Who signed the Barnabas Gable marriage deed?

The marriage deed of Barnabas Gable is the first document that pins William Myers Jr/Sr into Greene County, TN. This because a William Moyer cosigns the deed. But what to make of the signature on the lower right?

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My brother argues, persuasively I believe, that the two iotas are above a letter ‘y’ and so we’re looking at a y umlaut.  And this creates an interesting set of questions.

William Senior signs his will with an ‘x’. That said, he’s an 86 year old man when he signs in 1821. If he were a captain in the Pennsylvania militia, he would have had to deliver a notice to every militiaman who was being called upon to serve. That would suggest some minimal reading skills required, enough to recognize a signature.

Now, Elizabeth Kocher is well liked enough that she is included in William Senior’s will. So it’s entirely possible that’s William Senior’s signature. That said, in 1795 or thereabouts, William Myers Jr names a child ‘Barnabas’. So yes, the mystery continues. Is William Sr literate? Is that his signature on the document above? If so, is that a typical German signature of the 18th century and if so, what elements in the signature would let us know?

Greeneville TN visit. Some quick hits.

I have driven to Greene County TN, spent parts of two days in their genealogical library. I found the Nolichucky River and also Cove Creek. I have taken photos of Cove Creek, the Solomon Lutheran church. After, I found Mt Tabor United Methodist Church, the Myers cemetery there, and took a photo of Wayne Myers’s grave. In the meantime, I also found his obituary.

Q: Was William Myers Sr illiterate?

He signs his will with an ‘x’.  For now, I suspect he is, though I cannot rule out him losing the ability to write later in life.

Q: How close were the lands of William Myers Sr and Jr?

In a deed dated 1817, Charles Myers Jr sells 19 3/4 acres of land to Barnabas Myers. In the deed he mentions he inherited the land from his father, William Myers, and that the land is adjacent to the land of William Myers Sr.

The evidence they were close is that they appear in the same tax district within Greene County year after year. But side by side is yet another matter.

Q: When did William Myers Jr die?

He is reported as alive on the tax rolls of 1814. later in the year, on the 25th of October, 1814, the first of three estate sales happen. So he must have died in 1814. A rereading of the documents suggest that the first estate sale is a different man. An inventory of William Myers Jr’s estate is taken on Tuesday, January 24, 1815 and in that document it gives a date of death of January 23, 1815.

Q: What about the other Myers?

If you mean Christopher Myers and Henry Myers and that bunch, they are physically in another district, north and west of the Cove Creek Myers. The librarian at T Elmer Cox said they were located between Mohawk and Mosheim. There are other small groups, but the West Greene Myers and the Cove Creek Myers are the two largest groups.

Q: What was the status of Jacob Myers, William Myers Jr’s fourth son, after William’s death?

Turns out he was a minor too. John Cook Sr takes guardianship of him on Wed, April 14, 1816. That paints Charles Myers Jr as the oldest of the William Myers Jr children.

Q: Can we locate George Myers in Greene County TN?

He is on the tax rolls of 1798. He is part of a trial, along with John Myers, in 1803. Both John and George were witnesses. I believe that George Myers was also part of a jury in 1803, but the last name of the last juror (George) is cut off in my photo. In 1805, you can find a ‘George Moyers’ in the tax rolls. A George Myers marries a June Harty in 1801, marriage deed # 758.

Q: What are the earliest signs of the Cove Creek Myers in Greene County TN?

John Myers is certainly active in the early 1790s, as he is known to arrive in 1790. The date for William Myers Sr and company to arrive is between 1792 and 1794. The first tax rolls that show William Sr, William Jr, John, George, John Cook, Barnabas Gable etc is the 1798 tax roll. I don’t know why they are missing in 1796; data loss? The first written document that pins a William into Greene County is the marriage deed of Barnabas Gable, which appears to be signed by a William Myers (At this point I suspect William Sr). The marriage is normally dated to 18 Dec, 1795.

Q: What are the first signs of Charles Myers Sr in Greene County?

Still, the first sign is his marriage to Rebecca Williams in 1811. In 1812, there are comments in the minutes about roads that were to be made from ‘Charles Myers’s Smith Shop’ to other locations, or roads to be made near the shop.

In 1813, a Charles Myers, probably Charles Sr, buys 19+ acres of land and this acreage appears in the 1814, 1815, and 1816 tax rolls. This is not the same land that is deeded to Barney Myers.

By late 1814 through 1816 Charles Sr is heavily involved with the William Myers Jr estate, and appears on the tax rolls as administrator of William’s land in 1815 and 1816. No attempt is made to distinguish between the Charles Myers who owns 19 acres and the one who administers the William Myers estate.

Q: When did Charles Myers Sr leave?

Because of tax roll loss in Greene County, we can’t trace him from 1817 out. First sign in Giles is the 1820 US Census.

Q: Any news on George Kocher Jr?

I found and photographed his marriage deed, but could not find any hint of him on the tax rolls.

Q: Who else lived along Cove Creek?

John Crockett did, in 1794. He was building a grist mill when a flood wiped out the mill and left John, David Crockett’s father, with a large debt load. I like to imagine that David Crockett could have played marbles with Charles Sr and Jr.

Q: So what did Wayne Myers’s grave look like?

Like this. Without Wayne, this blog would be a small and largely barren affair.

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Charles Myers 1789-1857. Is his mother a Girdner?

My original source for the Conrad Girdner obit was an email from Rayedene Graves. Later I found a link on Ancestry and there is also this little bit of info from RootsWeb. The story goes as follows (emphasis mine):

OBITUARY of Conrad Girdner
Died, at his residence in the 9th district of Greene County, Tennessee, of old age and a consuming sore, on the 12th day of May, 1882, Conrad Girdner, aged 95 years, 2 months and 22 days.
The subject of this sketch was born in Hedrick Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, on the 20th day of February, 1787. He was of German extract. His father’s name was Michael. He was born in Northampton County. His father married Huldah Beach, and they had nine children, whose names were: David, Conrad, Joseph, Christena, Michael, Charlotte, Geroge, Mary and Naney.

The writer was at Mr. Girdner’s residence the very last days that his memory was anywise good and was able to snatch from the mind of one who, only a few weeks before possessed a most retentive memory of past events which had come to his knowledge the past ninety years and I will give what follows in quotations in his own words:
“I was five years old when my parents, with the oldest and two younger than I, left Pennsylvania for the wilds of Tennessee with two horses and a wagon. They were accompanied by two brothers-in-laws one named Myers and the other Cook, and their families.
“I walked all the way from our old home to Flag Branch, in Greene County, where my father settled on one hundred acres of land. He afterwards added to it by purchase. The distance we traveled was seven hundred miles, and I now well remember every step of the journey. We left in February, 1792, and were fully seven weeks on the way. —
When we arrived there was just a little cabin on the purchase, which property is now owned and occupied by the widow Perman. When we came the Indians were still in possession of portions of East Tennessee, and continued to annoy the white settlers til 1805, when a treaty impelled them to go elsewhere, and leave the white men in full possession of this portion of our wide domain.
“During one of the Indian wars Charles O’Neal, an Irishmen, taught school in our neighborhood, and I attended three months. He said he had taught thirteen hundred different schollars and that I was one of the very quickest to learn. But our facilities for schooling were very limited. I learned to read, write some and could cast accounts sufficently for my purpose through life. The elder children had to get up before daylight and break flax and perform other labor before school, in order to enable my mother to spin and weave cloth with which to clothe us.
I lived with my father til 1807, when I married Elizabeth George, daughter of Yost George, who came from Germany when he wwas but four years of age. I was twenty years old when I married. A portion of father’s land was set off to me and I settled down for life. My wife and I had eleven children-six daughters and five sons-viz: William, Catherine, John, Delilah, Luther, Eliza, Mary Jane, Stephen, Alexander, Nancy and Sally.
“Years after my father came out grandfather, David Girdner came to Greene County {c1798) with a span of horses and a wagon. Grandmother drove the team and grandfather sat by her side. He died on the estate I now occupy, on Richland Creek.
“I was engaged in the war of 1812 under Gen. Andrew Jackson. And so was my father, though he was a man well stricken in years. He died in 1814, aged sixty years. After his death my mother married Lewis Ball.”
During the recital of the above his mind several times wandered, and I had to give him rest. The next day he was incompetent to tell anything, and rapidly grew worse, til soon his mind gave way entirely.
I had intended to have drawn out of him and rescued from oblivion many facts in his knowledge which have gone out with his mind.
Mr. Girdner came to town for the last time in September last to prepare his pension papers. His mind was vigorous til about February, when it began to weaken, as well as his body. On his 95th birthday, February 20th, he gave a dinner party, which was attended by his son, Dr. William Girdner, his wife and some others. he had been very feelbe previous to that occasion, but seemed quite cheerful and much better on that day. He commenced growing worse till at last the once brilliant mind flickered out and he was totally ignorant of everything going on around him.

About fifteen years ago he was afflicted with a cancerous sore on his nose between his eyes, which he was admonished was dangerous unless he would submit to an operation, but he would not, and the sore continued to eat into his flesh till it consumed his nose and caused blindness, and ultimately spread through his whole system, till death came to his relief at the time above stated.
J.S. WARNER – WRITER
THE GREENEVILLE HERALD – MAY 1882 – PUBLISHED IN GREENEVILLE, TENNESSEE.

So, just for yucks I got onto Ancestry and looked for matches to folks who had the name ‘Girdner’ in their family trees. I had six matches. Of these, three were related to David Girdner and three to women in eastern TN, in places like Moore County, that easily could have descended from these folks.

These results need to be confirmed. They are not close but distant matches, and only one rated as ‘Good’ by Ancestry. Understand, we’re getting to the point DNA information gets lost, and just by matching, I can’t eliminate an accidental match. I can’t even check to see if the match is paternal, by myself.

On the other hand, my autosomal data does not preclude the possibility that Charles Myers’s father is the Myers spoken about in the Girdner obit, and his mother is an unknown Girdner female.

Update: A really good Girdner link.

Charles Myers 1789-1857. The “Out of Northampton” hypothesis.

This is the idea that Charles Myers (1789-1857) is born in Northampton County Pa to someone related to Captain William Myers (1735-1823), and that he comes down to Greene County TN along with the rapid migration of Myers into the region. It does not require that William Sr fathers Charles, though in some ways that makes the idea the easiest to assume.  One of the reasons this blog has been pursuing narrowing the gap between PA and TN is that it makes it easier to understand where Charles may be, and at what time.

Tax roll data from the Easton PA genealogical library places the time that William Sr leaves to between 1792 and 1794. Oral testimony by John Myers’s widow places their time of departure to 1790. The internet story ‘Conrad Girdner obit‘, places the time of departure of a Myers married to a Girdner to 1792. Barnabas Myers is born in TN in 1795. Elizabeth Kocher, William’s grand daughter, marries in 1795 in Greene Co TN.

This hypothesis makes some things easier. The appearance of Charles Myers in TN is no longer an unexplained mystery. His family takes him into TN. Other elements of the story become harder to research.  Oral testimony by George Myers makes it clear that the Myers didn’t have church weddings performed.  Now church studies by the Easton library are ongoing but nothing has been returned yet. People don’t even know the name of Cap William Myers’s spouse before his marriage to Nancy Carter in 1800.  And children, for the most part, don’t exist in records so long as they are cared for. Only if they inherit property do they end up in court records, as courts assign guardians to them.

Let me point out that this whole idea is not new, that Wayne Myers was talking about this at least 15 years ago.  The new element is DNA evidence that Charles Myers Sr is related to George Myers and William Sr.

So, where to look? I would suggest looking at Greene Co court records in the 1803-1805 time frame, to see if Charles Myers formally requests apprenticeship. I think the end of Charles’s stay in Green Co needs to be documented. The first time I can locate Charles Sr in Giles County is the 1820 federal census. The second part of his journey needs to be better elucidated.

DNA rarity and Myers YDNA

This was a concept I wasn’t entirely familiar with, the idea that someone’s STR data set could be so rare that you don’t match anybody. This was striking enough I started looking for ways to measure rarity, and found this link.  On this site, they have a spreadsheet you can download, and I fed my Dad’s Y67 values into this sheet. Results were interesting enough, to say the least.

wheaton_average

One of the rarity measures is called a Wheaton Average, and I calculated this for my Dad’s YDNA. At 12 markers it was 28.7, at 25 it was 22.7. At 37 it was 16.4, and at 67 it was 11.1. Looking at the chart, in order that would mean, Rare, Rare, Uncommon, Average.

