Saturday, October 22, 2016

John David Webb and Mattie Elizabeth Smith

     This is a picture of my baby cradle. I was the third generation of Webb babies to be rocked in it. My father and his father before me were both rocked in it as infants. It was originally owned by my great-grandparents, John David Webb and Mattie Elizabeth Smith. I never met my great-grandfather as he died before I was born, but I do have vague memories of my great-grandmother as a kind, very old woman. She wasn't always old, though, and when I see the baby cradle, it reminds me that she and John were once a young couple, just starting out in married life together.
     John David Webb was the son of Samuel Webb and Leanore Elizabeth Oliver. He was named for his grandfathers, John Oliver and David Webb. John was born on March 12, 1877 in the community of Lida near what is now Bluff City, Sullivan County, Tennessee. He grew up there in the mountains of east Tennessee. He played semi-pro baseball as a catcher for a time and then served in the U.S. Army from 1898-1899 during the Spanish American War.
John David Webb, age 23, in 1900

     Mattie Elizabeth Smith was the daughter of George Rutledge Smith and Lydia Williams. Mattie was born on November 23, 1882 on her father's farm near Piney Flats, Sullivan County, Tennessee. When Mattie was four years old, her mother died from tuberculosis. Two years later, her father married a kind lady named Martha Spahr. Mattie's father died in 1894 when Mattie was 11 years old. She inherited her father's farm, and she and her stepmother continued to live there. Mattie graduated from the Poplar Ridge School near her home, fulfilling her father's wish for her to continue her education after his death.
Mattie Elizabeth Smith, age 17, in 1900
        I don't know how, where or when John and Mattie met. John's family lived just a few miles from Mattie's farm. Mattie attended Poplar Ridge Church. It was located just a short distance from her house. John and his family attended services there, as well. Perhaps John and Mattie had grown up knowing each other. Sometime after John returned home from his military service, Mattie must have caught his eye in a romantic way, for on December 8, 1901, he and Mattie were married.
Piney Flats Correspondence.
     Piney Flats, Tenn., Dec 8.--As I have hinted a few times lately, matrimony is in the air.
     Between Sunday school and preaching at Poplar Ridge church today, John D Webb and Miss Mattie E Smith entered the left door, passed up the aisle and were seated to the right of the preacher.
     All eyes were turned to them as a wedding was expected. Immediately after preaching and sacramental services were ended, the parson, Rev. George W Wise, by a few appropriate words introduced the twain and with a beautiful ceremony united them for life.
     They, accompanied by many friends, repaired to the residence of the groom's father, Samuel Webb's, at Lida, for dinner.
     From the twinkle in other eyes, I feel sure that we will be able to chronicle other weddings soon.
     Two women the mothers of the groom and bride, respectively, footed it to Blountville yesterday to secure license that their children may get married today. The distance to Blountville is about 15 miles so they walked about 25 miles to secure the necessary papers to render their children either happy or miserable.
     As I cannot learn for certain that they are married, I will not give names today. Hugh F Webb and son Worley came up from Johnson City today to be present at the Webb-Smith nuptials. Henry and George Spahr, of Ketron, Va., arrived here before 9 o'clock this morning to be present at the wedding of their relative, Miss Mattie E Smith.
     Many friends to the parties were happy witnesses to the sole marital vows.
     I think it notable that Martha Spahr Smith and Elizabeth Oliver Webb walked approximately 25 miles to obtain a marriage license for John and Mattie. The trip must have taken them all day! Martha was 58 years old at that time. Elizabeth was 59. She must have been in robust health at that time to have walked such a distance. She died two years later.
The old Poplar Ridge Church
Piney Flats, Tennessee
     Among the important family papers kept and passed down by Mattie was this slip of paper.

It reads:
December 8, 1901This all right with me nowThere will be light at the riseNever alone
These are the songs thatwas Sung at the churchthe day Mattie E Smith& John Webb was marriedat Poplar Ridge ChurchDec 8 1901

     Mattie's marriage was obviously a very happy occasion for her, seeing a she kept this slip of paper her entire life.
Mattie E Smith and John D Webb
Their wedding photo
       Mattie and John's first baby, Roxie Lee Webb, was born on August 12, 1903. The cradle was bought for her. Like my great-grandparents and their children, the cradle originated in Sullivan County, Tennessee. It was made in Piney Flats near my great-grandparents' farm. Sadly, Roxie did not live long. She died on May 9, 1904.
     Mattie and John went on to have eight more children: Lessie Gay Webb (1905-2003), Ruby Lynn Webb (1908-2012), Adam Livingston Webb (1909-1910), Lydia Elizabeth Webb (1910-1996), Roy Wilson Webb (1913-2004), Bernice Phelps "Bernie" Webb (1916-2002), Raymond Francis Webb (1921-1975), and Ruth Evelyn Webb (1924-2000).
     The family lived on the farm Mattie inherited from her father. There, John farmed. He was especially known was his watermelons, which were said to be the best in the area. Mattie ran the household. It was a busy one, as several of the children, my grandfather especially, had a mischievous nature.
Smith-Webb Farm
Piney Flats, Sullivan County, Tennessee
Mattie and John

John and Mattie
     Below is a photo of Mattie and John with their grown children.
Standing: Mattie Smith Webb, Ruth Webb Bullington, Lydia Webb Jones, Ruby Lynn Webb Hart, Lessie Gay Webb Walker, and John David Webb
Kneeling: Raymond Webb, Bernie Webb and Roy Webb
     John David Webb died on October 27, 1958. Mattie continued to live on their farm for a while, and then she went to live with her daughter Lydia and son-in-law Lewis Jones in Johnson City, Tennessee. The farm was sold in 1962. Mattie died ten years later on October 8, 1972. She and John are both buried in the cemetery at the Poplar Ridge Christian Church in Piney Flats.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Michael Howdeshell d. 1831 or 1832 in Hocking County, Ohio

     The facts about Michael Howdeshell's birth are a little fuzzy. He was born between 1750 and 1754 based on census and tax records, probably in 1753 or 1754. He was most likely born in New Jersey, because according to his brother's Revolutionary War Pension Application that is where his parents were living during the 1750s. But, as is so often the case for our ancestors, I have yet to see any document that states outright the date of Michael's birth. We can be sure, though, that Michael was one of the first people in his family line to be born in America.
     Michael's parents and paternal grandparents immigrated to America from a little town called Langensoultzbach in Alsace, France. France gained control of Alsace after the Thirty Years War (1618-1848). Many Alsatians spoke a German dialect and were German culturally. Michael's parents and grandparents were such people. Perhaps being being Germanic Protestants in Catholic France was one of the main factors that motivated Michael's parents and grandparents move to America. They were also almost certainly looking for better economic opportunities for themselves and their children. Some of their relatives had immigrated before them, and their reports of the new world must have been favorable. And so, they decided that they, too, would leave their homeland for a new life in America.

     Michael's grandparents were Hans Michael Haudenschild and Anna Margaretha Ruch. Hans Michael was born in about 1697 in Alsace. His father was Diebold Haudenschild, a shepherd. At the time of his marriage, Hans Michael himself was a shepherd in or near Niederbronn in Alsace.
     Anna Margaretha was the daughter of Johannes Adam Ruch and his first wife Anna Margaretha. Johannes Adam was the son of Melchoir Ruch and Anna Maria Jaenck. Johannes Adam was a shepherd, as were his father and several of his brothers, in the northern part of old Alsace.

