American Pioneer Chronicles:
Colonial Women: the heart, sweat, soul—the foundation of our Nation
Blessed by starting life in a prosperous Palatinate family of learned folks, Magdalena Neuffer was better educated than most her neighbors. Her father and uncle were both lawyers and professors at the University of Tubingen. Her childhood was idyllic until the Black Plague came in 1638, taking her father and ten months later, her mother, Anna Agnes as well. The area also suffered from war, poverty and as her family was firmly Lutheran, religious turmoil as well. Magdalena and her older brother were only nine and ten years old at the time. As the eldest daughter, Magdalena grew up fast and helped raise her younger siblings with the help of the extended family. Independent and socially eligible at fifteen, Magdalena married Hans Gruber and had three children. Hans no doubt had to pass the rigors of Magdalena’s standards of education and achievement. The couple’s happiness was short-lived, as Hans died before the birth of his son, Ferdinand. Widowed at 21, but determined to survive, Magdalena married Christoph Harprecht, a lawyer and a Court’s Attorney in Tubingen; with him she had another six children. All her surviving children grew up to be successful, prominent members of society due to Magdalena’s strong-will, motherly knowledge, care, education, and love. Magdalena’s descendants are both numerous and widespread and she instilled in them the pioneer spirit, many of her progeny immigrated to the promise of an opportunity in the New World colonies.
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