GEORGE SHULER is our earliest confirmed ancestor in America, but we know nothing of his origins and ancestry. However, we do know that the surname is of Swiss/German origin, and was originally s pelled SCHULER or SCHUELER. Some researchers have theorized that he was a descendant of the South Carolina Shuler family (see #1 below); however, recently discovered evidence seems to indicate otherwise.

The earliest records we have for George are deed records in the early 1780's in the area that became Pendleton District, western South Carolina; but we don't know whether he was born in South Carolina or migrated there from somewhere else.

It was recently discovered that George's eldest son George Shuler Jr., who was born about 1781, gave his birthplace as Maryland in the 1860 census. Some possibilities for George Shuler's origins:

  1. Three Schuler brothers from Bibern, canton Bern, Switzerland, namely Hans Jakob, Hans Joerg, and Hans Heinrich SCHULER (anglicized to Jacob, George, and Henry SHULER), emigrated with Rev. Giesendanner's group and settled in Orangeburgh District, South Carolina in the 1730's. Their descendants spread out from there and became quite numerous.
    More about Schulers in Switzerland, Germany, and early America
  2. Several Schuler families emigrated to Pennsylvania in the late 1600's and early to mid-1700's; many remained there but some of their descendants migrated elsewhere. Some of these went southward, into Maryland, the mountain valleys of Virginia, and central North Carolina (particularly the areas of Page Co, VA, Grayson/Carroll Co, VA, and Rowan/Davidson Co, NC).
  3. A few Schulers were found in Maryland records around the time of the American Revolution, including a Henry SCHULER and an Andreas SCHULER (Andrew SHULER) who fought in the "German Regiment" there. Andrew's wife was named Susanna, and two of his children, Johann Jacob and Friedrich, were christened in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Middletown, Frederick County, Maryland in 1772 and 1774. Catharina SCHULERIN (Catherine SCHULER) married Peter MULLER on 29 Nov 1775 in the same Evangelical Lutheran Church, Middletown, Frederick Co, MD, and a Georg SCHULER (probably a brother of the above Catherine and Andrew) married Maria Elisabetha NIEKOMMIN (NIEKOM) on 20 Feb 1776 in the same church. Magdalena SCHULER, daughter of Georg and Anna Maria SCHULER was christened there on 6 Sep 1778 (was she perhaps George SHULER's daughter Mary?? -- the birth year seems right, and her full name very well could have been Mary Magdalena or Magdalena Mary Shuler. The full name was not always written down, even in christening records.)

But so far nothing has been found definitely linking our George Shuler to any of these Schuler families. It has often been speculated that George was son of Phillip Jacob SHULER and a brother to Leonhardt (Leonard) SHULER of Lexington District, South Carolina, yet no proof of this has been found.

The first records found of our George SHULER in South Carolina are further inland from Lexington District, in the area which became Pendleton District, where a 1784 record shows that George SHULER was paid "for provisions and forage supplied the militia in 1781 and 1782," during the American Revolutionary War.

In 1789, George bought land in Pendleton District in the far western corner of South Carolina, which had just been taken from the Cherokee Indians. He owned land along Twelve Mile Creek in what is now Pickens County, and along a branch of the Little River in what is now Oconee County.

In the latter part of the 1790's George sold his lands in South Carolina and bought 1600 acres near the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, about forty miles north of Pendleton District. He moved his family there probably in 1801 and continued to live there the rest of his life.

George Shuler's wife was named Mary, but she is also known as Polly in some records. She was born in 1760. George and Mary were the parents of at least six children: (These names appear in George Shuler's will, written in 1803.)

  • Mary
  • George
  • Jacob
  • John
  • David
  • Emanuel

    George Shuler died probably in 1829 or 1830 when he was over 70, for his heirs sold his property in June 1830. His wife Mary lived for over twenty years afterward and was still alive at age ninety in 1850.

    Since it was recently discovered that George's son George Jr. reported on the 1860 Census that his birthplace was Maryland, it is quite possible that the Georg & Maria Schuler of Frederick County, Maryland were the same couple (George and Mary Shuler) who were living in Pendleton County, South Carolina in 1790. If George & Mary's marriage did occur in Maryland, as seems likely, then they may also be connected to some of the early Shulers in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and central North Carolina (see #2 above), or they could have been more recent immigrants.

    (Some researchers have claimed, or copied from other researchers, that the maiden name of Mary "Polly," wife of George SHULER of Pendleton Co, SC, was DICKEY.....but I haven't seen any evidence or documentation supporting this claim, nor any explanation of who came up with this name, and why. Mary was more likely of Swiss or German origins, like her husband).

    See Research Notes -- More needs to be done.

    Information Compiled
    by Karen Bray Keeley

    INTERNET Adaptation
    by Sandra Shuler Bray