Family Genealogy - Geary or Gary Family Genealogy

Articles From the Geary/Gary Genealogical Gazette

Gary or Geary Genealogical Gazette was a series of newsletters published by David L. Geary from 1992-1996 (approximately)

Cemetery Restoration Completed

Howard Gary reported he finished restoring the Schrock Cemetery and the graves of Peter and John Gary and others.

Last month alone, Howard hauled away 6 tons of rocks. planted 25 lbs. of grass seed, and scattered a ton of sawdust. Ah stones were set and cemented.

We plan to dedicate the cemetery in the spring, probably in May or June. I would very much appreciate your ideas. I thought it might be nice to have a get-together after the ceremony in the Scullton Church, although I don't know any relatives who belong there

If you want to visit the cemetery now, take Route 653 east to Scullton. Take the first road to the left after passing the general store and church (the church cemetery includes many Garys). Look for a spring house on the left that is near to the road.

There is a gravel road next to it.  Park on the gravel road and walk a short distance to the cemetery.

The cemetery is on land owned by Mr. and Mrs. Howard Schultz. (From Nov 20, 1992 Newsletter)

About the Schrock Burying Ground

(from the Dedication Program May 29, 1993)

In the earliest years of Somerset County. there were few rural churches. Clergy traveled great distances on horseback to minister to their members. When people who lived in rural areas died, they were buried promptly and often without benefit of clergy.

Most were interred on the family farm. Some families shared their cemeteries with neighbors. This “burying ground” was named for Christian Schrock who owned the farm and is buried here. The earliest known burial was in 1815; the last 1924. Since most families could not afford tombstones, many graves were marked with field stones. A few bear crude markings.

In addition to the Schrocks, nearby families we know who used this cemetery were the Garys, Cramers, Reemans, and Dulls. The unmarked graves also include those for six children of one Gary family who died in one year due to a diphtheria epidemic in the 1 800s. One marker for all six children is in the Scullton Missionary Alliance Church Cemetery.

Two veterans of the Revolutionary War and one from the Civil War are buried in this cemetery. John and Peter Gary served in the Northampton County Militia in the Pennsylvania Continental Line during the Revolution. Jonas Gary. grandson of Peter. served during the Civil War in the 61st Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.

Killian, brother of Peter Gary, Sr.

Applications for membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution mentioned Killian, Peter's brother, was born Nov. 9, 1757. Unfortunately we don’t know where.

"Kilian Gaeri" at age 22 married the first of his four wives, Barbara Miller, on June 15 1780, in Oldwick, Hunterdon County, N. J. They were wed in the Zion Lutheran Church, built in 1749; the sanctuary still stands.

Oldwick is a small town about halfway between Philadelphia and New York. A family of Gays lived in Hunterdon County. For example, a Peter Gary advertised in the New Jersey Gazette on Aug. 9, 1784, to sell his farm of 280 acres in the “Great Swamp.” Other Gays on tax lists in 17781780 included John, John, Sr., and William.

I believe we need to search further there to seek additional family connections.

The Hunterdon County Historical Society is at 114 Main St, Flemington, NJ. 08822. New Jersey State Archives are located at 185 W. State St, Trenton, N.J. 08625.

After serving in the Revolutionary War with the Bucks County, Pa, Militia, Killian moved with his brother Peter to Somerset County in 1785, then moved to Fairfield County, Ohio, after 1800. He died in 1833, and was buried there in Parrish Cemetery near his farm.

Who is Hugh?

When Peter Gary and his brother Killian came to Somerset County in 1785, they had money to buy Land. While Peter paid for 100 acres - and got 144 Killian had a patent on 50.

Killian immediately added 106 acres, which grew to 750 acres by 1787. In 1792, he dropped to 600 acres, but according to the Somerset County tax records, he "inspected' 300 acres in Bullskin Township, Fayette County.

At that time, Bullskin Township's eastern boundary extended all the way to the Somerset County line, including what is now Springfield and Saltlick Townships.

In Ellis' The History of Fayette County, two of the earliest landowners in the original Bullskin Twp. before 1800 are listed as "Killian Guering" (333 acres).

Who is Hugh? Is he another brother of Peter? In 1799 Killian sold 400 of his 600 acres. Shortly afterward, he sold the rest and left for Fairfield County, Ohio, where he joined other settlers of German descent.

Early tax lists and rates

Tax lists provide one of the best ways to track an ancestor. For example, in Somerset County tax lists begin the year the county was formed, and are available for each year. They are on microfilm at the Somerset Historical Center.

In eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey, complete records don't exist, but those that do can provide valuable information.

Early taxes were paid in English money of pounds, shillings, pence, and half pennies, which don't compare easily with today's U. S. dollar.

During the Revolutionary War, new, separate taxes were levied to pay for the war effort - and provided more rosters for genealogical research.

In tracing Peter Gary, Sr., tax lists provided total acres he owned, acres cleared, if he had a house, number of horses and cattle, and in a special tax the number of lights (panes of glass) in his home.

In 1800, for example, Peter Gary, Sr. had 144 acres, 20 acres cleared, 2 horses, 2 cattle, all worth S240. His tax was 96 cents.

Peter Gary, Jr., paid taxes on nearly 700 acres in Milford Twp. in 1838, and on more than 600 acres in the year his father died (1843).

The early Gary’s were not illiterate and poor

Land holdings and early documents surrounding the early Gary's reveal they were not illiterate and poor by standards of their era.

Farming was the early occupation of America, and wealth was measured in acreage. From what we have seen so far, Killian had enough money to own hundreds of acres early in his life -- all apparently earned or inherited. He did not receive a pension or land grant for his Revolutionary War service. Even when he died in 1833, he left money and more than 200 acres, including a farm house and a home in a nearby town, to his wife and children.

Killian was also educated. He could read and write in English and German. He always signed his name in German. He was one of Somerset County's earliest tax collectors.

Peter could also read and write. He owned German Bibles and a German-language biography of President George Washington. Peter could sign his name and always did in English.

Peter used his money not to amass land, but probably to enhance his property. He sold 100 acres in Ohio he got free from the U. S. for his military service, and he received a pension of $44 a year for his Revolutionary War service.

Farming was good business in the early 1800's, and Peter was fortunate to live not far from the Turkeyfoot Road, a major highway to get farm animals and crops to the eastern part of the country. Some histories tell of livestock drives similar to what we've seen in movies of ranching in the early American West In our search for the Peter and Killian’s parents, we wonder, of course, from where this education and money came.

Jim Geary and German Migration Patterns

On a trip to Washington, D.C., Jim and his wife Pat found some interesting information about German migration patterns that affect research into the Garys of north New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania.

Peter, born in New Jersey, enlisted in the Revolution in 1782 "seven miles above Philadelphia" at his brother's house and served in the Northampton County, PA, Militia.

Peter's brother Killian served in the Bucks County, Pa., Militia, and married his first wife in 1780 in the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oldwick, N.J. Peter may have attended this church.

A large group of German Palatine immigrants settled in 1710 on both sides of the Hudson River just below Catskill, N.Y. To this day, the towns remain known as West Camp and East Camp. Settlers had no houses and lived in huts and tents. Land on the east side was rich farming land However, the land on the west side of the river was unsuitable for farming, so that camp divided immediately in two.

One group traveled further west and found good farm land in the Schoharie and Mohawk valleys in central New York. The second group traveled southwest and settled in a line from Allentown, Pa., to as far south as Germantown (now part of Philadelphia). However, much of this land was already purchased and the rest was priced too high. So a portion of the original body that came south from New York traveled east to New Jersey and settled in rich, inexpensive farm land. They called their new settlement New Germantown (now Oldwick, NJ).

This dispersion may be the reason why Peter and Killian have connections in both NJ. and eastern Pa before they moved west to Somerset County, Pa That portion of German settlers who traveled south from New York in 1710 and their descendants within 60 years were strung out as far south as Virginia's Shenandoah Valley.

Jim Geary noted Rev. Peter Muhlenberg once pastored at the Oldwick Church and Peter and Killian Gary may have known him. Rev. Muhlenberg left Oldwick in 1770 to lead a congregation in Woodstock, VA.

There at the onset of the Revolutionary War during a fiery patriotic sermon he threw off his black robe and stood in the uniform of a colonel. This has become one of the favorite stories of the Revolutionary period. He served under Washington as a major general, later served in Congress in both the Senate and House, and was collector of the Port of Philadelphia.

His brother Henry succeeded him as pastor at Oldwick's Zion Church.

The congregation first met Aug. 1, 1714. It merged with two others and built the church at Oldwick in 1749. The church still stands. It underwent minor changes in 1831, 1854, 1883, and in 1950. (April 30, 1993 issue)

The Garys in New Jersey

Pat Frey made a second trip to Flemington, N.J., the county seat of Hunterdon County which includes the small town of Oldwick. She researched tax lists and old wills to find clues of early Gays.

She also researched an early settler, Hermanus Kester, whom another researcher believes was an ancestor of Catharine Kester who married Peter Gary, Sr.

Several researchers are just beginning to explore the "New Jersey connection." They include Pat, Jim Geary, Tony Reefer and David Geary. They believe they will not be long in discovering relatives of Peter and Killian Gay who lived there.

Tony believes John Gary (the one who died in 1821 near 100 years old and buried in the Schrock Cemetery) was Peter's father. Tony believes John and perhaps other early Garys lived in nearby Fayette County and thus would not appear in Somerset County archives.

There is some evidence Garys lived in Fayette County near the Somerset County line while Peter Gary, Sr., lived.

We know early descendants of Peter Gary, Jr., lived around Indian Head, Champion, and other towns of eastern Fayette County, and his brother Adam and his family lived near Connellsville. (April 30, 1993 issue)

Research in New Jersey

In the 1880 federal census, people were asked where their parents were born. A son of Peter Gay, Sr., said New Jersey. As a result, some family members research Gays in New Jersey.

Pat Frey discovered the baptism of Killian Gary's child in the Old Zion Lutheran Church, Oldwick, NJ. She also found Leonard Gary was a witness, and Leonard and Eva Gary attended the same church.

Now she has found the June 12, 1780, marriage record of Killian and Barbara Miller in Zion's old "Kirchen Buch" (German for "church book").

Killian was Peter's brother. Like Peter, Killian was also a Revolutionary War veteran. He moved with Peter to Somerset County in 1785, owned more than 600 acres of land in Somerset and Fayette counties, operated a tavern in Somerset, and was one of the county's first tax collectors.

He moved to Lancaster, Ohio, with others of German descent after 1800, and died there in 1833.

David Geary found Leonard and Eve also had ties to Somerset and Fayette counties. In 1814 Eve appointed Michael Sanner of Somerset County as her attorney to collect any money from her deceased husband's estate. She signed her affidavit in Greenwich Greenwich Twp., Sussex County, N.J., had it notarized in Northampton Co., Pa., and had it filed in Fayette County.

As reported in the last issue, Jim Geary researched migration patterns of early Germans around Oldwick (once called New Germantown) in New Jersey. Many came originally from a German settlement about 120 miles above New York City on the Hudson River.

While no one's yet sure our German-speaking Garys were part of this migration, they would have known these people well. They were called "Palatines,' named for a region in central Germany. Some, however, came from northern or southern Germany. Most were from small towns.

They did not come to America for religious liberty. These Germans had been plundered by the French, and endured a hard winter in 1707-08 that killed many of their precious grape vines. They were disheartened and vulnerable to tales of America. Pamphlets printed in gold enticed them.

Neighboring families traveled together down the Rhine River, and stayed together even after they came to America. Their first stop was Rotterdam where they had been promised passage to England.

Not all were recorded on the Holland Embarkation Lists, but about 11,000 were. The English put the Germans in encampments outside London, and the government made a list that included the head of family, occupation, ages of sons and daughters, and church affiliation. Denominations listed included Reformed, Lutheran, Catholic, and Baptist.

