Captain Johann Hartman Windecker was born on November 5, 1676 in Germany to Nicolaus Windecker, Jr. and Anna Elizabeth Stroh. He was a German Palatine. He was a listmaster on the Hartwell, an English ship that arrived in New York in 1710.

Early life

Johann Hartman Windecker was born on November 5, 1676 in Stockhiem, Holy Roman Empire to Nicolaus Windecker, Jr. and Anna Elizabeth Stroh. He was a German Palatine. He married Anna Catherina Birx in Ortenburg, Germany and they had two children.


Hartman and his family left Germany in 1709, along with thousands of other Palatines, and went to England via the Netherlands. Hartman was appointed listmaster of the Hartwell after the initial listmaster, Peter Christian Wormbs, died. He was described as having "good character and good standing with fellow Germans." The family left England in late 1709. The conditions of the ship were described as being dirty, cold, had a terrible stench, had vermin, sickness, and generally deplorable conditions. Anna died on the trip over the Atlantic Ocean. The Hartwell arrived in New York on July 1, 1710.

Life in America

Hartman's Dorf historical marker.

Upon arrival, Hartman became a prominent member of the Palatine community. Since he was a listman, he was in charge of a group of the migratory Germans, becoming, of sorts, a representative of the English Queen. Hartman married secondly to Barbara Bellinger in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1710 and had five children by 1717 who were all born near Schoharie, New York. In 1715, Hartman Windecker and his group settled on a plot of land that came to be known as Hartman's dorf, which was a Palatine Camp north of mondern-day Middleburg, New York.

Battle at Hartman's dorf

In 1716, a battle occurred at Hartman's dorf between the Indians and German-American settlers.

In order to defend Hartman's dorf from the uprising of Karighondontee Indians, Hartman led the village against the Indians. Karighondontee was the leader of a tribe of Indians of mixed extraction. He amassed his forces in a swampy thicket of alders along the Schoharie River, just outside Hartman's dorf, with the apparent intent of destroying this settlement and its inhabitants.

Captain Hartman, in turn, rallied his village to defend it from the Indians. All the men of the village gathered weapons or whatever was available and followed Hartman into battle. The Indians were equipped with considerable firepower, whereas the villagers were equipped with axes, pitchforks and other farm implements, as few fire arms existed, since the English confiscated them in an early uprising. Two thirds of the way to the Indian's camp, Captain Hartman stopped his army and stood on a stump to address them about the upcoming battle. He raised his sword to command the attack and the corps responded with "Führet an!" (Lead on!). The German-American troops then charged the awaiting enemy.

The Indian's rifles clicked, but none discharged, and the German-Americans proceeded to attack. It is unknown why the Indian's weapons were not working, but the Germans were lucky. The Indians fled, and there were no deaths reported among the German settlers. A story was told that in Captain Hartman's speech to his troops, he stated that the guns would not fire.

Later life

Hartman is recorded in New York State historical documents as a participant in an ill-fated English mission to take Quebec from the French. For these and other reasons, his name briefly occurs in histories of upstate New York.

In 1731, a land patent of 2,000 acres in the Mohawk Valley was granted to Hartman Windecker and his family, who possibly migrated to the area in the 1720s.

The site on the Mohawk Valley later became known as "Fort Windecker," a small, patriot, Revolutionary War fort that was "named after a German who lived nearby." This was probably the former home of Hartman, who was likely deceased prior to the Revolution.

Land dispute

About a land dispute case before the New York Supreme Court in 1803:

Albany, August 1808

Jackson, ex dem. WRIGHT and others, against DIEFENDORF and ZOLLER.

THIS was and action of ejectment, for 25 acres of land. The case stated that the patent of Hartman Windecker and others was dated the 12th of November, 1731, and that, in 1743, it was divided into eleven lots, and numbered from one to eleven, inclusive; that partition deeds were executed in 1744 by the proprietors, by which lot No. 2 was released to Windecker; that he, on the 28th of March, 1754, conveyed 25 acres of the south end of lot No. 2 to his daughter Gertrude, who married Jacobus Pickard, the 28th of October 1765; that Pickard and his wife conveyed the 25 acres to Frederic Blank, who devised the same to House and Wright, two of the lessors of the plaintiff; that in 1765, Blank took possession of the premises under the deed, and such possession continued in him, and in others claiming under him, until May 1803, when Wright, the tenant, was turned out of possession, by a writ of possession, under a judgment by default, in an action of ejectment, in favor of the present defendants, against Wright.

It was admited that the defendants are owners and possessors of lot No. 3, in the said patent, which, according to the testimony of Cornelius C. Beekman, a surveyor, and the partition deeds, included the premises

The question on the case was, whether the plaintiff was entitled to recover.

Van Vechten, for the plaintiff.

Cady, for the defendant.

Van Ness, J., delivered the opinionof the court. Shall a possession of 38 years be disturbed, because, from a recent survey, it appears not to correspond with the partition deeds executed 60 years before? Shall not the parties to that partition, and all those who claim under them, be concluded by so long an acquiescence? It is unquestionably the true rule, and every legal presumption, every consideration of policy requires, that this evidence of right should be taken to be conclusive. A locaction made in 1765, and probably, in exact conformity to the survey made on the partition in 1744, and quietly suffered to be continued by the proprietors of the adjoining lot, until 1803, is, and ought to be, final and conclusive. These circumstances furnish the best and most satisfactory evidence of the true line of division between the two lots. This general doctrine will not be denied, and the only question is, as to the application of it to the present case. What is to be the effect upon this title, on the recovery in ejectment by default, and an entry pursuant thereto, in 1803? This is the real point in dispute between the parties.

The recovery, in 1803, against the lessors of the plaintiff, does not conclude them from setting up this evidence of title. The amount of a recovery in ejectment is accurately and forcibly stated, by Lord Mansfield, in the case of Atkyns v. Horde. (1 Burr. 114) It is a recovery of the possession (not of the seisin or freehold) without prejudice to the right, as it may afterwards appear, even between the same parties. He who enters under it, in truth and substance, can only be possessed according to right. If he has a freehold, he is in as a freeholder. If he has a chattel interest, he is in as a termor. If he has no title, he is in as a trespasser. If he had no right to the possession, then he takes only a naked possession. This is the obvious and established construction of the nature and effect of a judgment in the action of ejectment. It follows, therefore, that Wright, one of the present lessors of the plaintiff, lost the possession only, without prejudice to the right. The right under the location, after the possession and acquiescence therein, remains in the lessors of the plaintiff, and is not impaired by the recovery in 1803.

The plaintiff must, therefore, have judgment.

Yates, J., and Thompson, J., not having heard the argument in the cause, declined giving any opinion.

Judgment for the plaintiff.


Offspring of Johann Hartman Windecker and Anna Catherina Birx (?-1710)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Anna Catherina Windecker (1704-?)
Johann Henrich Windecker (1708-?)

Offspring of Johann Hartman Windecker and Barbara Elisabetha Bellinger (1694-aft1738)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Johann Henrich Windecker (1711-?)
Johann Georg Windecker (1715-?)
Maria Windecker (c1720-?)
Frederick Widnecker (1722-1808)
Nicholas Windecker (c1726-?)
Johannes Windecker (?-c1795)
Conrad Windecker (?-c1794)
Gertrude Windecker (1738-?) 1738 (New York) 9999 (Herkimer County+New York+ United States) Jacobus Pickard (1730-1791)

Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Judicature and in the Court for the Trial of Impeachments and the Correction of Errors in the State of New-York by William Johnson, New York (State). Supreme Court, New York (State). Court for the Trial and Impeachments and Correction of Errors.

External links

Footnotes (including sources)

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