Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Harshbarger and Beeks lines: Family themes

I read some one else's blog post that challenged its readers to reflect on the themes of our particular family history. I found it fairly easy to find themes for my family, but when it comes to my husband's side, it's a little less obvious.  The Harshbarger and lines that extend back from it are pretty much all about hard work, whether it was farming, manufacturing, or something else. I've found very few professional people in this line, which doesn't mean they weren't educated.  Many of them were in the military service, but no one that I have found so far tried to make it a career.  They practiced their religions faithfully, whether Lutheran or Reformed, or Anabaptist of one sort of another.  I would call the Harshbarger and related lines "salt of the earth" people.  They weren't famous, but they were hard-working, honest folks, and America is built of people like these.

The Beeks line is harder to define.  They were of various nationalities:  English of course, but also Welsh, German, French Huguenot, and Dutch.  Some of their lines go back to royalty, but that was a long long time ago.  Their religions followed their nationalities somewhat.  There were Welsh and later American Friends (Quakers), French Protestant, Dutch Reformed, Church of England, and probably Baptists as well as Methodists.  As America became the "melting pot," the Beeks family joined in with marriages across cultural/religious lines, so I would say that one word for them would be "accepting."  The other thing that sticks out to me is that these people tended to have longer military service than those of other families.  Christopher Beeks and John Simpson Aldridge were both enlisted for longer than three years during the Revolutionary War, which is commendable and is less common than finding people in the militias for a few weeks or months at a time. 

These paragraphs are just generalities and of course there are examples to contradict just about every statement I've made here.  However, they stick out in my mind because so many of their other family members were as I've described here.  Remember that anyone who is alive today and had ancestors in America in the 1700's (or earlier), came from "hardy pioneer stock", and that may be the best description of all!