Thursday, May 21, 2015

Harshbarger line: Maria Magdalena Kunkle abt 1725-

This post is intended as a tribute to all our female immigrant ancestors.  It is much more difficult to trace them back.  They usually leave no trace of themselves, and once they are gone from this earth it is up to the family to keep them in their memory.  Once their memories are gone, they are gone. 

So this story will be incredibly brief.  Maria Magdalena Kunkle was born most likely in Germany, came to America, married Johannes or John Sensinger and then after he was killed by Indians, Johann Casper Schnerr.  She had at least four children with her first husband and four with her second husband.  Dates of the children are not clear so I am only giving her "credit" for children that were noted as born within 9 months of her first husband's death, or after the supposed marriage to her second husband.  It it possible that there were more children. 

We don't even know when she died, but it is thought she died prior to her husband, who died in 1790.  We know that the family were Lutheran, that they lived through exciting times in the New World, with both the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War during their lifetime, and we know that they were a good pioneer family.  We know they lived in what became Adams and York County, Pennsylvania. 

What we can't know or understand is the amount of hardships she, as all pioneer women, would have suffered.  She likely associated only with other German speaking women, and may not have associated with those of the Reform church, as opposed to the Lutheran church.  There are many stories of neighbors not speaking to each other for years because of their religious differences, but it must have been difficult to be so isolated.  As the children grew and gradually moved away, it must have been a sad time. 

I'd love to be able to talk to her, to hear her tell the story of her life.  Maybe I am reading too much into the little that is known, maybe she had entirely different emotions than I, 250 years later, think she would have had.  But most of all, I'd like to thank her, and all the other unknown women, for doing everything they did to raise their families and help their new country grow.  They are all awesome!

The line of descent is

Maria Magdalena Kunkle-Johann Casper Schnerr
Julia Margaret Schnerr-Simon Essig
George Essig-Catherine Shollenbarger
Susannah Essig-Daniel Kemery
Adam Kemery-Nancy Buchtel
Della Kemery-William H Withers
Goldie Withers-Grover Harshbarger
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendents

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Beeks line: John Smith, 1614-1710 Immigrant.pastor and mill wright

Any family historian groans when his or her path leads to a John Smith.  We have several in our lines, but this John Smith is only moderately challenging.  By that, I mean we do know a few things about him, and they are only slightly confusing.  Naturally, there is much more we'd like to know. 

This particular John Smith was born in 1614 in Brinspitell,(Dorset or possibly Dorchester, England,) according to his own deposition in a court case.  His parents were Thomas and Joan Doan Smith, and it's not known whether he had siblings.

He appears to have come to Plymouth colony as early as 1630. which would have been at a young age indeed.  He may have been one of the first settlers of Barnstable, which was founded on Cape Cod in 1638, under the leadership of Thomas Hull.  We know he was made freeman there in 1640, indicating that he was of age, of good moral character, and owned property.  Rev. John Lathrop was pastor there in October of 1640, when John was admitted to the church.  A  few years later, on June 13, 1643, John Smith married Susanna Hinckley, sister of the future governor of Plymouth Colony, Thomas Hinckley.

In his manhood, we was a member of the militia,and a deputy to the General Court in 1656-1657.  He was part of a negotiating team with the native Americans in 1653 and again in 1657.  In 1659 we was "allowed" with Isaac Robinson to talk to Quakers and possibly even go to their services, in order to determine what was in their hearts.  They recommended that the anti-Quaker laws be repealed, but their recommendations were ignored.  He occasionally preached in Barnstable and was pastor of a Separatist church in 1661-1662, until the church was closed. He may have upset the authorities or he may have been upset by the authorities, because he left Barnstable about this time. Some believe that he first went to Long Island, NY, although I find that the John Smiths there are confusing and there may be some room to question that conclusion. 

It is clear, however, that John and Susannah and family left the Puritan colony and they did settle in New Jersey, whether or not they were first on Long Island.  He received land at Piscataway in 1666 but settled at Woodbridge, N.J. and was quite active there.  He assisted in building the church and supporting the minister, was constable in 1669, was member of the New Jersey Assembly town clerk, and moderator, and eventually, justice.  During this time, his occupation is given as mill wright.  We don't know where he learned that trade, or whether he had been pursuing it in Barnstable or even in Long Island. 

By 1675, the town of Sandwich, Massachusetts was looking for a pastor and called him to fill the spot.  Most pastors were from England and had a college education so I'm a little confused about this, but he was apparently ordained in Sandwich and served the church there until 1688, when his pastorate ended at his own request, at the age of 74.  He may have been feeling the effects of his age, or other infirmities may have set in. 

John and Susannah had 13 children, Samuel, Sarah, Ebenezer (died as an infant), Mary, Dorcas, John (lived two days), Shubael, John, Benjamin, Ichabod, Elizabeth, Thomas and Joseph, born from 1644 to 1667.  I find conflicting death dates for Susannah, of 1667 and 1675.  I hope she lived until 1675, to see her family grow up and to make sure her youngest children would remember her.  John died in 1710, at the age of 96 years, probably in the home of one of his children. 

I'd love to know more about his religious beliefs and what led him to pastor a church when he was already past the age of 60 years old, and the circumstances of his ordination.  I'd love to know what books he had in his library.  I'd love to learn where he learned the skills to be a mill wright, and where he learned the diplomacy to deal with the native Americans.  He was another fascinating man.

The line of descent is:

John Smith-Susannah Hinckley
Samuel Smith-Elizabeth Pierce
Shubael Smith-Prudence Fitzrandolph
Mary Smith-Jonathan Dunham
Samuel Dunham-Hannah Ruble
Jacob Dunham-Catherine Goodnight
Samuel Dunham-Eliza Reese
Margaret Catherine Dunham-Harvey Aldridge
Cleo Aldridge-Wilbur Beeks
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Their descendents

Friday, May 15, 2015

Holbrook line: Ralph Wheelock abt 1600-1683 Immigrant

There is so much written about Ralph Wheelock, including an easily accessible article on Wikipedia, that I am not sure why I am writing this post.  However, because my family may not be aware of their connection to him, I will give just the bare outlines of his life.  We need to know our past, so we can walk proudly into the future.

It seems most likely, although unproven, that Ralph Wheelock was born or christened on May 14, 1600 in Donington, Shropshire, England.  He know that his parents must have had money, because he was educated at Clare Hall, Cambridge University, with John Milton and John Elliot as classmates.  He enrolled in 1623 and obtained a bachelor of arts degree in 1626 and a master of arts in 1630 or 1631.  Cambridge was a center for Puritan thought and he participated in that movement while there.

Less than two weeks after obtaining his master of arts degree, and being ordained by Francis White, biship of Norfolk, he married Rebecca Clarke, daughter of Thomas Clarke and Mary Canne, in the church of Wramplingham St. Peter and Paul, Wramplingham, England.  It appears that he served as local curate in Banham, Norfolk, and then in some capacity in Eccles.  We don't know when or whether his beliefs as a Puritan brought him up against the requirements of the Church of England, but it is believed that he, along with his wife and three children Mary, Gershom and Rebecca, sailed to Boston in 1637.  There may have been a daughter, Peregrina, born at sea, also. 

They first settled in Watertown, but by 1638 Rev. Wheelock was one of the founding fathers and first settlers at Dedham, Massachusetts.  Four children were born to the couple there, Benjamin, Samuel, Record, and Experience.  In 1639, he was chosen to be one of eight town 'assayers', or selectmen, and was also made a freeman.  In 1642 he was appointed the General Court Clerk of Writs, which was included legal duties and also the authority to dispense lands. 

Rev. Wheelock's first love was teaching school, and he may have been the first teacher of a public school in America.  The school was voted on February 1, 1644 and Wheelock was the first teacher, but it's not clear exactly when the school began. 

In 1651, the family was preparing to move again, to a settlement they helped found that became the town of Medfield.  The last son, Eleazur, was born there, and the Wheelocks had finally found their permanent home.  Rev. Wheelock was the leader of the committee of seven that founded the town, and received the first house lot there.  He served on the board of selectmen for several years, and was a representative to the General Court in Massachusetts five different times.  He was also the first school teacher there.

Rebecca Clarke Wheeler died January 1, 1680 and Reverend Ralph died January 11,1683.  His will gave several grants of land to his sons and sons in law, and added a comment that "Further my will is that my books not formerly disposed of shall after my decease shall be Devided amongst my children."  I would love to find an inventory of his books, to see what was important in his life besides the Bible, and what he used to teach his family and his students.

