Friday, December 15, 2017

Harshbarger line: Christmas traditions

Since I've run out of ancestors to write about, for now, I thought it might be fun to think about the Christmas traditions that our German and Swiss ancestors might have enjoyed.  My first thought was that most of them were so poor that it was hard to imagine that many of them would have had anything to spare for a holiday celebration.  That may be true.  It may also be true that some of the families didn't celebrate at all, for religious reasons.  But most of our families, Lutheran or Mennonite or whatever, would have done what they could to make the day special.  A quick Google search tells us of several traditions that stayed in families for generations, so we can imagine that our ancestors participated in at least some of these practices.

Belsnickel was a man who was dressed in somewhat decrepit clothes, and who was a rather intimidating figure.  He would generally rap on a window a few days before Christmas (that is, if our immigrants had windows, but surely a door would work too) and when allowed inside, he would always ask each child whether they had been good that year.  The children received a gentle rap on the hands if they said yes, and perhaps a "switching" if they said no, so it was important to remember all of one's transgressions.  It also made the waiting for December 24 a little more nerve-wracking.  Would there be gifts, or not?  The children would put small baskets under the tree in anticipation that they had just made it under the wire another year.

The tree may have been a small fir or pine tree, but it may also have been a branch of a deciduous tree, bare and covered with a white flour paste.  Either kind of tree was trimmed with whatever the family had at hand-perhaps end pieces of ribbon, or pieces of material, or nuts that had been painted various colors.  Many families put what we would think of as a Nativity scene under the tree, probably hand carved or perhaps the figures were made of cloth.  Wealthier families generally had more elaborate sets, of course.  The same thing was true of gifts.  Most of our ancestors probably had very small gifts-maybe a homemade doll or spinning top, or an item of clothing for which mother had carded, spun and knit or woven wool from the family sheep into whatever the child needed for his or her wardrobe. 

Most families would also try to have some sort of Christmas feast-perhaps a party with extended family and neighbors (which could be one and the same thing) or maybe just a batch of cookies made with real sugar and other small treats to supplement the regular meal.  After all, Christmas wasn't about the Belsnickel, or gifts, or the tree, or the putz, or even the food.  Christmas was celebrated around the hearth and in the heart, even though chores still had to be done and meals needed to be prepared. 

In some ways, the Christmas I've described is very different from our modern day Christmas.  Our trees are bigger and more elaborately decorated, the gifts we give our children would not fit in a small basket, and we prepare more food than a family can possibly eat.  Yet at the heart of the celebration, we honor our ancestors by the traditions we have built that were built on their traditions, and we still worship the same Lord Jesus.  I think they got the important stuff right! 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Beeks line: Christopher Beeks, Immigrant

How did I miss writing about Christopher, who as far as we know now is the immigrant ancestor in the Beeks line?  If this is a repeat post, I do apologize but neither my hand written list nor my search function is turning up a post about him.  Maybe I was waiting to try to pin down more details about him.  As it is, there is too much of his life that is still a mystery, but since I am winding down on this process of writing about the immigrants in the Beeks family, it's possibly now or never.

We don't know much about Christopher's early life.  He is traditionally given a birth date of 1756 and it's said he lived in either Leicestershire or Lancastershire in England, born of parents yet undiscovered.  We don't really know if either of these locations is correct, but the first thing we do know of him is that he was in trouble-big trouble.

Life in England in 1770 was, shall we say, difficult.  Jobs were lacking, education was lacking, food was lacking and law enforcement was lacking.  George III was already King of England, but he was not a forceful nor a temperate king, and his officials were, for the most part, out to get what they could for themselves, with no compassion at all for the poor.  We don't know what Christopher's family situation was, but at 14 he was out on his own, just as many of his contemporaries were.  Christopher had the bad luck to be caught, or at least accused and found guilty, of "assault on highway".  This was from Manchester, Lancashire, England, but doesn't necessarily mean that's where his home was, as young men (and he was young, just about 14 at this time).

Some say he was sentenced to death by hanging and then reprieved, to be sent to America as an indentured servant, a dumping ground for "criminals" for either 7 or 14 years, again, depending on the source.  I have yet to find records of his master, or for that matter, of the ship he came on.

When the Revolutionary War broke out, Christopher was quite happy to side with the American colonists who wanted their freedom.  He enlisted in March of  1777 and served for at least three years in various Virginia Regiments, primarily the 8th and then the 12th.  There is evidence that the unit he served with went through that hard winter at Valley Forge, and I haven't yet found anything that says he was furloughed during that time (the next winter, 1778, yes, he was furloughed for part of that time, but not the 1777-78 winter).  So we can believe that he was there during that difficult winter, that he would have had ample chances to have seen George Washington, and that he survived the winter in good enough shape to continue soldiering.

We know that he served three years because in 1783 he was given a land warrant for 100 acres of land, and that is the amount of land that privates received for three years of service.  Christopher didn't hold onto this land, though, because there was some problem with the tax collector not recording the taxes due and so Christopher, along with several others, lost their land.  We don't know for sure where he lived when the war started, nor where he settled after the war.

We do know he married Catherine Barnes, who was the daughter of John Barnes and possibly Elizabeth, and we know they lived in western Virginia, variously listed as Augusta and then Berkeley County.  They had at least ten children together, with the first known birth date of 1787, so perhaps they married in 1785 or 1786.  No record has yet been located of this event, to the best of my knowledge.  By 1790, he was running a pub or tavern and was soon in debt.  He is found in various counties in Virginia until about 1811, when the family went to Xenia, Greene County, Ohio.  His widow remarried in September of 1814 so Christopher had died before then. Catherine's children would have been teenagers and older at this point, so perhaps they no longer lived at home.

This is as much as we know about Christopher.  He had a rough start in life and it appears that economically, he suffered for that through most of his life.  He struggled to support his ten children, he lost his land and his business, and he may have had life long physical problems because of his time in the service of his new country.  It's easy to feel sorry for Christopher.  But we should also feel proud.  He loved his new country well enough to fight for it for three years, and continued, in other ways, the struggle to give his children a better start in life than he had  He must have felt joy that his children would not have to commit crimes in order to eat, and that they had the freedom to go wherever on this continent they wanted to go.  Christopher Beeks, thank you for your service and for all the sacrifices you made!

The line of descent is:

Christopher Beeks-Catherine Barnes
William Beeks-Mary Elizabeth Nimerick
John Beeks-Polly Carter
William Beeks-Mary Wise
John Beeks-Elizabeth Wise
Wilbur Beeks-Cleo Aldridge
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Their descendants

Friday, December 8, 2017

Holbrook line: Christopher Smith, Immigrant

Christopher Smith's biography has recently changed.  I guess I'm glad I haven't written about him yet, because now I don't have to go back and do an update.  There are some important facts missing about him, but still, we have more information about him now than we have about many of our immigrant ancestors. 

Christopher Smith was born about 1591 in goodness knows where.  Much information says he was born on March 18, 1593 in Lancashire, England, but I'm not sure this is the correct Christopher Smith.  He was married on May 1, 1616 in the Church of the Holy Trinity in Stratford on Avon, Warwickshire.  The distance between these two localities is 140 miles, which makes it somewhat unlikely that the Christopher Smith of Lancashire is the Christopher Smith of Warwickshire.  More research is needed to prove or disprove this theory.  What is known is that his wife was Alice Gibbs or Gibes and that she became our Christopher's widow a little over 60 years later. 

The Smiths had 9 proven children, starting in 1617 and ending in 1633, all baptized in the church their parents were married in.  Four of the Smith sons and one daughter went to Hartford, Connecticut, probably before their father came to America.  Our Smiths were in Providence, Rhode Island by 1649.  Hartford was Puritan and Providence was more tolerant, which was a good place for a Quaker like our Christopher to live.  It would be interesting to know when the religions of some of the children split from those of their parents, or when Christopher split from them.  More needs to be researched about his like in England.  Was he ever harassed or jailed for his Quaker beliefs?

We don't know what Christopher did for a living, but we do know that he was given land in Providence in 1649 and in 1650 was taxed there.  He became a freeman in 1655 and the same year served as a juryman.  In 1656 he was granted a share of meadow in lieu of land he'd previously had, and he received more land in 1665.  He and his wife Alice sold land in 1665 and in 1672.  It's hard to get  sense of what he did for a living but he did have shares in meadow land so must have owned at least enough farm animals for family subsidence. 

He took an oath of allegiance in 1667, which makes one wonder whether he had given up his Quaker beliefs, or whether he actually affirmed instead of taking an oath.  We know that he was a Quaker at the end of his life because when he died at Newport in 1676 he was noted in the Society of Friend records as being an "ancient Friend of Providence, RI."  He died in Newport because he had gone there to take refuge from the natives who burned so much of Providence during King Philip's War. 

I've not yet found his will, if there was one.  He was at least 83 years old and probably older when he died, so he'd lived a good long life.  He spent 27 years in Rhode Island, building a home and a future for his family.  For this alone, we owe him honor.  I hope to learn more about Christopher in the future, but for now this will at least mark him as "one of ours".

The line of descent is
Christopher Smith-Alice Gibbs
Edward Smith-Amphyllis Angell
Amphillis Smith-Zachariah Eddy
Elisha Eddy-Sarah Phettiplace
Enos Eddy-Sarah Brown
Enos Eddy-Deborah Paine
Joseph Brown Eddy-Susan Lamphire
Susan Eddy-Hiram Stanard
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Allen line: Early Parrish family

I thought I'd be writing about edward Parrish as our earliest documented ancestor in this family, but I'm not sure he belongs to us . Then I thought I'd be writing about John Parrish, who is possibly or maybe probably Edward's son, but you can see the problem.  If John isn't Edward's son, why write about Edward/  And the same problem with John...Is he, or is he not, the father of Humphrey Parrish, who most definitely is our line?  So now that we have doubts in our minds, I'll write just a brief outline of the two possible candidates for our oldest known ancestors, and then we'll learn a little more about Humphrey Parrish. 

Edward was reportedly born in Yorkshire, England about the year 1600 and came to Virginia in 1635on the ship "Hopewell".  He first settled at Elizabeth City where he purchased 200 acres in 1648,but then went to Anne Arundel County, Md, if this is the same Edward Parrish.  In Maryland, he was both a planter and a ship captain in the British Royal Navy, and again, if this is the same Edward Parrish, surveyor general to Lord Baltimore.  He died in Anne Arundel County in April of 1679,

Next is another Edward, born about 1640.  He was married to Clara Judgwyn orJadgwyn.  His birthplace is listed as West River Hundred, Anne Arundel County, Maryland. 

It's possible that the second Edward's son was John Parrish, born 1672 and I have also seen it stated that John was the son of the first Edward mentioned above.  John was born in 1672 at West River Hundred in Anne Arundel County.  Alternately, the John we are seeking was born in 1654 in Anne Arundel County Maryland, the son of the first Edward.  He was married to Elizabeth Belt, the daughter of Humphrey and Margery Cragge Belt. 

It makes sense that this John is the correct one, the son of the first Edward, because he named a son Humphrey, which was not a name previously known in the Parrish family.  Young Humphrey, born in 1680 in Anne Arundel County, somehow and for some reason made his way to Virginia, where he married Mary Walker, daughter of John Walker and Lucy Wood. Since I don't have any documentation for the reasons he left Maryland to go to Virginia,  this part of the story is a little doubtful.  Humphrey may have been a merchant or a sailor, or simply have gone to Virginia on an errand for his family and decided to stay. 

Humphrey and Mary had a son Humphrey born in 1708 in Baltimore, Maryland, or so the story goes.  He may be the one who married Mary Morton.  The younger Humphrey, along with his Mary, had several children, one of whom is Moses Parrish, of whom I have already written (he was a soldier in the French and Indian War, Lord Dunmore's War, and the Revolutionary War).  This Humphrey, and probably his father and perhaps his ancestors, were small time slave owners. 

So if this chronology is correct, Moses was a fifth generation American, (son of Humphrey, son of Humphrey, son of John, son of Edward).  I'd love to find documents that support this line of descent, or that dispute it.  I've read other sites that give different parents and different years of birth, so this is my best guess at lining the family up.  It could very well be wrong.  but even if it's wrong, it gives a sense of who the Parrish family was; they were early settlers in Virginia and they fought for their country.  We can be proud of them, even if we still don't know a lot about them. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Harshbarger line: Colonial Pennsylvania ancestors

I'm writing this post partly for a Facebook group I belong to.  This particular group is interested primarily in people who arrived in Pennsylvania before the Revolutionary War.  So this is a list of people in the line of Cleveland Harshbarger, just the first ancestor to come to Pennsylvania  There are more who were in New Jersey who may have lived in Philadelphia for a short time, and there are more that I haven't found yet.  But this is a long list, as it is.  In no particular order, I'll list the persona's name and where available a date and a place.  By posting this list, I'm hoping someone will know more, and will add or correct this information.  Here are the Pennsylvania ancestors in the Harshbarger line:

Anna Huber, dided 1759 in Pennsylvania
Johan Jost Gingerich, died March 5, 1776 in Pa.
Adam Burkholder, died efore feb. 5, 1800  He had children born in Pennsylvania
Mary Margareth Schilling, died 1800 Bethel Twp, Lancaster Co.
Daniel Shuey d March 8,1779, Bethel Township, Berks County
Anna Regina Hauch  d 1738 Berks County, Pa
Nicholas Pontius d October 3,1794 Berks County, Pa
Anna Maria Conradt, d September 24,1796 Strausstown, Berks County
Johann Conrad Reber d September 24, 1796 Strausstown, Berks County
Catherine Saylor or Seiler  children born in Pa
Johannes John Buchtel d 1809 rebersburg, Centre County, Pa
Johann Nicholas Mertz d December 2,1760 Longswamp, Berks County
Johann F. Schollenberger d about 1768, Greenwich, Berks County
Barbara Grundbacher d February 11, 1736  Shoeneck, Lancaster County
Peter Ulrich Schneer  July 3, 1739 Lancaster County
Magdalena Kunkle, children born in Pa
Simon Essig  children born in Pa
Hans Jacob Kemmerly d September 6,1791  York County, Pa
Martha Punch, at least one child born in Pa
Jacob Kestenholtz d September 5, 1768 Union City, Berks County
Anna Maria Glintz died June 1,1780 Union City, Berks County, Pa
Christina Emmert at least one child born in Pa
Matthias Bruder died November 3,1763 Longswamp, Berks County
Maria Salome Hoerner D. 1810 Woodbury, Bedford County, Pa
Johann Braun d 1742, Woodbury, Bedford County
Anna Maria Egli d 1774 Berks County, Pa
Jacob Kobel died 1731  Tulpehocken, Berks County, Pa
Maria Catherina Suder d 1760 Tulpehocken, Berks County
Johann Nicholas schaffer  died April 1, 1758  Tulpehocken, Berks County
Isaac Wetzstein d February 26, 1795 probably Berks County
Anna Surber d August 19, 1769 Philadelphia
Jacob Maag d May 18,1767 Philadelphia
Henry Cook's father, probably Adam Cook, Berks County, Pa
Maria Elizabeth Dentzer d 1741 germantown, Philadelphia County
Anthony Jacob Henckel d 1728 Germantown Philadelphia County
Valentine Geiger died December 1,1762 New Hanover, Montgomery County
Anna Este d 1786  Chester County, Pa
Hubert Brower d 1786 Chester County, Pa
Tobias Miller  had children born in Pa
Daniel Lawall d Decenber 12,1796  Upper Saucon, Northampton County, Pa
George Harter born 1755 in Pa
Johan Jacob Enck  died March 30,1774 Ephrata, Lancaster County, Pa
Anna Margaretha Mueller d August 1761 Clay Township, Lancaster County
Johann Wendell Laber d 1762 Lancaster County, Pa
Frant Dulibon or Tulipan  d Lancaster County, Pa
Johann Gebhard Huebschmann died April , 1771 Lancaster County
Catharina Weyl died after 1741, probably Lancaster Carneynty
Johannes Mentzer died 1781 Lancaster,Lancaster County, Pa
Maria Willman d 1760 Lebanon County, Pa
Michael Birkle died December 5,1753 Lebanon County, Pa
Matthias Kraemer d 1793 probably Berks County, Pa
Anna Maria Geise d 1810 haina, Centre County, Pa
Maria Anna Drach born 1755 in Pennsylvania
Georg Lindemuth d 1772 Berks County, Pa
Anna Barbara Elizabeth Daecher died 1750 Montgomery County, Pa
Johann Georg Weikert d March16,1755 Goshenhoppen, Montgomery County
Anna Barbara Schlagman d Philadelphia
Johannes Bernard Kepner d October 17, 1765 Philadelphia
Johann Peter Behney d about 1784 Heidelberg Twp, Berks County
Margaretha sands d 1758 Tulpehocken, Berks County, Pa
Hans Jacob Lowenguth april 1758, Tulpehocken, Berks County, Pa
Peter Jacob Fehler d 1753 Tulpehocken, Berks County
Fronica Ann Farney d 1763 Earl Twp, lancaster County
Peter Van Gundy d July 4,1758 Earl Twp, Lancaster County
Barbara Rupp d 1821 Somerset County, Pa
Christian Harshbarger d 1783 Berks County, Pa

There are many different spellings for some of these names. I am sure some of these locations are incorrect. Some of the dates are likely incorrect, also.  There are facts still to learn and stories to uncover.  This list includes so many stories, from the rough trips to Pennsylvania to being killed by Indians to religious strife to all the challenges of living in what was, for the most part, wilderness when these ancestors arrived here.  I hope seeing this list of people who cared enough to face the unknown, and who cared enough to create the people who created the people, etc who created us is in some way and inspiration and a comfort to you.  And I hope you'll share with me whatever you may know about these immigrants.  












Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Beeks line: Who are all these people?

