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