den 10 Februarie ist mein tochter Anna Margreta gestorben
“1696 the 10th of February my daughter Anna Margreta died”

1702 den 12 Augustus ist mein weib Barbara gestorben
“1702 the 12th of August my wife Barbara died”

1680 16 Dezember is der Comet stern mit den langen strahl gesehen worden das erst mal
“1680 the 16th of December the comet star with the long tail was seen the first time”

1682 den 4ten Oktober Morgens umb 4 uhr ist unser Vater Nicholas Umstat gestorben
“1682 the 4th of October about 4 o’clock in the morning, our father Nicholas Umstat died”

It is not known whether there is any significance to the fact that these inscriptions were written at the beginning of the Book of Judith, the first book of the Apocrypha (“hidden books”), a section no longer customarily included in Protestant Bibles. Perhaps merely because there was some blank space here, but there is unused blank space at the beginning of other books of this Bible. These illustrations are from photos made by Judge Samuel W Pennypacker before he had the Bible rebound in 1877; the photos were published in his 1899 The Settlement of Germantown.2 During the well over a century since they were made, the original writing in the Bible has continued to fade and is even less legible than this, the best copy extant.

“The comet which so impressed him is the one that appeared in the time of Caesar, and with a period of about five hundred years, is the most imposing of those known to astronomers.”3


1 Pennypacker Mills (ws).

2 I found them in “1685 Hans Peter Umstat” > “Hans Peter’s Bible” at the Umstead website; See also “Hans Peter UMSTADT” at Rochelle (RW db).

3 Pennypacker (1899), p 128.


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