June 30, 2014

Jacob Bittinger of Adams County, Pennsylvania (1781-1864)

I am clearly not done with researching this Bittinger family, but I had to put the brakes on somewhere for now, so I could start writing about what I do know!  This has been a challenging family to follow in that first names are repeated generation after generation and as in all very early records...well, sometimes they are not there or I just haven't found them.

Elizabeth Bittinger (daughter of Jacob Bittinger) was my husband's great-great grandmother and wife to George Hollabaugh, all of Adams County, Pennsylvania.  Their son, William Levi Hollabaugh, moved to Indiana and settled there as a young man, beginning our branch of the family.  William Levi's story is here. 
George and Elizabeth Bittinger Hollabaugh's story is here (Part 1) and here (Part 2).

My research actually began with Jacob Bittinger's will, which kindly named at least the children who were living at the time of the writing.  Jacob Bittinger died on August 28, 1864, but he wrote his will on December 8, 1863.  By that time he was 83 years old, a good, old age for that time, and it seemed probable that he knew his end was near as he declared himself "weak and sick" in the will itself.
His signature on the will also indicated his feebleness at the time, to the point where his last name was unreadable.

I've put in bold some significant information found in the will and added a few commas for readability. 
The Will, as obtained at the Adams County, Pennsylvania Historical Society in Gettysburg:
"In the name of God, Amen.  I, Jacob Bittinger, being weak and sick in body, but of sound and disposing mind & memory, do make & pronounce this my last will & testament as following, to wit ~
 First, I give and bequeath to my son, Andrew Bittinger, a lot of mountain land containing about ten acres, it being the same lot which I bought off the Boyd property,
 I give and bequeath to my son George all my interest to claim to the undivided half part of a tract of mountain land adjoining lands of Frances Cole, Heirs of William Bell & others & being the same tract which James Russell & I held in partnership.
I give & bequeath to my son, John, a tract of mountain land adjoining the heirs of Wm. Bell, James Russell & other land of my said son, John Bittinger containing about 30 acres,
I give and bequeath to my Daughter, Elizabeth, (now intermarried with Geo. Hollebaugh), a lot of land adjoining land of John Bittinger, George Bear & other containing about ten acres more or less & it is further my will & I order that
my son, John shall have one hundred Dollars out of the first money that comes to hand as a compensation for vituals, Horse feed, Labor, and attendance at my funeral.
Also I give & bequeath to my Granddaughter, Louisa C. Bittinger, twenty five dollars for her trouble & attendance to me in my last sickness.
It is my will & I order and direct that the residue of my estate real, personal & mixed shall be divided between my children, John, Andrew, George & Elizabeth, share & share alike & lastly,
I nominate and appoint my sons, Andrew Bittinger & John Bittinger, my Executors of this my last will & testament hereby revoking and making void all wills by me heretofore made, giving to said Executors full power & authority to sell and convey my real estate to the purchasers for the best price they can get for the same.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand to seal this Eigth day December A. D. 1863."

Jacob's wife, Elizabeth, had died on April 12, 1847 at the age of 66.  So, in the 1850 census, Jacob was 68 years old and still living as head of household and farming on a farm in Franklin Township, Adams County, PA.  With him were Charlotte Keffer, 60, and Sam'l Bittinger, 40, and Sarah Bittinger, 25.  Samuel was noted to be "idiotic" - meaning, I believe, developmentally disabled, according to the census enumerators' instructions for that year.  I'm not sure who the women were who were staying in the house, but I'm sure they were needed to take care of the adult Samuel, as well as Jacob. Apparently, Samuel died sometime between 1850 and when the will was written in 1863, as he was not noted.

By 1860, Jacob had moved in with his son, John, and wife, Anna.  Hence, the behest of $100 to John in the will, for taking care of his father.  Louisa Bittinger was John's youngest daughter who would have been about 16 or 17 at the time of her grandfather's death.  Apparently, she had given Jacob good care and companionship while in her father's home for Jacob to single her out of all his grandchildren for a gift of $25.00.

So, why was Jacob's son, George Bittinger, left out as one of the executors?  A little research into the newspapers of the time told me the reason.  In The Adams Sentinel, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on April 24, 1866, I found this notice:

The newspapers right after Jacob died had notices showing that John was the guardian of his brother, George, along with Henry Gilt and Samuel Fahnestock, perhaps attorneys or friends of Jacob. George Bittinger may have been in an asylum or home of some kind, as he does not appear with his father or brothers or sister in the censuses.  The State Lunatic Asylum was in Harrisburg, not far from the Bittinger home, and it had been open since the mid-1840s, so it seems possible that George could have been there. Information on patients is restricted and I don't think they were enumerated in the census, so I've not been able to confirm that. Apparently, George Bittinger died in 1866, as the notice above refers to his estate.

Back to the will...I would say that Jacob Bittinger held quite a bit of land in the area, as the executors sold lots here and there.  That and the collection of notes owed gave a total of over $8,000 in their first accounting to the court.  Of course, there were expenses to the estate as well.  Geo Thomas was paid $24.00 for a coffin, Rev. J. H. Miller $3.00 for conducting funeral services, James L. Taylor $1.50 for digging a grave, and William Meale $28.00 for Jacob's tombstone. Taxes, stamps, appraisal fees and other costs had to be included, as well.


A sale was held of Jacob's "goods and effects" on October 1, 1864.  John Bittinger, bought his father's razor and strap (.05), a book (.01), the family Bible (.37 1/2), a lot of hats (.04), a clock and case ($3.25), a weave loom (.15) and a threshing masher ? ($16.75).
His brother, Andrew, purchased a tan? boot ($2.15), a shumaker bench (.85), and a woolen cot/coat ($2.25).  Elizabeth's husband, George Hollbaugh bought only a lot of books for .02.  A powder horn sold for .02!  
Oh, and where did that family Bible land after 150 years?




June 17, 2014

Christopher Hollabaugh (Sr.) - Great-Grandfather x 4

When researching the Hollabaugh line, one has to be creative in spelling -  Hollabaugh, Hollebaugh, Hollebach, Hollibaugh, Hollobaugh, Holabagh, and so on!  This Christopher Hollabaugh, the gggg-grandfather for us, was found under all those spellings, I believe.

His birthdate is estimated at 1750 by some, but I haven't found that information anywhere as yet.  He appeared in the 1790 census and on until his last one in 1810, as he died in 1812.
In 1786, his name was found on the Pennsylvania Tax and Exoneration list for Mt. Pleasant Township,then in York County, PA.  He was assessed a tax of 17 shillings and 6 pence for his acreage, two cows, and two ? (unreadable).  

In the U.S. Direct Tax Lists of 1798 of York County, PA, his tax was assessed on one "out house" with one story, two windows, and twelve lights. (I'm not sure what the "lights" were.)  The outhouse referred to an additional building, other than the main dwelling house, and it was made of logs and measured 20 feet x 16 feet.  He was assessed for two acres and the adjoining property owner was John Norpike.  This tax was assessed by the federal government to help in America's military buildup, and amazingly many of the tax records survived.

In 1800, both Christopher Jr. and Sr. appeared on a tax list for Mt. Pleasant Township. The tax was assessed at 22.8 cents per $100. Christopher Jr., a weaver, was assessed at $212, while his father was assessed at $759.

On November 1, 1800, Christopher Sr. deeded over to his son, Philip, several houses and implements to help with farming, all for the sum of $1.00.
 The behest was made "in consideration of the natural love and affection which I bear unto my son, Philip Hollobough, and for his betterment in Life and the increase of his portion."  Philip was given two houses and barns(?), one plough and tackling (probably for the horses), one log chain, one iron harrow, and one waggon.

As usual, the best information on the family came from Christopher Sr.'s will in which he names all of his living and deceased children.  Written and signed on September 21, 1807 and filed in Adams County, Pennsylvania, the will read:

"I Christopher Hollibaugh of Mount pleasant township in the county of Adams and state of Pennsylvania, being of sound mind memory and understanding, considering the uncertainty of this life, do make and publish this my last will and testament in manner and form following to wit
Principally ad first of all I commend my soul into the hands of God and my body to be buried in a Christian like manner at the discretion of my Executors herein mentioned and as to such worldly estate give and dispose of the same in the following manner to wit:
I give unto my loving wife Cathrena Hollobaugh the Bead and Bedstead that she usually sleeps in and a cow for use during her life and the same Bead and cow is to be sold by my said executor and I do order my executor to pay all my just debts and Funeral expenses and further I do give all the rest of my estate unto my executor of whatever kind it may be to be sold by him and the money arising to be aplied to paying my debts and the remainder to be applied at the discretion of my executor in suport of my wife if he thinks necessary, and the balance then remaining after her dec'd to be equally divided among my children and grandchildren to wit:

First, unto my daughter Mary, intermarried with Michael Gimber, then unto my son Christopher Hollobaugh, then unto my son, Martin Hollobaugh, then unto my daughter Susanna, intermarried with Henry Little, then unto the two children of my dec'd son William Hollobaugh, the unto the children of my dec'd daughter Cathrena which was intermarried with Jacob Enk, so that my son William's two children will get together one equal share, as also my said daughter dec'd, her two children is also to have one equal share with the rest of my children named above.  Philip only excepted for he hath already rec'd his shares out of the plantations, the aboves are to receive their money i rotation as they are named herein and lastly, I do nominate and appoint my friend, John Slagle, to be my executor of this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all other wills or Legacies heretofore by me made.  
In testimony, I Christopher Hollobaugh do sign seal and publish this instrument of writing to be my last will and testament as witness my hand and seal the twenty first day of September one thousand eight hundred.    Christopher Hollobaugh."

The will was presented in court in Gettysburg, PA on September 30, 1812, so his death date was before that time in 1812.  All farms, at the time, were termed "plantations."

Although the will has some convoluted sentence structure, the gist is that Christopher Sr. took care of his wife, Cathrena, giving her not only the bed and bedstead and a cow, but really everything, at the control of the executor, until she, too, died.  Then we know that Philip was given for $1.00 enough to get him started on his own back in 1800.  Undoubtedly, the other children received something, but not as much as Philip, so the estate would be divided among them.
Christopher's sons, then, were Christopher (Jr.)*, Martin, William (deceased) and Philip.
His daughters were Mary Gimber (Michael), Susannah Little (Henry), Cathrena, deceased (Jacob).

I have not been able to find his place of burial, but a good guess might be the cemetery at Littlestown where Christopher Jr. was buried.  

June 10, 2014

More Hollabaughs - Christopher Hollabaugh (Jr.)

Months ago, when I was researching the Hollabaugh family,  from Great-grandfather William Levi Hollabaugh, who moved to Indiana, then to his father, George Hollabaugh, who resided in Adams County, Pennsylvania, I was at a road block trying to find George's father.  The roadblock has now been blasted, thanks to help from fellow researcher, Mary, www.familysearch.org and a trip to the Adams County Historical Society archives.
 Christopher Hollabaugh (Jr.) was always a candidate as a father for George, but it took  Christopher's will to solidify that choice.  

Christopher Hollabaugh (Jr. - called so by me because his father was of the same name) was born on November 12, 1768 in Adams County.  As head of household, he can be followed in the censuses there from 1800 on in several different townships - Mount Pleasant, Cumberland, Germany and Union.  Very possibly, the township lines shifted along the way.  
In 1850, when the census takers first began to record the names of all people in the household, Christopher was already eighty-one years old.  He and his wife, Mary, 72, maiden name unknown as yet, lived with their thirty-eight year old son, John, a shoemaker, who was named as head of household.  Living with them was Mary Hollibaugh, 17, who may have been a granddaughter enlisted to help with the keeping of the house.

The only record found of Christopher in the newspapers of the time occurred in the Adams Sentinel, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on October 10, 1827.
"List of Letters remaining in the post office at Gettysburg, Pa. on the 1st of October 1827, which if not taken out before the 1st of January, 1828, will be sent to the General Post Office as Dead Letters:
...Christop'r Hollabaugh"

But it is Christopher's will that gave us his children's names, as well as more insight into his thoughts at the time.  He wrote his will on March 2, 1841 when he was about 73 years old.
 (I've added a few commas to help the readability.)

  "Last will and testament of Christopher Hollebaugh...
I, Christopher Hollebaugh, of Union Township, Adams County and State of Pennsylvaia, do make and publish this my last Will and Testament hereby revoking and makeing void all other wills by me at any time heretofore made and first I direct that my body after my decease be decently entered in the burying ground, at the discretion of my Executor, herein after named, my funeral to be conducted in a manner corresponding with my estate and situation in life.
And as to such worldly Estate as it hath pleased God to intrust me with, I dispose of the same as follows:
first, I direct that all my debts and funeral be paid as soon after my decease as possible out of any moneys that shall come into the hands of my Executor, from any portion of my estate, real or personal.

Item first, I give and bequeath to my sons, David Hollebaugh, Jacob Hollebaugh, and George Hollebaugh, one dollar current money to each of them or their heirs, that with what they have before from me received.

