The Pioneers George and Elizabeth Fazenbaker

George Fazenbaker and his wife Elizabeth were the ancestors of the numerous Fazenbaker family of America. George was born 8/15/1757 at Heidelsheim in southwest Germany, son of Johann Georg Fessenbecker and Catherine Pleshen.

George was among the "Hessian" soldiers hired by England's King George III to fight against the colonial forces during the American Revolutionary War. The Hessians were deeply resented by the American colonists. In the Declaration of Independence, the fact that the Hessian soldiers were hired and brought to America was cited among the grievances against King George III.

George Fazenbaker was a private in the 6th Company of the "Jager-bataillons" (that is, the hunter battalions). To be precise, George was not from that part of Germany known as Hesse, but the term Hessian is customarily applied to all the German soldiers hired by King George III.

Jaegers typically carried special rifles shorter than the Kentucky Rifle. Hessen-Kassel Jaegers were originally organized as a corps of huntsmen and sons of minor nobility. The role of the jaegers was as screening force, not as a main force unit. They were often used for reconnaissance. During engagements with the Americans, they would use their firearms at a distance, and then withdraw to reload and allow the infantry to deal with the close range combat. The jaegers maintained support for the infantry as snipers. They inflicted especially heavy casualties among American officers and NCOs.

In the German military records, George's surname was recorded as Vesenbecker and Fessenbecker. German records show that George was labeled a deserter with full arms and equipment in April 1781, very near the end of the combat phase of the War. Western Maryland genealogist Wayne Bittinger noted a different account. "A history of Germans in the state of Maryland ... reports that he had been taken prisoner of war and had refused return transportation to Germany." The two accounts, one German and one American, appear to be different perspectives on the same event.

George Fazenbaker married Elizabeth ----, who was born in the 1750s or 1760s in Germany. Circumstantial evidence suggests that Elizabeth's maiden name may have been Corbus, but proof has not been found.

George eventually settled in what is today Garrett County. The first known record of the Fazenbaker family in western Maryland was made in 1787, four years after the end of the Revolutionary War.

Wayne Bittinger wrote, "By 1787, George had made his way to western Maryland. That year, he was listed as a settler on Military Lot 3869, which is situated on the eastern slope of Big Savage Mountain in present-day Garrett County, two or three miles northwest of Barton, Maryland." This property was part of Washington County at that time, but it became part of Allegany County when it was formed in 1789, and in 1872, it became part of Garrett County. The 1798 Allegany County assessment and the 1800 federal census for Allegany County included George's name.

On 8/31/1799, George purchased 100 acres--Military Lots 3858 and 3859--on the east side of Big Savage Mountain, two miles west of present-day Barton, MD.

Practically nothing can be reconstructed today about the life of George Fazenbaker in western Maryland. Unlike his Warnick neighbors, he was not litigious. No court cases or estate payments involving George during his lifetime have been found.

George's last will and testament was dated 10/17/1809. The will listed the children of George and Elizabeth: Jacob Fazenbaker (born about the 1780s), Sarah "Sally" Fazenbaker (born about 1789), John Fazenbaker, Elizabeth Fazenbaker (born about 1793), Godfrey Fazenbaker (born 3/2/1795), Catharine Fazenbaker, George Fazenbaker (born about 1800), Conrad Fazenbaker (born 9/9/1802), and Marcus Fazenbaker (born 12/25/1805).

It may be concluded that George died in late 1809 or, more probably, early 1810, for his will was proven at Cumberland on 5/12/1810. He was 52 years old at the time of his death.

In the 1970s, Jack Fazenbaker wrote, "I have located the farm that George the Hessian left in his will. It is now owned by Howard C. Michael and was purchased by Mr. Michael's grandfather in 1856 from George Fazenbaker's son Godfrey. Godfrey Fazenbaker had bought the land from his brothers and sisters after Elizabeth died."

At the time of the 1810 census, George’s widow, Elizabeth, was head of a household of eight people in Allegany County.

At the time of the 1820 census, Elizabeth was head of a household that contained only herself and one male age 16 to 25. On 11/11/1823, Elizabeth paid a sum to the estate of the late James Morrison, Jr.  The reason for the payment was not noted in the estate account. This is the last known record of Elizabeth Fazenbaker.

I have compiled a huge amount of information about thousands of descendants of George and Elizabeth Fazenbaker. My book, The Fazenbaker Family of Western Maryland was issued in May 1999. It has 500 pages of text, plus detailed references, an every name index, a number of photos and maps, being in all 853 pages. The book is available for sale. Interested parties should contact me by e-mail for ordering information. Soon, the Fazenbaker book will be available for reference at the Ruth Enlow Library in Grantsville, Maryland and the Library of Congress. Inquiries about western Maryland Fazenbaker families are welcome.

This page was revised November 26, 1999. For more information about western Maryland family history, visit Walt Warnick's Western Maryland Family History Home Pages.