Speaking Names: Monroe County, (West) Virginia Will Book Vol I, 1799-1817

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In a previous post, Speaking Names. The Slave Name Roll Project, I talked about an initiative to try to give researchers and descendants of slave ancestors hope to bridge the 1870 gap. It is called the Slave Name Roll Project, started by Schalene Jennings Dagutis at Tangled Roots and Trees, and this post is my first, of hopefully many, additions to it.

My earliest ancestor in my patrilineal line was a man by the name of John Spade, who lived in Monroe County, Virginia (which later became part of West Virginia), in the late 1700 – early 1800s. In my search for him, and members of his FAN (Friends, Associates, Neighbors) club, I discovered that the Monroe County Will Books volumes 1-18 spanning from 1799 until 1969 have been digitized and are available on FamilySearch.org. Unfortunately, many of these books are not yet indexed, which would make my job easier, but I could easily miss some really interesting clues and information about my families and their lives. So, all that to say, I was planning on going through these books page by page anyhow, looking for any mentions of my names, when the ball started rolling on this worthwhile Slave Name Roll Project, and I decided to make my reading matter to someone else while I was at it. Below you will find each and (hopefully) every mention of an enslaved individual in the entire first volume. I hope you will join me in Speaking their Names.

**Please note that I have provided below any names as I see them written, and indicated the gender and or age as these people were described (for example: Woman, Wench, Girl, Child, Man, Boy). I have also noted to whom they were bequeathed to if specified for the purpose of further tracking. Unless otherwise noted, the following people were described as slaves or negroes.

West Virginia Will Books, Monroe, Volume I, 1799-1817, by order of the Estate holder’s name:

ALEXANDER, James – Will, written 16 May 1813, proven in Monroe County Court in July 1814, pages 256-259.
Patience, Woman, to wife Isabella Alexander, pg 256
Mary, “oldest child of Patience,” to wife Isabella Alexander, pg 256
Calm, Man, to wife Isabella Alexander, then son Mathew Alexander, pg 257
Cicilia, Girl Child “the second child of Patience,” to son Henry Alexander, pg 259
Abriham/Abram, Man, to son Henry Alexander “if ever obtained or any thing for him he the said Abram having some time before this Eloped from my possession.” pg 259

BICKETT, Michael – Estate Appraisal, 15 Nov 1814 and 26 Jan 1815, proven in Monroe County Court 23 Mar 1815, pages 273-276
Lucky, Woman, pg 276
There is a record of the Estate Sale conducted on 25 Aug 1814 beginning on page 277, which may include Lucky and who she was purchased by, unfortunately in the digitization process the pages 278 and 279 containing the bulk of the Estate Sale information was skipped. I have contacted FamilySearch in the hopes that this might be remedied and we can continue to track Lucky.

BINSON, Mathias – Estate Appraisal, 11 Feb 1809, proven in Monroe County Court Feb 1809, pages 148 & 150 (due to a numbering error in the book, there is no page 149).
Rachel, Black Girl, pg 150

BOWYER, Adam – Estate Appraisal, 16 May 1815, proved same day, pages 288-291. There is a will in the book for Adam Bowyer as well, but it does not mention any slaves.
Charlotte, Woman, pg 290
Sally, Girl, pg 290
Dolly, Child, pg 290

BYRNSIDE, John – Will dated 29 Sep 1816, proven in Monroe County Court 15 Oct 1816, page 353-355, mentions slaves but none by name (to be divided equally between his wife and six children). Estate Appraisal dated 9 Dec 1816, proven in Monroe County Court on 21 Dec 1817, pages 375-377.
– Matt, Man, pg 375
– Billy, Man, pg 375
– James, Man, pg 375
– Bob, Man, pg 375
– Jack, Boy, pg 375
– Nelly, Girl, pg 375
– Charlotte, Girl, pg 375

CLARK, Sarah – Will dated 26 May 1808, proven in Monroe County Court in Dec 1809, pages 167-168.
Cinklear, Boy, to son Ralph Clark, pg 167
– Lucy, Girl, to daughter Martha Campbell, pg 167
– Theaphilis, Boy, to son John Clark, pg 167
– Grace, Woman, to son Samuel Clark, pg 167
– Maddison, Boy, to son Samuel Clark, pg 167
Estate Inventory of Sarah Clark on 26 May 1810, proven at Monroe County Court in June 1810, page 177.
– Grace, Woman (willed to Samuel Clark)
– unnamed, 6 month old daughter of Grace
– Lucy, ~10 year old Girl (willed to Martha Campbell)
– Madison, ~8 year old Boy (willed to Samuel Clark)
– Theophlias, ~6 year old Boy (willed to John Clark)
– Stricklar, ~4 year old Boy (likely the boy willed to Ralph Clark)

DEW, Betty – Estate Appraisal dated 13 Aug 1817, proven in Monroe County Court 19 Aug 1817, pages 391-193.
– Harry, Boy, pg 391

FLESHMAN, Peter – Will dated 22 Sep 1811, proven in Monroe County Court May 1814, pages 254-255.
– Luce, Woman, to son John Fleshman, pg 255
Estate Appraisal not dated but proven in Monroe County Court 15 Aug 1815, pages 317-318.
– Luce, Old Woman, pg 317
Estate Sale dated 12 Nov 1814, proven in Monroe County Court 15 Aug 1815, pages 319-321.
unnamed (but very likely Luce), wench, sold to John Fleshman (to whom Luce was willed), pg 319

FRANKLIN, Martin – Estate Appraisal not dated, proven in Monroe County Court Nov 1808, page 178.
– unnamed, Woman, pg 178

GRAHAM, James – Will dated 28 Dec 1812, proven in Monroe County Court Feb 1813, pages 223-227.
– Rose, Wench, to wife Florence, pg 223
– Cleary, Girl, to wife Florence, to be sold after Florence’s death, pg 223
– Ceasar, Boy, to son Samuel Graham “never to be sold nor ever taken from his family during his life,” pg 224
– Benjamin, Man, to son Lanty Graham and wife Florence Graham “in common… not to be disposed of” after wife Florence’s death, pg 224
– Cleary Senr, Woman, to daughter Elisabeth Stodghill
– Dinah, Girl, to daughter Rebeckah Graham and her children “never to be disposed of out of the Family nor the increase of the Negro if any she has,” pg 224
– Hannah, Girl, to daughter Florence Taylor “never to be disposed of nor her increase (if any) out of the Family,” 224

GULLETT, William – Blacksmith, Will dated 28 Jan 1802, proven in Monroe County Court 20 Mar 1805, pages 51-53.
– Milly, Wench, to wife Jean Gullett then son William Gullett after Jean’s death, pg 51
– Fanny, (no age or gender specified), to son George Gullett, pg 51
– Levin (?) (unsure of the name written), to son George Gullett, pg 51
Estate Appraisal dated 7 Jun 1805, proven in Monroe County Court Jun 1805, pages 59-60.
unnamed, Wench, likely Milly, pg 59
unnamed, Boy, likely Levin(?), pg 59
unnamed, Girl, likely Fanny, pg 59

