Friday, March 27, 2015

Beeks line: David Wise, Civil War veteran: Did anyone know?

David Wise is the great grandfather of some descendents still living, and the great great grandfather of more, and the "ancient" ancestor of many, many Beeks descendents.  I wonder if there is anyone in the family, though, who knows that this man was a Civil War veteran.

I just learned this fact a couple of days ago.  David was the son of Andrew Jackson and Mary Serfass (Ceirfoss, or many other spellings) and was born in 1838 near Sidney, Ohio.  Sometime between 1840 and 1850 the family moved to the area of Lagro, in Wabash county, Indiana, and during that same period Mary disappears from the records.  David is with his father in 1860, and in 1864 married Matilda Martin in Wabash County, Indiana.  A child was born shortly after that, and shortly after that, David and his younger brother Philip were drafted.

They were both "enrolled" on October 21, 1864 and assigned to company I of the 23rd Indiana Infantry Regiment. They were replacement troops for a unit formed around New Albany, in southern Indiana, in 1861.  This unit had lost many of its soldiers due to death, wounds, and illness.  Because they were replacement troops, it's been hard to determine just where they were trained and for how long.  Typically the training for replacement troops was minimal.  This regiment was involved in a lot of battles, but the campaign that was going on when the men likely arrived was Sherman's March to the Sea, from Atlanta to Savannah, Georgia.  From Savannah, the men marched north through the Carolinas, and General Sherman accepted the surrender of General Joseph E. Johnston and his troops in North Carolina on April 26, 1865, eleven days after President Lincoln was assassinated. 

The regiment marched in the grand Washington Review, a three day parade of victorious Union troops, and were finally discharged on July 20, 1865 at Louisville.  I'm not sure what happened with David then, because there is a note that he had been ill in the hospital since June 20, 1865.  Did the hospitals continue to treat sick and wounded soldiers?  At what point was David well enough to travel home? Did Philip stay with him until David was ready to go home? 

Obviously I am going to need to save up big bucks to order David's Civil War and pension records.   I hope to learn more about him from the records, but I wanted to get this much of his story written now, while I'm excited to learn about a new Civil War veteran for the family.  I promise another post, when I get the records.

 I also need to learn where he was from 1870, when he and his young family are in Dallas Township, Huntington County, Indiana to 1900, when he is a widower living with his son-in-law and daughter,  John and Elizabeth Wise Beeks, in Andrews, Indiana.  In 1910 he is living with his daughter in Lagro, Indiana and then in 1920 he's back with John and Elizabeth.  He died April 5, 1927 in Andrews.  I don't know where he was buried, but as a Civil War veteran, he is entitled to a marker and I'd like to make sure he has one.

I've learned one new fact and now there are so many unanswered questions.  If someone knows more about David than I've been able to find, please contact me at  happygenealogydancing AT gmail DOT com.  It's always more fun to work together to solve some of these challenges.

The line of descent is:

David Wise-Matilda Martin
Elizabeth Wise-John Beeks
Wilbur Beeks-Cleo Aldridge
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Their descendents

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Harshbarger line: George Harter (Herder) m. Eva Bracker

We know so little about George that it seems useless to do a blog post about him.  I'm writing this because he does appear to be an immigrant, and because I frequently review my posts to see what else I need to learn about the subject of the post.

Johan George Harter (Herder, Herter) appears to have been born about 1730, probably somewhere in what is now Germany.   We are guessing at his date of birth because, thanks to the hard work of Robert Harter, we do know he was married on October 26, 1752 in what is now Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, to Eva Bracker, daughter of Christian Bracker.  Mr. Harter thinks it likely that Johann George had arrived on the ship Phoenix on September, 15, 1749, when he would have needed to be at least 16 years old to have migrated by himself.  Many men were married at about the age of 25 so if this was a first marriage then 1720-1730 is a likely time frame for his birth.  At least we know their religion-they were married at the St Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Upper Saucon Township.  This was a German speaking church, and so supports our supposition that Johan George was of German descent.  Again according to Mr. Harter, there is a tradition that the family was from the area of Frankfort.

George and Eva's family grew quickly, although there are few known birth records.  By 1769, the family was in Frederick County, Maryland and at the St Peter's Lutheran Church there, they took communion with daughter Christina, who would have had to have been at least thirteen.  Christian and Johann (Johann George II) took communion with their parents three months later, and Adam and Frantz were confirmed around this time.  Jacob, Conrad, Magdalena and Elizabeth were confirmed in 1778, with ages of 18, 16, 14, and 16.  Dorothea was confirmed at age 14 in 1780. 

The family left Maryland about 1792 and moved on to Franklin County, Virginia, where it is believed that both Johan George and Eva died, probably in 1800.  Johan George would have been at least 60 by then, so it's possible he didn't own land there, but lived with one or another of the children. 

Robert Harter has much more information on the US gen web archives website for Frederick County, Md at  I encourage you to read his wonderful article, which in turn, is excerpted from his book, The Joh. Georg and Eva Harter family: 250 years in the U.S.  

The line of descent is:

Johan George Harter-Eva Bracker
George Harter-Mary Kitterman
Johan George Harter-Mary Miller
George Harter-Elizabeth Geiger
John Harter-Mary Bennett
Clara Harter-Emanuel Harshbarger
Grover Harshbarger-Goldie Withers
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendents

Friday, March 20, 2015

Holbrook line: Oops! Not Anthony Eames?

I thought I was going to write this post about Anthony Eames.  There is a fine amount of information about him on line, and it was going to be a pretty good post.  But a funny thing happened on the way to writing this...I stumbled upon facts, documented facts.  And they don't support what it is in my file notes, as to the lines of descent.  I thought I had two lines, one through daughter Hannah who married William Ford, and one through son Robert who married Elizabeth.  Again, oops!

As it turns out, Hannah is not proven to be a daughter of Anthony, and Robert isn't even mentioned in the most authoritative sources I can find.  Both of these "children" are supposed to have been born in the right place at the right time, but records can't be found and there should be records, unless they were truly baptized somewhere away from their home, which can't be ruled out.  Sometimes parents took at least one of their children to be baptized in the home church of either their father or their mother. 

However, with documentation so lacking and so much unsearched and maybe unsearchable, I am not going to write a post about Anthony Eames now.  Instead, I'm going to look for records to see what can be proven.  If someone out there has worked on the Eames family, I'd love to hear from you. 

Here are the lines of SUPPOSED descent from Anthony.  Please don't take these as proven, because as far as I know, they are not.  

Anthony Eames-Margery Pierce
Robert Eames-Elizabeth
John Eames-Abigail Morgan
John Eames-Rachel Comstock
John Eames-Elizabeth Longbottom
Hannah Eames-James Lamphire
Susan Lamphire-Joseph Eddy
Susan Eddy-Hiram Stanard
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendents

Second Line
Anthony Eames-Margery Peirce
Hannah Eames-William Ford
Joanna Ford-John Rockwood
Joseph Rockwood-Mary Hayward
John Rockwood-Deborah Thayer
Joseph Rockwood-Alice Thompson
Levi Rockwood-Deborah Lazell
Susanna Rockwood-Nahum Holbrook
Joseph Holbrook-Mary Elizabeth Whittemore
Fremont Holbrook-Phoebe Brown
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendents

I sure would like to learn the parents of Hannah Eames who married William Ford and also the parents of Robert Eames who married Elizabeth, or to get documentation that they are the children of Anthony and Margery, so I can someday write the post I intended to write today! 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Allen line: Samuel Chapin, Immigrant 1598-1675

Samuel Chapin's supposed likeness is well known to many as "The Pilgrim", a statue by Augustus St. Gaudens that was so popular it was reproduced about 20 times, in a slightly smaller version.  The sculptor used a descendent of Samuel's as his model, and adapted it a bit to make it seem more likely.  So no, we don't really know what he looked like, but the statute does give a good impression, which is likely, of strength, energy, and determination.  He is also carrying a large Bible, and a walking cane. The original version of the statute was unveiled in 1887 and is located at Merrick Park, now the Quadrangle cultural center, in Springfield, Massachusetts. 

Samuel's life, however, began in Paignton, Devonshire, England sometime prior to October 5, 1598, the date of his christening.  He was the son of John Chapin and Philippe Easton, and was one of at least four children.  His father died early, and he was raised by his mother and stepfather, George Stone.  We don't know what his father did for a living, but Paignton at the time was a small fishing village, located on the southwest coast of England, so it's likely that he was somehow engaged in fishing. 

We also don't know what Samuel did for a living.  We know he married Cicely Penny, daughter of Henry Penny of Paignton,(a baker)  on February 9, 1623/24 at Paignton.  (Not everyone in Paignton fished, so the speculation about John's occupation could be entirely wrong.)  The new family had several children.  David, the first child, was baptized at Paignton.  Katherine, Sara, a son possibly named Samuel, Henry, Honor, and Josiah were baptized at Berry Pomeroy, Devon, England, which is about 5 miles inland from Paignton.  Josiah was baptized there on October 29, 1637, and it is known that Samuel was in New England in 1639, so the most likely time for the family to have arrived is in 1638.  (Son John, born after Henry, was baptized at Totnes, which was his father's home.)  Japhet and Hannah  were born after the family arrived in the new world. 

