Friday, April 21, 2017

Harshbarger line: Yost Gingrich, probably ours

I say probably because I'm not100% convinced that the Burkholder tree I've been working on is correct.  And Yost (Josef, Joseph) comes from that tree.  His daughter Maria or Mary married Adam Burkholder, and they had several children together.  Here's the problem:  Joseph Burkholder was born in 1783.  His father, Adam, who married Maria or Mary was born in about 1728.  I've seen all sorts of dates for Maria's but averaging them out, I'm guessing about 1745.  Now, it wouldn't be impossible for a woman of that age to have a son of Joseph's age (giving birth at somewhere around age 40), but there's another problem.  Joseph Burkholder doesn't seem to be mentioned in his supposed father's (1728-1800) will, unless I'm missing something.

There could be an explanation for the will omission, but since Joseph was only 17 at the time of Adam's death, I'm  wondering if we are actually missing a generation here, and it was one or another of Adam's sons who was actually Joseph's father.  Regardless, I'm going to post what little I've learned about Yost because I think that based on names and location, Yost is probably the great grandfather, if not the grandfather, of Joseph Burkholder.  Obviously, more work needs to be done on this line.

Yost Gingrich is variously reported as having been born in "Europe", "Germany" or "Bern Canton, Switzerland."  My guess is that if he wasn't from Switzerland, then his parents were, because there is every indication that this was a Mennonite family, and many if not most Mennonites can be traced back to Switzerland.  The specific locality in one tree is given as "Konsfinger, Bern, Switzerland" and he would have been born sometime about 1720 or so.  Apparently the actual record hasn't been located yet, or else his parents, Johannes and Anna Sherk Gingrich, were living under the radar of the state church, which is also possible. 

Yost is the only child I'm aware of.  He married Anna Huber, daughter of Jacob and Anna Leininger Huber, in about 1740 in Seftigen, Bern, Switzerland.  Again, documents seem to be lacking or at least not yet known to me.  We don't know for sure when Yost came to America because some trees show that his children were born in Germany (or Switzerland) and some show them as being born here.  He and Anna did have at least 8 children, though, with birth dates generally given in the 1740s and 1750s.

When Yost came to America, he apparently settled in that part of Lancaster County that would later become Amwell Township, Lebanon County, Pa.  He purchased land from and beside Michael Baughman, and by 1771 was taxed for 240 acres, a mill (probably a grist mill), four horses and four cows.  In roughly 25 years, he had done rather well for himself and his family.  He died on or shortly before March 5, 1776 and is probably buried on the family farm.  Maria outlived him by many years and died in 1813 in probably Franklin County, Pennsylvania. 

This isn't much to go on, especially since I'm not sure of the exact relationship between Joseph Burkholder and Yost Gingrich.  However, it is another tie in to Bern Canton, Switzerland, another story of Mennonite trials and blessings, and another reason to honor the efforts of these ancestors to come to America to build a new life.  I hope to update this post when I've figured out the correct relationship, so for now consider this a work in progress. 

The line of descent would be

Yost Gingrich-Anna Huber
Maria Gingrich-Adam Burkholder
possibly another Burkholder generation
Joseph Burkholder-Elizabeth Miller
Barbara Burkholder-Benjamin Buchtel
Fannie Buchtel-Adam Kemery
Della Kemery-William A Withers
Goldie Withers-Grover Harshbarger
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendants

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Beeks line: "Uncle" George Botkin, Civil War veteran

I don't usually write about people who aren't direct ancestors, but I make an exception if I find a truly interesting story.  This one qualifies, in my opinion. 

George Botkin was born February 9, 1831 in Ohio, probably Shelby County although I haven't found records yet.  His parents were George and Elizabeth Featheringill Botkin.  He was the youngest of at least 10 children, and George Sr died in 1832, when George was just a baby.  He came with his mother and other Botkin family members (including his sister, Charity Botkin who married Jackson Wise) to southern Wabash county. 

In fact, George actually settled in Pleasant Township, Grant County, where he married Mary Jane McClure in 1858.  By the 1860 census, there were two children, George W, who was 3, and Robert, who was 1.There was also a person named Charly Winters, who was 22, a laborer, and apparently an Indian.  The census is very faint and hard to read for this township, but I think it says "Indian" in the "race" column; I could be wrong about that. 

George's life changed dramatically when the Civil War broke out.  He was one of those brave men who enlisted for duty..  On August 16, 1862 he enlisted in the 101st Indiana Infantry Regiment at Wabash, Indiana, and was assigned to company F.  This was part of the Army of the Ohio in 1862, but in 1863, it became attached to the Army of the Cumberland.  One of their first assignments was in the Defense of Cincinnati, when it appeared that there might be an invasion by the Confederates. 

It may have been about this time that George saw another, equally interesting, opportunity.  He transferred to a group known as the "Mississippi Marine Brigade", a unit of the army command operating under the direction of the U.S. Navy.  It consisted of artillery, cavalry, and infantry, and a fleet of boats for transportation.  This is a little known story of the Civil War, probably because few records have survived.  The brigade participated in the Vicksburg Campaign, reaching the area above Vicksburg on May 29, 1863.  Some of the unit engaged in various skirmishes while others built a fort directly across the Mississippi River from Vicksburg, and then occupied it.  They were instrumental in helping bring the siege, or campaign, to a  successful conclusion. 

I've not yet learned more of their history, or what they did during the next two years of the war.  Because this was a loose group and control shifted back and forth between the Navy and the Army, their records are poorly kept.  I've not yet found a discharge date for George, or whether or not he was wounded, or any hint of a pension record.  I have found someone by his name who ended up in a soldier's home in Ohio, but I'm not convinced this is our George.  There was another George in the Civil War from Ohio, and this is more likely to be the George referred to in the soldier's home.

The only record I've found of George for sure was in the 1880 census in Montgomery County, Kansas, where he is listed with Mary Jane, and Robert, a name undeciphered, and James.  There is also a comment that George W (son) is not living at home.  After that, I can find nothing. 

However, what we do know of George and his life is fascinating.  Who knew that a Beeks ancestor was involved in the Civil War, let alone part of such a unique unit?  I would love to hear his stories, and to find out what became of him.  He's another relative to honor for his service to our country, and it's neat to find him in the Beeks family line.

I certainly want to thank T.J. Hunnicutt at the Wabash Historical Museum, for sending me the clues that led me on a search of George's service, and of his life.  I would not have stumbled on this story without him!



Friday, April 14, 2017

Holbrook line: Francis Sprague, Immigrant of 1623

Goodness!  It's hard to imagine what the Saints, and even the Sinners, thought when Francis Sprague arrived at Plymouth Colony in 1623.  He and at least two of his family arrived on the ship Anne.  Francis was still a young man, having been born sometime in the 1590's, and he was evidently a free spirit.  Nevertheless, he probably had to sign something that said he would abide by the rules of the Colony, even though he was not of their (or, probably, any) religious persuasion.  Let's just say he was likely one of those people who thought the laws didn't apply to him  That makes him a fun ancestor to write about. 

We don't know much about his family, although his parents are frequently given as Edward Sprague and Christiana or Margaret Holland.  This couple was from Dorset, England but I am not aware of any documentation that shows Francis as a son of theirs.  Still, it may be true.

There is also considerable confusion about his first wife, and whether or not she accompanied him to New England.  Her name is now believed to be Lydia, possibly Archer, and she may have been an interesting person herself.  If she encouraged Francis to come to America, perhaps she lived to regret that encouragement, or perhaps life for the Spragues in England was so difficult that living on the frontier was not harder, just different.  Certainly the family had cause to wonder whether they had done the right thing when the left the ship "Anne" in 1623 and saw the condition of the settlers who had been at Plymouth Colony for two or three years.  However, they didn't return to the ship but stayed to make their new home in the New World.

Because Francis was here in 1623, he received land in the division of 1623 and was part of the next  division of land and cattle in 1627, receiving 15 acres of land plus cattle, sheep, and goats.  About this time he also made an agreement with William Bradford to become a recognized fur trader.  This job would not have been easy, as it meant going into lands occupied by the natives and taking pelts and animals that the natives had relied on for years.  It was what we would consider a high risk occupation. 

By 1637, a few years after his second marriage, Francis was ready to settle down a little more, and he was approved by the courts to become an innkeeper.  Innkeeper is really a misnomer, for the main attraction of his establishment seems to have been liquor, although "hard" liquor was not officially permitted. This was in Duxbury, a newer settlement of the Colony, .He joined the militia under Captain Myles Standish (another Holbrook ancestor) in 1638.  He was cited by the courts several times through the years for various infractions regarding dispensing of liquor, and appears to have had his license suspended for as long as 6 years, from 1640-1646. He was also made a freeman in 1637, and later was a constable for the town.

The tavern business was good to him for he was able to make other real estate investments, and was regarded as rather wealthy and somewhat respectable when he died in 1676.  By then, he had deeded much of his land to his son John.  Considering the hardships he faced and lived through, he had quite a long life.  He's an interesting addition to the family. 

The line of descent is:

Francis Sprague-Lydia
Mercy Sprague-William Tubbs
Samuel Tubbs-Mary Willey
Mercy Tubbs-John Crocker
Rachel Crocker-Kingland Comstock
Rachel Comstock-John Eames
John Eames-Elizabeth Longbottom
Hannah Eames-James Lamphire
Susan Lamphire-Joseph Eddy
Susan Eddy-Hiram Stanard
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Allen line: Thomas Bird 1593-1662, Immigrant

The dates I've used in the title of this are not ones I necessarily put much credence in.  Most sources say Thomas was born about 1600 in England, and that he died in 1662 in Hartford, Connecticut.  I've been able to find a few bits and pieces of information about Thomas but not nearly as much as I'd like, and some of those bits and pieces don't necessarily belong to this man.  I've tried to weed out the obviously wrong ones. 

So, Thomas was born in England and died in Hartford, Connecticut.  There is a Thomas Bird who was baptized November 5, 1593 in St Andrew Parish, Enfield Borough, London, England. He was the child of Robert and (from a different, undocumented source) possibly Amy.  This may be our Thomas although 1593 is several years away from "about 1600".  The jury is still out, as far as I'm concerned, as other researchers feel strongly that he came from the area of Braintree, Essex. We don't have birth dates for the children (Hannah, James, Joseph, Mary) but based on their marriage dates, they were probably born in the 1620's, so Thomas's first marriage would have taken place there, too.  I've seen various names for this first wife put forth but they are all just speculation at this point.  We do know he married Mary Belden as a subsequent wife, about 1660, in Hartford, Ct.. 

Thomas and his family were in Hartford by 1639, when he was granted land there.  He also purchased land from Thomas Judd in 1644.  There is apparently no mention of him in church records, but it is likely he was a Puritan, one who possibly stayed out of trouble with both the church and the courts.  His name is notable more for the lack of records than for the records currently available. 

We don't know when his wife died, but Thomas remarried just about two years before his own death, which was probably in July of 1662.  His inventory was presented on August 10, 1662 and showed a total estate of 149 -05-10.  This was not a large estate but it wasn't poverty level.  I'm still looking to find more about the inventory.  Son Joseph was left the dwelling place and land, but I don't know if that was all of the land or just the land the dwelling was on.  I also don't know if there was more than one piece of land at the time of Thomas's death. 

As is often the case, there is much not known about this immigrant ancestor, who by most standards was not an "illustrious" man.  But he was here, he supported the culture of the area, he probably paid his taxes and tithes, and probably served in the military, and he supported his family.  Those were the things that the many "ordinary" men did, and we can be proud of each of his actions.  I'd certainly like to learn more about him!

The line of descent is:

Thomas Bird-unknown first wife
James Bird-Lydia Steele
Rebecca Bird-Samuel Lamb
Samuel Lamb-Martha Stebbins
Eunice Lamb-Martin Root
Martin Root Jr-Ruth Noble
Ruth Root-Samuel Falley
Clarissa Falley-John Havens Starr
Harriet Starr-John Wilson Knott
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants

Friday, April 7, 2017

Harshbarger line: Michael Birkle Immigrant, most likely

I know very little about Michael but he has a name and dates, and seems to have come to America so I'll write just a paragraph or two about him.  He is in the Harshbarger line and I'm coming to a close on Harshbarger ancestors unless I break down another brick wall at some point. 

Michael Birkle was born in 1676 in Hinterzarten, Breisgau-Hockschwarzwald, Baden, Germany.  This is in the southwest part of Germany, in what is known as the Black Forest, and is now an attraction for ski-jumpers.  In 1676, though, the thing that would be unusual in family history is that this was apparently a Catholic village, for Michael and his family were Catholics.  (Usually a village was either Catholic or Protestant, depending on the preference of the ruler of the time).  Michael's parents were Jacob and Maria Imberi Birkle. 

We know that on November 22, 1699, he married Anna Maria Willmann, daughter of Anton and Catharine Willmann.  They had about a dozen children: Franciska, Johan Jacob, Sgatha, Joseph, Catharina, Mathias, Gertrud, Christina, Maria Magdalena, Barbara, Michael, and possibly Maria (it's not clear whether Maria and Maria Magdalena could be the same person).  It looks like the last child was born in 1724, and so this would have been a busy household.  Records show that Michael Birkle came to the: New World, arriving on September 29, 1733 in Philadelphia aboard the ship "Mary". 

From there, it gets confusing.  Everyone agrees that he died on December 5, 1753 but some say he died in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania and some say he died in Hinterzarten.  So was it Michael the younger, born in 1702 who came to America, and not Michael Senior?  Or did our Michael come, and then return to his native village in his old age?  Were death records kept in both countries, with the record in Germany kept up by a priest even if the death occurred elsewhere?  I'm also showing that Maria Magdalena married in 1738 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and his wife Maria died in Lebanon County in 1760, which if true would tend to make me think Michael also died here..  Incidentally, the Lebanon County would be a modern term, for it wasn't formed until 1813.  Records of the time would all have shown Lancaster County as their residence.  Since Maria Magdalena arrived in 1733, presumably with her parents, I'm leaning more toward the "they never left" idea.

I'll keep looking for records in Pennsylvania that give evidence of Michael's life here, because there may be more to the story than I've been able to find so far.  In the meantime, we can think about the family religion and when it might have changed in the family.   

The line of descent is:

Michael Birkle-Anna Maria Willmann
Maria Magdalena Birkle-Andreas Kraemer
Daniel Kramer-Anna Maria Geise
Anna Maria Kramer-Andrew Kepler
Mary Kepler-George Harshbarger
Lewis Harshbarger-Catherine Mentzer
Emmanuel Harshbarger-Clara Ellen Harter
Grover Harshbarger-Goldie Withers
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendants
 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Beeks line: Elizabeth Harshbarger Phillips Wise Williams

What's a Harshbarger name doing in the Beeks family tree, one might reasonably ask?  After all, this family (descendants of my husband and his siblings) already have a line that goes back to the late 15th century in Bern Canton, Switzerland.  Why would I write about a Harshbarger, under the Beeks heading?  It's simple, really.

Elizabeth Harshbarger was the wife of Jacob Wise, who was the father of Jackson Wise, so she belongs in the Beeks family.  Her family has been traced all the way back to Bern Canton, Switzerland, also, to some of the same villages as the Harshbarger line.  Here's the confusing thing.  So far, I have not been able to make a connection between the two lines.  Maybe the connection is far back in the murkiest of times, but surely there is a connection somewhere.  Those villages were quite small and the choice of spouses was just not that large!

What we know of Elizabeth is that she was one of those true pioneer women who helped the men build this country.  Elizabeth's life story is not as dramatic as some, but she had and apparently survived three husbands, so she had to make many adjustments in her life.  Also she lived in several different locations, from Virginia (now West Virginia) to two or three places in Ohio to possibly Indiana. 

Elizabeth was born in 1790 to Jacob and Mary Pence (Bentz) Harshbarger.  She had one brother, Henry, who was born about 1789.   Her mother apparently died early, although I have not yet searched for divorce records.  Jacob married again later to Mary Magdalene Koenig and later yet to Barbara Bushong.  There were several more children born but I'm not sure which children belonged to which mother.  Regardless, Elizabeth, as the oldest daughter, would have been expected to help care for the younger children, until she herself married at the age of 18, in Culpeper County, Virginia to George Phillips.  She and George had four children together. 

I'm not sure when the Phillips family moved to Ohio because the next we hear of Elizabeth she is a widow, with Jacob Wise being appointed the guardian for the children.  Jacob and Elizabeth were married July 29, 1817 in Montgomery County, Ohio. Jacob died about 1829, after apparently having only one child, Jackson.  Elizabeth is found in the 1830 census for Bath Township, Greene County, Ohio with just herself and a male aged 10-14 (probably Jackson).  I don't know what had happened to the Phillips children.

She remarried in 1832 to Thomas Williams, also in Bath township, Greene County, Ohio. 
I have no record that she had children with him, but she would have been 42 years old, so there may or may not have been children. 

After that, I lose track of Elizabeth.  There are several Thomas and Elizabeth Williams couples in the 1850 census but nothing that makes sense in term of ages and locations.  I need to keep searching to learn what happened to Elizabeth.  I have seen a report on an online tree that she died in 1866 in Lafayette Township, Allen County, Indiana but I have yet to follow up on that report.  I would certainly like to learn more about her later life.  If she did die in 1866 and it was in Allen County, Indiana then perhaps her son Jackson, in Wabash County, was able to see her in her last years.  It's nice to think that happened, but even if I locate death records for her, we're unlikely to know whether she and Jackson stayed in touch. 

I would love to write more about this woman but first I have to learn more.  For some reason, she's one of those who have captured my interest, and I want to learn more about her.  If someone out there knows more about Elizabeth, or can correct something I've written, I'd sure love to hear from you. 

The line of descent is:

Jacob Wise-Elizabeth Harshbarger
Jackson Wise-Charity Botkin
Mary Wise-William Beeks
John Beeks-Elizabeth Wise
Wilbur Beeks-Cleo Aldridge
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Their descendants