This is the deal. Rare at 12 means rare, period. Same with 25. And if someone can’t begin to match you at Y25, it’s not as if the match gets any better at 67.

This article by Roberta Estes (back in 2012, so with a much smaller pool of tested folks) is illuminating. She says,

The average person has about eight hundred 12 marker matches, just under 200 25 marker matches, fourteen 37, thirteen 67 and not quite one 111 marker match. There still aren’t a lot of folks who have tested at the 111 marker level. The good news is that if you have a 111 marker match, it’s generally a very solid genealogical match.  Most people use the 111 marker test to resolve 67 marker matches or to find line marker mutations within a family to identify specific ancestral lines.

To make the point, my Dad and I have 9 matches at Y25.

Yfull results and YDNA calculations at the 50% level.

Yfull emailed me and my results are in.  Yfull calls me R-PH2278, which is their labeling of Z39300. This is a slow outfit, and there will be more results in coming months. I’m especially looking forward to these guys digging out the STRs they can fetch from the BIGY data.

yfull_summary_panel

I also spent just a bit of time looking at the 50% limits of a Y37 test. Artie and I are a 36 of 37 match, and his terminus is Cap William Myers, through George. 36/37 at the 50% confidence average 4 generation apart. Folks who test like us are about equally as close or closer than 4 gens, and 50% past that point. Now, the point to remember in this kind of calculation, is that George Myers could be Charles’s father in this deduction. We cannot exclude him as a potential father. George is 23 years old when Charles is born, and if we assume a Northampton PA birth, then yes, George fathering Charles is possible.

So, the 4 gens are: George, William, William’s dad, William’s granddad. At the 50% mark, Charles Sr is, compared to William Sr, his grandchild, his child, his nephew, or his first cousin, once removed.

At this point, there is still plenty of regular genealogy and genetic genealogy to do.

William Myers Sr: Easton library returns a trove of documents.

I am getting data back from Easton now. Many thanks to their volunteers and their incredibly quick response. We will post some bits and pieces here.

William was involved in two properties. The first they can physically locate

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This is the modern map that they emailed me.

William Meyer Tract 1

I believe they said it surveys to about 180 some odd acres.

The second tract of land, though not exactly located, has quite a bit of history that can be attached to it.

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As I would read this, he is buying land for the heirs of George Kohar, deceased. The land is adjacent to the land of Henry Kohar. I suspect the heirs are Magdalene Kocher and her two children.

Last but hardly least are actual photos of the original tax rolls, and they have those from 1775 to at least 1794. The 1794 one is interesting for the inscription “land only”. The researcher attached to my requests speculates that William has already moved to Greene Co TN by this time, and is paying tax just on the land.

PennTownship Tax 1794b

The book “Trade in Strangers” and other genealogical notes.

I have read this book through the first half, the part talking about German immigration. The latter half is about Irish immigration.

tradeinstrangers

From the book: about 110 thousand Germans come into the US in the 18th century and over 80 thousand of those come from Germany into the Delaware Valley. Of these, half arrive in the five year span from 1749 to 1753. Afterwards, the French and Indian Wars cut off the immigration path for a time, and German immigration never again reaches the peak during the 18th century.

Almost all the Germans were from the Rhine. It was a war torn region and the region was shot through with small feudal entities. The typical German had a bond to the land, and had to pay his feudal lord to leave. It is relatively simple for these folks to get to the sea, as they could take barge traffic down to Rotterdam. By the mid 18th century, specialists were in place that ship these folks (referred to as “freight”) as it helped pay for the westbound traffic (eastbound ship traffic was much more lucrative).

Only a tiny fraction of the Rhenish head to America, perhaps 10% of the total emigration out of the Rhineland states. The three largest states contributing to the exodus were Hesse in the North (where Hessians come from), Palatine in the middle, and Würrtemberg in the south. DNA evidence suggests a more southern connection.

