Friday, December 29, 2017

Last post for 2017: What have I learned this year?

In !ome ways, this has been a hard year for me in genealogy.  I have made only a few really outstanding, "Wow" finds.  I only broke through one brick wall this year, with the help of a distant cousin, and although that was exciting, still, it was only one brick wall and I have many.  At this rate, I will not live long enough to find them all, or even most of them. 

However, the post I wrote about "Introducing Barbara Burkholder Long Buchtel Kemery" brought me great joy, because I had been looking for her for such a long time, and because it gave me more names to search and add to the family tree.  I still don't know who her mother was, other than Elizabeth Miller, but perhaps that will come with luck and time.

One theme this year has been learning more of the stories of some of the collateral ancestors, particularly those with military records.  I've written of the Civil War activities of  George Botkin, a Beeks cousin or uncle of sorts.  I've also learned and written about Aldridge cousin Donald C. Murdock, killed in New Guinea in World War II.  On the Harshbarger side, I've learned and written of the World War II service of Ed Harshbarger and Robert Harshbarger, first cousins to Cleveland Harshbarger, who had stories of World War II service, from the Philippines to the European Theater. 

On the Holbrook side, I've been blessed to connect with a group of people keeping the memory of the First Special Service Force alive.  As I learned, this was the unit my uncle belonged to, which became known as the "Devil's Brigade".  I've learned a little of their history, a little more about my uncle, and have come in contact with people who knew him, or knew of him.  I know there is at least one person still alive who was in the same unit with T/5 Ray Holbrook.  It's been amazing to follow my uncle's story. 

Most of the posts I've written this year, however, have been about our immigrant ancestors.  At the moment, I am out of stories about Beeks and Harshbarger immigrants, and I have just one or two more stories of Allen immigrants.  I expect to spend most of 2018 posting about Holbrook immigrant ancestors, but I will also be busy researching to see if I can find enough information to write about others, and hopefully to even break through another brick wall or two.  There are several that I have hopes for, at this point.

I'm still loving this journey, and I hope you are enjoying following along.  Here's to more happy genealogy dances in 2018!  


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Beeks line: Family Christmas, 1917 What was it like?

Christmas for the Beeks (and Aldridge) families, one hundred years ago, may not have been the wild extravaganza that many families are (almost) able to provide today.  But Christmas, after Jesus, if about family, andthe Aldridges and Beeks provided lots of family, even back then.

Wilbur and Cleo Beeks were the people I thought about when I started considering this post.  They were almost newlyweds, with no children, yet.  I think they still lived in Wabash county because that's where Wilbur was drafted from, a few months into 1918.  Wilbur's parents, John and Elizabeth Wise Beeks, were still living, as were Wilbur's paternal grandmother, Mary Wise, and maternal grandfather, David Wise.  All those Wise's can be pretty confusing, but I'm sure the family knew them as much by first name as by family name.

 William Beeks and Mary Wise had had 10 children, and I only have a death date for one of them. So Aunt Sarah and Aunt Rachel and Uncle George, and so on may have been at family gatherings of the Beeks family.  John Beeks and Elizabeth Wise and three children, and I think both Chester (Bud) and Charity were in the area, also.  I haven't tried to trace children for these aunts and uncles but it's a safe bet that at least some of them had children.

On the Aldridge side, Cleo's only direct ancestors living were her parents, Harvey and Margaret Catherine Dunham Aldridge.  However, at least five of Harvey's siblings were living, and there may have been Dunham siblings, also.  Cleo had five or possibly six siblings who were living at the time, mostly spread out between Huntington County and Tipton County.  Also Harvey and Margaret were raising two of their grandchildren, who would have been part of any Christmas celebration. 

I wish I knew how many, if any, of these families owned automobiles in 1917.  If they didn't own automobiles, it might have been difficult for some of the family members to get together, especially since Christmas Day in 1917 was rather cool.  It was fair and 35 degrees for a high according to the Fort Wayne Journal, which would not have been ideal weather for a horse and buggy ride, at least not a long ride.  And family members who came, or went, as far as Kempton probably would not have gone and come back the same day. . Because of these long distances, it may have been just as difficult to schedule holiday gatherings then as it is now, with our busy calendars and "exes" that have to be worked around. 

I wonder what the family did for entertainment, in the days before smart phones and television and even radio.  I know Cleo sang well.  Did other family members sing, and did the entire group join in singing the Christmas carols we still love so much?  Was sledding or ice skating a part of their day?  I'm positive that food was a large part of the day, and possibly liquid refreshment, also, at least for some of the men. 

Maybe there were family disagreements, and maybe there were things that the family just didn't talk about, but it seems likely that in 1918, the family would look back and realize what a good Christmas they had in 1917.  In 1918, Wilbur was fighting in Russia, Bud was just getting home from the war, and I'm sure there were other family members who were also affected by World War I  Also the flu epidemic of 1918 was still to come, and there were other challenges as well. 

In retrospect, it seems that Christmas 1917 would have been a very good year. 

I'd love to hear from family members who can tell us more about Christmas in 1917.  There must be family stories floating around and I'd love to hear them! 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Holbrook line: Samuel Allen 1597-1669 Immigrant

Some of the sources I'm using for this blog post is very old.  Some is likely wrong.  I'm indebted to "Private User", who posted some of what seems to be the most reliable information to Geni just last month.  DNA evidence has revealed that Samuel's parents were not whom they have previously believed to have been, and his parentage is now unknown.  Also this researcher believes quite strongly that both of his wives have been misidentified.

Samuel is believed to have been born at Bridgwater, Somerset, England in 1597, although I haven't found record of that.  The Geni writer thinks that he was in Duxbury as early as 1630, which would mean he would have known Comfort Starr and William Brewster, our Allen ancestors, as well as Myles Standish.  Other research says he was first at Braintree in1629 and then went to Sandwich before returning to Braintree  The two stories are not mutually exclusive but more research needs to be done.

Samuel probably married in England.  His first wife's name was Ann, but there is much controversy about her last name.  The researcher I am following most closely here is quite adamant that she was not Ann Whitmore, as has been reported for generations.  Ann, whomever she was, came to New England either with Samuel, or soon after he arrived.  The couple had at least 5 children together before Ann died in 1641.  Samuel apparently waited a few years to marry again, and once again, her first name only is known.  She was Margaret, the widow of Andrew Lamb, but has not yet been further identified.  There were two children born to this couple, beginning in 1650.  One wonders how Samuel managed between the two wives, since he was left with 5 children from an infant to a 9 year old, when Ann died in 1641.  Was there possibly another wife,or did he farm the childrenout to relatives?

Samuel and Ann settled in Braintree by 1635, because Samuel was made a freeman there on May 6,1635. He was a saw mill operator and also served as town clerk, selectman, surveyor of highways, constable, and as deputy to the general court.  Here I do find anerror in the geni material.  He is listed as having fought in King Philip's War but that is not possible because that war was 1675-1676 and Samuel died in 1669.  It is possible, however, that he had fought in other battles against the native Americans, for instance, in the Pequot War, which would not necessarily be something to be proud of.

His will was probated September 16, 1669 and mentions his three sons, a daughter and two sons in law.  His estate was valued at a little over 228 pounds, which is not bad for a saw mill operator.  Interestingly, there is another family connection here as one of the witnesses to the will was Thomas Holbrook, who is yet another of our ancestors.  These connections are getting more and more fascinating.

This line of descent is:

Samuel Allen-Ann
Sarah Allen-Josiah Standish
Josiah Standish-Sarah Doty
Hannah Standish-Nathan Foster
Nathan Foster-Elizabeth Lansford
Jude Foster-Lydia M
Betsy Foster-Josiah Whittemore
Mary Elizabeth Whittemore-Joseph Holbrook
Fremont Holbrook-Phoebe Brown
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Allen line: Comfort Starr 1589-1659, Immigrant

I found a fascinating piece of speculation while looking for information about Comfort Starr, "Chirurgeon".  He lived at the right time and the right place, with the right training, to have possibly been an associate or student under Dr. William Harvey, the man who first described the circulation of blood in the human body.  There is even a possibility, but as far as I know no proof, that he may have followed in Dr. Harvey's footsteps and received his medical training at Padua, Italy.  Even if none of this is borne out by facts and documents, the fact remains that the two men were active in medicine at the same time and place and would have at least known each other.  I think that's pretty cool.

In the first of several known connections with other Allen and Holbrook ancestors, it appears that Rev. William Eddye, who is an ancestor in both of our families, was the vicar of the church Comfort likely attended in Cranbrook, from 1591 to 1616.  

Comfort Starr, of course, does not need to hang onto the shirt tails of anyone.  He can quite well stand on his own as an honorable and respected man, one dedicated to the well being of his friends and neighbors, and one brave enough, in middle age, to bring his family to New England while the country was still young and barely hanging on, still in survival mode.

He and three children, at least, and three servants sailed in the ship Hercules, of Sandwich, in 1635.  One of the servants was his sister, Truth-Shall-Prevail.  His wife was Elizabeth Watts, whom he married on October 4, 1614, but we don't know whether she traveled with the family or whether she came later.

Comfort is first seen in Cambridge, but by 1638 he had gone to Duxbury, in Plymouth Plantation (where our Holbrook ancestor Miles Standish lived). As another connection in the Allen line, the land and "dwelling" he purchased in Duxbury or Duxburrow was owned by Jonathan Brewster, also our ancestor.  He was admitted a freeman there in 1639. In another eight years, Comfort Starr was in Boston, which by that time had grown to a larger population than Duxbury.

At Duxbury, Comfort had owned several pieces of land.  He was respected enough that he represented Duxbury at a Plymouth Colony council of war in 1642.  The next year, he was on a list of men able to bear arms, and his inventory later included a musket and sword.

We don't know much of his private life, but it is safe to assume that he was quite busy as a surgeon, and may have acted as an apothecary also as there is record of Thomas Lechford making a note to himself to write to Mr. Comfort Starr at Duxbury for a quarter of a pint of henbane and a quarter of a pound of hemlock seed.  (Henbane was a remedy for stomach ailments.  I didn't find a medical use for hemlock seed, in my extensive 30 second search of Google).  There were over 70 names on a list of those whom owed Comfort Starr money when he died, and who knows whether all the debts were even noted.  This gives us a feel for the size of his medical practice.

Although we don't know the extent of his education, he did own books valued at seven pounds when he died, which is more of a library than many had.  If he studied with or in the footsteps of Dr. Harvey, we can guess that he had more education than most of his peers.  He and Elizabeth had at least 10 children.  I'm happy to report that except for passing on the name "Comfort", the other children were given more common names than Comfort and his siblings had received.

Elizabeth died at Boston on June 25th, 1658, aged 63, so she would have been about 19 when she married.  Thomas died January 2, 1659/60 and left an estate valued at a little over 292 pounds.  In his will, he made bequests to his children and grandchildren, with more granted to the grandchildren who had lost one or both parents.

In 1909, some of Comfort's many descendants had a monument erected at the Cranbrook church which said "In Memory of Dr. Comfort Starr  Baptized in Cranbrook Church 6th July, 1589, a Warden of St Mary's, Ashford, Kent, 1631 & 1632  Sailed from Sandwich for New England 1635  One of the Earliest Benefactors of Harvard, the First College in America, 1638, of which His Son Comfort was One of 7 Incorporators, 1650, Died at Boston, New england in January 1659  A Distinguised Surgeon Eminent for Christian Character  Erected by this American Descendants 1909".

Comfort and Elizabeth are buried at King's Chapel Burial ground in Boston, and there is a memorial stone there similar to the one described above.  If we're ever in Boston, we need to pay our respects to this man.

There are two lines of descent for Comfort.  The first is:

Comfort Starr-Elizabeth Watts
Thomas Starr-Rachel Harris
Samuel Starr-Hannah Brewster
Thomas Starr Mary Morgan
Thomas Starr-Jerusha Street
John Starr-Mary Sharp
John Starr-Betsy Havens
John Havens Starr-Clarissa Falley
Harriet Starr-John Wilson Knott
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants

The second line is the same down through Thomas Starr-Mary Morgan.  Then it diverges:

Mary Starr-John Chester
Thomas Chester-Sarah Eldridge
Bathsheba Chester-Jonathan Havens
 Betsy Havens-John Starr
and yes, cousin married cousin, although they were, by my calculations, third cousins.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Harshbarger line: Christmas traditions

Since I've run out of ancestors to write about, for now, I thought it might be fun to think about the Christmas traditions that our German and Swiss ancestors might have enjoyed.  My first thought was that most of them were so poor that it was hard to imagine that many of them would have had anything to spare for a holiday celebration.  That may be true.  It may also be true that some of the families didn't celebrate at all, for religious reasons.  But most of our families, Lutheran or Mennonite or whatever, would have done what they could to make the day special.  A quick Google search tells us of several traditions that stayed in families for generations, so we can imagine that our ancestors participated in at least some of these practices.

Belsnickel was a man who was dressed in somewhat decrepit clothes, and who was a rather intimidating figure.  He would generally rap on a window a few days before Christmas (that is, if our immigrants had windows, but surely a door would work too) and when allowed inside, he would always ask each child whether they had been good that year.  The children received a gentle rap on the hands if they said yes, and perhaps a "switching" if they said no, so it was important to remember all of one's transgressions.  It also made the waiting for December 24 a little more nerve-wracking.  Would there be gifts, or not?  The children would put small baskets under the tree in anticipation that they had just made it under the wire another year.

The tree may have been a small fir or pine tree, but it may also have been a branch of a deciduous tree, bare and covered with a white flour paste.  Either kind of tree was trimmed with whatever the family had at hand-perhaps end pieces of ribbon, or pieces of material, or nuts that had been painted various colors.  Many families put what we would think of as a Nativity scene under the tree, probably hand carved or perhaps the figures were made of cloth.  Wealthier families generally had more elaborate sets, of course.  The same thing was true of gifts.  Most of our ancestors probably had very small gifts-maybe a homemade doll or spinning top, or an item of clothing for which mother had carded, spun and knit or woven wool from the family sheep into whatever the child needed for his or her wardrobe. 

Most families would also try to have some sort of Christmas feast-perhaps a party with extended family and neighbors (which could be one and the same thing) or maybe just a batch of cookies made with real sugar and other small treats to supplement the regular meal.  After all, Christmas wasn't about the Belsnickel, or gifts, or the tree, or the putz, or even the food.  Christmas was celebrated around the hearth and in the heart, even though chores still had to be done and meals needed to be prepared. 

In some ways, the Christmas I've described is very different from our modern day Christmas.  Our trees are bigger and more elaborately decorated, the gifts we give our children would not fit in a small basket, and we prepare more food than a family can possibly eat.  Yet at the heart of the celebration, we honor our ancestors by the traditions we have built that were built on their traditions, and we still worship the same Lord Jesus.  I think they got the important stuff right! 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Beeks line: Christopher Beeks, Immigrant

How did I miss writing about Christopher, who as far as we know now is the immigrant ancestor in the Beeks line?  If this is a repeat post, I do apologize but neither my hand written list nor my search function is turning up a post about him.  Maybe I was waiting to try to pin down more details about him.  As it is, there is too much of his life that is still a mystery, but since I am winding down on this process of writing about the immigrants in the Beeks family, it's possibly now or never.

We don't know much about Christopher's early life.  He is traditionally given a birth date of 1756 and it's said he lived in either Leicestershire or Lancastershire in England, born of parents yet undiscovered.  We don't really know if either of these locations is correct, but the first thing we do know of him is that he was in trouble-big trouble.

Life in England in 1770 was, shall we say, difficult.  Jobs were lacking, education was lacking, food was lacking and law enforcement was lacking.  George III was already King of England, but he was not a forceful nor a temperate king, and his officials were, for the most part, out to get what they could for themselves, with no compassion at all for the poor.  We don't know what Christopher's family situation was, but at 14 he was out on his own, just as many of his contemporaries were.  Christopher had the bad luck to be caught, or at least accused and found guilty, of "assault on highway".  This was from Manchester, Lancashire, England, but doesn't necessarily mean that's where his home was, as young men (and he was young, just about 14 at this time).

Some say he was sentenced to death by hanging and then reprieved, to be sent to America as an indentured servant, a dumping ground for "criminals" for either 7 or 14 years, again, depending on the source.  I have yet to find records of his master, or for that matter, of the ship he came on.

When the Revolutionary War broke out, Christopher was quite happy to side with the American colonists who wanted their freedom.  He enlisted in March of  1777 and served for at least three years in various Virginia Regiments, primarily the 8th and then the 12th.  There is evidence that the unit he served with went through that hard winter at Valley Forge, and I haven't yet found anything that says he was furloughed during that time (the next winter, 1778, yes, he was furloughed for part of that time, but not the 1777-78 winter).  So we can believe that he was there during that difficult winter, that he would have had ample chances to have seen George Washington, and that he survived the winter in good enough shape to continue soldiering.

We know that he served three years because in 1783 he was given a land warrant for 100 acres of land, and that is the amount of land that privates received for three years of service.  Christopher didn't hold onto this land, though, because there was some problem with the tax collector not recording the taxes due and so Christopher, along with several others, lost their land.  We don't know for sure where he lived when the war started, nor where he settled after the war.

We do know he married Catherine Barnes, who was the daughter of John Barnes and possibly Elizabeth, and we know they lived in western Virginia, variously listed as Augusta and then Berkeley County.  They had at least ten children together, with the first known birth date of 1787, so perhaps they married in 1785 or 1786.  No record has yet been located of this event, to the best of my knowledge.  By 1790, he was running a pub or tavern and was soon in debt.  He is found in various counties in Virginia until about 1811, when the family went to Xenia, Greene County, Ohio.  His widow remarried in September of 1814 so Christopher had died before then. Catherine's children would have been teenagers and older at this point, so perhaps they no longer lived at home.

This is as much as we know about Christopher.  He had a rough start in life and it appears that economically, he suffered for that through most of his life.  He struggled to support his ten children, he lost his land and his business, and he may have had life long physical problems because of his time in the service of his new country.  It's easy to feel sorry for Christopher.  But we should also feel proud.  He loved his new country well enough to fight for it for three years, and continued, in other ways, the struggle to give his children a better start in life than he had  He must have felt joy that his children would not have to commit crimes in order to eat, and that they had the freedom to go wherever on this continent they wanted to go.  Christopher Beeks, thank you for your service and for all the sacrifices you made!

The line of descent is:

Christopher Beeks-Catherine Barnes
William Beeks-Mary Elizabeth Nimerick
John Beeks-Polly Carter
William Beeks-Mary Wise
John Beeks-Elizabeth Wise
Wilbur Beeks-Cleo Aldridge
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Their descendants

Friday, December 8, 2017

Holbrook line: Christopher Smith, Immigrant

Christopher Smith's biography has recently changed.  I guess I'm glad I haven't written about him yet, because now I don't have to go back and do an update.  There are some important facts missing about him, but still, we have more information about him now than we have about many of our immigrant ancestors. 

Christopher Smith was born about 1591 in goodness knows where.  Much information says he was born on March 18, 1593 in Lancashire, England, but I'm not sure this is the correct Christopher Smith.  He was married on May 1, 1616 in the Church of the Holy Trinity in Stratford on Avon, Warwickshire.  The distance between these two localities is 140 miles, which makes it somewhat unlikely that the Christopher Smith of Lancashire is the Christopher Smith of Warwickshire.  More research is needed to prove or disprove this theory.  What is known is that his wife was Alice Gibbs or Gibes and that she became our Christopher's widow a little over 60 years later. 

The Smiths had 9 proven children, starting in 1617 and ending in 1633, all baptized in the church their parents were married in.  Four of the Smith sons and one daughter went to Hartford, Connecticut, probably before their father came to America.  Our Smiths were in Providence, Rhode Island by 1649.  Hartford was Puritan and Providence was more tolerant, which was a good place for a Quaker like our Christopher to live.  It would be interesting to know when the religions of some of the children split from those of their parents, or when Christopher split from them.  More needs to be researched about his like in England.  Was he ever harassed or jailed for his Quaker beliefs?

We don't know what Christopher did for a living, but we do know that he was given land in Providence in 1649 and in 1650 was taxed there.  He became a freeman in 1655 and the same year served as a juryman.  In 1656 he was granted a share of meadow in lieu of land he'd previously had, and he received more land in 1665.  He and his wife Alice sold land in 1665 and in 1672.  It's hard to get  sense of what he did for a living but he did have shares in meadow land so must have owned at least enough farm animals for family subsidence. 

He took an oath of allegiance in 1667, which makes one wonder whether he had given up his Quaker beliefs, or whether he actually affirmed instead of taking an oath.  We know that he was a Quaker at the end of his life because when he died at Newport in 1676 he was noted in the Society of Friend records as being an "ancient Friend of Providence, RI."  He died in Newport because he had gone there to take refuge from the natives who burned so much of Providence during King Philip's War. 

I've not yet found his will, if there was one.  He was at least 83 years old and probably older when he died, so he'd lived a good long life.  He spent 27 years in Rhode Island, building a home and a future for his family.  For this alone, we owe him honor.  I hope to learn more about Christopher in the future, but for now this will at least mark him as "one of ours".

The line of descent is
Christopher Smith-Alice Gibbs
Edward Smith-Amphyllis Angell
Amphillis Smith-Zachariah Eddy
Elisha Eddy-Sarah Phettiplace
Enos Eddy-Sarah Brown
Enos Eddy-Deborah Paine
Joseph Brown Eddy-Susan Lamphire
Susan Eddy-Hiram Stanard
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Allen line: Early Parrish family

I thought I'd be writing about edward Parrish as our earliest documented ancestor in this family, but I'm not sure he belongs to us . Then I thought I'd be writing about John Parrish, who is possibly or maybe probably Edward's son, but you can see the problem.  If John isn't Edward's son, why write about Edward/  And the same problem with John...Is he, or is he not, the father of Humphrey Parrish, who most definitely is our line?  So now that we have doubts in our minds, I'll write just a brief outline of the two possible candidates for our oldest known ancestors, and then we'll learn a little more about Humphrey Parrish. 

Edward was reportedly born in Yorkshire, England about the year 1600 and came to Virginia in 1635on the ship "Hopewell".  He first settled at Elizabeth City where he purchased 200 acres in 1648,but then went to Anne Arundel County, Md, if this is the same Edward Parrish.  In Maryland, he was both a planter and a ship captain in the British Royal Navy, and again, if this is the same Edward Parrish, surveyor general to Lord Baltimore.  He died in Anne Arundel County in April of 1679,

Next is another Edward, born about 1640.  He was married to Clara Judgwyn orJadgwyn.  His birthplace is listed as West River Hundred, Anne Arundel County, Maryland. 

It's possible that the second Edward's son was John Parrish, born 1672 and I have also seen it stated that John was the son of the first Edward mentioned above.  John was born in 1672 at West River Hundred in Anne Arundel County.  Alternately, the John we are seeking was born in 1654 in Anne Arundel County Maryland, the son of the first Edward.  He was married to Elizabeth Belt, the daughter of Humphrey and Margery Cragge Belt. 

It makes sense that this John is the correct one, the son of the first Edward, because he named a son Humphrey, which was not a name previously known in the Parrish family.  Young Humphrey, born in 1680 in Anne Arundel County, somehow and for some reason made his way to Virginia, where he married Mary Walker, daughter of John Walker and Lucy Wood. Since I don't have any documentation for the reasons he left Maryland to go to Virginia,  this part of the story is a little doubtful.  Humphrey may have been a merchant or a sailor, or simply have gone to Virginia on an errand for his family and decided to stay. 

Humphrey and Mary had a son Humphrey born in 1708 in Baltimore, Maryland, or so the story goes.  He may be the one who married Mary Morton.  The younger Humphrey, along with his Mary, had several children, one of whom is Moses Parrish, of whom I have already written (he was a soldier in the French and Indian War, Lord Dunmore's War, and the Revolutionary War).  This Humphrey, and probably his father and perhaps his ancestors, were small time slave owners. 

So if this chronology is correct, Moses was a fifth generation American, (son of Humphrey, son of Humphrey, son of John, son of Edward).  I'd love to find documents that support this line of descent, or that dispute it.  I've read other sites that give different parents and different years of birth, so this is my best guess at lining the family up.  It could very well be wrong.  but even if it's wrong, it gives a sense of who the Parrish family was; they were early settlers in Virginia and they fought for their country.  We can be proud of them, even if we still don't know a lot about them. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Harshbarger line: Colonial Pennsylvania ancestors

I'm writing this post partly for a Facebook group I belong to.  This particular group is interested primarily in people who arrived in Pennsylvania before the Revolutionary War.  So this is a list of people in the line of Cleveland Harshbarger, just the first ancestor to come to Pennsylvania  There are more who were in New Jersey who may have lived in Philadelphia for a short time, and there are more that I haven't found yet.  But this is a long list, as it is.  In no particular order, I'll list the persona's name and where available a date and a place.  By posting this list, I'm hoping someone will know more, and will add or correct this information.  Here are the Pennsylvania ancestors in the Harshbarger line:

Anna Huber, dided 1759 in Pennsylvania
Johan Jost Gingerich, died March 5, 1776 in Pa.
Adam Burkholder, died efore feb. 5, 1800  He had children born in Pennsylvania
Mary Margareth Schilling, died 1800 Bethel Twp, Lancaster Co.
Daniel Shuey d March 8,1779, Bethel Township, Berks County
Anna Regina Hauch  d 1738 Berks County, Pa
Nicholas Pontius d October 3,1794 Berks County, Pa
Anna Maria Conradt, d September 24,1796 Strausstown, Berks County
Johann Conrad Reber d September 24, 1796 Strausstown, Berks County
Catherine Saylor or Seiler  children born in Pa
Johannes John Buchtel d 1809 rebersburg, Centre County, Pa
Johann Nicholas Mertz d December 2,1760 Longswamp, Berks County
Johann F. Schollenberger d about 1768, Greenwich, Berks County
Barbara Grundbacher d February 11, 1736  Shoeneck, Lancaster County
Peter Ulrich Schneer  July 3, 1739 Lancaster County
Magdalena Kunkle, children born in Pa
Simon Essig  children born in Pa
Hans Jacob Kemmerly d September 6,1791  York County, Pa
Martha Punch, at least one child born in Pa
Jacob Kestenholtz d September 5, 1768 Union City, Berks County
Anna Maria Glintz died June 1,1780 Union City, Berks County, Pa
Christina Emmert at least one child born in Pa
Matthias Bruder died November 3,1763 Longswamp, Berks County
Maria Salome Hoerner D. 1810 Woodbury, Bedford County, Pa
Johann Braun d 1742, Woodbury, Bedford County
Anna Maria Egli d 1774 Berks County, Pa
Jacob Kobel died 1731  Tulpehocken, Berks County, Pa
Maria Catherina Suder d 1760 Tulpehocken, Berks County
Johann Nicholas schaffer  died April 1, 1758  Tulpehocken, Berks County
Isaac Wetzstein d February 26, 1795 probably Berks County
Anna Surber d August 19, 1769 Philadelphia
Jacob Maag d May 18,1767 Philadelphia
Henry Cook's father, probably Adam Cook, Berks County, Pa
Maria Elizabeth Dentzer d 1741 germantown, Philadelphia County
Anthony Jacob Henckel d 1728 Germantown Philadelphia County
Valentine Geiger died December 1,1762 New Hanover, Montgomery County
Anna Este d 1786  Chester County, Pa
Hubert Brower d 1786 Chester County, Pa
Tobias Miller  had children born in Pa
Daniel Lawall d Decenber 12,1796  Upper Saucon, Northampton County, Pa
George Harter born 1755 in Pa
Johan Jacob Enck  died March 30,1774 Ephrata, Lancaster County, Pa
Anna Margaretha Mueller d August 1761 Clay Township, Lancaster County
Johann Wendell Laber d 1762 Lancaster County, Pa
Frant Dulibon or Tulipan  d Lancaster County, Pa
Johann Gebhard Huebschmann died April , 1771 Lancaster County
Catharina Weyl died after 1741, probably Lancaster Carneynty
Johannes Mentzer died 1781 Lancaster,Lancaster County, Pa
Maria Willman d 1760 Lebanon County, Pa
Michael Birkle died December 5,1753 Lebanon County, Pa
Matthias Kraemer d 1793 probably Berks County, Pa
Anna Maria Geise d 1810 haina, Centre County, Pa
Maria Anna Drach born 1755 in Pennsylvania
Georg Lindemuth d 1772 Berks County, Pa
Anna Barbara Elizabeth Daecher died 1750 Montgomery County, Pa
Johann Georg Weikert d March16,1755 Goshenhoppen, Montgomery County
Anna Barbara Schlagman d Philadelphia
Johannes Bernard Kepner d October 17, 1765 Philadelphia
Johann Peter Behney d about 1784 Heidelberg Twp, Berks County
Margaretha sands d 1758 Tulpehocken, Berks County, Pa
Hans Jacob Lowenguth april 1758, Tulpehocken, Berks County, Pa
Peter Jacob Fehler d 1753 Tulpehocken, Berks County
Fronica Ann Farney d 1763 Earl Twp, lancaster County
Peter Van Gundy d July 4,1758 Earl Twp, Lancaster County
Barbara Rupp d 1821 Somerset County, Pa
Christian Harshbarger d 1783 Berks County, Pa

There are many different spellings for some of these names. I am sure some of these locations are incorrect. Some of the dates are likely incorrect, also.  There are facts still to learn and stories to uncover.  This list includes so many stories, from the rough trips to Pennsylvania to being killed by Indians to religious strife to all the challenges of living in what was, for the most part, wilderness when these ancestors arrived here.  I hope seeing this list of people who cared enough to face the unknown, and who cared enough to create the people who created the people, etc who created us is in some way and inspiration and a comfort to you.  And I hope you'll share with me whatever you may know about these immigrants.  

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Beeks line: Who are all these people?

While researching for a possible book in the future, I came across this newspaper article.  I am intrigued by it because I don't know all the names featured-yet.  However, they all seem to have some connection to the Aldridge family, however, distant, and therefore they would be part of the Beeks family history, too 

Here is the article,from the Huntington Herald Press of August 28, 1951, written by "Miss Barbara Beeks", Andrews correspondent:

"Meet at Park

A family gathering was held at the Memorial park Sunday in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Sam Aldridge and Frances and Madeline Dunn, and Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Aldridge of Midland, Mich.  Those present were Mr. and Mrs. Herman Harrell and son of Lagro, Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Osborn and family, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Aldridge and son Bill, Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur Beeks and family, Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Harrell and son of Lagro, Mr. and Mrs. Norman Beeks of Wabash, Mrs. Bonnie Clements, Mrs. Sherll Clements, Sr.;, Mr. and Mrs. Howard Urschel of Bippus, Mr. and Mrs. Cleveland Harshbarger and family, Mrs. Lucile Gressley and family of Walkerton, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Keefer and son, Mr. and Mrs. Floren Kreider and family of South Whitley, Mr. and Mrs. George Inyeart and daughter of Liberty Mills, Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Aldridge and family, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Harrell and son, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Aldridge and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Aldridge and Madeline Dunn."

