The genealogy of our SHULER family
has been traced back to the early 1500's, to the village of Bibern, parish of
in the canton of Bern in northern Switzerland. The name Schuler
means "scholar" in German, and interestingly, in a coat of arms registered to
a Schuler family (according to RIETSTAP: ARMORIAL GENERAL) in Europe during
medieval times, the main feature is a device which is very similar to a
Jewish Star of David. Jewish people were widely known as scholars or
"people of the book," because they were very well educated and could read
and write and recite many passages, especially of their holy books, during
the middle ages when most people were illiterate. In various times and places,
many Jews were forced to convert to Christianity to avoid being killed.
However, it is not known whether or not our Schulers in Switzerland had Jewish
origins, or whether this particular coat of arms had any connection whatsoever
with our branch of the family. There are several other coats of arms registered
to other Schuler families, (and of course most people did not have any right to
display a coat of arms at all).
The first Schuler in the record of the parish of Ferenbalm, in the
village of Bibern, Switzerland, is Hans Schuler, who was born between
1520-1530 and married in 1550 (wife's name unknown).
His son, also named Hans Schuler, was born between 1551-1553, and married
Verena Jenfer on 23 March 1572.
The children of Hans and Verena were:
Their fourth son, Bendicht Schuler, was born 23 Oct 1581 and married Elsbeth
Stuffenegger in 1607.
The children of Bendicht and Elsbeth were:
The sixth child of Bendicht and Elsbeth, Peter Schuler, was born 8 July 1621
and married Anna Bucher in 1650.
The children of Peter and Anna were:
The 3rd child of Peter and Anna, Hans Joerg Schuler, was born 22 April 1655
and married Christina Gotschmann in 1687.
The children of Hans Joerg and Christina were:
Abraham (b. 1688)
Barbara (b. 1689)
Hans Joerg (b. 1691) -- George
Hans Jakob (b. 1693) -- Jacob
Hans Heinrich (b. 1696) -- Henry
Elsbeth (b. 1701)
Abraham Schuler married Madlena Krattiger on Jan. 17, 1721 in Bibern. His
brother Hans Heinrich Schuler married Juditha Rentz "of Wileroltigen" on
Jan. 18, 1726 in the parish of Ferenbalm, village of Bibern, Switzerland;
and their first child, Hans Nicholas Schuler, was born 16 Oct 1726 in Bibern.
After 1726, the Schuler name disappears from the parish registers of Ferenbalm.
It is believed that the parents Hans Joerg and Christina Schuler had died by
this time, and the others had moved to Germany. We have been unable to trace
what became of Abraham Schuler and his two sisters, but it is known that the
other three brothers, Hans Joerg (George), Hans Jakob (Jacob), and Hans Heinrich
(Henry), lived in Germany for a while before coming to America in the 1730's.
Correspondence from the Archives of Speyer, Germany to Mrs. Beverly Shuler of
Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina stated that the correct spelling of the surname
in German was Schuler, and that the family was of Swiss origin. They had a
record that "Hans Jakob Schuler, son of Hans George Schuler, resident of
Bibern, Switzerland, married on May 10, 1718, Anna Margretha Lauer, daughter
of Mattheus Lauer from Krahenburg (Germany)." Hans Joerg Shuler (Jr.) also
married a German girl in about 1723: Catherina Anna Margaretha Hesse, who was
born about 1695 in Germany. She was known in the States as just Ann Margaret.
The Speyer Archives also sent the names of Jacob's and George's children who
were born in Germany, and their baptism dates.
In the Register Zweibrucken III No. 2025, for the year 1737, is the
following remark: "Jakob Schuler of Krahenburg (Germany) moved to Carolina
with wife and eight children." (Christening records from Germany
indicate that Jacob had nine daughters and one son, but two of these died
before the family left Germany, and three more died shortly after arriving
in America. He had only five daughters who reached adulthood).
