Friday, January 30, 2015

Harshbarger line: Sebastian Kestenholtz Chestnutwood

I'll be honest here. I don't know if this man is the ancestor of Christina Chestnutwood or not, but he seems to be the best fit based on the process of elimination.  He is an interesting character, seen from this vantage point, and so I will write about what little I know of him, hoping someone has the clue that will connect the pieces here, or make me say "Never mind," and send me in a different direction.

This family is a little different than most of the families in the Harshbarger line. For one thing, they were not from Germany.  They were from Switzerland, actually Sissach, Basel Canton, Switzerland. They were likely NOT of the Anabaptist families of believers, because by the time the Kestenholtz family emigrated, Switzerland didn't have many of those families left.  Secondly, this family didn't arrive in Philadelphia, at least, not directly.  They came to the Carolinas, which was also a haven for families from Germany and Switzerland, in 1738.  Sebastian's parents were Sebastian Kestenholtz and Anna Maria Blinz.  They arrived with their children Sebastian, Barbara, Hans Jacob and Hans Georg.

We don't know how long they were in the Carolinas, nor do we know what they might have done there, nor how or when they arrived in Pennsylvania.  It is likely that they went by ship but we don't know that for certain. If they waited to migrate until the Great Wagon Road was utilized, they could have made the trip that way. 

Sebastian was born in 1736 and the next document, after arrival in the Carolinas, that I can find of him is in 1777.  At that point, there is a document in the New Jersey State Archives, from Supreme Court Case #34591, charging Sebastian of Sussex County with a misdemeanor for joining the enemy, and he was committed to jail.  I don't know how long his jail term was, but it apparently didn't change his mind. Yes, Sebastian was a Loyalist, the only one I have found yet in all the many people I've researched as part of our family genealogy.  I have no idea what prompted him to take the side of the British, but I've seen other speculation, about other men, that when a man took an oath of allegiance, many took that oath seriously.  It looks like it might cost me $10 to get the actual record, and that might be well worth the price. 

The On-Line Institute for Advanced Loyalist Studies lists Sebastian Chestnutwood (his name changed by 1777, as did the names of his brothers) as a member of the 1st Battalion New Jersey Volunteers, commanded by Lieut. Colonel Joseph Barton, on State Island as of the 11th of September 1780.  The history of the battalion is available on line from the Institute, but as I'm not sure when Sebastian served I'm not reporting it here. It does appear that he would have spent most of his time on Staten Island, and the politics of the unit would have made life interesting, to say the least. There were also some battles and skirmishes that he may have participated in. 

As a Loyalist, Sebastian's family would have had a difficult time. We don't know who his wife was, or whether there were any children besides Christina.  Christina, who was born about 1758, would have been a young woman during this time and it is hard to imagine what she thought. Did she willingly support her father's views?  Did she end up in Canada with him?  I mention Canada because it appears that Sebastian was in New Brunswick, a frequent destination for Loyalists, in 1783, per Esther Clark Wright in "The Loyalists of New Brunswick." 

Again, we don't know how long he was in New Brunswick, or when or why he came back to the United States. Because he is reported as having died in Union City, Berks County, Pennsylvania, it is tempting to assume that he didn't think he would be welcomed by his former neighbors in Sussex County. He may have forfeited whatever possessions he had there, anyway, when he went to New Brunswick.  Another guess is that he wanted to be near family in Berks County, which seems likely because Abraham, his youngest brother, was still there and it is possible that there were sisters there, also.  I've read that the borders were "porous" between Canada and the United States and that it was relatively easy for someone to slip back officially unnoticed. 

Trees on the internet state that he died in 1796 in Union City, Berks County, Pennsylvania but I have not yet found either a primary or a secondary source for this information.  I would sure love to know a lot more about this man, hoping to solve some of the mysteries of where he was when, and why he was there.  I'd love to know his occupation, his religion, his wife's name, and any number of other facts about him.  In the context of all the other Swiss-German folks I've researched, he stands out like a sore thumb, but he is family and I'd like to understand him better.

