Friday, October 30, 2015

Beeks line: Henry Rolfe 1585-1643, Immigrant

Henry Rolfe is another immigrant ancestor in the Beeks line.  He was born before September 5, 1585 in Downton or Whiteparish, Wiltshire, England.  (The two villages are very near each other.  It appears he was christened at Whiteparish but may have lived nearer to Downton.)  Someone on the webpage has done a wonderful job of describing his or her trip to the area, and has wonderful pictures showing the villages and the actual land farmed by John Rolfe, Henry's father.  It is a very peaceful appearing location. The land showed no crops currently being grown, so it's hard to know how the land was used 400 and more years ago.  I've been unable to verify the mother of Henry, except that her name was "Honor." 

"Honor" may have been a popular name for women in that place and time period, for Henry married an "Honor" also, in fact, she was "Honor Rolfe", a first cousin once-removed.  They were married at Whiteparish, Wiltshire, England on May 28, 1621, when Henry was 30 and Honor was about 22 years old.  They seem to have had three children in England, with a fourth, Benjamin, born in Newburyport in 1638.  It isn't known for sure when they immigrated to America but it must have been no later than 1638 since his son was born there.  Henry's will, written in 1642, shows "howse and land" so he had been here long enough to accumulate some land and build a home, anyway.  This was in the town of Newburyport, now known as Newbury.  There is no record that he was ever made a freeman, so possibly he acquired the land shortly before his death. 

His inventory was valued at 153 pounds, 8 shillings, 6 pence, which seems to be farily decent considering that he was in America only a few years.  He owned quite a few animals-6 cows, four oxen, one bull and one steer, 5 "beasts", plus calves, hogs, and bees.  There is mention of a feather bed and a "flock" bed  (a flock bed was filled with wool refuse, left over materials, and the like), and 6 feather pillows.  From this, one suspects that some children slept on the floor.  He also had a musket and fowling pieces, 2 swords and bandoliers, so he was armed in typical fashion for the time. Also there were books, not identified, valued at one pound, so Henry could read.  It would be interesting to know what the books were, because that would give us a window into his mind.  Henry's wife, Honor, died in 1650 or 1653, according to different sources. 

I'd love to know more about Henry.  Was he a Puritan, or was he in America for other reason than to practice his religion?  What were those books in his inventory?  He may have had a final illness of several months, since he wrote his will several months before he died.  What was his cause of death?  Did he ever need to discharge those firearms to protect his family, or his fellow colonists? 

Once again, there are questions, but we do know that he was a brave and hard-working man, to have come to the Massaschusetts Bay Colony and to have been a financial success at his death. 

The line of descent is:

Henry Rolfe-Honor Rolfe
John Rolfe-Mary Scullard
Mary Rolph-Benjamin Dunham
Jonathan Dunham-Mary Smith
Samuel Dunham-Hannah Ruble (or possibly Chenoweth)
Jacob Dunham-Catherine Goodnight
Samuel G Dunham-Eliza Reese
Margaret Catherine Dunham-Harvey Aldridge
Cleo Aldridge-Wilbur Beeks
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Their descendants

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Harshbarger line: Brick walls 3

Here is my final list for the Harshbarger brick walls I have.  Please note, these lists are not exhaustive.  I am listing the people that I have at least some little tidbit of information, something that gives me hope that with some additional clue, they can be found.

One of my thickest folders is for Barbara N Long.  She married Benjamin Buchtel in Summit County, Ohio in 1844.  Her birth date is given as 1826, in Georgetown,  Clermont or Brown County, Ohio, but I'm not sure that is accurate. I've seen no documentation, and it doesn't make sense to me yet.  The only other nugget I have is that someone named Susan Long was living in the household in 1850 in Portage County, Ohio.  She was 76 years old and Barbara was 24 at the time, so Susan was likely too old to be Barbara's mother.  She may have been an aunt or other relation, however.  She and Benjamin had eight children, so it seems that some other descendant should be looking for her, and possibly even knows who she is! 

Catherine Whetstone is another mystery that should be solvable.  She was born in Berks County, Pa, according to her will, and I have a birth date of December 27,1798.  She married Henry Cook probably before 1817 in Pennsylvania (son William was born there in 1817) and by 1819 they were in Ohio, where son Joseph was born.  They migrated to Whitley County, Indiana sometime before 1850, where Henry died in 1861.  Catherine did not remarry, and lived a long life, dying in 1887.  They had 9 children together.  Again, someone, with these clues, should have one more clue that will help us locate this lady.  There were several Whetstones (Wetstein is another spelling for the same family) in Berks County in 1798, but I haven't located any birth records yet.  Of course, it's possible that Catherine's name was something more like Maria or Anna Catherina, but I haven't located her under those names, either.

Next is Joseph Withers.  He was born about 1804 in Pennsylvania and married Mary Gearhart in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1832.  He was in Marion County, Iowa in 1850 with Mary and a family of eight children.  I am not sure that this is the same Joseph Withers, but a Joseph Withers married Ann Montgomery in 1852 in Richland County, Ohio.  She would have been considerably younger than he was.  I have not been able to locate divorce records, or death records for Mary, so I am left wondering.  I have a gut feeling that he is a grandson or possibly great grandson of Augustin Withers or Widders, but have not been able to make a connection.  I'd love to learn whether I'm right or wrong about that!

Finally, we leave our German-American family and go to Virginia to discuss William Wyatt.  No one seems to know who he was, but he was born about 1627 in England, and may have married a woman named Ann.  He was a captain (and later a major in the militia in Virginia, so he had some degree of responsibility or respect. He was here by 1653, when he was granted head rights of 400 acres of land for transporting eight people, including himself.  Many people would like to know who he was, and whether/how he was related to Francis Wyatt, the first royal governor of Virginia, and I'm one of those people! 

These are the people who are my brick walls for the Harshbarger family.  I hope maybe these short summaries will trigger an email to me because I'd love to hear from other family historians for these people.  My email is happygenealogydancingATgmailDOTcom. (Substitute normal punctuation for AT and DOT.)  New information will certainly require a Happy Genealogy Dance!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Holbrook line: Reverend Ephraim Hewitt, Immigrant

I am so excited to write about this ancestor of ours.  He has been on my tree for quite a long time, but I hadn't done any real research to learn about him. All I can say is, "Wow!" 

Unfortunately, it is not known when he was born or who his parents are.  Many internet sites give his birthdate as 1604 at Wraxhall, Somersetshire (or Warwickshire), England.  By my calculations, he couldn't have been born after 1595 because he matriculated (enrolled) at St John's College, Cambridge University, in 1611. (His Find a Grave memorial says he was born in 1591 at Ansley, Warwickshire, England, which makes sense, but there's no documentation shown.)  Men were mainly between the ages of 16 and 20 when they matriculated, although it is always possible that he entered as an older student.  Also, knowing that he enrolled at St John's makes one wonder, how did he afford the fees?  Were his parents paying for his education?  If so, we should be able to trace them.  (See further speculation about parents further in this post.) 

We do know, thanks to Frederick Lewis Weis in "The Colonial Clergy and the Colonial Churches of New England," that he was a curate at Cheshire and at Knowle, Warwickshire, England, and that he settled at Wroxhall, Kenilworth, England, in 1626, where he became the rector.  Basically, curate seems to mean he was what we would call the assistant pastor and rector would be the pastor.  This was in the Church of England, the only recognized church at the time.  Of course, there were Puritans worshipping in their own way, too.  We don't know when Ephraim became a Puritan, perhaps he was always one at heart.  However, we do know that he was "silenced by Archbishop Laud" in 1638.  Laud was the powerful Archbishop of Canterbury who insisted on church ritual that Puritans (and probably many others) did not support. 

He married Isabel Overton at Tarvin, Cheshire, England on April 22, 1622.  Their children were born from 1632-1640, with the youngest being born in America. 

After Ephraim was "silenced," meaning he no longer had a livelihood, he came to America in 1639.  He went directly to Windsor, Connecticut, to join Rev. John Warham in leading the church there.  He was ordained there, as a "teacher", which leads to a puzzle back in England.  Did he graduate from St. John's?  Was he ordained there?  It seems that he wouldn't have been appointed a curate and then a rector unless he had been ordained, but once again, records are lacking.  He may have been ordained in Windsor as a Puritan pastor, since earlier he would have been Church of England. 

He and his wife had four daughters, Susannah, Lydia, Sarah, and Mercy, and a son, Nathaniel, who died before his father.  Reverend Ephraim was a busy man with four young daughters to raise, a church to help grow, and a  book to write.  The book was called "The Whole Prophecie of Daniel Explained" and was the first complete commentary on prophecy written in the Colonies.  He had earlier, in 1626, authored another book called"The Anatomy of Conscience."  These books also lead to my belief that he did graduate, either from St John's or from another college.  Our ancestor also seems to have been responsible for the design of the meeting house there, which was designed to protect against attacks from the native Americans.  He was a multi-talented man!

Reverend Ephraim died in 1644 at Windsor and left an estate of over 633 pounds, which would be considered a sizable estate.  This leads to my speculation that either his books were runaway best sellers, or he had inherited or been given money at one time or another.  This again leads back to the speculation as to who his parents may have been.  If they were well-off, there is a good chance they can be found.  He left his "Great Island" at the Falls, to the Court of Hartford, for the use of the country.  I don't know what value his "Great Island" had (possibly a mill of some sort?) but it seems to have been a valuable gift, and I hope the "country" appreciated it. 

I know that I appreciate this ancestor a lot more, after learning this much about him.  Even though there is much we don't know, it's a joy to find this much about our immigrant-"teacher"-author ancestor.

The line of descent is:

Ephraim Hewett (Huett Huit)-Isabel Overton
Mary Hewett-Thomas Strong
Maria Strong-Samuel Judd
Elizabeth Judd-Ebenezer Southwell
Eunice Southwell-Medad Pomeroy Jr.
Eunice Pomeroy-Libbeus Stannard
Libbeus Stannard Jr-Luceba Fay
Hiram Stanard-Susan Eddy
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Fun fact:  Ephraim Hewett is also shown as an ancestor to Herbert Hoover.  It's fun to find another distant presidential cousin! 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Allen line: John Bruce 1690-1748, Immigrant

We know more about John Bruce than we do some of our other immigrant ancestors, but of course it's not enough.  The timeline for his life and the history of his times would indicate that it's possible he left Scotland under duress, as a "Covenanter", but I've not found proof of that.  He may have come to America for economic reasons alone. 

John Bruce was born (or christened) September 7,1690 in Portsoy, Fordyce Paarish, Aberdeen, Scotland.  Portsoy is a small village on the northeast coast of Scotland, with lovely cliffs overlooking the ocean, but little else in the way of natural beauty.  The pictures I found on line showed no trees outside of the village and very few in town.  The main occupation of the townspeople would have been fishing, and also quarrying or mining a serpentine rock that was considered so beautiful it was used both in jewelry and in the Palace of Versailles.  Presumably there would be enough vegetation to raise a few sheep or goats, but it's hard to see how someone could farm and make a living there.

John's parents were Thomas Bruce and Mary Christian.  He is believed to have had six brothers and sisters.  There is not as much certainty about the identity of his wife.  My tree shows "Sarah Parrell" but I have also seen Margaret Griffith, Margaret Frazier and Sarah Coles listed as being his wife.  He may have been married more than once, but I don't have documentation for any of this.  One possible explanation for the lack of knowledge may be that he spent some time in Ireland, as many Covenanters did, before emigrating to America.  I have seen speculation about this but again, nothing definite.

John arrived in Chester County, Pennsylvania by about 1730.  He would have been nearing the age of 40, and surely he brought his children with him.  His two oldest daughters married and stayed in Chester and Bucks county, but John moved on.  By 1735, he was in the area of Winchester, Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley, where he received a patent for land on November 12, 1735, which was a grant from the Crown. (The policy at the time was to get this land settled, as a border against both the French and the Indians.) There are records in what was then Orange County of John suing and being sued for various debts.  He is listed as a "peddler", which leads one to wonder whether he was trading with the native Americans, or whether there were enough white people in the area to support his trade at that time

Brucetown, Va. was named at least partly in his honor.  This town was located 8 miles northwest of Winchester,  near the border of what is now Berkley County, West Virginia.  His land totalled about 255 acres.  In addition to doing some peddling, John was a farmer and operated a grist mill.  His lie was cut short by an epidemic that hit the area in 1748.  It may have been cholera, or any of several other diseases that were all too common at the time.  In his will, which had been written in 1747, he left his land to his sons George and James, who were to take care of his widow Sarah for as long as she lived.  I don't have a death date for her, but she may have lived for some years. 

