Friday, September 18, 2015

Harshbarger line: James Boughan died 1677 Immigrant

It's surprising to me that I keep finding people in the Harshbarger line who were not German, not immigrants to Pennsylvania, and not Anabaptist or Lutheran.  There is one line that leads back to Virginia, and one of the Virginia families is that of James and Thomasin Boughan.  Thomasin was the "widow Harper" but we don't know more than that. 

We don't know when or where James was born.  Most on line genealogies assign him a birth date of 1625, but that seems not to have any documentation.  It is likely based on calculations that his son James (who was referred to as Major James) had cows given to him in 1664 and 1671, and purchased land in 1671.  That gives Major James a birthdate of perhaps 1650 or earlier, so therefore immigrant James could have been born around 1625.  

He settled in what was at first considered Rappahannock County, and is now Essex County, Virginia.  His first land purchase was in July of 1655, 250 acres purchased from Oliver Seager.  In 1658, he received a land patent for what was apparently another 250 acres and then in 1665 he received another 150 acres as headright (given 50 acres of land for each person he brought into Virginia colony.  This meant he paid their passage and likely they then became his indentured servants to pay off their debt.) The persons he transported were Elizabeth Pettus., Elizabeth Edom, and Jno Roakes.  Later he transported another 20 people, names not given, and received another 1000 acres in return.  It is possible that not all of these 20 people went to work on his plantation, although they may have.  If someone transported more people than they could use on their land, they would "sell" the indenture to someone else.  Regardless, those who were transported owed their passage money to someone, and it was usually worked off in 3 or 4 years time, although minors sometimes had to serve for seven years.

It appears that most of this land was still owned by James when he died.  His date of death was sometime between December 26, 1677, when he served as a member of a jury, and March 29, 1678, when Major James, his son, referred to his father as "lately deceased."

James and Thomasin had four known children, James, John, Henry, and Alexander.  They lived in Farnham Parish, Essex County, which means they went to church or at least paid their tithables to the church, which would have been Church of England in denomination.  Since we don't know when James and Thomasin immigrated, (or whether together or separately), it is hard to guess the reasons for the move.  It may have been related to all the upheavals of the English Civil War and its aftermath, or it may have been strictly for economic reasons.  Regardless, the colonists in Virginia were affected by the English Civil War and that was a part of their lives.  If they were here prior to 1646, they would have also been affected by the Powhatan Indian wars that resulted in several uprisings during the early years of colonization. 

We know enough about the Boughan's to know they had children, and land, and a chance at a new life in America.  We can suspect they had indentured servants, and we know they would have belonged to the local church.  We know they lived through eventful times, and we know they contributed to the building of America.  That is enough for a very broad outline, but I'd sure like to have more details!

The line of descent is:

James Boughan-Tomasin widow Harper
Major James Boughan-Mary possibly Edmondson
John Boughan-Susannah Bryant
Mary Boughan-John Edmondson
Susannah "Sukey" Edmondson-Thomas Wyatt
John Wyatt-Alice Gordon
Jean Wyatt-William Farmer
Margaret Farmer-Solomon Bennett
Mary Bennett-John Harter
Clara Harter-Emanuel Harshbarger
Grover Harshbarger-Goldie Withers
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendant

Much more information than the highlights I've given here is available at  The pages I have looked at there are thorough and well documented. However, any mistakes in this post are mine and mine alone.