Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Harshbarger line: Charles Bennett about 1730-1818

Charles Bennett is another mystery.  He is, so far, the head of the family only because it seems that no one has traced him back any further.  He is believed to have been born about 1730, because we know he married in 1753.  It is possible that this is the Charles Bennett who was apprenticed to Samuel Howard in 1742, in what became Harford County Maryland but was at the time Baltimore County  That Charles Bennett's mother's name was Mary.  This indicates that the father of Charles was dead, since generally it was the father's name who would show in the records.  So far, the only Bennett that I've found who had a wife Mary was Peter Bennett of Talbot County, Md., who died in 1729.  I've not read the will nor done any further research on him, but it's a possible lead.

So, the first we really know of Charles Bennett is that he married Martha Collins on September 11, 1753 at St. John's Parish, Baltimore County, Md.  There was a St John's Parish in what became Harford County, so it's possible that this is where Charles Bennett lived and where his bride lived also.  Martha Collins is another person who either hasn't been researched or is playing hide and seek with those who are trying to find her.

Charles and Martha had 11 children together, so we know that Martha was a strong woman.  They moved several times to improve their lives and that of their children.  The first three children were born in St. John's Parish between 1755 and 1758.  The rest of the children were born "elsewhere".  We lose sight of the family for  awhile.  It has been stated that Charles was a soldier in Dunmore's War, which took place in 1774 and meant he was likely somewhere in Virginia at the time.  This was a war with the native Americans and took place mainly in what is now Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky.  From wherever he was living when the war took place, he may have had the opportunity to see "points west".  He had land surveyed in 1775 about five miles from the Mononagahela River, on the slopes of Chestnut Ridge, and he and his family lived there until 1806.

In 1806, Charles and Martha sold 100 acres on both sides of Coburns Creek in Monongalia County for $350 Virginia money, and moved to Scioto County, Ohio, with most of his children.  Charles would have been about 76 years of age at this time, and Martha not much younger.  They lived a few more years, with Martha dying in 1815 and Charles in 1818.  They are presumed to be buried at Squire Cemetery, Scioto County, Ohio.

The line of descent is:

Charles Bennett-Martha Collins
Caleb Bennett- Ann Catherine Wilson
Solomon Eliot Bennett-Margaret Farmer
Mary Bennett-John Harter
Clara Harter-Emmanuel Harshbarger
Grover Harshbarger-Goldie Withers
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendents

Note:  I would be very glad if someone could explain to me why there are notes that Caleb died in 1851 leaving only nephews and nieces.  Were there two Caleb Bennetts, and if so, does our Caleb Bennett belong to Charles?  It is possible that the history as presented here is not correct, even though I have seen it stated as so many times, the evidence seems to indicate it is correct, and it seems to make sense.  I'd be happy to hear from someone who is more in the know than I am!

Update 6/19/2015.  I am pretty well convinced that our Caleb, who is the father of Solomon, is NOT the son of Charles.  I am leaving this post up, despite being red-faced about my error, because it may help someone else.   I am now on the trail of Caleb Bennett of Miami County, Ohio. His known children are Abraham, William, Solomon, Joshua, George, Caleb, James, and possibly John, Isaac, Thomas, Martha, Anna, Phoebe and Catherine.