Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Allen line: James Morgan Sr. 1607-1685

First, let me say I have no original research about our ancestor, and the long, long genealogy I have for his mother may be completely erroneous.  So as far as we know for sure, James may have been dropped from a spaceship back in 1607.  Many websites indicate that his father was William Morgan and his mother was Elizabeth Morgan.  Elizabeth ties into a long long line leading to royalty, but I just found a website that listed the children of William and the well known Elizabeth, and there was no James listed.  So for now, James may be the son of William Morgan, and his wife may have been named Elizabeth, but there's no proof. 

It's believed that James was born (not to aliens from a spaceship) in Llandaff, Glamorgan, Wales, about 1607 and later lived in Bristol, Gloucester, England.  Nothing further is known of him until he sailed from Bristol in the summer of 1636 and landed in Boston. Massachusetts Bay Colony.  He settled in Roxbury, Massachusetts and there married Margery Hill on August 6, 1640.  In 1649 or 1650, he and his young family moved to New London, Connecticut, where he was associated with the church of Rev. Richard Blinman.  Most of the congregation was of Welsh background, which lends credence to the belief that James was also Welsh, although if records have been found and proven I am not aware of them. 

He was apparently a respected person in his community, for he was one of a committee to lay out the bounds of New London on the east side of the Great River in 1661.  He was one of three people to seat the people in the meeting house in 1661, and in 1662 he was one of a committee to contract to build a house for the ministry.  This year he also had the third highest assessment of any town member, with a value of 250 pounds.  Apparently his relative wealth were as a result of his land holdings, as there is no mention of other occupations he may have followed.  The lands he was first granted were just 6 acres of uplands, which doesn't seem to be a basis for wealth, but he may have been a speculator, also. He sold these lands and moved to what is now Groton, Connecticut in 1657.

Besides serving as a selectman for many years, he was the first Deputy from New London plantations to the General Court at Hartford in 1657 and was returned there annually until 1671. Despite his standing in the community, his relative wealth, and his political achievements, as far as can be found he always signed his name with an "X", indicating he couldn't sign his name. 

His known children are Hannah, James, John, Joseph, Abraham, who lived just 11 months, and a daughter who also died in infancy. 

I wonder why James chose to come to Massachusetts and then was willing to move from Roxbury to the New Haven (then known as Pequot) settlement?  Was it for economic reasons, or was he an adventuresome sort, or was it for religious reasons, or did all three come into play?  I'd also like to know what was in his mind as he and his family fled Groton in 1676, when the Indians burned all but four buildings during King Philip's War?  Did he have any regrets, or did he and Margery get through this crisis one day at a time, as the other refugees also did?  How did they summon up the courage to return and rebuild their home? 

Our line of descent is:
James Morgan-Margery Hills
James Morgan Jr-Mary Vine
Mary or Mercy Morgan-Thomas Starr
Thomas Starr Jr-Jerusha Street
John Starr-Mary Sharp
John Starr-Betsy Havens
John Havens Starr-Clarissa Falley
Harriet Clarissa Starr-John Wilson Knott
Edith Clarissa Starr-Edward Allen
kids, grandchildren, etc

James is my 8th great grandfather. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Harshbarger line: Andrew Kepler 1777-1855

Andrew Kepler, perhaps also known as Andreas, was born February 16, 1777, which may actually be his christening or baptism date. For the sake of accuracy, we should probably say, "born on or before" that date.  His parents are Bernard Kepler and Maria Elizabeth Lindemuth.  Andrew's grandfather, Benedict Kepler, was the immigrant to America, having been born in 1714 in Sulzfeld, Baden Wurttemburg, (Germany, now), and dying in 1778 in Berks County, Pa.  Bernard was one of at least six children, and Andrew was the father of at least 9 children.  Andrew's wife was Anna Maria Kramer, and she also was of German extraction, and came from a large family. 

Internet sources say that the two were married in Pennsylvania in about 1800 in Centre County, Pennsylvania. If this is accurate, it is possible that the family never moved from their original settlement, because part of Centre County was originally part of Northumberland County, which was originally part of Berks County. At any rate, they need not have moved far from their original home, perhaps just over a mountain ridge. 

Andrew and Anna Maria had at least 9 children: Mary, Andrew A, John, Rebecca, Samuel, Sarah, Jacob, Elizabeth, and Catherine.  Some were born in Centre County, Pa and some were born in Stark County, Ohio.  Andrew and his brother John were two of the earliest settlers in Green Township, Stark County, Ohio, having gone there about 1808-1809.  John became a justice of the peace there and Andrew was a constable, so the family was respected in the area.  Andrew served in the war of 1812, while brother John stayed to take care of the families whose husband/father was gone.  He was part of either Rayen's Regiment of the Ohio Militia or the Second Regiment (Hindman's) of the Ohio Militia, or possibly both, at differing time periods.  At this point in my research, I can only say that he was probably guarding against Indians who were fighting with the British against the Americans, but I don't know any specifics about when or where these units fought, or even if they actually fought at all.  

Andrew "entered" (meaning he was the original land owner, after the natives) land in Green Township in 1832 and again in 1834, with his brother John. By 1850, Andrew's farm was valued at $5500, a pretty considerable sum for the time.  There are at least two other listings on the same page of Andrew Kepler, with smaller farms. It is likely one of these was Andrew's son Andrew, but perhaps another of the farms belonged to Andrew Sr.  Mary Harshbarger is listed on the same non-population schedule, with a small farm. (This would have been when she was a widow, before her third marriage. 

About 1849, Andrew and Mary donated land for the present day cemetery where he and Mary, along with other family members, are buried. It is known as East Liberty Cemetery, and is in what is Green Township, Summit County, Oh. Mary died in 1852 and Andrew died in 1855. 

A lot of the dates in this blog are vague, because I haven't found sources for them yet.  I intend to do more research on this family, but I want to share what I'd found about them now, "just in case" I never find more.

The line of descent is:
Andrew Kepler-Anna Maria Kramer
Mary Kepler-George Harshbarger
Lewis Harshbarger-Catherine Mentzer
Emmanuel Harshbarger-Clara Ellen Harter
Grover Harshbarger-Goldie Withers
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Harshbarger children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Beeks line: Solomon Rees 1744-1829

I'm choosing to write about Solomon today because
  1) his ancestry leads us back to Wales
  2) study indicates that his family was Quaker, perhaps for several generations
  3) there are some mysteries still surrounding him
  4)  I happen to like the name Solomon!
  5) while preparing this blog, I discovered a major error on my part, and will have to change the ancestry family tree as soon as I have a chance.  Suffice it to say that his father was Thomas Rees born 1706, not Thomas Rees born 1734. 

Solomon was born to Thomas Rees and Margaret Bowen, about 1743 or 1744, possibly in Frederick County, Virginia, or perhaps en route from Chester County to Frederick County.   His parents had married in Chester County, Pa. and were  Quakers, or members of the Society of Friends. Many of the settlers of Chester County were Quakers, who had been forced from Wales due to religious persecution, and many eventually went to Virginia, and then eventually on to Pennsylvania and points west.  Thomas and Margaret had 10 children who lived to adulthood, and given the facts of the time, they may have had more children who died young. 

Solomon was married in or near Frederick County, Virginia, contrary to the rules of the Friends, and thus was disowned prior to June 6, 1774.  Quakers were permitted to marry only Quakers, and being disowned was a serious matter, since technically Quakers were no longer permitted to speak to him or help him in any way.  So we must assume that he really loved his wife, believed to be named Ann or Anna.  The couple stayed in Frederick County until 1787.  Some of his brothers had moved to Washington County, Pennsylvania about 1780 and it is possible that this is where Solomon and Ann
went.  This would have been a difficult time to be living in that part of the country, as it was very much frontier country.  The British had made allies of the Indians, and there were numerous battles and skirmishes as part of the Revolutionary War, and after, so it was not really a safe place to raise a family.

There are records of several Rees families, including Solomon, in Hocking Township, Fairfield County, Ohio in 1806, but it isn't yet known when the family had moved there, and it appears that he moved on to Fayette County, Ohio about that time.  He built and operated a brewery on the outskirts of New Martinsburg.  Solomon died in 1829 in Fayette County.  I have not yet located a copy of his will, if there was one. 

His known children are Sarah, Lydia, Hiram, Owen Traveler, John, Sampson, and possibly two other daughters, Margaret and Katherine. 

I'd like to know who Solomon's wife was, and whether there is a will, and details of his travels. From Chester County, Pa to Frederick County, Va. to possibly Washington County, Pa to Fairfield and Fayette Counties, Ohio, from Quaker to whatever religion he may have accepted, from whatever his earlier occupation might have been to brewer, from settled land to dangerous frontier, this man led a fascinating life. 

The line of descent is:
Solomon Rees-Ann
Owen T Rees-Margaret Ellen Moon
Eliza Matilda Moon-Samuel Goodnight Dunham
Margaret Catherine Dunham-Harvey Homer Aldridge
Gretta Cleo Aldridge-Wilbur Beeks
Beeks children-grandchildren, etc.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Holbrook line: John Adam Brown

John Adam Brown was born sometime around 1760, according to his tombstone and census records, and died before March 31, 1834. He had at least one brother, George.  He was possibly born in or near Rowan County, North Carolina, and died in Preble County, Ohio.  We know that he married Catherine Clapp on March 24, 1784 in Orange County, North Carolina.  The Clapps were a German family who came from Weissenheim-Berg, Hesse (Germany) originally, via Berks County, Pa.  The Clapps came to Orange County about 1754 in one of the famous wagon trains from Berks County, but we don't yet know if Adam's family came that way, too, or whether they may have been some of the Germans who came up through the Carolinas and went west.  It's not even known for sure whether the Brown family was German, but since there is a remark in an 1881 history of Preble County that this family spoke only German in the home, we are guessing that Adam was originally known at Johann Adam, and that his family name was originally Braun.  The Clapp family is proven but I have found no proof for the Brown/Braun family back further than this John Adam.   

When John Phillip Clapp, Catherine's father, died in 1798 he left land on or near Sandy Creek in the northeast corner of Randolph County to Adam Brown, and this is where they apparently raised their family until they left for Ohio.

The only descendent that we have found definite baptismal/christening records for is John Adam Brown, Jr., who was born in Guilford County, NC in 1804.  He was christened at the "Old Brick Church" in Guilford County, and the date (not sure if this is birth date or christening date) was March 18, 1804.  He is possibly the last of Adam and Catherine's children, or at least the last born in North Carolina. 

In 1805, Adam sold his land so quickly that it was only recorded after the fact, when Adam and Catherine and their family were probably already on their way to their new home in Preble County, Ohio.  The children that we think we have identified are Polly, George A, John, John Adam, Frederick, and Peter.  In the 1790 census in Guilford County,there were four females listed, which would indicate there could have been two older daughters. , and in the 1820 census in Harrison Township, Preble County there are two white males 10-15, one 16-18 (perhaps our John Adam), two who are 16-25 (John Adam and Frederick?), and one white female under 10 as well as two white females 16-25.  George, John, Peter and Polly have apparently left home, and we still have several females to identify.  Were they children, or were they another relative?  And who were they?  At any rate, this family settled in Preble County when there were only three other men in the county, so they were very early pioneers.   

We know that Adam was already listed as a taxpayer in Preble County in 1808, and that when he arrived he was o.  In 1817, Adam Brown and wife Catherine donated or sold 1 acre of land to John Lock Sr and Peter Ozias as Trustees of the German Lutheran and German Calvinist Society, by name of Frederick Meeting House Congregation of Preble County, Ohio, for $20.  Adam Brown also purchased goods or chattel at the auction of John Lock's goods, in 1818, in Harrison Twp., so they must have been near neighbors.  He may have been too old to have participated in a regular basis in the War of 1812, but it is likely that he at least stood guard duty while the younger men were out on campaign.  I have not been able to show that he fought in the Revolutionary War, either, although with a battle having taken place at Guilford Court House, it is possible that he was at least involved in that battle in some way. 

Adam Brown's estate is listed as case number 543 in the Preble County Probate Abstracts.  He was buried in either Old Euphemia Cemetery, or in Roselawn Cemetery, Lewisburg, Preble County.  The death date matches for Roselawn Cemetery, but Find A Grave gives a birthdate of 1757 for him, which is a little earlier than other sites give. 

As to the parents of John Adam St, I have two theories. One is that he is one or another of the several Johann Adam Braun's born in Berks County, Pa in the 1755-1765 time period, and that he came to North Carolina with one of the family groups that moved together.  The other is that his father was Frederick Brown. Frederick is listed as having been on a road crew in Rowan County in 1753, so he was at least 21 at that time. He owned land in the same tract as Ludwig Clapp (Catherine's grandfather) in 1758, on Sandy Creek.  He was naturalized in Salisbury, Rowan County in 1763, and is clearly noted as having been from Germany.  So far I have found not a hint as to who his wife, if any, may have been. 

As usual, there are more questions than answers about Adam. I would love to know whether he was at the battle at Guilford Court House. I'd love to know what his role was in the War of 1812, if any. I'd love to know more about his descendants, and where they ended up besides Cook County, Illinois.  And of course, I'd love to know his parents, and where they came from. 

Our line of descent is:

John Adam Brown-Catherine Clapp
John Adam Brown, Jr.-Elizabeth Myers
Phoebe Brown-Fremont Holbrook
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
their children, and their children's descendants-we know who we are!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Allen line: Will our John Campbell please stand up and identify himself?

The known facts about John Campbell are few and far between.  We know he died in Madison County, Kentucky, on April 20, 1806 and is buried in Madison County, Kentucky.  This John Campbell is most probably "our" John Campbell, because he was married to Jane Garvin and in 1809 we have a copy of Jane G Campbell giving permission for her daughter, Sarah, also known as "Sally", to marry Lemuel Dunn in Madison County, Ky. 

There was a John Campbell who was the witness of his brother Thomas's will in Madison County, Ky on May 17, 1796.  We don't know if this is the same John Campbell, because Campbell was a common name in Kentucky at that time, and even in Madison County there seem to be several families of Campbell.  There was a John Campbell listed in the Madison County Tax list of 1800.  On that list, he is named as "John A."  Is this a correct initial for our John?  What might it signify? There is also a John Campbell who was a witness to the will of William Hamilton on June 28, 1800 in Madison County, Kentucky.  Again, is this one ours, or someone else's?

A transcript of information, or more precisely, a query, was printed in the Boston Transcript on January 14, 1929.  "Wanted, parents of John Campbell born in Pa in about 1760, married Jane Garvin born in Ireland abt 1763. They were married about 1784, and had John G, born January 22, 1785, Mary Powers, born December 22, 1786, Sarah Reid born November 22, 1788, Isaac, born March 19, 1797, and David Garvin, born October 2, 1799.  The younger members of the family were born near Union, Monroe County, WV.  They emigrated to Kentucky 1802-1805, settled in Mercer County.  John Campbell died April 20, 1806 and is buried in Madison County, Kentucky.  He had a brother, Hugh, and I do not know names of other children of this family.  Would like this information. H.M." 

There were Garvins in Madison County, Ky during this same time period, and also in Monroe/Greenbrier County, WV a decade earlier.  If we trace Garvins back further, they can be found in Cumberland County, Pa., as can several families of Campbells.  This may be a possible clue. However, there are also a large number of Campbells in Augusta County, Va,, who may somehow be connected. To complicate matters, a biography of George Washington Dunn, son of Lemuel Dunn and Sarah Reid Campbell,  indicates that John Campbell fought in the Revolutionary War from Virginia.  There are too many pieces to this puzzle; some have to belong to some other family.  The question is, which ones?

Well, H.M., I would certainly like to have the answers to your query, also.  I can find hints and bits and pieces of two or possibly three John Campbell families in Monroe/Greenbriar County, WV and in Augusta County, Va, but nothing that would rule one of the families in or out.  Then there is a list of taxables from 1792 in Washington County, Virginia that includes the names of Hugh, James, John, and Thomas, (also Anne Campbell) which should probably be pursued, since John's brothers were Hugh and possibly Thomas, and there was a James Campbell in Mercer County, Ky (where Sarah Campbell Dunn lived) in 1830 who would have been the right age to be the brother of John and possibly Thomas and Hugh.  There are so many clues, but my puzzle just isn't taking shape yet.   

I'm reasonably sure that John is going to trace back somehow to one of the Campbells of Scotland, but I don't know if it will be ever be possible to make that connection.  For now, I'd just be excited to find out whether he came from Cumberland County, Pa, or August County, Va, or Washington County, Va, or some other location entirely, and I'd be thrilled to know who his parents were! 

Here's the line of descent:

John Campbell-Jane Garvin
Sarah Reid Campbell-Lemuel Dunn
Margaret J Dunn-Archibald Allen
George R Allen-Nancy McCoy
Edward Allen-Edith Knott
The rest of us-we know who we are!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Holbrook line: Libbeus Stannard 1756-1846

Libbeus Stannard was born in Suffield, Hartford County, Connecticut, December 5, 1756, and died at Perryville, Madison County, New York on September 5, 1846.  His parents were John Stannard and Hannah Hatchett, and he was one of at least 10 children.  So far, his story doesn't look very remarkable. 

However, during his early manhood the colonies were forced to fight the Revolutionary War, and Libbeus joined the service of his country that was not yet born.  He lived at Rupert, Vermont, at the time, enlisted in January 1776, and served four months and six days as a private in Captain Gideon Brownson's Company, Colonel Seth Warner's Regiment of Green Mountain Boys, and was in Arnold's Expedition to Canada.  He enlisted in July 1776 and served three month as a private in the Connecticut Troops.  Again, he enlisted in 1781 and served three or four weeks as a private in the Vermont troops.  (I am not sure that the information about Arnold's Expedition to Quebec is correct, because that was in 1775. Either he was not on this expedition, or Libbeus's file at Fold 3 doesn't reflect this, except in a letter dated September 19, 1924 from the War Department to Jane S Johnson of Brookline, Mass. The expedition's records may or may not clear this up.) 

It's not clear when Libbeus moved to Rupert, Vermont, but there was a child, Eunis, born there in 1779, and the war records say he enlisted first at Rupert, in 1776.  A biography of his grandson indicates that Libbeus's son Libbeus, who was born in 1785, was 21 when the family moved to New York (Madison County), so that would put the move about 1806.  The senior Libbeus is found in various New York locations, all in Madison County, in the 1810, 1820, and 1830 censuses.  I have been unable to determine his occupation but I'm thinking he may have been farming.  Known children of Libbeus and Eunice Pomeroy are Eunis, noted above, Libbeus, mentioned above, Lydia, Lucinda, and Alvin.  Census records indicate the possibility of more children, because in 1800 there were two white males under 10, 1 aged 10-15, one aged 16-25, two white females under 10, and two aged 16-25. It is possible, of course, that there were other configurations that would support this census, such as a son or daughter with spouse and children living with them.

In 1832, by this time 78 years of age, he applied for a pension from the government, based on his Revolutionary War service, and eventually was approved for it as an invalid.  He lived 14 more years, and there is a final payment voucher received from the General Accounting Office sent to Albany, New York, for the third quarter of 1846. 

Much of the information for this post was taken from Fold 3, and from Ancestry.com.  More research needs to be done in New York, to determine whether Libbeus owned land, and in Vermont, to try to figure out when Libbeus moved there, and whether he was the only family member who did so.  I also want to clarify whether or not Libbeus was actually part of Benedict Arnold's expedition to Canada in 1775.  Does someone reading this have any of this information?

The line of descent is:

Libbeus Stannard-Eunice Pomeroy
Libbeus Stannard Jr-Luceba (Euzebia) Fay
Hiram Stanard-Susan Eddy
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Ray/Howard/Lois/Gladys Holbrook

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Harshbarger line: Hans Jacob Kemery and those darn facts, or lack thereof

One of the things blogging makes me do, which is a good thing, is look for weak links in the tree.  It looks like Hans Jacob Kemery or Kemmerli may be one of them.  He was born sometime in the 1780s (per 1840 census)  in York County, Pa, and married Anna Maria Lauber.  He died in Stark County, Ohio on October 8, 1847 and is buried in Sherman Church Cemetery there. The known children of Jacob and Anna Maria are John, Adam, Daniel, Jacob, and George.  I suspect there are more children, especially girls, but I have not yet found them. 

The 1840 census in Pike Township, Stark County, Ohio does show three females who could be his children.  This is the only census record I've found that fits the family and the suspected locations they would have been, although there are records in Northampton County, Pa that may be the family in earlier years. 

The reason I'm questioning the information on my tree is that I was looking for some names in a copy of a book edited by Don Yoder, called Pennsylvania German Immigrants. In that book there is listed a Johann Jacob Kuemmerle and wife Margaretha nee Heintzelman of Neckarlenzlingen, (Germany), along with a son Johann Jacob born 12/ 6/1744 and daughter Anna Margaretha born 12/27/1742.  This family came to America on the Richard and Mary, landing in Philadelphia on September 17, 1753. 

The information on the internet, unsourced, gives a birth date for our H. Jacob's father as 1734 and says he was born in Holland.  I have found other ancestors who were listed as from Holland when their actual birth location was a German state or Switzerland. The families may have stayed in Holland for a year or two to raise money to come to America, but they weren't permanent residents there. I suspect this may be the case with this family.  I would life to look at the "Kuemmerle" family in more depth to determine whether they could be ancestors of Hans Jacob born 1791.   And if so, was the Johann Jacob born in 1744 the father of our H. Jacob, or the grandfather?  Either would be a possibility.

Indications are that this family may have been in York County, Pa, possibly Windsor Township, so my next trip to the Allen County Public Library will include a search of the records there.  In the meantime, I would love to hear from anyone researching this family.  Maybe you've already found the answers I'm looking for, or maybe we can work together to solve this mystery. 

This is the line of descent. 

H. Jacob Kemery-Anna Maria Lauber
Daniel Kemery and Susannah Essig
Adam Kemery and Nancy Buchtel
Della Kemery and William H Withers
Goldie Withers and Grover Harshbarger
Cleveland Harshbarger and Mary Margaret Beeks
Harshbarger children and grand children-you know who you are! 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Harshbarger Line: Lewis Harshbarger 1828-1875

This really more like a "not a post" because I know so little of this man. I do want to at least get what little is known about him posted, however, because if I wait till I know more, I may never post at all about him.  He was known as "a man of great powers" so there must have been something remarkable about him. 

Lewis was born in either Ohio or Pennsylvania, depending on which census you believe, in 1828.  His parents, George Harshbarger and Mary Kepler Harshbarger, were from Pennsylvania and so far I haven't been able to determine when they moved from Centre County, Pennsylvania  to Summit County, Ohio.  Both of these areas had large German communities and indeed, the Harshbargers and the Keplers both go back to Germany (the Harshbargers actually to Switzerland and the Keplers to Hessen, which became part of  Germany). 

Lewis had at least three brothers, Milo, Andrew Jackson, and John, and a sister, Leah.  His father, George, died in 1844 when Lewis was just 16.  His mother eventually remarried and sometime in the 1850s he along with his brothers moved to Union Township, Whitley County, Indiana. Lewis had married in Summit County, Ohio to Catherine Mancer (Mentzer), on February 26, 1852.  She also was of German ancestry, and it is believed that only German was spoken in this household. 

Lewis supported his family in several ways. He was an undertaker in Ohio, and a cabinet maker, but apparently did not carry on either of those trades when he moved to Indiana. He became a farmer in Whitley County, and apparently a successful one. When he came to Whitley County, the only building on the land was a crude log cabin. He cleared most of the land himself, probably using the oxen he was known to have, which aided him greatly in his farm work.  In the 1860 census, he is shown as having a farm valued at $1100 with $250 in personal property, and in 1870 his farm had grown from 66 acres to 252 acres, valued at $8000 and $500 personal property.  A comment in a Whitley County history which I failed to document says that he was a "man of great powers". 

He and Catherine were also busy raising a family.   Their children were Milo, Emanuel, Lovina, Matilda (who was four months old and unnamed at the 1860 census), Henry, and Catherine.  David, Cassie, and Mary are also shown on the internet as their children.  Since I don't have birth dates for them, it's hard to know whether these were their children or not.  If even some of them were part of this family, Catherine certainly had her hands full when Lewis died in 1875.  Catherine, who had been born in 1830, lived until 1914 and was buried beside Lewis, at the Egolf Cemetery next to the Thorncreek Church of God, in Whitley County, Indiana. 

Obviously, much more research needs to be done for Lewis but I am posting this now on the theory that something is better than nothing, and that this will at least give a sense of the man.  The line of descent is:

Lewis Harshbarger-Catherine Mancer (Mentzer)
Emanuel Harshbarger-Clara Ellen Harter
Grover Harshbarger-Goldie Withers
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Harshbarger children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Holbrook brick wall: James Lamphire

Someone who died in 1848 and was married in 1796 shouldn't be so hard to find.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  For now, he's pretty much a mystery. 

The first real evidence of James Lamphire is his marriage to Hannah Eames on May 8, 1796 in Bozrah, Connecticut.  I have not been able to find evidence of his birth date, and I have several theories as to why that is, but it may be that none of them are correct.  At any rate, he was probably born in 1774, based on information at his death, and it seems possible or even likely that he descends from the Lanfear/Lanphear/Lanphire/Lamphire etc families of Westerly, Rhode Island.  My "favorite" candidate for his parents changes every time I look at his file, so obviously I need to do more research.  The answer as to his parentage has to be somewhere! 

He was in Bozrah, Connecticut in 1800 and in Warren, Herkimer, NY in the 1810 census. He and Hannah already had three children by this time, two girls and a boy.  They seem to not be listed in the 1820 census, at least I haven't found them yet, but there are four families of various spelling in Madison County, New York, which is where we find James in 1830. (The other families are in Brookfield but James shows up first in Fenner.)  By then, he and Hannah are each 50-59 years old, and there is one male aged 10-14 with them. There is also a James Lamfere back in Herkimer County, New York, young enough to be our James's son, but there is no proof that he is a son, that I know of. In fact, his estate papers say that David was his only son.  In the 1840 census, James and Hannah are by themselves in Fenner, both aged 60-69.

Hannah probably died prior to November 7, 1847, when James, aged 73, of Cazenovia, married Susan Roster, of Stockbridge.  James was likely already ill, for he died of cancer on June 2, 1848, aged 74 years old. He is described as a farmer, which is likely how he made his living throughout his life.  He died without a will, and there is a request on file that David Mitchell was owed $10 from the estate and therefore asked to be appointed administer.  The application for administrator lists the widow, David Lamphire of Wisconsin, Alvin Stannard, Mrs. Polly Sullen, Mrs. Reuben Hattin, and Mrs. Simeon Green all of various locations in New York as heirs.  There is no mention of the younger James in Herkimer County, but there is also no mention of our ancestor and his daughter, Susan Lamphire Eddy.  Perhaps each of those people had already been given a share of the estate, or had been gifted prior to James's death. (Or maybe the younger James had died without issue.)  The estate (personal property only) was valued at less than $1000.

Known children of James and Hannah are Parmelia, Polly, Harriet (known as Nancy), David, and Susan.  David's birthdate is listed as 1817, which would not make him the boy listed in the 1810 census, so more work needs to be done here.

This is as much as I know of James. He seems to be a sly one, and is probably hiding behind a different spelling than the ones I have tried, or perhaps even behind a different first name.  Several people in the collateral lines are known by their middle name, or by a different name altogether, for whatever reason. 

I've been working on this part of the line for a long time and my "possible clues" folder is about an inch thick. The answer may be in that file, but I'm not fitting the puzzle pieces together yet.  If you know anything that might help me, please contact me!  I owe Jessica Franks a huge debt of gratitude for showing me all the information she had from Madison County, New York, and for sharing pictures and estate information with me! 

Our line of descent: 

James Lamphire-Hannah Eames
Susan Lamphire-Joseph Eddy
Susan Eddy-Hiram Stanard
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook

Friday, November 29, 2013

Allen and Holbrook lines: Our Pilgrims

When I was about 11 or 12 years old, my father received as a Christmas gift from his sister, a genealogy of the Starr family.  Dad thought I should read it (really?), since I had an interest in history, and while doing so, I found that there was a marriage in the Starr family that took us back to Elder William Brewster and his wife, Mary.  Yes, that good man and his wife Mary are our ancestors!
I have been interested in the Pilgrims/Puritans/separatists ever since, and when my interest in family history ignited in 2006, that was the first family line that I added to my tree. 

However, I always thought it would be nice if I could find some Pilgrim ancestors for Mom, too. The odds seemed at least somewhat favorable, since there were many of her lines that were in early New England.  I'll never forget the day I found Mom's Pilgrims. I was working on the Foster family, which was a true joy in itself because I'd finally found Elizabeth Whittemore's parents, after searching for years. Her maternal grandfather was a Foster. I was at work (before work hours, naturally), and came across the name Hannah Standish, who had married Nathan Foster. They were born in the early 1700's, and the thought crossed my mind "How many Standish families can there be?"  Sure enough, as I traced her line back, not only did she descend from Myles Standish, she also descended from Edward Doty!  Oh, that was a happy genealogy dance day! 

Here's a very brief summary of each man. 

William Brewster was apparently a man of some means, and was thought highly of by his fellow Separatists. He was an Elder in the church and served as their pastor once the Mayflower group reached Massachusetts, until a pastor arrived to lead them. He taught and preached, but refused to serve communion since he was not ordained.  Everything I have read about him points to his being a really good man.  His wife was Mary, last name not certain.  I have listed her as Mary Wentworth on my tree because the evidence seems to point that direction, but I haven't carried her line back further because I don't consider it "proof" enough to continue. 

Myles Standish may or may not have been a member of the Pilgrims in the religious sense, but he attended services with them and shared his life with them.  He was a "Captain", and was apparently hired or otherwise enticed by the Pilgrims to come to "Virginia" with them (Virginia was their original destination) as their military leader.  He served admirably in that capacity, and from what I have read, was a diplomat as far as relations with the native Americans went.  It is due in large part to what he did that the little colony survived.  We are descended through his second wife, Barbara, whose last name is also unknown. 

Both of these men were also commended for the "tender care" they gave the sick and starving Pilgrims during the first disastrous winter, when so many of them died.  I'm sure neither man had nursing in his background, but they did what needed to be done in a loving and caring manner.  Yes, they were heroes in my book.

The third Pilgrim, Edward Doty, didn't join the church until some years after the arrival of the Mayflower.  He was apparently a contentious man, frequently in court over some matter, usually as the defendant.  He came to the New World as an indentured servant of Stephen Hopkins, and the first mention that is made of him is of his involvement in a duel with the other indentured servant of Stephen Hopkins.  Maybe he did not achieve at the high level of Elder William Brewster or Captain Myles Standish, but he did survive the first winter, and many more, and he did accumulate considerable wealth.  He was married to Faith Clarke.

These are very brief summaries of the men and women we can claim as ancestors, written as a brief Thanksgiving Day tribute.  If you would like more information about how our lines descend, please contact me and I'll be happy to send the information. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Beeks Line: Jackson Wise

Jackson seems to be a sore spot in the Beeks family.  I've been told by more than one person that the Beeks line came from horse thieves and that's why "they never amounted to anything."  First, I beg to differ: Many people in the Beeks line have amounted to something. They've been good people, hard workers, and have provided for their families. If their names won't be found in any history book 100 years from now, so what?  That is the case for most of us; we're just ordinary folks doing our best to make it through life. 

So on to Jackson Wise.  First, the bad news:  He was indeed convicted of burglary in Hancock County, Indiana back in 1847, along with his brother in law, McLain Bodkin.  Jackson was sentenced to 12 years and McLain to 6 years.  I don't know whether Jackson was considered to be the leader in the crime, or whether the judge had compassion for McLean. He lived only a few months in prison, so perhaps he was already ill when he was sentenced.  This was a very short trial and under today's court rules, perhaps the defense attorney could be called incompetent.  However, this was 1847 and if someone thought they could identify the perpetrators of the crime, that may have been the deciding point. At any rate, there are no records of the trial, and the end result was that both men went to Jeffersonville State Prison.

There are two good things that resulted from this conviction. First, Jackson was pardoned in 1854 as is reported in the "Governor's Message Delivered to the General Assembly of the State of Indiana on January 4, 1855."  The language is that he was "Pardoned on the application of the individual upon whom the crime was committed and who were the witnesses for the State, eleven of the jury who tried the cause, the present prosecuting attorney, the clerk treasurer, sheriff, recorder, the Associate judge at the time of the conviction, the Attorney who prosecuted the case for the State, one hundred citizens of Wabash County, where the defendant's family reside, and the principal citizens of the county of Hancock, who were familiar with the transaction, and reside in the area where it occurred-with the statement of the officers of the prison that he has been a faithful and obedient man for the seven years and (f)our months that he has been imprisoned, and that his health is declining."

This seems to me to be a well-orchestrated project. One wonders what had happened that so many people could be found to ask for his release, when no one appears to have step forward at the time of the trial.  Was is a simple case of "let bygones be bygones", or had new evidence come to light that perhaps made the jurors and others involved in the trial have second thoughts?  This is apparently something that we can never know, as further records seem to have been destroyed.

The second good thing that happened, for those of us who care, is that we have a physical description of Jackson Wise, based on his physical when he entered Jeffersonville.  He was a laborer, 30 years old, 5' 10 1/4" tall, dark complexion, blue eyes, and dark hair.  In addition, the back of his head was covered with scars, and the finger next to the little finger on right hand was scared, with the first joint stiff. He also had a "scar in the right groin, just below---".  It is also noted that he was born in Ohio.  There is no entry for the column "former character", so apparently there had been no earlier charges against him. 

There is still a lot I don't understand about Jackson. He married Charity Botkins on March 18, 1836, in Shelby County, Ohio.  Prior to that, it's a mystery. Census records show that both of his parents (unknown at this time) were born in Virginia, but that he was born in Ohio.  According to Find A Grave, his birth date was December 27, 1817 and he died March 4 1893.  His monument at Center Grove Cemetery near Lincolnville in Wabash County, Indiana is fairly substantial, so either he or someone in his family must have had a little bit of money.   Jackson was a laborer when he was convicted, and a retired farmer by the 1880 census, so the comment in 1854 that he was in declining health was probably correct.  He would have been only 62 at the time of the census, which was very young to be "retired". 

Jackson and Charity had three children listed in the 1860 census: Mary, born about 1846, Abel, born about 1851, and Rachel, born about 1857.  I am not sure how Abel came to be, since Jackson was in prison in 1851, but perhaps conjugal visits were allowed.   Sarah had been born earlier and apparently had already left home.  There were probably other children, too, as the 1840 census in Shelby County lists two females under the age of two, but I don't know who they are.  It's possible other children were born in the 1840-1846 time period also.

Besides filling in the gaps in his life, I'd also like to know who his parents were.  My only clue is that he named his (possibly) only son Abel.  There is an Abel Wise in Virginia who married Ann Fitchett in 1776, and it is possible that he is some relation to Jackson.  I need to do more research there. 

If anyone has additional information that could help, I'd love to hear it.

Here's the line of descent:

Jackson Wise-Charity Botkin
Mary Wise-William Beeks
John Beeks-Elizabeth Wise  (a different line, as far as I know now)
Wilbur Beeks-Cleo Aldridge
children-grandchildren etc of Wilbur and Cleo

Friday, November 22, 2013

Holbrook line: Obadiah Holmes, another hero, or not?

Obadiah Holmes was born about 1607 near Reddish, England, to Robert and Catherine Johnson Holmes. He was one of eight or nine children, and he grew up as a farm boy.  He became a glassmaker and a weaver.  He confessed "his evil ways" to his mother on her death bed, and somehow felt responsible for her death. This led to a greater spirituality on his part.  He married Catherine Hyde in Manchester's Collegiate College Church on November, 16, 1630.

It's not clear whether his parents were Puritans, but Obadiah did join the Puritan movement and he and his family came to New England in 1638, It is noted that their voyage was extremely stormy, and took 6 weeks for them to reach Boston.  The family soon settled in Salem, Massachusetts.  Here he plied his trade as glassmaker, making common window glass.  Obadiah was not happy with the rigidity of the established church there, and had moved to Rehoboth by 1645.  He was made a freeman there.

As so many times happens, Obadiah soon discovered that moving to another town did not mean moving away from the central problem, in this case, doctrinal differences.  Obadiah apparently participated in and perhaps founded a house church movement, which met after the regular Sunday services and was considered schismatic.  He was hauled up before church authorities, and ordered to cease and desist his religious activities with the house church. Not content with that, his Puritan pastor charged him with perjury, and Obadiah in turn filed slander charges. Obviously he would need to move on, despite having many friends in Rehoboth. 

He had basically been "forced out" to Newport, Rhode Island, where religious freedom was practiced.  In 1651, he, Pastor John Clarke, and John Crandall, all Baptists, traveled to Lynn, Massachusetts to bring comfort and communion to an aged parishioner who had been ministered to by Holmes.  They were there by invitation, but they were apprehended by two constables who arrested them on the authority of the magistrates, and detained them at a local tavern. The three were more or less forced to attend Sunday night church services, where they indicated their disrespect for the situation by putting their hats back on after having removed them. (This was considered rude in Puritan society.) 

The next day the three men were sent to Boston where the trial was fixed and all three men were found guilty "without producing either accuser, witness, jury, law of God or man."  In addition, Holmes was assaulted, struck, and cursed by Rev. John Wilson, while he was in the custody of an officer in the presence of the court, and within the protection of the law.  Can we say "kangaroo court?" 

The three men were fined, Obadiah the most heavily, and banished. Fine monies were raised among the Baptists for all three men, but Obadiah refused to accept the monies. Instead, he chose to accept the alternative punishment, which was to be well whipped. The day of the punishment was cold, but he was stripped to his waist, tied to a post, and whipped 30 strokes (double strokes, actually, which was basically within an inch of his life.  He stated after the whipping that "You have struck me as with roses", and was able to give a bit of a sermon.   

He healed at a supporter's house but had to basically escape from that when still recovering, because he was on the verge of being arrested again for not having left according to the terms of the banishment.  He travelled through the woods and was met 4 miles outside of town by his wife and 8 children.

I've found differing information as to when Obadiah actually became pastor of the Baptist church in Newport. It may have been 1652 or it may have been 1676, or perhaps he became some sort of associate in 1652. Also I've found differing opinions on whether Obadiah attended or graduated from Oxford University, although Obadiah did state that his parents were able to send three sons there.
Finally, we don't know for sure when Obadiah died, although his will was proved December 4, 1682. He was buried in his own field, in what is now the town of Middletown, and there a tomb was erected to him. 

The questions is: Was he a hero, or was he merely a stubborn man who brought out the worst in his associates?  There is quite a bit of controversy even yet surrounding this man, but the Baptist church  honors his memory.  I have no wish to stir up religious controversies, so I'll simply say that he lived by his beliefs and seems to have been a very good man.   I feel privileged to have him in our family tree. 

Here's our line of descent:

Obadiah Holmes-Katherine Hyde
Mary Holmes-John Brown
Sarah Brown-John Pray
Mary Pray-Richard Brown
Othniel Brown-Deborah Brown
Sarah Brown-Enos Eddy
Enos Eddy-Deborah Paine
Joseph Eddy-Susan Lamphire
Susan Eddy-Hiram Stanard
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys/Lois/Howard/Ray Holbrook

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Harshbarger line: Happy dance, follow-up to William Withers post

Yes, I am definitely doing the genealogy happy dance today!  Following my post of a few weeks ago on Civil War veteran William Withers, I decided to make good on my promise to go to Whitley County to get the death record for William, in hopes of learning his parents. Unfortunately, the information is only as good as the informant, and in this case the only thing I could glean from the document was that his mother's name was
Mary.  That narrowed it down rather nicely, right?