Some Germans were sent to Ireland where they settled. Catholics were returned to Holland since England's Queen Anne was anti-Catholic, but some "convened" or made separate arrangements to get to America.

The British government allowed passage to her American colonies with a plot of land and subsistence if the remaining Palatines would agree to produce supplies for the British Navy.

Progress was slow. Eventually in 1710 eleven boats sailed with Gov. Hunter of New York. He reported 470 died enroute and 2227 arrived in New York.

Because England paid New York subsistence for each Palatine, Gov. Hunter kept superb records. Two censuses were taken in 1710, one for Palatines who were in New York City, and the other for those along the Hudson River.

In 1711 many Palatines were recruited to fight the French in Quebec. By 1712, the whole Palatine experiment failed. Rations were meager, housing was poor, and the pine trees made poor pitch for British Navy ships. Gov. Hunter then left the Palatines to settle where they wished.

Because the Palatines lived on the lands of others, many left but some stayed. Those who left went further west in New York, some to near Philadelphia where they founded "Germantown," still others went into New Jersey.

In some documents surrounding the Palatines, there are references to Garys (really, spellings similar in sound to Gary). However, we're still a generation or two in our research behind this migration. The plan is to take one generation at a time. ( August 15, 1993 issue)

Memorandum of October 18, 1993 from David L. Geary

  1. Since writing you August 25, I've had quite a lot of correspondence. I've received more copies of old photos and will print some of them in the next newsletter. The oldest is of Joanna Miller Gary, widow of Jonas, the Civil War veteran buried in the Schrock Cemetery. Alonzo Leuthardt has sent photos of his ancestors, along with Civil War records of Miller ancestors around Cameron, W. Va. The more I look over these and other materials, I remain fascinated with the migration of Garys and others from Somerset County to western Greene Co., Pa., and Marshall Co., Va./W.Va. What was the draw?
  2. Helen Fazio has been of great help. Descended from Peter's brother Killian, she has pewter spoons that belonged to him and Indian blankets that were traded for food when he lived in Ohio. Helen is a professional genealogist. She wasn't aware of Killian's Somerset County and New Jersey connections until she talked to you, Jim. She always followed the family story he came directly from Lancaster, Pa., but never found record of him there. Helen sent me considerable information on descendants of Jacob Gery of Switzerland, who landed with Hans Adam Gery on the Robert and Alice at Philadelphia in 1739, and who settled in Berks Co. I know this will peak your interest, Tony, as you have long focused on Jacob and Hans Adam. She also sent records of the New Goshenhoppen Church (Montgomery Co.) as well as Gary wills and deeds from that county. Of possible interest are many references to these Gerys in Journals and Papers of David Schultze 7761-1797. If you want any of these materials, let me know.
  3. Bill Ayers outdid us all by looking at the complete records of the Oldwick Lutheran Church and the Berlin Reformed Church. Bill found no other Gary references to those you found, Pat, an incredible task considering the handwriting. But in looking at the Berlin records he found a Mary Margaretha Gery attending church with Peter and Killian. Bill has time and access to a superb library, and traced the Garys to New Jersey simply by tracing the history of the Brethren Church. Helen pointed out the Sanner Church records - I don't know of anyone who has gone through those completely. On my 1 839 county map, Sanner's is closer to present-day Scullton than Berlin, and at least two Garys were baptized there.
  4. Gerald Varner is descended from another Peter, also a Revolutionary War veteran, who lived his life around Flemington, N.J. We're hoping his search for his Peter's brothers, sisters, and parents will help us in our New Jersey search. So far we have firm connections with Killian, Leonard, and Samuel through the Oldwick church. I'm still looking for Leonard's widow Eve in Sussex Co., N.J., in 1 81 5.
  5. Correct me if wrong, but our approach trends toward the process of elimination. We seem to be looking for early Garys, then discarding those that don't have a connection to Peter, Killian, Leonard, and Samuel. Perhaps I should start a master list from those each of you has eliminated. One promising point -- the further we go back the fewer Garys we find. I continue to send copies of all materials everyone sends me to the Somerset Historical Center, including two audiotapes Helen sent.