While researching for a possible book in the future, I came across this newspaper article.  I am intrigued by it because I don't know all the names featured-yet.  However, they all seem to have some connection to the Aldridge family, however, distant, and therefore they would be part of the Beeks family history, too 

Here is the article,from the Huntington Herald Press of August 28, 1951, written by "Miss Barbara Beeks", Andrews correspondent:

"Meet at Park

A family gathering was held at the Memorial park Sunday in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Sam Aldridge and Frances and Madeline Dunn, and Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Aldridge of Midland, Mich.  Those present were Mr. and Mrs. Herman Harrell and son of Lagro, Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Osborn and family, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Aldridge and son Bill, Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur Beeks and family, Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Harrell and son of Lagro, Mr. and Mrs. Norman Beeks of Wabash, Mrs. Bonnie Clements, Mrs. Sherll Clements, Sr.;, Mr. and Mrs. Howard Urschel of Bippus, Mr. and Mrs. Cleveland Harshbarger and family, Mrs. Lucile Gressley and family of Walkerton, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Keefer and son, Mr. and Mrs. Floren Kreider and family of South Whitley, Mr. and Mrs. George Inyeart and daughter of Liberty Mills, Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Aldridge and family, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Harrell and son, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Aldridge and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Aldridge and Madeline Dunn."

Of course some of these people can be readily identified.  Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur Beeks and family would have included Donald, Barbara and Vicky.  Others of their children and grandchildren in this list would be Anna Mae (Beeks) Osborn and children David, Diana and probably Ron (don't have his birth date) Norman Beeks, Bonnie (Beeks) Clements, Mary (Beeks) Harshbarger and children John and Roger. 

Frank Aldridge and Sam Aldridge were sons of Harvey and Margaret Catherine Dunham Aldridge, so they would be siblings of Cleo Aldridge Beeks.  I will have to do some more digging to figure out the rest of these connections, and to get them properly documented, but I'm pretty sure they all have a connection to one or another of the Aldridges.  If someone could help me out here, I'll be glad to post updates to this post so everyone can be properly identified.  Meanwhile, this will be a fun spare time project for me1

Friday, November 24, 2017

Holbrook line: Thomas King, Immigrant

I have a lot of summaries of the life of Thomas King.  who lived from 1605 to 1676/1677.  Thomas was born in England, possibly in Shaftsbury, Dorset.  The problem is that there are quite a few Thomas King's,, and it's hard to figure out which one he is.  In addition, the maiden name of his wife is not agreed upon.  Her first name was Anne but she may or may not have been a Tice.  I am disinclined, at this point, to think that she was Anne Collins.  We don't even know whether the children he had were all from one wife.

His parents are generally given as Thomas and Sarah or Susan King, also of Shaftsbury.  The senior Thomas is sometimes said to have died in 1642 in Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts but I've not been able to find documentation for that.  So we have uncertain parentage, uncertain wife, and are even uncertain when he arrived in the New World.  We do know that a Thomas King arrived in 1635 but we don't know if that was our Thomas, Thomas's purported father, or another Thomas King entirely. 

However, we do know that he went to Sudbury, which was founded in 1639.  He was not one of the very earliest settlers, but apparently was one of those who came just a bit later.  His wife died in childbirth in 1642, leaving Thomas with six children (the baby lived only a few days longer than his mother)  .  We don't know whether this wife was his first wife, or whether some of the first children had a different mother.  Thomas was of a hardier sort than most men, as he stayed single for thirteen years, apparently raising his children himself, or with the help of his oldest children.  He remarried in 1655, when his children were mostly grown or at least ready to earn their own living. 

He acquired land in Sudbury and then in 1656 petitioned for land in what became Marlboro.  Here he was a selectman and also assisted in laying out the roads for the new town.  Again he acquired land and farmed. 

He wrote his will on March 1, 1676/77 and it was proven on April 20, 1676/77. We don't know whether he died of illness, accident, or possibly in the Indian attacks of King Phillip's War, which took place at about this time.  He certainly died at an unhappy time in the history of Marlboro. 

His wife Bridge survived another nine years, dying in 1685.

I've not found reference to the Kings' religion but it was likely Puritan, based on family association (son Peter was a deacon, and assigned to rebuild the Sudbury church).  I don't know if he was literate, or what he did in England before coming to America.  But I do know he came, and survived what must have been a difficult life, and for that, I admire our Thomas King.

The line of descent is:

Thomas King-Ann
Sarah King-Nathaniel Joslin
Nathaniel Joslin-Esther Morse
Israel Joslin-Sarah Cleveland
Sarah Joslin-Edward Fay
Daniel Fay-Mary or Mercy Perrin
Euzebia or Luceba Fay-Libbeus Stanard
Hiram Stanard-Susan Eddy
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants