Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Allen line: John Clark, Immigrant

This is really a love letter and a challenge to a future family historian.  Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find out more about John Clark.  I have one fact I'm reasonably sure of about the man, and a potential marriage date and name of his wife about which I am less sure.  And as to his birthdate and place, I am thoroughly confused.  So you, someone in the future and whomever you are, are assigned the task of finding out more about this ancestor of ours. 

Every tree that I have looked at gives John's birthdate as about 1606, but there are probably many John Clark's in England that fit that broad description.  There are several dates and places attached to his various trees on Ancestry, but none of them match any other information in the trees.  His wife is believed to have been named Joan.  There are several trees listing a 1620 marriage to John, but this could not be our John if he was born in 1606 or thereabouts. 

One interesting possibility is a record from Hartpury, Gloucester, England from April 30,162, stating that John Clark married Joane Nelme on that date.  I do know that people from Gloucester went to Virginia, so this seems to be a reasonable possibility.  However, his son Abraham is believed to have been born in Weathersfield, Essex, England and that is a long way from Gloucester.  So maybe the Joane Nelme idea isn't as possible as it seems.  We know that John and possible wife Joan had at least two children, Abraham and Ann. 

If the time and location of Abraham's birth is correct, then that would mean John left Virginia no earlier than 1639.  I've not yet found an immigration record that gave me any confidence that this was our John.  The death information I have consistently gives him a death date of 1664 (nothing more specific) in (old) Rappahannock County, Virginia.  This would have been on the Rappahannock river or its tributaries, north of the current city of Richmond. 

That is all that I have been able to locate about John.  There are so many questions, both in England and in Virginia, but I leave them to the future family historian to dig into this untold story, thanking him, her or them in advance.  For now, we only know that he is an ancestor and that he was an immigrant at a time when life was not easy in Virginia.  That is a good reason to honor him.

The line of descent is:

John Clark-Joan
Abraham Clark-Sarah Kinsey
Elizabeth Clark-William Wilkinson
Jane Wilkinson-Edward Corbin
Mary Jane Corbin-Samuel Lane
Lambert Lane-Nancy Ann 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





Friday, August 11, 2017

Harshbarger line: Christopher Ketteman, revisited

I'm going to try again with this ancestor.  I wrote about him before, but my information confused two different men by the name of Christopher Kitteman or Ketteman or Kettemann or probably other spellings.  Virginia Perry, whose work I thought I was following when I wrote the first post, has been so kind as to send me two lengthy emails, giving me additional information and clues, which I haven't followed up on yet.   I wanted to at least get this much information corrected and added to, in case I'm not successful in following up on her clues . I only hope I don't mess this up this time!

OK.  Our Christopf Ketteman (the way it was spelled on the ship coming over in 1751) or Christopher Kettemann (German spelling) first shows up on an American record in 1756, as a single man, in Springfield Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania in 1756. He married Anna Margaret Lawall there in 1761 in the Tohickon Reformed Church of Bedminster Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  The church has records dating back to 1745 so good Germans had been settling this area for several years. 

It appears that the family went to Frederick County, Maryland soon after their marriage, but they left when the rents came due in 1770-1771.  After a stay in Northampton County, Pa, with or near Anna Margaret's parents, they seem to have gone directly to Augusta County, Virginia They probably stayed there the rest of their lives, although boundary changes means there could be records in Hampshire County, Pendleton County, and Hardy County, in what is now West Virginia.   They had several children, more than I realized when I wrote the first blog post.  Besides Daniel, George, Mary and Jacob other likely children are Peter, Susanna, Stoffel, and Frederick.  (This is by process of elimination, not necessarily the best way to document children but it's a start).

Unfortunately, many records were burned in this area during the Civil War unpleasantries, so we may never find some of the records we need to determine when Christopher and Margaret died, or what land they owned.  We can guess they lived simple, hardworking lives.  I've not found any Kittemann etc name in the reference books I have indicating service prior to the Revolutionary War, nor could I find a reference to Christopher on Fold3.  It is likely, however, that at the very least he would have been involved in frontier defense, as all able-bodied men were expected to do their duty, defending against potential Indian attacks. 

That is as much as we know about Christopher and Margaret.  I will keep looking for records to try to pinpoint death information, location and whether there was a will or estate.  That could tell us more about this couple.  I hope everything I have written here is either true or likely (speculation about additional children, and military service).  Any errors are of course my own but for the facts, we can thank Virginia Perry! 

Again, the line of descent is:

Christopher Ketteman-Anna Margaret Lawall
Mary Ketteman-George Harter
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

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Beeks line: Johann Jacob Bentz 1727-1778

I've been trying to learn about Jacob Bentz or Pence, and the first thing I learned is that there are a lot of men by the name of Jacob Bentz or Pence in the same locations and the same time frame.  So I'm going to go mainly by what I've found in other's people's research.  I hope they have figured it out correctly! 

Bentz families were in Philadelphia by at least 1727.  I haven't found anything that ties our family to any of the earlier arrivals, but the possibility exists that they are relatives, at least some of them.  Our Jacob was baptized December 8,1727 in the Reformed Church at Iggelheim, Pfalz, Bayern in what became Germany.  He was the son of Johann George and Anna Barbara Bullinger Bentz.  Iggelheim appears to be a village in southwest Germany, not far from other areas where our German families emigrated.  It is a town that suffered serious loss in the Thirty Years War and was probably still struggling to recover as the Bentz family made the decision to move to America.

Jacob's father, Georg, and at least two of his brothers traveled together on the ship Phoenix, which landed in Philadelphia September 15, 1749. (I am not writing this post about Georg because there is no record of him after his arrival here.  We know he was a shoemaker by trade. It's possible that he lived with one of his sons but it is believed he didn't survive long in the New World. Many seem to think he died in 1749, but I've seen no proof of that.)

Jacob settled in the Hawksbill area of the Shenandoah Valley.  We're not sure just when he arrived there.  There are military records for a Jacob Pence who served in 1757 in Captain Hog's Company of Rangers. Our Jacob would have been of the right age to be this Jacob.  We know our Jacob called himself Jacob Pence, and that is the name used in the records.  So possibly our Jacob had military service in the French and Indian War, although none of the sites I'm looking at it have claimed military service for Jacob. 


One tree I've seen gives his wife a name, Christine Barbara Willrett.  There is no documentation, but it says they married in 1756.  If this is true, then there must have been a first wife, for three sons were born before this marriage.  I've also seen a marriage date of "about 1745".  I'd love to hear from someone who knows more about Jacob and can give some insight about his wife or wives.

We do know he had ten children, and that Jacob didn't leave the Shenandoah Valley after he arrived there.  He died on or before October 29, 1778 in Shenandoah County, Virginia.  As a typical German in this area, he would have farmed and perhaps had a "side trade", but that is all I really can say about the life he led here.  He was working too hard to leave paper records, apparently. 

That's not a lot of information for a blog post, but it gives us something of a feel for the man and his life. We can say beyond a doubt that he worked hard, and that he defended his adopted country, whether he was the Jacob Pence who saw in Captain Hog's company, or whether he stayed home to protect his family.  He's another of the mostly unrecognized men whose pioneer work led to our country's formation.  Thank you, Jacob Pence!

The line of descent is:

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

Friday, August 4, 2017

Holbrook line: James Harmon 1635-1680, Immigrant

It takes all kinds.  Most of our ancestors were fine, upstanding people, who served God, lived their religion, and contributed to the building or/and protection of their country.  And then there is James Harmon. 

We don't know a lot about James, and what we do know is largely from court records and is not very complimentary.  Many believe him to be the son of Frances and Sarah Martin Harmon, but there seems to be no documentation at this point for that relationship.  His parentage remains unproven. 

We don't really know when James first showed up in the New World.  Indications are that if he first touched ground anywhere other than Saco, Maine, it would have been for a very brief period . Based on his history in Maine, it's possible that he was "invited" to leave England, or he may have come as a crew member of a ship and decided, on his own or with persuasion, to stay in the New World.  (Those last two items are purely speculation, but read on,)

James married Sarah Clark, daughter of Edward and Barbara Clark, about 1658 at Saco.  Unfortunately, the record shows that the part of the page showing the date was torn, so we will likely nevver know the exact date.  We an wonder what Sarah saw in him, but she may have had little to choose from, as far as husband material goes.  The couple had two known children, but they were not enough to keep this marriage together. 

