Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Harshbarger line: John Gregory 1623-1678, Immigrant to Virginia

Whoa, Nellie!  Why am I writing about a Virginia line when I'm writing about the very German/Swiss Harshbargers in this post?  How did the tree get this tangled up? And is it correct?

Well, I can answer two of the three questions.  The Harshbarger line is mostly German, but there is one line that comes out of Virginia-Maryland, and that is the one we're discussing here.  The tree got this tangled because we are writing of families who came to America, the great melting pot, and eventually people of German heritage married people of English or Dutch or whatever heritage.  The process is still continuing in this generation.  It's probably a good thing, but genealogically speaking, it's a bit of a surprise. 

As to whether it is correct or not, I offer a disclaimer: I have not yet researched this line to any great degree.  It could be totally wrong. But other people, especially "Janet" of Janet's genealogy, have at least researched John Gregory, to the point that I am confident that he has been identified correctly.  Is there an error in a generation closer to us? Possibly.  But for now, this is the best evidence that I have available, and he's on the Harshbarger tree until I learn otherwise. 

John Gregory was born in 1623 in Langton, England, and died in 1676 in Virginia.  There is some dispute about the parents of John, generally given as Roger Gregory and Margaret Thornton.  More research needs to be done to verify his parents.He appears to have come to America as a young-ish man by 1653.  It is possible that he was married previously, but the wife we know of in America was Elizabeth Bishop, the daughter of John Bishop.  John and Elizabeth had at least five children together; John, Richard, Robert, Ann and Mary, all born in Virginia.  I have not yet established the parentage of Elizabeth, but she was either born in the Colony or came at a very young age. 

It's not clear what John did for a living, although land and heifers are mentioned in his will.  He likely farmed.  The puzzle about the will is that he didn't mention his children at all, but apparently left everything to his siblings.  His wife died a year before he did, but why would none of the children have been mentioned?  Is this the correct will?  There were apparently two sets of John Gregory (Senior and Junior) in Rappahannock County at the same time, so I'm not sure whether this is correct or not. 

Still, with all the questions, it's exciting to think that a Harshbarger ancestor was one of those who lived through those early days of Indian troubles, wolf bounties, food shortages, and other wilderness woes to help build what became the state of Virginia.  We continue to salute and honor the many Pennsylvania ancestors, but let's not forget that there were others, elsewhere, and let's continue to work to identify them and tell their stories, too.

The unproven line of descent is:

John Gregory Elizabeth Bishop
Ann Gregory-Thomas Edmundson
James Edmundson-Judith Allaman
John Edmundson-Mary Boughan
Susanna Edmundson-Thomas Wyatt
John Wyatt-Alice Gordon
Jean Wyatt-William Farmer
Margaret Farmer-Solomon Bennett
Mary Bennett-John Harter (aha!  back to the Germans!)
Clara Harter-Emmanuel Harshbarger
Grover Harshbarger-Goldie Withers
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their children, grand children, and great grandchildren

As always, there are people out there who know more than I do about this line.  Please write and set me straight, and I'll be happy to post a correction to this blog.