The OHS Pipe Organ Database

BuilderID 935

Builder Identification

Lititz, Pennsylvania, 1765–1771; Bethania [Wachovia], North Carolina, 1771.

Additional Notes

  • From the OHS PC Database, derived from A Guide to North American Organbuilders, by David H. Fox (Richmond, Va.: Organ Historical Society, 1991). —

    Born in Bohemia, immigrated to Pennsylvania, 1754; with David Tannenberg of Lititz, Pennsylvania, 1765–1771; in Bethania [Wachovia], North Carolina, 1771, organbuilder, cabinetmaker and wheelwright; died 1801.

    Sources:

    • Orpha Ochse, The History of the Organ in the United States (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1975), 86.
    • Raymond J. Brunner, ‘’That Ingenious Business’’: Pennsylvania German Organ Builders (Birdsboro, Pa.: Pennsylvania German Society, 1990), 105.

  • Note from Organ Database Builders editor Charles Eberline, December 28, 2017. —

    Joseph (sometimes spelled Josef) Ferdinand Bulitschek (there are many spelling variations of his last name) was born in Bohemia on December 11, 1729. His place of birth is variously given in the sources as Coehnon, Cöhnon, Cohman, Tumigad, or Fumigad; none of these places have been located. He left his hometown on November 21, 1745, to go to a Moravian school in Niesky, Saxony, Germany. He was received as a member of the Moravian Church in Herrnhut in 1746. By profession, Joseph was a carpenter, mill builder, and glazer. The community of Herrnhut had an organ builder as early as 1727, so it is possible that Joseph first learned the trade there.

    Joseph immigrated to America in 1754, arriving in New York City on November 16. By the end of that year he had settled in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. In 1759 he moved to Lititz, Pennsylvania, where he married Maria Charlotta Haller on February 28, 1762. During his time in Lititz, he worked for David Tannenberg. In 1771 he moved to Bethabara, North Carolina, but before the end of that year he had settled in Bethania, three miles from Bethabara. Joseph worked in Bethania as an organbuilder, cabinetmaker, millwright, and glazer; he appears to have built only two organs (one of the two has two entries, ID 11064 and ID 11065, in the OHS Pipe Organ Database). According to Michael Friesen, Bulitschek left Bethania in 1790 and bought 300 acres of land in Germanton, North Carolina, about twelve miles north of Salem, the county seat of Stokes County. He had left the Moravian Church by 1792, when his daughter Charlotta died and church officials denied his request that she be buried in the Moravian cemetery in Salem because he was “no longer of the Unity.” His reasons for leaving the church are unknown, but there is no record that he was expelled for unacceptable conduct. In Germanton he became involved in farming, quarrying, milling, and operating a lime kiln. His will, dated October 2, 1799, was proved in the June 1801 term of the Stokes County Court, so his death likely occurred after the March term in 1801, but no record has been found of the exact date.

    Sources:

    • Michael D. Friesen, “Organs and Organbuilding in North Carolina in the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries,” The Tracker 45, no. 2 (2001): 17–22.
    • “Joseph Ferdinand Bullitschek,” accessed December 20, 2017, http://bullitschek.com/History/Joseph.htm (a very detailed but poorly documented narrative).

Database Entries

There are 3 entries in the database that describe organs by Joseph Ferdinand Bulitschek.


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