Friday, November 17, 2017

Harshbarger line: Bits and pieces from the Emanuel Harshbarger family

Here are some bits and pieces from the life of the Emanuel Harshbarger family, as found on

From the Commercial Mail, Columbia City, Indiana Jan. 11, 1958, in a column that was looking back 50 years:

"The Emanuel Harshbarger family reported they thought they were the county's bread-eating champions.  They baked 738 loaves of bread during 1907, also ate 483 cookies and 106 pies." 

I don't have death dates noted for all of the eight children in this family, but I think some were already gone by then.  Grover Harshbarger was just ready to turn 17, and I suspect he ate like a growing boy. In the 1910 census, just Grover and his brother Logan were listed as living at home.  Daughter Bertha, then 13, was listed in the 1900 census.  So the family that ate all this food wasn't large, unless perhaps Clara sold some of the excess to neighbors or a grocery store. 

Then from the Commercial Mail, May 27,1961, also looking back 50 years:

"Ambrose Keister, Troy township, had a barn raising when a 30x50 foot barn with an L was raised by Emanuel Harshbarger and his special equipment."  I'd love to know how that was done, and what the special equipment was!

And finally, from The Fort wayne Sentinel, of January 13, 1920

"Fire Does Slight Damage.  (Special to the News.) Columbia City, Ind. Jan. 12.--

Fire was discovered in the Emanuel Harshbarger home, two miles north of town, at 9 o.clock yesterday morning, but little damage was done.  it was communicated from a defective chimney in the space between the door and ceiling and it was necessary to chop several holes in the upstairs floor to get at the smouldering blaze.  The family washing was being done and plenty of water was standing in vessels with which to fight the fire, which was finally extinguished by members of the family.  The loss was small and was covered by insurance." 

The common thread I'm seeing here was that this was a hard-working family.  These are the kind of people who made America. 

The line of descent:

Emanuel Harshbarger-Clara Harter
Grover Harshbarger-Goldie Withers
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendants 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Beeks line: September 17, 1950 A farewell dinner given

I found this gem in the Huntington Herald Press of september 22,1950,  page 4, in a column written by "Miss Barbara Beeks".

"Farewell Dinner Given"

"A farewell dinner was given at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur Beeks and family Sunday in honor of their son, James Beeks, who left to join the armed forces at Camp Hood, Texas.  Those present were Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Keefer and son, Dewayne, Michigan; Loretta Scott, Lagro:, Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Osborn and sons, David and Ronnie, and daughter Dianna, Lee Vought and son, Ronnie; Charles Senkpiel, Mt. Etna; Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Brown and son Bobbie; Vicky Beeks and the honored son.  Supper guests were Mr. and Mrs. Cleveland Harshbarger and sons, Roger and Johnny.  Mr. Beeks served one year in the army at Fort Braggs, N.C. and was discharged last spring. "

Jim's younger siblings, Norman, Donald, Bonnie, and Barbara seem to have all been living at home at this time, so unless they were working they were probably at the gathering too.  Jim was the oldest surviving child of Wilbur and Cleo, and when he came home after his first discharge they must have counted their blessings, never imagining he would be called back and later sent to Korea.

I'm writing this on Veteran's Day although it won't post for a few days.  Sometimes simple stories like this help us realize what our ancestors and relatives went through, and why we honor our service men and women.  There may have been tears; there surely were proud and aching hearts, as Jim left for Texas.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Holbrook line: Quentin Pray 1595-1667 Immigrant

And we have a winner!  Quentin or Quintin Pray is pretty well documented because he got into so much minor trouble.  His court records are fascinating, and because of them, we know quite a bit about him, although of course there are questions.  It's kind of fun to find someone outside the normal "Puritan" culture, who left an interesting story to be told.  I should mention that this information comes from Michael S. Caldwell's tree on rootsweb, as well as additional information found on geni and on Find a Grave.  I have little personal research to add, but I'm glad to be able to write this story, anyway.

Quentin was born August 27,1595 in Chiddingstone, Kent, England.  His father was probably Robert Pray, although I have also seen a Richard Pray listed as his father, with no mention of his mother to be found other than possibly "Marion".  Wikipedia describes Chiddingstone as "a perfect example of a Tudor one street village".  Quentin would have grown up here, under the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, in his early childhood. 

We don't know what trade he worked or how he met his wife, Joan Valliance, but they married June 17, 1621 in Mayfield, Sussex, England.  The two villages appear to be about 13 miles apart.   Several of their children were baptized in Frant, which ispartly in Knet and partly in Sussex County. 

Possibly for economic reasons, since we have no evidence of a Puritan leaning, or maybe because the couple was ready for an adventure, they came to America in 1643, on the ship "Ann Cleeve of London".  John Winthrop, Jr had gone to England and arranged for a group of workmen, servants, and materials to come of Massachusetts for the purpose of setting up an ironworks.  Presumably Quentin and family would then have been in debt to Winthrop for their passage, although it is possible that they came as indentured servants.  It would be interesting to find the early papers of the Iron Works Company, to see what any contracts might say. 

Quentin first went to Kittery, Maine, but was soon in Lynn, Massachusetts.  There are references to him as a "fineryman" but I'm unable to determine whether this was a general term for ironworker, or whether this was a specific job within the process. 

Starting in 1647, Quentin and sometimes his wife appeared before the quarterly court of Essex County several times on charges of swearing.  The usual fine was five shillings, and on December 12, 1648, the two were fined 50 shillings, for five oaths.  The reference doesn't say whether this took place during one marital discussion, or whether it was the result of some other dispute.

Quinton also was a witness when Nicholas Pynyon, who may have been a relative, was 'presented"  for killing five children, on the testimony of his (Nicholas's)  wife.  I haven't found the results of this yet, but Nicholas was in the court records later, or possibly it was a son or other family member.

Finally, Quinton on July 11, 1649 was charged with hitting Nicholas Penion with a staff that had a two feet piece of iron on the end of it, breaking Nicholas's head, and for striking Thomas Billington, and for swearing.  For all this, he was fined.  Ironworkers must have had privileges that somehow kept them from the gallows!  Quinton also may have been charged with striking Jno. Dimond, although the date for that isn't clear. 

Sometime in the 1650's, probably about 1651, the Prays moved to Braintree and there he lived out his life.  He was still working as an ironworker and possibly filed bankruptcy in 1653 (not sure whether this was a personal bankruptcy or the failure of the ironworks he was employed by).  In 1664, he sold all his personal property to pay off personal debts, so things had not gone well for Quentin.

He died June 17, 1667 in Braintree.  His wife Joan was given administration of the estate.  The estate was valued at 74 pounds, three shillings.  One interesting item in the inventory was three spinning wheels.  This shows that there were several people living in the home.  One record says that the youngest of possibly as many as 12 children was born at Braintree, which would have made Joan, if this was still the Joan he had married in 1621, a mother at a rather advanced age.  Quentin must have trusted her judgement, to make her the administrator when she still had children at home.

I found no mention of church involvement for Quentin, which may possibly be inferred by his court record  His inventory shows no books, although of course they may have been sold to settle that earlier debt.  There's much we don't know about Quentin, but we know he led a colorful life, he was a hard worker, and he probably provided at least enough, if not generously, for his family.  It will be fun to keep an eye out for more records as I study more in early Massachusetts history.

The line of descent is:

Quinton Pray-Joan Valliance
Richard Pray-Mary
John Pray-Sarah Brown
Mary Pray Richard Brown
Othniel Brown-Deborah Brown
Sarah Brown-Enos Eddy
Enos Eddy-Deborah Paine
Joseph Brown Eddy-Susan Lamphire
Susan Eddy-Hiram Stanard
Lousi Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Yes, there are three separate Brown families in this line.  Two go back to Chad Brown and Elizabeth Sharparowe but the other line doesn't seem to, or at least the connection is far up the tree. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Allen line: Joseph Riley, possible Irishman, Immigrant

This post will be more a collection of ideas than a post of fact.  Please take anything you read here with a grain of salt.  I am trying to do more research to support this post but so far I'm coming up empty, and here is my deadline for writing this post.

I've written an earlier blog post about John Riley, and I think I had that one pretty much straight, but I could be wrong.  Joseph seems, at the present time, to be more in the way of a myth, since I can't find records right now to support what I have finding on line.  I'll post what I have found online here in the hopes that this will give us some clues as to where to look, or perhaps someone will recognize this man and be able to say, "No, he's not your guy, and here's why". 

The first surprising thing is that Joseph seems to have been born on December 12, 1598 in Dublin, Leinster, Ireland.  That is a bit unusual for our family, but stranger things have happened.  His parents may have been Jonathan Riley and Sarah, whose name is given in some places as Deming.  Deming is a good New England name but I'm not sure it's a good Irish name, so there is one of my hesitations with this tree. 

The next "fact" I find about Joseph is that he married Mary Wright on January 23,1624 in Eland, Yorkshire, England.  I am unable to figure out a really good reason that Joseph would have gone from Dublin to Yorkshire to marry, except, possibly, that his Riley grandparents, Daniel and Elizabeth Bist Riley, went from Yorkshire to Dublin.  So there is a slight possibility that he had family in the area.  it's also possible that Daniel and Elizabeth are also not factual. 

It seems that Joseph and Mary arrived in New England in the late 1620s, because supposedly their son Thomas was born in Wethersfield, Hartford Connecticut in 1630.  There's a problem here, however, as Wethersfield wasn't founded until 1822, quite a bit after our ancestor lived.  Also, the trees are showing that Joseph died in Massachusetts, possibly Westfield, Hampden County.  The problem with that is I have looked at those records (Westfield) and there are no Rileys at all listed there prior to, at least, 1700.