It's not clear why his other children weren't mentioned in his will.  Perhaps the daughters had been given money or other property at the time of their marriage.  At any rate, by the time of John's death he had established a settlement that became a town, set up a business that George was able to grow, with the partnership of his mother in law, and had a farm that would help support the Bruce family.  We can be proud to call him our ancestor.

I'd love to know more about John, and especially about his wife.  When did they marry, and who was she?  Was there a church established that John and his family attended?   

The line of descent is:

John Bruce-Sarah Parrell
Ann Bruce-James McCoy
William McCoy-Elizabeth Royse
James McCoy-Nancy Lane
Vincent McCoy-Eleanor Jackson
Nancy McCoy-George R. Allen
Edward Allen-Edith Knott
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants

There is a lot of material about John Bruce on the Internet.  I would particularly recommend "In the Footsteps of Our Ancestors", found at  There is also a book which I haven't yet seen, but which is frequently referenced, called John Bruce of the Shenandoah, by Violet Laverne Bruce.  Much of the information on the Internet seems to have come from that source. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Beeks line: Philip Servas, Immigrant 1714-1787

Here's a fascinating immigrant in the Beeks line.  I say "fascinating" because I believe he was a very courageous man.  First, he was an immigrant, which says "courage" to me.  Then, he was a Moravian, at a time when Moravians were not tolerated well.  Finally, when he acquired land, it was on the most distant part of the frontier in what is now Monroe County, Pa but was then part of Bucks County.  I just shake my head in wonder at the strength of these immigrants, and wonder how they did what they did.

Philip was born in 1712 in Coblenz, Zwiebrucken, Germany. I looked up Coblenz and I looked up Zwiebrucken and they appear to be in two different places so I'm a little confused by this information.  However, Coblenz is probably accurate, and Germany is accurate now although there was no "Germany" as we know it in 1712.  The area had yet to be united under one name.

Philip's parents were another Philip Servas and Ann, which is as much as we know of his birth and childhood.  We know that he married before he came to America because he and his wife, Maria Catharina Altomus, were on the ship "Samuel" when they arrived in Philadelphia on August 27, 1739.   It was while they were in Philadelphia that Philip became interested in the Moravian church, and this is also where he became a stocking weaver.  I've not found an indication that he was an indentured servant, but it still took 11 years for him to save up enough money to buy his land.

As mentioned earlier, the land he purchased, 100 acres, was in what is now Monroe County, Pa. It was a little more than 100 acres, on the Pochopoko Creek, "over the Blue Mountains."  By this time, the family included five children, and five more would be born to them during their marriage, all apparently christened or recorded in Philadelphia.  Philip seems to have acquired several additional tracts of land in the early 1750's, all in the same general area.

By 1755, things were tense between the natives and the pioneers.  They were so tense that a massacre occurred in December 1755, of Philip's neighbors, the Hoeths.  (Those of the family who weren't killed, were taken captive and there is record of the story of one of the young women who escaped after several years in Indian captivity.)  In response to this crisis, a fort was constructed on  Philip's property, where the families all went as needed during the French and Indian wars.  The Moravians later built a mission on the land which had belonged to the Hoeths.

The Servass's, meanwhile, fled their farm on the day after the massacre, and went to Nazareth, where many refugee settlers also found shelter.  They stayed in or near Nazareth for several years, with Philip making several trips there.  The family finally moved back to their land in 1763, at the close of the French and Indian War, and Philip stayed there the rest of his life.  He was taxed there in 1772, for 1 pound, 18 shillings.

Philip was too old to serve in the Revolutionary War, but surely he and his family knew of it and it's at least one of his sons, Frederick, served in the local militia.   Philip made his will in 1785 and died June 22 or 23 of the next year.  A Moravian braother, Brother Reichel, from Nazareth conducted his funeral service.   It appears that his wife stayed on the farm and survived him by about 2 years.

I'd sure like to talk to Philip, to learn what he was thinking as he stayed in Nazareth for those seven years.  Did he not go back sooner due to an abundance of caution, or because he didn't appreciate the Fort on his land, or was it his wife that was so reluctant to return home?  Maybe, after some years on the frontier they just enjoyed being with people again, or maybe it was a matter of saving enough money to start over again, with crops and farm animals.  I'd love to know the rest of the story.

Much of the information for this post came from items posted by Dale A. Berger, who has written a book about this family which I would love to see.  

The line of descent is:

Philip Servas (Serfass, other spellings)-Maria Catherina Altemos
Frederick Serfass-Sabina
George Philip Serfass-Eva
Mary Serfass-Andrew Wise
David Wise-Matilda Martin
Elizabeth Wise-John Beeks
Wilbur Beeks-Cleo Aldridge
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Their descendents


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Harshbarger line: Summing up brick walls part 2

Here are more of the brick walls in the Harshbarger line.  If I could find out something about these people, and especially their parents, I could write more posts about them!

Matthew Farmer is still a mystery to me.  He was born sometime in the 1735-1745 time frame possibly in Chesterfield County, Virginia.  Two of his children married in Franklin County, Virginia in 1799 and 1803, and he was their surety so it seems that he lived there at that time.  He is in Elizabeth County, Miami County, Ohio by 1820, and there he stayed until he died in 1835.  If his birth date is truly correct, then he was quite old, at least 90, when he died.  A check of Chesterfield County shows that it wasn't formed until 1749, so we should probably be looking in Henrico County for Farmers.  I have seen several Farmers who arrived in Virginia in earlier times, mostly as indentured servants, so it is possible that the Farmers had already been in Virginia for several generations when Matthew was born.  I don't know the name of Matthew's wife, (Molly Glass was married to a different Matthew Farmer) and I sure would like to find out more about both of them!

I don't know whether I consider Mary Gearhart a true brick wall, but I have a thick file folder for her and still no smoking gun to point to her parents.  Mary was born in about 1812, and married Joseph Withers in 1832 in Carlisle, Pa. They are in Iowa in the 1850 census.  She may have died sometime between 1850 and 1860, or she may have become a widow and remarried.  I haven't located her after that date, and I can't say for sure who her parents might have been.  Peter Gerhart married Polly Wallace in 1805 at the First Presbyterian church in Carlisle but I haven't yet found proof that these people are Mary's parents. I haven't ruled them out yet, either.

Anna Marie Geise or Geiss married Daniel Kramer.  She was born , married in about 1765, and died in 1813, and that's about all that is known of her.  My tree says she was born in 1755, with no proof.  Daniel's children were born starting in about 1766 so either she was born several years earlier, or she was a second wife and not the mother of all of Daniel's children.  She died in Centre County, Pa.  I would sure love to know more about her.  Who were her parents, and when did she come to America, or was she actually born here?

 Today's last mystery is Magdalena Kunkle.  She was born about 1725, and she married Johann Caspar Schneer in 1759.  They had only two children, so perhaps she died shortly after giving birth to her second child, Julia Margaret, born in 1761 when she would have been about 36 years old.  I've found only one possible reference, a Maria Magdalena Kunckel who was born in Brocken, Ascheffanburg, Bayern, Germany July 1,1726, but if this is the right person I cannot place her in Pennsylvania, let alone in the proximity of Caspar Schneer.  Like Anna Marie Geise, I feel confident that there wouldn't be more than one or possibly two generations, to get her back to parents in Germany, and I would like to do that for both of them. 

I still have a few more Harshbarger brick walls to sum up what I know, and don't know, about the people in this line.  If you have something to add about any of these people, please contact me.  My email is happygenealogydancingATgmailDOTcom.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Holbrook and Beeks lines and Ethan Allen

What in the world do Ethan Allen, Libbeus Stannard (Holbrook line), Timothy Martin (Beeks line) and Jason Wheeler (Beeks line) all have in common?  Well, there is a known connection between Ethan Allen and Libbeus Stannard, because Libbeus served under Ethan Allen in 1776 as one of the Green Mountain Boys.