Possible Other Records in the Berlin Church

Bill Ayers researched entire records of the Berlin, Pa., Reformed and Lutheran Church. Peter and Killian attended this church. Bill found a Mary Margaretha Gery attended church there with Killian and his wife Catharine on Easter Sunday 1789.

Helen Fazio discovered a Rosina Gering was born Mar. 7, 1777 and baptized Oct. 9, 1777. Parents were John and Julia Gering. (from Dec 1993 issue)

4th Artillery Regiment

Peter Gary served as a fifer in the 4th Regiment of Artillery, Pennsylvania Line. “Line” is the equivalent of today's National Guard. States furnished and paid their troops to support the federal army and navy.

Each company had a fifer and drummer, positions generally reserved for boys 10-17. Normal age for service was 18-53. Peter, who served from March 1782 to June 1783, was not assigned to a company, but to the regimental headquarters as a member of the regimental band.

This regiment did not always fight as one unit. For example, on March 12, 1782, a roster only by numbers of soldiers showed 70 were in eastern Pa., 34 at Pittsburgh, and 131 in S.C. If one can determine where the regimental commander was, Peter was probably nearby. Records, however, are poor.

The regiment during Peter's service was credited with service in two southern campaigns that resulted in the battles at Savannah and Charleston.

Many artifacts from these battles are on display in museums in Savannah and Charleston.

A 1782 regimental by-name roster in Pa. Archives reveals those soldiers Peter mentioned in his pension application. Unfortunately, a 1930's interpretation of a 1782 clerk's poor handwriting placed Peter's name in Pennsylvania Archives as "Peter Gunner.

Putting Time Into Perspective

A great challenge facing genealogical researchers is that they often don't realize the environment their ancestors lived in. Knowing the environment can make names and dates have meaning.

Keep in mind Peter and Killian moved to western Pa. in 1785.

Thirty one years earlier, in 1754, a young Virginia lieutenant colonial, under British rule, lost his first and only battle to French forces. The officer was George Washington. The battle was Fort Necessity (near Farmington, Fayette Co.).

Ten years earlier, in 1775, the British fired on the militia at Lexington and Concord, Mass. At that time, Virginia and Pennsylvania both claimed jurisdiction over land west of the Laurel Ridge (Somerset-Fayette county line).

Both states raised regiments. Those who considered themselves Pennsylvanians formed the 8tt Pennsylvania, composed of men from what is today Bedford county westward to the Ohio line (then, the frontier).

Eight years earlier, In 1777, Indian attacks near what is now Wheeling resulted in people fleeing western Pa.

Three years earlier, in 1782, a different kind of Revolutionary War raged in western Pa. Indians, sometimes in concert with the British, attacked frontier settlements. At what is now Greensburg, Indians killed nine and captured 12 Prisoners were turned over to the British. An officer and friend of Gen. Washington from what is now Connellsville was burned at the stake by Indians during an expedition to Ohio.

Three years earlier, in 1782, surveyors Mason and Dixon worked on their famous line that ended Va. claims to western Pa When Pa. passed laws outlawing slavery, many slave-state settlers non unhappily found themselves in a free state. Huge numbers of settlers left for "Kentucky, which had opened up her charms to settlement, adventure, and slavery.

The opportunity to buy land at depressed prices and in land now free from Indian attacks created an even larger migration. Settlers from NJ. and eastern Pa. -- including Peter and Killian - arrived One year after they came, the first newspaper west of the Allegheny Mts. was published, in Pittsburgh.

Four years after they came, in 1789, mail delivery throughout the region was established.

Nine years after, in 1794, Pres. Washington sent federal troops into western Pa. to quell the “Whiskey Rebellion” In the early 1800's, smelting iron ore in small furnaces was profitable. Early maps showed iron deposits within several miles of Peter's property.

Twenty-three years afterward, in 1808, Pres. Jefferson proposed building the first national road, from Cumberland, Md., to Brownsville. US 40 today follows that route.

Peter would have been very much aware of all these events.