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.

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.

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.

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.

The Jacob Myers + Margaret Gerster connection. Why I’m not convinced.

It was very popular for a while to assign Jacob Myers, supposedly a Rev War veteran, who married Margaret Gerster, to be the father of Charles Myers. In a letter from my uncle Thomas to one of those folks on Ancestry, the reply was..

Thomas wrote: Dec 23, 2010
I am curious as to how you tied Jacob Myers to Charles Myers. I have been looking for the father of Charles for 50 years and have been unable to make a connection. This is the first time I have seen a connection. One family member told me she thought the father of Charles was named Fredrick. I could never make a connection. 

XXXXXXXXX wrote: Dec 23, 2010: I totally hear you on the difficulty of the connection. I inferred this by the circumstantial evidence in favor of Jacob. He like many myers was a blacksmith, he was a revolutionary war veteran, which has been hinted at by others, and he was about the right age to be Charles father. Additionally he resided in Charles hometown. It would not hold up in a court and probably not to too much scrutiny but felt it was solid enough to warrant connection.

 
 
Thomas wrote: Dec 24, 2010
I totally agree with your assumptions. I have just about given up on doing any further research. My brother and his son have done the DNA thing with absolutely no results.  Have you come up with a relationship between the two Charles Myers who lived in the same areas of Tenn and Mo? I think they are cousins but have no proof. I saw one reference to them as Big Charlie, and little Charlie. Big Charlie was ours. Let me know if you discover anything new, Tom Myers
Okay, this is what I know about Jacob and Margaret, mostly taken off Ancestry nodes (this node is typical). Jacob is born in Maryland in Feb 1739, moves to Pennsylvania. Along the way he marries Margaret. Most of the trees, though, have him in Kentucky by the time Charles is about to be born, and I’ve grown suspicious of folks who give birth across state lines.
There is also a time factor, as Charles is by this account, born in April of 1789 in Pennsylvania, while another Jacob Myers is being born in October of the same year, in Kentucky. Jacob dies in Pleasant Run, McCreary, Kentucky, on the 9th of May, in 1814.
Now some of this may be dirty data, but the Kentucky to PA issue is large, as is the simple question of how you get Charles to Tennessee in the first place, if dad is settled somewhere else.
By contrast, John Myers and William Myers can be found on the Pennsylvania census in 1786, in Lehigh County. To throw out a scenario, it’s a lot less fanciful to think that Charles has a father who dies. Charles’s guardianship would have been picked up by William Jr or Sr and he heads down to TN along with the migration of the William Myers pair.
Not only that, but this link notes that 18th century Germans in PA named their kids after grandfathers.  I know it’s the thinnest of possibilities, but Elias Tidwell Myers, Charles’s son, names his first son William. Charles Myers Jr, whom we believe is a son of William Jr, names a son William (I’m lacking a good list of Charles Myers Jr’s kids tbh). This is evidence in favor of another hypothesis, which is that William Sr is the father of both William Jr and Charles Sr. In this telling Charles Sr is then the uncle of Charles Jr.
Update 6/19/17: I’ve grown suspicious of the assignment in 1786 of William to Lehigh county. For one, Lehigh County doesn’t exist in 1786. Second, the tax rolls of 1786 and 1788 assign William and John to Penn Township in Northampton. Testimony on behalf of John Myers’s widow in MS has statements to the effect John moved into east TN in 1790 and into west TN in 1804. Copies of the testimony are on the Ancestry tree of ldking423.

“our” Charles is Charles Myers Sr

This is a mistake I’ve been laboring under, in part because of mislabeling on the part of Ancestry on the 1840 census (they give Jr the 1789 birth date without any particular reason), and in part from not taking a good look at the best resource for separating the two.

It turns out that both men are buried in the same cemetery, and the right virtual look just about gives both away. But you need to make that look.

“Our” Charles is born in 1789, is married to Rebecca Williams in 1811 and passes in 1857.

“Little” Charlie is born in 1792, is married to Holly Hill (Polly Hill) in 1814 and passes in 1876.

I began to wonder when in the 1830 US census, Charles Marwen turned out to be Charles Myers Sr and the ages of children made more sense to be “our” Charles than the “Jr” down the page. The fact is they’ve got Charles Jr’s ages wrong in the 1840 census, which didn’t help, but you have to plan on bad data mixed in with these old stuff.

greene-co-marriages-in-igi-database

Marriage records, despite the bad birth dates and the misspelled Holly Hill, also made it worthwhile to find some double checks.

This doesn’t affect the DNA analysis much. William Jr and Charles Sr are thought to be brothers, because Charles Sr is made administrator of William’s estate. This makes Charles about equally distant genetically from William Sr as his brother. If we go with the theory that William Jr fathered Charles Jr, Barney and all, then William Jr is much older than Charles, at least 15 years older.

When did the families head south to TN? The earliest date I’ve seen is buried in Ancestry data on John Myers, William Sr’s son. This entry in a Ancestry tree says 1790. One account of the Girdner’s entry into TN, along with a Myers brother in law, happens in 1792. They have to be in Tennessee by 1795, because Barney says he was born then (1850 census). So Charles Sr was on the move sometime between the ages of one and six, and Charles Jr could have been born on the move.

Finding a living descendant of “Little” Charlie or Barnabas could help our narrative immensely.

Update: more specific on the Williams.

 

The Feicht connection, and a possible census timeline of Charles Myers

A cut out of my closest Y-DNA matches are below.

The-Feicht-Connection

The importance of Peter Feicht is not to be underestimated. He can be shown to be a German immigrant, and other information indicates he is from Würrtemberg Germany.

This is important because there are a ton of German immigrants from Würrtemberg to Pennsylvania in the 18th century, and the migration of their names from the original German to ‘Myers’ can also be documented.

For example, the book “Pennsylvania German Immigrants 1709-1786” talks about one Georg Balthasar Mayr from that part of Germany. By 1786, the name has mutated to Baltzer Myers, and he’s noted to be in Westmoreland County, with wife Martha, and children James, Ely, Jacob, Lewis, and Christian. The last two names are indicated as single. Balzer is not hard to find in the 1790 census.

Westmoreland is adjacent to Somerset county, where Charles is supposed to be born (in 1789). There are no Myers in Somerset in 1790, but there are three in 1800. A Henry Myers Sr and a Jacob Myers have male children in the right age range to potentially match Charles.

By the way, it needs to be understood that before 1850 or so, the names on the Federal Census list generally consist of men with property. Everyone else is just a number.

In terms of census information on “our” Charles Myers, this is what I see. We know that Charles is down in Green County TN by 1811, because he marries his wife there, and for now, that’s the first real record we have of the man. Then there is service in the 1812 war, and the land grant in Missouri in about 1819. Then in the 1820 census Charles Myers Jr and Charles Myers Sr appear in Giles county. To note, this is half a state away from Green County. Giles is on the Alabama border, while Green County is on the Tennessee border with North Carolina. That noted, Charles’s children are said to have been born in Giles County.

The pair disappear completely in 1830. In 1840 in Missouri, a pair of Charles Myers appear again, in Big Creek, Van Buren, Missouri. The “Jr” is said to be born in about 1789 (Jr and Sr can be seen in the document reproduction itself) and is 51 years old.  The Senior is not matched with a specific age, but there is a male 50-59 in the household. Note that in 1848 Van Buren is renamed Cass County, and it is interesting to speculate on the relationship between these two men. Brothers or cousins, perhaps?

“Our” Charles is in the 1850 census. Married to Rebecca, born in Pennsylvania, With Nancy and Charles W as children. He passes in 1857, and there are photos of his tombstone around.

So many questions abound. Do the Myers of Westmoreland and Somerset counties, PA, have DNA tests? Who is Charles Myers Sr, and are there any known relatives of the man? Do they have DNA tests?

Update -> Southerland to Somerset. The latter really exists.

Update 2 -> Actually, Charles Myers Sr does appear in the 1830 census, but the bots that figured out his name transcribed it into ‘Charles Marwer’.