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Taufschein of Jacob Sommer

Place Made:
Guilford County North Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
ink and watercolor on laid paper
HOA: 9 2/16; WOA; 7 5/16
Accession Number:
Birth and baptismal certificate in ink and watercolor on laid paper. Two large tulips with red, yellow and green petals face the center of the top of the page, with trailing leafy vines down the sides. Symmetrical flowers and leafy vines flank a winged angel at the bottom of the sheet. The name of the child is in large letters outlined in black ink and filled with red watercolor. A clear ribbon-like band runs across the first line of large letters with small dark green segments accenting the spaces between the vertical strokes of the letters. The laid paper has a watermark that has not been yet identified.

Jacob Som/mer ist von Christli / chen Eltern gebohren / den zehnten August / Anno Domini 1792. Die Eltern sind Va / lentin Sommer u. Catharina seine Ehefrau. / Die Tauffzeugen sind Jacob Christman u. / sein weib Barbara. / In English in different hand: Dide the 25th Day of May 1857. On the reverse: No. 22
Jacob Sommer was born of Christian parents on the 10th of August, the year of our Lord 1792. The parents were Valentin Sommer and Catherine his honorable wife. The baptism sponsors were Jacob Christman and his wife Barbara. Dide the 25th Day of May 1857.
On the reverse: No. 22

Artist: Unknown. The “No. 22” inscription on the reverse indicates that this anonymous artist produced other works. It is probable that the artist was a pastor or schoolmaster associated with Friedens Lutheran Church in Guilford County, North Carolina. Two additional Taufscheine for children baptized at Friedens Church in 1791 and 1792 are known and are quite likely by the same hand. The small vertical format of this work and the large facing tulips resemble the Vorschriften (writing examples) and Taufscheine attributed to the Shenandoah County, Virginia artist Jacob Strickler (1770-1842).

This taufschein commemorates the August 10, 1792 birth and the baptism of Jacob Sommer (Sommers, Summers). His parents were Valentine and Catherine [May] Sommers. Jacob’s grandfather, Peter Summers, was one of the earliest settlers of Guilford County, North Carolina and one of the early members of Friedens Lutheran Church, located north of the town of Gibsonville. Jacob Sommers married Margaret Boone in 1812. He died intestate in 1857 and is buried at Freidens Lutheran Church. This taufschein descended in the family of Jacob’s cousin Lavinia Summers Foust, the wife of Jacob Foust, whose likeness, attributed to the artist known as the Guilford Limner, is in the MESDA Collection (Acc. #5753.1).
The sponsors at this baptism were Jacob Christman (1745-1810) and his wife [Maria] Barbara [Sommers] Christman (1751-1796), the sister of Valentine Sommers. Johann Jacob Christmann was the son of Jacob Christmann (1720-1785) who came to North Carolina 1763, settling in the Stinking Quarter area of Guilford County by 1765. A freqeuent visitor to the North Carolina Moravian congregations in and around Salem, his memoir is recorded in the Moravian records. He is buried at Friedens Lutheran Church. His son Jacob (the sponsor of this baptism), was ordained as a pastor in the German Reformed Church in 1798, and was also a visitor to the Moravians and well-acquainted with the Lutheran pastor Paul Henkel. He preached at several reformed congregations in Rowan County, North Carolina, including Pilgrim Church, before moving to Ohio in 1803 where he served as a Reformed Pastor in Warren County, Ohio until his death in 1810.
Credit Line:
MESDA Purchase Fund