In 1655, James made an announcement that he had slandered John Snelling.  This sounds very much like it must have been a church happening, but at the time there was little difference between church and court.  He was likely given a light punishment and returned to his life and occupation, whatever that was.  About the time of his marriage, in 1658, he was sentenced for swearing, a fine and a bond were required.  By 1660, James was known as a wife abuser, and that year he also slashed his father in law with a knife.  He was also charged with not providing for his family. 

The court, believing that James was preparing to leave to go elsewhere, appointed Edward Clark, Sarah's father, to be in charge of James's estate, to provide for the wife and family.  Unfortunately Edward drowned the following year.  Sarah must have felt so alone, with an abusive husband and no father to protect her or to help provide for her children.  James lived sometimes in Saco and sometimes in Kennebunkport, and there appear to be attempts at reconciliation, or at least no attempt at divorce.  Sarah had permission to live with a Mr. Gibbons, possibly as a housekeeper (my guess) and later Mr. and Mrs. Gibbons took in daughter Jane, who was also being abused. 

James left no known record after 1668.  He could have left the area, gone to sea, straightened out, or any of a number of other possibilities.  I suppose this could make the outline for a good story or novel, except, hey, he's our ancestor.  If nothing else, we can thank him for marrying a strong woman who survived in spite of his bad behavior,.

The line of descent is:

James Harmon-Sarah Clark
Jane Harmon-Samuel Doty
Sarah Doty-Josiah Standish
Hannah Standish-Nathan Foster
Nathan Foster-Elizabeth Lansford
Jude Foster-Lydia M.
Betsy Foster-Josiah Whittemore
Mary Elizabeth Whittermore-Joseph R Holbrook
Fremont Holbrook-Phoebe Brown
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Allen line: Hugh Kinsey 1592-1667

Hugh Kinsey is another one of those "really" ancestors who reminds me that no, I'm not entirely of sturdy New England stock.  This line goes back to early Maryland and before that, Virginia, when the land was being newly explored and settled, relations with native Americans were tense, and life was hard, even though the winters may have been milder than those of much of New England. 

Hugh was baptized February 16, 1592 at Oldhaugh, Cheshire, England.  This is a new location for me, so I tried to Google it and found only other people who were born there.  My best guess is that this was a small farming community and that the reason for leaving here may have been economic. 

Hugh married Margaret Coulton in England (lots of sources say Margaret Johns but that appears to be incorrect) in 1632 and they had six known children together, (one died young) but not until Hugh was middle aged.  Margaret was reportedly baptized in 1611 so Hugh was enough older that he may have had an as yet unlocated first marriage.

Hugh and brother Robert were in Virginia by 1655, settling in Rappahannock and later Lancaster County, Virginia. Hugh was already over 60, and life was hard in the new land.  It gets a little complicated here.  Hugh inherited from his brother Robert in 1656 and mortgaged those 500 acres, later selling them to the mortgagor in London because he couldn't make the payment.  It's not clear why he needed to sell; did he have trouble financially because he had become (or perhaps always was) a Quaker?  A group of Quakers from Lancaster county did emigrate together, to the area on the Patapsco River where Hugh settled.  He brought two of his children over from England in 1662, and about the same time, acquired 100 acres of land along the river.  The 100 acres probably represented headrights,  meaning Hugh had paid the transportation costs and brought new settlers in to the area. 

Hugh is seen as a witness to various land transactions in the 1650's and 1660's, but seems to have not generated much other paperwork.  He did leave a will dated May 6, 1667 in Anne Arundel County, leaving bequests to grandchildren and the estate to his wife, until her death when it was to go to his living children and grandchildren.  I've not located anything saying what the value of the estate was. 

It's likely that Hugh's estate was not large.  As far as we know, he had just the 100 acres, and that was not enough to support a family.  If he was a Quaker, he probably had suffered both religious and economic persecution in Virginia.  But he was free and had had opportunities in the New World that he would never had had in England, and he may have felt that the opportunity was worth the risk, even for an older person.  He contributed to the building of America, and for that I am grateful.

The line of descent is:

Hugh Kinsey-Margaret Coulton
Sarah Kinsey-Abraham Clark
Elizabeth Clark-William Wilkinson
Jane Wilkinson-Edward Corbin
Mary Jane Corbin-Samuel Lane
Lambert Lane-Nancy Anderson
Nancy Ann Lane-William McCoy
Vincent McCoy-Eleanor Jackson
Nancy McCoy-George Allen
Edward Allen-Edith Knott
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants.