Northampton County Carver identified

IMG_4040Jacob Motz or Moots was a German-speaking Lutheran stonecarver active between the late 1760s and the early 1780s. His surviving work is present in 37 examples in 11 churchyards in what are now Northampton County and Lehigh County in Pennsylvania, and Warren County in New Jersey. (At least two of his stones were destroyed by bulldozers on the orders of a congregational council in 1974.) Almost half of the stones are in the cemeteries of Zion Stone Church in Kreidersville and the former Christ Union in Lower Saucon, Hellertown.

Motz’s work was identified as belonging to one individual as early as 1954 by Preston Barba; he was identified by name in December of 2019 by Richard Mammana using probate settlement documentation in the Northampton County Court Archives. Before 2019, Motz was known only as the “Northampton County Carver.” The stones, some of which are in advanced states of deterioration and lichen encrustation, have the following characteristics in common:

1. The text of the epitaph is in German with idiosyncratic spelling.
2. The material is local sandstone.
3. The stone was carved between 1768 and 1782.
4. A characteristic vase with flowers features on the reverse.
5. The text on obverse has majuscule and minuscule lettering mixed within words.
6. Stylized sunbursts in corners.
7. There are occasional dates on the obverse that correspond to the date of erection or completion, not the decedent’s date of death.



Filed under Northampton County Carver, Pennsylvania German

4 responses to “Northampton County Carver identified

  1. Tim Weeder

    I am grateful for your blog about Jacob Motz the Northampton County stone carver. My passion is genealogy and he is almost certainly my 6th great grandfather. I would very much like to ask you some questions and perhaps you have questions for me.

    • I’d be very interested in contacting you, but I can’t find an email address.

      • Tim Weeder

        Hello Richard. My email address is

        I’m on vacation and will return home late tonight and can access my files then.

        One of my questions is whether there is a complete list of cemeteries and corresponding time frames for his stone carvings? I have located baptismal records in Northampton for two of his children, but the others I haven’t been able to find.

        If Jacob had several residences sufficiently distant from one another it might give me a clue as to which church records to focus my search. My 5th great grandfather, also named Jacob (surname Anglicized to Moatz/Moats), is believed to be his son. The 1790 Census doesn’t name the elder Jacob’s children, but there is a young male of the right age range recorded in the home. So, finding a baptismal record for my Jacob Motz would be wonderful. He was born 1779-1881.

        Jacob Motz the stone carver and his family moved to the Leitersburg area in Maryland just across the Pennsylvania border about 1783 according to land records. After his death the family moved back across the border into Waynesboro, PA. It would be interested to know if he carved any headstones there as well. I know the name of the church he attended located near Leitersburg.

        Jacob Motz the stone carver was born in Lampertsloch, Bas-Rhin, Alsace, France. It was a German-speaking region. His occupation listed on his marriage record was that of a stone cutter.

        Tim Weeder

        Sent from my iPhone


  2. Pingback: Bibliography of Pennsylvania German Tombstones | Richard Mammana

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