The line of descent is:

Sebastian Kestenholtz Chestnutwood-unknown
Christina Chestnutwood-Matthias Brothers
Barbara Brothers-David Brown
Elizabeth Brown-William Cook
Barbara Cook-William Withers
William Withers-Della Kemery
Goldie Withers-Grover Harshbarger
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendents

Fun fact:  In looking at this list, I know that there is a veteran of World War II, World War I, Civil War, and two veterans of the Revolutionary War, one on each side.  I am thankful to the men in this family, all of them, who did what they thought was right!  

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Beeks line: George Fee 1675-abt 1730

It may be that George Fee born about 1675 is the original immigrant to Maryland, or he may have been born in Maryland.  At any rate, he is believed to be the son of George Fee and Rebecca possibly Parnell.  The Fee family was from County Fermanagh, Ireland, but in turn they may have been immigrants to Ireland from Scotland, about the year 1600.  There may be some connection to Donald Fee, who is said to have bought in the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.  Donald's sons, Donald and George also fought with him.  (I haven't researched this yet so although it is on most Fee trees on the internet, take it with a grain of salt.)

Whether it was because they were on the losing side of the battle, or because of other economic reasons, the Fee family emigrated to Maryland sometime in the late 1600's.  Under the theory above, our George would have been born in Ireland and not Maryland, but this is not proved.  The first George was a clothier, someone who made or sold clothes or cloth, which would have been a needed product on the Maryland frontier.  Our George is listed as a planter in Talbot and Dorchester County, Maryland and also in Kent County, Delaware.  It appears that the first land was received from his father in law (actually it was willed to his wife) and from there various purchases and sales were made.  

George Fee married Elizabeth Jump, daughter of William Jump and Rebecca possibly Chesmore, probably about 1701.  They had six known children, George, Thomas, Elizabeth, William, Mary, and Rebecca, and possibly more.  George is believed to have died about 1730, and I have no record of Elizabeth's death.

That is as much as I know about George right now, so obviously there is a good deal more digging to do.  I wanted to get this much written down, though, because I think the older George's history could be fascinating, and I certainly want to know more about this George.  What stories did he hear as he was growing up? Did he hear about his father and his grandfather's experiences in the Battle of the Boyne, or was this something that wasn't talked about?  When and where was he born, and when did he die?  Did he leave a will?  What other stories will his records tell?

I found much of this information at family website.  If someone has documentation for any of the missing information, I'd love it if you'd share!

The line of descent:

George Fee-Elizabeth Jump
George Fee-Parnell Lakin
Elizabeth Fee-Joseph Lakin
Mary Lakin-John Simpson Aldridge
John Simpson Aldridge Jr.-Lucinda Wheeler
Darlington Aldridge-Leah Folsom
Harvey Aldridge-Margaret Catherine Dunham
Cleo Aldridge-Wilbur Beeks
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Their descendents

Friday, January 23, 2015

Holbrook line: Edward Larkin, another immigrant abt 1610-1652

Edward Larkin has as many unanswered questions as do most of our other immigrant ancestors.  It's not sure where he was born, although 1610 seems to be a reasonable guess, and Kent, England may have been his birthplace. Some trees are showing a birth date of June 2, 1615 in Berkhampsted, Sussex, England, but I am not locating the documentation for that.  Neither is it known when he came to the New World.  I've found an undocumented statement that he came with his mother in 1629, and another that he came in 1634.  I am not sure that either of these statements are correct, because he is not featured in the Early Migrations or The Great Migration Begins, as far as I can tell. 

We do know that he was in the New World by 1638, when he married Joanna Butler, or possibly Cutter.  He and Joanna settled in Charlestown, Massachusetts, (which was across the river from Boston, and in those days, a few miles away) and joined the church there in 1639.  Edward became a free man in 1640, signifying that he had joined the church and owned property.  This of course gave him a right to vote in matters that might come up.  We know he could read and write because he signed his will, and because there were books in his inventory.  

By occupation, he was a turner and a wheelwright, and a husbandman.  As a turner, he would have formed the spindles used in the wheels he made. This was likely a valued occupation in early New England, so repairs and replacements could be made quickly instead of having to wait for goods from England. As a husbandman, he probably grew enough food or animals to help feed his family, but perhaps no more than that.  He was also a member of the local artillery, as was every able-bodied man. Edward and Joanna had at least six children-John, Elizabeth, Hannah, Thomas, Edward, and Sarah, and probably Increase who was born in 1652. Edward had described his wife as "bigg with childe" in his will.

If he was born in either 1610 or 1615, or at some point in between, he was not an old man when he died, and perhaps was not even 40.  His children were still young and he left his wife control of everything until his oldest son was 21. The Larkin's daughter, Hannah, had been adopted by Edward's sister, Joanna and her husband, John Penticost, who were childless.  Hannah was not given money in her father's will, except for 10 shillings with which she was to buy books, at the age of 18. This shows that books were valued in the Larkin household, since her father wanted her to have them above all else, to remember him.

Edward wrote his will on July 15, 1651 and it was proved February 6, 1652, probably shortly after his death. Joanna would have needed to have control of the assets, since she had hungry mouths to feed and the new baby to care for.  The estate was valued at just over 123 pounds.  Joanna is believed to have married a second time, but there are too many Joanna's in this family to keep straight, and none of the marriage dates, and births of subsequent children that I am finding make chronological sense. Although her death date is given as 1686, this appears to be the death date of another Joanna Larkin who married a Dodge. I'd sure be glad if someone could straight this out for me!

The line of descent is:

Edward Larkin-Joanna possibly Butler
John Larkin-Joanna Hale
Sarah Larkin-David Fay
Edward Fay-Sarah Joslin
David Fay-Mercy Perrin
Euzebia (Luceba) Fay-Libbeus Stanard Jr.
Hiram Stanard-Susan Eddy
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendents

Fun fact:  I don't know where this came from, but there is a story "out there on the web" that is pretty ludicrous.  It purports that Edward Larkin did not die, but simply disappeared and showed up in Providence, Rhode Island, where he married a woman named Lydia and had a second family.  Obviously, there were two Edward Larkins and some one down through the ages has confused the two.  Our New England Puritans were quite conscientious and it is not possible that the witnesses of the will, who would have had to swear in court, would have covered up such an event.    

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Allen line: Richard Church about 1610-1667

Oh, dear. This is another genealogy that has apparently been "infected" by Gustave Anjou, the fraudulent fakester of about 100 years ago. So much has been done based on his "research", yet none of it can be trusted. The man tried valiantly to find noble or royal ancestors for his clients, and this lead to some lines that can only be called fantasy.  We don't know how much, if any, of his information about Richard Church can be trusted.  I will write hear only about what can be found from American records. 

Richard Church is supposed to have been born February 6, 1610 in London, England and to have married Anne Marsh on May 18, 1627 in Braintree, Essex, England.  We can already see a problem developing.  Men didn't generally marry when they were seventeen years old.  So is the birth record wrong, and the correct records for Richard have not yet been found, or is it the marriage records that are incorrect?  A Richard Church may well have married an Anne Marsh there on that date, but is it our Richard?  This whole mess is made even messier when we realize that our Richard Church's records have been mixed up with the Richard Church who married Elizabeth Warren.  The two Richard's were of similar age and so it has been easy for family historians to confuse the two. 

So, Richard Church was born somewhere in England and married (probably) Anne Marsh, who was the daughter of either John or Edward Marsh. Let's assume the 1627 marriage date and location is correct, because it fits with the subsequent known facts.  The Churches traveled about the same time as the Hooker group, in 1635 or1636, and even though their names are not on a known passenger list, it is quite possible that they were, in fact, in that group. He is listed as on original proprietor of Hartford, Ct., which was settled almost entirely by the Puritan group of Rev. Thomas Hooker.  In 1639, he received land as one of the original proprietors, and his name is listed on the "Early Founders" monument in what is now downtown Hartford, Ct.  Four children were born to Richard and Anne. Edward was born in 1627/1628 in England, and Mary may have been born there, too, as her birth date is given as 1632.  Samuel and John were likely born in Hartford.  There may have been an earlier Samuel, born in England, also. 

Richard was not high up in the government of Hartford, but he was elected chimney-viewer in 1648 and surveyor of highways in 1655. He was relieved of military duties (watching and warding, etc.) in 1655, probably indicating that he had some sort of illness or infirmity at this time.

In 1659, there was some sort of serious disagreement within the church, and 40 men agreed to leave Hartford and go to Hadley, Massachusetts, to start a new colony there. Once again, Richard and Anne were starting over, once again on the frontier, and this time, in the middle of native American country.  They are regarded as among the first proprietors of Hadley, and received 8 acres of land there as a house lot.  Richard died December 16, 1667 at Hadley, and his widow, Anne, died March 10, 1684.  It is stated that her age was 83, which would make it unlikely that the 1610 birth date for Richard is accurate. Richard's estate was valued at 241-05-02, which was not insignificant. 

I'm very curious to find out who Richard's parents really were (perhaps they were not Richard Church and Alice Vassall, as has been repeated many times and as my tree currently shows), and what occupation Richard followed. I'd like to know how he came to his Puritan beliefs, and what exactly drove him to leave Hartford.  And wouldn't it be nice to know what Anne thought of all this, or whether she even allowed herself to think about it?

The line of descent is:

Richard Church-Anne Marsh (possibly)
John Church-Sarah Beckley
Richard Church-Elizabeth Noble
Jonathan Church-Ruth Hitchcock
Ruth Church-Stephen Noble
Ruth Noble-Martin Root Jr.
Ruth Root-Samuel Falley
Clarissa Falley-John Havens Starr
Harriet Starr-John Wilson Knott
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendents

Friday, January 16, 2015

Harshbarger line: Johann Valentin Geiger Immigrant 1685-1762

Johann Valentin Geiger was born shortly before December 21, 1685 in Mosbach, Baden-Wuerttemburg, Germany.  Actually this would have not been Germany and not Baden-Wuerttemburg.  At the time that he was born, this was part of the Electorate of the Palatinate.  Regardless, to us he was born in southern Germany. The town itself is ancient, possibly dating from the 9th century, and there are many wonderful pictures of medieval appearing buildings in Mosbach, on the internet.  Whether you want to tour Europe in person some day, or just want to learn a little about our ancestors, looking at these pictures could give you some inspiration.

Valentin's parents were Johann Valentin Geiger (Giger and Kyger are alternate spellings) and Maria Barbara Bauer, and he was one of at least four children.  We don't know the occupation of his father, but it may be that he was not a farmer. Perhaps he was a merchant or a tradesman of some sort, since this town had a population that would support such activities. 

Sometime about 1716 Valentin married Johanna Fredericka Henckel, daughter of Anthony Jacob Henckel, the Lutheran pastor who came to the New World early. A son was born to them and Fredericka was again expecting a child when the family traveled to the New World in September of 1717 (arrival date). The Geigers came with Fredericka's parents, who were already 45-50 years of age.  Valentin would have been 42 and Fredericka about 25 when they arrived at Philadelphia.

Several more children were born in quick succession and perhaps sympathy is due to Fredericka.  Anthony had been born in the Old World, and possibly Johann Jacob. Valentine was born June 2, 1718, and then Barbara, Christopher, and Mary Margareta.  There is about a 16 year gap in children, and then Anna Barbara was born.  She is listed as a child of Valentin and Fredericka, but Fredericka would have been 45 years old in 1737, so this would have probably been a very difficult birth.  Fredericka died April 2, 1739 in Philadelphia County, in what would become New Hanover, Montgomery County, Pa.

We can guess that Valentin would have been a farmer.  This was a frontier area when the family went there, and life would have not been easy.  It must have been sparsely populated, because even in 1930, the township had a population of 1,467, and this would have been 200 years after the Geigers arrived.  Of course, for a few years, they would have seen the Henckel's frequently, but they were dead by 1730.

Valentin married Maria Elizabeth Schmidt in or about 1741, and four more Geigers were born to this marriage-Johann Dietrich, John Henry, Benjamin, and Charles.  Most of the older children would likely have been out of their parent's home when the second family came along, which could be a good thing. Housing eleven children in one household would have been difficult.

We know little else about the family.  They attended the New Hanover Lutheran Church, which was the first German Lutheran Church in America and was organized by Daniel Falckner about 1700.  From 1742 to 1761 Henry Melchior Muhlenberg served as the pastor, and I found a document on from the Historic Pennsylvania and Church records, kept by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. It is written in German, but appears to be a record of some sort of tithes, offerings, or pledges.  Muhlenberg's name is at the top, with a number of 1.5 in what I take to be the "shillings" column. Valentin Geiger is three lines down, with 7 shillings and 6 pence attributed to him.  (It would be great to find a translation of this handwritten document!)

