Friday, May 23, 2014

Holbrook line: Christopher Myers 1776-1856

Our ancestor was born in North Carolina and died in Indiana, with stops in Tennessee and Ohio.  In Tennessee, Ohio, and Indiana he would have been considered a pioneer. That's a lot of times to start one's life over, particularly when he probably started each time by building a log cabin. 

I know more about Christopher than I know about some of our other ancestors, but there are still big, gaping holes in his life story.  Much of what is known is from a biographical sketch of one of Christopher's sons,  Lewis A Myers, published in "Portrait and Biographical Album, Wapello County, Iowa" in 1887.  I'll copy it here in its entirety, and then make some additional observations. 

"My great grandfather Myers came from Germany before the Revolutionary War, and settled in Pennsylvania, where my grandfather Myers was born.  When he became a man, he went to North Carolina and married Miss Fogleman, by whom he had two children,-George, the elder, and Christopher, the younger.  My father was born near Guildford Court House, NC. March 8, 1776, just 111 years ago.  When he arrived at the age of twenty-one, he and his brother, George, left North Carolina and went across the mountains to Powell's Valley, Tennessee, where he married my mother, Elizabeth Nation, who had been raised in South Carolina.  They were married in 1802.  They lived in Tennessee until 1811, when the moved to Preble County, Ohio, and soppe five miles east of Eaton, where I was born.

My father bought 160 acres of land in the northeast corner of the county, and there moved in the fall of 1812, the year hostilities commenced between this country and Great Britain.  His cabin stood on the very outskirts of the settlement.  He now had seven small children to care for, the oldest being about ten years of age, and that too in a heavily timbered country, a perfect wilderness.  Here they had no church or school privileges, and were liable to be scalped by the Indians, who were then in large numbers in Ohio.  Great Britain had hired these Indians to scalp the defenseless settlers, paying them a bounty for each white scalp, just as we now pay for a wolf scalp.

As my parents were there the only chance was to go to work and clear up land and raise grain and flax, the one for food and the other for clothing.  My mother at that time spun and wove linen and ...
cloth for clothing for the entire family, and through all these trials and hardships was kept by a kind Providence.

I will relate one or two incidents that took place during the War of 1812, as they were told my by my father and mother in after years.  In 1813, during harvest time, when the men of the neighborhood were helping one of their number to reap his grain, the Indians drove the horses of one of my father's neighbors intil his own stable, caught them, took them off about one mile, and shot them. The colts could not follow their mothers, and their mothers kept up such a neighing for them that the Indians became frightened, and for that cause shot them.  That same night the Indians came back and stole all the horses my father had, and as they took them away the next day they met a man by the name of Stoner and shot him.  After going a few miles further they met a soldier by the name of Elliot, who was returning home on a furlough from Ft. Greenville.  The Indians shot this soldier through the wrist, and then had a regular hand-to-hand fight with him with their tomahawks, around a beech tree, and they finally succeeded in killing him.  It was thought there were three or four of the Indians and one white man in the company, and the soldier killed them all but one.  I have seen this beech-tree with the marks of the tomahawks made in the fight.

In the spring of 1830 my father sold out, and in the fall of the same year moved to Elkhart County, Indiana, which was then a new country.  The Indians were quite numerous there, but peaceably inclined."

Other facts I've found in my search:  Christopher's father, also named Christopher, wrote his will in August of 1775 and it was recorded in November of 1775, so Christopher never knew his father.  I have not found a remarriage for Elizabeth Fogleman Myers, so I don't know what happened to her.  There should be guardian records to look at, too, for her two sons.

Elizabeth Nation, Christopher's mother, was the daughter of Joseph Nation and Jerretta Vickrey.

The land Christopher entered in Preble County was entered November 6, 1811 and was in Section 2, Township 7, range 03.  He purchased more land on February 26, 1823, in section 1, township 7, Range 03.  George Myers also purchased land in 1816 in Preble County, Ohio.  This was probably Christopher's brother.  All of these purchases were from the US Land Act, Cincinnati Land Office.  Christopher's land was in Harrison Township.

When the Myers family moved to Elkhart County, they settled near Benton, Indiana. All that I have found of them there is a one word sentence from a history of Elkhart County, indicating that a Methodist pastor conducted services at the cabin of Christopher Myers, apparently beginning in 1832.  So apparently this family was Methodist.  I have not yet searched for the actual land records there, but the 1850 census indicated that their real estate was worth $8000, quite a considerable sum. I don't know whether they still lived in a log cabin, or whether eventually they built a house for themselves.

The family consisted of Christopher and Elizabeth and their children Margaret, Phoebe, Eli, Lewis Anderson, Charity, George, Joseph, Gideon and Elizabeth . They were born between the years of 1803 and 1821, so some were born in Tennessee and some were born in Ohio.

Christopher entered a deposition so that his mother in law could draw a pension based on her husband Joseph Nation's service in the Revolutionary War.  Jerretta was still in Preble County and Christopher's deposition was apparently taken in Elkhart County.

I'd sure like to know where Christopher spent his childhood, and whether he was taught a trade.  I'd like to know why he decided to go to Powell's Valley, and why he decided to go to Preble County, and why he decided to go to Elkhart County.  I'd like to know whether he served in the War of 1812, and if not, why not.  Most men in Ohio were at least in the militia, responsible for guarding the home front.   And of course I'd like to know more about his parents and grandparents!  Based on Lewis's comments, it sure seems that he led an exciting, if ordinary, life.

Elizabeth died November 13, 1852 and Christopher died June26, 1856, per their tombstones which are located in Jackson Cemetery, Benton, Elkhart County, Indiana.  We have visited this cemetery and it is quite and peaceful, set up on a hill.  Some of the tombstones needed to be repaired when we were there, including Elizabeth's, but it was well-kept at that time.  

The line of descent is:
Christopher Myers-Elizabeth Nation
Phoebe Myers-Adam Brown
Phoebe Brown-Fremont Holbrook
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Lois/Gladys/Howard/Ray Holbrook
Their children, grand children, and great grandchildren