Of course some of these people can be readily identified.  Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur Beeks and family would have included Donald, Barbara and Vicky.  Others of their children and grandchildren in this list would be Anna Mae (Beeks) Osborn and children David, Diana and probably Ron (don't have his birth date) Norman Beeks, Bonnie (Beeks) Clements, Mary (Beeks) Harshbarger and children John and Roger. 

Frank Aldridge and Sam Aldridge were sons of Harvey and Margaret Catherine Dunham Aldridge, so they would be siblings of Cleo Aldridge Beeks.  I will have to do some more digging to figure out the rest of these connections, and to get them properly documented, but I'm pretty sure they all have a connection to one or another of the Aldridges.  If someone could help me out here, I'll be glad to post updates to this post so everyone can be properly identified.  Meanwhile, this will be a fun spare time project for me1

Friday, November 24, 2017

Holbrook line: Thomas King, Immigrant

I have a lot of summaries of the life of Thomas King.  who lived from 1605 to 1676/1677.  Thomas was born in England, possibly in Shaftsbury, Dorset.  The problem is that there are quite a few Thomas King's,, and it's hard to figure out which one he is.  In addition, the maiden name of his wife is not agreed upon.  Her first name was Anne but she may or may not have been a Tice.  I am disinclined, at this point, to think that she was Anne Collins.  We don't even know whether the children he had were all from one wife.

His parents are generally given as Thomas and Sarah or Susan King, also of Shaftsbury.  The senior Thomas is sometimes said to have died in 1642 in Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts but I've not been able to find documentation for that.  So we have uncertain parentage, uncertain wife, and are even uncertain when he arrived in the New World.  We do know that a Thomas King arrived in 1635 but we don't know if that was our Thomas, Thomas's purported father, or another Thomas King entirely. 

However, we do know that he went to Sudbury, which was founded in 1639.  He was not one of the very earliest settlers, but apparently was one of those who came just a bit later.  His wife died in childbirth in 1642, leaving Thomas with six children (the baby lived only a few days longer than his mother)  .  We don't know whether this wife was his first wife, or whether some of the first children had a different mother.  Thomas was of a hardier sort than most men, as he stayed single for thirteen years, apparently raising his children himself, or with the help of his oldest children.  He remarried in 1655, when his children were mostly grown or at least ready to earn their own living. 

He acquired land in Sudbury and then in 1656 petitioned for land in what became Marlboro.  Here he was a selectman and also assisted in laying out the roads for the new town.  Again he acquired land and farmed. 

He wrote his will on March 1, 1676/77 and it was proven on April 20, 1676/77. We don't know whether he died of illness, accident, or possibly in the Indian attacks of King Phillip's War, which took place at about this time.  He certainly died at an unhappy time in the history of Marlboro. 

His wife Bridge survived another nine years, dying in 1685.

I've not found reference to the Kings' religion but it was likely Puritan, based on family association (son Peter was a deacon, and assigned to rebuild the Sudbury church).  I don't know if he was literate, or what he did in England before coming to America.  But I do know he came, and survived what must have been a difficult life, and for that, I admire our Thomas King.

The line of descent is:

Thomas King-Ann
Sarah King-Nathaniel Joslin
Nathaniel Joslin-Esther Morse
Israel Joslin-Sarah Cleveland
Sarah Joslin-Edward Fay
Daniel Fay-Mary or Mercy Perrin
Euzebia or Luceba Fay-Libbeus Stanard
Hiram Stanard-Susan Eddy
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Allen line: Thomas Sparrow, Immigrant

Thomas Sparrow, immigrant, is another enigma.  He has been reported as born in several different locations with several different sets of parents.  He undoubtedly came from England, and married Elizabeth Marsh, probably in Virginia.  One problem in identifying this immigrant is that he had a son named Thomas, who had a son named Thomas, and they all showed up on records during the same time span. 

It appears that Thomas was born probably around 1600, and was in Lower Norfolk Virginia by 1640. I've seen 1625 and 1635 given as dates for his arrival here, but we do know that in 1640 he was granted 300 acres on the Elizabeth River in payment for paying transportation costs from England for 5 people, plus himself presumably.  Elizabeth Marsh may have already been here, so she may have been one of the persons he transported.  Regardless, this is his ticket to land ownership.

The Sparrows were Puritans, and that was not the correct religion for settlers of Virginia.  Puritans were harassed and eventually forced to attend church services of the Anglican church, and to pay tithes to them.  When court cases were begun, the Sparrows moved to Maryland in order to practice their faith under a government that practiced religious tolerance.  The Sparrows and their servant, John Dennis, moved in 1649. We don't know for sure how many children the Sparrows had, but at least four are attributed to them.  The children's birth dates are sketchy so it is likely that there were some born in Virginia and some born in Maryland. 

About 1650 Thomas acquired 590 acres on the west side of the Rhodes River in the East River Hundred and called the property Sparrow's Rest. The native Americans were still active in the area and it was only after a 1652 treaty with the Susquehannock Indians that more land became available.  Thomas then purchased 600 acres called Sparrow's Rest at the mouth of Broad Creek, and another 200 acres called South Canton.  The size of these purchases indicates that he was likely farming tobacco, and that his original land may already have been depleted by the time he purchased the second and third grants. 

By 1656, Sparrow and most of his neighbors had heard of a woman named Elizabeth Harris, who was known as the first Quaker missionary.  They attended a meeting at the West River Meeting House in 1656 and the whole family converted to the Quaker religion.  Shortly after that, Thomas died, probably in early 1659.

I should note that there is a good deal of controversy about whether or not this couple had a daughter Charity, who married Richard Tydings.  In general, it seems that there is no real evidence one way or the other.  Long, long family traditions have given Charity these parents, but it is still possible that information will be found to disprove the theory that Charity was the child of this couple, or even that she was the child of this couple.  There is no mention of her in her purported father's will, but that is not entirely an obstacle as she could have received her share before the death of her father, perhaps as a wedding gift.  The jury is still out on this, but for now, I'm including Thomas in our family tree.

The line of descent is:

Thomas Sparrow-Elizabeth Marsh
Charity Sparrow-Richard Tydings
Pretitia Tydings-Dutton Lane
Samuel Lane-Mary Jane Corbin
Lambert Lane-Nancy Anne Anderson
Nancy Lane-James McCoy
Vincent McCoy-Eleanor Jackson
Nancy McCoy-George Allen
Edward Allen-Edith Knott
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants

Friday, November 17, 2017

Harshbarger line: Bits and pieces from the Emanuel Harshbarger family

Here are some bits and pieces from the life of the Emanuel Harshbarger family, as found on

From the Commercial Mail, Columbia City, Indiana Jan. 11, 1958, in a column that was looking back 50 years:

"The Emanuel Harshbarger family reported they thought they were the county's bread-eating champions.  They baked 738 loaves of bread during 1907, also ate 483 cookies and 106 pies." 

I don't have death dates noted for all of the eight children in this family, but I think some were already gone by then.  Grover Harshbarger was just ready to turn 17, and I suspect he ate like a growing boy. In the 1910 census, just Grover and his brother Logan were listed as living at home.  Daughter Bertha, then 13, was listed in the 1900 census.  So the family that ate all this food wasn't large, unless perhaps Clara sold some of the excess to neighbors or a grocery store. 

Then from the Commercial Mail, May 27,1961, also looking back 50 years:

"Ambrose Keister, Troy township, had a barn raising when a 30x50 foot barn with an L was raised by Emanuel Harshbarger and his special equipment."  I'd love to know how that was done, and what the special equipment was!

And finally, from The Fort wayne Sentinel, of January 13, 1920

"Fire Does Slight Damage.  (Special to the News.) Columbia City, Ind. Jan. 12.--

Fire was discovered in the Emanuel Harshbarger home, two miles north of town, at 9 o.clock yesterday morning, but little damage was done.  it was communicated from a defective chimney in the space between the door and ceiling and it was necessary to chop several holes in the upstairs floor to get at the smouldering blaze.  The family washing was being done and plenty of water was standing in vessels with which to fight the fire, which was finally extinguished by members of the family.  The loss was small and was covered by insurance." 

The common thread I'm seeing here was that this was a hard-working family.  These are the kind of people who made America. 

The line of descent:

Emanuel Harshbarger-Clara Harter
Grover Harshbarger-Goldie Withers
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendants 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Beeks line: September 17, 1950 A farewell dinner given

I found this gem in the Huntington Herald Press of september 22,1950,  page 4, in a column written by "Miss Barbara Beeks".

"Farewell Dinner Given"

"A farewell dinner was given at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur Beeks and family Sunday in honor of their son, James Beeks, who left to join the armed forces at Camp Hood, Texas.  Those present were Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Keefer and son, Dewayne, Michigan; Loretta Scott, Lagro:, Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Osborn and sons, David and Ronnie, and daughter Dianna, Lee Vought and son, Ronnie; Charles Senkpiel, Mt. Etna; Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Brown and son Bobbie; Vicky Beeks and the honored son.  Supper guests were Mr. and Mrs. Cleveland Harshbarger and sons, Roger and Johnny.  Mr. Beeks served one year in the army at Fort Braggs, N.C. and was discharged last spring. "

Jim's younger siblings, Norman, Donald, Bonnie, and Barbara seem to have all been living at home at this time, so unless they were working they were probably at the gathering too.  Jim was the oldest surviving child of Wilbur and Cleo, and when he came home after his first discharge they must have counted their blessings, never imagining he would be called back and later sent to Korea.

I'm writing this on Veteran's Day although it won't post for a few days.  Sometimes simple stories like this help us realize what our ancestors and relatives went through, and why we honor our service men and women.  There may have been tears; there surely were proud and aching hearts, as Jim left for Texas.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Holbrook line: Quentin Pray 1595-1667 Immigrant

And we have a winner!  Quentin or Quintin Pray is pretty well documented because he got into so much minor trouble.  His court records are fascinating, and because of them, we know quite a bit about him, although of course there are questions.  It's kind of fun to find someone outside the normal "Puritan" culture, who left an interesting story to be told.  I should mention that this information comes from Michael S. Caldwell's tree on rootsweb, as well as additional information found on geni and on Find a Grave.  I have little personal research to add, but I'm glad to be able to write this story, anyway.

Quentin was born August 27,1595 in Chiddingstone, Kent, England.  His father was probably Robert Pray, although I have also seen a Richard Pray listed as his father, with no mention of his mother to be found other than possibly "Marion".  Wikipedia describes Chiddingstone as "a perfect example of a Tudor one street village".  Quentin would have grown up here, under the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, in his early childhood. 

We don't know what trade he worked or how he met his wife, Joan Valliance, but they married June 17, 1621 in Mayfield, Sussex, England.  The two villages appear to be about 13 miles apart.   Several of their children were baptized in Frant, which ispartly in Knet and partly in Sussex County. 

Possibly for economic reasons, since we have no evidence of a Puritan leaning, or maybe because the couple was ready for an adventure, they came to America in 1643, on the ship "Ann Cleeve of London".  John Winthrop, Jr had gone to England and arranged for a group of workmen, servants, and materials to come of Massachusetts for the purpose of setting up an ironworks.  Presumably Quentin and family would then have been in debt to Winthrop for their passage, although it is possible that they came as indentured servants.  It would be interesting to find the early papers of the Iron Works Company, to see what any contracts might say. 

Quentin first went to Kittery, Maine, but was soon in Lynn, Massachusetts.  There are references to him as a "fineryman" but I'm unable to determine whether this was a general term for ironworker, or whether this was a specific job within the process. 

Starting in 1647, Quentin and sometimes his wife appeared before the quarterly court of Essex County several times on charges of swearing.  The usual fine was five shillings, and on December 12, 1648, the two were fined 50 shillings, for five oaths.  The reference doesn't say whether this took place during one marital discussion, or whether it was the result of some other dispute.

Quinton also was a witness when Nicholas Pynyon, who may have been a relative, was 'presented"  for killing five children, on the testimony of his (Nicholas's)  wife.  I haven't found the results of this yet, but Nicholas was in the court records later, or possibly it was a son or other family member.

Finally, Quinton on July 11, 1649 was charged with hitting Nicholas Penion with a staff that had a two feet piece of iron on the end of it, breaking Nicholas's head, and for striking Thomas Billington, and for swearing.  For all this, he was fined.  Ironworkers must have had privileges that somehow kept them from the gallows!  Quinton also may have been charged with striking Jno. Dimond, although the date for that isn't clear. 

Sometime in the 1650's, probably about 1651, the Prays moved to Braintree and there he lived out his life.  He was still working as an ironworker and possibly filed bankruptcy in 1653 (not sure whether this was a personal bankruptcy or the failure of the ironworks he was employed by).  In 1664, he sold all his personal property to pay off personal debts, so things had not gone well for Quentin.

He died June 17, 1667 in Braintree.  His wife Joan was given administration of the estate.  The estate was valued at 74 pounds, three shillings.  One interesting item in the inventory was three spinning wheels.  This shows that there were several people living in the home.  One record says that the youngest of possibly as many as 12 children was born at Braintree, which would have made Joan, if this was still the Joan he had married in 1621, a mother at a rather advanced age.  Quentin must have trusted her judgement, to make her the administrator when she still had children at home.

I found no mention of church involvement for Quentin, which may possibly be inferred by his court record  His inventory shows no books, although of course they may have been sold to settle that earlier debt.  There's much we don't know about Quentin, but we know he led a colorful life, he was a hard worker, and he probably provided at least enough, if not generously, for his family.  It will be fun to keep an eye out for more records as I study more in early Massachusetts history.

The line of descent is:

Quinton Pray-Joan Valliance
Richard Pray-Mary
John Pray-Sarah Brown
Mary Pray Richard Brown
Othniel Brown-Deborah Brown
Sarah Brown-Enos Eddy
Enos Eddy-Deborah Paine
Joseph Brown Eddy-Susan Lamphire
Susan Eddy-Hiram Stanard
Lousi Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Yes, there are three separate Brown families in this line.  Two go back to Chad Brown and Elizabeth Sharparowe but the other line doesn't seem to, or at least the connection is far up the tree. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Allen line: Joseph Riley, possible Irishman, Immigrant

This post will be more a collection of ideas than a post of fact.  Please take anything you read here with a grain of salt.  I am trying to do more research to support this post but so far I'm coming up empty, and here is my deadline for writing this post.

I've written an earlier blog post about John Riley, and I think I had that one pretty much straight, but I could be wrong.  Joseph seems, at the present time, to be more in the way of a myth, since I can't find records right now to support what I have finding on line.  I'll post what I have found online here in the hopes that this will give us some clues as to where to look, or perhaps someone will recognize this man and be able to say, "No, he's not your guy, and here's why". 

The first surprising thing is that Joseph seems to have been born on December 12, 1598 in Dublin, Leinster, Ireland.  That is a bit unusual for our family, but stranger things have happened.  His parents may have been Jonathan Riley and Sarah, whose name is given in some places as Deming.  Deming is a good New England name but I'm not sure it's a good Irish name, so there is one of my hesitations with this tree. 

The next "fact" I find about Joseph is that he married Mary Wright on January 23,1624 in Eland, Yorkshire, England.  I am unable to figure out a really good reason that Joseph would have gone from Dublin to Yorkshire to marry, except, possibly, that his Riley grandparents, Daniel and Elizabeth Bist Riley, went from Yorkshire to Dublin.  So there is a slight possibility that he had family in the area.  it's also possible that Daniel and Elizabeth are also not factual. 

It seems that Joseph and Mary arrived in New England in the late 1620s, because supposedly their son Thomas was born in Wethersfield, Hartford Connecticut in 1630.  There's a problem here, however, as Wethersfield wasn't founded until 1822, quite a bit after our ancestor lived.  Also, the trees are showing that Joseph died in Massachusetts, possibly Westfield, Hampden County.  The problem with that is I have looked at those records (Westfield) and there are no Rileys at all listed there prior to, at least, 1700.

Joseph and Mary have been credited with at least five children:  John, Sarah, William, Daniel, and Elizabeth, with John presumably being the oldest and being born in Dublin.  However, I'm not finding records of the births of the children.

I would certainly like to find some documentation for this family. If they are from Dublin, then that makes them quite interesting people in our family.  If they are not from Dublin, where are they from?  And if John's parents aren't even Joseph and Mary, where do we go from here?

Do you see why sometimes it feels like banging one's head against a wall, in trying to verify "information"?  I don't want to mislead anyone into believing that much of anything here has been proven, at least not be me.  Yet, on the chance that this is correct, here we go:

The line of descent may be:

Joseph Riley-Mary Wright
John Riley-Grace Buck
John Riley-Margaret McCraney
Mary Riley-Joseph Ely
Mary Ely-Thomas Stebbins
Ruth Stebbins-Samuel Hitchcock
Margaret Hitchcock-Richard Falley
Samuel Falley-Ruth Root
Clarissa Falley-John Havens Starr
Harriet Starr-John Wilson Knott
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants

Friday, November 3, 2017

Harshbarger line: End of the Harshbarger line?

I sure have a long list of people in the Harshbarger line, in one convoluted fashion or another, whom I can't trace further back.  Some are from Virginia, some from the Maryland and what became West Virginia area, and many were in Pennsylvania in early times. Some came from England, some from  Germany and Switzerland.  This is too wide of a geographic area, too many generations in time, and too expensive for me to possibly be able to find all of these people.  I don't know if I'll ever find any of these ancestors.  But by posting their names and what little I know about them, I am at least honoring them, and leaving bread crumbs for other researchers, perhaps. 

John Gordon, father of Alice who married John Wyatt. Alice was born about 1752.
Anna Jackson born about 1630, wife of William Wyatt of Virginia
Jane widow Curtis, wife of Nicholas Cocke.  She was born about 1627.
wife of Thomas Edmondson  Thomas died 1715 in Essex County, Va.
Susannah Bryant, wife of John Boughan.  She died 1726.
Mary, wife of James Boughan, 1640-1683
Thomasin widow Harper married James Boughan
wife of Thomas Allaman. He lived 1630-1706
Elizabeth wife of John Gregory. She lived 1625-1676.
Ann, wife of Thomas Edmondson, born about 1615 possibly in Ireland
Matthew Farmer 1743-1835, died in Miami County, Ohio and his wife Margaret
Caleb Bennett 1765-1841 died Miami County, Ohio and his wife Ann Catherine Wilson
Joseph Kirk 1754-1830 and his wife Sarah
Daniel Shultz 1730-1820
Magnus Walter and wife Maria Kocher, parents of Catherine Walter
Sarah widow Vetatoe wife of Johann Valentine Geiger.   He lived 1718-1777
Christiana Hedwig Menner 1633-1710, wife of Jacob Friederich Bauer
first wife of Christian Brower. He lived 171-1771.
Anna Este, wife of Hubert Brower.  She lived 1694-1786
Barbara, wife of Daniel Lawall.  He lived 1716-1796.
Christian Bracker, father of Eva Bracker.  She lived 1730-1800.
father of Johann Georg Harter.  Georg lived 1727-1800
Margareth, wife of John Menter.  He lived 1767-1821.
Margaret wife of Leonard Dulibon or Tulipan. He lived  1730-1786
wife of Franz Dulibon or Tulipan. He died Lancaster County, Pa.
Anna Elizabeth, wife of Johann Gebhard Huebschmann.  He lied 1713-1771
Anna Marie Geise, wife of Daniel Kraemer.  She died 1813 in Centre County, Pa.
Elisabeth, wife of Matthias Kraemer  He died  1747
Johann Georg Drach, father of Maria Anna Drach.  She lived 1706-1755.
Anna Barbara, wife of Johann Peter Behney.  he lived 1715-1784.
Maria Otilia Weiler, wofe of Peter Jacob Fehler, born about 1711.

It's possible that some of these people didn't actually come to America.  It's also possible that I've not included people on this list who actually did come, but I don't know enough to make that guess.  I'm thinking of possibly a father for Joseph Kirk and parents for Sarah, for instance.  Also many of these dates are "about" dates, for could be off by a few years.  I have little to go on, and much to learn!

If you can help with any of these people, please contact me.  happygenealogydancingATgmailDOTcom. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Beeks line: Done with the Beeks line?

Of course, I'll never be done writing about this family, or at least learning about them.  However, I've come to a stopping point and any posts I write now will either be of things I've learned from the Huntington newspaper, or I'll post when I find the story of a new Beeks ancestor.  Since some of these people right now are first names only, I don't hold out a lot of hope for locating them, but certainly stranger things have happened.  My criteria for including people on this list is that they at least died in this country.  Some were probably immigrants and some may have been here for several generations, but I just can't trace them. 

