Search Website Design and Content © by Eric Krause, Krause House Info-Research Solutions (© 1996)
      All Images © Parks Canada Except Where Noted Otherwise
Report Assembly/Rapport de l'assemblée © Krause House Info-Research Solutions

Researching the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada
  Recherche sur la Forteresse-de-Louisbourg Lieu historique national du Canada


The Melchior Uhlmann Family

Switzerland 1742 to Halifax 1749

Malcolm Uhlman,
621 Aldred Drive,
Kingston, N.S.
B0P 1R0

The original is available at 

An argument to support the hypothesis that the Swiss immigrants, Melchior Uhlman and family, came to Halifax, Nova Scotia via Louisbourg. Poor or no records are available for this particular time period, thus our attempt to piece together a scenario from available facts. This is by no means a concrete certainty but simply a synopsis of the facts gathered to date.

Melchior Uhlman immigrated to America from Beringen, Canton Schaffhausen, Switzerland in 1742 [5]. He and his wife Mary Magdalena and their first born, Cornelius, arrived at Broad Bay, Massachusetts (now Waldoboro, Maine) around the 28th of September 1742 aboard the ship Lydia [1]. Melchior was recruited by Samuel Waldo's agent, Sebastian Zouberbuhler who himself was a fellow Swiss. Zouberbuhler had made several trips back to the Old Country recruiting settlers for Waldo's lands in Maine and Massachusetts. Many of his recruits became indebted to Zouberbuhler and indeed Melchior and John Uhlman were still listed on the estate papers of Zouberbuhler after his death in 1773. Emigration fees of 14 pounds, 4 shillings, 6d., were still listed as owing by Melchior Uhlman to Zouberbuhler [1].

At the early settlement of Broad Bay, in the wilds of early Maine, the new immigrants experienced intolerable conditions. Not only were supplies and assistance of any kind particularly scarce, they had to deal with hostile native Indians, who were encouraged by the French to drive out the new settlers.

Governor William Shirley organized an army to attack the French stronghold at the Fortress of Louisbourg in Nova Scotia. "In 1744 two regiments were organized, one commanded by Col. William Pepperell, of Kittery; the other by Col. Samuel Waldo, of Falmouth. In the latter regiment 270 men were credited to Georges and Broad Bay" [2]. Specifically due to the intolerable conditions at the time, "….a large majority did enlist" [2]. Many men took their families as well, or perhaps brought them later after the battle. "Faust (The German Element in the United States, vol. I p. 252) says many of the foreign settlers who had been having a hard time on Waldo's lands in Maine enlisted in 1745 for the expedition to Louisbourg" [3]. A statement made by Pepperell, commander of the expedition, says: "A full third of the Massachusetts contingent, or more that a thousand men, are reported to have came from the hardy population of Maine, whose entire fighting force, as shown by the muster rolls, was then but 2885". "Maine's part at Louisbourg in 1745, therefore, was a most distinguished one. It is a matter for regret that, in the absence of official rolls, it is not now possible to present a complete list of the men who served in the three Maine regiments in that memorable campaign. Only a few names of those who served in Waldo's regiment have come down to us…."[6].

In a letter dated 18 May 1744 from John Ulmer to Lieutenant Col. Arthur Noble of the 2nd Massachusetts Regiment, Melchior and Johann Uhlman are listed as 2 of 33 members from Broad Bay, the Broad Bay Muster Roll [1]. Col. Samuel Waldo led the 2nd Massachusetts Regiment. Sebastian Zouberbuhler is listed as a Captain in this regiment, and thought to be leader of the German speaking element [6]. Melchior Uhlman was logically involved with this company. "Undoubtedly nearly all the Germans, who were here then, enlisted. Sebastian Zouberbuhler or (Tsauberuhler) was an agent of Waldo's in securing German settlers, and undoubtedly commanded the German contingent in Waldo's regiment, but I cannot give a single name of the rank and file" [6]. "…….several took their families with them. Some remaining at Louisbourg three years, and others never returning…….."[6].

This ragged army of New England farmers and immigrants, defeated the mighty Fortress of Louisbourg in one month, during the summer of 1745. Surprise was the New Englanders main tactic. The French never dreamed the enemy would attack through the Eastern woods and across a large swampy area. Indeed, the New Englanders using innovative procedures, moved their cannon with relative ease and eventually pummeled the French into submission.

After the victory, Sebastian Zouberbuhler was named adjutant in the 9th Massachusetts Regiment during the occupation years [3]. It would appear reasonably that Melchior Uhlman, his fellow Swiss countryman, either by his loyalty or his indebtedness to Zouberhuhler stayed at Louisbourg. Melchior, being a carpenter/cabinetmaker [1], would have been invaluable to the restoration efforts by the British after the destruction caused during the brief but violent confrontation.

For three years the British held the Fortress at Louisbourg. Meanwhile back in London, a political decision was made to trade conquered territories with the French and give control of Louisbourg back to the French, much to the displeasure of the New Englanders. Edward Cornwallis had just arrived at Chebucto Harbour, summer 1749 (later to be named Halifax) to initiate an English presence on the coast of Nova Scotia and was ordered to send his ships to Louisbourg to disembark the English citizens and garrison to Halifax and New England. It is known that Sebastian Zouberbuhler did arrive at Halifax in this manner [3]. "…..the Halifax naval officer's records show a small schooner bringing some of his effects from Louisbourg to Halifax as late as 30 May 1750"[3].

"Possibly a few others of foreign surnames who came to Halifax between the time of Cornwallis's arrival and the arrival of the Alderney in 1750 had been employed with or under Zouberbuhler at Louisbourg and accompanied him to Halilfax"[3]. "The evacuation of Louisbourg would be a very exceptional source of settlers for Nova Scotia"[3]. A letter dated 11 September 1749 from Davidson to Aldworth in the Secretary of State Office, State of Massachucetts records "a variety of civilians had been occupied in one way or another at Louisbourg during British occupation there, and some of them came to Halifax. Many useful men had come to Halifax not only from New England but also from Louisbourg" [3]. Further evidence that Melchior Uhlman did indeed arrive at Halifax via this scenario.

25 February 1750 Mary Merinda Uhlman, daughter of Melchior and Mary Magdelena Uhlman, is christened at St. Paul's Church, Halifax [4]. May and June of 1750 Mary (Mrs. Melchior), Cornelius and Jacob, (sons) and baby daughter Mary Merinda, are on the Halifax Victualling List [4]. Melchior's name is not on this list. Perhaps an indication that he is still "in uniform" and is being fed at a military mess. This notion would add credence to the statement that Melchior Uhlman was at Louisbourg serving under Zouberbuhler during the occupation. His family being civilians, would be eligible for rations. Melchior Uhlman is on record as receiving a grant of land on the Halifax peninsula, specifically Middle Division, Letter "C', lot number 3. This document is dated 1749/1750 [4]. A letter to the Swiss authorities in 1750 tell of the Uhlman family arriving at Halifax [4]. These four facts establish the Melchior Uhlman family at Halifax after the arrival of the Cornwallis ships in the summer of 1749 and the arrival of the next ships, the Aldernery, the Ann and the Nancy in the fall of 1750. The family is not listed on any of the ships that made up Cornwallis's convoy. Even so, it is improbable that the family came over with Cornwallis because they are definitely recorded as living at Broad Bay. Winthrop Bell's suggests this family came via the New England states or via Louisbourg [4].

Sebastian Zouberbuhler was no doubt of great influence due to his vast and varied experience to the new settlement of Halifax. Cornwallis no doubt would have made great use of his organizational skills as well as his ability to communicate with the German speaking settlers. It could be argued that Melchior, probably aided by Zouberbuhler, was granted land at Halilfax because of his service to the British during the occupation of Louisbourg. Zouberbuhler is recorded as having many land grants, or perhaps purchases in later years, of Lunenburg town and surrounding area. Melchior Uhlman himself was awarded a Lunenburg Town Lot, 30-acre farm lot, and a 300-acre forest lot. As a matter of record, his 300-acre forest lot in 3rd Division, F-16 is adjacent to a lot held by one, Sebastian Zouberbuhler!

Jasper J. Stahl cites both a "Vogler Memoir" (for PCV) and the "Seitz Memoir" of PCV's younger brother-in-law Johann Seitz, who also relocated to North Carolina from Broad Bay in 1770, when describing the Maine phase of their lives, including PCV's marriage to Catharina Seitz at Louisbourg in 1746. (PVC = Phillip Christian Vogler).

Cyrus Eaton wrote on pgs. 65-70 "Annals of the Town of Warren" Maine the following: "In 1740 and on to 1741-42 forty German families from Brunswick and Saxony tempted by imposing offers of Waldo when in Europe.......after first landing in Braintree, Mass., arrived at Broad Bay and laid the foundation of the present town of Waldoboro..........These settlers were unable to speak a word of the English language and consequently could hold little intercourse and gain but little aid from their English neighbors...........and suffered incredible and almost insurmountable hardships........Sighing for their homeland, but unable to return they lingered out the tedious years till the expedition to Louisburg, when they enlisted under Waldo and removed their families to that place." [8]


(1) Broad Bay Pioneers. Horlacher, Gary/Whitaker, W.W. Picton Press 1998
(2)Waldoboro, Maine. Miller, Samuel. Waldoborough Historical Society Museum
(3)The Foreign Protestants and the Settlement of Nova Scotia. Bell,Winthrop
(4)Public Archives of Nova Scotia, Halifax
(5)The World Wide Web; the Internet
(6) Maine at Louisbourg in 1745. Burrage, Henry S. Burleigh and Flynt 1910 Agusta
(7) History of Old Broad Bay and Waldoboro. Stahl, Jasper J. Bond Wheelwright Co., Portland (1956)
(8) Annals of the town of Warren, Maine. Eaton, Cyrus pgs. 65-70