Fritz Ebgert of Dauffenbach married Anna Juliana Haag at Puderbach on June 8, 1731. Juliana was the daughter of the late Berhard Haag, who had been buried at Puderbach, at the age of 54 years, on May 6, 1728, and his widow Anna Elisabetha. Only about 3 months after the wedding, on September 14, 1731, Johannes Herbertus was born. Anna Juliana did not appear at the baptism a week later. The sponsors included Herbert Bickel of Niederdreis and Johan Conrad Hoffman of Dauffenbach. Three years previously, Herbert Dickel had named his son Johannes Fredericus, with Fritz Ebgert the principal sponsor. It appears that Fritz returned the favor by naming his son after Herbert Bickel/Dickel (which may have later became Pickel in America).
Burgert & Jones (1989) report that a second Johannes Herbertus was born to Fritz and Juliana on December 28, 1732 and baptized at Puderbach on January 4, 1733. However, the LDS’ microfilm record of the Puderbach church books contain no record of this event. For this to happen, it would be likely that the eldest son had died, but there is no recorded documentation of this either. Perhaps the later date was an attempt to doctor the records, providing a decent interval between the marriage and the birth of their first child.
Anna Juliana and Fritz Epgert of Niederdreis had a second (or at least differently named) son, Johannes Petrus, on March 13, 1735. He was baptized at Puderbach a week later. Sponsors included Joh. Peter Caspar of Niederdreis, Johan Wilhelm Klein of Dauffenbach, and Fritz’s Anna Margaretha Ebgartin. Again, it appears that Fritz named a child after a favored friend and neighbor.
On July 18, 1737, a daughter, Eva Elisabetha, was born to Anna Juliana & Fritz Ebgert of Niederdreis. She was baptized at Puderbach ten days later, apparently named after Anna Juliana’s widowed mother, Anna Elisabetha. Unfortunately the infant girl died on November 1, 1737. Her grandmother, Anna Elisabetha, widow of Bernhard Haag, died only a week and a half later.
On January 18, 1739, Anna Veronica, widow of Johan Adam Ebgert of Dauffenbach (and stepmother of Fritz from early childhood), was buried at Puderbach. Fritz’s wife, Anna Juliana Haag, was buried in Puderbach on March 8, 1739.
To make this tough time even worse, for a widower with two young sons, the climate turned unusually bad. Some of the earliest reliable temperature records indicate that a year of usually cold weather set in by August 1739 and continued virtually unabated for more than a year.
Fritz re-married that fall, making Anna Eva Schaefer of Hanroth his bride on November 19, 1739. Anna may have been a younger sister (or even the daughter) of Antonius Schiff and Fritz’s older sister Anna Veronica, who had married in 1721. With an arctic air mass backing up over Europe from Russia, January and February 1740 were 6.2 and 5.2 degrees Centigrade below normal, Fritz and Eva probably struggled to keep each other from freezing.
The spring of 1740 was cool and dry. With the prospect of poor crop yields, Fritz & Anna Eva Ebgert abandoned their home that spring and traveled down the Rhine. They were accompanied by Fritz’s cousins (or second cousins) Johan Wilhelm Kirbach and Johan Simon Kirbach, and by Peter Schiffer, who may have been Eva’s brother. According to Burgert & Jones (1989), the church books of Hochstenbach named Christian Peter Schiffer as the father-out-of-wedlock of Anna Maria Geyer’s daughter, Maria Christina, born June 14, 1730. On June 1, 1740, after penitence, Peter Schiffer and Maria Geyer were married. They must have left town immediately afterwards.