I am currently reading Ethan Allen; His Life and Times by Willard Sterne Randall and I am learning much that may be of interest in tracking down Timothy Martin and Jason Wheeler.  Both these men were born in New York, but as it turns out, New York claimed what is now Vermont (as did New Hampshire) until 1791, when it became the 14th state in the United States of America.  So if we are looking for Jason Wheeler, born in 1765 in New York, it is quite possible that he is the Jason Wheeler in Lunenburgh, Orange County, Vermont in 1790.  (I'm not sure the designation is Vermont in 1790, but that's not my problem.)  Timothy Martin is listed as having a birthplace of Vermont in one census and New York in another census so I'm thinking it would be wise to look for him in Vermont, too.

Reading and thinking about this book is really getting my genealogy juices going.  For instance, it sent me to Fold3 to look once more for Libbeus Stannard's Revolutionary War records, and there they were.  He was living at Rupert, Vermont in 1776 when he enlisted in January 1776 and served four months and six days in Captain Gideon Brownson's Company Colonel Seth Warner's Regiment of Green Mountain Boy's and was in Arnold's Expedition to Canada.  Gideon Brownson was Ethan Allen's brother-in-law, the brother of his wife Mary Brownson.

 I'm not quite that far in reading the book yet, but I know from other reading that Arnold's (Benedict Arnold, when he was an American hero and not yet a traitor) Expedition to Quebec took place in 1775, so I'm not sure yet how Libbeus took part in that expedition.  The locations listed on his case file 14619 (pension number) do seem to support the Arnold expedition, as Quebec, Canada, Lake Champlain, Onion River, ,Vermont, Montreal, St. Lawrence, Abraham Plains, Whitehall, Fort Independence and Castleton are all listed.  I do hope to find out more, either in this book or in other research, because it appears that our Libbeus may have been a true hero though!  Libbeus re-enlisted in July of 1776 and served a three month term with Connecticut troops, which is not surprising.  Libbeus was born in Connecticut and there was a natural path of travel, up and down the Connecticut river into Vermont.  He later re-enlisted in Vermont in 1781 and served another three or four months, so altogether he had about a year of service. 

Besides tracing down the Arnold expedition story for Libbeus, I need to look for possible military records for Jason Wheeler, either in New York or Vermont, and possibly in the War of 1812 rather than the Revolutionary War.  I also need to look for men who may be Timothy Martin's father, in each of the states and each of the wars (more likely that Mr. unknown Martin would have served in the war of 1812.) For that matter, there may be a Ilberry or Tilbury who would be a clue to Hannah Tilberry Martin. 

Finally, I need to finish reading this book, to see what else I can learn that could be of interest in tracing down Jason and Timothy.  I expect more surprises and insights that could give me some clues, but just as importantly, I expect to learn more about this part of American history.  The author quite passionately believes that Ethan Allen was a hero, and he is not at all shy about explaining how the New England people were mistreated by the New York governors and elite and by New Hampshire's governors, who were equally greedy.  Who knew?

As always, if someone knows more about Timothy Martin or Jason Wheeler, or has more tidbits about Libbeus Stannard, I'd love to hear from you.  Meanwhile, Ethan Allen is calling me!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Allen line: Sgt RIchard Beckley about 1618-1690 Immigrant

When I win the lottery (which will be sometime after I buy my first ticket), I would love to spend much of that fortune tracing down these immigrant ancestors.  Richard Beckley is another mystery.  He must have had leadership qualities because he was elected or appointed sergeant of the New Haven Artillery Company in 1648.  He must have been a successful person, because he was able to leave homes to each of his sons at his death.  He was respected in his communities, for he was many times a juror, and sometimes appointed to commissions.  But we don't know much more than this, which seems so very little to know.

