Kraichgau

Lizzie Fohl‘s father was German.

John R. Fohl (son of Reverend John Fohl) was not from Germany; in fact, no one from his family had immigrated from Germany in 4 generations. But every last one of his ancestors were German, migrants from the Rhine River valley to the colony of Pennsylvania who settled in an arc of counties to the north and west of Philadelphia – Northampton, Berks, Adams, York, and Franklin.

1791-pa-map

Eastern Pennsylvania counties in the 1791 Reading Howell map. Adams County, where much of the family settled before moving to Franklin County, was formed out of the western portion of York County adjacent to Franklin in 1800.

There were a surprising number of pre-Revolution German immigrants to the American colonies, about 84,500 in the first 75 years of the 18th century, compared to 66,000 Scotch-Irish, 35,300 Scots, 44,100 English, and 29,000 Welsh during the same time period (all were individually dwarfed by involuntary African immigration of 278,400). Most arrived in Philadelphia before spreading out to western Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, and elsewhere. Continue reading

The House

One of the oldest homes in east Tennessee stands at the edge of Maryville in Blount County. The log house has been in this spot for about 200 years as of this writing, first housing generations of the Thompson and Brown families, and then becoming a home for a variety of organizations. In 2016 it is the location of the Cades Cove Museum which preserves the memories of a community that was bought out and disbanded when Cades Cove became part of Great Smoky Mountain National Park just to the east.

thompson-brown-house-2009

Thompson-Brown House in Maryville, Tennessee. 2009 photo by Brian Stansberry via Wikimedia

William Thompson and his wife Rebecca Wallace Thompson constructed the house. They are the great-grandparents of Susie Ben Thompson of Henry County, Tennessee, and thus represent the last of the eight families to be introduced in this blog. William was born in Rockbridge County, Virginia after the Revolutionary War. His mother was Mary Bowen Reese, an immigrant from Wales whose first husband died from injuries sustained in the war Continue reading

The Castle

raglan-castle

The ruins of Raglan Castle (author in blue jacket)

The ruins of a grand castle sit amidst the hills of Monmouthshire, in Wales near the border of England. It has been a ruin for a long time, intentionally destroyed after surrender during the English Civil War of the mid-17th century. However, thanks to the sturdiness of the walls and British cultural preservation efforts, it is still possible to walk around inside, to climb old stone steps, to peer out of the stone-framed windows to the fields beyond. My daughter deems it the most fun British castle to visit, as it offers both open opportunities to wander as well as a plethora of nooks and crannies that make for superior games of hide-and-seek.

This is Raglan Castle, and it is the source of the name that Samuel Emerson Ragland ultimately Continue reading

“Murder, Murder!”

Dale Carter shouted these words of warning to his companions at Fort Blackmore when he spotted a group of Indians stealthily approaching the fort in an attempted surprise attack. The warning gave sufficient time for the defenders to secure the fort, but Carter was outside of the walls and no one was able to come to his aid as he was disabled by a gunshot, tomahawked, and scalped. Without his alert, everyone at the fort might well have met the same fate.

The year was 1774, and it was a time of great tension and violence on the western frontier of the American colonies. In 1768, a treaty with the Iroquois had officially opened land west of the Appalachians for settlement. However, other Native American nations such as the Shawnee and Mingo did not accede to the treaty, and as settlers began arriving in their hunting grounds they made their displeasure known. Among the first victims was a small party that included a teenage son of famed frontiersman Daniel Boone, killed in a massacre Continue reading

Pleasant

NPG 3893; Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury after John Greenhill

Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury, painting in the National Portrait Gallery in London

From the misty legends of the 17th century come many tales about the ancestors of Pleasant Johnson. His surname is allegedly handed down from the lords of Caskieben in northern Scotland near present-day Inverurie, though his immigrant ancestor was far removed from lordship being the son of a litster (or dyer) in Aberdeen. One grandmother was from a family of Moorman’s – English Quakers who set sail from Barbados in 1670 with the party that founded Charleston, South Carolina but themselves continued up the coast to the established colony of Virginia. His other grandmother was descended from a Huguenot goldsmith who immigrated from Geneva, Switzerland. Much asserted but difficult to prove is descent from an illegitimate daughter of Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury and one of the eight Lord Proprietors of the land that eventually became North and South Carolina.

The Quaker part, at least, is known to be true. Continue reading

Forged

william-tenery-pension-app-fragmentOn New Years Day of 1845, an old soldier died in Pine Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, just north of Pittsburgh. His name was William Tenery (sometimes written  “Trenary”) and while dates given for his birth are contradictory, he was certainly in his 90’s. His war was the American Revolution.

William was born and raised in northern Virginia in the areas historically occupied by Frederick and Loudon Counties (those counties were subdivided in subsequent years). Family historians claim his father Richard Trenary immigrated to the American colonies in about 1742 from Cornwall, England. Continue reading

Paysinger Pasinger Basinger Bösinger

With this post I initiate a new category that I will entitle “Mysteries.” Mysteries are those genealogical puzzles for which no answers appear to be discoverable. The origin of the Paysinger family of Lincoln County, Tennessee, is one of those puzzles.

What we do know: a John Paysinger settled in Lincoln County, Tennessee sometime between 1826 and 1830. Census and marriage records show that he was born in North Carolina around 1789, and he married Bersheba Jones in 1819 in Madison County, Alabama (adjacent to Lincoln County). One of his many children was Thomas Alexander Paysinger, discussed in the prior post.

1827_finley_map_of_tennessee_-_geographicus_-_tennessee-finley-1827-reduced

1827 Anthony Finley Map of Tennessee. Note Lincoln County in the middle along the southern border with Alabama.

More than one family genealogist has attempted to find out where in North Carolina John was born, Continue reading

The Fair

How does a store clerk in Nashville meet a girl in Indianapolis?

The store clerk was Abraham Loeb, the son of Emmanuel and Marie Loeb, who had moved away from his family in Louisville, Kentucky to Nashville, Tennessee by 1889.

Fohl Sisters

Lizzie Fohl (center) with sisters Edna (left) and Lora (right)

Abraham’s future bride was Lizzie Fohl. It was an unlikely match, both because of the geographic distance that separated them and because Abraham was Jewish while Lizzie was a Protestant Christian whose grandfather John Fohl was a major figure in the United Brethren Church. Continue reading

A Star in the Morning

Mary Morningstar Loeb - cropped


Abraham Loeb’s mother Marie (or Mary) Loeb

A revolt in the Austrian Empire may have sent Emmanuel Loeb’s future wife to the United States.

The year 1848 was a turbulent time in Europe, as popular protests sought to upend the existing political order in France, Italy, and Germany among other places. Among the continent-wide rebellions, the people of Hungary attempted to win independence from the Austrian Empire, but the fight was unsuccessful. Those activists and leaders who were able fled to avoid retribution from Austrian Emperor.

In 1849, the family of Ignatz Morgenstern from Hungary appeared in the United States. Ignatz was a German-speaking Jewish surgeon who – by some family accounts – was a personal physician to Austrian nobility. His arrival in the U.S. in 1849 seems to place him squarely within the historical context of the failed Hungarian revolt, which many Hungarian Jews supported. Continue reading

Loebs and Lions

LionThe family name “Loeb” is oddly entangled with lions and Napoleon.

While most surnames have a generic, readily-searchable origin story, the story of the name Loeb in this family is very specific. The first Loeb in the family arrived in the United States on December 23, 1848 with Jewish immigrant Emmanuel Loeb from Alsace, France.  Emmanuel was a young man, born in 1827 in the tiny town of Ingwiller where his family had been for at least three generations. But the name of his paternal grandfather was not Loeb. Continue reading