The family is seen at Roxbury first. Samuel took the freeman's oath in Boston on June 2, 1641, and then moved to Springfield, Massachusetts in 1642, where Samuel is known as one of the founders of the town.  This was very much frontier land, and it appears that for most of the time that Samuel lived there, the white men and the natives got along very well.  The settlers treated the natives with honor, and in turn at an early stage, before the Chapins arrived, the natives had saved the small settlement with canoe loads of corn.  Even though relations with the natives were friendly, this was still wilderness area.  There were wild animals to contend with, lands to clear and crops to plant, and the affairs of the small town and church to administer. 

Samuel was active in the church, and was a deacon by 1649.  This meant, among other things, that he was regarded as a pious man, and was trusted with many duties in the church.  These included teaching or preaching in the church when the pastor was away or when there was no pastor, as in 1650.   He was also respected as an administrator, because from 1644 until at least 1665 he was either a selectman (something like a town or city councilman) or a commissioner (more along the lines of a town judge). 

By 1675 the town of Springfield was apparently rather complacent, and they paid little attention to warnings that the natives were planning an uprising of some sort.  In October of that month, Springfield was pretty much burned to the ground, although only three lives were lost among the settlers.  Samuel survived the attack, but died about a month later, in Springfield.  His wife, Cicely, died 7 years later.   I have not yet located wills for either of them, but I've seen reference to Cicely's will. 

The line of descent is:

Samuel Chapin-Cicely Penny
Hannah Chapin-John Hitchcock
Luke Hitchcock-Elizabeth Walker
Ruth Hitchcock-Jonathan Church
Ruth Church-Stephen Noble
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

Fun fact:  Wikipedia notes that, among others, the following are descendents from Samuel Chapin and Cicely Penny, and thus are our very distant cousins:  Grover Cleveland, William Howard Taft,
Harriet Beecher Stowe, J.P. Morgan, T.S. Eliot, Harry Chapin.  Who knew?  We have Presidents, abolititionists, writers, financiers, and singers in the family.  Shall we dance?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Harshbarger line: Daniel Sayler, Immigrant 1708-1778

I opened up my file folder to write about this gentleman today and found nothing.  I had no notes, no print outs, no documentation, nothing.  So what I've found in the last hour on the internet will be the basis for this blog post, with a go to the top of the list requirement that I find documentation for this.  Much of the information I am using I found on a site by Stewart Saylor of Friedens, Pa, headed "Descendants of Josepth Seiter and (---) Unknown.  I found a little more on Ancestry and on Find a Grave, but please note, all of these are secondary sources. And to make it worse, some of them appear to be contradictory.

Daniel Sayler was born June 15, 1708 in Sembach (also known as Lembach, also known as Schaumburgh), Lippe, Nordhien-Westfalen, Germany.  I tried to pull this up on Google but only got more confused.  I think, though, that it is in southern Germany, somewhere close to the border with Switzerland.  Daniel's father was Joseph Seiler, born 1687 in Willenstein, Germany, and his mother is unknown.  He had three brothers but two died young, leaving Jacob as his sole brother through most of his life.  He also had three sisters, at least one of whom died young.  The family appears to have moved from place to place as the children were born in four different locations.  It would be interesting to know the story behind that, because for the most part, unless they were refugees, families stayed in one location. 

There are reports that Daniel was in the New World by 1730, and also there appears to have been a Daniel Seiler who came on the Muscliffe Galley in 1744.  If this is our Daniel, he may have returned to the "Old Country" to settle or claim an estate, since he was the oldest surviving son.  Joseph had died in 1740 but it is unknown when his mother died.  There is conflicting information as to the name of his wife.  Most trees on Ancrestry give her name as Hanna Gerber.  I also found one tree giving her name as Hanna "Anna" Barbara Hahn.  He is supposed to have married each woman in Lancaster County, Pa, in either 1735 or 1738.  Since one child, the one we are interested in, was born in 1736 it is possible that the first wife died in or shortly after childbirth, and he remarried.  More research needs to be done.  Daniel had eight children, all born in Pennsylvania: Catherine, Johannes, Jacob, Christian, Daniel, Julia, Mary, and Daniel.

His last known child was born in 1749, in Lancaster County, where the family had settled.  This is noted in one site as Lebanon Township, so apparently it eventually became Lebanon County.  He had purchased land there before 1761, but sold it at a cheap price to two of his sons, John and Christian, and moved to Frederick County, Maryland in 1772.  Both of these would have been "frontier" locations, and Daniel would likely have had to clear his second farm, build his second home in the wilderness, and start all over again there.  He was 64 years old at the time, so perhaps he depended on his youngest son Daniel to do the heaviest work. 