We have had a lot of schoolteachers in our family, and it's fascinating to think that somehow some of this man's influence reached to his descendents, many generations later. 

The line of descent is:

Ralph Wheelock-Rebecca Clarke
Benjamin Wheelock-Elizabeth Bullen
Benjamin Wheelock-Huldah Thayer
Mary Wheelock-Ebenezer Thayer
Abigail Thayer-Jesse Holbrook
Amariah Holbrook-Molly Wright
Nahum Holbrook-Susanna Rockwood
Joseph Holbrook-Mary Elizabeth Whittemore
Fremont Holbrook-Phoebe Brown
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendents

Since Molly Wright is mentioned in this descent, the update is that there is no update.  I am supposed to hear something from NEHGS this week, but thus far, all is silent.  Soon, very soon! 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Allen line: John Graves 1622-1677 A sad ending

I was all geared up to write about Deacon George Graves today, but I decided to first double-check my facts.  My facts were fiction, as it turned out.  So I've been spending some time learning about John Graves today, and his story needs to be told and honored in our family. 

John Graves was born in 1622 somewhere in England (probably somewhere in Kent,) to Thomas Graves and Sarah, possibly Sarah Whiting.  He came to the New World with his family and they first settled in New Haven and then Hartford, Connecticut.  John took up land in Wethersfield, but it is probable that this land was just a short distance from his father and his brother Isaac, who stayed in Hartford for a time.  This was very much a Puritan family, and there was a schism in the church which induced them all to leave their homes and settle again in Hatfield, Massachusetts, which was very much a frontier town, but which was comprised mainly of people with their religious beliefs.  They arrived there probably about October 1, 1661, and the three families immediately began building shelter for the winter. 

Thomas died in 1662, about a year after arriving at Hatfield.  He lived to see several of his grandchildren born, and had had a good and respected life.  Sarah died four years later. 

In the meantime, John was building his own family.  He married Mary Smith, daughter of Lieutenant Samuel Smith and Elizabeth Chileab, about 1651 or 1652.  The first of their 10 children was born in 1653.  When they made the move from Wethersfield to Hatfield, there were five children, John, Mary, Isaac, Samuel, and Sarah.  Elizabeth, Daniel, Ebenezer, Bethiah and Nathaniel were born after they arrived in Hatfield, the last in 1671.  John was a respected man, a weaver, and a man of education.  When his wife died in December of 1668, John next married Mary Bronson Wyatt, a widow.  It is possible that Nathaniel is her child, because his birth date is given as 1671 and that is supposed to be when the couple married. 

He should be remembered for his life, but his death is also worthy of note. On September 19, 1677 John and his brother Isaac were working to put a roof on the house of John's son, John Jr..  The house was located about one half mile north of the stockade but the men were not particularly worried that morning. Although King Philip's War was still in progress (hence the stockade), the men believed things were relatively calm at the time.  Probably they had their rifles with them, but the weapons may have been on the ground while the men were on the roof.  Regardless, a group of Indians attacked and killed them both, along with two other men who were working with them, John Atchinson and John Cooper.  Eight other persons were also killed, and seventeen of them were made prisoners.  It was a horrible day in the history of the colony, and in the history of our family.

John's widow, Mary, married Lieutenant William Allis on June 25, 1678 and Samuel Gaylord on March 16, 1681.  She must have been a good woman, to attract so many men.  It would be interesting to know how many step children she helped raise! 

If you want to know more about the Graves family, they actually have a wonderful website at  You can trace the family down through many generations, and you'll notice that we actually have several lines to this man. 

Here's one of them:

John Graves-Mary Smith
Sarah Graves-Edward Stebbins
Sarah Stebbins-John Roote
Sarah Root-Thomas Noble
Stephen Noble-Ruth Church
Ruth Noble-Martin Root Jr.
Ruth Root-Samuel Falley
Clarissa Falley-John Havens Starr
Harriet Starr-John Wilson Knott
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendents

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have many names to delete from the tree and a few to add.  So long to Deacon George and hello, John and Thomas!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Beeks line: Thomas Conway abt 1654-1689 Irish Quaker Immigrant

We don't know a lot specifically about Thomas Conway.  One paragraph would probably suffice to fill in the known details of his life.  He was born about 1654 to Thomas Conaway and Mariah Tanney in Lisburn, County Armagh, Ireland.  The parents apparently aren't proven but they are believed to be his parents.  He married Mary Hollingsworth, daughter of Valentine Hollingsworth and Ann Ree (last name uncertain) in 1682 in Segoe, Armagh, Ireland, in the Quaker religion.  Two months later, the young Conways emigrated with Mary's father to what became the Brandywine Hundred, in northern Delaware.  (At the time, it was considered part of Pennsylvania.) The couple had three daughters, Mary, Ann, and Sarah, before Thomas died in 1689.  I've found three different death dates for him but all at least agree that he died in 1689.

That is all that I can learn about Thomas, other than a list of witnesses at his wedding.  We don't know whether he was the first Quaker in the family, but it appears his parents didn't attend the wedding.  We don't know when his parents died, or how far the wedding was from the family home, if there was one.

We do know that the Hollingsworth and Conway families emigrated for more than economic reasons.  Yes, the promise of cheap land in William Penn's tract was enticing, but most Irish Quakers emigrated because they were being persecuted, thrown into jail and their land or/and belongings confiscated.  Ireland was no place to try to raise a Quaker family.  We also know that life in the New World was not easy.  Starvation was a possibility and malnutrition a probability, which led to any of numerous diseases and conditions.  We don't know why Thomas died but there is no record of an Indian attack that would account for his death in 1689, so it was either an accident or illness.  He was only about 35 years old when he died. 

His widow, Mary, later married Randall Malin and they had three children.  Mary is said to have died in 1746, when she was about ninety years old. 

The line of descent is:

Thomas Conway-Mary Hollingsworth
Mary Conway-Charles Booth
Lydia Booth-Isaac Malin
Sarah Malin-David Ruble
Hannah Ruble-Samuel Dunham
Jacob Dunham-Catherine Goodnight
Samuel Dunham-Eliza Reese
Margaret Catherine Dunham-Harvey Aldridge
Cleo Aldridge-Wilbur Beeks
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Their descendents

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Harshbarger line: William H. Withers estate 1936

On one of my trips to Whitley County, Indiana, I copied down the basics of the estate of William H Withers.  I may have had a copy of it at one time, because this isn't dated although I believe it would be from 1936, since he died January 24,1936.  I will mark this on my to do list the next time I go back, because I hate to leave things undone.  However, I'd also hate to have this information about him and not post it, because someone, some where, may be glad to have these 'crumbs' to lead them on the trail.

The appraisers of the estate (also not noted-Gee, was this the day I went with husband and he was in a hurry to leave?  or maybe we took photos that didn't turn out) gave the following values to his personal property:

Checking account  $29                                  Mower                           $3
2 horses                  $50                                 Corn cultivator               $2
3 cows                  $120                                 Hay rake                         $2
1 cow                     $30                                  Onion drill                      $1
calf                         $10                                  2 wheel hoes                  $2
brood sow              $25                                 30 onion crates                $1.50
7 shoats                 $140                                50 lb peppermint oil        $7.50  ??
1923 Dodge auto   $35                                  Set of harness                 $2
Wagon                   $10                                  2 tons of hay (??)             $10

Harness                    $3                                 50 bu. corn                      $25

Riding plow             $3                                 Walking breaking ???       $.50

Total appraised value  $579  No taxes owed
Debts to J.A. DeMoney, funeral $257.50
Dr. B.F. Pence, medical bill     $17.50

Net value of estate  $304.

I've read enough to know that growing onions and then mint in Whitley County, Indiana was back- breaking hard work, and did not pay well.  This estate is evidence of that.  We have no personal stories other than a story about an automobile accident that left his vehicle smelling differently than it had before, to rely on in trying to learn about this man, so this gives us more information than we had before. 

There is an outside chance that someone reading this may have a picture of William or/and of his wife, Della Kemery.  I would certainly love to hear from you, if that person is you!  

The line of descent is:

William H. Withers-Della Kemery
Goldie Withers-Grover Harshbarger
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendents

Friday, May 1, 2015

Holbrook line: Thomas Holbrook 1599-1677, Immigrant

We have a lot of information about Thomas Holbrook, but one of the things we don't know is when he was born.  He was christened on March 1, 1599 at St. John the Baptist Church, Glastonbury, Somersetshire, England.  If you're thinking that "Glastonbury" sounds familiar, it has very old associations with Joseph of Arimathea, King Arthur, and the Holy Grail.  Thomas may have grown up hearing some of these stories. He would most certainly have been familiar with the church where he was christened, which dates from the 15th century.  So the church was old (by American standards) when he was young. 

He was the fifth of at least seven children born to William Holbrook and Edith Coles Saunders.  So far I have not been able to learn what his father did for a living, nor, for that matter, what Thomas did.  Thomas grew up, however, and married Jane Powyes or Powis, daughter of William Powyes and Elizabeth, on September12, 1616 at Glastonbury.  If the 1599 birth date for Thomas is correct (and some think he was born a few years before he was christened), he would have been only about 17 years old, which was young for marriage then.   

Thomas and Jane and their family moved to Broadway, also in Somerset, in about 1633, where Rev. Joseph Hull was leading a Puritan congregation.  Archbishop William Laud of Canterbury was busy expelling Puritan preachers from Church of England congregations, and Hull was expelled in 1635.  On March 20, 1635, Rev. Hull and 105 other persons, mostly members or associates of his congregation, were on their way to New England on board the Marygould.  Children John, Thomas, Ann, and Elizabeth were with them.  William is not listed on the manifest and may not have come on the same ship.  Daughter Jane was born in 1636, after arriving in New England.   

The ship arrived in Boston on May 6, 1635, so the trip was relatively short.  In another two months, Reverend Hull and about 100 other persons were given permission to settle at Wessaguscus, south east of Boston.  The town was soon renamed Weymouth, and that is where the Holbrooks settled.  They had apparently been granted land in Rehoboth, which they did not settle and therefore forfeited.  Thomas was made a freeman in May of 1645, so by that time he had joined the church and was a property owner.  He was respected in town, as he was a selectman in 1642,1645, 1646, 1651, 1652 and 1654, and also helped lay out a road from Weymouth to Dorchester in 1648.

We don't know what Thomas did to make a living in the New World, either, but he likely raised some crops and perhaps also had some connection with the sea, since the settlement is right on the coastline.  He wrote his will in February of 1668/69 and added a codicil in 1673.  The will was proved April 24, 1677.  The inventory totaled 129 pounds, 1 shilling, of which forty pounds was real estate.  His estate, after his wife had died, was to be equally divided between his six surviving children, with eldest son John to get a double portion.  He left all of his grandchildren at least two shillings, with grandsons John to get his sword, Peter to get his gun, and William to get his musket.  In the codicil, Peter was also given the dwelling house and about three acres of orchard and arable land.  He states in the codicil that Peter had been as a servant to him and to wife Jane in their old age, and had cared for them for eight years at the time of the codicil.  Wife Jane had died sometime between 1673 and the date the will was proved, for John was the executor of the will.

Have I mentioned before how much I love working on these posts?  I always learn so much from writing them, but it always leaves me wanting more.  We are fortunate with Thomas Holbrook in several ways.  First, he has a lot of descendents, and some of them have been doing their own research and posting it on the web.  Secondly, because he arrived in New England in 1635, there is a wonderful write up of him in The Great Migration series on the American Ancestors website, and probably in your local library.  I am deeply indebted to them, and to Kathy and Larry McCurdy, who have compiled information on the website.  I also recommend, because gives not only information about Thomas, but also gives a lot of background information, and pictures of some of the areas associated with Thomas.

The line of descent is:

Thomas Holbrook-Jane Powyes
Thomas Holbrook-Joanna Kingman
Peter Holbrook-Alice Godfrey
Joseph Holbrook-Mary Cook
Jesse Holbrook-Abigail Thayer
Amariah Holbrook-Molly Wright
Nahum Holbrook-Susanna Rockwood
Joseph Holbrook-Mary Elizabeth Whittemore
Fremont Holbrook-Phoebe Brown
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendents

There is also another line of descent.  The first three lines are the same, and then it's:

Mary Holbrook-Joseph Thompson
Alie Thompson-Joseph Rockwood 
Levi Rockwood-Deborah Lazell
Susanna Rockwood-Nahum Holbrook
and so on...  Susanna and Hahum would have been fourth cousins, if I have this figured right. 

Fun fact: Thomas and Jane are the ancestors of Presidents James Garfield, both Presidents Bush, and William Howard Taft.  That makes us distant cousins to all of them, a couple of times!