For this week’s blog I will discuss genealogy. For a historian, like myself, family genealogy can lead one down many pathways of unknown family history, which in turn can lead to new areas of interest and research. Over the years, I have found out much about my family, many things I did not know, such as five male veterans: 2 were in the Revolutionary War, 1 was in the War of 1812, 2 were in the Civil War. Most of the people in my family were country folk, those who lived and worked on farms. Many were tenant farmers living in Ohio and Indiana, and two of them were lumber men, living and logging in the hills of Catskills, Pennsylvania. Some of them I know very little about except their place of birth, death, marriage, and military service, and some of my family history I cannot not trace very far back; as not all records have been digitized. At that point, I need to either hire a genealogist in that specific location or go there myself.
I hope after you have read this blog ,you will see the value of doing your family genealogy.
Cover Image: The City of Antwerp in 1866. Photo Credit: http://www.clydeships.co.uk/view.php?ref=22623#v
Most of this blog deals with my family’s veterans, men in the Revolutionary War (1775 – 1783), War of 1812 (June 1812- February 1813), Civil War (1861-1865) and the Spanish American War (April 21, 1898 – August 13, 1898).
At this point, let me introduce you to some of my family.
I started my family history hunt by taking photos of the family tree written in my parent’s Bible. I then started using Ancestry.com and other genealogy sites. I did a DNA test to help find when and from where my relatives immigrated. According to my DNA, my North America tree starts between 1600-1650 with early settlers in Pennsylvania, specifically in the Poconos & North Jersey and Susquehanna River Valley. See figure 1 below.
Figure 1. Ancestry.com Photo Credit: Kevin Bair
Prior to that, the bulk of my European ethnicity is from England, Scotland, Wales & Northwestern Europe. See figure 2 and 3 below
Figure 2, Ancestry.com Photo Credit: Kevin Bair
Figure 3, Ancestry.com. Photo Credit: Kevin Bair
My Early Immigrants
On my maternal side, my 8th great-grandfather James Wells was born on 29 October 1684, Wellstown, Somerset, England. He died on the 22nd of February 1862, in Gwynns Falls, Baltimore, Maryland. One of his sons, my 7th great-grandfather James Wells II, was born on 27 November 1668 in Baltimore, Maryland. James had a son, my 6th great-grandfather, Col. Richard Wells, who was born on 15 March 1722, and died on 13 July 1808 in Luray, Licking County, Ohio. Richard fought in the Revolutionary War and so did his son Captain or General, James Wells, figure 4. According to Find a Grave.com “he commenced his service in the military on 20 April 1777. He served as 1st Lt. in the 4th Artillery of the colonial troops. He sustained wounds at Wheeling, West Virginia, which was Fort Henry at the time. He resigned his commission as a Captain on March 1, 1778. He may have earned the title of “General” during the Whiskey Rebellion which he served in under George Washington.” https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/39663731/james-wells.
Figure 4, Col. James Wells. Photo Credit: Margin Family. http://www.marginfamilytree.com/Pictures/Wells%20Pictures.htm
Figure 5 is his grave marker.
Figure 5, Headstone for James Wells https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/39663731/james-wells#view-photo=60423218
Photo Credit: Find a Grave.
In Fold3.com, via the National Archives, I found records of James as a 1st Lieutenant, figure 6,
Figure 6, James Wells Revolutionary War. Photo Credit: Kevin Bair
I have a 5th great-grandfather, maternal side, Phillip Jakob Luttmann, born on 30 Apr 1720 in Schwaigern, Württemberg, Germany. He died on 2 November 1780, in Lancaster, Lancaster Co., PA. From Philip’s line, I have my 2nd great-grandfather David Luttman, born 30 December 1830, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and died 23 September 1906, Corunna, De Kalb County, Indiana (Man sitting in figure 2). During the American Civil War, David was a private in the Union Army. He was drafted on 21 Sep 1862, into Company B, Indiana 29th Infantry Regiment and mustered out on 26 June 1865. He was in the army for most of the war and fought in many of its battles. One of his battles was the Battle of Chickamauga September 19-20, 1863.
Figure 7, is of the Luttman’s, taken in the later 1800’s.
Figure 7 Luttman Family, late 1800’s. Photo Credit: Bair Family
The man seated is David Luttman and the man behind and to his right is my great-grandfather John Henry Luttman (1866-1937). John married Vella Sipe (1881-1975), Vella’s grandfather William married Lydia Wells (Wells are mentioned above) in 1838.
Vella’s Father Isaiah W Sipe, served in Company D, Indiana 129th Infantry Regiment on 07 Mar 1864. He mustered out on 29 Aug 1865 at Charlotte, NC., during the Civil War. One of his many battles was the Siege of Atlanta July 22-August 25.
Another maternal 2nd great-grandfather was, Samuel Whitby born June 1, 1825, in Maryland. He married Elizabeth Ann Gardaner on 20 November 1841, in Talbot County, Maryland. Currently, I cannot find any more records on the Samuel Whitby’s lineage. He had a son, George W. Whitby, born in 1851 in Maryland, and died 23 March 1919, in Putman County, Ohio. According to the 1880 Census, he was a farmer. The 1900 Census states he was married to Sara A Henderson (1867-1941) in 1886. Figure 8 is of the Whitby farm. At some point the name changed to Whitbey.
Figure 8, Whitbey Farm, date and State unknown. Photo Credit: Bair Family
I have another 6th Great-Grandfather, paternal side, Johan Jacob Defren/Defrehn/Frahn/Frehn, born on 26 March 1702 in Mutterstadt, Ludwigshafen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany. He died around February 1st, 1738, in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Through him, we arrive at another 2nd Great-Grandfather John A De Frain, born on 16 July 1824, in Catawissa, Columbia, Pennsylvania. John was a lumberman and during the Civil War, enlisted in Company E, Pennsylvania 48th Infantry Regiment, on 11 February 1864. He was mustered out on 17 Jul 1865 at Alexandria, VA. Some of the battles John participated in, Battle of the Wilderness, May 5-7, 1864; Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, May 8-21; Battle of Cold Harbor, June 1-12. He was in the May 23, 1865, victory Grand Review parade in Washington D.C.
John had a son Francis (Frank) De Frain (figure 9), born on 5 October 1857, in Beaver Township, Columbia Co, Pennsylvania. He he died on 2 July 1943 in Pinellas, Florida, United States. Frank like his father was also a lumberman. He enlisted in the Army during the Spanish American War. He was in the 157 Indiana Infantry, Company B. The unit was ordered to Tampa and remained there until July 22, 1898, when ordered to relocate to Fernandina, Florida, to avoid an outbreak of Typhoid Fever. My Great Grandfather enjoyed the Tampa area so much that later in life he moved to St Petersburg Florida.
Figure 9, Frank De Frain, event and date unknown. Photo Credit: Bair Family
When researching your ancestry, you can find many unexpected persons and events. I was surprised when I discovered during my research, I am the descendant of a Hessen solider who initially fought for the British during the Revolutionary War.
My 5th Great-Grandfather on my maternal side, Johann Hermann Knochenhauer, born, 1755 in Hessen, Germany and died 1831, in Leesburg, Highland County, Ohio. In 1774, he married Lydia Ann Loy in Germany. According to one source, his wife accompanied him to the Colonies and soon after arriving Johann was captured. He joined the American side and was later captured at Yorktown. He was released after British Gen. Cornwallis surrendered. He changed his name to John Harman Bonecutter. (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Knochenhauer-6).
The name Knochenhauer was originally tied to those employed as a butcher. Hence the English translation of Bonecutter.
Lastly, my 4th Great-Grandfather was Abraham Bair, born in 1794 in Adams County, PA, he died 10 August 1829, in Lake Township, Stark county, Ohio. He married Elizabeth Harter on 31 March 1812. In June of 1812, war was declared against Britain which lasted until February 1815. Abraham was drafted into Capt. James Downing Ohio Militia, on August 24, 1812, and was discharged on 28 February 1813. He was a Corporal. For his services, he and the others who served, were given a certificate of 80 acres. See figure 10.
Figure 10, Abraham Bair’s Bounty Land Certificate. Photo Credit: https://www.fold3.com/image/281551313
I do not know all the details, but in 1856, his widow was still trying to receive the land, long after Abraham died in 1829. In fact, I have sworn affidavits showing she remarried another war veteran who also died before her, and that she was trying to collect both parcels of 80 acres, which was still due to each veteran. The paper I have details the government granted her one of the 80 acres, figure 11. She chose her 2nd husbands 80 acres.
Figure 11, Elizabeth Bair, Bounty Land Certificate Letter from Stark County Ohio, Photo Credit: Bair Family
As of this writing, I do not know what happened to Abraham’s 80 acres. Source: Ohio Daughters of 1812 and Fold3.com.
There are many great finds when researching your ancestry. Figure 12 is a photo of my Great-Grandmother Sarah (Currall)De Frain.
Figure 12, Sarah (Currall) De Frain date unknown. Photo Credit: Bair Family
Sarah, born 1864, in Hatton, Warwickshire, England, she died 2nd of June 1912, in Ft Wayne Indiana. When she was eight, she, her parents, and younger brother immigrated from Warwickshire, leaving Liverpool in 1873, arriving in New York, New York on June 24, aboard the ship City of Antwerp, figure 13.
Figure 13, a photo or drawing of the City of Antwerp in 1866. Photo Credit: http://www.clydeships.co.uk/view.php?ref=22623#v
According to the website, Scottish Built Ships. The History of Shipbuilding in Scotland. http://www.clydeships.co.uk/view.php?ref=22623#v . The ship was built in 1867, and it was built for Liverpool-New York service. On 26 November 1890, leaving New York for Liverpool the ship disappeared along with her crew and 43 passengers. It is thought somewhere off Newfoundland, she struck iceberg.
There is an untold amount of untold American history to be found in each person’s U.S. history. History can, and often is, full of heartache. I have uncovered many long-buried family secrets and scandals. I have also come to realize I have many heroic men in my family; which I knew nothing about. Family history can morph into more than learning your family tree. For me, I can now think about researching and writing papers on various battles my great- great grandfathers were in.
Knowing I had a great-great grandfather in the Civil War motivated me to pursue a history Ph.D. I know there are stories I can tell. This knowledge also helped me write a paper on the medical problems at the First Battle of Manassas, July 21, 1861, which will be published via the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, in their Journal Surgeons’ Call June 2020.
Thanks for stopping by,
Ohio Daughters 1812.org https://www.ohiodaughters1812.org/ohio1812/graveindex/displaygravedetail.php?req_id=527
Scottish Built Ships. The History of Shipbuilding in Scotland. http://www.clydeships.co.uk/view.php?ref=22623#v