Y111 results. The meaning of laborer in the 1772 tax rolls.

Both Rayedene Graves, who manages Artie Myers DNA samples, and I extended our YDNA STR markers to 111 markers, and the results are that we match each other to 107/111 markers. We both match to Ross in 107/111 markers. The ftDNA TIP calculator can get us some indication of how close we are. To make things simple, I’ll note that the odds for being William Myers Sr’s son or grandson is somewhere between 44 and 52% and the odds of being his first cousin once removed, or closer, is between 74 and 79%. This is closer than the 50% per first 4 possible matches we were assuming before. If I recall right, the odds that John Myers b 1742 is Charles Sr’s father is about 30%, that being his father’s brother or closer is 60%, and that being the father’s first cousin or thereabouts is also in the 70s. This is a fairly closely knit group.

At this point, I suspect that both John Myers b 1742 and William Sr come from Germany, perhaps on the same boat and as part of the same group. Again, they could have come separately, but both would have been minors during the peak of German immigration and likely bound (indentured) after arrival, to pay for the trip.

The book “Beyond Philadelphia” has a section on the Lehigh Valley, which discusses the 1772 tax rolls in Northampton. They note that the occupation lab’r is most likely a farm hand. This now leads to the question of who in Tennessee (or perhaps Philadelphia, if Charles was the son of a cousin that stayed behind) trained Charles in smithing. I notice a number of apprenticeships were starting at the ages of 9 and 11 in those days, so looking in the Greene County minutes during the time span 1798-1800 would not hurt.

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.

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

C143pg39

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.

C147pg278

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.

Some notes on Magdalene Meyer, her children, and her husband.

Magdalene Meyer is, by my current understanding of the facts, the second child of Captain William Meyer (TN’s William Myers Sr). Looking at various Ancestry trees and using them as a primary source, you get a birth date and birth location of Nov 1, 1862 and Hilltown Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. If these facts are correct, then Lt John Moyer of the Sugarloaf Massacre is likely born in Bucks as well.

She has a daughter Elizabeth around 1780, and her husband (married ~ 1777), George Jacob Kocher, is said to have died on 17 September, 1780, six days after the massacre. The way the name is given is important. George is not a first name but a spiritual name. His first name is actually Jacob. This same source gives a birthdate for Jacob Kocher of 15 July, 1756 in Hilltown, Bucks, PA. Interestingly, same source creates a chimera birth of Maria Magdelene (Polly) Kocher 01 Nov 1762, in Hilltown, Bucks, PA. Interesting that his wife and his sister are born on the same day and in the same township, and die in the same year. One is almost certainly incorrect.  At this point I wonder if data for the sister was transferred to the wife.

The death location for /Jacob/ Kocher is also different, depending on source. One gives Valley, Armstrong, PA and the other is the Nescopeck I’ve heard. It’s important to know that Indian/Tory attacks were happening all over the place in this time frame, so I don’t have the facts to eliminate either possibility at this time.

Magdelena has two children, Elizabeth and George. George goes on to marry John Myers’s only daughter. Elizabeth marries Barnabas Gable in 18 Dec 1795 in Greene County, which puts another stake in the ground of the Myers clan move into Tennessee. Elizabeth is sometimes said to be born in Lancaster County, which I find a little confusing. I would have thought Magdalene + Jacob would have remained in Northampton. If it is true that this family was in Lancaster County at this time, then Mr Kocher likely would have been a part of the Lancaster militia, and not part of the John Myers rescue effort mounted by John’s father.

Another disappearing county

When I go to this site on the Internet, and I set the display for counties in North Carolina in 1742, this is what I get:

nc_counties_in_1742

And what does that mean? IMO, it means we don’t know in which county John Myers, b 1742 d 1826 was really born. There is no Wilkes County in 1742. Now when he was married in Rowan County in the early 1770s, it existed, but after Wilkes appears, it then scoots around the map a considerable bit.

IMG_0012

I’ve also been digging around for a couple books. One is on the Sugarloaf Massacre, and the other is a history of Northampton County during the revolutionary war. The first is okay. Only a fraction of the book covers the massacre, and as Tom Varenna has pointed out, this telling is shot through with a fair amount of folklore.

I’ve just started reading the other book. The intro provides some excellent perspective on the character of the county in the 1770s, which helps in thinking about the Northampton PA Myers clan. I did send an email with $40 to Easton on June 11th, asking for information on William Myers. We’ll see what that nets.

More Pennsylvania and William Myers bits.

One cool site I have found is an interactive map of Pennsylvania Counties over time.  It is useful to check out how Pennsylvania evolved over the time frame of the Myers residence in Pennsylvania.