Joseph and Mary have been credited with at least five children:  John, Sarah, William, Daniel, and Elizabeth, with John presumably being the oldest and being born in Dublin.  However, I'm not finding records of the births of the children.

I would certainly like to find some documentation for this family. If they are from Dublin, then that makes them quite interesting people in our family.  If they are not from Dublin, where are they from?  And if John's parents aren't even Joseph and Mary, where do we go from here?

Do you see why sometimes it feels like banging one's head against a wall, in trying to verify "information"?  I don't want to mislead anyone into believing that much of anything here has been proven, at least not be me.  Yet, on the chance that this is correct, here we go:

The line of descent may be:

Joseph Riley-Mary Wright
John Riley-Grace Buck
John Riley-Margaret McCraney
Mary Riley-Joseph Ely
Mary Ely-Thomas Stebbins
Ruth Stebbins-Samuel Hitchcock
Margaret Hitchcock-Richard Falley
Samuel Falley-Ruth Root
Clarissa Falley-John Havens Starr
Harriet Starr-John Wilson Knott
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants

Friday, November 3, 2017

Harshbarger line: End of the Harshbarger line?

I sure have a long list of people in the Harshbarger line, in one convoluted fashion or another, whom I can't trace further back.  Some are from Virginia, some from the Maryland and what became West Virginia area, and many were in Pennsylvania in early times. Some came from England, some from  Germany and Switzerland.  This is too wide of a geographic area, too many generations in time, and too expensive for me to possibly be able to find all of these people.  I don't know if I'll ever find any of these ancestors.  But by posting their names and what little I know about them, I am at least honoring them, and leaving bread crumbs for other researchers, perhaps. 

John Gordon, father of Alice who married John Wyatt. Alice was born about 1752.
Anna Jackson born about 1630, wife of William Wyatt of Virginia
Jane widow Curtis, wife of Nicholas Cocke.  She was born about 1627.
wife of Thomas Edmondson  Thomas died 1715 in Essex County, Va.
Susannah Bryant, wife of John Boughan.  She died 1726.
Mary, wife of James Boughan, 1640-1683
Thomasin widow Harper married James Boughan
wife of Thomas Allaman. He lived 1630-1706
Elizabeth wife of John Gregory. She lived 1625-1676.
Ann, wife of Thomas Edmondson, born about 1615 possibly in Ireland
Matthew Farmer 1743-1835, died in Miami County, Ohio and his wife Margaret
Caleb Bennett 1765-1841 died Miami County, Ohio and his wife Ann Catherine Wilson
Joseph Kirk 1754-1830 and his wife Sarah
Daniel Shultz 1730-1820
Magnus Walter and wife Maria Kocher, parents of Catherine Walter
Sarah widow Vetatoe wife of Johann Valentine Geiger.   He lived 1718-1777
Christiana Hedwig Menner 1633-1710, wife of Jacob Friederich Bauer
first wife of Christian Brower. He lived 171-1771.
Anna Este, wife of Hubert Brower.  She lived 1694-1786
Barbara, wife of Daniel Lawall.  He lived 1716-1796.
Christian Bracker, father of Eva Bracker.  She lived 1730-1800.
father of Johann Georg Harter.  Georg lived 1727-1800
Margareth, wife of John Menter.  He lived 1767-1821.
Margaret wife of Leonard Dulibon or Tulipan. He lived  1730-1786
wife of Franz Dulibon or Tulipan. He died Lancaster County, Pa.
Anna Elizabeth, wife of Johann Gebhard Huebschmann.  He lied 1713-1771
Anna Marie Geise, wife of Daniel Kraemer.  She died 1813 in Centre County, Pa.
Elisabeth, wife of Matthias Kraemer  He died  1747
Johann Georg Drach, father of Maria Anna Drach.  She lived 1706-1755.
Anna Barbara, wife of Johann Peter Behney.  he lived 1715-1784.
Maria Otilia Weiler, wofe of Peter Jacob Fehler, born about 1711.

It's possible that some of these people didn't actually come to America.  It's also possible that I've not included people on this list who actually did come, but I don't know enough to make that guess.  I'm thinking of possibly a father for Joseph Kirk and parents for Sarah, for instance.  Also many of these dates are "about" dates, for could be off by a few years.  I have little to go on, and much to learn!

If you can help with any of these people, please contact me.  happygenealogydancingATgmailDOTcom. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Beeks line: Done with the Beeks line?