Here are the names I'm looking for:

Timothy Martin, born about 1798 died before 1870; married in 1833  in Shelby County, Ohio to
Hannah Tilberry or Tilbury, born about 1810.  They may have died in Wabash County, Indiana.
possibly Eva, the wife of George Philip Serfass.  She would have been born about 1783, maybe.
Sabina, wife of Frederick Serfass, born about 1760.
Felix Weiss about 1720-1779 died in Hamilton Township, Monroe County, Pa.
Anna Maria van Buskirk, his wife, born about 1726
George Featheringill 1710-1767-died in Frederick County, Va.
possibly Elizabeth Marie Settlemire, his wife
Hannah, wife of William Lehew  about 1745-1810, died in wythe County, Va.
Tabitha, widow Underwood, wife of William Hunt, early Virginia
Elizabeth, wife of Hugh Donaghe
Isabel Hamilton, wife of John Donaghe
Thomas Hicklin, 1689-1772
Richard Bodkin 1710-1773
Elizabeth, wife of Richard Bodkin
Barbara, wife of Johan  Jacob Bentz
Rebecca Caroline, wife of Christian Funk
Polly Carter 1805-1880, Lagro, Wabash County, Indiana, wife of John Beeks
Elizabeth, wife of Johann Gottfried Neimrich 
Johann Gottfired Neimrich
possibly John Barnes and his possible wife Elizabeth, parents of Catherine Barnes

As you can see, for most of these people I have little to go on.  However, when the going gets tough, the tough get going.  They also ask for help, which is what I'm doing now.  Can you help me learn the stories of any of these people, and possibly their parents? 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Holbrook line: John Sheldon, Immigrant

This is another of those bad news/good news posts.  The good news is that quite a lot is known about John Sheldon after he arrived in Rhode Island.  The bad news is that nothing is known of his life prior to that time.  Is the glass half full, or half empty?

William Sheldon has been suggested as the father of John, but that isn't proven to my satisfaction so it's just as well to say his parents are unknown.  He is believed to have been born somewhere in Warwickshire, England, about 1630 but again, I've not seen records to support that, and the Sheldon Family Association only lists England and 1628.

So, John Sheldon's first 25 years are a mystery.  He was a tanner by trade, so possibly that was his father's occupation, too.  Or he could have been apprenticed to learn the trade from some other family member or even town resident, if we only knew what town and on which side of the ocean we should be looking.

The first official record of him has him on September 9, 1654, in the town of Providence, Rhode Island,  "falling on Hugh Benett in the night".  There is no explanation for this.  John appeared before the Town Deputies and acknowledged whatever it was that he had done, Hugh Benett declared himself satisfied, as did the town, and that was the end of that episode.

There are several records of land acquisitions and sales beginning on February 12 ,1660, when John bought land from Zachary Rhodes, near the dwelling house of William Carpenter.  William Carpenter was his bride's uncle.  John married Joan Vincent March 26, 1660, who was the daughter of Thomas Vincent and Fridiswide Carpenter.  I found it interesting that the intentions were made at a town meeting, not a church meeting, of Providence Settlement and Providence Plantation.  So did the Sheldons not attend a church?  Quakers and Baptists were common in Rhode Island, but so were "free thinkers".  John and Joan had at least five children. 

He was on a petit juror in 1672, but other than that his "sightings" are mostly to do with land transfers that I am not quite following.  If you  want to read the details, they are on the Randall and Allied Families tree at Rootsweb, which I got to just by googling "John Sheldon 1630".

By 1708, Joan had died and John was in his old age and apparently needed care.  He signed an agreement with his son Nehemiah, in which all of his personal estate was given to Nehemiah and Nehemiah in return promised to care for him as a dutiful child should.  He died September 2, 1708 at Kingston, Washington County, Rhode Island. 

There is much I'd like to know about John, particularly his early years and his origin, but also his religion, if any, and  how he practiced his occupation.  I'd also like to know what he thought about some of our more famous Rhode Island ancestors, who lived when he lived, such as Roger Williams.   I would also like to know what John and family did during King Philip's War.  Did they leave?  Where did they go?  Did John serve in the military?  There is still more to the story, if we could just find it!

The line of descent is:

John Sheldon-Joan Vincent
Timothy Sheldon-Sarah Balcom
Martha Sheldon-Thomas Mathewson
Deborah Mathewson-Joseph Winsor
Lillis Winsor-Nathan Paine
Deborah Paine-Enos Eddy
Joseph Eddy-Susan Lamphire
Susan Eddy-Hiram Stanard
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Allen line, or not? Thomas Harris 1580-1634

I'm sticking my neck out here, because nothing I'm finding supports my tree that says that Rachel Harris, who married Thomas Starr, is the daughter of this Thomas Harris.  So we may or may not be related to this man.  Thomas Starr was from Canterbury, Kent, England and Thomas Harris is from Hatherup, Gloucester, England, so we need to find a reason and a way for the two to meet before we set this branch of the tree firmly in place.  It may well be that there will be a better candidate found for Rachel's parents, and that would be fine with me. 

However, in case this Thomas Harris is the right person, and because he came with the Winthrop Fleet and is therefore automatically interesting (to me, at least), I'll give the bare facts about him, mostly as researched by Robert Charles Anderson in The Great Migration Begins.  Thomas was the son of William amd Agnes Mason Harris, and was born at Hatherup, Gloucester, England, about 1580.  He married Elizabeth, (most sites, but not Anderson, say her name was Hills) sinetime before 1613, as children started arriving at that time.  Six children were noted in a will by Harris's nephew in 1639, but Rachel wasn't left a bequest.  There could be reasons for that, but nevertheless it is worth considering.  Known children of our couple are Anna, John, Thomas, William, Anthony and Daniel.  According to the approximate birth dates, there would have been time for a child named Rachel to have been born between Anna and John.  However, it seems that we have no definite birth dates for any of the children. or for Eliabeth, so this is almost just speculation. 

As mentioned, the Harris's came to New England in 1630, with the Winthrop fleet.  For whatever reason, whether political, familial, or religious, Thomas's name is listed as Thomas Harris alias Williams, and he continued to use that name, Harris alias Williams, for some time in the New World.  The family settled at Winnissimmet, later known as Chelsea and now part of Boston.  In 1630, shortly after arrival at Massachusetts Bay Colony, he requested freemanship which was granted as Thomas Williams alias Harris in 1631.  That same year he was granted the authority to set up a ferry to run between Winnissimmit and Charlton, and also from Winnissimmet to Boston, with fees sets by the authorities. 

We don't know how long this was actually in operation under Harris's watch, because by 1634 his widow had remarried and her new husband had control of the ferry.  (The ferry stayed in operation until 1917).  Elizabeth lived until February 16,1669/70, and was either 83 or 93 when she died.  We can guess that Thomas may have had an accident, or drowned, or succumbed to one or another of the illnesses that killed so many early pioneers.  We will likely never know that story, and we may not ever know whether Rachel was truly his daughter. 

If he is our ancestor, here is the line of descent:

Thomas Harris-Elizabeth Hills
Rachel Harris-Thomas Starr
Samuel Starr-Hannah Brewster
Thomas Starr-Mary Morgan
Thomas Starr-Jerusha Street
John Starr-Mary Sharp
John Starr-Betsy Havens
John Havens Starr-Clarissa Falley
Harriet Starr-John Wilson Knott
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Their descendants

If someone knows whether or not Rachel Harris's father is Thomas, and whether or not this is the correct Thomas, I sure would like to know about it!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Harshbarger line: Done with the Withers family?

Tuesday I wrote a blog post about the end of the line, opportunities for discovery brick wall people in my husband's maternal grandmother's line.  Today I'm writing about the same sort of people in his paternal grandmother's line.  There aren't as many people that I'm missing, because my criteria is that I just want to get the family back across the ocean.  Many people in this line came to America in the 1730-1755 time period (a few earlier), so that doesn't include as many generations as did the Aldridge line. 

From what I can tell of the people I do know about, these folks were mostly from Germany and Switzerland.  I don't believe any of them were wealthy, or they would have left their footprints in the form of paperwork in more places than we can find them.  I envision them as being hard working, good folks, devout Christians whatever religion they were, and I'm proud that they are the ancestors of my children and grandchildren.

I just wish I could find some information about these missing people:

Elizabeth Miller, 1789-1869, married to Joseph Burkholder
possibly Adam Burkhalter and Anna Mellinger, born about 1700-1705  I'm not sure whether or not
     they came to America
possibly Johannes Gingerich and Anna G Sherk, about 1705-1771, again not sure if they came to
Anna Margaret Conradt, wife of Johannes Conrad Reber, born about 1750
possibly Johann Gerber and Maria Gertraut Bener, born 1695-unsure if they came to America
Anna Maria Lauber born December 20, 1793 married Hans Jacob Kemmerli
Susanna, wife of Peter Shollenberger, born May 4, 1777 died November 11, 1849
Magdalena Kunkle born about 1725 married to Johann Caspar Schneer
Anna Eva Matte about 1700-abt 1772, wife of Wendel Essig
Joseph Withers born 1804 married to Mary Ann Gearhart born about 1812 (need parents for both of
Christina wife of Sebastian Kestenholtz, born about 1736
Christina Emmert born 1728, wife of Mathias Bruder
Mary Magdalea, wife of John Whetstone, November 1776 January 10, 1852
Anna Gerber wife of Jacob Maag  1703-1767
Adam Koch  and Catherine Drucker born 1735-died 1807 and 18817-need parents for both
Elizabeth Leitzee born about 1755, wife of Adam Koch Jr. 

That's only 21 people missing in this line, plus of course several generations of parents for some of them.  These, along with the list from Tuesday and several similar posts I'll be doing, will be my guideposts for researching in the future.  If I learn who these people, and their parents, are, I will be sharing, and I will be happy.  I would be delirious with joy if someone contacts me and helps me with any one of these folks! 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Beeks line: Done with the Aldridge family?

I thought I'd make a list of all my dead ends/brick walls/opportunities to find for the Beeks family, and I started with Cleo Aldridge.  That list along gives me over 50 names to work, just for people here in the US or who may have come to America, since for some of these people I have no date or location for a death and their children were definitely here . Some are first names only, or unknown wives of so and so.  Their roots are in England, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and perhaps other places.  Some were born as recently as 1797, many of the Germans were born in the first half of the 1700's, and some go back to the earliest colonial times. 

Better genealogists, with more money or/and time than I have, have worked diligently to find these people.  That doesn't mean that I won't be successful on any of these remaining folks, but it does mean that new records will have to be made available, or I will have to learn more about existing old records, before I can make much progress, and before I can write any more posts in this line.  