He is traditionally given a birth date of 1618, in "probably" Hampshire, England, but as far as I know there is as yet no documentation for that.  His parents were John Beckley and Mary Elliott, and he is known to have had at least one brother, Simon.  That is as much as we know of his youth, or for that matter, of his marriage.  He is believed to have been married at least twice.  It has been suggested that his first wife was Mrs. Alice Daniels (maiden name not known, unless it was Daniels), but the circumstances surrounding that marriage, if correct as reported, are bizarre and worthy only of the gossip columns.  I'm not sure that the Richard Beggarly in England, alleged adulterer, and Richard Beckley, fine upstanding citizen, more or less, in Connecticut are the same person, but I'm simply noting it as a possibility, however remote.  His second wife is believed to be Frances Deming, and that marriage took place probably in either 1662 or 1665.

So, sometime Richard married someone, and had children Sarah, John, Mary, Benjamin, Nathaniel, and Hannah, all in New Haven, Connecticut, except Sarah may have been born elsewhere.  Richard and presumably his wife had arrived there by 1639, so New Haven was still a very small community at that time.  They stayed in or near New Haven until about 1660, when they moved to Wethersfield, Ct.  Richard purchased land in 1668 from Turramuggus, which was 300 acres and was located on both sides of the Mattebesset River, in what is now the "Beckley section" of Berlin, Ct  He was clever in purchasing his land, for it allowed him to build a mill on the river.  I've not found references to attacks on the settlement during King Philip's War, but militia from Connecticut were certainly involved in some of the battles and since Richard was a sergeant earlier, it is likely that he participated in at least some of them.  (He apparently wasn't 60 years of age yet, so would have been in the militia unless he had a health condition that prevented it.) 

In Wethersfield/Berlin, Richard and family apparently prospered.  Towards the end of his life, Richard was granted license for an ordinary (he may have been licensed earlier but records haven't been found), which may have been an easier way to make a living than the farming he had been doing.  His children or and grandchildren may have helped with the chores of this tavern/inn. 

Richard died August 5, 1690.  His estate wasn't settled until 1701 so his wife may have outlived him.  His inventory taken September 2,1690 was valued at 383 pounds, 5 shillings.  Among the items I can read on the inventory are 15 books, carpenters tools, and six hives of bees. I think this is the first inventory I've found that mentioned bee hives, but it makes sense since it's known that he had an orchard. His inventory and will are on the new database at, and I just found them today.  It's pretty cool to be able to sit here and read (or not) some of the last wishes of such a distant ancestor!

The line of descent is:

Richard Beckley-unknown first wife
Sarah Beckley-John Church
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 descendants

Friday, October 2, 2015

Harshbarger line: Summing up the brick walls

I've written now (I think) about every Harshbarger ancestor I've found, or at least of the one highest up on the family tree, or the immigrant.  I'm at a loss as to how to continue writing Harshbarger posts.  For now, I'll once again highlight the "opportunities" aka brick walls I have in this family.  I hope someone will contact me with information or clues about each of these folks.  Even though this is husband's family, not mine, I have come to respect these folks and I want to honor them by learning their place in the world and in their families.  I'll start here, in alphabetical order. 

The first is Caleb Bennett, born about 1765 and died in 1841 in Clark or Miami County, Ohio.  His parents are usually given as Charles Bennett and Martha Collins, but I can't find documentation for that, so I've removed them from the tree.  If someone has proof that Charles was his father, I'd love to know about it.  Caleb married Ann Catherine Wilson on November 8, 1785, possibly in what is now West Virginia. 

Second one is Nicholas Cocke, who was in Virginia by 1660 and whose wife was Jane widow Curtis.  Were his parents Nicholas Cocke and Elizabeth Lower?  Did the elder Nicholas really come to Virginia about 1660, or was he here earlier?  Who was Jane widow Curtis? I'm confused about this, but I'd love to know more.  These early Virginia settlers intrigue me.

And finally, for this round, Henry Cook or Koch.  He was born about 1794 in Berks County, Pa and married Catherine Whetstone or Wetstein who was also from Berks County (locations are per their wills.)  Henry died in 1861 in Whitley County, Indiana and Catherine died August 19, 1887, probably in Whitley County as that is where her will was filed. My file of possibilities for his parents is quite thick, but I have not been able to track Henry (or Catherine) back any further and would love to have some help or at least some sympathy on this one.

So ends this segment of brick walls, but the wall goes on much longer.  I'd love to hear from anyone who is working on these families.  My email is happygenealogydancingATgmailDOTcom.