I found a set of 1772 tax rolls for Northampton PA.  If you look at Penn Township, a William Myer can be found there, listed as a laborer, not a farmer, and not a gentleman. And that’s important when you’re a colony of England, because free citizens counted, but nobility counted more.

I suspect that Penn Township, Northampton PA, becomes two townships in modern times. The two would be East Penn Township in Carbon County, and West Penn Township in Schuylkill County, PA. But I would like confirmation of that.

Finally, Easton PA has a genealogical library that will do research for you by mail. But it comes with a cost. $40 for the questions you want answered. Tempted to ask them to trace William Myers back to 1752 on tax/land rolls, if possible.

John Myers, William Myers, and the Sugarloaf Massacre

One of the first documents that Rayedene Graves shared with me when we found out about the Artie Myers DNA link was this one, testimony by George Myers on behalf of his older brother John’s widow. I suspect Wayne Myers is the source of this, but can’t be sure.

Pennsylvania File #R7737, John Myers,Catharin Null(former widow)
The State of Mississippi, Leake County 1838, November Term Leake Probate
Court.
George Myers, this day appeared before me, Jackson Warner, Judge of the
Court of Probate of the County of Leake and State aforesaid. George Myers of
the County of Kemper and State aforesaid, who first being duly sworn,
desposeth and sayeth that he was born on the 10th day of August AD 1766 in
the County of Northampton and State of Pennsylvania, that he is a brother of
John Myers, the late husband of Cathrine Null, a claiment Widow, the Act of
Congress passed July 4th 1836 and an act expanctory of said Act passed March
the 3rd 1837. That he recolects that the said John Myers, late husband of
the claimant, enlisted as a volunteer in a Company raised by his father
William Myers, who commanded the Company as Captain. That said John Myers
being Lieutenant about the year AD one thousand seven hundred & eighty, to
fight against the Shawnee Indians and engaged with them in a battle at
Neskopeck Valley, then in Indian Territory within the limits of the State of
Pennsylvania about thirty miles from the residence of the said John Myers.
That the said John Myers was captured by the Indians and restrained a
prisoner, three days and nights, when he made his escape and fled to Wyoming
(this is Wyoming Valley in Pa.) from which he wrote his father William
Myers, who in the company of other individuals, went to Wyoming and braught
him home. And this appiant states he was there when he arrived and remembers
the circumstances destinctly. This appiant further states that in a short
time afterwards the said John Myers was again called off to fight against
the Shawnee Indians. In this tour, he recolects his being engaged in another
battle in which the whites gained a signal victory over their enemys, the
Indians. A short time after John Myers returned from this tour, he was
married to Catharine Gable, the present claimant. This appiant further
states the marriage took place at the residence of the father of Catharine
Gable in the County of Northampton and State of Pennsylvania in the month of
March, One Thousand Seven Hundred Eighty One. This appiant further states
that he was at the wedding or marriage and saw with his own eyes the said John
Myers & Catharine Gable, his wife, the present claimant, put to bed as man
and wife and he further states he was present also in the morning when they
arose from their nuptial couch. And this appiant further states that after
the marriage of the said John Myers and Catharine Gable the present claimant,
the said John Myers was again called off to fight the Tories on the Delaware
and other places, but does not know what battles he was engaged in. This
appiant further states that the said John Myers was engaged more or less all
the time from this period to the end of the war, when he was honorably
discharged. Upon reflection, this appiant recolects the fact of the said
John Myers in conjuction with his father going with a company to a place
called Lizard Creek in the County of Northampton in the State of
Pennsylvania, whare a considerable number of Tories had collected and
rueting them entirley, the Tories it is said made hasty strides to reach the
shores of the Novascotia, where they might remain secure from the
indignation of the free sons of liberty, and further this appiant sayeth
not, George Myers, sworn and subscribed to in open Court, before me this 6th
day of Nov.1838, Jackson Warner

Well, I started searching the Internet for the Northampton Militia, and rapidly ran into an author named Tom Verenna, who writes for the Journal of the American Revolution. And the incident described above, the colorful one about being captured by Indians, isn’t just a fish tale by a worshipful younger brother, but actually fact. It’s called the Sugarloaf Massacre, and Tom’s telling of the tale is here.

It’s cool to have a cousin, or potential father of Charles even, in a known historical event, one that places these folks into a historical context and gives us a location, Easton PA, to further explore who these two actually are/were.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that the Pennsylvania militias, as soldiers, mostly sucked. Far cry from my Dad, B-52 pilot and former commander First CEG, Barksdale AFB. They were poorly equipped, though, ill paid, untrained, and it seems true in military matters that you get what you pay for.