Another entry from the Register for the year 1736 was, "Hans George
Schuler of Waldmohr (Germany) moved to America." (Christening records
from Germany indicate that George had four children: two sons and two
daughters. There may have been others who were christened elsewhere,
and more children were probably born after the family came to America,
of which we have no record). George and Jacob Schuler's younger brother,
Hans Heinrich (Henry) and his wife Juditha, had also lived in Germany and
then moved to America, although no record of their residence
in Germany has yet been found, and it is not known what year they came
We learn from THE HISTORY OF ORANGEBURG COUNTY by A.E. Salley,
that most of the Palatinate (Swiss-German) people belonged to the Reformed
(Protestant) Church, and they left Switzerland and Germany in
large numbers in the 1700's, because of war in Europe between the Catholics
and Protestants, and also the devastation of the Palatine area
(along the Rhine river of Germany), after invasion by the French and
severe weather destroyed their crops.
Some Germans had emigrated to
America in the 1600's by the persuasion of William Penn, but the mass
migration began in 1709, as thousands of the Palatine people fled down
the Rhine in small boats, made their way to Rotterdam, and from there
to England and America. Many settled in Pennsylvania, New York, and
the Carolinas. The town of New Bern in North Carolina was settled in
1710 by a group of Swiss and Germans, and was one of the first towns
in the state.
Most of the Palatines were very poor. The group that
settled in South Carolina was led by a Rev. Giessendanner, who made
several trips back and forth from Germany to South Carolina, helping
more to come to this new land of opportunity. He paid for their boat
passage, with arrangements for the loan to be repaid later.
The Schulers were farmers, and farmers were needed in this country to bring
more land under cultivation. Orangeburgh District (or County) was the
original home of the Shuler family in South Carolina.
As before mentioned, George and Jacob Schuler arrived in 1736-1737,
but the first record of their brother Henry in America was when he
bought some land in 1749, near Bowman, in Orangeburg District, South
Carolina (where some of his descendants still live today). All three
of the Schuler brothers first settled near this same area of South
Carolina, near the Four Holes Swamp, with other Swiss immigrants under
the leadership of Rev. Giessendanner. There is a town named
Shulerville, South Carolina not far away; it was named after some
branch of the family.
Henry Schuler's first son, Hans Nicholas or John Nicholas Schuler,
as mentioned above, had been born in Oct. 1726 in Switzerland, and (from
later marriage records kept by Rev. Giessendanner in Carolina) it is
known that Henry had at least four daughters born in Germany: Susan,
Ann Elizabeth, N___, and Mary Barbara Schuler. He probably had more
sons and daughters, but we do not know their names.
Since there were not very good records kept in Carolina in this
early period, we are not certain of the exact family connection between
our earliest confirmed ancestor, George Shuler (born about 1756) and the
earlier Schulers. Some family researchers have assumed that George was a
grandson of either (Hans) George or (Hans) Henry Schuler, and that the
intervening link was Phillip Jakob Shuler, who was probably born about
1733 or 1734, in Germany.
Phillip Jakob Schuler was raised in the Orangeburgh District of
South Carolina, where some Schuler families originally settled in the
New World. After he reached manhood, he moved about 60 miles northwest,
to what is now Lexington County, South Carolina. Phillip Jakob
Shuler received a land grant there on August 21, 1751. He was the first
Shuler known to have settled in this area, so was possibly the father of
the family which George Shuler was born into. George was born about 1756,
and was possibly a brother of Leonhardt (Leonard) Shuler (born about 1754).
One (or both) of them were probably the sons of Phillip Jacob Shuler, although
absolute proof has not yet been found, and the names of any other children
of Phillip Jacob are not known.
Incidentally, all of our Schulers in South Carolina
dropped the "c" from their last name shortly after coming to America, and
also changed their first names to Americanized spellings.
Some other Schulers in America, who came over later, mostly to Pennsylvania
or other northern states, kept the "c" in their name, and some
other branches of the family also spell the name "Schuller," "Schuyler,"
"Shular," or other variations. It is not known whether all of the
Schulers originally came from Switzerland, or whether some by that name
were German to begin with).