Valentin died December 1, 1762, and he is believed to be buried in the New Hanover Lutheran Church cemetery, Montgomery County, Pa (It was Philadelphia County until 1784).  I have not found a will for him.

I'd like to know more about the man, of course. What was his livelihood in Germany, and in Pennsylvania?  Did he own the land he lived on here?  Why did he decide to come to the New World?  Was it so his wife could keep an eye on her parents, or were there other reasons?  And I always wonder about the immigrants-were they glad they came to the New World where they could start over, or did the difficulties and dangers they encountered make them long to go back?

The line of descent is

Johann Valentin Geiger-Johanna Fredericka Henckel
Johann Valentin Geiger-Sarah (widow?) Vetatoe
Jacob Geiger-Elizabeth Shultz
Anthony Geiger-Mary Kirk
Eligabeth Geiger-George Harter
John Harter-Mary Bennett
Clara Harter-Emmanuel Harshbarger
Grover Harshbarger-Goldie Withers
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendents

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Beeks line: Thomas Besson 1616-1678

Thomas Besson is the immigrant ancestor in this line. The mystery is, which Thomas Besson is he, and when did he come to the New World?  As is often the case, there are several versions of who he was and when he arrived.  His parents may have been Francis Besson and Marcella, of York, England, or they may be Thomas Besson, or his records may actually be found in the Channel Islands. It seems most likely that he is the Thomas Besson who was baptized January 11, 1617/1618 at St Andrews, Plympton, Devon, England.  These records are not yet available on line, as far as I can find, so we don't know what they might show as to the parents of Thomas. 

We also don't know when or whom he married (apparently a woman named Ann) nor do we know when he arrived in the New World. I've seen records stating he arrived as a servant in 1635 and another that he arrived in 1649 with his wife, two children, and servant. He received headrights for these later, along with three additional persons who were claimed as his headrights.  It is of course possible that he arrived in 1635-1640, went back to England and married, and then brought his family here.

At any rate, we know that he received a grant from Lord Calvert in 1649 on the south side of the Arundel River, and here he stayed.  It is believed that he may have been one of the non-Conformists who were forced from Virginia at that time due to religious intoleration. Fortunately, Maryland was still practicing religious freedom at the time.

Thomas and Ann had several children, as did Thomas and Hester (widow Caplin).  Almost everything I have looked at assigns the children in different order, to differing mothers. There were John, William, two Thomases, Martha, and Anne. On my tree, I've used the most common finding of Hester for Martha's mother, but that is still open to proof, one way or the other. 

Thomas was a respected man in his area as is evidenced by the fact that he held office under the commonwealth in Maryland and attended the last session of the Commision in September 1657, when Lord Baltimore regained sovereignty after the English Civil War.  At the Restoration (of the English monarchy) he was appointed a magistrate of Anne Arundel County and served as such from about 1568 to 1668. He was "Captain of the Trayned Band" (a militia unit, needed because of the ever-present threat from the native Americans) and in 1665 was elected one of the burgesses from Anne Arundel County. 

Thomas's will was written March 10th, 1678/79 and proven May 1, 1679.  His inventory included 16,296 lbs of tobacco, and his debts were almost as large, leaving about 500 lbs of tobacco to be distributed among his heirs. He also had owned about 800 acres of land, and that was given to son John, son William, son Thomas the younger. Thomas the elder was overseer but apparently didn't receive anything in the will.  He may have received his land earlier. 

There's a lot more research to do regarding Thomas. Did he live out his live as a Puritan non-conformist, or did he join the Church of England? Who was his first wife, and which children belonged to which wife? Who was his second wife? When did he first arrive in the New World?  And of course, who were his parents?  I'd like to know about this immigrant ancestor.