Item second, I give and bequeath to my daughters, Catharine Wilson, Mary Degroff, Susanna Tipton, Elizabeth Hollebaugh, Margaret Steinour (?), and Hannah Dull, one dollar current money to each of them or their heirs, that with what they have before from me received, shall be in full of their share out of my estate, both real and personal

Item third, I give and bequeath to my son, John Hollebaugh, all my estate, both real and personal, that may be remaining after my debts and funeral expenses, and the foregoing legacies are well and truly paid, that is to say, after said payments are made, I give to my son the remainder of my estate, both real and personal, to him and his heirs forever, Subject to his maintaining myself and his Mother during our natural life in a decent and becoming manner both in clothing and requisites of life as boarding, washing, fire wood, and all that will tend to the comfort of myself and his mother during our lives.  
Should my decease take place before my wife, Mary, I then order and direct that my wife, Mary, may make a written contract with John Hollebaugh, he binding himself in the same to support her as directed by me during life and if my wife requires it, to demand Security from John Hollebaugh for his true performances to her as I have directed.

And I hereby make and ordain my Son, John Hollebaugh, my executor to this my Last Will and Testament.
In witness, thereof I, Christopher Hollebaugh, the testator, have to .?. this my will, written on paper, set my had and seal this second day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty one.
Christopher Hollabaugh"

The Gettysburg Compiler, November 18, 1850, simply reported Christopher's death -
"Hollabaugh, Christopher, died 14 Nov. 1850, 83 years.

James Renshaw, one of the witnesses to the will, filed the will in court on November 20, 1850.

Christopher was buried in, what was then called, Christ Reformed Church Cemetery, but now is know as Christ United Church of Christ Cemetery near Littlestown in Adams County, PA.
Go to www.findagrave. com  for more information.
  Sadly, John Hollabaugh, the son who inherited it all and who was instructed to take care of his parents, died the very next year, in 1851, and was buried with his father.  John wrote his will in March or May (unreadable) 1851 and he died by July of the same year.  
The Adams Sentinel, Gettysburg, PA, reported on Monday, July 21, 1851 -
 "SUICIDE.  On the evening of the 13th inst. Mr. John Hollebaugh of Union township, put an end to his existence by hanging himself on a tree near his residence.  He had been depressed in spirits for some time."

Oh, how sad for Mary who lost a husband and a son, her caretaker, within a year.  One researcher stated that John had a facial cancer that led him to the suicide, but I could not find that information in my research.
John's will:
"I, John Hollebaugh, of Union Township, Adams County, and state of Pennsylvania, do make and publish this my last will and testament, hereby revoking and making void all former wills by me at anytime made, and first, I direct my body after my decease by directly intered in the burying ground at the direction of my friends in a manner corresponding with my Estate in Life, and as to such worldly Estate as it hath pleased God to intrust me with,
I dispose of it in the manner following
First, I direct that my just debts and funeral be paid as soon after my decease as possible out of any monies that shall come into the hands of my Administrator or executor from any portion of my estate either real or personal,
and after payment thereof and every part there of, I give and bequeath until my mother, Mary Hollenbaugh, the remainder of my Estate."

  In the 1860 census, Christopher's wife and John's mother, Mary, was living with another lady in the town of Gettysburg.  On June 14, 1860, Mary Holabaugh, 83, was head of a household which only included Hannah Black, 29, who probably served as caregiver.

So, the children of Christopher Jr. and Mary Hollabaugh numbered 10 - or at least that is the number alive at the writing of the will.  They were:
David, Jacob, George*, John, Catherine, Mary (also known as Polly), Susannah, Elizabeth, Margaret and Hannah.  All of them received some kind of compensation during their lifetimes, according to their father.  Only John remained at home and cared for his parents and thus, inherited, but briefly, his father's estate.

June 7, 2014

Land Measurements Back Then

I've been doing some research back before the 1840 era in land records, and I've found the term "perches" often used.  The United States, although independent from Great Britain, still held on to many of the traditions of the home country.  This article from the The Adams Sentinel, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania published in October, 1830, shows the use of the term, "perches."

What are perches ? 

So far, my research has shown that a perch is basically the same as a rod or 16.5 feet.  One rod = one perch, easy? A perch is also the same as a pole.  So, in the above advertisement, 105 perches = 1,732.5 feet.  So, it couldn't be measured in acres?  It was an odd shaped piece of ground?

1 Acre = 43,560 square feet
1 Acre = 160 square rods
1 Acre = 160 perches
1 Acre = is about 208 3/4 feet square

I'm still having trouble visualizing this piece of land, but I think I'm a little closer!