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The Genealogy of The Moser, Hirtle and Fraser Families (Swiss, German and Scottish immigrants)

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In Memory of Ruth Alice - To my Family


A Bit of History

Nova Scotia was originally called Acadia and was first settled by the Roman Catholic French-Acadians who founded Port Royal in 1605. This area was inhabited by the MicMac Indians who were expert canoeists and sea navigators. The Acadians befriended and missionized these Indians and subsequently used them as middlemen in the European fur trade with the interior tribes of North America and Canada. The MicMacs remained steadfastly loyal to the French.

The English, rivals of the French in Europe and the New World, refused to recognize French claims to Acadia. In 192l the land was granted to the Scottish poet, Sir William Alexander, who renamed it Nova Scotia (New Scotland). He brought Scottish settlers to Annapolis Royal in 1620 and established Fort Charles. After three years of disputes with the Acadian settlers, the colony went back to the French and the Scottish emigrants returned to Scotland.

A tug of war ensued between the English and French over possession of Nova Scotia and finally, in 1713, the French ceded the mainland to the British under the Peace Treaty of Utrecht. Thus the Roman Catholic French-Acadians came under Protestant British rule. The English began to make settlements and to show their strength they built a naval base and capital at Halifax in 1749.

Distrusting the loyalty of the French Acadians, the British ordered their deportation. In 1755, 7,000 Acadians were forcibly taken from their homes and put on British ships and sent to American colonies. It is estimated that only half of those Acadians survived. The British then began replacing the Acadians with settlers from Scotland, Northern England and the Protestants from Europe who were suffering. Some of them were the Mosers from Bern, Switzerland and the Hirtles (Hartlings) from Wurttenburg, Germany.

The English, established the town of Lunenburg for these settlers. It was the first British colonial settlement in Nova Scotia, outside of Halifax and was a deliberate attempt at civilian colonization of what, until that time, had been Acadian territory. The settlers (known as“Foreign Protestants”), who had been recruited from southern and central Germany and Switzerland, were deliberately chosen for their potential loyalty to the British Crown. The settlers were lured from their homelands by the promise of free land in the New World and shortly after their arrival,were allocated town lots, garden lots just east of the town side, and 30 acre and 300 acre farm lots in the hinterlands.


The first bearers of the name Moser lived in Canton, Bern, Switzerland in a locale called Moosedorf. The name is noted to mean“Meadow Dweller”, which indicates that agriculture was their occupation. The earliest known member was Sir Ulrich von Seedorf Moser (Knight), who lived in Canton, Bern in 1242. In the sixteenth century under an edict by Henry XlV of France , the German provinces were no longer allowed freedom ofworship as Protestants. They suffered savage persecution by the French in an effort to compel them to change their religious views. The ravished survivors fled to Holland and Switzerland. Queen Anne of England, wanting replacements for the exiled Acadians, offered these fugitives land and full religious liberty to settle in Nova Scotia.

It was on May 11th, 1751 that our ancestor, JACOB MOSER (b. 1711), along with his wife, ANNA MARIA ZUIFLOWER, and their son, (HEINRICH) HENRY MOSER (B. 1745 in Bern, Switzerland), arrived at Halifax harbor aboard the“SPEEDWELL”. According to the ship’s list, he was a smithy by trade, the family settled at Kingsburg, Lunenburg County.

Also arriving in Halifax that year from Hochdorf, Wurttemberg, Germany, was (HANS) MICHAEL HIRTLE (HARTLING), b. 1691. (The spelling of Hirtle was later changed to Hartling). He was traveling aboard the“Pearl” with his wife, Maria Bartlin and their six children, Barbara, Jacob, Leonard, Johannes, Philip and Johanna. They settled in Mahone Bay, Lunenburg County. Michael’s ancestors are as follows: Parents: Martin (Schutz) Hirtle, b. 1658, d. 1737, married to Anna M. Krummer, was elected as burger/citizen of Hochdorf. Grandparents: Michael Hurlin Hirtle, b. 1622, d. 1679, was married to Margaretha and was mayor of Hochdorf.

Great Grandparents: Martin Hirtle, b. abt 1600, d. 1650, was married Appolonia, d. 1678, they lived in Hochdorf.