     Hans Michael Haudenschild and Anna Margaretha Ruch were married on January 11, 1724, at Langensoultzbach Church in Langensoultzbach, Alsace, France. Over the next 12 years, they had eight children together. Their third and oldest surviving child was Johann Michael Haudenschild. He was baptized on May 17, 1729. Hans Michael and Anna Margaretha's other children were: Johann George (1725-1727), Eva Elizabeth (1727-1727), Johann Heinrich (b. 1732), Johann Jacob (b. 1736), Anna Regina (b. 1739), Maria Barbara (b. 1742) and Hans Diebold (b. 1745). The children were all baptized at the Langensoulzbach Lutheran Church.
    In 1749, Johann Michael Haudenschild married Maria Dorothea Seipel (Seitel). Later that year, the newlyweds left Langensoultzbach with Johann Michael's parents and siblings and sailed north on the Rhine River to Rotterdam where they boarded the ship Dragon bound for America.  The Dragon arrived in Philadelphia on October 17, 1749.
     Shortly after their arrival in Pennsylvania Johann Michael and Maria Dorothea moved to New Jersey. They lived there until about 1760. While they were living in New Jersey, their son Michael was born in about 1754. In about 1760, Johann Michael, Maria Dorothea and family moved to Loudoun County, in the northern tip of Virginia near Maryland. The family lived there until about 1787. At least two of Johann Michael and Maria Dorothea' sons fought in the Virginia Militia during the Revolutionary War, but I have not seen any information indicating that their son Michael did so.
     Michael got married while he was living in Loudon County, but I have seen no record as to the name of his first wife. His son Jacob was born in about 1780, most likely in Loudoun County, and some of his other children were probably born there, as well. 
     Over the years, the family's name was recorded using many different spellings. The very German Haudenschild, Haudenschilt, Haudenschelt, etc. became Houdeshelt, Howdeshell, Houdeshell, Houdershell, Howdershell, Howdyshell, Houdyshell, Howdyshal, Houdashel, etc. For Michael, son of Johann Michael and Maria Dorothea, I have chosen to use the spelling Howdeshell. It was one of the spellings used in his probate file and in other records over his life. My husband's line seemed to finally settle on using Houdyshell as their preferred spelling, but during Michael's life, many variations of the name were used in records referring to him.
Houdyshell line from Caleb M Houdyshell to Diebold Haudenschild. Click on chart to enlarge it.
This chart extends the line from the Caleb M Houdyshell shown on the Morehart Family Chart.
     In about 1787, Michael, his parents and at least two of his brothers (Lawrence and George) moved southwest from Loudon County to Shenandoah County, Virginia, where they settled near the present day Virginia-West Virginia border. In about 1800, Michael moved a bit south, to Rockingham County, Virginia. Michael's parents continued to live in Shenandoah County, and his father died there in late 1812 or early 1813. His mother apparently predeceased his father, as she was not mentioned in his father's will.
     Michael married his second wife, Barbara Radar, in Rockingham County on December 8, 1807. His children were marrying, too, during this time period. His daughter Peggy married Conrad Hol on September 4, 1802 in Shenandoah County, Virginia. His son Jacob married Mary (Polly) Robinson, the daughter of Charles Robinson, on August 3, 1807 in Rockingham County. It is from Jacob and Polly that my husband's line is descended. On September 24, 1810, Michael's daughter Mary married Jesse Ray in Rockingham County.
     In late 1810 or early 1811, Michael moved with his wife Barbara and most of his children up to Fairfield County, Ohio. There, his daughter Elisabeth (Betsey) married David Giger on November 21, 1811; his daughter Anna married Andrew Giger on August 14, 1814, his son George married Kitty Bibler on October 2, 1814, and his daughter Magdalena (Molly) married Jacob Giger on June 6, 1818. Michael's youngest son, Adam, reportedly married Mary Bainter.
Map showing migration path of Michael Howdeshell to Loudoun Co., VA (yellow), to Shenandoah Co. VA (green),
to Rockingham Co., VA (blue), and finally to Fairfield/Hocking Co., Ohio (pink)
Map from Library of Congress.
     In 1818, the southern section of Fairfield County, Ohio in which Michael was living became Falls Township in the newly formed Hocking County, Ohio. Michael and his wife Barbara continued to live in Falls Township, Hocking County, Ohio for the rest of his life. Michael's son Jacob lived nearby. Unfortunately, Michael became "insane" in about 1828 according to his probate records. I assume this indicated that he had developed dementia. Jacob took care of his father after that.
     Michael Howdeshell died four years later, in early 1832. He died intestate, which means he left no valid will. In such instances, his heirs would have been allotted a portion of his estate based on the estate laws of Ohio at that time. The court appointed Samuel Roads administrator of Michael's estate. Mr. Roads would have been responsible for overseeing the settling of the estate. This included arranging for an inventory to be taken of all of Michael's personal possessions at the time of his death. That inventory was completed on April 21, 1832. My transcription of it is below.

A true and accurate inventory of the goods and chattels of the estate of Michael Houdyshell late of Hocking County deceased presented to us the undersigned appraisors of said estate by Saml Roads the administrator thereof, the 21st day of Aprile 1832
                                                        $    cts
one flat iron                                         . 50
one lot of old cubboard ware              .67 1/2
Second lot of old cubboard ware        .50
one iron ladle                                      .75
A lot of earthen & tin ware                 .31 1/4
Candle moles [molds]  beskite [basket]  brush & vials     .75
one     six hundred reed and raith      1.68 3/4 
one    clock                                        5.00
one hair sefter [sifter]                          .62 1/2
two split bottom chairs                        .37 1/2
one check reel                                      .75
one looking glass                                 .62 1/2
one lot of Books                                  .50
one large chest                                   3.00
one small chest                                    .75
one kitchen table                               1.50
[next page]
one iron kettle                                      .87 1/2
one iron pot                                          .50
one old frying pan                                .18 3/4
two old wooden buckets                      .50
one bee stand                                     1.25
one bedstead and cord                         .75
two weedind [weeding] hoes              .25
one scythe and hangings [cradle]      .25
one lantern                                          .31 1/4
one box & bell and sundray [sundry] of old iron     1.25
one lot of old harness                        1.25
one double tree and harness                .75
one tar bucket and old tin ware           .37 1/2
two chairs without bottoms [bottoms] .50
one half bushel                                    .37 1/2
one sickle                                            .12 1/2
one hogshead                                      .75
one grindstone                                    .75
one lot of coopers ware                      .62 1/2
second lot of old coopers ware        1.25
[next page]
third lot of cooper ware                     .18 3/4
two bowls and one bread tray            .37 1/2
four bee gums                                     .25
one lot of crockery ware                     .37 1/2
one wool wheel                                 2.00
two pounds of hops                             .33 1/2
one fire shovel                                     .31 1/4
one iron wedge                                    .31 1/4
one pot tramel                                    1.00
one red heifer                                    6.50
one brindle heifer                              5.00
Two sows and eleven pigs                4.50
one black boar                                     .75
one flax hetchel                                 2.50
one half barrel                                     .13 3/4 [.18 3/4?]
one crout [kraut] tub and lot of crocks   .62 1/2
one narrow axe                                   .75
one sausage tunnel [funnel]     .18 3/4
one lot of large spools & geer frames   .12 1/2
[next page]
     Amount of bill of appraisment $56.39 1/2
Appraised by us the day & year above written
                 [signed]  Saml S Bright
                                Thos Walker        Appraisers
                                Arehart Glaze

     One same day the inventory of Michael's estate was completed, the appraisers designated the following supplies to be provided to support his widow for the first year of her widowhood. My transcription of this document is below.

A schedule of property set of [off] by us the appraisers for the support of the widow one year from the death of the intestate estimated at forty four Dollars, to wit
                                                                              $     cts
Two bushel of wheat                                            1      00
Wheat flower [flour]                                             1     25
Twenty bushel of wheat growing                        10    00
Fifty bushel of corn at 20 its per bu.[bushel]      10    00
Two bee stands                                                      3    00
one sow and six pigs                                             2    00
four stock hogs                                                      5    00
one tea kettle                                                         1    50
one skillet and lid                                                        75
one lot of cubboard [cupboard] ware                    8    20
Three split bottom chairs                                      1    30
                                                  In amount           44   00
Praised and set of             Samuel S Bright
by us the 21st                    Thos. Walker                  Apraisers
day of Aprile 1832            Arehart Glaze

    Two weeks later, the items from Michael's estate were auctioned off. Several names of purchasers at the estate can be seen in the above article about the population in 1830 of Falls Township, Hocking County, Ohio. My transcription of the estate sale is below. Images of all of Michael's probate record can be viewed at for free.

List of the sales of the goods and chattles belonging to the estate of Michael Houdyshell late of Falls Townsip [Township] Hocking County deceased sold at public vendue by the undersigned administrator of said estate on the 8th of May 1832  [signed] Samuel Roads
Purchasers name                       Property                                     Price  cts
Samuel S Bright             one flat iron                                                 .32 1/2
Casper Chapman            one lot of plates & cup & saucer                .  9
Casper Chapman            one tin bucket and jug                                 .  1
Samuel S Bright             Two stone pitchers                                      .  4
Saml. Roads                   one half gallon  one tea pot  pitcher            .   6 1/4
Peter Nunismaker          five tin pints                                  paid        .   3
James Cobbum              one tea pot and canister & candle stick       .   3
Samuel Roads                one bottle and cream jug                             .   2
Barbary Houdyshell      candle moles & tunnel [molds & funnel]    .   4
Arehart Glaze                one Coffy pot  one ladle  one tin cup           .37 1/2
Barbary Houdyshell      Two baskets & thats in them                        .13
Mathias Inbody             one hair sifter                                                .39 1/2
Mathias Inbody             one reed and raith                                       1.56 1/4
Samuel Mannon            two chair frames                                           .25
Samuel Mannon            one check reel                                              .12 1/2
Barbary Houdyshell      three dutch Books                                        .   2
Barbary Houdyshell      one spelling Book & testament                    .15
Samuel S. Bright           one grindstone                                              .44
Mathias Inbody             one bedstead                                                 .   1
Mathias Inbody             one lantern  sickle  & chisel                         .   6 1/2
Samuel Roads               one scythe and hangings                               .18 3/4
Casper Chapman           two wooden buckets                                     .   1
Arehart Glaze                one hogshead                                                .25
James Cobbun               one iron kettle & bails                                  .62 1/4
Casper Chapman           one iron pot & bails                                      .14
Casper Chapman           one double tree & irons                                .25
[next page]
Samuel Roads               Two weeding hoes                                         .15
Samuel Roads               one friing [frying]  pan                                   .10 1/2
James Cobbum             spools & gun frames                                      .  6 1/4
Peter Nunimaker          one sausage tunnel                       paid           .18 3/4
Barbary Houdyshell     one narrow axe                                               .26
Samuel S. Bright          one pot travel & iron wedge                          .88
Casper Chapman          one lot of old harness                                     .31 1/2
Barbary Houdyshell     tw [two] woden [wooden] bowls                 .  6 1/4
Casper Chapman          one hay fork and auger                                  .38
Samuel Roads               one harrow and anvil                                    .  6 1/4
Casper Chapman          two beels                                                       .  9
Casper Chapman          one box of old iron                                        .  8 1/2
Samuel Roads              tin bucket  jug & coffy [coffee] pot               .  2
Casper Chapman         one tar bucket                                                 .  2
Samuel Mannon           one half bushel                                              .13
Caspar Chapman          one churn                                                      .  6 1/4
Jacob Inbody                one wool wheel                                           1.12 1/4
Barbary Houdyshell     one pickle firkin                                             .  7 1/4
Arehart Glaze               one half barrl [barrel]                                     .  1
Barbary Houdyshell     one stone jug                                                   .13 1/2
Samuel Roads               two barrels and some hops                            .31 1/4
Barbary Houdyshell     three barrels                                                    .  1
Mathias Inbody            one bee stand                                                 2.70
Arehart Glaze              second bee stand                                            2.  8
Benjamin Inbody         one clock                                                       4.00
Samuel Mannon           one looking glass                                            .31 1/4
Peter Nunimaker         one ketchel                              paid                2.  6 1/4
Barbary Houdyshell     one large chest                                               1.32
Cristopher Houdyshell  one kitchen table                      paid                .37 1/2
Casper Chapman          one small chest                                                .31 1/4
Barbary Houdyshell     one tub & two crocks                                      .  3
Barbary Houdyshell     one lot of crocks                                              .  1
Barbary Do [ditto]       one crout tub                                                     .  2
                                                                                                           17.75 3/4
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Samuel Mannon           one black boar pit                                            .33
Samuel Mannon           one black sow and four pigs                          1.15
Samuel Mannon           one spotted sow & three pigs                           .87
Barbary Houdyshell     four bee gums                                                   .  4
Samuel Roads              one red cow & calf                                         7.25
Barbary Houdyshell     one brindle heifer                                           4.01
                                                                                                           17.75 3/4
                                                                                                           37.03 3/4

     Some of the items in Michael's estate reflected his Alsatian heritage. The "dutch books", meaning Deutsch or German language books, the "crout" or sauerkraut tub, the "sausage tunnel" for making sausage, and the hops for making beer.
     The proceeds of the auction would have been used to pay off Michael's debts. After that, any money left over would have been divided up proportionally amongst his widow and his children.  Several names of purchasers at the estate can be seen in this article about the population in 1830 of Falls Township, Hocking County, Ohio.
     After Michael's death, his son Jacob moved west to Indiana. More about Jacob Houdyshell, his son John, and his grandson Caleb in another post.

For further information
Langensoultzbach website: The site is in French, but it has nice pictures of the village and area. for Ruch family history

History of Hocking Valley, Ohio at for images of Michael's probate file, images of Ohio marriage records, and images of US census records and index of Virginia marriages for images of Virginia tax records and index of Virginia marriages