Daniel died in 1778 in Frederick County, Md. and is buried at Johnsville, Frederick County, Md.  In his will, which is written in German, he advises that he had sold his Pennsylvania land to his two oldest sons at a very good price so they would get nothing further from him.  (If they contested this, they were each to get a shilling, as payment in full.)  He left his Maryland land to his youngest son, Daniel, and asked that each of his daughters be paid "three and thirty pounds, six shillings, eight pence) beginning three years after the death of both himself and his wife, one daughter a year.  Since his wife died in 1791, payments would have begun in 1794 or 1795, when presumably the farm was producing a good profit.  It is likely that at least one of the crops that was grown was tobacco.

There is so much research I need to do here.  Who was his wife, and who was the mother of each of his children?  Where, exactly, were his farms?  What prompted him to come to America, establish a farm, and then move yet again to Maryland?  What religion did he practice? 

It sometimes seems premature for me to put a sketch like this in a blog post, but I hope the Harshbarger descendents will think of this as an outline for research, if someone should so choose and if I don't make much progress myself.  At least we know where he came from, and have some idea of how and where he lived his life, and that is more than we had when I started this post.  If someone reading this has additions or especially corrections, please contact me:  happygenealogydancing AT gmail DOT com.

The line of descent is:

Daniel Sayler (Seiler)-Hanna or Anna
Catherine Sayler-Johannes Buchtel
Solomon Buchtel-Maria Margaretha Reber
Benjamin Buchtel-Barbara Long
Nancy Buchtel-Adam Kemery
Della Kemery-William Withers
Goldie Withers-Grover Harshbarger
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendents

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Beeks line: John W Beeks newspaper find

I came across a newspaper article mentioning John W Beeks on  It's from the Huntington Herald of December 13, 1911, page 1.  (You can also view this on microfilm at the Indiana room of the Huntington, Indiana public library if you want to see the "real deal".)  Even though the newspaper article only identifies him as J. Beeks, we know it's our John Beeks because he is identified as a section man on the "railroad" in 1910 and on the "interurban" in 1920 census reports, and is listed there as living in Andrews, Dallas Township, Huntington County, Indiana. 

"Given Second Award by Fort Wayne & Northern Indiana Traition (sic) Officials."

"J. Beeks, forman (sic) of the Fort Wayne & Northern Indiana traction line section with headquarters at Andrews, won second money in the prizes given by the company officials for the best kept section of track D.  Welch of Rockfield won first money.  The prize amounted to $50 for first prize and $40 for second prize.

The prizes were given for the best alignment of rails and also for the best roadbed.  Several weeks ago a special car under the direction of the maintainence (sic) of way department passed over the entire line and obtained data on the track conditions." 

I love to find newspaper articles like this, that give us a glimpse into the ancestors we never knew.  It's even better to find a newspaper article that doesn't involve war, crime or death!

The line of descent is:

John Beeks-Elizabeth Wise
Wilbur Beeks-Cleo Aldridge
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Their descendents

Friday, March 6, 2015

Holbrook line: Short items re Joseph Holbrook and Molly Wright

Joseph Holbrook 1814-1881:

 I found, on, a notice from the Chicago Daily Tribune on Feb. 16, 1881, (page 11) under the notices for "Probate Court".  "In the estate of Joseph R. Holbrook, the will was proven and admitted to probate, and letters testamentary were issued to Clark Holbrook and Fremont Holbrook.  The estate is valued at $10,000." Clark and Fremont were two of Joseph's sons.  His widow was Mary Elizabeth Whittemore. 

I did a quick search for the equivalent value and found this at  $10,000 in 1881 would be worth about $235,000 today, in terms of historic standard of living, or $2,320,000 in terms of  economic status.  In terms of economic power, it would be work about $14,300,000 today.  So we can come to the conclusion that Joseph was one of the wealthiest people in our family tree, at least till we get back to the royalty.   Alas, it must be true that "family money" generally lasts only one or two generations beyond the wealth-creator!

Molly Wright 1759-1845: 

Here's my update on waiting to see if the professional genealogists at NEHGS can find Molly Wright's parents for us.  (Molly would be Joseph's paternal grandmother).  It's been a little over 9 weeks since I ordered the report and their website and subsequent email said 10-12 weeks.  I may have to cut them some slack since this is Boston, after all, but I'm still hoping to hear something this month.  I'm not a very patient person but hopefully it will all be worth it when we get the report. 

The line of descent:

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

Update:  I ordered Molly's records December 31, 2014.  On March 9, I received an email from NEHGS that they were ready to start the research process now, and the report should be ready the week of 5/18/2015.  Add to that shipping time, and we are looking at very close to a five month process.  That's a long time to wait, and I wonder if NEHGS should look at when they are going to put a charge through.  Five months, more or less, is a long time for them to have my money when I have nothing to show for it.  I sure hope this report is good!