Friday, September 2, 2016

Harshbarger line: Happy genealogy dance for John Whetstone

Well, actually the happy dance is for Catherine Whetstone, a brick wall for the past three plus years.  I knew she was born in Berks County, Pennsylvania on December 27, 1798, died in August 19, 1887 in Whitley County, Indiana, married Henry Cook, and had at least 10 children starting in 1817.  I also knew this couple had spent a considerable time in Stark County, Ohio.

Apparently that's when my brain stopped working. I've been digging around in Berks County records when I should have been doing more work in Stark County.  A simple search of the 1830 census showed one Whetstone family living in Stark County, a man named John Whetstone.  He was the right age to be Catherine's father.  I haven't found him yet in the 1820 census (the name can be spelled soooo many different ways) but in the 1810 and 1800 census years he is in Brunswick, Berks County, Pa (later Schuylkill County) with females of the right age to be Catherine.  Catherine and Henry named one of their sons John, which is another clue. 

The best developed tree I found online listed 7 children for the family of John and Maria Magdalena.  Three of those children married in Stark County, Ohio, as did a fourth Whetstone, Susannah, several years earlier than the others.  I believe Henry and Catherine had married in Pennsylvania, but I'm not sure of that yet as I've not found records.  The birth dates for the Whetstone children compared with the census years indicate that we may yet be missing one male and one female, but the children I'm going to list are: Catherine, Susannah, John, Esther, Benjamin, Solomon, Leah, Rachel, and Absalom.  (Catherine and Susannah are my additions.)  The birthdates are not clear for any except Catherine, which indicates to me perhaps the church records are gone for this family. 

Having made my case, I hope, for John Whetstone as the father of Catherine, here is what I know of him so far.  He was the son of Captain Jacob Whetstone or Wetstein, who has his own story to tell, and Anna Maria Schaeffer and was born probably about 1775.  He purchased land in Brunswick Township, Berks county, in 1786 (I may be misinterpreting this date as I only found a partial record.).  This land was 170 acres and adjoined the land of Michael Folmer, Nicholas Redenbach and Thomas Wenerich.  The purchase was noted  on February 19, 1787 by two justices of the peace as land that had been improved by Christian Koch.  (Because I haven't seen the land records yet, I must note that there is an online statement that John Whetstone and Christian Koch were involved in this sale in 1810.  It's possible.  I suspect that Christian Koch is Henry Cook's father, but can't yet make a strong argument for that case.

John and his family were probably in Stark County (Marlboro Township) by 1821, when Susannah married there.  He is noted as being a blacksmith (as was Henry Cook).  John died in November of 1836.  I didn't find his will, but there is a lengthy estate record which includes a total inventory of his goods, and even better, a sales list with names of who bought what.  On the list of buyers we find John Whetstone, Solomon Whetstone, and Absalom Whetstone, sons of our John, and also Henry Cook. (There is also a Michael Cook, but I don't know how if at all he relates to Henry, and that is a story for another time, perhaps). Sales totaled $141.62.  Since I haven't found a will, I'm not sure whether there was land that was willed to a son, or not.  John and Solomon were the administrators.  The widow was allowed her own clothing as well as John's, plus a bed and bedding, one brown cow, twelve sheep, another bed and bedding, a spinning wheel, all the wool in (? possession?), two pots or kettles, and all the flax and yarn in (?possession?).  She also selected some additional items, including a wool wheel, a copper kettle, a desk, and a spade. 

Maria Magdalena, apparently known as Mary, died in 1852.  She must have kept busy raising her sheep and spinning her wool and flax, but her children must have been nearly of an age to be out of the home because in the administration it was noted that she was to have enough "as she shall think reasonable for the support of herself and children for one year". The family had that long to plan and implement their future.

This is what I think I know of John Whetstone as of now.  I look forward to researching him more, to trying to figure out who his wife is, and to learning more about his life and times. I would love to hear from anyone researching this family, especially if you think I have it wrong, or if you know of some sort of documentation somewhere that John actually had a daughter Catherine.  But for now, I'm doing a happy dance because, with the help of another researcher, we seem to have found a family for Catherine! 

The line of descent is:

John Whetstone-Maria Magdalena
Catherine Whetstone-Henry Cook
William Cook-Elizabeth Brown
Barbara Cook-William A Withers
William H Withers-Della Kemery
Goldie Withers-Grover Harshbarger
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendants