In 1733 Joseph Flory arrived in Philadelphia aboard the English ship “The Hope,” which was under the direction of Master Daniel Reid. It stopped at Rotterdam and the Palatinate among other ports on its way to its final destination in Philadelphia on August 28, 1733. Recorded on the ship’s list were Joseph Floriey, age 51, his wife, Anna Maria Bugh, 40, and his children, Maria Floriey, 21, Joseph Floriey, 19, Hanliey Floriey, 17, and John Floriey, 15. What was a little bit out of the ordinary with this list is that most ships did not bother recording the names of female passengers at all, sometimes listing women and children under 16 merely as "freight." Pictured here on a photocopy of one of those lists are the original signature marks of Joseph Flory and his family (apparently all were illiterate), including his wife, who went by her maiden name as is characteristic of Swiss tradition:
Until recently, no one quite knew where Joseph came from in Europe. Family traditions seemed to agree that he lived in a small town somewhere in the Rhine Valley near Switzerland, but the name of this town is has not as yet been uncovered, although there is some speculation that it may have been in the region of Zweibrucken. Moreover, even if he came from a small town in Germany, there is no reason to assume that he was necessarily born in this town. Recent scholarship, seems to indicate that Joseph may have been Swiss, and that he possibly was born i in or near either the Canton of Solothurn or the Canton of Berne where there were a number of Flory or Fluri families.
Walter Bunderman believes that several other Floriey children also came here with Joseph, a son named Jacob, and a daughter named Barbara. According to Naff family tradition, Joseph may have had a child named Eva born on ship during the transatlantic voyage (Bunderman calls this child Katherine). Anna Maria Bugh (her family name), apparently, had one more son with Joseph, an Abraham Floriey in 1735, the only known child of Joseph’s to have been born in America.
The only other time Joseph’s wife’s name appears on a public document is on a bond which she had to sign at her husband’s death in 1741 indicating that she would provide a full list of his goods to authorities within six months for the purpose of taxation. To view both the original bond and the inventory of Joseph's estate, click on bond.
Joseph brought his family from Philadelphia to Rapho Township in Lancaster County in Pennsylvania. The area was known for its Dunker activity, and several of Joseph’s own children were baptized at the Conestoga Congregation a short distance from his home. Rapho
adjoins Hempfield Twp. which was originally settled in 1715 entirely by Mennonites, including the Neff family. Joseph Floriey, the Younger, was baptized at Conestoga in 1741 at the age of 27, his brother John in 1747 at 29, Jacob on May 1, 1748, and the previously unknown Barbara in 1754. For a list of those who were baptized by Elder Michael Frantz of Conestoga from 1739-1747, click Conestoga. Sooner or later, anyone doing research into the history of Joseph and his descendants will want to know something about the Church of the Brethren (Dunkers). An excellent web site outlining the history and beliefs of that church can be found by clicking on Dunkers. This site links into other interesting sites on the Mennonites and Anabaptists, among others. You might also be interested in Huguenots.
It is interesting to speculate as to why Joseph, at the age of 51, decided to immigrate to America. He appears to have been relatively prosperous. He had money enough to pay for a minimum of six passages over here. Approximately half of the Germans who emigrated, incurred debts along the way, and were auctioned off in Philadelphia into a servitude that lasted from 3 ½ to 7 years. Mary had to post a bond of approximately 200 pounds on his death due to the extent of his goods. Because of Joseph’s age and because of his prosperity, many assume that he came here for religious reasons. He did settle in an area that was known for its non-orthodox religious fervor and was near an area that had been settled earlier by Mennonites. Family genealogists have speculated for a number of years that Joseph may have been an Anabaptist, fleeing from religious persecution. Recent evidence suggests that he came over here together with at least 14 other Mennonite families aboard the Hope, at least some of which were from Zweibrucken, near the source of the Saare River in the Duchy of Pfalz.
There are questions still regarding Joseph, although some of them appear to be on their way towards being solved: (1) who were his parents? (2) how many wives did he have? (3) are all the children that Bunderman attributes to him necessarily his? There are also questions surrounding the 1733 "baptismal" certificate for "Kathleen Florin," who, Bunderman and others believe, may have been Joseph's daughter, although most discount his reading of the name on the document as "Kathleen." Roxann Flora Rhea's study of possible Zodiac signs on this certificate may be seen by clicking on the following link -- Zodiac Signs and Family History.
Whatever the case, Joseph descendants today form, by far, the largest grouping of Florys in America. If you are a Flory and if your ancestors were Northern and did not come from Northampton County, Pennsylvania, you probably are a descendant of Joseph.