HANDLEY/HANLY, John – Will dated 27 Dec 1810, proven in Monroe County Court Feb 1811, pages 183-185.
– Feeb, Woman, pg 183
unnamed, Child of Feeb, pg 183
“Fourthly, I allow my Daughter Margret Clark and Sarah Keys the price of a Negro woman and child the woman Named Feeb but said Negro woman is to choose her master and my Executors is to make the best contract the[y] can with him for said Negroes on behalf of my said Daughters by giving one Years credit, and if said Executors cannot get what the[y] think a reasonable price from said Master so chosen by said Negro then they are to sell her to any other for the best price the[y] can get allowing the credit above.”
– Liddy, Girl, to daughter Nancy Akin, pg 183
– Peter, Boy, to son James, pg 183
– Jake, Boy, to son Alexander, pg 183
– Eamy, Girl, to daughter Betsy Waker [Walker], pg 183
– Tilde, Girl, to wife Mary, but not to be sold at Mary’s death, pg 184
– Dave, Man, to be sold along with anything not otherwise specified by will, pg 184
Estate Appraisal dated 20 Feb 1811, proven in Monroe County Court 21 May 1811, pages 189-193.
– Dave, Man, to be sold according to will, pg 191
– Phoeby, Woman, likely Feeb from the will, pg 191
unnamed, Child of Pheoby, pg 191
– Till, Girl, to wife Mary per will, pg 191
– Jacob, Boy, likely the Boy called Jake bequeathed to Alexander in the will, pg 191
– Liddy, Girl, to Nancy Akin per will, pg 191
– Peter, Boy, to James per will, pg 191
– Amy, Girl, to Betsy Waker per will, pg 192 in a separate listing of property produced for appraisal by the Executors on 15 Mar 1811
Estate Sale of John Hanly, not dated, proven in Monroe County Court 18 Jun 1816, pages 345-346.
Dake, (no gender or age specified), likely Dave who was to be sold per the will, sold to Chrisley Hoke, pg 346
unnamed Woman, likely Pheoby/Feeb, sold to Chrisley Hoke, pg 346
unnamed Child, likely the child of Pheoby/Feeb, sold to Chrisley Hoke, pg 346
Estate Accounts of John Hanly, not dated, proved in Monroe County Court 17 Sep 1816, five years after the will and estate appraisal were brought to court, pages 349-351.
– Matilda, Girl, likely the same person as Tilde and Till, delivered to Mrs. Hanly, pg 349 and 350.
– Peter, Boy, delivered to James Hanly, pg 349 and 350
Liddy, Girl, delivered to Nancy Akins, pg 349 and 350
Amy, Girl, delivered to W E Walker, pg 349 and 350
Jacob, Boy, delivered to Alex. Hanly, pg 349 and 350
unnamed, Woman, likely Pheoby/Feeb, pg 349 and 350 “[Margret] Clark’s receipt for one half the amt of a negro woman 157 12″ “[Sarah] Keys [?] negro woman 157 12″ According to will, Phoeby/Feeb was to pick between two of the daughters of John Hanly as her new master, the other daughter to receive payment for her, or to be sold and they split the price. There is a sale to Chrisly Hoke that very closely matches the payments made to the two daughters for a woman and child. 

JARRELL, Daniel – Will dated 10 Jan 1804, proven in Monroe County Court 21 Feb 1804, pages 39 and 40. No identifying informations besides their names was given, all to be left to his wife, Mary.
Milly, pg 39
Dine, pg 39
Castly, pg 39
Esther, pg 39

LEACH, William – Will written on 3 Sep 1807, proven in Monroe County Court Apr 1808, pages 94-95.
unnamed, Woman, to be freed at his death, pg 94
Seal, Girl, to wife Susannah, pg 94
Bill of the Appraisement that the Widow [Susannah Leach] was Allowed, not dated, proven in Monroe County Court May 1809, page 182.
unnamed, Mulatto Girl, likely Seal, pg 182

LEGG, Thomas – Will dated 10 Jun 1807, proven in Monroe County Court Sep 1808, pages 129-130.
Adam, Fellow, “allow to be hired out by my Executors, and the same for the use of … my wife,” pg 130
Estate Appraisal, dated 17 Mar 1812, proven in Monroe County Court May 1812, pages 198-200.
Adam, (no gender or age description), Adam is mentioned in the will, pg 198
Winney, (no gender or age description), pg 198
Estate Sale, 28 Mar 1812,  proven in Monroe County Court May 1812, pages 201-203.
Adam, (no gender or age description), sold to Christ. Hoke, pg 201
Winney, (no gender or age description), sold to John McNutt, pg 201

LEWIS, Thomas – Major Thomas Lewis’ Estate Inventory, dated 27 Nov 1804, was proven in Monroe County Court 15 Oct 1805, pages 68-71.
Davie, Man, pg 70

Lewis, William – William Lewis, of Botetourt County, Virginia, will dated 17 Mar 1801, proven in Greenbrier Court March 1813, and then in Monroe County Court 18 Nov 1817, pages 394-395.
unnamed, multiple slaves referenced but not by name, quantity, or gender, as one-third being left to wife Mary, the rest to son Charles and his heirs, pg 394
Anthony, Boy, left to grandson William Lewis, son to John Lewis, pg 394

LINTON, William – Will dated 24 Oct 1810. proven in Monroe County Court 20 Jul 1815, pages 303-305.
Cesar, Fellow, “As to my negro fellow Cesar my will & desire is that he is to stay on the plantation & my two sons John B Linton & James N Linton is to take care of him & support him during life.” pg 304

MANN, Jacob – Estate Appraisal dated 21 Mar 1815, proven in Monroe County Court 16 May 1815, page, 285-287.
unnamed, Mulatto Slave Girl, pg 287

MCDOWELL, Archibald – Will dated 2 Aug 1813, proven in Monroe County Court Aug 1813, pages 232-233.
Kate, (no gender or age description), to be sold,  pg 232
Stephen, (no gender or age description), to be sold, pg 232
Isaac, (no gender or age description), to be sold, pg 232
Estate Appraisal dated 2 Sep 1813, proven in Monroe County Court Jan 1814, pages 234-236. Names match the 3 people listed in the will.
Stephen, Man, pg 234
Isaac, Mulatto Boy, pg 234
Kate, Woman, pg 234
Estate Sale of Archibald McDowell, the first page(s) of which are not included in the microfilm which skipped pages 278 and 279. The Sale was proven in the Monroe County Court Jan 1815, continued on pages 280-281. Names match the will and appraisal.
unnamed, Woman, likely Kate from the will and appraisal, sold to Lewis Forlander, pg 280
Isaac, Boy, sold to James McDowell, pg 280
Stephen, Boy, sold to John Knox, pg 280

MILBOURNE, Nathan – Estate Appraisal dated 14 Dec 1808, proven in Monroe County Court Nov 1808 [no, those dates do not make sense to me either], pages 142-144.
Fancy, Woman, pg 144
Estate Sale of Nathan Milbourne, not dated, proven in Monroe County Court Nov 1808, pages 145-148.
unnamed, Woman, likely Fancy mentioned in appraisal, sold to Nathan Milbourn, pg 146

NICKELL, Robert – Will dated 16 Aug 1813, proven in Monroe County Court Nov 1813, pages 236-238.
Dilse/Desse, Woman, to wife including any issue (children) that she may have, pg 236
Bill, issue of Dilse/Desse, to wife, pg 236
Sal, issue of Dilse/Desse, to wife then to Robert Nickell’s sister Susannah after wife’s death or marriage, and then to Susannah’s son Andrew Lewis, pg 236 – “I allow Andrew Lewis at his mothers death or as soon as the above Negro Girl comes into his hands to Pay his brother George fifty Dollars”
Bet, Girl, to nephew John Nickell, son of Robert’s brother Thomas Nickells, pg 237
Sam, Boy, to nephew John Nickell, son of Robert’s brother Thomas Nickells, pg 237
Jack, Man, “I allow to remain on the Place six years and then to be sold & divided between my two Brothers Joseph & Isaac Nickells” pg 237
Estate Appraisal dated 8 Dec 1813, proven at Monroe County Court 17 Dec 1816, pages 370 and facing page (numbering error as the page adjacent to 370 is not numbered, and the following pages are 371 and 372).
Jacob, Man, likely Jack from the will, pg 370
Sam, Young Boy, pg 370
Bill, Boy, child of Dilse/Desse per the will, pg 370
Sall, Young Girl, child of Dilse/Desse per the will, pg 370
Bet, Girl, pg 370
Dilse, Woman, pg 370

NICKELL/NICKLE/NICHOLS, THOMAS – Will dated 22 Aug 1803, proven in Monroe County Court 17 Mar 1807, pages 84-85.
Caesar, Man, to son John after wife Jane’s death, Caesar was purchased from Thomas Nichols’ brother Isaac, pg 84
Sam, Man, after wife Jane’s death Sam to be sold at public auction, Sam was purchased from Thomas’ brother Andrew, pg 84
Estate Appraisal dated 27 Mar 1808, proven May 1808 court, pages 96-98.
Bets, Woman, pg 96
Estate Sale dated 3 Apr 1807, proven May 1808 court, pages 99-101.
unnamed, Woman, likely Bets from the appraisal, sold to Robert Robinson, pg 100
Estate Sale dated 25 Jan 1811, proven Nov 1811 court, pages 204-206.
Sam, Man, sold to John Masten, pg 204
Neace, Man, aka Caesar from the Thomas Nickell’s will, pg 206. According to the will, Caesar was to be willed to John Nickell, but according to this Estate Sale, he was sold by Thomas Nickell prior to his death. No mention as to whom Caesar/Neace was sold to.
Estate Appraisal of the deceased widow of Thomas Nickell, not dated, proven in court Jun 1812, pages 210-212.
Sam, Man, pg 212
Estate Settlement of Thomas Nickell, dated 20 Nov 1813, proven in court Jan 1814, page 241.
Caesar/Neace, Man, pg 21, “It appears to us that Caeser (alias Neace) named in the will was sold by the testator in his Lifetime, and then the Exrs ought not to be charged with the ₤20 mentioned at the foot of the Vendue List…” 

PATTERSON, MATTHEW – Estate Inventory dated 7 Sep 1803, no date for when it was recorded in the Will Book, but the previous entries say Sep 1803 court, pages 37-38.
Phyllis, Woman, pg 37
Jack, Man, pg 37
Jerry, Man, pg 37
Harry, Boy, pg 37
Sampson, Boy, pg 37
Poll, Woman, pg 37
Hamlet, Boy, pg 37
Flora, Girl, pg 37
Jo, Boy Child, pg 37

PATTON, ROBERT – Estate Appraisal not dated, proven at Monroe County Court Oct 1808, pages 131-134.
Sam, Boy, pg 134
Estate Sale dated 26 Nov 1804 and 12 Apr 1805, proven in Monroe County Court Oct 1809, pages 163-166.
Sam, Boy, “Elenor Patton 1 Negro boy (Sam) by Jas Gray” pg 165

ROYALL, WILLIAM – Major William Royall’s Estate Appraisal dated 22 Mar 1813, proven in Monroe County Court Sep 1814, pages 269-273.
Stepny, Man, pg 272
Catena, Woman, pg 272
Betsy, Girl, pg 272
Davey, Man, pg 272

SHAVER/SHAWVER, SEBASTIAN “BOSTEN” – Will dated Jan 1813, proven in Monroe County Court 15 Oct 1816, page 355-357.
Lewis, Boy, to daughter Elizabeth Hambarger, then after her and her husband’s death to her son Baston Hambarger, pg 356
David, Man, to daughter Barbarra Rowen, and after her death to be sold and the funds to be divided equally amongst her children, pg 356
Betsy, Girl, to daughter Barbarra Rowen, and after her death to her son Bosten Rowen forever, pg 356
Rose, Woman, to daughter Sally, and after her death Rose and her increase to descend to Sally’s heirs forever, pg 356
Jame (?), Boy, to grandson Samuel Longton, forever, pg 356

There are 83 Names Spoken here. At least 4 more that go unnamed here. I hope that these notes make sense, and might provide an aid to researchers of these individuals.

Speaking Names. The Slave Name Roll Project.

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"Official medallion of the British Anti-Slavery Society (1795)" by Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795) and either William Hackwood or Henry Webber; "Josiah Wedgewood...produced the emblem as a jasper-ware cameo at his pottery factory. Although the artist who designed and engraved the seal is unknown, the design for the cameo is attributed to William Hackwood or to Henry Webber, who were both modelers at the Wedgewood factory." (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part2/2h67.html PBS]) - British Abolition Movement. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Official_medallion_of_the_British_Anti-Slavery_Society_(1795).jpg#mediaviewer/File:Official_medallion_of_the_British_Anti-Slavery_Society_(1795).jpg

“Official medallion of the British Anti-Slavery Society (1795)” from Wikimedia Commons

My dear friend and West Virginia cousin, Cathy Meder-Dempsey, is a spectacular blogger at Opening Doors in Brick Walls. A recent series of posts (Black History Month: The Slaves of James SIMS: Parts 1, 2, and 3) regarding her ancestor’s participation in the unfortunate institution of slavery has taken wing and given light to another wonderful blogger, Schalene Jennings Dagutis of Tangled Roots and Trees, to create a project that would help researchers with slave ancestors. The Slave Name Roll Project is a crowd-sourced project, and cannot be done by just a few. As researchers are coming across these people who were denied so very much in life, the least we can do is give them back their names, in hopes that their descendants might have a chance at finding them.

True's statement

Image used with permission by Cathy Meder-Dempsey. Quote by True A. Lewis of http://mytrueroots.blogspot.com/

 

So far in my research, I have not come across any slave-holders in my ancestry. But in attempting to remove my 21st century views and morals, it would be remiss of me to believe that all of my many ancestors disapproved of the act, and more likely that many just did not have the ways and means to participate in it. I hope that more and more researchers and bloggers commit to assisting in this worthy and long overdue project. Many of these names are hidden away in Wills, Estate Appraisals and Sales, private papers and ledgers. As I come across these names in my research I am going to make an effort to note them and add them to the growing Slave Name Roll Project. Won’t you join us?

52 Ancestors 52 Weeks: #3 Caroline “Callie” Hassner Roessler

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Used with permission by Amy Jonson Crow.

Used with permission by Amy Jonson Crow.

This is my third post for Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. You can read more about the Challenge, and find other bloggers’ submissions linked on Amy’s blog No Story Too Small.

I’m behind… what’s new? I’m going to blame serendipity again. This tale, what little I know of it thus far, was meant to go out last week. You’ll understand at the end, perhaps. This one is a little lengthy. Click on images to see them enlarged.

Caroline Hassner Brooke County Birth record (full page)

WVCulture image, line 37, birth record of Caroline “Callie” Hassner

Callie Hassner BR 16Dec1862

Caroline “Callie” Hassner, my husband’s Great Great Grandmother, was born on December 16th, 1862 in Wellsburg, Brooke County, in Virginia. Just a few short months later, on June 30th, 1863, Brooke County was included in the newly formed state of West Virginia. Caroline was the daughter of Charles William Hassner, Jr., a Grocer according to her birth record, and Ophelia Deighton (Dayton). Charles William and Ophelia were blessed early in their marriage, as they had married that February 13th (1862), when just 22 and 20 years old, respectively. Caroline was the first of at least seven children born to the couple, five girls and 2 boys.

  • Caroline, born 1862
  • Decima, born 1864
  • Sarah, 1867-1868
  • William, born 1868
  • Maude, born 1872
  • Gertie, born 1876
  • Charles Frederick, 1881-1955

The young family is found in the 1870 Census still residing in Wellsburg, Brooke County, West Virginia. Wm [William] Hassner is the head of household, age 31, employed as a County Assessor, and wife Ophelia, age 27, both born in Virginia. Their children, all born in West Virginia, are Callie, 8, Edessa, 6, and Wm [William], 3 years old. I assume that they are renting their home at the time as no real estate value is listed, they do, however, have $1000 value in their personal estate.

1870 US Census, West Virginia, Brooke County, Wellsburg, Wm Hassner Household detail

In the 1880 census, we see the family has moved from Wellsburg, West Virginia, to LaGrange, Jefferson County, Ohio. Charles W Hassner, 41, is now keeping a hotel with his wife Ophelia, a 38 year old “Land Lady.” Five children are listed living with them: Callie, 17 years old; Decima, 16 years old; William, 12 years old; Maude, 8 years old; and on the following page is Girtrude, 7 years old.

Charles W Hassner Household, Detail page 1

1880 US Census, Ohio, Jefferson County, LaGrange, Charles W Hassner Household, Detail, continues on next enumeration page.

Charles W Hassner Household, Detail page 2

1880 US Census, Ohio, Jefferson County, LaGrange, Charles W Hassner Household, Detail continued.

Less than two years later, Caroline marries Henry Roessler, a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Their marriage license was signed on 27 Jan 1882 in Jefferson County, Ohio. They married two days later on 29 January, 1882, a Sunday, by a minister named D. M. Hollister. I’d love to learn how they met… it must have been a relatively short courtship, at least by today’s standards, as Henry is listed in the 1880 census (dated 9 June 1880) still living with his parents, Christ and Louisa, in Pittsburgh.

 Unfortunately, I know little of their life together outside of the census and city directory information I have found on their family. Caroline and Henry became parents to 4 children, as seen in the 1900 census:

  • Christopher William, born Aug 1882, just 8 months into their marriage.
  • Ophelia “Phe,” born Jun 1884
  • Ralph Elwood, born May 1887
  • George, born Apr 1890
1910 US Census Indiana, Grant County, Marion, Henry Roessler Household detail pt2

1910 US Census Indiana, Grant County, Marion, Henry Roessler Household detail pt2

The family address is listed as 1108 West Fifth Street in 1900, and Fifth Street is where they stayed. Starting in the 1910 census and through the 1940 census, they reside at 1109 Fifth Street. I have found the home on Zillow.com, and the house is a split residence, offering two units, 1107 and 1109. I’m not sure if the residence has always been split, there was no entry for 1107 West Fifth Street in the 1910 census, but it was a nice income property for the couple in their later years, the renters in the 1930 and 1940 censuses report paying $30 per month in rent.

The 2 unit home that Henry and Caroline lived in for many years.

The 2 unit home that Henry and Caroline lived in for many years from Zillow.com, The door on the left is the 1107 residence, and the door in the corner is the 1109 entrance.

1920 US Census Indiana, Grant County, Marion Henry Roessler and (son) Ralph Roessler households detail. I believe Ralph's address is meant to be corrected to 1107, somewhat visible above 1109, which is clearly visible.

1920 US Census Indiana, Grant County, Marion Henry Roessler and (son) Ralph Roessler households detail. I believe Ralph’s address is meant to be corrected to 1107, somewhat visible above 1109, which is clearly visible.

Just a few short months after the 1940 census, Caroline was left a widow at the age of 78. Her husband of nearly 59 years passed away following a short, but serious, illness according to his obituaries. After Henry’s death, Caroline went to live with her daughter “Phe” and family.

Caroline “Callie” Hassner Roessler passed away on 7 Feb 1947, following a short illness (arterio sclerosis, according to the death register I received from Marion Public Library). Her Obituary was found in two newspapers indexed by the kind volunteers at the Marion Public Library, The Marion Indiana Chronicle on 7 Feb 1947 (page 1, column 4) and  The Marion Indiana Leader Tribune on 8 Feb 1947 (page 1, column 1). A testament indeed to make the first page, I think.

Death Record of Caroline Roessler, Marion Public Library, Marion, Indiana, Book 13, Page 19, Reel #9

Death Record of Caroline Roessler, Marion Public Library, Marion, Indiana, Book 13, Page 19, Reel #9

Caroline Hassner Roessler Obit 7Feb1947 Caroline Hassner Roessler Obit 8Feb1947So this is where things get a little spooky for me.

I started doing genealogy on my family rather seriously in 2005, when I moved to Arizona from Ohio, after our January wedding. I didn’t start on his line right away, and honestly didn’t put a lot of effort into it until recently. Sure, I’d gotten quite a bit, enough to get me a few generations back on each side. But putting meat back on these bones? Nope, hadn’t done much, still have a long way to go.

When we were expecting our first child in January 2007, we had the usual battle over names. We had a short list of possibilities, but my husband had honed in on one girl name that I wasn’t exactly sold on… Callie. Now mind you, he grew up not really knowing any of the names mentioned above, besides George, his great grandfather, who passed away over 6 years before he was born. I had only seen the censuses listing Caroline as Caroline. Callie was not in our lexicon of family names. Even Scott’s grandmother, Ruth, had not known Caroline as Callie.

We named our daughter Callie, not knowing it was a family name. She was born on 7 February 2007, after being 9 days past due. Sixty years, to the day, after Caroline “Callie” Hassner Roessler’s death.

The Roessler Family, circa 1905. Seated left - to - right: Christopher William, Henry, Ralph Elwood. Standing, left - to - right: Ophelia "Phe," George, and Caroline "Callie" Hassner Roessler. Photo original in the possession of family.

The Roessler Family, circa 1905. Seated left – to – right: Christopher William, Henry, Ralph Elwood. Standing, left – to – right: Ophelia “Phe,” George, and Caroline “Callie” Hassner Roessler. Photo original in the possession of family.

My Wishlist for Caroline:

  • Try to learn more about who she was as a person. Do you have stories of Grandma Caroline?
  • Get a photo of her final resting place in the IOOF mausoleum, as well as the other Roesslers I know are also nearby.
  • Transcribe and post the letter she wrote to her son George following the death of his wife.
  • More photos! Surely there are more photos of her, she lived until 1947.

 

52 Ancestors 52 Weeks #2: Louisa Mansderfer Roessler

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Used with permission by Amy Jonson Crow.

Used with permission by Amy Jonson Crow.

This is my second post for Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. You can read more about the Challenge, and find other bloggers’ submissions linked on Amy’s blog No Story Too Small.

Last week I profiled in great detail all of the current information I have on my husband’s third great grandfather, Christ Roessler. So, this week, I thought I’d share the little bit of information I have on his wife Louisa. Her maiden name of Mansderfer/Mansderver is from Christ’s Pension Questionnaires filled out in 1898 (1) and 1899 (2) (see Christ’s post). The birth information I have for Louisa is found on her burial monument (12 Feb 1835) and is supported by the given ages in the census records. In the 1870 (3), the earliest census record I have found for the family so far, she is listed as 35 years old and having been born in Baden, putting her birth date around 1835. In the next census, 1880 (4), she is listed as 44 years old and being born in Bremen, birth date around 1836. I’m not up on my German principalities and timelines, etc so I’m not sure on which they came from, her birthplace matches Christ’s on both [Christ’s last census, 1900, stated Germany as his birthplace].

Christ Roessler Household, Pittsburgh, PA 1870

Christ Roessler Household, Pittsburgh, PA 1870
Christ Roessler Household, Pittsburgh, PA 1880

Christ Roessler Household, Pittsburgh, PA 1880

I know from one of her husband’s pension papers that Louisa died 5 July 1898 (2), and have a photo of her monument stone in the Birmingham Cemetery in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania (see below) that lists her death date on 7 Jul 1898. The “Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh City Deaths, 1870-1905″ database, indexed on FamilySearch.org, lists her death date as 5 Jul 1898 (5), but her age as 53 with a birth year of 1845, which is possibly transcribed incorrectly, I will have to find the originals if possible.

There seems to be a Roessler family plot there, but I have not been here myself to know who all is in that area. A representative of the Birmingham UCC Church (this is the church the Roessler family were members of, and associated with the cemetery) connected me with a woman named Sharon (email dated 20 Jun 2013) who checked the cemetery for me and gave me the following information on the Roesslers in Birmingham Cemetery:

Section A
Christ Roessler military stone died 24 Mar 1909
Louisa died 7 July 1898 [wife of Christ]
Albert C Roessler age 57 died 22 Dec 1933  [son of Christ & Louisa]
Marie age 80 dies 4 June 1958 [wife of Albert C Roessler]

Albert C Jr. age 42 died 28 Nov 1944 [son of Albert C & Marie]
Clara W. age 79 died 9 Aug 1974 [wife of Albert C Roessler Jr]
Walter R Roessler 1 month died 26 Apr 1923 [I *think* he is a son of Albert Jr & Clara]
Jacob died 11 Jan 1894 [son of Christ & Louisa]
 
Section 4 Lot 338
Christopher Roessler 1855 – 1902 [son of Christ & Louisa]
Mary Roessler age 84 died 14 Apr 1941 [wife of Christopher Roessler]
Photo credit Karen Young

Photo credit Karen Young

Roessler Family plot at Birmingham Cemetery. Large monument includes Louisa, wife of Christ Roessler, and their son Albert Charles (and wife Marie), military headstone ofChrist to the left. Footstones along the tree line are believed to be a part of this plot as well. Photo credit Karen Young

Roessler Family plot at Birmingham Cemetery. Large monument includes Louisa, wife of Christ Roessler, and their son Albert Charles (and wife Marie), military headstone of Christ to the left. Footstones along the tree line are believed to be a part of this plot as well. Photo credit Karen Young

So, according to her headstone, Louisa was born 12 Feb 1835 and died on 7 Jul 1898, having lived 63 years. According to the pension papers, Christ and Louisa were married either on 22 Feb (2) or 3 Mar 1855 (1), which would put Louisa at just 20 years of age, once I get into those microfilmed church records held at the University of Pittsburgh Archives, I hope to be able to find their marriage entry, as well as the children’s births. I do not have any clue as yet to Louisa’s emigration to the United States, and if she married in Pittsburgh at the age of 20, she may have come to the US with family. I have not researched the Mansderfer name. She had at least 6 known children with Christ: Christopher, Henry, Lizzie, Caroline, Albert C, and Jacob. Jacob was not included in the pension papers (see previous post) as he died in 1894, prior to the first questionnaire Christ completed in June 1898.

My wishlist for Louisa

  • Try to find Louisa’s entry into the United States, did she travel with any family or friends?
  • Research the Mansderfer/Mansderver name
  • Thorough research of the Church records for Louisa’s maiden name (confirmation of pension record info), marriage entry, children’s births, death records
  • What was Pittsburgh life like during the Civil War while Louisa was home, seemingly alone, while Chris served his adopted country, with small children to care for?
  • Contact the Allegheny County Courthouse for the actual record entry for Louisa’s death in the “Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh City Deaths, 1870-1905″ indexed on FamilySearch.org
  1. Department of the Interior Bureau of Pensions Questionnaire dated 15 January 1898, signed 6 June 1898.
  2. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Pensions Questionnaire dated 6 January 1899, signed 9 January 1899.
  3. “United States Census, 1870,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MZL7-NF3 : accessed 15 Jan 2014), Louisa Rosler in household of Chr Rosler, Pennsylvania, United States; citing p. , family 302, NARA microfilm publication M593, FHL microfilm 000552792.
  4. “United States Census, 1880,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MW6G-MPZ : accessed 15 Jan 2014), Louisa Reissler in household of Christ. Reissler, Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, United States; citing sheet 279A, family 1, NARA microfilm publication T9-1095
  5. “Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh City Deaths, 1870-1905,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/KFGS-MTG : accessed 15 Jan 2014), Roessler in entry for Louisa Roessler, 1898.

52 Ancestors 52 Weeks: #1 Christ. Roessler

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This new blogging challenge, 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks, landed in my lap recently, and it seems that fate wants me to tell you about a man in my husband’s lineage whose name my children were born to.

Christ Roessler signature 1899

Christ. Roessler

I’m a member of a Facebook group called Pennsylvania Genealogy Network and had added my ROESSLER surname to one of their surname files for researchers to find each other, my Roessler line being associated with Allegheny County. I was contacted just yesterday by a fellow group member noting that her mother-in-law was a ROESSLER from the county I had indicated. Fast forward a few back and forths and BINGO! we’re both interested in a couple who began our Roessler family here in the United States. While it appears I have more information document-wise, she is blessed to be closer both in location and in generations to this founding family. This couple was her husband’s great grandparents, as compared to being my husband’s third great grandparents. You can imagine, perhaps, that the stories his family has of the Roessler family do not reach back 4 generations to the days when they lived in Pennsylvania and therefore, this founding couple.

So here is what I know of Christ Roessler. His name is always abbreviated as “Christ.” or “Chr” with the exception of his Muster Rolls, where his name is spelled “Christoph,” and once each as “Christian” and “Christopf.” Even his military headstone says “CHRIST. ROESSLER.” So I just refer to him as Christ. Christ was born 27 Aug 1833 in Baden, Germany (1), and he came to the United States prior to February 1855 (2), but I’ve yet to find any information on his emigration. He married Louisa Mansderver/Mansderfer on either 22 February 1855 by Reverend Zimmerman (2) or 3 March 1855 by Reverend Gilbert (3). In 1907, at the age of 73, Christ noted that at enlistment (1861) he was 5’8″ with light hair and complexion and gray eyes. He enlisted, at the age of 28, as a Private in Company F of the 74th Pennsylvania Infantry on 6 September 1861 in Pittsburgh, and that he was honorably discharged with the whole of his Company at Fort Ethan Allen in Virginia on the 16th September 1864 (1). I know that he received a $12 Pension, under Certificate No. 862566 (1), but two of his records include the number 600.322 (4) (5), so that needs to be further investigated. Christ alleged in 1887 to the Bureau of Pensions that he was wounded whilst in the service “disabled by a gunshot wound in head (scalp wound) recieved at Bull Run, Va Aug 27th, 1862″ (4), but a review of his regimental records did not provide evidence of said wound (5).

I am blessed to have been given a bunch of documents that may just comprise the entirety of Christ’s military file, but as they were hand-me-downs, I’m not certain at this time, but I do have a lot of it! I have 4 pages of legal-sized photocopies of his Muster Rolls dating from 31 Dec 1861 to 16 Sep 1864 when he mustered out at Fort Ethan Allen in Virginia. Christ was sent on several recruiting missions back to Pittsburgh while he was in service, as noted on his Muster Rolls (6). Also included is the accounting of his pay, he was last paid 30 Apr 1864, but did not muster out until 16 September 1864. He was due $9.09 on his clothing account since last settlement date of 29 February 1864, he was also due $100 in Bounty, and had a Stoppage on his account for $2.48 “for one Rubber Blanket not paid” (7).

The children of Christ and his wife Louisa are noted in his 2 Pension Questionnaires (2) (3), though their birth dates are inconsistent between the 2 documents, completed when Christ was 64 and 65 years old, also according to the records his wife passed away between the two. Here are their children with both their 1898 (3) and 1899 (2) birth dates, respectively:

Christ Roessler – 22 Aug 1855 / 22 Aug 1855
Henry Roessler – 30 Nov 1856 / 28 Feb 1856
Lizzie Roessler Grine – 7 Sep 1860 / 12 Jun 1860
Caroline Roessler – 30 Oct 1865 / 8 May 1866
Albert C Roessler – 25 Jun 1865 / 25 Jul 1876

As the birth date of Christ (the younger) does not change, I am doubtful Henry was born 6 months after him, so the November 1856 date is more likely for him, and subsequently the September birth for Lizzie. Caroline is a post-war baby, so either date is feasible. Albert Charles’ birth date is definitely closer to the 1876 date, even though it is a large gap, based on his 1880 and 1900 census records.  

The Roesslers were members of the German Evangelical Church of Birmingham, now the Birmingham United Church of Christ, and I have contacted them for more information, and thankfully their records from 1843 – 1977 have been archived at the University of Pittsburgh Archives Service Center, which is on my ToDo List for this year. I’d love to get my hands on the marriage record of Christ and Louisa, and the birth/baptism records of the children.

I’ve found Christ and family in the 1870, 1880, and 1900 census records so far:

Christ Roessler Household, Pittsburgh, PA 1870

Christ Roessler Household, Pittsburgh, PA 1870

Christ Roessler Household, Pittsburgh, PA 1880

Christ Roessler Household, Pittsburgh, PA 1880

Albert Charles Roessler Household, Pittsburgh, PA 1900

Albert Charles Roessler Household, Pittsburgh, PA 1900

Christ died on 24 Mar 1909 (8), and is buried in what is now known as Birmingham Cemetery in Pittsburgh, PA, though I’ve also heard it referred to as Zimmerman. He has a memorial listed on FindAGrave. A fellow descendant visited his resting place in 2013 with her dad, a great grandson of Christ’s, and is kindly allowing me to share her photos with you, thank you Karen!

Military headstone of Christ Roessler

Military headstone of Christ Roessler

Roessler Family plot at Birmingham Cemetery. Large monument includes Louisa, wife of Christ Roessler, and their son Albert Charles (and wife Marie), military headstone ofChrist to the left. Footstones along the tree line are believed to be a part of this plot as well.

Roessler Family plot at Birmingham Cemetery. Large monument includes Louisa, wife of Christ Roessler, and their son Albert Charles (and wife Marie), military headstone of Christ to the left. Footstones along the tree line are believed to be a part of this plot as well.

So there you are, basically everything I know about Christ. Roessler, the Original Immigrant Ancestor of my husband’s Roessler family. Do you have any suggestions or information that might help me get a fuller picture of Christ or his family? Are you connected to him? Please contact me! My research wishlist for Christ:

          • When did Christ journey to the United States, and from where? Did he travel with any other family?
          • Search the microfilm records of the church for any mention of Christ and his family.
          • Request the full military pension file for Christ to determine if there are any pieces missing from what I was given.
          • Did Christ become a Naturalized Citizen? When? Would he have had to be a Citizen to enlist in the Civil War?
          • Start a Descendants Project for all of the descendants of Christ and Louisa.
  1. “ACT OF FEBRUARY 6, 1907 DECLARATION FOR PENSION,” 23 March 1907.
  2. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Pensions Questionnaire dated 6 January 1899, signed 9 January 1899.
  3. Department of the Interior Bureau of Pensions Questionnaire dated 15 January 1898, signed 6 June 1898.
  4. Department of the Interior Bureau of Pensions letter dated 8 April 1887 requesting records from the War Department regarding an injury suffered during the war by Christ Roessler, Private, Co F 74th PA Inf.
  5. War Department Adjutant General’s Office letter dated 31 May 1887 in response to (4) with service details, no evidence found in records of said wound.
  6. Muster Roll Records of Private Christ Roessler, Co F. 74th PA Inf, dates spanning 31 Dec 1861 – Aug 1864, 4 pages.
  7. Muster Out Account Record, dated after 30 Apr 1864.
  8.  United States Pension Agency, Pensioner Dropped, Christ Roessler, Certificate No. 862.566, died 24 March 1909, dated 25 March 1909.

52 Weeks 52 Ancestors: Challenge Accepted.

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I’ve been feeling awful about my lack of consistency in my own chosen projects. It shouldn’t come as a shock to me, I’ve had a problem with following through for as much of my life as I can imagine I made such attempts to start things. Trust me, my mother can tell you all about my habit of leaving things unfinished.  I have not broken this habit in the first 30+ years of my life, hopefully that won’t be true for my second 30+ years. While the intent is to never really “finish” my genealogical adventures, I do want to be more consistent. I do want to leave a tangible record of my attempts and research for my children and others who might find themselves kin to them in some way.

So, here we are at the dawn of the New Year, and the time of Resolutions is upon us. One of mine is definitely to follow through and be consistent with my blogging. So, in true procrastinator style I’ve been sort of thinking about how exactly to do that for the past 3 days or so… and along comes the lovely Amy Johnson Crow with her golden gift to the tune of “Hallelujah” (in my head it totally went down like that)

Used with permission by Amy Jonson Crow.

Used with permission by Amy Jonson Crow.

I think she struck a chord through the genealogy blogging sphere if the comments and the number of folks joining in is any indication.

So here we are friends and family. Me making a commitment to this project. Hopefully, I’ll post more than just that, but still. Baby steps.

I can do this. Won’t you join me?

 

 

1789 Deed, easy peasy. Right?

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I transcribed a deed between George Myrise and John Arlsberger in my last post. This deed referred to the same two lots of land that George rented from Mathias and Mary Baker in 1785. The language in the 1789 degree is much more user friendly than the 1785, but let’s put it into normal language just to be sure I’m understanding it and sharing it correctly.

On January 5, 1789 George Myrise and John Arlsberger made a deal for the two lots George was paying yearly groundrents on to Mathias and Mary Baker, at the rate of 7 Shillings 6 Pence paid every May 1st. The lots being numbers 75 and 76 in the general plan of Petersburg, bordered on the North by King Street, East by a lot owned by a Nicholas Onstats (lot number 77 per the 1785 indenture), South by a 20 foot alley (previously noted as the lands of a Joseph Plautt), and on the West by a 16 foot alley. The lots are both 66 feet wide along King Street and 264 feet in depth. George Myrise acknowledges a payment for the said lots by John Arlsberger in the sum of £17 (pounds). John Arlsberger to take on the yearly groundrents payment to Mathias Baker. The deed conveys ownership as well to “the Houses, Out Houses & buildings thereon made & erected, fences, Gardens, Trees, Waters, Ways, Heriditaments and appurtenances.” The deed and payment were witnessed by a Philip Sholl and a Jacob Parr. It was presented to the Courts and signed by R McIlhinny, a Justice of the Court of Common Pleas. The deed was copied into the deed books by J Barnitz, Recorder, on 9 Nov 1789.

So, we now know that George possessed these 2 lots from 22 Oct 1785 until 5 Jan 1789, a little over 3 years. As of right now, without court minutes, we can only assume that George had paid his yearly groundrents to Mathias and Mary, but our George made quite the tidy profit it would seem on these two lots. There are 12 Pence per Shilling and 20 Shillings per Pound, and at a yearly rate of 7 Shillings 6 Pence over that equals to having paid the Bakers at least £1 7s 6p. I would also assume, though, that George had built something more on those lots, as no buildings are specifically mentioned in the 1785 indenture, perhaps that is why the going price was so much more? I don’t think George lived there, though, as the 1789 deed names him a “Farmer of Germany Township” not of Petersburg where these lots are located.

Thoughts? Am I getting these things right? I hope so, but please let me know if I am missing anything or just plain getting it wrong! I’d appreciate it.

 

A 1789 Deed, shorter than the last.

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This is the second deed I found via the Deed Index on the York County [PA] Archives website, I transcribed the first here, and discussed it here. Now to make an attempt at the second deed. This deed concerns the same lots George Myrise rented from Mathias and Mary Baker, and is dated 1789, so now I know that George had possession of these two lots for a little over 3 years.

You can see it here in PDF: Deed Book 2F page 213/214

George Myrice
& John Arlsberger

George Myrise To all People to whom these presents Shall come Sendeth Greeting. Whereas Mathias Baker and Mary his Wife by Indenture under their hands & Seals and for the Consideration and under the Reservations and ground rents therein mentioned and Reserved bearing date the twenty Second Day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand Seven hundred and eighty five did grant, bargain Sell Convey & Confirm unto the aforesaid George Myrise Farmer of Germany Township and County of York and to his Heirs and Assigns forever, the following parcel or two Lots of ground in the Town of Petersburg lying and being Situate on the South Side of the Main Street Called King Street, Bounded on the North by the Street aforesaid on the East by a Lot of ground of Nicholas Onstats [?] on the South by a twenty feet alley & on the West by a sixteen feet alley and known on the general plan of the Said Town by the Numbers Seventy five and Seventy Six Containing in front on the Street aforesaid Sixty Six feet and in length or debth two hundred and Sixty four feet [*] as in & by the Deed aforesaid Recorded [*] will fully appear. Now Know Ye that I the aforesaid George Myrise for in Consideration of the Sum of Seventeen pounds gold or Silver now Lawfull money of Pennsylvania to me
(in)

214
in hand paid by John Arlsberger of the Town aforesaid before the [unsealing?] hereof the receipt of which I hereby acknowledge [*] Hath granted bargined & Sold and by these presents Do grant bargin Sell release and Confirm unto the Said John Arlsberger his Heirs and Assigns, the two Lots of ground and premises aforesaid as the Same is above dicribed Bounded and Numbred & Containg in breadth & length as aforesaid. Together with the Houses, Out Houses & buildings thereon made & erected, fences, Gardens, Trees, Waters, Ways, Heriditaments and appurtenances in any wise belonging or appurtening reversions remainders, Rents, Isshues and profits thereof As also of the Estate right, Title, Interest Claim and demand of me the said George Myrise of in or to the Lots of ground aforesaid and premises with the appurtenances with the Deed before recited And to all other the Title papers touching the same in my Hands or Custody. To have and to hold the two Lots of ground and premises aforesaid with the appurtenances unto the said John Arlsberger his Heirs and Assigns, To the only proper use benefit and behoof of him his Heirs and Assigns forever, Subject to the payment of the ground rents hereafter to become due & to be paid therefor but Clear and free & Clearly and freely discharged of all other Incumbrances else whatever[.] And I the said George Myrise for myself and my Heirs Do Covenant and grant to and with the said John Arlsberger his Heirs and Assigns that I or they Shall & will forever Warrant and defend the Said two Lots of ground and appurtenances unto the said John Arlsberger his Heirs and Assigns from & against me them or any of them[.] In Witness whereof I the said George Myrise have hereunto Set my Hand & Seal the fifth Day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred & eighty nine[.]
{George Myrise} seal

Sealed & Delivered in our presence
{Philip Sholl, Jacob Parr[?]}

Received before the above date of John Arlsberger the Sum of Seventeen pounds in full the Concideration Sum above mentioned to be paid by him to me  & Rec’d as Per me
{George Myrise} seal
Witness present at Signing Philip Sholl Jacob Parr
York County [?] Before me Rob’t McIlhinny Esq one of the Justices of the Court of Common Pleas for {seal} said County, Came George Myrise and acknowledged the foregoing Instrument of Writing As & for his Act & Deed to the Intent the Same be entered on Record as Such according to Law. In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my Hand & Seal the fifth Day of January 1789
{R McIlhinny}
A true Copy taken from & Compared with the Original at York the Ninth Day of November A. Dom. 1789
{J Barnitz} Recorder

The signature of George Myrise in January 1789. The script has been likened to Suetterlin Script.

Is this the signature of George Myrise in 1789? Note the difference in writing between the Recorder’s “George Myrice” and the Signature. The script has been likened to Suetterlin Script. My thanks to Cathy Meder-Dempsey for pointing that out!

http://www.suetterlinschrift.de/Englisch/Sutterlin.htm

The 1785 Deed. What did I just read?

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The 1785 Deed, which I transcribed previously, between Mathias Baker (and his wife Mary) and George Myrise, was completed in October 1785. It was a lot of words to not say a whole lot, but it still adds to George’s 300 year old story I am trying to uncover. So what exactly does the Deed say in laymen’s terms? Let’s give it a go, and please let me know if I get something wrong!

On October 22, 1785 a deal was struck between Mathias and Mary Baker and George Myrise for George to rent 2 lots of land in Peteresburg Town (which I believe is now known as Littlestown) within Germany Township in York County, Pennsylvania. The lots were 66 feet in length and 264 feet in depth. These lots were known on the General Plan by the numbers 75 and 76. They were located on the South side of Main Street and were bordered on the North side by Main Street, the East by lot number 77, the South by land owned by a Joseph Plautt (this is a guess to his surname), and on the West by a “16 foot Alley.” The original land was a tract under the province, then State, of Pennsylvania, originally patented to a Peter Little Senior at Philadelphia on September 18, 1760. George Myrise (his heirs, etc) agrees to pay Mathias Baker (his heirs, etc) a yearly fee of 7 Shillings 6 Pence on May 1st for the land. As this agreement commenced after May 1, 1785, George agreed to pay a fee of 5 Shillings for the land up to May 1, 1786, and the 7 Shilling 6 Pence after that, “forever.” If George (or his heirs, etc) has not paid by May 1st, he has 90 days to do so before Mathias Baker (or his Heirs, etc) may enter the property to attempt to obtain the money due to him. If after 10 more days go by without payment, Mathias Baker may sell off items in order to obtain the required sum, any excess money raised to be given back to George Myrise. Mathias Baker also has the right to repossess and re-enter the land for rent if no money is to be made or found, as if this deed had never happened. If George does pay the yearly sum, he has the right to live on the land and do what he wants with it as their own property, without threat of disturbance from Mathias Baker.

The deed was signed by Mathias and his wife, but no signature from George Myrise is shown in the book copy. It was witnessed by R McIlhinny and Adam Wintroth.  George is noted as paying the said 5 Shillings on that day as well, also witnessed by R McIlhinny and Adam Wintroth.

The Deed was presented to a Judge or Justice of the Common Pleas Court of York County on October 25, 1785. Mary Baker is noted as being of full age and was aware of the deal being made and that she was fully in support of it and not coerced. Signed by a Thomas Fisher. This copy (in the deed books) was made and matched truly to the original on October 27, 1785 by Archibald McLean, a county Recorder.

I find it interesting that there was concern that Mary was entering the agreement “freely and of her own accord.” Can anything be gleaned from that? Was this a normal situation in this type of agreement at the time with a wife being part of the agreement? Neither of the deeds I have found for George include mention of his wife. Or was this land possibly attached to Mary through a dower or inheritance?

Looking at the Grantor and Grantee Indexes on the York County Archives website, we can see that there are plenty of deeds made by a Mathias Baker “ux” (and wife), and plenty of others that include a Mathias or a Mary/Maria Baker.

Grantee (Buyer) Deed Index

Grantee (Buyer) Deed Index

Grantor (seller) Deed Index

Grantor (seller) Deed Index

For my Research To Do List:

  • Obtain a copy of the town General Plan to determine lots 75 and 76
  • Determine how long George rented this land for

A Deed! Now to transcribe…

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With many thanks to the staff at the York County (PA) Archives, I was able to quickly receive 2 deeds that mention my George Myrise, via email, with excellent scans! So, I hope you’ll excuse my absence for the last week, as I’ve been pouring over all of these documents!

So, here we go. The following document is from the Deed books at York County, and is dated 22 October 1785, between a Mathias Baker, and his wife Mary, and our George Myrise.

Note – reading legal papers is not easy, I’ve done my best.

You can see the Deed in PDF here: Deed book 2C page 485

Baker et ux [and wife] to Myrise

This Indenture Made the twenty second Day of October Anno Domini One Thousand seven hundred and Eighty five Between Mathias Baker and Mary hid Wife of the Town of Petersburg Township of Germany County of York and State of Pennsylvania of the one part and George Myrise of the Township County & State aforesaid of the other part. Witnesseth that the said Mathias Baker and Mary his wife as well for the Yearly Groundrents and Covenants herein mentioned to be paid performed and fulfilled by the said George Myrise his Heirs & Assigns as for the Consideration Sum of five Shillings Currency of Pennsylvania to them in Hand paid by the said George Myrise at the Ensealing hereof the Receipt of which id hereby acknowledged and the said George Myrise of the said Sum discharged. Hath granted bargained Sold Releised & confirmed and do by these Presents Grant bargain Sell a lien and Confirm unto the said George Myrise his Heirs and Assigns forever the following Bounded and discribed Pieces Parcells at two Lotts of Ground lying and being in the Town of Petersburg on the South Side of the Main Street called Kings Street being a great Road leading from Yorktown in county of York to Frederik Town in State of Maryland Containing in Part the Street aforesaid Each Lott sixty six Feet and in Length or debth [depth] two hundred and sixty four Feet known on the General Plan of the whole Town by their numbers Seventy five and seventy six Bounded on the North by the Street aforesaid on the East by a Lot of Ground No. seventy seven on the South by Land of Joseph Plautt [?] & on the West by a sixteen Foot Alley […] It being part of a Tract of Land which was granted by the Honourable the Proprietor of the Late Province now State of Penna [Pennsylvania]. By their Letters Patent under the great Seal of the said Province bearing date at Philadelphia the Eighteenth Day of September which was in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and sixty unto a certain Peter Little senr [senior?] […] and which by sundry other Grants and Sales is become the lawfull Estate and Property of Mathias Baker his Heirs and Assigns forever. Together with all and singular the Improvements belonging and appertaning or being within the Bounds or Limmits thereof Reversions Remainders Rents Issues and Profits thereof . To have and to hold the hereby granted two Lotts of Ground and Appartenances  unto the said George Myrise his Heirs and Assigns forever. Yielding and paying thereout and therefore unto the said Mathias Baker his Heirs and Assigns at the said Town of Petersburg upon the first Day of May yearly and every year forever since the first Day of May last past the Rent or Sum of seven Shillings and six Pence Currency of Pennsylvania for each and every of the said Lots of Ground, Provided always nevertheless that if any of the said Ground Rents be behind and unpaid for the Space of ninty Days…
After,

(486)

After the Days & Times the sum ought to be paid and discharged that then it shall and may be Lawfull to and for the said Mathias Baker his Heirs or Assigns, into or upon the said Lots of Ground or any part thereof to enter and distrain for the said Ground Rents and the distress or distresses then and there so found to take lead drive carry away and Impound and Impounded to detain at the risque Con [?] and Charges of the said George Myrise his Heirs or Assigns for the Space of ten Days and if within the Space of Ten days satisfaction and payment be not made of the Groundrents and Averages thereof if and such be the said distress or distresses to Expose to Sale at public Vendue for the best price that can be reasonable gotten for the same and after Payment of the said Groundrents and averages thereof if any be with costs of distress detainure and and Sale the over plush if any be to be returned to the said George Myrise his Heirs and assigns. Provided also if no distress can be found sufficient to satisfy the said Groundrents and averages thereof upon the said Lots of Ground and Promises that then it shall and may be lawfull to and for the said Mathias Baker his Heirs and Assigns into and upon the said Lots of Ground or any part thereof in the Name of the whole wholly to ReEnter and the same again to Repossess and Enjoy as his or their own Estate and Property in as full and absolute a Manner to all Intents and Purposes as if the Indenture had never been Executed.

And the said George Myrise doth for himself his Heirs & Assigns Covenant & Promise to and the said Mathias Baker his Heirs & Assigns in Form following that the said George Myrise his Heirs Executors Administrators or Assigns or some one of them shall and will well and truly pay or cause to be paid to the said Mathias Baker his Heirs or Assigns the said Ground Rents or Sum of Seven Shillings and six Pence Currency of Penna yearly at the days and Times herein mentioned for each & every of the said Lots of Ground According to the true Intent and meaning of these Presents. And the said Mathias Baker doth for himself his Heirs and Assigns Covenant and Grant to and with the said George Myrise his Heirs and Assigns that upon Condition of the Payment of the Yearly Ground Rents According to the true Intent of these Presents, State that the said George Myrise his Heirs and Assigns shall and from henceforth may have hold Occupy Possess and Enjoy the hereby granted two Lots of Ground and Promise as his or their Estate and Property without the Lawfull Lott Hindrance Interruption Molestation or denial of him the said Mathias Baker his Heirs or Assigns or any person By from or under him them or any of them. And further that he or they shall and will at the lawfull Request and cost of the said George Myrise his Heirs or Assigns Sign Seal and Execute any other Deed or Instrument of writing for the better conveying and afouring [?] the said Lots of Ground & Promises  unto the said George Myrise his Heirs and Assigns as shall be council learned in the Law be Judged Necessary or Requisite. In witness whereof the said Parties hath hereunto set their Hands Seals the Day and Year first above written.
{Mathias Baker} seal
{Mary (her mark) Baker} seal

Signed Sealed and Delivered in our Presents
{R McIlhinny} {Adam Wintroth}

Received on the Day of the date hereof of George Myrise the sum of five Shillings the Sum mentioned as P[..]       {Mathias Baker} seal
Witness Present {R McIlhinny} {Adam Wintroth}

York County [..] Before me the Subscriber one of the Judges or Justices of the Court of Common Pleas for the Aforesaid County Came Mathia Baker and Mary his Wife and severally acknowledged the within Indenture Contained on the other part of this Sheet of Paper as their Act & Deed to the Intent the same be admitted on Record as such According to Law said Mary being of full Age and was by me deamed apart from her Husband said she knew the Contents and became party to the within Indenture freely and of her own
Accord

(487)

Accord without Coercion and Compulsion from her Husband. In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my Hand & Seal the 25th Day of October Anno Domini 1785
{Thos. Fisher} seal
A true copy taken from & Compared with the Original at York the 27th Day of Oct. 1785
{Archd MClean} Recorder

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