NICHOLAS [17__, Germany 1808, NJ]
m: Susannah _____ [b 17__, Netherlands living 1800, NJ].
* Arrival: No definitive record has been found which proves when and from where he arrived or how many, if any, other family or relatives accompanied him. It is probable that he had a brother George. A frequent route in the mid-18th century was from Rotterdam in the Netherlands, by way of a British immigration stop at the isle of Cowes, and on to colonial Philadelphia. There, the immigrants (if able) walked several blocks to the government offices (now part of Independence Hall complex) and took oaths of allegiance to the British Crown. All surviving oaths, including reproductions of the originals lists, were published by the Pennsylvania German Society in three volumes; and Nicholas and George are not among the recorded immigrants. That is not surprising, however, because many of the original lists were not preserved.
* The Surname. The surname Möhring is German and has its origin in an old word for "battle horse". The name has been anglicized to MEARING, MARING, MERING, and other forms; and it was written in many different ways in the various records over the past two centuries. In Colonial New Jersey, the English speaking record keepers often wrote the name as MEARING because in the 18th Century -ea- was used for a "long A" sound. "MERING", "MERRING", "MERRIN", and "MARING" became the four most widely used variations.
* Origins. The "Mering" Family (1929)states: "Information that they were originally subjects of Netherlands has been handed down in the families of Nicholas Mearing, and George Mearing, from generation to generation . . . . (page six)" Further, that preface claims that George and his brothers sought work in Germany, "George at Hanover", and his brothers along the Rhine. In light of the fact that the surname is German and George attended a German-speaking Lutheran Church (rather than Reformed as would be expected of a Netherlander), it is questionable that he was a subject of the Netherlands apart from any time he may have worked there. It would have been usual for a German to travel north down the Rhine River into the Netherlands to embark on a ship to the Colonies.
Germans who entered the Colonies by way of Philadelphia often turned north to New Jersey where they mingled with the Dutch who were migrating south along the Delaware River from New York. Naturally, the families intermarried. Nicholas's wife Susanna, for example, was born in the Netherlands. In this country, the use of the term "Dutch" to refer to Germans ("Deutsch") may have led to some confusion among later generations. During WW I, there was some anti-German sentiment which led to changing traditional names of places such as New Germantown to Oldham and German Valley to Long Valley; whether this sentiment played a part in shaping how people viewed their family history is an open question.
"The 'Mering' Family" (1929) cites two sources which describe an event of 1707 whereby German Valley was first settled by Germans on their way through New Jersey to New York. The Maring ancestors arrived much later.
Richard Holn Maring, co-author of a county history, Kaler and Maring's History of Whitley County, Indiana (Indianapolis: B F Bowen & Co, 1907) wrote that his family descended from "Nicholas Maring, who emigrated from Württemberg, Germany, about the year 1770 and settled in New Jersey." The date of arrival was certainly earlier than 1770, perhaps the 1760s. Richard H Maring's grandfather, Philip Maring [1788 1879], was one of the youngest children of Nicholas, and was still living up until the time Richard H Maring was 20 years of age and is the likely source for the statement about nationality. Therefore, the suggestion that the Marings arrived from Württemberg warrants research.
A J Baughman's Centennial Biographical History of Richland and Ashland Counties, Ohio (1901) has a biographical sketch of Jesse Maring (pp 210 213). "He was born in Blooming Grove township February 8, 1820, and is of German lineage, his paternal grandparents having been natives of the Fatherland, whence they came to the new world."
There is some question as to whether the write-up should have said "paternal great-grandparents", but the point is that the family was originally German.
The entry for Jesse Maring in the 1901 county history was possibly a source for The "Mering" Family (1929): "Peter Maring, the father of our subject, was born in New Jersey, in 1783, and spent the first twelve years under the parental roof, during which time he did not learn a word of English, as the German language was used in his home." Jesse's father Peter was the oldest son of Nicholas.
* Other Family. The family memories collected in The "Mering" Family (1929) are invaluable to the modern researcher. But not all can be verified. George is said to have had two brothers: George and Francis. Nicholas is easy to find in church, property, and tax lists, but no trace has been so far found of any Francis (Franz), said to have died in 1801, in NJ records. All the descendants of "Francis" listed in "The Mering Family" can be identified as those of Nicholas or of Wolfgang Mehring. There are records of one Peter Möhring in 1767 and 1776, but who he was has not yet been determined. It is difficult to the existence of this third brother, especially given the loss of 1790 and 1800 NJ census records and other documents; however, no known real estate, church, or tax lists confirm his existence.