Of course, I'll never be done writing about this family, or at least learning about them.  However, I've come to a stopping point and any posts I write now will either be of things I've learned from the Huntington newspaper, or I'll post when I find the story of a new Beeks ancestor.  Since some of these people right now are first names only, I don't hold out a lot of hope for locating them, but certainly stranger things have happened.  My criteria for including people on this list is that they at least died in this country.  Some were probably immigrants and some may have been here for several generations, but I just can't trace them. 

Here are the names I'm looking for:

Timothy Martin, born about 1798 died before 1870; married in 1833  in Shelby County, Ohio to
Hannah Tilberry or Tilbury, born about 1810.  They may have died in Wabash County, Indiana.
possibly Eva, the wife of George Philip Serfass.  She would have been born about 1783, maybe.
Sabina, wife of Frederick Serfass, born about 1760.
Felix Weiss about 1720-1779 died in Hamilton Township, Monroe County, Pa.
Anna Maria van Buskirk, his wife, born about 1726
George Featheringill 1710-1767-died in Frederick County, Va.
possibly Elizabeth Marie Settlemire, his wife
Hannah, wife of William Lehew  about 1745-1810, died in wythe County, Va.
Tabitha, widow Underwood, wife of William Hunt, early Virginia
Elizabeth, wife of Hugh Donaghe
Isabel Hamilton, wife of John Donaghe
Thomas Hicklin, 1689-1772
Richard Bodkin 1710-1773
Elizabeth, wife of Richard Bodkin
Barbara, wife of Johan  Jacob Bentz
Rebecca Caroline, wife of Christian Funk
Polly Carter 1805-1880, Lagro, Wabash County, Indiana, wife of John Beeks
Elizabeth, wife of Johann Gottfried Neimrich 
Johann Gottfired Neimrich
possibly John Barnes and his possible wife Elizabeth, parents of Catherine Barnes

As you can see, for most of these people I have little to go on.  However, when the going gets tough, the tough get going.  They also ask for help, which is what I'm doing now.  Can you help me learn the stories of any of these people, and possibly their parents? 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Holbrook line: John Sheldon, Immigrant

This is another of those bad news/good news posts.  The good news is that quite a lot is known about John Sheldon after he arrived in Rhode Island.  The bad news is that nothing is known of his life prior to that time.  Is the glass half full, or half empty?

William Sheldon has been suggested as the father of John, but that isn't proven to my satisfaction so it's just as well to say his parents are unknown.  He is believed to have been born somewhere in Warwickshire, England, about 1630 but again, I've not seen records to support that, and the Sheldon Family Association only lists England and 1628.

So, John Sheldon's first 25 years are a mystery.  He was a tanner by trade, so possibly that was his father's occupation, too.  Or he could have been apprenticed to learn the trade from some other family member or even town resident, if we only knew what town and on which side of the ocean we should be looking.

The first official record of him has him on September 9, 1654, in the town of Providence, Rhode Island,  "falling on Hugh Benett in the night".  There is no explanation for this.  John appeared before the Town Deputies and acknowledged whatever it was that he had done, Hugh Benett declared himself satisfied, as did the town, and that was the end of that episode.

There are several records of land acquisitions and sales beginning on February 12 ,1660, when John bought land from Zachary Rhodes, near the dwelling house of William Carpenter.  William Carpenter was his bride's uncle.  John married Joan Vincent March 26, 1660, who was the daughter of Thomas Vincent and Fridiswide Carpenter.  I found it interesting that the intentions were made at a town meeting, not a church meeting, of Providence Settlement and Providence Plantation.  So did the Sheldons not attend a church?  Quakers and Baptists were common in Rhode Island, but so were "free thinkers".  John and Joan had at least five children. 

He was on a petit juror in 1672, but other than that his "sightings" are mostly to do with land transfers that I am not quite following.  If you  want to read the details, they are on the Randall and Allied Families tree at Rootsweb, which I got to just by googling "John Sheldon 1630".

By 1708, Joan had died and John was in his old age and apparently needed care.  He signed an agreement with his son Nehemiah, in which all of his personal estate was given to Nehemiah and Nehemiah in return promised to care for him as a dutiful child should.  He died September 2, 1708 at Kingston, Washington County, Rhode Island. 

There is much I'd like to know about John, particularly his early years and his origin, but also his religion, if any, and  how he practiced his occupation.  I'd also like to know what he thought about some of our more famous Rhode Island ancestors, who lived when he lived, such as Roger Williams.   I would also like to know what John and family did during King Philip's War.  Did they leave?  Where did they go?  Did John serve in the military?  There is still more to the story, if we could just find it!

The line of descent is:

John Sheldon-Joan Vincent
Timothy Sheldon-Sarah Balcom
Martha Sheldon-Thomas Mathewson
Deborah Mathewson-Joseph Winsor
Lillis Winsor-Nathan Paine
Deborah Paine-Enos Eddy
Joseph Eddy-Susan Lamphire
Susan Eddy-Hiram Stanard
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants