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