Also suggestive are the location of the Myers in PA and TN. They’re both in the vicinity of water and next to mountains, and at least in PA, not in the flattest of lands either. Consequently, I ask myself if our German roots don’t come from people near mountains as well.

The Northampton county history I’ve been reading notes that in the early 1770s, between 80 and 85% of the population of Northampton county was Pennsylvania Dutch.

I have received an email from Easton. They have my check and their research on William Myers Sr will take between four to eight weeks. In about three weeks I’ll head to Greene Co TN, to their genealogical library, to do some research on my own. I’ve also asked Yfull to analyze my Big Y data, and for the second time, they’ve pushed out the date. For now, it’s the middle of August.

Charles Myers Sr, his children, and the move to Giles County.

I recently purchased a set of disks from Giles County. They include various records. There are court minutes, deeds, etc. I’ll note I see no sign of Charles Myers or Charles Myers Jr before 1820. There are a fair number of records of the both of them after 1820, largely being part of a local jury. Of course, Charles Myers Sr and Jr are in the 1820 census, located in Giles County.

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I am perhaps half way through disk 1, looking for land deeds. I’ve seen two, one in 1831 and one in 1834. No luck finding records before 1820 so far.

I’m doing this in part because I’m curious about the placement of Margaret Myers in Giles County in 1812, given that Charles Myers serves in Allison’s Regiment, which was a East Tennessee militia, recruited in part from Greene County and serving from Jan 1814 to May 1814. There are 9 militia regiments that recruited from Giles County. Why didn’t he serve in one of those? So, for now, I’m assigning Margaret to a birth in Greene County.

Second, Elizabeth Myers, supposedly born in 1817. It seems peculiar he is given guardianship of an orphan minor named Elizabeth Myers in the Greene County courts in 1815 and suddenly has a same named child in 1817. I’m not entirely sure how that works.

I think a better date needs to be established for the move of Charles Myers Sr from Greene to Giles County. I’m pretty certain it’s complete by 1820, but I don’t think he leaves until after the business with William Myers Jr’s estate is concluded. And for now, that’s a five year window, 1815-1820.

 

On the birth date of Barnabas Myers, born in the 1790s, Greene Co TN.

The birth date of Barnabas is important, because he is one of five heirs to the estate of William Myers Jr (d ~ 1815), and as such serves as a marker for when William Myers Jr actually is in Tennessee. We’ll show part of the text of the link above, enough to create the necessary context (emphasis mine).

Wednesday April 24,1816 page 208 Greene County Minutes. Andrew Stevens disposes that Charles Myers Jr.,Barnabas (Barney) Myers, Andrew Myers, Jacob Myers,and Elizabeth Myers are the lawfull and only heirs of William Myers Jr.
Tuesday April 15,1815 page 39. Solomon Willhoite was appointed guardian of Barnabas Myers, a minor orphan, George Wells security.
Charles Myers Sr. was appointed guardian of Elizabeth Myers, a minor orphan.
Charles Myers Jr. was appointed guardian of Andrew Myers a minor orphan. I find Andrew all through the early 1800’s being passed from guardian to guardian, because they had to report to the courts. Numerous times he was called Andrew Myers an Idiot by the courts.
….
Charles Myers Sr.was the administrator of William Myers Jr. estate dated Jan.24,1815. Charles Sr.and Charles Jr. both,purchased items in the estate sale.

So, on April 15, 1815, Barnabas Myers was a minor. In those days, that means he was under 21 years of age. We’re dealing with three potential birth dates here, the one of about 1791, from the 1870 census, the one of about 1795, from the 1850 census, and the date of 18 April 1792, from the gravestone of Barnabas.

Of the three, only the 1795 date would leave Barnabas a minor. Of the five heirs mentioned above, it pretty much has to be assumed that they are William’s children and inherit equally. William probably had no will. Three of the five children are minors, Barnabas, Andrew, and Elizabeth. Charles Jr is supposed to be born in 1792 and would be 23 at this time, and married to Holly (Polly) Hill. I’m not sure about Jacob, who could be older than 21, or perhaps apprenticed at the time.

Documents, such as the ones quoted above, are why I’m planning a trip to Greene County at some point. I’d like to see these particular Greene Co minutes myself.