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For the first two generations after arriving in America, this German family from the Palatinate region, spelled their surname “Quattelbaum” but eventually settled on a slightly different spelling as “Quattlebaum”.

The second part of the name, “baum”, means “tree” in German.  There are a couple of theories as to what “quattel” means, however.  One theory is that “quattele” may have meant “quail” and the other that perhaps quattel was a fruit of the apple or quince family.  In his family history, Quattlebaum: A Palatine Family in South Carolina, Paul Quattlebaum thought perhaps the fruit might have been more plum-like.

The quattel was thought to have been a “slow-growing tree, so slow-growing that the planter seldom lived to reap the fruit from the tree he planted.  Hence, a man was said to ‘plant his quattels’ when he did something for posterity.”

Petter Quattelbaum

It is believed that all Americans who bear the Quattlebaum surname descend from Petter Quattelbaum (notice the different spelling), who arrived at the Port of Philadelphia on October 19, 1736. Of those who arrived that day from the Palatinate, Petter Quattelbaum was the second name on the list of those who not only swore an oath of allegiance to their new country, but also renounced citizenship of their former homeland.

Petter’s wife, Anna Barbara, three daughters (Gertraud, Maria Catherina and Anna Barbara), possibly son Mathias and his mother Maria made the journey with him. A pattern had developed as families from the Palatinate region began to immigrate to America, where they settled in New York, Pennsylvania or the Carolinas. Later generations migrated southward from Pennsylvania just before the Revolutionary War to Virginia and North or South Carolina. From the Carolinas those same people groups would venture farther out into new frontiers, first Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, and then on to places like Texas and Arkansas or the far west.

In 1739 Petter’s name appeared on a petition for a road in Berks County and in 1742 his son Johannes was born in Williams Township (now Lehigh County). At some point, however, Petter and his family returned to Philadelphia, Paul Quattlebaum surmising that many Palatines were skilled artisans and that perhaps an urban vs. a frontier environment was more profitable for him and his family.

About ten years after the family’s arrival in America, Petter’s daughters began to marry, but before daughter Anna Barbara was married in 1749, Petter died on January 14, 1748. His death record was the second one to be entered into the Record Book of the First Reformed Church of Philadelphia. At the time of his death, he left behind Anna Barbara his wife and nine children. One month following his death the youngest child, two-year old Johanna, also died.

According to Paul Quattlebaum, her record of death was the last of that family’s to appear in Pennsylvania as the family headed south to Virginia. By the time of the Revolutionary War three of his sons, Mathias, Johannes and Peter, were living in what was called the Dutch Fork part of South Carolina, an area populated with German-Swiss families.

Johannes Quattelbaum

Johannes settled in an area south of where Mathias and Peter had remained. His first son, John, was born on December 1, 1774. In March of 1778 the South Carolina General Assembly adopted a new constitution and Johannes’ name appeared on the jury list for Saxe Gotha, the township where he lived in the Orangeburg District.

At that point in time, however, there had been little or no fighting in that part of the state. As the war escalated, it became clear that soldiers were needed to defend their way of life and Johannes joined the fight, serving under Brigadier General Francis Marion, a.k.a. the “Swamp Fox”. Another soldier he served with, Thomas Burkett, would later become son John’s father-in-law when he married Meta Burkett.

Following the war, Johannes purchased land and was part of a Dutch settlement on Sleepy Creek and Little Stevens Creek. After his first wife died, he remarried at some point and perhaps had two more boys and two girls. While it is unclear exactly when he died, he deeded land to his son George on February 16, 1813. Since his name didn’t appear on the 1820 census, Johannes Quattelbaum died sometime between 1813 and 1820.

The next three generations following Johannes Quattelbaum – that of his son John, grandson Paul and great grandson Theodore Adolphus – were highlighted with distinguished military service. I’ll write more on the lives of these three men and their military service, spanning from the War of 1812 through the Civil War, in Monday’s Military History article.

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