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Maternal
Lineage: Johanna2, Rudolph1

  CURRING, c.1670-aft.1746 Related Families:  Freundt | Fox | Nellis

Migration: Spielburg, GER>West Camp (Ulster Co.), NY>East Camp (Dutchess Co.), NY>Mohawk Valley, NY


        (1)  Rudolph Kursing a.k.a. Ludolph Curring, born about 1670 in Germany; married Otillia Freundt.  They were part of the Palatinate immigration to America around 1711.  A story survives about the rose bushes Otillia brought with her.

Children:

  1. Johanna Elisabetha, born 3 March 1698 in Spielburg, Germany, died in Mohawk River Valley, New York; married 16 October 1711 in West Camp, on the Hudson River, now Ulster Co., New York, John Christopher Fox, born 6 January 1684 in Neiderbieber, Germany.  She received a moss rose bush from her mother as a wedding gift.  John was an officer with the Palatinate Volunteers who marched in 1711 against the French in Canada.  For his service, he received Lot #26 of the Burnetsfield Patent.  Parents of:
    1. Johann Phillip Fox, born 1712 in New York.
    2. Catherine Fox, born 1717 in East Camp/Haysbury, now Dutchess Co., New York; married 1735 in the Mohawk River Valley, New York, Andreas Nellis.

 
OTILLIA'S MOSS ROSE

          Otillia Freundt, wife of Ludolph Curring, was packing the precious few of her belongings which she would be able to take when she and her husband were preparing to leave Europe for the American colonies. She decided to take her favorite hand-woven tablecloth, one that she considered her masterpiece. She was loath to leave her favorite rose as well. At the last minute, she dug up the rose and hid it in her prized tablecloth. When her husband learned of her stowaway, he, too, cared for the rose during the long voyage.
          When they arrived in New York the rose was planted at West Camp, then in the Schoharie Valley and, finally, near the old Palatine Church. Slips were shared with friends, especially at weddings. It was, and may still be, customary in many farm communities to present the bride with a heifer to supply milk, cream and butter. Often, a starter of sour dough was also given. When Atelier's daughter, Johanna Elisabeth Curring married John Christopher Fox, a new tradition was born. She received a small moss rose bush to brighten her new door yard. 
          This custom continued for several generations until one exceptionally bitter winter when most of the bushes were frozen and the tradition was lost, but the oral tradition continued. Children and grandchildren continued to look for the moss rose. One of the descendants who remained in the valley saw and admired a dainty, moss-covered, pink rosebud in the garden of Mrs. Margaret Zoller of Fort Plain. Mrs. Zoller told how the rosebush had grown in her grandmother's garden and recalled that it had been a gift from a member of the Snell family. As she told the story of how the moss rose had been carried across the Atlantic in a hand woven tablecloth, the young visitor experienced an overwhelming sense of happiness as she recognized that she had found Otillia's moss rose. Helen Van Patten, wife of Curtis Nellis, remembers the rose from her childhood.  She noted that the leaves had a mossy looking underneath and the thorns were terrible but that the flowers had the most beautiful aroma. Helen found a Redoute print that she felt resembled the moss rose. The print identifies the rose as Rosa bifera Officinalis, Rosier des Perfumeurs. This, and other prints by Pierre Joseph Redoute (1750-1840) were reproduced in The Avon Calendar of Roses 1983. The prints are also currrently available in many stores that sell decorative items. Helen indicated that she had not seen any of Otillia's roses for years. Unfortunately, these old fashioned roses have given way to hybrids, but be on the look-out! You, too, may be lucky enough to locate one of Otillia's roses.
          Schulman describes four general types of old fashioned roses. Two fit the description that Helen provided.  Centifolias, also known as 'Cabbage Roses', "are lax, thorny, open bushes with large coarsely toothed foliage. Their blooms, which are very double and highly fragrant, open from distinctive globular buds..... Most famous among these are the Moss Roses..." Schulman also defines the Moss roses as a seperate category probably derived from the Centifolia and Damask Roses. The Moss Roses "differ from their parents in that their pedicels, sepals and buds are covered with exaggerated, glandular or 'fuzzy' growth which does, to a degree, resemble moss. This mossy growth exudes a resinous substance with a distinctive balsam scent." An example of the Moss Rose is the Rosa centifolia 'Muscosa Alba'.

Written and contributed to the Herkimer/Montgomery Counties GenWeb by Kathleen McLaughlin

 
© Mark A. Wentling, 1999
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