Johannes Mayer (c.1699-1766) was born abroad, and died in
Tulpenhochen Twp., Berks Co., Pennsylvania. The name of his first
wife is not known; she died before January 8, 1746, when he
married Anna Maria Essel, at Tulpehochen.
Johannes Arrived at Philadelphia September 3, 1739, in the ship "Friendship," at the age of 40; his son Dgido was 16. No other Mayers were in the passenger list; women and younger children were not named. They settled in Tulpehochen Township of Berks, and became members of Host Reformed Church. John was a miller. His name appears in the tax llists, as of Tulpenhocken, of 1752, 1756, 1758, 1760.
His will was dated December 28, 1765, and probated August 12, 1766. It was written in German, and filed with a translation. Perhaps because of its length and interest it has been repeatedly quoated in Berks County histories--but attributed to another John Mayer who came over from Livingston Manor in 1723, and who lived in Heidelberg Township. The fact that the writer of the will had an oldest son Egidius, or Gideon, establishes his identity. He was of a philosophic and accurate mind, as indicated by the will, whic begins: "In the name of the Holy and High Trinity I Johannes Mayer of Tulpenhoccon Township in Berks County in my advanced Age in mature and Christian like Consideration of Death, indeed known to all Men but the Time uncertain have set my Thoughts thereon in all good Order to appoint how it shall be held after my Death, which probably is not far distant. God grant it may be happy, as well with my Corps as with my estate which I leave behind me." He chose his sons George Mayer and Henry Mayer executors, George to have "the place, to wit, 120 acres with the Dwelling House Barn Stabling Still house," for which he was to give 200 pounds to his five brothers and sisters on their heirs, twenty pounds each year. Henry Mayer was to have the Mill and House and 28 acres of land, for whic he was to pay his brothers and sisters 100 poounds. Each brother was to pay one tenth of his obligation each yeare, to the heirs in the order of their age, --George "to give out twenty pound to Gideon mayer, the following year thereof twenty pount to Anna Barbara Wolff, and the third year 20 pount to Eva Catharine Stettler, and the forth year to the Children of Catharina Deissinger and I have chosen George Wolff gardian for these Children." The guardian is to "put the same out for the profit of the Children," and the children to receive the money when they marry. The children of Valentine Mayer are to inherit under the same arrangement, with Frederick Wolff their guardian. Thus each of the 5 heirs would receive twice, in the ten-year period, 20 pounds from George and 10 pounds from Henry.
After settling the inheritance and obligations of George and Henry Mayer, Johannes enters: "3rdly I will to my son Gideon Mayer 15 pound for his Birth Right which shall be deducted from what he is indebted."
The main paragraph of the will, and the one most quoted, is: "4thly I bequeath to my wife Anna Maria Mayer of the Personal Estate 10 pounds Money in Hand and the Interest of twenty pound Yearly during her Life and twenty Bushels of Grain Yearly, to wit, 16 Bushels of Wheat and four Bushels of Rye ofwhich George Mayer must give yearly 8 Bushels of Wheat and 2 bushels of Rye and Henry also as much so ling as she lives--Then George and Henry Mayer must give her together Yearly 50 pound of Beef and 80 Pound, and 50 pounds of Pork if she raises no hog but if she herself shall Yearly raise a Hog they are to give her no pork. When the Apples get so that one may make Cyder George Mayer must give her two Barrels of Cyder Yearly. George must permit her Yearly in the Spring to chuse one Cow in the Stable for her own Use so long as she lives, but the calf t belong to George. After her death the cow to revert to George Mayer,--the bed and the Chest and Linnen therein she shall keep. George Mayer must give her yearly 15 pound hatchel'd Hemp as long as she lives. George shall have the brown pacing mare per advance for which if the Mother inclines to ride any where he must give her the Same Mare to ride. All this she shall have so long as she lives, but what shall remain after her Death shall again revert to my Heirs--she shall also have an Iron pot, a pewter Soup Bason as also one Dish, an half Dozen pewter plates, as also an half Dozen pewter Spoons, and also have a Pan and an Iron kittle so long as she lives."
In "5thly," Johannes orders the moveable goods sold at vendue, adding that, "the Town Wagon is to George Mayer."
Under "6thly," Catharina Dessinger shall have nothing of the Personal Estate; But her children or the Guardian shall receive it for the Children, as the other, and lay it out to their profit.
"Also George Mayer shall provide firewood for my Wife as long as she lives, and the Seat in the House as long as she lives."
He signed the will, "Johannes Meyer," and it was witnessed by Valentin Unruh and Hohann Christ Seiler.
Birth dates of his children are unknown, nor is it assured that George and Henry may or may not have been children of Anna Maria, nor is it known when she died. Children: Egidius, familiarly called Gideon--even Giddy, born aabout 1723; Valentine Mayer, died by December 28, 1765; Anna Barbara Mayer, at atolhoe, married July 21, 1751, Frederick Wolf; Eva Catharine Mayer married probably George Stetler; Catharine Mayer married Henrich Deissinger; George Mayer married Elizabetha Maria____; Henry Mayer married Anna Margaretha; Maria Eva.