Friday, June 13, 2014

Holbrook line: John Philip Clapp

Here's a brief recount of the life of John Philip Clapp, who was the father of Catherine Clapp who married John Adam Brown (senior), one of my brick walls. 

John Philip was born February 20, 1731, in Berks County, Pennsylvania.  This was 15-20 years before the majority of our German ancestors arrived, and there would have been even less infrastructure in place than the later Germans had.  His parents, George Valentine Clapp and Anna Barbary Steiss, had arrived on September 27, 1727 on the ship "James Goodwill" from Rotterdam along with other members of the Clapp family.  Philip was one of at least 9 children, and land was very expensive in Berks County, Pennsylvania, where the family settled for some years.  The family may have struggled financially.

As affordable land became available in North Carolina, many of the German families moves south along the Great Wagon Road, as did many of the Scoth-Irish heritage.  Several of the German families settled in what was then Orange County but is now Guilford County, North Carolina, where they purchased more land for considerably less money than they could have purchased in Pennsylvania.  John Philip probably came to North Carolina shortly after his father, uncle, and possibly grandfather had arrived there in 1748. 

This is where it gets confusing and controversial.  John Philip's wife was named Barbara.  In my tree, I am showing that his wife was Barbara Clapp, the daughter of John Ludwig Clapp and  Margaret Strader.  This would mean that first cousins had married, which was not unusual at the time.  However, there are researchers who are adamant that Barbara was a different, unknown Barbara.  Regardless, Philip and Barbara were married, probably in 1751, in Berks County, Pennsylvania.  They arrived in North Carolina soon after their marriage, and made their home in the same area as his father and uncle, and probably, brothers had done, near Stinking Quarters and Sandy Creeks.   

Philip and Barbara had at least 10 children, 6 girls and 4 boys.  Some stayed in North Carolina, one went to Kentucky, one to Ohio, and at least two went to Preble County, Ohio.  John Philip died in 1798 in Guilford County, Ohio and Barbara died in 1821, possibly in Preble County, Ohio.  Philip was probably buried at the "Old Brick Church", previously the Clapp Church, on Holts Store Road in Whitsett, NC.  (The church was restored in 1998 as part of the 250th anniversary of the congregation.  It was of course Reformed/Lutheran in worship.)

We can assume that Philip had some part in the Revolutionary War, although no records were found on Fold 3 nor on the DAR website.  Most of the North Carolina loyalists were of Scotch-Irish descent, so it's not likely that Philip joined them.  He may have tried to stay out of politics and the war entirely, but from what I've read of that time period, he probably would not have been successful in such an effort. 

Philip was successful enough that he was able to leave land or slaves and money to each of his children.  He gave away four slaves and left his wife a rather large estate, consisting of lands, Negroes, stock of all kinds, household furniture and instruments of agriculture, "all of which subject to her disposal at or before her decease". This was extremely generous for the times. We don't know how much land she had left, or how many Negroes, but it would be interesting to trace her subsequent actions to see what land she sold, and when.  I'd like to know what happened to the remaining slaves, both those willed to his daughters and those willed to his wife.  Slavery is a hard concept for us, 150 years past the Emancipation Proclamation, to even grasp but learning their stories might be helpful in the process. 

The line of descent is:

Johann Philip Clapp-Barbara (Clapp?)
Catherine Clapp-John Adam Brown
John Adam Brown, Jr-Phoebe Myers
Phoebe Brown-Fremont Holbrook
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Gladys Holbrook Allen/Lois Holbrook Melcher
Their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren