Etymology of the Whetstone Name

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The original spelling of the Whetstone family surname is "Wetzstein," from family records from the early life of the Wetzstein family in Germany. The word "stein," originally meant a rock or stone." Wetz was a German village, and the rock or stone was perhaps a marker. In time, "stein" came to speak of a cup, as stoneware was made into eating and drinking vessels.

My father Galen Hunt, stated in a family history he authored, that the ancestors fled both up as well as down the Rhine. Depending upon the specific location of regional villages, as well as the closest neighboring country willing to provide safe assylum from the menacing threat of war, family members made their way into Holland, Switzerland, and elsewhere. Those family members immigrating to Switzerland were recorded in Swiss documents under the name "Wettstein." Those emigrating to Holland may locate their records under the surname "Van der Woestyne."

Wetzstein ancestors came to America, with many arriving in Pennsylvania. By 1727, there were 10,00-15,000 German immigrants in PA, and 70,000-80,000 by 1750. Germans were the first settlers in western Pennsylvania, arriving as early as 1708.

Peter Wetzstein, age 26 years, and his wife Anna Elizabeth Kurtz, age 23, and their daughter Magratha age 6, emigrated to Philadelphia aboard the ship Samuel of London-Captain: Hugh Percy. From: Rotterdam By Way of: Cowes. Arrival: Philadelphia, 11 Aug 1732, with passengers numbering 106 men, 89 women, 84 children; altogether about 279 persons.

Notes on ships register state the following next to this families names. Wettstein; Grenadier in the Baden-Durlach Circle Infantry; Brick factory.

Wetzstein family members fled their war ravaged homeland, emigrating to neighboring countries where they remained or boarded ships for a new life in colonial America. Ships passed through England, which provided a stopping off place them to take on supplies such as food and fresh water for crew members and passengers.

The English spelling of the family name of Wetzstein is Whetstone, and there's an English village by this name. Three thousand Palatines were sent to Ireland, and the trip from England to Ireland took just 24 hours.

The German Palatinates

Early historical records of the German Palatinates tell us that Germanic tribes settled on either side of the lower Rhine and Celts settled its upper sides. Julius Caesar bridged and crossed the Rhine in 53 and 55 BC. The Germanias were formed on the north and the Roman empire to the south and east. In approximately 400 AD, the Western Roman Empire crumbled, and the Rhine was traversed by Germanic tribes, forming the spine the Frankish kingdom, and then of the Carolingian empire.

By 870 the Rhine was again the axis of power, as part of the Holy Roman Empire. Eventually war and political events caused a disintegration of this empire along the Rhine River. The goal had been to connect the North Sea to the Black Sea. It was first Charlemagne attempted this in 793 but without success.

The Thirty Years War

The 30 Years War of 1618-1648 ended with the final separation of the Rhine headwaters and delta area from the German state. This region later became Holland. Louis XIV acquired Alsace for France along the eastern border and in 1660, the European continent experienced temporary peace. At this time, the borders of countries along the Rhine River, were established pretty much as they are today.

In the northern and western parts of the Palatinate, or PFALZ, the terrain is mostly gently rolling hills, and it is valuable farming land. To the east there is the Rhine valley (very fertile land), and to the south you have the large Palatine Forest, with only small agricultural spots around the villages. The Palatinate is now called Pfalz. The present state of Rheinland-Pfalz consists of the Palatinate, parts of the former Prussian Rhine province (Rhineland), plus some smaller territories including Hohenzollern. America provided a refuge for those fleeing the Palatinates into nearby countries. The following data, shows immigration to Russia, following the invitation of Catherine the Great, as well. Catherine the Great was born on April 29, 1729, in Stettin, a city in what is now Poland, into the family of Prince Christian August of Anhalt-Zerbst, and christened Sophia Augusta Frederica. When she was 15, she was invited by Empress Elizabeth to come to Russia and be the bride of the heir to the throne, Peter. On July 22, 1763, Catherine the Great of Russia published a manifesto inviting stressed, war-weary families from western Europe and the area that is now Germany to come to Russia. Catherine II, a princess from the German province of Anhalt-Zerbst, had become Russian through her marriage to Czar Peter. After Peter's decease, she was faced with the problem of feeding Russia's cities.

Russia's steppes, similar to the prairies of North America, would provide the farmland, but she needed farmers to settle here. Catherine recalled the excellent farmers, in her home of Germany, and she felt they could improve both the farming practices as well as the culture of the Russian peasantry. The first German colonists lived along the Volga River and became known as Volga Germans.

1763-68-Hesse, Rhineland, the Palatinate, Saxony, Wurttemburg, Switzerland to the Volga region. (Both evangelicals and Catholics)
1765 bSulzfeld, Wurttemburg to the settlement in Riebensdorf (evangelical) 1766cPrussia,Wurttemburg, Brandenburg to a settlement outside Petersburg. 1780dPrussia, Wurttemburg, Bavaria to Josephstal, Fischendorf, Jamsburg near Dnieper.


1804-1806 aAlsace, the Palatinate, Baden Tranzfeld, Mariental, Josefstal by Odessa
b1804-1806 Wurttemberg, Alsace, the Palatinate, Baden, Hungary to the Russian areas of Grosliebenthal, Alexanderhilf, Neuberg, Peterstal by Odessa (Evangelical)
cDanzig, West Prussia Halbstadt, Molotschna (Mennonites) d Wurttemberg, Baden, Hesse Prischib, Molotschna (Evangelical & Catholic) e Wurttemberg, Switzerland Crimea: Neusatz, Zurichtal (Evangelical & Catholic)
1808-10 a Wurttemberg, Alsace, the Palatin- ate, Baden, Hungary Bergdorf, Gluckstal, Kassel, Neudorf, Area of Odessa (Evangelical) b Alsace, Baden, Poland Baden, Elsass, Kandel, Selz, Mannheim, Strassburg (Catholic) c Alsace, Baden, the Palatinate, Wurttemberg Beresan and Odessa areas (Evangelical & Catholic

The Whetstone/Wetzstein family fled the German Palatinates, due to severe religious persecution. JORG WETZSTEIN was born in 1674, in Sigmaringen, Wurttemburg, Germany, the son of Heinrich Wetzstein, born: 1650 in Germany and Barbara Shaver, born: 1655 in Germany. He died in Funkstown, Maryland. Jorg WETZSTEIN married Anna Catharine DILLES on 5 Oct. 1692, in Mosbach, Baden, Germany. Anna Catharina was the daughter of Stephen Dilli born in 1588 in Evangelisch Huffenhardt, Mosbach, Baden, Germany and Christine Rapp, born in 1592 in Evangelisch Huffenhardt, Mosbach, Baden, Germany. (Christina Rapp Dilli died in 1632 in Kehl, Offenburg, Baden, Germany.) The couple had 3 children:

*Note: Family history regarding Heinrich Wetzstein, records state "Cantor." Palatinate-Mosbach was a state of the Holy Roman Empire based around Mosbach and Eberbach in the north of modern Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

*Note: The settlement of Mosbach developed around the Benedictine monastery of Mosbach Abbey ("Monasterium Mosabach"), the first written record of which dates from the 9th century. In 1241 rights and privileges had been granted to Mosbach as an Imperial free city. These rights were lost in 1362 when Mosbach became part of the Electoral Palatinate. In the 15th century Mosbach became the residence of the Electors Palatine Otto I and Otto II. After the end of the Mosbach principality in 1499 the town became the capital of the administrative district of "Oberamt Mosbach" in the Electoral Palatinate.

Palatinate-Mosbach was created in 1410 out of the partition of the Palatinate after the death of King Rupert III for his son Otto. In 1448 Otto inherited half of Palatinate-Neumarkt and purchased the other half, and renamed his state Palatinate-Mosbach-Neumarkt.

Anna Catharina was the daughter of Stephen DILLES/DILLUS and Christina RAPP, daughter of Hans RAPP. The Rapps were related to the reformer JOHANNES RAPP.

Stephan Dilles father was Jorg DILLES, born: Abt 1552 Married: Eva BORK, daughter of Hans Bork, in 1577 in Kehl, Baden, Germany. Jorg DILLES father was Jacob DILLES, born abt. 1526, Kehl, Baden, Germany, died: 12 Apr. 1625 in Kehl, Offenburg, Baden, Germany.

The Dilles in America were sometimes associated with the Quakers who immigrated to Virginia, and their descendants lived throughout Virginia, (or later West Virginia) in the early 1600's-1800's. They also lived in Maryland.

Joerg and Anna Catharina WETZSTEIN'S son, Peter WHETSTONE arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, aboard the ship "The Samuel," in August 1732, accompanied by his wife Elizabeth KURTZ, whom he married in 1723, in the Black Forest village of Grotzingen, near Heidelberg, Germany; and 6 year old daughter Maria Margaretha who is called Magratha, on the ships manifest. The child was born in 1724. Peter WETZSTEIN/WETTSTEIN'S wife Elizabeth died within a short time after the arrival in the American colonies. Time passed and Peter married Anna Ursula HEILIG in 1735 at Red Hill, Upper Hanover Twsp, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Anna Ursula was the daughter of George and Margaretha Heilig. There were 5 children born to Peter and Anna Ursula, prior to their moving to Frederick Co. Maryland, in 1746.

Peter Whetstone's children are:

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