Birth and Baptismal Certificate for David Wetzel
Origin: America, Virginia, Shenandoah County
Primary support: 13 1/2 x 17 1/2in. and Framed: 16 x 18 7/8in.
Watercolor and ink on laid paper
Acc. No. 1984.305.1
The certificate's wording is contained within a bordered circle near the center of the sheet. The remaining margins are filled with colorful designs of birds and flowers, most outlined with "frilled" pen strokes, and to either side of the circle sit a woman (at left) and a man (at right) in yellow-painted rod-back Windsor chairs.
The 1 7/8-inch, tiger maple-veneered frame is a period replacement.
Label:Hand-drawn birth and baptismal certificates in the German tradition in America rarely feature human figures of the type used by Bandel. The couple in this example, perhaps representing the child's parents, wear detailed costumes and are seated in yellow painted, Windsor-style chairs. The lady's frilled "collar" probably is the top of a finely pleated lawn tucker worn under the type of high-waisted dress that was popular during the period, and she carries a cloth purse (or possibly a handkerchief) in her hand. Her companion wears top boots with breeches and a riding or morning coat.
George Wetzel (b. 1775) and his wife, Rebecca, lived in Shenandoah County, Virginia, where their son David was born on June 6, 1809. In 1835, David married Margaret Hartmann (Hartman, or Hardman; 1813-1900). David Wetzel died on November 27, 1882, and was buried in the cemetery on his wife's family's farm in Lewis County, West Virginia.
Provenance:See the enclosure received with vendor Mary K. Holt's letter of 4/11/1984, which indicates that 1984.305.1, 1984.305.2, and 1984.305.3 were all given to her and her husband, Mat Holt, about 1959 by Miss Virginia Bernice Tillman (4/4/1881-12/23/1973).
Miss Tillman inherited the frakturs from her parents, Ruhama Wetzel Tillman (3/26/1838-6/16/1917) and Zachary Taylor Tillman (2/4/1833-10/22/1906). Ruhama Wetzel Tillman was a daughter of David D. Wetzel (6/6/1809-11/27/1835), for whom 1984.305.1 was made, and his wife, Margaret Hardman Wetzel (11/13/1813-9/15/1900).
Mark(s):No watermark found. See also "Inscriptions."
Inscription(s):On the back of the primary support, along with various ink scribbles, is, "David Whetzel". In German, the ink inscription on the front reads, "Diese beide ehe gattin/Als Gorg Wetzel und Rebecca/Wendel verehlichte Wetzeln ist im/Jahr 1809 den 6ten Juni ein sohn in/Virgini geboren war getauft von/Pfarr Hannickel Schmucker seine/Eltern waren zeugen und/Nandten ihm David".
The English translation of the preceding reads, "To these two married people, namely George Wetzel and Rebecca Wendel, married name Wetzel, a son was born in the year 1809, June 6, born in Virginia, was baptized by Pastor Hannickel Schmucker. His parents were his sponsors and named him David." [Transcription and translation were provided by Pastors Frederick S. Weiser and Larry Neff, October 1983; see original document in file].