The line of descent is:

Thomas Besson-Ann or Hester
Martha Besson-Nicholas Aldridge
Thomas Aldridge-Elizabeth Purdy
John Aldridge Eleanor Watkins
Jacob Aldridge-Elizabeth Soper
John Simpson Aldridge-Mary Lakin
John Simpson Aldridge Jr-Lucinda Wheeler
Darlington Dart Aldridge-Leah Folsom
Harvey H Aldridge-Mary Catherine Dunham
Gretta Cleo Aldridge-Wilbur Beeks
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Their descendents

Fun fact:  One of the appraisers of Thomas's inventory was Richard Tydings, who is an ancestor in the Holbrook line.  The families were neighbors, way back when and way back there!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Holbrook line: Mary Alice Hetrick Stanard 1856-1935

I woke up this morning thinking about my great grandmother, and the life she had.  Although she died years before I was born, my mother was 9 years old when she died and she had a few memories of her grandmother.  I have a couple of pieces of molded glass-a candy dish, a jelly bowl, and a cake stand-that she owned.  I was told that the candy dish was always full of mints when "the children" came to visit her.  She is also the person who taught my somewhat tomboy mother to climb a tree, which was necessary because at one time the family had a farm with a number of fruit trees. 

Starting at the beginning means going back to Shelby, Richland County, Ohio, where Alice was born on January 3, 1856.  Her parents were Isaac Hetrick and Elizabeth Black.  Isaac had been married before, to Sarah Ziegler in 1825 and they had at least five children, but Sarah had died, perhaps in childbirth.  Isaac married Elizabeth Black on March 12, 1840, and together they had seven children.  Alice was just 6 years old when her mother died on December 1, 1862.  I have seen reports that she died of breast cancer but I don't know the source for that. If it was cancer, then the household would have been a sad one for several months or years before Elizabeth died.  Fortunately, Isaac realized that his family needed a mother figure, and he married again, in August of  1863 to Elizabeth Rowland. (I believe she was a widow but I haven't located her maiden name.)  

Alice had had a number of adjustments to make in her life, with older half brothers and 6 siblings, and she lost a half brother, Michael, to the Danville Confederate prison in 1865.  This must have been another blow to the family, but soon there was yet another major change in Alice's life.  Her father had become a devout Baptist and was called to go to Kansas to build churches. The family either went along or followed soon after, about 1866.  Alice was about 10 years old. We don't know whether the family went by rail or wagon or a combination of both, but they settled in Ottawa, Franklin County, Kansas where the children, including Alice, could get a good education. 

Kansas was not an easy place to live at this time. There is a wonderful book called "Pioneer Women" by Joanna L Stratton that gives some sense of the hardships the family would have faced, but they persevered and even triumphed.  Alice, at the age of 18 was a teacher, living with her parents and presumably contributing to the support of the family.  On July 8, 1879 she married a young Baptist pastor, Louis E Stanard, but once again she would have to adjust.  The 1880 census shows that her mother in law, three of her husband's sisters, and two of her husband's cousins were living with them.  Alice was a newly-wed and this may have been a stressful situation for her, or perhaps she handled it with dignity and joy.  I haven't heard family stories to explain this, but it appears that the family was waiting for Hiram Stanard, Louis's father, to join them. 

Louis and Alice had three children, Elizabeth, Elwin, and Etta, all born in Kansas.  Shortly after the youngest, Etta, was born, Alice's father, Isaac died, in 1891.  By all reports, he was a wonderful man and this again would have been hard to accept.  All of the children went to Ottawa Normal School, later Ottawa University, and became teachers, while Louis had a number of ventures in addition to his pastoring.  We only find record of him at one church, but he was probably a bi-vocational pastor and worked at other jobs as the need arose.  So while family income may have been a bit unsettled, it's clear that the Stanards were making sure their children had a way to support themselves.  

Sometime between 1905 and 1910, Louis, Alice and Elizabeth moved to Mill Creek, Stevens County, Washington. (Elwin and Etta followed later.) There were mining and lumber prospects there, but it appears that Louis started or purchased a fruit farm. One of his cousins had a large nursery back in Kansas, so Louis may have learned the fruit business there.  However, Washington climate and soil was different than Kansas's, and the farm didn't support the family.  Louis went back to teaching school, as did Elizabeth and probably Elwin when he arrived. Etta also taught school, first in Kansas and then in Washington.  Alice had survived and possibly thrived when she moved from Ohio to Kansas as a girl, but I wonder how she felt when she was asked to move halfway across the country, again, when she was at least 50 years old? 

