One Line of Descent

From Sebastian Frantz through his son Henry France

I created this website for my cousins so they can enjoy what I have learned about our Frantz/France family. It has been a wonderful and rewarding experience for me to see where our family has lived, meet other France family members and share family history with the other France family researchers. There are 2 books about early Schoharie co. New York history, one by Jeptha Simms, the other by William Roscoe, which can be found on the Schoharie co. GenWeb page. I encourage you to read through them to find more about Sebastian and the life and times of that period. They are great books and you can use the site's search function to bring up all the information about the France family.
My intent with this webpage is to just give you a quick overview of who our family is. Most of the information is supported by sources and where I have used "UKN" means unknown and the information is not supported by fact or not known at this time. Some information has not been proven but is generally accepted by other researchers so I have used that information freely. In the generations lists I have included basic information only. To save space I have used the following: "b" for born, "d" for died and "m" to indicate marriage with m and a number, ie. m1, meaning the first marriage, m2 = second marriage etc.
I hope you all enjoy looking through this very small twig of our family tree. My thanks and warm hugs to all you cousins who have shared information, and your research with me to make this possible. You probably still have headaches from me "pickin" your brain; you know who you are. I hope this page will continue to grow so check back on it every now and then. You never know what you might find. Enjoy. Your cousin, PeterAnn

Sebastian Frantz
Henry France
Rev. Henry Haines France
Dow Gardner France
Henry David France
Grant C. France

Sebastian's Bible.

Old Stone Fort Museum

Sebastian Frantz was born in Wurtemburg, Germany on 4 October, 1732. On June 6,1752, at the age of 19 he married Maria Magdalena "Anna" Fretz. Sebastian could read and write. Considering the history of the area at that time, one of war and devastation on a huge scale, I find that amazing! His German family bible, which he brought to America has his name printed in large letters and contains his family record. He also inscribed these words in it which translate from the German, "The blood of Jesus Christ the son of God makes me clean from all my sins." His bible was donated to the Old Stone Fort Museum in Schoharie, Schoharie co. New York. Sebastian owned the first bible in the town of New Durlach which he read for the congregation until their church was built and they could get a permanent minister.

Sebastian and Anna have not been found on any ships passanger lists but it is known they landed in New York in October, 1753. Their first child, Maria Magdalena, was born October 1753 on the ocean. Church records from the Reformed Church of New Rhinebeck, Dutchess co., New York state she was baptised on 24 October, 1753. This record gives a birthdate of 14 October, 1753. (Note: Sebastian's bible gives her date of birth as 20 October, 1753.)

Their party, which included Anna's brother Ernst Fretz and two brothers, Michael and Christopher Merckley, then proceeded up the Hudson river to Albany. From there Sebastian went west into what was then considered the Frontier to find a suitable place to settle and decided on the area which is now Schoharie county. Anna and others in their party remained that winter in Albany and in the spring of 1754 Sebastian sent word and they proceeded to their new home at New Durlach, now called Seward. Sebastian and Anna's second child, Ernst Christopher, was born on March 12, 1755, the first white child born in New Durlach. Their family grew to 12 children; 6 girls and 6 boys. Except for Maria born at sea, all were born at the homestead and all were brought up in the Lutheran religion. Sebastian was instrumental in the formation of the New Rhinebeck Lutheran Church which was erected in 1760.

During the Revolutionary War Sebastian's named was on the list as having served in Capt. Jacob Miller's Company; as Private, Albany Co. Militia and served on the Committee of Safety. In October 1780 a party of Indians and Tories raided the Schoharie Valley. Being a Whig (pro independance) in a mostly Loyalist (pro English) area, Sebastian was one person in particular that the raiders were looking for. On October 18, 1780 the raiding party killed Michael Merckley and his niece Catharine who was affianced to Sebastian's son Christopher. They then made their way to Sebastian's house. Sixteen year old John was killed and the barn and 2 large storehouses called "barracks" each 100 feet in diameter, were burned to the ground. John had been tomahawked. His body was buried on the homestead. Anna and the younger children had fled after the raid and spent 3 days and nights in the woods on Gravel Mountain just east of the village of Seward. Another son, Henry age 13, had also been taken prisoner to be killed and scalped but he had escaped. When the family was back together, Sebastian took them to Watervliet, near Albany, until the close of the war. He then returned to his land and re-established himself. Some of the original land purchased in 1754 is still in the France family. All that remained of Sebastians'original homesite on the banks of the Westkill in 1989 were stones from the old foundation. Just 10 years later the overgrowth was so thick I was not able to find them.

Sebastian Frantz prepared his will in 1801. He gave each of his sons a portion of his land except for Jacob. Jacob had settled an area called France's Corners. It later was called Cobleskill Center and in the 1860's was named Mineral Springs which it is still called today. Each brother was to pay a sum to Jacob for their share of what would have been his. The sisters were also given payment in lieu of land. Sebastian died in 1805. Anna died 11 years later in 1816. At the time of his death Sebastian and Anna were living with their son Lorentz on the old Philip Crysler farm. Crysler was a known Tory during the Revolution and his farm had been confiscated and sold. Sebastian and Anna were both buried on that farm. On November 20, 1891 Gilbert G. France, a son of Henry and grandson of Sebastian, had John, Sebastian and Anna exhumed from their graves and reinterred in Zion Rural Cemtery, Seward Center, Schoharie county, New York.

France monument. Zion Rural Cemetery