According to church records, Henry Moser and Johanna Hirtle (Hartling) were married on May 11, 1769 at St. John’s Anglican Church, Lunenburg County. How they met and fell in love is a story lost to the ages and one we will have to re-enact in our imagination. Henry was granted 62 acres in Lunenburg, a rocky, uninhabitable area south of Halifax. He and Johanna wanted to move to the Eastern Shore, an area further to the north, where the land was indented with numerous inlets, bays, rivers and harbors. Roads were few and in terrible condition so the sea was the main source of travel from one community to another as well as the main food source. They purchased 600 acres on the west side of Necum Teuch (aMicMac name for Moose River). They named the river and their settlement Moser River. He later petitioned the government for more land and was granted 2,350 acres. He shared this land with his four sons, Philip, Matthew, Leonard and Henry. They engaged in farming, fishing and, by necessity, shipbuilding. Although these settlers had to withstand fires, storms and economic difficulties, most of them remained on the Eastern Shore and became a breed of people unsurpassed in resolution, versatility and craftsmanship.

Many other settlers came to Moser River but according to the census of 1871, the Mosers were the largest family. Henry and Johanna had 10 children, Philip, Henry Matthew, Anna Maria, Mary Elizabeth, Leonard, John, Anna Mary, Magdalene and John George. Our descendent is Philip, born 1770. There is limit4ed documentation on Philip, except that he was the son of Johanna and Henry, was born in 1770 and in 1809 was living in Moser River with his wife and three children, John Alexander, Margaret and William Henry (unknown).

John Philip Moser. B 1800, Moser River, married Mary Ann Fraser Coward (a widow) in 1858. They had two children, John Alexander and William Henry. A genealogy of the Fraser family was prepared by Nancy Fraser, Halifax County, NS and gives the following information about our Scottish ancestry.


Alexander Fraser (Mary Ann’s grandfather) was born in 1735 in Lochaber, Scotland. The date he emigrated to Nova Scotia is not documented) but it is recorded he was granted 200 acres in October 1, 1784 at Sheet Harbour. He married Flora Alice McGregor and their first child was born circa 1784. He joined the army in Halifaxto fight in the American Revolutionary War and was a member of the Royal Garrison Battalion stationed in Bermuda. He died in July, 1830 at Sheet 1830 at Sheet Harbour and was buried in Church Point Cemetery. Alexander and Flora had the following children: Marjory, Catherine, John, James and Simon.

Simon Fraser, born in 1792, married Elizabeth Moser, daughter of Henry Moser and Mary Henneberry (brother of Philip Moser) on Dec. 7, 1823 at Sheet Harbour. The clergyman was Reverend J. Young. Simon died in 1883 at Moser River. They were registered as Presbyterians. Simon and Elizabeth had the following children, Mary Ann, born circa 1824 at Halifax County, James, John, Catherine and Maria Alice. James Fraser was captain of the“Chieftain” out of Sheet Harbour. (James must be the red headed Scotch sea captain that Mum used to tell us about).

Mary Ann Fraser married Thomas Coward in 1844 and they had five children. She was a midwife and was known as Aunt Mary Ann. Her husband, Thomas, was a mate on the“Chieftain” which was captained by her brother James. Thomas died at sea on August 22, 1855 reportedly from a fever, but there was a family story that he had been poisoned. On December 31. 1858, Mary Ann remarried to John Philip Moser, a widower, at Beaver Harbour, Halifax County. Mary Ann and John Phillip had the following children: John A. born 1859, who married Rosina Macdonald, Margaret born 1860 and William Henry (our grandfather) born 1864. John and Rosina had the following children: Annie, Carl, Bill, Mary, Freddy, Stuart and Elbridge. (Mum talked about an Aunt Annie that came to take care of them when her mother died and I believe this must have been that Annie). William Henry married Emma Jane Banks and they had the following children: Charles, Sarah, William, Ralph, Ruth Alice, Lester and Emma. The rest of the story you know.

There is much more that could be written about life on the Eastern Shore. You will find a wonderful history of the early Moser families in a book written by our cousin Philip L. Hartling, called“Where Broad Atlantic Surges Roll” (published April 1979, the month that Mum passed away). Much of the information I have stated here has come from that book and some from genealogy research on the internet. It is such an impressive story of courage and determination that I wanted to share it with you. They maintained their faith in God through unbelievable hardships and persevered to build a new life in a new land.

What a wonderful legacy for all of us.

Loving sister, Doris.


