Remembering Our Ancestors: John Chris(t)man

Our 4th and 5th great-grandfather John was a real Christman: He was born on 25 December 1763.

The Christman’s, who for a few generations spelled their name “Chrisman” but have the “t” added back in again by now, at least in our branch of the tree, are of German origin.  The “Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Chester County” (Chester Co, PA, that is) says the following about them:

The family is of German origin, tracing its ancestry back to the Fatherland, from whence came Daniel Christman in the good ship Alexander, William Clymer, master, ” from Rotterdam, last from Cowes,” as the vessel’s report shows. He landed in America September 5, 1730, and settled in Worcester township, then part of Philadelphia county, but now comprised in the county of Montgomery. He afterward removed to Frederick township, Montgomery county, where he died. He was a fanner by occupation, a member of the Lutheran church, and his remains lie entombed at Leedy’s burying-ground in Frederick township.

His children were : Anna E., married Johannes Grobb in December, 1749, and lived in East Coventry township, this county ; Felix, born in 1733, and removed to Vin- cent township; Elizabeth, born in 1734; Jacob, born in 1737, and died February 27, 1804; George, born in 1739, was a farmer, and lived in Frederick township, Montgomery county; and Henry , who was born in Frederick township, that county, in 1744.

Daniel Chris(t)man’s son Felix was our 5th (and 6th) great-grandfather, and today, we are remembering Felix’s son John, our 4th (and 5th) great-grandfather.  Before the Chris(t)man’s immigrated, they lived in southern Germany, in the Kaiserslautern area in Rhineland-Palate and in north-western Bavaria.

John Chris(t)man’s parents Felix and Rebecca had seven children altogether, as we have found out recently, and John was their third child and second son, the first son having been named after his father.  John was born on Christmas Day in 1763 in Chester County, PA – how very fitting, given his last name!

When John was 13, the colonies his grandparents had immigrated to turned into a nation, and his father Felix helped to bring it about, luckily surviving the Revolutionary War.

When John was 17, his mother Rebecca died, and when he was 31, his father passed on as well.  Until then, John had not found a wife, but in 1797, he married Jane Baer (or Blair), and the two still lived in the far south-eastern corner of Pennsylvania, in Chester County.


John and Jane had six children, and they consistently spelled their name “Chrisman”, it seems.  Would be interesting to research how many branches of the Chris(t)man family spell their name without the “t” until this day, much like the Denney’s with and without the second “e”, but we’ll leave it to another day.  Our direct ancestor in the Chris(t)man line is John’s first son Daniel, named (apparently) after his grandfather.

We do not know what John did for a living, but he stayed in the area with his family, for he died on 1 August 1830, tomorrow 190 years ago, in Vincent Twp. (not sure if East or West), Montgomery, PA, and he lies buried in Vincent Baptist Churchyard in Pikeland, Chester Co., PA.  From what I can see, that’s all rather close together.

Requiescat in Pace, Great-Grandfather John.  It’s good to know that at least one member of the Christman family was born on Christmas Day.

waldgang insta


Remembering Our Ancestors: John Phillips

The Phillips family had been in the New World for two generations already when John was born in 1776: The first Phillips of this line, James, immigrated during the first decade of the 18th century from Suffolk in England.

Did you spot it?  Did the dates ring a bell?  Our 5th and 6th great-grandfather John Phillips, whose great-great-granddaughter was our (great-)great-grandmother Goldie Fouts, was born during the Revolutionary War and died during the Civil War.  But let’s not jump ahead too far.

John Phillips was born in Hagerstown, Washington Co., Maryland on 26 June 1776, today 244 years ago, just eight days before the Declaration of Independence.  The town was called Elizabethtown at the time:  Jonathan Hager, a German immigrant, had bought 200 acres of land in the Great Appalachian Valley in 1739, called it Hager’s Fancy and named the town he founded there in 1762 after his wife Elizabeth.  In 1814, it was renamed Hagerstown, following popular use.

But by that time, John Phillips was not living in Hagerstown anymore.  We are not sure when he left the area, but records show that his parents already went west towards the Old Northwest, with little John and his siblings no doubt.

By the beginning of the 19th century, we find John marrying west of the Ohio River in Barnesville, today located in Belmont Co., Ohio.  Funnily enough, Barnesville was named after one James Barnes who happened to have been born in Maryland and was the first settler in the Barnesville area.  Go figure.

Regardless, John Phillips married Catherine McFarland, daughter of Irish immigrants, in Barnesville on 12 September 1809, at a time when warriors of Tecumseh’s Confederation, armed by the British, hoped to rid the territory of American settlers and increasingly raided their towns and farmsteads.  John, by then father of two and the third on the way, enlisted in the War of 1812 on 4 September 1812; the necessity to defend his homeland surely did not need to be impressed on him, but we do not know any particulars about his life as a soldier.  He survived the war, this much is sure, and the family stayed in Barnesville where six more children were born to John and Catherine.

John Phillips passed away in his 87th year on 9 June 1863, smack-dab in the middle of the American Civil War.  His life was indeed framed by armed conflicts on American soil.

Requiescat in Pace now, Great-Grandpa John.

st johns wort header - Edited




Remembering Our Ancestors: Relief Howe

Relief Howe Everton was our 4th and 5th great-grandmother in the Denney line.

Our great-grandma Relief Howe was born on 10 October 1764, in Dover, New Hampshire.  Apparently, her family called her Leafy.  I must say that “Relief” is a very interesting first name.  Why might parents name their daughter “Relief”?  In this case, she was named after her own mother, but the question remains.  Whatever the reasons, however, Relief was to name one of her own daughters Relief as well, so it can rightly be said that this first name, much like Polly, Sally, Molly and other more common names of that time, runs in the family.

Relief and her three siblings grew up in the very north of this country, in the area of New Hampshire and later Maine, just when Colonial America was turning into an independent state:  The Declaration of Independence was signed when Relief was 11, going on 12 years old.  How much of what was going on did she see or realize, one has to wonder, and was her father involved at all?

One day before her 20th birthday, on 9 October 1784, Relief married Thomas Everton Sr. in Maine.  In the next 20 years, Thomas and Relief had ten children together (naming one of their daughters “Relief”, as mentioned), but they apparently left Maine around 1787 and lived in New York State for a while before settling in Rutland, Meigs Co., Ohio around the turn of the century.  Her husband Thomas was known in the community there as “Deacon Everton”: They belonged to the Regular Baptist Church in town, according to the “Pioneer History of Meigs Co, OH” by Stillman Carter Larkin.

Their third daughter, Jane Howe, born in 1790 in Oneida, NY, in time became Harvey Hamilton Lindsey‘s grandmother, who in turn was our great-grandfather (and 2nd great-grandfather) via Grandma Irene.

Relief Everton née Howe died this week 179 years ago, on 1 June 1841 at the  age of 76.  We assume that she lies buried in Rutland, but we have no record of her burial place, or that of her husband.

Rest well, Great-Grandma Relief, wherever they laid you to rest.



Remembering Our Ancestors: Margaret Ann George

People endure much in life.  Let us not forget them and their stories.

When Margaret Ann George was born on 16 May 1760 in Bedford, PA, little did she know that by the age of 16, her colony would become an independent country in its own right.

On 5 June 1778, she married Lt. John George Longstreth in Bedford, who had been a soldier when they married, and who continued to be a soldier off and on.  They had 11 children between 1778 and 1800, and their great-granddaughter Rebecca married William David Christman, our maternal 2nd (and 3rd) great-grandfather.  Margaret passed away this week 183 years ago, on 18 February 1837, in Deavertown, Ohio at the age of 76 years, and was buried there.

margaret Longstreth 1837 new marker
This marker was erected by family members of Margaret and John Longstreth across the street from Christ Church Cemetery where Margaret lies buried.  John was buried, it is believed, in Green County, PA.

The family lived in Bedford, PA, so how can it be that Margaret ends up being buried in Morgan Township, Ohio, while John rests in Green County, PA?

There are two versions of the story of John and Margaret going around.  Their common denominator is that John, being a soldier, eventually stayed away from home for an unusually long time.  Apparently, he left in 1800 and was neither seen nor heard of for 17 years, and rumors reached Margaret that he was dead.

According to one version of the story, when other Longstreth family members moved to Ohio around 1820, Margaret and her children, thinking John dead and gone, went with them.  John, not at all dead, eventually returned home only to find his wife and children gone and nobody knew where they went, so John stayed in the Bedford area and died there in 1834.

The other version of the story says that Margaret, thinking her husband had died, married again (although we have found no record of this anywhere).  When John, after enduring many hardships and looking much like a tramp, returned home and asked for some food and a bed for the night, it was refused.  When he made himself known by asking for an apple from one of the trees he had planted with his own hands almost 20 years previously, Margaret recognized him and asked him to stay, but he did not, seeing how she had a new life now and not wishing to be in her way.  He left, and died a lonely old man in 1834.

The second common thing of the two stories is, obviously, that in either case John lived alone for the last years of his life and died at the age of 83.

Wherever the truth lies in these stories, in one or the other or some place in between, it appears their relationship was somewhat tragic towards the end.  People endure much in life.  Let us not forget them, their joys and their sorrows, and their stories.

Requiescat in Pace, Margaret and John.  We hope you found each other again on the other side.

** The featured image shows Margret’s original sandstone grave marker.  As can be seen, it is quite hard to determine what it once said. **

Lt. John Longstreth
Lt. John Longstreth (1751–1834)


Remembering Our Ancestors: Robert Loveland

The Lovelands are another early American family of Hartford, CT that belongs to our family tree.

Today, we remember our 9th (and 10th) great-grandfather Robert Loveland who passed away on this day 251 years ago, in 1768.

Robert Loveland, son of the English immigrant Thomas Loveland, was born in Wethersfield, Hartford Co., CT in 1673.  Thomas Loveland had immigrated with his parents, his two brothers and one sister in 1639 at the age of 4, but his father died at sea, wherefore his mother was known in the New World as the Widow Loveland.

