Biographical Essay: The Autobiography Of Pennsylvania Dutch

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As I was growing up I was always told that my nationality was Pennsylvania Dutch. This paper contains the story of my heritage as told to me by my father and his siblings and through documents obtained from Ancestry.com. My parents, Robert Meredith Zuch and Barbara Ann Wurster, were married in Philadelphia, PA in 1959 at the First Primitive Methodist Church on 26th and Lehigh Ave., the church that was started by my great grandfather, the Reverend S.T. Nicholls. My ancestors immigrated to the United States from England and Germany. Much of my family history blends in with the information that was learned in class.
The immigrant on my father’s paternal side was his great grandfather Samuel William Zuch who was born in 1828 in Bavaria, Germany
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Annie and George had ten children, one of whom died in infancy. My relatives do not remember much about George Zuch who died in 1932 before the birth of my father and Aunt Norma. Annie died in 1946 and my aunts describe her as always wearing a long skirt buttoned up to her neck, buttoned up shoes and her hair in a tight bun. Aunt Lois described her as funny whereas Aunt Norma said she was nasty and very prejudiced, using racial slurs (N. Pejack, personal communication, February 6, 2017). My grandfather, John Elvin Zuch was born on January 18, 1898 and was the fifth child of George and Annie. My Uncle Jack remembers his uncles as having pretty good jobs: owner of a cigar store, construction, milkman, traveling salesman, and “Uncle Paul was well off in California” (J. E. Zuch, Jr., personal communication, February 8, 2017). Paul was born in 1900 well after the gold rush, so I am not sure what his actual occupation was. My dad’s father was baptized in the Zion Lutheran Church and he served three years in the U. S. Army during World War I as a saddler, caring for the horses, harnesses and equipment. He attended Milton University in Baltimore, Maryland and was ordained into the ministry as a Primitive Methodist pastor. John Elvin Zuch married my …show more content…
served in the United States Navy on a submarine chaser during World War II, as did my mom’s father, my father’s cousin, Berton Nicholls who served in the United States Army and was killed in action on D-Day in Normandy, and my father who served in the United States Navy during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1961.
There were many boys named Samuel in the Nicholls’ family in England and one family named three sons Samuel after each one died. My cousin Todd named his son Sam and there is at least one other Samuel Nicholls. My uncle Jack was named after his father, John Elvin Zuch, and his son and grandson are also named John Elvin Zuch; the nickname “ Zuchie” is popular in the family. My dad’s parents are buried in Mount Peace Cemetery on Lehigh Avenue and there are many of the older Zuch’s buried in Marietta Cemetery according to Aunt Lois (L. West, personal communication, February 12, 2017).
The immigration of Protestants from Germany and England, the lifestyle of the evangelical Christians, the large family size with births assisted by friends as well as military service, the woman’s role in the family and the racial tension in Philadelphia during the 1950’ s are all consistent with the history of the Zuch

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