Sunday, March 1, 2009

My Seneca County Ohio Roots

Whether we know their names or not, each of us has 16 sets of third great grandparents who served their own specific role in our existence. The decade of the 1830’s played a pivotal part for a quarter of these individuals in my own family tree.

My paternal grandmother’s contributions were living presumably somewhere in Pomerania. On my paternal grandfather’s side, not all of the players had yet been born. Of those that were living, some were in Ohio, and some were in Pennsylvania. It would be three decades later, before the all the necessary parties had made their way to Southern Ohio’s Appalachian region, playing their own part in my eventual existence.

My maternal grandfather’s family were scattered about in New Jersey and Ohio, and it would take two additional decades before for the “right” people would find themselves in Henry County of Ohio ensuring that my siblings, cousins and I would eventually come to be. But the early birds to this party were my maternal grandmother’s people.

All four sets had found their way to Seneca County by the mid 1830’s and they had all settled in Liberty Township.

The Lutheran contingent had come from Shenandoah County in Virginia by way of Fairfield County, Ohio. The German Baptists were also from Shenandoah County, although there is no reason to think the two groups had ever known each other, it is interesting that they both had made their way to Liberty Township.

The Armstrongs came from Lancaster County in Pennsylvania, and the final piece of my genealogical puzzle, the Lynches, were also originally from Pennsylvania with stopovers in Fairfield and Franklin Counties in Ohio.

If you had family that spent any significant time during the last seven decades of the nineteenth century in Liberty Township of Seneca County, Ohio, we are, quite likely, related.

If you aren’t related to the Lynches (Daniel and Margaret Anderson Lynch), then you are probably related by the Armstrongs (William and Leah Shupe Armstrong.) If not the Armstrongs, then we are certainly related by the Goods (Joseph Good and Magdalena Click Good.). But if you still haven’t found the connection, then may I suggest the Feasels (Henry Feasel and Jane Kendall Feasel) as the source of our mutual genetic inheritance?

For the Feasels came to the county in full force. Brothers George and Henry both took out land patents in 1831, George on August 12 and Henry on November 14. Both had large families and with the later addition of a nephew, Samuel Cotter Feasel, who located near Bascom, Ohio, it is fair to say that the county was awash with Feasels.

There were so many Feasels, that the area in which they lived was called, Feaselburg. While to my knowledge there was never such a place on a map, to this day there is a cemetery located on what was once old George Feasel’s land, called Feaselburg Cemetery.

Below is a partial plat map of Liberty Township in 1865, showing where all the Feasel plots were located. The red dots stand for the various Feasel holdings, with the Green dot indicating the location of Feaselburg Cemetery.

While tracking done errant Goods, Armstrongs, and Lynches is difficult business because of the commonness of the name, there is no such problem when it comes to my Feasel relations. According to Feazell researcher, Don Feazell, who maintains a website dedicated to all things Feazell (Feazel, Feazle, Feasel, Feezel and Feezell), almost all individuals who use the F-E-A-S-E-L spelling of the name descend from Michael Feasel Sr, with the a large number descending from his son Jacob Feasel, who was the father of Henry and George. According to Don, “Only a few family lines are known to use this spelling today.”

Which is why, anytime a new database comes online; I plug in the Feasel name just to see what interesting tidbits I can find. I solved a little family mystery in this very manner when the Family Search’s Pilot Site program added the database for Michigan Marriages 1868 – 1925.

I plugged in the name Feasel, and surprisingly enough I found 39 matches for the name. The most interesting result was the name Ross W. Feasel, my great grandmother Laura Jane Feasel Lynch’s brother.

Ross and Gertrude Betts were married in Seneca County on August 25, 1896. Their eldest daughter, Bernice was born that same year. In looking at family records I noticed that their next living birth happened February 16, 1914 when twin daughters, Evelyn and Vivian were born 18 YEARS LATER! That had always seemed odd.

Odd, until I found the wedding of one Ross W. Feasel and Gertrude Greak married December 21, 1912 in Monroe County, Michigan. Gertrude’s father, listed as Isaiah Betts, confirmed that this was the same Gertrude who had married Ross 14 years earlier.

Obviously, there was a divorce and a second marriage for Gertrude, but in the end, the two of them remarried, and in addition to the twins, they went on to have daughters Irene and Mildred before Gertrude died in 1923. Interesting to note that their second marriage occurred three months after Mama Feasel’s death.

As a student of family history, I am always amazed at the confluence of events that had to take place for my own existence to have been made possible. The more I study my own roots, the more I realize how heavy the word “if” floats atop my head. All the events that had to happen in precise order, with the correct people and at the perfect time make me shake my head in wonder.

The next time you are feeling low, or are angry with the moron who just cut you off in traffic, it might be wise to remember this: Each of us who have made it here, to this often troubled world, did so because we beat the odds and won the most important lottery of all – life. And that’s gotta count for something.

Until Next Time – Happy Ancestral Digging

Note: For more on the Feaselburg Cemetery, see the posting I have done at Great Black Swamp Graveyard Rabbit website.

Some of you will notice that I took an unintended two-week hiatus from the Geneablogging world. A quick thank you to all of you who nominated me for the Kreativ Blogger Award (including the first to nominate me – sista crankypants.) I have some catching up to do on responding to comments. The Monthly Mélange for February may be a little later than planned this month because I also have to do some major Geneablogger reading!

PS If you found this post by googling one of my family names, please feel free to get in touch with me. I always love to do some mutual sharing when it comes to the family tree.


Jennifer said...

Thank you for the great information. I think that you do a great job. I just wanted to let you know that I awarded you the Kreativ Blogger award. You can see it on my genealogy blog. Enjoy!

Dorene from Ohio said...

Terry -

I love your new photo at the top of
your page!


Thank you Jennifer. Thank you Dorene.

The little guy in the photo is my Friday buddy.

Lisa said...

I enjoyed reading this article about your family tree, Terry. It was introspective and fact-filled. Thanks for sharing what you've learned.



Thanks Lisa, for your comment. I'm still encountering problems on some of the blogs I wish to comment on. I wonder if it is my computer or something other.

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