Friday, January 13, 2017

Harshbarger line: Christian Bracker or Bracher

Caution!  This blog post is full of conjectures and speculation.  I'm writing it only because I am hoping someone will respond with information, not because I have information to share.  All thoughts are purely my own, and I am responsible for misleading everyone if this speculation turns out to be totally incorrect.

The subject of today's post is Christian Bracker, or possibly Bracher.  The only reason we know at present of his existence at all is that his name is in the marriage record of his daughter, Eva, when she married Johan George Harter (Herder) on October 26, 1752 in the records of St Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Upper Saucon township of what is now Lehigh County, Pennsvylvania.  At the time, it was Northampton County, but just barely.  Prior to 1752 it had been Bucks County.  I am only beginning to check the records of those last two counties but so far I haven't pulled up any mention, anywhere, of Christian.  So, was his name noted in the record because he was known to the people of the area, or because he wasn't known and the pastor was trying to leave genealogy clues for us?  At this point, a coin toss might be in order, if a decision needs to be made.

I have located one potential marriage for a Christian that seems to fit what we can guess about Christian.  Since Johan George Harter was from Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany, it is possible that the families knew each other and settled near each other in Pennsylvania.  In looking for a Christian Bracker in Wuerttemberg, Germany, I find a Christian Bracher who married Rosina Barbara Neuschander in Botenheim, Neckar, Wuerttemburg, Germany on July 12, 1730.  Eva Bracker Harter is believed to have a birthday of April 14, 1730, which is close to the marriage date.  She may have arrived before the marriage or the birthdate may be off by a year.  None of Eva's known children are married Barbara or Rosina, as far as we know, so this might not be the right couple, or at least not the right wife.  Still, that area seems to be a good area to start researching, for someone who knows enough German and has access to local records. 

So if Christian Bracker did come to Pennsylvania and was known to the pastor, what became of him?  Again, there is only speculation.  If he was still alive by 1755, he very well may have travelled elsewhere for safety as the native Americans attacked the settlers rather consistently for several years then.  He may have traveled with his daughter, or with other family members.  Based on a projected birth date of about 1705, he may have died at any time, as life was hard for these people.  Or he could have been one of those who lived to a ripe old age of 85 or even 90.  I'd like to think he died late in life, but if so, there would likely be more records than we are currently finding.

So, as you see, there is nothing known of Christian except that he had a daughter Eva.  There are hints of his origin and of his wife, but there is as yet no proof that I am aware of.  He is a mystery but perhaps the mystery will be solved one day.  Most mysteries are. 

The line of descent is:

Eva Bracker-Johan George Harter
George Harter-Mary Kitterman
Johan George Harter-Mary Miller
George Harter-Elizabeth Geiger
John Harter-Mary Bennett
Clara Harter-Emmanuel Harshbarger
Grover Harshbarger-Goldie Withers
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendants