Friday, July 25, 2014

Harshbarger line: Anthony Geiger 1774-1836

I'm sure there are people with more knowledge than I who should be writing posts about this gentleman. I haven't located as much information as I would like, so this post is more of an introductory post and hopefully other people will be willing to help me fill in the pieces, or I will find more information as I go along on this backwards journey I'm taking. 

Anthony Geiger was born sometime in or about 1774 in Frederick County, Maryland. His parents were Jacob Geiger and Elizabeth Shultz, and of course his paternal ancestors (actually, his great grandparents) were from Germany. He had 6 known siblings.  He was baptized on October 29, 1776 in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Middletown, Frederick County, Md.  This was a church of German speaking people, and was likely in the new edifice that was constructed right about this time. A church history on line refers to it as a sextagonal building, surmounted by a tower which contained a bell once used on a man of war, and also contained a fine organ.  Money was scarce at the time so it is recorded that the farmers gave wheat, which was made into flour, and afterward exchanged for lumber and labor used in the construction of the church.  I wonder what song was played on the organ for the baptism of Anthony Geiger?

By 1797 Anthony was in Berkeley County, Virginia, which later became West Virginia. There he married Mary Kirk, the daughter of Joseph Kirk and Sarah on September 26, 1797. I have not yet been able to trace them, other than he was supposedly an Irishman.   Anthony and Mary had at least 11 children: Elizabeth, Sarah, John, Joseph, Jacob, Margaret, Mary Ann, Ann, Anthony, Thomas, and Daniel.  Sometime during the time period from 1797 to 1812 the Geigers moved to Licking County, Ohio. 

The first evidence of the move that I've found is from a publication called The Lake Erie Ledger, in the October 2009 issue, on page 8.  This tells about Captain Nicholas Shaver's Rifle Company of Licking County, which was called to the defense of the frontier, 2nd Regiment, from August 20 to September 27, 1812.  "The frontier" was actually Knox County, Ohio, where they were ordered to defend the settlers of that county from Indian attacks.  The detachment built blockhouses in all the settled areas of the frontier county and they patrolled the northern and western borders of Knox County looking for Indian signs.  (I don't know why Knox County needed help; perhaps their men were called to duty elsewhere.)  Incidentally, George Harter was also on this list.

Anthony is found in the 1820 census in Licking, Licking, Ohio as Anthony Giger.  At the time, there were 11 people under the age of 25 in his home, and a total of three people engaged in agriculture, probably Anthony and his two oldest sons.  By 1830, the girls had all left home and there were four males, probably sons, still at home.  One was aged 10-14, 2 were 15 to 19, and one was 20-29. 

Anthony Geiger died near Churubusco, Whitley County, Indiana on December 26, 1836, and is buried in the Eel River Cemetery in Allen County.  There are two entries for Anthony Geiger in the General Land Office database, both dated March 15, 1837.  I don't know whether these are for this Anthony, and the deeds were recorded after Anthony died, or whether these were deeds for his son Anthony, since I haven't found a will for Anthony.  He was approximately 62 when he died, so perhaps he was still a vigorous man hoping to start over, or perhaps he was an old man, just "along for the ride" when many of his family moved to the Whitley and Allen County area.  His wife, Elizabeth, had died in 1832 in Jacksontown, Licking County, Ohio. 

I need to go back to Licking County records to see what more I can learn about this man and his family.  Again, his life was one I can barely comprehend. He spent his life on the "frontier" as it moved westward, and helped both develop and protect his country.  He deserves our gratitude for that.

The line of descent is:
Anthony Geiger-Mary Kirk
Elizabeth Geiger-George Harter
John Harter-Mary Bennett
Clara Harter-Emmanuel Harshbarger
Grover Harshbarger-Goldie Withers
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren