Jost Biographies
Part One

Submitted by Polli Turner (http://pollisplace.com/history)

According to the Historical Research Center, who sells family crests and family name histories:

The German surname Jost is patronymic in origin, belonging to that group of surnames derived from the forename or Christian name of a father. In this case the surname comes from the old Germanic forename Jos or Joss and the original bearer would have been simply the "son of Jos". The forename is also found in the Latin form Jodocus. It is generally believed that the forename is of Celtic origin meaning "warrior". It was the name of a seventh century Breton saint, St. Josse, a hermit of Panthieu in France, whose cult spread into southern Germany in the eleventh century. There was traditionally a fete or fair on St. Josse's Day which did not die out until the fourteenth century. In 1385 in Ravensburg, a church was dedicated to St. Jost zu Ravensburg whose life appears in the book "Von Saint Ursulen Schifflin" in Strasbourg. The forename is now found in the form Joyce, which has also developed into a surname, especially numerous in Wales and Ireland.

Early records of this surname date back to the thirteenth century when one Jost de Zolikon of Zurich is noted in the "Urkundenbuch der Stadt und Landschaft Zurich" in 1298. In 1424 , one Jack Jos of Reuthe can be found in the "Allgauer Heimatbucher" while in 1500 one Jodokus Aichmann of Calw is found in the "Urkundenbuch der Stadt Heilbronn". He appears again in the same sources as Jost Eychenmann in 1508.

First Generation

The following information was put together by Clara Jost Marr, and I have added tidbits here and there from Dr. A. C. Jost and Frank Jost Newson. This is the tradition that has been passed on down through the Jost clan over the generations. Note that there are variances here compared with what I have found in my research--George's birthplace, for instance.

"George Jost was born in Wittenberg, Germany, in 1728. He, with his wife, Susanna, came to Halifax, N.S. in 1750. They were both followers of Martin Luther, and their ancestors had been among Luther's personal friends.

"Soon after their arrival in Halifax with several other German families who left that country to get away from the frequent wars, they, being anxious for a place of divine worship in their own tongue, sent to Germany for a Lutheran minister. They also erected a building still standing on Brunswick Street, not far from St. George's Church--it still bears its peculiar spire, which George helped to build. In the meantime the little German band had no minister but for some time attended a public service read by a school master.

"After 1787 the Rev. Mr. Houseal, a Lutheran minister, came over from Germany to minister to them the word of life. His appearance and manners were quite peculiar. He preached in a long white wig and on entering any habitation he used the words of spiritual salutation "Peace be on this house."

"After his death, the little flock became scattered but still manifested many moral excellencies. With them all manual labor terminated at 5 p.m. on Saturday and a preparation for the Holy Sabbath was observed by the reading of Holy Scripture and prayers.

"It is a family tradition that George had a part in the making of the rooster which still is on the weather vane of St. George's church. It is known that he was one of the church officers in 1764.

"George worked as a whitesmith [a worker in white metals, particularly a tinsmith, or a worker in iron who finishes, polishes and galvanizes.] Their family lived in Brunswick Street, nearly opposite the place in which the Brunswick Street Methodist Church now stands."

The following is a result of research I have been doing on George and Susanna:

George's full name was Johann Georg Jost. It was a practice in Germany, among both Lutherans and Catholics, that the first given name was a christening name, and the child would actually go by the middle name. So it was with George. If you notice, he and Susanna named three of their sons John [the English equivalent of Johann]! The Betty's passenger list states simply that he was from Strasbourg. The list gives his name as Jean Georges Jost, the French version of his name, but his own signature on the indebtedness list was "Johann Georg Jost," showing that he was a German speaker, and thought of himself as being ethnically German rather than French.

He was born May 30, 1727, according to the birth records of St. Aurelians' Lutheran church in Strasbourg. This tallies with his age (25) when he boarded the Betty in May 1752. But it means he was actually 48 years old when he died in 1775, rather than 49, as was recorded on his gravestone.

According to the World Book Encyclopedia: "Alsace-Lorraine became part of Charlemagne's empire in the 700's. But it fell to Germany when his grandsons divided his empire. Alsace-Lorraine remained under German rule until the 1500's, when France gained control of them by slow stages. The people fought all efforts to turn them into Frenchmen. But the French Revolution of 1789 brought a change of heart. The Alsatian people became so French in spirit that more than 50,000 moved to France when Germany got their territory in 1871." However, in searching Strasbourg's Lutheran church records from the early 1700's, I found that the records were in German (and bits of Latin), meaning that George was definitely a German speaker!

In 1749, Halifax was founded. The British wanted to outweigh the French Catholic influence in Nova Scotia, and so recruited "Foreign Protestants" from Europe (Germany, Switzerland, France) to help settle the city of Halifax. [Later, the British government banished French Catholics from Nova Scotia. The "Acadians" moved to Louisiana, and there became known as the "Cajuns."] Meanwhile, in Alsace-Lorraine the pressures to become French and Catholic were increasing. George, probably wanting to remain faithful to the teachings of Luther, and attracted by the promise of free land in Nova Scotia, left his home at that time, and joined the "Foreign Protestants" who were settling in Halifax. So he escaped the French Revolution in his homeland.

The settlement of "Foreign Protestants" in Nova Scotia began in 1750, and the last of them arrived in 1752, totalling about 2500 people. In May 1752, in Rotterdam, Holland, George embarked on a ship, the Betty, giving his home as Strasbourg, and his occupation as locksmith, and his age as 25. He was unmarried at the time. He landed at Halifax, where he remained until May 1753, when the British government resettled the "Foreign Protestants" in a distant wilderness surrounded by hostile Indians--the farming settlement came to be known as Lunenburg. There, the next year, George married Susanna Catherine Morash, who with her family, had left Kleinheubach (just southeast of Frankfurt, on the Main River) in 1751. During George and Susanna's time in Lunenburg, the settlers were ravaged by Indian attacks--several were carried off, and an entire family was scalped.

George and Susanna's first son, John Michael Jost, was baptized in Lunenburg on Sept. 18, 1757 [their daughter was born the previous year, but escaped being recorded, as happened often in the early days of record-keeping]. They returned to Halifax ca. 1759-1760, where the rest of their children were born. Whether they returned to Halifax out of fear of the Indians, or because the employment opportunities were better for non-farmers, we don't know (his will states that he had worked as a blacksmith in Halifax). But in his will he included 150 acres "in the Range of the Five Houses," a peninsula of Lunenburg. In 1765, he was granted a 150 acre parcel in Halifax, and on Dec. 5, 1771, George bought a house and lot in Halifax [probably the house on Brunswick St]. He died only four years later, at 49 years of age. Susannah remarried, to a Mr. Drillis, and had another daughter, Catherine.

George and Susanna were buried together in the cemetery of the Little Dutch Church in Halifax, where they worshipped with their family. Their grave can still be seen there.

According to the plaque on the wall, The Little Dutch Church in Halifax was built in 1755 by the earliest German Lutherans in Halifax, and was the first Lutheran church in Canada. It is only about 12 by 6 yards in size! Actually, the settlers found a small unfinished house, and drug it to its present location, then finished it there. The spire was built later, with George's help, according to family tradition--being a blacksmith he may have actually made the rooster weather vane. The schoolmaster who led the services was a Johann Jorpel [or Törpel]. The church was taken over by the Anglican church years ago, and is now a historical landmark.

In 1752, a Rev. Bernard Michael Houseal, a Lutheran pastor, arrived at Rotterdam, having been called "to be Minister to a Colony of Germans to be settled in Nova Scotia and he to reside in Halifax." But the British government had already discontinued sending settlers to Nova Scotia by the time he arrived, and so he was sent instead on a ship to Maryland. In Jan. 1784, he arrived in Halifax along with Loyalist refugees from New York, and then began ministering to the German Lutherans there. He received his training in Strasbourg [I wonder if he knew George there?], but was later ordained as an Anglican minister, in order to receive financial support from their missionary society. The church gradually became Anglican, the settlers simply being content to have someone who could minister to them in the German language.

Only one week before his death George made out his will--he must have been ill, and suspected that he had not much time left. I have a photocopy of the will, as it was copied by hand into Halifax's book of wills, probably by Charly Morris, the official who signed at the bottom. I added only what punctuation was needed to clarify the meaning.

In the name of God Amen, I George Jost, Blacksmith in Halifax Nova Scotia, being of sound mind & memory do make this my last will & testament in manner following that is to say, first I recommend my Soul to almighty God that gave it, & my Body to be decently Buried. Secondly, I give to Susannah Catharine Jost my lawfull wife my House & Lott in the Town of Halifax letter H & No. 6 in Colliers division, & also one half Lott in the northern side 50 feet front, 250 feet deep letter B No. 9. Likewise 150 acres of land lying & situate in the Range of the Five Houses [in Lunenburg]. All the above houses, lotts & premises Susannah Catherine Jost is to keep Possession of so long her God pleases to take her from this world she Susannah Catharine Jost shall sell no part or anything hereinbefore mentioned, but after her Death the Houses Lotts & Lands shall be equally divided amongst her Children then living.

May the thirtieth in the year 1775, Signed Sealed and delivered in presence of whose names are hereunto published.

George Jost
Anthony Henry
Jn. Carl Gruss
Philip Foss
Halifax Jan. 27th 1780, the written will presented for Proof by Susannah Catharine Jost (now Drillis) & was proved by the oath of Anthony Henry before me.
Charly Morris

Second Generation: Memoirs of John Casper Jost
Third Generation: Reminiscences of Christopher Jost, 1805-1884
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