Alice's husband, Louis, died in 1923, after 44 years of marriage.  The couple was living in Spokane, Washington by then, with Elizabeth.  In the 1930 census, Alice is living with Elizabeth as the head of the household, which also included Elwin and his children Lloyd, Ruth, and Louis.  Elwin's wife had died and Elizabeth, my hero, supported and cared for the family as Elwin grieved.  As far as we can tell from the records, Alice always lived in Spokane after the 1920 census, until her death on August 8, 1935 in Spokane.  However, she may have kept the farm in Stevens County, because my mother talked about being at the farm every summer, and sometimes at Christmas. 

I would love to sit down and talk to Alice.  How did she survive and thrive in the many changes in her life?  Was it a strong faith, a naturally cheerful disposition, a matter of learning to "go with the flow"?  Was she happy, or did she dwell on the sad things in her life?  What advice would she like to give her descendents, if she could talk to them? 

The line of descent is:

Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendents

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Allen line: Lemuel Dunn revisited

I posted Lemuel Dunn's will in the early days of this blog and have been looking for more information about him since that date.  I have come up with two additional pieces of information, both of which help understand him better but neither of which tells us anything about his parents.

The first item is from the Journal of the Senate of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, page 136 in which "Lemuel Dunn, major of the same regiment (43rd) in place of William Miller, promoted", which action took place on Friday, January 15, 1819.  So now we know that the biography of George Washington Dunn (his son) that referred to "Major" Lemuel Dunn was correct.  I have so far not been able to find Lemuel in a lower rank, and I've not found a history of the 43rd Regiment, so my research in this area is far from over.

The second item I found, just last night, was that he was listed as a subscriber to "The History of the American Revolution", volume 2, by David Ramsay on page 485.  He is listed as being from Mercer County, Ky, and the publication date of the volume was 1815 so I am confident this is our Lemuel.  The book was published in Lexington, Ky.  Just this little bit of information verifies Lemuel's inventory, which included about 50 books.  It tells me that he had at least some money, because there were only a few people from Mercer County (more from Harrodsburg, but they were listed separately) who subscribed.  It tells me that he had an active interest in the Revolutionary War, which tends to lend substance to the idea that Michael Dunn, his father, did fight in the "Glorious Revolution". 

I found both of these references on Google books, just by Googling Lemuel's name, but I found them at different times.

I've also found some references to Michael Dunn that I didn't have before, but I'm not sure this is our Michael Dunn.  The reference I found most recently was a Michael Dunn who witnessed a will of Joseph Renfro (Rentfro) in Bedford County, Va on November 14, 1772 and proved by his oath on April 22, 1776.  Part of Bedford County eventually became Henry County, and there was a Michael Dunn listed there on the tax lists of 1782.  So I think I need to do further research in that area, to see whether there are records that could help decide whether these two Michael Dunns are the same, and whether this might be our Michael Dunn. 

I hope this information is useful to some of my distant cousins, and that the speculation about Michael might spark some ideas and additional thoughts from someone that can help lead us to Michael and his wife.  Please contact me via comments or email if you can help, or want to help!

The line of descent is:

Lemuel Dunn-Sarah Campbell
Margaret Dunn-Archibald Allen
George Allen-Nancy McCoy
Edward Allen-Edith Knott
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendents

Friday, January 2, 2015

Harshbarger line: Nicholas Pontius 1728-1794

One reason I love doing this blog is that I learn so much by doing it. When I decided to write about Nicholas Pontius today, I had maybe three facts about him-his parents, his siblings, and birth and death dates.  In only about half an hour's research online, I've found enough to write several paragraphs, I suspect.  Of course, I still have many many questions, but they will wait until my next trip to the Allen County Public Library, or until I have time to do a bit more in depth work on line, whichever comes first.  Nicholas is an immigrant ancestor, and that is reason enough to want to know more about him.

