Our Whiteleather (Weissleder) Story

Notes take from Martha Monette's book (1966)

Andrew Whiteleather, the father of us all in this country, arrived on these shores as Andreas Weissleder in the service of His Britannic Majesty during the American Revolution. He was of one the mercenaries history knows as the Hessians, although not all of them were actually from Hesse. Andreas was a Braunschweiger.

Eventually the name Weissleder became Whiteleather, a simple translation of the German to the English.

The Duchy of Braunschweig supported Frederick the Great of Prussia in the Seven Years' War (1756-1763 as the result of which, the British Empire became a reality), supplying around 12,000 men. The Duchy was still exhausted from this, and a sizable debt was keeping Duke Karl 1 awake nights, when the British Colonel Fawcett arrived with gold to buy troops for a campaign against the revolting American colonies in 1776. The Duke thus was an easy man for Fawcett to deal with; he saw a chance to liquidate his debts by hiring out fit subjects. He got between 4-6,000 men.

Andreas was one of them. And we know that he helped Duke Karl's sleep problem by deserting the British, thus obliging them to pay the Duke two hundred pounds. That was the sum the British had agreed to pay for all mercenaries not returned to their homes.

General George Washington is credited with being the originator of psychological warfare. By ingenious ways, such as having leaflets baked in the bread sold to the Hessians, he got his message across to the mercenaries.

The message was that rich land abounded in the colonies that could be had for the clearing, and buxom Pennsylvania Dutch lasses were waiting for a man. Why fight for the British when you could settle down to a life rich beyond anything possible back home?

Washington hooked Andreas with that bait and that's why we are all here. (He also hooked some 5,000 others).

In Andreas, (according to a contemporary account in the possession of Ohio Supreme Court Judge Charles B. Zimmerman of Springfield, OH) the General got more than he was angling for; he got another badly-needed soldier, for Andreas threw his heart and muscle into the cause of independence, joined the colonial army and fought till the end of the war.

As far as is known, the Weissleders originated in the Harz Mountains (Germany) an area of mining, forests, farms and small vacation spas located in the center of a triangle formed by Kassell and Halle at the base and Braunschweig at the top. There lives the largest cluster of them anywhere in the world, in and around the dorf of Stiege.

Andrew married Anna Maria (or Mary) Zentz/Zentzin on April 9, 1784 in Manchester, Carroll Co., MD.  Notes say that was Old Baltimore.  They had ten children.  Click here to see their Family Group Record. They moved to Columbiana County, OH where Anna Maria died sometime before 1817.  We do not know where she was buried.  Andrew married Maria Magdelena Moyer in Columbiana County, OH on May 1, 1817.

Our line is through Andrew and Anna Maria's eighth child, Catharina.  She married George William DeHoff in Columbiana Co., OH on September 26, 1813. Click here to see the Family Group Record for Catharina and George William DeHoff.

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