Was Susanna Joho the Mother of Jacob & Prudence Yoho?

This question has been posed by numerous Yoho researchers and family members. While the answer may not be resolved, a short discussion is warrented.

Documentation by Uwe Porten (Yoho Page) and others show that Susanna Catharine Lau (Laur) married Johannes Joho on March 1, 1735 in Lembach, Alsace France. Susanna is reported to have been born in Alsace, but her father Hans Theobald Lau was born in Germany.

Yoho researchers report that Johannes Joho was born in Alsace, but there is no known evidence to support this claim. It is very likely that Johannes and his father Johann Michael Joho were born in Switzerland and moved to Alsace in the early 1720's to settle near Lembach Alsace in a farm community known as Sulzthal. The first mention of Johos was found in the year 1729 by German researcher Uwe Porten. Hired by Hugh and Tim Yoho to research Johannes Joho and family in Alsace, Porten determined there were three events in that year: the death of Johann Michael's son Johann Conrad, and the churchly confirmations of Johannes and his daughter Anna Maria Margaretha. Further records in 1735 showed the marriage of Johannes Joho and birth of his first child (Maria Christina) and in 1737 the birth of Johannes' second child Catharina.

Johannes and Susanna Joho emigrated to the U.S. in 1738 aboard the Ship "Two Sisters". The ship's manifest lists Susanna as 44 years old and Johannes as 37. (Yoho Page) If true, this would mean that Susanna was born in 1694 and Johannes in 1701.

Johannes and Susanna are reported to have produced ten children, two of which were born in Alsace France. There is a problem in accepting Susanna as the mother of the last two children.

  1. Maria Christina 1735 Alsace - Probably Before 1740 in U.S. or during Emigration
  2. Catharina 1737 Alsace - Probably Before 1740 in U.S. or during Emigration
  3. Maria Christina 1740 Conewago PA - ?
  4. Eva Catarina 1741 Conewago PA - 1825 PA
  5. Peter 1745 VA - 1823 VA (WV)
  6. John 1746 VA - ?
  7. George Abt 1748 VA -1795 VA (WV)
  8. Anne Maria 1750 - ?
  9. Henry 1752 VA - 1845 VA (WV)
  10. Prudence Between 1765/1775 - Abt 1810 PA
  11. Jacob 1765 - 1851 Ohio

If we accept the "Two Sister" manifest age of Susanna as 44 in 1738, that means she was born in 1694 and would have been 71 at the time of birth of Jacob and Prudence. Biologically this is highly improbable. The ship's data is very likely incorrect as other evidence and consideration supports a younger age for Susanna.

One consideration is the age difference between Johannes and Susanna. Johannes Joho was listed as age 37 in the ship's manifest. Would Johannes marry a woman seven years his senior? It's possible but custom suggests not.

Lau family history supports a younger age for Susanna. Uwe Porten research, John Boring Data Page, and the Henderson Family Page (no longer accessable) listed Hans Theobald Lau's seven children in order of their birth:

  1. Maria Elisabetha Lau
  2. Anna Catharina Lau
  3. Johann Conrad Lau Abt 1694 - 1775
  4. Johann Christmann Lau Abt 1696 - 1772
  5. Hans Peter Lau 1701 - ?
  6. Susanna Catharina Lau Between 1702/1713
  7. Margaretha Lau 1714 - ?

The above data would put Susanna's birth between 1702 and 1713. The Henderson Family Page reports her birth abt 1705. If the person recording ages for the ship manifest meant to record her age as 24 instead of 44 that would give her a birth date of about 1713 or 1714. This however is only speculation.

Even with a "younger" than ship manifest age of Susanna reported by many researchers (24 years old in 1738/born abt 1714), that still presents a problem in accepting her biological ability to birth two children about 1765. At her "youngest" reported birth year of 1714, she would have been 51 years old. While some women have birthed childen at this age, it is not very common even with the medical care that exists today. To birth two children at an age over 50 is much more difficult to accept. If Susanna was born in 1705 as reported in the Henderson data, she would have been 60 years of age.

Another problem in accepting Jacob as son of Susanna is the reported location of his birth (Beaver County PA). Johannes and Susanna were known to live near Graysville WV. The distance between Graysville and Beaver County located North of Pittsburgh, is more than 80 miles, not an easy journey in the 1700's. Why would Susanna have this child in PA? Is it a coincidence that John Yoho son of Johannes and Susanna lived in Beaver County and had a son Jacob born in 1775?

If we do not accept family tradition that Susanna is the mother of Jacob and Prudence, what are some other possibilities?

Because these events happened over 240 years ago and supporting evidence is not available, the answer to the question of how Jacob and Prudence fit into the Yoho lineage may never be answered and will always be open to speculation.

This leaves one additional problem. When was Johannes Joho born? Denver Yoho and other researchers put his birth date as 1712. However, no supporting evidence has been given for this date. As stated previously, there is also no evidence he was born in Alsace. If we are to believe the "Two Sister" ship manifest age of 37 in 1738, that translates to a birth date of 1701 and NOT 1712. Given the most likely faulty data of Susanna's age, do we accept his age as 37 (born 1701) or accept the unsupported family tradition birth date of 1712? Unless new data is found (probably in Switzerland), Johannes's age and birth date will also remain unsolved.