This post, then, is a salute to the following people in the line of Gretta Cleo Aldridge Beeks, the anonymous people who made America, who lived good lives and raised the generations that raised the generation that eventually settled in Andrews, Indiana.  In no particular order, they are:

Anna, wife of Solomon Rees
Hugh Humphriey 1670-1748
Elizabeth Lowry, wife of Hugh Humphrey
Mary McMillan 1650-1699, wife of Evan ap Owen
Philip Price died  about 1720
Elinor Lloyd, wife of David Rees
Thomas Scattergood 1600-1697
Elinor Peers, wife of Samuel Burgess
Catherine Anne Kynge, wife of William Edward Moone
Mary Taylor, 1675-1772 wife of Thomas Butterfield
John Butterfield and wife
Elinor Lewis, wife of Price Rhys
Maria Salame, wife of Anthony Hallman born about 1675
William Booth, father of Charles Booth born about 1655???
Agnes Jevan, wife of Samuel Jones
Randall Malin 1649-1730 and Elizabeth his wife
Gerdrew, wife of George Jacob possibly born about 1680
Hans Peter (Von) Rubel 1684-1750 and Anna Katrina Mueller
Patience Wooten 1622-1710  wife of John Walter
William Holloway 1586-1655 and unknown wife
wife of George Allen, possibly Katherine Watts but maybe not
Thomas Smith, father of the John Smith who married Susanna Hinckley   Did he come to America?
Elizabeth Trull, 1585-1666, wife of John Pers
Elspeth, wife of John Thomas Bloomfield
Jeremiah Folsom, probably my most wanted of all on this list about 1797 to about 1831
Elizabeth, 1752-1836 wife of John William Teague
Peter Tague 1725-1797 and wife Elizabeth
Stryntje Jacobs 1620-1699
Francois Sohier 1595-1663
Elizabeth Drabbe, 1660-1724 wife of Joost De Baun
Jason Wheeler 1765-1843 and Patience, his wife, also very high on my most wanted list. 
Parnell Lakin, 1705-1761, wife of George III Fee
Rebecca Parnell 1636-1715, wife of George I Fee
Rebecca wife of William Jump born about 1635???
George Fee born 1650
wife of William Lee was she Ann Granger?  possibly born about 1675
William Lee also possibly born about 1675
Elizabeth Soper, 1747-1815, wife of Jacob Aldridge
Eleanor Watkins 1715-1761, wife of John Aldridge
Mary wife of John Purdy. possibly born about 1657
Nicholas Aldridge and wife Margaret, born about 1629-1632

Whew!  To look at this list, you would think that I've not found much at all on the Aldridge family.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I've written many posts about this family and have been delighted to learn about all of them.  But a true blue family historian always wants more!  I will keep this list and work on it from time to time.  Maybe there are answers out there that I haven't yet found.  If so, I will be posting more brief sketches, as I find them. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Holbrook line: John Warren 1585-1667 Immigrant

Oh, there is nothing like a documented immigrant ancestor!  It's exciting to find one, it's exciting to find a little bit of his story, but it's frustrating too because for almost every fact fount I have more questions.  Our John has at least three more generations in back of him in England, so it's fun to note his background, instead of having guesses and suppositions. 

John Warren was born shortly before August 1, 1585 (baptismal date) in Nayland, Suffolk, England.  His parents were John and Elizabeth Scarlett Warren.  John the father was a cardmaker.  Given his location and the amount of wool that was produced there, I believe he made equipment for carding wool, not playing cards.  The town is a small one, on the border with Sussex, and in the 1600's was a center for Puritan dissenters, at least for a time. 

John's mother died about March 27, 1602.3 and his father then married Rose, who was buried August 11, 1610, and then married Rose Riddlesdale, who outlived him.  John the father died in 1613, when our John was 28 years old.  Our John was also a cardmaker, and earned enough of a living to marry  Margaret who has been identified as Margaret Bayly  They had at least seven children.  The first three died as infants or young children, but when John and Margaret came to Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630, they had their four youngest children with them.

John was already in trouble with the Church of England in 1629, when he failed to kneel for communion.  Since there were several other men who also failed to do this, it is not likely that he had bad knees  As Puritans, the men had decided that kneeling to receive communion was not appropriate.  This seemed like a good time to leave England . The family came with Winthrop's fleet in 1630, but I'm not able to confirm whether or not they came on the Arbella, the flag ship of the fleet.  At any rate, they sailed with a number of good Puritans.

John was made a freeman at Watertown, Massachusetts, on May 18, 1631, although he may not have been a member of the church.  Church attendance was mandatory and he was fined several times for frequent absences from service.  There is some speculation that although he immigrated with and lived with Puritans, he was actually a Baptist at heart, or possibly a Quaker.  If he had admitted either of these leanings publicly, he would have been exiled, and perhaps he was already feeling his age. 

John prospered in his new country, acquiring significant tracts of land by grant and it's possible he also purchased some property.  He was a selectman for at least two terms and also served on committees to lay out highways and to divide land, jobs meant for wise people.  He still owned 188 acres of land in various parcels when he died.  His real estate was then valued at 123 pounds and the rest of the estate was valued at a little over 47 pounds.  His inventory still included a musket, sword, and halberd.  These items were required of all men in case of attack, although by his death on December 13, 1667, he was 82 years old and would likely have been excused from military duty for some years.  Margaret had died 5 years before, on November 6, 1662. 

These are the basic facts about John Warren.  I'd love to know more about him, especially his religious beliefs, and how he supported his family once he arrived in America.  Surely there wasn't that much of a demand for cardmakers in the early years of the colony.  There were books in his inventory so we can assume he was literate.  What was the source of his education?  As I said, the information we do have is wonderful but I'd like to know more!

The line of descent is:

John Warren-Margaret possibly Bayly
John Warren-Deborah Wilson
Mary Warren-John Burr
Mary Burr-Thomas Marsh
Deborah Marsh-Isaac Lazell
Deborah Lazell-Levi Rockwood
Susannah Rockwood-Nahum Holbrook
Joseph Holbrook-Mary Elizabeth Whittemore
Fremont Holbrook-Phoebe Brown
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Gladys Holrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Allen line: Frances Mauldin Holbrook line: Francis Mauldin 1600-1644

I'm counting this ancestor, my 8th and 9th great grandfather, under the Allen line, simply because I have very few Allen ancestors left to write about  However, he is also an ancestor in our Holbrook line, which technically means, I think, that we who have both Allen and Holbrook lines are our own cousins.  Hmmm...It's a good thing that's a long way back!

Of course frustratingly little is known of our double ancestor, Francis Mauldin.  He is said to have been born in 1600 in London, England, the son of another Francis Mauldin.  He emigrated from England to New Norfolk County, Virginia, with his wife, believed to be Katherine Sutton, and their daughter Margaret.  Katherine was probably dead by 637 or 1638, and Francis then married Grace Bennett, and had at least one child, grace, with her.  There may have been more children with Grace, and the mother of son Francis Mauldin is, as of this writing, not identified, at least not to my satisfaction. 

Francis, his wife Katherine and daughter Margaret came to Virginia in 1634.  He paid passage for his wife plus six other persons, some or all of whom would have worked for him as indentured servants until their labor paid francis for the cost of the passage, plus completing whatever the other terms of the indentureship were.  The length of any indentureship would have depended partly on the age of the men and partly on what skills they brought with them.  Francis initially would have had help in settling and farming the 450 acres he received as headrights for his family and the other six men.  This land was on the north side of the Nansemod River.  .

After the loss of his first wife, he married Grace Bennett and in just a few years, imported two servants, and received headrights for them.  It is thought that he also acquired additional land before his death.  Given the locations of the land, it is likely that at least one of the crops Mauldin raised was tobacco.  

This is what is known of Francis Mauldin, the first of the name in America.  His son Francis Mauldin became a carpenter, and his widow went to Maryland about 1649, possibly in search of religious freedom. 

Our lines of descent are:

Allen line:

Francis Mauldin-Katherine probably Sutton
Margaret Mauldin-Samuel Lane
Dutton Lane-Pretitia Tydings
Samuel Lane-Mary Jane Corbin
Lambert Lane Nancy Anderson
Nancy Ann Lane-James McCoy
Vincent McCoy-Eleanor Jackson
Nancy McCoy-George R Allen
Edward Allen-Edith Knott
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants

The Holbrook line is

Francis Mauldin-Grace Bennett
Francis Mauldin-Elizabeth Mackall
Ann Maulden-William Amos
James Amos-Hannah Clarke
Benjamin Amos-Sarah Bussey
Elizabeth Amos-Robert Amos
Martha Amos-Peter Black
Elizabeth Black-Isaac Hetrick
Mary Alice Hetrick-Louis Stanard
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Friday, October 6, 2017

Harshbarger line: Edward Harshbarger, 1917-1976, Cousin

For my last Harshbarger post, I wrote about Robert D. Harshbarger, son of Logan and Chestia Kemery Harshbarger, and World War II veteran.  Today I'm writing about Edward Leroy Harshbarger, also the son of Logan and Chestia Kemery Harshbarger, and also a World War II veteran.  . 

Ed, as he is referred to in various newspaper articles, was born October 12, 1917.  He was the second and last of the Harshbarger children, as far as I know.  (It's possible one or more were born and died between the censuses and I haven't researched that possibility, so I want to leave that open for now).

No two children are alike, and Ed was born late enough that the Great Depression may have affected him more.  In 1930, he was living with his parents but in the 1940 census, when he was about 22, he was a boarder in the home of Stella M. Grunfeld, who was just three years older than she was. This was in Richland Township, Whitley County, Indiana. She was a factory worker and her was a truck driver, although in 1939 neither had received much income, she $70 and he nothing.  Ed had completed just the seventh grade in school, so he dropped out sometime after the 1930 census.  We don't know whether school was difficult for him or whether he was needed on the family farm. 

The next notice we have of Ed is that he has enlisted in the Army, on March  3, 1943.  Interestingly, his enlistment city is listed as Camp Perry Lacarne, Ohio.  I'm not sure of the chronology here but Camp Perry was a prisoner of war camp for German POWs.  He is listed as having a grammar school education, and in civilian life had an unskilled occupation in manufacture of furniture, so I'm not sure whether there's any connection between the job and the location or not.  By this time, he was married.  His height is listed as 86, which if this is correct and the measurement was in inches, would have made himm over 7 foot tall.  I rather think I' m not interpreting this correctly, because his weight is given as 103, presumably pounds.  I'm thinking he would have been as small man. 

There is much about his military life that I don't know.  He served in the European theater as an auto mechanic, initially in England and then seems, based on his battles, to have been in Northern France, the Ardennes, and Rhineland.  He has the Good Conduct Medal and others as well.  He was discharged, as a corporal, on October 22, 1945. 

I don't know much about Ed's life after he returned to the civilian world.  There is an April 1963 notice in the Columbia City, Indiana Commercial Mail that "Mr. and Mrs. Orris Stump and Mrs. Donald Heck were Sunday guests of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Harshbarger and son.  In the afternoon, they went to Columbia City to the Hillcrest Nursing home and visited with Mrs. Chauncey Kemery, mother of Mrs. Harshbarger.  I know the name of the son, but I don't know if he is still living so I am not giving it here. I haven't yet figured out how or if Stella Grunfeld was the Stella who married Ed, and if she was, how she connected to Mrs. Chauncey Kemery. Mrs. Chauncey Kemery in 1963 was the former Susan Reed James.  So where did the Grunfeld or Greenfield name come from?  Mysteries still remain, of course.  . 

The last information I have is about Ed's death.  Sadly, he died less than six months after his brother Robert was hit and killed by a vehicle.  Ed died of lung cancer on July 5, 1976.  His wife's maiden name here is given as Stella Greenfield, which may be the same as the Stella Grunfeld he was lodging with in 1940.  He had been employed as a factory employee in auto parts production, and his illness had lasted about 10 months. Logan and Chestia were left without children in their old age. 

I sometimes wonder about these cousins  I've found reference in the Huntington, Indiana Herald-Press that Mr. and Mrs. Cleveland Harshbarger had visited with Mr and Mrs Robert Harshbarger, either in Whitley County or at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Grover Harshbarger. I've not yet found anything indicating a social relationship with Ed and Stella, which could be for any number of reasons.  But I sure would have liked to have heard these three men, Cleve, Bob, and Ed, discussing their World War II experiences.  Hearing about the different ways they served their country, and the things and places they had seen, would have been a great addition to our family history. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Beeks line: Thomas Page 1595-1676

I'm going to do a dangerous thing here, and write a little bit about an ancestor who hasn't been researched much.  At least, he hasn't been researched enough for the genealogy world to come to a consensus about who he is. 

Still, he's a good reminder that the Beeks family is made up of so many different kinds of people, who came from so many different places and so many different walks of life . Since there are still brick walls there may yet be more surprises for this family.  Today I'm writing about Thomas Page, who was born about 1595 in England and died March 10, 1676 in Rappahannock County.  I do have notes in my files as to the possible identity of his parents, but I am not sure enough about them to list them here.  Likewise, I have a name for a wife but she was about 30 years younger than he was so while it's possible that his wife was Elizabeth Allen, she surely would not have been his first wife since daughter Mary was born just 6 years after Elizabeth.  I've found a reference that says his wife was Elizabeth Finch Allen, and was born in 1607, but again, I'm not finding the documents or supporting evidence. 

What we do think we know about Thomas is that he came to America in 1650.  THe record I'm looking at sas he was "granted" land several times.  Only one of those times was the number of acres a nice, even number that would indicate possibly he had head rights for bringing 12 persons from home, or elsewhere, to work in the colony.  Also one listing includes 600 acres but is dated 12 plus years after Thomas died.  Either this land went to a different Thomas Page, or it could be that it was a delayed entry kind of thing.  The land he acquired included a parcel of 281 1/2 acres on the south side of Rappa River, another 600 acres on the south side of Rappahannock River, another 3075 acres in the same general location, and then 783 acres, and finally a second entry for 600 acres.  His will is said to be missing so we don't know how he disposed of it, or what other assets he may have had.

I have found reference to him as a colonel but I'm not sure what the basis for that is.  His death date is given as March 10, 1676 in Rappahannock County, and that's as much as most of the genealogy world seems to know about Thomas.  We know from earlier reading that if this is one Thomas Page who owned all this land, he must have been a tobacco farmer and probably a fairly well to do man at that.  The strong suspicion is that he would have had slaves or indentured servants, or both, to work the fields.  His home may have been fairly substantial, for the time and place, and he would most likely have belonged to the Church of England, like most of his neighbors. 

Thomas's heritage interests me, and the heritage he left his family is interesting, too.  Virginia planters were not at all common in the Beeks family, especially those who had a military rank like "Colonel".  I hope we can find more information about him!

The line of descent is believed to be

Thomas Page-Elizabeth
Mary Page-Valentine Allen
William Allen-Mary Hunt
Francis Allen-Peter Lehew
William Lehew-Hannah
Mary Lehew-William Featheringill
Elizabeth Featheringill-George Botkin
Charity Botkin-Jackson Wise
Mary Wise-William Beeks
John Beeks-Eliabeth Wise
Wilbur Beeks-Cleo Aldridge
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Their descendants

Friday, September 29, 2017

Holbrook line: Ray Holbrook 1915-1944

I'm not sure why I've waited so long to write about my uncle . Perhaps it was because I knew that I only knew part of his story.  I have just learned enough now that I feel compelled to share this, because it's important for our family (and anyone else who is reading this) to know about our hero. My mother always called him a hero, and told us he died at Anzio in Italy, but that is all that I really knew about him before I started this genealogy quest .

I had some information in my file about Ray but didn't understand some of it, and it didn't give the full story.  This isn't really the full story, but it's a condensed version.  Ray was born to Loren and Etta Stanard Holbrook November 4, 1915 in Colville, Washington.  He was the oldest of four children.  About a year after the birth of his youngest sister, his parents separated and then divorced in 1933.  He and his brother Howard were raised largely by their father, until high school.  Their parents wanted them to have a better education than was available in the Colville area, and besides, the family story is that they were getting to be a little bit rowdy.  They were sent to live with their school teacher aunt, Elizabeth Stanard, and attended Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane, Washington.  Ray graduated in 1934.

In the 1940 census, he was listed as living with his father, who operated a saw mill.  Ray's occupation was listed as laborer and, although the census doesn't state this, he was working for his father.  Maybe he thought it was time to move on, because Ray talked to an Army recruiter and he enlisted in the U.S. Army on September 11, 1940 at Ft. George Wright, Washington.  He was soon sent to Ft Lewis, Washington for training.  He had enlisted for a one year term and was assigned to the infantry.  I've not found records of when he re-enlisted, but he must have done so.  Here's where it starts to get interesting. 

Somewhere, somehow, after the outbreak of World War II, he was made aware of an opportunity to join a new unit of men.  The unit was to be made up entirely of men, both American and Canadian,  who had volunteered for the job.  They were especially looking for men who were lumberjacks, raftsmen, and skiers, among others.  The particular component that was to bind the men together was that these people all loved adventure.  They were willing to accept jobs that they knew were dangerous, and of course, they were all committed to their country.  These were men who would soon learn to fight and sustain themselves behind enemy lines in mountains and in winter conditions.  Their initial training took place at Fort William Henry Harrison near Helena, Montana.  By the time the men left this base, they had learned the basics of paratrooping, of winter survival, of long marches, of night time operations, and of other things we don't really want to know about. 

By now, the unit officially had a name, the First Special Service Force.  One of their nicknames became "The Devil's Brigade."  Their first assignment was to the Aleutian Islands, specifically Kiska.  They landed on August 15, 1943, only to discover that the Japanese had withdrawn their forces two weeks earlier.  They stayed only a few weeks and  when they returned the men were given leave.  I don't know if Ray went home or not.  If he did, this would have been his last time to see his family.  There was more training, near San Francisco, Sacramento, Vermont, and Virginia.  By the time the FSSF left for Europe, the war had been in progress for almost two years, and these soldiers were some of the best of the best in terms of the kinds and depth of training they had had.  There were 1800 combat men, plus support crew such as cooks, medics and Headquarters.  What these 1800 men would accomplish, before D-Day, was so extraordinary that Congress in 2013 voted the unit a Congressional Gold Medal, which was actually awarded in 2015. 

The men landed at Morocco and went to Oran, Algiers, but that was just a staging point for their ultimate destination of Italy.  Before the battle of Anzio, these men were the spearpoint of an attack on the German fortress at Monte La Difensa.  Within days of their arrival, they planned the attack on this mountain, choosing the hardest route to the top because they thought the Germans would not be expecting the there.  This mountain overlooked the entire Rome valley, and control of this mountain and one other meant the invasion army to come would have a clear route to Rome.  Ray's company, the first company of the second regiment (1-2) was at the forefront of this attack.  It was begun in the night time hours of December 2, and Ray, in his first real battle, was wounded during this attack.  I don't know anything about his wound at this point but I do know his mother was notified, and he was awarded the Purple Heart.  Ray was apparently out of commission for some time but he didn't lose touch with his unit and eventually rejoined them. 

The next we know of Ray is the sad news, in newspaper articles and in a letter to his mother, of Ray's death on March 30, 1944.  He was on a patrol in front of the lines (this was after the large landing at the Anzio beach head) and the men encountered a mine field . A buddy set a mine off and was badly injured.  While attempting to help the wonded man, Ray set off another mine which exploded and caused his death.  Other members of the patrol said that he could probably have saved himself by throwing himself to one side, but made no effort to do so, thereby saving his comrades who were just a short distance away. He was awarded the Silver Star posthumously for his bravery. 

The First Special Service Force went on, without Ray and without many others who were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner during the life of the force.  They were in action for about a year, in Italy and during the invasion of southern France, and during this time the unit suffered an attrition rate of about 600%.  That means the original 1800 men were replaced 6 times, to keep the unit at strength.  Of course there were some survivors from the original group, but I've not yet found a number to give.  I do know there is one gentleman still alive, who is 108 years old.  The movie "The Devil's Brigade", (1968) tells a fictionalized version of the battle of Monte la Defensa, and I have ordered a copy.   

We need to know these stories, of how young men from all over this country and other countries, came together to fight for freedom.  We need to tell these stories to the next generation, and the next, and the next.  These men, including Ray, were heroes and worthy of remembrance and honor 

Note:  Some of the information in this post was provided by Lynda Beacon, who administers the Facebook page for the First Special Service Force.  If I have mis-stated anything that she told me, I apologize.  Much of what I've said here comes from personal research, information available on the internet, and letters that I have in my possession.  Together, it is all starting to make sense, but I would love to have still more information, especially regarding Ray's injuries and recovery from his wound(s) and when he returned to duty.  That information may be available, but I will have to save up quite a few pennies to obtain it.