Still, I had suspected that William's parents were Joseph and Mary Withers, who were shown in the 1850 census as being in Marion County, Iowa, and who were both born in Pennsylvania.  Joseph was a shoemaker then.  I didn't know where to go next, so I finally turned to the internet to try to trace down some of the brothers and sisters of William. Maybe there was additional information to be found there?  I knew that John Withers, the oldest male sibling, was in Whitley County, Indiana by 1860, because he was married there in 1857.  I eventually found that he was also married in 1886 in Huntington County, Indiana, to Maria Roberts. (His first wife was Linne Roberts, who was deceased, but I don't know how or if the two Roberts were related.)  In that 1886 marriage record, John's father was named as Joseph Withers and his mother as Mary Dearhart, in the index.  However, when  I looked at the actual entry, I thought Mary's name might actually have been Gearhart.

With that hunch, I was able to pull up, on FamilySearch.org, a death index for Sarah Jane Mills. Sarah Jane Withers was 16 in the 1850 census, and born in Pennsylvania.  She is listed as having been born in Pennsylvania, and her father was Joseph Withers and her mother was Mary Gearhart, on the death index.  Bingo and happy genealogy dance!  The only thing I can't explain is how she ended up in Newark, Licking County, Ohio.

I think something pretty drastic happened to the Joseph Withers family between 1850 and 1860.  In the 1860 census, John Withers in Whitley County. His sister Mary Ann is living in the home of Oliver Quick, in Jefferson Township, Whitley County. Eliza Eunice, who is only 12 years old, is living in the home of Jacob Keiser, Columbia City, Indiana.  I have not located marriage records for either of these young women, but I'm thinking they didn't marry in Whitley County. Where did they go? Why were they in Whitley County? Was big brother John looking out for them?  Where were the other children, including William?  Were either of the parents still alive?  A man matching Samuel Withers basic information is actually in Perry Township, Richland County, Ohio in 1860.  Is this our Samuel Withers, and how did he end up there?

While I pondered those questions, I of course could not stop wondering when and where Joseph and Mary had married.  On Ancestry, in the Pennsylvania Church and Town Records 1708-1935, I found the marriage record for Joseph Whithers and Mary Gerchark, on May 24, 1832, at what is now the Allison United Methodist Church in Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.  By enlarging the actual image, I feel confident that the "Gerchark" is actually Gerhart, a very common name in that part of Pennsylvania.  It's a German name, though, so I'm a little surprised to find the wedding in the Methodist church records.  My working hypothesis is that these people are the parents of William and the other children, and this is their marriage record.  I believe it is this family that was in Morris Township, Knox County, Ohio in the 1840 census. 

Here are some other questions:  There was a Mary Gearhart next door to a William Withers in 1840 in Jackson, Pickaway County, Ohio.  Did this William Withers have any connection to our Joseph Withers?  He is of about the right age to be a brother to Joseph, perhaps.  Could this Mary Gearhart possibly be Mary Gerhart's mother?  If so, there was a marriage between Peter Gerhart and Polly Wallace in 1805 in the Presbyterian church records, in Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pa. Would "Polly" have been a nickname for Mary?

So, hurrah!  I think I've found Joseph and Mary in 1832. Who were their parents? Were Mary's parents Peter and Polly/Mary?  I'm not ready to make that argument yet, as there were a lot of other Gerhart's in the area. Peter is the only Gerhart of the right age in the 1840 Carlisle, Cumberland, Pa census, but he may have been an uncle or cousin or no relation at all. And as for the Withers/Whithers, there is a George Withers in Dickinson Township, which is not far from Carlisle. As best I can tell, he was a fuller, so having a son who is a shoemaker is not such a far stretch.  That's not much to go on, though. I haven't located wills for either Peter or George, so at this point, they are mysteries.

However, a happy genealogy dance is in order, in honor of Joseph and Mary Gearhart Withers, parents of William and his brothers and sisters!  And I'll be even happier if this post generates more leads or information, or even clues.  

Here's the new line of descent:
Joseph Withers-Mary Gearhart
William Withers-Barbara Cook
William Withers-Della Kemery
Goldie Withers-Grover Harshbarger
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks

Friday, November 15, 2013

Harshbarger line: Peter Shollenberger

This is going to be a very brief sketch because as far as I can see, there is no good documentation for much of the information in this article.  It is taken from copies of copies of information from a book  or article by Marian E Shelenberger called "Shollenberger, Shelenberger, Frantz and Allied Families of Lehigh and Crawford Counties, PA and Stark Co."

Peter was the grandson of immigrants from Albig, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany. His grandparents, Johann Friederich and Anna Katharina Hoppach had arrived in Philadelphia on the ship "Loyal Judith" in 1742.  The timing of their arrival means they were likely coming for economic reasons rather than religious reasons.  It was 5 years until Frederick obtained a Land Warrant for 100 acres in what was to become Greenwich Twp, Berks County, Pa.  (This could indicate that he served for a time as an indentured servant, or it could simply mean it took that much time to save enough money to buy land.)

Frederick and Katharina's son Johann Lorenz would have been about 6 years old when the family made this trip. Johann Lorenz Schollenberger married Elizabeth Mertz on August 13, 1763.  They had at least 9 children, of whom Peter was was in the middle, being born December 26, 1771.  Just as his father may have been too young to remember much about his trip from Germany, Peter may have been young to remember the Revolution, at least the early years.  He may have been apprenticed or indentured as a young man, becuase his biography states that he was a pipe organ builder in Philadelphia, Pa, a fine cabinet maker, and then later a farmer.  One does not learn to build pipe organs or fine cabinets without some training. 

His biography states that he lived in Hamburg, Berks County, Pa until 1810 when he moved with his two sons to Plain Twp, Stark County, Ohio. This was early to be moving to Ohio, because of course he didn't know that the War of 1812 was about to be fought.  We don't know the maiden name of the woman he married, but she was Susanna and was born May 4, 1777.  His (and presumably her) daughter Catherine was born September 6, 1796, and John and Joseph were born in 1798 and 1801, respectively.  It is quite possible that there were other children, but no record of them has yet been found. 

Peter probably fought in some capacity in the War of 1812, simply because most of the men in Ohio did fight, either in the militia, as part of the US Army or Navy, or as sort of a home guard.  In any case, this would have been an uneasy time for Peter and Susannah.

Peter and Susannah were apparently good Christian people, because on June 7, 1817, Peter was among the signers of the Constitution of the Evangelical Lutheran and Germany Reformed Church of Plain Twp, Stark County, Oh. On June 17, 1826, Peter and Susanna sold land to the Lutheran and Presbyterian Churches for a building and burial ground.  He later sold his land and moved to Marlboro Township, where he died July 27, 1844. He is buried at the St Peter's Curch Cemetery in Marlboro Township. 

I haven't been able to locate Peter in any census, or in church records, or in any of the other "usual sources" so this story is to be continued, I hope.  In the meantime, it's fun to think that a Harshbarger ancestor built pipe organs! It's fun to wonder how they made the trek to Ohio and how long it took, and it's fun to wonder about a lot of other of the unknowns in Peter's life. 

Here is the line:

Peter Shollenberger and Susanna
Catherine Shollenberger and George Essig
Susannah Essig and Daniel Kemery
Adam Kemery and Nancy Buchtel
Della Kemery and William H Withers
Goldie Withers and Grover Harshbarger
Cleveland Harshbarger and Mary Margaret Beeks

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Allen line: A tribute to Richard Allen 1919-2006

Dad went to be with Jesus 7 years ago today. The following highly personal post is the tribute that I had hoped to give at his funeral. Unfortunately, a severe strep throat kept me from speaking that day.  I hope Dad's children and grandchildren will read this post, and perhaps spend a moment or two in quiet reflection, in honor of a good man.

"When the gates of heaven opened Sunday afternoon, and Dad walked through (for the first time in over two years, he walked!), I believe Jesus was there with His arms wide open, saying "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

When I think about his life, I think about all the ways he served during his time here on earth.  First and always, he served God and God's church.  From the time in 1945 that he received his call to ministry, he was God's willing servant.  He served in several small churches through the years, and was always obedient.  When God told him that his work in one town was done, he moved on to the next spot God had prepared for him.  When God prepared slightly larger churches as his next assignment, he served there, too, even though that was outside of his comfort zone. In every church, there were people he led to the Lord, people he counseled, and people he just encouraged with his pastoral calls.

Dad also served his country. He served in the European theater during World War II, arriving in France on something like D Day plus 44.  There, he faithfully did his job as a soldier and a radio operator. His hearing was damaged in an explosion that sent the jeep he was riding in through the air, but Dad resisted applying for veteran's benefits. His explanation was that the country didn't owe him anything,  but he owed his country more than he could every repay.  Dad was part of a generation of heroes.

In every community he ever lived in, Dad always got involved in community events. He was frequently a member of the Lions Club or the Kiwanis, or both. In one town, he served as chaplain for the fire department. In another, he was an on call chaplain for the military, and he was supposed to go to a missile silo in case of nuclear attack, to counsel and support the underground heroes who would have survived an initial attack from the enemy. This was during the Cuban missile crisis, and we lived on the west coast. The enemy we were all worried about was the USSR.  In most places that he lived, he was part of the American Red Cross in one way or another.  And he absolutely loved serving as a scorekeeper for some of the high schools in some of the towns we lived in.

Finally, Dad served his family.  As a young man, he was anxious to join the service and fight for his country overseas.  However, his father developed cancer, and Dad reluctantly accepted a deferment to stay behind and care for his father during his final illness.  Shortly after that, his mother had a serious heart attack, and once again, Dad put his plans for military service on hold while he nursed her back to health.  It was late 1942 before he was free to join the army.

Down through the years, he worked hard to provide for his growing family. Our family never had a lot of money, but Dad provided us with things much more valuable than money: values, faith, and an attitude of caring about other people.

Then, as he retired and thought his days of  family service were winding down, things happened. A daughter and her four children moved in for the better part of a year, and Dad enjoyed being a very active Grandpa to those four children. Another time, a grandson stayed with his grandparents for several months, and again, Dad was pleased about it. When his youngest daughter was killed and his son in law was in poor health for years, he was thrilled to be able to help with two more grandchildren.  Even when his health was failing and he and Mom ended up moving in with my sister, Sue, I remember him trying to help with little things like setting the table at mealtime.

So Dad, I want to echo the words of Jesus and say, "Well done".  We will miss you, but we'll cherish your memory until we meet again."

There are a lot of things I could add to this tribute, but these are the memories and thoughts that I had at the time, and I've changed nothing in posting this.  I still miss Dad, of course, but I cherish the memories, and I still look forward to that reunion some glorious day. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Allen line: Reverend Nicholas Street, immigrant and Puritan pastor

Once upon a time, long long ago...

Well, this story is not about a prince or princess, but it is a long ago story.  It is hard for us to think about what life was life in England about the year 1600, or what would have inspired someone who presumably could have had a good life in England to come to America. It's hard to imagine the possibly difficult trip over the ocean, or the work involved in building or finding a place to live, or the feelings that must have been involved when a child was born.

Nicholas Street is an ancestor of whom quite a bit is known, but quite a bit is not known.  His great grandfather, Richard Street, was a clothier in Stogumber, Somersetshire, England, who died in 1592.  His grandfather was Nicholas Street who died in 1610, who was married to Mary.His father, Nicholas Street, was married to Susanna Gilbert at Bridgewater, Somerset, on January 16, 1602. . Our Nicholas was born to this couple shortly before January 29, 1603 (date of baptism).  His mother died about a month later, and his father died when he was 13.  Nicholas was the only child of this marriage, but he had 7 half brothers and sisters by his father's second marriage.

Since Nicholas was the eldest son, his father lest him "myne antient estate of Rowberton neare Taunton, and also my lease of Hentesbell in the Marsh."  Presumably these properties were the source of the funds that allowed him to go to Oxford University beginning Nov 2, 1621.  In his matriculation papers, he is listed as "gent." which basically meant he came from a distinguished family.  He received his B.A. degree on February 21, 1624/25, and received his MA from Cambridge in 1636. (What did he do in the ensuing years?)

Nicholas was or became a Puritan, although little is known about how he came to these beliefs in a country that was strongly of the Established church (now known as the Church of England) established by the crown.  However, life must have been uncomfortable for him, as he came to Plymouth Colony about 1637 and was recongized as a freeman there in 1638.

It is probable that the "ordination" he received at Taunton, Massachusets along with Reverend William Hooke was actually an installation service.  Reverend Hooke became the head of this church and Rev. Nicholas Street was the "Teacher".  They continued there together for 7 years. When Mr Hooke moved on to New Haven, Ct, Nicholas Street continued as sole pastor of the church there for 15 years.  This was a long time for a pastor, even in those days, so he must have been much admired and loved by his congregants.  (Did he serve in military units, or were Pastors and Teachers exempt?)

In 1659, Reverend Street moved on to New Haven where he was again the "Teacher" under Reverend John Davenport.  Eight years later, Rev. Davenport was called to Boston and from 1667 until his death in 1674, Reverend Street was the sole pastor there.

Evidence seems strong that Nicholas Street was first married to Anna Poole, daughter of William Poole or Pole and Mary or Marie Periam.  Their children were Samuel, Abiah, Hannah, Sarah and Susanna, all good Puritan names. 

Reverend Nicholas is one of many Allen ancestors who were pastors. We can be proud of his faith and his dedication, even if some of his beliefs may be hard to understand.  Thanks to the hard work of this and many more ancestors, we have a chance to continue the story as "happily ever after."

Much more work remains to be done to learn more about his life, but the information I've used here was primarily from the website of Walter Gilbert and from a book called The Street Genealogy by Mary E Anderson, published in 1895.

Our line of descent is:

Nicholas Street and Ann or Anna Poole
Samuel Street and Anna Miles
Nicholas Street and Jerusha Morgan
Jerusha Street and Thomas Starr
John Starr and Mary Sharp
John Starr and Betsy Chester Havens
John Havens Starr and Clarissa Falley
Harriet Clarissa Falley and John Wilson Knott
Edith Clarissa Knott and Edward Franklin Allen
Allen children-Vernon, Edith, Richard, Corinne, Tessora

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Beeks line: Follow up to John Simpson Aldridge post

As promised, I'm providing some commentary to the rather long post I did about John Simpson Aldridge on Friday, November 1. I was pleasantly surprised at how much detail the author of the post gave, especially considering that he and Larry Stout did this research over 30 years ago, long before the days of computers and the internet. 

Now that the internet is here, I am able to substantiate most of the information about John's Revolutionary War service through Fold 3.  He enlisted at a very young age and I certainly wonder what his parents thought about that!  In the next four years, however, he would grow up quite quickly, as he was present at some of the best and worst moments of the War, including battles and including Valley Forge.  One puzzle to me is how he ended up in Washington (now Greene) County, Pennsylvania at the age of 15 or 16.  One reason he would have enlisted for a second time is that by this time, land was being promised to the men of Virginia who would reenlist. 

The information about John Aldridge moving on to Kentucky and to Clermont County after his marriage was new to me, but it explains how John Simpson Aldridge Jr would have married Lucinda Wheeler, who was living there with her parents, Jason and Patience Wheeler, in the 1820 census.  It appears that the Aldridges lived and farmed in Clermont County for over 25 years before moving to Rush County, Indiana, so some of his children may have considered Clermont County to be "home".  It is tempting to speculate whether it was John's idea to move on to Rush County, or whether it was his children's idea.  He was at least 60 by that time.

It appears that John and Mary used their children as their retirement plan, when they gave their land to Nathan and to John Jr, in return for being looked after and provided with life's necessities. John would have been about 66 when this arrangement was made, and he and Mary lived another 15 and 16 years, respectively.  We have visited the cemetery on the land in Rush County that they originally owned. It's a gently rolling area. We didn't see a creek nearby but there may well have been one at the bottom of the hill. 

Sources on the internet indicate that Jacob Aldridge's wife (presumably John's mother) was Elizabeth Soper, but I haven't been able to find any documentation for that. There were certainly Soper's around the Prince George's County area in that time period, but I am not locating anything that supports this "fact".  If someone reading this has documentation, I'd love to know what the source is for this!

The many descendents of John Aldridge Senior should be proud of this ancestor. He was one of the many many ordinary people who got caught up in major historical events, and then went back to a life of normalcy. His record as a resident of Clermont County shows that he continued doing what a good citizen  would do, and he raised children who continued the tradition of hard work and sacrifice.  

The Aldridge line of descent goes like this:

John Simpson Aldridge Sr-Mary Lakin
John Simpson Aldridge Jr-Lucinda Wheeler
Darlington Aldridge-Leah Folsom
Harvey Aldridge-Margaret Catherine Dunham
Gretta Cleo Aldridge-Wilbur Beeks
Beeks children, some still living
Many grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren of Wilbur and Cleo

Friday, November 1, 2013

Beeks line: John Simpson Aldridge (Senior) Revolutionary War hero

John Simpson Aldridge entered the service in 1776 as a private and was discharged in 1780 as a private.  So what makes him a hero, in my eyes?  From my reading and research, it wasn't common for someone to re-enlist, as he did in 1777, and to stay for the entire three year term.  John stuck it out, and I commend him for it. 

The blog today isn't mine. I am copying, with gratitude, a document I found in the Rushville, Indiana library, that was sent to them on September 6, 1981 by Geo. M. Stiers.  Mr. Stiers acknowledges the help of Larry Stout in putting this document together, so I would like to acknowledge both of them as the researchers and authors of this blog. 

"John Seimpson Aldridge was born 9 Feb 1761 in Prince Georges County, Maryland.l  It is believed that he was the son of Jacob and ______ Aldridge.

On August 8, 1776, at the age of fifteen, was was enlisted in the Maryland "Flying Camp" by 1st Lr. Clement Hollyday, for duty until December 1, 1776.  This took place in Frederick County, Maryland--Upper District (Washington County).  Washington County was separaged from Frederick County in 1776, and while not yet organized, was to consist of what is now Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties, Maryland.

The "Flying Camp" was a militia organization which, when combined with the Pennsylvania and Delaware "Flying Camps" was to consist of 10,000 men and was to serve in the three Colony area.  However, This organization was moved immediately to New York and fought in battles at White Plains, New York on 22 August 1976 and near Fort Washington on 16 November, 1776.  The Maryland brigade was disbanded on December 1, 1776 and he was discharged at Philadelphia, Pa.

John Aldridge's pension record states that he was living in Washington County, Penn (no Greene Co., Pa) when he again enlisted as a Private or Drummer on 28 December 1776 in a Company which was recruited and later commanded by Cap't James Hook.  This Company was made a part of the 13th Virginia Regiment of Light Infantry, commanded by Col. William Ressell.  His pay was to be 9 and 2/3rds dollars per month. 

Washington County, Penn. was at that time in an area that was claimed by both Virginia and Penn.  Both States were recruiting in the area.

The 13th Virginia fought in the battle of Brandywine at Chadd's Ford, Penn on 11 Sept. 1777, and then spent the winter of 1777-1778 in camp at Valley Forge, Penn. In March of 1778, the 13th Virginia was consolidated into the 9th Virginia Regment and re-assigned to Fort Pitt in Western Penn.  John Aldridge was there and also spent some time on detached duty at Fort Armstrong. Cap't. Uriah Springer was Company Commander and Col. John Gibson was in charge of the Regiment.  John Aldridge was discharged in 1780, while still stationed at Fort Pitt.

After this, he returned to Frederick County, Maryland and married Mary Lakin on the 14th of Nov. 1783, in the Evangelical Reformed Church at Frederick.  Mary Lakin was the daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth (Fee) Lakin.

A few years after the marriage John and wife, and her parents moved to Franklin Township, Greene Co, Penn.  The Fee family had preceded them there.  They are listed on the 1788 tax roll and in the 1798 census.  All three families moved on to Kentucky about 1793 and then on to Clermont County, Ohio about 1795.

The early records for Clermont County lists John Aldridge:

1801: Army Lands Virginia Military District
1806: Clermont County, Ohio Tax List.
1807 Served on Grand Jury.
1809: Road Supervisor, Washington Township
1810: On Tax List

John Aldridge had been awarded a Land Grant, Warrant No. 4274, for 100 acres of land, in the Virginia Military District by the State of Virginia, for his services in the Revolutionary War.  The date of entry for the Survey (no. 3878) in the V.M.D. Entry book was made on the 7th May, 1807 and recorded May 30, 1808.  However, it was not until March 1822, that a patent was obtained for this tract of land.  This was obtained by a Polly Nash.  The 100 acres tract is located four miles west and one mile south of Batavia on Shaylor Creek.in Clermont County, Ohio. 

On 4th Oct. 1819, John Aldridge applied for his Revolutionary War pension. He was living in Clermont County at that time. 

The 1820 Federal census for Clermont County shows John Aldridge and family as (probably) 1 male 16-18, Nathan, 2 males 16-26,  John Simpson Jr and Erasmus, 1 male over 45, John Simpson Sr., 1 Female under 10, (Delilah Ann, Granddaughter), 3 females 16-26, Mary, Sarah, and Delilah, and 1 female over 45, Mary Lakin Aldridge.

He appeared in Circuit Court on 7th of July 1821 in Fayette Co., Indiana and made an affidavit pertaining to his Pension Claim No. 15674, which had been approved on 4th Nov. 1819.  It is thought that he was living in or moving to Rush Co., Indiana at this time as the Circuit Court in Rush County was not yet organized. 

On May 30, 1826, he and hiw wife willed all of their household furniture and bedding to their daughter Sarah, who was living with them and had not married. At that time He owned the southeast quarter of Section 9, Township 12 N., Range 8E., in Rush County.

On March 23, 1827, he and Mary entered into an agreement with their sons, Nathan and John Aldridge and wives, whereby John and Mary would give to the two sons the southeast quarter of Section 9, and, in exchange the two sons would provide them a decent and confortable support, substinence, maintenance in furnishing them and care of them during their lives---meat, drink, and lodging suitable to their age and situation in life, when ever the needs require----------.

The 1840 Federal census, which was also the Register of Pensioners for Revolutionary War Military Service, shows John Aldridge, age 79, and his wife Mary, living with their son Nathan in Orange Township, Rush County.

John Simpson Alddridge died on 17 Nov. 18423 and is buried in the Aldridge Cemetery on the Orange-Anderson Township line in Rush County, with grave marker appropriate for his service in the Revolutionary War.  Mary lived until 27 Nov. 1843, and was granted his War pension, but did not live to receive it. The pension was divided between surviving children.  She is also buried in the Aldridge Cemetery.

During their lifetime, it is reported that they had the following children:

Joseph Lakin b. 27 Sept. 1784
Rachel Plummer b. 21 Mar. 1786
Ramzy or Rauzy b. 20 Sept.. 1789
Elizabeth b. 10 March 1791
Mary b. Feb. 15, 1793
Sarah b. 10 May 1795
John Simpson Jr.l b. 27 Feb. 1798
Delilah b. 23 Dec. 1799
Erasmus b. 1801-1803
Nathan B. b. 3 Aug. 1803

However, there is one line of thought that suggests that there were only nine children in the family, and that Ramzy or Rauzy and Erasmus were one and the same person. In none of the old records, ie: John Simpson's prayer book; Mary Lakin Aldridge's estate papers, the War Dep't correspondence and, the Aldridge Bible frecord, which is included in the Southern Bible Records are the names of Ramzy-Ruazy and Erasmus stated together. It was not until later generations that both names begin to occur in the lists of children.  It is thought that Ramzy or Rauzy was a nickname used by John Aldridge for Erasmus.  Erasmus is shon in the Federal Census for 1830-1840-1850 and 1860 as living in Rush County close to other Aldridge's and married to Sarah _______?. The census'indicate that he was born in 1789-1790 instead of 1801-1803 as later reported."

I have tried to copy this with the same typos that were in the original.  For any additional typos, I apologize.  I'm absolutely amazed at how much research went into this report, which was done way before the internet. There was information in this that I did not have, but much of it is supported by my own research, and I have faith that this information is correct. Because of the length of this post, I will wait until Tuesday to make my additional comments to this document. 

Again, thanks to George Stiers and to Larry Stout for this information, and for telling us about a family hero!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Numbers or facts? I love them both

Some family historians count their "success" in numbers of sources cited, or number of ancestors found/proven, or in how much they know about one line of ancestors.  I am more inclined toward the second and third of those items. 

Randy Seaver in his Genea-Musings column a few months back asked "What's your number?"  He wanted us to count back to our seventh great grandparents, which really means not all that far back, to see how many of the possible 1023 ancestors we had noted on our trees.  My count is about 525 and husband's is about 414. So basically, I know a little more than half of my ancestors during that time period and about 40% of husband's ancestors.  I am grateful for every ancestor I've found but the missing ones haunt me. Who are they, and what are their stories?  Will I ever have the skills and resources to find more of them?  I don't know the answer to that.

At the same time, I also want to research the lives of each of the ancestors I've found.  I am glad every time I can find a little nub of information about them, whether it's a date, a location, an occupation, a religion, or whatever.  Then, I want to put them in the context of their time and of their family, and get a better idea of what they might have been feeling.  For instance, what did my grandparents (Holbrook) feel, and what were they doing,  when they each got the dreaded telegram that their son had been killed in World War II?  What was it like for the survivors of a cholera (McCoy)or a typhoid  (Starr) epidemic?  How did my great great grandfather (Knott) feel when he had to let his wife in Iowa know that their son had been murdered in Nevada, back in the very early days?  What changes did our ancestors have to make in their lives when a son went off to war, whichever war it was?   Did they read newspapers and follow the developments in Washington DC, or in fashion, or were they serious readers?   Did the immigrants keep in contact with their families back in England or Germany or wherever the home country was?

There are so many things I want to know, and my "success" has no connection to the number of ancestors I've found.  Some times just a simple sentence in a book I am reading is enough to make my day, such as a comment in Almost a Miracle about the success of commissary officers in the state militias in obtaining needed supplies for the militia during the Revolutionary War.  Since I have an ancestor who was a commissary officer for the New Jersey militia, I found this very helpful in understanding how active he must have been, especially since New Jersey had a lot of Loyalists at that time. 

People often ask me when I'll be "done" with my genealogy. The answer is simple: "not in my lifetime."  Will someone down the line be interested enough to continue this research?  I would love to think that will happen! 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Holbrook line: Peter Black, mason, teamster, farmer, soldier, father and husband

The early life of Peter Black is a mystery. There are statements on the internet that he was the son of a Hessian soldier who stayed here after the Revolutionary War.  There is another statement that he was the son of a German boy who came to America during the Revolutionary War and settled in Pennsylvania.  The first name is variously listed as Ulrich or Frederick, and the last name is given as Swartz or as Black. (Black is the English translation of the Swartz name.)  The only clue I have found is that there was a man named Ulrich Black in Adams County, Pa in 1798, listed on a tax record.  Could this be Peter's father?  I've found no other records, on line or at the Allen County Public Library, listing Ulrich, so as of now his father is officially unknown, as is his mother.

The first thing we really know of him is that he was married in Baltimore, Maryland to Martha Amos, daughter of  Benjamin Amos and Elizabeth Amos (cousins; the Amos tree is complicated!) on August 16, 1812 in the First Methodist Episcopal Church.  Peter was a veteran of the War of 1812, according to on line biographies, so the most likely place for him to have served or would have been the Baltimore area.  As of this date, I haven't been able to verify the claim to service, but it is likely since most of the men of Baltimore served when it became apparent that the British, who had just burned Washington DC, intended to make Baltimore their next target.

His early training was in the manufacture of brick and the trade of masonry.  A few years after his marriage, the family moved to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania where he was a teamster.   A teamster then was someone who drove horses, delivering goods and perhaps people from one place to another.  This job involved uncertain hours and uncertain pay, but Peter apparently did well enough to have a nest egg to take with him in 1833, when he and his family moved to Richland County, Ohio.  There he was a farmer, again rather successful, as the 1850 census shows him with real estate valued at $6000.

Three years later, all of the Black family except for one son, Frederick Amos (noted as Amos in the 1850 census), who had gone on ahead, and Elizabeth, who stayed behind with Isaac Hetrick and their large family, moved to Noble County, Indiana. This was probably quite a move for a 64 year old man!  Peter and Martha settled in Jefferson Township, Noble County and farmed for the rest of their days.  By the 1860 census, he had real estate valued at $8000 and personal property of $2000, and there was a 17 year old servant girl living in their home. The census shows his birth state as Maryland. In his biography, he is noted as being a Democrat and an industrious and honest man.   

Peter died on October 23, 1863, and is buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Jefferson Township, Noble County, Indiana. The cemetery is on land originally donated by the Black family, so his farm was undoubtedly nearby.  It was an honor to visit the cemetery on Memorial Day in 2009, and place a flag on the grave of a veteran of the War of 1812! 

The children of Peter and Martha were Frederick Amos, Owen, Elizabeth, Oliver P, Cyrus, Davis, Benjamin, Naomi, Peter Mark, and James.

Our line is: Peter Black and Martha Amos
Elizabeth Black and Isaac Hetrick
Mary Alice Hetrick and Louis Stanard
Etta Stanard and Loren Holbrook

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Beeks line: Road trip! Wise, Aldridge, Folsom research

I had the most marvelous time last week!  Husband and I escaped for a short road trip. I spent my time in courthouses, libraries, and historical societies. Husband spend his in the car, reading woodworking magazines.  I had a lot of fun, but I'm not sure he did...

Our first stop was Hancock County, where I found microfilmed records relating to the arrest and trial of Jackson Wise, in 1847.  Briefly, an arrest warrant was issued on February 9, to the sheriff of Marion County, requiring that Jackson Wise and McLean Bodkin, who were in the common jail of Marion County, be returned to the Hancock County Sheriff on a charge of burglary.  The sheriff was prompt in making the return, and on February 11 there are records of the jury being chosen, with the trial being delayed until the next morning due to the time.  Jackson and McLean were found guilty and ordered to Jeffersonville State Prison, where they were promptly received.  There are no records of the actual trial.  McLean died in prison after about six months.  Jackson was pardoned in 1854, and I hope to write more about that later.

Next it was on to Rushville, in Rush County, to see what we could learn about the Aldridges. Due to time constraints and the fact that I have transcripts of the relevant wills, we didn't go to the courthouse there.  I found some wonderful things at the Rushville library, including a five page typed biography of John Simpson Aldridge Sr., one of the family's heroes. I'll post that at a later date.  We also were able to locate the cemetery and the graves of John S Aldridge Sr and Mary Lakin are buried, as well as John S Aldridge Jr and Lucinda Wheeler. We didn't locate the grave of Ella Folsom, John Jr's second wife, but it may have been there. A lot of the gravestones are deteriorated, but there were flags at the gravesites of three veterans in this small family cemetery. The cemetery was on the land that John Sr originally owned. It's hilly, but peaceful and I can see why someone would have settled there. 

We then went on to Greensburg, in Decatur County, which is where the guardianship papers for Jeremiah Folsom's children are located. I'd hoped to find a will for Jeremiah there, but the records for that time period are burned or otherwise destroyed.  I didn't learn a lot there, but it was fun anyway.

The next day, we drove to Lawrenceburg, in Dearborn County, which is the last place we know for certain that Jeremiah Folsom was.  I didn't find any trace of Jeremiah there, but I did get some land records for Richard, who is possibly a brother or uncle to Jeremiah.  The librarian and a wonderful gentleman in the recorder's office there were just extremely helpful, but I didn't get there names. They helped me understand where the properties of Jeremiah and Richard were located, and helped me focus in on McGuire's Station, which was a blockhouse or fort just a mile inside the 1794 Treaty of Greenville line.  The other side of the line was Indian territory, and until the war of 1812 was settled, the area around McGuire's Station was very much frontier territory, and under constant threat of attack.  There are several Folsom's who were from this area and fought in the war of 1812, including Richard and James.  I haven't found Jeremiah's name yet, but he was only about 15 when the war started so he may have been considered too young to enlist.

We also went to Ripley County, Indiana, where Richard Folsom and William Lock purchased land in 1816, but I didn't learn a lot there.  Again, some of the records for the time period were missing.

Friday we were in Switzerland County, where I went to the library and the courthouse.  The gentleman at the library, Barry Brown, was very helpful but we found little new information. Jeremiah Folsom and Sally Lock were married in Switzerland County in 1815. His father gave permission, but the recorder failed to note the father's name, and we didn't locate any likely suspects.

So, I have some deeds and court papers, some hints and other places to look, and that makes me happy. I feel like I understand these people a little better, having seen the land where they lived (Aldridge and Folsom), and it was a good trip. If I'd had more time, and more experience, I probably could have located  more information or at least eliminated some possibilities, but at least I found what I found.  Thank you, husband, for your patience and for driving to all these places.  Start saving those magazines because we may go somewhere else sometime! 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Holbrook: Josiah Whittemore

Josiah Whittemore is something of a mystery. He was born in 1749 to John Whittemore and Lydia Clough.  He married first, in Lunenburgh, Ma, Lucy Snow, on August 9, 1773.  She died in Leominster in 1794.  Secondly he married Martha Parkhurst Rider, widow, in late 1795, also in Leominster.  He had 10 children with his first wife and 4 children with his second wife.  He's listed as being a Revolutionary War veteran, and in August of 1977 marched 180 miles in 9 days with the "Northern Army" on an alarm at Bennington.   

Find a Grave shows his monument at the Phiillipston Center Cemetery in Phillipston, Massachusetts. He is buried next to his second wife, Martha, who died in 1826.  There is also a memorial stone for Lucy at the same cemetery, in basically the same style, but it is unknown where she was buried. 

I don't yet know his church affiliation, or his occupation.  I do know he must have been very busy, with 14 young mouths to feed, although it appears that his oldest children may have been out of the household by the time his youngest children were born.  I have not been able to locate him in a census, unless he was the Josiah Whittemore in West Cambridge, Essex, Massachusetts in 1810 with 15 people in his household. We have no record that he ever lived in that location, so I'm skeptical. 

I chose to write about Josiah because he is representative of so many of our ancestors. We can learn the bare facts about his life, but we don't know how to fill in the dash between 1749-1814.  He apparently kept his name out of the court system, he did his duty when he was called, and he raised a large family. Since this was Massachusetts, it's possible that he was a Congretationalist, perhaps attending the lovely church building shown on the Phillipston, Mass wikipedia page.  I'd love to go to Massachusetts to see what else can be learned about him, but that may never happen.  Meanwhile, we can be glad he existed, because without Josiah Whittemore, we wouldn't be here!

Our line of descent:

Josiah Whittemore-Lucy Snow
Josiah Whittemore-Betsy Foster
Elizabeth Whittermore-Joseph Holbrook
Fremont Holbrook-Phoebe Brown
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Lois/Gladys/Ray/Howard Holbrook

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Beeks, Harshbarger, Holbrook, Allen: So many places, so little time!

Finding the information I'd like to have about our ancestors is hard. Some of our ancestral lines trace back through many counties and over half of the states in the Union.  Each county and each state has little quirks to learn about. Some are similar in how they store records, and some are not.  Here's a rough view of what families were in what states:

Beeks: Massachusetts, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Delaware
Harshbarger: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa
Allen: Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, New York, Iowa, Missouri, Utah, Oregon (also Nevada, California, Florida, Nebraska, Michigan although no "vital records" type events took place there)
Holbrook: Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, Washington, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kansas, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont

Most of these states involve at least three counties each, over differing time periods.  Some counties have multiple families, sometimes from two or more lines.  I still have a lot of brick walls in all of our lines, and it's possible that more states will need to be added to this list. 

Then, there's Nova Scotia, which shows up in the Allen line. 

Once you get back across the ocean, the great majority of our known ancestors came from either England or Germany, although there are some from Wales, from Scotland, and from Ireland.  Going further back would bring in all of the countries of Europe, and further back we can even get into the Middle East. 

What's a family historian with limited budget and no foreign language skills going to do?  I am very grateful for the internet, for the subscriptions I have to some of the main databases, and for the fact that I live near the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne.  Still, I know there are precious finds that can only be found at or near the locations our ancestors live.  So many places, so little time!   

Friday, October 11, 2013

Allen line: James Allen Sr.

James Allen, whom I have designated as "senior" to distinguish him from his son James Allen, and his grandson James Allen, is pretty much a mystery.

He was born about 1735, (I suspect closer to 1733, perhaps even 1730) according to undocumented internet sources, in Goochland County, Va. I haven't found any records to support either the year or the location, but it's as good a guess as any, so I've tentatively put that information in our tree.  I've found four different sets of parents for James, but no documentation for any of them.  He could be the son of William Allen and Mary Ann Owen, or the son of James Allen and Anne Anderson, or the son  of James Allen and Mary Dennis, or the son of James Allen and Lucy Hobson.  All these families have sons named James, in the approximate area of our James, and born in the correct time frame. 

The first thing we know for sure about James is that he was married sometime before December 14, 1755.  That is the date his first (presumably) son was born as noted in the Douglas Register.  His wife was Sarah Crowdas/Cloudas/Crowder (various spellings!), daughter of George Crowdas and Susannah.  George and Susannah lived on the Little Byrd Creek in Goochland County, and James apparently lived in the same general area.

James and Sarah had several children, all born in Goochland County.  Richard was born December 14, 1755; Elizabeth January 6, 1759; Susannah June 4, 1761; Mary May October 16, 1763; George November 29, 1766; James March 28, 1769; William 1772; Martha January 22, 1775; and Sally April 4, 1777.

There are several James Allen's from Goochland County who served in the Revolutionary War. It is possible that one of them was "ours", but not yet proven.

The next real information we have about James is his death. He died in 1801 in Goochland County, having left everything to his widow, Sarah. She died in 1825 and only then was James's will probated.  The actual process took several years due to dealing with heirs in Kentucky (the heirs of James Jr, who had already died but were given James's share).  The chancery court case is 45 pages long and is found on the Library of Virginia website (www.lva.viringia.gov/chancery/case_detail.asp?CFN=075-1834-026).

The body of the will states "My will is that my wife Sarah do possess and enjoy my whole estate furing her natural life or widowhood and after her death or marriage my desire is that my whole estate to be equally divided amonst my children, to wit: Richard Allen, Mary Glass, George Allen, James Allen, William Allen, and Martha Carroll, to them and their heirs forever."  Elizabeth, Sally, and Susannah are not mentioned in the will. I have not tried to trace them but presumably they had already died when the will was written. It was written on July 6, but I can't make out the year (it's either 1800 or 1801).

I have seen references to James described as "planter" so presumably he owned land at the time of his death.  The inventory of his personal property was fairly substantial, but sadly much of the value was due to his owning 5 slaves, each of whom had a high value. They were named Davy, Buck, Gib, Patty and child, and Charlotte.  The estate value was $1925.10, leaving three hundred and twenty dollars and eight five cents for each of the six legatees. 

That is what is known or guessed about James Allen, our ancestor.  I'd love to connect with other people who are researching this man, to talk about the documentation they have that makes them think one of the couples mentioned above is our family,  

Here's our line:

James Allen-Sarah Croudas
James Allen-Tabitha Parrish
Archibald Allen-Margaret Dunn
George Allen-Nancy McCoy
Edward Allen-Edith Knott
Richard Allen(Vernon, Tessora, Corinne, Edith)-Gladys Holbrook