1. Hartling, Philip L.“Where Broad Atlantic Surges Roll” (A History of Beaver Harbour, Port Dufferin, Quoddy, Harrigan Cove, Moose Head, Moser River, Necum Teuch and Ecum Secum, NS: Formac Publishing Ltd., April 1979.

Following sources via the internet:

2. The Nova Scotia Genealogy Network Association Research Sources:

Nova Scotia Vital Statistics:

a. Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates.

B. Nova Scotia Census.

The Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia

a. Halifax County

b. Lunenburg County (see attached copy)

1. Personal and Family Genealogy Pages

2. Birth, Marriage and Death Records

3. Census Records

4. Passenger Lists (ships that carried“Foreign Protestants”.

Nova Scotia Community College, Shelburne Campus, generously hosted this web site.

3. Arsenault, Bona, Genealogy of Acadia,“Histoire des Acadiens “.

4. Microsoft Encyclopedia,“Nova Scotia” (Colonial Period) and (Life Prior to 1755).

Descendants of Jacob Moser


1. Jacob Moser was born 1711 in Bern, Switzerland and died 1779. He married Anna Maria Zuiflower. She was born 1748 in Bern Switzerland

Notes for Jacob Moser:

On May 11, 1751, Jacob Moser arrived in Halifax Harbour aboard the ship“Speedwell” along with his wife, Anna Maria Zuiflower and their son Henry. According to the ship’s list, Jacob was a Smithy by trade. They settled at Kingsburg, Lunenburg Co., NS.

Child of Jacob Moser and Anna Zuiflower is:

2. Henry2 Moser, b. 1745, Bern Switzerland.


2. Henry2 Moser (Jacob1) was born 1745 in Bern, Switzerland. He married Johanna Hartling May 11, 1769 in St. Johns Church, Lunenburg Co., HS, daughter of Michael Hartling and Maria Bartlin. She was born 1748 in Hochdorf, Germany.

Children of Henry Moser and Johanna Hartling are:

i. John Philip3 Moser b. 1800, Moser River, NS, d. 1880 Moser River, NS

ii. Matthew Moser

iii. Leonard Moser

iv Henry Moser

v. Anna Maria Moser

vi. Mary Elizabeth Moser

vii. Anna Mary Moser

viii. Magdalene Moser


3. John Philip3 Moser (Henry 2 Jacob1) was born 1880 in Moser River, NS and died 1880 in Moser River, NS. He married Mary Ann Fraser 1858, daughter of Simon Fraser and Elizabeth Moser. She was born 1822 in Moser River, NS and died 1917.

Marriage Notes for John Moser and Mary Fraser:

Mary Ann was the widow of Thomas Coward and had five children with Mr. Coward. She was a midwife and was known as Aunt Mary Ann.

Children of John Moser and Mary Fraser are:

i. William Henry4 Moser. B. November 12, 1864, Moser River, NS, d. February 14, 1944, Melrose Mass.

Ii. John Alexander Moser

iii. Margaret Moser


4. William Henry4 Mosher (John Philip3, Henry2, Jacob1) was born November 12, 1864 in Moser River, NS and died February 14. 1944 in Melrose, Mass. He married Emma Jane Banks. She was born December 10, 1867 in Port Lorne, NS and died April 20, 1904 in Mt. Hanly, NS.

Iii. William Moser

iv. Ralph Moser

v. Lester Moser

vi. Sarah Moser

vii. Emma Moser


5. Ruth Alice5 Moser (William Henry 4, John Philip3, Jacob 1) was born August 10, 1996 in Cambridge, Mass, and died April 1979 in Brookfield, Mass. She married Joseph Edwin Broughton, son of George Broughton and Mary Moriarty. He was born Sept 27, 1896 in Cambridge , Mass, and died September 1988 in East Brookfield, Mass.

Children of Ruth Moser and Joseph Broughton are:

i. Doris May6 Broughton. B. April 26, 1930, Ware, Mass, m. Richard Joseph White. September 3, 1949. St. Paul’s Catholic Church, Worcester, Mass, b. September 15, 1929, Worcester, Mass.

Ii. Marjorie Broughton, b. December 8, 1922

iii. Joseph E. Broughton, b. January 9, 1918

iv. Robert Broughton, b. October 9, 1920

v. George Broughton , b. August 27, 1924

vi. Paul Broughton, b. January 13, 1926

vii. William Broughton, September 12, 1928

viii. David Broughton, b. July 18, 1937