Nicholas is actually Johann Nicholas Pontius, and as one would guess, he is of German descent. His parents are Johann Peter Pontius and Anna Catherina Hausch, and he was born just before August 24, 1728 in Berglengenbach, Rheinland-Pfalz, in what is now Germany.  The August 24 date is the date of his christening, which took place at the "Evangelish Lutherische" there.  It is currently a small village of about 478 people, and there is no reason to think that it was a larger town at the time of his birth.  It is located near the French border, and is in that part of the country that frequently changed hands during the long wars in the 17th century.

Nicholas was the second youngest in his family, and his father died in 1736, when Nicholas was only 8 years old.  We don't know how the family supported themselves, without the bread winner, but in 1738 his mother and some of her children, including John and Nicholas, came to America in search, no doubt, of a better life.  They arrived on the ship "Glasgow" on September 9, 1738, from Rotterdam.  Nicholas' older brother John took the oath of allegiance the next day, but Nicholas was still a child and probably stayed on ship with his mother until this was completed.

Nicholas would have helped to support his mother in some way while he was learning how to live in America.  As a teenager, he would have likely been hired out to work on a farm, or perhaps he served as an indentured servant for a period of time.  By 1749, though, we was ready to take on family responsibilities of his own and he married Anna Margaret Shuey, daughter of Daniel and Mary Margaretha Schilling Shuey on November 22, in Bethel Township, Berks County, Pa.  The Shueys were a French Huguenot family, and the families may have been acquainted "back home". 

Nicholas and Anna Margaret had at least 7 children, born from 1752 to 1767, so they were a busy family.  Nicholas may have purchased land in 1762, because that is when he was naturalized.  In order to be naturalized, he had to have been confirmed in the church so this would have been a busy year for him.  I don't yet know much about his life at this time, except that when the Revolutionary War came he is listed as being in the inactive militia (possibly an Associator) from 1777-1779, under Capt. John Folmer, 6th Battalion, 7th Company from 1777-1779.  I am not sure what it means, but the record in the Pennsylvania Digital Archives online gives "muster fines" of 0.7.6, so perhaps he missed some drills. 

He paid taxes in 1759 in Berks County and from 1767 to 1791 was taxed for land and personal property. When he died without a will in 1794, his oldest son Daniel noted that Nicholas was "late of Bethel Township in the the County of Berks, yeoman" and that Nicholas owned 154 acres of land with "appurtenances" and asked the court to make partition.  (Daniel ended up buying the farm, which had a value of 850 pounds.) His personal property was inventoried at a value of 45.14.3, and includes household goods, clothing, books, and items and grains necessary to farming.  His burial location is not known, nor is Anna Margaret's.  It appears that she died less than a month after Nicholas's death. 

I'd love to find actual church records in Berks County for them, as none of the sources I have used mentions the specific church they attended.  Berks County has a lot of good records, so it puzzles me that this information isn't yet available.  There may be maps available that show the exact location of his farm, and that would be wonderful!  I guess I have more researching to do. I've used sources from Ancestry, FamilySearch, and the Pennsylvania Digital Archives for this article, but there is more to be done. 

The line of descent is:

Nicholas Pontius-Anna Margaret Shuey
Mary M Pontius-Conrad Reber
Maria Margaretha Reber-Solomon Buchtel
Benjamin Buchtel-the mysterious Barbara Long
Nancy Buchtel-Adam Kemery
Della Kemery-William H Withers
Goldie Withers-Grover Harshbarger
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendents

Thursday, January 1, 2015

"Bonus Post" Holbrook line: New Year, new tactics

I've not given up on finding Molly Wright, the wife of Amariah Holbrook.  However, my head is hurting from pounding this brick wall so many times, and I finally decided the records I need just aren't available to me.  So, I've spent what to me are big, big bucks to ask the fine folks at NEHGS to find Molly's parents for me.  I just sent the order in last night, and it will be 8-12 long weeks before I can expect to hear something from them.

If they can find her, I will be happy genealogy dancing all year long.  If they can't, I will feel terrible for wasting the money, but at least I'll know that Molly really doesn't want to be found, even though she still haunts my dreams.

Stay tuned! 

A lot of genealogy bloggers are posting their goals for the year.  Mine is pretty simple:  Keep researching and keep posting about my children's ancestors.  Doing another 100 posts this year sounds pretty daunting, but I'll do my best. I can't wait to see what this year has in store for me genealogy wise, especially about Molly Wright!