Johann Heinrich Bach


Johann Heinrich Bach

Hamburg, Germany
Death 1789 (aged 79–80)
Madison County, Virginia, USA
Burial Burial Details Unknown, Specifically: Buried on his farm in Culpeper County, Virginia
Memorial ID 132887117 View Source

**After he arrived in America, he changed the spelling of his name to John Henry Back.

This Back/Bach family is not related to Harman Back (aka Hermann Bach), from Freudenberg, Germany. A significant amount of documented research proves this.

In 1994, an incorrect genealogy of this family was published, which claimed that this family descended from Harman Back from Freudenberg, even though there was not one piece of evidence to prove it. Furthermore, back then, everyone in the family already knew the actual genealogy of THIS Back (Bach) family, because it had been passed down through the family, for generations. It is the genealogy that is shown here. Several Board-Certified genealogists, respected historians, and other prominent researchers have confirmed the actual genealogy of this family, which is what is shown here, by studying numerous primary source documents and other significant records and evidence.

His family and his ancestors were from Thuringia, Germany. Please see the attached Family Tree, which was prepared by Johann Sebastian Bach in 1735. It shows the men in the family who knew how to play a musical instrument. Because Johann Heinrich was included on that Family Tree, he must have known how to play an instrument, probably an organ.

Johann Heinrich's father liked to move around, and so Johann was actually born while his parents lived in Hamburg, Germany.

Johann was also related to Johann Sebastian Bach. He was his second cousin, once removed. Johann Sebastian Bach's great grandfather was Johann Hans Bach, who was the great, great grandfather of Johann Heinrich Bach. That makes them second cousins, once removed.

Johann married Anna Maria Hoffman, in Thuringia, in 1737. They had a son named John, who was born in 1738. They all sailed to America in 1740, on the ship "Lydia," which arrived in Philadelphia, on September 27, 1740.

Also sailing with them was Johann's younger brother, Johann Wilhelm Bach, and their third cousin, Johann Jacob Bach (FAG #169309936). All three men took their oaths, when they arrived in Philadelphia, and their names were recorded there as doing so.

They settled in what later became Culpeper County, along the north side of Crooked Creek (also known as Meander Run), about one mile from where it empties into the Robinson River. It was about five miles south of the present-day town of Culpeper. That land later became Madison County.

Johann eventually owned 786 acres there, and he worked as a millwright. He built and sold gristmills throughout the area, and he repaired them. He also operated several of them. (In the early 1900s, Dr. Wilgus Bach wrote in his manuscript that Johann "...became a successful farmer and millwright, buying the sites, erecting the mills, and selling them at fabulous prices.")

There are several records concerning him. On November 20, 1766, John bought one acre from John Bunger (Culpeper Deed Book E, p. 204). That record shows that the land was "surveyed for John Back adjoining his mill site whereupon his mill house stands."

On February 16, 1767, John (identified as a "millwright") obtained a mortgage from William Allason, of King George County, to build a mill on some land. (Culpeper Deed Book E, p. 422).

On February 15, 1768, John sold to William Allason the land on the Rappahannock River held by him on a lease from Robert Beverly (part of the tract called, "Elkwood"), along with the grist mill built by John. (Culpeper Deed Book E, p. 529).

On July 19, 1769, John sold to Joseph Blackwell a horse and a boat that were at his mill on the Rappahannock River, in Fauquier County, Virginia.

In 1762, Johann bought an old family Bible from his cousin back in Europe, Johann Christian Bach. (He was a son of Johann Sebastian Bach.) When it arrived, Johann wrote inside of it, "We Came from Thuringia." (The old book was actually a Catechism, which is similar to a Bible.) NOTE: Dr. B.C. Holtsclaw of The Germanna Foundation, and Dr. Wilgus Bach, both wrote about this handwritten statement being inside of this old book. But it was cut out with a razor blade, around 1969. Attached to this memorial are excerpts from their two books, where they each stated that they had seen that statement in the old book.

One of Johann's neighbors was John Hoffman and his wife Maria Sabina Folg. (They lived along the Robison River, near where Crooked Creek flowed into it.) Two of Johann's sons, John and Henry, married two of John Hoffman's daughters, Margaret and Elizabeth. John and Henry each lived on the 150 acres of land that each girl had inherited from her father.

Johann's son Joseph married Elizabeth Hoffman-Maggard, and they later migrated to southeastern Kentucky. Joseph had inherited the old Bach Family Bible from his father, and he took it with him to Kentucky. (That's the book that is now at the Breathitt County Library.)

Johann's daughter Anna married Benjamin Strother and they later migrated to Fauquier County, Virginia. On their wedding day, Benjamin wrote a poem to his bride, in the old Bach Family Bible and also signed his name. That entry can still be seen today.

Johann Heinrich Bach sold his 785 acres to Thomas Graves on April 11, 1788. Here is a link to his memorial: thomas-graves
Johann Heinrich was allowed to continue living on the land until he died. He apparently died in early 1789, and he was buried near his cabin, as was his wife.

Please note that, after Johann Heinrich Bach arrived in America, he changed the spelling of his name to John Henry Back. Like most immigrants, he changed the spelling of his name to a more Americanized version so that people could more easily pronounce it. As it was the German custom, back in Germany, when men had two first names, they used their first first name in public records, and they also signed documents with that name, but at home and in personal converations, they used their second first name (or middle name). Therefore, in public records, John Henry Back was known as John Back, but in personal conversation, he was known as Henry.

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