* Unrelated Families. There is no evidence that the Möhrings of New Jersey were related to Wolfgang Möhring who was born in Bavaria in 1730, arrived in Philadelphia in 1754, resided a while in Berks Co, PA, and eventually moved to western Maryland; this line (and others) was fully traced by John A Mehring.
Nor is it likely that George was kin to Peter Mering who traveled in 1635 from London to Virginia.
* Marriage: Susannah's name is known only from a NJ deed of 1800 and from the death certificate of their son Leonard S Maring (1868, MA). How many times Nicholas married has not been learned.
* Occupation. There was a family tradition that Nicholas at first worked in New Jersey as an iron refiner. Perhaps so, but records show him as a farmer.
* Probate: An inventory of the possessions of "Nicholas Maring, late of the township of Newton in the County of Sussex" (New Jersey), made by Peter Bell and David Johnson, is dated 8 June 1808. The inventory is extensive. In addition to farm tools and animals, rye and flax "in the ground", and his clothing, the appraisers noted such household items as dressers, a kitchen table, a small table, a chest, 4 chairs, kettles and pots, a frying pan, 3 pails, 2 bedsteads, two feather beds, two bed boards, four sheets, five blankets, four quilts, a dozen earthen plates and other earthen ware, a pepper mill, a salt mortar, a gun, a woman's saddle, a looking glass, and yarn. The inventory, now kept at the New Jersey State Archives in the State Library building at Trenton, NJ, has no family information. James Doughty, a son in law, was named administrator. William Maring and David Johnson signed the administration bond. An account from the estate of "Nicholas Mearin" is in the surrogate's vault (6495) at Newton, Sussex Co, NJ, but it does not name the heirs. Payments were made to David Johnson (appraiser), Daniel Griggs, Isaac Bassett (crying vendor), Wm McKee, David Hunt, Henry Gale, James Mattison, Henry Taylor, Surrogate for letter of administration, David Hazen, Abm Coursen, Peter Atno, Abm Smith, David Gustin, Roger Searles, and Jacob Coursen. A balance of $324.97 was left to distribute.
* Church: The Lutheran church at New Germantown (now Oldwick), Hunterdon Co, NJ, was once the central church for several congregations. The constitution drawn up in 1767 was signed by Johann Nicolaus Mehring (as well as by Johan Peter Möhring). One affiliated congregation, about 8 miles from the central church, met at German Valley (now Long Valley), Morris Co, which is now in Washington Twp, but then was within the older and wider bounds of Roxbury Twp. Three lists of communicants have survived among the papers at Oldwick, one of them showing Nicolaus Möring, Peter Möhring, and Georg Möring and wife as communicants in 1781 at the German Valley church.
* Tax Records: Many lists of ratables (taxpayers) have been preserved for Roxbury Twp, Morris Co, between 1779 and 1822. Nicholas Mearing was taxed there from March 1779 (the oldest list) through September 1806. In 1779 and 1780 he was taxed on two acres. Afterwards he was taxed on land varying between 20 30 acres. He is not on the poll list in Morris Co, NJ, during the 1776 election which would have been limited to landowners. The June July 1784 record indicates 5 white inhabitants in his household.
* Land: On 27 August 1800, Daniel and Mary Budd of Chester, Morris Co, sold to Nicholas Mearing of Roxbury, for $200, land in Roxbury by the Musconetcong River. Immediately Nicholas sold the land to Samuel Wells for $287.50. Susannah Mearing signed as his wife. (Morris Co Deeds, D, 16 18). Whether she was his only wife is not known; her name and country of birth appear on Leonard S Maring's death certificate; her name was not handed down with tradition.
On 4 July 1801 Daniel Prudden, Junior, signed a mortgage for two tracts acquired from Nicholas Mearing of Roxbury Twp: (1) 10+acres, and (2) 30+ acres about one half mile east of the Great Musconetcong Pond, both in Roxbury Twp, Morris Co, NJ. The mortgage was satisfied in 1809 (Deeds E, 249 250). The note was itemized in the inventory of 1808.
* Children: No complete list of Nicholas Maring's children is known. The "Mering" Family (1929) gives the following list:
"there may have been others"
A revised, very tentative list of the 2nd generation is as follows:
Peter [ca 1763 1790]
John [early 1770s 1821]
Catherine [b ca 1775/76]
Elizabeth [1778 1843]
William [ca 1779 living 1850]
Margaret [1781 1841]
Jacob [1783 1865]
Phineas [1785 1857]
Philip [1788 1879]
Leonard S [1794 1868]
Donald Edward Maringfamilydog@comcast.net