Saturday, March 1, 2014

Surname Saturday ~ BOLLMAN, my Hessian Ancestor


Johann Daniel Bollman was born about 1751 in Hammersleben, Magdeburg, Saxony, Germany.  I do not know his parentage, and I have not found his exact date of birth.  In 1776 he arrived in North America with Baron de Riesdesel’s Brunswick Regiment of Hessian soldiers to fight in the Revolutionary War.  They left Germany in February and arrived in Portsmouth, England on 18 March 1776.  It took six weeks to cross the Atlantic and landed in Quebec. 

This regiment was brought to Canada to save it from the Revolutionary War by cutting off New England from southern colonies and driving them to surrender.  They were at the Battle of Bennington in August of 1777 where 200 Hessians were killed and 700 were captured.  In September they lost the Battle of Saratoga, and my ancestor, Johann Daniel Bollman, was captured.  Luckily, he was a valuable hostage, since he was an officer and the surgeon of his regiment.  He was exchanged quickly, and the rest of the prisoners of war were marched to Massachusetts.

The prisoners who were exchanged were sent to Halifax, Nova Scotia.  I have found Dr. Bollman’s petition asking for compensation for providing medical services to the prisoners between 25 November 1779 and 10 March 1780.   He eventually settled in Lunenburg, a mostly German settlement not far from Halifax, where he lived for 54 years.  He married Jane Bremner, widow of settler Philip Knaut.

Dr. Bollman was active in politics and represented Lunenburg in the House of Assembly from 1783 to 1809.  He was appointed a health officer on 14 May 1799.  Besides his civic duty records, I also found many mentions of him in The Diary of Adolphus Gaetz.  Apparently he had a lawsuit against another German doctor in town, Joseph Falt and it was recorded in this diary.  Adolphus Gaetz was a Lunenburg businessman who wrote a diary form 1855 – 1873, and this manuscript is in the Lunenburg County documents of the Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management (

There was another incident in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia involving Lewis Morris Wilkins.  Dr. Bollman ran against Wilkins in the provincial elections of 1793 and won.  Wilkins and for other residents vandalized his house and apothecary shop breaking 150 window panes, furniture, doors and over 100 medicine bottles.  Bollman’s lawyer wrote “His said dwelling house was rendered uninhabitable, his family and himself being obliged to fly from the same and his business and trade as a Druggist and Apothecary was totally prevented, stopped and put to an end so that the said John Bolman beign obliged to shut up his said shop the windows thereof and the Drugs and Medicines as aforesaid and divers other wrongs and outrages then and there committed against the peace of our Lord. “ [Surgeons, Smallpox, and the Poor: A History of Medicine and Social Conditions in Nova Scotia, 1749-1799,  By Allan Everett Marble, McGill-Queen's University Press, Montreal, pages 160- 161.]

Another excerpt from Johnny Bluenose at the Polls, by Brian Cuthbertson, Formac Publishing, Halifax, 1994, page 166:

"Among the few Loyalists who came to Lunenburg was the former surgeon in General de Riesdesal's Hessian Regiment.  A native of Mageburg in Germany, John Bolman married the widow of Phillip Knaut shortly after arriving in the township where he soon rose to social prominence.  Another Loyalist was Lewis Morris Wilkins, the son of Isaac and the Shelburne Loyalist elected to the Assembly in 1785. Before the American War Lewis had gone to King's College (later Columbia University) in New York.  He had likely studied law with his uncle in Shelburne before deciding to practise his profession in Lunenburg. It was a wise decision because there was not to be another lawyer in Lunenburg for many years; he was able to develop an extensive practice not only there, but also increasingly in Halifax and Pictou.  Wollenhaupt declined to reoffer. Both Wilkins and Bolman seized the opportunity to run for the single township seat. Bolman was nearly twice the age of the youthful Wilkins and this was likely in his favour, though Bolman did not win by a large margin, the vote being 164 to 123."

Dr. Bollman had eleven children.  I descend from his second youngest son, Bremner Frederick Bollman, born in 1802.  I found records for these families in the Anglican and Presbyterian church records in Lunenburg.  One of Dr. Bollman’s sons was named “Henry”, and there was another Hessian soldier named Henrich Bollman who settled in Trois Rivieres, Quebec but I do not know if they were kin.  Another son, John, b. 1785, was killed in the Battle of Albuera in Spain in 1811. 

For researching this family, the Lunenburg town records and the books mentioned above were invaluable.  For more information on the Hessian soldiers and Baron de Risedesel's Brunswick regiment was found in the journals of the Johannes Schwalb Society. 

My BOLLMAN genealogy:

Generation 1: Johann Daniel Bollman, born about 1751 in Hammersleben, Magdeburg, Saxony, Germany and died 17 September 1833 in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada;  married on 14 February 1782 in Lunenburg to Jane Bremner, the daughter of Robert Bremner and Margaret Stewart, Scots immigrants to Nova Scotia.  Eleven children.

Generation 2:  Bremner Frederick Bollman born 25 February 1802 in Lunenburg, died 15 December 1838 in Lunenburg; married Sarah Elizabeth Lennox, daughter of John Lennox and Ann Margaretha Schupp.  She was born 16 February 1805 in Lunenburg.  Three children.

Generation 3:  Ann Margaret Bollman, born 11 September 1835 in Lunenburg, died 1923 in Salem, Massachusetts; married on 7 June 1858 in Lunenburg to Caleb Rand Bill, son of Ingraham Ebenezer Bill and Isabella Lyons.  He was born 30 May 1833 in Nictaux, Nova Scotia and died 30 December 1902 in Salem, Massachusetts.  Nine children.

Generation 4: Isabella Lyons Bill m. Albert Munroe Wilkinson
Generation 5: Donald Munroe Wilkinson m. Bertha Louise Roberts (my grandparents)

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Copyright © 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

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