The correspondence of Thomas Myers and Wilbur Thomas Myers

My cousin Marsha sent me seven letters from Wilbur Thomas Myers to Thomas Myers, my uncle, these letters covering a period between 1992 or so through 1997.  In the initial letter, Wilbur mentions he had been doing this since 1936, and had, by his accounting,

I have traveled tens of thousands of miles and spent in excess of $200,000.00 in trying to tie the end together.

Initially they knew there were a pair of Charles, and over time, it became clear to them both that “our” Charles was the one who had married Rebecca Williams. The other Charles had married Holly Hill. They were confused by the various correspondences, but noted that Elias Tidwell Myers had a son named William Henry Myers, and that Charles Jr had a son named William Myers. That said, they got the middle name wrong. Charles Jr’s son was William Hill Myers.

They then seemed to miss that this suggested that Charles Sr was an uncle of Charles Jr. All that said, the juxtaposition meant that they came awfully close to what is a very plausible theory.

1997.04-11 letter 001

In this period of time, the T Elmer Cox library didn’t exist, so they couldn’t use the Greene County resource the way later researchers, such as Wayne Myers, could. That they never were able to get at William Myers Sr seems a pity to me. They were very very very close.

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. 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.