Farmington church
This is the church that is believed to be the church that the original Lovelands attended. The name of the area is called Farmington, but the names were changed often. The town of Farmington was once a part of Hartford. The First Church of Christ in Farmington has a long and distinguished history that began in 1652.

So Robert Loveland, first-generation American born, grew up in the area around Hartford and on 19 Aug 1697, he married Ruth Kilham in Glastonbury, CT, which is also where his father Thomas was living at that time.  Eventually, the Loveland family settled a little further south-west, in Hebron, CT.

Robert and Ruth had five children together, John, ‘Little’ Ruth, Lot, Robert Jr. and Hannah. When ‘Little’ Ruth was grown up to be ‘Just’ Ruth, she went on to marry our 8th (and 9th) great-grandfather Elisha Andrews, and they were the parents of Lieutenant Robert Andrews who took part in the Battle of Lexington.  Robert Jr. appears to have built the first grist mill in Marlborough, Hartford Co., CT around 1750.

postcard Hebron CT
John Warner Barber, South view of Hebron, CT., ca. 1836 – Connecticut Historical Society

Robert Loveland Sr. died on 6 December 1768 in Hebron, and we assume that he was laid to rest there.  One cannot be sure as times were unsettled in 1768, after all.

Gay City State Park, Hebron: Ruins of Hebron’s industrial past can be found in Gay City State Park, which takes its name from the abandoned mill town that once stood within its boundaries.

Rest in Peace, Great-Grandpa Loveland.


Remembering Our Ancestors: Lt. Robert Andrews

He probably did not fire the shot that was heard around the world, but Great-Grandpa Lt. Robert Andrews took part in the Battle at Lexington on 19 April 1775.

Our 7th and 8th great-grandfather Robert Andrews was born on 19 June 1735 in East Glastonbury, Connecticut, to Elisha Andrews and his wife Ruth, who was of the Loveland family.  As far as we know, he had three brothers and one sister.  The Andrews family had been living in the New World since 1637, arriving in Massachusetts and going on to co-found Hartford, CT.

Robert became a lieutenant in the military.  He married Delight Kellogg on 4 March 1756 in Colchester, CT, and the two of them had seven children, at least four of whom lived to adulthood.

As the dates given suggest already, Robert fought in the Revolutionary War, to be precise, he took part in the Battle of Lexington, MA as a lieutenant on April 19, 1775, when he was 39 years old.  Robert survived the battle and the Revolutionary War, and lived on to see the first decades of American Independence and the new century.

Lt. Robert Andrews died this day 208 years ago, on 16 August 1811 in Pittsford, Vermont, at the age of 76.  He was laid to rest there, too.  Rest in Peace, Great-Grandpa Robert.  History becomes personal for us because of you.

The Lexington Minuteman statue by Henry Hudson Kitson. It stands at the town green of Lexington, MA.

Remembering Our Ancestors: Rebecca Ellen Longstreth

On Monday, we would have celebrated the birthday of our 2nd and 3rd Great-Grandma Christman.

Monday of this week, our 2nd (and 3rd) great-grandmother Rebecca Ellen Longstreth would have celebrated her 161st birthday.

WD and Rebecca
William David and Rebecca Ellen

Rebecca Ellen Longstreth was born on 3 June 1858, in Perry County, Ohio.  The Longstreth family first settled in the New World, more precisely in the south-eastern corner of Pennsylvania, around 1700, and Rebecca’s great-Grandfather John George Longstreth fought in and survived the Revolutionary War.  The Longstreth family had only relatively recently went further west into coal-miner country in Ohio.

We do not know if Rebecca had siblings, but on 17 June 1881 she married William David Christman.  They were probably living in New Lexington in Perry Co. OH at the time.  Rebecca and William had five children together, in 11 years.  And here they all are:

Christman family
William D. Christman and his wife Rebecca Christman, nee Longstreth, sitting. Children, left to right: Susannah, Burgess O., William Henry, (possibly) Mary Francis, and Dallas, our great-grandfather.

Rebecca died on 27 January 1928, in Trimble, Ohio, at the age of 69.  She rests in Glouster, Ohio, twelve years before her husband.

Rest in Peace, Great-Grandma Rebecca.

Notes from the Military Journal of Major Ebenezer Denny: An Officer in the Revolutionary and Indian Wars

Scans of handwritten genealogical notes from the book.

In our possession is a copy of the Military Journal of Major Ebenezer Denny: An Officer in the Revolutionary and Indian Wars, published in 1859.  It is dedicated to Joseph A. Murray (nephew of Ebenezer Denny) in the following way: Joseph A. Murray With the regards of his friend W.C. Denny (William Croghan Denny (1823-1866), son of Harmar Denny (1794-1852), grandson of Ebenezer Denny). Glued into the copy are two handwritten notes signed “JAM” (Joseph Alexander Murray) concerning Captain Walter Denny, brother of William Denny and thus uncle of Ebenezer Denny. Note 1: Contains information from legal documents that were in J.A. Murray’s possession. Note 2: Contains information given to JAM by Margaretha L. Denny, youngest daughter of the Rev. David Denny, about her grandfather Walter’s children. JAM signed this note “April 1884”.




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